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- N-Acylethanolamine metabolism during seed germination: Molecular identification of a functional N-acylethanolamine amidohydrolase.
- N-Acylethanolamines (NAEs) are endogenous lipid metabolites that occur in a variety of dry seeds, and their levels decline rapidly during the first few hours of imbibition (Chapman et al., 1999, Plant Physiol., 120:1157-1164). Biochemical studies supported the existence of an NAE amidohydrolase activity in seeds and seedlings, and efforts were directed toward identification of DNA sequences encoding this enzyme. Mammalian tissues metabolize NAEs via an amidase enzyme designated fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). Based on the characteristic amidase signature sequence in mammalian FAAH, a candidate Arabidopsis cDNA was identified and isolated by reverse transcriptase-PCR. The Arabidopsis cDNA was expressed in E. coli and the recombinant protein indeed hydrolyzed a range of NAEs to free fatty acids and ethanolamine. Kinetic parameters for the recombinant protein were consistent with those properties of the rat FAAH, supporting identification of this Arabidopsis cDNA as a FAAH homologue. Two T-DNA insertional mutant lines with disruptions in the Arabidopsis NAE amidohydrolase gene (At5g64440) were identified. The homozygous mutant seedlings were more sensitive than the wild type to exogenously applied NAE 12:0. Transgenic seedlings overexpressing the NAE amidohydrolase enzyme showed noticeably greater tolerance to NAE 12:0 than wild type seedlings. These results together provide evidence in vitro and in vivo for the molecular identification of Arabidopsis NAE amidohydrolase. Moreover, the plants with altered NAE amidohydrolase expression may provide new tools for improved understanding of the role of NAEs in germination and seedling growth.
- N-Acylethanolamine (NAE) profiles change during Arabidopsis thaliana seed germination and seedling growth.
- An understanding of the potential roles as lipid mediators of a family of bioactive metabolites called N-acylethanolamines (NAEs) depends on their accurate identification and quantification. The levels of 18C unsaturated NAEs (e.g. NAE18:2, NAE 18:3, etc.) in wild-type seeds (about 2000 ng/g fw) generally decreased by about 80% during germination and post-germinative growth. In addition, results suggest NAE-degradative fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) expression does not play a major role in normal NAE metabolism as previously thought. Seedlings germinated and grown in the presence of abscisic acid (ABA), an endogenous plant hormone, exhibited growth arrest and secondary dormancy, similar to the treatment of seedlings with exogenous Nlauroylethanolamine (NAE12:0). ABA-mediated growth arrest was associated with higher levels of unsaturated NAEs. Overall, these results are consistent with the concept that NAE metabolism is activated during seed germination and suggest that the reduction in unsaturated NAE levels is under strict temporal control and may be a requirement for normal seed germination and post-germinative growth.
- Conformational Studies of Myosin and Actin with Calibrated Resonance Energy Transfer
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Resonance energy transfer was employed to study the conformational changes of actomyosin during ATP hydrolysis. To calibrate the technique, the parameters for resonance energy transfer were defined. With conformational searching algorithms to predict probe orientation, the distances measured by resonance energy transfer are highly consistent with the atomic models, which verified the accuracy and feasibility of resonance energy transfer for structural studies of proteins and oligonucleotides. To study intramyosin distances, resonance energy transfer probes were attached to skeletal myosin's nucleotide site, subfragment-2, and regulatory light chain to examine nucleotide analog-induced structural transitions. The distances between the three positions were measured in the presence of different nucleotide analogs. No distance change was considered to be statistically significant. The measured distance between the regulatory light chain and nucleotide site was consistent with either the atomic model of skeletal myosin subfragment-1 or an average of the three models claimed for different ATP hydrolysis states, which suggested that the neck region was flexible in solution. To examine the participation of actin in the powerstroke process, resonance energy transfer between different sites on actin and myosin was measured in the presence of nucleotide analogs. The efficiencies of energy transfer between myosin catalytic domain and actin were consistent with the actoS1 docking model. However, the neck region was much closer to the actin filament than predicted by static atomic models. The efficiency of energy transfer between Cys 374 and the regulatory light chain was much greater in the presence of ADP-AlF4, ADP-BeFx, and ADP-vanadate than in the presence of ADP or no nucleotide. These data detect profound differences in the conformations of the weakly and strongly attached crossbridges which appear to result from a conformational selection that occurs during the weak binding of the myosin head to actin. The resonance energy transfer data exclude a number of versions of the swinging lever arm model, and indicate that actin participation is indispensable for conformational changes leading to force generation. The conformational selection during weak binding at the actomyosin interface may precock the myosin head for the ensuing powerstroke.
