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1.  Peroxisomes take shape 
Peroxisomes carry out various oxidative reactions that are tightly regulated to adapt to the changing needs of the cell and varying external environments. Accordingly, they are remarkably fluid and can change dramatically in abundance, size, shape and content in response to numerous cues. These dynamics are controlled by multiple aspects of peroxisome biogenesis that are coordinately regulated with each other and with other cellular processes. Ongoing studies are deciphering the diverse molecular mechanisms that underlie biogenesis and how they cooperate to dynamically control peroxisome utility. These important challenges should lead to an understanding of peroxisome dynamics that can be capitalized upon for bioengineering and the development of therapies to improve human health.
doi:10.1038/nrm3700
PMCID: PMC4060825  PMID: 24263361
2.  Molecular mechanisms of system responses to novel stimuli are predictable from public data 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(3):1442-1460.
Systems scale models provide the foundation for an effective iterative cycle between hypothesis generation, experiment and model refinement. Such models also enable predictions facilitating the understanding of biological complexity and the control of biological systems. Here, we demonstrate the reconstruction of a globally predictive gene regulatory model from public data: a model that can drive rational experiment design and reveal new regulatory mechanisms underlying responses to novel environments. Specifically, using ∼1500 publically available genome-wide transcriptome data sets from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we have reconstructed an environment and gene regulatory influence network that accurately predicts regulatory mechanisms and gene expression changes on exposure of cells to completely novel environments. Focusing on transcriptional networks that induce peroxisomes biogenesis, the model-guided experiments allow us to expand a core regulatory network to include novel transcriptional influences and linkage across signaling and transcription. Thus, the approach and model provides a multi-scalar picture of gene dynamics and are powerful resources for exploiting extant data to rationally guide experimentation. The techniques outlined here are generally applicable to any biological system, which is especially important when experimental systems are challenging and samples are difficult and expensive to obtain—a common problem in laboratory animal and human studies.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkt938
PMCID: PMC3919619  PMID: 24185701
3.  A role for the nucleoporin Nup170p in chromatin structure and gene silencing 
Cell  2013;152(5):969-983.
Embedded in the nuclear envelope, nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) not only regulate nuclear transport, but also interface with transcriptionally active euchromatin, largely silenced heterochromatin, as well as the boundaries between these regions. It is unclear what functional role NPCs play in establishing or maintaining these distinct chromatin domains. We report that the yeast NPC protein Nup170p interacts with regions of the genome containing ribosomal protein and subtelomeric genes. Here, it functions in nucleosome positioning and as a repressor of transcription. We show that the role of Nup170p in subtelomeric gene silencing is linked to its association with the RSC chromatin-remodeling complex and the silencing factor Sir4p, and that the binding of Nup170p and Sir4p to subtelomeric chromatin is cooperative and necessary for the association of telomeres with the nuclear envelope. Our results establish the NPC as an active participant in silencing and the formation of peripheral heterochromatin.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2013.01.049
PMCID: PMC3690833  PMID: 23452847
nuclear pore complex; chromatin-remodeling; telomere; heterochromatin; ribosomal protein genes; RSC; Sth1p; Sir4p; Rap1p; Nup170p
4.  Multifunctional Double-negative T Cells in Sooty Mangabeys Mediate T-helper Functions Irrespective of SIV Infection 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(6):e1003441.
Studying SIV infection of natural host monkey species, such as sooty mangabeys, has provided insights into the immune changes associated with these nonprogressive infections. Mangabeys maintain immune health despite high viremia or the dramatic CD4 T cell depletion that can occur following multitropic SIV infection. Here we evaluate double-negative (DN)(CD3+CD4−CD8−) T cells that are resistant to SIV infection due to a lack of CD4 surface expression, for their potential to fulfill a role as helper T cells. We first determined that DN T cells are polyclonal and predominantly exhibit an effector memory phenotype (CD95+CD62L−). Microarray analysis of TCR (anti-CD3/CD28) stimulated DN T cells indicated that these cells are multifunctional and upregulate genes with marked similarity to CD4 T cells, such as immune genes associated with Th1 (IFNγ), Th2 (IL4, IL5, IL13, CD40L), Th17 (IL17, IL22) and TFH (IL21, ICOS, IL6) function, chemokines such as CXCL9 and CXCL10 and transcription factors known to be actively regulated in CD4 T cells. Multifunctional T-helper cell responses were maintained in DN T cells from uninfected and SIV infected mangabeys and persisted in mangabeys exhibiting SIV mediated CD4 loss. Interestingly, TCR stimulation of DN T cells from SIV infected mangabeys results in a decreased upregulation of IFNγ and increased IL5 and IL13 expression compared to uninfected mangabeys. Evaluation of proliferative capacity of DN T cells in vivo (BrDU labeling) indicated that these cells maintain their ability to proliferate despite SIV infection, and express the homeostatic cytokine receptors CD25 (IL2 receptor) and CD127 (IL7 receptor). This study identifies the potential for a CD4-negative T cell subset that is refractory to SIV infection to perform T-helper functions in mangabeys and suggests that immune therapeutics designed to increase DN T cell function during HIV infection may have beneficial effects for the host immune system.
