Partial Methylation at Am100 in 18S rRNA of Baker's Yeast Reveals Ribosome Heterogeneity on the Level of Eukaryotic rRNA Modification
- Ribosome heterogeneity is of increasing biological significance and several examples have been described for multicellular and single cells organisms. In here we show for the first time a variation in ribose methylation within the 18S rRNA of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Using RNA-cleaving DNAzymes, we could specifically demonstrate that a significant amount of S. cerevisiae ribosomes are not methylated at 2′-O-ribose of A100 residue in the 18S rRNA. Furthermore, using LC-UV-MS/MS of a respective 18S rRNA fragment, we could not only corroborate the partial methylation at A100, but could also quantify the methylated versus non-methylated A100 residue. Here, we exhibit that only 68% of A100 in the 18S rRNA of S.cerevisiae are methylated at 2′-O ribose sugar. Polysomes also contain a similar heterogeneity for methylated Am100, which shows that 40S ribosome subunits with and without Am100 participate in translation. Introduction of a multicopy plasmid containing the corresponding methylation guide snoRNA gene SNR51 led to an increased A100 methylation, suggesting the cellular snR51 level to limit the extent of this modification. Partial rRNA modification demonstrates a new level of ribosome heterogeneity in eukaryotic cells that might have substantial impact on regulation and fine-tuning of the translation process.
Analysis of splicing sensitive microarrays
- Due to recent technical developments, it became evident that the mammalian transcriptome is much more complex than originally expected. Alternative splicing(AS) and the transcription of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are two phenomenas which have been greatly underestimated in their frequency. Nowadays it is accepted that almost every gene has at least one alternative isoform and the number of lncRNAs exceeds the one of protein-coding genes.
We built user-friendly web interfaces which can process Affymetrix GeneChip Exon 1.0 ST Arrays (exon arrays) and GeneChip Gene 1.0 ST Arrays (gene arrays)for the analysis of alternative splicing events. Results are presented with detailed annotation information and graphics to identify splice events and to facilitate biological validations. Based on two studies using exon arrays, we show how our tools were used to profile genome-wide splicing changes under silencing of Jmjd6 and under hypoxic conditions. Since gene arrays are not intended for AS analysis originally, we demonstrated their applicability by profiling alternative splicing events during embryonic heart development.
To measure lncRNAs expressions with exon arrays, we completely re-annotation all probes and built a lncRNA specific annotation. To demonstrate the applicability of exon arrays in combination with our annotation, we profiled the expression of tens of thousands of lncRNAs. Further, our custom annotation allows for a detailed inspection of lncRNAs and to distinguish between isoforms, as we validated by RTPCR.
To allow for a general usage to the research community, we integrated the annotation in an easy-to-use web interface, which provides various helpful features for the analysis of lncRNAs.
Recombinant measles viruses : use as bivalent vaccine and modulation of their membrane fusion activity
- Life-attenuated measles virus (MV) vaccines have revealed their capacity to routinely induce life-long immunity against MV after just a single or two low-dose injections. Moreover, MV vaccines have been shown to be extensively safe and well tolerated, in general. Thus, MV is a prime candidate for a recombinant vaccine platform to protect also against other pathogens after vaccination. For this purpose, foreign genes can be inserted into additional transcription units (ATU) in recombinant MV genomes so that the encoded foreign proteins are co-expressed with MV proteins in infected cells. These so-called bivalent MV should protect against infection by MV or the pathogen, which the encoded foreign protein had been derived from. Bivalent MVs have already been shown to be effective vaccines against e.g. dengue virus or hepatitis B virus infections by inducing humoral and sometimes also cellular immune responses. In most of these studies, soluble or soluble versions of the pathogens' antigens were used for generation of bivalent MVs.
