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(1/10081) The DNA-binding polycomb group protein pleiohomeotic mediates silencing of a Drosophila homeotic gene.

Polycomb group (PcG) proteins repress homeotic genes in cells where these genes must remain inactive during development. This repression requires cis-acting silencers, also called PcG response elements. Currently, these silencers are ill-defined sequences and it is not known how PcG proteins associate with DNA. Here, we show that the Drosophila PcG protein Pleiohomeotic binds to specific sites in a silencer of the homeotic gene Ultrabithorax. In an Ultrabithorax reporter gene, point mutations in these Pleiohomeotic binding sites abolish PcG repression in vivo. Hence, DNA-bound Pleiohomeotic protein may function in the recruitment of other non-DNA-binding PcG proteins to homeotic gene silencers.  (+info)

(2/10081) A conserved nuclear element with a role in mammalian gene regulation.

Mammalian genomes contain numerous fragments of DNA that are derived from inactivated transposable elements. The accumulation and persistence of these elements is generally attributed to transposase activity rather than through possession or acquisition of a function of value to the host genome. Here we describe such a repetitive element, named ALF (forannexin VILINE-2fragment), comprising 130 bp of DNA derived from a LINE-2 sequence, which functions as a potent T-cell-specific silencer. The expansion of the DNA database arising as a result of the human genome sequencing project enabled us to identify ALF in, or close to, several well characterized genes including those for annexin VI, interleukin-4 and protein kinase C-beta. A systematic analysis of the entire LINE-2 sequence revealed that ALF, and not other regions of the LINE-2 sequence, was especially highly represented in the human genome. Acquisition of a function by this repetitive element may explain its abundance. These data show that a conserved fragment of an interspersed nuclear element has the potential to modulate gene expression, a discovery that has broad implications for the way in which we view so-called 'junk' DNA and our understanding of eukaryotic gene regulation.  (+info)

(3/10081) Gene silencing: Maintaining methylation patterns.

Recent studies of an Arabidopsis gene family have shown that inverted repeats can be potent silencers of other identical sequences in the genome, causing them to become stably methylated at cytosine residues. From mutations affecting this process we are beginning to understand how methylation patterns are maintained.  (+info)

(4/10081) Gene silencing: RNA makes RNA makes no protein.

A mutation that disrupts post-transcriptional gene silencing in Neurospora crassa has been found to affect the homologue of a plant-encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. This enzyme may produce a specificity determinant of gene silencing and mediate an epigenetic conversion at the RNA level.  (+info)

(5/10081) The 5'-untranslated region of GM-CSF mRNA suppresses translational repression mediated by the 3' adenosine-uridine-rich element and the poly(A) tail.

Granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) mRNA levels are controlled post-transcriptionally by the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) adenosine-uridine-rich element (ARE). In untransformed, resting cells, the ARE targets GM-CSF mRNA for rapid degradation, thereby significantly suppressing protein expression. We used a rabbit reticulocyte lysate (RRL) cell-free system to examine translational regulation of GM-CSF expression. We uncoupled decay rates from rates of translation by programming the RRL with an excess of mRNAs. Capped, full-length, polyadenyl-ated human GM-CSF mRNA (full-length 5'-UTR AUUUA+A90) and an ARE-modified version (full-length 5'-UTR AUGUA+A90) produced identical amounts of protein. When the 5'-UTR was replaced with an irrelevant synthetic leader sequence (syn 5'-UTR), translation of syn 5'-UTR AUUUA+A90 mRNA was suppressed by >20-fold. Mutation of the ARE or removal of the poly(A) tail relieved this inhibition. Thus, in the absence of a native 5'-UTR, the ARE and poly(A) tail act in concert to block GM-CSF mRNA translation. Substitutions of different regions of the native 5'-UTR revealed that the entire sequence was essential in maintaining the highest rates of translation. However, shorter 10-12 nt contiguous 5'-UTR regions supported 50-60% of maximum translation. The 5'-UTR is highly conserved, suggesting similar regulation in multiple species and in these studies was the dominant element regulating GM-CSF mRNA translation, overriding the inhibitory effects of the ARE and the poly(A) tail.  (+info)

