(1/46886) Novel regulation of the homeotic gene Scr associated with a crustacean leg-to-maxilliped appendage transformation.

Homeotic genes are known to be involved in patterning morphological structures along the antero-posterior axis of insects and vertebrates. Because of their important roles in development, changes in the function and expression patterns of homeotic genes may have played a major role in the evolution of different body plans. For example, it has been proposed that during the evolution of several crustacean lineages, changes in the expression patterns of the homeotic genes Ultrabithorax and abdominal-A have played a role in transformation of the anterior thoracic appendages into mouthparts termed maxillipeds. This homeotic-like transformation is recapitulated at the late stages of the direct embryonic development of the crustacean Porcellio scaber (Oniscidea, Isopoda). Interestingly, this morphological change is associated with apparent novelties both in the transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of the Porcellio scaber ortholog of the Drosophila homeotic gene, Sex combs reduced (Scr). Specifically, we find that Scr mRNA is present in the second maxillary segment and the first pair of thoracic legs (T1) in early embryos, whereas protein accumulates only in the second maxillae. In later stages, however, high levels of SCR appear in the T1 legs, which correlates temporally with the transformation of these appendages into maxillipeds. Our observations provide further insight into the process of the homeotic leg-to-maxilliped transformation in the evolution of crustaceans and suggest a novel regulatory mechanism for this process in this group of arthropods.  (+info)

(2/46886) Mrj encodes a DnaJ-related co-chaperone that is essential for murine placental development.

We have identified a novel gene in a gene trap screen that encodes a protein related to the DnaJ co-chaperone in E. coli. The gene, named Mrj (mammalian relative of DnaJ) was expressed throughout development in both the embryo and placenta. Within the placenta, expression was particularly high in trophoblast giant cells but moderate levels were also observed in trophoblast cells of the chorion at embryonic day 8.5, and later in the labyrinth which arises from the attachment of the chorion to the allantois (a process called chorioallantoic fusion). Insertion of the ROSAbetageo gene trap vector into the Mrj gene created a null allele. Homozygous Mrj mutants died at mid-gestation due to a failure of chorioallantoic fusion at embryonic day 8.5, which precluded formation of the mature placenta. At embryonic day 8.5, the chorion in mutants was morphologically normal and expressed the cell adhesion molecule beta4 integrin that is known to be required for chorioallantoic fusion. However, expression of the chorionic trophoblast-specific transcription factor genes Err2 and Gcm1 was significantly reduced. The mutants showed no abnormal phenotypes in other trophoblast cell types or in the embryo proper. This study indicates a previously unsuspected role for chaperone proteins in placental development and represents the first genetic analysis of DnaJ-related protein function in higher eukaryotes. Based on a survey of EST databases representing different mouse tissues and embryonic stages, there are 40 or more DnaJ-related genes in mammals. In addition to Mrj, at least two of these genes are also expressed in the developing mouse placenta. The specificity of the developmental defect in Mrj mutants suggests that each of these genes may have unique tissue and cellular activities.  (+info)

(3/46886) Requirement of a novel gene, Xin, in cardiac morphogenesis.

A novel gene, Xin, from chick (cXin) and mouse (mXin) embryonic hearts, may be required for cardiac morphogenesis and looping. Both cloned cDNAs have a single open reading frame, encoding proteins with 2,562 and 1,677 amino acids for cXin and mXin, respectively. The derived amino acid sequences share 46% similarity. The overall domain structures of the predicted cXin and mXin proteins, including proline-rich regions, 16 amino acid repeats, DNA-binding domains, SH3-binding motifs and nuclear localization signals, are highly conserved. Northern blot analyses detect a single message of 8.9 and 5.8 kilo base (kb) from both cardiac and skeletal muscle of chick and mouse, respectively. In situ hybridization reveals that the cXin gene is specifically expressed in cardiac progenitor cells of chick embryos as early as stage 8, prior to heart tube formation. cXin continues to be expressed in the myocardium of developing hearts. By stage 15, cXin expression is also detected in the myotomes of developing somites. Immunofluorescence microscopy reveals that the mXin protein is colocalized with N-cadherin and connexin-43 in the intercalated discs of adult mouse hearts. Incubation of stage 6 chick embryos with cXin antisense oligonucleotides results in abnormal cardiac morphogenesis and an alteration of cardiac looping. The myocardium of the affected hearts becomes thickened and tends to form multiple invaginations into the heart cavity. This abnormal cellular process may account in part for the abnormal looping. cXin expression can be induced by bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) in explants of anterior medial mesoendoderm from stage 6 chick embryos, a tissue that is normally non-cardiogenic. This induction occurs following the BMP-mediated induction of two cardiac-restricted transcription factors, Nkx2.5 and MEF2C. Furthermore, either MEF2C or Nkx2.5 can transactivate a luciferase reporter driven by the mXin promoter in mouse fibroblasts. These results suggest that Xin may participate in a BMP-Nkx2.5-MEF2C pathway to control cardiac morphogenesis and looping.  (+info)

(4/46886) Characterization of an amphioxus paired box gene, AmphiPax2/5/8: developmental expression patterns in optic support cells, nephridium, thyroid-like structures and pharyngeal gill slits, but not in the midbrain-hindbrain boundary region.

