Mannosylphosphorylation of N- and O-glycans, which confers negative charges on the surfaces of cells, requires the functions of both MNN4 and MNN6 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. To identify genes relevant to mannosylphosphorylation in the dimorphic yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, the molecular functions of five Y. lipolytica genes showing significant sequence homology with S. cerevisiae MNN4 and MNN6 were investigated. A set of mutant strains in which Y. lipolytica MNN4 and MNN6 homologues were deleted underwent glycan structure analysis. In contrast to S. cerevisiae MNN4 (ScMNN4), the Y. lipolytica MNN4 homologue, MPO1 (YlMPO1), encodes a protein that lacks the long KKKKEEEE repeat domain at its C terminus. Moreover, just a single disruption of YlMPO1 resulted in complete disappearance of the acidic sugar moiety in both the N- and O-linked glycan profiles. In contrast, even quadruple disruption of all ScMNN6 homologues, designated YlKTR1, YlKTR2, YlKTR3, and YlKTR4, resulted in no apparent reduction in acidic sugar moieties. These findings strongly indicate that YlMpo1p performs a significant role in mannosylphosphorylation in Y. lipolytica with no involvement of the Mnn6p homologues. Mutant strains harboring the YlMPO1 gene disruption may serve as useful platforms for engineering Y. lipolytica glycosylation pathways for humanized glycans without any yeast-specific acidic modifications.
The development of the cardiovascular system is a highly dynamic process dependent on multiple signaling pathways regulating proliferation, differentiation, migration, cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. To characterize cell and tissue dynamics during the formation of the cardiovascular system in mice, we generated a novel transgenic mouse line, Tg(Flk1∷myr-mCherry), in which endothelial cell membranes are brightly labeled with mCherry, a red fluorescent protein. Tg(Flk1∷myr-mCherry) mice are viable, fertile and do not exhibit any developmental abnormalities. High levels of mCherry are expressed in the embryonic endothelium and endocardium, and expression is also observed in capillaries in adult animals. Targeting of the fluorescent protein to the cell membrane allows for sub-cellular imaging and cell tracking. By acquiring confocal time lapses of live embryos cultured on the microscope stage, we demonstrate that the newly generated transgenic model beautifully highlights the sprouting behaviors of endothelial cells during vascular plexus formation. We have also used embryos from this line to imaging the endocardium in the beating embryonic mouse heart, showing that Tg(Flk1∷myr-mCherry) mice are suitable for the characterization of cardio dynamics. Furthermore, when combined with the previously described Tg(Flk1∷H2B-EYFP) line, cell number in addition to cell architecture is revealed, making it possible to determine how individual endothelial cells contribute to the structure of the vessel.
live imaging; mCherry; Flk1; heart dynamics; vasculogenesis; angiogenesis; embryonic development; cell tracking; yolk sac
High supply of raw, residual glycerol from biodiesel production plants promote the search for novel biotechnological methods of its utilization. In this study we attempted modification of glycerol catabolism in a nonconventional yeast species Yarrowia lipolytica through genetic engineering approach.
To address this, we developed a novel genetic construct which allows transferring three heterologous genes, encoding glycerol dehydratase, its reactivator and a wide-spectrum alcohol oxidoreductase under the control of glycerol-induced promoter. The three genes, tandemly arrayed in an expression cassette with a marker gene ura3, regulatory and targeting sequences (G3P dh promoter and XPR-like terminator, 28S rDNA as a target locus), were transferred into Yarrowia lipolytica cells. The obtained recombinant strain NCYC3825 was characterized at the molecular level and with respect to its biotechnological potential. Our experiments indicated that the novel recombinant strain stably borne one copy of the expression cassette and efficiently expressed heterologous alcohol oxidoreductase, while glycerol dehydratase and its reactivator were expressed at lower level. Comparative shake flask cultivations in glucose- and glycerol-based media demonstrated higher biomass production by the recombinant strain when glycerol was the main carbon source. During bioreactor (5 L) fed-batch cultivation in glycerol-based medium, the recombinant strain was characterized by relatively high biomass and lipids accumulation (up to 42 gDCW L-1, and a peak value of 38%LIPIDS of DCW, respectively), and production of high titers of citric acid (59 g L-1) and 2-phenylethanol (up to 1 g L-1 in shake flask cultivation), which are industrially attractive bioproducts.
