Publications

Abstract (Expand)

Nucleic acids, which constitute the genetic material of all organisms, are continuously exposed to endogenous and exogenous damaging agents, representing a significant challenge to genome stability and genome integrity over the life of a cell or organism. Unrepaired DNA lesions, such as single- and double-stranded DNA breaks (SSBs and DSBs), and single-stranded gaps can block progression of the DNA replication fork, causing replicative stress and/or cell cycle arrest. However, translesion synthesis (TLS) DNA polymerases, such as Rev1, have the ability to bypass some DNA lesions, which can circumvent the process leading to replication fork arrest and minimize replicative stress. Here, we show that Rev1-deficiency in mouse embryo fibroblasts or mouse liver tissue is associated with replicative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. In addition, Rev1-deficiency is associated with high poly(ADP) ribose polymerase 1 (PARP1) activity, low endogenous NAD+, low expression of SIRT1 and PGC1α and low adenosine monophosphate (AMP)-activated kinase (AMPK) activity. We conclude that replication stress via Rev1-deficiency contributes to metabolic stress caused by compromized mitochondrial function via the PARP-NAD+-SIRT1-PGC1α axis.

Authors: Nima Borhan Fakouri, Jon Ambæk Durhuus, Christine Elisabeth Regnell, Maria Angleys, Claus Desler, Md Mahdi Hasan-Olive, Ana Martín-Pardillos, Anastasia Tsaalbi-Shtylik, Kirsten Thomsen, Martin Lauritzen, Vilhelm A. Bohr, Niels de Wind, Linda Hildegard Bergersen, Tim Rasmussen

Date Published: 1st Dec 2017

Journal: Sci Rep

Abstract (Expand)

Sustainable production of target compounds such as biofuels and high-value chemicals for pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and chemical industries is becoming an increasing priority given their current dependency upon diminishing petrochemical resources. Designing these strains is difficult, with current methods focusing primarily on knocking-out genes, dismissing other vital steps of strain design including the overexpression and dampening of genes. The design predictions from current methods also do not translate well-into successful strains in the laboratory. Here, we introduce RobOKoD (Robust, Overexpression, Knockout and Dampening), a method for predicting strain designs for overproduction of targets. The method uses flux variability analysis to profile each reaction within the system under differing production percentages of target-compound and biomass. Using these profiles, reactions are identified as potential knockout, overexpression, or dampening targets. The identified reactions are ranked according to their suitability, providing flexibility in strain design for users. The software was tested by designing a butanol-producing Escherichia coli strain, and was compared against the popular OptKnock and RobustKnock methods. RobOKoD shows favorable design predictions, when predictions from these methods are compared to a successful butanol-producing experimentally-validated strain. Overall RobOKoD provides users with rankings of predicted beneficial genetic interventions with which to support optimized strain design.

Authors: Natalie Stanford, P. Millard, N. Swainston

Date Published: 24th Mar 2015

Journal: Front Cell Dev Biol

Abstract (Expand)

In many plants, starch is synthesized during the day and degraded during the night to avoid carbohydrate starvation in darkness. The circadian clock participates in a dynamic adjustment of starch turnover to changing environmental condition through unknown mechanisms. We used mathematical modelling to explore the possible scenarios for the control of starch turnover by the molecular components of the plant circadian clock. Several classes of plausible models were capable of describing the starch dynamics observed in a range of clock mutant plants and light conditions, including discriminating circadian protocols. Three example models of these classes are studied in detail, differing in several important ways. First, the clock components directly responsible for regulating starch degradation are different in each model. Second, the intermediate species in the pathway may play either an activating or inhibiting role on starch degradation. Third, the system may include a light-dependent interaction between the clock and downstream processes. Finally, the clock may be involved in the regulation of starch synthesis. We discuss the differences among the models' predictions for diel starch profiles and the properties of the circadian regulators. These suggest additional experiments to elucidate the pathway structure, avoid confounding results and identify the molecular components involved.

