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author:("Liu, beilong")
1.  Enhancing protein disaggregation restores proteasome activity in aged cells 
Aging (Albany NY)  2013;5(11):802-812.
The activity of the ubiquitin-proteasome system, UPS, declines during aging in several multicellular organisms. The reason behind this decline remains elusive. Here, using yeast as a model system, we show that while the level and potential capacity of the 26S proteasome is maintained in replicatively aged cells, the UPS is not functioning properly in vivo. As a consequence cytosolic UPS substrates, such as ΔssCPY* are stabilized, accumulate, and form inclusions. By integrating a pGPD-HSP104 recombinant gene into the genome, we were able to constitutively elevate protein disaggregase activity, which diminished the accumulation of protein inclusions during aging. Remarkably, this elevated disaggregation restored degradation of a 26S proteasome substrate in aged cells without elevating proteasome levels, demonstrating that age-associated aggregation obstructs UPS function. The data supports the existence of a negative feedback loop that accelerates aging by exacerbating proteostatic decline once misfolded and aggregation-prone proteins reach a critical level.
PMCID: PMC3868723  PMID: 24243762
Replicative aging; yeast; UPS; proteasome; disaggregation
3.  Mediator Promotes CENP-A Incorporation at Fission Yeast Centromeres 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2012;32(19):4035-4043.
At Schizosaccharomyces pombe centromeres, heterochromatin formation is required for de novo incorporation of the histone H3 variant CENP-ACnp1, which in turn directs kinetochore assembly and ultimately chromosome segregation during mitosis. Noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) transcribed by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) directs heterochromatin formation through not only the RNA interference (RNAi) machinery but also RNAi-independent RNA processing factors. Control of centromeric ncRNA transcription is therefore a key factor for proper centromere function. We here demonstrate that Mediator directs ncRNA transcription and regulates centromeric heterochromatin formation in fission yeast. Mediator colocalizes with Pol II at centromeres, and loss of the Mediator subunit Med20 causes a dramatic increase in pericentromeric transcription and desilencing of the core centromere. As a consequence, heterochromatin formation is impaired via both the RNAi-dependent and -independent pathways, resulting in loss of CENP-ACnp1 from the core centromere, a defect in kinetochore function, and a severe chromosome segregation defect. Interestingly, the increased centromeric transcription observed in med20Δ cells appears to directly block CENP-ACnp1 incorporation since inhibition of Pol II transcription can suppress the observed phenotypes. Our data thus identify Mediator as a crucial regulator of ncRNA transcription at fission yeast centromeres and add another crucial layer of regulation to centromere function.
PMCID: PMC3457525  PMID: 22851695
4.  Mediator Influences Telomeric Silencing and Cellular Life Span ▿ 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(12):2413-2421.
The Mediator complex is required for the regulated transcription of nearly all RNA polymerase II-dependent genes. Here we demonstrate a new role for Mediator which appears to be separate from its function as a transcriptional coactivator. Mediator associates directly with heterochromatin at telomeres and influences the exact boundary between active and inactive chromatin. Loss of the Mediator Med5 subunit or mutations in Med7 cause a depletion of the complex from regions located near subtelomeric X elements, which leads to a change in the balance between the Sir2 and Sas2 proteins. These changes in turn result in increased levels of H4K16 acetylation near telomeres and in desilencing of subtelomeric genes. Increases in H4K16 acetylation have been observed at telomeres in aging cells. In agreement with this observation, we found that the loss of MED5 leads to shortening of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast) replicative life span.
PMCID: PMC3133415  PMID: 21482672
5.  Chemogenetic fingerprinting by analysis of cellular growth dynamics 
A fundamental goal in chemical biology is the elucidation of on- and off-target effects of drugs and biocides. To this aim chemogenetic screens that quantify drug induced changes in cellular fitness, typically taken as changes in composite growth, is commonly applied.
Using the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae we here report that resolving cellular growth dynamics into its individual components, growth lag, growth rate and growth efficiency, increases the predictive power of chemogenetic screens. Both in terms of drug-drug and gene-drug interactions did the individual growth variables capture distinct and only partially overlapping aspects of cell physiology. In fact, the impact on cellular growth dynamics represented functionally distinct chemical fingerprints.
Our findings suggest that the resolution and quantification of all facets of growth increases the informational and interpretational output of chemogenetic screening. Hence, by facilitating a physiologically more complete analysis of gene-drug and drug-drug interactions the here reported results may simplify the assignment of mode-of-action to orphan bioactive compounds.
PMCID: PMC2532679  PMID: 18721464

Results 1-5 (5)