ResearchPad - plasmid-construction https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[ArdC, a ssDNA-binding protein with a metalloprotease domain, overpasses the recipient <i>hsdRMS</i> restriction system broadening conjugation host range]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7739 Horizontal gene transfer is the main mechanism by which bacteria acquire and disseminate new traits, such as antibiotic resistance genes, that allow adaptation and evolution. Here we identified a gene, ardC, that enables a plasmid to increase its conjugative host range, and thus positively contributes to plasmid fitness. The crystal structure of the antirestriction protein ArdC revealed a fold different from other antirestriction proteins. Our results have wide implications for understanding how a gene enlarges the environments a plasmid can colonize and point to new targets to harness the bacterial DNA uptake control.

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<![CDATA[The mechanism on phosphorylation of Hsp20Ser16 inhibit GA stress and ER stress during OGD/R]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acc8cd5eed0c48498f9ce

Recent research has demonstrated that small heat shock protein (sHsp) phosphorylation plays a variety of roles in neural cells. While the phosphorylation of serine 16 (Ser16) is blocked, Hsp20 no longer has neuroprotective effects. To further investigate the mechanism underlying this process, oxygen-glucose deprivation and reperfusion (OGD/R) was used with human SH-SY5Y cells and mouse N2a neuroblastoma cells. When SH-SY5Y and N2a cells were transfected with pEGFP-Hsp20(WT), pEGFP-Hsp20(S16A), and pEGFP-Hsp20(S16D) plasmids, the Golgi apparatus (GA) became more swollen and scattered, and many small fragments formed in the MOCK and S16A groups after OGD/R (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) network was reduced, and the lamellar structure increased. However, these changes were not as obvious in the WT and S16D groups. Additionally, after OGD/R, Golgi Stress related protein contents were increased in the WT and S16D groups compared with the MOCK and S16A groups (P < 0.05). However, ER Stress related protein contents were decreased in the WT and S16D groups compared with the MOCK and S16A groups (P < 0.05). Our study demonstrates that Hsp20 phosphorylation on Ser16 protects against not only OGD/R-induced GA fragmentation in SH-SY5Y cells and N2a cells via Golgi stress but also OGD/R-induced ER structural changes in SH-SY5Y cells via ER stress. These findings suggest that Hsp20 is a potential drug target for ischemia stroke treatment.

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<![CDATA[Prolyl isomerization of FAAP20 catalyzed by PIN1 regulates the Fanconi anemia pathway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c784fbdd5eed0c484007497

The Fanconi Anemia (FA) pathway is a multi-step DNA repair process at stalled replication forks in response to DNA interstrand cross-links (ICLs). Pathological mutation of key FA genes leads to the inherited disorder FA, characterized by progressive bone marrow failure and cancer predisposition. The study of FA is of great importance not only to children suffering from FA but also as a model to study cancer pathogenesis in light of genome instability among the general population. FANCD2 monoubiquitination by the FA core complex is an essential gateway that connects upstream DNA damage signaling to enzymatic steps of repair. FAAP20 is a key component of the FA core complex, and regulated proteolysis of FAAP20 mediated by the ubiquitin E3 ligase SCFFBW7 is critical for maintaining the integrity of the FA complex and FA pathway signaling. However, upstream regulatory mechanisms that govern this signaling remain unclear. Here, we show that PIN1, a phosphorylation-specific prolyl isomerase, regulates the integrity of the FA core complex, thus FA pathway activation. We demonstrate that PIN1 catalyzes cis-trans isomerization of the FAAP20 pSer48-Pro49 motif and promotes FAAP20 stability. Mechanistically, PIN1-induced conformational change of FAAP20 enhances its interaction with the PP2A phosphatase to counteract SCFFBW7-dependent proteolytic signaling at the phosphorylated degron motif. Accordingly, PIN1 deficiency impairs FANCD2 activation and the DNA ICL repair process. Together, our study establishes PIN1-dependent prolyl isomerization as a new regulator of the FA pathway and genomic integrity.

