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Free radical biology & medicine  2008;44(10):1795-1805.
Mitochondrial generated ROS increases with age and is a major factor that damages proteins by oxidative modification. Accumulation of oxidatively damaged proteins has been implicated as a causal factor in the age-associated decline in tissue function. Mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC) complexes I and III are the principle sites of ROS production, and oxidative modifications to their complex subunits inhibit their in vitro activity. We hypothesize that mitochondrial complex subunits may be primary targets for modification by ROS which may impair normal complex activity. This study of heart mitochondria from young, middle-aged and old mice reveals that there is an age-related decline in complex I and V activities that correlate with increased oxidative modification to their subunits. The data also show a specificity for modifications of the ETC complex subunits, i.e., several proteins have more than one type of adduct. We postulate that the electron leakage from ETC complexes causes specific damage to their subunits and increased ROS generation as oxidative damage accumulates, leading to further mitochondrial dysfunction, a cyclical process that underlies the progressive decline in physiologic function of aged mouse heart.
PMCID: PMC2423468  PMID: 18331850
Aging; Carbonylation; 4; Hydroxynonenal; Mitochondrial Dysfunction; Nitration; Oxidative Stress
2.  Disruption of AP1S1, Causing a Novel Neurocutaneous Syndrome, Perturbs Development of the Skin and Spinal Cord 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(12):e1000296.
Adaptor protein (AP) complexes regulate clathrin-coated vesicle assembly, protein cargo sorting, and vesicular trafficking between organelles in eukaryotic cells. Because disruption of the various subunits of the AP complexes is embryonic lethal in the majority of cases, characterization of their function in vivo is still lacking. Here, we describe the first mutation in the human AP1S1 gene, encoding the small subunit σ1A of the AP-1 complex. This founder splice mutation, which leads to a premature stop codon, was found in four families with a unique syndrome characterized by mental retardation, enteropathy, deafness, peripheral neuropathy, ichthyosis, and keratodermia (MEDNIK). To validate the pathogenic effect of the mutation, we knocked down Ap1s1 expression in zebrafish using selective antisens morpholino oligonucleotides (AMO). The knockdown phenotype consisted of perturbation in skin formation, reduced pigmentation, and severe motility deficits due to impaired neural network development. Both neural and skin defects were rescued by co-injection of AMO with wild-type (WT) human AP1S1 mRNA, but not by co-injecting the truncated form of AP1S1, consistent with a loss-of-function effect of this mutation. Together, these results confirm AP1S1 as the gene responsible for MEDNIK syndrome and demonstrate a critical role of AP1S1 in development of the skin and spinal cord.
Author Summary
We describe a novel genetic syndrome that we named MEDNIK, to designate a disease characterized by mental retardation, enteropathy, deafness, peripheral neuropathy, ichthyosis and keratodermia. This syndrome was found in four French-Canadian families with a common ancestor and is caused by a mutation in the AP1S1 gene. This gene encodes a subunit (σ1A) of an adaptor protein complex (AP-1) involved in the organisation and transport of many other proteins within the cell. By using rapidly developing zebrafish embryos as a model, we observed that the loss of this gene resulted in broad defects, including skin malformation and severe motor deficits due to impairment of spinal cord development. By expressing the human AP1S1 gene instead of the zebrafish ap1s1 gene, we found that the normal human AP1S1 gene could rescue these developmental deficits but not the human AP1S1 gene bearing the disease-related mutation. Together, our results confirm AP1S1 as the gene responsible for MEDNIK syndrome and demonstrate a critical role of AP1S1 in the development of the skin and the spinal cord.
PMCID: PMC2585812  PMID: 19057675
3.  Evolutionary Rate Heterogeneity of Core and Attachment Proteins in Yeast Protein Complexes 
Genome Biology and Evolution  2013;5(7):1366-1375.
In general, proteins do not work alone; they form macromolecular complexes to play fundamental roles in diverse cellular functions. On the basis of their iterative clustering procedure and frequency of occurrence in the macromolecular complexes, the protein subunits have been categorized as core and attachment. Core protein subunits are the main functional elements, whereas attachment proteins act as modifiers or activators in protein complexes. In this article, using the current data set of yeast protein complexes, we found that core proteins are evolving at a faster rate than attachment proteins in spite of their functional importance. Interestingly, our investigation revealed that attachment proteins are present in a higher number of macromolecular complexes than core proteins. We also observed that the protein complex number (defined as the number of protein complexes in which a protein subunit belongs) has a stronger influence on gene/protein essentiality than multifunctionality. Finally, our results suggest that the observed differences in the rates of protein evolution between core and attachment proteins are due to differences in protein complex number and expression level. Moreover, we conclude that proteins which are present in higher numbers of macromolecular complexes enhance their overall expression level by increasing their transcription rate as well as translation rate, and thus the protein complex number imposes a strong selection pressure on the evolution of yeast proteome.
