HSP27 multimerization mediated by phosphorylation-sensitive intermolecular interactions at the amino terminus. (1/1413)

Distinct biochemical activities have been reported for small and large molecular complexes of heat shock protein 27 (HSP27), respectively. Using glycerol gradient ultracentrifugation and chemical cross-linking, we show here that Chinese hamster HSP27 is expressed in cells as homotypic multimers ranging from dimers up to 700-kDa oligomers. Treatments with arsenite, which induces phosphorylation on Ser15 and Ser90, provoked a major change in the size distribution of the complexes that shifted from oligomers to dimers. Ser90 phosphorylation was sufficient and necessary for causing this change in structure. Dimer formation was severely inhibited by replacing Ser90 with Ala90 but not by replacing Ser15 with Ala15. Using the yeast two-hybrid system, two domains were identified that were responsible for HSP27 intermolecular interactions. One domain was insensitive to phosphorylation and corresponded to the C-terminal alpha-crystallin domain. The other domain was sensitive to serine 90 phosphorylation and was located in the N-terminal region of the protein. Fusion of this N-terminal domain to firefly luciferase conferred luciferase with the capacity to form multimers that dissociated into monomers upon phosphorylation. A deletion within this domain of residues Arg5-Tyr23, which contains a WDPF motif found in most proteins of the small heat shock protein family, yielded a protein that forms only phosphorylation-insensitive dimers. We propose that HSP27 forms stable dimers through the alpha-crystallin domain. These dimers further multimerize through intermolecular interactions mediated by the phosphorylation-sensitive N-terminal domain.  (+info)

Photorhabdus luminescens W-14 insecticidal activity consists of at least two similar but distinct proteins. Purification and characterization of toxin A and toxin B. (2/1413)

Both the bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens alone and its symbiotic Photorhabdus-nematode complex are known to be highly pathogenic to insects. The nature of the insecticidal activity of Photorhabdus bacteria was investigated for its potential application as an insect control agent. It was found that in the fermentation broth of P. luminescens strain W-14, at least two proteins, toxin A and toxin B, independently contributed to the oral insecticidal activity against Southern corn rootworm. Purified toxin A and toxin B exhibited single bands on native polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and two peptides of 208 and 63 kDa on SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The native molecular weight of both the toxin A and toxin B was determined to be approximately 860 kDa, suggesting that they are tetrameric. NH2-terminal amino acid sequencing and Western analysis using monospecific antibodies to each toxin demonstrated that the two toxins were distinct but homologous. The oral potency (LD50) of toxin A and toxin B against Southern corn rootworm larvae was determined to be similar to that observed with highly potent Bt toxins against lepidopteran pests. In addition, it was found that the two peptides present in toxin B could be processed in vitro from a 281-kDa protoxin by endogenous P. luminescens proteases. Proteolytic processing was shown to enhance insecticidal activity.  (+info)

In vivo regulation of beta-MHC gene in rodent heart: role of T3 and evidence for an upstream enhancer. (3/1413)

Cardiac beta-myosin heavy chain (beta-MHC) gene expression is mainly regulated through transcriptional processes. Although these results are based primarily on in vitro cell culture models, relatively little information is available concerning the interaction of key regulatory factors thought to modulate MHC expression in the intact rodent heart. Using a direct gene transfer approach, we studied the in vivo transcriptional activity of different-length beta-MHC promoter fragments in normal control and in altered thyroid states. The test beta-MHC promoter was fused to a firefly luciferase reporter gene, whereas the control alpha-MHC promoter was fused to the Renilla luciferase reporter gene and was used to account for variations in transfection efficiency. Absolute reporter gene activities showed that beta- and alpha-MHC genes were individually and reciprocally regulated by thyroid hormone. The beta-to-alpha ratios of reporter gene expression demonstrated an almost threefold larger beta-MHC gene expression in the longest than in the shorter promoter fragments in normal control animals, implying the existence of an upstream enhancer. A mutation in the putative thyroid response element of the -408-bp beta-MHC promoter construct caused transcriptional activity to drop to null. When studied in the -3, 500-bp beta-MHC promoter, construct activity was reduced ( approximately 100-fold) while thyroid hormone responsiveness was retained. These findings suggest that, even though the bulk of the thyroid hormone responsiveness of the gene is contained within the first 215 bp of the beta-MHC promoter sequence, the exact mechanism of triiodothyronine (T3) action remains to be elucidated.  (+info)

