Transcriptional repression by the Drosophila giant protein: cis element positioning provides an alternative means of interpreting an effector gradient.
Early developmental patterning of the Drosophila embryo is driven by the activities of a diverse set of maternally and zygotically derived transcription factors, including repressors encoded by gap genes such as Kruppel, knirps, giant and the mesoderm-specific snail. The mechanism of repression by gap transcription factors is not well understood at a molecular level. Initial characterization of these transcription factors suggests that they act as short-range repressors, interfering with the activity of enhancer or promoter elements 50 to 100 bp away. To better understand the molecular mechanism of short-range repression, we have investigated the properties of the Giant gap protein. We tested the ability of endogenous Giant to repress when bound close to the transcriptional initiation site and found that Giant effectively represses a heterologous promoter when binding sites are located at -55 bp with respect to the start of transcription. Consistent with its role as a short-range repressor, as the binding sites are moved to more distal locations, repression is diminished. Rather than exhibiting a sharp 'step-function' drop-off in activity, however, repression is progressively restricted to areas of highest Giant concentration. Less than a two-fold difference in Giant protein concentration is sufficient to determine a change in transcriptional status of a target gene. This effect demonstrates that Giant protein gradients can be differentially interpreted by target promoters, depending on the exact location of the Giant binding sites within the gene. Thus, in addition to binding site affinity and number, cis element positioning within a promoter can affect the response of a gene to a repressor gradient. We also demonstrate that a chimeric Gal4-Giant protein lacking the basic/zipper domain can specifically repress reporter genes, suggesting that the Giant effector domain is an autonomous repression domain. (+info)
A conserved motif in goosecoid mediates groucho-dependent repression in Drosophila embryos.
Surprisingly small peptide motifs can confer critical biological functions. One example is the WRPW tetrapeptide present in the Hairy family of transcriptional repressors, which mediates recruitment of the Groucho (Gro) corepressor to target promoters. We recently showed that Engrailed (En) is another repressor that requires association with Gro for its function. En lacks a WRPW motif; instead, it contains another short conserved sequence, the En homology region 1 (eh1)/GEH motif, that is likely to play a role in tethering Gro to the promoter. Here, we characterize a repressor domain from the Goosecoid (Gsc) developmental regulator that includes an eh1/GEH-like motif. We demonstrate that this domain (GscR) mediates efficient repression in Drosophila blastoderm embryos and that repression by GscR requires Gro function. GscR and Gro interact in vitro, and the eh1/GEH motif is necessary and sufficient for the interaction and for in vivo repression. Because WRPW- and eh1/GEH-like motifs are present in different proteins and in many organisms, the results suggest that interactions between short peptides and Gro represent a widespread mechanism of repression. Finally, we investigate whether Gro is part of a stable multiprotein complex in the nucleus. Our results indicate that Gro does not form stable associations with other proteins but that it may be able to assemble into homomultimeric complexes. (+info)
Inhibition of doxorubicin toxicity in cultured neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes with elevated metallothionein levels.
Controversial results have been reported regarding whether metallothionein (MT) functions in doxorubicin (DOX) detoxification in the heart. To determine unequivocally the role of MT in cardiac protection against the toxicity of DOX, ventricular cardiomyocytes isolated from 1- to 3-day neonatal transgenic mice with high levels of cardiac MT and from nontransgenic control animals were applied. On the 6th day of culturing, MT concentrations in the transgenic cardiomyocytes were about 2-fold higher than those in the nontransgenic cells. DOX was added directly into the cultures. Compared with nontransgenic controls, transgenic cardiomyocytes displayed a significant (p <.05) resistance to DOX cytotoxicity, as measured by morphological alterations, cell viability, and lactate dehydrogenase leakage from the cells. This cytoprotective effect of MT correlated with its inhibition of DOX-induced lipid peroxidation. These observations demonstrate unequivocally that elevation of MT concentrations in the cardiomyocytes of 2-fold higher than normal provides efficient protection against DOX toxicity. (+info)
Human nerve growth factor beta (hNGF-beta): mammary gland specific expression and production in transgenic rabbits.
Transgenic rabbits carrying gene constructs encoding human nerve growth factor beta (hNGF-beta) cDNA were generated. Expression of hNGF-beta mRNA was restricted to the mammary gland of lactating rabbits. Western Blot analysis revealed a polypeptide of 13.2 kDa in the milk of transgenic animals. hNGF-beta was purified from the milk by a two-step chromatographic procedure. Electrospray mass spectroscopy analysis of purified hNGF-beta depicted a molecular weight of 13,261 Da per subunit. The biological activity of the hNGF-beta was tested using PC12W2 cells and cultures of dorsal root ganglion neurons from chicken embryos. Crude defatted milk from transgenic animals and purified hNGF-beta demonstrated full biological activity when compared to commercial recombinant hNGF-beta. (+info)
Aging-specific expression of Drosophila hsp22.
