Transcription by RNA polymerase (RNAP) is interrupted by pauses that play diverse regulatory roles. Although individual pauses have been studied in vitro, the determinants of pauses in vivo and their distribution throughout the bacterial genome remain unknown. Using nascent transcript sequencing, we identified a 16-nucleotide consensus pause sequence in Escherichia coli that accounts for known regulatory pause sites as well as ~20,000 new in vivo pause sites. In vitro single-molecule and ensemble analyses demonstrate that these pauses result from RNAP-nucleic acid interactions that inhibit next-nucleotide addition. The consensus sequence also leads to pausing by RNAPs from diverse lineages and is enriched at translation start sites in both E. coli and Bacillus subtilis. Our results thus reveal a conserved mechanism unifying known and newly identified pause events.
Conditional gene deletion in mice has contributed immensely to our understanding of many biological and biomedical processes. Despite an increasing awareness of nonprotein-coding functional elements within protein-coding transcripts, current gene-targeting approaches typically involve simultaneous ablation of noncoding elements within targeted protein-coding genes. The potential for protein-coding genes to have additional noncoding functions necessitates the development of novel genetic tools capable of precisely interrogating individual functional elements. We present a strategy that couples Cre/loxP-mediated conditional gene disruption with faithful GFP reporter expression in mice in which Cre-mediated stable inversion of a splice acceptor-GFP-splice donor cassette concurrently disrupts protein production and creates a GFP fusion product. Importantly, cassette inversion maintains physiologic transcript structure, thereby ensuring proper microRNA-mediated regulation of the GFP reporter, as well as maintaining expression of nonprotein-coding elements. To test this potentially generalizable strategy, we generated and analyzed mice with this conditional knockin reporter targeted to the Hmga2 locus.
Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy primarily affects the muscles of the hips and shoulders (the "limb-girdle" muscles), although it is a heterogeneous disorder that can present with varying symptoms. There is currently no cure. We sought to identify the genetic basis of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 1 in an American family of Northern European descent using exome sequencing. Exome sequencing was performed on DNA samples from two affected siblings and one unaffected sibling and resulted in the identification of eleven candidate mutations that co-segregated with the disease. Notably, this list included a previously reported mutation in DNAJB6, p.Phe89Ile, which was recently identified as a cause of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 1D. Additional family members were Sanger sequenced and the mutation in DNAJB6 was only found in affected individuals. Subsequent haplotype analysis indicated that this DNAJB6 p.Phe89Ile mutation likely arose independently of the previously reported mutation. Since other published mutations are located close by in the G/F domain of DNAJB6, this suggests that the area may represent a mutational hotspot. Exome sequencing provided an unbiased and effective method for identifying the genetic etiology of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 1 in a previously genetically uncharacterized family. This work further confirms the causative role of DNAJB6 mutations in limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 1D.
RNA-protein interactions drive fundamental biological processes and are targets for molecular engineering, yet quantitative and comprehensive understanding of the sequence determinants of affinity remains limited. Here we repurpose a high-throughput sequencing instrument to quantitatively measure binding and dissociation of a fluorescently labeled protein to >10(7) RNA targets generated on a flow cell surface by in situ transcription and intermolecular tethering of RNA to DNA. Studying the MS2 coat protein, we decompose the binding energy contributions from primary and secondary RNA structure, and observe that differences in affinity are often driven by sequence-specific changes in both association and dissociation rates. By analyzing the biophysical constraints and modeling mutational paths describing the molecular evolution of MS2 from low- to high-affinity hairpins, we quantify widespread molecular epistasis and a long-hypothesized, structure-dependent preference for G:U base pairs over C:A intermediates in evolutionary trajectories. Our results suggest that quantitative analysis of RNA on a massively parallel array (RNA-MaP) provides generalizable insight into the biophysical basis and evolutionary consequences of sequence-function relationships.
