Increasing evidence shows that the spatial organization of transcription is an important epigenetic factor in eukaryotic gene regulation. The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum shows a remarkably complex pattern of gene expression during the erythrocytic cycle, paradoxically contrasting with the relatively low number of putative transcription factors encoded by its genome. The spatial organization of nuclear subcompartments has been correlated with the regulation of virulence genes. Here, we investigate the nuclear architecture of transcription during the asexual cycle of malaria parasites. As in mammals, transcription is organized into discrete nucleoplasmic sites in P. falciparum, but in a strikingly lower number of foci. An automated analysis of 3D images shows that the number and intensity of transcription sites vary significantly between rings and trophozoites, although the nuclear volume remains constant. Transcription sites are spatially reorganized during the asexual cycle, with a higher proportion of foci located in the outermost nuclear region in rings, whereas in trophozoites, foci are evenly distributed throughout the nucleoplasm. As in higher eukaryotes, transcription sites are predominantly found in areas of low chromatin density. Immunofluorescence analysis shows that transcription sites form an exclusive nuclear compartment, different from the compartments defined by the silenced or active chromatin markers. In conclusion, these data suggest that transcription is spatially contained in discrete foci that are developmentally regulated during the asexual cycle of malaria parasites and located in areas of low chromatin density.
Although the nonrandom nature of interphase chromosome arrangement is widely accepted, how nuclear organization relates to genomic function remains unclear. Nuclear subcompartments may play a role by offering rich microenvironments that regulate chromatin state and ensure optimal transcriptional efficiency. Technological advances now provide genome-wide and four-dimensional analyses, permitting global characterizations of nuclear order. These approaches will help uncover how seemingly separate nuclear processes may be coupled and aid in the effort to understand the role of nuclear organization in development and disease.
Gene loci are found in nuclear subcompartments that are related to their expression status. For instance, silent genes are often localized to heterochromatin and the nuclear periphery, whereas active genes tend to be found in the nuclear center. Evidence also suggests that chromosomes may be specifically positioned within the nucleus; however, the nature of this organization and how it is achieved are not yet fully understood. To examine whether gene regulation is related to a discernible pattern of genomic organization, we analyzed the linear arrangement of co-regulated genes along chromosomes and determined the organization of chromosomes during the differentiation of a hematopoietic progenitor to erythroid and neutrophil cell types. Our analysis reveals that there is a significant tendency for co-regulated genes to be proximal, which is related to the association of homologous chromosomes and the spatial juxtaposition of lineage-specific gene domains. We suggest that proximity in the form of chromosomal gene distribution and homolog association may be the basis for organizing the genome for coordinate gene regulation during cellular differentiation.
How are genomes—and the chromosomes that comprise them—organized in the eukaryotic nucleus? This long-standing question in cell biology has gained renewed interest due to observations that gene regulation is correlated with the nonrandom distribution of gene loci linearly along chromosomes and spatially within the nucleus. We have used an in vitro model of cellular differentiation to test the hypothesis that there is an inherent organization of the genome related to coordinate gene regulation. Our analysis reveals that during the differentiation of a murine hematopoietic (blood-forming cell) progenitor to derived cell types, co-regulated genes have a marked tendency to be proximal along chromosomes in the form of clusters (of two and three genes) and large-scale domains. Overall gene expression is also spatially proximal, with a pronounced concentration in the nuclear center. The chromosomes themselves parallel this organization of gene activity, with chromosome territories localizing primarily in the interior of the nucleus. Surprisingly, we found that homologous chromosomes have a tendency to be associated, the extent of which is related to the number of co-regulated genes residing on the particular chromosome. Furthermore, individual gene domains display lineage-specific proximity according to their co-regulation. Our study supports the idea that the eukaryotic nucleus is broadly organized—with proximity playing a key role—to facilitate coordinated gene regulation during cellular differentiation.
Coordinate gene regulation is required for cellular differentiation. Is the genome nonrandomly organized to accomplish this?
