Publications

2014
Yamamuro, C, Miki D, Zheng Z, Wang J, Dong J, Zhu JK.  2014.  Overproduction of stomatal lineage cells in Arabidopsis mutants defective in active DNA demethylation.. Nature Commun.. 5(5):4062.
Tungsuchat-Huang, T, Maliga P.  2014.  Plastid marker gene excision in greenhouse-grown tobacco by Agrobacterium-delivered Cre recombinase. Chloroplast Biotechnology. 1132:205-220. Abstract
Uniform transformation of the thousands of plastid genome (ptDNA) copies in a cell is driven by selection for plastid markers. When each of the plastid genome copies is uniformly altered, the marker gene is no longer needed. Plastid markers have been efficiently excised by site-specific recombinases expressed from nuclear genes either by transforming tissue culture cells or introducing the genes by pollination. Here we describe a protocol for the excision of plastid marker genes directly in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) plants by the Cre recombinase. Agrobacterium encoding the recombinase on its T-DNA is injected at an axillary bud site of a decapitated plant, forcing shoot regeneration at the injection site. The excised plastid marker, the bar au gene, confers a visual aurea leaf phenotype; thus marker excision via the flanking recombinase target sites is recognized by the restoration of normal green color of the leaves. The bar au marker-free plastids are transmitted through seed to the progeny. PCR and DNA gel blot (Southern) protocols to confirm transgene integration and plastid marker excision are also provided herein.
Maliga, P, Tungsuchat-Huang T.  2014.  Plastid transformation in Nicotiana tabacum and Nicotiana sylvestris by biolistic DNA delivery to leaves. Chloroplast Biotechnology: Methods and Protocols. 1132:147-163. Abstract
The protocol we report here is based on biolistic delivery of the transforming DNA to tobacco leaves, selection of transplastomic clones by spectinomycin resistance and regeneration of plants with uniformly transformed plastid genomes. Because the plastid genome of Nicotiana tabacum derives from Nicotiana sylvestris, and the two genomes are highly conserved, vectors developed for N. tabacum can be used in N. sylvestris. Also, the tissue culture responses of N. tabacum cv. Petit Havana and N. sylvestris accession TW137 are similar, allowing plastid engineering protocols developed for N. tabacum to be directly applied to N. sylvestris. However, the tissue culture protocol is applicable only in a subset of N. tabacum cultivars. Here we highlight differences between the protocols for the two species. We describe updated vectors targeting insertions in the unique and repeated regions of the plastid genome as well as systems for marker excision. The simpler genetics of the diploid N. sylvestris, as opposed to the allotetraploid N. tabacum, make it an attractive model for plastid transformation.
Wu, Y, Messing J.  2014.  Proteome balancing of the maize seed for higher nutritional value. Front Plant Sci. 5:240. AbstractWebsite
Most flowering plant seeds are composed of the embryo and endosperm, which are surrounded by maternal tissue, in particular the seed coat. Whereas the embryo is the dormant progeny, the endosperm is a terminal organ for storage of sugars and amino acids in proteins and carbohydrates, respectively. Produced in maternal leaves during photosynthesis, sugars, and amino acids are transported to developing seeds after flowering, and during germination they nourish early seedlings growth. Maize endosperm usually contains around 10% protein and 70% starch, and their composition ratio is rather stable, because it is strictly regulated through a pre-set genetic program that is woven by networks of many interacting or counteracting genes and pathways. Endosperm protein, however, is of low nutritional value due mainly to the high expression of the alpha-zein gene family, which encodes lysine-free proteins. Reduced levels of these proteins in the opaque 2 (o2) mutant and alpha-zein RNAi (RNA interference) transgenic seed is compensated by an increase of non-zein proteins, leading to the rebalancing of the nitrogen sink and producing more or less constant levels of total proteins in the seed. The same rebalancing of zeins and non-zeins has been observed for maize seeds bred for 30% protein. In contrast to the nitrogen sink, storage of sulfur is controlled through the accumulation of specialized sulfur-rich proteins in maize endosperm. Silencing the synthesis of alpha-zeins through RNAi fails to raise sulfur-rich proteins. Although overexpression of the methionine-rich delta-zein can increase the methionine level in seeds, it occurs at least in part at the expense of the cysteine-rich beta- and gamma-zeins, demonstrating a balance between cysteine and methionine in sulfur storage. Therefore, we propose that the throttle for the flow of sulfur is placed before the synthesis of sulfur amino acids when sulfur is taken up and reduced during photosynthesis.
