MEME SUITE: tools for motif discovery and searching.

A bivalent chromatin structure marks key developmental genes in embryonic stem cells

The most highly conserved noncoding elements (HCNEs) in mammalian genomes cluster within regions enriched for genes encoding developmentally important transcription factors (TFs). This suggests that HCNE-rich regions may contain key regulatory controls involved in development. We explored this by examining histone methylation in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells across 56 large HCNE-rich loci. We identified a specific modification pattern, termed “bivalent domains,” consisting of large regions of H3 lysine 27 methylation harboring smaller regions of H3 lysine 4 methylation.
Bivalent domains tend to coincide with TF genes expressed at low levels. We propose that bivalent domains silence developmental genes in ES cells while keeping them poised for activation. We also found striking correspondences between genome sequence and histone methylation in ES cells, which become notably weaker in differentiated cells. These results highlight the importance of DNA sequence in defining the initial epigenetic landscape and suggest a novel chromatin-based mechanism for maintaining pluripotency.

MEME SUITE: tools for motif discovery and searching.

The MEME Suite web server provides a unified portal for online discovery and analysis of sequence motifs representing features such as DNA binding sites and protein interaction domains. The popular MEME motif discovery algorithm is now complemented by the GLAM2 algorithm which allows discovery of motifs containing gaps. Three sequence scanning algorithms–MAST, FIMO and GLAM2SCAN–allow scanning numerous DNA and protein sequence databases for motifs discovered by MEME and GLAM2.
Transcription factor motifs (including those discovered using MEME) can be compared with motifs in many popular motif databases using the motif database scanning algorithm TOMTOM. Transcription factor motifs can be further analyzed for putative function by association with Gene Ontology (GO) terms using the motif-GO term association tool GOMO.
MEME output now contains sequence LOGOS for each discovered motif, as well as buttons to allow motifs to be conveniently submitted to the sequence and motif database scanning algorithms (MAST, FIMO and TOMTOM), or to GOMO, for further analysis. GLAM2 output similarly contains buttons for further analysis using GLAM2SCAN and for rerunning GLAM2 with different parameters. All of the motif-based tools are now implemented as web services via Opal. Source code, binaries and a web server are freely available for noncommercial use at

Use of bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase to direct selective high-level expression of cloned genes.

A gene expression system based on bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase has been developed. T7 RNA polymerase is highly selective for its own promoters, which do not occur naturally in Escherichia coli. A relatively small amount of T7 RNA polymerase provided from a cloned copy of T7 gene 1 is sufficient to direct high-level transcription from a T7 promoter in a multicopy plasmid.
Such transcription can proceed several times around the plasmid without terminating, and can be so active that transcription by E. coli RNA polymerase is greatly decreased. When a cleavage site for RNase III is introduced, discrete RNAs of plasmid length can accumulate. The natural transcription terminator from T7 DNA also works effectively in the plasmid. Both the rate of synthesis and the accumulation of RNA directed by T7 RNA polymerase can reach levels comparable with those for ribosomal RNAs in a normal cell.
These high levels of accumulation suggest that the RNAs are relatively stable, perhaps in part because their great length and/or stem-and-loop structures at their 3′ ends help to protect them against exonucleolytic degradation. It seems likely that a specific mRNA produced by T7 RNA polymerase can rapidly saturate the translational machinery of E. coli, so that the rate of protein synthesis from such an mRNA will depend primarily on the efficiency of its translation. When the mRNA is efficiently translated, a target protein can accumulate to greater than 50% of the total cell protein in three hours or less. We have used two ways to deliver active T7 RNA polymerase to the cell; infection by a lambda derivative that carries gene 1, or induction of a chromosomal copy of gene 1 under control of the lacUV5 promoter.
When gene 1 is delivered by infection, very toxic target genes can be maintained silent in the cell until T7 RNA polymerase is introduced, when they rapidly become expressed at high levels. When gene 1 is resident in the chromosome, even the very low basal levels of T7 RNA polymerase present in the uninduced cell can prevent the establishment of plasmids carrying toxic target genes, or make the plasmid unstable.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

electrophoresis analysis of polymerase chain reaction-amplified genes coding for 16S rRNA.

We describe a new molecular approach to analyzing the genetic diversity of complex microbial populations. This technique is based on the separation of polymerase chain reaction-amplified fragments of genes coding for 16S rRNA, all the same length, by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). DGGE analysis of different microbial communities demonstrated the presence of up to 10 distinguishable bands in the separation pattern, which were most likely derived from as many different species constituting these populations, and thereby generated a DGGE profile of the populations.
We showed that it is possible to identify constituents which represent only 1% of the total population. With an oligonucleotide probe specific for the V3 region of 16S rRNA of sulfate-reducing bacteria, particular DNA fragments from some of the microbial populations could be identified by hybridization analysis.
Analysis of the genomic DNA from a bacterial biofilm grown under aerobic conditions suggests that sulfate-reducing bacteria, despite their anaerobicity, were present in this environment. The results we obtained demonstrate that this technique will contribute to our understanding of the genetic diversity of uncharacterized microbial populations.
Tags: , , , , ,