The mammalian ortholog of yeast Atg6/Vps30, Beclin 1, is an essential autophagy protein that has been linked to diverse biological processes, including immunity, development, tumor suppression, lifespan extension, and protection against certain cardiac and neurodegenerative diseases.
The human tyrosine hydroxylase (hTH) gene has a 42†bp evolutionarily conserved region designated (CR) II at -7.24†kb, which bears 93% homology to the region we earlier identified as containing the glucocorticoid response element, a 7†bp activator protein-1 (AP-1)-like motif in the rat TH gene. We cloned this hTH-CRII region upstream of minimal basal hTH promoter in luciferase (Luc) reporter vector, and tested glucocorticoid responsiveness in human cell lines.
Aging in the world population has increased every year. Superoxide dismutase 2 (Mn-SOD or SOD2) protects against oxidative stress, a main factor influencing cellular longevity. Polymorphisms in SOD2 have been associated with the development of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, as well as psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder.
Human TDP-43 represents the main component of neuronal inclusions found in patients with neurodegenerative diseases, especially frontotemporal lobar degeneration and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In vitro and in vivo studies have shown that the TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) Drosophila ortholog (TBPH) can biochemically and functionally overlap the properties of the human factor.
A C. elegans neurosecretory signaling system regulates whether animals enter the reproductive life cycle or arrest development at the long-lived dauer diapause stage. daf-2, a key gene in the genetic pathway that mediates this endocrine signaling, encodes an insulin receptor family member. Decreases in DAF-2 signaling induce metabolic and developmental changes, as in mammalian metabolic control by the insulin receptor. Decreased DAF-2 signaling also causes an increase in life-span.
Site-directed mutagenesis of the telomerase RNA from Tetrahymena thermophila was used previously to demonstrate the templating function of a sequence within this RNA; this sequence specifies the sequence of telomeric DNA in vivo. The possible functional importance of a phylogenetically conserved nucleotide outside the telomerase RNA template region was investigated by a similar experimental approach.
The ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase adds telomeric DNA onto chromosome ends and is normally regulated so that telomeric DNA lengths are kept within defined bounds. In the telomerase RNA gene from the yeast Kluyveromyces lactis, specific mutations that alter telomeric DNA sequences result in telomeres elongating to up to 100 times their normal length and impair cell growth. Some mutations cause immediate elongation whereas others behave like genetic time bombs, causing elongation only after a latent period of hundreds of generations.
It is well established that the template for telomeric DNA synthesis is provided by the RNA subunit of telomerase; however, the additional functions provided by most of the rest of the RNA (>1000 nucleotides in budding yeast) are largely unknown. By alignment of telomerase RNAs of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and six Kluyveromyces species followed by mutagenesis of the S. cerevisiae RNA, we found a conserved region that is essential for telomere maintenance.
Telomerase contains an essential RNA, which includes the template sequence copied by the reverse transcription action of telomerase into telomeric DNA. Using phylogenetic comparison, we identified seven conserved sequences in telomerase RNAs from Kluyveromyces budding yeasts. We show that two of these sequences, CS3 and CS4, are essential for normal telomerase function and can base-pair to form a putative long-range pseudoknot. Disrupting this base-pairing was deleterious to cell growth, telomere maintenance, and telomerase activity.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Telomerase synthesizes telomeric DNA by copying a short template sequence within its telomerase RNA component. We delineated nucleotides and base-pairings within a previously mapped central domain of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae telomerase RNA (TLC1) that are important for telomerase function and for binding to the telomerase catalytic protein Est2p. Phylogenetic comparison of telomerase RNA sequences from several budding yeasts revealed a core structure common to Saccharomyces and Kluyveromyces yeast species.