Amino-terminal control of transgenic protein expression levels in Toxoplasma gondii.
ABSTRACT Comparing the steady-state expression levels of recombinant proteins in Toxoplasma gondii parasites indicates considerable variability, and this has sometimes caused difficulties in the engineering of transgenic parasites. Anecdotal observations suggested that alteration of the N-terminus, e.g. by engineering as a fusion protein, permits stable expression of various transgenes that were previously difficult to express in their native form. We have exploited the sensitivity and quantitative nature of fire-fly luciferase (LUC) to examine expression levels in further detail. Fusing the 26 N-terminal residues derived from chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (DeltaCAT) to LUC permits efficient transient or stable luciferase expression in transgenic parasite tachyzoites, providing a useful reporter for studies in T. gondii. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to alter the second codon of DeltaCAT-LUC to encode all 20 possible amino acids, and these constructs showed that changes in the second amino acid can have dramatic effects on luciferase activity, with Ala, Glu, and Asp codons yielding the highest expression levels. Similar results were observed for the expression of both GFP and the T. gondii HXGPRT gene, demonstrating the generality of this effect.
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ABSTRACT: We have previously shown that the degradation of c-myc and N-myc in vitro is mediated by the ubiquitin system. However, the role of the system in targeting the myc proteins in vivo and the identity of the conjugating enzymes and possible ancillary proteins involved has remained obscure. Here we report that the degradation of the myc proteins in cells is inhibited by lactacystin and MG132, two inhibitors of the 20S proteasome. Inhibition is accompanied by accumulation of myc-ubiquitin conjugates. Dissection of the ancillary proteins involved revealed that the high-risk human papillomavirus oncoprotein E6-16 stimulates conjugation and subsequent degradation of the myc proteins in vitro. Expression of E6-16 in cells results in significant shortening of the t1/2 of the myc proteins with subsequent decrease in their cellular level. Analysis of the conjugating enzymes revealed that under basal conditions the proteins can be conjugated by two pairs of E2s and E3s—E2-14 kDa and E3α involved in the “N-end rule” pathway, and E2-F1 (UbcH7) and E3-Fos involved also in conjugation of c-Fos. In the presence of E6-16, a third pair, E2-F1 and E6-AP mediate conjugation of myc by means of a mechanism that appears to be similar to that involved in the targeting of p53, formation of a myc⋅E6⋅E6–AP targeting complex. It is possible that in certain cells E6-mediated targeting of myc prevents myc-induced apoptosis and thus ensures maintenance of viral infection.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/1998; 95(14):8058-8063. · 9.74 Impact Factor
- Methods in cell biology 02/1994; 45:27-63. · 1.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To investigate the feasibility of genomic transgene expression and gene targeting in Toxoplasma gondii, parasites have been transfected with constructs differing in the length of contiguous genomic sequence spanning the dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase (DHFR-TS) gene. We have previously reported that vectors derived from a DHFR-TS cDNA 'minigene' containing mutations in the DHFR coding sequence confer pyrimethamine resistance to transfected parasites (Donald and Roos, 1993). Stably resistant parasite clones arise at high frequency, generally by virtue of transgene integration into parasite chromosomes at locations scattered throughout the genome. In contrast, using a vector which contains 8 kb of contiguous genomic sequence (vs. < 2 kb for the cDNA-derived vectors), approximately half of the integration events occur by homologous recombination. Homologous recombination appears to occur at even higher frequency when a 16 kb genomic clone is used. Circular plasmids were more efficient than linearized molecules at producing homologous recombination in this system, integrating by reciprocal crossing-over to produce a duplication of the DHFR-TS locus. Double crossing-over (or gene conversion) was also observed at low frequency, resulting in complete allelic replacement in this haploid stage of the parasite. The ability to produce either homologous or non-homologous recombinants, by the selection of appropriate transformation constructs, has considerable genetic potential.Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology 02/1994; 63(2):243-53. · 2.73 Impact Factor