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Bae, Y-K, Lyman-Gingerich J, Barr MM, Knobel KM.  2008.  Identification of Genes Involved in the Ciliary Trafficking of C. Elegans PKD-2. Dev Dyn. 237:2021-2029. Abstract
Ciliary membrane proteins are important extracellular sensors, and defects in their localization may have profound developmental and physiological consequences. To determine how sensory receptors localize to cilia, we performed a forward genetic screen and identified 11 mutants with defects in the ciliary localization (cil) of C. elegans PKD-2, a transient receptor potential polycystin (TRPP) channel. Class A cil mutants exhibit defects in PKD-2::GFP somatodendritic localization while Class B cil mutants abnormally accumulate PKD-2::GFP in cilia. Further characterization reveals that some genes mutated in cil mutants act in a tissue-specific manner while others are likely to play more general roles in such processes as intraflagellar transport (IFT). To this end, we identified a Class B mutation that disrupts the function of the cytoplasmic dynein light intermediate chain gene xbx-1. Identification of the remaining mutations will reveal novel molecular pathways required for ciliary receptor localization and provide further insight into mechanisms of ciliary signaling.
Bao, X, Nickels BE, Fan H.  2012.  Chlamydia trachomatis protein GrgA activates transcription by contacting the nonconserved region of sigma66. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. AbstractWebsite
The bacterial RNA polymerase holoenzyme consists of a catalytic core enzyme in complex with a sigma factor that is required for promoter-specific transcription initiation. Primary, or housekeeping, sigma factors are responsible for most of the gene expression that occurs during the exponential phase of growth. Primary sigma factors share four regions of conserved sequence, regions 1-4, which have been further subdivided. Many primary sigma factors also contain a nonconserved region (NCR) located between subregions 1.2 and 2.1, which can vary widely in length. Interactions between the NCR of the primary sigma factor of Escherichia coli, sigma(70), and the beta' subunit of the E. coli core enzyme have been shown to influence gene expression, suggesting that the NCR of primary sigma factors represents a potential target for transcription regulation. Here, we report the identification and characterization of a previously undocumented Chlamydia trachomatis transcription factor, designated GrgA (general regulator of genes A). We demonstrate in vitro that GrgA is a DNA-binding protein that can stimulate transcription from a range of sigma(66)-dependent promoters. We further show that GrgA activates transcription by contacting the NCR of the primary sigma factor of C. trachomatis, sigma(66). Our findings suggest GrgA serves as an important regulator of sigma(66)-dependent transcription in C. trachomatis. Furthermore, because GrgA is present only in chlamydiae, our findings highlight how nonconserved regions of the bacterial RNA polymerase can be targets of regulatory factors that are unique to particular organisms.
Bao, X, Pachikara N, Oey CB, Balakrishnan A, Westblade LF, Tan M, Chase T, Nickels BE, Fan H.  2011.  Noncoding Nucleotides and Amino Acids near the Active Site Regulate Peptide Deformylase Expression and Inhibitor Susceptibility in Chlamydia trachomatis. Microbiology. AbstractWebsite
Chlamydia trachomatis, an obligate intracellular bacterium, is a highly prevalent human pathogen. Hydroxamic acid-based matrix metalloprotease inhibitors can effectively inhibit the pathogen both in vitro and in vivo, and have exhibited therapeutic potential. Here, we provide genome sequencing data indicating that peptide deformylase (PDF) is the sole target of the inhibitors in this organism. We further report molecular mechanisms that control chlamydial PDF (cPDF) expression and inhibition efficiency. In particular, we identify the o66-dependent promoter that controls cPDF gene expression and demonstrate that point mutations in this promoter lead to resistance by increasing cPDF transcription. Furthermore, we show that substitution of two amino acids near the active site of the enzyme alters enzyme kinetics and protein stability.
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.
Barr, MM, Androwski RJ, Rashid A, Lee H, Lee J, Barr MM.  2013.  Dauer-specific dendrite arborization in C. elegans is regulated by KPC-1/Furin.. Current biology : CB. 23(16):1527-35. Abstract
Dendrites often display remarkably complex and diverse morphologies that are influenced by developmental and environmental cues. Neuroplasticity in response to adverse environmental conditions entails both hypertrophy and resorption of dendrites. How dendrites rapidly alter morphology in response to unfavorable environmental conditions is unclear. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans enters into a stress-resistant dauer larval stage in response to an adverse environment.
