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) ( 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.
Pan, G, Feng Y, Ambegaonkar AA, Sun G, Huff M, Rauskolb C, Irvine KD.  2013.  Signal transduction by the Fat cytoplasmic domain.. Development. AbstractWebsite
The large atypical cadherin Fat is a receptor for both Hippo and planar cell polarity (PCP) pathways. Here we investigate the molecular basis for signal transduction downstream of Fat by creating targeted alterations within a genomic construct that contains the entire fat locus, and by monitoring and manipulating the membrane localization of the Fat pathway component Dachs. We establish that the human Fat homolog FAT4 lacks the ability to transduce Hippo signaling in Drosophila, but can transduce Drosophila PCP signaling. Targeted deletion of conserved motifs identifies a four amino acid C-terminal motif that is essential for aspects of Fat-mediated PCP, and other internal motifs that contribute to Fat-Hippo signaling. Fat-Hippo signaling requires the Drosophila Casein kinase 1_ encoded by discs overgrown (Dco), and we characterize candidate Dco phosphorylation sites in the Fat intracellular domain (ICD), the mutation of which impairs Fat-Hippo signaling. Through characterization of Dachs localization and directed membrane targeting of Dachs, we show that localization of Dachs influences both the Hippo and PCP pathways. Our results identify a conservation of Fat-PCP signaling mechanisms, establish distinct functions for different regions of the Fat ICD, support the correlation of Fat ICD phosphorylation with Fat-Hippo signaling, and confirm the importance of Dachs membrane localization to downstream signaling pathways.
Reddy, BVVG, Irvine KD.  2013.  Regulation of Hippo Signaling by EGFR-MAPK Signaling through Ajuba Family Proteins.. Developmental Cell. 24:459-471. AbstractWebsite
EGFR and Hippo signaling pathways both control growth and, when dysregulated, contribute to tumorigenesis. We find that EGFR activates the Hippo pathway transcription factor Yorkie and demonstrate that Yorkie is required for the influence of EGFR on cell proliferation in Drosophila. EGFR regulates Yorkie through the influence of its Ras-MAPK branch on the Ajuba LIM protein Jub. Jub is epistatic to EGFR and Ras for Yorkie regulation, Jub is subject to MAPK-dependent phosphorylation, and EGFR-Ras-MAPK signaling enhances Jub binding to the Yorkie kinase Warts and the adaptor protein Salvador. An EGFR-Hippo pathway link is conserved in mammals, as activation of EGFR or RAS activates the Yorkie homolog YAP, and EGFR-RAS-MAPK signaling promotes phosphorylation of the Ajuba family protein WTIP and also enhances WTIP binding to the Warts and Salvador homologs LATS and WW45. Our observations implicate the Hippo pathway in EGFR-mediated tumorigenesis and identify a molecular link between these pathways.
Holder, AA, Taylor P, Magnusen AR, Moffett ET, Meyer K, Hong Y, Ramsdale SE, Gordon M, Stubbs J, Seymour LA et al..  2013.  Preliminary anti-cancer photodynamic therapeutic in vitro studies with mixed-metal binuclear ruthenium(II)-vanadium(IV) complexes.. Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003). 42(33):11881-99. Abstract
We report the synthesis and characterisation of mixed-metal binuclear ruthenium(II)-vanadium(IV) complexes, which were used as potential photodynamic therapeutic agents for melanoma cell growth inhibition. The novel complexes, [Ru(pbt)2(phen2DTT)](PF6)2·1.5H2O 1 (where phen2DTT = 1,4-bis(1,10-phenanthrolin-5-ylsulfanyl)butane-2,3-diol and pbt = 2-(2'-pyridyl)benzothiazole) and [Ru(pbt)2(tpphz)](PF6)2·3H2O 2 (where tpphz = tetrapyrido[3,2-a:2',3'-c:3'',2''-h:2''',3'''-j]phenazine) were synthesised and characterised. Compound 1 was reacted with [VO(sal-L-tryp)(H2O)] (where sal-L-tryp = N-salicylidene-L-tryptophanate) to produce [Ru(pbt)2(phen2DTT)VO(sal-L-tryp)](PF6)2·5H2O 4; while [VO(sal-L-tryp)(H2O)] was reacted with compound 2 to produce [Ru(pbt)2(tpphz)VO(sal-L-tryp)](PF6)2·6H2O 3. All complexes were characterised by elemental analysis, HRMS, ESI MS, UV-visible absorption, ESR spectroscopy, and cyclic voltammetry, where appropriate. In vitro cell toxicity studies (with the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) colorimetric assay) via dark and light reaction conditions were carried out with sodium diaqua-4,4',4'',4''' tetrasulfophthalocyaninecobaltate(II) (Na4[Co(tspc)(H2O)2]), [VO(sal-L-tryp)(phen)]·H2O, and the chloride salts of complexes 3 and 4. Such studies involved A431, human epidermoid carcinoma cells; human amelanotic malignant melanoma cells; and HFF, non-cancerous human skin fibroblast cells. Both chloride salts of complexes 3 and 4 were found to be more toxic to melanoma cells than to non-cancerous fibroblast cells, and preferentially led to apoptosis of the melanoma cells over non-cancerous skin cells. The anti-cancer property of the chloride salts of complexes 3 and 4 was further enhanced when treated cells were exposed to light, while no such effect was observed on non-cancerous skin fibroblast cells. ESR and (51)V NMR spectroscopic studies were also used to assess the stability of the chloride salts of complexes 3 and 4 in aqueous media at pH 7.19. This research illustrates the potential for using mixed-metal binuclear ruthenium(II)-vanadium(IV) complexes to fight skin cancer.
