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1.  Regeneration of Solanum nigrum by Somatic Embryogenesis, Involving Frog Egg-Like Body, a Novel Structure 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e98672.
A new protocol was established for the regeneration of Solanum nigrum by frog egg-like bodies (FELBs), which are novel somatic embryogenesis (SE) structures induced from the root, stem, and leaf explants. The root, stem, and leaf explants (93.33%, 85.10%, and 100.00%, respectively) were induced to form special embryonic calli on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium containing 1.0 mg/L 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, under dark condition. Further, special embryonic calli from the root, stem, and leaf explants (86.97%, 83.30%, and 99.47%, respectively) were developed into FELBs. Plantlets of FELBs from the three explants were induced in vitro on MS medium supplemented with 5.0 mg/L 6-benzylaminopurine and 0.1 mg/L gibberellic acid, and 100.00% plantlet induction rates were noted. However, plantlet induction in vivo on MS medium supplemented with 20 mg/L thidiazuron showed rates of 38.63%, 15.63%, and 61.30% for the root, stem, and leaf explants, respectively, which were lower than those of the in vitro culture. Morphological and histological analyses of FELBs at different development stages revealed that they are a novel type of SE structure that developed from the mesophyll (leaf) or cortex (stem and root) cells of S. nigrum.
PMCID: PMC4045584  PMID: 24896090
2.  Protective effect of glutamine on intestinal injury and bacterial community in rats exposed to hypobaric hypoxia environment 
AIM: To investigate the protective effect of glutamine (Gln) on intestinal injury and the bacterial community in rats exposed to hypobaric hypoxia environment.
METHODS: Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into control, hypobaric hypoxia (HH), and hypobaric hypoxia + Gln (5.0 g/kg BW·d) (HG) groups. On the first 3 d, all rats were placed in a normal environment. After the third day, the HH and HG groups were transferred into a hypobaric chamber at a simulated elevation of 7000 m for 5 d. The rats in the HG group were given Gln by gavage daily for 8 d. The rats in the control and HH groups were treated with the same volume of saline. The intestinal morphology, serum levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and diamino oxidase (DAO) were examined. We also evaluated the expression levels of occludin, toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), nuclear factor-κB p65 (NF-κB p65) and myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88), and examined the bacterial community in caecal contents.
RESULTS: Hypobaric hypoxia induced the enlargement of the heart, liver, lung and kidney, and caused spleen atrophy. Intestinal villi damage was also observed in the HH group. Supplementation with Gln significantly alleviated hypobaric-induced damage to main organs including the intestine, increased serum SOD (1.14 ± 0.03 vs 0.88 ± 0.04, P < 0.05) and MDA (8.35 ± 1.60, P < 0.01) levels and decreased serum IL-6 (1172.13±30.49 vs 1407.05 ± 34.36, P < 0.05), TNF-α (77.46 ± 0.78 vs 123.70 ± 3.03, P < 0.001), IFN-γ (1355.42 ± 72.80 vs 1830.16 ± 42.07, P < 0.01) and DAO (629.30 ± 9.15 vs 524.10 ± 13.34, P < 0.001) levels. Moreover, Gln significantly increased occludin (0.72 ± 0.05 vs 0.09 ± 0.01, P < 0.001), TLR4 (0.15 ± 0.05 vs 0.30 ±0.09, P < 0.05), MyD88 (0.32 ± 0.08 vs 0.71 ± 0.06, P < 0.01), and NF-κB p65 (0.16 ± 0.04 vs 0.44 ± 0.03, P < 0.01) expression levels and improved the intestinal bacterial community.
CONCLUSION: Gln treatment protects from intestinal injury and regulates the gut flora imbalance in hypoxia environment. These effects may be related to the TLR4/MyD88/NF-κB signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4000502  PMID: 24782618
Hypobaric hypoxia; Glutamine; Intestinal mucosa; Immunomodulation; Bacterial community
3.  A genome scale resource for in vivo tag-based protein function exploration in C. elegans 
Cell  2012;150(4):855-866.
