ISSN / EISSN : 1553-7390 / 1553-7404
Published by: Public Library of Science (PLoS) (10.1371)
Total articles ≅ 10,058
Latest articles in this journal
PLOS Genetics, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1010288
Although evolutionary fates and expression patterns of duplicated genes have been extensively investigated, how duplicated genes co-regulate a biological process in polyploids remains largely unknown. Here, we identified two gsdf (gonadal somatic cell-derived factor) homeologous genes (gsdf-A and gsdf-B) in hexaploid gibel carp (Carassius gibelio), wherein each homeolog contained three highly conserved alleles. Interestingly, gsdf-A and gsdf-B transcription were mainly activated by dmrt1-A (dsx- and mab-3-related transcription factor 1) and dmrt1-B, respectively. Loss of either gsdf-A or gsdf-B alone resulted in partial male-to-female sex reversal and loss of both caused complete sex reversal, which could be rescued by a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor. Compensatory expression of gsdf-A and gsdf-B was observed in gsdf-B and gsdf-A mutants, respectively. Subsequently, we determined that in tissue culture cells, Gsdf-A and Gsdf-B both interacted with Ncoa5 (nuclear receptor coactivator 5) and blocked Ncoa5 interaction with Rora (retinoic acid-related orphan receptor-alpha) to repress Rora/Ncoa5-induced activation of cyp19a1a (cytochrome P450, family 19, subfamily A, polypeptide 1a). These findings illustrate that Gsdf-A and Gsdf-B can regulate male differentiation by inhibiting cyp19a1a transcription in hexaploid gibel carp and also reveal that Gsdf-A and Gsdf-B can interact with Ncoa5 to suppress cyp19a1a transcription in vitro. This study provides a typical case of cooperative mechanism of duplicated genes in polyploids and also sheds light on the conserved evolution of sex differentiation.
PLOS Genetics, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1010270
Bacterial two-component systems (TCSs) often function through the detection of an extracytoplasmic stimulus and the transduction of a signal by a transmembrane sensory histidine kinase. This kinase then initiates a series of reversible phosphorylation modifications to regulate the activity of a cognate, cytoplasmic response regulator as a transcription factor. Several TCSs have been implicated in the regulation of cell cycle dynamics, cell envelope integrity, or cell wall development in Escherichia coli and other well-studied Gram-negative model organisms. However, many α-proteobacteria lack homologs to these regulators, so an understanding of how α-proteobacteria orchestrate extracytoplasmic events is lacking. In this work we identify an essential TCS, CenKR (Cell envelope Kinase and Regulator), in the α-proteobacterium Rhodobacter sphaeroides and show that modulation of its activity results in major morphological changes. Using genetic and biochemical approaches, we dissect the requirements for the phosphotransfer event between CenK and CenR, use this information to manipulate the activity of this TCS in vivo, and identify genes that are directly and indirectly controlled by CenKR in Rb. sphaeroides. Combining ChIP-seq and RNA-seq, we show that the CenKR TCS plays a direct role in maintenance of the cell envelope, regulates the expression of subunits of the Tol-Pal outer membrane division complex, and indirectly modulates the expression of peptidoglycan biosynthetic genes. CenKR represents the first TCS reported to directly control the expression of Tol-Pal machinery genes in Gram-negative bacteria, and we predict that homologs of this TCS serve a similar function in other closely related organisms. We propose that Rb. sphaeroides genes of unknown function that are directly regulated by CenKR play unknown roles in cell envelope biosynthesis, assembly, and/or remodeling in this and other α-proteobacteria.
PLOS Genetics, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1010272
Protamines are unique sperm-specific proteins that package and protect paternal chromatin until fertilization. A subset of mammalian species expresses two protamines (PRM1 and PRM2), while in others PRM1 is sufficient for sperm chromatin packaging. Alterations of the species-specific ratio between PRM1 and PRM2 are associated with infertility. Unlike PRM1, PRM2 is generated as a precursor protein consisting of a highly conserved N-terminal domain, termed cleaved PRM2 (cP2), which is consecutively trimmed off during chromatin condensation. The carboxyterminal part, called mature PRM2 (mP2), interacts with DNA and together with PRM1, mediates chromatin-hypercondensation. The removal of the cP2 domain is believed to be imperative for proper chromatin condensation, yet, the role of cP2 is not yet understood. We generated mice lacking the cP2 domain while the mP2 is still expressed. We show that the cP2 domain is indispensable for complete sperm chromatin protamination and male mouse fertility. cP2 deficient sperm show incomplete protamine incorporation and a severely altered protamine ratio, retention of transition proteins and aberrant retention of the testis specific histone variant H2A.L.2. During epididymal transit, cP2 deficient sperm seem to undergo ROS mediated degradation leading to complete DNA fragmentation. The cP2 domain therefore seems to be a key aspect in the complex crosstalk between histones, transition proteins and protamines during sperm chromatin condensation. Overall, we present the first step towards understanding the role of the cP2 domain in paternal chromatin packaging and open up avenues for further research.
