ResearchPad - mutagenesis https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Revisiting promyelocytic leukemia protein targeting by human cytomegalovirus immediate-early protein 1]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14655 Promyelocytic leukemia (PML) bodies are liquid droplet-like structures organized by the eponymous PML proteins in the nuclei of our cells. PML bodies have been implicated in the antiviral host cell response to infection. Consequently, viruses have evolved mechanisms that target the proteins composing PML bodies. Immediate-early protein 1 (IE1) is considered the principal antagonist of PML bodies produced by the human cytomegalovirus, one of eight human herpesviruses. Previous work suggested that the interaction between IE1 and PML and the consequent disruption of PML bodies serves a critical role in viral replication by counteracting the cellular antiviral response. However, this picture has emerged largely from studying mutant IE1 proteins known or predicted to be unstable. We systematically screened for stable IE1 variants and identified a mutant protein selectively defective for PML interaction. Unexpectedly, the IE1 mutant supported viral replication almost as efficiently as the wild-type protein. Moreover, lower instead of higher (as expected) levels of antiviral gene expression were observed with the mutant compared to the wild-type. These results suggest that disruption of PML bodies is linked to the induction rather than inhibition of antiviral gene expression. Our findings challenge current views regarding the role of PML bodies in viral infection.

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<![CDATA[Insight into the protein solubility driving forces with neural attention]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13832 The solubility of proteins is a crucial biophysical aspect when it comes to understanding many human diseases and to improve the industrial processes for protein production. Due to its relevance, computational methods have been devised in order to study and possibly optimize the solubility of proteins. In this work we apply a deep-learning technique, called neural attention to predict protein solubility while “opening” the model itself to interpretability, even though Machine Learning models are usually considered black boxes. Thank to the attention mechanism, we show that i) our model implicitly learns complex patterns related to emergent, protein folding-related, aspects such as to recognize β-amyloidosis regions and that ii) the N-and C-termini are the regions with the highes signal fro solubility prediction. When it comes to enhancing the solubility of proteins, we, for the first time, propose to investigate the synergistic effects of tandem mutations instead of “single” mutations, suggesting that this could minimize the number of required proposed mutations.

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<![CDATA[TIM, a targeted insertional mutagenesis method utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 in <i>Chlamydomonas reinhardtii</i>]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13864 Generation and subsequent analysis of mutants is critical to understanding the functions of genes and proteins. Here we describe TIM, an efficient, cost-effective, CRISPR-based targeted insertional mutagenesis method for the model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. TIM utilizes delivery into the cell of a Cas9-guide RNA (gRNA) ribonucleoprotein (RNP) together with exogenous double-stranded (donor) DNA. The donor DNA contains gene-specific homology arms and an integral antibiotic-resistance gene that inserts at the double-stranded break generated by Cas9. After optimizing multiple parameters of this method, we were able to generate mutants for six out of six different genes in two different cell-walled strains with mutation efficiencies ranging from 40% to 95%. Furthermore, these high efficiencies allowed simultaneous targeting of two separate genes in a single experiment. TIM is flexible with regard to many parameters and can be carried out using either electroporation or the glass-bead method for delivery of the RNP and donor DNA. TIM achieves a far higher mutation rate than any previously reported for CRISPR-based methods in C. reinhardtii and promises to be effective for many, if not all, non-essential nuclear genes.

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<![CDATA[OmniChange: The Sequence Independent Method for Simultaneous Site-Saturation of Five Codons]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa7ab0ee8fa60ba7f19

Focused mutant library generation methods have been developed to improve mainly “localizable” enzyme properties such as activity and selectivity. Current multi-site saturation methods are restricted by the gene sequence, require subsequent PCR steps and/or additional enzymatic modifications. Here we report, a multiple site saturation mutagenesis method, OmniChange, which simultaneously and efficiently saturates five independent codons. As proof of principle, five chemically cleaved DNA fragments, each carrying one NNK-degenerated codon, were generated and assembled to full gene length in a one-pot-reaction without additional PCR-amplification or use of restriction enzymes or ligases. Sequencing revealed the presence of up to 27 different codons at individual positions, corresponding to 84.4% of the theoretical diversity offered by NNK-degeneration. OmniChange is absolutely sequence independent, does not require a minimal distance between mutated codons and can be accomplished within a day.

