PMCC PMCC

Search tips
Search criteria

Advanced
Results 1-25 (48)
 

Clipboard (0)
None
Journals
Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Identification of poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 and Ku70/Ku80 as transcriptional regulators of S100A9 gene expression 
Background
S100 proteins, a multigenic family of non-ubiquitous cytoplasmic Ca2+-binding proteins, have been linked to human pathologies in recent years. Dysregulated expression of S100 proteins, including S100A9, has been reported in the epidermis as a response to stress and in association with neoplastic disorders. Recently, we characterized a regulatory element within the S100A9 promotor, referred to as MRE that drives the S100A9 gene expression in a cell type-specific, activation- and differentiation-dependent manner (Kerkhoff et al. (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 41879–41887).
Results
In the present study, we investigated transcription factors that bind to MRE. Using the MRE motif for a pull-down assay, poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 (PARP-1) and the heterodimeric complex Ku70/Ku80 were identified by mass spectrometry and confirmed by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Furthermore, TPA-induced S100A9 gene expression in HaCaT keratinocytes was blocked after the pharmacologic inhibition of PARP-1 with 1,5-isoquinolinediol (DiQ).
Conclusion
The candidates, poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 (PARP-1) and the heterodimeric complex Ku70/Ku80, are known to participate in inflammatory disorders as well as tumorgenesis. The latter may indicate a possible link between S100 and inflammation-associated cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-48
PMCID: PMC1766928  PMID: 17187679
2.  Modification of the mycobacteriophage Ms6 attP core allows the integration of multiple vectors into different tRNAala T-loops in slow- and fast-growing mycobacteria 
Background
Mycobacteriophage Ms6 integrates into Mycobacterium smegmatis and M. bovis BCG chromosome at the 3' end of tRNAala genes. Homologous recombination occurs between the phage attP core and the attB site located in the T-loop. Integration-proficient vectors derived from Ms6 are useful genetic tools, but their insertion sites in the BCG chromosome remain poorly defined. The primary objective of this study was to identify Ms6 target genes in M. smegmatis and BCG. We then aimed to modify the attP site in Ms6-derived vectors, to switch integration to other tRNAala loci. This provided the basis for the development of recombinant M. bovis BCG strains expressing several reporter genes inserted into different tRNAala genes.
Results
The three tRNAala genes are highly conserved in M. smegmatis and BCG. However, in the T-loop of tRNAalaU and tRNAalaV containing the attB site, a single base difference was observed between the two species. We observed that the tRNAalaU gene was the only site into which Ms6-derived integration-proficient vectors integrated in M. smegmatis, whereas in BCG, the tRNAalaV gene was used as the target. No integration occurred in the BCG tRNAalaU T-loop, despite a difference of only one base from the 26-base Ms6 attP core. We mutated the attP core to give a perfect match with the other tRNAala T-loops from M. smegmatis and BCG. Modification of the seven-base T-loop decreased integration efficiency, identifying this site as a possible site of strand exchange. Finally, two Ms6 vectors were constructed to integrate two reporter genes into the tRNAalaU and tRNAalaV T-loops of the same BCG chromosome.
Conclusion
Small changes in the 7 bp T-loop attP site of Ms6 made it possible to use another attB site, albeit with a lower integration efficiency. These molecular studies on BCG tRNAala genes made it possible to create valuable tools for the site-directed insertion of several genes in the same BCG strain. These tools will be useful for the development of novel multivalent vaccines and genetic studies.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-47
PMCID: PMC1762012  PMID: 17173678
3.  From Gateway to MultiSite Gateway in one recombination event 
Background
Invitrogen Gateway technology exploits the integrase/att site-specific recombination system for directional cloning of PCR products and the subsequent subcloning into destination vectors. One or three DNA segments can be cloned using Gateway or MultiSite Gateway respectively. A vast number of single-site Gateway destination vectors have been created while MultiSite Gateway is limited to few destination vectors and therefore to few applications. The aim of this work was to make the MultiSite Gateway technology available for multiple biological purposes.
Results
We created a construct, pDONR-R4-R3, to easily convert any available Gateway destination vector to a MultiSite Gateway vector in a single recombination reaction. In addition, we designed pDONR-R4-R3 so that DNA fragments already cloned upstream or downstream of the Gateway cassette in the original destination vectors can still be utilized for promoter-gene or translational fusions after the conversion.
Conclusion
Our tool makes MultiSite Gateway a more widely accessible technology and expands its applications by exploiting all the features of the Gateway vectors already available.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-46
PMCID: PMC1702363  PMID: 17150110
4.  Interleukin-4 induction of the CC chemokine TARC (CCL17) in murine macrophages is mediated by multiple STAT6 sites in the TARC gene promoter 
Background
Macrophages (Mθ) play a central role in the innate immune response and in the pathology of chronic inflammatory diseases. Macrophages treated with Th2-type cytokines such as Interleukin-4 (IL-4) and Interleukin-13 (IL-13) exhibit an altered phenotype and such alternatively activated macrophages are important in the pathology of diseases characterised by allergic inflammation including asthma and atopic dermatitis. The CC chemokine Thymus and Activation-Regulated Chemokine (TARC/CCL17) and its murine homologue (mTARC/ABCD-2) bind to the chemokine receptor CCR4, and direct T-cell and macrophage recruitment into areas of allergic inflammation. Delineating the molecular mechanisms responsible for the IL-4 induction of TARC expression will be important for a better understanding of the role of Th2 cytokines in allergic disease.
