The Expression of stlA in Photorhabdus luminescens Is Controlled by Nutrient Limitation
Alexander Oliver Brachmann
Helge Björn Bode
David J. Clarke
- Photorhabdus is a genus of Gram-negative entomopathogenic bacteria that also maintain a mutualistic association with nematodes from the family Heterorhabditis. Photorhabdus has an extensive secondary metabolism that is required for the interaction between the bacteria and the nematode. A major component of this secondary metabolism is a stilbene molecule, called ST. The first step in ST biosynthesis is the non-oxidative deamination of phenylalanine resulting in the production of cinnamic acid. This reaction is catalyzed by phenylalanine-ammonium lyase, an enzyme encoded by the stlA gene. In this study we show, using a stlA-gfp transcriptional fusion, that the expression of stlA is regulated by nutrient limitation through a regulatory network that involves at least 3 regulators. We show that TyrR, a LysR-type transcriptional regulator that regulates gene expression in response to aromatic amino acids in E. coli, is absolutely required for stlA expression. We also show that stlA expression is modulated by σS and Lrp, regulators that are implicated in the regulation of the response to nutrient limitation in other bacteria. This work is the first that describes pathway-specific regulation of secondary metabolism in Photorhabdus and, therefore, our study provides an initial insight into the complex regulatory network that controls secondary metabolism, and therefore mutualism, in this model organism.
Retinal Cone Photoreceptors of the Deer Mouse Peromyscus maniculatus: Development, Topography, Opsin Expression and Spectral Tuning
- A quantitative analysis of photoreceptor properties was performed in the retina of the nocturnal deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus, using pigmented (wildtype) and albino animals. The aim was to establish whether the deer mouse is a more suitable model species than the house mouse for photoreceptor studies, and whether oculocutaneous albinism affects its photoreceptor properties. In retinal flatmounts, cone photoreceptors were identified by opsin immunostaining, and their numbers, spectral types, and distributions across the retina were determined. Rod photoreceptors were counted using differential interference contrast microscopy. Pigmented P. maniculatus have a rod-dominated retina with rod densities of about 450.000/mm(2) and cone densities of 3000 - 6500/mm(2). Two cone opsins, shortwave sensitive (S) and middle-to-longwave sensitive (M), are present and expressed in distinct cone types. Partial sequencing of the S opsin gene strongly supports UV sensitivity of the S cone visual pigment. The S cones constitute a 5-15% minority of the cones. Different from house mouse, S and M cone distributions do not have dorsoventral gradients, and coexpression of both opsins in single cones is exceptional (<2% of the cones). In albino P. maniculatus, rod densities are reduced by approximately 40% (270.000/mm(2)). Overall, cone density and the density of cones exclusively expressing S opsin are not significantly different from pigmented P. maniculatus. However, in albino retinas S opsin is coexpressed with M opsin in 60-90% of the cones and therefore the population of cones expressing only M opsin is significantly reduced to 5-25%. In conclusion, deer mouse cone properties largely conform to the general mammalian pattern, hence the deer mouse may be better suited than the house mouse for the study of certain basic cone properties, including the effects of albinism on cone opsin expression.
Taxonomic revision, molecular phylogeny and zoogeography of the huntsman spider genus Eusparassus (Araneae: Sparassidae)
- The spider genus Eusparassus Simon, 1903 (Araneae: Sparassidae: Eusparassinae; stone huntsman spider) is revised worldwide to include 30 valid species distributed exclusively in Africa and Eurasia. The type species E. dufouri Simon, 1932 is redescribed and a neotype is designated from Portugal. An extended diagnosis for the genus is presented. Eight new species are described: Eusparassus arabicus Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Arabian Peninsula, E. educatus Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Namibia, E. reverentia Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Burkina Faso and Nigeria, E. jaegeri Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from South Africa and Botswana, E. jocquei Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Zimbabwe, E. borakalalo Moradmand, 2013 (female) from South Africa, E. schoemanae Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from South Africa and Namibia and E. mesopotamicus Moradmand and Jäger, 2012 (male and female) from Iraq, Iran and Turkey. 