Professor Emeritus, Biology
Expression of the tna operon of Escherichia coli and of Proteus vulgaris is induced by L-tryptophan. In E. coli, tryptophan action is dependent on the presence of several critical residues (underlined) in the newly synthesized TnaC leader peptide, WFNIDXXL/IXXXXP. These residues are conserved in TnaC of P. vulgaris and of other bacterial species. TnaC of P. vulgaris has one additional feature, distinguishing it from TnaC of E. coli; it contains two C-terminal lysine residues following the conserved proline residue. In the present study, we investigated L-tryptophan induction of the P. vulgaris tna operon, transferred on a plasmid into E. coli. Induction was shown to be L-tryptophan dependent; however, the range of induction was less than that observed for the E. coli tna operon. We compared the genetic organization of both operons and predicted similar folding patterns for their respective leader mRNA segments. However, additional analyses revealed that L-tryptophan action in the P. vulgaris tna operon involves inhibition of TnaC elongation, following addition of proline, rather than inhibition of leader peptide termination. Our findings also establish that the conserved residues in TnaC of P. vulgaris are essential for L-tryptophan induction, and for inhibition of peptide elongation. TnaC synthesis is thus an excellent model system for studies of regulation of both peptide termination and peptide elongation, and for studies of ribosome recognition of the features of a nascent peptide.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.01002-09
View details for Web of Science ID 000271195300025
View details for PubMedID 19767424
Distinct features of the ribosomal peptide exit tunnel are known to be essential for recognition of specific amino acids of a nascent peptidyl-tRNA. Thus, a tryptophan residue at position 12 of the peptidyl-tRNA TnaC-tRNA(Pro) leads to the creation of a free tryptophan binding site within the ribosome at which bound tryptophan inhibits normal ribosome functions. The ribosomal processes that are inhibited are hydrolysis of TnaC-tRNA(Pro) by release factor 2 and peptidyl transfer of TnaC of TnaC-tRNA(Pro) to puromycin. These events are normally performed in the ribosomal peptidyl transferase center. In the present study, changes of 23S rRNA nucleotides in the 2585 region of the peptidyl transferase center, G2583A and U2584C, were observed to reduce maximum induction of tna operon expression by tryptophan in vivo without affecting the concentration of tryptophan necessary to obtain 50% induction. The growth rate of strains with ribosomes with either of these changes was not altered appreciably. In vitro analyses with mutant ribosomes with these changes showed that tryptophan was not as efficient in protecting TnaC-tRNA(Pro) from puromycin action as wild-type ribosomes. However, added tryptophan did prevent sparsomycin action as it normally does with wild-type ribosomes. These findings suggest that these two mutational changes act by reducing the ability of ribosome-bound tryptophan to inhibit peptidyl transferase activity rather than by reducing the ability of the ribosome to bind tryptophan. Thus, the present study identifies specific nucleotides within the ribosomal peptidyl transferase center that appear to be essential for effective tryptophan induction of tna operon expression.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.00096-09
View details for Web of Science ID 000266041300003
View details for PubMedID 19329641
In Escherichia coli, interactions between the nascent TnaC-tRNA(Pro) peptidyl-tRNA and the translating ribosome create a tryptophan binding site in the ribosome where bound tryptophan inhibits TnaC-tRNA(Pro) cleavage. This inhibition delays ribosome release, thereby inhibiting Rho factor binding and action, resulting in increased tna operon transcription. Replacing Trp12 of TnaC with any other amino acid residue was previously shown to prevent tryptophan binding and induction of tna operon expression. Genome-wide comparisons of TnaC amino acid sequences identify Asp16 and Pro24, as well as Trp12, as highly conserved TnaC residues. Replacing these residues with other residues was previously shown to influence tryptophan induction of tna operon expression. In this study, in vitro analyses were performed to examine the potential roles of Asp16 and Pro24 in tna operon induction. Replacing Asp16 or Pro24 of TnaC of E. coli with other amino acids established that these residues are essential for free tryptophan binding and inhibition of TnaC-tRNA(Pro) cleavage at the peptidyl transferase center. Asp16 and Pro24 are in fact located in spatial positions corresponding to critical residues of AAP, another ribosome regulatory peptide. Sparsomycin-methylation protection studies further suggested that segments of 23S RNA were arranged differently in ribosomes bearing TnaCs with either the Asp16Ala or the Pro24Ala change. Thus, features of the amino acid sequence of TnaC of the nascent TnaC-tRNA(Pro) peptidyl-tRNA, in addition to the presence of Trp12, are necessary for the nascent peptide to create a tryptophan binding/inhibition site in the translating ribosome.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.00290-08
View details for Web of Science ID 000257599600002
View details for PubMedID 18424524
The Bacillus subtilis anti-TRAP protein regulates the ability of the tryptophan-activated TRAP protein to bind to trp operon leader RNA and promote transcription termination. AT synthesis is regulated both transcriptionally and translationally by uncharged tRNA(Trp). In this study, we examined the roles of AT synthesis and tRNA(Trp) charging in mediating physiological responses to tryptophan starvation. Adding excess phenylalanine to wild-type cultures reduced the charged tRNA(Trp) level from 80% to 40%; the charged level decreased further, to 25%, in an AT-deficient mutant. Adding tryptophan with phenylalanine increased the charged tRNA(Trp) level, implying that phenylalanine, when added alone, reduces the availability of tryptophan for tRNA(Trp) charging. Changes in the charged tRNA(Trp) level observed during growth with added phenylalanine were associated with increased transcription of the genes of tryptophan metabolism. Nutritional shift experiments, from a medium containing tryptophan to a medium with phenylalanine and tyrosine, showed that wild-type cultures gradually reduced their charged tRNA(Trp) level. When this shift was performed with an AT-deficient mutant, the charged tRNA(Trp) level decreased even further. Growth rates for wild-type and mutant strains deficient in AT or TRAP or that overproduce AT were compared in various media. A lack of TRAP or overproduction of AT resulted in phenylalanine being required for growth. These findings reveal the importance of AT in maintaining a balance between the synthesis of tryptophan versus the synthesis of phenylalanine, with the level of charged tRNA(Trp) acting as the crucial signal regulating AT production.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.01820-07
View details for Web of Science ID 000253825500011
View details for PubMedID 18178730
Transcription of the Neurospora crassa gene con-10 is induced during conidiation and following exposure of vegetative mycelia to light, but light activation is transient due to photoadaptation. We describe mutational analyses of photoadaptation using a N. crassa strain bearing a translational fusion of con-10, including its regulatory region, to a selectable bacterial gene conferring hygromycin resistance (hph). Growth of this strain was sensitive to hygromycin, upon continuous culture in the light. Five mutants were isolated that were resistant to hygromycin when cultured under constant light. Three mutant strains displayed elevated, sustained accumulation of con-10::hph mRNA during continued light exposure, suggesting that they bear mutations that reduce or eliminate the presumed light-dependent repression mechanism that blocks con-10 transcription upon prolonged illumination. These mutations altered photoadaptation for only a specific group of genes (con-10 and con-6), suggesting that regulation of photoadaptation is relatively gene specific. The mutations increased light-dependent mRNA accumulation for genes al-1, al-2, and al-3, each required for carotenoid biosynthesis, resulting in a threefold increase in carotenoid accumulation following continuous light exposure. Identification of the altered gene or genes in these mutants may reveal novel proteins that participate in light regulation of gene transcription in fungi.
View details for DOI 10.1534/genetics.107.079582
View details for Web of Science ID 000252742200014
View details for PubMedID 18202366
We are now aware that RNA-based regulatory mechanisms are commonly used to control gene expression in many organisms. These mechanisms offer the opportunity to exploit relatively short, unique RNA sequences, in altering transcription, translation, and/or mRNA stability, in response to the presence of a small or large signal molecule. The ability of an RNA segment to fold and form alternative hairpin secondary structures -- each dedicated to a different regulatory function -- permits selection of specific sequences that can affect transcription and/or translation. In the present paper I will focus on our current understanding of the RNA-based regulatory mechanisms used by Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis in controlling expression of the tryptophan biosynthetic operon. The regulatory mechanisms they use for this purpose differ, suggesting that these organisms, or their ancestors, adopted different strategies during their evolution. I will also describe the RNA-based mechanism used by E. coli in regulating expression of its operon responsible for tryptophan degradation, the tryptophanase operon.
View details for DOI 10.1261/rna.620507
View details for Web of Science ID 000248093500001
View details for PubMedID 17601995
Upon tryptophan induction of tna operon expression in Escherichia coli, the leader peptidyl-tRNA, TnaC-tRNA(2)(Pro), resists cleavage, resulting in ribosome stalling at the tnaC stop codon. This stalled ribosome blocks Rho factor binding and action, preventing transcription termination in the tna operon's leader region. Plasmid-mediated overexpression of tnaC was previously shown to inhibit cell growth by reducing uncharged tRNA(2)(Pro) availability. Which factors relieve ribosome stalling, facilitate TnaC-tRNA(2)(Pro) cleavage, and relieve growth inhibition were addressed in the current study. In strains containing the chromosomal tna operon and lacking a tnaC plasmid, the overproduction of ribosome recycling factor (RRF) and release factor 3 (RF3) reduced tna operon expression. Their overproduction in vivo also increased the rate of cleavage of TnaC-tRNA(2)(Pro), relieving the growth inhibition associated with plasmid-mediated tnaC overexpression. The overproduction of elongation factor G or initiation factor 3 did not have comparable effects, and tmRNA was incapable of attacking TnaC-tRNA(2)(Pro) in stalled ribosome complexes. The stability of TnaC-tRNA(2)(Pro) was increased appreciably in strains deficient in RRF and RF3 or deficient in peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase. These findings reveal the existence of a natural mechanism whereby an amino acid, tryptophan, binds to ribosomes that have just completed the synthesis of TnaC-tRNA(2)(Pro). Bound tryptophan inhibits RF2-mediated cleavage of TnaC-tRNA(2)(Pro), resulting in the stalling of the ribosome translating tnaC mRNA. This stalling results in increased transcription of the structural genes of the tna operon. RRF and RF3 then bind to this stalled ribosome complex and slowly release TnaC-tRNA(2)(Pro). This release allows ribosome recycling and permits the cleavage of TnaC-tRNA(2)(Pro) by peptidyl-tRNA hydrolase.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.01868-06
View details for Web of Science ID 000246029300023
View details for PubMedID 17293419
Features of the amino acid sequence of the TnaC nascent peptide are recognized by the translating ribosome. Recognition leads to tryptophan binding within the translating ribosome, inhibiting the termination of tnaC translation and preventing Rho-dependent transcription termination in the tna operon leader region. It was previously shown that inserting an adenine residue at position 751 or introducing the U2609C change in 23S rRNA or introducing the K90W replacement in ribosomal protein L22 prevented tryptophan induction of tna operon expression. It was also observed that an adenine at position 752 of 23S rRNA was required for induction. In the current study, the explanation for the lack of induction by these altered ribosomes was investigated. Using isolated TnaC-ribosome complexes, it was shown that although tryptophan inhibits puromycin cleavage of TnaC-tRNA(Pro) with wild-type ribosome complexes, it does not inhibit cleavage with the four mutant ribosome complexes examined. Similarly, tryptophan prevents sparsomycin inhibition of TnaC-tRNA(Pro) cleavage with wild-type ribosome complexes but not with these mutant ribosome complexes. Additionally, a nucleotide located close to the peptidyl transferase center, A2572, which was protected from methylation by tryptophan with wild-type ribosome complexes, was not protected with mutant ribosome complexes. These findings identify specific ribosomal residues located in the ribosome exit tunnel that recognize features of the TnaC peptide. This recognition creates a free tryptophan-binding site in the peptidyl transferase center, where bound tryptophan inhibits peptidyl transferase activity.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.01869-06
View details for Web of Science ID 000246029300022
View details for PubMedID 17293420
In 1961, Crick, Barnett, Brenner, and Watts-Tobin (Crick et al., 1961) designed an elegant experimental strategy to determine the nature of the genetic code. Remarkably, they reached the correct conclusion despite the absence of technology to analyze and compare DNA and protein sequences.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2007.02.029
View details for Web of Science ID 000245073400002
View details for PubMedID 17350564
Studies in vitro have established that free tryptophan induces tna operon expression by binding to the ribosome that has just completed synthesis of TnaC-tRNA(Pro), the peptidyl-tRNA precursor of the leader peptide of this operon. Tryptophan acts by inhibiting Release Factor 2-mediated cleavage of this peptidyl-tRNA at the tnaC stop codon. Here we analyze the ribosomal location of free tryptophan, the changes it produces in the ribosome, and the role of the nascent TnaC-tRNA(Pro) peptide in facilitating tryptophan binding and induction. The positional changes of 23S rRNA nucleotides that occur during induction were detected by using methylation protection and binding/competition assays. The ribosome-TnaC-tRNA(Pro) complexes analyzed were formed in vitro; they contained either wild-type TnaC-tRNA(Pro) or its nonfunctional substitute, TnaC(W12R)-tRNA(Pro). Upon comparing these two peptidyl-tRNA-ribosome complexes, free tryptophan was found to block methylation of nucleotide A2572 of wild-type ribosome-TnaC-tRNA(Pro) complexes but not of ribosome-TnaC(W12R)-tRNA(Pro) complexes. Nucleotide A2572 is in the ribosomal peptidyl transferase center. Tryptophanol, a noninducing competitor of tryptophan, was ineffective in blocking A2572 methylation; however, it did reverse the protective effect of tryptophan. Free tryptophan inhibited puromycin cleavage of TnaC-tRNA(Pro); it also inhibited binding of the antibiotic sparsomycin. These effects were not observed with TnaC(W12R)-tRNA(Pro) mutant complexes. These findings establish that Trp-12 of TnaC-tRNA(Pro) is required for introducing specific changes in the peptidyl transferase center of the ribosome that activate free tryptophan binding, resulting in peptidyl transferase inhibition. Free tryptophan appears to act at or near the binding sites of several antibiotics in the peptidyl transferase center.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.0600082103