Codelia, V, Sun G, Irvine KD.  2014.  Regulation of YAP by Mechanical Strain through Jnk and Hippo Signaling. Current Biology. 24:2012-2017.Website
Schifano, JM, Vvedenskaya IO, Knoblauch JG, Ouyang M, Nickels BE, Woychik NA.  2014.  An RNA-seq method for defining endoribonuclease cleavage specificity identifies dual rRNA substrates for toxin MazF-mt3.. Nature Communications. 5:1–11. Abstract
Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems are widespread in prokaryotes. Among these, the mazEF TA system encodes an endoribonucleolytic toxin, MazF, that inhibits growth by sequence-specific cleavage of single-stranded RNA. Defining the physiological targets of a MazF toxin first requires the identification of its cleavage specificity, yet the current toolkit is antiquated and limited. We describe a rapid genome-scale approach, MORE (mapping by overexpression of an RNase in Escherichia coli) RNA-seq, for defining the cleavage specificity of endoribonucleolytic toxins. Application of MORE RNA-seq to MazF-mt3 from Mycobacterium tuberculosis reveals two critical ribosomal targets-the essential, evolutionarily conserved helix/loop 70 of 23S rRNA and the anti-Shine-Dalgarno (aSD) sequence of 16S rRNA. Our findings support an emerging model where both ribosomal and messenger RNAs are principal targets of MazF toxins and suggest that, as in E. coli, removal of the aSD sequence by a MazF toxin modifies ribosomes to selectively translate leaderless mRNAs in M. tuberculosis.
Wang, W, Wu Y, Messing J.  2014.  RNA-Seq transcriptome analysis of Spirodela dormancy without reproduction. BMC Genomics. 15(60) Abstract
Higher plants exhibit a remarkable phenotypic plasticity to adapt to adverse environmental changes. The Greater Duckweed Spirodela, as an aquatic plant, presents exceptional tolerance to cold winters through its dormant structure of turions in place of seeds. Abundant starch in turions permits them to sink and escape the freezing surface of waters. Due to their clonal propagation, they are the fastest growing biomass on earth, providing yet an untapped source for industrial applications.
Wang, W, Wu Y, Messing J.  2014.  RNA-Seq transcriptome analysis of Spirodela dormancy without reproduction. BMC Genomics. 15:60. AbstractWebsite
BACKGROUND: Higher plants exhibit a remarkable phenotypic plasticity to adapt to adverse environmental changes. The Greater Duckweed Spirodela, as an aquatic plant, presents exceptional tolerance to cold winters through its dormant structure of turions in place of seeds. Abundant starch in turions permits them to sink and escape the freezing surface of waters. Due to their clonal propagation, they are the fastest growing biomass on earth, providing yet an untapped source for industrial applications. RESULTS: We used next generation sequencing technology to examine the transcriptome of turion development triggered by exogenous ABA. A total of 208 genes showed more than a 4-fold increase compared with 154 down-regulated genes in developing turions. The analysis of up-regulated differential expressed genes in response to dormancy exposed an enriched interplay among various pathways: signal transduction, seed dehydration, carbohydrate and secondary metabolism, and senescence. On the other side, the genes responsible for rapid growth and biomass accumulation through DNA assembly, protein synthesis and carbon fixation are repressed. Noticeably, three members of late embryogenesis abundant protein family are exclusively expressed during turion formation. High expression level of key genes in starch synthesis are APS1, APL3 and GBSSI, which could artificially be reduced for re-directing carbon flow from photosynthesis to create a higher energy biomass. CONCLUSIONS: The identification and functional annotation of differentially expressed genes open a major step towards understanding the molecular network underlying vegetative frond dormancy. Moreover, genes have been identified that could be engineered in duckweeds for practical applications easing agricultural production of food crops.