PLOS Genetics, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1010286
The mechanisms and impact of horizontal gene transfer processes to distribute gene functions with potential adaptive benefit among prokaryotes have been well documented. In contrast, little is known about the life-style of mobile elements mediating horizontal gene transfer, whereas this is the ultimate determinant for their transfer fitness. Here, we investigate the life-style of an integrative and conjugative element (ICE) within the genus Pseudomonas that is a model for a widespread family transmitting genes for xenobiotic compound metabolism and antibiotic resistances. Previous work showed bimodal ICE activation, but by using single cell time-lapse microscopy coupled to combinations of chromosomally integrated single copy ICE promoter-driven fluorescence reporters, RNA sequencing and mutant analysis, we now describe the complete regulon leading to the arisal of differentiated dedicated transfer competent cells. The regulon encompasses at least three regulatory nodes and five (possibly six) further conserved gene clusters on the ICE that all become expressed under stationary phase conditions. Time-lapse microscopy indicated expression of two regulatory nodes (i.e., bisR and alpA-bisDC) to precede that of the other clusters. Notably, expression of all clusters except of bisR was confined to the same cell subpopulation, and was dependent on the same key ICE regulatory factors. The ICE thus only transfers from a small fraction of cells in a population, with an estimated proportion of between 1.7–4%, which express various components of a dedicated transfer competence program imposed by the ICE, and form the centerpiece of ICE conjugation. The components mediating transfer competence are widely conserved, underscoring their selected fitness for efficient transfer of this class of mobile elements.
PLOS Genetics, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1010292
Juvenile hormone (JH) acts as a gonadotrophic hormone stimulating insect vitellogenesis and oogenesis. Paracellular transport of yolk proteins through intercellular channels (patency) in the follicular epithelium is a developmentally regulated and evolutionarily conserved process during vitellogenesis. However, the mechanisms underlying patency opening are poorly understood. Using the migratory locust Locusta migratoria as a model system, we report here that JH-regulated remodeling of zonula adherens (ZA), the belt-like adherens junction maintaining physical linking between follicle cells controlled the opening of patency. JH triggered phosphorylation of Partitioning defective protein 3 (Par3) via a signaling cascade including G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), small GTPase Cell division cycle 42 (Cdc42) and atypical Protein kinase C (aPKC). Par3 phosphorylation resulted in its disassociation from β-Catenin, the cytoplasmic partner of ZA core component E-Cadherin. Release of Par3 from the β-Catenin/E-Cadherin complex caused ZA disassembly at tricellular contacts, consequently leading to patency enlargement. This study provides new insight into how JH stimulates insect vitellogenesis and egg production via inducing the opening of paracellular route for vitellogenin transport crossing the follicular epithelium barrier.
PLOS Genetics, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1010293
PLOS Genetics, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1010291
PLOS Genetics, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1010287
Myofibrils of the skeletal muscle are comprised of sarcomeres that generate force by contraction when myosin-rich thick filaments slide past actin-based thin filaments. Surprisingly little is known about the molecular processes that guide sarcomere assembly in vivo, despite deficits within this process being a major cause of human disease. To overcome this knowledge gap, we undertook a forward genetic screen coupled with reverse genetics to identify genes required for vertebrate sarcomere assembly. In this screen, we identified a zebrafish mutant with a nonsense mutation in mob4. In Drosophila, mob4 has been reported to play a role in spindle focusing as well as neurite branching and in planarians mob4 was implemented in body size regulation. In contrast, zebrafish mob4geh mutants are characterised by an impaired actin biogenesis resulting in sarcomere defects. Whereas loss of mob4 leads to a reduction in the amount of myofibril, transgenic expression of mob4 triggers an increase. Further genetic analysis revealed the interaction of Mob4 with the actin-folding chaperonin TRiC, suggesting that Mob4 impacts on TRiC to control actin biogenesis and thus myofibril growth. Additionally, mob4geh features a defective microtubule network, which is in-line with tubulin being the second main folding substrate of TRiC. We also detected similar characteristics for strn3-deficient mutants, which confirmed Mob4 as a core component of STRIPAK and surprisingly implicates a role of the STRIPAK complex in sarcomerogenesis.
PLOS Genetics, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1010255
The MCM2-7 complex is a highly conserved hetero-hexameric protein complex, critical for DNA unwinding at the replicative fork during DNA replication. Overexpression or mutation in MCM2-7 genes is linked to and may drive several cancer types in humans. In mice, mutations in MCM2-7 genes result in growth retardation and mortality. All six MCM2-7 genes are also expressed in the developing mouse CNS, but their role in the CNS is not clear. Here, we use the central nervous system (CNS) of Drosophila melanogaster to begin addressing the role of the MCM complex during development, focusing on the specification of a well-studied neuropeptide expressing neuron: the Tv4/FMRFa neuron. In a search for genes involved in the specification of the Tv4/FMRFa neuron we identified Mcm5 and find that it plays a highly specific role in the specification of the Tv4/FMRFa neuron. We find that other components of the MCM2-7 complex phenocopies Mcm5, indicating that the role of Mcm5 in neuronal subtype specification involves the MCM2-7 complex. Surprisingly, we find no evidence of reduced progenitor proliferation, and instead find that Mcm5 is required for the expression of the type I BMP receptor Tkv, which is critical for the FMRFa expression. These results suggest that the MCM2-7 complex may play roles during CNS development outside of its well-established role during DNA replication.
PLOS Genetics, Volume 18; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1010280
Aedes albopictus is one of the most invasive insect species in the world and an effective vector for many important arboviruses. We reported previously that Ae. albopictus Nix (AalNix) is the male-determining factor of this species. However, whether AalNix alone is sufficient to initiate male development is unknown. Transgenic lines that express each of the three AalNix isoforms from the native promoter were obtained using piggyBac transformation. We verified the stable expression of AalNix isoforms in the transgenic lines and confirm that one isoform, AalNix3&4, is sufficient to convert females into fertile males (pseudo-males) that are indistinguishable from wild-type males. We also established a stable sex-converted female mosquito strain, AalNix3&4-♂4-pseudo-male. The pseudo-male mosquitoes can fly and mate normally with wild-type female, although their mating competitiveness is lower than wild-type. This work further clarifies the role of AalNix in the sex determination pathway and will facilitate the development of Ae. albopictus control strategies that rely on male-only releases such as SIT and sex-ratio distortion.