16 research outputs found

    Molecular characterization of the Hansenula polymorpha FLD1 gene encoding formaldehyde dehydrogenase

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    Glutathione-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase (FLD) is a key enzyme required for the catabolism of methanol as a carbon source and certain primary amines, such as methylamine as nitrogen sources in methylotrophic yeasts. Here we describe the molecular characterization of the FLD1 gene from the yeast Hansenula polymorpha. Unlike the recently described Pichia pastoris homologue, the H. polymorpha gene does not contain an intron. The predicted FLD1 product (Fld1p) is a protein of 380 amino acids (ca. 41 kDa) with 82% identity to P. pastoris Fld1p, 76% identity to the FLD protein sequence from n-alkane-assimilating yeast Candida maltosa and 63–64% identity to dehydrogenase class III enzymes from humans and other higher eukaryotes. The expression of FLD1 is strictly regulated and can be controlled at two expression levels by manipulation of the growth conditions. The gene is strongly induced under methylotrophic growth conditions; moderate expression is obtained under conditions in which a primary amine, e.g. methylamine, is used as nitrogen source. These properties render the FLD1 promoter of high interest for heterologous gene expression. The availability of the H. polymorpha FLD1 promoter provides an attractive alternative for expression of foreign genes besides the commonly used alcohol oxidase promoter.

    Reassembly of peroxisomes in Hansenula polymorpha pex3 cells on reintroduction of Pex3p involves the nuclear envelope

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    The reassembly of peroxisomes in Hansenula polymorpha pex3 cells on reintroduction of Pex3p was examined. Using a Pex3-green fluorescent protein (Pex3-GFP) fusion protein, expressed under the control of an inducible promoter, it was observed that, initially on induction of Pex3-GFP synthesis, GFP fluorescence was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum and the nuclear envelope. Subsequently, a single organelle developed per cell that increased in size and multiplied by division. At these stages, GFP fluorescence was confined to peroxisomes. Fractionation experiments on homogenates of pex3 cells, in which the endoplasmic reticulum and nuclear envelope were marked with GFP, identified a small amount of GFP in peroxisomes present in the initial stage of peroxisome reassembly. Our data suggest a crucial role for the endoplasmic reticulum/nuclear envelope in peroxisome reintroduction on complementation of pex3 cells by the PEX3 gene.

    Novel genetic tools for Hansenula polymorpha

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    Hansenula polymorpha is an important yeast in industrial biotechnology. In addition, it is extensively used in fundamental research devoted to unravel the principles of peroxisome biology and nitrate assimilation. Here we present an overview of key components of the genetic toolbox for H. polymorpha. In addition, we present new selection markers that we recently implemented in H. polymorpha. We describe novel strategies for the efficient creation of targeted gene deletions and integrations in H. polymorpha. For this, we generated a yku80 mutant, deficient in non-homologous end joining, resulting in strongly enhanced efficiency of gene targeting relative to the parental strain. Finally, we show the implementation of Gateway technology and a single-step PCR strategy to create deletions in H. polymorpha.

    Sorting and function of peroxisomal membrane proteins

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    Peroxisomes are subcellular organelles and are present in virtually all eukaryotic cells. Characteristic features of these organelles are their inducibility and their functional versatility. Their importance in the intermediary metabolism of cells is exemplified by the discovery of several inborn, fatal peroxisomal errors in man, the so-called peroxisomal disorders. Recent findings in research on peroxisome biogenesis and function have demonstrated that peroxisomal matrix proteins and peroxisomal membrane proteins (PMPs) follow separate pathways to reach their target organelle. This paper addresses the principles of PMP sorting and summarizes the current knowledge of the role of these proteins in organelle biogenesis and function.

    Hansenula polymorpha Pex19p Is Essential for the Formation of Functional Peroxisomal Membranes

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    We have cloned and characterized the Hansenula polymorpha PEX19 gene. In cells of a pex19 disruption strain (Hppex19), induced on methanol, peroxisome structures were not detectable; peroxisomal matrix proteins accumulated in the cytosol, whereas peroxisomal membrane proteins (PMPs) were mislocalized to the cytosol (Pex3p) and mitochondria (Pex14p) or strongly reduced to undetectable levels (Pex10p). The defect in peroxisome formation in Hppex19 cells was largely suppressed upon overproduction of HpPex3p or a fusion protein that consisted of the first 50 N-terminal amino acids of Pex3p and GFP. In these cells PMPs were again correctly sorted to peroxisomal structures, which also harbored peroxisomal matrix proteins. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae pex19 cells overproduction of ScPex3p led to the formation of numerous vesicles that contained PMPs but lacked the major matrix protein thiolase. Taken together, our data are consistent with a function of Pex19p in membrane protein assembly and function.