Authors: Daniel Seaton, O. Ebenhoh, Andrew Millar, A. Pokhilko

Date Published: 18th Dec 2013

Journal: J R Soc Interface

Abstract

Not specified

Authors: Anna Feldman-Salit, Silvio Hering, H. Messiha, Nadine Veith, Vlad Cojocaru, Antje Sieg, Hans Westerhoff, Bernd Kreikemeyer, Rebecca Wade, Tomas Fiedler

Date Published: 17th May 2013

Journal: Journal of Biological Chemistry

Abstract (Expand)

Plant and microbial metabolic engineering is commonly used in the production of functional foods and quality trait improvement. Computational model-based approaches have been used in this important endeavour. However, to date, fish metabolic models have only been scarcely and partially developed, in marked contrast to their prominent success in metabolic engineering. In this study we present the reconstruction of fully compartmentalised models of the Danio rerio (zebrafish) on a global scale. This reconstruction involves extraction of known biochemical reactions in D. rerio for both primary and secondary metabolism and the implementation of methods for determining subcellular localisation and assignment of enzymes. The reconstructed model (ZebraGEM) is amenable for constraint-based modelling analysis, and accounts for 4,988 genes coding for 2,406 gene-associated reactions and only 418 non-gene-associated reactions. A set of computational validations (i.e., simulations of known metabolic functionalities and experimental data) strongly testifies to the predictive ability of the model. Overall, the reconstructed model is expected to lay down the foundations for computational-based rational design of fish metabolic engineering in aquaculture.

Author: M. Bekaert

Date Published: 14th Nov 2012

Journal: PLoS One

Abstract (Expand)

RNA processing and degradation are key processes in the control of transcript accumulation and thus in the control of gene expression. In Escherichia coli, the underlying mechanisms and components of RNA decay are well characterized. By contrast, Gram-positive bacteria do not possess several important players of E. coli RNA degradation, most notably the essential enzyme RNase E. Recent research on the model Gram-positive organism, Bacillus subtilis, has identified the essential RNases J1 and Y as crucial enzymes in RNA degradation. While RNase J1 is the first bacterial exoribonuclease with 5'-to-3' processivity, RNase Y is the founding member of a novel class of endoribonucleases. Both RNase J1 and RNase Y have a broad impact on the stability of B. subtilis mRNAs; a depletion of either enzyme affects more than 25% of all mRNAs. RNases J1 and Y as well as RNase J2, the polynucleotide phosphorylase PNPase, the RNA helicase CshA and the glycolytic enzymes enolase and phosphofructokinase have been proposed to form a complex, the RNA degradosome of B. subtilis. This review presents a model, based on recent published data, of RNA degradation in B. subtilis. Degradation is initiated by RNase Y-dependent endonucleolytic cleavage, followed by processive exoribonucleolysis of the generated fragments both in 3'-to-5' and in 5'-to-3' directions. The implications of these findings for pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria are also discussed.

Authors: Martin Lehnik-Habrink, Rick Lewis, Ulrike Mäder, Joerg Stuelke

Date Published: 8th May 2012

Journal: Mol. Microbiol.

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.

Authors: None

Date Published: 14th Feb 2012

Journal: The FEBS journal

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 Müller, Finn Bacall, Jacky Snoep, Franco du Preez, Quyen Nguyen, Olga Krebs, Carole Goble

Date Published: 2012

Journal: Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management

Abstract (Expand)

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, Jacky Snoep, Nicolas Le Novère

Date Published: 15th Dec 2011

Journal: BMC Syst Biol

Abstract (Expand)

Many bacteria undergo transitions between environments with differing O₂ availabilities as part of their natural lifestyles and during biotechnological processes. However, the dynamics of adaptation when bacteria experience changes in O₂ availability are understudied. The model bacterium and facultative anaerobe Escherichia coli K-12 provides an ideal system for exploring this process.

Authors: Eleanor W Trotter, Matthew Rolfe, Andrea M Hounslow, C Jeremy Craven, Michael P Williamson, Guido Sanguinetti, Robert Poole, Jeff Green

Date Published: 27th Sep 2011

Journal: PLoS ONE

Abstract (Expand)

RNA processing and degradation is initiated by endonucleolytic cleavage of the target RNAs. In many bacteria, this activity is performed by RNase E which is not present in Bacillus subtilis and other Gram-positive bacteria. Recently, the essential endoribonuclease RNase Y has been discovered in B. subtilis. This RNase is involved in the degradation of bulk mRNA suggesting a major role in RNA metabolism. However, only a few targets of RNase Y have been identified so far. In order to assess the global impact of RNase Y, we compared the transcriptomes in response to the expression level of RNase Y. Our results demonstrate that processing by RNase Y results in accumulation of about 550 mRNAs. Some of these targets were substantially stabilized by RNase Y depletion, resulting in half-lives in the range of an hour. Moreover, about 350 mRNAs were less abundant when RNase Y was depleted among them the mRNAs of the operons required for biofilm formation. Interestingly, overexpression of RNase Y was sufficient to induce biofilm formation. The results presented in this work emphasize the importance of RNase Y as the global acting endoribonuclease for B. subtilis.

