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Showing papers in "PLOS Biology in 2004"


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This work has predicted target sites on the 3′ untranslated regions of human gene transcripts for all currently known 218 mammalian miRNAs to facilitate focused experiments and suggests that miRNA genes, which are about 1% of all human genes, regulate protein production for 10% or more of allhuman genes.
Abstract: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) interact with target mRNAs at specific sites to induce cleavage of the message or inhibit translation. The specific function of most mammalian miRNAs is unknown. We have predicted target sites on the 3′ untranslated regions of human gene transcripts for all currently known 218 mammalian miRNAs to facilitate focused experiments. We report about 2,000 human genes with miRNA target sites conserved in mammals and about 250 human genes conserved as targets between mammals and fish. The prediction algorithm optimizes sequence complementarity using position-specific rules and relies on strict requirements of interspecies conservation. Experimental support for the validity of the method comes from known targets and from strong enrichment of predicted targets in mRNAs associated with the fragile X mental retardation protein in mammals. This is consistent with the hypothesis that miRNAs act as sequence-specific adaptors in the interaction of ribonuclear particles with translationally regulated messages. Overrepresented groups of targets include mRNAs coding for transcription factors, components of the miRNA machinery, and other proteins involved in translational regulation, as well as components of the ubiquitin machinery, representing novel feedback loops in gene regulation. Detailed information about target genes, target processes, and open-source software for target prediction (miRanda) is available at http://www.microrna.org. Our analysis suggests that miRNA genes, which are about 1% of all human genes, regulate protein production for 10% or more of all human genes.

3,654 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The finding of large COI sequence differences between, as compared to small differences within, species confirms the effectiveness of COI barcodes for the identification of bird species, and implies that a standard screening threshold of sequence difference could speed the discovery of new animal species.
Abstract: Short DNA sequences from a standardized region of the genome provide a DNA barcode for identifying species. Compiling a public library of DNA barcodes linked to named specimens could provide a new master key for identifying species, one whose power will rise with increased taxon coverage and with faster, cheaper sequencing. Recent work suggests that sequence diversity in a 648-bp region of the mitochondrial gene, cytochrome c oxidase I (COI), might serve as a DNA barcode for the identification of animal species. This study tested the effectiveness of a COI barcode in discriminating bird species, one of the largest and best-studied vertebrate groups. We determined COI barcodes for 260 species of North American birds and found that distinguishing species was generally straightforward. All species had a different COI barcode(s), and the differences between closely related species were, on average, 18 times higher than the differences within species. Our results identified four probable new species of North American birds, suggesting that a global survey will lead to the recognition of many additional bird species. The finding of large COI sequence differences between, as compared to small differences within, species confirms the effectiveness of COI barcodes for the identification of bird species. This result plus those from other groups of animals imply that a standard screening threshold of sequence difference (10× average intraspecific difference) could speed the discovery of new animal species. The growing evidence for the effectiveness of DNA barcodes as a basis for species identification supports an international exercise that has recently begun to assemble a comprehensive library of COI sequences linked to named specimens.

2,115 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is concluded that proliferation and diversification of DCL and RDR genes during evolution of plants contributed to specialization of small RNA-directed pathways for development, chromatin structure, and defense.
Abstract: Multicellular eukaryotes produce small RNA molecules (approximately 21–24 nucleotides) of two general types, microRNA (miRNA) and short interfering RNA (siRNA). They collectively function as sequence-specific guides to silence or regulate genes, transposons, and viruses and to modify chromatin and genome structure. Formation or activity of small RNAs requires factors belonging to gene families that encode DICER (or DICER-LIKE [DCL]) and ARGONAUTE proteins and, in the case of some siRNAs, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RDR) proteins. Unlike many animals, plants encode multiple DCL and RDR proteins. Using a series of insertion mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana, unique functions for three DCL proteins in miRNA (DCL1), endogenous siRNA (DCL3), and viral siRNA (DCL2) biogenesis were identified. One RDR protein (RDR2) was required for all endogenous siRNAs analyzed. The loss of endogenous siRNA in dcl3 and rdr2 mutants was associated with loss of heterochromatic marks and increased transcript accumulation at some loci. Defects in siRNA-generation activity in response to turnip crinkle virus in dcl2 mutant plants correlated with increased virus susceptibility. We conclude that proliferation and diversification of DCL and RDR genes during evolution of plants contributed to specialization of small RNA-directed pathways for development, chromatin structure, and defense.

