ResearchPad - restriction-fragment-mapping 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[Potassium response and homeostasis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis modulates environmental adaptation and is important for host colonization]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e93cd5eed0c48496fa58

Successful host colonization by bacteria requires sensing and response to the local ionic milieu, and coordination of responses with the maintenance of ionic homeostasis in the face of changing conditions. We previously discovered that Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) responds synergistically to chloride (Cl-) and pH, as cues to the immune status of its host. This raised the intriguing concept of abundant ions as important environmental signals, and we have now uncovered potassium (K+) as an ion that can significantly impact colonization by Mtb. The bacterium has a unique transcriptional response to changes in environmental K+ levels, with both distinct and shared regulatory mechanisms controlling Mtb response to the ionic signals of K+, Cl-, and pH. We demonstrate that intraphagosomal K+ levels increase during macrophage phagosome maturation, and find using a novel fluorescent K+-responsive reporter Mtb strain that K+ is not limiting during macrophage infection. Disruption of Mtb K+ homeostasis by deletion of the Trk K+ uptake system results in dampening of the bacterial response to pH and Cl-, and attenuation in host colonization, both in primary murine bone marrow-derived macrophages and in vivo in a murine model of Mtb infection. Our study reveals how bacterial ionic homeostasis can impact environmental ionic responses, and highlights the important role that abundant ions can play during host colonization by Mtb.

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<![CDATA[The ability of locked nucleic acid oligonucleotides to pre-structure the double helix: A molecular simulation and binding study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c7570d5eed0c4843cfda2

Locked nucleic acid (LNA) oligonucleotides bind DNA target sequences forming Watson-Crick and Hoogsteen base pairs, and are therefore of interest for medical applications. To be biologically active, such an oligonucleotide has to efficiently bind the target sequence. Here we used molecular dynamics simulations and electrophoresis mobility shift assays to elucidate the relation between helical structure and affinity for LNA-containing oligonucleotides. In particular, we have studied how LNA substitutions in the polypyrimidine strand of a duplex (thus forming a hetero duplex, i.e. a duplex with a DNA polypurine strand and an LNA/DNA polypyrimidine strand) enhance triplex formation. Based on seven polypyrimidine single strand oligonucleotides, having LNAs in different positions and quantities, we show that alternating LNA with one or more non-modified DNA nucleotides pre-organizes the hetero duplex toward a triple-helical-like conformation. This in turn promotes triplex formation, while consecutive LNAs distort the duplex structure disfavoring triplex formation. The results support the hypothesis that a pre-organization in the hetero duplex structure enhances the binding of triplex forming oligonucleotides. Our findings may serve as a criterion in the design of new tools for efficient oligonucleotide hybridization.

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<![CDATA[Contribution of the Cpx envelope stress system to metabolism and virulence regulation in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8cfd5eed0c48496f1be

The Cpx-envelope stress system regulates the expression of virulence factors in many Gram-negative pathogens. In Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium deletion of the sensor kinase CpxA but not of the response regulator CpxR results in the down regulation of the key regulator for invasion, HilA encoded by the Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI-1). Here, we provide evidence that cpxA deletion interferes with dephosphorylation of CpxR resulting in increased levels of active CpxR and consequently in misregulation of target genes. 14 potential operons were identified to be under direct control of CpxR. These include the virulence determinants ecotin, the omptin PgtE, and the SPI-2 regulator SsrB. The Tat-system and the PocR regulator that together promote anaerobic respiration of tetrathionate on 1,2-propanediol are also under direct CpxR control. Notably, 1,2-propanediol represses hilA expression. Thus, our work demonstrates for the first time the involvement of the Cpx system in a complex network mediating metabolism and virulence function.

