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1.  The Stringent Response and Cell Cycle Arrest in Escherichia coli 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(12):e1000300.
The bacterial stringent response, triggered by nutritional deprivation, causes an accumulation of the signaling nucleotides pppGpp and ppGpp. We characterize the replication arrest that occurs during the stringent response in Escherichia coli. Wild type cells undergo a RelA-dependent arrest after treatment with serine hydroxamate to contain an integer number of chromosomes and a replication origin-to-terminus ratio of 1. The growth rate prior to starvation determines the number of chromosomes upon arrest. Nucleoids of these cells are decondensed; in the absence of the ability to synthesize ppGpp, nucleoids become highly condensed, similar to that seen after treatment with the translational inhibitor chloramphenicol. After induction of the stringent response, while regions corresponding to the origins of replication segregate, the termini remain colocalized in wild-type cells. In contrast, cells arrested by rifampicin and cephalexin do not show colocalized termini, suggesting that the stringent response arrests chromosome segregation at a specific point. Release from starvation causes rapid nucleoid reorganization, chromosome segregation, and resumption of replication. Arrest of replication and inhibition of colony formation by ppGpp accumulation is relieved in seqA and dam mutants, although other aspects of the stringent response appear to be intact. We propose that DNA methylation and SeqA binding to non-origin loci is necessary to enforce a full stringent arrest, affecting both initiation of replication and chromosome segregation. This is the first indication that bacterial chromosome segregation, whose mechanism is not understood, is a step that may be regulated in response to environmental conditions.
Author Summary
Management of cell growth and division in response to environmental conditions is important for all cells. In bacteria, nutritional downturns are signaled by accumulation of the nucleotide ppGpp. Amino acid starvation causes a programmed change in transcription, known as the “stringent response”; ppGpp also causes an arrest of cell cycle in bacteria, whose mechanism has not been thoroughly investigated. Here, we show that E. coli cells, when the stringent response is in effect, complete chromosomal replication but do not initiate new rounds and arrest with an integer number of chromosomes. The number of chromosomes corresponds to the growth rate prior to arrest. In polyploid arrested cells, the chromosomal regions at which replication initiates are segregated, whereas the termini regions remain colocalized. The E. coli chromosome remains decondensed and unsegregated during arrest and rapidly resumes replication and segregation, concomitant with chromosome condensation, upon release. The protein SeqA, a DNA binding protein and negative regulator of replication, is necessary for enforcing this arrest.
PMCID: PMC2586660  PMID: 19079575
2.  Inititation and termination of chromosome replication in Escherichia coli subjected to amino acid starvation. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1980;142(1):236-242.
Initiation and termination of chromosome replication in an Escherichia coli auxotroph subjected to amino acid starvation were examined by following the incorporation of [3H]thymidine into the EcoRI restriction fragments of the chromosome. The pattern of incorporation observed upon restoration of the amino acid showed that starvation blocks the process of initiation prior to deoxyribonucleic acid synthesis within any significant portion of the EcoRI fragment which contains the origin of replication, oriC. In this experiment, no incorporation of [3H]thymidine into EcoRI fragments from the terminus of replication was observed, nor was it found when a dnaC initiation mutant was used to prevent incorporation at the origin which might have obscured labeling of terminus fragments. Thus amino acid starvation does not appear to block replication forks shortly before termination of replication. Attempted synchronization of replication initiation by including a period of thymine starvation subsequent to the amino acid starvation led to simultaneous incorporation of [3H]-thymidine into all EcoRI fragments within the 240-kilobase region that surrounds oriC. It is shown that the thymine starvation step allowed initiation and a variable, but limited, amount of replication to occur.
PMCID: PMC293937  PMID: 6246063
3.  Influence of Starvation for Methionine and Other Amino Acids on Subsequent Bacterial Deoxyribonucleic Acid Replication 
Journal of Bacteriology  1966;92(3):609-617.
Billen, Daniel (University of Texas M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute, Houston, Tex.), and Roger Hewitt. Influence of starvation for methionine and other amino acids on subsequent bacterial deoxyribonucleic acid replication. J. Bacteriol. 92:609–617. 1966.—A study has been made of the subsequent replicative fate of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesized during amino acid starvation by several multiauxotrophic strains of Escherichia coli. Using radioisotopic and density labels and a procedure whereby total cellular DNA is analyzed, we have confirmed and extended a recent report that the DNA made during amino acid starvation behaves anomalously during subsequent DNA replication. When 5-bromouracil (BU) serves as the density lable, 40% or more of the DNA synthesized during starvation will subsequently fail to replicate during three cell generations. Selective amino acid effects were noted. In two methionine-requiring bacteria, methionine deprivation appeared to be of singular importance in influencing the subsequent replicative fate of the DNA made in its absence.
When a non-BU density label (N15, C13) was utilized, the effects of amino acid starvation were less obvious. Although the DNA synthesized during complete amino acid starvation in a methionine-requiring E. coli was subsequently more slowly replicated, most of the DNA was finally duplicated during three generations of growth. If methionine was present during starvation for other required amino acids, the subsequent replication rate of the DNA synthesized during this time was more nearly normal, and complete replication was observed. The results have been interpreted as indicating that DNA synthesized during amino acid starvation, and especially during methionine starvation, is somehow altered, and that BU substitution for thymine may interfere with the restoration of such DNA to its replicative state.
