A novel phage-encoded transcription antiterminator acts by suppressing bacterial RNA polymerase pausing..
Nucleic acids research. Abstract
Gp39, a small protein encoded by Thermus thermophilus phage P23-45, specifically binds the host RNA polymerase (RNAP) and inhibits transcription initiation. Here, we demonstrate that gp39 also acts as an antiterminator during transcription through intrinsic terminators. The antitermination activity of gp39 relies on its ability to suppress transcription pausing at poly(U) tracks. Gp39 also accelerates transcription elongation by decreasing RNAP pausing and backtracking but does not significantly affect the rates of catalysis of individual reactions in the RNAP active center. We mapped the RNAP-gp39 interaction site to the β flap, a domain that forms a part of the RNA exit channel and is also a likely target for λ phage antiterminator proteins Q and N, and for bacterial elongation factor NusA. However, in contrast to Q and N, gp39 does not depend on NusA or other auxiliary factors for its activity. To our knowledge, gp39 is the first characterized phage-encoded transcription factor that affects every step of the transcription cycle and suppresses transcription termination through its antipausing activity.
A novel method for the production of in vivo-assembled, recombinant Escherichia coli RNA polymerase lacking the alpha C-terminal domain.
Protein Sci. 20:986-95. Abstract
The biochemical characterization of the bacterial transcription cycle has been greatly facilitated by the production and characterization of targeted RNA polymerase (RNAP) mutants. Traditionally, RNAP preparations containing mutant subunits have been produced by reconstitution of denatured RNAP subunits, a process that is undesirable for biophysical and structural studies. Although schemes that afford the production of in vivo-assembled, recombinant RNAP containing amino acid substitutions, insertions, or deletions in either the monomeric beta or beta' subunits have been developed, there is no such system for the production of in vivo-assembled, recombinant RNAP with mutations in the homodimeric alpha-subunits. Here, we demonstrate a strategy to generate in vivo-assembled, recombinant RNAP preparations free of the alpha C-terminal domain. Furthermore, we describe a modification of this approach that would permit the purification of in vivo-assembled, recombinant RNAP containing any alpha-subunit variant, including those variants that are lethal. Finally, we propose that these related approaches can be extended to generate in vivo-assembled, recombinant variants of other protein complexes containing homomultimers for biochemical, biophysical, and structural analyses.
A Novel Class of Helitron-related Transposable Elements in Maize Contain Portions of Multiple Pseudogenes.
Plant Mol Biol. 57:115-127. Abstract
We recently described a maize mutant caused by an insertion of a Helitron type transposable element (Lal, S.K., Giroux, M.J., Brendel, V., Vallejos, E. and Hannah, L.C., 2003, Plant Cell, 15: 381-391). Here we describe another Helitron insertion in the barren stalk1 gene of maize. The termini of a 6525 bp insertion in the proximal promoter region of the mutant reference allele of maize barren stalk1 gene (ba1-ref) shares striking similarity to the Helitron insertion we reported in the Shrunken-2 gene. This insertion is embedded with pseudogenes that differ from the pseudogenes discovered in the mutant Shrunken-2 insertion. Using the common terminal ends of the mutant insertions as a query, we discovered other Helitron insertions in maize BAC clones. Based on the comparison of the insertion site and PCR amplified genomic sequences, these elements inserted between AT dinucleotides. These putative non-autonomous Helitron insertions completely lacked sequences similar to RPA (replication protein A) and DNA Helicases reported in other species. A blastn analysis indicated that both the 5' and 3' termini of Helitrons are repeated in the maize genome. These data provide strong evidence that Helitron type transposable elements are active and may have played an essential role in the evolution and expansion of the maize genome.
Notch-mediated segmentation and growth control of the Drosophila leg.
Developmental Biology. 210:339-50. Abstract
The possession of segmented appendages is a defining characteristic of the arthropods. By analyzing both loss-of-function and ectopic expression experiments, we show that the Notch signaling pathway plays a fundamental role in the segmentation and growth of the Drosophila leg. Local activation of Notch is necessary and sufficient to promote the formation of joints between segments. This segmentation process requires the participation of the Notch ligands, Serrate and Delta, as well as Fringe. These three proteins are each expressed in the developing leg and antennal imaginal discs in a segmentally repeated pattern that is regulated downstream of the action of Wingless and Decapentaplegic. Our studies further show that Notch activation is both necessary and sufficient to promote leg growth. We also identify target genes regulated both positively and negatively downstream of Notch signaling that are required for normal leg development. Together, these observations outline a regulatory hierarchy for the segmentation and growth of the leg. The Notch pathway is also deployed for segmentation during vertebrate somitogenesis, which raises the possibility of a common origin for the segmentation of these distinct tissues.
