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1416 Publications

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    Baker Lab

    The D. melanogaster transformer-2 (tra-2) gene regulates somatic sexual differentiation in females and is necessary for spermatogenesis in males. Wild-type tra-2 function is required for the female-specific splicing of the pre-mRNA of the next known gene (doublesex) downstream of tra-2 in the sex determination regulatory hierarchy. The tra-2 gene was cloned, and P element-mediated transformation was used to demonstrate that a 3.9 kb genomic fragment contains all sequences necessary for tra-2 function. A 1.7 kb transcript was shown to be the product of the tra-2 locus based on its reduced level in flies containing a tra-2 mutant allele. The sequence of a cDNA corresponding to this transcript indicates that it encodes a polypeptide with strong similarity to a family of RNA binding proteins that includes proteins found associated with hnRNPs and snRNPs, suggesting that the tra-2 product may directly regulate the processing of the double-sex pre-mRNA in females.

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    Using complementary oligonucleotide probes, we have isolated the nuclear gene for the RNA moiety of RNAase MRP; it is present as a single copy and encodes an uncapped primary transcript of 275 nucleotides. Direct sequence analysis revealed that the 136 nucleotide RNA that copurifies with RNAase MRP represents the 3’ half of the 275 nucleotide primary transcript. The 5’-flanking region of the gene has putative transcriptional control elements homologous to the promoters of RNA polymerase II-transcribed U-series snRNA genes; however, the coding region possesses a box A sequence and terminates at four T residues, both features characteristic of polymerase III-transcribed genes. A decamer sequence, 5’-CGA-CCCCUCC-3’, complementary to a conserved sequence adjacent to the enzymatic cleavage site on the mitochondrial RNA substrate, is present in the RNAase MRP RNA. Isolation of a nuclear gene for the RNA component of a mitochondrial enzyme implies that nucleic acids can be transported across mitochondrial membranes.

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    08/22/88 | Evaporative cooling of spin-polarized atomic hydrogen.
    Masuhara N, Doyle J, Sandberg J, Kleppner D, Greytak T, Hess HF, Kochanski G
    Physical Review Letters. 1988 Aug 22;61(8):935-8

    A gas of hydrogen atoms, confined in a static magnetic trap, has been evaporatively cooled to temperatures of a few millikelvin. The initial trap configuration held the gas at 38 mK for as long as 5 h. Evaporative cooling reduced the temperature to 3.0 mK while maintaining the central density at 7.6×10 12   cm −3   . These values were determined by measurement of the rate of electronic spin relaxation and are in agreement with model calculations. Further cooling to 1 mK (inferred from the model) has been achieved. Measurements were made of the efficiency of the evaporative cooling process.

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    10/09/87 | Localization of the sevenless protein, a putative receptor for positional information, in the eye imaginal disc of Drosophila.
    Tomlinson A, Bowtell DD, Hafen E, Rubin GM
    Cell. 1987 Oct 9;51(1):143-50. doi: 10.1186/gb-2007-8-7-r145

    The Drosophila gene sevenless encodes a putative trans-membrane receptor required for the formation of one particular cell, the R7 photoreceptor, in each ommatidium of the compound eye. Mutations in this gene result in the cell normally destined to form the R7 cell forming a non-neuronal cell type instead. These observations have led to the proposal that the sevenless protein receives at least part of the positional information required for the R7 developmental pathway. We have generated antibodies specific for sevenless and have examined expression of the protein by light and electron microscopy. sevenless protein is present transiently at high levels in at least 9 cells in each developing ommatidium and is detectable several hours before any overt differentiation of R7. The protein is mostly localized at the apices of the cells, in microvilli, but is also found deeper in the tissue where certain cells contact the R8 cell. This finding suggests that R8 expresses a ligand for the sevenless protein.

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    10/09/87 | Yeast mitochondrial RNA polymerase is homologous to those encoded by bacteriophages T3 and T7.
    Masters BS, Stohl LL, Clayton DA
    Cell. 1987 Oct 9;51(1):89-99. doi: 10.1101/gad.1352105

    Analysis of the nucleotide sequence of the genetic locus for yeast mitochondrial RNA polymerase (RPO41) reveals a continuous open reading frame with the coding potential for a polypeptide of 1351 amino acids, a size consistent with the electrophoretic mobility of this enzymatic activity. The transcription product from this gene spans the singular reading frame. In vivo transcript abundance reflects codon usage and growth under stringent conditions for mitochondrial biogenesis and function results in a several fold higher level of gene expression than growth under glucose repression. A comparison of the yeast mitochondrial RNA polymerase amino acid sequence to those of E. coli RNA polymerase subunits failed to demonstrate any regions of homology. Interestingly, the mitochondrial enzyme is highly homologous to the DNA-directed RNA polymerases of bacteriophages T3 and T7, especially in regions most highly conserved between the T3 and T7 enzymes themselves.