Glucose generates sub-plasma membrane ATP microdomains in single islet beta-cells. Potential role for strategically located mitochondria. (4/1413)

Increases in the concentration of free ATP within the islet beta-cell may couple elevations in blood glucose to insulin release by closing ATP-sensitive K+ (KATP) channels and activating Ca2+ influx. Here, we use recombinant targeted luciferases and photon counting imaging to monitor changes in free [ATP] in subdomains of single living MIN6 and primary beta-cells. Resting [ATP] in the cytosol ([ATP]c), in the mitochondrial matrix ([ATP]m), and beneath the plasma membrane ([ATP]pm) were similar ( approximately 1 mM). Elevations in extracellular glucose concentration (3-30 mM) increased free [ATP] in each domain with distinct kinetics. Thus, sustained increases in [ATP]m and [ATP]pm were observed, but only a transient increase in [ATP]c. However, detectable increases in [ATP]c and [ATP]pm, but not [ATP]m, required extracellular Ca2+. Enhancement of glucose-induced Ca2+ influx with high [K+] had little effect on the apparent [ATP]c and [ATP]m increases but augmented the [ATP]pm increase. Underlying these changes, glucose increased the mitochondrial proton motive force, an effect mimicked by high [K+]. These data support a model in which glucose increases [ATP]m both through enhanced substrate supply and by progressive Ca2+-dependent activation of mitochondrial enzymes. This may then lead to a privileged elevation of [ATP]pm, which may be essential for the sustained closure of KATP channels. Luciferase imaging would appear to be a useful new tool for dynamic in vivo imaging of free ATP concentration.  (+info)

Molecular systematics of cytochrome oxidase I and 16S from Neochlamisus leaf beetles and the importance of sampling. (5/1413)

If a gene tree is to be judiciously used for inferring the histories of closely related taxa, (1) its topology must be sufficiently resolved and robust that noteworthy phylogenetic patterns can be confidently documented, and (2) sampling of species, populations, and pertinent biological variation must be sufficiently broad that otherwise misleading sources of genetic variation can be detected. These principles are illustrated by the complex gene tree of Neochlamisus leaf beetles that I reconstructed using 90,000 bp of cytochrome oxidase I (COI) and 16S mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences from over 100 specimens. Cytochrome oxidase I haplotypes varied up to 25.1% within Neochlamisus and up to 11.1% within the gibbosus species group, while exhibiting very low A + T bias for insect mtDNA (63%), low transition saturation, and conservative patterns of amino acid variation. 16S exhibited lower sequence divergences and greater A + T bias and transition saturation than COI, and substitutions were more constrained in stems than in loops. Comparisons with an earlier study of Ophraella leaf beetles highlighted conservative and labile elements of molecular evolution across genes and taxa. Cytochrome oxidase I parsimony and neighbor-joining analyses strongly supported a robust mtDNA genealogy that revealed the monophyly of Neochlamisus and of the gibbosus species group. Phylogeographic relationships suggested that the eastern U.S. gibbosus group derives from southwestern velutinus group ancestors. Haplotypes from individual velutinus group species clustered monophyletically, as expected. However, haplotypes from each of several gibbosus group taxa were polyphyletically distributed, appearing in divergent parts of the tree. 16S provided a less-resolved gibbosus group topology that was congruent with the COI tree and corroborated patterns of mitochondrial polyphyly. By subsampling haplotypes corresponding to particular species, populations, and ecological variants of gibbosus group taxa, I demonstrate that recovered topologies and genetic distances vary egregiously according to sampling regime. This study thus documents the potentially dire consequences of inadequate sampling when inferring the evolutionary history of closely related and mitochondrially polyphyletic taxa.  (+info)