hsp22 is among the least abundantly expressed Drosophila heat shock (hs) genes during both development and heat stress. In contrast, hsp22 was found to be the most abundantly expressed hs gene during Drosophila aging. During aging, hsp22 RNA was induced 60-fold in the head, with somewhat lower level induction in abdomen and thorax. Induction of the other hs gene RNAs was 150-fold, with particularly abundant expression in eye tissue. Aging-specific induction of hsp22 was reproduced by hsp22:lacZ fusion reporter constructs in transgenic flies. Analysis of specific promoter mutations in transgenic flies indicated that functional heat shock response elements are required for hsp22 induction during aging. Finally, comparison of hsp22 RNA and protein expression patterns suggests that aging-specific expression of hsp22 is regulated at both the transcriptional and the posttranscriptional levels. Aging-specific induction of hsp22 is discussed with regard to current evolutionary theories of aging. (+info)
Transgenic rabbits as models for atherosclerosis research.
Several characteristics of the rabbit make it an excellent model for the study of lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis. New Zealand White (NZW) rabbits have low plasma total cholesterol concentrations, high cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity, low hepatic lipase (HL) activity, and lack an analogue of human apolipoprotein (apo) A-II, providing a unique system in which to assess the effects of human transgenes on plasma lipoproteins and atherosclerosis susceptibility. Additionally, rabbit models of human lipoprotein disorders, such as the Watanabe Heritable Hyperlipidemic (WHHL) and St. Thomas' Hospital strains, models of familial hypercholesterolemia and familial combined hyperlipidemia, respectively, allow for the assessment of candidate genes for potential use in the treatment of dyslipoproteinemic patients. To date, transgenes for human apo(a), apoA-I, apoB, apoE2, apoE3, HL, and lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT), as well as for rabbit apolipoprotein B mRNA-editing enzyme catalytic poly-peptide 1 (APOBEC-1), have been expressed in NZW rabbits, whereas only those for human apoA-I and LCAT have been introduced into the WHHL background. All of these transgenes have been shown to have significant effects on plasma lipoprotein concentrations. In both NZW and WHHL rabbits, human apoA-I expression was associated with a significant reduction in the extent of aortic atherosclerosis, which was similarly the case for LCAT in rabbits having at least one functional LDL receptor allele. Conversely, expression of apoE2 in NZW rabbits caused increased susceptibility to atherosclerosis. These studies provide new insights into the mechanisms responsible for the development of atherosclerosis, emphasizing the strength of the rabbit model in cardiovascular disease research. (+info)
Production of donor-derived offspring by transfer of primordial germ cells in Japanese quail.
We transfused concentrated primordial germ cells (PGCs) of the black strain (D: homozygous for the autosomal incomplete dominant gene, D) of quail into the embryos of the wild-type plumage strain (WP: d+/d+) of quail. The recipient quail were raised until sexual maturity and a progeny test of the putative germline chimeras was performed to examine the donor gamete-derived offspring (D/d+). Thirty-one percent (36/115) of the transfused quail hatched and 21 (13 females and 8 males) of them reached maturity. Five females and 2 males were germline chimeras producing donor gamete-derived offspring. Transmission rates of the donor derived gametes in the chimeric females and males were 1.8-8.3% and 2.6-63.0%, respectively. Germline chimeric and the other putative chimeric males were also test-mated with females from the sex-linked imperfect albino strain (AL: d+/d+, al/W, where al indicates the sex-linked imperfect albino gene on the Z chromosome, and W indicates the W chromosome) for autosexing of W-bearing spermatozoa: No albino offspring were born. (+info)
The Caenorhabditis elegans lim-6 LIM homeobox gene regulates neurite outgrowth and function of particular GABAergic neurons.
We describe here the functional analysis of the C. elegans LIM homeobox gene lim-6, the ortholog of the mammalian Lmx-1a and b genes that regulate limb, CNS, kidney and eye development. lim-6 is expressed in a small number of sensory-, inter- and motorneurons, in epithelial cells of the uterus and in the excretory system. Loss of lim-6 function affects late events in the differentiation of two classes of GABAergic motorneurons which control rhythmic enteric muscle contraction. lim-6 is required to specify the correct axon morphology of these neurons and also regulates expression of glutamic acid decarboxylase, the rate limiting enzyme of GABA synthesis in these neurons. Moreover, lim-6 gene activity and GABA signaling regulate neuroendocrine outputs of the nervous system. In the chemosensory system lim-6 regulates the asymmetric expression of a probable chemosensory receptor. lim-6 is also required in epithelial cells for uterine morphogenesis. We compare the function of lim-6 to those of other LIM homeobox genes in C. elegans and suggest that LIM homeobox genes share the common theme of controlling terminal neural differentiation steps that when disrupted lead to specific neuroanatomical and neural function defects. (+info)