Numerous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with complex diseases have been identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) studies. However, few of these SNPs have explicit biological functions. Recent studies indicated that the SNPs within the 3’UTR regions of susceptibility genes could affect complex traits/diseases by affecting the function of miRNAs. These 3’UTR SNPs are functional candidates and therefore of interest to GWAS and eQTL researchers.
We developed a publicly available online database, MirSNP (http://cmbi.bjmu.edu.cn/mirsnp), which is a collection of human SNPs in predicted miRNA-mRNA binding sites. We identified 414,510 SNPs that might affect miRNA-mRNA binding. Annotations were added to these SNPs to predict whether a SNP within the target site would decrease/break or enhance/create an miRNA-mRNA binding site. By applying MirSNP database to three brain eQTL data sets, we identified four unreported SNPs (rs3087822, rs13042, rs1058381, and rs1058398), which might affect miRNA binding and thus affect the expression of their host genes in the brain. We also applied the MirSNP database to our GWAS for schizophrenia: seven predicted miRNA-related SNPs (p < 0.0001) were found in the schizophrenia GWAS. Our findings identified the possible functions of these SNP loci, and provide the basis for subsequent functional research.
MirSNP could identify the putative miRNA-related SNPs from GWAS and eQTLs researches and provide the direction for subsequent functional researches.
microRNA; Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP); Genome-wide association study (GWAS); Expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs); MirSNP
To date, several studies have indicated a major role for microRNAs (miRNAs) in regulating plant development, but miRNA-mediated regulation of the developing somatic embryo is poorly understood, especially during early stages of somatic embryogenesis in hardwood plants. In this study, Solexa sequencing and miRNA microfluidic chips were used to discover conserved and species-specific miRNAs during somatic embryogenesis of hybrid yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera×L. chinense).
A total of 17,214,153 reads representing 7,421,623 distinct sequences were obtained from a short RNA library generated from small RNAs extracted from all stages of somatic embryos. Through a combination of deep sequencing and bioinformatic analyses, we discovered 83 sequences with perfect matches to known miRNAs from 33 conserved miRNA families and 273 species-specific candidate miRNAs. MicroRNA microarray results demonstrated that many conserved and species-specific miRNAs were expressed in hybrid yellow poplar embryos. In addition, the microarray also detected another 149 potential miRNAs, belonging to 29 conserved families, which were not discovered by deep sequencing analysis. The biological processes and molecular functions of the targets of these miRNAs were predicted by carrying out BLAST search against Arabidopsis thaliana GenBank sequences and then analyzing the results with Gene Ontology.
Solexa sequencing and microarray hybridization were used to discover 232 candidate conserved miRNAs from 61 miRNA families and 273 candidate species-specific miRNAs in hybrid yellow poplar. In these predicted miRNAs, 64 conserved miRNAs and 177 species-specific miRNAs were detected by both sequencing and microarray hybridization. Our results suggest that miRNAs have wide-ranging characteristics and important roles during all stages of somatic embryogenesis in this economically important species.
Recombinant interferon-γ (IFNγ) production in cultured lentivirus (LV) was explored for inhibition of target virus in cells co-infected with adenovirus type 5 (Ad5). The ability of three different promoters of CMV, EF1α and Ubiquitin initiating the enhanced green fluorescence protein (GFP) activities within lentiviruses was systematically assessed in various cell lines, which showed that certain cell lines selected the most favorable promoter driving a high level of transgenic expression. Recombinant IFNγ lentivirus carrying CMV promoter (LV-CMV-IFNγ) was generated to co-infect 293A cells with a viral surrogate of recombinant GFP Ad5 in parallel with LV-CMV-GFP control. The best morphologic conditions were observed from the two lentiviruses co-infected cells, while single adenovirus infected cells underwent clear pathologic changes. Viral load of adenoviruses from LV-CMV-IFNγ or LV-CMV-GFP co-infected cell cultures was significantly lower than that from adenovirus alone infected cells (P = 0.005–0.041), and the reduction of adenoviral load in the co-infected cells was 86% and 61%, respectively. Ad5 viral load from LV-CMV-IFNγ co-infected cells was significantly lower than that from LV-CMV-GFP co-infection (P = 0.032), which suggested that IFNγ rather than GFP could further enhance the inhibition of Ad5 replication in the recombinant lentivirus co-infected cells. The results suggest that LV-CMV-IFNγ co-infection could significantly inhibit the target virus replication and might be a potential approach for alternative therapy of severe viral diseases.