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<![CDATA[TyrR is involved in the transcriptional regulation of biofilm formation and D-alanine catabolism in Azospirillum brasilense Sp7.]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f1503d5eed0c48467ac9f

Azospirillum brasilense is one of the most studied species of diverse agronomic plants worldwide. The benefits conferred to plants inoculated with Azospirillum have been primarily attributed to its capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen and synthesize phytohormones, especially indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). The principal pathway for IAA synthesis involves the intermediate metabolite indole pyruvic acid. Successful colonization of plants by Azospirillum species is fundamental to the ability of these bacteria to promote the beneficial effects observed in plants. Biofilm formation is an essential step in this process and involves interactions with the host plant. In this study, the tyrR gene was cloned, and the translated product was observed to exhibit homology to TyrR protein, a NtrC/NifA-type activator. Structural studies of TyrR identified three putative domains, including a domain containing binding sites for aromatic amino acids in the N-terminus, a central AAA+ ATPase domain, and a helix-turn-helix DNA binding motif domain in the C-terminus, which binds DNA sequences in promoter-operator regions. In addition, a bioinformatic analysis of promoter sequences in A. brasilense Sp7 genome revealed that putative promoters encompass one to three TyrR boxes in genes predicted to be regulated by TyrR. To gain insight into the phenotypes regulated by TyrR, a tyrR-deficient strain derived from A. brasilense Sp7, named A. brasilense 2116 and a complemented 2116 strain harboring a plasmid carrying the tyrR gene were constructed. The observed phenotypes indicated that the putative transcriptional regulator TyrR is involved in biofilm production and is responsible for regulating the utilization of D-alanine as carbon source. In addition, TyrR was observed to be absolutely required for transcriptional regulation of the gene dadA encoding a D-amino acid dehydrogenase. The data suggested that TyrR may play a major role in the regulation of genes encoding a glucosyl transferase, essential signaling proteins, and amino acids transporters.

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<![CDATA[The genetic intractability of Symbiodinium microadriaticum to standard algal transformation methods]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac68d5eed0c484d08712

Modern transformation and genome editing techniques have shown great success across a broad variety of organisms. However, no study of successfully applied genome editing has been reported in a dinoflagellate despite the first genetic transformation of Symbiodinium being published about 20 years ago. Using an array of different available transformation techniques, we attempted to transform Symbiodinium microadriaticum (CCMP2467), a dinoflagellate symbiont of reef-building corals, with the view to performing subsequent CRISPR-Cas9 mediated genome editing. Plasmid vectors designed for nuclear transformation containing the chloramphenicol resistance gene under the control of the CaMV p35S promoter as well as several putative endogenous promoters were used to test a variety of transformation techniques including biolistics, electroporation and agitation with silicon carbide whiskers. Chloroplast-targeted transformation was attempted using an engineered Symbiodinium chloroplast minicircle encoding a modified PsbA protein expected to confer atrazine resistance. We report that we have been unable to confer chloramphenicol or atrazine resistance on Symbiodinium microadriaticum strain CCMP2467.

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<![CDATA[A genetic variant associated with multiple sclerosis inversely affects the expression of CD58 and microRNA-548ac from the same gene]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dcb0d5eed0c484dec049

Genome-wide association studies have identified more than 200 genetic variants to be associated with an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS). Still, little is known about the causal molecular mechanisms that underlie the genetic contribution to disease susceptibility. In this study, we investigated the role of the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1414273, which is located within the microRNA-548ac stem-loop sequence in the first intron of the CD58 gene. We conducted an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analysis based on public RNA-sequencing and microarray data of blood-derived cells of more than 1000 subjects. Additionally, CD58 transcripts and mature hsa-miR-548ac molecules were measured using real-time PCR in peripheral blood samples of 32 MS patients. Cell culture experiments were performed to evaluate the efficiency of Drosha-mediated stem-loop processing dependent on genotype and to determine the target genes of this underexplored microRNA. Across different global populations and data sets, carriers of the MS risk allele showed reduced CD58 mRNA levels but increased hsa-miR-548ac levels. We provide evidence that the SNP rs1414273 might alter Drosha cleavage activity, thereby provoking partial uncoupling of CD58 gene expression and microRNA-548ac production from the shared primary transcript in immune cells. Moreover, the microRNA was found to regulate genes, which participate in inflammatory processes and in controlling the balance of protein folding and degradation. We thus uncovered new regulatory implications of the MS-associated haplotype of the CD58 gene locus, and we remind that paradoxical findings can be encountered in the analysis of eQTLs upon data aggregation. Our study illustrates that a better understanding of RNA processing events might help to establish the functional nature of genetic variants, which predispose to inflammatory and neurological diseases.

