The strong mutator mutation dnaE173 which causes an amino-acid substitution in the α subunit of DNA polymerase III is unique in its ability to induce sequence-substitution mutations. We showed previously that multiple biochemical properties of DNA polymerase III holoenzyme of Escherichia coli are simultaneously affected by the dnaE173 mutation. These effects include a severely reduced proofreading capacity, an increased resistance to replication-pausing on the template DNA, a capability to readily promote strand-displacement DNA synthesis, a reduced rate of DNA chain elongation, and an ability to catalyze highly processive DNA synthesis in the absence of the β-clamp subunit. Here we show that, in contrast to distributive DNA synthesis exhibited by wild-type α subunit, the dnaE173 mutant form of α subunit catalyzes highly processive DNA chain elongation without the aid of the β-clamp. More surprisingly, the dnaE173 α subunit appeared to form a stable complex with primer/template DNA, while no such affinity was detected with wild-type α subunit. We consider that the highly increased affinity of α subunit for primer/template DNA is the basis for the pleiotropic effects of the dnaE173 mutation on DNA polymerase III, and provides a clue to the molecular mechanisms underlying sequence substitution mutagenesis.
Bacterial genome sequencing has revealed a novel family of P-loop GTPases that are often essential for growth. Accumulating evidence suggests that these proteins are involved in biogenesis of the 30S or 50S ribosomal subunits. YqeH is a member of this Obg/Era GTPase family, with its function remains to be uncovered. Here, we present results showing that YqeH is involved in the 30S subunit biogenesis in Bacillus subtilis. We observed a reduction in the 70S ribosome and accumulation of the free 50S subunit in YqeH-depleted cells. Interestingly, no free 30S subunit accumulation was evident. Consistent with the theory that YqeH is involved in 30S subunit biogenesis, a precursor of 16S rRNA and its degradation products were detected. Additionally, the reduction of free 30S subunit was not observed in Era-depleted cells. YqeH overexpression did not compensate for growth defects in mutants devoid of Era and vice versa. Moreover, in vitro GTPase analyses showed that YqeH possessed high intrinsic GTPase activity. In contrast, Era showed slow GTPase activity, which was enhanced by the 30S ribosomal subunit. Our findings strongly suggest that YqeH and Era function at distinct checkpoints during 30S subunit assembly. B. subtilis yqeH is classified as an essential gene due to the inability of the IPTG-dependent Pspac-yqeH mutant to grow on LB or PAB agar plates in the absence of IPTG. However, in our experiments, the Pspac-yqeH mutant grew in PAB liquid medium without IPTG supplementation, albeit at an impaired rate. This finding raises the interesting possibility that YqeH participates in assembly of the 30S ribosomal subunit as well as other cellular functions essential for growth on solid media.
Escherichia coli ribonuclease LS is a potential antagonist of bacteriophage T4. When the T4 dmd gene is defective, RNase LS cleaves T4 mRNAs and antagonizes T4 reproduction. Our previous work demonstrated that E. coli rnlA is essential for RNase LS activity. Here we show that His-tagged RnlA cleaves T4 soc RNA at one of the sites also cleaved by RNase LS in a cell extract. The cleavage activities of His-tagged RnlA and the RNase LS activity in a cell extract were inhibited by Dmd encoded by T4 phage. Fractionation of the RNase LS activity in a cell extract showed that it sedimented through a sucrose density gradient as a 1000-kDa complex that included RnlA. Pull-down experiments revealed more than 10 proteins associated with His-tagged RnlA. Among these, triose phosphate isomerase exhibited a remarkable affinity to RnlA. These results suggest that RnlA plays a central role in RNase LS activity and that its activity is regulated by multiple components.
