Hidden genetic variability within electromorphs in finite populations.
The amount of hidden genetic variability within electromorphs in finite populations is studied by using the infinite site model and stepwise mutation model simultaneously. A formula is developed for the bivariate probability generating function for the number of codon differences and the number of electromorph state differences between two randomly chosen cistrons. Using this formula, the distribution as well as the mean and variance of the number of codon differences between two identical or nonidentical electromorphs are studied. The distribution of the number of codon differences between two randomly chosen identical electromorphs is similar to the geometric distribution but more leptokurtic. Studies are also made on the number of codon differences between two electromorphs chosen at random one from each of two populations which have been separated for an arbitrary number of generations. It is shown that the amount of hidden genetic variability is very large if the product of effective population size and mutation rate is large. (+info)
Over-representation of a germline RET sequence variant in patients with sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma and somatic RET codon 918 mutation.
The aetiology of sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma is unknown. About 50% harbour a somatic mutation at codon 918 of RET (M918T). To investigate whether other RET sequence variants may be associated with or predispose to the development of sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma, we analysed genomic DNA from the germline and corresponding tumour from 50 patients to identify RET sequence variants. In one patient, tumour DNA showed a novel somatic 12 bp in-frame deletion in exon 15. More interestingly, we found that the rare polymorphism at codon 836 (c.2439C > T; S836S) occurred at a significantly higher frequency than that in control individuals without sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma (Fisher's exact test, P = 0.03). Further, among the nine evaluable cases with germline c.2439C/T, eight also had the somatic M918T mutation in MTC DNA which was more frequent than in patients with the more common c.2439C/C (89% vs 40%, respectively; Fisher's exact test, P = 0.01). These findings suggest that the rare sequence variant at codon 836 may somehow play a role in the genesis of sporadic medullary thyroid carcinoma. (+info)
Correlation between protein and mRNA abundance in yeast.
We have determined the relationship between mRNA and protein expression levels for selected genes expressed in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae growing at mid-log phase. The proteins contained in total yeast cell lysate were separated by high-resolution two-dimensional (2D) gel electrophoresis. Over 150 protein spots were excised and identified by capillary liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Protein spots were quantified by metabolic labeling and scintillation counting. Corresponding mRNA levels were calculated from serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE) frequency tables (V. E. Velculescu, L. Zhang, W. Zhou, J. Vogelstein, M. A. Basrai, D. E. Bassett, Jr., P. Hieter, B. Vogelstein, and K. W. Kinzler, Cell 88:243-251, 1997). We found that the correlation between mRNA and protein levels was insufficient to predict protein expression levels from quantitative mRNA data. Indeed, for some genes, while the mRNA levels were of the same value the protein levels varied by more than 20-fold. Conversely, invariant steady-state levels of certain proteins were observed with respective mRNA transcript levels that varied by as much as 30-fold. Another interesting observation is that codon bias is not a predictor of either protein or mRNA levels. Our results clearly delineate the technical boundaries of current approaches for quantitative analysis of protein expression and reveal that simple deduction from mRNA transcript analysis is insufficient. (+info)
An alternative transcript of the rat renin gene can result in a truncated prorenin that is transported into adrenal mitochondria.
Characterization of the local renin-angiotensin system in the rat adrenal zona glomerulosa indicated a dual targeting of renin both to the secretory pathway and mitochondria. To investigate the transport of renin into mitochondria, we constructed a series of amino-terminal deletion variants of preprorenin. One of these variants, lacking the complete signal sequence for the endoplasmic reticulum and 10 amino acids of the profragment, was transported efficiently into isolated mitochondria. The transport was further shown to be dependent on mitochondrial membrane potential and ATP synthesis. Analysis of adrenal RNA revealed the existence of 2 renin transcripts. While one of the transcripts corresponds to the known full-length transcript, the other one lacks exon 1; instead, exon 2 is preceded by a domain of 80 nucleotides originating from intron 1. This domain, as well as the following region of intron 1 being excised, shows all essential sequence elements defining an additional, so-far-unknown exon. The second mRNA possibly derives from an additional transcription start in intron 1 and an alternative splicing process. Translation of this mRNA could result in a truncated prorenin representing a cytosolic form of renin, which is required for transport into mitochondria. This truncated prorenin corresponds exactly to the deletion variant being imported into mitochondria in vitro. (+info)
Evolutionary dynamics of a mitochondrial rearrangement "hot spot" in the Hymenoptera.
The arrangement of tRNA genes at the junction of the cytochrome oxidase II and ATPase 8 genes was examined across a broad range of Hymenoptera. Seven distinct arrangements of tRNA genes were identified among a group of wasps that have diverged over the last 180 Myr (suborder Apocrita); many of the rearrangements represent evolutionarily independent events. Approximately equal proportions of local rearrangements, inversions, and translocations were observed, in contrast to vertebrate mitochondria, in which local rearrangements predominate. Surprisingly, homoplasy was evident among certain types of rearrangement; a reversal of the plesiomorphic gene order has arisen on three separate occasions in the Insecta, while the tRNA(H) gene has been translocated to this locus on two separate occasions. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that this gene translocation is real and is not an artifactual translocation resulting from the duplication of a resident tRNA gene followed by mutation of the anticodon. The nature of the intergenic sequences surrounding this region does not indicate that it should be especially prone to rearrangement; it does not generally have the tandem or inverted repeats that might facilitate this plasticity. Intriguingly, these findings are consistent with the view that during the evolution of the Hymenoptera, rearrangements increased at the same time that the rate of point mutations and compositional bias also increased. This association may direct investigations into mitochondrial genome plasticity in other invertebrate lineages. (+info)
Comparison of synonymous codon distribution patterns of bacteriophage and host genomes.