PMCID: PMC3730348  PMID: 23814130
core protein; attachment protein; evolutionary rate; yeast; protein complex; protein complex number
4.  The Second-Largest Subunit of the Mouse DNA Polymerase α-Primase Complex Facilitates Both Production and Nuclear Translocation of the Catalytic Subunit of DNA Polymerase α 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(6):3552-3562.
DNA polymerase α-primase is a replication enzyme necessary for DNA replication in all eukaryotes examined so far. Mouse DNA polymerase α is made up of four subunits, the largest of which is the catalytic subunit with a molecular mass of 180 kDa (p180). This subunit exists as a tight complex with the second-largest subunit (p68), whose physiological role has remained unclear up until now. We set out to characterize these subunits individually or in combination by using a cDNA expression system in cultured mammalian cells. Coexpression of p68 markedly increased the protein level of p180, with the result that ectopically generated DNA polymerase activity was dramatically increased. Immunofluorescence analysis showed that while either singly expressed p180 or p68 was localized in the cytoplasm, cotransfection of both subunits resulted in colocalization in the nucleus. We identified a putative nuclear localization signal for p180 (residues 1419 to 1437) and found that interaction with p68 is essential for p180 to translocate into the nucleus. These results indicate that association of p180 with p68 is important for both protein synthesis of p180 and translocation into the nucleus, implying that p68 plays a pivotal role in the newly synthesized DNA polymerase α complex.
PMCID: PMC108936  PMID: 9584195
5.  Combinatorial depletion analysis to assemble the network architecture of the SAGA and ADA chromatin remodeling complexes 
A combinatorial depletion strategy is combined with biochemistry, quantitative proteomics and computational approaches to elucidate the structure of the SAGA/ADA complexes. The analysis reveals five connected functional modules capable of independent assembly.
A combinatorial approach of gene depletions with multiple bait proteins coupled with biochemical, proteomic and computational approaches can experimentally determine modules of stable multi-protein complexes.SAGA is a 19-subunit complex consisting of five connected modules with Spt20 being particularly important for the assembly of the intact complex.One of the modules, the HAT/Core module, is also shared with the distinct six-subunit complex ADA.Architectural models of large multi-protein complexes can be assembled using our approach, which is an alternative method to generate novel insight into the organization and architecture of multi-protein complexes.
Determining the architectures of protein complexes improves our understanding of protein cellular functions. In order to efficiently characterize the subunits of protein complexes assembled in vivo, affinity purification followed by proteomics mass spectrometry (APMS) strategies have been devised. Partial or whole protein complexes are first biochemically isolated using tagged components of the complex, followed by an identification of all co-purified proteins using mass spectrometry. However, those approaches are insufficient to provide information about the spatial arrangement and the interrelationship of the proteins of the respective complex.
In this study, we developed and applied a novel method utilizing biochemistry, quantitative proteomics and computational approaches in order to characterize the organization of proteins in a complex. The key of our method is the systematic purification of several tagged components of the protein complex in multiple genetic deletion strains, which serve to compromise the integrity of the complex. Using a series of computational methods, these raw quantitative values are next interpreted in order to determine the modular organization of the complex as well as the interrelationships between its subunits, which in turn can be used to predict a macromolecular model of the complex.
We tested this approach to obtain novel insights into the architecture of multi-protein complexes on the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Spt–Ada–Gcn5 histone acetyltransferase (HAT) (SAGA) and ADA complexes, which are conserved complexes involved in chromatin remodeling (Koutelou et al, 2010). Regular quantitative APMS strategies in wild-type backgrounds were not sufficient to separate tight protein complexes like SAGA/ADA into its distinct modules. However, after perturbing the system using genetic deletions of several subunits located in different topological parts of SAGA, hierarchical cluster analysis performed on 34 purifications (generated using 10 different TAP-tagged baits) resulted in a dissociation of the Gcn5 HAT complexes into five modules: (1) the SA_TAF module, (2) the SA_SPT module, (3) the DUB module, (4) the HAT/Core module and (5) the ADA module (Figure 2A and B).
The approach of purifying a protein in a deletion strain furthermore provides valuable information about the influence of the deleted subunit on the association and interdependency of the bait and the remaining preys. In order to quantify these associations, we calculated a probability between every prey and bait in the deletion strain purifications based on Bayes' theorem (Sardiu et al, 2008). In conjunction with preexisting interaction data obtained from yeast two-hybrid and genetic complementation assays, we finally used these probabilities to predict a low-resolution model for the architecture of the SAGA and ADA complexes (Figure 4).
