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1.  Diacylglycerol lipase regulates lifespan and oxidative stress response by inversely modulating TOR signaling in Drosophila and C. elegans 
Aging Cell  2014;13(4):755-764.
Target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling is a nutrient-sensing pathway controlling metabolism and lifespan. Although TOR signaling can be activated by a metabolite of diacylglycerol (DAG), phosphatidic acid (PA), the precise genetic mechanism through which DAG metabolism influences lifespan remains unknown. DAG is metabolized to either PA via the action of DAG kinase or 2-arachidonoyl-sn-glycerol by diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL). Here, we report that in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans, overexpression of diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL/inaE/dagl-1) or knockdown of diacylglycerol kinase (DGK/rdgA/dgk-5) extends lifespan and enhances response to oxidative stress. Phosphorylated S6 kinase (p-S6K) levels are reduced following these manipulations, implying the involvement of TOR signaling. Conversely, DAGL/inaE/dagl-1 mutants exhibit shortened lifespan, reduced tolerance to oxidative stress, and elevated levels of p-S6K. Additional results from genetic interaction studies are consistent with the hypothesis that DAG metabolism interacts with TOR and S6K signaling to affect longevity and oxidative stress resistance. These findings highlight conserved metabolic and genetic pathways that regulate aging.
doi:10.1111/acel.12232
PMCID: PMC4116436  PMID: 24889782
aging; diacylglycerol; diacylglycerol kinase; metabolism; phosphatidic acid; S6 kinase
2.  Reduced Expression of Alpha-1,2-mannosidase I Extends Lifespan in Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans 
Aging cell  2009;8(4):370-379.
Summary
Exposure to sub-lethal levels of stress, or hormesis, is a means to induce longevity. By screening for mutations that enhance resistance to multiple stresses, we identified multiple alleles of alpha-1,2-mannosidase I (mas1) which, in addition to promoting stress resistance, also extend longevity. Longevity enhancement is also observed when mas1 expression is reduced via RNA interference in both Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. The screen also identified Edem1 (Edm1), a gene downstream of mas1, as a modulator of lifespan. Since double mutants for both mas1 and Edm1 showed no additional longevity enhancement, it appears that both mutations function within a common pathway to extend lifespan. Molecular analysis of these mutants reveals that the expression of BiP, a putative biomarker of dietary restriction (DR), is down-regulated in response to reductions in mas1 expression. These findings suggest that mutations in mas1 may extend longevity by modulating dietary restriction.
doi:10.1111/j.1474-9726.2009.00471.x
PMCID: PMC4191686  PMID: 19302370
alpha-1,2-mannosidase I; Edem1; longevity; dietary restriction; BiP; Drosophila; C. elegans
3.  High carbohydrate-low protein consumption maximizes Drosophila lifespan 
Experimental gerontology  2013;48(10):1129-1135.
Dietary restriction extends lifespan in a variety of organisms, but the key nutritional components driving this process and how they interact remain uncertain. In Drosophila, while a substantial body of research suggests that protein is the major dietary component affecting longevity, recent studies claim that carbohydrates also play a central role. To clarify how nutritional factors influence longevity, nutrient consumption and lifespan were measured on a series of diets with varying yeast and sugar content. We show that optimal lifespan requires both high carbohydrate and low protein consumption, but neither nutrient by itself entirely predicts lifespan. Increased dietary carbohydrate or protein concentration does not always result in reduced feeding—the regulation of food consumption is best described by a constant daily caloric intake target. Moreover, due to differences in food intake, increased concentration of a nutrient within the diet does not necessarily result in increased consumption of that particular nutrient. Our results shed light on the issue of dietary effects on lifespan and highlight the need for accurate measures of nutrient intake in dietary manipulation studies.
doi:10.1016/j.exger.2013.02.003
PMCID: PMC3687007  PMID: 23403040
Aging; Dietary restriction; Drosophila; Feeding; Longevity; Nutrition
4.  Zebrafish WNK Lysine Deficient Protein Kinase 1 (wnk1) Affects Angiogenesis Associated with VEGF Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e106129.
