The surface ectoderm is essential for nephric duct formation in intermediate mesoderm. (1/21399)

The nephric duct is the first epithelial tubule to differentiate from intermediate mesoderm that is essential for all further urogenital development. In this study we identify the domain of intermediate mesoderm that gives rise to the nephric duct and demonstrate that the surface ectoderm is required for its differentiation. Removal of the surface ectoderm resulted in decreased levels of Sim-1 and Pax-2 mRNA expression in mesenchymal nephric duct progenitors, and caused inhibition of nephric duct formation and subsequent kidney development. The surface ectoderm expresses BMP-4 and we show that it is required for the maintenance of high-level BMP-4 expression in lateral plate mesoderm. Addition of a BMP-4-coated bead to embryos lacking the surface ectoderm restored normal levels of Sim-1 and Pax-2 mRNA expression in nephric duct progenitors, nephric duct formation and the initiation of nephrogenesis. Thus, BMP-4 signaling can substitute for the surface ectoderm in supporting nephric duct morphogenesis. Collectively, these data suggest that inductive interactions between the surface ectoderm, lateral mesoderm and intermediate mesoderm are essential for nephric duct formation and the initiation of urogenital development.  (+info)

Apontic binds the translational repressor Bruno and is implicated in regulation of oskar mRNA translation. (2/21399)

The product of the oskar gene directs posterior patterning in the Drosophila oocyte, where it must be deployed specifically at the posterior pole. Proper expression relies on the coordinated localization and translational control of the oskar mRNA. Translational repression prior to localization of the transcript is mediated, in part, by the Bruno protein, which binds to discrete sites in the 3' untranslated region of the oskar mRNA. To begin to understand how Bruno acts in translational repression, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen to identify Bruno-interacting proteins. One interactor, described here, is the product of the apontic gene. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments lend biochemical support to the idea that Bruno and Apontic proteins physically interact in Drosophila. Genetic experiments using mutants defective in apontic and bruno reveal a functional interaction between these genes. Given this interaction, Apontic is likely to act together with Bruno in translational repression of oskar mRNA. Interestingly, Apontic, like Bruno, is an RNA-binding protein and specifically binds certain regions of the oskar mRNA 3' untranslated region.  (+info)

Transcriptional repression by the Drosophila giant protein: cis element positioning provides an alternative means of interpreting an effector gradient. (3/21399)

Early developmental patterning of the Drosophila embryo is driven by the activities of a diverse set of maternally and zygotically derived transcription factors, including repressors encoded by gap genes such as Kruppel, knirps, giant and the mesoderm-specific snail. The mechanism of repression by gap transcription factors is not well understood at a molecular level. Initial characterization of these transcription factors suggests that they act as short-range repressors, interfering with the activity of enhancer or promoter elements 50 to 100 bp away. To better understand the molecular mechanism of short-range repression, we have investigated the properties of the Giant gap protein. We tested the ability of endogenous Giant to repress when bound close to the transcriptional initiation site and found that Giant effectively represses a heterologous promoter when binding sites are located at -55 bp with respect to the start of transcription. Consistent with its role as a short-range repressor, as the binding sites are moved to more distal locations, repression is diminished. Rather than exhibiting a sharp 'step-function' drop-off in activity, however, repression is progressively restricted to areas of highest Giant concentration. Less than a two-fold difference in Giant protein concentration is sufficient to determine a change in transcriptional status of a target gene. This effect demonstrates that Giant protein gradients can be differentially interpreted by target promoters, depending on the exact location of the Giant binding sites within the gene. Thus, in addition to binding site affinity and number, cis element positioning within a promoter can affect the response of a gene to a repressor gradient. We also demonstrate that a chimeric Gal4-Giant protein lacking the basic/zipper domain can specifically repress reporter genes, suggesting that the Giant effector domain is an autonomous repression domain.  (+info)

Sonic hedgehog signaling by the patched-smoothened receptor complex. (4/21399)

BACKGROUND: The Hedgehog (Hh) family of secreted proteins is involved in a number of developmental processes as well as in cancer. Genetic and biochemical data suggest that the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) receptor is composed of at least two proteins: the tumor suppressor protein Patched (Ptc) and the seven-transmembrane protein Smoothened (Smo). RESULTS: Using a biochemical assay for activation of the transcription factor Gli, a downstream component of the Hh pathway, we show here that Smo functions as the signaling component of the Shh receptor, and that this activity can be blocked by Ptc. The inhibition of Smo by Ptc can be relieved by the addition of Shh. Furthermore, oncogenic forms of Smo are insensitive to Ptc repression in this assay. Mapping of the Smo domains required for binding to Ptc and for signaling revealed that the Smo-Ptc interaction involves mainly the amino terminus of Smo, and that the third intracellular loop and the seventh transmembrane domain are required for signaling. CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate that Smo is the signaling component of a multicomponent Hh receptor complex and that Ptc is a ligand-regulated inhibitor of Smo. Different domains of Smo are involved in Ptc binding and activation of a Gli reporter construct. The latter requires the third intracellular loop and the seventh transmembrane domain of Smo, regions often involved in coupling to G proteins. No changes in the levels of cyclic AMP or calcium associated with such pathways could be detected following receptor activation, however.  (+info)