Results
We demonstrate that mTARC mRNA and protein are potently induced by the Th2 cytokine, Interleukin-4 (IL-4), and inhibited by Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in primary macrophages (Mθ). IL-4 induction of mTARC occurs in the presence of PI3 kinase pathway and translation inhibitors, but not in the absence of STAT6 transcription factor, suggesting a direct-acting STAT6-mediated pathway of mTARC transcriptional activation. We have functionally characterised eleven putative STAT6 sites identified in the mTARC proximal promoter and determined that five of these contribute to the IL-4 induction of mTARC. By in vitro binding assays and transient transfection of isolated sites into the RAW 264.7 Mθ cell-line, we demonstrate that these sites have widely different capacities for binding and activation by STAT6. Site-directed mutagenesis of these sites within the context of the mTARC proximal promoter revealed that the two most proximal sites, conserved between the human and mouse genes, are important mediators of the IL-4 response.
Conclusion
The induction of mTARC by IL-4 results from cooperative interactions between STAT6 sites within the mTARC gene promoter. Significantly, we have shown that transfer of the nine most proximal mTARC STAT6 sites in their endogenous conformation confers potent (up to 130-fold) IL-4 inducibility on heterologous promoters. These promoter elements constitute important and sensitive IL-4-responsive transcriptional units that could be used to drive transgene expression in sites of Th2 inflammation in vivo.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-45
PMCID: PMC1698493  PMID: 17134490
5.  Biochemical characterisation of LigN, an NAD+-dependent DNA ligase from the halophilic euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii that displays maximal in vitro activity at high salt concentrations 
Background
DNA ligases are required for DNA strand joining in all forms of cellular life. NAD+-dependent DNA ligases are found primarily in eubacteria but also in some eukaryotic viruses, bacteriophage and archaea. Among the archaeal NAD+-dependent DNA ligases is the LigN enzyme of the halophilic euryarchaeon Haloferax volcanii, the gene for which was apparently acquired by Hfx.volcanii through lateral gene transfer (LGT) from a halophilic eubacterium. Genetic studies show that the LGT-acquired LigN enzyme shares an essential function with the native Hfx.volcanii ATP-dependent DNA ligase protein LigA.
Results
To characterise the enzymatic properties of the LigN protein, wild-type and three mutant forms of the LigN protein were separately expressed in recombinant form in E.coli and purified to apparent homogeneity by immobilised metal ion affinity chromatography (IMAC). Non-isotopic DNA ligase activity assays using λ DNA restriction fragments with 12 bp cos cohesive ends were used to show that LigN activity was dependent on addition of divalent cations and salt. No activity was detected in the absence of KCl, whereas maximum activity could be detected at 3.2 M KCl, close to the intracellular KCl concentration of Hfx.volcanii cells.
Conclusion
LigN is unique amongst characterised DNA ligase enzymes in displaying maximal DNA strand joining activity at high (> 3 M) salt levels. As such the LigN enzyme has potential both as a novel tool for biotechnology and as a model enzyme for studying the adaptation of proteins to high intracellular salt levels.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-44
PMCID: PMC1684257  PMID: 17132163
6.  DNA unwinding assay using streptavidin-bound oligonucleotides 
Background
Helicases play essential roles in many cellular processes including replication, transcription and translation. Most helicases translocate along one strand of the duplex while displacing the complementary strand (of either DNA or RNA). Thus, helicases have directionality. They move along nucleic acids in either the 3'→ 5' or 5'→ 3' direction. The directionality of helicases with low activity or of those that cannot initiate duplex unwinding from a substrate that contains only one single-stranded overhang region is difficult to determine.
Results
An improved assay to determine helicase directionality was developed that uses a substrate containing biotinylated oligonucleotides. As a proof of concept, it was shown that the substrates substantially improve helicase activity and directionality determination for several DNA helicases in comparison to more traditional substrates. In addition, a universal substrate that can be used to determine the directionality of both 3'→ 5' and 5'→ 3' helicases was developed.
Conclusion
It is shown here that the use of a biotin-streptavidin complex as a helicase substrate improves helicase activity and the determination of helicase directionality. The method described is simpler that the currently available techniques.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-43
PMCID: PMC1684258  PMID: 17132162
7.  Studies on the CPA cysteine peptidase in the Leishmania infantum genome strain JPCM5 
Background
Visceral leishmaniasis caused by members of the Leishmania donovani complex is often fatal in the absence of treatment. Research has been hampered by the lack of good laboratory models and tools for genetic manipulation. In this study, we have characterised a L. infantum line (JPCM5) that was isolated from a naturally infected dog and then cloned. We found that JPCM5 has attributes that make it an excellent laboratory model; different stages of the parasite life cycle can be studied in vitro, it is accessible to genetic manipulation and it has retained its virulence. Furthermore, the L. infantum JPCM5 genome has now been fully sequenced.
