The ylaABCD operon of Bacillus subtilis contains four predicted ORFs in the order ylaA, ylaB, ylaC and ylaD, where ylaC is assumed to code for a sigma factor of the extracytoplasmic function (ECF) family. Predicted YlaD may function as the anti-YlaC factor as it has an oxidative stress sensing domain similar to that of the RsrA, which is the anti-sigma factor of SigR, an ECF sigma of Streptomyces coelicolor. Northern blot analysis of the ylaABCD operon revealed two transcriptional products resulting from a distal promoter upstream of ylaA and from an internal promoter located at the first codon of ylaC. Both transcription start sites were determine by primer extension and 5’-RACE PCR. The transcription from the distal promoter was initiated by over-expression of YlaC on a multi-copy plasmid and depended on YlaC. DNA sequences of the -35 and -10 regions were similar to those recognized by other ECF sigmas of B. subtilis. On the other hand the transcription from the internal promoter was induced by oxidative stress and depended on Spx, which is an oxidative stress responding factor interacting with the alpha subunit of RNA polymerase core enzyme. The latter transcription depended possibly on SigA. We could not detect translation of YlaC from this transcript. Experiments with ylaD-disruption or co-overexpression of ylaD with ylaC suggested that YlaD functions as the anti-YlaC factor. Although YlaD has an oxidative stress sensing domain, oxidative stress did not induce the whole ylaABCD operon.
A male flower-specific gene SlMF1 was isolated from male flower buds of the dioecious plant Silene latifolia. SlMF1 is expressed in all the floral meristems at the very early stage of development in both male and female flower buds. At the mature stage of development in male flower buds, SlMF1 transcripts were specifically accumulated in pollen mother cells, tapetal cells, and the developing tips of petals. Genomic Southern hybridization revealed that SlMF1 was a multicopy gene with a Y chromosome-linked homologous sequence. PCR analyses with flow-sorted chromosomes showed that SlMF1 was localized on both autosomes and the X chromosome.
When the female plant of Silene latifolia is infected with the smut fungus Microbotryum violaceum, its rudimentary stamens develop into anthers which contain fungus teliospores instead of pollen. To identify genes required for maturation of anthers in S. latifolia, we performed a cDNA subtraction approach with healthy male buds and female buds infected with M. violaceum. We isolated five cDNA clones, which were preferentially expressed in healthy male buds during stages associated with a burst in tapetal activity. These five cDNAs are predicted to encode a mandelonitrile lyase protein (SlMDL1), a strictosidine synthase protein (SlSs), a glycosyl hydrolase 17 protein (SlGh17), a proline-rich protein APG precursor (SlAPG), and a chalcone-synthase-like protein (SlChs). All five genes showed expression in both healthy and fungus-infected male buds, but not expressed in either healthy or infected female buds. The first three genes were highly expressed in both tapetum and pollen grains while the last two genes were expressed only inside the tapetum of male flower buds. Phylogenetic analysis results showed that SlChs and SlGh17 belong to anther-specific subgroups of chalcone-synthase-like genes and glycosyl hydrolase 17 family genes, respectively. Our results suggest that the isolated five genes are related to the fertility of the anther leading to the development of fertile pollen. The smut fungus was not able to induce the expression of the five genes in the infected female buds. This raises the possibility that these genes are under the control of master gene(s) on the Y chromosome.
Human specific AluY elements were investigated by comparative analysis between human chromosome 21 and chimpanzee chromosome 22. Human specific AluY element was identified on human chromosome 21q22 (accession no. AL163282), and then that was a new member of AluYj subfamily. From the bioinformatic analysis, AluYj subfamily was investigated in human whole genome using AluYj4 consensus sequence (accession no. AL163282). Thirteen members of the AluYj4 elements (4 diagnostic mutations) and eight members of the AluYj3 elements (3 diagnostic mutations) were identified with distinct diagnostic mutation from AluY consensus sequence. The results of the molecular clock calculation of non-CpG region substitution indicated that, AluYj4 elements (2.1 million years old) may be proliferated more recent time than AluYj3 elements (14.1 million years old). For the verification of recent insertion time, four of AluYj4 elements (ch2-AC017101, ch10-AC044786, ch12-AC007656 and ch21-AL163282) from human chromosomes 2, 10, 12, 21 were analyzed by PCR amplification using various human and primate DNA samples. Though, no polymorphism was detected in human population, we identified the new AluYj4 subfamily as the human specific elements.