Physical and functional heterogeneity in TYMV RNA: evidence for the existence of an independent messenger coding for coat protein.
Turnip yellow mosaic virus RNA can be separated into two distinct components of 2 times 10(6) and 300 000 daltons molecular weight after moderate heat treatment in the presence of SDS or EDTA. The two species cannot have arisen by accidental in vitro degradation of a larger RNA, as they both possess capped 5' ends. Analysis of the newly synthesized proteins resulting from translation of each RNA by a wheat germ extract shows that the 300 000 molecular weight RNA can be translated very efficiently into coat protein. When translated in vitro the longer RNA gave a series of high molecular weight polypeptides but only very small amounts of a polypeptide having about the same mass as the coat protein. Thus our results suggest that the small RNA is the functional messenger for coat protein synthesis in infected cells. (+info)
The presence of pseudouridine in the anticodon alters the genetic code: a possible mechanism for assignment of the AAA lysine codon as asparagine in echinoderm mitochondria.
It has been inferred from DNA sequence analyses that in echinoderm mitochondria not only the usual asparagine codons AAU and AAC, but also the usual lysine codon AAA, are translated as asparagine by a single mitochondrial (mt) tRNAAsn with the anticodon GUU. Nucleotide sequencing of starfish mt tRNAAsn revealed that the anticodon is GPsiU, U35 at the anticodon second position being modified to pseudouridine (Psi). In contrast, mt tRNALys, corresponding to another lysine codon, AAG, has the anticodon CUU. mt tRNAs possessing anti-codons closely related to that of tRNAAsn, but responsible for decoding only two codons each-tRNAHis, tRNAAsp and tRNATyr-were found to possess unmodified U35 in all cases, suggesting the importance of Psi35 for decoding the three codons. Therefore, the decoding capabilities of two synthetic Escherichia coli tRNAAla variants with the anticodon GPsiU or GUU were examined using an E.coli in vitro translation system. Both tRNAs could translate not only AAC and AAU with similar efficiency, but also AAA with an efficiency that was approximately 2-fold higher in the case of tRNAAlaGPsiU than tRNAAlaGUU. These findings imply that Psi35 of echinoderm mt tRNAAsn actually serves to decode the unusual asparagine codon AAA, resulting in the alteration of the genetic code in echinoderm mitochondria. (+info)
nimO, an Aspergillus gene related to budding yeast Dbf4, is required for DNA synthesis and mitotic checkpoint control.
The nimO predicted protein of Aspergillus nidulans is related structurally and functionally to Dbf4p, the regulatory subunit of Cdc7p kinase in budding yeast. nimOp and Dbf4p are most similar in their C-termini, which contain a PEST motif and a novel, short-looped Cys2-His2 zinc finger-like motif. DNA labelling and reciprocal shift assays using ts-lethal nimO18 mutants showed that nimO is required for initiation of DNA synthesis and for efficient progression through S phase. nimO18 mutants abrogated a cell cycle checkpoint linking S and M phases by segregating their unreplicated chromatin. This checkpoint defect did not interfere with other checkpoints monitoring spindle assembly and DNA damage (dimer lesions), but did prevent activation of a DNA replication checkpoint. The division of unreplicated chromatin was accelerated in cells lacking a component of the anaphase-promoting complex (bimEAPC1), consistent with the involvement of nimO and APC/C in separate checkpoint pathways. A nimO deletion conferred DNA synthesis and checkpoint defects similar to nimO18. Inducible nimO alleles lacking as many as 244 C-terminal amino acids supported hyphal growth, but not asexual development, when overexpressed in a ts-lethal nimO18 strain. However, the truncated alleles could not rescue a nimO deletion, indicating that the C terminus is essential and suggesting some type of interaction among nimO polypeptides. (+info)
Progress toward the evolution of an organism with an expanded genetic code.
Several significant steps have been completed toward a general method for the site-specific incorporation of unnatural amino acids into proteins in vivo. An "orthogonal" suppressor tRNA was derived from Saccharomyces cerevisiae tRNA2Gln. This yeast orthogonal tRNA is not a substrate in vitro or in vivo for any Escherichia coli aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase, including E. coli glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase (GlnRS), yet functions with the E. coli translational machinery. Importantly, S. cerevisiae GlnRS aminoacylates the yeast orthogonal tRNA in vitro and in E. coli, but does not charge E. coli tRNAGln. This yeast-derived suppressor tRNA together with yeast GlnRS thus represents a completely orthogonal tRNA/synthetase pair in E. coli suitable for the delivery of unnatural amino acids into proteins in vivo. A general method was developed to select for mutant aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases capable of charging any ribosomally accepted molecule onto an orthogonal suppressor tRNA. Finally, a rapid nonradioactive screen for unnatural amino acid uptake was developed and applied to a collection of 138 amino acids. The majority of glutamine and glutamic acid analogs under examination were found to be uptaken by E. coli. Implications of these results are discussed. (+info)
HIP/PAP gene, encoding a C-type lectin overexpressed in primary liver cancer, is expressed in nervous system as well as in intestine and pancreas of the postimplantation mouse embryo.