Barr, MM.  2003.  Super Models. Physiol Genomics. 13:15-24. Abstract
Model organisms have been used over a century to understand basic, conserved biological processes. The study of these experimental systems began with genetics and development, moved into molecular and cellular biology, and most recently propelled into functional genomics and proteomics. The goal of this review is simple: to discuss the place of model organisms in ``The Age of the Ome'': the genome, the transcriptome, and the proteome. This review will address the following questions. What exactly is a model organism? What characteristics make an excellent model system? Using the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as examples, this review will discuss these issues with the aim of demonstrating how model organisms remain indispensable scientific tools for understanding complex biological pathways and human disease.
Barr, MM.  2005.  Caenorhabditis Elegans as a Model to Study Renal Development and Disease: sexy Cilia. J Am Soc Nephrol. 16:305-312. Abstract
The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has no kidney per se, yet ``the worm'' has proved to be an excellent model to study renal-related issues, including tubulogenesis of the excretory canal, membrane transport and ion channel function, and human genetic diseases including autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The goal of this review is to explain how C. elegans has provided insight into cilia development, cilia function, and human cystic kidney diseases.
Barr, MM, Garcia RL.  2006.  Male Mating Behavior. WormBook. :1-11. Abstract
Caenorhabditis elegans male mating provides an excellent opportunity to determine how sensory perception regulates behavior and motor programs. The male-specific nervous system and muscles are superimposed over the general nervous system and musculature. Genetic screens and genomic approaches have identified male-specific and male-enriched genes as well as non-sex specific molecules specialized for mating sub-behaviors. In this chapter, we discuss the cellular, genetic, and molecular basis for male mating behavior.
Barr, MM, Silva M, Haas LA, Morsci NS, Nguyen KCQ, Hall DH, Barr MM.  2014.  C. elegans ciliated sensory neurons release extracellular vesicles that function in animal communication.. Current biology : CB. 24(5):519-25. Abstract
Cells release extracellular vesicles (ECVs) that play important roles in intercellular communication and may mediate a broad range of physiological and pathological processes. Many fundamental aspects of ECV biogenesis and signaling have yet to be determined, with ECV detection being a challenge and obstacle due to the small size (100 nm) of the ECVs. We developed an in vivo system to visualize the dynamic release of GFP-labeled ECVs. We show here that specific Caenorhabdidits elegans ciliated sensory neurons shed and release ECVs containing GFP-tagged polycystins LOV-1 and PKD-2. These ECVs are also abundant in the lumen surrounding the cilium. Electron tomography and genetic analysis indicate that ECV biogenesis occurs via budding from the plasma membrane at the ciliary base and not via fusion of multivesicular bodies. Intraflagellar transport and kinesin-3 KLP-6 are required for environmental release of PKD-2::GFP-containing ECVs. ECVs isolated from wild-type animals induce male tail-chasing behavior, while ECVs isolated from klp-6 animals and lacking PKD-2::GFP do not. We conclude that environmentally released ECVs play a role in animal communication and mating-related behaviors.
Bartlett, A, O'Malley R, Huang SC, Galli M, Nery JR, Gallavotti A, Ecker JR.  2017.  Mapping genome-wide transcription factor binding sites using DAP-seq. Nature Protocols. 12(8):1659-1672. AbstractWebsite
To enable low-cost, high-throughput generation of cistrome and epicistrome maps for any organism, we developed DNA affinity purification sequencing (DAP-seq), a transcription factor (TF)-binding site (TFBS) discovery assay that couples affinity-purified TFs with next-generation sequencing of a genomic DNA library. The method is fast, inexpensive, and more easily scaled than chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq). DNA libraries are constructed using native genomic DNA from any source of interest, preserving cell- and tissue-specific chemical modifications that are known to affect TF binding (such as DNA methylation) and providing increased specificity as compared with in silico predictions based on motifs from methods such as protein-binding microarrays (PBMs) and systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX). The resulting DNA library is incubated with an affinity-tagged in vitro-expressed TF, and TF–DNA complexes are purified using magnetic separation of the affinity tag. Bound genomic DNA is eluted from the TF and sequenced using next-generation sequencing. Sequence reads are mapped to a reference genome, identifying genome-wide binding locations for each TF assayed, from which sequence motifs can then be derived. A researcher with molecular biology experience should be able to follow this protocol, processing up to 400 samples per week.
