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26.  Three-stage biochemical selection: cloning of prototype class IIS/IIC/IIG restriction endonuclease-methyltransferase TsoI from the thermophile Thermus scotoductus 
BMC Molecular Biology  2013;14:17.
In continuing our research into the new family of bifunctional restriction endonucleases (REases), we describe the cloning of the tsoIRM gene. Currently, the family includes six thermostable enzymes: TaqII, Tth111II, TthHB27I, TspGWI, TspDTI, TsoI, isolated from various Thermus sp. and two thermolabile enzymes: RpaI and CchII, isolated from mesophilic bacteria Rhodopseudomonas palustris and Chlorobium chlorochromatii, respectively. The enzymes have several properties in common. They are large proteins (molecular size app. 120 kDa), coded by fused genes, with the REase and methyltransferase (MTase) in a single polypeptide, where both activities are affected by S-adenosylmethionine (SAM). They recognize similar asymmetric cognate sites and cleave at a distance of 11/9 nt from the recognition site. Thus far, we have cloned and characterised TaqII, Tth111II, TthHB27I, TspGWI and TspDTI.
TsoI REase, which originate from thermophilic Thermus scotoductus RFL4 (T. scotoductus), was cloned in Escherichia coli (E. coli) using two rounds of biochemical selection of the T. scotoductus genomic library for the TsoI methylation phenotype. DNA sequencing of restriction-resistant clones revealed the common open reading frame (ORF) of 3348 bp, coding for a large polypeptide of 1116 aminoacid (aa) residues, which exhibited a high level of similarity to Tth111II (50% identity, 60% similarity). The ORF was PCR-amplified, subcloned into a pET21 derivative under the control of a T7 promoter and was subjected to the third round of biochemical selection in order to isolate error-free clones. Induction experiments resulted in synthesis of an app. 125 kDa protein, exhibiting TsoI-specific DNA cleavage. Also, the wild-type (wt) protein was purified and reaction optima were determined.
Previously we identified and cloned the Thermus family RM genes using a specially developed method based on partial proteolysis of thermostable REases. In the case of TsoI the classic biochemical selection method was successful, probably because of the substantially lower optimal reaction temperature of TsoI (app. 10-15°C). That allowed for sufficient MTase activity in vivo in recombinant E. coli. Interestingly, TsoI originates from bacteria with a high optimum growth temperature of 67°C, which indicates that not all bacterial enzymes match an organism’s thermophilic nature, and yet remain functional cell components. Besides basic research advances, the cloning and characterisation of the new prototype REase from the Thermus sp. family enzymes is also of practical importance in gene manipulation technology, as it extends the range of available DNA cleavage specificities.
PMCID: PMC3751577  PMID: 23919831
27.  APOBEC3 inhibits DEAD-END function to regulate microRNA activity 
BMC Molecular Biology  2013;14:16.
The RNA binding protein DEAD-END (DND1) is one of the few proteins known to regulate microRNA (miRNA) activity at the level of miRNA-mRNA interaction. DND1 blocks miRNA interaction with the 3′-untranslated region (3′-UTR) of specific mRNAs and restores protein expression. Previously, we showed that the DNA cytosine deaminase, APOBEC3 (apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide like 3), interacts with DND1. APOBEC3 has been primarily studied for its role in restricting and inactivating retroviruses and retroelements. In this report, we examine the significance of DND1-APOBEC3 interaction. We found that while human DND1 inhibits miRNA-mediated inhibition of P27, human APOBEC3G is able to counteract this repression and restore miRNA activity. APOBEC3G, by itself, does not affect the 3′-UTR of P27. We found that APOBEC3G also blocks DND1 function to restore miR-372 and miR-206 inhibition through the 3′-UTRs of LATS2 and CX43, respectively. In corollary experiments, we tested whether DND1 affects the viral restriction function or mutator activity of APOBEC3. We found that DND1 does not affect APOBEC3 inhibition of infectivity of exogenous retrovirus HIV (ΔVif) or retrotransposition of MusD. In addition, examination of Ter/Ter;Apobec3−/− mice, lead us to conclude that DND1 does not regulate the mutator activity of APOBEC3 in germ cells. In summary, our results show that APOBEC3 is able to modulate DND1 function to regulate miRNA mediated translational regulation in cells but DND1 does not affect known APOBEC3 function.
PMCID: PMC3729616  PMID: 23890083
28.  Loss of CARM1 is linked to reduced HuR function in replicative senescence 
BMC Molecular Biology  2013;14:15.
The co-activator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) catalyzes the methylation of HuR. However, the functional impact of this modification is not fully understood. Here, we investigated the influence of HuR methylation by CARM1 upon the turnover of HuR target mRNAs encoding senescence-regulatory proteins.
Changing the methylation status of HuR in HeLa cells by either silencing CARM1 or mutating the major methylation site (R217K) greatly diminished the effect of HuR in regulating the turnover of mRNAs encoding cyclin A, cyclin B1, c-fos, SIRT1, and p16. Although knockdown of CARM1 or HuR individually influenced the expression of cyclin A, cyclin B1, c-fos, SIRT1, and p16, joint knockdown of both CARM1 and HuR did not show further effect. Methylation by CARM1 enhanced the association of HuR with the 3′UTR of p16 mRNA, but not with the 3′UTR of cyclin A, cyclin B1, c-fos, or SIRT1 mRNAs. In senescent human diploid fibroblasts (HDFs), reduced CARM1 was accompanied by reduced HuR methylation. In addition, knockdown of CARM1 or mutation of the major methylation site of HuR in HDF markedly impaired the ability of HuR to regulate the expression of cyclin A, cyclin B1, c-fos, SIRT1, and p16 as well to maintain a proliferative phenotype.