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<![CDATA[Bclaf1 critically regulates the type I interferon response and is degraded by alphaherpesvirus US3]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e68bd5eed0c484ef366f

Type I interferon response plays a prominent role against viral infection, which is frequently disrupted by viruses. Here, we report Bcl-2 associated transcription factor 1 (Bclaf1) is degraded during the alphaherpesvirus Pseudorabies virus (PRV) and Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infections through the viral protein US3. We further reveal that Bclaf1 functions critically in type I interferon signaling. Knockdown or knockout of Bclaf1 in cells significantly impairs interferon-α (IFNα) -mediated gene transcription and viral inhibition against US3 deficient PRV and HSV-1. Mechanistically, Bclaf1 maintains a mechanism allowing STAT1 and STAT2 to be efficiently phosphorylated in response to IFNα, and more importantly, facilitates IFN-stimulated gene factor 3 (ISGF3) binding with IFN-stimulated response elements (ISRE) for efficient gene transcription by directly interacting with ISRE and STAT2. Our studies establish the importance of Bclaf1 in IFNα-induced antiviral immunity and in the control of viral infections.

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<![CDATA[CDI/CDS system-encoding genes of Burkholderia thailandensis are located in a mobile genetic element that defines a new class of transposon]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d00f6d5eed0c484037189

Intercellular communication and self-recognition are critical for coordinating cooperative and competitive behaviors during sociomicrobiological community development. Contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) proteins are polymorphic toxin delivery systems that inhibit the growth of non-self neighboring bacteria that lack the appropriate immunity protein. In Burkholderia thailandensis, CDI system proteins (encoded by bcpAIOB genes) also induce cooperative behaviors among sibling (self) cells, a phenomenon called contact-dependent signaling (CDS). Here we describe a mobile genetic element (MGE) that carries the bcpAIOB genes in B. thailandensis E264. It is a ~210 kb composite transposon with insertion sequence (IS) elements at each end. Although the ISs are most similar to IS2 of Escherichia coli, the transposase-dependent intermediate molecule displays characteristics more similar to those of the IS26 translocatable unit (TU). A reaction requiring only the “left” IS-encoded transposase results in formation of an extrachromosomal circular dsDNA intermediate (“the megacircle”) composed of the left IS and the sequences intervening between the ISs. Insertion of the megacircle into the chromosome occurs next to a pre-existing copy of an IS2-like element, recreating a functional composite transposon. We found that BcpA activity is required for megacircle formation, and in turn, megacircle formation is required for CDS phenotypes. Our data support a model in which the bcpAIOB genes function as both helping and harming greenbeard genes, simultaneously enhancing the fitness of self bacteria that possess the same allele plus tightly linked genes that mediate cooperative behaviors, and killing non-self bacteria that do not possess the same bcpAIOB allele. Mobility of the megacircle between cells could allow bacteria invading a community to be converted to self, and would facilitate propagation of the bcpAIOB genes in the event that the invading strain is capable of overtaking the resident community.

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<![CDATA[Interaction between the transmembrane domains of Sho1 and Opy2 enhances the signaling efficiency of the Hog1 MAP kinase cascade in Saccharomyces cerevisiae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e68cd5eed0c484ef36b5