We describe an assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq), based on direct in vitro transposition of sequencing adaptors into native chromatin, as a rapid and sensitive method for integrative epigenomic analysis. ATAC-seq captures open chromatin sites using a simple two-step protocol with 500-50,000 cells and reveals the interplay between genomic locations of open chromatin, DNA-binding proteins, individual nucleosomes and chromatin compaction at nucleotide resolution. We discovered classes of DNA-binding factors that strictly avoided, could tolerate or tended to overlap with nucleosomes. Using ATAC-seq maps of human CD4(+) T cells from a proband obtained on consecutive days, we demonstrated the feasibility of analyzing an individuals epigenome on a timescale compatible with clinical decision-making.
We developed a multiplex sequencing-by-synthesis method combining terminal phosphate-labeled fluorogenic nucleotides (TPLFNs) and resealable polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microreactors. In the presence of phosphatase, primer extension by DNA polymerase using nonfluorescent TPLFNs generates fluorophores, which are confined in the microreactors and detected. We immobilized primed DNA templates in the microreactors, then sequentially introduced one of the four identically labeled TPLFNs, sealed the microreactors and recorded a fluorescence image after template-directed primer extension. With cycle times of <10 min, we demonstrate 30 base reads with ?99% raw accuracy. Our fluorogenic pyrosequencing offers benefits of pyrosequencing, such as rapid turnaround, one-color detection and generation of native DNA, along with high detection sensitivity and simplicity of parallelization because simultaneous real-time monitoring of all microreactors is not required.
We present details of the design, construction, and testing of a single-beam optical tweezers apparatus capable of measuring and exerting torque, as well as force, on microfabricated, optically anisotropic particles (an "optical torque wrench"). The control of angular orientation is achieved by rotating the linear polarization of a trapping laser with an electro-optic modulator (EOM), which affords improved performance over previous designs. The torque imparted to the trapped particle is assessed by measuring the difference between left- and right-circular components of the transmitted light, and constant torque is maintained by feeding this difference signal back into a custom-designed electronic servo loop. The limited angular range of the EOM (+/-180 degrees ) is extended by rapidly reversing the polarization once a threshold angle is reached, enabling the torque clamp to function over unlimited, continuous rotations at high bandwidth. In addition, we developed particles suitable for rotation in this apparatus using microfabrication techniques. Altogether, the system allows for the simultaneous application of forces (approximately 0.1-100 pN) and torques (approximately 1-10,000 pN nm) in the study of biomolecules. As a proof of principle, we demonstrate how our instrument can be used to study the supercoiling of single DNA molecules.
The lymphoid tyrosine phosphatase (LYP), encoded by the PTPN22 gene, recently emerged as an important risk factor and drug target for human autoimmunity. Here we solved the structure of the catalytic domain of LYP, which revealed noticeable differences with previously published structures. The active center with a semi-closed conformation binds a phosphate ion, which may represent an intermediate conformation after dephosphorylation of the substrate but before release of the phosphate product. The structure also revealed an unusual disulfide bond formed between the catalytic Cys and one of the two Cys residues nearby, which is not observed in previously determined structures. Our structural and mutagenesis data suggest that the disulfide bond may play a role in protecting the enzyme from irreversible oxidation. Surprisingly, we found that the two noncatalytic Cys around the active center exert an opposite yin-yang regulation on the catalytic Cys activity. These detailed structural and functional characterizations have provided new insights into autoregulatory mechanisms of LYP function.
We developed a simple, compact microfluidic device to perform high dynamic-range digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) in an array of isolated 36-femtoliter microreactors. The density of the microreactors exceeded 20000/mm(2). This device, made from polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), allows the samples to be loaded into all microreactors simultaneously. The microreactors are completely sealed through the deformation of a PDMS membrane. The small volume of the microreactors ensures a compact device with high reaction efficiency and low reagent and sample consumption. Future potential applications of this platform include multicolor dPCR and massively parallel dPCR for next generation sequencing library preparation.
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