Neurospora crassa has four catalase genes—cat-1, cat-2, cat-3, and ctt-1/cat-4. cat-1 and cat-3 encode two fungal-specific large-subunit catalases CAT-1 and CAT-3 normally produced in conidia and growing hyphae, respectively. cat-2 encodes CAT-2 catalase-peroxidase normally produced in conidia. ctt-1 (or cat-4), of which expression was controlled by OS-2 MAP kinase (Noguchi et al., Fungal Genet. Biol. 44, 208–218), encodes a small-subunit catalase with unknown function. To clarify the contribution of OS-2 on the regulation of CAT-1, CAT-2, and CAT-3, we performed quantitative RT-PCR and in-gel catalase activity analyses. When the hyphae were treated with a fungicide (1 μg/ml fludioxonil) or subjected to an osmotic stress (1 M sorbitol), cat-1 was strongly upregulated and CAT-1 was reasonably induced in the wild-type strain. Interestingly, fludioxonil caused not only the CAT-1 induction but also a remarkable CAT-3 decrease in the wild-type hyphae, implying of an abnormal stimulation of asexual differentiation. These responses were not observed in an os-2 mutant hyphae, indicating an involvement of OS-2 in the cat-1 expression; however, os-2 was dispensable for the production of CAT-1 in conidia. In contrast, the expression of cat-2 was significantly induced by heat shock (45°C) and that of cat-3 was moderately stimulated by an oxidative stress (50 μg/ml methyl viologen) in both the wild-type strain and the os-2 mutant, and corresponding enzyme activities were detected after the treatments. Although basal levels of transcription of cat-1 and cat-3 in an os-2 mutant hyphae were a few-fold lower than in the wild-type hyphae, the os-2 mutant exhibited a considerably lower levels of CAT-3 activity than the wild-type strain. These findings suggest that OS-2 MAP kinase regulated the expression of cat-1 and cat-3 transcriptionally, and probably that of cat-3 posttranscriptionally, even though the presence of another regulatory system for each of these two genes is evident.
Class I and class II CPD photolyases are enzymes which repair pyrimidine dimers using visible light. A detailed characterization of class I CPD photolyases has been carried out, but little is known about the class II enzymes. Photolyases from rice are suitable for functional analyses because systematic breeding for long periods in Asian countries has led to the selection of naturally occurring mutations in the CPD photolyase gene. We report the biochemical characterization of rice mutant CPD photolyases purified as GST-form from Escherichia coli. We identified three amino acid changes, Gln126Arg, Gly255Ser, and Gln296His, among which Gln but not His at 296 is important for complementing phr-defective E. coli, binding UV-damage in E. coli, and binding thymine dimers in vitro. The photolyase with Gln at 296 has an apoenzyme:FAD ratio of 1 : 0.5 and that with His at 296 has an apoenzyme:FAD ratio of 1 : 0.12–0.25, showing a role for Gln at 296 in the binding of FAD not in the binding of thymine dimer. Concerning Gln or Arg at 126, the biochemical activity of the photolyases purified from E. coli and complementing activity for phr-defective E. coli are similarly proficient. However, the sensitivity to UV of cultivars differs depending on whether Gln or Arg is at 126. The role of Gln and Arg at 126 for photoreactivation in rice is discussed.
In the course of evolution, a gene is often duplicated in tandem, resulting in a functional redundancy. The analysis of function of these genes by raising double mutant might be difficult because they are very tightly linked. We described here a mutant of such a tandem duplicated gene. glu1 is a gamma-ray-induced rice mutant, which lacks an acidic subunit of glutelin, a major seed storage protein. We found that glu1 harbors a 129.7-kb deletion involving two highly similar and tandem repeated glutelin genes, GluB5 and GluB4. The deletion eliminated the entire GluB5 and GluB4 gene except half of the first exon of GluB5. GluB5 and GluB4 have the same amino acid sequence in the acidic subunit, suggesting that only the mutation involving both GluB5 and GluB4 results in the lack of the glutelin acidic subunit deleted in glu1. Our finding suggests that gamma-ray can be an effective mutagen to analyze tandem repeated and functionally redundant genes.