Wang, W, Haberer G, Gundlach H, Glasser C, Nussbaumer T, Luo MC, Lomsadze A, Borodovsky M, Kerstetter RA, Shanklin J et al..  2014.  The Spirodela polyrhiza genome reveals insights into its neotenous reduction fast growth and aquatic lifestyle. Nat Commun. 5:3311. AbstractWebsite
The subfamily of the Lemnoideae belongs to a different order than other monocotyledonous species that have been sequenced and comprises aquatic plants that grow rapidly on the water surface. Here we select Spirodela polyrhiza for whole-genome sequencing. We show that Spirodela has a genome with no signs of recent retrotranspositions but signatures of two ancient whole-genome duplications, possibly 95 million years ago (mya), older than those in Arabidopsis and rice. Its genome has only 19,623 predicted protein-coding genes, which is 28% less than the dicotyledonous Arabidopsis thaliana and 50% less than monocotyledonous rice. We propose that at least in part, the neotenous reduction of these aquatic plants is based on readjusted copy numbers of promoters and repressors of the juvenile-to-adult transition. The Spirodela genome, along with its unique biology and physiology, will stimulate new insights into environmental adaptation, ecology, evolution and plant development, and will be instrumental for future bioenergy applications.
Vorobiev, SM, Gensler Y, Vahedian-Movahed H, Seetharaman J, Su M, Huang JY, Xiao R, Kornhaber G, Montelione GT, Tong L et al..  2014.  Structure of the DNA-binding and RNA polymerase-binding region of transcription antitermination factor λQ. Structure. 22:488-495.
Durbak, AR, Phillips KA, Pike S, O'Neill MA, Mares J, Gallavotti A, Malcomber S, Gassmann W, McSteen P.  2014.  Transport of boron by the tassel-less1 aquaporin is critical for vegetative and reproductive development in maize. Plant Cell. (26):2978-2995. AbstractWebsite
The element boron (B) is an essential plant micronutrient, and B deficiency results in significant crop losses worldwide. The maize (Zea mays) tassel-less1 (tls1) mutant has defects in vegetative and inflorescence development, comparable to the effects of B deficiency. Positional cloning revealed that tls1 encodes a protein in the aquaporin family co-orthologous to known B channel proteins in other species. Transport assays show that the TLS1 protein facilitates the movement of B and water into Xenopus laevis oocytes. B content is reduced in tls1 mutants, and application of B rescues the mutant phenotype, indicating that the TLS1 protein facilitates the movement of B in planta. B is required to cross-link the pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan II (RG-II) in the cell wall, and the percentage of RG-II dimers is reduced in tls1 inflorescences, indicating that the defects may result from altered cell wall properties. Plants heterozygous for both tls1 and rotten ear (rte), the proposed B efflux transporter, exhibit a dosage-dependent defect in inflorescence development under B-limited conditions, indicating that both TLS1 and RTE function in the same biological processes. Together, our data provide evidence that TLS1 is a B transport facilitator in maize, highlighting the importance of B homeostasis in meristem function.
