(1/38700) Intracellular signalling: PDK1--a kinase at the hub of things.

Phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) is at the hub of many signalling pathways, activating PKB and PKC isoenzymes, as well as p70 S6 kinase and perhaps PKA. PDK1 action is determined by colocalization with substrate and by target site availability, features that may enable it to operate in both resting and stimulated cells.  (+info)

(2/38700) Molecular phylogeny of the ETS gene family.

We have constructed a molecular phylogeny of the ETS gene family. By distance and parsimony analysis of the ETS conserved domains we show that the family containing so far 29 different genes in vertebrates can be divided into 13 groups of genes namely ETS, ER71, GABP, PEA3, ERG, ERF, ELK, DETS4, ELF, ESE, TEL, YAN, SPI. Since the three dimensional structure of the ETS domain has revealed a similarity with the winged-helix-turn-helix proteins, we used two of them (CAP and HSF) to root the tree. This allowed us to show that the family can be divided into five subfamilies: ETS, DETS4, ELF, TEL and SPI. The ETS subfamily comprises the ETS, ER71, GABP, PEA3, ERG, ERF and the ELK groups which appear more related to each other than to any other ETS family members. The fact that some members of these subfamilies were identified in early metazoans such as diploblasts and sponges suggests that the diversification of ETS family genes predates the diversification of metazoans. By the combined analysis of both the ETS and the PNT domains, which are conserved in some members of the family, we showed that the GABP group, and not the ERG group, is the one most closely related to the ETS group. We also observed that the speed of accumulation of mutations in the various genes of the family is highly variable. Noticeably, paralogous members of the ELK group exhibit strikingly different evolutionary speed suggesting that the evolutionary pressure they support is very different.  (+info)

(3/38700) Crystal structure of MHC class II-associated p41 Ii fragment bound to cathepsin L reveals the structural basis for differentiation between cathepsins L and S.

The lysosomal cysteine proteases cathepsins S and L play crucial roles in the degradation of the invariant chain during maturation of MHC class II molecules and antigen processing. The p41 form of the invariant chain includes a fragment which specifically inhibits cathepsin L but not S. The crystal structure of the p41 fragment, a homologue of the thyroglobulin type-1 domains, has been determined at 2.0 A resolution in complex with cathepsin L. The structure of the p41 fragment demonstrates a novel fold, consisting of two subdomains, each stabilized by disulfide bridges. The first subdomain is an alpha-helix-beta-strand arrangement, whereas the second subdomain has a predominantly beta-strand arrangement. The wedge shape and three-loop arrangement of the p41 fragment bound to the active site cleft of cathepsin L are reminiscent of the inhibitory edge of cystatins, thus demonstrating the first example of convergent evolution observed in cysteine protease inhibitors. However, the different fold of the p41 fragment results in additional contacts with the top of the R-domain of the enzymes, which defines the specificity-determining S2 and S1' substrate-binding sites. This enables inhibitors based on the thyroglobulin type-1 domain fold, in contrast to the rather non-selective cystatins, to exhibit specificity for their target enzymes.  (+info)

(4/38700) A single membrane-embedded negative charge is critical for recognizing positively charged drugs by the Escherichia coli multidrug resistance protein MdfA.

The nature of the broad substrate specificity phenomenon, as manifested by multidrug resistance proteins, is not yet understood. In the Escherichia coli multidrug transporter, MdfA, the hydrophobicity profile and PhoA fusion analysis have so far identified only one membrane-embedded charged amino acid residue (E26). In order to determine whether this negatively charged residue may play a role in multidrug recognition, we evaluated the expression and function of MdfA constructs mutated at this position. Replacing E26 with the positively charged residue lysine abolished the multidrug resistance activity against positively charged drugs, but retained chloramphenicol efflux and resistance. In contrast, when the negative charge was preserved in a mutant with aspartate instead of E26, chloramphenicol recognition and transport were drastically inhibited; however, the mutant exhibited almost wild-type multidrug resistance activity against lipophilic cations. These results suggest that although the negative charge at position 26 is not essential for active transport, it dictates the multidrug resistance character of MdfA. We show that such a negative charge is also found in other drug resistance transporters, and its possible significance regarding multidrug resistance is discussed.  (+info)

(5/38700) Anopheles gambiae Ag-STAT, a new insect member of the STAT family, is activated in response to bacterial infection.

