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1.  The Sub1 nuclear protein protects DNA from oxidative damage 
Molecular and cellular biochemistry  2015;412(1-2):165-171.
Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are a by-product of aerobic metabolism that can damage lipid, proteins, and nucleic acids. Oxidative damage to DNA is especially critical, because it can lead to cell death or mutagenesis. Previously we reported that the yeast sub1 deletion mutant is sensitive to hydrogen peroxide treatment and that the human SUB1 can complement the sensitivity of the yeast sub1 mutant. In this study, we find that Sub1 protects DNA from oxidative damage in vivo and in vitro. We demonstrate that transcription of SUB1 mRNA is induced by oxidative stress and that the sub1Δ mutant has an increased number of chromosomal DNA strand breaks after peroxide treatment. We further demonstrate that purified Sub1 protein can protect DNA from oxidative damage in vitro, using the metal ion catalyzed oxidation assay.
PMCID: PMC5064834  PMID: 26708217
2.  RNA polymerase II depletion promotes transcription of alternative mRNA species 
BMC Molecular Biology  2016;17(1):20.
Cells respond to numerous internal and external stresses, such as heat, cold, oxidative stress, DNA damage, and osmotic pressure changes. In most cases, the primary response to stress is transcriptional induction of genes that assist the cells in tolerating the stress and facilitate the repair of the cellular damage. However, when the transcription machinery itself is stressed, responding by such standard mechanisms may not be possible.
In this study, we demonstrate that depletion or inactivation of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) changes the preferred polyadenylation site usage for several transcripts, and leads to increased transcription of a specific subset of genes. Surprisingly, depletion of RNA polymerase I (RNAPI) also promotes altered polyadenylation site usage, while depletion of RNA polymerase III (RNAPIII) does not appear to have an impact.
Our results demonstrate that stressing the transcription machinery by depleting either RNAPI or RNAPII leads to a novel transcriptional response that results in induction of specific mRNAs and altered polyadenylation of many of the induced transcripts.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12867-016-0074-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5004267  PMID: 27578267
Transcription; RNA polymerase depletion; Transcriptional stress; Altered polyadenylation preference; mRNA induction
3.  Induction of a Unique Isoform of the NCOA7 Oxidation Resistance Gene by Interferon β-1b 
We demonstrate that interferon (IFN)-β-1b induces an alternative-start transcript containing the C-terminal TLDc domain of nuclear receptor coactivator protein 7 (NCOA7), a member of the OXR family of oxidation resistance proteins. IFN-β-1b induces NCOA7-AS (alternative start) expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from healthy individuals and multiple sclerosis patients and human fetal brain cells, astrocytoma, neuroblastoma, and fibrosarcoma cells. NCOA7-AS is a previously undocumented IFN-β-inducible gene that contains only the last 5 exons of full-length NCOA7 plus a unique first exon (exon 10a) that is not found in longer forms of NCOA7. This exon encodes a domain closely related to an important class of bacterial aldo-keto oxido-reductase proteins that play a critical role in regulating redox activity. We demonstrate that NCOA7-AS is induced by IFN and LPS, but not by oxidative stress and exhibits, independently, oxidation resistance activity. We further demonstrate that induction of NCOA7-AS by IFN is dependent on IFN-receptor activation, the Janus kinase-signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling pathway, and a canonical IFN-stimulated response element regulatory sequence upstream of exon 10a. We describe a new role for IFN-βs involving a mechanism of action that leads to an increase in resistance to inflammation-mediated oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC4350146  PMID: 25330068
4.  Differential Requirement for SUB1 in Chromosomal and Plasmid Double-Strand DNA Break Repair 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58015.
Non homologous end joining (NHEJ) is an important process that repairs double strand DNA breaks (DSBs) in eukaryotic cells. Cells defective in NHEJ are unable to join chromosomal breaks. Two different NHEJ assays are typically used to determine the efficiency of NHEJ. One requires NHEJ of linearized plasmid DNA transformed into the test organism; the other requires NHEJ of a single chromosomal break induced either by HO endonuclease or the I-SceI restriction enzyme. These two assays are generally considered equivalent and rely on the same set of NHEJ genes. PC4 is an abundant DNA binding protein that has been suggested to stimulate NHEJ. Here we tested the role of PC4's yeast homolog SUB1 in repair of DNA double strand breaks using different assays. We found SUB1 is required for NHEJ repair of DSBs in plasmid DNA, but not in chromosomal DNA. Our results suggest that these two assays, while similar are not equivalent and that repair of plasmid DNA requires additional factor(s) that are not required for NHEJ repair of chromosomal double-strand DNA breaks. Possible roles for Sub1 proteins in NHEJ of plasmid DNA are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3595253  PMID: 23554872
5.  UV damage regulates alternative polyadenylation of the RPB2 gene in yeast 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(5):3104-3114.