CARM1 represses replicative senescence by methylating HuR and thereby enhancing HuR’s ability to regulate the turnover of cyclin A, cyclin B1, c-fos, SIRT1, and p16 mRNAs.
PMCID: PMC3718661  PMID: 23837869
CARM1; HuR methylation; mRNA turnover; Replicative senescence
29.  Tip110 interacts with YB-1 and regulates each other’s function 
BMC Molecular Biology  2013;14:14.
Tip110 plays important roles in tumor immunobiology, pre-mRNA splicing, expression regulation of viral and host genes, and possibly protein turnover. It is clear that our understanding of Tip110 biological function remains incomplete.
Herein, we employed an immunoaffinity-based enrichment approach combined with protein mass spectrometry and attempted to identify Tip110-interacting cellular proteins. A total of 13 major proteins were identified to be complexed with Tip110. Among them was Y-box binding protein 1 (YB-1). The interaction of Tip110 with YB-1 was further dissected and confirmed to be specific and involve the N-terminal of both Tip110 and YB-1 proteins. A HIV-1 LTR promoter-driven reporter gene assay and a CD44 minigene in vivo splicing assay were chosen to evaluate the functional relevance of the Tip110/YB-1 interaction. We showed that YB-1 potentiates the Tip110/Tat-mediated transactivation of the HIV-1 LTR promoter while Tip110 promotes the inclusion of the exon 5 in CD44 minigene alternative splicing.
Tip110 and YB-1 interact to form a complex and mutually regulate each other’s biological functions.
PMCID: PMC3716619  PMID: 23822148
HIV-1 Tat; Tip110; YB-1; Alternative Splicing; CD44; Transcription
30.  How to perform RT-qPCR accurately in plant species? A case study on flower colour gene expression in an azalea (Rhododendron simsii hybrids) mapping population 
BMC Molecular Biology  2013;14:13.
Flower colour variation is one of the most crucial selection criteria in the breeding of a flowering pot plant, as is also the case for azalea (Rhododendron simsii hybrids). Flavonoid biosynthesis was studied intensively in several species. In azalea, flower colour can be described by means of a 3-gene model. However, this model does not clarify pink-coloration. The last decade gene expression studies have been implemented widely for studying flower colour. However, the methods used were often only semi-quantitative or quantification was not done according to the MIQE-guidelines. We aimed to develop an accurate protocol for RT-qPCR and to validate the protocol to study flower colour in an azalea mapping population.
An accurate RT-qPCR protocol had to be established. RNA quality was evaluated in a combined approach by means of different techniques e.g. SPUD-assay and Experion-analysis. We demonstrated the importance of testing noRT-samples for all genes under study to detect contaminating DNA. In spite of the limited sequence information available, we prepared a set of 11 reference genes which was validated in flower petals; a combination of three reference genes was most optimal. Finally we also used plasmids for the construction of standard curves. This allowed us to calculate gene-specific PCR efficiencies for every gene to assure an accurate quantification. The validity of the protocol was demonstrated by means of the study of six genes of the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway. No correlations were found between flower colour and the individual expression profiles. However, the combination of early pathway genes (CHS, F3H, F3'H and FLS) is clearly related to co-pigmentation with flavonols. The late pathway genes DFR and ANS are to a minor extent involved in differentiating between coloured and white flowers. Concerning pink coloration, we could demonstrate that the lower intensity in this type of flowers is correlated to the expression of F3'H.
Currently in plant research, validated and qualitative RT-qPCR protocols are still rare. The protocol in this study can be implemented on all plant species to assure accurate quantification of gene expression. We have been able to correlate flower colour to the combined regulation of structural genes, both in the early and late branch of the pathway. This allowed us to differentiate between flower colours in a broader genetic background as was done so far in flower colour studies. These data will now be used for eQTL mapping to comprehend even more the regulation of this pathway.
PMCID: PMC3698002  PMID: 23800303
RT-qPCR; Flower colour; RNA quality; noRT; Standard curves; Reference genes; Gene expression; Pink
31.  Identification of nucleotides and amino acids that mediate the interaction between ribosomal protein L30 and the SECIS element 
BMC Molecular Biology  2013;14:12.
Ribosomal protein L30 belongs to the L7Ae family of RNA-binding proteins, which recognize diverse targets. L30 binds to kink-turn motifs in the 28S ribosomal RNA, L30 pre-mRNA, and mature L30 mRNA. L30 has a noncanonical function as a component of the UGA recoding machinery that incorporates selenocysteine (Sec) into selenoproteins during translation. L30 binds to a putative kink-turn motif in the Sec Insertion Sequence (SECIS) element in the 3’ UTR of mammalian selenoprotein mRNAs. The SECIS also interacts with SECIS-binding protein 2 (SBP2), an essential factor for Sec incorporation. Previous studies showed that L30 and SBP2 compete for binding to the SECIS in vitro. The SBP2:SECIS interaction has been characterized but much less is known about how L30 recognizes the SECIS.
