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Molecular Cell [journal]
- Metabolic Control of Persister Formation in Escherichia coli. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell 2013 May 7.
Bacterial persisters are phenotypic variants that form from the action of stress response pathways triggering toxin-mediated antibiotic tolerance. Although persisters form during normal growth from native stresses, the pathways responsible for this phenomenon remain elusive. Here we have discovered that carbon source transitions stimulate the formation of fluoroquinolone persisters in Escherichia coli. Further, through a combination of genetic, biochemical, and flow cytometric assays in conjunction with a mathematical model, we have reconstructed a molecular-level persister formation pathway from initial stress (glucose exhaustion) to the activation of a metabolic toxin-antitoxin (TA) module (the ppGpp biochemical network) resulting in inhibition of DNA gyrase activity, the primary target of fluoroquinolones. This pathway spans from initial stress to antibiotic target and demonstrates that TA behavior can be exhibited by a metabolite-enzyme interaction (ppGpp-SpoT), in contrast to classical TA systems that involve only protein and/or RNA.
- The Genetic Makeup of the Drosophila piRNA Pathway. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell 2013 May 9.
The piRNA (PIWI-interacting RNA) pathway is a small RNA silencing system that acts in animal gonads and protects the genome against the deleterious influence of transposons. A major bottleneck in the field is the lack of comprehensive knowledge of the factors and molecular processes that constitute this pathway. We conducted an RNAi screen in Drosophila and identified ∼50 genes that strongly impact the ovarian somatic piRNA pathway. Many identified genes fall into functional categories that indicate essential roles for mitochondrial metabolism, RNA export, the nuclear pore, transcription elongation, and chromatin regulation in the pathway. Follow-up studies on two factors demonstrate that components acting at distinct hierarchical levels of the pathway were identified. Finally, we define CG2183/Gasz as an essential primary piRNA biogenesis factor in somatic and germline cells. Based on the similarities between insect and vertebrate piRNA pathways, our results have far-reaching implications for the understanding of this conserved genome defense system.
- A Structurally Unique E2-Binding Domain Activates Ubiquitination by the ERAD E2, Ubc7p, through Multiple Mechanisms. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell 2013 May 7.
Cue1p is an integral component of yeast endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD) ubiquitin ligase (E3) complexes. It tethers the ERAD ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2), Ubc7p, to the ER and prevents its degradation, and also activates Ubc7p via unknown mechanisms. We have now determined the crystal structure of the Ubc7p-binding region (U7BR) of Cue1p with Ubc7p. The U7BR is a unique E2-binding domain that includes three α-helices that interact extensively with the "backside" of Ubc7p. Residues essential for E2 binding are also required for activation of Ubc7p and for ERAD. We establish that the U7BR stimulates both RING-independent and RING-dependent ubiquitin transfer from Ubc7p. Moreover, the U7BR enhances ubiquitin-activating enzyme (E1)-mediated charging of Ubc7p with ubiquitin. This demonstrates that an essential component of E3 complexes can simultaneously bind to E2 and enhance its loading with ubiquitin. These findings provide mechanistic insights into how ubiquitination can be stimulated.
- Ubiquitin Binding by a CUE Domain Regulates Ubiquitin Chain Formation by ERAD E3 Ligases. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell 2013 May 7.
Ubiquitin-binding domains (UBDs) differentially recognize ubiquitin (ub) modifications. Some of them specifically bind mono-ub, as has been shown for the CUE domain. Interestingly, so far no significant ubiquitin binding has been observed for the CUE domain of yeast Cue1p. Cue1p is receptor and activator of the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme Ubc7p. It integrates Ubc7p into endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane-bound ubiquitin ligase complexes, and thus, it is crucial for ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD). Here we show that the CUE domain of Cue1p binds ubiquitin chains, which is pivotal for the efficient formation of K48-linked polyubiquitin chains in vitro. Mutations that abolish ubiquitin binding by Cue1p affect the turnover of ERAD substrates in vivo. Our data strongly imply that the CUE domain facilitates substrate ubiquitylation by stabilizing growing ubiquitin chains at the ERAD ubiquitin ligases. Hence, we demonstrate an unexpected function of a UBD in the regulation of ubiquitin chain synthesis.
- A Genome-wide RNAi Screen Draws a Genetic Framework for Transposon Control and Primary piRNA Biogenesis in Drosophila. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell 2013 May 9.
