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1.  Ribonomic analysis of human DZIP1 reveals its involvement in ribonucleoprotein complexes and stress granules 
BMC Molecular Biology  2014;15:12.
DZIP1 (DAZ-interacting protein 1) has been described as a component of the Hh signaling pathway with a putative regulatory role in ciliogenesis. DZIP1 interacts with DAZ RNA binding proteins in embryonic stem cells and human germ cells suggesting a role in mRNA regulation.
We investigated DZIP1 function in HeLa cells and its involvement in ribonucleoprotein complexes. DZIP1 was predominantly located in granules in the cytoplasm. Under oxidative stress conditions, DZIP1 re-localized to stress granules. DZIP appears to be important for the formation of stress granules during the stress response. We used immunoprecipitation assays with antibodies against DZIP1 and microarray hybridization to identify mRNAs associated with DZIP1. The genetic networks formed by the DZIP1-associated mRNAs were involved in cell cycle and gene expression regulation. DZIP1 is involved in the Hedgehog signaling pathway. We used cyclopamine, a specific inhibitor of this pathway, to analyze the expression of DZIP1 and its associated mRNAs. The abundance of DZIP1-associated mRNAs increased with treatment; however, the silencing or overexpression of DZIP1 in HeLa cells had no effect on the accumulation of the associated mRNAs. Polysomal profile analysis by sucrose gradient centrifugation demonstrated the presence of DZIP1 in the polysomal fraction.
Our results suggest that DZIP1 is part of an RNP complex that occupies various subcellular locations. The diversity of the mRNAs associated with DZIP1 suggests that this protein is a component of different RNPs associated with translating polysomes and with RNA granules.
PMCID: PMC4091656  PMID: 24993635
DZIP1; Ribonucleoprotein; Stress granules; Polysome; Hedgehog signaling
2.  mRNA Localization Mechanisms in Trypanosoma cruzi 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81375.
Asymmetric mRNA localization is a sophisticated tool for regulating and optimizing protein synthesis and maintaining cell polarity. Molecular mechanisms involved in the regulated localization of transcripts are widespread in higher eukaryotes and fungi, but not in protozoa. Trypanosomes are ancient eukaryotes that branched off early in eukaryote evolution. We hypothesized that these organisms would have basic mechanisms of mRNA localization. FISH assays with probes against transcripts coding for proteins with restricted distributions showed a discrete localization of the mRNAs in the cytoplasm. Moreover, cruzipain mRNA was found inside reservosomes suggesting new unexpected functions for this vacuolar organelle. Individual mRNAs were also mobilized to RNA granules in response to nutritional stress. The cytoplasmic distribution of these transcripts changed with cell differentiation, suggesting that localization mechanisms might be involved in the regulation of stage-specific protein expression. Transfection assays with reporter genes showed that, as in higher eukaryotes, 3′UTRs were responsible for guiding mRNAs to their final location. Our results strongly suggest that Trypanosoma cruzi have a core, basic mechanism of mRNA localization. This kind of controlled mRNA transport is ancient, dating back to early eukaryote evolution.
PMCID: PMC3852752  PMID: 24324687
3.  Role of Alternative Polyadenylation during Adipogenic Differentiation: An In Silico Approach 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75578.
Post-transcriptional regulation of stem cell differentiation is far from being completely understood. Changes in protein levels are not fully correlated with corresponding changes in mRNAs; the observed differences might be partially explained by post-transcriptional regulation mechanisms, such as alternative polyadenylation. This would involve changes in protein binding, transcript usage, miRNAs and other non-coding RNAs. In the present work we analyzed the distribution of alternative transcripts during adipogenic differentiation and the potential role of miRNAs in post-transcriptional regulation. Our in silico analysis suggests a modest, consistent, bias in 3′UTR lengths during differentiation enabling a fine-tuned transcript regulation via small non-coding RNAs. Including these effects in the analyses partially accounts for the observed discrepancies in relative abundance of protein and mRNA.
PMCID: PMC3797115  PMID: 24143171
4.  PUMILIO-2 Is Involved in the Positive Regulation of Cellular Proliferation in Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cells 
Stem Cells and Development  2011;21(2):217-227.
