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Recent Articles in Nucleic Acids Research

Mattiacio JL, Read LK
Roles for TbDSS-1 in RNA surveillance and decay of maturation by-products from the 12S rRNA locus.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 21; .
The Trypanosoma brucei exoribonuclease, TbDSS-1, has been implicated in multiple aspects of mitochondrial RNA metabolism. Here, we investigate the role of TbDSS-1 in RNA processing and surveillance by analyzing 12S rRNA processing intermediates in TbDSS-1 RNAi cells. RNA fragments corresponding to leader sequence upstream of 12S rRNA accumulate upon TbDSS-1 depletion. The 5' extremity of 12S rRNA is generated by endonucleolytic cleavage, and TbDSS-1 degrades resulting upstream maturation by-products. RNAs with 5' ends at position -141 and 3' ends adjacent to the mature 5' end of 12S rRNA are common and invariably possess oligo(U) tails. 12S rRNAs with mature 3' ends and unprocessed 5' ends also accumulate in TbDSS-1 depleted cells, suggesting that these RNAs represent dead-end products normally destined for decay by TbDSS-1 in an RNA surveillance pathway. Together, these data indicate dual roles for TbDSS-1 in degradation of 12S rRNA maturation by-products and as part of a mitochondrial RNA surveillance pathway that eliminates stalled 12S processing intermediates. We further provide evidence that TbDSS-1 degrades RNAs originating upstream of the first gene on the minor strand of the mitochondrial maxicircle suggesting that TbDSS-1 also removes non-functional RNAs generated from other regions of the mitochondrial genome. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Monteiro PT, Mendes ND, Teixeira MC, d'Orey S, Tenreiro S, Mira NP, Pais H, Francisco AP, Carvalho AM, Lourenço AB, Sá-Correia I, Oliveira AL, Freitas AT
YEASTRACT-DISCOVERER: new tools to improve the analysis of transcriptional regulatory associations in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 21;
The Yeast search for transcriptional regulators and consensus tracking (YEASTRACT) information system ( was developed to support the analysis of transcription regulatory associations in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Last updated in September 2007, this database contains over 30 990 regulatory associations between Transcription Factors (TFs) and target genes and includes 284 specific DNA binding sites for 108 characterized TFs. Computational tools are also provided to facilitate the exploitation of the gathered data when solving a number of biological questions, in particular the ones that involve the analysis of global gene expression results. In this new release, YEASTRACT includes DISCOVERER, a set of computational tools that can be used to identify complex motifs over-represented in the promoter regions of co-regulated genes. The motifs identified are then clustered in families, represented by a position weight matrix and are automatically compared with the known transcription factor binding sites described in YEASTRACT. Additionally, in this new release, it is possible to generate graphic depictions of transcriptional regulatory networks for documented or potential regulatory associations between TFs and target genes. The visual display of these networks of interactions is instrumental in functional studies. Tutorials are available on the system to exemplify the use of all the available tools. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hsu SD, Chu CH, Tsou AP, Chen SJ, Chen HC, Hsu PW, Wong YH, Chen YH, Chen GH, Huang HD
miRNAMap 2.0: genomic maps of microRNAs in metazoan genomes.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNA molecules that can negatively regulate gene expression and thus control numerous cellular mechanisms. This work develops a resource, miRNAMap 2.0, for collecting experimentally verified microRNAs and experimentally verified miRNA target genes in human, mouse, rat and other metazoan genomes. Three computational tools, miRanda, RNAhybrid and TargetScan, were employed to identify miRNA targets in 3'-UTR of genes as well as the known miRNA targets. Various criteria for filtering the putative miRNA targets are applied to reduce the false positive prediction rate of miRNA target sites. Additionally, miRNA expression profiles can provide valuable clues on the characteristics of miRNAs, including tissue specificity and differential expression in cancer/normal cell. Therefore, quantitative polymerase chain reaction experiments were performed to monitor the expression profiles of 224 human miRNAs in 18 major normal tissues in human. The negative correlation between the miRNA expression profile and the expression profiles of its target genes typically helps to elucidate the regulatory functions of the miRNA. The interface is also redesigned and enhanced. The miRNAMap 2.0 is now available at [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Canaran P, Buckler ES, Glaubitz JC, Stein L, Sun Q, Zhao W, Ware D
Panzea: an update on new content and features.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
Panzea (, the public web site of the project 'Molecular and Functional Diversity in the Maize Genome', has expanded over the past two years in data content, display tools and informational sections. The most significant data content expansions occurred for the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), sequencing, isozyme and phenotypic data types. We have enhanced our existing web display tools and have launched a number of new tools for data display and analysis. For example, we have implemented one that allows users to find polymorphisms between two accessions, a geographic map tool to visualize the geographic distribution of SNPs, simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and isozyme alleles and a graphical view of the placement of Panzea markers and genes/loci on genetic and physical maps. One goal of the informatics component of our project has been to generate code that can be used by other groups. We have enhanced our existing code base and have made our new tools available. Finally, we have also made available new informational sections as part of our educational and outreach efforts. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gunawardana D, Cheng HC, Gayler KR
Identification of functional domains in Arabidopsis thaliana mRNA decapping enzyme (AtDcp2).
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
The Arabidopsis thaliana decapping enzyme (AtDcp2) was characterized by bioinformatics analysis and by biochemical studies of the enzyme and mutants produced by recombinant expression. Three functionally significant regions were detected: (i) a highly disordered C-terminal region with a putative PSD-95, Discs-large, ZO-1 (PDZ) domain-binding motif, (ii) a conserved Nudix box constituting the putative active site and (iii) a putative RNA binding domain consisting of the conserved Box B and a preceding loop region. Mutation of the putative PDZ domain-binding motif improved the stability of recombinant AtDcp2 and secondary mutants expressed in Escherichia coli. Such recombinant AtDcp2 specifically hydrolysed capped mRNA to produce 7-methyl GDP and decapped RNA. AtDcp2 activity was Mn(2+)- or Mg(2+)-dependent and was inhibited by the product 7-methyl GDP. Mutation of the conserved glutamate-154 and glutamate-158 in the Nudix box reduced AtDcp2 activity up to 400-fold and showed that AtDcp2 employs the catalytic mechanism conserved amongst Nudix hydrolases. Unlike many Nudix hydrolases, AtDcp2 is refractory to inhibition by fluoride ions. Decapping was dependent on binding to the mRNA moiety rather than to the 7-methyl diguanosine triphosphate cap of the substrate. Mutational analysis of the putative RNA-binding domain confirmed the functional significance of an 11-residue loop region and the conserved Box B. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tsou JH, Chang KY, Wang WC, Tseng JT, Su WC, Hung LY, Chang WC, Chen BK
Nucleolin regulates c-Jun/Sp1-dependent transcriptional activation of cPLA2{alpha} in phorbol ester-treated non-small cell lung cancer A549 cells.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Dec 11;
The expression of cPLA(2) is critical for transformed growth of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It is known that phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-activated signal transduction pathway is thought to be involved in the oncogene action in NSCLC and enzymatic activation of cPLA(2.) However, the transcriptional regulation of cPLA2alpha in PMA-activated NSCLC is not clear. In this study, we found that PMA induced the mRNA level and protein expression of cPLA2alpha. In addition, two Sp1-binding sites of cPLA2alpha promoter were required for response to PMA and c-Jun overexpression. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) of c-Jun and nucleolin inhibited PMA induced the promoter activity and protein expression of cPLA2alpha. Furthermore, PMA stimulated the formation of c-Jun/Sp1 and c-Jun/nucleolin complexes as well as the binding of these transcription factor complexes to the cPLA2alpha promoter. Although Sp1-binding sites were required for the bindings of Sp1 and nucleolin to the promoter, the binding of nucleolin or Sp1 to the promoter was independent of each other. Our results revealed that c-Jun/nucleolin and c-Jun/Sp1 complexes play an important role in PMA-regulated cPLA2alpha gene expression. It is likely that nucleolin binding at place of Sp1 on gene promoter could also mediate the regulation of c-Jun/Sp1-activated genes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mundt JM, Hah SS, Sumbad RA, Schramm V, Henderson PT
Incorporation of extracellular 8-oxodG into DNA and RNA requires purine nucleoside phosphorylase in MCF-7 cells.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
7,8-Dihydro-8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG) is a well-known marker of oxidative stress. We report a mechanistic analysis of several pathways by which 8-oxodG is converted to nucleotide triphosphates and incorporated into both DNA and RNA. Exposure of MCF-7 cells to [(14)C]8-oxodG combined with specific inhibitors of several nucleotide salvage enzymes followed with accelerator mass spectrometry provided precise quantitation of the resulting radiocarbon-labeled species. Concentrations of exogenously dosed nucleobase in RNA reached one per 10(6) nucleotides, 5-6-fold higher than the maximum observed in DNA. Radiocarbon incorporation into DNA and RNA was abrogated by Immucillin H, an inhibitor of human purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP). Inhibition of ribonucleotide reductase (RR) decreased the radiocarbon content of the DNA, but not in RNA, indicating an important role for RR in the formation of 8-oxodG-derived deoxyribonucleotides. Inhibition of deoxycytidine kinase had little effect on radiocarbon incorporation in DNA, which is in contrast to the known ability of mammalian cells to phosphorylate dG. Our data indicate that PNP and RR enable nucleotide salvage of 8-oxodG in MCF-7 cells, a previously unrecognized mechanism that may contribute to mutagenesis and carcinogenesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rederstorff M, Allamand V, Guicheney P, Gartioux C, Richard P, Chaigne D, Krol A, Lescure A
Ex vivo correction of selenoprotein N deficiency in rigid spine muscular dystrophy caused by a mutation in the selenocysteine codon.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
Premature termination of translation due to nonsense mutations is a frequent cause of inherited diseases. Therefore, many efforts were invested in the development of strategies or compounds to selectively suppress this default. Selenoproteins are interesting candidates considering the idiosyncrasy of the amino acid selenocysteine (Sec) insertion mechanism. Here, we focused our studies on SEPN1, a selenoprotein gene whose mutations entail genetic disorders resulting in different forms of muscular diseases. Selective correction of a nonsense mutation at the Sec codon (UGA to UAA) was undertaken with a corrector tRNA(Sec) that was engineered to harbor a compensatory mutation in the anticodon. We demonstrated that its expression restored synthesis of a full-length selenoprotein N both in HeLa cells and in skin fibroblasts from a patient carrying the mutated Sec codon. Readthrough of the UAA codon was effectively dependent on the Sec insertion machinery, therefore being highly selective for this gene and unlikely to generate off-target effects. In addition, we observed that expression of the corrector tRNA(Sec) stabilized the mutated SEPN1 transcript that was otherwise more subject to degradation. In conclusion, our data provide interesting evidence that premature termination of translation due to nonsense mutations is amenable to correction, in the context of the specialized selenoprotein synthesis mechanism. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Galperin MY
The Molecular Biology Database Collection: 2008 update.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
The Nucleic Acids Research online Molecular Biology Database Collection is a public repository that lists more than 1000 databases described in this and previous Nucleic Acids Research annual database issues, as well as a selection of molecular biology databases described in other journals. All databases included in this Collection are freely available to the public. The 2008 update includes 1078 databases, 110 more than the previous one. The links to more than 80 databases have been updated and 25 obsolete databases have been removed from the list. The complete database list and summaries are available online at the Nucleic Acids Research web site, [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Xiang Z, Todd T, Ku KP, Kovacic BL, Larson CB, Chen F, Hodges AP, Tian Y, Olenzek EA, Zhao B, Colby LA, Rush HG, Gilsdorf JR, Jourdian GW, He Y
VIOLIN: vaccine investigation and online information network.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
Vaccines are among the most efficacious and cost-effective tools for reducing morbidity and mortality caused by infectious diseases. The vaccine investigation and online information network (VIOLIN) is a web-based central resource, allowing easy curation, comparison and analysis of vaccine-related research data across various human pathogens (e.g. Haemophilus influenzae, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Plasmodium falciparum) of medical importance and across humans, other natural hosts and laboratory animals. Vaccine-related peer-reviewed literature data have been downloaded into the database from PubMed and are searchable through various literature search programs. Vaccine data are also annotated, edited and submitted to the database through a web-based interactive system that integrates efficient computational literature mining and accurate manual curation. Curated information includes general microbial pathogenesis and host protective immunity, vaccine preparation and characteristics, stimulated host responses after vaccination and protection efficacy after challenge. Vaccine-related pathogen and host genes are also annotated and available for searching through customized BLAST programs. All VIOLIN data are available for download in an eXtensible Markup Language (XML)-based data exchange format. VIOLIN is expected to become a centralized source of vaccine information and to provide investigators in basic and clinical sciences with curated data and bioinformatics tools for vaccine research and development. VIOLIN is publicly available at [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nottebaum S, Tan L, Trzaska D, Carney HC, Weinzierl RO
The RNA polymerase factory: a robotic in vitro assembly platform for high-throughput production of recombinant protein complexes.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
The in-depth structure/function analysis of large protein complexes, such as RNA polymerases (RNAPs), requires an experimental platform capable of assembling variants of such enzymes in large numbers in a reproducible manner under defined in vitro conditions. Here we describe a streamlined and integrated protocol for assembling recombinant archaeal RNAPs in a high-throughput 96-well format. All aspects of the procedure including construction of redesigned expression plasmids, development of automated protein extraction/in vitro assembly methods and activity assays were specifically adapted for implementation on robotic platforms. The optimized strategy allows the parallel assembly and activity assay of 96 recombinant RNAPs (including wild-type and mutant variants) with little or no human intervention within 24 h. We demonstrate the high-throughput potential of this system by evaluating the side-chain requirements of a single amino acid position of the RNAP Bridge Helix using saturation mutagenesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chen J, Dupradeau FY, Case DA, Turner CJ, Stubbe J
DNA oligonucleotides with A, T, G or C opposite an abasic site: structure and dynamics.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
Abasic sites are common DNA lesions resulting from spontaneous depurination and excision of damaged nucleobases by DNA repair enzymes. However, the influence of the local sequence context on the structure of the abasic site and ultimately, its recognition and repair, remains elusive. In the present study, duplex DNAs with three different bases (G, C or T) opposite an abasic site have been synthesized in the same sequence context (5'-CCA AAG(6) XA(8)C CGG G-3', where X denotes the abasic site) and characterized by 2D NMR spectroscopy. Studies on a duplex DNA with an A opposite the abasic site in the same sequence has recently been reported [Chen,J., Dupradeau,F.-Y., Case,D.A., Turner,C.J. and Stubbe,J. (2007) Nuclear magnetic resonance structural studies and molecular modeling of duplex DNA containing normal and 4'-oxidized abasic sites. Biochemistry, 46, 3096-3107]. Molecular modeling based on NMR-derived distance and dihedral angle restraints and molecular dynamics calculations have been applied to determine structural models and conformational flexibility of each duplex. The results indicate that all four duplexes adopt an overall B-form conformation with each unpaired base stacked between adjacent bases intrahelically. The conformation around the abasic site is more perturbed when the base opposite to the lesion is a pyrimidine (C or T) than a purine (G or A). In both the former cases, the neighboring base pairs (G6-C21 and A8-T19) are closer to each other than those in B-form DNA. Molecular dynamics simulations reveal that transient H-bond interactions between the unpaired pyrimidine (C20 or T20) and the base 3' to the abasic site play an important role in perturbing the local conformation. These results provide structural insight into the dynamics of abasic sites that are intrinsically modulated by the bases opposite the abasic site. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gracy J, Le-Nguyen D, Gelly JC, Kaas Q, Heitz A, Chiche L
KNOTTIN: the knottin or inhibitor cystine knot scaffold in 2007.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
The KNOTTIN database provides standardized information on the small disulfide-rich proteins with a knotted topology called knottins or inhibitor cystine knots. Static pages present the essential historical or recent results about knottin discoveries, sequences, structures, syntheses, folding, functions, applications and bibliography. New tools, KNOTER3D and KNOTER1D, are provided to determine or predict if a user query (3D structure or sequence) is a knottin. These tools are now used to automate the database update. All knottin structures and sequences in the database are now standardized according to the knottin nomenclature based on loop lengths between knotted cysteines, and to the knottin numbering scheme. Therefore, the whole KNOTTIN database (sequences and structures) can now be searched using loop lengths, in addition to keyword and sequence (BLAST, HMMER) searches. Renumbered and structurally fitted knottin PDB files are available for download as well as renumbered sequences, sequence alignments and logos. The knottin numbering scheme is used for automatic drawing of standardized two-dimensional Colliers de Perles of any knottin structure or sequence in the database or provided by the user. The KNOTTIN database is available at [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kuiken C, Hraber P, Thurmond J, Yusim K
The hepatitis C sequence database in Los Alamos.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a significant public health threat worldwide. The virus is highly variable and evolves rapidly, making it an elusive target for the immune system and for vaccine and drug design. Presently, approximately 50 000 HCV sequences have been published. A central website that provides annotated sequences and analysis tools will be helpful to HCV scientists worldwide. The HCV sequence database collects and annotates sequence data, and provides them to the public via a website that contains a user-friendly search interface and a large number of sequence analysis tools, following the model of the highly regarded and widely used Los Alamos HIV database. The HCV website can be accessed via and [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Park MA, Seok YJ, Jeong G, Lee JS
SUMO1 negatively regulates BRCA1-mediated transcription, via modulation of promoter occupancy.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
BRCA1, a tumor suppressor gene, is implicated in the repression and activation of transcription via interactions with a diverse range of proteins. The mechanisms regulating the action of BRCA1 are not fully understood. Here, we use the promoters of Gadd45alpha, p27(KIP1) and p21(WAF1/CIP1) to demonstrate that SUMO1 represses transactivation potential of BRCA1 by causing BRCA1 to be released from the promoters and augmenting histone deacetylation via recruitment of histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity. Consistently, silencing of SUMO1 led to recruitment of BRCA1 and release of HDAC1 at the BRCA1 target promoters, and subsequent transcriptional activation of the BRCA1 target genes. Furthermore, a sumoylation-incompetent mutant missing the sumoylation donor site suppressed BRCA1-induced activation of transcription, whereas E2 UBC9 or the dominant-negative mutant UBC9 had no effect, implying that repression of BRCA1-mediated activation of transcription by SUMO1 is independent of sumoylation. Repression of BRCA1-mediated activation of transcription by SUMO1 was reversed by DNA damage by inducing the release of SUMO1 from the Gadd45alpha promoter and the recruitment of BRCA1, along with increased histone acetylation, to enhance activation of transcription. Together, our data provide evidence that SUMO1 plays a role in the activation-repression switch of BRCA1-mediated transcription via modulation of promoter occupancy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Scherr M, Venturini L, Battmer K, Schaller-Schoenitz M, Schaefer D, Dallmann I, Ganser A, Eder M
Lentivirus-mediated antagomir expression for specific inhibition of miRNA function.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 19;
Micro RNAs (miRNA) regulate gene expression by hybridization and recruitment of multi-protein complexes to complementary mRNA target sequences. miRNA function can transiently be antagonized by antagomirs-chemically modified oligonucleotides complementary to individual miRNAs. Here, we describe the induction of stable loss-of-function phenotypes for specific miRNAs by lentivirus-mediated antagomir expression. Lentivirally expressed antagomirs are transcribed from a H1-promoter located within the lentiviral 3'LTR and were directed against miRNAs encoded on the polycistronic miR17-92 transcript. Functional silencing of miR-18a, miR-19b and miR-20a by the corresponding antagomirs specifically relieves miRNA-mediated reporter gene repression. Inhibition of miRNA function correlates to reduction of 'miRNA' amplification by miRNA-specific quantitative RT-PCR. Furthermore, protein expression of E2F-1, a known miR-20 target, is enhanced by lentivirally expressed anti-miR-20 antagomirs in a dose-dependent manner, whereas over-expression of miR-20a reduces E2F-1 levels. Finally, combined over-expression of specific miRNAs and antagomirs reveals individual and complementary functions of miR-18a and miR-20a and demonstrates specific miRNA impact on cell proliferation in a cell culture model. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Brosh RM, Bohr VA
Human premature aging, DNA repair and RecQ helicases.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 15;
Genomic instability leads to mutations, cellular dysfunction and aberrant phenotypes at the tissue and organism levels. A number of mechanisms have evolved to cope with endogenous or exogenous stress to prevent chromosomal instability and maintain cellular homeostasis. DNA helicases play important roles in the DNA damage response. The RecQ family of DNA helicases is of particular interest since several human RecQ helicases are defective in diseases associated with premature aging and cancer. In this review, we will provide an update on our understanding of the specific roles of human RecQ helicases in the maintenance of genomic stability through their catalytic activities and protein interactions in various pathways of cellular nucleic acid metabolism with an emphasis on DNA replication and repair. We will also discuss the clinical features of the premature aging disorders associated with RecQ helicase deficiencies and how they relate to the molecular defects. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pandya GA, Holmes MH, Sunkara S, Sparks A, Bai Y, Verratti K, Saeed K, Venepally P, Jarrahi B, Fleischmann RD, Peterson SN
A bioinformatic filter for improved base-call accuracy and polymorphism detection using the Affymetrix GeneChip(R) whole-genome resequencing platform.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 15;
DNA resequencing arrays enable rapid acquisition of high-quality sequence data. This technology represents a promising platform for rapid high-resolution genotyping of microorganisms. Traditional array-based resequencing methods have relied on the use of specific PCR-amplified fragments from the query samples as hybridization targets. While this specificity in the target DNA population reduces the potential for artifacts caused by cross-hybridization, the subsampling of the query genome limits the sequence coverage that can be obtained and therefore reduces the technique's resolution as a genotyping method. We have developed and validated an Affymetrix Inc. GeneChip(R) array-based, whole-genome resequencing platform for Francisella tularensis, the causative agent of tularemia. A set of bioinformatic filters that targeted systematic base-calling errors caused by cross-hybridization between the whole-genome sample and the array probes and by deletions in the sample DNA relative to the chip reference sequence were developed. Our approach eliminated 91% of the false-positive single-nucleotide polymorphism calls identified in the SCHU S4 query sample, at the cost of 10.7% of the true positives, yielding a total base-calling accuracy of 99.992%. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bryne JC, Valen E, Tang MH, Marstrand T, Winther O, da Piedade I, Krogh A, Lenhard B, Sandelin A
JASPAR, the open access database of transcription factor-binding profiles: new content and tools in the 2008 update.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 15;
JASPAR is a popular open-access database for matrix models describing DNA-binding preferences for transcription factors and other DNA patterns. With its third major release, JASPAR has been expanded and equipped with additional functions aimed at both casual and power users. The heart of the JASPAR database-the JASPAR CORE sub-database-has increased by 12% in size, and three new specialized sub-databases have been added. New functions include clustering of matrix models by similarity, generation of random matrices by sampling from selected sets of existing models and a language-independent Web Service applications programming interface for matrix retrieval. JASPAR is available at [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Griffith OL, Montgomery SB, Bernier B, Chu B, Kasaian K, Aerts S, Mahony S, Sleumer MC, Bilenky M, Haeussler M, Griffith M, Gallo SM, Giardine B, Hooghe B, Van Loo P, Blanco E, Ticoll A, Lithwick S, Portales-Casamar E, Donaldson IJ, Robertson G, Wadelius C, De Bleser P, Vlieghe D, Halfon MS, Wasserman W, Hardison R, Bergman CM, Jones SJ
ORegAnno: an open-access community-driven resource for regulatory annotation.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 15;
ORegAnno is an open-source, open-access database and literature curation system for community-based annotation of experimentally identified DNA regulatory regions, transcription factor binding sites and regulatory variants. The current release comprises 30 145 records curated from 922 publications and describing regulatory sequences for over 3853 genes and 465 transcription factors from 19 species. A new feature called the 'publication queue' allows users to input relevant papers from scientific literature as targets for annotation. The queue contains 4438 gene regulation papers entered by experts and another 54 351 identified by text-mining methods. Users can enter or 'check out' papers from the queue for manual curation using a series of user-friendly annotation pages. A typical record entry consists of species, sequence type, sequence, target gene, binding factor, experimental outcome and one or more lines of experimental evidence. An evidence ontology was developed to describe and categorize these experiments. Records are cross-referenced to Ensembl or Entrez gene identifiers, PubMed and dbSNP and can be visualized in the Ensembl or UCSC genome browsers. All data are freely available through search pages, XML data dumps or web services at: [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 14; [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Roy TW, Bhagwat AS
Kinetic studies of Escherichia coli AlkB using a new fluorescence-based assay for DNA demethylation.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 14;
The Escherichia coli AlkB protein catalyzes the direct reversal of alkylation damage to DNA; primarily 1-methyladenine (1mA) and 3-methylcytosine (3mC) lesions created by endogenous or environmental alkylating agents. AlkB is a member of the non-heme iron (II) alpha-ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase superfamily, which removes the alkyl group through oxidation eliminating a methyl group as formaldehyde. We have developed a fluorescence-based assay for the dealkylation activity of this family of enzymes. It uses formaldehyde dehydrogenase to convert formaldehyde to formic acid and monitors the creation of an NADH analog using fluorescence. This assay is a great improvement over the existing assays for DNA demethylation in that it is continuous, rapid and does not require radioactively labeled material. It may also be used to study other demethylation reactions including demethylation of histones. We used it to determine the kinetic constants for AlkB and found them to be somewhat different than previously reported values. The results show that AlkB demethylates 1mA and 3mC with comparable efficiencies and has only a modest preference for a single-stranded DNA substrate over its double-stranded DNA counterpart. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Minoo P, Hu L, Zhu N, Borok Z, Bellusci S, Groffen J, Kardassis D, Li C
SMAD3 prevents binding of NKX2.1 and FOXA1 to the SpB promoter through its MH1 and MH2 domains.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 14;
Mechanisms of gene repression by transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) are not well understood. TGF-beta represses transcription of pulmonary surfactant protein-B gene in lung epithelial cells. Repression is mediated by SMAD3 through interactions with NKX2.1 and FOXA1, two key transcription factors that are positive regulators of SpB transcription. In this study, we found that SMAD3 interacts through its MAD domains, MH1 and MH2 with NKX2.1 and FOXA1 proteins. The sites of interaction on NKX2.1 are located within the NH2 and COOH domains, known to be involved in transactivation function. In comparison, weaker interaction of FOXA1 winged helix, and the NH(2)-terminal domains was documented with SMAD3. Both in vitro studies and in vivo ChIP assays show that interaction of SMAD3 MH1 and MH2 domains with NKX2.1 and FOXA1 results in reduced binding of NKX2.1 and FOXA1 to their cognate DNA-binding sites, and diminished promoter occupancy within the SpB promoter. Thus, these studies reveal for the first time a mechanism of TGF-beta-induced SpB gene repression that involves interactions between specific SMAD3 domains and the corresponding functional sites on NKX2.1 and FOXA1 transcription factors. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Harada R, Vadnais C, Sansregret L, Leduy L, Bérubé G, Robert F, Nepveu A
Genome-wide location analysis and expression studies reveal a role for p110 CUX1 in the activation of DNA replication genes.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 14;
Proteolytic processing of the CUX1 transcription factor generates an isoform, p110 that accelerates entry into S phase. To identify targets of p110 CUX1 that are involved in cell cycle progression, we performed genome-wide location analysis using a promoter microarray. Since there are no antibodies that specifically recognize p110, but not the full-length protein, we expressed physiological levels of a p110 isoform with two tags and purified chromatin by tandem affinity purification (ChAP). Conventional ChIP performed on synchronized populations of cells confirmed that p110 CUX1 is recruited to the promoter of cell cycle-related targets preferentially during S phase. Multiple approaches including silencing RNA (siRNA), transient infection with retroviral vectors, constitutive expression and reporter assays demonstrated that most cell cycle targets are activated whereas a few are repressed or not affected by p110 CUX1. Functional classes that were over-represented among targets included DNA replication initiation. Consistent with this finding, constitutive expression of p110 CUX1 led to a premature and more robust induction of replication genes during cell cycle progression, and stimulated the long-term replication of a plasmid bearing the oriP replicator of Epstein Barr virus (EBV). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gajria B, Bahl A, Brestelli J, Dommer J, Fischer S, Gao X, Heiges M, Iodice J, Kissinger JC, Mackey AJ, Pinney DF, Roos DS, Stoeckert CJ, Wang H, Brunk BP
ToxoDB: an integrated Toxoplasma gondii database resource.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 14;
ToxoDB ( is a genome and functional genomic database for the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii. It incorporates the sequence and annotation of the T. gondii ME49 strain, as well as genome sequences for the GT1, VEG and RH (Chr Ia, Chr Ib) strains. Sequence information is integrated with various other genomic-scale data, including community annotation, ESTs, gene expression and proteomics data. ToxoDB has matured significantly since its initial release. Here we outline the numerous updates with respect to the data and increased functionality available on the website. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sandin P, Börjesson K, Li H, Mĺrtensson J, Brown T, Wilhelmsson LM, Albinsson B
Characterization and use of an unprecedentedly bright and structurally non-perturbing fluorescent DNA base analogue.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 14;
This article presents the first evidence that the DNA base analogue 1,3-diaza-2-oxophenoxazine, tC(O), is highly fluorescent, both as free nucleoside and incorporated in an arbitrary DNA structure. tC(O) is thoroughly characterized with respect to its photophysical properties and structural performance in single- and double-stranded oligonucleotides. The lowest energy absorption band at 360 nm (epsilon = 9000 M(-1) cm(-1)) is dominated by a single in-plane polarized electronic transition and the fluorescence, centred at 465 nm, has a quantum yield of 0.3. When incorporated into double-stranded DNA, tC(O) shows only minor variations in fluorescence intensity and lifetime with neighbouring bases, and the average quantum yield is 0.22. These features make tC(O), on average, the brightest DNA-incorporated base analogue so far reported. Furthermore, it base pairs exclusively with guanine and causes minimal perturbations to the native structure of DNA. These properties make tC(O) a promising base analogue that is perfectly suited for e.g. photophysical studies of DNA interacting with macromolecules (proteins) or for determining size and shape of DNA tertiary structures using techniques such as fluorescence anisotropy and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lewis SM, Cerquozzi S, Graber TE, Ungureanu NH, Andrews M, Holcik M
The eIF4G homolog DAP5/p97 supports the translation of select mRNAs during endoplasmic reticulum stress.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 14;
DAP5/p97 is a member of the eIF4G family of translation initiation factors that has been suggested to play an important role in the translation of select messenger RNA molecules. We have shown previously that the caspase-cleaved form of DAP5/p97, termed p86, is required for the induction of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-stress-responsive internal ribosome entry site (IRES) of the caspase inhibitor HIAP2. We show here that expression of DAP5/p97 is enhanced during ER stress by selective recruitment of DAP5/p97 mRNA into polysomes via the DAP5/p97 IRES. Importantly, enhanced translation mediated by the DAP5/p97 IRES is dependent on DAP5/p97 itself, thus providing a positive feedback loop. In addition, we show that activation of DAP5/p97 and HIAP2 IRES during ER stress requires DAP5/p97. Significantly, the induction of DAP5/p97 during ER stress is caspase-independent, whereas the induction of HIAP2 requires proteolytic processing of DAP5/p97. Thus, DAP5/p97 is a translational activator that selectively modulates translation of specific mRNAs during conditions of cellular stress in both a caspase-dependent and caspase-independent manner. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hulo N, Bairoch A, Bulliard V, Cerutti L, Cuche BA, Castro ED, Lachaize C, Langendijk-Genevaux PS, Sigrist CJ
The 20 years of PROSITE.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 14;
PROSITE consists of documentation entries describing protein domains, families and functional sites, as well as associated patterns and profiles to identify them. It is complemented by ProRule, a collection of rules based on profiles and patterns, which increases the discriminatory power of profiles and patterns by providing additional information about functionally and/or structurally critical amino acids. In this article, we describe the implementation of a new method to assign a status to pattern matches, the new PROSITE web page and a new approach to improve the specificity and sensitivity of PROSITE methods. The latest version of PROSITE (release 20.19 of 11 September 2007) contains 1319 patterns, 745 profiles and 764 ProRules. Over the past 2 years, about 200 domains have been added, and now 53% of UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot entries (release 54.2 of 11 September 2007) have a PROSITE match. PROSITE is available on the web at: [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wilming LG, Gilbert JG, Howe K, Trevanion S, Hubbard T, Harrow JL
The vertebrate genome annotation (Vega) database.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 14;
The Vertebrate Genome Annotation (Vega) database ( was first made public in 2004 and has been designed to view manual annotation of human, mouse and zebrafish genomic sequences produced at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. Since its initial release, the number of human annotated loci has more than doubled to close to 33 000 and now contains comprehensive annotation on 20 of the 24 human chromosomes, four whole mouse chromosomes and around 40% of the zebrafish Danio rerio genome. In addition, we offer manual annotation of a number of haplotype regions in mouse and human and regions of comparative interest in pig and dog that are unique to Vega. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Vecerek B, Rajkowitsch L, Sonnleitner E, Schroeder R, Bläsi U
The C-terminal domain of Escherichia coli Hfq is required for regulation.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007 Nov 13;
The Escherichia coli RNA chaperone Hfq is involved in riboregulation of target mRNAs by small trans-encoded non-coding (ncRNAs). Previous structural and genetic studies revealed a RNA-binding surface on either site of the Hfq-hexamer, which suggested that one hexamer can bring together two RNAs in a pairwise fashion. The Hfq proteins of different bacteria consist of an evolutionarily conserved core, whereas there is considerable variation at the C-terminus, with the gamma- and beta-proteobacteria possessing the longest C-terminal extension. Using different model systems, we show that a C-terminally truncated variant of Hfq (Hfq(65)), comprising the conserved hexameric core of Hfq, is defective in auto- and riboregulation. Although Hfq(65) retained the capacity to bind ncRNAs, and, as evidenced by fluorescence resonance energy transfer assays, to induce structural changes in the ncRNA DsrA, the truncated variant was unable to accommodate two non-complementary RNA oligonucleotides, and was defective in mRNA binding. These studies indicate that the C-terminal extension of E. coli Hfq constitutes a hitherto unrecognized RNA interaction surface with specificity for mRNAs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Genome Research

Suzuki MM, Kerr AR, De Sousa D, Bird A
CpG methylation is targeted to transcription units in an invertebrate genome.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):625-31.
DNA is methylated at the dinucleotide CpG in genomes of a wide range of plants and animals. Among animals, variable patterns of genomic CpG methylation have been described, ranging from undetectable levels (e.g., in Caenorhabditis elegans) to high levels of global methylation in the vertebrates. The most frequent pattern in invertebrate animals, however, is mosaic methylation, comprising domains of methylated DNA interspersed with unmethylated domains. To understand the origin of mosaic DNA methylation patterns, we examined the distribution of DNA methylation in the Ciona intestinalis genome. Bisulfite sequencing and computational analysis revealed methylated domains with sharp boundaries that strongly colocalize with approximately 60% of transcription units. By contrast, promoters, intergenic DNA, and transposons are not preferentially targeted by DNA methylation. Methylated transcription units include evolutionarily conserved genes, whereas the most highly expressed genes preferentially belong to the unmethylated fraction. The results lend support to the hypothesis that CpG methylation functions to suppress spurious transcriptional initiation within infrequently transcribed genes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhang L, Jie C, Obie C, Abidi F, Schwartz CE, Stevenson RE, Valle D, Wang T
X chromosome cDNA microarray screening identifies a functional PLP2 promoter polymorphism enriched in patients with X-linked mental retardation.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):641-8.
X-linked Mental Retardation (XLMR) occurs in 1 in 600 males and is highly genetically heterogeneous. We used a novel human X chromosome cDNA microarray (XCA) to survey the expression profile of X-linked genes in lymphoblasts of XLMR males. Genes with altered expression verified by Northern blot and/or quantitative PCR were considered candidates. To validate this approach, we documented the expected changes of expression in samples from a patient with a known X chromosome microdeletion and from patients with multiple copies of the X chromosome. We used our XCA to survey lymphoblast RNA samples from 43 unrelated XLMR males and found 15 genes with significant (>or=1.5-fold) reduction in expression in at least one proband. Of these, subsequent analysis confirmed altered expression in 12. We followed up one, PLP2, at Xp11.23, which exhibits approximately fourfold decreased expression in two patients. Sequencing analysis in both patients revealed a promoter variant, -113C>A, that alters the core-binding site of the transcription factor ELK1. We showed that PLP2-(-113C>A) is sufficient to cause reduced expression using a luciferase reporter system and is enriched in a cohort of males with probable XLMR (14 of 239, 5.85%) as compared to normal males (9 of 577, 1.56%) (chi2=11.07, P<0.001). PLP2 is expressed abundantly in the pyramidal cells of hippocampus and granular cells of the cerebellum in the brain. We conclude that our XCA screening is an efficient strategy to identify genes that show significant changes in transcript abundance as candidate genes for XLMR. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Garcia-Perez JL, Doucet AJ, Bucheton A, Moran JV, Gilbert N
Distinct mechanisms for trans-mediated mobilization of cellular RNAs by the LINE-1 reverse transcriptase.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):602-11.
Long Interspersed Element-1 (LINE-1 or L1) sequences comprise approximately 17% of human DNA and ongoing L1 retrotransposition continues to impact genome evolution. The L1-encoded proteins also can mobilize other cellular RNAs (e.g., Alu retrotransposons, SVA retrotransposons, and U6 snRNAs), which comprise approximately 13% of human DNA. Here, we demonstrate that the trans-mediated mobilization of non-L1 RNAs can occur by either template choice or template-switching mechanisms. Remarkably, these mechanisms are not mutually exclusive, as both processes can operate sequentially on the same RNA template. Finally, we provide evidence that efficient U6 snRNA retrotransposition requires both ORF1p and ORF2p, providing indirect evidence for the action of ORF1p in U6 snRNA retrotransposition. Thus, we propose that the LINE-1-encoded reverse transcriptase can mediate the retrotransposition of non-L1 RNAs by distinct mechanisms. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Edderkaoui B, Baylink DJ, Beamer WG, Wergedal JE, Porte R, Chaudhuri A, Mohan S
Identification of mouse Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines (Darc) as a BMD QTL gene.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):577-85.
It is now well known that bone mineral density (BMD) variance is determined by both genetic and environmental factors. Accordingly, studies in human and animal models have revealed evidence for the presence of several quantitative trait loci (QTL) that contribute to BMD variations. However, the identification of BMD QTL genes remains a big challenge. In the current study, we focused our efforts to identify the BMD candidate gene in chromosome 1 (Chr 1) QTL that was detected from a cross involving high BMD CAST/EiJ (CAST) and low BMD C57BL/6J (B6) mice. To this end, we have combined several approaches including: (1) fine mapping the BMD QTL in Chr 1 of the B6.CAST F2 female mice using a large number of polymorphic markers; (2) the generation of congenic sublines of mice by repeated backcrossing of CAST with B6 mice and phenotype characterization; (3) expression profiling genes in the QTL region; and (4) SNP analyses to identify the mouse Duffy Antigen Receptor for Chemokines (Darc) as a candidate gene for Chr 1 BMD QTL2. We verified the involvement of the Darc protein in BMD variation by evaluating the skeletal phenotype of Darc-knockout mice and congenic sublines of mice carrying small chromosomal segments from CAST BMD QTL. Based on the findings that Darc-antibody blocked formation of multinucleated osteoclasts in vitro and that Darc from CAST binds chemokines, known to regulate osteoclast formation, with reduced affinity compared with Darc from B6 mice, we conclude that Darc regulates BMD negatively by increasing osteoclast formation, and that the genetic association between Darc gene polymorphism and BMD variations in humans merits investigation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mank JE, Axelsson E, Ellegren H
Fast-X on the Z: rapid evolution of sex-linked genes in birds.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):618-24.
Theoretical work predicts natural selection to be more efficient in the fixation of beneficial mutations in X-linked genes than in autosomal genes. This "fast-X effect" should be evident by an increased ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous substitutions (dN/dS) for sex-linked genes; however, recent studies have produced mixed support for this expectation. To make an independent test of the idea of fast-X evolution, we focused on birds, which have female heterogamety (males ZZ, females ZW), where analogous arguments would predict a fast-Z effect. We aligned 2.8 Mb of orthologous protein-coding sequence of zebra finch and chicken from 172 Z-linked and 4848 autosomal genes. Zebra finch data were in the form of EST sequences from brain cDNA libraries, while chicken genes were from the draft genome sequence. The dN/dS ratio was significantly higher for Z-linked (0.110) than for all autosomal genes (0.085; P=0.002), as well as for genes linked to similarly sized autosomes 1-10 (0.0948; P=0.04). This pattern of fast-Z was evident even after we accounted for the nonrandom distribution of male-biased genes. We also examined the nature of standing variation in the chicken protein-coding regions. The ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous polymorphism (pN/pS) did not differ significantly between genes on the Z chromosome (0.104) and on the autosomes (0.0908). In conjunction, these results suggest that evolution proceeds more quickly on the Z chromosome, where hemizygous exposure of beneficial nondominant mutations increases the rate of fixation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cuppen E, Gort E, Hazendonk E, Mudde J, van de Belt J, Nijman IJ, Guryev V, Plasterk RH
Efficient target-selected mutagenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans: toward a knockout for every gene.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):649-58.
Reverse genetic or gene-driven knockout approaches have contributed significantly to the success of model organisms for fundamental and biomedical research. Although various technologies are available for C. elegans, none of them scale very well for genome-wide application. To address this, we implemented a target-selected knockout approach that is based on random chemical mutagenesis and detection of single nucleotide mutations in genes of interest using high-throughput resequencing. A clonal library of 6144 EMS-mutagenized worms was established and screened, resulting in the identification of 1044 induced mutations in 109 Mbp, which translates into an average spacing between exonic mutations in the library of only 17 bp. We covered 25% of the open reading frames of 32 genes and identified one or more inactivating mutations (nonsense or splice site) in 84% of them. Extrapolation of our results indicates that nonsense mutations for >90% of all C. elegans genes are present in the library. To identify all of these mutations, one only needs to inspect those positions that--given the known specificity of the mutagen--can result in the introduction of a stop codon. We define these positions as nonsense introducing mutations (NIMs). The genome-wide collection of possible NIMs can be calculated for any organism with a sequenced genome and reduces the screening complexity by 200- to 2000-fold, depending on the organism and mutagen. For EMS-mutagenized C. elegans, there are only approximately 500,000 NIMs. We show that a NIM genotyping approach employing high-density microarrays can, in principle, be used for the genome-wide identification of C. elegans knockouts. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mikawa S, Morozumi T, Shimanuki S, Hayashi T, Uenishi H, Domukai M, Okumura N, Awata T
Fine mapping of a swine quantitative trait locus for number of vertebrae and analysis of an orphan nuclear receptor, germ cell nuclear factor (NR6A1).
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):586-93.
The number of vertebrae in pigs varies and is associated with meat productivity. Wild boars, which are ancestors of domestic pigs, have 19 vertebrae. In comparison, European commercial breeds have 21-23 vertebrae, probably owing to selective breeding for enlargement of body size. We previously identified two quantitative trait loci (QTL) for the number of vertebrae on Sus scrofa chromosomes (SSC) 1 and 7. These QTL explained an increase of more than two vertebrae. Here, we performed a map-based study to define the QTL region on SSC1. By using three F2 experimental families, we performed interval mapping and recombination analyses and defined the QTL within a 1.9-cM interval. Then we analyzed the linkage disequilibrium of microsatellite markers in this interval and found that 10 adjacent markers in a 300-kb region were almost fixed in European commercial breeds. Genetic variation of the markers was observed in Asian local breeds or wild boars. This region encoded an orphan nuclear receptor, germ cell nuclear factor (NR6A1, formerly known as GCNF), which contained an amino acid substitution (Pro192Leu) coincident with the QTL. This substitution altered the binding activity of NR6A1 to its corepressors, nuclear receptor-associated protein 80 (RAP80) and nuclear receptor corepressor 1 (NCOR1). In addition, somites of mouse embryos demonstrated expression of NR6A1 protein. Together, these results suggest that NR6A1 is a strong candidate for one of the QTL that influence number of vertebrae in pigs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhang R, Peng Y, Wang W, Su B
Rapid evolution of an X-linked microRNA cluster in primates.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):612-7.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a growing class of small RNAs (about 22 nt) that play crucial regulatory roles in the genome by targeting mRNAs for cleavage or translational repression. Most of the identified miRNAs are highly conserved among species, indicating strong functional constraint on miRNA evolution. However, nonconserved miRNAs may contribute to functional novelties during evolution. Recently, an X-linked miRNA cluster was reported with multiple copies in primates but not in rodents or dog. Here we sequenced and compared this miRNA cluster in major primate lineages including human, great ape, lesser ape, Old World monkey, and New World monkey. Our data indicate rapid evolution of this cluster in primates including frequent tandem duplications and nucleotide substitutions. In addition, lineage-specific substitutions were observed in human and chimpanzee, leading to the emergence of potential novel mature miRNAs. The expression analysis in rhesus monkeys revealed a strong correlation between miRNA expression changes and male sexual maturation, suggesting regulatory roles of this miRNA cluster in testis development and spermatogenesis. We propose that, like protein-coding genes, miRNA genes involved in male reproduction are subject to rapid adaptive changes that may contribute to functional novelties during evolution. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chen K, McLellan MD, Ding L, Wendl MC, Kasai Y, Wilson RK, Mardis ER
PolyScan: an automatic indel and SNP detection approach to the analysis of human resequencing data.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):659-66.
Small insertions and deletions (indels) and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are common genetic variants that are thought to be associated with a wide variety of human diseases. Owing to the genome's size and complexity, manually characterizing each one of these variations in an individual is not practical. While significant progress has been made in automated single-base mutation discovery from the sequences of diploid PCR products, automated and reliable detection of indels continues to pose difficult challenges. In this paper, we present PolyScan, an algorithm and software implementation designed to provide de novo heterozygous indel detection and improved SNP identification in the context of high-throughput medical resequencing. Tests on a human diploid PCR-based sequence data set, consisting of 90,270 traces from 13 genes, indicate that PolyScan identified approximately 90% of the 151 consensus indel sites and approximately 84% of the 1546 heterozygous indels previously identified by manual inspection. Tests on tumor-derived data show that PolyScan better identifies high-quality, low-level mutations as compared with other mutation detection software. Moreover, SNP identification improves when reprocessing the results of other programs. These results suggest that PolyScan may play a useful role in the post human genome project research era. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hanada K, Zhang X, Borevitz JO, Li WH, Shiu SH
A large number of novel coding small open reading frames in the intergenic regions of the Arabidopsis thaliana genome are transcribed and/or under purifying selection.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):632-40.
Large-scale cDNA sequencing projects and tiling array studies have revealed the presence of many unannotated genes. For protein coding genes, small coding sequences may not be identified by gene finders because of the conservative nature of prediction algorithms. In this study, we identified small open reading frames (sORFs) with high coding potential by a simple gene finding method (Coding Index, CI) based on the nucleotide composition bias found in most coding sequences. Applying this method to 18 Arabidopsis thaliana and 84 yeast sORF genes with evidence of expression at the protein level gives 100% accurate prediction. In the A. thaliana genome, we identified 7159 sORFs that are likely coding sequences (coding sORFs) with the CI measure at the 1% false-positive rate. To determine if these coding sORFs are parts of functional genes, we evaluated each coding sORF for evidence of transcription or evolutionary conservation. At the 5% false-positive rate, we found that 2996 coding sORFs are likely expressed in at least one experimental condition of the A. thaliana tiling array data. In addition, the evolutionary conservation of each A. thaliana sORF was examined within A. thaliana or between A. thaliana and five plants with complete or partial genome sequences. In 3997 coding sORFs with readily identifiable homologous sequences, 2376 are subject to purifying selection at the 1% false-positive rate. After eliminating coding sORFs with similarity to known transposable elements and those that are likely missing exons of known genes, the remaining 3241 coding sORFs with either evidence of transcription or purifying selection likely belong to novel coding genes in the A. thaliana genome. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ponjavic J, Ponting CP, Lunter G
Functionality or transcriptional noise? Evidence for selection within long noncoding RNAs.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):556-65.
Long transcripts that do not encode protein have only rarely been the subject of experimental scrutiny. Presumably, this is owing to the current lack of evidence of their functionality, thereby leaving an impression that, instead, they represent "transcriptional noise." Here, we describe an analysis of 3122 long and full-length, noncoding RNAs ("macroRNAs") from the mouse, and compare their sequences and their promoters with orthologous sequence from human and from rat. We considered three independent signatures of purifying selection related to substitutions, sequence insertions and deletions, and splicing. We find that the evolution of the set of noncoding RNAs is not consistent with neutralist explanations. Rather, our results indicate that purifying selection has acted on the macroRNAs' promoters, primary sequence, and consensus splice site motifs. Promoters have experienced the greatest elimination of nucleotide substitutions, insertions, and deletions. The proportion of conserved sequence (4.1%-5.5%) in these macroRNAs is comparable to the density of exons within protein-coding transcripts (5.2%). These macroRNAs, taken together, thus possess the imprint of purifying selection, thereby indicating their functionality. Our findings should now provide an incentive for the experimental investigation of these macroRNAs' functions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kikuta H, Laplante M, Navratilova P, Komisarczuk AZ, Engström PG, Fredman D, Akalin A, Caccamo M, Sealy I, Howe K, Ghislain J, Pezeron G, Mourrain P, Ellingsen S, Oates AC, Thisse C, Thisse B, Foucher I, Adolf B, Geling A, Lenhard B, Becker TS
Genomic regulatory blocks encompass multiple neighboring genes and maintain conserved synteny in vertebrates.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):545-55.
We report evidence for a mechanism for the maintenance of long-range conserved synteny across vertebrate genomes. We found the largest mammal-teleost conserved chromosomal segments to be spanned by highly conserved noncoding elements (HCNEs), their developmental regulatory target genes, and phylogenetically and functionally unrelated "bystander" genes. Bystander genes are not specifically under the control of the regulatory elements that drive the target genes and are expressed in patterns that are different from those of the target genes. Reporter insertions distal to zebrafish developmental regulatory genes pax6.1/2, rx3, id1, and fgf8 and miRNA genes mirn9-1 and mirn9-5 recapitulate the expression patterns of these genes even if located inside or beyond bystander genes, suggesting that the regulatory domain of a developmental regulatory gene can extend into and beyond adjacent transcriptional units. We termed these chromosomal segments genomic regulatory blocks (GRBs). After whole genome duplication in teleosts, GRBs, including HCNEs and target genes, were often maintained in both copies, while bystander genes were typically lost from one GRB, strongly suggesting that evolutionary pressure acts to keep the single-copy GRBs of higher vertebrates intact. We show that loss of bystander genes and other mutational events suffered by duplicated GRBs in teleost genomes permits target gene identification and HCNE/target gene assignment. These findings explain the absence of evolutionary breakpoints from large vertebrate chromosomal segments and will aid in the recognition of position effect mutations within human GRBs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Baran AA, Silverman KA, Zeskand J, Koratkar R, Palmer A, McCullen K, Curran WJ, Edmonston TB, Siracusa LD, Buchberg AM
The modifier of Min 2 (Mom2) locus: embryonic lethality of a mutation in the Atp5a1 gene suggests a novel mechanism of polyp suppression.
Genome Res. 2007 May;17(5):566-76.
Inactivation of the APC gene is considered the initiating event in human colorectal cancer. Modifier genes that influence the penetrance of mutations in tumor-suppressor genes hold great potential for preventing the development of cancer. The mechanism by which modifier genes alter adenoma incidence can be readily studied in mice that inherit mutations in the Apc gene. We identified a new modifier locus of ApcMin-induced intestinal tumorigenesis called Modifier of Min 2 (Mom2). The polyp-resistant Mom2R phenotype resulted from a spontaneous mutation and linkage analysis localized Mom2 to distal chromosome 18. To obtain recombinant chromosomes for use in refining the Mom2 interval, we generated congenic DBA.B6 ApcMin/+, Mom2R/+ mice. An intercross revealed that Mom2R encodes a recessive embryonic lethal mutation. We devised an exclusion strategy for mapping the Mom2 locus using embryonic lethality as a method of selection. Expression and sequence analyses of candidate genes identified a duplication of four nucleotides within exon 3 of the alpha subunit of the ATP synthase (Atp5a1) gene. Tumor analyses revealed a novel mechanism of polyp suppression by Mom2R in Min mice. Furthermore, we show that more adenomas progress to carcinomas in Min mice that carry the Mom2R mutation. The absence of loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the Apc locus, combined with the tendency of adenomas to progress to carcinomas, indicates that the sequence of events leading to tumors in ApcMin/+ Mom2R/+ mice is consistent with the features of human tumor initiation and progression. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shaikh TH, O'Connor RJ, Pierpont ME, McGrath J, Hacker AM, Nimmakayalu M, Geiger E, Emanuel BS, Saitta SC
Low copy repeats mediate distal chromosome 22q11.2 deletions: sequence analysis predicts breakpoint mechanisms.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):482-91.
Genomic disorders contribute significantly to genetic disease and, as detection methods improve, greater numbers are being defined. Paralogous low copy repeats (LCRs) mediate many of the chromosomal rearrangements that underlie these disorders, predisposing chromosomes to recombination errors. Deletions of proximal 22q11.2 comprise the most frequently occurring microdeletion syndrome, DiGeorge/Velocardiofacial syndrome (DGS/VCFS), in which most breakpoints have been localized to a 3 Mb region containing four large LCRs. Immediately distal to this region, there are another four related but smaller LCRs that have not been characterized extensively. We used paralog-specific primers and long-range PCR to clone, sequence, and examine the distal deletion breakpoints from two patients with de novo deletions mapping to these distal LCRs. Our results present definitive evidence of the direct involvement of LCRs in 22q11 deletions and map both breakpoints to the BCRL module, common to most 22q11 LCRs, suggesting a potential region for LCR-mediated rearrangement both in the distal LCRs and in the DGS interval. These are the first reported cases of distal 22q11 deletions in which breakpoints have been characterized at the nucleotide level within LCRs, confirming that distal 22q11 LCRs can and do mediate rearrangements leading to genomic disorders. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tenesa A, Navarro P, Hayes BJ, Duffy DL, Clarke GM, Goddard ME, Visscher PM
Recent human effective population size estimated from linkage disequilibrium.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):520-6.
Effective population size (N(e)) determines the amount of genetic variation, genetic drift, and linkage disequilibrium (LD) in populations. Here, we present the first genome-wide estimates of human effective population size from LD data. Chromosome-specific effective population size was estimated for all autosomes and the X chromosome from estimated LD between SNP pairs <100 kb apart. We account for variation in recombination rate by using coalescent-based estimates of fine-scale recombination rate from one sample and correlating these with LD in an independent sample. Phase I of the HapMap project produced between 18 and 22 million SNP pairs in samples from four populations: Yoruba from Ibadan (YRI), Nigeria; Japanese from Tokyo (JPT); Han Chinese from Beijing (HCB); and residents from Utah with ancestry from northern and western Europe (CEU). For CEU, JPT, and HCB, the estimate of effective population size, adjusted for SNP ascertainment bias, was approximately 3100, whereas the estimate for the YRI was approximately 7500, consistent with the out-of-Africa theory of ancestral human population expansion and concurrent bottlenecks. We show that the decay in LD over distance between SNPs is consistent with recent population growth. The estimates of N(e) are lower than previously published estimates based on heterozygosity, possibly because they represent one or more bottlenecks in human population size that occurred approximately 10,000 to 200,000 years ago. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhang Z, Hesselberth JR, Fields S
Genome-wide identification of spliced introns using a tiling microarray.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):503-9.
The prediction of gene models from genome sequence remains an unsolved problem. One hallmark of eukaryotic gene structure is the presence of introns, which are spliced out of pre-mRNAs prior to translation. The excised introns are released in the form of lariats, which must be debranched prior to their turnover. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the absence of the debranching enzyme causes these lariat RNAs to accumulate. This accumulation allows a comparison of tiling array signals of RNA from the debranching mutant to the wild-type parent strain, and thus the identification of lariats on a genome-wide scale. This approach identified 141 of 272 known introns, confirmed three previously predicted introns, predicted four novel introns (of which two were experimentally confirmed), and led to the reannotation of four others. In many instances, signals from the tiling array delineated the 5' splice site and branchpoint site, confirming predicted gene structures. Nearly all introns that went undetected are present in mRNAs expressed at low levels. Overall, 97% of the significant probes could be attributed either to spliced introns or to genes up-regulated by deletion of the debranching enzyme. Because the debranching enzyme is conserved among eukaryotes, this approach could be generally applicable for the annotation of eukaryotic genes and the detection of novel and alternative splice forms. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mitrovich QM, Tuch BB, Guthrie C, Johnson AD
Computational and experimental approaches double the number of known introns in the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):492-502.
Candida albicans is the most common fungal pathogen of humans. Frequently found as a commensal within the digestive tracts of healthy individuals, C. albicans is an opportunistic pathogen that causes a wide variety of clinical syndromes in immuno-compromised individuals. A comprehensive annotation of the C. albicans genome sequence was recently published. Because many C. albicans coding sequences are interrupted by introns, proper intron annotation is essential for the accurate definition of genes in this pathogen. Intron annotation is also important for identifying potential targets of splicing regulation, a common mechanism of gene control in eukaryotes. In this study, we report an improved annotation of C. albicans introns. In addition to correcting the existing intron annotations, 25% of which were incorrect, we have used novel computational and experimental approaches to identify new introns, bringing the total to 415, almost double the number previously known. Our identification methods focus primarily on intron features rather than protein-coding features, overcoming biases of traditional intron annotation methods. Introns are not randomly distributed in C. albicans, and are over-represented in genes involved in specific cellular processes, such as splicing, translation, and mitochondrial respiration. This nonrandom distribution suggests functional roles for these introns, and we demonstrate that splicing of two transcripts whose introns have unusual sequence features is responsive to environmental factors. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gotter AL, Nimmakayalu MA, Jalali GR, Hacker AM, Vorstman J, Conforto Duffy D, Medne L, Emanuel BS
A palindrome-driven complex rearrangement of 22q11.2 and 8q24.1 elucidated using novel technologies.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):470-81.
Constitutional translocations at the same 22q11.21 low copy repeat B (LCR-B) breakpoint involved in the recurrent t(11;22) are relatively abundant. A novel 46,XY,t(8;22)(q24.13;q11.21) rearrangement was investigated to determine whether the recurrent LCR-B breakpoint is involved. Investigations demonstrated an inversion of the 3Mb region typically deleted in patients with the 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. The 22q11.21 inversion appears to be mediated by low copy repeats, and is presumed to have taken place prior to translocation with 8q24.13. Despite predictions based on inversions observed in other chromosomes harboring low copy repeats, this 22q11.2 inversion has not been observed previously. The current studies utilize novel laser microdissection and MLPA (multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification) approaches, as adjuncts to FISH, to map the breakpoints of the complex rearrangements of 22q11.21 and 8q24.21. The t(8;22) occurs between the recurrent site on 22q11.21 and an AT-rich site at 8q24.13, making it the fifth different chromosomal locus characterized at the nucleotide level engaged in a translocation with the unstable recurrent breakpoint at 22q11.21. Like the others, this breakpoint occurs at the center of a palindromic sequence. This sequence appears capable of forming a perfect 145 bp stem-loop. Remarkably, this site appears to have been involved in a previously reported t(3;8) occurring between 8q24.13 and FRA3B on 3p14.2. Further, the fragile site-like nature of all of the breakpoint sites involved in translocations with the recurrent site on 22q11.21, suggests a mechanism based on delay of DNA replication in the initiation of these chromosomal rearrangements. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bollenbach T, Vetsigian K, Kishony R
Evolution and multilevel optimization of the genetic code.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):401-4.
The discovery of the genetic code was one of the most important advances of modern biology. But there is more to a DNA code than protein sequence; DNA carries signals for splicing, localization, folding, and regulation that are often embedded within the protein-coding sequence. In this issue, Itzkovitz and Alon show that the specific 64-to-20 mapping found in the genetic code may have been optimized for permitting protein-coding regions to carry this extra information and suggest that this property may have evolved as a side benefit of selection to minimize the negative effects of frameshift errors. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Itzkovitz S, Alon U
The genetic code is nearly optimal for allowing additional information within protein-coding sequences.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):405-12.
DNA sequences that code for proteins need to convey, in addition to the protein-coding information, several different signals at the same time. These "parallel codes" include binding sequences for regulatory and structural proteins, signals for splicing, and RNA secondary structure. Here, we show that the universal genetic code can efficiently carry arbitrary parallel codes much better than the vast majority of other possible genetic codes. This property is related to the identity of the stop codons. We find that the ability to support parallel codes is strongly tied to another useful property of the genetic code--minimization of the effects of frame-shift translation errors. Whereas many of the known regulatory codes reside in nontranslated regions of the genome, the present findings suggest that protein-coding regions can readily carry abundant additional information. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yellaboina S, Goyal K, Mande SC
Inferring genome-wide functional linkages in E. coli by combining improved genome context methods: comparison with high-throughput experimental data.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):527-35.
Cellular functions are determined by interactions among proteins in the cells. Recognition of these interactions forms an important step in understanding biology at the systems level. Here, we report an interaction network of Escherichia coli, obtained by training a Support Vector Machine on the high quality of interactions in the EcoCyc database, and with the assumption that the periplasmic and cytoplasmic proteins may not interact with each other. The data features included correlation coefficient between bit score phylogenetic profiles, frequency of their co-occurrence in predicted operons, and a new measure--the distance between translational start sites of the genes. The combined genome context methods show a high accuracy of prediction on the test data and predict a total of 78,122 binary interactions. The majority of the interactions identified by high-throughput experimental methods correspond to indirect interaction (interactions through neighbors) in the predicted network. Correlation of the predicted network with the gene essentiality data shows that the essential genes in E. coli exhibit a high linking number, whereas the nonessential genes exhibit a low linking number. Furthermore, our predicted protein-protein interaction network shows that the proteins involved in replication, DNA repair, transcription, translation, and cell wall synthesis are highly connected. We therefore believe that our predicted network will serve as a useful resource in understanding prokaryotic biology. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bundy JG, Papp B, Harmston R, Browne RA, Clayson EM, Burton N, Reece RJ, Oliver SG, Brindle KM
Evaluation of predicted network modules in yeast metabolism using NMR-based metabolite profiling.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):510-9.
Genome-scale metabolic models promise important insights into cell function. However, the definition of pathways and functional network modules within these models, and in the biochemical literature in general, is often based on intuitive reasoning. Although mathematical methods have been proposed to identify modules, which are defined as groups of reactions with correlated fluxes, there is a need for experimental verification. We show here that multivariate statistical analysis of the NMR-derived intra- and extracellular metabolite profiles of single-gene deletion mutants in specific metabolic pathways in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae identified outliers whose profiles were markedly different from those of the other mutants in their respective pathways. Application of flux coupling analysis to a metabolic model of this yeast showed that the deleted gene in an outlying mutant encoded an enzyme that was not part of the same functional network module as the other enzymes in the pathway. We suggest that metabolomic methods such as this, which do not require any knowledge of how a gene deletion might perturb the metabolic network, provide an empirical method for validating and ultimately refining the predicted network structure. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pace JK, Feschotte C
The evolutionary history of human DNA transposons: evidence for intense activity in the primate lineage.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):422-32.
Class 2, or DNA transposons, make up approximately 3% of the human genome, yet the evolutionary history of these elements has been largely overlooked and remains poorly understood. Here we carried out the first comprehensive analysis of the activity of human DNA transposons over the course of primate evolution using three independent computational methods. First, we conducted an exhaustive search for human DNA transposons nested within L1 and Alu elements known to be primate specific. Second, we assessed the presence/absence of 794 human DNA transposons at orthologous positions in 10 mammalian species using sequence data generated by The ENCODE Project. These two approaches, which do not rely upon sequence divergence, allowed us to classify DNA transposons into three different categories: anthropoid specific (40-63 My), primate specific (64-80 My), and eutherian wide (81-150 My). Finally, we used this data to calculate the substitution rates of DNA transposons for each category and refine the age of each family based on the average percent divergence of individual copies to their consensus. Based on these combined methods, we can confidently estimate that at least 40 human DNA transposon families, representing approximately 98,000 elements ( approximately 33 Mb) in the human genome, have been active in the primate lineage. There was a cessation in the transpositional activity of DNA transposons during the later phase of the primate radiation, with no evidence of elements younger than approximately 37 My. This data points to intense activity of DNA transposons during the mammalian radiation and early primate evolution, followed, apparently, by their mass extinction in an anthropoid primate ancestor. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Murphy WJ, Pringle TH, Crider TA, Springer MS, Miller W
Using genomic data to unravel the root of the placental mammal phylogeny.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):413-21.
The phylogeny of placental mammals is a critical framework for choosing future genome sequencing targets and for resolving the ancestral mammalian genome at the nucleotide level. Despite considerable recent progress defining superordinal relationships, several branches remain poorly resolved, including the root of the placental tree. Here we analyzed the genome sequence assemblies of human, armadillo, elephant, and opossum to identify informative coding indels that would serve as rare genomic changes to infer early events in placental mammal phylogeny. We also expanded our species sampling by including sequence data from >30 ongoing genome projects, followed by PCR and sequencing validation of each indel in additional taxa. Our data provide support for a sister-group relationship between Afrotheria and Xenarthra (the Atlantogenata hypothesis), which is in turn the sister-taxon to Boreoeutheria. We failed to recover any indels in support of a basal position for Xenarthra (Epitheria), which is suggested by morphology and a recent retroposon analysis, or a hypothesis with Afrotheria basal (Exafricoplacentalia), which is favored by phylogenetic analysis of large nuclear gene data sets. In addition, we identified two retroposon insertions that also support Atlantogenata and none for the alternative hypotheses. A revised molecular timescale based on these phylogenetic inferences suggests Afrotheria and Xenarthra diverged from other placental mammals approximately 103 (95-114) million years ago. We discuss the impacts of this topology on earlier phylogenetic reconstructions and repeat-based inferences of phylogeny. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hu Y, Rolfs A, Bhullar B, Murthy TV, Zhu C, Berger MF, Camargo AA, Kelley F, McCarron S, Jepson D, Richardson A, Raphael J, Moreira D, Taycher E, Zuo D, Mohr S, Kane MF, Williamson J, Simpson A, Bulyk ML, Harlow E, Marsischky G, Kolodner RD, LaBaer J
Approaching a complete repository of sequence-verified protein-encoding clones for Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Genome Res. 2007 Apr;17(4):536-43.
The availability of an annotated genome sequence for the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has made possible the proteome-scale study of protein function and protein-protein interactions. These studies rely on availability of cloned open reading frame (ORF) collections that can be used for cell-free or cell-based protein expression. Several yeast ORF collections are available, but their use and data interpretation can be hindered by reliance on now out-of-date annotations, the inflexible presence of N- or C-terminal tags, and/or the unknown presence of mutations introduced during the cloning process. High-throughput biochemical and genetic analyses would benefit from a "gold standard" (fully sequence-verified, high-quality) ORF collection, which allows for high confidence in and reproducibility of experimental results. Here, we describe Yeast FLEXGene, a S. cerevisiae protein-coding clone collection that covers over 5000 predicted protein-coding sequences. The clone set covers 87% of the current S. cerevisiae genome annotation and includes full sequencing of each ORF insert. Availability of this collection makes possible a wide variety of studies from purified proteins to mutation suppression analysis, which should contribute to a global understanding of yeast protein function. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mirabeau O, Perlas E, Severini C, Audero E, Gascuel O, Possenti R, Birney E, Rosenthal N, Gross C
Identification of novel peptide hormones in the human proteome by hidden Markov model screening.
Genome Res. 2007 Mar;17(3):320-7.
Peptide hormones are small, processed, and secreted peptides that signal via membrane receptors and play critical roles in normal and pathological physiology. The search for novel peptide hormones has been hampered by their small size, low or restricted expression, and lack of sequence similarity. To overcome these difficulties, we developed a bioinformatics search tool based on the hidden Markov model formalism that uses several peptide hormone sequence features to estimate the likelihood that a protein contains a processed and secreted peptide of this class. Application of this tool to an alignment of mammalian proteomes ranked 90% of known peptide hormones among the top 300 proteins. An analysis of the top scoring hypothetical and poorly annotated human proteins identified two novel candidate peptide hormones. Biochemical analysis of the two candidates, which we called spexin and augurin, showed that both were localized to secretory granules in a transfected pancreatic cell line and were recovered from the cell supernatant. Spexin was expressed in the submucosal layer of the mouse esophagus and stomach, and a predicted peptide from the spexin precursor induced muscle contraction in a rat stomach explant assay. Augurin was specifically expressed in mouse endocrine tissues, including pituitary and adrenal gland, choroid plexus, and the atrio-ventricular node of the heart. Our findings demonstrate the utility of a bioinformatics approach to identify novel biologically active peptides. Peptide hormones and their receptors are important diagnostic and therapeutic targets, and our results suggest that spexin and augurin are novel peptide hormones likely to be involved in physiological homeostasis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ling KH, Rajandream MA, Rivailler P, Ivens A, Yap SJ, Madeira AM, Mungall K, Billington K, Yee WY, Bankier AT, Carroll F, Durham AM, Peters N, Loo SS, Isa MN, Novaes J, Quail M, Rosli R, Nor Shamsudin M, Sobreira TJ, Tivey AR, Wai SF, White S, Wu X, Kerhornou A, Blake D, Mohamed R, Shirley M, Gruber A, Berriman M, Tomley F, Dear PH, Wan KL
Sequencing and analysis of chromosome 1 of Eimeria tenella reveals a unique segmental organization.
Genome Res. 2007 Mar;17(3):311-9.
Eimeria tenella is an intracellular protozoan parasite that infects the intestinal tracts of domestic fowl and causes coccidiosis, a serious and sometimes lethal enteritis. Eimeria falls in the same phylum (Apicomplexa) as several human and animal parasites such as Cryptosporidium, Toxoplasma, and the malaria parasite, Plasmodium. Here we report the sequencing and analysis of the first chromosome of E. tenella, a chromosome believed to carry loci associated with drug resistance and known to differ between virulent and attenuated strains of the parasite. The chromosome--which appears to be representative of the genome--is gene-dense and rich in simple-sequence repeats, many of which appear to give rise to repetitive amino acid tracts in the predicted proteins. Most striking is the segmentation of the chromosome into repeat-rich regions peppered with transposon-like elements and telomere-like repeats, alternating with repeat-free regions. Predicted genes differ in character between the two types of segment, and the repeat-rich regions appear to be associated with strain-to-strain variation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhu W, Buell CR
Improvement of whole-genome annotation of cereals through comparative analyses.
Genome Res. 2007 Mar;17(3):299-310.
Rice is an important model species for the Poaceae and other monocotyledonous plants. With the availability of a near-complete, finished, and annotated rice genome, we performed genome level comparisons between rice and all plant species in which large genomic or transcriptomic data sets are available to determine the utility of cross-species sequence for structural and functional annotation of the rice genome. Through comparative analyses with four plant genome sequence data sets and transcript assemblies from 185 plant species, we were able to confirm and improve the structural annotation of the rice genome. Support for 38,109 (89.3%) of the total 42,653 nontransposable element-related genes in the rice genome in the form of a rice expressed sequence tag, full-length cDNA, or plant homolog from our comparative analyses could be found. Although the majority of the putative homologs were obtained from Poaceae species, putative homologs were identified in dicotyledonous angiosperms, gymnosperms, and other plants such as algae, moss, and fern. A set of rice genes (7669) lacking a putative homolog was identified which may be lineage-specific genes that evolved after speciation and have a role in species diversity. Improvements to the current rice gene structural annotation could be identified from our comparative alignments and we were able to identify 487 genes which were mostly likely missed in the current rice genome annotation and another 500 genes for structural annotation review. We were able to demonstrate the utility of cross-species comparative alignments in the identification of noncoding sequences and in confirmation of gene nesting in rice. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kukekova AV, Trut LN, Oskina IN, Johnson JL, Temnykh SV, Kharlamova AV, Shepeleva DV, Gulievich RG, Shikhevich SG, Graphodatsky AS, Aguirre GD, Acland GM
A meiotic linkage map of the silver fox, aligned and compared to the canine genome.
Genome Res. 2007 Mar;17(3):387-99.
A meiotic linkage map is essential for mapping traits of interest and is often the first step toward understanding a cryptic genome. Specific strains of silver fox (a variant of the red fox, Vulpes vulpes), which segregate behavioral and morphological phenotypes, create a need for such a map. One such strain, selected for docility, exhibits friendly dog-like responses to humans, in contrast to another strain selected for aggression. Development of a fox map is facilitated by the known cytogenetic homologies between the dog and fox, and by the availability of high resolution canine genome maps and sequence data. Furthermore, the high genomic sequence identity between dog and fox allows adaptation of canine microsatellites for genotyping and meiotic mapping in foxes. Using 320 such markers, we have constructed the first meiotic linkage map of the fox genome. The resulting sex-averaged map covers 16 fox autosomes and the X chromosome with an average inter-marker distance of 7.5 cM. The total map length corresponds to 1480.2 cM. From comparison of sex-averaged meiotic linkage maps of the fox and dog genomes, suppression of recombination in pericentromeric regions of the metacentric fox chromosomes was apparent, relative to the corresponding segments of acrocentric dog chromosomes. Alignment of the fox meiotic map against the 7.6x canine genome sequence revealed high conservation of marker order between homologous regions of the two species. The fox meiotic map provides a critical tool for genetic studies in foxes and identification of genetic loci and genes implicated in fox domestication. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Goios A, Pereira L, Bogue M, Macaulay V, Amorim A
mtDNA phylogeny and evolution of laboratory mouse strains.
Genome Res. 2007 Mar;17(3):293-8.
Inbred mouse strains have been maintained for more than 100 years, and they are thought to be a mixture of four different mouse subspecies. Although genealogies have been established, female inbred mouse phylogenies remain unexplored. By a phylogenetic analysis of newly generated complete mitochondrial DNA sequence data in 16 strains, we show here that all common inbred strains descend from the same Mus musculus domesticus female wild ancestor, and suggest that they present a different mitochondrial evolutionary process than their wild relatives with a faster accumulation of replacement substitutions. Our data complement forthcoming results on resequencing of a group of priority strains, and they follow recent efforts of the Mouse Phenome Project to collect and make publicly available information on various strains. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Journal of Applied Genetics

