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Niu, W, Zhou Y, Dong Q, Ebright YW, Ebright RH.  1994.  Characterization of the activating region of Escherichia coli catabolite gene activator protein (CAP). I. Saturation and alanine-scanning mutagenesis.. Journal of molecular biology. 243(4):595-602. Abstract
It has been proposed that the surface loop consisting of amino acid residues 152 to 166 of the catabolite gene activator protein (CAP) of Escherichia coli makes direct protein-protein contact with RNA polymerase at the lac promoter. In this work, we have used targeted saturation mutagenesis of codons 152 to 166 of the gene encoding CAP, followed by a screen, to isolate more than 200 independent mutants of CAP defective in transcription activation but not defective in DNA binding. All isolated single-substitution mutants map to just eight amino acid residues; 156, 157, 158, 159, 160, 162, 163 and 164. We propose that these residues define the full extent of the epitope on CAP for the proposed CAP-RNA polymerase interaction. In addition, we have constructed alanine substitutions at each position from residue 152 to 166 of CAP, and we have analyzed the effects on transcription activation at the lac promoter and on DNA binding. Alanine substitution of Thr158 results in an approximately eightfold specific defect in transcription activation. In contrast, alanine substitution of no other residue tested results in a more than twofold specific defect in transcription activation. We conclude that, for Thr158, side-chain atoms beyond C beta are essential for transcription activation at the lac promoter, and we propose that Thr158 OH7 gamma makes direct contact with RNA polymerase in the ternary complex of lac promoter, CAP and RNA polymerase. We conclude further that for no residue other than Thr158 are side-chain atoms beyond C beta essential for transcription activation at the lac promoter.
Zhou, Y, Merkel TJ, Ebright RH.  1994.  Characterization of the activating region of Escherichia coli catabolite gene activator protein (CAP). II. Role at Class I and class II CAP-dependent promoters.. Journal of molecular biology. 243(4):603-10. Abstract
CAP-dependent promoters can be divided into classes based on the position of the DNA site for CAP. In class I CAP-dependent promoters, the DNA site for CAP is located upstream of the DNA site for polymerase; the DNA site for CAP can be located at various distances from the transcription start point, provided that the DNS site for CAP and the DNA site for RNA polymerase are on the same face of the DNA helix. In class II CAP-dependent promoters, the DNA site for CAP overlaps the DNA site for RNA polymerase, replacing the -35 determinants for binding of RNA polymerase. In previous work, we have shown that a surface loop consisting of amino acid residues 152 to 166 of CAP is essential for transcription activation at the best-characterized class I CAP-dependent promoter, the lac promoter, and we proposed that this surface loop makes direct protein-protein contact with RNA polymerase in the ternary complex of lac promoter, CAP, and RNA polymerase. Here, we show that the surface loop consisting of amino acid residues 152 to 166 is essential for transcription activation at other class I CAP-dependent promoters and at a class II CAP-dependent promoter. We show further that the effects of alanine substitutions of residues 152 to 166 are qualitatively identical at the lac promoter and other class I CAP-dependent promoters, but are different at a class II CAP-dependent promoter. We propose that the surface loop consisting of residues 152 to 166 makes identical molecular interactions in transcription activation at all class I CAP-dependent promoters, irrespective of distance between the DNA site for CAP and the transcription start point, but makes a different set of molecular interactions in transcription activation at class II CAP-dependent promoters.
Lai, J, Dey N, Kim CS, Bharti AK, Rudd S, Mayer KF, Larkins BA, Becraft P, Messing J.  2004.  Characterization of the maize endosperm transcriptome and its comparison to the rice genome. Genome research. 14:1932-7. AbstractWebsite
The cereal endosperm is a major organ of the seed and an important component of the world's food supply. To understand the development and physiology of the endosperm of cereal seeds, we focused on the identification of genes expressed at various times during maize endosperm development. We constructed several cDNA libraries to identify full-length clones and subjected them to a twofold enrichment. A total of 23,348 high-quality sequence-reads from 5'- and 3'-ends of cDNAs were generated and assembled into a unigene set representing 5326 genes with paired sequence-reads. Additional sequencing yielded a total of 3160 (59%) completely sequenced, full-length cDNAs. From 5326 unigenes, 4139 (78%) can be aligned with 5367 predicted rice genes and by taking only the "best hit" be mapped to 3108 positions on the rice genome. The 22% unigenes not present in rice indicate a rapid change of gene content between rice and maize in only 50 million years. Differences in rice and maize gene numbers also suggest that maize has lost a large number of duplicated genes following tetraploidization. The larger number of gene copies in rice suggests that as many as 30% of its genes arose from gene amplification, which would extrapolate to a significant proportion of the estimated 44,027 candidate genes of its entire genome. Functional classification of the maize endosperm unigene set indicated that more than a fourth of the novel functionally assignable genes found in this study are involved in carbohydrate metabolism, consistent with its role as a storage organ.
