ResearchPad - sequence-motif-analysis https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[NMR resonance assignment and structure prediction of the C-terminal domain of the microtubule end-binding protein 3]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15736 End-binding proteins (EBs) associate with the growing microtubule plus ends to regulate microtubule dynamics as well as the interaction with intracellular structures. EB3 contributes to pathological vascular leakage through interacting with the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor 3 (IP3R3), a calcium channel located at the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. The C-terminal domain of EB3 (residues 200–281) is functionally important for this interaction because it contains the effector binding sites, a prerequisite for EB3 activity and specificity. Structural data for this domain is limited. Here, we report the backbone chemical shift assignments for the human EB3 C-terminal domain and computationally explore its EB3 conformations. Backbone assignments, along with computational models, will allow future investigation of EB3 structural dynamics, interactions with effectors, and will facilitate the development of novel EB3 inhibitors.

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<![CDATA[iterb-PPse: Identification of transcriptional terminators in bacterial by incorporating nucleotide properties into PseKNC]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14750 Terminator is a DNA sequence that gives the RNA polymerase the transcriptional termination signal. Identifying terminators correctly can optimize the genome annotation, more importantly, it has considerable application value in disease diagnosis and therapies. However, accurate prediction methods are deficient and in urgent need. Therefore, we proposed a prediction method “iterb-PPse” for terminators by incorporating 47 nucleotide properties into PseKNC-Ⅰ and PseKNC-Ⅱ and utilizing Extreme Gradient Boosting to predict terminators based on Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Combing with the preceding methods, we employed three new feature extraction methods K-pwm, Base-content, Nucleotidepro to formulate raw samples. The two-step method was applied to select features. When identifying terminators based on optimized features, we compared five single models as well as 16 ensemble models. As a result, the accuracy of our method on benchmark dataset achieved 99.88%, higher than the existing state-of-the-art predictor iTerm-PseKNC in 100 times five-fold cross-validation test. Its prediction accuracy for two independent datasets reached 94.24% and 99.45% respectively. For the convenience of users, we developed a software on the basis of “iterb-PPse” with the same name. The open software and source code of “iterb-PPse” are available at https://github.com/Sarahyouzi/iterb-PPse.

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<![CDATA[Genome-wide identification of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade and expression profiling of <i>CmMAPKs</i> in melon (<i>Cucumis melo</i> L.)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14577 Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is a form of serine/threonine protein kinase that activated by extracellular stimulation acting through the MAPK cascade (MAPKKK-MAPKK-MAPK). The MAPK cascade gene family, an important family of protein kinases, plays a vital role in responding to various stresses and hormone signal transduction processes in plants. In this study, we identified 14 CmMAPKs, 6 CmMAPKKs and 64 CmMAPKKKs in melon genome. Based on structural characteristics and a comparison of phylogenetic relationships of MAPK gene families from Arabidopsis, cucumber and watermelon, CmMAPKs and CmMAPKKs were categorized into 4 groups, and CmMAPKKKs were categorized into 3 groups. Furthermore, chromosome location revealed an unevenly distribution on chromosomes of MAPK cascade genes in melon, respectively. Eventually, qRT-PCR analysis showed that all 14 CmMAPKs had different expression patterns under drought, salt, salicylic acid (SA), methyl jasmonate (MeJA), red light (RL), and Podosphaera xanthii (P. xanthii) treatments. Overall, the expression levels of CmMAPK3 and CmMAPK7 under different treatments were higher than those in control. Our study provides an important basis for future functional verification of MAPK genes in regulating responses to stress and signal substance in melon.

