The alcohol dehydrogenase polymorphism in populations of Drosophila melanogaster. I. Selection in different environments. (1/3212)

The allozyme polymorphism at the alcohol dehydrogenase locus in Drosophila melanogaster was studied in order to obtain experimental evidence about the maintenance of this polymorphism. Populations started with different initial allele frequencies from homozygous F and S lines showed a convergence of frequencies on regular food at 25 degrees, leading to values equal to those in the base populations. These results were interpreted as due to some kind of balancing selection. In populations kept at 29.8 degrees, a lower equilibrium F frequency was attained. Addition of ethanol and some other alcohols to the food gave a rapid increase in F frequency, and high humidity decreased the F frequency slightly. Combination or alternation of ethanol and high humidity had variable effects in the populations tested. For a further analysis of the allele-frequency changes, estimates were obtained for egg-to-adult survival under different conditions and for adult survival on ethanol-supplemented food. On ethanol food (both at regular and high humidity), egg-to-adult survival of SS homozygotes was considerably lower than that of the FF and FS genotypes. Under regular conditions of food, temperature and humidity, a tendency to heterozygote superiority was observed, while at high humidity a relative high survival of SS was noticed in some tests. Adult survival of SS was lower than that of FF, but FS was generally intermediate, though the degree of dominance differed between populations. The results are consistent with the hypothesis of the occurrence of selection at the Adh locus.  (+info)

Separation and properties of two acetylacetoin reductases from Bacillus cereus YUF-4. (2/3212)

The separation and purification of two kinds of acetylacetoin reductases (AACRs) from Bacillus cereus YUF-4 were examined. NADPH-linked AACR (AACR I) and NADH-linked AACR (AACR II) were separated from each other by ammonium sulfate fractionation, DEAE-cellulose chromatography, and hydroxyapatite chromatography. The former was purified 3.4-fold with a yield of 10.0%, and the latter was purified 29-fold with a yield of 15.6%. The two enzymes differ from each other in some enzymic properties such as substrate specificity.  (+info)

Metabolic engineering of poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates): from DNA to plastic. (3/3212)

Poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) (PHAs) are a class of microbially produced polyesters that have potential applications as conventional plastics, specifically thermoplastic elastomers. A wealth of biological diversity in PHA formation exists, with at least 100 different PHA constituents and at least five different dedicated PHA biosynthetic pathways. This diversity, in combination with classical microbial physiology and modern molecular biology, has now opened up this area for genetic and metabolic engineering to develop optimal PHA-producing organisms. Commercial processes for PHA production were initially developed by W. R. Grace in the 1960s and later developed by Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd., in the United Kingdom in the 1970s and 1980s. Since the early 1990s, Metabolix Inc. and Monsanto have been the driving forces behind the commercial exploitation of PHA polymers in the United States. The gram-negative bacterium Ralstonia eutropha, formerly known as Alcaligenes eutrophus, has generally been used as the production organism of choice, and intracellular accumulation of PHA of over 90% of the cell dry weight have been reported. The advent of molecular biological techniques and a developing environmental awareness initiated a renewed scientific interest in PHAs, and the biosynthetic machinery for PHA metabolism has been studied in great detail over the last two decades. Because the structure and monomeric composition of PHAs determine the applications for each type of polymer, a variety of polymers have been synthesized by cofeeding of various substrates or by metabolic engineering of the production organism. Classical microbiology and modern molecular bacterial physiology have been brought together to decipher the intricacies of PHA metabolism both for production purposes and for the unraveling of the natural role of PHAs. This review provides an overview of the different PHA biosynthetic systems and their genetic background, followed by a detailed summation of how this natural diversity is being used to develop commercially attractive, recombinant processes for the large-scale production of PHAs.  (+info)

MOT1 can activate basal transcription in vitro by regulating the distribution of TATA binding protein between promoter and nonpromoter sites. (4/3212)

MOT1 is an ATPase which can dissociate TATA binding protein (TBP)-DNA complexes in a reaction requiring ATP hydrolysis. Consistent with this observation, MOT1 can repress basal transcription in vitro. Paradoxically, however, some genes, such as HIS4, appear to require MOT1 as an activator of transcription in vivo. To further investigate the function of MOT1 in basal transcription, we performed in vitro transcription reactions using yeast nuclear extracts depleted of MOT1. Quantitation of MOT1 revealed that it is an abundant protein, with nuclear extracts from wild-type cells containing a molar excess of MOT1 over TBP. Surprisingly, MOT1 can weakly activate basal transcription in vitro. This activation by MOT1 is detectable with amounts of MOT1 that are approximately stoichiometric to TBP. With amounts of MOT1 similar to those present in wild-type nuclear extracts, MOT1 behaves as a weak repressor of basal transcription. These results suggest that MOT1 might activate transcription via an indirect mechanism in which limiting TBP can be liberated from nonpromoter sites for use at promoters. In support of this idea, excess nonpromoter DNA sequesters TBP and represses transcription, but this effect can be reversed by addition of MOT1. These results help to reconcile previous in vitro and in vivo results and expand the repertoire of transcriptional control strategies to include factor-assisted redistribution of TBP between promoter and nonpromoter sites.  (+info)

