Initial transcribed region sequences influence the composition and functional properties of the bacterial elongation complex.
Genes Dev. 25:77-88. Abstract
The bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) holoenzyme consists of a catalytic core enzyme (alpha(2)betabeta'omega) in complex with a sigma factor that is essential for promoter recognition and transcription initiation. During early elongation, the stability of interactions between sigma and the remainder of the transcription complex decreases. Nevertheless, there is no mechanistic requirement for release of sigma upon the transition to elongation. Furthermore, sigma can remain associated with RNAP during transcription elongation and influence regulatory events that occur during transcription elongation. Here we demonstrate that promoter-like DNA sequence elements within the initial transcribed region that are known to induce early elongation pausing through sequence-specific interactions with sigma also function to increase the sigma content of downstream elongation complexes. Our findings establish sigma-dependent pausing as a mechanism by which initial transcribed region sequences can influence the composition and functional properties of the transcription elongation complex over distances of at least 700 base pairs.
Regulation of Hippo signaling by Jun kinase signaling during compensatory cell proliferation and regeneration, and in neoplastic tumors.
Developmental biology. 350:139-51. Abstract
When cells undergo apoptosis, they can stimulate the proliferation of nearby cells, a process referred to as compensatory cell proliferation. The stimulation of proliferation in response to tissue damage or removal is also central to epimorphic regeneration. The Hippo signaling pathway has emerged as an important regulator of growth during normal development and oncogenesis from Drosophila to humans. Here we show that induction of apoptosis in the Drosophila wing imaginal disc stimulates activation of the Hippo pathway transcription factor Yorkie in surviving and nearby cells, and that Yorkie is required for the ability of the wing to regenerate after genetic ablation of the wing primordia. Induction of apoptosis activates Yorkie through the Jun kinase pathway, and direct activation of Jun kinase signaling also promotes Yorkie activation in the wing disc. We also show that depletion of neoplastic tumor suppressor genes, including lethal giant larvae and discs large, or activation of aPKC, activates Yorkie through Jun kinase signaling, and that Jun kinase activation is necessary, but not sufficient, for the disruption of apical-basal polarity associated with loss of lethal giant larvae. Our observations identify Jnk signaling as a modulator of Hippo pathway activity in wing imaginal discs, and implicate Yorkie activation in compensatory cell proliferation and disc regeneration.
The maize high-lysine mutant opaque7 is defective in an acyl-CoA synthetase-like protein.
Genetics. 189:1271-80. Abstract
Maize (Zea mays) has a large class of seed mutants with opaque or nonvitreous endosperms that could improve the nutritional quality of our food supply. The phenotype of some of them appears to be linked to the improper formation of protein bodies (PBs) where zein storage proteins are deposited. Although a number of genes affecting endosperm vitreousness have been isolated, it has been difficult to clone opaque7 (o7), mainly because of its low penetrance in many genetic backgrounds. The o7-reference (o7-ref) mutant arose spontaneously in a W22 inbred, but is poorly expressed in other lines. We report here the isolation of o7 with a combination of map-based cloning and transposon tagging. We first identified an o7 candidate gene by map-based cloning. The putative o7-ref allele has a 12-bp in-frame deletion of codons 350-353 in a 528-codon-long acyl-CoA synthetase-like gene (ACS). We then confirmed this candidate gene by generating another mutant allele from a transposon-tagging experiment using the Activator/Dissociation (Ac/Ds) system in a W22 background. The second allele, isolated from approximately 1 million gametes, presented a 2-kb Ds insertion that resembles the single Ds component of double-Ds, McClintock's original Dissociation element, at codon 496 of the ACS gene. PBs exhibited striking membrane invaginations in the o7-ref allele and a severe number reduction in the Ds-insertion mutant, respectively. We propose a model in which the ACS enzyme plays a key role in membrane biogenesis, by taking part in protein acylation, and that altered PBs render the seed nonvitreous.
Antibiotic production by myxobacteria plays a role in predation..
