In this study, the in vitro and in vivo functions of the only two identified protein phosphatases, Saci-PTP and Saci-PP2A, in the crenarchaeal model organism Sulfolobus acidocaldarius were investigated. Biochemical characterization revealed that Saci-PTP is a dual-specific phosphatase (against pSer/pThr and pTyr), whereas Saci-PP2A exhibited specific pSer/pThr activity and inhibition by okadaic acid. Deletion of saci_pp2a resulted in pronounced alterations in growth, cell shape and cell size, which could be partially complemented. Transcriptome analysis of the three strains (Δsaci_ptp, Δsaci_pp2a and the MW001 parental strain) revealed 155 genes that were differentially expressed in the deletion mutants, and showed significant changes in expression of genes encoding the archaella (archaeal motility structure), components of the respiratory chain and transcriptional regulators. Phosphoproteome studies revealed 801 unique phosphoproteins in total, with an increase in identified phosphopeptides in the deletion mutants. Proteins from most functional categories were affected by phosphorylation, including components of the motility system, the respiratory chain, and regulatory proteins. In the saci_pp2a deletion mutant the up-regulation at the transcript level, as well as the observed phosphorylation pattern, resembled starvation stress responses. Hypermotility was also observed in the saci_pp2a deletion mutant. The results highlight the importance of protein phosphorylation in regulating essential cellular processes in the crenarchaeon S. acidocaldarius.
Recent studies identified a 5´ to 3´ exoribonuclease termed Sso-RNase J in the crenarchaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus (Sso), which has been reclassified to the aCPSF2 (archaeal cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor 2) group of β-CASP proteins. In this study, the Sso-aCPSF2 orthologue of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius (Saci-aCPSF2) was functionally characterized. Like Sso-aCPSF2, Saci-aCPSF2 degrades RNA with 5´ to 3´ directionality in vitro. To address the biological significance of Saci-aCPSF2, a deletion mutant was constructed, and the influence of Saci-aCPSF2 on the transcriptome profile was assessed employing high throughput RNA sequencing. This analysis revealed 560 genes with differential transcript abundance, suggesting a considerable role of this enzyme in RNA metabolism. In addition, bioinformatic analyses revealed several transcripts that are preferentially degraded at the 5´ end. This was exemplarily verified for two transcripts by Northern-blot analyses, showing for the first time that aCPSF2 proteins play a role in 5' to 3' directional mRNA decay in the crenarchaeal clade of Archaea.
To estimate the efficacy of mechanisms which may prevent or repair thermal damage to DNA in thermophilic archaea, a quantitative assay of forward mutation at extremely high temperature was developed for Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, based on the selection of pyrimidine-requiring mutants resistant to 5-fluoro-orotic acid. Maximum-likelihood analysis of spontaneous mutant distributions in wild-type cultures yielded maximal estimates of (2.8 +/- 0.7) x 10(-7) and (1.5 +/- 0.6) x 10(-7) mutational events per cell per division cycle for the pyrE and pyrF loci, respectively. To our knowledge, these results provide the first accurate measurement of the genetic fidelity maintained by archaea that populate geothermal environments. The measured rates of forward mutation at the pyrE and pyrF loci in S. acidocaldarius are close to corresponding rates reported for protein-encoding genes of Escherichia coli. The normal rate of spontaneous mutation in E. coli at 37 degrees C is known to require the functioning of several enzyme systems that repair spontaneous damage in DNA. Our results provide indirect evidence that S. acidocaldarius has cellular mechanisms, as yet unidentified, which effectively compensate for the higher chemical instability of DNA at the temperatures and pHs that prevail within growing Sulfolobus cells.