Lin, C., Shen, B., Xu, Z., Kollner, T. G., Degenhardt, J., Dooner HK.  2008.  Characterization of the monoterpene synthase gene tps26, the ortholog of a gene induced by insect herbivory in maize. Plant Physiol.. 146:940–951. Abstract
Plants damaged by insects can synthesize and release volatile chemicals that attract natural enemies of the herbivore. The maize (Zea mays subsp. mays) terpene synthase gene stc1 is part of that indirect defense response, being induced in seedling blades in response to herbivory by beet army worm. Many genes in maize are duplicated because of a past whole-genome duplication event, and several of these orthologs display different expression patterns. We report here the isolation and characterization of tps26 and confirm by homology and synteny criteria that it is the ortholog of stc1. Prior genetic analysis revealed that the stc1 function is not duplicated, raising the interesting question of how the two orthologs have become differentiated in their expression. tps26 encodes a 633-amino acid protein that is highly conserved with STC1. Like stc1, tps26 is induced by wounding, but in the roots and leaf sheath, instead of the blade, and not in response to beet army worm feeding. tps26 maps near a quantitative trait locus for Southwestern corn borer resistance, making it a plausible candidate gene for that quantitative trait locus. However, while possessing highly polymorphic tps26 alleles, the resistant and susceptible parents of the mapping population do not differ in levels of tps26 expression. Moreover, tps26 is not induced specifically by Southwestern corn borer feeding. Therefore, although they share a wounding response, the stc1 and tps26 maize orthologs differ in their tissue specificity and their induction by insect herbivores. The N termini of STC1 and TPS26 are predicted to encode plastid transit peptides; fusion proteins of green fluorescent protein to either N terminus localized to the plastid, confirming that prediction. The mature proteins, but not the respective complete proteins, were active and synthesized a blend of monoterpenes, indicating that they are monoterpene synthases. A gene closely related to stc1/tps26 is found in the sorghum (Sorghum spp.) genome at a location that is not orthologous with stc1. The possible origin of stc1-like genes is discussed.
Calvino, M., Bruggmann R, Messing J.  2011.  Characterization of the small RNA component of the transcriptome from grain and sweet sorghum stems. BMC Genomics. 12:356. AbstractWebsite
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Sorghum belongs to the tribe of the Andropogoneae that includes potential biofuel crops like switchgrass, Miscanthus and successful biofuel crops like corn and sugarcane. However, from a genomics point of view sorghum has compared to these other species a simpler genome because it lacks the additional rounds of whole genome duplication events. Therefore, it has become possible to generate a high-quality genome sequence. Furthermore, cultivars exists that rival sugarcane in levels of stem sugar so that a genetic approach can be used to investigate which genes are differentially expressed to achieve high levels of stem sugar. RESULTS: Here, we characterized the small RNA component of the transcriptome from grain and sweet sorghum stems, and from F2 plants derived from their cross that segregated for sugar content and flowering time. We found that variation in miR172 and miR395 expression correlated with flowering time whereas variation in miR169 expression correlated with sugar content in stems. Interestingly, genotypic differences in the ratio of miR395 to miR395* were identified, with miR395* species expressed as abundantly as miR395 in sweet sorghum but not in grain sorghum. Finally, we provided experimental evidence for previously annotated miRNAs detecting the expression of 25 miRNA families from the 27 known and discovered 9 new miRNAs candidates in the sorghum genome. CONCLUSIONS: Sequencing the small RNA component of sorghum stem tissue provides us with experimental evidence for previously predicted microRNAs in the sorghum genome and microRNAs with a potential role in stem sugar accumulation and flowering time.
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.
Maliga, P.  2014.  Chloroplast Biotechnology: Methods and Protocols. Methods in Molecular Biology. 1132Website
Cardi, T, Lenzi P, Maliga P.  2010.  Chloroplasts as expression platforms for plant-produced vaccines. Expert Rev. Vaccines. 9:893-911. AbstractWebsite
Production of recombinant subunit vaccines from genes incorporated in the plastid genome is advantageous because of the attainable expression level due to high transgene copy number and the absence of gene silencing; biocontainment as a consequence of maternal inheritance of plastids and no transgene presence in the pollen; and expression of multiple transgenes in prokaryotic-like operons. We discuss the core technology of plastid transformation in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a unicellular alga, and Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco), a flowering plant species, and demonstrate the utility of the technology for the production of recombinant vaccine antigens.
