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1.  Rare codons regulate KRas oncogenesis 
Current biology : CB  2012;23(1):70-75.
Summary
Oncogenic mutations in the small Ras GTPases KRas, HRas, or NRas render the encoded proteins constitutively GTP-bound and active, which promote cancer [1]. Ras proteins share ~85% amino acid identity [2], are activated by [3] and signal through [4] the same proteins, and can exhibit functional redundancy [5][6]. Nevertheless, manipulating expression or activation of each isoform yields different cellular responses [7–10] and tumorigenic phenotypes [11–13], even when different ras genes are expressed from the same locus [6]. We now report a novel regulatory mechanism hardwired into the very sequence of RAS genes that underlies how such similar proteins impact tumorigenesis differently. Specifically, despite their high sequence similarity, KRAS is poorly translated compared to HRAS due to enrichment in genomically underrepresented, or rare, codons. Converting rare to common codons increased KRas expression and tumorigenicity to mirror that of HRas. Furthermore, in a genome-wide survey similar gene pairs with opposing codon bias were identified that not only manifested dichotomous protein expression, but were also enriched in key signaling protein classes and pathways. Thus, synonymous nucleotide differences affecting codon usage account for differences between HRas and KRas expression and function, and may represent a broader regulation strategy in cell signaling.
doi:10.1016/j.cub.2012.11.031
PMCID: PMC3567844  PMID: 23246410
Ras; codon bias; cancer
2.  Identification of E2F target genes that are rate limiting for dE2F1-dependent cell proliferation 
Background
Microarray studies have shown that the E2F transcription factor influences the expression of many genes but it is unclear how many of these targets are important for E2F-mediated control of cell proliferation.
Results
We assembled a collection of mutant alleles in 44 dE2F1-dependent genes and tested whether these could modify visible phenotypes caused by the tissue-specific depletion of dE2F1. More than half of the mutant alleles dominantly enhanced de2f1-dsRNA phenotypes suggesting that the in vivo functions of dE2F1 can be limited by the reduction in the level of expression of many different targets. Unexpectedly, several mutant alleles suppressed de2f1-dsRNA phenotypes. One of the strongest of these suppressors was Orc5. Depletion of ORC5 increased proliferation in cells with reduced dE2F1 and specifically elevated the expression of dE2F1-regulated genes. Importantly, these effects were independent of dE2F1 protein levels, suggesting that reducing the level of ORC5 did not interfere with the general targeting of dE2F1.
Conclusions
We propose that the interaction between ORC5 and dE2F1 may reflect a feedback mechanism between replication initiation proteins and dE2F1 that ensures that proliferating cells maintain a robust level of replication proteins for the next cell cycle.
doi:10.1002/dvdy.23857
PMCID: PMC3760379  PMID: 22972499
E2F; ORC; PCNA; Drosophila
3.  Defining the replication program through the chromatin landscape 
DNA replication is an essential cell cycle event required for the accurate and timely duplication of the chromosomes. It is essential that the genome is replicated accurately and completely within the confines of S-phase. Failure to completely copy the genome has the potential to result in catastrophic genomic instability. Replication initiates in a coordinated manner from multiple locations, termed origins of replication, distributed across each of the chromosomes. The selection of these origins of replication is a dynamic process responding to both developmental and tissue specific signals. In this review, we explore the role of the local chromatin environment in regulating the DNA replication program at the level of origin selection and activation. Finally, there is increasing molecular evidence that the DNA replication program itself affects the chromatin landscape, suggesting that DNA replication is critical for both genetic and epigenetic inheritance.
doi:10.3109/10409238.2011.560139
PMCID: PMC3074350  PMID: 21417598
DNA replication; ORC; chromatin; euchromatin; heterochromatin; transcription; epigenetics; genomics
4.  Preferential Re-Replication of Drosophila Heterochromatin in the Absence of Geminin 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(9):e1001112.