Here we use enzymatic RNA footprinting to define the L30 binding site on the SECIS. Like SBP2, L30 protects nucleotides in the 5’ side of the internal loop, the 5’ side of the lower helix, and the SECIS core, including the GA tandem base pairs that are predicted to form a kink-turn. However, L30 has additional determinants for binding as it also protects nucleotides in the 3’ side of the internal loop, which are not protected by SBP2. In support of the competitive binding model, we found that purified L30 repressed UGA recoding in an in vitro translation system, and that this inhibition was rescued by SBP2. To define the amino acid requirements for SECIS-binding, site-specific mutations in L30 were generated based on published structural studies of this protein in a complex with its canonical target, the L30 pre-mRNA. We identified point mutations that selectively inhibited binding of L30 to the SECIS, to the L30 pre-mRNA, or both RNAs, suggesting that there are subtle differences in how L30 interacts with the two targets.
This study establishes that L30 and SBP2 bind to overlapping but non-identical sites on the SECIS. The amino acid requirements for the interaction of L30 with the SECIS differ from those that mediate binding to the L30 pre-mRNA. Our results provide insight into how L7Ae family members recognize their cognate RNAs.
PMCID: PMC3706390  PMID: 23777426
RNA-binding protein; L30; SECIS-binding protein 2; Selenocysteine; Selenoprotein
32.  Characterization of Stra8 in Southern catfish (Silurus meridionalis): evidence for its role in meiotic initiation 
BMC Molecular Biology  2013;14:11.
RA (retinoic acid) signal pathway has been proved to be required for germ cell meiotic initiation in mammals, aves and amphibians. Stra8 (Stimulated by retinoic acid gene 8) is an important factor in RA signal pathway. However, the role of RA and Stra8 in germ cell meiotic initiation in teleosts is poorly characterized.
In this study, the full length cDNA of Stra8 was cloned from Southern catfish (Silurus meridionalis), and its spatio-temporal expression profiles were analyzed. The Stra8 cDNA (1606 bp) includes 163 bp 5’-UTR (untranslated region), 456 bp 3’-UTR, and an ORF (open reading frame) of 987 bp, encoding a polypeptide of 328 aa. Phylogenetic analysis revealed its existence in some primitive teleosts, such as Siluriformes and Salmoniformes. Tissue distribution analysis by RT-PCR showed that Stra8 is specifically expressed in gonads. By real-time PCR, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, the highest expression level of Stra8/Stra8 was detected in 50 and 130 dah (day after hatching), the premeiotic stage of germ cells in XX and XY gonads, respectively.
Our results suggest that Stra8 might be involved in germ cell meiotic initiation in S. meridionalis as it did in tetrapods.
PMCID: PMC3668142  PMID: 23697400
Stra8; mRNA and protein; Expression profile; Meiotic initiation; Silurus meridionalis
33.  Screening and analysis of PoAkirin1 and two related genes in response to immunological stimulants in the Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) 
BMC Molecular Biology  2013;14:10.
A member of the NF-κB signaling pathway, PoAkirin1, was cloned from a full-length cDNA library of Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus). The full-length cDNA comprises a 5′UTR of 202 bp, an open reading frame of 564 bp encoding a 187-amino-acid polypeptide and a 521-bp 3′UTR with a poly (A) tail. The putative protein has a predicted molecular mass of 21 kDa and an isoelectric point (pI) of 9.22. Amino acid sequence alignments showed that PoAkirin1 was 99% identical to the Scophthalmus maximus Akirin protein (ADK27484). Yeast two-hybrid assays identified two proteins that interact with PoAkirin1: PoHEPN and PoC1q. The cDNA sequences of PoHEPN and PoC1q are 672 bp and 528 bp, respectively. Real-time quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that bacteria could induce the expressions of PoAkirin1, PoHEPN and PoC1q. However, the responses of PoHEPN and PoC1q to the bacterial challenge were slower than that of PoAkirin1. To further study the function of PoAkirin1, recombinant PoAkirin1 and PoHEPN were expressed in Escherichia coli and would be used to verify the PoAkirin1-PoHEPN binding activity. These results identified two proteins that potentially interact with PoAkirin1 and that bacteria could induce their expression.
PMCID: PMC3700861  PMID: 23651673
Akirin; Japanese flounder; NF-κB; Yeast two-hybrid assay; Immunity; HEPN; C1q
34.  Human single-stranded DNA binding proteins are essential for maintaining genomic stability 
The double-stranded conformation of cellular DNA is a central aspect of DNA stabilisation and protection. The helix preserves the genetic code against chemical and enzymatic degradation, metabolic activation, and formation of secondary structures. However, there are various instances where single-stranded DNA is exposed, such as during replication or transcription, in the synthesis of chromosome ends, and following DNA damage. In these instances, single-stranded DNA binding proteins are essential for the sequestration and processing of single-stranded DNA. In order to bind single-stranded DNA, these proteins utilise a characteristic and evolutionary conserved single-stranded DNA-binding domain, the oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide-binding (OB)-fold. In the current review we discuss a subset of these proteins involved in the direct maintenance of genomic stability, an important cellular process in the conservation of cellular viability and prevention of malignant transformation. We discuss the central roles of single-stranded DNA binding proteins from the OB-fold domain family in DNA replication, the restart of stalled replication forks, DNA damage repair, cell cycle-checkpoint activation, and telomere maintenance.