To investigate how hyperthermophilic archaea can propagate their
genomes accurately, we isolated Sulfolobus
acidocaldarius mutants exhibiting abnormally high rates of
spontaneous mutation. Our isolation strategy involved enrichment for
mutator lineages via alternating selections, followed by screening for
the production of spontaneous, 5-fluoro-orotate-resistant mutants in
micro-colonies. Several candidates were evaluated and found to have
high frequencies of pyrE and pyrF
mutation and reversion. Neither an increased efficiency of plating of
mutants on selective medium, nor the creation of a genetically
unstable pyrE allele, could be implicated as the
cause of these high frequencies. The strains had elevated frequencies
of other mutations, and exhibited certain phenotypic differences among
themselves. A large increase in sensitivity to DNA-damaging agents was
not observed, however. These properties generally resemble those of
bacterial mutator mutants and suggest loss of functions specific to
5-fluoro-orotic acid; hyperthermophilic archaea; mismatch repair; mutator mutants; spontaneous mutation
Schizosaccharomyces pombe cells deficient in nucleotide excision repair (NER) are still able to remove photoproducts from cellular DNA, showing that there is a second pathway for repair of UV damage in this organism. We have characterized this repair pathway by cloning and disruption of the genomic gene encoding UV damage endonuclease (UVDE). Although uvde gene disruptant cells are only mildly UV sensitive, a double disruptant of uvde and rad13 (a S. pombe mutant defective in NER) was synergistically more sensitive than either single disruptant and was unable to remove any photoproducts from cellular DNA. Analysis of the kinetics of photoproduct removal in different mutants showed that the UVDE-mediated pathway operates much more rapidly than NER. In contrast to a previous report, our genetic analysis showed that rad12 and uvde are not the same gene. Disruption of the rad2 gene encoding a structure- specific flap endonuclease makes cells UV sensitive, but much of this sensitivity is not observed if the uvde gene is also disrupted. Further genetic and immunochemical analyses suggest that DNA incised by UVDE is processed by two separate mechanisms, one dependent and one independent of flap endonuclease.
DNA photolyases catalyze the blue light-dependent repair of UV light-induced damage in DNA. DNA photolyases are specific for either cyclobutane-type pyrimidine dimers or (6–4) photoproducts. PHR2 is a gene that in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii encodes a class II DNA photolyase which catalyzes the photorepair of cyclobutane-type pyrimidine dimers. Based on amino acid sequence analysis of PHR2, which indicates the presence of a chloroplast targeting sequence, PHR2 was predicted to encode the chloroplast photolyase of Chlamydomonas. Using a sensitive gene-specific in vivo repair assay, we found that overexpression of PHR2 in Chlamydomonas results in targeting of the protein to not only the chloroplast, but also to the nucleus. Overexpression of PHR2 photolyase in a photoreactivation-deficient mutant, phr1, results in a largely inactive product. The phr1 mutant was found to be deficient in both photorepair of a chloroplast gene, rbcL, and a nuclear gene, rDNA. These results suggest that PHR2 is the structural gene for the photolyase targeted to both the chloroplast and the nucleus, and that the PHR1 gene product is necessary for full activity of PHR2 protein. To our knowledge, the requirement for a second gene for full activity of a DNA photolyase is novel.
Photolyase is a DNA repair enzyme that reverses UV-induced photoproducts in DNA in a light-dependent manner. Recently, photolyase homologs were identified in higher eukaryotes. These homologs, termed cryptochromes, function as blue light photoreceptors or regulators of circadian rhythm. In contrast, most bacteria have only a single photolyase or photolyase-like gene. Unlike other microbes, the chromosome of the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 contains two ORFs (slr0854 and sll1629) with high similarities to photolyases. We have characterized both genes. The slr0854 gene product exhibited specific, light-dependent repair activity for a cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD), whereas the sll1629 gene product lacks measurable affinity for DNA in vitro. Disruption of either slr0854 or sll1629 had little or no effect on the growth rate of the cyanobacterium. A mutant lacking the slr0854 gene showed severe UV sensitivity, in contrast to a mutant lacking sll1629. Phylogenetic analysis showed that sll1629 is more closely related to the cryptochromes than photolyases. We conclude that sll1629 is a bacterial cryptochrome. To our knowledge, this is the first description of a bacterial cryptochrome.
For reverse genetic approaches inactivation or selective modification of genes are required to elucidate their putative function. Sulfolobus acidocaldarius is a thermoacidophilic Crenarchaeon which grows optimally at 76°C and pH 3. As many antibiotics do not withstand these conditions the development of a genetic system in this organism is dependent on auxotrophies. Therefore we constructed a pyrE deletion mutant of S. acidocaldarius wild type strain DSM639 missing 322 bp called MW001. Using this strain as the starting point, we describe here different methods using single as well as double crossover events to obtain markerless deletion mutants, tag genes genomically and ectopically integrate foreign DNA into MW001. These methods enable us to construct single, double, and triple deletions strains that can still be complemented with the pRN1 based expression vector. Taken together we have developed a versatile and robust genetic tool box for the crenarchaeote S. acidocaldarius that will promote the study of unknown gene functions in this organism and makes it a suitable host for synthetic biology approaches.