Mycoplasma iowae is associated mainly with reduced hatchability in turkeys and is well known for the unusual ability of phenotypic variation in the Mycoplasma surface components as well as a relative resistance to heat, bile salts, and many antimicrobials. A subset of unique genes and a gene cluster responsible for these characteristics could be identified from the genome. Here, we report the first genome sequence of this species.
Metal ions are important micronutrients in cellular metabolism, but excess ions that cause toxic reactive oxygen species are harmful to cells. In bacteria, Fur family proteins such as Fur, Zur and PerR manage the iron and zinc uptake and oxidative stress responses, respectively. The single Fur-like protein (annotated as PerR) in Streptococcus suis has been demonstrated to be involved in zinc and iron uptake in previous studies, but the reports on oxidative stress response and gene regulation are limited.
In the present study, the perR gene deletion mutant ΔperR was constructed in Streptococcus suis serotype 2 strain SC-19, and the mutant strain ΔperR exhibited less sensitivity to H2O2 stress compared to the wild-type. The dpr and metQIN were found to be upregulated in the ΔperR strain compared with SC-19. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that the promoters of dpr and metQIN could be bound by the PerR protein. These results suggest that dpr and metQIN are members of the PerR regulon of S. suis. dpr encodes a Dps-like peroxide resistance protein, and the dpr knockout strains (Δdpr and ΔdprΔperR) were highly sensitive to H2O2. MetQIN is a methionine transporter, and the increased utilization of methionine in the ΔperR strain indirectly affected the peroxide resistance. Using a promoter–EGFP gene fusion reporting system, we found that the PerR regulon was induced by H2O2, and the induction was modulated by metal ions. Finally, we found that the pathogenicity of the perR mutant was attenuated and easily cleared by mice.
These data strongly suggest that the Fur-like protein PerR directly regulates dpr and metQIN and plays a crucial role in oxidative stress response in S. suis.
Protein lysine acetylation plays an important role in the normal functioning of cells, including gene expression regulation, protein stability and metabolism regulation. Although large amounts of lysine acetylation sites have been identified via large-scale mass spectrometry or traditional experimental methods, the lysine (K)-acetyl-transferase (KAT) responsible for the acetylation of a given protein or lysine site remains largely unknown due to the experimental limitations of KAT substrate identification. Hence, the in silico prediction of KAT-specific acetylation sites may provide direction for further experiments. In our previous study, we developed the acetylation set enrichment based (ASEB) computer program to predict which KAT-families are responsible for the acetylation of a given protein or lysine site. In this article, we provide KAT-specific acetylation site prediction as a web service. This web server not only provides the online tool and R package for the method in our previous study, but several useful services are also included, such as the integration of protein–protein interaction information to enhance prediction accuracy. This web server can be freely accessed at http://cmbi.bjmu.edu.cn/huac.
The oncoprotein c-Jun is one of the components of the activator protein-1 (AP-1) transcription factor complex. AP-1 regulates the expression of many genes and is involved in a variety of biological functions such as cell transformation, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. AP-1 activates a variety of tumor-related genes and therefore promotes tumorigenesis and malignant transformation. Here, we found that epidermal growth factor (EGF) induces phosphorylation of c-Jun by P21-activated kinase (PAK) 2. Our data showed that PAK2 binds and phosphorylates c-Jun at five threonine sites (Thr2, Thr8, Thr89, Thr93 and Thr286) in vitro and ex vivo. Knockdown of PAK2 in JB6 Cl41 (P+) cells had no effect on c-Jun phosphorylation at Ser63 or Ser73 but resulted in decreases in EGF-induced anchorage-independent cell transformation, proliferation and AP-1 activity. Mutation at all five c-Jun threonine sites phosphorylated by PAK2 decreased the transforming ability of JB6 cells. Knockdown of PAK2 in SK-MEL-5 melanoma cells also decreased colony formation, proliferation and AP-1 activity. These results indicated that PAK2/c-Jun signaling plays an important role in EGF-induced cell proliferation and transformation.