PMCID: PMC3626794  PMID: 23548139
Single-stranded DNA binding proteins (SSBs); Oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide binding (OB)-fold; Double-strand DNA break (DSB) repair; Homology-directed repair (HDR); Translesion synthesis; Nucleotide excision repair (NER); Replication fork restart; Cell cycle checkpoint activation; Telomere maintenance
35.  Annual acknowledgement of manuscript reviewers 
Contributing reviewers
The editors of BMC Molecular Biology would like to thank all of our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 12 (2012).
PMCID: PMC3614431
36.  Identification of differences in microRNA transcriptomes between porcine oxidative and glycolytic skeletal muscles 
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a type of non-coding small RNA ~22 nucleotides in length that regulate the expression of protein coding genes at the post-transcriptional level. Glycolytic and oxidative myofibers, the two main types of skeletal muscles, play important roles in metabolic health as well as in meat quality and production in the pig industry. Previous expression profile studies of different skeletal muscle types have focused on these aspects of mRNA and proteins; nonetheless, an explanation of the miRNA transcriptome differences between these two distinct muscles types is long overdue.
Herein, we present a comprehensive analysis of miRNA expression profiling between the porcine longissimus doris muscle (LDM) and psoas major muscle (PMM) using a deep sequencing approach. We generated a total of 16.62 M (LDM) and 18.46 M (PMM) counts, which produced 15.22 M and 17.52 M mappable sequences, respectively, and identified 114 conserved miRNAs and 89 novel miRNA*s. Of 668 unique miRNAs, 349 (52.25%) were co-expressed, of which 173 showed significant differences (P < 0.01) between the two muscle types. Muscle-specific miR-1-3p showed high expression levels in both libraries (LDM, 32.01%; PMM, 20.15%), and miRNAs that potentially affect metabolic pathways (such as the miR-133 and -23) showed significant differences between the two libraries, indicating that the two skeletal muscle types shared mainly muscle-specific miRNAs but expressed at distinct levels according to their metabolic needs. In addition, an analysis of the Gene Ontology (GO) terms and KEGG pathway associated with the predicted target genes of the differentially expressed miRNAs revealed that the target protein coding genes of highly expressed miRNAs are mainly involved in skeletal muscle structural development, regeneration, cell cycle progression, and the regulation of cell motility.
Our study indicates that miRNAs play essential roles in the phenotypic variations observed in different muscle fiber types.
PMCID: PMC3599761  PMID: 23419046
microRNA; Deep sequencing; Longissimus doris muscle; Psoas major muscle; Pig
37.  Single cell transcriptomic analysis of prostate cancer cells 
The ability to interrogate circulating tumor cells (CTC) and disseminated tumor cells (DTC) is restricted by the small number detected and isolated (typically <10). To determine if a commercially available technology could provide a transcriptomic profile of a single prostate cancer (PCa) cell, we clonally selected and cultured a single passage of cell cycle synchronized C4-2B PCa cells. Ten sets of single, 5-, or 10-cells were isolated using a micromanipulator under direct visualization with an inverted microscope. Additionally, two groups of 10 individual DTC, each isolated from bone marrow of 2 patients with metastatic PCa were obtained. RNA was amplified using the WT-Ovation™ One-Direct Amplification System. The amplified material was hybridized on a 44K Whole Human Gene Expression Microarray. A high stringency threshold, a mean Alexa Fluor® 3 signal intensity above 300, was used for gene detection. Relative expression levels were validated for select genes using real-time PCR (RT-qPCR).
Using this approach, 22,410, 20,423, and 17,009 probes were positive on the arrays from 10-cell pools, 5-cell pools, and single-cells, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of gene detection on the single-cell analyses were 0.739 and 0.972 respectively when compared to 10-cell pools, and 0.814 and 0.979 respectively when compared to 5-cell pools, demonstrating a low false positive rate. Among 10,000 randomly selected pairs of genes, the Pearson correlation coefficient was 0.875 between the single-cell and 5-cell pools and 0.783 between the single-cell and 10-cell pools. As expected, abundant transcripts in the 5- and 10-cell samples were detected by RT-qPCR in the single-cell isolates, while lower abundance messages were not. Using the same stringency, 16,039 probes were positive on the patient single-cell arrays. Cluster analysis showed that all 10 DTC grouped together within each patient.
A transcriptomic profile can be reliably obtained from a single cell using commercially available technology. As expected, fewer amplified genes are detected from a single-cell sample than from pooled-cell samples, however this method can be used to reliably obtain a transcriptomic profile from DTC isolated from the bone marrow of patients with PCa.
PMCID: PMC3599075  PMID: 23414343
Prostate cancer; Single-cell; Transcriptome; Disseminated tumor cells
38.  Identification of a set of miRNAs differentially expressed in transiently TIA-depleted HeLa cells by genome-wide profiling 
T-cell intracellular antigen (TIA) proteins function as regulators of cell homeostasis. These proteins control gene expression globally at multiple levels in response to dynamic regulatory changes and environmental stresses. Herein we identified a micro(mi)RNA signature associated to transiently TIA-depleted HeLa cells and analyzed the potential role of miRNAs combining genome-wide analysis data on mRNA and miRNA profiles.