Bartlett, JE, Baranov SV, Ananyev GM, Dismukes GC.  2008.  Calcium controls the assembly of the photosynthetic water-oxidizing complex: a cadmium(II) inorganic mutant of the Mn4Ca core. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences. 363:1253-1261. AbstractWebsite
Perturbation of the catalytic inorganic core (Mn4Ca1OxCly) of the photosystem II-water-oxidizing complex (PSII-WOC) isolated from spinach is examined by substitution of Ca2+ with cadmium(II) during core assembly. Cd2+ inhibits the yield of reconstitution of O-2-evolution activity, called photoactivation, starting from the free inorganic cofactors and the cofactor-depleted apo-WOC-PSII complex. Ca2+ affinity increases following photooxidation of the first Mn2+ to Mn3+ bound to the 'high-affinity' site. Ca2+ binding occurs in the dark and is the slowest overall step of photoactivation (IM1/IM*(1) -> step). Cd2+ competitively blocks the binding of Ca2+ to its functional site with 10-to 30-fold higher affinity, but does not influence the binding of Mn2+ to its high-affinity site. By contrast, even 10-fold higher concentrations of Cd2+ have no effect on O-2-evolution activity in intact PSII-WOC. Paradoxically, Cd2+ both inhibits photoactivation yield, while accelerating the rate of photoassembly of active centres 10-fold relative to Ca2+. Cd2+ increases the kinetic stability of the photooxidized Mn3+ assembly intermediate(s) by twofold (mean lifetime for dark decay). The rate data provide evidence that Cd2+ binding following photooxidation of the first Mn3+, IM1/IM*(1), causes three outcomes: (i) a longer intermediate lifetime that slows IM1 decay to IM0 by charge recombination, (ii) 10-fold higher probability of attaining the degrees of freedom (either or both cofactor and protein d.f.) needed to bind and photooxidize the remaining 3 Mn2+ that form the functional cluster, and (iii) increased lability of Cd2+ following Mn-4 cluster assembly results in (re) exchange of Cd2+ by Ca2+ which restores active O-2-evolving centres. Prior EPR spectroscopic data provide evidence for an oxo-bridged assembly intermediate, Mn3+ (mu-O2-) Ca2+, for IM*(1). We postulate an analogous inhibited intermediate with Cd2+ replacing Ca2+.
Bayro, MJ, Mukhopadhyay J, Swapna GVT, Huang JY, Ma L-C, Sineva E, Dawson PE, Montelione GT, Ebright RH.  2003.  Structure of antibacterial peptide microcin J25: a 21-residue lariat protoknot.. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 125(41):12382-3. Abstract
The antibacterial peptide microcin J25 (MccJ25) inhibits bacterial transcription by binding within, and obstructing, the nucleotide-uptake channel of bacterial RNA polymerase. Published covalent and three-dimensional structures indicate that MccJ25 is a 21-residue cycle. Here, we show that the published covalent and three-dimensional structures are incorrect, and that MccJ25 in fact is a 21-residue "lariat protoknot", consisting of an 8-residue cyclic segment followed by a 13-residue linear segment that loops back and threads through the cyclic segment. MccJ25 is the first example of a lariat protoknot involving a backbone-side chain amide linkage.
Benoff, B, Yang H, Lawson CL, Parkinson G, Liu J, Blatter E, Ebright YW, Berman HM, Ebright RH.  2002.  Structural basis of transcription activation: the CAP-alpha CTD-DNA complex.. Science (New York, N.Y.). 297(5586):1562-6. Abstract
The Escherichia coli catabolite activator protein (CAP) activates transcription at P(lac), P(gal), and other promoters through interactions with the RNA polymerase alpha subunit carboxyl-terminal domain (alphaCTD). We determined the crystal structure of the CAP-alphaCTD-DNA complex at a resolution of 3.1 angstroms. CAP makes direct protein-protein interactions with alphaCTD, and alphaCTD makes direct protein-DNA interactions with the DNA segment adjacent to the DNA site for CAP. There are no large-scale conformational changes in CAP and alphaCTD, and the interface between CAP and alphaCTD is small. These findings are consistent with the proposal that activation involves a simple "recruitment" mechanism.