Gurdon, C, Maliga P.  2014.  Two distinct plastid genome configurations and unprecedented intraspecies length variation in the accD coding region in Medicago truncatula. DNA Reserach. 21:inpress. AbstractWebsite
We fully sequenced four and partially sequenced six additional plastid genomes of the model legume Medicago truncatula. Three accessions, Jemalong 2HA, Borung and Paraggio, belong to ssp. truncatula, and R108 to ssp. tricycla. We report here that the R108 ptDNA has a ∼45-kb inversion compared with the ptDNA in ssp. truncatula, mediated by a short, imperfect repeat. DNA gel blot analyses of seven additional ssp. tricycla accessions detected only one of the two alternative genome arrangements, represented by three and four accessions each. Furthermore, we found a variable number of repeats in the essential accD and ycf1 coding regions. The repeats within accD are recombinationally active, yielding variable-length insertions and deletions in the central part of the coding region. The length of ACCD was distinct in each of the 10 sequenced ecotypes, ranging between 650 and 796 amino acids. The repeats in the ycf1 coding region are also recombinationally active, yielding short indels in 10 regions of the reading frames. Thus, the plastid genome variability we report here could be linked to repeat-mediated genome rearrangements. However, the rate of recombination was sufficiently low, so that no heterogeneity of ptDNA could be observed in populations maintained by single-seed descent.
Minakhina, S, Changela N, Steward R.  2014.  Zfrp8/PDCD2 is required in ovarian stem cells and interacts with the piRNA pathway machinery.. Development. 141(2):259-268. AbstractWebsite
The maintenance of stem cells is central to generating diverse cell populations in many tissues throughout the life of an animal. Elucidating the mechanisms involved in how stem cells are formed and maintained is crucial to understanding both normal developmental processes and the growth of many cancers. Previously, we showed that Zfrp8/PDCD2 is essential for the maintenance of Drosophila hematopoietic stem cells. Here, we show that Zfrp8/PDCD2 is also required in both germline and follicle stem cells in the Drosophila ovary. Expression of human PDCD2 fully rescues the Zfrp8 phenotype, underlining the functional conservation of Zfrp8/PDCD2. The piRNA pathway is essential in early oogenesis, and we find that nuclear localization of Zfrp8 in germline stem cells and their offspring is regulated by some piRNA pathway genes. We also show that Zfrp8 forms a complex with the piRNA pathway protein Maelstrom and controls the accumulation of Maelstrom in the nuage. Furthermore, Zfrp8 regulates the activity of specific transposable elements also controlled by Maelstrom and Piwi. Our results suggest that Zfrp8/PDCD2 is not an integral member of the piRNA pathway, but has an overlapping function, possibly competing with Maelstrom and Piwi.
Sun, G, Irvine KD.  2014.  Control of growth during regeneration.. Current topics in developmental biology. 108:95-120. AbstractWebsite
Regeneration is a process by which organisms replace damaged or amputated organs to restore normal body parts. Regeneration of many tissues or organs requires proliferation of stem cells or stem cell-like blastema cells. This regenerative growth is often initiated by cell death pathways induced by damage. The executors of regenerative growth are a group of growth-promoting signaling pathways, including JAK/STAT, EGFR, Hippo/YAP, and Wnt/β-catenin. These pathways are also essential to developmental growth, but in regeneration, they are activated in distinct ways and often at higher strengths, under the regulation by certain stress-responsive signaling pathways, including JNK signaling. Growth suppressors are important in termination of regeneration to prevent unlimited growth and also contribute to the loss of regenerative capacity in nonregenerative organs. Here, we review cellular and molecular growth regulation mechanisms induced by organ damage in several models with different regenerative capacities.
Luo, C, Dong J, Zhang Y, Lam E.  2014.  Decoding the role of chromatin architecture in development: coming closer to the end of the tunnel.. Frontiers in Plant Science. 5 AbstractWebsite
Form and function in biology are intimately related aspects that are often difficult to untangle. While the structural aspects of chromatin organization were apparent from early cytological observations long before the molecular details of chromatin functions were deciphered, the extent to which genome architecture may impact its output remains unclear. A major roadblock to resolve this issue is the divergent scales, both temporal and spatial, of the experimental approaches for examining these facets of chromatin biology. Recent advances in high-throughput sequencing and informatics to model and monitor genome-wide chromatin contact sites provide the much-needed platform to close this gap. This mini-review will focus on discussing recent efforts applying new technologies to elucidate the roles of genome architecture in coordinating global gene expression output. Our discussion will emphasize the potential roles of differential genome 3-D structure as a driver for cell fate specification of multicellular organisms. An integrated approach that combines multiple new methodologies may finally have the necessary temporal and spatial resolution to provide clarity on the roles of chromatin architecture during development.