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<![CDATA[New insights in the mode of action of anti-leishmanial drugs by using chemical mutagenesis screens coupled to next-generation sequencing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4c5df557-4235-4808-9c50-2780973e3bae

Leishmania parasites are responsible for a range of clinical manifestations ranging from self-resolving cutaneous sores to life-threatening diseases. The management of leishmaniasis is complicated in part by the scarcity of treatment options but also by the emerging or established resistance to available drugs. A major driver of resistance in Leishmania is the amplification of resistance genes taking advantage of the highly repetitive genomic landscape of the parasite. The recent advent of whole genome gain of function screens gave new momentum to the study of such resistance mechanisms, leading to the identification of novel resistance factors and drug targets against approved drugs, which include antimony (SbIII), miltefosine (MIL), paromomycin (PMM), and amphotericin B. However, these screens do not pinpoint single nucleotide variations (SNVs), an important contributor of drug resistance. To fill the gap, our recent study describes the optimization of chemical mutagenesis coupled to next generation sequencing, an approach called Mut-seq, as a way to explore networks of drug resistance genes in organisms with a diploid to mosaic aneuploid genome like Leishmania. Our Mut-seq screen revealed associations between genes linked with lipid metabolism and resistance to MIL, and highlighted the role of a protein kinase in translation leading to resistance to PMM.

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<![CDATA[Protective effects of bark ethanolic extract from Spondias dulcis Forst F. against DNA damage induced by benzo[a]pyrene and cyclophosphamide]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N9261f5ff-b037-461f-9e18-9206259ba9f6

Abstract

This study evaluated the genotoxicity, mutagenicity, antigenotoxicity, and antimutagenicity effects on biochemical parameters of oxidative stress of the Spondias dulcis bark ethanolic extract on mice. The extract was evaluated in the doses of 500, 1000, and 1500 mg/kg bw via gavage. To evaluate the protective effects of the extract, benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and cyclophosphamide (CP) were chosen as DNA damage inducers. Genotoxicity and antigenotoxicity were evaluated by the comet assay. Cytotoxicity, mutagenicity, and antimutagenicity were evaluated by the micronucleus test in bone marrow and peripheral blood. The biochemical parameters of oxidative stress were evaluated by the quantification of catalase activity (CAT) and reduced glutathione (GSH) in total blood, liver and kidney, and malondialdehyde (MDA), in liver and kidney. No genotoxic, cytotoxic, or mutagenic effect was found on mice exposed to the extract. The extract depleted the number of damaged nucleoids in total blood and the number of micronucleus (MN) in both cell types. The extract was able to increase CAT activity and GSH levels and decrease MDA levels after treatment with B[a]P and CP. The results indicate that the S. dulcis extract has potential to be used as preventive compound against DNA damage caused by CP and B[a]P.

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<![CDATA[Integrated structural variation and point mutation signatures in cancer genomes using correlated topic models]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c99020ad5eed0c484b97533

Mutation signatures in cancer genomes reflect endogenous and exogenous mutational processes, offering insights into tumour etiology, features for prognostic and biologic stratification and vulnerabilities to be exploited therapeutically. We present a novel machine learning formalism for improved signature inference, based on multi-modal correlated topic models (MMCTM) which can at once infer signatures from both single nucleotide and structural variation counts derived from cancer genome sequencing data. We exemplify the utility of our approach on two hormone driven, DNA repair deficient cancers: breast and ovary (n = 755 samples total). We show how introducing correlated structure both within and between modes of mutation can increase accuracy of signature discovery, particularly in the context of sparse data. Our study emphasizes the importance of integrating multiple mutation modes for signature discovery and patient stratification, and provides a statistical modeling framework to incorporate additional features of interest for future studies.

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<![CDATA[A metamorphic testing approach for event sequences]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac5fd5eed0c484d0865d

Test oracles are commonly used in software testing to determine the correctness of the execution results of test cases. However, the testing of many software systems faces the test oracle problem: a test oracle may not always be available, or it may be available but too expensive to apply. One such software system is a system involving abundant business processes. This paper focuses on the testing of business-process-based software systems and proposes a metamorphic testing approach for event sequences, called MTES, to alleviate the oracle problem. We utilized event sequences to represent business processes and then applied the technique of metamorphic testing to test the system without using test oracles. To apply metamorphic testing, we studied the general rules for identifying metamorphic relations for business processes and further demonstrated specific metamorphic relations for individual case studies. Three case studies were conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of our approach. The experimental results show that our approach is feasible and effective in testing the applications with rich business processes. In addition, this paper summarizes the experimental findings and proposes guidelines for selecting good metamorphic relations for business processes.

