Browsing by Subject "gene regulation"

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  • Nikkanen, Joni; Landoni, Juan Cruz; Balboa, Diego; Haugas, Maarja; Partanen, Juha; Paetau, Anders; Isohanni, Pirjo; Brilhante, Virginia; Suomalainen, Anu (2018)
    DNA polymerase gamma (POLG), the mtDNA replicase, is a common cause of mitochondrial neurodegeneration. Why POLG defects especially cause central nervous system (CNS) diseases is unknown. We discovered a complex genomic regulatory locus for POLG, containing three functional CNS-specific enhancers that drive expression specifically in oculomotor complex and sensory interneurons of the spinal cord, completely overlapping with the regions showing neuronal death in POLG patients. The regulatory locus also expresses two functional RNAs, LINC00925-RNA and MIR9-3, which are coexpressed with POLG. The MIR9-3 targets include NR2E1, a transcription factor maintaining neural stem cells in undifferentiated state, and MTHFD2, the regulatory enzyme of mitochondrial folate cycle, linking POLG expression to stem cell differentiation and folate metabolism. Our evidence suggests that distant genomic non-coding regions contribute to regulation of genes encoding mitochondrial proteins. Such genomic arrangement of POLG locus, driving expression to CNS regions affected in POLG patients, presents a potential mechanism for CNS-specific manifestations in POLG disease.
  • Kuitunen, Essi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Glutamine, the conditionally essential amino acid, is a major carbon and nitrogen carrier required for a range of cell functions, such as protein synthesis and maintaining redox balance. While healthy cells adjust their activities in response to glutamine availability, tumor cells display deregulated glutamine uptake and metabolism allowing quick proliferation and survival in cellular stress conditions. Hence, further knowledge of the glutamine sensing network is of interest. Utilizing Drosophila melanogaster, the roles of formerly identified glutamine sensing regulator candidates, Forkhead box O (FoxO), Super sex combs (Sxc), Spalt major (Salm) and Spalt-related (Salr), were explored. Drosophila is an efficient model organism for analyzing gene regulatory mechanisms, with its simple genome but conserved genes and metabolic pathways. Loss-of function and gain-of-function mutants of the candidates were cultured with/without glutamine, and their physiological response and gene expression changes were analyzed. The results show the glutamine intolerant phenotype of FoxO and Sxc deficiency, not dependent on altered food intake levels of larvae. However, glutamine intolerance of Salr and Salm deficiency was not observed. Moreover, we aimed to gain further insight to the roles of FoxO and Sxc in glutamine metabolism. Since amino acid catabolism produces ammonia, and glutamine metabolism plays a vital role in ammonia detoxification, we performed a pH-based measurement of foxo and sxc mutant larvae hemolymph on food with/without glutamine. However, we could not associate FoxO or Sxc with regulation of glutamine-derived ammonia clearance. In addition, we explored FoxO downstream regulator candidates. Putative promoter areas of Paics, Uro, Sesn, salr, Prat2 and Gdh were cloned into reporter vectors and the luciferase activity was analyzed under the expression of foxo. The results indicate that FoxO is a regulator of all of the 6 genes. Next we could utilize the here constructed plasmids to see whether the FoxO-mediated regulation is affected by altered glutamine levels in cell culture.