A new insect member of the STAT family of transcription factors (Ag-STAT) has been cloned from the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. The domain involved in DNA interaction and the SH2 domain are well conserved. Ag-STAT is most similar to Drosophila D-STAT and to vertebrate STATs 5 and 6, constituting a proposed ancient class A of the STAT family. The mRNA is expressed at all developmental stages, and the protein is present in hemocytes, pericardial cells, midgut, skeletal muscle and fat body cells. There is no evidence of transcriptional activation following bacterial challenge. However, bacterial challenge results in nuclear translocation of Ag-STAT protein in fat body cells and induction of DNA-binding activity that recognizes a STAT target site. In vitro treatment with pervanadate (vanadate and H2O2) translocates Ag-STAT to the nucleus in midgut epithelial cells. This is the first evidence of direct participation of the STAT pathway in immune responses in insects.  (+info)

(6/38700) Assembly requirements of PU.1-Pip (IRF-4) activator complexes: inhibiting function in vivo using fused dimers.

Gene expression in higher eukaryotes appears to be regulated by specific combinations of transcription factors binding to regulatory sequences. The Ets factor PU.1 and the IRF protein Pip (IRF-4) represent a pair of interacting transcription factors implicated in regulating B cell-specific gene expression. Pip is recruited to its binding site on DNA by phosphorylated PU.1. PU.1-Pip interaction is shown to be template directed and involves two distinct protein-protein interaction surfaces: (i) the ets and IRF DNA-binding domains; and (ii) the phosphorylated PEST region of PU.1 and a lysine-requiring putative alpha-helix in Pip. Thus, a coordinated set of protein-protein and protein-DNA contacts are essential for PU.1-Pip ternary complex assembly. To analyze the function of these factors in vivo, we engineered chimeric repressors containing the ets and IRF DNA-binding domains connected by a flexible POU domain linker. When stably expressed, the wild-type fused dimer strongly repressed the expression of a rearranged immunoglobulin lambda gene, thereby establishing the functional importance of PU.1-Pip complexes in B cell gene expression. Comparative analysis of the wild-type dimer with a series of mutant dimers distinguished a gene regulated by PU.1 and Pip from one regulated by PU.1 alone. This strategy should prove generally useful in analyzing the function of interacting transcription factors in vivo, and for identifying novel genes regulated by such complexes.  (+info)

(7/38700) Analysis of two cosmid clones from chromosome 4 of Drosophila melanogaster reveals two new genes amid an unusual arrangement of repeated sequences.

Chromosome 4 from Drosophila melanogaster has several unusual features that distinguish it from the other chromosomes. These include a diffuse appearance in salivary gland polytene chromosomes, an absence of recombination, and the variegated expression of P-element transgenes. As part of a larger project to understand these properties, we are assembling a physical map of this chromosome. Here we report the sequence of two cosmids representing approximately 5% of the polytenized region. Both cosmid clones contain numerous repeated DNA sequences, as identified by cross hybridization with labeled genomic DNA, BLAST searches, and dot matrix analysis, which are positioned between and within the transcribed sequences. The repetitive sequences include three copies of the mobile element Hoppel, one copy of the mobile element HB, and 18 DINE repeats. DINE is a novel, short repeated sequence dispersed throughout both cosmid sequences. One cosmid includes the previously described cubitus interruptus (ci) gene and two new genes: that a gene with a predicted amino acid sequence similar to ribosomal protein S3a which is consistent with the Minute(4)101 locus thought to be in the region, and a novel member of the protein family that includes plexin and met-hepatocyte growth factor receptor. The other cosmid contains only the two short 5'-most exons from the zinc-finger-homolog-2 (zfh-2) gene. This is the first extensive sequence analysis of noncoding DNA from chromosome 4. The distribution of the various repeats suggests its organization is similar to the beta-heterochromatic regions near the base of the major chromosome arms. Such a pattern may account for the diffuse banding of the polytene chromosome 4 and the variegation of many P-element transgenes on the chromosome.  (+info)

(8/38700) The mouse Aire gene: comparative genomic sequencing, gene organization, and expression.

Mutations in the human AIRE gene (hAIRE) result in the development of an autoimmune disease named APECED (autoimmune polyendocrinopathy candidiasis ectodermal dystrophy; OMIM 240300). Previously, we have cloned hAIRE and shown that it codes for a putative transcription-associated factor. Here we report the cloning and characterization of Aire, the murine ortholog of hAIRE. Comparative genomic sequencing revealed that the structure of the AIRE gene is highly conserved between human and mouse. The conceptual proteins share 73% homology and feature the same typical functional domains in both species. RT-PCR analysis detected three splice variant isoforms in various mouse tissues, and interestingly one isoform was conserved in human, suggesting potential biological relevance of this product. In situ hybridization on mouse and human histological sections showed that AIRE expression pattern was mainly restricted to a few cells in the thymus, calling for a tissue-specific function of the gene product.  (+info)