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(1/28861) Regulation of body length and male tail ray pattern formation of Caenorhabditis elegans by a member of TGF-beta family.

We have identified a new member of the TGF-beta superfamily, CET-1, from Caenorhabditis elegans, which is expressed in the ventral nerve cord and other neurons. cet-1 null mutants have shortened bodies and male tail abnormal phenotype resembling sma mutants, suggesting cet-1, sma-2, sma-3 and sma-4 share a common pathway. Overexpression experiments demonstrated that cet-1 function requires wild-type sma genes. Interestingly, CET-1 appears to affect body length in a dose-dependent manner. Heterozygotes for cet-1 displayed body lengths ranging between null mutant and wild type, and overexpression of CET-1 in wild-type worms elongated body length close to lon mutants. In male sensory ray patterning, lack of cet-1 function results in ray fusions. Epistasis analysis revealed that mab-21 lies downstream and is negatively regulated by the cet-1/sma pathway in the male tail. Our results show that cet-1 controls diverse biological processes during C. elegans development probably through different target genes.  (+info)

(2/28861) Molecular cloning and epitope analysis of the peanut allergen Ara h 3.

Peanut allergy is a significant IgE-mediated health problem because of the increased prevalence, potential severity, and chronicity of the reaction. Following our characterization of the two peanut allergens Ara h 1 and Ara h 2, we have isolated a cDNA clone encoding a third peanut allergen, Ara h 3. The deduced amino acid sequence of Ara h 3 shows homology to 11S seed-storage proteins. The recombinant form of this protein was expressed in a bacterial system and was recognized by serum IgE from approximately 45% of our peanut-allergic patient population. Serum IgE from these patients and overlapping, synthetic peptides were used to map the linear, IgE-binding epitopes of Ara h 3. Four epitopes, between 10 and 15 amino acids in length, were found within the primary sequence, with no obvious sequence motif shared by the peptides. One epitope is recognized by all Ara h 3-allergic patients. Mutational analysis of the epitopes revealed that single amino acid changes within these peptides could lead to a reduction or loss of IgE binding. By determining which amino acids are critical for IgE binding, it might be possible to alter the Ara h 3 cDNA to encode a protein with a reduced IgE-binding capacity. These results will enable the design of improved diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for food-hypersensitivity reactions.  (+info)

(3/28861) ETO-2, a new member of the ETO-family of nuclear proteins.

The t(8;21) is associated with 12-15% of acute myelogenous leukemias of the M2 subtype. The translocation results in the fusion of two genes, AML1 (CBFA2) on chromosome 21 and ETO (MTG8) on chromosome 8. AML1 encodes a DNA binding factor; the ETO protein product is less well characterized, but is thought to be a transcription factor. Here we describe the isolation and characterization of ETO-2, a murine cDNA that encodes a new member of the ETO family of proteins. ETO-2 is 75% identical to murine ETO and shares very high sequence identities over four regions of the protein with ETO (domain I-III and zinc-finger). Northern analysis identifies ETO-2 transcripts in many of the murine tissues analysed and in the developing mouse embryo. ETO-2 is also expressed in myeloid and erythroid cell lines. We confirmed the nuclear localization of ETO-2 and demonstrated that domain III and the zinc-finger region are not required for nuclear localization. We further showed that a region within ETO, containing domain II, mediates dimerization among family members. This region is conserved in the oncoprotein AML-1/ETO. The recent identification of another ETO-like protein, myeloid translocation gene-related protein 1, together with the data presented here, demonstrates that at least three ETO proteins exist with the potential to form dimers in the cell nucleus.  (+info)

(4/28861) Control of growth and differentiation by Drosophila RasGAP, a homolog of p120 Ras-GTPase-activating protein.

Mammalian Ras GTPase-activating protein (GAP), p120 Ras-GAP, has been implicated as both a downregulator and effector of Ras proteins, but its precise role in Ras-mediated signal transduction pathways is unclear. To begin a genetic analysis of the role of p120 Ras-GAP we identified a homolog from the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster through its ability to complement the sterility of a Schizosaccharomyces pombe (fission yeast) gap1 mutant strain. Like its mammalian homolog, Drosophila RasGAP stimulated the intrinsic GTPase activity of normal mammalian H-Ras but not that of the oncogenic Val12 mutant. RasGAP was tyrosine phosphorylated in embryos and its Src homology 2 (SH2) domains could bind in vitro to a small number of tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins expressed at various developmental stages. Ectopic expression of RasGAP in the wing imaginal disc reduced the size of the adult wing by up to 45% and suppressed ectopic wing vein formation caused by expression of activated forms of Breathless and Heartless, two Drosophila receptor tyrosine kinases of the fibroblast growth factor receptor family. The in vivo effects of RasGAP overexpression required intact SH2 domains, indicating that intracellular localization of RasGAP through SH2-phosphotyrosine interactions is important for its activity. These results show that RasGAP can function as an inhibitor of signaling pathways mediated by Ras and receptor tyrosine kinases in vivo. Genetic interactions, however, suggested a Ras-independent role for RasGAP in the regulation of growth. The system described here should enable genetic screens to be performed to identify regulators and effectors of p120 Ras-GAP.  (+info)

(5/28861) Mammalian staufen is a double-stranded-RNA- and tubulin-binding protein which localizes to the rough endoplasmic reticulum.

