Publications by authors named "Andrea Lafont"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

qPCRTag Analysis--A High Throughput, Real Time PCR Assay for Sc2.0 Genotyping.

J Vis Exp 2015 May 25(99):e52941. Epub 2015 May 25.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Institute for Systems Genetics;

The Synthetic Yeast Genome Project (Sc2.0) aims to build 16 designer yeast chromosomes and combine them into a single yeast cell. To date one synthetic chromosome, synIII(1), and one synthetic chromosome arm, synIXR(2), have been constructed and their in vivo function validated in the absence of the corresponding wild type chromosomes. An important design feature of Sc2.0 chromosomes is the introduction of PCRTags, which are short, re-coded sequences within open reading frames (ORFs) that enable differentiation of synthetic chromosomes from their wild type counterparts. PCRTag primers anneal selectively to either synthetic or wild type chromosomes and the presence/absence of each type of DNA can be tested using a simple PCR assay. The standard readout of the PCRTag assay is to assess presence/absence of amplicons by agarose gel electrophoresis. However, with an average PCRTag amplicon density of one per 1.5 kb and a genome size of ~12 Mb, the completed Sc2.0 genome will encode roughly 8,000 PCRTags. To improve throughput, we have developed a real time PCR-based detection assay for PCRTag genotyping that we call qPCRTag analysis. The workflow specifies 500 nl reactions in a 1,536 multiwell plate, allowing us to test up to 768 PCRTags with both synthetic and wild type primer pairs in a single experiment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3791/52941DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4542976PMC
May 2015

Cohesin acetylation promotes sister chromatid cohesion only in association with the replication machinery.

J Biol Chem 2012 Oct 15;287(41):34325-36. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Program in Cell Cycle and Cancer Biology, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104, USA.

Acetylation of the Smc3 subunit of cohesin is essential to establish functional cohesion between sister chromatids. Smc3 acetylation is catalyzed by members of the Eco family of acetyltransferases, although the mechanism by which acetylation is regulated and how it promotes cohesion are largely unknown. In vertebrates, the cohesin complex binds to chromatin during mitotic exit and is converted to a functional form during or shortly after DNA replication. The conserved proliferating cell nuclear antigen-interacting protein box motif in yeast Eco1 is required for function, and cohesin is acetylated during the S phase. This has led to the notion that acetylation of cohesin is stimulated by interaction of Eco1 with the replication machinery. Here we show that in vertebrates Smc3 acetylation occurs independently of DNA replication. Smc3 is readily acetylated before replication is initiated and after DNA replication is complete. However, we also show that functional acetylation occurs only in association with the replication machinery: disruption of the interaction between XEco2 and proliferating cell nuclear antigen prevents cohesion establishment while having little impact on the overall levels of Smc3 acetylation. These results demonstrate that Smc3 acetylation can occur throughout interphase but that only acetylation in association with the replication fork promotes sister chromatid cohesion. These data reveal how the generation of cohesion is limited to the appropriate time and place during the cell cycle and provide insight into the mechanism by which acetylation ensures cohesion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M112.400192DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3464539PMC
October 2012

Sororin cooperates with the acetyltransferase Eco2 to ensure DNA replication-dependent sister chromatid cohesion.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010 Nov 8;107(47):20364-9. Epub 2010 Nov 8.

Program in Cell Cycle and Cancer Biology, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA.

Sister chromatids are held together, from the time they are made during S phase until they are pulled apart just before cell division, by a protein complex called cohesin. The mechanistic details by which sister chromatid cohesion is established and maintained have remained elusive, particularly in vertebrate systems. Sororin, a protein that interacts with the cohesin complex, is essential for cohesion in vertebrates, but how it participates in the process is unknown. Here we demonstrate that sororin recruitment depends on active DNA replication and that sororin loading onto chromosomes depends upon another essential cohesion factor, the acetyltransferase Eco2. We find that Eco2, like sororin, is a substrate of the anaphase-promoting complex (APC), which ensures that protein levels remain low before S phase. These findings demonstrate that sororin and Eco2 work together to form a unique regulatory module that limits cohesion to cells with replicated chromatin and support a model in which cohesion in vertebrates is not fully established until the G2 phase of the cell cycle.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1011069107DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996691PMC
November 2010

TGFBR2 mutations alter smooth muscle cell phenotype and predispose to thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections.

