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Calvino, M., Bruggmann R, Messing J.  2011.  Characterization of the small RNA component of the transcriptome from grain and sweet sorghum stems. BMC Genomics. 12:356. AbstractWebsite
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.
Calviño, M, Bruggmann R, Messing J.  2008.  Screen of Genes Linked to High-Sugar Content in Stems by Comparative Genomics. Rice. 1:166-176. AbstractWebsite
One of the great advantages of the fully sequenced rice genome is to serve as a reference for other cereal genomes in particular for identifying genes linked to unique traits. A trait of great interest is reduced lignocellulose in the stem of related species in favor of fermentable sugars as a source of biofuels. While sugarcane is one of the most efficient biofuel crops, little is known about the underlying gene repertoire involved in it. Here, we take advantage of the natural variation of sweet and grain sorghum to uncover genes that are conserved in rice, sorghum, and sugarcane but differently expressed in sweet versus grain sorghum by using a microarray platform and the syntenous alignment of rice and sorghum genomic regions containing these genes. Indeed, enzymes involved in carbohydrate accumulation and those that reduce lignocellulose can be identified.
Calvino, M., Messing J.  2013.  Discovery of MicroRNA169 gene copies in genomes of flowering plants through positional information. Genome Biol Evol. 5:402-17. AbstractWebsite
Expansion and contraction of microRNA (miRNA) families can be studied in sequenced plant genomes through sequence alignments. Here, we focused on miR169 in sorghum because of its implications in drought tolerance and stem-sugar content. We were able to discover many miR169 copies that have escaped standard genome annotation methods. A new miR169 cluster was found on sorghum chromosome 1. This cluster is composed of the previously annotated sbi-MIR169o together with two newly found MIR169 copies, named sbi-MIR169t and sbi-MIR169u. We also found that a miR169 cluster on sorghum chr7 consisting of sbi-MIR169l, sbi-MIR169m, and sbi-MIR169n is contained within a chromosomal inversion of at least 500 kb that occurred in sorghum relative to Brachypodium, rice, foxtail millet, and maize. Surprisingly, synteny of chromosomal segments containing MIR169 copies with linked bHLH and CONSTANS-LIKE genes extended from Brachypodium to dictotyledonous species such as grapevine, soybean, and cassava, indicating a strong conservation of linkages of certain flowering and/or plant height genes and microRNAs, which may explain linkage drag of drought and flowering traits and would have consequences for breeding new varieties. Furthermore, alignment of rice and sorghum orthologous regions revealed the presence of two additional miR169 gene copies (miR169r and miR169s) on sorghum chr7 that formed an antisense miRNA gene pair. Both copies are expressed and target different set of genes. Synteny-based analysis of microRNAs among different plant species should lead to the discovery of new microRNAs in general and contribute to our understanding of their evolution.
Calviño, M, Miclaus M, Bruggmann R, Messing J.  2009.  Molecular Markers for Sweet Sorghum Based on Microarray Expression Data. Rice. 2:129-142. AbstractWebsite
Using an Affymetrix sugarcane genechip, we previously identified 154 genes differentially expressed between grain and sweet sorghum. Although many of these genes have functions related to sugar and cell wall metabolism, dissection of the trait requires genetic analysis. Therefore, it would be advantageous to use microarray data for generation of genetic markers, shown in other species as single-feature polymorphisms (SFPs). As a test case, we used the GeSNP software to screen for SFPs between grain and sweet sorghum. Based on this screen, out of 58 candidate genes, 30 had single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from which 19 had validated SFPs. The degree of nucleotide polymorphism found between grain and sweet sorghum was in the order of one SNP per 248 base pairs, with chromosome 8 being highly polymorphic. Indeed, molecular markers could be developed for a third of the candidate genes, giving us a high rate of return by this method.
Calviño, M, Messing J.  2012.  Sweet sorghum as a model system for bioenergy crops.. Current opinion in biotechnology. 23(3):323-9. AbstractWebsite
Bioenergy is the reduction of carbon via photosynthesis. Currently, this energy is harvested as liquid fuel through fermentation. A major concern, however, is input cost, in particular use of excess water and nitrogen, derived from an energy-negative process, the Haber-Bosch method. Furthermore, the shortage of arable land creates competition between uses for food and fuel, resulting in increased living expenses. This review seeks to summarize recent knowledge in genetics, genomics, and gene expression of a rising model species for bioenergy applications, sorghum. Its diploid genome has been sequenced, it has favorable low-input cost traits, and genetic crosses between different cultivars can be used to study allelic variations of genes involved in stem sugar metabolism and incremental biomass.
