We analyzed the replication of two unlinked actin genes, ardB and ardC , which are abundantly transcribed in the naturally synchronous plasmodium of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Detection and size measurements of single-stranded nascent replication intermediates (RIs) demonstrate that these two genes are concomitantly replicated at the onset of the 3-h S phase and tightly linked to replication origins. Appearance of RIs on neutral-neutral two-dimensional gels at specific time points in early S phase and analysis of their structure confirmed these results and further established that, in both cases, an efficient, site-specific, bidirectional origin of replication is localized within the promoter region of the gene. We also determined similar elongation rates for the divergent replication forks of the ardC gene replicon. Finally, taking advantage of a restriction fragment length polymorphism, we studied allelic replicons and demonstrate similar localizations and a simultaneous firing of allelic replication origins. Computer search revealed a low level of homology between the promoters of ardB and ardC and, most notably, the absence of DNA sequences similar to the yeast autonomously replicating sequence consensus sequence in these Physarum origin regions. Our results with the ardB and ardC actin genes support the model of early replicating origins located within the promoter regions of abundantly transcribed genes in P. polycephalum.
It was previously shown that the two members of the cell cycle-regulated histone H4 gene family, H4-1 and H4-2, are replicated at the onset of S phase in the naturally synchronous plasmodium of Physarum polycephalum, suggesting that they are flanked by replication origins. It was further shown that a DNA fragment upstream of the H4-1 gene is able to confer autonomous replication of a plasmid in the budding yeast. In this paper, we re-investigated replication of the unlinked Physarum histone H4 genes by mapping the replication origin of these two loci using alkaline agarose gel and neutral/neutral 2-dimensional agarose gel electrophoreses. We showed that the two replicons containing the H4 genes are simultaneously activated at the onset of S phase and we mapped an efficient, bidirectional replication origin in the vicinity of each gene. Our data demonstrated that the Physarum sequence that functions as an ARS in yeast is not the site of replication initiation at the H4-1 locus. We also observed a stalling of the rightward moving replication fork downstream of the H4-1 gene, in a region where transient topoisomerase II sites were previously mapped. Our results further extend the concept of replication/transcription coupling in Physarum to cell cycle-regulated genes.
Physarum polycephalum rRNA genes are found on extrachromosomal 60 kb linear palindromic DNA molecules. Previous work using electron microscope visualization suggested that these molecules are duplicated from one of four potential replication origins located in the 24 kb central non-transcribed spacer [Vogt and Braun (1977) Eur. J. Biochem., 80, 557-566]. Considering the controversy on the nature of the replication origins in eukaryotic cells, where both site-specific or delocalized initiations have been described, we study here Physarum rDNA replication by two dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis and compare the results to those obtained by electron microscopy. Without the need of cell treatment or enrichment in replication intermediates, we detect hybridization signals corresponding to replicating rDNA fragments throughout the cell cycle, confirming that the synthesis of rDNA molecules is not under the control of S-phase. The patterns of replication intermediates along rDNA minichromosomes are consistent with the existence of four site-specific replication origins, whose localization in the central non-transcribed spacer is in agreement with the electron microscope mapping. It is also shown that, on a few molecules, at least two origins are active simultaneously.
We compared the pattern of replication of two cell-type specific profilin genes in one developmental stage of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Taking advantage of the natural synchrony of S-phase within the plasmodium, we established that the actively transcribed profilin P gene is tightly linked to a chromosomal replication origin and is replicated at the onset of S-phase. In contrast, the inactive profilin A gene is not associated with a replication origin and it is duplicated in mid S-phase. Mapping by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis defines a short DNA fragment in the proximal upstream region of the profilin P gene from which bidirectional replication is initiated. We further provide an estimate of the kinetics of elongation of the replicon and demonstrate that the 2 alleles of the profilin P gene are coordinately replicated. All these results were obtained on total DNA preparations extracted from untreated cells. They provide a strong evidence for site specific initiation of DNA replication in Physarum.