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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[NAP (davunetide) preferential interaction with dynamic 3-repeat Tau explains differential protection in selected tauopathies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c92b379d5eed0c4843a4107

The microtubule (MT) associated protein Tau is instrumental for the regulation of MT assembly and dynamic instability, orchestrating MT-dependent cellular processes. Aberration in Tau post-translational modifications ratio deviation of spliced Tau isoforms 3 or 4 MT binding repeats (3R/4R) have been implicated in neurodegenerative tauopathies. Activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) is vital for brain formation and cognitive function. ADNP deficiency in mice causes pathological Tau hyperphosphorylation and aggregation, correlated with impaired cognitive functions. It has been previously shown that the ADNP-derived peptide NAP protects against ADNP deficiency, exhibiting neuroprotection, MT interaction and memory protection. NAP prevents MT degradation by recruitment of Tau and end-binding proteins to MTs and expression of these proteins is required for NAP activity. Clinically, NAP (davunetide, CP201) exhibited efficacy in prodromal Alzheimer’s disease patients (Tau3R/4R tauopathy) but not in progressive supranuclear palsy (increased Tau4R tauopathy). Here, we examined the potential preferential interaction of NAP with 3R vs. 4R Tau, toward personalized treatment of tauopathies. Affinity-chromatography showed that NAP preferentially interacted with Tau3R protein from rat brain extracts and fluorescence recovery after photobleaching assay indicated that NAP induced increased recruitment of human Tau3R to MTs under zinc intoxication, in comparison to Tau4R. Furthermore, we showed that NAP interaction with tubulin (MTs) was inhibited by obstruction of Tau-binding sites on MTs, confirming the requirement of Tau-MT interaction for NAP activity. The preferential interaction of NAP with Tau3R may explain clinical efficacy in mixed vs. Tau4R pathologies, and suggest effectiveness in Tau3R neurodevelopmental disorders.

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<![CDATA[Quantitative real-time PCR as a promising tool for the detection and quantification of leaf-associated fungal species – A proof-of-concept using Alatospora pulchella]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc5cf

Traditional methods to identify aquatic hyphomycetes rely on the morphology of released conidia, which can lead to misidentifications or underestimates of species richness due to convergent morphological evolution and the presence of non-sporulating mycelia. Molecular methods allow fungal identification irrespective of the presence of conidia or their morphology. As a proof-of-concept, we established a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay to accurately quantify the amount of DNA as a proxy for the biomass of an aquatic hyphomycete species (Alatospora pulchella). Our study showed discrimination even among genetically closely-related species, with a high sensitivity and a reliable quantification down to 9.9 fg DNA (3 PCR forming units; LoD) and 155.0 fg DNA (47 PCR forming units; LoQ), respectively. The assay’s specificity was validated for environmental samples that harboured diverse microbial communities and likely contained PCR-inhibiting substances. This makes qPCR a promising tool to gain deeper insights into the ecological roles of aquatic hyphomycetes and other microorganisms.

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<![CDATA[Transcriptomic analysis of polyketide synthases in a highly ciguatoxic dinoflagellate, Gambierdiscus polynesiensis and low toxicity Gambierdiscus pacificus, from French Polynesia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nca210627-69b7-4a50-96ce-ecb4ce1a2ae1

Marine dinoflagellates produce a diversity of polyketide toxins that are accumulated in marine food webs and are responsible for a variety of seafood poisonings. Reef-associated dinoflagellates of the genus Gambierdiscus produce toxins responsible for ciguatera poisoning (CP), which causes over 50,000 cases of illness annually worldwide. The biosynthetic machinery for dinoflagellate polyketides remains poorly understood. Recent transcriptomic and genomic sequencing projects have revealed the presence of Type I modular polyketide synthases in dinoflagellates, as well as a plethora of single domain transcripts with Type I sequence homology. The current transcriptome analysis compares polyketide synthase (PKS) gene transcripts expressed in two species of Gambierdiscus from French Polynesia: a highly toxic ciguatoxin producer, G. polynesiensis, versus a non-ciguatoxic species G. pacificus, each assembled from approximately 180 million Illumina 125 nt reads using Trinity, and compares their PKS content with previously published data from other Gambierdiscus species and more distantly related dinoflagellates. Both modular and single-domain PKS transcripts were present. Single domain β-ketoacyl synthase (KS) transcripts were highly amplified in both species (98 in G. polynesiensis, 99 in G. pacificus), with smaller numbers of standalone acyl transferase (AT), ketoacyl reductase (KR), dehydratase (DH), enoyl reductase (ER), and thioesterase (TE) domains. G. polynesiensis expressed both a larger number of multidomain PKSs, and larger numbers of modules per transcript, than the non-ciguatoxic G. pacificus. The largest PKS transcript in G. polynesiensis encoded a 10,516 aa, 7 module protein, predicted to synthesize part of the polyether backbone. Transcripts and gene models representing portions of this PKS are present in other species, suggesting that its function may be performed in those species by multiple interacting proteins. This study contributes to the building consensus that dinoflagellates utilize a combination of Type I modular and single domain PKS proteins, in an as yet undefined manner, to synthesize polyketides.