View details for Web of Science ID 000236225300020
View details for PubMedID 16505360
Transcription of the tryptophanase (tna) operon of Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination. Induction results from ribosome stalling after translation of tnaC, the coding region for a 24-residue leader peptide. The last sense codon of tnaC, proline codon 24 (CCU), is translated by tRNA(2)(Pro). We analyzed the consequences of overexpression of tnaC from a multicopy plasmid and observed that under inducing conditions more than 60% of the tRNA(2)(Pro) in the cell was sequestered in ribosomes as TnaC-tRNA(2)(Pro). The half-life of this TnaC-tRNA(2)(Pro) was shown to be 10 to 15 min under these conditions. Plasmid-mediated overexpression of tnaC, under inducing conditions, reduced cell growth rate appreciably. Increasing the tRNA(2)(Pro) level relieved this growth inhibition, suggesting that depletion of this tRNA was primarily responsible for the growth rate reduction. Growth inhibition was not relieved by overexpression of tRNA(1)(Pro), a tRNA(Pro) that translates CCG, but not CCU. Replacing the Pro24CCU codon of tnaC by Pro24CCG, a Pro codon translated by tRNA(1)(Pro), also led to growth rate reduction, and this reduction was relieved by overexpression of tRNA(1)(Pro). These findings establish that the growth inhibition caused by tnaC overexpression during induction by tryptophan is primarily a consequence of tRNA(Pro) depletion, resulting from TnaC-tRNA(Pro) retention within stalled, translating ribosomes.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.188.5.1892-1898.2006
View details for Web of Science ID 000235819200023
View details for PubMedID 16484200
Certain nascent peptide sequences, when within the ribosomal exit tunnel, can inhibit translation termination and/or peptide elongation. The 24 residue leader peptidyl-tRNA of the tna operon of E. coli, TnaC-tRNA(Pro), in the presence of excess tryptophan, resists cleavage at the tnaC stop codon. TnaC residue Trp12 is crucial for this inhibition. The approximate location of Trp12 in the exit tunnel was determined by crosslinking Lys11 of TnaC-tRNA(Pro) to nucleotide A750 of 23S rRNA. Methylation of nucleotide A788 of 23S rRNA was reduced by the presence of Trp12 in TnaC-tRNA(Pro), implying A788 displacement. Inserting an adenylate at position 751, or introducing the change U2609C in 23S rRNA or the change K90H or K90W in ribosomal protein L22, virtually eliminated tryptophan induction. These modified and mutated regions are mostly located near the putative site occupied by Trp12 of TnaC-tRNA(Pro). These findings identify features of the ribosomal exit tunnel essential for tna operon induction.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.molcel.2005.06.013
View details for Web of Science ID 000231079600008
View details for PubMedID 16061180
The anti-TRAP protein (AT), encoded by the rtpA gene of Bacillus subtilis, can bind to and inhibit the tryptophan-activated trp RNA-binding attenuation protein (TRAP). AT binding can prevent TRAP from promoting transcription termination in the leader region of the trp operon, thereby increasing trp operon expression. We show here that AT levels continue to increase as tryptophan starvation becomes more severe, whereas the TRAP level remains relatively constant and independent of tryptophan starvation. Assuming that the functional form of AT is a trimer, we estimate that the ratios of AT trimers per TRAP molecule are 0.39 when the cells are grown under mild tryptophan starvation conditions, 0.83 under more severe starvation conditions, and approximately 2.0 when AT is expressed maximally. As the AT level is increased, a corresponding increase is observed in the anthranilate synthase level. When AT is expressed maximally, the anthranilate synthase level is about 70% of the level observed in a strain lacking TRAP. In a nutritional shift experiment where excess phenylalanine and tyrosine could potentially starve cells of tryptophan, both the AT level and anthranilate synthase activity were observed to increase. Expression of the trp operon is clearly influenced by the level of AT.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.187.6.1884-1891.2005
View details for Web of Science ID 000227575100002
View details for PubMedID 15743934
Bacillus subtilis uses novel regulatory mechanisms in controlling expression of its genes of tryptophan synthesis and transport. These mechanisms respond to changes in the intracellular concentrations of free tryptophan and uncharged tRNA(Trp). The major B. subtilis protein that regulates tryptophan biosynthesis is the tryptophan-activated RNA-binding attenuation protein, TRAP. TRAP is a ring-shaped molecule composed of 11 identical subunits. Active TRAP binds to unique RNA segments containing multiple trinucleotide (NAG) repeats. Binding regulates both transcription termination and translation in the trp operon, and translation of other coding regions relevant to tryptophan metabolism. When there is a deficiency of charged tRNA(Trp), B. subtilis forms an anti-TRAP protein, AT. AT antagonizes TRAP function, thereby increasing expression of all the genes regulated by TRAP. Thus B. subtilis and Escherichia coli respond to identical regulatory signals, tryptophan and uncharged tRNA(Trp), yet they employ different mechanisms in regulating trp gene expression.
View details for DOI 10.1146/annurev.genet.39.073003.093745
View details for Web of Science ID 000234685200004
View details for PubMedID 16285852
Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis use different mechanisms of sensing and responding to tryptophan and uncharged tRNA(Trp) as regulatory signals. In E. coli, tryptophan activates a repressor that binds to the trp promoter- operator, inhibiting transcription initiation. In B. subtilis, tryptophan activates an RNA-binding protein, TRAP, which binds to the trp operon leader RNA, causing transcription termination. In E. coli uncharged tRNA(Trp) accumulation stalls the ribosome attempting translation of tandem Trp codons in the leader-peptide coding region of the operon. This stalling permits the formation of an RNA antiterminator structure, preventing transcription termination. In B. subtilis uncharged tRNA(Trp) accumulation activates transcription and translation of the at operon. AT protein inhibits tryptophan-activated TRAP, thereby preventing TRAP-mediated transcription termination. These differences might reflect the unique organizational features of the respective trp operons and their ancestry.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tig.2004.06.007
View details for Web of Science ID 000223238900009
View details for PubMedID 15262409
The rtpA gene of Bacillus subtilis encodes the Anti-TRAP protein, AT. AT can bind and inhibit the TRAP regulatory protein, preventing TRAP from promoting transcription termination in the trpEDCFBA operon leader region. AT synthesis is upregulated transcriptionally and translationally in response to the accumulation of uncharged tRNA(Trp). Here we analyze AT's translational regulation by rtpLP, a 10 residue leader peptide coding region located immediately preceding the rtpA Shine-Dalgarno sequence. Our findings suggest that, whenever the charged tRNA(Trp) level is sufficient to allow the ribosome translating rtpLP to reach its stop codon, it blocks the adjacent rtpA Shine-Dalgarno sequence, inhibiting AT synthesis. However, when there is a charged tRNA(Trp) deficiency, the translating ribosome presumably stalls at one of three adjacent rtpLP Trp codons. This stalling exposes the rtpA Shine-Dalgarno sequence, permitting AT synthesis. RNA-RNA pairing may also influence AT synthesis. Production of AT would inactivate TRAP, thereby increasing trp operon expression.
View details for Web of Science ID 000220209000008
View details for PubMedID 15023340
Regulation of transcription of the tryptophanase operon requires that translation of its leader peptide coding region, tnaC, be coupled with its transcription. We show in vitro that a transcription pause site exists at the end of the tnaC coding region and that translation of tnaC releases the paused transcription complex, coupling transcription with translation.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JB.185.21.6472-6476.2003
View details for Web of Science ID 000186037600029
View details for PubMedID 14563884
The Bacillus subtilis AT (anti-TRAP) protein inhibits the regulatory protein TRAP (trp RNA-binding attenuation protein), thereby eliminating transcription termination in the leader region of the trp operon. Transcription of the AT operon is activated by uncharged tryptophan transfer RNA (tRNATrp). Here we show that translation of AT also is regulated by uncharged tRNATrp. A 10-residue coding region containing three consecutive tryptophan codons is located immediately preceding the AT structural gene. Completion of translation of this coding region inhibits AT synthesis, whereas incomplete translation increases AT production. Tandem sensing of uncharged tRNATrp therefore regulates synthesis of AT, which in turn regulates TRAP's ability to inhibit trp operon expression.
View details for Web of Science ID 000184056200042
View details for PubMedID 12855807
The anti-TRAP protein (AT) of Bacillus subtilis regulates expression of the trp operon and other genes concerned with tryptophan metabolism. AT acts by inhibiting the tryptophan-activated trp RNA-binding attenuation protein (TRAP). AT is an oligomer of identical 53-residue polypeptides; it is produced in response to the accumulation of uncharged tRNA(Trp). Each AT polypeptide has two cysteine-rich clusters that correspond to the signature motif of the cysteine-rich zinc-binding domain of the chaperone protein DnaJ. Here we characterize the putative zinc-binding domain of AT and establish the importance of zinc for AT assembly and activity. AT is shown to contain Zn(II) at a ratio of one ion per monomer. Bound zinc is necessary for maintenance of the quaternary structure of AT; the removal of zinc converts the AT complex into inactive monomers. All four cysteine residues in the AT polypeptide are involved in Zn(II) coordination. Chemical cross-linking analyses indicate that the AT functional oligomer is a hexamer composed of two trimers. Substituting alanine for any cysteine residue of AT results in rapid degradation of the mutant protein in vivo. We propose a model for the AT trimer in which three AT chains are held together by three zinc atoms, each coordinated by the N-terminal segment and the C-terminal segment of separate AT polypeptides.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M208980200
View details for Web of Science ID 000179789600079
View details for PubMedID 12386162
Expression of the tryptophanase operon of Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination. An induction site activated by l-tryptophan is created in the translating ribosome during synthesis of TnaC, the 24-residue leader peptide. Replacing the tnaC stop codon with a tryptophan codon allows tryptophan-charged tryptophan transfer RNA to substitute for tryptophan as inducer. This suggests that the ribosomal A site occupied by the tryptophanyl moiety of the charged transfer RNA is the site of induction. The location of tryptophan-12 of nascent TnaC in the peptide exit tunnel was crucial for induction. These results show that a nascent peptide sequence can influence translation continuation and termination within a translating ribosome.
View details for Web of Science ID 000177955000042
View details for PubMedID 12228716
Expression of the tryptophanase (tna) operon in Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination. The key feature of this antitermination mechanism has been shown to be the retention of uncleaved TnaC-peptidyl-tRNA in the translating ribosome. This ribosome remains stalled at the tna stop codon and blocks the access of Rho factor to the tna transcript, thereby preventing transcription termination. In normal S-30 preparations, synthesis of a TnaC peptide containing arginine instead of tryptophan at position 12 (Arg(12)-TnaC) was shown to be insensitive to added tryptophan, i.e. Arg(12)-TnaC-peptidyl-tRNA was cleaved, and there was normal Rho-dependent transcription termination. When the S-30 extract used was depleted of release factor 2, Arg(12)-TnaC-tRNA(Pro) was accumulated in the absence or presence of added tryptophan. Under these conditions the accumulation of Arg(12)-TnaC-tRNA(Pro) prevented Rho-dependent transcription termination, mimicking normal induction. Using a minimal in vitro transcription system consisting of a tna template, RNA polymerase, and Rho, it was shown that RNA sequences immediately adjacent to the tnaC stop codon, the presumed boxA and rut sites, contributed most significantly to Rho-dependent termination. The tna boxA-like sequence appeared to serve as a segment of the Rho "entry" site, despite its likeness to the boxA element.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M201213200
View details for Web of Science ID 000175564500100
View details for PubMedID 11880383
In Bacillus subtilis, the trp RNA-binding attenuation protein (TRAP) regulates expression of genes involved in tryptophan metabolism in response to the accumulation of l-tryptophan. Tryptophan-activated TRAP negatively regulates expression by binding to specific mRNA sequences and either promoting transcription termination or blocking translation initiation. Conversely, the accumulation of uncharged tRNA(Trp) induces synthesis of an anti-TRAP protein (AT), which forms a complex with TRAP and inhibits its activity. In this report, we investigate the structural features of TRAP required for AT recognition. A collection of TRAP mutant proteins was examined that were known to be partially or completely defective in tryptophan binding and/or RNA binding. Analyses of AT interactions with these proteins were performed using in vitro transcription termination assays and cross-linking experiments. We observed that TRAP mutant proteins that had lost the ability to bind RNA were no longer recognized by AT. Our findings suggest that AT acts by competing with messenger RNA for the RNA binding domain of TRAP. B. subtilis AT was also shown to interact with TRAP proteins from Bacillus halodurans and Bacillus stearothermophilus, implying that the structural elements required for AT recognition are conserved in the TRAP proteins of these species. Analyses of AT interaction with B. stearothermophilus TRAP at 60 degrees C demonstrated that AT is active at this elevated temperature.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M111813200
View details for Web of Science ID 000174549200131
View details for PubMedID 11786553
An anti-TRAP (AT) protein, a factor of previously unknown function, conveys the metabolic signal that the cellular transfer RNA for tryptophan (tRNATrp) is predominantly uncharged. Expression of the operon encoding AT is induced by uncharged tRNATrp. AT associates with TRAP, the trp operon attenuation protein, and inhibits its binding to its target RNA sequences. This relieves TRAP-mediated transcription termination and translation inhibition, increasing the rate of tryptophan biosynthesis. AT binds to TRAP primarily when it is in the tryptophan-activated state. The 53-residue AT polypeptide is homologous to the zinc-binding domain of DnaJ. The mechanisms regulating tryptophan biosynthesis in Bacillus subtilis differ from those used by Escherichia coli.
