A novel H2A/H4 nucleosomal histone acetyltransferase in Tetrahymena thermophila. (1/4212)

Recently, we reported the identification of a 55-kDa polypeptide (p55) from Tetrahymena macronuclei as a catalytic subunit of a transcription-associated histone acetyltransferase (HAT A). Extensive homology between p55 and Gcn5p, a component of the SAGA and ADA transcriptional coactivator complexes in budding yeast, suggests an immediate link between the regulation of chromatin structure and transcriptional output. Here we report the characterization of a second transcription-associated HAT activity from Tetrahymena macronuclei. This novel activity is distinct from complexes containing p55 and putative ciliate SAGA and ADA components and shares several characteristics with NuA4 (for nucleosomal H2A/H4), a 1.8-MDa, Gcn5p-independent HAT complex recently described in yeast. A key feature of both the NuA4 and Tetrahymena activities is their acetylation site specificity for lysines 5, 8, 12, and 16 of H4 and lysines 5 and 9 of H2A in nucleosomal substrates, patterns that are distinct from those of known Gcn5p family members. Moreover, like NuA4, the Tetrahymena activity is capable of activating transcription from nucleosomal templates in vitro in an acetyl coenzyme A-dependent fashion. Unlike NuA4, however, sucrose gradient analyses of the ciliate enzyme, following sequential denaturation and renaturation, estimate the molecular size of the catalytically active subunit to be approximately 80 kDa, consistent with the notion that a single polypeptide or a stable subcomplex is sufficient for this H2A/H4 nucleosomal HAT activity. Together, these data document the importance of this novel HAT activity for transcriptional activation from chromatin templates and suggest that a second catalytic HAT subunit, in addition to p55/Gcn5p, is conserved between yeast and Tetrahymena.  (+info)

Stable remodeling of tailless nucleosomes by the human SWI-SNF complex. (2/4212)

The histone N-terminal tails have been shown previously to be important for chromatin assembly, remodeling, and stability. We have tested the ability of human SWI-SNF (hSWI-SNF) to remodel nucleosomes whose tails have been cleaved through a limited trypsin digestion. We show that hSWI-SNF is able to remodel tailless mononucleosomes and nucleosomal arrays, although hSWI-SNF remodeling of tailless nucleosomes is less effective than remodeling of nucleosomes with tails. Analogous to previous observations with tailed nucleosomal templates, we show both (i) that hSWI-SNF-remodeled trypsinized mononucleosomes and arrays are stable for 30 min in the remodeled conformation after removal of ATP and (ii) that the remodeled tailless mononucleosome can be isolated on a nondenaturing acrylamide gel as a novel species. Thus, nucleosome remodeling by hSWI-SNF can occur via interactions with a tailless nucleosome core.  (+info)

Search for retroviral related DNA polymorphisms using RAPD PCR in schizophrenia. (3/4212)

Random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) is widely used to detect polymorphisms in many organisms. Individual (or strain) specific amplified bands are generated with single or pairs of primers in PCR reactions and can serve as genetic markers. We have used this method to generate a large number of reproducible bands with single primers, random and retroviral related, on 92 human DNA samples. Theoretically, RAPD PCR presents a logical approach for assessing variability among individuals. We used ten retroviral related primers (12, 20 and 22 bp) and eight random primers (10 bp) to assess individual differences in the context of testing the retroviral hypothesis for schizophrenia. Three pairs of discordant monozygotic twins, four pairs of discordant full sibs and 53 schizophrenic individuals with 25 of their unrelated matched controls were analyzed. Ten of these primers resulted in a total of approx. 850 amplified bands (65-110 bands per primer). Almost all of these bands were identical among each individual analyzed. However, the results are inconclusive with respect to the retroviral hypothesis for schizophrenia. The general lack of RAPD polymorphism in this study may argue for mechanisms other than rearrangements such as inversions, associated with the evolution of the human genome.  (+info)

Ligand-dependent activation of transcription in vitro by retinoic acid receptor alpha/retinoid X receptor alpha heterodimers that mimics transactivation by retinoids in vivo. (4/4212)