To cope with increased extracellular osmolarity, the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae activates the Hog1 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), which controls a variety of adaptive responses. Hog1 is activated through the high-osmolarity glycerol (HOG) pathway, which consists of a core MAPK cascade and two independent upstream branches (SHO1 and SLN1 branches) containing distinct osmosensing machineries. In the SHO1 branch, a homo-oligomer of Sho1, the four-transmembrane (TM) osmosensor, interacts with the transmembrane co-osmosensors, Hkr1 and Msb2, and the membrane anchor protein Opy2, through their TM domains, and activates the Ste20-Ste11-Pbs2-Hog1 kinase cascade. In this study, we isolated and analyzed hyperactive mutants of Sho1 and Opy2 that harbor mutations within their TM domains. Several hyperactive mutations enhanced the interaction between Sho1 and Opy2, indicating the importance of the TM-mediated interaction between Sho1 and Opy2 for facilitating effective signaling. The interaction between the TM domains of Sho1 and Opy2 will place their respective cytoplasmic binding partners Pbs2 and Ste11 in close proximity. Indeed, genetic analyses of the mutants showed that the Sho1-Opy2 interaction enhances the activation of Pbs2 by Ste11, but not Hog1 by Pbs2. Some of the hyperactive mutants had mutations at the extracellular ends of either Sho1 TM4 or Opy2 TM, and defined the Sho1-Opy2 binding site 1 (BS1). Chemical crosslinking and mutational analyses revealed that the cytoplasmic ends of Sho1 TM1 and Opy2 TM also interact with each other, defining the Sho1-Opy2 binding site 2 (BS2). A geometric consideration constrains that one Opy2 molecule must interact with two adjacent Sho1 molecules in Sho1 oligomer. These results raise a possibility that an alteration of the conformation of the Sho1-Opy2 complex might contributes to the osmotic activation of the Hog1 MAPK cascade.

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<![CDATA[Asymmetric diversification of mating pheromones in fission yeast]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c46fd5eed0c4845e875d

In fungi, mating between partners depends on the molecular recognition of two peptidyl mating pheromones by their respective receptors. The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe (Sp) has two mating types, Plus (P) and Minus (M). The mating pheromones P-factor and M-factor, secreted by P and M cells, are recognized by the receptors mating type auxiliary minus 2 (Mam2) and mating type auxiliary plus 3 (Map3), respectively. Our recent study demonstrated that a few mutations in both M-factor and Map3 can trigger reproductive isolation in S. pombe. Here, we explored the mechanism underlying reproductive isolation through genetic changes of pheromones/receptors in nature. We investigated the diversity of genes encoding the pheromones and their receptor in 150 wild S. pombe strains. Whereas the amino acid sequences of M-factor and Map3 were completely conserved, those of P-factor and Mam2 were very diverse. In addition, the P-factor gene contained varying numbers of tandem repeats of P-factor (4–8 repeats). By exploring the recognition specificity of pheromones between S. pombe and its close relative Schizosaccharomyces octosporus (So), we found that So-M-factor did not have an effect on S. pombe P cells, but So-P-factor had a partial effect on S. pombe M cells. Thus, recognition of M-factor seems to be stringent, whereas that of P-factor is relatively relaxed. We speculate that asymmetric diversification of the two pheromones might be facilitated by the distinctly different specificities of the two receptors. Our findings suggest that M-factor communication plays an important role in defining the species, whereas P-factor communication is able to undergo a certain degree of flexible adaptation–perhaps as a first step toward prezygotic isolation in S. pombe.

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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[Adding function to the genome of African Salmonella Typhimurium ST313 strain D23580]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c3bd5eed0c484bd0f6c

Salmonella Typhimurium sequence type (ST) 313 causes invasive nontyphoidal Salmonella (iNTS) disease in sub-Saharan Africa, targeting susceptible HIV+, malarial, or malnourished individuals. An in-depth genomic comparison between the ST313 isolate D23580 and the well-characterized ST19 isolate 4/74 that causes gastroenteritis across the globe revealed extensive synteny. To understand how the 856 nucleotide variations generated phenotypic differences, we devised a large-scale experimental approach that involved the global gene expression analysis of strains D23580 and 4/74 grown in 16 infection-relevant growth conditions. Comparison of transcriptional patterns identified virulence and metabolic genes that were differentially expressed between D23580 versus 4/74, many of which were validated by proteomics. We also uncovered the S. Typhimurium D23580 and 4/74 genes that showed expression differences during infection of murine macrophages. Our comparative transcriptomic data are presented in a new enhanced version of the Salmonella expression compendium, SalComD23580: http://bioinf.gen.tcd.ie/cgi-bin/salcom_v2.pl. We discovered that the ablation of melibiose utilization was caused by three independent SNP mutations in D23580 that are shared across ST313 lineage 2, suggesting that the ability to catabolize this carbon source has been negatively selected during ST313 evolution. The data revealed a novel, to our knowledge, plasmid maintenance system involving a plasmid-encoded CysS cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase, highlighting the power of large-scale comparative multicondition analyses to pinpoint key phenotypic differences between bacterial pathovariants.