Using high-throughput miRNA expression profiling, transient depletion of TIA-proteins in HeLa cells was observed to promote significant and reproducible changes affecting to a pool of up-regulated miRNAs involving miR-30b-3p, miR125a-3p, miR-193a-5p, miR-197-3p, miR-203a, miR-210, miR-371-5p, miR-373-5p, miR-483-5p, miR-492, miR-498, miR-503-5p, miR-572, miR-586, miR-612, miR-615-3p, miR-623, miR-625-5p, miR-629-5p, miR-638, miR-658, miR-663a, miR-671-5p, miR-769-3p and miR-744-5p. Some up-regulated and unchanged miRNAs were validated and previous results confirmed by reverse transcription and real time PCR. By target prediction of the miRNAs and combined analysis of the genome-wide expression profiles identified in TIA-depleted HeLa cells, we detected connections between up-regulated miRNAs and potential target genes. Gene Ontology (GO) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database analysis suggest that target genes are related with biological processes associated to the regulation of DNA-dependent transcription, signal transduction and multicellular organismal development as well as with the enrichment of pathways involved in cancer, focal adhesion, regulation of actin cytoskeleton, endocytosis and MAPK and Wnt signaling pathways, respectively. When the collection of experimentally defined differentially expressed genes in TIA-depleted HeLa cells was intersected with potential target genes only 7 out of 68 (10%) up- and 71 out of 328 (22%) down-regulated genes were shared. GO and KEGG database analyses showed that the enrichment categories of biological processes and cellular pathways were related with innate immune response, signal transduction, response to interleukin-1, glomerular basement membrane development as well as neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, endocytosis, lysosomes and apoptosis, respectively.
All this considered, these observations suggest that individual miRNAs could act as potential mediators of the epigenetic switch linking transcriptomic dynamics and cell phenotypes mediated by TIA proteins.
PMCID: PMC3600012  PMID: 23387986
TIA1; TIAR; miRNAs; Gene regulatory networks
39.  UtroUp is a novel six zinc finger artificial transcription factor that recognises 18 base pairs of the utrophin promoter and efficiently drives utrophin upregulation 
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common X-linked muscle degenerative disease and it is due to the absence of the cytoskeletal protein dystrophin. Currently there is no effective treatment for DMD. Among the different strategies for achieving a functional recovery of the dystrophic muscle, the upregulation of the dystrophin-related gene utrophin is becoming more and more feasible.
We have previously shown that the zinc finger-based artificial transcriptional factor “Jazz” corrects the dystrophic pathology in mdx mice by upregulating utrophin gene expression. Here we describe a novel artificial transcription factor, named “UtroUp”, engineered to further improve the DNA-binding specificity. UtroUp has been designed to recognise an extended DNA target sequence on both the human and mouse utrophin gene promoters. The UtroUp DNA-binding domain contains six zinc finger motifs in tandem, which is able to recognise an 18-base-pair DNA target sequence that statistically is present only once in the human genome. To achieve a higher transcriptional activation, we coupled the UtroUp DNA-binding domain with the innovative transcriptional activation domain, which was derived from the multivalent adaptor protein Che-1/AATF. We show that the artificial transcription factor UtroUp, due to its six zinc finger tandem motif, possesses a low dissociation constant that is consistent with a strong affinity/specificity toward its DNA-binding site. When expressed in mammalian cell lines, UtroUp promotes utrophin transcription and efficiently accesses active chromatin promoting accumulation of the acetylated form of histone H3 in the utrophin promoter locus.
This novel artificial molecule may represent an improved platform for the development of future applications in DMD treatment.
PMCID: PMC3576267  PMID: 23363418
DMD; Dystrophin; Utrophin; Zinc finger; Artificial transcription factor; Activation domain; Che-1/AATF
40.  The ICP22 protein selectively modifies the transcription of different kinetic classes of pseudorabies virus genes 
Pseudorabies virus (PRV), an alpha-herpesvirus of swine, is a widely used model organism in investigations of the molecular pathomechanisms of the herpesviruses. This work is the continuation of our earlier studies, in which we investigated the effect of the abrogation of gene function on the viral transcriptome by knocking out PRV genes playing roles in the coordination of global gene expression of the virus. In this study, we deleted the us1 gene encoding the ICP22, an important viral regulatory protein, and analyzed the changes in the expression of other PRV genes.
A multi-timepoint real-time RT-PCR technique was applied to evaluate the impact of deletion of the PRV us1 gene on the overall transcription kinetics of viral genes. The mutation proved to exert a differential effect on the distinct kinetic classes of PRV genes at the various stages of lytic infection. In the us1 gene-deleted virus, all the kinetic classes of the genes were significantly down-regulated in the first hour of infection. After 2 to 6 h of infection, the late genes were severely suppressed, whereas the early genes were unaffected. In the late stage of infection, the early genes were selectively up-regulated. In the mutant virus, the transcription of the ie180 gene, the major coordinator of PRV gene expression, correlated closely with the transcription of other viral genes, a situation which was not found in the wild-type (wt) virus. A 4-h delay was observed in the commencement of DNA replication in the mutant virus as compared with the wt virus. The rate of transcription from a gene normalized to the relative copy number of the viral genome was observed to decline drastically following the initiation of DNA replication in both the wt and mutant backgrounds. Finally, the switch between the expressions of the early and late genes was demonstrated not to be controlled by DNA replication, as is widely believed, since the switch preceded the DNA replication.
