Publications

Journal Article
Mao, Y, Kuta A, Crespo-Enriquez I, Whiting D, Martin T, Mulvaney J, Irvine KD, Francis-West P.  2016.  Dchs1-Fat4 regulation of polarized cell behaviours during skeletal morphogenesis.. Nature communications. 7:11469. Abstract
Skeletal shape varies widely across species as adaptation to specialized modes of feeding and locomotion, but how skeletal shape is established is unknown. An example of extreme diversity in the shape of a skeletal structure can be seen in the sternum, which varies considerably across species. Here we show that the Dchs1-Fat4 planar cell polarity pathway controls cell orientation in the early skeletal condensation to define the shape and relative dimensions of the mouse sternum. These changes fit a model of cell intercalation along differential Dchs1-Fat4 activity that drives a simultaneous narrowing, thickening and elongation of the sternum. Our results identify the regulation of cellular polarity within the early pre-chondrogenic mesenchyme, when skeletal shape is established, and provide the first demonstration that Fat4 and Dchs1 establish polarized cell behaviour intrinsically within the mesenchyme. Our data also reveal the first indication that cell intercalation processes occur during ventral body wall elongation and closure.
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.
Lang, Z, Wills DM, Lemmon ZH, Shannon LM, Bukowski R, Wu Y, Messing J, Doebley JF.  2014.  Defining the Role of prolamin-box binding factor1 Gene During Maize Domestication. J Hered. AbstractWebsite
The prolamin-box binding factor1 (pbf1) gene encodes a transcription factor that controls the expression of seed storage protein (zein) genes in maize. Prior studies show that pbf1 underwent selection during maize domestication although how it affected trait change during domestication is unknown. To assay how pbf1 affects phenotypic differences between maize and teosinte, we compared nearly isogenic lines (NILs) that differ for a maize versus teosinte allele of pbf1. Kernel weight for the teosinte NIL (162mg) is slightly but significantly greater than that for the maize NIL (156mg). RNAseq data for developing kernels show that the teosinte allele of pbf1 is expressed at about twice the level of the maize allele. However, RNA and protein assays showed no difference in zein profile between the two NILs. The lower expression for the maize pbf1 allele suggests that selection may have favored this change; however, how reduced pbf1 expression alters phenotype remains unknown. One possibility is that pbf1 regulates genes other than zeins and thereby is a domestication trait. The observed drop in seed weight associated with the maize allele of pbf1 is counterintuitive but could represent a negative pleiotropic effect of selection on some other aspect of kernel composition.
Cho, E, Feng Y, Rauskolb C, Maitra S, Fehon RG, Irvine KD.  2006.  Delineation of a Fat tumor suppressor pathway. Nature Genetics. 38:1142-50. AbstractWebsite
Recent studies in Drosophila melanogaster of the protocadherins Dachsous and Fat suggest that they act as ligand and receptor, respectively, for an intercellular signaling pathway that influences tissue polarity, growth and gene expression, but the basis for signaling downstream of Fat has remained unclear. Here, we characterize functional relationships among D. melanogaster tumor suppressors and identify the kinases Discs overgrown and Warts as components of a Fat signaling pathway. fat, discs overgrown and warts regulate a common set of downstream genes in multiple tissues. Genetic experiments position the action of discs overgrown upstream of the Fat pathway component dachs, whereas warts acts downstream of dachs. Warts protein coprecipitates with Dachs, and Warts protein levels are influenced by fat, dachs and discs overgrown in vivo, consistent with its placement as a downstream component of the pathway. The tumor suppressors Merlin, expanded, hippo, salvador and mob as tumor suppressor also share multiple Fat pathway phenotypes but regulate Warts activity independently. Our results functionally link what had been four disparate groups of D. melanogaster tumor suppressors, establish a basic framework for Fat signaling from receptor to transcription factor and implicate Warts as an integrator of multiple growth control signals.