1,571 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that datasets meeting these requirements can be obtained by automated block-face imaging combined with serial sectioning inside the chamber of a scanning electron microscope, opening the possibility of automatically obtaining the electron-microscope-level 3D datasets needed to completely reconstruct the connectivity of neuronal circuits.
Abstract: Three-dimensional (3D) structural information on many length scales is of central importance in biological research. Excellent methods exist to obtain structures of molecules at atomic, organelles at electron microscopic, and tissue at light-microscopic resolution. A gap exists, however, when 3D tissue structure needs to be reconstructed over hundreds of micrometers with a resolution sufficient to follow the thinnest cellular processes and to identify small organelles such as synaptic vesicles. Such 3D data are, however, essential to understand cellular networks that, particularly in the nervous system, need to be completely reconstructed throughout a substantial spatial volume. Here we demonstrate that datasets meeting these requirements can be obtained by automated block-face imaging combined with serial sectioning inside the chamber of a scanning electron microscope. Backscattering contrast is used to visualize the heavy-metal staining of tissue prepared using techniques that are routine for transmission electron microscopy. Low-vacuum (20–60 Pa H2O) conditions prevent charging of the uncoated block face. The resolution is sufficient to trace even the thinnest axons and to identify synapses. Stacks of several hundred sections, 50–70 nm thick, have been obtained at a lateral position jitter of typically under 10 nm. This opens the possibility of automatically obtaining the electron-microscope-level 3D datasets needed to completely reconstruct the connectivity of neuronal circuits.

1,506 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The engineering of a mouse capable of continuous running of up to twice the distance of a wild-type littermate is described, achieved by targeted expression of an activated form of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor δ (PPARδ) in skeletal muscle, which induces a switch to form increased numbers of type I muscle fibers.
Abstract: Endurance exercise training can promote an adaptive muscle fiber transformation and an increase of mitochondrial biogenesis by triggering scripted changes in gene expression. However, no transcription factor has yet been identified that can direct this process. We describe the engineering of a mouse capable of continuous running of up to twice the distance of a wild-type littermate. This was achieved by targeted expression of an activated form of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor δ (PPARδ) in skeletal muscle, which induces a switch to form increased numbers of type I muscle fibers. Treatment of wild-type mice with PPARδ agonist elicits a similar type I fiber gene expression profile in muscle. Moreover, these genetically generated fibers confer resistance to obesity with improved metabolic profiles, even in the absence of exercise. These results demonstrate that complex physiologic properties such as fatigue, endurance, and running capacity can be molecularly analyzed and manipulated.

1,091 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The transcriptional signature of the response of fibroblasts to serum provides a possible link between cancer progression and wound healing, as well as a powerful predictor of the clinical course in several common carcinomas.
Abstract: Cancer invasion and metastasis have been likened to wound healing gone awry. Despite parallels in cellular behavior between cancer progression and wound healing, the molecular relationships between these two processes and their prognostic implications are unclear. In this study, based on gene expression profiles of fibroblasts from ten anatomic sites, we identify a stereotyped gene expression program in response to serum exposure that appears to reflect the multifaceted role of fibroblasts in wound healing. The genes comprising this fibroblast common serum response are coordinately regulated in many human tumors, allowing us to identify tumors with gene expression signatures suggestive of active wounds. Genes induced in the fibroblast serum-response program are expressed in tumors by the tumor cells themselves, by tumor-associated fibroblasts, or both. The molecular features that define this wound-like phenotype are evident at an early clinical stage, persist during treatment, and predict increased risk of metastasis and death in breast, lung, and gastric carcinomas. Thus, the transcriptional signature of the response of fibroblasts to serum provides a possible link between cancer progression and wound healing, as well as a powerful predictor of the clinical course in several common carcinomas.

974 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this issue of PLoS Biology, Hebert et al. have set out to test the resolution and performance of “DNA barcoding,” using a single mtDNA gene, cytochrome c oxidase I (COI), for a sample of North American birds.
Abstract: In this issue of PLoS Biology, Hebert et al. (2004) have set out to test the resolution and performance of “DNA barcoding,” using a single mtDNA gene, cytochrome c oxidase I (COI), for a sample of North American birds. Before turning to details of this study, it is useful as context to consider the following questions: What is DNA barcoding, and what does it promise? What is new about it? Why is it controversial? What are the potential pitfalls?

966 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Bmal1 and Clock, genes that function in the core molecular clock, exert profound control over recovery from insulin-induced hypoglycaemia and asynchronous dietary cues may modify glucose homeostasis via their interactions with peripheral molecular clocks.
Abstract: Circadian timing is generated through a unique series of autoregulatory interactions termed the molecular clock. Behavioral rhythms subject to the molecular clock are well characterized. We demonstrate a role for Bmal1 and Clock in the regulation of glucose homeostasis. Inactivation of the known clock components Bmal1 (Mop3) and Clock suppress the diurnal variation in glucose and triglycerides. Gluconeogenesis is abolished by deletion of Bmal1 and is depressed in Clock mutants, but the counterregulatory response of corticosterone and glucagon to insulin-induced hypoglycaemia is retained. Furthermore, a high-fat diet modulates carbohydrate metabolism by amplifying circadian variation in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, and mutation of Clock restores the chow-fed phenotype. Bmal1 and Clock, genes that function in the core molecular clock, exert profound control over recovery from insulin-induced hypoglycaemia. Furthermore, asynchronous dietary cues may modify glucose homeostasis via their interactions with peripheral molecular clocks.