We hypothesized that the form of the antigen expressed by bivalent MVs is crucial for the potency and constitution of the induced immune responses. Therefore, three different forms of an antigen expressed by bivalent MVs were analyzed, here. The model antigen chosen for this purpose has been the envelope protein (Env) of SIVsmmPBj1.9. In its natural mature form, Env is composed of the surface unit gp120 and the transmembrane unit gp41, which stay non-covalently linked after proteolytic processing of the common precursor protein gp160. However, gp120 can be shed by infected cells or virus particles. Therefore, natural gp160 antigen was used as shedding form. Furthermore, stabilized covalently-linked gp160 variants and soluble gp140 variants were used in this thesis. These different antigen forms were inserted either behind the P or behind the H expression cassettes into the MV genome. The respective bivalent MVs were rescued and characterized. Expression of SIVsmmPBj1.9 Env variants by the bivalent MVs was confirmed by immuno blot and in situ immunoperoxidase assays. Replication curves of bivalent MV showed that growth of MVs expressing the different Env variants was slightly delayed by approximately 24 h compared to control viruses.
For immunization of transgenic, MV-susceptible IFNAR-/--CD46Ge mice, which are the current standard to analyze MV vaccines in a small animal model, an optimal dose of 1x105 TCID50 was determined. For the evaluation of humoral immune responses in transgenic mice, two ELISA systems for the detection of total α-MV and α-SIV antibodies and neutralization assays for detection of neutralizing antibodies against MV and SIV in sera of immunized mice were established. Mice immunized with any of the bivalent MVs showed significant humoral immune responses against MV comparable to those elicited by the parental MV vaccine strain without further genetic modifications. Mice immunized with MVvac2-gp140(P) expressing the soluble gp140 variant revealed highest α-SIV titers with a maximal OD of up to 0.4. Second highest levels of α-SIV antibodies were detected in mice that were immunized with the shedding variants or soluble Env in other positions. MVs expressing the stabilized variants induced only very low α-SIV antibody titers. Neutralizing antibodies directed against SIV could be detected in sera of mice immunized with MVs expressing the soluble or shedding variants, but not in sera of mice immunized with MVs expressing the stabilized variants. In sera of control mice immunized with PBS no antibodies could be detected, as expected. Thus, soluble and shedding antigens induced humoral immune responses, whereas stabilized antigens induced only weak humoral immune responses but no neutralizing antibodies. Analysis of cellular immune responses is still ongoing.
Besides Env, further SIV antigens could be tested for their potency to induce humoral as well as cellular immune responses.
Besides being used as a vaccine platform, recombinant MVs are evaluated as future agent for cancer therapy due to their significant inherent tumor-lytic, so-called oncolytic activity. Currently, the anti-tumoral activity of MV is analyzed in clinical phase I trials. MV strains with high fusion activity are used as oncolytic agents. The fusion protein F of MV strain NSe is highly fusogenic, in contrast to e.g. F of MVwt323, a clone of the pathogenic strain IC-B. Sequence analysis of these two proteins identified one coding nucleotide difference at aa 94 in the F2 domain: a valine (V) in FNSe and a methionine (M) in Fwt323. To evaluate impact of this difference, residues at aa 94 were exchanged. After transient-transfection of MV F and H expression plasmids in receptor-positive cells, V94 in the F2 subunit of FNSe or Fwt323 led to about 6-fold higher fusion activity compared to F proteins with M94. The co-expressed H protein (HNSe or Hwt323) did not influence fusion activity, indicating that the receptor (CD46 or SLAM) bound by H does not quantitatively affect the F proteins' activation. Analysis of F and H showed that formation and transport of MV glycoprotein complexes are not altered by substitution in aa 94 of FNSe or Fwt323.