Paluszczak J, Baer-Dubowska W
Epigenetic diagnostics of cancer--the application of DNA methylation markers.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(4):365-75.
In recent years it has become apparent that epigenetic events are potentially equally responsible for cancer initiation and progression as genetic abnormalities. DNA methylation is the main epigenetic modification in humans. Two DNA methylation lesions coexist in human neoplasms: hypermethylation of promoter regions of specific genes within a context of genomic hypomethylation. Aberrant methylation is found at early stages of carcinogenesis and distinct types of cancer exhibit specific patterns of methylation changes. Tumor specific DNA is readily obtainable from different clinical samples and methylation status analysis often permits sensitive disease detection. Methylation markers may also serve for prognostic and predictive purposes as they often reflect the metastatic potential and sensitivity to therapy. As current findings show a great potential of recently characterised methylation markers, more studies in the field are needed in the future. Large clinical studies of newly developed markers are especially needed. The review describes the diagnostic potential of DNA methylation markers. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Horák P, Knoll A, Dvorák J
The retinal fascin gene 2 (FSCN2)--partial structural analysis and polymorphism detection in dogs with progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(4):361-4.
The retinal fascin 2 gene (FSCN2) underwent a molecular analysis, a search for polymorphisms and an evaluation as a candidate gene for retinopathies in dogs. Specific fragments of the gene encompassing partial exon 1 and intron 1, and exons 2-5 with respective introns were sequenced and these data were deposited in the GenBank database. Three distinct polymorphic sites detectable with PCR-RFLP were found--AM050719: g.237G>A, AM050719: g.525A>G, and AM050720: g.1071A>G. No positive associations between these polymorphisms and the PRA-clinical status were observed in the investigated population consisting of Poodles, American Cocker Spaniels, and English Cocker Spaniels. In spite of that, the FSCN2 gene remains an excellent candidate gene for retinopathies in dogs and the results can contribute to further research in this field. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Iwa?czyk E, Juras R, Cholewi?ski G, Cothran EG
Genetic structure and phylogenetic relationships of the Polish Heavy horse.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(4):353-9.
In this study a wide range of genetic markers (12 microsatellites, 7 blood-group loci, 10 blood-protein loci) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) were used to assess genetic diversity in Polish Heavy horses. Three random samples were sequenced for 421 bp of the mitochondrial D-loop region, but no clear phylogenetic patterns were seen in mtDNA variation. Both heterozygosity and diversity levels are fairly high in Polish Heavy horses. In phylogenetic analysis the draught horses form a distinct cluster that pairs with the true pony breeds. Within this 'cold-blooded' group, the Polish Heavy Horse clusters most closely with the Posavina breed from Croatia and the Breton breed from France. From the standpoint of genetic conservation, the Polish Heavy Horse does not appear to be in jeopardy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Oponowicz A, Franczak A, Kurowicka B, Kotwica G
Relative transcript abundance of oxytocin receptor gene in porcine uterus during luteolysis and early pregnancy.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(4):345-51.
The aim of the present study was to investigate transcript localization of the oxytocin receptor (OTR) gene in different cells of the porcine uterus during luteolysis and early pregnancy (days 14-16) using in situ hybridization (ISH). OTR mRNA was localized in the uterine luminal epithelium (LEC), glandular epithelium (GEC), stromal cells (SC) of the endometrium, in the longitudinal muscle layer (LM) and circular muscle layer (CM) of the myometrium. The OTR transcript was quantified by optical density units of silver grains. The OTR transcript levels in the endometrium and myometrium were statistically higher during luteolysis than during early pregnancy (P<0.05). Besides, during luteolysis, the mRNA level was higher in the LEC, GEC of the endometrium and LM of the myometrium compared to that observed in the SC of endometrium and CM of the myometrium, respectively (P<0.05). In summary: 1) the level of OTR mRNA in uterine tissues is higher during luteolysis compared to early pregnancy, 2) the OTR transcript level in endometrial cells did not correspond to the sensitivity of these cells to oxytocin (OT), 3) the myometrial expression of the OTR gene is appropriate to control contractile activity and secretion of PG during luteolysis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Karacaören B, Kadarmideen HN, Janss LL
Investigation of major gene for milk yield, milking speed, dry matter intake, and body weight in dairy cattle.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(4):337-43.
The main aim of this study was to determine if there exist any major gene for milk yield (MY), milking speed (MS), dry matter intake (DMI), and body weight (BW) recorded at various stages of lactation in first-lactation dairy cows (2543 observations from 320 cows) kept at the research farm of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology between April 1994 and April 2004. Data were modelled based a simple repeatability covariance structure and analysed by using Bayesian segregation analyses. Gibbs sampling was used to make statistical inferences on posterior distributions; inferences were based on a single run of the Markov chain for each trait with 500,000 samples, with each 10th sample collected because of the high correlation among the samples. The posterior mean (+/-SD) of major gene variance was 2.61 (+/-2.46) for MY, 0.83 (+/-1.26) for MS, 4.37 (+/-2.34) for DMI, and 2056.43 (+/-665.67) for BW. Highest posterior density regions for 3 of the 4 traits did not include 0 (except MS), which supported the evidence for major gene. With additional tests for agreement with Mendelian transmission probabilities, we could only confirm the existence of a major gene for MY, but not for MS, DMI, and BW. Expected Mendelian transmission probabilities and their model fits were also compared. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pahlavani MH, Abolhasani K
Xenia effect on seed and embryo size in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.).
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(4):331-5.
The term xenia was coined to describe the effect of foreign pollen on the development and characters of the seed. To study its importance and consequences for various seed traits in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), the effect of pollen genotype on seed and embryo weight was studied with seeds from 15 F1 hybrids. Cross-fertilization changed seed weight by up to 7.0% in relation to self-fertilization. Xenia effect significantly increased embryo weight of cross-fertilized seeds, by up to 14.4% in comparison to self-fertilized seeds. Seeds of some crosses had a lower hull content than corresponding selfed seeds. On average, the xenia effect was greater for embryo weight than for seed weight. However, in some crosses there was no difference between cross- and self-fertilized seeds for seed weight, embryo weight, moisture content and hull content. Positive xenia effects for seed weight and embryo weight may help us to establish uniform stands of vigorous hybrid seedlings, especially under unfavourable conditions. Also, larger seed and embryo weight, along with lower hull content, could result in higher oil yield. Therefore, careful choosing of genotypes as parents and of cross direction in the production of hybrid seed is very important in cotton. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kalinowski A, Rad?owski M, Bocian A
Effects of interaction between pollen coat eluates and pistil at the molecular level in self-compatible and self-incompatible plants of Lolium multiflorum Lam.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(4):319-29.
Two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) of soluble proteins and enzymes was performed and specific activities of 5 enzymes (esterase, pectinesterase, acid phosphatase, protease and diaphorase) were determined in stigmas of Lolium multiflorum (Italian ryegrass) treated with self or foreign pollen coat eluates (pc). Also, a low-molecular-weight fraction of the treated self-compatible (SC) and self-incompatible (SI) stigmas was analyzed by high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC). The treatment of stigmas with foreign pollen induced the loss of 42% of the control sample proteins in SC plants but only of 5.5% in SI plants. In contrast, the treatment of stigmas with foreign pollen induced the loss of 15% proteins in SC plants and of 29% in SI plants. Specific activities of esterase, pectinesterase and diaphorase were higher in SC than in SI stigmas. The 2-DE enzyme patterns indicated qualitative relationships between the presence of some isoforms of acid phosphatase or protease and the treatment with self or foreign pc in SC and SI stigmas. No changes were observed in HPLC profiles of the low-molecular-weight fraction from SC and SI stigmas treated or not with pc. The presented results revealed different reactions of SC and SI stigmas to the treatment with self or foreign pc. Further investigations may explain if any of the observed reactions represent specific reorientations in the style, facilitating cross- or self-pollination. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pniewski T, Kapusta J, P?ucienniczak A
Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of yellow lupin to generate callus tissue producing HBV surface antigen in a long-term culture.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(4):309-18.
The idea of an oral vaccine administered as a portion of plant tissue requires a high level of antigen production. An improved protocol for the induction of transgenic yellow lupin calli or tumours, reaching 44% of transformation rate, is presented here. It has been developed by using the nptII marker gene and the uidA reporter gene as well as various Agrobacterium strains and plant explants. This method of seedling and hypocotyl transformation was applied to raise calli or tumours producing a small surface antigen of Hepatitis B Virus (S-HBsAg). Lupin tissue lines were long-term cultured on selection media maintaining the growth rate and high expression level of the native form of S-HBs, up to 6 microg per g of fresh tissue. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fukuta S, Mizukami Y, Ishida A, Kanbe M
Development of loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP)-based SNP markers for shelf-life in melon (Cucumis melo L.).
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(4):303-8.
In this study, LAMP markers linked to shelf-life in melon (Cucumis melo L.) were developed by converting a cleaved amplified polymorphic sequences (CAPS) marker (C2). The CAPS-PCR fragments from the long-shelf-life melon (O-3) and short-shelf-life melon (Nat-2) were cloned and sequenced to construct LAMP primers. A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) was identified between O-3 and Nat-2. LAMP primers were designed to detect the SNP. In the LAMP reaction to detect long-shelf-life melon, the turbidity of the templates using O-3, F1, homozygous long-shelf-life F2 lines and heterozygous long-shelf-life F2 lines started to increase after 40 min. In contrast, the turbidity of Nat-2 and homozygous short-shelf-life F2 lines did not increase even after 90 min. In the LAMP reaction to detect short-shelf-life melon, the turbidity of the templates using Nat-2, F1, homozygous short-shelf-life F2 lines and heterozygous long-shelf-life F2 lines started to increase after 40 min. But the turbidity of O-3 and homozygous long-shelf-life F2 lines did not increase after 90 min. This attests to the high reliability and usefulness of LAMP for marker-assisted selection. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Laudencia-Chingcuanco DL, Stamova BS, Lazo GR, Cui X, Anderson OD
Analysis of the wheat endosperm transcriptome.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(4):287-302.
Among the cereals, wheat is the most widely grown geographically and is part of the staple diet in much of the world. Understanding how the cereal endosperm develops and functions will help generate better tools to manipulate grain qualities important to end-users. We used a genomics approach to identify and characterize genes that are expressed in the wheat endosperm. We analyzed the 17,949 publicly available wheat endosperm EST sequences to identify genes involved in the biological processes that occur within this tissue. Clustering and assembly of the ESTs resulted in the identification of 6,187 tentative unique genes, 2,358 of which formed contigs and 3,829 remained as singletons. A BLAST similarity search against the NCBI non-redundant sequence database revealed abundant messages for storage proteins, putative defense proteins, and proteins involved in starch and sucrose metabolism. The level of abundance of the putatively identified genes reflects the physiology of the developing endosperm. Half of the identified genes have unknown functions. Approximately 61% of the endosperm ESTs has been tentatively mapped in the hexaploid wheat genome. Using microarrays for global RNA profiling, we identified endosperm genes that are specifically up regulated in the developing grain. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Filipecki M, Malepszy S
Unintended consequences of plant transformation: a molecular insight.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(4):277-86.
Plant genomes are dynamic structures having both the system to maintain and accurately reproduce the information encoded therein and the ability to accept more or less random changes, which is one of the foundations of evolution. Crop improvement and various uncontrolled stress factors can induce unintended genetic and epigenetic variations. In this review it is attempted to summarize factors causing such changes and the molecular nature of these variations in transgenic plants. Unintended effects in transgenic plants can be divided into three main groups: first, pleiotropic effects of integrated DNA on the host plant genome; second, the influence of the integration site and transgene architecture on transgene expression level and stability; and third, the effect of various stresses related to tissue handling, regeneration and clonal propagation. Many of these factors are recently being redefined due to new researches, which apply modern highly sensitive analytical techniques and sequenced model organisms. The ability to inspect large portions of genomes clearly shows that tissue culture contributes to a vast majority of observed genetic and epigenetic changes. Nevertheless, monitoring of thousands transcripts, proteins and metabolites reveals that unintended variation most often falls in the range of natural differences between landraces or varieties. We expect that an increasing amount of evidence on many important crop species will support these observations in the nearest future. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Constantinou M, Binka-Kowalska A, Borkowska E, Zajac E, Ja?muzna P, Matych J, Nawrocka A, Ka?uzewski B
Application of multiplex FISH, CGH and MSSCP techniques for cytogenetic and molecular analysis of transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) cells in voided urine specimens.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):273-5.
Multiplex FISH (UroVysion), Comparative Genomic Hybridization (CGH), and Multitemperature Single-Strand Conformation Polymorphism (MSSCP) were applied for non-invasive diagnosis and prognosis of bladder cancer. The UroVysion test was positive in 80% of patients with pT1 and in 100% of patients with either pT2 or pT3 tumours. Tumours with pT3T4 stages were characterized by high numbers of chromosomal imbalances, detected by CGH. The mutation of the p53 gene was detected in 16% of patients, but only in those with pT2 or pT3 tumours. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zió?kowska I, Mosor M, Nowak J
Regional distribution of heterozygous 657del5 mutation carriers of the NBS1 gene in Wielkopolska province (Poland).
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):269-72.
The homozygous 657del5 mutation, called Slavic mutation, of the NBS1 gene, causes the Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome (NBS). This syndrome is connected with a high incidence of malignancies in early childhood. A high frequency of NBS heterozygotes was found among patients with melanoma, breast, ovary and prostate cancer. The aim of our research was to determine the frequency of 657del5 mutation of the NBS1 gene in the population of Wielkopolska province. For this purpose, we analysed blood samples from anonymous Guthrie cards. In a group of 2090 newborns from the whole province, we found 16 heterozygous mutation carriers. The frequency of 1/131 is higher than 1/190 reported for populations from other regions in Poland. We observed differential regional distribution of heterozygous 657del5 mutation carriers within the province: among 464 samples from the eastern part of Wielkopolska we found 6 carriers (1/77), in contrast to the southern part without any carrier among 625 samples analysed. The high mean frequency of heterozygous 657del5 mutation (1/131) in Wielkopolska province may be associated with cancer incidence in this region. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Smigiel R, Lebioda A, Patkowski D, Czernik J, Dobosz T, Pesz K, Kaczmarz M, Sasiadek MM
Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the RET gene and their correlations with Hirschsprung disease phenotype.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):261-7.
Hirschsprung disease (HSCR) is a congenital, heterogeneous disorder, characterized by the absence of intestinal ganglion cells. Recent advances show that the RET gene is a major locus involved in the pathogenesis of HSCR. The aim of this study was to analyse if the HSCR phenotype in the Polish population is associated with the presence of polymorphisms in exons 2, 3, 7, 11, 13, 14 and 15 of the RET gene. Molecular results were compared with clinical and long-term follow-up data in 70 Polish patients with HSCR (84.3% with a short segment and 15.7% with a long segment of aganglionic gut). Single-nucleotide polymorphisms were analysed by using the minisequencing SNaPshot multiplex method. The 135G>A polymorphism in RET exon 2 was overrepresented in HSCR patients, compared with a healthy control group. Moreover, the 135G>A variant was shown to be associated with the severe HSCR phenotype. Two other polymorphisms, 2071G>A in exon 11 and 2712C>G in exon 15, were underrepresented in the patients. The results confirm that these RET polymorphisms play a role in the aetiology of HSCR. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kocha?ski A
How to assess the pathogenicity of mutations in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and other diseases?
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):255-60.
Knowledge whether a certain DNA variant is a pathogenic mutation or a harmless polymorphism is a critical issue in medical genetics, in which results of a molecular analysis may serve as a basis for diagnosis and genetic counseling. Due to its genetic heterogeneity expressed at the levels of loci, genes and mutations, Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease can serve as a model group of clinically homogenous diseases for studying the pathogenicity of mutations. Close to a 17p11.2-p12 duplication occurring in 70% of patients with the demyelinating form of CMT disease, numerous mutations have been identified in poorly characterized genes coding for proteins of an unknown function. Functional analyses, segregation analyses of large pedigrees, and inclusion of large control groups are required to assess the potential pathogenicity of CMT mutations. Hence, the pathogenicity of numerous CMT mutations remains unclear. Some variants detected in the CMT genes and originally described as pathogenic mutations have been shown to have a polymorphic character. In contrast, polymorphisms initially considered harmless were later reclassified as pathogenic mutations. However, the process of assessing the pathogenicity of mutations, as presented in this study for CMT disorders, is a more general issue concerning all disorders with a genetic background. Since the number of DNA variants is still growing, in the near future geneticists will increasingly have to cope with the problem of pathogenicity of identified genetic variants. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Aranishi F, Okimoto T
A simple and reliable method for DNA extraction from bivalve mantle.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):251-4.
A simple and reliable method was developed for extracting genomic DNA from preserved mantle tissues of Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas for reproducible PCR amplification. The method was based on destruction of the tissue using Proteinase K, Chelex 100 resin, detergents, and urea, followed by preferential capturing of genomic DNA with silica particles. Approximately 5 mg of mantle tissue provided a sufficient quality and quantity of DNA for several hundreds of PCR reactions amplifying the hypervariable mitochondrial DNA intergenic spacer, which is a useful genetic marker for population structure analysis of Pacific oyster. The method can be applied for DNA preparation from not only fresh and frozen but also ethanol-preserved mantle tissues, so this rapid and economical method can serve for investigating a large number of bivalve specimens collected in the field and next transported in ethanol at ambient temperature. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Michalak E, Lipi?ski D, S?omski R
Loop formation by the transgene WAP:6xHishGH in transgenic rabbit fibroblasts, revealed by fluorescence in situ hybridization to nuclear halos.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):247-9.
Using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to somatic nuclear halos from transgenic rabbits WAP:6xHishGH, we present evidence for stability of transgenesis at the chromatin level. FISH performed on fibroblasts from a homozygous individual showed 2 independent loops from both chromosomes of pair 7. On a heterozygous individual, FISH detected a single loop. According to the concept of chromatin loops and their influence on gene expression, this shows that the human growth hormone transgene, which was actively expressed in mammary gland under the influence of the tissue-specific promoter, was inactive in examined skin fibroblasts. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sazanov AA, Malewski T, Kami?ski S, Zwierzchowski L
Characterization of the CHORI-240 BAC clones containing the bovine CSN1S1, CSN2, STATH, CSN1S2 and CSN3 genes.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):243-5.
Nineteen BAC clones were identified by hybridization of the bovine genomic BAC library CHORI-240 with mixed CSN1S1- and CSN3-specific probes. Two of the clones were shown to contain the genes CSN1S1, CSN1S2, CSN2, STATH and CSN3, and five were proved to include the genes CSN2, STATH, CSN1S2 and CSN3. These data showed that the BAC contig was established for the whole casein cluster, including all known five genes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Patel RK, Singh KM, Soni KJ, Chauhan JB, Sambasiva Rao KR
Lack of carriers of citrullinaemia and DUMPS in Indian Holstein cattle.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):239-42.
The present study investigated the occurrence of 2 autosomal recessive genetic diseases, bovine citrullinaemia and deficiency of uridine monophosphate synthase (DUMPS), in Indian Holstein cattle. The polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) analysis was performed on a group of 642 animals, mainly HF and HF crossbred cattle, to identify carriers of these diseases. None of the animals were carriers of citrullinaemia or DUMPS. It is possible that with the mounting selection pressure, the international gene pool may diminish, and consequently the risk of dissemination of inherited defects will increase. It is therefore recommended to screen breeding bulls for their breed-specific genetic diseases before they are inducted in artificial insemination programmes, to minimize the risk. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Górny AG, Garczy?ski S, Banaszak Z, ?ugowska B
Genetic variation in the efficiency of nitrogen utilization and photosynthetic activity of flag leaves among the old and modern germplasm of winter wheat.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):231-7.
Genotypic variation in major components of the efficiency of nitrogen utilization and photosynthetic activity of flag leaves among old (released 1881-1963) and modern (released 1969-2003) cultivars of winter wheat was studied in field conditions under varied N fertilization levels (110, 90 and 80 kg N ha-1). Significant genotypic differences were observed for all characters. Their heritabilities ranged from 0.37 to 0.93 and were the lowest for the leaf efficiency of gas exchange, photosynthetic rate, straw N content and the economic index of N utilization efficiency (NUE). Some modern cultivars exhibited an enhanced tolerance to N shortage and several attributes of efficient N utilization (e.g. later senescing and more photosynthetically active flag leaves, increased ability to redistribute N into grains). The genotypes may serve as donors of appropriate characteristics for breeding. The observed cultivar-by-fertilization interactions suggest, however, that evaluations under diverse fertilization regimes may be necessary when searching for improved wheat efficiency and adaptation to less favourable environments. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Smýkal P
Development of an efficient retrotransposon-based fingerprinting method for rapid pea variety identification.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):221-30.
Fast and efficient DNA fingerprinting of crop cultivars and individuals is frequently used in both theoretical population genetics and in practical breeding. Numerous DNA marker technologies exist and the ratio of speed, cost and accuracy are of importance. Therefore even in species where highly accurate and polymorphic marker systems are available, such as microsatellite SSR (simple sequence repeats), also alternative methods may be of interest. Thanks to their high abundance and ubiquity, temporary mobile retrotransposable elements come into recent focus. Their properties, such as genome wide distribution and well-defined origin of individual insertions by descent, predetermine them for use as molecular markers. In this study, several Ty3-gypsy type retrotransposons have been developed and adopted for the inter-retrotransposon amplified polymorphism (IRAP) method, which is suitable for fast and efficient pea cultivar fingerprinting. The method can easily distinguish even between genetically closely related pea cultivars and provide high polymorphic information content (PIC) in a single PCR analysis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kosmala A, Zwierzykowska E, Zwierzykowski Z
Chromosome pairing in triploid intergeneric hybrids of Festuca pratensis with Lolium multiflorum, revealed by GISH.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):215-20.
Genomic in situ hybridisation (GISH) was used to reveal chromosome pairing in two partly fertile, triploid (2n = 3x = 21) hybrids obtained by crossing the diploid (2n = 2x = 14) Festuca pratensis Huds. (designated FpFp), used as a female parent, with the autotetraploid (2n = 4x = 28) Lolium multiflorum Lam. (designated LmLmLmLm), used as a male parent. The pattern of chromosome pairing calculated on the basis of the mean values of chromosome configurations identified in all 100 PMCs analysed, was: 0.71I Lm + 2.24I Fp + 2.18II Lm/Lm + 0.54II Lm/Fp + 4.18III Lm/Lm/Fp. A relatively high number of Lm/Lm bivalents and Fp univalents, and a low number of Lm/Fp bivalents and Lm univalents indicated that the pairing was preferential between L. multiflorum chromosomes. Other observations regarding chromosome pairing within the Lm/Lm/Fp trivalents also confirmed this preferential pairing in the analysed triploids, as the Fp chromosome was not randomly located in the chain- and frying-pan-shaped trivalents. The similarities and differences in chromosome pairing at metaphase I and the level of preferential pairing between Lolium chromosomes in the different triploid Lolium-Festuca hybrids are discussed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Barnett RD, Blount AR, Pfahler PL, Bruckner PL, Wesenberg DM, Johnson JW
Environmental stability and heritability estimates for grain yield and test weight in triticale.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(3):207-13.
Hexaploid triticale has many advantages over both parental species for both grain and forage production in certain environments. Additional information on environmental stability and heritability would be desirable to develop appropriate selection strategies in the production of superior widely-adapted cultivars. The grain yield of 22 diverse genotypes grown at four ecologically-distinct geographical locations [Quincy, FL, USA (approximate geographical coordinates (AGC) = 30 degreesN 84 degreesW, approximate elevation (AE) = 58 m), Plains, GA, USA (AGC = 32 degreesN 84 degreesW, AE = 76 m), Bozeman, MT USA (AGC = 45 degreesN 111 degreesW, AE = 1458 m), and Aberdeen, ID, USA (AGC = 42 degreesN 112 degreesW, AE = 1360 m)] was measured in two years with winter and spring planting dates only at Bozeman and Aberdeen. Test weight (grain weight in a given volume) was determined for two years at Bozeman and Aberdeen at both planting dates and one year at Quincy. Stability analyses indicated that significant (P < 0.01) variation in means, regression coefficients, and deviation mean squares of the genotypes were present for both characters. Realized heritability (h2) estimates were as follows: grain yield ranged from -0.02 to 0.80 with a mean of 0.57; test weight ranged from 0.63 to 1.05 with a mean of 0.93. The results indicated that substantial genetic variation is present and selection for widely-adapted cultivars would be effective for both characters especially test weight. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Olszewska A
Dental treatment strategies in a 40-year-old patient with cleidocranial dysplasia.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(2):199-201.
Oral anomalies and dental treatment in a patient with cleidocranial dysplasia (referred to the dental clinic at the age of 40 years) are presented. Five supernumerary teeth were found in the patient: three in the maxilla in the area of molars and two in the mandibula in the area of premolars. Therapy included surgical exposure of impacted teeth in combination with removal of supernumerary teeth. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zapa?owicz K, Wygledowska G, Roszkowski T, Bednarowska A
Harlequin ichthyosis--difficulties in prenatal diagnosis.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(2):195-7.
Ichthyoses belong to the group of genodermatoses, characterized by hyperkeratosis and desquamation of the epidermis. Clinical manifestation is heterogeneous and depends on the type of the disease. Harlequin foetus is the most severe form of congenital ichtyosis, inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. The disfunction of the epidermis begins prenatally. Neonates are often born prematurely, in severe condition. At present better care and treatment prolong the length and quality of children's life. We report a case of harlequin ichthyosis. Parents were healthy and there was no history of ichthyosis or other congenital anomalies in the family. Sonography at the 26th week of gestation revealed anomalies of the fetal face; however, the diagnosis of harlequin ichthyosis was not established prenatally. The male child was born alive at the 37th week of the third pregnancy, with birth weight of 2900 g. Typical features of harlequin ichthyosis were present at birth. Intensive neonatological care was necessary. The child survived and at the time of the report was 6 months old and in good condition. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Górska-Kot A, B?az W, Pszeniczna E, Rusin J, Materna-Kiryluk A, Homa E, Hejda G, Franus J
Trends in diagnosis and prevalence of critical congenital heart defects in the Podkarpacie province in 2002-2004, based on data from the Polish Registry of Congenital Malformations.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(2):191-4.
This paper presents results of data collection regarding congenital heart defects (CHD) for the Polish Registry of Congenital Malformations (PRCM) from the Podkarpacie province in 2002-2004. Routine methods (fetal echocardiography, clinical examination) and recently also unique methods (screening echocardiography and pulse oximetry) were used for early detection of critical cardiac malformations. Critical CHD were detected there in 107 newborns in 2002-2004, so the mean prevalence reached 1.71/1000. Within this group, death rate decreased from 8 deaths in 2002 to 2 deaths in 2004, mainly thanks to improved detection and treatment of CHD. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pötzsch S, Hoyer-Schuschke J, Seelig M, Steinbicker V
Knowledge among young people about folic acid and its importance during pregnancy: a survey in the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt (Germany).
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(2):187-90.
Periconceptional folic acid supplementation is recommended to prevent congenital malformations, mainly neural tube defects, but only 7% of pregnant women in Saxony-Anhalt (Germany) take folic acid at least 4 weeks before conception and in the first 3 months of pregnancy. From March to June 2004, we sent standardized questionnaires about folic acid and its importance during pregnancy to 33 schools in the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt. A total of 4332 young people aged 1521 years completed the questionnaire, of which 2632 were girls (61%) and 1685 were boys (39%). The majority of them (61%) had heard about folic acid, but only 5% knew that it is a vitamin and 0.7% were aware of the physiological functions of folic acid. Only 22% of the young people answered that folic acid should be taken before and during pregnancy, whereas almost all respondents knew other precautions during pregnancy, e.g. "no smoking" and "no alcohol". Our survey shows that the level of awareness of the importance of folic acid at schools is very low. We suggest that the problem of folic acid should be included in the curricula of biology classes at schools to spread the knowledge of this subject among young people. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sieroszewski P, Perenc M, Ba?-Budecka E, Suzin J
Ultrasound diagnostic schema for the determination of increased risk for chromosomal fetal aneuploidies in the first half of pregnancy.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(2):177-85.
The aim of the study was to develop an early ultrasound diagnostic schema for the determination of increased risk for fetal chromosomal aneuploidies. The study was conducted on a population of 1318 pregnant women divided into 2 groups: 1255 women with the normal course of pregnancy and 63 women with diagnosed fetal abnormalities. There were 34 cases of chromosomal abnormalities (trisomy 21, 18, 13; triploidy; unbalanced inversion 9; deletion 16) and 29 cases of structural malformations. The estimation of the range of normal values was performed for the nuchal translucency (NT) measurement between 11 and 13 weeks and the nasal bone length (NB) measurement between 12 and 20 week. The results obtained in the collective set of normal pregnancies constituted the basis for the calculation of the range of normal values. The measurements of NB and NT showed a linear value increase with the pregnancy course. The following test characteristics (correlation to CRL) were recorded: NB - sensitivity 60%, specificity 98%, positive predictive value (PPV+) 43%, negative predictive value (NPV-) 98.9%. For the assumption that the test outcome means the presence or absence of the nasal bone in the ultrasound scan the sensitivity was 40%, but specificity 100%; NT - sensitivity 63.6%, specificity 98.2%, PPV+ 38.9%, NPV - 98.2%; NT + NB - presents similar characteristic to the NB or NT alone - sensitivity 55.6%, specificity 98.6%, PPV+ 50%, NPV - 98.9%. The following test characteristics for chromosomal aberration markers (correlation to BPD) were observed: NB - sensitivity 68.4%, specificity 97.4%, PPV+ 56.5%, NPV - 98.4%; NT - sensitivity 73.9%, specificity 97.9%, PPV+ 54.8%, NPV- 99.2%; NT + NB - sensitivity 94.7%, specificity 98.9%, PPV+ 90%, NPV - 99.7%, respectively. The "genetic sonogram" protocol for the structural defect detection was analysed: sensitivity was 80%, specificity 100%, PPV+ 100%, NPV - 99.7%. It is concluded that the new biometric parameter--nasal bone length (NB) and the corrected one--nuchal translucency thickness (NT) are useful markers for fetal abnormalities, especially for chromosomal aberrations. High predictive values of the diagnostic schema for the detection of aneuploidies and structural defects indicate that its application in correlation with the biparietal diameter (BPD) is highly recommended. The proposed schema is an effective algorithm for prenatal diagnostics characterised by high prognostic values. The possible introduction of the schema could result in a decrease of the invasive procedure rates, which could minimise the rate of miscarriages as a complication of amniocenteses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Krzemie? G, Roszkowska-Blaim M, Kostro I, Wojnar J, Karpi?ska M, Sekowska R
Urological anomalies in children with renal agenesis or multicystic dysplastic kidney.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(2):171-6.
This study aimed to determine the frequency of associated urological abnormalities in children with unilateral renal agenesis (RA) or multicystic dysplastic kidney (MCDK). In total, 38 children (10 girls, 28 boys) were studied: 21 with RA and 17 with MCDK. In 14 children (37%) anomalies of the urinary tract were suspected prenatally in ultrasound studies. In the remaining 24 children the diagnosis of RA/MCDK was made postnatally: in 13 (34%) in the first 7 days of life, in 11 (29%) at the age of 8 days to 34 months, mean 10.6+/-8.05 months. Voiding cystourethrography was done in 36 (95%) children, the isotopic 99mTc-EC/DMSA scan of the kidney in 29 (67%), and urography in 8. Urological anomalies were present in 11 (29%) children: in 7 (33%) with RA and in 4 (24%) with MCDK. Vesicoureteral reflux was diagnosed in 8 children: grade II in 4, III in 3, and IV in 1 (in 1 child to duplicated, in 1 to ectopic kidney); ureterovesical junction obstruction in 2 (9.5%); and ureteropelvic junction obstruction in 1 (4.8%). Among them, 2 children demanded surgery on the contralateral urinary tract: pyeloplasty in 1, antireflux procedure in 1; while 9 children were treated conservatively. Compensatory hypertrophy of the contralateral kidney was found in 90% of children. Thus due to an increased risk of pathological changes in the single functioning kidney, lifelong nephrological care is recommended in patients with unilateral RA/MCDK. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Goc B, Walencka Z, W?och A, Wojciechowska E, Wiecek-W?odarska D, Krzystolik-?adzi?ska J, Bober K, Swietli?ski J
Trisomy 18 in neonates: prenatal diagnosis, clinical features, therapeutic dilemmas and outcome.
J Appl Genet. 2006;47(2):165-70.
The study aimed to analyse the clinical courses of aggressively treated neonates with cytogenetically confirmed trisomy 18, with special attention focused on the efficiency of prenatal diagnostics, associated malformations, therapeutic dilemmas and outcomes. We investigated retrospectively the data concerning 20 neonates with trisomy 18, admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in Katowice between January 2000 and February 2005. Their birth weights ranged from 650 g to 2400 g, mean 1812 g; gestational age ranged from 27 to 42 weeks, median 38 weeks. Intrauterine growth retardation was noticed in 90% of neonates. Trisomy 18 was suspected prenatally in 40% of cases. Most (80%) of newborns were delivered by caesarean section (92% of neonates with prenatally unrecognized chromosomal defects, 62% of neonates with trisomy 18 suspicion) and 70% of infants needed respiratory support immediately after birth. Cardiac defects were present in 95%, central nervous system malformations in 65%, severe anomalies of digestive system or abdominal wall in 25% of patients. Nine surgical operations were performed during hospitalization (4 were palliative cardiac surgeries). Six patients (30%) survived the neonatal period and were discharged from the NICU. The median survival of the neonates who died was 20 days. In 4 cases cardiac problems implicated their death; in others, deaths were attributed to multiorgan failure, prematurity and/or infection. Further improvement of efficiency of prenatal ultrasound screening for diagnosis of trisomy 18 in the fetus is necessary. A lack of prenatal diagnosis of trisomy 18 in the fetus results in a high rate of unnecessary caesarean sections in these pregnancies. Despite the aggressive treatment most neonates with trisomy 18 died during the neonatal period. The majority of deaths were attributed to cardiorespiratory and multiorgan failure. Concerning the poor prognosis, prompt karyotyping (using FISH) of clinically suspected trisomy 18 is very important, because many invasive procedures and surgeries may then be avoided. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Genetics and Molecular Research