Cao, HX, Vu GT, Wang W, Messing J, Schubert I.  2015.  Chromatin organisation in duckweed interphase nuclei in relation to the nuclear DNA content. Plant Biol (Stuttg). 17 Suppl 1:120-4. AbstractWebsite
The accessibility of DNA during fundamental processes, such as transcription, replication and DNA repair, is tightly modulated through a dynamic chromatin structure. Differences in large-scale chromatin structure at the microscopic level can be observed as euchromatic and heterochromatic domains in interphase nuclei. Here, key epigenetic marks, including histone H3 methylation and 5-methylcytosine (5-mC) as a DNA modification, were studied cytologically to describe the chromatin organisation of representative species of the five duckweed genera in the context of their nuclear DNA content, which ranged from 158 to 1881 Mbp. All studied duckweeds, including Spirodela polyrhiza with a genome size and repeat proportion similar to that of Arabidopsis thaliana, showed dispersed distribution of heterochromatin signatures (5mC, H3K9me2 and H3K27me1). This immunolabelling pattern resembles that of early developmental stages of Arabidopsis nuclei, with less pronounced heterochromatin chromocenters and heterochromatic marks weakly dispersed throughout the nucleus.
Cao, H X, Vu G T H, Wang W, Appenroth KJ, Messing J, Schubert I.  2016.  The map-based genome sequence of Spirodela polyrhiza aligned with its chromosomes, a reference for karyotype evolution.. The New phytologist. 209(1):354-63. Abstract
Duckweeds are aquatic monocotyledonous plants of potential economic interest with fast vegetative propagation, comprising 37 species with variable genome sizes (0.158-1.88 Gbp). The genomic sequence of Spirodela polyrhiza, the smallest and the most ancient duckweed genome, needs to be aligned to its chromosomes as a reference and prerequisite to study the genome and karyotype evolution of other duckweed species. We selected physically mapped bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) containing Spirodela DNA inserts with little or no repetitive elements as probes for multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (mcFISH), using an optimized BAC pooling strategy, to validate its physical map and correlate it with its chromosome complement. By consecutive mcFISH analyses, we assigned the originally assembled 32 pseudomolecules (supercontigs) of the genomic sequences to the 20 chromosomes of S. polyrhiza. A Spirodela cytogenetic map containing 96 BAC markers with an average distance of 0.89 Mbp was constructed. Using a cocktail of 41 BACs in three colors, all chromosome pairs could be individualized simultaneously. Seven ancestral blocks emerged from duplicated chromosome segments of 19 Spirodela chromosomes. The chromosomally integrated genome of S. polyrhiza and the established prerequisites for comparative chromosome painting enable future studies on the chromosome homoeology and karyotype evolution of duckweed species.
Cardi, T, Lenzi P, Maliga P.  2010.  Chloroplasts as expression platforms for plant-produced vaccines. Expert Rev. Vaccines. 9:893-911. AbstractWebsite
Production of recombinant subunit vaccines from genes incorporated in the plastid genome is advantageous because of the attainable expression level due to high transgene copy number and the absence of gene silencing; biocontainment as a consequence of maternal inheritance of plastids and no transgene presence in the pollen; and expression of multiple transgenes in prokaryotic-like operons. We discuss the core technology of plastid transformation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular alga, and Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco), a flowering plant species, and demonstrate the utility of the technology for the production of recombinant vaccine antigens.
Carr, EA, Mead J, Vershon AK.  2004.  Alpha1-induced DNa Bending is Required for Transcriptional Activation by the Mcm1-alpha1 Complex. Nucleic Acids Res. 32:2298-2305. Abstract
The yeast Mcm1 protein is a founding member of the MADS-box family of transcription factors that is involved in the regulation of diverse sets of genes through interactions with distinct cofactor proteins. Mcm1 interacts with the Matalpha1 protein to activate the expression of the alpha-cell type-specific genes. To understand the requirement of the cofactor alpha1 for Mcm1-alpha1-dependent transcriptional activation we analyzed the recruitment of Mcm1 to the promoters of alpha-specific genes in vivo and found that Mcm1 is able to bind to the promoters of alpha-specific genes in the absence of alpha1. This suggests the function of alpha1 is more complex than simply recruiting Mcm1. Several MADS-box transcription factors, including Mcm1, induce DNA bending and there is evidence the proper bend may be required for transcriptional activation. We analyzed Mcm1-dependent bending of a Mcm1-alpha1 binding site in the presence and absence of alpha1 and found that Mcm1 alone shows a reduced DNA-bend at this site compared with other Mcm1 binding sites. However, the addition of alpha1 markedly increases the DNA-bend and we present evidence this bend is required for full transcriptional activation. These results support a model in which proper DNA-bending by the Mcm1-alpha1 complex is required for transcriptional activation.