Furthermore, recombinant MVNSe, MVNSe-F-M94, MVwt323, or MVwt323-F-V94 were rescued. Viral replication revealed slightly higher titers for recombinant MVs expressing M94 in F after 96 h of replication, compared to MVs expressing V94. MVs expressing V94 in F2 showed 2.5-fold higher fusion activity on CD46- and SLAM-positive Vero-hSLAM cells and 2-fold higher fusion activity on B95a cells expressing only SLAM compared to MVs expressing F with M94. Fusion activity of recombinant MVs can thus be modulated by substituting a single aa. V94 in the F protein results in highly fusion active MVs with possibly increased direct cytotoxicity in infected tumors, whereas M94 in F could be associated with decreased fusion activity for therapies, where higher virus titers are required.
Expression Analysis of Sugarcane Aquaporin Genes under Water Deficit
Manassés Daniel da Silva
Roberta Lane de Oliveira Silva
José Ribamar Costa Ferreira Neto
Ana Carolina Ribeiro Guimarães
Daniela Truffi Veiga
Sabrina Moutinho Chabregas
William Lee Burnquist
Ana Maria Benko-Iseppon
Ederson Akio Kido
- The present work is a pioneer study specifically addressing the aquaporin transcripts in sugarcane transcriptomes. Representatives of the four aquaporin subfamilies (PIP, TIP, SIP, and NIP), already described for higher plants, were identified. Forty-two distinct aquaporin isoforms were expressed in four HT-SuperSAGE libraries from sugarcane roots of drought-tolerant and -sensitive genotypes, respectively. At least 10 different potential aquaporin isoform targets and their respective unitags were considered to be promising for future studies and especially for the development of molecular markers for plant breeding. From those 10 isoforms, four (SoPIP2-4, SoPIP2-6, OsPIP2-4, and SsPIP1-1) showed distinct responses towards drought, with divergent expressions between the bulks from tolerant and sensitive genotypes, when they were compared under normal and stress conditions. Two targets (SsPIP1-1 and SoPIP1-3/PIP1-4) were selected for validation via RT-qPCR and their expression patterns as detected by HT-SuperSAGE were confirmed. The employed validation strategy revealed that different genotypes share the same tolerant or sensitive phenotype, respectively, but may use different routes for stress acclimation, indicating the aquaporin transcription in sugarcane to be potentially genotype-specific.
Role of G-protein G12/13 signaling in angiogenesis
Kishor Kumar Sivaraj
- Angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels from existing ones, is a fundamental biological process required for embryonic development; it also plays an important role during postnatal organ development and various physiological and pathological remodeling processes in the adult organism. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and its main receptor, VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2), play a central role in angiogenesis. VEGFR-2 expression is strongly upregulated in angiogenic vessels, but the mechanisms regulating VEGFR-2 expression are not well understood. We found in this study that the G-protein α subunit Gα13 plays an important role in the regulation of VEGFR-2 expression. In vitro, we found that knockdown of Gα13 reduced VEGFR-2 expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells and impaired responsiveness to VEGF-A. This phenotype was rescued by adenoviral normalization of VEGFR-2 expression. Gα13-dependent VEGFR-2 expression involved activation of the small GTPase RhoA and transcription factor NF-κB; it was abrogated by deletion of the NF-κB binding site at position -84 of the VEGFR-2 promoter. In vivo, endothelial cell-specific loss of Gα13 resulted in reduced VEGFR-2 expression, impaired responsiveness towards VEGF-A in Matrigel assays, and reduced retinal angiogenesis. Importantly, also tumor vascularization was diminished in the absence of endothelial Gα13, resulting in reduced tumor growth. Taken together, we identified Gα13-dependent NF-κB activation as a new pathway underlying the transcriptional regulation of VEGFR-2 during retinal and tumor angiogenesis.
