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Estrem, ST, Ross W, Gaal T, Chen ZW, Niu W, Ebright RH, Gourse RL.  1999.  Bacterial promoter architecture: subsite structure of UP elements and interactions with the carboxy-terminal domain of the RNA polymerase alpha subunit.. Genes & development. 13(16):2134-47. Abstract
We demonstrate here that the previously described bacterial promoter upstream element (UP element) consists of two distinct subsites, each of which, by itself, can bind the RNA polymerase holoenzyme alpha subunit carboxy-terminal domain (RNAP alphaCTD) and stimulate transcription. Using binding-site-selection experiments, we identify the consensus sequence for each subsite. The selected proximal subsites (positions -46 to -38; consensus 5'-AAAAAARNR-3') stimulate transcription up to 170-fold, and the selected distal subsites (positions -57 to -47; consensus 5'-AWWWWWTTTTT-3') stimulate transcription up to 16-fold. RNAP has subunit composition alpha(2)betabeta'sigma and thus contains two copies of alphaCTD. Experiments with RNAP derivatives containing only one copy of alphaCTD indicate, in contrast to a previous report, that the two alphaCTDs function interchangeably with respect to UP element recognition. Furthermore, function of the consensus proximal subsite requires only one copy of alphaCTD, whereas function of the consensus distal subsite requires both copies of alphaCTD. We propose that each subsite constitutes a binding site for a copy of alphaCTD, and that binding of an alphaCTD to the proximal subsite region (through specific interactions with a consensus proximal subsite or through nonspecific interactions with a nonconsensus proximal subsite) is a prerequisite for binding of the other alphaCTD to the distal subsite.
Minakhin, L, Bhagat S, Brunning A, Campbell EA, Darst SA, Ebright RH, Severinov K.  2001.  Bacterial RNA polymerase subunit omega and eukaryotic RNA polymerase subunit RPB6 are sequence, structural, and functional homologs and promote RNA polymerase assembly.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 98(3):892-7. Abstract
Bacterial DNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNAP) has subunit composition beta'betaalpha(I)alpha(II)omega. The role of omega has been unclear. We show that omega is homologous in sequence and structure to RPB6, an essential subunit shared in eukaryotic RNAP I, II, and III. In Escherichia coli, overproduction of omega suppresses the assembly defect caused by substitution of residue 1362 of the largest subunit of RNAP, beta'. In yeast, overproduction of RPB6 suppresses the assembly defect caused by the equivalent substitution in the largest subunit of RNAP II, RPB1. High-resolution structural analysis of the omega-beta' interface in bacterial RNAP, and comparison with the RPB6-RPB1 interface in yeast RNAP II, confirms the structural relationship and suggests a "latching" mechanism for the role of omega and RPB6 in promoting RNAP assembly.
Deighan, P, Diez CM, Leibman M, Hochschild A, Nickels BE.  2008.  The bacteriophage lambda Q antiterminator protein contacts the beta-flap domain of RNA polymerase. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 105:15305-10. AbstractWebsite
The multisubunit RNA polymerase (RNAP) in bacteria consists of a catalytically active core enzyme (alpha(2)beta beta'omega) complexed with a sigma factor that is required for promoter-specific transcription initiation. During early elongation the stability of interactions between sigma and core decreases, in part because of the nascent RNA-mediated destabilization of an interaction between region 4 of sigma and the flap domain of the beta-subunit (beta-flap). The nascent RNA-mediated destabilization of the sigma region 4/beta-flap interaction is required for the bacteriophage lambda Q antiterminator protein (lambdaQ) to engage the RNAP holoenzyme. Here, we provide an explanation for this requirement by showing that lambdaQ establishes direct contact with the beta-flap during the engagement process, thus competing with sigma(70) region 4 for access to the beta-flap. We also show that lambdaQ's affinity for the beta-flap is calibrated to ensure that lambdaQ activity is restricted to the lambda late promoter P(R'). Specifically, we find that strengthening the lambdaQ/beta-flap interaction allows lambdaQ to bypass the requirement for specific cis-acting sequence elements, a lambdaQ-DNA binding site and a RNAP pause-inducing element, that normally ensure lambdaQ is recruited exclusively to transcription complexes associated with P(R'). Our findings demonstrate that the beta-flap can serve as a direct target for regulators of elongation.
Yuan, AH, Nickels BE, Hochschild A.  2009.  The bacteriophage T4 AsiA protein contacts the beta-flap domain of RNA polymerase. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 106:6597-602. AbstractWebsite
To initiate transcription from specific promoters, the bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) core enzyme must associate with the initiation factor sigma, which contains determinants that allow sequence-specific interactions with promoter DNA. Most bacteria contain several sigma factors, each of which directs recognition of a distinct set of promoters. A large and diverse family of proteins known as "anti-sigma factors" regulates promoter utilization by targeting specific sigma factors. The founding member of this family is the AsiA protein of bacteriophage T4. AsiA specifically targets the primary sigma factor in Escherichia coli, sigma(70), and inhibits transcription from the major class of sigma(70)-dependent promoters. AsiA-dependent transcription inhibition has been attributed to a well-documented interaction between AsiA and conserved region 4 of sigma(70). Here, we establish that efficient AsiA-dependent transcription inhibition also requires direct protein-protein contact between AsiA and the RNAP core. In particular, we demonstrate that AsiA contacts the flap domain of the RNAP beta-subunit (the beta-flap). Our findings support the emerging view that the beta-flap is a target site for regulatory proteins that affect RNAP function during all stages of the transcription cycle.
