Chlamydia pneumoniae infection in human monocytes.
Chlamydia pneumoniae infection has been associated with cardiovascular diseases in seroepidemiological studies and by demonstration of the pathogen in atherosclerotic lesions. It has the capacity to infect several cell types, including monocyte-derived macrophages, which play an essential role in the development of atherosclerosis. However, the persistence of C. pneumoniae in mononuclear cells is poorly understood. To study the morphology and biological characteristics of the infection, human peripheral blood monocytes were infected with C. pneumoniae. Freshly isolated monocytes resisted the development of infectious progeny, and confocal and transmission electron microscopy showed that the morphology of the inclusions and chlamydial particles was abnormal. Addition of tryptophan or antibodies against gamma interferon did not diminish the inhibition of C. pneumoniae, suggesting that other factors are involved in the chlamydiostatic activity of the monocytes. Chlamydial mRNA was expressed at least 3 days after infection, however, and a capability for infected monocytes to induce a positive lymphocyte proliferative response was detected for up to 7 days, indicating that C. pneumoniae remains metabolically active in the monocytes in vitro. These results are in accordance with the hypothesis that C. pneumoniae may participate in the maintenance of local immunological response and inflammation via infected monocytes and thus enhance atherosclerosis. (+info)
Synthesis of bacteriophage phi6 double-stranded ribonucleic acid.
Uracil was incorporated into all three bacteriophage phi6 dsRNA segments throughout the infection cycle; the rates of incorporation into each of the three segments were approx. constant for the first 15 to 20 min and then increased rapidly until 50 min after infection. The medium and small dsRNA segments were produced in greater amounts than the large dsRNA segment at all times in the infection cycle. Inhibition of host RNA and protein synthesis with rifampin and chloramphenicol revealed that virus dsRNA synthesis immediately after infection was independent of either host function. (+info)
Characterization of an insertion sequence element associated with genetically diverse plant pathogenic Streptomyces spp.
Streptomycetes are common soil inhabitants, yet few described species are plant pathogens. While the pathogenicity mechanisms remain unclear, previous work identified a gene, nec1, which encodes a putative pathogenicity or virulence factor. nec1 and a neighboring transposase pseudogene, ORFtnp, are conserved among unrelated plant pathogens and absent from nonpathogens. The atypical GC content of nec1 suggests that it was acquired through horizontal transfer events. Our investigation of the genetic organization of regions adjacent to the 3' end of nec1 in Streptomyces scabies 84.34 identified a new insertion sequence (IS) element, IS1629, with homology to other IS elements from prokaryotic animal pathogens. IS1629 is 1,462 bp with 26-bp terminal inverted repeats and encodes a putative 431-amino-acid (aa) transposase. Transposition of IS1629 generates a 10-bp target site duplication. A 77-nucleotide (nt) sequence encompassing the start codon and upstream region of the transposase was identified which could function in the posttranscritpional regulation of transposase synthesis. A functional copy of IS1629 from S. turgidiscabies 94.09 (Hi-C-13) was selected in the transposon trap pCZA126, through its insertion into the lambda cI857 repressor. IS1629 is present in multiple copies in some S. scabies strains and is present in all S. acidiscabies and S. turgidiscabies strains examined. A second copy of IS1629 was identified between ORFtnp and nec1 in S. acidiscabies strains. The diversity of IS1629 hybridization profiles was greatest within S. scabies. IS1629 was absent from the 27 nonpathogenic Streptomyces strains tested. The genetic organization and nucleotide sequence of the nec1-IS1629 region was conserved and identical among representatives of S. acidiscabies and S. turgidiscabies. These findings support our current model for the unidirectional transfer of the ORFtnp-nec1-IS1629 locus from IS1629-containing S. scabies (type II) to S. acidiscabies and S. turgidiscabies. (+info)
Inhibition of translation and cell growth by minigene expression.
A random five-codon gene library was used to isolate minigenes whose expression causes cell growth arrest. Eight different deleterious minigenes were isolated, five of which had in-frame stop codons; the predicted expressed peptides ranged in size from two to five amino acids. Mutational analysis demonstrated that translation of the inhibitory minigenes is essential for growth arrest. Pulse-labeling experiments showed that expression of at least some of the selected minigenes results in inhibition of cellular protein synthesis. Expression of the deleterious minigenes in cells deficient in peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase causes accumulation of families of peptidyl-tRNAs corresponding to the last minigene codon; the inhibitory action of minigene expression could be suppressed by overexpression of the tRNA corresponding to the last sense codon in the minigene. Experimental data are compatible with the model that the deleterious effect of minigene expression is mediated by depletion of corresponding pools of free tRNAs. (+info)
Antisense RNA strategies for metabolic engineering of Clostridium acetobutylicum.