This novel approach revealed that the SAGA/ADA complexes are composed of five distinct functional modules, of which two were not previously described (SA_SPT and SA_TAF). These modules, which are responsible for different functions of the SAGA complex, are capable of assembling independently from the remaining modules of the complex. Furthermore, we identified a novel subunit of the ADA complex, termed Ahc2, and characterized Sgf29 as an ADA family protein present in all Gcn5 HAT complexes. Compared with other structural studies, which mapped 9 of the 19 known SAGA subunits using single EM reconstruction (Wu et al, 2004) or resolved the structure of the 4 subunits of the DUB module using X-ray crystallography (Kohler et al, 2010; Samara et al, 2010), our approach is not limited to a maximum number of complex subunits. Consequently, we were able to construct a macromolecular model consisting of all 21 SAGA/ADA subunits, which bridges the gap between the previous limited EM analysis and focused X-ray crystallography analysis.
Despite the availability of several large-scale proteomics studies aiming to identify protein interactions on a global scale, little is known about how proteins interact and are organized within macromolecular complexes. Here, we describe a technique that consists of a combination of biochemistry approaches, quantitative proteomics and computational methods using wild-type and deletion strains to investigate the organization of proteins within macromolecular protein complexes. We applied this technique to determine the organization of two well-studied complexes, Spt–Ada–Gcn5 histone acetyltransferase (SAGA) and ADA, for which no comprehensive high-resolution structures exist. This approach revealed that SAGA/ADA is composed of five distinct functional modules, which can persist separately. Furthermore, we identified a novel subunit of the ADA complex, termed Ahc2, and characterized Sgf29 as an ADA family protein present in all Gcn5 histone acetyltransferase complexes. Finally, we propose a model for the architecture of the SAGA and ADA complexes, which predicts novel functional associations within the SAGA complex and provides mechanistic insights into phenotypical observations in SAGA mutants.
PMCID: PMC3159981  PMID: 21734642
ADA; architecture; protein interaction network; quantitative proteomics; SAGA
6.  Mice Deficient in the Respiratory Chain Gene Cox6a2 Are Protected against High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity and Insulin Resistance 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56719.
Oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria is responsible for 90% of ATP synthesis in most cells. This essential housekeeping function is mediated by nuclear and mitochondrial genes encoding subunits of complex I to V of the respiratory chain. Although complex IV is the best studied of these complexes, the exact function of the striated muscle-specific subunit COX6A2 is still poorly understood. In this study, we show that Cox6a2-deficient mice are protected against high-fat diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. This phenotype results from elevated energy expenditure and a skeletal muscle fiber type switch towards more oxidative fibers. At the molecular level we observe increased formation of reactive oxygen species, constitutive activation of AMP-activated protein kinase, and enhanced expression of uncoupling proteins. Our data indicate that COX6A2 is a regulator of respiratory uncoupling in muscle and we demonstrate that a novel and direct link exists between muscle respiratory chain activity and diet-induced obesity/insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3584060  PMID: 23460811
7.  CoESPRIT: A Library-Based Construct Screening Method for Identification and Expression of Soluble Protein Complexes 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e16261.
Structural and biophysical studies of protein complexes require multi-milligram quantities of soluble material. Subunits are often unstable when expressed separately so co-expression strategies are commonly employed since in vivo complex formation can provide stabilising effects. Defining constructs for subunit co-expression experiments is difficult if the proteins are poorly understood. Even more problematic is when subunit polypeptide chains co-fold since individually they do not have predictable domains. We have developed CoESPRIT, a modified version of the ESPRIT random library construct screen used previously on single proteins, to express soluble protein complexes. A random library of target constructs is screened against a fixed bait protein to identify stable complexes. In a proof-of-principle study, C-terminal fragments of the influenza polymerase PB2 subunit containing folded domains were isolated using importin alpha as bait. Separately, a C-terminal fragment of the PB1 subunit was used as bait to trap N-terminal fragments of PB2 resulting in co-folded complexes. Subsequent expression of the target protein without the bait indicates whether the target is independently stable, or co-folds with its partner. This highly automated method provides an efficient strategy for obtaining recombinant protein complexes at yields compatible with structural, biophysical and functional studies.
PMCID: PMC3043051  PMID: 21364980
Free radical biology & medicine  2007;43(10):1423-1438.
Mitochondrial dysfunction generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) which damage essential macromolecules. Oxidative modification of proteins, DNA, and lipids has been implicated as a major causal factor in the age-associated decline in tissue function. Mitochondrial electron transport chain complexes I and III are the principle sites of ROS production, and oxidative modifications to the complex subunits inhibit their in vitro activity. Therefore, we hypothesize that mitochondrial complex subunits may be primary targets for oxidative damage by ROS which may impair normal complex activity by altering their structure/function leading to mitochondrial dysfunction associated with aging. This study of kidney mitochondria from young, middle-aged and old mice reveals that there are functional decreases in Complexes I, II, IV and V between aged compared to young kidney mitochondria and these functional declines directly correlate with increased oxidative modification to particular complex subunits. We postulate that the electron leakage from complexes causes specific damage to their subunits and increased ROS generation as oxidative damage accumulates, leading to further mitochondrial dysfunction, a cyclical process that underlies the progressive decline in physiologic function seen in aged mouse kidney. In conclusion, increasing mitochondrial dysfunction may play a key role in the age-associated decline in tissue function.