Results
We have further focused our studies on LiCPA, the L. infantum homologue to L. mexicana cysteine peptidase CPA. LiCPA was found to share a high percentage of amino acid identity with CPA proteins of other Leishmania species. Two independent LiCPA-deficient promastigote clones (ΔLicpa) were generated and their phenotype characterised. In contrast to L. mexicana CPA-deficient mutants, both clones of ΔLicpa were found to have significantly reduced virulence in vitro and in vivo. Re-expression of just one LiCPA allele (giving ΔLicpa::CPA) was sufficient to complement the reduced infectivity of both ΔLicpa mutants for human macrophages, which confirms the importance of LiCPA for L. infantum virulence. In contrast, in vivo experiments did not show any virulence recovery of the re-expressor clone ΔLicpaC1::CPA compared with the CPA-deficient mutant ΔLicpaC1.
Conclusion
The data suggest that CPA is not essential for replication of L. infantum promastigotes, but is important for the host-parasite interaction. Further studies will be necessary to elucidate the precise roles that LiCPA plays and why the re-expression of LiCPA in the ΔLicpa mutants complemented the gene deletion phenotype only in in vitro and not in in vivo infection of hamsters.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-42
PMCID: PMC1657026  PMID: 17101050
8.  Characterizing exons 11 and 1 promoters of the mu opioid receptor (Oprm) gene in transgenic mice 
Background
The complexity of the mouse mu opioid receptor (Oprm) gene was demonstrated by the identification of multiple alternatively spliced variants and promoters. Our previous studies have identified a novel promoter, exon 11 (E11) promoter, in the mouse Oprm gene. The E11 promoter is located ~10 kb upstream of the exon 1 (E1) promoter. The E11 promoter controls the expression of nine splice variants in the mouse Oprm gene. Distinguished from the TATA-less E1 promoter, the E11 promoter resembles a typical TATA-containing eukaryote class II promoter. The aim of this study is to further characterize the E11 and E1 promoters in vivo using a transgenic mouse model.
Results
We constructed a ~20 kb transgenic construct in which a 3.7 kb E11 promoter region and an 8.9 kb E1 promoter region controlled expression of tau/LacZ and tau/GFP reporters, respectively. The construct was used to establish a transgenic mouse line. The expression of the reporter mRNAs, determined by a RT-PCR approach, in the transgenic mice during embryonic development displayed a temporal pattern similar to that of the endogenous promoters. X-gal staining for tau/LacZ reporter and GFP imaging for tau/GFP reporter showed that the transgenic E11 and E1 promoters were widely expressed in various regions of the central nervous system (CNS). The distribution of tau/GFP reporter in the CNS was similar to that of MOR-1-like immunoreactivity using an exon 4-specific antibody. However, differential expression of both promoters was observed in some CNS regions such as the hippocampus and substantia nigra, suggesting that the E11 and E1 promoters were regulated differently in these regions.
Conclusion
We have generated a transgenic mouse line to study the E11 and E1 promoters in vivo using tau/LacZ and tau/GFP reporters. The reasonable relevance of the transgenic model was demonstrated by the temporal and spatial expression of the transgenes as compared to those of the endogenous transcripts. We believe that these transgenic mice will provide a useful model for further characterizing the E11 and E1 promoter in vivo under different physiological and pathological circumstances such as chronic opioid treatment and chronic pain models.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-41
PMCID: PMC1657025  PMID: 17101047
9.  Rtt107/Esc4 binds silent chromatin and DNA repair proteins using different BRCT motifs 
Background
By screening a plasmid library for proteins that could cause silencing when targeted to the HMR locus in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we previously reported the identification of Rtt107/Esc4 based on its ability to establish silent chromatin. In this study we aimed to determine the mechanism of Rtt107/Esc4 targeted silencing and also learn more about its biological functions.
Results
Targeted silencing by Rtt107/Esc4 was dependent on the SIR genes, which encode obligatory structural and enzymatic components of yeast silent chromatin. Based on its sequence, Rtt107/Esc4 was predicted to contain six BRCT motifs. This motif, originally identified in the human breast tumor suppressor gene BRCA1, is a protein interaction domain. The targeted silencing activity of Rtt107/Esc4 resided within the C-terminal two BRCT motifs, and this region of the protein bound to Sir3 in two-hybrid tests. Deletion of RTT107/ESC4 caused sensitivity to the DNA damaging agent MMS as well as to hydroxyurea. A two-hybrid screen showed that the N-terminal BRCT motifs of Rtt107/Esc4 bound to Slx4, a protein previously shown to be involved in DNA repair and required for viability in a strain lacking the DNA helicase Sgs1. Like SLX genes, RTT107ESC4 interacted genetically with SGS1; esc4Δ sgs1Δ mutants were viable, but exhibited a slow-growth phenotype and also a synergistic DNA repair defect.