We previously mapped early-activated replication origins in the promoter regions of five abundantly transcribed genes in the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. This physical linkage between origins and genes is congruent with the preferential early replication of the active genes in mammalian cells. To determine how general this replicational organization is in the synchronous plasmodium of Physarum, we analyzed the replication of three weakly expressed genes. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd) density-shift and gene dosage experiments indicated that the redB (regulated in development) and redE genes replicate early, whereas redA replicates in mid-S phase. Bi-dimensional gel electrophoresis revealed that redA coincides with an origin that appears to be activated within a large temporal window in S phase so that the replication of the gene is not well defined temporally. The early replication of the redB and redE genes is due to the simultaneous activation of flanking origins at the onset of S phase. As a result, these two genes correspond to termination sites of DNA replication. Our data demonstrate that not all the Physarum promoters are preferred sites of initiation but, so far, all the expressed genes analyzed in detail either coincide with a replication origin or are embedded into a cluster of early firing replicons.
A cell-free system using synchronous plasmodial extracts initiates replication selectively on the 60 kb rDNA palindrome of Physarum polycephalum. Preferential labeling of rDNA fragments by nuclear extracts, in which elongation is limited, indicates that initiation occurs at two positions corresponding to in vivo origins of replication estimated by electron microscopy. Both nuclear and whole plasmodial extracts initiate selectively within a plasmid, pPHR21, containing one of these origins. In this plasmid bubbles expand bidirectionally and generate DpnI-resistant DNA. Extracts made at prophase or early S phase, times when the nucleolus is disorganized, are most active in pPHR21 replication. Mapping positions of replication bubbles locates the initiation point in a 3.2 kb BstEII fragment at the upstream border of a series of 31 bp repeats 2.4 kb from the initiation point for ribosomal gene transcription.
Invariance of temporal order of genome replication in eukaryotic cells and its correlation with gene activity has been well-documented. However, recent data suggest a relax control of replication timing. To evaluate replication schedule accuracy, we detailed the replicational organization of the developmentally regulated php locus that we previously found to be lately replicated, even though php gene is highly transcribed in naturally synchronous plasmodia of Physarum. Unexpectedly, bi-dimensional agarose gel electrophoreses of DNA samples prepared at specific time points of S phase showed that replication of the locus actually begins at the onset of S phase but it proceeds through the first half of S phase, so that complete replication of php-containing DNA fragments occurs in late S phase. Origin mapping located replication initiation upstream php coding region. This proximity and rapid fork progression through the coding region result in an early replication of php gene. We demonstrated that afterwards an unusually low fork rate and unidirectional fork pausing prolong complete replication of php locus, and we excluded random replication timing. Importantly, we evidenced that the origin linked to php gene in plasmodium is not fired in amoebae when php expression dramatically reduced, further illustrating replication-transcription coupling in Physarum.
We have constructed an expression cartridge which has the bacterial hygromycin resistance gene (hph) fused to the Dictyostelium discoideum actin 15 promoter, with a segment of 3'-flanking DNA from the actin 15 locus placed downstream of the hph gene to serve as a transcription terminator. The plasmid pDE109, which contained this cartridge and a Dictyostelium origin of replication, transformed D. discoideum with high efficiency under hygromycin selection. The availability of this selectable marker circumvents the previous limitation of having G418 resistance as the only selectable marker for this organism; secondary transformation can now be used to introduce DNA into previously transformed cell lines.
Synchronous plasmodia of Physarum polycephalum were pulse-labeled with 3H-thymidine in early or late portions of the S-phase, and the binding capacity of the replicated DNA for isochronous S-phase plasmodial proteins assessed by nitrocellulose filter binding assay. Replication units replicating during the first one-third of the S-phase preferentially bind cytosol proteins present in plasmodia engaged in early S DNA replication, while late S replicating DNA exhibits a corresponding preferential binding of plasmodial proteins present only in late S plasmodia. Temporally-characteristic nascent replication units were isolated by Hydroxylapatite column chromatography and were found to contain binding sites for isochronous proteins.