Carrell, TG, Cohen S, Dismukes CG.  2002.  Oxidative catalysis by Mn4O46+ cubane complexes. Journal of Molecular Catalysis A: Chemical. 187:3-15.Website
Carrell TG, Smith PF, Dennes J, Dismukes CG.  2014.  Entropy and enthalpy contributions to the kinetics of proton coupled electron transfer to the Mn4O4(O2PPh2)6 cubane.. Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP. 16(24):11843-7. Abstract
The dependence of rate, entropy of activation, and ((1)H/(2)H) kinetic isotope effect for H-atom transfer from a series of p-substituted phenols to cubane Mn4O4L6 (L = O2PPh2) () reveals the activation energy to form the transition state is proportional to the phenolic O-H bond dissociation energy. New implications for water oxidation and charge recombination in photosystem II are described.
Carrieri, D, McNeely K, De Roo AC, Bennette N, Pelczer I, Dismukes CG.  2009.  Identification and quantification of water-soluble metabolites by cryoprobe-assisted nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy applied to microbial fermentation. Magnetic Resonance in Chemistry. 47:S138-S146.Website
Carrieri, D, Ananyev GM, Brown T, Dismukes GC.  2007.  In vivo bicarbonate requirement for water oxidation by Photosystem II in the hypercarbonate-requiring cyanobacterium Arthrospira maxima. J Inorg Biochem. 101:1865-74. AbstractWebsite
While the presence of inorganic carbon in the form of (bi)carbonate has been known to be important for activity of Photosystem II (PSII), the vast majority of studies on this "bicarbonate effect" have been limited to in vitro studies of isolated thylakoid membranes and PSII complexes. Here we report an in vivo requirement for bicarbonate that is both reversible and selective for this anion for efficient water oxidation activity in the hypercarbonate-requiring cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima, originally isolated from highly alkaline soda lakes. Using a non-invasive internal probe of PSII charge separation (variable fluorescence), primary electron acceptor (Q(A)(-)/Q(A)) reoxidation rate, and flash-induced oxygen yield, we report the largest reversible bicarbonate effect on PSII activity ever observed, which is due to the requirement for bicarbonate at the water-oxidizing complex. Temporal separation of this donor side bicarbonate requirement from a smaller effect of bicarbonate on the Q(A)(-) reoxidation rate was observed. We expect the atypical way in which Arthrospira manages intracellular pH, sodium, and inorganic carbon concentrations relative to other cyanobacteria is responsible for this strong in vivo bicarbonate requirement.
Carrieri, D, Momot D, Brasg IA, Ananyev GM, Lenz O, Bryant DA, Dismukes CG.  2011.  Boosting autofermentation rates and product yields with sodium stress cycling: Application to renewable fuel production by cyanobacteria. Appl. Environ. Microbiol.. :AEM.00975-10%U Abstract
Sodium concentration cycling was examined as a new strategy for redistributing carbon storage products and increasing autofermentative product yields following photosynthetic carbon fixation in the cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima. The salt-tolerant hyper-carbonate strain CS-328 was grown in a medium containing 0.24 to 1.24 M sodium, resulting in increased biosynthesis of soluble carbohydrates up to 50% of the dry weight at 1.24 M sodium. Hypoionic stress during dark anaerobic metabolism (autofermentation) was induced by resuspending filaments in low sodium (bi)carbonate buffer (0.21 M), which resulted in accelerated autofermentation rates. For cells grown in 1.24 M NaCl, the fermentative yields of acetate, ethanol and formate increase substantially to 0.75, 1.56 and 1.54 mmol/(gDW*day), respectively (36, 121, and 6-fold increases in rate relative to cells grown in 0.24 M NaCl). Catabolism of endogenous carbohydrate increased by approximately 2-fold upon hypoionic stress. For cultures grown at all salt concentrations, hydrogen was produced but its yield did not correlate with increased catabolism of soluble carbohydrates. Instead, ethanol excretion becomes a preferred route for fermentative NADH reoxidation together with intraceullar accumulation of reduced products of acetyl-CoA formation when cells are hypoionically stressed. In the absence of hypoionic stress, hydrogen production is a major beneficial pathway for NAD+ regeneration without wasting carbon intermediates such as ethanol derived from acetyl-CoA. This switch presumably improves the overall cellular economy by retaining carbon within the cell until aerobic conditions return and the acetyl unit can be used for biosynthesis or oxidized via respiration for much greater energy return.