Understanding the in vivo dynamics of protein localization and their physical interactions is important for many problems in Biology. To enable systematic protein function interrogation in a multicelluar context, we built a genome-scale transgenic platform for in vivo expression of fluorescent and affinity tagged proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans under endogenous cis regulatory control. The platform combines computer-assisted transgene design, massively parallel DNA engineering and next generation sequencing to generate a resource of 14637 genomic DNA transgenes, which covers 73% of the proteome. The multipurpose tag used allows any protein of interest to be localized in vivo or affinity purified using standard tag-based assays. We illustrate the utility of the resource by systematic chromatin immunopurification and automated 4D imaging, which produced detailed DNA binding and cell/tissue distribution maps for key transcription factor proteins
PMCID: PMC3979301  PMID: 22901814
4.  Nitrite Reductase Activity and Inhibition of H2S Biogenesis by Human Cystathionine ß-Synthase 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85544.
Nitrite was recognized as a potent vasodilator >130 years and has more recently emerged as an endogenous signaling molecule and modulator of gene expression. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate nitrite metabolism is essential for its use as a potential diagnostic marker as well as therapeutic agent for cardiovascular diseases. In this study, we have identified human cystathionine ß-synthase (CBS) as a new player in nitrite reduction with implications for the nitrite-dependent control of H2S production. This novel activity of CBS exploits the catalytic property of its unusual heme cofactor to reduce nitrite and generate NO. Evidence for the possible physiological relevance of this reaction is provided by the formation of ferrous-nitrosyl (FeII-NO) CBS in the presence of NADPH, the human diflavin methionine synthase reductase (MSR) and nitrite. Formation of FeII-NO CBS via its nitrite reductase activity inhibits CBS, providing an avenue for regulating biogenesis of H2S and cysteine, the limiting reagent for synthesis of glutathione, a major antioxidant. Our results also suggest a possible role for CBS in intracellular NO biogenesis particularly under hypoxic conditions. The participation of a regulatory heme cofactor in CBS in nitrite reduction is unexpected and expands the repertoire of proteins that can liberate NO from the intracellular nitrite pool. Our results reveal a potential molecular mechanism for cross-talk between nitrite, NO and H2S biology.
PMCID: PMC3885727  PMID: 24416422
5.  RSR-2, the Caenorhabditis elegans Ortholog of Human Spliceosomal Component SRm300/SRRM2, Regulates Development by Influencing the Transcriptional Machinery 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(6):e1003543.
Protein components of the spliceosome are highly conserved in eukaryotes and can influence several steps of the gene expression process. RSR-2, the Caenorhabditis elegans ortholog of the human spliceosomal protein SRm300/SRRM2, is essential for viability, in contrast to the yeast ortholog Cwc21p. We took advantage of mutants and RNA interference (RNAi) to study rsr-2 functions in C. elegans, and through genetic epistasis analysis found that rsr-2 is within the germline sex determination pathway. Intriguingly, transcriptome analyses of rsr-2(RNAi) animals did not reveal appreciable splicing defects but instead a slight global decrease in transcript levels. We further investigated this effect in transcription and observed that RSR-2 colocalizes with DNA in germline nuclei and coprecipitates with chromatin, displaying a ChIP-Seq profile similar to that obtained for the RNA Polymerase II (RNAPII). Consistent with a novel transcription function we demonstrate that the recruitment of RSR-2 to chromatin is splicing-independent and that RSR-2 interacts with RNAPII and affects RNAPII phosphorylation states. Proteomic analyses identified proteins associated with RSR-2 that are involved in different gene expression steps, including RNA metabolism and transcription with PRP-8 and PRP-19 being the strongest interacting partners. PRP-8 is a core component of the spliceosome and PRP-19 is the core component of the PRP19 complex, which interacts with RNAPII and is necessary for full transcriptional activity. Taken together, our study proposes that RSR-2 is a multifunctional protein whose role in transcription influences C. elegans development.