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<![CDATA[Chalcone synthase (CHS) family members analysis from eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) in the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway and expression patterns in response to heat stress]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0c4703df-5c43-4557-a077-ba839b092c8d

Enzymes of the chalcone synthase (CHS) family participate in the synthesis of multiple secondary metabolites in plants, fungi and bacteria. CHS showed a significant correlation with the accumulation patterns of anthocyanin. The peel color, which is primarily determined by the content of anthocyanin, is an economically important trait for eggplants that is affected by heat stress. A total of 7 CHS (SmCHS1-7) putative genes were identified in a genome-wide analysis of eggplants (S. melongena L.). The SmCHS genes were distributed on 7 scaffolds and were classified into 3 clusters. Phylogenetic relationship analysis showed that 73 CHS genes from 7 Solanaceae species were classified into 10 groups. SmCHS5, SmCHS6 and SmCHS7 were continuously down-regulated under 38°C and 45°C treatment, while SmCHS4 was up-regulated under 38°C but showed little change at 45°C in peel. Expression profiles of key anthocyanin biosynthesis gene families showed that the PAL, 4CL and AN11 genes were primarily expressed in all five tissues. The CHI, F3H, F3’5’H, DFR, 3GT and bHLH1 genes were expressed in flower and peel. Under heat stress, the expression level of 52 key genes were reduced. In contrast, the expression patterns of eight key genes similar to SmCHS4 were up-regulated at a treatment of 38°C for 3 hour. Comparative analysis of putative CHS protein evolutionary relationships, cis-regulatory elements, and regulatory networks indicated that SmCHS gene family has a conserved gene structure and functional diversification. SmCHS showed two or more expression patterns, these results of this study may facilitate further research to understand the regulatory mechanism governing peel color in eggplants.

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<![CDATA[Analysis of the nucleocytoplasmic shuttling RNA-binding protein HNRNPU using optimized HITS-CLIP method]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nb5a6160c-8969-498c-b6ff-671487ce7810

RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) control many types of post-transcriptional regulation, including mRNA splicing, mRNA stability, and translational efficiency, by directly binding to their target RNAs and their mutation and dysfunction are often associated with several human neurological diseases and tumorigenesis. Crosslinking immunoprecipitation (CLIP), coupled with high-throughput sequencing (HITS-CLIP), is a powerful technique for investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying disease pathogenesis by comprehensive identification of RBP target sequences at the transcriptome level. However, HITS-CLIP protocol is still required for some optimization due to experimental complication, low efficiency and time-consuming, whose library has to be generated from very small amounts of RNAs. Here we improved a more efficient, rapid, and reproducible CLIP method by optimizing BrdU-CLIP. Our protocol produced a 10-fold greater yield of pre-amplified CLIP library, which resulted in a low duplicate rate of CLIP-tag reads because the number of PCR cycles required for library amplification was reduced. Variance of the yields was also reduced, and the experimental period was shortened by 2 days. Using this, we validated IL-6 expression by a nuclear RBP, HNRNPU, which directly binds the 3’-UTR of IL-6 mRNA in HeLa cells. Importantly, this interaction was only observed in the cytoplasmic fraction, suggesting a role of cytoplasmic HNRNPU in mRNA stability control. This optimized method enables us to accurately identify target genes and provides a snapshot of the protein-RNA interactions of nucleocytoplasmic shuttling RBPs.