PMCID: PMC276298  PMID: 5332080
The four types of experiments on milk secretion herein described really fall into one general class so far as the physiological effects produced are concerned. Starvation lowers the blood sugar and raises the osmotic pressure of the blood. The experiment using parathyroid hormone with or without starvation may have its effects interpreted as simply due to starvation since 1000 units of this hormone produced no visible effects on the blood calcium or milk constituents different from those of starvation. Since insulin produces a marked and rapid drop in blood sugar it too may be looked upon as a rapid starvation effect. It has some other important effects, however. Briggs et al. (21) have shown that potassium and phosphorus of the blood are decreased and Luck, Morrison, and Wilbur (22) indicate a reduction in the amino acids of the blood in insulin treatment. Phloridzin lowers the threshold for sugar retention with the consequence that in time it tends to lower the sugar of the blood to an even greater extent than that noted in starvation. It tends to depress the potassium, to increase the phosphorus content of the blood, and to cause the body to burn protein rather than carbohydrate, thus increasing nitrogen excretion. All of the experiments are characterized by a sharp reduction in the milk yield. Cary and Meigs (23) have studied like reductions in milk yield produced by varying the energy or protein of the diet. They conclude that such decrease in milk production may be interpreted as due to the direct effect of the starvation and the consequent reduction of the energy and protein available to milk secretion. The reduction in milk yield for the experiments herein described can undoubtedly be attributed to the same causes as those cited by Cary and Meigs. The experiment where Cow 47 was given a full ration and at the same time injected with large quantities of insulin is of particular interest in this connection. The ration was adequate and the cow ate well, yet her production declined to a fifth of her normal milk yield. Her chart shows that there was a slight reduction in her blood sugar when insulin was introduced into the blood stream. It seems furthermore likely that this sugar was not as available to milk secretion, since there appears to be more than a corresponding drop in the lactose content of the milk. The work of Luck et al. would seem to indicate that there should be a like drop in the amino acids of the blood. These two conditions would lead, according to the work of Cary and Meigs, to a reduction in the concentration of the nitrogen of the milk. Actually, in the experiment as it was performed, the nitrogen increased to a value about 40 per cent above normal. A somewhat similar conflict is noted in two of the other three insulin experiments where starvation accompanied insulin injection. To this extent it would seem that the factor deserving most emphasis in its immediate effect on milk yield is the energy available, and that the later and more secondary factor is the amino acid concentration of the blood. In the starvation experiments, the butter fat percentage of the milk rises rather uniformly with the duration of starvation. In the insulin experiments, however, the charts appear to show a marked reduction in this butter fat percentage immediately after the introduction of insulin. This is particularly noticed after the second and third injections. Since the dextrose of the blood tends to be reduced and made unavailable to the general physiological processes by the presence of the large excess of insulin, and since this reduction of the butter fat percentage is noted as an accompanying phenomenon, it would appear that the blood dextrose plays a part in the synthesis of milk fat as well as being the source of the milk lactose, possibly as a source of energy in converting body fat to butter fat. In this regard the results for the treatment of Cow 47 with phloridzin are of importance. As noted by others, the introduction of phloridzin causes a marked rise in the fat percentage of the milk. The lactose per cent is also higher than that noted in starvation. Since phloridzin, by lowering the threshold for the blood sugar, causes large quantities of it to be drained from the body through the urine, and therefore reduces the reserve supply, it follows that if the insulin hypotheses are correct we should expect an eventual lowering of the lactose and of the fat below the starvation level. During the last of the experiment this is what was actually observed. The effects of starvation and of insulin furnish concordant proof for the theory that the lactose of milk is derived from the sugar of the blood. The fact that the different constituents of the milk, the fat, the lactose, the nitrogen, and the ash, do not exactly parallel each other in their behavior throughout these experiments indicates that they have in all probability separate origin. This is particularly true of the butter fat percentage, which appears to have a rate of secretion which is more or less independent of the other constituents, and higher in amount. This result would fall in line with the conclusion of the writers in a previous paper in which it was indicated that the fat of the blood was very likely deposited in the udder as fat corresponding to body fat from which source it was metabolized into the fat of milk shortly before it was needed for milk secretion. The wide variation brought about in the constituents of the milk by the treatment all point to the conclusion that in milk secretion a balance is maintained between the osmotic pressure of the milk and of the blood. Thus when the sugar of the milk is reduced either through starvation or by insulin the ash constituents rise to compensate for this reduction and make the osmotic pressure of the milk similar to that of the blood. These results further appear to indicate that the salts and the sugars are more or less independent in their passage and metabolism into milk from the other constituents. These observations are therefore in line with those obtained by Jackson and Rothera (14) and by Davidson (15) in their brilliant experiments where they modified milk secretion by returning milk or milk sugars and salts to the udder. These experiments give direct proof for the conclusion that modifications of the blood of dairy cattle produce direct and predictable modification of the milk secreted.
PMCID: PMC2141145  PMID: 19872627
5.  Arginine deprivation in KB cells: I. Effect on cell cycle progress 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1977;75(3):881-888.
When exponentially growing KB cells were deprived of arginine, cell multiplication ceased after 12 h but viability was maintained throughout the experimental period (42-48 h). Although tritiated thymidine ([(3)H]TdR) incorporation into acid-insoluble material declined to 5 percent of the initial rate, the fraction of cells engaged in DNA synthesis, determined by autoradiography, remained constant throughout the starvation period and approximately equal to the synthesizing fraction in exponentially growing controls (40 percent). Continous [(3)H]TdR-labeling indicated that 80 percent of the arginine-starved cells incorporated (3)H at some time during a 48-h deprivation period. Thus, some cells ceased DNA synthesis, whereas some initially nonsynthesizing cells initiated DNA synthesis during starvation. Flow microfluorometric profiles of distribution of cellular DNA contents at the end of the starvation period indicated that essentially no cells had a 4c or G2 complement. If arginine was restored after 30 h of starvation, cultures resumed active, largely asynchronous division after a 16-h lag. Autoradiographs of metaphase figures from cultures continuously labeled with [(3)H]TdR after restoration indicated that all cells in the culture underwent DNA synthesis before dividing. It was concluded that the majority of cells in arginine-starved cultures are arrested in neither a normal G1 nor G2. It is proposed that for an exponential culture, i.e. from most positions in the cell cycle, inhibition of cell growth after arginine with withdrawal centers on the ability of cells to complete replication of their DNA.
PMCID: PMC2111594  PMID: 925086
6.  DNA replication initiation, doubling of rate of phospholipid synthesis, and cell division in Escherichia coli. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1987;169(8):3701-3706.
In synchronized culture of Escherichia coli, the specific arrest of phospholipid synthesis (brought about by glycerol starvation in an appropriate mutant) did not affect the rate of ongoing DNA synthesis but prevented the initiation of new rounds. The initiation block did not depend on cell age at the time of glycerol removal, which could be before, during, or after the doubling in the rate of phospholipid synthesis (DROPS) and as little as 10 min before the expected initiation. We conclude that the initiation of DNA replication is not triggered by the preceding DROPS but requires active phospholipid synthesis. Conversely, when DNA replication initiation was specifically blocked in a synchronized culture of a dnaC(Ts) mutant, two additional DROPS were observed, after which phospholipid synthesis continued at a constant rate for at least 60 min. Similarly, when DNA elongation was blocked by thymine starvation of a synchronized culture, one additional DROPS was observed, followed by linear phospholipid accumulation. Control experiments showed that specific inhibition of cell division by ampicillin, heat shock, or induction of the SOS response did not affect phospholipid synthesis, suggesting that the arrest of DROPS observed was due to the DNA replication block. The data are compatible with models in which the DROPS is triggered by an event associated with replication termination or chromosome segregation.
