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(1/1317) A cis-acting A-U sequence element induces kinetoplastid U-insertions.

A 34-nucleotide A-U sequence located immediately upstream of the editing sites of the Leishmania tarentolae cytochrome b mRNA induces a mitochondrial extract to insert U nucleotides independent of guide RNA. Insertions are localized to positions immediately 5' and 3' of the A-U sequence. When placed within an unedited mammalian transcript, the A-U sequence is sufficient to induce U-insertions. The sequence has a high degree of similarity with the templating nucleotides of a cytochrome b guide RNA and with a sequence adjacent to the editing sites in ND7 mRNA, the other characterized kinetoplastid mRNA supporting guide RNA-independent U-insertions. At least one protein specifically interacts with the A-U sequence. The reaction is consistent with a mechanism proposed for guide RNA-directed editing.  (+info)

(2/1317) Antisense oligonucleotides containing modified bases inhibit in vitro translation of Leishmania amazonensis mRNAs by invading the mini-exon hairpin.

Complementary oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) that contain 2-aminoadenine and 2-thiothymine interact weakly with each other but form stable hybrids with unmodified complements. These selectively binding complementary (SBC) agents can invade duplex DNA and hybridize to each strand (Kutyavin, I. V., Rhinehart, R. L., Lukhtanov, E. A., Gorn, V. V., Meyer, R. B., and Gamper, H. B. (1996) Biochemistry 35, 11170-11176). Antisense ODNs with similar properties should be less encumbered by RNA secondary structure. Here we show that SBC ODNs strand invade a hairpin in the mini-exon RNA of Leishmania amazonensis and that the resulting heteroduplexes are substrates for Escherichia coli RNase H. SBC ODNs either with phosphodiester or phosphorothioate backbones form more stable hybrids with RNA than normal base (NB) ODNs. Optimal binding was observed when the entire hairpin sequence was targeted. Translation of L. amazonensis mRNA in a cell-free extract was more efficiently inhibited by SBC ODNs complementary to the mini-exon hairpin than by the corresponding NB ODNs. Nonspecific protein binding in the cell-free extract by phosphorothioate SBC ODNs rendered them ineffective as antisense agents in vitro. SBC phosphorothioate ODNs displayed a modest but significant improvement of leishmanicidal properties compared with NB phosphorothioate ODNs.  (+info)

(3/1317) Divergent evolution of fucosyltransferase genes from vertebrates, invertebrates, and bacteria.

On the basis of function and sequence similarities, the vertebrate fucosyltransferases can be classified into three groups: alpha-2-, alpha-3-, and alpha-6-fucosyltransferases. Thirty new putative fucosyltransferase genes from invertebrates and bacteria and six conserved peptide motifs have been identified in DNA and protein databanks. Two of these motifs are specific of alpha-3-fucosyltransferases, one is specific of alpha-2-fucosyltransferases, another is specific of alpha-6-fucosyltransferases, and two are shared by both alpha-2- and alpha-6-fucosyltranserases. Based on these data, literature data, and the phylogenetic analysis of the conserved peptide motifs, a model for the evolution offucosyltransferase genes by successive duplications, followed by divergent evolution is proposed, with either two different ancestors, one for the alpha-2/6-fucosyltransferases and one for the alpha-3-fucosyltransferases or a single common ancestor for the two families. The expected properties of such an hypothetical ancestor suggest that the plant or insect alpha-3-fucosyltransferases using chitobiose as acceptor might be the present forms of this ancestor, since fucosyltransferases using chitobiose as acceptor are expected to be of earlier appearance in evolution than enzymes using N -acetyllactosamine. However, an example of convergent evolution of fucosyltransferase genes is suggested for the appearance of the Leaepitopes found in plants and primates.  (+info)

(4/1317) Telomerase in kinetoplastid parasitic protozoa.

We have identified telomerase activity in extracts of three evolutionarily diverse kinetoplastid species: Trypanosoma brucei, Leishmania major, and Leishmania tarentolae. Telomerase activity was initially detected in extracts from insect form cells of all three kinetoplastid species by using a modification of the one-tube telomere repeat amplification protocol [Kim, N., et al. (1994) Science 266, 2011-2015], although better results were subsequently achieved with the two-tube telomere repeat amplification protocol [Autexier, C., Pruzan, R., Funk, W. & Greider, C. (1996) EMBO J. 15, 5928-5935]. The activity in T. brucei extracts was sufficiently robust to enable its detection in a direct assay of telomerase; enzyme processivity was found to be relatively low. The in vitro properties of telomerase suggest a possible templating domain sequence for the telomerase RNA of T. brucei. Telomerase activity is likely to contribute to telomere maintenance in these parasitic organisms and provides a new target for chemotherapeutic intervention.  (+info)

(5/1317) A theoretical study of random segregation of minicircles in trypanosomatids.