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<![CDATA[Disease-relevant mutations alter amino acid co-evolution networks in the second nucleotide binding domain of CFTR]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N211c75a7-eaac-4644-b655-cac4e239c2e4

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) ion channel. Mutations in CFTR cause impaired chloride ion transport in the epithelial tissues of patients leading to cardiopulmonary decline and pancreatic insufficiency in the most severely affected patients. CFTR is composed of twelve membrane-spanning domains, two nucleotide-binding domains (NBDs), and a regulatory domain. The most common mutation in CFTR is a deletion of phenylalanine at position 508 (ΔF508) in NBD1. Previous research has primarily concentrated on the structure and dynamics of the NBD1 domain; However numerous pathological mutations have also been found in the lesser-studied NBD2 domain. We have investigated the amino acid co-evolved network of interactions in NBD2, and the changes that occur in that network upon the introduction of CF and CF-related mutations (S1251N(T), S1235R, D1270N, N1303K(T)). Extensive coupling between the α- and β-subdomains were identified with residues in, or near Walker A, Walker B, H-loop and C-loop motifs. Alterations in the predicted residue network varied from moderate for the S1251T perturbation to more severe for N1303T. The S1235R and D1270N networks varied greatly compared to the wildtype, but these CF mutations only affect ion transport preference and do not severely disrupt CFTR function, suggesting dynamic flexibility in the network of interactions in NBD2. Our results also suggest that inappropriate interactions between the β-subdomain and Q-loop could be detrimental. We also identified mutations predicted to stabilize the NBD2 residue network upon introduction of the CF and CF-related mutations, and these predicted mutations are scored as benign by the MUTPRED2 algorithm. Our results suggest the level of disruption of the co-evolution predictions of the amino acid networks in NBD2 does not have a straightforward correlation with the severity of the CF phenotypes observed.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of mammalian Lipocalin UTRs in silico: Predictions for their role in post-transcriptional regulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897780d5eed0c4847d2e76

The Lipocalin family is a group of homologous proteins characterized by its big array of functional capabilities. As extracellular proteins, they can bind small hydrophobic ligands through a well-conserved β-barrel folding. Lipocalins evolutionary history sprawls across many different taxa and shows great divergence even within chordates. This variability is also found in their heterogeneous tissue expression pattern. Although a handful of promoter regions have been previously described, studies on UTR regulatory roles in Lipocalin gene expression are scarce. Here we report a comprehensive bioinformatic analysis showing that complex post-transcriptional regulation exists in Lipocalin genes, as suggested by the presence of alternative UTRs with substantial sequence conservation in mammals, alongside a high diversity of transcription start sites and alternative promoters. Strong selective pressure could have operated upon Lipocalins UTRs, leading to an enrichment in particular sequence motifs that limit the choice of secondary structures. Mapping these regulatory features to the expression pattern of early and late diverging Lipocalins suggests that UTRs represent an additional phylogenetic signal, which may help to uncover how functional pleiotropy originated within the Lipocalin family.

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<![CDATA[Phosphodiesterase beta is the master regulator of cAMP signalling during malaria parasite invasion]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c99020cd5eed0c484b97558

Cyclic nucleotide signalling is a major regulator of malaria parasite differentiation. Phosphodiesterase (PDE) enzymes are known to control cyclic GMP (cGMP) levels in the parasite, but the mechanisms by which cyclic AMP (cAMP) is regulated remain enigmatic. Here, we demonstrate that Plasmodium falciparum phosphodiesterase β (PDEβ) hydrolyses both cAMP and cGMP and is essential for blood stage viability. Conditional gene disruption causes a profound reduction in invasion of erythrocytes and rapid death of those merozoites that invade. We show that this dual phenotype results from elevated cAMP levels and hyperactivation of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). Phosphoproteomic analysis of PDEβ-null parasites reveals a >2-fold increase in phosphorylation at over 200 phosphosites, more than half of which conform to a PKA substrate consensus sequence. We conclude that PDEβ plays a critical role in governing correct temporal activation of PKA required for erythrocyte invasion, whilst suppressing untimely PKA activation during early intra-erythrocytic development.