Due to heterogeneous nature of the observed alterations, we postulate that the main driving force of the modified phenotype was faster growth in glycerol-based media, triggered by modifications in the red-ox balance brought by the wide spectrum oxidoreductase. Our results demonstrate the potential multidirectional use of a novel Yarrowia lipolytica strain as a microbial cell factory.
Yarrowia lipolytica; Novel genetic construct; Glycerol metabolism; Heterologous expression; Biomass
Fluorescent reporter proteins have proven useful for imaging techniques in many organisms. We constructed optimized expression systems for several fluorescent proteins from the far-red region of the spectrum and analyzed their utility in several mycobacterial species. Plasmids expressing variants of the Discosoma Red fluorescent protein (DsRed) from the Mycobacterium bovis hsp60 promoter were unstable; in contrast expression from the Mycobacterium smegmatis rpsA promoter was stable. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis expression of several of the far-red reporters was readily visualised by eye and three reporters (mCherry, tdTomato, and Turbo-635) fluoresced at a high intensity. Strains expressing mCherry showed no fitness defects in vitro or in macrophages. Treatment of cells with antibiotics demonstrated that mCherry could also be used as a reporter for cell death, since fluorescence decreased in the presence of a bactericidal compound, but remained stable in the presence of a bacteriostatic compound. mCherry was functional under hypoxic conditions; using mCherry we demonstrated that the PmtbB is expressed early in hypoxia and progressively down-regulated. mCherry and other far-red fluorescent proteins will have multiple uses in investigating the biology of mycobacteria, particularly under non-replicating, or low cell density conditions, as well as providing a novel means of detecting cell death rapidly.
The cellular localization of a chimera formed by fusing a monomeric red fluorescent protein to the C terminus of the Klebsiella oxytoca type II secretion system outer membrane secretin PulD (PulD-mCherry) in Escherichia coli was determined in vivo by fluorescence microscopy. Like PulD, PulD-mCherry formed sodium dodecyl sulfate- and heat-resistant multimers and was functional in pullulanase secretion. Chromosome-encoded PulD-mCherry formed fluorescent foci on the periphery of the cell in the presence of high (plasmid-encoded) levels of its cognate chaperone, the pilotin PulS. Subcellular fractionation demonstrated that the chimera was located exclusively in the outer membrane under these circumstances. A similar localization pattern was observed by fluorescence microscopy of fixed cells treated with green fluorescent protein-tagged affitin, which binds with high affinity to an epitope in the N-terminal region of PulD. At lower levels of (chromosome-encoded) PulS, PulD-mCherry was less stable, was located mainly in the inner membrane, from which it could not be solubilized with urea, and did not induce the phage shock response, unlike PulD in the absence of PulS. The fluorescence pattern of PulD-mCherry under these conditions was similar to that observed when PulS levels were high. The complete absence of PulS caused the appearance of bright and almost exclusively polar fluorescent foci.
Yarrowia lipolytica efficiently metabolizes and assimilates hydrophobic compounds such as n-alkanes and fatty acids. Efficient substrate uptake is enabled by naturally secreted emulsifiers and a modified cell surface hydrophobicity and protrusions formed by this yeast. We were examining the potential of recombinant Y. lipolytica as a biocatalyst for the oxidation of hardly soluble hydrophobic steroids. Furthermore, two-liquid biphasic culture systems were evaluated to increase substrate availability. While cells, together with water soluble nutrients, are maintained in the aqueous phase, substrates and most of the products are contained in a second water-immiscible organic solvent phase.
For the first time we have co-expressed the human cytochromes P450 2D6 and 3A4 genes in Y. lipolytica together with human cytochrome P450 reductase (hCPR) or Y. lipolytica cytochrome P450 reductase (YlCPR). These whole-cell biocatalysts were used for the conversion of poorly soluble steroids in biphasic systems.
Employing a biphasic system with the organic solvent and Y. lipolytica carbon source ethyl oleate for the whole-cell bioconversion of progesterone, the initial specific hydroxylation rate in a 1.5 L stirred tank bioreactor was further increased 2-fold. Furthermore, the product formation was significantly prolonged as compared to the aqueous system.
Co-expression of the human CPR gene led to a 4-10-fold higher specific activity, compared to the co-overexpression of the native Y. lipolytica CPR gene. Multicopy transformants showed a 50-70-fold increase of activity as compared to single copy strains.