954 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A whole-genome comparison between humans and the pufferfish, Fugu rubripes, is used to identify nearly 1,400 highly conserved non-coding sequences, which are likely to form part of the genomic circuitry that uniquely defines vertebrate development.
Abstract: In addition to protein coding sequence, the human genome contains a significant amount of regulatory DNA, the identification of which is proving somewhat recalcitrant to both in silico and functional methods. An approach that has been used with some success is comparative sequence analysis, whereby equivalent genomic regions from different organisms are compared in order to identify both similarities and differences. In general, similarities in sequence between highly divergent organisms imply functional constraint. We have used a whole-genome comparison between humans and the pufferfish, Fugu rubripes, to identify nearly 1,400 highly conserved non-coding sequences. Given the evolutionary divergence between these species, it is likely that these sequences are found in, and furthermore are essential to, all vertebrates. Most, and possibly all, of these sequences are located in and around genes that act as developmental regulators. Some of these sequences are over 90% identical across more than 500 bases, being more highly conserved than coding sequence between these two species. Despite this, we cannot find any similar sequences in invertebrate genomes. In order to begin to functionally test this set of sequences, we have used a rapid in vivo assay system using zebrafish embryos that allows tissue-specific enhancer activity to be identified. Functional data is presented for highly conserved non-coding sequences associated with four unrelated developmental regulators (SOX21, PAX6, HLXB9, and SHH), in order to demonstrate the suitability of this screen to a wide range of genes and expression patterns. Of 25 sequence elements tested around these four genes, 23 show significant enhancer activity in one or more tissues. We have identified a set of non-coding sequences that are highly conserved throughout vertebrates. They are found in clusters across the human genome, principally around genes that are implicated in the regulation of development, including many transcription factors. These highly conserved non-coding sequences are likely to form part of the genomic circuitry that uniquely defines vertebrate development.

952 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Each of the three retroviruses studied showed unique integration site preferences, suggesting that virus-specific binding of integration complexes to chromatin features likely guides site selection.
Abstract: The completion of the human genome sequence has made possible genome-wide studies of retroviral DNA integration. Here we report an analysis of 3,127 integration site sequences from human cells. We compared retroviral vectors derived from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), avian sarcoma-leukosis virus (ASLV), and murine leukemia virus (MLV). Effects of gene activity on integration targeting were assessed by transcriptional profiling of infected cells. Integration by HIV vectors, analyzed in two primary cell types and several cell lines, strongly favored active genes. An analysis of the effects of tissue-specific transcription showed that it resulted in tissue-specific integration targeting by HIV, though the effect was quantitatively modest. Chromosomal regions rich in expressed genes were favored for HIV integration, but these regions were found to be interleaved with unfavorable regions at CpG islands. MLV vectors showed a strong bias in favor of integration near transcription start sites, as reported previously. ASLV vectors showed only a weak preference for active genes and no preference for transcription start regions. Thus, each of the three retroviruses studied showed unique integration site preferences, suggesting that virus-specific binding of integration complexes to chromatin features likely guides site selection.