Conclusion
Rtt107/Esc4 binds to the silencing protein Sir3 and the DNA repair protein Slx4 via different BRCT motifs, thus providing a bridge linking silent chromatin to DNA repair enzymes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-40
PMCID: PMC1660544  PMID: 17094803
10.  Specific use of start codons and cellular localization of splice variants of human phosphodiesterase 9A gene 
Background
Phosphodiesterases are an important protein family that catalyse the hydrolysis of cyclic nucleotide monophosphates (cAMP and cGMP), second intracellular messengers responsible for transducing a variety of extra-cellular signals. A number of different splice variants have been observed for the human phosphodiesterase 9A gene, a cGMP-specific high-affinity PDE. These mRNAs differ in the use of specific combinations of exons located at the 5' end of the gene while the 3' half, that codes for the catalytic domain of the protein, always has the same combination of exons. It was observed that to deduce the protein sequence with the catalytic domain from all the variants, at least two ATG start codons have to be used. Alternatively some variants code for shorter non-functional polypeptides.
Results
In the present study, we expressed different splice variants of PDE9A in HeLa and Cos-1 cells with EGFP fluorescent protein in phase with the catalytic domain sequence in order to test the different start codon usage in each splice variant. It was found that at least two ATG start codons may be used and that the open reading frame that includes the catalytic domain may be translated. In addition the proteins produced from some of the splice variants are targeted to membrane ruffles and cellular vesicles while other variants appear to be cytoplasmic. A hypothesis about the functional meaning of these results is discussed.
Conclusion
Our data suggest the utilization of two different start codons to produce a variety of different PDE9A proteins, allowing specific subcellular location of PDE9A splice variants.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-39
PMCID: PMC1647287  PMID: 17090334
11.  Rhythmic expression of the cycle gene in a hematophagous insect vector 
Background
A large number of organisms have internal circadian clocks that enable them to adapt to the cyclic changes of the external environment. In the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, feedback loops of transcription and translation are believed to be crucial for the maintenance of the central pacemaker. In this mechanism the cycle (or bmal1) gene, which is constitutively expressed, plays a critical role activating the expression of genes that will later inhibit their own activity, thereby closing the loop. Unlike Drosophila, the molecular clock of insect vectors is poorly understood, despite the importance of circadian behavior in the dynamic of disease transmission.
Results
Here we describe the sequence, genomic organization and circadian expression of cycle in the crepuscular/nocturnal hematophagous sandfly Lutzomyia longipalpis, the main vector of visceral leishmaniasis in the Americas. Deduced amino acid sequence revealed that sandfly cycle has a C-terminal transactivation domain highly conserved among eukaryotes but absent in D. melanogaster. Moreover, an alternative form of the transcript was also identified. Interestingly, while cycle expression in Drosophila and other Diptera is constitutive, in sandflies it is rhythmic in males and female heads but constitutive in the female body. Blood-feeding, which causes down-regulation of period and timeless in this species, does not affect cycle expression.
Conclusion
Sequence and expression analysis of cycle in L. longipalpis show interesting differences compared to Drosophila suggesting that hematophagous vector species might present interesting new models to study the molecular control of insect circadian clocks.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-38
PMCID: PMC1636064  PMID: 17069657
12.  TLK1B promotes repair of UV-damaged DNA through chromatin remodeling by Asf1 
Background
The mammalian protein kinase TLK1 is a homologue of Tousled, a gene involved in flower development in Arabidopsis thaliana. The function of TLK1 is not well known, although knockout of the gene in Drosophila, or expression of a dominant negative mutant in mouse mammary cells causes loss of nuclear divisions and chromosome mis-segregation. TLK1B is a splice variant of TLK1 and it confers radioresistance in a normal mammary mouse cell line possibly due to increased chromatin remodeling capacity, but the mechanism of resistance remains to be fully elucidated.
Results
We now show that TLK1B also affords protection against UV radiation. We find that nuclear extracts isolated from TLK1B-containing mouse cells promote more efficient chromatin assembly than comparable extracts lacking TLK1B. TLK1B-containing extracts are also more efficient in repair of UV-damaged plasmid DNA assembled into nucleosomes. One of the two known substrates of TLK1 (or TLK1B) is the histone chaperone Asf1, and immuno-inactivation experiments suggest that TLK1B increases UV-repair through the action of Asf1 on chromatin assembly/disassembly.
Conclusion
Our studies provide evidence for TLK1B-mediated phosphorylation of Asf1 triggering DNA repair. We suggest that this occurs via Asf1-mediated chromatin assembly at the sites of UV damage.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-37
PMCID: PMC1626478  PMID: 17054786
13.  Expression and loss of alleles in cultured mouse embryonic fibroblasts and stem cells carrying allelic fluorescent protein genes 
Background
Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) contributes to many cancers, but the rate at which these events occur in normal cells of the body is not clear. LOH would be detectable in diverse cell types in the body if this event were to confer an obvious cellular phenotype. Mice that carry two different fluorescent protein genes as alleles of a locus would seem to be a useful tool for addressing this issue because LOH would change a cell's phenotype from dichromatic to monochromatic. In addition, LOH caused by mitotic crossing over might be discernable in tissues because this event produces a pair of neighboring monochromatic cells that are different colors.