A notch sweeter.
Cell. 132:177-9. Abstract
Notch is a key signaling protein mediating cell-fate decisions during development. In this issue, Acar et al. (2008) describe a new gene called rumi that is required for Notch signaling in Drosophila. This gene encodes an O-glucosyltransferase that attaches glucose sugars to serine residues in the multiple EGF domains of the extracellular region of Notch. This modification by Rumi likely influences Notch folding and trafficking.
Notch ligands are substrates for protein O-fucosyltransferase-1 and Fringe.
The Journal of biological chemistry. 277:29945-52. Abstract
O-Fucose has been identified on epidermal growth factor-like (EGF) repeats of Notch, and elongation of O-fucose has been implicated in the modulation of Notch signaling by Fringe. O-Fucose modifications are also predicted to occur on Notch ligands based on the presence of the C(2)XXGG(S/T)C(3) consensus site (where S/T is the modified amino acid) in a number of the EGF repeats of these proteins. Here we establish that both mammalian and Drosophila Notch ligands are modified with O-fucose glycans, demonstrating that the consensus site was useful for making predictions. The presence of O-fucose on Notch ligands raised the question of whether Fringe, an O-fucose specific beta 1,3-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase, was capable of modifying O-fucose on the ligands. Indeed, O-fucose on mammalian Delta 1 and Jagged1 can be elongated with Manic Fringe in vivo, and Drosophila Delta and Serrate are substrates for Drosophila Fringe in vitro. These results raise the interesting possibility that alteration of O-fucose glycans on Notch ligands could play a role in the mechanism of Fringe action on Notch signaling. As an initial step to begin addressing the role of the O-fucose glycans on Notch ligands in Notch signaling, a number of mutations in predicted O-fucose glycosylation sites on Drosophila Serrate have been generated. Interestingly, analysis of these mutants has revealed that O-fucose modifications occur on some EGF repeats not predicted by the C(2)XXGGS/TC(3) consensus site. A revised, broad consensus site, C(2)X(3-5)S/TC(3) (where X(3-5) are any 3-5 amino acid residues), is proposed.
Notch activity in neural cells triggered by a mutant allele with altered glycosylation.
Development (Cambridge, England). 130:2829-40. Abstract
The receptor protein Notch is inactive in neural precursor cells despite neighboring cells expressing ligands. We investigated specification of the R8 neural photoreceptor cells that initiate differentiation of each Drosophila ommatidium. The ligand Delta was required in R8 cells themselves, consistent with a lateral inhibitor function for Delta. By contrast, Delta expressed in cells adjacent to R8 could not activate Notch in R8 cells. The split mutation of Notch was found to activate signaling in R8 precursor cells, blocking differentiation and leading to altered development and neural cell death. split did not affect other, inductive functions of Notch. The Ile578-->Thr578 substitution responsible for the split mutation introduced a new site for O-fucosylation on EGF repeat 14 of the Notch extracellular domain. The O-fucose monosaccharide did not require extension by Fringe to confer the phenotype. Our results suggest functional differences between Notch in neural and non-neural cells. R8 precursor cells are protected from lateral inhibition by Delta. The protection is affected by modifications of a particular EGF repeat in the Notch extracellular domain. These results suggest that the pattern of neurogenesis is determined by blocking Notch signaling, as well as by activating Notch signaling.
Nonradioactive, ultrasensitive site-specific protein-protein photocrosslinking: interactions of alpha-helix 2 of TATA-binding protein with general transcription factor TFIIA and transcriptional repressor NC2..