Author Summary
SIV infection of sooty mangabeys is generally characterized by maintained CD4 T cell levels and a lack of disease progression despite active virus replication. We have previously shown however, that dramatic loss of CD4 T cells can occur during SIV infection of mangabeys. This study investigates the potential for double negative (DN) T cells (which lack CD4 and CD8, and are refractory to SIV/HIV infection) to perform helper T cell functions. In our study, sooty mangabey DN T cells exhibited a memory phenotype and a diverse repertoire in their T cell receptors. Once stimulated, the DN T cells expressed multiple cytokines, indicating that they have the potential to function as helper T cells (a function normally undertaken by CD4+ T cells). In SIV infected mangabeys, DN T cells continue to function, proliferate in vivo, and maintain expression of homeostatic cytokine receptors on their surface. It is therefore likely that DN T cells have the potential to compensate for the loss of CD4 T cells during SIV infection. These studies indicate that increasing DN T cell levels and/or function during pathogenic HIV infection may provide one tangible component of a functional cure, and inhibit progression to clinical disease and AIDS
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003441
PMCID: PMC3694849  PMID: 23825945
5.  A FOXO3/IRF7 gene regulatory circuit limits inflammatory sequelae of antiviral responses 
Nature  2012;490(7420):421-425.
Antiviral responses must be tightly regulated to rapidly defend against infection while minimizing inflammatory damage. Type 1 interferons (IFN-I) are crucial mediators of antiviral responses1 and their transcription is regulated by a variety of transcription factors2; principal amongst these is the family of interferon regulatory factors (IRFs)3. The IRF gene regulatory networks are complex and contain multiple feedback loops. The tools of systems biology are well suited to elucidate the complex interactions that give rise to precise coordination of the interferon response. Here we have used an unbiased systems approach to predict that a member of the forkhead family of transcription factors, FOXO3, is a negative regulator of a subset of antiviral genes. This prediction was validated using macrophages isolated from Foxo3-null mice. Genome-wide location analysis combined with gene deletion studies identified the Irf7 gene as a critical target of FOXO3. FOXO3 was identified as a negative regulator of Irf7 transcription and we have further demonstrated that FOXO3, IRF7 and IFN-I form a coherent feed-forward regulatory circuit. Our data suggest that the FOXO3-IRF7 regulatory circuit represents a novel mechanism for establishing the requisite set points in the interferon pathway that balances the beneficial effects and deleterious sequelae of the antiviral response.
doi:10.1038/nature11428
PMCID: PMC3556990  PMID: 22982991
6.  QTIPS: A novel method of unsupervised determination of isotopic amino acid distribution in SILAC experiments 
Stable incorporation of labeled amino acids in cell culture is a simple approach to label proteins in vivo for mass spectrometric quantification. Full incorporation of isotopically heavy amino acids facilitates accurate quantification of proteins from different cultures, yet analysis methods for determination of incorporation are cumbersome and time-consuming. We present QTIPS, Quantification by Total Identified Peptides for SILAC, a straightforward, accurate method to determine the level of heavy amino acid incorporation throughout a population of peptides detected by mass spectrometry. Using QTIPS, we show that the incorporation of heavy amino acids in baker’s yeast is unaffected by the use of prototrophic strains, indicating that auxotrophy is not a requirement for SILAC experiments in this organism. This method has general utility for multiple applications where isotopic labeling is used for quantification in mass spectrometry.
doi:10.1016/j.jasms.2010.04.002
PMCID: PMC2914207  PMID: 20451407
QTIPS; SILAC; auxotrophy; yeast
7.  Metallochaperones Regulate Intracellular Copper Levels 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(1):e1002880.
Copper (Cu) is an important enzyme co-factor that is also extremely toxic at high intracellular concentrations, making active efflux mechanisms essential for preventing Cu accumulation. Here, we have investigated the mechanistic role of metallochaperones in regulating Cu efflux. We have constructed a computational model of Cu trafficking and efflux based on systems analysis of the Cu stress response of Halobacterium salinarum. We have validated several model predictions via assays of transcriptional dynamics and intracellular Cu levels, discovering a completely novel function for metallochaperones. We demonstrate that in addition to trafficking Cu ions, metallochaperones also function as buffers to modulate the transcriptional responsiveness and efficacy of Cu efflux. This buffering function of metallochaperones ultimately sets the upper limit for intracellular Cu levels and provides a mechanistic explanation for previously observed Cu metallochaperone mutation phenotypes.
Author Summary
Copper (Cu) toxicity is a problem of medical, agricultural, and environmental significance. Cu toxicity severely inhibits growth of plant roots significantly affecting their morphology; Cu overload also accounts for some of the most common metal-metabolism abnormalities and neuropsychiatric problems including Wilson's and Menkes diseases. There is a large body of literature on how Cu enters and exits the cell; the kinetic and structural details of Cu translocation between trafficking, sensing, metabolic, and pumping proteins; and phenotypes associated with defects in metalloregulatory and efflux functions. Although the role of metallochaperones in Cu-cytotoxicity has been poorly studied, it has been observed that in animals deletion of metallochaperones results in elevated intracellular Cu levels along with overexpression of the P1-type ATPase efflux pump, ultimately causing malformation with high mortality. These observations are mechanistically explained by a predictive model of the Cu circuit in Halobacterium salinarum, which serves as an excellent model system for Cu trafficking and regulation in organisms with multiple chaperones. Constructed through iterative modeling and experimentation, this model accurately recapitulates known dynamical properties of the Cu circuit and predicts that intracellular Cu-buffering emerges as a consequence of the interplay of paralogous metallochaperones that traffic and allocate Cu to distinct targets.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002880
PMCID: PMC3551603  PMID: 23349626
8.  Systems cell biology of the mitotic spindle 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;188(1):7-9.
Cell division depends critically on the temporally controlled assembly of mitotic spindles, which are responsible for the distribution of duplicated chromosomes to each of the two daughter cells. To gain insight into the process, Vizeacoumar et al., in this issue (Vizeacoumar et al. 2010. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200909013), have combined systems genetics with high-throughput and high-content imaging to comprehensively identify and classify novel components that contribute to the morphology and function of the mitotic spindle.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200912028
PMCID: PMC2812858  PMID: 20065087
9.  Asymmetric positive feedback loops reliably control biological responses 
A common regulatory motif, where a heterodimeric transcriptional regulator positively autoregulates only one of its components, is found to have particular properties that enable precise and robust control of cellular responses to environmental stimuli, providing an explanation for the prevalence of this motif in evolved regulatory networks.