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    07/17/87 | Promoter selection in human mitochondria involves binding of a transcription factor to orientation-independent upstream regulatory elements.
    Fisher RP, Topper JN, Clayton DA
    Cell. 1987 Jul 17;50(2):247-58. doi: 10.1101/gad.1352105

    Selective transcription of human mitochondrial DNA requires a transcription factor (mtTF) in addition to an essentially nonselective RNA polymerase. Partially purified mtTF is able to sequester promoter-containing DNA in preinitiation complexes in the absence of mitochondrial RNA polymerase, suggesting a DNA-binding mechanism for factor activity. Functional domains, required for positive transcriptional regulation by mtTF, are identified within both major promoters of human mtDNA through transcription of mutant promoter templates in a reconstituted in vitro system. These domains are essentially coextensive with DNA sequences protected from nuclease digestion by mtTF-binding. Comparison of the sequences of the two mtTF-responsive elements reveals significant homology only when one sequence is inverted; the binding sites are in opposite orientations with respect to the predominant direction of transcription. Thus mtTF may function bidirectionally, requiring additional protein-DNA interactions to dictate transcriptional polarity. The mtTF-responsive elements are arrayed as direct repeats, separated by approximately 80 bp within the displacement-loop region of human mitochondrial DNA; this arrangement may reflect duplication of an ancestral bidirectional promoter, giving rise to separate, unidirectional promoters for each strand.

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    04/03/87 | Sevenless, a cell-specific homeotic gene of Drosophila, encodes a putative transmembrane receptor with a tyrosine kinase domain.
    Hafen E, Basler K, Edstroem JE, Rubin GM
    Science. 1987 Apr 3;236(4797):55-63. doi: 10.1186/gb-2007-8-7-r145

    The determination of cell fates during the assembly of the ommatidia in the compound eye of Drosophila appears to be controlled by cell-cell interactions. In this process, the sevenless gene is essential for the development of a single type of photoreceptor cell. In the absence of proper sevenless function the cells that would normally become the R7 photoreceptors instead become nonneuronal cells. Previous morphological and genetic analysis has indicated that the product of the sevenless gene is involved in reading or interpreting the positional information that specifies this particular developmental pathway. The sevenless gene has now been isolated and characterized. The data indicate that sevenless encodes a transmembrane protein with a tyrosine kinase domain. This structural similarity between sevenless and certain hormone receptors suggests that similar mechanisms are involved in developmental decisions based on cell-cell interaction and physiological or developmental changes induced by diffusible factors.

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    03/06/87 | A mammalian mitochondrial RNA processing activity contains nucleus-encoded RNA.
    Chang DD, Clayton DA
    Science. 1987 Mar 6;235(4793):1178-84. doi: 10.1101/gad.1352105

    Ribonuclease mitochondrial RNA processing, a site-specific endoribonuclease involved in primer RNA metabolism in mammalian mitochondria, requires an RNA component for its activity. On the basis of copurification and selective inactivation with complementary oligonucleotides, a 135-nucleotide RNA species, not encoded in the mitochondrial genome, is identified as the RNA moiety of the endoribonuclease. This finding implies transport of a nucleus-encoded RNA, essential for organelle DNA replication, to the mitochondrial matrix.

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    Baker Lab
    02/01/87 | A molecular analysis of transformer, a gene in Drosophila that controls female sexual differentiation.
    Baker B, McKeown M, Belote J
    Cell. 1987 Feb;48(3):489-99

    The transformer (tra) gene regulates all aspects of somatic sexual differentiation in Drosophila melanogaster females and has no function in males. We have isolated the tra gene as part of a 200 kb chromosomal walk. The 25 kb region around tra contains four genetically identified complementation groups and at least six transcriptional units. Germ-line transformation experiments indicate that a fragment of 2 kb is sufficient to supply tra+ function. Mapping of cDNAs from tra and from the adjacent genes indicates that the tra+ transcription unit is 1.2 kb or less. This transcription unit gives rise to a 1.0 kb RNA that is female-specific and a 1.2 kb RNA that is present in both sexes. tra+ and the gene at the 3' side overlap slightly in the 3' ends of their RNA coding sequences. These results suggest that tra+ function is regulated at the level of production of the female-specific tra RNA. The fact that a tra transcript is found in males raises interesting possibilities for how tra expression is controlled.

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    01/22/87 | Postembryonic neurogenesis in the CNS of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta. I. Neuroblast arrays and the fate of their progeny during metamorphosis.
    Booker R, Truman JW
    The Journal of Comparative Neurology. 1987 Jan 22;255(4):548-59. doi: 10.1002/cne.902550407

    The tobacco hornworm Manduca sexta exhibits dramatic changes in its body morphology and behavior as it is transformed from a larva into an adult during metamorphosis. Accompanying these changes is an extensive reorganization of this moth’s central nervous system (CNS), which involves both the death and remodeling of subsets of larval neurons. We report here that the segmental ganglia of the larvae also contain a stereotyped array of identifiable neuronal stem cells (neuroblasts) that contribute over 2,000 cells to each thoracic ganglion and about 40-80 cells to each abdominal ganglion. The distribution of these neuroblasts varies in a segment specific manner. Dormant neuroblasts are found adjacent to the neuropil in late embryos and early first instar larvae. After the molt to the second instar, these cells enlarge and begin to divide. Through a series of asymmetrical divisions, each neuroblast generates a discrete nest of 10-90 progeny by the end of larval life. These progeny (the imaginal nest cells) are developmentally arrested at an early stage of differentiation and remain so until metamorphosis. At the onset of metamorphosis, a wave of cell death sweeps through the nests, the extent of the death being much greater within the abdominal nests than in the thoracic nests. The surviving imaginal nest cells then differentiate to become functional neurons that are incorporated into the adult CNS.

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