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(1/2958) The Drosophila kismet gene is related to chromatin-remodeling factors and is required for both segmentation and segment identity.

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)

(2/2958) Splicing factor Prp8 governs U4/U6 RNA unwinding during activation of the spliceosome.

The pre-mRNA 5' splice site is recognized by the ACAGA box of U6 spliceosomal RNA prior to catalysis of splicing. We previously identified a mutant U4 spliceosomal RNA, U4-cs1, that masks the ACAGA box in the U4/U6 complex, thus conferring a cold-sensitive splicing phenotype in vivo. Here, we show that U4-cs1 blocks in vitro splicing in a temperature-dependent, reversible manner. Analysis of splicing complexes that accumulate at low temperature shows that U4-cs1 prevents U4/U6 unwinding, an essential step in spliceosome activation. A novel mutation in the evolutionarily conserved U5 snRNP protein Prp8 suppresses the U4-cs1 growth defect. We propose that wild-type Prp8 triggers unwinding of U4 and U6 RNAs only after structurally correct recognition of the 5' splice site by the U6 ACAGA box and that the mutation (prp8-201) relaxes control of unwinding.  (+info)

(3/2958) Role of ribosome release in regulation of tna operon expression in Escherichia coli.

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)

(4/2958) Identification of RNase T as a high-copy suppressor of the UV sensitivity associated with single-strand DNA exonuclease deficiency in Escherichia coli.

There are three known single-strand DNA-specific exonucleases in Escherichia coli: RecJ, exonuclease I (ExoI), and exonuclease VII (ExoVII). E. coli that are deficient in all three exonucleases are abnormally sensitive to UV irradiation, most likely because of their inability to repair lesions that block replication. We have performed an iterative screen to uncover genes capable of ameliorating the UV repair defect of xonA (ExoI-) xseA (ExoVII-) recJ triple mutants. In this screen, exonuclease-deficient cells were transformed with a high-copy E. coli genomic library and then irradiated; plasmids harvested from surviving cells were used to seed subsequent rounds of transformation and selection. After several rounds of selection, multiple plasmids containing the rnt gene, which encodes RNase T, were found. An rnt plasmid increased the UV resistance of a xonA xseA recJ mutant and uvrA and uvrC mutants; however, it did not alter the survival of xseA recJ or recA mutants. RNase T also has amino acid sequence similarity to other 3' DNA exonucleases, including ExoI. These results suggest that RNase T may possess a 3' DNase activity capable of substituting for ExoI in the recombinational repair of UV-induced lesions.  (+info)

(5/2958) Fus3p and Kss1p control G1 arrest in Saccharomyces cerevisiae through a balance of distinct arrest and proliferative functions that operate in parallel with Far1p.

In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, mating pheromones activate two MAP kinases (MAPKs), Fus3p and Kss1p, to induce G1 arrest prior to mating. Fus3p is known to promote G1 arrest by activating Far1p, which inhibits three Clnp/Cdc28p kinases. To analyze the contribution of Fus3p and Kss1p to G1 arrest that is independent of Far1p, we constructed far1 CLN strains that undergo G1 arrest from increased activation of the mating MAP kinase pathway. We find that Fus3p and Kss1p both control G1 arrest through multiple functions that operate in parallel with Far1p. Fus3p and Kss1p together promote G1 arrest by repressing transcription of G1/S cyclin genes (CLN1, CLN2, CLB5) by a mechanism that blocks their activation by Cln3p/Cdc28p kinase. In addition, Fus3p and Kss1p counteract G1 arrest through overlapping and distinct functions. Fus3p and Kss1p together increase the expression of CLN3 and PCL2 genes that promote budding, and Kss1p inhibits the MAP kinase cascade. Strikingly, Fus3p promotes proliferation by a novel function that is not linked to reduced Ste12p activity or increased levels of Cln2p/Cdc28p kinase. Genetic analysis suggests that Fus3p promotes proliferation through activation of Mcm1p transcription factor that upregulates numerous genes in G1 phase. Thus, Fus3p and Kss1p control G1 arrest through a balance of arrest functions that inhibit the Cdc28p machinery and proliferative functions that bypass this inhibition.  (+info)

(6/2958) Evolution of the RECQ family of helicases: A drosophila homolog, Dmblm, is similar to the human bloom syndrome gene.

