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Concept: Promoter


Polymorphisms in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR) and exposure to early childhood adversities (CA) are independently associated with individual differences in cognitive and emotional processing. Whether these two factors interact to influence cognitive and emotional processing is not known.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Promoter, RNA polymerase, Childhood, Neuroticism, Serotonin transporter, 5-HTTLPR


The study was designed to characterize the surface, core promoter, precore/core region sequences for the presence of mutations in hepatitis B virus (HBV) associated with different liver diseases.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cancer, Promoter, Cirrhosis, Hepatitis, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis B virus


The G-quadruplex ligands database (G4LDB, provides a unique collection of reported G-quadruplex ligands to streamline ligand/drug discovery targeting G-quadruplexes. G-quadruplexes are guanine-rich nucleic acid sequences in human telomeres and gene promoter regions. There is a growing recognition for their profound roles in a wide spectrum of diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Ligands that affect the structure and activity of G-quadruplexes can shed light on the search for G-quadruplex-targeting drugs. Therefore, we built the G4LDB to (i) compile a data set covering various physical properties and 3D structure of G-quadruplex ligands; (ii) provide Web-based tools for G-quadruplex ligand design; and (iii) to facilitate the discovery of novel therapeutic and diagnostic agents targeting G-quadruplexes. G4LDB currently contains >800 G-quadruplex ligands with ∼4000 activity records, which, to our knowledge, is the most extensive collection of its kind. It offers a user friendly interface that can meet a variety of data inquiries from researchers. For example, ligands can be searched for by name, molecular properties, structures, ligand activities and so on. Building on the reported data, the database also provides an online ligand design module that can predict ligand binding affinity in real time.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cancer, Promoter, Ligand, RNA polymerase, G-quadruplex, Telomere


We developed a method for aptamer identification without in vitro selection. We have previously obtained several aptamers, which may fold into the G-quadruplex (G4) structure, against target proteins; therefore, we hypothesized that the G4 structure would be an excellent scaffold for aptamers to recognize the target protein. Moreover, the G4-forming sequence contained in the promoter region of insulin can reportedly bind to insulin. We thus expected that G4 DNAs, which are contained in promoter regions, could act as DNA aptamers against their gene products. We designated this aptamer identification method as “G4 promoter-derived aptamer selection (G4PAS).” Using G4PAS, we identified vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)165, platelet-derived growth factor-AA (PDGF)-AA, and RB1 DNA aptamers. Surface plasmon resonance (SPR) analysis revealed that the dissociation constant (K d) values of VEGF165, PDGF-AA, and RB1 DNA aptamers were 1.7 × 10(-7) M, 6.3 × 10(-9) M, and 4.4 × 10(-7) M, respectively. G4PAS is a simple and rapid method of aptamer identification because it involves only binding analysis of G4 DNAs to the target protein. In the human genome, over 40% of promoters contain one or more potential G4 DNAs. G4PAS could therefore be applied to identify aptamers against target proteins that contain G4 DNAs on their promoters.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Promoter, Transcription, Human genome, Transcription factor, G-quadruplex


Using molecular dynamics simulations, we show here that growing plectonemes resulting from transcription-induced supercoiling have the ability to actively push cohesin rings along chromatin fibres. The pushing direction is such that within each topologically associating domain (TAD) cohesin rings forming handcuffs move from the source of supercoiling, constituted by RNA polymerase with associated DNA topoisomerase TOP1, towards borders of TADs, where supercoiling is released by topoisomerase TOPIIB. Cohesin handcuffs are pushed by continuous flux of supercoiling that is generated by transcription and is then progressively released by action of TOPIIB located at TADs borders. Our model explains what can be the driving force of chromatin loop extrusion and how it can be ensured that loops grow quickly and in a good direction. In addition, the supercoiling-driven loop extrusion mechanism is consistent with earlier explanations proposing why TADs flanked by convergent CTCF binding sites form more stable chromatin loops than TADs flanked by divergent CTCF binding sites. We discuss the role of supercoiling in stimulating enhancer promoter contacts and propose that transcription of eRNA sends the first wave of supercoiling that can activate mRNA transcription in a given TAD.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Promoter, Transcription, RNA, RNA polymerase


As a perennial forage crop broadly distributed in eastern Eurasia, sheepgrass (Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel) is highly tolerant to low-temperature stress. Previous report indicates that sheepgrass is able to endure as low as -47.5 °C,allowing it to survive through the cold winter season. However, due to the lack of sufficient studies, the underlying mechanism towards the extraordinary low-temperature tolerance is unclear. Although the transcription profiling has provided insight into the transcriptome response to cold stress, more detailed studies are required to dissect the molecular mechanism regarding the excellent abiotic stress tolerance. In this work, we report a novel transcript factor LcFIN1 (L. chinensis freezing-induced 1) from sheepgrass. LcFIN1 showed no homology with other known genes and was rapidly and highly induced by cold stress, suggesting that LcFIN1 participates in the early response to cold stress. Consistently, ectopic expression of LcFIN1 significantly increased cold stress tolerance in the transgenic plants, as indicated by the higher survival rate, fresh weight and other stress-related indexes after a freezing treatment. Transcriptome analysis showed that numerous stress-related genes were differentially expressed in LcFIN1-overexpressing plants, suggesting that LcFIN1 may enhance plant abiotic stress tolerance by transcriptional regulation. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays and CHIP-qPCR showed that LcCBF1 can bind to the CRT/DRE cis-element located in the promoter region of LcFIN1, suggesting that LcFIN1 is directly regulated by LcCBF1. Taken together, our results suggest that LcFIN1 positively regulates plant adaptation response to cold stress and is a promising candidate gene to improve crop cold tolerance.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Promoter, Transcription, Molecular biology, RNA polymerase


