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92 Publications

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    Truman LabRiddiford Lab
    06/02/06 | Juvenile hormone is required to couple imaginal disc formation with nutrition in insects.
    Truman JW, Hiruma K, Allee JP, Macwhinnie SG, Champlin DT, Riddiford LM
    Science . 2006 Jun 2;312(5778):1385-8. doi: 10.1126/science.1123652

    In starved larvae of the tobacco hornworm moth Manduca sexta, larval and imaginal tissues stop growing, the former because they lack nutrient-dependent signals but the latter because of suppression by juvenile hormone. Without juvenile hormone, imaginal discs form and grow despite severe starvation. This hormone inhibits the intrinsic signaling needed for disc morphogenesis and does so independently of ecdysteroid action. Starvation and juvenile hormone treatments allowed the separation of intrinsic and nutrient-dependent aspects of disc growth and showed that both aspects must occur during the early phases of disc morphogenesis to ensure normal growth leading to typical-sized adults.

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    06/02/06 | Transitive closure and metric inequality of weighted graphs: detecting protein interaction modules using cliques.
    Ding C, He X, Xiong H, Peng H, Holbrook SR
    International Journal of Data Mining and Bioinformatics. 2006 Jun 2;1:162-77. doi: 10.1007/s12021-010-9090-x

    We study transitivity properties of edge weights in complex networks. We show that enforcing transitivity leads to a transitivity inequality which is equivalent to ultra-metric inequality. This can be used to define transitive closure on weighted undirected graphs, which can be computed using a modified Floyd-Warshall algorithm. These new concepts are extended to dissimilarity graphs and triangle inequalities. From this, we extend the clique concept from unweighted graph to weighted graph. We outline several applications and present results of detecting protein functional modules in a protein interaction network.

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    Tjian Lab
    06/01/06 | Coactivator cross-talk specifies transcriptional output.
    Marr MT, Isogai Y, Wright KJ, Tjian R
    Genes & Development. 2006 Jun 1;20(11):1458-69. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    Cells often fine-tune gene expression at the level of transcription to generate the appropriate response to a given environmental or developmental stimulus. Both positive and negative influences on gene expression must be balanced to produce the correct level of mRNA synthesis. To this end, the cell uses several classes of regulatory coactivator complexes including two central players, TFIID and Mediator (MED), in potentiating activated transcription. Both of these complexes integrate activator signals and convey them to the basal apparatus. Interestingly, many promoters require both regulatory complexes, although at first glance they may seem to be redundant. Here we have used RNA interference (RNAi) in Drosophila cells to selectively deplete subunits of the MED and TFIID complexes to dissect the contribution of each of these complexes in modulating activated transcription. We exploited the robust response of the metallothionein genes to heavy metal as a model for transcriptional activation by analyzing direct factor recruitment in both heterogeneous cell populations and at the single-cell level. Intriguingly, we find that MED and TFIID interact functionally to modulate transcriptional response to metal. The metal response element-binding transcription factor-1 (MTF-1) recruits TFIID, which then binds promoter DNA, setting up a "checkpoint complex" for the initiation of transcription that is subsequently activated upon recruitment of the MED complex. The appropriate expression level of the endogenous metallothionein genes is achieved only when the activities of these two coactivators are balanced. Surprisingly, we find that the same activator (MTF-1) requires different coactivator subunits depending on the context of the core promoter. Finally, we find that the stability of multi-subunit coactivator complexes can be compromised by loss of a single subunit, underscoring the potential for combinatorial control of transcription activation.

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    05/29/06 | Reconstruction of complementary images in second harmonic generation microscopy.
    Gao L, Jin L, Xue P, Xu J, Wang Y, Ma H, Chen D
    Optics Express. 2006 May 29;14(11):4727-35. doi: 10.1364/AO.50.001792

    Second harmonic generation microscopy(SHGM) has become widely used to image biological samples. Due to the complexity of biological samples, more and more effort has been put on polarization imaging in SHGM technology to uncover their structures. In this work, we put forward a novel stitching method based on careful mathematical calculation, and accomplish it by rotating laser polarization. We first show its validity in imaging a perfectly synthesized bio-origin polymer poly (3-hyroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyhexanoate) (PHBHHx). Then, we test its power by getting a true image of fibrillar collagen structure of rat-tail tendon.