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<![CDATA[Comparative analysis of mutational robustness of the intrinsically disordered viral protein VPg and of its interactor eIF4E]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f148fd5eed0c48467a2e5

Conformational intrinsic disorder is a feature present in many virus proteins. Intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) have weaker structural requirement than ordered regions and mutations in IDRs could have a lower impact on the virus fitness. This could favor its exploration of adaptive solutions. The potyviral protein VPg contains IDRs with determinants for adaptation to its host plant. To experimentally assess whether IDRs are more resistant to mutations than ordered regions, the biologically relevant interaction between mutant libraries of both VPg and the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) and their respective wild type partner was examined using yeast two hybrid assay. Our data shows that VPg is significantly more robust to mutations than eIF4E and as such belongs to a particular class of intrinsically disordered proteins. This result is discussed from the standpoint of IDRs involvement in the virus adaptive processes.

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<![CDATA[Role of SpaO in the assembly of the sorting platform of a Salmonella type III secretion system]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c486d5eed0c4845e8885

Many bacterial pathogens and symbionts use type III secretion machines to interact with their hosts by injecting bacterial effector proteins into host target cells. A central component of this complex machine is the cytoplasmic sorting platform, which orchestrates the engagement and preparation of type III secreted proteins for their delivery to the needle complex, the substructure of the type III secretion system that mediates their passage through the bacterial envelope. The sorting platform is thought to be a dynamic structure whose components alternate between assembled and disassembled states. However, how this dynamic behavior is controlled is not understood. In S. Typhimurium a core component of the sorting platform is SpaO, which is synthesized in two tandemly translated products, a full length (SpaOL) and a short form (SpaOS) composed of the C-terminal 101 amino acids. Here we show that in the absence of SpaOS the assembly of the needle substructure of the needle complex, which requires a functional sorting platform, can still occur although with reduced efficiency. Consistent with this observation, in the absence of SpaOS secretion of effectors proteins, which requires a fully assembled injectisome, is only slightly compromised. In the absence of SpaOS we detect a significant number of fully assembled needle complexes that are not associated with fully assembled sorting platforms. We also find that although binding of SpaOL to SpaOS can be detected in the absence of other components of the sorting platform, this interaction is not detected in the context of a fully assembled sorting platform suggesting that SpaOS may not be a core structural component of the sorting platform. Consistent with this observation we find that SpaOS and OrgB, a component of the sorting platform, share the same binding surface on SpaOL. We conclude that SpaOS regulates the assembly of the sorting platform during type III secretion.

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<![CDATA[Dissection of the regulatory role for the N-terminal domain in Candida albicans protein phosphatase Z1]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df31ad5eed0c484580d1d

The novel type, fungus specific protein phosphatase Z1 of the opportunistic pathogen, Candida albicans (CaPpz1) has several important physiological roles. It consists of a conserved C-terminal catalytic domain and a variable, intrinsically disordered, N-terminal regulatory domain. To test the function of these domains we modified the structure of CaPpz1 by in vitro mutagenesis. The two main domains were separated, four potential protein binding regions were deleted, and the myristoylation site as well as the active site of the enzyme was crippled by point mutations G2A and R262L, respectively. The in vitro phosphatase activity assay of the bacterially expressed recombinant proteins indicated that the N-terminal domain was inactive, while the C-terminal domain became highly active against myosin light chain substrate. The deletion of the N-terminal 1–16 amino acids and the G2A mutation significantly decreased the specific activity of the enzyme. Complementation of the ppz1 Saccharomyces cerevisiae deletion mutant strain with the different CaPpz1 forms demonstrated that the scission of the main domains, the two point mutations and the N-terminal 1–16 deletion rendered the phosphatase incompetent in the in vivo assays of LiCl tolerance and caffeine sensitivity. Thus our results confirmed the functional role of the N-terminal domain and highlighted the significance of the very N-terminal part of the protein in the regulation of CaPpz1.