22 species are re-described six of them are transferred from the genus Olios Walckenaer, 1837. Six species-groups are proposed: the dufouri-group [8 species: E. dufouri, E. levantinus Urones, 2006, E. barbarus (Lucas, 1846), E. atlanticus Simon, 1909, E. syrticus Simon, 1909, E. oraniensis (Lucas, 1846), E. letourneuxi (Simon, 1874), E. fritschi (Koch, 1873); Iberian Peninsula to parts of north-western Africa], walckenaeri-group [3 species: E. walckenaeri (Audouin, 1826), E. laevatus (Simon, 1897), E. arabicus; eastern Mediterranean to Arabia and parts of north-eastern Africa], doriae-group [7 species: E. doriae (Simon, 1874), E. kronebergi Denis, 1958, E. maynardi (Pocock, 1901), E. potanini (Simon, 1895), E. fuscimanus Denis, 1958, E. oculatus (Kroneberg, 1846) and E. mesopotamicus; Middle East to Central and South Asia], vestigator-group (3 species: E. vestigator (Simon, 1897), E. reverentia, E. pearsoni (Pocock, 1901); central to eastern Africa and an isolated area in NW India], jaegeri-group [4 species: E. jaegeri, E. jocquei, E. borakalalo, E. schoemanae; southern and south-eastern Africa], tuckeri-group [2 species: E. tuckeri (Lawrence, 1927), E. educatus; south-western Africa). Two species, E. pontii Caporiacco, 1935 and E. xerxes (Pocock, 1901) cannot be placed in any of the above groups. Two species are transferred from Eusparassus to Olios: O. flavovittatus (Caporiacco, 1935) and O. quesitio Moradmand, 2013. 14 species are recognized as misplaced in Eusparassus, thus nearly half of the described species prior to this revision were placed mistakenly in this genus. Neotypes are designated for E. walckenaeri from Egypt, E. barbarus, E. oraniensis and E. letourneuxi (all three from Algeria) to establish their identity. The male and female of Cercetius perezi Simon, 1902, which was known only from the immature holotype, are described for the first time. It is recognized that the monotypic and little used generic name Cercetius Simon, 1902 — a species, which had been known only from the immature holotype — as a synonym of the widely used name Eusparassus. The case proposal 3596 (conservation of name Eusparassus) is under consideration by ICZN.
The first comprehensive molecular phylogeny of the family Sparassidae with focus on the genus Eusparassus is investigated using four molecular markers (mitochondrial COI and 16S; nuclear H3 and 28S). The monophyly of Eusparassus and the dufouri, walckenaeri and doriae species-groups are recovered with the latter two groups more closely related. The monophyly of the tuckeri-group is not supported and the position of E. jaegeri as the only available member of the jaegeri-group is not resolved within the Eusparassus clade. DNA samples of the vestigator-group were not accessible for this study. The origination of the genus Eusparassus around 70 million years ago (MA) is estimated according to molecular clock analyses. Using this recent result in combination with some biogeographic and geological data, the Namib Desert is proposed as the place of ancestral origin for Eusparassus and putative Eusparassinae genera.
Further analyses are done on the phylogenetic relationships of Sparassidae and its subfamilies. The Eusparassinae are not confirmed as monophyletic, with the two original genera Eusparassus and Pseudomicrommata in separate clades and only the latter clusters with most other assumed Eusparassinae, here termed the "African clade". Monophyly of the subfamilies Sparianthinae, Heteropodinae sensu stricto, Palystinae and Deleninae is recovered. The Sparianthinae are supported as the most basal clade, diverging considerably early (143 MA) from all other Sparassidae. The Sparassinae and genus Olios are found to be polyphyletic. The Sparassidae are confirmed as monophyletic and as most basal group within the RTA-clade. The divergence time of Sparassidae from the RTA-clade is estimated with 186 MA in the Jurassic. No affiliation of Sparassidae to other members of the "Laterigradae" (Philodromidae, Selenopidae and Thomisidae) is observed, thus the crab-like posture of this group was proposed a result of convergent evolution. Only the families Philodromidae and Selenopidae are found members of a supported clade. Including a considerable amount of RTA-clade representatives, the higher-level clade Dionycha is not but monophyly of the RTA-clade itself is supported.