Hanlon, SE, Norris DN, Vershon AK.  2003.  Depletion of H2A-H2b Dimers in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Triggers Meiotic Arrest by Reducing IME1 Expression and Activating the BUB2-dependent Branch of the Spindle Checkpoint. Genetics. 164:1333-1344. Abstract
In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, diploid strains carrying homozygous hta1-htb1Delta mutations express histone H2A-H2B dimers at a lower level than do wild-type cells. Although this mutation has only minor effects on mitotic growth, it causes an arrest in sporulation prior to the first meiotic division. In this report, we show that the hta1-htb1Delta mutant exhibits reduced expression of early and middle-sporulation-specific genes and that the meiotic arrest of the hta1-htb1Delta mutant can be partially bypassed by overexpression of IME1. Additionally, deletions of BUB2 or BFA1, components of one branch of the spindle checkpoint pathway, bypass the meiotic arrest. Mutations in the other branch of the pathway or in the pachytene checkpoint are unable to suppress the meiotic block. These observations indicate that depletion of the H2A-H2B dimer blocks sporulation by at least two mechanisms: disruption of the expression of meiotic regulatory genes and activation of the spindle checkpoint. Our results show that the failure to progress through the meiotic pathway is not the result of global chromosomal alterations but that specific aspects of meiosis are sensitive to depletion of the H2A-H2B dimer.
Zhang, XP, Gunasekera A, Ebright YW, Ebright RH.  1991.  Derivatives of CAP having no solvent-accessible cysteine residues, or having a unique solvent-accessible cysteine residue at amino acid 2 of the helix-turn-helix motif.. Journal of biomolecular structure & dynamics. 9(3):463-73. Abstract
The Escherichia coli catabolite gene activator protein (CAP) is a helix-turn-helix motif sequence-specific DNA binding protein. CAP contains a unique solvent-accessible cysteine residue at amino acid 10 of the helix-turn-helix motif. In published work, we have constructed a prototype semi-synthetic site-specific DNA cleavage agent from CAP by use of cysteine-specific chemical modification to incorporate a nucleolytic chelator-metal complex at amino acid 10 of the helix-turn-helix motif [Ebright, R., Ebright, Y., Pendergrast, P.S. and Gunasekera, A., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 87, 2882-2886 (1990)]. Construction of second-generation semi-synthetic site-specific DNA cleavage agents from CAP requires the construction of derivatives of CAP having unique solvent-accessible cysteine residues at sites within CAP other than amino acid 10 of the helix-turn-helix motif. In the present work, we have constructed and characterized two derivatives of CAP having no solvent-accessible cysteine residues: [Ser178]CAP and [Leu178]CAP. In addition, in the present work, we have constructed and characterized one derivative of CAP having a unique solvent-accessible cysteine residue at amino acid 2 of the helix-turn-helix motif: [Cys170;Ser178]CAP.
Heyduk, T, Heyduk E, Severinov K, Tang H, Ebright RH.  1996.  Determinants of RNA polymerase alpha subunit for interaction with beta, beta', and sigma subunits: hydroxyl-radical protein footprinting.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 93(19):10162-6. Abstract
Escherichia coli RNA polymerase (RNAP) alpha subunit serves as the initiator for RNAP assembly, which proceeds according to the pathway 2 alpha-->alpha 2-->alpha 2 beta-->alpha 2 beta beta'-->alpha 2 beta beta' sigma. In this work, we have used hydroxyl-radical protein footprinting to define determinants of alpha for interaction with beta, beta', and sigma. Our results indicate that amino acids 30-75 of alpha are protected from hydroxyl-radical-mediated proteolysis upon interaction with beta (i.e., in alpha 2 beta, alpha 2 beta beta', and alpha 2 beta beta' sigma), and amino acids 175-210 of alpha are protected from hydroxyl-radical-mediated proteolysis upon interaction with beta' (i.e., in alpha 2 beta beta' and alpha 2 beta beta' sigma). The protected regions are conserved in the alpha homologs of prokaryotic, eukaryotic, archaeal, and chloroplast RNAPs and contain sites of substitutions that affect RNAP assembly. We conclude that the protected regions define determinants of alpha for direct functional interaction with beta and beta'. The observed maximal magnitude of protection upon interaction with beta and the observed maximal magnitude of protection upon interaction with beta' both correspond to the expected value for complete protection of one of the two alpha protomers of RNAP (i.e., 50% protection). We propose that only one of the two alpha protomers of RNAP interacts with beta and that only one of the two alpha protomers of RNAP interacts with beta'.