View details for Web of Science ID 000171028700065
View details for PubMedID 11557884
Expression of the tryptophanase (tna) operon of Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination. In a previous study, we reproduced the regulatory features of this operon observed in vivo by using an in vitro S-30 system. We also found that, under inducing conditions, the leader peptidyl-tRNA (TnaC-peptidyl-tRNA(Pro)) is not cleaved; it accumulates in the S-30 reaction mixture. In this paper, we examine the requirements for TnaC-peptidyl-tRNA(Pro) accumulation and cleavage, in vitro. We show that this peptidyl-tRNA remains bound to the translating ribosome. Removal of free tryptophan and addition of release factor 1 or 2 leads to hydrolysis of TnaC-peptidyl-tRNA(Pro) and release of TnaC from the ribosome-mRNA complex. Release factor-mediated cleavage is prevented by the addition of tryptophan. TnaC of the ribosome-bound TnaC-peptidyl-tRNA(Pro) was transferable to puromycin. This transfer was also blocked by tryptophan. Tests with various tryptophan analogs as substitutes for tryptophan revealed the existence of strict structural requirements for tryptophan action. Our findings demonstrate that the addition of tryptophan to ribosomes bearing nascent TnaC-peptidyl-tRNA(Pro) inhibits both TnaC peptidyl-tRNA(Pro) hydrolysis and TnaC peptidyl transfer. The associated translating ribosome therefore remains attached to the leader transcript where it blocks Rho factor binding and subsequent transcription termination.
View details for Web of Science ID 000170216900017
View details for PubMedID 11470925
Expression of the tryptophanase (tna) operon of Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination. Catabolite repression regulates transcription initiation, whereas excess tryptophan induces antitermination at Rho factor-dependent termination sites in the leader region of the operon. Synthesis of the leader peptide, TnaC, is essential for antitermination. BoxA and rut sites in the immediate vicinity of the tnaC stop codon are required for termination. In this paper we use an in vitro S-30 cell-free system to analyze the features of tna operon regulation. We show that transcription initiation is cyclic AMP (cAMP)-dependent and is not influenced by tryptophan. Continuation of transcription beyond the leader region requires the presence of inducing levels of tryptophan and synthesis of the TnaC leader peptide. Using a tnaA'-'trpE fusion, we demonstrate that induction results in a 15-20-fold increase in synthesis of the tryptophan-free TnaA-TrpE fusion protein. Replacing Trp codon 12 of tnaC by an Arg codon, or changing the tnaC start codon to a stop codon, eliminates induction. Addition of bicyclomycin, a specific inhibitor of Rho factor action, substantially increases basal level expression. Analyses of tna mRNA synthesis in vitro demonstrate that, in the absence of inducer transcription is terminated and the terminated transcripts are degraded. In the presence of inducer, antitermination increases the synthesis of the read-through transcript. TnaC synthesis is observed in the cell-free system. However, in the presence of tryptophan, a peptidyl-tRNA also appears, TnaC-tRNA(Pro). Our findings suggest that inducer acts by preventing cleavage of TnaC peptidyl-tRNA. The ribosome associated with this newly synthesized peptidyl-tRNA presumably stalls at the tnaC stop codon, blocking Rho's access to the BoxA and rut sites, thereby preventing termination. 1-Methyltryptophan also is an effective inducer in vitro. This tryptophan analog is not incorporated into TnaC.
View details for Web of Science ID 000166528000046
View details for PubMedID 11050101
I was fortunate to practice science during the last half of the previous century, when many basic biological and biochemical concepts could be experimentally addressed for the first time. My introduction to research involved isolating and identifying intermediates in the niacin biosynthetic pathway. These studies were followed by investigations focused on determining the properties of genes and enzymes essential to metabolism and examining how they were alterable by mutation. The most challenging problem I initially attacked was establishing the colinear relationship between gene and protein. Subsequent research emphasized identification and characterization of regulatory mechanisms that microorganisms use to control gene expression. An elaborate regulatory strategy, transcription attenuation, was discovered that is often based on selection between alternative RNA structures. Throughout my career I enjoyed the excitement of solving basic scientific problems. Most rewarding, however, was the feeling that I was helping young scientists experience the pleasure of performing creative research.
View details for Web of Science ID 000170012100001
View details for PubMedID 11395401
We investigated the global changes in mRNA abundance in Escherichia coli elicited by various perturbations of tryptophan metabolism. To do so we printed DNA microarrays containing 95% of all annotated E. coli ORFs. We determined the expression profile that is predominantly dictated by the activity of the tryptophan repressor. Only three operons, trp, mtr, and aroH, exhibited appreciable expression changes consistent with this profile. The quantitative changes we observed in mRNA levels for the five genes of the trp operon were consistent within a factor of 2, with expectations based on established Trp protein levels. Several operons known to be regulated by the TyrR protein, aroF-tyrA, aroL, aroP, and aroG, were down-regulated on addition of tryptophan. TyrR can be activated by any one of the three aromatic amino acids. Only one operon, tnaAB, was significantly activated by the presence of tryptophan in the medium. We uncovered a plethora of likely indirect effects of changes in tryptophan metabolism on intracellular mRNA pools, most prominent of which was the sensitivity of arginine biosynthetic operons to tryptophan starvation.
View details for Web of Science ID 000090071000084
View details for PubMedID 11027315
Expression of the tryptophanase (tna) operon of Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and by tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination. Tryptophan induction prevents Rho-dependent transcription termination in the leader region of the operon. Induction requires translation of a 24-residue leader peptide-coding region, tnaC, containing a single, crucial Trp codon. Studies with a lacZ reporter construct lacking the tnaC-tnaA spacer region suggest that, in the presence of excess tryptophan, the TnaC leader peptide acts in cis on the ribosome translating tnaC to inhibit its release. The stalled ribosome is thought to block Rho's access to the transcript. In this paper we examine the roles of the boxA sequence and the rut site in Rho-dependent termination. Deleting six nucleotides (CGC CCT) of boxA or introducing specific point mutations in boxA results in high-level constitutive expression. Some constitutive changes introduced in boxA do not change the TnaC peptide sequence. We confirm that deletion of the rut site results in constitutive expression. We also demonstrate that, in each constitutive construct, replacement of the tnaC start codon by a UAG stop codon reduces expression significantly, suggesting that constitutive expression requires translation of the tnaC coding sequence. Addition of bicyclomycin, an inhibitor of Rho, to these UAG constructs increases expression, demonstrating that reduced expression is due to Rho action. Combining a boxA point mutation with rut site deletion results in constitutive expression comparable to that of a maximally induced operon. These results support the hypothesis that in the presence of tryptophan the ribosome translating tnaC blocks Rho's access to the boxA and rut sites, thereby preventing transcription termination.
View details for Web of Science ID 000087938500014
View details for PubMedID 10869076
Computer analysis of the Bacillus subtilis genome sequence revealed a gene with no previously attributed function, yhaG, specifying a transcript containing a presumptive binding site for the tryptophan-activated regulatory protein, TRAP. The presumptive TRAP binding site overlaps the yhaG Shine-Dalgarno sequence and translation initiation region. TRAP was shown to regulate expression of yhaG translationally. Production of the yhaG transcript in vivo was found to compete for the binding of TRAP to other known TRAP binding sites. YhaG is likely to be a transmembrane protein involved in tryptophan transport.
View details for Web of Science ID 000086205400036
View details for PubMedID 10735881
Strains of Bacillus subtilis containing a temperature-sensitive tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase produce elevated levels of the tryptophan pathway enzymes, when grown at high temperatures in the presence of excess tryptophan. This increase is because of reduced availability of the tryptophan-activated trp RNA-binding attenuation protein (TRAP). To test the hypothesis that this elevated trp gene expression was caused by the overproduction of a transcript capable of binding and sequestering TRAP, a computer program was designed to search the B. subtilis genome sequence for additional potential TRAP binding sites. A region containing a stretch of (G/A)AG trinucleotide repeats, characteristic of a TRAP binding site, was identified in the yczA-ycbK operon. We show that transcriptional regulation of the yczA-ycbK operon is controlled by the T-box antitermination mechanism in response to the level of uncharged tRNA(Trp), and that the presence of a trpS1 mutant allele increases production of the yczA-ycbK transcript. Elevated yczA-ycbK expression was shown to activate transcription of the trp operon. Deletion of the yczA-ycbK operon abolishes the trpS1 effect on trp gene expression. The purpose of increasing expression of the genes of tryptophan biosynthesis in the trpS mutant would be to provide additional tryptophan to overcome the charged tRNA(Trp) deficiency. Therefore, in B. subtilis, as in Escherichia coli, transcription of the tryptophan biosynthetic genes is regulated in response to changes in the extent of charging of tRNA(Trp) as well as the availability of tryptophan.
View details for Web of Science ID 000085941400047
View details for PubMedID 10706627
Expression of the degradative tryptophanase (tna) operon of Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination. In cultures growing in the absence of added tryptophan, transcription of the structural genes of the tna operon is limited by Rho-dependent transcription termination in the leader region of the operon. Tryptophan induction prevents this Rho-dependent termination, and requires in-frame translation of a 24-residue leader peptide coding region, tnaC, that contains a single, crucial, Trp codon. Studies with a lacZ reporter construct lacking the spacer region between tnaC and the first major structural gene, tnaA, suggested that tryptophan induction might involve cis action by the TnaC leader peptide on the ribosome translating the tnaC coding region. The leader peptide was hypothesized to inhibit ribosome release at the tnaC stop codon, thereby blocking Rho's access to the transcript. Regulatory studies with deletion constructs of the tna operon of Proteus vulgaris supported this interpretation. In the present study the putative role of the tnaC stop codon in tna operon regulation in E. coli was examined further by replacing the natural tnaC stop codon, UGA, with UAG or UAA in a tnaC-stop codon-tnaA'-'lacZ reporter construct. Basal level expression was reduced to 20 and 50% when the UGA stop codon was replaced by UAG or UAA, respectively, consistent with the finding that in E. coli translation terminates more efficiently at UAG and UAA than at UGA. Tryptophan induction was observed in strains with any of the stop codons. However, when UAG or UAA replaced UGA, the induced level of expression was also reduced to 15 and 50% of that obtained with UGA as the tnaC stop codon, respectively. Introduction of a mutant allele encoding a temperature-sensitive release factor 1, prfA1, increased basal level expression 60-fold when the tnaC stop codon was UAG and 3-fold when this stop codon was UAA; basal level expression was reduced by 50% in the construct with the natural stop codon, UGA. In strains with any of the three stop codons and the prfA1 mutation, the induced levels of tna operon expression were virtually identical. The effects of tnaC stop codon identity on expression were also examined in the absence of Rho action, using tnaC-stop codon-'lacZ constructs that lack the tnaC-tnaA spacer region. Expression was low in the absence of tnaC stop codon suppression. In most cases, tryptophan addition resulted in about 50% inhibition of expression when UGA was replaced by UAG or UAA and the appropriate suppressor was present. Introduction of the prfA1 mutant allele increased expression of the suppressed construct with the UAG stop codon; tryptophan addition also resulted in ca. 50% inhibition. These findings provide additional evidence implicating the behavior of the ribosome translating tnaC in the regulation of tna operon expression.
View details for Web of Science ID 000078833200021
View details for PubMedID 10049385
Expression of the tryptophanase (tna) operon of Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and by tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination at Rho-dependent termination sites in the leader region of the operon. Tryptophan induction is dependent on translation of a short leader peptide coding region, tnaC, that contains a single, crucial tryptophan codon. Recent studies suggest that during induction, the TnaC leader peptide acts in cis on the translating ribosome to inhibit its release at the tnaC stop codon. In the present study we use a tnaC-UGA-'lacZ construct lacking the tnaC-tnaA spacer region to analyze the effect of TnaC synthesis on the behavior of the ribosome that translates tnaC. The tnaC-UGA-'lacZ construct is not expressed significantly in the presence or absence of inducer. However, it is expressed in the presence of UGA suppressors, or when the structural gene for polypeptide release factor 3 is disrupted, or when wild-type tRNATrP is overproduced. In each situation, tnaC-UGA-'lacZ expression is reduced appreciably by the presence of inducing levels of tryptophan. Replacing the tnaC UGA stop codon with a sense codon allows considerable expression, which is also reduced, although to a lesser extent, by the addition of tryptophan. Inhibition by tryptophan is not observed when Trp codon 12 of tnaC is changed to a Leu codon. Overexpression of tnaC in trans from a multicopy plasmid prevents inhibition of expression by tryptophan. These results support the hypothesis that the TnaC leader peptide acts in cis to alter the behavior of the translating ribosome.