Genetic diversity and geneflow between Arctic and Antarctic populations of the lichen Cetraria aculeata along the Andes and the Rocky Mountains
Fernando Fernández Mendoza
- Lichens are present in most land ecosystems, frequently occupying habitats where few other organisms are able to survive. Their contribution to the ecosystems in terms of biomass and ground cover increases with latitude and altitude, being, together with bryophytes, the most conspicuous component of alpine and polar landscapes. Whereas some polar lichens have reduced distributions and are restricted to high latitudes, most of them have very wide distributional ranges, which oven extend over several climatic regions. Many of them are common to Polar Regions of both hemispheres, a distributional pattern that has been denominated as bipolar, antitropical or amphitropical. Bipolar distributions are not exclusive to lichens, but common to many groups of organisms. The bipolar element in lichens is exceptional as it includes a large number of species, while in most other land organisms it includes genera or families but very seldom species.
In this dissertation I use the bipolar lichen Cetraria aculeata to give a first insight into the phylogeography of this biogeographic element in lichens. I discuss how and when the disjunct distribution of C. aculeata came to be, and try to partial out the roles that historical and ecological processes played in shaping its distribution.
Sampling was designed to cover a wide geographic extension. The main e"ort was made to collect in boreal, temperate and tropical mountain ranges in North and South America, as well to include Mediterranean populations in which specimens with deviant morphologies are observed.
I found that Cetraria aculeata forms a genetically congruent taxon. Although whether it should include C. muricata remains unsolved, I excluded all specimens identified as the latter from our analyses. Thee populations of both algal and fungal symbionts have a strong geographic structure. The study of the lichen fungus suggested that the species originated in the Eurasian continent and later expanded to acquire its current distribution during the Pleistocene. The results showed that all American populations originated from an ancestral population, more similar to the extant Arctic populations than to the Mediterranean ones.
The comparison between the structure of fungal and algal populations showed a high degree of coherence between them. However, the similarity in photobiont use between Arctic and Antarctic populations suggests that photobiont use responds not only to a history of codispersal in vegetative propagula, but it is also a result of a selective process related to climate. Since this climatic pattern of similarity is also found in the community of Alphaproteobacteria associated with C. aculeata, we concluded that lichens might be able to accommodate or to respond to different environmental conditions by selectively associating with different symbiotic partners.
Lastly, we found the Mediterranean populations of C. aculeata to be genetically differentiated in algal and fungal symbionts from the rest of the populations. While we found no grounds to believe that the overgrown morphs encountered in the region are due to the association with different algal lineages, I believe that a switch in photobiont use might be responsible for the pattern of genetic isolation encountered. Furthermore, I suggest that the Mediterranean and bipolar C. aculeata could be two different species, since both are ecologically, genetically and at least in part morphologically divergent.
Transcriptome Data Reveal Syndermatan Relationships and Suggest the Evolution of Endoparasitism in Acanthocephala via an Epizoic Stage
Alexandra R. Wey-Fabrizius
David B. Mark Welch
- The taxon Syndermata comprises the biologically interesting wheel animals (“Rotifera”: Bdelloidea + Monogononta + Seisonidea) and thorny-headed worms (Acanthocephala), and is central for testing superordinate phylogenetic hypotheses (Platyzoa, Gnathifera) in the metazoan tree of life. Recent analyses of syndermatan phylogeny suggested paraphyly of Eurotatoria (free-living bdelloids and monogononts) with respect to endoparasitic acanthocephalans. Data of epizoic seisonids, however, were absent, which may have affected the branching order within the syndermatan clade. Moreover, the position of Seisonidea within Syndermata should help in understanding the evolution of acanthocephalan endoparasitism. Here, we report the first phylogenomic analysis that includes all four higher-ranked groups of Syndermata. The analyzed data sets comprise new transcriptome data for Seison spec. (Seisonidea), Brachionus manjavacas (Monogononta), Adineta vaga (Bdelloidea), and Paratenuisentis ambiguus (Acanthocephala). Maximum likelihood and Bayesian trees for a total of 19 metazoan species were reconstructed from up to 410 functionally diverse proteins. The results unanimously place Monogononta basally within Syndermata, and Bdelloidea appear as the sister group to a clade comprising epizoic Seisonidea and endoparasitic Acanthocephala. Our results support monophyly of Syndermata, Hemirotifera (Bdelloidea + Seisonidea + Acanthocephala), and Pararotatoria (Seisonidea + Acanthocephala), rejecting monophyly of traditional Rotifera and Eurotatoria. This serves as an indication that early acanthocephalans lived epizoically or as ectoparasites on arthropods, before their complex lifecycle with arthropod intermediate and vertebrate definite hosts evolved.
