The product of the oskar gene directs posterior patterning in the Drosophila oocyte, where it must be deployed specifically at the posterior pole. Proper expression relies on the coordinated localization and translational control of the oskar mRNA. Translational repression prior to localization of the transcript is mediated, in part, by the Bruno protein, which binds to discrete sites in the 3' untranslated region of the oskar mRNA. To begin to understand how Bruno acts in translational repression, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen to identify Bruno-interacting proteins. One interactor, described here, is the product of the apontic gene. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments lend biochemical support to the idea that Bruno and Apontic proteins physically interact in Drosophila. Genetic experiments using mutants defective in apontic and bruno reveal a functional interaction between these genes. Given this interaction, Apontic is likely to act together with Bruno in translational repression of oskar mRNA. Interestingly, Apontic, like Bruno, is an RNA-binding protein and specifically binds certain regions of the oskar mRNA 3' untranslated region. (+info)
(2/70987) Mechanisms of GDF-5 action during skeletal development.
Mutations in GDF-5, a member of the TGF-beta superfamily, result in the autosomal recessive syndromes brachypod (bp) in mice and Hunter-Thompson and Grebe-type chondrodysplasias in humans. These syndromes are all characterised by the shortening of the appendicular skeleton and loss or abnormal development of some joints. To investigate how GDF-5 controls skeletogenesis, we overexpressed GDF-5 during chick limb development using the retrovirus, RCASBP. This resulted in up to a 37.5% increase in length of the skeletal elements, which was predominantly due to an increase in the number of chondrocytes. By injecting virus at different stages of development, we show that GDF-5 can increase both the size of the early cartilage condensation and the later developing skeletal element. Using in vitro micromass cultures as a model system to study the early steps of chondrogenesis, we show that GDF-5 increases chondrogenesis in a dose-dependent manner. We did not detect changes in proliferation. However, cell suspension cultures showed that GDF-5 might act at these stages by increasing cell adhesion, a critical determinant of early chondrogenesis. In contrast, pulse labelling experiments of GDF-5-infected limbs showed that at later stages of skeletal development GDF-5 can increase proliferation of chondrocytes. Thus, here we show two mechanisms of how GDF-5 may control different stages of skeletogenesis. Finally, our data show that levels of GDF-5 expression/activity are important in controlling the size of skeletal elements and provides a possible explanation for the variation in the severity of skeletal defects resulting from mutations in GDF-5. (+info)
(3/70987) Sonic hedgehog signaling by the patched-smoothened receptor complex.
BACKGROUND: The Hedgehog (Hh) family of secreted proteins is involved in a number of developmental processes as well as in cancer. Genetic and biochemical data suggest that the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) receptor is composed of at least two proteins: the tumor suppressor protein Patched (Ptc) and the seven-transmembrane protein Smoothened (Smo). RESULTS: Using a biochemical assay for activation of the transcription factor Gli, a downstream component of the Hh pathway, we show here that Smo functions as the signaling component of the Shh receptor, and that this activity can be blocked by Ptc. The inhibition of Smo by Ptc can be relieved by the addition of Shh. Furthermore, oncogenic forms of Smo are insensitive to Ptc repression in this assay. Mapping of the Smo domains required for binding to Ptc and for signaling revealed that the Smo-Ptc interaction involves mainly the amino terminus of Smo, and that the third intracellular loop and the seventh transmembrane domain are required for signaling. CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate that Smo is the signaling component of a multicomponent Hh receptor complex and that Ptc is a ligand-regulated inhibitor of Smo. Different domains of Smo are involved in Ptc binding and activation of a Gli reporter construct. The latter requires the third intracellular loop and the seventh transmembrane domain of Smo, regions often involved in coupling to G proteins. No changes in the levels of cyclic AMP or calcium associated with such pathways could be detected following receptor activation, however. (+info)
(4/70987) Relaxin is a potent renal vasodilator in conscious rats.