Wu, Y, Wang W, Messing J.  2012.  Balancing of sulfur storage in maize seed. BMC plant biology. 12:77. AbstractWebsite
A balanced composition of amino acids in seed flour is critical because of the demand on essential amino acids for nutrition. However, seed proteins in cereals like maize, the crop with the highest yield, are low in lysine, tryptophan, and methionine. Although supplementation with legumes like soybean can compensate lysine deficiency, both crops are also relatively low in methionine. Therefore, understanding the mechanism of methionine accumulation in the seed could be a basis for breeding cultivars with superior nutritional quality.
Li, Y, Padgett RW.  2012.  bantam is required for optic lobe development and glial cell proliferation. PLoS One. 7(3) AbstractWebsite
microRNAs (miRNAs) are small, conserved, non-coding RNAs that contribute to the control of many different cellular processes, including cell fate specification and growth control. Drosophila bantam, a conserved miRNA, is involved in several functions, such as stimulating proliferation and inhibiting apoptosis in the wing disc. Here, we reported the detailed expression pattern of bantam in the developing optic lobe, and demonstrated a new, essential role in promoting proliferation of mitotic cells in the optic lobe, including stem cells and differentiated glial cells. Changes in bantam levels autonomously affected glial cell number and distribution, and non-autonomously affected photoreceptor neuron axon projection patterns. Furthermore, we showed that bantam promotes the proliferation of mitotically active glial cells and affects their distribution, largely through down regulation of the T-box transcription factor, optomotor-blind (omb, Flybase, bifid). Expression of omb can rescue the bantam phenotype, and restore the normal glial cell number and proper glial cell positioning in most Drosophila brains. These results suggest that bantam is critical for maintaining the stem cell pools in the outer proliferation center and glial precursor cell regions of the optic lobe, and that its expression in glial cells is crucial for their proliferation and distribution.
Skirpan, A, Culler A H, Gallavotti A, Jackson D, Cohen JD, McSteen P.  2009.  BARREN INFLORESCENCE2 Interaction with ZmPIN1a Suggests a role in Auxin Transport During Maize Inflorescence Development. Plant Cell Physiol. 50:652-657. Abstract
Polar auxin transport, mediated by the PIN-FORMED (PIN) class of auxin efflux carriers, controls organ initiation in plants. In maize, BARREN INFLORESCENCE2 (BIF2) encodes a serine/threonine protein kinase co-orthologous to PINOID (PID), which regulates the subcellular localization of AtPIN1 in Arabidopsis. We show that BIF2 phosphorylates ZmPIN1a, a maize homolog of AtPIN1, in vitro and regulates ZmPIN1a subcellular localization in vivo, similar to the role of PID in Arabidopsis. In addition, bif2 mutant inflorescences have lower auxin levels later in development. We propose that BIF2 regulates auxin transport through direct regulation of ZmPIN1a during maize inflorescence development.
Gallavotti, A, Malcomber S, Gaines C, Stanfield S, Whipple C, Kellogg E, Schmidt RJ.  2011.  BARREN STALK FASTIGIATE1 is an AT-hook Protein Required for the Formation of Maize ears. Plant Cell. 23:1756-1771. AbstractWebsite
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.
Dong, J, MacAlister CA, Bergmann DC.  2009.  BASL controls asymmetric cell division in Arabidopsis.. Cell. 137(7):1320-1330.
Zhang, Y, Wang P, Shao W, Zhu J-K, Dong J.  2015.  The BASL Polarity Protein Controls a MAPK Signaling Feedback Loop in Asymmetric Cell Division.. Dev Cell. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2015.02.022.
Ebright, RH, Wong JR, Chen LB.  1986.  Binding of 2-hydroxybenzo(a)pyrene to estrogen receptors in rat cytosol.. Cancer research. 46(5):2349-51. Abstract
The potent carcinogen 2-hydroxybenzo(a)pyrene (2-OH-BP) competes for binding to the estrogen receptor in the cytosol of rat uterus and liver. The dissociation constant (K1) for this interaction is congruent to 2 X 10(-5) M. In contrast, 4-hydroxybenzo(a)pyrene does not bind to the estrogen receptor; 1-hydroxybenzo(a)pyrene, 5-hydroxybenzo(a)pyrene, 6-hydroxybenzo(a)pyrene, and 12-hydroxybenzo(a)pyrene bind less tightly than does 2-OH-BP. These five chemicals are not carcinogenic. We suggest that the estrogen receptor may mediate the carcinogenic effect of 2-OH-BP or of related chemicals. One possibility is that the receptor might convey 2-OH-BP to specific sites in DNA.
Ebright, RH, Connell ND.  2002.  Bioweapon agents: more access means more risk.. Nature. 415(6870):364.