The nucleotide sequence of a 1467 bp fragment of Streptomyces hygroscopicus DNA containing the gene (hyg) encoding a hygromycin B phosphotransferase (HPH) has been determined. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of HPH determined by automated Edman degradation has allowed the coding sequence of the hyg gene to be identified. The translation initiation triplet is GTG and 5 bp preceding it there is a sequence complementary to the 3'-end of 16S rRNA from S. lividans. The transcriptional start and termination sites have been determined; the presumptive promoter region has only partial homology to that of the Streptomyces vinaceus vph gene and is different to the promoter sequences of other Streptomyces genes.
We have investigated the nucleosomal organization of ribosomal genes in the acellular slime mold Physarum polycephalum. When probed with staphylococcal nuclease, the ribosomal genes appear to be uniformly packed in nucleosomes, in an arrangement which is indistinguishable from the pattern obtained with bulk chromatin. During this study, an unusual pattern of digestion was obtained from a DNA region immediately upstream of the initiation site of rRNA transcription, in addition to the nucleosomal profile, a second regular ladder of fragments with a repeat length of 30-40 basepairs was generated from this region. We established that this pattern of degradation reflects the strong preference of staphylococcal nuclease for certain nucleotide arrangements on the DNA, rather than a particular chromatin configuration. These observations clearly show that great caution needs to be exerted whenever data from staphylococcal nuclease digestions are interpreted in terms of chromatin structure.
The direction of replication of DNA within replicons of Physarum polycephalum was studied by pulse-labelling with 5-bromouracil-deoxyriboside (BrdUrd) and 3H-adenosine deoxyriboside (dAdo), followed by ultraviolet- (UV) -photolysis and analysis of molecular weights of single strand DNA fragments on alkaline sucrose gradients. Newly made DNA within replicons at all stages of completion is split in two equal halves upon UV irradiation when BrdUrd was given at the time of initiation of DNA synthesis. This shows that replication within replicons of Physarum polycephalum starts at an origin located in the center of each unit, proceeding bidirectionally from this origin.
During the S phase of the cell cycle, histone gene expression and DNA replication are tightly coupled. In mitotically synchronous plasmodia of the myxomycete Physarum polycephalum, which has no G1 phase, histone mRNA synthesis begins in mid-G2 phase. Although histone gene transcription is activated in the absence of significant DNA synthesis, our data demonstrate that histone gene expression became tightly coupled to DNA replication once the S phase began. There was a transition from the replication-independent phase to the replication-dependent phase of histone gene expression. During the first phase, histone mRNA synthesis appears to be under direct cell cycle control; it was not coupled to DNA replication. This allowed a pool of histone mRNA to accumulate in late G2 phase, in anticipation of future demand. The second phase began at the end of mitosis, when the S phase began, and expression became homeostatically coupled to DNA replication. This homeostatic control required continuing protein synthesis, since cycloheximide uncoupled transcription from DNA synthesis. Nuclear run-on assays suggest that in P. polycephalum this coupling occurs at the level of transcription. While histone gene transcription appears to be directly switched on in mid-G2 phase and off at the end of the S phase by cell cycle regulators, only during the S phase was the level of transcription balanced with the rate of DNA synthesis.
The filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa undergoes a well-defined developmental program, conidiation, that culminates in the production of numerous asexual spores, conidia. Several cloned genes, including con-10, are expressed during conidiation but not during mycelial growth. Using a previously described selection strategy, we isolated mutants that express con-10 during mycelial growth. Selection was based on expression of an integrated DNA fragment containing the con-10 promoter-regulatory region followed by the initial segment of the con-10 open reading frame fused in frame with the bacterial hygromycin B phosphotransferase structural gene (con10'-'hph). Resistance to hygromycin results from mutational alterations that allow mycelial expression of the con-10'-'hph gene fusion. A set of drug-resistant mutants were isolated; several of these had abnormal conidiation phenotypes and were trans-acting, i.e., they allowed mycelial expression of the endogenous con-10 gene. Four of these had alterations at a single locus, designated rco-1 (regulation of conidiation). Strains with the rco-1 mutant alleles were aconidial, female sterile, had reduced growth rates, and formed hyphae that coiled in a counterclockwise direction, opposite that of the wild type. The four rco-1 mutants had distinct conidiation morphologies, suggesting that conidiation was blocked at different stages. Wild-type rco-1 was cloned by a novel procedure employing heterokaryon-assisted transformation and ligation-mediated PCR. The predicted RCO1 polypeptide is a homolog of Tup1 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a multidomain protein that mediates transcriptional repression of genes concerned with a variety of processes. Like tup1 mutants, null mutants of rco-1 are viable and pleiotropic. A promoter element was identified that could be responsible for RCO1-mediated vegetative repression of con-10 and other conidiation genes.
