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.
Palaeogenomics of plants: synteny-based modelling of extinct ancestors.
Trends Plant Sci. 15:479-87. Abstract
In the past ten years, international initiatives have led to the development of large sets of genomic resources that allow comparative genomic studies between plant genomes at a high level of resolution. Comparison of map-based genomic sequences revealed shared intra-genomic duplications, providing new insights into the evolution of flowering plant genomes from common ancestors. Plant genomes can be presented as concentric circles, providing a new reference for plant chromosome evolutionary relationships and an efficient tool for gene annotation and cross-genome markers development. Recent palaeogenomic data demonstrate that whole-genome duplications have provided a motor for the evolutionary success of flowering plants over the last 50-70 million years.
DNA-binding Specificity of Mcm1: Operator Mutations that Alter DNA-bending and Transcriptional Activities by a MADs box Protein.
Mol Cell Biol. 17:1881-1889. Abstract
The yeast Mcm1 protein is a member of the MADS box family of transcriptional regulatory factors, a class of DNA-binding proteins found in such diverse organisms as yeast, plants, flies, and humans. To explore the protein-DNA interactions of Mcm1 in vivo and in vitro, we have introduced an extensive series of base pair substitutions into an Mcm1 operator site and examined their effects on Mcm1-mediated transcriptional regulation and DNA-binding affinity. Our results show that Mcm1 uses a mechanism to contact the DNA that has some significant differences from the one used by the human serum response factor (SRF), a closely related MADS box protein in which the three-dimensional structure has been determined. One major difference is that 5-bromouracil-mediated photo-cross-linking experiments indicate that Mcm1 is in close proximity to functional groups in the major groove at the center of the recognition site whereas the SRF protein did not exhibit this characteristic. A more significant difference is that mutations at a position outside of the conserved CC(A/T)6GG site significantly reduce Mcm1-dependent DNA bending, while these substitutions have no effect on DNA bending by SRF. This result shows that the DNA bending by Mcm1 is sequence dependent and that the base-specific requirements for bending differ between Mcm1 and SRF. Interestingly, although these substitutions have a large effect on DNA bending and transcriptional activation by Mcm1, they have a relatively small effect on the DNA-binding affinity of the protein. This result suggests that the degree of DNA bending is important for transcriptional activation by Mcm1.
Scanning Mutagenesis of Mcm1: Residues Required for DNa Binding, DNa Bending, and Transcriptional Activation by a MADS-box Protein.
Mol Cell Biol. 20:1-11. Abstract
MCM1 is an essential gene in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is a member of the MADS-box family of transcriptional regulatory factors. To understand the nature of the protein-DNA interactions of this class of proteins, we have made a series of alanine substitutions in the DNA-binding domain of Mcm1 and examined the effects of these mutations in vivo and in vitro. Our results indicate which residues of Mcm1 are important for viability, transcriptional activation, and DNA binding and bending. Substitution of residues in Mcm1 which are highly conserved among the MADS-box proteins are lethal to the cell and abolish DNA binding in vitro. These positions have almost identical interactions with DNA in both the serum response factor-DNA and alpha2-Mcm1-DNA crystal structures, suggesting that these residues make up a conserved core of protein-DNA interactions responsible for docking MADS-box proteins to DNA. Substitution of residues which are not as well conserved among members of the MADS-box family play important roles in contributing to the specificity of DNA binding. These results suggest a general model of how MADS-box proteins recognize and bind DNA. We also provide evidence that the N-terminal extension of Mcm1 may have considerable conformational freedom, possibly to allow binding to different DNA sites. Finally, we have identified two mutants at positions which are critical for Mcm1-mediated DNA bending that have a slow-growth phenotype. This finding is consistent with our earlier results, indicating that DNA bending may have a role in Mcm1 function in the cell.
Propagation of dachsous-fat planar cell polarity..
Current Biology. 22:1302-1308. Abstract
The Fat pathway controls both planar cell polarity (PCP) and organ growth [1, 2]. Fat signaling is regulated by the graded expression of the Fat ligand Dachsous (Ds) and the cadherin-domain kinase Four-jointed (Fj). The vectors of these gradients influence PCP , whereas their slope can influence growth [3, 4]. The Fj and Ds gradients direct the polarized membrane localization of the myosin Dachs, which is a crucial downstream component of Fat signaling [5-7]. Here we show that repolarization of Dachs by differential expression of Fj or Ds can propagate through the wing disc, which indicates that Fj and Ds gradients can be measured over long range. Through characterization of tagged genomic constructs, we show that Ds and Fat are themselves partially polarized along the endogenous Fj and Ds gradients, providing a mechanism for propagation of PCP within the Fat pathway. We also identify a biochemical mechanism that might contribute to this polarization by showing that Ds is subject to endoproteolytic cleavage and that the relative levels of Ds isoforms are modulated by Fat.