Perna SJ, Cardoso GL, Guerreiro JF
Duffy blood group genotypes among African-Brazilian communities of the Amazon region.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):166-72.
Duffy blood group genotype was studied in 95 unrelated subjects from four African-Brazilian communities of the Amazon region: Trombetas, Pitimandeua, Curiaú, and Mazagăo Velho. Genotyping was performed using an allele-specific primer polymerase chain reaction technique for determining the three major alleles at FY blood group, and as expected, FY*O allele was the most common one, with frequencies ranging from 56.4% in Mazagăo Velho to 72.2% in Pitimandeua, whereas the FY*O/FY*O genotype was found with frequencies between 32.3% in Mazagăo Velho and 58.8% in Curiaú. Genotype and allele distributions in the four Amazonian communities are consistent with a predominantly African origin with some degree of local differentiation and admixture with people of Caucasian ancestry and/or Amerindians. These results reveal that the impact of the FY*O/FY*O genotype on the transmission and endemicity of the vivax malaria deserves to be investigated in full detail in an attempt to identify the contribution of host biological factors and explain the non-homogeneous prevalence of malaria in the region expressed by its different levels of exposure. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Frigieri MC, Thompson GM, Pandolfi JR, Zanelli CF, Valentini SR
Use of a synthetic lethal screen to identify genes related to TIF51A in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):152-65.
The putative eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5A (eIF5A) is an essential protein for cell viability and the only cellular protein known to contain the unusual amino acid residue hypusine. eIF5A has been implicated in translation initiation, cell proliferation, nucleocytoplasmic transport, mRNA decay, and actin polarization, but the precise biological function of this protein is not clear. However, eIF5A was recently shown to be directly involved with the translational machinery. A screen for synthetic lethal mutations was carried out with one of the temperature-sensitive alleles of TIF51A (tif51A-3) to identify factors that functionally interact with eIF5A and revealed the essential gene YPT1. This gene encodes a small GTPase, a member of the rab family involved with secretion, acting in the vesicular trafficking between endoplasmatic reticulum and the Golgi. Thus, the synthetic lethality between TIF51A and YPT1 may reveal the connection between translation and the polarized distribution of membrane components, suggesting that these proteins work together in the cell to guarantee proper protein synthesis and secretion necessary for correct bud formation during G1/S transition. Future studies will investigate the functional interaction between eIF5A and Ypt1 in order to clarify this involvement of eIF5A with vesicular trafficking. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rincón G, Young AE, Bannasch DL, Medrano JF
Characterization of variation in the canine suppressor of cytokine signaling-2 (SOCS2) gene.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):144-51.
Suppressor of cytokine signaling 2 (SOCS2) is a negative regulator of growth hormone signaling. The deletion of SOCS2 in mice results in a 30-50% increase in post-natal growth. In an effort to identify polymorphisms in the SOCS2 gene that may be associated with body size in dogs, we characterized the canine SOCS2 gene and analyzed its genetic diversity among small and large dog breeds. The study was carried out on a total of 520 dogs from 66 different breeds. Dogs were classified as large or small based on height and weight as determined by their respective American Kennel Club breed standards. The SH2 and SOCS domains of the canine SOCS2 gene were sequenced in 32 dogs from different breeds. Only one non-synonymous sequence variant (DQ415457:g.326G>T) was detected which corresponds to an amino acid change (Asp127Tyr). All samples were genotyped by PCR/RFLP and the allele frequencies were determined for each dog breed. The T allele was distributed primarily among European large dog breeds with a gene frequency ranging from 0.72 to 0.04. The nature of the nucleotide change and the effect on the protein together with the finding of a QTL related to body size in the same CFA15 region by other researchers suggest canine SOCS2 as a potential candidate gene for body size in dogs. Future studies will be needed to clarify the role of the 326G>T polymorphism and its interaction with genes like growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ricci GL, Silva N, Pagliarini MS, Scapim CA
B chromosomes in popcorn (Zea mays L.).
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):137-43.
Cytological analysis of microsporogenesis in 72 popcorn plants, comprising nine from the original population (CMS-43, S(0)) and 63 from seven cycles of self-fertilization (S(1) to S(7)), one plant of S(0) generation (plant 2) was identified with B chromosomes. The number of B chromosomes varied from two to three in the same anther. The pattern of chromosome pairing and meiotic behavior of Bs were similar to those found in other plant species. The presence of B chromosomes did not affect chiasma frequency and chiasma distribution in A chromosomes. This is the first report of B chromosomes in popcorn. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Appio KT, Weber LI
Temporal genetic differentiation in cultured and natural beds of the brown mussel Perna perna (Mytilidae).
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):127-36.
Perna perna is the most important cultivated mussel of Santa Catarina, Brazil, sustaining an important economic input for many local families. Natural stocks of P. perna are depleted by the extraction of adults and seeds for consumption and culture. The aim of the present study was to use the microsatellite locus pms-2 to study the variation of the genetic composition and diversity between natural and cultured stocks in samples of 2001 and 2005 from Penha, Santa Catarina. DNA was extracted from adductor muscle by Chelex/proteinase-K and phenol/chloroform protocols. Amplification by polymerase chain reaction was performed using specific primers for analyzing the pms-2 locus. Polymerase chain reaction products were submitted to vertical denatured 6% polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and horizontal 2% agarose gel electrophoresis, and visualized by silver staining and ethidium bromide, respectively. Allele diversity and heterozygote deficiency were higher for samples of 2005 than for those of 2001. No significant genetic differentiation was found between natural and cultured stocks of 2001 by the chi(2) test, but G(2) (likelihood ratio) detected slight differences (I = 0.949; chi(2), P = 0.147; G(2), P = 0.046), while cultured and natural stocks of 2005 were very different (I = 0.798, P = 0.006). Between the years of 2001 and 2005, a large change in genetic composition was observed (I = 0.582; P < 0.001). Although nothing is known about natural changes in the genetic composition of this species with time, the results suggest a strong impact of human activities on natural stocks of P. perna, which is expected to be related to heavy extraction and farming. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Maffei EM, Pompolo SG
Evaluation of hot saline solution and restriction endonuclease techniques in cytogenetic studies of Cycloneda sanguinea L. (Coccinellidae).
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):122-6.
The goal of the present study was to determine if simple methods, especially hot saline solution (HSS) and MspI and HaeIII restriction endonucleases, which do not require special equipments, may be helpful in studies of genetic variability in the lady beetle, Cycloneda sanguinea. The HSS method extracted the heterochromatin region, suggesting that it is composed mostly of DNA rich in A-T base pairs. However, the X and y chromosomes were resistant to HSS banding. These bands facilitated the identification of each chromosome. In this study, we used the restriction endonucleases with different G-C base target sequences: MspI C/GGC and HaeIII GG/CC. The use of restriction enzyme MspI did not show an effect on the autosomal chromosomes. On the other hand, the sex pair showed a pale staining, to help in the recognition of these chromosomes. HaeIII produced characteristic bands which were identified all along the chromosomes, facilitating the identification of each chromosome. Based on these results, we can consider the heterochromatin being heterogeneous. The findings obtained here, using different chromosomal banding techniques, may be useful in the identification of intraspecific chomosome variability, specifically in Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) chromosomes, even without special equipment. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nassar N, Vizzotto CS, Schwartz CA, Pires OR
Cassava diversity in Brazil: the case of carotenoid-rich landraces.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):116-21.
In Brazil, the center of cassava origin, cassava landraces have acquired through their domestication a large diversity in relation to many economic traits such as high content of carotenoids and excellent palatability among other characters. One of these clones, which has been grown by indigenous Brazilian farmers and is now being maintained in the University of Brasília gene bank, showed a high level of lycopene content (5 mg/kg viz. a viz. zero in common cultivars, and 12-20 mg/kg in tomato, a lycopene-rich vegetable). A second landrace called UnB 400 had a high content of beta-carotene, which reached 4 mg/kg. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kashiwabara AY, Vieira DC, Machado-Lima A, Durham AM
Splice site prediction using stochastic regular grammars.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):105-15.
This paper presents a novel approach to the problem of splice site prediction, by applying stochastic grammar inference. We used four grammar inference algorithms to infer 1465 grammars, and used 10-fold cross-validation to select the best grammar for each algorithm. The corresponding grammars were embedded into a classifier and used to run splice site prediction and compare the results with those of NNSPLICE, the predictor used by the Genie gene finder. We indicate possible paths to improve this performance by using Sakakibara's windowing technique to find probability thresholds that will lower false-positive predictions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Martins CF, Dode MN, Báo SN, Rumpf R
The use of the acridine orange test and the TUNEL assay to assess the integrity of freeze-dried bovine spermatozoa DNA.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):94-104.
The ability to detect nuclear damage is an important tool for the development of sperm preservation methods. We used the acridine orange test (AOT) and the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUDP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay to assess the DNA status of sperm cells preserved with different lyophilization media. The AOT did not detect any differences between different lyophilization media. However, differences in DNA integrity were observed among treatments with the TUNEL assay, suggesting that TUNEL is a more sensitive method to evaluate sperm DNA. The use of TCM 199 and 10% FCS as a lyophilization medium resulted in 14% of the cells with DNA fragmentation in TUNEL test. The AOT indicated only 4% of the cells with chromatin damage, with this same treatment, with no significant differences when compared to the other treatments. The degree of DNA fragmentation was negatively related to fertilizing potential, as sperm DNA damage was inversely correlated with pro-nucleus formation. The TUNEL assay was found to be an efficient method to detect DNA damage in sperm, and it could be used as a tool to predict male fertility. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Al-Seaf A, Keown JF, Van Vleck LD
Impact of bovine somatotropin on ranking for genetic value of dairy sires for milk yield traits and somatic cell score.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):79-93.
Records of Holstein cows were used to examine how different models account for the effect of bovine somatotropin (bST) treatment on genetic evaluation of dairy sires for yield traits and somatic cell score. Data set 1 included 65,720 first-lactation records. Set 2 included 50,644 second-lactation records. Set 3 included 45,505 records for lactations three, four and five. Estimated breeding values (EBV) of sires were with three different animal models. With Model 1, bST administration was ignored. With Model 2, bST administration was used as a fixed effect. With Model 3, administration of bST was used to define the contemporary group (herd-year-month of calving-bST). Correlations for EBV of 1,366 sires with treated daughters between pairs of the three models were calculated for milk, fat and protein yields and somatic cell score for the three data sets. Correlations for EBV of sires between pairs of models for all traits ranged from 0.971 to 0.999. Fractions of sires with bST-treated progeny selected in common (top 10 to 15%) were 0.94 and usually greater for all pairs of models for all traits and parities. For this study, the method of statistical adjustment for bST treatment resulted in a negligible effect on genetic evaluations of sires when some daughters were treated with bST and suggests that selection of sires to produce the next generation of sires and cows might not be significantly affected by how the effect of bST is modeled for prediction of breeding values for milk, fat and protein yields and somatic cell score. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Al-Seaf A, Keown JF, Van Vleck LD
Estimates of correlations among yield traits and somatic cell score with different models to adjust for bovine somatotropin effects on Holstein dairy cows.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):67-78.
Records of Holstein cows from the Dairy Records Processing Center at Raleigh, NC were edited to obtain three data sets: 65,720 first, 50,694 second, and 65,445 later lactations. Correlations among yield traits and somatic cell score were estimated with three different models: 1) bovine somatotropin (bST) administration ignored, 2) bST administration as a fixed effect and 3) administration of bST as part of the contemporary group (herd-year-month-bST). Heritability estimates ranged from 0.13 to 0.17 for milk, 0.12 to 0.20 for fat, 0.14 to 0.16 for protein yields, and 0.08 to 0.09 for somatic cell score. Estimates were less for later than first lactations. Estimates of genetic correlations among yields ranged from 0.35 to 0.85 with no important differences between estimates with the 3 models. Estimates for lactation 2 agreed with estimates for lactation 1. Estimates of genetic correlations for later lactations were generally greater than for lactations 1 and 2 except between milk and protein yields. Estimates of genetic correlations between yields and somatic cell score were mostly negative or small (-0.45 to 0.11). Estimates of environmental correlations among yield traits were similar with all models (0.77 to 0.97). Estimates of environmental correlations between yields and somatic cell score were negative (-0.22 to -0.14). Estimates of phenotypic correlations among yield traits ranged from 0.70 to 0.95. Estimates of phenotypic correlations between yields and somatic cell score were small and negative. For all three data sets and all traits, no important differences in estimates of genetic parameters were found for the two models that adjusted for bST and the model that did not. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Carvalho FM, Wolfgramm EV, Degasperi I, Verbeno BM, Vianna BA, Chagas FF, Perroni AM, Paula F, Louro ID
Molecular cytogenetic analysis of a ring-Y infertile male patient.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):59-66.
In the present study, we report on the case of a 43-year-old male patient seeking for fertility assistance, who showed a seminal analysis and testicular biopsy of complete azoospermia. Peripheral blood culture for chromosome studies revealed a karyotype of 46 chromosomes with a ring-Y-chromosome that lost the long arm heterochromatin. Molecular analysis of genomic DNA from the patient detected the presence of the sex-determining region of the Y-chromosome (SRY) but the complete absence of regions involved in spermatogenesis (AZFa, AZFb, AZFc). Several molecular markers distributed along the Y-chromosome were tested through PCR amplification, and a breakpoint was established close to the centromere, predicting the deletion of the growth control region, in agreement with the short stature observed in this patient. All results obtained through molecular cytogenetic characterization are in accordance with the clinical features observed in this patient. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Howell WM, Keller GE, Kirkpatrick JD, Jenkins RL, Hunsinger RN, McLaughlin EW
Effects of the plant steroidal hormone, 24-epibrassinolide, on the mitotic index and growth of onion (Allium cepa) root tips.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):50-8.
The purpose of the present study was to determine the effects of the steroidal plant hormone, 24-epibrassinolide (BL), on the mitotic index and growth of onion (Allium cepa) root tips. The classical Allium test was used to gather and quantify data on the rate of root growth, the stages of mitosis, and the number of mitoses in control and BL-treated groups of onions. Low doses of BL (0.005 ppm) nearly doubled the mean root length and the number of mitoses over that of controls. Intermediate doses of BL (0.05 ppm) also produced mean root lengths and number of mitoses that were significantly greater than those of the controls. The highest dose of BL (0.5 ppm) produced mean root lengths and number of mitoses that were less than control values, but the differences were not statistically significant. Examination of longitudinally sectioned root tips produced relatively similar results. This study confirms the suppositions of previous authors who have claimed that exogenously applied BL can increase the number of mitoses in plants, but failed to show cytogenetic data. This is the first report detailing the effects of BL on chromosomes and the cell cycle. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gümü?-Akay G, Unal AE, Bayar S, Karadayi K, Elhan AH, Sunguro?lu A, Tükün A
Telomerase activity could be used as a marker for neoplastic transformation in gastric adenocarcinoma: but it does not have a prognostic significance.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):41-9.
Telomerase activity is responsible for telomere maintenance and is believed to be crucial in most immortal cells and cancer cells; however, its clinicopathological significance in gastric cancer remains to be clarified. The aim of the present study was to assess whether malignant progression of gastric adenocarcinoma correlates with telomerase activity. We also investigated the correlation between telomerase activity and histopathological findings. We examined telomerase activity in tumor specimens and adjacent normal tissues from 43 patients with gastric adenocarcinoma. Telomerase activity was measured quantitatively by the TRAPEZE Gel Based Telomerase Detection Kit. Approximately 98% of the tumor tissues were telomerase positive, but telomerase activity was detected not only in tumor tissues but also in normal gastric mucosa. Although telomerase activity was found to be higher in tumor samples than normal tissue for each subject, we could not find a general cut-off level for telomerase activity in gastric adenocarcinoma. In addition, telomerase activity was not correlated with tumor invasion, lymph node involvement and histological stage. Our results support the idea that telomerase reactivation is a common event in gastric adenocarcinoma and it is not related to histopathological parameters. Since it is difficult to set a cut-off level for this type of cancer, we suggest that the prognostic utility of telomerase assay has not yet reached the clinic in terms of predicting outcome for patients with gastric adenocarcinoma. For the assessment of gastric carcinoma, telomerase activity should be evaluated in both tumor and normal tissues, because normal gastric mucosa samples show appreciable telomerase activity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Souza HV, Bicudo HE, Itoyama MM
Study of chromosomal and nucleolar aspects in testes of Nysius californicus (Heteroptera: Lygaeidae).
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):33-40.
In Nysius californicus (family Lygaeidae, subfamily Orsillinae), a pest commonly known as the seed bug, the chromosome complement is 2n = 16 (12A + 2m + XY), testes are formed by seven seminiferous tubules covered by an orange-colored membrane, and spermatogenesis is cystic. At prophase, sex chromosomes are heteropycnotic and autosomes usually show a chiasma. At metaphase, sex chromosomes along with microchromosomes may be seen located at the center of a ring formed by the remaining autosomes. A characteristic specific of N. californicus was the presence of nucleolar material observed from the cystic cell to the completely differentiated spermatozoon. Variations in size, shape and location of the nucleolar material occur during this process, denoting a variable degree of activity in the different stages. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Martins WF, Ayres CF, Lucena WA
Genetic diversity of Brazilian natural populations of Anthonomus grandis Boheman (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), the major cotton pest in the New World.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):23-32.
Twenty-five RAPD loci and 6 isozyme loci were studied to characterize the genetic variability of natural populations of Anthonomus grandis from two agroecosystems of Brazil. The random-amplified polymorphic DNA data disclosed a polymorphism that varied from 52 to 84% and a heterozygosity of 0.189 to 0.347. The index of genetic differentiation (GST) among the six populations was 0.258. The analysis of isozymes showed a polymorphism and a heterozygosity ranging from 25 to 100% and 0.174 to 0.277, respectively. The genetic differentiation (FST) among the populations obtained by isozyme data was 0.544. It was possible to observe rare alleles in the populations from the Northeast region. The markers examined allowed us to distinguish populations from large-scale, intensive farming region (cotton belts) versus populations from areas of small-scale farming [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kawasaki PM, Kano FS, Vidotto O, Vidotto MC
Cloning, sequencing, expression, and antigenic characterization of rMSP4 from Anaplasma marginale isolated from Paraná State, Brazil.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):15-22.
Anaplasmosis is a bovine intraerythrocytic disease caused by the bacterium Anaplasma marginale; it causes significant economic losses in tropical and subtropical regions, worldwide. The msp4 gene of an A. marginale strain isolated in Paran , Brazil, was amplified by PCR and sequenced; its cloning into the pET102/D-TOPO vector produced an msp4-6xHis-V5-HP thioredoxin fusion gene construct. This recombinant clone was over-expressed in Escherichia coli BL21(DE-3); the expressed fusion protein was found almost entirely in the insoluble form (inclusion bodies) in the cell lysate. The inclusion bodies were solubilized with urea and the recombinant protein was purified by Ni-NTA column and dialyzed. This method produced a relatively high yield of rMSP4, which was used to immunize rabbits. The deduced amino acid sequence encoded by MSP4 showed 99% homology to A. marginale isolates from Florida, USA, and from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Both rMSP4 and native MSP4 were recognized by post-immunization rabbit serum, showing that rMSP4 has conserved epitopes. As antigenicity was preserved, rMSP4 might be useful for the development of vaccine against anaplasmosis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Barni GS, Strapazzon R, Guerra JC, Moretto G
Mitochondrial genome differences between the stingless bees Melipona rufiventris and Melipona mondury (Apidae: Meliponini).
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):8-14.
Within the Meliponini, a widely distributed group of stingless bees, Melipona rufiventris has been considered as a single, cohesive species. Recently, analysis of morphological characters led to the splitting of this species into two species, M. mondury and M. rufiventris. The former occurs in the Atlantic Rain Forest ranging from Santa Catarina to Bahia States, while the latter is found in other parts of Brazil. We used PCR + RFLP to identify genetic marker patterns of the mtDNA between these species. Nine mtDNA regions were amplified and digested with four restriction enzymes (EcoRI, EcoRV, HindIII, and HinfI). Six species-specific restriction sites were identified for M. mondury and M. rufiventris with all enzymes, except for HindIII. The molecular data agree with the morphological classification. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kochi C, Longui CA, Lemos-Marini SH, Guerra-Junior G, Melo MB, Calliari LE, Monte O
The influence of parental origin of X chromosome genes on the stature of patients with 45 X Turner syndrome.
Genet Mol Res. 2007;6(1):1-7.
Thirty-seven 45 X Turner syndrome patients with confirmed peripheral blood lymphocyte karyotype were initially selected to determine the origin of the retained X chromosome and to correlate it with their parents' stature. Blood samples were available in 25 families. The parental origin of the X chromosome was determined in 24 informative families through the analysis of the exon 1-CAG repeat variation of the androgen receptor gene. In 70.8% of the cases, the retained X chromosome was maternal in origin and 29.2% was paternal. When we classified the patients according to maternal (Xm) or paternal (Xp) X chromosome, there was a positive correlation between patients' and maternal heights only in the Xm group. There was no correlation with paternal height in either group, and a significant correlation with target height was only observed in the Xm group. In conclusion, maternal height is the best variable correlating with the height of 45 X Turner syndrome patients who retain the maternal X chromosome, suggesting a strong influence of genes located on the maternal X chromosome on stature. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Carvalho PC, Freitas SS, Lima AB, Barros M, Bittencourt I, Degrave W, Cordovil I, Fonseca R, Carvalho MG, Moura Neto RS, Cabello PH
Personalized diagnosis by cached solutions with hypertension as a study model.
Genet Mol Res. 2006;5(4):856-67.
Statistical modeling of links between genetic profiles with environmental and clinical data to aid in medical diagnosis is a challenge. Here, we present a computational approach for rapidly selecting important clinical data to assist in medical decisions based on personalized genetic profiles. What could take hours or days of computing is available on-the-fly, making this strategy feasible to implement as a routine without demanding great computing power. The key to rapidly obtaining an optimal/nearly optimal mathematical function that can evaluate the "disease stage" by combining information of genetic profiles with personal clinical data is done by querying a precomputed solution database. The database is previously generated by a new hybrid feature selection method that makes use of support vector machines, recursive feature elimination and random sub-space search. Here, to evaluate the method, data from polymorphisms in the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system genes together with clinical data were obtained from patients with hypertension and control subjects. The disease "risk" was determined by classifying the patients' data with a support vector machine model based on the optimized feature; then measuring the Euclidean distance to the hyperplane decision function. Our results showed the association of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system gene haplotypes with hypertension. The association of polymorphism patterns with different ethnic groups was also tracked by the feature selection process. A demonstration of this method is also available online on the project's web site. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Melo SC, Pungartnik C, Cascardo JC, Brendel M
Rapid and efficient protocol for DNA extraction and molecular identification of the basidiomycete Crinipellis perniciosa.
Genet Mol Res. 2006;5(4):851-5.
DNA isolation from some fungal organisms is difficult because they have cell walls or capsules that are relatively unsusceptible to lysis. Beginning with a yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae genomic DNA isolation method, we developed a 30-min DNA isolation protocol for filamentous fungi by combining cell wall digestion with cell disruption by glass beads. High-quality DNA was isolated with good yield from the hyphae of Crinipellis perniciosa, which causes witches' broom disease in cacao, from three other filamentous fungi, Lentinus edodes, Agaricus blazei, Trichoderma stromaticum, and from the yeast S. cerevisiae. Genomic DNA was suitable for PCR of specific actin primers of C. perniciosa, allowing it to be differentiated from fungal contaminants, including its natural competitor, T. stromaticum. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rodrigues FM, Telles MP, Resende LV, Soares TN, Diniz-Filho JA, Jácomo AT, Silveira L
Transferability of short tandem repeat markers for two wild Canid species inhabiting the Brazilian Cerrado.
Genet Mol Res. 2006;5(4):846-50.
The maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) and the crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous) are two wild-canid species found in the Brazilian Cerrado. We tested cross-amplification and transferability of 29 short tandem repeat primers originally developed for cattle and domestic dogs and cats on 38 individuals of each of these two species, collected in the Emas National Park, which is the largest national park in the Cerrado region. Six of these primers were successfully transferred (CSSM-038, PEZ-05, PEZ-12, LOCO-13, LOCO-15, and PEZ-20); five of which were found to be polymorphic. Genetic parameter values (number of alleles per locus, observed and expected heterozygosities, and fixation indices) were within the expected range reported for canid populations worldwide. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Risso-Pascotto C, Pagliarini MS, Valle CB
Microsporogenesis in Brachiaria dictyoneura (Fig. & De Not.) Stapf (Poaceae: Paniceae).
Genet Mol Res. 2006;5(4):837-45.
Microsporogenesis was analyzed in five accessions of Brachiaria dictyoneura presenting x = 6 as the basic chromosome number. All accessions were tetraploid (2n = 4x = 24) with chromosome pairing in bi-, tri-, and quadrivalents. The recorded meiotic abnormalities were those typical of polyploids, including precocious chromosome migration to the poles, laggard chromosomes, and micronucleus formation. The frequency of these abnormalities, however, was lower than those reported for other polyploid accessions previously analyzed for other Brachiaria species. Cell fusion and absence of cytokinesis were also recorded in some accessions, leading to restitutional nucleus formation in some cells. Genetically unbalanced microspores, binucleate, and 2n microspores were found among normal meiotic products as results from these abnormalities. The limitation in using these accessions as pollen donor in interspecific crosses with sexual species with x = 7 or x = 9 in breeding programs is discussed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Horimoto AR, Ferraz JB, Balieiro JC, Eler JP
Estimation of genetic parameters for a new model for defining body structure scores (frame scores) in Nellore cattle.
Genet Mol Res. 2006;5(4):828-36.
Models for estimation of frame scores in Nellore beef cattle (FRAME_GMA) were developed, comparing them with frame scores estimated using equations proposed by the Beef Improvement Federation (FRAME_BIF, USA). Correlation among frame scores obtained by these two methodologies, along with the independent variables considered in the estimation models, were also studied. A data set with 12,728 animals, with ages between 490 and 610 days, was used. The models that best adjusted to FRAME_GMA included hip height, weight and interaction between height and weight. Estimates of heritability for FRAME_GMA and FRAME_BIF were 0.26 +/- 0.03 and 0.23 +/- 0.03, respectively, in single trait analysis, and 0.28 and 0.24, respectively, in multi-trait analysis. Phenotypic Pearson and Spearman correlation coefficients between FRAME_GMA and FRAME_BIF for males were 0.87 and 0.83, respectively, being lower than those found for females (0.92 for both coefficients). Genetic correlation between the frame scores did not differ between genders, with values of 0.92 for the Pearson coefficient and 0.91 for the Spearman coefficient. We concluded that FRAME_GMA was better adapted to this data set than FRAME_BIF. Other studies need to be made to evaluate the applicability of this proposed model to other populations of Nellore beef cattle and for other age groups. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Trivedi S, Gehlot HS, Rao SR
Protein thermostability in Archaea and Eubacteria.
Genet Mol Res. 2006;5(4):816-27.
In order to survive at high temperatures, thermophilic prokaryotes (Archaea and Eubacteria) adopt different strategies. Among several important contributing factors for stability of proteins are CG-rich codons, the ratio of charged amino acids compared to uncharged amino acids, ionic interactions, amino acid preferences and their distribution, post-translational modifications, and solute accumulation. However, these factors may differ from taxon to taxon, both within and between species depending upon the composition of proteins found in these organisms. This is exemplified in the case of differences in strategies adopted by soluble proteins and membrane proteins. Therefore, it appears that no single factor or combination of factors together can be universally attributed to the provision of thermal stability in proteins. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Moreira PR, Morielle-Versute E
Genetic variability in species of bats revealed by RAPD analysis.
Genet Mol Res. 2006;5(4):804-15.
Random amplified polymorphic DNA molecular marker was utilized as a means of analyzing genetic variability in seven bat species: Molossus molossus, M. rufus, Eumops glaucinus, E. perotis, Myotis nigricans, Eptesicus furinalis, and Artibeus planirostris. The determination of genetic diversity was based on 741 bands produced by a 20-random primer set. Only eight bands were considered monomorphic to one species. The greatest number of bands and the most polymorphic condition were exhibited by M. molossus, followed by M. nigricans, A. planirostris, E. furinalis, E. glaucinus, M. rufus, and E. perotis. Nei's genetic diversity index in the seven species considering the 20 primers was not greater than 0.22, but some primers were capable of detecting values between 0.39 and 0.49. Nei's unbiased genetic distance values and the UPGMA clustering pattern show that M. molossus and M. rufus have a close genetic relationship, unlike that observed between E. perotis and E. glaucinus. The latter was clustered with A. planirostris and E. furinalis. The low values for genetic diversity and distance observed indicate a genetic conservatism in the seven species. The fluorescent in situ hybridization experiments did not confirm a monomorphic condition for the eight bands identified, demonstrating that the monomorphic bands obtained by random amplified polymorphic DNA are insufficient for the identification of bat species. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Risso-Pascotto C, Mendes DV, Silva N, Pagliarini MS, Valle CB
Evidence of allopolyploidy in Brachiaria brizantha (Poaceae: Paniceae) through chromosome arrangement at metaphase plate during microsporogenesis.
Genet Mol Res. 2006;5(4):797-803.
In the hexaploid (2n = 6x = 54) accession B176 of Brachiaria brizantha, one cytological characteristic differentiated it from the other accessions previously analyzed with the same ploidy level. Nearly 40% of meiocytes displayed the chromosome set arranged at two metaphase plates at the poles of the cell, close to the membrane. In these cells, both metaphase plates were arranged in an angle to form a typical tripolar spindle. Therefore, cells did not show normal chromosome segregation at anaphase I. Only nine univalent chromosomes migrated from each plate to the opposite pole with the remainder staying immobile on the plate. As a result of such spindle orientation and chromosome behavior, trinucleate telophases I were recorded. After telophase, cytokinesis eliminated the small nuclei into a microcyte. The second division proceeded normally, with the presence of microcytes in all phases. The origin of such an abnormality was explained on the hexaploid level of the accession which could have resulted by chromosome doubling of a triploid derived from species that did not display the same behavior for spindle organization. The high percentage of meiotic abnormalities recorded in this accession compromises fertility and renders it inadequate for the breeding program. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Seno LO, Cardoso VL, Tonhati H
Responses to selection for milk traits in dairy buffaloes.
Genet Mol Res. 2006;5(4):790-6.
The aim of the present study was to estimate the index and individual responses to selection for milk (MY), fat (FY) and protein (PY) yields for different breeding goals for two commercial buffalo milk production systems in Săo Paulo State characterized by: 1) all milk produced is sold to the industry (MILK) and 2) all milk produced is used in the mozzarella cheese-making process at the farm (MOZZARELLA). The current payment policy is based exclusively on milk volume. The mozzarella price refers to the wholesale selling price. Index responses to selection (IR) were calculated for three different breeding goals (BG): 1) MY exclusively (BG(1)); 2) FY + PY (BG(2)) and 3) MY + FY + PY (BG(3)). IR for the MILK system were 41.79 US dollars (BG(1)), 5.91 US dollars (BG(2)) and 38.22 US dollars (BG(3)). For the MOZZARELLA system, IR were 179.50 US dollars (BG(1)), 262.85 US dollars (BG(2)) and 402.41 US dollars (BG(3)). The results suggest that for the present circumstances, selection for milk components is not advantageous when milk is produced for sale to the industry. However, when mozzarella making is added to the system, the selection for components and milk volume is the most economically beneficial. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Brinkrolf K, Brune I, Tauch A
Transcriptional regulation of catabolic pathways for aromatic compounds in Corynebacterium glutamicum.
Genet Mol Res. 2006;5(4):773-89.
Corynebacterium glutamicum is a gram-positive soil microorganism able to utilize a large variety of aromatic compounds as the sole carbon source. The corresponding catabolic routes are associated with multiple ring-fission dioxygenases and among other channeling reactions, include the gentisate pathway, the protocatechuate and catechol branches of the beta-ketoadipate pathway and two potential hydroxyquinol pathways. Genes encoding the enzymatic machinery for the bioconversion of aromatic compounds are organized in several clusters in the C. glutamicum genome. Expression of the gene clusters is under specific transcriptional control, apparently including eight DNA-binding proteins belonging to the AraC, IclR, LuxR, PadR, and TetR families of transcriptional regulators. Expression of the gentisate pathway involved in the utilization of 3-hydroxybenzoate and gentisate is positively regulated by an IclR-type activator. The metabolic channeling of ferulate, vanillin and vanillate into the protocatechuate branch of the beta-ketoadipate pathway is controlled by a PadR-like repressor. Regulatory proteins of the IclR and LuxR families participate in transcriptional regulation of the branches of the beta-ketoadipate pathway that are involved in the utilization of benzoate, 4-hydroxybenzoate and protocatechuate. The channeling of phenol into this pathway may be under positive transcriptional control by an AraC-type activator. One of the potential hydroxyquinol pathways of C. glutamicum is apparently repressed by a TetR-type regulator. This global analysis revealed that transcriptional regulation of aromatic compound utilization is mainly controlled by single regulatory proteins sensing the presence of aromatic compounds, thus representing single input motifs within the transcriptional regulatory network of C. glutamicum. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Trivedi S
Comparison of simple sequence repeats in 19 Archaea.
Genet Mol Res. 2006;5(4):741-72.
All organisms that have been studied until now have been found to have differential distribution of simple sequence repeats (SSRs), with more SSRs in intergenic than in coding sequences. SSR distribution was investigated in Archaea genomes where complete chromosome sequences of 19 Archaea were analyzed with the program SPUTNIK to find di- to penta-nucleotide repeats. The number of repeats was determined for the complete chromosome sequences and for the coding and non-coding sequences. Different from what has been found for other groups of organisms, there is an abundance of SSRs in coding regions of the genome of some Archaea. Dinucleotide repeats were rare and CG repeats were found in only two Archaea. In general, trinucleotide repeats are the most abundant SSR motifs; however, pentanucleotide repeats are abundant in some Archaea. Some of the tetranucleotide and pentanucleotide repeat motifs are organism specific. In general, repeats are short and CG-rich repeats are present in Archaea having a CG-rich genome. Among the 19 Archaea, SSR density was not correlated with genome size or with optimum growth temperature. Pentanucleotide density had an inverse correlation with the CG content of the genome. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in BMC Genetics

Haston CK, Humes DG, Lafleur M
X chromosome transmission ratio distortion in Cftr +/- intercross-derived mice.
BMC Genet. 2007;823.
BACKGROUND: Cystic fibrosis (CF) mice, created with a genetically engineered mutation in the Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (Cftr) gene, may develop intestinal plugs which limit their survival past weaning. In a studied population of genetically mixed CF mice differences in allelic ratios at particular loci, between surviving CF mice and mice with the lethal intestinal defect, were used to map cystic fibrosis modifier gene one, Cfm1. Using this approach, we previously identified an X chromosome locus which may influence the survival to weaning of C57BL/6J x BALB/cJ F2 CF mice. We also detected two regions of transmission ratio distortion, independent of Cftr genotype, in a limited dataset. To investigate these findings, in this study we have genotyped 1208 three-week old F2 mice, and 186 day E15.5 embryos, derived from a congenic (C57BL/6J x BALB/cJ) F1 Cftr +/- intercross, for the putative distortion regions. RESULTS: An excess of homozygous BALB genotypes, compared to Mendelian expectations, was detected on chromosomes 5 (p = 5.7 x 10-15) and X (p = 3.0 x 10-35) in three-week old female mice but transmission ratio distortion was not evident in the tested region of chromosome 3 (p = 0.39). Significant pre-weaning lethality of CF mice occurred as 11.3% (137/1208) of the three-week old offspring were identified as CF mice. X chromosome genotypes were not, however, distorted in the female CF mice (p = 0.62), thus the significant non-Mendelian inheritance of this locus was dependent on CF status. The survival of CF embryos to day E15.5 was consistent with Mendelian expectations (42/186 = 23%), demonstrating the loss of CF mice to have occurred between E15.5 and three weeks of age. The excess of X chromosome homozygous BALB genotypes was recorded in female embryos (p = 0.0048), including CF embryos, indicating the distortion to be evident at this age. CONCLUSION: Two of three previously suggested loci of transmission ratio distortion were replicated as distorted in this mouse cross. The non-Mendelian inheritance of X chromosome genotypes implicates this region in the survival to weaning of non-CF mice. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Monteiro A, Chen B, Scott LC, Vedder L, Prijs HJ, Belicha-Villanueva A, Brakefield PM
The combined effect of two mutations that alter serially homologous color pattern elements on the fore and hindwings of a butterfly.
BMC Genet. 2007;822.
BACKGROUND: The ability for serially homologous structures to acquire a separate identity has been primarily investigated for structures dependent on Hox gene input but is still incompletely understood in other systems. The fore and hindwings of butterflies are serially homologous structures as are the serially homologous eyespots that can decorate each of these wings. Eyespots can vary in number between fore and hindwings of the same individual and mutations of large effect can control the total number of eyespots that each of the wings displays. Here we investigate the genetics of a new spontaneous color pattern mutation, Missing, that alters eyespot number in the nymphalid butterfly, Bicyclus anynana. We further test the interaction of Missing with a previously described mutation, Spotty, describe the developmental stage affected by Missing, and test whether Missing is a mutant variant of the gene Distal-less via a linkage association study. RESULTS: Missing removes or greatly reduces the size of two of the hindwing eyespots from the row of seven eyespots, with no detectable effect on the rest of the wing pattern. Offspring carrying a single Missing allele display intermediate sized eyespots at these positions. Spotty has the opposite effect of Missing, i.e., it introduces two extra eyespots in homologous wing positions to those affected by Missing, but on the forewing. When Missing is combined with Spotty the size of the two forewing eyespots decreases but the size of the hindwing spots stays the same, suggesting that these two mutations have a combined effect on the forewing such that Missing reduces eyespot size when in the presence of a Spotty mutant allele, but that Spotty has no effect on the hindwing. Missing prevents the complete differentiation of two of the eyespot foci on the hindwing. We found no evidence for any linkage between the Distal-less and Missing genes. CONCLUSION: The spontaneous mutation Missing controls the differentiation of the signaling centers of a subset of the serial homologous eyespots present on both the fore and the hindwing in a dose-dependent fashion. The effect of Missing on the forewing, however, is only observed when the mutation Spotty introduces additional eyespots on this wing. Spotty, on the other hand, controls the differentiation of eyespot centers only on the forewing. Spotty, unlike Missing, may be under Ubx gene regulation, since it affects a subset of eyespots on only one of the serially homologous wings. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Listman JB, Malison RT, Sughondhabirom A, Yang BZ, Raaum RL, Thavichachart N, Sanichwankul K, Kranzler HR, Tangwonchai S, Mutirangura A, Disotell TR, Gelernter J
Demographic changes and marker properties affect detection of human population differentiation.
BMC Genet. 2007;821.
BACKGROUND: Differentiating genetically between populations is valuable for admixture and population stratification detection and in understanding population history. This is easy to achieve for major continental populations, but not for closely related populations. It has been claimed that a large marker panel is necessary to reliably distinguish populations within a continent. We investigated whether empirical genetic differentiation could be accomplished efficiently among three Asian populations (Hmong, Thai, and Chinese) using a small set of highly variable markers (15 tetranucleotide and 17 dinucleotide repeats). RESULTS: Hmong could be differentiated from Thai and Chinese based on multi-locus genotypes, but Thai and Chinese were indistinguishable from each other. We found significant evidence for a recent population bottleneck followed by expansion in the Hmong that was not present in the Thai or Chinese. Tetranucleotide repeats were less useful than dinucleotide repeat markers in distinguishing between major continental populations (Asian, European, and African) while both successfully distinguished Hmong from Thai and Chinese. CONCLUSION: Demographic history contributes significantly to robust detection of intracontinental population structure. Populations having experienced a rapid size reduction may be reliably distinguished as a result of a genetic drift -driven redistribution of population allele frequencies. Tetranucleotide markers, which differ from dinucleotide markers in mutation mechanism and rate, are similar in information content to dinucleotide markers in this situation. These factors should be considered when identifying populations suitable for gene mapping studies and when interpreting interpopulation relationships based on microsatellite markers. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Curtis D, Vine AE, Knight J
A pragmatic suggestion for dealing with results for candidate genes obtained from genome wide association studies.
BMC Genet. 2007;820.
BACKGROUND: Researchers may embark on a genome-wide association study before fully investigating candidate regions which have been reported to produce evidence to suggest that they harbour susceptibility loci. If the genome wide study had not been carried out then results which demonstrated only modest statistical significance from candidate regions would be judged to be of interest and would stimulate further investigation. However if hundreds of thousands of markers are typed then inevitably very large numbers of such results will occur by chance and those from candidate regions may attract no special attention. RESULTS: An approach is proposed in which differential treatment is afforded to markers from candidate regions and from those that are routinely typed in the context of a genome wide scan. Different prior probabilities are assigned to the two types of marker. A likelihood ratio is derived from the reported p value for each marker, calculated as LR = echiinv(1,p)/2, and the posterior odds in favour of a true positive association are obtained. These odds can be used to rank the markers with a view to suggesting the regions in which further genotyping is indicated. We suggest that prior probabilities be specified such that a candidate marker significant at p = 0.01 and a routine marker significant at p = 0.00001 will yield similar values for the posterior odds. We show that this can be achieved by setting a value for prior probability of association to 0.1 for candidate markers and to 0.00018 for routine markers. CONCLUSION: It is essential that formal procedures be adopted in order to avoid modestly positively results from candidate regions being swamped by the huge number of nominally significant results which will be obtained when very many markers are genotyped. Software to carry out the conversion from p values to posterior odds is available from [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Stock KF, Distl O, Hoeschele I
Bayesian estimation of genetic parameters for multivariate threshold and continuous phenotypes and molecular genetic data in simulated horse populations using Gibbs sampling.
BMC Genet. 2007;819.
BACKGROUND: Requirements for successful implementation of multivariate animal threshold models including phenotypic and genotypic information are not known yet. Here simulated horse data were used to investigate the properties of multivariate estimators of genetic parameters for categorical, continuous and molecular genetic data in the context of important radiological health traits using mixed linear-threshold animal models via Gibbs sampling. The simulated pedigree comprised 7 generations and 40000 animals per generation. Additive genetic values, residuals and fixed effects for one continuous trait and liabilities of four binary traits were simulated, resembling situations encountered in the Warmblood horse. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) effects and genetic marker information were simulated for one of the liabilities. Different scenarios with respect to recombination rate between genetic markers and QTL and polymorphism information content of genetic markers were studied. For each scenario ten replicates were sampled from the simulated population, and within each replicate six different datasets differing in number and distribution of animals with trait records and availability of genetic marker information were generated. (Co)Variance components were estimated using a Bayesian mixed linear-threshold animal model via Gibbs sampling. Residual variances were fixed to zero and a proper prior was used for the genetic covariance matrix. RESULTS: Effective sample sizes (ESS) and biases of genetic parameters differed significantly between datasets. Bias of heritability estimates was -6% to +6% for the continuous trait, -6% to +10% for the binary traits of moderate heritability, and -21% to +25% for the binary traits of low heritability. Additive genetic correlations were mostly underestimated between the continuous trait and binary traits of low heritability, under- or overestimated between the continuous trait and binary traits of moderate heritability, and overestimated between two binary traits. Use of trait information on two subsequent generations of animals increased ESS and reduced bias of parameter estimates more than mere increase of the number of informative animals from one generation. Consideration of genotype information as a fixed effect in the model resulted in overestimation of polygenic heritability of the QTL trait, but increased accuracy of estimated additive genetic correlations of the QTL trait. CONCLUSION: Combined use of phenotype and genotype information on parents and offspring will help to identify agonistic and antagonistic genetic correlations between traits of interests, facilitating design of effective multiple trait selection schemes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Huang XQ, Cloutier S
Hemi-nested touchdown PCR combined with primer-template mismatch PCR for rapid isolation and sequencing of low molecular weight glutenin subunit gene family from a hexaploid wheat BAC library.
BMC Genet. 2007;818.
BACKGROUND: Hexaploid wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) possesses a large genome that contains 1.6 x 1010 bp of DNA. Isolation of a large number of gene sequences from complex gene families with a high level of gene sequence identity from genomic DNA is therefore difficult and time-consuming. Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries can be useful for such work. Here we report on an efficient approach for rapid isolation and sequencing of the low molecular weight glutenin subunit gene family from the 'Glenlea' wheat BAC library via primer-template mismatch PCR using universal primers, primer walking using hemi-nested touchdown (TD) PCR, and followed by direct sequencing of PCR products. RESULTS: For the primer-template mismatch PCR, the universal primers were designed based on conserved gene coding regions of consensus sequences. The effects of the universal primer-template mismatches on the efficiency of standard PCR amplification were investigated after assembly of sequences from different primers amplifying the same BAC clones. Single or multiple mismatches were observed at 5' terminal, internal and the penultimate position, respectively. These mismatches included the transition mispairs G:T, T:G, A:C and the transversion mispairs A:A, A:G, G:G, G:A. Two or more primer-template mismatches reduced PCR product yield approximately from 2-fold to 10-fold compared to PCR product yield without the primer-template mismatch. For the hemi-nested TD PCR, primers were designed based on the known sequences obtained and/or published. The hemi-nested TD PCR increased both specificity and yield by high and low annealing temperatures in two consecutive amplifications. Comparison of two methods for purifying PCR products prior to sequencing showed that purification using MultiScreen384-PCR filter plates had an advantage over ethanol purification because greater numbers of sequencing reactions could be performed from comparable volumes of PCR reactions. CONCLUSION: This approach was fast, easy and cost-effective for isolation and sequencing of genes from complex gene families. It may be suitable for (i) isolation of other complex gene families and/or gene homologues from BAC libraries, (ii) for characterization of multi-copy repetitive elements pending availability of BAC libraries, and (iii) for filling in gaps in shotgun BAC sequencing. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Friedel S, Reichwald K, Scherag A, Brumm H, Wermter AK, Fries HR, Koberwitz K, Wabitsch M, Meitinger T, Platzer M, Biebermann H, Hinney A, Hebebrand J
Mutation screen and association studies in the diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase homolog 2 gene (DGAT2), a positional candidate gene for early onset obesity on chromosome 11q13.
BMC Genet. 2007;817.
BACKGROUND: DGAT2 is a promising candidate gene for obesity because of its function as a key enzyme in fat metabolism and because of its localization on chromosome 11q13, a linkage region for extreme early onset obesity detected in our sample.We performed a mutation screen in 93 extremely obese children and adolescents and 94 healthy underweight controls. Association studies were performed in samples of up to 361 extremely obese children and adolescents and 445 healthy underweight and normal weight controls. Additionally, we tested for linkage and performed family based association studies at four common variants in the 165 families of our initial genome scan. RESULTS: The mutation screen revealed 15 DNA variants, four of which were coding non-synonymous exchanges: p.Val82Ala, p.Arg297Gln, p.Gly318Ser and p.Leu385Val. Ten variants were synonymous: c.-9447A > G, c.-584C > G, c.-140C > T, c.-30C > T, IVS2-3C > G, c.812A > G, c.920T > C, IVS7+23C > T, IVS7+73C > T and *22C > T. Additionally, the small biallelic trinucleotide repeat rs3841596 was identified. None of the case control and family based association studies showed an association of investigated variants or haplotypes in the genomic region of DGAT2. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, our results do not support the hypothesis of an important role of common genetic variation in DGAT2 for the development of obesity in our sample. Anyhow, if there is an influence of genetic variation in DGAT2 on body weight regulation, it might either be conferred by the less common variants (MAF < 0.1) or the detected, rare non-synonymous variants. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jiao Y, Yan J, Jiao F, Yang H, Donahue LR, Li X, Roe BA, Stuart J, Gu W
A single nucleotide mutation in Nppc is associated with a long bone abnormality in lbab mice.
BMC Genet. 2007;816.
BACKGROUND: The long bone abnormality (lbab) mouse is a new autosomal recessive mutant characterized by overall smaller body size with proportionate dwarfing of all organs and shorter long bones. Previous linkage analysis has located the lbab mutation on chromosome 1 between the markers D1Mit9 and D1Mit488. RESULTS: A genome-based positional approach was used to identify a mutation associated with lbab disease. A total of 122 genes and expressed sequence tags at the lbab region were screened for possible mutation by using genomic DNA from lbabl/lbab, lbab/+, and +/+ B6 mice and high throughput temperature gradient capillary electrophoresis. A sequence difference was identified in one of the amplicons of gene Nppc between lbab/lbab and +/+ mice. One-step reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction was performed to validate the difference of Nppc in different types of mice at the mRNA level. The mutation of Nppc was unique in lbab/lbab mice among multiple mouse inbred strains. The mutation of Nppc is co-segregated with lbab disease in 200 progenies produced from heterozygous lbab/+ parents. CONCLUSION: A single nucleotide mutation of Nppc is associated with dwarfism in lbab/lbab mice. Current genome information and technology allow us to efficiently identify single nucleotide mutations from roughly mapped disease loci. The lbab mouse is a useful model for hereditary human achondroplasia. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Haase B, Doherr MG, Seuberlich T, Drögemüller C, Dolf G, Nicken P, Schiebel K, Ziegler U, Groschup MH, Zurbriggen A, Leeb T
PRNP promoter polymorphisms are associated with BSE susceptibility in Swiss and German cattle.
BMC Genet. 2007;815.
BACKGROUND: Non-synonymous polymorphisms within the prion protein gene (PRNP) influence the susceptibility and incubation time for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) in some species such as sheep and humans. In cattle, none of the known polymorphisms within the PRNP coding region has a major influence on susceptibility to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). Recently, however, we demonstrated an association between susceptibility to BSE and a 23 bp insertion/deletion (indel) polymorphism and a 12 bp indel polymorphism within the putative PRNP promoter region using 43 German BSE cases and 48 German control cattle. The objective of this study was to extend this work by including a larger number of BSE cases and control cattle of German and Swiss origin. RESULTS: Allele, genotype and haplotype frequencies of the two indel polymorphisms were determined in 449 BSE cattle and 431 unaffected cattle from Switzerland and Germany including all 43 German BSE and 16 German control animals from the original study. When breeds with similar allele and genotype distributions were compared, the 23 bp indel polymorphism again showed a significant association with susceptibility to BSE. However, some additional breed-specific allele and genotype distributions were identified, mainly related to the Brown breeds. CONCLUSION: Our study corroborated earlier findings that polymorphisms in the PRNP promoter region have an influence on susceptibility to BSE. However, breed-specific differences exist that need to be accounted for when analyzing such data. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Romero V, Larsen CE, Duke-Cohan JS, Fox EA, Romero T, Clavijo OP, Fici DA, Husain Z, Almeciga I, Alford DR, Awdeh ZL, Zuńiga J, El-Dahdah L, Alper CA, Yunis EJ
Genetic fixity in the human major histocompatibility complex and block size diversity in the class I region including HLA-E.
BMC Genet. 2007;814.
BACKGROUND: The definition of human MHC class I haplotypes through association of HLA-A, HLA-Cw and HLA-B has been used to analyze ethnicity, population migrations and disease association. RESULTS: Here, we present HLA-E allele haplotype association and population linkage disequilibrium (LD) analysis within the ~1.3 Mb bounded by HLA-B/Cw and HLA-A to increase the resolution of identified class I haplotypes. Through local breakdown of LD, we inferred ancestral recombination points both upstream and downstream of HLA-E contributing to alternative block structures within previously identified haplotypes. Through single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis of the MHC region, we also confirmed the essential genetic fixity, previously inferred by MHC allele analysis, of three conserved extended haplotypes (CEHs), and we demonstrated that commercially-available SNP analysis can be used in the MHC to help define CEHs and CEH fragments. CONCLUSION: We conclude that to generate high-resolution maps for relating MHC haplotypes to disease susceptibility, both SNP and MHC allele analysis must be conducted as complementary techniques. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sak SC, Barrett JH, Paul AB, Bishop DT, Kiltie AE
DNA repair gene XRCC1 polymorphisms and bladder cancer risk.
BMC Genet. 2007;813.
BACKGROUND: Cigarette smoking and chemical occupational exposure are the main known risk factors for bladder transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). Oxidative DNA damage induced by carcinogens present in these exposures requires accurate base excision repair (BER). The XRCC1 protein plays a crucial role in BER by acting as a scaffold for other BER enzymes. Variants in the XRCC1 gene might alter protein structure or function or create alternatively spliced proteins which may influence BER efficiency and hence affect individual susceptibility to bladder cancer. Recent epidemiological studies have shown inconsistent associations between these polymorphisms and bladder cancer. To clarify the situation, we conducted a comprehensive analysis of 14 XRCC1 polymorphisms in a case-control study involving more than 1100 subjects. RESULTS: We found no evidence of an association between any of the 14 XRCC1 polymorphisms and bladder cancer risk. However, we found carriage of the variant Arg280His allele to be marginally associated with increased bladder cancer risk compared to the wild-type genotype (adjusted odds ratio [95% confidence interval], 1.50 [0.98-2.28], p = 0.06). The association was stronger for current smokers such that individuals carrying the variant 280His allele had a two to three-fold increased risk of bladder cancer compared to those carrying the wildtype genotype (p = 0.09). However, the evidence for gene-environment interaction was not statistically significant (p = 0.45). CONCLUSION: We provide no evidence of an association between polymorphisms in XRCC1 and bladder cancer risk, although our study had only limited power to detect the association for low frequency variants, such as Arg280His. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Khan F, Pandey AK, Tripathi M, Talwar S, Bisen PS, Borkar M, Agrawal S
Genetic affinities between endogamous and inbreeding populations of Uttar Pradesh.
BMC Genet. 2007;8(1):12.
BACKGROUND: India has experienced several waves of migration since the Middle Paleolithic. It is believed that the initial demic movement into India was from Africa along the southern coastal route, approximately 60,000-85,000 years before present (ybp). It has also been reported that there were two other major colonization which included eastward diffusion of Neolithic farmers (Elamo Dravidians) from Middle East sometime between 10,000 and 7,000 ybp and a southern dispersal of Indo Europeans from Central Asia 3,000 ybp. Mongol entry during the thirteenth century A.D. as well as some possible minor incursions from South China 50,000 to 60,000 ybp may have also contributed to cultural, linguistic and genetic diversity in India. Therefore, the genetic affinity and relationship of Indians with other world populations and also within India are often contested. In the present study, we have attempted to offer a fresh and immaculate interpretation on the genetic relationships of different North Indian populations with other Indian and world populations. RESULTS: We have first genotyped 20 tetra-nucleotide STR markers among 1800 north Indian samples of nine endogamous populations belonging to three different socio-cultural strata. Genetic distances (Nei's DA and Reynold's Fst) were calculated among the nine studied populations, Caucasians and East Asians. This analysis was based upon the allelic profile of 20 STR markers to assess the genetic similarity and differences of the north Indian populations. North Indians showed a stronger genetic relationship with the Europeans (DA 0.0341 and Fst 0.0119) as compared to the Asians (DA 0.1694 and Fst - 0.0718). The upper caste Brahmins and Muslims were closest to Caucasians while middle caste populations were closer to Asians. Finally, three phylogenetic assessments based on two different NJ and ML phylogenetic methods and PC plot analysis were carried out using the same panel of 20 STR markers and 20 geo-ethnic populations. The three phylogenetic assessments revealed that north Indians are clustering with Caucasians. CONCLUSION: The genetic affinities of Indians and that of different caste groups towards Caucasians or East Asians is distributed in a cline where geographically north Indians and both upper caste and Muslim populations are genetically closer to the Caucasians. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Turner ME, Martin C, Martins AS, Dunmire J, Farkas J, Ely DL, Milsted A
Genomic and expression analysis of multiple Sry loci from a single Rattus norvegicus Y chromosome.
BMC Genet. 2007;811.
BACKGROUND: Sry is a gene known to be essential for testis determination but is also transcribed in adult male tissues. The laboratory rat, Rattus norvegicus, has multiple Y chromosome copies of Sry while most mammals have only a single copy. DNA sequence comparisons with other rodents with multiple Sry copies are inconsistent in divergence patterns and functionality of the multiple copies. To address hypotheses of divergence, gene conversion and functional constraints, we sequenced Sry loci from a single R. norvegicus Y chromosome from the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat strain (SHR) and analyzed DNA sequences for homology among copies. Next, to determine whether all copies of Sry are expressed, we developed a modification of the fluorescent marked capillary electrophoresis method to generate three different sized amplification products to identify Sry copies. We applied this fragment analysis method to both genomic DNA and cDNA prepared from mRNA from testis and adrenal gland of adult male rats. RESULTS: Y chromosome fragments were amplified and sequenced using primers that included the entire Sry coding region and flanking sequences. The analysis of these sequences identified six Sry loci on the Y chromosome. These are paralogous copies consistent with a single phylogeny and the divergence between any two copies is less than 2%. All copies have a conserved reading frame and amino acid sequence consistent with function. Fragment analysis of genomic DNA showed close approximations of experimental with predicted values, validating the use of this method to identify proportions of each copy. Using the fragment analysis procedure with cDNA samples showed the Sry copies expressed were significantly different from the genomic distribution (testis p < 0.001, adrenal gland p < 0.001), and the testis and adrenal copy distribution in the transcripts were also significantly different from each other (p < 0.001). Total Sry transcript expression, analyzed by real-time PCR, showed significantly higher levels of Sry in testis than adrenal gland (p, 0.001). CONCLUSION: The SHR Y chromosome contains at least 6 full length copies of the Sry gene. These copies have a conserved coding region and conserved amino acid sequence. The pattern of divergence is not consistent with gene conversion as the mechanism for this conservation. Expression studies show multiple copies expressed in the adult male testis and adrenal glands, with tissue specific differences in expression patterns. Both the DNA sequence analysis and RNA transcript expression analysis are consistent with more than one copy having function and selection preventing divergence although we have no functional evidence. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Uhl GR, Liu QR, Drgon T, Johnson C, Walther D, Rose JE
Molecular genetics of nicotine dependence and abstinence: whole genome association using 520,000 SNPs.
BMC Genet. 2007;810.
BACKGROUND: Classical genetic studies indicate that nicotine dependence is a substantially heritable complex disorder. Genetic vulnerabilities to nicotine dependence largely overlap with genetic vulnerabilities to dependence on other addictive substances. Successful abstinence from nicotine displays substantial heritable components as well. Some of the heritability for the ability to quit smoking appears to overlap with the genetics of nicotine dependence and some does not. We now report genome wide association studies of nicotine dependent individuals who were successful in abstaining from cigarette smoking, nicotine dependent individuals who were not successful in abstaining and ethnically-matched control subjects free from substantial lifetime use of any addictive substance. RESULTS: These data, and their comparison with data that we have previously obtained from comparisons of four other substance dependent vs control samples support two main ideas: 1) Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) whose allele frequencies distinguish nicotine-dependent from control individuals identify a set of genes that overlaps significantly with the set of genes that contain markers whose allelic frequencies distinguish the four other substance dependent vs control groups (p < 0.018). 2) SNPs whose allelic frequencies distinguish successful vs unsuccessful abstainers cluster in small genomic regions in ways that are highly unlikely to be due to chance (Monte Carlo p < 0.00001). CONCLUSION: These clustered SNPs nominate candidate genes for successful abstinence from smoking that are implicated in interesting functions: cell adhesion, enzymes, transcriptional regulators, neurotransmitters and receptors and regulation of DNA, RNA and proteins. As these observations are replicated, they will provide an increasingly-strong basis for understanding mechanisms of successful abstinence, for identifying individuals more or less likely to succeed in smoking cessation efforts and for tailoring therapies so that genotypes can help match smokers with the treatments that are most likely to benefit them. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Maas MF, Hoekstra RF, Debets AJ
A mitochondrial mutator plasmid that causes senescence under dietary restricted conditions.
BMC Genet. 2007;89.
BACKGROUND: Calorie or dietary restriction extends life span in a wide range of organisms including the filamentous fungus Podospora anserina. Under dietary restricted conditions, P. anserina isolates are several-fold longer lived. This is however not the case in isolates that carry one of the pAL2-1 homologous mitochondrial plasmids. RESULTS: We show that the pAL2-1 homologues act as 'insertional mutators' of the mitochondrial genome, which may explain their negative effect on life span extension. Sequencing revealed at least fourteen unique plasmid integration sites, of which twelve were located within the mitochondrial genome and two within copies of the plasmid itself. The plasmids were able to integrate in their entirety, via a non-homologous mode of recombination. Some of the integrated plasmid copies were truncated, which probably resulted from secondary, post-integrative, recombination processes. Integration sites were predominantly located within and surrounding the region containing the mitochondrial rDNA loci. CONCLUSION: We propose a model for the mechanism of integration, based on innate modes of mtDNA recombination, and discuss its possible link with the plasmid's negative effect on dietary restriction mediated life span extension. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Liau WS, Gonzalez-Serricchio AS, Deshommes C, Chin K, LaMunyon CW
A persistent mitochondrial deletion reduces fitness and sperm performance in heteroplasmic populations of C. elegans.
BMC Genet. 2007;88.
BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations are of increasing interest due to their involvement in aging, disease, fertility, and their role in the evolution of the mitochondrial genome. The presence of reactive oxygen species and the near lack of repair mechanisms cause mtDNA to mutate at a faster rate than nuclear DNA, and mtDNA deletions are not uncommon in the tissues of individuals, although germ-line mtDNA is largely lesion-free. Large-scale deletions in mtDNA may disrupt multiple genes, and curiously, some large-scale deletions persist over many generations in a heteroplasmic state. Here we examine the phenotypic effects of one such deletion, uaDf5, in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). Our study investigates the phenotypic effects of this 3 kbp deletion. RESULTS: The proportion of uaDf5 chromosomes in worms was highly heritable, although uaDf5 content varied from worm to worm and within tissues of individual worms. We also found an impact of the uaDf5 deletion on metabolism. The deletion significantly reduced egg laying rate, defecation rate, and lifespan. Examination of sperm bearing the uaDf5 deletion revealed that sperm crawled more slowly, both in vitro and in vivo. CONCLUSION: Worms harboring uaDf5 are at a selective disadvantage compared to worms with wild-type mtDNA. These effects should lead to the rapid extinction of the deleted chromosome, but it persists indefinitely. We discuss both the implications of this phenomenon and the possible causes of a shortened lifespan for uaDf5 mutant worms. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Huang HY, Thuita L, Strickland P, Hoffman SC, Comstock GW, Helzlsouer KJ
Frequencies of single nucleotide polymorphisms in genes regulating inflammatory responses in a community-based population.
BMC Genet. 2007;87.
BACKGROUND: Allele frequencies reported from public databases or articles are mostly based on small sample sizes. Differences in genotype frequencies by age, race and sex have implications for studies designed to examine genetic susceptibility to disease.In a community-based cohort of 9,960 individuals, we compared the allele frequencies of 49 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of genes involved in inflammatory pathways to the frequencies reported on public databases, and examined the genotypes frequencies by age and sex. The genes in which SNPs were analyzed include CCR2, CCR5, COX1, COX2, CRP, CSF1, CSF2, IFNG, IL1A, IL1B, IL2, IL4, IL6, IL8, IL10, IL13, IL18, LTA, MPO, NOS2A, NOS3, PPARD, PPARG, PPARGC1 and TNF. RESULTS: Mean(SD) age was 53.2(15.5); 98% were Caucasians and 62% were women. Only 1 out of 33 SNPs differed from the SNP500Cancer database in allele frequency by >10% in Caucasians (n = 9,831), whereas 12 SNPs differed by >10% (up to 50%) in African Americans (n = 105). Two out of 15 SNPs differed from the dbSNP database in allele frequencies by >10% in Caucasians, and 5 out of 15 SNPs differed by >10% in African Americans. Age was similar across most genotype groups. Genotype frequencies did not differ by sex except for TNF(rs1799724), IL2(rs2069762), IL10(rs1800890), PPARG(rs1801282), and CRP(rs1800947) with differences of less than 4%. CONCLUSION: When estimating the size of samples needed for a study, particularly if a reference sample is used, one should take into consideration the size and ethnicity of the reference sample. Larger sample size is needed for public databases that report allele frequencies in non-Caucasian populations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Leung CL, Pang Y, Shu C, Goryunov D, Liem RK
Alterations in lipid metabolism gene expression and abnormal lipid accumulation in fibroblast explants from giant axonal neuropathy patients.
BMC Genet. 2007;86.
BACKGROUND: Giant axonal neuropathy (GAN) is a hereditary neurological disorder that affects both central and peripheral nerves. The main pathological hallmark of the disease is abnormal accumulations of intermediate filaments (IFs) in giant axons and other cell types. Mutations in the GAN gene, encoding gigaxonin, cause the disease. Gigaxonin is important in controlling protein degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The goal of this study was to examine global alterations in gene expression in fibroblasts derived from newly identified GAN families compared with normal cells. RESULTS: We report the characterization of fibroblast explants obtained from two unrelated GAN patients. We identify three novel putative mutant GAN alleles and show aggregation of vimentin IFs in these fibroblasts. By microarray analysis, we also demonstrate that the expression of lipid metabolism genes of the GAN fibroblasts is disrupted, which may account for the abnormal accumulations of lipid droplets in these cells. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that aberrant lipid metabolism in GAN patients may contribute to the progression of the disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Drögemüller C, Leeb T, Harlizius B, Tammen I, Distl O, Höltershinken M, Gentile A, Duchesne A, Eggen A
Congenital syndactyly in cattle: four novel mutations in the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 4 gene (LRP4).
BMC Genet. 2007;85.
BACKGROUND: Isolated syndactyly in cattle, also known as mulefoot, is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait with variable penetrance in different cattle breeds. Recently, two independent mutations in the bovine LRP4 gene have been reported as the primary cause of syndactyly in the Holstein and Angus cattle breeds. RESULTS: We confirmed the previously described LRP4 exon 33 two nucleotide substitution in most of the affected Holstein calves and revealed additional evidence for allelic heterogeneity by the identification of four new LRP4 non-synonymous point mutations co-segregating in Holstein, German Simmental and Simmental-Charolais families. CONCLUSION: We confirmed a significant role of LRP4 mutations in the pathogenesis of congenital syndactyly in cattle. The newly detected missense mutations in the LRP4 gene represent independent mutations affecting different conserved protein domains. However, the four newly described LRP4 mutations do still not explain all analyzed cases of syndactyly. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yeung MY, Smith DK, Chan MS, Li CM, Wong BC, Cheung KM, Luk KD, Cheah KS, Sham P, Chan D, Song YQ
iCartiGD: the Integrated Cartilage Gene Database.
BMC Genet. 2007;84.
BACKGROUND: Diseases of cartilage, such as arthritis and degenerative disc disease, affect the majority of the general population, particularly with ageing. Discovery and understanding of the genes and pathways involved in cartilage biology will greatly assist research on the development, degeneration and disorders of cartilage. DESCRIPTION: We have established the Integrated Cartilage Gene Database (iCartiGD) of genes that are known, based on results from high throughput experiments, to be expressed in cartilage. Information about these genes is extracted automatically from public databases and presented as a single page report via a web-browser. A variety of flexible search options are provided and the chromosomal distribution of cartilage associated genes can be presented. CONCLUSION: iCartiGD provides a comprehensive source of information on genes known to be expressed in cartilage. It will remain current due to its automatic update capability and provide researchers with an easily accessible resource for studies involving cartilage. Genetic studies of the development and disorders of cartilage will benefit from this database. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mukherjee O, Kauwe JS, Mayo K, Morris JC, Goate AM
Haplotype-based association analysis of the MAPT locus in late onset Alzheimer's disease.
BMC Genet. 2007;83.
BACKGROUND: Late onset Alzheimer's disease (LOAD) is a common sporadic form of the illness, affecting individuals above the age of 65 yrs. A prominent hypothesis for the aetiopathology of Alzheimer's disease is that in the presence of a beta-amyloid load, individuals expressing a pathogenic form of tau protein (MAPT) are at increased risk for developing the disease. Genetic studies in this pursuit have, however, yielded conflicting results. A recent study showed a significant haplotype association (H1c) with AD. The current study is an attempt to replicate this association in an independently ascertained cohort. RESULTS: In this report we present the findings of a haplotype analysis at the MAPT locus. We failed to detect evidence of association of the H1c haplotype at the MAPT locus with LOAD. None of the six SNPs forming the H1c haplotype showed evidence of association with disease. In addition, nested clade analysis suggested the presence of independent mutations at multiple points in the haplotype network or homoplasy at the MAPT locus. Such homoplasy can confound single SNP tests for association. We do not detect evidence that the set of SNPs forming the H1c haplotype in general or rs242557 in particular are pathogenic for LOAD. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, we employed two contemporary haplotype analysis tools to perform haplotype association analysis at the MAPT locus. Our data suggest that the tagged SNPs forming the H1c haplotype do not have a causal role in the pathogenesis of LOAD. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Li SS, Cheng JJ, Zhao LP
Empirical vs Bayesian approach for estimating haplotypes from genotypes of unrelated individuals.
BMC Genet. 2007;82.
BACKGROUND: The completion of the HapMap project has stimulated further development of haplotype-based methodologies for disease associations. A key aspect of such development is the statistical inference of individual diplotypes from unphased genotypes. Several methodologies for inferring haplotypes have been developed, but they have not been evaluated extensively to determine which method not only performs well, but also can be easily incorporated in downstream haplotype-based association analyses. In this paper, we attempt to do so. Our evaluation was carried out by comparing the two leading Bayesian methods, implemented in PHASE and HAPLOTYPER, and the two leading empirical methods, implemented in PL-EM and HPlus. We used these methods to analyze real data, namely the dense genotypes on X-chromosome of 30 European and 30 African trios provided by the International HapMap Project, and simulated genotype data. Our conclusions are based on these analyses. RESULTS: All programs performed very well on X-chromosome data, with an average similarity index of 0.99 and an average prediction rate of 0.99 for both European and African trios. On simulated data with approximation of coalescence, PHASE implementing the Bayesian method based on the coalescence approximation outperformed other programs on small sample sizes. When the sample size increased, other programs performed as well as PHASE. PL-EM and HPlus implementing empirical methods required much less running time than the programs implementing the Bayesian methods. They required only one hundredth or thousandth of the running time required by PHASE, particularly when analyzing large sample sizes and large umber of SNPs. CONCLUSION: For large sample sizes (hundreds or more), which most association studies require, the two empirical methods might be used since they infer the haplotypes as accurately as any Bayesian methods and can be incorporated easily into downstream haplotype-based analyses such as haplotype-association analyses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rönnegĺrd L, Carlborg O
Separation of base allele and sampling term effects gives new insights in variance component QTL analysis.
BMC Genet. 2007;81.
BACKGROUND: Variance component (VC) models are commonly used for Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) mapping in outbred populations. Here, the QTL effect is given as a random effect and a critical part of the model is the relationship between the phenotypic values and the random effect. In the traditional VC model, each individual has a unique QTL effect and the relationship between these random effects is given as a covariance structure (known as the identity-by-descent (IBD) matrix). RESULTS: We present an alternative notation of the variance component model, where the elements of the random effect are independent base generation allele effects and sampling term effects. The relationship between the phenotypic vales and the random effect is given by an incidence matrix, which results in a novel, but statistically equivalent, version of the traditional VC model. A general algorithm to estimate this incidence matrix is presented. Since the model is given in terms of base generation allele effects and sampling term effects, these effects can be estimated separately using best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP). From simulated data, we showed that biallelic QTL effects could be accurately clustered using the BLUP obtained from our model notation when markers are fully informative, and that the accuracy increased with the size of the QTL effect. We also developed a measure indicating whether a base generation marker homozygote is a QTL heterozygote or not, by comparing the variances of the sampling term BLUP and the base generation allele BLUP. A ratio greater than one gives strong support for a QTL heterozygote. CONCLUSION: We developed a simple presentation of the VC QTL model for identification of base generation allele effects in QTL linkage analysis. The base generation allele effects and sampling term effects were separated in our model notation. This clarifies the assumptions of the model and should also enhance the development of genome scan methods. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Foster CB, Aswath K, Chanock SJ, McKay HF, Peters U
Polymorphism analysis of six selenoprotein genes: support for a selective sweep at the glutathione peroxidase 1 locus (3p21) in Asian populations.
BMC Genet. 2006;756.
BACKGROUND: There are at least 25 human selenoproteins, each characterized by the incorporation of selenium into the primary sequence as the amino acid selenocysteine. Since many selenoproteins have antioxidant properties, it is plausible that inter-individual differences in selenoprotein expression or activity could influence risk for a range of complex diseases, such as cancer, infectious diseases as well as deleterious responses to oxidative stressors like cigarette smoke. To capture the common genetic variants for 6 important selenoprotein genes (GPX1, GPX2, GPX3, GPX4, TXNRD1, and SEPP1) known to contribute to antioxidant host defenses, a re-sequence analysis was conducted across these genes with particular interest directed at the coding regions, intron-exon borders and flanking untranslated regions (UTR) for each gene in an 102 individual population representative of 4 major ethnic groups found within the United States. RESULTS: For 5 of the genes there was no strong evidence for selection according to the expectations of the neutral equilibrium model of evolution; however, at the GPX1 locus (3p21) there was evidence for positive selection. Strong confirmatory evidence for recent positive selection at the genomic region 3p21 in Asian populations is provided by data from the International HapMap project. CONCLUSION: The SNPs and fine haplotype maps described in this report will be valuable resources for future functional studies, for population specific genetic studies designed to comprehensively explore the role of selenoprotein genetic variants in the etiology of various human diseases, and to define the forces responsible for a recent selective sweep in the vicinity of the GPX1 locus. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wedekind C, Walker M, Little TJ
The separate and combined effects of MHC genotype, parasite clone, and host gender on the course of malaria in mice.
BMC Genet. 2006;755.
BACKGROUND: The link between host MHC (major histocompatibility complex) genotype and malaria is largely based on correlative data with little or no experimental control of potential confounding factors. We used an experimental mouse model to test for main effects of MHC-haplotypes, MHC heterozygosity, and MHC x parasite clone interactions. We experimentally infected MHC-congenic mice (F2 segregants, homo- and heterozygotes, males and females) with one of two clones of Plasmodium chabaudi and recorded disease progression. RESULTS: We found that MHC haplotype and parasite clone each have a significant influence on the course of the disease, but there was no significant host genotype by parasite genotype interaction. We found no evidence for overdominance nor any other sort of heterozygote advantage or disadvantage. CONCLUSION: When tested under experimental conditions, variation in the MHC can significantly influence the course of malaria. However, MHC heterozygote advantage through overdominance or dominance of resistance cannot be assumed in the case of single-strain infections. Future studies might focus on the interaction between MHC heterozygosity and multiple-clone infections. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chen Y, Lin CH, Sabatti C
Volume measures for linkage disequilibrium.
BMC Genet. 2006;754.
BACKGROUND: Defining measures of linkage disequilibrium (LD) that have good small sample properties and are applicable to multiallelic markers poses some challenges. The potential of volume measures in this context has been noted before, but their use has been hampered by computational challenges. RESULTS: We design a sequential importance sampling algorithm to evaluate volume measures on I x J tables. The algorithm is implemented in a C routine as a complement to exhaustive enumeration. We make the C code available as open source. We achieve fast and accurate evaluation of volume measures in two dimensional tables. CONCLUSION: Applying our code to simulated and real datasets reinforces the belief that volume measures are a very useful tool for LD evaluation: they are not inflated in small samples, their definition encompasses multiallelic markers, and they can be computed with appreciable speed. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dong Y, Sheng H, Chen X, Yin J, Su Q
Deletion of the V2 vasopressin receptor gene in two Chinese patients with nephrogenic diabetes insipidus.
BMC Genet. 2006;753.
BACKGROUND: Congenital nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) is a rare X-linked inherited disorder characterized by the excretion of large volumes of diluted urine and caused by mutations in arginine vasopressin receptor 2 (AVPR2) gene. To investigate the mutation of AVPR2 gene in a Chinese family with congenital NDI, we screened AVPR2 gene in two NDI patients and eight family members by PCR amplification and direct sequencing. RESULTS: Five specific fragments, covering entire coding sequence and their flanking intronic sequences of AVPR2 gene, were not observed in both patients, while those fragments were all detected in the control subjects. Several different fragments around the AVPR2 locus were amplified step by step. It was revealed that a genomic fragment of 5,995-bp, which contained the entire AVPR2 gene and the last exon (exon 22) of the C1 gene, was deleted and a 3-bp (GAG) was inserted. Examination of the other family members showed that the mothers and the grandmother were carriers for this deletion. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that the two patients in a Chinese family suffering from congenital NDI had a 5,995-bp deletion and 3-bp (GAG) insertion at Xq28. The deletion contained the entire AVPR2 gene and exon 22 of the C1 gene. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Xu JH, Messing J
Maize haplotype with a helitron-amplified cytidine deaminase gene copy.
BMC Genet. 2006;752.
BACKGROUND: Genetic maps are based on recombination of orthologous gene sequences between different strains of the same species. Therefore, it was unexpected to find extensive non-collinearity of genes between different inbred strains of maize. Interestingly, disruption of gene collinearity can be caused among others by a rolling circle-type copy and paste mechanism facilitated by Helitrons. However, understanding the role of this type of gene amplification has been hampered by the lack of finding intact gene sequences within Helitrons. RESULTS: By aligning two haplotypes of the z1C1 locus of maize we found a Helitron that contains two genes, one encoding a putative cytidine deaminase and one a hypothetical protein with part of a 40S ribosomal protein. The cytidine deaminase gene, called ZmCDA3, has been copied from the ZmCDA1 gene on maize chromosome 7 about 4.5 million years ago (mya) after maize was formed by whole-genome duplication from two progenitors. Inbred lines contain gene copies of both progenitors, the ZmCDA1 and ZmCDA2 genes. Both genes diverged when the progenitors of maize split and are derived from the same progenitor as the rice OsCDA1 gene. The ZmCDA1 and ZmCDA2 genes are both transcribed in leaf and seed tissue, but transcripts of the paralogous ZmCDA3 gene have not been found yet. Based on their protein structure the maize CDA genes encode a nucleoside deaminase that is found in bacterial systems and is distinct from the mammalian RNA and/or DNA modifying enzymes. CONCLUSION: The conservation of a paralogous gene sequence encoding a cytidine deaminase gene over 4.5 million years suggests that Helitrons could add functional gene sequences to new chromosomal positions and thereby create new haplotypes. However, the function of such paralogous gene copies cannot be essential because they are not present in all maize strains. However, it is interesting to note that maize hybrids can outperform their inbred parents. Therefore, certain haplotypes may function only in combination with other haplotypes or under specialized environmental conditions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Clawson ML, Heaton MP, Keele JW, Smith TP, Harhay GP, Laegreid WW
Prion gene haplotypes of U.S. cattle.
BMC Genet. 2006;751.
BACKGROUND: Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a fatal neurological disorder characterized by abnormal deposits of a protease-resistant isoform of the prion protein. Characterizing linkage disequilibrium (LD) and haplotype networks within the bovine prion gene (PRNP) is important for 1) testing rare or common PRNP variation for an association with BSE and 2) interpreting any association of PRNP alleles with BSE susceptibility. The objective of this study was to identify polymorphisms and haplotypes within PRNP from the promoter region through the 3'UTR in a diverse sample of U.S. cattle genomes. RESULTS: A 25.2-kb genomic region containing PRNP was sequenced from 192 diverse U.S. beef and dairy cattle. Sequence analyses identified 388 total polymorphisms, of which 287 have not previously been reported. The polymorphism alleles define PRNP by regions of high and low LD. High LD is present between alleles in the promoter region through exon 2 (6.7 kb). PRNP alleles within the majority of intron 2, the entire coding sequence and the untranslated region of exon 3 are in low LD (18.0 kb). Two haplotype networks, one representing the region of high LD and the other the region of low LD yielded nineteen different combinations that represent haplotypes spanning PRNP. The haplotype combinations are tagged by 19 polymorphisms (htSNPS) which characterize variation within and across PRNP. CONCLUSION: The number of polymorphisms in the prion gene region of U.S. cattle is nearly four times greater than previously described. These polymorphisms define PRNP haplotypes that may influence BSE susceptibility in cattle. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Coulonges C, Delaneau O, Girard M, Do H, Adkins R, Spadoni JL, Zagury JF
Computation of haplotypes on SNPs subsets: advantage of the "global method".
BMC Genet. 2006;750.
BACKGROUND: Genetic association studies aim at finding correlations between a disease state and genetic variations such as SNPs or combinations of SNPs, termed haplotypes. Some haplotypes have a particular biological meaning such as the ones derived from SNPs located in the promoters, or the ones derived from non synonymous SNPs. All these haplotypes are "subhaplotypes" because they refer only to a part of the SNPs found in the gene. Until now, subhaplotypes were directly computed from the very SNPs chosen to constitute them, without taking into account the rest of the information corresponding to the other SNPs located in the gene. In the present work, we describe an alternative approach, called the "global method", which takes into account all the SNPs known in the region and compare the efficacy of the two "direct" and "global" methods. RESULTS: We used empirical haplotypes data sets from the GH1 promoter and the APOE gene, and 10 simulated datasets, and randomly introduced in them missing information (from 0% up to 20%) to compare the 2 methods. For each method, we used the PHASE haplotyping software since it was described to be the best. We showed that the use of the "global method" for subhaplotyping leads always to a better error rate than the classical direct haplotyping. The advantage provided by this alternative method increases with the percentage of missing genotyping data (diminution of the average error rate from 25% to less than 10%). We applied the global method software on the GRIV cohort for AIDS genetic associations and some associations previously identified through direct subhaplotyping were found to be erroneous. CONCLUSION: The global method for subhaplotyping can reduce, sometimes dramatically, the error rate on patient resolutions and haplotypes frequencies. One should thus use this method in order to minimise the risk of a false interpretation in genetic studies involving subhaplotypes. In practice the global method is always more efficient than the direct method, but a combination method taking into account the level of missing information in each subject appears to be even more interesting when the level of missing information becomes larger (>10%). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in BMC Genomics

