Vershon, AK, Pierce M.  2000.  Transcriptional Regulation of Meiosis in Yeast. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 12:334-339. Abstract
The genes required for meiosis and sporulation in yeast are expressed at specific points in a highly regulated temporal pathway. Recent experiments using DNA microarrays to examine gene expression during meiosis and the identification of many regulatory factors have provided important advances in our understanding of how genes are regulated at the different stages of meiosis.
Liu, H, Jang JK, Graham J, Nycz K, McKim KS.  2000.  Two genes required for meiotic recombination in Drosophila are expressed from a dicistronic message. Genetics. 154:1735-46. AbstractWebsite
We have isolated two alleles of a previously unidentified meiotic recombination gene, mei-217. Genetic analysis of these mutants shows that mei-217 is a typical "precondition" gene. The phenotypes of the mutants are meiosis specific. The strongest allele has 10% of the normal level of crossing over, and the residual events are distributed abnormally. We have used double mutant analysis to position mei-217 in the meiotic recombination pathway. In general, mutations causing defects in the initiation of meiotic recombination are epistatic to mutations in mei-41 and spnB. These two mutations, however, are epistatic to mei-217, suggesting that recombination is initiated normally in mei-217 mutants. It is likely that mei-217 mutants are able to make Holliday junction intermediates but are defective in the production of crossovers. These phenotypes are most similar to mutants of the mei-218 gene. This is striking because mei-217 and mei-218 are part of the same transcription unit and are most likely produced from a dicistronic message.
Rauskolb, C, Correia T, Irvine KD.  1999.  Fringe-dependent separation of dorsal and ventral cells in the Drosophila wing. Nature. 401:476-80. AbstractWebsite
The separation of cells into populations that do not intermix, termed compartments, is a fundamental organizing principle during development. Dorsal-ventral compartmentalization of the Drosophila wing is regulated downstream of the apterous (ap) gene, which encodes a transcription factor that specifies dorsal wing fate. fringe (fng) is normally expressed by dorsal cells downstream of ap; here we show that fng plays a key role in dorsal-ventral compartmentalization. Loss of fng function causes dorsal cells to violate the compartment boundary, and ectopic expression of the Fng protein causes ventral cells to violate thecompartment boundary. Fng modulates signalling through the Notch receptor. Notch and its ligands are essential for formation of the dorsal-ventral compartment border, and repositioning the stripe of Notch activation that is normally established there appears to reposition the compartment border. However, activation of Notch does not itself confer either dorsal or ventral cell location, and fng can influence compartmentalization even within regions of ubiquitous Notch activation. Our results indicate that the primary mechanism by which fng establishes a compartment border is by positioning a stripe of Notch activation, but also that fng may exert additional influences on compartmentalization.
Rongo, C, Kaplan JM.  1999.  CaMKII regulates the density of central glutamatergic synapses in vivo. Nature. 402:195-9. AbstractWebsite
Synaptic connections undergo a dynamic process of stabilization or elimination during development, and this process is thought to be critical in memory and learning and in establishing the specificity of synaptic connections. The type II calcium- and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMKII) has been proposed to be pivotal in regulating synaptic strength and in maturation of synapses during development. Here we describe how CaMKII regulates the formation of central glutamatergic synapses in Caenorhabditis elegans. During larval development, the density of ventral nerve cord synapses containing the GLR-1 glutamate receptor is held constant despite marked changes in neurite length. The coupling of synapse number to neurite length requires both CaMKII and voltage-gated calcium channels. CaMKII regulates GLR-1 by at least two distinct mechanisms: regulating transport of GLR-1 from cell bodies to neurites; and regulating the addition or maintenance of GLR-1 to postsynaptic elements.
Padgett, RW.  1999.  Intracellular signaling: Fleshing out the TGFβ pathway. Current biology : CB. 9:R408-11. AbstractWebsite
Recent studies of the intracellular signaling pathway initiated by ligands of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) family have provided new insights into how the receptors for such ligands phosphorylate their substrates - the Smads - and how signaling specificity is achieved.
