(1/2857) Molecular and evolutionary analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi 297 circular plasmid-encoded lipoproteins with OspE- and OspF-like leader peptides.

We previously described two OspE and three OspF homologs in Borrelia burgdorferi 297 (D. R. Akins, S. F. Porcella, T. G. Popova, D. Shevchenko, S. I. Baker, M. Li, M. V. Norgard, and J. D. Radolf, Mol. Microbiol. 18:507-520, 1995; D. R. Akins, K. W. Bourell, M. J. Caimano, M. V. Norgard, and J. D. Radolf, J. Clin. Investig. 101:2240-2250, 1998). In this study, we characterized four additional lipoproteins with OspE/F-like leader peptides (Elps) and demonstrated that all are encoded on plasmids homologous to cp32 and cp18 from the B31 and N40 strains, respectively. Statistical analysis of sequence similarities using the binary comparison algorithm revealed that the nine lipoproteins from strain 297, as well as the OspE, OspF, and Erp proteins from the N40 and B31 strains, fall into three distinct families. Based upon the observation that these lipoproteins all contain highly conserved leader peptides, we now propose that the ancestors of each of the three families arose from gene fusion events which joined a common N terminus to unrelated proteins. Additionally, further sequence analysis of the strain 297 circular plasmids revealed that rearrangements appear to have played an important role in generating sequence diversity among the members of these three families and that recombinational events in the downstream flanking regions appear to have occurred independently of those within the lipoprotein-encoding genes. The association of hypervariable regions with genes which are differentially expressed and/or subject to immunological pressures suggests that the Lyme disease spirochete has exploited recombinatorial processes to foster its parasitic strategy and enhance its immunoevasiveness.  (+info)

(2/2857) 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)

(3/2857) IL-5 induces IgG1 isotype switch recombination in mouse CD38-activated sIgD-positive B lymphocytes.

Mouse B cells express CD38, whose ligation by anti-CD38 Ab induces their proliferation and protection from apoptosis. We previously showed that stimulation of mouse splenic B cells with IL-5 together with CS/2, an anti-mouse CD38 mAb, induces production of IgG1 and IgM. Here we examined the role of IL-5 and CS/2 in the expression of germline gamma1 transcripts and the generation of reciprocal products forming DNA circles as byproducts of mu-gamma1 switch recombination. By itself, CS/2 induced significant expression of germline gamma1 transcripts in splenic naive B cells, whereas IL-5 neither induced nor enhanced germline gamma1 expression. Increased cellular content of reciprocal product, which is characteristic of mu-gamma1 recombination, was not observed after culturing B cells with CS/2, but increased reciprocal product, along with high levels of lgG1 secretion, was found when B cells were cultured with CS/2 plus IL-5. Although IL-4 did not, by itself, induce mu-gamma1 recombination in B cells stimulated with CS/2, in conjunction with CS/2 plus IL-5, IL-4 dramatically enhanced sterile gamma1 transcription and IgG1 production. These results demonstrate that CD38 ligation induces only germline gamma1 transcription and that IL-5 promotes both mu-gamma1 switch recombination and lgG1 secretion in an IL-4-independent manner.  (+info)

(4/2857) Isolation of a human rotavirus strain with a super-short RNA pattern and a new P2 subtype.

Super-short rotavirus strains that have a rearranged gene segment 11 are rarely found in humans, and only five isolates, all from Southeast Asia, have been described in the literature. We report the first isolation in Japan from an infant with severe diarrhea of a rotavirus possessing a super-short RNA pattern. This strain, designated AU19, had a G1 VP7 and is also the first isolate in Japan that possesses a P2[6] VP4. Furthermore, the P2[6] VP4 carried by AU19 was divergent in the hypervariable region of the amino acid sequence from the P2A[6] VP4s carried by asymptomatic neonatal strains or from the P2B[6] VP4 carried by porcine rotavirus strain Gottfried. Thus, AU19 is likely to represent a new VP4 subtype, which we propose to call P2C. Given the recent emergence of the P2[6] VP4s in India, Brazil, and the United States and the role of VP4 in protective immunity, further scrutiny is justified to see whether the emergence of the previously underrepresented P2[6] VP4 serotype is related to this new P2 subtype.  (+info)

(5/2857) Mitochondrial encephalomyopathies: the enigma of genotype versus phenotype.

