Human chromosomal fragile sites are specific loci that are especially susceptible to DNA breakage following conditions of partial replication stress. They often are found in genes involved in tumorigenesis and map to over half of all known cancer-specific recurrent translocation breakpoints. While their molecular basis remains elusive, most fragile DNAs contain AT-rich flexibility islands predicted to form stable secondary structures. To understand the mechanism of fragile site instability, we examined the contribution of secondary structure formation to breakage at FRA16B. Here, we show that FRA16B forms an alternative DNA structure in vitro. During replication in human cells, FRA16B exhibited reduced replication efficiency and expansions and deletions, depending on replication orientation and distance from the origin. Furthermore, the examination of a FRA16B replication fork template demonstrated that the majority of the constructs contained DNA polymerase paused within the FRA16B sequence, and among the molecules, which completed DNA synthesis, 81% of them underwent fork reversal. These results strongly suggest that the secondary-structure-forming ability of FRA16B contributes to its fragility by stalling DNA replication, and this mechanism may be shared among other fragile DNAs.
Bacterial heat-labile (LT) enterotoxins signal through tightly regulated interactions with host cell gangliosides. LT-IIa and LT-IIb of Escherichia coli bind preferentially to gangliosides with a NeuAcα2-3Galβ1-3GalNAc terminus, with key distinctions in specificity. LT-IIc, a newly discove ... mehr
Phosphate deficiency is characteristic for many natural habitats, resulting in different physiological responses in plants and bacteria including the replacement of phospholipids by glycolipids and other phosphorous-free lipids. The plant pathogenic bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens, whi ... mehr
A tryptophan side chain was introduced into subsite +1 of family GH-18 (class V) chitinases from Nicotiana tabacum and Arabidopsis thaliana (NtChiV and AtChiC, respectively) by the mutation of a glycine residue to tryptophan (G74W-NtChiV and G75W-AtChiC). The specific activity toward glyco ... mehr