Rauskolb, C, Irvine KD.  1999.  Notch-mediated segmentation and growth control of the Drosophila leg. Developmental Biology. 210:339-50. AbstractWebsite
The possession of segmented appendages is a defining characteristic of the arthropods. By analyzing both loss-of-function and ectopic expression experiments, we show that the Notch signaling pathway plays a fundamental role in the segmentation and growth of the Drosophila leg. Local activation of Notch is necessary and sufficient to promote the formation of joints between segments. This segmentation process requires the participation of the Notch ligands, Serrate and Delta, as well as Fringe. These three proteins are each expressed in the developing leg and antennal imaginal discs in a segmentally repeated pattern that is regulated downstream of the action of Wingless and Decapentaplegic. Our studies further show that Notch activation is both necessary and sufficient to promote leg growth. We also identify target genes regulated both positively and negatively downstream of Notch signaling that are required for normal leg development. Together, these observations outline a regulatory hierarchy for the segmentation and growth of the leg. The Notch pathway is also deployed for segmentation during vertebrate somitogenesis, which raises the possibility of a common origin for the segmentation of these distinct tissues.
Das, P, Maduzia LL, Padgett RW.  1999.  Genetic approaches to TGFβ signaling pathways. Cytokine & growth factor reviews. 10:179-86.Website
Krishna, S, Maduzia L, Padgett R.  1999.  Specificity of TGFβ signaling is conferred by distinct type I receptors and their associated SMAD proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans. Development (Cambridge, England). 126:251-260. AbstractWebsite
In C. elegans, the TGFbeta-like type II receptor daf-4 is required for two distinct signaling pathways. In association with the type I receptor daf-1, it functions in the dauer pathway. In addition, it is also required for body size determination and male tail patterning, roles which do not require daf-1. In an effort to determine how two different signals are transmitted through daf-4, we looked for other potential signaling partners for DAF-4. We have cloned and characterized a novel type I receptor and show that it is encoded by sma-6. Mutations in sma-6 generate the reduced body size (Sma) and abnormal mail tail (Mab) phenotypes identical to those observed in daf-4 and sma-2, sma-3, sma-4 mutants (C. elegans Smads), indicating that they function in a common signaling pathway. However, mutations in sma-6, sma-2, sma-3, or sma-4 do not produce constitutive dauers, which demonstrates that the unique biological functions of daf-4 are mediated by distinct type I receptors functioning in parallel pathways. We propose that the C. elegans model for TGFbeta-like signaling, in which distinct type I receptors determine specificity, may be a general mechanism of achieving specificity in other organisms. These findings distinguish between the manner in which signaling specificity is achieved in TGFbeta-like pathways and receptor tyrosine-kinase (RTK) pathways.
Padgett, RW.  1999.  TGFβ signaling pathways and human diseases. Cancer metastasis reviews. 18:247-59. AbstractWebsite
Recent progress in deciphering the TGFbeta pathway has uncovered a new signaling molecule, the Smads, and with this finding now gives us insights into how TGFbeta-like signals are transmitted from outside the cell to the nucleus. As we learn more about how TGFbeta regulates normal development, we also are gaining insights into diseases that are caused by mis-regulation or mutation of various components of the signaling pathways.
Irvine, KD.  1999.  Fringe, Notch, and making developmental boundaries. Current opinion in genetics & development. 9:434-41. AbstractWebsite
Multiple mechanisms are involved in positioning and restricting specialized dorsal-ventral border cells in the Drosophila wing, including modulation of Notch signaling by Fringe, autonomous inhibition by Notch ligands, and inhibition of Notch target genes by Nubbin. Recent studies have revealed that Fringe also modulates a Notch-mediated signaling process between dorsal and ventral cells in the Drosophila eye, establishing an organizer of eye growth and patterning along the dorsal-ventral midline. Fringe-dependent modulation of Notch signaling also plays a key role in Drosophila leg segmentation and growth. Lunatic Fringe has been shown to be required for vertebrate somitogenesis, where it appears to act as a crucial link between a molecular clock and the regulation of Notch signaling.
