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Articles Online (Volume 2, Issue 1)

Review Article

Structure Prediction of Membrane Proteins

Chunlong Zhou,Yao Zheng,Yan Zhou

There is a large gap between the number of membrane protein (MP) sequences and that of their decoded 3D structures, especially high-resolution structures, due to difficulties in crystal preparation of MPs. However, detailed knowledge of the 3D structure is required for the fundamental understanding of the function of an MP and the interactions between the protein and its inhibitors or activators. In this paper, some computational approaches that have been used to predict MP structures are discussed and compared.

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Review Article

Analyzing the Biology on the System Level

Wei Tong

Although various genome projects have provided us enormous static sequence information, understanding of the sophisticated biology continues to require integrating the computational modeling, system analysis, technology development for experiments, and quantitative experiments all together to analyze the biology architecture on various levels, which is just the origin of systems biology subject. This review discusses the object, its characteristics, and research attentions in systems biology, and summarizes the analysis methods, experimental technologies, research developments, and so on in the four key fields of systems biology-systemic structures, dynamics, control methods, and design principles.

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Research Article

Dexamethasone-Inducible Green Fluorescent Protein Gene Expression in Transgenic Plant Cells

Wei Tang,Hilary Collver,Katherine Kinken

Genomic research has made a large number of sequences of novel genes or expressed sequence tags available. To investigate functions of these genes, a system for conditional control of gene expression would be a useful tool. Inducible transgene expression that uses green fluorescent protein gene (gfp) as a reporter gene has been investigated in transgenic cell lines of cotton (COT; Gossypium hirsutum L.), Fraser fir [FRA; Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir], Nordmann fir (NOR; Abies nordmanniana Lk.), and rice (RIC; Oryza sativa L. Cv. Radon). Transgenic cell lines were used to test the function of the chemical inducer dexamethasone. Inducible transgene expression was observed with fluorescence and confocal microscopy, and was confirmed by northern blot analyses. Dexamethasone at 5 mg/L induced gfp expression to the nearly highest level 48 h after treatment in COT, FRA, NOR, and RIC. Dexamethasone at 10 mg/L inhibited the growth of transgenic cells in FRA and NOR, but not COT and RIC. These results demonstrated that concentrations of inducer for optimum inducible gene expression system varied among transgenic cell lines. The inducible gene expression system described here was very effective and could be valuable in evaluating the function of novel gene.

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Research Article

Analysis on Frequency and Density of Microsatellites in Coding Sequences of Several Eukaryotic Genomes

Bin Li,Qingyou Xia,Cheng Lu,Zeyang Zhou,Zhonghuai Xiang

Microsatellites or simple sequence repeats (SSRs) have been found in most organisms during the last decade. Since large-scale sequences are being generated, especially those that can be used to search for microsatellites, the development of these markers is getting more convenient. Keeping SSRs in viewing the importance of the application, available CDS (coding sequences) or ESTs (expressed sequence tags) of some eukaryotic species were used to study the frequency and density of various types of microsatellites. On the basis of surveying CDS or EST sequences amounting to 66.6 Mb in silkworm, 37.2 Mb in fly, 20.8 Mb in mosquito, 60.0 Mb in mouse, 34.9 Mb in zebrafish and 33.5 Mb in Caenorhabditis elegans, the frequency of SSRs was 1/1.00 Kb in silkworm, 1/0.77 Kb in fly, 1/1.03 Kb in mosquito, 1/1.21 Kb in mousey 1/1.25 Kb in zebrafish and 1/1.38 Kb in C. Elegans. The overall average SSR frequency of these species is 1/1.07 Kb. Hexanucleotide repeats (64.5%-76.6%) are the most abundant class of SSR in the investigated species, followed by trimeric, dimeric, tetrameric, monomeric and pentameric repeats. Furthermore, the A-rich repeats are predominant in each type of SSRs, whereas G-rich repeats are rare in the coding regions.