The kinetoplast (k) DNA network of trypanosomatids is made up of approximately 50 maxicircles and the order of 10(4) minicircles. It has been proposed, based on various observations and experiments, that the minicircles are randomly segregated between daughter cells when the parent cell divides. In this paper, this random segregation hypothesis is theoretically tested in a population dynamics model to see if it can account for the observed phenomena. The hypothesis is shown to successfully explain, in Leishmania tarentolae, the observation that there are a few major and many minor minicircle classes, the fluctuations of minicircle class copy numbers over time, the loss of non-essential minicircle classes, the long survival times of a few of these classes and that these classes are likely to be the major classes within the population. Implications of the model are examined for trypanosomatids in general, leading to several predictions. The model predicts variation in network size within a population, variation in the average network size and large-scale changes in class copy number over long time-scales, an evolutionary pressure towards larger network sizes, the selective advantage of non-random over random segregation, very strong selection for the amplified class in Crithidia fasciculata if its minicircles undergo random segregation and that Trypanosoma brucei may use sexual reproduction to maintain its viability.  (+info)

(6/1317) Selective effect of 2',6'-dihydroxy-4'-methoxychalcone isolated from Piper aduncum on Leishmania amazonensis.

2',6'-Dihydroxy-4'-methoxychalcone (DMC) was purified from the dichloromethane extract of Piper aduncum inflorescences. DMC showed significant activity in vitro against promastigotes and intracellular amastigotes of Leishmania amazonensis, with 50% effective doses of 0.5 and 24 micrograms/ml, respectively. Its inhibitory effect on amastigotes is apparently a direct effect on the parasites and is not due to activation of the nitrogen oxidative metabolism of macrophages, since the production of nitric oxide by both unstimulated and recombinant gamma interferon-stimulated macrophages was decreased rather than increased with DMC. The phagocytic activity of macrophages was functioning normally even with DMC concentrations as high as 80 micrograms/ml, as seen by electron microscopy and by the uptake of fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled beads. Ultrastructural studies also showed that in the presence of DMC the mitochondria of promastigotes were enlarged and disorganized. Despite destruction of intracellular amastigotes, no disarrangement of macrophage organelles were observed, even at 80 micrograms of DMC/ml. These observations suggest that DMC is selectively toxic to the parasites. Its simple structure may well enable it to serve as a new lead compound for the synthesis of novel antileishmanial drugs.  (+info)

(7/1317) Increased transport of pteridines compensates for mutations in the high affinity folate transporter and contributes to methotrexate resistance in the protozoan parasite Leishmania tarentolae.

Functional cloning led to the isolation of a novel methotrexate (MTX) resistance gene in the protozoan parasite Leishmania. The gene corresponds to orfG, an open reading frame (ORF) of the LD1/CD1 genomic locus that is frequently amplified in several Leishmania stocks. A functional ORF G-green fluorescence protein fusion was localized to the plasma membrane. Transport studies indicated that ORF G is a high affinity biopterin transporter. ORF G also transports folic acid, with a lower affinity, but does not transport the drug analog MTX. Disruption of both alleles of orfG led to a mutant strain that became hypersensitive to MTX and had no measurable biopterin transport. Leishmania tarentolae MTX-resistant cells without their high affinity folate transporters have a rearranged orfG gene and increased orfG RNA levels. Overexpression of orfG leads to increased biopterin uptake and, in folate-rich medium, to increased folate uptake. MTX-resistant cells compensate for mutations in their high affinity folate/MTX transporter by overexpressing ORF G, which increases the uptake of pterins and selectively increases the uptake of folic acid, but not MTX.  (+info)

(8/1317) In vitro uridine insertion RNA editing mediated by cis-acting guide RNAs.

Uridine (U) insertion/deletion editing of mitochondrial mRNAs in kinetoplastid protozoa is a posttranscriptional process mediated by guide RNAs (gRNAs). The gRNAs direct the precise insertion and deletion of Us by a cleavage-ligation mechanism involving base pairing. We show that a cognate gRNA in cis at the 3' end of a preedited NADH dehydrogenase 7 (ND7) mRNA substrate can direct U insertions at editing site 1 when incubated with a mitochondrial lysate from Leishmania tarentolae. The efficiency of gRNA-dependent U insertion mediated by a cis-acting gRNA is greater on a molar basis than that for a trans-acting gRNA, as expected for a unimolecular gRNA:mRNA interaction. Blocking the 3' end of a cis-acting gRNA lacking a 3' oligo[U] tail has no effect on gRNA-dependent U insertions, nor does providing the gRNA in cis upstream of the mRNA, confirming the previous observation that the terminal 2'- and 3'-hydroxyls of the gRNA are not involved in U insertion activity. These results also establish that the oligo[U] tail is not required for U insertion in vitro. Increasing the extent of base pairing between the 3' end of the gRNA and the 5' end of the mRNA significantly increases in vitro gRNA-dependent U insertion at site 1, presumably by maintaining the mRNA 5' cleavage fragment within the editing complex. We speculate that, in vivo, protein:RNA and/or protein:protein interactions may be responsible for maintaining the mRNA 5' cleavage fragment in close proximity to the mRNA 3' cleavage fragment, and that such interactions may be rate limiting in vitro.  (+info)