Many important biological systems rely on regulation by dimers of proteins which upregulate the transcription of numerous targets, including one, and only one, of the dimer pair. This is termed asymmetric self-upregulation.ASymmetric Self-UpREgulated (ASSURE) networks confer rapid induction of their targets and their network behaviors are robust to parameter variation—both features appear to have contributed to the prevalence of the network across widely different biological systems.Likely evolutionary precursors to ASSURE networks are symmetrically self-upregulated network mediated by homodimers. In silico and experimental studies demonstrate that the ASSURE network confers a competitive advantage over its symmetrical counterpart.
Positive feedback is a common mechanism enabling biological systems to respond to stimuli in a switch-like manner. Such systems are often characterized by the requisite formation of a heterodimer where only one of the pair is subject to feedback. This ASymmetric Self-UpREgulation (ASSURE) motif is central to many biological systems, including cholesterol homeostasis (LXRα/RXRα), adipocyte differentiation (PPARγ/RXRα), development and differentiation (RAR/RXR), myogenesis (MyoD/E12) and cellular antiviral defense (IRF3/IRF7). To understand why this motif is so prevalent, we examined its properties in an evolutionarily conserved transcriptional regulatory network in yeast (Oaf1p/Pip2p). We demonstrate that the asymmetry in positive feedback confers a competitive advantage and allows the system to robustly increase its responsiveness while precisely tuning the response to a consistent level in the presence of varying stimuli. This study reveals evolutionary advantages for the ASSURE motif, and mechanisms for control, that are relevant to pharmacologic intervention and synthetic biology applications.
doi:10.1038/msb.2012.10
PMCID: PMC3361002  PMID: 22531117
heterodimer; kinetic model; positive feedback; regulatory network motif; robustness
10.  Genome-wide analysis of signaling networks regulating fatty acid–induced gene expression and organelle biogenesis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2008;181(2):281-292.
Reversible phosphorylation is the most common posttranslational modification used in the regulation of cellular processes. This study of phosphatases and kinases required for peroxisome biogenesis is the first genome-wide analysis of phosphorylation events controlling organelle biogenesis. We evaluate signaling molecule deletion strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for presence of a green fluorescent protein chimera of peroxisomal thiolase, formation of peroxisomes, and peroxisome functionality. We find that distinct signaling networks involving glucose-mediated gene repression, derepression, oleate-mediated induction, and peroxisome formation promote stages of the biogenesis pathway. Additionally, separate classes of signaling proteins are responsible for the regulation of peroxisome number and size. These signaling networks specify the requirements of early and late events of peroxisome biogenesis. Among the numerous signaling proteins involved, Pho85p is exceptional, with functional involvements in both gene expression and peroxisome formation. Our study represents the first global study of signaling networks regulating the biogenesis of an organelle.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200710009
PMCID: PMC2315675  PMID: 18426976
11.  PAcIFIC goes faster, quantitative and accurate 
Analytical chemistry  2011;83(6):2250-2257.
Data-dependent precursor ion selection is widely used in shotgun proteomics to profile the protein components of complex samples. Although very popular, this bottom-up method presents major drawbacks in terms of detectable dynamic range. Recently, we demonstrated the superior performance of a data-independent method we termed Peptide Acquisition Independent From Ion Count (PAcIFIC). Here, we report a faster, accurate, multiplexed and quantitative PAcIFIC method. Our results show that the time needed to perform such analysis can be decreased by 33% to 66% using modern ion trap instruments and that high mass accuracy can be applied to such a strategy. Quantification capability is demonstrated on protein standards and a whole bacterial cell lysate using isobaric tagging. Finally, we confirm in yeast the dynamic range capabilities of such a method where proteins down to less than 50 copies per cell can be monitored without sample pre-fractionation.
doi:10.1021/ac103079q
PMCID: PMC3217585  PMID: 21341720
12.  Role of the nuclear envelope on genome organization and gene expression 
doi:10.1002/wsbm.101
PMCID: PMC3050641  PMID: 21305702
Nuclear pore; genome organization; gene expression; boundary activity
13.  The Yeast Nuclear Pore Complex and Transport Through It 
Genetics  2012;190(3):855-883.
Exchange of macromolecules between the nucleus and cytoplasm is a key regulatory event in the expression of a cell’s genome. This exchange requires a dedicated transport system: (1) nuclear pore complexes (NPCs), embedded in the nuclear envelope and composed of proteins termed nucleoporins (or “Nups”), and (2) nuclear transport factors that recognize the cargoes to be transported and ferry them across the NPCs. This transport is regulated at multiple levels, and the NPC itself also plays a key regulatory role in gene expression by influencing nuclear architecture and acting as a point of control for various nuclear processes. Here we summarize how the yeast Saccharomyces has been used extensively as a model system to understand the fundamental and highly conserved features of this transport system, revealing the structure and function of the NPC; the NPC’s role in the regulation of gene expression; and the interactions of transport factors with their cargoes, regulatory factors, and specific nucleoporins.
doi:10.1534/genetics.111.127803
PMCID: PMC3296253  PMID: 22419078
14.  The role of karyopherins in the regulated sumoylation of septins 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;177(1):39-49.