Stem cells can either differentiate into more specialized cells or undergo self-renewal. Several lines of evidence from different organisms suggest that these processes depend on the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. The presence of the PUF [Pumilio/FBF (fem-3 binding factor)] domain defines a conserved family of RNA binding proteins involved in repressing gene expression. It has been suggested that a conserved function of PUF proteins is to repress differentiation and sustain the mitotic proliferation of stem cells. In humans, Pumilio-2 (PUM2) is expressed in embryonic stem cells and adult germ cells. Here we show that PUM2 is expressed in a subpopulation of adipose-derived stem cell (ASC) cultures, with a granular pattern of staining in the cytoplasm. Protein levels of PUM2 showed no changes during the differentiation of ASCs into adipocytes. Moreover, RNAi knockdown of pum2 did not alter the rate of adipogenic differentiation compared with wild-type control cells. A ribonomic approach was used to identify PUM2-associated mRNAs. Microarray analysis showed that PUM2-bound mRNAs are part of gene networks involved in cell proliferation and gene expression control. We studied pum2 expression in cell cultures with low or very high levels of proliferation and found that changes in pum2 production were dependent on the proliferation status of the cell. Transient knockdown of pum2 expression by RNAi impaired proliferation of ASCs in vitro. Our results suggest that PUM2 does not repress differentiation of ASCs but rather is involved in the positive control of ASCs division and proliferation.
PMCID: PMC3258435  PMID: 21649561
5.  The Trypanosoma cruzi nucleic acid binding protein Tc38 presents changes in the intramitochondrial distribution during the cell cycle 
BMC Microbiology  2009;9:34.
Tc38 of Trypanosoma cruzi has been isolated as a single stranded DNA binding protein with high specificity for the poly [dT-dG] sequence. It is present only in Kinetoplastidae protozoa and its sequence lacks homology to known functional domains. Tc38 orthologues present in Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania were proposed to participate in quite different cellular processes. To further understand the function of this protein in Trypanosoma cruzi, we examined its in vitro binding to biologically relevant [dT-dG] enriched sequences, its expression and subcellular localization during the cell cycle and through the parasite life stages.
By using specific antibodies, we found that Tc38 protein from epimastigote extracts participates in complexes with the poly [dT-dG] probe as well as with the universal minicircle sequence (UMS), a related repeated sequence found in maxicircle DNA, and the telomeric repeat. However, we found that Tc38 predominantly localizes into the mitochondrion. Though Tc38 is constitutively expressed through non-replicating and replicating life stages of T. cruzi, its subcellular localization in the unique parasite mitochondrion changes according to the cell cycle stage. In epimastigotes, Tc38 is found only in association with kDNA in G1 phase. From the S to G2 phase the protein localizes in two defined and connected spots flanking the kDNA. These spots disappear in late G2 turning into a diffuse dotted signal which extends beyond the kinetoplast. This later pattern is more evident in mitosis and cytokinesis. Finally, late in cytokinesis Tc38 reacquires its association with the kinetoplast. In non-replicating parasite stages such as trypomastigotes, the protein is found only surrounding the entire kinetoplast structure.
The dynamics of Tc38 subcellular localization observed during the cell cycle and life stages support a major role for Tc38 related to kDNA replication and maintenance.
PMCID: PMC2654453  PMID: 19210781
6.  Trypanosoma cruzi: Molecular characterization of an RNA binding protein differentially expressed in the parasite life cycle 
Experimental parasitology  2007;117(1):99-105.
Molecular studies have shown several peculiarities in the regulatory mechanisms of gene expression in trypanosomatids. Protein coding genes are organized in long polycistronic units that seem to be constitutively transcribed. Therefore, post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression is considered to be the main point for control of transcript abundance and functionality. Here we describe the characterization of a 17 kDa RNA-binding protein from Trypanosoma cruzi (TcRBP19) containing an RNA recognition motive (RRM). This protein is coded by a single copy gene located in a high molecular weight chromosome of T. cruzi. Orthologous genes are present in the TriTryp genomes. TcRBP19 shows target selectivity since among the different homoribopolymers it preferentially binds polyC. TcRBP19 is a low expression protein only barely detected at the amastigote stage localizing in a diffuse pattern in the cytoplasm.
PMCID: PMC2020836  PMID: 17475252
Kinetoplastida; Trypanosoma cruzi; RNA binding proteins; RRM protein; TcRBP19
7.  Small-Subunit rRNA Processome Proteins Are Translationally Regulated during Differentiation of Trypanosoma cruzi▿ †  
Eukaryotic Cell  2006;6(2):337-345.
