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Park, EC, Rongo C.  2016.  The p38 MAP kinase pathway modulates the hypoxia response and glutamate receptor trafficking in aging neurons.. eLife. 5 Abstract
Neurons are sensitive to low oxygen (hypoxia) and employ a conserved pathway to combat its effects. Here, we show that p38 MAP Kinase (MAPK) modulates this hypoxia response pathway in C. elegans. Mutants lacking p38 MAPK components pmk-1 or sek-1 resemble mutants lacking the hypoxia response component and prolyl hydroxylase egl-9, with impaired subcellular localization of Mint orthologue LIN-10, internalization of glutamate receptor GLR-1, and depression of GLR-1-mediated behaviors. Loss of p38 MAPK impairs EGL-9 protein localization in neurons and activates the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor HIF-1, suggesting that p38 MAPK inhibits the hypoxia response pathway through EGL-9. As animals age, p38 MAPK levels decrease, resulting in GLR-1 internalization; this age-dependent downregulation can be prevented through either p38 MAPK overexpression or removal of CDK-5, an antagonizing kinase. Our findings demonstrate that p38 MAPK inhibits the hypoxia response pathway and determines how aging neurons respond to hypoxia through a novel mechanism.
Zhang, W, Messing J.  2016.  PacBio for Haplotyping in Gene Families. Haplotyping. Methods in Molecular Biology 1551. :61-71.
Zhang, W, Ciclitira P, Messing J.  2014.  PacBio sequencing of gene families - a case study with wheat gluten genes. Gene. 533:541-6. AbstractWebsite
Amino acids in wheat (Triticum aestivum) seeds mainly accumulate in storage proteins called gliadins and glutenins. Gliadins contain alpha/beta-, gamma- and omega-types whereas glutenins contain HMW- and LMW-types. Known gliadin and glutenin sequences were largely determined through cloning and sequencing by capillary electrophoresis. This time-consuming process prevents us to intensively study the variation of each orthologous gene copy among cultivars. The throughput and sequencing length of Pacific Bioscience RS (PacBio) single molecule sequencing platform make it feasible to construct contiguous and non-chimeric RNA sequences. We assembled 424 wheat storage protein transcripts from ten wheat cultivars by using just one single-molecule-real-time cell. The protein genes from wheat cultivar Chinese Spring are comparable to known sequences from NCBI. We demonstrated real-time sequencing of gene families with high-throughput and low-cost. This method can be applied to studies of gene amplification and copy number variation among species and cultivars.
Abrouk, M, Murat F, Pont C, Messing J, Jackson S, Faraut T, Tannier E, Plomion C, Cooke R, Feuillet C et al..  2010.  Palaeogenomics of plants: synteny-based modelling of extinct ancestors. Trends Plant Sci. 15:479-87. AbstractWebsite
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.
Goettel, W, Messing J.  2012.  Paramutagenicity of a p1 epiallele in maize. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. (Epub Sep 18) AbstractWebsite
Complex silencing mechanisms in plants and other kingdoms target transposons, repeat sequences, invasive viral nucleic acids and transgenes, but also endogenous genes and genes involved in paramutation. Paramutation occurs in a heterozygote when a transcriptionally active allele heritably adopts the epigenetic state of a transcriptionally and/or post-transcriptionally repressed allele. P1-rr and its silenced epiallele P1-pr, which encode a Myb-like transcription factor mediating pigmentation in floral organs of Zea mays, differ in their cytosine methylation pattern and chromatin structure at a complex enhancer site. Here, we tested whether P1-pr is able to heritably silence its transcriptionally active P1-rr allele in a heterozygote and whether DNA methylation is associated with the establishment and maintenance of P1-rr silencing. We found that P1-pr participates in paramutation as the repressing allele and P1-rr as the sensitive allele. Silencing of P1-rr is highly variable compared to the inducing P1-pr resulting in a wide range of gene expression. Whereas cytosine methylation at P1-rr is negatively correlated with transcription and pigment levels after segregation of P1-pr, methylation lags behind the establishment of the repressed p1 gene expression. We propose a model in which P1-pr paramutation is triggered by changing epigenetic states of transposons immediately adjacent to a P1-rr enhancer sequence. Considering the vast amount of transposable elements in the maize genome close to regulatory elements of genes, numerous loci could undergo paramutation-induced allele silencing, which could also have a significant impact on breeding agronomically important traits.