The WNK1 (WNK lysine deficient protein kinase 1) protein is a serine/threonine protein kinase with emerging roles in cancer. WNK1 causes hypertension and hyperkalemia when overexpressed and cardiovascular defects when ablated in mice. In this study, the role of Wnk1 in angiogenesis was explored using the zebrafish model. There are two zebrafish wnk1 isoforms, wnk1a and wnk1b, and both contain all the functional domains found in the human WNK1 protein. Both isoforms are expressed in the embryo at the initiation of angiogenesis and in the posterior cardinal vein (PCV), similar to fms-related tyrosine kinase 4 (flt4). Using morpholino antisense oligonucleotides against wnk1a and wnk1b, we observed that wnk1 morphants have defects in angiogenesis in the head and trunk, similar to flk1/vegfr2 morphants. Furthermore, both wnk1a and wnk1b mRNA can partially rescue the defects in vascular formation caused by flk1/vegfr2 knockdown. Mutation of the kinase domain or the Akt/PI3K phosphorylation site within wnk1 destroys this rescue capability. The rescue experiments provide evidence that wnk1 is a downstream target for Vegfr2 (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2) and Akt/PI3K signaling and thereby affects angiogenesis in zebrafish embryos. Furthermore, we found that knockdown of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (flk1/vegfr2) or vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-3 (flt4/vegfr3) results in a decrease in wnk1a expression, as assessed by in situ hybridization and q-RT-PCR analysis. Thus, the Vegf/Vegfr signaling pathway controls angiogenesis in zebrafish via Akt kinase-mediated phosphorylation and activation of Wnk1 as well as transcriptional regulation of wnk1 expression.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106129
PMCID: PMC4149531  PMID: 25171174
5.  Overexpression of Endothelin 1 Triggers Hepatocarcinogenesis in Zebrafish and Promotes Cell Proliferation and Migration through the AKT Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85318.
Hepatocarcinogenesis commonly involves the gradual progression from hepatitis to fibrosis and cirrhosis, and ultimately to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Endothelin 1 (Edn1) has been identified as a gene that is significantly up-regulated in HBx-induced HCC in mice. In this study, we further investigated the role of edn1 in hepatocarcinogenesis using a transgenic zebrafish model and a cell culture system. Liver-specific edn1 expression caused steatosis, fibrosis, glycogen accumulation, bile duct dilation, hyperplasia, and HCC in zebrafish. Overexpression of EDN1 in 293T cells enhanced cell proliferation and cell migration in in vitro and xenotransplantation assays and was accompanied with up-regulation of several cell cycle/proliferation- and migration-specific genes. Furthermore, expression of the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway-related mediators, such as spliced XBP1, ATF6, IRE1, and PERK, was also up-regulated at both the RNA and protein levels. In the presence of an EDN1 inhibitor or an AKT inhibitor, these increases were diminished and the EDN1-induced migration ability also was disappeared, suggesting that the EDN1 effects act through activation of the AKT pathway to enhance the UPR and subsequently activate the expression of downstream genes. Additionally, p-AKT is enhanced in the edn1 transgenic fish compared to the GFP-mCherry control. The micro RNA miR-1 was found to inhibit the expression of EDN1. We also observed an inverse correlation between EDN1 and miR-1 expression in HCC patients. In conclusion, our data suggest that EDN1 plays an important role in HCC progression by activating the PI3K/AKT pathway and is regulated by miR-1.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0085318
PMCID: PMC3885696  PMID: 24416389
6.  Difference in Protein Expression Profile and Chemotherapy Drugs Response of Different Progression Stages of LNCaP Sublines and Other Human Prostate Cancer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82625.