Alkane-assimilating yeast Y. lipolytica, coupled with the described expression strategies, demonstrated its high potential for biotransformations of hydrophobic substrates in two-liquid biphasic systems. Especially organic solvents which can be efficiently taken up and/or metabolized by the cell might enable more efficient bioconversion as compared to aqueous systems and even enable simple, continuous or at least high yield long time processes.
Yarrowia lipolytica; Biphasic sytem; Cytochrome P450; Steroid; Whole-cell bioconversion
As an oleaginous yeast, Yarrowia lipolytica is able to assimilate hydrophobic substrates. This led to the isolation of several promoters of key enzymes of this catabolic pathway. Less is known about the behavior of Y. lipolytica in large bioreactors using these substrates. There is therefore a lack of established know-how concerning high cell density culture protocols of this yeast. Consequently, the establishment of suitable induction conditions is required, to maximize recombinant protein production under the control of these promoters.
Human interferon α2b (huIFN α2b) production in Yarrowia lipolytica was used as a model for the enhancement of recombinant protein production under the control of the oleic acid (OA)-inducible promoter POX2. Cell viability and heterologous protein production were enhanced by exponential glucose feeding, to generate biomass before OA induction. The optimal biomass level before induction was determined (73 g L-1), and glucose was added with oleic acid during the induction phase. Several oleic acid feeding strategies were assessed. Continuous feeding with OA at a ratio of 0.02 g OA per g dry cell weight increased huIFNα2b production by a factor of 1.88 (425 mg L-1) and decreased the induction time (by a factor of 2.6, 21 h). huIFN α2b degradation by an aspartic protease secreted by Y. lipolytica was prevented by adding pepstatin (10 μM), leading to produce a 19-fold more active huIFN α2b (26.2 × 107 IU mg-1).
Y. lipolytica, a generally regarded as safe (GRAS) microorganism is one of the most promising non conventional yeasts for the production of biologically active therapeutic proteins under the control of hydrophobic substrate-inducible promoter.
Yarrowia lipolytica; POX2 promoter; induction strategy; high cell density culture; recombinant human interferon α2b
The nonconventional yeast Yarrowia lipolytica degrades very efficiently hydrophobic substrates to produce organic acids, single-cell oil, lipases, and so forth. The aim of this study was to investigate the biochemical behavior and simultaneous production of valuable metabolites such as lipase, citric acid (CA), and single-cell protein (SCP) by Yarrowia lipolytica DSM 3286 grown on various plant oils as sole carbon source. Among tested plant oils, olive oil proved to be the best medium for lipase and CA production. The Y. lipolytica DSM 3286 produced 34.6 ± 0.1 U/mL of lipase and also CA and SCP as by-product on olive oil medium supplemented with yeast extract. Urea, as organic nitrogen, was the best nitrogen source for CA production. The results of this study suggest that the two biotechnologically valuable products, lipase and CA, could be produced simultaneously by this strain using renewable low-cost substrates such as plant oils in one procedure.
Ambient pH signaling involves a cascade of conserved Rim or Pal products in ascomycetous yeasts or filamentous fungi, respectively. Recent evidences in the fungi Aspergillus nidulans, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Yarrowia lipolytica, and Candida albicans suggested that components of endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) involved in endocytic trafficking were needed for signal transduction along the Rim pathway. In this study, we confirm these findings with C. albicans and show that Vps28p (ESCRT-I) and Vps32p/Snf7p (ESCRT-III) are required for the transcriptional regulation of known targets of the Rim pathway, such as the PHR1 and PHR2 genes encoding cell surface proteins, which are expressed at alkaline and acidic pH, respectively. We additionally show that deletion of these two VPS genes, particularly VPS32, has a more drastic effect than a RIM101 deletion on growth at alkaline pH and that this effect is only partially suppressed by expression of a constitutively active form of Rim101p. Finally, in an in vivo mouse model, both vps null mutants were significantly less virulent than a rim101 mutant, suggesting that VPS28 and VPS32 gene products affect virulence both through Rim-dependent and Rim-independent pathways.
