Long W tracts are over-represented in the Escherichia coli and Haemophilus influenzae genomes.
ABSTRACT: The occurrence of DNA tracts of the three binary base combinations: R.Y, K.M and W;S has been mapped in the complete genomes of Haemophilus influenzae and Escherichia coli. A highly significant over-representation of W tracts is observed in both bacteria. The excess of W tracts is particularly striking in the 10% intercoding regions. Subdivision of intercoding regions into divergent (promoting), convergent (terminating) and sequential subregions shows that the excess of W tracts is most concentrated in the promoter regions. A particularly high excess of W tracts is observed in the first 200 bases 5' upstream of coding start sites. The data suggest that W tracts have a role in promoter function. A function as unwinding centers, analogous to the role of R.Y tracts in eukaryotes, is proposed. R.Y and K.M tracts are only modestly over-represented in the two bacteria.
Project description:A program to map the locations and frequencies of DNA tracts composed of only two bases ('Binary DNA') is described. The program, TRACTS (URL http://bioportal.weizmann.ac.il/tracts/tracts.html and/or http://bip.weizmann.ac.il/miwbin/servers/tracts) is of interest because long tracts composed of only two bases are highly over-represented in most genomes. In eukaryotes, oligopurine.oligopyrimidine tracts ('R.Y tracts') are found in the highest excess. In prokaryotes, W tracts predominate (A,T 'rich'). A pre-program, ANEX, parses database annotation files of GenBank and EMBL, to produce a convenient one-line list of every gene (exon, intron) in a genome. The main unit lists and analyzes tracts of the three possible binary pairs (R.Y, K.M and S;W). As an example, the results of R.Y tract mapping of mammalian gene p53 is described.
Project description:BACKGROUND: DNA tracts composed of only two bases are possible in six combinations: A+G (purines, R), C+T (pyrimidines, Y), G+T (Keto, K), A+C (Imino, M), A+T (Weak, W) and G+C (Strong, S). It is long known that all-pyrimidine tracts, complemented by all-purines tracts ("R.Y tracts"), are excessively present in analyzed DNA. We have previously shown that R.Y tracts are in vast excess in yeast promoters, and brought evidence for their role in gene regulation. Here we report the systematic mapping of all six binary combinations on the level of complete sequenced chromosomes, as well as in their different subregions. RESULTS: DNA tracts composed of the above binary base combinations have been mapped in seven sequenced chromosomes: Human chromosomes 21 and 22 (the major contigs); Drosophila melanogaster chr. 2R; Caenorhabditis elegans chr. I; Arabidopsis thaliana chr. II; Saccharomyces cerevisiae chr. IV and M. jannaschii. A huge over-representation, reaching million-folds, has been found for very long tracts of all binary motifs except S, in each of the seven organisms. Long R.Y tracts are the most excessive, except in D. melanogaster, where the K.M motif predominates. S (G, C rich) tracts are in excess mainly in CpG islands; the W motif predominates in bacteria. Many excessively long W tracts are nevertheless found also in the archeon and in the eukaryotes. The survey of complete chromosomes enables us, for the first time, to map systematically the intergenic regions. In human and other chromosomes we find the highest over-representation of the binary DNA tracts in the intergenic regions. These over-representations are only partly explainable by the presence of interspersed elements. CONCLUSIONS: The over-representation of long DNA tracts composed of five of the above motifs is the largest deviation from randomness so far established for DNA, and this in a wide range of eukaryotic and archeal chromosomes. A propensity for ready DNA unwinding is proposed as the functional role, explaining the evolutionary conservation of the huge excesses observed.