Khorobrykh, A, Dasgupta J, Kolling DRJ, Terentyev V, Klimov VV, Dismukes CG.  2013.  Evolutionary origins of the photosynthetic water oxidation cluster: bicarbonate permits Mn(2+) photo-oxidation by anoxygenic bacterial reaction centers.. Chembiochem : a European journal of chemical biology. 14(14):1725-31. Abstract
The enzyme that catalyzes water oxidation in oxygenic photosynthesis contains an inorganic cluster (Mn4 CaO5 ) that is universally conserved in all photosystem II (PSII) protein complexes. Its hypothesized precursor is an anoxygenic photobacterium containing a type 2 reaction center as photo-oxidant (bRC2, iron-quinone type). Here we provide the first experimental evidence that a native bRC2 complex can catalyze the photo-oxidation of Mn(2+) to Mn(3+) , but only in the presence of bicarbonate concentrations that allows the formation of (bRC2)Mn(2+) (bicarbonate)1-2 complexes. Parallel-mode EPR spectroscopy was used to characterize the photoproduct, (bRC2)Mn(3+) (CO3 (2-) ), based on the g tensor and (55) Mn hyperfine splitting. (Bi)carbonate coordination extends the lifetime of the Mn(3+) photoproduct by slowing charge recombination. Prior electrochemical measurements show that carbonate complexation thermodynamically stabilizes the Mn(3+) product by 0.9-1 V relative to water ligands. A model for the origin of the water oxidation catalyst is presented that proposes chemically feasible steps in the evolution of oxygenic PSIIs, and is supported by literature results on the photoassembly of contemporary PSIIs.
Li, Y, Harris L, Dooner HK.  2013.  TED, an autonomous and rare maize transposon of the mutator superfamily with a high gametophytic excision frequency.. The Plant cell. 25(9):3251-65. Abstract
Mutator (Mu) elements, one of the most diverse superfamilies of DNA transposons, are found in all eukaryotic kingdoms, but are particularly numerous in plants. Most of the present knowledge on the transposition behavior of this superfamily comes from studies of the maize (Zea mays) Mu elements, whose transposition is mediated by the autonomous Mutator-Don Robertson (MuDR) element. Here, we describe the maize element TED (for Transposon Ellen Dempsey), an autonomous cousin that differs significantly from MuDR. Element excision and reinsertion appear to require both proteins encoded by MuDR, but only the single protein encoded by TED. Germinal excisions, rare with MuDR, are common with TED, but arise in one of the mitotic divisions of the gametophyte, rather than at meiosis. Instead, transposition-deficient elements arise at meiosis, suggesting that the double-strand breaks produced by element excision are repaired differently in mitosis and meiosis. Unlike MuDR, TED is a very low-copy transposon whose number and activity do not undergo dramatic changes upon inbreeding or outcrossing. Like MuDR, TED transposes mostly to unlinked sites and can form circular transposition products. Sequences closer to TED than to MuDR were detected only in the grasses, suggesting a rather recent evolutionary split from a common ancestor.