Live cell imaging of mRNA-protein interactions makes it possible to study posttranscriptional processes of cellular and viral gene expression under physiological conditions. In this study, red color mCherry-based trimolecular fluorescence complementation (TriFC) systems were constructed as new tools for visualizing mRNA–protein interaction in living cells using split mCherry fragments and HIV REV-RRE and TAT-TAR peptide-RNA interaction pairs. The new mCherry TriFC systems were successfully used to image RNA–protein interactions such as that between influenza viral protein NS1 and the 5’ UTR of influenza viral mRNAs NS, M, and NP. Upon combination of an mCherry TriFC system with a Venus TriFC system, multiple mRNA–protein interactions could be detected simultaneously in the same cells. Then, the new mCherry TriFC system was used for imaging of interactions between influenza A virus mRNAs and some of adapter proteins in cellular TAP nuclear export pathway in live cells. Adapter proteins Aly and UAP56 were found to associate with three kinds of viral mRNAs. Another adapter protein, splicing factor 9G8, only interacted with intron-containing spliced M2 mRNA. Co-immunoprecipitation assays with influenza A virus-infected cells confirmed these interactions. This study provides long-wavelength-spectrum TriFC systems as new tools for visualizing RNA–protein interactions in live cells and help to understand the nuclear export mechanism of influenza A viral mRNAs.
Inclusion bodies are a characteristic feature of ebolavirus infections in cells. They contain large numbers of preformed nucleocapsids, but their biological significance has been debated, and they have been suggested to be aggregates of viral proteins without any further biological function. However, recent data for other viruses that produce similar structures have suggested that inclusion bodies might be involved in genome replication and transcription. In order to study filovirus inclusion bodies, we fused mCherry to the ebolavirus polymerase L, which is found in inclusion bodies. The resulting L-mCherry fusion protein was functional in minigenome assays and incorporated into virus-like particles. Importantly, L-mCherry fluorescence in transfected cells was readily detectable and distributed in a punctate pattern characteristic for inclusion bodies. A recombinant ebolavirus encoding L-mCherry instead of L was rescued and showed virtually identical growth kinetics and endpoint titers to those for wild-type virus. Using this virus, we showed that the onset of inclusion body formation corresponds to the onset of viral genome replication, but that viral transcription occurs prior to inclusion body formation. Live-cell imaging further showed that inclusion bodies are highly dynamic structures and that they can undergo dramatic reorganization during cell division. Finally, by labeling nascent RNAs using click technology we showed that inclusion bodies are indeed the site of viral RNA synthesis. Based on these data we conclude that, rather than being inert aggregates of nucleocapsids, ebolavirus inclusion bodies are in fact complex and dynamic structures and an important site at which viral RNA replication takes place.
Yarrowia lipolytica is one of the yeasts most frequently isolated from the surface of ripened cheeses. In previous work, it has been shown that this yeast is able to convert l-methionine into various volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that may contribute to the typical flavors of several cheeses. In the present study, we show that Y. lipolytica does not assimilate lactate in the presence of l-methionine in a cheeselike medium. Nineteen presumptive genes associated with l-methionine catabolism or pyruvate metabolism in Y. lipolytica were transcriptionally studied in relation to l-methionine degradation. The expression levels of the YlARO8 (YALI0E20977g), YlBAT1 (YALI0D01265g), and YlBAT2 (YALI0F19910g) genes (confirmed by real-time PCR experiments) were found to be strongly up-regulated by l-methionine, and a greater variety and larger amounts of VSCs, such as methanethiol and its autooxidation products (dimethyl disulfide and dimethyl trisulfide), were released in the medium when Y. lipolytica was grown in the presence of a high concentration of l-methionine. In contrast, other genes related to pyruvate metabolism were found to be down-regulated in the presence of l-methionine; two exceptions were the YlPDB1 (YALI0E27005g) and YlPDC6 (YALI0D06930g) genes, which encode a pyruvate dehydrogenase and a pyruvate decarboxylase, respectively. Both transcriptional and biochemical results corroborate the view that transamination is the first step of the enzymatic conversion of l-methionine to VSCs in Y. lipolytica and that the YlARO8, YlBAT1, and YlBAT2 genes could play a key role in this process.