Flavonoid compounds play important roles in the modern diet, and pear fruits are an excellent dietary source of these metabolites. However, information on the regulatory network of flavonoid biosynthesis in pear fruits is rare. In this work, 18 putative flavonoid-related MYB transcription factors (TFs) were screened by phylogenetic analysis and four of them were correlated with flavonoid biosynthesis patterns in pear fruits. Among these MYB-like genes, the specific functions of two novel MYB TFs, designated as PbMYB10b and PbMYB9, were further verified by both overexpression and RNAi transient assays. PbMYB10b, a PAP-type MYB TF with atypical motifs in its conserved region, regulated the anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin pathways by inducing the expression of PbDFR, but its function could be complemented by other MYB TFs. PbMYB9, a TT2-type MYB, not only acted as the specific activator of the proanthocyanidin pathway by activating the PbANR promoter, but also induced the synthesis of anthocyanins and flavonols by binding the PbUFGT1 promoter in pear fruits. The MYBCORE-like element has been identified in both the PbUFGT1 promoter and ANR promoters in most species, but it was not found in UFGT promoters isolated from other species. This finding was also supported by a yeast one-hybrid assay and thus enhanced the likelihood of the interaction between PbMYB9 and the PbUFGT1 promoter.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Promoter, Transcription, Transcription factor, RNA polymerase, Pear


Half of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers contain a subpopulation of cytokeratin 5 (CK5)-expressing cells that are therapy resistant and exhibit increased cancer stem cell (CSC) properties. We and others have demonstrated that progesterone (P4) increases CK5+ breast cancer cells. We previously discovered that retinoids block P4 induction of CK5+ cells. Here we investigated the mechanisms by which progesterone receptors (PR) and retinoic acid receptors (RAR) regulate CK5 expression and breast CSC activity. After P4 treatment, sorted CK5+ compared to CK5- cells were more tumorigenic in vivo. In vitro, P4-treated breast cancer cells formed larger mammospheres and silencing of CK5 using small hairpin RNA abolished this P4-dependent increase in mammosphere size. Retinoic acid (RA) treatment blocked the P4 increase in CK5+ cells and prevented the P4 increase in mammosphere size. Dual small interfering RNA (siRNA) silencing of RARα and RARγ reversed RA blockade of P4-induced CK5. Using promoter deletion analysis, we identified a region 1.1 kb upstream of the CK5 transcriptional start site that is necessary for P4 activation and contains a putative progesterone response element (PRE). We confirmed by chromatin immunoprecipitation that P4 recruits PR to the CK5 promoter near the -1.1 kb essential PRE, and also to a proximal region near -130 bp that contains PRE half-sites and a RA response element (RARE). RA induced loss of PR binding only at the proximal site. Interestingly, RARα was recruited to the -1.1 kb PRE and the -130 bp PRE/RARE regions with P4, but not RA alone or RA plus P4. Treatment of breast cancer xenografts in vivo with the retinoid fenretinide reduced the accumulation of CK5+ cells during estrogen depletion. This reduction, together with the inhibition of CK5+ cell expansion through RAR/PR cross talk, may explain the efficacy of retinoids in prevention of some breast cancer recurrences.Oncogene advance online publication, 10 July 2017; doi:10.1038/onc.2017.204.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Promoter, Cancer staging, Estrogen


We have previously used three-dimensional (3D) printing to prepare tissue-like materials in which picoliter aqueous compartments are separated by lipid bilayers. These printed droplets are elaborated into synthetic cells by using a tightly regulated in vitro transcription/translation system. A light-activated DNA promoter has been developed that can be used to turn on the expression of any gene within the synthetic cells. We used light activation to express protein pores in 3D-printed patterns within synthetic tissues. The pores are incorporated into specific bilayer interfaces and thereby mediate rapid, directional electrical communication between subsets of cells. Accordingly, we have developed a functional mimic of neuronal transmission that can be controlled in a precise way.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Cell, Promoter, Transcription


Inflammation influences cancer development, progression, and the efficacy of cancer treatments, yet the mechanisms by which immune signaling drives alterations in the cancer cell transcriptome remain unclear. Using ChIP-seq, RNA-seq, and GRO-seq, here we demonstrate a global overlap in the binding of tumor-promoting p53 mutants and the master proinflammatory regulator NFκB that drives alterations in enhancer and gene activation in response to chronic TNF-α signaling. We show that p53 mutants interact directly with NFκB and that both factors impact the other’s binding at diverse sets of active enhancers. In turn, the simultaneous and cooperative binding of these factors is required to regulate RNAPII recruitment, the synthesis of enhancer RNAs, and the activation of tumor-promoting genes. Collectively, these findings establish a mechanism by which chronic TNF-α signaling orchestrates a functional interplay between mutant p53 and NFκB that underlies altered patterns of cancer-promoting gene expression.Inflammation is known to affect cancer development, yet the mechanisms by which immune signaling drives transformation remain unclear. Here, the authors provide evidence that chronic TNF-α signaling promotes the enhancer binding and transcriptional interplay between mutant p53 and NFκB.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Cancer, Promoter, RNA, Obesity