View details for Web of Science ID A1997WP41500044
View details for PubMedID 9045840
The filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa undergoes a well-defined developmental program, conidiation, that culminates in the production of numerous asexual spores, conidia. Several cloned genes, including con-10, are expressed during conidiation but not during mycelial growth. Using a previously described selection strategy, we isolated mutants that express con-10 during mycelial growth. Selection was based on expression of an integrated DNA fragment containing the con-10 promoter-regulatory region followed by the initial segment of the con-10 open reading frame fused in frame with the bacterial hygromycin B phosphotransferase structural gene (con10'-'hph). Resistance to hygromycin results from mutational alterations that allow mycelial expression of the con-10'-'hph gene fusion. A set of drug-resistant mutants were isolated; several of these had abnormal conidiation phenotypes and were trans-acting, i.e., they allowed mycelial expression of the endogenous con-10 gene. Four of these had alterations at a single locus, designated rco-1 (regulation of conidiation). Strains with the rco-1 mutant alleles were aconidial, female sterile, had reduced growth rates, and formed hyphae that coiled in a counterclockwise direction, opposite that of the wild type. The four rco-1 mutants had distinct conidiation morphologies, suggesting that conidiation was blocked at different stages. Wild-type rco-1 was cloned by a novel procedure employing heterokaryon-assisted transformation and ligation-mediated PCR. The predicted RCO1 polypeptide is a homolog of Tup1 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a multidomain protein that mediates transcriptional repression of genes concerned with a variety of processes. Like tup1 mutants, null mutants of rco-1 are viable and pleiotropic. A promoter element was identified that could be responsible for RCO1-mediated vegetative repression of con-10 and other conidiation genes.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VN82000029
View details for PubMedID 8887652
In Bacillus subtilis, the tryptophan-activated trp RNA-binding attenuation protein (TRAP) regulates expression of the seven tryptophan biosynthetic genes by binding to specific repeat sequences in the transcripts of the trp operon and of the folate operon, the operon containing trpG. Steinberg observed that strains containing a temperature-sensitive mutant form of tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase, encoded by the trpS1 allele, produced elevated levels of the tryptophan pathway enzymes, when grown at high temperatures in the presence of excess L-tryptophan (W. Steinberg, J. Bacteriol. 117:1023-1034, 1974). We have confirmed this observation and have shown that expression of two reporter gene fusions, trpE'-'lacZ and trpG'-'lacZ, is also increased under these conditions. Deletion of the terminator or antiterminator RNA secondary structure involved in TRAP regulation of trp operon expression eliminated the trpS1 effect, suggesting that temperature-sensitive expression was mediated by the TRAP protein. Analysis of expression of mtrB, the gene encoding the TRAP subunit, both by examination of a lacZ translational fusion and by measuring the intracellular levels of TRAP by immunoblotting, indicated that the trpS1-induced increase in trp gene expression was not due to inhibition of mtrB expression or to alteration of the amount of TRAP present per cell. Increasing the cellular level of TRAP by overexpressing mtrB partially counteracted the trpS1 effect, demonstrating that active TRAP was limiting in the trpS1 mutant. We also showed that elevated trp operon expression was not due to increased transcription initiation at the upstream aroF promoter, a promoter that also contributes to trp operon expression. We postulate that the increase in trp gene expression observed in the trpS1 mutant is due to the reduced availability of functional TRAP. This could result from inhibition of TRAP function by uncharged tRNA(Trp) molecules or by increased synthesis of some other transcript capable of binding and sequestering the TRAP regulatory protein.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VR93100014
View details for PubMedID 8932308
Expression of the tryptophanase (tna) operon of Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and by tryptophan-induced inhibition of Rho-mediated transcription termination. Previous studies indicated that tryptophan induction might involve leader peptide inhibition of ribosome release at the stop codon of tnaC, the coding region for the operon-specified leader peptide. In this study we examined tna operon expression in strains in which the structural gene for protein release factor 3, prfC, is either disrupted or overexpressed. We find that prfC inactivation leads to a two- to threefold increase in basal expression of the tna operon and a slight increase in induced expression. Overexpression of prfC has the opposite effect and reduces both basal and induced expression. These effects occur in the presence of glucose and cyclic AMP, and thus Rho-dependent termination rather than catabolite repression appears to be the event influenced by the prfC alterations. prfC inactivation also leads to an increase in basal tna operon expression in various rho and rpoB mutants but not in a particular rho mutant in which the basal level of expression is very high. The effect of prfC inactivation was examined in a variety of mutants with alterations in the tna leader region. Our results suggest that translation of tnaC is essential for the prfC effect. The tryptophan residue specified by tnaC codon 12, which is essential for induction, when replaced by another amino) acid, allows the prfC effect. Introducing UAG or UAA stop codons rather than the normal tnaC UGA stop codon, in a strain with an inactive prfC gene, also leads to an increase in the basal level of expression. Addition of the drug bicyclomycin increases basal operon expression of all mutant strains except a strain with a tnaC'-'lacZ fusion. Expression in the latter strain is unaffected by prfC alterations. Our findings are consistent with the interpretation that ribosome release at the tnaC stop codon can influence tna operon expression.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996UU34900013
View details for PubMedID 8682777
The role of helix 0 of the alpha chain (TrpA) of the tryptophan synthetase alpha2beta2 multi-functional enzyme complex of Escherichia coli was examined by deleting amino-terminal residues 2-6, 2-11, or 2-19 of TrpA. Selected substitutions were also introduced at TrpA positions 2-6. The altered genes encoding these polypeptides were overexpressed from a foreign promoter on a multicopy plasmid and following insertion at their normal chromosomal location. Each deletion polypeptide was functional in vivo. However all appeared to be somewhat more labile and insoluble and less active enzymatically than wild type TrpA. The deletion polypeptides were overproduced and solubilized from cell debris by denaturation and refolding. Several were partially purified and assayed in various reactions in the presence of tryptophan synthetase beta2 (TrpB). The purified TrpADelta2-6 and TrpADelta2-11 deletion polypeptides had low activity in both the indole + serine --> tryptophan reaction and the indoleglycerol phosphate + serine --> tryptophan reaction. Poor activity in each reaction was partly due to reduced association of TrpA with TrpB. The addition of the TrpA ligands, alpha-glycerophosphate or indoleglycerol phosphate, during catalysis of the indole + serine --> tryptophan reaction increased association and activity. These findings suggest that removal of helix 0 of TrpA decreases TrpA-TrpB association as well as the activity of the TrpA active site. Alignment of the TrpA sequences from different species indicates that several lack part or all of helix 0. In some of these polypeptides, extra residues at the carboxyl end may substitute for helix 0.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996UT10600021
View details for PubMedID 8662916
Trp repressor (25 kDa) is a regulatory protein that controls transcription initiation in the tryptophan biosynthetic operon and at least four other operons in Escherichia coli. An alanine to valine mutation (AV77) in the DNA binding domain is known to increase repressor activity at the trp operator in vivo, but not in vitro. We report here the amide proton exchange rates for the DNA-binding domains of both the wild-type and AV77 proteins. We find that the alanine to valine change stabilizes the flexible DNA-binding domain of the repressor. We present in vivo data showing that, although the AV77 repressor is more inhibitory at the trp operator than the wild-type repressor, it does not have increased activity at the aroH or trpR operator; repression at the aroH operator is, in fact, reduced. Our results suggest that the flexibility exhibited by the wild-type repressor allows a broader range of repressor/DNA interactions, whereas the increased rigidity resulting from the AV77 change limits the repressor's effectiveness at some operators.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996UP61700024
View details for PubMedID 8762153
Expression of the tryptophanase (tna) operon in Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and transcription attenuation. Elevated levels of tryptophan induce transcription antitermination at one or more Rho factor-dependent termination sites in the leader region of the operon. Induction requires translation of a 24-residue coding region, tnaC, located in the 319-nucleotide transcribed leader region preceding tnaA, the structural gene for tryptophanase. In the present paper, we show that two bacterial species that lack tryptophanase activity, Enterobacter aerogenes and Salmonella typhimurium, allow tryptophanase induction and tna operon regulation when they carry a plasmid containing the E. coli tna operon. The role of tnaC in induction was examined by introducing mutations in a 24-nucleotide segment of tnaC of E. coli surrounding and including the crucial Trp codon 12. Some mutations resulted in a noninducible phenotype; these mostly introduced nonconservative amino acid substitutions in TnaC. Other mutations had little or no effect; these generally were in third positions of codons or introduced conservative amino acid replacements. A tryptophan-inserting, UGA-reading glutamine suppressor tRNA was observed to restore partial regulation when Trp codon 12 of tnaC was changed to UGA. Stop codons introduced downstream of Trp codon 12 in all three reading frames established that induction requires translation in the natural tnaC reading frame. Our findings suggest that the TnaC leader peptide acts in cis to prevent Rho-dependent termination.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995TJ64400031
View details for PubMedID 8522534
Expression of the Bacillus subtilis trpEDCFBA operon has been shown to be regulated by transcription attenuation in response to the availability of L-tryptophan. Regulation is mediated by the tryptophan-activated trp RNA-binding attenuation protein, TRAP, the product of mtrB. Formation of mutually exclusive RNA anti-terminator and terminator structures within trp leader RNA determines whether transcription will terminate in the leader region of the operon. Previous studies suggested that transcripts that escape termination are subject to translational regulation via the formation of a secondary structure that blocks ribosome access to the trpE ribosome-binding site. To assess the relative importance of these postulated events in trp operon regulation, we used site-directed mutagenesis to alter the putative elements involved in transcriptional and translational control. Using a trpE'-'lacZ reporter, we measured translational yield and specific mRNA levels with various leader constructs, in both mtrB+ and mtrB strains, during growth in the presence and absence of excess tryptophan. To verify that the altered regulatory regions behaved as expected, we carried out in vitro transcription assays with the wild-type and altered leader region templates and performed oligonucleotide competition assays with an oligonucleotide complementary to a segment of the transcription terminator. Our results establish that binding of TRAP to leader RNA regulates of transcription termination in the trp operon over about an 88-fold range and regulates translation of trpE over about a 13-fold range. The roles played by different trp leader RNA segments in mediating transcriptional and translational regulation are documented by our findings.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995TE36700006
View details for PubMedID 7592410
The trp RNA-binding attenuation protein of Bacillus subtilis, TRAP, regulates both transcription and translation by binding to specific transcript sequences. The optimal transcript sequences required for TRAP binding were determined by measuring complex formation between purified TRAP protein and synthetic RNAs. RNAs were tested that contained repeats of different trinucleotide sequences, with differing spacing between the repeats. A transcript containing GAG repeats separated by two-nucleotide spacers was bound most tightly. In addition, transmission electron microscopy was used to examine the structure of TRAP and the TRAP-transcript complex. TRAP was observed to be a toroid-shaped oligomer when free or when bound to either a natural or a synthetic RNA.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995RP74800065
View details for PubMedID 7544009
The growth-inhibiting drug bicyclomycin, known to be an inhibitor of Rho factor activity in Escherichia coli, was shown to increase basal level expression of the tryptophanase (tna) operon and to allow growth of a tryptophan auxotroph on indole. The drug also relieved polarity in the trp operon and permitted growth of a trp double nonsense mutant on indole. Nine bicyclomycin-resistant mutants were isolated and partially characterized. Recombination data and genetic and biochemical complementation analyses suggest that five have mutations that affect rho, three have mutations that affect rpoB, and one has a mutation that affects a third locus, near rpoB. Individual mutants showed decreased, normal, or increased basal-level expression of the tna operon. All but one of the resistant mutants displayed greatly increased tna operon expression when grown in the presence of bicyclomycin. The tna operon of the wild-type drug-sensitive parent was also shown to be highly expressed during growth with noninhibitory concentrations of bicyclomycin. These findings demonstrate that resistance to this drug may be required by mutations at any one of three loci, two of which appear to be rho and rpoB.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995RL82800034
View details for PubMedID 7543478
A filter binding assay was used to determine the structural features of L-tryptophan required for activation of TRAP, the trp RNA-binding attenuation protein of Bacillus subtilis. We examined the ability of L-tryptophan and 26 of its analogs to activate TRAP. Our findings show that TRAP activation by L-tryptophan is highly cooperative. We also observed that TRAP activation is stereospecific; D-tryptophan did not activate. Our results further indicate that the alpha-amino group and the carbonyl moiety of the alpha-carboxyl group of the ligand are required for TRAP activation and that the heterocyclic amino nitrogen of L-tryptophan greatly enhances TRAP activation. We also found that changes at several positions of the indole ring of L-tryptophan resulted in reduced TRAP activation. In addition, indole and 5-methylindole were shown to be effective competitors of L-tryptophan activation of TRAP.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995QZ71100020
View details for PubMedID 7759487
The gene con-10 of Neurospora crassa is expressed preferentially during conidiation and following illumination of vegetative mycelia with blue light. In this study we have examined the segmental locations of the genetic elements associated with con-10 that are responsible for light and developmental expression. A translational fusion was prepared between the initial segment of con-10 and Escherichia coli lacZ. Deletions were then introduced into the con-10 upstream region associated with this translational fusion. Each construct was integrated at the his-3 locus of N. crassa by transformation and homologous recombination. Photoinduction of mycelia containing the translational fusion with the intact upstream region revealed a two phase stimulus-response curve. Exposure to light for as little as 5 sec induced a transcriptional response. Following this initial induction, a period of 15 min in the dark or light was required for appearance of a second phase response. Only a brief light treatment was necessary for induction of the second phase response. Deletions within the upstream region altered normal light and developmental expression of constructs containing the con-10-lacZ translational fusion. The deleted segments appear to contain a mycelial repression site, two conidiation activation sites, and two dark repression sites. A repeated 17-bp sequence acted as a transcriptional enhancer. One copy of this enhancer is in the upstream region. The second copy, with the opposite orientation, is located in the first con-10 intron. The enhancer was required for proper mycelial and conidial expression of the con-10-lacZ fusion. The initial 10 bp of this enhancer sequence were sufficient to restore conidial expression to a deletion construct lacking both copies of the 17-bp repeat. Proteins were detected in extracts of mycelia and conidia that specifically bound to the enhancer sequence in vitro. Our findings suggest that conidiation-specific and mycelial-specific expression of con-10 requires the action of several factors acting independently and/or in concert at distinct sites located in the regulatory regions for con-10.