Astrocyte-derived Wnt growth factors regulate blood-brain barrier integrity
Cathrin Jacqueline Czupalla
A Comprehensive Analysis of the Importance of Translation Initiation Factors for Haloferax volcanii Applying Deletion and Conditional Depletion Mutants
Daniela J. Näther
- Translation is an important step in gene expression. The initiation of translation is phylogenetically diverse, since currently five different initiation mechanisms are known. For bacteria the three initiation factors IF1 – IF3 are described in contrast to archaea and eukaryotes, which contain a considerably higher number of initiation factor genes. As eukaryotes and archaea use a non-overlapping set of initiation mechanisms, orthologous proteins of both domains do not necessarily fulfill the same function. The genome of Haloferax volcanii contains 14 annotated genes that encode (subunits of) initiation factors. To gain a comprehensive overview of the importance of these genes, it was attempted to construct single gene deletion mutants of all genes. In 9 cases single deletion mutants were successfully constructed, showing that the respective genes are not essential. In contrast, the genes encoding initiation factors aIF1, aIF2γ, aIF5A, aIF5B, and aIF6 were found to be essential. Factors aIF1A and aIF2β are encoded by two orthologous genes in H. volcanii. Attempts to generate double mutants failed in both cases, indicating that also these factors are essential. A translatome analysis of one of the single aIF2β deletion mutants revealed that the translational efficiency of the second ortholog was enhanced tenfold and thus the two proteins can replace one another. The phenotypes of the single deletion mutants also revealed that the two aIF1As and aIF2βs have redundant but not identical functions. Remarkably, the gene encoding aIF2α, a subunit of aIF2 involved in initiator tRNA binding, could be deleted. However, the mutant had a severe growth defect under all tested conditions. Conditional depletion mutants were generated for the five essential genes. The phenotypes of deletion mutants and conditional depletion mutants were compared to that of the wild-type under various conditions, and growth characteristics are discussed.
In Silico Analysis of Cell Cycle Synchronisation Effects in Radiotherapy of Tumour Spheroids
- Abstract: Tumour cells show a varying susceptibility to radiation damage as a function of the current cell cycle phase. While this sensitivity is averaged out in an unperturbed tumour due to unsynchronised cell cycle progression, external stimuli such as radiation or drug doses can induce a resynchronisation of the cell cycle and consequently induce a collective development of radiosensitivity in tumours. Although this effect has been regularly described in experiments it is currently not exploited in clinical practice and thus a large potential for optimisation is missed. We present an agent-based model for three-dimensional tumour spheroid growth which has been combined with an irradiation damage and kinetics model. We predict the dynamic response of the overall tumour radiosensitivity to delivered radiation doses and describe corresponding time windows of increased or decreased radiation sensitivity. The degree of cell cycle resynchronisation in response to radiation delivery was identified as a main determinant of the transient periods of low and high radiosensitivity enhancement. A range of selected clinical fractionation schemes is examined and new triggered schedules are tested which aim to maximise the effect of the radiation-induced sensitivity enhancement. We find that the cell cycle resynchronisation can yield a strong increase in therapy effectiveness, if employed correctly. While the individual timing of sensitive periods will depend on the exact cell and radiation types, enhancement is a universal effect which is present in every tumour and accordingly should be the target of experimental investigation. Experimental observables which can be assessed non-invasively and with high spatio-temporal resolution have to be connected to the radiosensitivity enhancement in order to allow for a possible tumour-specific design of highly efficient treatment schedules based on induced cell cycle synchronisation.
Author Summary: The sensitivity of a cell to a dose of radiation is largely affected by its current position within the cell cycle. While under normal circumstances progression through the cell cycle will be asynchronous in a tumour mass, external influences such as chemo- or radiotherapy can induce a synchronisation. Such a common progression of the inner clock of the cancer cells results in the critical dependence on the effectiveness of any drug or radiation dose on a suitable timing for its administration. We analyse the exact evolution of the radiosensitivity of a sample tumour spheroid in a computer model, which enables us to predict time windows of decreased or increased radiosensitivity. Fractionated radiotherapy schedules can be tailored in order to avoid periods of high resistance and exploit the induced radiosensitivity for an increase in therapy efficiency. We show that the cell cycle effects can drastically alter the outcome of fractionated irradiation schedules in a spheroid cell system. By using the correct observables and continuous monitoring, the cell cycle sensitivity effects have the potential to be integrated into treatment planing of the future and thus to be employed for a better outcome in clinical cancer therapies.
Development of native electrophoretic techniques for the isolation and characterization of mitochondrial complexes
- In the first part of this work, the development of a novel two-dimensional native gel electrophoretic system (2-D BN/hrCNE) is described. This new system simplifies proteomics and biochemical analysis of mega protein complexes that are dissociated into the constituent complexes during 2-D electrophoresis, thereby reducing the complexity of the system considerably. This technique is exceptionally well suited for the in-gel detection of fluorescence-labeled proteins and the identification of individual enzymes and protein complexes by specific in-gel assays on native gels.