    A Stretch of Positively Charged Amino Acids at the N Terminus of Hansenula polymorpha Pex3p Is Involved in Incorporation of the Protein into the Peroxisomal Membrane

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    Pex3p is a peroxisomal membrane protein that is essential for peroxisome biogenesis. Here, we show that a conserved stretch of positively charged amino acids (Arg11-X-Lys-Lys-Lys15) in the N terminus of Hansenula polymorpha Pex3p is involved in incorporation of the protein into its target membrane. Despite the strong conservation, this sequence shows a high degree of redundancy. Substitution of either Arg11, Lys13, Lys14, or Lys15 with uncharged or negatively charged amino acids did not interfere with Pex3p location and function. However, a mutant Pex3p, carrying negatively charged amino acids at position 13 and 15 (K13E/K15E), caused moderate but significant defects in peroxisome assembly and matrix protein import. Additional changes in the N terminus of Pex3p, e.g. replacing three or four of the positively charged amino acids with negatively charged ones, led to a typical pex3 phenotype, i.e. accumulation of peroxisomal matrix proteins in the cytosol and absence of peroxisomal remnants. Also, in these cases, the mutant Pex3p levels were reduced. Remarkably, mutant Pex3p proteins were mislocalized to mitochondria or the cytosol, depending on the nature of the mutation. Furthermore, in case of reduced amounts of Pex3p, the levels of other peroxisomal membrane proteins, e.g. Pex10p and Pex14p, were also diminished, suggesting that Pex3p maybe involved in the recruitment or stabilization of these proteins (in the membrane).

    The Hansenula polymorpha per6 mutant is affected in two adjacent genes which encode dihydroxyacetone kinase and a novel protein, Pak1p, involved in peroxisome integrity

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    The Hansenula polymorpha per6-210 mutant is impaired in respect of growth on methanol (Mut–) and is characterized by aberrant peroxisome formation. The functionally complementing DNA fragment contains two open reading frames. The first encodes dihydroxyacetone kinase (DAK), a cytosolic enzyme essential for formaldehyde assimilation; the second ORF codes for a novel protein (Pak1p). We have demonstrated that per6-210 cells lack DAK activity, causing the Mut– phenotype, and have strongly reduced levels of Pak1p, resulting in peroxisomal defects. Sequence analysis revealed that per6-210 contains a mutation in the 3' end of the DAK coding region, which overlaps with the promoter region of PAK1. Possibly this mutation also negatively affects PAK1 expression.

    Hansenula polymorpha Pex3p Is a Peripheral Component of the Peroxisomal Membrane

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    Hansenula polymorpha Pex3p plays an essential role in the biogenesis and maintenance of the peroxisomal membrane. In the initial report, bakers’ yeast Pex3p was suggested to represent an integral component of the peroxisomal membrane, containing one membrane-spanning region that exposes the N terminus of the protein into the organellar matrix. Biochemically, HpPex3p behaved like an integral membrane protein as it was resistant toward high salt and carbonate treatment. However, urea fully removed Pex3p from the membrane under conditions in which the integral membrane protein Pex10p was resistant to this treatment. Additional experiments, including protease protection assays and pre-embedding labeling experiments on purified organellar fractions from cells that produced Pex3ps carrying Myc epitopes at various selected locations in the protein, revealed that invariably all Myc tags were accessible for externally added proteases and antibodies, independent of the presence of detergents. Also, overproduction of Pex3p failed to demonstrate the typical integral membrane protein structures in fracture faces of freeze-fractured peroxisomes. Taken together, our data suggest that HpPex3p does not span the peroxisomal membrane but instead is tightly associated to the cytosolic face of the organelle where it may be present in focal protein clusters.

    Molecular Genetics Information System (MOLGENIS): alternatives in developing local experimental genomics databases

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    Motivation: Genomic research laboratories need adequate infrastructure to support management of their data production and research workflow. But what makes infrastructure adequate? A lack of appropriate criteria makes any decision on buying or developing a system difficult. Here, we report on the decision process for the case of a molecular genetics group establishing a microarray laboratory. Results: Five typical requirements for experimental genomics database systems were identified: (i) evolution ability to keep up with the fast developing genomics field; (ii) a suitable data model to deal with local diversity; (iii) suitable storage of data files in the system; (iv) easy exchange with other software; and (v) low maintenance costs. The computer scientists and the researchers of the local microarray laboratory considered alternative solutions for these five requirements and chose the following options: (i) use of automatic code generation; (ii) a customized data model based on standards; (iii) storage of datasets as black boxes instead of decomposing them in database tables; (iv) loosely linking to other programs for improved flexibility; and (v) a low-maintenance web-based user interface. Our team evaluated existing microarray databases and then decided to build a new system, Molecular Genetics Information System (MOLGENIS), implemented using code generation in a period of three months. This case can provide valuable insights and lessons to both software developers and a user community embarking on large-scale genomic projects.
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