Berdygulova, Z, Esyunina D, Miropolskaya N, Mukhamedyarov D, Kuznedelov K, Nickels B, Severinov K, Kulbachinskiy A, Minakhin L.  2012.  The gp39 protein of phage P23-45 is a transcription antiterminator that acts by suppressing pausing by Thermus thermophilus RNA polymerase. Nucl. Acids Res. 40:4052-4063.
Berdygulova, Z, Esyunina D, Miropolskaya N, Mukhamedyarov D, Kuznedelov K, Nickels BE, Severinov K, Kulbachinskiy A, Minakhin L.  2012.  A novel phage-encoded transcription antiterminator acts by suppressing bacterial RNA polymerase pausing.. Nucleic Acids Research. Abstract
Gp39, a small protein encoded by Thermus thermophilus phage P23-45, specifically binds the host RNA polymerase (RNAP) and inhibits transcription initiation. Here, we demonstrate that gp39 also acts as an antiterminator during transcription through intrinsic terminators. The antitermination activity of gp39 relies on its ability to suppress transcription pausing at poly(U) tracks. Gp39 also accelerates transcription elongation by decreasing RNAP pausing and backtracking but does not significantly affect the rates of catalysis of individual reactions in the RNAP active center. We mapped the RNAP-gp39 interaction site to the β flap, a domain that forms a part of the RNA exit channel and is also a likely target for λ phage antiterminator proteins Q and N, and for bacterial elongation factor NusA. However, in contrast to Q and N, gp39 does not depend on NusA or other auxiliary factors for its activity. To our knowledge, gp39 is the first characterized phage-encoded transcription factor that affects every step of the transcription cycle and suppresses transcription termination through its antipausing activity.
Berdygulova, Z, Westblade LF, Florens L, Chait BT, Ramanculov E, Washburn MP, Darst SA, Severinov K, Minakhin L.  2011.  Temporal regulation of gene expression of the Thermus thermophilus bacteriophage P23-45. J. Mol. Biol.. 405:125-142.
Berk, AJ, Boyer TG, Kapanidis AN, Ebright RH, Kobayashi NN, Horn PJ, Sullivan SM, Koop R, Surby MA, Triezenberg SJ.  1998.  Mechanisms of viral activators.. Cold Spring Harbor symposia on quantitative biology. 63:243-52. Abstract
Adenovirus large E1A, Epstein-Barr virus Zebra, and herpes simplex virus VP16 were studied as models of animal cell transcriptional activators. Large E1A can activate transcription from a TATA box, a result that leads us to suggest that it interacts with a general transcription factor. Initial studies showed that large E1A binds directly to the TBP subunit of TFIID. However, analysis of multiple E1A and TBP mutants failed to support the significance of this in vitro interaction for the mechanism of activation. Recent studies to be reported elsewhere indicate that conserved region 3 of large E1A, which is required for its activation function, binds to one subunit of a multisubunit protein that stimulates in vitro transcription in response to large E1A and other activators. A method was developed for the rapid purification of TFIID approximately 25,000-fold to near homogeneity from a cell line engineered to express an epitope-tagged form of TBP. Purified TFIID contains 11 major TAFs ranging in mass from approximately 250 to 20 kD. Zta and VP16, but not large E1A, greatly stimulate the rate and extent of assembly of a TFIID-TFIIA complex on promoter DNA (DA complex). For VP16, this is a function of the carboxy-terminal activation subdomain. An excellent correlation was found between the ability of VP16C mutants to stimulate DA complex assembly and their ability to activate transcription in vivo. Consequently, for a subset of activation domains, DA complex assembly activity is an important component of the overall mechanism of activation.