PMCID: PMC212454  PMID: 3301809
7.  Changes in cell dimensions during amino acid starvation of Escherichia coli. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1982;152(1):35-41.
Electron microscopic analysis was used to study cells of Escherichia coli B and K-12 during and after amino acid starvation. The results confirmed our previous conclusion that cell division and initiation of DNA replication occur at a smaller cell volume after amino acid starvation. Although during short starvation periods, the number of constricting cells decreased due to residual division, it appears that during prolonged starvation, cells of E. coli B and K-12 were capable of initiating new constrictions. During amino acid starvation, cell diameter decreased significantly. The decrease was reversed only after two generation times after the resumption of protein synthesis and was larger in magnitude than that previously observed before division (F. J. Trueba and C. L. Woldringh, J. Bacteriol. 142:869-878, 1980). This decrease in cell diameter correlates with synchronization of cell division which has been shown to occur after amino acid starvation.
PMCID: PMC221371  PMID: 6749809
8.  Control of chromosome replication in thymine-requiring strains of Bacillus subtilis 168. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1975;123(3):1055-1067.
Study of the replication pattern of a number of B. subtilis 168 strains under controlled physiological conditions revealed great interstrain variation in control of replication. Replication patterns were calculated from ratios of purA16/leu-8 and purA16/metB5 transformation frequency. The thymine-independent strains are under strict regulation with an average of one replication position per chromosome during log phase. After starvation for required amino acids or sporulation, the chromosome is in a completed state with no replication forks (class I). In contrast, several thymine-requiring strains (class III) have an average of three to four replication positions per chromosome during log phase (multiforked replication) of which one to two remain uncompleted after amino acid starvation or sporulation. The other thymine-requiring strains studied are intermediate (class II) in that they have an average of two replication positions per chromosome during log phase and one after amino acid starvation or sporulation. Pulse chase experiments indicate that the deoxyribonucleic acid which is close to the chromosomal origin on each branch of the multiforked chromosome is bound to a rapidly sedimenting cellular fraction, presumably membrane.
PMCID: PMC235830  PMID: 808530
9.  Control of the Synthesis of Macromolecules During Amino Acid and Thymine Starvation in Bacillus subtilis 
Journal of Bacteriology  1968;95(5):1813-1827.
Studies of Maaløe, Lark, and others with amino acid- and thymine-starved cultures revealed successive steps in the biosynthesis of Escherichia coli chromosomes. In this study, the corresponding mechanisms in Bacillus subtilis 168 were examined. Using a strain requiring both thymine and tryptophan, we found that, 3 hr after the start of amino acid starvation, when the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) content of the culture had increased 40 to 50%, DNA synthesis ceased. After 4 to 5 hr, 100% of the cells were immune to thymineless death; their chromosomes had presumably been completed. Immune cultures slowly incorporated 3H-thymine. Thymine incorporation increased 20-fold 30 min after readdition of amino acids, indicating reinitiation of chromosome synthesis. Simultaneous presence of amino acids and thymine was required for reinitiation. If 5-bromouracil (5-BU) was added instead of thymine, newly replicated DNA segments could be separated by centrifugation in CsCl. Analysis of the CsCl fractions by a transformation assay showed that the order in which the markers were synthesized was ade-16, thr-5, leu-8, metB5. Less than half the chromosomes started resynthesis synchronously in 5-BU. Nevertheless, chromosome alignment in the amino acid-starved culture is probably very good: marker frequency analysis of its DNA gives the same normalized frequencies as DNA from “perfectly” aligned spores. Full viability is maintained in the chromosome-arrested culture for 10 hr in thymine-free medium in the absence or presence of amino acids. In the latter condition, protein synthesis proceeds, and the cells filament and become more lysozyme-sensitive. Such cells must be incubated and plated on hypertonic or on slow-growth media; otherwise, they undergo “quasiosmotic” thymineless death. This death is thus apparently not directly attributable to any damage of chromosomal DNA. Further, weakening of the teichoic acid portion of the cell wall is not involved, since 32P incorporation into teichoic acid is normal. Chloramphenicol prevents quasiosmotic thymineless death and also inhibits 32P incorporation into teichoic acid. Chromosome-synthesizing cultures suffer thymineless death of two types: quasiosmotic death, and death insusceptible to osmotic rescue.
PMCID: PMC252216  PMID: 4967776
10.  Kinesin-like protein CENP-E is upregulated in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts 
Arthritis Research  1999;1(1):71-80.
Our aim was to identify specifically expressed genes using RNA arbitrarily primed (RAP)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for differential display in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In RA, amplification of a distinct PCR product suitable for sequencing could be observed. Sequence analysis identified the PCR product as highly homologous to a 434 base pair segment of the human centromere kinesin-like protein CENP-E. Differential expression of CENP-E was confirmed by quantitative reverse transcription PCR, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. CENP-E expression was independent from prednisolone and could not be completely inhibited by serum starvation. RAP-PCR is a suitable method to identify differentially expressed genes in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts. Also, because motifs of CENP-E show homologies to jun and fos oncogene products and are involved in virus assembly, CENP-E may be involved in the pathophysiology of RA.
Articular destruction by invading synovial fibroblasts is a typical feature in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Recent data support the hypothesis that key players in this scenario are transformed-appearing synovial fibroblasts at the site of invasion into articular cartilage and bone. They maintain their aggressive phenotype toward cartilage, even when first cultured and thereafter coimplanted together with normal human cartilage into severe combined immunodeficient mice for an extended period of time. However, little is known about the upregulation of genes that leads to this aggressive fibroblast phenotype. To inhibit this progressive growth without interfering with pathways of physiological matrix remodelling, identification of pathways that operate specifically in RA synovial fibroblasts is required. In order to achieve this goal, identification of genes showing upregulation restricted to RA synovial fibroblasts is essential.
To identify specifically expressed genes using RNA arbitrarily primed (RAP)-polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for differential display in patients with RA.