Author Summary
It is well known that splicing occurs cotranscriptionally but the functional coupling between splicing and transcription has not been studied carefully in the context of a multicellular organism in development. We took advantage of the amenable C. elegans genetics and genomics to demonstrate a functional relationship between RSR-2, whose yeast and human orthologs are components of the spliceosome, and transcription. Although we found that RSR-2 interacts with proteins present in the spliceosome, moderate inhibition of rsr-2 by RNAi did not significantly affect splicing, but rather caused a decrease in transcript levels that was critical for germline sex determination. Our investigation on such a paradox of a spliceosomal component affecting transcription resulted in several lines of evidence linking RSR-2 with transcription: (i) RSR-2 immunoprecipitates chromatin resembling the ChIP-Seq profile of RNAPII, (ii) RSR-2 is present in intronless genes, (iii) rsr-2(RNAi) globally modifies the distribution of RNAPII along genes and its phosphorylation state, (iv) RSR-2 coimmunoprecipitates with RNAPII, and (v) RSR-2 interacts with PRP-19, which is a component of the spliceosome required for efficient transcriptional activity. Our findings raise an intriguing question: to what extent does a moderate alteration in some spliceosome components affect the gene expression process by perturbing splicing or transcription?
PMCID: PMC3675011  PMID: 23754964
6.  High-Throughput Immunofluorescence Microscopy Using Yeast Spheroplast Cell-Based Microarrays 
We have described a protocol for performing high-throughput immunofluorescence microscopy on microarrays of yeast cells. This approach employs immunostaining of spheroplasted yeast cells printed as high-density cell microarrays, followed by imaging using automated microscopy. A yeast spheroplast microarray can contain more than 5,000 printed spots, each containing cells from a given yeast strain, and is thus suitable for genome-wide screens focusing on single cell phenotypes, such as systematic localization or co-localization studies or genetic assays for genes affecting probed targets. We demonstrate the use of yeast spheroplast microarrays to probe microtubule and spindle defects across a collection of yeast strains harboring tetracycline-down-regulatable alleles of essential genes.
PMCID: PMC3654672  PMID: 21104056
Yeast; immunofluorescence; high-throughput microscopy; cell microarrays; microtubule
7.  Tissue-specific direct targets of Caenorhabditis elegans Rb/E2F dictate distinct somatic and germline programs 
Genome Biology  2013;14(1):R5.
The tumor suppressor Rb/E2F regulates gene expression to control differentiation in multiple tissues during development, although how it directs tissue-specific gene regulation in vivo is poorly understood.
We determined the genome-wide binding profiles for Caenorhabditis elegans Rb/E2F-like components in the germline, in the intestine and broadly throughout the soma, and uncovered highly tissue-specific binding patterns and target genes. Chromatin association by LIN-35, the C. elegans ortholog of Rb, is impaired in the germline but robust in the soma, a characteristic that might govern differential effects on gene expression in the two cell types. In the intestine, LIN-35 and the heterochromatin protein HPL-2, the ortholog of Hp1, coordinately bind at many sites lacking E2F. Finally, selected direct target genes contribute to the soma-to-germline transformation of lin-35 mutants, including mes-4, a soma-specific target that promotes H3K36 methylation, and csr-1, a germline-specific target that functions in a 22G small RNA pathway.
In sum, identification of tissue-specific binding profiles and effector target genes reveals important insights into the mechanisms by which Rb/E2F controls distinct cell fates in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4053757  PMID: 23347407
8.  Increasing gastric juice pH level prior to anti-Helicobacter pylori therapy may be beneficial to the healing of duodenal ulcers 
The aim of this study was to observe the efficacy of clarithromycin-based triple therapy for Helicobacter pylori (Hp)-infected duodenal ulcer when combined with different pH levels of gastric juices. A total of 160 patients with Hp-infected duodenal ulcers were randomly allocated into two groups. Patients in the treatment group (n=80) were administered a 20-mg dose of omeprazole twice daily for 1 week and then the treatment and control groups (n=80) received therapy for Hp infection and duodenal ulcers. We observed the ulcer healing stage, the content of anti-Hp IgA in gastric juice and the Hp eradication rate before and after proton pump inhibitor therapy in the two groups. Results revealed that the Hp eradication rate in the treatment group was 93% compared with 81% in the control group, and the difference was statistically significant (P<0.05). The ulcer healing rate in the treatment group was 93%, compared with 70% in the control group (P<0.05). A positive linear correlation was observed between gastric pH and the content of anti-Hp IgA in gastric juice (P<0.05). Increasing gastric pH prior to anti-Hp therapy may be beneficial to the eradication of Hp and for promoting the healing of duodenal ulcers.
