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106 Publications

Showing 31-40 of 106 results
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    10/01/07 | Combinatorial methods for refined neuronal gene targeting.
    Luan H, White BH
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2007 Oct;17(5):572-80. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2007.10.001

    Methods for the selective and reproducible expression of genetically encoded tools in targeted subsets of cells are required to facilitate studies of neuronal development, connectivity, and function in living animals. In the absence of techniques for synthesizing promoters that target defined cell groups, current methods exploit the regulatory elements of endogenous genes to achieve specificity of transgene expression. However, single promoters often have expression patterns too broad to pinpoint the functional roles of specific neurons. In this review, we describe emerging combinatorial techniques that make transgene expression contingent not upon a single promoter, but upon two or more promoters. Although only a few such techniques are currently available, recent developments promise rapid growth in this area in the coming years.

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    10/01/07 | Three-dimensional preparation and imaging reveal intrinsic microtubule properties.
    Keller PJ, Pampaloni F, Stelzer EH
    Nature Methods. 2007 Oct;4(10):843-6. doi: 10.1038/nmeth1087

    We present an experimental investigation of microtubule dynamic instability in three dimensions, based on laser light-sheet fluorescence microscopy. We introduce three-dimensional (3D) preparation of Xenopus laevis egg extracts in Teflon-based cylinders and provide algorithms for 3D image processing. Our approach gives experimental access to the intrinsic dynamic properties of microtubules and to microtubule population statistics in single asters. We obtain evidence for a stochastic nature of microtubule pausing.

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    10/01/07 | Rapidly inducible, genetically targeted inactivation of neural and synaptic activity in vivo.
    Tervo D, Karpova AY
    Current Opinion in Neurobiology. 2007 Oct;17(5):581-6. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2007.10.002

    Inducible and reversible perturbation of the activity of selected neurons in vivo is critical to understanding the dynamics of brain circuits. Several genetically encoded systems for rapid inducible neuronal silencing have been developed in the past few years offering an arsenal of tools for in vivo experiments. Some systems are based on ion-channels or pumps, others on G protein coupled receptors, and yet others on modified presynaptic proteins. Inducers range from light to small molecules to peptides. This diversity results in differences in the various parameters that may determine the applicability of each tool to a particular biological question. Although further development would be beneficial, the current silencing tool kit already provides the ability to make specific perturbations of circuit function in behaving animals.

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    Riddiford Lab
    09/30/07 | The coordination of the sequential appearance of MHR4 and dopa decarboxylase during the decline of the ecdysteroid titer at the end of the molt.
    Hiruma K, Riddiford LM
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. 2007 Sep 30;276(1-2):71-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2007.07.002

    During the last larval molt in Manduca sexta, in response to an increasing, then decreasing ecdysteroid titer, a number of transcription factors such as E75B, MHR3, MHR4, and betaFTZ-F1 appear and disappear in the abdominal epidermis leading to dopa decarboxylase (DDC) expression. Messenger RNAs for both the 20E-induced transcription factors, MHR3 and E75B, are maximal near the peak of the ecdysteroid titer with MHR4 mRNA appearing as the titer declines followed by betaFTZ-F1 and DDC mRNAs. E75B and MHR4 mRNA were not expressed in Manduca GV1 cells, either during exposure to 20E or after its removal. When either MHR3 dsRNA was transfected or E75B was constitutively expressed in these cells, MHR4 mRNA appeared in response to 20E by 6h. E75B was found to form a heterodimer with MHR3 using the BacterioMatch II two-hybrid assay. We conclude that MHR3 apparently suppresses MHR4 expression in the presence of 20E; the appearance of E75B then removes MHR3 by dimerization, allowing MHR4 to be expressed. Because of significant basal activity of the ddc promoter in the GV1 cells, we could perform rescue experiments by adding various factors. Constitutive expression of either E75B or MHR4 in the cells suppressed the significant basal activity of the 3.2kb ddc promoter in the GV1 cells, but 20E had no effect on this activity. Thus, E75B and MHR4 are 20E-induced inhibitory factors that suppress ddc expression and therefore act as ecdysteroid-regulated timers to coordinate the onset of ddc expression at the end of the molt.

