Publications

576 Publications visible to you, out of a total of 576

Abstract (Expand)

The Bacillus subtilis catabolite control protein A (CcpA) is a global transcriptional regulator which is controlled by interactions with the phosphoproteins HPrSer46P and CrhP and with low molecular weight effectors depending on the availability of preferred carbon sources like glucose. Distinct point mutations in CcpA abolish regulation of some but not all target genes suggesting additional interactions of CcpA. Therefore, in vivo crosslinking and mass spectrometry were applied to identify CcpA complexes active in repression and activation. To compensate for the excess of promoters only repressed by CcpA, this experiment was accomplished with cells with multiple copies of the activated ackA promoter. Among the identified proteins HPr, RNA polymerase (RNAP) subunits and the global regulator CodY were observed. Bacterial two-hybrid assays combining each RNAP subunit with CcpA localized CcpA binding at the α-subunit (RpoA). In vivo crosslinking combined with immunoblot analyses revealed CcpA-RpoA complexes in cultures with or without glucose whereas CcpA-HPr and CcpA-CodY complexes occurred only or predominantly in cultures with glucose. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) analyses confirmed binding of CcpA to the N- (αNTD) and C-terminal domains (αCTD) of RpoA as well as to CodY. Furthermore, interactions of CodY with the αNTD and the αCTD were detected by SPR. The K(D) values of complexes of CcpA or CodY with the αNTD or the αCTD are between 5 and 8μM. CcpA and CodY form a loose complex with a K(D) of 60μM. These data were combined to propose a model for a transcription initiation complex at the ackA promoter.

Authors: Andrea Wünsche, Elke Hammer, , , Andreas Burkovski, ,

Date Published: 20th Apr 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

The circadian clocks that drive daily rhythms in animals are tightly coupled among the cells of some tissues. The coupling profoundly affects cellular rhythmicity and is central to contemporary understanding of circadian physiology and behavior. In contrast, studies of the clock in plant cells have largely ignored intercellular coupling, which is reported to be very weak or absent. We used luciferase reporter gene imaging to monitor circadian rhythms in leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana plants, achieving resolution close to the cellular level. Leaves grown without environmental cycles for up to 3 wk reproducibly showed spatiotemporal waves of gene expression consistent with intercellular coupling, using several reporter genes. Within individual leaves, different regions differed in phase by up to 17 h. A broad range of patterns was observed among leaves, rather than a common spatial distribution of circadian properties. Leaves exposed to light-dark cycles always had fully synchronized rhythms, which could desynchronize rapidly. After 4 d in constant light, some leaves were as desynchronized as leaves grown without any rhythmic input. Applying light-dark cycles to such a leaf resulted in full synchronization within 2-4 d. Thus, the rhythms of all cells were coupled to external light-dark cycles far more strongly than the cellular clocks were coupled to each other. Spontaneous desynchronization under constant conditions was limited, consistent with weak intercellular coupling among heterogeneous clocks. Both the weakness of coupling and the heterogeneity among cells are relevant to interpret molecular studies and to understand the physiological functions of the plant circadian clock.

Authors: B. Wenden, D. L. Toner, S. K. Hodge, R. Grima, A. J. Millar

Date Published: 13th Apr 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

How the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae coordinates cell-wall synthesis during growth and division to achieve its characteristic oval shape is poorly understood. The conserved eukaryotic-type Ser/Thr kinase of S. pneumoniae, StkP, previously was reported to phosphorylate the cell-division protein DivIVA. Consistent with a role in cell division, GFP-StkP and its cognate phosphatase, GFP-PhpP, both localize to the division site. StkP localization depends on its penicillin-binding protein and Ser/Thr-associated domains that likely sense uncross-linked peptidoglycan, because StkP and PhpP delocalize in the presence of antibiotics that target the latest stages of cell-wall biosynthesis and in cells that have stopped dividing. Time-lapse microscopy shows that StkP displays an intermediate timing of recruitment to midcell: StkP arrives shortly after FtsA but before DivIVA. Furthermore, StkP remains at midcell longer than FtsA, until division is complete. Cells mutated for stkP are perturbed in cell-wall synthesis and display elongated morphologies with multiple, often unconstricted, FtsA and DivIVA rings. The data show that StkP plays an important role in regulating cell-wall synthesis and controls correct septum progression and closure. Overall, our results indicate that StkP signals information about the cell-wall status to key cell-division proteins and in this way acts as a regulator of cell division.