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<![CDATA[Global transcriptional regulation of innate immunity by ATF-7 in C. elegans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c784faad5eed0c4840072b2

The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has emerged as a genetically tractable animal host in which to study evolutionarily conserved mechanisms of innate immune signaling. We previously showed that the PMK-1 p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway regulates innate immunity of C. elegans through phosphorylation of the CREB/ATF bZIP transcription factor, ATF-7. Here, we have undertaken a genomic analysis of the transcriptional response of C. elegans to infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, combining genome-wide expression analysis by RNA-seq with ATF-7 chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-Seq). We observe that PMK-1-ATF-7 activity regulates a majority of all genes induced by pathogen infection, and observe ATF-7 occupancy in regulatory regions of pathogen-induced genes in a PMK-1-dependent manner. Moreover, functional analysis of a subset of these ATF-7-regulated pathogen-induced target genes supports a direct role for this transcriptional response in host defense. The genome-wide regulation through PMK-1– ATF-7 signaling reveals a striking level of control over the innate immune response to infection through a single transcriptional regulator.

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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[Multiplexing polysome profiling experiments to study translation in Escherichia coli]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac71d5eed0c484d087b8

Polysome profiling is a widely used method to monitor the translation status of mRNAs. Although it is theoretically a simple technique, it is labor intensive. Repetitive polysome fractionation rapidly generates a large number of samples to be handled in the downstream processes of protein elimination, RNA extraction and quantification. Here, we propose a multiplex polysome profiling experiment in which distinct cellular extracts are pooled before loading on the sucrose gradient for fractionation. We used the multiplexing method to study translation in E. coli. Multiplexing polysome profiling experiments provided similar mRNA translation status to that obtained with the non-multiplex method with comparable distribution of mRNA copies between the polysome profiling fractions, similar ribosome occupancy and ribosome density. The multiplexing method was used for parallel characterization of gene translational responses to changing mRNA levels. When the mRNA level of two native genes, cysZ and lacZ was increased by transcription induction, their global translational response was similar, with a higher ribosome load leading to increased ribosome occupancy and ribosome densities. However the pattern and the magnitude of the translational response were gene specific. By reducing the number of polysome profiling experiments, the multiplexing method saved time and effort and reduced cost and technical bias. This method would be useful to study the translational effect of mRNA sequence-dependent parameters that often require testing multiple samples and conditions in parallel.

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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[Comprehensive genome-wide analysis of the pear (Pyrus bretschneideri) laccase gene (PbLAC) family and functional identification of PbLAC1 involved in lignin biosynthesis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75c6d5eed0c4843d0173

The content and size of stone cell clusters affects the quality of pear fruit, and monolignol polymerization and deposition in the cell walls constitute a required step for stone cell formation. Laccase (LAC) is the key enzyme responsible for the polymerization of monolignols. However, there are no reports on the LAC family in pear (Pyrus bretschneideri), and the identity of the members responsible for lignin synthesis has not been clarified. Here, 41 LACs were identified in the whole genome of pear. All Pyrus bretschneideri LACs (PbLACs) were distributed on 13 chromosomes and divided into four phylogenetic groups (I-IV). In addition, 16 segmental duplication events were found, implying that segmental duplication was a primary reason for the expansion of the PbLAC family. LACs from the genomes of three Rosaceae species (Prunus mummer, Prunus persica, and Fragaria vesca) were also identified, and an interspecies collinearity analysis was performed. The phylogenetic analysis, sequence alignments and spatiotemporal expression pattern analysis suggested that PbLAC1, 5, 6, 29, 36 and 38 were likely associated with lignin synthesis and stone cell formation in fruit. The two target genes of Pyr-miR1890 (a microRNA identified from pear fruit that is associated with lignin and stone cell accumulation), PbLAC1 and PbLAC14, were selected for genetic transformation. Interfamily transfer of PbLAC1 into Arabidopsis resulted in a significant increase (approximately 17%) in the lignin content and thicker cell walls in interfascicular fibre and xylem cells, which demonstrated that PbLAC1 is involved in lignin biosynthesis and cell wall development. However, the lignin content and cell wall thickness were not changed significantly in the PbLAC14-overexpressing transgenic Arabidopsis plants. This study revealed the function of PbLAC1 in lignin synthesis and provides important insights into the characteristics and evolution of the PbLAC family.

