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)
The role of gene splicing, gene amplification and regulation in mosquito insecticide resistance.
The primary routes of insecticide resistance in all insects are alterations in the insecticide target sites or changes in the rate at which the insecticide is detoxified. Three enzyme systems, glutathione S-transferases, esterases and monooxygenases, are involved in the detoxification of the four major insecticide classes. These enzymes act by rapidly metabolizing the insecticide to non-toxic products, or by rapidly binding and very slowly turning over the insecticide (sequestration). In Culex mosquitoes, the most common organophosphate insecticide resistance mechanism is caused by co-amplification of two esterases. The amplified esterases are differentially regulated, with three times more Est beta 2(1) being produced than Est alpha 2(1). Cis-acting regulatory sequences associated with these esterases are under investigation. All the amplified esterases in different Culex species act through sequestration. The rates at which they bind with insecticides are more rapid than those for their non-amplified counterparts in the insecticide-susceptible insects. In contrast, esterase-based organophosphate resistance in Anopheles is invariably based on changes in substrate specificities and increased turnover rates of a small subset of insecticides. The up-regulation of both glutathione S-transferases and monooxygenases in resistant mosquitoes is due to the effects of a single major gene in each case. The products of these major genes up-regulate a broad range of enzymes. The diversity of glutathione S-transferases produced by Anopheles mosquitoes is increased by the splicing of different 5' ends of genes, with a single 3' end, within one class of this enzyme family. The trans-acting regulatory factors responsible for the up-regulation of both the monooxygenase and glutathione S-transferases still need to be identified, but the recent development of molecular tools for positional cloning in Anopheles gambiae now makes this possible. (+info)
Expression of the naturally occurring truncated trkB neurotrophin receptor induces outgrowth of filopodia and processes in neuroblastoma cells.
We have investigated the effects of the truncated trkB receptor isoform T1 (trkB.T1) by transient transfection into mouse N2a neuroblastoma cells. We observed that expression of trkB.T1 leads to a striking change in cell morphology characterized by outgrowth of filopodia and processes. A similar morphological response was also observed in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells and NIH3T3 fibroblasts transfected with trkB.T1. N2a cells lack endogenous expression of trkB isoforms, but express barely detectable amounts of its ligands, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-4 (NT-4). The morphological change was ligand-independent, since addition of exogenous BDNF or NT-4 or blockade of endogenous trkB ligands did not influence this response. Filopodia and process outgrowth was significantly suppressed when full-length trkB.TK+ was cotransfected together with trkB.T1 and this inhibitory effect was blocked by tyrosine kinase inhibitor K252a. Transfection of trkB.T1 deletion mutants showed that the morphological response is dependent on the extracellular, but not the intracellular domain of the receptor. Our results suggest a novel ligand-independent role for truncated trkB in the regulation of cellular morphology. (+info)
Differential stability of the DNA-activated protein kinase catalytic subunit mRNA in human glioma cells.
DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) functions in double-strand break repair and immunoglobulin [V(D)J] recombination. We previously established a radiation-sensitive human cell line, M059J, derived from a malignant glioma, which lacks the catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) of the DNA-PK multiprotein complex. Although previous Northern blot analysis failed to detect the DNA-PKcs transcript in these cells, we show here through quantitative studies that the transcript is present, albeit at greatly reduced (approximately 20x) levels. Sequencing revealed no genetic alteration in either the promoter region, the kinase domain, or the 3' untranslated region of the DNA-PKcs gene to account for the reduced transcript levels. Nuclear run-on transcription assays indicated that the rate of DNA-PKcs transcription in M059J and DNA-PKcs proficient cell lines was similar, but the stability of the DNA-PKcs message in the M059J cell line was drastically (approximately 20x) reduced. Furthermore, M059J cells lack an alternately spliced DNA-PKcs transcript that accounts for a minor (5-20%) proportion of the DNA-PKcs message in all other cell lines tested. Thus, alterations in DNA-PKcs mRNA stability and/or the lack of the alternate mRNA may result in the loss of DNA-PKcs activity. This finding has important implications as DNA-PKcs activity is essential to cells repairing damage induced by radiation or radiomimetric agents. (+info)
Selection and characterization of pre-mRNA splicing enhancers: identification of novel SR protein-specific enhancer sequences.