Journal of bacteriology. 193(18):4626-33. Abstract
Myxobacteria are predatory and are prolific producers of secondary metabolites. Here, we tested a hypothesized role that secondary metabolite antibiotics function as weapons in predation. To test this, a Myxococcus xanthus Δta1 mutant, blocked in antibiotic TA (myxovirescin) production, was constructed. This TA(-) mutant was defective in producing a zone of inhibition (ZOI) against Escherichia coli. This shows that TA is the major M. xanthus-diffusible antibacterial agent against E. coli. Correspondingly, the TA(-) mutant was defective in E. coli killing. Separately, an engineered E. coli strain resistant to TA was shown to be resistant toward predation. Exogenous addition of spectinomycin, a bacteriostatic antibiotic, rescued the predation defect of the TA(-) mutant. In contrast, against Micrococcus luteus the TA(-) mutant exhibited no defect in ZOI or killing. Thus, TA plays a selective role on prey species. To extend these studies to other myxobacteria, the role of antibiotic corallopyronin production in predation was tested and also found to be required for Corallococcus coralloides killing on E. coli. Next, a role of TA production in myxobacterial fitness was assessed by measuring swarm expansion. Here, the TA(-) mutant had a specific swarm rate reduction on prey lawns, and thus reduced fitness, compared to an isogenic TA(+) strain. Based on these observations, we conclude that myxobacterial antibiotic production can function as a predatory weapon. To our knowledge, this is the first report to directly show a link between secondary metabolite production and predation.
The Antibacterial Threaded-lasso Peptide Capistruin Inhibits Bacterial RNA Polymerase..
Journal of molecular biology. 412(5):842-8. Abstract
Capistruin, a ribosomally synthesized, post-translationally modified peptide produced by Burkholderia thailandensis E264, efficiently inhibits growth of Burkholderia and closely related Pseudomonas strains. The functional target of capistruin is not known. Capistruin is a threaded-lasso peptide (lariat peptide) consisting of an N-terminal ring of nine amino acids and a C-terminal tail of 10 amino acids threaded through the ring. The structure of capistruin is similar to that of microcin J25 (MccJ25), a threaded-lasso antibacterial peptide that is produced by some strains of Escherichia coli and targets DNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNAP). Here, we show that capistruin, like MccJ25, inhibits wild type E. coli RNAP but not mutant, MccJ25-resistant, E. coli RNAP. We show further that an E. coli strain resistant to MccJ25, as a result of a mutation in an RNAP subunit gene, exhibits resistance to capistruin. The results indicate that the structural similarity of capistruin and MccJ25 reflects functional similarity and suggest that the functional target of capistruin, and possibly other threaded-lasso peptides, is bacterial RNAP.
The initiation factor tfe and the elongation factor Spt4/5 compete for the RNAP clamp during transcription initiation and elongation..
Molecular cell. 43(2):263-74. Abstract
TFIIE and the archaeal homolog TFE enhance DNA strand separation of eukaryotic RNAPII and the archaeal RNAP during transcription initiation by an unknown mechanism. We have developed a fluorescently labeled recombinant M. jannaschii RNAP system to probe the archaeal transcription initiation complex, consisting of promoter DNA, TBP, TFB, TFE, and RNAP. We have localized the position of the TFE winged helix (WH) and Zinc ribbon (ZR) domains on the RNAP using single-molecule FRET. The interaction sites of the TFE WH domain and the transcription elongation factor Spt4/5 overlap, and both factors compete for RNAP binding. Binding of Spt4/5 to RNAP represses promoter-directed transcription in the absence of TFE, which alleviates this effect by displacing Spt4/5 from RNAP. During elongation, Spt4/5 can displace TFE from the RNAP elongation complex and stimulate processivity. Our results identify the RNAP "clamp" region as a regulatory hot spot for both transcription initiation and transcription elongation.
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.
BARREN STALK FASTIGIATE1 is an AT-hook Protein Required for the Formation of Maize ears.
Plant Cell. 23:1756-1771. Abstract
Ears are the seed-bearing inflorescences of maize (Zea mays) plants and represent a crucial component of maize yield. The first step in the formation of ears is the initiation of axillary meristems in the axils of developing leaves. In the classic maize mutant barren stalk fastigiate1 (baf1), first discovered in the 1950s, ears either do not form or, if they do, are partially fused to the main stalk. We positionally cloned Baf1 and found that it encodes a transcriptional regulator containing an AT-hook DNA binding motif. Single coorthologs of Baf1 are found in syntenic regions of brachypodium (Brachypodium distachyon), rice (Oryza sativa), and sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), suggesting that the gene is likely present in all cereal species. Protein-protein interaction assays suggest that BAF1 is capable of forming homodimers and heterodimers with other members of the AT-hook family. Another transcriptional regulator required for ear initiation is the basic helix-loop-helix protein BARREN STALK1 (BA1). Genetic and expression analyses suggest that Baf1 is required to reach a threshold level of Ba1 expression for the initiation of maize ears. We propose that Baf1 functions in the demarcation of a boundary region essential for the specification of a stem cell niche.