Authors: Katrin Beilharz, Linda Nováková, Daniela Fadda, Pavel Branny, Orietta Massidda,

Date Published: 21st Mar 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

BACKGROUND: Pseudomonas putida KT2442 is a natural producer of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), which can substitute petroleum-based non-renewable plastics and form the basis for the production of tailor-made biopolymers. However, despite the substantial body of work on PHA production by P. putida strains, it is not yet clear how the bacterium re-arranges its whole metabolism when it senses the limitation of nitrogen and the excess of fatty acids as carbon source, to result in a large accumulation of PHAs within the cell. In the present study we investigated the metabolic response of KT2442 using a systems biology approach to highlight the differences between single- and multiple-nutrient-limited growth in chemostat cultures. RESULTS: We found that 26, 62, and 81% of the cell dry weight consist of PHA under conditions of carbon, dual, and nitrogen limitation, respectively. Under nitrogen limitation a specific PHA production rate of 0.43 (g.(g.h)-1) was obtained. The residual biomass was not constant for dual- and strict nitrogen-limiting growth, showing a different feature in comparison to other P. putida strains. Dual limitation resulted in patterns of gene expression, protein level, and metabolite concentrations that substantially differ from those observed under exclusive carbon or nitrogen limitation. The most pronounced differences were found in the energy metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, as well as stress proteins and enzymes belonging to the transport system. CONCLUSION: This is the first study where the interrelationship between nutrient limitations and PHA synthesis has been investigated under well-controlled conditions using a system level approach. The knowledge generated will be of great assistance for the development of bioprocesses and further metabolic engineering work in this versatile organism to both enhance and diversify the industrial production of PHAs.

Authors: , I. F. Escapa, C. Jager, J. Puchalka, , , ,

Date Published: 20th Mar 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Determining transcriptional regulator activities is a major focus of systems biology, providing key insight into regulatory mechanisms and co-regulators. For organisms such as Escherichia coli, transcriptional regulator binding site data can be integrated with expression data to infer transcriptional regulator activities. However, for most organisms there is only sparse data on their transcriptional regulators, while their associated binding motifs are largely unknown. Here, we address the challenge of inferring activities of unknown regulators by generating de novo (binding) motifs and integrating with expression data. We identify a number of key regulators active in the metabolic switch, including PhoP with its associated directed repeat PHO box, candidate motifs for two SARPs, a CRP family regulator, an iron response regulator and that for LexA. Experimental validation for some of our predictions was obtained using gel-shift assays. Our analysis is applicable to any organism for which there is a reasonable amount of complementary expression data and for which motifs (either over represented or evolutionary conserved) can be identified in the genome.

Authors: M. Iqbal, Y. Mast, R. Amin, D. A. Hodgson, W. Wohlleben, N. J. Burroughs

Date Published: 13th Mar 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Circadian clocks synchronise biological processes with the day/night cycle, using molecular mechanisms that include interlocked, transcriptional feedback loops. Recent experiments identified the evening complex (EC) as a repressor that can be essential for gene expression rhythms in plants. Integrating the EC components in this role significantly alters our mechanistic, mathematical model of the clock gene circuit. Negative autoregulation of the EC genes constitutes the clock's evening loop, replacing the hypothetical component Y. The EC explains our earlier conjecture that the morning gene Pseudo-Response Regulator 9 was repressed by an evening gene, previously identified with Timing Of CAB Expression1 (TOC1). Our computational analysis suggests that TOC1 is a repressor of the morning genes Late Elongated Hypocotyl and Circadian Clock Associated1 rather than an activator as first conceived. This removes the necessity for the unknown component X (or TOC1mod) from previous clock models. As well as matching timeseries and phase-response data, the model provides a new conceptual framework for the plant clock that includes a three-component repressilator circuit in its complex structure.

Authors: A. Pokhilko, A. P. Fernandez, K. D. Edwards, M. M. Southern, K. J. Halliday, A. J. Millar

Date Published: 6th Mar 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Bacteria adapt to environmental stimuli by adjusting their transcriptomes in a complex manner, the full potential of which has yet to be established for any individual bacterial species. Here, we report the transcriptomes of Bacillus subtilis exposed to a wide range of environmental and nutritional conditions that the organism might encounter in nature. We comprehensively mapped transcription units (TUs) and grouped 2935 promoters into regulons controlled by various RNA polymerase sigma factors, accounting for ~66% of the observed variance in transcriptional activity. This global classification of promoters and detailed description of TUs revealed that a large proportion of the detected antisense RNAs arose from potentially spurious transcription initiation by alternative sigma factors and from imperfect control of transcription termination.