PMCID: PMC3570246  PMID: 23408776
Helicobacter pylori; Helicobacter pylori eradication; duodenal ulcer; gastric juice pH; omeprazole; clarithromycin
9.  Construction and Analysis of an Integrated Regulatory Network Derived from High-Throughput Sequencing Data 
PLoS Computational Biology  2011;7(11):e1002190.
We present a network framework for analyzing multi-level regulation in higher eukaryotes based on systematic integration of various high-throughput datasets. The network, namely the integrated regulatory network, consists of three major types of regulation: TF→gene, TF→miRNA and miRNA→gene. We identified the target genes and target miRNAs for a set of TFs based on the ChIP-Seq binding profiles, the predicted targets of miRNAs using annotated 3′UTR sequences and conservation information. Making use of the system-wide RNA-Seq profiles, we classified transcription factors into positive and negative regulators and assigned a sign for each regulatory interaction. Other types of edges such as protein-protein interactions and potential intra-regulations between miRNAs based on the embedding of miRNAs in their host genes were further incorporated. We examined the topological structures of the network, including its hierarchical organization and motif enrichment. We found that transcription factors downstream of the hierarchy distinguish themselves by expressing more uniformly at various tissues, have more interacting partners, and are more likely to be essential. We found an over-representation of notable network motifs, including a FFL in which a miRNA cost-effectively shuts down a transcription factor and its target. We used data of C. elegans from the modENCODE project as a primary model to illustrate our framework, but further verified the results using other two data sets. As more and more genome-wide ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq data becomes available in the near future, our methods of data integration have various potential applications.
Author Summary
The precise control of gene expression lies at the heart of many biological processes. In eukaryotes, the regulation is performed at multiple levels, mediated by different regulators such as transcription factors and miRNAs, each distinguished by different spatial and temporal characteristics. These regulators are further integrated to form a complex regulatory network responsible for the orchestration. The construction and analysis of such networks is essential for understanding the general design principles. Recent advances in high-throughput techniques like ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq provide an opportunity by offering a huge amount of binding and expression data. We present a general framework to combine these types of data into an integrated network and perform various topological analyses, including its hierarchical organization and motif enrichment. We find that the integrated network possesses an intrinsic hierarchical organization and is enriched in several network motifs that include both transcription factors and miRNAs. We further demonstrate that the framework can be easily applied to other species like human and mouse. As more and more genome-wide ChIP-Seq and RNA-Seq data are going to be generated in the near future, our methods of data integration have various potential applications.
PMCID: PMC3219617  PMID: 22125477
10.  Integrative Analysis of the Caenorhabditis elegans Genome by the modENCODE Project 
Gerstein, Mark B. | Lu, Zhi John | Van Nostrand, Eric L. | Cheng, Chao | Arshinoff, Bradley I. | Liu, Tao | Yip, Kevin Y. | Robilotto, Rebecca | Rechtsteiner, Andreas | Ikegami, Kohta | Alves, Pedro | Chateigner, Aurelien | Perry, Marc | Morris, Mitzi | Auerbach, Raymond K. | Feng, Xin | Leng, Jing | Vielle, Anne | Niu, Wei | Rhrissorrakrai, Kahn | Agarwal, Ashish | Alexander, Roger P. | Barber, Galt | Brdlik, Cathleen M. | Brennan, Jennifer | Brouillet, Jeremy Jean | Carr, Adrian | Cheung, Ming-Sin | Clawson, Hiram | Contrino, Sergio | Dannenberg, Luke O. | Dernburg, Abby F. | Desai, Arshad | Dick, Lindsay | Dosé, Andréa C. | Du, Jiang | Egelhofer, Thea | Ercan, Sevinc | Euskirchen, Ghia | Ewing, Brent | Feingold, Elise A. | Gassmann, Reto | Good, Peter J. | Green, Phil | Gullier, Francois | Gutwein, Michelle | Guyer, Mark S. | Habegger, Lukas | Han, Ting | Henikoff, Jorja G. | Henz, Stefan R. | Hinrichs, Angie | Holster, Heather | Hyman, Tony | Iniguez, A. Leo | Janette, Judith | Jensen, Morten | Kato, Masaomi | Kent, W. James | Kephart, Ellen | Khivansara, Vishal | Khurana, Ekta | Kim, John K. | Kolasinska-Zwierz, Paulina | Lai, Eric C. | Latorre, Isabel | Leahey, Amber | Lewis, Suzanna | Lloyd, Paul | Lochovsky, Lucas | Lowdon, Rebecca F. | Lubling, Yaniv | Lyne, Rachel | MacCoss, Michael | Mackowiak, Sebastian D. | Mangone, Marco | McKay, Sheldon | Mecenas, Desirea | Merrihew, Gennifer | Miller, David M. | Muroyama, Andrew | Murray, John I. | Ooi, Siew-Loon | Pham, Hoang | Phippen, Taryn | Preston, Elicia A. | Rajewsky, Nikolaus | Rätsch, Gunnar | Rosenbaum, Heidi | Rozowsky, Joel | Rutherford, Kim | Ruzanov, Peter | Sarov, Mihail | Sasidharan, Rajkumar | Sboner, Andrea | Scheid, Paul | Segal, Eran | Shin, Hyunjin | Shou, Chong | Slack, Frank J. | Slightam, Cindie | Smith, Richard | Spencer, William C. | Stinson, E. O. | Taing, Scott | Takasaki, Teruaki | Vafeados, Dionne | Voronina, Ksenia | Wang, Guilin | Washington, Nicole L. | Whittle, Christina M. | Wu, Beijing | Yan, Koon-Kiu | Zeller, Georg | Zha, Zheng | Zhong, Mei | Zhou, Xingliang | Ahringer, Julie | Strome, Susan | Gunsalus, Kristin C. | Micklem, Gos | Liu, X. Shirley | Reinke, Valerie | Kim, Stuart K. | Hillier, LaDeana W. | Henikoff, Steven | Piano, Fabio | Snyder, Michael | Stein, Lincoln | Lieb, Jason D. | Waterston, Robert H.
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2010;330(6012):1775-1787.
We systematically generated large-scale data sets to improve genome annotation for the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a key model organism. These data sets include transcriptome profiling across a developmental time course, genome-wide identification of transcription factor–binding sites, and maps of chromatin organization. From this, we created more complete and accurate gene models, including alternative splice forms and candidate noncoding RNAs. We constructed hierarchical networks of transcription factor–binding and microRNA interactions and discovered chromosomal locations bound by an unusually large number of transcription factors. Different patterns of chromatin composition and histone modification were revealed between chromosome arms and centers, with similarly prominent differences between autosomes and the X chromosome. Integrating data types, we built statistical models relating chromatin, transcription factor binding, and gene expression. Overall, our analyses ascribed putative functions to most of the conserved genome.
PMCID: PMC3142569  PMID: 21177976
11.  A Widespread Distribution of Genomic CeMyoD Binding Sites Revealed and Cross Validated by ChIP-Chip and ChIP-Seq Techniques 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15898.
Identifying transcription factor binding sites genome-wide using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-based technology is becoming an increasingly important tool in addressing developmental questions. However, technical problems associated with factor abundance and suitable ChIP reagents are common obstacles to these studies in many biological systems. We have used two completely different, widely applicable methods to determine by ChIP the genome-wide binding sites of the master myogenic regulatory transcription factor HLH-1 (CeMyoD) in C. elegans embryos. The two approaches, ChIP-seq and ChIP-chip, yield strongly overlapping results revealing that HLH-1 preferentially binds to promoter regions of genes enriched for E-box sequences (CANNTG), known binding sites for this well-studied class of transcription factors. HLH-1 binding sites were enriched upstream of genes known to be expressed in muscle, consistent with its role as a direct transcriptional regulator. HLH-1 binding was also detected at numerous sites unassociated with muscle gene expression, as has been previously described for its mouse homolog MyoD. These binding sites may reflect several additional functions for HLH-1, including its interactions with one or more co-factors to activate (or repress) gene expression or a role in chromatin organization distinct from direct transcriptional regulation of target genes. Our results also provide a comparison of ChIP methodologies that can overcome limitations commonly encountered in these types of studies while highlighting the complications of assigning in vivo functions to identified target sites.