Nucleic acids research. 36(19):6143-54. Abstract
We have developed an approach that enables nonradioactive, ultrasensitive (attamole sensitivity) site-specific protein-protein photocrosslinking, and we have applied the approach to the analysis of interactions of alpha-helix 2 (H2) of human TATA-element binding protein (TBP) with general transcription factor TFIIA and transcriptional repressor NC2. We have found that TBP H2 can be crosslinked to TFIIA in the TFIIA-TBP-DNA complex and in higher order transcription-initiation complexes, and we have mapped the crosslink to the 'connector' region of the TFIIA alpha/beta subunit (TFIIAalpha/beta). We further have found that TBP H2 can be crosslinked to NC2 in the NC2-TBP-DNA complex, and we have mapped the crosslink to the C-terminal 'tail' of the NC2 alpha-subunit (NC2alpha). Interactions of TBP H2 with the TFIIAalpha/beta connector and the NC2alpha C-terminal tail were not observed in crystal structures of TFIIA-TBP-DNA and NC2-TBP-DNA complexes, since relevant segments of TFIIA and NC2 were not present in truncated TFIIA and NC2 derivatives used for crystallization. We propose that interactions of TBP H2 with the TFIIAalpha/beta connector and the NC2alpha C-terminal tail provide an explanation for genetic results suggesting importance of TBP H2 in TBP-TFIIA interactions and TBP-NC2 interactions, and provide an explanation-steric exclusion-for competition between TFIIA and NC2.
Noncoding Nucleotides and Amino Acids near the Active Site Regulate Peptide Deformylase Expression and Inhibitor Susceptibility in Chlamydia trachomatis.
Chlamydia trachomatis, an obligate intracellular bacterium, is a highly prevalent human pathogen. Hydroxamic acid-based matrix metalloprotease inhibitors can effectively inhibit the pathogen both in vitro and in vivo, and have exhibited therapeutic potential. Here, we provide genome sequencing data indicating that peptide deformylase (PDF) is the sole target of the inhibitors in this organism. We further report molecular mechanisms that control chlamydial PDF (cPDF) expression and inhibition efficiency. In particular, we identify the o66-dependent promoter that controls cPDF gene expression and demonstrate that point mutations in this promoter lead to resistance by increasing cPDF transcription. Furthermore, we show that substitution of two amino acids near the active site of the enzyme alters enzyme kinetics and protein stability.
Non-Mendelian regulation and allelic variation of methionine-rich delta-zein genes in maize.
Theor Appl Genet. Abstract
Sufficient methionine levels in the seed are critical for the supply of a balanced diet for feed and food. Currently, animal feed is supplemented with chemically synthesized methionine, which could be completely replaced with naturally synthesized methionine. However, insufficient levels of methionine are due to alleles of two genes in the maize genome that are expressed during seed development, which have a high percentage of methionine codons, ranging from 23 to 28%, while free methionine is very low. The two genes, dzs10 and dzs18, belong to the prolamin gene family that arose during the evolution of the grasses and were duplicated during a whole genome duplication event. We have found several dzs10 and dzs18 null alleles caused either by transposon insertion or frame shift mutations. Maize seeds with null mutations of both genes have a normal phenotype in contrast to other prolamin genes, explaining the accumulation of methionine deficiency in normal breeding efforts. Moreover, the trans-regulation of these genes deviates from Mendelian inheritance. One allele of the regulatory locus dzr1 is inherited in a parent-of-origin fashion, while another allele appears to prevent Mendelian segregation of the high-methionine phenotype in backcrosses.
Next generation synthetic vectors for transformation of the plastid genome of higher plants.
Plant Mol. Biol.. 70:487-98. Abstract
Plastid transformation vectors are E. coli plasmids carrying a plastid marker gene for selection, adjacent cloning sites and flanking plastid DNA to target insertions in the plastid genome by homologous recombination. We report here on a family of next generation plastid vectors carrying synthetic DNA vector arms targeting insertions in the rbcL-accD intergenic region of the tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plastid genome. The pSS22 plasmid carries only synthetic vector arms from which the undesirable restriction sites have been removed by point mutations. The pSS24 vector carries a c-Myc tagged spectinomycin resistance (aadA) marker gene whereas in vector pSS30 aadA is flanked with loxP sequences for post-transformation marker excision. The synthetic vectors will enable direct manipulation of passenger genes in the transformation vector targeting insertions in the rbcL-accD intergenic region that contains many commonly used restriction sites.
New target for inhibition of bacterial RNA polymerase: 'switch region'.