Eukaryotic cells have evolved molecular mechanisms to ensure the faithful inheritance of organelles by daughter cells in order to maintain the benefits afforded by the compartmentalization of biochemical functions. Little is known about the inheritance of peroxisomes, organelles of lipid metabolism. We have analyzed peroxisome dynamics and inheritance in the dimorphic yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. Most peroxisomes are anchored at the periphery of cells of Y. lipolytica. In vivo video microscopy showed that at cell division, approximately half of the anchored peroxisomes in the mother cell are dislodged individually from their static positions and transported to the bud. Peroxisome motility is dependent on the actin cytoskeleton. YlInp1p is a peripheral peroxisomal membrane protein that affects the partitioning of peroxisomes between mother cell and bud in Y. lipolytica. In cells lacking YlInp1p, most peroxisomes were transferred to the bud, with only a few remaining in the mother cell, while in cells overexpressing YlInp1p, peroxisomes were preferentially retained in the mother cell, resulting in buds nearly devoid of peroxisomes. Our results are consistent with a role for YlInp1p in anchoring peroxisomes in cells. YlInp1p has a role in the dimorphic transition in Y. lipolytica, as cells lacking the YlINP1 gene more readily convert from the yeast to the mycelial form in oleic acid-containing medium, the metabolism of which requires peroxisomal activity, than does the wild-type strain. This study reports the first analysis of organelle inheritance in a true dimorphic yeast and identifies the first protein required for peroxisome inheritance in Y. lipolytica.
Gene targeting by microRNAs is important in health and disease. We developed a functional assay for identifying microRNA targets and applied it to the K+ channel Kir2.1 [KCNJ2 (potassium inwardly-rectifying channel, subfamily J, member 2)] which is dysregulated in cardiac and vascular disorders. The 3′UTR (untranslated region) was inserted downstream of the mCherry red fluorescent protein coding sequence in a mammalian expression plasmid. MicroRNA sequences were inserted into the pSM30 expression vector which provides enhanced green fluorescent protein as an indicator of microRNA expression. HEK (human embryonic kidney)-293 cells were co-transfected with the mCherry-3′UTR plasmid and a pSM30-based plasmid with a microRNA insert. The principle of the assay is that functional targeting of the 3′UTR by the microRNA results in a decrease in the red/green fluorescence intensity ratio as determined by automated image analysis. The method was validated with miR-1, a known down-regulator of Kir2.1 expression, and was used to investigate the targeting of the Kir2.1 3′UTR by miR-212. The red/green ratio was lower in miR-212-expressing cells compared with the non-targeting controls, an effect that was attenuated by mutating the predicted target site. miR-212 also reduced inward rectifier current and Kir2.1 protein in HeLa cells. This novel assay has several advantages over traditional luciferase-based assays including larger sample size, amenability to time course studies and adaptability to high-throughput screening.
HeLa cell; HEK-293 cell; image analysis; microRNA; patch clamp; CMV, cytomegalovirus; DMEM, Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium; EGFP, enhanced green fluorescent protein; GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase; HEK, human embryonic kidney; HPRT1, hypoxanthine–phosphoribosyltransferase 1; IK1, inward-rectifier K+ current; KCNJ2, potassium inwardly-rectifying channel, subfamily J, member 2; miRNA, microRNA; qRT–PCR, quantitative reverse transcription PCR; RACE, rapid amplification of cDNA ends; siRNA, short interfering RNA; UTR, untranslated region
Yarrowia lipolytica was recently introduced as a new model organism to study peroxisome degradation in yeasts. Transfer of Y. lipolytica cells from oleate/ethylamine to glucose/ammonium chloride medium leads to selective macroautophagy of peroxisomes. To decipher the molecular mechanisms of macropexophagy we isolated mutants of Y. lipolytica defective in the inactivation of peroxisomal enzymes under pexophagy conditions. Through this analysis we identified the gene YlTRS85, the ortholog of Saccharomyces cerevisiae TRS85 that encodes the 85 kDa subunit of transport protein particle (TRAPP). A parallel genetic screen in S. cerevisiae also identified the trs85 mutant. Here, we report that Trs85 is required for nonspecific autophagy, pexophagy and the cytoplasm to vacuole targeting pathway in both yeasts.
autophagy; TRAPP; early secretory pathway; protein targeting; vacuole; yeast
Coxiella burnetii is a gram-negative obligate intracellular bacterium and the causative agent of human Q fever. The lack of methods to genetically manipulate C. burnetii significantly impedes the study of this organism. We describe here the cloning and characterization of a C. burnetii ftsZ mutant generated by mariner-based Himar1 transposon (Tn) mutagenesis. C. burnetii was coelectroporated with a plasmid encoding the Himar1 C9 transposase variant and a plasmid containing a Himar1 transposon encoding chloramphenicol acetyltransferase, mCherry fluorescent protein, and a ColE1 origin of replication. Vero cells were infected with electroporated C. burnetii and transformants scored as organisms replicating in the presence of chloramphenicol and expressing mCherry. Southern blot analysis revealed multiple transpositions in the C. burnetii genome and rescue cloning identified 30 and 5 insertions in coding and noncoding regions, respectively. Using micromanipulation, a C. burnetii clone was isolated containing a Tn insertion within the C terminus of the cell division gene ftsZ. The ftsZ mutant had a significantly lower growth rate than wild-type bacteria and frequently appeared as filamentous forms displaying incomplete cell division septa. The latter phenotype correlated with a deficiency in generating infectious foci on a per-genome basis compared to wild-type organisms. The mutant FtsZ protein was also unable to bind the essential cell division protein FtsA. This is the first description of C. burnetii harboring a defined gene mutation generated by genetic transformation.