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<![CDATA[Mutant T4 DNA polymerase for easy cloning and mutagenesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5217bad5eed0c484794479

The advent of high-fidelity DNA polymerases that can be used to linearize and amplify whole plasmids by PCR opened the door to greatly simplified cloning and mutagenesis protocols. Commercially available kits work well, but often have been optimized using undisclosed or proprietory components. Here we show that a mutant T4 DNA polymerase (Y320A) with attenuated 3’-exonuclease activity is uniquely suited to generate single-stranded DNA overhangs of uniform length in a more easily controllable manner than the wild-type enzyme, and this can be used to increase the yields of colonies containing correctly modified plasmids in cloning and mutagenesis experiments, which is particularly useful when E. coli cells are of relatively low competency. Standard protocols using the mutant T4 DNA polymerase are provided for the sequence and ligation independent cloning (SLIC) method and a modified QuikChange method, where the mutant enzyme enhances the yield of correctly mutated plasmid and further suppresses parental plasmid during digestion with DpnI. Single-stranded DNA overhangs generated by the mutant T4 DNA polymerase facilitate subsequent plasmid circularization, annealing and ligation in E. coli.

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<![CDATA[Determination of absorption dose in chemical mutagenesis in plants]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c46658ad5eed0c484519ad7

Chemical mutagenesis is a useful tool for inducing mutations in plants. Seeds are often used as the material for chemical mutagenesis. The biological effect of a chemical mutagen on seeds is determined by absorption dose (the product of mutagen concentration and acting time, which starts after the mutagen is absorbed by the seeds). In practice, however, the concept of exposure dose (the product of mutagen concentration and treating time) is usually used instead because the time for absorbing mutagen is unknown. In this study, we conducted an experiment using ethyl methane sulphonate (EMS) to treat cauliflower seeds, in which five EMS concentrations (0%, 0.5%, 1.0%, 1.5% and 2.0%), three treating time lengths (4 h, 6 h and 8 h) and two pretreatments (non-presoaking and presoaking of seeds for 2 h) were set. We obtained a well-fitted nonlinear regression model for the relationship between seedling survival rate and the EMS treatment, and its marginal models for the two pretreatments. Based on the models, we determined the EMS absorption doses under the two different pretreatments and identified their 50% lethality dose (LD50). We found that presoaking could delay EMS absorption and therefore reduce the injury caused by EMS within a given treating time, but could hardly change the biological effect of EMS after it is absorbed. The conclusions about absorption dose and presoaking effect obtained in this study might be generally applicable to plant chemical mutagenesis in principle.

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<![CDATA[CDK contribution to DSB formation and recombination in fission yeast meiosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c466528d5eed0c484517b92

CDKs (cyclin-dependent kinases) associate with different cyclins to form different CDK-complexes that are fundamental for an ordered cell cycle progression, and the coordination of this progression with different aspects of the cellular physiology. During meiosis programmed DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) initiate recombination that in addition to generating genetic variability are essential for the reductional chromosome segregation during the first meiotic division, and therefore for genome stability and viability of the gametes. However, how meiotic progression and DSB formation are coordinated, and the role CDKs have in the process, is not well understood. We have used single and double cyclin deletion mutants, and chemical inhibition of global CDK activity using the cdc2-asM17 allele, to address the requirement of CDK activity for DSB formation and recombination in fission yeast. We report that several cyclins (Cig1, Cig2, and the meiosis-specific Crs1) control DSB formation and recombination, with a major contribution of Crs1. Moreover, complementation analysis indicates specificity at least for this cyclin, suggesting that different CDK complexes might act in different pathways to promote recombination. Down-regulation of CDK activity impinges on the formation of linear elements (LinEs, protein complexes required for break formation at most DSB hotspot sites). This defect correlates with a reduction in the capability of one structural component (Rec25) to bind chromatin, suggesting a molecular mechanism by which CDK controls break formation. However, reduction in DSB formation in cyclin deletion mutants does not always correspondingly correlate with a proportional reduction in meiotic recombination (crossovers), suggesting that specific CDK complexes might also control downstream events balancing repair pathways. Therefore, our work points to CDK regulation of DSB formation as a key conserved feature in the initiation of meiotic recombination, in addition to provide a view of possible roles CDK might have in other steps of the recombination process.

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<![CDATA[Crystal structure of chloramphenicol-metabolizing enzyme EstDL136 from a metagenome]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c8dd5eed0c484bd306a

Metagenomes often convey novel biological activities and therefore have gained considerable attention for use in biotechnological applications. Recently, metagenome-derived EstDL136 was found to possess chloramphenicol (Cm)-metabolizing features. Sequence analysis showed EstDL136 to be a member of the hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) family with an Asp-His-Ser catalytic triad and a notable substrate specificity. In this study, we determined the crystal structures of EstDL136 and in a complex with Cm. Consistent with the high sequence similarity, the structure of EstDL136 is homologous to that of the HSL family. The active site of EstDL136 is a relatively shallow pocket that could accommodate Cm as a substrate as opposed to the long acyl chain substrates typical of the HSL family. Mutational analyses further suggested that several residues in the vicinity of the active site play roles in the Cm-binding of EstDL136. These results provide structural and functional insights into a metagenome-derived EstDL136.