Characterization of the glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity in rat liver mitochondria. (5/3212)

Glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity in rat liver mitochondria can be released by detergent. The released activity is separated by chromatography into two peaks. One peak has the kinetic behaviour and mobility similar to the soluble sex-linked enzyme, whereas the other peak is similar to the microsomal hexose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase. There is no evidence for the existence of a new glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity in rat liver mitochondria.  (+info)

Identification of the reactive cysteine residue (Cys227) in human carbonyl reductase. (6/3212)

Carbonyl reductase is highly susceptible to inactivation by organomercurials suggesting the presence of a reactive cysteine residue in, or close to, the active site. This residue is also close to a site which binds glutathione. Structurally, carbonyl reductase belongs to the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase family and contains five cysteine residues, none of which is conserved within the family. In order to identify the reactive residue and investigate its possible role in glutathione binding, alanine was substituted for each cysteine residue of human carbonyl reductase by site-directed mutagenesis. The mutant enzymes were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity. Four of the five mutants (C26A, C122A C150A and C226A) exhibited wild-type-like enzyme activity, although K(m) values of C226A for three structurally different substrates were increased threefold to 10-fold. The fifth mutant, C227A, showed a 10-15-fold decrease in kcat and a threefold to 40-fold increase in K(m), resulting in a 30-500-fold drop in kcat/K(m). NaCl (300 mM) increased the activity of C227A 16-fold, whereas the activity of the wild-type enzyme was only doubled. Substitution of serine rather than alanine for Cys227 similarly affected the kinetic constants with the exception that NaCl did not activate the enzyme. Both C227A and C227S mutants were insensitive to inactivation by 4-hydroxymercuribenzoate. Unlike the parent carbonyl compounds, the glutathione adducts of menadione and prostaglandin A1 were better substrates for the C227A and C227S mutants than the wild-type enzyme. Conversely, the binding of free glutathione to both mutants was reduced. Our findings indicate that Cys227 is the reactive residue and suggest that it is involved in the binding of both substrate and glutathione.  (+info)

Protection of mice against a lethal influenza virus challenge after immunization with yeast-derived secreted influenza virus hemagglutinin. (7/3212)

The A/Victoria/3/75 (H3N2-subtype) hemagglutinin (HA) gene was engineered for expression in Pichia pastoris as a soluble secreted molecule. The HA cDNA lacking the C-terminal transmembrane anchor-coding sequence was fused to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae alpha-mating factor secretion signal and placed under control of the methanol-inducible P. pastoris alcohol oxidase 1 (AOX1) promoter. Growth of transformants on methanol-containing medium resulted in the secretion of recombinant non-cleaved soluble hemagglutinin (HA0s). Remarkably, the pH of the induction medium had an important effect on the expression level, the highest level being obtained at pH 8.0. The gel filtration profile and the reactivity against a panel of different HA-conformation specific monoclonal antibodies indicated that HA0s was monomeric. Analysis of the N-linked glycans revealed a typical P. pastoris type of glycosylation, consisting of glycans with 10-12 glycosyl residues. Mice immunized with purified soluble hemagglutinin (HA0s) showed complete protection against a challenge with 10 LD50 of mouse-adapted homologous virus (X47), whereas all control mice succumbed. Heterologous challenge with X31 virus [A/Aichi/2/68 (H3N2-subtype)], resulted in significantly higher survival rates in the immunized group compared with the control group. These results, together with the safety, reliability and economic potential of P. pastoris, as well as the flexibility and fast adaptation of the expression system may allow development of an effective recombinant influenza vaccine.  (+info)

The choline-converting pathway in Staphylococcus xylosus C2A: genetic and physiological characterization. (8/3212)

A Staphylococcus xylosus C2A gene cluster, which encodes enzymes in the pathway for choline uptake and dehydrogenation (cud), to form the osmoprotectant glycine betaine, was identified. The cud locus comprises four genes, three of which encode proteins with significant similarities to those known to be involved in choline transport and conversion in other organisms. The physiological role of the gene products was confirmed by analysis of cud deletion mutants. The fourth gene possibly codes for a regulator protein. Part of the gene cluster was shown to be transcriptionally regulated by choline and elevated NaCl concentrations as inducers.  (+info)