A fluorescence microscopy method to directly follow the localization of defined proteins in Staphylococcus was hampered by the unstable fluorescence of fluorescent proteins. Here, we constructed plasmid (pCX) encoded red fluorescence (RF) mCherry (mCh) hybrids, namely mCh-cyto (no signal peptide and no sorting sequence), mCh-sec (with signal peptide), and mCh-cw (with signal peptide and cell wall sorting sequence). The S. aureus clones targeted mCh-fusion proteins into the cytosol, the supernatant and the cell envelope respectively; in all cases mCherry exhibited bright fluorescence. In staphylococci two types of signal peptides (SP) can be distinguished: the +YSIRK motif SPlip and the −YSIRK motif SPsasF. mCh-hybrids supplied with the +YSIRK motif SPlip were always expressed higher than those with −YSIRK motif SPsasF. To study the location of the anchoring process and also the influence of SP type, mCh-cw was supplied on the one hand with +YSIRK motif (mCh-cw1) and the other hand with -YSIRK motif (mCh-cw2). MCh-cw1 preferentially localized at the cross wall, while mCh-cw2 preferentially localized at the peripheral wall. Interestingly, when treated with sub-lethal concentrations of penicillin or moenomycin, both mCh-cw1 and mCh-cw2 were concentrated at the cross wall. The shift from the peripheral wall to the cross wall required Sortase A (SrtA), as in the srtA mutant this effect was blunted. The effect is most likely due to antibiotic mediated increase of free anchoring sites (Lipid II) at the cross wall, the substrate of SrtA, leading to a preferential incorporation of anchored proteins at the cross wall.
We have previously shown that both a centromere (CEN) and a replication origin are necessary for plasmid maintenance in the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica (Vernis et al., 1997). Because of this requirement, only a small number of centromere-proximal replication origins have been isolated from Yarrowia. We used a CEN-based plasmid to obtain noncentromeric origins, and several new fragments, some unique and some repetitive sequences, were isolated. Some of them were analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and correspond to actual sites of initiation (ORI) on the chromosome. We observed that a 125-bp fragment is sufficient for a functional ORI on plasmid, and that chromosomal origins moved to ectopic sites on the chromosome continue to act as initiation sites. These Yarrowia origins share an 8-bp motif, which is not essential for origin function on plasmids. The Yarrowia origins do not display any obvious common structural features, like bent DNA or DNA unwinding elements, generally present at or near eukaryotic replication origins. Y. lipolytica origins thus share features of those in the unicellular Saccharomyces cerevisiae and in multicellular eukaryotes: they are discrete and short genetic elements without sequence similarity.
The biocompatibility of a triazole mimic of the DNA phosphodiester linkage in Escherichia coli has been evaluated. The requirement for selective pressure on the click-containing gene was probed via a plasmid containing click DNA backbone linkages in each strand of the gene encoding the fluorescent protein mCherry. The effect of proximity of the click linkers on their biocompatibility was also probed by placing two click DNA linkers 4-bp apart at the region encoding the fluorophore of the fluorescent protein. The resulting click-containing plasmid was found to encode mCherry in E. coli at a similar level to the canonical equivalent. The ability of the cellular machinery to read through click-linked DNA was further probed by using the above click-linked plasmid to express mCherry using an in vitro transcription/translation system, and found to also be similar to that from canonical DNA. The yield and fluorescence of recombinant mCherry expressed from the click-linked plasmid was also compared to that from the canonical equivalent, and found to be the same. The biocompatibility of click DNA ligation sites at close proximity in a non-essential gene demonstrated in E. coli suggests the possibility of using click DNA ligation for the enzyme-free assembly of chemically modified genes and genomes.