Authors: Martin Lehnik-Habrink, Marc Schaffer, Ulrike Mäder, Christine Diethmaier, Christina Herzberg, Joerg Stuelke

Date Published: 4th Aug 2011

Journal: Mol. Microbiol.

Abstract (Expand)

The control of mRNA stability is an important component of regulation in bacteria. Processing and degradation of mRNAs are initiated by an endonucleolytic attack, and the cleavage products are processively degraded by exoribonucleases. In many bacteria, these RNases, as well as RNA helicases and other proteins, are organized in a protein complex called the RNA degradosome. In Escherichia coli, the RNA degradosome is assembled around the essential endoribonuclease E. In Bacillus subtilis, the recently discovered essential endoribonuclease RNase Y is involved in the initiation of RNA degradation. Moreover, RNase Y interacts with other RNases, the RNA helicase CshA, and the glycolytic enzymes enolase and phosphofructokinase in a degradosome-like complex. In this work, we have studied the domain organization of RNase Y and the contribution of the domains to protein-protein interactions. We provide evidence for the physical interaction between RNase Y and the degradosome partners in vivo. We present experimental and bioinformatic data which indicate that the RNase Y contains significant regions of intrinsic disorder and discuss the possible functional implications of this finding. The localization of RNase Y in the membrane is essential both for the viability of B. subtilis and for all interactions that involve RNase Y. The results presented in this study provide novel evidence for the idea that RNase Y is the functional equivalent of RNase E, even though the two enzymes do not share any sequence similarity.

Authors: Martin Lehnik-Habrink, Joseph Newman, Fabian M Rothe, Alexandra S Solovyova, Cecilia Rodrigues, Christina Herzberg, Fabian M Commichau, Rick Lewis, Joerg Stuelke

Date Published: 29th Jul 2011

Journal: J. Bacteriol.

Abstract (Expand)

MOTIVATION: In the Life Sciences, guidelines, checklists and ontologies describing what metadata is required for the interpretation and reuse of experimental data are emerging. Data producers, however, may have little experience in the use of such standards and require tools to support this form of data annotation. RESULTS: RightField is an open source application that provides a mechanism for embedding ontology annotation support for Life Science data in Excel spreadsheets. Individual cells, columns or rows can be restricted to particular ranges of allowed classes or instances from chosen ontologies. The RightField-enabled spreadsheet presents selected ontology terms to the users as a simple drop-down list, enabling scientists to consistently annotate their data. The result is 'semantic annotation by stealth', with an annotation process that is less error-prone, more efficient, and more consistent with community standards. Availability and implementation: RightField is open source under a BSD license and freely available from http://www.rightfield.org.uk

Authors: Katy Wolstencroft, Stuart Owen, Matthew Horridge, Olga Krebs, Wolfgang Müller, Jacky Snoep, Franco Du Preez, Carole Goble

Date Published: 26th May 2011

Journal: Bioinformatics

Abstract

Not specified

Authors: Matthew A. Oberhardt, Jacek Puchałka, Vitor Martins Dos Santos, Jason A. Papin

Date Published: 31st Mar 2011

Journal: PLoS Comput Biol

Abstract (Expand)

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major causative agent of chronic liver disease in humans. To gain insight into host factor requirements for HCV replication, we performed a siRNA screen of the human kinome and identified 13 different kinases, including phosphatidylinositol-4 kinase III alpha (PI4KIIIalpha), as being required for HCV replication. Consistent with elevated levels of the PI4KIIIalpha product phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate (PI4P) detected in HCV-infected cultured hepatocytes and liver tissue from chronic hepatitis C patients, the enzymatic activity of PI4KIIIalpha was critical for HCV replication. Viral nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) was found to interact with PI4KIIIalpha and stimulate its kinase activity. The absence of PI4KIIIalpha activity induced a dramatic change in the ultrastructural morphology of the membranous HCV replication complex. Our analysis suggests that the direct activation of a lipid kinase by HCV NS5A contributes critically to the integrity of the membranous viral replication complex.