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<![CDATA[KDM2B regulates choline kinase expression and neuronal differentiation of neuroblastoma cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7add5eed0c4843865c6

The process of neuronal differentiation is associated with neurite elongation and membrane biogenesis, and phosphatidylcholine (PtdCho) is the major membrane phospholipid in mammalian cells. During neuroblast differentiation, the transcription of two genes involved in PtdCho biosynthesis are stimulated: Chka gene for choline kinase (CK) alpha isoform and Pcyt1a gene for CTP:phosphocholine cytidylyltransferase (CCT) alpha isoform. Here we show that CKα is essential for neuronal differentiation. In addition, we demonstrated that KDM2B regulates CKα expression and, as a consequence, neuronal differentiation. This factor is up-regulated in the course of the neuroblasts proliferative and undifferentiated state and down-regulated during differentiation induced by retinoic acid (RA). During proliferation, KDM2B binds to the Box2 located in the Chka promoter repressing its transcription. Interestingly, KDM2B knockdown enhances the levels of CKα expression in neuroblast cells and induces neuronal differentiation even in the absence of RA. These results suggest that KDM2B is required for the appropriate regulation of CKα during neuronal differentiation and to the maintaining of the undifferentiated stage of neuroblast cells.

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<![CDATA[Phosphate effect on filipin production and morphological differentiation in Streptomyces filipinensis and the role of the PhoP transcription factor]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf29d5eed0c484914044

The biosynthesis of the antifungal filipin in Streptomyces filipinensis is very sensitive to phosphate regulation. Concentrations as low as 2.5 mM block filipin production. This effect is, at least in part, produced by repression of the transcription of most filipin biosynthetic genes. The role of the two-component PhoRP system in this process was investigated. The phoRP system of S. filipinensis was cloned and transcriptionally characterised. PhoP binds to two PHO boxes present in one of its two promoters. Filipin production was greatly increased in ΔphoP and ΔphoRP mutants, in agreement with a higher transcription of the fil genes, and the effect of phosphate repression on the antibiotic production of these strains was significantly reduced. No PhoP binding was observed by electrophoretic mobility gel shift assays (EMSAs) with the promoter regions of the fil gene cluster thus suggesting an indirect effect of mutations. Binding assays with cell-free extracts from the wild-type and mutant strains on fil genes promoters revealed retardation bands in the parental strain that were absent in the mutants, thus suggesting that binding of the putative transcriptional regulator or regulators controlled by PhoP was PhoP dependent. Noteworthy, PhoP or PhoRP deletion also produced a dramatic decrease in sporulation ability, thus indicating a clear relationship between the phosphate starvation response mediated by PhoP and the sporulation process in S. filipinensis. This effect was overcome upon gene complementation, but also by phosphate addition, thus suggesting that alternative pathways take control in the absence of PhoRP.

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<![CDATA[Development of novel NEMO-binding domain mimetics for inhibiting IKK/NF-κB activation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b28baa0463d7e1564977080

Nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) is a transcription factor important for regulating innate and adaptive immunity, cellular proliferation, apoptosis, and senescence. Dysregulation of NF-κB and its upstream regulator IκB kinase (IKK) contributes to the pathogenesis of multiple inflammatory and degenerative diseases as well as cancer. An 11–amino acid peptide containing the NF-κB essential modulator (NEMO)-binding domain (NBD) derived from the C-terminus of β subunit of IKK, functions as a highly selective inhibitor of the IKK complex by disrupting the association of IKKβ and the IKKγ subunit NEMO. A structure-based pharmacophore model was developed to identify NBD mimetics by in silico screening. Two optimized lead NBD mimetics, SR12343 and SR12460, inhibited tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α)- and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced NF-κB activation by blocking the interaction between IKKβ and NEMO and suppressed LPS-induced acute pulmonary inflammation in mice. Chronic treatment of a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) with SR12343 and SR12460 attenuated inflammatory infiltration, necrosis and muscle degeneration, demonstrating that these small-molecule NBD mimetics are potential therapeutics for inflammatory and degenerative diseases.