Staufen (Stau) is a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-binding protein involved in mRNA transport and localization in Drosophila. To understand the molecular mechanisms of mRNA transport in mammals, we cloned human (hStau) and mouse (mStau) staufen cDNAs. In humans, four transcripts arise by differential splicing of the Stau gene and code for two proteins with different N-terminal extremities. In vitro, hStau and mStau bind dsRNA via each of two full-length dsRNA-binding domains and tubulin via a region similar to the microtubule-binding domain of MAP-1B, suggesting that Stau cross-links cytoskeletal and RNA components. Immunofluorescent double labeling of transfected mammalian cells revealed that Stau is localized to the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER), implicating this RNA-binding protein in mRNA targeting to the RER, perhaps via a multistep process involving microtubules. These results are the first demonstration of the association of an RNA-binding protein in addition to ribosomal proteins, with the RER, implicating this class of proteins in the transport of RNA to its site of translation.  (+info)

(6/28861) Identification and characterization of the human orthologue of yeast Pex14p.

Pex14p is a central component of the peroxisomal protein import machinery, which has been suggested to provide the point of convergence for PTS1- and PTS2-dependent protein import in yeast cells. Here we describe the identification of a human peroxisome-associated protein (HsPex14p) which shows significant similarity to the yeast Pex14p. HsPex14p is a carbonate-resistant peroxisomal membrane protein with its C terminus exposed to the cytosol. The N terminus of the protein is not accessible to exogenously added antibodies or protease and thus might protrude into the peroxisomal lumen. HsPex14p overexpression leads to the decoration of tubular structures and mislocalization of peroxisomal catalase to the cytosol. HsPex14p binds the cytosolic receptor for the peroxisomal targeting signal 1 (PTS1), a result consistent with a function as a membrane receptor in peroxisomal protein import. Homo-oligomerization of HsPex14p or interaction of the protein with the PTS2-receptor or HsPex13p was not observed. This distinguishes the human Pex14p from its counterpart in yeast cells and thus supports recent data suggesting that not all aspects of peroxisomal protein import are conserved between yeasts and humans. The role of HsPex14p in mammalian peroxisome biogenesis makes HsPEX14 a candidate PBD gene for being responsible for an unrecognized complementation group of human peroxisome biogenesis disorders.  (+info)

(7/28861) Down-regulation of RpS21, a putative translation initiation factor interacting with P40, produces viable minute imagos and larval lethality with overgrown hematopoietic organs and imaginal discs.

Down-regulation of the Drosophila ribosomal protein S21 gene (rpS21) causes a dominant weak Minute phenotype and recessively produces massive hyperplasia of the hematopoietic organs and moderate overgrowth of the imaginal discs during larval development. Here, we show that the S21 protein (RpS21) is bound to native 40S ribosomal subunits in a salt-labile association and is absent from polysomes, indicating that it acts as a translation initiation factor rather than as a core ribosomal protein. RpS21 can interact strongly with P40, a ribosomal peripheral protein encoded by the stubarista (sta) gene. Genetic studies reveal that P40 underexpression drastically enhances imaginal disc overgrowth in rpS21-deficient larvae, whereas viable combinations between rpS21 and sta affect the morphology of bristles, antennae, and aristae. These data demonstrate a strong interaction between components of the translation machinery and showed that their underexpression impairs the control of cell proliferation in both hematopoietic organs and imaginal discs.  (+info)

(8/28861) DEF-1, a novel Src SH3 binding protein that promotes adipogenesis in fibroblastic cell lines.

The Src homology 3 (SH3) motif is found in numerous signal transduction proteins involved in cellular growth and differentiation. We have purified and cloned a novel protein, DEF-1 (differentiation-enhancing factor), from bovine brain by using a Src SH3 affinity column. Ectopic expression of DEF-1 in fibroblasts resulted in the differentiation of a significant fraction of the culture into adipocytes. This phenotype appears to be related to the induction of the transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma), since DEF-1 NIH 3T3 cells demonstrated augmented levels of PPARgamma mRNA and, when treated with activating PPARgamma ligands, efficient induction of differentiation. Further evidence for a role for DEF-1 in adipogenesis was provided by heightened expression of DEF-1 mRNA in adipose tissue isolated from obese and diabetes mice compared to that in tissue isolated from wild-type mice. However, DEF-1 mRNA was detected in multiple tissues, suggesting that the signal transduction pathway(s) in which DEF-1 is involved is not limited to adipogenesis. These results suggest that DEF-1 is an important component of a signal transduction process that is involved in the differentiation of fibroblasts and possibly of other types of cells.  (+info)