Protein ubiquitination is an evolutionarily conserved and functionally diverse post-translational modification achieved through the sequential action of E1-activating enzymes, E2-conjugating enzymes and E3 ligases. A summary of validated ubiquitination substrates have been presented and a prediction of new substrates have been conducted in yeast. However, a systematic summary of human ubiquitination substrates containing experimental evidence and the enzymatic cascade of each substrate is not available. In the present study, hUbiquitome web resource is introduced, a public resource for the retrieval of experimentally verified human ubiquitination enzymes and substrates. hUbiquitome is the first comprehensive database of human ubiquitination cascades. Currently, hUbiquitome has in its repertoire curated data comprising 1 E1 enzyme, 12 E2 enzymes, 138 E3 ligases or complexes, 279 different substrate proteins and 17 deubiquitination enzyme terms. The biological functions of substrates from different kinds of E3s were analyzed using the collected data. The findings show that substrates ubiquitinated by RING (Really Interesting New Gene) E3s are enriched most in apoptosis-related processes, whereas substrates ubiquitinated by other E3s are enriched in gene expression-associated processes. An analysis of the data demonstrates the biological process preferences of the different kinds of E3s. hUbiquitome is the first database to systematically collect experimentally validated ubiquitinated proteins and related ubiquitination cascade enzymes which might be helpful in the field of ubiquitination-modification research.
Database URL: http://126.96.36.199/hmdd/hubi/
Imatinib Mesylate (Gleevec) is a drug that potently counteracts diabetes both in humans and in animal models for human diabetes. We have previously reported that this compound in human pancreatic islets stimulates NF-κB signaling and islet cell survival. The aim of this study was to investigate control of NF-κB post-translational modifications exerted by Imatinib and whether any such effects are associated with altered islet gene expression and chemokine production in vitro.
Human islets were either left untreated or treated with Imatinib for different timepoints. IκB-α and NF-κB p65 phosphorylation and methylation were assessed by immunoblot analysis. Islet gene expression was assessed using a commercial Pathway Finder microarray kit and RT-PCR. Islet chemokine production was determined by flow cytometric bead array analysis.
Human islet IκB-α and Ser276-p65 phosphorylation were increased by a 20 minute Imatinib exposure. Methylation of p65 at position Lys221 was increased after 60 min of Imatinib exposure and persisted for 3 hours. Microarray analysis of islets exposed to Imatinib for 4 hours revealed increased expression of the inflammatory genes IL-4R, TCF5, DR5, I-TRAF, I-CAM, HSP27 and IL-8. The islet release of IL-8 was augmented in islets cultured over night in the presence of Imatinib. Following 30 hours of Imatinib exposure, the cytokine-induced IκB-α and STAT1 phosphorylation was abolished and diminished, respectively. The cytokine-induced release of the chemokines MIG and IP10 was lower in islets exposed to Imatinib for 30 hours.
Imatinib by itself promotes a modest activation of NF-κB. However, a prolonged exposure of human islets to Imatinib is associated with a dampened response to cytokines. It is possible that Imatinib induces NF-κB preconditioning of islet cells leading to lowered cytokine sensitivity and a mitigated islet inflammation.