Carrieri, D, Ananyev GM, Costas AMG, Bryant DA, Dismukes GC.  2008.  Renewable hydrogen production by cyanobacteria: Nickel requirements for optimal hydrogenase activity. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. 33:2014-2022. AbstractWebsite
Some species of cyanobacteria naturally produce hydrogen gas as a byproduct of anaerobic fermentation at night using fixed-carbon compounds that are produced photosynthetically in daylight under aerobic conditions. The nutrient requirements for optimal activity of these two systems of metabolic energy production are different and in some cases incompatible. Resolving these conflicting needs has not been widely considered, yet is critical for application of cyanobacteria as efficient cell factories for hydrogen production. The filamentous nondiazotrophic cyanobacterium Arthrospira maxima ferments in the dark both intracellular fixed-carbon compounds and added glucose, producing hydrogen exclusively via a bidirectional NiFe hydrogenase. We show that the hydrogenase activity in cell extracts (in vitro) and whole cells (in vivo) correlates with the amount of Ni2+ in the growth medium (saturating activity at 1.5 mu M Ni2+). This and higher levels of nickel in the medium during photoautotrophic growth cause stress leading to chlorophyll degradation and a retarded growth rate that is severe at ambient solar flux. We show that A. maxima acclimates to micromolar nickel concentrations at reduced light intensity after a delay which minimizes chlorophyll degradation and restores normal growth rate. Nickel adaptation permits normal biomass accumulation while significantly increasing the rate of fermentative hydrogen production. Relative to nickel-free media (only extraneous Ni2+), the average hydrogenase activity in cell extracts (in vitro) increases by 18-fold, while the average rate of intracellular H-2 production within intact cells increases 6-fold. Nickel is inferred to be a limiting cofactor for hydrogenase activity in many cyanobacteria grown using photoautotrophic conditions, particularly those lacking a high-affinity Ni2+ transport system. (C) 2008 International Association for Hydrogen Energy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Carrieri, D, Ananyev GM, Lenz O, Bryant DA, Dismukes CG.  2011.  Contribution of a sodium ion gradient to energy conservation during fermentation in the cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima CS-328.. Applied and environmental microbiology. 77(20):7185-94. Abstract
Sodium gradients in cyanobacteria play an important role in energy storage under photoautotrophic conditions but have not been well studied during autofermentative metabolism under the dark, anoxic conditions widely used to produce precursors to fuels. Here we demonstrate significant stress-induced acceleration of autofermentation of photosynthetically generated carbohydrates (glycogen and sugars) to form excreted organic acids, alcohols, and hydrogen gas by the halophilic, alkalophilic cyanobacterium Arthrospira (Spirulina) maxima CS-328. When suspended in potassium versus sodium phosphate buffers at the start of autofermentation to remove the sodium ion gradient, photoautotrophically grown cells catabolized more intracellular carbohydrates while producing 67% higher yields of hydrogen, acetate, and ethanol (and significant amounts of lactate) as fermentative products. A comparable acceleration of fermentative carbohydrate catabolism occurred upon dissipating the sodium gradient via addition of the sodium-channel blocker quinidine or the sodium-ionophore monensin but not upon dissipating the proton gradient with the proton-ionophore dinitrophenol (DNP). The data demonstrate that intracellular energy is stored via a sodium gradient during autofermentative metabolism and that, when this gradient is blocked, the blockage is compensated by increased energy conversion via carbohydrate catabolism.
Carrieri, D, Kolling D, Ananyev GM, Dismukes C.  2006.  Prospecting for biohydrogen fuel. Industrial Biotechnology. 2:40-43.
Cellai, S, Mangiarotti L, Vannini N, Naryshkin N, Kortkhonjia E, Ebright RH, Rivetti C.  2007.  Upstream promoter sequences and alphaCTD mediate stable DNA wrapping within the RNA polymerase-promoter open complex.. EMBO reports. 8(3):271-8. Abstract
We show that the extent of stable DNA wrapping by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase (RNAP) in the RNAP-promoter open complex depends on the sequence of the promoter and, in particular, on the sequence of the upstream region of the promoter. We further show that the extent of stable DNA wrapping depends on the presence of the RNAP alpha-subunit carboxy-terminal domain and on the presence and length of the RNAP alpha-subunit interdomain linker. Our results indicate that the extensive stable DNA wrapping observed previously in the RNAP-promoter open complex at the lambda P(R) promoter is not a general feature of RNAP-promoter open complexes.