Cao, HX, Vu GT, Wang W, Messing J, Schubert I.  2015.  Chromatin organisation in duckweed interphase nuclei in relation to the nuclear DNA content. Plant Biol (Stuttg). 17 Suppl 1:120-4. AbstractWebsite
The accessibility of DNA during fundamental processes, such as transcription, replication and DNA repair, is tightly modulated through a dynamic chromatin structure. Differences in large-scale chromatin structure at the microscopic level can be observed as euchromatic and heterochromatic domains in interphase nuclei. Here, key epigenetic marks, including histone H3 methylation and 5-methylcytosine (5-mC) as a DNA modification, were studied cytologically to describe the chromatin organisation of representative species of the five duckweed genera in the context of their nuclear DNA content, which ranged from 158 to 1881 Mbp. All studied duckweeds, including Spirodela polyrhiza with a genome size and repeat proportion similar to that of Arabidopsis thaliana, showed dispersed distribution of heterochromatin signatures (5mC, H3K9me2 and H3K27me1). This immunolabelling pattern resembles that of early developmental stages of Arabidopsis nuclei, with less pronounced heterochromatin chromocenters and heterochromatic marks weakly dispersed throughout the nucleus.
Radford, SJ, Nguyen AL, Schindler K, McKim KS.  2016.  The chromosomal basis of meiotic acentrosomal spindle assembly and function in oocytes.. Chromosoma. Abstract
Several aspects of meiosis are impacted by the absence of centrosomes in oocytes. Here, we review four aspects of meiosis I that are significantly affected by the absence of centrosomes in oocyte spindles. One, microtubules tend to assemble around the chromosomes. Two, the organization of these microtubules into a bipolar spindle is directed by the chromosomes. Three, chromosome bi-orientation and attachment to microtubules from the correct pole require modification of the mechanisms used in mitotic cells. Four, chromosome movement to the poles at anaphase cannot rely on polar anchoring of spindle microtubules by centrosomes. Overall, the chromosomes are more active participants during acentrosomal spindle assembly in oocytes, compared to mitotic and male meiotic divisions where centrosomes are present. The chromosomes are endowed with information that can direct the meiotic divisions and dictate their own behavior in oocytes. Processes beyond those known from mitosis appear to be required for their bi-orientation at meiosis I. As mitosis occurs without centrosomes in many systems other than oocytes, including all plants, the concepts discussed here may not be limited to oocytes. The study of meiosis in oocytes has revealed mechanisms that are operating in mitosis and will probably continue to do so.
McKim, KS, Hawley RS.  1995.  Chromosomal control of meiotic cell division. Science. 270:1595-1601.
Radford, SJ, Jang JK, McKim KS.  2012.  The Chromosomal Passenger Complex is required for Meiotic Acentrosomal Spindle Assembly and Chromosome Bi-orientation. Genetics. 192:417-429. AbstractWebsite
During meiosis in the females of many species, spindle assembly occurs in the absence of the microtubule-organizing centers called centrosomes. In the absence of centrosomes, the nature of the chromosome-based signal that recruits microtubules to promote spindle assembly as well as how spindle bipolarity is established and the chromosomes orient correctly towards the poles is not known. To address these questions, we focused on the chromosomal passenger complex (CPC). We have found that the CPC localizes in a ring around the meiotic chromosomes that is aligned with the axis of the spindle at all stages. Using new methods which dramatically increase the effectiveness of RNAi in the germline, we show that the CPC interacts with Drosophila oocyte chromosomes and is required for the assembly of spindle microtubules. Furthermore, chromosome bi-orientation and the localization of the central spindle kinesin-6 protein Subito, which is required for spindle bipolarity, depend on the CPC components Aurora B and Incenp. Based on these data we propose that the ring of CPC around the chromosomes regulates multiple aspects of meiotic cell division including spindle assembly, the establishment of bipolarity, the recruitment of important spindle organization factors, and the bi-orientation of homologous chromosomes.