PMCID: PMC3012110  PMID: 21209968
12.  XbaI polymorphisms of apolipoprotein B gene: Another risk factor of gallstone formation after radical gastrectomy 
AIM: To prospectively investigate the association between the XbaI polymorphisms of apolipoprotein B (APOB) gene and gallstone formation following gastrectomy.
METHODS: The study was conducted between January 2005 and December 2006. A total of 186 gastric cancer patients who had undergone radical gastrectomy were grouped according to XbaI polymorphisms of APOB gene (X+X- group, n = 24 and X-X- group, n = 162) and compared. The XbaI polymorphisms of APOB gene were detected by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP).
RESULTS: The incidence of gallstone was significantly higher in the X+X- group than in the X-X- group [54.2% vs 9.3%, RR = 5.85 (2.23-15.32), P < 0.001]. The serum levels of total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) were higher in the X+X- than in the X-X- group (4.02 ± 1.12 vs 3.48 ± 0.88, P = 0.004 before surgery and 3.88 ± 1.09 vs 3.40 ± 0.86, P = 0.008 after surgery). LDL was 2.21 ± 0.96 vs 1.89 ± 0.84 (P = 0.042) before surgery and 2.09 ± 0.95 vs 1.72 ± 0.85 (P = 0.029) after surgery in the two groups. No relationship was found between XbaI polymorphisms and gallbladder motility.
CONCLUSION: In Chinese patients after radical gastrectomy, X+ allele of APOB gene is another risk factor for the development of gallstone besides the gallbladder motility disorder after surgery.
PMCID: PMC2877186  PMID: 20503456
Gastric cancer; Gastrectomy; Gallstone; Apolipoprotein B gene; Polymorphism
13.  Genome-Wide Identification of Binding Sites Defines Distinct Functions for Caenorhabditis elegans PHA-4/FOXA in Development and Environmental Response 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(2):e1000848.
Transcription factors are key components of regulatory networks that control development, as well as the response to environmental stimuli. We have established an experimental pipeline in Caenorhabditis elegans that permits global identification of the binding sites for transcription factors using chromatin immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing. We describe and validate this strategy, and apply it to the transcription factor PHA-4, which plays critical roles in organ development and other cellular processes. We identified thousands of binding sites for PHA-4 during formation of the embryonic pharynx, and also found a role for this factor during the starvation response. Many binding sites were found to shift dramatically between embryos and starved larvae, from developmentally regulated genes to genes involved in metabolism. These results indicate distinct roles for this regulator in two different biological processes and demonstrate the versatility of transcription factors in mediating diverse biological roles.
Author Summary
The C. elegans transcription factor PHA-4 is a member of the highly conserved FOXA family of transcription factors. These factors act as master regulators of organ development by controlling how genes are turned off and on as tissues are formed. Additionally they regulate genes in response to nutrient levels and control both longevity and survival of the organism. However, the extent to which these factors control similar or distinct gene targets for each of these functions is unknown. For this reason, we have used the technique of chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by deep sequencing (ChIP–Seq), to define the target binding sites of PHA-4 on a genome-wide scale, when it is either functioning as an organ identity regulator or in response to environmental stress. Our data clearly demonstrate distinct sets of biologically relevant target genes for the transcription factor PHA-4 under these two different conditions. Not only have we defined PHA-4 targets, but we established an experimental ChIP–Seq pipeline to facilitate the identification of binding sites for many transcription factors in the future.