The kidneys and other nonreproductive organs vasodilate during early gestation; however, the "pregnancy hormones" responsible for the profound vasodilation of the renal circulation during pregnancy are unknown. We hypothesized that the ovarian hormone relaxin (RLX) contributes. Therefore, we tested whether the administration of RLX elicits renal vasodilation and hyperfiltration in conscious adult, intact female rats. After several days of treatment with either purified porcine RLX or recombinant human RLX 2 (rhRLX), effective renal plasma flow (ERPF) and glomerular filtration rate (GFR) increased by 20%-40%. Comparable renal vasodilation and hyperfiltration was also observed in ovariectomized rats, suggesting that estrogen and progesterone are unnecessary for the renal response to rhRLX. The nitric oxide synthase inhibitor Nomega-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester completely abrogated the increase in ERPF and GFR elicited by chronic administration of purified porcine RLX. In contrast, the renal vasoconstrictory response to angiotensin II was attenuated by the RLX treatment. Short-term infusion of purified porcine RLX to conscious rats over several hours failed to increase ERPF and GFR. Plasma osmolality was consistently reduced by the chronic administration of both RLX preparations. In conclusion, the renal and osmoregulatory effects of chronic RLX administration to conscious rats resemble the physiological changes of pregnancy in several respects: (a) marked increases in ERPF and GFR with a mediatory role for nitric oxide; (b) attenuation of the renal circulatory response to angiotensin II; and (c) reduction in plasma osmolality. (+info)
(5/70987) Caspase-mediated cleavage of p21Waf1/Cip1 converts cancer cells from growth arrest to undergoing apoptosis.
The cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21waf1/Cip1 is a downstream effector of the p53-dependent cell growth arrest. We report herein that p21 was cleaved by caspase-3/CPP32 at the site of DHVD112L during the DNA damage-induced apoptosis of cancer cells. The cleaved p21 fragment could no more arrest the cells in G1 phase nor suppress the cells undergoing apoptosis because it failed to bind to the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and lost its capability to localize in the nucleus. Thus, caspase-3-mediated cleavage and inactivation of p21 protein may convert cancer cells from growth arrest to undergoing apoptosis, leading to the acceleration of chemotherapy-induced apoptotic process in cancer cells. (+info)
(6/70987) Concomitant activation of pathways downstream of Grb2 and PI 3-kinase is required for MET-mediated metastasis.
The Met tyrosine kinase - the HGF receptor - induces cell transformation and metastasis when constitutively activated. Met signaling is mediated by phosphorylation of two carboxy-terminal tyrosines which act as docking sites for a number of SH2-containing molecules. These include Grb2 and p85 which couple the receptor, respectively, with Ras and PI 3-kinase. We previously showed that a Met mutant designed to obtain preferential coupling with Grb2 (Met2xGrb2) is permissive for motility, increases transformation, but - surprisingly - is impaired in causing invasion and metastasis. In this work we used Met mutants optimized for binding either p85 alone (Met2xPI3K) or p85 and Grb2 (MetPI3K/Grb2) to evaluate the relative importance of Ras and PI 3-kinase as downstream effectors of Met. Met2xPI3K was competent in eliciting motility, but not transformation, invasion, or metastasis. Conversely, MetP13K/Grb2 induced motility, transformation, invasion and metastasis as efficiently as wild type Met. Furthermore, the expression of constitutively active PI 3-kinase in cells transformed by the Met2xGrb2 mutant, fully rescued their ability to invade and metastasize. These data point to a central role for PI 3-kinase in Met-mediated invasiveness, and indicate that simultaneous activation of Ras and PI 3-kinase is required to unleash the Met metastatic potential. (+info)
(7/70987) C-myc overexpression and p53 loss cooperate to promote genomic instability.
p53 monitors genomic integrity at the G1 and G2/M cell cycle checkpoints. Cells lacking p53 may show gene amplification as well as the polyploidy or aneuploidy typical of many tumors. The pathways through which this develops, however, are not well defined. We demonstrate here that the combination of p53 inactivation and c-myc overexpression in diploid cells markedly accelerates the spontaneous development of tetraploidy. This is not seen with either N-myc or L-myc. Tetraploidy is accompanied by significantly higher levels of cyclin B and its associated cdc2 kinase activity. Mitotic spindle poisons accelerate the appearance of tetraploidy in cells either lacking functional p53 or overexpressing c-myc whereas the combination is additive. Restoration of p53 function in cells overexpressing c-myc causing rapid apoptosis, indicating that cells yet to become tetraploid have nonetheless suffered irreversible genomic and/or mitotic spindle damage. In the face of normal p53 function, such damage would either be repaired or trigger apoptotis. We propose that loss of p53 and overexpression of c-myc permits the emergence and survival of cells with increasingly severe damage and the eventual development of tetraploidy. (+info)
(8/70987) 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)