The Drosophila kismet gene is related to chromatin-remodeling factors and is required for both segmentation and segment identity. (1/4265)

The Drosophila kismet gene was identified in a screen for dominant suppressors of Polycomb, a repressor of homeotic genes. Here we show that kismet mutations suppress the Polycomb mutant phenotype by blocking the ectopic transcription of homeotic genes. Loss of zygotic kismet function causes homeotic transformations similar to those associated with loss-of-function mutations in the homeotic genes Sex combs reduced and Abdominal-B. kismet is also required for proper larval body segmentation. Loss of maternal kismet function causes segmentation defects similar to those caused by mutations in the pair-rule gene even-skipped. The kismet gene encodes several large nuclear proteins that are ubiquitously expressed along the anterior-posterior axis. The Kismet proteins contain a domain conserved in the trithorax group protein Brahma and related chromatin-remodeling factors, providing further evidence that alterations in chromatin structure are required to maintain the spatially restricted patterns of homeotic gene transcription.  (+info)

Molecular and evolutionary analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi 297 circular plasmid-encoded lipoproteins with OspE- and OspF-like leader peptides. (2/4265)

We previously described two OspE and three OspF homologs in Borrelia burgdorferi 297 (D. R. Akins, S. F. Porcella, T. G. Popova, D. Shevchenko, S. I. Baker, M. Li, M. V. Norgard, and J. D. Radolf, Mol. Microbiol. 18:507-520, 1995; D. R. Akins, K. W. Bourell, M. J. Caimano, M. V. Norgard, and J. D. Radolf, J. Clin. Investig. 101:2240-2250, 1998). In this study, we characterized four additional lipoproteins with OspE/F-like leader peptides (Elps) and demonstrated that all are encoded on plasmids homologous to cp32 and cp18 from the B31 and N40 strains, respectively. Statistical analysis of sequence similarities using the binary comparison algorithm revealed that the nine lipoproteins from strain 297, as well as the OspE, OspF, and Erp proteins from the N40 and B31 strains, fall into three distinct families. Based upon the observation that these lipoproteins all contain highly conserved leader peptides, we now propose that the ancestors of each of the three families arose from gene fusion events which joined a common N terminus to unrelated proteins. Additionally, further sequence analysis of the strain 297 circular plasmids revealed that rearrangements appear to have played an important role in generating sequence diversity among the members of these three families and that recombinational events in the downstream flanking regions appear to have occurred independently of those within the lipoprotein-encoding genes. The association of hypervariable regions with genes which are differentially expressed and/or subject to immunological pressures suggests that the Lyme disease spirochete has exploited recombinatorial processes to foster its parasitic strategy and enhance its immunoevasiveness.  (+info)

Molecular cloning and characterization of a novel angiopoietin family protein, angiopoietin-3. (3/4265)

Using homology-based PCR, we have isolated cDNA encoding a novel member (491 amino acids) of the angiopoietin (Ang) family from human adult heart cDNA and have designated it angiopoietin-3 (Ang3). The NH2-terminal and COOH-terminal portions of Ang-3 contain the characteristic coiled-coil domain and fibrinogen-like domain that are conserved in other known Angs. Ang3 has a highly hydrophobic region at the N-terminus (approximately 21 amino acids) that is typical of a signal sequence for protein secretion. Ang3 mRNA is most abundant in adrenal gland, placenta, thyroid gland, heart and small intestine in human adult tissues. Additionally, Ang3 is a secretory protein, but is not a mitogen in endothelial cells.  (+info)

A novel plasmid recombination mechanism of the marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC7002. (4/4265)

We describe a novel mechanism of site-specific recombination in the unicellular marine cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC7002. The specific recombination sites on the smallest plasmid pAQ1 were localized by studying the properties of pAQ1-derived shuttle-vectors. We found that a palindromic element, the core sequence of which is G(G/A)CGATCGCC, functions as a resolution site for site-specific plasmid recombination. Furthermore, site-directed mutagenesis analysis of the element show that the site-specific recombination in the cyanobacterium requires sequence specificity, symmetry in the core sequence and, in part, the spacing between the elements. Interestingly, this element is over-represented not only in pAQ1 and in the genome of the cyanobacterium, but also in the accumulated cyanobacterial sequences from Synechococcus sp. PCC6301, PCC7942, vulcanus and Synechocystis sp. PCC6803 within GenBank and EMBL databases. Thus, these findings strongly suggest that the site-specific recombination mechanism based on the palindromic element should be common in these cyanobacteria.  (+info)

Role of ribosome release in regulation of tna operon expression in Escherichia coli. (5/4265)