Halolysin SptA from haloarchaeon Natrinema sp. J7 consists of a subtilisin-like catalytic domain and a C-terminal extension (CTE) containing two cysteine residues. In this report, we have investigated the function of the CTE using recombinant enzymes expressed in Haloferax volcanii WFD11. Deletion of the CTE greatly reduced but did not abolish protease activity, which suggests that the CTE is not essential for enzyme folding. Mutational analysis suggests that residues Cys303 and Cys338 within the CTE form a disulfide bond that make this domain resistant to autocleavage and proteolysis under hypotonic conditions. Characterization of full-length and CTE-truncation enzymes indicates the CTE not only confers extra stability to the enzyme but also assists enzyme activity on protein substrates by facilitating binding at high salinities. Interestingly, homology modeling of the CTE yields a β-jelly roll-like structure similar to those seen in Claudin-binding domain of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (clostridial C-CPE) and collagen binding domain (CBD), and the CTE also possesses collagen-binding activity, making it a potential candidate as an anchoring unit in drug delivery systems.
The Gram-negative bacterium Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae is the etiologic agent of porcine contagious pleuropneumoniae, a lethal respiratory infectious disease causing great economic losses in the swine industry worldwide. In order to better interpret the genetic background of serotypic diversity, nine genomes of A. pleuropneumoniae reference strains of serovars 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13 were sequenced by using rapid high-throughput approach. Based on 12 genomes of corresponding serovar reference strains including three publicly available complete genomes (serovars 3, 5b, and 7) of this bacterium, we performed a comprehensive analysis of comparative genomics and first reported a global genomic characterization for this pathogen. Clustering of 26,012 predicted protein-coding genes showed that the pan genome of A. pleuropneumoniae consists of 3,303 gene clusters, which contain 1,709 core genome genes, 822 distributed genes, and 772 strain-specific genes. The genome components involved in the biogenesis of capsular polysaccharide and lipopolysaccharide O antigen relative to serovar diversity were compared, and their genetic diversity was depicted. Our findings shed more light on genomic features associated with serovar diversity of A. pleuropneumoniae and provide broader insight into both pathogenesis research and clinical/epidemiological application against the severe disease caused by this swine pathogen.
Functional studies have demonstrated that microRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) play critical roles in a wide spectrum of biological processes including development and disease pathogenesis. To investigate the functional roles that miRNAs play during chicken skeletal muscle development, the miRNA transcriptomes of skeletal muscles from broiler and layer chickens were profiled using Solexa deep sequencing.
Some miRNAs have multiple isoforms and several miRNAs* are present at higher levels than their corresponding miRNAs. Thirty three novel and 189 known chicken miRNAs were identified using computational approaches. Subsequent miRNA transcriptome comparisons and real-time PCR validation experiments revealed 17 miRNAs that were differentially expressed between broilers and layers, and a number of targets of these miRNAs have been implicated in myogenesis regulation. Using integrative miRNA target-prediction and network-analysis approaches an interaction network of differentially expressed and muscle-related miRNAs and their putative targets was constructed, and miRNAs that could contribute to the divergent muscle growth of broiler and layer chickens by targeting the ACVR2B gene were identified, which can causes dramatic increases in muscle mass.
The present study provides the first transcriptome profiling-based evaluation of miRNA function during skeletal muscle development in chicken. Systematic predictions aided the identification of potential miRNAs and their targets, which could contribute to divergent muscle growth in broiler and layer chickens. Furthermore, these predictions generated information that can be utilized in further research investigating the involvement of interaction networks, containing miRNAs and their targets, in the regulation of muscle development.
The liver performs a number of essential functions for life. The development of such a complex organ relies on finely regulated gene expression profiles which change over time in the development and determine the phenotype and function of the liver. We used high-density oligonucleotide microarrays to study the gene expression and transcription regulation at 14 time points across the C57/B6 mouse liver development, which include E11.5 (embryonic day 11.5), E12.5, E13.5, E14.5, E15.5, E16.5, E17.5, E18.5, Day0 (the day of birth), Day3, Day7, Day14, Day21, and normal adult liver. With these data, we made a comprehensive analysis on gene expression patterns, functional preferences and transcriptional regulations during the liver development. A group of uncharacterized genes which might be involved in the fetal hematopoiesis were detected.