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<![CDATA[Heterochromatin delays CRISPR-Cas9 mutagenesis but does not influence the outcome of mutagenic DNA repair]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1ab83fd5eed0c48402748f

Genome editing occurs in the context of chromatin, which is heterogeneous in structure and function across the genome. Chromatin heterogeneity is thought to affect genome editing efficiency, but this has been challenging to quantify due to the presence of confounding variables. Here, we develop a method that exploits the allele-specific chromatin status of imprinted genes in order to address this problem in cycling mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). Because maternal and paternal alleles of imprinted genes have identical DNA sequence and are situated in the same nucleus, allele-specific differences in the frequency and spectrum of mutations induced by CRISPR-Cas9 can be unequivocally attributed to epigenetic mechanisms. We found that heterochromatin can impede mutagenesis, but to a degree that depends on other key experimental parameters. Mutagenesis was impeded by up to 7-fold when Cas9 exposure was brief and when intracellular Cas9 expression was low. In contrast, the outcome of mutagenic DNA repair was unaffected by chromatin state, with similar efficiencies of homology-directed repair (HDR) and deletion spectra on maternal and paternal chromosomes. Combined, our data show that heterochromatin imposes a permeable barrier that influences the kinetics, but not the endpoint, of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing and suggest that therapeutic applications involving low-level Cas9 exposure will be particularly affected by chromatin status.

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<![CDATA[Peak emission wavelength and fluorescence lifetime are coupled in far-red, GFP-like fluorescent proteins]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c084205d5eed0c484fcb81a

The discovery and use of fluorescent proteins revolutionized cell biology by allowing the visualization of proteins in living cells. Advances in fluorescent proteins, primarily through genetic engineering, have enabled more advanced analyses, including Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) and fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) and the development of genetically encoded fluorescent biosensors. These fluorescence protein-based sensors are highly effective in cells grown in monolayer cultures. However, it is often desirable to use more complex models including tissue explants, organoids, xenografts, and whole animals. These types of samples have poor light penetration owing to high scattering and absorption of light by tissue. Far-red light with a wavelength between 650-900nm is less prone to scatter, and absorption by tissues and can thus penetrate more deeply. Unfortunately, there are few fluorescent proteins in this region of the spectrum, and they have sub-optimal fluorescent properties including low brightness and short fluorescence lifetimes. Understanding the relationships between the amino-acid sequences of far-red fluorescence proteins and their photophysical properties including peak emission wavelengths and fluorescence lifetimes would be useful in the design of new fluorescence proteins for this region of the spectrum. We used both site-directed mutagenesis and gene-shuffling between mScarlet and mCardinal fluorescence proteins to create new variants and assess their properties systematically. We discovered that for far-red, GFP-like proteins the emission maxima and fluorescence lifetime have a strong inverse correlation.

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<![CDATA[Functional characterization of unique enzymes in Xanthomonas euvesicatoria related to degradation of arabinofurano-oligosaccharides on hydroxyproline-rich glycoproteins]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0c04edd5eed0c48481d005