Our results show a strong dependence of PRV gene expression on the presence of functional us1 gene. ICP22 is shown to exert a differential effect on the distinct kinetic classes of PRV genes and to disrupt the close correlation between the transcription kinetics of ie180 and other PRV transcripts. Furthermore, DNA replication exerts a severe constraint on the viral transcription.
PMCID: PMC3599583  PMID: 23360468
Herpesvirus; Pseudorabies virus; Real-time PCR; ICP22; us1 gene
41.  Drosophila MOF controls Checkpoint protein2 and regulates genomic stability during early embryogenesis 
In Drosophila embryos, checkpoints maintain genome stability by delaying cell cycle progression that allows time for damage repair or to complete DNA synthesis. Drosophila MOF, a member of MYST histone acetyl transferase is an essential component of male X hyperactivation process. Until recently its involvement in G2/M cell cycle arrest and defects in ionizing radiation induced DNA damage pathways was not well established.
Drosophila MOF is highly expressed during early embryogenesis. In the present study we show that haplo-insufficiency of maternal MOF leads to spontaneous mitotic defects like mitotic asynchrony, mitotic catastrophe and chromatid bridges in the syncytial embryos. Such abnormal nuclei are eliminated and digested in the yolk tissues by nuclear fall out mechanism. MOF negatively regulates Drosophila checkpoint kinase 2 tumor suppressor homologue. In response to DNA damage the checkpoint gene Chk2 (Drosophila mnk) is activated in the mof mutants, there by causing centrosomal inactivation suggesting its role in response to genotoxic stress. A drastic decrease in the fall out nuclei in the syncytial embryos derived from mof1/+; mnkp6/+ females further confirms the role of DNA damage response gene Chk2 to ensure the removal of abnormal nuclei from the embryonic precursor pool and maintain genome stability. The fact that mof mutants undergo DNA damage has been further elucidated by the increased number of single and double stranded DNA breaks.
mof mutants exhibited genomic instability as evidenced by the occurance of frequent mitotic bridges in anaphase, asynchronous nuclear divisions, disruption of cytoskeleton, inactivation of centrosomes finally leading to DNA damage. Our findings are consistent to what has been reported earlier in mammals that; reduced levels of MOF resulted in increased genomic instability while total loss resulted in lethality. The study can be further extended using Drosophila as model system and carry out the interaction of MOF with the known components of the DNA damage pathway.
PMCID: PMC3566930  PMID: 23347679
Mof; Mitosis; Syncytial embryos; Drosophila melanogaster; Chk2; Anaphase bridges
42.  Alternative splicing of the neurofibromatosis type 1 pre-mRNA is regulated by the muscleblind-like proteins and the CUG-BP and ELAV-like factors 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:35.
Alternative splicing is often subjected to complex regulatory control that involves many protein factors and cis-acting RNA sequence elements. One major challenge is to identify all of the protein players and define how they control alternative expression of a particular exon in a combinatorial manner. The Muscleblind-like (MBNL) and CUG-BP and ELAV-Like family (CELF) proteins are splicing regulatory proteins, which function as antagonists in the regulation of several alternative exons. Currently only a limited number of common targets of MBNL and CELF are known that are antagonistically regulated by these two groups of proteins.
Recently, we identified neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) exon 23a as a novel target of negative regulation by CELF proteins. Here we report that MBNL family members are positive regulators of this exon. Overexpression of MBNL proteins promote exon 23a inclusion in a low MBNL-expressing cell line, and simultaneous siRNA-mediated knockdown of MBNL1 and MBNL2 family members in a high MBNL-expressing cell line promotes exon 23a skipping. Importantly, these two groups of proteins antagonize each other in regulating inclusion of exon 23a. Furthermore, we analyzed the binding sites of these proteins in the intronic sequences upstream of exon 23a by UV cross-linking assays. We show that in vitro, in addition to the previously identified preferred binding sequence UGCUGU, the MBNL proteins need the neighboring sequences for optimal binding.
This study along with our previous work that demonstrated roles for Hu, CELF, and TIA-1 and TIAR proteins in the regulation of NF1 exon 23a establish that this exon is under tight, complex control.
PMCID: PMC3558374  PMID: 23227900
Muscleblind-like (MBNL) proteins; CUG-BP and ELAV-like family (CELF proteins); Alternative splicing; Neurofibromatosis type I (NF1); Splicing regulation; Complex control
43.  Directional telomeric silencing and lack of canonical B1 elements in two silencer Autonomously Replicating Sequences in S. cerevisiae 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:34.
Autonomously Replicating Sequences (ARS) in S. cerevisiae serve as origins of DNA replication or as components of cis-acting silencers, which impose positional repression at the mating type loci and at the telomeres. Both types of ARS can act as replicators or silencers, however it is not clear how these quite diverse functions are executed. It is believed that all ARS contain a core module of an essential ARS Consensus Sequence (ACS) and a non-essential B1 element.