PMCID: PMC2080815  PMID: 17936188
Oxidative Stress; Mitochondrial Dysfunction; Aging; 4-Hydroxynonenal; Malondialdehyde; Nitration
9.  Mammalian SWI-SNF Complexes Contribute to Activation of the hsp70 Gene 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(8):2839-2851.
ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling complexes are conserved among all eukaryotes and function by altering nucleosome structure to allow cellular regulatory factors access to the DNA. Mammalian SWI-SNF complexes contain either of two highly conserved ATPase subunits: BRG1 or BRM. To identify cellular genes that require mammalian SWI-SNF complexes for the activation of gene expression, we have generated cell lines that inducibly express mutant forms of the BRG1 or BRM ATPases that are unable to bind and hydrolyze ATP. The mutant subunits physically associate with at least two endogenous members of mammalian SWI-SNF complexes, suggesting that nonfunctional, dominant negative complexes may be formed. We determined that expression of the mutant BRG1 or BRM proteins impaired the ability of cells to activate the endogenous stress response gene hsp70 in response to arsenite, a metabolic inhibitor, or cadmium, a heavy metal. Activation of hsp70 by heat stress, however, was unaffected. Activation of the heme oxygenase 1 promoter by arsenite or cadmium and activation of the cadmium-inducible metallothionein promoter also were unaffected by the expression of mutant SWI-SNF components. Analysis of a subset of constitutively expressed genes revealed no or minimal effects on transcript levels. We propose that the requirement for mammalian SWI-SNF complexes in gene activation events will be specific to individual genes and signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC85505  PMID: 10733587
10.  Tissue specific expression profile of Mediator genes in Arabidopsis 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2013;8(5):e23983.
Mediator is a gigantic multiprotein complex required for transcription of almost all the protein coding genes. In this report, we have analyzed the transcript abundance of 31 Med genes in different tissues of Arabidopsis. Our analysis revealed the tissue specific differential expression profile of many Med subunit genes suggesting they might be contributing in the formation, maturation or function of that specific tissue. Moreover, we also found increase or decrease in the expression level of several Med subunits during the same duration of specific processes (for example flowering) indicating probable enrichment of a particular arrangement of selected subunits during that process. Thus, this study suggests that not only specific Med subunits have functional relevance in specific processes, but specific arrangements of Med subunits might also play significant role in some processes in Arabidopsis or other plants.
PMCID: PMC3907417  PMID: 23425924
mediator; Arabidopsis; transcription; flower; leaf
11.  Signaling Specificity Provided by the Arabidopsis thaliana Heterotrimeric G-Protein γ Subunits AGG1 and AGG2 Is Partially but Not Exclusively Provided through Transcriptional Regulation 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58503.
The heterotrimeric G-protein complex in Arabidopsis thaliana consists of one α, one ß and three γ subunits. While two of the γ subunits, AGG1 and AGG2 have been shown to provide functional selectivity to the Gßγ dimer in Arabidopsis, it is unclear if such selectivity is embedded in their molecular structures or conferred by the different expression patterns observed in both subunits. In order to study the molecular basis for such selectivity we tested genetic complementation of AGG1- and AGG2 driven by the respectively swapped gene promoters. When expressed in the same tissues as AGG1, AGG2 rescues some agg1 mutant phenotypes such as the hypersensitivity to Fusarium oxysporum and D-mannitol as well as the altered levels of lateral roots, but does not rescue the early flowering phenotype. Similarly, AGG1 when expressed in the same tissues as AGG2 rescues the osmotic stress and lateral-root phenotypes observed in agg2 mutants but failed to rescue the heat-stress induction of flowering. The fact that AGG1 and AGG2 are functionally interchangeable in some pathways implies that, at least for those pathways, signaling specificity resides in the distinctive spatiotemporal expression patterns exhibited by each γ subunit. On the other hand, the lack of complementation for some phenotypes indicates that there are pathways in which signaling specificity is provided by differences in the primary AGG1 and AGG2 amino acid sequences.
PMCID: PMC3592790  PMID: 23520518
12.  Co-expression of multiple subunits enables recombinant SNAPC assembly and function for transcription by human RNA polymerases II and III 
Human small nuclear (sn) RNA genes are transcribed by either RNA polymerase II or III depending upon the arrangement of their core promoter elements. Regardless of polymerase specificity, these genes share a requirement for a general transcription factor called the snRNA activating protein complex or SNAPC. This multi-subunit complex recognizes the proximal sequence element (PSE) commonly found in the upstream promoters of human snRNA genes. SNAPC consists of five subunits: SNAP190, SNAP50, SNAP45, SNAP43, and SNAP19. Previous studies have shown that a partial SNAPC composed of SNAP190 (1–514), SNAP50, and SNAP43 expressed in baculovirus is capable of PSE-specific DNA binding and transcription of human snRNA genes by RNA polymerases II and III. Expression in a baculovirus system yields active complex but the concentration of such material is insufficient for many bio-analytical methods. Herein, we describe the co-expression in Escherichia coli of a partial SNAPC containing SNAP190 (1–505), SNAP50, SNAP43, and SNAP19. The co-expressed complex binds DNA specifically and recruits TBP to U6 promoter DNA. Importantly, this partial complex functions in reconstituted transcription of both human U1 and U6 snRNA genes by RNA polymerases II and III, respectively. This co-expression system will facilitate the functional characterization of this unusual multi-protein transcription factor that plays an important early role for transcription by two different polymerases.