Project description:Among host-dependent bacteria that have evolved by extreme reductive genome evolution, long-term bacterial endosymbionts of insects have the smallest (160-790 kb) and most A + T-rich (>70%) bacterial genomes known to date. These genomes are riddled with poly(A) tracts, and 5-50% of genes contain tracts of 10 As or more. Here, we demonstrate transcriptional slippage at poly(A) tracts within genes of Buchnera aphidicola associated with aphids and Blochmannia pennsylvanicus associated with ants. Several tracts contain single frameshift deletions; these apparent pseudogenes showed patterns of constraint consistent with purifying selection on the encoded proteins. Transcriptional slippage yielded a heterogeneous population of transcripts with variable numbers of As in the tract. Across several frameshifted genes, including B. aphidicola cell wall biosynthesis genes and a B. pennsylvanicus histidine biosynthesis gene, 12-50% of transcripts contained corrected reading frames that could potentially yield full-length proteins. In situ immunostaining confirmed the production of the cell wall biosynthetic enzyme UDP-N-acetylmuramyl pentapeptide synthase encoded by the frameshifted murF gene. Simulation studies indicated an overrepresentation of poly(A) tracts in endosymbiont genomes relative to other A + T-rich bacterial genomes. Polymerase infidelity at poly(A) tracts rescues the functionality of genes with frameshift mutations and, conversely, reduces the efficiency of expression for in-frame genes carrying poly(A) regions. These features of homopolymeric tracts could be exploited to manipulate gene expression in small synthetic genomes.
Project description:High-frequency, reversible switches in expression of surface antigens, referred to as phase variation (PV), are characteristic of Haemophilus influenzae. PV enables this bacterial species, an obligate commensal and pathogen of the human upper respiratory tract, to adapt to changes in the host environment. Phase-variable hemagglutinating pili are expressed by many H. influenzae isolates. PV involves alterations in the number of 5' TA repeats located between the -10 and -35 promoter elements of the overlapping, divergently orientated promoters of hifA and hifBCDE, whose products mediate biosynthesis and assembly of pili. Dinucleotide repeat tracts are destabilized by mismatch repair (MMR) mutations in Escherichia coli. The influence of mutations in MMR genes of H. influenzae strain Rd on dinucleotide repeat-mediated PV rates was investigated by using reporter constructs containing 20 5' AT repeats. Mutations in mutS, mutL, and mutH elevated rates approximately 30-fold, while rates in dam and uvrD mutants were increased 14- and 3-fold, respectively. PV rates of constructs containing 10 to 12 5' AT repeats were significantly elevated in mutS mutants of H. influenzae strains Rd and Eagan. An intact hif locus was found in 14 and 12% of representative nontypeable H. influenzae isolates associated with either otitis media or carriage, respectively. Nine or more tandem 5' TA repeats were present in the promoter region. Surprisingly, inactivation of mutS in two serotype b H. influenzae strains did not alter pilin PV rates. Thus, although functionally analogous to the E. coli MMR pathway and active on dinucleotide repeat tracts, defects in H. influenzae MMR do not affect 5' TA-mediated pilin PV.
Project description:Frontal and temporal language areas involved in syntactic processing are connected by several dorsal and ventral tracts, but the functional roles of the different tracts are not well understood. To identify which white matter tract(s) are important for syntactic processing, we examined the relationship between white matter damage and syntactic deficits in patients with primary progressive aphasia, using multimodal neuroimaging and neurolinguistic assessment. Diffusion tensor imaging showed that microstructural damage to left hemisphere dorsal tracts--the superior longitudinal fasciculus including its arcuate component--was strongly associated with deficits in comprehension and production of syntax. Damage to these dorsal tracts predicted syntactic deficits after gray matter atrophy was taken into account, and fMRI confirmed that these tracts connect regions modulated by syntactic processing. In contrast, damage to ventral tracts--the extreme capsule fiber system or the uncinate fasciculus--was not associated with syntactic deficits. Our findings show that syntactic processing depends primarily on dorsal language tracts.