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    Fetter LabSimpson Lab
    09/20/07 | NF-κB, IκB, and IRAK control glutamate receptor density at the Drosophila NMJ.
    Heckscher ES, Fetter RD, Marek KW, Albin SD, Davis GW
    Neuron. 2007 Sep 20;55(6):859-73. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.08.005

    NF-κB signaling has been implicated in neurodegenerative disease, epilepsy, and neuronal plasticity. However, the cellular and molecular activity of NF-κB signaling within the nervous system remains to be clearly defined. Here, we show that the NF-κB and IκB homologs Dorsal and Cactus surround postsynaptic glutamate receptor (GluR) clusters at the Drosophila NMJ. We then show that mutations in dorsal, cactus, and IRAK/pelle kinase specifically impair GluR levels, assayed immunohistochemically and electrophysiologically, without affecting NMJ growth, the size of the postsynaptic density, or homeostatic plasticity. Additional genetic experiments support the conclusion that cactus functions in concert with, rather than in opposition to, dorsal and pelle in this process. Finally, we provide evidence that Dorsal and Cactus act posttranscriptionally, outside the nucleus, to control GluR density. Based upon our data we speculate that Dorsal, Cactus, and Pelle could function together, locally at the postsynaptic density, to specify GluR levels.

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    09/11/07 | Cytotoxic ribonucleases: the dichotomy of Coulombic forces.
    Johnson RJ, Chao T, Lavis LD, Raines RT
    Biochemistry. 2007 Sep 11;46(36):10308-16. doi: 10.1021/bi700857u

    Cells tightly regulate their contents. Still, nonspecific Coulombic interactions between cationic molecules and anionic membrane components can lead to adventitious endocytosis. Here, we characterize this process in a natural system. To do so, we create variants of human pancreatic ribonuclease (RNase 1) that differ in net molecular charge. By conjugating a small-molecule latent fluorophore to these variants and using flow cytometry, we are able to determine the kinetic mechanism for RNase 1 internalization into live human cells. We find that internalization increases with solution concentration and is not saturable. Internalization also increases with time to a steady-state level, which varies linearly with molecular charge. In contrast, the rate constant for internalization (t1/2 = 2 h) is independent of charge. We conclude that internalization involves an extracellular equilibrium complex between the cationic proteins and abundant anionic cell-surface molecules, followed by rate-limiting internalization. The enhanced internalization of more cationic variants of RNase 1 is, however, countered by their increased affinity for the cytosolic ribonuclease inhibitor protein, which is anionic. Thus, Coulombic forces mediate extracellular and intracellular equilibria in a dichotomous manner that both endangers cells and defends them from the potentially lethal enzymatic activity of ribonucleases.

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    09/01/07 | Ribbon-helix-helix transcription factors: variations on a theme.
    Schreiter ER, Drennan CL
    Nature Reviews Microbiology. 2007 Sep;5(9):710-20. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1717

    The ribbon-helix-helix (RHH) superfamily of transcription factors uses a conserved three-dimensional structural motif to bind to DNA in a sequence-specific manner. This functionally diverse protein superfamily regulates the transcription of genes that are involved in the uptake of metals, amino-acid biosynthesis, cell division, the control of plasmid copy number, the lytic cycle of bacteriophages and, perhaps, many other cellular processes. In this Analysis, the structures of different RHH transcription factors are compared in order to evaluate the sequence motifs that are required for RHH-domain folding and DNA binding, as well as to identify conserved protein-DNA interactions in this superfamily.

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    Tjian Lab
    09/01/07 | Switching of the core transcription machinery during myogenesis.
    Deato MD, Tjian R
    Genes & Development. 2007 Sep 1;21(17):2137-49. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100640108

    Transcriptional mechanisms that govern cellular differentiation typically include sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins and chromatin-modifying activities. These regulatory factors are assumed necessary and sufficient to drive both divergent programs of proliferation and terminal differentiation. By contrast, potential contributions of the basal transcriptional apparatus to orchestrate cell-specific gene expression have been poorly explored. In order to probe alternative mechanisms that control differentiation, we have assessed the fate of the core promoter recognition complex, TFIID, during skeletal myogenesis. Here we report that differentiation of myoblast to myotubes involves the disruption of the canonical holo-TFIID and replacement by a novel TRF3/TAF3 (TBP-related factor 3/TATA-binding protein-associated factor 3) complex. This required switching of core promoter complexes provides organisms a simple yet effective means to selectively turn on one transcriptional program while silencing many others. Although this drastic but parsimonious transcriptional switch had previously escaped our attention, it may represent a more general mechanism for regulating cell type-specific terminal differentiation.