In this study, we clarified the functions of three uncharacterized enzymes, XCV2724, XCV2728, and XCV2729, in Xanthomonas euvesicatoria, the causal agent of bacterial spot of tomato and pepper. The genes corresponding to the three enzymes are homologs of hypBA1, hypBA2, and hypAA from Bifidobacterium longum and are unique to Xanthomonas spp. among plant pathogenic bacteria. Functional characterization of the recombinant enzymes expressed using microbial systems revealed that they degrade the arabinofurano-oligosaccharides present on hydroxyproline (Hyp)-rich glycoproteins (HRGPs) such as extensin and solanaceous lectins in plant cell walls. These enzymes work coordinately to degrade the oligosaccharides. First, XeHypAA (XCV2728), belonging to the glycoside hydrolase (GH) 43 family, releases L-arabinose from L-arabinofuranose (Araf)-α1,3-Araf-ß1,2-Araf-ß1,2-Araf-ß-Hyp (Ara4-Hyp), cleaving its α1,3 bond; second, XeHypBA2 (XCV2729), belonging to the GH121 family, releases the disaccharide Araf-ß1,2-Araf from Araf-ß1,2-Araf-ß1,2-Araf-ß-Hyp (Ara3-Hyp); finally, XeHypBA1 (XCV2724), belonging to GH family 127, releases L-arabinose from Araf-ß-Hyp (Ara-Hyp). In summary, the main oligosaccharide structure of Ara4-Hyp on the HRGPs is degraded to Ara3-Hyp, then to Ara-Hyp, and finally to Ara monosaccharides by the action of these three enzymes. HRGPs containing oligosaccharide substrates have been reported to contribute to plant defense, and interestingly, the promoter region of the operon (xehypBA2 and xehypAA) contains the plant-inducible promoter box for binding the regulator protein HrpX involved in pathogenicity. We then analyzed the expression level of the operon gene in hrp-inducing medium and in plants and constructed gene-deletion mutants. However, although the operon was evidently upregulated by HrpX, three single-gene deletion mutants (ΔxehypBA1, ΔxehypBA2, ΔxehypAA) and even a triple-gene deletion mutant (ΔxehypBA1-BA2-AA) remained pathogenic, and had no effect on nonhost resistance, either, indicating that these three enzymes are not involved in either pathogenicity or nonhost resistance reactions. This is the first report of enzymes in plant pathogenic bacteria that catalyze the degradation of Hyp-linked-L-arabinofuranosides in plant cell walls.

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<![CDATA[A component of the TOR (Target Of Rapamycin) nutrient-sensing pathway plays a role in circadian rhythmicity in Neurospora crassa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b49ab72463d7e11e6cdb2eb

The TOR (Target of Rapamycin) pathway is a highly-conserved signaling pathway in eukaryotes that regulates cellular growth and stress responses. The cellular response to amino acids or carbon sources such as glucose requires anchoring of the TOR kinase complex to the lysosomal/vacuolar membrane by the Ragulator (mammals) or EGO (yeast) protein complex. Here we report a connection between the TOR pathway and circadian (daily) rhythmicity. The molecular mechanism of circadian rhythmicity in all eukaryotes has long been thought to be transcription/translation feedback loops (TTFLs). In the model eukaryote Neurospora crassa, a TTFL including FRQ (frequency) and WCC (white collar complex) has been intensively studied. However, it is also well-known that rhythmicity can be seen in the absence of TTFL functioning. We previously isolated uv90 as a mutation that compromises FRQ-less rhythms and also damps the circadian oscillator when FRQ is present. We have now mapped the uv90 gene and identified it as NCU05950, homologous to the TOR pathway proteins EGO1 (yeast) and LAMTOR1 (mammals), and we have named the N. crassa protein VTA (vacuolar TOR-associated protein). The protein is anchored to the outer vacuolar membrane and deletion of putative acylation sites destroys this localization as well as the protein’s function in rhythmicity. A deletion of VTA is compromised in its growth responses to amino acids and glucose. We conclude that a key protein in the complex that anchors TOR to the vacuole plays a role in maintaining circadian (daily) rhythmicity. Our results establish a connection between the TOR pathway and circadian rhythms and point towards a network integrating metabolism and the circadian system.

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<![CDATA[Investigation of amino acid specificity in the CydX small protein shows sequence plasticity at the functional level]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b498f9c463d7e0897c6e017

Small proteins are a new and expanding area of research. Many characterized small proteins are composed of a single hydrophobic α-helix, and the functional requirements of their limited amino acid sequence are not well understood. One hydrophobic small protein, CydX, has been shown to be a component of the cytochrome bd oxidase complex in Escherichia coli, and is required for enzyme function. To investigate small protein sequence specificity, an alanine scanning mutagenesis on the small protein CydX was conducted using mutant alleles expressed from the E. coli chromosome at the wild-type locus. The resulting mutant strains were assayed for CydX function. No single amino acid was required to maintain wild-type resistance to β-mercaptoethanol. However, substitutions of 10-amino acid blocks indicated that the N-terminus of the protein was required for wild-type CydX activity. A series of double mutants showed that multiple mutations at the N-terminus led to β-mercaptoethanol sensitivity in vivo. Triple mutants showed both in vivo and in vitro phenotypes. Together, these data provide evidence suggesting a high level of functional plasticity in CydX, in which multiple amino acids may work cooperatively to facilitate CydX function.

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