Characterization of an amphioxus paired box gene, AmphiPax2/5/8: developmental expression patterns in optic support cells, nephridium, thyroid-like structures and pharyngeal gill slits, but not in the midbrain-hindbrain boundary region.
On the basis of developmental gene expression, the vertebrate central nervous system comprises: a forebrain plus anterior midbrain, a midbrain-hindbrain boundary region (MHB) having organizer properties, and a rhombospinal domain. The vertebrate MHB is characterized by position, by organizer properties and by being the early site of action of Wnt1 and engrailed genes, and of genes of the Pax2/5/8 subfamily. Wada and others (Wada, H., Saiga, H., Satoh, N. and Holland, P. W. H. (1998) Development 125, 1113-1122) suggested that ascidian tunicates have a vertebrate-like MHB on the basis of ascidian Pax258 expression there. In another invertebrate chordate, amphioxus, comparable gene expression evidence for a vertebrate-like MHB is lacking. We, therefore, isolated and characterized AmphiPax2/5/8, the sole member of this subfamily in amphioxus. AmphiPax2/5/8 is initially expressed well back in the rhombospinal domain and not where a MHB would be expected. In contrast, most of the other expression domains of AmphiPax2/5/8 correspond to expression domains of vertebrate Pax2, Pax5 and Pax8 in structures that are probably homologous - support cells of the eye, nephridium, thyroid-like structures and pharyngeal gill slits; although AmphiPax2/5/8 is not transcribed in any structures that could be interpreted as homologues of vertebrate otic placodes or otic vesicles. In sum, the developmental expression of AmphiPax2/5/8 indicates that the amphioxus central nervous system lacks a MHB resembling the vertebrate isthmic region. Additional gene expression data for the developing ascidian and amphioxus nervous systems would help determine whether a MHB is a basal chordate character secondarily lost in amphioxus. The alternative is that the MHB is a vertebrate innovation. (+info)
Conserved domains and lack of evidence for polyglutamine length polymorphism in the chicken homolog of the Machado-Joseph disease gene product ataxin-3.
Ataxin-3 is a protein of unknown function which is mutated in Machado-Joseph disease by expansion of a genetically unstable CAG repeat encoding polyglutamine. By analysis of chicken ataxin-3 we were able to identify four conserved domains of the protein and detected widespread expression in chicken tissues. In the first such analysis in a non-primate species we found that in contrast to primates, the chicken CAG repeat is short and genetically stable. (+info)
Sequence analysis and expression of a mouse homolog of human IkappaBL gene.
The family of transcriptional inhibitors, IkappaBLs, are critical to the regulation of cytokine and chemokine production. We have identified the complete cDNA sequence of the mouse IkappabL gene. The predicted 381-amino-acid sequence showed evidence of two ankyrin repeats characteristic of Ikappab family proteins and 92% identity to the IkappaBL human homolog. Although human IkappaBL has been reported to be ubiquitously expressed, here we show that mouse IkappaBL is transcribed in a more tissue-specific manner. (+info)
Canine preprorelaxin: nucleic acid sequence and localization within the canine placenta.
Employing uteroplacental tissue at Day 35 of gestation, we determined the nucleic acid sequence of canine preprorelaxin using reverse transcription- and rapid amplification of cDNA ends-polymerase chain reaction. Canine preprorelaxin cDNA consisted of 534 base pairs encoding a protein of 177 amino acids with a signal peptide of 25 amino acids (aa), a B domain of 35 aa, a C domain of 93 aa, and an A domain of 24 aa. The putative receptor binding region in the N'-terminal part of the canine relaxin B domain GRDYVR contained two substitutions from the classical motif (E-->D and L-->Y). Canine preprorelaxin shared highest homology with porcine and equine preprorelaxin. Northern analysis revealed a 1-kilobase transcript present in total RNA of canine uteroplacental tissue but not of kidney tissue. Uteroplacental tissue from two bitches each at Days 30 and 35 of gestation were studied by in situ hybridization to localize relaxin mRNA. Immunohistochemistry for relaxin, cytokeratin, vimentin, and von Willebrand factor was performed on uteroplacental tissue at Day 30 of gestation. The basal cell layer at the core of the chorionic villi was devoid of relaxin mRNA and immunoreactive relaxin or vimentin but was immunopositive for cytokeratin and identified as cytotrophoblast cells. The cell layer surrounding the chorionic villi displayed specific hybridization signals for relaxin mRNA and immunoreactivity for relaxin and cytokeratin but not for vimentin, and was identified as syncytiotrophoblast. Those areas of the chorioallantoic tissue with most intense relaxin immunoreactivity were highly vascularized as demonstrated by immunoreactive von Willebrand factor expressed on vascular endothelium. The uterine glands and nonplacental uterine areas of the canine zonary girdle placenta were devoid of relaxin mRNA and relaxin. We conclude that the syncytiotrophoblast is the source of relaxin in the canine placenta. (+info)
Cloning, sequencing, and localization of bovine estrogen receptor-beta within the ovarian follicle.