Xu, A, Irvine KD.  2014.  Notch-ligand binding assays in Drosophila cells.. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, NJ). 1187:277-284. AbstractWebsite
Activation of the Drosophila transmembrane receptor protein Notch is induced by association with its transmembrane ligands, Delta and Serrate. The ability to assay binding between Notch and its ligands has been essential for characterizing the influence of posttranslational modifications, such as glycosylation, as well as for characterizing structural motifs involved in receptor-ligand interactions. We describe here a simple, widely used method for assaying receptor-ligand binding. This method involves expression of soluble forms of either Notch or its ligands, comprising the extracellular domains fused to an easily assayed tag, the enzyme alkaline phosphatase. These soluble proteins are then incubated with their binding partners, either as transmembrane proteins expressed on the surface of cultured cells or as extracellular protein domains attached to agarose beads. After washing, the amount of bound protein can be readily assayed by measuring alkaline phosphatase activity.
2013
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, I, Ibanez-Ventoso C, Vijay P, Singaravelu G, Baldi C, Bair J, Ng S, Smolyanskaya A, Driscoll M, Singson A.  2013.  Dramatic fertility decline in aging C. elegans males is associated with mating execution deficits rather than diminished sperm quality. Exp. Gerontol.. 48:1156–1166. Abstract
Although much is known about female reproductive aging, fairly little is known about the causes of male reproductive senescence. We developed a method that facilitates culture maintenance of Caenorhabditis elegans adult males, which enabled us to measure male fertility as populations age, without profound loss of males from the growth plate. We find that the ability of males to sire progeny declines rapidly in the first half of adult lifespan and we examined potential factors that contribute towards reproductive success, including physical vigor, sperm quality, mating apparatus morphology, and mating ability. Of these, we find little evidence of general physical decline in males or changes in sperm number, morphology, or capacity for activation, at time points when reproductive senescence is markedly evident. Rather, it is the loss of efficient mating ability that correlates most strongly with reproductive senescence. Low insulin signaling can extend male ability to sire progeny later in life, although insulin impact on individual facets of mating behavior is complex. Overall, we suggest that combined modest deficits, predominantly affecting the complex mating behavior rather than sperm quality, sum up to block effective C. elegans male reproduction in middle adult life.
Wang, C, Shi X, Liu L, Li H, Ammiraju JS, Kudrna DA, Xiong W, Wang H, Dai Z, Zheng Y et al..  2013.  Genomic resources for gene discovery, functional genome annotation, and evolutionary studies of maize and its close relatives. Genetics. 195:723-37. AbstractWebsite
Maize is one of the most important food crops and a key model for genetics and developmental biology. A genetically anchored and high-quality draft genome sequence of maize inbred B73 has been obtained to serve as a reference sequence. To facilitate evolutionary studies in maize and its close relatives, much like the Oryza Map Alignment Project (OMAP) (www.OMAP.org) bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) resource did for the rice community, we constructed BAC libraries for maize inbred lines Zheng58, Chang7-2, and Mo17 and maize wild relatives Zea mays ssp. parviglumis and Tripsacum dactyloides. Furthermore, to extend functional genomic studies to maize and sorghum, we also constructed binary BAC (BIBAC) libraries for the maize inbred B73 and the sorghum landrace Nengsi-1. The BAC/BIBAC vectors facilitate transfer of large intact DNA inserts from BAC clones to the BIBAC vector and functional complementation of large DNA fragments. These seven Zea Map Alignment Project (ZMAP) BAC/BIBAC libraries have average insert sizes ranging from 92 to 148 kb, organellar DNA from 0.17 to 2.3%, empty vector rates between 0.35 and 5.56%, and genome equivalents of 4.7- to 8.4-fold. The usefulness of the Parviglumis and Tripsacum BAC libraries was demonstrated by mapping clones to the reference genome. Novel genes and alleles present in these ZMAP libraries can now be used for functional complementation studies and positional or homology-based cloning of genes for translational genomics.