943 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This work reports the molecular realization, using two-dimensional self-assembly of DNA tiles, of a cellular automaton whose update rule computes the binary function XOR and thus fabricates a fractal pattern—a Sierpinski triangle—as it grows.
Abstract: Algorithms and information, fundamental to technological and biological organization, are also an essential aspect of many elementary physical phenomena, such as molecular self-assembly. Here we report the molecular realization, using two-dimensional self-assembly of DNA tiles, of a cellular automaton whose update rule computes the binary function XOR and thus fabricates a fractal pattern—a Sierpinski triangle—as it grows. To achieve this, abstract tiles were translated into DNA tiles based on double-crossover motifs. Serving as input for the computation, long single-stranded DNA molecules were used to nucleate growth of tiles into algorithmic crystals. For both of two independent molecular realizations, atomic force microscopy revealed recognizable Sierpinski triangles containing 100–200 correct tiles. Error rates during assembly appear to range from 1% to 10%. Although imperfect, the growth of Sierpinski triangles demonstrates all the necessary mechanisms for the molecular implementation of arbitrary cellular automata. This shows that engineered DNA self-assembly can be treated as a Turing-universal biomolecular system, capable of implementing any desired algorithm for computation or construction tasks.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Genetic analysis of the wMel genome further supports the hypothesis that mitochondria share a common ancestor with the α-Proteobacteria, but shows little support for the grouping of mitochondria with species in the order Rickettsiales.
Abstract: The complete sequence of the 1,267,782 bp genome of Wolbachia pipientis wMel, an obligate intracellular bacteria of Drosophila melanogaster, has been determined. Wolbachia, which are found in a variety of invertebrate species, are of great interest due to their diverse interactions with different hosts, which range from many forms of reproductive parasitism to mutualistic symbioses. Analysis of the wMel genome, in particular phylogenomic comparisons with other intracellular bacteria, has revealed many insights into the biology and evolution of wMel and Wolbachia in general. For example, the wMel genome is unique among sequenced obligate intracellular species in both being highly streamlined and containing very high levels of repetitive DNA and mobile DNA elements. This observation, coupled with multiple evolutionary reconstructions, suggests that natural selection is somewhat inefficient in wMel, most likely owing to the occurrence of repeated population bottlenecks. Genome analysis predicts many metabolic differences with the closely related Rickettsia species, including the presence of intact glycolysis and purine synthesis, which may compensate for an inability to obtain ATP directly from its host, as Rickettsia can. Other discoveries include the apparent inability of wMel to synthesize lipopolysaccharide and the presence of the most genes encoding proteins with ankyrin repeat domains of any prokaryotic genome yet sequenced. Despite the ability of wMel to infect the germline of its host, we find no evidence for either recent lateral gene transfer between wMel and D. melanogaster or older transfers between Wolbachia and any host. Evolutionary analysis further supports the hypothesis that mitochondria share a common ancestor with the alpha-Proteobacteria, but shows little support for the grouping of mitochondria with species in the order Rickettsiales. With the availability of the complete genomes of both species and excellent genetic tools for the host, the wMel-D. melanogaster symbiosis is now an ideal system for studying the biology and evolution of Wolbachia infections.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The capacity of MNV-1 to replicate in a STAT-1-regulated fashion and the unexpected tropism of a norovirus for cells of the hematopoietic lineage provide important insights into Norovirus biology.
Abstract: Noroviruses are understudied because these important enteric pathogens have not been cultured to date. We found that the norovirus murine norovirus 1 (MNV-1) infects macrophage-like cells in vivo and replicates in cultured primary dendritic cells and macrophages. MNV-1 growth was inhibited by the interferon-alphabeta receptor and STAT-1, and was associated with extensive rearrangements of intracellular membranes. An amino acid substitution in the capsid protein of serially passaged MNV-1 was associated with virulence attenuation in vivo. This is the first report of replication of a norovirus in cell culture. The capacity of MNV-1 to replicate in a STAT-1-regulated fashion and the unexpected tropism of a norovirus for cells of the hematopoietic lineage provide important insights into norovirus biology.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This work observed two objective neural correlates of insight: increased activity in the right hemisphere anterior superior temporal gyrus for insight relative to noninsight solutions and a sudden burst of high-frequency neural activity prior to insight solutions.
Abstract: People sometimes solve problems with a unique process called insight, accompanied by an “Aha!” experience. It has long been unclear whether different cognitive and neural processes lead to insight versus noninsight solutions, or if solutions differ only in subsequent subjective feeling. Recent behavioral studies indicate distinct patterns of performance and suggest differential hemispheric involvement for insight and noninsight solutions. Subjects solved verbal problems, and after each correct solution indicated whether they solved with or without insight. We observed two objective neural correlates of insight. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (Experiment 1) revealed increased activity in the right hemisphere anterior superior temporal gyrus for insight relative to noninsight solutions. The same region was active during initial solving efforts. Scalp electroencephalogram recordings (Experiment 2) revealed a sudden burst of high-frequency (gamma-band) neural activity in the same area beginning 0.3 s prior to insight solutions. This right anterior temporal area is associated with making connections across distantly related information during comprehension. Although all problem solving relies on a largely shared cortical network, the sudden flash of insight occurs when solvers engage distinct neural and cognitive processes that allow them to see connections that previously eluded them.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: This analysis suggests the hypothesis that brain networks maximize both the number and the diversity of functional motifs, while the repertoire of structural motifs remains small, and obtains network topologies that resemble real brain networks across a broad spectrum of structural measures, including small-world attributes.
Abstract: Complex brains have evolved a highly efficient network architecture whose structural connectivity is capable of generating a large repertoire of functional states. We detect characteristic network building blocks (structural and functional motifs) in neuroanatomical data sets and identify a small set of structural motifs that occur in significantly increased numbers. Our analysis suggests the hypothesis that brain networks maximize both the number and the diversity of functional motifs, while the repertoire of structural motifs remains small. Using functional motif number as a cost function in an optimization algorithm, we obtain network topologies that resemble real brain networks across a broad spectrum of structural measures, including small-world attributes. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that highly evolved neural architectures are organized to maximize functional repertoires and to support highly efficient integration of information.