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<![CDATA[CRISPR-Cas9 In Situ engineering of subtilisin E in Bacillus subtilis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d0133d5eed0c48403922d

CRISPR-Cas systems have become widely used across all fields of biology as a genome engineering tool. With its recent demonstration in the Gram positive industrial workhorse Bacillus subtilis, this tool has become an attractive option for rapid, markerless strain engineering of industrial production hosts. Previously described strategies for CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in B. subtilis have involved chromosomal integrations of Cas9 and single guide RNA expression cassettes, or construction of large plasmids for simultaneous transformation of both single guide RNA and donor DNA. Here we use a flexible, co-transformation approach where the single guide RNA is inserted in a plasmid for Cas9 co-expression, and the donor DNA is supplied as a linear PCR product observing an editing efficiency of 76%. This allowed multiple, rapid rounds of in situ editing of the subtilisin E gene to incorporate a salt bridge triad present in the Bacillus clausii thermotolerant homolog, M-protease. A novel subtilisin E variant was obtained with increased thermotolerance and activity.

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<![CDATA[Conserved mRNA-granule component Scd6 targets Dhh1 to repress translation initiation and activates Dcp2-mediated mRNA decay in vivo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141f0dd5eed0c484d296ca

Scd6 protein family members are evolutionarily conserved components of translationally silent mRNA granules. Yeast Scd6 interacts with Dcp2 and Dhh1, respectively a subunit and a regulator of the mRNA decapping enzyme, and also associates with translation initiation factor eIF4G to inhibit translation in cell extracts. However, the role of Scd6 in mRNA turnover and translational repression in vivo is unclear. We demonstrate that tethering Scd6 to a GFP reporter mRNA reduces mRNA abundance via Dcp2 and suppresses reporter mRNA translation via Dhh1. Thus, in a dcp2Δ mutant, tethered Scd6 reduces GFP protein expression with little effect on mRNA abundance, whereas tethered Scd6 has no impact on GFP protein or mRNA expression in a dcp2Δ dhh1Δ double mutant. The conserved LSm domain of Scd6 is required for translational repression and mRNA turnover by tethered Scd6. Both functions are enhanced in a ccr4Δ mutant, suggesting that the deadenylase function of Ccr4-Not complex interferes with a more efficient repression pathway enlisted by Scd6. Ribosome profiling and RNA-Seq analysis of scd6Δ and dhh1Δ mutants suggests that Scd6 cooperates with Dhh1 in translational repression and turnover of particular native mRNAs, with both processes dependent on Dcp2. Our results suggest that Scd6 can (i) recruit Dhh1 to confer translational repression and (ii) activate mRNA decapping by Dcp2 with attendant degradation of specific mRNAs in vivo, in a manner dependent on the Scd6 LSm domain and modulated by Ccr4.

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<![CDATA[CDHR3 extracellular domains EC1-3 mediate rhinovirus C interaction with cells and as recombinant derivatives, are inhibitory to virus infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1813ced5eed0c484775dec

Viruses in the rhinovirus C species (RV-C) are more likely to cause severe wheezing illnesses and asthma exacerbations in children than related isolates of the RV-A or RV-B. The RV-C capsid is structurally distinct from other rhinoviruses and does not bind ICAM-1 or LDL receptors. The RV-C receptor is instead, human cadherin-related family member 3 (CDHR3), a protein unique to the airway epithelium. A single nucleotide polymorphism (rs6967330, encoding C529Y) in CDHR3 regulates the display density of CDHR3 on cell surfaces and is among the strongest known genetic correlates for childhood virus-induced asthma susceptibility. CDHR3 immunoprecipitations from transfected or transduced cell lysates were used to characterize the RV-C interaction requirements. The C529 and Y529 variations in extracellular repeat domain 5 (EC5), bound equivalently to virus. Glycosylase treatment followed by mass spectrometry mapped 3 extracellular N-linked modification sites, and further detected surface-dependent, α2–6 sialyation unique to the Y529 format. None of these modifications were required for RV-C recognition, but removal or even dilution of structurally stabilizing calcium ions from the EC junctions irreversibly abrogated virus binding. CDHR3 deletions expressed in HeLa cells or as bacterial recombinant proteins, mapped the amino-terminal EC1 unit as the required virus contact. Derivatives containing the EC1 domain, could not only recapitulate virus:receptor interactions in vitro, but also directly inhibit RV-C infection of susceptible cells for several virus genotypes (C02, C15, C41, and C45). We propose that all RV-C use the same EC1 landing pad, interacting with putative EC3-mediated multimerization formats of CDHR3.