We used differential display to select genes differentially expressed during differentiation of epimastigotes into metacyclic trypomastigotes in the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. One of the selected clones had a sequence similar to that of the small-subunit (SSU) processome protein Sof1p, which is involved in rRNA processing. The corresponding T. cruzi protein, TcSof1, displayed a nuclear localization and is downregulated during metacyclogenesis. Heterologous RNA interference assays showed that depletion of this protein impaired growth but did not affect progression through the cell cycle, suggesting that ribosome synthesis regulation and the cell cycle are uncoupled in this parasite. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays of several SSU processome-specific genes in T. cruzi also showed that most of them were regulated posttranscriptionally. This process involves the accumulation of mRNA in the polysome fraction of metacyclic trypomastigotes, where TcSof1 cannot be detected. Metacyclic trypomastigote polysomes were purified and separated by sucrose gradient sedimentation. Northern blot analysis of the sucrose gradient fractions showed the association of TcSof1 mRNA with polysomes, confirming the qPCR data. The results suggest that the mechanism of regulation involves the blocking of translation elongation and/or termination.
PMCID: PMC1797946  PMID: 17158738
8.  Swine and Poultry Pathogens: the Complete Genome Sequences of Two Strains of Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and a Strain of Mycoplasma synoviae†  
Vasconcelos, Ana Tereza R. | Ferreira, Henrique B. | Bizarro, Cristiano V. | Bonatto, Sandro L. | Carvalho, Marcos O. | Pinto, Paulo M. | Almeida, Darcy F. | Almeida, Luiz G. P. | Almeida, Rosana | Alves-Filho, Leonardo | Assunção, Enedina N. | Azevedo, Vasco A. C. | Bogo, Maurício R. | Brigido, Marcelo M. | Brocchi, Marcelo | Burity, Helio A. | Camargo, Anamaria A. | Camargo, Sandro S. | Carepo, Marta S. | Carraro, Dirce M. | de Mattos Cascardo, Júlio C. | Castro, Luiza A. | Cavalcanti, Gisele | Chemale, Gustavo | Collevatti, Rosane G. | Cunha, Cristina W. | Dallagiovanna, Bruno | Dambrós, Bibiana P. | Dellagostin, Odir A. | Falcão, Clarissa | Fantinatti-Garboggini, Fabiana | Felipe, Maria S. S. | Fiorentin, Laurimar | Franco, Gloria R. | Freitas, Nara S. A. | Frías, Diego | Grangeiro, Thalles B. | Grisard, Edmundo C. | Guimarães, Claudia T. | Hungria, Mariangela | Jardim, Sílvia N. | Krieger, Marco A. | Laurino, Jomar P. | Lima, Lucymara F. A. | Lopes, Maryellen I. | Loreto, Élgion L. S. | Madeira, Humberto M. F. | Manfio, Gilson P. | Maranhão, Andrea Q. | Martinkovics, Christyanne T. | Medeiros, Sílvia R. B. | Moreira, Miguel A. M. | Neiva, Márcia | Ramalho-Neto, Cicero E. | Nicolás, Marisa F. | Oliveira, Sergio C. | Paixão, Roger F. C. | Pedrosa, Fábio O. | Pena, Sérgio D. J. | Pereira, Maristela | Pereira-Ferrari, Lilian | Piffer, Itamar | Pinto, Luciano S. | Potrich, Deise P. | Salim, Anna C. M. | Santos, Fabrício R. | Schmitt, Renata | Schneider, Maria P. C. | Schrank, Augusto | Schrank, Irene S. | Schuck, Adriana F. | Seuanez, Hector N. | Silva, Denise W. | Silva, Rosane | Silva, Sérgio C. | Soares, Célia M. A. | Souza, Kelly R. L. | Souza, Rangel C. | Staats, Charley C. | Steffens, Maria B. R. | Teixeira, Santuza M. R. | Urmenyi, Turan P. | Vainstein, Marilene H. | Zuccherato, Luciana W. | Simpson, Andrew J. G. | Zaha, Arnaldo
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(16):5568-5577.
This work reports the results of analyses of three complete mycoplasma genomes, a pathogenic (7448) and a nonpathogenic (J) strain of the swine pathogen Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and a strain of the avian pathogen Mycoplasma synoviae; the genome sizes of the three strains were 920,079 bp, 897,405 bp, and 799,476 bp, respectively. These genomes were compared with other sequenced mycoplasma genomes reported in the literature to examine several aspects of mycoplasma evolution. Strain-specific regions, including integrative and conjugal elements, and genome rearrangements and alterations in adhesin sequences were observed in the M. hyopneumoniae strains, and all of these were potentially related to pathogenicity. Genomic comparisons revealed that reduction in genome size implied loss of redundant metabolic pathways, with maintenance of alternative routes in different species. Horizontal gene transfer was consistently observed between M. synoviae and Mycoplasma gallisepticum. Our analyses indicated a likely transfer event of hemagglutinin-coding DNA sequences from M. gallisepticum to M. synoviae.
PMCID: PMC1196056  PMID: 16077101

Results 1-8 (8)