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<![CDATA[Characterisation of the Porphyromonas gingivalis Manganese Transport Regulator Orthologue]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f3ab0ee8fa60b6f13e

PgMntR is a predicted member of the DtxR family of transcriptional repressors responsive to manganese in the anaerobic periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. Our bioinformatic analyses predicted that PgMntR had divalent metal binding site(s) with elements of both manganous and ferrous ion specificity and that PgMntR has unusual twin C-terminal FeoA domains. We produced recombinant PgMntR and four variants to probe the specificity of metal binding and its impact on protein structure and DNA binding. PgMntR dimerised in the absence of a divalent transition metal cation. PgMntR bound three Mn(II) per monomer with an overall dissociation constant Kd 2.0 x 10−11 M at pH 7.5. PgMntR also bound two Fe(II) with distinct binding affinities, Kd1 2.5 x 10−10 M and Kd2 ≤ 6.0 x 10−8 M at pH 6.8. Two of the metal binding sites may form a binuclear centre with two bound Mn2+ being bridged by Cys108 but this centre provided only one site for Fe2+. Binding of Fe2+ or Mn2+ did not have a marked effect on the PgMntR secondary structure. Apo-PgMntR had a distinct affinity for the promoter region of the gene encoding the only known P. gingivalis manganese transporter, FB2. Mn2+ increased the DNA binding affinity of PgMntR whilst Fe2+ destabilised the protein-DNA complex in vitro. PgMntR did not bind the promoter DNA of the gene encoding the characterised iron transporter FB1. The C-terminal FeoA domain was shown to be essential for PgMntR structure/function, as its removal caused the introduction of an intramolecular disulfide bond and abolished the binding of Mn2+ and DNA. These data indicate that PgMntR is a novel member of the DtxR family that may function as a transcriptional repressor switch to specifically regulate manganese transport and homeostasis in an iron-dependent manner.

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<![CDATA[Transcription Factor SP2 Enhanced the Expression of Cd14 in Colitis-Susceptible C3H/HeJBir]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db10ab0ee8fa60bcbd9b

Genetic analysis in the IL10-deficient mouse model revealed a modifier locus of experimental inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) on chromosome 18, with the allele of the strain C3H/HeJBir (C3Bir) conferring resistance and the allele of C57BL/6J (B6) conferring susceptibility. Differential Cd14 expression was associated with this background specific susceptibility to intestinal inflammation. Polymorphisms of the Cd14 promoter were found to be likely causative for strain specific expression, and Cd14-knockout mice revealed a protective role of this gene-product in experimental IBD. In this study, luciferase reporter assays confirmed an increased activity of the C3Bir derived Cd14 promoter compared to the one of B6. Promoter truncation experiments and site-directed mutagenesis in both strains resulted in reduced Cd14 promoter activity and confirmed that a central AP1 and the proximal SP1 transcription factor binding sites mediated the basal activity of the Cd14 promoter in the mouse. Moreover, a T to C exchange at position -259 replaced putative STAT1 and CDX1 sites in the Cd14 promoter from B6 by a SP2 site in C3Bir. Ablation of the Sp2 site through truncation was associated with a decreased promoter activity. Site-directed mutagenesis also demonstrated that the inactivation of SP2 led to a substantial loss of promoter activity in C3Bir. Performing electrophoretic mobility shift and supershift assays demonstrated interaction of SP2 with its potential binding site. In addition, retroviral—mediated overexpression of the SP2 transcription factor in primary bone marrow macrophages derived from C3Bir mice caused a significant increase in Cd14 transcription. These data characterized SP2 as important factor responsible for higher Cd14 expression and reduced IBD susceptibility mediated by the C3Bir allele.

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<![CDATA[Analysis of ParB-centromere interactions by multiplex SPR imaging reveals specific patterns for binding ParB in six centromeres of Burkholderiales chromosomes and plasmids]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be012a

Bacterial centromeres–also called parS, are cis-acting DNA sequences which, together with the proteins ParA and ParB, are involved in the segregation of chromosomes and plasmids. The specific binding of ParB to parS nucleates the assembly of a large ParB/DNA complex from which ParA—the motor protein, segregates the sister replicons. Closely related families of partition systems, called Bsr, were identified on the chromosomes and large plasmids of the multi-chromosomal bacterium Burkholderia cenocepacia and other species from the order Burkholeriales. The centromeres of the Bsr partition families are 16 bp palindromes, displaying similar base compositions, notably a central CG dinucleotide. Despite centromeres bind the cognate ParB with a narrow specificity, weak ParB-parS non cognate interactions were nevertheless detected between few Bsr partition systems of replicons not belonging to the same genome. These observations suggested that Bsr partition systems could have a common ancestry but that evolution mostly erased the possibilities of cross-reactions between them, in particular to prevent replicon incompatibility. To detect novel similarities between Bsr partition systems, we have analyzed the binding of six Bsr parS sequences and a wide collection of modified derivatives, to their cognate ParB. The study was carried out by Surface Plasmon Resonance imaging (SPRi) mulitplex analysis enabling a systematic survey of each nucleotide position within the centromere. We found that in each parS some positions could be changed while maintaining binding to ParB. Each centromere displays its own pattern of changes, but some positions are shared more or less widely. In addition from these changes we could speculate evolutionary links between these centromeres.