We have tested how the B1 elements contribute to the silencer and replicator function of ARS. We report that the ACS-B1 orientation of ARS has a profound effect on the levels of gene silencing at telomeres. We also report that the destruction of the canonical B1 elements in two silencer ARS (ARS317 and ARS319) has no effect on their silencer and replicator activity.
The observed orientation effects on gene silencing suggest that ARSs can act as both proto-silencers and as insulator elements. In addition, the lack of B1 suggests that the ACS-B1 module could be different in silencer and replicator ARS.
PMCID: PMC3545912  PMID: 23157664
Autonomously replicating sequences; Telomere position effect; DNA replication; Gene silencing
44.  Escherichia coli RecG functionally suppresses human Bloom syndrome phenotypes 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:33.
Defects in the human BLM gene cause Bloom syndrome, notable for early development of tumors in a broad variety of tissues. On the basis of sequence similarity, BLM has been identified as one of the five human homologs of RecQ from Escherichia coli. Nevertheless, biochemical characterization of the BLM protein indicates far greater functional similarity to the E. coli RecG protein and there is no known RecG homolog in human cells. To explore the possibility that the shared biochemistries of BLM and RecG may represent an example of convergent evolution of cellular function where in humans BLM has evolved to fulfill the genomic stabilization role of RecG, we determined whether expression of RecG in human BLM-deficient cells could suppress established functional cellular Bloom syndrome phenotypes. We found that RecG can indeed largely suppress both the definitive elevated sister chromatid exchange phenotype and the more recently demonstrated gene cluster instability phenotype of BLM-deficient cells. In contrast, expression of RecG has no impact on either of these phenotypes in human cells with functional BLM protein. These results suggest that the combination of biochemical activities shared by RecG and BLM fill the same evolutionary niche in preserving genomic integrity without requiring exactly identical molecular mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3517418  PMID: 23110454
45.  Cloning, ligand-binding, and temporal expression of ecdysteroid receptors in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:32.
The diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.) (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae), is a devastating pest of cruciferous crops worldwide, and has developed resistance to a wide range of insecticides, including diacylhydrazine-based ecdysone agonists, a highly selective group of molt-accelerating biopesticides targeting the ecdysone receptors.
In this study, we cloned and characterized the ecdysone receptors from P. xylostella, including the two isoforms of EcR and a USP. Sequence comparison and phylogenetic analysis showed striking conservations among insect ecdysone receptors, especially between P. xylostella and other lepidopterans. The binding affinity of ecdysteroids to in vitro-translated receptor proteins indicated that PxEcRB isoform bound specifically to ponasterone A, and the binding affinity was enhanced by co-incubation with PxUSP (Kd =3.0±1.7 nM). In contrast, PxEcRA did not bind to ponasterone A, even in the presence of PxUSP. The expression of PxEcRB were consistently higher than that of PxEcRA across each and every developmental stage, while the pattern of PxUSP expression is more or less ubiquitous.
Target site insensitivity, in which the altered binding of insecticides (ecdysone agonists) to their targets (ecdysone receptors) leads to an adaptive response (resistance), is one of the underlying mechanisms of diacylhydrazine resistance. Given the distinct differences at expression level and the ligand-binding capacity, we hypothesis that PxEcRB is the ecdysone receptor that controls the remodeling events during metamorphosis. More importantly, PxEcRB is the potential target site which is modified in the ecdysone agonist-resistant P. xylostella.
PMCID: PMC3568735  PMID: 23078528
Plutella xylostella, Ecdysone receptor (EcR); Binding affinity, Expression profiling, Ecdysone agonist
46.  Adenylate kinase 2 (AK2) promotes cell proliferation in insect development 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:31.
Adenylate kinase 2 (AK2) is a phosphotransferase that catalyzes the reversible reaction 2ADP(GDP) ↔ ATP(GTP) + AMP and influences cellular energy homeostasis. However, the role of AK2 in regulating cell proliferation remains unclear because AK2 has been reported to be involved in either cell proliferation or cell apoptosis in different cell types of various organisms.
This study reports AK2 promotion of cell proliferation using the lepidopteran insect Helicoverpa armigera and its epidermal cell line HaEpi as models. Western blot analysis indicates that AK2 constitutively expresses in various tissues during larval development. Immunocytochemistry analysis indicates that AK2 localizes in the mitochondria. The recombinant expressed AK2 in E. coli promotes cell growth and viability of HaEpi cell line by 3-(4, 5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. AK2 knockdown in larvae by RNA interference causes larval growth defects, including body weight decrease and development delay. AK2 knockdown in larvae also decreases the number of circulating haemocytes. The mechanism for such effects might be the suppression of gene transcription involved in insect development caused by AK2 knockdown.
These results show that AK2 regulates cell growth, viability, and proliferation in insect growth and development.
PMCID: PMC3583204  PMID: 23020757
Helicoverpa armigera; Adenylate kinase 2 (AK2); Cell growth and viability; RNA interference
47.  A MultiSite GatewayTM vector set for the functional analysis of genes in the model Saccharomyces cerevisiae 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:30.