archaea; Sulfolobus; genetics; deletion mutant; expression system; in-frame deletion
The gene (crc) responsible for catabolite repression control in Pseudomonas aeruginosa has been cloned and sequenced. Flanking the crc gene are genes encoding orotate phosphoribosyl transferase (pyrE) and RNase PH (rph). New crc mutants were constructed by disruption of the wild-type crc gene. The crc gene encodes an open reading frame of 259 amino acids with homology to the apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease family of DNA repair enzymes. However, crc mutants do not have a DNA repair phenotype, nor can the crc gene complement Escherichia coli DNA repair-deficient strains. The crc gene product was overexpressed in both P. aeruginosa and in E. coli, and the Crc protein was purified from both. The purified Crc proteins show neither apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease nor exonuclease activity. Antibody to the purified Crc protein reacted with proteins of similar size in crude extracts from Pseudomonas putida and Pseudomonas fluorescens, suggesting a common mechanism of catabolite repression in these three species.
Hyperthermophilic archaea exhibit certain molecular-genetic features not seen in bacteria or eukaryotes, and their systems of homologous recombination (HR) remain largely unexplored in vivo. We transformed a Sulfolobus acidocaldarius
pyrE mutant with short DNAs that contained multiple non-selected genetic markers within the pyrE gene. From 20 to 40% of the resulting colonies were found to contain two Pyr+ clones with distinct sets of the non-selected markers. The dual-genotype colonies could not be attributed to multiple DNAs entering the cells, or to conjugation between transformed and non-transformed cells. These colonies thus appear to represent genetic sectoring in which regions of heteroduplex DNA formed and then segregated after partial resolution of inter-strand differences. Surprisingly, sectoring was also frequent in cells transformed with single-stranded DNAs. Oligonucleotides produced more sectored transformants when electroporated as single strands than as a duplex, although all forms of donor DNA (positive-strand, negative-strand, and duplex) produced a diversity of genotypes, despite the limited number of markers. The marker patterns in the recombinants indicate that S. acidocaldarius resolves individual mismatches through un-coordinated short-patch excision followed by re-filling of the resulting gap. The conversion events that occur during transformation by single-stranded DNA do not show the strand bias necessary for a system that corrects replication errors effectively; similar events also occur in pre-formed heteroduplex electroporated into the cells. Although numerous mechanistic details remain obscure, the results demonstrate that the HR system of S. acidocaldarius can generate remarkable genetic diversity from short intervals of moderately diverged DNAs.
linear DNA; genetic transformation; mismatch repair; gene conversion
Two types of enzyme utilizing light from the blue and near-UV spectral range (320-520 nm) are known to have related primary structures: DNA photolyase, which repairs UV-induced DNA damage in a light-dependent manner, and the blue light photoreceptor of plants, which mediates light-dependent regulation of seedling development. Cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) and pyrimidine (6-4) pyrimidone photoproducts [(6-4)photoproducts] are the two major photoproducts produced in DNA by UV irradiation. Two types of photolyases have been identified, one specific for CPDs (CPD photolyase) and another specific for (6-4)photoproducts [(6-4)photolyase]. (6-4)Photolyase activity was first found in Drosophila melanogaster and to date this gene has been cloned only from this organism. The deduced amino acid sequence of the cloned gene shows that (6-4)photolyase is a member of the CPD photolyase/blue light photoreceptor family. Both CPD photolyase and blue light photoreceptor are flavoproteins and bound flavin adenine dinucleotides (FADs) are essential for their catalytic activity. Here we report isolation of a Xenopus laevis(6-4)photolyase gene and show that the (6-4)photolyase binds non- covalently to stoichiometric amounts of FAD. This is the first indication of FAD as the chromophore of (6-4)photolyase.
The ubiquitous Rad50 and Mre11 proteins play a key role in many processes involved in the maintenance of genome integrity in Bacteria and Eucarya, but their function in the Archaea is presently unknown. We showed previously that in most hyperthermophilic archaea, rad50-mre11 genes are linked to nurA encoding both a single-strand endonuclease and a 5' to 3' exonuclease, and herA, encoding a bipolar DNA helicase which suggests the involvement of the four proteins in common molecular pathway(s). Since genetic tools for hyperthermophilic archaea are just emerging, we utilized immuno-detection approaches to get the first in vivo data on the role(s) of these proteins in the hyperthermophilic crenarchaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius.