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<![CDATA[Interferon-inducible ribonuclease ISG20 inhibits hepatitis B virus replication through directly binding to the epsilon stem-loop structure of viral RNA]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf29b

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) replicates its DNA genome through reverse transcription of a viral RNA pregenome. We report herein that the interferon (IFN) stimulated exoribonuclease gene of 20 KD (ISG20) inhibits HBV replication through degradation of HBV RNA. ISG20 expression was observed at basal level and was highly upregulated upon IFN treatment in hepatocytes, and knock down of ISG20 resulted in elevation of HBV replication and attenuation of IFN-mediated antiviral effect. The sequence element conferring the susceptibility of HBV RNA to ISG20-mediated RNA degradation was mapped at the HBV RNA terminal redundant region containing epsilon (ε) stem-loop. Furthermore, ISG20-induced HBV RNA degradation relies on its ribonuclease activity, as the enzymatic inactive form ISG20D94G was unable to promote HBV RNA decay. Interestingly, ISG20D94G retained antiviral activity against HBV DNA replication by preventing pgRNA encapsidation, resulting from a consequence of ISG20-ε interaction. This interaction was further characterized by in vitro electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and ISG20 was able to bind HBV ε directly in absence of any other cellular proteins, indicating a direct ε RNA binding capability of ISG20; however, cofactor(s) may be required for ISG20 to efficiently degrade ε. In addition, the lower stem portion of ε is the major ISG20 binding site, and the removal of 4 base pairs from the bottom portion of ε abrogated the sensitivity of HBV RNA to ISG20, suggesting that the specificity of ISG20-ε interaction relies on both RNA structure and sequence. Furthermore, the C-terminal Exonuclease III (ExoIII) domain of ISG20 was determined to be responsible for interacting with ε, as the deletion of ExoIII abolished in vitro ISG20-ε binding and intracellular HBV RNA degradation. Taken together, our study sheds light on the underlying mechanisms of IFN-mediated HBV inhibition and the antiviral mechanism of ISG20 in general.

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<![CDATA[A σE-Mediated Temperature Gauge Controls a Switch from LuxR-Mediated Virulence Gene Expression to Thermal Stress Adaptation in Vibrio alginolyticus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daeaab0ee8fa60bbf099

In vibrios, the expression of virulence factors is often controlled by LuxR, the master quorum-sensing regulator. Here, we investigate the interplay between LuxR and σE, an alternative sigma factor, during the control of virulence-related gene expression and adaptations to temperature elevations in the zoonotic pathogen Vibrio alginolyticus. An rpoE null V. alginolyticus mutant was unable to adapt to various stresses and was survival-deficient in fish. In wild type V. alginolyticus, the expression of LuxR-regulated virulence factors increased as the temperature was increased from 22°C to 37°C, but mutants lacking σE did not respond to temperature, indicating that σE is critical for the temperature-dependent upregulation of virulence genes. Further analyses revealed that σE binds directly to -10 and -35 elements in the luxR promoter that drive its transcription. ChIP assays showed that σE binds to the promoter regions of luxR, rpoH and rpoE at high temperatures (e.g., 30°C and 37°C). However, at higher temperatures (42°C) that induce thermal stress, σE binding to the luxR promoter decreased, while its binding to the rpoH and rpoE promoters was unchanged. Thus, the temperature-dependent binding of σE to distinct promoters appears to underlie a σE-controlled switch between the expression of virulence genes and adaptation to thermal stress. This study illustrates how a conserved temperature response mechanism integrates into quorum-sensing circuits to regulate both virulence and stress adaptation.