RNA was extracted from cultured synovial fibroblasts from 10 patients with RA, four patients with osteoarthritis (OA), and one patient with psoriatic arthritis. RAP-PCR was performed using different arbitrary primers for first-strand and second-strand synthesis. First-strand and second-strand synthesis were performed using arbitrary primers: US6 (5' -GTGGTGACAG-3') for first strand, and Nuclear 1+ (5' -ACGAAGAAGAG-3'), OPN28 (5' -GCACCAGGGG-3'), Kinase A2+ (5' -GGTGCCTTTGG-3')and OPN24 (5' -AGGGGCACCA-3') for second-strand synthesis. PCR reactions were loaded onto 8 mol/l urea/6% polyacrylamide-sequencing gels and electrophoresed.Gel slices carrying the target fragment were then excised with a razor blade, eluated and reamplified. After verifying their correct size and purity on 4% agarose gels, the reamplified products derived from the single-strand confirmation polymorphism gel were cloned, and five clones per transcript were sequenced. Thereafter, a GenBank® analysis was performed. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR of the segments was performed using the PCR MIMIC® technique.In-situ expression of centromere kinesin-like protein-E (CENP-E) messenger (m)RNA in RA synovium was assessed using digoxigenin-labelled riboprobes, and CENP-E protein expression in fibroblasts and synovium was performed by immunogold-silver immunohistochemistry and cytochemistry. Functional analysis of CENP-E was done using different approaches (eg glucocorticoid stimulation, serum starvation and growth rate analysis of synovial fibroblasts that expressed CENP-E).
In RA, amplification of a distinct PCR product suitable for sequencing could be observed. The indicated complementary DNA fragment of 434 base pairs from RA mRNA corresponded to nucleotides 6615-7048 in the human centromere kinesin-like protein CENP-E mRNA (GenBank® accession No. emb/Z15005).The isolated sequence shared greater than 99% nucleic acid (P = 2.9e-169) identity with the human centromere kinesin-like protein CENP-E. Two base changes at positions 6624 (A to C) and 6739 (A to G) did not result in alteration in the amino acid sequence, and therefore 100% amino acid identity could be confirmed. The amplification of 10 clones of the cloned RAP product revealed the presence of CENP-E mRNA in every fibroblast culture examined, showing from 50% (271.000 ± 54.000 phosphor imager arbitrary units) up to fivefold (961.000 ± 145.000 phosphor imager arbitrary units) upregulation when compared with OA fibroblasts. Neither therapy with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs such as methotrexate, gold, resochine or cyclosporine A, nor therapy with oral steroids influenced CENP-E expression in the RA fibroblasts. Of the eight RA fibroblast populations from RA patients who were receiving disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, five showed CENP-E upregulation; and of the eight fibroblast populations from RA patients receiving steroids, four showed CENP-E upregulation.
Numerous synovial cells of the patients with RA showed a positive in situ signal for the isolated CENP-E gene segment, confirming CENP-E mRNA production in rheumatoid synovium, whereas in OA synovial tissue CENP-E mRNA could not be detected. In addition, CENP-E expression was independent from medication. This was further confirmed by analysis of the effect of prednisolone on CENP-E expression, which revealed no alteration in CENP-E mRNA after exposure to different (physiological) concentrations of prednisolone. Serum starvation also could not suppress CENP-E mRNA completely.
Since its introduction in 1992, numerous variants of the differential display method and continuous improvements including RAP-PCR have proved to have both efficiency and reliability in examination of differentially regulated genes. The results of the present study reveal that RAP-PCR is a suitable method to identify differentially expressed genes in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts.
The mRNA, which has been found to be upregulated in rheumatoid synovial fibroblasts, codes for a kinesin-like motor protein named CENP-E, which was first characterized in 1991. It is a member of a family of centromere-associated proteins, of which six (CENP-A to CENP-F) are currently known. CENP-E itself is a kinetochore motor, which accumulates transiently at kinetochores in the G2 phase of the cell cycle before mitosis takes place, appears to modulate chromosome movement and spindle elongation,and is degraded at the end of mitosis. The presence or upregulation of CENP-E has never been associated with RA.
The three-dimensional structure of CENP-E includes a coiled-coil domain. This has important functions and shows links to known pathways in RA pathophysiology. Coiled-coil domains can also be found in jun and fos oncogene products, which are frequently upregulated in RA synovial fibroblasts. They are also involved in DNA binding and transactivation processes resembling the situation in AP-1 (Jun/Fos)-dependent DNA-binding in rheumatoid synovium. Most interestingly, these coiled-coil motifs are crucial for the assembly of viral proteins, and the upregulation of CENP-E might reflect the influence of infectious agents in RA synovium. We also performed experiments showing that serum starvation decreased, but did not completely inhibit CENP-E mRNA expression. This shows that CENP-E is related to, but does not completely depend on proliferation of these cells. In addition, we determined the growth rate of CENP-E high and low expressors, showing that it was independent from the amount of CENP-E expression. supporting the statement that upregulation of CENP-E reflects an activated RA fibroblast phenotype. In summary, the results of the present study support the hypothesis that CENP-E, presumably independently from medication, may not only be upregulated, but may also be involved in RA pathophysiology.
PMCID: PMC17776  PMID: 11056662
arthritis; centromere; differential display; immunohistochemistry; in situ hybridization; RNA fingerprinting
11.  Anucleate cell production and surface extension in a temperature-sensitive chromosome initiation mutant of Bacillus subtilis. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1975;123(3):1218-1234.
At 45 C, in a temperature-sensitive initiation mutant (TsB134) of Bacillus subtilis 168 Thy- tryp-, growing in a glucose-arginine minimal medium, chromosome completion occurred over a period of 80 to 90 min, after which there was no further nuclear division. Normal symmetrical cell divisions continued for a generation afterwards, so that nuclei were segregated into separate cells. During this period asymmetric divisions started to occur. Septa appeared at 25 to 30% from one end of the cell, giving a small anucleate cell and a larger nucleate cell. During inhibition of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis by thymine starvation under the restrictive conditions, asymmetrical division also occurred until there was approximately one nucleus per cell (about one generation time). Asymmetric division, giving anucleate cells, then occurred. Similar results were obtained when DNA synthesis was inhibited by nalidixic acid. After 3 h at 45 C, the rate of anucleate cell production in the presence and absence of thymine was constant at one division per 85 min per chromosome terminus present when DNA synthesis stopped. In the absence of DNA synthesis (during thymine starvation) at 35 C, growth in cell length was linear (i.e., the rate was constant), but at 45 C during thymine starvation the rate gradually increased by more than twofold. It is suggested that this was due to the establishment of new sites of growth associated with anucleate cell production. In the presence of thymine at 45 C, the rate of length extension increased by more than fourfold, which it is suggested was caused by the appearance of new growth zones as a result of chromosome termination and a contribution associated with anucleate cell production. If the mutant was incubated at 45 C for 90 min, both in the presence and absence of thymine, then anucleate cell formation could continue on restoration to 35 C in the absence of thymine...
