Transgene expression in Xenopus rods

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States
FEBS Letters (Impact Factor: 3.34). 02/1998; 423(2):117-21. DOI: 10.1016/S0014-5793(98)00018-0
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The photoreceptors of the vertebrate retina express a large number of proteins that are involved in the process of light transduction. These genes appear to be coordinately regulated at the level of transcription, with rod- and cone-specific isoforms (J. Hurley (1992) J. Bioenerg. Biomembr. 24, 219-226). The mechanisms that regulate gene expression in a rod/cone-specific fashion have been difficult to address using traditional approaches and remain unknown. Regulation of the phototransduction proteins is medically important, since mutations in several of them cause retinal degeneration (P. Rosenfeld and T. Dryja (1995) in: Molecular Genetics of Ocular Disease (J.L. Wiggs, Ed.), pp. 99-126, Wiley-Liss Inc.). An experimental system for rapidly producing retinas expressing a desired mutant would greatly facilitate investigations of retinal degeneration. We report here that transgenic frog embryos (K. Kroll and E. Amaya (1996) Development 122, 3173-3183) can be used to study cell-specific expression in the retina. We have used a 5.5 kb 5' upstream fragment from the Xenopus principal rod opsin gene (S. Batni et al. (1996) J. Biol. Chem. 271, 3179-3186) controlling a reporter gene, green fluorescent protein (GFP), to produce numerous independent transgenic Xenopus. We find that this construct drives expression only in the retina and pineal, which is apparent by 4 days post-nuclear injection. These are the first results using transgenic Xenopus for retinal promoter analysis and the potential for the expression in rod photoreceptors of proteins with dominant phenotypes.

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    ABSTRACT: Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated 1 (HCN1) channels carry Ih, which contributes to neuronal excitability and signal transmission in the nervous system. Controlling the trafficking of HCN1 is an important aspect of its regulation, yet the details of this process are poorly understood. Here, we investigated how the C-terminus of HCN1 regulates trafficking by testing for its ability to redirect the localization of a non-targeted reporter in transgenic Xenopus laevis photoreceptors. We found that HCN1 contains an ER localization signal and through a series of deletion constructs, identified the responsible di-arginine ER retention signal. This signal is located in the intrinsically disordered region of the C-terminus of HCN1. To test the function of the ER retention signal in intact channels, we expressed wild type and mutant HCN1 in HEK293 cells and found this signal negatively regulates surface expression of HCN1. In summary, we report a new mode of regulating HCN1 trafficking: through the use of a di-arginine ER retention signal that monitors processing of the channel in the early secretory pathway.
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    ABSTRACT: In vertebrates, rod photoreceptor-specific gene expression is regulated by the large Maf and Pax-like transcription factors, Nrl/LNrl and Crx/Otx5. The ubiquitous occurrence of their target DNA binding sites throughout rod-specific gene promoters suggests that multiple transcription factor interactions within the promoter are functionally important. Cooperative action by these transcription factors activates rod-specific genes such as rhodopsin. However, a quantitative mechanistic explanation of transcriptional rate determinants is lacking. We investigated the contributions of various paired-like transcription factors and their cognate cis-elements to rhodopsin gene activation using cultured cells to quantify activity. The Xenopus rhodopsin promoter (XOP) has a bipartite structure, with ~200 bp proximal to the start site (RPP) coordinating cooperative activation by Nrl/LNrl-Crx/Otx5 and the adjacent 5300 bp upstream sequence increasing the overall expression level. The synergistic activation by Nrl/LNrl-Crx/Otx5 also occurred when XOP was stably integrated into the genome. We determined that Crx/Otx5 synergistically activated transcription independently and additively through the two Pax-like cis-elements, BAT1 and Ret4, but not through Ret1. Other Pax-like family members, Rax1 and Rax2, do not synergistically activate XOP transcription with Nrl/LNrl and/or Crx/Otx5; rather they act as co-activators via the Ret1 cis-element. We have provided a quantitative model of cooperative transcriptional activation of the rhodopsin promoter through interaction of Crx/Otx5 with Nrl/LNrl at two paired-like cis-elements proximal to the NRE and TATA binding site. Further, we have shown that Rax genes act in cooperation with Crx/Otx5 with Nrl/LNrl as co-activators of rhodopsin transcription.
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Jun 3, 2014