Abstract: Short Interspersed Nuclear Elements (SINEs) are non-autonomous retrotransposons that comprise a large fraction of the human genome. SINEs are demethylated in human disease, but whether SINEs become transcriptionally induced and how the resulting transcripts may affect the expression of protein coding genes is unknown. Here, we show that downregulation of the mRNA of the tumor suppressor gene BRCA1 is associated with increased transcription of SINEs and production of sense and antisense SINE small RNAs. We find that BRCA1 mRNA is post-transcriptionally down-regulated in a Dicer and Drosha dependent manner and that expression of a SINE inverted repeat with sequence identity to a BRCA1 intron is sufficient for downregulation of BRCA1 mRNA. These observations suggest that transcriptional activation of SINEs could contribute to a novel mechanism of RNA mediated post-transcriptional silencing of human genes.
Abstract: Synthesis of chromosomal DNA is initiated from multiple origins of replication in higher eukaryotes; however, little is known about these origins’ structures. We isolated the origin-derived nascent DNAs from a human repair-deficient cell line by blocking the replication forks near the origins using two different origin-trapping methods (i.e., UV- or chemical crosslinker-treatment and cell synchronization in early S phase using DNA replication inhibitors). Single-stranded DNAs (of 0.5–3 kb) that accumulated after such treatments were labeled with bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU). BrdU-labeled DNA was immunopurified after fractionation by alkaline sucrose density gradient centrifugation and cloned by complementary-strand synthesis and PCR amplification. Competitive PCR revealed an increased abundance of DNA derived from known replication origins (c-myc and lamin B2genes) in the nascent DNA fractions from the UV-treated or crosslinked cells. Nucleotide sequences of 85 and 208 kb were obtained from the two libraries (I and II) prepared from the UV-treated log-phase cells and early S phase arrested cells, respectively. The libraries differed from each other in their G+C composition and replication-related motif contents, suggesting that differences existed between the origin fragments isolated by the two different origin-trapping methods. The replication activities for seven out of 12 putative origin loci from the early-S phase cells were shown by competitive PCR. We mapped 117 (library I) and 172 (library II) putative origin loci to the human genome; approximately 60% and 50% of these loci were assigned to the G-band and intragenic regions, respectively. Analyses of the flanking sequences of the mapped loci suggested that the putative origin loci tended to associate with genes (including conserved sites) and DNase I hypersensitive sites; however, poor correlations were found between such loci and the CpG islands, transcription start sites, and K27-acetylated histone H3 peaks.
Abstract: Acetylcholine is an important neurotransmitter whose effects are mediated by two classes of receptors. The nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are ion channels, whereas the muscarinic receptors belong to the large family of G protein coupled seven transmembrane helix receptors. Beyond its function in neuronal systems, it has become evident that acetylcholine also plays an important role in non-neuronal cells such as epithelial and immune cells. Furthermore, many cell types in the periphery are capable of synthesizing acetylcholine and express at least some of the receptors. In this review, we summarize the non-neuronal functions of the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, especially those of the M2 muscarinic receptor in epithelial cells. We will review the mechanisms of signaling by the M2 receptor but also the cellular trafficking and ARF6 mediated endocytosis of this receptor, which play an important role in the regulation of signaling events. In addition, we provide an overview of the M2 receptor in human pathological conditions such as autoimmune diseases and cancer.
Abstract: Exosomes are small extracellular vesicles (30–100 nm) derived from the endosomal system, which have raised considerable interest in the last decade. Several studies have shown that they mediate cell-to-cell communication in a variety of biological processes. Thus, in addition to cell-to-cell direct interaction or secretion of active molecules, they are now considered another class of signal mediators. Exosomes can be secreted by several cell types and retrieved in many body fluids, such as blood, urine, saliva and cerebrospinal fluid. In addition to proteins and lipids, they also contain nucleic acids, namely mRNA and miRNA. These features have prompted extensive research to exploit them as a source of biomarkers for several pathologies, such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. In this context, exosomes also appear attractive as gene delivery vehicles. Furthermore, exosome immunomodulatory and regenerative properties are also encouraging their application for further therapeutic purposes. Nevertheless, several issues remain to be addressed: exosome biogenesis and secretion mechanisms have not been clearly understood, and physiological functions, as well as pathological roles, are far from being satisfactorily elucidated.
Abstract: In all domains of life, sliding clamps tether DNA polymerases to DNA to increase the processivity of synthesis. Clamp loaders load clamps onto DNA in a multi-step process that requires ATP binding and hydrolysis. Like other AAA+ proteins, clamp loaders contain conserved Walker A and Walker B sequence motifs, which participate in ATP binding and hydrolysis, respectively. Mutation of the glutamate residue in Walker B motifs (or DExx-boxes) in AAA+ proteins typically reduces ATP hydrolysis by as much as a couple orders of magnitude, but has no effect on ATP binding. Here, the Walker B Glu in each of the four active ATP sites of the eukaryotic clamp loader, RFC, was mutated to Gln and Ala separately, and ATP binding- and hydrolysis-dependent activities of the quadruple mutant clamp loaders were characterized. Fluorescence-based assays were used to measure individual reaction steps required for clamp loading including clamp binding, clamp opening, DNA binding and ATP hydrolysis. Our results show that the Walker B mutations affect ATP-binding-dependent interactions of RFC with the clamp and DNA in addition to reducing ligand-dependent ATP hydrolysis activity. Here, we show that the Walker B glutamate is required for ATP-dependent ligand binding activity, a previously unknown function for this conserved Glu residue in RFC.
Abstract: Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are implicated in several cellular processes including proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, cell survival, cell motility, metabolism, stress response and inflammation. MAPK pathways transmit and convert a plethora of extracellular signals by three consecutive phosphorylation events involving a MAPK kinase kinase, a MAPK kinase, and a MAPK. In turn MAPKs phosphorylate substrates, including other protein kinases referred to as MAPK-activated protein kinases (MAPKAPKs). Eleven mammalian MAPKAPKs have been identified: ribosomal-S6-kinases (RSK1-4), mitogen- and stress-activated kinases (MSK1-2), MAPK-interacting kinases (MNK1-2), MAPKAPK-2 (MK2), MAPKAPK-3 (MK3), and MAPKAPK-5 (MK5). The role of these MAPKAPKs in inflammation will be reviewed.