Over the past decade a large body of evidence has accumulated implicating defects of human mitochondrial DNA in the pathogenesis of a group of disorders known collectively as the mitochondrial encephalomyopathies. Although impaired oxidative phosphorylation is likely to represent the final common pathway leading to cellular dysfunction in these diseases, fundamental issues still remain elusive. Perhaps the most challenging of these is to understand the mechanisms which underlie the complex relationship between genotype and phenotype. Here we examine this relationship and discuss some of the factors which are likely to be involved.  (+info)

(6/2857) Roles of the "dispensable" portions of RAG-1 and RAG-2 in V(D)J recombination.

V(D)J recombination is initiated by introduction of site-specific double-stranded DNA breaks by the RAG-1 and RAG-2 proteins. The broken DNA ends are then joined by the cellular double-strand break repair machinery. Previous work has shown that truncated (core) versions of the RAG proteins can catalyze V(D)J recombination, although less efficiently than their full-length counterparts. It is not known whether truncating RAG-1 and/or RAG-2 affects the cleavage step or the joining step of recombination. Here we examine the effects of truncated RAG proteins on recombination intermediates and products. We found that while truncated RAG proteins generate lower levels of recombination products than their full-length counterparts, they consistently generate 10-fold higher levels of one class of recombination intermediates, termed signal ends. Our results suggest that this increase in signal ends does not result from increased cleavage, since levels of the corresponding intermediates, coding ends, are not elevated. Thus, removal of the "dispensable" regions of the RAG proteins impairs proper processing of recombination intermediates. Furthermore, we found that removal of portions of the dispensable regions of RAG-1 and RAG-2 affects the efficiency of product formation without altering the levels of recombination intermediates. Thus, these evolutionarily conserved sequences play multiple, important roles in V(D)J recombination.  (+info)

(7/2857) Phase variations of the Mycoplasma penetrans main surface lipoprotein increase antigenic diversity.

Mycoplasma penetrans is a recently identified mycoplasma, isolated from urine samples collected from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected patients. Its presence is significantly associated with HIV infection. The major antigen recognized during natural and experimental infections is an abundant P35 lipoprotein which, upon extraction, segregates in the Triton X-114 detergent phase and is the basis of M. penetrans-specific serological assays. We report here that the P35 antigen undergoes spontaneous and reversible phase variation at high frequency, leading to heterogeneous populations of mycoplasmas, even when derived from a clonal lineage. This variation was found to be determined at the transcription level, and although this property is not unique among the members of the class Mollicutes, the mechanism by which it occurs in M. penetrans differs from those previously described for other Mycoplasma species. Indeed, the P35 phase variation was due neither to a p35 gene rearrangement nor to point mutations within the gene itself or its promoter. The P35 phase variation in the different variants obtained was concomitant with modifications in the pattern of other expressed lipoproteins, probably due to regulated expression of selected members of a gene family which was found to potentially encode similar lipoproteins. M. penetrans variants could be selected on the basis of their lack of colony immunoreactivity with a polyclonal antiserum against a Triton X-114 extract, strongly suggesting that the mechanisms involved in altering surface antigen expression might allow evasion of the humoral immune response of the infected host.  (+info)

(8/2857) Molecular analysis of 1p32 genetic involvement in pediatric T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) and lymphoblastic T-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (T-NHL) are closely related disorders, and distinguishing between the two may be difficult. Cytogenetic investigations of large NHL series reported different recurring chromosomal alterations. Among these, aberrations of chromosome 1p seem to be associated with T-cell differentiation, the region most frequently involved in breakpoints being band 1p32-36. Deletions and translocations involving the same chromosomal region are frequently observed in T-ALL, in which one of the most common genetic changes is the breakage of the TAL1 gene, mapped to the 1p32 chromosomal region. The objective of this study was to assess the possibility of TAL1 involvement also in T-NHL. DESIGN AND METHODS: A series of 17 pediatric T-NHL patients was molecularly characterized by microsatellite markers analysis and by TAL1 gene microdeletions. RESULTS: TAL1 gene rearrangement was found in one case, while loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and microsatellite instability (MI) was identified in another case. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: Overall our findings indicate that, differently from T-ALL, neither TAL1 gene involvement nor LOH or MI at 1p32 appear particularly relevant in the oncogenic process of T-NHL transformation.  (+info)