Matching Items (26)

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Telomere biology and telomerase mutations in cirrhotic patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

Description

Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences at linear chromosome termini, protecting chromosomes against end-to-end fusion and damage, providing chromosomal stability. Telomeres shorten with mitotic cellular division, but are maintained in cells

Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequences at linear chromosome termini, protecting chromosomes against end-to-end fusion and damage, providing chromosomal stability. Telomeres shorten with mitotic cellular division, but are maintained in cells with high proliferative capacity by telomerase. Loss-of-function mutations in telomere-maintenance genes are genetic risk factors for cirrhosis development in humans and murine models. Telomerase deficiency provokes accelerated telomere shortening and dysfunction, facilitating genomic instability and oncogenesis. Here we examined whether telomerase mutations and telomere shortening were associated with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) secondary to cirrhosis. Telomere length of peripheral blood leukocytes was measured by Southern blot and qPCR in 120 patients with HCC associated with cirrhosis and 261 healthy subjects. HCC patients were screened for telomerase gene variants (in TERT and TERC) by Sanger sequencing. Age-adjusted telomere length was comparable between HCC patients and healthy subjects by both Southern blot and qPCR. Four non-synonymous TERT heterozygous variants were identified in four unrelated patients, resulting in a significantly higher mutation carrier frequency (3.3%) in patients as compared to controls (p = 0.02). Three of the four variants (T726M, A1062T, and V1090M) were previously observed in patients with other telomere diseases (severe aplastic anemia, acute myeloid leukemia, and cirrhosis). A novel TERT variant, A243V, was identified in a 65-year-old male with advanced HCC and cirrhosis secondary to chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) and alcohol ingestion, but direct assay measurements in vitro did not detect modulation of telomerase enzymatic activity or processivity. In summary, constitutional variants resulting in amino acid changes in the telomerase reverse transcriptase were found in a small proportion of patients with cirrhosis-associated HCC.

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Date Created
  • 2017-08-16

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The functional requirement of two structural domains within telomerase RNA emerged early in eukaryotes

Description

Telomerase emerged during evolution as a prominent solution to the eukaryotic linear chromosome end-replication problem. Telomerase minimally comprises the catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and telomerase RNA (TR) that provides

Telomerase emerged during evolution as a prominent solution to the eukaryotic linear chromosome end-replication problem. Telomerase minimally comprises the catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and telomerase RNA (TR) that provides the template for telomeric DNA synthesis. While the TERT protein is well-conserved across taxa, TR is highly divergent amongst distinct groups of species. Herein, we have identified the essential functional domains of TR from the basal eukaryotic species Trypanosoma brucei, revealing the ancestry of TR comprising two distinct structural core domains that can assemble in trans with TERT and reconstitute active telomerase enzyme in vitro. The upstream essential domain of T. brucei TR, termed the template core, constitutes three short helices in addition to the 11-nt template. Interestingly, the trypanosome template core domain lacks the ubiquitous pseudoknot found in all known TRs, suggesting later evolution of this critical structural element. The template-distal domain is a short stem-loop, termed equivalent CR4/5 (eCR4/5). While functionally similar to vertebrate and fungal CR4/5, trypanosome eCR4/5 is structurally distinctive, lacking the essential P6.1 stem-loop. Our functional study of trypanosome TR core domains suggests that the functional requirement of two discrete structural domains is a common feature of TRs and emerged early in telomerase evolution.

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Date Created
  • 2016-07-04

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Structure and function of echinoderm telomerase RNA

Description

Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) enzyme that requires an integral telomerase RNA (TR) subunit, in addition to the catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), for enzymatic function. The secondary structures of

Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein (RNP) enzyme that requires an integral telomerase RNA (TR) subunit, in addition to the catalytic telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), for enzymatic function. The secondary structures of TRs from the three major groups of species, ciliates, fungi, and vertebrates, have been studied extensively and demonstrate dramatic diversity. Herein, we report the first comprehensive secondary structure of TR from echinoderms—marine invertebrates closely related to vertebrates—determined by phylogenetic comparative analysis of 16 TR sequences from three separate echinoderm classes. Similar to vertebrate TR, echinoderm TR contains the highly conserved template/pseudoknot and H/ACA domains. However, echinoderm TR lacks the ancestral CR4/5 structural domain found throughout vertebrate and fungal TRs. Instead, echinoderm TR contains a distinct simple helical region, termed eCR4/5, that is functionally equivalent to the CR4/5 domain. The urchin and brittle star eCR4/5 domains bind specifically to their respective TERT proteins and stimulate telomerase activity. Distinct from vertebrate telomerase, the echinoderm TR template/pseudoknot domain with the TERT protein is sufficient to reconstitute significant telomerase activity. This gain-of-function of the echinoderm template/pseudoknot domain for conferring telomerase activity presumably facilitated the rapid structural evolution of the eCR4/5 domain throughout the echinoderm lineage. Additionally, echinoderm TR utilizes the template-adjacent P1.1 helix as a physical template boundary element to prevent nontelomeric DNA synthesis, a mechanism used by ciliate and fungal TRs. Thus, the chimeric and eccentric structural features of echinoderm TR provide unparalleled insights into the rapid evolution of telomerase RNP structure and function.

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Date Created
  • 2015-11-23

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Telomere Homeostasis Within Medaka (Oryzias Latipes)

Description

ABSTRACT Telomeres are vital in protecting chromosome ends to prevent telomere shortening. Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein responsible for adding telomere repeats and maintaining telomere length. Telomerase holoenzyme consists of 2

ABSTRACT Telomeres are vital in protecting chromosome ends to prevent telomere shortening. Telomerase is a ribonucleoprotein responsible for adding telomere repeats and maintaining telomere length. Telomerase holoenzyme consists of 2 major subcomponents: telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and telomerase RNA (TR). The catalytic subunit is TERT and the subunit that adds deoxyribonucleotide to the ends of chromosome is TR. TR contains an alignment portion and a template portion. Japanese Medaka (Oryzias latipes) has 4 nucleotide bases in its alignment region, which is similar to the 5-nucleotide bases in the human telomerase RNA alignment region. Because of the similar alignment region length, Japanese Medaka with 24 chromosomes was chosen to be used in this study. The question in this research was whether we could overcome heterogeneity. It was expected that when breeding short mean telomere length fish with another short mean telomere length fish, the new generation would have homogeneity. If short average telomere length fish and long average telomere length fish were to breed, the next generation fish would have heterogeneity in their average telomere length. In order to make a strong result statement further research needs to be done. The results from this study have somewhat supported the hypothesis, but will need additional information for a stronger validation. There were two inbreedings of short mean telomere length fish with another short telomere length; however, only one of the inbreeding pairs produced a fish with homogeneity (and supported the hypothesis). The other inbreeding pair depicted a large smear, a sign of heterogeneity. This may be due to a mutation in the subtelomeric portion. The method used to measure average telomere length was the terminal restriction fragment assay. Future research will involve using a different technique, quantitative fluorescence in sifu hybridizatrort to measure a more accurate telomere length of each chromosome.

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Date Created
  • 2012-05

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Expression and Purification of the Telomerase RNA Binding Domain of Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase from Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus)

Description

Telomerase is a reverse transcriptase that is responsible for the addition of telomeric repeats on to the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. The purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, telomerase enzyme is

Telomerase is a reverse transcriptase that is responsible for the addition of telomeric repeats on to the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. The purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, telomerase enzyme is unique in that its telomerase RNA does not contain the ancestrally conserved CR4/5 domain and instead contains the functionally equivalent eCR4/5 domain. Binding between the purple sea urchin TRBD and eCR4/5 domain is currently poorly understood due to eCR4/5's unique structure. In this work the telomerase RNA binding domain, TRBD, of the purple sea urchin telomerase reverse transcriptase, TERT, was fused to maltose binding protein (MBP) using several different short amino acid linkers and purified via amylose column purification. Short amino acid linkers were cloned into the MBP sea urchin TRBD constructs to facilitate better crystallization of the fusion protein. Future work of this project includes testing telomerase RNA binding affinity to the TRBD constructs and determining the crystal structure of the sea urchin TRBD with bound eCR4/5. Elucidating how eCR4/5 binds to the sea urchin TRBD will provide insights into the evolutionary relationship between eCR4/5 and the pseudoknot/template domain of sea urchin telomerase RNA.