In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, several components of the septin ring are sumoylated during anaphase and then abruptly desumoylated at cytokinesis. We show that septin sumoylation is controlled by the interactions of two enzymes of the sumoylation pathway, Siz1p and Ulp1p, with the nuclear transport machinery. The E3 ligase Siz1p is imported into the nucleus by the karyopherin Kap95p during interphase. In M phase, Siz1p is exported from the nucleus by the karyopherin Kap142p/Msn5p and subsequently targeted to the septin ring, where it participates in septin sumoylation. We also show that the accumulation of sumoylated septins during mitosis is dependent on the interactions of the SUMO isopeptidase Ulp1p with Kap121p and Kap95p–Kap60p and the nuclear pore complex (NPC). In addition to sequestering Ulp1 at the NPC, Kap121p is required for targeting Ulp1p to the septin ring during mitosis. We present a model in which Ulp1p is maintained at the NPC during interphase and transiently interacts with the septin ring during mitosis.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200608066
PMCID: PMC2064105  PMID: 17403926
15.  DETERMINISTIC AND STOCHASTIC MODELS OF GENETIC REGULATORY NETWORKS 
Methods in enzymology  2009;467:335-356.
Traditionally molecular biology research has tended to reduce biological pathways to composite units studied as isolated parts of the cellular system. With the advent of high throughput methodologies that can capture thousands of data points, and powerful computational approaches, the reality of studying cellular processes at a systems level is upon us. As these approaches yield massive datasets, systems level analyses have drawn upon other fields such as engineering and mathematics, adapting computational and statistical approaches to decipher relationships between molecules. Guided by high quality datasets and analyses, one can begin the process of predictive modeling. The findings from such approaches are often surprising and beyond normal intuition. We discuss four classes of dynamical systems used to model genetic regulatory networks. The discussion is divided into continuous and discrete models, as well as deterministic and stochastic model classes. For each combination of these categories, a model is presented and discussed in the context of the yeast cell cycle, illustrating how different types of questions can be addressed by different model classes.
doi:10.1016/S0076-6879(09)67013-0
PMCID: PMC3230268  PMID: 19897099
16.  A regression model approach to enable cell morphology correction in high-throughput flow cytometry 
Large variations in cell size and shape can undermine traditional gating methods for analyzing flow cytometry data. Correcting for these effects enables analysis of high-throughput data sets, including >5000 yeast samples with diverse cell morphologies.
The regression model approach corrects for the effects of cell morphology on fluorescence, as well as an extremely small and restrictive gate, but without removing any of the cells.In contrast to traditional gating, this approach enables the quantitative analysis of high-throughput flow cytometry experiments, since the regression model can compare between biological samples that show no or little overlap in terms of the morphology of the cells.The analysis of a high-throughput yeast flow cytometry data set consisting of >5000 biological samples identified key proteins that affect the time and intensity of the bifurcation event that happens after the carbon source transition from glucose to fatty acids. Here, some yeast cells undergo major structural changes, while others do not.
Flow cytometry is a widely used technique that enables the measurement of different optical properties of individual cells within large populations of cells in a fast and automated manner. For example, by targeting cell-specific markers with fluorescent probes, flow cytometry is used to identify (and isolate) cell types within complex mixtures of cells. In addition, fluorescence reporters can be used in conjunction with flow cytometry to measure protein, RNA or DNA concentration within single cells of a population.
One of the biggest advantages of this technique is that it provides information of how each cell behaves instead of just measuring the population average. This can be essential when analyzing complex samples that consist of diverse cell types or when measuring cellular responses to stimuli. For example, there is an important difference between a 50% expression increase of all cells in a population after stimulation and a 100% increase in only half of the cells, while the other half remains unresponsive. Another important advantage of flow cytometry is automation, which enables high-throughput studies with thousands of samples and conditions. However, current methods are confounded by populations of cells that are non-uniform in terms of size and granularity. Such variability affects the emitted fluorescence of the cell and adds undesired variability when estimating population fluorescence. This effect also frustrates a sensible comparison between conditions, where not only fluorescence but also cell size and granularity may be affected.
Traditionally, this problem has been addressed by using ‘gates' that restrict the analysis to cells with similar morphological properties (i.e. cell size and cell granularity). Because cells inside the gate are morphologically similar to one another, they will show a smaller variability in their response within the population. Moreover, applying the same gate in all samples assures that observed differences between these samples are not due to differential cell morphologies.
Gating, however, comes with costs. First, since only a subgroup of cells is selected, the final number of cells analyzed can be significantly reduced. This means that in order to have sufficient statistical power, more cells have to be acquired, which, if even possible in the first place, increases the time and cost of the experiment. Second, finding a good gate for all samples and conditions can be challenging if not impossible, especially in cases where cellular morphology changes dramatically between conditions. Finally, gating is a very user-dependent process, where both the size and shape of the gate are determined by the researcher and will affect the outcome, introducing subjectivity in the analysis that complicates reproducibility.
In this paper, we present an alternative method to gating that addresses the issues stated above. The method is based on a regression model containing linear and non-linear terms that estimates and corrects for the effect of cell size and granularity on the observed fluorescence of each cell in a sample. The corrected fluorescence thus becomes ‘free' of the morphological effects.
Because the model uses all cells in the sample, it assures that the corrected fluorescence is an accurate representation of the sample. In addition, the regression model can predict the expected fluorescence of a sample in areas where there are no cells. This makes it possible to compare between samples that have little overlap with good confidence. Furthermore, because the regression model is automated, it is fully reproducible between labs and conditions. Finally, it allows for a rapid analysis of big data sets containing thousands of samples.