PatentDOI
TL;DR: The RISC inactivators of the present invention enable a variety of methods for identifying and characterizing miRNAs and siRNAs, RISC-associated factors, and agents capable of modulating RNA silencing.
Abstract: The present invention relates to the discovery of a method for inhibiting RNA silencing in a target sequence-specific manner. RNA silencing requires a set of conserved cellular factors to suppress expression of gene-encoded polypeptide. The invention provides compositions for sequence-specific inactivation of the RISC component of the RNA silencing pathway, and methods of use thereof. The RISC inactivators of the present invention enable a variety of methods for identifying and characterizing miRNAs and siRNAs, RISC-associated factors, and agents capable of modulating RNA silencing. Therapeutic methods and compositions incorporating RISC inactivators and therapeutic agents identified through use of RISC inactivators are also featured.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Extraction of particular biological facts can be accelerated significantly by ontologies, with Textpresso automatically performing nearly as well as expert curators to identify sentences; in searches for two uniquely named genes and an interaction term, the ontology confers a 3-fold increase of search efficiency.
Abstract: We have developed Textpresso, a new text-mining system for scientific literature whose capabilities go far beyond those of a simple keyword search engine Textpresso's two major elements are a collection of the full text of scientific articles split into individual sentences, and the implementation of categories of terms for which a database of articles and individual sentences can be searched The categories are classes of biological concepts (eg, gene, allele, cell or cell group, phenotype, etc) and classes that relate two objects (eg, association, regulation, etc) or describe one (eg, biological process, etc) Together they form a catalog of types of objects and concepts called an ontology After this ontology is populated with terms, the whole corpus of articles and abstracts is marked up to identify terms of these categories The current ontology comprises 33 categories of terms A search engine enables the user to search for one or a combination of these tags and/or keywords within a sentence or document, and as the ontology allows word meaning to be queried, it is possible to formulate semantic queries Full text access increases recall of biological data types from 45% to 95% Extraction of particular biological facts, such as gene-gene interactions, can be accelerated significantly by ontologies, with Textpresso automatically performing nearly as well as expert curators to identify sentences; in searches for two uniquely named genes and an interaction term, the ontology confers a 3-fold increase of search efficiency Textpresso currently focuses on Caenorhabditis elegans literature, with 3,800 full text articles and 16,000 abstracts The lexicon of the ontology contains 14,500 entries, each of which includes all versions of a specific word or phrase, and it includes all categories of the Gene Ontology database Textpresso is a useful curation tool, as well as search engine for researchers, and can readily be extended to other organism-specific corpora of text Textpresso can be accessed at http://wwwtextpressoorg or via WormBase at http://wwwwormbaseorg

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Intramolecular pairs of Alu elements are identified as a major target for editing in the human transcriptome and it is suggested that modification of repetitive elements is a predominant activity for RNA editing with significant implications for cellular gene expression.
Abstract: RNA editing by adenosine deamination generates RNA and protein diversity through the posttranscriptional modification of single nucleotides in RNA sequences. Few mammalian A-to-I edited genes have been identified despite evidence that many more should exist. Here we identify intramolecular pairs of Alu elements as a major target for editing in the human transcriptome. An experimental demonstration in 43 genes was extended by a broader computational analysis of more than 100,000 human mRNAs. We find that 1,445 human mRNAs (1.4%) are subject to RNA editing at more than 14,500 sites, and our data further suggest that the vast majority of pre-mRNAs (greater than 85%) are targeted in introns by the editing machinery. The editing levels of Alu-containing mRNAs correlate with distance and homology between inverted repeats and vary in different tissues. Alu-mediated RNA duplexes targeted by RNA editing are formed intramolecularly, whereas editing due to intermolecular base-pairing appears to be negligible. We present evidence that these editing events can lead to the posttranscriptional creation or elimination of splice signals affecting alternatively spliced Alu-derived exons. The analysis suggests that modification of repetitive elements is a predominant activity for RNA editing with significant implications for cellular gene expression.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Diagnostic procedures are presented that accurately predict the survival of future patients based on the gene expression profile and survival times of previous patients that have been successfully applied to several publicly available datasets.
Abstract: An important goal of DNA microarray research is to develop tools to diagnose cancer more accurately based on the genetic profile of a tumor There are several existing techniques in the literature for performing this type of diagnosis Unfortunately, most of these techniques assume that different subtypes of cancer are already known to exist Their utility is limited when such subtypes have not been previously identified Although methods for identifying such subtypes exist, these methods do not work well for all datasets It would be desirable to develop a procedure to find such subtypes that is applicable in a wide variety of circumstances Even if no information is known about possible subtypes of a certain form of cancer, clinical information about the patients, such as their survival time, is often available In this study, we develop some procedures that utilize both the gene expression data and the clinical data to identify subtypes of cancer and use this knowledge to diagnose future patients These procedures were successfully applied to several publicly available datasets We present diagnostic procedures that accurately predict the survival of future patients based on the gene expression profile and survival times of previous patients This has the potential to be a powerful tool for diagnosing and treating cancer