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    05/24/06 | Transcriptional signatures of cellular plasticity in mice lacking the alpha1 subunit of GABAA receptors.
    Ponomarev I, Maiya R, Harnett MT, Schafer GL, Ryabinin AE, Blednov YA, Morikawa H, Boehm SL, Homanics GE, Berman AE, Berman A, Lodowski KH, Bergeson SE, Harris RA
    The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2006 May 24;26(21):5673-83. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0860-06.2006

    GABAA receptors mediate the majority of inhibitory neurotransmission in the CNS. Genetic deletion of the alpha1 subunit of GABAA receptors results in a loss of alpha1-mediated fast inhibitory currents and a marked reduction in density of GABAA receptors. A grossly normal phenotype of alpha1-deficient mice suggests the presence of neuronal adaptation to these drastic changes at the GABA synapse. We used cDNA microarrays to identify transcriptional fingerprints of cellular plasticity in response to altered GABAergic inhibition in the cerebral cortex and cerebellum of alpha1 mutants. In silico analysis of 982 mutation-regulated transcripts highlighted genes and functional groups involved in regulation of neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission, suggesting an adaptive response of the brain to an altered inhibitory tone. Public gene expression databases permitted identification of subsets of transcripts enriched in excitatory and inhibitory neurons as well as some glial cells, providing evidence for cellular plasticity in individual cell types. Additional analysis linked some transcriptional changes to cellular phenotypes observed in the knock-out mice and suggested several genes, such as the early growth response 1 (Egr1), small GTP binding protein Rac1 (Rac1), neurogranin (Nrgn), sodium channel beta4 subunit (Scn4b), and potassium voltage-gated Kv4.2 channel (Kcnd2) as cell type-specific markers of neuronal plasticity. Furthermore, transcriptional activation of genes enriched in Bergman glia suggests an active role of these astrocytes in synaptic plasticity. Overall, our results suggest that the loss of alpha1-mediated fast inhibition produces diverse transcriptional responses that act to regulate neuronal excitability of individual neurons and stabilize neuronal networks, which may account for the lack of severe abnormalities in alpha1 null mutants.

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    05/23/06 | Fluorogenic label for biomolecular imaging.
    Lavis LD, Chao T, Raines RT
    ACS Chemical Biology. 2006 May 23;1(4):252-60. doi: 10.1021/cb600132m

    Traditional small-molecule fluorophores are always fluorescent. This attribute can obscure valuable information in biological experiments. Here, we report on a versatile "latent" fluorophore that overcomes this limitation. At the core of the latent fluorophore is a derivative of rhodamine in which one nitrogen is modified as a urea. That modification enables rhodamine to retain half of its fluorescence while facilitating conjugation to a target molecule. The other nitrogen of rhodamine is modified with a "trimethyl lock", which enables fluorescence to be unmasked fully by a single user-designated chemical reaction. An esterase-reactive latent fluorophore was synthesized in high yield and attached covalently to a cationic protein. The resulting conjugate was not fluorescent in the absence of esterases. The enzymatic activity of esterases in endocytic vesicles and the cytosol educed fluorescence, enabling the time-lapse imaging of endocytosis into live human cells and thus providing unprecedented spatiotemporal resolution of this process. The modular design of this "fluorogenic label" enables the facile synthesis of an ensemble of small-molecule probes for the illumination of numerous biochemical and cell biological processes.

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    05/19/06 | Evidence supporting a cis-enediol-based mechanism for Pyrococcus furiosus phosphoglucose isomerase.
    Berrisford JM, Hounslow AM, Akerboom J, Hagen WR, Brouns SJ, van der Oost J, Murray IA, Michael Blackburn G, Waltho JP, Rice DW, Baker PJ
    Journal of Molecular Biology. 2006 May 19;358(5):1353-66. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2006.03.015