Robinson, DM, Go Y B, Mui M, Gardner G, Zhang Z, Mastrogiovanni D, Garfunkel E, Li J, Greenblatt M, Dismukes CG.  2013.  Photochemical water oxidation by crystalline polymorphs of manganese oxides: structural requirements for catalysis.. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 135(9):3494-501. Abstract
Manganese oxides occur naturally as minerals in at least 30 different crystal structures, providing a rigorous test system to explore the significance of atomic positions on the catalytic efficiency of water oxidation. In this study, we chose to systematically compare eight synthetic oxide structures containing Mn(III) and Mn(IV) only, with particular emphasis on the five known structural polymorphs of MnO2. We have adapted literature synthesis methods to obtain pure polymorphs and validated their homogeneity and crystallinity by powder X-ray diffraction and both transmission and scanning electron microscopies. Measurement of water oxidation rate by oxygen evolution in aqueous solution was conducted with dispersed nanoparticulate manganese oxides and a standard ruthenium dye photo-oxidant system. No Ru was absorbed on the catalyst surface as observed by XPS and EDX. The post reaction atomic structure was completely preserved with no amorphization, as observed by HRTEM. Catalytic activities, normalized to surface area (BET), decrease in the series Mn2O3 > Mn3O4 ≫ λ-MnO2, where the latter is derived from spinel LiMn2O4 following partial Li(+) removal. No catalytic activity is observed from LiMn2O4 and four of the MnO2 polymorphs, in contrast to some literature reports with polydispersed manganese oxides and electro-deposited films. Catalytic activity within the eight examined Mn oxides was found exclusively for (distorted) cubic phases, Mn2O3 (bixbyite), Mn3O4 (hausmannite), and λ-MnO2 (spinel), all containing Mn(III) possessing longer Mn-O bonds between edge-sharing MnO6 octahedra. Electronically degenerate Mn(III) has antibonding electronic configuration e(g)(1) which imparts lattice distortions due to the Jahn-Teller effect that are hypothesized to contribute to structural flexibility important for catalytic turnover in water oxidation at the surface.
Xu, Y, Guerra TL, Li Z, Ludwig M, Dismukes CG, Bryant DA.  2013.  Altered carbohydrate metabolism in glycogen synthase mutants of Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002: Cell factories for soluble sugars.. Metabolic engineering. 16:56-67. Abstract
Glycogen and compatible solutes are the major polymeric and soluble carbohydrates in cyanobacteria and function as energy reserves and osmoprotectants, respectively. Glycogen synthase null mutants (glgA-I glgA-II) were constructed in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002. Under standard conditions the double mutant produced no glycogen and more soluble sugars. When grown under hypersaline conditions, the glgA-I glgA-II mutant accumulated 1.8-fold more soluble sugars (sucrose and glucosylglycer-(ol/ate)) than WT, and these cells spontaneously excreted soluble sugars into the medium at high levels without the need for additional transporters. An average of 27% more soluble sugars was released from the glgA-I glgA-II mutant than WT by hypo-osmotic shock. Extracellular vesicles budding from the outer membrane were observed by transmission electron microscopy in glgA-I glgA-II cells grown under hypersaline conditions. The glgA-I glgA-II mutant serves as a starting point for developing cell factories for photosynthetic production and excretion of sugars.
Vinyard, DJ, Xu Y, Bennette N, McNeely K, Bryant DA, Dismukes CG.  2013.  Natural osmolytes are much less effective substrates than glycogen for catabolic energy production in the marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. strain PCC 7002.. Journal of biotechnology. 166(3):65-75. Abstract
ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, encoded by glgC, catalyzes the first step of glycogen and glucosylglycer(ol/ate) biosynthesis. Here we report the construction of the first glgC null mutant of a marine cyanobacterium (Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002) and investigate its impact on dark anoxic metabolism (autofermentation). The glgC mutant had 98% lower ADP-glucose, synthesized no glycogen and produced appreciably more soluble sugars (mainly sucrose) than wild type (WT). Some glucosylglycerol was still observed, which suggests that the mutant has another, inefficient ADP-glucose synthesis pathway. In contrast, hypersaline conditions (1M NaCl) were lethal to the mutant strain, indicating that, unlike other strains, the elevated sucrose does not compensate for the reduced GG as osmolyte. In contrast to WT, nitrate limitation did not cause bleaching of N-containing pigments or carbohydrate accumulation in the glgC mutant, indicating impaired recycling of nitrogen stores. Despite the 2-fold increase in osmolytes, both the respiration and autofermentation rates of the glgC mutant were appreciably slower (2-4-fold) and correlated quantitatively with the lower fraction of insoluble carbohydrates relative to WT (85% vs. 12%). However, the remaining insoluble carbohydrates still accounted for a high fraction of the carbohydrate catabolized (38%), indicating that insoluble carbohydrates rather than osmolytes were the preferred substrate for autofermentation.