Savery, NJ, Lloyd GS, Busby SJW, Thomas MS, Ebright RH, Gourse RL.  2002.  Determinants of the C-terminal domain of the Escherichia coli RNA polymerase alpha subunit important for transcription at class I cyclic AMP receptor protein-dependent promoters.. Journal of bacteriology. 184(8):2273-80. Abstract
Alanine scanning of the Escherichia coli RNA polymerase alpha subunit C-terminal domain (alphaCTD) was used to identify amino acid side chains important for class I cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP)-dependent transcription. Key residues were investigated further in vivo and in vitro. Substitutions in three regions of alphaCTD affected class I CRP-dependent transcription from the CC(-61.5) promoter and/or the lacP1 promoter. These regions are (i) the 287 determinant, previously shown to contact CRP during class II CRP-dependent transcription; (ii) the 265 determinant, previously shown to be important for alphaCTD-DNA interactions, including those required for class II CRP-dependent transcription; and (iii) the 261 determinant. We conclude that CRP contacts the same target in alphaCTD, the 287 determinant, at class I and class II CRP-dependent promoters. We also conclude that the relative contributions of individual residues within the 265 determinant depend on promoter sequence, and we discuss explanations for effects of substitutions in the 261 determinant.
Pendergrast, PS, Chen Y, Ebright YW, Ebright RH.  1992.  Determination of the orientation of a DNA binding motif in a protein-DNA complex by photocrosslinking.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 89(21):10287-91. Abstract
We have developed a straightforward biochemical method to determine the orientation of the DNA binding motif of a sequence-specific DNA binding protein relative to the DNA site in the protein-DNA complex. The method involves incorporation of a photoactivatable crosslinking agent at a single site within the DNA binding motif of the sequence-specific DNA binding protein, formation of the derivatized protein-DNA complex, UV-irradiation of the derivatized protein-DNA complex, and determination of the nucleotide(s) at which crosslinking occurs. We have applied the method to catabolite gene activator protein (CAP). We have constructed and analyzed two derivatives of CAP: one having a phenyl azide photoactivatable crosslinking agent at amino acid 2 of the helix-turn-helix motif of CAP, and one having a phenyl azide photoactivatable crosslinking agent at amino acid 10 of the helix-turn-helix motif of CAP. The results indicate that amino acid 2 of the helix-turn-helix motif is close to the top-strand nucleotides of base pairs 3 and 4 of the DNA half site in the CAP-DNA complex, and that amino acid 10 of the helix-turn-helix motif is close to the bottom-strand nucleotide of base pair 10 of the DNA half site in the CAP-DNA complex. The results define unambiguously the orientation of the helix-turn-helix motif relative to the DNA half site in the CAP-DNA complex. Comparison of the results to the crystallographic structure of the CAP-DNA complex [Schultz, S., Shields, S. & Steitz, T. (1991) Science 253, 1001-1007] indicates that the method provides accurate, high-resolution proximity and orientation information.
Dismukes, CG, Brimblecombe R, Felton GAN, Pryadun RS, Sheats JE, Spiccia L, Swiegers GF.  2009.  Development of Bioinspired Mn4O4−Cubane Water Oxidation Catalysts: Lessons from Photosynthesis. Accounts of Chemical Research. 42:1935-1943. AbstractWebsite
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Anderson, KV, Irvine KD.  2009.  Developmental biology moves forward in the 21st century. Current opinion in genetics & development. 19:299-301.Website
Kirihara, JA, Hunsperger JP, Mahoney WC, Messing JW.  1988.  Differential expression of a gene for a methionine-rich storage protein in maize. Molecular & general genetics : MGG. 211:477-84. AbstractWebsite
A methionine-rich 10 kDa zein storage protein from maize was isolated and the sequence of the N-terminal 30 amino acids was determined. Based on the amino acid sequence, two mixed oligonucleotides were synthesized and used to probe a maize endosperm cDNA library. A full-length cDNA clone encoding the 10 kDa zein was isolated by this procedure. The nucleotide sequence of the cDNA clone predicts a polypeptide of 129 amino acids, preceded by a signal peptide of 21 amino acids. The predicted polypeptide is unique in its extremely high content of methionine (22.5%). The maize inbred line BSSS-53, which has increased seed methionine due to overproduction of this protein, was compared to W23, a standard inbred line. Northern blot analysis showed that the relative RNA levels for the 10 kDa zein were enhanced in developing seeds of BSSS-53, providing a molecular basis for the overproduction of the protein. Southern blot analysis indicated that there are one or two 10 kDa zein genes in the maize genome.
