Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 7

Transcription Factor Related Abstracts

7 In-Vivo Association of Multivalent 11 Zinc Fingers Transcriptional Factors CTCF and Boris to YB-1 in Multiforme Glioma-RGBM Cell Line

Authors: Daruliza Kernain, Shaharum Shamsuddin, See Too Wei Cun


CTCF is a unique, highly conserved and ubiquitously expressed 11 zinc finger (ZF) transcriptional factor with multiple target sites. It is able to bind to various target sequences to perform different regulatory roles including promoter activation or repression, creating hormone-responsive gene silencing element, and functional block of enhancer-promoter interactions. The binding of CTCF to the essential binding site is through the combination of different ZF domain. On the other hand, BORIS for brother of the regulator of imprinted sites, which expressed only in the testis and certain cancer cell line is homology to CTCF 11 ZF domains. Since both transcriptional factors share the same ZF domains hence there is a possibility for both to bind to the same target sequences. In this study, the interaction of these two proteins to multi-functional Y-box DNA/RNA-binding factor, YB-1 was determined. The protein-protein interaction between CTCF/YB-1 and BORIS/YB-1 were discovered by Co-immuno-precipitation (CO-IP) technique through reciprocal experiment from RGBM total cell lysate. The results showed that both CTCF and BORIS were able to interact with YB-1 in Glioma RGBM cell line. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first findings demonstrating the ability of BORIS and YB-1 to form a complex in vivo.

Keywords: Molecular Medicine, Transcription Factor, immunoprecipitation, CTCF/BORIS/YB-1

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6 Single Pass Design of Genetic Circuits Using Absolute Binding Free Energy Measurements and Dimensionless Analysis

Authors: Iman Farasat, Howard M. Salis


Engineered genetic circuits reprogram cellular behavior to act as living computers with applications in detecting cancer, creating self-controlling artificial tissues, and dynamically regulating metabolic pathways. Phenemenological models are often used to simulate and design genetic circuit behavior towards a desired behavior. While such models assume that each circuit component’s function is modular and independent, even small changes in a circuit (e.g. a new promoter, a change in transcription factor expression level, or even a new media) can have significant effects on the circuit’s function. Here, we use statistical thermodynamics to account for the several factors that control transcriptional regulation in bacteria, and experimentally demonstrate the model’s accuracy across 825 measurements in several genetic contexts and hosts. We then employ our first principles model to design, experimentally construct, and characterize a family of signal amplifying genetic circuits (genetic OpAmps) that expand the dynamic range of cell sensors. To develop these models, we needed a new approach to measuring the in vivo binding free energies of transcription factors (TFs), a key ingredient of statistical thermodynamic models of gene regulation. We developed a new high-throughput assay to measure RNA polymerase and TF binding free energies, requiring the construction and characterization of only a few constructs and data analysis (Figure 1A). We experimentally verified the assay on 6 TetR-homolog repressors and a CRISPR/dCas9 guide RNA. We found that our binding free energy measurements quantitatively explains why changing TF expression levels alters circuit function. Altogether, by combining these measurements with our biophysical model of translation (the RBS Calculator) as well as other measurements (Figure 1B), our model can account for changes in TF binding sites, TF expression levels, circuit copy number, host genome size, and host growth rate (Figure 1C). Model predictions correctly accounted for how these 8 factors control a promoter’s transcription rate (Figure 1D). Using the model, we developed a design framework for engineering multi-promoter genetic circuits that greatly reduces the number of degrees of freedom (8 factors per promoter) to a single dimensionless unit. We propose the Ptashne (Pt) number to encapsulate the 8 co-dependent factors that control transcriptional regulation into a single number. Therefore, a single number controls a promoter’s output rather than these 8 co-dependent factors, and designing a genetic circuit with N promoters requires specification of only N Pt numbers. We demonstrate how to design genetic circuits in Pt number space by constructing and characterizing 15 2-repressor OpAmp circuits that act as signal amplifiers when within an optimal Pt region. We experimentally show that OpAmp circuits using different TFs and TF expression levels will only amplify the dynamic range of input signals when their corresponding Pt numbers are within the optimal region. Thus, the use of the Pt number greatly simplifies the genetic circuit design, particularly important as circuits employ more TFs to perform increasingly complex functions.