We first showed that S. acidocaldarius can repair DNA damage induced by high doses of gamma rays, and we performed a time course analysis of the total levels and sub-cellular partitioning of Rad50, Mre11, HerA and NurA along with the RadA recombinase in both control and irradiated cells. We found that during the exponential phase, all proteins are synthesized and display constant levels, but that all of them exhibit a different sub-cellular partitioning. Following gamma irradiation, both Mre11 and RadA are immediately recruited to DNA and remain DNA-bound in the course of DNA repair. Furthermore, we show by immuno-precipitation assays that Rad50, Mre11 and the HerA helicase interact altogether.
Our analyses strongly support that in Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, the Mre11 protein and the RadA recombinase might play an active role in the repair of DNA damage introduced by gamma rays and/or may act as DNA damage sensors. Moreover, our results demonstrate the functional interaction between Mre11, Rad50 and the HerA helicase and suggest that each protein play different roles when acting on its own or in association with its partners. This report provides the first in vivo evidence supporting the implication of the Mre11 protein in DNA repair processes in the Archaea and showing its interaction with both Rad50 and the HerA bipolar helicase. Further studies on the functional interactions between these proteins, the NurA nuclease and the RadA recombinase, will allow us to define their roles and mechanism of action.
Prokaryotic genomes acquire and eliminate blocks of DNA sequence by lateral gene transfer and spontaneous deletion, respectively. The basic parameters of spontaneous deletion, which are expected to influence the course of genome evolution, have not been determined for any hyperthermophilic archaeon. We therefore screened a number of independent pyrimidine auxotrophs of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius for deletions and sequenced those detected. Deletions accounted for only 0.4% of spontaneous pyrE mutations, corresponding to a frequency of about 10−8 per cell. Nucleotide sequence analysis of five independent deletions showed no significant association of the endpoints with short direct repeats, despite the fact that several such repeats occur within the pyrE gene and that duplication mutations in pyrE reverted at high frequencies. Endpoints of the spontaneous deletions did not coincide with short inverted repeats or potential stem-loop structures. No consensus sequence common to all the deletions could be identified, although two deletions showed the potential of being stabilized by octanucleotide sequences elsewhere in pyrE, and another pair of deletions shared an octanucleotide at their 3′ ends. The unusually low frequency and low sequence dependence of spontaneous deletions in the S. acidocaldarius pyrE gene compared to other genetic systems could not be explained in terms of possible constraints imposed by the 5-fluoroorotate selection.
The intrinsically thermostable Y-family DNA polymerases of Sulfolobus spp. have revealed detailed three-dimensional structure and catalytic mechanisms of trans-lesion DNA polymerases, yet their functions in maintaining their native genomes remain largely unexplored. To identify functions of the Y-family DNA polymerase Dbh in replicating the Sulfolobus genome under extreme conditions, we disrupted the dbh gene in Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and characterized the resulting mutant strains phenotypically. Disruption of dbh did not cause any obvious growth defect, sensitivity to any of several DNA-damaging agents, or change in overall rate of spontaneous mutation at a well-characterized target gene. Loss of dbh did, however, cause significant changes in the spectrum of spontaneous forward mutation in each of two orthologous target genes of different sequence. Relative to wild-type strains, dbh− constructs exhibited fewer frame-shift and other small insertion-deletion mutations, but exhibited more base-pair substitutions that converted G:C base pairs to T:A base pairs. These changes, which were confirmed to be statistically significant, indicate two distinct activities of the Dbh polymerase in Sulfolobus cells growing under nearly optimal culture conditions (78-80 °C and pH 3). The first activity promotes slipped-strand events within simple repetitive motifs, such as mononucleotide runs or triplet repeats, and the second promotes insertion of C opposite a potentially miscoding form of G, thereby avoiding G:C to T:A transversions.
Trans-lesion DNA synthesis; Y-family DNA polymerase; Sulfolobus DNA polymerase Dbh; DNA-damage sensitivity; Spontaneous mutation spectra
Repairing damaged DNA is essential for an organism’s survival. UV damage endonuclease (UVDE) is a DNA-repair enzyme that can recognize and incise different types of damaged DNA. We present the structure of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius UVDE on its own and in a pre-catalytic complex with UV-damaged DNA containing a 6-4 photoproduct showing a novel ‘dual dinucleotide flip’ mechanism for recognition of damaged dipyrimidines: the two purines opposite to the damaged pyrimidine bases are flipped into a dipurine-specific pocket, while the damaged bases are also flipped into another cleft.