Splicing enhancers are RNA sequences required for accurate splice site recognition and the control of alternative splicing. In this study, we used an in vitro selection procedure to identify and characterize novel RNA sequences capable of functioning as pre-mRNA splicing enhancers. Randomized 18-nucleotide RNA sequences were inserted downstream from a Drosophila doublesex pre-mRNA enhancer-dependent splicing substrate. Functional splicing enhancers were then selected by multiple rounds of in vitro splicing in nuclear extracts, reverse transcription, and selective PCR amplification of the spliced products. Characterization of the selected splicing enhancers revealed a highly heterogeneous population of sequences, but we identified six classes of recurring degenerate sequence motifs five to seven nucleotides in length including novel splicing enhancer sequence motifs. Analysis of selected splicing enhancer elements and other enhancers in S100 complementation assays led to the identification of individual enhancers capable of being activated by specific serine/arginine (SR)-rich splicing factors (SC35, 9G8, and SF2/ASF). In addition, a potent splicing enhancer sequence isolated in the selection specifically binds a 20-kDa SR protein. This enhancer sequence has a high level of sequence homology with a recently identified RNA-protein adduct that can be immunoprecipitated with an SRp20-specific antibody. We conclude that distinct classes of selected enhancers are activated by specific SR proteins, but there is considerable sequence degeneracy within each class. The results presented here, in conjunction with previous studies, reveal a remarkably broad spectrum of RNA sequences capable of binding specific SR proteins and/or functioning as SR-specific splicing enhancers. (+info)
Alterations in the conserved SL1 trans-spliced leader of Caenorhabditis elegans demonstrate flexibility in length and sequence requirements in vivo.
Approximately 70% of mRNAs in Caenorhabditis elegans are trans spliced to conserved 21- to 23-nucleotide leader RNAs. While the function of SL1, the major C. elegans trans-spliced leader, is unknown, SL1 RNA, which contains this leader, is essential for embryogenesis. Efforts to characterize in vivo requirements of the SL1 leader sequence have been severely constrained by the essential role of the corresponding DNA sequences in SL1 RNA transcription. We devised a heterologous expression system that circumvents this problem, making it possible to probe the length and sequence requirements of the SL1 leader without interfering with its transcription. We report that expression of SL1 from a U2 snRNA promoter rescues mutants lacking the SL1-encoding genes and that the essential embryonic function of SL1 is retained when approximately one-third of the leader sequence and/or the length of the leader is significantly altered. In contrast, although all mutant SL1 RNAs were well expressed, more severe alterations eliminate this essential embryonic function. The one non-rescuing mutant leader tested was never detected on messages, demonstrating that part of the leader sequence is essential for trans splicing in vivo. Thus, in spite of the high degree of SL1 sequence conservation, its length, primary sequence, and composition are not critical parameters of its essential embryonic function. However, particular nucleotides in the leader are essential for the in vivo function of the SL1 RNA, perhaps for its assembly into a functional snRNP or for the trans-splicing reaction. (+info)
Mammalian staufen is a double-stranded-RNA- and tubulin-binding protein which localizes to the rough endoplasmic reticulum.
Staufen (Stau) is a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-binding protein involved in mRNA transport and localization in Drosophila. To understand the molecular mechanisms of mRNA transport in mammals, we cloned human (hStau) and mouse (mStau) staufen cDNAs. In humans, four transcripts arise by differential splicing of the Stau gene and code for two proteins with different N-terminal extremities. In vitro, hStau and mStau bind dsRNA via each of two full-length dsRNA-binding domains and tubulin via a region similar to the microtubule-binding domain of MAP-1B, suggesting that Stau cross-links cytoskeletal and RNA components. Immunofluorescent double labeling of transfected mammalian cells revealed that Stau is localized to the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER), implicating this RNA-binding protein in mRNA targeting to the RER, perhaps via a multistep process involving microtubules. These results are the first demonstration of the association of an RNA-binding protein in addition to ribosomal proteins, with the RER, implicating this class of proteins in the transport of RNA to its site of translation. (+info)
Expression of novel alternatively spliced isoforms of the oct-1 transcription factor.
Analysis of the alternatively spliced isoforms of the human and mouse oct-1 genes, combined with their exon-intron structure, show a high level of evolutionary conservation between these two species. The differential expression of several oct-1 isoforms was examined by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction performed on the 3' region of the murine oct-1 cDNA. Variations in the relative levels and patterns of expression of the isoforms were found among different tissues. Three novel isoforms originating from the 3'-distal region of oct-1, were isolated and sequenced: Two were derived from testis, and one from myeloma cells. Splicing out of different exons as revealed in the structure of these isoforms results in reading frameshifts that presumably lead to the expression of shortened Oct-1 proteins, with distinct C-terminal tails. Altogether, six out of the eight known murine oct-1 isoforms may have distinct C-termini, implying that these multiple tails have different functional roles in cellular differentiation and physiology. (+info)