Zhou Y, Ferguson J, Chang JT, Kluger Y
Inter- and intra-combinatorial regulation by transcription factors and microRNAs.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 30;8(1):396.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a novel class of non-coding small RNAs. In mammalian cells, miRNAs repress the translation of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) or degrade mRNAs. miRNAs play important roles in development and differentiation, and they are also implicated in aging, and oncogenesis. Predictions of targets of miRNAs suggest that they may regulate more than one-third of all genes. The overall functions of mammalian miRNAs remain unclear. Investigating coordinated regulation of genes by miRNAs and transcription factors (TFs) may elucidate some of their roles in various biological processes. RESULTS: Here, we studied the nature and scope of coordination among regulators from the transcriptional and miRNA regulatory layers in the human genome. Our findings are based on genome wide statistical assessment of regulatory associations ("interactions") among the sets of predicted targets of miRNAs and sets of putative targets of transcription factors. We found that combinatorial regulation by transcription factor pairs and miRNA pairs is much more abundant than the combinatorial regulation by TF-miRNA pairs. In addition, many of the strongly interacting TF-miRNA pairs involve a subset of master TF regulators that co-regulate genes in coordination with almost any miRNA. Application of standard measures for evaluating the degree of interaction between pairs of regulators show that strongly interacting TF-miRNA, TF-TF or miRNA-miRNA pairs tend to include TFs or miRNAs that regulate very large numbers of genes. To correct for this potential bias we introduced an additional Bayesian measure that incorporates not only how significant an interaction is but also how strong it is. Putative pairs of regulators selected by this procedure are more likely to have biological coordination. Importantly, we found that the probability of a TF-miRNA pair forming feed forward loops with its common target genes (where the miRNA simultaneously suppresses the TF and many of its targets) is increased for strongly interacting TF-miRNA pairs. CONCLUSIONS: Genes are more likely to be co-regulated by pairs of TFs or pairs of miRNAs than by pairs of TF-miRNA, perhaps due to higher probability of evolutionary duplication events of shorter DNA sequences. Nevertheless, many gene sets are reciprocally regulated by strongly interacting pairs of TF-miRNA, which suggests an effective mechanism to suppress functionally related proteins. Moreover, the particular type of feed forward loop (with two opposing modes where the TF activates its target genes or the miRNA simultaneously suppresses this TF and the TF-miRNA joint target genes) is more prevalent among strongly interacting TF-miRNA pairs. This may be attributed to a process that prevents waste of cellular resources or a mechanism to accelerate mRNA degradation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhang X, Zhao F, Guan X, Yang Y, Liang C, Qin S
Genome-wide survey of putative Serine/Threonine protein kinases in cyanobacteria.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 30;8(1):395.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Serine/threonine kinases (STKs) have been found in an increasing number of prokaryotes, showing important roles in signal transduction that supplement the well known role of two-component system. Cyanobacteria are photoautotrophic prokaryotes able to grow in a wide range of ecological environments, and their signal transduction systems are important in adaptation to the environment. Sequence information from several cyanobacterial genomes offers a unique opportunity to conduct a comprehensive comparative analysis of this kinase family. In this study, we extracted information regarding Ser/Thr kinases from 21 species of sequenced cyanobacteria and investigated their diversity, conservation, domain structure, and evolution. RESULTS: 286 putative STK homologues were identified. STKs are absent in four Prochlorococcus strains and one marine Synechococcus strain and abundant in filamentous nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria. Motifs and invariant amino acids typical in eukaryotic STKs were conserved well in these proteins, and six more cyanobacteria- or bacteria-specific conserved residues were found. These STK proteins were classified into three major families according to their domain structures. Fourteen types and a total of 131 additional domains were identified, some of which are reported to participate in the recognition of signals or substrates. Cyanobacterial STKs show rather complicated phylogenetic relationships that correspond poorly with phylogenies based on 16S rRNA and those based on additional domains. CONCLUSIONS: The number of STK genes in different cyanobacteria is the result of the genome size, ecophysiology, and physiological properties of the organism. Similar conserved motifs and amino acids indicate that cyanobacterial STKs make use of a similar catalytic mechanism as eukaryotic STKs. Gene gain-and-loss is significant during STK evolution, along with domain shuffling and insertion. This study has established an overall framework of sequence-structure-function interactions for the STK gene family, which may facilitate further studies of the role of STKs in various organisms. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Elkon R, Linhart C, Halperin Y, Shiloh Y, Shamir R
Functional genomic delineation of TLR-induced transcriptional networks.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 29;8(1):394.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The innate immune system is the first line of defence mechanism protecting the host from invading pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. The innate immunity responses are triggered by recognition of prototypical pathogen components by cellular receptors. Prominent among these pathogen sensors are Toll-like receptors (TLRs). We sought global delineation of transcriptional networks induced by TLRs, analyzing four genome-wide expression datasets in mouse and human macrophages stimulated with pathogen-mimetic agents that engage various TLRs. RESULTS: Combining computational analysis of expression profiles and cis-regulatory promoter sequences, we dissected the TLR-induced transcriptional program into two major components: the first is universally activated by all examined TLRs, and the second is specific to activated TLR3 and TLR4. Our results point to NF-kappaB and ISRE-binding transcription factors as the key regulators of the universal and the TLR3/4-specific responses, respectively, and identify novel putative positive and negative feedback loops in these transcriptional programs. Analysis of the kinetics of the induced network showed that while NF-kappaB regulates mainly an early-induced and sustained response, the ISRE element functions primarily in the induction of a delayed wave. We further demonstrate that co-occurrence of the NF-kappaB and ISRE elements in the same promoter endows its targets with enhanced responsiveness. CONCLUSIONS: Our results enhance system-level understanding of the networks induced by TLRs and demonstrate the power of genomics approaches to delineate intricate transcriptional webs in mammalian systems. Such systems-level knowledge of the TLR network can be useful for designing ways to pharmacologically manipulate the activity of the innate immunity in pathological conditions in which either enhancement or repression of this branch of the immune system is desired. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Karimpour-Fard A, Hunter L, Gill RT
Investigation of factors affecting prediction of protein-protein interaction networks by phylogenetic profiling.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 29;8(1):393.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The use of computational methods for predicting protein interaction networks will continue to grow with the number of fully sequenced genomes available. The Co-Conservation method, also known as the Phylogenetic profiles method, is a well-established computational tool for predicting functional relationships between proteins. RESULTS: Here, we examined how various aspects of this method affect the accuracy and topology of protein interaction networks. We have shown that the choice of reference genome influences the number of predictions involving proteins of previously unknown function, the accuracy of predicted interactions, and the topology of predicted interaction networks. We show that while such results are relatively insensitive to the E-value threshold used in defining homologs, predicted interactions are influenced by the similarity metric that is employed. We show that differences in predicted protein interactions are biologically meaningful, where judicious selection of reference genomes, or use of a new scoring scheme that explicitly considers reference genome relatedness, produces known protein interactions as well as predicted protein interactions involving coordinated biological processes that are not accessible using currently available databases. CONCLUSION: These studies should prove valuable for future studies seeking to further improve phylogenetic profiling methodologies as well for efforts to efficiently employ such methods to develop new biological insights. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zemojtel T, Penzkofer T, Schultz J, Dandekar T, Badge R, Vingron M
Exonization of active mouse L1s: a driver of transcriptome evolution?
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 26;8(1):392.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Long interspersed nuclear elements (LINE-1s, L1s) have been recently implicated in the regulation of mammalian transcriptomes. RESULTS: Here, we show that members of the three active mouse L1 subfamilies (A, GF and TF) contain, in addition to those on their sense strands, conserved functional splice sites on their antisense strands, which trigger multiple exonization events. The latter is particularly intriguing in the light of the strong antisense orientation bias of intronic L1s, implying that the toleration of antisense insertions results in an increased potential for exonization. CONCLUSIONS: In a genome-wide analysis, we have uncovered evidence suggesting that the mobility of the large number of retrotransposition-competent mouse L1s (~2400 potentially active L1s in NCBIm35) has significant potential to shape the mouse transcriptome by continuously generating insertions into transcriptional units. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Arner E, Kindlund E, Nilsson D, Farzana F, Ferella M, Tammi MT, Andersson B
Database of Trypanosoma cruzi repeated genes: 20 000 additional gene variants.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 26;8(1):391.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Repeats are present in all genomes, and often have important functions. However, in large genome sequencing projects, many repetitive regions remain uncharacterized. The genome of the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi consists of more than 50% repeats. These repeats include surface molecule genes, and several other gene families. In the T. cruzi genome sequencing project, it was clear that not all copies of repetitive genes were present in the assembly, due to collapse of nearly identical repeats. However, at the time of publication of the T. cruzi genome, it was not clear to what extent this had occurred. RESULTS: We have developed a pipeline to estimate the genomic repeat content, where shotgun reads are aligned to the genomic sequence and the gene copy number is estimated using the average shotgun coverage. This method was applied to the genome of T. cruzi and copy numbers of all protein coding sequences and pseudogenes were estimated. The 22 640 results were stored in a database available online. 18% of all protein coding sequences and pseudogenes were estimated to exist in 14 or more copies in the T. cruzi CL Brener genome. The average coverage of the annotated protein coding sequences and pseudogenes indicate a total gene copy number, including allelic gene variants, of over 40 000. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the number of protein coding sequences and pseudogenes in the T. cruzi genome may be twice the previous estimate. We have constructed a database of the T. cruzi gene repeat data that is available as a resource to the community. The main purpose of the database is to enable biologists interested in repeated, unfinished regions to closely examine and resolve these regions themselves using all available shotgun data, instead of having to rely on annotated consensus sequences that often are erroneous and possibly misleading. Five repetitive genes were studied in more detail, in order to illustrate how the database can be used to analyze and extract information about gene repeats with different characteristics in Trypanosoma cruzi. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bresson C, Keime C, Faure C, Letrillard Y, Barbado M, Sanfilippo S, Benhra N, Gandrillon O, Gonin-Giraud S
Large-scale analysis by SAGE reveals new mechanisms of v-erbA oncogene action.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 26;8(1):390.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The v-erbA oncogene, carried by the Avian Erythroblastosis Virus, derives from the c-erbAalpha proto-oncogene that encodes the nuclear receptor for triiodothyronine (T3R). v-ErbA transforms erythroid progenitors in vitro by blocking their differentiation, supposedly by interference with T3R and RAR (Retinoic Acid Receptor). However, v-ErbA target genes involved in its transforming activity still remain to be identified. RESULTS: By using Serial Analysis of Gene Expression (SAGE), we identified 110 genes deregulated by v-ErbA and potentially implicated in the transformation process. Bioinformatic analysis of promoter sequence and transcriptional assays point out a potential role of c-Myb in the v-ErbA effect. Furthermore, grouping of newly identified target genes by function revealed both expected (chromatin/transcription) and unexpected (protein metabolism) functions potentially deregulated by v-ErbA. We then focused our study on 15 of the new v-ErbA target genes and demonstrated by real time PCR that in majority their expression was activated neither by T3, nor RA, nor during differentiation. This was unexpected based upon the previously known role of v-ErbA. CONCLUSIONS: This paper suggests the involvement of a wealth of new unanticipated mechanisms of v-ErbA action. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lombard Z, Tiffin N, Hofmann O, Bajic VB, Hide W, Ramsay M
Computational selection and prioritization of candidate genes for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 25;8(1):389.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Fetal alcohol syndrome is a serious global health problem and is observed at high frequencies in certain South African communities. Although in utero alcohol exposure is the primary trigger, there is evidence for genetic- and other susceptibility factors in FAS development. No genome-wide association or linkage studies have been performed for FAS, making computational selection and -prioritization of candidate disease genes an attractive approach. RESULTS: 10174 Candidate genes were initially selected from the whole genome using a previously described method, which selects candidate genes according to their expression in disease-affected tissues. Hereafter candidates were prioritized for experimental investigation by investigating criteria pertinent to FAS and binary filtering. 29 Criteria were assessed by mining various database sources to populate criteria-specific gene lists. Candidate genes were then prioritized for experimental investigation using a binary system that assessed the criteria gene lists against the candidate list, and candidate genes were scored accordingly. A group of 87 genes was prioritized as candidates and for future experimental validation. The validity of the binary prioritization method was assessed by investigating the protein-protein interactions, functional enrichment and common promoter element binding sites of the top-ranked genes. CONCLUSIONS: This analysis highlighted a list of strong candidate genes from the TGF-beta, MAPK and Hedgehog signalling pathways, which are all integral to fetal development and potential targets for alcohol's teratogenic effect. We conclude that this novel bioinformatics approach effectively prioritizes credible candidate genes for further experimental analysis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Thibaud-Nissen F, Campbell M, Hamilton JP, Zhu W, Buell CR
EuCAP, a Eukaryotic Community Annotation Package, and its application to the rice genome.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 25;8(1):388.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Despite the improvements of tools for automated annotation of genome sequences, manual curation at the structural and functional level can provide an increased level of refinement to genome annotation. The Institute for Genomic Research Rice Genome Annotation (hereafter named the Osa1 Genome Annotation) is the product of an automated pipeline and, for this reason, will benefit from the input of biologists with expertise in rice and/or particular gene families. Leveraging knowledge from a dispersed community of scientists is a demonstrated way of improving a genome annotation. This requires tools that facilitate 1) the submission of gene annotation to an annotation project, 2) the review of the submitted models by project annotators, and 3) the incorporation of the submitted models in the ongoing annotation effort. RESULTS: We have developed the Eukaryotic Community Annotation Package (EuCAP), an annotation tool, and have applied it to the rice genome. The primary level of curation by community annotators (CA) has been the annotation of gene families. Annotation can be submitted by email or through the EuCAP Web Tool. The CA models are aligned to the rice pseudomolecules and the coordinates of these alignments, along with functional annotation, are stored in the MySQL EuCAP Gene Model database. Web pages displaying the alignments of the CA models to the Osa1 Genome models are automatically generated from the EuCAP Gene Model database. The alignments are reviewed by the project annotators (PAs) in the context of experimental evidence. Upon approval by the PAs, the CA models, along with the corresponding functional annotations, are integrated into the Osa1 Genome Annotation. The CA annotations, grouped by family, are displayed on the Community Annotation pages of the project website (, as well as in the Community Annotation track of the Genome Browser. CONCLUSION: We have applied EuCAP to rice. As of July 2007, the structural and/or functional annotation of 1,094 genes representing 57 families have been deposited and integrated into the current gene set. All of the EuCAP components are open-source, thereby allowing the implementation of EuCAP for the annotation of other genomes. EuCAP is available at [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yang L, Allen BC, Thomas RS
BMDExpress: a software tool for the benchmark dose analyses of genomic data.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 25;8(1):387.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Dose-dependent processes are common within biological systems and include phenotypic changes following exposures to both endogenous and xenobiotic molecules. The use of microarray technology to explore the molecular signals that underlie these dose-dependent processes has become increasingly common; however, the number of software tools for quantitatively analyzing and interpreting dose-response microarray data has been limited. RESULTS: We have developed BMDExpress, a Java application that combines traditional benchmark dose methods with gene ontology classification in the analysis of dose-response data from microarray experiments. The software application is designed to perform a stepwise analysis beginning with a one-way analysis of variance to identify the subset of genes that demonstrate significant dose-response behavior. The second step of the analysis involves fitting the gene expression data to a selection of standard statistical models (linear, 2nd degree polynomial, 3rd degree polynomial, and power models) and selecting the model that best describes the data with the least amount of complexity. The model is then used to estimate the benchmark dose at which the expression of the gene significantly deviates from that observed in control animals. Finally, the software application summarizes the statistical modeling results by matching each gene to its corresponding gene ontology categories and calculating summary values that characterize the dose-dependent behavior for each biological process and molecular function. As a result, the summary values represent the dose levels at which genes in the corresponding cellular process show transcriptional changes. CONCLUSIONS: The application of microarray technology together with the BMDExpress software tool represents a useful combination in characterizing dose-dependent transcriptional changes in biological systems. The software allows users to efficiently analyze large dose-response microarray studies and identify reference doses at which particular cellular processes are altered. The software is freely available at and is distributed under the MIT Public License. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fahrein K, Talarico G, Braband A, Podsiadlowski L
The complete mitochondrial genome of Pseudocellus pearsei (Chelicerata: Ricinulei) and a comparison of mitochondrial gene rearrangements in Arachnida.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 25;8(1):386.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial genomes are widely utilized for phylogenetic and population genetic analyses among animals. In addition to sequence data the mitochondrial gene order and RNA secondary structure data are used in phylogenetic analyses. Arachnid phylogeny is still highly debated and there is a lack of sufficient sequence data for many taxa. Ricinulei (hooded tickspiders) are a morphologically distinct clade of arachnids with uncertain phylogenetic affinities. RESULTS: The first complete mitochondrial sequence of a member of the Ricinulei, Pseudocellus pearsei (Arachnida: Ricinulei) was determined using a PCR-based approach. The mitochondrial genome is a typical circular duplex DNA molecule with a size of 15,099 bp, showing the complete set of genes usually present in bilaterian mitochondrial genomes. Five tRNA genes (trnW, trnY, trnN, trnL(CUN), trnV) show different relative positions compared other Chelicerata (e.g. Limulus polyphemus, Ixodes spp.). We assume that two events led to this derived gene order: (1) a tandem duplication random deletion and (2) an independent translocation of trnN. Most of the inferred tRNA secondary structures show the common cloverleaf pattern except tRNA-Glu where the TpsiC-arm is missing. In phylogenetic analyses (ML, MP, BI) using concatenated amino acid and nucleotide sequences of protein-coding genes the basal relationships of arachnid orders remain unresolved. CONCLUSION: Phylogenetic analyses (maximum likelihood, Bayesian inference, maximum parsimony) of arachnid mitochondrial genomes fail to resolve interordinal relationships of Arachnida and remain on a preliminary stage as there is still a lack of mitogenomic data from important taxa such as Opiliones and Pseudoscorpiones. Gene order varies considerably within Arachnida - only eight out of 23 species have retained the putative arthropod ground pattern. Some gene order changes are valuable characters in phylogenetic analysis of intraordinal relationships, e.g. in Acari. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gandemer V, Rio AG, De Tayrac M, Sibut V, Mottier S, Ly Sunnaram B, Henry C, Monnier A, Berthou C, Le Gall E, Le Treut A, Schmitt C, Le Gall JY, Mosser J, Galibert MD
Five distinct biological processes and 14 differentially expressed genes characterize TEL/AML1-positive leukemia.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 23;8(1):385.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The t(12;21)(p13;q22) translocation is found in 20 to 25% of cases of childhood B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). This rearrangement results in the fusion of ETV6 (TEL) and RUNX1 (AML1) genes and defines a relatively uniform category, although only some patients suffer very late relapse. TEL/AML1-positive patients are thus an interesting subgroup to study, and such studies should elucidate the biological processes underlying TEL/AML1 pathogenesis. We report an analysis of gene expression in 60 children with B-lineage ALL using Agilent whole genome oligo-chips (44K-G4112A) and/or real time RT-PCR. RESULTS: We compared the leukemia cell gene expression profiles of 16 TEL/AML1-positive ALL patients to those of 44 TEL/AML1-negative patients, whose blast cells did not contain any additional recurrent translocation. Microarray analyses of 26 samples allowed the identification of genes differentially expressed between the TEL/AML1-positive and negative ALL groups. Gene enrichment analysis defined five enriched GO categories: cell differentiation, cell proliferation, apoptosis, cell motility and response to wounding, associated with 14 genes RUNX1, TCFL5, TNFRSF7, CBFA2T3, CD9, SCARB1, TP53INP1, ACVR1C, PIK3C3, EGFL7, SEMA6A, CTGF, LSP1, TFPI highlighting the biology of the TEL/AML1 sub-group. These results were first confirmed by the analysis of an additional microarray data-set (7 patient samples) and second by real-time RT-PCR quantification and clustering using an independent set (27 patient samples). Over-expression of RUNX1 (AML1) was further investigated and in one third of the patients correlated with cytogenetic findings. CONCLUSIONS: Gene expression analyses of leukemia cells from 60 children with TEL/AML1-positive and -negative B-lineage ALL led to the identification of five biological processes, associated with 14 validated genes characterizing and highlighting the biology of the TEL/AML1-positive ALL sub-group. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chen C, Fuhrken PG, Huang LT, Apostolidis P, Wang M, Paredes CJ, Miller WM, Papoutsakis ET
A systems-biology analysis of isogenic megakaryocytic and granulocytic cultures identifies new molecular components of megakaryocytic apoptosis.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 22;8(1):384.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells into platelet-forming megakaryocytes is of fundamental importance to hemostasis. Constitutive apoptosis is an integral, yet poorly understood, facet of megakaryocytic (Mk) differentiation. Understanding Mk apoptosis could lead to advances in the treatment of Mk and platelet disorders. RESULTS: We used a Gene-ontology-driven microarray-based transcriptional analysis coupled with protein-level and activity assays to identify genes and pathways involved in Mk apoptosis. Peripheral blood CD34+ hematopoietic progenitor cells were induced to either Mk differentiation or, as a negative control without observable apoptosis, granulocytic differentiation. Temporal gene-expression data were analyzed by a combination of intra- and inter-culture comparisons in order to identify Mk-associated genes. This novel approach was first applied to a curated set of general Mk-related genes in order to assess their dynamic transcriptional regulation. When applied to all apoptosis associated genes, it revealed a decrease in NF-kappaB signaling, which was explored using phosphorylation assays for IkappaBalpha and p65 (RELA). Up-regulation was noted among several pro-apoptotic genes not previously associated with Mk apoptosis such as components of the p53 regulon and TNF signaling. Protein-level analyses probed the involvement of the p53-regulated GADD45A, and the apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1). Down-regulation of anti-apoptotic genes, including several of the Bcl-2 family, was also detected. CONCLUSION: Our comparative approach to analyzing dynamic large-scale transcriptional data, which was validated using a known set of Mk genes, robustly identified candidate Mk apoptosis genes. This led to novel insights into the molecular mechanisms regulating apoptosis in Mk cells. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Campanaro S, Picelli S, Torregrossa R, Colluto L, Ceol M, Del Prete D, D'Angelo A, Valle G, Anglani F
Genes involved in TGFbeta1-driven epithelial-mesenchymal transition of renal epithelial cells are topologically related in the human interactome map.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 22;8(1):383.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Understanding how mesenchymal cells arise from epithelial cells could have a strong impact in unveiling mechanisms of epithelial cell plasticity underlying kidney regeneration and repair. In primary human tubular epithelial cells (HUTEC) under different TGFbeta1 concentrations we had observed epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) but not epithelial-myofibroblast transdifferentiation. We hypothesized that the process triggered by TGFbeta1 could be a dedifferentiation event. The purpose of this study is to comprehensively delineate genetic programs associated with TGFbeta1-driven EMT in our in vitro model using gene expression profile on large-scale oligonucleotide microarrays. RESULTS: In HUTEC under TGFbeta1 stimulus, 977 genes were found differentially expressed. Thirty genes were identified whose expression depended directly on TGFbeta1 concentration. By mapping the differentially expressed genes in the Human Interactome Map using Cytoscape software, we identified a single scale-free network consisting of 2630 interacting proteins and containing 449 differentially expressed proteins. We identified 27 hub proteins in the interactome with more than 29 edges incident on them and encoded by differentially expressed genes. The Gene Ontology analysis showed an excess of up-regulated proteins involved in biological processes, such as "morphogenesis", "cell fate determination" and "regulation of development", and the most up-regulated genes belonged to these categories. In addition, 267 genes were mapped to the KEGG pathways and 14 pathways with more than nine differentially expressed genes were identified. In our model, Smad signaling was not the TGFbeta1 action effector; instead, the engagement of RAS/MAPK signaling pathway seems mainly to regulate genes involved in the cell cycle and proliferation/apoptosis. CONCLUSIONS: Our present findings support the hypothesis that context-dependent EMT generated in our model by TGFbeta1 might be the outcome of a dedifferentiation. In fact: 1) the principal biological categories involved in the process concern morphogenesis and development; 2) the most up-regulated genes belong to these categories; and, finally, 3) some intracellular pathways are involved, whose engagement during kidney development and nephrogenesis is well known. These long-term effects of TGFbeta1 in HUTEC involve genes that are highly interconnected, thereby generating a scale-free network that we named the "TGFbeta1 interactome", whose hubs represent proteins that may have a crucial role for HUTEC in response to TGFbeta1. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Staaf J, Jonsson G, Ringner M, Vallon-Christersson J
Normalization of array-CGH data: influence of copy number imbalances.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 22;8(1):382.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: High-resolution microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) techniques have successfully been applied to study copy number imbalances in a number of settings such as the analysis of cancer genomes. For normalization of array-CGH data, methods initially developed for gene expression microarray analysis have, in general, been directly adopted and used. However, these methods are designed to work under assumptions that may not be valid for array-CGH data when copy number imbalances are present. We therefore sought to investigate the effect on normalization imposed by copy number imbalances. RESULTS: Here we demonstrate that copy number imbalances correlate with intensity in array-CGH data thereby causing problems for conventional normalization methods. We propose a strategy to circumvent these problems by taking copy number imbalances into account during normalization, and we test the proposed strategy using several data sets from the analysis of cancer genomes. In addition, we show how the strategy can be applied to conveniently define adaptive sample-specific boundaries between balanced copy number, losses, and gains to facilitate management of variation in tissue heterogeneity when calling copy number changes. CONCLUSIONS: We highlight the importance of considering copy number imbalances during normalization of array-CGH data, and show how failure to do so can deleteriously affect data and hamper interpretation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ho CL, Kwan YY, Choi MC, Tee SS, Ng WH, Lim KA, Lee YP, Ooi SE, Lee WW, Tee JM, Tan SH, Kulaveerasingam H, Syed Alwee SS, Ong Abdullah M
Analysis and functional annotation of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from multiple tissues of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.).
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 22;8(1):381.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Oil palm is the second largest source of edible oil which contributes to approximately 20% of the world's production of oils and fats. In order to understand the molecular biology involved in in vitro propagation, flowering, efficient utilization of nitrogen sources and root diseases, we have initiated an expressed sequence tag (EST) analysis on oil palm. RESULTS: In this study, six cDNA libraries from oil palm zygotic embryos, suspension cells, shoot apical meristems, young flowers, mature flowers and roots, were constructed. We have generated a total of 14537 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from these libraries, from which 6464 tentative unique contigs (TUCs) and 2129 singletons were obtained. Approximately 6008 of these tentative unique genes (TUGs) have significant matches to the non-redundant protein database, from which 2361 were assigned to one or more Gene Ontology categories. Predominant transcripts and differentially expressed genes were identified in multiple oil palm tissues. Homologues of genes involved in many aspects of flower development were also identified among the EST collection, such as CONSTANS-like, AGAMOUS-like (AGL)2, AGL20, LFY-like, SQUAMOSA, SQUAMOSA binding protein (SBP) etc. Majority of them are the first representatives in oil palm, providing opportunities to explore the cause of epigenetic homeotic flowering abnormality in oil palm, given the importance of flowering in fruit production. The transcript levels of two flowering-related genes, EgSBP and EgSEP were analysed in the flower tissues of various developmental stages. Gene homologues for enzymes involved in oil biosynthesis, utilization of nitrogen sources, and scavenging of oxygen radicals, were also uncovered among the oil palm ESTs. CONCLUSIONS: The EST sequences generated will allow comparative genomic studies between oil palm and other monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants, development of gene-targeted markers for the reference genetic map, design and fabrication of DNA array for future studies of oil palm. The outcomes of such studies will contribute to oil palm improvements through the establishment of breeding program using marker-assisted selection, development of diagnostic assays using gene targeted markers, and discovery of candidate genes related to important agronomic traits of oil palm. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bennett KP, Bergeron C, Acar E, Klees RF, Vandenberg SL, Yener B, Plopper GE
Proteomics reveals multiple routes to the osteogenic phenotype in mesenchymal stem cells.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 19;8(1):380.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Recently, we demonstrated that human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) stimulated with dexamethazone undergo gene focusing during osteogenic differentiation (Stem Cells Dev 14(6): 1608-20, 2005). Here, we examine the protein expression profiles of three additional populations of hMSC stimulated to undergo osteogenic differentiation via either contact with pro-osteogenic extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins (collagen I, vitronectin, or laminin-5) or osteogenic media supplements (OS media). Specifically, we annotate these four protein expression profiles, as well as profiles from naive hMSC and differentiated human osteoblasts (hOST), with known gene ontologies and analyze them as a tensor with modes for the expressed proteins, gene ontologies, and stimulants. RESULTS: Direct component analysis in the gene ontology space identifies three components that account for 90% of the variance between hMSC, osteoblasts, and the four stimulated hMSC populations. The directed component maps the differentiation stages of the stimulated stem cell populations along the differentiation axis created by the difference in the expression profiles of hMSC and hOST. Surprisingly, hMSC treated with ECM proteins lie closer to osteoblasts than do hMSC treated with OS media. Additionally, the second component demonstrates that proteomic profiles of collagen I- and vitronectin-stimulated hMSC are distinct from those of OS-stimulated cells. A three-mode tensor analysis reveals additional focus proteins critical for characterizing the phenotypic variations between naive hMSC, partially differentiated hMSC, and hOST. CONCLUSIONS: The differences between the proteomic profiles of OS-stimulated hMSC and ECM-hMSC characterize different transitional phenotypes en route to becoming osteoblasts. This conclusion is arrived at via a three-mode tensor analysis validated using hMSC plated on laminin-5. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rodriguez A, Hilvo M, Kytomaki L, Fleming RE, Britton RS, Bacon BR, Parkkila S
Effects of iron loading on muscle: genome-wide mRNA expression profiling in the mouse.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 19;8(1):379.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH) encompasses genetic disorders of iron overload characterized by deficient expression or function of the iron-regulatory hormone hepcidin. Mutations in 5 genes have been linked to this disease: HFE, TFR2 (encoding transferrin receptor 2), HAMP (encoding hepcidin), SLC40A1 (encoding ferroportin) and HJV (encoding hemojuvelin). Hepcidin inhibits iron export from cells into plasma. Hemojuvelin, an upstream regulator of hepcidin expression, is expressed in mice mainly in the heart and skeletal muscle. It has been suggested that soluble hemojuvelin shed by the muscle might reach the liver to influence hepcidin expression. Heart muscle is one of the target tissues affected by iron overload, with resultant cardiomyopathy in some HH patients. Therefore, we investigated the effect of iron overload on gene expression in skeletal muscle and heart using IlluminaTM arrays containing over 47,000 probes. The most apparent changes in gene expression were confirmed using real-time RT-PCR. RESULTS: Genes with up-regulated expression after iron overload in both skeletal and heart muscle included angiopoietin-like 4, pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 and calgranulin A and B. The expression of transferrin receptor, heat shock protein 1B and DnaJ homolog B1 were down-regulated by iron in both muscle types. Two potential hepcidin regulatory genes, hemojuvelin and neogenin, showed no clear change in expression after iron overload. CONCLUSIONS: Microarray analysis revealed iron-induced changes in the expression of several genes involved in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism, transcription and cellular stress responses. These may represent novel connections between iron overload and pathological manifestations of HH such as cardiomyopathy and diabetes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bruland T, Anderssen E, Doseth B, Bergum H, Beisvag V, Laegreid A
Optimization of cDNA microarrays procedures using criteria that do not rely on external standards.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 18;8(1):377.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The measurement of gene expression using microarray technology is a complicated process in which a large number of factors can be varied. Due to the lack of standard calibration samples such as are used in traditional chemical analysis it may be a problem to evaluate if changes done to the microarray procedure actually improve the identification of truly differentially expressed genes. The purpose of the present work is to report the optimization of several steps in the microarray process both in the laboratory practices and in the data processing using criteria that do not rely on external standers. RESULTS: We performed a cDNA microarry experiment including RNA from samples with high expected differential gene expression termed "high contrasts" (rat cell lines AR42J and NRK52E) compared to self-self hybridization, and optimized a pipeline to maximize the number of genes found to be differentially expressed between the "high contrasts" RNA samples by estimating the false discovery rate (FDR) using a null distribution obtained from the self-self experiment. The proposed high-contrast versus self-self method (HCSSM) requires only four microarrays per evaluation. The effects of blocking reagent dose, filtering, and background corrections methodologies were investigated. In our experiments a dose of 250 ng LNA (locked nucleic acid) dT blocker, no background correction and weight based filtering gave the largest number of differentially expressed genes. The choice of background correction method had a stronger impact on the estimated number of differentially expressed genes than the choice of filtering method. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and cross-platform microarray (Illumina) analysis were used to validate that the increase in the number of differentially expressed genes found by HCSSM was real. CONCLUSION: The results show that HCSSM can be a useful and simple approach to optimize microarray procedures without including external standards. Our optimizing method is highly applicable to both long oligo-probe microarrays which have become commonly used for well characterized organisms such as man, mouse and rat, as well as to cDNA microarrays which are still of importance for organisms with incomplete genome sequence information such as many bacteria, plants and fish. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Minovitsky S, Stegmaier P, Kel A, Kondrashov AS, Dubchak I
Short sequence motifs, overrepresented in mammalian conserved non-coding sequences.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 18;8(1):378.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: A substantial fraction of non-coding DNA sequences of multicellular eukaryotes is under selective constraint. In particular, ~5% of the human genome consists of conserved non-coding sequences (CNSs). CNSs differ from other genomic sequences in their nucleotide composition and must play important functional roles, which mostly remain obscure. RESULTS: We investigated relative abundances of short sequence motifs in all human CNSs present in the human/mouse whole-genome alignments that are located more than 1000 nucleotides away from the transcription start of a gene vs. three background sets of sequences: (i) weakly conserved or unconserved non-coding sequences (non-CNSs); (ii) promoter sequences (located between nucleotides -1 and -1000, relative to a start of transcription); and (iii) random sequences with the same nucleotide or dinucleotide composition as that of CNSs. When compared to non-CNSs and promoter sequences, CNSs possess an excess of AT-rich motifs, often containing runs of identical nucleotides. In contrast, when compared to random sequences, CNSs contain an excess of GC-rich motifs which, however, lack CpG dinucleotides. Thus, abundance of short sequence motifs in human CNSs, taken as a whole, is mostly determined by their overall compositional properties and not by overrepresentation of any specific short motifs. These properties are: (i) high AT-content of CNSs, (ii) a tendency, probably due to context-dependent mutation, of A's and T's to clump, (iii) presence of short GC-rich regions, and (iv) avoidance of CpG contexts due to their hypermutability. Only a small number of short motifs, overrepresented in all human CNSs are similar to binding sites of transcription factors from the FOX family. CONCLUSION: Human CNSs as a whole appear to be too broad a class of sequences to possess strong footprints of any short sequence-specific functions. Such footprints should be studied at the level of functional subclasses of CNSs, such as those which flank genes with a particular pattern of expression. Overall properties of CNSs are affected by patterns in mutation, suggesting that selection which causes their conservation is not always very strong. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Holterhus PM, Deppe U, Werner R, Richter-Unruh A, Bebermeier JH, Wunsch L, Krege S, Schweikert HU, Demeter J, Riepe F, Hiort O, Brooks JD
Intrinsic androgen-dependent gene expression patterns revealed by comparison of genital fibroblasts from normal males and individuals with complete and partial androgen insensitivity syndrome.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 18;8(1):376.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: To better understand the molecular programs of normal and abnormal genital development, clear-cut definition of androgen-dependent gene expression patterns, without the influence of genotype (46,XX vs. 46,XY), is warranted. Previously, we have identified global gene expression profiles in genital-derived fibroblasts that differ between 46,XY males and 46,XY females with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) due to inactivating mutations of the androgen receptor (AR). While these differences could be due to cell autonomous changes in gene expression induced by androgen programming, recent work suggests they could also be influenced by the location from which the fibroblasts were harvested (topology). To minimize the influence of topology, we compared gene expression patterns of fibroblasts derived from identical urogenital anlagen: the scrotum in normally virilized 46, XY males and the labia majora from completely feminized 46,XY individuals with CAIS. RESULTS: 612 transcripts representing 440 unique genes differed significantly in expression levels between scrotum and CAIS labia majora, suggesting the effects of androgen programming. While some genes coincided with those we had identified previously (TBX3, IGFBP5, EGFR, CSPG2), a significant number did not, implying that topology had influenced gene expression in our previous experiments. Supervised clustering of gene expression data derived from a large set of fibroblast cultures from individuals with partial AIS revealed that the new, topology controlled data set better classified the specimens. CONCLUSIONS: Inactivating mutations of the AR, in themselves, appear to induce lasting changes in gene expression in cultured fibroblasts, independent of topology and genotype. Genes identified are likely to be relevant candidates to decipher androgen-dependent normal and abnormal genital development. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Voss B, Gierga G, Axmann IM, Hess WR
A motif-based search in bacterial genomes identifies the ortholog of the small RNA Yfr1 in all lineages of cyanobacteria.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 17;8(1):375.
ABSTRACT: Backgound: Non-coding RNAs (ncRNA) are regulators of gene expression in all domains of life. They control growth and differentiation, virulence, motility and various stress responses. The identification of ncRNAs can be a tedious process due to the heterogeneous nature of this molecule class and the missing sequence similarity of orthologs, even among closely related species. The small ncRNA Yf1 has previously been found in the Prochlorococcus/Synechococcus group of marine cyanobacteria. RESULTS: Here we show that screening available genome sequences based on an RNA motif and followed by experimental analysis works successfully in detecting this RNA in all lineages of cyanobacteria. Yfr1 is an abundant ncRNA between 54 and 69 nt in size that is ubiquitous for cyanobacteria except for two low light-adapted strains of Prochlorococcus, MIT 9211 and SS120, in which it must have been lost secondarily. Yfr1 consists of two predicted stem-loop elements separated by an unpaired sequence of 16-20 nucleotides containing the ultraconserved undecanucleotide 5'-ACUCCUCACAC-3'. CONCLUSIONS: Starting with an ncRNA previously found in a narrow group of cyanobacteria only, we show here the highly specific and sensitive identification of its homologs within all lineages of cyanobacteria, whereas it was not detected within the genome sequences of E. coli and of 7 other eubacteria belonging to the alpha-proteobacteria, chlorobiaceae and spirochaete. The integration of RNA motif prediction into computational pipelines for the detection of ncRNAs in bacteria appears as a promising step to improve the quality of such predictions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wang J, Ungar LH, Tseng H, Hannenhalli S
MetaProm: a neural network based meta-predictor for alternative human promoter prediction.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 17;8(1):374.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: De novo eukaryotic promoter prediction is important for discovering novel genes and understanding gene regulation. In spite of the great advances made in the past decade, recent studies revealed that the overall performances of the current promoter prediction programs (PPPs) are still poor, and predictions made by individual PPPs do not overlap each other. Furthermore, most PPPs are trained and tested on the most-upstream promoters; their performances on alternative promoters have not been assessed. RESULTS: In this paper, we evaluate the performances of current major promoter prediction programs (i.e., PSPA, FirstEF, McPromoter, DragonGSF, DragonPF, and FProm) using 42,536 distinct human gene promoters on a genome-wide scale, and with emphasis on alternative promoters. We describe an artificial neural network (ANN) based meta-predictor program that integrates predictions from the current PPPs and the predicted promoters' relation to CpG islands. Our specific analysis of recently discovered alternative promoters reveals that although only 41% of the 3' most promoters overlap a CpG island, 74% of 5' most promoters overlap a CpG island. CONCLUSIONS: Our assessment of six PPPs on 1.06 billion bps of human genome sequence reveals the specific strengths and weaknesses of individual PPPs. Our meta-predictor outperforms any individual PPP in sensitivity and specificity. Furthermore, we discovered that the 5' alternative promoters are more likely to be associated with a CpG island. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Suzuki S, Ono N, Furusawa C, Kashiwagi A, Yomo T
Experimental optimization of probe length to increase the sequence specificity of high-density oligonucleotide microarrays.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 16;8(1):373.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: High-density oligonucleotide arrays are widely used for analysis of genome-wide expression and genetic variation. Affymetrix GeneChips--common high-density oligonucleotide arrays--contain perfect match (PM) and mismatch (MM) probes generated by changing a single nucleotide of the PMs, to estimate cross-hybridization. However, a fraction of MM probes exhibit larger signal intensities than PMs, when the difference in the amount of target specific hybridization between PM and MM probes is smaller than the variance in the amount of cross-hybridization. Thus, pairs of PM and MM probes with greater specificity for single nucleotide mismatches are desirable for accurate analysis. RESULTS: To investigate the specificity for single nucleotide mismatches, we designed a custom array with probes of different length (14- to 25-mer) tethered to the surface of the array and all possible single nucleotide mismatches, and hybridized artificially synthesized 25-mer oligodeoxyribonucleotides as targets in bulk solution to avoid the effects of cross-hybridization. The results indicated the finite availability of target molecules as the probe length increases. Due to this effect, the sequence specificity of the longer probes decreases, and this was also confirmed even under the usual background conditions for transcriptome analysis. CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that the optimal probe length for specificity is 19-21-mer. This conclusion will assist in improvement of microarray design for both transcriptome analysis and mutation screening. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Imamura H, Persampieri JH, Chuang JH
Sequences conserved by selection across mouse and human malaria species.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 15;8(1):372.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Little is known, either experimentally or computationally, about the genomic sequence features that regulate malaria genes. A sequence conservation analysis of the malaria species P. falciparum, P. berghei, P. yoelii, and P. chabaudi could significantly advance knowledge of malaria gene regulation. RESULTS: We computationally identify intergenic sequences conserved beyond neutral expectations, using a conservation algorithm that accounts for the strong compositional biases in malaria genomes. We first quantify the composition-specific divergence at silent positions in coding sequence. Using this as a background, we examine gene 5' regions, identifying 610 blocks conserved far beyond neutral expectations across the three mouse malariae, and 81 blocks conserved as strongly across all four species (p < 10-6). Detailed analysis of these blocks indicates that only a minor fraction are likely to be previously unknown coding sequences. Analogous noncoding conserved blocks have been shown to regulate adjacent genes in other phylogenies, making the predicted blocks excellent candidates for novel regulatory functions. We also find three potential transcription factor binding motifs which exhibit strong conservation and overrepresentation among the rodent malariae. CONCLUSION: A broader finding of our analysis is that less malaria intergenic sequence has been conserved by selection than in yeast or vertebrate genomes. This supports the hypothesis that transcriptional regulation is simpler in malaria than other eukaryotic species. We have built a public database containing all sequence alignments and functional predictions, and we expect this to be a valuable resource to the malaria research community. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Harrison P, Yu Z
Frame disruptions in human mRNA transcripts, and their relationship with splicing and protein structures.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 15;8(1):371.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Efforts to gather genomic evidence for the processes of gene evolution are ongoing, and are closely coupled to improved gene annotation methods. Such annotation is complicated by the occurrence of disrupted mRNAs (dmRNAs), harbouring frameshifts and premature stop codons, which can be considered indicators of decay into pseudogenes. RESULTS: We have derived a procedure to annotate dmRNAs, and have applied it to human data. Subsequences are generated from parsing at key frame-disruption positions and are required to align significantly within any original protein homology. We find 419 high-quality human dmRNAs (3% of total). Significant dmRNA subpopulations include: zinc-finger-containing transcription factors with long disrupted exons, and antisense homologies to distal genes. We analysed the distribution of initial frame disruptions in dmRNAs with respect to positions of: (i) protein domains, (ii) alternatively-spliced exons, and (iii) regions susceptible to nonsense-mediated decay (NMD). We find significant avoidance of protein-domain disruption (indicating a selection pressure for this), and highly significant overrepresentation of disruptions in alternatively-spliced exons, and 'non-NMD' regions. We do not find any evidence for evolution of novelty in protein structures through frameshifting. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate largely negative selection pressures related to frame disruption during gene evolution. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Newrzella D, Pahlavan PS, Krueger C, Boehm C, Sorgenfrei O, Schroeck H, Eisenhardt G, Schramm N, Vogt G, Wafzig O, Rossner M, Maurer M, Hiemisch H, Bach A, Kuschinsky W, Schneider A
The functional genome of CA1 and CA3 neurons under native conditions and in response to ischemia.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 15;8(1):370.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The different physiological repertoire of CA3 and CA1 neurons in the hippocampus, as well as their differing behaviour after noxious stimuli are ultimately based upon differences in the expressed genome. We have compared CA3 and CA1 gene expression in the uninjured brain, and after cerebral ischemia using laser microdissection (LMD), RNA amplification, and array hybridization. RESULTS: Profiling in CA1 vs. CA3 under normoxic conditions detected more than 1000 differentially expressed genes that belong to different, physiologically relevant gene ontology groups in both cell types. The comparison of each region under normoxic and ischemic conditions revealed more than 5000 ischemia-regulated genes for each individual cell type. Surprisingly, there was a high co-regulation in both regions. In the ischemic state, only about 100 genes were found to be differentially expressed in CA3 and CA1. The majority of these genes were also different in the native state. A minority of interesting genes (e.g. inhibin beta A) displayed divergent expression preference under native and ischemic conditions with partially opposing directions of regulation in both cell types. CONCLUSIONS: The differences found in two morphologically very similar cell types situated next to each other in the CNS are large providing a rational basis for physiological differences. Unexpectedly, the genomic response to ischemia is highly similar in these two neuron types, leading to a substantial attenuation of functional genomic differences in these two cell types. Also, the majority of changes that exist in the ischemic state are not generated de novo by the ischemic stimulus, but are preexistant from the genomic repertoire in the native situation. This unexpected influence of a strong noxious stimulus on cell-specific gene expression differences can be explained by the activation of a cell-type independent conserved gene-expression program. Our data generate both novel insights into the relation of the quiescent and stimulus-induced transcriptome in different cells, and provide a large dataset to the research community, both for mapping purposes, as well as for physiological and pathophysiological research. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Morton RA, Morton BR
Separating the effects of mutation and selection in producing DNA skew in bacterial chromosomes.
BMC Genomics. 2007;8369.
BACKGROUND: Many bacterial chromosomes display nucleotide asymmetry, or skew, between the leading and lagging strands of replication. Mutational differences between these strands result in an overall pattern of skew that is centered about the origin of replication. Such a pattern could also arise from selection coupled with a bias for genes coded on the leading strand. The relative contributions of selection and mutation in producing compositional skew are largely unknown. RESULTS: We describe a model to quantify the contribution of mutational differences between the leading and lagging strands in producing replication-induced skew. When the origin and terminus of replication are known, the model can be used to estimate the relative accumulation of G over C and of A over T on the leading strand due to replication effects in a chromosome with bidirectional replication arms. The model may also be implemented in a maximum likelihood framework to estimate the locations of origin and terminus. We find that our estimations for the origin and terminus agree very well with the location of genes that are thought to be associated with the replication origin. This indicates that our model provides an accurate, objective method of determining the replication arms and also provides support for the hypothesis that these genes represent an ancestral cluster of origin-associated genes. CONCLUSION: The model has several advantages over other methods of analyzing genome skew. First, it quantifies the role of mutation in generating skew so that its effect on composition, for example codon bias, can be assessed. Second, it provides an objective method for locating origin and terminus, one that is based on chromosome-wide accumulation of leading vs lagging strand nucleotide differences. Finally, the model has the potential to be utilized in a maximum likelihood framework in order to analyze the effect of chromosome rearrangements on nucleotide composition. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wang M, Guerrero FD, Pertea G, Nene VM
Global comparative analysis of ESTs from the southern cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus.
BMC Genomics. 2007;8368.
BACKGROUND: The southern cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus, is an economically important parasite of cattle and can transmit several pathogenic microorganisms to its cattle host during the feeding process. Understanding the biology and genomics of R. microplus is critical to developing novel methods for controlling these ticks. RESULTS: We present a global comparative genomic analysis of a gene index of R. microplus comprised of 13,643 unique transcripts assembled from 42,512 expressed sequence tags (ESTs), a significant fraction of the complement of R. microplus genes. The source material for these ESTs consisted of polyA RNA from various tissues, lifestages, and strains of R. microplus, including larvae exposed to heat, cold, host odor, and acaricide. Functional annotation using RPS-Blast analysis identified conserved protein domains in the conceptually translated gene index and assigned GO terms to those database transcripts which had informative BlastX hits. Blast Score Ratio and SimiTri analysis compared the conceptual transcriptome of the R. microplus database to other eukaryotic proteomes and EST databases, including those from 3 ticks. The most abundant protein domains in BmiGI were also analyzed by SimiTri methodology. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that a large fraction of BmiGI entries have no homologs in other sequenced genomes. Analysis with the PartiGene annotation pipeline showed 64% of the members of BmiGI could not be assigned GO annotation, thus minimal information is available about a significant fraction of the tick genome. This highlights the important insights in tick biology which are likely to result from a tick genome sequencing project. Global comparative analysis identified some tick genes with unexpected phylogenetic relationships which detailed analysis attributed to gene losses in some members of the animal kingdom. Some tick genes were identified which had close orthologues to mammalian genes. Members of this group would likely be poor choices as targets for development of novel tick control technology. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Scheibye-Alsing K, Cirera S, Gilchrist MJ, Fredholm M, Gorodkin J
EST analysis on pig mitochondria reveal novel expression differences between developmental and adult tissues.
BMC Genomics. 2007 Oct 11;8(1):367.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The mitochondria are involved in many basic functions in cells of vertebrates, and can be considered the power generator of the cell. Though the mitochondria have been extensively studied there appear to be only few expression studies of mitochondrial genes involving a large number of tissues and developmental stages. Here, we conduct an analysis using the PigEST resource which contains expression information from 35 tissues distributed on one normalized and 97 non-normalized cDNA libraries of which 24 are from developmental stages. The mitochondrial PigEST resource contains 41,499 mitochondrial sequences. RESULTS: The mitochondrial EST (Expressed Sequence Tag) sequences were assembled into contigs which covers more than 94 percent of the porcine mitochondrial genome, with an average of 976 EST sequences per nucleotide. This data was converted into expression values for the individual genes in each cDNA library revealing differential expression between genes expressed in cDNA libraries from developmental and adult stages. For the 13 protein coding genes (and several RNA genes), we find one set of six genes, containing all cytochrome oxidases, that are upregulated in developmental tissues, whereas the remaining set of seven genes, containing all ATPases, that are upregulated in adult muscle and brain tissues. Further, the COX I (Cytochrome oxidase subunit one) expression profile differs from that of the remaining genes, which could be explained by a tissue specific cleavage event or degradation pattern, and is especially pronounced in developmental tissues. Finally, as expected cDNA libraries from muscle tissues contain by far the largest amount (up to 20%) of expressed mitochondrial genes. CONCLUSIONS: Our results present novel insight into differences in mitochondrial gene expression, emphasizing differences between adult and developmental tissues. Our work indicates that there are presently unknown mechanisms which work to customize mitochondrial processes to the specific needs of the cell, illustrated by the different patterns between adult and developmental tissues. Furthermore, our results also provide novel insight into how in-depth sequencing can provide significant information about expression patterns. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in BMC Medical Genetics

