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(1/1313) Efficient synthesis of nucleic acids heavily modified with non-canonical ribose 2'-groups using a mutantT7 RNA polymerase (RNAP).

A T7 RNAP mutant (Y639F) which eliminates discrimination of the chemical character of the NTP ribose 2'-group, facilitates incorporation of non-canonicalsubstrates into nucleic acids. However, transcripts containing a high percentage of non-canonical NMPs are poorly extended due to effects of the 2'-substituents on the transcript:template hybrid conformation. We tested the addition of compounds that stabilize A-type helix geometry to the reaction. High concentrations of polyamines, together with other changes in reaction conditions, greatly increased the synthesis of transcripts heavily substituted with non-canonical ribose 2'-groups. Template structures that facilitate promoter opening increased the efficiency of reactions where non-canonical substrates were incorporated during transcription of +1 to +6.  (+info)

(2/1313) Time-resolved fluorescence investigation of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 nucleocapsid protein: influence of the binding of nucleic acids.

Depending on the HIV-1 isolate, MN or BH10, the nucleocapsid protein, NCp7, corresponds to a 55- or 71-amino acid length product, respectively. The MN NCp7 contains a single Trp residue at position 37 in the distal zinc finger motif, and the BH10 NCp7 contains an additional Trp, at position 61 in the C-terminal chain. The time-resolved intensity decay parameters of the zinc-saturated BH10 NCp7 were determined and compared to those of single-Trp-containing derivatives. The fluorescence decay of BH10 NCp7 could be clearly represented as a linear combination (with respect to both lifetimes and fractional intensities) of the individual emitting Trp residues. This suggested the absence of interactions between the two Trp residues, a feature that was confirmed by molecular modeling and fluorescence energy transfer studies. In the presence of tRNAPhe, taken as a RNA model, the same conclusions hold true despite the large fluorescence decrease induced by the binding of tRNAPhe. Indeed, the fluorescence of Trp37 appears almost fully quenched, in keeping with a stacking of this residue with the bases of tRNAPhe. Despite the multiple binding sites in tRNAPhe, the large prevalence of ultrashort lifetimes, associated with the stacking of Trp37, suggests that this stacking constitutes a major feature in the binding process of NCp7 to nucleic acids. In contrast, Trp61 only stacked to a small extent with tRNAPhe. The behavior of this residue in the tRNAPhe-NCp7 complexes appeared to be rather heterogeneous, suggesting that it does not constitute a major determinant in the binding process. Finally, our data suggested that the binding of NCp7 proteins from the two HIV-1 strains to nonspecific nucleic acid sequences was largely similar.  (+info)

(3/1313) Metabolism of methionine and biosynthesis of caffeine in the tea plant (Camellia sinensis L.).

1. Caffeine biosynthesis was studied by following the incorporation of 14C into the products of L-[Me-14C]methionine metabolism in tea shoot tips. 2. After administration of a 'pulse' of L-[Me-14C]methionine, almost all of the L-[Me-14C]methionine supplied disappeared within 1 h, and 14C-labelled caffeine synthesis increased throughout the experimental periods, whereas the radioactivities of an unknown compound and theobromine were highest at 3 h after the uptake of L-[Me-14C]methionine, followed by a steady decrease. There was also slight incorporation of the label into 7-methylxanthine, serine, glutamate and aspartate, disappearing by 36 h after the absorption of L-[Me-14C]methionine. 3. The radioactivities of nucleic acids derived from L-[Me-14C]methionine increased rapidly during the first 12 h incubation period and then decreased steadily. Sedimentation analysis of nucleic acids by sucrose-gradient centrifugation showed that methylation of nucleic acids in tea shoot tips occurred mainly in the tRNA fraction. The main product among the methylated bases in tea shoot tips was identified as 1-methyladenine. 4. The results indicated that the purine ring in caffeine is derived from the purine nucleotides in the nucleotide pool rather than in nucleic acids. A metabolic scheme to show the production of caffeine and related methylxanthines from the nucleotides in tea plants is discussed.  (+info)

(4/1313) The role of water structure in conformational changes of nucleic acids in ambient and high-pressure conditions.