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Research Article

Isolation and Characterization of 2'-amino-modified RNA Aptamers for Human TNFα

Xinrui Yan,Xuwen Gao,Zhiqing Zhang

Human tumor necrosis factor α (hTNFα), a pleiotropic cytokine with activities ranging from host defense mechanisms in infection and injury to severe toxicity in septic shock or other related diseases, is a promising target for drug screening. Using the SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment) process, we isolated oligonucleotide ligands (aptamers) with high affinities for hTNFα. Aptamers were selected from a starting pool of 40 randomized sequences composed of about 1015 RNA molecules. Representative aptamers were truncated to the minimal length with high affinity for hTNFα and were further modified by replacement of 2'-OH with 2'-F and 2'-NH2 at all ribopurine positions. These modified RNA aptamers were resistant to nuclease. The specificity of these aptamers for hTNFαwas confirmed, and their activity to inhibit the cytotoxicity of hTNFα on mouse L929 cells was determined. Results demonstrated that four 2'-NH2-modified aptamers bound to hTNFα with high affinity and blocked the binding of hTNFα to its receptor, thus protecting the L929 cells from the cytotoxicity of hTNFα. Oligonucleotide aptamers described here are potential therapeutics and diagnostics for hTNFc-related diseases.

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Identification and Expression Analysis of EST-based Genes in the Bud of Lycoris longituba

Yonglan Cui,Xinye Zhang,Yan Zhou,Hong Yu,Lin Tao,Lu Zhang,Jian Zhou,Qiang Zhuge,Youming Cai,Minren Huang

To obtain a primary overview of gene diversity and expression pattern in Lycoris longituba, 4,992 ESTs (Expressed Sequence Tags) from L. Longituba bud were sequenced and 4,687 cleaned ESTs were used for gene expression analysis. Clustered by the PHRAP program, 967 contigs and 1,343 singlets were obtained. Blast search showed that 179 contigs and 227 singlets (totally 1,066 ESTs) had homologues in GenBank and 3,621 ESTs were novel

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The Structure, Expression, and Function Prediction of DAZAP2, A Down-Regulated Gene in Multiple Myeloma

Yiwu Shi,Saiqun Luo,Jianbin Peng,Chenghan Huang,Daren Tan,Weixin Hu

In our previous studies, DAZAP2 gene expression was down-regulated in untreated patients of multiple myeloma (MM). For better studying the structure and function of DAZAP2, a full-length Cdna was isolated from mononuclear cells of a normal human bone marrow, sequenced and deposited to Genbank (AY430097). This sequence has an identical ORF (open reading frame) as the NM_014764 from human testis and the D31767 from human cell line KG-1. Phylogenetic analysis and structure prediction reveal that DAZAP2 homologues are highly conserved throughout evolution and share a polyproline region and several potential SH2/SH3 binding sites. DAZAP2 occurs as a single-copy gene with a four-exon organization. We further noticed that the functional DAZAP2 gene is located on Chromosome 12 and its pseudogene gene is on Chromosome 2 with electronic location of human chromosome in Genbank, though no genetic abnormalities of MM have been reported on Chromosome 12. The ORF of human DAZAP2 encodes a 17-kDa protein, which is highly similar to mouse Prtb. The DAZAP2 protein is mainly localized in cytoplasm with a discrete pattern of punctuated distribution. DAZAP2 may associate with carcinogenesis of MM and participate in yet-to-be identified signaling pathways to regulate proliferation and differentiation of plasma cells.

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Brief Report

Preliminary Study on Detecting the SARS-CoV Specific Target cDNA Fragments by Multiplex PCR

Wenbing Chen, Shousong Li,Biying Shao,Teng Zheng,Shuxun Jiang,Xiaorong Huang,Kaizhen Cai,Zhideng Zhang

The multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique was applied to detect the SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus) specific target cDNA fragments in the present study. The target cDNA fragments of SARS-CoV were synthesized artificially according to the genome sequence of SARS-CoV in GenBank submitted by The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and were used as simulated positive samples. Five primers recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) were used to amplify the fragments by single PCR and multiplex PCR. Three target cDNA fragments (121, 182 and 302 bp), as well as the three different combinations of any two of these fragments, were amplified by single PCR. The combination of these three fragments was amplified by multiplex PCR. The results indicated that the multiplex PCR technique could be applied to detect the SARS-CoV specific target cDNA fragments successfully.

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Being the Pioneer of Life Sciences in China--Introduction to Beijing Genomics Institute

Xin Zhang

The Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) was officially founded in December 2003. Its predecessor, Beijing Huada Genomics Research Center, has presented significant contributions to the development of life sciences in China by its excellent scientific innovations and achievements in the last five years.

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Research Resource

Timeline of Genomics(1865-1900)

GPB Editorial Office


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