Telomeric repeats on small polydisperse circular DNA (spcDNA) and genomic instability.
Small polydisperse circular DNA (spcDNA) is a heterogeneous population of extrachromosomal circular molecules present in a large variety of eukaryotic cells. Elevated amounts of total spcDNA are related to endogenous and induced genomic instability in rodent and human cells. We suggested spcDNA as a novel marker for genomic instability, and speculated that spcDNA might serve as a mutator. In this study, we examine the presence of telomeric sequences on spcDNA. We report for the first time the appearance of telomeric repeats in spcDNA molecules (tel-spcDNA) in rodent and human cells. Restriction enzyme analysis indicates that tel-spcDNA molecules harbor mostly, if not exclusively, telomeric repeats. In rodent cells, tel-spcDNA levels are higher in transformed than in normal cells and are enhanced by treatment with carcinogen. Tel-spcDNA is also detected in some human tumors and cell lines, but not in others. We suggest, that its levels in human cells may be primarily related to the amount of the chromosomal telomeric sequences. Tel-spcDNA may serve as a unique mutator, through specific mechanisms related to the telomeric repeats, which distinguish it from the total heterogeneous spcDNA population. It may affect telomere dynamics and genomic instability by clastogenic events, alterations of telomere size and sequestration of telomeric proteins. (+info)
WNT signaling in the control of hair growth and structure.
Characterization of the molecular pathways controlling differentiation and proliferation in mammalian hair follicles is central to our understanding of the regulation of normal hair growth, the basis of hereditary hair loss diseases, and the origin of follicle-based tumors. We demonstrate that the proto-oncogene Wnt3, which encodes a secreted paracrine signaling molecule, is expressed in developing and mature hair follicles and that its overexpression in transgenic mouse skin causes a short-hair phenotype due to altered differentiation of hair shaft precursor cells, and cyclical balding resulting from hair shaft structural defects and associated with an abnormal profile of protein expression in the hair shaft. A putative effector molecule for WNT3 signaling, the cytoplasmic protein Dishevelled 2 (DVL2), is normally present at high levels in a subset of cells in the outer root sheath and in precursor cells of the hair shaft cortex and cuticle which lie immediately adjacent to Wnt3-expressing cells. Overexpression of Dvl2 in the outer root sheath mimics the short-hair phenotype produced by overexpression of Wnt3, supporting the hypothesis that Wnt3 and Dvl2 have the potential to act in the same pathway in the regulation of hair growth. These experiments demonstrate a previously unrecognized role for WNT signaling in the control of hair growth and structure, as well as presenting the first example of a mammalian phenotype resulting from overexpression of a Dvl gene and providing an accessible in vivo system for analysis of mammalian WNT signaling pathways. (+info)
Functional consensus for mammalian osmotic response elements.
The molecular mechanisms underlying adaptation to hyperosmotic stress through the accumulation of organic osmolytes are largely unknown. Yet, among organisms, this is an almost universal phenomenon. In mammals, the cells of the renal medulla are uniquely exposed to high and variable salt concentrations; in response, renal cells accumulate the osmolyte sorbitol through increased transcription of the aldose reductase (AR) gene. In cloning the rabbit AR gene, we found the first evidence of an osmotic response region in a eukaryotic gene. More recently, we functionally defined a minimal essential osmotic response element (ORE) having the sequence CGGAAAATCAC(C) (bp -1105 to -1094). In the present study, we systematically replaced each base with every other possible nucleotide and tested the resulting sequences individually in reporter gene constructs. Additionally, we categorized hyperosmotic response by electrophoretic mobility shift assays of a 17-bp sequence (-1108 to -1092) containing the native ORE as a probe against which the test constructs would compete for binding. In this manner, binding activity was assessed for the full range of osmotic responses obtained. Thus we have arrived at a functional consensus for the mammalian ORE, NGGAAAWDHMC(N). This finding should accelerate the discovery of genes previously unrecognized as being osmotically regulated. (+info)
Heat shock protein expression in umbilical artery smooth muscle.
Postpartum vasospasm in the umbilical arteries may be due to impaired vasorelaxation secondary to alterations in the expression of heat shock proteins. The contractile responses of pre- and full-term bovine umbilical artery smooth muscles were determined in a muscle bath. Heat shock protein expression was determined in bovine and human arterial tissues using western blotting with specific antisera. Full-term bovine and human umbilical artery smooth muscle was refractory to relaxation induced by the nitric oxide donor, sodium nitroprusside. This impaired vasorelaxation was associated with the expression of the inducible form of the heat shock protein, HSP70i, and increases in the expression of the small heat shock protein, HSP27. Small heat shock proteins have been implicated in modulating contraction and relaxation responses in vascular smooth muscles. Thus, alterations in heat shock protein expression may play a role in umbilical artery vasospasm. (+info)
Evidence that halogenated furanones from Delisea pulchra inhibit acylated homoserine lactone (AHL)-mediated gene expression by displacing the AHL signal from its receptor protein.
