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1.  Functional characterization of two CITED3 homologs (gcCITED3a and gcCITED3b) in the hypoxia-tolerant grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idellus 
BMC Molecular Biology  2009;10:101.
Background
CITED proteins belong to a family of non-DNA-binding transcriptional co-regulators that are characterized by a conserved ED-rich domain at the C-terminus. This family of genes is involved in the regulation of a variety of transcriptional responses through interactions with the CBP/p300 integrators and various transcription factors. In fish, very little is known about the expression and functions of CITEDs.
Results
We have characterized two closely related but distinct CITED3 genes, gcCited3a and gcCited3b, from the hypoxia-tolerant grass carp. The deduced gcCITED3a and gcCITED3b proteins share 72% amino acid identity, and are highly similar to the CITED3 proteins of both chicken and Xenopus. Northern blot analysis indicates that the mRNA expression of gcCited3a and gcCited3b is strongly induced by hypoxia in the kidney and liver, respectively. Luciferase reporter assays demonstrated that both gene promoters are activated by gcHIF-1. Further, ChIP assays comparing normal and hypoxic conditions reveal differential in vivo binding of gcHIF-1 to both gene promoters in kidney and liver tissues. HRE-luciferase reporter assays demonstrated that both gcCITED3a and gcCITED3b proteins inhibit gcHIF-1 transcriptional activity, and GST pull-down assays confirmed that both proteins bind specifically to the CH1 domain of the grass carp p300 protein.
Conclusion
The grass carp gcCITED3a and gcCITED3b genes are differentially expressed and regulated in different fish organs in response to hypoxic stress. This is the first report demonstrating in vivo regulation of two closely-related CITED3 isogenes by HIF-1, as well as CITED3 regulation of HIF-1 transcriptional activity in fish. Overall, our findings suggest that unique molecular mechanisms operate through these two gcCITED3 isoforms that likely play an important regulatory role in the hypoxic response in the grass carp.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-10-101
PMCID: PMC2780419  PMID: 19883516
2.  Hypoxia induces telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene expression in non-tumor fish tissues in vivo: the marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma) model 
Background
Current understanding on the relationships between hypoxia, hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) and telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene expression are largely based on in vitro studies in human cancer cells. Although several reports demonstrated HIF-1- mediated upregulation of the human TERT gene under hypoxia, conflicting findings have also been reported. Thus far, it remains uncertain whether these findings can be directly extrapolated to non-tumor tissues in other whole animal systems in vivo. While fish often encounter environmental hypoxia, the in vivo regulation of TERT by hypoxia in non-neoplastic tissues of fish remains virtually unknown.
Results
The adult marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma) was employed as a model fish in this study. We have cloned and characterized a 3261-bp full-length TERT cDNA, omTERT, which encodes a protein of 1086 amino acids. It contains all of the functional motifs that are conserved in other vertebrate TERTs. Motif E is the most highly conserved showing 90.9–100% overall identity among the fish TERTs and 63.6% overall identity among vertebrates. Analysis of the 5'-flanking sequence of the omTERT gene identified two HRE (hypoxia-responsive element; nt. – 283 and – 892) cores. Overexpression of the HIF-1α induced omTERT promoter activity as demonstrated using transient transfection assays. The omTERT gene is ubiquitously expressed in fish under normoxia, albeit at varying levels, where highest expression was observed in gonads and the lowest in liver. In vivo expression of omTERT was significantly upregulated in testis and liver in response to hypoxia (at 96 h and 48 h, respectively), where concomitant induction of the omHIF-1α and erythropoietin (omEpo) genes was also observed. In situ hybridization analysis showed that hypoxic induction of omTERT mRNA was clearly evident in hepatocytes in the caudal region of liver and in spermatogonia-containing cysts in testis.
Conclusion
This study demonstrates for the first time, hypoxic regulation of TERT expression in vivo in a whole fish system. Our findings support the notion that hypoxia upregulates omTERT expression via omHIF-1 in non-neoplastic fish liver and testis in vivo. Overall, the structure and regulation of the TERT gene is highly conserved in vertebrates from fish to human.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-27
PMCID: PMC1578579  PMID: 16961934
3.  Cloning and expression analysis of two distinct HIF-alpha isoforms – gcHIF-1alpha and gcHIF-4alpha – from the hypoxia-tolerant grass carp, Ctenopharyngodon idellus 
Background
Hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs) are involved in adaptive and survival responses to hypoxic stress in mammals. In fish, very little is known about the functions of HIFs.
Results
We have cloned and characterized two distinct HIF-alpha cDNAs – gcHIF-1alpha and gcHIF-4alpha – from the hypoxia-tolerant grass carp. The deduced gcHIF-1alpha protein is highly similar to the HIF-1alphas (57–68%) from various vertebrate species, while gcHIF-4alpha is a novel isoform, and shows an equivalent degree of amino acid identity (41–47%) to the HIF-1alpha, HIF-2alpha and HIF-3alpha proteins so far described. Parsimony analysis indicated that gcHIF-4alpha is most closely related to the HIF-3alpha proteins. Northern blot analysis showed that mRNA levels of gcHIF-1alpha and gcHIF-4alpha differ substantially under normoxic and hypoxic conditions, while Western blot studies demonstrated that the endogenous protein levels for both gcHIF-1alpha and gcHIF-4alpha are similarly responsive to hypoxia. Our findings suggest that both gcHIF-1alpha and gcHIF-4alpha are differentially regulated at the transcriptional and translational levels. HRE-luciferase reporter assays show that both proteins function as transcription activators and play distinct roles in modulating the hypoxic response in grass carp.
Conclusion
There are at least two distinct HIF-alpha isoforms – gcHIF-1alpha and gcHIF-4alpha – in the hypoxia-tolerant grass carp, which are differentially expressed and regulated in different fish organs in response to hypoxic stress. Overall, the results suggest that unique molecular mechanisms operate through these two HIF-alpha isoforms, which underpin the hypoxic response in the hypoxia-tolerant grass carp.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-15
PMCID: PMC1473195  PMID: 16623959

Results 1-3 (3)