The Drosophila kismet gene is related to chromatin-remodeling factors and is required for both segmentation and segment identity.
The Drosophila kismet gene was identified in a screen for dominant suppressors of Polycomb, a repressor of homeotic genes. Here we show that kismet mutations suppress the Polycomb mutant phenotype by blocking the ectopic transcription of homeotic genes. Loss of zygotic kismet function causes homeotic transformations similar to those associated with loss-of-function mutations in the homeotic genes Sex combs reduced and Abdominal-B. kismet is also required for proper larval body segmentation. Loss of maternal kismet function causes segmentation defects similar to those caused by mutations in the pair-rule gene even-skipped. The kismet gene encodes several large nuclear proteins that are ubiquitously expressed along the anterior-posterior axis. The Kismet proteins contain a domain conserved in the trithorax group protein Brahma and related chromatin-remodeling factors, providing further evidence that alterations in chromatin structure are required to maintain the spatially restricted patterns of homeotic gene transcription. (+info)
Molecular chaperones: small heat shock proteins in the limelight.
Small heat shock proteins have been the Cinderellas of the molecular chaperone world, but now the crystal structure of a small heat shock protein has been solved and mutation of two human homologues implicated in genetic disease. Intermediate filaments appear to be one of the key targets of their chaperone activity. (+info)
Insect evolution: Redesigning the fruitfly.
Homeotic mutations in Drosophila can result in dramatic phenotypes that suggest the possibility for rapid morphological evolution, but dissection of the genetic pathway downstream of Ultrabithorax is beginning to reveal how wing morphology may have evolved by more gradual transformations. (+info)
Telomerase reverse transcriptase gene is a direct target of c-Myc but is not functionally equivalent in cellular transformation.
The telomerase reverse transcriptase component (TERT) is not expressed in most primary somatic human cells and tissues, but is upregulated in the majority of immortalized cell lines and tumors. Here, we identify the c-Myc transcription factor as a direct mediator of telomerase activation in primary human fibroblasts through its ability to specifically induce TERT gene expression. Through the use of a hormone inducible form of c-Myc (c-Myc-ER), we demonstrate that Myc-induced activation of the hTERT promoter requires an evolutionarily conserved E-box and that c-Myc-ER-induced accumulation of hTERT mRNA takes place in the absence of de novo protein synthesis. These findings demonstrate that the TERT gene is a direct transcriptional target of c-Myc. Since telomerase activation frequently correlates with immortalization and telomerase functions to stabilize telomers in cycling cells, we tested whether Myc-induced activation of TERT gene expression represents an important mechanism through which c-Myc acts to immortalize cells. Employing the rat embryo fibroblast cooperation assay, we show that TERT is unable to substitute for c-Myc in the transformation of primary rodent fibroblasts, suggesting that the transforming activities of Myc extend beyond its ability to activate TERT gene expression and hence telomerase activity. (+info)
A single membrane-embedded negative charge is critical for recognizing positively charged drugs by the Escherichia coli multidrug resistance protein MdfA.
The nature of the broad substrate specificity phenomenon, as manifested by multidrug resistance proteins, is not yet understood. In the Escherichia coli multidrug transporter, MdfA, the hydrophobicity profile and PhoA fusion analysis have so far identified only one membrane-embedded charged amino acid residue (E26). In order to determine whether this negatively charged residue may play a role in multidrug recognition, we evaluated the expression and function of MdfA constructs mutated at this position. Replacing E26 with the positively charged residue lysine abolished the multidrug resistance activity against positively charged drugs, but retained chloramphenicol efflux and resistance. In contrast, when the negative charge was preserved in a mutant with aspartate instead of E26, chloramphenicol recognition and transport were drastically inhibited; however, the mutant exhibited almost wild-type multidrug resistance activity against lipophilic cations. These results suggest that although the negative charge at position 26 is not essential for active transport, it dictates the multidrug resistance character of MdfA. We show that such a negative charge is also found in other drug resistance transporters, and its possible significance regarding multidrug resistance is discussed. (+info)
Evidence for F-actin-dependent and -independent mechanisms involved in assembly and stability of the medial actomyosin ring in fission yeast.
Cell division in a number of eukaryotes, including the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, is achieved through a medially placed actomyosin-based contractile ring. Although several components of the actomyosin ring have been identified, the mechanisms regulating ring assembly are still not understood. Here, we show by biochemical and mutational studies that the S.pombe actomyosin ring component Cdc4p is a light chain associated with Myo2p, a myosin II heavy chain. Localization of Myo2p to the medial ring depended on Cdc4p function, whereas localization of Cdc4p at the division site was independent of Myo2p. Interestingly, the actin-binding and motor domains of Myo2p are not required for its accumulation at the division site although the motor activity of Myo2p is essential for assembly of a normal actomyosin ring. The initial assembly of Myo2p and Cdc4p at the division site requires a functional F-actin cytoskeleton. Once established, however, F-actin is not required for the maintenance of Cdc4p and Myo2p medial rings, suggesting that the attachment of Cdc4p and Myo2p to the division site involves proteins other than actin itself. (+info)
Membrane deinsertion of SecA underlying proton motive force-dependent stimulation of protein translocation.
The proton motive force (PMF) renders protein translocation across the Escherichia coli membrane highly efficient, although the underlying mechanism has not been clarified. The membrane insertion and deinsertion of SecA coupled to ATP binding and hydrolysis, respectively, are thought to drive the translocation. We report here that PMF significantly decreases the level of membrane-inserted SecA. The prlA4 mutation of SecY, which causes efficient protein translocation in the absence of PMF, was found to reduce the membrane-inserted SecA irrespective of the presence or absence of PMF. The PMF-dependent decrease in the membrane-inserted SecA caused an increase in the amount of SecA released into the extra-membrane milieu, indicating that PMF deinserts SecA from the membrane. The PMF-dependent deinsertion reduced the amount of SecA required for maximal translocation activity. Neither ATP hydrolysis nor exchange with external SecA was required for the PMF-dependent deinsertion of SecA. These results indicate that the SecA deinsertion is a limiting step of protein translocation and is accelerated by PMF, efficient protein translocation thereby being caused in the presence of PMF. (+info)
Cloning and characterisation of a novel ompB operon from Vibrio cholerae 569B.
The ompB operon of Vibrio cholerae 569B has been cloned and fully sequenced. The operon encodes two proteins, OmpR and EnvZ, which share sequence identity with the OmpR and EnvZ proteins of a variety of other bacteria. Although the order of the ompR and envZ genes of V. cholerae is similar to that of the ompB operon of E. coli, S. typhimurium and X. nematophilus, the Vibrio operon exhibits a number of novel features. The structural organisation and features of the V. cholerae ompB operon are described. (+info)