Genome activity and nuclear metabolism clearly depend on accessibility, but it is not known whether and to what extent nuclear structures limit the mobility and access of individual molecules. We used fluorescently labeled streptavidin with a nuclear localization signal as an average-sized, inert protein to probe the nuclear environment. The protein was injected into the cytoplasm of mouse cells, and single molecules were tracked in the nucleus with high-speed fluorescence microscopy. We analyzed and compared the mobility of single streptavidin molecules in structurally and functionally distinct nuclear compartments of living cells. Our results indicated that all nuclear subcompartments were easily and similarly accessible for such an average-sized protein, and even condensed heterochromatin neither excluded single molecules nor impeded their passage. The only significant difference was a higher frequency of transient trappings in heterochromatin, which lasted only tens of milliseconds. The streptavidin molecules, however, did not accumulate in heterochromatin, suggesting comparatively less free volume. Interestingly, the nucleolus seemed to exclude streptavidin, as it did many other nuclear proteins, when visualized by conventional fluorescence microscopy. The tracking of single molecules, nonetheless, showed no evidence for repulsion at the border but relatively unimpeded passage through the nucleolus. These results clearly show that single-molecule tracking can provide novel insights into mobility of proteins in the nucleus that cannot be obtained by conventional fluorescence microscopy. Our results suggest that nuclear processes may not be regulated at the level of physical accessibility but rather by local concentration of reactants and availability of binding sites.
Single amino acid repeats are prevalent in eukaryote organisms, although the role of many such sequences is still poorly understood. We have performed a comprehensive analysis of the proteins containing homopolymeric histidine tracts in the human genome and identified 86 human proteins that contain stretches of five or more histidines. Most of them are endowed with DNA- and RNA-related functions, and, in addition, there is an overrepresentation of proteins expressed in the brain and/or nervous system development. An analysis of their subcellular localization shows that 15 of the 22 nuclear proteins identified accumulate in the nuclear subcompartment known as nuclear speckles. This localization is lost when the histidine repeat is deleted, and significantly, closely related paralogous proteins without histidine repeats also fail to localize to nuclear speckles. Hence, the histidine tract appears to be directly involved in targeting proteins to this compartment. The removal of DNA-binding domains or treatment with RNA polymerase II inhibitors induces the re-localization of several polyhistidine-containing proteins from the nucleoplasm to nuclear speckles. These findings highlight the dynamic relationship between sites of transcription and nuclear speckles. Therefore, we define the histidine repeats as a novel targeting signal for nuclear speckles, and we suggest that these repeats are a way of generating evolutionary diversification in gene duplicates. These data contribute to our better understanding of the physiological role of single amino acid repeats in proteins.
Single amino acid repeats are common in eukaryotic proteins. Some of them are associated with developmental and neurodegenerative disorders in humans, suggesting that they play important functions. However, the role of many of these repeats is unknown. Here, we have studied histidine repeats from a bioinformatics as well as a functional point of view. We found that only 86 proteins in the human genome contain stretches of five or more histidines, and that most of these proteins have functions related with RNA synthesis. When studying where these proteins localize in the cell, we found that a significant proportion accumulate in a subnuclear organelle known as nuclear speckles, via the histidine repeat. This is a structure where proteins related to the synthesis and processing of RNA accumulate. In some cases, the localization is transient and depends on the transcriptional requirements of the cell. Our findings are important because they identify a common cellular function for stretches of histidine residues, and they support the notion that histidine repeats contribute to generate evolutionary diversification. Finally, and considering that some of the proteins with histidine stretches are key elements in essential developmental processes, variation in these repeats would be expected to contribute to human disease.
Trafficking of proteins and RNAs is essential for cellular function and homeostasis. While it has long been appreciated that proteins and RNAs move within cells, only recently has it become possible to visualize trafficking events in vivo. Analysis of protein and RNA motion within the cell nucleus have been particularly intriguing as they have revealed an unanticipated degree of dynamics within the organelle. These methods have revealed that the intranuclear trafficking occurs largely by energy-independent mechanisms and is driven by diffusion. RNA molecules and non-DNA binding proteins undergo constrained diffusion, largely limited by the spatial constraint imposed by chromatin, and chromatin binding proteins move by a stop-and-go mechanism where their free diffusion is interrupted by random association with the chromatin fiber. The ability and mode of motion of proteins and RNAs has implications for how they find nuclear targets on chromatin and in nuclear subcompartments and how macromolecular complexes are assembled in vivo. Most importantly, the dynamic nature of proteins and RNAs is emerging as a means to control physiological cellular responses and pathways.