The potential role of estrogen receptor-beta (ERbeta) in normal ovarian folliculogenesis and in reproductive disorders such as ovarian follicular cysts has not been well defined. Therefore, we were interested in cloning, sequencing, and localizing ERbeta mRNA and protein within the bovine ovary. Bovine ERbeta (bERbeta) was amplified by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), then cloned and sequenced. Results showed that the open reading frame of bERbeta cDNA spanned 1584 nucleotides encoding a protein of 527 amino acids. The N-terminal region of bERbeta was found to be 80% homologous to human and mouse ERbeta and 79% homologous to rat ERbeta. Bovine ERbeta DNA-binding domain was 100% homologous to human, mouse, and rat ERbeta sequences. The C-terminal/ligand-binding domain of bERbeta was 89% homologous to human, 86% homologous to mouse, and 88% homologous to rat ERbeta. Human and bovine ERbeta amino acid sequences are similar in that their coding region extended farther 5' than initially reported for the published rat ERbeta sequence. Using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, ERbeta mRNA and protein, respectively, were demonstrated to be present in granulosa cells of antral follicles in various stages of follicular growth. These findings suggest a role for bERbeta in ovarian follicular growth and maturation. (+info)
X inactive-specific transcript (Xist) expression and X chromosome inactivation in the preattachment bovine embryo.
Expression of the X inactive-specific transcript (Xist) is thought to be essential for the initiation of X chromosome inactivation and dosage compensation during female embryo development. In the present study, we analyzed the patterns of Xist transcription and the onset of X chromosome inactivation in bovine preattachment embryos. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) revealed the presence of Xist transcripts in all adult female somatic tissues evaluated. In contrast, among the male tissues examined, Xist expression was detected only in testis. No evidence for Xist transcription was observed after a single round of RT-PCR from pools of in vitro-derived embryos at the 2- to 4-cell stage. Xist transcripts were detected as a faint amplicon at the 8-cell stage initially, and consistently thereafter in all stages examined up to and including the expanded blastocyst stage. Xist transcripts, however, were subsequently detected from the 2-cell stage onward after nested RT-PCR. Preferential [3H]thymidine labeling indicative of late replication of one of the X chromosomes was noted in female embryos of different developmental ages as follows: 2 of 7 (28.5%) early blastocysts, 6 of 13 (46.1%) blastocysts, 8 of 11 (72.1%) expanded blastocysts, and 14 of 17 (77.7%) hatched blastocysts. These results suggest that Xist expression precedes the onset of late replication in the bovine embryo, in a pattern compatible with a possible role of bovine Xist in the initiation of X chromosome inactivation. (+info)
Pre-mRNA splicing of IgM exons M1 and M2 is directed by a juxtaposed splicing enhancer and inhibitor.
Splicing of certain pre-mRNA introns is dependent on an enhancer element, which is typically purine-rich. It is generally thought that enhancers increase the use of suboptimal splicing signals, and one specific proposal is that enhancers stabilize binding of U2AF65 to weak polypyrimidine (Py) tracts. Here, we test this model using an IgM pre-mRNA substrate, which contains a well-characterized enhancer. Although the enhancer was required for in vitro splicing, we found it had no effect on U2AF65 binding. Unexpectedly, replacement of the natural IgM Py tract, branchpoint, and 5' splice site with consensus splicing signals did not circumvent the enhancer requirement. These observations led us to identify a novel regulatory element within the IgM M2 exon that acts as a splicing inhibitor; removal of the inhibitor enabled splicing to occur in the absence of the enhancer. The IgM M2 splicing inhibitor is evolutionarily conserved, can inhibit the activity of an unrelated, constitutively spliced pre-mRNA, and acts by repressing splicing complex assembly. Interestingly, the inhibitor itself forms an ATP-dependent complex that contains U2 snRNP. We conclude that splicing of IgM exons M1 and M2 is directed by two juxtaposed regulatory elements-an enhancer and an inhibitor-and that a primary function of the enhancer is to counteract the inhibitor. (+info)
Metabolic engineering of poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates): from DNA to plastic.
Poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) (PHAs) are a class of microbially produced polyesters that have potential applications as conventional plastics, specifically thermoplastic elastomers. A wealth of biological diversity in PHA formation exists, with at least 100 different PHA constituents and at least five different dedicated PHA biosynthetic pathways. This diversity, in combination with classical microbial physiology and modern molecular biology, has now opened up this area for genetic and metabolic engineering to develop optimal PHA-producing organisms. Commercial processes for PHA production were initially developed by W. R. Grace in the 1960s and later developed by Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd., in the United Kingdom in the 1970s and 1980s. Since the early 1990s, Metabolix Inc. and Monsanto have been the driving forces behind the commercial exploitation of PHA polymers in the United States. The gram-negative bacterium Ralstonia eutropha, formerly known as Alcaligenes eutrophus, has generally been used as the production organism of choice, and intracellular accumulation of PHA of over 90% of the cell dry weight have been reported. The advent of molecular biological techniques and a developing environmental awareness initiated a renewed scientific interest in PHAs, and the biosynthetic machinery for PHA metabolism has been studied in great detail over the last two decades. Because the structure and monomeric composition of PHAs determine the applications for each type of polymer, a variety of polymers have been synthesized by cofeeding of various substrates or by metabolic engineering of the production organism. Classical microbiology and modern molecular bacterial physiology have been brought together to decipher the intricacies of PHA metabolism both for production purposes and for the unraveling of the natural role of PHAs. This review provides an overview of the different PHA biosynthetic systems and their genetic background, followed by a detailed summation of how this natural diversity is being used to develop commercially attractive, recombinant processes for the large-scale production of PHAs. (+info)