Hagen K, Stovner LJ, Skorpen F, Pettersen E, Zwart JA
The impact of the catechol-O-methyltransferase Val158Met polymorphism on survival in the general population--the HUNT study.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;834.
BACKGROUND: The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene contains a functional polymorphism, Val158Met which has been related to common diseases like cancer, psychiatric illness and myocardial infarction. Whether the Val158Met polymorphism is associated with survival has not been evaluated in the general population. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the impact of codon 158 COMT gene polymorphism on survival in a population-based cohort. METHODS: The sample comprised 2979 non-diabetic individuals who participated in the Nord-Trřndelag Health Study (HUNT) in the period 1995-97. The subjects were followed up with respect to mortality throughout year 2004. RESULTS: 212 men and 183 women died during the follow up. No association between codon 158 COMT gene polymorphism and survival was found. The unadjusted relative risk of death by non-ischemic heart diseases with Met/Met or Met/Val genotypes was 3.27 (95% confidence interval, 1.19-9.00) compared to Val/Val genotype. When we adjusted for age, gender, smoking, coffee intake and body mass index the relative risk decreased to 2.89 (95% confidence interval, 1.04-8.00). CONCLUSION: During 10 year of follow-up, the Val158Met polymorphism had no impact on survival in a general population. Difference in mortality rates from non-ischemic heart diseases may be incidental and should be evaluated in other studies. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lindner E, Nordang GB, Melum E, Flatř B, Selvaag AM, Thorsby E, Kvien TK, Fřrre OT, Lie BA
Lack of association between the chemokine receptor 5 polymorphism CCR5delta32 in rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;833.
BACKGROUND: The chemokine receptor CCR5 has been detected at elevated levels on synovial T cells, and a 32 bp deletion in the CCR5 gene leads to a non-functional receptor. A negative association between the CCR5Delta32 and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been reported, although with conflicting results. In juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), an association with CCR5 was recently reported. The purpose of this study was to investigate if the CCR5Delta32 polymorphism is associated with RA or JIA in Norwegian cohorts. METHODS: 853 RA patients, 524 JIA patients and 658 controls were genotyped for the CCR5Delta32 polymorphism. RESULTS: The CCR5Delta32 allele frequency was 11.5% in the controls vs. 10.4% in RA patients (OR = 0.90; P = 0.36) and 9.7% in JIA patients (OR = 0.85; P = 0.20). No decreased homozygosity was observed for CCR5Delta32, as previously suggested. CONCLUSION: Our data do not support an association between the CCR5Delta32 allele and Norwegian RA or JIA patients. Combining our results with those from a recently published meta-analysis still provide evidence for a role for CCR5Delta32 in RA, albeit substantially weaker than the effect first reported. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Vasickova P, Machackova E, Lukesova M, Damborsky J, Horky O, Pavlu H, Kuklova J, Kosinova V, Navratilova M, Foretova L
High occurrence of BRCA1 intragenic rearrangements in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome in the Czech Republic.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;832.
BACKGROUND: Alterations in the highly penetrant cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 are responsible for the majority of hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancers. However, the number of detected germline mutations has been lower than expected based upon genetic linkage data. Undetected deleterious mutations in the BRCA1 gene in some high-risk families could be due to the presence of intragenic rearrangements as deletions, duplications or insertions spanning whole exons. Standard PCR-based screening methods are mainly focused on detecting point mutations and small insertions/deletions, but large rearrangements might escape detection.The purpose of this study was to determine the type and frequency of large genomic rearrangements in the BRCA1 gene in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer cases in the Czech Republic. METHODS: Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) was used to examine BRCA1 rearrangements in 172 unrelated patients with hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer syndrome without finding deleterious mutation after complete screening of whole coding regions of BRCA1/2 genes. Positive MLPA results were confirmed and located by long-range PCR. The breakpoints of detected rearrangements were characterized by sequencing. RESULTS: Six different large deletions in the BRCA1 gene were identified in 10 out of 172 unrelated high-risk patients: exons 1A/1B and 2 deletion; partial deletion of exon 11 and exon 12; exons 18 and 19 deletion; exon 20 deletion; exons 21 and 22 deletion; and deletion of exons 5 to 14. The breakpoint junctions were localized and further characterized. Destabilization and global unfolding of the mutated BRCT domains explain the molecular and genetic defects associated with the exon 20 in-frame deletion and the exon 21 and 22 in-frame deletion, respectively. CONCLUSION: Using MLPA, mutations were detected in 6% of high-risk patients previously designated as BRCA1/2 mutation-negative. The breakpoints of five out of six large deletions detected in Czech patients are novel. Screening for large genomic rearrangements in the BRCA1 gene in the Czech high-risk patients is highly supported by this study. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

He M, Li W
PediDraw: a web-based tool for drawing a pedigree in genetic counseling.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;831.
BACKGROUND: Drawing a pedigree is a prerequisite in genetic counseling. In medical records, a pedigree is useful to document the family history of the patient. Drawing a pedigree is also necessary in collecting genetic resources for medical research such as positional cloning. Currently, most pedigrees are drawn by hand or by drawing software. Due to the special requirements in a standardized pedigree, generating a pedigree by these methods is usually time-consuming and requires professionals. This limits the usage of a pedigree as demanded in remote diagnosis or online counseling from the counselees to send an electronic pedigree. RESULTS: We developed an online pedigree drawing tool, PediDraw, which enables users to generate pedigrees after inputting the family information step-by-step on web. It outputs a pedigree or table to present a family history to the counselors. CONCLUSION: PediDraw is a user-friendly web-based drawing tool. It is accessible via Internet. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pasdar A, Yadegarfar G, Cumming A, Whalley L, St Clair D, MacLeod MJ
The effect of ABCA1 gene polymorphisms on ischaemic stroke risk and relationship with lipid profile.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;830.
BACKGROUND: Ischaemic stroke is a common disorder with genetic and environmental components contributing to overall risk. Atherothromboembolic abnormalities, which play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of ischaemic stroke, are often the end result of dysregulation of lipid metabolism. The ATP Binding Cassette Transporter (ABCA1) is a key gene involved in lipid metabolism. It encodes the cholesterol regulatory efflux protein which mediates the transfer of cellular phospholipids and cholesterol to acceptor apolipoproteins such as apolipoprotein A-I (ApoA-I). Common polymorphisms in this gene affect High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL-C) and Apolipoprotein A-I levels and so influence the risk of atherosclerosis. This study has assessed the distribution of ABCA1 polymorphisms and haplotype arrangements in patients with ischaemic stroke and compared them to an appropriate control group. It also examined the relationship of these polymorphisms with serum lipid profiles in cases and controls. METHODS: We studied four common polymorphisms in ABCA1 gene: G/A-L158L, G/A-R219K, G/A-G316G and G/A-R1587K in 400 Caucasian ischaemic stroke patients and 487 controls. Dynamic Allele Specific Hybridisation (DASH) was used as the genotyping assay. RESULTS: Genotype and allele frequencies of all polymorphisms were similar in cases and controls, except for a modest difference in the ABCA1 R219K allele frequency (P-value = 0.05). Using the PHASE2 program, haplotype frequencies for the four loci (158, 219, 316, and 1587) were estimated in cases and controls. There was no significant difference in overall haplotypes arrangement in patients group compared to controls (p = 0.27). 2211 and 1211 haplotypes (1 = common allele, 2 = rare allele) were more frequent in cases (p = 0.05). Adjusted ORs indicated 40% and 46% excess risk of stroke for these haplotypes respectively. However, none of the adjusted ORs were statistically significant. Individuals who had R219K "22" genotype had a higher LDL level (p = 0.001). CONCLUSION: Our study does not support a major role for the ABCA1 gene as a risk factor for ischaemic stroke. Some haplotypes may confer a minor amount of increased risk or protection. Polymorphisms in this gene may influence serum lipid profile. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pattaro C, Marroni F, Riegler A, Mascalzoni D, Pichler I, Volpato CB, Dal Cero U, De Grandi A, Egger C, Eisendle A, Fuchsberger C, Gögele M, Pedrotti S, Pinggera GK, Stefanov SA, Vogl FD, Wiedermann CJ, Meitinger T, Pramstaller PP
The genetic study of three population microisolates in South Tyrol (MICROS): study design and epidemiological perspectives.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;829.
BACKGROUND: There is increasing evidence of the important role that small, isolated populations could play in finding genes involved in the etiology of diseases. For historical and political reasons, South Tyrol, the northern most Italian region, includes several villages of small dimensions which remained isolated over the centuries. METHODS: The MICROS study is a population-based survey on three small, isolated villages, characterized by: old settlement; small number of founders; high endogamy rates; slow/null population expansion. During the stage-1 (2002/03) genealogical data, screening questionnaires, clinical measurements, blood and urine samples, and DNA were collected for 1175 adult volunteers. Stage-2, concerning trait diagnoses, linkage analysis and association studies, is ongoing. The selection of the traits is being driven by expert clinicians. Preliminary, descriptive statistics were obtained. Power simulations for finding linkage on a quantitative trait locus (QTL) were undertaken. RESULTS: Starting from participants, genealogies were reconstructed for 50,037 subjects, going back to the early 1600s. Within the last five generations, subjects were clustered in one pedigree of 7049 subjects plus 178 smaller pedigrees (3 to 85 subjects each). A significant probability of familial clustering was assessed for many traits, especially among the cardiovascular, neurological and respiratory traits. Simulations showed that the MICROS pedigree has a substantial power to detect a LOD score > or = 3 when the QTL specific heritability is > or = 20%. CONCLUSION: The MICROS study is an extensive, ongoing, two-stage survey aimed at characterizing the genetic epidemiology of Mendelian and complex diseases. Our approach, involving different scientific disciplines, is an advantageous strategy to define and to study population isolates. The isolation of the Alpine populations, together with the extensive data collected so far, make the MICROS study a powerful resource for the study of diseases in many fields of medicine. Recent successes and simulation studies give us confidence that our pedigrees can be valuable both in finding new candidates loci and to confirm existing candidate genes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mahid SS, Colliver DW, Crawford NP, Martini BD, Doll MA, Hein DW, Cobbs GA, Petras RE, Galandiuk S
Characterization of N-acetyltransferase 1 and 2 polymorphisms and haplotype analysis for inflammatory bowel disease and sporadic colorectal carcinoma.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;828.
BACKGROUND: N-acetyltransferase 1 (NAT1) and 2 (NAT2) are polymorphic isoenzymes responsible for the metabolism of numerous drugs and carcinogens. Acetylation catalyzed by NAT1 and NAT2 are important in metabolic activation of arylamines to electrophilic intermediates that initiate carcinogenesis. Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) consist of Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), both are associated with increased colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. We hypothesized that NAT1 and/or NAT2 polymorphisms contribute to the increased cancer evident in IBD. METHODS: A case control study was performed with 729 Caucasian participants, 123 CRC, 201 CD, 167 UC, 15 IBD dysplasia/cancer and 223 controls. NAT1 and NAT2 genotyping were performed using Taqman based techniques. Eight single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were characterized for NAT1 and 7 SNPs for NAT2. Haplotype frequencies were estimated using an Expectation-Maximization (EM) method. Disease groups were compared to a control group for the frequencies at each individual SNP separately. The same groups were compared for the frequencies of NAT1 and NAT2 haplotypes and deduced NAT2 phenotypes. RESULTS: No statistically significant differences were found for any comparison. Strong linkage disequilibrium was present among both the NAT1 SNPs and the NAT2 SNPs. CONCLUSION: This study did not demonstrate an association between NAT1 and NAT2 polymorphisms and IBD or sporadic CRC, although power calculations indicate this study had sufficient sample size to detect differences in frequency as small as 0.05 to 0.15 depending on SNP or haplotype. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Franco E, Palumbo L, Crobu F, Anselmino M, Frea S, Matullo G, Piazza A, Trevi GP, Bergerone S
Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system polymorphisms: a role or a hole in occurrence and long-term prognosis of acute myocardial infarction at young age.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;827.
BACKGROUND: The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) is involved in the cardiovascular homeostasis as shown by previous studies reporting a positive association between specific RAAS genotypes and an increased risk of myocardial infarction. Anyhow the prognostic role in a long-term follow-up has not been yet investigated.Aim of the study was to evaluate the influence of the most studied RAAS genetic Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) on the occurrence and the long-term prognosis of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) at young age in an Italian population. METHODS: The study population consisted of 201 patients and 201 controls, matched for age and sex (mean age 40 +/- 4 years; 90.5% males). The most frequent conventional risk factors were smoke (p < 0.001), family history for coronary artery diseases (p < 0.001), hypercholesterolemia (p = 0.001) and hypertension (p = 0.002). The tested genetic polymorphisms were angiotensin converting enzyme insertion/deletion (ACE I/D), angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AGTR1) A1166C and aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) C-344T. Considering a long-term follow-up (9 +/- 4 years) we compared genetic polymorphisms of patients with and without events (cardiac death, myocardial infarction, revascularization procedures). RESULTS: We found a borderline significant association of occurrence of AMI with the ACE D/I polymorphism (DD genotype, 42% in cases vs 31% in controls; p = 0.056). DD genotype remained statistically involved in the incidence of AMI also after adjustment for clinical confounders.On the other hand, during the 9-year follow-up (65 events, including 13 deaths) we found a role concerning the AGTR1: the AC heterozygous resulted more represented in the event group (p = 0.016) even if not independent from clinical confounders. Anyhow the Kaplan-Meier event free curves seem to confirm the unfavourable role of this polymorphism. CONCLUSION: Polymorphisms in RAAS genes can be important in the onset of a first AMI in young patients (ACE, CYP11B2 polymorphisms), but not in the disease progression after a long follow-up period. Larger collaborative studies are needed to confirm these results. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tsai HT, Wang YP, Chung SF, Lin HC, Ho GM, Shu MT
A novel mutation in the WFS1 gene identified in a Taiwanese family with low-frequency hearing impairment.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;826.
BACKGROUND: Wolfram syndrome gene 1 (WFS1) accounts for most of the familial nonsyndromic low-frequency sensorineural hearing loss (LFSNHL) which is characterized by sensorineural hearing losses equal to and below 2000 Hz. The current study aimed to contribute to our understanding of the molecular basis of LFSNHL in an affected Taiwanese family. METHODS: The Taiwanese family with LFSNHL was phenotypically characterized using audiologic examination and pedigree analysis. Genetic characterization was performed by direct sequencing of WFS1 and mutation analysis. RESULTS: Pure tone audiometry confirmed that the family members affected with LFSNHL had a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss equal to or below 2000 Hz. The hearing loss threshold of the affected members showed no progression, a characteristic that was consistent with a mutation in the WFS1 gene located in the DFNA6/14/38 locus. Pedigree analysis showed a hereditarily autosomal dominant pattern characterized by a full penetrance. Among several polymorphisms, a missense mutation Y669H (2005T>C) in exon 8 of WFS1 was identified in members of a Taiwanese family diagnosed with LFSNHL but not in any of the control subjects. CONCLUSION: We discovered a novel heterozygous missense mutation in exon 8 of WFS1 (i.e., Y669H) which is likely responsible for the LFSNHL phenotype in this particular Taiwanese family. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Laperuta C, Spizzichino L, D'Adamo P, Monfregola J, Maiorino A, D'Eustacchio A, Ventruto V, Neri G, D'Urso M, Chiurazzi P, Ursini MV, Miano MG
MRX87 family with Aristaless X dup24bp mutation and implication for polyAlanine expansions.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;825.
BACKGROUND: Cognitive impairments are heterogeneous conditions, and it is estimated that 10% may be caused by a defect of mental function genes on the X chromosome. One of those genes is Aristaless related homeobox (ARX) encoding a polyA-rich homeobox transcription factor essential for cerebral patterning and its mutations cause different neurologic disorders. We reported on the clinical and genetic analysis of an Italian family with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) and intra-familial heterogeneity, and provided insight into its molecular defect. METHODS: We carried out on linkage-candidate gene studies in a new MRX family (MRX87). All coding regions and exon-intron boundaries of ARX gene were analysed by direct sequencing. RESULTS: MRX87 patients had moderate to profound cognition impairment and a combination of minor congenital anomalies. The disease locus, MRX87, was mapped between DXS7104 and DXS1214, placing it in Xp22-p21 interval, a hot spot region for mental handicap. An in frame duplication of 24 bp (ARXdup24) in the second polyAlanine tract (polyA_II) in ARX was identified. CONCLUSION: Our study underlines the role of ARXdup24 as a critical mutational site causing mental retardation linked to Xp22. Phenotypic heterogeneity of MRX87 patients represents a new observation relevant to the functional consequences of polyAlanine expansions enriching the puzzling complexity of ARXdup24-linked diseases. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chandler RJ, Tsai MS, Dorko K, Sloan J, Korson M, Freeman R, Strom S, Venditti CP
Adenoviral-mediated correction of methylmalonyl-CoA mutase deficiency in murine fibroblasts and human hepatocytes.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;824.
BACKGROUND: Methylmalonic acidemia (MMA), a common organic aciduria, is caused by deficiency of the mitochondrial localized, 5'deoxyadenosylcobalamin dependent enzyme, methylmalonyl-CoA mutase (MUT). Liver transplantation in the absence of gross hepatic dysfunction provides supportive therapy and metabolic stability in severely affected patients, which invites the concept of using cell and gene delivery as future treatments for this condition. METHODS: To assess the effectiveness of gene delivery to restore the defective metabolism in this disorder, adenoviral correction experiments were performed using murine Mut embryonic fibroblasts and primary human methylmalonyl-CoA mutase deficient hepatocytes derived from a patient who harbored two early truncating mutations, E224X and R228X, in the MUT gene. Enzymatic and expression studies were used to assess the extent of functional correction. RESULTS: Primary hepatocytes, isolated from the native liver after removal subsequent to a combined liver-kidney transplantation procedure, or Mut murine fibroblasts were infected with a second generation recombinant adenoviral vector that expressed the murine methylmalonyl-CoA mutase as well as eGFP from distinct promoters. After transduction, [1-14C] propionate macromolecular incorporation studies and Western analysis demonstrated complete correction of the enzymatic defect in both cell types. Viral reconstitution of enzymatic expression in the human methylmalonyl-CoA mutase deficient hepatocytes exceeded that seen in fibroblasts or control hepatocytes. CONCLUSION: These experiments provide proof of principle for viral correction in methylmalonic acidemia and suggest that hepatocyte-directed gene delivery will be an effective therapeutic treatment strategy in both murine models and in human patients. Primary hepatocytes from a liver that was unsuitable for transplantation provided an important resource for these studies. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Brockington A, Wokke B, Nixon H, Hartley J, Shaw PJ
Screening of the transcriptional regulatory regions of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;823.
BACKGROUND: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has neurotrophic activity which is mediated by its main agonist receptor, VEGFR2. Dysregulation of VEGF causes motor neurone degeneration in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and expression of VEGFR2 is reduced in motor neurones and spinal cord of patients with ALS. METHODS: We have screened the promoter region and 4 exonic regions of functional significance of the VEGFR2 gene in a UK population of patients with ALS, for mutations and polymorphisms that may affect expression or function of this VEGF receptor. RESULTS: No mutations were identified in the VEGFR2 gene. We found no association between polymorphisms in the regulatory regions of the VEGFR2 gene and ALS. CONCLUSION: Mechanisms other than genetic variation may downregulate expression or function of the VEGFR2 receptor in patients with ALS. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Taulan M, Girardet A, Guittard C, Altieri JP, Templin C, Beroud C, des Georges M, Claustres M
Large genomic rearrangements in the CFTR gene contribute to CBAVD.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;822.
BACKGROUND: By performing extensive scanning of whole coding and flanking sequences of the CFTR (Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator) gene, we had previously identified point mutations in 167 out of 182 (91.7%) males with isolated congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD). Conventional PCR-based methods of mutation analysis do not detect gross DNA lesions. In this study, we looked for large rearrangements within the whole CFTR locus in the 32 CBAVD patients with only one or no mutation. METHODS: We developed a semi-quantitative fluorescent PCR assay (SQF-PCR), which relies on the comparison of the fluorescent profiles of multiplex PCR fragments obtained from different DNA samples. We confirmed the gross alterations by junction fragment amplification and identified their breakpoints by direct sequencing. RESULTS: We detected two large genomic heterozygous deletions, one encompassing exon 2 (c.54-5811_c.164+2186del8108ins182) [or CFTRdele2], the other removing exons 22 to 24 (c.3964-3890_c.4443+3143del9454ins5) [or CFTRdele 22_24], in two males carrying a typical CBAVD mutation on the other parental CFTR allele. We present the first bioinformatic tool for exon phasing of the CFTR gene, which can help to rename the exons and the nomenclature of small mutations according to international recommendations and to predict the consequence of large rearrangements on the open reading frame. CONCLUSION: Identification of large rearrangements further expands the CFTR mutational spectrum in CBAVD and should now be systematically investigated. We have designed a simple test to specifically detect the presence or absence of the two rearrangements identified in this study. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hölter K, Wermter AK, Scherag A, Siegfried W, Goldschmidt H, Hebebrand J, Hinney A
Analysis of sequence variations in the suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)-3 gene in extremely obese children and adolescents.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;821.
BACKGROUND: The suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)-3 is a negative feedback regulator of cytokine signaling and also influences leptin signaling. We investigated association of variations in the coding sequence and promoter region of SOCS3 with extreme obesity in German children and adolescents. METHODS: An initial screen for sequence variations in 181 extremely obese children and adolescents and 188 healthy underweight adults revealed two previously reported single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the SOCS3 5' region: -1044 C>A (numbering refers to bases upstream of ATG in exon 2) within a predicted STAT3 binding element and -920 C>A (rs12953258, for numbering, see above). RESULTS: We did not detect significant differences in allele or genotype frequencies for any of these SNPs between the analysed study groups (all nominal p > 0.2). In addition, we performed a pedigree transmission disequilibrium test (PDT) for the SNP -1044 C>A in families comprising 703 obese children and adolescents, 281 of their obese siblings and both biological parents. The PDT revealed no transmission disequilibrium (nominal p > 0.05). CONCLUSION: In conclusion, our data do not suggest evidence for a major role of the respective SNPs in SOCS3 in the pathogenesis of extreme obesity in our study groups. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Prasad P, Tiwari AK, Kumar KM, Ammini AC, Gupta A, Gupta R, Thelma BK
Association of TGFbeta1, TNFalpha, CCR2 and CCR5 gene polymorphisms in type-2 diabetes and renal insufficiency among Asian Indians.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;820.
BACKGROUND: Cytokines play an important role in the development of diabetic chronic renal insufficiency (CRI). Transforming growth factor beta1 (TGF beta1) induces renal hypertrophy and fibrosis, and cytokines like tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha), chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), and regulated upon activation and normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES) mediate macrophage infiltration into kidney. Over expression of these chemokines leads to glomerulosclerosis and interstitial fibrosis. The effect of MCP-1 and RANTES on kidney is conferred by their receptors i.e., chemokine receptor (CCR)-2 and CCR-5 respectively. We tested association of nine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) from TGFbeta1, TNFalpha, CCR2 and CCR5 genes among individuals with type-2 diabetes with and without renal insufficiency. METHODS: Type-2 diabetes subjects with chronic renal insufficiency (serum creatinine > or = 3.0 mg/dl) constituted the cases, and matched individuals with diabetes of duration > or = 10 years and normoalbuminuria were evaluated as controls from four centres in India. Allelic and genotypic contributions of nine SNPs from TGFbeta1, TNFalpha, CCR2 and CCR5 genes to diabetic CRI were tested by computing odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Sub-analysis of CRI cases diabetic retinopathy status as dependent variable and SNP genotypes as independent variable in a univariate logistic regression was also performed. RESULTS: SNPs Tyr81His and Thr263Ile in TGF beta1 gene were monomorphic, and Arg25Pro in TGF beta1 gene and Delta32 polymorphism in CCR5 gene were minor variants (minor allele frequency <0.05) and therefore were not considered for case-control analysis. A significant allelic association of 59029G>A SNP of CCR5 gene has been observed and the allele 59029A seems to confer predisposition to development of diabetic CRI (OR 1.39; CI 1.04-1.84). In CRI subjects a compound group of genotypes "GA and AA" of SNP G>A -800 was found to confer predisposition for proliferative retinopathy (OR 3.03; CI 1.08-8.50, p = 0.035). CONCLUSION: Of the various cytokine gene polymorphisms tested, allele 59029A of CCR5 gene is significantly associated with diabetic renal insufficiency among Asian Indians. Result obtained for 59029G>A SNP of CCR5 gene is in conformity with reports from a Japanese population but due to sub-optimal power of the sample, replication in larger sample set is warranted. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nishiyama A, Takeshima Y, Saiki K, Narukage A, Oyazato Y, Yagi M, Matsuo M
Two novel missense mutations in the myostatin gene identified in Japanese patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;819.
BACKGROUND: Myostatin is a negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth. Truncating mutations in the myostatin gene have been reported to result in gross muscle hypertrophy. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the most common lethal muscle wasting disease, is a result of an absence of muscle dystrophin. Although this disorder causes a rather uniform pattern of muscle wasting, afflicted patients display phenotypic variability. We hypothesized that genetic variation in myostatin is a modifier of the DMD phenotype. METHODS: We analyzed 102 Japanese DMD patients for mutations in the myostatin gene. RESULTS: Two polymorphisms that are commonly observed in Western countries, p.55A>T and p.153K>R, were not observed in these Japanese patients. An uncommon polymorphism of p.164E>K was uncovered in four cases; each patient was found to be heterozygous for this polymorphism, which had the highest frequency of the polymorphism observed in the Japanese patients. Remarkably, two patients were found to be heterozygous for one of two novel missense mutations (p.95D>H and p.156L>I). One DMD patient carrying a novel missense mutation of p.95D>H was not phenotypically different from the non-carriers. The other DMD patient was found to carry both a novel mutation (p.156L>I) and a known polymorphism (p.164E>K) in one allele, although his phenotype was not significantly modified. Any nucleotide change creating a target site for micro RNAs was not disclosed in the 3' untranslated region. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that heterozygous missense mutations including two novel mutations did not produce an apparent increase in muscle strength in Japanese DMD cases, even in a patient carrying two missense mutations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Miano MG, Laperuta C, Chiurazzi P, D'Urso M, Ursini MV
Ovarian dysfunction and FMR1 alleles in a large Italian family with POF and FRAXA disorders: case report.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;818.
BACKGROUND: The association between premature ovarian failure (POF) and the FMR1 repeat number (41> CGGn< 200) has been widely investigated. Current findings suggest that the risk estimation for POF can be calculated in the offspring of women with pre-mutated FMR1 alleles. CASE PRESENTATION: We describe the coexistence in a large Italian kindred of Fragile X syndrome and familial POF in females with ovarian dysfunctions who carried normal or expanded FMR1 alleles. Genetic analysis of the FMR1 gene in over three generations of females revealed that six carried pre-mutated alleles (61-200), of which two were also affected by POF. However a young woman, who presented a severe ovarian failure with early onset, carried normal FMR1 alleles (<40). The coexistence within the same family of two dysfunctional ovarian conditions, one FMR1-related and one not FMR1-related, suggests that the complexity of familial POF conditions is larger than expected. CONCLUSION: Our case study represents a helpful observation and will provide familial cases with heterogeneous etiology that could be further studied when candidate genes in addition to the FMR1 premutation will be available. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Silva GJ, Pereira AC, Krieger EM, Krieger JE
Genetic mapping of a new heart rate QTL on chromosome 8 of spontaneously hypertensive rats.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;817.
BACKGROUND: Tachycardia is commonly observed in hypertensive patients, predominantly mediated by regulatory mechanisms integrated within the autonomic nervous system. The genetic loci and genes associated with increased heart rate in hypertension, however, have not yet been identified. METHODS: An F2 intercross of Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats (SHR) x Brown Norway (BN) linkage analysis of quantitative trait loci mapping was utilized to identify candidate genes associated with an increased heart rate in arterial hypertension. RESULTS: Basal heart rate in SHR was higher compared to that of normotensive BN rats (365 +/- 3 vs. 314 +/- 6 bpm, p < 0.05 for SHR and BN, respectively). A total genome scan identified one quantitative trait locus in a 6.78 cM interval on rat chromosome 8 (8q22-q24) that was responsible for elevated heart rate. This interval contained 241 genes, of which 65 are known genes. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that an influential genetic region located on the rat chromosome 8 contributes to the regulation of heart rate. Candidate genes that have previously been associated with tachycardia and/or hypertension were found within this QTL, strengthening our hypothesis that these genes are, potentially, associated with the increase in heart rate in a hypertension rat model. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Stekrova J, Sulova M, Kebrdlova V, Zidkova K, Kotlas J, Ilencikova D, Vesela K, Kohoutova M
Novel APC mutations in Czech and Slovak FAP families: clinical and genetic aspects.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;816.
BACKGROUND: Germline mutations in the adenomatous polyposis gene (APC) result in familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). FAP is an autosomal dominantly inherited disorder predisposing to colorectal cancer. Typical FAP is characterized by hundreds to thousands of colorectal adenomatous polyps and by several extracolonic manifestations. An attenuated form of polyposis (AFAP) is characterized by less than 100 adenomas and later onset of the disease. METHODS: Here, we analyzed the APC gene for germline mutations in 59 Czech and 15 Slovak FAP patients. In addition, 50 apparently APC mutation negative Czech probands and 3 probands of Slovak origin were screened for large deletions encompassing the APC gene. Mutation screening was performed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and/or protein truncation test. DNA fragments showing an aberrant electrophoretic banding pattern were sequenced. Screening for large deletions was performed by multiplex ligation dependent probe amplification. The extent of deletions was analyzed using following microsatellite markers: D5S299, D5S82, D5S134 and D5S346. RESULTS: In the set of Czech and Slovak patients, we identified 46 germline mutations among 74 unrelated probands. Total mutation capture is 62,2% including large deletions. Thirty seven mutations were detected in 49 patients presenting a classical FAP phenotype (75,5%) and 9 mutations in 25 patients with attenuated FAP (36%). We report 20 novel germline APC mutations and 3 large deletions (6%) encompassing the whole-gene deletions and/or exon 14 deletion. In the patients with novel mutations, correlations of the mutation localization are discussed in context of the classical and/or attenuated phenotype of the disease. CONCLUSION: The results of the molecular genetic testing are used both in the establishment of the predictive diagnosis and in the clinical management of patients. In some cases this study has also shown the difficulty to classify clinically between the classical and the attenuated form of FAP according to the established criteria. Interfamilial and/or intrafamilial phenotype variability was also confirmed in some cases which did not fit well with predicted genotype-phenotype correlation. All these findings have to be taken into consideration both in the genetic counselling and in the patient care. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pettigrew MM, Gent JF, Zhu Y, Triche EW, Belanger KD, Holford TR, Bracken MB, Leaderer BP
Respiratory symptoms among infants at risk for asthma: association with surfactant protein A haplotypes.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;815.
BACKGROUND: We examined the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in loci encoding surfactant protein A (SFTPA) and risk of wheeze and persistent cough during the first year of life among a cohort of infants at risk for developing asthma. METHODS: Between September 1996 and December 1998, mothers of newborn infants were invited to participate if they had an older child with clinician-diagnosed asthma. Each mother was given a standardized questionnaire within 4 months of her infant's birth. Infant respiratory symptoms were collected during quarterly telephone interviews at 6, 9 and 12 months of age. Due to the association of SFTPA polymorphisms and race/ethnicity, analyses were restricted to 221 white infants for whom whole blood and respiratory data were available. Ordered logistic regression models were used to examine the association between respiratory symptom frequency and SFTPA haplotypes. RESULTS: The 6A allele haplotype of SFTPA1, with an estimated frequency of 6% among our study infants, was associated with an increased risk of persistent cough (OR 3.69, 95% CI 1.71, 7.98) and wheeze (OR 4.72, 95% CI 2.20, 10.11). The 6A/1A haplotype of SFTPA, found among approximately 5% of the infants, was associated with an increased risk of persistent cough (OR 3.20, 95% CI 1.39, 7.36) and wheeze (OR 3.25, 95% CI 1.43, 7.37). CONCLUSION: Polymorphisms within SFTPA loci may be associated with wheeze and persistent cough in white infants at risk for asthma. These associations require replication and exploration in other ethnic/racial groups. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Torres-Juan L, Rosell J, Sánchez-de-la-Torre M, Fibla J, Heine-Suńer D
Analysis of meiotic recombination in 22q11.2, a region that frequently undergoes deletions and duplications.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;814.
BACKGROUND: The 22q11.2 deletion syndrome is the most frequent genomic disorder with an estimated frequency of 1/4000 live births. The majority of patients (90%) have the same deletion of 3 Mb (Typically Deleted Region, TDR) that results from aberrant recombination at meiosis between region specific low-copy repeats (LCRs). METHODS: As a first step towards the characterization of recombination rates and breakpoints within the 22q11.2 region we have constructed a high resolution recombination breakpoint map based on pedigree analysis and a population-based historical recombination map based on LD analysis. RESULTS: Our pedigree map allows the location of recombination breakpoints with a high resolution (potential recombination hotspots), and this approach has led to the identification of 5 breakpoint segments of 50 kb or less (8.6 kb the smallest), that coincide with historical hotspots. It has been suggested that aberrant recombination leading to deletion (and duplication) is caused by low rates of Allelic Homologous Recombination (AHR) within the affected region. However, recombination rate estimates for 22q11.2 region show that neither average recombination rates in the 22q11.2 region or within LCR22-2 (the LCR implicated in most deletions and duplications), are significantly below chromosome 22 averages. Furthermore, LCR22-2, the repeat most frequently implicated in rearrangements, is also the LCR22 with the highest levels of AHR. In addition, we find recombination events in the 22q11.2 region to cluster within families. Within this context, the same chromosome recombines twice in one family; first by AHR and in the next generation by NAHR resulting in an individual affected with the del22q11.2 syndrome. CONCLUSION: We show in the context of a first high resolution pedigree map of the 22q11.2 region that NAHR within LCR22 leading to duplications and deletions cannot be explained exclusively under a hypothesis of low AHR rates. In addition, we find that AHR recombination events cluster within families. If normal and aberrant recombination are mechanistically related, the fact that LCR22s undergo frequent AHR and that we find familial differences in recombination rates within the 22q11.2 region would have obvious health-related implications. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Katki HA
Incorporating medical interventions into carrier probability estimation for genetic counseling.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;813.
BACKGROUND: Mendelian models for predicting who may carry an inherited deleterious mutation of known disease genes based on family history are used in a variety of clinical and research activities. People presenting for genetic counseling are increasingly reporting risk-reducing medical interventions in their family histories because, recently, a slew of prophylactic interventions have become available for certain diseases. For example, oophorectomy reduces risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and is now increasingly being offered to women with family histories of breast and ovarian cancer. Mendelian models should account for medical interventions because interventions modify mutation penetrances and thus affect the carrier probability estimate. METHODS: We extend Mendelian models to account for medical interventions by accounting for post-intervention disease history through an extra factor that can be estimated from published studies of the effects of interventions. We apply our methods to incorporate oophorectomy into the BRCAPRO model, which predicts a woman's risk of carrying mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 based on her family history of breast and ovarian cancer. This new BRCAPRO is available for clinical use. RESULTS: We show that accounting for interventions undergone by family members can seriously affect the mutation carrier probability estimate, especially if the family member has lived many years post-intervention. We show that interventions have more impact on the carrier probability as the benefits of intervention differ more between carriers and non-carriers. CONCLUSION: These findings imply that carrier probability estimates that do not account for medical interventions may be seriously misleading and could affect a clinician's recommendation about offering genetic testing. The BayesMendel software, which allows one to implement any Mendelian carrier probability model, has been extended to allow medical interventions, so future Mendelian models can easily account for interventions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhu H, Enaw JO, Ma C, Shaw GM, Lammer EJ, Finnell RH
Association between CFL1 gene polymorphisms and spina bifida risk in a California population.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;812.
BACKGROUND: CFL1 encodes human non-muscle cofilin (n-cofilin), which is an actin-depolymerizing factor and is essential in cytokinesis, endocytosis, and in the development of all embryonic tissues. Cfl1 knockout mice exhibit failure of neural tube closure at E10.5 and die in utero. We hypothesized that genetic variation within the human CFL1 gene may alter the protein's function and result in defective actin depolymerizing and cellular activity during neural tube closure. Such alterations may be associated with an increased risk for neural tube defects (NTDs). METHODS: Having re-sequenced the human CFL1 gene and identified five common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in our target population, we investigated whether there existed a possible association between the genetic variations of the CFL1 gene and risk of spina bifida. Samples were obtained from a large population-based case-control study in California. Allele association, genotype association and haplotype association were evaluated in two different ethnicity groups, non-Hispanic white and Hispanic white. RESULTS: Homozygosity for the minor alleles of the SNPs studied (rs652021, rs665306, rs667555, rs4621 and rs11227332) appeared to produce an increased risk for spina bifida. Subjects with the haplotype composed of all minor alleles (CCGGT) appeared to have increased spina bifida risk (OR = 1.6, 95% CI: 0.9~2.9), however, this finding is not statistically significant likely due to limited sample size. CONCLUSION: The sequence variation of human CFL1 gene is a genetic modifier for spina bifida risk in this California population. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sacco R, Papaleo V, Hager J, Rousseau F, Moessner R, Militerni R, Bravaccio C, Trillo S, Schneider C, Melmed R, Elia M, Curatolo P, Manzi B, Pascucci T, Puglisi-Allegra S, Reichelt KL, Persico AM
Case-control and family-based association studies of candidate genes in autistic disorder and its endophenotypes: TPH2 and GLO1.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;811.
BACKGROUND: The TPH2 gene encodes the enzyme responsible for serotonin (5-HT) synthesis in the Central Nervous System (CNS). Stereotypic and repetitive behaviors are influenced by 5-HT, and initial studies report an association of TPH2 alleles with childhood-onset obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and with autism. GLO1 encodes glyoxalase I, the enzyme which detoxifies alpha-oxoaldehydes such as methylglyoxal in all living cells. The A111E GLO1 protein variant, encoded by SNP C419A, was identified in autopsied autistic brains and proposed to act as an autism susceptibility factor. Hyperserotoninemia, macrocephaly, and peptiduria represent some of the best-characterized endophenotypes in autism research. METHODS: Family-based and case-control association studies were performed on clinical samples drawn from 312 simplex and 29 multiplex families including 371 non-syndromic autistic patients and 156 unaffected siblings, as well as on 171 controls. TPH2 SNPs rs4570625 and rs4565946 were genotyped using the TaqMan assay; GLO1 SNP C419A was genotyped by PCR and allele-specific restriction digest. Family-based association analyses were performed by TDT and FBAT, case-control by chi2, endophenotypic analyses for 5-HT blood levels, cranial circumference and urinary peptide excretion rates by ANOVA and FBAT. RESULTS: TPH2 alleles and haplotypes are not significantly associated in our sample with autism (rs4570625: TDT P = 0.27, and FBAT P = 0.35; rs4565946: TDT P = 0.45, and FBAT P = 0.55; haplotype P = 0.84), with any endophenotype, or with the presence/absence of prominent repetitive and stereotyped behaviors (motor stereotypies: P = 0.81 and 0.84, verbal stereotypies: P = 0.38 and 0.73 for rs4570625 and rs4565946, respectively). Also GLO1 alleles display no association with autism (191 patients vs 171 controls, P = 0.36; TDT P = 0.79, and FBAT P = 0.37), but unaffected siblings seemingly carry a protective gene variant marked by the A419 allele (TDT P < 0.05; patients vs unaffected siblings TDT and FBAT P < 0.00001). CONCLUSION: TPH2 gene variants are unlikely to contribute to autism or to the presence/absence of prominent repetitive behaviors in our sample, although an influence on the intensity of these behaviors in autism cannot be excluded. GLO1 gene variants do not confer autism vulnerability in this sample, but allele A419 apparently carries a protective effect, spurring interest into functional correlates of the C419A SNP. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cotignola J, Reva B, Mitra N, Ishill N, Chuai S, Patel A, Shah S, Vanderbeek G, Coit D, Busam K, Halpern A, Houghton A, Sander C, Berwick M, Orlow I
Matrix Metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) polymorphisms in patients with cutaneous malignant melanoma.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;810.
BACKGROUND: Cutaneous Malignant Melanoma causes over 75% of skin cancer-related deaths, and it is clear that many factors may contribute to the outcome. Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs) play an important role in the degradation and remodeling of the extracellular matrix and basement membrane that, in turn, modulate cell division, migration and angiogenesis. Some polymorphisms are known to influence gene expression, protein activity, stability, and interactions, and they were shown to be associated with certain tumor phenotypes and cancer risk. METHODS: We tested seven polymorphisms within the MMP-9 gene in 1002 patients with melanoma in order to evaluate germline genetic variants and their association with progression and known risk factors of melanoma. The polymorphisms were selected based on previously published reports and their known or potential functional relevance using in-silico methods. Germline DNA was then genotyped using pyrosequencing, melting temperature profiles, heteroduplex analysis, and fragment size analysis. RESULTS: We found that reference alleles were present in higher frequency in patients who tend to sunburn, have family history of melanoma, higher melanoma stage, intransit metastasis and desmoplastic melanomas among others. However, after adjustment for age, sex, phenotypic index, moles, and freckles only Q279R, P574R and R668Q had significant associations with intransit metastasis, propensity to tan/sunburn and primary melanoma site. CONCLUSION: This study does not provide strong evidence for further investigation into the role of the MMP-9 SNPs in melanoma progression. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ahn JW, Ogilvie CM, Welch A, Thomas H, Madula R, Hills A, Donaghue C, Mann K
Detection of subtelomere imbalance using MLPA: validation, development of an analysis protocol, and application in a diagnostic centre.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;89.
BACKGROUND: Commercial MLPA kits (MRC-Holland) are available for detecting imbalance at the subtelomere regions of chromosomes; each kit consists of one probe for each subtelomere. METHODS: For validation of the kits, 208 patients were tested, of which 128 were known to be abnormal, corresponding to 8528 genomic regions overall. Validation samples included those with trisomy 13, 18 and 21, microscopically visible terminal deletions and duplications, sex chromosome abnormalities and submicroscopic abnormalities identified by multiprobe FISH. A robust and sensitive analysis system was developed to allow accurate interpretation of single probe results, which is essential as breakpoints may occur between MLPA probes. RESULTS: The validation results showed that MLPA is a highly efficient technique for medium-throughput screening for subtelomere imbalance, with 95% confidence intervals for positive and negative predictive accuracies of 0.951-0.996 and 0.9996-1 respectively. A diagnostic testing strategy was established for subtelomere MLPA and any subsequent follow-up tests that may be required. The efficacy of this approach was demonstrated during 15 months of diagnostic testing when 455 patients were tested and 27 (5.9%) abnormal cases were detected. CONCLUSION: The development of a robust, medium-throughput analysis system for the interpretation of results from subtelomere assays will be of benefit to other Centres wishing to implement such an MLPA-based service. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rossi M, Ricci E, Colantoni L, Galluzzi G, Frusciante R, Tonali PA, Felicetti L
The Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy region on 4qter and the homologous locus on 10qter evolved independently under different evolutionary pressure.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;88.
BACKGROUND: The homologous 4q and 10q subtelomeric regions include two distinctive polymorphic arrays of 3.3 kb repeats, named D4Z4. An additional BlnI restriction site on the 10q-type sequence allows to distinguish the chromosomal origin of the repeats. Reduction in the number of D4Z4 repeats below a threshold of 10 at the 4q locus is tightly linked to Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD), while similar contractions at 10q locus, are not pathogenic. Sequence variations due to the presence of BlnI-sensitive repeats (10q-type) on chromosome 4 or viceversa of BlnI-resistant repeats (4q-type) on chromosome 10 are observed in both alleles. RESULTS: We analysed DNA samples from 116 healthy subiects and 114 FSHD patients and determined the size distributions of polymorphic 4q and 10q alleles, the frequency and the D4Z4 repeat assortment of variant alleles, and finally the telomeric sequences both in standard and variant alleles. We observed the same frequency and types of variant alleles in FSHD patients and controls, but we found marked differences between the repeat arrays of the 4q and 10q chromosomes. In particular we detected 10q alleles completely replaced by the 4q subtelomeric region, consisting in the whole set of 4q-type repeats and the distal telomeric markers. However the reciprocal event, 10q-type subtelomeric region on chromosome 4, was never observed. At 4q locus we always identified hybrid alleles containing a mixture of 4q and 10q-type repeats. CONCLUSIONS: The different size distribution and different structure of 10q variant alleles as compared with 4q suggests that these loci evolved in a different manner, since the 4q locus is linked to FSHD, while no inheritable disease is associated with mutations in 10qter genomic region. Hybrid alleles on chromosome 4 always retain a minimum number of 4q type repeats, as they are probably essential for maintaining the structural and functional properties of this subtelomeric region. In addition we found: i) several instances of variant alleles that could be misinterpreted and interfere with a correct diagnosis of FSHD; ii) the presence of borderline alleles in the range of 30-40 kb that carried a qA type telomere and were not associated with the disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shao J, Chen L, Marrs B, Lee L, Huang H, Manton KG, Martin GM, Oshima J
SOD2 polymorphisms: unmasking the effect of polymorphism on splicing.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;87.
BACKGROUND: The SOD2 gene encodes an antioxidant enzyme, mitochondrial superoxide dismutase. SOD2 polymorphisms are of interest because of their potential roles in the modulation of free radical-mediated macromolecular damage during aging. RESULTS: We identified a new splice variant of SOD2 in human lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). The alternatively spliced product was originally detected by exon trapping of a minigene in order to examine the consequences of an intronic polymorphism found upstream of exon 4 (nucleotide 8136, 10T vs 9T). Examination of the transcripts derived from the endogenous loci in five LCLs with or without the intron 3 polymorphism revealed low levels of an in-frame deletion of exon 4 that were different from those detected by the exon trap assay. This suggested that exon trapping of the minigene unmasked the effect of the 10T vs 9T polymorphism on the splicing of the adjacent exon.We also determined the frequencies of single nucleotide polymorphisms in a sample of US African-Americans and non-African-Americans ages 65 years and older who participated in the 1999 wave of the National Long Term Care Survey (NLTCS). Particularly striking differences between African-Americans and non-African-Americans were found for the frequencies of genotypes at the 10T/9T intron 3 polymorphism. CONCLUSION: Exon trapping can unmask in vitro splicing differences caused by a 10T/9T intron 3 polymorphism. Given the recent evidence that SOD2 is in a region on chromosome 6 linked to susceptibility to hypertension, it will be of interest to investigate possible associations of this polymorphism with cardiovascular disorders. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Shadrina MI, Semenova EV, Slominsky PA, Bagyeva GH, Illarioshkin SN, Ivanova-Smolenskaia II, Limborska SA
Effective quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis of the parkin gene (PARK2) exon 1-12 dosage.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;86.
BACKGROUND: One of the causes of Parkinson's disease is mutations in the PARK2 gene. Deletions and duplications of single exons or exon groups account for a large proportion of the gene mutations. Direct detection of these mutations can be used for the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. METHODS: To detect these mutations, we developed an effective technique based on the real-time TaqMan PCR system, which allows us to evaluate the copynumbers of the PARK2 gene exons by comparing the intensity of the amplification signals from some exon of this gene with that of the beta-globin gene (the internal control). RESULTS: We analyzed rearrangements in exons 1-12 of the PARK2 gene in 64 patients from Russia with early-onset Parkinson's disease. The frequency of these mutations in our patients was 14%. CONCLUSION: We have developed a simple, accurate, and reproducible method applicable to the rapid detection of exon rearrangements in the PARK2 gene. It is suitable for the analysis of large patient groups, and it may become the basis for a diagnostic test. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