View details for Web of Science ID A1995QG55300016
View details for PubMedID 7851642
Physiological studies were performed under nutritional stress and nonstress conditions to assess the relative importance of the various regulatory mechanisms that Escherichia coli can use to alter its rate of tryptophan synthesis. Mutants were examined in which the trp repressor was inactive, transcription termination at the trp attenuator was altered, transcription initiation at the trp promoter was reduced, or feedback inhibition of anthranilate synthase was abolished. Strains were examined in media with and without tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine, or acid-hydrolyzed casein and following shifts from one medium to another. Growth rates and anthranilate synthase levels were measured. In media lacking tryptophan, each of the mutants showed relief of repression and/or attenuation and maintained a near-normal growth rate. Following a shift from a medium containing tryptophan to a tryptophan-free medium containing phenylalanine and tyrosine or acid-hydrolyzed casein, mutants with abnormally low trp enzyme levels exhibited an appreciable growth lag before resuming growth. The wild-type strain displayed termination relief only under one extreme shift condition, upon transfer from a minimal medium containing tryptophan to minimal medium with only phenylalanine and tyrosine. A promoter down-mutant had difficulty adjusting to a shift from high tryptophan to low tryptophan levels in a medium containing acid-hydrolyzed casein. In all media tested, anthranilate synthase levels were lower in a feedback-resistant mutant than in the wild type. These studies demonstrate the capacity of E. coli to adjust its rate of tryptophan synthesis to maintain rapid growth following a shift to stressful nutritional conditions.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994PK77200013
View details for PubMedID 7928995
A filter binding assay was developed to study interactions between purified TRAP, the trp RNA-binding attenuation protein of Bacillus subtilis, and trp specific transcripts. TRAP formed stable complexes with trpEDCFBA leader RNA; binding was L-tryptophan-dependent and was complete within 60 s. TRAP binds to a segment of the trp leader transcript that includes part of an RNA antiterminator structure. Binding to this segment allows formation of an RNA terminator structure, thereby promoting transcription termination. Using several trpEDCFBA leader deletion transcripts, we identified several closely spaced trinucleotide repeats (seven GAG and four UAG repeats) in the trp leader transcript that appeared to be required for TRAP binding. We also showed that TRAP binds to a segment of the trpG transcript that includes the trpG ribosome binding site; the nucleotide sequence of this segment contains several appropriately spaced trinucleotide repeats (seven GAG, one UAG, and one AAG). TRAP binding to the trpG transcript would block translation initiation. RNA footprint analysis confirmed interaction between TRAP and the trinucleotide repeats in the various transcripts. TRAP, in the presence or absence of L-tryptophan, appears to consist of 11 or 12 identical 8-kDa subunits. Our findings suggest that each tryptophan-activated TRAP subunit can bind one G/UAG repeat in a target transcript. Multiple protein-RNA interactions are required for stable association.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994NR29600015
View details for PubMedID 7515880
A cloned DNA fragment containing the tryptophanase (tna) operon of Proteus vulgaris was found to contain a gene analogous to mutT of Escherichia coli immediately distal to the tna operon. The presumptive mutT of P. vulgaris was shown to be a functional gene by complementation of a mutT mutant from E. coli. The deduced amino acid sequence of the MutT polypeptide of P. vulgaris was 47% identical and 70% similar to MutT of E. coli. The mutT and tna operons of P. vulgaris were shown to be adjacent on the genome of this organism. These operons are located about 20 min apart in the E. coli genome. Our findings suggest that either or both tna and mutT have different genomic locations in the two organisms.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993MK42100014
View details for PubMedID 8244038
The gene con-6 of Neurospora crassa is expressed during the formation of asexual spores (conidia), but it is not expressed in mycelium. con-6 mRNA appears upon induction of conidiation and reaches high levels at the late stages of conidiation, and in mature conidia. The CON6 polypeptide and a CON6-beta-Gal fusion protein were present at high levels only in free conidia. Shortly after spore germination con-6 mRNA disappears and the CON6 polypeptide is degraded. CON6 is a small, hydrophilic polypeptide containing a repeat sequence; it not homologous to any known protein but has features resembling the late embryogenesis abundant proteins of maize. Inactivation of con-6 by the repeat-induced point mutation process had no demonstrable effect on formation or germination of conidia. Upstream sequence comparisons for con-6 and other con genes identified a common potential regulatory sequence, designated CRS-B. DNA mobility shift analyses with cell extracts identified a factor that bound to synthetic DNA fragments containing this sequence. This binding factor was present in mycelium but not in conidiating cultures. Experiments with independent integrated con-6'-'lacZ translational fusions revealed substantial variability of expression among transformants carrying identical fusion constructs: This variability may be due to the differential methylation of transformant DNA noted by others.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993MG58100023
View details for PubMedID 8224542
In the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa, several events in the process of conidiation are influenced by light. Two genes, con-6 and con-10, which were previously shown to be transcriptionally activated during conidiation and by exposure to light, were found to be unexpressed in mycelium maintained in constant darkness or in constant light. However, when mycelium was shifted from darkness to light, transcripts of both genes appeared and were abundant. Upon further illumination both transcripts disappeared--i.e., their continued production was light repressed. When dark-grown mycelium was exposed to a light pulse and reincubated in the dark, expression of con-6 and con-10 exhibited a 20-hr circadian periodicity. Both genes were photoinducible throughout the stages of the circadian cycle. In the mutant strains bd and bd;frq9, con-6 and con-10 were light inducible but were not normally light repressible. Mutant genes such as acon-2, acon-3, and fl that block developmental expression of con-6 and/or con-10 did not prevent their photoinduction.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993LV64400071
View details for PubMedID 8367490
The trp repressor of Escherichia coli is a dimeric DNA-binding protein that regulates transcription of several operons concerned with tryptophan metabolism. Although heterodimer formation between mutant and wild type subunits occurs readily in vivo, comparable heterodimers could be formed in vitro only under extreme conditions. To explain this difference we analyzed trp repressor dimer formation and dissociation using an in vitro transcription/translation system. Nascent wild type or mutant repressor polypeptides, synthesized in the presence of an excess of a second repressor, were invariably incorporated into heterodimers. In contrast, previously synthesized and assembled wild type dimers appeared to be refractory to dissociation, since they did not form heterodimers. However, previously synthesized mutant dimeric repressors that were defective in tryptophan binding readily dissociated and formed heterodimers. We noted that the ability of a dimeric repressor to dissociate under our conditions correlated inversely with its affinity for tryptophan. Consistent with this conclusion, we found that dissociation of the wild type aporepressor (no added tryptophan) was appreciably more rapid than dissociation of the tryptophan-saturated wild type repressor.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993LL75900042
View details for PubMedID 8325857
Expression of the tryptophanase (tna) operon in Escherichia coli is regulated by catabolite repression and transcription attenuation. Expression is induced by the presence of elevated levels of tryptophan in a growth medium devoid of a catabolite-repressing carbon source. Induction requires the translation of a 24-residue coding region, tnaC, located in the 319-nucleotide transcribed leader region preceding tnaA, the structural gene for tryptophanase. Multicopy plasmids carrying the tnaC leader region were found to inhibit induction of the chromosomal tna operon. Mutational studies established that this inhibition was not due to inhibited transcription initiation, translation initiation, tryptophan transport, or enzyme activity. Rather, multicopy tnaC plasmids inhibited induction by preventing tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination in the leader region of the tna operon. Translation of the single Trp codon in tnaC of the multicopy plasmids was shown to be essential for this inhibition. We hypothesize that translation of the Trp codon of the leader peptide titrates out a trans-acting factor that is essential for tryptophan-induced antitermination in the chromosomal tna operon. We postulate that this factor is an altered form of tRNATrp.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993LE43100016
View details for PubMedID 8501042
Residue Asp60 of the tryptophan synthetase alpha chain of Escherichia coli is though to interact with the pyrrole NH of substrate indole-3-glycerol phosphate and facilitate its cleavage to indole and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate. Two distinguishable partial revertants of DN60 tryptophan synthetase alpha mutant trpA34 were analyzed. The slower growing partial revertant, PR1, had the second-site change, YD102. The other partial revertant, PR2, lacked three consecutive base pairs, resulting in replacement of Ala59 and Asn60 of the DN60 mutant alpha polypeptide by Asp. Inspection of the three-dimensional structure of the enzyme-substrate analog complex revealed that Tyr102 is in the vicinity of the pyrrole NH of the substrate. The PR1 alpha chain has a near normal Km for substrate, whereas the PR2 polypeptide has greatly reduced substrate affinity. The PR2 polypeptide is more active than the PR1 polypeptide in the alpha beta reaction in vitro and appears to be more active than the PR1 polypeptide in vivo. Attempts to obtain repeat occurrences of the PR2 deletion mutation were unsuccessful. A third type of trpA34 partial revertant, PR3, that grows very poorly in minimal medium, also has a Tyr102 replacement: YF102. These findings demonstrate that each of the second-site mutations affects a residue located in the vicinity of the active site residue altered by the primary mutation. Slightly leaky mutant trpA89, genetically altered near the site of the trpA34 mutation, was found to have a GS61 substitution.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993KW97900091
View details for PubMedID 8463331
We have reconstituted Bacillus subtilis trp attenuation in vitro. Purification of the mtrB gene product (TRAP) to near homogeneity allowed us to demonstrate that addition of this protein plus L-tryptophan to template, RNA polymerase, and nucleoside triphosphates caused transcription termination in the trpEDCFBA leader region. TRAP acts by binding to the nascent transcript and preventing formation of an RNA antiterminator structure, thereby allowing terminator formation and transcription termination. Oligonucleotides complementary to segments of the antiterminator were used to demonstrate that formation of this RNA hairpin was responsible for transcription read-through. TRAP was found to be a 60-kDa multimeric protein composed of identical 6- to 8-kDa subunits, and its elution profile on a chromatographic column did not change in the presence of tryptophan.
View details for Web of Science ID A1993KF40700028
View details for PubMedID 7678334
When Neurospora crassa is transformed using a Neurospora gene as the selectable marker, the vegetatively stable transformants obtained cannot be used successfully in a cross because the selectable marker will be inactivated by the process of RIP (repeat-induced point mutation). Introduction of the acetamidase-encoding gene amdS of Aspergillus nidulans into N. crassa by transformation yielded transformants that would grow in minimal medium containing acetamide as a sole nitrogen source. In mitotically stable transformants containing a single copy of the amdS gene, the capacity to utilize acetamide as a sole nitrogen source was maintained in the progeny of a sexual cross. Therefore, the A. nidulans amdS gene is an appropriate dominant selectable marker for use in transformation analyses with N. crassa in which sexual crosses will be subsequently performed.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992KC35000015
View details for PubMedID 1494342
The surface of many fungal spores is covered by a hydrophobic sheath termed the rodlet layer. We have determined that the rodlet protein of Neurospora crassa is encoded by a cloned gene designated bli-7, and that bli-7 is identical to the known gene eas (easily wettable). Using eas DNA as a probe we show that eas mRNA is abundant in illuminated mycelia and conidiophores but is not detectable or is barely detectable in dark-grown mycelia, mature macroconidia, microconidia, and ascospores. Mutations in the genes acon-2, acon-3, and fl block early conidiophore development; of these, only fl prevents normal eas transcription. The EAS protein is homologous to the rodlet protein (RodA) of Aspergillus nidulans, and the hydrophobins of Schizophyllum commune. eas is the first cloned conidiation (con) gene of N. crassa that is associated with a phenotypic alteration.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992KB97700013
View details for PubMedID 1459459
The tryptophanase (tna) operon of Proteus vulgaris was cloned and characterized and found to be organized similarly to the tna operon of Escherichia coli. Both operons contain two major structural genes, tnaA and tnaB, that encode tryptophanase and a tryptophan permease, respectively. tnaA of P. vulgaris is preceded by a transcribed leader region, encoding a 34-residue leader peptide, TnaC, that contains a single tryptophan residue. The tnaC coding region also has a boxA-like sequence. Regulatory studies performed in P. vulgaris, and with a plasmid carrying the P. vulgaris tna operon in E. coli, established that expression of the Proteus operon was induced by tryptophan and was subject to catabolite repression. Site-directed mutagenesis studies established that translation of the tnaC coding region was essential for induction. Synthesis of the P. vulgaris leader peptide was demonstrated in an in vitro coupled transcription-translation system. Interestingly, the 5 amino acid residues of the TnaC peptide surrounding the sole tryptophan residue are identical in P. vulgaris and E. coli. We conclude that the tna operon of P. vulgaris is also regulated by tryptophan-induced transcription antitermination. Homology of tryptophanase and tryptophan permease of P. vulgaris to related proteins from other species is described.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992JR85800039
View details for PubMedID 1400314
The trp repressor of Escherichia coli regulates transcription initiation in the trp operon by binding at an operator located within the trp promoter region. We have used a filter binding assay to analyze the interaction between purified trp repressor and a synthetic 43-base pair DNA fragment containing the natural trp promoter-operator region. In equilibrium binding experiments, the KD of high affinity binding of trp repressor to this DNA fragment was determined to be 2 x 10(-10) M. Low affinity binding was observed at repressor concentrations above 10 nM. In kinetic experiments with various input ratios of repressor to operator, trp repressor-operator complexes dissociated with equivalent, first-order kinetics. Instantaneous reduction of the tryptophan concentration resulted in increased rates of complex dissociation, indicating that loss of one or both tryptophan molecules from the repressor-operator complex destabilizes the complex. A heterodimeric repressor with a single tryptophan binding site was constructed and its affinity for operator was compared with that of ligand free aporepressor and tryptophan saturated repressor. The heterodimeric repressor had a 20-25-fold higher affinity for operator than did the aporepressor, and it had a 20-25-fold lower affinity for operator than did the tryptophan-saturated repressor.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992JL05300010