A visual evoked potential correlate of global figure-ground segmentation. (6/1413)

Human observers discriminated the global orientation of a texture-defined figure which segregated from a texture surround. Global figure discriminability was manipulated through within-figure collinearity, figure-surround interaction, and figure connectedness, while the local orientation contrast at edges between figure and surround was kept constant throughout all the experiments. Visual evoked potentials (VEPs) were recorded during onset-offset stimulation in which the figure cyclically appeared and disappeared from a uniform texture background. A difference component was obtained by subtraction of offset-from onset-VEP. Two negative peaks of the difference component are found with latencies around 140-160 and 200-260 ms, respectively. Enhanced discriminability of the global figure reduced (11-25 ms) the latency of the second peak, hence indicating that the 200-260 ms component was produced by global figure-ground segmentation.  (+info)

Seeing better at night: life style, eye design and the optimum strategy of spatial and temporal summation. (7/1413)

Animals which need to see well at night generally have eyes with wide pupils. This optical strategy to improve photon capture may be improved neurally by summing the outputs of neighbouring visual channels (spatial summation) or by increasing the length of time a sample of photons is counted by the eye (temporal summation). These summation strategies only come at the cost of spatial and temporal resolution. A simple analytical model is developed to investigate whether the improved photon catch afforded by summation really improves vision in dim light, or whether the losses in resolution actually make vision worse. The model, developed for both vertebrate camera eyes and arthropod compound eyes, calculates the finest spatial detail perceivable by a given eye design at a specified light intensity and image velocity. Visual performance is calculated for the apposition compound eye of the locust, the superposition compound eye of the dung beetle and the camera eye of the nocturnal toad. The results reveal that spatial and temporal summation is extremely beneficial to vision in dim light, especially in small eyes (e.g. compound eyes), which have a restricted ability to collect photons optically. The model predicts that using optimum spatiotemporal summation the locust can extend its vision to light intensities more than 100,000 times dimmer than if it relied on its optics alone. The relative amounts of spatial and temporal summation predicted to be optimal in dim light depend on the image velocity. Animals which are sedentary and rely on seeing small, slow images (such as the toad) are predicted to rely more on temporal summation and less on spatial summation. The opposite strategy is predicted for animals which need to see large, fast images. The predictions of the model agree very well with the known visual behaviours of nocturnal animals.  (+info)

Sequencing and characterization of the citrus weevil, Diaprepes abbreviatus, trypsin cDNA. Effect of Aedes trypsin modulating oostatic factor on trypsin biosynthesis. (8/1413)

Trypsin mRNA from the citrus weevil, Diaprepes abbreviatus, was reverse transcribed and amplified by PCR. A cDNA species of 513 bp was cloned and sequenced. The 3' and 5' ends of the gene (262 bp and 237 bp, respectively) were amplified by rapid amplification of cDNA ends, cloned and sequenced. The deduced sequence of the trypsin cDNA (860 bp) encodes for 250 amino acids including 11 amino acids of activation and signal peptides and exhibited 16.8% identity to trypsin genes of selected Lepidoptera and Diptera. A three-dimensional model of Diaprepes trypsin contained two domains of beta-barrel sheets as has been found in Drosophila and Neobellieria. The catalytic active site is composed of the canonical triad of His41, Asp92 and Ser185 and a specificity pocket occupied by Asp179 with maximal activity at pH 10.4. Southern blot analysis indicated that at least two copies of the gene are encoded by Diaprepes midgut. Northern blot analysis detected a single RNA band below 1.35 kb at different larval ages (28-100 days old). The message increased with age and was most abundant at 100 days. Trypsin activity, on the other hand, reached a peak at 50 days and fell rapidly afterwards indicating that the trypsin message is probably regulated translationally. Feeding of soybean trypsin inhibitor and Aedes aegypti trypsin modulating oostatic factor affected trypsin activity and trypsin biosynthesis, respectively. These results indicate that Diaprepes regulates trypsin biosynthesis with a trypsin modulating oostatic factor-like signal.  (+info)