McKnight AJ, Savage DA, Patterson CC, Sadlier D, Maxwell AP
Resequencing of genes for transforming growth factor beta1 (TGFB1) type 1 and 2 receptors (TGFBR1, TGFBR2), and association analysis of variants with diabetic nephropathy.
BMC Med Genet. 2007;85.
BACKGROUND: Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of end stage renal failure in the western world. There is substantial epidemiological evidence supporting a genetic predisposition to diabetic nephropathy, however the exact molecular mechanisms remain unknown. Transforming growth factor (TGFbeta1) is a crucial mediator in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy. METHODS: We investigated the role of five known single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TGFB1 gene for their association with diabetic nephropathy in an Irish, type 1 diabetic case (n = 272) control (n = 367) collection. The activity of TGFbeta1 is facilitated by the action of type 1 and type 2 receptors, with both receptor genes (TGFBR1 and TGFBR2) shown to be upregulated in diabetic kidney disease. We therefore screened TGFBR1 and TGFBR2 genes for genomic variants using WAVEtrade mark (dHPLC) technology and confirmed variants by direct capillary sequencing. Allele frequencies were determined in forty-eight healthy individuals. Data for all SNPs was assessed for Hardy Weinberg equilibrium, with genotypes and allele frequencies compared using the chi2 test for contingency tables. Patterns of linkage disequilibrium were established and common haplotypes estimated. RESULTS: Fifteen variants were identified in these genes, seven of which are novel, and putatively functional SNPs were subsequently genotyped using TaqMantrade mark, Invadertrade mark or Pyrosequencing(R) technology. No significant differences (p > 0.1) were found in genotype or allele distributions between cases and controls for any of the SNPs assessed. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest common variants in TGFB1, TGFBR1 and TGFBR2 genes do not strongly influence genetic susceptibility to diabetic nephropathy in an Irish Caucasian population. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in American Journal of Human Genetics

Mahr S, Burmester GR, Hilke D, Göbel U, Grützkau A, Häupl T, Hauschild M, Koczan D, Krenn V, Neidel J, Perka C, Radbruch A, Thiesen HJ, Müller B
Cis- and trans-acting gene regulation is associated with osteoarthritis.
Am J Hum Genet. 2006 May;78(5):793-803.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a complex disease of the skeleton and is associated with aging. Both environmental and genetic factors contribute to its pathogenesis. We set out to identify novel genes associated with OA, concentrating on regulatory polymorphisms allowing for differential expression. Our strategy to identify differentially expressed genes included an initial transcriptome analysis of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of six patients with OA and six age-matched healthy controls. These were screened for allelic expression imbalances and potentially regulatory single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the 5' regions of the genes. To establish disease association, disparate promoter SNP distributions correlating with the differential expression were tested on larger cohorts. Our approach yielded 26 candidate genes differentially expressed between patients and controls. Whereas BLP2 and CIAS1 seem to be trans-regulated, as the absence of allelic expression imbalances suggests, the presence of allelic imbalances confirms cis-regulatory mechanisms for RHOB and TXNDC3. Interestingly, on/off-switching suggests additional trans-regulation for TXNDC3. Moreover, we demonstrate for RHOB and TXNDC3 statistically significant associations between 5' SNPs and the disease that hint at regulatory functions. Investigating the respective genes functionally will not only shed light on the disease association but will also add to the understanding of the pathogenic processes involved in OA and may point out novel therapeutic approaches. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Elson JL, Majamaa K, Howell N, Chinnery PF
Associating mitochondrial DNA variation with complex traits.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):378-82; author reply 382-3. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Saxena R, de Bakker PI, Singer K, Mootha V, Burtt N, Hirschhorn JN, Gaudet D, Isomaa B, Daly MJ, Groop L, Ardlie KG, Altshuler D
Comprehensive association testing of common mitochondrial DNA variation in metabolic disease.
Am J Hum Genet. 2006 Jul;79(1):54-61.
Many lines of evidence implicate mitochondria in phenotypic variation: (a) rare mutations in mitochondrial proteins cause metabolic, neurological, and muscular disorders; (b) alterations in oxidative phosphorylation are characteristic of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson disease, Huntington disease, and other diseases; and (c) common missense variants in the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) have been implicated as having been subject to natural selection for adaptation to cold climates and contributing to "energy deficiency" diseases today. To test the hypothesis that common mtDNA variation influences human physiology and disease, we identified all 144 variants with frequency >1% in Europeans from >900 publicly available European mtDNA sequences and selected 64 tagging single-nucleotide polymorphisms that efficiently capture all common variation (except the hypervariable D-loop). Next, we evaluated the complete set of common mtDNA variants for association with type 2 diabetes in a sample of 3,304 diabetics and 3,304 matched nondiabetic individuals. Association of mtDNA variants with other metabolic traits (body mass index, measures of insulin secretion and action, blood pressure, and cholesterol) was also tested in subsets of this sample. We did not find a significant association of common mtDNA variants with these metabolic phenotypes. Moreover, we failed to identify any physiological effect of alleles that were previously proposed to have been adaptive for energy metabolism in human evolution. More generally, this comprehensive association-testing framework can readily be applied to other diseases for which mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Genome scan for Tourette disorder in affected-sibling-pair and multigenerational families.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):265-72.
Tourette disorder (TD) is a neuropsychiatric disorder with a complex mode of inheritance and is characterized by multiple waxing and waning motor and phonic tics. This article reports the results of the largest genetic linkage study yet undertaken for TD. The sample analyzed includes 238 nuclear families yielding 304 "independent" sibling pairs and 18 separate multigenerational families, for a total of 2,040 individuals. A whole-genome screen with the use of 390 microsatellite markers was completed. Analyses were completed using two diagnostic classifications: (1) only individuals with TD were included as affected and (2) individuals with either TD or chronic-tic (CT) disorder were included as affected. Strong evidence of linkage was observed for a region on chromosome 2p (-log P = 4.42, P = 3.8 x 10(-5) in the analyses that included individuals with TD or CT disorder as affected. Results in several other regions also provide moderate evidence (-log P >2.0) of additional susceptibility loci for TD. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Huang BE, Lin DY
Efficient association mapping of quantitative trait loci with selective genotyping.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):567-76.
Selective genotyping (i.e., genotyping only those individuals with extreme phenotypes) can greatly improve the power to detect and map quantitative trait loci in genetic association studies. Because selection depends on the phenotype, the resulting data cannot be properly analyzed by standard statistical methods. We provide appropriate likelihoods for assessing the effects of genotypes and haplotypes on quantitative traits under selective-genotyping designs. We demonstrate that the likelihood-based methods are highly effective in identifying causal variants and are substantially more powerful than existing methods. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zou Y, Liu Q, Chen B, Zhang X, Guo C, Zhou H, Li J, Gao G, Guo Y, Yan C, Wei J, Shao C, Gong Y
Mutation in CUL4B, which encodes a member of cullin-RING ubiquitin ligase complex, causes X-linked mental retardation.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):561-6.
We reevaluated a previously reported family with an X-linked mental retardation syndrome and attempted to identify the underlying genetic defect. Screening of candidate genes in a 10-Mb region on Xq25 implicated CUL4B as the causative gene. CUL4B encodes a scaffold protein that organizes a cullin-RING (really interesting new gene) ubiquitin ligase (E3) complex in ubiquitylation. A base substitution, c.1564C-->T, converted a codon for arginine into a premature termination codon, p.R388X, and rendered the truncated peptide completely devoid of the C-terminal catalytic domain. The nonsense mutation also results in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay in patients. In peripheral leukocytes of obligate carriers, a strong selection against cells expressing the mutant allele results in an extremely skewed X-chromosome inactivation pattern. Our findings point to the functional significance of CUL4B in cognition and in other aspects of human development. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pasutto F, Sticht H, Hammersen G, Gillessen-Kaesbach G, Fitzpatrick DR, Nürnberg G, Brasch F, Schirmer-Zimmermann H, Tolmie JL, Chitayat D, Houge G, Fernández-Martínez L, Keating S, Mortier G, Hennekam RC, von der Wense A, Slavotinek A, Meinecke P, Bitoun P, Becker C, Nürnberg P, Reis A, Rauch A
Mutations in STRA6 cause a broad spectrum of malformations including anophthalmia, congenital heart defects, diaphragmatic hernia, alveolar capillary dysplasia, lung hypoplasia, and mental retardation.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):550-60.
We observed two unrelated consanguineous families with malformation syndromes sharing anophthalmia and distinct eyebrows as common signs, but differing for alveolar capillary dysplasia or complex congenital heart defect in one and diaphragmatic hernia in the other family. Homozygosity mapping revealed linkage to a common locus on chromosome 15, and pathogenic homozygous mutations were identified in STRA6, a member of a large group of "stimulated by retinoic acid" genes encoding novel transmembrane proteins, transcription factors, and secreted signaling molecules or proteins of largely unknown function. Subsequently, homozygous STRA6 mutations were also demonstrated in 3 of 13 patients chosen on the basis of significant phenotypic overlap to the original cases. While a homozygous deletion generating a premature stop codon (p.G50AfsX22) led to absence of the immunoreactive protein in patient's fibroblast culture, structural analysis of three missense mutations (P90L, P293L, and T321P) suggested significant effects on the geometry of the loops connecting the transmembrane helices of STRA6. Two further variations in the C-terminus (T644M and R655C) alter specific functional sites, an SH2-binding motif and a phosphorylation site, respectively. STRA6 mutations thus define a pleiotropic malformation syndrome representing the first human phenotype associated with mutations in a gene from the "STRA" group. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sanna-Cherchi S, Caridi G, Weng PL, Dagnino M, Seri M, Konka A, Somenzi D, Carrea A, Izzi C, Casu D, Allegri L, Schmidt-Ott KM, Barasch J, Scolari F, Ravazzolo R, Ghiggeri GM, Gharavi AG
Localization of a gene for nonsyndromic renal hypodysplasia to chromosome 1p32-33.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):539-49.
Nonsyndromic defects in the urinary tract are the most common cause of end-stage renal failure in children and account for a significant proportion of adult nephropathy. The genetic basis of these disorders is not fully understood. We studied seven multiplex kindreds ascertained via an index case with a nonsyndromic solitary kidney or renal hypodysplasia. Systematic ultrasonographic screening revealed that many family members harbor malformations, such as solitary kidneys, hypodysplasia, or ureteric abnormalities (in a total of 29 affected individuals). A genomewide scan identified significant linkage to a 6.9-Mb segment on chromosome 1p32-33 under an autosomal dominant model with reduced penetrance (peak LOD score 3.5 at D1S2652 in the largest kindred). Altogether, three of the seven families showed positive LOD scores at this interval, demonstrating heterogeneity of the trait (peak HLOD 3.9, with 45% of families linked). The chromosome 1p32-33 interval contains 52 transcription units, and at least 23 of these are expressed at stage E12.5 in the murine ureteric bud and/or metanephric mesenchyme. These data show that autosomal dominant nonsyndromic renal hypodysplasia and associated urinary tract malformations are genetically heterogeneous and identify a locus for this common cause of human kidney failure. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lin PI, Vance JM, Pericak-Vance MA, Martin ER
No gene is an island: the flip-flop phenomenon.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):531-8.
An increasing number of publications are replicating a previously reported disease-marker association but with the risk allele reversed from the previous report. Do such "flip-flop" associations confirm or refute the previous association findings? We hypothesized that these associations may indeed be confirmations but that multilocus effects and variation in interlocus correlations contribute to this flip-flop phenomenon. We used theoretical modeling to demonstrate that flip-flop associations can occur when the investigated variant is correlated, through interactive effects or linkage disequilibrium, with a causal variant at another locus, and we show how these findings could explain previous reports of flip-flop associations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cheung VG, Burdick JT, Hirschmann D, Morley M
Polymorphic variation in human meiotic recombination.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):526-30.
In this study, our phenotype of interest is meiotic recombination. Using genotypes of approximately 6,000 SNP markers in members of the Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain Utah pedigrees, we found extensive individual variation in the number of female and male recombination events. The locations and frequencies of these recombination events vary along the genome. In both female and male meiosis, the regions with the most recombination events are found at the ends of the chromosomes. Our analysis also shows that there are polymorphic differences among individuals in the activity of the recombination "jungles"; these preferred sites of meiotic recombination differ greatly among individuals. These findings have important implications for understanding genetic disorders that result from improper chromosome segregation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yan J, Bi W, Lupski JR
Penetrance of craniofacial anomalies in mouse models of Smith-Magenis syndrome is modified by genomic sequence surrounding Rai1: not all null alleles are alike.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):518-25.
Craniofacial abnormality is one of the major clinical manifestations of Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS). Previous analyses in a mixed genetic background of several SMS mouse models--including Df(11)17/+ and Df(11)17-1/+, which have 2-Mb and 590-kb deletions, respectively, and Rai1(-/+)--revealed that the penetrance of the craniofacial phenotype appears to be influenced by deletion size and genetic background. We generated an additional strain with a 1-Mb deletion intermediate in size between the two described above. Remarkably, the penetrance of its craniofacial anomalies in the mixed background was between those of Df(11)17 and Df(11)17-1. We further analyzed the deletion mutations and the Rai1(-/+) allele in a pure C57BL/6 background, to control for nonlinked modifier loci. The penetrance of the craniofacial anomalies was markedly increased for all the strains in comparison with the mixed background. Mice with Df(11)17 and Df(11)17-1 deletions had a similar penetrance, suggesting that penetrance may be less influenced by deletion size, whereas that of Rai1(-/+) mice was significantly lower than that of the deletion strains. We hypothesize that potential trans-regulatory sequence(s) or gene(s) that reside within the 590-kb genomic interval surrounding Rai1 are the major modifying genetic element(s) affecting the craniofacial penetrance. Moreover, we confirmed the influence of genetic background and different deletion sizes on the phenotype. The complicated control of the penetrance for one phenotype in SMS mouse models provides tools to elucidate molecular mechanisms for penetrance and clearly shows that a null allele caused by chromosomal deletion can have different phenotypic consequences than one caused by gene inactivation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zweier C, Sticht H, Aydin-Yaylagül I, Campbell CE, Rauch A
Human TBX1 missense mutations cause gain of function resulting in the same phenotype as 22q11.2 deletions.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):510-7.
Deletion 22q11.2 syndrome is the most frequent known microdeletion syndrome and is associated with a highly variable phenotype, including DiGeorge and Shprintzen (velocardiofacial) syndromes. Although haploinsufficiency of the T-box transcription factor gene TBX1 is thought to cause the phenotype, to date, only four different point mutations in TBX1 have been reported in association with six of the major features of 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Although, for the two truncating mutations, loss of function was previously shown, the pathomechanism of the missense mutations remains unknown. We report a novel heterozygous missense mutation, H194Q, in a familial case of Shprintzen syndrome and show that this and the two previously reported missense mutations result in gain of function, possibly through stabilization of the protein dimer DNA complex. We therefore conclude that TBX1 gain-of-function mutations can result in the same phenotypic spectrum as haploinsufficiency caused by loss-of-function mutations or deletions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Storey JD, Madeoy J, Strout JL, Wurfel M, Ronald J, Akey JM
Gene-expression variation within and among human populations.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):502-9.
Understanding patterns of gene-expression variation within and among human populations will provide important insights into the molecular basis of phenotypic diversity and the interpretation of patterns of expression variation in disease. However, little is known about how gene-expression variation is apportioned within and among human populations. Here, we characterize patterns of natural gene-expression variation in 16 individuals of European and African ancestry. We find extensive variation in gene-expression levels and estimate that approximately 83% of genes are differentially expressed among individuals and that approximately 17% of genes are differentially expressed among populations. By decomposing total gene-expression variation into within- versus among-population components, we find that most expression variation is due to variation among individuals rather than among populations, which parallels observations of extant patterns of human genetic variation. Finally, we performed allele-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction to demonstrate that cis-regulatory variation in the lymphocyte adaptor protein (SH2B adapter protein 3) contributes to differential expression between European and African samples. These results provide the first insight into how human population structure manifests itself in gene-expression levels and will help guide the search for regulatory quantitative trait loci. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jarmuz M, Glotzbach CD, Bailey KA, Bandyopadhyay R, Shaffer LG
The Evolution of satellite III DNA subfamilies among primates.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):495-501.
We demonstrate that satellite III (SatIII) DNA subfamilies cloned from human acrocentric chromosomes arose in the Hominoidea superfamily. Two groups, distinguished by sequence composition, evolved nonconcurrently, with group 2 evolving 16-23 million years ago (MYA) and the more recent group 1 sequences emerging approximately 4.5 MYA. We also show the relative order of emergence of each group 2 subfamily in the various primate species. Our results show that each SatIII subfamily is an independent evolutionary unit, that the rate of evolution is not uniform between species, and that the evolution within a species is not uniform between chromosomes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Deardorff MA, Kaur M, Yaeger D, Rampuria A, Korolev S, Pie J, Gil-Rodríguez C, Arnedo M, Loeys B, Kline AD, Wilson M, Lillquist K, Siu V, Ramos FJ, Musio A, Jackson LS, Dorsett D, Krantz ID
Mutations in cohesin complex members SMC3 and SMC1A cause a mild variant of cornelia de Lange syndrome with predominant mental retardation.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):485-94.
Mutations in the cohesin regulators NIPBL and ESCO2 are causative of the Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) and Roberts or SC phocomelia syndrome, respectively. Recently, mutations in the cohesin complex structural component SMC1A have been identified in two probands with features of CdLS. Here, we report the identification of a mutation in the gene encoding the complementary subunit of the cohesin heterodimer, SMC3, and 14 additional SMC1A mutations. All mutations are predicted to retain an open reading frame, and no truncating mutations were identified. Structural analysis of the mutant SMC3 and SMC1A proteins indicate that all are likely to produce functional cohesin complexes, but we posit that they may alter their chromosome binding dynamics. Our data indicate that SMC3 and SMC1A mutations (1) contribute to approximately 5% of cases of CdLS, (2) result in a consistently mild phenotype with absence of major structural anomalies typically associated with CdLS, and (3) in some instances, result in a phenotype that approaches that of apparently nonsyndromic mental retardation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mayr JA, Merkel O, Kohlwein SD, Gebhardt BR, Böhles H, Fötschl U, Koch J, Jaksch M, Lochmüller H, Horváth R, Freisinger P, Sperl W
Mitochondrial phosphate-carrier deficiency: a novel disorder of oxidative phosphorylation.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):478-84.
The mitochondrial phosphate carrier SLC25A3 transports inorganic phosphate into the mitochondrial matrix, which is essential for the aerobic synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). We identified a homozygous mutation--c.215G-->A (p.Gly72Glu)--in the alternatively spliced exon 3A of this enzyme in two siblings with lactic acidosis, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and muscular hypotonia who died within the 1st year of life. Functional investigation of intact mitochondria showed a deficiency of ATP synthesis in muscle but not in fibroblasts, which correlated with the tissue-specific expression of exon 3A in muscle versus exon 3B in fibroblasts. The enzyme defect was confirmed by complementation analysis in yeast. This is the first report of patients with mitochondrial phosphate-carrier deficiency. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Basel-Vanagaite L, Attia R, Ishida-Yamamoto A, Rainshtein L, Ben Amitai D, Lurie R, Pasmanik-Chor M, Indelman M, Zvulunov A, Saban S, Magal N, Sprecher E, Shohat M
Autosomal recessive ichthyosis with hypotrichosis caused by a mutation in ST14, encoding type II transmembrane serine protease matriptase.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):467-77.
In this article, we describe a novel autosomal recessive ichthyosis with hypotrichosis syndrome, characterized by congenital ichthyosis associated with abnormal hair. Using homozygosity mapping, we mapped the disease locus to 11q24.3-q25. We screened the ST14 gene, which encodes matriptase, since transplantation of skin from matriptase(-/-)-knockout mice onto adult athymic nude mice has been shown elsewhere to result in an ichthyosislike phenotype associated with almost complete absence of erupted pelage hairs. Mutation analysis revealed a missense mutation, G827R, in the highly conserved peptidase S1-S6 domain. Marked skin hyperkeratosis due to impaired degradation of the stratum corneum corneodesmosomes was observed in the affected individuals, which suggests that matriptase plays a significant role in epidermal desquamation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jaspers NG, Raams A, Silengo MC, Wijgers N, Niedernhofer LJ, Robinson AR, Giglia-Mari G, Hoogstraten D, Kleijer WJ, Hoeijmakers JH, Vermeulen W
First reported patient with human ERCC1 deficiency has cerebro-oculo-facio-skeletal syndrome with a mild defect in nucleotide excision repair and severe developmental failure.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):457-66.
Nucleotide excision repair (NER) is a genome caretaker mechanism responsible for removing helix-distorting DNA lesions, most notably ultraviolet photodimers. Inherited defects in NER result in profound photosensitivity and the cancer-prone syndrome xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) or two progeroid syndromes: Cockayne and trichothiodystrophy syndromes. The heterodimer ERCC1-XPF is one of two endonucleases required for NER. Mutations in XPF are associated with mild XP and rarely with progeria. Mutations in ERCC1 have not been reported. Here, we describe the first case of human inherited ERCC1 deficiency. Patient cells showed moderate hypersensitivity to ultraviolet rays and mitomycin C, yet the clinical features were very severe and, unexpectedly, were compatible with a diagnosis of cerebro-oculo-facio-skeletal syndrome. This discovery represents a novel complementation group of patients with defective NER. Further, the clinical severity, coupled with a relatively mild repair defect, suggests novel functions for ERCC1. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Han Y, Gu S, Oota H, Osier MV, Pakstis AJ, Speed WC, Kidd JR, Kidd KK
Evidence of positive selection on a class I ADH locus.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):441-56.
The alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) family of enzymes catalyzes the reversible oxidation of alcohol to acetaldehyde. Seven ADH genes exist in a segment of ~370 kb on 4q21. Products of the three class I ADH genes that share 95% sequence identity are believed to play the major role in the first step of ethanol metabolism. Because the common belief that selection has operated at the ADH1B*47His allele in East Asian populations lacks direct biological or statistical evidence, we used genomic data to test the hypothesis. Data consisted of 54 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) across the ADH clusters in a global sampling of 42 populations. Both the F(st) statistic and the long-range haplotype (LRH) test provided positive evidence of selection in several East Asian populations. The ADH1B Arg47His functional polymorphism has the highest F(st) of the 54 SNPs in the ADH cluster, and it is significantly above the mean F(st) of 382 presumably neutral sites tested on the same 42 population samples. The LRH test that uses cores including that site and extending on both sides also gives significant evidence of positive selection in some East Asian populations for a specific haplotype carrying the ADH1B*47His allele. Interestingly, this haplotype is present at a high frequency in only some East Asian populations, whereas the specific allele also exists in other East Asian populations and in the Near East and Europe but does not show evidence of selection with use of the LRH test. Although the ADH1B*47His allele conveys a well-confirmed protection against alcoholism, that modern phenotypic manifestation does not easily translate into a positive selective force, and the nature of that selective force, in the past and/or currently, remains speculative. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kranz C, Jungeblut C, Denecke J, Erlekotte A, Sohlbach C, Debus V, Kehl HG, Harms E, Reith A, Reichel S, Grobe H, Hammersen G, Schwarzer U, Marquardt T
A defect in dolichol phosphate biosynthesis causes a new inherited disorder with death in early infancy.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):433-40.
The following study describes the discovery of a new inherited metabolic disorder, dolichol kinase (DK1) deficiency. DK1 is responsible for the final step of the de novo biosynthesis of dolichol phosphate. Dolichol phosphate is involved in several glycosylation reactions, such as N-glycosylation, glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchor biosynthesis, and C- and O-mannosylation. We identified four patients who were homozygous for one of two mutations (c.295T-->A [99Cys-->Ser] or c.1322A-->C [441Tyr-->Ser]) in the corresponding hDK1 gene. The residual activity of mutant DK1 was 2%-4% when compared with control cells. The mutated alleles failed to complement the temperature-sensitive phenotype of DK1-deficient yeast cells, whereas the wild-type allele restored the normal growth phenotype. Affected patients present with a very severe clinical phenotype, with death in early infancy. Two of the patients died from dilative cardiomyopathy. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nielsen KB, Sřrensen S, Cartegni L, Corydon TJ, Doktor TK, Schroeder LD, Reinert LS, Elpeleg O, Krainer AR, Gregersen N, Kjems J, Andresen BS
Seemingly neutral polymorphic variants may confer immunity to splicing-inactivating mutations: a synonymous SNP in exon 5 of MCAD protects from deleterious mutations in a flanking exonic splicing enhancer.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):416-32.
The idea that point mutations in exons may affect splicing is intriguing and adds an additional layer of complexity when evaluating their possible effects. Even in the best-studied examples, the molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. Here, we use patient cells, model minigenes, and in vitro assays to show that a missense mutation in exon 5 of the medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) gene primarily causes exon skipping by inactivating a crucial exonic splicing enhancer (ESE), thus leading to loss of a functional protein and to MCAD deficiency. This ESE functions by antagonizing a juxtaposed exonic splicing silencer (ESS) and is necessary to define a suboptimal 3' splice site. Remarkably, a synonymous polymorphic variation in MCAD exon 5 inactivates the ESS, and, although this has no effect on splicing by itself, it makes splicing immune to deleterious mutations in the ESE. Furthermore, the region of MCAD exon 5 that harbors these elements is nearly identical to the exon 7 region of the survival of motor neuron (SMN) genes that contains the deleterious silent mutation in SMN2, indicating a very similar and finely tuned interplay between regulatory elements in these two genes. Our findings illustrate a mechanism for dramatic context-dependent effects of single-nucleotide polymorphisms on gene-expression regulation and show that it is essential that potential deleterious effects of mutations on splicing be evaluated in the context of the relevant haplotype. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Fuku N, Park KS, Yamada Y, Nishigaki Y, Cho YM, Matsuo H, Segawa T, Watanabe S, Kato K, Yokoi K, Nozawa Y, Lee HK, Tanaka M
Mitochondrial haplogroup N9a confers resistance against type 2 diabetes in Asians.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):407-15.
Because mitochondria play pivotal roles in both insulin secretion from the pancreatic beta cells and insulin resistance of skeletal muscles, we performed a large-scale association study to identify mitochondrial haplogroups that may confer resistance against or susceptibility to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The study population comprised 2,906 unrelated Japanese individuals, including 1,289 patients with T2DM and 1,617 controls, and 1,365 unrelated Korean individuals, including 732 patients with T2DM and 633 controls. The genotypes for 25 polymorphisms in the coding region of the mitochondrial genome were determined, and the haplotypes were classified into 10 major haplogroups (i.e., F, B, A, N9a, M7a, M7b, G, D4a, D4b, and D5). Multivariate logistic-regression analysis with adjustment for age and sex revealed that the mitochondrial haplogroup N9a was significantly associated with resistance against T2DM (P=.0002) with an odds ratio of 0.55 (95% confidence interval 0.40-0.75). Even in the modern environment, which is often characterized by satiety and physical inactivity, this haplogroup might confer resistance against T2DM. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Makino S, Kaji R, Ando S, Tomizawa M, Yasuno K, Goto S, Matsumoto S, Tabuena MD, Maranon E, Dantes M, Lee LV, Ogasawara K, Tooyama I, Akatsu H, Nishimura M, Tamiya G
Reduced neuron-specific expression of the TAF1 gene is associated with X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Mar;80(3):393-406.
X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism (XDP) is a movement disorder endemic to the Philippines. The disease locus, DYT3, has been mapped to Xq13.1. In a search for the causative gene, we performed genomic sequencing analysis, followed by expression analysis of XDP brain tissues. We found a disease-specific SVA (short interspersed nuclear element, variable number of tandem repeats, and Alu composite) retrotransposon insertion in an intron of the TATA-binding protein-associated factor 1 gene (TAF1), which encodes the largest component of the TFIID complex, and significantly decreased expression levels of TAF1 and the dopamine receptor D2 gene (DRD2) in the caudate nucleus. We also identified an abnormal pattern of DNA methylation in the retrotransposon in the genome from the patient's caudate, which could account for decreased expression of TAF1. Our findings suggest that the reduced neuron-specific expression of the TAF1 gene is associated with XDP. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Muller U, Herzfeld T, Nolte D
The TAF1/DYT3 multiple transcript system in X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Aug;81(2):415-7; author reply 417-8. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lenski C, Kooy RF, Reyniers E, Loessner D, Wanders RJ, Winnepenninckx B, Hellebrand H, Engert S, Schwartz CE, Meindl A, Ramser J
The reduced expression of the HADH2 protein causes X-linked mental retardation, choreoathetosis, and abnormal behavior.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):372-7.
Recently, we defined a new syndromic form of X-linked mental retardation in a 4-generation family with a unique clinical phenotype characterized by mild mental retardation, choreoathetosis, and abnormal behavior (MRXS10). Linkage analysis in this family revealed a candidate region of 13.4 Mb between markers DXS1201 and DXS991 on Xp11; therefore, mutation analysis was performed by direct sequencing in most of the 135 annotated genes located in the region. The gene (HADH2) encoding L-3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase II displayed a sequence alteration (c.574 C-->A; p.R192R) in all patients and carrier females that was absent in unaffected male family members and could not be found in 2,500 control X chromosomes, including in those of 500 healthy males. The silent C-->A substitution is located in exon 5 and was shown by western blot to reduce the amount of HADH2 protein by 60%-70% in the patient. Quantitative in vivo and in vitro expression studies revealed a ratio of splicing transcript amounts different from those normally seen in controls. Apparently, the reduced expression of the wild-type fragment, which results in the decreased protein expression, rather than the increased amount of aberrant splicing fragments of the HADH2 gene, is pathogenic. Our data therefore strongly suggest that reduced expression of the HADH2 protein causes MRXS10, a phenotype different from that caused by 2-methyl-3-hydroxybutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency, which is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by missense mutations in this multifunctional protein. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhao X, Sun M, Zhao J, Leyva JA, Zhu H, Yang W, Zeng X, Ao Y, Liu Q, Liu G, Lo WH, Jabs EW, Amzel LM, Shan X, Zhang X
Mutations in HOXD13 underlie syndactyly type V and a novel brachydactyly-syndactyly syndrome.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):361-71.
HOXD13, the homeobox-containing gene located at the most 5' end of the HOXD cluster, plays a critical role in limb development. It has been shown that mutations in human HOXD13 can give rise to limb malformations, with variable expressivity and a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations. Polyalanine expansions in HOXD13 cause synpolydactyly, whereas amino acid substitutions in the homeodomain are associated with brachydactyly types D and E. We describe two large Han Chinese families with different limb malformations, one with syndactyly type V and the other with limb features overlapping brachydactyly types A4, D, and E and mild syndactyly of toes 2 and 3. Two-point linkage analysis showed LOD scores >3 (theta =0) for markers within and/or flanking the HOXD13 locus in both families. In the family with syndactyly type V, we identified a missense mutation in the HOXD13 homeodomain, c.950A-->G (p.Q317R), which leads to substitution of the highly conserved glutamine that is important for DNA-binding specificity and affinity. In the family with complex brachydactyly and syndactyly, we detected a deletion of 21 bp in the imperfect GCN (where N denotes A, C, G, or T) triplet-containing exon 1 of HOXD13, which results in a polyalanine contraction of seven residues. Moreover, we found that the mutant HOXD13 with the p.Q317R substitution was unable to transactivate the human EPHA7 promoter. Molecular modeling data supported these experimental results. The calculated interactions energies were in agreement with the measured changes of the activity. Our data established the link between HOXD13 and two additional limb phenotypes--syndactyly type V and brachydactyly type A4--and demonstrated that a polyalanine contraction in HOXD13, most likely, led to other digital anomalies but not to synpolydactyly. We suggest the term "HOXD13 limb morphopathies" for the spectrum of limb disorders caused by HOXD13 mutations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wang T, Elston RC
Improved power by use of a weighted score test for linkage disequilibrium mapping.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):353-60.
Association studies offer an exciting approach to finding underlying genetic variants of complex human diseases. However, identification of genetic variants still includes difficult challenges, and it is important to develop powerful new statistical methods. Currently, association methods may depend on single-locus analysis--that is, analysis of the association of one locus, which is typically a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), at a time--or on multilocus analysis, in which multiple SNPs are used to allow extraction of maximum information about linkage disequilibrium (LD). It has been shown that single-locus analysis may have low power because a single SNP often has limited LD information. Multilocus analysis, which is more informative, can be performed on the basis of either haplotypes or genotypes. It may lose power because of the often large number of degrees of freedom involved. The ideal method must make full use of important information from multiple loci but avoid increasing the degrees of freedom. Therefore, we propose a method to capture information from multiple SNPs but with the use of fewer degrees of freedom. When a set of SNPs in a block are correlated because of LD, we might expect that the genotype variation among the different phenotypic groups would extend across all the SNPs, and this information could be compressed into the low-frequency components of a Fourier transform. Therefore, we develop a test based on weighted Fourier transformation coefficients, with more weight given to the low-frequency components. Our simulation results demonstrate the validity and substantially higher power of the proposed method compared with other common methods. This method provides an additional tool to existing methods for identification of causative genetic variants underlying complex diseases. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tarpey PS, Raymond FL, O'Meara S, Edkins S, Teague J, Butler A, Dicks E, Stevens C, Tofts C, Avis T, Barthorpe S, Buck G, Cole J, Gray K, Halliday K, Harrison R, Hills K, Jenkinson A, Jones D, Menzies A, Mironenko T, Perry J, Raine K, Richardson D, Shepherd R, Small A, Varian J, West S, Widaa S, Mallya U, Moon J, Luo Y, Holder S, Smithson SF, Hurst JA, Clayton-Smith J, Kerr B, Boyle J, Shaw M, Vandeleur L, Rodriguez J, Slaugh R, Easton DF, Wooster R, Bobrow M, Srivastava AK, Stevenson RE, Schwartz CE, Turner G, Gecz J, Futreal PA, Stratton MR, Partington M
Mutations in CUL4B, which encodes a ubiquitin E3 ligase subunit, cause an X-linked mental retardation syndrome associated with aggressive outbursts, seizures, relative macrocephaly, central obesity, hypogonadism, pes cavus, and tremor.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):345-52.
We have identified three truncating, two splice-site, and three missense variants at conserved amino acids in the CUL4B gene on Xq24 in 8 of 250 families with X-linked mental retardation (XLMR). During affected subjects' adolescence, a syndrome emerged with delayed puberty, hypogonadism, relative macrocephaly, moderate short stature, central obesity, unprovoked aggressive outbursts, fine intention tremor, pes cavus, and abnormalities of the toes. This syndrome was first described by Cazebas et al., in a family that was included in our study and that carried a CUL4B missense variant. CUL4B is a ubiquitin E3 ligase subunit implicated in the regulation of several biological processes, and CUL4B is the first XLMR gene that encodes an E3 ubiquitin ligase. The relatively high frequency of CUL4B mutations in this series indicates that it is one of the most commonly mutated genes underlying XLMR and suggests that its introduction into clinical diagnostics should be a high priority. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tekin M, Hi?mi BO, Fitoz S, Ozda? H, Cengiz FB, Sirmaci A, Aslan I, Inceo?lu B, Yüksel-Konuk EB, Yilmaz ST, Yasun O, Akar N
Homozygous mutations in fibroblast growth factor 3 are associated with a new form of syndromic deafness characterized by inner ear agenesis, microtia, and microdontia.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):338-44.
We identified nine individuals from three unrelated Turkish families with a unique autosomal recessive syndrome characterized by type I microtia, microdontia, and profound congenital deafness associated with a complete absence of inner ear structures (Michel aplasia). We later demonstrated three different homozygous mutations (p.S156P, p.R104X, and p.V206SfsX117) in the fibroblast growth factor 3 (FGF3) gene in affected members of these families, cosegregating with the autosomal recessive transmission as a completely penetrant phenotype. These findings demonstrate the involvement of FGF3 mutations in a human malformation syndrome for the first time and contribute to our understanding of the role this gene plays in embryonic development. Of particular interest is that the development of the inner ear is completely disturbed at a very early stage--or the otic vesicle is not induced at all--in all of the affected individuals who carried two mutant FGF3 alleles. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jaffe EK, Stith L
ALAD porphyria is a conformational disease.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):329-37.
ALAD porphyria is a rare porphyric disorder, with five documented compound heterozygous patients, and it is caused by a profound lack of porphobilinogen synthase (PBGS) activity. PBGS, also called "delta-aminolevulinate dehydratase," is encoded by the ALAD gene and catalyzes the second step in the biosynthesis of heme. ALAD porphyria is a recessive disorder; there are two common variant ALAD alleles, which encode K59 and N59, and eight known porphyria-associated ALAD mutations, which encode F12L, E89K, C132R, G133R, V153M, R240W, A274T, and V275M. Human PBGS exists as an equilibrium of functionally distinct quaternary structure assemblies, known as "morpheeins," in which one functional homo-oligomer can dissociate, change conformation, and reassociate into a different oligomer. In the case of human PBGS, the two assemblies are a high-activity octamer and a low-activity hexamer. The current study quantifies the morpheein forms of human PBGS for the common and porphyria-associated variants. Heterologous expression in Escherichia coli, followed by separation of the octameric and hexameric assemblies on an ion-exchange column, showed that the percentage of hexamer for F12L (100%), R240W (80%), G133R (48%), C132R (36%), E89K (31%), and A274T (14%) was appreciably larger than for the wild-type proteins K59 and N59 (0% and 3%, respectively). All eight porphyria-associated variants, including V153M and V275M, showed an increased propensity to form the hexamer, according to a kinetic analysis. Thus, all porphyria-associated human PBGS variants are found to shift the morpheein equilibrium for PBGS toward the less active hexamer. We propose that the disequilibrium of morpheein assemblies broadens the definition of conformational diseases beyond the prion disorders and that ALAD porphyria is the first example of a morpheein-based conformational disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Martinez-Mir A, Zlotogorski A, Gordon D, Petukhova L, Mo J, Gilliam TC, Londono D, Haynes C, Ott J, Hordinsky M, Nanova K, Norris D, Price V, Duvic M, Christiano AM
Genomewide scan for linkage reveals evidence of several susceptibility loci for alopecia areata.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):316-28.
Alopecia areata (AA) is a genetically determined, immune-mediated disorder of the hair follicle that affects 1%-2% of the U.S. population. It is defined by a spectrum of severity that ranges from patchy localized hair loss on the scalp to the complete absence of hair everywhere on the body. In an effort to define the genetic basis of AA, we performed a genomewide search for linkage in 20 families with AA consisting of 102 affected and 118 unaffected individuals from the United States and Israel. Our analysis revealed evidence of at least four susceptibility loci on chromosomes 6, 10, 16 and 18, by use of several different statistical approaches. Fine-mapping analysis with additional families yielded a maximum multipoint LOD score of 3.93 on chromosome 18, a two-point affected sib pair (ASP) LOD score of 3.11 on chromosome 16, several ASP LOD scores >2.00 on chromosome 6q, and a haplotype-based relative risk LOD of 2.00 on chromosome 6p (in the major histocompatibility complex locus). Our findings confirm previous studies of association of the human leukocyte antigen locus with human AA, as well as the C3H-HeJ mouse model for AA. Interestingly, the major loci on chromosomes 16 and 18 coincide with loci for psoriasis reported elsewhere. These results suggest that these regions may harbor gene(s) involved in a number of different skin and hair disorders. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Asai-Coakwell M, French CR, Berry KM, Ye M, Koss R, Somerville M, Mueller R, van Heyningen V, Waskiewicz AJ, Lehmann OJ
GDF6, a novel locus for a spectrum of ocular developmental anomalies.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):306-15.
Colobomata represent visually impairing ocular closure defects that are associated with a diverse range of developmental anomalies. Characterization of a chromosome 8q21.2-q22.1 segmental deletion in a patient with chorioretinal coloboma revealed elements of nonallelic homologous recombination and nonhomologous end joining. This genomic architecture extends the range of chromosomal rearrangements associated with human disease and indicates that a broader spectrum of human chromosomal rearrangements may use coupled homologous and nonhomologous mechanisms. We also demonstrate that the segmental deletion encompasses GDF6, encoding a member of the bone-morphogenetic protein family, and that inhibition of gdf6a in a model organism accurately recapitulates the proband's phenotype. The spectrum of disorders generated by morpholino inhibition and the more severe defects (microphthalmia and anophthalmia) observed at higher doses illustrate the key role of GDF6 in ocular development. These results underscore the value of integrated clinical and molecular investigation of patients with chromosomal anomalies. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zsurka G, Hampel KG, Kudina T, Kornblum C, Kraytsberg Y, Elger CE, Khrapko K, Kunz WS
Inheritance of mitochondrial DNA recombinants in double-heteroplasmic families: potential implications for phylogenetic analysis.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):298-305.
Recently, somatic recombination of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) was discovered in skeletal muscle. To determine whether recombinant mtDNA molecules can be transmitted through the germ line, we investigated two families, each harboring two inherited heteroplasmic mtDNA mutations. Using allele-specific polymerase chain reaction and single-cell and single-molecule mutational analyses, we discovered, in both families, all four possible allelic combinations of the two heteroplasmic mutations (tetraplasmy), the hallmark of mtDNA recombination. We strongly suggest that these recombinant mtDNA molecules were inherited rather than de novo generated somatically, because they (1) are highly abundant and (2) are present in different tissues of maternally related family members, including young individuals. Moreover, the comparison of the complete mtDNA sequence of one of the families with database sequences revealed an irregular, nontreelike pattern of mutations, reminiscent of a reticulation. We therefore propose that certain reticulations of the human mtDNA phylogenetic tree might be explained by recombination of coexisting mtDNA molecules harboring multiple mutations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kügler S, Hahnewald R, Garrido M, Reiss J
Long-term rescue of a lethal inherited disease by adeno-associated virus-mediated gene transfer in a mouse model of molybdenum-cofactor deficiency.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):291-7.
Molybdenum cofactor (MoCo) deficiency is a progressive neurological disorder that inevitably leads to early childhood death because of the lack of any effective therapy. In a mouse model of MoCo deficiency type A, the most frequent form of this autosomal recessively inherited disease, the affected animals show the biochemical characteristics of sulphite and xanthine intoxication and do not survive >2 wk after birth. We have constructed a recombinant-expression cassette for the gene MOCS1, which, via alternative splicing, facilitates the expression of the proteins MOCS1A and MOCS1B, both of which are necessary for the formation of a first intermediate, cyclic pyranopterin monophosphate (cPMP), within the biosynthetic pathway leading to active MoCo. A recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector was used to express the artificial MOCS1 minigene, in an attempt to cure the lethal MOCS1-deficient phenotype. The vector was used to transduce Mocs1-deficient mice at both 1 and 4 d after birth or, after a pretreatment with purified cPMP, at 40 d after birth. We report here that all Mocs1-deficient animals injected with a control AAV-enhanced green fluorescent protein vector died approximately 8 d after birth or after withdrawal of cPMP supplementation, whereas AAV-MOCS1-transduced animals show significantly increased longevity. A single intrahepatic injection of AAV-MOCS1 resulted in fertile adult animals without any pathological phenotypes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cargill M, Schrodi SJ, Chang M, Garcia VE, Brandon R, Callis KP, Matsunami N, Ardlie KG, Civello D, Catanese JJ, Leong DU, Panko JM, McAllister LB, Hansen CB, Papenfuss J, Prescott SM, White TJ, Leppert MF, Krueger GG, Begovich AB
A large-scale genetic association study confirms IL12B and leads to the identification of IL23R as psoriasis-risk genes.
Am J Hum Genet. 2007 Feb;80(2):273-90.
We performed a multitiered, case-control association study of psoriasis in three independent sample sets of white North American individuals (1,446 cases and 1,432 controls) with 25,215 genecentric single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and found a highly significant association with an IL12B 3'-untranslated-region SNP (rs3212227), confirming the results of a small Japanese study. This SNP was significant in all three sample sets (odds ratio [OR](common) 0.64, combined P [Pcomb]=7.85x10(-10)). A Monte Carlo simulation to address multiple testing suggests that this association is not a type I error. The coding regions of IL12B were resequenced in 96 individuals with psoriasis, and 30 additional IL12B-region SNPs were genotyped. Haplotypes were estimated, and genotype-conditioned analyses identified a second risk allele (rs6887695) located approximately 60 kb upstream of the IL12B coding region that exhibited association with psoriasis after adjustment for rs3212227. Together, these two SNPs mark a common IL12B risk haplotype (OR(common) 1.40, Pcomb=8.11x10(-9)) and a less frequent protective haplotype (OR(common) 0.58, Pcomb=5.65x10(-12)), which were statistically significant in all three studies. Since IL12B encodes the common IL-12p40 subunit of IL-12 and IL-23, we individually genotyped 17 SNPs in the genes encoding the other chains of these cytokines (IL12A and IL23A) and their receptors (IL12RB1, IL12RB2, and IL23R). Haplotype analyses identified two IL23R missense SNPs that together mark a common psoriasis-associated haplotype in all three studies (OR(common) 1.44, Pcomb=3.13x10(-6)). Individuals homozygous for both the IL12B and the IL23R predisposing haplotypes have an increased risk of disease (OR(common) 1.66, Pcomb=1.33x10(-8)). These data, and the previous observation that administration of an antibody specific for the IL-12p40 subunit to patients with psoriasis is highly efficacious, suggest that these genes play a fundamental role in psoriasis pathogenesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Genetics