View details for PubMedID 1512220
The process of conidiation in Neurospora crassa consists of a series of distinct developmental stages culminating in the formation of multinucleate asexual spores called macroconidia. Immunoblotting techniques were used to study the timing of synthesis and cellular localization of CON10 and CON13, the products of two genes that are expressed during conidiation but not during mycelial growth. Both proteins first appear about 8 hr into conidiation; CON10 disappears between 2 and 4 hr after germination. Within conidiating cultures, CON10 and CON13 proteins are localized in conidiophores, with little or no protein present in the underlying mycelium. Immunofluorescence analyses show that CON10 is evenly distributed throughout the cytoplasm of macroconidia. Synthesis of CON10 and CON13 occurs at a time when their specifying mRNAs first appear (Hager and Yanofsky, Gene 96, 153-159, 1990; Sachs and Yanofsky, Dev. Biol 148, 117-128, 1991), suggesting that regulation of synthesis is predominantly transcriptional.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992JE96100005
View details for PubMedID 1386581
The filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa produces three types of spores by using different developmental pathways: macroconidiation, microconidiation, and sexual spore (ascospore) formation. Several genes of unknown function have been cloned by virtue of their expression during macroconidiation but not during mycelial growth (con genes). It had been postulated that expression of the con genes was specific to macroconidiation. To test this assumption, protein extracts from macroconidia, microconidia, ascospores, and protoperithecia (sexual structures) were analyzed for the product of one of the con genes, con-10, by immunoblotting using a CON10-specific antiserum. CON10 was detected in all of these extracts. An immunologically related protein was detected in an extract from ascospores of a nonconidiating Neurospora species, N. africana. Total RNA isolated from the three types of N. crassa spores was analyzed for con gene mRNA by Northern blotting using five different con genes as probes. Transcripts for four of the genes were detected in all three spore types; mRNA for the fifth gene was detected in macroconidia and microconidia but not in ascospores. Analysis of aconidial and female sterile mutants showed that expression of the con genes along any one developmental pathway occurs when expression along another pathway is genetically blocked.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992HY62400012
View details for PubMedID 1534304
Neurospora crassa is a filamentous fungus that grows on semisolid media by forming spreading colonies. Mutations at several loci prevent this spreading growth. cot-1 is a temperature sensitive mutant of N.crassa that exhibits restricted colonial growth. At temperatures above 32 degrees C colonies are compact while at lower temperatures growth is indistinguishable from that of the wild type. Restricted colonial growth is due to a defect in hyphal tip elongation and a concomitant increase in hyphal branching. We have isolated a genomic cosmid clone containing the wild type allele of cot-1 by complementation. Sequence analyses suggested that cot-1 encodes a member of the cAMP-dependent protein kinase family. Strains in which we disrupted cot-1 are viable but display restricted colonial growth. Duplication, by ectopic integration of a promoter-containing fragment which includes the first one-third (209 codons) of the structural gene, unexpectedly resulted in restricted colonial growth. Our results suggest that an active COT1 kinase is required for one or more events essential for hyphal elongation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992HX08100019
View details for PubMedID 1534751
mtrA of Bacillus subtilis was shown to be the structural gene for GTP cyclohydrolase I, an enzyme essential for folic acid biosynthesis. mtrA is the first gene in a bicistronic operon that includes mtrB, a gene involved in transcriptional attenuation control of the trp genes. mtrA of B. subtilis encodes a 20-kDa polypeptide that is 50% identical to rat GTP cyclohydrolase I. Increased GTP cyclohydrolase I activity was readily detected in crude extracts of B. subtilis and Escherichia coli in which MtrA was overproduced. Biochemical evidence indicating that MtrA catalyzes dihydroneopterin triphosphate and formic acid formation from guanosine triphosphate is presented. It was also shown that mtrB of B. subtilis encodes a 6-kDa polypeptide. Expression of mtrB is sufficient for transcriptional attenuation control of the B. subtilis trp gene cluster in Escherichia coli. Known interrelationships between genes involved in folic acid and aromatic amino acid biosynthesis in B. subtilis are described.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992HL27100002
View details for PubMedID 1551827
The 3-dimensional structure of the trp repressor, aporepressor, and repressor/operator complex have been described. The NH2-terminal arms of the protein, comprising approximately 12-14 residues, were not well resolved in any of these structures. Previous studies by Carey showed that the arms are required for full in vitro repressor activity. To examine the roles of the arms more fully we have removed codons 2-5 and 2-8 of the trpR gene and analyzed the resulting truncated repressors in vivo and in vitro. The delta 2-5 trp repressor was found to be approximately 25% as active as the wild type repressor in vivo. In in vitro equilibrium binding experiments, the delta 2-5 trp repressor was shown to be five-fold less active in operator binding. The rate of dissociation of the complex formed between the delta 2-5 trp repressor and operator was essentially the same as the rate of dissociation of the wild type trp repressor/operator complex. However association of the delta 2-5 trp repressor with operator was clearly defective. Since the NH2-terminal arms of the trp repressor appear to affect association predominantly they may play a role in facilitating non-specific association of repressor with DNA as repressor seeks its cognate operators. The delta 2-8 trp repressor was unstable in vivo and in vitro, suggesting that some portion of the NH2-terminal arm is required for proper folding of the remainder of the molecule.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992HC13600025
View details for PubMedID 1741259
In filamentous fungi, chitin is a structural component of morphologically distinct structures assembled during various phases of growth and development. To investigate the role of chitin synthase in cell wall biogenesis in Neurospora crassa, we cloned a chitin synthase structural gene and examined the consequences of its inactivation. Using degenerate oligonucleotide mixtures designed on the basis of conserved sequences of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae CHS1 and CHS2 polypeptides, a DNA fragment encoding a similar predicted amino acid sequence was amplified from N. crassa genomic DNA. This product was used to probe N. crassa libraries for a gene homologous to one of the yeast genes. Full-length genomic and partial cDNA clones were identified, isolated, and sequenced. The amino acid sequence deduced from a cloned 3.4-kb gene [designated chitin synthase 1 (chs-1)] was very similar to that of the S. cerevisiae CHS1 and CHS2 and the Candida albicans CHS1 polypeptides. Inactivation of the N. crassa chs-1 gene by repeat-induced point mutation produced slow-growing progeny that formed hyphae with morphologic abnormalities. The chs-1RIP phenotype was correlated with a significant reduction in chitin synthase activity. Calcofluor staining of the chs-1RIP strain cross-walls, residual chitin synthase activity, and the increased sensitivity of the chs-1RIP strain to Nikkomycin Z suggest that N. crassa produces additional chitin synthase that can participate in cell wall formation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991GX54400006
View details for PubMedID 1836444
The levels of transcripts for Neurospora crassa genes concerned with cellular and metabolic functions changed dramatically at different stages of asexual development. Transcripts for some conidiation-related (con) genes were present at high levels in conidiating cultures and in dormant conidia, but were absent or reduced during mycelial growth. Levels of some con transcripts increased transiently during conidial germination, while others disappeared. Transcripts for amino acid biosynthetic enzymes, ribosomal proteins, cytochrome oxidase subunits, histones, and other polypeptides important for cell growth were detected in newly formed conidia and were present at reduced levels in dormant conidia. Levels of these transcripts increased upon germination of wild-type conidia in minimal medium, reaching their highest levels during this stage or during the early phase of exponential growth. The increased transcription of amino acid biosynthetic genes observed during germination in minimal medium was not dependent on a functional cpc-1 gene. However, cpc-1, which encodes a DNA binding protein presumed to function as a transcriptional activator, was essential for increased expression of amino acid biosynthetic genes when amino acid starvation was imposed during germination or at any subsequent stage of mycelial growth.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991GP35800011
View details for PubMedID 1834495
Escherichia coli forms three permeases that can transport the amino acid tryptophan: Mtr, AroP, and TnaB. The structural genes for these permeases reside in separate operons that are subject to different mechanisms of regulation. We have exploited the fact that the tryptophanase (tna) operon is induced by tryptophan to infer how tryptophan transport is influenced by the growth medium and by mutations that inactivate each of the permease proteins. In an acid-hydrolyzed casein medium, high levels of tryptophan are ordinarily required to obtain maximum tna operon induction. High levels are necessary because much of the added tryptophan is degraded by tryptophanase. An alternate inducer that is poorly cleaved by tryptophanase, 1-methyltryptophan, induces efficiently at low concentrations in both tna+ strains and tna mutants. In an acid-hydrolyzed casein medium, the TnaB permease is most critical for tryptophan uptake; i.e., only mutations in tnaB reduce tryptophanase induction. However, when 1-methyltryptophan replaces tryptophan as the inducer in this medium, mutations in both mtr and tnaB are required to prevent maximum induction. In this medium, AroP does not contribute to tryptophan uptake. However, in a medium lacking phenylalanine and tyrosine the AroP permease is active in tryptophan transport; under these conditions it is necessary to inactivate the three permeases to eliminate tna operon induction. The Mtr permease is principally responsible for transporting indole, the degradation product of tryptophan produced by tryptophanase action. The TnaB permease is essential for growth on tryptophan as the sole carbon source. When cells with high levels of tryptophanase are transferred to tryptophan-free growth medium, the expression of the tryptophan (trp) operon is elevated. This observation suggests that the tryptophanase present in these cells degrades some of the synthesized tryptophan, thereby creating a mild tryptophan deficiency. Our studies assign roles to the three permeases in tryptophan transport under different physiological conditions.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991GH45500009
View details for PubMedID 1917834
We have examined the effects of changing the length and codon content of the trp leader peptide coding region on expression of the trp operon of Escherichia coli, it had previously been shown that coupling of transcription and translation in the trp leader region is essential for both basal level control and tryptophan starvation control of transcription attenuation in this operon. We have found that increasing the length of the leader peptide coding region by 55 codons allowed normal basal level control and normal tryptophan starvation control. As expected, the presence of a nonsense codon early in the leader peptide coding region decreased basal expression and eliminated starvation control. Introducing tandem rare codons had no effect on basal level expression, but eliminated the tryptophan starvation response. Frameshifting at tandem rare codons was tested as the most likely explanation for loss of the tryptophan starvation response, but the results were inconclusive.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991FA08900015
View details for PubMedID 2017362
CPCI, the principal regulatory protein required for cross-pathway control of amino acid biosynthetic genes in Neurospora crassa, contains a domain similar to the DNA-binding domain of GCN4, the corresponding general regulator in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We examined binding by CPC1 synthesized in vitro and by CPC1 present in N. crassa whole-cell extracts. CPCI from both sources was shown to bind to the DNA sequence 5'-ATGACTCAT-3', which is also the preferred recognition sequence of GCN4, CPC1 was confirmed as the source of DNA-binding activity in extracts by immunoblotting. Slightly mobility differences between DNA complexes containing CPCI synthesized in vitro and CPC1 in mycelial extracts were observed. Analyses of N. crassa extracts from different stages of asexual development revealed that CPC1 was abundant immediately following spore germination and through early mycelial growth but was scarce subsequently. CPC1 levels could be increased at any time by imposing amino acid starvation. Copies of the CPC1 response element are located upstream of several genes regulated by cross-pathway control, including cpc-1 itself.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991EV17600037
View details for PubMedID 1824959
CPC1 is the transcriptional activator of amino acid biosynthetic genes of Neurospora crassa. CPC1 function in vivo was abolished upon deletion of segments of cpc-1 corresponding to the presumed transcription activation domain, the DNA-binding and dimerization domains, or a 52-residue connector segment of CPC1. A truncated CPC1 polypeptide containing only the carboxy-terminal 57-residue segment of CPC1 was sufficient to form homodimers that bound DNA. However, deletion of the segment of cpc-1 corresponding to the connector segment in the full-length CPC1 polypeptide abolished DNA binding. Removal of a segment of cpc-1 corresponding to the GIn-rich region of CPC1 reduced in vivo function only slightly. The homologous transcription activator of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, GCN4, did not substitute for CPC1 in N. crassa. Chimeric CPC1-GCN4 polypeptides that contained the GCN4 transcriptional activation domain or the domain of GCN4 that corresponds to the essential 52-residue connector segment of CPC1, functioned with reduced efficiency. However, a chimeric polypeptide containing the GCN4 DNA-binding and dimerization domains in place of those of CPC1 functioned essentially as well as wild-type CPC1. The basic and dimerization domains of CPC1 were characterized by introducing deletions or site-directed amino acid replacements. The basic region was required for DNA binding but not for dimerization. CPC1 has a short dimerization domain containing heptad residues Leu-1, Leu-2, Trp-3, and His-4. When Val was substituted for Leu-1 or Leu-2, CPC1 was fully active, but when Val replaced Trp-3, dimerization and DNA binding were prevented. DNA band shift analyses with CPC1 heterodimers demonstrated that CPC1 does not require aligned heptad leucine residues for dimerization. Replacement of two charged residues located between Leu-1 and Leu-2 of CPC1 abolished dimerization and DNA binding.