liver development; microarray; gene expression; function; transcriptional regulation
Although widely prescribed for their potent antiinflammatory actions, glucocorticoid drugs (e.g., dexamethasone) cause undesirable side effects that are features of the metabolic syndrome, including hyperglycemia, fatty liver, insulin resistance, and type II diabetes. Liver x receptors (LXRs) are nuclear receptors that respond to cholesterol metabolites and regulate the expression of a subset of glucocorticoid target genes. Here, we show LXRβ is required to mediate many of the negative side effects of glucocorticoids. Mice lacking LXRβ (but not LXRα) were resistant to dexamethasone-induced hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, and hepatic steatosis, but remained sensitive to dexamethasone-dependent repression of the immune system. In vivo, LXRα/β knockout mice demonstrated reduced dexamethasone-induced expression of the key hepatic gluconeogenic gene, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK). In perfused liver and primary mouse hepatocytes, LXRβ was required for glucocorticoid-induced recruitment of the glucocorticoid receptor to the PEPCK promoter. These findings suggest a new avenue for the design of safer glucocorticoid drugs through a mechanism of selective glucocorticoid receptor transactivation.
Phosphorylation is an important type of protein post-translational modification. Identification of possible phosphorylation sites of a protein is important for understanding its functions. Unbiased screening for phosphorylation sites by in vitro or in vivo experiments is time consuming and expensive; in silico prediction can provide functional candidates and help narrow down the experimental efforts. Most of the existing prediction algorithms take only the polypeptide sequence around the phosphorylation sites into consideration. However, protein phosphorylation is a very complex biological process in vivo. The polypeptide sequences around the potential sites are not sufficient to determine the phosphorylation status of those residues. In the current work, we integrated various data sources such as protein functional domains, protein subcellular location and protein-protein interactions, along with the polypeptide sequences to predict protein phosphorylation sites. The heterogeneous information significantly boosted the prediction accuracy for some kinase families. To demonstrate potential application of our method, we scanned a set of human proteins and predicted putative phosphorylation sites for Cyclin-dependent kinases, Casein kinase 2, Glycogen synthase kinase 3, Mitogen-activated protein kinases, protein kinase A, and protein kinase C families (avaiable at http://cmbi.bjmu.edu.cn/huphospho). The predicted phosphorylation sites can serve as candidates for further experimental validation. Our strategy may also be applicable for the in silico identification of other post-translational modification substrates.
A functional polymorphism in the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) is reported to affect mood and behavior in humans. In this study, the effects of 5-HTTLPR polymorphism on neurobehavioral and mood domains that are known to be affected by elemental mercury (Hg°) exposure in human subjects were examined. The Behavioral Evaluation for Epidemiologic Studies (BEES) test battery was administered concurrently with urine and buccal-cell collections for 164 male dentists (DD) and 101 female dental assistants (DA) with occupational exposure to Hg° for an average of 19 and 10 yr, respectively. Geometric mean urinary mercury (Hg) levels in DD and DA were 2.52 (2.22) µg/L and 1.98 (1.98) µg/L, respectively. Corresponding indices of chronic occupational Hg° exposure, weighted for historical exposure, were 1212 (1877) and 316 (429). 5-HTTLPR status was 40% and 20% wild type, 40% and 56% single allelic substitution, and 20% and 24% double allelic substitution for the two genders. DD and DA were evaluated separately. Regression analyses controlled for age, premorbid intelligence, frequency of alcohol per week, and education. 5-HTTLPR polymorphism was associated with 5 behavioral measures in DD and with 12 behavioral measures in DA. Mood scores were more consistently associated with the variant in both groups. The strongest evidence for an additive effect for urinary Hg and 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in both groups was for tests of Finger TapAlternate and Hand SteadinessFactor1. Other significant additive effects that were less consistent across groups were also observed. These results add to the growing evidence of genetic determinants of mood and behavior that potentially increase susceptibility to Hg toxicity in humans.