The origin of DNA replication in the human β-globin gene contains an initiation region (IR) and two flanking auxiliary elements. Two replicator modules are located within the upstream auxiliary sequence and the IR core, but the functional sequences in the downstream auxiliary element are unknown. Here, we use a combination of benzoylated-naphthoylated DEAE (BND) cellulose purification and nascent strand abundance assays to show that replication initiation occurs at the β-globin 3′ enhancer on human chromosome 11 in the Hu11 hybrid murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cell line. To examine replicator function, 3′ enhancer fragments were inserted into an ectopic site in MEL cells via an optimized FRT/EGFP-FLP integration system. These experiments demonstrate that the 1.6 kb downstream auxiliary element is a third replicator module called bGRep-E in erythroid cells. The minimal 260 bp 3′ enhancer is required but not sufficient to initiate efficient replication, suggesting cooperation with adjacent sequences. The minimal 3′ enhancer also cooperates with elements in an expressing HS3β/γ-globin construct to initiate replication. These data indicate that the β-globin replicator has multiple initiation sites in three closely spaced replicator modules. We conclude that a mammalian enhancer can cooperate with adjacent sequences to create an efficient replicator module.
The structure of replication origins in metazoans is only nominally similar to that in model organisms, such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. By contrast to the compact origins of budding yeast, in metazoans multiple elements act as replication start sites or control replication efficiency. We first reported that replication forks diverge from an origin 5′ to the human c-myc gene and that a 2.4-kb core fragment of the origin displays autonomous replicating sequence activity in plasmids and replicator activity at an ectopic chromosomal site. Here we have used clonal HeLa cell lines containing mutated c-myc origin constructs integrated at the same chromosomal location to identify elements important for DNA replication. Replication activity was measured before or after integration of the wild-type or mutated origins using PCR-based nascent DNA abundance assays. We find that deletions of several segments of the c-myc origin, including the DNA unwinding element and transcription factor binding sites, substantially reduced replicator activity, whereas deletion of the c-myc promoter P1 had only a modest effect. Substitution mutagenesis indicated that the sequence of the DNA unwinding element, rather than the spacing of flanking sequences, is critical. These results identify multiple functional elements essential for c-myc replicator activity.
The nearly perfect synchrony of nuclear division in a plasmodium of Physarum polycephalum provides a powerful system to analyze topoisomerase II cleavage sites in the course of the cell cycle. The histone H4 locus, whose schedule of replication and transcription is precisely known, was chosen for this analysis. Drug-induced topoisomerase II sites are clustered downstream of the histone H4 gene and appear highly dependent on cell cycle stage. They were only detected in mitosis and at the very beginning of S phase, precisely at the time of replication of the histone H4 region. The sites, which were absent in G2 phase, reappeared at the next mitosis. Remarkably, DNase I hypersensitive sites occurred in nearly the same location, but their schedule was totally different: they were absent in mitosis and present in G2. This schedule follows H4 transcription, which peaks in mid-S phase and in the second part of G2 phase and is off during mitosis. These results suggest that topoisomerase II may not be involved in transcription, but plays a role in remodeling chromatin structure, both during chromosome condensation in prophase/metaphase to allow their decatenation and during chromosome decondensation after metaphase to allow replication fork passage throughout the region.