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The results suggest that combinatorial tagging of transcripts by specific RNA-binding proteins may be a general mechanism for coordinated control of the localization, translation, and decay of mRNAs and thus an integral part of the global gene expression program.
Abstract: Genes encoding RNA-binding proteins are diverse and abundant in eukaryotic genomes. Although some have been shown to have roles in post-transcriptional regulation of the expression of specific genes, few of these proteins have been studied systematically. We have used an affinity tag to isolate each of the five members of the Puf family of RNA-binding proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and DNA microarrays to comprehensively identify the associated mRNAs. Distinct groups of 40–220 different mRNAs with striking common themes in the functions and subcellular localization of the proteins they encode are associated with each of the five Puf proteins: Puf3p binds nearly exclusively to cytoplasmic mRNAs that encode mitochondrial proteins; Puf1p and Puf2p interact preferentially with mRNAs encoding membrane-associated proteins; Puf4p preferentially binds mRNAs encoding nucleolar ribosomal RNA-processing factors; and Puf5p is associated with mRNAs encoding chromatin modifiers and components of the spindle pole body. We identified distinct sequence motifs in the 3′-untranslated regions of the mRNAs bound by Puf3p, Puf4p, and Puf5p. Three-hybrid assays confirmed the role of these motifs in specific RNA–protein interactions in vivo. The results suggest that combinatorial tagging of transcripts by specific RNA-binding proteins may be a general mechanism for coordinated control of the localization, translation, and decay of mRNAs and thus an integral part of the global gene expression program.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A novel role for a member of the ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzyme family is revealed in determining the region-specific histone subunit composition of chromatin in vivo and controlling the epigenetic state of Chromatin.
Abstract: The conserved histone variant H2A.Z functions in euchromatin to antagonize the spread of heterochromatin. The mechanism by which histone H2A is replaced by H2A.Z in the nucleosome is unknown. We identified a complex containing 13 different polypeptides associated with a soluble pool of H2A.Z in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This complex was designated SWR1-Com in reference to the Swr1p subunit, a Swi2/Snf2-paralog. Swr1p and six other subunits were found only in SWR1-Com, whereas six other subunits were also found in the NuA4 histone acetyltransferase and/or the Ino80 chromatin remodeling complex. H2A.Z and SWR1 were essential for viability of cells lacking the EAF1 component of NuA4, pointing to a close functional connection between these two complexes. Strikingly, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis of cells lacking Swr1p, the presumed ATPase of the complex, revealed a profound defect in the deposition of H2A.Z at euchromatic regions that flank the silent mating type cassette HMR and at 12 other chromosomal sites tested. Consistent with a specialized role for Swr1p in H2A.Z deposition, the majority of the genome-wide transcriptional defects seen in swr1Delta cells were also found in htz1Delta cells. These studies revealed a novel role for a member of the ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzyme family in determining the region-specific histone subunit composition of chromatin in vivo and controlling the epigenetic state of chromatin. Metazoan orthologs of Swr1p (Drosophila Domino; human SRCAP and p400) may have analogous functions.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A molecular atlas of gene expression in the developing and mature retina was constructed, along with a taxonomic classification of developmental gene expression patterns, and multiple transcripts that were evolutionarily conserved that did not appear to encode open reading frames of more than 100 amino acids in length were found to be dynamically and specifically expressed in developed and mature retinal cell types.
Abstract: The vertebrate retina is comprised of seven major cell types that are generated in overlapping but well-defined intervals. To identify genes that might regulate retinal development, gene expression in the developing retina was profiled at multiple time points using serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE). The expression patterns of 1,051 genes that showed developmentally dynamic expression by SAGE were investigated using in situ hybridization. A molecular atlas of gene expression in the developing and mature retina was thereby constructed, along with a taxonomic classification of developmental gene expression patterns. Genes were identified that label both temporal and spatial subsets of mitotic progenitor cells. For each developing and mature major retinal cell type, genes selectively expressed in that cell type were identified. The gene expression profiles of retinal Muller glia and mitotic progenitor cells were found to be highly similar, suggesting that Muller glia might serve to produce multiple retinal cell types under the right conditions. In addition, multiple transcripts that were evolutionarily conserved that did not appear to encode open reading frames of more than 100 amino acids in length (“noncoding RNAs”) were found to be dynamically and specifically expressed in developing and mature retinal cell types. Finally, many photoreceptor-enriched genes that mapped to chromosomal intervals containing retinal disease genes were identified. These data serve as a starting point for functional investigations of the roles of these genes in retinal development and physiology.