Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • Genome analysis: A new approach for visualization of sequence organization in genomes

      Pradeep Kumar Burma Alok Raj Jayant K Deb Samir K Brahmachari

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      In this article we describe and demonstrate the versatility of a computer program, GENOME MAPPING, that uses interactive graphics and runs on an IRIS workstation. The program helps to visualize as well as analyse global and local patterns of genomic DNA sequences. It was developed keeping in mind the requirements of the human genome sequencing programme, which requires rapid analysis of the data. Using GENOME MAPPING one can discern signature patterns of different kinds of sequences and analyse such patterns for repetitive as well as rare sequence strings. Further, one can visualize the extent of global homology between different genomic sequences. An application of our method to the published yeast mitochondrial genome data shows similar sequence organizations in the entire sequence and in smaller subsequences

    • A four-element based transposon system for allele specific tagging in plants—Theoretical considerations

      Sanjay Phogat Pradeep Kumar Burma Deepak Pental

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      The two-element transposon constructs, utilizing either Ac/Ds or Spm/dSpm, allow random tagging of genes in heterologous model species, but are inadequate for directed tagging of specific alleles of agronomic importance. We propose the use of Ac/Ds in conjunction with Spm/dSpm to develop a four-element system for directed tagging of crop-specific alleles. The four-element based construct would include both Ds and dSpm along with relevant marker genes and would function in two steps. In the first step dSpm(Ds) stocks (a minimum of two) would be crossed to a line containing transposases of Spm and unlinked integrations would be selected from segregating population by the use of a negative selection marker to develop stocks representing integration of dSpm(Ds) at a large number of locations in the genome. Selections would be made for a line in which dSpm(Ds) shows partial or complete linkage to the allele of interest. In the second step selected line would be crossed to a line containing Ac transposase to induce transpositions of Ds element to linked sites thereby exploiting the natural tendency of Ds element to jump to linked sites. Unlinked jumps of dSpm(Ds) and linked jumps of Ds could be monitored by appropriate marker genes. The proposed model would allow tagging of allele of interest in chromosome addition lines and also help in the efficient use of genic male sterility systems for hybrid seed production by tightly marking the fertility restorer gene with a negative selection marker.

    • A comparative analysis of green fluorescent protein and 𝛽-glucuronidase protein-encoding genes as a reporter system for studying the temporal expression profiles of promoters

      P Kavita Pradeep Kumar Burma

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      The assessment of activity of promoters has been greatly facilitated by the use of reporter genes. However, the activity as assessed by reporter gene is a reflection of not only promoter strength, but also that of the stability of the mRNA and the protein encoded by the reporter gene. While a stable reporter gene product is an advantage in analysing activities of weak promoters, it becomes a major limitation for understanding temporal expression patterns of a promoter, as the reporter product persists even after the activity of the promoter ceases. In the present study we undertook a comparative analysis of two reporter genes, 𝛽-glucuronidase (gus) and green fluorescent protein (sgfp), for studying the temporal expression pattern of tapetum-specific promoters A9 (Arabidopsis thaliana) and TA29 (Nicotiana tabacum). The activity of A9 and TA29 promoters as assessed by transcript profiles of the reporter genes (gus or sgfp) remained the same irrespective of the reporter gene used. However, while the deduced promoter activity using gus was extended temporally beyond the actual activity of the promoter, sgfp as recorded through its fluorescence correlated better with the transcription profile. Our results thus demonstrate that sgfp is a better reporter gene compared to gus for assessment of temporal activity of promoters. Although several earlier reports have commented on the possible errors in deducing temporal activities of promoters using GUS as a reporter protein, we experimentally demonstrate the advantage of using reporter genes such as gfp for analysis of temporal expression patterns.

    • Inactivation of a transgene due to transposition of insertion sequence (IS136) of Agrobacterium tumefaciens

      Preeti Rawat Sanjeev Kumar Deepak Pental Pradeep Kumar Burma

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      Agrobacterium strains harbour insertion sequences, which are known to transpose into genomes as well as into Ti plasmids. In this study we report the inactivation of a transgene due to transposition of the A. tumefaciens insertion sequence IS136. The transposition was discovered following transformation of plant tissues, although the fidelity of the binary vector was confirmed following transformation into Agrobacterium. Such transpositions are rare but can occur and it is thus important to check the fidelity of the binary vector at different times of Agrobacterium growth in order to avoid failure in achieving transgene expression.