To probe the validity of the model, we performed several experiments. We show how the regression model is able to remove the morphological-associated variability as well as an extremely small and restrictive gate, but without the caveat of removing cells. We test the method in different organisms (yeast and human) and applications (protein level detection, separation of mixed subpopulations). We then apply this method to unveil new biological insights in the mechanistic processes involved in transcriptional noise.
Gene transcription is a process subjected to the randomness intrinsic to any molecular event. Although such randomness may seem to be undesirable for the cell, since it prevents consistent behavior, there are situations where some degree of randomness is beneficial (e.g. bet hedging). For this reason, each gene is tuned to exhibit different levels of randomness or noise depending on its functions. For core and essential genes, the cell has developed mechanisms to lower the level of noise, while for genes involved in the response to stress, the variability is greater.
This gene transcription tuning can be determined at many levels, from the architecture of the transcriptional network, to epigenetic regulation. In our study, we analyze the latter using the response of yeast to the presence of fatty acid in the environment. Fatty acid can be used as energy by yeast, but it requires major structural changes and commitments. We have observed that at the population level, there is a bifurcation event whereby some cells undergo these changes and others do not. We have analyzed this bifurcation event in mutants for all the non-essential epigenetic regulators in yeast and identified key proteins that affect the time and intensity of this bifurcation. Even though fatty acid triggers major morphological changes in the cell, the regression model still makes it possible to analyze the over 5000 flow cytometry samples in this data set in an automated manner, whereas a traditional gating approach would be impossible.
Cells exposed to stimuli exhibit a wide range of responses ensuring phenotypic variability across the population. Such single cell behavior is often examined by flow cytometry; however, gating procedures typically employed to select a small subpopulation of cells with similar morphological characteristics make it difficult, even impossible, to quantitatively compare cells across a large variety of experimental conditions because these conditions can lead to profound morphological variations. To overcome these limitations, we developed a regression approach to correct for variability in fluorescence intensity due to differences in cell size and granularity without discarding any of the cells, which gating ipso facto does. This approach enables quantitative studies of cellular heterogeneity and transcriptional noise in high-throughput experiments involving thousands of samples. We used this approach to analyze a library of yeast knockout strains and reveal genes required for the population to establish a bimodal response to oleic acid induction. We identify a group of epigenetic regulators and nucleoporins that, by maintaining an ‘unresponsive population,' may provide the population with the advantage of diversified bet hedging.
doi:10.1038/msb.2011.64
PMCID: PMC3202802  PMID: 21952134
flow cytometry; high-throughput experiments; statistical regression model; transcriptional noise
17.  The peroxin Pex34p functions with the Pex11 family of peroxisomal divisional proteins to regulate the peroxisome population in yeast 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(10):1727-1738.
Pex34p is a novel peroxisomal protein involved in controlling peroxisome abundance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Pex34p acts to control peroxisome numbers both alone and in cooperation with the Pex11 protein family of peroxisome divisional proteins.
Peroxisomes are ubiquitous organelles involved in diverse metabolic processes, most notably the metabolism of lipids and the detoxification of reactive oxygen species. Peroxisomes are highly dynamic and change in size and number in response to both intra- and extracellular cues. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, peroxisome growth and division are controlled by both the differential import of soluble matrix proteins and a specialized divisional machinery that includes peroxisome-specific factors, such as members of the Pex11 protein family, and general organelle divisional factors, such as the dynamin-related protein Vps1p. Global yeast two-hybrid analyses have demonstrated interactions between the product of the S. cerevisiae gene of unknown function, YCL056c, and Pex proteins involved in peroxisome biogenesis. Here we show that the protein encoded by YCL056c, renamed Pex34p, is a peroxisomal integral membrane protein that acts independently and also in concert with the Pex11 protein family members Pex11p, Pex25p, and Pex27p to control the peroxisome populations of cells under conditions of both peroxisome proliferation and constitutive peroxisome division. Yeast two-hybrid analysis showed that Pex34p interacts physically with itself and with Pex11p, Pex25p, and Pex27p but not with Vps1p. Pex34p can act as a positive effector of peroxisome division as its overexpression leads to increased numbers of peroxisomes in wild type and pex34Δ cells. Pex34p requires the Pex11 family proteins to promote peroxisome division. Our discovery of Pex34p as a protein involved in the already complex control of peroxisome populations emphasizes the necessity of cells to strictly regulate their peroxisome populations to be able to respond appropriately to changing environmental conditions.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E11-01-0084
PMCID: PMC3093324  PMID: 21441307
18.  Trade-off between Responsiveness and Noise Suppression in Biomolecular System Responses to Environmental Cues 
PLoS Computational Biology  2011;7(6):e1002091.
When living systems detect changes in their external environment their response must be measured to balance the need to react appropriately with the need to remain stable, ignoring insignificant signals. Because this is a fundamental challenge of all biological systems that execute programs in response to stimuli, we developed a generalized time-frequency analysis (TFA) framework to systematically explore the dynamical properties of biomolecular networks. Using TFA, we focused on two well-characterized yeast gene regulatory networks responsive to carbon-source shifts and a mammalian innate immune regulatory network responsive to lipopolysaccharides (LPS). The networks are comprised of two different basic architectures. Dual positive and negative feedback loops make up the yeast galactose network; whereas overlapping positive and negative feed-forward loops are common to the yeast fatty-acid response network and the LPS-induced network of macrophages. TFA revealed remarkably distinct network behaviors in terms of trade-offs in responsiveness and noise suppression that are appropriately tuned to each biological response. The wild type galactose network was found to be highly responsive while the oleate network has greater noise suppression ability. The LPS network appeared more balanced, exhibiting less bias toward noise suppression or responsiveness. Exploration of the network parameter space exposed dramatic differences in system behaviors for each network. These studies highlight fundamental structural and dynamical principles that underlie each network, reveal constrained parameters of positive and negative feedback and feed-forward strengths that tune the networks appropriately for their respective biological roles, and demonstrate the general utility of the TFA approach for systems and synthetic biology.