Cesario, J, McKim KS.  2011.  RanGTP is required for meiotic spindle organization and the initiation of embryonic development in Drosophila. J Cell Sci. 124:3797-810. AbstractWebsite
RanGTP is important for chromosome-dependent spindle assembly in Xenopus extracts. Here we report on experiments to determine the role of the Ran pathway on microtubule dynamics in Drosophila oocytes and embryos. Females expressing a dominant-negative form of Ran have fertility defects, suggesting that RanGTP is required for normal fertility. This is not, however, because of a defect in acentrosomal meiotic spindle assembly. Therefore, RanGTP does not appear to be essential or sufficient for the formation of the acentrosomal spindle. Instead, the most important function of the Ran pathway in spindle assembly appears to be in the tapering of microtubules at the spindle poles, which might be through regulation of proteins such as TACC and the HURP homolog, Mars. One consequence of this spindle organization defect is an increase in the nondisjunction of achiasmate chromosomes. However, the meiotic defects are not severe enough to cause the decreased fertility. Reductions in fertility occur because RanGTP has a role in microtubule assembly that is not directly nucleated by the chromosomes. This includes microtubules nucleated from the sperm aster, which are required for pronuclear fusion. We propose that following nuclear envelope breakdown, RanGTP is released from the nucleus and creates a cytoplasm that is activated for assembling microtubules, which is important for processes such as pronuclear fusion. Around the chromosomes, however, RanGTP might be redundant with other factors such as the chromosome passenger complex.
Cesario, JM, Jang JK, Redding B, Shah N, Rahman T, McKim KS.  2006.  Kinesin 6 family member Subito participates in mitotic spindle assembly and interacts with mitotic regulators. J Cell Sci. 119:4770-80.Website
Chakraborty, A, Wang D, Ebright YW, Ebright RH.  2010.  Azide-specific labeling of biomolecules by Staudinger-Bertozzi ligation phosphine derivatives of fluorescent probes suitable for single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy.. Methods in enzymology. 472:19-30. Abstract
We describe the synthesis of phosphine derivatives of three fluorescent probes that have a brightness and photostability suitable for single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy: Alexa488, Cy3B, and Alexa647. In addition, we describe procedures for use of these reagents in azide-specific, bioorthogonal labeling through Staudinger-Bertozzi ligation, as well as procedures for the quantitation of labeling specificity and labeling efficiency. The reagents and procedures of this report enable chemoselective, site-selective labeling of azide-containing biomolecules for single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy.
Chakraborty, A, Mazumder A, Lin M, Hasemeyer A, Xu Q, Wang D, Ebright YW, Ebright RH.  2015.  Site-specific incorporation of probes into RNA polymerase by unnatural-amino-acid mutagenesis and Staudinger-Bertozzi ligation.. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 1276:101-31. Abstract
A three-step procedure comprising (1) unnatural-amino-acid mutagenesis with 4-azido-phenylalanine, (2) Staudinger-Bertozzi ligation with a probe-phosphine derivative, and (3) in vitro reconstitution of RNA polymerase (RNAP) enables the efficient site-specific incorporation of a fluorescent probe, a spin label, a cross-linking agent, a cleaving agent, an affinity tag, or any other biochemical or biophysical probe, at any site of interest in RNAP. Straightforward extensions of the procedure enable the efficient site-specific incorporation of two or more different probes in two or more different subunits of RNAP. We present protocols for synthesis of probe-phosphine derivatives, preparation of RNAP subunits and the transcription initiation factor σ, unnatural amino acid mutagenesis of RNAP subunits and σ, Staudinger ligation with unnatural-amino-acid-containing RNAP subunits and σ, quantitation of labelling efficiency and labelling specificity, and reconstitution of RNAP.
Chakraborty, A, Wang D, Ebright YW, Korlann Y, Kortkhonjia E, Kim T, Chowdhury S, Wigneshweraraj S, Irschik H, Jansen R et al..  2012.  Opening and closing of the bacterial RNA polymerase clamp.. Science (New York, N.Y.). 337(6094):591-5. AbstractWebsite
Using single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer, we have defined bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) clamp conformation at each step in transcription initiation and elongation. We find that the clamp predominantly is open in free RNAP and early intermediates in transcription initiation but closes upon formation of a catalytically competent transcription initiation complex and remains closed during initial transcription and transcription elongation. We show that four RNAP inhibitors interfere with clamp opening. We propose that clamp opening allows DNA to be loaded into and unwound in the RNAP active-center cleft, that DNA loading and unwinding trigger clamp closure, and that clamp closure accounts for the high stability of initiation complexes and the high stability and processivity of elongation complexes.