Miclaus, M, Xu JH, Messing J.  2011.  Differential gene expression and epiregulation of alpha zein gene copies in maize haplotypes. PLoS Genet. 7:e1002131. AbstractWebsite
Multigenic traits are very common in plants and cause diversity. Nutritional quality is such a trait, and one of its factors is the composition and relative expression of storage protein genes. In maize, they represent a medium-size gene family distributed over several chromosomes and unlinked locations. Two inbreds, B73 and BSSS53, both from the Iowa Stiff Stock Synthetic collection, have been selected to analyze allelic and non-allelic variability in these regions that span between 80-500 kb of chromosomal DNA. Genes were copied to unlinked sites before and after allotetraploidization of maize, but before transposition enlarged intergenic regions in a haplotype-specific manner. Once genes are copied, expression of donor genes is reduced relative to new copies. Epigenetic regulation seems to contribute to silencing older copies, because some of them can be reactivated when endosperm is maintained as cultured cells, indicating that copy number variation might contribute to a reserve of gene copies. Bisulfite sequencing of the promoter region also shows different methylation patterns among gene clusters as well as differences between tissues, suggesting a possible position effect on regulatory mechanisms as a result of inserting copies at unlinked locations. The observations offer a potential paradigm for how different gene families evolve and the impact this has on their expression and regulation of their members.
Pan, Y, Heemskerk I, Ibar C, Shraiman BI, Irvine KD.  2016.  Differential growth triggers mechanical feedback that elevates Hippo signaling.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Abstract
Mechanical stress can influence cell proliferation in vitro, but whether it makes a significant contribution to growth control in vivo, and how it is modulated and experienced by cells within developing tissues, has remained unclear. Here we report that differential growth reduces cytoskeletal tension along cell junctions within faster-growing cells. We propose a theoretical model to explain the observed reduction of tension within faster-growing clones, supporting it by computer simulations based on a generalized vertex model. This reduced tension modulates a biomechanical Hippo pathway, decreasing recruitment of Ajuba LIM protein and the Hippo pathway kinase Warts, and decreasing the activity of the growth-promoting transcription factor Yorkie. These observations provide a specific mechanism for a mechanical feedback that contributes to evenly distributed growth, and we show that genetically suppressing mechanical feedback alters patterns of cell proliferation in the developing Drosophila wing. By providing experimental support for the induction of mechanical stress by differential growth, and a molecular mechanism linking this stress to the regulation of growth in developing organs, our results confirm and extend the mechanical feedback hypothesis.
Goldman, SR, Ebright RH, Nickels BE.  2009.  Direct detection of abortive RNA transcripts in vivo. Science. 324:927-8. AbstractWebsite
During transcription initiation in vitro, prokaryotic and eukaryotic RNA polymerase (RNAP) can engage in abortive initiation-the synthesis and release of short (2 to 15 nucleotides) RNA transcripts-before productive initiation. It has not been known whether abortive initiation occurs in vivo. Using hybridization with locked nucleic acid probes, we directly detected abortive transcripts in bacteria. In addition, we show that in vivo abortive initiation shows characteristics of in vitro abortive initiation: Abortive initiation increases upon stabilizing interactions between RNAP and either promoter DNA or sigma factor, and also upon deleting elongation factor GreA. Abortive transcripts may have functional roles in regulating gene expression in vivo.
Goldman, SR, Ebright RH, Nickels BE.  2009.  Direct detection of abortive RNA transcripts in vivo.. Science (New York, N.Y.). 324(5929):927-8. Abstract
During transcription initiation in vitro, prokaryotic and eukaryotic RNA polymerase (RNAP) can engage in abortive initiation-the synthesis and release of short (2 to 15 nucleotides) RNA transcripts-before productive initiation. It has not been known whether abortive initiation occurs in vivo. Using hybridization with locked nucleic acid probes, we directly detected abortive transcripts in bacteria. In addition, we show that in vivo abortive initiation shows characteristics of in vitro abortive initiation: Abortive initiation increases upon stabilizing interactions between RNAP and either promoter DNA or sigma factor, and also upon deleting elongation factor GreA. Abortive transcripts may have functional roles in regulating gene expression in vivo.