Oh, H, Slattery M, Ma L, Crofts A, White KP, Mann RS, Irvine KD.  2013.  Genome-wide Association of Yorkie with Chromatin and Chromatin-Remodeling Complexes.. Cell Reports. 3:309-318. AbstractWebsite
The Hippo pathway regulates growth through the transcriptional coactivator Yorkie, but how Yorkie promotes transcription remains poorly understood. We address this by characterizing Yorkie's association with chromatin and by identifying nuclear partners that effect transcriptional activation. Coimmunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry identify GAGA factor (GAF), the Brahma complex, and the Mediator complex as Yorkie-associated nuclear protein complexes. All three are required for Yorkie's transcriptional activation of downstream genes, and GAF and the Brahma complex subunit Moira interact directly with Yorkie. Genome-wide chromatin-binding experiments identify thousands of Yorkie sites, most of which are associated with elevated transcription, based on genome-wide analysis of messenger RNA and histone H3K4Me3 modification. Chromatin binding also supports extensive functional overlap between Yorkie and GAF. Our studies suggest a widespread role for Yorkie as a regulator of transcription and identify recruitment of the chromatin-modifying GAF protein and BRM complex as a molecular mechanism for transcriptional activation by Yorkie.
Goettel, W, Messing J.  2013.  Epiallele biogenesis in maize. Gene. 516:8-23. AbstractWebsite
We have correlated cytosine methylation of two epialleles, P1-rr and P1-pr, with variation in gene expression and therefore phenotype. The p1 gene in maize encodes a transcription factor that controls phlobaphene pigment accumulation in floral tissues. While cytosine methylation was assayed in various regions spanning 17 kb, the only difference in DNA methylation pattern between the expressed P1-rr allele and the silenced P1-pr allele was detected in a region that consists of a complex arrangement of transposons and adjacent repeats. This region, which comprises the distal enhancer element of P1-rr, is hypermethylated in P1-pr compared to P1-rr. Based on other precedents, we hypothesize that DNA methylation spreads from the transposable elements into the flanking P1-rr enhancer, thereby transcriptionally silencing the gene. Interestingly, P1-pr is reactivated in mutants of the dominant epigenetic modifier Ufo1. DNA methylation in the distal enhancer sequence is significantly reduced, which inversely correlates with increased transcript levels and pigmentation in P1-pr Ufo1 plants. If in general DNA methylation spreads from transposons into adjacent sequences containing regulatory elements for neighboring genes, the corresponding genes could be silenced by chance. Given the large amount of transposable elements in the maize genome, epialleles may be far more frequent than previously estimated.
Zhang, W, Sangtong V, Peterson J, Scott MP, Messing J.  2013.  Divergent properties of prolamins in wheat and maize. Planta. 237:1465-73. AbstractWebsite
Cereal grains are an important nutritional source of amino acids for humans and livestock worldwide. Wheat, barley, and oats belong to a different subfamily of the grasses than rice and in addition to maize, millets, sugarcane, and sorghum. All their seeds, however, are largely devoid of free amino acids because they are stored during dormancy in specialized storage proteins. Prolamins, the major class of storage proteins in cereals with preponderance of proline and glutamine, are synthesized at the endoplasmic reticulum during seed development and deposited into subcellular structures of the immature endosperm, the protein bodies. Prolamins have diverged during the evolution of the grass family in their structure and their properties. Here, we used the expression of wheat glutenin-Dx5 in maize to examine its interaction with maize prolamins during endosperm development. Ectopic expression of Dx5 alters protein body morphology in a way that resembles non-vitreous kernel phenotypes, although Dx5 alone does not cause an opaque phenotype. However, if we lower the amount of gamma-zeins in Dx5 maize through RNAi, a non-vitreous phenotype emerges and the deformation on the surface of protein bodies is enhanced, indicating that Dx5 requires gamma-zeins for its proper subcellular organization in maize.