McKim, KS, Rose AM.  1990.  Chromosome I duplications in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics. 124:115-32.Website
Bae, Y-K, Kim E, L'hernault SW, Barr MM.  2009.  The CIL-1 PI 5-phosphatase Localizes TRP Polycystins to Cilia and Activates Sperm in C. Elegans. Curr Biol. 19:1599-1607. Abstract
C. elegans male sexual behaviors include chemotaxis and response to hermaphrodites, backing, turning, vulva location, spicule insertion, and sperm transfer, culminating in cross-fertilization of hermaphrodite oocytes with male sperm. The LOV-1 and PKD-2 transient receptor potential polycystin (TRPP) complex localizes to ciliated endings of C. elegans male-specific sensory neurons and mediates several aspects of male mating behavior. TRPP complex ciliary localization and sensory function are evolutionarily conserved. A genetic screen for C. elegans mutants with PKD-2 ciliary localization (Cil) defects led to the isolation of a mutation in the cil-1 gene.
Yang, M, Lee J-E, Padgett RW, Edery I.  2008.  Circadian regulation of a limited set of conserved microRNAs in Drosophila. BMC Genomics. 9:83. AbstractWebsite
BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNA molecules that target mRNAs to control gene expression by attenuating the translational efficiency and stability of transcripts. They are found in a wide variety of organisms, from plants to insects and humans. Here, we use Drosophila to investigate the possibility that circadian clocks regulate the expression of miRNAs. RESULTS: We used a microarray platform to survey the daily levels of D. melanogaster miRNAs in adult heads of wildtype flies and the arrhythmic clock mutant cyc01. We find two miRNAs (dme-miR-263a and -263b) that exhibit robust daily changes in abundance in wildtype flies that are abolished in the cyc01 mutant. dme-miR-263a and -263b reach trough levels during the daytime, peak during the night and their levels are constitutively elevated in cyc01 flies. A similar pattern of cycling is also observed in complete darkness, further supporting circadian regulation. In addition, we identified several miRNAs that appear to be constitutively expressed but nevertheless differ in overall daily levels between control and cyc01 flies. CONCLUSION: The circadian clock regulates miRNA expression in Drosophila, although this appears to be highly restricted to a small number of miRNAs. A common mechanism likely underlies daily changes in the levels of dme-miR-263a and -263b. Our results suggest that cycling miRNAs contribute to daily changes in mRNA and/or protein levels in Drosophila. Intriguingly, the mature forms of dme-miR-263a and -263b are very similar in sequence to several miRNAs recently shown to be under circadian regulation in the mouse retina, suggesting conserved functions.
O’Malley, RC, Huang SC, Song L, Lewsey MG, Bartlett A, Nery JR, Galli M, Gallavotti A, Ecker JR.  2016.  Cistrome and epicistrome features shape the regulatory DNA landscape. Cell. 165:1280-1292. AbstractWebsite
The cistrome is the complete set of transcription factor (TF) binding sites (cis-elements) in an organism, while an epicistrome incorporates tissue-specific DNA chemical modifications and TF-specific chemical sensitivities into these binding profiles. Robust methods to construct comprehensive cistrome and epicistrome maps are critical for elucidating complex transcriptional networks that underlie growth, behavior, and disease. Here, we describe DNA affinity purification sequencing (DAP-seq), a high-throughput TF binding site discovery method that interrogates genomic DNA with in-vitro-expressed TFs. Using DAP-seq, we defined the Arabidopsis cistrome by resolving motifs and peaks for 529 TFs. Because genomic DNA used in DAP-seq retains 5-methylcytosines, we determined that >75% (248/327) of Arabidopsis TFs surveyed were methylation sensitive, a property that strongly impacts the epicistrome landscape. DAP-seq datasets also yielded insight into the biology and binding site architecture of numerous TFs, demonstrating the value of DAP-seq for cost-effective cistromic and epicistromic annotation in any organism.
Severinov, K, Semenova E, Kazakov T.  2011.  Class I microcins: Their structures activities, and mechanisms of resistance. Prokaryotic Antimicrobial Peptides: from Genes to Applications. :289-308.
Swigonova, Z, Lai J, Ma J, Ramakrishna W, Llaca V, Bennetzen JL, Messing J.  2004.  Close split of sorghum and maize genome progenitors. Genome research. 14:1916-23. AbstractWebsite
It is generally believed that maize (Zea mays L. ssp. mays) arose as a tetraploid; however, the two progenitor genomes cannot be unequivocally traced within the genome of modern maize. We have taken a new approach to investigate the origin of the maize genome. We isolated and sequenced large genomic fragments from the regions surrounding five duplicated loci from the maize genome and their orthologous loci in sorghum, and then we compared these sequences with the orthologous regions in the rice genome. Within the studied segments, we identified 11 genes that were conserved in location, order, and orientation. We performed phylogenetic and distance analyses and examined the patterns of estimated times of divergence for sorghum and maize gene orthologs and also the time of divergence for maize orthologs. Our results support a tetraploid origin of maize. This analysis also indicates contemporaneous divergence of the ancestral sorghum genome and the two maize progenitor genomes about 11.9 million years ago (Mya). On the basis of a putative conversion event detected for one of the genes, tetraploidization must have occurred before 4.8 Mya, and therefore, preceded the major maize genome expansion by gene amplification and retrotransposition.