Goettel, W, Messing J.  2013.  Paramutagenicity of a p1 epiallele in maize. Theor Appl Genet. 126:159-77. AbstractWebsite
Complex silencing mechanisms in plants and other kingdoms target transposons, repeat sequences, invasive viral nucleic acids and transgenes, but also endogenous genes and genes involved in paramutation. Paramutation occurs in a heterozygote when a transcriptionally active allele heritably adopts the epigenetic state of a transcriptionally and/or post-transcriptionally repressed allele. P1-rr and its silenced epiallele P1-pr, which encode a Myb-like transcription factor mediating pigmentation in floral organs of Zea mays, differ in their cytosine methylation pattern and chromatin structure at a complex enhancer site. Here, we tested whether P1-pr is able to heritably silence its transcriptionally active P1-rr allele in a heterozygote and whether DNA methylation is associated with the establishment and maintenance of P1-rr silencing. We found that P1-pr participates in paramutation as the repressing allele and P1-rr as the sensitive allele. Silencing of P1-rr is highly variable compared to the inducing P1-pr resulting in a wide range of gene expression. Whereas cytosine methylation at P1-rr is negatively correlated with transcription and pigment levels after segregation of P1-pr, methylation lags behind the establishment of the repressed p1 gene expression. We propose a model in which P1-pr paramutation is triggered by changing epigenetic states of transposons immediately adjacent to a P1-rr enhancer sequence. Considering the vast amount of transposable elements in the maize genome close to regulatory elements of genes, numerous loci could undergo paramutation-induced allele silencing, which could also have a significant impact on breeding agronomically important traits.
Tanneti, NS, Landy K, Joyce EF, McKim KS.  2011.  A Pathway for Synapsis Initiation during Zygotene in Drosophila Oocytes. Curr Biol. 21:1852-7. AbstractWebsite
Formation of the synaptonemal complex (SC), or synapsis, between homologs in meiosis is essential for crossing over and chromosome segregation [1-4]. How SC assembly initiates is poorly understood but may have a critical role in ensuring synapsis between homologs and regulating double-strand break (DSB) and crossover formation. We investigated the genetic requirements for synapsis in Drosophila and found that there are three temporally and genetically distinct stages of synapsis initiation. In "early zygotene" oocytes, synapsis is only observed at the centromeres. We also found that nonhomologous centromeres are clustered during this process. In "mid-zygotene" oocytes, SC initiates at several euchromatic sites. The centromeric and first euchromatic SC initiation sites depend on the cohesion protein ORD. In "late zygotene" oocytes, SC initiates at many more sites that depend on the Kleisin-like protein C(2)M. Surprisingly, late zygotene synapsis initiation events are independent of the earlier mid-zygotene events, whereas both mid and late synapsis initiation events depend on the cohesin subunits SMC1 and SMC3. We propose that the enrichment of cohesion proteins at specific sites promotes homolog interactions and the initiation of euchromatic SC assembly independent of DSBs. Furthermore, the early euchromatic SC initiation events at mid-zygotene may be required for DSBs to be repaired as crossovers.
