Chromatin modifications and their function

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Chromatin modifications and their function

The surface of nucleosomes is studded with a multiplicity of modifications. At least eight different classes have been characterized to date and many different sites have been identified for each class. Operationally, modifications function either by disrupting chromatin contacts or by affecting the recruitment of nonhistone proteins to chromatin. Their presence on histones can dictate the higher-order chromatin structure in which DNA is packaged and can orchestrate the ordered recruitment of enzyme complexes to manipulate DNA. In this way, histone modifications have the potential to influence many fundamental biological processes, some of which may be epigenetically inherited.

bioprotocols

Transformation of intact yeast cells treated with alkali cations

Intact yeast cells treated with alkali cations took up plasmid DNA. Li+, Cs+, Rb+, K+, and Na+ were effective in inducing competence. Conditions for the transformation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae D13-1A with plasmid YRp7 were studied in detail with CsCl. The optimum incubation time was 1 h, and the optimum cell concentration was 5 x 10(7) cells per ml. The optimum concentration of Cs+ was 1.0 M. Transformation efficiency increased with increasing concentrations of plasmid DNA.
Polyethylene glycol was absolutely required. Heat pulse and various polyamines or basic proteins stimulated the uptake of plasmid DNA. Besides circular DNA, linear plasmid DNA was also taken up by Cs+-treated yeast cells, although the uptake efficiency was considerably reduced. The transformation efficiency with Cs+ or Li+ was comparable with that of conventional protoplast methods for a plasmid containing ars1, although not for plasmids containing a 2 microns origin replication.

Improved tools for biological sequence comparison

We have developed three computer programs for comparisons of protein and DNA sequences. They can be used to search sequence data bases, evaluate similarity scores, and identify periodic structures based on local sequence similarity.
The FASTA program is a more sensitive derivative of the FASTP program, which can be used to search protein or DNA sequence data bases and can compare a protein sequence to a DNA sequence data base by translating the DNA data base as it is searched. FASTA includes an additional step in the calculation of the initial pairwise similarity score that allows multiple regions of similarity to be joined to increase the score of related sequences. The RDF2 program can be used to evaluate the significance of similarity scores using a shuffling method that preserves local sequence composition.
The LFASTA program can display all the regions of local similarity between two sequences with scores greater than a threshold, using the same scoring parameters and a similar alignment algorithm; these local similarities can be displayed as a “graphic matrix” plot or as individual alignments. In addition, these programs have been generalized to allow comparison of DNA or protein sequences based on a variety of alternative scoring matrices.

Recombinant genomes which express chloramphenicol acetyltransferase in mammalian cells

We constructed a series of recombinant genomes which directed expression of the enzyme chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) in mammalian cells. The prototype recombinant in this series, pSV2-cat, consisted of the beta-lactamase gene and origin of replication from pBR322 coupled to a simian virus 40 (SV40) early transcription region into which CAT coding sequences were inserted.
Readily measured levels of CAT accumulated within 48 h after the introduction of pSV2-cat DNA into African green monkey kidney CV-1 cells. Because endogenous CAT activity is not present in CV-1 or other mammalian cells, and because rapid, sensitive assays for CAT activity are available, these recombinants provided a uniquely convenient system for monitoring the expression of foreign DNAs in tissue culture cells. To demonstrate the usefulness of this system, we constructed derivatives of pSV2-cat from which part or all of the SV40 promoter region was removed.
Deletion of one copy of the 72-base-pair repeat sequence in the SV40 promoter caused no significant decrease in CAT synthesis in monkey kidney CV-1 cells; however, an additional deletion of 50 base pairs from the second copy of the repeats reduced CAT synthesis to 11% of its level in the wild type. We also constructed a recombinant, pSV0-cat, in which the entire SV40 promoter region was removed and a unique HindIII site was substituted for the insertion of other promoter sequences.

 

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