Sequencing a 8,519-bp segment of the Sulfolobus acidocaldarius genome revealed the existence of a tightly packed bipolar pyrimidine gene cluster encoding the enzymes of de novo UMP synthesis. The G+C content of 35.3% is comparable to that of the entire genome, but intergenic regions exhibit a considerably lower percentage of strong base pairs. Coding regions harbor the classical excess of purines on the coding strand, whereas intergenic regions do not show this bias. Reverse transcription-PCR and primer extension experiments demonstrated the existence of two polycistronic messengers, pyrEF-orf8 and pyrBI-orf1-pyrCD-orf2-orf3-orf4, initiated from a pair of divergent and partially overlapping promoters. The gene order and the grouping in two wings of a bipolar operon constitute a novel organization of pyr genes that also occurs in the recently determined genome sequences of Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 and Sulfolobus tokodaii strain 7; the configuration appears therefore characteristic of Sulfolobus. The quasi-leaderless pyrE and pyrB genes do not bear a Shine-Dalgarno sequence, whereas the initiation codon of promoter-distal genes is preceded at an appropriate distance by a sequence complementary to the 3′ end of 16S rRNA. The polycistronic nature of the pyr messengers and the existence of numerous overlaps between contiguous open reading frames suggests the existence of translational coupling. pyrB transcription was shown to be approximately twofold repressed in the presence of uracil. The mechanism underlying this modulation is as yet unknown, but it appears to be of a type different from the various attenuation-like mechanisms that regulate pyrB transcription in bacteria. In contrast, the pyrE-pyrB promoter/control region harbors direct repeats and imperfect palindromes reminiscent of target sites for the binding of a hypothetical regulatory protein(s).
The transcriptional response to UV irradiation was analyzed in two related crenarchaea, Sulfolobus solfataricus and Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, showing a clear response to DNA damage but no increase in the expression of DNA repair genes.
DNA damage leads to cellular responses that include the increased expression of DNA repair genes, repression of DNA replication and alterations in cellular metabolism. Archaeal information processing pathways resemble those in eukaryotes, but archaeal damage response pathways remain poorly understood.
We analyzed the transcriptional response to UV irradiation in two related crenarchaea, Sulfolobus solfataricus and Sulfolobus acidocaldarius. Sulfolobus species encounter high levels of DNA damage in nature, as they inhabit high temperature, aerobic environments and are exposed to sunlight. No increase in expression of DNA repair genes following UV irradiation was observed. There was, however, a clear transcriptional response, including repression of DNA replication and chromatin proteins. Differential effects on the expression of the three transcription factor B (tfb) genes hint at a mechanism for the modulation of transcriptional patterns in response to DNA damage. TFB3, which is strongly induced following UV irradiation, competes with TFB1 for binding to RNA polymerase in vitro, and may act as a repressor of transcription or an alternative transcription factor for certain promoters.
A clear response to DNA damage was observed, with down-regulation of the DNA replication machinery, changes in transcriptional regulatory proteins, and up-regulation of the biosynthetic enzymes for beta-carotene, which has UV protective properties, and proteins that detoxify reactive oxygen species. However, unlike eukaryotes and bacteria, there was no induction of DNA repair proteins in response to DNA damage, probably because these are expressed constitutively to deal with increased damage arising due to high growth temperatures.
The extracellular lipase of Serratia marcescens Sr41, lacking a typical N-terminal signal sequence, is secreted via a signal peptide-independent pathway. The 20-kb SacI DNA fragment which allowed the extracellular lipase secretion was cloned from S. marcescens by selection of a phenotype conferring the extracellular lipase activity on the Escherichia coli cells. The subcloned 6.5-kb EcoRV fragment was revealed to contain three open reading frames which are composed of 588, 443, and 437 amino acid residues constituting an operon (lipBCD). Comparisons of the deduced amino acid sequences of the lipB, lipC, and lipD genes with those of the Erwinia chrysanthemi prtDEC, prtEEC, and prtFEC genes encoding the secretion apparatus of the E. chrysanthemi protease showed 55, 46, and 42% identity, respectively. The products of the lipB and lipC genes were 54 and 45% identical to the S. marcescens hasD and hasE gene products, respectively, which were secretory components for the S. marcescens heme-binding protein and metalloprotease. In the E. coli DH5 cells, all three lipBCD genes were essential for the extracellular secretion of both S. marcescens lipase and metalloprotease proteins, both of which lack an N-terminal signal sequence and are secreted via a signal-independent pathway. Although the function of the lipD gene seemed to be analogous to those of the prtFEC and tolC genes encoding third secretory components of ABC transporters, the E. coli TolC protein, which was functional for the S. marcescens Has system, could not replace LipD in the LipB-LipC-LipD transporter reconstituted in E. coli. These results indicated that these three proteins are components of the device which allows extracellular secretion of the extracellular proteins of S. marcescens and that their style is similar to that of the PrtDEF(EC) system.