Clark, RM, Linton E, Messing J, Doebley JF.  2004.  Pattern of diversity in the genomic region near the maize domestication gene tb1. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 101:700-7. AbstractWebsite
Domesticated maize and its wild ancestor (teosinte) differ strikingly in morphology and afford an opportunity to examine the connection between strong selection and diversity in a major crop species. The tb1 gene largely controls the increase in apical dominance in maize relative to teosinte, and a region of the tb1 locus 5' to the transcript sequence was a target of selection during maize domestication. To better characterize the impact of selection at a major "domestication" locus, we have sequenced the upstream tb1 genomic region and systematically sampled nucleotide diversity for sites located as far as 163 kb upstream to tb1. Our analyses define a selective sweep of approximately 60-90 kb 5' to the tb1 transcribed sequence. The selected region harbors a mixture of unique sequences and large repetitive elements, but it contains no predicted genes. Diversity at the nearest 5' gene to tb1 is typical of that for neutral maize loci, indicating that selection at tb1 has had a minimal impact on the surrounding chromosomal region. Our data also show low intergenic linkage disequilibrium in the region and suggest that selection has had a minor role in shaping the pattern of linkage disequilibrium that is observed. Finally, our data raise the possibility that maize-like tb1 haplotypes are present in extant teosinte populations, and our findings also suggest a model of tb1 gene regulation that differs from traditional views of how plant gene expression is controlled.
Barbosa, N, Minakhina S, Medina DJ, Balsara B, Greenwood S, Huzzy L, Rabson AB, Steward R, Schaar DG.  2013.  PDCD2 functions in cancer cell proliferation and predicts relapsed leukemia.. Cancer biology & therapy. 14(6):546-555. AbstractWebsite
PDCD2 is an evolutionarily conserved eukaryotic protein with unknown function. The Drosophlia PDCD2 ortholog Zfrp8 has an essential function in fly hematopoiesis. Zfrp8 mutants exhibit marked lymph gland hyperplasia that results from increased proliferation of partially differentiated hemocytes, suggesting Zfrp8 may participate in cell growth. Based on the above observations we have focused on the role of PDCD2 in human cancer cell proliferation and hypothesized that aberrant PDCD2 expression may be characteristic of human malignancies. We report that PDCD2 is highly expressed in human acute leukemia cells as well as in normal hematopoietic progenitors. PDCD2 knockdown in cancer cells impairs their proliferation, but not viability relative to parental cells, supporting the notion that PDCD2 overexpression facilitates cancer cell growth. Prospective analysis of PDCD2 in acute leukemia patients indicates PDCD2 RNA expression correlates with disease status and is a significant predictor of clinical relapse. PDCD2's role in cell proliferation and its high expression in human malignancies make it an attractive, novel potential molecular target for new anti-cancer therapies.
Messing, J.  2016.  Phage M13 for the treatment of Alzheimer and Parkinson disease.. Gene. 583(2):85-9. Abstract
The studies of microbes have been instrumental in combatting infectious diseases, but they have also led to great insights into basic biological mechanism like DNA replication, transcription, and translation of mRNA. In particular, the studies of bacterial viruses, also called bacteriophage, have been quite useful to study specific cellular processes because of the ease to isolate their DNA, mRNA, and proteins. Here, I review the recent discovery of how properties of the filamentous phage M13 emerge as a novel approach to combat neurodegenerative diseases.
Meuser, JE, Ananyev GM, Wittig LE, Kosourov S, Ghirardi ML, Seibert M, Dismukes CG, Posewitz MC.  2009.  Phenotypic diversity of hydrogen production in chlorophycean algae reflects distinct anaerobic metabolisms. Journal of Biotechnology. 142:21-30.Website
Chen, Y, Ebright RH.  1993.  Phenyl-azide-mediated photocrosslinking analysis of Cro-DNA interaction.. Journal of molecular biology. 230(2):453-60. Abstract
Using phenyl-azide-mediated photocrosslinking, we show that the alpha carbon of amino acid 2 of the helix-turn-helix motif of bacteriophage lambda Cro is within 12 A of the bottom-strand nucleotides at positions 2 and 3 of the DNA half site in the Cro-DNA complex in solution. This result is in excellent agreement with the crystallographic structure of the Cro-DNA complex. The results of phenyl-azide-mediated photocrosslinking analysis of Cro-DNA interaction, together with the previously reported results of phenyl-azide-mediated photocrosslinking analysis of CAP-DNA interaction, establish that phenyl-azide-mediated photocrosslinking is generalizable and provide information regarding the structural requirements for phenyl-azide-mediated photocrosslinking. Comparison of the results of phenyl-azide-mediated photocrosslinking to the results of EDTA: iron-mediated affinity cleaving indicates that phenyl-azide-mediated photocrosslinking yields superior resolution.