Coproporphyrinogen oxidase (CPOX) catalyzes the two-step decarboxylation of coproporphyrinogen-III to protoporphyrinogen-IX in the heme biosynthetic pathway. Previously we described a specific polymorphism (A814C) in exon 4 of the human CPOX gene (CPOX4) and demonstrated that CPOX4 is associated with both modified urinary porphyrin excretion and increased neurobehavioral deficits among human subjects with low-level mercury (Hg) exposure. Here, we sought to characterize the gene products of CPOX and CPOX4 with respect to biochemical and kinetic properties. Coproporphyrinogen-III was incubated with recombinantly expressed and purified human CPOX and CPOX4 enzymes at various substrate concentrations, with or without Hg2+ present. Both CPOX and CPOX4 formed protoporphyrinogen-IX from coproporphyrinogen-III; however, the affinity of CPOX4 was twofold lower than that of CPOX (CPOX Km = 0.30μM, Vmax = 0.52 pmol protoporphyrin-IX; CPOX4 Km = 0.54μM, Vmax = 0.33 pmol protoporphyrin-IX). Hg2+ specifically inhibited the second step of coproporphyrinogen-III decarboxylation (harderoporphyrinogen to protoporphyrinogen-IX) in a dose dependent manner. We also compared the catalytic activities of CPOX and CPOX4 in human liver samples. The specific activities of CPOX in mutant livers were significantly lower (40–50%) than those of either wild-type or heterozygous. Additionally, enzymes from mutant, heterozygous and wild-type livers were comparably inhibited by Hg2+ (10μM), decreasing CPOX4 activity to 25% that of the wild-type enzyme. These findings suggest that CPOX4 may predispose to impaired heme biosynthesis, which is limited further by Hg exposure. These effects may underlie increased susceptibility to neurological deficits previously observed in Hg-exposed humans with CPOX4.
coproporphyrinogen oxidase; polymorphism; CPOX4; Hg
Recent studies have demonstrated that non-protein-coding RNAs (npcRNAs/ncRNAs) play important roles during eukaryotic development, species evolution, and in the etiology of disease. Rhesus macaques are the most widely used primate model in both biomedical research and primate evolutionary studies. However, most reports on these animals focus on the functional roles of protein-coding sequences, whereas very little is known about macaque ncRNAs.
In the present study, we performed the first systematic profiling of intermediate-size ncRNAs (50 to 500 nt) from the rhesus monkey by constructing a cDNA library. We identified 117 rhesus monkey ncRNAs, including 80 small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs), 29 other types of known RNAs (snRNAs, Y RNA, and others), and eight unclassified ncRNAs. Comparative genomic analysis and northern blot hybridizations demonstrated that some snoRNAs were lineage- or species-specific. Paralogous sequences were found for most rhesus monkey snoRNAs, the expression of which might be attributable to extensive duplication within the rhesus monkey genome. Further investigation of snoRNA flanking sequences showed that some rhesus monkey snoRNAs are retrogenes derived from L1-mediated integration. Finally, phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that birds and primates share some snoRNAs and host genes thereof, suggesting that both the relevant host genes and the snoRNAs contained therein may be inherited from a common ancestor. However, some rhesus monkey snoRNAs hosted by non-ribosome-related genes appeared after the evolutionary divergence between birds and mammals.
We provide the first experimentally-derived catalog of rhesus monkey ncRNAs and uncover some interesting genomic and evolutionary features. These findings provide important information for future functional characterization of snoRNAs during primate evolution.
Identifying the tissues in which a microRNA is expressed could enhance the understanding of the functions, the biological processes, and the diseases associated with that microRNA. However, the mechanisms of microRNA biogenesis and expression remain largely unclear and the identification of the tissues in which a microRNA is expressed is limited. Here, we present a machine learning based approach to predict whether an intronic microRNA show high co-expression with its host gene, by doing so, we could infer the tissues in which a microRNA is high expressed through the expression profile of its host gene. Our approach is able to achieve an accuracy of 79% in the leave-one-out cross validation and 95% on an independent testing dataset. We further estimated our method through comparing the predicted tissue specific microRNAs and the tissue specific microRNAs identified by biological experiments. This study presented a valuable tool to predict the co-expression patterns between human intronic microRNAs and their host genes, which would also help to understand the microRNA expression and regulation mechanisms. Finally, this framework can be easily extended to other species.