Current opinion in microbiology. 14:532-43. Abstract
A new drug target - the 'switch region' - has been identified within bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP), the enzyme that mediates bacterial RNA synthesis. The new target serves as the binding site for compounds that inhibit bacterial RNA synthesis and kill bacteria. Since the new target is present in most bacterial species, compounds that bind to the new target are active against a broad spectrum of bacterial species. Since the new target is different from targets of other antibacterial agents, compounds that bind to the new target are not cross-resistant with other antibacterial agents. Four antibiotics that function through the new target have been identified: myxopyronin, corallopyronin, ripostatin, and lipiarmycin. This review summarizes the switch region, switch-region inhibitors, and implications for antibacterial drug discovery.
A new opaque variant of maize by a single dominant RNA-interference-inducing transgene.
Genetics. 165:387-97. Abstract
In maize, alpha-zeins, the main protein components of seed stores, are major determinants of nutritional imbalance when maize is used as the sole food source. Mutations like opaque-2 (o2) are used in breeding varieties with improved nutritional quality. However, o2 works in a recessive fashion by affecting the expression of a subset of 22-kD alpha-zeins, as well as additional endosperm gene functions. Thus, we sought a dominant mutation that could suppress the storage protein genes without interrupting O2 synthesis. We found that maize transformed with RNA interference (RNAi) constructs derived from a 22-kD zein gene could produce a dominant opaque phenotype. This phenotype segregates in a normal Mendelian fashion and eliminates 22-kD zeins without affecting the accumulation of other zein proteins. A system for regulated transgene expression generating antisense RNA also reduced the expression of 22-kD zein genes, but failed to give an opaque phenotype. Therefore, it appears that small interfering RNAs not only may play an important regulatory role during plant development, but also are effective genetic tools for dissecting the function of gene families. Since the dominant phenotype is also correlated with increased lysine content, the new mutant illustrates an approach for creating more nutritious crop plants.
New developments for TGFβ.
Developmental cell. 1:343-9. Abstract
A recent FASEB meeting was held in Tucson, Arizona that encompassed TGFbeta superfamily signaling pathways and their roles in development. This review focuses on the developmental biology presented at the meeting.
New core promoter element in RNA polymerase II-dependent transcription: sequence-specific DNA binding by transcription factor IIB..
Genes & development. 12(1):34-44. Abstract
A sequence element located immediately upstream of the TATA element, and having the consensus sequence 5'-G/C-G/C-G/A-C-G-C-C-3', affects the ability of transcription factor IIB to enter transcription complexes and support transcription initiation. The sequence element is recognized directly by the transcription factor IIB. Recognition involves alpha-helices 4' and 5' of IIB, which comprise a helix-turn-helix DNA-binding motif. These observations establish that transcription initiation involves a fourth core promoter element, the IIB recognition element (BRE), in addition to the TATA element, the initiator element, and the downstream promoter element, and involves a second sequence-specific general transcription factor, IIB, in addition to transcription factor IID.
Negative autoregulation by Ultrabithorax controls the level and pattern of its expression.
Development. 117:387-99. Abstract
The Drosophila homeotic gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx) encodes transcriptional regulatory proteins (UBX) that specify thoracic and abdominal segmental identities. Ubx autoregulation was examined by manipulating UBX levels, both genetically and with an inducible transgene, and monitoring the effect of these manipulations on the expression of Ubx and Ubx-lacZ reporter genes. Positive autoregulation by Ubx is restricted to the visceral mesoderm, while in other tissues Ubx negatively autoregulates. In some cases, negative autoregulation stabilizes UBX levels, while in others it modulates the spatial and temporal patterns of UBX expression. This modulation of UBX expression may enable Ubx to specify distinct identities in different segments. The upstream control region of Ubx contains multiple autoregulatory elements for both positive and negative autoregulation.
NanoRNAs: A Class of Small RNAs That Can Prime Transcription Initiation in Bacteria.
J Mol Biol. Abstract
It has been widely assumed that all transcription in cells occur using NTPs only (i.e., de novo). However, it has been known for several decades that both prokaryotic and eukaryotic RNA polymerases can utilize small (2 to approximately 5 nt) RNAs to prime transcription initiation in vitro, raising the possibility that small RNAs might also prime transcription initiation in vivo. A new study by Goldman et al. has now provided the first evidence that priming with so-called "nanoRNAs" (i.e., 2 to approximately 5 nt RNAs) can, in fact, occur in vivo. Furthermore, this study provides evidence that altering the extent of nanoRNA-mediated priming of transcription initiation can profoundly influence global gene expression. In this perspective, we summarize the findings of Goldman et al. and discuss the prospect that nanoRNA-mediated priming of transcription initiation represents an underappreciated aspect of gene expression in vivo.