Busby, S, Ebright RH.  1999.  Transcription activation by catabolite activator protein (CAP).. Journal of molecular biology. 293(2):199-213. Abstract
Transcription activation by Escherichia coli catabolite activator protein (CAP) at each of two classes of simple CAP-dependent promoters is understood in structural and mechanistic detail. At class I CAP-dependent promoters, CAP activates transcription from a DNA site located upstream of the DNA site for RNA polymerase holoenzyme (RNAP); at these promoters, transcription activation involves protein-protein interactions between CAP and the RNAP alpha subunit C-terminal domain that facilitate binding of RNAP to promoter DNA to form the RNAP-promoter closed complex. At class II CAP-dependent promoters, CAP activates transcription from a DNA site that overlaps the DNA site for RNAP; at these promoters, transcription activation involves both: (i) protein-protein interactions between CAP and RNAP alpha subunit C-terminal domain that facilitate binding of RNAP to promoter DNA to form the RNAP-promoter closed complex; and (ii) protein-protein interactions between CAP and RNAP alpha subunit N-terminal domain that facilitates isomerization of the RNAP-promoter closed complex to the RNAP-promoter open complex. Straightforward combination of the mechanisms for transcription activation at class I and class II CAP-dependent promoters permits synergistic transcription activation by multiple molecules of CAP, or by CAP and other activators. Interference with determinants of CAP or RNAP involved in transcription activation at class I and class II CAP-dependent promoters permits "anti-activation" by negative regulators. Basic features of transcription activation at class I and class II CAP-dependent promoters appear to be generalizable to other activators.
Harrison-McMonagle, P, Denissova N, Martínez-Hackert E, Ebright RH, Stock AM.  1999.  Orientation of OmpR monomers within an OmpR:DNA complex determined by DNA affinity cleaving.. Journal of molecular biology. 285(2):555-66. Abstract
Escherichia coli OmpR is a transcription factor that regulates the differential expression of the porin genes ompF and ompC. Phosphorylated OmpR binds as a dimer to a 20-bp region of DNA consisting of two tandemly arranged 10-bp half-sites. Expression of the ompF gene is achieved by the hierarchical occupation of three adjacent 20-bp binding sites, designated F1, F2, and F3 and a distally located site, F4. Despite genetic, biochemical, and structural studies, specific details of the interaction between phosphorylated OmpR and the DNA remain unknown. We have linked the DNA cleaving moiety o-phenanthroline-copper to eight different sites within the DNA binding domain of OmpR in order to determine the orientation of the two OmpR monomers in the OmpR:F1 complex. Five of the resulting conjugates exhibited DNA cleaving activity, and four of these yielded patterns that could be used to construct a model of the OmpR:F1 complex. We propose that OmpR binds asymmetrically to the F1 site as a tandemly arranged dimer with each monomer having its recognition helix in the major groove. The N-terminal end of the recognition helix is promoter-proximal and flanked by "wings" W1 and W2 positioned proximally and distally, respectively, to the transcription start site of ompF. We further propose that the C-terminal end of the recognition helix makes the most extensive contacts with DNA and predict bases within the F1 site that are sufficiently close to be contacted by the recognition helix.
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.
Messing, J, Grossniklaus U.  1999.  Genomic imprinting in plants. Results and problems in cell differentiation. 25:23-40.Website
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.