Pushkar, Y, Long X, Glatzel P, Brudvig G W, Dismukes  CG, Collins T J, Yachandra V K, Yano J, Bergmann U.  2010.  Direct Detection of Oxygen Ligation to the Mn4Ca Cluster of Photosystem II by X-ray Emission Spectroscopy. Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 49:800-803.Website
Margeat, E, Kapanidis AN, Tinnefeld P, Wang Y, Mukhopadhyay J, Ebright RH, Weiss S.  2006.  Direct observation of abortive initiation and promoter escape within single immobilized transcription complexes.. Biophysical journal. 90(4):1419-31. Abstract
Using total-internal-reflection fluorescence microscopy equipped with alternating-laser excitation, we were able to detect abortive initiation and promoter escape within single immobilized transcription complexes. Our approach uses fluorescence resonance energy transfer to monitor distances between a fluorescent probe incorporated in RNA polymerase (RNAP) and a fluorescent probe incorporated in DNA. We observe small, but reproducible and abortive-product-length-dependent, decreases in distance between the RNAP leading edge and DNA downstream of RNAP upon abortive initiation, and we observe large decreases in distance upon promoter escape. Inspection of population distributions and single-molecule time traces for abortive initiation indicates that, at a consensus promoter, at saturating ribonucleoside triphosphate concentrations, abortive-product release is rate-limiting (i.e., abortive-product synthesis and RNAP-active-center forward translocation are fast, whereas abortive-product dissociation and RNAP-active-center reverse translocation are slow). The results obtained using this new methodology confirm and extend those obtained from diffusing single molecules, and pave the way for real-time, single-molecule observations of the transitions between various states of the transcription complex throughout transcription.
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.
Rongo, C.  2001.  Disparate cell types use a shared complex of PDZ proteins for polarized protein localization. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 12:349-59. AbstractWebsite
Based on their morphology and function, epithelial cells and neurons appear to have very little in common; however, growing evidence indicates that these two disparate cell types share an underlying polarization pathway responsible for sorting proteins to specific subcellular sites. An evolutionarily conserved complex of PDZ domain-containing proteins thought to be responsible for polarized protein localization has been identified from both brain and epithelial tissue, both from mammals and from the nematode C. elegans. Some of the most recent data on PDZ proteins and the proteins with which they interact are summarized. In particular, some of the more recently proposed models for their function in cells, and the in vivo and in vitro data that support these models are focussed upon.
Knight, JL, Mekler V, Mukhopadhyay J, Ebright RH, Levy RM.  2005.  Distance-restrained docking of rifampicin and rifamycin SV to RNA polymerase using systematic FRET measurements: developing benchmarks of model quality and reliability.. Biophysical journal. 88(2):925-38. Abstract
We are developing distance-restrained docking strategies for modeling macromolecular complexes that combine available high-resolution structures of the components and intercomponent distance restraints derived from systematic fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) measurements. In this article, we consider the problem of docking small-molecule ligands within macromolecular complexes. Using simulated FRET data, we have generated a series of benchmarks that permit estimation of model accuracy based on the quantity and quality of FRET-derived distance restraints, including the number, random error, systematic error, distance distribution, and radial distribution of FRET-derived distance restraints. We find that expected model accuracy is 10 A or better for models based on: i), > or =20 restraints with up to 15% random error and no systematic error, or ii), > or =20 restraints with up to 15% random error, up to 10% systematic error, and a symmetric radial distribution of restraints. Model accuracies can be improved to 5 A or better by increasing the number of restraints to > or =40 and/or by optimizing the distance distribution of restraints. Using experimental FRET data, we have defined the positions of the binding sites within bacterial RNA polymerase of the small-molecule inhibitors rifampicin (Rif) and rifamycin SV (Rif SV). The inferred binding sites for Rif and Rif SV were located with accuracies of, respectively, 7 and 10 A relative to the crystallographically defined binding site for Rif. These accuracies agree with expectations from the benchmark simulations and suffice to indicate that the binding sites for Rif and Rif SV are located within the RNA polymerase active-center cleft, overlapping the binding site for the RNA-DNA hybrid.