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<![CDATA[BLM prevents instability of structure-forming DNA sequences at common fragile sites]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c099406d5eed0c4842ae0ea

Genome instability often arises at common fragile sites (CFSs) leading to cancer-associated chromosomal rearrangements. However, the underlying mechanisms of how CFS protection is achieved is not well understood. We demonstrate that BLM plays an important role in the maintenance of genome stability of structure-forming AT-rich sequences derived from CFSs (CFS-AT). BLM deficiency leads to increased DSB formation and hyper mitotic recombination at CFS-AT and induces instability of the plasmids containing CFS-AT. We further showed that BLM is required for suppression of CFS breakage upon oncogene expression. Both helicase activity and ATR-mediated phosphorylation of BLM are important for preventing genetic instability at CFS-AT sequences. Furthermore, the role of BLM in protecting CFS-AT is not epistatic to that of FANCM, a translocase that is involved in preserving CFS stability. Loss of BLM helicase activity leads to drastic decrease of cell viability in FANCM deficient cells. We propose that BLM and FANCM utilize different mechanisms to remove DNA secondary structures forming at CFS-AT on replication forks, thereby preventing DSB formation and maintaining CFS stability.

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<![CDATA[Essentiality of Plasmodium falciparum plasmepsin V]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c117b79d5eed0c4846995ad

The malaria parasite replicates within erythrocytes. The pathogenesis of clinical malaria is in large part due to the capacity of the parasite to remodel its host cell. To do this, intraerythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum export more than 300 proteins that dramatically alter the morphology of the infected erythrocyte as well as its mechanical and adhesive properties. P. falciparum plasmepsin V (PfPMV) is an aspartic protease that processes proteins for export into the host erythrocyte and is thought to play a key role in parasite virulence and survival. However, although standard techniques for gene disruption as well as conditional protein knockdown have been previously attempted with the pfpmv gene, complete gene removal or knockdown was not achieved so direct genetic proof that PMV is an essential protein has not been established. Here we have used a conditional gene excision approach combining CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing and DiCre-mediated recombination to functionally inactivate the pfpmv gene. The resulting mutant parasites displayed a severe growth defect. Detailed phenotypic analysis showed that development of the mutant parasites was arrested early in the ring-to-trophozoite transition in the erythrocytic cycle following gene excision. Our findings are the first to elucidate the effects of PMV gene disruption, showing that it is essential for parasite viability in asexual blood stages. The mutant parasites can now be used as a platform to further dissect the Plasmodium protein export pathway.

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<![CDATA[Proteomic analysis identifies transcriptional cofactors and homeobox transcription factors as TBX18 binding proteins]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b6da1cc463d7e4dccc5fafb

The TBX18 transcription factor is a crucial developmental regulator of several organ systems in mice, and loss of its transcriptional repression activity causes dilative nephropathies in humans. The molecular complexes with which TBX18 regulates transcription are poorly understood prompting us to use an unbiased proteomic approach to search for protein interaction partners. Using overexpressed dual tagged TBX18 as bait, we identified by tandem purification and subsequent LC-MS analysis TBX18 binding proteins in 293 cells. Clustering of functional annotations of the identified proteins revealed a highly significant enrichment of transcriptional cofactors and homeobox transcription factors. Using nuclear recruitment assays as well as GST pull-downs, we validated CBFB, GAR1, IKZF2, NCOA5, SBNO2 and CHD7 binding to the T-box of TBX18 in vitro. From these transcriptional cofactors, CBFB, CHD7 and IKZF2 enhanced the transcriptional repression of TBX18, while NCOA5 and SBNO2 dose-dependently relieved it. All tested homeobox transcription factors interacted with the T-box of TBX18 in pull-down assays, with members of the Pbx and Prrx subfamilies showing coexpression with Tbx18 in the developing ureter of the mouse. In summary, we identified and characterized new TBX18 binding partners that may influence the transcriptional activity of TBX18 in vivo.