Alternative polyadenylation (APA) is conserved in all eukaryotic cells. Selective use of polyadenylation sites appears to be a highly regulated process and contributes to human pathogenesis. In this article we report that the yeast RPB2 gene is alternatively polyadenylated, producing two mRNAs with different lengths of 3′UTR. In normally growing wild-type cells, polyadenylation preferentially uses the promoter-proximal poly(A) site. After UV damage transcription of RPB2 is initially inhibited. As transcription recovers, the promoter-distal poly(A) site is preferentially used instead, producing more of a longer form of RPB2 mRNA. We show that the relative increase in the long RPB2 mRNA is not caused by increased mRNA stability, supporting the preferential usage of the distal poly(A) site during transcription recovery. We demonstrate that the 3′UTR of RPB2 is sufficient for this UV-induced regulation of APA. We present evidence that while transcription initiation rates do not seem to influence selection of the poly(A) sites of RPB2, the rate of transcription elongation is an important determinant.
PMCID: PMC3597686  PMID: 23355614
6.  Preferential DNA damage prevention by the E. coli AidB gene: a new mechanism for protection of specific genes 
DNA repair  2011;10(9):934-941.
aidB is one of four genes of E. coli that is induced by alkylating agents and regulated by Ada protein. Three genes (ada, alkA, and alkB) encode DNA repair proteins that remove or repair alkylated bases. However, the role of AidB remains unclear despite extensive efforts to determine its function in cells exposed to alkylating agents. The E. coli AidB protein was identified as a component of the protein complex that assembles at strong promoters. We demonstrate that AidB protein preferentially binds to UP elements, AT rich transcription enhancer sequences found upstream of many highly expressed genes, several DNA repair genes, and housekeeping genes. AidB allows efficient transcription from promoters containing an UP element upon exposure to a DNA methylating agent and protects downstream genes from DNA damage. The DNA binding domain is required to target AidB to specific genes preferentially protecting them from alkylation damage. However, deletion of AidB’s DNA binding domain does not prevent its antimutagenic activity, instead this deletion appears to allow AidB to function as a cytoplasmic alkylation resistance protein. Our studies identify the role of AidB in alkylating agent exposed cells and suggest a new cellular strategy in which a subset of the genome is preferentially protected from damage by alkylating agents.
PMCID: PMC3162126  PMID: 21788159
AidB protein; alkylating agents; DNA protection; UP element
7.  Structural/functional analysis of the human OXR1 protein: identification of exon 8 as the anti-oxidant encoding function 
BMC Molecular Biology  2012;13:26.
The human OXR1 gene belongs to a class of genes with conserved functions that protect cells from reactive oxygen species (ROS). The gene was found using a screen of a human cDNA library by its ability to suppress the spontaneous mutator phenotype of an E. coli mutH nth strain. The function of OXR1 is unknown. The human and yeast genes are induced by oxidative stress and targeted to the mitochondria; the yeast gene is required for resistance to hydrogen peroxide. Multiple spliced isoforms are expressed in a variety of human tissues, including brain.
In this report, we use a papillation assay that measures spontaneous mutagenesis of an E. coli mutM mutY strain, a host defective for oxidative DNA repair. Papillation frequencies with this strain are dependent upon a G→T transversion in the lacZ gene (a mutation known to occur as a result of oxidative damage) and are suppressed by in vivo expression of human OXR1. N-terminal, C-terminal and internal deletions of the OXR1 gene were constructed and tested for suppression of the mutagenic phenotype of the mutM mutY strain. We find that the TLDc domain, encoded by the final four exons of the OXR1 gene, is not required for papillation suppression in E. coli. Instead, we show that the protein segment encoded by exon 8 of OXR1 is responsible for the suppression of oxidative damage in E. coli.
The protein segment encoded by OXR1 exon 8 plays an important role in the anti-oxidative function of the human OXR1 protein. This result suggests that the TLDc domain, found in OXR1 exons 12–16 and common in many proteins with nuclear function, has an alternate (undefined) role other than oxidative repair.
PMCID: PMC3462732  PMID: 22873401
8.  The OXR domain defines a conserved family of eukaryotic oxidation resistance proteins 
BMC Cell Biology  2007;8:13.
The NCOA7 gene product is an estrogen receptor associated protein that is highly similar to the human OXR1 gene product, which functions in oxidation resistance. OXR genes are conserved among all sequenced eukaryotes from yeast to humans. In this study we examine if NCOA7 has an oxidation resistance function similar to that demonstrated for OXR1. We also examine NCOA7 expression in response to oxidative stress and its subcellular localization in human cells, comparing these properties with those of OXR1.
We find that NCOA7, like OXR1 can suppress the oxidative mutator phenotype when expressed in an E. coli strain that exhibits an oxidation specific mutator phenotype. Moreover, NCOA7's oxidation resistance function requires expression of only its carboxyl-terminal domain and is similar in this regard to OXR1. We find that, in human cells, NCOA7 is constitutively expressed and is not induced by oxidative stress and appears to localize to the nucleus following estradiol stimulation. These properties of NCOA7 are in striking contrast to those of OXR1, which is induced by oxidative stress, localizes to mitochondria, and appears to be excluded, or largely absent from nuclei.