Sekelsky, JJ, McKim KS, Messina L, French RL, Hurley WD, Arbel T, Chin GM, Deneen B, Force SJ, Hari KL et al..  1999.  Identification of novel Drosophila meiotic genes recovered in a P- element screen. Genetics. 152:529-42. AbstractWebsite
The segregation of homologous chromosomes from one another is the essence of meiosis. In many organisms, accurate segregation is ensured by the formation of chiasmata resulting from crossing over. Drosophila melanogaster females use this type of recombination-based system, but they also have mechanisms for segregating achiasmate chromosomes with high fidelity. We describe a P-element mutagenesis and screen in a sensitized genetic background to detect mutations that impair meiotic chromosome pairing, recombination, or segregation. Our screen identified two new recombination-deficient mutations: mei-P22, which fully eliminates meiotic recombination, and mei-P26, which decreases meiotic exchange by 70% in a polar fashion. We also recovered an unusual allele of the ncd gene, whose wild-type product is required for proper structure and function of the meiotic spindle. However, the screen yielded primarily mutants specifically defective in the segregation of achiasmate chromosomes. Although most of these are alleles of previously undescribed genes, five were in the known genes alphaTubulin67C, CycE, push, and Trl. The five mutations in known genes produce novel phenotypes for those genes.
Zhong, H, McCord R, Vershon AK.  1999.  Identification of Target Sites of the Alpha2-Mcm1 Repressor Complex in the Yeast Genome. Genome Res. 9:1040-1047. Abstract
The alpha2 and Mcm1 proteins bind DNA as a heterotetramer to repress transcription of cell-type-specific genes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Based on the DNA sequence requirements for binding by the alpha2-Mcm1 complex, we have searched the yeast genome for all potential alpha2-Mcm1 binding sites. Genes adjacent to the sites were examined for expression in the different cell mating types. These sites were further analyzed by cloning the sequences into a heterologous promoter and assaying for alpha2-Mcm1-dependent repression in vivo and DNA-binding affinity in vitro. Fifty-nine potential binding sites were identified in the search. Thirty-seven sites are located within or downstream of coding region of the gene. None of the sites assayed from this group are functional repressor sites in vivo or bound by the alpha2-Mcm1 complex in vitro. Among the remaining 22 sites, six are in the promoters of known alpha-specific genes and two other sites have an alpha2-Mcm1-dependent role in determining the direction of mating type switching. Among the remaining sequences, we have identified a functional site located in the promoter region of a previously uncharacterized gene, SCYJL170C. This site functions to repress transcription of a heterologous promoter and the alpha2-Mcm1 complex binds to the site in vitro. SCYJL170C is repressed by alpha2-Mcm1 in vivo and therefore using this method we have identified a new a-specific gene, which we call ASG7.
Xie, J, Pierce M, Gailus-Durner V, Wagner M, Winter E, Vershon AK.  1999.  Sum1 and Hst1 Repress Middle Sporulation-specific gene Expression During Mitosis in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. EMBO J. 18:6448-6454. Abstract
Meiotic development in yeast is characterized by the sequential induction of temporally distinct classes of genes. Genes that are induced at the middle stages of the pathway share a promoter element, termed the middle sporulation element (MSE), which interacts with the Ndt80 transcriptional activator. We have found that a subclass of MSEs are strong repressor sites during mitosis. SUM1 and HST1, genes previously associated with transcriptional silencing, are required for MSE-mediated repression. Sum1 binds specifically in vitro to MSEs that function as strong repressor sites in vivo. Repression by Sum1 is gene specific and does not extend to neighboring genes. These results suggest that mechanisms used to silence large regions of chromatin may also be used to regulate the expression of specific genes during development. NDT80 is regulated during mitosis by both the Sum1 and Ume6 repressors. These results suggest that progression through sporulation may be controlled by the regulated competition between the Sum1 repressor and Ndt80 activator at key MSEs.