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    09/01/07 | Three-dimensional analysis of a viral RNA replication complex reveals a virus-induced mini-organelle.
    Kopek BG, Perkins G, Miller DJ, Ellisman MH, Ahlquist P
    PLoS Biology. 2007 Sep;5(9):e220. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050220

    Positive-strand RNA viruses are the largest genetic class of viruses and include many serious human pathogens. All positive-strand RNA viruses replicate their genomes in association with intracellular membrane rearrangements such as single- or double-membrane vesicles. However, the exact sites of RNA synthesis and crucial topological relationships between relevant membranes, vesicle interiors, surrounding lumens, and cytoplasm generally are poorly defined. We applied electron microscope tomography and complementary approaches to flock house virus (FHV)-infected Drosophila cells to provide the first 3-D analysis of such replication complexes. The sole FHV RNA replication factor, protein A, and FHV-specific 5-bromouridine 5’-triphosphate incorporation localized between inner and outer mitochondrial membranes inside approximately 50-nm vesicles (spherules), which thus are FHV-induced compartments for viral RNA synthesis. All such FHV spherules were outer mitochondrial membrane invaginations with interiors connected to the cytoplasm by a necked channel of approximately 10-nm diameter, which is sufficient for ribonucleotide import and product RNA export. Tomographic, biochemical, and other results imply that FHV spherules contain, on average, three RNA replication intermediates and an interior shell of approximately 100 membrane-spanning, self-interacting protein As. The results identify spherules as the site of protein A and nascent RNA accumulation and define spherule topology, dimensions, and stoichiometry to reveal the nature and many details of the organization and function of the FHV RNA replication complex. The resulting insights appear relevant to many other positive-strand RNA viruses and support recently proposed structural and likely evolutionary parallels with retrovirus and double-stranded RNA virus virions.

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    09/01/07 | Three-dimensional analysis of a viral RNA replication complex reveals a virus-induced mini-organelle.
    Kopek BG, Perkins G, Miller DJ, Ellisman MH, Ahlquist P
    PLoS biology. 2007 Sep;5(9):e220. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050220

    Positive-strand RNA viruses are the largest genetic class of viruses and include many serious human pathogens. All positive-strand RNA viruses replicate their genomes in association with intracellular membrane rearrangements such as single- or double-membrane vesicles. However, the exact sites of RNA synthesis and crucial topological relationships between relevant membranes, vesicle interiors, surrounding lumens, and cytoplasm generally are poorly defined. We applied electron microscope tomography and complementary approaches to flock house virus (FHV)-infected Drosophila cells to provide the first 3-D analysis of such replication complexes. The sole FHV RNA replication factor, protein A, and FHV-specific 5-bromouridine 5’-triphosphate incorporation localized between inner and outer mitochondrial membranes inside approximately 50-nm vesicles (spherules), which thus are FHV-induced compartments for viral RNA synthesis. All such FHV spherules were outer mitochondrial membrane invaginations with interiors connected to the cytoplasm by a necked channel of approximately 10-nm diameter, which is sufficient for ribonucleotide import and product RNA export. Tomographic, biochemical, and other results imply that FHV spherules contain, on average, three RNA replication intermediates and an interior shell of approximately 100 membrane-spanning, self-interacting protein As. The results identify spherules as the site of protein A and nascent RNA accumulation and define spherule topology, dimensions, and stoichiometry to reveal the nature and many details of the organization and function of the FHV RNA replication complex. The resulting insights appear relevant to many other positive-strand RNA viruses and support recently proposed structural and likely evolutionary parallels with retrovirus and double-stranded RNA virus virions.

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