Nuclear architecture; Dynamics; Diffusion; RNA
Higher eukaryote genomes contain repetitive DNAs, often concentrated in transcriptionally inactive heterochromatin. Although repetitive DNAs are not typically considered as regulatory elements that directly affect transcription, they can contain binding sites for some transcription factors. Here, we demonstrate that binding of the transcription factor CCAAT/Enhancer Binding Protein alpha (C/EBPα) to the mouse major α-satellite repetitive DNA sequesters C/EBPα in the transcriptionally inert pericentromeric heterochromatin. We find that this sequestration reduces the transcriptional capacity of C/EBPα. Functional sequestration of C/EBPα was demonstrated by experimentally reducing C/EBPα binding to the major α-satellite DNA, which elevated the concentration of C/EBPα in the non-heterochromatic subcompartment of the cell nucleus. The reduction in C/EBPα binding to α-satellite DNA was induced by the co-expression of the transcription factor Pit-1, which removes C/EBPα from the heterochromatic compartment, and by the introduction of an altered-specificity mutation into C/EBPα that reduces binding to α-satellite DNA but permits normal binding to sites in some gene promoters. In both cases, the loss of α-satellite DNA binding coincided with an elevation in the binding of C/EBPα to a promoter and an increased transcriptional output from that promoter. Thus, the binding of C/EBPα to this highly repetitive DNA reduced the amount of C/EBPα available for binding to and regulation of this promoter. The functional sequestration of some transcription factors through binding to repetitive DNAs may represent an underappreciated mechanism controlling transcription output.
One of the great mysteries of the nucleolus surrounds its disappearance during mitosis and subsequent reassembly at late mitosis. Here, the relative dynamics of nucleolar disassembly and reformation were dissected using quantitative 4D microscopy with fluorescent protein-tagged proteins in human stable cell lines. The data provide a novel insight into the fates of the three distinct nucleolar subcompartments and their associated protein machineries in a single dividing cell. Before the onset of nuclear envelope (NE) breakdown, nucleolar disassembly started with the loss of RNA polymerase I subunits from the fibrillar centers. Dissociation of proteins from the other subcompartments occurred with faster kinetics but commenced later, coincident with the process of NE breakdown. The reformation pathway also follows a reproducible and defined temporal sequence but the order of reassembly is shown not to be dictated by the order in which individual nucleolar components reaccumulate within the nucleus after mitosis.
nucleolus; nucleus; mitosis; fluorescent protein; 4D imaging
The nucleus of interphase eukaryotic cell is a highly compartmentalized structure containing the three-dimensional network of chromatin and numerous proteinaceous subcompartments. DNA viruses induce profound changes in the intranuclear structures of their host cells. We are applying a combination of confocal imaging including photobleaching microscopy and computational methods to analyze the modifications of nuclear architecture and dynamics in parvovirus infected cells. Upon canine parvovirus infection, expansion of the viral replication compartment is accompanied by chromatin marginalization to the vicinity of the nuclear membrane. Dextran microinjection and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) studies revealed the homogeneity of this compartment. Markedly, in spite of increase in viral DNA content of the nucleus, a significant increase in the protein mobility was observed in infected compared to non-infected cells. Moreover, analyzis of the dynamics of photoactivable capsid protein demonstrated rapid intranuclear dynamics of viral capsids. Finally, quantitative FRAP and cellular modelling were used to determine the duration of viral genome replication. Altogether, our findings indicate that parvoviruses modify the nuclear structure and dynamics extensively. Intranuclear crowding of viral components leads to enlargement of the interchromosomal domain and to chromatin marginalization via depletion attraction. In conclusion, parvoviruses provide a useful model system for understanding the mechanisms of virus-induced intranuclear modifications.