Several eukaryotic homologs of the Escherichia coli RecQ DNA helicase have been found. These include the human BLM gene, whose mutation results in Bloom syndrome, and the human WRN gene, whose mutation leads to Werner syndrome resembling premature aging. We cloned a Drosophila melanogaster homolog of the RECQ helicase family, Dmblm (Drosophila melanogaster Bloom), which encodes a putative 1487-amino-acid protein. Phylogenetic and dot plot analyses for the RECQ family, including 10 eukaryotic and 3 prokaryotic genes, indicate Dmblm is most closely related to the Homo sapiens BLM gene, suggesting functional similarity. Also, we found that Dmblm cDNA partially rescued the sensitivity to methyl methanesulfonate of Saccharomyces cerevisiae sgs1 mutant, demonstrating the presence of a functional similarity between Dmblm and SGS1. Our analyses identify four possible subfamilies in the RECQ family: (1) the BLM subgroup (H. sapiens Bloom, D. melanogaster Dmblm, and Caenorhabditis elegans T04A11.6); (2) the yeast RECQ subgroup (S. cerevisiae SGS1 and Schizosaccharomyces pombe rqh1/rad12); (3) the RECQL/Q1 subgroup (H. sapiens RECQL/Q1 and C. elegans K02F3.1); and (4) the WRN subgroup (H. sapiens Werner and C. elegans F18C5.2). This result may indicate that metazoans hold at least three RECQ genes, each of which may have a different function, and that multiple RECQ genes diverged with the generation of multicellular organisms. We propose that invertebrates such as nematodes and insects are useful as model systems of human genetic diseases.  (+info)

(7/2958) The yeast non-Mendelian factor [ETA+] is a variant of [PSI+], a prion-like form of release factor eRF3.

The yeast non-Mendelian factor [ETA+] is lethal in the presence of certain mutations in the SUP35 and SUP45 genes, which code for the translational release factors eRF3 and eRF1, respectively. One such mutation, sup35-2, is now shown to contain a UAG stop codon prior to the essential region of the gene. The non-Mendelian inheritance of [ETA+] is reminiscent of the yeast [PSI+] element, which is due to a self-propagating conformation of Sup35p. Here we show that [ETA+] and [PSI+] share many characteristics. Indeed, like [PSI+], the maintenance of [ETA+] requires the N-terminal region of Sup35p and depends on an appropriate level of the chaperone protein Hsp104. Moreover, [ETA+] can be induced de novo by excess Sup35p, and [ETA+] cells have a weak nonsense suppressor phenotype characteristic of weak [PSI+]. We conclude that [ETA+] is actually a weak, unstable variant of [PSI+]. We find that although some Sup35p aggregates in [ETA+] cells, more Sup35p remains soluble in [ETA+] cells than in isogenic strong [PSI+] cells. Our data suggest that the amount of soluble Sup35p determines the strength of translational nonsense suppression associated with different [PSI+] variants.  (+info)

(8/2958) The JAK-binding protein JAB inhibits Janus tyrosine kinase activity through binding in the activation loop.

The Janus family of protein tyrosine kinases (JAKs) regulate cellular processes involved in cell growth, differentiation and transformation through their association with cytokine receptors. However, compared with other kinases, little is known about cellular regulators of the JAKs. We have recently identified a JAK-binding protein (JAB) that inhibits JAK signaling in cells. In the studies presented here we demonstrate that JAB specifically binds to the tyrosine residue (Y1007) in the activation loop of JAK2, whose phosphorylation is required for activation of kinase activity. Binding to the phosphorylated activation loop requires the JAB SH2 domain and an additional N-terminal 12 amino acids (extended SH2 subdomain) containing two residues (Ile68 and Leu75) that are conserved in JAB-related proteins. An additional N-terminal 12-amino-acid region (kinase inhibitory region) of JAB also contributes to high-affinity binding to the JAK2 tyrosine kinase domain and is required for inhibition of JAK2 signaling and kinase activity. Our studies define a novel type of regulation of tyrosine kinases and might provide a basis for the design of specific tyrosine kinase inhibitors.  (+info)