Four dimers of lambda repressor bound to two suitably spaced pairs of lambda operators form octamers and DNA loops over large distances.
Transcription factors that are bound specifically to DNA often interact with each other over thousands of base pairs  . Large DNA loops resulting from such interactions have been observed in Escherichia coli with the transcription factors deoR  and NtrC , but such interactions are not, as yet, well understood. We propose that unique protein complexes, that are not present in solution, may form specifically on DNA. Their uniqueness would make it possible for them to interact tightly and specifically with each other. We used the repressor and operators of coliphage lambda to construct a model system in which to test our proposition. lambda repressor is a dimer at physiological concentrations, but forms tetramers and octamers at a hundredfold higher concentration. We predict that two lambda repressor dimers form a tetramer in vitro when bound to two lambda operators spaced 24 bp apart and that two such tetramers interact to form an octamer. We examined, in vitro, relaxed circular plasmid DNA in which such operator pairs were separated by 2,850 bp and 2,470 bp. Of these molecules, 29% formed loops as seen by electron microscopy (EM). The loop increased the tightness of binding of lambda repressor to lambda operator. Consequently, repression of the lambda PR promoter in vivo was increased fourfold by the presence of a second pair of lambda operators, separated by a distance of 3,600 bp. (+info)
A cytomegalovirus glycoprotein re-routes MHC class I complexes to lysosomes for degradation.
Mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV) early gene expression interferes with the major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC class I) pathway of antigen presentation. Here we identify a 48 kDa type I transmembrane glycoprotein encoded by the MCMV early gene m06, which tightly binds to properly folded beta2-microglobulin (beta2m)-associated MHC class I molecules in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). This association is mediated by the lumenal/transmembrane part of the protein. gp48-MHC class I complexes are transported out of the ER, pass the Golgi, but instead of being expressed on the cell surface, they are redirected to the endocytic route and rapidly degraded in a Lamp-1(+) compartment. As a result, m06-expressing cells are impaired in presenting antigenic peptides to CD8(+) T cells. The cytoplasmic tail of gp48 contains two di-leucine motifs. Mutation of the membrane-proximal di-leucine motif of gp48 restored surface expression of MHC class I, while mutation of the distal one had no effect. The results establish a novel viral mechanism for downregulation of MHC class I molecules by directly binding surface-destined MHC complexes and exploiting the cellular di-leucine sorting machinery for lysosomal degradation. (+info)
The amino-terminal C/H1 domain of CREB binding protein mediates zta transcriptional activation of latent Epstein-Barr virus.
Latent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is maintained as a nucleosome-covered episome that can be transcriptionally activated by overexpression of the viral immediate-early protein, Zta. We show here that reactivation of latent EBV by Zta can be significantly enhanced by coexpression of the cellular coactivators CREB binding protein (CBP) and p300. A stable complex containing both Zta and CBP could be isolated from lytically stimulated, but not latently infected RAJI nuclear extracts. Zta-mediated viral reactivation and transcriptional activation were both significantly inhibited by coexpression of the E1A 12S protein but not by an N-terminal deletion mutation of E1A (E1ADelta2-36), which fails to bind CBP. Zta bound directly to two related cysteine- and histidine-rich domains of CBP, referred to as C/H1 and C/H3. These domains both interacted specifically with the transcriptional activation domain of Zta in an electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Interestingly, we found that the C/H3 domain was a potent dominant negative inhibitor of Zta transcriptional activation function. In contrast, an amino-terminal fragment containing the C/H1 domain was sufficient for coactivation of Zta transcription and viral reactivation function. Thus, CBP can stimulate the transcription of latent EBV in a histone acetyltransferase-independent manner mediated by the CBP amino-terminal C/H1-containing domain. We propose that CBP may regulate aspects of EBV latency and reactivation by integrating cellular signals mediated by competitive interactions between C/H1, C/H3, and the Zta activation domain. (+info)
Deletion of multiple immediate-early genes from herpes simplex virus reduces cytotoxicity and permits long-term gene expression in neurons.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) has many attractive features that suggest its utility for gene transfer to neurons. However, viral cytotoxicity and transient transgene expression limit practical applications even in the absence of viral replication. Mutant viruses deleted for the immediate early (IE) gene, ICP4, an essential transcriptional transactivator, are toxic to many cell types in culture in which only the remaining IE genes are expressed. In order to test directly the toxicity of other IE gene products in neurons and develop a mutant background capable of longterm transgene expression, we generated mutants deleted for multiple IE genes in various combinations and tested their relative cytotoxicity in 9L rat gliosarcoma cells, Vero monkey kidney cells, and primary rat cortical and dorsal root neurons in culture. Viral mutants deleted simultaneously for the IE genes encoding ICP4, ICP22 and ICP27 showed substantially reduced cytotoxicity compared with viruses deleted for ICP4 alone or ICP4 in combination with either ICP22, ICP27 or ICP47. Infection of neurons in culture with these triple IE deletion mutants substantially enhanced cell survival and permitted transgene expression for over 21 days. Such mutants may prove useful for efficient gene transfer and extended transgene expression in neurons in vitro and in vivo. (+info)
An antiviral mechanism of nitric oxide: inhibition of a viral protease.