To ensure genomic integrity, the genome must be duplicated exactly once per cell cycle. Disruption of replication licensing mechanisms may lead to re-replication and genomic instability. Cdt1, also known as Double-parked (Dup) in Drosophila, is a key regulator of the assembly of the pre-replicative complex (pre-RC) and its activity is strictly limited to G1 by multiple mechanisms including Cul4-Ddb1 mediated proteolysis and inhibition by geminin. We assayed the genomic consequences of disregulating the replication licensing mechanisms by RNAi depletion of geminin. We found that not all origins of replication were sensitive to geminin depletion and that heterochromatic sequences were preferentially re-replicated in the absence of licensing mechanisms. The preferential re-activation of heterochromatic origins of replication was unexpected because these are typically the last sequences to be duplicated in a normal cell cycle. We found that the re-replication of heterochromatin was regulated not at the level of pre-RC activation, but rather by the formation of the pre-RC. Unlike the global assembly of the pre-RC that occurs throughout the genome in G1, in the absence of geminin, limited pre-RC assembly was restricted to the heterochromatin by elevated cyclin A-CDK activity. These results suggest that there are chromatin and cell cycle specific controls that regulate the re-assembly of the pre-RC outside of G1.
Author Summary
Catastrophic consequences may occur if the cell fails to either completely copy the genome or if it duplicates some regions of the genome more than once in a cell cycle. The cell must coordinate thousands of DNA replication start sites (origins) to ensure that the entire genome is copied and that no replication origin is activated more than once in a cell cycle. The cell accomplishes this coordination by confining the selection and activation of replication origins to discrete phases of the cell cycle. Start sites can only be selected or ‘licensed’ for DNA replication in G1 and similarly, they can only be activated for the initiation of DNA replication in S phase. Disruption of the mechanisms that regulate this ‘licensing’ process have been shown to result in extensive re-replication, genomic instability and tumorigenesis in a variety of eukaryotic systems. Here we use genomic approaches in Drosophila to identify which origins of replication are susceptible to re-initiation of DNA replication in the absence of replication licensing controls. Unexpectedly, we find that sequences in the heterochromatin, which were thought to contain only inefficient origins of replication, are preferentially re-replicated. These results provide insights into how origins of replication are selected and regulated in distinct chromatin environments to maintain genomic stability.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001112
PMCID: PMC2936543  PMID: 20838463
5.  Unlocking the secrets of the genome 
Nature  2009;459(7249):927-930.
Despite the successes of genomics, little is known about how genetic information produces complex organisms. A look at the crucial functional elements of fly and worm genomes could change that.
doi:10.1038/459927a
PMCID: PMC2843545  PMID: 19536255
6.  Expression in Aneuploid Drosophila S2 Cells 
PLoS Biology  2010;8(2):e1000320.
Analysis of the relationship between gene copy number and gene expression in aneuploid male Drosophila cells reveals a global compensation mechanism in addition to X chromosome-specific dosage compensation.
Extensive departures from balanced gene dose in aneuploids are highly deleterious. However, we know very little about the relationship between gene copy number and expression in aneuploid cells. We determined copy number and transcript abundance (expression) genome-wide in Drosophila S2 cells by DNA-Seq and RNA-Seq. We found that S2 cells are aneuploid for >43 Mb of the genome, primarily in the range of one to five copies, and show a male genotype (∼ two X chromosomes and four sets of autosomes, or 2X;4A). Both X chromosomes and autosomes showed expression dosage compensation. X chromosome expression was elevated in a fixed-fold manner regardless of actual gene dose. In engineering terms, the system “anticipates” the perturbation caused by X dose, rather than responding to an error caused by the perturbation. This feed-forward regulation resulted in precise dosage compensation only when X dose was half of the autosome dose. Insufficient compensation occurred at lower X chromosome dose and excessive expression occurred at higher doses. RNAi knockdown of the Male Specific Lethal complex abolished feed-forward regulation. Both autosome and X chromosome genes show Male Specific Lethal–independent compensation that fits a first order dose-response curve. Our data indicate that expression dosage compensation dampens the effect of altered DNA copy number genome-wide. For the X chromosome, compensation includes fixed and dose-dependent components.