PMCID: PMC2824807  PMID: 20174564
14.  Systematic Definition of Protein Constituents along the Major Polarization Axis Reveals an Adaptive Reuse of the Polarization Machinery in Pheromone-Treated Budding Yeast 
Polarizing cells extensively restructure cellular components in a spatially and temporally coupled manner along the major axis of cellular extension. Budding yeast are a useful model of polarized growth, helping to define many molecular components of this conserved process. Besides budding, yeast cells also differentiate upon treatment with pheromone from the opposite mating type, forming a mating projection (the ‘shmoo’) by directional restructuring of the cytoskeleton, localized vesicular transport and overall reorganization of the cytosol. To characterize the proteomic localization changes accompanying polarized growth, we developed and implemented a novel cell microarray-based imaging assay for measuring the spatial redistribution of a large fraction of the yeast proteome, and applied this assay to identify proteins localized along the mating projection following pheromone treatment. We further trained a machine learning algorithm to refine the cell imaging screen, identifying additional shmoo-localized proteins. In all, we identified 74 proteins that specifically localize to the mating projection, including previously uncharacterized proteins (Ycr043c, Ydr348c, Yer071c, Ymr295c, and Yor304c-a) and known polarization complexes such as the exocyst. Functional analysis of these proteins, coupled with quantitative analysis of individual organelle movements during shmoo formation, suggests a model in which the basic machinery for cell polarization is generally conserved between processes forming the bud and the shmoo, with a distinct subset of proteins used only for shmoo formation. The net effect is a defined ordering of major organelles along the polarization axis, with specific proteins implicated at the proximal growth tip.
Upon sensing mating pheromone, budding yeast cells form a mating projection (the ‘shmoo’) that serves as a model for polarized cell growth, involving cytoskeletal/cytosolic restructuring and directed vesicular transport. We developed a cell microarray-based imaging assay for measuring localization of the yeast proteome during polarized growth. We find major organelles ordered along the polarization axis, localize 74 proteins to the growth tip, and observe adaptive reuse of general polarization machinery.
PMCID: PMC2651748  PMID: 19053807
Proteomics; polarized growth; subcellular localization; pheromone response; yeast
15.  Mechanisms of Cell Cycle Control Revealed by a Systematic and Quantitative Overexpression Screen in S. cerevisiae 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(7):e1000120.
Regulation of cell cycle progression is fundamental to cell health and reproduction, and failures in this process are associated with many human diseases. Much of our knowledge of cell cycle regulators derives from loss-of-function studies. To reveal new cell cycle regulatory genes that are difficult to identify in loss-of-function studies, we performed a near-genome-wide flow cytometry assay of yeast gene overexpression-induced cell cycle delay phenotypes. We identified 108 genes whose overexpression significantly delayed the progression of the yeast cell cycle at a specific stage. Many of the genes are newly implicated in cell cycle progression, for example SKO1, RFA1, and YPR015C. The overexpression of RFA1 or YPR015C delayed the cell cycle at G2/M phases by disrupting spindle attachment to chromosomes and activating the DNA damage checkpoint, respectively. In contrast, overexpression of the transcription factor SKO1 arrests cells at G1 phase by activating the pheromone response pathway, revealing new cross-talk between osmotic sensing and mating. More generally, 92%–94% of the genes exhibit distinct phenotypes when overexpressed as compared to their corresponding deletion mutants, supporting the notion that many genes may gain functions upon overexpression. This work thus implicates new genes in cell cycle progression, complements previous screens, and lays the foundation for future experiments to define more precisely roles for these genes in cell cycle progression.
Author Summary
All cells require proper cell cycle regulation; failure leads to numerous human diseases. Cell cycle mechanisms are broadly conserved across eukaryotes, with many key regulatory genes known. Nonetheless, our knowledge of regulators is incomplete. Many classic studies have analyzed yeast loss-of-function mutants to identify cell cycle genes. Studies have also implicated genes based upon their overexpression phenotypes, but the effects of gene overexpression on the cell cycle have not been quantified for all yeast genes. We individually quantified the effect of overexpression on cell cycle progression for nearly all (91%) of yeast genes, and we report the 108 genes causing the most significant and reproducible cell cycle defects, most of which have not been previously observed. We characterize three genes in more detail, implicating one in chromosomal segregation and mitotic spindle formation. A second affects mitotic stability and the DNA damage checkpoint. Curiously, overexpression of a third gene, SKO1, arrests the cell cycle by activating the pheromone response pathway, with cells mistakenly behaving as if mating pheromone is present. These results establish a basis for future experiments elucidating precise cell cycle roles for these genes. Similar assays in human cells could help further clarify the many connections between cell cycle control and cancers.