Yamada-Inagawa T, Klar AJ, Dalgaard JZ
Schizosaccharomyces pombe switches mating type by the synthesis-dependent strand-annealing mechanism.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):255-65.
Schizosaccharomyces pombe cells can switch between two mating types, plus (P) and minus (M). The change in cell type occurs due to a replication-coupled recombination event that transfers genetic information from one of the silent-donor loci, mat2P or mat3M, into the expressed mating-type determining mat1 locus. The mat1 locus can as a consequence contain DNA encoding either P or M information. A molecular mechanism, known as synthesis-dependent strand annealing, has been proposed for the underlying recombination event. A key feature of this model is that only one DNA strand of the donor locus provides the information that is copied into the mat1. Here we test the model by constructing strains that switch using two different mutant P cassettes introduced at the donor loci, mat2 and mat3. We show that in such strains wild-type P-cassette DNA is efficiently generated at mat1 through heteroduplex DNA formation and repair. The present data provide an in vivo genetic test of the proposed molecular recombination mechanism. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Weiler KS
E(var)3-9 of Drosophila melanogaster encodes a zinc finger protein.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):167-78.
The importance of a gene's natural chromatin environment for its normal expression is poignantly illustrated when a change in chromosome position results in variable gene repression, such as is observed in position effect variegation (PEV) when the Drosophila melanogaster white (omega) gene is juxtaposed with heterochromatin. The Enhancer of variegation 3-9 [E(var)3-9] gene was one of over a hundred loci identified in screens for mutations that dominantly modify PEV. Haploinsufficiency for E(var)3-9 enhances omegam4 variegation, as would be expected from increased heterochromatin formation. To clarify the role of E(var)3-9 in chromosome structure, the gene has been cloned and its mutant alleles characterized. The involvement of E(var)3-9 in structure determination was supported by its reciprocal effects on euchromatic and heterochromatic PEV; E(var)3-9 mutations increased expression of a variegating heterochromatic gene in two tissue types. E(var)3-9 mutations also had a recessive phenotype, maternal effect lethality, which implicated E(var)3-9 function in an essential process during embryogenesis. Both phenotypes of E(var)3-9 mutations were consistent with its proposed function in promoting normal chromosome structure. The cloning of E(var)3-9 by classical genetic methods revealed that it encodes a protein with multiple zinc fingers, but otherwise novel sequence. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jensen VL, Albert PS, Riddle DL
Caenorhabditis elegans SDF-9 enhances insulin/insulin-like signaling through interaction with DAF-2.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):661-6.
SDF-9 is a modulator of Caenorhabditis elegans insulin/IGF-1 signaling that may interact directly with the DAF-2 receptor. SDF-9 is a tyrosine phosphatase-like protein that, when mutated, enhances many partial loss-of-function mutants in the dauer pathway except for the temperature-sensitive mutant daf-2(m41). We propose that SDF-9 stabilizes the active phosphorylated state of DAF-2 or acts as an adaptor protein to enhance insulin-like signaling. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wingen LU, Brown JK, Shaw MW
The population genetic structure of clonal organisms generated by exponentially bounded and fat-tailed dispersal.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):435-48.
Long-distance dispersal (LDD) plays an important role in many population processes like colonization, range expansion, and epidemics. LDD of small particles like fungal spores is often a result of turbulent wind dispersal and is best described by functions with power-law behavior in the tails ("fat tailed"). The influence of fat-tailed LDD on population genetic structure is reported in this article. In computer simulations, the population structure generated by power-law dispersal with exponents in the range of -2 to -1, in distinct contrast to that generated by exponential dispersal, has a fractal structure. As the power-law exponent becomes smaller, the distribution of individual genotypes becomes more self-similar at different scales. Common statistics like GST are not well suited to summarizing differences between the population genetic structures. Instead, fractal and self-similarity statistics demonstrated differences in structure arising from fat-tailed and exponential dispersal. When dispersal is fat tailed, a log-log plot of the Simpson index against distance between subpopulations has an approximately constant gradient over a large range of spatial scales. The fractal dimension D2 is linearly inversely related to the power-law exponent, with a slope of approximately -2. In a large simulation arena, fat-tailed LDD allows colonization of the entire space by all genotypes whereas exponentially bounded dispersal eventually confines all descendants of a single clonal lineage to a relatively small area. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dovey CL, Russell P
Mms22 preserves genomic integrity during DNA replication in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):47-61.
The faithful replication of the genome, coupled with the accurate repair of DNA damage, is essential for the maintenance of chromosomal integrity. The MMS22 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae plays an important but poorly understood role in preservation of genome integrity. Here we describe a novel gene in Schizosaccharomyces pombe that we propose is a highly diverged ortholog of MMS22. Fission yeast Mms22 functions in the recovery from replication-associated DNA damage. Loss of Mms22 results in the accumulation of spontaneous DNA damage in the S- and G2-phases of the cell cycle and elevated genomic instability. There are severe synthetic interactions involving mms22 and most of the homologous recombination proteins but not the structure-specific endonuclease Mus81-Eme1, which is required for survival of broken replication forks. Mms22 forms spontaneous nuclear foci and colocalizes with Rad22 in cells treated with camptothecin, suggesting that it has a direct role in repair of broken replication forks. Moreover, genetic interactions with components of the DNA replication fork suggest that Mms2 functions in the coordination of DNA synthesis following damage. We propose that Mms22 functions directly at the replication fork to maintain genomic integrity in a pathway involving Mus81-Eme1. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wei DS, Rong YS
A genetic screen for DNA double-strand break repair mutations in Drosophila.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):63-77.
The study of DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair has been greatly facilitated by the use of rare-cutting endonucleases, which induce a break precisely at their cut sites that can be strategically placed in the genome. We previously established such a system in Drosophila and showed that the yeast I-SceI enzyme cuts efficiently in Drosophila cells and those breaks are effectively repaired by conserved mechanisms. In this study, we determined the genetic requirements for the repair of this I-SceI-induced DSB in the germline. We show that Drosophila Rad51 and Rad54 are both required for homologous repair by gene conversion, but are dispensable for single-strand annealing repair. We provided evidence suggesting that Rad51 is more stringently required than Rad54 for intersister gene conversion. We uncovered a significant role of DNA ligase IV in nonhomologous end joining. We conducted a screen for candidate mutations affecting DSB repair and discovered novel mutations in genes that include mutagen sensitive 206, single-strand annealing reducer, and others. In addition, we demonstrated an intricate balance among different repair pathways in which the cell differentially utilizes repair mechanisms in response to both changes in the genomic environment surrounding the break and deficiencies in one or the other repair pathways. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Witten JT, Chen CT, Cohen BA
Complex genetic changes in strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae derived by selection in the laboratory.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):449-56.
Selection of model organisms in the laboratory has the potential to generate useful substrates for testing evolutionary theories. These studies generally employ relatively long-term selections with weak selective pressures to allow the accumulation of multiple adaptations. In contrast to this approach, we analyzed two strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that were selected for resistance to multiple stress challenges by a rapid selection scheme to test whether the variation between rapidly selected strains might also be useful in evolutionary studies. We found that resistance to oxidative stress is a multigene trait in these strains. Both derived strains possess the same major-effect adaptations to oxidative stress, but have distinct modifiers of the phenotype. Similarly, both derived strains have altered their global transcriptional responses to oxidative stress in similar ways, but do have at least some distinct differences in transcriptional regulation. We conclude that short-term laboratory selections can generate complex genetic variation that may be a useful substrate for testing evolutionary theories. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Storz JF, Baze M, Waite JL, Hoffmann FG, Opazo JC, Hayes JP
Complex signatures of selection and gene conversion in the duplicated globin genes of house mice.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):481-500.
Results of electrophoretic surveys have suggested that hemoglobin polymorphism may be maintained by balancing selection in natural populations of house mice, Mus musculus. Here we report a survey of nucleotide variation in the adult globin genes of house mice from South America. We surveyed nucleotide polymorphism in two closely linked alpha-globin paralogs and two closely linked beta-globin paralogs to test whether patterns of variation are consistent with a model of long-term balancing selection. Surprisingly high levels of nucleotide polymorphism at the two beta-globin paralogs were attributable to the segregation of two highly divergent haplotypes, Hbbs (which carries two identical beta-globin paralogs) and Hbbd (which carries two functionally divergent beta-globin paralogs). Interparalog gene conversion on the Hbbs haplotype has produced a highly unusual situation in which the two paralogs are more similar to one another than either one is to its allelic counterpart on the Hbbd haplotype. Levels of nucleotide polymorphism and linkage disequilibrium at the two beta-globin paralogs suggest a complex history of diversity-enhancing selection that may be responsible for long-term maintenance of alternative protein alleles. The alternative two-locus beta-globin haplotypes are associated with pronounced differences in intraerythrocyte glutathione and nitric oxide metabolism, suggesting a possible mechanism for selection on hemoglobin function. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sajan SA, Warchol ME, Lovett M
Toward a systems biology of mouse inner ear organogenesis: gene expression pathways, patterns and network analysis.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):631-53.
We describe the most comprehensive study to date on gene expression during mouse inner ear (IE) organogenesis. Samples were microdissected from mouse embryos at E9-E15 in half-day intervals, a period that spans all of IE organogenesis. These included separate dissections of all discernible IE substructures such as the cochlea, utricle, and saccule. All samples were analyzed on high density expression microarrays under strict statistical filters. Extensive confirmatory tests were performed, including RNA in situ hybridizations. More than 5000 genes significantly varied in expression according to developmental stage, tissue, or both and defined 28 distinct expression patterns. For example, upregulation of 315 genes provided a clear-cut "signature" of early events in IE specification. Additional, clear-cut, gene expression signatures marked specific structures such as the cochlea, utricle, or saccule throughout late IE development. Pathway analysis identified 53 signaling cascades enriched within the 28 patterns. Many novel pathways, not previously implicated in IE development, including beta-adrenergic, amyloid, estrogen receptor, circadian rhythm, and immune system pathways, were identified. Finally, we identified positional candidate genes in 54 uncloned nonsyndromic human deafness intervals. This detailed analysis provides many new insights into the spatial and temporal genetic specification of this complex organ system. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dugatkin LA
Inclusive fitness theory from Darwin to Hamilton.
Genetics. 2007 Jul;176(3):1375-80. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nongthomba U, Ansari M, Thimmaiya D, Stark M, Sparrow J
Aberrant splicing of an alternative exon in the Drosophila troponin-T gene affects flight muscle development.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):295-306.
During myofibrillogenesis, many muscle structural proteins assemble to form the highly ordered contractile sarcomere. Mutations in these proteins can lead to dysfunctional muscle and various myopathies. We have analyzed the Drosophila melanogaster troponin T (TnT) up1 mutant that specifically affects the indirect flight muscles (IFM) to explore troponin function during myofibrillogenesis. The up1 muscles lack normal sarcomeres and contain "zebra bodies," a phenotypic feature of human nemaline myopathies. We show that the up(1) mutation causes defective splicing of a newly identified alternative TnT exon (10a) that encodes part of the TnT C terminus. This exon is used to generate a TnT isoform specific to the IFM and jump muscles, which during IFM development replaces the exon 10b isoform. Functional differences between the 10a and 10b TnT isoforms may be due to different potential phosphorylation sites, none of which correspond to known phosphorylation sites in human cardiac TnT. The absence of TnT mRNA in up1 IFM reduces mRNA levels of an IFM-specific troponin I (TnI) isoform, but not actin, tropomyosin, or troponin C, suggesting a mechanism controlling expression of TnT and TnI genes may exist that must be examined in the context of human myopathies caused by mutations of these thin filament proteins. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Simmons MJ, Ryzek DF, Lamour C, Goodman JW, Kummer NE, Merriman PJ
Cytotype regulation by telomeric P elements in Drosophila melanogaster: evidence for involvement of an RNA interference gene.
Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):1945-55.
P elements inserted at the left telomere of the X chromosome evoke the P cytotype, a maternally inherited condition that regulates the P-element family in the Drosophila germline. This regulation is completely disrupted in stocks heterozygous for mutations in aubergine, a gene whose protein product is involved in RNA interference. However, cytotype is not disrupted in stocks heterozygous for mutations in two other RNAi genes, piwi and homeless (spindle-E), or in a stock heterozygous for a mutation in the chromatin protein gene Enhancer of zeste. aubergine mutations exert their effects in the female germline, where the P cytotype is normally established and through which it is maintained. These effects are transmitted maternally to offspring of both sexes independently of the mutations themselves. Lines derived from mutant aubergine stocks reestablish the P cytotype quickly, unlike lines derived from stocks heterozygous for a mutation in Suppressor of variegation 205, the gene that encodes the telomere-capping protein HP1. Cytotype regulation by telomeric P elements may be tied to a system that uses RNAi to regulate the activities of telomeric retrotransposons in Drosophila. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Duina AA, Rufiange A, Bracey J, Hall J, Nourani A, Winston F
Evidence that the localization of the elongation factor Spt16 across transcribed genes is dependent upon histone H3 integrity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):101-12.
A previous study of histone H3 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae identified a mutant with a single amino acid change, leucine 61 to tryptophan, that confers several transcriptional defects. We now present several lines of evidence that this H3 mutant, H3-L61W, is impaired at the level of transcription elongation, likely by altered interactions with the conserved factor Spt16, a subunit of the transcription elongation complex yFACT. First, a selection for suppressors of the H3-L61W cold-sensitive phenotype has identified novel mutations in the gene encoding Spt16. These genetic interactions are allele specific, suggesting a direct interaction between H3 and Spt16. Second, similar to several other elongation and chromatin mutants, including spt16 mutants, an H3-L61W mutant allows transcription from a cryptic promoter within the FLO8 coding region. Finally, chromatin-immunoprecipitation experiments show that in an H3-L61W mutant there is a dramatically altered profile of Spt16 association over transcribed regions, with reduced levels over 5'-coding regions and elevated levels over the 3' regions. Taken together, these and other results provide strong evidence that the integrity of histone H3 is crucial for ensuring proper distribution of Spt16 across transcribed genes and suggest a model for the mechanism by which Spt16 normally dissociates from DNA following transcription. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Troggio M, Malacarne G, Coppola G, Segala C, Cartwright DA, Pindo M, Stefanini M, Mank R, Moroldo M, Morgante M, Grando MS, Velasco R
A dense single-nucleotide polymorphism-based genetic linkage map of grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) anchoring Pinot Noir bacterial artificial chromosome contigs.
Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):2637-50.
The construction of a dense genetic map for Vitis vinifera and its anchoring to a BAC-based physical map is described: it includes 994 loci mapped onto 19 linkage groups, corresponding to the basic chromosome number of Vitis. Spanning 1245 cM with an average distance of 1.3 cM between adjacent markers, the map was generated from the segregation of 483 single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based genetic markers, 132 simple sequence repeats (SSRs), and 379 AFLP markers in a mapping population of 94 F(1) individuals derived from a V. vinifera cross of the cultivars Syrah and Pinot Noir. Of these markers, 623 were anchored to 367 contigs that are included in a physical map produced from the same clone of Pinot Noir and covering 352 Mbp. On the basis of contigs containing two or more genetically mapped markers, region-dependent estimations of physical and recombinational distances are presented. The markers used in this study include 118 SSRs common to an integrated map derived from five segregating populations of V. vinifera. The positions of these SSR markers in the two maps are conserved across all Vitis linkage groups. The addition of SNP-based markers introduces polymorphisms that are easy to database, are useful for evolutionary studies, and significantly increase the density of the map. The map provides the most comprehensive view of the Vitis genome reported to date and will be relevant for future studies on structural and functional genomics and genetic improvement. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ro S, Rannala B
Inferring somatic mutation rates using the stop-enhanced green fluorescent protein mouse.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):9-16.
A new method is developed for estimating rates of somatic mutation in vivo. The stop-enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) transgenic mouse carries multiple copies of an EGFP gene with a premature stop codon. The gene can revert to a functional form via point mutations. Mice treated with a potent mutagen, N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU), and mice treated with a vehicle alone are assayed for mutations in liver cells. A stochastic model is developed to model the mutation and gene expression processes and maximum-likelihood estimators of the model parameters are derived. A likelihood-ratio test (LRT) is developed for detecting mutagenicity. Parametric bootstrap simulations are used to obtain confidence intervals of the parameter estimates and to estimate the significance of the LRT. The LRT is highly significant (alpha < 0.01) and the 95% confidence interval for the relative effect of the mutagen (the ratio of the rate of mutation during the interval of mutagen exposure to the rate of background mutation) ranges from a minimum 200-fold effect of the mutagen to a maximum 2000-fold effect. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Korol A, Frenkel Z, Cohen L, Lipkin E, Soller M
Fractioned DNA pooling: a new cost-effective strategy for fine mapping of quantitative trait loci.
Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):2611-23.
Selective DNA pooling (SDP) is a cost-effective means for an initial scan for linkage between marker and quantitative trait loci (QTL) in suitable populations. The method is based on scoring marker allele frequencies in DNA pools from the tails of the population trait distribution. Various analytical approaches have been proposed for QTL detection using data on multiple families with SDP analysis. This article presents a new experimental procedure, fractioned-pool design (FPD), aimed to increase the reliability of SDP mapping results, by "fractioning" the tails of the population distribution into independent subpools. FPD is a conceptual and structural modification of SDP that allows for the first time the use of permutation tests for QTL detection rather than relying on presumed asymptotic distributions of the test statistics. For situations of family and cross mapping design we propose a spectrum of new tools for QTL mapping in FPD that were previously possible only with individual genotyping. These include: joint analysis of multiple families and multiple markers across a chromosome, even when the marker loci are only partly shared among families; detection of families segregating (heterozygous) for the QTL; estimation of confidence intervals for the QTL position; and analysis of multiple-linked QTL. These new advantages are of special importance for pooling analysis with SNP chips. Combining SNP microarray analysis with DNA pooling can dramatically reduce the cost of screening large numbers of SNPs on large samples, making chip technology readily applicable for genomewide association mapping in humans and farm animals. This extension, however, will require additional, nontrivial, development of FPD analytical tools. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Trowbridge K, McKim K, Brill SJ, Sekelsky J
Synthetic lethality of Drosophila in the absence of the MUS81 endonuclease and the DmBlm helicase is associated with elevated apoptosis.
Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):1993-2001.
Mus81-Mms4 (Mus81-Eme1 in some species) is a heterodimeric DNA structure-specific endonuclease that has been implicated in meiotic recombination and processing of damaged replication forks in fungi. We generated and characterized mutations in Drosophila melanogaster mus81 and mms4. Unlike the case in fungi, we did not find any role for MUS81-MMS4 in meiotic crossing over. A possible role for this endonuclease in repairing double-strand breaks that arise during DNA replication is suggested by the finding that mus81 and mms4 mutants are hypersensitive to camptothecin; however, these mutants are not hypersensitive to other agents that generate lesions that slow or block DNA replication. In fungi, mus81, mms4, and eme1 mutations are synthetically lethal with mutations in genes encoding RecQ helicase homologs. Similarly, we found that mutations in Drosophila mus81 and mms4 are synthetically lethal with null mutations in mus309, which encodes the ortholog of the Bloom Syndrome helicase. Synthetic lethality is associated with high levels of apoptosis in proliferating tissues. Lethality and elevated apoptosis were partially suppressed by a mutation in spn-A, which encodes the ortholog of the strand invasion protein Rad51. These findings provide insights into the causes of synthetic lethality. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chen H, Green RE, Pääbo S, Slatkin M
The joint allele-frequency spectrum in closely related species.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):387-98.
We develop the theory for computing the joint frequency spectra of alleles in two closely related species. We allow for arbitrary population growth in both species after they had a common ancestor. We focus on the case in which a single chromosome is sequenced from one of the species. We use classical diffusion theory to show that, if the ancestral species was at equilibrium under mutation and drift and a chromosome from one of the descendant species carries the derived allele, the frequency spectrum in the other species is uniform, independently of the demographic history of both species. We also predict the expected densities of segregating and fixed sites when the chromosome from the other species carries the ancestral allele. We compare the predictions of our model with the site-frequency spectra of SNPs in the four HapMap populations of humans when the nucleotide present in the Neanderthal DNA sequence is ancestral or derived, using the chimp genome as the outgroup. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zluvova J, Georgiev S, Janousek B, Charlesworth D, Vyskot B, Negrutiu I
Early events in the evolution of the Silene latifolia Y chromosome: male specialization and recombination arrest.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):375-86.
Understanding the origin and evolution of sex chromosomes requires studying recently evolved X-Y chromosome systems such as those in some flowering plants. We describe Y chromosome deletion mutants of Silene latifolia, a dioecious plant with heteromorphic sex chromosomes. The combination of results from new and previously described deletions with histological descriptions of their stamen development defects indicates the presence of two distinct Y regions containing loci with indispensable roles in male reproduction. We determined their positions relative to the two main sex determination functions (female suppressing and the other male promoting). A region proximal to the centromere on the Y p arm containing the putative stamen promoting sex determination locus includes additional early stamen developmental factors. A medial region of the Y q arm carries late pollen fertility factors. Cytological analysis of meiotic X-Y pairing in one of the male-sterile mutants indicates that the Y carries sequences or functions specifically affecting sex chromosome pairing. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Liu Y, Maine EM
The Bro1-domain protein, EGO-2, promotes Notch signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):2265-77.
In Caenorhabditis elegans, as in other animals, Notch-type signaling mediates numerous inductive events during development. The mechanism of Notch-type signaling involves proteolytic cleavage of the receptor and subsequent transport of the receptor intracellular domain to the nucleus, where it acts as a transcriptional regulator. Notch-type signaling activity is modulated by post-translational modifications and endocytosis of ligand and receptor. We previously identified the ego-2 (enhancer of glp-1) gene as a positive regulator of germline proliferation that interacts genetically with the GLP-1/Notch signaling pathway in the germline. Here, we show that ego-2 positively regulates signaling in various tissues via both GLP-1 and the second C. elegans Notch-type receptor, LIN-12. ego-2 activity also promotes aspects of development not known to require GLP-1 or LIN-12. The EGO-2 protein contains a Bro1 domain, which is known in other systems to localize to certain endosomal compartments. EGO-2 activity in the soma promotes GLP-1 signaling in the germline, consistent with a role for EGO-2 in production of active ligand. Another C. elegans Bro1-domain protein, ALX-1, is known to interact physically with LIN-12/Notch. We document a complex phenotypic interaction between ego-2 and alx-1, consistent with their relationship being antagonistic with respect to some developmental processes and agonistic with respect to others. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Berger S, Bulgakova NA, Grawe F, Johnson K, Knust E
Unraveling the genetic complexity of Drosophila stardust during photoreceptor morphogenesis and prevention of light-induced degeneration.
Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):2189-200.
Drosophila Stardust, a membrane-associated guanylate kinase (MAGUK), recruits the transmembrane protein Crumbs and the cytoplasmic proteins DPATJ and DLin-7 into an apically localized protein scaffold. This evolutionarily conserved complex is required for epithelial cell polarity in Drosophila embryos and mammalian cells in culture. In addition, mutations in Drosophila crumbs and DPATJ impair morphogenesis of photoreceptor cells (PRCs) and result in light-dependent retinal degeneration. Here we show that stardust is a genetically complex locus. While all alleles tested perturb epithelial cell polarity in the embryo, only a subset of them affects morphogenesis of PRCs or induces light-dependent retinal degeneration. Alleles retaining particular postembryonic functions still express some Stardust protein in pupal and/or adult eyes. The phenotypic complexity is reflected by the expression of distinct splice variants at different developmental stages. All proteins expressed in the retina contain the PSD95, Discs Large, ZO-1 (PDZ), Src homology 3 (SH3), and guanylate kinase (GUK) domain, but lack a large region in the N terminus encoded by one exon. These results suggest that Stardust-based protein scaffolds are dynamic, which is not only mediated by multiple interaction partners, but in addition by various forms of the Stardust protein itself. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Subramanian RA, Arensburger P, Atkinson PW, O'Brochta DA
Transposable element dynamics of the hAT element Herves in the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae s.s.
Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):2477-87.
Transposable elements are being considered as genetic drive agents for introducing phenotype-altering genes into populations of vectors of human disease. The dynamics of endogenous elements will assist in predicting the behavior of introduced elements. Transposable element display was used to estimate the site-occupancy frequency distribution of Herves in six populations of Anopheles gambiae s.s. The site-occupancy distribution data suggest that the element has been recently active within the sampled populations. All 218 individuals sampled contained at least one copy of Herves with a mean of 3.6 elements per diploid genome. No significant differences in copy number were observed among populations. Nucleotide polymorphism within the element was high (pi = 0.0079 in noncoding sequences and 0.0046 in coding sequences) relative to that observed in some of the more well-studied elements in Drosophila melanogaster. In total, 33 distinct forms of Herves were found on the basis of the sequence of the first 528 bp of the transposase open reading frame. Only two forms were found in all six study populations. Although Herves elements in An. gambiae are quite diverse, 85% of the individuals examined had evidence of complete forms of the element. Evidence was found for the lateral transfer of Herves from an unknown source into the An. gambiae lineage prior to the diversification of the An. gambiae species complex. The characteristics of Herves in An. gambiae are somewhat unlike those of P elements in D. melanogaster. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Malausa T, Leniaud L, Martin JF, Audiot P, Bourguet D, Ponsard S, Lee SF, Harrison RG, Dopman E
Molecular differentiation at nuclear loci in French host races of the European corn borer (Ostrinia nubilalis).
Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):2343-55.
French populations of the European corn borer consist of two sympatric and genetically differentiated host races. As such, they are well suited to study processes that could be involved in sympatric speciation, but the initial conditions of host-race divergence need to be elucidated. Gene genealogies can provide insight into the processes involved in speciation. We used DNA sequences of four nuclear genes to (1) document the genetic structure of the two French host races previously delineated with allozyme markers, (2) find genes directly or indirectly involved in reproductive isolation between host races, and (3) estimate the time since divergence of the two taxa and see whether this estimate is compatible with this divergence being the result of a host shift onto maize after its introduction into Europe approximately 500 years ago. Gene genealogies revealed extensive shared polymorphism, but confirmed the previously observed genetic differentiation between the two host races. Significant departures from the predictions of neutral molecular evolution models were detected at three loci but were apparently unrelated to reproductive isolation between host races. Estimates of time since divergence between French host races varied from approximately 75,000 to approximately 150,000 years, suggesting that the two taxa diverged recently but probably long before the introduction of maize into Europe. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Matyásek R, Tate JA, Lim YK, Srubarová H, Koh J, Leitch AR, Soltis DE, Soltis PS, Kovarík A
Concerted evolution of rDNA in recently formed Tragopogon allotetraploids is typically associated with an inverse correlation between gene copy number and expression.
Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):2509-19.
We analyzed nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) transcription and chromatin condensation in individuals from several populations of Tragopogon mirus and T. miscellus, allotetraploids that have formed repeatedly within only the last 80 years from T. dubius and T. porrifolius and T. dubius and T. pratensis, respectively. We identified populations with no (2), partial (2), and complete (4) nucleolar dominance. It is probable that epigenetic regulation following allopolyploidization varies between populations, with a tendency toward nucleolar dominance by one parental homeologue. Dominant rDNA loci are largely decondensed at interphase while silent loci formed condensed heterochromatic regions excluded from nucleoli. Those populations where nucleolar dominance is fixed are epigenetically more stable than those with partial or incomplete dominance. Previous studies indicated that concerted evolution has partially homogenized thousands of parental rDNA units typically reducing the copy numbers of those derived from the T. dubius diploid parent. Paradoxically, despite their low copy number, repeats of T. dubius origin dominate rDNA transcription in most populations studied, i.e., rDNA units that are genetic losers (copy numbers) are epigenetic winners (high expression). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mindorff EN, O'Keefe DD, Labbé A, Yang JP, Ou Y, Yoshikawa S, van Meyel DJ
A gain-of-function screen for genes that influence axon guidance identifies the NF-kappaB protein dorsal and reveals a requirement for the kinase Pelle in Drosophila photoreceptor axon targeting.
Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):2247-63.
To identify novel regulators of nervous system development, we used the GAL4-UAS misexpression system in Drosophila to screen for genes that influence axon guidance in developing embryos. We mobilized the Gene Search (GS) P element and identified 42 lines with insertions in unique loci, including leak/roundabout2, which encodes an axon guidance receptor and confirms the utility of our screen. The genes we identified encode proteins of diverse classes, some acting near the cell surface and others in the cytoplasm or nucleus. We found that one GS line drove misexpression of the NF-kappaB transcription factor Dorsal, causing motor axons to bypass their correct termination sites. In the developing visual system, Dorsal misexpression also caused photoreceptor axons to reach incorrect positions within the optic lobe. This mistargeting occurred without observable changes of cell fate and correlated with localization of ectopic Dorsal in distal axons. We found that Dorsal and its inhibitor Cactus are expressed in photoreceptors, though neither was required for axon targeting. However, mutation analyses of genes known to act upstream of Dorsal revealed a requirement for the interleukin receptor-associated kinase family kinase Pelle for layer-specific targeting of photoreceptor axons, validating our screen as a means to identify new molecular determinants of nervous system development in vivo. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Eppley JM, Tyson GW, Getz WM, Banfield JF
Genetic exchange across a species boundary in the archaeal genus ferroplasma.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):407-16.
Speciation as the result of barriers to genetic exchange is the foundation for the general biological species concept. However, the relevance of genetic exchange for defining microbial species is uncertain. In fact, the extent to which microbial populations comprise discrete clusters of evolutionarily related organisms is generally unclear. Metagenomic data from an acidophilic microbial community enabled a genomewide, comprehensive investigation of variation in individuals from two coexisting natural archaeal populations. Individuals are clustered into species-like groups in which cohesion appears to be maintained by homologous recombination. We quantified the dependence of recombination frequency on sequence similarity genomewide and found a decline in recombination with increasing evolutionary distance. Both inter- and intralineage recombination frequencies have a log-linear dependence on sequence divergence. In the declining phase of interspecies genetic exchange, recombination events cluster near the origin of replication and are localized by tRNAs and short regions of unusually high sequence similarity. The breakdown of genetic exchange with increasing sequence divergence could contribute to, or explain, the establishment and preservation of the observed population clusters in a manner consistent with the biological species concept. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Iwase M, Luo J, Bi E, Toh-e A
Shs1 plays separable roles in septin organization and cytokinesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):215-29.
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, five septins (Cdc3, Cdc10, Cdc11, Cdc12, and Shs1/Sep7) form the septin ring at the bud neck during vegetative growth. We show here that disruption of SHS1 caused cold-sensitive growth in the W303 background, with cells arrested in chains, indicative of a cytokinesis defect. Surprisingly, the other four septins appeared to form an apparently normal septin ring in shs1Delta cells grown under the restrictive condition. We found that Myo1 and Iqg1, two components of the actomyosin contractile ring, and Cyk3, a component of the septum formation, were either delocalized or mislocalized in shs1Delta cells, suggesting that Shs1 plays supportive roles in cytokinesis. We also found that deletion of SHS1 enhanced or suppressed the septin defect in cdc10Delta and cdc11Delta cells, respectively, suggesting that Shs1 is involved in septin organization, exerting different effects on septin-ring assembly, depending on the composition of the septin subunits. Furthermore, we constructed an shs1-100c allele that lacks the coding sequence for the C-terminal 32 amino acids. This allele still displayed the genetic interactions with the septin mutants, but did not show cytokinesis defects as described above, suggesting that the roles of Shs1 in septin organization and cytokinesis are separable. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pringle EG, Baxter SW, Webster CL, Papanicolaou A, Lee SF, Jiggins CD
Synteny and chromosome evolution in the lepidoptera: evidence from mapping in Heliconius melpomene.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):417-26.
The extent of conservation of synteny and gene order in the Lepidoptera has been investigated previously only by comparing a small subset of linkage groups between the moth Bombyx mori and the butterfly Heliconius melpomene. Here we report the mapping of 64 additional conserved genes in H. melpomene, which contributed 47 markers to a comparative framework of 72 orthologous loci spanning all 21 H. melpomene chromosomes and 27 of the 28 B. mori chromosomes. Comparison of the maps revealed conserved synteny across all chromosomes for the 72 loci, as well as evidence for six cases of chromosome fusion in the Heliconius lineage that contributed to the derived 21-chromosome karyotype. Comparisons of gene order on these fused chromosomes revealed two instances of colinearity between H. melpomene and B. mori, but also one instance of likely chromosomal rearrangement. B. mori is the first lepidopteran species to have its genome sequenced, and the finding that there is conserved synteny and gene order among Lepidoptera indicates that the genomic tools developed in B. mori will be broadly useful in other species. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Devasahayam G, Burke DJ, Sturgill TW
Golgi manganese transport is required for rapamycin signaling in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Genetics. 2007 Sep;177(1):231-8.
The Pmr1 Golgi Ca2+/Mn2+ ATPase negatively regulates target of rapamycin complex (TORC1) signaling, the rapamycin-sensitive TOR complex in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Since pmr1 causes resistance to rapamycin and tor1 causes hypersensitivity, we looked for genetic interactions of pmr1 with tor1. Deletion of TOR1 restored two wild-type phenotypes. Loss of TOR1 restored the ability of the pmr1 strain to grow on media containing 2 mm MnCl2 and conferred wild type as well as the wild-type sensitivity to rapamycin. Mn2+ additions to media partially suppressed rapamycin resistance of wild type and pmr1 tor1, suggesting that Tor1 and Tor2 are regulated by manganese. We parsed the roles of Ca2+ and Mn2+ transport and the compartments in rapamycin response using separation-of-function mutants available for Pmr1. A strain containing the D53A mutant (Mn2+ transporting) of Pmr1 is rapamycin sensitive, but the Q783A mutant (Ca2+ transporting) strain is rapamycin resistant. Mn2+ transport into the Golgi lumen appears to be required for rapamycin sensitivity. Overexpression of Ca2+ pump SERCA1, Ca2+/H+ antiporter Vcx1, or a Mn2+ transporting mutant of Vcx1 (Vcx1-M1) failed to restore rapamycin sensitivity, and loss of Pmr1 but not other transporters of Ca2+ or Mn2+ results in rapamycin resistance. Overexpression of Ccc1, a Fe2+ and Mn2+ transporter that has been localized to Golgi and the vacuole, does restore rapamycin sensitivity to pmr1Delta. We conclude that Mn2+ in the Golgi inhibits TORC1 signaling. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chanut-Delalande H, Jung AC, Lin L, Baer MM, Bilstein A, Cabernard C, Leptin M, Affolter M
A genetic mosaic analysis with a repressible cell marker screen to identify genes involved in tracheal cell migration during Drosophila air sac morphogenesis.
Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):2177-87.
Branching morphogenesis of the Drosophila tracheal system relies on the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) signaling pathway. The Drosophila FGF ligand Branchless (Bnl) and the FGFR Breathless (Btl/FGFR) are required for cell migration during the establishment of the interconnected network of tracheal tubes. However, due to an important maternal contribution of members of the FGFR pathway in the oocyte, a thorough genetic dissection of the role of components of the FGFR signaling cascade in tracheal cell migration is impossible in the embryo. To bypass this shortcoming, we studied tracheal cell migration in the dorsal air sac primordium, a structure that forms during late larval development. Using a mosaic analysis with a repressible cell marker (MARCM) clone approach in mosaic animals, combined with an ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS)-mutagenesis screen of the left arm of the second chromosome, we identified novel genes implicated in cell migration. We screened 1123 mutagenized lines and identified 47 lines displaying tracheal cell migration defects in the air sac primordium. Using complementation analyses based on lethality, mutations in 20 of these lines were genetically mapped to specific genomic areas. Three of the mutants were mapped to either the Mhc or the stam complementation groups. Further experiments confirmed that these genes are required for cell migration in the tracheal air sac primordium. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Cell & Chromosome

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Recent Articles in Genome Biology

Blangiardo M, Richardson S
Statistical tools for synthesizing lists of differentially expressed features in related experiments.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(4):R54.
We propose a novel approach for finding a list of features that are commonly perturbed in two or more experiments, quantifying the evidence of dependence between the experiments by a ratio. We present a Bayesian analysis of this ratio, which leads us to suggest two rules for choosing a cut-off on the ranked list of p values. We evaluate and compare the performance of these statistical tools in a simulation study, and show their usefulness on two real datasets. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Woolfe A, Elgar G
Comparative genomics using Fugu reveals insights into regulatory subfunctionalization.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(4):R53.
BACKGROUND: A major mechanism for the preservation of gene duplicates in the genome is thought to be mediated via loss or modification of cis-regulatory subfunctions between paralogs following duplication (a process known as regulatory subfunctionalization). Despite a number of gene expression studies that support this mechanism, no comprehensive analysis of regulatory subfunctionalization has been undertaken at the level of the distal cis-regulatory modules involved. We have exploited fish-mammal genomic alignments to identify and compare more than 800 conserved non-coding elements (CNEs) that associate with genes that have undergone fish-specific duplication and retention. RESULTS: Using the abundance of duplicated genes within the Fugu genome, we selected seven pairs of teleost-specific paralogs involved in early vertebrate development, each containing clusters of CNEs in their vicinity. CNEs present around each Fugu duplicated gene were identified using multiple alignments of orthologous regions between single-copy mammalian orthologs (representing the ancestral locus) and each fish duplicated region in turn. Comparative analysis reveals a pattern of element retention and loss between paralogs indicative of subfunctionalization, the extent of which differs between duplicate pairs. In addition to complete loss of specific regulatory elements, a number of CNEs have been retained in both regions but may be responsible for more subtle levels of subfunctionalization through sequence divergence. CONCLUSION: Comparative analysis of conserved elements between duplicated genes provides a powerful approach for studying regulatory subfunctionalization at the level of the regulatory elements involved. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

van het Hoog M, Rast TJ, Martchenko M, Grindle S, Dignard D, Hogues H, Cuomo C, Berriman M, Scherer S, Magee BB, Whiteway M, Chibana H, Nantel A, Magee PT
Assembly of the Candida albicans genome into sixteen supercontigs aligned on the eight chromosomes.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(4):R52.
BACKGROUND: The 10.9x genomic sequence of Candida albicans, the most important human fungal pathogen, was published in 2004. Assembly 19 consisted of 412 supercontigs, of which 266 were a haploid set, since this fungus is diploid and contains an extensive degree of heterozygosity but lacks a complete sexual cycle. However, sequences of specific chromosomes were not determined. RESULTS: Supercontigs from Assembly 19 (183, representing 98.4% of the sequence) were assigned to individual chromosomes purified by pulse-field gel electrophoresis and hybridized to DNA microarrays. Nine Assembly 19 supercontigs were found to contain markers from two different chromosomes. Assembly 21 contains the sequence of each of the eight chromosomes and was determined using a synteny analysis with preliminary versions of the Candida dubliniensis genome assembly, bioinformatics, a sequence tagged site (STS) map of overlapping fosmid clones, and an optical map. The orientation and order of the contigs on each chromosome, repeat regions too large to be covered by a sequence run, such as the ribosomal DNA cluster and the major repeat sequence, and telomere placement were determined using the STS map. Sequence gaps were closed by PCR and sequencing of the products. The overall assembly was compared to an optical map; this identified some misassembled contigs and gave a size estimate for each chromosome. CONCLUSION: Assembly 21 reveals an ancient chromosome fusion, a number of small internal duplications followed by inversions, and a subtelomeric arrangement, including a new gene family, the TLO genes. Correlations of position with relatedness of gene families imply a novel method of dispersion. The sequence of the individual chromosomes of C. albicans raises interesting biological questions about gene family creation and dispersion, subtelomere organization, and chromosome evolution. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Pereira-Leal JB, Levy ED, Kamp C, Teichmann SA
Evolution of protein complexes by duplication of homomeric interactions.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(4):R51.
BACKGROUND: Cellular functions are accomplished by the concerted actions of functional modules. The mechanisms driving the emergence and evolution of these modules are still unclear. Here we investigate the evolutionary origins of protein complexes, modules in physical protein-protein interaction networks. RESULTS: We studied protein complexes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, complexes of known three-dimensional structure in the Protein Data Bank and clusters of pairwise protein interactions in the networks of several organisms. We found that duplication of homomeric interactions, a large class of protein interactions, frequently results in the formation of complexes of paralogous proteins. This route is a common mechanism for the evolution of complexes and clusters of protein interactions. Our conclusions are further confirmed by theoretical modelling of network evolution. We propose reasons for why this is favourable in terms of structure and function of protein complexes. CONCLUSION: Our study provides the first insight into the evolution of functional modularity in protein-protein interaction networks, and the origins of a large class of protein complexes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tirosh I, Barkai N
Comparative analysis indicates regulatory neofunctionalization of yeast duplicates.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(4):R50.
BACKGROUND: Gene duplication provides raw material for the generation of new functions, but most duplicates are rapidly lost due to the initial redundancy in gene function. How gene function diversifies following duplication is largely unclear. Previous studies analyzed the diversification of duplicates by characterizing their coding sequence divergence. However, functional divergence can also be attributed to changes in regulatory properties, such as protein localization or expression, which require only minor changes in gene sequence. RESULTS: We developed a novel method to compare expression profiles from different organisms and applied it to analyze the expression divergence of yeast duplicated genes. The expression profiles of Saccharomyces cerevisiae duplicate pairs were compared with those of their pre-duplication orthologs in Candida albicans. Duplicate pairs were classified into two classes, corresponding to symmetric versus asymmetric rates of expression divergence. The latter class includes 43 duplicate pairs in which only one copy has a significant expression similarity to the C. albicans ortholog. These may present cases of regulatory neofunctionalization, as supported also by their dispensability and variability. CONCLUSION: Duplicated genes may diversify through regulatory neofunctionalization. Notably, the asymmetry of gene sequence evolution and the asymmetry of gene expression evolution are only weakly correlated, underscoring the importance of expression analysis to elucidate the evolution of novel functions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ma S, Bohnert HJ
Integration of Arabidopsis thaliana stress-related transcript profiles, promoter structures, and cell-specific expression.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(4):R49.
BACKGROUND: Arabidopsis thaliana transcript profiles indicate effects of abiotic and biotic stresses and tissue-specific and cell-specific gene expression. Organizing these datasets could reveal the structure and mechanisms of responses and crosstalk between pathways, and in which cells the plants perceive, signal, respond to, and integrate environmental inputs. RESULTS: We clustered Arabidopsis transcript profiles for various treatments, including abiotic, biotic, and chemical stresses. Ubiquitous stress responses in Arabidopsis, similar to those of fungi and animals, employ genes in pathways related to mitogen-activated protein kinases, Snf1-related kinases, vesicle transport, mitochondrial functions, and the transcription machinery. Induced responses to stresses are attributed to genes whose promoters are characterized by a small number of regulatory motifs, although secondary motifs were also apparent. Most genes that are downregulated by stresses exhibited distinct tissue-specific expression patterns and appear to be under developmental regulation. The abscisic acid-dependent transcriptome is delineated in the cluster structure, whereas functions that are dependent on reactive oxygen species are widely distributed, indicating that evolutionary pressures confer distinct responses to different stresses in time and space. Cell lineages in roots express stress-responsive genes at different levels. Intersections of stress-responsive and cell-specific profiles identified cell lineages affected by abiotic stress. CONCLUSION: By analyzing the stress-dependent expression profile, we define a common stress transcriptome that apparently represents universal cell-level stress responses. Combining stress-dependent and tissue-specific and cell-specific expression profiles, and Arabidopsis 5'-regulatory DNA sequences, we confirm known stress-related 5' cis-elements on a genome-wide scale, identify secondary motifs, and place the stress response within the context of tissues and cell lineages in the Arabidopsis root. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wang W, Bradley A
A recessive genetic screen for host factors required for retroviral infection in a library of insertionally mutated Blm-deficient embryonic stem cells.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(4):R48.
BACKGROUND: Host factors required for retroviral infection are potential targets for the modulation of diseases caused by retroviruses. During the retroviral life cycle, numerous cellular factors interact with the virus and play an essential role in infection. Cultured embryonic stem (ES) cells are susceptible to retroviral infection, therefore providing access to all of the genes required for this process to take place. In order to identify the host factors involved in retroviral infection, we designed and implemented a scheme for identifying ES cells that are resistant to retroviral infection and subsequent cloning of the mutated gene. RESULTS: A library of mutant ES cells was established by genome-wide insertional mutagenesis in Blm-deficient ES cells, and a screen was performed by superinfection of the library at high multiplicity with a recombinant retrovirus carrying a positive and negative selection cassette. Stringent negative selection was then used to exclude the infected ES cells. We successfully recovered five independent clones of ES cells that are resistant to retroviral infection. Analysis of the mutations in these clones revealed four different homozygous and one compound heterozygous mutation in the mCat-1 locus, which confirms that mCat-1 is the ecotropic murine leukemia virus receptor in ES cells. CONCLUSION: We have demonstrated the feasibility and reliability of this recessive genetic approach to identifying critical genes required for retroviral infection in ES cells; the approach provides a unique opportunity to recover other cellular factors required for retroviral infection. The resulting insertionally mutated Blm-deficient ES cell library might also provide access to essential host cell components that are required for infection and replication for other types of virus. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ebermann I, Lopez I, Bitner-Glindzicz M, Brown C, Koenekoop RK, Bolz HJ
Deafblindness in French Canadians from Quebec: a predominant founder mutation in the USH1C gene provides the first genetic link with the Acadian population.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(4):R47.
BACKGROUND: Usher syndrome type 1 (USH1) is the leading cause of deafblindness. In most populations, many private mutations are distributed across the five known USH1 genes. We investigated patients from the French Canadian population of Quebec (approximately 6 million people) that descends from about 8,500 French settlers who colonized the St Lawrence River valley between 1608 and 1759. We hypothesized that founder mutations in USH1 genes exist in this population. RESULTS: We have genetically characterized 15 patients from different regions of Quebec who were clinically diagnosed as USH1. Of these cases, 60% carried mutations of the USH1C gene, a genetic subtype that is rare outside the Acadian population. We have discovered a founder effect of the c.216G>A mutation, which has previously been designated the 'Acadian allele' because it accounts for virtually all Acadian USH1 cases. It represents 40% of disease alleles in Quebec, and a carrier of c.216G>A was identified in the general population. Mutations in other genes, except CDH23, are very rare. CONCLUSION: Based on our findings, approximately 0.5% of congenitally deaf children in Quebec are at risk of developing retinal degeneration due to homozygosity for c.216G>A. Although the Acadians and French Canadians from Quebec are descended from French ancestors, they have always been considered genetically distinct. The genetic conditions common in Quebec are generally not found in Acadians, or they are due to different mutations. Our results, however, show that carriers of the c.216G>A allele haplotype belonged to the early founders of both the Acadian and the Quebec population. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Huisinga KL, Pugh BF
A TATA binding protein regulatory network that governs transcription complex assembly.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(4):R46.
BACKGROUND: Eukaryotic genes are controlled by proteins that assemble stepwise into a transcription complex. How the individual biochemically defined assembly steps are coordinated and applied throughout a genome is largely unknown. Here, we model and experimentally test a portion of the assembly process involving the regulation of the TATA binding protein (TBP) throughout the yeast genome. RESULTS: Biochemical knowledge was used to formulate a series of coupled TBP regulatory reactions involving TFIID, SAGA, NC2, Mot1, and promoter DNA. The reactions were then linked to basic segments of the transcription cycle and modeled computationally. A single framework was employed, allowing the contribution of specific steps to vary from gene to gene. Promoter binding and transcriptional output were measured genome-wide using ChIP-chip and expression microarray assays. Mutagenesis was used to test the framework by shutting down specific parts of the network. CONCLUSION: The model accounts for the regulation of TBP at most transcriptionally active promoters and provides a conceptual tool for interpreting genome-wide data sets. The findings further demonstrate the interconnections of TBP regulation on a genome-wide scale. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gorodkin J, Cirera S, Hedegaard J, Gilchrist MJ, Panitz F, Jřrgensen C, Scheibye-Knudsen K, Arvin T, Lumholdt S, Sawera M, Green T, Nielsen BJ, Havgaard JH, Rosenkilde C, Wang J, Li H, Li R, Liu B, Hu S, Dong W, Li W, Yu J, Wang J, Staefeldt HH, Wernersson R, Madsen LB, Thomsen B, Hornshřj H, Bujie Z, Wang X, Wang X, Bolund L, Brunak S, Yang H, Bendixen C, Fredholm M
Porcine transcriptome analysis based on 97 non-normalized cDNA libraries and assembly of 1,021,891 expressed sequence tags.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(4):R45.
BACKGROUND: Knowledge of the structure of gene expression is essential for mammalian transcriptomics research. We analyzed a collection of more than one million porcine expressed sequence tags (ESTs), of which two-thirds were generated in the Sino-Danish Pig Genome Project and one-third are from public databases. The Sino-Danish ESTs were generated from one normalized and 97 non-normalized cDNA libraries representing 35 different tissues and three developmental stages. RESULTS: Using the Distiller package, the ESTs were assembled to roughly 48,000 contigs and 73,000 singletons, of which approximately 25% have a high confidence match to UniProt. Approximately 6,000 new porcine gene clusters were identified. Expression analysis based on the non-normalized libraries resulted in the following findings. The distribution of cluster sizes is scaling invariant. Brain and testes are among the tissues with the greatest number of different expressed genes, whereas tissues with more specialized function, such as developing liver, have fewer expressed genes. There are at least 65 high confidence housekeeping gene candidates and 876 cDNA library-specific gene candidates. We identified differential expression of genes between different tissues, in particular brain/spinal cord, and found patterns of correlation between genes that share expression in pairs of libraries. Finally, there was remarkable agreement in expression between specialized tissues according to Gene Ontology categories. CONCLUSION: This EST collection, the largest to date in pig, represents an essential resource for annotation, comparative genomics, assembly of the pig genome sequence, and further porcine transcription studies. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Dabney AR, Storey JD
Normalization of two-channel microarrays accounting for experimental design and intensity-dependent relationships.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R44.
In normalizing two-channel expression arrays, the ANOVA approach explicitly incorporates the experimental design in its model, and the MA plot-based approach accounts for intensity-dependent biases. However, both approaches can lead to inaccurate normalization in fairly common scenarios. We propose a method called efficient Common Array Dye Swap (eCADS) for normalizing two-channel microarrays that accounts for both experimental design and intensity-dependent biases. Under reasonable experimental designs, eCADS preserves differential expression relationships and requires only a single array per sample pair. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Nakaya HI, Amaral PP, Louro R, Lopes A, Fachel AA, Moreira YB, El-Jundi TA, da Silva AM, Reis EM, Verjovski-Almeida S
Genome mapping and expression analyses of human intronic noncoding RNAs reveal tissue-specific patterns and enrichment in genes related to regulation of transcription.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R43.
BACKGROUND: RNAs transcribed from intronic regions of genes are involved in a number of processes related to post-transcriptional control of gene expression. However, the complement of human genes in which introns are transcribed, and the number of intronic transcriptional units and their tissue expression patterns are not known. RESULTS: A survey of mRNA and EST public databases revealed more than 55,000 totally intronic noncoding (TIN) RNAs transcribed from the introns of 74% of all unique RefSeq genes. Guided by this information, we designed an oligoarray platform containing sense and antisense probes for each of 7,135 randomly selected TIN transcripts plus the corresponding protein-coding genes. We identified exonic and intronic tissue-specific expression signatures for human liver, prostate and kidney. The most highly expressed antisense TIN RNAs were transcribed from introns of protein-coding genes significantly enriched (p = 0.002 to 0.022) in the 'Regulation of transcription' Gene Ontology category. RNA polymerase II inhibition resulted in increased expression of a fraction of intronic RNAs in cell cultures, suggesting that other RNA polymerases may be involved in their biosynthesis. Members of a subset of intronic and protein-coding signatures transcribed from the same genomic loci have correlated expression patterns, suggesting that intronic RNAs regulate the abundance or the pattern of exon usage in protein-coding messages. CONCLUSION: We have identified diverse intronic RNA expression patterns, pointing to distinct regulatory roles. This gene-oriented approach, using a combined intron-exon oligoarray, should permit further comparative analysis of intronic transcription under various physiological and pathological conditions, thus advancing current knowledge about the biological functions of these noncoding RNAs. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Katayama S, Kanamori-Katayama M, Yamaguchi K, Carninci P, Hayashizaki Y
CAGE-TSSchip: promoter-based expression profiling using the 5'-leading label of capped transcripts.
Genome Biol. 2007 Mar 26;8(3):R42.
ABSTRACT: Cap analysis gene expression (CAGE) technology has revealed numerous transcription start sites (TSSs) in mammals and has suggested complex promoter-based patterns of regulation. We developed the CAGE-TSSchip to detect promoter-based transcriptional activity. The CAGE-TSSchip is a customized oligonucleotide array that targets known TSSs identified by CAGE. A new labeling method, labeling capped transcripts from the 5'-end, had to be developed. The CAGE-TSSchip is accurate and sensitive, and represents the activity of each TSS. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Solignac M, Zhang L, Mougel F, Li B, Vautrin D, Monnerot M, Cornuet JM, Worley KC, Weinstock GM, Gibbs RA
The genome of Apis mellifera: dialog between linkage mapping and sequence assembly.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):403.
Two independent genome projects for the honey bee, a microsatellite linkage map and a genome sequence assembly, interactively produced an almost complete organization of the euchromatic genome. Assembly 4.0 now includes 626 scaffolds that were ordered and oriented into chromosomes according to the framework provided by the third-generation linkage map (AmelMap3). Each construct was used to control the quality of the other. The co-linearity of markers in the sequence and the map is almost perfect and argues in favor of the high quality of both. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Small KS, Brudno M, Hill MM, Sidow A
A haplome alignment and reference sequence of the highly polymorphic Ciona savignyi genome.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R41.
The sequence of Ciona savignyi was determined using a whole-genome shotgun strategy, but a high degree of polymorphism resulted in a fractured assembly wherein allelic sequences from the same genomic region assembled separately. We designed a multistep strategy to generate a nonredundant reference sequence from the original assembly by reconstructing and aligning the two 'haplomes' (haploid genomes). In the resultant 174 megabase reference sequence, each locus is represented once, misassemblies are corrected, and contiguity and continuity are dramatically improved. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Galante PA, Vidal DO, de Souza JE, Camargo AA, de Souza SJ
Sense-antisense pairs in mammals: functional and evolutionary considerations.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R40.
BACKGROUND: A significant number of genes in mammalian genomes are being found to have natural antisense transcripts (NATs). These sense-antisense (S-AS) pairs are believed to be involved in several cellular phenomena. RESULTS: Here, we generated a catalog of S-AS pairs occurring in the human and mouse genomes by analyzing different sources of expressed sequences available in the public domain plus 122 massively parallel signature sequencing (MPSS) libraries from a variety of human and mouse tissues. Using this dataset of almost 20,000 S-AS pairs in both genomes we investigated, in a computational and experimental way, several putative roles that have been assigned to NATs, including gene expression regulation. Furthermore, these global analyses allowed us to better dissect and propose new roles for NATs. Surprisingly, we found that a significant fraction of NATs are artifacts produced by genomic priming during cDNA library construction. CONCLUSION: We propose an evolutionary and functional model in which alternative polyadenylation and retroposition account for the origin of a significant number of functional S-AS pairs in mammalian genomes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Vastrik I, D'Eustachio P, Schmidt E, Joshi-Tope G, Gopinath G, Croft D, de Bono B, Gillespie M, Jassal B, Lewis S, Matthews L, Wu G, Birney E, Stein L
Reactome: a knowledge base of biologic pathways and processes.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R39.
Reactome, an online curated resource for human pathway data, provides infrastructure for computation across the biologic reaction network. We use Reactome to infer equivalent reactions in multiple nonhuman species, and present data on the reliability of these inferred reactions for the distantly related eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Finally, we describe the use of Reactome both as a learning resource and as a computational tool to aid in the interpretation of microarrays and similar large-scale datasets. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mutch DM, O'Maille G, Wikoff WR, Wiedmer T, Sims PJ, Siuzdak G
Mobilization of pro-inflammatory lipids in obese Plscr3-deficient mice.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R38.
BACKGROUND: The obesity epidemic has prompted the search for candidate genes capable of influencing adipose function. One such candidate, that encoding phospholipid scramblase 3 (PLSCR3), was recently identified, as genetic deletion of it led to lipid accumulation in abdominal fat pads and changes characteristic of metabolic syndrome. Because adipose tissue is increasingly recognized as an endocrine organ, capable of releasing small molecules that modulate disparate physiological processes, we examined the plasma from wild-type, Plscr1-/-, Plscr3-/- and Plscr1&3-/- mice. Using an untargeted comprehensive metabolite profiling approach coupled with targeted gene expression analyses, the perturbed biochemistry and functional redundancy of PLSCR proteins was assessed. RESULTS: Nineteen metabolites were differentially and similarly regulated in both Plscr3-/- and Plscr1&3-/- animals, of which five were characterized from accurate mass, tandem mass spectrometry data and their correlation to the Metlin database as lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) species enriched with C16:1, C18:1, C20:3, C20:5 and C22:5 fatty acids. No significant changes in the plasma metabolome were detected upon elimination of PLSCR1, indicating that increases in pro-inflammatory lipids are specifically associated with the obese state of Plscr3-deficient animals. Correspondingly, increases in white adipose lipogenic gene expression confirm a role for PLSCR3 in adipose lipid metabolism. CONCLUSION: The untargeted profiling of circulating metabolites suggests no detectable functional redundancies between PLSCR proteins; however, this approach simultaneously identified previously unrecognized lipid metabolites that suggest a novel molecular link between obesity, inflammation and the downstream consequences associated with PLSCR3-deficiency. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Obado SO, Bot C, Nilsson D, Andersson B, Kelly JM
Repetitive DNA is associated with centromeric domains in Trypanosoma brucei but not Trypanosoma cruzi.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R37.
BACKGROUND: Trypanosomes are parasitic protozoa that diverged early from the main eukaryotic lineage. Their genomes display several unusual characteristics and, despite completion of the trypanosome genome projects, the location of centromeric DNA has not been identified. RESULTS: We report evidence on the location and nature of centromeric DNA in Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma brucei. In T. cruzi, we used telomere-associated chromosome fragmentation and found that GC-rich transcriptional 'strand-switch' domains composed predominantly of degenerate retrotranposons are a shared feature of regions that confer mitotic stability. Consistent with this, etoposide-mediated topoisomerase-II cleavage, a biochemical marker for active centromeres, is concentrated at these domains. In the 'megabase-sized' chromosomes of T. brucei, topoisomerase-II activity is also focused at single loci that encompass regions between directional gene clusters that contain transposable elements. Unlike T. cruzi, however, these loci also contain arrays of AT-rich repeats stretching over several kilobases. The sites of topoisomerase-II activity on T. brucei chromosome 1 and T. cruzi chromosome 3 are syntenic, suggesting that centromere location has been conserved for more than 200 million years. The T. brucei intermediate and minichromosomes, which lack housekeeping genes, do not exhibit site-specific accumulation of topoisomerase-II, suggesting that segregation of these atypical chromosomes might involve a centromere-independent mechanism. CONCLUSION: The localization of centromeric DNA in trypanosomes fills a major gap in our understanding of genome organization in these important human pathogens. These data are a significant step towards identifying and functionally characterizing other determinants of centromere function and provide a framework for dissecting the mechanisms of chromosome segregation. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Martinez-Morales JR, Henrich T, Ramialison M, Wittbrodt J
New genes in the evolution of the neural crest differentiation program.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R36.
BACKGROUND: Development of the vertebrate head depends on the multipotency and migratory behavior of neural crest derivatives. This cell population is considered a vertebrate innovation and, accordingly, chordate ancestors lacked neural crest counterparts. The identification of neural crest specification genes expressed in the neural plate of basal chordates, in addition to the discovery of pigmented migratory cells in ascidians, has challenged this hypothesis. These new findings revive the debate on what is new and what is ancient in the genetic program that controls neural crest formation. RESULTS: To determine the origin of neural crest genes, we analyzed Phenotype Ontology annotations to select genes that control the development of this tissue. Using a sequential blast pipeline, we phylogenetically classified these genes, as well as those associated with other tissues, in order to define tissue-specific profiles of gene emergence. Of neural crest genes, 9% are vertebrate innovations. Our comparative analyses show that, among different tissues, the neural crest exhibits a particularly high rate of gene emergence during vertebrate evolution. A remarkable proportion of the new neural crest genes encode soluble ligands that control neural crest precursor specification into each cell lineage, including pigmented, neural, glial, and skeletal derivatives. CONCLUSION: We propose that the evolution of the neural crest is linked not only to the recruitment of ancestral regulatory genes but also to the emergence of signaling peptides that control the increasingly complex lineage diversification of this plastic cell population. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ren L, Gao G, Zhao D, Ding M, Luo J, Deng H
Developmental stage related patterns of codon usage and genomic GC content: searching for evolutionary fingerprints with models of stem cell differentiation.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R35.
BACKGROUND: The usage of synonymous codons shows considerable variation among mammalian genes. How and why this usage is non-random are fundamental biological questions and remain controversial. It is also important to explore whether mammalian genes that are selectively expressed at different developmental stages bear different molecular features. RESULTS: In two models of mouse stem cell differentiation, we established correlations between codon usage and the patterns of gene expression. We found that the optimal codons exhibited variation (AT- or GC-ending codons) in different cell types within the developmental hierarchy. We also found that genes that were enriched (developmental-pivotal genes) or specifically expressed (developmental-specific genes) at different developmental stages had different patterns of codon usage and local genomic GC (GCg) content. Moreover, at the same developmental stage, developmental-specific genes generally used more GC-ending codons and had higher GCg content compared with developmental-pivotal genes. Further analyses suggest that the model of translational selection might be consistent with the developmental stage-related patterns of codon usage, especially for the AT-ending optimal codons. In addition, our data show that after human-mouse divergence, the influence of selective constraints is still detectable. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that developmental stage-related patterns of gene expression are correlated with codon usage (GC3) and GCg content in stem cell hierarchies. Moreover, this paper provides evidence for the influence of natural selection at synonymous sites in the mouse genome and novel clues for linking the molecular features of genes to their patterns of expression during mammalian ontogenesis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Schatz MC, Phillippy AM, Shneiderman B, Salzberg SL
Hawkeye: an interactive visual analytics tool for genome assemblies.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R34.
Genome sequencing remains an inexact science, and genome sequences can contain significant errors if they are not carefully examined. Hawkeye is our new visual analytics tool for genome assemblies, designed to aid in identifying and correcting assembly errors. Users can analyze all levels of an assembly along with summary statistics and assembly metrics, and are guided by a ranking component towards likely mis-assemblies. Hawkeye is freely available and released as part of the open source AMOS project [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Schlicker A, Rahnenführer J, Albrecht M, Lengauer T, Domingues FS
GOTax: investigating biological processes and biochemical activities along the taxonomic tree.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R33.
We describe GOTax, a comparative genomics platform that integrates protein annotation with protein family classification and taxonomy. User-defined sets of proteins, protein families, annotation terms or taxonomic groups can be selected and compared, allowing for the analysis of distribution of biological processes and molecular activities over different taxonomic groups. In particular, a measure of functional similarity is available for comparing proteins and protein families, establishing functional relationships independent of evolution. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Heinzen EL, Yoon W, Weale ME, Sen A, Wood NW, Burke JR, Welsh-Bohmer KA, Hulette CM, Sisodiya SM, Goldstein DB
Alternative ion channel splicing in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R32.
BACKGROUND: Alternative gene transcript splicing permits a single gene to produce multiple proteins with varied functions. Bioinformatic investigations have identified numerous splice variants, but whether these transcripts are translated to functional proteins and the physiological significance of these alternative proteins are largely unknown. Through direct identification of splice variants associated with disease states, we can begin to address these questions and to elucidate their roles in disease predisposition and pathophysiology. This work specifically sought to identify disease-associated alternative splicing patterns in ion channel genes by comprehensively screening affected brain tissue collected from patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease. New technology permitting the screening of alternative splice variants in microarray format was employed. Real time quantitative PCR was used to verify observed splice variant patterns. RESULTS: This work shows for the first time that two common neurological conditions are associated with extensive changes in gene splicing, with 25% and 12% of the genes considered having significant changes in splicing patterns associated with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease, respectively. Furthermore, these changes were found to exhibit unique and consistent patterns within the disease groups. CONCLUSION: This work has identified a set of disease-associated, alternatively spliced gene products that represent high priorities for detailed functional investigations into how these changes impact the pathophysiology of mesial temporal lobe epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Tung CH, Huang JW, Yang JM
Kappa-alpha plot derived structural alphabet and BLOSUM-like substitution matrix for rapid search of protein structure database.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R31.
We present a novel protein structure database search tool, 3D-BLAST, that is useful for analyzing novel structures and can return a ranked list of alignments. This tool has the features of BLAST (for example, robust statistical basis, and effective and reliable search capabilities) and employs a kappa-alpha (kappa, alpha) plot derived structural alphabet and a new substitution matrix. 3D-BLAST searches more than 12,000 protein structures in 1.2 s and yields good results in zones with low sequence similarity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Horlock C, Shakib F, Mahdavi J, Jones NS, Sewell HF, Ghaemmaghami AM
Analysis of proteomic profiles and functional properties of human peripheral blood myeloid dendritic cells, monocyte-derived dendritic cells and the dendritic cell-like KG-1 cells reveals distinct characteristics.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(3):R30.
BACKGROUND: Dendritic cells (DCs) are specialized antigen presenting cells that play a pivotal role in bridging innate and adaptive immune responses. Given the scarcity of peripheral blood myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) investigators have used different model systems for studying DC biology. Monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs) and KG-1 cells are routinely used as mDC models, but a thorough comparison of these cells has not yet been carried out, particularly in relation to their proteomes. We therefore sought to run a comparative study of the proteomes and functional properties of these cells. RESULTS: Despite general similarities between mDCs and the model systems, moDCs and KG-1 cells, our findings identified some significant differences in the proteomes of these cells, and the findings were confirmed by ELISA detection of a selection of proteins. This was particularly noticeable with proteins involved in cell growth and maintenance (for example, fibrinogen gamma chain (FGG) and ubiquinol cytochrome c) and cell-cell interaction and integrity (for example, fascin and actin). We then examined the surface phenotype, cytokine profile, endocytic and T-cell-activation ability of these cells in support of the proteomic data, and obtained confirmatory evidence for differences in the maturation status and functional attributes between mDCs and the two DC models. CONCLUSION: We have identified important proteomic and functional differences between mDCs and two DC model systems. These differences could have major functional implications, particularly in relation to DC-T cell interactions, the so-called immunological synapse, and, therefore, need to be considered when interpreting data obtained from model DC systems. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zhaxybayeva O, Nesbř CL, Doolittle WF
Systematic overestimation of gene gain through false diagnosis of gene absence.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(2):402.
The usual BLAST-based methods for assessing gene presence and absence lead to systematic overestimation of within-species gene gain by lateral transfer. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Lev-Maor G, Sorek R, Levanon EY, Paz N, Eisenberg E, Ast G
RNA-editing-mediated exon evolution.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(2):R29.
BACKGROUND: Alu retroelements are specific to primates and abundant in the human genome. Through mutations that create functional splice sites within intronic Alus, these elements can become new exons in a process denoted exonization. It was recently shown that Alu elements are also heavily changed by RNA editing in the human genome. RESULTS: Here we show that the human nuclear prelamin A recognition factor contains a primate-specific Alu-exon that exclusively depends on RNA editing for its exonization. We demonstrate that RNA editing regulates the exonization in a tissue-dependent manner, through both the creation of a functional AG 3' splice site, and alteration of functional exonic splicing enhancers within the exon. Furthermore, a premature stop codon within the Alu-exon is eliminated by an exceptionally efficient RNA editing event. The sequence surrounding this editing site is important not only for editing of that site but also for editing in other neighboring sites as well. CONCLUSION: Our results show that the abundant RNA editing of Alu sequences can be recruited as a mechanism supporting the birth of new exons in the human genome. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jiao Y, Deng XW
A genome-wide transcriptional activity survey of rice transposable element-related genes.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(2):R28.
BACKGROUND: Transposable element (TE)-related genes comprise a significant portion of the gene catalog of grasses, although their functions are insufficiently characterized. The recent availability of TE-related gene annotation from the complete genome sequence of rice (Oryza sativa) has created an opportunity to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the transcriptional activities of these potentially mobile elements and their related genes. RESULTS: We conducted a genome-wide survey of the transcriptional activity of TE-related genes associated with 15 developmental stages and stress conditions. This dataset was obtained using a microarray encompassing 2,191 unique TE-related rice genes, which were represented by oligonucleotide probes that were free from cross-hybridization. We found that TE-related genes exhibit much lower transcriptional activities than do non-TE-related genes, although representative transcripts were detected from all superfamilies of both type I and II TE-related genes. The strongest transcriptional activities were detected in TE-related genes from among the MULE and CACTA superfamilies. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that domesticated TE-related genes tend to form clades with active transcription. In addition, chromatin-level regulations through histone and DNA modifications, as well as enrichment of certain cis elements in the promoters, appear to contribute to the transcriptional activation of representative TE-related genes. CONCLUSION: Our findings reveal clear, albeit low, general transcription of TE-related genes. In combination with phylogenetic analysis, transcriptional analysis has the potential to lead to the identification of domesticated TEs with adapted host functions. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Perkins DO, Jeffries CD, Jarskog LF, Thomson JM, Woods K, Newman MA, Parker JS, Jin J, Hammond SM
microRNA expression in the prefrontal cortex of individuals with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.
Genome Biol. 2007;8(2):R27.
BACKGROUND: microRNAs (miRNAs) are small, noncoding RNA molecules that are now thought to regulate the expression of many mRNAs. They have been implicated in the etiology of a variety of complex diseases, including Tourette's syndrome, Fragile x syndrome, and several types of cancer. RESULTS: We hypothesized that schizophrenia might be associated with altered miRNA profiles. To investigate this possibility we compared the expression of 264 human miRNAs from postmortem prefrontal cortex tissue of individuals with schizophrenia (n = 13) or schizoaffective disorder (n = 2) to tissue of 21 psychiatrically unaffected individuals using a custom miRNA microarray. Allowing a 5% false discovery rate, we found that 16 miRNAs were differentially expressed in prefrontal cortex of patient subjects, with 15 expressed at lower levels (fold change 0.63 to 0.89) and 1 at a higher level (fold change 1.77) than in the psychiatrically unaffected comparison subjects. The expression levels of 12 selected miRNAs were also determined by quantitative RT-PCR in our lab. For the eight miRNAs distinguished by being expressed at lower microarray levels in schizophrenia samples versus comparison samples, seven were also expressed at lower levels with quantitative RT-PCR. CONCLUSION: This study is the first to find altered miRNA profiles in postmortem prefrontal cortex from schizophrenia patients. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Nuclear Receptor