Zhang, Y, Guo X, Dong J.  2016.  Phosphorylation of the Polarity Protein BASL Differentiates Asymmetric Cell Fate through MAPKs and SPCH. Current Biology. 26(21):2957-2965.Website
Oh, H, Reddy BVVG, Irvine KD.  2009.  Phosphorylation-independent repression of Yorkie in Fat-Hippo signaling. Developmental biology. 335:188-97. AbstractWebsite
The Fat-Hippo signaling pathway plays an important role in the regulation of normal organ growth during development, and in pathological growth during cancer. Fat-Hippo signaling controls growth through a transcriptional co-activator protein, Yorkie. A Fat-Hippo pathway has been described in which Yorkie is repressed by phosphorylation, mediated directly by the kinase Warts and indirectly by upstream tumor suppressors that promote Warts kinase activity. We present here evidence for an alternate pathway in which Yorkie activity is repressed by direct physical association with three other pathway components: Expanded, Hippo, and Warts. Each of these Yorkie repressors contains one or more PPXY sequence motifs, and associates with Yorkie via binding of these PPXY motifs to WW domains of Yorkie. This direct binding inhibits Yorkie activity independently from effects on Yorkie phosphorylation, and does so both in vivo and in cultured cell assays. These results emphasize the importance of the relative levels of Yorkie and its upstream tumor suppressors to Yorkie regulation, and suggest a dual repression model, in which upstream tumor suppressors can regulate Yorkie activity both by promoting Yorkie phosphorylation and by direct binding.
Dismukes, GC, Ananyev GM, Watt R.  2005.  Photo-assembly of the catalytic manganese cluster. Photosystem Ii. 22:609-626.Website
Dasgupta, J, Ananyev GM, Dismukes GC.  2008.  Photoassembly of the water-oxidizing complex in photosystem II. Coordination Chemistry Reviews. 252:347-360. AbstractWebsite
The light-driven steps in the biogenesis and repair of the inorganic core comprising the O-2-evolving center of oxygenic photosynthesis (photosystem II water-oxidation complex, PSII-WOC) are reviewed. These steps, known collectively as photoactivation, involve the photoassembly of the free inorganic cofactors to the cofactor-depleted PSII-(apo-WOC) driven by light and produce the active O-2-evolving core comprised of Mn4CaOxCly. We focus on the functional role of the inorganic components as seen through the competition with non-native cofactors ("inorganic mutants") on water oxidation activity, the rate of the photoassembly reaction, and on structural insights gained from EPR spectroscopy of trapped intermediates formed in the initial steps of the assembly reaction. A chemical mechanism for the initial steps in photoactivation is given that is based on these data. Photoactivation experiments offer the powerful insights gained from replacement of the native cofactors, which together with the recent X-ray structural data for the resting holoenzyme provide a deeper understanding of the chemistry of water oxidation. We also review some new directions in research that photoactivation studies have inspired that look at the evolutionary history of this remarkable catalyst. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Brimblecombe, R, Chen J, Wagner P, Buchhorn T, Dismukes CG, Spiccia L, Swiegers GF.  2011.  Photocatalytic oxygen evolution from non-potable water by a bioinspired molecular water oxidation catalyst. Journal of Molecular Catalysis A: Chemical. 338:1-6.Website
Robinson, DM, Go Y B, Mui M, Gardner G, Zhang Z, Mastrogiovanni D, Garfunkel E, Li J, Greenblatt M, Dismukes CG.  2013.  Photochemical water oxidation by crystalline polymorphs of manganese oxides: structural requirements for catalysis.. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 135(9):3494-501. Abstract