PMCID: PMC235847  PMID: 808534
12.  Adaptation by stochastic switching of a monostable genetic circuit in Escherichia coli 
Stochastic switching of a bistable genetic circuit represents a potential cost-saving strategy for adaptation to environmental challenges. This study reports that stochastic switching of a monostable circuit can be sufficient to mediate reversible adaptation in E. coli.
Stochastic switching of a monostable circuit mediated the adaptation of the engineered OSU12-hisC Escherichia coli strain to histidine starvation.The population shift of OSU12-hisC was accompanied by growth recovery and was reversible upon histidine addition. This is the first report of adaptation mediated by stochastic switching based on a monostable structure.Weak directionality in stochastic switching initiated the population shift and the fast growth of the occasionally appearing fit cells drove the later stages of adaptation.Adaptation of OSU12-hisC was resulted from the enhanced expression of the structural genes within the native His operon, along with the transcriptional reorganization of a large number of genes.
The fundamental mechanisms underlying adaptations can be divided into responsive switching and stochastic switching (Kussell and Leibler, 2005). Responsive switching is generally considered as resulting from evolved regulatory units, such as operons and regulons, which enable immediate adaptation (Jacob and Monod, 1961). However, as cells are subject to a wide range of both genetic and environmental perturbations that damage the specificity or efficiency of regulatory systems (Carroll, 2005; Crombach and Hogeweg, 2008), the limited number of regulatory units that can evolve and remain functional may not be sufficient to completely protect cell populations from the danger of extinction. Whether and how cells are able to survive external perturbations, when the corresponding regulatory units are absent or have been genetically disrupted, is an open question of great importance.
Recent studies showed the stochastic switching provided cells a huge potential for sustenance under severe conditions via a so-called ‘bet-hedging' strategy. The experimental evidence was generally based on a bistable genetic structure that fixed stochastically appearing fit state thus limiting further random switching (Kussell and Leibler, 2005; Acar et al, 2008). In contrast to bistable gene expression, monostable gene expression is much more common (Newman et al, 2006) and does not rely on a specific complex genetic architecture. Since a monostable structure has no fixation effect, the fit cells that would appear stochastically tend to return to the original steady state (i.e., unfit state). To achieve a population shift from a maladaptive state (but stable) to an adaptive state (but unstable), a significant increase in fitness (i.e., growth rate) of the fit cells is necessary. Otherwise, the random switching will mask occasionally occurring adaptive transitions and lead to an unchanged population at the stable but maladaptive state. Whether adaptation can be achieved by stochastic switching based on a monostable structure is however an open issue.
To address this question, we applied an engineered E. coli strain, OSU12-hisC, carrying a foreign gene circuit encompassing a physiologically functional gene, hisC, replaced from its native chromosomal locus (Figure 1A). Consequently, hisC in OSU12-hisC is no longer responsive to the native regulation (His operon) that senses histidine depletion. Instead, the foreign gene circuit provided a monostable structure for hisC's stochastic switching. The green fluorescent protein (gfpuv5) was co-expressed with hisC for the quantitative evaluation of HisC in single cells. The upstream regulation of TetR, whose expression level was reported by the red fluorescent protein (dsred.T4), was introduced to achieve the inducible GFP (HisC) level. The full induction of TetR by IPTG was applied to avoid any possible upstream noise that caused by the abundance of endogenous LacI.
Microscopic observation revealed that the OSU12-hisC cells showed stronger green fluorescence after histidine depletion (Figure 1B), which suggested an increased expression level of hisC. Population analysis using flow cytometry showed that the distributions of both GFP concentration and GFP bias (GFP/RFP ratio) in OSU12-hisC shifted towards a higher level in histidine-free conditions (Figure 1C and D), whereas, the depletion caused only a slight change in distributions of OSU11, a control strain carrying both the same engineered genetic circuit and an intact His operon, including the hisC gene in its native context. Repeated experiments revealed that the increases in both GFP concentration (∼2.1 folds) and GFP bias (∼1.5 folds) due to histidine depletion were highly significant (P<0.005, N=6) in OSU12-hisC. In particular, the increased GFP bias strongly suggested that the change in gene expression occurred specifically in the rewired hisC (i.e., GFP) but not in all genes (e.g., RFP). Furthermore, both the growth recovery accompanied population shift and the stress relaxation triggered restoration were clearly observed. It strongly indicated that the adaptation was mediated by stochastic switching of hisC under the monostable control.
Analysis on microcolonies' formation (Figure 4A) showed stochastic behaviour and directionality in individual cells. Variation in cellular GFP level was clearly observed in individual cells. Stochastic switching of hisC was verified according to the random changes in GFP bias along with the cell division under histidine-rich conditions (Figure 4B). On the other hand, the microcolonies formed under the histidine-free conditions tended to the higher level of GFP bias were observed (Figure 4B). The directional tendency favoured the high GFP (HisC) level was evidently detected in the first 2 h after histidine depletion, which resulted in a population shift (Figure 4C). In contrast, the distributions of microcolonies grown in histidine-rich conditions kept steady, due to the randomized directions of stochastic switching (Figure 4C). Further analysis showed that the stochastic fluctuations in the initial state had an important role not only in fate decision (i.e., whether to grow) but also in the directionality of the stochastic switch.
Microarray analysis showed the adaptation of OSU12-hisC was resulted from the enhanced expression of the structural genes within the native His operon, along with the transcriptional reorganization of a large number of genes. In summary, in contrast to bistable structures, the monostable structure used here did not fix the phenotype but allowed the cells to decide where to go. Taken together, the findings suggest that bacteria do not necessarily need to evolve signalling mechanisms to control gene expression appropriately, even for essential genes.
Stochastic switching is considered as a cost-saving strategy for adaptation to environmental challenges. We show here that stochastic switching of a monostable circuit can mediate the adaptation of the engineered OSU12-hisC Escherichia coli strain to histidine starvation. In this strain, the hisC gene was deleted from the His operon and placed under the control of a monostable foreign promoter. In response to histidine depletion, the OSU12-hisC population shifted to a higher HisC expression level, which is beneficial under starving conditions but is not favoured by the monostable circuit. The population shift was accompanied by growth recovery and was reversible upon histidine addition. A weak directionality in stochastic switching of hisC was observed in growing microcolonies under histidine-free conditions. Directionality and fate decision were in part dependent on the initial cellular status. Finally, microarray analysis indicated that OSU12-hisC reorganized its transcriptome to reach the appropriate physiological state upon starvation. These findings suggest that bacteria do not necessarily need to evolve signalling mechanisms to control gene expression appropriately, even for essential genes.