Expression of the degradative tryptophanase (tna) operon of Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination. In cultures growing in the absence of added tryptophan, transcription of the structural genes of the tna operon is limited by Rho-dependent transcription termination in the leader region of the operon. Tryptophan induction prevents this Rho-dependent termination, and requires in-frame translation of a 24-residue leader peptide coding region, tnaC, that contains a single, crucial, Trp codon. Studies with a lacZ reporter construct lacking the spacer region between tnaC and the first major structural gene, tnaA, suggested that tryptophan induction might involve cis action by the TnaC leader peptide on the ribosome translating the tnaC coding region. The leader peptide was hypothesized to inhibit ribosome release at the tnaC stop codon, thereby blocking Rho's access to the transcript. Regulatory studies with deletion constructs of the tna operon of Proteus vulgaris supported this interpretation. In the present study the putative role of the tnaC stop codon in tna operon regulation in E. coli was examined further by replacing the natural tnaC stop codon, UGA, with UAG or UAA in a tnaC-stop codon-tnaA'-'lacZ reporter construct. Basal level expression was reduced to 20 and 50% when the UGA stop codon was replaced by UAG or UAA, respectively, consistent with the finding that in E. coli translation terminates more efficiently at UAG and UAA than at UGA. Tryptophan induction was observed in strains with any of the stop codons. However, when UAG or UAA replaced UGA, the induced level of expression was also reduced to 15 and 50% of that obtained with UGA as the tnaC stop codon, respectively. Introduction of a mutant allele encoding a temperature-sensitive release factor 1, prfA1, increased basal level expression 60-fold when the tnaC stop codon was UAG and 3-fold when this stop codon was UAA; basal level expression was reduced by 50% in the construct with the natural stop codon, UGA. In strains with any of the three stop codons and the prfA1 mutation, the induced levels of tna operon expression were virtually identical. The effects of tnaC stop codon identity on expression were also examined in the absence of Rho action, using tnaC-stop codon-'lacZ constructs that lack the tnaC-tnaA spacer region. Expression was low in the absence of tnaC stop codon suppression. In most cases, tryptophan addition resulted in about 50% inhibition of expression when UGA was replaced by UAG or UAA and the appropriate suppressor was present. Introduction of the prfA1 mutant allele increased expression of the suppressed construct with the UAG stop codon; tryptophan addition also resulted in ca. 50% inhibition. These findings provide additional evidence implicating the behavior of the ribosome translating tnaC in the regulation of tna operon expression.  (+info)

Secretion, localization, and antibacterial activity of TasA, a Bacillus subtilis spore-associated protein. (6/4265)

The synthesis and subcellular localization of the proteins that comprise the Bacillus subtilis spore are under a variety of complex controls. To better understand these controls, we have identified and characterized a 31-kDa sporulation protein, called TasA, which is secreted into the culture medium early in sporulation and is also incorporated into the spore. TasA synthesis begins approximately 30 min after the onset of sporulation and requires the sporulation transcription factor genes spo0H and spo0A. The first 81 nucleotides of tasA encode a 27-amino-acid sequence that resembles a signal peptide and which is missing from TasA isolated from a sporulating cell lysate. In B. subtilis cells unable to synthesize the signal peptidase SipW, TasA is not secreted, nor is it incorporated into spores. Cells unable to produce SipW produce a 34-kDa form of TasA, consistent with a failure to remove the N-terminal 27 amino acids. In cells engineered to express sipW and tasA during exponential growth, TasA migrates as a 31-kDa species and is secreted into the culture medium. These results indicate that SipW plays a crucial role in the export of TasA out of the cell and its incorporation into spores. Although TasA is dispensable for sporulation under laboratory conditions, we find that TasA has a broad-spectrum antibacterial activity. We discuss the possibility that during the beginning of sporulation as well as later, during germination, TasA inhibits other organisms in the environment, thus conferring a competitive advantage to the spore.  (+info)

Isolation and characterization of drosocrystallin, a lens crystallin gene of Drosophila melanogaster. (7/4265)

We have cloned the drosocrystallin gene (dcy) of Drosophila melanogaster, which encodes a major protein of the corneal lens, previously described in part by Komori et al. (1992, J. Cell Sci. 102, 191-201). Synthesis of the DCY protein starts weakly in 2-day-old pupae, reaches a peak at day 3 and day 4 of pupal development, and decreases very fast in young adults. The dcy mRNA is detected in the compound eyes as well as in the ocelli. The presence of a putative signal peptide and the extracellular location of DCY suggest that DCY is a secreted protein. Interestingly, the dcy gene shows sequence similarities to some insect cuticular proteins and is detected as well in two closely related Drosophila species, D. sechellia and D. simulans, and in one more distantly related species, D. virilis. This finding supports the hypothesis that Drosophila used the same strategy as vertebrates and mollusks, namely, recruiting a multifunctional protein for refraction in the lens, by a gene-sharing mechanism. Furthermore, it supports our intercalary evolution hypothesis, which suggests that the development of an elaborate structure (for example, a compound eye) from an original primitive form (an ancestral photoreceptor organ) can be achieved by recruiting novel genes into the original developmental pathway.  (+info)

Nuclear export of LIM-kinase 1, mediated by two leucine-rich nuclear-export signals within the PDZ domain. (8/4265)

LIM-kinase 1 (LIMK1) is a serine/threonine kinase that phosphorylates cofilin and regulates actin-filament dynamics. LIMK1, which contains two LIM domains and a single PDZ domain, localizes predominantly in the cytoplasm, but its mutant, deleted with the PDZ domain, localizes mainly in the nucleus, thereby indicating that the PDZ domain plays a role in the cytoplasmic localization of LIMK1. Here we provide evidence that the PDZ domain of LIMK1 contains two functional leucine-rich nuclear-export signals (NESs). The PDZ domain of LIMK1 fused with glutathione S-transferase (GST-PDZ), when injected into the nucleus, was rapidly excluded from the nucleus, but its mutant with replacements of conserved hydrophobic residues in two putative NESs by alanines remained in the nucleus. The nuclear export of GST-PDZ was sensitive to leptomycin B (LMB), a specific inhibitor of nuclear export mediated by leucine-rich NESs. Malfunctional mutation of two NESs or LMB treatment prevented the nuclear export of full-length LIMK1 and induced its nuclear accumulation. These results suggest that the predominant localization of LIMK1 in the cytoplasm is supported by two NESs within the PDZ domain and that LIMK1 normally shuttles between the cytoplasm and the nucleus. We also provide evidence that a short basic cluster sequence within the protein-kinase domain is involved in the nuclear import of LIMK1.  (+info)