(6/10081) DOT4 links silencing and cell growth in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Transcriptional silencing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae occurs at specific loci and is mediated by a multiprotein complex that includes Rap1p and the Sir proteins. We studied the function of a recently identified gene, DOT4, that disrupts silencing when overexpressed. DOT4 encodes an ubiquitin processing protease (hydrolase) that is primarily located in the nucleus. By two-hybrid analysis, the amino-terminal third of Dot4p interacts with the silencing protein Sir4p. Cells lacking DOT4 exhibited reduced silencing and a corresponding decrease in the level of Sir4p. Together, these findings suggest that Dot4p regulates silencing by acting on Sir4p. In strains with several auxotrophic markers, loss of DOT4 ubiquitin hydrolase activity also results in a slow-growth defect. The defect can be partially suppressed by mutations in a subunit of the 26S proteasome, suggesting that Dot4p has the ability to prevent ubiquitin-mediated degradation. Furthermore, wild-type SIR2, SIR3, and SIR4 are required for full manifestation of the growth defect in a dot4 strain, indicating that the growth defect is caused in part by a silencing-related mechanism. We propose that Dot4p helps to restrict the location of silencing proteins to a limited set of genomic loci.  (+info)

(7/10081) Protein kinase A regulates cholinergic gene expression in PC12 cells: REST4 silences the silencing activity of neuron-restrictive silencer factor/REST.

The role of protein kinase A in regulating transcription of the cholinergic gene locus, which contains both the vesicular acetylcholine transporter gene and the choline acetyltransferase gene, was investigated in PC12 cells and a protein kinase A-deficient PC12 mutant, A126.1B2, in which transcription of the gene is reduced. The site of action of protein kinase A was localized to a neuron-restrictive silencer element/repressor element 1 (NRSE/RE-1) sequence within the cholinergic gene. Neuron-restrictive silencer factor (NRSF)/RE-1-silencing transcription factor (REST), the transcription factor which binds to NRSE/RE-1, was expressed at similar levels in both PC12 and A126.1B2 cells. Although nuclear extracts containing NRSF/REST from A126.1B2 exhibited binding to NRSE/RE-1, nuclear extracts from PC12 cells did not. The NRSF/REST isoform REST4 was expressed in PC12 cells but not in A126.1B2. REST4 inhibited binding of NRSF/REST to NRSE/RE-1 as determined by gel mobility shift assays. Coimmunoprecipitation was used to demonstrate interaction between NRSF/REST and REST4. Expression of recombinant REST4 in A126.1B2 was sufficient to transcriptionally activate the cholinergic gene locus. Thus, in PC12 cells, protein kinase A promotes the production of REST4, which inhibits repression of the cholinergic gene locus by NRSF/REST.  (+info)

(8/10081) Delayed translational silencing of ceruloplasmin transcript in gamma interferon-activated U937 monocytic cells: role of the 3' untranslated region.

Ceruloplasmin (Cp) is an acute-phase protein with ferroxidase, amine oxidase, and pro- and antioxidant activities. The primary site of Cp synthesis in human adults is the liver, but it is also synthesized by cells of monocytic origin. We have shown that gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) induces the synthesis of Cp mRNA and protein in monocytic cells. We now report that the induced synthesis of Cp is terminated by a mechanism involving transcript-specific translational repression. Cp protein synthesis in U937 cells ceased after 16 h even in the presence of abundant Cp mRNA. RNA isolated from cells treated with IFN-gamma for 24 h exhibited a high in vitro translation rate, suggesting that the transcript was not defective. Ribosomal association of Cp mRNA was examined by sucrose centrifugation. When Cp synthesis was high, i.e., after 8 h of IFN-gamma treatment, Cp mRNA was primarily associated with polyribosomes. However, after 24 h, when Cp synthesis was low, Cp mRNA was primarily in the nonpolyribosomal fraction. Cytosolic extracts from cells treated with IFN-gamma for 24 h, but not for 8 h, contained a factor which blocked in vitro Cp translation. Inhibitor expression was cell type specific and present in extracts of human cells of myeloid origin, but not in several nonmyeloid cells. The inhibitory factor bound to the 3' untranslated region (3'-UTR) of Cp mRNA, as shown by restoration of in vitro translation by synthetic 3'-UTR added as a "decoy" and detection of a binding complex by RNA gel shift analysis. Deletion mapping of the Cp 3'-UTR indicated an internal 100-nucleotide region of the Cp 3'-UTR that was required for complex formation as well as for silencing of translation. Although transcript-specific translational control is common during development and differentiation and global translational control occurs during responses to cytokines and stress, to our knowledge, this is the first report of translational silencing of a specific transcript following cytokine activation.  (+info)