Swapping Functional Specificity of a MADs box Protein: Residues Required for Arg80 Regulation of Arginine Metabolism.
Mol Cell Biol. 22:5741-5752. Abstract
Arg80 and Mcm1, two members of the MADS box family of DNA-binding proteins, regulate the metabolism of arginine in association with Arg81, the arginine sensor. In spite of the high degree of sequence conservation between the MADS box domains of the Arg80 and Mcm1 proteins (56 of 81 amino acids), these domains are not interchangeable. To determine which amino acids define the specificity of Arg80, we swapped the amino acids in each secondary-structure element of the Arg80 MADS box domain with the corresponding amino acids of Mcm1 and assayed the ability of these chimeras to regulate arginine-metabolic genes in place of the wild-type Arg80. Also performed was the converse experiment in which each variant residue in the Mcm1 MADS box domain was swapped with the corresponding residue of Arg80 in the context of an Arg80-Mcm1 fusion protein. We show that multiple regions of Arg80 are important for its function. Interestingly, the residues which have important roles in determining the specificity of Arg80 are not those which could contact the DNA but are residues that are likely to be involved in protein interactions. Many of these residues are clustered on one side of the protein, which could serve as an interface for interaction with Arg81 or Mcm1. This interface is distinct from the region used by the Mcm1 and human serum response factor MADS box proteins to interact with their cofactors. It is possible that this alternative interface is used by other MADS box proteins to interact with their cofactors.
The Caenorhabditis Elegans Nephrocystins act as Global Modifiers of Cilium Structure.
J Cell Biol. 180:973-988. Abstract
Nephronophthisis (NPHP) is the most common genetic cause of end-stage renal disease in children and young adults. In Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Caenorhabditis elegans, and mammals, the NPHP1 and NPHP4 gene products nephrocystin-1 and nephrocystin-4 localize to basal bodies or ciliary transition zones (TZs), but their function in this location remains unknown. We show here that loss of C. elegans NPHP-1 and NPHP-4 from TZs is tolerated in developing cilia but causes changes in localization of specific ciliary components and a broad range of subtle axonemal ultrastructural defects. In amphid channel cilia, nphp-4 mutations cause B tubule defects that further disrupt intraflagellar transport (IFT). We propose that NPHP-1 and NPHP-4 act globally at the TZ to regulate ciliary access of the IFT machinery, axonemal structural components, and signaling molecules, and that perturbing this balance results in cell type-specific phenotypes.
Functional Characterization of the C. Elegans Nephrocystins NPHP-1 and NPHP-4 and Their role in Cilia and male Sensory Behaviors.
Exp Cell Res. 305:333-342. Abstract
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and nephronophthisis (NPH) share two common features: cystic kidneys and ciliary localized gene products. Mutation in either the PKD1 or PKD2 gene accounts for 95% of all ADPKD cases. Mutation in one of four genes (NPHP1-4) results in nephronophthisis. The NPHP1, NPHP2, PKD1, and PKD2 protein products (nephrocystin-1, nephrocystin-2 or inversin, polycystin-1, and polycystin-2, respectively) localize to primary cilia of renal epithelia. However, the relationship between the nephrocystins and polycystins, if any, is unknown. In the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, the LOV-1 and PKD-2 polycystins localize to male-specific sensory cilia and are required for male mating behaviors. To test the hypothesis that ADPKD and NPH cysts arise from a common defect in cilia, we characterized the C. elegans homologs of NPHP1 and NPHP4. C. elegans nphp-1 and nphp-4 are expressed in a subset of sensory neurons. GFP-tagged NPHP-1 and NPHP-4 proteins localize to ciliated sensory endings of dendrites and colocalize with PKD-2 in male-specific sensory cilia. The cilia of nphp-1(ok500) and nphp-4(tm925) mutants are intact. nphp-1; nphp-4 double, but not single, mutant males are response defective. We propose that NPHP-1 and NPHP-4 proteins play important and redundant roles in facilitating ciliary sensory signal transduction.
The Yeast a1 and Alpha2 Homeodomain Proteins do not Contribute Equally to Heterodimeric DNa Binding.
Mol Cell Biol. 19:585-593. Abstract
In diploid cells of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the alpha2 and a1 homeodomain proteins bind cooperatively to sites in the promoters of haploid cell-type-specific genes (hsg) to repress their expression. Although both proteins bind to the DNA, in the alpha2 homeodomain substitutions of residues that are involved in contacting the DNA have little or no effect on repression in vivo or cooperative DNA binding with a1 protein in vitro. This result brings up the question of the contribution of each protein in the heterodimer complex to the DNA-binding affinity and specificity. To determine the requirements for the a1-alpha2 homeodomain DNA recognition, we systematically introduced single base-pair substitutions in an a1-alpha2 DNA-binding site and examined their effects on repression in vivo and DNA binding in vitro. Our results show that nearly all substitutions that significantly decrease repression and DNA-binding affinity are at positions which are specifically contacted by either the alpha2 or a1 protein. Interestingly, an alpha2 mutant lacking side chains that make base-specific contacts in the major groove is able to discriminate between the wild-type and mutant DNA sites with the same sequence specificity as the wild-type protein. These results suggest that the specificity of alpha2 DNA binding in complex with a1 does not rely solely on the residues that make base-specific contacts. We have also examined the contribution of the a1 homeodomain to the binding affinity and specificity of the complex. In contrast to the lack of a defective phenotype produced by mutations in the alpha2 homeodomain, many of the alanine substitutions of residues in the a1 homeodomain have large effects on a1-alpha2-mediated repression and DNA binding. This result shows that the two proteins do not make equal contributions to the DNA-binding affinity of the complex.
