Sequence composition and genome organization of maize.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 101:14349-54. Abstract
Zea mays L. ssp. mays, or corn, one of the most important crops and a model for plant genetics, has a genome approximately 80% the size of the human genome. To gain global insight into the organization of its genome, we have sequenced the ends of large insert clones, yielding a cumulative length of one-eighth of the genome with a DNA sequence read every 6.2 kb, thereby describing a large percentage of the genes and transposable elements of maize in an unbiased approach. Based on the accumulative 307 Mb of sequence, repeat sequences occupy 58% and genic regions occupy 7.5%. A conservative estimate predicts approximately 59,000 genes, which is higher than in any other organism sequenced so far. Because the sequences are derived from bacterial artificial chromosome clones, which are ordered in overlapping bins, tagged genes are also ordered along continuous chromosomal segments. Based on this positional information, roughly one-third of the genes appear to consist of tandemly arrayed gene families. Although the ancestor of maize arose by tetraploidization, fewer than half of the genes appear to be present in two orthologous copies, indicating that the maize genome has undergone significant gene loss since the duplication event.
Genome-wide microarray analysis of TGFβ signaling in the Drosophila brain.
BMC developmental biology. 4:14. Abstract
BACKGROUND: Members of TGFbeta superfamily are found to play important roles in many cellular processes, such as proliferation, differentiation, development, apoptosis, and cancer. In Drosophila, there are seven ligands that function through combinations of three type I receptors and two type II receptors. These signals can be roughly grouped into two major TGFbeta pathways, the dpp/BMP and activin pathways, which signal primarily through thick veins (tkv) and baboon (babo). Few downstream targets are known for either pathway, especially targets expressed in the Drosophila brain. RESULTS: tkv and babo both affect the growth of tissues, but have varying effects on patterning. We have identified targets for the tkv and babo pathways by employing microarray techniques using activated forms of the receptors expressed in the brain. In these experiments, we compare the similarities of target genes of these two pathways in the brain. About 500 of 13,500 examined genes changed expression at 95% confidence level (P < 0.05). Twenty-seven genes are co-regulated 1.5 fold by both the tkv and babo pathways. These regulated genes cluster into various functional groups such as DNA/RNA binding, signal transducers, enzymes, transcription regulators, and neuronal regulators. RNAi knockdown experiments of homologs of several of these genes show abnormal growth regulation, suggesting these genes may execute the growth properties of TGFbeta. CONCLUSIONS: Our genomic-wide microarray analysis has revealed common targets for the tkv and babo pathways and provided new insights into downstream effectors of two distinct TGFbeta like pathways. Many of these genes are novel and several genes are implicated in growth control. Among the genes regulated by both pathways is ultraspiracle, which further connects TGFbeta with neuronal remodeling.
Jittery, a Mutator distant relative with a paradoxical mobile behavior: excision without reinsertion.
Plant Cell. 16:1105–1114. Abstract
The unstable mutation bz-m039 arose in a maize (Zea mays) stock that originated from a plant infected with barley stripe mosaic virus. The instability of the mutation is caused by a 3.9-kb mobile element that has been named Jittery (Jit). Jit has terminal inverted repeats (TIRs) of 181 bp, causes a 9-bp direct duplication of the target site, and appears to excise autonomously. It is predicted to encode a single 709-amino acid protein, JITA, which is distantly related to the MURA transposase protein of the Mutator system but is more closely related to the MURA protein of Mutator-like elements (MULEs) from Arabidopsis thaliana and rice (Oryza sativa). Like MULEs, Jit resembles Mutator in the length of the element's TIRs, the size of the target site duplication, and in the makeup of its transposase but differs from the autonomous element Mutator-Don Robertson in that it encodes a single protein. Jit also differs from Mutator elements in the high frequency with which it excises to produce germinal revertants and in its copy number in the maize genome: Jit-like TIRs are present at low copy number in all maize lines and teosinte accessions examined, and JITA sequences occur in only a few maize inbreds. However, Jit cannot be considered a bona fide transposon in its present host line because it does not leave footprints upon excision and does not reinsert in the genome. These unusual mobile element properties are discussed in light of the structure and gene organization of Jit and related elements.