Four dimers of lambda repressor bound to two suitably spaced pairs of lambda operators form octamers and DNA loops over large distances. (5/21399)

Transcription factors that are bound specifically to DNA often interact with each other over thousands of base pairs [1] [2]. Large DNA loops resulting from such interactions have been observed in Escherichia coli with the transcription factors deoR [3] and NtrC [4], but such interactions are not, as yet, well understood. We propose that unique protein complexes, that are not present in solution, may form specifically on DNA. Their uniqueness would make it possible for them to interact tightly and specifically with each other. We used the repressor and operators of coliphage lambda to construct a model system in which to test our proposition. lambda repressor is a dimer at physiological concentrations, but forms tetramers and octamers at a hundredfold higher concentration. We predict that two lambda repressor dimers form a tetramer in vitro when bound to two lambda operators spaced 24 bp apart and that two such tetramers interact to form an octamer. We examined, in vitro, relaxed circular plasmid DNA in which such operator pairs were separated by 2,850 bp and 2,470 bp. Of these molecules, 29% formed loops as seen by electron microscopy (EM). The loop increased the tightness of binding of lambda repressor to lambda operator. Consequently, repression of the lambda PR promoter in vivo was increased fourfold by the presence of a second pair of lambda operators, separated by a distance of 3,600 bp.  (+info)

C-myc overexpression and p53 loss cooperate to promote genomic instability. (6/21399)

p53 monitors genomic integrity at the G1 and G2/M cell cycle checkpoints. Cells lacking p53 may show gene amplification as well as the polyploidy or aneuploidy typical of many tumors. The pathways through which this develops, however, are not well defined. We demonstrate here that the combination of p53 inactivation and c-myc overexpression in diploid cells markedly accelerates the spontaneous development of tetraploidy. This is not seen with either N-myc or L-myc. Tetraploidy is accompanied by significantly higher levels of cyclin B and its associated cdc2 kinase activity. Mitotic spindle poisons accelerate the appearance of tetraploidy in cells either lacking functional p53 or overexpressing c-myc whereas the combination is additive. Restoration of p53 function in cells overexpressing c-myc causing rapid apoptosis, indicating that cells yet to become tetraploid have nonetheless suffered irreversible genomic and/or mitotic spindle damage. In the face of normal p53 function, such damage would either be repaired or trigger apoptotis. We propose that loss of p53 and overexpression of c-myc permits the emergence and survival of cells with increasingly severe damage and the eventual development of tetraploidy.  (+info)

TIF1gamma, a novel member of the transcriptional intermediary factor 1 family. (7/21399)

We report the cloning and characterization of a novel member of the Transcriptional Intermediary Factor 1 (TIF1) gene family, human TIF1gamma. Similar to TIF1alpha and TIF1beta, the structure of TIF1beta is characterized by multiple domains: RING finger, B boxes, Coiled coil, PHD/TTC, and bromodomain. Although structurally related to TIF1alpha and TIF1beta, TIF1gamma presents several functional differences. In contrast to TIF1alpha, but like TIF1beta, TIF1 does not interact with nuclear receptors in yeast two-hybrid or GST pull-down assays and does not interfere with retinoic acid response in transfected mammalian cells. Whereas TIF1alpha and TIF1beta were previously found to interact with the KRAB silencing domain of KOX1 and with the HP1alpha, MODI (HP1beta) and MOD2 (HP1gamma) heterochromatinic proteins, suggesting that they may participate in a complex involved in heterochromatin-induced gene repression, TIF1gamma does not interact with either the KRAB domain of KOX1 or the HP1 proteins. Nevertheless, TIF1gamma, like TIF1alpha and TIF1beta, exhibits a strong silencing activity when tethered to a promoter. Since deletion of a novel motif unique to the three TIF1 proteins, called TIF1 signature sequence (TSS), abrogates transcriptional repression by TIF1gamma, this motif likely participates in TIF1 dependent repression.  (+info)

The role of RBF in the introduction of G1 regulation during Drosophila embryogenesis. (8/21399)

The first appearance of G1 during Drosophila embryogenesis, at cell cycle 17, is accompanied by the down-regulation of E2F-dependent transcription. Mutant alleles of rbf were generated and analyzed to determine the role of RBF in this process. Embryos lacking both maternal and zygotic RBF products show constitutive expression of PCNA and RNR2, two E2F-regulated genes, indicating that RBF is required for their transcriptional repression. Despite the ubiquitous expression of E2F target genes, most epidermal cells enter G1 normally. Rather than pausing in G1 until the appropriate time for cell cycle progression, many of these cells enter an ectopic S-phase. These results indicate that the repression of E2F target genes by RBF is necessary for the maintenance but not the initiation of a G1 phase. The phenotype of RBF-deficient embryos suggests that rbf has a function that is complementary to the roles of dacapo and fizzy-related in the introduction of G1 during Drosophila embryogenesis.  (+info)