View details for Web of Science ID A1991EV17600038
View details for PubMedID 1824960
Asexual development in Neurospora crassa proceeds through a series of discrete morphological stages that culminate in the production of dormant spores called conidia. Changes in the pattern of gene expression parallel the morphological transformations associated with conidiation. As a prerequisite to the analysis of developmental gene expression in N. crassa, several genes of unknown function that are preferentially expressed during conidiation were isolated [Berlin and Yanofsky, Mol. Cell. Biol. 5 (1985) 849-855]. The molecular structure and nucleotide sequence of one of these genes, designated con-13, is presented. The con-13 gene specifies a relatively rare 1.35-kb message which is first detected about 8 h following the induction of conidiation. Sequence analysis of both cDNA and genomic clones indicates that the con-13 gene consists of three exons divided by two small introns. It encodes a polypeptide of 340 amino acid residues (37.1 kDa). The Con-13 protein is weakly acidic and hydrophilic. A comparison of the regions upstream from the con-8, con-10, and con-13 genes revealed several short sequence motifs which may be important in developmental gene regulation.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990EM78200001
View details for PubMedID 2148538
We have cloned and characterized the mtr operon of Bacillus subtilis. This operon encodes a presumed RNA-binding regulatory protein that is required for attenuation control of the trp operon. We have shown that the mtr operon consists of two structural genes, mtrA and mtrB, predicted to encode 22-kDa and 8-kDa polypeptides, respectively. MtrB shows homology with RegA, an RNA-binding regulatory protein of bacteriophage T4. The lesions in several mtr mutants were localized to mtrB or the putative mtr promoter. Several mtrB alleles were dominant to mtr+, suggesting that the regulatory factor is a multimeric protein. The in vivo action of the mtrA and mtrB gene products was analyzed in an E. coli strain containing a trpE-lacZ gene fusion under control of the B. subtilis trp promoter/attenuator region. Both MtrA and MtrB were necessary for regulation of beta-galactosidase production.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990EJ60700009
View details for PubMedID 2123343
Carotenoid biosynthesis is regulated by blue light during growth of Neurospora crassa mycelia. We have cloned the al-1 gene of N. crassa encoding the carotenoid-biosynthetic enzyme phytoene dehydrogenase and present an analysis of its structure and regulation. The gene encodes a 595-residue polypeptide that shows homology to two procaryotic carotenoid dehydrogenases. RNA measurements showed that the level of al-1 mRNA increased over 70-fold in photoinduced mycelia. Transcription run-on studies indicated that the al-1 gene was regulated at the level of initiation of transcription in response to photoinduction. The photoinduced increase of al-1 mRNA levels was not observed in two Neurospora mutants defective in all physiological photoresponses. Analysis of cosmid containing al-1 and of a translocation strain with a breakpoint within al-1 indicated that al-1 transcription proceeds towards the centromere of linkage group I of N. crassa.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990EA11900005
View details for PubMedID 2144609
We have characterized genomic and cDNA clones for arg-2, the gene encoding the small subunit of the Neurospora crassa arginine-specific carbamoyl phosphate synthetase (CPS-A), and examined its transcriptional regulation. The polypeptide's predicted amino acid sequence (453 residues) is 56% and 36% identical with the sequences of the homologous polypeptides of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli, respectively. The ARG2 polypeptide has an additional amino-terminal domain with the hallmark features of a mitochondrial signal sequence. The arg-2 mRNA also encodes a 24-residue peptide in the segment upstream of the coding region for the ARG2 polypeptide. This upstream open reading frame (uORF) strongly resembles the uORF in the homologous S. cerevisiae transcript. Northern analyses indicate that arg-2 mRNA levels are reduced by arginine supplementation and increased by amino acid limitation. The large increase in arg-2 mRNA levels that occurs in response to amino acid limitation is not observed in a strain containing the cpc-1 mutation, indicating that the cross-pathway control system participates in arg-2 regulation. Four copies of the sequence TGACTC, the binding site for the CPC1 regulatory protein, are found in the arg-2 genetic region. Two copies are located upstream of the mRNA start sites, and two are present within introns in the arg-2 uORF.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990DL65500033
View details for PubMedID 2141606
The a mating-type region of Neurospora crassa controls several major events in both the sexual and asexual phases of the fungal life cycle. This 3235-base-pair DNA segment is not homologous to the comparable genetic region of the A mating type. The unique a and A regions are bordered by nearly identical DNA sequences. The a genetic region contains at least two functional segments. One segment encodes a perithecium maturation function that is dependent on the second segment for phenotypic expression. This second a segment encodes a spliced mRNA that specifies the mt a-1 polypeptide. This polypeptide appears to be responsible for vegetative incompatibility, mating identity, and perithecium induction. The a-1 transcript is produced vegetatively and under conditions that induce sexual differentiation. The amino-terminal half of the mt a-1 polypeptide is homologous to the shorter Schizosaccharomyces pombe mat-Mc polypeptide. This homology and the properties of mt a-1 mutants suggest that the a-1 polypeptide segment that is homologous to the mat-Mc polypeptide may be primarily responsible for mating functions, while the distal segment is required for vegetative incompatibility.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990DM38600006
View details for PubMedID 2142304
Tryptophanase (tna) operon expression in Escherichia coli is induced by tryptophan. This response is mediated by features of a 319-base-pair leader region preceding the major structural genes of the operon. Translation of the coding region (tnaC) for a 24-amino-acid leader peptide is essential for induction. We have used site-directed mutagenesis to investigate the role of the single Trp codon, at position 12 in tnaC, in regulation of the operon. Codon 12 was changed to either a UAG or UGA stop codon or to a CGG arginine codon. Induction by tryptophan was eliminated by any of these changes. Studies with suppressor tRNAs indicated that tRNA(Trp) translation of codon 12 in tnaC is essential for induction of the operon. Reduction of tna expression by a miaA mutation supports a role for translation by tRNA(Trp) in regulation of the operon. Frameshift mutations and suppression that allows translation of tnaC to proceed beyond the normal stop codon result in constitutive tna operon expression. Deletion of a potential site for Rho factor utilization just beyond tnaC also results in partial constitutive expression. These studies suggest possible models for tryptophan induction of tna operon expression involving tRNA(Trp)-mediated frame shifting or readthrough at the tnaC stop codon.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990DG18600040
View details for PubMedID 2345136
The trp repressor of Escherichia coli binds to the operators of three operons concerned with tryptophan biosynthesis and regulates their expression. trp superrepressors can repress expression of the trp operon in vivo at lower tryptophan concentrations than those required by the wild-type repressor. The five known superrepressors have been purified and characterized using a modified filter binding assay. In four of the five superrepressors, EK13, EK18, DN46 and EK49, negatively charged wild-type residues located on the surface of the repressor that faces the operator are replaced by positively charged or neutral residues. Each of these proteins has higher affinity for the trp operator than wild-type repressor. Decreased rates of dissociation of the repressor-operator complex were found to be responsible for the higher affinities. The fifth superrepressor, AV77, has an amino acid substitution in the turn of the helix-turn-helix DNA-binding motif. This superrepressor was indistinguishable from wild-type repressor in our filter binding assay. We conclude that rapid dissociation of repressor from operator is important for trp repressor function in vivo. The negatively charged wild-type residues that are replaced in superrepressors are probably responsible for the characteristic rapid dissociation of the trp repressor from the trp operator.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990DC83500027
View details for PubMedID 1970820
Asp-60 is believed to be a catalytically essential residue of the tryptophan synthetase alpha chain of Escherichia coli (Nagata, S., Hyde, C.C., and Miles, E.W. (1989) J. Biol. Chem. 264, 6288-6296). Surprisingly, mutations altering Asp-60 were not observed in the many trpA missense mutants characterized in the 1960s. However, there was one genetic class of trpA missense mutants, represented by trpA34, for which protein structure analyses failed to detect an amino acid substitution. DNA sequence analyses have now shown that the trpA34 mutation was in codon 60 and that it resulted in replacement of Asp-60 by Asn. This finding provides additional support for the conclusion that the tryptophan synthetase alpha chain contains only a small number of absolutely essential residues.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990CZ67700023
View details for PubMedID 2182623
In vitro transcription studies with a trp leader DNA template derived from a double deletion mutant of Serratia marcescens revealed that the transcription complex pauses synthesis of part of the RNA antiterminator, structure 2:3. Pausing was enhanced by NusA protein and was dependent on the concentration of UTP in the transcription reaction mixture. A weak antiterminator pause also was detected during transcription of the wild-type S. marcescens trp leader template in the presence of NusA protein and 1 microM UTP. Transcription pausing following synthesis of the antiterminator also was observed in a cell-free transcription-translation system. Antiterminator-induced pausing may play an important role in vivo by delaying synthesis of RNA segment 4. This delay may influence basal level control in cells with an excess of tryptophan. In addition, formation of the antiterminator pause structure may introduce a more stringent tryptophan starvation requirement for RNA polymerase to read through the attenuator.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990CY58700027
View details for PubMedID 1690721
cpc-1 is the locus specifying what is believed to be the major trans-activating transcription factor that regulates expression of amino acid biosynthetic genes subject to cross-pathway control in Neurospora crassa. Mutants altered at this locus are incapable of the global increase in gene expression normally seen in response to amino acid starvation. Using polymerase chain reaction methodology we have cloned and sequenced the inactive mutant allele, cpc-1 (CD15). The cpc-1 (CD15) mutation was found to be a single base pair deletion in codon 93 of the cpc-1 structural gene. A second, presumed lethal, allele, cpc-1 (j-5), also was investigated. Northern analyses with strains carrying the cpc-1 (j-5) allele revealed that no cpc-1 mRNA is produced. Southern and genetic analyses established that the cpc-1 (j-5) mutation involved a chromosomal rearrangement in which a break occurred within the cpc-1 locus, normally resident on linkage group VI; a small fragment from the left arm of linkage group VI, containing the cpc-1 promoter region and ylo-1, was translocated to the right arm of linkage group I. Other studies indicate that the cpc-1 locus itself is not essential for viability. Lethality previously attributed to the cpc-1 (j-5) mutation is due instead to the production of progeny that are deficient for essential genes in an adjoining segment of linkage group VI. Molecular characterization of cpc-1 (j-5) x ylo-1 pan-2 duplication progeny indicated that cpc-1 is normally transcribed towards the linkage group VI centromere.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990CQ97500015
View details for PubMedID 2138111
During evolution of fungi, the separate tryptophan synthetase alpha and beta polypeptides of bacteria appear to have been fused in the order alpha-beta rather than the beta-alpha order that would be predicted from the order of the corresponding structural genes in all bacteria. We have fused the tryptophan synthetase polypeptides of Escherichia coli in both orders, alpha-beta and beta-alpha, with and without a short connecting (con) sequence, to explore possible explanations for the domain arrangement in fungi. We find that proteins composed of any of the four fused polypeptides, beta-alpha, beta-con-alpha, alpha-beta, and alpha-con-beta, are highly active enzymatically. However, only the alpha-beta and alpha-con-beta proteins are as active as the wild type enzyme. All four fusion proteins appear to be less soluble in vivo than the wild type enzyme; this abnormal characteristic is minimal for the alpha-con-beta enzyme. The alpha and beta domains of the four fusion polypeptides were not appreciably more heat labile than the wild type polypeptides. Competition experiments with mutant tryptophan synthetase alpha protein, and the fusion proteins suggest that in each fusion protein the joined alpha and beta domains have a functional tunnel connecting their alpha and beta active sites. Three tryptophan synthetase beta'-alpha fusion proteins were examined in which the carboxyl-terminal segment of the wild type beta polypeptide was deleted and replaced by a shorter, unnatural sequence. The resulting deletion fusion proteins were enzymatically inactive and were found predominantly in the cell debris. Evaluation of our findings in relation to the three-dimensional structure of the tryptophan synthetase enzyme complex of Salmonella typhimurium (5) and the results of mutational analyses with E. coli suggest that tryptophan synthetase may have evolved via an alpha-beta rather than a beta-alpha fusion because in beta-alpha fusions the amino-terminal helix of the alpha chain cannot assume the conformation required for optimal enzymatic activity.
View details for Web of Science ID A1990CL02800041
View details for PubMedID 2404978
Mutations in prfB, encoding release factor 2 (UGA- and UAA-specific), increase transcription termination at the trp operon attenuator in Escherichia coli strains grown in the presence of tryptophan. The prfB mutations have no effect on basal level expression in strains in which the natural trp leader peptide stop codon UGA was replaced by either UAG or UAA. The effect of introducing prfB mutations into mutant strains containing altered trp leader regions that influence basal level transcription readthrough was also determined. Our findings support a model for basal level control of trp operon expression in which ribosome release from the leader peptide stop codon, formation of alternative transcript secondary structures, and the position of the transcribing RNA polymerase regulate expression.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989AG24900031
View details for PubMedID 2663855
The filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa responds to nutrient deprivation and dessication by producing asexual spores, or conidia. These conidia are derived from differentiated aerial structures called conidiophores. The process of conidiation was analyzed in wild-type and morphological mutants using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and specific fluorescent probes. The first discernible morphological step of conidiation is the transition from growth by hyphal tip elongation to growth by repeated apical budding, resulting in the formation of chains of proconidia that resemble beads on a string. The initial proconidial chains are morphologically distinct from those that form later and are capable of reverting to hyphal growth, whereas the later chains are committed to conidiation. As the proconidial chains are formed, nuclei migrate into the conidiophore, and cross-walls arise between adjoining proconidia in a series of steps that have been defined by staining with Calcofluor, a fluorescent chitin-binding probe. The chains ultimately disarticulate in several discrete stages into free, morphologically mature conidia. Different conidiation-defective mutants were shown to be blocked at distinct stages in conidiation. Our observations permit us to derive a developmental timeline of conidiation relating the occurrence of morphological changes and the stage blocked in specific mutants.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989U742400012
View details for PubMedID 2524423
The complete nucleotide sequence of the Neurospora crassa trp-3 gene-encoding tryptophan synthetase has been determined; we present an analysis of its structure. A comparison of the deduced amino acid sequence of the trp-3 polypeptide with its homologs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (encoded by the TRP5 gene) and Escherichia coli (encoded by the trpA and trpB genes) shows that the A and B domains (amino acid segments homologous to the trpA and trpB polypeptides, respectively) of the N. crassa and yeast polypeptides are in the same order (NH2-A-B-COOH). This arrangement is the reverse of the gene order characteristic of all prokaryotes that have been examined. N. crassa tryptophan synthetase has strong homology to the yeast TRP5 polypeptide (A domains have 54% identity; B domains have 75% identity), and somewhat weaker homology to the E. coli trpA and trpB polypeptides (A domains have 31% identity; B domains have 50% identity). The two domains of the N. crassa polypeptide are linked by a connector of 54-amino acid residues that has less than 25% identity to the 45-residue connector of the yeast polypeptide, although secondary structure analysis predicts both connectors would be alpha-helical. In contrast to the yeast TRP5 gene, which has no introns, the trp-3 coding region is interrupted by two introns 77 and 71 nucleotides in length. Both introns are located near the 5'-end of the gene and therefore not near the segment encoding the connector.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989T461200033
View details for PubMedID 2521855
The filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa, by a series of defined changes, differentiates from a mycelium composed of branching hyphae to form dormant spores, called conidia. Several genes of unknown function (con genes) that are preferentially expressed during this period have been cloned. Transcription of these genes has been examined in conidiation-defective mutants, and the results obtained revealed that con-6, con-8, con-10, con-11 and con-13 are most likely to play a unique role during conidiation, con-8 is expressed early during conidial differentiation. Genomic and cDNA sequence analyses with con-8 clones identified one open reading frame, interrupted by two introns, which encodes a weakly acidic 18.4 kDa polypeptide containing 176 amino acid residues, con-8 is unusual in that it is transcribed as two mRNA species, 1.0 and 1.25 kb in length. S1 nuclease mapping and primer extension analyses identify one major initiation site, one major polyadenylation site, and demonstrated the existence of heterogeneity at the messenger's 5' and 3' ends.