Cerebral cortical brain networks possess a number of conspicuous features of structure and dynamics. First, these networks have an intricate, non-random organization. In particular, they are structured in a hierarchical modular fashion, from large-scale regions of the whole brain, via cortical areas and area subcompartments organized as structural and functional maps to cortical columns, and finally circuits made up of individual neurons. Second, the networks display self-organized sustained activity, which is persistent in the absence of external stimuli. At the systems level, such activity is characterized by complex rhythmical oscillations over a broadband background, while at the cellular level, neuronal discharges have been observed to display avalanches, indicating that cortical networks are at the state of self-organized criticality (SOC). We explored the relationship between hierarchical neural network organization and sustained dynamics using large-scale network modeling. Previously, it was shown that sparse random networks with balanced excitation and inhibition can sustain neural activity without external stimulation. We found that a hierarchical modular architecture can generate sustained activity better than random networks. Moreover, the system can simultaneously support rhythmical oscillations and SOC, which are not present in the respective random networks. The mechanism underlying the sustained activity is that each dense module cannot sustain activity on its own, but displays SOC in the presence of weak perturbations. Therefore, the hierarchical modular networks provide the coupling among subsystems with SOC. These results imply that the hierarchical modular architecture of cortical networks plays an important role in shaping the ongoing spontaneous activity of the brain, potentially allowing the system to take advantage of both the sensitivity of critical states and the predictability and timing of oscillations for efficient information processing.
hierarchical modular networks; balanced networks; sustained activity; neural avalanche; self-organized criticality; slow oscillations
The evolution of genome size as well as structure and organization of genomes belongs among the key questions of genome biology. Here we show, based on a comparative analysis of 30 genomes, that there is generally a tight correlation between the number of genes per chromosome and the length of the respective chromosome in eukaryotic genomes. The surprising exceptions to this pattern are placental mammalian genomes. We identify the number and, more importantly, the uneven distribution of gene deserts among chromosomes, i.e., long (>500 kb) stretches of DNA that do not encode for genes, as the main contributing factor for the observed anomaly of eutherian genomes. Gene-rich placental mammalian chromosomes have smaller proportions of gene deserts and vice versa. We show that the uneven distribution of gene deserts is a derived character state of eutherians. The functional and evolutionary significance of this particular feature of eutherian genomes remains to be explained.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00239-009-9251-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Genome evolution; Gene deserts; Genome size; Mammalia
We report studies using an enhanced experimental system to investigate organization of nuclear pre-mRNA metabolism. It is based on the powerful genetic system and polytene nuclei of Drosophila. We observe (at steady state) movement of a specific pre-mRNA between its gene and the nuclear surface. This movement is isotropic, at rates consistent with diffusion and is restricted to a small nuclear subcompartment defined by exclusion from chromosome axes and the nucleolus. Bulk polyadenylated nuclear pre-mRNA precisely localizes in this same subcompartment indicating that most or all pre-mRNAs use the same route of intranuclear movement. In addition to association with nascent transcripts, snRNPs are coconcentrated with pre-mRNA in this subcompartment. In contrast to constitutive splices, at least one regulated splice occurs slowly and may undergo execution remotely from the site of pre-mRNA synthesis. Details of our results suggest that retention of incompletely spliced pre-mRNA is a function of the nuclear surface. We propose a simple model--based on channeled diffusion--for organization of intranuclear transport and metabolism of pre-mRNAs in polytene nuclei. We argue that this model can be generalized to all metazoan nuclei.
The eukaryotic nucleus is both spatially and functionally partitioned. This organization contributes to the maintenance, expression, and transmission of genetic information. Though our ability to probe the physical structure of the genome within the nucleus has improved substantially in recent years, relatively little is known about the factors that regulate its organization or the mechanisms through which specific organizational states are achieved. Here, we show that Drosophila melanogaster Condensin II induces axial compaction of interphase chromosomes, globally disrupts interchromosomal interactions, and promotes the dispersal of peri-centric heterochromatin. These Condensin II activities compartmentalize the nucleus into discrete chromosome territories and indicate commonalities in the mechanisms that regulate the spatial structure of the genome during mitosis and interphase.
A number of recent studies have debunked the idea that chromosomes exist as a tangled mass of chromatin fibers within the nucleus. In many organisms, including mammals, each chromosome occupies a specific region of the nucleus known as a chromosome territory. This organization has implications for many biological processes such as chromosomal rearrangements that are common in cancer and the interactions between sub-nuclear structures that control how genes are expressed. Despite this, little is known about the genes or mechanisms that are responsible for creating or maintaining chromosome territories. Here, we show that the Condensin II complex can induce the formation of chromosome territories in fruit flies. We propose that this activity stems from the ability of Condensin II to reduce the length of chromosomes.
A new immuno-TRAP technique overcomes limitations of spatial resolution and selection bias to identify gene locus associations with a nuclear subcompartment such as promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies.