PMCID: PMC3130557  PMID: 21613982
adaptation; gene regulation; monostability; stochastic switching; transciptome
13.  Effect of p-Fluorophenylalanine on Chromosome Replication in Escherichia coli1 
Journal of Bacteriology  1968;96(4):939-949.
The effect of p-fluorophenylalanine (FPA) on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) synthesis and chromosome replication was studied in a thymine-requiring mutant of Escherichia coli. The rate and extent of chromosome replication were followed by labeling the DNA with isotopic thymine and a density marker, bromouracil. The DNA was extracted and analyzed by CsCl gradient centrifugation. The block in chromosome replication caused by high concentrations of FPA occurred at the same point on the chromosome as that caused by amino acid starvation. In a random culture, DNA in cells treated with FPA replicated only slightly slower than the DNA from cells that were not exposed to the analogue. In cultures which had been previously starved for thymine, however, the DNA from the cells treated with FPA showed a marked decrease in the rate and extent of replication. It was concluded that the E. coli cell is most sensitive to FPA when a new cycle of chromosome replication is being initiated at the beginning of the chromosome.
PMCID: PMC252402  PMID: 4879568
14.  High Incidence of Non-Random Template Strand Segregation and Asymmetric Fate Determination In Dividing Stem Cells and their Progeny  
PLoS Biology  2007;5(5):e102.
Decades ago, the “immortal strand hypothesis” was proposed as a means by which stem cells might limit acquiring mutations that could give rise to cancer, while continuing to proliferate for the life of an organism. Originally based on observations in embryonic cells, and later studied in terms of stem cell self-renewal, this hypothesis has remained largely unaccepted because of few additional reports, the rarity of the cells displaying template strand segregation, and alternative interpretations of experiments involving single labels or different types of labels to follow template strands. Using sequential pulses of halogenated thymidine analogs (bromodeoxyuridine [BrdU], chlorodeoxyuridine [CldU], and iododeoxyuridine [IdU]), and analyzing stem cell progeny during induced regeneration in vivo, we observed extraordinarily high frequencies of segregation of older and younger template strands during a period of proliferative expansion of muscle stem cells. Furthermore, template strand co-segregation was strongly associated with asymmetric cell divisions yielding daughters with divergent fates. Daughter cells inheriting the older templates retained the more immature phenotype, whereas daughters inheriting the newer templates acquired a more differentiated phenotype. These data provide compelling evidence of template strand co-segregation based on template age and associated with cell fate determination, suggest that template strand age is monitored during stem cell lineage progression, and raise important caveats for the interpretation of label-retaining cells.
Author Summary
For each chromosome, the complementary DNA strands consist of a “younger” strand synthesized during the most recent round of DNA replication and an “older” strand synthesized during a previous cell division. When the strands separate to serve as templates for DNA synthesis during a subsequent round of replication, the two sister chromatids formed thus differ in terms of the template strand age. The “immortal strand hypothesis” predicts that a stem cell is capable of distinguishing between chromatids based on template age: when it divides, the self-renewing daughter will inherit the chromatids with the older templates, whereas the daughter destined to differentiate will inherit those with the newer templates. However, in vivo evidence in support of this hypothesis has been sparse. By labeling newly synthesized DNA in sequential divisions of stem/progenitors during muscle regeneration, we observed that almost half of the dividing cells sorted their chromatids based on template age. The more stem-like daughter inherited chromatids with older templates, and the more differentiated daughter inherited chromatids with younger templates. We propose that this phenomenon is a characteristic of asymmetrically dividing stem cells and their progeny.
Analysis of the segregation of older and younger DNA template strands in proliferating muscle stem cells provides compelling evidence of co-segregation based on template age and associated with cell fate determination.
PMCID: PMC1852584  PMID: 17439301
15.  Regulation of Chromosome Replication in Bacillus subtilis: Effects of Amino Acid Starvation in Strain W23 
Journal of Bacteriology  1971;105(2):595-603.
Amino acid starvation allows limited synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in Bacillus subtilis strain W23. DNA synthesis increased by about 30% after leucine starvation and by about 60% after histidine starvation. Genetic analysis on the DNA synthesized after amino acid starvation showed that all genetic markers examined have replicated, regardless of which amino acid was starved for. Initially, all markers replicated equally, but upon further replication, the thr cysB and the argA to lys regions replicated ahead of their neighboring, proximal regions. This could indicate that preferred stopping sites exist in these regions or additional sites from which replication can originate reside there. The results suggest that chromosome replication continues from those sites where it had stopped during amino acid starvation.
PMCID: PMC248430  PMID: 4993340
16.  Replication of the Bacterial Chromosome: Location of New Initiation Sites After Irradiation 
Journal of Bacteriology  1969;97(3):1169-1175.
New loci of replication along the bacterial chromosome are observed after irradiation of Escherichia coli. It was conjectured that, after X-irradiation, the new initiation site was random with respect to the fixed-origin, whereas, after ultraviolet light exposure, it was selective and appeared to be from the fixed-origin. Evidence presented here shows that, after X-irradiation of E. coli, the new initiation site(s) for the onset of deoxyribonucleic acid replication is induced at chromosomal regions not restricted to the fixed-origin. After ultraviolet light exposure, the new initiation site is preferentially from the fixed-origin. In these studies amino acid starvation was used to synchronize chromosome replication and to allow for differential radioisotopic labeling of the chromosomal origin and terminus. To facilitate interpretation, growing cells actively replicating their chromosome were compared with cells lacking growth points at the time of irradiation. The role of these new replication sites in the observed kinetics of deoxyribonucleic acid replication following X-ray or ultraviolet light exposure is discussed.
PMCID: PMC249831  PMID: 4887502
17.  The SMC Complex MukBEF Recruits Topoisomerase IV to the Origin of Replication Region in Live Escherichia coli 
mBio  2014;5(1):e01001-13.