Authors: S. Reiss, I. Rebhan, P. Backes, I. Romero-Brey, H. Erfle, P. Matula, Lars Kaderali, M. Poenisch, H. Blankenburg, M. S. Hiet, T. Longerich, S. Diehl, F. Ramirez, T. Balla, K. Rohr, A. Kaul, S. Buhler, R. Pepperkok, T. Lengauer, M. Albrecht, R. Eils, P. Schirmacher, V. Lohmann, Ralf Bartenschlager

Date Published: 18th Jan 2011

Journal: Cell Host Microbe

Abstract (Expand)

The important human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus is known to spread on soft agar plates. Here, we show that colony spreading of S. aureus involves the agr quorum-sensing system. This finding can be related to the agr-dependent expression of biosurfactants, such as phenol-soluble modulins, suggesting a connection between spreading motility and virulence.

Authors: Eleni Tsompanidou, Mark J J B Sibbald, Monika A Chlebowicz, Annette Dreisbach, Jaap Willem Back, Jan Maarten Van Dijl, Girbe Buist, Emma L Denham

Date Published: 17th Dec 2010

Journal: J. Bacteriol.

Abstract (Expand)

Maintenance of cation homoeostasis is a key process for any living organism. Specific mutations in Glc7, the essential catalytic subunit of yeast protein phosphatase 1, result in salt and alkaline pH sensitivity, suggesting a role for this protein in cation homoeostasis. We screened a collection of Glc7 regulatory subunit mutants for altered tolerance to diverse cations (sodium, lithium and calcium) and alkaline pH. Among 18 candidates, only deletion of REF2 (RNA end formation 2) yielded increased sensitivity to these conditions, as well as to diverse organic toxic cations. The Ref2F374A mutation, which renders it unable to bind Glc7, did not rescue the salt-related phenotypes of the ref2 strain, suggesting that Ref2 function in cation homoeostasis is mediated by Glc7. The ref2 deletion mutant displays a marked decrease in lithium efflux, which can be explained by the inability of these cells to fully induce the Na+-ATPase ENA1 gene. The effect of lack of Ref2 is additive to that of blockage of the calcineurin pathway and might disrupt multiple mechanisms controlling ENA1 expression. ref2 cells display a striking defect in vacuolar morphogenesis, which probably accounts for the increased calcium levels observed under standard growth conditions and the strong calcium sensitivity of this mutant. Remarkably, the evidence collected indicates that the role of Ref2 in cation homoeostasis may be unrelated to its previously identified function in the formation of mRNA via the APT (for associated with Pta1) complex.

Authors: Jofre Ferrer-Dalmau, Asier González, Maria Platara, Clara Navarrete, José L Martínez, Lina Patricia Barreto Parra, Jose Ramos, Joaquin Ariño, Antonio Casamayor

Date Published: 24th Dec 2009

Journal: Biochem. J.

Abstract (Expand)

Various types of the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) are known to confer methicillin resistance on the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Such cassettes are not always stably maintained. The present studies were aimed at identifying the mechanism underlying the in vivo conversion of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) to methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) derivatives as encountered in two patients suffering from pneumonia and an umbilicus infection, respectively. All MRSA and MSSA isolates identified belong to multilocus sequence type (MLST) 398, have spa type t034, and are Panton-Valentine leukocidin positive. Sequencing of 27,616 nucleotides from the chromosomal SCCmec insertion site in orfX to the hsdR gene for a restriction enzyme revealed a type V (5C2&5) SCCmec. Sequence comparisons show that parts of the cassette are highly similar to sequences within SCCmec elements from coagulase-negative staphylococci, indicating a possible common origin. The cassette investigated contains ccrC-carrying units on either side of its class C2b mec gene complex. In vivo loss of the mec gene complex was caused by recombination between the recombinase genes ccrC1 allele 8 and ccrC1 allele 10. In vitro, the SCCmec was very stable, and low-frequency MRSA-to-MSSA conversion was only observed when MRSA isolates were cultivated at 41 degrees C for prolonged periods of time. In this case also, loss of the mec complex was due to ccrC gene recombination. Interestingly, the MRSA and MSSA isolates studied displayed no detectable differences in competitive growth and virulence, suggesting that the presence of the intact type V (5C2&5) SCCmec has no negative bearing on staphylococcal fitness under the conditions used.