Androgen ablation therapy is the primary treatment for metastatic prostate cancer. However, 80-90% of the patients who receive androgen ablation therapy ultimately develop recurrent tumors in 12-33 months after treatment with a median overall survival time of 1-2 years after relapse. LNCaP is a commonly used cell line established from a human lymph node metastatic lesion of prostatic adenocarcinoma. We previously established two relapsed androgen receptor (AR)-rich androgen-independent LNCaP sublines 104-R1 (androgen depleted for 12 months) and 104-R2 cells (androgen depleted for 24 months) from AR-positive androgen-dependent LNCaP 104-S cells. LNCaP 104-R1 and 104-R2 mimics the AR-positive hormone-refractory relapsed tumors in patients receiving androgen ablation therapy. Androgen treatment stimulates proliferation of 104-S cells, but causes growth inhibition and G1 cell cycle arrest in 104-R1 and 104-R2 cells. We investigated the protein expression profile difference between LNCaP 104-S vs. LNCaP 104-R1, 104-R2, PC-3, and DU-145 cells as well as examined the sensitivity of these prostate cancer cells to different chemotherapy drugs and small molecule inhibitors. Compared to 104-S cells, 104-R1 and 104-R2 cells express higher protein levels of AR, PSA, c-Myc, Skp2, BCL-2, P53, p-MDM2 S166, Rb, and p-Rb S807/811. The 104-R1 and 104-R2 cells express higher ratio of p-Akt S473/Akt, p-EGFR/EGFR, and p-Src/Src, but lower ratio of p-ERK/ERK than 104-S cells. PC-3 and DU-145 cells express higher c-Myc, Skp2, Akt, Akt1, and phospho-EGFR but less phospho-Akt and phospho-ERK. Overexpression of Skp2 increased resistance of LNCaP cells to chemotherapy drugs. Paclitaxel, androgen, and inhibitors for PI3K/Akt, EGFR, Src, or Bcl-2 seem to be potential choices for treatment of advanced prostate cancers. Our study provides rationale for targeting Akt, EGFR, Src, Bcl-2, and AR signaling as a treatment for AR-positive relapsed prostate tumors after hormone therapy.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0082625
PMCID: PMC3857776  PMID: 24349321
7.  Impaired Leukocytes Autophagy in Chronic Kidney Disease Patients 
Cardiorenal Medicine  2013;3(4):254-264.
Background
Proteins and cytoplasmic organelles undergo degradation and recycling via autophagy; its role in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is still unclear. We hypothesize that impaired kidney function causes autophagy activation failure.
Methods
We included 60 patients with stage 5 CKD and 30 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects as controls. Patients with conditions that could affect autophagy were excluded. Leukocytes were isolated and analyzed from peripheral blood samples collected after overnight fasting and 2 h after breakfast.
Results
Overnight fasting induced conversion of microtubule-associated protein-1 light chain 3 I to II (γLC3) and increased mRNA levels of the autophagy-related gene 5 (Atg5) and Beclin-1 in healthy subjects, which were nearly absent in CKD patients (p = 0.0001). Moreover, no significant difference in autophagy activation was observed between CKD patients with or without hemodialysis. Correlation studies showed that γLC3 was negatively associated with the left atrium size. Changes in Atg5 transcript levels were negatively associated with the left ventricular end-diastolic diameter, and changes in Beclin-1 transcript levels were negatively associated with the mitral inflow E- and A-wave sizes.
Conclusion
These data suggest that CKD patients have impaired autophagy activation, which cannot be reversed with hemodialysis and is closely related to their cardiac abnormalities.
doi:10.1159/000356212
PMCID: PMC3901608  PMID: 24474954
Autophagy; Renal failure; Cardiovascular diseases; Light chain 3

8.  Liver-Specific Expressions of HBx and src in the p53 Mutant Trigger Hepatocarcinogenesis in Zebrafish 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e76951.
Hepatocarcinogenesis is a multistep process that starts from fatty liver and transitions to fibrosis and, finally, into cancer. Many etiological factors, including hepatitis B virus X antigen (HBx) and p53 mutations, have been implicated in hepatocarcinogenesis. However, potential synergistic effects between these two factors and the underlying mechanisms by which they promote hepatocarcinogenesis are still unclear. In this report, we show that the synergistic action of HBx and p53 mutation triggers progressive hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) formation via src activation in zebrafish. Liver-specific expression of HBx in wild-type zebrafish caused steatosis, fibrosis and glycogen accumulation. However, the induction of tumorigenesis by HBx