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Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Validating a Model for Catalytic Function in 9°N Polymerase Based on Structural Conservation

Description

Nucleic acids encode the information required to create life, and polymerases are the gatekeepers charged with maintaining the storage and flow of this genetic information. Synthetic biologists utilize this universal

Nucleic acids encode the information required to create life, and polymerases are the gatekeepers charged with maintaining the storage and flow of this genetic information. Synthetic biologists utilize this universal property to modify organisms and other systems to create unique traits or improve the function of others. One of the many realms in synthetic biology involves the study of biopolymers that do not exist naturally, which is known as xenobiology. Although life depends on two biopolymers for genetic storage, it may be possible that alternative molecules (xenonucleic acids – XNAs), could be used in their place in either a living or non-living system. However, implementation of an XNA based system requires the development of polymerases that can encode and decode information stored in these artificial polymers. A strategy called directed evolution is used to modify or alter the function of a protein of interest, but identifying mutations that can modify polymerase function is made problematic by their size and overall complexity. To reduce the amount of sequence space that needs to be samples when attempting to identify polymerase variants, we can try to make informed decisions about which amino acid residues may have functional roles in catalysis. An analysis of Family B polymerases has shown that residues which are involved in substrate specificity are often highly conserved both at the sequence and structure level. In order to validate the hypothesis that a strong correlation exists between structural conservation and catalytic activity, we have selected and mutated residues in the 9°N polymerase using a loss of function mutagenesis strategy based on a computational analysis of several homologues from a diverse range of taxa. Improvement of these models will hopefully lead to quicker identification of loci which are ideal engineering targets.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

A self-regulating template in human telomerase

Description

Telomerase is a specialized reverse transcriptase (RT) containing an intrinsic telomerase RNA (TR) component. It synthesizes telomeric DNA repeats, (GGTTAG)n in humans, by reiteratively copying a precisely defined, short template

Telomerase is a specialized reverse transcriptase (RT) containing an intrinsic telomerase RNA (TR) component. It synthesizes telomeric DNA repeats, (GGTTAG)n in humans, by reiteratively copying a precisely defined, short template sequence from the integral TR. The specific mechanism of how the telomerase active site uses this short template region accurately and efficiently during processive DNA repeat synthesis has remained elusive. Here we report that the human TR template, in addition to specifying the DNA sequence, is embedded with a single-nucleotide signal to pause DNA synthesis. After the addition of a dT residue to the DNA primer, which is specified by the 49 rA residue in the template, telomerase extends the DNA primer with three additional nucleotides and then pauses DNA synthesis. This sequence-defined pause site coincides precisely with the helix paired region 1 (P1)-defined physical template boundary and precludes the incorporation of nontelomeric nucleotides from residues outside the template region. Furthermore, this sequence-defined pausing mechanism is a key determinant, in addition to the P1-defined template boundary, for generating the characteristic 6-nt ladder banding pattern of telomeric DNA products in vitro. In the absence of the pausing signal, telomerase stalls nucleotide addition at multiple sites along the template, generating DNA products with heterogeneous terminal repeat registers. Our findings demonstrate that this unique self-regulating mechanism of the human TR template is essential for high-fidelity synthesis of DNA repeats.

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Date Created
  • 2014-08-05

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Prevalent and distinct spliceosomal 3 '-end processing mechanisms for fungal telomerase RNA

Description

Telomerase RNA (TER) is an essential component of the telomerase ribonucleoprotein complex. The mechanism for TER 3′-end processing is highly divergent among different organisms. Here we report a unique spliceosome-mediated

Telomerase RNA (TER) is an essential component of the telomerase ribonucleoprotein complex. The mechanism for TER 3′-end processing is highly divergent among different organisms. Here we report a unique spliceosome-mediated TER 3′-end cleavage mechanism in Neurospora crassa that is distinct from that found specifically in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. While the S. pombe TER intron contains the canonical 5′-splice site GUAUGU, the N. crassa TER intron contains a non-canonical 5′-splice site AUAAGU that alone prevents the second step of splicing and promotes spliceosomal cleavage. The unique N. crassa TER 5′-splice site sequence is evolutionarily conserved in TERs from Pezizomycotina and early branching Taphrinomycotina species. This suggests that the widespread and basal N. crassa-type spliceosomal cleavage mechanism is more ancestral than the S. pombe-type. The discovery of a prevalent, yet distinct, spliceosomal cleavage mechanism throughout diverse fungal clades furthers our understanding of TER evolution and non-coding RNA processing.