The Escherichia coli structural maintenance of chromosome (SMC) complex, MukBEF, and topoisomerase IV (TopoIV) interact in vitro through a direct contact between the MukB dimerization hinge and the C-terminal domain of ParC, the catalytic subunit of TopoIV. The interaction stimulates catalysis by TopoIV in vitro. Using live-cell quantitative imaging, we show that MukBEF directs TopoIV to ori, with fluorescent fusions of ParC and ParE both forming cellular foci that colocalize with those formed by MukBEF throughout the cell cycle and in cells unable to initiate DNA replication. Removal of MukBEF leads to loss of fluorescent ParC/ParE foci. In the absence of functional TopoIV, MukBEF forms multiple foci that are distributed uniformly throughout the nucleoid, whereas multiple catenated oris cluster at midcell. Once functional TopoIV is restored, the decatenated oris segregate to positions that are largely coincident with the MukBEF foci, thereby providing support for a mechanism by which MukBEF acts in chromosome segregation by positioning newly replicated and decatenated oris. Additional evidence for such a mechanism comes from the observation that in TopoIV-positive (TopoIV+) cells, newly replicated oris segregate rapidly to the positions of MukBEF foci. Taken together, the data implicate MukBEF as a key component of the DNA segregation process by acting in concert with TopoIV to promote decatenation and positioning of newly replicated oris.
Mechanistic understanding of how newly replicated bacterial chromosomes are segregated prior to cell division is incomplete. In this work, we provide in vivo experimental support for the view that topoisomerase IV (TopoIV), which decatenates newly replicated sister duplexes as a prelude to successful segregation, is directed to the replication origin region of the Escherichia coli chromosome by the SMC (structural maintenance of chromosome) complex, MukBEF. We provide in vivo data that support the demonstration in vitro that the MukB interaction with TopoIV stimulates catalysis by TopoIV. Finally, we show that MukBEF directs the normal positioning of sister origins after their replication and during their segregation. Overall, the data support models in which the coordinate and sequential action of TopoIV and MukBEF plays an important role during bacterial chromosome segregation.
PMCID: PMC3950513  PMID: 24520061
18.  Chromosome Replication in Salmonella typhimurium1 
Journal of Bacteriology  1969;97(2):848-860.
The replication of the Salmonella typhimurium chromosome was studied. As with E. coli 15T−, replication was sequential. After amino acid starvation, replication proceeded from a unique and heritable region of the chromosome. 5-Bromouracil, when substituted for thymine, did not disturb the sequence of replication nor did it initiate extra replication cycles. By labeling the origin and the terminus of the chromosome with 3H- and 14C-thymine, respectively, it was possible to determine that the rate of chain elongation decreases as the growth rate decreases. No gap in the replication cycle could be observed.
PMCID: PMC249769  PMID: 4886297
19.  Responses to multiple-nutrient starvation in marine Vibrio sp. strain CCUG 15956. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1990;172(12):7085-7097.
The response of marine Vibrio sp. strain S14 (CCUG 15956) to long-term (48-h) multiple-nutrient starvation (i.e., starvation for glucose, amino acids, ammonium, and phosphate simultaneously) can be described as a three-phase process. The first phase, defined as the stringent control phase, encompasses an accumulation of guanosine 5'-diphosphate 3'-diphosphate (ppGpp) and decreases in RNA and protein synthesis during the first 40 min. In the second phase, there is a temporary increase in the rates of RNA and protein synthesis between 1 and 3 h paralleling a decrease in the ppGpp pool. The third phase includes gradual decline in macromolecular synthesis after 3 h. Using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of pulse-labeled proteins, a total of 66 proteins were identified as starvation inducible (Sti), temporally expressed throughout the three phases of starvation. The inhibition of protein synthesis during the first phase of starvation partly disrupted the subsequent temporally ordered synthesis of starvation proteins and prevented the expression of some late starvation proteins. It was also found that the early temporal class of starvation proteins, which included the majority of the Sti proteins, was the most essential for long-term survival. Vibrio sp. strain S14 cultures prestarved (1 h) for glucose, amino acids, ammonium, or phosphate as well as cultures exposed (1 h) to CdCl2 exhibited enhanced survival during the subsequent multiple-nutrient starvation in the presence of chloramphenicol or rifampin, while heat or the addition of cyclic AMP or nalidixic acid prior to starvation had no effect. It was demonstrated that amino acid starvation and CdCl2 exposure, which induced the stringent response, were the most effective in conferring enhanced survival. A few Sti proteins were common to all starvation conditions. In addition, the total number of proteins induced by multiple-nutrient starvation significantly exceeded the sum of those induced by starvation for each of the individual nutrients.
PMCID: PMC210831  PMID: 1701428
20.  Bi-Directional Chromosomal Replication in Salmonella typhimurium 
Journal of Bacteriology  1973;115(1):168-176.
Transducing frequencies of phage P22 lysates prepared from Salmonella typhimurium exponential cultures in minimal and nutrient broth media were compared. The assumption is that cells grown in a minimal medium will have one replication fork per replication unit, but cells in nutrient broth will have multiple replication forks; therefore, the frequency of genetic markers near the origin of replication will be higher in the nutrient broth culture. Analysis of transduction showed a gradient of marker frequencies from the highest (the cysG-ilv region) to the lowest (purE-trpB region) in both clockwise and counter clockwise directions. This supports our previous observation that chromosome replication proceeds bidirectionally from the origin between cysG (109 min on S. typhimurium map) and ilv (122 min) to a terminus in purE-trpB region (20 to 53 min). Since this method avoids possible artifacts of other methods, the results are assumed to reflect the sequence of chromosome replication in exponentially growing cells. Evidence for the existence of multiple replication forks in nutrient broth-grown cells was supported by the following: (i) the marker frequency data fitted the assumption of multiple replication fork formation; (ii) residual deoxyribonucleic acid increase after inhibition of protein synthesis to complete a round of chromosome synthesis which was 44% in cells grown in a minimal medium and 82% in those in nutrient broth; (iii) segregation patterns of the 3H-thymidine-labeled chromosome strands during subsequent growth in non-radioactive medium were studied by autoradiography, and the number of replication points per chromosome per cell was estimated as 5.6 for the nutrient broth culture and 2.5 for the minimal medium culture. These data support a model of symmetrical and bidirectional chromosome replication.
PMCID: PMC246227  PMID: 4577740
21.  Dynamics of Escherichia coli Chromosome Segregation during Multifork Replication▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(23):8660-8666.
Slowly growing Escherichia coli cells have a simple cell cycle, with replication and progressive segregation of the chromosome completed before cell division. In rapidly growing cells, initiation of replication occurs before the previous replication rounds are complete. At cell division, the chromosomes contain multiple replication forks and must be segregated while this complex pattern of replication is still ongoing. Here, we show that replication and segregation continue in step, starting at the origin and progressing to the replication terminus. Thus, early-replicated markers on the multiple-branched chromosomes continue to separate soon after replication to form separate protonucleoids, even though they are not segregated into different daughter cells until later generations. The segregation pattern follows the pattern of chromosome replication and does not follow the cell division cycle. No extensive cohesion of sister DNA regions was seen at any growth rate. We conclude that segregation is driven by the progression of the replication forks.