UV damage endonuclease (Uve1p) from Schizosaccharomyces pombe was initially described as a DNA repair enzyme specific for the repair of UV light-induced photoproducts and proposed as the initial step in an alternative excision repair pathway. Here we present biochemical and genetic evidence demonstrating that Uve1p is also a mismatch repair endonuclease which recognizes and cleaves DNA 5′ to the mispaired base in a strand-specific manner. The biochemical properties of the Uve1p-mediated mismatch endonuclease activity are similar to those of the Uve1p-mediated UV photoproduct endonuclease. Mutants lacking Uve1p display a spontaneous mutator phenotype, further confirming the notion that Uve1p plays a role in mismatch repair. These results suggest that Uve1p has a surprisingly broad substrate specificity and may function as a general type of DNA repair protein with the capacity to initiate mismatch repair in certain organisms.
Sulfolobus acidocaldarius is so far the only hyperthermophilic archaeon in which genetic recombination can be assayed by conjugation and simple selections. Crosses among spontanteous pyr mutants were able to resolve closely spaced chromosomal mutations, identify deletions and rearrangements, and map mutations to a given deletion interval. Frameshift mutations in pyrE exerted polar effects that depressed orotidine-5′-monophosphate decarboxylase activity (encoded by pyrF), whereas base pair substitutions and an 18-bp deletion had no effect.
Full-length proviral DNA of Fujinami sarcoma virus (FSV) of chickens was molecularly cloned and characterized. An analysis of FSV DNA integrated in mammalian cells showed that restriction endonuclease SacI has a single cleavage site on FSV DNA. Unintegrated closed circular FSV DNA obtained from newly infected cells was linearized by digestion with SacI and cloned into λgtWES·λB. The following three different molecules were isolated: FSV-1 (4.4 kilobases [kb]) and FSV-2 (4.7 kb), which appeared to be full-length FSV DNA molecules containing either one or two copies of the long terminal repeat structure, and FSV-3 (6 kb), which consisted of part FSV DNA and part DNA of unknown origin. An analysis of the structure of cloned FSV-1 and FSV-2 DNA molecules by restriction endonuclease mapping and hybridization with appropriate probes showed that about 2.6 kb of the FSV-unique sequence called FSV-fps is located in the middle of the FSV genome and is flanked by helper virus-derived sequences of about 1.3 kb at the 5′ end and 0.5 kb at the 3′ end. The long terminal repeats of FSV were found to have no cleavage site for either EcoRI or PvuI. Upon transfection, both FSV-1 DNA and FSV-2 DNA were able to transform mammalian fibroblasts. Four 32P-labeled DNA fragments derived from different portions of the FSV-fps sequence were used for hybridization to viral RNAs. We found that sequences within the 3′ half of the FSV-fps gene are homologous to RNAs of PRCII avian sarcoma virus and the Snyder-Theilen strain of feline sarcoma virus, both of which were previously shown to contain transforming genes related to FSV-fps. These results suggest that the 3′ portion of the FSV-fps sequence may be crucial for the transforming activity of fps-related oncogenic sequences.