Authors: Pierre Nicolas, , Etienne Dervyn, Tatiana Rochat, Aurélie Leduc, Nathalie Pigeonneau, Elena Bidnenko, Elodie Marchadier, Mark Hoebeke, Stéphane Aymerich, Dörte Becher, Paola Bisicchia, Eric Botella, Olivier Delumeau, Geoff Doherty, Emma L Denham, Mark J Fogg, Vincent Fromion, Anne Goelzer, Annette Hansen, Elisabeth Härtig, , Georg Homuth, Hanne Jarmer, Matthieu Jules, Edda Klipp, Ludovic Le Chat, François Lecointe, , Wolfram Liebermeister, Anika March, , , David Noone, Susanne Pohl, Bernd Rinn, Frank Rügheimer, , Franck Samson, Marc Schaffer, Benno Schwikowski, , , Thomas Wiegert, Kevin M Devine, Anthony J Wilkinson, , , , Philippe Bessières, Philippe Noirot

Date Published: 3rd Mar 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

To gain more insight into the butanol stress response of Clostridium acetobutylicum the transcriptional response of a steady state acidogenic culture to different levels of n-butanol (0.25-1%) was investigated. No effect was observed on the fermentation pattern and expression of typical solvent genes (aad, ctfA/B, adc, bdhA/B, ptb, buk). Elevated levels of butanol mainly affected class I heat-shock genes (hrcA, grpE, dnaK, dnaJ, groES, groEL, hsp90), which were upregulated in a dose- and time-dependent manner, and genes encoding proteins involved in the membrane composition (fab and fad or glycerophospholipid related genes) and various ABC-transporters of unknown specificity. Interestingly, fab and fad genes were embedded in a large, entirely repressed cluster (CAC1988-CAC2019), which inter alia encoded an iron-specific ABC-transporter and molybdenum-cofactor synthesis proteins. Of the glycerophospholipid metabolism, the glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (glpA) gene was highly upregulated, whereas a glycerophosphodiester ABC-transporter (ugpAEBC) and a phosphodiesterase (ugpC) were repressed. On the megaplasmid, only a few genes showed differential expression, e.g. a rare lipoprotein (CAP0058, repressed) and a membrane protein (CAP0102, upregulated) gene. Observed transcriptional responses suggest that C. acetobutylicum reacts to butanol stress by induction of the general stress response and changing its cell envelope and transporter composition, but leaving the central catabolism unaffected. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Authors: , , Christina Grimmler, ,

Date Published: 1st Mar 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Lactic acid-producing bacteria survive in distinct environments, but show common metabolic characteristics. Here we studied the dynamic interactions of the central metabolism in Lactococcus lactis, extensively used as starter in dairy industry, and Streptococcus pyogenes, a human pathogen. Glucose-pulse experiments and enzymatic measurements were performed to parameterize kinetic models of glycolysis. Significant improvements were made to existing kinetic models for L. lactis, which subsequently accelerated the development of the first kinetic model of S. pyogenes glycolysis. The models revealed an important role for extracellular phosphate in regulation of central metabolism and the efficient use of glucose. Thus, phosphate which is rarely taken into account as an independent species in models of central metabolism has to be considered more thoroughly in the analysis of metabolic systems in the future. Insufficient phosphate supply can lead to a strong inhibition of glycolysis at high glucose concentration in both species, but more severely in S. pyogenes. S. pyogenes is more efficient in converting glucose to ATP, showing a higher tendency towards heterofermentative energy metabolism than L. lactis. Our comparative systems biology approach revealed that the glycolysis of L. lactis and S. pyogenes have similar characteristics, but are adapted to their individual natural habitats with respect to phosphate regulation. The mathematical models described here have been submitted to the Online Cellular Systems Modelling Database and can be accessed at http://jjj.biochem.sun.ac.za/database/levering/index.html free of charge.

Editor:

Date Published: 14th Feb 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

INTRODUCTION: Male breast cancer (MBC) is a rare and inadequately characterized disease. The aim of the present study was to characterize MBC tumors transcriptionally, to classify them into comprehensive subgroups, and to compare them with female breast cancer (FBC). METHODS: A total of 66 clinicopathologically well-annotated fresh frozen MBC tumors were analyzed using Illumina Human HT-12 bead arrays, and a tissue microarray with 220 MBC tumors was constructed for validation using immunohistochemistry. Two external gene expression datasets were used for comparison purposes: 37 MBCs and 359 FBCs. RESULTS: Using an unsupervised approach, we classified the MBC tumors into two subgroups, luminal M1 and luminal M2, respectively, with differences in tumor biological features and outcome, and which differed from the intrinsic subgroups described in FBC. The two subgroups were recapitulated in the external MBC dataset. Luminal M2 tumors were characterized by high expression of immune response genes and genes associated with estrogen receptor (ER) signaling. Luminal M1 tumors, on the other hand, despite being ER positive by immunohistochemistry showed a lower correlation to genes associated with ER signaling and displayed a more aggressive phenotype and worse prognosis. Validation of two of the most differentially expressed genes, class 1 human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and the metabolizing gene N-acetyltransferase-1 (NAT1), respectively, revealed significantly better survival associated with high expression of both markers (HLA, hazard ratio (HR) 3.6, P = 0.002; NAT1, HR 2.5, P = 0.033). Importantly, NAT1 remained significant in a multivariate analysis (HR 2.8, P = 0.040) and may thus be a novel prognostic marker in MBC. CONCLUSIONS: We have detected two unique and stable subgroups of MBC with differences in tumor biological features and outcome. They differ from the widely acknowledged intrinsic subgroups of FBC. As such, they may constitute two novel subgroups of breast cancer, occurring exclusively in men, and which may consequently require novel treatment approaches. Finally, we identified NAT1 as a possible prognostic biomarker for MBC, as suggested by NAT1 positivity corresponding to better outcome.