Authors: Monika A Chlebowicz, Kristelle Nganou, Svitlana Kozytska, Jan P Arends, Susanne Engelmann, Hajo Grundmann, Knut Ohlsen, Jan Maarten Van Dijl, Girbe Buist

Date Published: 7th Dec 2009

Journal: Antimicrob. Agents Chemother.

Abstract (Expand)

Plants are exposed to continual changes in the environment. The daily alternation between light and darkness results in massive recurring changes in the carbon budget, and leads to widespread changes in transcript levels. These diurnal changes are superimposed on slower changes in the environment. Quantitative molecular information about the numbers of ribosomes, of transcripts for 35 enzymes in central metabolism and their loading into polysomes is used to estimate translation rates in Arabidopsis rosettes, and explore the consequences for important sub-processes in plant growth. Translation rates for individual enzyme are compared with their abundance in the rosette to predict which enzymes are subject to rapid turnover every day, and which are synthesized at rates that would allow only slow adjustments to sustained changes of the environment, or resemble those needed to support the observed rate of growth. Global translation rates are used to estimate the energy costs of protein synthesis and relate them to the plant carbon budget, in particular the rates of starch degradation and respiration at night.

Authors: Maria Piques, Waltraud X Schulze, Melanie Höhne, Björn Usadel, Yves Gibon, Johann Rohwer, Mark Stitt

Date Published: 13th Oct 2009

Journal: Mol Syst Biol

Abstract (Expand)

The phosphatase calcineurin and the kinases Hal4/Hal5 regulate high-affinity potassium uptake in Saccharomyces cerevisiae through the Trk1 transporter. We demonstrate that calcineurin is necessary for high-affinity potassium uptake even in the absence of Na(+) stress. HAL5 expression is induced in response to stress in a calcineurin-dependent manner through a newly identified functional CDRE (nt -195/-189). Lack of calcineurin decreases Hal5 protein levels, although with little effect on Trk1 amounts. However, the growth defect of cnb1 cells at K(+)-limiting conditions can be rescued in part by overexpression of HAL5, and this mutation further aggravates the potassium requirements of a hal4 strain. This suggests that the control exerted by calcineurin on Hal5 expression may be biologically relevant for Trk1 regulation.

Authors: Carlos Casado, Lynne Yenush, Carmen Melero, María del Carmen Ruiz, Raquel Serrano, Jorge Pérez-Valle, Joaquin Ariño, Jose Ramos

Date Published: 3rd Jul 2009

Journal: FEBS Lett.

Abstract (Expand)

Recently, we showed that the MarR-type repressor YkvE (MhqR) regulates multiple dioxygenases/glyoxalases, oxidoreductases and the azoreductase encoding yvaB (azoR2) gene in response to thiol-specific stress conditions, such as diamide, catechol and 2-methylhydroquinone (MHQ). Here we report on the regulation of the yocJ (azoR1) gene encoding another azoreductase by the novel DUF24/MarR-type repressor, YodB after exposure to thiol-reactive compounds. DNA binding activity of YodB is directly inhibited by thiol-reactive compounds in vitro. Mass spectrometry identified YodB-Cys-S-adducts that are formed upon exposure of YodB to MHQ and catechol in vitro. This confirms that catechol and MHQ are auto-oxidized to toxic ortho- and para-benzoquinones which act like diamide as thiol-reactive electrophiles. Mutational analyses further showed that the conserved Cys6 residue of YodB is required for optimal repression in vivo and in vitro while substitution of all three Cys residues of YodB affects induction of azoR1 transcription. Finally, phenotype analyses revealed that both azoreductases, AzoR1 and AzoR2 confer resistance to catechol, MHQ, 1,4-benzoquinone and diamide. Thus, both azoreductases that are controlled by different regulatory mechanisms have common functions in quinone and azo-compound reduction to protect cells against the thiol reactivity of electrophiles.

Authors: Montira Leelakriangsak, Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen, Stefanie Töwe, Nguyen van Duy, Dörte Becher, Michael Hecker, Haike Antelmann, Peter Zuber

Date Published: 16th Jan 2008

Journal: Mol. Microbiol.

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