View details for Web of Science ID A1989R859800016
View details for PubMedID 2521382
An expression system was developed for measuring in vivo promoter strength at the single copy level and this system was used to compare the trp, aroH and trpR promoters. This system employs trpE enzyme activity as a measure of promoter strength and lacZ expression for internal copy number reference. Promoter-containing fragments are inserted into a cloning vector and subsequently recombined on to phage lambda by genetic exchange. Single lysogens are then prepared and used in promoter-strength analyses. The strength of several promoters was determined using this system. Among the promoters tested, the Escherichia coli trpEDCBA promoter was the strongest; it was four times more active than the lacUV5 promoter and about ten times stronger than the trpR and aroH promoters. To validate measurement of trpE enzyme activity as an indicator of promoter strength, trpE enzyme activity was compared with the level of trpE mRNA. There was excellent correspondence between the two, suggesting that with this system trpE enzyme activity accurately reflects promoter strength. We also examined a homologous promoter-strength measuring system in which the promoter-cloning plasmid lacked a 104 base-pair DNA spacer that was present immediately downstream from the promoter-cloning site in our preferred system. We found that the spacer was essential; the transcribed region accompanying a cloned promoter apparently affected trpE translational efficiency and/or trpE mRNA stability.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988R090300004
View details for PubMedID 3063826
In studies with a trpE promoter-strength measuring system we observed that constructs containing the Escherichia coli trp promoter and its adjacent transcribed region yielded lower levels of trpE protein than were expected. To analyze this observation we introduced mutational changes in the nucleotide sequence preceding the trpE Shine-Dalgarno region and examined their effects on trpE mRNA synthesis, translation and decay. We found that certain deletion, insertion and substitution mutations in the pre-Shine-Dalgarno region caused a two- to fivefold increase in trpE enzyme activity. These increases were accompanied by increases in steady-state levels of trpE mRNA. Pulse-chase analyses of trpE mRNA degradation revealed that the observed steady-state trpE mRNA levels correlated with changes in trpE mRNA stability. These findings are interpreted in terms of alternative models in which the primary effect of mutational changes that elevate trpE expression is to increase trpE mRNA translation, versus increasing trpE mRNA stability.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988R090300005
View details for PubMedID 2464067
Second-site reversion studies were performed with five missense mutants with defects in the trp repressor of Escherichia coli. These mutants were altered throughout the gene. The same unidirectional mutagen used in the isolation of these mutants, hydroxylamine, was used in reversion studies, to increase the likelihood that the revertants obtained would have second-site changes. Most of the second-site revertants were found to have the same amino acid substitutions detected previously as superrepressor changes. These second-site revertant repressors were more active in vivo than their parental mutant repressors, in the presence or absence of exogenous tryptophan. Apparently superrepressor changes at many locations in this protein can act globally to increase the activity of mutant repressors.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988Q758300006
View details for PubMedID 3066681
The leader peptide stop codon (UGA) of the Escherichia coli trp operon was replaced by UAA and UAG. The transcriptional behavior of the mutated leader regions in vitro and the extent of transcription termination observed with each in vivo were virtually identical to that of the wild type leader region. Introduction of a release factor 1 (UAA- and UAG-specific) mutation into strains with the different stop codons caused increased termination in strains with UAA and UAG, but not with UGA (in cells grown in the presence of tryptophan). This finding provides evidence for the view that ribosome release from the leader peptide stop codon is an important event in setting the basal level of transcription readthrough at the trp attenuator.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988Q306000045
View details for PubMedID 3049573
Interaction of the Escherichia coli trp repressor with the promoter-operator regions of the trp, aroH and trpR operons was studied in vivo and in vitro. The three operators have similar, but non-identical, sequences; each operator is located in a different segment of its respective promoter. In vivo repression of the three operons was measured using single-copy gene fusions to lacZ. The extent of repression varied from 300-fold for the trp operon, to sixfold for the aroH operon and threefold for the trpR operon. To determine whether differential binding of repressor to the three operators was responsible for the differences in repression observed in vivo, three in vitro binding assays were employed. Restriction-site protection, gel retardation and DNase footprinting analyses revealed that repressor binds to the three operators with almost equal affinity. It was also shown in an in vivo competition assay that repressor binds approximately equally well to each of the three operators. It is proposed that the differential regulation observed in vivo may be due to the different relative locations of the three operators within their respective promoters.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988P746100008
View details for PubMedID 3050131
Transcription of the trp operon of Bacillus subtilis is regulated by attenuation. A trpE'-'lacZ gene fusion preceded by the wild-type trp promoter-leader region was used to analyze regulation. Overproduction of the trp leader transcript in trans from a multicopy plasmid caused constitutive expression of the chromosomal trpE'-'lacZ fusion, presumably by titrating a negative regulatory factor encoded by the mtr locus. Subsegments of the trp leader region cloned onto the multicopy plasmid were examined for their abilities to elevate beta-galactosidase activity. An RNA segment spanning the portion of the leader transcript that forms the promoter-proximal strand of the proposed antiterminator structure was most active in this trans test. The data suggest that the mtr gene product, when activated by tryptophan, binds to this RNA segment and prevents formation of the antiterminator. In this manner, the trans-acting factor promotes formation of the RNA structure that causes transcription termination. Secondary-structure predictions for the leader segment of the trp operon transcript suggest that if the mtr factor bound this RNA segment in a nonterminated transcript, the ribosome-binding site for the first structural gene, trpE, could be sequestered in a stable RNA structure. We tested this possibility by comparing transcriptional and translational fusions containing the initial segments of the trp operon. Our findings suggest that the mtr product causes both transcription attenuation and inhibition of translation of trpE mRNA. Inhibition of translation initiation would reduce ribosome density on trpE mRNA, perhaps making it more labile. Consistent with this interpretation, the addition of tryptophan to mtr+ cultures increased the rate of trpE'-'lacZ mRNA decay.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988P022600027
View details for PubMedID 3133360
Expression of the gene cpc-1 is required for cross-pathway-mediated regulation of amino acid-biosynthetic genes in Neurospora crassa. We have cloned cpc-1 and present an analysis of its structure and regulation. The cpc-1-encoded transcript contains three open reading frames, two of which are located in the 720-nucleotide leader segment preceding the cpc-1 coding region. The two leader open reading frames, if translated, would produce peptides 20 and 41 residues in length. The deduced amino acid sequence of the cpc-1 polypeptide, CPC1, contains segments similar to the DNA-binding and transcriptional activation domains of GCN4, the major cross-pathway regulatory protein of yeast. The structural and functional similarities of CPC1 and GCN4 proteins suggest that cpc-1 encodes the analogous transcriptional activator of N. crassa. Messenger RNA measurements indicate that cpc-1 is transcriptionally regulated in response to amino acid starvation. The segment of CPC1 similar to the DNA-binding domain of GCN4 also is similar to the DNA-binding domains of the avian sarcoma virus oncogene-encoded v-JUN protein and human c-JUN protein.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988N799900015
View details for PubMedID 2967496
The asexual developmental pathway in the life cycle of the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa culminates in the formation of spores called conidia. Several clones of genomic Neurospora DNA have been isolated that correspond to mRNA species expressed during conidiation and not during mycelial growth (V. Berlin and C. Yanofsky, Mol. Cell. Biol. 5:849-855, 1985). In this paper we describe the characterization of one of these clones, named pCon-10a. This clone contains two genes, con-10 and con-13, which are induced coordinately during the later stages of conidiation. The two genes are separated by 1.4 kilobases of DNA; they are located on linkage group IV and are transcribed from the same strand of DNA. The molecular organization and sequence of one of these genes, con-10, and its flanking regions are presented. Full-length cDNA clones for con-10 also were isolated and sequenced, and transcription-initiation and polyadenylation sites were defined. The con-10 gene contains an open reading frame interrupted by two small introns and encodes an 86-amino-acid residue polypeptide that is both hydrophilic and weakly acidic. Expression of the con-10 gene in various mutants defective at different stages of conidiation indicates that it plays a role after aerial hyphal development. Possible functions, organization, and regulation of conidiation-specific genes are discussed.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988N633800018
View details for PubMedID 2970007
An arg-2 mutant of Neurospora crassa was transformed to prototrophy with a pBR322-N. crassa genomic DNA library. Repeated attempts to recover the integrated transforming DNA or segments thereof by digestion, ligation, and transformation of Escherichia coli, with selection for the plasmid marker ampicillin resistance, were unsuccessful. Analyses of a N. crassa transformant demonstrated that the introduced DNA was heavily methylated at cytosine residues. This methylation was shown to be responsible for our inability to recover transformants in standard strains of E. coli; transformants were readily obtained in a strain which is deficient in the two methylcytosine restriction systems. Restriction of methylated DNA in E. coli may explain the general failure to recover vector or transforming sequences from N. crassa transformants.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988N192000041
View details for PubMedID 2968501
A molecular karyotype of Neurospora crassa was obtained by using an alternating-field gel electrophoresis system which employs contour-clamped homogeneous electric fields. The migration of all seven N. crassa chromosomal DNAs was defined, and five of the seven molecules were separated from one another. The estimated sizes of these molecules, based on their migration relative to Schizosaccharomyces pombe chromosomal DNA molecules, are 4 to 12.6 megabases. The seven linkage groups were correlated with specific chromosomal DNA bands by hybridizing transfers of contour-clamped homogeneous electric field gels with radioactive probes specific to each linkage group. The mobilities of minichromosomal DNAs generated from translocation strains were also examined. The methods used for preparation of chromosomal DNA molecules and the conditions for their separation should be applicable to other filamentous fungi.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988M717700010
View details for PubMedID 2967910
Prokaryotic transcription attenuation mechanisms are described in which different metabolic signals and sensing events are used to regulate transcription termination at sites preceding structural genes. Suggestive eukaryotic examples also are mentioned.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988L714800001
View details for PubMedID 3275656
The mechanism of superrepression by the mutant trp repressor EK49 was examined. This superrepressor has a glutamic acid-to-lysine change at residue 49. The purified EK49 trp repressor was found to have a 10-fold higher affinity than wild type repressor for trp operator DNA. This increased affinity was shown to be due to a decrease in dissociation rate. The binding of trp operator DNA by EK49 trp repressor in the filter binding assay was more sensitive to high salt concentrations than binding by wild type repressor.
View details for Web of Science ID A1988L504700040
View details for PubMedID 3275640
Transcription pausing is a key step in many prokaryotic transcription attenuation mechanisms. Pausing is thought to occur when an RNA hairpin forms near the 3' end of a growing transcript. We report here the isolation of the trp leader paused transcription complex containing a defined 92-nucleotide nascent transcript. Digestion of isolated paused complexes with RNase T1 suggests that the trp leader RNA hairpin designated 1:2 forms in the paused transcription complex. The transcription factor NusA alters the RNase T1 digestion pattern of the 92-nucleotide pause transcript in the complex but not the cleavage patterns of purified pause RNA, suggesting that NusA specifically affects the 1:2 hairpin in the paused transcription complex. The isolated paused transcription complex retains the ability to resume transcription. Kinetic studies on the resumption of elongation suggest that NusA is a non-competitive inhibitor of paused complex release and that the Ks for GTP is around 300 microM. RNA polymerase in the paused transcription complex protects approximately 30 base-pairs on both DNA strands from exonuclease digestion.
View details for Web of Science ID A1987J337900011
View details for PubMedID 2443722
We have produced a series of hybrid IgG1.IgG2a mouse immunoglobulins with identical light chains (L) and variable regions to facilitate the identification of structural features associated with functional differences between immunoglobulin isotypes. Hybrid heavy chain (H) constant region gene segments were generated by genetic recombination in Escherichia coli between plasmids carrying mouse gamma 1 and gamma 2a gene segments. Crossovers occurred throughout these segments although the frequency was highest in regions of high nucleotide sequence homology. Eleven variant immunoglobulins produced by transfected hybridoma cell lines are assembled into H2L2 tetramers and properly glycosylated. In addition, all 11 immunoglobulins have identical antigen combining sites specific for the fluorescent hapten epsilon-dansyl-L-lysine. Protein A binding was used as a probe of the structural integrity of the Fc portion of these variant antibodies. Differences in protein A binding between IgG1 and IgG2a appear to be due to amino acid differences at positions 252 (Thr----Met) and 254 (Thr----Ser) of the heavy chain (EU numbering).
View details for Web of Science ID A1987L693600002
View details for PubMedID 3328861
We have constructed a genomic library of Neurospora crassa DNA in a cosmid vector that contains the dominant selectable marker for benomyl resistance. The library is arranged to permit the rapid cloning of Neurospora genes by either sib-selection or colony-hybridization protocols. Detailed procedures for the uses of the library are described. By use of these procedures, a modest number of unrelated genes have been isolated. The cloning of trp-3, the structural gene for the multifunctional enzyme tryptophan synthetase (tryptophan synthase, EC 184.108.40.206), is reported in detail; its identity was verified by restriction fragment length polymorphism mapping. The strategies described in this paper should be of use in the cloning of any gene of Neurospora, as well as genes of other lower eukaryotes.
View details for Web of Science ID A1986C992000061
View details for PubMedID 16593723
The genes of tryptophan biosynthesis are arranged and regulated differently in many microorganisms. Comparison of the transcription regulatory regions of the trp operons of several species of enterobacteria reveals that those sequences and structures believed to be essential for repression and attenuation control are conserved. Examples of divergent and convergent evolutionary change are presented. Rearrangements involving the homologous trpG and pabA genes and their presumed ancestral bi-specific gene are described. Alignment of homologous sequences of trp polypeptides encoded by fused and nonfused genes from various species reveals short connecting amino acid sequences at fusion junctions. These connecting sequences may be relics of gene fusion events and/or they may facilitate the proper folding of neighboring polypeptide domains.
View details for Web of Science ID A1984SQ33900001
View details for PubMedID 6086020
A variety of transcription attenuation mechanisms are used by bacteria to regulate gene and operon expression. This review summarizes previous and current studies designed to elucidate the features of the specific attenuation mechanisms that regulate expression of the tryptophanase (tna) operon of Escherichia coli and the tryptophan (trp) operon of Bacillus subtilis. Initiation of transcription in the tna operon is regulated by catabolite repression. Once initiated, transcription is regulated by tryptophan-induced inhibition of Rho-mediated transcription termination in the leader region of the operon. An operon-encoded leader peptide, TnaC, containing a crucial tryptophan residue, plays an essential role in induction. This peptide appears to act in cis on the ribosome translating tnaC to inhibit its release at the tnaC stop codon. The stalled ribosome would block Rho's access to the tna transcript, thereby preventing termination. Transcription of the trp operon of B subtilis is regulated by an attenuation mechanism that responds to a tryptophan-activated eleven subunit RNA-binding regulatory protein, called TRAP. Activated TRAP binds to repeated GAG sequences in the leader segment of the trp operon transcript, disrupting an RNA antiterminator and promoting formation of a terminator. Activated TRAP also regulates translation of trpG in the folate operon by binding to repeat GAG sequences surrounding the trpG ribosome binding site. A temperature sensitive tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase (trpS) mutant was previously observed to overexpress the trp operon and trpG, when grown at elevated temperatures in the presence of tryptophan. We have found that the trpS defect increases trp operon and trpG expression by interfering with TRAP's ability to act. We suggest that either accumulation of uncharged tRNA(Trp) or overproduction of a TRAP-binding transcript reduces the level of functional TRAP in the trpS mutant.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996WY72100016
View details for PubMedID 9150880