Authors: I. Johansson, C. Nilsson, P. Berglund, M. Lauss, M. Ringner, H. Olsson, L. Luts, E. Sim, S. Thorstensson, M. L. Fjallskog, I. Hedenfalk

Date Published: 14th Feb 2012

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

To make full use of research data, the bioscience community needs to adopt technologies and reward mechanisms that support interoperability and promote the growth of an open 'data commoning' culture. Here we describe the prerequisites for data commoning and present an established and growing ecosystem of solutions using the shared 'Investigation-Study-Assay' framework to support that vision.

Authors: Susanna-Assunta Sansone, Philippe Rocca-Serra, Dawn Field, Eamonn Maguire, Chris Taylor, Oliver Hofmann, Hong Fang, Steffen Neumann, Weida Tong, Linda Amaral-Zettler, Kimberly Begley, Tim Booth, Lydie Bougueleret, Gully Burns, Brad Chapman, Tim Clark, Lee-Ann Coleman, Jay Copeland, Sudeshna Das, Antoine de Daruvar, Paula de Matos, Ian Dix, Scott Edmunds, Chris T Evelo, Mark J Forster, Pascale Gaudet, Jack Gilbert, , Julian L Griffin, Daniel Jacob, Jos Kleinjans, Lee Harland, Kenneth Haug, Henning Hermjakob, Shannan J Ho Sui, Alain Laederach, Shaoguang Liang, Stephen Marshall, Annette McGrath, Emily Merrill, Dorothy Reilly, Magali Roux, Caroline E Shamu, Catherine A Shang, Christoph Steinbeck, Anne Trefethen, Bryn Williams-Jones, , Ioannis Xenarios, Winston Hide

Date Published: 28th Jan 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

BACKGROUND: Ontologies are being developed for the life sciences to standardise the way we describe and interpret the wealth of data currently being generated. As more ontology based applications begin to emerge, tools are required that enable domain experts to contribute their knowledge to the growing pool of ontologies. There are many barriers that prevent domain experts engaging in the ontology development process and novel tools are needed to break down these barriers to engage a wider community of scientists. RESULTS: We present Populous, a tool for gathering content with which to construct an ontology. Domain experts need to add content, that is often repetitive in its form, but without having to tackle the underlying ontological representation. Populous presents users with a table based form in which columns are constrained to take values from particular ontologies. Populated tables are mapped to patterns that can then be used to automatically generate the ontology's content. These forms can be exported as spreadsheets, providing an interface that is much more familiar to many biologists. CONCLUSIONS: Populous's contribution is in the knowledge gathering stage of ontology development; it separates knowledge gathering from the conceptualisation and axiomatisation, as well as separating the user from the standard ontology authoring environments. Populous is by no means a replacement for standard ontology editing tools, but instead provides a useful platform for engaging a wider community of scientists in the mass production of ontology content.

Authors: Simon Jupp, Matthew Horridge, Luigi Iannone, Julie Klein, , Joost Schanstra, , Robert Stevens

Date Published: 25th Jan 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Kinetic models of metabolism require detailed knowledge of kinetic parameters. However, due to measurement errors or lack of data this knowledge is often uncertain. The model of glycolysis in the parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma brucei is a particularly well analysed example of a quantitative metabolic model, but so far it has been studied with a fixed set of parameters only. Here we evaluate the effect of parameter uncertainty. In order to define probability distributions for each parameter, information about the experimental sources and confidence intervals for all parameters were collected. We created a wiki-based website dedicated to the detailed documentation of this information: the SilicoTryp wiki (http://silicotryp.ibls.gla.ac.uk/wiki/Gl​ycolysis). Using information collected in the wiki, we then assigned probability distributions to all parameters of the model. This allowed us to sample sets of alternative models, accurately representing our degree of uncertainty. Some properties of the model, such as the repartition of the glycolytic flux between the glycerol and pyruvate producing branches, are robust to these uncertainties. However, our analysis also allowed us to identify fragilities of the model leading to the accumulation of 3-phosphoglycerate and/or pyruvate. The analysis of the control coefficients revealed the importance of taking into account the uncertainties about the parameters, as the ranking of the reactions can be greatly affected. This work will now form the basis for a comprehensive Bayesian analysis and extension of the model considering alternative topologies.