A large fraction of our genome consists of mobile genetic elements. Governing transposons in germ cells is critically important, and failure to do so compromises genome integrity, leading to sterility. In animals, the piRNA pathway is the key to transposon constraint, yet the precise molecular details of how piRNAs are formed and how the pathway represses mobile elements remain poorly understood. In an effort to identify general requirements for transposon control and components of the piRNA pathway, we carried out a genome-wide RNAi screen in Drosophila ovarian somatic sheet cells. We identified and validated 87 genes necessary for transposon silencing. Among these were several piRNA biogenesis factors. We also found CG3893 (asterix) to be essential for transposon silencing, most likely by contributing to the effector step of transcriptional repression. Asterix loss leads to decreases in H3K9me3 marks on certain transposons but has no effect on piRNA levels.
- A Transcriptome-wide RNAi Screen in the Drosophila Ovary Reveals Factors of the Germline piRNA Pathway. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Mol Cell 2013 May 7.
The Drosophila piRNA pathway provides an RNA-based immune system that defends the germline genome against selfish genetic elements. Two interrelated branches of the piRNA system exist: somatic cells that support oogenesis only employ Piwi, whereas germ cells utilize a more elaborate pathway centered on the three gonad-specific Argonaute proteins (Piwi, Aubergine, and Argonaute 3). While several key factors of each branch have been identified, our current knowledge is insufficient to explain the complex workings of the piRNA machinery. Here, we report a reverse genetic screen spanning the ovarian transcriptome in an attempt to uncover the full repertoire of genes required for piRNA-mediated transposon silencing in the female germline. Our screen reveals key factors of piRNA-mediated transposon silencing, including the piRNA biogenesis factors CG2183 (GASZ) and Deadlock. Our data uncover a previously unanticipated set of factors preferentially required for repression of different transposon types.
- Highly Complementary Target RNAs Promote Release of Guide RNAs from Human Argonaute2. [Journal Article]
- Mol Cell 2013 May 9; 50(3):344-55.
Argonaute proteins use small RNAs to guide the silencing of complementary target RNAs in many eukaryotes. Although small RNA biogenesis pathways are well studied, mechanisms for removal of guide RNAs from Argonaute are poorly understood. Here we show that the Argonaute2 (Ago2) guide RNA complex is extremely stable, with a half-life on the order of days. However, highly complementary target RNAs destabilize the complex and significantly accelerate release of the guide RNA from Ago2. This "unloading" activity can be enhanced by mismatches between the target and the guide 5' end and attenuated by mismatches to the guide 3' end. The introduction of 3' mismatches leads to more potent silencing of abundant mRNAs in mammalian cells. These findings help to explain why the 3' ends of mammalian microRNAs (miRNAs) rarely match their targets, suggest a mechanism for sequence-specific small RNA turnover, and offer insights for controlling small RNAs in mammalian cells.
- The AID-Induced DNA Damage Response in Chromatin. [Journal Article]
- Mol Cell 2013 May 9; 50(3):309-21.
Chemical modifications to the DNA and histone protein components of chromatin can modulate gene expression and genome stability. Understanding the physiological impact of changes in chromatin structure remains an important question in biology. As one example, in order to generate antibody diversity with somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination, chromatin must be made accessible for activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID)-mediated deamination of cytosines in DNA. These lesions are recognized and removed by various DNA repair pathways but, if not handled properly, can lead to formation of oncogenic chromosomal translocations. In this review, we focus the discussion on how chromatin-modifying activities and -binding proteins contribute to the native chromatin environment in which AID-induced DNA damage is targeted and repaired. Outstanding questions remain regarding the direct roles of histone posttranslational modifications and the significance of AID function outside of antibody diversity.
- Adenosine: essential for life but licensed to kill. [Journal Article]
- Mol Cell 2013 May 9; 50(3):307-8.
In this issue of Molecular Cell,Long and Crighton (2013) report a cell death priming mechanism activated by p53 that senses extracellular adenosine accumulated following chemotherapy or hypoxia, providing a novel connection between adenosine signaling and apoptosis.
- Argonaute reformatting. [Journal Article]
- Mol Cell 2013 May 9; 50(3):305-6.
In this issue of Molecular Cell, De et al. (2013) report that highly complementary targets promote release of small RNAs from effector Argonaute complexes, thus providing mechanistic insights into regulation of small RNA stability and implications for siRNA design.