Vinyard, DJ, Zachary CE, Ananyev GM, Dismukes CG.  2013.  Thermodynamically accurate modeling of the catalytic cycle of photosynthetic oxygen evolution: a mathematical solution to asymmetric Markov chains.. Biochimica et biophysica acta. 1827(7):861-8. Abstract
Forty-three years ago, Kok and coworkers introduced a phenomenological model describing period-four oscillations in O2 flash yields during photosynthetic water oxidation (WOC), which had been first reported by Joliot and coworkers. The original two-parameter Kok model was subsequently extended in its level of complexity to better simulate diverse data sets, including intact cells and isolated PSII-WOCs, but at the expense of introducing physically unrealistic assumptions necessary to enable numerical solutions. To date, analytical solutions have been found only for symmetric Kok models (inefficiencies are equally probable for all intermediates, called "S-states"). However, it is widely accepted that S-state reaction steps are not identical and some are not reversible (by thermodynamic restraints) thereby causing asymmetric cycles. We have developed a mathematically more rigorous foundation that eliminates unphysical assumptions known to be in conflict with experiments and adopts a new experimental constraint on solutions. This new algorithm termed STEAMM for S-state Transition Eigenvalues of Asymmetric Markov Models enables solutions to models having fewer adjustable parameters and uses automated fitting to experimental data sets, yielding higher accuracy and precision than the classic Kok or extended Kok models. This new tool provides a general mathematical framework for analyzing damped oscillations arising from any cycle period using any appropriate Markov model, regardless of symmetry. We illustrate applications of STEAMM that better describe the intrinsic inefficiencies for photon-to-charge conversion within PSII-WOCs that are responsible for damped period-four and period-two oscillations of flash O2 yields across diverse species, while using simpler Markov models free from unrealistic assumptions.
Vinyard, DJ, Gimpel J, Ananyev GM, Cornejo MA, Golden SS, Mayfield SP, Dismukes CG.  2013.  Natural variants of photosystem II subunit D1 tune photochemical fitness to solar intensity.. The Journal of biological chemistry. 288(8):5451-62. Abstract
Photosystem II (PSII) is composed of six core polypeptides that make up the minimal unit capable of performing the primary photochemistry of light-driven charge separation and water oxidation in all oxygenic phototrophs. The D1 subunit of this complex contains most of the ligating amino acid residues for the Mn(4)CaO(5) core of the water-oxidizing complex (WOC). Most cyanobacteria have 3-5 copies of the psbA gene coding for at least two isoforms of D1, whereas algae and plants have only one isoform. Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 contains two D1 isoforms; D1:1 is expressed under low light conditions, and D1:2 is up-regulated in high light or stress conditions. Using a heterologous psbA expression system in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, we have measured growth rate, WOC cycle efficiency, and O(2) yield as a function of D1:1, D1:2, or the native algal D1 isoform. D1:1-PSII cells outcompete D1:2-PSII cells and accumulate more biomass in light-limiting conditions. However, D1:2-PSII cells easily outcompete D1:1-PSII cells at high light intensities. The native C. reinhardtii-PSII WOC cycles less efficiently at all light intensities and produces less O(2) than either cyanobacterial D1 isoform. D1:2-PSII makes more O(2) per saturating flash than D1:1-PSII, but it exhibits lower WOC cycling efficiency at low light intensities due to a 40% faster charge recombination rate in the S(3) state. These functional advantages of D1:1-PSII and D1:2-PSII at low and high light regimes, respectively, can be explained by differences in predicted redox potentials of PSII electron acceptors that control kinetic performance.
Barr, MM, Androwski RJ, Rashid A, Lee H, Lee J, Barr MM.  2013.  Dauer-specific dendrite arborization in C. elegans is regulated by KPC-1/Furin.. Current biology : CB. 23(16):1527-35. Abstract
Dendrites often display remarkably complex and diverse morphologies that are influenced by developmental and environmental cues. Neuroplasticity in response to adverse environmental conditions entails both hypertrophy and resorption of dendrites. How dendrites rapidly alter morphology in response to unfavorable environmental conditions is unclear. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans enters into a stress-resistant dauer larval stage in response to an adverse environment.
Xiong, W, He L, Li Y, Dooner HK, Du C.  2013.  InsertionMapper: a pipeline tool for the identification of targeted sequences from multidimensional high throughput sequencing data.. BMC genomics. 14:679. Abstract
The advent of next-generation high-throughput technologies has revolutionized whole genome sequencing, yet some experiments require sequencing only of targeted regions of the genome from a very large number of samples. These regions can be amplified by PCR and sequenced by next-generation methods using a multidimensional pooling strategy. However, there is at present no available generalized tool for the computational analysis of target-enriched NGS data from multidimensional pools.
