Biochemical clustering of monomeric GTPases of the Ras superfamily.
To date phylogeny has been used to compare entire families of proteins based on their nucleotide or amino acid sequence. Here we developed a novel analytical platform allowing a systematic comparison of protein families based on their biochemical properties. This approach was validated on the Rho subfamily of GTPases. We used two high throughput methods, referred to as AlphaScreen and FlashPlate, to measure nucleotide binding capacity, exchange, and hydrolysis activities of small monomeric GTPases. These two technologies have the characteristics to be very sensitive and to allow homogenous and high throughput assays. To analyze and integrate the data obtained, we developed an algorithm that allows the classification of GTPases according to their enzymatic activities. Integration and hierarchical clustering of these results revealed unexpected features of the small Rho GTPases when compared with primary sequence-based trees. Hence we propose a novel phylobiochemical classification of the Ras superfamily of GTPases. (+info)
Imprinting capacity of gamete lineages in Caenorhabditis elegans.
We have observed a gamete-of-origin imprinting effect in C. elegans using a set of GFP reporter transgenes. From a single progenitor line carrying an extrachromosomal unc-54::gfp transgene array, we generated three independent autosomal integrations of the unc-54::gfp transgene. The progenitor line, two of its three integrated derivatives, and a nonrelated unc-119:gfp transgene exhibit an imprinting effect: single-generation transmission of these transgenes through the male germline results in approximately 1.5- to 2.0-fold greater expression than transmission through the female germline. There is a detectable resetting of the imprint after passage through the opposite germline for a single generation, indicating that the imprinted status of the transgenes is reversible. In cases where the transgene is maintained in either the oocyte lineage or sperm lineage for multiple, consecutive generations, a full reset requires passage through the opposite germline for several generations. Taken together, our results indicate that C. elegans has the ability to imprint chromosomes and that differences in the cell and/or molecular biology of oogenesis and spermatogenesis are manifest in an imprint that can persist in both somatic and germline gene expression for multiple generations. (+info)
X-linked genes evolve higher codon bias in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis.
Comparing patterns of molecular evolution between autosomes and sex chromosomes (such as X and W chromosomes) can provide insight into the forces underlying genome evolution. Here we investigate patterns of codon bias evolution on the X chromosome and autosomes in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis. We demonstrate that X-linked genes have significantly higher codon bias compared to autosomal genes in both Drosophila and Caenorhabditis. Furthermore, genes that become X-linked evolve higher codon bias gradually, over tens of millions of years. We provide several lines of evidence that this elevation in codon bias is due exclusively to their chromosomal location and not to any other property of X-linked genes. We present two possible explanations for these observations. One possibility is that natural selection is more efficient on the X chromosome due to effective haploidy of the X chromosomes in males and persistently low effective numbers of reproducing males compared to that of females. Alternatively, X-linked genes might experience stronger natural selection for higher codon bias as a result of maladaptive reduction of their dosage engendered by the loss of the Y-linked homologs. (+info)
Gene duplication and the properties of biological networks.
Patterns of network connection of members of multigene families were examined for two biological networks: a genetic network from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and a protein-protein interaction network from Caenorhabditis elegans. In both networks, genes belonging to gene families represented by a single member in the genome ("singletons") were disproportionately represented among the nodes having large numbers of connections. Of 68 single-member yeast families with 25 or more network connections, 28 (44.4%) were located in duplicated genomic segments believed to have originated from an ancient polyploidization event; thus, each of these 28 loci was thus presumably duplicated along with the genomic segment to which it belongs, but one of the two duplicates has subsequently been deleted. Nodes connected to major "hubs" with a large number of connections, tended to be relatively sparsely interconnected among themselves. Furthermore, duplicated genes, even those arising from recent duplication, rarely shared many network connections, suggesting that network connections are remarkably labile over evolutionary time. These factors serve to explain well-known general properties of biological networks, including their scale-free and modular nature. (+info)
Genomics in C. elegans: so many genes, such a little worm.
The Caenorhabditis elegans genome sequence is now complete, fully contiguous telomere to telomere and totaling 100,291,840 bp. The sequence has catalyzed the collection of systematic data sets and analyses, including a curated set of 19,735 protein-coding genes--with >90% directly supported by experimental evidence--and >1300 noncoding RNA genes. High-throughput efforts are under way to complete the gene sets, along with studies to characterize gene expression, function, and regulation on a genome-wide scale. The success of the worm project has had a profound effect on genome sequencing and on genomics more broadly. We now have a solid platform on which to build toward the lofty goal of a true molecular understanding of worm biology with all its implications including those for human health. (+info)
Organization of the Caenorhabditis elegans small non-coding transcriptome: genomic features, biogenesis, and expression.
Recent evidence points to considerable transcription occurring in non-protein-coding regions of eukaryote genomes. However, their lack of conservation and demonstrated function have created controversy over whether these transcripts are functional. Applying a novel cloning strategy, we have cloned 100 novel and 61 known or predicted Caenorhabditis elegans full-length ncRNAs. Studying the genomic environment and transcriptional characteristics have shown that two-thirds of all ncRNAs, including many intronic snoRNAs, are independently transcribed under the control of ncRNA-specific upstream promoter elements. Furthermore, the transcription levels of at least 60% of the ncRNAs vary with developmental stages. We identified two new classes of ncRNAs, stem-bulge RNAs (sbRNAs) and snRNA-like RNAs (snlRNAs), both featuring distinct internal motifs, secondary structures, upstream elements, and high and developmentally variable expression. Most of the novel ncRNAs are conserved in Caenorhabditis briggsae, but only one homolog was found outside the nematodes. Preliminary estimates indicate that the C. elegans transcriptome contains approximately 2700 small non-coding RNAs, potentially acting as regulatory elements in nematode development. (+info)
SGCEdb: a flexible database and web interface integrating experimental results and analysis for structural genomics focusing on Caenorhabditis elegans.
The SGCEdb (http://sgce.cbse.uab.edu) database/interface serves the primary purpose of reporting progress of the Structural Genomics of Caenorhabditis elegans project at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It stores and analyzes results of experiments ranging from solubility screening arrays to individual protein purification and structure solution. External databases and algorithms are referenced and evaluated for target selection in the human, C.elegans and Pneumocystis carinii genomes. The flexible and reusable design permits tracking of standard and custom experiment types in a scientist-defined sequence. The database coordinates efforts between collaborators and is adaptable to a wide range of biological applications. (+info)
WormBase (http://wormbase.org), the public database for genomics and biology of Caenorhabditis elegans, has been restructured for stronger performance and expanded for richer biological content. Performance was improved by accelerating the loading of central data pages such as the omnibus Gene page, by rationalizing internal data structures and software for greater portability, and by making the Genome Browser highly customizable in how it views and exports genomic subsequences. Arbitrarily complex, user-specified queries are now possible through Textpresso (for all available literature) and through WormMart (for most genomic data). Biological content was enriched by reconciling all available cDNA and expressed sequence tag data with gene predictions, clarifying single nucleotide polymorphism and RNAi sites, and summarizing known functions for most genes studied in this organism. (+info)