Project description:Homopolymeric stretches of deoxyadenosine nucleotides (A's) on one strand of double-stranded DNA, referred to as poly(dA:dT) tracts or A-tracts, are overabundant in eukaryotic genomes. They have unusual structural, dynamic, and mechanical properties, and may resist sharp bending. Such unusual material properties, together with their overabundance in eukaryotes, raised the possibility that poly(dA:dT) tracts might function in eukaryotes to influence the organization of nucleosomes at many genomic regions. Recent genome-wide studies strongly confirm these ideas and suggest that these tracts play major roles in chromatin organization and genome function. Here we review what is known about poly(dA:dT) tracts and how they work.
Project description:Alcohol oxidase I (AOX1) promoter is the most popular but strictly-regulated methanol inducible promoter for heterologous protein expression in Pichia pastoris. In recent years, AOX1 promoter libraries have been developed with deletion or insertion methods. The present research manipulated poly (dA:dT) tracts in this promoter to control promoter strength, which hadn't been tried before. There were 34 variants derived from the native AOX1 promoter constructed. And variants were integrated into the same genomic location and upstream of the same reporter gene porcine growth hormone (pGH). To test the transferability of the results obtained from reporter gene pGH, the variants were connected to reporter gene Lac Z. The resulted promoter library spanned an activity range between 0.25 and 3.5 fold of the wild-type promoter activity. In addition, activities of variants correlated with their predicted nucleosome architecture, which were directed by poly (dA:dT) tracts. The cumulative sum of predicted nucleosome affinity across the region (-820 to -540) was related to promoters strength in single deletion variants on a proportional basis. Overall, the research promotes understanding of the regulatory patterns for AOX1 promoter and suggested that varying promoter expression of engineering nucleosome architecture was also a feasible approach in P. pastoris.
Project description:Biomolecular condensates form through a process termed phase separation and play diverse roles throughout the cell. Proteins that undergo phase separation often have disordered regions that can engage in weak, multivalent interactions; however, our understanding of the sequence grammar that defines which proteins phase separate is far from complete. Here, we show that proteins that display a high density of charged tracts within intrinsically disordered regions are likely to be constituents of electrostatically organized biomolecular condensates. We scored the human proteome using an algorithm termed ABTdensity that quantifies the density of charged tracts and observed that proteins with more charged tracts are enriched in particular Gene Ontology annotations and, based upon analysis of interaction networks, cluster into distinct biomolecular condensates. These results suggest that electrostatically-driven, multivalent interactions involving charged tracts within disordered regions serve to organize certain biomolecular condensates through phase separation.
Project description:Nucleosomes regulate many DNA-dependent processes by controlling the accessibility of DNA, and DNA sequences such as the poly-dA:dT element are known to affect nucleosome binding. We demonstrate that poly-dA:dT tracts form an asymmetric barrier to nucleosome movement in vivo, mediated by ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers. We theorize that nucleosome transit over poly-A elements is more energetically favourable in one direction, leading to an asymmetric arrangement of nucleosomes around these sequences. We demonstrate that different arrangements of poly-A and poly-T tracts result in very different outcomes for nucleosome occupancy in yeast, mouse, and human, and show that yeast takes advantage of this phenomenon in its promoter architecture.
Project description:Reestablishing cerebral connectivity is a critical part of restoring neuronal network integrity and brain function after trauma, stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases. Creating transplantable axon tracts in the laboratory is an unexplored strategy for overcoming the common barriers limiting axon regeneration in vivo, including growth-inhibiting factors and the limited outgrowth capacity of mature neurons in the brain. We describe the generation, phenotype, and connectivity of constrained three-dimensional human axon tracts derived from brain organoids. These centimeter-long constructs are encased in an agarose shell that permits physical manipulation and are composed of discrete cellular regions spanned by axon tracts, mirroring the separation of cerebral gray and white matter. Features of cerebral cortex also are emulated, as evidenced by the presence of neurons with different cortical layer phenotypes. This engineered neural tissue represents a first step toward potentially reconstructing brain circuits by physically replacing neuronal populations and long-range axon tracts in the brain.