PpLSU3, a mobile group I intron found in the ribosomal RNA genes of Physarum polycephalum, encodes the I-PpoI homing endonuclease. This enzyme represents one of the rare cases in nature where a protein is expressed from an RNA polymerase I transcript. Our previous results showed that the full length intron, but not a further processed species, is the messenger for I-PpoI, implying a role of the untranslated region (UTR) in gene expression. To study the function of the 3′-UTR in expression of the endonuclease and in splicing of the intron, we replaced the I-PpoI gene in PpLSU3 with the gene for the α-fragment of Escherichia coli β-galactosidase, and then integrated this chimeric intron into all the chromosomal rDNA repeats of yeast. The resulting cells synthesized functional α-fragment, as evidenced by a complementation assay analogous to that used in E.coli. The β-galactosidase activity thus provides an unusual and potentially valuable readout for Pol I transcription from chromosomal rDNA. This is the first example in which a eucaryotic homing endonuclease gene has been successfully replaced by a heterologous gene. Using deletion mutagenesis and a novel randomization approach with the α-fragment as a reporter, we found that a small segment of the 3′-UTR dramatically influences both splicing and protein expression.
An abundant late transcript of 1.5 kb originates from the immediate-early 2 (IE-2) gene region of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) at late times after infection. The transcriptional start of this RNA was precisely mapped, and the putative promoter region was cloned in front of the CAT gene as reporter. This region, which comprises 78 nucleotides of IE-2 sequence upstream of the determined cap site, was strongly activated by viral superinfection at late times in the replicative cycle. As shown by RNase protection analyses, the authentic transcription start is used. No activation of this late promoter was observed after cotransfection with an expression plasmid containing the HCMV IE-1 and -2 gene region. This result suggests that, compared with early and early late promoters of HCMV, different or additional viral functions are required for the activation of true late promoters.
The genome of the prolate-headed lytic lactococcal bacteriophage c2 is organized into two divergently oriented blocks consisting of the early genes and the late genes. These blocks are separated by the noncoding origin of DNA replication. We examined the functional role of transcription of the origin in a plasmid model system. Deletion of the early promoter PE1 abolished origin function. Introduction of mutations into PE1 which did not eliminate promoter activity or replacement of PE1 with an unrelated but functional promoter did not abolish replication. The A-T-rich region upstream of PE1, which is conserved in prolate phages, was not required for plasmid replication. Replacement of the PE1 transcript template sequence with an unrelated sequence with a similar G+C content abolished replication, showing that the sequence encoding the transcript is essential for origin function. Truncated transcript and internal deletion constructs did not support replication except when the deletion was at the very 3′ end of the DNA sequence coding for the transcript. The PE1 transcript could be detected for all replication-proficient constructs. Recloning in a plasmid vector allowed detection of PE1 transcripts from some fragments that did not support replication, indicating that stability of the transcript alone was not sufficient for replication. The data suggest that production of a transcript of a specific length and with a specific sequence or structure is essential for the function of the phage c2 origin in this model system.
The replication of putative replication origins (ARS elements) was examined for 200 kilobases of chromosome III of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. By using synchronous cultures and transfers from dense to light isotope medium, the temporal pattern of mitotic DNA replication of eight fragments that contain ARSs was determined. ARS elements near the telomeres replicated late in S phase, while internal ARS elements replicated in the first half of S phase. The results suggest that some ARS elements in the chromosome may be inactive as replication origins. The actively expressed mating type locus, MAT, replicated early in S phase, while the silent cassettes, HML and HMR, replicated late. Unexpectedly, chromosome III sequences were found to replicate late in G1 at the arrest induced by the temperature-sensitive cdc7 allele.
RNA editing describes the process in which individual or short stretches of nucleotides in a messenger or structural RNA are inserted, deleted, or substituted. A high level of RNA editing has been observed in the mitochondrial genome of Physarum polycephalum. The most frequent editing type in Physarum is the insertion of individual Cs. RNA editing is extremely accurate in Physarum; however, little is known about its mechanism. Here, we demonstrate how analyzing two organisms from the Myxomycetes, namely Physarum polycephalum and Didymium iridis, allows us to test hypotheses about the editing mechanism that can not be tested from a single organism alone. First, we show that using the recently determined full transcriptome information of Physarum dramatically improves the accuracy of computational editing site prediction in Didymium. We use this approach to predict genes in the mitochondrial genome of Didymium and identify six new edited genes as well as one new gene that appears unedited. Next we investigate sequence conservation in the vicinity of editing sites between the two organisms in order to identify sites that harbor the information for the location of editing sites based on increased conservation. Our results imply that the information contained within only nine or ten nucleotides on either side of the editing site (a distance previously suggested through experiments) is not enough to locate the editing sites. Finally, we show that the codon position bias in C insertional RNA editing of these two organisms is correlated with the selection pressure on the respective genes thereby directly testing an evolutionary theory on the origin of this codon bias. Beyond revealing interesting properties of insertional RNA editing in Myxomycetes, our work suggests possible approaches to be used when finding sequence motifs for any biological process fails.