PMCID: PMC2438615  PMID: 18617996
16.  Group II Intron Protein Localization and Insertion Sites Are Affected by Polyphosphate 
PLoS Biology  2008;6(6):e150.
Mobile group II introns consist of a catalytic intron RNA and an intron-encoded protein with reverse transcriptase activity, which act together in a ribonucleoprotein particle to promote DNA integration during intron mobility. Previously, we found that the Lactococcus lactis Ll.LtrB intron-encoded protein (LtrA) expressed alone or with the intron RNA to form ribonucleoprotein particles localizes to bacterial cellular poles, potentially accounting for the intron's preferential insertion in the oriC and ter regions of the Escherichia coli chromosome. Here, by using cell microarrays and automated fluorescence microscopy to screen a transposon-insertion library, we identified five E. coli genes (gppA, uhpT, wcaK, ynbC, and zntR) whose disruption results in both an increased proportion of cells with more diffuse LtrA localization and a more uniform genomic distribution of Ll.LtrB-insertion sites. Surprisingly, we find that a common factor affecting LtrA localization in these and other disruptants is the accumulation of intracellular polyphosphate, which appears to bind LtrA and other basic proteins and delocalize them away from the poles. Our findings show that the intracellular localization of a group II intron-encoded protein is a major determinant of insertion-site preference. More generally, our results suggest that polyphosphate accumulation may provide a means of localizing proteins to different sites of action during cellular stress or entry into stationary phase, with potentially wide physiological consequences.
Author Summary
Group II introns are bacterial mobile elements thought to be ancestors of introns—genetic material that is discarded from messenger RNA transcripts—and retroelements—genetic elements and viruses that replicate via reverse transcription—in higher organisms. They propagate by forming a complex consisting of the catalytically active intron RNA and an intron-encoded reverse transcriptase (which converts the RNA to DNA, which can then be reinserted in the host genome). The Ll.LtrB group II intron-encoded protein (LtrA) was found previously to localize to bacterial cellular poles, potentially accounting for the preferential insertion of Ll.LtrB in the replication origin (oriC) and terminus (ter) regions of the Escherichia coli chromosome, which are located near the poles during much of the cell cycle. Here, we identify E. coli genes whose disruption leads both to more diffuse LtrA localization and a more uniform chromosomal distribution of Ll.LtrB-insertion sites, proving that the location of the LtrA protein contributes to insertion-site preference. Surprisingly, we find that LtrA localization in the disruptants is affected by the accumulation of intracellular polyphosphate, which appears to bind basic proteins and delocalize them away from the cellular poles. Thus, polyphosphate, a ubiquitous but enigmatic molecule in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, can localize proteins to different sites of action, with potentially wide physiological consequences.
A novel cell microarray method uncovers connections between group II intron mobility, cell stress, and polyphosphate metabolism, including the finding that polyphosphate can influence intracellular protein localization.
PMCID: PMC2435150  PMID: 18593213
17.  Systematic profiling of cellular phenotypes with spotted cell microarrays reveals mating-pheromone response genes 
Genome Biology  2006;7(1):R6.
Spotted cell microarrays were developed for measuring cellular phenotypes on a large scale and used to identify genes involved in the response of yeast to mating pheromone.
We have developed spotted cell microarrays for measuring cellular phenotypes on a large scale. Collections of cells are printed, stained for subcellular features, then imaged via automated, high-throughput microscopy, allowing systematic phenotypic characterization. We used this technology to identify genes involved in the response of yeast to mating pheromone. Besides morphology assays, cell microarrays should be valuable for high-throughput in situ hybridization and immunoassays, enabling new classes of genetic assays based on cell imaging.
PMCID: PMC1431703  PMID: 16507139

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