Author Summary
While it is widely recognized that mutations in protein coding genes can have harmful consequences, one can also have too much or too little of a good thing. Except for the sex chromosomes, genes come in sets of two in diploid organisms. Extra or missing copies of genes or chromosomes result in an imbalance that can lead to cancers, miscarriages, and disease susceptibility. We have examined what happens to gene expression in Drosophila cells with the types of gross copy number changes that are typical of cancers. We have compared the response of autosomes and sex chromosomes and show that there is some compensation for copy number change in both cases. One response is universal and acts to correct copy number changes by changing transcript abundance. The other is specific to the X chromosome and acts to increase expression regardless of gene dose. Our data highlight how important gene expression balance is for cell function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000320
PMCID: PMC2826376  PMID: 20186269
7.  Co-Orientation of Replication and Transcription Preserves Genome Integrity 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(1):e1000810.
In many bacteria, there is a genome-wide bias towards co-orientation of replication and transcription, with essential and/or highly-expressed genes further enriched co-directionally. We previously found that reversing this bias in the bacterium Bacillus subtilis slows replication elongation, and we proposed that this effect contributes to the evolutionary pressure selecting the transcription-replication co-orientation bias. This selection might have been based purely on selection for speedy replication; alternatively, the slowed replication might actually represent an average of individual replication-disruption events, each of which is counter-selected independently because genome integrity is selected. To differentiate these possibilities and define the precise forces driving this aspect of genome organization, we generated new strains with inversions either over ∼1/4 of the chromosome or at ribosomal RNA (rRNA) operons. Applying mathematical analysis to genomic microarray snapshots, we found that replication rates vary dramatically within the inverted genome. Replication is moderately impeded throughout the inverted region, which results in a small but significant competitive disadvantage in minimal medium. Importantly, replication is strongly obstructed at inverted rRNA loci in rich medium. This obstruction results in disruption of DNA replication, activation of DNA damage responses, loss of genome integrity, and cell death. Our results strongly suggest that preservation of genome integrity drives the evolution of co-orientation of replication and transcription, a conserved feature of genome organization.
Author Summary
An important feature of genome organization is that transcription and replication are selectively co-oriented. This feature helps to avoid conflicts between head-on replication and transcription. The precise consequences of the conflict and how it affects genome organization remain to be understood. We previously found that reversing the transcription bias slows replication in the Bacillus subtilis genome. Here we engineered new inversions to avoid changes in other aspects of genome organization. We found that the reversed transcription bias is sufficient to decrease replication speed, and it results in lowered fitness of the inversion strains and a competitive disadvantage relative to wild-type cells in minimal medium. Further, by analyzing genomic copy-number snapshots to obtain replication speed as a function of genome position, we found that inversion of the strongly-transcribed rRNA genes obstructs replication during growth in rich medium. This confers a strong growth disadvantage to cells in rich medium, turns on DNA damage responses, and leads to cell death in a subpopulation of cells, while the surviving cells are more sensitive to genotoxic agents. Our results strongly support the hypothesis that evolution has favored co-orientation of transcription with replication, mainly to avoid these effects.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000810
PMCID: PMC2797598  PMID: 20090829
8.  Genome-wide Analysis of Re-replication Reveals Inhibitory Controls That Target Multiple Stages of Replication InitiationD⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2006;17(5):2415-2423.
DNA replication must be tightly controlled during each cell cycle to prevent unscheduled replication and ensure proper genome maintenance. The currently known controls that prevent re-replication act redundantly to inhibit pre-replicative complex (pre-RC) assembly outside of the G1-phase of the cell cycle. The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been a useful model organism to study how eukaryotic cells prevent replication origins from reinitiating during a single cell cycle. Using a re-replication-sensitive strain and DNA microarrays, we map sites across the S. cerevisiae genome that are re-replicated as well as sites of pre-RC formation during re-replication. Only a fraction of the genome is re-replicated by a subset of origins, some of which are capable of multiple reinitiation events. Translocation experiments demonstrate that origin-proximal sequences are sufficient to predispose an origin to re-replication. Origins that reinitiate are largely limited to those that can recruit Mcm2-7 under re-replicating conditions; however, the formation of a pre-RC is not sufficient for reinitiation. Our findings allow us to categorize origins with respect to their propensity to reinitiate and demonstrate that pre-RC formation is not the only target for the mechanisms that prevent genomic re-replication.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E05-11-1037
PMCID: PMC1446079  PMID: 16525018
9.  Visualization of replication initiation and elongation in Drosophila 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2002;159(2):225-236.