Recombinatorial cloning using the GatewayTM technology has been the method of choice for high-throughput omics projects, resulting in the availability of entire ORFeomes in GatewayTM compatible vectors. The MultiSite GatewayTM system allows combining multiple genetic fragments such as promoter, ORF and epitope tag in one single reaction. To date, this technology has not been accessible in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one of the most widely used experimental systems in molecular biology, due to the lack of appropriate destination vectors.
Here, we present a set of three-fragment MultiSite GatewayTM destination vectors that have been developed for gene expression in S. cerevisiae and that allow the assembly of any promoter, open reading frame, epitope tag arrangement in combination with any of four auxotrophic markers and three distinct replication mechanisms. As an example of its applicability, we used yeast three-hybrid to provide evidence for the assembly of a ternary complex of plant proteins involved in jasmonate signalling and consisting of the JAZ, NINJA and TOPLESS proteins.
Our vectors make MultiSite GatewayTM cloning accessible in S. cerevisiae and implement a fast and versatile cloning method for the high-throughput functional analysis of (heterologous) proteins in one of the most widely used model organisms for molecular biology research.
PMCID: PMC3519679  PMID: 22994806
Gateway cloning; MultiSite; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Yeast; Vector; Fusion protein; Epitope tag; Jasmonate; Arabidopsis thaliana
48.  A novel 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR) splice variant with an alternative exon 1 potentially encoding an extended N-terminus 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:29.
The major rate-limiting enzyme for de novo cholesterol synthesis is 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase (HMGCR). HMGCR is sterically inhibited by statins, the most commonly prescribed drugs for the prevention of cardiovascular events. Alternative splicing of HMGCR has been implicated in the control of cholesterol homeostasis. The aim of this study was to identify novel alternatively spliced variants of HMGCR with potential physiological importance.
Bioinformatic analyses predicted three novel HMGCR transcripts containing an alternative exon 1 (HMGCR-1b, -1c, -1d) compared with the canonical transcript (HMGCR-1a). The open reading frame of the HMGCR-1b transcript potentially encodes 20 additional amino acids at the N-terminus, compared with HMGCR-1a. Reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was used to examine the mRNA levels of HMGCR in different tissues; HMGCR-1a was the most highly expressed variant in most tissues, with the exception of the skin, esophagus, and uterine cervix, in which HMGCR-1b was the most highly expressed transcript. Atorvastatin treatment of HepG2 cells resulted in increased HMGCR-1b mRNA levels, but unaltered proximal promoter activity compared to untreated cells. In contrast, HMGCR-1c showed a more restricted transcription pattern, but was also induced by atorvastatin treatment.
The gene encoding HMGCR uses alternative, mutually exclusive exon 1 sequences. This contributes to an increased complexity of HMGCR transcripts. Further studies are needed to investigate whether HMGCR splice variants identified in this study are physiologically functional.
PMCID: PMC3526503  PMID: 22989091
3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase; HMG-CoA; Transcription; Alternative splicing; Statin; Cholesterol
49.  Regulation of GAD65 expression by SMAR1 and p53 upon Streptozotocin treatment 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:28.
GAD65 (Glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 KDa isoform) is one of the most important auto-antigens involved in Type 1 diabetes induction. Although it serves as one of the first injury markers of β-islets, the mechanisms governing GAD65 expression remain poorly understood. Since the regulation of GAD65 is crucial for the proper functioning of insulin secreting cells, we investigated the stress induced regulation of GAD65 transcription.
The present study shows that SMAR1 regulates GAD65 expression at the transcription level. Using a novel protein-DNA pull-down assay, we show that SMAR1 binding is very specific to GAD65 promoter but not to the other isoform, GAD67. We show that Streptozotocin (STZ) mediated DNA damage leads to upregulation of SMAR1 and p53 expression, resulting in elevated levels of GAD65, in both cell lines as well as mouse β-islets. SMAR1 and p53 act synergistically to up-regulate GAD65 expression upon STZ treatment.
We propose a novel mechanism of GAD65 regulation by synergistic activities of SMAR1 and p53.
PMCID: PMC3459802  PMID: 22978699
SMAR1; Diabetes; GAD65; p53; Streptozotocin
50.  Clock-controlled mir-142-3p can target its activator, Bmal1 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:27.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are shown to be involved in the regulation of circadian clock. However, it remains largely unknown whether miRNAs can regulate the core clock genes (Clock and Bmal1).
In this study, we found that mir-142-3p directly targeted the 3’UTR of human BMAL1 and mouse Bmal1. The over-expression (in 293ET and NIH3T3 cells) and knockdown (in U87MG cells) of mir-142-3p reduced and up-regulated the Bmal1/BMAL1 mRNA and protein levels, respectively. Moreover, the expression level of mir-142-3p oscillated in serum-shocked NIH3T3 cells and the results of ChIP and luciferase reporter assays suggested that the expression of mir-142-3p was directly controlled by CLOCK/BMAL1 heterodimers in NIH3T3 cells.
Our study demonstrates that mir-142-3p can directly target the 3’UTR of Bmal1. In addition, the expression of mir-142-3p is controlled by CLOCK/BMAL1 heterodimers, suggesting a potential negative feedback loop consisting of the miRNAs and the core clock genes. These findings open new perspective for studying the molecular mechanism of circadian clock.
PMCID: PMC3482555  PMID: 22958478
mir-142-3p; Bmal1; Circadian clock

Results 26-50 (714)