Acylated homoserine lactone (AHL)-mediated gene expression controls phenotypes involved in colonization, often specifically of higher organisms, in both marine and terrestrial environments. The marine red alga Delisea pulchra produces halogenated furanones which resemble AHLs structurally and show inhibitory activity at ecologically realistic concentrations in AHL bioassays. Evidence is presented that halogenated furanones displace tritiated OHHL [N-3-(oxohexanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone] from Escherichia coli cells overproducing LuxR with potencies corresponding to their respective inhibitory activities in an AHL-regulated bioluminescence assay, indicating that this is the mechanism by which furanones inhibit AHL-dependent phenotypes. Alternative mechanisms for this phenomenon are also addressed. General metabolic disruption was assessed with two-dimensional PAGE, revealing limited non-AHL-related effects. A direct chemical interaction between the algal compounds and AHLs, as monitored by 1H NMR spectroscopy, was shown not to occur in vitro. These results support the contention that furanones, at the concentrations produced by the alga, can control bacterial colonization of surfaces by specifically interfering with AHL-mediated gene expression at the level of the LuxR protein. (+info)
The osmoprotectant glycine betaine inhibits salt-induced cross-tolerance towards lethal treatment in Enterococcus faecalis.
The response of Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 19433 to salt stress has been characterized previously in complex media. In this report, it has been demonstrated that this bacterium actively accumulates the osmoprotectant glycine betaine (GB) from salt-enriched complex medium BHI. To further understand the specific effects of GB and other osmoprotective compounds in salt adaptation and salt-induced cross-tolerance to lethal challenges, a chemically defined medium lacking putative osmoprotectants was used. In this medium, bacterial growth was significantly reduced by increasing concentrations of NaCl. At 0.75 M NaCl, 90% inhibition of the growth rate was observed; GB and its structural analogues restored growth to the non-salt-stressed level. In contrast, proline, pipecolate and ectoine did not allow growth recovery of stressed cells. Kinetic studies showed that the uptake of betaines shows strong structural specificity and occurs through a salt-stress-inducible high-affinity porter [Km = 3.3 microM; Vmax = 130 nmol min(-1) (mg protein)(-1); the uptake activity increased 400-fold in the presence of 0.5 M NaCl]. Moreover, GB and its analogues were accumulated as non-metabolizable cytosolic osmolytes and reached intracellular levels ranging from 1-3 to 1.5 micromol (mg protein)(-1). In contrast to the beneficial effect of GB on the growth of salt-stressed cultures of E. faecalis, its accumulation inhibits the salt-induced cross-tolerance to a heterologous lethal challenge. Indeed, pretreatment of bacterial cells with 0.5 M NaCl induced resistance to 0.3% bile salts (survival of adapted cells increased by a factor of 6800). The presence of GB in the adaptation medium reduced the acquisition of bile salts resistance 680-fold. The synthesis of 11 of the 13 proteins induced during salt adaptation was significantly reduced in the presence of GB. These results raise questions about the actual beneficial effect of GB in natural environments where bacteria are often subjected to various stresses. (+info)
Inhibition of DNA supercoiling-dependent transcriptional activation by a distant B-DNA to Z-DNA transition.
Negative DNA superhelicity can destabilize the local B-form DNA structure and can drive transitions to other conformations at susceptible sites. In a molecule containing multiple susceptible sites, superhelicity can couple these alternatives together, causing them to compete. In principle, these superhelically driven local structural transitions can be either facilitated or inhibited by proteins that bind at or near potential transition sites. If a DNA region that is susceptible to forming a superhelically induced alternate structure is stabilized in the B-form by a DNA-binding protein, its propensity for transition will be transferred to other sites within the same domain. If one of these secondary sites is in a promoter region, this transfer could facilitate open complex formation and thereby activate gene expression. We previously proposed that a supercoiling-dependent, DNA structural transmission mechanism of this type is responsible for the integration host factor-mediated activation of transcription from the ilvPG promoter of Escherichia coli (Sheridan, S. D., Benham, C. J. & Hatfield, G. W. (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 21298-21308). In this report we confirm the validity of this mechanism by demonstrating the ability of a distant Z-DNA-forming site to compete with the superhelical destabilization that is required for integration host factor-mediated transcriptional activation, and thereby delay its occurrence. (+info)
Cell damage-induced conformational changes of the pro-apoptotic protein Bak in vivo precede the onset of apoptosis.
Investigation of events committing cells to death revealed that a concealed NH2-terminal epitope of the pro-apoptotic protein Bak became exposed in vivo before apoptosis. This occurred after treatment of human Jurkat or CEM-C7A T-lymphoma cells with the mechanistically disparate agents staurosporine, etoposide or dexamethasone. The rapid, up to 10-fold increase in Bak-associated immunofluorescence was measured with epitope-specific monoclonal antibodies using flow cytometry and microscopy. In contrast, using a polyclonal antibody to Bak, immunofluorescence was detected both before and after treatment. There were no differences in Bak protein content nor in subcellular location before or after treatment. Immunofluorescence showed Bcl-xL and Bak were largely associated with mitochondria and in untreated cells they coimmunoprecipitated in the presence of nonioinic detergent. This association was significantly decreased after cell perturbation suggesting that Bcl-xL dissociation from Bak occurred on exposure of Bak's NH2 terminus. Multiple forms of Bak protein were observed by two dimensional electrophoresis but these were unchanged by inducers of apoptosis. This indicated that integration of cellular damage signals did not take place directly on the Bak protein. Release of proteins, including Bcl-xL, from Bak is suggested to be an important event in commitment to death. (+info)