Smooth muscle α actin (SMA) is a cytoskeletal protein expressed by mesenchymal and smooth muscle cell types, including mural cells (vascular smooth muscle cells and pericytes). Using Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) recombineering technology, we generated transgenic reporter mice that express a membrane localized cherry red fluorescent protein (mCherry), driven by the full-length SMA promoter and intronic sequences. We determined that the founders and F1 progeny of five independent lines contain 1-3 copies of the mCherry substituted BAC vector. Furthermore, we characterized the expression of SMA-mCherry in relation to endogenous SMA in the embryo and in adult tissues, and found that the transgenic reporter in each line recapitulated endogenous SMA expression at all time points. We were also able to isolate SMA expressing cells from embryonic tissues using fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS). We demonstrated that this marker can be combined with other vital fluorescent reporters and it can be used for live imaging of embryonic cardiodynamics. Therefore, these transgenic mice will be useful for isolating live SMA-expressing cells via FACS and for studying the emergence, behavior and regulation of SMA-expressing cells, including vascular smooth muscle cells and pericytes throughout embryonic and postnatal development.
BAC transgenesis; In vivo imaging; Cardiac function; Vascular development; Mesenchymal cell
The work herewith investigated the production of yeast biomass as a source of protein, using Yarrowia lipolytica NRRL YB-423 and raw glycerol from biodiesel synthesis as the main carbon source. A significant influence of glycerol concentration, initial pH and yeast extract concentration on biomass and protein content was observed according to the 2v5-1 fractional design. These factors were further evaluated using a central composite design and response surface methodology, and an empirical model for protein content was established and validated. The biomass of Yarrowia lipolytica NRRL YB-423 reached 19.5 ± 1.0 g/L in shaken flasks cultivation, with a protein content of 20.1 ± 0.6% (w/w).
Raw glycerol; single cell protein; yeast biomass; Yarrowia lipolytica
With the emergence of Staphylococcus aureus as a prominent pathogen in community and healthcare settings, there is a growing need for effective reporter tools to facilitate physiology and pathogenesis studies. Fluorescent proteins are ideal as reporters for their convenience in monitoring gene expression, performing host interaction studies, and monitoring biofilm growth. We have developed a suite of fluorescent reporter plasmids for labeling S. aureus cells. These plasmids encode either green fluorescent protein (GFP) or higher wavelength reporter variants for yellow (YFP) and red (mCherry) labeling. The reporters were placed under control of characterized promoters to enable constitutive or inducible expression. Additionally, plasmids were assembled with fluorescent reporters under control of the agr quorum-sensing and Sigma factor B promoters, and the fluorescent response with wildtype and relevant mutant strains was characterized. Interestingly, reporter expression displayed a strong dependence on ribosome binding site (RBS) sequence, with the superoxide dismutase RBS displaying the strongest expression kinetics of the sequences examined. To test the robustness of the reporter plasmids, cell imaging was performed with fluorescence microscopy and cell populations were separated using florescence activated cell sorting (FACS), demonstrating the possibilities of simultaneous monitoring of multiple S. aureus properties. Finally, a constitutive YFP reporter displayed stable, robust labeling of biofilm growth in a flow cell apparatus. This toolbox of fluorescent reporter plasmids will facilitate cell labeling for a variety of different experimental applications.
Staphylococcus aureus; fluorescence; fluorescent reporters; GFP; YFP; mCherry
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the United States is projected to double or triple by 2050. We reasoned that the genes that modulate insulin production might be new targets for diabetes therapeutics. Therefore, we developed an siRNA screening system to identify genes important for the activity of the insulin promoter in beta cells. We created a subclone of the MIN6 mouse pancreatic beta cell line that expresses destabilized GFP under the control of a 362 base pair fragment of the human insulin promoter and the mCherry red fluorescent protein under the control of the constitutively active rous sarcoma virus promoter. The ratio of the GFP to mCherry fluorescence of a cell indicates its insulin promoter activity. As G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) have emerged as novel targets for diabetes therapies, we used this cell line to screen an siRNA library targeting all known mouse GPCRs. We identified several known GPCR regulators of insulin secretion as regulators of the insulin promoter. One of the top positive regulators was Gpr27, an orphan GPCR with no known role in beta cell function. We show that knockdown of Gpr27 reduces endogenous mouse insulin promoter activity and glucose stimulated insulin secretion. Furthermore, we show that Pdx1 is important for Gpr27's effect on the insulin promoter and insulin secretion. Finally, the over-expression of Gpr27 in 293T cells increases inositol phosphate levels, while knockdown of Gpr27 in MIN6 cells reduces inositol phosphate levels, suggesting this orphan GPCR might couple to Gq/11. In summary, we demonstrate a MIN6-based siRNA screening system that allows rapid identification of novel positive and negative regulators of the insulin promoter. Using this system, we identify Gpr27 as a positive regulator of insulin production.