Manganese oxides occur naturally as minerals in at least 30 different crystal structures, providing a rigorous test system to explore the significance of atomic positions on the catalytic efficiency of water oxidation. In this study, we chose to systematically compare eight synthetic oxide structures containing Mn(III) and Mn(IV) only, with particular emphasis on the five known structural polymorphs of MnO2. We have adapted literature synthesis methods to obtain pure polymorphs and validated their homogeneity and crystallinity by powder X-ray diffraction and both transmission and scanning electron microscopies. Measurement of water oxidation rate by oxygen evolution in aqueous solution was conducted with dispersed nanoparticulate manganese oxides and a standard ruthenium dye photo-oxidant system. No Ru was absorbed on the catalyst surface as observed by XPS and EDX. The post reaction atomic structure was completely preserved with no amorphization, as observed by HRTEM. Catalytic activities, normalized to surface area (BET), decrease in the series Mn2O3 > Mn3O4 ≫ λ-MnO2, where the latter is derived from spinel LiMn2O4 following partial Li(+) removal. No catalytic activity is observed from LiMn2O4 and four of the MnO2 polymorphs, in contrast to some literature reports with polydispersed manganese oxides and electro-deposited films. Catalytic activity within the eight examined Mn oxides was found exclusively for (distorted) cubic phases, Mn2O3 (bixbyite), Mn3O4 (hausmannite), and λ-MnO2 (spinel), all containing Mn(III) possessing longer Mn-O bonds between edge-sharing MnO6 octahedra. Electronically degenerate Mn(III) has antibonding electronic configuration e(g)(1) which imparts lattice distortions due to the Jahn-Teller effect that are hypothesized to contribute to structural flexibility important for catalytic turnover in water oxidation at the surface.
Kruse, O, Rupprecht J, Mussgnug JR, Dismukes GC, Hankamer B.  2005.  Photosynthesis: a blueprint for solar energy capture and biohydrogen production technologies. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences. 4:957-970. AbstractWebsite
Solar energy capture, conversion into chemical energy and biopolymers by photoautotrophic organisms, is the basis for almost all life on Earth. A broad range of organisms have developed complex molecular machinery for the efficient conversion of sunlight to chemical energy over the past 3 billion years, which to the present day has not been matched by any man-made technologies. Chlorophyll photochemistry within photosystem II (PSII) drives the water-splitting reaction efficiently at room temperature, in contrast with the thermal dissociation reaction that requires a temperature of ca. 1550 K. The successful elucidation of the high-resolution structure of PSII, and in particular the structure of its Mn4Ca cluster (K. N. Ferreira, T. M. Iverson, K. Maghlaoui, J. Barber and S. Iwata, Science, 2004, 303, 1831-1838, ref. 1) provides an invaluable blueprint for designing solar powered biotechnologies for the future. This knowledge, combined with new molecular genetic tools, fully sequenced genomes, and an ever increasing knowledge base of physiological processes of oxygenic phototrophs has inspired scientists from many countries to develop new biotechnological strategies to produce renewable CO2-neutral energy from sunlight. This review focuses particularly on the potential of use of cyanobacteria and microalgae for biohydrogen production. Specifically this article reviews the predicted size of the global energy market and the constraints of global warming upon it, before detailing the complex set of biochemical pathways that underlie the photosynthetic process and how they could be modified for improved biohydrogen production.
Vinyard, DJ, Ananyev GM, Dismukes CG.  2013.  Photosystem II: the reaction center of oxygenic photosynthesis.. Annual review of biochemistry. 82:577-606. Abstract
Photosystem II (PSII) uses light energy to split water into chemical products that power the planet. The stripped protons contribute to a membrane electrochemical potential before combining with the stripped electrons to make chemical bonds and releasing O2 for powering respiratory metabolisms. In this review, we provide an overview of the kinetics and thermodynamics of water oxidation that highlights the conserved performance of PSIIs across species. We discuss recent advances in our understanding of the site of water oxidation based upon the improved (1.9-Å resolution) atomic structure of the Mn4CaO5 water-oxidizing complex (WOC) within cyanobacterial PSII. We combine these insights with recent knowledge gained from studies of the biogenesis and assembly of the WOC (called photoassembly) to arrive at a proposed chemical mechanism for water oxidation.