Results
As a step in assessing the utility of this approach, we derived primary embryonic fibroblast populations and embryonic stem cell lines from mice that carried two different fluorescent protein genes as alleles at the chromosome 6 locus, ROSA26. Fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) showed that the vast majority of cells in each line expressed the two marker proteins at similar levels, and that populations exhibited expression noise similar to that seen in bacteria and yeast. Cells with a monochromatic phenotype were present at frequencies on the order of 10-4 and appeared to be produced at a rate of approximately 10-5 variant cells per mitosis. 45 of 45 stably monochromatic ES cell clones exhibited loss of the expected allele at the ROSA26 locus. More than half of these clones retained heterozygosity at a locus between ROSA26 and the centromere. Other clones exhibited LOH near the centromere, but were disomic for chromosome 6.
Conclusion
Allelic fluorescent markers allowed LOH at the ROSA26 locus to be detected by FACS. LOH at this locus was usually not accompanied by LOH near the centromere, suggesting that mitotic recombination was the major cause of ROSA26 LOH. Dichromatic mouse embryonic cells provide a novel system for studying genetic/karyotypic stability and factors influencing expression from allelic genes. Similar approaches will allow these phenomena to be studied in tissues.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-36
PMCID: PMC1621078  PMID: 17042952
14.  Differences in polyadenylation site choice between somatic and male germ cells 
Background
We have previously noted that there were differences in somatic and male germ cell polyadenylation site choices. First, male germ cells showed a lower incidence of the sequence AAUAAA (an important element for somatic polyadenylation site choice) near the polyadenylation site choice. Second, the polyadenylation sites chosen in male germ cells tended to be nearer the 5' end of the mRNA than those chosen in somatic cells. Finally, a number of mRNAs used a different polyadenylation site in male germ cells than in somatic cells. These differences suggested that male germ cell-specific polyadenylation sites may be poor substrates for polyadenylation in somatic cells. We therefore hypothesized that male germ cell-specific polyadenylation sites would be inefficiently used in somatic cells.
Results
We tested whether pre-mRNA sequences surrounding male germ cell-specific polyadenylation sites (polyadenylation cassettes) could be used to direct polyadenylation efficiently in somatic cells. To do this, we developed a luciferase reporter system in which luciferase activity correlated with polyadenylation efficiency. We showed that in somatic cells, somatic polyadenylation cassettes were efficiently polyadenylated, while male germ cell-specific polyadenylation cassettes were not. We also developed a sensitive, 3' RACE-based assay to analyze polyadenylation site choice. Using this assay, we demonstrated that male germ cell-specific polyadenylation cassettes were not polyadenylated at the expected site in somatic cells, but rather at aberrant sites upstream of the sites used in male germ cells. Finally, mutation of the male germ cell-specific poly(A) signal to a somatic poly(A) signal resulted in more efficient polyadenylation in somatic cells.
Conclusion
These data suggest that regulated polyadenylation site choice of male germ cell-specific polyadenylation sites requires one or more factors that are absent from somatic cells.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-35
PMCID: PMC1618850  PMID: 17038175
15.  N-terminal region of Saccharomyces cerevisiae eRF3 is essential for the functioning of the eRF1/eRF3 complex beyond translation termination 
Background
Termination of translation in eukaryotes requires two release factors, eRF1, which recognizes all three nonsense codons and facilitates release of the nascent polypeptide chain, and eRF3 stimulating translation termination in a GTP-depended manner. eRF3 from different organisms possess a highly conservative C region (eRF3C), which is responsible for the function in translation termination, and almost always contain the N-terminal extension, which is inessential and vary both in structure and length. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae the N-terminal region of eRF3 is responsible for conversion of this protein into the aggregated and functionally inactive prion form.
Results
Here, we examined functional importance of the N-terminal region of a non-prion form of yeast eRF3. The screen for mutations which are lethal in combination with the SUP35-C allele encoding eRF3C revealed the sup45 mutations which alter the N-terminal domain of eRF1 and increase nonsense codon readthrough. However, further analysis showed that synthetic lethality was not caused by the increased levels of nonsense codon readthrough. Dominant mutations in SUP35-C were obtained and characterized, which remove its synthetic lethality with the identified sup45 mutations, thus indicating that synthetic lethality was not due to a disruption of interaction with proteins that bind to this eRF3 region.
Conclusion
These and other data demonstrate that the N-terminal region of eRF3 is involved both in modulation of the efficiency of translation termination and functioning of the eRF1/eRF3 complex outside of translation termination.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-34
PMCID: PMC1617110  PMID: 17034622
16.  Selection of housekeeping genes for gene expression studies in human reticulocytes using real-time PCR 
Background
Control genes, which are often referred to as housekeeping genes, are frequently used to normalise mRNA levels between different samples. However, the expression level of these genes may vary among tissues or cells and may change under certain circumstances. Thus, the selection of housekeeping genes is critical for gene expression studies. To address this issue, 7 candidate housekeeping genes including several commonly used ones were investigated in isolated human reticulocytes. For this, a simple ΔCt approach was employed by comparing relative expression of 'pairs of genes' within each sample. On this basis, stability of the candidate housekeeping genes was ranked according to repeatability of the gene expression differences among 31 samples.