- FLP-mediated conditional loss of an essential gene to facilitate complementation assays
- Commonly, when it is desirable to replace an essential gene with an allelic series of mutated genes, or genes with altered expression patterns, the complementing constructs are introduced into heterozygous plants, followed by the selection of homozygous null segregants. To overcome this laborious and time-consuming step, the newly developed two-component system utilizes a site-specific recombinase to excise a wild-type copy of the gene of interest from transformed tissues. In the first component (the first vector), a wild-type version of the gene is placed between target sequences recognized by FLP recombinase from the yeast 2 μm plasmid. This construct is transformed into a plant heterozygous for a null mutation at the endogenous locus, and progeny plants carrying the excisable complementing gene and segregating homozygous knockout at the endogenous locus are selected. The second component (the second vector) carries the experimental gene along with the FLP gene. When this construct is introduced, FLP recombinase excises the complementing gene, leaving the experimental gene as the only functional copy. The FLP gene is driven by an egg apparatus specific enhancer (EASE) to ensure excision of the complementing cDNA in the egg cell and zygote following floral-dip transformation. The utility of this system is being tested using various experimental derivatives of the essential sucrose-proton symporter, AtSUC2, which is required for photoassimilate transport.
- Fluorescence labeling and computational analysis of the strut of myosin's 50 kDa cleft.
- In order to understand the structural changes in myosin S1, fluorescence polarization and computational dynamics simulations were used. Dynamics simulations on the S1 motor domain indicated that significant flexibility was present throughout the molecular model. The constrained opening versus closing of the 50 kDa cleft appeared to induce opposite directions of movement in the lever arm. A sequence called the "strut" which traverses the 50 kDa cleft and may play an important role in positioning the actomyosin binding interface during actin binding is thought to be intimately linked to distant structural changes in the myosin's nucleotide cleft and neck regions. To study the dynamics of the strut region, a method of fluorescent labeling of the strut was discovered using the dye CY3. CY3 served as a hydrophobic tag for purification by hydrophobic interaction chromatography which enabled the separation of labeled and unlabeled species of S1 including a fraction labeled specifically at the strut sequence. The high specificity of labeling was verified by proteolytic digestions, gel electrophoresis, and mass spectroscopy. Analysis of the labeled S1 by collisional quenching, fluorescence polarization, and actin-activated ATPase activity were consistent with predictions from structural models of the probe's location. Although the fluorescent intensity of the CY3 was insensitive to actin binding, its fluorescence polarization was notably affected. Intriguingly, the mobility of the probe increases upon S1 binding to actin suggesting that the CY3 becomes displaced from interactions with the surface of S1 and is consistent with a structural change in the strut due to cleft motions. Labeling the strut reduced the affinity of S1 for actin but did not prevent actin-activated ATPase activity which makes it a potentially useful probe of the actomyosin interface. The different conformations of myosin S1 indicated that the strut is not as flexible as several other key regions of myosin as determined by the application of force constraints to elastic portions of the myosin structure.
- Function of the ENOD8 gene in nodules of Medicago truncatula.
- To elaborate on the function(s) of the ENOD8 gene in the nodules of M. truncatula, several different experimental approaches were used. A census of the ENOD8 genes was first completed indicating that only ENOD8.1 (nt10554-12564 of GenBank AF463407) is highly expressed in nodule tissues. A maltose binding protein-ENOD8 fusion protein was made with an E. coli recombinant system. A variety of biochemical assays were undertaken with the MBP-ENOD8 recombinant protein expressed in E. coli, which did not yield the esterase activity observed for ENOD8 protein nodule fractions purified from M. sativa, tested on general esterase substrates, α-naphthyl acetate, and p-nitrophenylacetate. Attempts were also made to express ENOD8 in a Pichia pastoris system; no ENOD8 protein could be detected from Pichia pastoris strains which were transformed with the ENOD8 expression cassette. Additionally, it was shown that the ENOD8 protein can be recombinantly synthesized by Nicotiana benthamiana in a soluble form, which could be tested for activity toward esterase substrates, bearing resemblance to nodule compounds, such as the Nod factor. Transcription localization studies using an ENOD8 promoter gusA fusion indicated that ENOD8 is expressed in the bacteroid-invaded zone of the nodule. The ENOD8 protein was also detected in that same zone by immunolocalization. Confocal immunomicroscopy with an affinity-purified anti-ENOD8 oligopeptide antibody showed that the ENOD8 protein localizes at the interface between the plant and the bacteroid-differentiated rhizobia, in the symbiosome membrane or symbiosome space. This suggests a possible link between ENOD8 protein and bacteroid differentiation, nitrogen fixation, or plant defense. These possible functions for ENOD8 could be tested with an ENOD8-RNAi transgenic line devoid of detectable ENOD8 proteins.