RNA is an important biomolecule that is deeply involved in all aspects of molecular biology, such as protein production, gene regulation, and viral replication. However, many significant aspects such as the mechanism of RNA editing are not well understood. RNA editing is the process in which an organism's RNA is modified through the insertion, deletion, or substitution of single or short stretches of nucleotides. The slime mold Physarum polycephalum is a model organism for the study of RNA editing; however, hardly anything is known about its editing machinery. We show that the combination of two organisms (Physarum polycephalum and Didymium iridis) can provide a better understanding of insertional RNA editing than one organism alone. We predict several new edited genes in Didymium. By comparing the sequences of the two organisms in the vicinity of the editing sites we establish minimal requirements for the location of the information by which these editing sites are recognized. Lastly, we directly verify a theory for one of the most striking features of the editing sites, namely their codon bias.
We apply sparse Bayesian learning methods, automatic relevance determination (ARD) and predictive ARD (PARD), to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) classification to make accurate prediction and identify critical imaging markers relevant to AD at the same time. ARD is one of the most successful Bayesian feature selection methods. PARD is a powerful Bayesian feature selection method, and provides sparse models that is easy to interpret. PARD selects the model with the best estimate of the predictive performance instead of choosing the one with the largest marginal model likelihood. Comparative study with support vector machine (SVM) shows that ARD/PARD in general outperform SVM in terms of prediction accuracy. Additional comparison with surface-based general linear model (GLM) analysis shows that regions with strongest signals are identified by both GLM and ARD/PARD. While GLM P-map returns significant regions all over the cortex, ARD/PARD provide a small number of relevant and meaningful imaging markers with predictive power, including both cortical and subcortical measures.
Actidione (cycloheximide), an antibiotic inhibitor of protein synthesis, blocked the incorporation of leucine and lysine during the S phase of Physarum polycephalum. Actidione added during the early prophase period in which mitosis is blocked totally inhibited the initiation of DNA synthesis. Actidione treatment in late prophase, which permitted mitosis in the absence of protein synthesis, permitted initiation of a round of DNA replication making up between 20 and 30% of the unreplicated nuclear DNA. Actidione treatment during the S phase permitted a round of replication similar to the effect at the beginning of S. The DNA synthesized in the presence of actidione was replicated semiconservatively and was stable through at least the mitosis following antibiotic removal. Experiments in which fluorodeoxyuridine inhibition was followed by thymidine reversal in the presence of actidione suggest that the early rounds of DNA replication must be completed before later rounds are initiated.
Mu transcription occurs in three phases: early, middle, and late. Middle transcription occurs in the region of the C gene, which encodes the transactivator for late transcription. A middle promoter, Pm, was previously localized between 0.28 and 1.2 kilobase pairs upstream of C. We used S1 nuclease mapping with both unlabeled and radiolabeled capped RNAs from induced lysogens to characterize C transcription and identify its promoter. The C transcription initiation site was localized to a 4-base-pair region, approximately 740 base pairs upstream of C within the region containing Pm. Transcription of C was activated between 4 and 8 min after induction of cts and Cam lysogens and increased throughout the lytic cycle. Significant C transcription did not occur in replication-defective Aam lysogens. These kinetic and regulatory characteristics identify the C transcript as a middle RNA species and demonstrate that Pm is the C promoter. DNA sequence analysis of the Pm region showed a good -10, but poor -35, site homology to the Escherichia coli RNA polymerase consensus sequence. In addition, the sequence demonstrated that C is the distal gene in a middle operon containing several open reading frames. S1 mapping also showed an upstream transcript with a 3' end in the Pm region at a sequence strongly resembling a Rho-independent terminator. The regulatory characteristics of this RNA are consistent with this terminator, t9.2, being the early operon terminator.