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Berdygulova, Z, Esyunina D, Miropolskaya N, Mukhamedyarov D, Kuznedelov K, Nickels BE, Severinov K, Kulbachinskiy A, Minakhin L.  2012.  A novel phage-encoded transcription antiterminator acts by suppressing bacterial RNA polymerase pausing.. Nucleic Acids Research. Abstract
Gp39, a small protein encoded by Thermus thermophilus phage P23-45, specifically binds the host RNA polymerase (RNAP) and inhibits transcription initiation. Here, we demonstrate that gp39 also acts as an antiterminator during transcription through intrinsic terminators. The antitermination activity of gp39 relies on its ability to suppress transcription pausing at poly(U) tracks. Gp39 also accelerates transcription elongation by decreasing RNAP pausing and backtracking but does not significantly affect the rates of catalysis of individual reactions in the RNAP active center. We mapped the RNAP-gp39 interaction site to the β flap, a domain that forms a part of the RNA exit channel and is also a likely target for λ phage antiterminator proteins Q and N, and for bacterial elongation factor NusA. However, in contrast to Q and N, gp39 does not depend on NusA or other auxiliary factors for its activity. To our knowledge, gp39 is the first characterized phage-encoded transcription factor that affects every step of the transcription cycle and suppresses transcription termination through its antipausing activity.
Burrows, EH, Bennette NB, Carrieri D, Dixon JL, Brinker A, Frada M, Bakdassabim S N, Falkowski PG, Dismukes GC.  2012.  Dynamics of Lipid Biosynthesis and Redistribution in the Marine Diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum under Nitrate Deprivation. Bioenerg. Res. 5:876-885. Abstract
One approach to achieve continuous overproduction of lipids in microalgal “cell factories” relies upon depletion or removal of nutrients that act as competing electron sinks (e.g., nitrate and sulfate). However, this strategy can only be effective for bioenergy applications if lipid is synthesized primarily de novo (from CO2 fixation) rather than from the breakdown and interconversion of essential cellular components. In the marine diatom, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, it was determined, using 13C-bicarbonate, that cell growth in nitrate (NO 3 − )-deprived cultures resulted predominantly in de novo lipid synthesis (60 % over 3 days), and this new lipid consisted primarily of triacylglycerides (TAGs). Nearly complete preservation of 12C occurred in all previously existing TAGs in NO 3 − -deprived cultures and thus, further TAG accumulation would not be expected from inhibition of TAG lipolysis. In contrast, both high turnover and depletion of membrane lipids, phosphatidylcholines (PCs), were observed in NO 3 − -deprived cultures (both the headgroups and fatty acid chains), while less turnover was observed in NO 3 − replete cultures. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry mass spectra and 13C labeling patterns of PC headgroups provided insight into lipid synthesis in marine diatoms, including suggestion of an internal pool of glycine betaine that feeds choline synthesis. It was also observed that 16C fatty acid chains incorporated into TAGs and PCs contained an average of 14 13C carbons, indicating substantial incorporation of 13C-bicarbonate into fatty acid chains under both nutrient states.
Vvedenskaya, IO, Sharp JS, Goldman SR, Kanabar PN, Livny J, Dove SL, Nickels BE.  2012.  Growth phase-dependent control of transcription start site selection and gene expression by nanoRNAs. Genes Dev. 26(13):1498-1507. Abstract
Prokaryotic and eukaryotic RNA polymerases can use 2- to ~4-nt RNAs, ‘‘nanoRNAs,’’ to prime transcription initiation in vitro. It has been proposed that nanoRNA-mediated priming of transcription can likewise occur under physiological conditions in vivo and influence transcription start site selection and gene expression. However, no direct evidence of such regulation has been presented. Here we demonstrate in Escherichia coli that nanoRNAs prime transcription in a growth phase-dependent manner, resulting in alterations in transcription start site selection and changes in gene expression. We further define a sequence element that determines, in part, whether a promoter will be targeted by nanoRNA-mediated priming. By establishing that a significant fraction of transcription initiation is primed in living cells, our findings contradict the conventional model that all cellular transcription is initiated using nucleoside triphosphates (NTPs) only. In addition, our findings identify nanoRNAs as a previously undocumented class of regulatory small RNAs that function by being directly incorporated into a target transcript.
Li, Y., Dooner HK.  2012.  Helitron Proliferation and Gene-Fragment Capture. Topics in Current Genetics, 24: Plant Transposable Elements- Impact on Genome Structure and Function. :193-227.
Nickels, BE.  2012.  A new way to start: nanoRNA-mediated priming of transcription initiation.. Transcription. 3(6):300-304. Abstract
A recent study provides evidence that RNA polymerase uses 2- to ~4-nt RNAs, species termed "nanoRNAs," to prime transcription initiation in Escherichia coli. Priming of transcription initiation with nanoRNAs represents a previously undocumented component of transcription start site selection and gene expression.
Wang, W, Wu Y, Messing J.  2012.  The mitochondrial genome of an aquatic plant, Spirodela polyrhiza. PloS one. 7:e46747. AbstractWebsite
BACKGROUND: Spirodela polyrhiza is a species of the order Alismatales, which represent the basal lineage of monocots with more ancestral features than the Poales. Its complete sequence of the mitochondrial (mt) genome could provide clues for the understanding of the evolution of mt genomes in plant. METHODS: Spirodela polyrhiza mt genome was sequenced from total genomic DNA without physical separation of chloroplast and nuclear DNA using the SOLiD platform. Using a genome copy number sensitive assembly algorithm, the mt genome was successfully assembled. Gap closure and accuracy was determined with PCR products sequenced with the dideoxy method. CONCLUSIONS: This is the most compact monocot mitochondrial genome with 228,493 bp. A total of 57 genes encode 35 known proteins, 3 ribosomal RNAs, and 19 tRNAs that recognize 15 amino acids. There are about 600 RNA editing sites predicted and three lineage specific protein-coding-gene losses. The mitochondrial genes, pseudogenes, and other hypothetical genes (ORFs) cover 71,783 bp (31.0%) of the genome. Imported plastid DNA accounts for an additional 9,295 bp (4.1%) of the mitochondrial DNA. Absence of transposable element sequences suggests that very few nuclear sequences have migrated into Spirodela mtDNA. Phylogenetic analysis of conserved protein-coding genes suggests that Spirodela shares the common ancestor with other monocots, but there is no obvious synteny between Spirodela and rice mtDNAs. After eliminating genes, introns, ORFs, and plastid-derived DNA, nearly four-fifths of the Spirodela mitochondrial genome is of unknown origin and function. Although it contains a similar chloroplast DNA content and range of RNA editing as other monocots, it is void of nuclear insertions, active gene loss, and comprises large regions of sequences of unknown origin in non-coding regions. Moreover, the lack of synteny with known mitochondrial genomic sequences shed new light on the early evolution of monocot mitochondrial genomes.
Miclaus, M, Wu Y, Xu J, Dooner HK, Messing J.  2011.  The maize high-lysine mutant opaque7 is defective in an acyl-CoA synthetase-like protein.. Genetics. 189:1271-1280.