was only observed in p53 mutant fish and occurred in association with the up-regulation and activation of the src tyrosine kinase pathway. Furthermore, the overexpression of src in p53 mutant zebrafish also caused hyperplasia, HCC, and sarcomatoid HCC, which were accompanied by increased levels of the signaling proteins p-erk, p-akt, myc, jnk1 and vegf. Increased expression levels of lipogenic factors and the genes involved in lipid metabolism and glycogen storage were detected during the early stages of hepatocarcinogenesis in the HBx and src transgenic zebrafish. The up-regulation of genes involved in cell cycle regulation, tumor progression and other molecular hallmarks of human liver cancer were found at later stages in both HBx and src transgenic, p53 mutant zebrafish. Together, our study demonstrates that HBx and src overexpression induced hepatocarcinogenesis in p53 mutant zebrafish. This phenomenon mimics human HCC formation and provides potential in vivo platforms for drug screening for therapies for human liver cancer.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076951
PMCID: PMC3793937  PMID: 24130815
10.  Caffeic Acid Phenethyl Ester Suppresses Proliferation and Survival of TW2.6 Human Oral Cancer Cells via Inhibition of Akt Signaling 
Caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) is a bioactive component extracted from honeybee hive propolis. Our observations indicated that CAPE treatment suppressed cell proliferation and colony formation of TW2.6 human oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells dose-dependently. CAPE treatment decreased G1 phase cell population, increased G2/M phase cell population, and induced apoptosis in TW2.6 cells. Treatment with CAPE decreased protein abundance of Akt, Akt1, Akt2, Akt3, phospho-Akt Ser473, phospho-Akt Thr 308, GSK3β, FOXO1, FOXO3a, phospho-FOXO1 Thr24, phospho-FoxO3a Thr32, NF-κB, phospho-NF-κB Ser536, Rb, phospho-Rb Ser807/811, Skp2, and cyclin D1, but increased cell cycle inhibitor p27Kip. Overexpression of Akt1 or Akt2 in TW2.6 cells rescued growth inhibition caused by CAPE treatment. Co-treating TW2.6 cells with CAPE and 5-fluorouracil, a commonly used chemotherapeutic drug for oral cancers, exhibited additive cell proliferation inhibition. Our study suggested that administration of CAPE is a potential adjuvant therapy for patients with OSCC oral cancer.
doi:10.3390/ijms14058801
PMCID: PMC3676757  PMID: 23615471
oral cancer; caffeic acid phenethyl ester; TW2.6; cell proliferation; cell cycle; Akt; Akt1; Akt2; phospho-Akt Ser473; phospho-Akt Thr 308; FOXO1; FOXO3a; phospho-FOXO1 Thr24; phospho-FoxO3a Thr32; NF-κB; phospho-NF-κB Ser536; Rb; phospho-Rb Ser807/811; Skp2; cyclin D1; p27; 5-fluorouracil
11.  BMP4 Is a Peripherally-Derived Factor for Motor Neurons and Attenuates Glutamate-Induced Excitotoxicity In Vitro 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58441.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) superfamily, have been shown to play important roles in the nervous system, including neuronal survival and synaptogenesis. However, the physiological functions of BMP signaling in the mammalian neuromuscular system are not well understood. In this study, we found that proteins of the type II bone morphogenetic receptors (BMPRII) were detected at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), and one of its ligands, BMP4, was expressed by Schwann cells and skeletal muscle fibers. In double-ligated nerves, BMP4 proteins accumulated at the proximal and distal portions of the axons, suggesting that Schwann cell- and muscle fiber-derived BMP4 proteins were anterogradely and retrogradely transported by motor neurons. Furthermore, BMP4 mRNA was down-regulated in nerves but up-regulated in skeletal muscles following nerve ligation. The motor neuron-muscle interactions were also demonstrated using differentiated C2C12 muscle cells and NG108-15 neurons in vitro. BMP4 mRNA and immunoreactivity were significantly up-regulated in differentiated C2C12 muscle cells when the motor neuron-derived factor, agrin, was present in the culture. Peripherally-derived BMP4, on the other hand, promotes embryonic motor neuron survival and protects NG108-15 neurons from glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. Together, these data suggest that BMP4 is a peripherally-derived factor that may regulate the survival of motor neurons.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058441
PMCID: PMC3589418  PMID: 23472198
12.  Reduced neuronal expression of ribose-5-phosphate isomerase enhances tolerance to oxidative stress, extends lifespan, and attenuates polyglutamine toxicity in Drosophila 
Aging Cell  2011;11(1):93-103.