Characterization of the small RNA component of the transcriptome from grain and sweet sorghum stems.
BMC Genomics. 12:356. Abstract
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Sorghum belongs to the tribe of the Andropogoneae that includes potential biofuel crops like switchgrass, Miscanthus and successful biofuel crops like corn and sugarcane. However, from a genomics point of view sorghum has compared to these other species a simpler genome because it lacks the additional rounds of whole genome duplication events. Therefore, it has become possible to generate a high-quality genome sequence. Furthermore, cultivars exists that rival sugarcane in levels of stem sugar so that a genetic approach can be used to investigate which genes are differentially expressed to achieve high levels of stem sugar. RESULTS: Here, we characterized the small RNA component of the transcriptome from grain and sweet sorghum stems, and from F2 plants derived from their cross that segregated for sugar content and flowering time. We found that variation in miR172 and miR395 expression correlated with flowering time whereas variation in miR169 expression correlated with sugar content in stems. Interestingly, genotypic differences in the ratio of miR395 to miR395* were identified, with miR395* species expressed as abundantly as miR395 in sweet sorghum but not in grain sorghum. Finally, we provided experimental evidence for previously annotated miRNAs detecting the expression of 25 miRNA families from the 27 known and discovered 9 new miRNAs candidates in the sorghum genome. CONCLUSIONS: Sequencing the small RNA component of sorghum stem tissue provides us with experimental evidence for previously predicted microRNAs in the sorghum genome and microRNAs with a potential role in stem sugar accumulation and flowering time.
The complete Ac/Ds transposon family of maize..
BMC Genomics. 12:588 :doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-588. Abstract
Background: The nonautonomous maize Ds transposons can only move in the presence of the autonomous
element Ac. They comprise a heterogeneous group that share 11-bp terminal inverted repeats (TIRs) and some
subterminal repeats, but vary greatly in size and composition. Three classes of Ds elements can cause mutations:
Ds-del, internal deletions of the 4.6-kb Ac element; Ds1, ~400-bp in size and sharing little homology with Ac, and
Ds2, variably-sized elements containing about 0.5 kb from the Ac termini and unrelated internal sequences. Here,
we analyze the entire complement of Ds-related sequences in the genome of the inbred B73 and ask whether
additional classes of Ds-like (Ds-l) elements, not uncovered genetically, are mobilized by Ac. We also compare the
makeup of Ds-related sequences in two maize inbreds of different origin.
Results: We found 903 elements with 11-bp Ac/Ds TIRs flanked by 8-bp target site duplications. Three resemble Ac,
but carry small rearrangements. The others are much shorter, once extraneous insertions are removed. There are
331 Ds1 and 39 Ds2 elements, many of which are likely mobilized by Ac, and two novel classes of Ds-l elements.
Ds-l3 elements lack subterminal homology with Ac, but carry transposase gene fragments, and represent decaying
Ac elements. There are 44 such elements in B73. Ds-l4 elements share little similarity with Ac outside of the 11-bp
TIR, have a modal length of ~1 kb, and carry filler DNA which, in a few cases, could be matched to gene
fragments. Most Ds-related elements in B73 (486/903) fall in this class. None of the Ds-l elements tested responded
to Ac. Only half of Ds insertion sites examined are shared between the inbreds B73 and W22.
Conclusions: The majority of Ds-related sequences in maize correspond to Ds-l elements that do not transpose in
the presence of Ac. Unlike actively transposing elements, many Ds-l elements are inserted in repetitive DNA, where
they probably become methylated and begin to decay. The filler DNA present in most elements is occasionally
captured from genes, a rare feature in transposons of the hAT superfamily to which Ds belongs. Maize inbreds of
different origin are highly polymorphic in their DNA transposon makeup.
EGF signalling activates the ubiquitin proteasome system to modulate C. elegans lifespan.