On the basis of developmental gene expression, the vertebrate central nervous system comprises: a forebrain plus anterior midbrain, a midbrain-hindbrain boundary region (MHB) having organizer properties, and a rhombospinal domain. The vertebrate MHB is characterized by position, by organizer properties and by being the early site of action of Wnt1 and engrailed genes, and of genes of the Pax2/5/8 subfamily. Wada and others (Wada, H., Saiga, H., Satoh, N. and Holland, P. W. H. (1998) Development 125, 1113-1122) suggested that ascidian tunicates have a vertebrate-like MHB on the basis of ascidian Pax258 expression there. In another invertebrate chordate, amphioxus, comparable gene expression evidence for a vertebrate-like MHB is lacking. We, therefore, isolated and characterized AmphiPax2/5/8, the sole member of this subfamily in amphioxus. AmphiPax2/5/8 is initially expressed well back in the rhombospinal domain and not where a MHB would be expected. In contrast, most of the other expression domains of AmphiPax2/5/8 correspond to expression domains of vertebrate Pax2, Pax5 and Pax8 in structures that are probably homologous - support cells of the eye, nephridium, thyroid-like structures and pharyngeal gill slits; although AmphiPax2/5/8 is not transcribed in any structures that could be interpreted as homologues of vertebrate otic placodes or otic vesicles. In sum, the developmental expression of AmphiPax2/5/8 indicates that the amphioxus central nervous system lacks a MHB resembling the vertebrate isthmic region. Additional gene expression data for the developing ascidian and amphioxus nervous systems would help determine whether a MHB is a basal chordate character secondarily lost in amphioxus. The alternative is that the MHB is a vertebrate innovation.  (+info)

(5/46886) 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)

(6/46886) 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)

(7/46886) TIF1gamma, a novel member of the transcriptional intermediary factor 1 family.

We report the cloning and characterization of a novel member of the Transcriptional Intermediary Factor 1 (TIF1) gene family, human TIF1gamma. Similar to TIF1alpha and TIF1beta, the structure of TIF1beta is characterized by multiple domains: RING finger, B boxes, Coiled coil, PHD/TTC, and bromodomain. Although structurally related to TIF1alpha and TIF1beta, TIF1gamma presents several functional differences. In contrast to TIF1alpha, but like TIF1beta, TIF1 does not interact with nuclear receptors in yeast two-hybrid or GST pull-down assays and does not interfere with retinoic acid response in transfected mammalian cells. Whereas TIF1alpha and TIF1beta were previously found to interact with the KRAB silencing domain of KOX1 and with the HP1alpha, MODI (HP1beta) and MOD2 (HP1gamma) heterochromatinic proteins, suggesting that they may participate in a complex involved in heterochromatin-induced gene repression, TIF1gamma does not interact with either the KRAB domain of KOX1 or the HP1 proteins. Nevertheless, TIF1gamma, like TIF1alpha and TIF1beta, exhibits a strong silencing activity when tethered to a promoter. Since deletion of a novel motif unique to the three TIF1 proteins, called TIF1 signature sequence (TSS), abrogates transcriptional repression by TIF1gamma, this motif likely participates in TIF1 dependent repression.  (+info)

(8/46886) Detailed methylation analysis of the glutathione S-transferase pi (GSTP1) gene in prostate cancer.

Glutathione-S-Transferases (GSTs) comprise a family of isoenzymes that provide protection to mammalian cells against electrophilic metabolites of carcinogens and reactive oxygen species. Previous studies have shown that the CpG-rich promoter region of the pi-class gene GSTP1 is methylated at single restriction sites in the majority of prostate cancers. In order to understand the nature of abnormal methylation of the GSTP1 gene in prostate cancer we undertook a detailed analysis of methylation at 131 CpG sites spanning the promoter and body of the gene. Our results show that DNA methylation is not confined to specific CpG sites in the promoter region of the GSTP1 gene but is extensive throughout the CpG island in prostate cancer cells. Furthermore we found that both alleles are abnormally methylated in this region. In normal prostate tissue, the entire CpG island was unmethylated, but extensive methylation was found outside the island in the body of the gene. Loss of GSTP1 expression correlated with DNA methylation of the CpG island in both prostate cancer cell lines and cancer tissues whereas methylation outside the CpG island in normal prostate tissue appeared to have no effect on gene expression.  (+info)