Stolz, A, Haines N, Pich A, Irvine KD, Hokke CH, Deelder AM, Gerardy-Schahn R, Wuhrer M, Bakker H.  2008.  Distinct contributions of beta 4GalNAcTA and beta 4GalNAcTB to Drosophila glycosphingolipid biosynthesis. Glycoconjugate Journal. 25:167-75. AbstractWebsite
Drosophila melanogaster has two beta4-N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferases, beta4GalNAcTA and beta4GalNAcTB, that are able to catalyse the formation of lacdiNAc (GalNAcbeta,4GlcNAc). LacdiNAc is found as a structural element of Drosophila glycosphingolipids (GSLs) suggesting that beta4GalNAcTs contribute to the generation of GSL structures in vivo. Mutations in Egghead and Brainaic, enzymes that generate the beta4GalNAcT trisaccharide acceptor structure GlcNAcbeta,3Manbeta,4GlcbetaCer, are lethal. In contrast, flies doubly mutant for the beta4GalNAcTs are viable and fertile. Here, we describe the structural analysis of the GSLs in beta4GalNAcT mutants and find that in double mutant flies no lacdiNAc structure is generated and the trisaccharide GlcNAcbeta,3Manbeta,4GlcbetaCer accumulates. We also find that phosphoethanolamine transfer to GlcNAc in the trisaccharide does not occur, demonstrating that this step is dependent on prior or simultaneous transfer of GalNAc. By comparing GSL structures generated in the beta4GalNAcT single mutants we show that beta4GalNAcTB is the major enzyme for the overall GSL biosynthesis in adult flies. In beta4GalNAcTA mutants, composition of GSL structures is indistinguishable from wild-type animals. However, in beta4GalNAcTB mutants precursor structures are accumulating in different steps of GSL biosynthesis, without the complete loss of lacdiNAc, indicating that beta4GalNAcTA plays a minor role in generating GSL structures. Together our results demonstrate that both beta4GalNAcTs are able to generate lacdiNAc structures in Drosophila GSL, although with different contributions in vivo, and that the trisaccharide GlcNAcbeta,3Manbeta,4GlcbetaCer is sufficient to avoid the major phenotypic consequences associated with the GSL biosynthetic defects in Brainiac or Egghead.
Glodowski, DR, Wright T, Martinowich K, Chang HC, Beach D, Rongo C.  2005.  Distinct LIN-10 domains are required for its neuronal function, its epithelial function, and its synaptic localization. Mol Biol Cell. 16:1417-26. AbstractWebsite
alpha-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA)-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) mediate excitatory neurotransmission at neuronal synapses, and their regulated localization plays a role in synaptic plasticity. In Caenorhabditis elegans, the PDZ and PTB domain-containing protein LIN-10 is required both for the synaptic localization of the AMPAR subunit GLR-1 and for vulval fate induction in epithelia. Here, we examine the role that different LIN-10 domains play in GLR-1 localization. We find that an amino-terminal region of LIN-10 directs LIN-10 protein localization to the Golgi and to synaptic clusters. In addition, mutations in the carboxyl-terminal PDZ domains prevent LIN-10 from regulating GLR-1 localization in neurons but do not prevent LIN-10 from functioning in the vulval epithelia. A mutation in the amino terminus prevents the protein from functioning in the vulval epithelia but does not prevent it from functioning to regulate GLR-1 localization in neurons. Finally, we show that human Mint2 can substitute for LIN-10 to facilitate GLR-1 localization in neurons and that the Mint2 amino terminus is critical for this function. Together, our data suggest that LIN-10 uses distinct modular domains for its functions in neurons and epithelial cells and that during evolution its vertebrate ortholog Mint2 has retained the ability to direct AMPAR localization in neurons.
Knobel, KM, Peden EM, Barr MM.  2008.  Distinct Protein Domains Regulate Ciliary Targeting and Function of C. Elegans PKD-2. Exp Cell Res. 314:825-833. Abstract
TRPP2 (transient receptor potential polycystin-2) channels function in a range of cells where they are localized to specific subcellular regions including the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and primary cilium. In humans, TRPP2/PC-2 mutations severely compromise kidney function and cause autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The Caenorhabditis elegans TRPP2 homolog, PKD-2, is restricted to the somatodendritic (cell body and dendrite) and ciliary compartments of male specific sensory neurons. Within these neurons PKD-2 function is required for sensation. To understand the mechanisms regulating TRPP2 subcellular distribution and activity, we performed in vivo structure-function-localization studies using C. elegans as a model system. Our data demonstrate that somatodendritic and ciliary targeting requires the transmembrane (TM) region of PKD-2 and that the PKD-2 cytosolic termini regulate subcellular distribution and function. Within neuronal cell bodies, PKD-2 colocalizes with the OSM-9 TRP vanilloid (TRPV) channel, suggesting that these TRPP and TRPV channels may function in a common process. When human TRPP2/PC-2 is heterologously expressed in transgenic C. elegans animals, PC-2 does not visibly localize to cilia but does partially rescue pkd-2 null mutant defects, suggesting that human PC-2 and PKD-2 are functional homologs.