Editor:

Date Published: 19th Jan 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Transcription and translation are coupled in bacteria, meaning that translation takes place co-transcriptionally. During transcription-translation, both machineries mutually affect each others' functions, which is important for regulation of gene expression. Analysis of interactions between RNA polymerase (RNAP) and the ribosome, however, are limited due to the lack of an in vitro experimental system. Here, we report the development of an in vitro transcription coupled to translation system assembled from purified components. The system allows controlled stepwise transcription and simultaneous stepwise translation of the nascent RNA, and permits investigation of the interactions of RNAP with the ribosome, as well as the effects of translation on transcription and transcription on translation. As an example of usage of this experimental system, we uncover complex effects of transcription-translation coupling on pausing of transcription.

Authors: Daniel Castro-Roa,

Date Published: 3rd Jan 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

In Bacillus subtilis the σB mediated general stress response provides protection against various environmental and energy related stress conditions. To better understand the general stress response, we need to explore the mechanism by which the components interact. Here, we performed experiments in B. subtilis wild type and mutant strains to test and validate a mathematical model of the dynamics of σB activity. In the mutant strain BSA115, σB transcription is inducible by the addition of IPTG and negative control of σB activity by the anti-sigma factor RsbW is absent. In contrast to our expectations of a continuous β-galactosidase activity from a ctc::lacZ fusion, we observed a transient activity in the mutant. To explain this experimental finding, we constructed mathematical models reflecting different hypotheses regarding the regulation of σB and β-galactosidase dynamics. Only the model assuming instability of either ctc::lacZ mRNA or β-galactosidase protein is able to reproduce the experiments in silico. Subsequent Northern blot experiments revealed stable high-level ctc::lacZ mRNA concentrations after the induction of the σB response. Therefore, we conclude that protein instability following σB activation is the most likely explanation for the experimental observations. Our results thus support the idea that B. subtilis increases the cytoplasmic proteolytic degradation to adapt the proteome in face of environmental challenges following activation of the general stress response. The findings also have practical implications for the analysis of stress response dynamics using lacZ reporter gene fusions, a frequently used strategy for the σB response.

Authors: , , , , Georg Homuth, ,

Date Published: 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Many of the complex systems found in biology are comprised of numerous components, where interactions between individual agents result in the emergence of structures and function, typically in a highly dynamic manner. Often these entities have limited lifetimes but their interactions both with each other and their environment can have profound biological consequences. We will demonstrate how modelling these entities, and their interactions, can lead to a new approach to experimental biology bringing new insights and a deeper understanding of biological systems.

Authors: , Salem Adra, Mesude Bicak, Shawn Chin, Simon Coakley, , , Chris Greenough, Duncan Jackson, Mariam Kiran, Sheila MacNeil, , Phil McMinn, Mark Pogson, , Eva Qwarnstrom, Francis Ratnieks, , Rod Smallwood, Tao Sun, David Worth

Date Published: 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

A metabolite profiling study of the antibiotic producing bacterium Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) has been performed. The aim of this study was to monitor intracellular metabolite pool changes occurring as strains of S. coelicolor react to nutrient depletion with metabolic re-modeling, so-called metabolic switching, and transition from growth to secondary metabolite production phase. Two different culture media were applied, providing depletion of the key nutrients phosphate and L-glutamate, respectively, as the triggers for metabolic switching. Targeted GC-MS and LC-MS methods were employed to quantify important primary metabolite groups like amino acids, organic acids, sugar phosphates and other phosphorylated metabolites, and nucleotides in time-course samples withdrawn from fully-controlled batch fermentations. A general decline, starting already in the early growth phase, was observed for nucleotide pools and phosphorylated metabolite pools for both the phosphate and glutamate limited cultures. The change in amino acid and organic acid pools were more scattered, especially in the phosphate limited situation while a general decrease in amino acid and non-amino organic acid pools was observed in the L-glutamate limited situation. A phoP deletion mutant showed basically the same metabolite pool changes as the wild-type strain M145 when cultivated on phosphate limited medium. This implies that the inactivation of the phoP gene has only little effect on the detected metabolite levels in the cell. The energy charge was found to be relatively constant during growth, transition and secondary metabolite production phase. The results of this study and the employed targeted metabolite profiling methodology are directly relevant for the evaluation of precursor metabolite and energy supply for both natural and heterologous production of secondary metabolites in S. coelicolor.