PMCID: PMC2714255  PMID: 16603380
Transcription; SNAPC; Human snRNA; Co-expression; Escherichia coli
13.  Production and Initial Characterization of Dad1p, a Component of the Dam1-DASH Kinetochore Complex 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3888.
In all dividing eukaryotic cells, the mitotic spindle (composed primarily of microtubules) must interact with chromosomes through a complex protein assembly called the kinetochore. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the Dam1-DASH complex plays an important role in promoting attachment between the kinetochore and the mitotic spindle. It also actively participates in the physical separation of sister chromatids in anaphase. Understanding the biochemical mechanisms used by Dam1-DASH has been facilitated by bacterial co-expression of the ten Dam1-DASH genes, which results in the production of a heterodecameric protein complex that can be studied in vitro. However, individual protein subunits are not soluble when expressed in E. coli, thus precluding analysis of the nature of the interaction between subunits and an examination of the assembly of the functional complex. In this paper, we describe the expression, solubilization, purification and refolding of Dad1p, one of the Dam1-DASH complex subunits. In addition, we show that Dad1p, when isolated in this manner forms dimers and/or tetramers, dependent upon protein concentration. This work provides an important tool for studying the Dam1-DASH complex that was previously unavailable, and provides an avenue of investigation for understanding how the individual heterodecamers associate with each other to facilitate chromosome segregation.
PMCID: PMC2587702  PMID: 19065263
14.  Accommodation of profound sequence differences at the interfaces of eubacterial RNA polymerase multi-protein assembly 
Bioinformation  2012;8(1):6-12.
Evolutionarily divergent proteins have been shown to change their interacting partners. RNA polymerase assembly is one of the rare cases which retain its component proteins in the course of evolution. This ubiquitous molecular assembly, involved in transcription, consists of four core subunits (alpha, beta, betaprime, and omega), which assemble to form the core enzyme. Remarkably, the orientation of the four subunits in the complex is conserved from prokaryotes to eukaryotes although their sequence similarity is low. We have studied how the sequence divergence of the core subunits of RNA polymerase is accommodated in the formation of the multi-molecular assembly, with special reference to eubacterial species. Analysis of domain composition and order of the core subunits in >85 eubacterial species indicates complete conservation. However, sequence analysis indicates that interface residues of alpha and omega subunits are more divergent than those of beta, betaprime, and sigma70 subunits. Although beta and betaprime are generally well-conserved, residues involved in interaction with divergent subunits are not conserved. Insertions/deletions are also observed near interacting regions even in case of the most conserved subunits, beta and betaprime. Homology modelling of three divergent RNA polymerase complexes, from Helicobacter pylori, Mycoplasma pulmonis and Onion yellows phytoplasma, indicates that insertions/deletions can be accommodated near the interface as they generally occur at the periphery. Evaluation of the modeled interfaces indicates that they are physico-chemically similar to that of the template interfaces in Thermus thermophilus, indicating that nature has evolved to retain the obligate complex in spite of substantial substitutions and insertions/deletions.
PMCID: PMC3282269  PMID: 22359428
RNA polymerase; eubacteria; homology modeling; obligate interactions; protein-protein interactions; sequence conservation; 
15.  Regulation of Voltage-Activated K+ Channel Gating by Transmembrane β Subunits 
Voltage-activated K+ (KV) channels are important for shaping action potentials and maintaining resting membrane potential in excitable cells. KV channels contain a central pore-gate domain (PGD) surrounded by four voltage-sensing domains (VSDs). The VSDs will change conformation in response to alterations of the membrane potential thereby inducing the opening of the PGD. Many KV channels are heteromeric protein complexes containing auxiliary β subunits. These β subunits modulate channel expression and activity to increase functional diversity and render tissue specific phenotypes. This review focuses on the KV β subunits that contain transmembrane (TM) segments including the KCNE family and the β subunits of large conductance, Ca2+- and voltage-activated K+ (BK) channels. These TM β subunits affect the voltage-dependent activation of KV α subunits. Experimental and computational studies have described the structural location of these β subunits in the channel complexes and the biophysical effects on VSD activation, PGD opening, and VSD–PGD coupling. These results reveal some common characteristics and mechanistic insights into KV channel modulation by TM β subunits.