PMCID: PMC2168957  PMID: 17905986
22.  Effect of Thymine Starvation on Messenger Ribonucleic Acid Synthesis in Escherichia coli 
Journal of Bacteriology  1966;92(5):1435-1446.
Luzzati, Denise (Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Paris, France). Effect of thymine starvation on messenger ribonucleic acid synthesis in Escherichia coli. J. Bacteriol. 92:1435–1446. 1966.—During the course of thymine starvation, the rate of synthesis of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA, the rapidly labeled fraction of the RNA which decays in the presence of dinitrophenol or which hybridizes with deoxyribonucleic acid) decreases exponentially, in parallel with the viability of the thymine-starved bacteria. The ability of cell-free extracts of starved bacteria to incorporate ribonucleoside triphosphates into RNA was determined; it was found to be inferior to that of extracts from control cells. The analysis of the properties of cell-free extracts of starved cells shows that their decreased RNA polymerase activity is the consequence of a modification of their deoxyribonucleic acid, the ability of which to serve as a template for RNA polymerase decreases during starvation.
PMCID: PMC276442  PMID: 5332402
23.  Initiation of Deoxyribonucleic Acid Synthesis After Thymine Starvation of Bacillus subtilis 
Journal of Bacteriology  1968;95(2):304-309.
Evidence for premature initiation of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) replication after thymine starvation of Bacillus subtilis W23T− is presented, based on (i) increase in the number of ade+ relative to met+ transformants yielded by the DNA isolated from cultures after starvation (the ade− marker being near the origin of replication, whereas met− is close to the terminus), and (ii) increase in both the initial rate and final level of tritiated thymine incorporation in the presence of chloramphenicol after release from starvation. The marker ratio data agree quantitatively with the hypothesis that the initiation is induced only on one arm of each chromosome which was replicating prior to starvation.
PMCID: PMC252018  PMID: 4966542
24.  Starvation-Survival Processes of a Marine Vibrio † 
Levels of DNA, RNA, protein, ATP, glutathione, and radioactivity associated with [35S]methionine-labeled cellular protein were estimated at various times during the starvation-survival process of a marine psychrophilic heterotrophic Vibrio sp., Ant-300. Values for the macromolecules were analyzed in terms of total, viable, and respiring cells. Electron micrographs (thin sections) were made on log-phase and 5.5-week-starved cells. On a per-cell basis, the levels of protein and DNA rapidly decreased until a constant level was attained. A second method in which radioactive sulfur was used for monitoring protein demonstrated that the cellular protein level decreased for approximately 2.5 weeks and then remained constant. An initial decrease in the RNA level with starvation was noted, but with time the RNA (orcinol-positive material) level increased to 2.5 times the minimum level. After 6 weeks of starvation, 45 to 60% of the cells remained capable of respiration, as determined by iodonitrotetrazolium violet-formazan granule production. Potential respiration and endogenous respiration levels fell, with an intervening 1-week peak, until at 2 weeks no endogenous respiration could be measured; respiratory potential remained high. The cell glutathione level fell during starvation, but when the cells were starved in the presence of the appropriate amino acids, glutathione was resynthesized to its original level, beginning after 1 week of starvation. The cells used much of their stored products and became ultramicrocells during the 6-week starvation-survival process. Ant-300 underwent many physiological changes in the first week of starvation that relate to the utilization or production of ATP. After that period, a stable pattern for long-term starvation was demonstrated.
PMCID: PMC242407  PMID: 16346228
25.  Rejuvenation of Meiotic Cohesion in Oocytes during Prophase I Is Required for Chiasma Maintenance and Accurate Chromosome Segregation 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(9):e1004607.
Chromosome segregation errors in human oocytes are the leading cause of birth defects, and the risk of aneuploid pregnancy increases dramatically as women age. Accurate segregation demands that sister chromatid cohesion remain intact for decades in human oocytes, and gradual loss of the original cohesive linkages established in fetal oocytes is proposed to be a major cause of age-dependent segregation errors. Here we demonstrate that maintenance of meiotic cohesion in Drosophila oocytes during prophase I requires an active rejuvenation program, and provide mechanistic insight into the molecular events that underlie rejuvenation. Gal4/UAS inducible knockdown of the cohesion establishment factor Eco after meiotic S phase, but before oocyte maturation, causes premature loss of meiotic cohesion, resulting in destabilization of chiasmata and subsequent missegregation of recombinant homologs. Reduction of individual cohesin subunits or the cohesin loader Nipped B during prophase I leads to similar defects. These data indicate that loading of newly synthesized replacement cohesin rings by Nipped B and establishment of new cohesive linkages by the acetyltransferase Eco must occur during prophase I to maintain cohesion in oocytes. Moreover, we show that rejuvenation of meiotic cohesion does not depend on the programmed induction of meiotic double strand breaks that occurs during early prophase I, and is therefore mechanistically distinct from the DNA damage cohesion re-establishment pathway identified in G2 vegetative yeast cells. Our work provides the first evidence that new cohesive linkages are established in Drosophila oocytes after meiotic S phase, and that these are required for accurate chromosome segregation. If such a pathway also operates in human oocytes, meiotic cohesion defects may become pronounced in a woman's thirties, not because the original cohesive linkages finally give out, but because the rejuvenation program can no longer supply new cohesive linkages at the same rate at which they are lost.
Author Summary
Meiosis is a specialized type of cell division that gives rise to sperm and eggs. In a woman's thirties, errors in meiotic chromosome segregation rise exponentially, significantly increasing the probability that she will conceive a fetus with Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21). Accurate chromosome segregation during meiosis depends on protein linkages (cohesion) that hold sister chromatids together. The widely held view is that under normal conditions, cohesion can only be established during DNA replication, and the original cohesive linkages formed in fetal oocytes are gradually lost as a woman ages. However, it seems unlikely that the same cohesion proteins could survive for even five years, much less 25 years. Here we show that Drosophila oocytes possess an active rejuvenation program that is required to load newly synthesized cohesion proteins and to establish new cohesive linkages after meiotic DNA replication. When we reduce the proteins responsible for rejuvenation after meiotic S phase, cohesion is lost and meiotic chromosomes missegregate. If such a rejuvenation pathway also exists in human oocytes and becomes less efficient with age, oocytes of older women may no longer be able to replace cohesive linkages at the same rate that they are lost.
PMCID: PMC4161318  PMID: 25211017

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