Authors: A. Wentzel, H. Sletta, T. E. Ellingsen, P. Bruheim

Date Published: 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

RightField is a Java application that provides a mechanism for embedding ontology annotation support for scientific data in Microsoft Excel or Open Office spreadsheets. The result is semantic annotation by stealth, with an annotation process that is less error-prone, more efficient, and more consistent with community standards. By automatically generating RDF statements for each cell a rich, Linked Data querying environment allows scientists to search their data and other Linked Data resources interchangeably, and caters for queries across heterogeneous spreadsheets. RightField has been developed for Systems Biologists but has since adopted more widely. It is open source (BSD license) and freely available from http://www.rightfield.org.uk

Authors: Katy Wolstencroft, Stuart Owen, Matthew Horridge, Wolfgang Mueller, Finn Bacall, Jacky Snoep, Franco du Preez, Quyen Nguyen, Olga Krebs, Carole Goble

Date Published: 2012

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

The vicinal amino alcohol is a common motif in natural products and pharmaceuticals. Amino acidsconstitute a natural, inexpensive, and enantiopure choice of starting material for the synthesis of suchfunctionalities. However, the matters concerning diastereoselectivity are not obvious. This Perspectivetakes a look in thefield of diastereoselective synthesis of vicinal amino alcohols starting from amino acidsusing various methods. https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2012/ob/c2ob25357g

Authors: Oskari K. Karjalainen, Ari M. P. Koskinen

Date Published: 2012

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Background: Annually, influenza A viruses circulate the world causing wide-spread sickness, economic loss, and death. One way to better defend against influenza virus-induced disease may be to develop novel host-based therapies, targeted at mitigating viral pathogenesis through the management of virus-dysregulated host functions. However, mechanisms that govern aberrant host responses to influenza virus infection remain incompletely understood. We previously showed that the pandemic H1N1 virus influenza A/California/04/2009 (H1N1; CA04) has enhanced pathogenicity in the lungs of cynomolgus macaques relative to a seasonal influenza virus isolate (A/Kawasaki/UTK-4/2009 (H1N1; KUTK4)). Results: Here, we used microarrays to identify host gene sequences that were highly differentially expressed (DE) in CA04-infected macaque lungs, and we employed a novel strategy – combining functional and pathway enrichment analyses, transcription factor binding site enrichment analysis and protein-protein interaction data – to create a CA04 differentially regulated host response network. This network describes enhanced viral RNA sensing, immune cell signaling and cell cycle arrest in CA04-infected lungs, and highlights a novel, putative role for the MYC-associated zinc finger (MAZ) transcription factor in regulating these processes. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the enhanced pathology is the result of a prolonged immune response, despite successful virus clearance. Most interesting, we identify a mechanism which normally suppresses immune cell signaling and inflammation is ineffective in the pH1N1 virus infection; a dyregulatory event also associated with arthritis. This dysregulation offers several opportunities for developing strain-independent, immunomodulatory therapies to protect against future pandemics.

Authors: Jason E Shoemaker, Satoshi Fukuyama, Amie J Eisfeld, Yukiko Muramoto, Shinji Watanabe, Tokiko Watanabe, Yukiko Matsuoka, Hiroaki Kitano, Yoshihiro Kawaoka

Date Published: 2012

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

The RNA degradosome is a multiprotein macromolecular complex that is involved in the degradation of messenger RNA in bacteria. The composition of this complex has been found to display a high degree of evolutionary divergence, which may reflect the adaptation of species to different environments. Recently, a degradosome-like complex identified in Bacillus subtilis was found to be distinct from those found in proteobacteria, the degradosomes of which are assembled around the unstructured C-terminus of ribonuclease E, a protein not present in B. subtilis. In this report, we have investigated in vitro the binary interactions between degradosome components and have characterized interactions between glycolytic enzymes, RNA-degrading enzymes, and those that appear to link these two cellular processes. The crystal structures of the glycolytic enzymes phosphofructokinase and enolase are presented and discussed in relation to their roles in the mediation of complex protein assemblies. Taken together, these data provide valuable insights into the structure and dynamics of the RNA degradosome, a fascinating and complex macromolecular assembly that links RNA degradation with central carbon metabolism.