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<![CDATA[MDR-TB Outbreak among HIV-Negative Tunisian Patients followed during 11 Years]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da30ab0ee8fa60b841da

Background

Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) outbreaks that evolve, from the outset, in a context strictly negative for HIV infection deserve special consideration since they reflect the true intrinsic epidemic potential of the causative strain. To our knowledge, the long-term evolution of such exceptional outbreaks and the treatment outcomes for the involved patients has never been reported hitherto. Here we provide a thorough description, over an 11-year period, of an MDR-TB outbreak that emerged and expanded in an HIV-negative context, Northern Tunisia.

Methodology/Principal Findings

From October 2001 to June 2011, the MDR-TB outbreak involved 48 HIV-negative individuals that are mainly young (mean age 31.09 yrs; 89.6% male) and noninstitutionalized. Drug susceptibility testing coupled to mutational analysis revealed that initial transmission involved an isolate that was simultaneously resistant to isoniazid, rifampicin, ethambutol, and streptomycin. The causative Haarlem3-ST50 outbreak strain expanded mainly as an 11-banded IS6110 RFLP profile (77.1%), from which a 12-banded subclone evolved. After undergoing a 2-year treatment with second-line drugs, 22 (45.8%) patients were cured and 3 (6.2%) completed treatment, thus yielding an overall treatment success rate of 52.1%. Among the patients that experienced unfavorable treatment outcomes, 10 (20.8%) failed treatment, 3 (6.2%) were lost to follow-up, 5 (10.4%) died, and 5 (10.4%) could not be evaluated. Poor adherence to treatment was found to be the main independent predictor of unfavorable outcomes (HR: 9.15; 95% CI 1.72–48.73; P = 0.014). Intriguingly, the evolved 12-banded subclone proved significantly associated with unfavorable outcomes (HR: 4.90; 95% CI 1.04–23.04, P = 0.044). High rate of fatality and relapse was further demonstrated at the long-term, since 70% of those whose treatment failed have died, and 24% among those deemed successfully treated have relapsed.

Conclusions/Significance

Taken together, the data obtained in this study indicate that MDR-TB clinical isolates could become fit enough to cause large and severe outbreaks in an HIV-negative context. Such MDR-TB outbreaks are characterized by low treatment success rates and could evolve towards increased severity, thus calling for early detection of cases and the necessity to raise the bar of surveillance throughout and beyond the treatment period.

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<![CDATA[Structural Analysis and Insights into the Oligomeric State of an Arginine-Dependent Transcriptional Regulator from Bacillus halodurans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db0aab0ee8fa60bc9aea

The arginine repressor (ArgR) is an arginine-dependent transcription factor that regulates the expression of genes encoding proteins involved in the arginine biosynthesis and catabolic pathways. ArgR is a functional homolog of the arginine-dependent repressor/activator AhrC from Bacillus subtilis, and belongs to the ArgR/AhrC family of transcriptional regulators. In this research, we determined the structure of the ArgR (Bh2777) from Bacillus halodurans at 2.41 Å resolution by X-ray crystallography. The ArgR from B. halodurans appeared to be a trimer in a size exclusion column and in the crystal structure. However, it formed a hexamer in the presence of L-arginine in multi-angle light scattering (MALS) studies, indicating the oligomerization state was dependent on the presence of L-arginine. The trimeric structure showed that the C-terminal domains form the core, which was made by inter-subunit interactions mainly through hydrophobic contacts, while the N-terminal domains containing a winged helix-turn-helix DNA binding motif were arranged around the periphery. The arrangement of trimeric structure in the B. halodurans ArgR was different from those of other ArgR homologs previously reported. We finally showed that the B. halodurans ArgR has an arginine-dependent DNA binding property by an electrophoretic mobility shift assay.

