Camptothecin (CPT) inhibits DNA topoisomerase I (Top1) through a non-catalytic mechanism that stabilizes the Top1-DNA cleavage complex (Top1cc) and blocks the DNA re-ligation step, resulting in the accumulation in the genome of DNA single-strand breaks (SSBs), which are converted to secondary strand breaks when they collide with the DNA replication and RNA transcription machinery. DNA strand breaks mediated by replication, which have one DNA end, are distinct in repair from the DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that have two ends and are caused by ionizing radiation and other agents. In contrast to two-ended DSBs, such one-ended DSBs are preferentially repaired through the homologous recombination pathway. Conversely, the repair of one-ended DSBs by the non-homologous end-joining pathway is harmful for cells and leads to cell death. The choice of repair pathway has a crucial impact on cell fate and influences the efficacy of anticancer drugs such as CPT derivatives. In addition to replication-mediated one-ended DSBs, transcription also generates DNA strand breaks upon collision with the Top1cc. Some reports suggest that transcription-mediated DNA strand breaks correlate with neurodegenerative diseases. However, the details of the repair mechanisms of, and cellular responses to, transcription-mediated DNA strand breaks still remain unclear. In this review, combining our recent results and those of previous reports, we introduce and discuss the responses to CPT-induced DNA damage mediated by DNA replication and RNA transcription.
The importance of chromatin modification, including histone modification and chromatin remodeling, for DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair, as well as transcription and replication, has been elucidated. Phosphorylation of H2AX to γ-H2AX is one of the first responses following DSB detection, and this histone modification is important for the DSB damage response by triggering several events, including the accumulation of DNA damage response-related proteins and subsequent homologous recombination (HR) repair. The roles of other histone modifications such as acetylation, methylation and ubiquitination have also been recently clarified, particularly in the context of HR repair. NBS1 is a multifunctional protein that is involved in various DNA damage responses. Its recently identified binding partner RNF20 is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that facilitates the monoubiquitination of histone H2B, a process that is crucial for recruitment of the chromatin remodeler SNF2h to DSB damage sites. Evidence suggests that SNF2h functions in HR repair, probably through regulation of end-resection. Moreover, several recent reports have indicated that SNF2h can function in HR repair pathways as a histone remodeler and that other known histone remodelers can also participate in DSB damage responses. On the other hand, information about the roles of such chromatin modifications and NBS1 in non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) repair of DSBs and stalled fork-related damage responses is very limited; therefore, these aspects and processes need to be further studied to advance our understanding of the mechanisms and molecular players involved.
The DNA damage response (DDR) is a critical mechanism to maintain the genome stability of an organism upon exposure to endogenous and exogenous DNA-damaging factors. The DDR system is particularly important for plants as these organisms, owing to their intrinsic immobility, are inevitably exposed to environmental stress factors, some of which induce DNA damage. Arabidopsis thaliana has orthologs of several DDR factors that are present in animals; however, some of the important animal regulators, such as the tumor suppressor p53 and the DDR kinases CHK1 and CHK2, have not been found in plants. These observations imply a unique DDR system in plants. The present review focuses on recent advances in our understanding of the DDR in A. thaliana and, in particular, on the function and role of SUPPRESSOR OF GAMMA RESPONSE 1 (SOG1), a plant-specific transcription factor that regulates the DDR. The most obvious response to DNA damage in A. thaliana is a rapid and robust change in the transcriptional regulation of numerous genes, in which SOG1 is an essential regulatory factor. Mutation of SOG1 causes various defects in the activation of cell cycle arrest, programmed cell death, and endoreduplication in response to DNA damage. These observations indicate that SOG1 is a master regulator of the DDR. Phylogenetic analyses of SOG1 reveal that orthologs of this crucial transcription factor are present not only in angiosperms but also in gymnosperms, suggesting that the SOG1 system is conserved across spermatophytes. Finally, future prospects for SOG1 research are also discussed.