Jin, Y, Zhong H, Vershon AK.  1999.  The Yeast a1 and Alpha2 Homeodomain Proteins do not Contribute Equally to Heterodimeric DNa Binding. Mol Cell Biol. 19:585-593. Abstract
In diploid cells of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the alpha2 and a1 homeodomain proteins bind cooperatively to sites in the promoters of haploid cell-type-specific genes (hsg) to repress their expression. Although both proteins bind to the DNA, in the alpha2 homeodomain substitutions of residues that are involved in contacting the DNA have little or no effect on repression in vivo or cooperative DNA binding with a1 protein in vitro. This result brings up the question of the contribution of each protein in the heterodimer complex to the DNA-binding affinity and specificity. To determine the requirements for the a1-alpha2 homeodomain DNA recognition, we systematically introduced single base-pair substitutions in an a1-alpha2 DNA-binding site and examined their effects on repression in vivo and DNA binding in vitro. Our results show that nearly all substitutions that significantly decrease repression and DNA-binding affinity are at positions which are specifically contacted by either the alpha2 or a1 protein. Interestingly, an alpha2 mutant lacking side chains that make base-specific contacts in the major groove is able to discriminate between the wild-type and mutant DNA sites with the same sequence specificity as the wild-type protein. These results suggest that the specificity of alpha2 DNA binding in complex with a1 does not rely solely on the residues that make base-specific contacts. We have also examined the contribution of the a1 homeodomain to the binding affinity and specificity of the complex. In contrast to the lack of a defective phenotype produced by mutations in the alpha2 homeodomain, many of the alanine substitutions of residues in the a1 homeodomain have large effects on a1-alpha2-mediated repression and DNA binding. This result shows that the two proteins do not make equal contributions to the DNA-binding affinity of the complex.
Papayannopoulos, V, Tomlinson A, Panin VM, Rauskolb C, Irvine KD.  1998.  Dorsal-ventral signaling in the Drosophila eye. Science. 281:2031-4. AbstractWebsite
The development of the Drosophila eye has served as a model system for investigations of tissue patterning and cell-cell communication; however, early eye development has not been well understood. The results presented here indicate that specialized cells are established along the dorsal-ventral midline of the developing eye by Notch-mediated signaling between dorsal and ventral cells, and that Notch activation at the midline plays an essential role both in promoting the growth of the eye primordia and in regulating eye patterning. These observations imply that the developmental homology between Drosophila wings and vertebrate limbs extends to Drosophila eyes.
Rongo, C, Whitfield CW, Rodal A, Kim SK, Kaplan JM.  1998.  LIN-10 is a shared component of the polarized protein localization pathways in neurons and epithelia. Cell. 94:751-9. AbstractWebsite
We tested the model that neurons and epithelial cells use a shared mechanism for polarized protein sorting by comparing the pathways for localizing basolateral and postsynaptic proteins in C. elegans. GLR-1 glutamate receptors are localized to postsynaptic elements of central synapses and, when ectopically expressed, to basolateral membranes of epithelial cells. Proper localization of GLR-1 in both neurons and epithelia requires the PDZ protein LIN-10, defining LIN-10 as a shared component of the basolateral and postsynaptic localization pathways. Changing the GLR-1 carboxy-terminal sequence from a group I PDZ-binding consensus (-TAV) to a group II consensus (-FYV) restores GLR-1 synaptic localization in lin-10 mutants. Thus, these interneurons utilize at least two separate postsynaptic localization pathways.
Padgett, RW, Das P, Krishna S.  1998.  TGFβ Signaling, Smads, and Tumor Suppressors. BioEssays. 20:382-390.
Padgett, RW, Das P, Krishna S.  1998.  TGF-β signaling, Smads, and tumor suppressors. BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology. 20:382-90. AbstractWebsite
The transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily is used throughout animal development for regulating the growth and patterning of many tissue types. During the past few years, rapid progress has been made in deciphering how TGF-beta signals are transduced from outside the cell to the nucleus. This progress is based on biochemical studies in vertebrate systems and a combination of genetic studies in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans. These studies have identified a novel family of signaling proteins, the Smad family. Smads can act positively and be phosphorylated by TGF-beta-like receptors or can act negatively and prevent activation of the positively acting group. The positively acting Smads translocate to the nucleus, bind DNA, and act as transcriptional activators. Thus, genetic and biochemical studies suggest a very simple signaling pathway, in which Smads are the primary downstream participant.
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.