A family of mammalian Fringe genes implicated in boundary determination and the Notch pathway.
Development. 124:2245-54. Abstract
The formation of boundaries between groups of cells is a universal feature of metazoan development. Drosophila fringe modulates the activation of the Notch signal transduction pathway at the dorsal-ventral boundary of the wing imaginal disc. Three mammalian fringe-related family members have been cloned and characterized: Manic, Radical and Lunatic Fringe. Expression studies in mouse embryos support a conserved role for mammalian Fringe family members in participation in the Notch signaling pathway leading to boundary determination during segmentation. In mammalian cells, Drosophila fringe and the mouse Fringe proteins are subject to posttranslational regulation at the levels of differential secretion and proteolytic processing. When misexpressed in the developing Drosophila wing imaginal disc the mouse Fringe genes exhibit conserved and differential effects on boundary determination.
Drosophila ATM and ATR have distinct activities in the regulation of meiotic DNA damage and repair.
J Cell Biol. 195:359-67. Abstract
Ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) and ataxia telangiectasia-related (ATR) kinases are conserved regulators of cellular responses to double strand breaks (DSBs). During meiosis, however, the functions of these kinases in DSB repair and the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage checkpoint are unclear. In this paper, we show that ATM and ATR have unique roles in the repair of meiotic DSBs in Drosophila melanogaster. ATR mutant analysis indicated that it is required for checkpoint activity, whereas ATM may not be. Both kinases phosphorylate H2AV (gamma-H2AV), and, using this as a reporter for ATM/ATR activity, we found that the DSB repair response is surprisingly dynamic at the site of DNA damage. gamma-H2AV is continuously exchanged, requiring new phosphorylation at the break site until repair is completed. However, most surprising is that the number of gamma-H2AV foci is dramatically increased in the absence of ATM, but not ATR, suggesting that the number of DSBs is increased. Thus, we conclude that ATM is primarily required for the meiotic DSB repair response, which includes functions in DNA damage repair and negative feedback control over the level of programmed DSBs during meiosis.
Multiple Barriers to Non-homologous DNA End Joining During Meiosis in Drosophila.
Genetics. 191:739-46. Abstract
Repair of meiotic double-strand breaks (DSBs) uses the homolog and recombination to yield crossovers while alternative pathways such as nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) are suppressed. Our results indicate that NHEJ is blocked at two steps of DSB repair during meiotic prophase: first by the activity of the MCM-like protein MEI-218 that is required for crossover formation and, second, by Rad51-related proteins SPN-B (XRCC3) and SPN-D (RAD51C) that physically interact and promote homologous recombination. We further show that the MCM-like proteins also promote the activity of the DSB repair checkpoint pathway, indicating an early requirement for these proteins in DSB processing. We propose that when a meiotic DSB is formed in the absence of both MEI-218 and SPN-B or SPN-D, a DSB substrate is generated that can enter the NHEJ repair pathway. Indeed, due to its high error rate, multiple barriers may have evolved to prevent NHEJ activity during meiosis.
Homeodomain-DNa Interactions of the Pho2 Protein are Promoter-dependent.
Nucleic Acids Res. 25:4730-4739. Abstract
The homeodomain (HD) is a conserved sequence-specific DNA-binding motif found in many eukaryotic transcriptional regulatory proteins. Despite the wealth of in vitro data on the mechanism HD proteins use to bind DNA, comparatively little is known about the roles of individual residues in these domains in vivo . The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Pho2 protein contains a HD that shares significant sequence identity with the Drosophila Engrailed protein. We have used the co-crystal structure of Engrailed as a model to predict how Pho2 might contact DNA and have examined how individual residues of the Pho2 HD contribute to transcriptional activation in vivo and to DNA binding in vitro. Our results demonstrate that Pho2 and Engrailed share many similar DNA-binding characteristics. However, our results also show that some highly conserved residues, which contact the DNA in many HD structures, make relatively small contributions to the DNA-binding affinity and in vivo activity of the Pho2 protein. We also show that the N-terminal arm of the Pho2 HD is a critical component in determining the DNA-binding specificity of the protein and that the requirements for residues in the N-terminal arm are promoter-dependent for Pho2 transcriptional activation and DNA binding.