Important insights into nuclear function would arise if gene loci physically interacting with particular subnuclear domains could be readily identified. Immunofluorescence microscopy combined with fluorescence in situ hybridization (immuno-FISH), the method that would typically be used in such a study, is limited by spatial resolution and requires prior assumptions for selecting genes to probe. Our new technique, immuno-TRAP, overcomes these limitations. Using promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies (PML NBs) as a model, we used immuno-TRAP to determine if specific genes localize within molecular dimensions with these bodies. Although we confirmed a TP53 gene–PML NB association, immuno-TRAP allowed us to uncover novel locus-PML NB associations, including the ABCA7 and TFF1 loci and, most surprisingly, the PML locus itself. These associations were cell type specific and reflected the cell’s physiological state. Combined with microarrays or deep sequencing, immuno-TRAP provides powerful opportunities for identifying gene locus associations with potentially any nuclear subcompartment.
The three-dimensional (3D) structure of the genome is organized non-randomly and plays a role in genomic function via epigenetic mechanisms in the eukaryotic nucleus. Here, we analyzed the spatial positioning of three target regions; the SNRPN, UBE3A, and GABRB3 genes on human chromosome 15q11.2–q12, a representative cluster of imprinted regions, in the interphase nuclei of B lymphoblastoid cell lines, peripheral blood cells, and skin fibroblasts derived from normal individuals to look for evidence of genomic organization and function. The positions of these genes were simultaneously visualized, and all inter-gene distances were calculated for each homologous chromosome in each nucleus after three-color 3D fluorescence in situ hybridization. None of the target genes were arranged linearly in most cells analyzed, and GABRB3 was positioned closer to SNRPN than UBE3A in a high proportion of cells in all cell types. This was in contrast to the genomic map in which GABRB3 was positioned closer to UBE3A than SNRPN. We compared the distances from SNRPN to UBE3A (SU) and from UBE3A to GABRB3 (UG) between alleles in each nucleus, 50 cells per subject. The results revealed that the gene-to-gene distance of one allele was longer than that of the other and that the SU ratio (longer/shorter SU distance between alleles) was larger than the UG ratio (longer/shorter UG distance between alleles). The UG distance was relatively stable between alleles; in contrast, the SU distance of one allele was obviously longer than the distance indicated by the genome size. The results therefore indicate that SNRPN, UBE3A, and GABRB3 have non-linear and non-random curved spatial positioning in the normal nucleus, with differences in the SU distance between alleles possibly representing epigenetic evidence of nuclear organization and gene expression.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10577-012-9300-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Genome organization; Spatial positioning; 3D-FISH; SNRPN; Chromatin; Epigenetic
Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) perforate the double-layered nuclear envelope and form the main gateway for molecular exchange between nucleus and cytoplasm of the eukaryotic cell. Because NPCs are extraordinarily complex and large, thus challenging to investigate on a molecular level, they are still rather poorly understood, despite their pivotal role in cellular homeostasis. To decipher the NPC structure at high resolution, the prerequisite to fully understand its function, a tailored approach is necessary that feeds from complimentary data, obtained at largely different spatial resolutions. The problem is further complicated by the dynamic nature of the NPC, manifested in flexible regions and dynamic components. Here we summarize the current state of these structural efforts, describe the breakthroughs of recent years, point out the existing disputes in the field, and give an outlook of what we should expect to happen in the near future.
The spatial organization of the genome is intimately linked to its biological function, yet our understanding of higher order genomic structure is coarse, fragmented and incomplete. In the nucleus of eukaryotic cells, interphase chromosomes occupy distinct chromosome territories (CT), and numerous models have been proposed for how chromosomes fold within CTs1. These models, however, provide only few mechanistic details about the relationship between higher order chromatin structure and genome function. Recent advances in genomic technologies have led to rapid revolutions in the study of 3D genome organization. In particular, Hi-C has been introduced as a method for identifying higher order chromatin interactions genome wide2. In the present study, we investigated the 3D organization of the human and mouse genomes in embryonic stem cells and terminally differentiated cell types at unprecedented resolution. We identify large, megabase-sized local chromatin interaction domains, which we term “topological domains”, as a pervasive structural feature of the genome organization. These domains correlate with regions of the genome that constrain the spread of heterochromatin. The domains are stable across different cell types and highly conserved across species, suggesting that topological domains are an inherent property of mammalian genomes. Lastly, we find that the boundaries of topological domains are enriched for the insulator binding protein CTCF, housekeeping genes, tRNAs, and SINE retrotransposons, suggesting that these factors may play a role in establishing the topological domain structure of the genome.