Piomelli, S, Corash L, Corash MB, Seaman C, Mushak P, Glover B, Padgett R.  1980.  Blood lead concentrations in a remote Himalayan population. Science (New York, NY). 210:1135-7. AbstractWebsite
The lead content in the air at the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal was found to be negligible. The concentration of lead in the blood of 103 children and adults living in this region was found to average 3.4 micrograms per deciliter, a level substantially lower than that found in industrialized populations.
Suzuki, Y, Yandell M, Roy P, Krishna S, Savage-Dunn C, Ross R, Padgett R, Wood W.  1999.  A BMP homolog acts as a dose-dependent regulator of body size and male tail patterning in Caenorhabditis elegans. Development (Cambridge, England). 126:241-250.. Abstract
We cloned the dbl-1 gene, a C. elegans homolog of Drosophila decapentaplegic and vertebrate BMP genes. Loss-of-function mutations in dbl-1 cause markedly reduced body size and defective male copulatory structures. Conversely, dbl-1 overexpression causes markedly increased body size and partly complementary male tail phenotypes, indicating that DBL-1 acts as a dose-dependent regulator of these processes. Evidence from genetic interactions indicates that these effects are mediated by a Smad signaling pathway, for which DBL-1 is a previously unidentified ligand. Our study of the dbl-1 expression pattern suggests a role for neuronal cells in global size regulation as well as male tail patterning.
Kirilly, D, Spana EP, Perrimon N, Padgett RW, Xie T.  2005.  BMP signaling is required for controlling somatic stem cell self-renewal in the Drosophila ovary. Developmental cell. 9:651-62. AbstractWebsite
BMP signaling is essential for promoting self-renewal of mouse embryonic stem cells and Drosophila germline stem cells and for repressing stem cell proliferation in the mouse intestine and skin. However, it remains unknown whether BMP signaling can promote self-renewal of adult somatic stem cells. In this study, we show that BMP signaling is necessary and sufficient for promoting self-renewal and proliferation of somatic stem cells (SSCs) in the Drosophila ovary. BMP signaling is required in SSCs to directly control their maintenance and division, but is dispensable for proliferation of their differentiated progeny. Furthermore, BMP signaling is required to control SSC self-renewal, but not survival. Moreover, constitutive BMP signaling prolongs the SSC lifespan. Therefore, our study clearly demonstrates that BMP signaling directly promotes SSC self-renewal and proliferation in the Drosophila ovary. Our work further suggests that BMP signaling could promote self-renewal of adult stem cells in other systems.
Gleason, RJ, Akintobi AM, Grant BD, Padgett RW.  2014.  BMP signaling requires retromer-dependent recycling of the type I receptor. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA . 10.1073/pnas.1319947111
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%Uhttp://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/AEM.00975-10v1. 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.
Chatterjee, M, Tabi Z, Galli M, Malcomber S, Buck A, Muszynski M, Gallavotti A.  2014.  The boron efflux transporter ROTTEN EAR is required for maize inflorescence development and fertility. Plant Cell. (26):2962-2977. AbstractWebsite
Although boron has a relatively low natural abundance, it is an essential plant micronutrient. Boron deficiencies cause major crop losses in several areas of the world, affecting reproduction and yield in diverse plant species. Despite the importance of boron in crop productivity, surprisingly little is known about its effects on developing reproductive organs. We isolated a maize (Zea mays) mutant, called rotten ear (rte), that shows distinct defects in vegetative and reproductive development, eventually causing widespread sterility in its inflorescences, the tassel and the ear. Positional cloning revealed that rte encodes a membrane-localized boron efflux transporter, co-orthologous to the Arabidopsis thaliana BOR1 protein. Depending on the availability of boron in the soil, rte plants show a wide range of phenotypic defects that can be fully rescued by supplementing the soil with exogenous boric acid, indicating that rte is crucial for boron transport into aerial tissues. rte is expressed in cells surrounding the xylem in both vegetative and reproductive tissues and is required for meristem activity and organ development.We show that low boron supply to the inflorescences results in widespread defects in cell and cell wall integrity, highlighting the structural importance of boron in the formation of fully fertile reproductive organs.
Irvine, KD, Rauskolb C.  2001.  Boundaries in development: formation and function. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology. 17:189-214. AbstractWebsite
Developing organisms may contain billions of cells destined to differentiate in numerous different ways. One strategy organisms use to simplify the orchestration of development is the separation of cell populations into distinct functional units. Our expanding knowledge of boundary formation and function in different systems is beginning to reveal general principles of this process. Fields of cells are subdivided by the interpretation of morphogen gradients, and these subdivisions are then maintained and refined by local cell-cell interactions. Sharp and stable separation between cell populations requires special mechanisms to keep cells segregated, which in many cases appear to involve the regulation of cell affinity. Once cell populations become distinct, specialized cells are often induced along the borders between them. These boundary cells can then influence the patterning of surrounding cells, which can result in progressively finer subdivisions of a tissue. Much has been learned about the signaling pathways that establish boundaries, but a key challenge for the future remains to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms that actually keep cell populations separated.