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is proposed that the global latitudinal species diversity gradient might be generated in large part by biotic interactions, providing strong support for the idea that current estimates of species diversity are substantially underestimated.
Abstract: Identifying the factors underlying the origin and maintenance of the latitudinal diversity gradient is a central problem in ecology, but no consensus has emerged on which processes might generate this broad pattern. Interestingly, the vast majority of studies exploring the gradient have focused on free-living organisms, ignoring parasitic and infectious disease (PID) species. Here, we address the influence of environmental factors on the biological diversity of human pathogens and their global spatial organization. Using generalized linear multivariate models and Monte Carlo simulations, we conducted a series of comparative analyses to test the hypothesis that human PIDs exhibit the same global patterns of distribution as other taxonomic groups. We found a significant negative relationship between latitude and PID species richness, and a nested spatial organization, i.e., the accumulation of PID species with latitude, over large spatial scales. Additionally, our results show that climatic factors are of primary importance in explaining the link between latitude and the spatial pattern of human pathogens. Based on our findings, we propose that the global latitudinal species diversity gradient might be generated in large part by biotic interactions, providing strong support for the idea that current estimates of species diversity are substantially underestimated. When parasites and pathogens are included, estimates of total species diversity may increase by more than an order of magnitude.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that DJ-1 functions as a redox-sensitive molecular chaperone that is activated in an oxidative cytoplasmic environment and extends to α-synuclein, a protein implicated in PD pathogenesis.
Abstract: Parkinson's disease (PD) pathology is characterized by the degeneration of midbrain dopamine neurons (DNs) ultimately leading to a progressive movement disorder in patients. The etiology of DN loss in sporadic PD is unknown, although it is hypothesized that aberrant protein aggregation and cellular oxidative stress may promote DN degeneration. Homozygous mutations in DJ-1 were recently described in two families with autosomal recessive inherited PD (Bonifati et al. 2003). In a companion article (Martinat et al. 2004), we show that mutations in DJ-1 alter the cellular response to oxidative stress and proteasomal inhibition. Here we show that DJ-1 functions as a redox-sensitive molecular chaperone that is activated in an oxidative cytoplasmic environment. We further demonstrate that DJ-1 chaperone activity in vivo extends to α-synuclein, a protein implicated in PD pathogenesis.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A shared auxin:BR pathway required for seedling growth is described and one element highly overrepresented in the promoters of auxin- and BR-induced genes is responsive to both hormones and requires BR biosynthesis for normal expression.
Abstract: How growth regulators provoke context-specific signals is a fundamental question in developmental biology. In plants, both auxin and brassinosteroids (BRs) promote cell expansion, and it was thought that they activated this process through independent mechanisms. In this work, we describe a shared auxin:BR pathway required for seedling growth. Genetic, physiological, and genomic analyses demonstrate that response from one pathway requires the function of the other, and that this interdependence does not act at the level of hormone biosynthetic control. Increased auxin levels saturate the BR-stimulated growth response and greatly reduce BR effects on gene expression. Integration of these two pathways is downstream from BES1 and Aux/IAA proteins, the last known regulatory factors acting downstream of each hormone, and is likely to occur directly on the promoters of auxin:BR target genes. We have developed a new approach to identify potential regulatory elements acting in each hormone pathway, as well as in the shared auxin:BR pathway. We show that one element highly overrepresented in the promoters of auxin- and BR-induced genes is responsive to both hormones and requires BR biosynthesis for normal expression. This work fundamentally alters our view of BR and auxin signaling and describes a powerful new approach to identify regulatory elements required for response to specific stimuli.