Wei, F, Coe E, Nelson W, Bharti AK, Engler F, Butler E, Kim H, Goicoechea JL, Chen M, Lee S et al..  2007.  Physical and Genetic Structure of the Maize Genome Reflects Its Complex Evolutionary History. PLoS Genet. 3:e123. AbstractWebsite
Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the most important cereal crops and a model for the study of genetics, evolution, and domestication. To better understand maize genome organization and to build a framework for genome sequencing, we constructed a sequence-ready fingerprinted contig-based physical map that covers 93.5% of the genome, of which 86.1% is aligned to the genetic map. The fingerprinted contig map contains 25,908 genic markers that enabled us to align nearly 73% of the anchored maize genome to the rice genome. The distribution pattern of expressed sequence tags correlates to that of recombination. In collinear regions, 1 kb in rice corresponds to an average of 3.2 kb in maize, yet maize has a 6-fold genome size expansion. This can be explained by the fact that most rice regions correspond to two regions in maize as a result of its recent polyploid origin. Inversions account for the majority of chromosome structural variations during subsequent maize diploidization. We also find clear evidence of ancient genome duplication predating the divergence of the progenitors of maize and rice. Reconstructing the paleoethnobotany of the maize genome indicates that the progenitors of modern maize contained ten chromosomes.
Colavita, A, Krishna S, Zheng H, Padgett RW, Culotti JG.  1998.  Pioneer axon guidance by UNC-129, a C. elegans TGF-β. Science (New York, NY). 281:706-9. AbstractWebsite
The unc-129 gene, like the unc-6 netrin gene, is required to guide pioneer motoraxons along the dorsoventral axis of Caenorhabditis elegans. unc-129 encodes a member of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily of secreted signaling molecules and is expressed in dorsal, but not ventral, rows of body wall muscles. Ectopic expression of UNC-129 from ventral body wall muscle disrupts growth cone and cell migrations that normally occur along the dorsoventral axis. Thus, UNC-129 mediates expression of dorsoventral polarity information required for axon guidance and guided cell migrations in C. elegans.
Maliga, P, Bock R.  2011.  Plastid biotechnology: food, fuel, and medicine for the 21st century. Plant Physiol.. 155:1501-10.Website
Lutz, KA, Maliga P.  2008.  Plastid genomes in a regenerating tobacco shoot derive from a small number of copies selected through a stochastic process. Plant J.. 56:975-83. AbstractWebsite
The plastid genome (ptDNA) of higher plants is highly polyploid, and the 1000-10 000 copies are compartmentalized with up to approximately 100 plastids per cell. The problem we address here is whether or not a newly arising genome can be established in a developing tobacco shoot, and be transmitted to the seed progeny. We tested this by generating two unequal ptDNA populations in a cultured tobacco cell. The parental tobacco plants in this study have an aurea (yellowish-golden) leaf color caused by the presence of a bar(au) gene in the ptDNA. In addition, the ptDNA carries an aadA gene flanked with the phiC31 phage site-specific recombinase (Int) attP/attB target sites. The genetically distinct ptDNA copies were obtained by Int, which either excised only the aadA marker gene (i.e. did not affect the aurea phenotype) or triggered the deletion of both the aadA and bar(au) transgenes, and thereby restored the green color. The ptDNA determining green plastids represented only a small fraction of the population and was not seen in a transient excision assay, and yet three out of the 53 regenerated shoots carried green plastids in all developmental layers. The remaining 49 Int-expressing plants had either exclusively aurea (24) or variegated (25) leaves with aurea and green sectors. The formation of homoplastomic green shoots with the minor green ptDNA in all developmental layers suggests that the ptDNA population in a regenerating shoot apical meristem derives from a small number of copies selected through a stochastic process.