Publications

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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.
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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.
Maduzia, LL, Roberts AF, Wang H, Lin X, Chin LJ, Zimmerman CM, Cohen S, Feng X-H, Padgett RW.  2005.  C. elegans serine-threonine kinase KIN-29 modulates TGFβ signaling and regulates body size formation. BMC developmental biology. 5:8. AbstractWebsite
BACKGROUND: In C. elegans there are two well-defined TGFbeta-like signaling pathways. The Sma/Mab pathway affects body size morphogenesis, male tail development and spicule formation while the Daf pathway regulates entry into and exit out of the dauer state. To identify additional factors that modulate TGFbeta signaling in the Sma/Mab pathway, we have undertaken a genetic screen for small animals and have identified kin-29. RESULTS: kin-29 encodes a protein with a cytoplasmic serine-threonine kinase and a novel C-terminal domain. The kinase domain is a distantly related member of the EMK (ELKL motif kinase) family, which interacts with microtubules. We show that the serine-threonine kinase domain has in vitro activity. kin-29 mutations result in small animals, but do not affect male tail morphology as do several of the Sma/Mab signal transducers. Adult worms are smaller than the wild-type, but also develop more slowly. Rescue by kin-29 is achieved by expression in neurons or in the hypodermis. Interaction with the dauer pathway is observed in double mutant combinations, which have been seen with Sma/Mab pathway mutants. We show that kin-29 is epistatic to the ligand dbl-1, and lies upstream of the Sma/Mab pathway target gene, lon-1. CONCLUSION: kin-29 is a new modulator of the Sma/Mab pathway. It functions in neurons and in the hypodermis to regulate body size, but does not affect all TGFbeta outputs, such as tail morphogenesis.
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.
Savage, C, Das P, Finelli A, Townsend S, Sun C, Baird S, Padgett R.  1996.  Caenorhabditis elegans genes sma-2, sma-3, and sma-4 define a conserved family of transforming growth factor β pathway components. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 93:790-794. AbstractWebsite
Although transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) superfamily ligands play critical roles in diverse developmental processes, how cells transduce signals from these ligands is still poorly understood. Cell surface receptors for these ligands have been identified, but their cytoplasmic targets are unknown. We have identified three Caenorhabditis elegans genes, sma-2, sma-3, and sma-4, that have mutant phenotypes similar to those of the TGF-beta-like receptor gene daf-4, indicating that they are required for daf-4-mediated developmental processes. We show that sma-2 functions in the same cells as daf-4, consistent with a role in transducing signals from the receptor. These three genes define a protein family, the dwarfins, that includes the Mad gene product, which participates in the decapentaplegic TGF-beta-like pathway in Drosophila [Sekelsky, J. J., Newfeld, S. J., Raftery, L. A., Chartoff, E. H. & Gelbart, W. M. (1995) Genetics 139, 1347-1358]. The identification of homologous components of these pathways in distantly related organisms suggests that dwarfins may be universally required for TGF-beta-like signal transduction. In fact, we have isolated highly conserved dwarfins from vertebrates, indicating that these components are not idiosyncratic to invertebrates. These analyses suggest that dwarfins are conserved cytoplasmic signal transducers.
Jauregui, AR, Nguyen KCQ, Hall DH, Barr MM.  2008.  The Caenorhabditis Elegans Nephrocystins act as Global Modifiers of Cilium Structure. J Cell Biol. 180:973-988. Abstract
Nephronophthisis (NPHP) is the most common genetic cause of end-stage renal disease in children and young adults. In Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Caenorhabditis elegans, and mammals, the NPHP1 and NPHP4 gene products nephrocystin-1 and nephrocystin-4 localize to basal bodies or ciliary transition zones (TZs), but their function in this location remains unknown. We show here that loss of C. elegans NPHP-1 and NPHP-4 from TZs is tolerated in developing cilia but causes changes in localization of specific ciliary components and a broad range of subtle axonemal ultrastructural defects. In amphid channel cilia, nphp-4 mutations cause B tubule defects that further disrupt intraflagellar transport (IFT). We propose that NPHP-1 and NPHP-4 act globally at the TZ to regulate ciliary access of the IFT machinery, axonemal structural components, and signaling molecules, and that perturbing this balance results in cell type-specific phenotypes.