Synonymous codon usage patterns of bacteriophage and host genomes were compared. Two indexes, G + C base composition of a gene (fgc) and fraction of translationally optimal codons of the gene (fop), were used in the comparison. Synonymous codon usage data of all the coding sequences on a genome are represented as a cloud of points in the plane of fop vs. fgc. The Escherichia coli coding sequences appear to exhibit two phases, "rising" and "flat" phases. Genes that are essential for survival and are thought to be native are located in the flat phase, while foreign-type genes from prophages and transposons are found in the rising phase with a slope of nearly unity in the fgc vs. fop plot. Synonymous codon distribution patterns of genes from temperate phages P4, P2, N15 and lambda are similar to the pattern of E. coli rising phase genes. In contrast, genes from the virulent phage T7 or T4, for which a phage-encoded DNA polymerase is identified, fall in a linear curve with a slope of nearly zero in the fop vs. fgc plane. These results may suggest that the G + C contents for T7, T4 and E. coli flat phase genes are subject to the directional mutation pressure and are determined by the DNA polymerase used in the replication. There is significant variation in the fop values of the phage genes, suggesting an adjustment to gene expression level. Similar analyses of codon distribution patterns were carried out for Haemophilus influenzae, Bacillus subtilis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and their phages with complete genomic sequences available. (+info)
Role of ribosome release in regulation of tna operon expression in Escherichia coli.
Expression of the degradative tryptophanase (tna) operon of Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination. In cultures growing in the absence of added tryptophan, transcription of the structural genes of the tna operon is limited by Rho-dependent transcription termination in the leader region of the operon. Tryptophan induction prevents this Rho-dependent termination, and requires in-frame translation of a 24-residue leader peptide coding region, tnaC, that contains a single, crucial, Trp codon. Studies with a lacZ reporter construct lacking the spacer region between tnaC and the first major structural gene, tnaA, suggested that tryptophan induction might involve cis action by the TnaC leader peptide on the ribosome translating the tnaC coding region. The leader peptide was hypothesized to inhibit ribosome release at the tnaC stop codon, thereby blocking Rho's access to the transcript. Regulatory studies with deletion constructs of the tna operon of Proteus vulgaris supported this interpretation. In the present study the putative role of the tnaC stop codon in tna operon regulation in E. coli was examined further by replacing the natural tnaC stop codon, UGA, with UAG or UAA in a tnaC-stop codon-tnaA'-'lacZ reporter construct. Basal level expression was reduced to 20 and 50% when the UGA stop codon was replaced by UAG or UAA, respectively, consistent with the finding that in E. coli translation terminates more efficiently at UAG and UAA than at UGA. Tryptophan induction was observed in strains with any of the stop codons. However, when UAG or UAA replaced UGA, the induced level of expression was also reduced to 15 and 50% of that obtained with UGA as the tnaC stop codon, respectively. Introduction of a mutant allele encoding a temperature-sensitive release factor 1, prfA1, increased basal level expression 60-fold when the tnaC stop codon was UAG and 3-fold when this stop codon was UAA; basal level expression was reduced by 50% in the construct with the natural stop codon, UGA. In strains with any of the three stop codons and the prfA1 mutation, the induced levels of tna operon expression were virtually identical. The effects of tnaC stop codon identity on expression were also examined in the absence of Rho action, using tnaC-stop codon-'lacZ constructs that lack the tnaC-tnaA spacer region. Expression was low in the absence of tnaC stop codon suppression. In most cases, tryptophan addition resulted in about 50% inhibition of expression when UGA was replaced by UAG or UAA and the appropriate suppressor was present. Introduction of the prfA1 mutant allele increased expression of the suppressed construct with the UAG stop codon; tryptophan addition also resulted in ca. 50% inhibition. These findings provide additional evidence implicating the behavior of the ribosome translating tnaC in the regulation of tna operon expression. (+info)
Inhibition of translation and cell growth by minigene expression.
A random five-codon gene library was used to isolate minigenes whose expression causes cell growth arrest. Eight different deleterious minigenes were isolated, five of which had in-frame stop codons; the predicted expressed peptides ranged in size from two to five amino acids. Mutational analysis demonstrated that translation of the inhibitory minigenes is essential for growth arrest. Pulse-labeling experiments showed that expression of at least some of the selected minigenes results in inhibition of cellular protein synthesis. Expression of the deleterious minigenes in cells deficient in peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase causes accumulation of families of peptidyl-tRNAs corresponding to the last minigene codon; the inhibitory action of minigene expression could be suppressed by overexpression of the tRNA corresponding to the last sense codon in the minigene. Experimental data are compatible with the model that the deleterious effect of minigene expression is mediated by depletion of corresponding pools of free tRNAs. (+info)