Results
Initial screening of the expression pattern demonstrated that 1 of the 7 genes was expressed at very low levels in reticulocytes and was excluded from further analysis. The range of expression stability of the other 6 genes was (from most stable to least stable): GAPDH (glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase), SDHA (succinate dehydrogenase), HPRT1 (hypoxanthine phosphoribosyl transferase 1), HBS1L (HBS1-like protein) and AHSP (alpha haemoglobin stabilising protein), followed by B2M (beta-2-microglobulin).
Conclusion
Using this simple approach, GAPDH was found to be the most suitable housekeeping gene for expression studies in reticulocytes while the commonly used B2M should be avoided.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-33
PMCID: PMC1609175  PMID: 17026756
17.  The transcription factor ATF3 is upregulated during chondrocyte differentiation and represses cyclin D1 and A gene transcription 
Background
Coordinated chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation are required for normal endochondral bone growth. Transcription factors binding to the cyclicAMP response element (CRE) are known to regulate these processes. One member of this family, Activating Tanscription Factor 3 (ATF3), is expressed during skeletogenesis and acts as a transcriptional repressor, but the function of this protein in chondrogenesis is unknown.
Results
Here we demonstrate that Atf3 mRNA levels increase during mouse chondrocyte differentiation in vitro and in vivo. In addition, Atf3 mRNA levels are increased in response to cytochalasin D treatment, an inducer of chondrocyte maturation. This is accompanied by increased Atf3 promoter activity in cytochalasin D-treated chondrocytes. We had shown earlier that transcription of the cell cycle genes cyclin D1 and cyclin A in chondrocytes is dependent on CREs. Here we demonstrate that overexpression of ATF3 in primary mouse chondrocytes results in reduced transcription of both genes, as well as decreased activity of a CRE reporter plasmid. Repression of cyclin A transcription by ATF3 required the CRE in the cyclin A promoter. In parallel, ATF3 overexpression reduces the activity of a SOX9-dependent promoter and increases the activity of a RUNX2-dependent promoter.
Conclusion
Our data suggest that transcriptional induction of the Atf3 gene in maturing chondrocytes results in down-regulation of cyclin D1 and cyclin A expression as well as activation of RUNX2-dependent transcription. Therefore, ATF3 induction appears to facilitate cell cycle exit and terminal differentiation of chondrocytes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-30
PMCID: PMC1584246  PMID: 16984628
18.  Selection of reference genes for quantitative RT-PCR studies in striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) skin biopsies 
Background
Odontocete cetaceans occupy the top position of the marine food-web and are particularly sensitive to the bioaccumulation of lipophilic contaminants. The effects of environmental pollution on these species are highly debated and various ecotoxicological studies have addressed the impact of xenobiotic compounds on marine mammals, raising conservational concerns. Despite its sensitivity, quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) has never been used to quantify gene induction caused by exposure of cetaceans to contaminants. A limitation for the application of qRT-PCR is the need for appropriate reference genes which allow the correct quantification of gene expression. A systematic evaluation of potential reference genes in cetacean skin biopsies is presented, in order to validate future qRT-PCR studies aiming at using the expression of selected genes as non-lethal biomarkers.
Results
Ten commonly used housekeeping genes (HKGs) were partially sequenced in the striped dolphin (Stenella coeruleoalba) and, for each gene, PCR primer pairs were specifically designed and tested in qRT-PCR assays. The expression of these potential control genes was examined in 30 striped dolphin skin biopsy samples, obtained from specimens sampled in the north-western Mediterranean Sea. The stability of selected control genes was determined using three different specific VBA applets (geNorm, NormFinder and BestKeeper) which produce highly comparable results. Glyceraldehyde-3P-dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and tyrosine 3-monooxygenase (YWHAZ) always rank as the two most stably expressed HKGs according to the analysis with geNorm and Normfinder, and are defined as optimal control genes by BestKepeer. Ribosomal protein L4 (RPL4) and S18 (RPS18) also exhibit a remarkable stability of their expression levels. On the other hand, transferrin receptor (TFRC), phosphoglycerate kinase 1 (PGK1), hypoxanthine ribosyltransferase (HPRT1) and β-2-microglobin (B2M) show variable expression among the studied samples and appear as less suitable reference genes for data normalization.
