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1.  Protein Distributions from a Stochastic Model of the lac Operon of E. coli with DNA Looping: Analytical solution and comparison with experiments 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e102580.
Although noisy gene expression is widely accepted, its mechanisms are subjects of debate, stimulated largely by single-molecule experiments. This work is concerned with one such study, in which Choi et al., 2008, obtained real-time data and distributions of Lac permease in E. coli. They observed small and large protein bursts in strains with and without auxiliary operators. They also estimated the size and frequency of these bursts, but these were based on a stochastic model of a constitutive promoter. Here, we formulate and solve a stochastic model accounting for the existence of auxiliary operators and DNA loops. We find that DNA loop formation is so fast that small bursts are averaged out, making it impossible to extract their size and frequency from the data. In contrast, we can extract not only the size and frequency of the large bursts, but also the fraction of proteins derived from them. Finally, the proteins follow not the negative binomial distribution, but a mixture of two distributions, which reflect the existence of proteins derived from small and large bursts.
PMCID: PMC4108355  PMID: 25055040
2.  Use of Mutagenesis, Genetic Mapping and Next Generation Transcriptomics to Investigate Insecticide Resistance Mechanisms 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e40296.
Insecticide resistance is a worldwide problem with major impact on agriculture and human health. Understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms is crucial for the management of the phenomenon; however, this information often comes late with respect to the implementation of efficient counter-measures, particularly in the case of metabolism-based resistance mechanisms. We employed a genome-wide insertional mutagenesis screen to Drosophila melanogaster, using a Minos-based construct, and retrieved a line (MiT[w−]3R2) resistant to the neonicotinoid insecticide Imidacloprid. Biochemical and bioassay data indicated that resistance was due to increased P450 detoxification. Deep sequencing transcriptomic analysis revealed substantial over- and under-representation of 357 transcripts in the resistant line, including statistically significant changes in mixed function oxidases, peptidases and cuticular proteins. Three P450 genes (Cyp4p2, Cyp6a2 and Cyp6g1) located on the 2R chromosome, are highly up-regulated in mutant flies compared to susceptible Drosophila. One of them (Cyp6g1) has been already described as a major factor for Imidacloprid resistance, which validated the approach. Elevated expression of the Cyp4p2 was not previously documented in Drosophila lines resistant to neonicotinoids. In silico analysis using the Drosophila reference genome failed to detect transcription binding factors or microRNAs associated with the over-expressed Cyp genes. The resistant line did not contain a Minos insertion in its chromosomes, suggesting a hit-and-run event, i.e. an insertion of the transposable element, followed by an excision which caused the mutation. Genetic mapping placed the resistance locus to the right arm of the second chromosome, within a ∼1 Mb region, where the highly up-regulated Cyp6g1 gene is located. The nature of the unknown mutation that causes resistance is discussed on the basis of these results.
PMCID: PMC3386967  PMID: 22768270
3.  Wolbachia Prophage DNA Adenine Methyltransferase Genes in Different Drosophila-Wolbachia Associations 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19708.
Wolbachia is an obligatory intracellular bacterium which often manipulates the reproduction of its insect and isopod hosts. In contrast, Wolbachia is an essential symbiont in filarial nematodes. Lately, Wolbachia has been implicated in genomic imprinting of host DNA through cytosine methylation. The importance of DNA methylation in cell fate and biology calls for in depth studing of putative methylation-related genes. We present a molecular and phylogenetic analysis of a putative DNA adenine methyltransferase encoded by a prophage in the Wolbachia genome. Two slightly different copies of the gene, met1 and met2, exhibit a different distribution over various Wolbachia strains. The met2 gene is present in the majority of strains, in wAu, however, it contains a frameshift caused by a 2 bp deletion. Phylogenetic analysis of the met2 DNA sequences suggests a long association of the gene with the Wolbachia host strains. In addition, our analysis provides evidence for previously unnoticed multiple infections, the detection of which is critical for the molecular elucidation of modification and/or rescue mechanism of cytoplasmic incompatibility.
PMCID: PMC3089641  PMID: 21573076
4.  Feedback Regulation of Lac Repressor Expression in Escherichia coli▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;191(16):5301-5303.
Negative feedback regulation, mediated through repressor binding site O3, which overlaps the lacI gene, could explain the robustness of the weak expression of Lac repressor. Significant autorepression of Lac repressor has never been ruled out. In the work presented here, the degree of autoregulation of Lac repressor was determined. It is negligible.
PMCID: PMC2725603  PMID: 19502396
5.  The DNA transposon Minos as a tool for transgenesis and functional genomic analysis in vertebrates and invertebrates 
Genome Biology  2007;8(Suppl 1):S2.
Transposons are powerful tools for conducting genetic manipulation and functional studies in organisms that are of scientific, economic, or medical interest. Minos, a member of the Tc1/mariner family of DNA transposons, exhibits a low insertional bias and transposes with high frequency in vertebrates and invertebrates. Its use as a tool for transgenesis and genome analysis of rather different animal species is described.
PMCID: PMC2106841  PMID: 18047694
6.  “Cold-Sensitive” Mutants of the Lac Repressor▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;189(5):2174-2175.
Thirteen of more than 4,000 single-amino-acid-replacement mutants of the Lac repressor, generated by suppression of amber nonsense mutants, were characterized as having a cold-sensitive phenotype. However, when expressed as missense mutations, none of the replacements cause cold sensitivity, implicating the suppression mechanism as being responsible for this phenotype.
PMCID: PMC1855763  PMID: 17172344
7.  Induction of the lac promoter in the absence of DNA loops and the stoichiometry of induction 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(2):606-612.
In vivo induction of the Escherichia coli lactose operon as a function of inducer concentration generates a sigmoidal curve, indicating a non-linear response. Suggested explanations for this dependence include a 2:1 inducer–repressor stoichiometry of induction, which is the currently accepted view. It is, however, known for decades that, in vitro, operator binding as a function of inducer concentration is not sigmoidal. This discrepancy between in vivo and in vitro data has so far not been resolved. We demonstrate that the in vivo non-linearity of induction is due to cooperative repression of the wild-type lac operon through DNA loop formation. In the absence of DNA loops, in vivo induction curves are hyperbolic. In the light of this result, we re-address the question of functional molecular inducer–repressor stoichiometry in induction of the lac operon.
PMCID: PMC1345695  PMID: 16432263

Results 1-7 (7)