In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, heterochromatic gene silencing has been found within HMR and HML silent mating type loci, the telomeres, and the rRNA-encoding DNA. There may be boundary elements that regulate the spread of silencing to protect genes adjacent to silenced domains from this epigenetic repressive effect. Many assays show that specific DNA regulatory elements separate a euchromatic locus from a neighboring heterochromatic domain and thereby function as a boundary. Alternatively, DNA-independent mechanisms such as competition between acetylated and deacetylated histones are also reported to contribute to gene insulation. However, the mechanism by which boundaries are formed is not clear. Here, the characteristics and functions of boundaries at silenced domains in S. cerevisiae are discussed.
Methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) methylates nitrogen atoms in purines, and predominantly produces 7-methylguanine and 3-methyladenine (3-meA). Previously, we showed that base excision repair (BER) and nucleotide excision repair (NER) synergistically function to repair MMS-induced DNA damage in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Here, we studied the roles of NER components in repair of 3-meA and BER intermediates such as the AP site and single strand breaks. Mutants of rhp41 (XPC homolog) and rhp26 (CSB homolog) exhibited moderate sensitivity to MMS. Transcription of the fbp1 gene, which is induced by glucose starvation, was strongly inhibited by MMS damage in rhp41Δ and rhp26Δ strains but not in wild type and 3-meA DNA glycosylase-deficient cells. The results indicate that Rhp41p and Rhp26p are involved in transcription-coupled repair (TCR) of MMS-induced DNA damage. In the BER pathway of S. pombe, AP lyase activity of Nth1p mainly incises the AP site to generate a 3′-blocked end, which is in turn converted to 3′-OH by Apn2p. Deletion of rad16 or rhp26 in the nth1Δ strain greatly enhanced MMS sensitivity, suggesting that the AP site could also be corrected by TCR. Double mutant apn2Δ/rad16Δ exhibited hypersensitivity to MMS, implying that Rad16p provides a backup pathway for removal of the 3′-blocked end. Moreover, an rhp51Δ strain was extremely sensitive to MMS and double mutants of nth1Δ/rhp51Δ and apn2Δ/rhp51Δ increased the sensitivity, suggesting that homologous recombination is necessary for repair of three different types of lesions, 3-meA, AP sites and 3′-blocked ends.
The Orchidaceae is one of the most famous garden plants, and improvement of the orchid is very important in horticulture field. However, molecular information is largely unknown. We found a Phalaenopsis variety harboring floral organs showing C class homeotic change. Column is composed of the anthers with the receptive stigmatic surface just underneath them in wild type. However the C class variety produced column with sepal or petal like structure at the abaxial side. This is the typical abnormality as C class mutants in plants. Further, wild type looking revertant was found from the meristem tissue cultured population. This result strongly indicates the existence of active transposable element in Phalaenopsis genome. This transposon may enable Phalaenopsis as a good material for molecular genetic analysis in Orchidaceae.
Females of many animal species store sperm after copulation for use in fertilization, but the mechanisms controlling sperm storage and utilization are largely unknown. Here we describe a novel male sterile mutation of Drosophila melanogaster, wasted (wst), which shows defects in various processes of sperm utilization. The sperm of wst mutant males are stored like those of wild-type males in the female sperm storage organs, the spermathecae and seminal receptacles, after copulation and are released at each ovulation. However, an average of thirteen times more wst sperm than wild type sperm are released at each ovulation, resulting in rapid loss of sperm stored in seminal receptacles within a few days after copulation. wst sperm can enter eggs efficiently at 5 hr after copulation, but the efficiency of sperm entry decreases significantly by 24 hr after copulation, suggesting that wst sperm lose their ability to enter eggs during storage. Furthermore, wst sperm fail to undergo nuclear decondensation, which prevents the process of fertilization even when sperm enter eggs. Our results indicate that the wst gene is essential for independent processes in the utilization of stored sperm; namely, regulation of sperm release from female storage organs, maintenance of sperm efficiency for entry into eggs, and formation of the male pronucleus in the egg at fertilization.
