Genes2014, 5(4), 1115-1131; doi:10.3390/genes5041115 (registering DOI) - published 19 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Several transcription factors (TFs) coordinate to regulate expression of specific genes at the transcriptional level. In Arabidopsis thaliana it is estimated that approximately 10% of all genes encode TFs or TF-like proteins. It is important to identify target genes that are directly regulated by TFs in order to understand the complete picture of a plant’s transcriptome profile. Here, we investigate the role of the LONG HYPOCOTYL5 (HY5) transcription factor that acts as a regulator of photomorphogenesis. We used an in vitro genomic DNA binding assay coupled with immunoprecipitation and next-generation sequencing (gDB-seq) instead of the in vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-based methods. The results demonstrate that the HY5-binding motif predicted here was similar to the motif reported previously and that in vitro HY5-binding loci largely overlapped with the HY5-targeted candidate genes identified in previous ChIP-chip analysis. By combining these results with microarray analysis, we identified hundreds of HY5-binding genes that were differentially expressed in hy5. We also observed delayed induction of some transcripts of HY5-binding genes in hy5 mutants in response to blue-light exposure after dark treatment. Thus, an in vitro gDNA-binding assay coupled with sequencing is a convenient and powerful method to bridge the gap between identifying TF binding potential and establishing function.
Genes2014, 5(4), 1095-1114; doi:10.3390/genes5041095 - published 11 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Memantine is a non-competitive antagonist of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, and is an approved drug for the treatment of moderate-to-severe Alzheimer’s disease. We identified a mouse strain with a naturally occurring mutation and an ataxic phenotype that presents with severe leg cramps. To investigate the phenotypes of these mutant mice, we screened several phenotype-modulating drugs and found that memantine (10 mg/kg) disrupted the sense of balance in the mutants. Moreover, the mutant mice showed an attenuated optokinetic response (OKR) and impaired OKR learning, which was also observed in wild-type mice treated with memantine. Microsatellite analyses indicated that the Grid2 gene-deletion is responsible for these phenotypes. Patch-clamp analysis showed a relatively small change in NMDA-dependent current in cultured granule cells from Grid2 gene-deleted mice, suggesting that GRID2 is important for correct NMDA receptor function. In general, NMDA receptors are activated after the activation of non-NMDA receptors, such as AMPA receptors, and AMPA receptor dysregulation also occurs in Grid2 mutant mice. Indeed, the AMPA treatment enhanced memantine susceptibility in wild-type mice, which was indicated by balance sense and OKR impairments. The present study explores a new role for GRID2 and highlights the adverse effects of memantine in different genetic backgrounds.
Genes2014, 5(4), 1064-1094; doi:10.3390/genes5041064 - published 11 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Somatic mosaicism refers to the occurrence of two genetically distinct populations of cells within an individual, derived from a postzygotic mutation. In contrast to inherited mutations, somatic mosaic mutations may affect only a portion of the body and are not transmitted to progeny. These mutations affect varying genomic sizes ranging from single nucleotides to entire chromosomes and have been implicated in disease, most prominently cancer. The phenotypic consequences of somatic mosaicism are dependent upon many factors including the developmental time at which the mutation occurs, the areas of the body that are affected, and the pathophysiological effect(s) of the mutation. The advent of second-generation sequencing technologies has augmented existing array-based and cytogenetic approaches for the identification of somatic mutations. We outline the strengths and weaknesses of these techniques and highlight recent insights into the role of somatic mosaicism in causing cancer, neurodegenerative, monogenic, and complex disease.
Genes2014, 5(4), 1050-1063; doi:10.3390/genes5041050 - published 27 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Long non-coding (lnc) RNAs serve a multitude of functions in cells. NEAT1 RNA is a highly abundant 4 kb lncRNA in nuclei, and coincides with paraspeckles, nuclear domains that control sequestration of paraspeckle proteins. We examined NEAT1 RNA levels and its function in 3T3-L1 cells during differentiation to adipocytes. Levels of NEAT1 transcript, measured by RT-PCR, fluctuated in a temporal manner over the course of differentiation that suggested its role in alternative splicing of PPARγ mRNA, the major transcription factor driving adipogenesis. When cells were induced to differentiate by a media cocktail of insulin, dexamethasone, and isobutylmethyxanthine (IBMX) on Day 0, NEAT1 levels dropped on Day 4, when the PPARγ2 variant was spliced and when terminal differentiation occurs The appearance of PPARγ2 coordinates with the PPARγ1 variant to drive differentiation of adipocytes. SiRNA used to deplete NEAT1 resulted in the inability of cells to phosphorylate the serine/arginine-rich splicing protein, SRp40. SiRNA treatment for SRp40 resulted in dysregulation of PPARγ1 and, primarily, PPARγ2 mRNA levels. SRp40 associated with NEAT1, as shown by RNA-IP on days 0 and 8, but decreased on day 4, and concentrations increased over that of IgG control. Overexpression of SRp40 increased PPARγ2, but not γ1. Although lncRNA MALAT1 has been investigated in SR protein function, NEAT1 has not been shown to bind SR proteins for phosphorylation such that alternative splicing results. The ability of cells to increase phosphorylated SR proteins for PPARγ2 splicing suggests that fluxes in NEAT1 levels during adipogenesis regulate alternative splicing events.
Genes2014, 5(4), 1032-1049; doi:10.3390/genes5041032 - published 11 November 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The locations of transcription and translation of mRNA in eukaryotic cells are spatially separated by the nuclear envelope (NE). Plenty of nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) embedded in the NE function as the major gateway for the export of transcribed mRNAs from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Whereas the NPC, perhaps one of the largest protein complexes, provides a relatively large channel for macromolecules to selectively pass through it in inherently three-dimensional (3D) movements, this channel is nonetheless below the diffraction limit of conventional light microscopy. A full understanding of the mRNA export mechanism urgently requires real-time mapping of the 3D dynamics of mRNA in the NPC of live cells with innovative imaging techniques breaking the diffraction limit of conventional light microscopy. Recently, super-resolution fluorescence microscopy and single-particle tracking (SPT) techniques have been applied to the study of nuclear export of mRNA in live cells. In this review, we emphasize the necessity of 3D mapping techniques in the study of mRNA export, briefly summarize the feasibility of current 3D imaging approaches, and highlight the new features of mRNA nuclear export elucidated with a newly developed 3D imaging approach combining SPT-based super-resolution imaging and 2D-to-3D deconvolution algorithms.
Abstract: Increased blood glucose after a meal is countered by the subsequent increased release of the hypoglycemic hormone insulin from the pancreatic beta cells. The cascade of molecular events encompassing the initial sensing and transport of glucose into the beta cell, culminating with the exocytosis of the insulin large dense core granules (LDCVs) is termed “stimulus-secretion coupling.” Impairment in any of the relevant processes leads to insufficient insulin release, which contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes (T2D). The fate of the beta cell, when exposed to environmental triggers of the disease, is determined by the possibility to adapt to the new situation by regulation of gene expression. As established factors of post-transcriptional regulation, microRNAs (miRNAs) are well-recognized mediators of beta cell plasticity and adaptation. Here, we put focus on the importance of comprehending the transcriptional regulation of miRNAs, and how miRNAs are implicated in stimulus-secretion coupling, specifically those influencing the late stages of insulin secretion. We suggest that efficient beta cell adaptation requires an optimal balance between transcriptional regulation of miRNAs themselves, and miRNA-dependent gene regulation. The increased knowledge of the beta cell transcriptional network inclusive of non-coding RNAs such as miRNAs is essential in identifying novel targets for the treatment of T2D.