- Gene Expression Profiling of the nip Mutant in Medicago truncatula
- The study of root nodule symbiosis between nitrogen-fixing bacteria and leguminous plant species is important because of the ability to supplement fixed nitrogen fertilizers and increase plant growth in poor soils. Our group has isolated a mutant called nip in the model legume Medicago truncatula that is defective in nodule symbiosis. The nip mutant (numerous infections with polyphenolics) becomes infected by Sinorhizobium meliloti but then accumulates polyphenolic defense compounds in the nodule and fails to progress to a stage where nitrogen fixation can occur. Analysis of the transcriptome of nip roots prior to inoculation with rhizobia was undertaken using Affymetric Medicago Genome Array microarrays. The total RNA of 5-day old uninoculated seedlings was analyzed in triplicate to screen for the NIP gene based on downregulated transcript levels in the mutant as compared to wild type. Further microarray data was generated from 10 days post inoculation (dpi) nip and wild type plants. Analysis of the most highly downregulated transcripts revealed that the NIP gene was not identifiable based on transcript level. Putative gene function was assigned to transcripts with altered expression patterns in order to characterize the nip mutation phenotypically as inferred from the transcriptome. Functional analysis revealed a large number of chaperone proteins were highly expressed in the nip mutant, indicating high stress in the mutant prior to infection by rhizobia. Additionally, a database containing the information regarding the nip expression profile at both 0 days post inoculation (dpi) and 10 dpi were created for screening of candidate genes as predicted from sequence in the genomic region containing NIP.
- Genetic Modification of Fatty Acid Profiles in Cotton
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The industrial uses of cottonseed oil are limited by its fatty acid composition. Genetic modification of cotton lipid profiles using seed-specific promoters could allow cotton growers to produce valuable new oils in the seed without adverse effects on fiber quality and yield, therefore making this crop more commercially profitable. Transgenic cotton callus harboring a diverged fatty acid desaturase gene (FADX) from Momordica charantia was characterized for production of alpha-eleostearic acid (conjugated double bonds: 18:3 D9 cis, 11 trans, 13 trans), not normally found in cotton. Gas chromatography (GC) in conjunction with mass spectrometry (MS) confirmed production of alpha-eleostearic acid in the transgenic cotton tissues. A second series of transformation experiments introduced the cotton fatty acid thioesterase B (FATB) cDNA, fused to the seed-specific oleosin promoter into cotton to promote the over-expression of FATB, to generate cotton with increased palmitate in the cottonseed. PCR amplification, as well as fatty acid analysis by gas chromatography, confirmed introduction of the FATB cDNA in transgenic tissues. Collectively, these results demonstrate the feasibility of manipulating the fatty acid composition in cotton via transgenic approaches and form the basis for continued efforts to create novel oils in cottonseed.
- Hindrance of the Myosin Power Stroke Posed by the Proximity to the Troponin Complex Identified Using a Novel LRET Fluorescent Nanocircuit
- A novel luminescence resonance energy transfer (LRET) nanocircuit assay involving a donor and two acceptors in tandem was developed to study the dynamic interaction of skeletal muscle contraction proteins. The donor transmits energy relayed to the acceptors distinguishing myosin subfragment-1 (S1) lever arm orientations. The last acceptor allows the detection of S1's bound near or in between troponin complexes on the thin filament. Additionally, calcium related changes between troponin T and myosin were detected. Based on this data, the troponin complex situated every 7 actin monomers, hinders adjacently bound myosins to complete their power stroke; whereas myosins bound in between troponin complexes undergo complete power strokes.