NCOA7 most likely arose from duplication. Like its homologue, OXR1, it is capable of reducing the DNA damaging effects of reactive oxygen species when expressed in bacteria, indicating the protein has an activity that can contribute to oxidation resistance. Unlike OXR1, it appears to localize to nuclei and interacts with the estrogen receptor. This raises the possibility that NCOA7 encodes the nuclear counterpart of the mitochondrial OXR1 protein and in mammalian cells it may reduce the oxidative by-products of estrogen metabolite-mediated DNA damage.
PMCID: PMC1847813  PMID: 17391516
9.  Deregulation of DNA Damage Signal Transduction by Herpesvirus Latency-Associated M2 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(12):5862-5874.
Infected cells recognize viral replication as a DNA damage stress and elicit a DNA damage response that ultimately induces apoptosis as part of host immune surveillance. Here, we demonstrate a novel mechanism where the murine gamma herpesvirus 68 (γHV68) latency-associated, anti-interferon M2 protein inhibits DNA damage-induced apoptosis by interacting with the DDB1/COP9/cullin repair complex and the ATM DNA damage signal transducer. M2 expression constitutively induced DDB1 nuclear localization and ATM kinase activation in the absence of DNA damage. Activated ATM subsequently induced Chk activation and p53 phosphorylation and stabilization without eliciting H2AX phosphorylation and MRN recruitment to foci upon DNA damage. Consequently, M2 expression inhibited DNA repair, rendered cells resistant to DNA damage-induced apoptosis, and induced a G1 cell cycle arrest. Our results suggest that γHV68 M2 blocks apoptosis-mediated intracellular innate immunity, which might ultimately contribute to its role in latent infection.
PMCID: PMC1472574  PMID: 16731925
10.  The Single-Strand DNA Binding Activity of Human PC4 Prevents Mutagenesis and Killing by Oxidative DNA Damage 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(13):6084-6093.
Human positive cofactor 4 (PC4) is a transcriptional coactivator with a highly conserved single-strand DNA (ssDNA) binding domain of unknown function. We identified PC4 as a suppressor of the oxidative mutator phenotype of the Escherichia coli fpg mutY mutant and demonstrate that this suppression requires its ssDNA binding activity. Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants lacking their PC4 ortholog Sub1 are sensitive to hydrogen peroxide and exhibit spontaneous and peroxide-induced hypermutability. PC4 expression suppresses the peroxide sensitivity of the yeast sub1Δ mutant, suggesting that the human protein has a similar function. A role for yeast and human proteins in DNA repair is suggested by the demonstration that Sub1 acts in a peroxide resistance pathway involving Rad2 and by the physical interaction of PC4 with the human Rad2 homolog XPG. We show that XPG recruits PC4 to a bubble-containing DNA substrate with a resulting displacement of XPG and formation of a PC4-DNA complex. We discuss the possible requirement for PC4 in either global or transcription-coupled repair of oxidative DNA damage to mediate the release of XPG bound to its substrate.
PMCID: PMC480877  PMID: 15199162
11.  Stress Induction and Mitochondrial Localization of Oxr1 Proteins in Yeast and Humans 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(8):3180-3187.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are critical molecules produced as a consequence of aerobic respiration. It is essential for cells to control the production and activity of such molecules in order to protect the genome and regulate cellular processes such as stress response and apoptosis. Mitochondria are the major source of ROS within the cell, and as a result, numerous proteins have evolved to prevent or repair oxidative damage in this organelle. The recently discovered OXR1 gene family represents a set of conserved eukaryotic genes. Previous studies of the yeast OXR1 gene indicate that it functions to protect cells from oxidative damage. In this report, we show that human and yeast OXR1 genes are induced by heat and oxidative stress and that their proteins localize to the mitochondria and function to protect against oxidative damage. We also demonstrate that mitochondrial localization is required for Oxr1 protein to prevent oxidative damage.
PMCID: PMC381681  PMID: 15060142
12.  The Escherichia coli Methyl-Directed Mismatch Repair System Repairs Base Pairs Containing Oxidative Lesions 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(5):1701-1704.
A major role of the methyl-directed mismatch repair (MMR) system of Escherichia coli is to repair postreplicative errors. In this report, we provide evidence that MMR also acts on oxidized DNA, preventing mutagenesis. When cells deficient in MMR are grown anaerobically, spontaneous mutation frequencies are reduced compared with those of the same cells grown aerobically. In addition, we show that a dam mutant has an increased sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide treatment that can be suppressed by mutations that inactivate MMR. In a dam mutant, MMR is not targeted to newly replicated DNA strands and therefore mismatches are converted to single- and double-strand DNA breaks. Thus, base pairs containing oxidized bases will be converted to strand breaks if they are repaired by MMR. This is demonstrated by the increased peroxide sensitivity of a dam mutant and the finding that the sensitivity can be suppressed by mutations inactivating MMR. We demonstrate further that this repair activity results from MMR recognition of base pairs containing 8-oxoguanine (8-oxoG) based on the finding that overexpression of the MutM oxidative repair protein, which repairs 8-oxoG, can suppress the mutH-dependent increase in transversion mutations. These findings demonstrate that MMR has the ability to prevent oxidative mutagenesis either by removing 8-oxoG directly or by removing adenine misincorporated opposite 8-oxoG or both.
PMCID: PMC148063  PMID: 12591888

Results 1-13 (13)