  • Lokki, A. Inkeri; Kaartokallio, Tea; Holmberg, Ville; Onkamo, Paivi; Koskinen, Lotta L. E.; Saavalainen, Paivi; Heinonen, Seppo; Kajantie, Eero; Kere, Juha; Kivinen, Katja; Pouta, Anneli; Villa, Pia M.; Hiltunen, Leena; Laivuori, Hannele; Meri, Seppo (2017)
    Preeclampsia (PE) is a common vascular disease of pregnancy with genetic predisposition. Dysregulation of the complement system has been implicated, but molecular mechanisms are incompletely understood. In this study, we determined the potential linkage of severe PE to the most central complement gene, C3. Three cohorts of Finnish patients and controls were recruited for a genetic case-control study. Participants were genotyped using Sequenom genotyping and Sanger sequencing. Initially, we studied 259 Finnish patients with severe PE and 426 controls from the Southern Finland PE and the Finnish population-based PE cohorts. We used a custom-made single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping assay consisting of 98 SNPs in 18 genes that encode components of the complement system. Following the primary screening, C3 was selected as the candidate gene and consequently Sanger sequenced. Fourteen SNPs from C3 were also genotyped by a Sequenom panel in 960 patients with severe PE and 705 controls, including already sequenced individuals. Three of the 43 SNPs observed within C3 were associated with severe PE: rs2287845 (p = 0.038, OR = 1.158), rs366510 (p = 0.039, OR = 1.158), and rs2287848 (p = 0.041, OR = 1.155). We also discovered 16 SNP haplotypes with extreme linkage disequilibrium in the middle of the gene with a protective (p = 0.044, OR = 0.628) or a predisposing (p = 0.011, OR = 2.110) effect to severe PE depending on the allele combination. Genetic variants associated with PE are located in key domains of C3 and could thereby influence the function of C3. This is, as far as we are aware, the first candidate gene in the complement system with an association to a clinically relevant PE subphenotype, severe PE. The result highlights a potential role for the complement system in the pathogenesis of PE and may help in defining prognostic and therapeutic subgroups of preeclamptic women.
  • Tammimies, Kristiina; Bieder, Andrea; Lauter, Gilbert; Sugiaman-Trapman, Debora; Torchet, Rachel; Hokkanen, Marie-Estelle; Burghoorn, Jan; Castrén, Eero; Kere, Juha; Tapia-Paez, Isabel; Swoboda, Peter (2016)
    DYX1C1, DCDC2, and KIAA0319 are three of the most replicated dyslexia candidate genes (DCGs). Recently, these DCGs were implicated in functions at the cilium. Here, we investigate the regulation of these DCGs by Regulatory Factor X transcription factors (RFX TFs), a gene family known for transcriptionally regulating ciliary genes. We identify conserved X-box motifs in the promoter regions of DYX1C1, DCDC2, and KIAA0319 and demonstrate their functionality, as well as the ability to recruit RFX TFs using reporter gene and electrophoretic mobility shift assays. Furthermore, we uncover a complex regulation pattern between RFX1, RFX2, and RFX3 and their significant effect on modifying the endogenous expression of DYX1C1 and DCDC2 in a human retinal pigmented epithelial cell line immortalized with hTERT (hTERT-RPE1). In addition, induction of ciliogenesis increases the expression of RFX TFs and DCGs. At the protein level, we show that endogenous DYX1C1 localizes to the base of the cilium, whereas DCDC2 localizes along the entire axoneme of the cilium, thereby validating earlier localization studies using overexpression models. Our results corroborate the emerging role of DCGs in ciliary function and characterize functional noncoding elements, X-box promoter motifs, in DCG promoter regions, which thus can be targeted for mutation screening in dyslexia and ciliopathies associated with these genes.
  • Voronova, Angelika; Rendón-Anaya, Martha; Ingvarsson, Pär; Kalendar, Ruslan; Ruņģis, Dainis (2020)
    Sequencing the giga-genomes of several pine species has enabled comparative genomic analyses of these outcrossing tree species. Previous studies have revealed the wide distribution and extraordinary diversity of transposable elements (TEs) that occupy the large intergenic spaces in conifer genomes. In this study, we analyzed the distribution of TEs in gene regions of the assembled genomes of Pinus taeda and Pinus lambertiana using high-performance computing resources. The quality of draft genomes and the genome annotation have significant consequences for the investigation of TEs and these aspects are discussed. Several TE families frequently inserted into genes or their flanks were identified in both species' genomes. Potentially important sequence motifs were identified in TEs that could bind additional regulatory factors, promoting gene network formation with faster or enhanced transcription initiation. Node genes that contain many TEs were observed in multiple potential transposable element-associated networks. This study demonstrated the increased accumulation of TEs in the introns of stress-responsive genes of pines and suggests the possibility of rewiring them into responsive networks and sub-networks interconnected with node genes containing multiple TEs. Many such regulatory influences could lead to the adaptive environmental response clines that are characteristic of naturally spread pine populations.