pH- and sodium-induced changes in a sodium/proton antiporter
- We examined substrate-induced conformational changes in MjNhaP1, an archaeal electroneutral Na+/H+-antiporter resembling the human antiporter NHE1, by electron crystallography of 2D crystals in a range of physiological pH and Na+ conditions. In the absence of sodium, changes in pH had no major effect. By contrast, changes in Na+ concentration caused a marked conformational change that was largely pH-independent. Crystallographically determined, apparent dissociation constants indicated ∼10-fold stronger Na+ binding at pH 8 than at pH 4, consistent with substrate competition for a common ion-binding site. Projection difference maps indicated helix movements by about 2 Å in the 6-helix bundle region of MjNhaP1 that is thought to contain the ion translocation site. We propose that these movements convert the antiporter from the proton-bound, outward-open state to the Na+-bound, inward-open state. Oscillation between the two states would result in rapid Na+/H+ antiport.
Lateralization of Travelling Wave Response in the Hearing Organ of Bushcrickets
Arun Palghat Udayashankar
- Travelling waves are the physical basis of frequency discrimination in many vertebrate and invertebrate taxa, including mammals, birds, and some insects. In bushcrickets (Tettigoniidae), the crista acustica is the hearing organ that has been shown to use sound-induced travelling waves. Up to now, data on mechanical characteristics of sound-induced travelling waves were only available along the longitudinal (proximal-distal) direction. In this study, we use laser Doppler vibrometry to investigate in-vivo radial (anterior-posterior) features of travelling waves in the tropical bushcricket Mecopoda elongata. Our results demonstrate that the maximum of sound-induced travelling wave amplitude response is always shifted towards the anterior part of the crista acustica. This lateralization of the travelling wave response induces a tilt in the motion of the crista acustica, which presumably optimizes sensory transduction by exerting a shear motion on the sensory cilia in this hearing organ.
Function and Distribution of 5-HT2 Receptors in the Honeybee (Apis mellifera)
- Background: Serotonin plays a pivotal role in regulating and modulating physiological and behavioral processes in both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the honeybee (Apis mellifera), serotonin has been implicated in division of labor, visual processing, and learning processes. Here, we present the cloning, heterologous expression, and detailed functional and pharmacological characterization of two honeybee 5-HT2 receptors.
Methods: Honeybee 5-HT2 receptor cDNAs were amplified from brain cDNA. Recombinant cell lines were established constitutively expressing receptor variants. Pharmacological properties of the receptors were investigated by Ca2+ imaging experiments. Quantitative PCR was applied to explore the expression patterns of receptor mRNAs.
Results: The honeybee 5-HT2 receptor class consists of two subtypes, Am5-HT2α and Am5-HT2β. Each receptor gene also gives rise to alternatively spliced mRNAs that possibly code for truncated receptors. Only activation of the full-length receptors with serotonin caused an increase in the intracellular Ca2+ concentration. The effect was mimicked by the agonists 5-methoxytryptamine and 8-OH-DPAT at low micromolar concentrations. Receptor activities were blocked by established 5-HT receptor antagonists such as clozapine, methiothepin, or mianserin. High transcript numbers were detected in exocrine glands suggesting that 5-HT2 receptors participate in secretory processes in the honeybee.
Conclusions: This study marks the first molecular and pharmacological characterization of two 5-HT2 receptor subtypes in the same insect species. The results presented should facilitate further attempts to unravel central and peripheral effects of serotonin mediated by these receptors.