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<![CDATA[Rad51 recruitment and exclusion of non-homologous end joining during homologous recombination at a Tus/Ter mammalian replication fork barrier]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b60218a463d7e3d6d2261bd

Classical non-homologous end joining (C-NHEJ) and homologous recombination (HR) compete to repair mammalian chromosomal double strand breaks (DSBs). However, C-NHEJ has no impact on HR induced by DNA nicking enzymes. In this case, the replication fork is thought to convert the DNA nick into a one-ended DSB, which lacks a readily available partner for C-NHEJ. Whether C-NHEJ competes with HR at a non-enzymatic mammalian replication fork barrier (RFB) remains unknown. We previously showed that conservative “short tract” gene conversion (STGC) induced by a chromosomal Tus/Ter RFB is a product of bidirectional replication fork stalling. This finding raises the possibility that Tus/Ter-induced STGC proceeds via a two-ended DSB intermediate. If so, Tus/Ter-induced STGC might be subject to competition by C-NHEJ. However, in contrast to the DSB response, where genetic ablation of C-NHEJ stimulates HR, we report here that Tus/Ter-induced HR is unaffected by deletion of either of two C-NHEJ genes, Xrcc4 or Ku70. These results show that Tus/Ter-induced HR does not entail the formation of a two-ended DSB to which C-NHEJ has competitive access. We found no evidence that the alternative end-joining factor, DNA polymerase θ, competes with Tus/Ter-induced HR. We used chromatin-immunoprecipitation to compare Rad51 recruitment to a Tus/Ter RFB and to a neighboring site-specific DSB. Rad51 accumulation at Tus/Ter was more intense and more sustained than at a DSB. In contrast to the DSB response, Rad51 accumulation at Tus/Ter was restricted to within a few hundred base pairs of the RFB. Taken together, these findings suggest that the major DNA structures that bind Rad51 at a Tus/Ter RFB are not conventional DSBs. We propose that Rad51 acts as an “early responder” at stalled forks, binding single stranded daughter strand gaps on the arrested lagging strand, and that Rad51-mediated fork remodeling generates HR intermediates that are incapable of Ku binding and therefore invisible to the C-NHEJ machinery.

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<![CDATA[Regulation of the opposing (p)ppGpp synthetase and hydrolase activities in a bifunctional RelA/SpoT homologue from Staphylococcus aureus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b4f2cc8463d7e25bffba86d

The stringent response is characterized by (p)ppGpp synthesis resulting in repression of translation and reprogramming of the transcriptome. In Staphylococcus aureus, (p)ppGpp is synthesized by the long RSH (RelA/SpoT homolog) enzyme, RelSau or by one of the two short synthetases (RelP, RelQ). RSH enzymes are characterized by an N-terminal enzymatic domain bearing distinct motifs for (p)ppGpp synthetase or hydrolase activity and a C-terminal regulatory domain (CTD) containing conserved motifs (TGS, DC and ACT). The intramolecular switch between synthetase and hydrolase activity of RelSau is crucial for the adaption of S. aureus to stress (stringent) or non-stress (relaxed) conditions. We elucidated the role of the CTD in the enzymatic activities of RelSau. Growth pattern, transcriptional analyses and in vitro assays yielded the following results: i) in vivo, under relaxed conditions, as well as in vitro, the CTD inhibits synthetase activity but is not required for hydrolase activity; ii) under stringent conditions, the CTD is essential for (p)ppGpp synthesis; iii) RelSau lacking the CTD exhibits net hydrolase activity when expressed in S. aureus but net (p)ppGpp synthetase activity when expressed in E. coli; iv) the TGS and DC motifs within the CTD are required for correct stringent response, whereas the ACT motif is dispensable, v) Co-immunoprecipitation indicated that the CTD interacts with the ribosome, which is largely dependent on the TGS motif. In conclusion, RelSau primarily exists in a synthetase-OFF/hydrolase-ON state, the TGS motif within the CTD is required to activate (p)ppGpp synthesis under stringent conditions.

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