Summary
Aging and age-related diseases can be viewed as the result of the lifelong accumulation of stress insults. The identification of mutant strains and genes which are responsive to stress and can alter longevity profiles provides new therapeutic targets for age-related diseases. Here we reported that a Drosophila strain with reduced expression of ribose-5-phosphate isomerase (rpi), EP2456, exhibits increased resistance to oxidative stress and enhanced lifespan. In addition, the strain also displays higher levels of NADPH. The knockdown of rpi in neurons by double-stranded RNA interference recapitulated the lifespan extension and oxidative stress resistance in Drosophila. This manipulation was also found to ameliorate the effects of genetic manipulations aimed at creating a model for studying Huntington’s disease by overexpression of polyglutamine in the eye, suggesting that modulating rpi levels could serve as a treatment for normal aging as well as for polyglutamine neurotoxicity.
doi:10.1111/j.1474-9726.2011.00762.x
PMCID: PMC3257417  PMID: 22040003
ribose-5-phosphate isomerase; pentose phosphate pathway; neuron; oxidative stress; longevity; polyglutamine toxicity; Drosophila
13.  A Hormone Receptor-Based Transactivator Bridges Different Binary Systems to Precisely Control Spatial-Temporal Gene Expression in Drosophila 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50855.
The GAL4/UAS gene expression system is a precise means of targeted gene expression employed to study biological phenomena in Drosophila. A modified GAL4/UAS system can be conditionally regulated using a temporal and regional gene expression targeting (TARGET) system that responds to heat shock induction. However heat shock-related temperature shifts sometimes cause unexpected physiological responses that confound behavioral analyses. We describe here the construction of a drug-inducible version of this system that takes advantage of tissue-specific GAL4 driver lines to yield either RU486-activated LexA-progesterone receptor chimeras (LexPR) or β-estradiol-activated LexA-estrogen receptor chimeras (XVE). Upon induction, these chimeras bind to a LexA operator (LexAop) and activate transgene expression. Using GFP expression as a marker for induction in fly brain cells, both approaches are capable of tightly and precisely modulating transgene expression in a temporal and dosage-dependent manner. Additionally, tissue-specific GAL4 drivers resulted in target gene expression that was restricted to those specific tissues. Constitutive expression of the active PKA catalytic subunit using these systems altered the sleep pattern of flies, demonstrating that both systems can regulate transgene expression that precisely mimics regulation that was previously engineered using the GeneSwitch/UAS system. Unlike the limited number of GeneSwitch drivers, this approach allows for the usage of the multitudinous, tissue-specific GAL4 lines for studying temporal gene regulation and tissue-specific gene expression. Together, these new inducible systems provide additional, highly valuable tools available to study gene function in Drosophila.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050855
PMCID: PMC3519826  PMID: 23239992
14.  Proline-Serine-Threonine Phosphatase-Interacting Protein 2 (PSTPIP2), a Host Membrane-Deforming Protein, Is Critical for Membranous Web Formation in Hepatitis C Virus Replication 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(3):1739-1749.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) reorganizes intracellular membranes to establish sites of replication. How viral and cellular proteins target, bind, and rearrange specific membranes into the replication factory remains a mystery. We used a lentivirus-based RNA interference (RNAi) screening approach to identify the potential cellular factors that are involved in HCV replication. A protein with membrane-deforming activity, proline-serine-threonine phosphatase-interacting protein 2 (PSTPIP2), was identified as a potential factor. Knockdown of PSTPIP2 in HCV subgenomic replicon-harboring and HCV-infected cells was associated with the reduction of HCV protein and RNA expression. PSTPIP2 was localized predominantly in detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs), which contain the RNA replication complex. PSTPIP2 knockdown caused a significant reduction of the formation of HCV- and NS4B-induced membranous webs. A PSTPIP2 mutant defective in inducing membrane curvature failed to support HCV replication, confirming that the membrane-deforming ability of PSTPIP2 is essential for HCV replication. Taking these results together, we suggest that PSTPIP2 facilitates membrane alterations and is a key player in the formation of the membranous web, which is the site of the HCV replication complex.
doi:10.1128/JVI.06001-11
PMCID: PMC3264356  PMID: 22130530
15.  Autophagy-related gene 7 is downstream of heat shock protein 27 in the regulation of eye morphology, polyglutamine toxicity, and lifespan in Drosophila 
Background
Autophagy and molecular chaperones both regulate protein homeostasis and maintain important physiological functions. Atg7 (autophagy-related gene 7) and Hsp27 (heat shock protein 27) are involved in the regulation of neurodegeneration and aging. However, the genetic connection between Atg7 and Hsp27 is not known.