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<![CDATA[Identification of Genetic Associations and Functional Polymorphisms of SAA1 Gene Affecting Milk Production Traits in Dairy Cattle]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da3dab0ee8fa60b88823

Our initial RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) revealed that the Serum amyloid A1 (SAA1) gene was differentially expressed in the mammary glands of lactating Holstein cows with extremely high versus low phenotypic values of milk protein and fat percentage. To further validate the genetic effect and potential molecular mechanisms of SAA1 gene involved in regulating milk production traits in dairy cattle, we herein performed a study through genotype-phenotype associations. Six identified SNPs were significantly associated with one or more milk production traits (0.00002< P < 0.0025), providing additional evidence for the potential role of SAA1 variants in milk production traits in dairy cows. Subsequently, both luciferase assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) clearly demonstrated that the allele A of g.-963C>A increased the promoter activity by binding the PARP factor while allele C did not. Bioinformatics analysis indicated that the secondary structure of SAA protein changed by the substitution A/G in the locus c. +2510A>G. Our findings were the first to reveal the significant associations of the SAA1 gene with milk production traits, providing basis for further biological function validation, and two identified SNPs, g.-963C>A and c. +2510A>G, may be considered as genetic markers for breeding in dairy cattle.

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<![CDATA[New NR5A1 mutations and phenotypic variations of gonadal dysgenesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db59ab0ee8fa60bdf189

Mutations in NR5A1 have been reported as a frequent cause of 46,XY disorders of sex development (DSD) associated to a broad phenotypic spectrum ranging from infertility, ambiguous genitalia, anorchia to gonadal dygenesis and female genitalia. Here we present the clinical follow up of four 46,XY DSD patients with three novel heterozygous mutations in the NR5A1 gene leading to a p.T40P missense mutation and a p.18DKVSG22del nonframeshift deletion in the DNA-binding domain and a familiar p.Y211Tfs*83 frameshift mutation. Functional analysis of the missense and nonframeshift mutation revealed a deleterious character with loss of DNA-binding and transactivation capacity. Both, the mutations in the DNA-binding domain, as well as the familiar frameshift mutation are associated with highly variable endocrine values and phenotypic appearance. Phenotypes vary from males with spontaneous puberty, substantial testosterone production and possible fertility to females with and without Müllerian structures and primary amenorrhea. Exome sequencing of the sibling’s family revealed TBX2 as a possible modifier of gonadal development in patients with NR5A1 mutations.

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<![CDATA[Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism for the Identification of Spirorchiid Ova in Tissues from the Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da45ab0ee8fa60b8b937

Blood flukes are among the most common disease causing pathogens infecting vertebrates, including humans and some of the world's most globally endangered fauna. Spirorchiid blood flukes are parasites of marine turtles, and are associated with pathology, strandings and mortalities worldwide. Their ova embolize in tissues and incite significant inflammatory responses, however attempts to draw correlations between species and lesions are frustrated by difficulties in identifying ova beyond the genus level. In this study, a newly developed terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) method was validated as a tool for differentiating between mixed spirorchiid ova in turtle tissue. Initially, a multiplex PCR was used to differentiate between the five genera of spirorchiid flukes. Following this, PCR was performed using genus/genera-specific fluorescently tagged primer pairs and PCR products digested analysis using restriction endonucleases. Using capillary electrophoresis, this T-RFLP method could differentiate between twelve species and genotypes of spirorchiid flukes in turtles. It was applied to 151 tissue samples and successfully identified the spirorchiid species present. It was found to be more sensitive than visual diagnosis, detecting infections in 28 of 32 tissues that were negative on histology. Spirorchiids were present in 96.7% of tissues tested, with Neospirorchis genotype 2 being the most prevalent, present in 93% of samples. Mixed infections were common, being present in 60.7% of samples tested. The method described here is, to our knowledge, the first use of the T-RFLP technique on host tissues or in an animal ecology context, and describes a significant advancement in the clinical capacity to diagnose a common cause of illness in our environment. It is proven as a sensitive, specific and cost-efficient means of identifying spirorchiid flukes and ova in turtles, with the potential to contribute valuable information to epidemiological and pathological studies as well as future diagnostics for this poorly understood disease.

