Τρίτη, 14 Μαΐου 2019

Genetics

Is Gcn4-induced autophagy the ultimate downstream mechanism by which hormesis extends yeast replicative lifespan?

Abstract

The number of times a cell divides before irreversibly arresting is termed replicative lifespan. Despite discovery of many chemical, dietary and genetic interventions that extend replicative lifespan, usually first discovered in budding yeast and subsequently shown to apply to metazoans, there is still little understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms involved. One unifying theme is that most, if not all, interventions that extend replicative lifespan induce "hormesis", where a little inflicted damage makes cells more able to resist similar challenges in the future. One of the many cellular changes that occur during hormesis is a global reduction in protein synthesis, which has been linked to enhanced longevity in many organisms. Our recent study in budding yeast found that it was not the reduction in protein synthesis per se, but rather the subsequent induction of the conserved Gcn4 transcriptional regulator and its ability to induce autophagy that was responsible for extending replicative lifespan. We propose that Gcn4-dependent induction of autophagy occurring downstream of reduced global protein synthesis may be a unifying molecular mechanism for many interventions that extend replicative lifespan.



More than just a phase: the search for membraneless organelles in the bacterial cytoplasm

Abstract

The bacterial cytoplasm, once thought to be a relatively undifferentiated reaction medium, has now been recognized to have extensive microstructure. This microstructure includes bacterial microcompartments, inclusion bodies, granules, and even some membrane-bound vesicles. Several recent papers suggest that bacteria may also organize their cytoplasm using an additional mechanism: phase-separated membraneless organelles, a strategy commonly used by eukaryotes. Phase-separated membraneless organelles such as Cajal bodies, the nucleolus, and stress granules allow proteins to become concentrated in sub-compartments of eukaryotic cells without being surrounded by a barrier to diffusion. In this review, we summarize the known structural organization of the bacterial cytoplasm and discuss the recent evidence that phase-separated membraneless organelles might also play a role in bacterial systems. We specifically focus on bacterial ribonucleoprotein complexes and two different protein components of the bacterial nucleoid that may have the ability to form subcellular partitions within bacteria cells.



Linking the organization of DNA replication with genome maintenance

Abstract

The spatial and temporal organization of genome duplication, also referred to as the replication program, is defined by the distribution and the activities of the sites of replication initiation across the genome. Alterations to the replication profile are associated with cell fate changes during development and in pathologies, but the importance of undergoing S phase with distinct and specific programs remains largely unexplored. We have recently addressed this question, focusing on the interplay between the replication program and genome maintenance. In particular, we demonstrated that when cells encounter challenges to DNA synthesis, the organization of DNA replication drives the response to replication stress that is mediated by the ATR/Rad3 checkpoint pathway, thus shaping the pattern of genome instability along the chromosomes. In this review, we present the major findings of our study and discuss how they may bring new perspectives to our understanding of the biological importance of the replication program.



Role of Mediator in virulence and antifungal drug resistance in pathogenic fungi

Abstract

Mediator complex has recently emerged as an important regulator of gene expression in pathogenic fungi. Mediator is a multi-subunit complex of polypeptides involved in transcriptional activation in eukaryotes, with roles including preinitiation complex (PIC) assembly and chromatin remodeling. Within the last decade, Mediator has been shown to play an integral role in regulating virulence gene expression and drug resistance in human fungal pathogens. In some fungi, specific Mediator subunits have been shown to be required for virulence. In Candida species, duplication and expansion of Mediator subunit encoding genes has occurred on at least three occasions (CgMED15 in C. glabrata and MED2/TLO in C. albicans and C. dubliniensis) suggesting important roles for Mediator in the evolution of these pathogens. This review summarises recent developments in our understanding of Mediator in fungal pathogens and the potential for the development of therapeutic drugs to target Mediator functions.



Disturbance in biosynthesis of arachidonic acid impairs the sexual development of the onion blight pathogen Stemphylium eturmiunum

Abstract

The formation of sexual fruiting bodies for plant pathogenic fungi is a key strategy to propagate their progenies upon environmental stresses. Stemphylium eturmiunum is an opportunistic plant pathogen fungus causing blight in onion. This self-fertilizing filamentous ascomycete persists in the soil by forming pseudothecia, the sexual fruiting body which helps the fungus survive in harsh environments. However, the regulatory mechanism of pseudothecial formation remains unknown. To uncover the mechanism for pseudothecial formation so as to find a practical measure to control the propagation of this onion pathogen, we tentatively used DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-azacytidine (5-AC) to treat S. eturmiunum. 5-AC treatment silenced the gene-encoding monoacylglycerol lipase (magl) concomitant with the presence of the inheritable fluffy phenotype and defectiveness in pseudothecial development. Moreover, the silence of magl also resulted in a reduction of arachidonic acid (AA) formation from 27 ± 3.1 µg/g to 9.5 ± 1.5 µg/g. To correlate the biosynthesis of AA and pseudothecial formation, we created magl knockdown and overexpression strains. Knockdown of magl reduced AA to 11 ± 2.4 µg/g, which subsequently disabled pseudothecial formation. In parallel, overexpression of maglincreased AA to 37 ± 3.4 µg/g, which also impaired pseudothecial formation. Furthermore, exogenous addition of AA to the culture of magl-silenced or magl knockdown strains rescued the pseudothecial formation but failed in the gpr1 knockdown strain of S. eturmiunum, which implicates the involvement of AA in signal transduction via a putative G protein-coupled receptor 1. Thus, AA at a cellular level of 27 ± 3.1 µg/g is essential for sexual development of S. eturmiunum. Disturbance in the biosynthesis of AA by up- and down-regulating the expression of magl disables the pseudothecial development. The specific requirement for AA in pseudothecial development by S. eturmiunum provides a hint to curb this onion pathogen: to impede pseudothecial formation by application of AA.