Singaravelu, G, Singson A.  2013.  Calcium signaling surrounding fertilization in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Cell Calcium. 53:2-9. Abstract
Calcium plays a prominent role during fertilization in many animals. This review focuses on roles of Ca(2+) during the events around fertilization in the model organism, Caenorhabditis elegans. Specifically, the role of Ca(2+) in sperm, oocytes and the surrounding somatic tissues during fertilization will be discussed, with the focus on sperm activation, meiotic maturation of oocytes, ovulation, sperm-egg interaction and fertilization.
Goettel, W, Messing J.  2013.  Paramutagenicity of a p1 epiallele in maize. Theor Appl Genet. 126:159-77. AbstractWebsite
Complex silencing mechanisms in plants and other kingdoms target transposons, repeat sequences, invasive viral nucleic acids and transgenes, but also endogenous genes and genes involved in paramutation. Paramutation occurs in a heterozygote when a transcriptionally active allele heritably adopts the epigenetic state of a transcriptionally and/or post-transcriptionally repressed allele. P1-rr and its silenced epiallele P1-pr, which encode a Myb-like transcription factor mediating pigmentation in floral organs of Zea mays, differ in their cytosine methylation pattern and chromatin structure at a complex enhancer site. Here, we tested whether P1-pr is able to heritably silence its transcriptionally active P1-rr allele in a heterozygote and whether DNA methylation is associated with the establishment and maintenance of P1-rr silencing. We found that P1-pr participates in paramutation as the repressing allele and P1-rr as the sensitive allele. Silencing of P1-rr is highly variable compared to the inducing P1-pr resulting in a wide range of gene expression. Whereas cytosine methylation at P1-rr is negatively correlated with transcription and pigment levels after segregation of P1-pr, methylation lags behind the establishment of the repressed p1 gene expression. We propose a model in which P1-pr paramutation is triggered by changing epigenetic states of transposons immediately adjacent to a P1-rr enhancer sequence. Considering the vast amount of transposable elements in the maize genome close to regulatory elements of genes, numerous loci could undergo paramutation-induced allele silencing, which could also have a significant impact on breeding agronomically important traits.
Oh, H, Slattery M, Ma L, Crofts A, White KP, Mann RS, Irvine KD.  2013.  Genome-wide association of Yorkie with chromatin and chromatin-remodeling complexes. Cell reports. 3:309-18. AbstractWebsite
The Hippo pathway regulates growth through the transcriptional coactivator Yorkie, but how Yorkie promotes transcription remains poorly understood. We address this by characterizing Yorkie's association with chromatin and by identifying nuclear partners that effect transcriptional activation. Coimmunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry identify GAGA factor (GAF), the Brahma complex, and the Mediator complex as Yorkie-associated nuclear protein complexes. All three are required for Yorkie's transcriptional activation of downstream genes, and GAF and the Brahma complex subunit Moira interact directly with Yorkie. Genome-wide chromatin-binding experiments identify thousands of Yorkie sites, most of which are associated with elevated transcription, based on genome-wide analysis of messenger RNA and histone H3K4Me3 modification. Chromatin binding also supports extensive functional overlap between Yorkie and GAF. Our studies suggest a widespread role for Yorkie as a regulator of transcription and identify recruitment of the chromatin-modifying GAF protein and BRM complex as a molecular mechanism for transcriptional activation by Yorkie.