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<![CDATA[A Model for Dimerization of the SOX Group E Transcription Factor Family]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9edab0ee8fa60b6d41d

Group E members of the SOX transcription factor family include SOX8, SOX9, and SOX10. Preceding the high mobility group (HMG) domain in each of these proteins is a thirty-eight amino acid region that supports the formation of dimers on promoters containing tandemly inverted sites. The purpose of this study was to obtain new structural insights into how the dimerization region functions with the HMG domain. From a mutagenic scan of the dimerization region, the most essential amino acids of the dimerization region were clustered on the hydrophobic face of a single, predicted amphipathic helix. Consistent with our hypothesis that the dimerization region directly contacts the HMG domain, a peptide corresponding to the dimerization region bound a preassembled HMG-DNA complex. Sequence conservation among Group E members served as a basis to identify two surface exposed amino acids in the HMG domain of SOX9 that were necessary for dimerization. These data were combined to make a molecular model that places the dimerization region of one SOX9 protein onto the HMG domain of another SOX9 protein situated at the opposing site of a tandem promoter. The model provides a detailed foundation for assessing the impact of mutations on SOX Group E transcription factors.

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<![CDATA[The Inhibitory Effect of Non-Substrate and Substrate DNA on the Ligation and Self-Adenylylation Reactions Catalyzed by T4 DNA Ligase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dabcab0ee8fa60baf11e

DNA ligases are essential both to in vivo replication, repair and recombination processes, and in vitro molecular biology protocols. Prior characterization of DNA ligases through gel shift assays has shown the presence of a nick site to be essential for tight binding between the enzyme and its dsDNA substrate, with no interaction evident on dsDNA lacking a nick. In the current study, we observed a significant substrate inhibition effect, as well as the inhibition of both the self-adenylylation and nick-sealing steps of T4 DNA ligase by non-nicked, non-substrate dsDNA. Inhibition by non-substrate DNA was dependent only on the total DNA concentration rather than the structure; with 1 μg/mL of 40-mers, 75-mers, or circular plasmid DNA all inhibiting ligation equally. A >15-fold reduction in T4 DNA ligase self-adenylylation rate when in the presence of high non-nicked dsDNA concentrations was observed. Finally, EMSAs were utilized to demonstrate that non-substrate dsDNA can compete with nicked dsDNA substrates for enzyme binding. Based upon these data, we hypothesize the inhibition of T4 DNA ligase by non-nicked dsDNA is direct evidence for a two-step nick-binding mechanism, with an initial, nick-independent, transient dsDNA-binding event preceding a transition to a stable binding complex in the presence of a nick site.

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<![CDATA[Role of PU.1 in MHC Class II Expression via CIITA Transcription in Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da65ab0ee8fa60b91a9e

The cofactor CIITA is a master regulator of MHC class II expression and several transcription factors regulating the cell type-specific expression of CIITA have been identified. Although the MHC class II expression in plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) is also mediated by CIITA, the transcription factors involved in the CIITA expression in pDCs are largely unknown. In the present study, we analyzed the role of a hematopoietic lineage-specific transcription factor, PU.1, in CIITA transcription in pDCs. The introduction of PU.1 siRNA into mouse pDCs and a human pDC cell line, CAL-1, reduced the mRNA levels of MHC class II and CIITA. When the binding of PU.1 to the 3rd promoter of CIITA (pIII) in CAL-1 and mouse pDCs was analyzed by a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, a significant amount of PU.1 binding to the pIII was detected, which was definitely decreased in PU.1 siRNA-transfected cells. Reporter assays showed that PU.1 knockdown reduced the pIII promoter activity and that three Ets-motifs in the human pIII promoter were candidates of cis-enhancing elements. By electrophoretic mobility shift assays, it was confirmed that two Ets-motifs, GGAA (-181/-178) and AGAA (-114/-111), among three candidates, were directly bound with PU.1. When mouse pDCs and CAL-1 cells were stimulated by GM-CSF, mRNA levels of PU.1, pIII-driven CIITA, total CIITA, MHC class II, and the amount of PU.1 binding to pIII were significantly increased. The GM-CSF-mediated up-regulation of these mRNAs was canceled in PU.1 siRNA-introduced cells. Taking these results together, we conclude that PU.1 transactivates the pIII through direct binding to Ets-motifs in the promoter in pDCs.

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