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Amyloid growth can occur by monomer addition in a reaction distinct from and competitive with formation of potentially toxic oligomeric intermediates, as demonstrated in Sup35.
Abstract: Abundant nonfibrillar oligomeric intermediates are a common feature of amyloid formation, and these oligomers, rather than the final fibers, have been suggested to be the toxic species in some amyloid diseases. Whether such oligomers are critical intermediates for fiber assembly or form in an alternate, potentially separable pathway, however, remains unclear. Here we study the polymerization of the amyloidogenic yeast prion protein Sup35. Rapid polymerization occurs in the absence of observable intermediates, and both targeted kinetic and direct single-molecule fluorescence measurements indicate that fibers grow by monomer addition. A three-step model (nucleation, monomer addition, and fiber fragmentation) accurately accounts for the distinctive kinetic features of amyloid formation, including weak concentration dependence, acceleration by agitation, and sigmoidal shape of the polymerization time course. Thus, amyloid growth can occur by monomer addition in a reaction distinct from and competitive with formation of potentially toxic oligomeric intermediates.

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TL;DR: It is shown that extinction risk in the mammal order Carnivora is predicted more strongly by biology than exposure to high-density human populations, and it is suggested that biology will become a more critical determinant of risk as human populations expand.
Abstract: Understanding why some species are at high risk of extinction, while others remain relatively safe, is central to the development of a predictive conservation science. Recent studies have shown that a species' extinction risk may be determined by two types of factors: intrinsic biological traits and exposure to external anthropogenic threats. However, little is known about the relative and interacting effects of intrinsic and external variables on extinction risk. Using phylogenetic comparative methods, we show that extinction risk in the mammal order Carnivora is predicted more strongly by biology than exposure to high-density human populations. However, biology interacts with human population density to determine extinction risk: biological traits explain 80% of variation in risk for carnivore species with high levels of exposure to human populations, compared to 45% for carnivores generally. The results suggest that biology will become a more critical determinant of risk as human populations expand. We demonstrate how a model predicting extinction risk from biology can be combined with projected human population density to identify species likely to move most rapidly towards extinction by the year 2030. African viverrid species are particularly likely to become threatened, even though most are currently considered relatively safe. We suggest that a preemptive approach to species conservation is needed to identify and protect species that may not be threatened at present but may become so in the near future.

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TL;DR: The results suggest that the migration of modern humans out of Africa into new environments was accompanied by genetic adaptations to emergent selective forces, and a region containing four contiguous genes on Chromosome 7 showed striking evidence of a recent selective sweep in European-Americans.
Abstract: Identifying regions of the human genome that have been targets of natural selection will provide important insights into human evolutionary history and may facilitate the identification of complex disease genes. Although the signature that natural selection imparts on DNA sequence variation is difficult to disentangle from the effects of neutral processes such as population demographic history, selective and demographic forces can be distinguished by analyzing multiple loci dispersed throughout the genome. We studied the molecular evolution of 132 genes by comprehensively resequencing them in 24 African-Americans and 23 European-Americans. We developed a rigorous computational approach for taking into account multiple hypothesis tests and demographic history and found that while many apparent selective events can instead be explained by demography, there is also strong evidence for positive or balancing selection at eight genes in the European-American population, but none in the African-American population. Our results suggest that the migration of modern humans out of Africa into new environments was accompanied by genetic adaptations to emergent selective forces. In addition, a region containing four contiguous genes on Chromosome 7 showed striking evidence of a recent selective sweep in European-Americans. More generally, our results have important implications for mapping genes underlying complex human diseases.

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TL;DR: It is shown that the APOBEC3G gene has been subject to strong positive selection throughout the history of primate evolution, and appears more ancient than, and is likely only partially caused by, modern lentiviruses.
Abstract: Host genomes have adopted several strategies to curb the proliferation of transposable elements and viruses. A recently discovered novel primate defense against retroviral infection involves a single-stranded DNA-editing enzyme, APOBEC3G, that causes hypermutation of HIV. The HIV-encoded virion infectivity factor (Vif) protein targets APOBEC3G for destruction, setting up a genetic conflict between the APOBEC3G and Vif genes. This kind of conflict leads to rapid fixation of mutations that alter amino acids at the protein–protein interface, referred to as positive selection. We show that the APOBEC3G gene has been subject to strong positive selection throughout the history of primate evolution. Unexpectedly, this selection appears more ancient than, and is likely only partially caused by, modern lentiviruses. Furthermore, five additional APOBEC genes in the human genome appear to be engaged in similar genetic conflicts, displaying some of the highest signals for positive selection in the human genome. Despite being only recently discovered, editing of RNA and DNA may thus represent an ancient form of host defense in primate genomes.

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TL;DR: A method for producing indices based on the IUCN Red List to chart the overall threat status (projected relative extinction risk) of all the world's bird species from 1988 to 2004 is presented.
Abstract: The rapid destruction of the planet's biodiversity has prompted the nations of the world to set a target of achieving a significant reduction in the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010. However, we do not yet have an adequate way of monitoring progress towards achieving this target. Here we present a method for producing indices based on the IUCN Red List to chart the overall threat status (projected relative extinction risk) of all the world's bird species from 1988 to 2004. Red List Indices (RLIs) are based on the number of species in each Red List category, and on the number changing categories between assessments as a result of genuine improvement or deterioration in status. The RLI for all bird species shows that their overall threat status has continued to deteriorate since 1988. Disaggregated indices show that deteriorations have occurred worldwide and in all major ecosystems, but with particularly steep declines in the indices for Indo-Malayan birds (driven by intensifying deforestation of the Sundaic lowlands) and for albatrosses and petrels (driven by incidental mortality in commercial longline fisheries). RLIs complement indicators based on species population trends and habitat extent for quantifying global trends in the status of biodiversity. Their main weaknesses are that the resolution of status changes is fairly coarse and that delays may occur before some status changes are detected. Their greatest strength is that they are based on information from nearly all species in a taxonomic group worldwide, rather than a potentially biased subset. At present, suitable data are only available for birds, but indices for other taxonomic groups are in development, as is a sampled index based on a stratified sample from all major taxonomic groups.