PMCID: PMC3328208  PMID: 22529812
channel; β subunit; KV; KCNQ1; BK; KCNE; KCNMB; LRRC
16.  Enigmatic Presence of Mitochondrial Complex I in Trypanosoma brucei Bloodstream Forms 
Eukaryotic Cell  2012;11(2):183-193.
The presence of mitochondrial respiratory complex I in the pathogenic bloodstream stages of Trypanosoma brucei has been vigorously debated: increased expression of mitochondrially encoded functional complex I mRNAs is countered by low levels of enzymatic activity that show marginal inhibition by the specific inhibitor rotenone. We now show that epitope-tagged versions of multiple complex I subunits assemble into α and β subcomplexes in the bloodstream stage and that these subcomplexes require the mitochondrial genome for their assembly. Despite the presence of these large (740- and 855-kDa) multisubunit complexes, the electron transport activity of complex I is not essential under experimental conditions since null mutants of two core genes (NUBM and NUKM) showed no growth defect in vitro or in mouse infection. Furthermore, the null mutants showed no decrease in NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase activity, suggesting that the observed activity is not contributed by complex I. This work conclusively shows that despite the synthesis and assembly of subunit proteins, the enzymatic function of the largest respiratory complex is neither significant nor important in the bloodstream stage. This situation appears to be in striking contrast to that for the other respiratory complexes in this parasite, where physical presence in a life-cycle stage always indicates functional significance.
PMCID: PMC3272898  PMID: 22158713
17.  Individual expression of influenza virus PA protein induces degradation of coexpressed proteins. 
Journal of Virology  1995;69(4):2420-2426.
In the process of in vivo reconstitution of influenza virus transcriptase-replicase complex, an inhibitory effect was observed when the level of PA protein expression was increased. This inhibition was paralleled by a decrease in the accumulation of the other influenza virus core proteins. The sole expression of PA protein was sufficient to reduce the accumulation level of the proteins encoded by the coexpressed genes. The PA effect was observed upon influenza virus and non-influenza virus proteins and independently of the expression system chosen and the origin of cell line used. The expression of PA protein did not induce variations in the translation of the target proteins but did induce variations on their half-lives, which were clearly reduced. A functional PA subunit seems to be necessary to induce this negative effect, because an inactive point mutant was unable to decrease the steady-state levels or the half-lives of the reporter proteins. The PA effect was observed as early as 5 h after its expression, and continuous synthesis of proteins was not required for performance of its biological activity. The results presented represent the first biological activity of individually expressed PA polymerase subunit.
PMCID: PMC188916  PMID: 7884889
18.  Analysis of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex during early heart development and BAF250a repression cardiac gene transcription during P19 cell differentiation 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(5):2958-2975.
The regulatory networks of differentiation programs and the molecular mechanisms of lineage-specific gene regulation in mammalian embryos remain only partially defined. We document differential expression and temporal switching of BRG1-associated factor (BAF) subunits, core pluripotency factors and cardiac-specific genes during post-implantation development and subsequent early organogenesis. Using affinity purification of BRG1 ATPase coupled to mass spectrometry, we characterized the cardiac-enriched remodeling complexes present in E8.5 mouse embryos. The relative abundance and combinatorial assembly of the BAF subunits provides functional specificity to Switch/Sucrose NonFermentable (SWI/SNF) complexes resulting in a unique gene expression profile in the developing heart. Remarkably, the specific depletion of the BAF250a subunit demonstrated differential effects on cardiac-specific gene expression and resulted in arrhythmic contracting cardiomyocytes in vitro. Indeed, the BAF250a physically interacts and functionally cooperates with Nucleosome Remodeling and Histone Deacetylase (NURD) complex subunits to repressively regulate chromatin structure of the cardiac genes by switching open and poised chromatin marks associated with active and repressed gene expression. Finally, BAF250a expression modulates BRG1 occupancy at the loci of cardiac genes regulatory regions in P19 cell differentiation. These findings reveal specialized and novel cardiac-enriched SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complexes, which are required for heart formation and critical for cardiac gene expression regulation at the early stages of heart development.
PMCID: PMC3950667  PMID: 24335282
19.  Cdc45-MCM-GINS, a new power player for DNA replication 
Cell Division  2006;1:18.
The identity of the DNA helicase(s) involved in eukaryotic DNA replication is still a matter of debate, but the mini-chromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins are the chief candidate. Six conserved MCM proteins, Mcm2–7, are essential for the initiation and elongation stages of DNA replication, contain ATP binding pockets and can form a hexameric structure resembling that of known prokaryotic and viral helicases. However, biochemical proof of their presumed function has remained elusive. Several recent reports confirm that the MCM complex is part of the cellular machine responsible for the unwinding of DNA during S phase. In one of these reports, the helicase activity of Mcm2–7 is finally revealed, when they are purified in association with two partners: initiation factor Cdc45 and a four-subunit complex called GINS. The Cdc45-MCM-GINS complex could constitute the core of a larger macromolecular structure that has been termed the "replisome progression complex".