Authors: , Lorraine Hewitt, Cecilia Rodrigues, Alexandra S Solovyova, ,

Date Published: 16th Dec 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Common laboratory strains of Bacillus subtilis encode two glutamate dehydrogenases: the enzymatically active protein RocG and the cryptic enzyme GudB that is inactive due to a duplication of three amino acids in its active center. The inactivation of the rocG gene results in poor growth of the bacteria on complex media due to the accumulation of toxic intermediates. Therefore, rocG mutants readily acquire suppressor mutations that decryptify the gudB gene. This decryptification occurs by a precise deletion of one part of the 9-bp direct repeat that causes the amino acid duplication. This mutation occurs at the extremely high frequency of 10(-4). Mutations affecting the integrity of the direct repeat result in a strong reduction of the mutation frequency; however, the actual sequence of the repeat is not essential. The mutation frequency of gudB was not affected by the position of the gene on the chromosome. When the direct repeat was placed in the completely different context of an artificial promoter, the precise deletion of one part of the repeat was also observed, but the mutation frequency was reduced by 3 orders of magnitude. Thus, transcription of the gudB gene seems to be essential for the high frequency of the appearance of the gudB1 mutation. This idea is supported by the finding that the transcription-repair coupling factor Mfd is required for the decryptification of gudB. The Mfd-mediated coupling of transcription to mutagenesis might be a built-in precaution that facilitates the accumulation of mutations preferentially in transcribed genes.

Authors: Katrin Gunka, Stefan Tholen, Jan Gerwig, Christina Herzberg, , Fabian M Commichau

Date Published: 16th Dec 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

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The increasing use of computational simulation experiments to inform modern biological research creates new challenges to annotate, archive, share and reproduce such experiments. The recently published Minimum Information About a Simulation Experiment (MIASE) proposes a minimal set of information that should be provided to allow the reproduction of simulation experiments among users and software tools.

Authors: Dagmar Waltemath, Richard Adams, Frank T Bergmann, Michael Hucka, Fedor Kolpakov, Andrew K Miller, Ion I Moraru, David Nickerson, Sven Sahle, , Nicolas Le Novère

Date Published: 15th Dec 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Bacteria in the genus Streptomyces are soil-dwelling oligotrophs and important producers of secondary metabolites. Previously, we showed that global messenger RNA expression was subject to a series of metabolic and regulatory switches during the lifetime of a fermentor batch culture of Streptomyces coelicolor M145. Here we analyze the proteome from eight time points from the same fermentor culture and, because phosphate availability is an important regulator of secondary metabolite production, compare this to the proteome of a similar time course from an S. coelicolor mutant, INB201 (DeltaphoP), defective in the control of phosphate utilization. The proteomes provide a detailed view of enzymes involved in central carbon and nitrogen metabolism. Trends in protein expression over the time courses were deduced from a protein abundance index, which also revealed the importance of stress pathway proteins in both cultures. As expected, the DeltaphoP mutant was deficient in expression of PhoP-dependent genes, and several putatively compensatory metabolic and regulatory pathways for phosphate scavenging were detected. Notably there is a succession of switches that coordinately induce the production of enzymes for five different secondary metabolite biosynthesis pathways over the course of the batch cultures.

Authors: L. Thomas, D. A. Hodgson, A. Wentzel, K. Nieselt, T. E. Ellingsen, J. Moore, E. R. Morrissey, R. Legaie, W. Wohlleben, A. Rodriguez-Garcia, J. F. Martin, N. J. Burroughs, E. M. Wellington, M. C. Smith

Date Published: 8th Dec 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

In the field of metabolomics, GC–MS has rather established itself as a tool for semi-quantitative strategies like metabolic fingerprinting or metabolic profiling. Absolute quantification of intra- or extracellular metabolites is nowadays mostly accomplished by application of diverse LC–MS techniques. Only few groups have so far adopted GC–MS technology for this exceptionally challenging task. Besides numerous and deeply investigated problems related to sample generation, the pronounced matrix effects in biological samples have led to the almost mandatory application of isotope dilution mass spectrometry (IDMS) for the accurate determination of absolute metabolite concentrations. Nevertheless, access to stable isotope labeled internal standards (ILIS), which are in many cases commercially unavailable, is quite laborious and very expensive. Here we present an improved and simplified gas chromatography–isotope dilution mass spectrometry (GC–IDMS) protocol for the absolute determination of intra- and extracellular metabolite levels. Commercially available 13C-labeled algal cells were used as a convenient source for the preparation of internal standards. Advantages as well as limitations of the described method are discussed.

