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The replisome is a large protein machine containing multiple enzymatic activities needed to complete DNA replication. In addition to helicase and polymerases needed for copying the DNA, the replisome also contains proteins like DNA methyltransferases, histone chaperones, and chromatin modifying enzymes to couple DNA replication with chromatin deposition and establishment of the epigenetic code. In addition, since template DNA strands often contain DNA damage or other roadblocks to the replication machinery, replication stress response proteins associate with the replisome to stabilize, repair, and restart stalled replication forks. Hundreds of proteins are needed to accomplish these tasks. Identifying these proteins, monitoring their posttranslational modifications, and understanding how their activities are coordinated is essential to understand how the genome and epigenome are duplicated rapidly, completely, and accurately every cell division cycle. Here we describe an updated iPOND (isolation of proteins on nascent DNA) method to facilitate these analyses.
The identification of genomic loci linked to or associated with human disease has been greatly facilitated by the evolution of genotyping strategies and techniques. The success of these strategies continues to be based upon clear clinical assessment, accurate sample handling, and careful data management, but also increasingly upon experimental design. Technological advances in the field of genotyping have permitted increasingly complex and large population studies to be performed. An understanding of publicly available genetic variation databases, including an awareness of the limitations of these data, and an appreciation of the strategic approaches that should be used to exploit this information will provide tremendous insight for researchers are aiming to utilize this accessible technology. As genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and Next Generation (NextGen) sequencing become the mainstays of genetic analyses, it is important that their technical strengths and limitations, as well as their impact on study design, be understood before use in a linkage or genetic association study.
© 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most well-characterized late-onset, complex trait diseases. Remarkable advances in our understanding of the genetic and biological foundations of this disease were derived from a recent convergence of scientific and clinical data. Importantly, the more recent identification of AMD-associated variations in a number of complement pathway genes has provided strong support for earlier, paradigm-shifting studies that suggested that aberrant function of the complement system plays a key role in disease etiology. Collectively, this wealth of information has provided an impetus for the development of powerful tools to accurately diagnose disease risk and progression and complement-based therapeutics that will ultimately delay or prevent AMD. Indeed, we are poised to witness a new era of a personalized approach toward the assessment, management, and treatment of this debilitating, chronic disease.
Epithelial neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) have been the subject of much debate regarding their optimal classification. Although multiple systems of nomenclature, grading, and staging have been proposed, none has achieved universal acceptance. To help define the underlying common features of these classification systems and to identify the minimal pathology data that should be reported to ensure consistent clinical management and reproducibility of data from therapeutic trials, a multidisciplinary team of physicians interested in NETs was assembled. At a group meeting, the participants discussed a series of "yes" or "no" questions related to the pathology of NETs and the minimal data to be included in the reports. After discussion, anonymous votes were taken, using the Delphic principle that 80% agreement on a vote of either yes or no would define a consensus. Questions that failed to achieve a consensus were rephrased once or twice and discussed, and additional votes were taken. Of 108 questions, 91 were answerable either yes or no by more than 80% of the participants. There was agreement about the importance of proliferation rate for tumor grading, the landmarks to use for staging, the prognostic factors assessable by routine histology that should be reported, the potential for tumors to progress biologically with metastasis, and the current status of advanced immunohistochemical and molecular testing for treatment-related biomarkers. The lack of utility of a variety of immunohistochemical stains and pathologic findings was also agreed upon. A consensus could not be reached for the remaining 17 questions, which included both minor points related to extent of disease assessment and some major areas such as terminology, routine immunohistochemical staining for general neuroendocrine markers, use of Ki67 staining to assess proliferation, and the relationship of tumor grade to degree of differentiation. On the basis of the results of the Delphic voting, a minimum pathology data set was developed. Although there remains disagreement among experts about the specific classification system that should be used, there is agreement about the fundamental pathology data that should be reported. Examination of the areas of disagreement reveals significant opportunities for collaborative study to resolve unanswered questions.
Growth factor bioavailability in therapeutic applications such as wound healing is limited by extracellular matrix sequestration, proteolysis, and clearance. Local, transient delivery by gene transfer is an attractive concept. Many transfection strategies are available, and adenoviral vectors are in clinical trials. Keratinocyte growth factor-1 (KGF-1), an epithelial-specific member of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family, has achieved limited success in protein formulations. Matrix- and cell-based strategies for delivering a KGF-1 virion to target tissue may improve the reproducibility and efficiency of the process, although the advantages of cell-based therapy must be weighed against its added cost and complexity.
Transgenesis is an important tool for assessing gene function. In zebrafish, transgenesis has suffered from three problems: the labor of building complex expression constructs using conventional subcloning; low transgenesis efficiency, leading to mosaicism in transient transgenics and infrequent germline incorporation; and difficulty in identifying germline integrations unless using a fluorescent marker transgene. The Tol2kit system uses site-specific recombination-based cloning (multisite Gateway technology) to allow quick, modular assembly of [promoter]-[coding sequence]-[3' tag] constructs in a Tol2 transposon backbone. It includes a destination vector with a cmlc2:EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein) transgenesis marker and a variety of widely useful entry clones, including hsp70 and beta-actin promoters; cytoplasmic, nuclear, and membrane-localized fluorescent proteins; and internal ribosome entry sequence-driven EGFP cassettes for bicistronic expression. The Tol2kit greatly facilitates zebrafish transgenesis, simplifies the sharing of clones, and enables large-scale projects testing the functions of libraries of regulatory or coding sequences.