- Identification and quantification of lipid metabolites in cotton fibers: Reconciliation with metabolic pathway predictions from DNA databases.
- The lipid composition of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum, L) fibers was determined. Fatty acid profiles revealed that linolenate and palmitate were the most abundant fatty acids present in fiber cells. Phosphatidylcholine was the predominant lipid class in fiber cells, while phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol and digalactosyldiacylglycerol were also prevalent. An unusually high amount of phosphatidic acid was observed in frozen cotton fibers. Phospholipase D activity assays revealed that this enzyme readily hydrolyzed radioactive phosphatidylcholine into phosphatidic acid. A profile of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) for genes involved in lipid metabolism in cotton fibers was also obtained. This EST profile along with our lipid metabolite data was used to predict lipid metabolic pathways in cotton fiber cells.
- Identifying genetic interactions of the spindle checkpoint in Caenorhabditis elegans.
- Faithful segregation of chromosomes is ensured by the spindle checkpoint. If a kinetochore does not correctly attach to a microtubule the spindle checkpoint stops cell cycle progression until all chromosomes are attached to microtubules or tension is experienced while pulling the chromosomes. The C. elegans gene, san-1, is required for spindle checkpoint function and anoxia survival. To further understand the role of san-1 in the spindle checkpoint, an RNAi screen was conducted to identify genetic interactions with san-1. The kinetochore gene hcp-1 identified in this screen, was known to have a genetic interaction with hcp-2. Interestingly, san-1(ok1580);hcp-2(ok1757) had embryonic and larval lethal phenotypes, but the phenotypes observed are less severe compared to the phenotypes of san-1(ok1580);hcp-1(RNAi) animals. Both san-1(ok1580);hcp-1(RNAi) and san-1(ok1580);hcp-2(RNAi) produce eggs that may hatch; but san-1(ok1580):hcp-1(RNAi) larvae do not survive to adulthood due to defects caused by aberrant chromosome segregations during development. Y54G9A.6 encodes the C. elegans homolog of bub-3, and has spindle checkpoint function. In C.elegans, bub-3 has genetic interactions with san-1 and mdf-2. An RNAi screen for genetic interactions with bub-3 identified that F31F6.3 may potentially have a genetic interaction with bub-3. This work provided genetic evidence that hcp-1, hcp-2 and F31F6.2 interact with spindle checkpoint genes.
- Luminescence Resonance Energy Transfer-Based Modeling of Troponin in the Presence of Myosin and Troponin/Tropomyosin Defining Myosin Binding Target Zones in the Reconstituted Thin Filament
- Mechanistic details on the regulation of striated muscle contraction still need to be determined, particularly the specific structural locations of the elements comprising the thick and thin filaments. Of special interest is the location of the regulatory component, troponin, on the actin filament and how its presence influences the behavior of myosin binding to the thin filament. In the present study: (1) Luminescence resonance energy transfer was used to monitor potential conformational changes in the reconstituted thin filament between the C-terminal region of troponin T and myosin subfragment 1; (2) Location of troponin in previously derived atomic models of the acto-myosin complex was mapped to visualize specific contacts; and (3) Shortened tropomyosin was engineered and protein binding and ATPase assays were performed to study the effect of myosin binding close to the troponin complex. Analysis of the results suggest the following: (1) Irrespective of calcium levels, the C-terminal region of troponin T is located close to myosin loop 3 and a few actin helices that may perturb strong acto-myosin interactions responsible for force production. (2) Atomic models indicate myosin subfragment 1 cannot attain the post- powerstroke state due to the full motion of the lever arm being sterically hindered by troponin. (3) A shortened tropomyosin with five actin binding modules (instead of the native seven in muscle cells) binds actin contiguously in a head-to-tail manner and serves to increase the periodicity of troponin complexes on the actin filament. Such behavior eliminates the structure of the actin filament being responsible for the binding location of tropomyosin. (4) Differential behavior of myosin subfragment 1 i.e. (a) binding adjacent to troponin and (b) binding further away from troponin, is apparent as tropomyosin and troponin appear to govern the regions or "target zones" where myosin can bind productively along the actin filament. Physiologically, myosins able to bind close to troponin, but not participate in force production may function as mechanical sensors to attenuate or dampen the force generated from the so-called "target zones". Therefore, this could be a pseudo-regulatory mechanism that functions to protect the contractile apparatus from damage.