In the second part, a new technique for the native immunoblotting of blue native gels (NIBN) was developed. This new technique allows for the identification of conformation-specific antibodies and the discrimination of antibodies recognizing linear epitopes of denatured proteins. Identification of conformation-specific antibodies is becoming increasingly important not only for the electron microscopic identification of native proteins but also for structural investigations in general. For this purpose, a commonly used protocol for Western blotting of blue native gels was modified in such a way that the native state of proteins and protein complexes was retained throughout the complete protocol. Instead of using the denaturing methanol in Western blotting protocols, mild detergents such as Tween 20, digitonin and Brij 35 were used for the obligatory removal of protein bound Coomassie-dye.
The detection of respiratory complex I by activity staining on the blot membrane demonstrated that all three non-ionic detergents preserved the native state of complex I. The native state of the enzyme on the blot membrane was also monitored and confirmed with the help of a set of conformation-specific antibodies. NIBN can be used as a simple alternative method to the demanding native ELISA to screen for conformation-specific antibodies for structural studies. Unlike the time consuming native ELISA, NIBN does not require introduction of appropriate affinity tags and purification of the target protein by chromatography. Thus, the NIBN technique is especially useful for microscale projects and for proteins not easily accessible to genetic manipulation.
The third part aimed at identification of the immediate protein interaction partners of Cox26, a hydrophobic protein that has been identified by our group as a novel component of yeast respiratory supercomplex. Multi-dimensional electrophoretic techniques were applied to identify non-covalent and covalent protein-protein interactions of Cox26. Three-dimensional electrophoresis (BNE/BNE/SDS-PAGE) gave both qualitative and quantitative information on covalent and non-covalent interactions of Cox26 and subunits of cytochrome c oxidase (complex IV), and showed that most of the Cox26 protein was non-covalently bound to the complex IV moiety of the respirasomes. Four-dimensional electrophoresis (BNE/BNE/SDS/SDS-PAGE) applying reducing and non-reducing conditions revealed that a minor fraction of Cox26 used a single cysteine residue in the center of a predicted transmembrane helix to form a disulfide bond with the Cox2 subunit of complex IV. A structural role of Cox26 protein in the assembly/stability of respiratory strings or patches has been suggested.
The last part of this work focused on the isolation and characterization of native and morphologically intact nucleoids from bovine heart mitochondria, since only a few studies on nucleoid organization and composition have been carried out on mammalian tissues. The nucleoids appeared as distinct bands (apparent mass around 30-36 MDa) in blue native-PAGE on large pore gels. The moderate variation in particle size seems to reflect variations in the binding of loosely nucleoid-associated components like respiratory chain complexes. The estimated 30-36 MDa mass of nucleoids on native gels suggested that each nucleoid contains one mtDNA molecule provided that nucleoids contains equal amounts of DNA, protein and RNA (Miyakawa et al., 1987).
Electron microscopic analysis of native nucleoids, which was performed by Dr. Karen Davies from the Max-Planck-Institute of Biophysics, Department of Structural Biology, Frankfurt, showed homogenous pool of particles with dimensions in 85x100 nm (in negative stain) and 100x150 nm (in cryo-tomography). Some of the nucleoids showed dumbbell-shape indicating dimerization of nucleoids. Recent EM and high-resolution light microscopy analysis of mammalian nucleoids have reported that nucleoids have a size of 70 nm in average. We also observed the same size of 70 nm in cryo-tomogramms when we applied harsher treatment of the native nucleoid particles with dimensions 100x150 nm. This observation is in agreement with published nucleoid sizes from both EM and high-resolution light microscopy, if we assume that native nucleoids have been dissociated under harsher treatment.
The protein composition of bovine heart mt-nucleoids was analyzed by a number of complementary approaches to identify low and highly abundant, easily dissociating and tightly bound proteins, and to rank the 90 most abundant mt-nucleoid proteins. Native and denaturing gel electrophoresis techniques were coupled to LC-MS/MS to achieve a comprehensive protein component analysis. Qualitative MS analysis of highly purified nucleoids identified more than 400 proteins, including well known nucleoid proteins such as mitochondrial transcription factor and mtDNA-binding protein (TFAM), mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein (mtSSB), mitochondrial DNA polymerase subunit gamma-2 (POLG2) and mitochondrial helicase C26H10ORF2 protein (Twinkle). These proteins were ranked according to Mascot scores, and sorted according to presumed functional properties. A large group of proteins involved in protein synthesis comprised an almost complete set of subunits of mitochondrial ribosomes suggesting that the nucleoids contained significant amounts of mitochondrial ribosomes. Identification of sixty six proteins from the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system comprising around 100 proteins in total suggested that OXPHOS proteins are also associated with mt-nucleoids.