Keywords: Synthetic biology, Transcription Factor, biophysical model, genetic circuit, binding energy measurement

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5 Genome-Wide Analysis of BES1/BZR1 Gene Family in Five Plant Species

Authors: Jafar Ahmadi, Zhohreh Asiaban, Sedigheh Fabriki Ourang


Brassinosteroids (BRs) regulate cell elongation, vascular differentiation, senescence and stress responses. BRs signal through the BES1/BZR1 family of transcription factors, which regulate hundreds of target genes involved in this pathway. In this research a comprehensive genome-wide analysis was carried out in BES1/BZR1 gene family in Arabidopsis thaliana, Cucumis sativus, Vitis vinifera, Glycin max, and Brachypodium distachyon. Specifications of the desired sequences, dot plot and hydropathy plot were analyzed in the protein and genome sequences of five plant species. The maximum amino acid length was attributed to protein sequence Brdic3g with 374aa and the minimum amino acid length was attributed to protein sequence Gm7g with 163aa. The maximum Instability index was attributed to protein sequence AT1G19350 equal with 79.99 and the minimum Instability index was attributed to protein sequence Gm5g equal with 33.22. Aliphatic index of these protein sequences ranged from 47.82 to 78.79 in Arabidopsis thaliana, 49.91 to 57.50 in Vitis vinifera, 55.09 to 82.43 in Glycin max, 54.09 to 54.28 in Brachypodium distachyon 55.36 to 56.83 in Cucumis sativus. Overall, data obtained from our investigation contributes a better understanding of the complexity of the BES1/BZR1 gene family and provides the first step towards directing future experimental designs to perform systematic analysis of the functions of the BES1/BZR1 gene family.

Keywords: phylogenetic analysis, Transcription Factor, BES1/BZR1, brassinosteroids

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4 Toward Understanding the Glucocorticoid Receptor Network in Cancer

Authors: Swati Srivastava, Mattia Lauriola, Yuval Gilad, Adi Kimchi, Yosef Yarden


The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) has been proposed to play important, but incompletely understood roles in cancer. Glucocorticoids (GCs) are widely used as co-medication of various carcinomas, due to their ability to reduce the toxicity of chemotherapy. Furthermore, GR antagonism has proven to be a strategy to treat triple negative breast cancer and castration-resistant prostate cancer. These observations suggest differential GR involvement in cancer subtypes. The goal of our study has been to elaborate the current understanding of GR signaling in tumor progression and metastasis. Our study involves two cellular models, non-tumorigenic breast epithelial cells (MCF10A) and Ewing sarcoma cells (CHLA9). In our breast cell model, the results indicated that the GR agonist dexamethasone inhibits EGF-induced mammary cell migration, and this effect was blocked when cells were stimulated with a GR antagonist, namely RU486. Microarray analysis for gene expression revealed that the mechanism underlying inhibition involves dexamenthasone-mediated repression of well-known activators of EGFR signaling, alongside with enhancement of several EGFR’s negative feedback loops. Because GR mainly acts primarily through composite response elements (GREs), or via a tethering mechanism, our next aim has been to find the transcription factors (TFs) which can interact with GR in MCF10A cells.The TF-binding motif overrepresented at the promoter of dexamethasone-regulated genes was predicted by using bioinformatics. To validate the prediction, we performed high-throughput Protein Complementation Assays (PCA). For this, we utilized the Gaussia Luciferase PCA strategy, which enabled analysis of protein-protein interactions between GR and predicted TFs of mammary cells. A library comprising both nuclear receptors (estrogen receptor, mineralocorticoid receptor, GR) and TFs was fused to fragments of GLuc, namely GLuc(1)-X, X-GLuc(1), and X-GLuc(2), where GLuc(1) and GLuc(2) correspond to the N-terminal and C-terminal fragments of the luciferase gene.The resulting library was screened, in human embryonic kidney 293T (HEK293T) cells, for all possible interactions between nuclear receptors and TFs. By screening all of the combinations between TFs and nuclear receptors, we identified several positive interactions, which were strengthened in response to dexamethasone and abolished in response to RU486. Furthermore, the interactions between GR and the candidate TFs were validated by co-immunoprecipitation in MCF10A and in CHLA9 cells. Currently, the roles played by the uncovered interactions are being evaluated in various cellular processes, such as cellular proliferation, migration, and invasion. In conclusion, our assay provides an unbiased network analysis between nuclear receptors and other TFs, which can lead to important insights into transcriptional regulation by nuclear receptors in various diseases, in this case of cancer.

Keywords: Transcription Factor, epidermal growth factor, glucocorticoid receptor, protein complementation assay

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3 Unravelling of the TOR Signaling Pathway in Human Fungal Pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans

Authors: Yong-Sun Bahn, Yee-Seul So, Guiseppe Ianiri, Alex Idnurm


Tor1 is a serine/threonine protein kinase that is widely conserved across eukaryotic species. Tor1 was first identified in Saccharomyces cerevisiae as a target of rapamycin (TOR). The TOR pathway has been implicated in regulating cellular responses to nutrients, proliferation, translation, transcription, autophagy, and ribosome biogenesis. Here we identified two homologues of S. cerevisiae Tor proteins, CNAG_06642 (Tor1) and CNAG_05220 (Tlk1, TOR-like kinase 1), in Cryptococcus neoformans causing a life-threatening fungal meningoencephalitis. Both Tor1 and Tlk1 have rapamycin-binding (RB) domains but Tlk1 has truncated RB form. To study the TOR-signaling pathway in the fungal pathogen, we attempt to construct the tor1Δ and tlk1Δ mutants and phenotypically analyze them. Although we failed to construct the tor1Δ mutant, we successfully construct the tlk1Δ mutant. The tlk1Δ mutant does not exhibit any discernable phenotypes, suggesting that Tlk1 is dispensable in C. neoformans. The essentiality of TOR1 is independently confirmed by constructing the TOR1 promoter replacement strain by using a copper transporter 4 (CTR4) promoter and the TOR1/tor1 heterozygous mutant in diploid C. neoformans strain background followed by sporulation analysis. To further analyze the function of Tor1, we construct TOR1 overexpression mutant using a constitutively active histone H3 in C. neoformans. We find that the Tor1 overexpression mutant is resistant to rapamycin but the tlk1Δ mutant does not exhibit any altered resistance to rapamycin, further confirming that Tor1, but not Tlk1, is critical for TOR signaling. Furthermore, we found that Tor1 is involved in response to diverse stresses, including genotoxic stress, oxidative stress, thermo-stress, antifungal drug treatment, and production of melanin. To identify any TOR-related transcription factors, we screened C. neoformans transcription factor library that we constructed in our previous study and identified several potential downstream factors of Tor1, including Atf1, Crg1 and Bzp3. In conclusion, the current study provides insight into the role of the TOR signaling pathway in human fungal pathogens as well as C. neoformans.

Keywords: Transcription Factor, serine/threonine kinase, fungal pathogen, target of rapamycin

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2 Stress-Controlled Senescence and Development in Arabidopsis thaliana by Root Associated Factor (RAF), a NAC Transcription Regulator

Authors: Iman Kamranfar, Gang-Ping Xue, Salma Balazadeh, Bernd Mueller-Roeber


Adverse environmental conditions such as salinity stress, high temperature and drought limit plant growth and typically lead to precocious tissue degeneration and leaf senescence, a process by which nutrients from photosynthetic organs are recycled for the formation of flowers and seeds to secure reaching the next generation under such harmful conditions. In addition, abiotic stress affects developmental patterns that help the plant to withstand unfavourable environmental conditions. We discovered an NAC (for NAM, ATAF1, 2, and CUC2) transcription factor (TF), called RAF in the following, which plays a central role in abiotic drought stress-triggered senescence and the control of developmental adaptations to stressful environments. RAF is an ABA-responsive TF; RAF overexpressors are hypersensitive to abscisic acid (ABA) and exhibit precocious senescence while knock-out mutants show delayed senescence. To explore the RAF gene regulatory network (GRN), we determined its preferred DNA binding sites by binding site selection assay (BSSA) and performed microarray-based expression profiling using inducible RAF overexpression lines and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-PCR. Our studies identified several direct target genes, including those encoding for catabolic enzymes acting during stress-induced senescence. Furthermore, we identified various genes controlling drought stress-related developmental changes. Based on our results, we conclude that RAF functions as a central transcriptional regulator that coordinates developmental programs with stress-related inputs from the environment. To explore the potential agricultural applications of our findings, we are currently extending our studies towards crop species.

Keywords: Development, Abiotic Stress, Transcription Factor, Arabidopsis

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1 Evolution of DNA-Binding With-One-Finger Transcriptional Factor Family in Diploid Cotton Gossypium raimondii

Authors: Muhammad Iqbal, Waqas Shafqat Chattha, Amir Shakeel


Transcriptional factors are proteins that play a vital role in regulating the transcription of target genes in different biological processes and are being widely studied in different plant species. In the current era of genomics, plant genomes sequencing has directed to the genome-wide identification, analyses and categorization of diverse transcription factor families and hence provide key insights into their structural as well as functional diversity. The DNA-binding with One Finger (DOF) proteins belongs to C2-C2-type zinc finger protein family. DOF proteins are plant-specific transcription factors implicated in diverse functions including seed maturation and germination, phytohormone signalling, light-mediated gene regulation, cotton-fiber elongation and responses of the plant to biotic as well as abiotic stresses. In this context, a genome-wide in-silico analysis of DOF TF family in diploid cotton species i.e. Gossypium raimondii has enabled us to identify 55 non-redundant genes encoding DOF proteins renamed as GrDofs (Gossypium raimondii Dof). Gene distribution studies have shown that all of the GrDof genes are unevenly distributed across 12 out of 13 G. raimondii chromosomes. The gene structure analysis illustrated that 34 out of 55 GrDof genes are intron-less while remaining 21 genes have a single intron. Protein sequence-based phylogenetic analysis of putative 55 GrDOFs has divided these proteins into 5 major groups with various paralogous gene pairs. Molecular evolutionary studies aided with the conserved domain as well as gene structure analysis suggested that segmental duplications were the principal contributors for the expansion of Dof genes in G. raimondii.

Keywords: phylogenetic analysis, Transcription Factor, diploid cotton, G. raimondii

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