Classification of freshwater fish in the subfamily Leuciscinae, Cyprinidae is hampered by complexity or lack of morphological diversity. In this study, analyses based on mtDNA sequences were undertaken to clarify phylogenetic relationships among Far Eastern, North American and European species in the Leuciscinae. Evolutionary rate in cytochrome b gene (Cyt-b) and D-loop sequences appear to be almost constant in Leuciscinae. The topology of phylogenetic trees generated by neighbor-joining (NJ) and maximum likelihood (ML) methods based on Cyt-b gene and D-loop sequences was similar. Five major clades, designated clades 1–5, and a minor clade were discriminated. Most of the Far Eastern, North American and European species were included in the major clades. Clade 1, comprised almost entirely of Far Eastern phoxinins, is monophyletic and greatly diverged from the other species of Leuciscinae. From the present phylogenetic relationships and the previous studies, we present the following hypotheses with respect to the evolutionary history of the Far Eastern phoxinins. The Far Eastern species should be classified into Far Eastern-specific genera, although ichthyologists have still insisted that the species should be included in the European genera. The Far Eastern clade 1 consists of two subclades, including genera Pseudaspius-Tribolodon and Far Eastern Phoxinus species. According to our phylogenetic analyses, Pseudaspius leptocephalus and Tribolodon species should be reclassified into the same genus. On the basis of evolutionary rate in Cyt-b gene in Cyprinidae, it is estimated that the Far Eastern lineage diverged approximately 10–14 million years ago (mya) from the common ancestor of Leuciscinae. It is deduced that speciation of the Far Eastern species occurred until approximately 4 mya, in relation to the formation of the Sea of Japan and the Japanese Islands.
Natural selection operating on amino acid substitution at single amino acid sites can be detected by comparing the rates of synonymous (rS) and nonsynonymous (rN) nucleotide substitution at single codon sites. Amino acid substitutions can be classified as conservative or radical according to whether they retain the properties of the substituted amino acid. Here methods for comparing the rates of conservative (rC) and radical (rR) nonsynonymous substitution with rS at single codon sites were developed to detect natural selection operating on these substitutions at single amino acid sites. A method for comparing rC and rR at single codon sites was also developed to detect biases toward these substitutions at single amino acid sites. Charge was used as the property of the amino acids. In a computer simulation, false-positive rates of these methods were always < 5%, unless termination sites were included in the computation of the numbers of sites and estimates of transition/transversion rate ratio were highly biased. The frequency of detection of natural selection operating on conservative substitution was almost independent of the presence of natural selection operating on radical substitution, and vice versa. Natural selection operating specifically on conservative and radical substitution was detected more efficiently by comparing rS with rC and rS with rR than by comparing rSwith rN. These methods also appeared to be robust against the occurrence of recombination during evolution. In an analysis of class I human leukocyte antigen, negative selection operating on conservative substitution, but not positive selection operating on radical substitution, was observed at some of the codon sites with rR> rC, suggesting that rR> rC may not necessarily be an indicator of positive selection operating on radical substitution.
Senescence or cell death in plant leaves is known to be inducible by darkness or H2O2. When the Arabidopsis gene MAX2/ORE9 is disrupted, leaf senescence or cell death in response to the above stimuli is delayed. Because the rice (Oryza sativa L.) gene DWARF3 (D3) is orthologous to MAX2/ORE9, we wished to know whether disruption of D3 also results in increased longevity in leaves. We found that darkness-induced senescence or H2O2-induced cell death in the third leaf [as measured by chlorophyll degradation, membrane ion leakage and expression of senescence-associated genes (SAGs)] in a d3 rice mutant was delayed by 1–3 d compared to that in its reference line Shiokari. Moreover, the mRNA levels of D3, HTD1 and D10, which are orthologs of ArabidopsisMAX2/ORE9, MAX3 and MAX4, respectively, increased during cell death. These results suggest that D3 protein in rice, like MAX2/ORE9 in Arabidopsis, is involved in leaf senescence or cell death.