Cardiovasc Res 2010 Dec 13;88(3):520-9. Epub 2010 Jul 13.

Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, MSB 6.100, 6431, Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Aims: Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling is critical for the differentiation of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) into quiescent cells expressing a full repertoire of contractile proteins. Heterozygous mutations in TGF-β receptor type II (TGFBR2) disrupt TGF-β signaling and lead to genetic conditions that predispose to thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections (TAADs). The aim of this study is to determine the molecular mechanism by which TGFBR2 mutations cause TAADs.

Methods And Results: Using aortic SMCs explanted from patients with TGFBR2 mutations, we show decreased expression of SMC contractile proteins compared with controls. Exposure to TGF-β1 fails to increase expression of contractile genes in mutant SMCs, whereas control cells further increase expression of these genes. Analysis of fixed and frozen aortas from patients with TGFBR2 mutations confirms decreased in vivo expression of contractile proteins relative to unaffected aortas. Fibroblasts explanted from patients with TGFBR2 mutations fail to transform into mature myofibroblasts with TGF-β1 stimulation as assessed by expression of contractile proteins.

Conclusions: These data support the conclusion that heterozygous TGFBR2 mutations lead to decreased expression of SMC contractile protein in both SMCs and myofibroblasts. The failure of TGFBR2-mutant SMCs to fully express SMC contractile proteins predicts defective contractile function in these cells and aligns with a hypothesis that defective SMC contractile function contributes to the pathogenesis of TAAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvq230DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2972687PMC
December 2010

Genetic basis of thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections: focus on smooth muscle cell contractile dysfunction.

Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet 2008 ;9:283-302

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms leading to type A dissections (TAAD) can be inherited in isolation or in association with genetic syndromes, such as Marfan syndrome and Loeys-Dietz syndrome. When TAAD occurs in the absence of syndromic features, it is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner with decreased penetrance and variable expression, the disease is referred to as familial TAAD. Familial TAAD exhibits significant clinical and genetic heterogeneity. The first genes identified to cause TAAD were FBN1, TGFBR2, and TGFBR1. The identification and characterization of these genes suggested that increased TGF-beta signaling plays a role in pathogenesis. The recent discovery that mutations in the vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC)-specific beta-myosin (MYH11) and alpha-actin (ACTA2) can also cause this disorder has focused attention on the importance of the maintenance of SMC contractile function in preserving aortic structure and preventing TAAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.genom.8.080706.092303DOI Listing
December 2008

Mutations in transforming growth factor-beta receptor type II cause familial thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections.

Circulation 2005 Jul 18;112(4):513-20. Epub 2005 Jul 18.

Department of Internal Medicine, Institute of Molecular Medicine, The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX, USA.

Background: A genetic predisposition for progressive enlargement of thoracic aortic aneurysms leading to type A dissection (TAAD) is inherited in an autosomal-dominant manner in up to 19% of patients, and a number of chromosomal loci have been identified for the condition. Having mapped a TAAD locus to 3p24-25, we sequenced the gene for transforming growth factor-beta receptor type II (TGFBR2) to determine whether mutations in this gene resulted in familial TAAD.

Methods And Results: We sequenced all 8 coding exons of TGFBR2 by using genomic DNA from 80 unrelated familial TAAD cases. We found TGFBR2 mutations in 4 unrelated families with familial TAAD who did not have Marfan syndrome. Affected family members also had descending aortic disease and aneurysms of other arteries. Strikingly, all 4 mutations affected an arginine residue at position 460 in the intracellular domain, suggesting a mutation "hot spot" for familial TAAD. Despite identical mutations in the families, assessment of linked polymorphisms suggested that these families were not distantly related. Structural analysis of the TGFBR2 serine/threonine kinase domain revealed that R460 is strategically located within a highly conserved region of this domain and that the amino acid substitutions resulting from these mutations will interfere with the receptor's ability to transduce signals.

Conclusions: Germline TGFBR2 mutations are responsible for the inherited predisposition to familial TAAD in 5% of these cases. Our results have broad implications for understanding the role of TGF-beta signaling in the pathophysiology of TAAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.105.537340DOI Listing
July 2005