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<![CDATA[Mapping DNA sequence to transcription factor binding energy in vivo]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8e5d5eed0c48496f361

Despite the central importance of transcriptional regulation in biology, it has proven difficult to determine the regulatory mechanisms of individual genes, let alone entire gene networks. It is particularly difficult to decipher the biophysical mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in living cells and determine the energetic properties of binding sites for transcription factors and RNA polymerase. In this work, we present a strategy for dissecting transcriptional regulatory sequences using in vivo methods (massively parallel reporter assays) to formulate quantitative models that map a transcription factor binding site’s DNA sequence to transcription factor-DNA binding energy. We use these models to predict the binding energies of transcription factor binding sites to within 1 kBT of their measured values. We further explore how such a sequence-energy mapping relates to the mechanisms of trancriptional regulation in various promoter contexts. Specifically, we show that our models can be used to design specific induction responses, analyze the effects of amino acid mutations on DNA sequence preference, and determine how regulatory context affects a transcription factor’s sequence specificity.

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<![CDATA[Evolution of the modular, disordered stress proteins known as dehydrins]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d51d5eed0c484c8254c

Dehydrins, plant proteins that are upregulated during dehydration stress conditions, have modular sequences that can contain three conserved motifs (the Y-, S-, and K-segments). The presence and order of these motifs are used to classify dehydrins into one of five architectures: Kn, SKn, KnS, YnKn, and YnSKn, where the subscript n describes the number of copies of that motif. In this study, an architectural and phylogenetic analysis was performed on 426 dehydrin sequences that were identified in 53 angiosperm and 3 gymnosperm genomes. It was found that angiosperms contained all five architectures, while gymnosperms only contained Kn and SKn dehydrins. This suggests that the ancestral dehydrin in spermatophytes was either Kn or SKn, and the Y-segment containing dehydrins first arose in angiosperms. A high-level split between the YnSKn dehydrins from either the Kn or SKn dehydrins could not be confidently identified, however, two lower level architectural divisions appear to have occurred after different duplication events. The first likely occurred after a whole genome duplication, resulting in the duplication of a Y3SK2 dehydrin; the duplicate subsequently lost an S- and K- segment to become a Y3K1 dehydrin. The second split occurred after a tandem duplication of a Y1SK2 dehydrin, where the duplicate lost both the Y- and S- segment and gained four K-segments, resulting in a K6 dehydrin. We suggest that the newly arisen Y3K1 dehydrin is possibly on its way to pseudogenization, while the newly arisen K6 dehydrin developed a novel function in cold protection.

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<![CDATA[PepN is a non-essential, cell wall-localized protein that contributes to neutrophil elastase-mediated killing of Streptococcus pneumoniae]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df336d5eed0c484580f0d

Streptococcus pneumoniae (Spn) is an asymptomatic colonizer of the human nasopharynx but can also cause disease in the inner ear, meninges, lung and blood. Although various mechanisms contribute to the effective clearance of Spn, opsonophagocytosis by neutrophils is perhaps most critical. Upon phagocytosis, Spn is exposed to various degradative molecules, including a family of neutrophil serine proteases (NSPs) that are stored within intracellular granules. Despite the critical importance of NSPs in killing Spn, the bacterial proteins that are degraded by NSPs leading to Spn death are still unknown. In this report, we identify a 90kDa protein in a purified cell wall (CW) preparation, aminopeptidase N (PepN) that is degraded by the NSP neutrophil elastase (NE). Since PepN lacked a canonical signal sequence or LPxTG motif, we created a mutant expressing a FLAG tagged version of the protein and confirmed its localization to the CW compartment. We determined that not only is PepN a CW-localized protein, but also is a substrate of NE in the context of intact Spn cells. Furthermore, in comparison to wild-type TIGR4 Spn, a mutant strain lacking PepN demonstrated a significant hyper-resistance phenotype in vitro in the presence of purified NE as well as in opsonophagocytic assays with purified human neutrophils ex vivo. Taken together, this is the first study to demonstrate that PepN is a CW-localized protein and a substrate of NE that contributes to the effective killing of Spn by NSPs and human neutrophils.

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