    • Analysis of promoter activity in transgenic plants by normalizing expression with a reference gene: anomalies due to the influence of the test promoter on the reference promoter

      Simran Bhullar Suma Chakravarthy Deepak Pental Pradeep Kumar Burma

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      Variations in transgene expression due to position effect and copy number are normalized when analysing and comparing the strengths of different promoters. In such experiments, the promoter to be tested is placed upstream to a reporter gene and a second expression cassette is introduced in a linked fashion in the same transfer DNA (T-DNA). Normalization in the activity of the test promoter is carried out by calculating the ratio of activities of the test and reference promoters. When an appropriate number of independent transgenic events are analysed, normalization facilitates assessment of the relative strengths of the test promoters being compared. In this study, using different modified versions of the Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV) 35S promoter expressing the reporter gene 𝛽-glucuronidase (gus) (test cassette) linked to a chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (cat) gene under the wild-type 35S promoter (reference cassette) in transgenic tobacco lines, we observed that cat gene expression varied depending upon the strength of the modified 35S promoter expressing the gus gene. The 35S promoter in the reference cassette was found to have been upregulated in cases where the modified 35S promoter was weaker than the wild-type 35S promoter. Many studies have been carried out in different organisms to study the phenomenon of transcriptional interference, which refers to the reduced expression of the downstream promoter by a closely linked upstream promoter. However, we observed a positive interaction wherein the weakened activity of a promoter led to upregulation of a contiguous promoter. These observations suggest that, in situations where the promoters of the test and reference gene share the same transcription factors, the activity of the test promoter can influence the activity of the reference promoter in a way that the test promoter’s strength is underestimated when normalized by the reference promoter.

    • Detrimental effect of expression ofBt endotoxin Cry1Ac on in vitro regeneration, in vivo growth and development of tobacco and cotton transgenics

      Preeti Rawat Amarjeet Kumar Singh Krishna Ray Bhupendra Chaudhary Sanjeev Kumar Taru Gautam Shaveta Kanoria Gurpreet Kaur Paritosh Kumar Deepak Pental Pradeep Kumar Burma

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      High levels of expression of the cry1Ac gene from Bacillus thuringiensis cannot be routinely achieved in transgenic plants despite modifications made in the gene to improve its expression. This has been attributed to the instability of the transcript in a few reports. In the present study, based on the genetic transformation of cotton and tobacco, we show that the expression of the Cry1Ac endotoxin has detrimental effects on both the in vitro and in vivo growth and development of transgenic plants. A number of experiments on developing transgenics in cotton with different versions of cry1Ac gene showed that the majority of the plants did not express any Cry1Ac protein. Based on Southern blot analysis, it was also observed that a substantial number of lines did not contain the cry1Ac gene cassette although they contained the marker gene nptII. More significantly, all the lines that showed appreciable levels of expression were found to be phenotypically abnormal. Experiments on transformation of tobacco with different constructs expressing the cry1Ac gene showed that in vitro regeneration was inhibited by the encoded protein. Further, out of a total of 145 independent events generated with the different cry1Ac gene constructs in tobacco, only 21 showed expression of the Cry1Ac protein, confirming observations made in cotton that regenerants that express high levels of the Cry1Ac protein are selected against during regeneration of transformed events. This problem was circumvented by targeting the Cry1Ac protein to the chloroplast, which also significantly improved the expression of the protein.

    • Deletion of Dictyostelium discoideum Sir2A impairs cell proliferation and inhibits autophagy


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      Sirtuins are a family of deacetylases (Class III histone deacetylases) with evolutionarily conserved functions in cellularmetabolism and chromatin regulation. Out of the seven human Sirtuins, the function of Sirt2 is the least understood. Thepurpose of the present study was to investigate the role of Sir2A, a homolog of human Sirt2 in Dictyostelium discoideum(Dd), a lower eukaryote. We created both overexpressing and deletion strains of Ddsir2A to analyse its functions. Weobserved sir2A mRNA expression throughout development and the transcript was present in the prespore/spore region ofmulticellular structures developed. They show a preference towards prestalk/stalk pathway when co-developed with wildtypecells during chimera formation. Deletion strain showed a multi-tipped phenotype, decrease in cell proliferation andinhibition of autophagy. In conclusion, our results show low cAMP levels, reduced cell-adhesion, weak cell migration andimpaired autophagy to be responsible for the phenotype shown by the null cells. This study provides new insights into thefunctions of Ddsir2A.

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