Authors: Oliver Vielhauer, , Thomas Horn, Ralf Takors,

Date Published: 1st Dec 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract

Not specified

Authors: Oliver Vielhauer, Maksim Zakhartsev, Thomas Horn, Ralf Takors, Matthias Reuss

Date Published: 1st Dec 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Pausing of transcription is an important step of regulation of gene expression in bacteria and eukaryotes. Here we uncover a factor-independent mechanism of transcription pausing, which is determined by the ability of the elongating RNA polymerase to recognize the sequence of the RNA-DNA hybrid. We show that, independently of thermodynamic stability of the elongation complex, RNA polymerase directly 'senses' the shape and/or identity of base pairs of the RNA-DNA hybrid. Recognition of the RNA-DNA hybrid sequence delays translocation by RNA polymerase, and thus slows down the nucleotide addition cycle through 'in pathway' mechanism. We show that this phenomenon is conserved among bacterial and eukaryotic RNA polymerases, and is involved in regulatory pauses, such as a pause regulating the production of virulence factors in some bacteria and a pause regulating transcription/replication of HIV-1. The results indicate that recognition of RNA-DNA hybrid sequence by multi-subunit RNA polymerases is involved in transcription regulation and may determine the overall rate of transcription elongation.

Authors: Aleksandra Bochkareva, , Vasisht R Tadigotla,

Date Published: 29th Nov 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Bacillus subtilis possesses carbon-flux regulating histidine protein (Crh), a paralog of the histidine protein (HPr) of the phosphotransferase system (PTS). Like HPr, Crh becomes (de)phosphorylated in vitro at residue Ser46 by the metabolite-controlled HPr kinase/phosphorylase HPrK/P. Depending on its phosphorylation state, Crh exerts regulatory functions in connection with carbohydrate metabolism. So far, knowledge on phosphorylation of Crh in vivo has been limited and derived from indirect evidence. Here, we studied the dynamics of Crh phosphorylation directly by non-denaturing gel electrophoresis followed by Western analysis. The results confirm that HPrK/P is the single kinase catalyzing phosphorylation of Crh in vivo. Accordingly, phosphorylation of Crh is triggered by the carbon source as observed previously for HPr, but with some differences. Phosphorylation of both proteins occurred during exponential growth and disappeared upon exhaustion of the carbon source. During exponential growth, ~80% of the Crh molecules were phosphorylated when cells utilized a preferred carbon source. The reverse distribution, i.e. around 20% of Crh molecules phosphorylated, was obtained upon utilization of less favorable substrates. This clear-cut classification of the substrates into two groups has not previously been observed for HPr(Ser)~P formation. The likely reason for this difference is the additional PTS-dependent phosphorylation of HPr at His15, which limits accumulation of HPr(Ser)~P.

Authors: Jens J Landmann, Susanne Werner, , , Boris Görke

Date Published: 28th Nov 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

SABIO-RK (http://sabio.h-its.org/) is a web-accessible database storing comprehensive information about biochemical reactions and their kinetic properties. SABIO-RK offers standardized data manually extracted from the literature and data directly submitted from lab experiments. The database content includes kinetic parameters in relation to biochemical reactions and their biological sources with no restriction on any particular set of organisms. Additionally, kinetic rate laws and corresponding equations as well as experimental conditions are represented. All the data are manually curated and annotated by biological experts, supported by automated consistency checks. SABIO-RK can be accessed via web-based user interfaces or automatically via web services that allow direct data access by other tools. Both interfaces support the export of the data together with its annotations in SBML (Systems Biology Markup Language), e.g. for import in modelling tools.

Authors: Ulrike Wittig, , Martin Golebiewski, , Lei Shi, Lenneke Jong, Enkhjargal Algaa, Andreas Weidemann, Heidrun Sauer-Danzwith, Saqib Mir, , Meik Bittkowski, Elina Wetsch, ,

Date Published: 22nd Nov 2011

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

In the post-genomic era, most components of a cell are known and they can be quantified by large-scale functional genomics approaches. However, genome annotation is the bottleneck that hampers our understanding of living cells and organisms. Up-to-date functional annotation is of special importance for model organisms that provide a frame of reference for studies with other relevant organisms. We have generated a Wiki-type database for the Gram-positive model bacterium Bacillus subtilis, SubtiWiki (http://subtiwiki.uni-goettingen.de/). This Wiki is centered around the individual genes and gene products of B. subtilis and provides information on each aspect of gene function and expression as well as protein activity and its control. SubtiWiki is accompanied by two companion databases SubtiPathways and SubtInteract that provide graphical representations of B. subtilis metabolism and its regulation and of protein-protein interactions, respectively. The diagrams of both databases are easily navigatable using the popular Google maps API, and they are extensively linked with the SubtiWiki gene pages. Moreover, each gene/gene product was assigned to one or more functional categories and transcription factor regulons. Pages for the specific categories and regulons provide a rapid overview of functionally related genes/proteins. Today, SubtiWiki can be regarded as one of the most complete inventories of knowledge on a living organism in one single resource.

Authors: , Arne G Schmeisky, ,

Date Published: 16th Nov 2011

Publication Type: Not specified

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