The integration of high-throughput genomic data represents an opportunity for deciphering the interplay between structural and functional organization of genomes and for discovering novel biomarkers. However, the development of integrative approaches to complement gene expression (GE) data with other types of gene information, such as copy number (CN) and chromosomal localization, still represents a computational challenge in the genomic arena. This work presents a computational procedure that directly integrates CN and GE profiles at genome-wide level. When applied to DNA/RNA paired data, this approach leads to the identification of Significant Overlaps of Differentially Expressed and Genomic Imbalanced Regions (SODEGIR). This goal is accomplished in three steps. The first step extends to CN a method for detecting regional imbalances in GE. The second part provides the integration of CN and GE data and identifies chromosomal regions with concordantly altered genomic and transcriptional status in a tumor sample. The last step elevates the single-sample analysis to an entire dataset of tumor specimens. When applied to study chromosomal aberrations in a collection of astrocytoma and renal carcinoma samples, the procedure proved to be effective in identifying discrete chromosomal regions of coordinated CN alterations and changes in transcriptional levels.
Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) are master regulators of the cell cycle in eukaryotes. CDK activity is regulated by the presence, post-translational modification and spatial localization of its regulatory subunit cyclin. In budding yeast, the B-cyclin Clb1 is phosphorylated and localizes to the nucleus during meiosis I. However the functional significance of Clb1's phosphorylation and nuclear localization and their mutual dependency is unknown. In this paper, we demonstrate that meiosis-specific phosphorylation of Clb1 requires its import to the nucleus but not vice versa. While Clb1 phosphorylation is dependent on activity of both CDK and polo-like kinase Cdc5, its nuclear localization requires CDK but not Cdc5 activity. Furthermore we show that increased nuclear localization of Clb1 during meiosis enhances activation of FEAR (Cdc Fourteen Early Anaphase Release) pathway. We discuss the significance of our results in relation to regulation of exit from meiosis I.
It has become increasingly apparent that gene expression is regulated by the functional interplay between spatial genome organization and nuclear architecture. Within the nuclear environment a variety of distinct nuclear bodies exist. They are dynamic, self-organizing structures that do not assemble as pre-formed entities but rather emerge as a direct reflection of specific activities associated with gene expression and genome maintenance. Here I summarize recent findings on functions of some of the most prominent nuclear bodies, including the nucleolus, Cajal body, PML nuclear body, Polycomb group body and the 53BP1 nuclear body. The emerging view is that their organization is orchestrated by similar principles, and they function in fundamental cellular processes involved in homeostasis, differentiation, development and disease.
EEA1 endosomes are believed to function mainly in down-regulating EGFR signaling, and APPL endosomes are regarded as signaling endosomes. Evidence is given that EGF-induced, proliferative signaling occurs from EEA1 endosomes and is regulated by interaction between the signal-transducing protein GIV and the trimeric G protein Gαs.
The organization of the endocytic system into biochemically distinct subcompartments allows for spatial and temporal control of the strength and duration of signaling. Recent work has established that Akt cell survival signaling via the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) occurs from APPL early endosomes that mature into early EEA1 endosomes. Less is known about receptor signaling from EEA1 endosomes. We show here that EGF-induced, proliferative signaling occurs from EEA1 endosomes and is regulated by the heterotrimeric G protein Gαs through interaction with the signal transducing protein GIV (also known as Girdin). When Gαs or GIV is depleted, activated EGFR and its adaptors accumulate in EEA1 endosomes, and EGFR signaling is prolonged, EGFR down-regulation is delayed, and cell proliferation is greatly enhanced. Our findings define EEA1 endosomes as major sites for proliferative signaling and establish that Gαs and GIV regulate EEA1 but not APPL endosome maturation and determine the duration and strength of proliferative signaling from this compartment.
