Browsing by Subject "mutagenesis"

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  • Bicout, Dominique; Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW (2017)
  • Nowak, Jessika; Visnovsky, Sandra B.; Pitman, Andrew R.; Cruz, Cristina D.; Palmer, Jon; Fletcher, Graham C.; Flint, Steve (2021)
    Listeria monocytogenes is a ubiquitous foodborne pathogen that results in a high rate of mortality in sensitive and immunocompromised people. Contamination of food with L. monocytogenes is thought to occur during food processing, most often as a result of the pathogen producing a biofilm that persists in the environment and acting as the source for subsequent dispersal of cells onto food. A survey of seafoodprocessing plants in New Zealand identified the persistent strain 15G01, which has a high capacity to form biofilms. In this study, a transposon library of L. monocytogenes 15G01 was screened for mutants with altered biofilm formation, assessed by a crystal violet assay, to identify genes involved in biofilm formation. This screen identified 36 transposants that showed a significant change in biofilm formation compared to the wild type. The insertion sites were in 27 genes, 20 of which led to decreased biofilm formation and seven to an increase. Two insertions were in intergenic regions. Annotation of the genes suggested that they are involved in diverse cellular processes, including stress response, autolysis, transporter systems, and cell wall/membrane synthesis. Analysis of the biofilms produced by the transposants using scanning electron microscopy and fluorescence microscopy showed notable differences in the structure of the biofilms compared to the wild type. In particular, inactivation of uvrB and mltD produced coccoid-shaped cells and elongated cells in long chains, respectively, and the mgtB mutant produced a unique biofilm with a sandwich structure which was reversed to the wild-type level upon magnesium addition. The mltD transposant was successfully complemented with the wild-type gene, whereas the phenotypes were not or only partially restored for the remaining mutants. IMPORTANCE The major source of contamination of food with Listeria monocytogenes is thought to be due to biofilm formation and/or persistence in food-processing plants. By establishing as a biofilm, L. monocytogenes cells become harder to eradicate due to their increased resistance to environmental threats. Understanding the genes involved in biofilm formation and their influence on biofilm structure will help identify new ways to eliminate harmful biofilms in food processing environments. To date, multiple genes have been identified as being involved in biofilm formation by L. monocytogenes; however, the exact mechanism remains unclear. This study identified four genes associated with biofilm formation by a persistent strain. Extensive microscopic analysis illustrated the effect of the disruption of mgtB, clsA, uvrB, and mltD and the influence of magnesium on the biofilm structure. The results strongly suggest an involvement in biofilm formation for the four genes and provide a basis for further studies to analyze gene regulation to assess the specific role of these biofilm-associated genes.
  • Sattar, Muhammad Naeem; Iqbal, Zafar; Al-Khayri, Jameel M.; Jain, Shri Mohan (2021)
    Fruit trees provide essential nutrients to humans by contributing to major agricultural outputs and economic growth globally. However, major constraints to sustainable agricultural productivity are the uncontrolled proliferation of the population, and biotic and abiotic stresses. Tree mutation breeding has been substantially improved using different physical and chemical mutagens. Nonetheless, tree plant breeding has certain crucial bottlenecks including a long life cycle, ploidy level, occurrence of sequence polymorphisms, nature of parthenocarpic fruit development and linkage. Genetic engineering of trees has focused on boosting quality traits such as productivity, wood quality, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Recent technological advances in genome editing provide a unique opportunity for the genetic improvement of woody plants. This review examines application of the CRISPR-Cas system to reduce disease susceptibility, alter plant architecture, enhance fruit quality, and improve yields. Examples are discussed of the contemporary CRISPR-Cas system to engineer easily scorable PDS genes, modify lignin, and to alter the flowering onset, fertility, tree architecture and certain biotic stresses.
  • Takala, Heikki; Lehtivuori, Heli K.; Berntsson, Oskar; Hughes, Ashley; Nanekar, Rahul; Niebling, Stephan; Panman, Matthijs; Henry, Leocadie; Menzel, Andreas; Westenhoff, Sebastian; Ihalainen, Janne A. (2018)
    Phytochromes are photoreceptors in plants, fungi, and various microorganisms and cycle between metastable red light-absorbing (Pr) and far-red light-absorbing (Pfr) states. Their light responses are thought to follow a conserved structural mechanism that is triggered by isomerization of the chromophore. Downstream structural changes involve refolding of the so-called tongue extension of the phytochrome-specific GAF-related (PHY) domain of the photoreceptor. The tongue is connected to the chromophore by conserved DIP and PRXSF motifs and a conserved tyrosine, but the role of these residues in signal transduction is not clear. Here, we examine the tongue interactions and their interplay with the chromophore by substituting the conserved tyrosine (Tyr(263)) in the phytochrome from the extremophile bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans with phenylalanine. Using optical and FTIR spectroscopy, X-ray solution scattering, and crystallography of chromophore-binding domain (CBD) and CBD-PHY fragments, we show that the absence of the Tyr(263) hydroxyl destabilizes the -sheet conformation of the tongue. This allowed the phytochrome to adopt an -helical tongue conformation regardless of the chromophore state, hence distorting the activity state of the protein. Our crystal structures further revealed that water interactions are missing in the Y263F mutant, correlating with a decrease of the photoconversion yield and underpinning the functional role of Tyr(263) in phytochrome conformational changes. We propose a model in which isomerization of the chromophore, refolding of the tongue, and globular conformational changes are represented as weakly coupled equilibria. The results also suggest that the phytochromes have several redundant signaling routes.
  • Oeemig, Jesper S.; Beyer, Hannes M.; Aranko, A. Sesilja; Mutanen, Justus; Iwai, Hideo (2020)
    Inteins catalyze self-excision from host precursor proteins while concomitantly ligating the flanking substrates (exteins) with a peptide bond. Noncatalytic extein residues near the splice junctions, such as the residues at the -1 and +2 positions, often strongly influence the protein-splicing efficiency. The substrate specificities of inteins have not been studied for many inteins. We developed a convenient mutagenesis platform termed "QuickDrop"-cassette mutagenesis for investigating the influences of 20 amino acid types at the -1 and +2 positions of different inteins. We elucidated 17 different profiles of the 20 amino acid dependencies across different inteins. The substrate specificities will accelerate our understanding of the structure-function relationship at the splicing junctions for broader applications of inteins in biotechnology and molecular biosciences.