Dismukes, CG, McNeely K, Robinson DM, Sheats JE.  2011.  A Co4O4 "cubane" water oxidation catalyst inspired by photosynthesis.. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 133(30):11446-9. Abstract
Herein we describe the molecular Co(4)O(4) cubane complex Co(4)O(4)(OAc)(4)(py)(4) (1), which catalyzes efficient water oxidizing activity when powered by a standard photochemical oxidation source or electrochemical oxidation. The pH dependence of catalysis, the turnover frequency, and in situ monitoring of catalytic species have revealed the intrinsic capabilities of this core type. The catalytic activity of complex 1 and analogous Mn(4)O(4) cubane complexes is attributed to the cubical core topology, which is analogous to that of nature's water oxidation catalyst, a cubical CaMn(4)O(5) cluster.
McCool, NS, Robinson DM, Sheats JE, Dismukes CG.  2011.  A Co4O4 “Cubane” Water Oxidation Catalyst Inspired by Photosynthesis. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 133:11446-11449. AbstractWebsite
Mani, M, Goyal S, Irvine KD, Shraiman BI.  2013.  Collective polarization model for gradient sensing via Dachsous-Fat intercellular signaling.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. AbstractWebsite
Dachsous-Fat signaling via the Hippo pathway influences proliferation during Drosophila development, and some of its mammalian homologs are tumor suppressors, highlighting its role as a universal growth regulator. The Fat/Hippo pathway responds to morphogen gradients and influences the in-plane polarization of cells and orientation of divisions, linking growth with tissue patterning. Remarkably, the Fat pathway transduces a growth signal through the polarization of transmembrane complexes that responds to both morphogen level and gradient. Dissection of these complex phenotypes requires a quantitative model that provides a systematic characterization of the pathway. In the absence of detailed knowledge of molecular interactions, we take a phenomenological approach that considers a broad class of simple models, which are sufficiently constrained by observations to enable insight into possible mechanisms. We predict two modes of local/cooperative interactions among Fat-Dachsous complexes, which are necessary for the collective polarization of tissues and enhanced sensitivity to weak gradients. Collective polarization convolves level and gradient of input signals, reproducing known phenotypes while generating falsifiable predictions. Our construction of a simplified signal transduction map allows a generalization of the positional value model and emphasizes the important role intercellular interactions play in growth and patterning of tissues.
Chatterjee, M, Liu Q, Menello C, Galli M, Gallavotti A.  2017.  The Combined Action of Duplicated Boron Transporters Is Required for Maize Growth in Boron Deficient Conditions. Genetics. 206:2041-2051. AbstractWebsite
The micronutrient boron is essential in maintaining the structure of plant cell walls and is critical for high yields in crop species. Boron can move into plants by diffusion or by active and facilitated transport mechanisms. We recently showed that mutations in the maize boron efflux transporter ROTTEN EAR (RTE) cause severe developmental defects and sterility. RTE is part of a small gene family containing five additional members (RTE2-RTE6) that show tissue specific expression. The close paralogous gene RTE2 encodes a protein with 95% amino acid identity with RTE and is similarly expressed in shoot and root cells surrounding the vasculature. Despite sharing similar functions with RTE, mutations in the RTE2 gene do not cause growth defects in the shoot, even in boron deficient conditions. However, rte2 mutants strongly enhance the rte phenotype in soils with low boron content, producing shorter plants that fail to form all reproductive structures. The joint action of RTE and RTE2 is also required in root development. These defects can be fully complemented by supplying boric acid, suggesting that diffusion or additional transport mechanisms overcome active boron transport deficiencies in the presence of an excess of boron. Overall, these results suggest that RTE2 and RTE function are essential for maize shoot and root growth in boron deficient conditions.
Nagaraj, VH, O'Flanagan RA, Bruning AR, Mathias JR, Vershon AK, Sengupta AM.  2004.  Combined Analysis of Expression data and Transcription Factor Binding Sites in the Yeast Genome. BMC Genomics. 5:59-59. Abstract
The analysis of gene expression using DNA microarrays provides genome wide profiles of the genes controlled by the presence or absence of a specific transcription factor. However, the question arises of whether a change in the level of transcription of a specific gene is caused by the transcription factor acting directly at the promoter of the gene or through regulation of other transcription factors working at the promoter.