Synergy of Hir1, Ssn6, and Snf2 global regulators is the functional determinant of a Mac1 transcriptional switch in S. cerevisiae copper homeostasis

Abstract

To gain insights on the transcriptional switches that modulate proper copper homeostasis in yeast, we have examined in detail functional interactions of the relevant transcriptional activator Mac1. We identified Hir1 transcriptional repressor and histone chaperone as a Mac1-interacting protein. This association directly recruits Hir1 on a Mac1 target, CTR1 promoter, quantitatively under induction conditions. We also found Hir1 interacting directly with a previously unknown partner, the Ssn6 (Cyc8) co-regulator. On the non-induced CTR1 promoter, a Hir1 transcriptional activation function was revealed, in the absence of Ssn6, which was dependent on the presence of Snf2 (Swi2) nucleosome remodeler. Moreover, Ssn6 was identified as a Mac1-dependent prominent repressor of CTR1 transcription, antagonizing Snf2 occupancy. Transcriptional induction by copper depletion was effected by the quantitative recruitment of Snf2 directed mainly by Mac1 and redundantly by the quantitatively accumulated Hir1 and Ssn6 pair. Our analysis showed that the activation-effecting chromatin remodeling of CTR1 was due to Snf2 and not to the Hir1 histone chaperone activity or ability to regulate histone levels and stoichiometry. Following initiation, Hir1 and Snf2, but not Ssn6, were found to associate also with the actively transcribing CTR1 coding region, where Hir1 followed the pattern of the elongating RNA polymerase II. Therefore, we have shown that, at the CTR1 gene, in association with Mac1 DNA-binding transcriptional activator, the distinct and alternate genetic and physical collaboration of three global regulators modulates the transcriptional state of a switch involved in copper homeostasis.



Versatility of the Mec1 ATM/ATR signaling network in mediating resistance to replication, genotoxic, and proteotoxic stresses

Abstract

The ataxia-telangiectasia mutated/ATM and Rad3-related (ATM/ATR) family proteins are evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinases best known for their roles in mediating the DNA damage response. Upon activation, ATM/ATR phosphorylate numerous targets to stabilize stalled replication forks, repair damaged DNA, and inhibit cell cycle progression to ensure survival of the cell and safeguard integrity of the genome. Intriguingly, separation of function alleles of the human ATM and MEC1, the budding yeast ATM/ATR, were shown to confer widespread protein aggregation and acute sensitivity to different types of proteotoxic agents including heavy metal, amino acid analogue, and an aggregation-prone peptide derived from the Huntington's disease protein. Further analyses unveiled that ATM and Mec1 promote resistance to perturbation in protein homeostasis via a mechanism distinct from the DNA damage response. In this minireview, we summarize the key findings and discuss ATM/ATR as a multifaceted signalling protein capable of mediating cellular response to both DNA and protein damage.



On the duration of the microbial lag phase

Abstract

When faced with environmental changes, microbes enter a lag phase during which cell growth is arrested, allowing cells to adapt to the new situation. The discovery of the lag phase started the field of gene regulation and led to the unraveling of underlying mechanisms. However, the factors determining the exact duration and dynamics of the lag phase remain largely elusive. Naively, one would expect that cells adapt as quickly as possible, so they can resume growth and compete with other organisms. However, recent studies show that the lag phase can last from several hours up to several days. Moreover, some cells within the same population take much longer than others, despite being genetically identical. In addition, the lag phase duration is also influenced by the past, with recent exposure to a given environment leading to a quicker adaptation when that environment returns. Genome-wide screens in Saccharomyces cerevisiae on carbon source shifts now suggest that the length of the lag phase, the heterogeneity in lag times of individual cells, and the history-dependent behavior are not determined by the time it takes to induce a few specific genes related to uptake and metabolism of a new carbon source. Instead, a major shift in general metabolism, and in particular a switch between fermentation and respiration, is the major bottleneck that determines lag duration. This suggests that there may be a fitness trade-off between complete adaptation of a cell's metabolism to a given environment, and a short lag phase when the environment changes.



SET domains and stress: uncovering new functions for yeast Set4

Abstract

Chromatin dynamics are central to the regulation of gene expression and genome stability, particularly in the presence of environmental signals or stresses that prompt rapid reprogramming of the genome to promote survival or differentiation. While numerous chromatin regulators have been implicated in modulating cellular responses to stress, gaps in our mechanistic understanding of chromatin-based changes during stress suggest that additional proteins are likely critical to these responses and the molecular details underlying their activities are unclear in many cases. We recently identified a role for the relatively uncharacterized SET domain protein Set4 in promoting cell survival during oxidative stress in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Set4 is a member of the Set3 subfamily of SET domain proteins which are defined by the presence of a PHD finger and divergent SET domain sequences. Here, we integrate our new observations on the function of Set4 with known roles for other related family members, including yeast Set3, fly UpSET and mammalian proteins MLL5 and SETD5. We discuss outstanding questions regarding the molecular mechanisms by which these proteins control gene expression and their potential contributions to cellular responses to environmental stress.



Quiescence, an individual journey

Abstract

Quiescence is operationally characterized as a temporary and reversible proliferation arrest. There are many preconceived ideas about quiescence, quiescent cells being generally viewed as insignificant sleeping G1 cells. In fact, quiescence is central for organism physiology and its dysregulation involved in many pathologies. The quiescent state encompasses very diverse cellular situations depending on the cell type and its environment. This diversity challenges not only quiescence uniformity but also the universality of the molecular mechanisms beyond quiescence regulation. In this mini-perspective, we discuss recent advances in the concept of quiescence, and illustrate that this multifaceted cellular state is gaining increasing attention in many fields of biology.



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