Interestingly, TFAM, described as a main mtDNA packaging factor in human and other mammalian cells, was not confirmed here as a major nucleoid component from bovine heart mitochondria. Fluorescence staining of protein spots on 2-D IEF/SDS gels clearly identified TFAM, but according to the stain intensity, this protein did not rank in the list of the 90 most abundant nucleoid proteins. Western blot analysis of sucrose gradient fractions revealed an enrichment of putative TFAM isoform in nucleoid fractions. Unexpectedly, the uncharacterized mitochondrial protein Es1 was identified as the most abundant nucleoid protein in bovine heart nucleoids instead. This implicates that nucleoid organization may differ between species and tissues. A functional characterization of Es1 is required to clarify its role in mammalian nucleoids.
Analyses of the human ribosome biogenesis co-factors PWP2, EMG1 and XPO5 / von Matthias Sebastian Leisegang
- Ribosome biogenesis is best understood in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In human or mammalian ribosome biogenesis, it has been shown that basic principles are conserved to yeast, but additional features have been reported. Our understanding about the interplay between proteins and RNA in human ribosome biogenesis is far from complete.
The present study focused on the analysis of the human ribosome biogenesis co-factors PWP2, EMG1 and Exportin 5 (XPO5) to understand the degree of conservation of ribosome biogenesis. The proteins were characterized in respect to their localization and interaction partners. For the early 90S co-factor, PWP2, it was possible to pull down and identify the human UTP-B complex with MALDI mass spectrometry. Besides the orthologues of the members of this complex known in yeast (TBL3, WDR3, WDR36, UTP6, UTP18), the human UTP-B complex is not only conserved from yeast to humans, but contains also additional components, like the DEAD-box RNA helicase DDX21, which lacks a yeast orthologue. DDX21 was localized to the nucleus, assembled to the native UTP-B complex and co-precipitated also with other UTP-B complex members, presumably extending the functions of this complex in ribosome biogenesis.
This phenomenon was also observed for the 90S co-factor EMG1, an RNA methyltransferase, whose mutant form causes the Bowen-Conradi syndrome, if aspartic acid is mutated to glycine at position 86. This study revealed that the mutant, EMG1-D86G, clearly lost its nucleolar localization and co-precipitated to histones for unknown reasons.
A participation of the nuclear export receptor XPO5 in human ribosome biogenesis was shown in this study. Pulldown analysis, sucrose density gradients and UV crosslinking and analysis of cDNAs of XPO5 revealed the involvement of XPO5 in pre-60S subunit maturation. Moreover, besides the known pre-miRNAs and tRNAs as substrates for nuclear export, XPO5 crosslinked to snoRNAs. XPO5 was further demonstrated to interact with the miRNA Let-7a, which has an important regulatory function for MYC, a transcription factor required for ribosome biogenesis.
All results support a role of these proteins in human ribosome biogenesis and therefore it seems that the biogenesis of ribosomes in human cells requires additional components, like DDX21 and XPO5.
Identification and Analysis of Novel Anti-Apoptotic Proteins in Pancreatic Carcinoma
OTU deubiquitinases reveal mechanisms of linkage specificity and enable ubiquitin chain restriction analysis
Tycho E.T. Mevissen
Manuela K. Hospenthal
Paul P. Geurink
Paul R. Elliott
Farid El Oualid
Stefan M. V. Freund
- Sixteen ovarian tumor (OTU) family deubiquitinases (DUBs) exist in humans, and most members regulate cell-signaling cascades. Several OTU DUBs were reported to be ubiquitin (Ub) chain linkage specific, but comprehensive analyses are missing, and the underlying mechanisms of linkage specificity are unclear. Using Ub chains of all eight linkage types, we reveal that most human OTU enzymes are linkage specific, preferring one, two, or a defined subset of linkage types, including unstudied atypical Ub chains. Biochemical analysis and five crystal structures of OTU DUBs with or without Ub substrates reveal four mechanisms of linkage specificity. Additional Ub-binding domains, the ubiquitinated sequence in the substrate, and defined S1’ and S2 Ub-binding sites on the OTU domain enable OTU DUBs to distinguish linkage types. We introduce Ub chain restriction analysis, in which OTU DUBs are used as restriction enzymes to reveal linkage type and the relative abundance of Ub chains on substrates.