Methods
The appearances of the fly eyes from the different genetic interactions with or without polyglutamine toxicity were examined by light microscopy and scanning electronic microscopy. Immunofluorescence was used to check the effect of Atg7 and Hsp27 knockdown on the formation of autophagosomes. The lifespan of altered expression of Hsp27 or Atg7 and that of the combination of the two different gene expression were measured.
Results
We used the Drosophila eye as a model system to examine the epistatic relationship between Hsp27 and Atg7. We found that both genes are involved in normal eye development, and that overexpression of Atg7 could eliminate the need for Hsp27 but Hsp27 could not rescue Atg7 deficient phenotypes. Using a polyglutamine toxicity assay (41Q) to model neurodegeneration, we showed that both Atg7 and Hsp27 can suppress weak, toxic effect by 41Q, and that overexpression of Atg7 improves the worsened mosaic eyes by the knockdown of Hsp27 under 41Q. We also showed that overexpression of Atg7 extends lifespan and the knockdown of Atg7 or Hsp27 by RNAi reduces lifespan. RNAi-knockdown of Atg7 expression can block the extended lifespan phenotype by Hsp27 overexpression, and overexpression of Atg7 can extend lifespan even under Hsp27 knockdown by RNAi.
Conclusions
We propose that Atg7 acts downstream of Hsp27 in the regulation of eye morphology, polyglutamine toxicity, and lifespan in Drosophila.
doi:10.1186/1423-0127-19-52
PMCID: PMC3483682  PMID: 22621211
Atg7; Hsp27; Neurodegeneration; Lifespan; Drosophila
16.  Complexity of cis-regulatory organization of six3a during forebrain and eye development in zebrafish 
Background
Six3a belongs to the SIX family of homeodomain proteins and is expressed in the most anterior neural plate at the beginning of neurogenesis in various species. Though the function of Six3a as a crucial regulator of eye and forebrain development has been thoroughly investigated, the transcriptional regulation of six3a is not well understood.
Results
To elucidate the transcriptional regulation of six3a, we performed an in vivo reporter assay. Alignment of the 21-kb region surrounding the zebrafish six3a gene with the analogous region from different species identified several conserved non-coding modules. Transgenesis in zebrafish identified two enhancer elements and one suppressor. The D module drives the GFP reporter in the forebrain and eyes at an early stage, while the A module is responsible for the later expression. The A module also works as a repressor suppressing ectopic expression from the D module. Mutational analysis further minimized the A module to four highly conserved elements and the D module to three elements. Using electrophoresis mobility shift assays, we also provided evidence for the presence of DNA-binding proteins in embryonic nuclear extracts. The transcription factors that may occupy those highly conserved elements were also predicted.
Conclusion
This study provides a comprehensive view of six3a transcription regulation during brain and eye development and offers an opportunity to establish the gene regulatory networks underlying neurogenesis in zebrafish.
doi:10.1186/1471-213X-10-35
PMCID: PMC2858731  PMID: 20346166
17.  Transcriptional Regulation of the TATA-Binding Protein by Ras Cellular Signaling 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(14):5000-5009.
Our previous studies have demonstrated that the level of the central transcription factor TATA-binding protein (TBP) is increased in cells expressing the hepatitis B virus (HBV) X protein through the activation of the Ras signaling pathway, which serves to enhance both RNA polymerase I and III promoter activities. To understand the mechanism by which TBP is regulated, we have investigated whether enhanced expression is modulated at the transcriptional level. Nuclear run-on assays revealed that the HBV X protein increases the number of active transcription complexes on the TBP gene. In transient-transfection assays with both transformed and primary hepatocytes, the human TBP promoter was shown to be induced by expression of the HBV X protein in a Ras-dependent manner, requiring both Ral guanine nucleotide dissociation stimulator (RalGDS) and Raf signaling. Transient overexpression of TBP did not affect TBP promoter activity. To further delineate the downstream Ras-mediated events contributing to TBP promoter regulation in primary rat hepatocytes, the best-characterized Ras effectors, Raf, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI-3 kinase), and RalGDS, were examined. Activation of either Raf or RalGDS, but not that of PI-3 kinase, was sufficient to induce TBP promoter activity. Both Raf- and RalGDS-mediated induction required the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK). In addition, another distinct Ras-activated pathway, which does not require MEK activation, appears to induce TBP promoter activity. Analysis of the DNA sequence requirement within the TBP promoter responsible for these regulatory events defined three distinct regions that modulate the abilities of Raf, RalGDS, and the Ras-dependent, MEK-independent pathways to regulate human TBP promoter activity. Together, these results provide new evidence that TBP can be regulated at the transcriptional level and identify three distinct Ras-activated pathways that modulate this central eukaryotic transcription factor.