T he organization of transcriptionally active ribosomal genes in animal cell nucleoli is investigated in this study in order to address the long-standing controversy with regard to the intranucleolar localization of these genes. Detailed analyses of HeLa cell nucleoli include direct localization of ribosomal genes by in situ hybridization and their indirect localization via nascent ribosomal transcript mappings. On the light microscopy (LM) level, ribosomal genes map in 10–40 fluorescence foci per nucleus, and transcription activity is associated with most foci. We demonstrate that each nucleolar focus observed by LM corresponds, on the EM level, to an individual fibrillar center (FC) and surrounding dense fibrillar components (DFCs). The EM data identify the DFC as the nucleolar subcompartment in which rRNA synthesis takes place, consistent with detection of rDNA within the DFC. The highly sensitive method for mapping nascent transcripts in permeabilized cells on ultrastructural level provides intense and unambiguous clustered immunogold signal over the DFC, whereas very little to no label is detected over the FC. This signal is strongly indicative of nascent “Christmas trees” of rRNA associated with individual rDNA genes, sampled on the surface of thin sections. Stereological analysis of the clustered transcription signal further suggests that these Christmas trees may be contorted in space and exhibit a DNA compaction ratio on the order of 4–5.5.
cell nucleolus; rRNA genes; ribosomal RNA; immunohistochemistry; in situ hybridization
To develop and test an MRI-based imaging technique for the localization of the functional compartments of the functionally finger-specific, yet anatomically indistinct, flexor muscles of the hand.
Materials and Methods
A total of 6 normal healthy volunteers were involved in five studies in which individual fingers were vibrated with mechanical actuators and the resultant motion within the corresponding functional compartments of the flexor muscles, mechanically transferred through the structurally connected tendons, was imaged with a phase-contrast MR imaging technique that is highly sensitive to cyclic motion. The motion amplitude and relative phase relationship between the functional compartments of various muscles and fingers were obtained and analyzed from these images as a means to differentiate the various subcompartments.
The results show that this technique provides a detailed mapping of the regions of the complex flexor muscle compartments that correspond to each digit for both the flexor digitorum profundus and the flexor digitorum superficialis. The results also demonstrate the presence of mechanical interdependence between the flexor muscles.
It is concluded from the results that localization of the finger-specific subcompartments of the forearm flexor muscles can be performed with this technique.
Vibration imaging; forearm flexor muscles; flexor digitorum profundus; flexor digitorum superficialis; functional forearm compartments; elastography
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) consists of subcompartments that
have distinct protein constituents, morphological appearances, and
functions. To understand the mechanisms that regulate the intricate and
dynamic organization of the endoplasmic reticulum, it is important to
identify and characterize the molecular machinery involved in the
assembly and maintenance of the different subcompartments. Here we
report that syntaxin 17 is abundantly expressed in steroidogenic cell
types and specifically localizes to smooth membranes of the ER. By
immunoprecipitation analyses, syntaxin 17 exists in complexes with a
syntaxin regulatory protein, rsly1, and/or two intermediate compartment
SNARE proteins, rsec22b and rbet1. Furthermore, we found that syntaxin
17 is anchored to the smooth endoplasmic reticulum through an unusual
mechanism, requiring two adjacent hydrophobic domains near its carboxyl
terminus. Converging lines of evidence indicate that syntaxin 17
functions in a vesicle-trafficking step to the smooth-surfaced tubular
ER membranes that are abundant in steroidogenic cells.
Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains with genetically modified nucleoli, we show here that changing parameters as critical as the tandem organization of the ribosomal genes and the polymerase transcribing rDNA, although profoundly modifying the position and the shape of the nucleolus, only partially alter its functional subcompartmentation. High-resolution morphology achieved by cryofixation, together with ultrastructural localization of nucleolar proteins and rRNA, reveals that the nucleolar structure, arising upon transcription of rDNA from plasmids by RNA polymerase I, is still divided in functional subcompartments like the wild-type nucleolus. rRNA maturation is restricted to a fibrillar component, reminiscent of the dense fibrillar component in wild-type cells; a granular component is also present, whereas no fibrillar center can be distinguished, which directly links this latter substructure to rDNA chromosomal organization. Although morphologically different, the mininucleoli observed in cells transcribing rDNA with RNA polymerase II also contain a fibrillar subregion of analogous function, in addition to a dense core of unknown nature. Upon repression of rDNA transcription in this strain or in an RNA polymerase I thermosensitive mutant, the nucleolar structure falls apart (in a reversible manner), and nucleolar constituents partially relocate to the nucleoplasm, indicating that rRNA is a primary determinant for the assembly of the nucleolus.