Conclusion
In this work, we have provided essential background information for the selection of control genes in qRT-PCR studies of cetacean skin biopsies, as a molecular technique to investigate ecotoxicological hazard in marine mammals. Of 10 HKGs tested, those encoding for YWHAZ and GAPDH appear as the most reliable control genes for the normalization of qRT-PCR data in the analysis of striped dolphin skin biopsies. Potentially useful reference genes are also those encoding for ribosomal proteins L4 and S18.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-32
PMCID: PMC1599742  PMID: 16984641
19.  Use of the lambda Red recombinase system to produce recombinant prophages carrying antibiotic resistance genes 
Background
The Red recombinase system of bacteriophage lambda has been used to inactivate chromosomal genes in E. coli K-12 through homologous recombination using linear PCR products. The aim of this study was to induce mutations in the genome of some temperate Shiga toxin encoding bacteriophages. When phage genes are in the prophage state, they behave like chromosomal genes. This enables marker genes, such as antibiotic resistance genes, to be incorporated into the stx gene. Once the phages' lytic cycle is activated, recombinant Shiga toxin converting phages are produced. These phages can transfer the marker genes to the bacteria that they infect and convert. As the Red system's effectiveness decreased when used for our purposes, we had to introduce significant variations to the original method. These modifications included: confirming the stability of the target stx gene increasing the number of cells to be transformed and using a three-step PCR method to produce the amplimer containing the antibiotic resistance gene.
Results
Seven phages carrying two different antibiotic resistance genes were derived from phages that are directly involved in the pathogenesis of Shiga toxin-producing strains, using this modified protocol.
Conclusion
This approach facilitates exploration of the transduction processes and is a valuable tool for studying phage-mediated horizontal gene transfer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-31
PMCID: PMC1626079  PMID: 16984631
20.  Plasma membrane calcium ATPase (PMCA4): A housekeeper for RT-PCR relative quantification of polytopic membrane proteins 
Background
Although relative quantification of real-time RT-PCR data can provide valuable information, one limitation remains the selection of an appropriate reference gene. No one gene has emerged as a universal reference gene and much debate surrounds some of the more commonly used reference genes, such as glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). At this time, no gene encoding for a plasma membrane protein serves as a reference gene, and relative quantification of plasma membrane proteins is performed with genes encoding soluble proteins, which differ greatly in quantity and in targeting and trafficking from plasma membrane proteins. In this work, our aim was to identify a housekeeping gene, ideally one that codes for a plasma membrane protein, whose expression remains the same regardless of drug treatment and across a wide range of tissues to be used for relative quantification of real-time RT-PCR data for ATP binding cassette (ABC) plasma membrane transporters.
Results
In studies evaluating the expression levels of two commonly used reference genes coding for soluble proteins and two genes coding for membrane proteins, one plasma membrane protein, plasma membrane calcium-ATPase 4 (PMCA4), was comparable to the two reference genes already in use. In addition, PMCA4 expression shows little variation across eight drug-treated cell lines and was found to be superior to GAPDH and HPRT1, commonly used reference genes. Finally, we show PMCA4 used as a reference gene for normalizing ABC transporter expression in a drug-resistant lung carcinoma cell line.
Conclusion
We have found that PMCA4 is a good housekeeping gene for normalization of gene expression for polytopic membrane proteins including transporters and receptors.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-29
PMCID: PMC1586022  PMID: 16978418
21.  The human ortholog of the rodent testis-specific ABC transporter Abca17 is a ubiquitously expressed pseudogene (ABCA17P) and shares a common 5' end with ABCA3 
Background
During the past years, we and others discovered a series of human ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, now referred to as ABC A-subfamily transporters. Recently, a novel testis-specific ABC A transporter, Abca17, has been cloned in rodent. In this study, we report the identification and characterization of the human ortholog of rodent Abca17.
Results
The novel human ABC A-transporter gene on chromosome 16p13.3 is ubiquitously expressed with highest expression in glandular tissues and the heart. The new ABC transporter gene exhibits striking nucleotide sequence homology with the recently cloned mouse (58%) and rat Abca17 (51%), respectively, and is located in the syntenic region of mouse Abca17 indicating that it represents the human ortholog of rodent Abca17. However, unlike in the mouse, the full-length ABCA17 transcript (4.3 kb) contains numerous mutations that preclude its translation into a bona fide ABC transporter protein strongly suggesting that the human ABCA17 gene is a transcribed pseudogene (ABCA17P). We identified numerous alternative ABCA17P splice variants which are transcribed from two distinct transcription initiation sites. Genomic analysis revealed that ABCA17P borders on another ABC A-subfamily transporter – the lung surfactant deficiency gene ABCA3. Surprisingly, we found that both genes overlap at their first exons and are transcribed from opposite strands. This genomic colocalization and the observation that the ABCA17P and ABCA3 genes share significant homologies in several exons (up to 98%) suggest that both genes have evolved by gene duplication.
Conclusion
Our results demonstrate that ABCA17P and ABCA3 form a complex of overlapping genes in the human genome from which both non-coding and protein-coding ABC A-transporter RNAs are expressed. The fact that both genes overlap at their 5' ends suggests interdependencies in their regulation and may have important implications for the functional analysis of the disease gene ABCA3. Moreover, this is the first demonstration of the expression of a pseudogene and its parent gene from a common overlapping DNA region in the human genome.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-28
PMCID: PMC1579226  PMID: 16968533
22.  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
23.  Characterization of novel alternative splicing sites in human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT): analysis of expression and mutual correlation in mRNA isoforms from normal and tumour tissues 
Background
Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) is a key component for synthesis and maintenance of telomeres on chromosome ends and is required for the continued proliferation of cells. Estimation of hTERT expression therefore has broad relevance in oncology and stem cell research. Several splicing variants of hTERT have been described whose regulated expression contributes to the control of telomerase activity. Knowledge of the different hTERT mRNA isoforms and the ability to distinguish between them is an important issue when evaluating telomerase expression.