    The enzymatic aldose ketose isomerisation of glucose and fructose sugars involves the transfer of a hydrogen between their C1 and C2 carbon atoms and, in principle, can proceed through either a direct hydride shift or via a cis-enediol intermediate. Pyrococcus furiosus phosphoglucose isomerase (PfPGI), an archaeal metalloenzyme, which catalyses the interconversion of glucose 6-phosphate and fructose 6-phosphate, has been suggested to operate via a hydride shift mechanism. In contrast, the structurally distinct PGIs of eukaryotic or bacterial origin are thought to catalyse isomerisation via a cis-enediol intermediate. We have shown by NMR that hydrogen exchange between substrate and solvent occurs during the reaction catalysed by PfPGI eliminating the possibility of a hydride-shift-based mechanism. In addition, kinetic measurements on this enzyme have shown that 5-phospho-d-arabinonohydroxamate, a stable analogue of the putative cis-enediol intermediate, is the most potent inhibitor of the enzyme yet discovered. Furthermore, determination and analysis of crystal structures of PfPGI with bound zinc and the substrate F6P, and with a number of competitive inhibitors, and EPR analysis of the coordination of the metal ion within PfPGI, have suggested that a cis-enediol intermediate-based mechanism is used by PfPGI with Glu97 acting as the catalytic base responsible for isomerisation.

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    05/04/06 | Distance-dependent differences in synapse number and AMPA receptor expression in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons.
    Nicholson DA, Trana R, Katz Y, Kath WL, Spruston N, Geinisman Y
    Neuron. 2006 May 4;50(3):431-42. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.03.022

    The ability of synapses throughout the dendritic tree to influence neuronal output is crucial for information processing in the brain. Synaptic potentials attenuate dramatically, however, as they propagate along dendrites toward the soma. To examine whether excitatory axospinous synapses on CA1 pyramidal neurons compensate for their distance from the soma to counteract such dendritic filtering, we evaluated axospinous synapse number and receptor expression in three progressively distal regions: proximal and distal stratum radiatum (SR), and stratum lacunosum-moleculare (SLM). We found that the proportion of perforated synapses increases as a function of distance from the soma and that their AMPAR, but not NMDAR, expression is highest in distal SR and lowest in SLM. Computational models of pyramidal neurons derived from these results suggest that they arise from the compartment-specific use of conductance scaling in SR and dendritic spikes in SLM to minimize the influence of distance on synaptic efficacy.

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    Riddiford LabTruman Lab
    05/02/06 | The pupal specifier broad directs progressive morphogenesis in a direct-developing insect.
    Erezyilmaz DF, Riddiford LM, Truman JW
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2006 May 2;103:6925-30. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0509983103

    A key regulatory gene in metamorphosing (holometabolous) insect life histories is the transcription factor broad (br), which specifies pupal development. To determine the role of br in a direct-developing (hemimetabolous) insect that lacks a pupal stage, we cloned br from the milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus (Of’br). We find that, unlike metamorphosing insects, in which br expression is restricted to the larval-pupal transition, Of’br mRNA is expressed during embryonic development and is maintained at each nymphal molt but then disappears at the molt to the adult. Induction of a supernumerary nymphal stage with a juvenile hormone (JH) mimic prevented the disappearance of br mRNA. In contrast, induction of a precocious adult molt by application of precocene II to third-stage nymphs caused a loss of br mRNA at the precocious adult molt. Thus, JH is necessary to maintain br expression during the nymphal stages. Injection of Of’br dsRNA into either early third- or fourth-stage nymphs caused a repetition of stage-specific pigmentation patterns and prevented the normal anisometric growth of the wing pads without affecting isometric growth or molting. Therefore, br is necessary for the mutable (heteromorphic) changes that occur during hemimetabolous development. Our results suggest that metamorphosis in insects arose as expression of br, which conveys competence for change, became restricted to one postembryonic instar. After this shift in br expression, the progressive changes that occur within the nymphal series in basal insects became compressed to the one short period of morphogenesis seen in the larva-to-pupa transition of holometabolous insects.

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    05/01/06 | Genesis and wanderings: origins and migrations in asymmetrically replicating mitochondrial DNA.
    Brown TA, Clayton DA
    Cell Cycle. 2006 May;5(9):917-21

    Mammalian mitochondria maintain a small circular genome that encodes RNA and polypeptides that are essential for the generation of ATP through oxidative phosphorylation. The mechanism of replication of mammalian mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has recently been a topic of controversy. New evidence has led to a modified strand-displacement model that reconciles much of the current data. This revision stems from a new appreciation for alternative light-strand origins. We consider here some of the potential mechanisms for light-strand origin initiation. We also consider further the susceptibility of branch migration within replicating mtDNA molecules. The existence of alternative light-strand origins and a propensity for branch migration in replicating mtDNA molecules exposes a new array of possible configurations of mtDNA. The assortment and assignment of these forms is relevant to the interpretation of experimental data and may also yield insight into the molecular basis of replication errors.

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