Author Summary
Biological systems constantly balance noise suppression with responsiveness. In a fluctuating environment, some changes are insignificant to living cells while others represent cues to which they must respond. These stimuli are interpreted by molecular circuits that enable the cell to strike an appropriate balance between responsiveness and noise suppression. This trade-off is governed by the structure and kinetic parameters of molecular networks, which have been tuned by evolutionary selection for different stimuli and responses. We consider three regulatory circuits (two from yeast and one from mammalian cells), which respond to different environments and involve very different physiological processes. To investigate the responses to a time varying signal, we developed a generalized time-frequency analysis framework for studying such trade-offs using mathematical models of regulatory circuits and explore how the structure and parameters of the circuit affect the trade-offs between noise suppression and responsiveness. The generalized TFA approach represents an effective tool for exploring and analyzing different systems-level dynamical properties. Making use of such properties can facilitate prediction and network control for systems- and synthetic biology applications.
doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002091
PMCID: PMC3127798  PMID: 21738459
19.  Inventories to insights 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2003;161(3):465-469.
“In the long course of cell life on this earth it remained, for our age, for our generation, to receive the full ownership of our inheritance. We have entered the cell, the Mansion of our birth and started the inventory of our acquired wealth.” (Albert Claude, Nobel lecture, 1974)
doi:10.1083/jcb.200302041
PMCID: PMC2172947  PMID: 12743099
20.  Transcriptome profiling to identify genes involved in peroxisome assembly and function 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2002;158(2):259-271.
Yeast cells were induced to proliferate peroxisomes, and microarray transcriptional profiling was used to identify PEX genes encoding peroxins involved in peroxisome assembly and genes involved in peroxisome function. Clustering algorithms identified 224 genes with expression profiles similar to those of genes encoding peroxisomal proteins and genes involved in peroxisome biogenesis. Several previously uncharacterized genes were identified, two of which, YPL112c and YOR084w, encode proteins of the peroxisomal membrane and matrix, respectively. Ypl112p, renamed Pex25p, is a novel peroxin required for the regulation of peroxisome size and maintenance. These studies demonstrate the utility of comparative gene profiling as an alternative to functional assays to identify genes with roles in peroxisome biogenesis.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200204059
PMCID: PMC2173120  PMID: 12135984
microarray; clustering algorithms; peroxin; PEX25; PEX11
21.  Environment-responsive transcription factors bind subtelomeric elements and regulate gene silencing 
Chromosome position analysis of ChIP-chip data revealed that several carbon source and stress-responsive yeast transcription factors conditionally bind subtelomeric X elements.Integration of several microarray gene expression data sets showed that, in this context, the factors conditionally control the boundaries and strength of subtelomeric silencing.Regulation of silencing by a fatty acid-responsive factor was found to be dependent on Sir2p and independent of Hda1p.These findings provide a critical link for establishing the mechanisms by which telomere biology is coordinated with other cellular processes including responses to environmental stimuli, aging and adaptation.
It is well established that environmental conditions modulate gene expression through local binding of a variety of conditionally active transcription factors, each responsive to specific environmental cues. However, another prevalent mechanism of gene regulation in eukaryotic cells is the long-range control of groups of genes by chromatin modifications or other position-dependent mechanisms. One such phenomenon, gene silencing, is an important and evolutionarily conserved mode of regulation that controls expression of subtelomeric genes. These genes are enriched for stress response and metabolic genes and their regulation is controlled by the spreading of silencing molecules from chromosome ends (telomeres) into subtelomeric regions. Levels of subtelomeric silencing have been linked to cellular lifespan, and study of the regulation of silencing is fundamental to our understanding of human aging. The spread of silencing in subtelomeric regions is discontinuous, and is controlled by various genomic elements that can either relay and enhance silencing from telomeres (proto-silencing) or create boundaries that protect some genomic regions from silencing. In yeast, every subtelomeric region contains an X element that proto-silences centromere-proximal genes, and also insulates telomere-proximal genes from silencing.
In this paper, we identify a regulatory mechanism to control X element-mediated proto-silencing and insulating activities in response to environmental cues. The mechanism was identified using chromosome position analysis of microarray-based chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP-chip) data for environment-responsive TFs and genome-wide gene expression data under the same conditions. The mechanism involves the conditional association of environment-responsive transcription factors to X elements. The binding at X elements results in regulation of proto-silencing of centromere-proximal genes, or insulation of telomere-proximal genes (depending on the factor) in response to environmental stimuli related to stress response and metabolism. One example is shown below (Figure 4B). Transcription factor, Oaf1p, conditionally binds X elements in the presence of fatty acids and enhances proto-silencing specifically under this condition. Oaf1p and several other factors implicated here are known to control adjacent genes at intrachromosomal positions, suggesting their dual functionality in both gene-specific transcriptional regulation, and long-range position-dependent mechanism. Investigation of this mechanism during the response to fatty acid exposure showed that conditional proto-silencing activity is dependent on Sir2p, a molecule known to be involved in subtelomeric silencing related to aging. This study reveals a path cells can use to coordinate subtelomeric silencing related to aging with cellular environment, and with the activities of other cellular processes.