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Recent Articles in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics

Salamat-Miller N, Fang J, Seidel CW, Smalter AM, Assenov Y, Albrecht M, Middaugh CR
A network-based analysis of polyanion-binding proteins utilizing yeast protein arrays.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Dec;5(12):2263-78.
The high affinity of certain cellular polyanions for many proteins (polyanion-binding proteins (PABPs)) has been demonstrated previously. It has been hypothesized that such polyanions may be involved in protein structure stabilization, stimulation of folding through chaperone-like activity, and intra- and extracellular protein transport as well as intracellular organization. The purpose of the proteomics studies reported here was to seek evidence for the idea that the nonspecific but high affinity interactions of PABPs with polyanions have a functional role in intracellular processes. Utilizing yeast protein arrays and five biotinylated cellular polyanion probes (actin, tubulin, heparin, heparan sulfate, and DNA), we identified proteins that interact with these probes and analyzed their structural and amino acid sequence requirements as well as their predicted functions in the yeast proteome. We also provide evidence for the existence of a network-like system for PABPs and their potential roles as critical hubs in intracellular behavior. This investigation takes a first step toward achieving a better understanding of the nature of polyanion-protein interactions within cells and introduces an alternative way of thinking about intracellular organization. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Ruan W, Sassoon A, An F, Simko JP, Liu B
Identification of clinically significant tumor antigens by selecting phage antibody library on tumor cells in situ using laser capture microdissection.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Dec;5(12):2364-73.
Much work has been done to develop tumor-targeting antibodies by selecting a phage antibody library on cancer cell lines. However, when tumor cells are removed from their natural environment, they may undergo genetic and epigenetic changes yielding different surface antigens than those seen in actual cases of cancer. We developed a strategy that allows selection of phage antibodies against tumor cells in situ on both fresh frozen and paraffin-embedded tissues using laser capture microdissection. By restricting antibody selection to binders of internalizing epitopes, we generated a panel of phage antibodies that target clinically represented prostate cancer antigens. We identified ALCAM/MEMD/CD166, a newly discovered prostate cancer marker, as the target for one of the selected antibodies, demonstrating the effectiveness of our approach. We further conjugated two single chain Fv fragments to liposomes and demonstrated that these nanotargeting devices were efficiently delivered to the interior of prostate cancer cells. The ability to deliver payload intracellularly and to recognize tumor cells in situ makes these antibodies attractive candidates for the development of targeted cancer therapeutics. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Puente LG, Voisin S, Lee RE, Megeney LA
Reconstructing the regulatory kinase pathways of myogenesis from phosphopeptide data.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Dec;5(12):2244-51.
Multiple kinase activities are required for skeletal muscle differentiation. However, the mechanisms by which these kinase pathways converge to coordinate the myogenic process are unknown. Using multiple phosphoprotein and phosphopeptide enrichment techniques we obtained phosphopeptides from growing and differentiating C2C12 muscle cells and determined specific peptide sequences using LC-MS/MS. To place these phosphopeptides into a rational context, a bioinformatics approach was used. Phosphorylation sites were matched to known site-specific and to site non-specific kinase-substrate interactions, and then other substrates and upstream regulators of the implicated kinases were incorporated into a model network of protein-protein interactions. The model network implicated several kinases of known relevance to myogenesis including AKT, GSK3, CDK5, p38, DYRK, and MAPKAPK2 kinases. This combination of proteomics and bioinformatics technologies should offer great utility as the volume of protein-protein and kinase-substrate information continues to increase. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Kehoe JW, Velappan N, Walbolt M, Rasmussen J, King D, Lou J, Knopp K, Pavlik P, Marks JD, Bertozzi CR, Bradbury AR
Using phage display to select antibodies recognizing post-translational modifications independently of sequence context.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Dec;5(12):2350-63.
Many cellular activities are controlled by post-translational modifications, the study of which is hampered by the lack of specific reagents due in large part to their ubiquitous and non-immunogenic nature. Although antibodies against specifically modified sequences are relatively easy to obtain, it is extremely difficult to derive reagents recognizing post-translational modifications independently of the sequence context surrounding the modification. In this study, we examined the possibility of selecting such antibodies from large phage antibody libraries using sulfotyrosine as a test case. Sulfotyrosine is a post-translational modification important in many extracellular protein-protein interactions, including human immunodeficiency virus infection. After screening almost 8000 selected clones, we were able to isolate a single specific single chain Fv using two different selection strategies, one of which included elution with tyrosine sulfate. This antibody was able to recognize sulfotyrosine independently of its sequence context in test peptides and a number of different natural proteins. Antibody reactivity was lost by antigen treatment with sulfatase or preincubation with soluble tyrosine sulfate, indicating its specificity. The isolation of this antibody signals the potential of phage antibody libraries in the derivation of reagents specific for post-translational modifications, although the extensive screening required indicates that such antibodies are extremely rare. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Frottin F, Martinez A, Peynot P, Mitra S, Holz RC, Giglione C, Meinnel T
The proteomics of N-terminal methionine cleavage.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Dec;5(12):2336-49.
Methionine aminopeptidase (MAP) is a ubiquitous, essential enzyme involved in protein N-terminal methionine excision. According to the generally accepted cleavage rules for MAP, this enzyme cleaves all proteins with small side chains on the residue in the second position (P1'), but many exceptions are known. The substrate specificity of Escherichia coli MAP1 was studied in vitro with a large (>120) coherent array of peptides mimicking the natural substrates and kinetically analyzed in detail. Peptides with Val or Thr at P1' were much less efficiently cleaved than those with Ala, Cys, Gly, Pro, or Ser in this position. Certain residues at P2', P3', and P4' strongly slowed the reaction, and some proteins with Val and Thr at P1' could not undergo Met cleavage. These in vitro data were fully consistent with data for 862 E. coli proteins with known N-terminal sequences in vivo. The specificity sites were found to be identical to those for the other type of MAPs, MAP2s, and a dedicated prediction tool for Met cleavage is now available. Taking into account the rules of MAP cleavage and leader peptide removal, the N termini of all proteins were predicted from the annotated genome and compared with data obtained in vivo. This analysis showed that proteins displaying N-Met cleavage are overrepresented in vivo. We conclude that protein secretion involving leader peptide cleavage is more frequent than generally thought. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Angrand PO, Segura I, Völkel P, Ghidelli S, Terry R, Brajenovic M, Vintersten K, Klein R, Superti-Furga G, Drewes G, Kuster B, Bouwmeester T, Acker-Palmer A
Transgenic mouse proteomics identifies new 14-3-3-associated proteins involved in cytoskeletal rearrangements and cell signaling.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Dec;5(12):2211-27.
Identification of protein-protein interactions is crucial for unraveling cellular processes and biochemical mechanisms of signal transduction. Here we describe, for the first time, the application of the tandem affinity purification (TAP) and LC-MS method to the characterization of protein complexes from transgenic mice. The TAP strategy developed in transgenic mice allows the emplacement of complexes in their physiological environment in contact with proteins that might only be specifically expressed in certain tissues while simultaneously ensuring the right stoichiometry of the TAP protein versus their binding partners and represents a novelty in proteomics approaches used so far. Mouse lines expressing TAP-tagged 14-3-3zeta protein were generated, and protein interactions were determined. 14-3-3 proteins are general regulators of cell signaling and represent up to 1% of the total brain protein. This study allowed the identification of almost 40 novel 14-3-3zeta-binding proteins. Biochemical and functional characterization of some of these interactions revealed new mechanisms of action of 14-3-3zeta in several signaling pathways, such as glutamate receptor signaling via binding to homer homolog 3 (Homer 3) and in cytoskeletal rearrangements and spine morphogenesis by binding and regulating the activity of the signaling complex formed by G protein-coupled receptor kinase-interactor 1 (GIT1) and p21-activated kinase-interacting exchange factor beta (betaPIX). [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mannová P, Fang R, Wang H, Deng B, McIntosh MW, Hanash SM, Beretta L
Modification of host lipid raft proteome upon hepatitis C virus replication.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Dec;5(12):2319-25.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication complex resides in detergent-insoluble subcellular domains or lipid rafts. We used two proteomics approaches to characterize the protein content of lipid rafts isolated from Huh7 cells and its modification upon HCV replication. Using two-dimensional electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, we identified approximately 100 protein spots in the isolated lipid rafts; among them, 39 were reproducibly modified in HCV replicon cell lines as compared with control cell lines. We also used stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) combined with one-dimensional electrophoresis separation and mass spectrometry. Using this approach, we identified 1036 individual proteins based on peptides selected with at least 95% confidence; among them, 413 proteins were identified with at least two peptides. Quantification analysis identified 150 proteins modified by at least 2.5-fold (110 up-regulated and 40 down-regulated) in HCV-replicating cells compared with controls. Protein identifications and quantifications obtained by both proteomics approaches were largely concordant. Modulated proteins included a majority of proteins involved in vesicular and protein trafficking and in cell signaling. Remarkably for a large number of proteins, their up-regulation in lipid rafts of HCV replicon cells was due to their relocalization. By using small interfering RNAs directed to the modulated small GTPases Cdc42 and RhoA, we observed an increase in HCV replication, whereas reduction of syntaxin 7 expression resulted in decreased replication of HCV. Our findings indicate that protein subcellular relocalization occurs in HCV-containing cells that can directly affect HCV replication. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Freiberg C, Brunner N, Macko L, Fischer HP
Discovering antibiotic efficacy biomarkers: toward mechanism-specific high content compound screening.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Dec;5(12):2326-35.
As current antibiotic therapy is increasingly challenged by emerging drug-resistant bacteria, new technologies are required to identify and develop novel classes of antibiotics. A major bottleneck in today's discovery efforts, however, is a lack of an efficient and standardized method for assaying the efficacy of a drug candidate. We propose a new high content screening approach for identifying efficacious molecules suitable for development of antibiotics. Key to our approach is a new microarray-based efficacy biomarker discovery strategy. We first produced a large dataset of transcriptional responses of Bacillus subtilis to numerous structurally diverse antibacterial drugs. Second we evaluated different protocols to optimize drug concentration and exposure time selection for profiling compounds of unknown mechanism. Finally we identified a surprisingly low number of gene transcripts (approximately 130) that were sufficient for identifying the mechanism of novel substances with reasonable accuracy (approximately 90%). We show that the statistics-based approach reveals a physiologically meaningful set of biomarkers that can be related to major bacterial defense mechanisms against antibiotics. We provide statistical evidence that a parallel measurement of the expression of the biomarkers guarantees optimal performance when using expression systems for screening libraries of novel substances. The general approach is also applicable to drug discovery for medical indications other than infectious diseases. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gotthardt D, Blancheteau V, Bosserhoff A, Ruppert T, Delorenzi M, Soldati T
Proteomics fingerprinting of phagosome maturation and evidence for the role of a Galpha during uptake.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Dec;5(12):2228-43.
Phagocytosis, whether of food particles in protozoa or bacteria and cell remnants in the metazoan immune system, is a conserved process. The particles are taken up into phagosomes, which then undergo complex remodeling of their components, called maturation. By using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry combined with genomic data, we identified 179 phagosomal proteins in the amoeba Dictyostelium, including components of signal transduction, membrane traffic, and the cytoskeleton. By carrying out this proteomics analysis over the course of maturation, we obtained time profiles for 1,388 spots and thus generated a dynamic record of phagosomal protein composition. Clustering of the time profiles revealed five clusters and 24 functional groups that were mapped onto a flow chart of maturation. Two heterotrimeric G protein subunits, Galpha4 and Gbeta, appeared at the earliest times. We showed that mutations in the genes encoding these two proteins produce a phagocytic uptake defect in Dictyostelium. This analysis of phagosome protein dynamics provides a reference point for future genetic and functional investigations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Bertrand E, Fritsch C, Diether S, Lambrou G, Müller D, Schaeffel F, Schindler P, Schmid KL, van Oostrum J, Voshol H
Identification of apolipoprotein A-I as a "STOP" signal for myopia.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2158-66.
Good visual acuity requires that the axial length of the ocular globe is matched to the refractive power of the cornea and lens to focus the images of distant objects onto the retina. During the growth of the juvenile eye, this is achieved through the emmetropization process that adjusts the ocular axial length to compensate for the refractive changes that occur in the anterior segment. A failure of the emmetropization process can result in either excessive or insufficient axial growth, leading to myopia or hyperopia, respectively. Emmetropization is mainly regulated by the retina, which generates two opposite signals: "GO/GROW" signals to increase axial growth and "STOP" signals to block it. The presence of GO/GROW and STOP signals was investigated by a proteomics analysis of the retinas from chicken with experimental myopia and hyperopia. Of 18 differentially expressed proteins that were identified, five displayed an expression profile corresponding to GO/GROW signals, and two corresponded to STOP signals. Western blotting confirmed that apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) has the characteristics of a STOP signal both in the retina as well as in the fibrous sclera. In accordance with this, intraocular application of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha agonist GW7647 resulted in up-regulation of apoA-I levels and in a significant reduction of experimental myopia. In conclusion, using a comprehensive functional proteomics analysis of chicken ocular growth models we identified targets for ocular growth control. The correlation of elevated apoA-I levels with reduced ocular axial growth points toward a functional relationship with the observed morphological changes of the eye. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Mukhopadhyay S, Good D, Miller RD, Graham JE, Mathews SA, Timms P, Summersgill JT
Identification of Chlamydia pneumoniae proteins in the transition from reticulate to elementary body formation.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Dec;5(12):2311-8.
Chlamydia pneumoniae is an important human respiratory pathogen that is responsible for an estimated 10% of community-acquired pneumonia and 5% of bronchitis and sinusitis cases. We examined changes in global protein expression profiles associated with the redifferentiation of reticulate body (RB) to elementary body (EB) as C. pneumoniae cells progressed from 24 to 48 h postinfection in HEp2 cells. Proteins corresponding to those showing the greatest changes in abundance in the beginning of the RB to EB transition were then identified from purified EBs. Among the 300 spots recognized, 35 proteins that were expressed at sufficiently high levels were identified by mass spectrometry. We identified C. pneumoniae proteins that showed more than 2-fold increases in abundance in the early stages of RB to EB transition, including several associated with amino acid and cofactor biosynthesis (Ndk, TrxA, Adk, PyrH, and BirA), maintenance of cytoplasmic protein function (GroEL/ES, DnaK, DksA, GrpE, HtrA, ClpP, ClpB, and Map), modification of the bacterial cell surface (CrpA, OmpA, and OmcB), energy metabolism (Tal and Pyk), and the putative transcriptional regulator TctD. This study identified C. pneumoniae proteins involved in the process of redifferentiation into mature, infective EBs and indicates bacterial metabolic pathways that may be involved in this transition. The proteins involved in RB to EB transition are key to C. pneumoniae infection and are perhaps suitable targets for therapeutic intervention. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Chan QW, Howes CG, Foster LJ
Quantitative comparison of caste differences in honeybee hemolymph.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Dec;5(12):2252-62.
The honeybee, Apis mellifera, is an invaluable partner in agriculture around the world both for its production of honey and, more importantly, for its role in pollination. Honeybees are largely unexplored at the molecular level despite a long and distinguished career as a model organism for understanding social behavior. Like other eusocial insects, honeybees can be divided into several castes: the queen (fertile female), workers (sterile females), and drones (males). Each caste has different energetic and metabolic requirements, and each differs in its susceptibility to pathogens, many of which have evolved to take advantage of the close social network inside a colony. Hemolymph, arthropods' equivalent to blood, distributes nutrients throughout the bee, and the immune components contained within it form one of the primary lines of defense against invading microorganisms. In this study we have applied qualitative and quantitative proteomics to gain a better understanding of honeybee hemolymph and how it varies among the castes and during development. We found large differences in hemolymph protein composition, especially between larval and adult stage bees and between male and female castes but even between adult workers and queens. We also provide experimental evidence for the expression of several unannotated honeybee genes and for the detection of biomarkers of a viral infection. Our data provide an initial molecular picture of honeybee hemolymph, to a greater depth than previous studies in other insects, and will pave the way for future biochemical studies of innate immunity in this animal. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Zischka H, Braun RJ, Marantidis EP, Büringer D, Bornhövd C, Hauck SM, Demmer O, Gloeckner CJ, Reichert AS, Madeo F, Ueffing M
Differential analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae mitochondria by free flow electrophoresis.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2185-200.
One major problem concerning the electrophoresis of mitochondria is the heterogeneity of mitochondrial appearance especially under pathological conditions. We show here the use of zone electrophoresis in a free flow electrophoresis device (ZE-FFE) as an analytical sensor to discriminate between different yeast mitochondrial populations. Impairment of the structural properties of the organelles by hyperosmotic stress resulted in broad separation profiles. Conversely untreated mitochondria gave rise to homogeneous populations reflected by sharp separation profiles. Yeast mitochondria with altered respiratory activity accompanied by a different outer membrane proteome composition could be discriminated based on electrophoretic deflection. Proteolysis of the mitochondrial surface proteome and the deletion of a single major protein species of the mitochondrial outer membrane altered the ZE-FFE deflection of these organelles. To demonstrate the usefulness of ZE-FFE for the analysis of mitochondria associated with pathological processes, we analyzed mitochondrial fractions from an apoptotic yeast strain. The cdc48(S565G) strain carries a mutation in the CDC48 gene that is an essential participant in the endoplasmic reticulum-associated protein degradation pathway. Mutant cells accumulate polyubiquitinated proteins in microsomal and mitochondrial extracts. Subsequent ZE-FFE characterization could distinguish a mitochondrial subfraction specifically enriched with polyubiquitinated proteins from the majority of non-affected mitochondria. This result demonstrates that ZE-FFE may give important information on the specific properties of subpopulations of a mitochondrial preparation allowing a further detailed functional analysis. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Blanchard D, Hutter H, Fleenor J, Fire A
A differential cytolocalization assay for analysis of macromolecular assemblies in the eukaryotic cytoplasm.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2175-84.
We have developed a differential cytolocalization assay (DCLA) that allows the observation of cytoplasmic protein/protein interactions in vivo. In the DCLA, interactions are visualized as a relocalization of a green fluorescent protein-tagged "prey" by a membrane-bound "bait." This assay was tested and utilized in Caenorhabditis elegans to probe interactions among proteins involved in RNA interference (RNAi) and nonsense-mediated decay (NMD) pathways. Several previously documented interactions were confirmed with DCLA, whereas uniformly negative results were obtained in several controls in which no interaction was expected. Novel interactions were also observed, including the association of SMG-5, a protein required for NMD, to several components of the RNAi pathway. The DCLA can be readily carried out under diverse conditions, allowing a dynamic assessment of protein interactions in vivo. We used this property to test a subset of the RNAi and NMD interactions in animals in which proteins central to each mechanism were mutated; several key associations in each machinery that can occur in vivo in the absence of a functional process were identified. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sartain MJ, Slayden RA, Singh KK, Laal S, Belisle JT
Disease state differentiation and identification of tuberculosis biomarkers via native antigen array profiling.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2102-13.
A critical element of tuberculosis control is early and sensitive diagnosis of infection and disease. Our laboratories recently showed that different stages of disease were distinguishable via two-dimensional Western blot analyses of Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture filtrate proteins. However, this methodology is not suitable for high throughput testing. Advances in protein microarray technology provide a realistic mechanism to screen a large number of serum samples against thousands of proteins to identify biomarkers of disease states. Techniques were established for separation of native M. tuberculosis cytosol and culture filtrate proteins, resulting in 960 unique protein fractions that were used to generate protein microarrays. Evaluation of serological reactivity from 42 patients in three tuberculosis disease states and healthy purified protein derivative-positive individuals demonstrated that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative cavitary and noncavitary tuberculosis (TB) patients' sera recognized 126 and 59 fractions, respectively. Sera from HIV patients coinfected with TB recognized 20 fractions of which five overlapped with those recognized by non-HIV TB patients' sera and 15 were unique to the HIV+TB+ disease state. Identification of antigens within the reactive fractions yielded 11 products recognized by both cavitary and noncavitary TB patients' sera and four proteins (HspX, MPT64, PstS1, and TrxC) specific to cavitary TB patients. Moreover four novel B cell antigens (BfrB, LppZ, SodC, and TrxC) of human tuberculosis were identified. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Yu MJ, Pisitkun T, Wang G, Shen RF, Knepper MA
LC-MS/MS analysis of apical and basolateral plasma membranes of rat renal collecting duct cells.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2131-45.
We used biotinylation and streptavidin affinity chromatography to label and enrich proteins from apical and basolateral membranes of rat kidney inner medullary collecting ducts (IMCDs) prior to LC-MS/MS protein identification. To enrich apical membrane proteins and bound peripheral membrane proteins, IMCDs were perfusion-labeled with primary amine-reactive biotinylation reagents at 2 degrees C using a double barreled pipette. The perfusion-biotinylated proteins and proteins bound to them were isolated with CaptAvidin-agarose beads, separated with SDS-PAGE, and sliced into continuous gel pieces for LC-MS/MS protein identification (LTQ, Thermo Electron Corp.). 17 integral and glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-linked membrane proteins and 44 non-integral membrane proteins were identified. Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy confirmed ACVRL1, H(+)/K(+)-ATPase alpha1, NHE2, and TauT expression in the IMCDs. Basement membrane and basolateral membrane proteins were biotinylated via incubation of IMCD suspensions with biotinylation reagents on ice. 23 integral and GPI-linked membrane proteins and 134 non-integral membrane proteins were identified. Analyses of non-integral membrane proteins preferentially identified in the perfusion-biotinylated and not in the incubation-biotinylated IMCDs revealed protein kinases, scaffold proteins, SNARE proteins, motor proteins, small GTP-binding proteins, and related proteins that may be involved in vasopressin-stimulated AQP2, UT-A1, and ENaC regulation. A World Wide Web-accessible database was constructed of 222 membrane proteins (integral and GPI-linked) from this study and prior studies. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hato M, Nakagawa H, Kurogochi M, Akama TO, Marth JD, Fukuda MN, Nishimura S
Unusual N-glycan structures in alpha-mannosidase II/IIx double null embryos identified by a systematic glycomics approach based on two-dimensional LC mapping and matrix-dependent selective fragmentation method in MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometry.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2146-57.
alpha-Mannosidase IIx (MX) is an enzyme closely related to alpha-mannosidase II (MII), a key enzyme in N-glycan biosynthesis that catalyzes the first step in conversion of hybrid- to complex-type N-glycans in Golgi apparatus. Recently we generated MII/MX double knock-out mice and found that double nulls completely lack the complex-type N-glycans (Akama, T. O., Nakagawa, H., Wong, N. K., Sutton-Smith, M., Dell, A., Morris, H. R., Nakayama, J., Nishimura, S.-I., Pai, A., Moremen, K. W., Marth, J. D., and Fukuda, M. N. (2006) Essential and mutually compensatory roles of alpha-mannosidase II and alpha-mannosidase IIx in N-glycan processing in vivo in mice. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 103, 8983-8988). In the present study, we determined minor but unusual N-glycan structures found in MII/MX double knock-out mice. We identified such N-glycans by a systematic glycomics approach applying a two-dimensional LC mapping database and matrix-dependent selective fragmentation technique in MALDI-TOF/TOF MS, a highly sensitive and reliable technique that provides specific fragmentations enabling the determination of precise oligosaccharide structures including regioisomers (Kurogochi, M., and Nishimura, S.-I. (2004) Structural characterization of N-glycopeptides by matrix-dependent selective fragmentation of MALDI-TOF/TOF tandem mass spectrometry. Anal. Chem. 76, 6097-6101). Quantitative profiling of all N-glycan structures including minor components from MII/MX nulls, MII nulls, MX nulls, and wild-type mice at embryonic day 15.5 yielded a total of 37 species when structural heterogeneity was reduced by the removal of the sialic acids. Among six unusual N-glycan structures, two glycoforms were novel and were found only in MII/MX double nulls. We characterize such structure as pseudocomplex-type N-glycans. The present study demonstrated that use of the versatile matrix-dependent selective fragmentation method in MALDI-TOF/TOF MS greatly accelerates detailed structural analysis of a trace amount of N-glycans. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Leroy B, Toubeau G, Falmagne P, Wattiez R
Identification and characterization of new protein chemoattractants in the frog skin secretome.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2114-23.
The vomeronasal organ is a chemosensory organ present in most vertebrates and involved in chemical communication. In the last decade, the deciphering of the signal transduction process of this organ has progressed. However, less is known about the vomeronasal organ ligands and their structure-function relationships. Snakes possess a highly developed vomeronasal system that is used in various behaviors such as mating, predator detection, or prey selection, making this group a suitable model for study of the vomeronasal chemoreception. In this work, we used a proteomics approach to identify and characterize proteins from frog cutaneous mucus proteome involved in prey recognition by snakes of the genus Thamnophis. Herein we report the purification and characterization of two proteins isolated from the frog skin secretome that elicit the vomeronasal organ-mediated predatory behavior of Thamnophis marcianus. These proteins are members of the parvalbumin family, which are calcium-binding proteins generally associated to muscular and nervous tissues. This is the first report that demonstrates parvalbumins are not strictly restricted to intracellular compartments and can also be isolated from exocrine secretions. Purified parvalbumins from frog muscle and mucus revealed identical chemoattractive properties for T. marcianus. Snake bioassay revealed the Ca(2+)/Mg(2+) dependence of the bioactivity of parvalbumins. So parvalbumins appear to be new candidate ligands of the vomeronasal organ. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Villanueva J, Martorella AJ, Lawlor K, Philip J, Fleisher M, Robbins RJ, Tempst P
Serum peptidome patterns that distinguish metastatic thyroid carcinoma from cancer-free controls are unbiased by gender and age.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Oct;5(10):1840-52.
Serum peptidomics is a special form of functional proteomics. The small number of blood proteins that are the source of most prominent peptides in human serum serve as a substrate pool for commonly occurring and/or cancer-derived proteases. Exoprotease activities in particular, when superimposed on the ex vivo coagulation and complement degradation pathways, contribute to generation of not only cancer-specific but also "cancer type"-specific serum peptides. Following development of a unique, semiautomated serum peptide profiling platform and after completing investigations to eliminate common experimental bias, we have now studied possible effects of gender and age on serum peptidomes of 200 healthy men and women, ages 20-80, and of 60 patients (30 men and 30 women) with metastatic thyroid carcinomas. Extensive MALDI-TOF MS and data analysis suggested negligible contributions of both age and gender to the serum peptidome patterns except that healthy men and women under 35 years, but not older individuals, could be distinguished with approximately 70% accuracy. Considering the more advanced age of most patients, this finding is unlikely to interfere with peptidomics analysis of most cancers. By examining patient samples and age/gender-matched controls followed by variability analysis of either demographic or disease (versus control) groups, we could conclusively rule out demographic bias. An optimized, 12-peptide ion thyroid cancer signature was then developed, enabling classification of an independent validation set with 95% sensitivity and 95% specificity (binomial confidence intervals, 75.1-99.9%). Ten of these peptides had previously been assigned to signature patterns of other solid tumor cancers. One of the two newly discovered peptides was dehydro-Ala(3)-fibrinopeptide A. As we expand this study to include hundreds of thyroid cancer patients, the peptide signature will be adjusted, further validated, and then evaluated in a clinical setting used either independently or in combination with existing markers. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Domon B, Aebersold R
Challenges and opportunities in proteomics data analysis.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Oct;5(10):1921-6.
Accurate, consistent, and transparent data processing and analysis are integral and critical parts of proteomics workflows in general and for biomarker discovery in particular. Definition of common standards for data representation and analysis and the creation of data repositories are essential to compare, exchange, and share data within the community. Current issues in data processing, analysis, and validation are discussed together with opportunities for improving the process in the future and for defining alternative workflows. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Roessler M, Rollinger W, Mantovani-Endl L, Hagmann ML, Palme S, Berndt P, Engel AM, Pfeffer M, Karl J, Bodenmüller H, Rüschoff J, Henkel T, Rohr G, Rossol S, Rösch W, Langen H, Zolg W, Tacke M
Identification of PSME3 as a novel serum tumor marker for colorectal cancer by combining two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with a strictly mass spectrometry-based approach for data analysis.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2092-101.
The purpose of this study was to identify and validate novel serological protein biomarkers of human colorectal cancer (CRC). Proteins from matched CRC and adjacent normal tissue samples were resolved by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. From each gel all spots were excised, and enveloped proteins were identified by MS. By comparison of the resulting protein profiles, dysregulated proteins can be identified. A list of all identified proteins and validation of five exemplarily selected proteins, elevated in CRC was reported previously (Roessler, M., Rollinger, W., Palme, S., Hagmann, M. L., Berndt, P., Engel, A. M., Schneidinger, B., Pfeffer, M., Andres, H., Karl, J., Bodenmuller, H., Ruschoff, J., Henkel, T., Rohr, G., Rossol, S., Rosch, W., Langen, H., Zolg, W., and Tacke, M. (2005) Identification of nicotinamide N-methyltransferase as a novel serum tumor marker for colorectal cancer. Clin. Cancer Res. 11, 6550-6557). Here we describe identification and initial validation of another potential marker protein for CRC. Comparison of tissue protein profiles revealed strong elevation of proteasome activator complex subunit 3 (PSME3) expression in CRC tissue. This dysregulation was not detectable based on the spot pattern. The PSME3-containing spot on tumor gels showed no visible difference to the corresponding spot on matched control gels. MS analysis revealed the presence of two proteins, PSME3 and annexin 4 (ANXA4) in one and the same spot on tumor gels, whereas the matched spot contained only one protein, ANXA4, on control gels. Therefore, dysregulation of PSME3 was masked by ANXA4 and could only be recognized by MS-based analysis but not by image analysis. To validate this finding, antibody to PSME3 was developed, and up-regulation in CRC was confirmed by Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. Finally by developing a highly sensitive immunoassay, PSME3 could be detected in human sera and was significantly elevated in CRC patients compared with healthy donors and patients with benign bowel disease. We propose that PSME3 be considered a novel serum tumor marker for CRC that may have significance in the detection and in the management of patients with this disease. Further studies are needed to fully assess the potential clinical value of this marker candidate. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Qian WJ, Jacobs JM, Liu T, Camp DG, Smith RD
Advances and challenges in liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry-based proteomics profiling for clinical applications.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Oct;5(10):1727-44.
Recent advances in proteomics technologies provide tremendous opportunities for biomarker-related clinical applications; however, the distinctive characteristics of human biofluids such as the high dynamic range in protein abundances and extreme complexity of the proteomes present tremendous challenges. In this review we summarize recent advances in LC-MS-based proteomics profiling and its applications in clinical proteomics as well as discuss the major challenges associated with implementing these technologies for more effective candidate biomarker discovery. Developments in immunoaffinity depletion and various fractionation approaches in combination with substantial improvements in LC-MS platforms have enabled the plasma proteome to be profiled with considerably greater dynamic range of coverage, allowing many proteins at low ng/ml levels to be confidently identified. Despite these significant advances and efforts, major challenges associated with the dynamic range of measurements and extent of proteome coverage, confidence of peptide/protein identifications, quantitation accuracy, analysis throughput, and the robustness of present instrumentation must be addressed before a proteomics profiling platform suitable for efficient clinical applications can be routinely implemented. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Huq MD, Gupta P, Tsai NP, Wei LN
Modulation of testicular receptor 4 activity by mitogen-activated protein kinase-mediated phosphorylation.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2072-82.
Testicular receptor 4 (TR4) is an orphan member of the nuclear receptor superfamily. Despite the lack of identified ligands, its functional role has been demonstrated both in animals and cell cultures. However, it remains unclear how the biological activity of TR4 is regulated without specific ligands. In this study, we showed that in the absence of specific ligands the activity of TR4 could be modulated by mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-mediated phosphorylation of its activation function 1 (AF-1) domain. A mass spectrometry-based proteome analysis of TR4 expressed in insect cells revealed three phosphorylation sites in its AF-1 domain, specifically on Ser(19), Ser(55), and Ser(68). Site-directed mutagenesis studies demonstrated the functionality of phosphorylation on Ser(19) and Ser(68) but not Ser(55). We also demonstrated that MAPK-mediated phosphorylation of the AF-1 domain rendered TR4 a repressor, mediated through the preferential recruitment of corepressor RIP140. Dephosphorylation of its AF-1 made TR4 an activator due to its selective recruitment of coactivator, P300/cyclic AMP-responsive element binding protein-binding protein-associated factor (PCAF). The biological effects were validated by using the wild type TR4 and its constitutive negative (dephosphorylated) and constitutive positive (phosphorylated) mutants in the studies of regulation of its natural target gene, apoE. This study uncovered, for the first time, a ligand-independent mechanism underlying the biological activity of TR4 that was mediated by MAPK-mediated receptor phosphorylation of AF-1 domain. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wang H, Brautigan DL
Peptide microarray analysis of substrate specificity of the transmembrane Ser/Thr kinase KPI-2 reveals reactivity with cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator and phosphorylase.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2124-30.
Human lemur (Lmr) kinases are predicted to be Tyr kinases based on sequences and are related to neurotrophin receptor Trk kinases. This study used homogeneous recombinant KPI-2 (Lmr2, LMTK2, Cprk, brain-enriched protein kinase) kinase domain and a library of 1,154 peptides on a microarray to analyze substrate specificity. We found that KPI-2 is strictly a Ser/Thr kinase that reacts with Ser either preceded by or followed by Pro residues but unlike other Pro-directed kinases does not strictly require an adjacent Pro residue. The most reactive peptide in the library corresponds to Ser-737 of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator, and the recombinant R domain of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator was a preferred substrate. Furthermore the KPI-2 kinase phosphorylated peptides corresponding to the single site in phosphorylase and purified phosphorylase b, making this only the second known phosphorylase b kinase. Phosphorylase was used as a specific substrate to show that KPI-2 is inhibited in living cells by addition of nerve growth factor or serum. The results demonstrate the utility of the peptide library to probe specificity and discover kinase substrates and offer a specific assay that reveals hormonal regulation of the activity of this unusual transmembrane kinase. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Haab BB, Paulovich AG, Anderson NL, Clark AM, Downing GJ, Hermjakob H, Labaer J, Uhlen M
A reagent resource to identify proteins and peptides of interest for the cancer community: a workshop report.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Oct;5(10):1996-2007.
On the basis of discussions with representatives from all sectors of the cancer research community, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) recognizes the immense opportunities to apply proteomics technologies to further cancer research. Validated and well characterized affinity capture reagents (e.g. antibodies, aptamers, and affibodies) will play a key role in proteomics research platforms for the prevention, early detection, treatment, and monitoring of cancer. To discuss ways to develop new resources and optimize current opportunities in this area, the NCI convened the "Proteomic Technologies Reagents Resource Workshop" in Chicago, IL on December 12-13, 2005. The workshop brought together leading scientists in proteomics research to discuss model systems for evaluating and delivering resources for reagents to support MS and affinity capture platforms. Speakers discussed issues and identified action items related to an overall vision for and proposed models for a shared proteomics reagents resource, applications of affinity capture methods in cancer research, quality control and validation of affinity capture reagents, considerations for target selection, and construction of a reagents database. The meeting also featured presentations and discussion from leading private sector investigators on state-of-the-art technologies and capabilities to meet the user community's needs. This workshop was developed as a component of the NCI's Clinical Proteomics Technologies Initiative for Cancer, a coordinated initiative that includes the establishment of reagent resources for the scientific community. This workshop report explores various approaches to develop a framework that will most effectively fulfill the needs of the NCI and the cancer research community. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jia JY, Lamer S, Schümann M, Schmidt MR, Krause E, Haucke V
Quantitative proteomics analysis of detergent-resistant membranes from chemical synapses: evidence for cholesterol as spatial organizer of synaptic vesicle cycling.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2060-71.
Synaptic vesicles (SVs) in the central nervous system upon stimulation undergo rapid calcium-triggered exoendocytic cycling within the nerve terminal that at least in part depends on components of the clathrin- and dynamin-dependent endocytosis machinery. How exocytic SV fusion and endocytic retrieval are temporally and spatially coordinated is still an open question. One possibility is that specialized membrane microdomains characterized by their high content in membrane cholesterol may assist in the spatial coordination of synaptic membrane protein recycling. Quantitative proteomics analysis of detergent-resistant membranes (DRMs) isolated from rat brain synapses or cholesterol-depleted control samples by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry identified a total of 159 proteins. Among these 122 proteins were classified as cholesterol-dependent DRM or DRM-associated proteins, many of which with proven or hypothesized functions in exoendocytic vesicle cycling including clathrin, the clathrin adaptor complex AP-2, and a variety of SV proteins. In agreement with this, SV membrane and endocytic proteins displayed a partial resistance to extraction with cold Triton X-100 in cultured rat hippocampal neurons where they co-localized with labeled cholera toxin B, a marker for cholesterol-enriched DRMs. Moreover SV proteins formed cholesterol-dependent complexes in CHAPS-extracted synaptic membrane lysates. Our combined data suggest that lipid microdomains may act as spatial coordinators for exoendocytic vesicle cycling at synapses. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Castronovo V, Waltregny D, Kischel P, Roesli C, Elia G, Rybak JN, Neri D
A chemical proteomics approach for the identification of accessible antigens expressed in human kidney cancer.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2083-91.
A promising avenue toward the development of more selective anticancer drugs consists in the targeted delivery of bioactive molecules to the tumor environment by means of binding molecules specific to tumor-associated markers. We have used a chemical proteomics approach based on the ex vivo perfusion and biotinylation of accessible structures within surgically resected human kidneys with tumor to gain information about accessible and abundant antigens that are overexpressed in human cancer. This procedure led to the selective labeling with biotin of vascular structures. Biotinylated proteins were purified on streptavidin resin and identified using mass spectrometric methodologies, revealing 637 proteins, 184 of which were only found in tumor specimens and 223 of which were only found in portions of normal kidneys. Immunohistochemical and PCR analysis confirmed that several of the putative cancer antigens identified in this study are indeed preferentially expressed in tumors. In conclusion, we have developed a methodology that allows the identification of accessible biomarkers in human tissues. The tumor-associated antigens identified in this study may be suitable targets for antibody-based anticancer therapies. The experimental approach described here should be applicable to other surgical specimens and to other pathologies as well as to the study of basic physiological and immunological processes. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Jaffe JD, Mani DR, Leptos KC, Church GM, Gillette MA, Carr SA
PEPPeR, a platform for experimental proteomic pattern recognition.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Oct;5(10):1927-41.
Quantitative proteomics holds considerable promise for elucidation of basic biology and for clinical biomarker discovery. However, it has been difficult to fulfill this promise due to over-reliance on identification-based quantitative methods and problems associated with chromatographic separation reproducibility. Here we describe new algorithms termed "Landmark Matching" and "Peak Matching" that greatly reduce these problems. Landmark Matching performs time base-independent propagation of peptide identities onto accurate mass LC-MS features in a way that leverages historical data derived from disparate data acquisition strategies. Peak Matching builds upon Landmark Matching by recognizing identical molecular species across multiple LC-MS experiments in an identity-independent fashion by clustering. We have bundled these algorithms together with other algorithms, data acquisition strategies, and experimental designs to create a Platform for Experimental Proteomic Pattern Recognition (PEPPeR). These developments enable use of established statistical tools previously limited to microarray analysis for treatment of proteomics data. We demonstrate that the proposed platform can be calibrated across 2.5 orders of magnitude and can perform robust quantification of ratios in both simple and complex mixtures with good precision and error characteristics across multiple sample preparations. We also demonstrate de novo marker discovery based on statistical significance of unidentified accurate mass components that changed between two mixtures. These markers were subsequently identified by accurate mass-driven MS/MS acquisition and demonstrated to be contaminant proteins associated with known proteins whose concentrations were designed to change between the two mixtures. These results have provided a real world validation of the platform for marker discovery. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Rodríguez-Pińeiro AM, de la Cadena MP, López-Saco A, Rodríguez-Berrocal FJ
Differential expression of serum clusterin isoforms in colorectal cancer.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Sep;5(9):1647-57.
Clusterin is an enigmatic protein altered in tumors of colorectal cancer patients. Because there is no information available about serum clusterin regarding this pathology, we applied proteomic techniques to analyze its isoforms in donors and patients. First we separated serum proteins through concanavalin A, obtaining a fraction with non- and O-glycosylated proteins (FI) and a second fraction enriched in N-glycoproteins (FII) wherein clusterin was supposed to elute on the basis of its glycosylation. Surprisingly analysis of the FI fraction revealed the existence of an unexpected and aberrantly N-glycosylated clusterin that was overexpressed in patients and comprised at least five isoforms with different isoelectric points. On the other hand, two-dimensional electrophoretic analysis of the clusterin eluted in FII detected one isoform that was increased and 15 isoforms that were decreased or absent in serum of patients. Finally immunoquantification by slot blot showed that in total serum and in FI the clusterin levels were significantly increased in patients, whereas in FII there was no significant variation. Therefore, serum clusterin and some of its isoforms could have a potential value as colorectal tumor markers and are interesting subjects for biomarker studies. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Liu T, Qian WJ, Mottaz HM, Gritsenko MA, Norbeck AD, Moore RJ, Purvine SO, Camp DG, Smith RD
Evaluation of multiprotein immunoaffinity subtraction for plasma proteomics and candidate biomarker discovery using mass spectrometry.
Mol Cell Proteomics. 2006 Nov;5(11):2167-74.
Strategies for removal of high abundance proteins have been increasingly utilized in proteomic studies of serum/plasma and other body fluids to enhance the detection of low abundance proteins and achieve broader proteome coverage; however, both the reproducibility and specificity of the high abundance protein depletion process still represent common concerns. Here we report a detailed evaluation of immunoaffinity subtraction performed applying the ProteomeLab IgY-12 system that is commonly used in human serum/plasma proteome characterization in combination with high resolution LC-MS/MS. Plasma samples were repeatedly processed using this approach, and the resulting flow-through fractions and bound fractions were individually analyzed for comparison. The removal of target proteins by the immunoaffinity subtraction system and the overall process was highly reproducible. Non-target proteins, including one spiked protein standard (rabbit glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase), were also observed to bind to the column at different levels but also in a reproducible manner. The results suggest that multiprotein immunoaffinity subtraction systems can be readily integrated into quantitative strategies to enhance detection of low abundance proteins in biomarker discovery studies. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Recent Articles in Proteome Science

Maurer MH, Berger C, Wolf M, Fütterer CD, Feldmann RE, Schwab S, Kuschinsky W
The proteome of human brain microdialysate.
Proteome Sci. 2003 Dec 14;1(1):7.
BACKGROUND: Cerebral microdialysis has been established as a monitoring tool in neurocritically ill patients suffering from severe stroke. The technique allows to sample small molecules in the brain tissue for subsequent biochemical analysis. In this study, we investigated the proteomic profile of human cerebral microdialysate and if the identified proteins might be useful predictors for disease characteristics in stroke for tissue at risk in the contralateral hemisphere. We analysed cerebral protein expression in microdialysate from three stroke patients sampled from the hemisphere contralateral to the lesion. Using a proteomic approach based on two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and subsequent mass spectrometry, we created a protein map for the global protein expression pattern of human microdialyste. RESULTS: We found an average of 158 +/- 24 (N = 18) protein spots in the human cerebral microdialysate and could identify 95 spots, representing 27 individual proteins. Most of these have been detected in human cerebrospinal fluid before, but 10 additional proteins mainly of cerebral intracellular origin were identified exclusively in the microdialysate. CONCLUSIONS: The 10 proteins found exclusively in human cerebral microdialysate, but not in cerebrospinal fluid, indicate the possibility to monitor the progression of the disease towards deterioration. The correlation of protein composition in the human cerebral microdialysate with the patients' clinical condition and results of cerebral imaging may be a useful approach to future applications for neurological stroke diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Wang W, Sun J, Nimtz M, Deckwer WD, Zeng AP
Protein identification from two-dimensional gel electrophoresis analysis of Klebsiella pneumoniae by combined use of mass spectrometry data and raw genome sequences.
Proteome Sci. 2003 Dec 3;1(1):6.
Separation of proteins by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2-DE) coupled with identification of proteins through peptide mass fingerprinting (PMF) by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) is the widely used technique for proteomic analysis. This approach relies, however, on the presence of the proteins studied in public-accessible protein databases or the availability of annotated genome sequences of an organism. In this work, we investigated the reliability of using raw genome sequences for identifying proteins by PMF without the need of additional information such as amino acid sequences. The method is demonstrated for proteomic analysis of Klebsiella pneumoniae grown anaerobically on glycerol. For 197 spots excised from 2-DE gels and submitted for mass spectrometric analysis 164 spots were clearly identified as 122 individual proteins. 95% of the 164 spots can be successfully identified merely by using peptide mass fingerprints and a strain-specific protein database (ProtKpn) constructed from the raw genome sequences of K. pneumoniae. Cross-species protein searching in the public databases mainly resulted in the identification of 57% of the 66 high expressed protein spots in comparison to 97% by using the ProtKpn database. 10 dha regulon related proteins that are essential for the initial enzymatic steps of anaerobic glycerol metabolism were successfully identified using the ProtKpn database, whereas none of them could be identified by cross-species searching. In conclusion, the use of strain-specific protein database constructed from raw genome sequences makes it possible to reliably identify most of the proteins from 2-DE analysis simply through peptide mass fingerprinting. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Cagney G, Amiri S, Premawaradena T, Lindo M, Emili A
In silico proteome analysis to facilitate proteomics experiments using mass spectrometry.
Proteome Sci. 2003 Aug 13;1(1):5.
Proteomics experiments typically involve protein or peptide separation steps coupled to the identification of many hundreds to thousands of peptides by mass spectrometry. Development of methodology and instrumentation in this field is proceeding rapidly, and effective software is needed to link the different stages of proteomic analysis. We have developed an application, proteogest, written in Perl that generates descriptive and statistical analyses of the biophysical properties of multiple (e.g. thousands) protein sequences submitted by the user, for instance protein sequences inferred from the complete genome sequence of a model organism. The application also carries out in silico proteolytic digestion of the submitted proteomes, or subsets thereof, and the distribution of biophysical properties of the resulting peptides is presented. proteogest is customizable, the user being able to select many options, for instance the cleavage pattern of the digestion treatment or the presence of modifications to specific amino acid residues. We show how proteogest can be used to compare the proteomes and digested proteome products of model organisms, to examine the added complexity generated by modification of residues, and to facilitate the design of proteomics experiments for optimal representation of component proteins. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Sydor JR, Nock S
Protein expression profiling arrays: tools for the multiplexed high-throughput analysis of proteins.
Proteome Sci. 2003 Jun 10;1(1):3.
The completion of the human genome sequence has led to a rapid increase in genetic information. The invention of DNA microarrays, which allow for the parallel measurement of thousands of genes on the level of mRNA, has enabled scientists to take a more global view of biological systems. Protein microarrays have a big potential to increase the throughput of proteomic research. Microarrays of antibodies can simultaneously measure the concentration of a multitude of target proteins in a very short period of time. The ability of protein microarrays to increase the quantity of data points in small biological samples on the protein level will have a major impact on basic biological research as well as on the discovery of new drug targets and diagnostic markers. This review highlights the current status of protein expression profiling arrays, their development, applications and limitations. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Maurer MH, Feldmann RE, Fütterer CD, Kuschinsky W
The proteome of neural stem cells from adult rat hippocampus.
Proteome Sci. 2003 Jun 12;1(1):4.
BACKGROUND: Hippocampal neural stem cells (HNSC) play an important role in cerebral plasticity in the adult brain and may contribute to tissue repair in neurological disease. To describe their biological potential with regard to plasticity, proliferation, or differentiation, it is important to know the cellular composition of their proteins, subsumed by the term proteome. RESULTS: Here, we present for the first time a proteomic database for HNSC isolated from the brains of adult rats and cultured for 10 weeks. Cytosolic proteins were extracted and subjected to two-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by protein identification through mass spectrometry, database search, and gel matching. We could map about 1141 PlusMinus; 209 (N = 5) protein spots for each gel, of which 266 could be identified. We could group the identified proteins into several functional categories including metabolism, protein folding, energy metabolism and cellular respiration, as well as cytoskeleton, Ca2+ signaling pathways, cell cycle regulation, proteasome and protein degradation. We also found proteins belonging to detoxification, neurotransmitter metabolism, intracellular signaling pathways, and regulation of DNA transcription and RNA processing. CONCLUSIONS: The HNSC proteome database is a useful inventory which will allow to specify changes in the cellular protein expression pattern due to specific activated or suppressed pathways during differentiation or proliferation of neural stem cells. Several proteins could be identified in the HNSC proteome which are related to differentiation and plasticity, indicating activated functional pathways. Moreover, we found a protein for which no expression has been described in brain cells before. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Gonnet F, Lemaître G, Waksman G, Tortajada J
MALDI/MS peptide mass fingerprinting for proteome analysis: identification of hydrophobic proteins attached to eucaryote keratinocyte cytoplasmic membrane using different matrices in concert.
Proteome Sci. 2003 May 6;1(1):2.
BACKGROUND: MALDI-TOF-MS has become an important analytical tool in the identification of proteins and evaluation of their role in biological processes. A typical protocol consists of sample purification, separation of proteins by 2D-PAGE, enzymatic digestion and identification of proteins by peptide mass fingerprint. Unfortunately, this approach is not appropriate for the identification of membrane or low or high pI proteins. An alternative technique uses 1D-PAGE, which results in a mixture of proteins in each gel band. The direct analysis of the proteolytic digestion of this mixture is often problematic because of poor peptide detection and consequent poor sequence coverage in databases. Sequence coverage can be improved through the combination of several matrices. RESULTS: The aim of this study was to trust the MALDI analysis of complex biological samples, in order to identify proteins that interact with the membrane network of keratinocytes. Peptides obtained from protein trypsin digestions may have either hydrophobic or hydrophilic sections, in which case, the direct analysis of such a mixture by MALDI does not allow desorbing of all peptides. In this work, MALDI/MS experiments were thus performed using four different matrices in concert. The data were analysed with three algorithms in order to test each of them. We observed that the use of at least two matrices in concert leads to a twofold increase of the coverage of each protein. Considering data obtained in this study, we recommend the use of HCCA in concert with the SA matrix in order to obtain a good coverage of hydrophilic proteins, and DHB in concert with the SA matrix to obtain a good coverage of hydrophobic proteins. CONCLUSION: In this work, experiments were performed directly on complex biological samples, in order to see systematic comparison between different matrices for real-life samples and to show a correlation that will be applicable to similar studies. When 1D gel is needed, each band may contain a great number of proteins, each present in small amounts. To improve the proteins coverage, we have performed experiments with some matrices in concert. These experiments enabled reliable identification of proteins, without the use of Nanospray MS/MS experiments. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]

Hsiao KC, Brissette RE, Wang P, Fletcher PW, Rodriguez V, Lennick M, Blume AJ, Goldstein NI
Peptides identify multiple hotspots within the ligand binding domain of the TNF receptor 2.
Proteome Sci. 2003 Jan 24;1(1):1.
BACKGROUND: Hotspots are defined as the minimal functional domains involved in protein:protein interactions and sufficient to induce a biological response. RESULTS: Here we describe the use of complex and high diversity phage display libraries to isolate peptides (called Hotspot Ligands or HSPLs) which sub-divide the ligand binding domain of the tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2; p75) into multiple hotspots. We have shown that these libraries could generate HSPLs which not only subdivide hotspots on protein and non-protein targets but act as agonists or antagonists. Using this approach, we generated peptides which were specific for human TNFR2, could be competed by the natural ligands, TNFalpha and TNFbeta and induced an unexpected biological response in a TNFR2-specific manner. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the dissection of the TNFR2 into biologically active hotspots with the concomitant identification of a novel and unexpected biological activity. [Abstract/Link to Full Text]