We examined the effectiveness of antisense RNA (as RNA) strategies for metabolic engineering of Clostridium acetobutylicum. Strain ATCC 824(pRD4) was developed to produce a 102-nucleotide asRNA with 87% complementarity to the butyrate kinase (BK) gene. Strain ATCC 824(pRD4) exhibited 85 to 90% lower BK and acetate kinase specific activities than the control strain. Strain ATCC 824(pRD4) also exhibited 45 to 50% lower phosphotransbutyrylase (PTB) and phosphotransacetylase specific activities than the control strain. This strain exhibited earlier induction of solventogenesis, which resulted in 50 and 35% higher final concentrations of acetone and butanol, respectively, than the concentrations in the control. Strain ATCC 824(pRD1) was developed to putatively produce a 698-nucleotide asRNA with 96% complementarity to the PTB gene. Strain ATCC 824(pRD1) exhibited 70 and 80% lower PTB and BK activities, respectively, than the control exhibited. It also exhibited 300% higher levels of a lactate dehydrogenase activity than the control exhibited. The growth yields of ATCC 824(pRD1) were 28% less than the growth yields of the control. While the levels of acids were not affected in ATCC 824(pRD1) fermentations, the acetone and butanol concentrations were 96 and 75% lower, respectively, than the concentrations in the control fermentations. The lower level of solvent production by ATCC 824(pRD1) was compensated for by approximately 100-fold higher levels of lactate production. The lack of any significant impact on butyrate formation fluxes by the lower PTB and BK levels suggests that butyrate formation fluxes are not controlled by the levels of the butyrate formation enzymes. (+info)
In situ identification of cyanobacteria with horseradish peroxidase-labeled, rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes.
Individual cyanobacterial cells are normally identified in environmental samples only on the basis of their pigmentation and morphology. However, these criteria are often insufficient for the differentiation of species. Here, a whole-cell hybridization technique is presented that uses horseradish peroxidase (HRP)-labeled, rRNA-targeted oligonucleotides for in situ identification of cyanobacteria. This indirect method, in which the probe-conferred enzyme has to be visualized in an additional step, was necessary since fluorescently monolabeled oligonucleotides were insufficient to overstain the autofluorescence of the target cells. Initially, a nonfluorescent detection assay was developed and successfully applied to cyanobacterial mats. Later, it was demonstrated that tyramide signal amplification (TSA) resulted in fluorescent signals far above the level of autofluorescence. Furthermore, TSA-based detection of HRP was more sensitive than that based on nonfluorescent substrates. Critical points of the assay, such as cell fixation and permeabilization, specificity, and sensitivity, were systematically investigated by using four oligonucleotides newly designed to target groups of cyanobacteria. (+info)
The use of terminal blocking groups for the specific joining of oligonucleotides in RNA ligase reactions containing equimolar concentrations of acceptor and donor molecules.
Under the conditions that RNA ligase converts the tetranucleotide, pA-A2-A, to larger polynucleotides, no such polymerization can be detected with the derivative, pA-A2-A(MeOEt), that possesses a terminal 2'-0-(alpha-methoxyethyl) group. The protection against self condensation offered by the methoxyethyl group in this system allows the specific joining of donor and acceptor oligonucleotides in reaction mixtures containing equimolar concentrations of the two species. Thus, the enzyme, together with ATP, converts equimolar quantities of A-A2-A and pA-A2-A(MeOEt) to A-A6-A(MeOEt) in 55% yield, while a similar reaction with A-A2-A and pU-U2-U(MeOEt) results in a 40% yield of A-A3-U3-U(MeOEt). The intermediate in these ligations is a disubstituted pyrophosphate composed of the donor molecule and the adenylate moiety deriving from ATP. In the case of the intermediate arising from the blocked adenosine tetranucleotide, the assigned structure, A5'pp5'A-A2-A(MeOEt), has been confirmed by chemical synthesis. The pyrophosphate derivative is able to participate in joining reactions in the absence of ATP. These observations constitute an efficient approach to the synthesis of larger polynucleotides from a specific series of oligonucleotide blocks since (i), the methoxyethyl group can be easily introduced into each oligonucleotide using the single addition reaction catalyzed by polynucleotide phosphorylase in the presence of a 2'-0-(alpha-methoxyethyl)nucleoside 5'-diphosphate, and (ii), the blocking group may be readily removed under mild conditions after each successive ligation reaction. Two other octanucleotides, I-I2-A-U3-U and U-U2-C-I3-A, have also been synthesized by this method, and these molecules correspond (with I substituting for G) to sequences appearing near the 3' terminus of the 6S RNA transcribed from phage lambda DNA. The terminal 3'-phosphate group serves equally well as a blocking group for specific ligation reactions in that the ligase converts equimolar amounts of A-A2-A and pA-A2-Ap to A-A6-Ap in 50% yield. (+info)
An Escherichia coli strain with all chromosomal rRNA operons inactivated: complete exchange of rRNA genes between bacteria.
Current global phylogenies are built predominantly on rRNA sequences. However, an experimental system for studying the evolution of rRNA is not readily available, mainly because the rRNA genes are highly repeated in most experimental organisms. We have constructed an Escherichia coli strain in which all seven chromosomal rRNA operons are inactivated by deletions spanning the 16S and 23S coding regions. A single E. coli rRNA operon carried by a multicopy plasmid supplies 16S and 23S rRNA to the cell. By using this strain we have succeeded in creating microorganisms that contain only a foreign rRNA operon derived from either Salmonella typhimurium or Proteus vulgaris, microorganisms that have diverged from E. coli about 120-350 million years ago. We also were able to replace the E. coli rRNA operon with an E. coli/yeast hybrid one in which the GTPase center of E. coli 23S rRNA had been substituted by the corresponding domain from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. These results suggest that, contrary to common belief, coevolution of rRNA with many other components in the translational machinery may not completely preclude the horizontal transfer of rRNA genes. (+info)