(1/22353) Absence of RNASE III alters the pathway by which RNAI, the antisense inhibitor of ColE1 replication, decays.

RNAI is a short RNA, 108 nt in length, which regulates the replication of the plasmid ColE1. RNAI turns over rapidly, enabling plasmid replication rate to respond quickly to changes in plasmid copy number. Because RNAI is produced in abundance, is easily extracted and turns over quickly, it has been used as a model for mRNA in studying RNA decay pathways. The enzymes polynucleotide phosphorylase, poly(A) polymerase and RNase E have been demonstrated to have roles in both messenger and RNAI decay; it is reported here that these enzymes can work independently of one another to facilitate RNAI decay. The roles in RNAI decay of two further enzymes which facilitate mRNA decay, the exonuclease RNase II and the endonuclease RNase III, are also examined. RNase II does not appear to accelerate RNAI decay but it is found that, in the absence of RNase III, polyadenylated RNAI, unprocessed by RNase E, accumulates. It is also shown that RNase III can cut RNAI near nt 82 or 98 in vitro. An RNAI fragment corresponding to the longer of these can be found in extracts of an mc+ pcnB strain (which produces RNase III) but not of an rnc pcnB strain, suggesting that RNAI may be a substrate for RNase III in vivo. A possible pathway for the early steps in RNAI decay which incorporates this information is suggested.  (+info)

(2/22353) The CafA protein required for the 5'-maturation of 16 S rRNA is a 5'-end-dependent ribonuclease that has context-dependent broad sequence specificity.

The CafA protein, which was initially described as having a role in either Escherichia coli cell division or chromosomal segregation, has recently been shown to be required for the maturation of the 5'-end of 16 S rRNA. The sequence of CafA is similar to that of the N-terminal ribonucleolytic half of RNase E, an essential E. coli enzyme that has a central role in the processing of rRNA and the decay of mRNA and RNAI, the antisense regulator of ColE1-type plasmids. We show here that a highly purified preparation of CafA is sufficient in vitro for RNA cutting. We detected CafA cleavage of RNAI and a structured region from the 5'-untranslated region of ompA mRNA within segments cleavable by RNaseE, but not CafA cleavage of 9 S RNA at its "a" RNase E site. The latter is consistent with the finding that the generation of 5 S rRNA from its 9 S precursor can be blocked by inactivation of RNase E in cells that are wild type for CafA. Interestingly, however, a decanucleotide corresponding in sequence to the a site of 9 S RNA was cut efficiently indicating that cleavage by CafA is regulated by the context of sites within structured RNAs. Consistent with this notion is our finding that although 23 S rRNA is stable in vivo, a segment from this RNA is cut efficient by CafA at multiple sites in vitro. We also show that, like RNase E cleavage, the efficiency of cleavage by CafA is dependent on the presence of a monophosphate group on the 5'-end of the RNA. This finding raises the possibility that the context dependence of cleavage by CafA may be due at least in part to the separation of a cleavable sequence from the 5'-end of an RNA. Comparison of the sites surrounding points of CafA cleavage suggests that this enzyme has broad sequence specificity. Together with the knowledge that CafA can cut RNAI and ompA mRNA in vitro within segments whose cleavage in vivo initiates the decay of these RNAs, this finding suggests that CafA may contribute at some point during the decay of many RNAs in E. coli.  (+info)

(3/22353) RNAi: double-stranded RNA directs the ATP-dependent cleavage of mRNA at 21 to 23 nucleotide intervals.

Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) directs the sequence-specific degradation of mRNA through a process known as RNA interference (RNAi). Using a recently developed Drosophila in vitro system, we examined the molecular mechanism underlying RNAi. We find that RNAi is ATP dependent yet uncoupled from mRNA translation. During the RNAi reaction, both strands of the dsRNA are processed to RNA segments 21-23 nucleotides in length. Processing of the dsRNA to the small RNA fragments does not require the targeted mRNA. The mRNA is cleaved only within the region of identity with the dsRNA. Cleavage occurs at sites 21-23 nucleotides apart, the same interval observed for the dsRNA itself, suggesting that the 21-23 nucleotide fragments from the dsRNA are guiding mRNA cleavage.  (+info)

(4/22353) Caenorhabditis elegans beta-G spectrin is dispensable for establishment of epithelial polarity, but essential for muscular and neuronal function.