- Molecular and biochemical characterization of phospholipase D in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L) seedlings.
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N-Acylethanolamines (NAEs) are enriched in seed-derived tissues and are believed to be formed from the membrane phospholipid, N-acylphosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE) via the action of phospholipase D (PLD). In an effort to identify a functional NAPE-PLD in cotton seeds and seedlings, we have screened a cotton seedling cDNA (cotyledon mRNA from 48 h dark grown seedlings) library with a 1.2 kb tobacco partial cDNA fragment encoding the middle third of a putative PLDβ/γ (genbank accession, AF195614) isoform. Six plaques were isolated from the Uni-ZAP lambda library, excised as pBluescript SK(-) phagemids and subjected to nucleotide sequence analysis. Alignment of derived sequences with Arabidopsis PLD family members indicated that the cDNAs represent six different PLD gene products -three putative PLD β isoforms and three putative PLD δ isoforms. The PLD β isoforms, designated Ghpldβ1a, GHpldβ1b and a truncated Ghpldβ1b isoform. Both the full-length PLD β proteins contained characteristic HKxxxxD catalytic domains, a PC-binding domain, a PIP2-binding domain and a C2 domain. In addition both cotton PLD β isoforms had a N-terminal "SPQY" rich domain which appeared to be unique to these PLDs. The three PLD δ isoforms, designated Ghpldδ1a, Ghpldδ1b and Ghpldδ1b-2 encode full-length PLDδ proteins, and like the above PLDs, contained the characteristic catalytic and regulatory domains. The expression of Ghpldδ1b showed hydrolytic and transphosphatidylation activity toward radiolabelled phosphatidylcholine (PC) but it appears Ghpldδ1b does not utilize NAPE as a substrate to produce NAEs nor does it seem to be suppressed by NAEs.
- Noncovalent crosslinking of SH1 and SH2 to detect dynamic flexibility of the SH1 helix
- In this experiment, fluorescent N- (1-pyrenyl) iodoacetamide modified the two reactive thiols, SH1 (Cys 707) and SH2 (Cys 697) on myosin to detect SH1-SH2 a -helix melting. The excimer forming property of pyrene is well suited to monitor the dynamics of the SH1 and SH2 helix melting, since the excimer should only form during the melted state. Decreased anisotropy of the excimer relative to the monomeric pyrene fluorescence is consistent with the disordering of the melted SH1-SH2 region in the atomic model. Furthermore, nucleotide analogs induced changes in the anisotropy of the excimer, suggesting that the nucleotide site modulates the flexibility of SH1-SH2 region.
- NSAID effect on prostanoids in fishes: Prostaglandin E2 levels in bluntnose minnows (Pimephales notatus) exposed to ibuprofen.
- Prostanoids are oxygenated derivatives of arachidonic acid with a wide range of physiological effects in vertebrates including modulation of inflammation and innate immune responses. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) act through inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) conversion of arachidonic acid to prostanoids. In order to better understand the potential of environmental NSAIDS for interruption of normal levels COX products in fishes, we developed an LC/MS/MS-based approach for tissue analysis of 7 prostanoids. Initial studies examining muscle, gut and gill demonstrated that prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) was the most abundant of the measured prostanoids in all tissues and that gill tissue had the highest and most consistent concentrations of PGE2. After short-term 48-h laboratory exposures to concentrations of 5, 25, 50 and 100 ppb ibuprofen, 50.0ppb and 100.0 ppb exposure concentrations resulted in significant reduction of gill tissue PGE2 concentration by approximately 30% and 80% respectively. The lower exposures did not result in significant reductions when compared to unexposed controls. Measured tissue concentrations of ibuprofen indicated that this NSAID had little potential for bioaccumulation (BCF 1.3) and the IC50 of ibuprofen for inhibition of PGE2 production in gill tissue was calculated to be 0.4 µM. Short-term laboratory exposure to ibuprofen did not result in significant alteration of concentrations of PGE2 at environmentally relevant concentrations.
- Palmitoyl-acyl carrier protein thioesterase in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.): biochemical and molecular characterization of a major mechanism for the regulation of palmitic acid content.