The consensus model for floral organ formation in higher plants, the so-called ABCDE model, proposes that floral whorl-specific combinations of class A, B, C, D, and E genes specify floral organ identity. Class A, B, C, D and E genes encode MADS-box transcription factors; the single exception being the class A gene APETALA2. Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is a hexaploid species with a genome constitution AABBDD; the hexaploid originated from a cross between tetraploid T. turgidum (AABB) and diploid Aegilops tauschii (DD). Tetraploid wheat is thought to have originated from a cross between the diploid species T. urartu (AA) and Ae. speltoides (BB). Consequently, the hexaploid wheat genome contains triplicated homoeologous copies (homoeologs) of each gene derived from the different ancestral diploid species. In this study, we examined the expression patterns of homoeologs of class B, C and D MADS-box genes during floral development. For the class B gene wheat PISTILLATA2 (WPI2), the homoeologs from the A and D genomes were expressed, while expression of the B genome homoeolog was suppressed. For the class C gene wheat AGAMOUS1 (WAG1), the homoeologs on the A and B genomes were expressed, while expression of the D genome homoeolog was suppressed. For the class D gene wheat SEEDSTICK (WSTK), the B genome homoeolog was preferentially expressed. These differential patterns of homoeolog expression were consistently observed among different hexaploid wheat varieties and synthetic hexaploid wheat lines developed by artificial crosses between tetraploid wheat and Ae. tauschii. These results suggest that homoeolog-specific regulation of the floral MADS-box genes occurs in allopolyploid wheat.
CRISPR-Cas9 technology, which uses an RNA-guided nuclease, has been developed as an efficient and versatile genome-editing method to induce mutations in genes of interest. To examine the feasibility of this method in developmental studies of a model monocot, rice (Oryza sativa), we introduced the construct gDL-1, which produced a guide RNA targeting the DROOPING LEAF (DL) gene. DL regulates midrib formation in the leaf and carpel specification in the flower. Because loss of function of DL causes the drooping leaf phenotype in regenerated seedlings, the effect of gene disruption should be easily detected. In transgenic plants carrying gDL-1, the DL gene was disrupted at high efficiency: seven out of nine plants examined had bi-allelic mutations. All transgenic plants with the bi-allelic mutation showed the drooping leaf phenotype. Observation of cross sections of the leaf blade clearly indicated that these transgenic plants failed to make midrib structures, and were comparable to the severe dl mutant dl-sup1. Thus, CRISPR-Cas9 technology can be a useful and efficient tool in developmental studies in rice.
In the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, females take the initiative to mate successfully because they decide whether to mate or not. However, little is known about the molecular and neuronal mechanisms regulating sexual receptivity in virgin females. Genetic tools available in Drosophila are useful for identifying molecules and neural circuits involved in the regulation of sexual receptivity. We previously demonstrated that insulin-producing cells (IPCs) in the female brain are critical to the regulation of female sexual receptivity. Ablation and inactivation of IPCs enhance female sexual receptivity, suggesting that neurosecretion from IPCs inhibits female sexual receptivity. IPCs produce and release insulin-like peptides (Ilps) that modulate various biological processes such as metabolism, growth, lifespan and behaviors. Here, we report a novel role of the Ilps in sexual behavior in Drosophila virgin females. Compared with wild-type females, females with knockout mutations of Ilps showed a high mating success rate toward wild-type males, whereas wild-type males courted wild-type and Ilp-knockout females to the same extent. Wild-type receptive females retard their movement during male courtship and this reduced female mobility allows males to copulate. Thus, it was anticipated that knockout mutations of Ilps would reduce general locomotion. However, the locomotor activity in Ilp-knockout females was significantly higher than that in wild-type females. Thus, our findings indicate that the high mating success rate in Ilp-knockout females is caused by their enhanced sexual receptivity, but not by improvement of their sex appeal or by general sluggishness.