Subtelomeric chromatin is subject to evolutionarily conserved complex epigenetic regulation and is implicated in numerous aspects of cellular function including formation of heterochromatin, regulation of stress response pathways and control of lifespan. Subtelomeric DNA is characterized by the presence of specific repeated segments that serve to propagate silencing or to protect chromosomal regions from spreading epigenetic control. In this study, analysis of genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation and expression data, suggests that several yeast transcription factors regulate subtelomeric silencing in response to various environmental stimuli through conditional association with proto-silencing regions called X elements. In this context, Oaf1p, Rox1p, Gzf1p and Phd1p control the propagation of silencing toward centromeres in response to stimuli affecting stress responses and metabolism, whereas others, including Adr1p, Yap5p and Msn4p, appear to influence boundaries of silencing, regulating telomere-proximal genes in Y′ elements. The factors implicated here are known to control adjacent genes at intrachromosomal positions, suggesting their dual functionality. This study reveals a path for the coordination of subtelomeric silencing with cellular environment, and with activities of other cellular processes.
doi:10.1038/msb.2010.110
PMCID: PMC3049408  PMID: 21206489
chromatin; proto-silencer; Sir2; subtelomeric silencing; X element
22.  Expression of the Salmonella Spp. Virulence Factor SifA in Yeast Alters Rho1 Activity on Peroxisomes 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(20):3567-3577.
SifA is a virulence protein required for assembly and tubulation of a modified phagosome that promotes Salmonella replication. We show that SifA expressed in yeast induces membrane invagination during peroxisome proliferation and requires functional Rho1p. This is consistent with SifA ability to interact with RhoA and the fact that it is a GEF structural homologue.
The Salmonella typhimurium effector protein SifA regulates the assembly and tubulation of the Salmonella phagosome. SifA localizes to the phagosome and interacts with the membrane via its prenylated tail. SifA is a structural homologue of another bacterial effector that acts as a GTP-exchange factor for Rho family GTPases and can bind GDP-RhoA. When coexpressed with a bacterial lipase that is activated by RhoA, SifA can induce tubulation of mammalian endosomes. In an effort to develop a genetic system to study SifA function, we expressed SifA and characterized its activity in yeast. GFP-SifA predominantly localized to yeast peroxisomal membranes. Under peroxisome-inducing conditions, GFP-SifA reduced the number of free peroxisomes and promoted the formation of large peroxisomes with membrane invaginations. GFP-SifA activity depended on the recruitment to peroxisomes of wild-type Rho1p and Pex25p, a receptor for Rho1p. GFP-SifA could also rescue the actin organization defects in pex25Δ and rho1 mutants, suggesting that SifA may recruit and potentiate Rho1p activity. We reexamined the distribution of GFP-SifA in mammalian cells and found the majority colocalizing with LAMP1-positive compartment and not with the peroxisomal marker PMP70. Together, these data suggest that SifA may use a similar mode of action via Rho proteins to alter yeast peroxisomal and mammalian endosomal membranes. Further definition of SifA activity on yeast peroxisomes could provide more insight into its role in regulating host membrane dynamics and small GTPases.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E10-06-0482
PMCID: PMC2954121  PMID: 20739463
23.  Genome-Wide Analysis of Effectors of Peroxisome Biogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e11953.
Peroxisomes are intracellular organelles that house a number of diverse metabolic processes, notably those required for β-oxidation of fatty acids. Peroxisomes biogenesis can be induced by the presence of peroxisome proliferators, including fatty acids, which activate complex cellular programs that underlie the induction process. Here, we used multi-parameter quantitative phenotype analyses of an arrayed mutant collection of yeast cells induced to proliferate peroxisomes, to establish a comprehensive inventory of genes required for peroxisome induction and function. The assays employed include growth in the presence of fatty acids, and confocal imaging and flow cytometry through the induction process. In addition to the classical phenotypes associated with loss of peroxisomal functions, these studies identified 169 genes required for robust signaling, transcription, normal peroxisomal development and morphologies, and transmission of peroxisomes to daughter cells. These gene products are localized throughout the cell, and many have indirect connections to peroxisome function. By integration with extant data sets, we present a total of 211 genes linked to peroxisome biogenesis and highlight the complex networks through which information flows during peroxisome biogenesis and function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011953
PMCID: PMC2915925  PMID: 20694151
24.  GINS motion reveals replication fork progression is remarkably uniform throughout the yeast genome 
Time-resolved ChIP-chip can be utilized to monitor the genome-wide dynamics of the GINS complex, yielding quantitative information on replication fork movement.Replication forks progress at remarkably uniform rates across the genome, regardless of location.GINS progression appears to be arrested, albeit with very low frequency, at sites of highly transcribed genes.Comparison of simulation with data leads to novel biological insights regarding the dynamics of replication fork progression
In mitotic division, cells duplicate their DNA in S phase to ensure that the proper genetic material is passed on to their progeny. This process of DNA replication is initiated from several hundred specific sites, termed origins of replication, spaced across the genome. It is essential for replication to begin only after G1 and finish before the initiation of anaphase (Blow and Dutta, 2005; Machida et al, 2005). To ensure proper timing, the beginning stages of DNA replication are tightly coupled to the cell cycle through the activity of cyclin-dependent kinases (Nguyen et al, 2001; Masumoto et al, 2002; Sclafani and Holzen, 2007), which promote the accumulation of the pre-RC at the origins and initiate replication. Replication fork movement occurs subsequent to the firing of origins on recruitment of the replicative helicase and the other fork-associated proteins as the cell enters S phase (Diffley, 2004). The replication machinery itself (polymerases, PCNA, etc.) trails behind the helicase, copying the newly unwound DNA in the wake of the replication fork.
One component of the pre-RC, the GINS complex, consists of a highly conserved set of paralogous proteins (Psf1, Psf2, Psf3 and Sld5 (Kanemaki et al, 2003; Kubota et al, 2003; Takayama et al, 2003)). Previous work suggests that the GINS complex is an integral component of the replication fork and that its interaction with the genome correlates directly to the movement of the fork (reviewed in Labib and Gambus, 2007). Here, we used the GINS complex as a surrogate to measure features of the dynamics of replication—that is, to determine which origins in the genome are active, the timing of their firing and the rates of replication fork progression.