Alternative splicing expands transcriptome diversity and plays an important role in regulation of gene expression. Previous studies focus on the regulation of a single cassette exon, but recent experiments indicate that multiple cassette exons within a gene may interact with each other. This interaction can increase the potential to generate various transcripts and adds an extra layer of complexity to gene regulation. Several cases of exon interaction have been discovered. However, the extent to which the cassette exons coordinate with each other remains unknown.
Based on EST data, we employed a metric of correlation coefficients to describe the interaction between two adjacent cassette exons and then categorized these exon pairs into three different groups by their interaction (correlation) patterns. Sequence analysis demonstrates that strongly-correlated groups are more conserved and contain a higher proportion of pairs with reading frame preservation in a combinatorial manner. Multiple genome comparison further indicates that different groups of correlated pairs have different evolutionary courses: (1) The vast majority of positively-correlated pairs are old, (2) most of the weakly-correlated pairs are relatively young, and (3) negatively-correlated pairs are a mixture of old and young events.
We performed a large-scale analysis of interactions between adjacent cassette exons. Compared with weakly-correlated pairs, the strongly-correlated pairs, including both the positively and negatively correlated ones, show more evidence that they are under delicate splicing control and tend to be functionally important. Additionally, the positively-correlated pairs bear strong resemblance to constitutive exons, which suggests that they may evolve from ancient constitutive exons, while negatively and weakly correlated pairs are more likely to contain newly emerging exons.
Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae is the etiologic agent of porcine contagious pleuropneumonia, a cause of considerable world wide economic losses in the swine industry. We sequenced the complete genome of A. pleuropneumoniae, JL03, an isolate of serotype 3 prevalent in China. Its genome is a single chromosome of 2,242,062 base pairs containing 2,097 predicted protein-coding sequences, six ribosomal rRNA operons, and 63 tRNA genes. Preliminary analysis of the genomic sequence and the functions of the encoded proteins not only confirmed the present physiological and pathological knowledge but also offered new insights into the metabolic and virulence characteristics of this important pathogen. We identified a full spectrum of genes related to its characteristic chemoheterotrophic catabolism of fermentation and respiration with an incomplete TCA system for anabolism. In addition to confirming the lack of ApxI toxin, identification of a nonsense mutation in apxIVA and a 5′-proximal truncation of the flp operon deleting both its promoter and the flp1flp2tadV genes have provided convincing scenarios for the low virulence property of JL03. Comparative genomic analysis using the available sequences of other serotypes, probable strain (serotype)-specific genomic islands related to capsular polysaccharides and lipopolysaccharide O-antigen biosyntheses were identified in JL03, which provides a foundation for future research into the mechanisms of serotypic diversity of A. pleuropneumoniae.
The presence of non-conserved peripheral elements in all naturally occurring group I introns underline their importance in ensuring the natural intron function. Recently, we reported that some peripheral elements are conserved in group I introns of IE subgroup. Using self-splicing activity as a readout, our initial screening revealed that one such conserved peripheral elements, P2.1, is mainly required to fold the catalytically active structure of the Candida ribozyme, an IE intron. Unexpectedly, the essential function of P2.1 resides in a sequence-conserved short stem of P2.1 but not in a long-range interaction associated with the loop of P2.1 that stabilizes the ribozyme structure. The P2.1 stem is indispensable in folding the compact ribozyme core, most probably by forming a triple helical interaction with two core helices, P3 and P6. Surprisingly, although the ribozyme lacking the P2.1 stem renders a loosely folded core and the loss of self-splicing activity requires two consecutive transesterifications, the mutant ribozyme efficiently catalyzes the first transesterification reaction. These results suggest that the intron self-splicing demands much more ordered structure than does one independent transesterification, highlighting that the universally present peripheral elements achieve their functional importance by enabling the highly ordered structure through diverse tertiary interactions.