(1/1999) Transplacement mutagenesis: a novel in situ mutagenesis system using phage-plasmid recombination.

Site-specific mutagenesis provides the ability to alter DNA with precision so that the function of any given gene can be more fully understood. Several methods of in vitro mutagenesis are time-consuming and imprecise, requiring the subcloning and sequencing of products. Here we describe a rapid, high fidelity method of in situ mutagenesis in bacteriophage lambda using transplacement. Using this method, mutations are transferred from oligonucleotides to target phages using a plasmid interface. A small (50 bp) homology region bearing a centred point mutation is generated from oligonucleotides and subcloned into a transplacement plasmid bearing positive and negative phage selectable markers. Following a positive/negative selection cycle of integrative recombination and excision, the point mutation is transferred precisely from plasmid to phage in a subset ( approximately 25-50%) of recombinants. As the fidelity of both oligonucleotide synthesis and phage-plasmid recombination is great, this approach is extremely reliable. Using transplacement, point mutations can be accurately deposited within large phage clones and we demonstrate the utility of this technique in the construction of gene targeting vectors in bacteriophages.  (+info)

(2/1999) Conversion of lacZ enhancer trap lines to GAL4 lines using targeted transposition in Drosophila melanogaster.

Since the development of the enhancer trap technique, many large libraries of nuclear localized lacZ P-element stocks have been generated. These lines can lend themselves to the molecular and biological characterization of new genes. However they are not as useful for the study of development of cellular morphologies. With the advent of the GAL4 expression system, enhancer traps have a far greater potential for utility in biological studies. Yet generation of GAL4 lines by standard random mobilization has been reported to have a low efficiency. To avoid this problem we have employed targeted transposition to generate glial-specific GAL4 lines for the study of glial cellular development. Targeted transposition is the precise exchange of one P element for another. We report the successful and complete replacement of two glial enhancer trap P[lacZ, ry+] elements with the P[GAL4, w+] element. The frequencies of transposition to the target loci were 1.3% and 0.4%. We have thus found it more efficient to generate GAL4 lines from preexisting P-element lines than to obtain tissue-specific expression of GAL4 by random P-element mobilization. It is likely that similar screens can be performed to convert many other P-element lines to the GAL4 system.  (+info)

(3/1999) Mutations in the S4 region isolate the final voltage-dependent cooperative step in potassium channel activation.

Charged residues in the S4 transmembrane segment play a key role in determining the sensitivity of voltage-gated ion channels to changes in voltage across the cell membrane. However, cooperative interactions between subunits also affect the voltage dependence of channel opening, and these interactions can be altered by making substitutions at uncharged residues in the S4 region. We have studied the activation of two mutant Shaker channels that have different S4 amino acid sequences, ILT (V369I, I372L, and S376T) and Shaw S4 (the S4 of Drosophila Shaw substituted into Shaker), and yet have very similar ionic current properties. Both mutations affect cooperativity, making a cooperative transition in the activation pathway rate limiting and shifting it to very positive voltages, but analysis of gating and ionic current recordings reveals that the ILT and Shaw S4 mutant channels have different activation pathways. Analysis of gating currents suggests that the dominant effect of the ILT mutation is to make the final cooperative transition to the open state of the channel rate limiting in an activation pathway that otherwise resembles that of Shaker. The charge movement associated with the final gating transition in ILT activation can be measured as an isolated component of charge movement in the voltage range of channel opening and accounts for 13% ( approximately 1.8 e0) of the total charge moved in the ILT activation pathway. The remainder of the ILT gating charge (87%) moves at negative voltages, where channels do not open, and confirms the presence of Shaker-like conformational changes between closed states in the activation pathway. In contrast to ILT, the activation pathway of Shaw S4 seems to involve a single cooperative charge-moving step between a closed and an open state. We cannot detect any voltage-dependent transitions between closed states for Shaw S4. Restoring basic residues that are missing in Shaw S4 (R1, R2, and K7) rescues charge movement between closed states in the activation pathway, but does not alter the voltage dependence of the rate-limiting transition in activation.  (+info)

(4/1999) Probing enzyme quaternary structure by combinatorial mutagenesis and selection.

Genetic selection provides an effective way to obtain active catalysts from a diverse population of protein variants. We have used this tool to investigate the role of loop sequences in determining the quaternary structure of a domain-swapped enzyme. By inserting random loops of four to seven residues into a dimeric chorismate mutase and selecting for functional variants by genetic complementation, we have obtained and characterized both monomeric and hexameric enzymes that retain considerable catalytic activity. The low percentage of active proteins recovered from these selection experiments indicates that relatively few loop sequences permit a change in quaternary structure without affecting active site structure. The results of our experiments suggest further that protein stability can be an important driving force in the evolution of oligomeric proteins.  (+info)

(5/1999) Overexpression of recombinant proteins with a C-terminal thiocarboxylate: implications for protein semisynthesis and thiamin biosynthesis.

A facile and rapid method for the production of protein C-terminal thiocarboxylates on DNA-encoded polypeptides is described. This method, which relies on the mechanism of the cleavage reaction of intein-containing fusion proteins, can produce multi-milligram quantities of protein C-terminal thiocarboxylate quickly and inexpensively. The utility of this method for protein semisynthesis and implications for studies on the biosynthesis of thiamin are discussed.  (+info)

(6/1999) DnaSP version 3: an integrated program for molecular population genetics and molecular evolution analysis.

DnaSP is a Windows integrated software package for the analysis of the DNA polymorphism from nucleotide sequence data. DnaSP version 3 incorporates several methods for estimating the amount and pattern of DNA polymorphism and divergence, and for conducting neutrality tests. AVAILABILITY: For academic uses, DnaSP is available free of charge from: http://www.bio.ub.es/julio/DnaSP.html CONTACT: julio@porthos.bio.ub.es  (+info)

(7/1999) The molecular genetics of European ancestry.

In an earlier paper we proposed, on the basis of mitochondrial control region variation, that the bulk of modern European mitochondrial DNA(mtDNA) diversity had its roots in the European Upper Palaeolithic. Refining the mtDNA phylogeny and enlarging the sample size both within Europe and the Middle East still support this interpretation and indicate three separate phases of colonization: (i) the Early Upper Palaeolithic about 50,000 BP; (ii) the Late Upper Palaeolithic 11,000-14,000 BP; and (iii) the Neolithic from 8500 BP.  (+info)

(8/1999) Molecular genetic evidence for the human settlement of the Pacific: analysis of mitochondrial DNA, Y chromosome and HLA markers.

Present-day Pacific islanders are thought to be the descendants of Neolithic agriculturalists who expanded from island South-east Asia several thousand years ago. They speak languages belonging to the Austronesian language family, spoken today in an area spanning half of the circumference of the world, from Madagascar to Easter Island, and from Taiwan to New Zealand. To investigate the genetic affinities of the Austronesian-speaking peoples, we analysed mitochondrial DNA, HLA and Y-chromosome polymorphisms in individuals from eight geographical locations in Asia and the Pacific (China, Taiwan, Java, New Guinea highlands, New Guinea coast, Trobriand Islands, New Britain and Western Samoa). Our results show that the demographic expansion of the Austronesians has left a genetic footprint. However, there is no simple correlation between languages and genes in the Pacific.  (+info)