The timing of origin firing and the rates of fork progression have also been investigated by monitoring nascent DNA synthesis (Raghuraman et al, 2001; Yabuki et al, 2002). Origin firing was observed to occur as early as 14 min into the cell cycle and as late as 44 min (Raghuraman et al, 2001). A wide range of nucleotide incorporation rates (0.5–11 kb/min) were observed, with a mean of 2.9 kb/min (Raghuraman et al, 2001), whereas a second study reported a comparable mean rate of DNA duplication of 2.8±1.0 kb/min (Yabuki et al, 2002). In addition to these observations, replication has been inferred to progress asymmetrically from certain origins (Raghuraman et al, 2001). These data have been interpreted to mean that the dynamics of replication fork progression are strongly affected by local chromatin structure or architecture, and perhaps by interaction with the machineries controlling transcription, repair and epigenetic maintenance (Deshpande and Newlon, 1996; Rothstein et al, 2000; Raghuraman et al, 2001; Ivessa et al, 2003). In this study, we adopted a complementary ChIP-chip approach for assaying replication dynamics, in which we followed GINS complexes as they traverse the genome during the cell cycle (Figure 1). These data reveal that GINS binds to active replication origins and spreads bi-directionally and symmetrically as S phase progresses (Figure 3). The majority of origins appear to fire in the first ∼15 min of S phase. A small fraction (∼10%) of the origins to which GINS binds show no evidence of spreading (category 3 origins), although it remains possible that these peaks represent passively fired origins (Shirahige et al, 1998). Once an active origin fires, the GINS complex moves at an almost constant rate of 1.6±0.3 kb/min. Its movement through the inter-origin regions is consistent with that of a protein complex associated with a smoothly moving replication fork. This progression rate is considerably lower and more tightly distributed than those inferred from previous genome-wide measurements assayed through nascent DNA production (Raghuraman et al, 2001; Yabuki et al, 2002). Our study leads us to a different view of replication fork dynamics wherein fork progression is highly uniform in rate and little affected by genomic location.
In this work, we also observe a large number of low-intensity persistent features at sites of high transcriptional activity (e.g. tRNA genes). We were able to accurately simulate these features by assuming they are the result of low probability arrest of replication forks at these sites, rather than fork pausing (Deshpande and Newlon, 1996). The extremely low frequency of these events in wild-type cells suggests they are due to low probability stochastic occurrences during the replication process. It is hoped that future studies will resolve whether these persistent features indeed represent rare instances of fork arrest, or are the result of some alternative process. These may include, for example, the deposition of GINS complexes (or perhaps more specifically Psf2) once a pause has been resolved.
In this work, we have made extensive use of modeling to test a number of different hypotheses and assumptions. In particular, iterative modeling allowed us to infer that GINS progression is uniform and smooth throughout the genome. We have also demonstrated the potential of simulations for estimating firing efficiencies. In the future, extending such firing efficiency simulations to the whole genome should allow us to make correlations with chromosomal features such as nucleosome occupancy. Such correlations may help in determining factors that govern the probability of replication initiation throughout the genome.
Previous studies have led to a picture wherein the replication of DNA progresses at variable rates over different parts of the budding yeast genome. These prior experiments, focused on production of nascent DNA, have been interpreted to imply that the dynamics of replication fork progression are strongly affected by local chromatin structure/architecture, and by interaction with machineries controlling transcription, repair and epigenetic maintenance. Here, we adopted a complementary approach for assaying replication dynamics using whole genome time-resolved chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with microarray analysis of the GINS complex, an integral member of the replication fork. Surprisingly, our data show that this complex progresses at highly uniform rates regardless of genomic location, revealing that replication fork dynamics in yeast is simpler and more uniform than previously envisaged. In addition, we show how the synergistic use of experiment and modeling leads to novel biological insights. In particular, a parsimonious model allowed us to accurately simulate fork movement throughout the genome and also revealed a subtle phenomenon, which we interpret as arising from low-frequency fork arrest.
doi:10.1038/msb.2010.8
PMCID: PMC2858444  PMID: 20212525
cell cycle; ChIP-chip; DNA replication; replication fork; simulation
25.  A Noncanonical Bromodomain in the AAA ATPase Protein Yta7 Directs Chromosomal Positioning and Barrier Chromatin Activity▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;29(17):4604-4611.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae Yta7 is a barrier active protein that modulates transcriptional states at the silent mating locus, HMR. Additionally, Yta7 regulates histone gene transcription and has overlapping functions with known histone chaperones. This study focused on deciphering the functional role of the noncanonical Yta7 bromodomain. By use of genetic and epistasis analyses, the Yta7 bromodomain was shown to be necessary for barrier activity at HMR and to have overlapping functions with histone regulators (Asf1 and Spt16). Canonical bromodomains can bind to acetylated lysines on histones; however, the Yta7 bromodomain showed an association with histones that was independent of posttranslational modification. Further investigation showed that regions of Yta7 other than the bromodomain conferred histone association. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-chip analyses revealed that the Yta7 bromodomain was not solely responsible for histone association but was also necessary for proper chromosomal positioning of Yta7. This work demonstrates that the Yta7 bromodomain engages histones for certain cellular functions like barrier chromatin maintenance and particular Spt16/Asf1 cellular pathways of chromatin regulation.
doi:10.1128/MCB.00160-09
PMCID: PMC2725702  PMID: 19581291

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