The human cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6) is a primary enzyme involved in the metabolism of about 25% of commonly used therapeutic drugs. CYP2D6 belongs to the CYP2D subfamily, a gene cluster located on chromosome 22, which comprises the CYP2D6 gene and pseudogenes CYP2D7P and CYP2D8P. Although the chemical and physiological properties of CYP2D6 have been extensively studied, there has been no study to date on molecular evolution of the CYP2D subfamily in the human genome. Such knowledge could greatly contribute to the understanding of drug metabolism in humans because it makes us to know when and how the current metabolic system has been constructed. The knowledge moreover can be useful to find differences in exogenous substrates in a particular metabolism between human and other animals such as experimental animals. Here, we conducted a preliminary study to investigate the evolution and gene organization of the CYP2D subfamily, focused on humans and four non-human primates (chimpanzees, orangutans, rhesus monkeys, and common marmosets). Our results indicate that CYP2D7P has been duplicated from CYP2D6 before the divergence between humans and great apes, whereas CYP2D6 and CYP2D8P have been already present in the stem lineages of New World monkeys and Catarrhini. Furthermore, the origin of the CYP2D subfamily in the human genome can be traced back to before the divergence between amniotes and amphibians. Our analyses also show that reported chimeric sequences of the CYP2D6 and CYP2D7 genes in the chimpanzee genome appear to be exchanged in its genome database.
The linkage search for susceptibility loci using SNP markers in hereditary hearing loss has proven challenging due to genetic heterogeneity. We conducted a genome-wide linkage analysis using high-density SNP markers in two Korean families (families coded SD-J and SR-167) with autosomal dominant non-syndromic hearing loss (ADNSHL). Evidence was found of linkage at 8q24.13~q24.3 and 10p11.21~q22.2 (LOD 3.01) in the SD-J family. In the case of family SR-167, which had the most affected members, the parametric LOD score was low owing to the lack of power for linkage analysis. However, using non-parametric linkage analysis, it was possible to obtain significant evidence for linkage at 10q22.1~q23.31 (LOD 1.79; NPL 6.47, P < 0.00001). There is an overlapping region with a significant LOD score between the SD-J and SR-167 families, which encompasses 4 cM at 10q22.1~22.2. Interestingly, the characteristics of hearing loss in both families were similar, and the haplotype within overlapping region was shared in the affected individuals of the two families. We performed direct sequencing of the candidate genes that are thought to be causing the condition, but no disease-causing mutations were identified.
In the analysis of protein-coding nucleotide sequences, the ratio of the number of nonsynonymous substitutions to that of synonymous substitutions (dN/dS) is used as an indicator for the direction and magnitude of natural selection operating at the amino acid sequence level. The dS and dN values are estimated based on the comparison of homologous codons, which are often identified by converting (reverse-translating) aligned amino acid sequences into codon sequences. In this method, however, homologous codons may be mis-identified when frame-shifts occurred or amino acid sequences were mis-aligned, which may lead to overestimation of the dN/dS ratio. Here the effect of reverse-translating aligned amino acid sequences on the estimation of dN/dS ratio was examined through a large-scale analysis of protein-coding nucleotide sequences from vertebrate species. Apparently, 1–9% of codon sites that were identified as homologous with reverse-translation contained non-homologous codons, where the dN/dS ratio was unduly high. By correcting the dN/dS ratio for these codon sites, it was inferred that the ratio was 5–43% overestimated with reverse-translation. These results suggest that caution should be exerted in the study of natural selection using the dN/dS ratio by reverse-translating aligned amino acid sequences.
Cytokines of the gp130 family are fundamental regulators of immune responses and signal through multimeric receptors to initiate intracellular second-messenger cascades. Here, we provide the first characterization of two full-length gp130 cytokine receptors from the cDNA of the red-legged salamander (Plethodon shermani). The first, gp130 (2745 bp), is a common signaling receptor for several multi-functional cytokines in vertebrates. We also isolated the full-length (1104 bp) sequence of the ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor (CNTFR), which forms a heteromeric signaling complex with gp130. The open reading frames of both receptors were predicted to contain many of the conserved features found in mammalian gp130s, such as cytokine binding homology regions and residues known to form disulfide bonds. Finally, we used RT-PCR to show that gp130 and CNTFR were expressed in most P. shermani tissues, including brain, intestine and muscle. The expression profiles, along with the structural predictions, show that gp130, CNTFR, and their cytokine ligands are parts of the immune system of P. shermani and other caudate amphibians.