Pancreatic beta cells are the only physiologic source of insulin. When these cells are destroyed in type 1 diabetics, there is uncontrolled hyperglycemia from complete insulin deficiency. In type 2 diabetes, these same cells fail to increase insulin secretion to compensate for peripheral insulin resistance leading to relative insulin deficiency. We constructed a novel screening system to find new regulators of insulin production in this critical cell type. Here, we describe a screen of the G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and show a role for orphan GPCR, Gpr27, in insulin promoter activity and insulin secretion. We propose that Gpr27 is a novel target for diabetes therapeutics.
AIM: The generation and characterization of a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) line stably expressing red fluorescent mCherry protein.
METHODS: Lentiviral transduction of a ubiquitously-expressed human EF-1α promoter driven mCherry transgene was performed in MEL2 hESC. Red fluore-scence was assessed by immunofluorescence and flow cytometry. Pluripotency of stably transduced hESC was determined by immunofluorescent pluripotency marker expression, flow cytometry, teratoma assays and embryoid body-based differentiation followed by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Quantification of cell motility and survival was performed with time lapse microscopy.
RESULTS: Constitutively fluorescently-labeled hESCs are useful tools for facile in vitro and in vivo tracking of survival, motility and cell spreading on various surfaces before and after differentiation. Here we describe the generation and characterization of a hESC line (MEL2) stably expressing red fluorescent protein, mCherry. This line was generated by random integration of a fluorescent protein-expressing cassette, driven by the ubiquitously-expressed human EF-1α promoter. Stably transfected MEL2-mCherry hESC were shown to express pluripotency markers in the nucleus (POU5F1/OCT4, NANOG and SOX2) and on the cell surface (SSEA4, TRA1-60 and TG30/CD9) and were shown to maintain a normal karyotype in long-term (for at least 35 passages) culture. MEL2-mCherry hESC further readily differentiated into representative cell types of the three germ layers in embryoid body and teratoma based assays and, importantly, maintained robust mCherry expression throughout differentiation. The cell line was next adapted to single-cell passaging, rendering it compatible with numerous bioengineering applications such as measurement of cell motility and cell spreading on various protein modified surfaces, quantification of cell attachment to nanoparticles and rapid estimation of cell survival.
CONCLUSION: The MEL2-mCherry hESC line conforms to the criteria of bona fide pluripotent stem cells and maintains red fluorescence throughout differentiation, making it a useful tool for bioengineering and in vivo tracking experiments.
Human embryonic stem cells; Fluorescent marker; mCherry; Pluripotency; Cellular motility
Advances in genetic engineering of non-pathogenic Escherichia coli (E. coli) have made this organism an attractive candidate for gene delivery carrier. However, proliferation and transport behaviors of E. coli in three-dimensional (3D) tumor environment are still unclear. To this end, we developed a novel microfluidics-based tumor model that permitted direct in situ visualization of E. coli in a 3D environment with densely packed tumor cells (B16.F10 or EMT6). The E. coli was engineered to co-express two proteins invasin and mCherry (inv+) so that they had the ability to enter mammalian cells and could be visualized via fluorescence microscopy. E. coli expressing mCherry alone (inv−) was used as the control counterpart. The inv− bacteria proliferated to a higher extent than inv+ bacteria in both the 3D tumor model and a 2D monolayer culture model. Meanwhile, the proliferation appeared to be tumor cell type dependent since bacteria did not proliferate as well in the EMT6 model compared to the B16.F10 model. These differences in bacterial proliferation were likely to be caused by inhibitors secreted by tumor cells, as suggested by our data from the bacterial-tumor cell monolayer co-culture experiment. The bacterial proliferation provided a driving force for cell spreading in the 3D interstitial space of tumors. These findings are useful for researchers to develop novel strategies for improvement of oncolysis or bacteria-mediated gene delivery in cancer treatment.
bacterial delivery; three-dimensional tumor model; engineered bacteria; microfluidics; invasin