- The relatively high level of palmitic acid (22 mol%) in cottonseeds may be due in part to the activity of a palmitoyl-acyl carrier protein (ACP) thioesterase (PATE). In embryo extracts, PATE activity was highest at the maximum rate of reserve accumulation (oil and protein). The cotton FatB mRNA transcript abundance also peaked during this developmental stage, paralleling the profiles of PATE enzyme activity and seed oil accumulation. A cotton FatB cDNA clone was isolated by screening a cDNA library with a heterologous Arabidopsis FatB probe (Pirtle et al., 1999, Plant and Cell Physiology 40: 155-163). The predicted amino acid sequence of the cotton PATE preprotein had 63% identity to the Arabidopsis FatB thioesterase sequence, suggesting that the cotton cDNA clone probably encoded a FatB-type thioesterase. When acyl-CoA synthetase-minus E. coli mutants expressed the cotton cDNA, an increase in 16:0 free fatty acid content was measured in the culture medium. In addition, acyl-ACP thioesterase activity assays in E. coli lysates revealed that there was a preference for palmitoyl-ACP over oleoyl-ACP in vitro, indicating that the cotton putative FatB cDNA encoded a functional thioesterase with a preference for saturated acyl-ACPs over unsaturated acyl-ACPs (FatA). Overexpression of the FatB cDNA in transgenic cotton resulted in elevated levels of palmitic acid in transgenic somatic embryos compared to control embryos. Expression of the anti-sense FatB cDNA in transgenic cotton plants produced some plants with a dwarf phenotype. These plants had significantly smaller mature leaves, all with smaller cells, suggesting that these plants may have less palmitic acid available for incorporation into extraplastidial membrane lipids during cell expansion. Thus manipulation of FatB expression in cotton directly influenced palmitic acid levels. Collectively, data presented in this dissertation support the hypothesis that there indeed is a palmitoyl-ACP thioesterase in cotton, encoded by the isolated FatB cDNA, which plays a major role in regulating palmitic acid content of extraplastidial complex glycerolipids. This work forms the basis for future studies of the influence of palmitic acid content on plant membrane function and provides a key target for the metabolic engineering of palmitic acid levels in storage oils of developing cottonseeds.
- Plastidial carbonic anhydrase in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.): characterization, expression, and role in lipid biosynthesis
- Recently, plastidial carbonic anhydrase (CA, EC 18.104.22.168) cDNA clones encoding functional CA enzymes were isolated from a nonphotosynthetic cotton tissue. The role of CA in photosynthetic tissues have been well characterized, however there is almost no information for the role of CA in nonphotosynthetic tissues. A survey of relative CA transcript abundance and enzyme activity in different cotton organs revealed that there was substantial CA expression in cotyledons of seedlings and embryos, both nonphotosynthetic tissues. To gain insight into the role(s) of CA, I examined CA expression in cotyledons of seedlings during post-germinative growth at different environmental conditions. CA expression in cotyledons of seedlings increased from 18 h to 72 h after germination in the dark. Seedlings exposed to light had about a 2-fold increase in CA activities when compared with seedlings kept in the dark, whereas relative CA transcript levels were essentially the same. Manipulation of external CO2 environments [zero, ambient (350 ppm), or high (1000 ppm)] modulated coordinately the relative transcript abundance of CA (and rbcS) in cotyledons, but did not affect enzyme activities. On the other hand, regardless of the external CO2 conditions seedlings exposed to light exhibited increase CA activity, concomitant with Rubisco activity and increased chlorophyll content. Our data revealed that steady-state levels of CA and rbcS transcripts are regulated at the transcriptional level in response to external CO2 conditions, while CA and Rubisco activities are modulated at the post-transcriptional level by light. Thus CA expression in cotyledons during post-germinative growth may be to “prime” cotyledons for the transition at the subcellular level for the transition from plastids to chloroplasts, where it provides CO2 for Rubisco during photosynthesis. Furthermore, CA expression increased during embryo maturation similar to oil accumulation. Specific sulfonamide inhibitors of CA activity significantly reduced the rate of [14C]-acetate incorporation into total lipids in cotton embryos and tobacco leaves and cell suspensions in vivo and in vitro. Similar results were obtained in chloroplasts isolated from leaves of transgenic CA antisense-suppressed tobacco plants (5% of wildtype activity). Collectively, these results support the notion that CA plays several physiological roles in nonphotosynthetic tissues.
- The structure and function of troponin T upon metal ion binding and the detection of nucleic acid sequence variations.