Optimization of metabolic capacity and flux through environmental cues to maximize hydrogen production by the cyanobacterium "Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima".
Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 74:6102-6113. Abstract
Environmental and nutritional conditions that optimize the yield of hydrogen (H-2) from water using a two-step photosynthesis/ fermentation (P/F) process are reported for the hypercarbonate-requiring cyanobacterium "Arthrospira maxima." Our observations lead to four main conclusions broadly applicable to fermentative H-2 production by bacteria: (i) anaerobic H-2 production in the dark from whole cells catalyzed by a bidirectional [NiFe] hydrogenase is demonstrated to occur in two temporal phases involving two distinct metabolic processes that are linked to prior light-dependent production of NADPH (photosynthetic) and dark/anaerobic production of NADH (fermentative), respectively; (ii) H-2 evolution from these reductants represents a major pathway for energy production (ATP) during fermentation by regenerating NAD(+) essential for glycolysis of glycogen and catabolism of other substrates; (iii) nitrate removal during fermentative H-2 evolution is shown to produce an immediate and large stimulation of H-2, as nitrate is a competing substrate for consumption of NAD(P) H, which is distinct from its slower effect of stimulating glycogen accumulation; (iv) environmental and nutritional conditions that increase anaerobic ATP production, prior glycogen accumulation (in the light), and the intracellular reduction potential (NADH/NAD(+) ratio) are shown to be the key variables for elevating H-2 evolution. Optimization of these conditions and culture age increases the H-2 yield from a single P/F cycle using concentrated cells to 36 ml of H-2/g (dry weight) and a maximum 18% H-2 in the headspace. H-2 yield was found to be limited by the hydrogenase-mediated H-2 uptake reaction.
Exceptional paternal inheritance of plastids in Arabidopsis suggests that low-frequency leakage of plastids via pollen may be universal in plants.
Plant J.. 52:817-23. Abstract
Plastid DNA is absent in pollen or sperm cells of Arabidopsis thaliana. Accordingly, plastids and mitochondria, in a standard genetic cross, are transmitted to the seed progeny by the maternal parent only. Our objective was to test whether paternal plastids are transmitted by pollen as an exception. The maternal parent in our cross was a nuclear male sterile (ms1-1/ms1-1), spectinomycin-sensitive Ler plant. It was fertilized with pollen of a male fertile RLD-Spc1 plant carrying a plastid-encoded spectinomycin resistance mutation. Seedlings with paternal plastids were selected by spectinomycin resistance encoded in the paternal plastid DNA. Our data, in general, support maternal inheritance of plastids in A. thaliana. However, we report that paternal plastids are transmitted to the seed progeny in Arabidopsis at a low (3.9 x 10(-5)) frequency. This observation extends previous reports in Antirrhinum majus, Epilobium hirsutum, Nicotiana tabacum, Petunia hybrida, and the cereal crop Setaria italica to a cruciferous species suggesting that low-frequency paternal leakage of plastids via pollen may be universal in plants previously thought to exhibit strict maternal plastid inheritance. The genetic tools employed here will facilitate testing the effect of Arabidopsis nuclear mutations on plastid inheritance and allow for the design of mutant screens to identify nuclear genes controlling plastid inheritance.
DNA markers define plastid haplotypes in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Current Genetics. 51:269-75. Abstract
To identify genetic markers in the Arabidopsis thaliana plastid genome (ptDNA), we amplified and sequenced the rpl2-psbA and rbcL-accD regions in 26 ecotypes. The two regions contained eight polymorphic sites including five insertions and/or deletions (indels) involving changes in the length of A or T mononucleotide repeats and three base substitutions. The 27 alleles defined 15 plastid haplotypes, providing a practical set of ptDNA markers for the Columbia, Landsberg erecta and Wassilewskija ecotypes that are commonly used in genetic studies and also for the C24 and RLD ecotypes that are the most amenable for cell culture manipulations.