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A new serine protease inhibitor, designated cvSI-2, was purified and characterized from the plasma of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. CvSI-2 inhibited the serine protease subtilisin A in a slow-tight binding manner, with an overall dissociation constant Ki* of 0.18 nM. It also inhibited perkinsin, the major extracellular protease of the oyster protozoan parasite Perkinsus marinus. Sequencing of cvSI-2 cloned cDNA revealed an open reading frame of 258 bp encoding a polypeptide of 85 amino acids, with the 18 N-terminal amino acids forming a signal peptide. The mature cvSI-2 molecule predicted consisted of 67 amino acids with 12 cysteine residues and a calculated molecular mass of 7202.96 Da. Overall 91% of the cvSI-2 amino acid sequence predicted from cDNA was confirmed by tandem mass spectrometry sequencing of purified cvSI-2. In addition, serine 43 and a threonine substitution at this position were observed. CvSI-2 amino acid sequence showed a 38% identity and 54% similarity with that of cvSI-1, the first protease inhibitor purified and characterized from a bivalve mollusc. Like cvSI-1, cvSI-2 gene was expressed in the basophil cells of digestive tubules. BLAST search found multiple ESTs from the eastern oyster, Pacific oyster, Mediterranean mussel, and sea vase, a tunicate, which could encode proteins with sequences similar to cvSI-1 and cvSI-2. Our findings indicate that cvSI-1 and cvSI-2 are members of a novel family of serine protease inhibitors in bivalve molluscs and perhaps other marine invertebrates, which share the characteristic cysteine array C-X(4-9)-C-X(4-6)-C-X(7)-C-X(4)-C-T-C-X(6-9)-C-X(5)-C-X(3-7)-C-X(6-10)-C-X(4)-C-X-C.
BACKGROUND - Previous reports have noted that factor (F) XI and FXII and prekallikrein (the contact phase proteases) are absent in fish.
OBJECTIVES - A broad survey of recently completed genomes was undertaken to find where during the course of vertebrate evolution these coagulation factors appeared.
METHODS - BLAST searches were conducted for the various factors on genomes of lamprey, puffer fish, zebra fish, frog, chicken, platypus, and opossum.
RESULTS - It was confirmed that FXII is absent from fish; it is present in frog, platypus, and opossum, but is absent in chicken, an apparent example of gene loss. A single gene corresponding to the evolutionary predecessor of FXI and prekallikrein occurs in frog, chicken, and platypus. The opossum (a marsupial) has both prekallikrein and FXI, completing the full complement of these genes that occurs in eutherian mammals.
CONCLUSIONS - The step-by-step accrual of genes for these factors by a series of timely gene duplications has been confirmed by phylogenetic analysis and other considerations.
The basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor PTF1a is critical to the development of the embryonic pancreas. It is required early for the formation of the undifferentiated tubular epithelium of the nascent pancreatic rudiment and then becomes restricted to the differentiating acinar cells, where it directs the transcriptional activation of the secretory digestive enzyme genes. Here we report that the complex temporal and spatial expression of Ptf1a is controlled by at least three separable gene-flanking regions. A 14.8-kb control domain immediately downstream of the last Ptf1a exon is highly conserved among mammals and directs expression in the dorsal part of the spinal cord but has very little activity in the embryonic or neonatal pancreas. A 13.4-kb proximal promoter domain initiates limited expression in cells that begin the acinar differentiation program. The activity of the proximal promoter domain is complemented by an adjacent 2.3-kb autoregulatory enhancer that is able to activate a heterologous minimal promoter with high-level penetrance in the pancreases of transgenic mice. During embryonic development, the enhancer initiates expression in the early precursor epithelium and then superinduces expression in acinar cells at the onset of their development. The enhancer contains two evolutionarily conserved binding sites for the active form of PTF1a, a trimeric complex composed of PTF1a, one of the common bHLH E proteins, and either RBPJ or RBPJL. The two sites are essential for acinar cell-specific transcription in transfected cell lines and mice. In mature acinar cells, the enhancer and PTF1a establish an autoregulatory loop that reinforces and maintains Ptf1a expression. Indeed, the trimeric PTF1 complex forms dual autoregulatory loops with the Ptf1a and Rbpjl genes that may maintain the stable phenotype of pancreatic acinar cells.
Chx10/Vsx2 and Vsx1 are the only Paired-like CVC (Prd-L:CVC) homeobox genes in the mouse genome. Both are expressed in the retina and have important but distinct roles in retinal development. Mutations in Chx10/Vsx2 cause reduced retinal progenitor cell (RPC) proliferation and an absence of bipolar cells, while mutations in Vsx1 impair differentiation of cone bipolar cells. Given their structural similarities and importance in retinal development, we sought to determine if a regulatory interaction exists between these genes and whether inactivation of both genes blocks initiation of retinal development. We found that Chx10/Vsx2 binds to a specific sequence in the Vsx1 5'-intergenic region and represses the activity of a luciferase reporter under the control of the Vsx1 promoter. This is consistent with our observation that there is an inverse relationship between the levels of Chx10/Vsx2 and Vsx1 immunostaining within the bipolar cell class. Furthermore, Vsx1 mRNA is upregulated in the RPCs of Chx10/Vsx2 deficient mice and zebrafish embryos injected with a chx10/vsx2 morpholino. In mice deficient for both Chx10/Vsx2 and Vsx1 and zebrafish embryos co-injected with chx10/Vsx2 and vsx1 morpholinos, the changes in embryonic retinal development and marker expression are similar in magnitude to embryos with Chx10/Vsx2 loss of function only. From these studies, we propose that Vsx1 is a direct target of Chx10/Vsx2-mediated transcriptional repression. Although Vsx1 mRNA is upregulated in Chx10/Vsx2 deficient RPCs, Vsx1 does not genetically compensate for loss of Chx10/Vsx2, demonstrating that Prd-L:CVC genes, although important, are not absolutely required to initiate retinal development.
The matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family of extracellular proteases is conserved throughout the animal kingdom. Studies of invertebrate MMPs have demonstrated they are involved in tissue remodeling. In Drosophila, MMPs are required for histolysis, tracheal growth, tissue invasion, axon guidance, and dendritic remodeling. Recent work demonstrates that MMPs also participate in Drosophila tumor invasion. In Caenorhabditis elegans an MMP is involved in anchor cell invasion; a Hydra MMP is important for regeneration and maintaining cell identity; and a sea urchin MMP degrades matrix to allow hatching. In worms and in flies, MMPs are regulated by the JNK pathway.
BACKGROUND - The local environment of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) contains abundant genetic information for the study of mechanisms of mutation, genome evolution, and causes of diseases. Recent studies revealed that neighboring-nucleotide biases on SNPs were strong and the genome-wide bias patterns could be represented by a small subset of the total SNPs. It remains unsolved for the estimation of the effective SNP size, the number of SNPs that are sufficient to represent the bias patterns observed from the whole SNP data.
RESULTS - To estimate the effective SNP size, we developed a novel statistical method, SNPKS, which considers both the statistical and biological significances. SNPKS consists of two major steps: to obtain an initial effective size by the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test (KS test) and to find an intermediate effective size by interval evaluation. The SNPKS algorithm was implemented in computer programs and applied to the real SNP data. The effective SNP size was estimated to be 38,200, 39,300, 38,000, and 38,700 in the human, chimpanzee, dog, and mouse genomes, respectively, and 39,100, 39,600, 39,200, and 42,200 in human intergenic, genic, intronic, and CpG island regions, respectively.
CONCLUSION - SNPKS is the first statistical method to estimate the effective SNP size. It runs efficiently and greatly outperforms the algorithm implemented in SNPNB. The application of SNPKS to the real SNP data revealed the similar small effective SNP size (38,000 - 42,200) in the human, chimpanzee, dog, and mouse genomes as well as in human genomic regions. The findings suggest strong influence of genetic factors across vertebrate genomes.
In vertebrates, the arrestins are a family of four proteins that regulate the signaling and trafficking of hundreds of different G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Arrestin homologs are also found in insects, protochordates and nematodes. Fungi and protists have related proteins but do not have true arrestins. Structural information is available only for free (unbound) vertebrate arrestins, and shows that the conserved overall fold is elongated and composed of two domains, with the core of each domain consisting of a seven-stranded beta-sandwich. Two main intramolecular interactions keep the two domains in the correct relative orientation, but both of these interactions are destabilized in the process of receptor binding, suggesting that the conformation of bound arrestin is quite different. As well as binding to hundreds of GPCR subtypes, arrestins interact with other classes of membrane receptors and more than 20 surprisingly diverse types of soluble signaling protein. Arrestins thus serve as ubiquitous signaling regulators in the cytoplasm and nucleus.
The proliferative expansion of retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) is a fundamental mechanism of growth during vertebrate retinal development. Over the past couple of years, significant progress has been made in identifying genes expressed in RPCs that are essential for their proliferation, and the molecular mechanisms are beginning to be resolved. In this review, we highlight recent studies that have identified regulatory components of the RPC cell cycle machinery and implicate a set of homeobox genes as key regulators of proliferative expansion in the retina.
The enzyme(s) responsible for the production of inositol hexakisphosphate (InsP(6)) in vertebrate cells are unknown. In fungal cells, a 2-kinase designated Ipk1 is responsible for synthesis of InsP(6) by phosphorylation of inositol 1,3,4,5,6-pentakisphosphate (InsP(5)). Based on limited conserved sequence motifs among five Ipk1 proteins from different fungal species, we have identified a human genomic DNA sequence on chromosome 9 that encodes human inositol 1,3,4,5,6-pentakisphosphate 2-kinase (InsP(5) 2-kinase). Recombinant human enzyme was produced in Sf21 cells, purified, and shown to catalyze the synthesis of InsP(6) or phytic acid in vitro. The recombinant protein converted 31 nmol of InsP(5) to InsP(6)/min/mg of protein (V(max)). The Michaelis-Menten constant for InsP(5) was 0.4 microM and for ATP was 21 microM. Saccharomyces cerevisiae lacking IPK1 do not produce InsP(6) and show lethality in combination with a gle1 mutant allele. Here we show that expression of the human InsP(5) 2-kinase in a yeast ipk1 null strain restored the synthesis of InsP(6) and rescued the gle1-2 ipk1-4 lethal phenotype. Northern analysis on human tissues showed expression of the human InsP(5) 2-kinase mRNA predominantly in brain, heart, placenta, and testis. The isolation of the gene responsible for InsP(6) synthesis in mammalian cells will allow for further studies of the InsP(6) signaling functions.