Copyright 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) are excellent tools for manipulating large DNA fragments and, as a result, are increasingly utilized to engineer transgenic mice by pronuclear injection. The demand for BAC transgenic mice underscores the need for careful inspection of BAC integrity and fidelity following transgenesis, which may be crucial for interpreting transgene function. Thus, it is imperative that reliable methods for assessing these parameters are available. However, there are limited data regarding whether BAC transgenes routinely integrate in the mouse genome as intact molecules, how BAC transgenes behave as they are passed through the germline across successive generations, and how variation in BAC transgene copy number relates to transgene expression. To address these questions, we used TaqMan real-time PCR to estimate BAC transgene copy number in BAC transgenic embryos and lines. Here we demonstrate the reproducibility of copy number quantification with this method and describe the variation in copy number across independent transgenic lines. In addition, polymorphic marker analysis suggests that the majority of BAC transgenic lines contain intact molecules. Notably, all lines containing multiple BAC copies also contain all BAC-specific markers. Three of 23 founders analyzed contained BAC transgenes integrated into more than one genomic location. Finally, we show increased BAC transgene copy number correlates with increased BAC transgene expression. In sum, our efforts have provided a reliable method for assaying BAC transgene integrity and fidelity, and data that should be useful for researchers using BACs as transgenic vectors.
Analysis of complete mitochondrial genome sequences is becoming increasingly common in genetic studies. The availability of full genome datasets enables an analysis of the information content distributed throughout the mitochondrial genome in order to optimize the research design of future evolutionary studies. The goal of our study was to identify informative regions of the human mitochondrial genome using two criteria: (1) accurate reconstruction of a phylogeny and (2) consistent estimates of time to most recent common ancestor (TMRCA). We created two series of datasets by deleting individual genes of varied length and by deleting 10 equal-size fragments throughout the coding region. Phylogenies were statistically compared to the full-coding-region tree, while coalescent methods were used to estimate the TMRCA and associated credible intervals. Individual fragments important for maintaining a phylogeny similar to the full-coding-region tree encompassed bp 577-2122 and 11,399-16,023, including all or part of 12S rRNA, 16S rRNA, ND4, ND5, ND6, and cytb. The control region only tree was the most poorly resolved with the majority of the tree manifest as an unresolved polytomy. Coalescent estimates of TMRCA were less sensitive to removal of any particular fragment(s) than reconstruction of a consistent phylogeny. Overall, we discovered that half the genome, i.e., bp 3669-11,398, could be removed with no significant change in the phylogeny (p(AU)=0.077) while still maintaining overlap of TMRCA 95% credible intervals. Thus, sequencing a contiguous fragment from bp 11,399 through the control region to bp 3668 would create a dataset that optimizes the information necessary for phylogenetic and coalescent analyses and also takes advantage of the wealth of data already available on the control region.
Cytokine genes undergo progressive changes in chromatin organization when naïve CD4+ T helper (Th) cells differentiate into committed Th1 and Th2 lineages. Here, we analyzed nuclear matrix attachment regions (MARs) in the Ifng gene by DNA array technique in unactivated and activated CD4+ Th cells. This approach was combined with analysis of spatial organization of the Ifng gene by chromosome conformation capture approach to assess the relationship between the gene conformation and matrix attachment organization in functionally different cell subsets. We report that the Ifng gene in unactivated cells displays a linear conformation, but in T-cell receptor-activated cells, it adopts a loop conformation. The selective MARs support the spatial gene organization and characteristically define the Ifng gene in functionally different cell subsets. The pattern of interaction of the Ifng gene with the nuclear matrix dynamically changes in a lineage-specific manner in parallel with the changes in Ifng gene conformation. The data suggest that such structural dynamics provide the means for transcriptional regulation of the Ifng gene in the course of activation and differentiation of CD4+Th cells.
Three human cases having mutations in the glycine N-methyltransferase (GNMT) gene have been reported. This enzyme transfers a methyl group from S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) to glycine to form S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) and N-methylglycine (sarcosine) and is believed to be involved in the regulation of methylation. All three cases have mild liver disease but they seem otherwise unaffected. To study this further, gnmt deficient mice were generated for the first time. This resulted in the complete absence of GNMT protein and its activity in livers of homozygous mice. Compared to WT animals the absence of GNMT resulted in up to a 7-fold increase of free methionine and up to a 35-fold increase of SAM. The amount of SAH was significantly decreased (3 fold) in the homozygotes compared to WT. The ratio of SAM/SAH increased from 3 in WT to 300 in livers of homozygous transgenic mice. This suggests a possible significant change in methylation in the liver and other organs where GNMT is expressed.