Chorion gene amplification in the ovaries of Drosophila melanogaster is a powerful system for the study of metazoan DNA replication in vivo. Using a combination of high-resolution confocal and deconvolution microscopy and quantitative realtime PCR, we found that initiation and elongation occur during separate developmental stages, thus permitting analysis of these two phases of replication in vivo. Bromodeoxyuridine, origin recognition complex, and the elongation factors minichromosome maintenance proteins (MCM)2–7 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen were precisely localized, and the DNA copy number along the third chromosome chorion amplicon was quantified during multiple developmental stages. These studies revealed that initiation takes place during stages 10B and 11 of egg chamber development, whereas only elongation of existing replication forks occurs during egg chamber stages 12 and 13. The ability to distinguish initiation from elongation makes this an outstanding model to decipher the roles of various replication factors during metazoan DNA replication. We utilized this system to demonstrate that the pre–replication complex component, double-parked protein/cell division cycle 10–dependent transcript 1, is not only necessary for proper MCM2–7 localization, but, unexpectedly, is present during elongation.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200207046
PMCID: PMC2173051  PMID: 12403810
DNA replication; chorion amplification; ORC; DUP/Cdt1; MCM2-7
10.  Comprehensive analysis of the chromatin landscape in Drosophila 
Nature  2010;471(7339):480-485.
Summary
Chromatin is composed of DNA and a variety of modified histones and non-histone proteins, which impact cell differentiation, gene regulation and other key cellular processes. We present a genome-wide chromatin landscape for Drosophila melanogaster based on 18 histone modifications, summarized by 9 prevalent combinatorial patterns. Integrative analysis with other data (non-histone chromatin proteins, DNaseI hypersensitivity, GRO-seq reads produced by engaged polymerase, short/long RNA products) reveals discrete characteristics of chromosomes, genes, regulatory elements, and other functional domains. We find that active genes display distinct chromatin signatures that are correlated with disparate gene lengths, exon patterns, regulatory functions, and genomic contexts. We also demonstrate a diversity of signatures among Polycomb targets that include a subset with paused polymerase. This systematic profiling and integrative analysis of chromatin signatures provides insights into how genomic elements are regulated, and will serve as a resource for future experimental investigations of genome structure and function.
doi:10.1038/nature09725
PMCID: PMC3109908  PMID: 21179089
11.  A Cis-Regulatory Map of the Drosophila Genome 
Nature  2011;471(7339):527-531.
Systematic annotation of gene regulatory elements is a major challenge in genome science. Direct mapping of chromatin modification marks and transcriptional factor binding sites genome-wide 1,2 has successfully identified specific subtypes of regulatory elements 3. In Drosophila several pioneering studies have provided genome-wide identification of Polycomb-Response Elements 4, chromatin states 5, transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) 6–9, PolII regulation 8, and insulator elements 10; however, comprehensive annotation of the regulatory genome remains a significant challenge. Here we describe results from the modENCODE cis-regulatory annotation project. We produced a map of the Drosophila melanogaster regulatory genome based on more than 300 chromatin immuno-precipitation (ChIP) datasets for eight chromatin features, five histone deacetylases (HDACs) and thirty-eight site-specific transcription factors (TFs) at different stages of development. Using these data we inferred more than 20,000 candidate regulatory elements and we validated a subset of predictions for promoters, enhancers, and insulators in vivo. We also identified nearly 2,000 genomic regions of dense TF binding associated with chromatin activity and accessibility. We discovered hundreds of new TF co-binding relationships and defined a TF network with over 800 potential regulatory relationships.
doi:10.1038/nature09990
PMCID: PMC3179250  PMID: 21430782

Results 1-11 (11)