PMCID: PMC1564009  PMID: 16930479
20.  Dis3- and exosome subunit-responsive 3’ mRNA instability elements 
Eukaryotic RNA turnover is regulated in part by the exosome, a nuclear and cytoplasmic complex of ribonucleases (RNases) and RNA-binding proteins. The major RNase of the complex is thought to be Dis3, a multi-functional 3’ to 5’ exoribonuclease and endoribonuclease. Although it is known that Dis3 and core exosome subunits are recruited to transcriptionally active genes and to messenger RNA (mRNA) substrates, this recruitment is thought to occur indirectly. We sought to discover cis-acting elements that recruit Dis3 or other exosome subunits. Using a bioinformatic tool called RNA SCOPE 2 to screen the 3’ untranslated regions of up-regulated transcripts from our published Dis3 depletion-derived transcriptomic data set, we identified several motifs as candidate instability elements. Secondary screening using a luciferase reporter system revealed that one cassette—harboring four elements—destabilized the reporter transcript. RNAi-based depletion of Dis3, Rrp6, Rrp4, Rrp40, or Rrp46 diminished the efficacy of cassette-mediated destabilization. Truncation analysis of the cassette showed that two exosome subunit-sensitive elements (ESSEs) destabilized the reporter. Point-directed mutagenesis of ESSE abrogated the destabilization effect. An examination of the transcriptomic data from exosome subunit depletion-based microarrays revealed that mRNAs with ESSEs are found in every up-regulated mRNA data set but are underrepresented or missing from the down-regulated data sets. Taken together, our findings imply a potentially novel mechanism of mRNA turnover that involves direct Dis3 and other exosome subunit recruitment to and/or regulation on mRNA substrates.
PMCID: PMC3392499  PMID: 22668878
Dis3; exosome; ribonuclease; mRNA turnover; 3’ UTR instability element; RNA SCOPE
21.  Identification and Characterization of the Rhizobium sp. Strain GIN611 Glycoside Oxidoreductase Resulting in the Deglycosylation of Ginsenosides 
Using enrichment culture, Rhizobium sp. strain GIN611 was isolated as having activity for deglycosylation of a ginsenoside, compound K (CK). The purified heterodimeric protein complex from Rhizobium sp. GIN611 consisted of two subunits with molecular masses of 63.5 kDa and 17.5 kDa. In the genome, the coding sequence for the small subunit was located right after the sequence for the large subunit, with one nucleotide overlapping. The large subunit showed CK oxidation activity, and the deglycosylation of compound K was performed via oxidation of ginsenoside glucose by glycoside oxidoreductase. Coexpression of the small subunit helped soluble expression of the large subunit in recombinant Escherichia coli. The purified large subunit also showed oxidation activity against other ginsenoside compounds, such as Rb1, Rb2, Rb3, Rc, F2, CK, Rh2, Re, F1, and the isoflavone daidzin, but at a much lower rate. When oxidized CK was extracted and incubated in phosphate buffer with or without enzyme, (S)-protopanaxadiol [PPD(S)] was detected in both cases, which suggests that deglycosylation of oxidized glucose is spontaneous.
PMCID: PMC3255640  PMID: 22020506
22.  Multiple faces of the SAGA complex 
Current opinion in cell biology  2010;22(3):374-382.
Summary of Recent Advances
The SAGA complex provides a paradigm for multi-subunit histone modifying complexes. Although first characterized as a histone acetyltransferase, due to the Gcn5 subunit, SAGA is now known to contain a second activity, a histone deubiqutinase, as well as subunits important for interactions with transcriptional activators and the general transcription machinery. The functions of SAGA in transcriptional activation are well-established in S. cerevisiae. Recent studies in S. pombe, Drosophila, and mammalian systems reveal that SAGA also has important roles in transcript elongation, the regulation of protein stability, and telomere maintenance. These functions are essential for normal embryo development in flies and mice, and mutations or altered expression of SAGA subunits correlate with neurological disease and aggressive cancers in humans.
PMCID: PMC2900470  PMID: 20363118
23.  Molecular Characterization of Saccharomyces cerevisiae TFIID 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(16):6000-6013.