PMCID: PMC85950  PMID: 10866657
18.  Regulation of RNA Polymerase I-Dependent Promoters by the Hepatitis B Virus X Protein via Activated Ras and TATA-Binding Protein 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(12):7086-7094.
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) X protein is essential for viral infectivity, and evidence indicates that it is a strong contributor to HBV-mediated oncogenesis. X has been shown to transactivate a wide variety of RNA polymerase (Pol) II-dependent, as well as RNA Pol III-dependent, promoters. In this study, we have investigated the possibility that X modulates RNA Pol I-dependent rRNA transcription. In both human hepatoma Huh7 and Drosophila Schneider S2 cell lines, X expression stimulated rRNA promoter activity. Extracts prepared from X-expressing cells stably transfected with an X gene also exhibited an increased ability to transcribe the rRNA promoter. The mechanism for X transactivation was examined by determining whether this regulatory event was dependent on Ras activation and increased TATA-binding protein (TBP) levels. Our previous studies have demonstrated that X, and the activation of Ras, produces an increase in the cellular levels of TBP (H.-D. Wang, A. Trivedi, and D. L. Johnson, Mol. Cell. Biol. 17:6838–6846, 1997). Expression of a dominant negative form of Ras blocked the X-mediated induction of the rRNA promoters, whereas expression of a constitutively activated form of Ras mimicked the enhancing effect of X on rRNA promoter activity. When TBP was overexpressed in either Huh7 or S2 cells, a dose-dependent increase in rRNA promoter activity was observed. To analyze whether the increase in TBP was modulating rRNA promoter activity indirectly, by increasing activity of RNA Pol II-dependent promoters, a Drosophila TBP cDNA was constructed with a mutation that eliminated its ability to stimulate RNA Pol II-dependent promoters. Transient expression of wild-type TBP in S2 cells increased the activities of specific RNA Pol I- and Pol II-dependent promoters. Expression of the mutant TBP protein failed to enhance the activity of the RNA Pol II-dependent promoters, yet the protein completely retained its ability to stimulate the rRNA promoter. Furthermore, the addition of recombinant TBP to S2 extracts stimulated rRNA promoter activity in vitro. Together, these results demonstrate that the HBV X protein up-regulates RNA Pol I-dependent promoters via a Ras-activated pathway in two distinct cell lines. The enhanced promoter activity can, at least in part, be attributed to the X- and Ras-mediated increase in cellular TBP, a limiting transcription component.
PMCID: PMC109290  PMID: 9819395
19.  Escherichia coli noncoding RNAs can affect gene expression and physiology of Caenorhabditis elegans 
Nature Communications  2012;3:1073-.
Food and other environmental factors affect gene expression and behaviour of animals. Differences in bacterial food affect the behaviour and longevity of Caenorhabditis elegans. However, no research has been carried out to investigate whether bacteria could utilize endogenous RNAs to affect C. elegans physiology. Here we show that two Escherichia coli endogenous noncoding RNAs, OxyS and DsrA, impact on the physiology of C. elegans. OxyS downregulates che-2, leading to impairment in C. elegans chemosensory behaviour and DsrA suppresses diacylglycerol lipase gene F42G9.6, leading to a decrease in longevity. We also examine some genes in the C. elegans RNA interference pathway for their possible involvement in the effects of OxyS and DsrA. Other bacteria, such as Bacillus mycoides, may also utilize its noncoding RNAs to interfere with gene expression in C. elegans. Our results demonstrate that E. coli noncoding RNAs can regulate gene expression and physiological conditions of C. elegans and indicate that noncoding RNAs might have interspecies ecological roles.
It is known that differences in the bacterial food of Caenorhabditis elegans can alter their behaviour. In this study, bacteria expressing two different noncoding RNAs alter the chemosensory and longevity of C. elegans, suggesting a role in modulating C. elegans physiology.
doi:10.1038/ncomms2071
PMCID: PMC3658002  PMID: 23011127

Results 1-19 (19)