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Date Created
  • 2015-01-01

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The Expression and Initial Biophysical Characterization of the Human Ion Channel TRPM8 Pore Domain Plus

Description

Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are a superfamily of ion channels found in plasma membranes of both single-celled and multicellular organisms. TRP channels all share the common aspect of having

Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are a superfamily of ion channels found in plasma membranes of both single-celled and multicellular organisms. TRP channels all share the common aspect of having six transmembrane helices and a TRP domain. These structures tetramerize to form a receptor-activated non-selective ion channel. The specific protein being investigated in this thesis is the human transient receptor potential melastatin 8 (hTRPM8), a channel activated by the chemical ligand menthol and temperatures below 25 °C. TRPM8 is responsible for cold sensing and is related to pain relief associated with cooling compounds. TRPM8 has also been found to play a role in the regulation of various types of tumors. The structure of TRPM8 has been obtained through cryo-electron microscopy, but the functional contribution of individual portions of the protein to the overall protein function is unknown.
To gain more information about the function of the transmembrane region of hTRPM8, it was expressed in Escherichia coli (E. coli) and purified in detergent membrane mimics for experimentation. The construct contains the S4-S5 linker, pore domain (S5 and S6 transmembrane helices), pore helix, and TRP box. hTRPM8-PD+ was purified in the detergents n-Dodecyl-B-D-Maltoside (DDM), 16:0 Lyso PG, 1-Palmitoyl-2-hydroxy-sn-glycero-3-phosphoglycerol (LPPG), and 14:0 Lyso PG, 1-Myristoyl-2-hydroxy-sn-glycero-3-phosphoglycerol (LMPG) to determine which detergent resulted in a hTRPM8-PD+ sample of the most stability, purity, and highest concentrations. Following bacterial expression and protein purification, hTRPM8-PD+ was studied and characterized with circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy to learn more about the secondary structures and thermodynamic properties of the construct. Further studies can be done with more circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, planar lipid bilayer (BLM) electrophysiology, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) to gain more understanding of how the pore domain plus contributes to the activity of the whole protein construct.

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Date Created
  • 2019-12

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Determining the oncolytic potential of Myxoma virus on triple negative breast cancer

Description

Oncolytic virotherapy (OV) is the use of viruses that do not target normal human cells to infect and destroy cancer cells; some also stimulate the immune system against the tumors.

Oncolytic virotherapy (OV) is the use of viruses that do not target normal human cells to infect and destroy cancer cells; some also stimulate the immune system against the tumors. Myxoma virus (VMYX) is a candidate for use as an oncolytic agent, as it is not pathogenic to humans and can infect a variety of human cancer cells. VMYX also can initiate immune responses against the virus-infected tumor. Thus, we investigated the oncolytic efficacy of a few recombinant constructs of VMYX on triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a highly aggressive subtype of breast cancer with limited treatment options. TNBC lacks an estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2, which render hormone-based therapies useless. Further challenges of TNBC include early metastasis and recurrence, as well as poor prognosis due to a lack of molecular targets. Here, we utilized 4T1-Luc2 cells, an in vitro mouse model of TNBC, to examine the oncolytic potential of recombinant viral constructs of VMYX. Ability to infect was measured by fluorescence intensity, while ability to induce cytotoxicity was measured through MTS and SYTOX assays. Further characterization of cell death was performed using Caspase 3/7 activity assay, immunofluorescent staining and confocal microscopy to detect ecto-expression of calreticulin, and ATP release assays. We demonstrated the ability of recombinant VMYX constructs to infect and induce cell death in 4T1-Luc2 cells. VMYX-p14-FAST-GFP induced the most cell death, while VMYX-M011LKO-GFP best activated Caspase 3/7. Through ATP release assays and examination of ecto-expression of calreticulin, preliminary data indicated that VYX-135KO-GFP is unable to stimulate immunogenic cell death, a form of cell death that stimulates an adaptive immune response, in these cells. Future directions include further characterization of cell death in vitro, as well as in vivo studies.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05