Although nitric oxide (NO) kills or inhibits the replication of a variety of intracellular pathogens, the antimicrobial mechanisms of NO are unknown. Here, we identify a viral protease as a target of NO. The life cycle of many viruses depends upon viral proteases that cleave viral polyproteins into individual polypeptides. NO inactivates the Coxsackievirus protease 3C, an enzyme necessary for the replication of Coxsackievirus. NO S-nitrosylates the cysteine residue in the active site of protease 3C, inhibiting protease activity and interrupting the viral life cycle. Substituting a serine residue for the active site cysteine renders protease 3C resistant to NO inhibition. Since cysteine proteases are critical for virulence or replication of many viruses, bacteria, and parasites, S-nitrosylation of pathogen cysteine proteases may be a general mechanism of antimicrobial host defenses. (+info)
Interleukin-18 binding protein: a novel modulator of the Th1 cytokine response.
An interleukin-18 binding protein (IL-18BP) was purified from urine by chromatography on IL-18 beads, sequenced, cloned, and expressed in COS7 cells. IL-18BP abolished IL-18 induction of interferon-gamma (IFNgamma), IL-8, and activation of NF-kappaB in vitro. Administration of IL-18BP to mice abrogated circulating IFNgamma following LPS. Thus, IL-18BP functions as an inhibitor of the early Th1 cytokine response. IL-18BP is constitutively expressed in the spleen, belongs to the immunoglobulin superfamily, and has limited homology to the IL-1 type II receptor. Its gene was localized on human chromosome 11q13, and no exon coding for a transmembrane domain was found in an 8.3 kb genomic sequence. Several Poxviruses encode putative proteins highly homologous to IL-18BP, suggesting that viral products may attenuate IL-18 and interfere with the cytotoxic T cell response. (+info)
An examination of coaxial stacking of helical stems in a pseudoknot motif: the gene 32 messenger RNA pseudoknot of bacteriophage T2.
The RNA pseudoknot located at the 5' end of the gene 32 messenger RNA of bacteriophage T2 contains two A-form helical stems connected by two loops, in an H-type pseudoknot topology. A combination of multidimensional NMR methods and isotope labeling were used to investigate the pseudoknot structure, resulting in a more detailed structural model than provided by earlier homonuclear NMR studies. Of particular significance, the interface between the stacked helical stems within the pseudoknot motif is described in detail. The two stems are stacked in a coaxial manner, with an approximately 18 degrees rotation of stem1 relative to stem2 about an axis that is parallel to the helical axis. This rotation serves to relieve what would otherwise be a relatively close phosphate-phosphate contact at the junction of the two stems, while preserving the stabilizing effects of base stacking. The ability of the NMR data to determine pseudoknot bending was critically assessed. The data were found to be a modestly precise indicator of pseudoknot bending, with the angle between the helical axes of stem1 and stem2 being in the range of 15+/-15 degrees. Pseudoknot models with bend angles within this range are equally consistent with the data, since they differ by only small amounts in the relatively short-range interproton distances from which the structure was derived. The gene 32 messenger RNA pseudoknot was compared with other RNA structures with coaxial or near-coaxial stacked helical stems. (+info)
Novel endotheliotropic herpesviruses fatal for Asian and African elephants.
A highly fatal hemorrhagic disease has been identified in 10 young Asian and African elephants at North American zoos. In the affected animals there was ultrastructural evidence for herpesvirus-like particles in endothelial cells of the heart, liver, and tongue. Consensus primer polymerase chain reaction combined with sequencing yielded molecular evidence that confirmed the presence of two novel but related herpesviruses associated with the disease, one in Asian elephants and another in African elephants. Otherwise healthy African elephants with external herpetic lesions yielded herpesvirus sequences identical to that found in Asian elephants with endothelial disease. This finding suggests that the Asian elephant deaths were caused by cross-species infection with a herpesvirus that is naturally latent in, but normally not lethal to, African elephants. A reciprocal relationship may exist for the African elephant disease. (+info)