All-trans and 9-cis retinoic acids (RA) signals are transduced by retinoic acid receptor/retinoid X receptor (RAR/RXR) heterodimers that act as functional units controlling the transcription of RA-responsive genes. With the aim of elucidating the underlying molecular mechanisms, we have developed an in vitro transcription system using a chromatin template made up of a minimal promoter and a direct repeat with 5-spacing-based RA response element. RARalpha and RXRalpha were expressed in and purified from baculovirus-infected Sf9 cells, and transcription was carried out by using naked DNA or chromatin templates. Transcription from naked templates was not affected by the presence of RA and/or RAR/RXR heterodimers. In contrast, very little transcription occurred from chromatin templates in the absence of RA or RAR/RXR heterodimers whereas their addition resulted in a dosage-dependent stimulation of transcription that never exceeded that occurring on naked DNA templates. Most importantly, the addition of synthetic agonistic or antagonistic retinoids to the chromatin transcription system mimicked their stimulatory or inhibitory action in vivo, and activation by a RXR-specific retinoid was subordinated to the binding of an agonist ligand to the RAR partner. Moreover, the addition of the p300 coactivator generated a synergistic enhancement of transcription. Thus, the dissection of this transcription system ultimately should lead to the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms by which RAR/RXR heterodimers control transcription in a ligand-dependent manner.  (+info)

Restriction fragment analysis of bacteriophage SPP1 in vitro transcription by host RNA polymerase. (5/4212)

In vitro transcription of SPP1 DNA occurred on only one of the two strands, the same which is predominantly transcribed in SPP1-infected cells. Transcripts were distributed in several size classes. Analysis of elongation kinetics and of size distribution, coupled with hybridization to DNA restriction fragments, showed that some regions of the template have more initiation sites than others; some have none. Some regions were transcribed directly, some were transcribed from initiation sites located in other regions, and one was never transcribed. Several transcription initiation sites on SPP1 DNA are located on EcoRI fragment 1; four to five others are distributed among other fragments. Cutting the DNA with EcoRI did not introduce artifactual initiation sites. In vitro transcription units can be localized and oriented with respect to the EcoRI restriction map of SPP1 DNA.  (+info)

A fast, stochastic threading algorithm for proteins. (6/4212)

MOTIVATION: Sequences for new proteins are being determined at a rapid rate, as a result of the Human Genome Project, and related genome research. The ability to predict the three-dimensional structure of proteins from sequence alone would be useful in discovering and understanding their function. Threading, or fold recognition, aims to predict the tertiary structure of a protein by aligning its amino acid sequence with a large number of structures, and finding the best fit. This approach depends on obtaining good performance from both the scoring function, which simulates the free energy for given trial alignments, and the threading algorithm, which searches for the lowest-score alignment. It appears that current scoring functions and threading algorithms need improvement. RESULTS: This paper presents a new threading algorithm. Numerical tests demonstrate that it is more powerful than two popular approximate algorithms, and much faster than exact methods.  (+info)

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 Tat-dependent activation of an arrested RNA polymerase II elongation complex. (7/4212)

The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Tat protein is a transcriptional activator that is essential for efficient viral gene expression and replication. Tat increases the level of full-length transcripts from the HIV-1 promoter by dramatically enhancing the elongation efficiency of the RNA polymerase II complexes assembled on this promoter. Tat could potentially activate the transcription machinery during initiation, elongation, or both. We used an immobilized HIV-1 promoter template with a reversible lac repressor (LacR) elongation block inserted downstream to dissect the stages in transcription affected by Tat. Transcription complexes assembled in the absence of Tat and blocked by LacR cannot be activated by incubation with Tat alone. These complexes can, however, be activated if Tat is added in combination with cellular factors. In this system, Tat also promoted the assembly of preinitiation complexes capable of elongating efficiently, suggesting that Tat can associate with transcription complex at an early stage. These data indicate that Tat can activate elongation of RNA polymerase by modifying an already elongating transcription complex. The data also suggest the possibility that Tat can interact with initiation complexes.  (+info)

Semi-nested, multiplex polymerase chain reaction for detection of human malaria parasites and evidence of Plasmodium vivax infection in Equatorial Guinea. (8/4212)

A semi-nested, multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based on the amplification of the sequences of the 18S small subunit ribosomal RNA (ssrRNA) gene was tested in a field trial in Equatorial Guinea (a hyperendemic focus of malaria in west central Africa). The method uses a primary PCR amplification reaction with a universal reverse primer and two forward primers specific for the genus Plasmodium and to mammals (the mammalian-specific primer was included as a positive control to distinguish uninfected cases from inhibition of the PCR). The second amplification is carried out with the same Plasmodium genus-specific forward primer and four specific reverse primers for each human Plasmodium species. The PCR amplified products are differentiated by fragment size after electrophoresis on a 2% agarose gel. Four villages from three regions of the island of Bioko (Equatorial Guinea) and two suspected Plasmodium vivax-P. ovale infections from the hospital of Malabo were tested by microscopy and PCR. The PCR method showed greater sensitivity and specificity than microscopic examination and confirmed the existence of a focus of P. vivax infections in Equatorial Guinea suspected by microscopic examination. It also provided evidence of several mixed infections, mainly P. falciparum and P. malariae, the two predominant species causing malaria in Equatorial Guinea.  (+info)