Bhagat, R, Manheim EA, Sherizen DE, McKim KS.  2004.  Studies on crossover specific mutants and the distribution of crossing over in Drosophila females. Cytogenetic and Genome Res.. 107:160-71.
Bird, JG, Nickels BE, Ebright RH.  2017.  RNA Capping by Transcription Initiation with Non-canonical Initiating Nucleotides (NCINs): Determination of Relative Efficiencies of Transcription Initiation with NCINs and NTPs.. Bio-protocol. 7(12) Abstract
It recently has been established that adenine-containing cofactors, including nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)), reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), and 3'-desphospho-coenzyme A (dpCoA), can serve as 'non-canonical initiating nucleotides' (NCINs) for transcription initiation by bacterial and eukaryotic cellular RNA polymerases (RNAPs) and that the efficiency of the reaction is determined by promoter sequence (Bird et al., 2016). Here we describe a protocol to quantify the relative efficiencies of transcription initiation using an NCIN vs. transcription initiation using a nucleoside triphosphate (NTP) for a given promoter sequence.
Bird, JG, Zhang Y, Tian Y, Panova N, Barvík I, Greene L, Liu M, Buckley B, Krásný L, Lee JK et al..  2016.  The mechanism of RNA 5′ capping with NAD+, NADH, and desphospho-CoA. Nature. 535(7612):444-447.
Bird, JG, Zhang Y, Tian Y, Panova N, Barvík I, Greene L, Liu M, Buckley B, Krásný L, Lee JK et al..  2016.  The mechanism of RNA 5' capping with NAD(+), NADH and desphospho-CoA.. Nature. 525(7612):444-447. Abstract
The chemical nature of the 5' end of RNA is a key determinant of RNA stability, processing, localization and translation efficiency, and has been proposed to provide a layer of 'epitranscriptomic' gene regulation. Recently it has been shown that some bacterial RNA species carry a 5'-end structure reminiscent of the 5' 7-methylguanylate 'cap' in eukaryotic RNA. In particular, RNA species containing a 5'-end nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) or 3'-desphospho-coenzyme A (dpCoA) have been identified in both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. It has been proposed that NAD(+), reduced NAD(+) (NADH) and dpCoA caps are added to RNA after transcription initiation, in a manner analogous to the addition of 7-methylguanylate caps. Here we show instead that NAD(+), NADH and dpCoA are incorporated into RNA during transcription initiation, by serving as non-canonical initiating nucleotides (NCINs) for de novo transcription initiation by cellular RNA polymerase (RNAP). We further show that both bacterial RNAP and eukaryotic RNAP II incorporate NCIN caps, that promoter DNA sequences at and upstream of the transcription start site determine the efficiency of NCIN capping, that NCIN capping occurs in vivo, and that NCIN capping has functional consequences. We report crystal structures of transcription initiation complexes containing NCIN-capped RNA products. Our results define the mechanism and structural basis of NCIN capping, and suggest that NCIN-mediated 'ab initio capping' may occur in all organisms.
Blatter, EE, Ebright YW, Ebright RH.  1992.  Identification of an amino acid-base contact in the GCN4-DNA complex by bromouracil-mediated photocrosslinking.. Nature. 359(6396):650-2. Abstract
The bZIP DNA-binding proteins are characterized by a 50-amino-acid DNA binding and dimerization motif, consisting of a highly basic DNA-binding region ('b') followed by a leucine zipper dimerization region ('ZIP'). The best characterized bZIP DNA-binding protein is GCN4, a yeast transcriptional activator. GCN4 binds to a 9-base-pair two-fold-symmetric DNA site, 5'-A-4T-3G-2A-1C0T+1C+2A+3T+4-3' (refs 7-10). A detailed model known as the 'induced helical fork' model has been proposed for the structure of the GCN4-DNA complex. Using a site-specific bromouracil-mediated photocrosslinking method, we show here that the alanine at position 238 of GCN4 contacts, or is close to, the thymine 5-methyl of A.T at position +3 of the DNA site in the GCN4-DNA complex. Our results strongly support the induced helical fork model. Our site-specific bromouracil-mediated photocrosslinking method requires no prior information regarding the structure of the protein or the structure of the protein-DNA complex and should be generalizable to DNA-binding proteins that interact with the DNA major groove.