This review describes and summarizes data on the structure and properties of water under normal conditions, at high salt concentration and under high pressure. We correlate the observed conformational changes in nucleic acids with changes in water structure and activity, and suggest a mechanism of conformational transitions of nucleic acids which accounts for changes in the water structure. From the biophysical, biochemical and crystallographic data we conclude that the Z-DNA form can be induced only at low water activity produced by high salt concentrations or high pressure, and accompanied by the stabilizing conjugative effect of the cytidine O4' electrons of the CG base pairs.  (+info)

(5/1313) Nucleic acid detection technologies -- labels, strategies, and formats.

Currently, no consensus exists on assay formats, labels, or detection reactions for nucleic acid assays. New labels continue to be developed and tested, and recent candidates include acetate kinase, firefly luciferase, and genes for enzymes. An additional trend is toward nonamplification strategies (e.g., branched chain and dendrimer type assays) as alternatives to the popular PCR and related amplification strategies. The new wave of microanalytical devices (microchips, with nanoliter to microliter internal volumes), massively parallel simultaneous test arrays, and the desire to produce hand-held sensors present new challenges and requirements for nucleic acid detection methods (e.g., analysis of large arrays of micrometer-sized spots of nucleic acid with high resolution). Here I review selected developments and new directions in nucleic acid assays.  (+info)

(6/1313) Identification of a nucleic acid binding domain in eukaryotic initiation factor eIFiso4G from wheat.

Higher plants have two complexes that bind the m7G-cap structure of mRNA and mediate interactions between mRNA and ribosomal subunits, designated eIF4F and eIFiso4F. Both complexes contain a small subunit that binds the 5'-cap structure of mRNA, and a large subunit, eIF4G or eIFiso4G, that binds other translation factors and RNA. Sequence-specific proteases were used to cleave native cap-binding complexes into structural domains, which were purified by affinity chromatography. We show here that eIFiso4G contains a central protease-resistant domain that binds specifically to nucleic acids. This domain spans Gln170 to Glu443 and includes four of the six homology blocks shared by eIFiso4G and eIF4G. A slightly shorter overlapping sequence, from Gly202 to Lys445, had no nucleic acid binding activity, indicating that the N-terminal end of the nucleic acid binding site lies within Gln170 to Arg201. The binding of the central domain and native eIFiso4F to RNA homopolymers and double- and single-stranded DNAs was studied. Both molecules had highest affinity for poly(G) and recognized single- and double-stranded sequences.  (+info)

(7/1313) A combined biochemical and cytogenetic study of thioridazine-induced damage to nucleic acids.

In this work the biochemical effects of thioridazine, a commonly used phenothiazine, have been studied upon native double- and single-stranded DNA and also upon a supercoiled plasmid. The results indicate that thioridazine causes damage and scissions to these nucleic acids but only at concentrations much higher than the one used in our cytogenetic experiments and that the damage seems to depend on the concentrations used. Furthermore, we studied the action of thioridazine alone or in combination with caffeine and/or melphalan upon human lymphocytes in vitro. Thioridazine and caffeine (a well-known inhibitor of cellular repair mechanisms) were shown to act synergistically to potentiate the cytogenetic effect of melphalan on human lymphocytes. It is suggested that thioridazine alone or in combination with caffeine may exert its synergistic effect on melphalan cytotoxicity to cultured human lymphocytes not only indirectly, i.e. as a strong calmodulin inhibitor by facilitating the intracellular retention of melphalan, but also directly by reaction with nucleic acids and by causing scissions in and damage to them. Therefore, thioridazine (as chlorpromazine) has some potential as an adjuvant chemotherapeutic agent for the treatment of human cancer.  (+info)

(8/1313) Direct visualization of a protein nuclear architecture.

Whether the cell nucleus is organized by an underlying architecture analagous to the cytoskeleton has been a highly contentious issue since the original isolation of a nuclease and salt-resistant nuclear matrix. Despite electron microscopy studies that show that a nuclear architecture can be visualized after fractionation, the necessity to elute chromatin to visualize this structure has hindered general acceptance of a karyoskeleton. Using an analytical electron microscopy method capable of quantitative elemental analysis, electron spectroscopic imaging, we show that the majority of the fine structure within interchromatin regions of the cell nucleus in fixed whole cells is not nucleoprotein. Rather, this fine structure is compositionally similar to known protein-based cellular structures of the cytoplasm. This study is the first demonstration of a protein network in unfractionated and uninfected cells and provides a method for the ultrastructural characterization of the interaction of this protein architecture with chromatin and ribonucleoprotein elements of the cell nucleus.  (+info)