Results
By establishing cDNA-clone panels from lung and colon tissues, we could map hTERT clones individually for differences in DNA sequence. This made possible the identification of novel alternatively spliced sites as well as analysis of their frequency and mutual correlation in mRNA isoforms. Ten different alternatively spliced sites were detected, of which six were novel sites resulting from alternative splicing of intron 2 or 14. The majority of hTERT cDNA clones from normal and tumour lung and colon tissues encoded truncated proteins ending close after exon 2 or 6.
Conclusion
The increased complexity in telomerase expression revealed here has implications for our understanding of telomerase regulation and for the choice of suitable methods for addressing hTERT expression.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-26
PMCID: PMC1560392  PMID: 16939641
24.  Development and evaluation of different normalization strategies for gene expression studies in Candida albicans biofilms by real-time PCR 
Background
Candida albicans biofilms are commonly found on indwelling medical devices. However, the molecular basis of biofilm formation and development is not completely understood. Expression analysis of genes potentially involved in these processes, such as the ALS (Agglutinine Like Sequence) gene family can be performed using quantitative PCR (qPCR). In the present study, we investigated the expression stability of eight housekeeping genes potentially useful as reference genes to study gene expression in Candida albicans (C. albicans) biofilms, using the geNorm Visual Basic Application (VBA) for Microsoft Excel. To validate our normalization strategies we determined differences in ALS1 and ALS3 expression levels between C. albicans biofilm cells and their planktonic counterparts.
Results
The eight genes tested in this study are ranked according to their expression stability (from most stable to least stable) as follows: ACT1 (β-actin)/PMA1 (adenosine triphosphatase), RIP (ubiquinol cytochrome-c reductase complex component), RPP2B (cytosolic ribosomal acidic protein P2B), LSC2 (succinyl-CoA synthetase β-subunit fragment), IMH3 (inosine-5'-monophosphate dehydrogenase fragment), CPA1 (carbamoyl-phosphate synthethase small subunit) and GAPDH (glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase).
Our data indicate that five genes are necessary for accurate and reliable normalization of gene expression data in C. albicans biofilms. Using different normalization strategies, we found a significant upregulation of the ALS1 gene and downregulation of the ALS3 gene in C. albicans biofilms grown on silicone disks in a continous flow system, the CDC reactor (Centre for Disease Control), for 24 hours.
Conclusion
In conclusion, we recommend the use of the geometric mean of the relative expression values from the five housekeeping genes (ACT1, PMA1, RIP, RPP2B and LSC2) for normalization, when analysing differences in gene expression levels between C. albicans biofilm cells and planktonic cells. Validation of the normalization strategies described above showed that the ALS1 gene is overexpressed and the ALS3 gene is underexpressed in C. albicans biofilms grown on silicone in the CDC reactor for 24 hours.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-25
PMCID: PMC1557526  PMID: 16889665
25.  AtMND1 is required for homologous pairing during meiosis in Arabidopsis 
Background
Pairing of homologous chromosomes at meiosis is an important requirement for recombination and balanced chromosome segregation among the products of meiotic division. Recombination is initiated by double strand breaks (DSBs) made by Spo11 followed by interaction of DSB sites with a homologous chromosome. This interaction requires the strand exchange proteins Rad51 and Dmc1 that bind to single stranded regions created by resection of ends at the site of DSBs and promote interactions with uncut DNA on the homologous partner. Recombination is also considered to be dependent on factors that stabilize interactions between homologous chromosomes. In budding yeast Hop2 and Mnd1 act as a complex to promote homologous pairing and recombination in conjunction with Rad51 and Dmc1.
Results
We have analyzed the function of the Arabidopsis orthologue of the budding yeast MND1 gene (AtMND1). Loss of AtMND1 did not affect normal vegetative development but caused fragmentation and missegregation of chromosomes in male and female meiosis, formation of inviable gametes, and sterility. Analysis of the Atmnd1 Atspo11-1 double mutant indicated that chromosome fragmentation in Atmnd1 was suppressed by loss of Atspo11-1. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis showed that homologous pairing failed to occur and homologues remained apart throughout meiosis. AtMND1 showed strong expression in meiocytes as revealed by RNA in situs.
Conclusion
We conclude that AtMND1 is required for homologous pairing and is likely to play a role in the repair of DNA double strand breaks during meiosis in Arabidopsis, thus showing conservation of function with that of MND1 during meiosis in yeast.
doi:10.1186/1471-2199-7-24
PMCID: PMC1557525  PMID: 16872528

Results 1-25 (48)