EMBO J. 30:2990-3003. Abstract
Epidermal growth factor (EGF) signalling regulates growth and differentiation. Here, we examine the function of EGF signalling in Caenorhabditis elegans lifespan. We find that EGF signalling regulates lifespan via the Ras-MAPK pathway and the PLZF transcription factors EOR-1 and EOR-2. As animals enter adulthood, EGF signalling upregulates the expression of genes involved in the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS), including the Skp1-like protein SKR-5, while downregulating the expression of HSP16-type chaperones. Using reporters for global UPS activity, protein aggregation, and oxidative stress, we find that EGF signalling alters protein homoeostasis in adults by increasing UPS activity and polyubiquitination, while decreasing protein aggregation. We show that SKR-5 and the E3/E4 ligases that comprise the ubiquitin fusion degradation (UFD) complex are required for the increase in UPS activity observed in adults, and that animals that lack SKR-5 or the UFD have reduced lifespans and indications of oxidative stress. We propose that as animals enter fertile adulthood, EGF signalling switches the mechanism for maintaining protein homoeostasis from a chaperone-based approach to an approach involving protein elimination via augmented UPS activity.
Epidermal growth factor and aging: A signaling molecule reveals a new eye opening function.
Aging. 3(9):1-10. Abstract
Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) is known for its role in promoting cell division and cellular differentiation in developing animals, but we know surprising little about what EGF does in vivo in mature adult animals. Here I review EGF signaling, emphasizing several recent studies that uncovered an unexpected role for EGF in promoting longevity and healthspan in mature adult C. elegans. EGF, acting through phospholipase Cγ and the IP3 receptor signaling, maintains pharyngeal and body wall muscle function in aging adults, and delays the accumulation of lipofuscin-enriched aging pigments within intestinal cells. EGF also acts through the Ras/ERK pathway to regulate protein homeostasis by promoting the expression of antioxidant genes, stimulating the activity of the Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS), and repressing the expression of small heat shock protein chaperones. The effects of EGF signaling on lifespan are largely independent of Insulin/IGF-like Signaling (IIS), as the effects of EGF signaling mutants on lifespan and heathspan are not affected by mutations in the DAF-2 insulin receptor or the DAF-16 FOXO transcription factor. Nevertheless, these two signal pathways have multiple points of overlap, coordination, and cross regulation. I propose that the IIS and EGF signaling pathways respond to environment and to developmental timing, respectively, so as to coordinate the appropriate physiological strategy that cells use to maintain protein homeostasis.
High-throughput sequencing of three Lemnoideae (duckweeds) chloroplast genomes from total DNA.
PLoS One. 6:e24670. Abstract
BACKGROUND: Chloroplast genomes provide a wealth of information for evolutionary and population genetic studies. Chloroplasts play a particularly important role in the adaption for aquatic plants because they float on water and their major surface is exposed continuously to sunlight. The subfamily of Lemnoideae represents such a collection of aquatic species that because of photosynthesis represents one of the fastest growing plant species on earth. METHODS: We sequenced the chloroplast genomes from three different genera of Lemnoideae, Spirodela polyrhiza, Wolffiella lingulata and Wolffia australiana by high-throughput DNA sequencing of genomic DNA using the SOLiD platform. Unfractionated total DNA contains high copies of plastid DNA so that sequences from the nucleus and mitochondria can easily be filtered computationally. Remaining sequence reads were assembled into contiguous sequences (contigs) using SOLiD software tools. Contigs were mapped to a reference genome of Lemna minor and gaps, selected by PCR, were sequenced on the ABI3730xl platform. CONCLUSIONS: This combinatorial approach yielded whole genomic contiguous sequences in a cost-effective manner. Over 1,000-time coverage of chloroplast from total DNA were reached by the SOLiD platform in a single spot on a quadrant slide without purification. Comparative analysis indicated that the chloroplast genome was conserved in gene number and organization with respect to the reference genome of L. minor. However, higher nucleotide substitution, abundant deletions and insertions occurred in non-coding regions of these genomes, indicating a greater genomic dynamics than expected from the comparison of other related species in the Pooideae. Noticeably, there was no transition bias over transversion in Lemnoideae. The data should have immediate applications in evolutionary biology and plant taxonomy with increased resolution and statistical power.