A portion of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis gene encoding the beta subunit of RNA polymerase (rpoB) was amplified by PCR using degenerate oligonucleotides and used as a hybridization probe to isolate plasmid clones carrying the entire rpoB gene of M. tuberculosis H37Rv, a virulent, rifampin-susceptible strain. Sequence analysis of a 5,084-bp SacI genomic DNA fragment revealed a 3,534-bp open reading frame encoding an 1,178-amino-acid protein with 57% identity with the Escherichia coli beta subunit. This SacI fragment also carried a portion of the rpoC gene located 43 bp downstream from the 3' end of the rpoB open reading frame; this organization is similar to that of the rpoBC operon of E. coli. The M. tuberculosis rpoB gene was cloned into the shuttle plasmid pMV261 and electroporated into the LR223 strain of Mycobacterium smegmatis, which is highly resistant to rifampin (MIC > 200 micrograms/ml). The resulting transformants were relatively rifampin susceptible (MIC = 50 micrograms/ml). Using PCR mutagenesis techniques, we introduced a specific rpoB point mutation (associated with clinical strains of rifampin-resistant M. tuberculosis) into the cloned M. tuberculosis rpoB gene and expressed this altered gene in the LR222 strain of M. smegmatis, which is susceptible to rifampin (MIC = 25 micrograms/ml). The resulting transformants were rifampin resistant (MIC = 200 micrograms/ml). The mutagenesis and expression strategy of the cloned M. tuberculosis rpoB gene that we have employed in this study will allow us to determine the rpoB mutations that are responsible for rifampin resistance in M. tuberculosis.
To map the structural genes for the gD and gE polypeptides and for other viral products encoded in the S component of herpes simplex virus type 1 DNA, we selected mRNAs capable of hybridizing to cloned viral DNA fragments and translated the mRNAs in vitro to determine which polypeptides were encoded therein. The gD and gE polypeptides were identified by immunoprecipitation with appropriate monoclonal and monospecific antibodies, whereas the other polypeptides were characterized only by their electrophoretic mobilities in polyacrylamide gels. We found that gD mRNA hybridized to a single SacI subfragment of BamHI fragment J, whereas gE mRNA hybridized to an adjacent SacI subfragment of BamHI fragment J and also to BamHI fragment X. These and other results permit the conclusion that the structural gene for gD is located between map coordinates 0.911 and 0.924, and the gene for gE is between map coordinates 0.924 and 0.951. We also found that mRNAs for polypeptides of 55,000, 42,000, 33,000, and 22,000 molecular weight hybridized to DNA fragments spanning the regions from map coordinates 0.911 to 0.924, 0.897 to 0.911, 0.939 to 0.965, and 0.939 to 0.965, respectively. Finally, in accord with the results of others, we found that mRNA for a 68,000-molecular-weight polypeptide hybridized to the two noncontiguous BamHI fragments N and Z, which share a reiterated DNA sequence.
The sacT gene which controls the sacPA operon of Bacillus subtilis encodes a polypeptide homologous to the B. subtilis SacY and the Escherichia coli BglG antiterminators. Expression of the sacT gene is shown to be constitutive. The DNA sequence upstream from sacP contains a palindromic sequence which functions as a transcriptional terminator. We have previously proposed that SacT acts as a transcriptional antiterminator, allowing transcription of the sacPA operon. In strains containing mutations inactivating ptsH or ptsI, the expression of sacPA and sacB is constitutive. In this work, we show that this constitutivity is due to a fully active SacY antiterminator. In the wild-type sacT+ strain or in the sacT30 mutant, SacT requires both enzyme I and HPr of the phosphotransferase system (PTS) for antitermination. It appears that the PTS exerts different effects on the sacB gene and the sacPA operon. The general proteins of the PTS are not required for the activity of SacY while they are necessary for SacT activity.
The archaea which populate geothermal environments are adapted to conditions that should greatly destabilize the primary structure of DNA, yet the basic biological aspects of DNA damage and repair remain unexplored for this group of prokaryotes. We used auxotrophic mutants of the extremely thermoacidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius to assess genetic and physiological effects of a well-characterized DNA-damaging agent, short-wavelength UV light. Simple genetic assays enabled quantitative dose-response relationships to be determined and correlated for survival, phenotypic reversion, and the formation of genetic recombinants. Dose-response relationships were also determined for survival and phenotypic reversion of the corresponding Escherichia coli auxotrophs with the same equipment and procedures. The results showed S. acidocaldarius to be about twice as UV sensitive as E. coli and to be equally UV mutable on a surviving-cell basis. Furthermore, UV irradiation significantly increased the frequency of recombinants recovered from genetic-exchange assays of S. acidocaldarius. The observed UV effects were due to the short-wavelength (i.e., UV-C) portion of the spectrum and were effectively reversed by subsequent illumination of S. acidocaldarius cells with visible light (photoreactivation). Thus, the observed responses are probably initiated by the formation of pyrimidine dimers in the S. acidocaldarius chromosome. To our knowledge, these results provide the first evidence of error-prone DNA repair and genetic recombination induced by DNA damage in an archaeon from geothermal habitats.