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Numerous troponin T (TnT) isoforms are generated by alternative RNA splicing primarily in its NH2-terminal hypervariable region, but the functions of these isoforms are not completely understood. In this dissertation work, calcium and terbium binding behavior of several forms of TnT were investigated by spectroscopic and radioactive techniques. Chicken breast muscle TnT binds calcium and terbium through its NH2-terminal Tx motif (HEEAH)n with high affinity (10-6 mM) and fast on-rate (106 - 107 M-1 s-1). Chicken leg muscle TnT and a human cardiac TnT NH2-terminal fragment, which both lack the Tx motif on their NH2-terminal regions, do not have affinities for calcium in the physiological range. Computational predictions on TnT N47 suggest that the TnT NH2-terminal region might fold into an elongated structure with at least one high affinity metal ion binding pocket comprised primarily of the Tx motif sequence and several lower affinity binding sites. In addition, calcium binding to TnT N47 might alter its conformation and flexibility. Luminescence resonance energy transfer measurements and other experimental observations are consistent with the computational predictions suggesting the computational simulated atomic model is reasonable. TnT mutations are responsible for 15% of familiar hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC) cases with a phenotype of relatively mild hypertrophy, but a high incidence of sudden death. Detection of those genetic mutations would facilitate the clinical diagnosis and initiation of treatment at an early stage. This dissertation also investigated a novel hybridization proximity assay (HYPA) combining molecular beacon and luminescence resonance energy transfer (LRET) technologies. Experimental results suggest that a shared stem probe design produces a more consistent response upon hybridization, whereas the internally labeled probe was less consistent, but can yield the highest responses. Using the optimally designed molecular probes, the HYPA provides a detection of alterations in nucleic acid structure of as little as a single nucleotide. This novel HYPA is expected to expand its applications in the analysis and screening of genetic diseases.
- Studies on actomyosin crossbridge flexibility using a new single molecule assay.
- Several key flexure sites exist in the muscle crossbridge including the actomyosin binding site which play important roles in the actomyosin crossbridge cycle. To distinguish between these sources of flexibility, a new single molecule assay was developed to observe the swiveling of rod about a single myosin. Myosins attached through a single crossbridge displayed mostly similar torsional characteristics compared to myosins attached through two crossbridges, which indicates that most of the torsional flexibility resides in the myosin subfragment-2, and thus the hinge between subfragment-2 and light meromyosin should contribute the most to this flexibility. The comparison of torsional characteristics in the absence and presence of ADP demonstrated a small but significant increase in twist rates for the double-headed myosins but no increase for single-headed myosins, which indicates that the ADP-induced increase in flexibility arises due to changes in the myosin head and verifies that most flexibility resides in myosin subfragment-2.
- Tobacco Phospholipase D β1: Molecular Cloning and Biochemical Characterization
- Transgenic tobacco plants were developed containing a partial PLD clone in antisense orientation. The PLD isoform targeted by the insertion was identified. A PLD clone was isolated from a cDNA library using the partial PLD as a probe: Nt10B1 shares 92% identity with PLDβ1 from tomato but lacks the C2 domain. PCR analysis confirmed insertion of the antisense fragment into the plants: three introns distinguished the endogenous gene from the transgene. PLD activity was assayed in leaf homogenates in PLDβ/g conditions. When phosphatidylcholine was utilized as a substrate, no significant difference in transphosphatidylation activity was observed. However, there was a reduction in NAPE hydrolysis in extracts of two transgenic plants. In one of these, a reduction in elicitor- induced PAL expression was also observed.
- Use of luminescence energy transfer probes to detect genetic variants.
- The purpose of this research was to study the hybridization of molecular beacons under different conditions and designs. Data collected suggest that the inconsistency found in the emission intensity of several of these probes may be caused by 3 important factors: length of the probe, nucleotide sequence and, the formation of an alternative complex structure such as a dimer. Of all three factors, dimer formation is the most troublesome, since it reduces the emission of the reporter molecules. A new probe design was used to reduce dimer formation. The emission signal of the improved probe was several folds stronger than those probes with the early design. In this research, dimer formation is detected, furthermore a new probe with a different design was tested. If dimer formation can be reduced molecular beacons can be integrated into more complex hybridization systems providing an important tool in research and diagnosis of genetic disorders.