NanoRNAs Prime Transcription Initiation In Vivo.
Mol Cell. 42:817-25. Abstract
It is often presumed that, in vivo, the initiation of RNA synthesis by DNA-dependent RNA polymerases occurs using NTPs alone. Here, using the model Gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, we demonstrate that depletion of the small-RNA-specific exonuclease, Oligoribonuclease, causes the accumulation of oligoribonucleotides 2 to approximately 4 nt in length, "nanoRNAs," which serve as primers for transcription initiation at a significant fraction of promoters. Widespread use of nanoRNAs to prime transcription initiation is coupled with global alterations in gene expression. Our results, obtained under conditions in which the concentration of nanoRNAs is artificially elevated, establish that small RNAs can be used to initiate transcription in vivo, challenging the idea that all cellular transcription occurs using only NTPs. Our findings further suggest that nanoRNAs could represent a distinct class of functional small RNAs that can affect gene expression through direct incorporation into a target RNA transcript rather than through a traditional antisense-based mechanism.
N-terminal arm of Mcm1 is Required for Transcription of a Subset of Genes Involved in Maintenance of the cell wall.
Eukaryot Cell. 4:1808-1819. Abstract
The yeast Mcm1 protein is a member of the MADS box family of transcription factors that interacts with several cofactors to differentially regulate genes involved in cell-type determination, mating, cell cycle control and arginine metabolism. Residues 18 to 96 of the protein, which form the core DNA-binding domain of Mcm1, are sufficient to carry out many Mcm1-dependent functions. However, deletion of residues 2 to 17, which form the nonessential N-terminal (NT) arm, confers a salt-sensitive phenotype, suggesting that the NT arm is required for the activation of salt response genes. We used a strategy that combined information from the mutational analysis of the Mcm1-binding site with microarray expression data under salt stress conditions to identify a new subset of Mcm1-regulated genes. Northern blot analysis showed that the transcript levels of several genes encoding associated with the cell wall, especially YGP1, decrease significantly upon deletion of the Mcm1 NT arm. Deletion of the Mcm1 NT arm results in a calcofluor white-sensitive phenotype, which is often associated with defects in transcription of cell wall genes. In addition, the deletion makes cells sensitive to CaCl2 and alkaline pH. We found that the defect caused by removal of the NT arm is not due to changes in Mcm1 protein level, stability, DNA-binding affinity, or DNA bending. This suggests that residues 2 to 17 of Mcm1 may be involved in recruiting a cofactor to the promoters of these genes to activate transcription.
N-(iodoacetyl)-p-phenylenediamine-EDTA: a reagent for high-efficiency incorporation of an EDTA-metal complex at a rationally selected site within a protein..
Bioconjugate chemistry. 4(3):219-25. Abstract
We have developed a highly efficient procedure to incorporate an EDTA:metal complex at a rationally selected site within a full-length protein. Our procedure has two steps: In step one, we use site-directed mutagenesis to introduce a unique solvent-accessible cysteine residue at the site of interest. In step two, we derivatized the resulting protein with N-(iodoacetyl)-p-phenylenediamine-EDTA:metal, a novel haloacetyl derivative of EDTA:metal. We have used this procedure to incorporate each of three EDTA:metal complexes at amino acid 2 of the helix-turn-helix motif of the sequence-specific DNA binding protein Cro: a radioactive and nucleolytic EDTA:metal complex (EDTA:55Fe), a radioactive EDTA:metal complex (EDTA:63Ni), and a fluorescent and heavy-atom EDTA:metal complex (EDTA:Eu). Incorporation of EDTA:metal was highly efficient (> 80% for EDTA:55Fe and EDTA:63Ni; 60% for EDTA:Eu) and highly site-specific (> 99%). We have analyzed DNA affinity cleaving by the Cro derivative having EDTA:55Fe at amino acid 2 of the helix-turn-helix motif. The Cro derivative cleaves DNA at base pairs -4 to 6 of the DNA half site in the protein-DNA complex, indicating that amino acid 2 of the helix-turn-helix motif of Cro is close to base pairs -4 to 6 of the DNA half site in the Cro-DNA complex in solution.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)