  • Verta, Jukka-Pekka; Barton, Henry Juho; Pritchard, Victoria; Primmer, Craig (2021)
    Whole-genome duplications (WGD) have been considered as springboards that potentiate lineage diversification through increasing functional redundancy. Divergence in gene regulatory elements is a central mechanism for evolutionary diversification, yet the patterns and processes governing regulatory divergence following events that lead to massive functional redundancy, such as WGD, remain largely unknown. We studied the patterns of divergence and strength of natural selection on regulatory elements in the Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) genome, which has undergone WGD 100–80 Ma. Using ChIPmentation, we first show that H3K27ac, a histone modification typical to enhancers and promoters, is associated with genic regions, tissue-specific transcription factor binding motifs, and with gene transcription levels in immature testes. Divergence in transcription between duplicated genes from WGD (ohnologs) correlated with difference in the number of proximal regulatory elements, but not with promoter elements, suggesting that functional divergence between ohnologs after WGD is mainly driven by enhancers. By comparing H3K27ac regions between duplicated genome blocks, we further show that a longer polyploid state post-WGD has constrained regulatory divergence. Patterns of genetic diversity across natural populations inferred from resequencing indicate that recent evolutionary pressures on H3K27ac regions are dominated by largely neutral evolution. In sum, our results suggest that post-WGD functional redundancy in regulatory elements continues to have an impact on the evolution of the salmon genome, promoting largely neutral evolution of regulatory elements despite their association with transcription levels. These results highlight a case where genome-wide regulatory evolution following an ancient WGD is dominated by genetic drift.
  • Ramakrishnan, Muthusamy; Satish, Lakkakula; Kalendar, Ruslan; Mathiyazhagan, Narayanan; Sabariswaran, Kandasamy; Sharma, Anket; Emamverdian, Abolghassem; Wei, Qiang; Zhou, Mingbing (2021)
    Plant development processes are regulated by epigenetic alterations that shape nuclear structure, gene expression, and phenotypic plasticity; these alterations can provide the plant with protection from environmental stresses. During plant growth and development, these processes play a significant role in regulating gene expression to remodel chromatin structure. These epigenetic alterations are mainly regulated by transposable elements (TEs) whose abundance in plant genomes results in their interaction with genomes. Thus, TEs are the main source of epigenetic changes and form a substantial part of the plant genome. Furthermore, TEs can be activated under stress conditions, and activated elements cause mutagenic effects and substantial genetic variability. This introduces novel gene functions and structural variation in the insertion sites and primarily contributes to epigenetic modifications. Altogether, these modifications indirectly or directly provide the ability to withstand environmental stresses. In recent years, many studies have shown that TE methylation plays a major role in the evolution of the plant genome through epigenetic process that regulate gene imprinting, thereby upholding genome stability. The induced genetic rearrangements and insertions of mobile genetic elements in regions of active euchromatin contribute to genome alteration, leading to genomic stress. These TE-mediated epigenetic modifications lead to phenotypic diversity, genetic variation, and environmental stress tolerance. Thus, TE methylation is essential for plant evolution and stress adaptation, and TEs hold a relevant military position in the plant genome. High-throughput techniques have greatly advanced the understanding of TE-mediated gene expression and its associations with genome methylation and suggest that controlled mobilization of TEs could be used for crop breeding. However, development application in this area has been limited, and an integrated view of TE function and subsequent processes is lacking. In this review, we explore the enormous diversity and likely functions of the TE repertoire in adaptive evolution and discuss some recent examples of how TEs impact gene expression in plant development and stress adaptation.