The Caenorhabditis elegans genome encodes one alpha spectrin subunit, a beta spectrin subunit (beta-G), and a beta-H spectrin subunit. Our experiments show that the phenotype resulting from the loss of the C. elegans alpha spectrin is reproduced by tandem depletion of both beta-G and beta-H spectrins. We propose that alpha spectrin combines with the beta-G and beta-H subunits to form alpha/beta-G and alpha/beta-H heteromers that perform the entire repertoire of spectrin function in the nematode. The expression patterns of nematode beta-G spectrin and vertebrate beta spectrins exhibit three striking parallels including: (1) beta spectrins are associated with the sites of cell-cell contact in epithelial tissues; (2) the highest levels of beta-G spectrin occur in the nervous system; and (3) beta spectrin-G in striated muscle is associated with points of attachment of the myofilament apparatus to adjacent cells. Nematode beta-G spectrin associates with plasma membranes at sites of cell-cell contact, beginning at the two-cell stage, and with a dramatic increase in intensity after gastrulation when most cell proliferation has been completed. Strikingly, depletion of nematode beta-G spectrin by RNA-mediated interference to undetectable levels does not affect the establishment of structural and functional polarity in epidermis and intestine. Contrary to recent speculation, beta-G spectrin is not associated with internal membranes and depletion of beta-G spectrin was not associated with any detectable defects in secretion. Instead beta-G spectrin-deficient nematodes arrest as early larvae with progressive defects in the musculature and nervous system. Therefore, C. elegans beta-G spectrin is required for normal muscle and neuron function, but is dispensable for embryonic elongation and establishment of early epithelial polarity. We hypothesize that heteromeric spectrin evolved in metazoans in response to the needs of cells in the context of mechanically integrated tissues that can withstand the rigors imposed by an active organism.  (+info)

(5/22353) Flagellum ontogeny in trypanosomes studied via an inherited and regulated RNA interference system.

The African trypanosome, Trypanosoma brucei possesses a large and unique intraflagellar structure called the paraflagellar rod (PFR). The PFR is composed of 2 major proteins, PFRA and PFRC. We have generated an inducible mutant trypanosome cell line (snl-2) that expresses linked inverted copies of a PFRA gene, capable of forming a PFRA double-stranded (ds) RNA. When expression of this dsRNA was induced, new PFRA RNA and PFRA protein quickly disappeared and PFR construction was affected, resulting in cell paralysis. This inducible RNA interference (RNAi) effect was fast-acting, heritable and reversible. It allowed us to demonstrate that PFR proteins are able to enter both mature and growing flagella but appear to concentrate differentially in new flagella because of the construction process. The PFR is constructed by a polar assembly process at the distal end of the flagellum resulting in a stable cytoskeletal structure with low turn-over. The inducible RNAi approach will have widespread applicability in studies of gene function and cellular processes in parasites.  (+info)

(6/22353) Mitotic phosphorylation of histone H3 is governed by Ipl1/aurora kinase and Glc7/PP1 phosphatase in budding yeast and nematodes.

Phosphorylation of histone H3 at serine 10 occurs during mitosis and meiosis in a wide range of eukaryotes and has been shown to be required for proper chromosome transmission in Tetrahymena. Here we report that Ipl1/aurora kinase and its genetically interacting phosphatase, Glc7/PP1, are responsible for the balance of H3 phosphorylation during mitosis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Caenorhabditis elegans. In these models, both enzymes are required for H3 phosphorylation and chromosome segregation, although a causal link between the two processes has not been demonstrated. Deregulation of human aurora kinases has been implicated in oncogenesis as a consequence of chromosome missegregation. Our findings reveal an enzyme system that regulates chromosome dynamics and controls histone phosphorylation that is conserved among diverse eukaryotes.  (+info)

(7/22353) Double-stranded RNA injection produces nonspecific defects in zebrafish.

We have investigated the ability of dsRNA to inhibit gene functions in zebrafish using sequences targeted to the maternal gene pouII-1, the transgene GFP, and an intron of the zebrafish gene terra. We found that embryos injected with all of these dsRNAs at approximately 7.5 pg/embryo or higher had general growth arrest during gastrulation and displayed various nonspecific defects at 24 h postfertilization, although embryonic development was unaffected before the midblastula stage. Reducing dsRNA concentration could alleviate the global defects. Injection of GFP dsRNA (7.5-30 pg/embryo) did not inhibit GFP expression in transgenic fish, although abnormal embryos were induced. Co-injection of GFP mRNA with either GFP or non-GFP dsRNA caused reduction of GFP expression. Whole-mount in situ hybridization clearly showed that embryos injected with dsRNA degraded co-injected and endogenous mRNA without sequence specificity, indicating that dsRNA has a nonspecific effect at the posttranscriptional level. It appears that RNAi is not a viable technique for studying gene function in zebrafish embryos.  (+info)

(8/22353) Drosophila mitochondrial transcription factor A (d-TFAM) is dispensable for the transcription of mitochondrial DNA in Kc167 cells.

We have cloned cDNA encoding Drosophila mitochondrial (mt) transcription factor A (d-TFAM). RNA interference (RNAi) of d-TFAM by lipofection of haemocyte-derived Kc167 cells with double-stranded RNA reduced d-TFAM to less than 5% of the normal level. Reflecting the ability of TFAM to stabilize mtDNA, RNAi of d-TFAM reduced mtDNA to 40%. Nonetheless, transcription of the ND2 and ND5 genes and their mRNAs remained unchanged for 8 days of the duration of RNAi. We thus show that d-TFAM is not essential for the transcription of Drosophila mtDNA.  (+info)