We previously defined Saccharomyces cerevisiae TFIID as a 15-subunit complex comprised of the TATA binding protein (TBP) and 14 distinct TBP-associated factors (TAFs). In this report we give a detailed biochemical characterization of this general transcription factor. We have shown that yeast TFIID efficiently mediates both basal and activator-dependent transcription in vitro and displays TATA box binding activity that is functionally distinct from that of TBP. Analyses of the stoichiometry of TFIID subunits indicated that several TAFs are present at more than 1 copy per TFIID complex. This conclusion was further supported by coimmunoprecipitation experiments with a systematic family of (pseudo)diploid yeast strains that expressed epitope-tagged and untagged alleles of the genes encoding TFIID subunits. Based on these data, we calculated a native molecular mass for monomeric TFIID. Purified TFIID behaved in a fashion consistent with this calculated molecular mass in both gel filtration and rate-zonal sedimentation experiments. Quite surprisingly, although the TAF subunits of TFIID cofractionated as a single complex, TBP did not comigrate with the TAFs during either gel filtration chromatography or rate-zonal sedimentation, suggesting that TBP has the ability to dynamically associate with the TFIID TAFs. The results of direct biochemical exchange experiments confirmed this hypothesis. Together, our results represent a concise molecular characterization of the general transcription factor TFIID from S. cerevisiae.
PMCID: PMC133964  PMID: 12138208
24.  The essential OST2 gene encodes the 16-kD subunit of the yeast oligosaccharyltransferase, a highly conserved protein expressed in diverse eukaryotic organisms 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1995;131(2):371-383.
Oligosaccharyltransferase catalyzes the transfer of a preassembled high mannose oligosaccharide from a dolichol-oligosaccharide donor to consensus glycosylation acceptor sites in newly synthesized proteins in the lumen of the rough endoplasmic reticulum. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae oligosaccharyltransferase is an oligomeric complex composed of six non-identical subunits (alpha-zeta). The alpha, beta, gamma, and delta subunits of the oligosaccharyltransferase are encoded by the OST1, WBP1, OST3, and SWP1 genes, respectively. Here we describe the functional characterization of the OST2 gene that encodes the epsilon- subunit of the oligosaccharyltransferase. Genomic disruption of the OST2 locus was lethal in haploid yeast showing that expression of the Ost2 protein is essential for viability. Overexpression of the Ost2 protein suppresses the temperature-sensitive phenotype of the wbp1-2 allele and increases in vivo and in vitro oligosaccharyltransferase activity in a wbp1-2 strain. An analysis of a series of conditional ost2 mutants demonstrated that defects in the Ost2 protein cause pleiotropic underglycosylation of soluble and membrane-bound glycoproteins. Microsomal membranes isolated from ost2 mutant yeast show marked reductions in the in vitro transfer of high mannose oligosaccharide from exogenous lipid-linked oligosaccharide to a glycosylation site acceptor tripeptide. Surprisingly, the Ost2 protein was found to be 40% identical to the DAD1 protein (defender against apoptotic cell death), a highly conserved protein initially identified in vertebrate organisms. The protein sequence of ost2 mutant alleles revealed mutations at highly conserved residues in the Ost2p/DAD1 protein sequence.
PMCID: PMC2199988  PMID: 7593165
25.  MC EMiNEM Maps the Interaction Landscape of the Mediator 
PLoS Computational Biology  2012;8(6):e1002568.
The Mediator is a highly conserved, large multiprotein complex that is involved essentially in the regulation of eukaryotic mRNA transcription. It acts as a general transcription factor by integrating regulatory signals from gene-specific activators or repressors to the RNA Polymerase II. The internal network of interactions between Mediator subunits that conveys these signals is largely unknown. Here, we introduce MC EMiNEM, a novel method for the retrieval of functional dependencies between proteins that have pleiotropic effects on mRNA transcription. MC EMiNEM is based on Nested Effects Models (NEMs), a class of probabilistic graphical models that extends the idea of hierarchical clustering. It combines mode-hopping Monte Carlo (MC) sampling with an Expectation-Maximization (EM) algorithm for NEMs to increase sensitivity compared to existing methods. A meta-analysis of four Mediator perturbation studies in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, three of which are unpublished, provides new insight into the Mediator signaling network. In addition to the known modular organization of the Mediator subunits, MC EMiNEM reveals a hierarchical ordering of its internal information flow, which is putatively transmitted through structural changes within the complex. We identify the N-terminus of Med7 as a peripheral entity, entailing only local structural changes upon perturbation, while the C-terminus of Med7 and Med19 appear to play a central role. MC EMiNEM associates Mediator subunits to most directly affected genes, which, in conjunction with gene set enrichment analysis, allows us to construct an interaction map of Mediator subunits and transcription factors.
Author Summary
Phenotypic diversity and environmental adaptation in genetically identical cells is achieved by an exact tuning of their transcriptional program. It is a challenging task to unravel parts of the complex network of involved gene regulatory components and their interactions. Here, we shed light on the role of the Mediator complex in transcription regulation in yeast. The Mediator is highly conserved in all eukaryotes and acts as an interface between gene-specific transcription factors and the general mRNA transcription machinery. Even though most of the involved proteins and numerous structural features are already known, details on its functional contribution on basal as well as on activated transcription remain obscure. We use gene expression data, measured upon perturbations of various Mediator subunits, to relate the Mediator structure to the way it processes regulatory information. Moreover, we relate specific subunits to interacting transcription factors.
PMCID: PMC3380870  PMID: 22737066

Results 1-25 (1110701)