We originally isolated the HIP/PAP gene in a differential screen of a human hepatocellular carcinoma cDNA library. This gene is expressed at high levels in 25% of primary liver cancers but not in nontumorous liver. HIP/PAP belongs to the family of C-type lectins and acts as an adhesion molecule for hepatocytes. In normal adult human tissues, HIP/PAP expression is found in pancreas (exocrine and endocrine cells) and small intestine (Paneth and neuroendocrine cells). In order to gain insight into the possible role of HIP/PAP in vivo, we have investigated the pattern of HIP/PAP expression in the developing postimplantation mouse embryo by in situ hybridization. Detailed analysis of developing mouse embryos revealed that HIP/PAP gene exhibits a restricted expression pattern during development. Thus, HIP/PAP transcripts are first observed within the nervous system from day 14.5 onwards in trigeminal ganglia, dorsal root ganglia, and spinal cord where it appears to be an early specific marker of a subpopulation of motor neurons. At laster stages, HIP/PAP transcripts were detected in intestine and pancreas at day 16.5 but not in embryonic liver. This highly restricted expression pattern suggests that HIP/PAP might participate in neuronal as well as intestinal and pancreatic cell development. (+info)
Complete sequence, gene arrangement, and genetic code of mitochondrial DNA of the cephalochordate Branchiostoma floridae (Amphioxus)
We have determined the 15,083-nucleotide (nt) sequence of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the lancelet Branchiostoma floridae (Chordata: Cephalochordata). As is typical in metazoans, the mtDNA encodes 13 protein, 2 rRNA, and 22 tRNA genes. The gene arrangement differs from the common vertebrate arrangement by only four tRNA gene positions. Three of these are unique to Branchiostoma, but the fourth is in a position that is primitive for chordates. It shares the genetic code variations found in vertebrate mtDNAs except that AGA = serine, a code variation found in many invertebrate phyla but not in vertebrates (the related codon AGG was not found). Branchiostoma mtDNA lacks a vertebrate-like control region; its largest noncoding region (129 nt) is unremarkable in sequence or base composition, and its location between ND5 and tRNAG differs from that usually found in vertebrates. It also lacks a potential hairpin DNA structure like those found in many (though not in all) vertebrates to serve as the second-strand (i.e., L-strand) origin of replication. Perhaps related to this, the sequence corresponding to the DHU arm of tRNAC cannot form a helical stem, a condition found in a few other vertebrate mtDNAs that also lack a canonical L-strand origin of replication. ATG and GTG codons appear to initiate translation in 11 and 2 of the protein-encoding genes, respectively. Protein genes end with complete (TAA or TAG) or incomplete (T or TA) stop codons; the latter are presumably converted to TAA by post-transcriptional polyadenylation. (+info)
Crystal structure of acceptor stem of tRNA(Ala) from Escherichia coli shows unique G.U wobble base pair at 1.16 A resolution.
The acceptor stem of Escherichia coli tRNA(Ala), rGGGGCUA.rUAGCUCC (ALAwt), contains the main identity element for the correct aminoacylation by the alanyl tRNA synthetase. The presence of a G3.U70 wobble base pair is essential for the specificity of this reaction, but there is a debate whether direct minor-groove contact with the 2-amino group of G3 or a distortion of the acceptor stem induced by the wobble pair is the critical feature recognized by the synthetase. We here report the structure analysis of ALAwt at near-atomic resolution using twinned crystals. The crystal lattice is stabilized by a novel strontium binding motif between two cis-diolic O3'-terminal riboses. The two independent molecules in the asymmetric unit of the crystal show overall A-RNA geometry. A comparison with the crystal structure of the G3-C70 mutant of the acceptor stem (ALA(C70)) determined at 1.4 A exhibits a modulation in ALAwt of helical twist and slide due to the wobble base pair, but no recognizable distortion of the helix fragment distant from the wobble base pair. We suggest that a highly conserved hydration pattern in both grooves around the G3.U70 wobble base pair may be functionally significant. (+info)
A nuclear localization signal can enhance both the nuclear transport and expression of 1 kb DNA.
Although the entry of DNA into the nucleus is a crucial step of non-viral gene delivery, fundamental features of this transport process have remained unexplored. This study analyzed the effect of linear double stranded DNA size on its passive diffusion, its active transport and its NLS-assisted transport. The size limit for passive diffusion was found to be between 200 and 310 bp. DNA of 310-1500 bp entered the nuclei of digitonin treated cells in the absence of cytosolic extract by an active transport process. Both the size limit and the intensity of DNA nuclear transport could be increased by the attachment of strong nuclear localization signals. Conjugation of a 900 bp expression cassette to nuclear localization signals increased both its nuclear entry and expression in microinjected, living cells. (+info)