Vinyard, DJ, Ananyev GM, Dismukes CG.  2013.  Photosystem II: the reaction center of oxygenic photosynthesis.. Annual review of biochemistry. 82:577-606. Abstract
Photosystem II (PSII) uses light energy to split water into chemical products that power the planet. The stripped protons contribute to a membrane electrochemical potential before combining with the stripped electrons to make chemical bonds and releasing O2 for powering respiratory metabolisms. In this review, we provide an overview of the kinetics and thermodynamics of water oxidation that highlights the conserved performance of PSIIs across species. We discuss recent advances in our understanding of the site of water oxidation based upon the improved (1.9-Å resolution) atomic structure of the Mn4CaO5 water-oxidizing complex (WOC) within cyanobacterial PSII. We combine these insights with recent knowledge gained from studies of the biogenesis and assembly of the WOC (called photoassembly) to arrive at a proposed chemical mechanism for water oxidation.
Robb, NC, Cordes T, Hwang L C, Gryte K, Duchi D, Craggs TD, Santoso Y, Weiss S, Ebright RH, Kapanidis AN.  2013.  The transcription bubble of the RNA polymerase-promoter open complex exhibits conformational heterogeneity and millisecond-scale dynamics: implications for transcription start-site selection.. Journal of molecular biology. 425:875-885. Abstract
Bacterial transcription is initiated after RNA polymerase (RNAP) binds to promoter DNA, melts ~14 base-pairs around the transcription start site, and forms a single-stranded "transcription bubble" within a catalytically active RNAP-DNA open complex (RP(o)). There is significant flexibility in the transcription start site, which causes variable spacing between the promoter elements and the start site; this in turn causes differences in the length and sequence at the 5' end of RNA transcripts, and can be important for gene regulation. The start-site variability also implies the presence of some flexibility in the positioning of the DNA relative to the RNAP active site in RP(o). The flexibility may occur in the positioning of the transcription bubble prior to RNA synthesis and may reflect bubble expansion ("scrunching") or bubble contraction ("unscrunching"). Here, we assess the presence of dynamic flexibility in RP(o) with single-molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer. We obtain experimental evidence for dynamic flexibility in RP(o) using different FRET rulers and labelling positions. An analysis of FRET distributions of RP(o) using burst variance analysis reveals conformational fluctuations in RP(o) in the millisecond timescale. Further experiments using subsets of nucleotides and DNA mutations allowed us to reprogram the transcription start sites, in a way that can be described by repositioning of the single-stranded transcription bubble relative to the RNAP active site within RP(o). Our study marks the first experimental observation of conformational dynamics in the transcription bubble of RP(o) and indicates that DNA dynamics within the bubble affect the search for transcription start sites.
Mathieu, J, Cauvin C, Moch C, Radford SJ, Sampaio P, Perdigoto CN, Schweisguth F, Bardin AJ, Sunkel CE, McKim K et al..  2013.  Aurora B and cyclin B have opposite effects on the timing of cytokinesis abscission in Drosophila germ cells and in vertebrate somatic cells. Dev Cell. 26(3):250-65.Website
Calvino, M., Messing J.  2013.  Discovery of MicroRNA169 gene copies in genomes of flowering plants through positional information. Genome Biol Evol. 5:402-17. AbstractWebsite
Expansion and contraction of microRNA (miRNA) families can be studied in sequenced plant genomes through sequence alignments. Here, we focused on miR169 in sorghum because of its implications in drought tolerance and stem-sugar content. We were able to discover many miR169 copies that have escaped standard genome annotation methods. A new miR169 cluster was found on sorghum chromosome 1. This cluster is composed of the previously annotated sbi-MIR169o together with two newly found MIR169 copies, named sbi-MIR169t and sbi-MIR169u. We also found that a miR169 cluster on sorghum chr7 consisting of sbi-MIR169l, sbi-MIR169m, and sbi-MIR169n is contained within a chromosomal inversion of at least 500 kb that occurred in sorghum relative to Brachypodium, rice, foxtail millet, and maize. Surprisingly, synteny of chromosomal segments containing MIR169 copies with linked bHLH and CONSTANS-LIKE genes extended from Brachypodium to dictotyledonous species such as grapevine, soybean, and cassava, indicating a strong conservation of linkages of certain flowering and/or plant height genes and microRNAs, which may explain linkage drag of drought and flowering traits and would have consequences for breeding new varieties. Furthermore, alignment of rice and sorghum orthologous regions revealed the presence of two additional miR169 gene copies (miR169r and miR169s) on sorghum chr7 that formed an antisense miRNA gene pair. Both copies are expressed and target different set of genes. Synteny-based analysis of microRNAs among different plant species should lead to the discovery of new microRNAs in general and contribute to our understanding of their evolution.