Biochemistry and Pharmacology - Research Publications

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    The first reptilian allergen and major allergen for fish-allergic patients: Crocodile beta-parvalbumin
    Ruethers, T ; Nugraha, R ; Taki, AC ; O'Malley, A ; Karnaneedi, S ; Zhang, S ; Kapingidza, AB ; Mehr, S ; Kamath, SD ; Chruszcz, M ; Mackay, G ; Campbell, DE ; Lopata, AL (WILEY, 2022-05-01)
    BACKGROUND: Clinical cross-reactivity between bony fish, cartilaginous fish, frog, and chicken muscle has previously been demonstrated in fish-allergic patients. In indicative studies, two reports of anaphylaxis following the consumption of crocodile meat and IgE-cross-binding were linked to the major fish allergen parvalbumin (PV). This study investigates IgE-binding proteins in crocodile meat with a focus on PV and their clinical relevance. METHODS: Proteins were extracted from muscle tissue of crocodile, three bony fish, and two cartilaginous fish. A cohort of fish-allergic pediatric patients (n = 77) underwent allergen skin prick testing (SPT) to three fish preparations (n = 77) and crocodile (n = 12). IgE-binding proteins were identified and quantified by SDS-PAGE, mass spectrometric analyses, and immunoblotting using commercial and in-house antibodies, as well as individual and pooled patients' serum. PV isoforms were purified or recombinantly expressed before immunological analyses, including human mast cell degranulation assay. RESULTS: Of the tissues analyzed, PV was most abundant in heated crocodile preparation, triggering an SPT of ≥3 mm in 8 of 12 (67%) fish-allergic patients. Seventy percent (31 of 44) of fish PV-sensitized patients demonstrated IgE-binding to crocodile PV. Crocodile β-PV was the major IgE-binding protein but 20-fold less abundant than α-PV. Cellular reactivity was demonstrated for β-PV and epitopes predicted, explaining frequent IgE-cross-binding of β-PVs. Both PV isoforms are now registered as the first reptile allergens with the WHO/IUIS (β-PV as Cro p 1 and α-PV as Cro p 2). CONCLUSION: Fish-allergic individuals may be at risk of an allergy to crocodile and should seek specialist advice before consuming crocodilian meat.
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    Inwardly rectifying potassium channels mediate polymyxin-induced nephrotoxicity
    Lu, J ; Azad, MAK ; Moreau, JLM ; Zhu, Y ; Jiang, X ; Tonta, M ; Lam, R ; Wickremasinghe, H ; Zhao, J ; Wang, J ; Coleman, HA ; Formosa, LE ; Velkov, T ; Parkington, HC ; Combes, AN ; Rosenbluh, J ; Li, J (SPRINGER BASEL AG, 2022-06-01)
    Polymyxin antibiotics are often used as a last-line defense to treat life-threatening Gram-negative pathogens. However, polymyxin-induced kidney toxicity is a dose-limiting factor of paramount importance and can lead to suboptimal treatment. To elucidate the mechanism and develop effective strategies to overcome polymyxin toxicity, we employed a whole-genome CRISPR screen in human kidney tubular HK-2 cells and identified 86 significant genes that upon knock-out rescued polymyxin-induced toxicity. Specifically, we discovered that knockout of the inwardly rectifying potassium channels Kir4.2 and Kir5.1 (encoded by KCNJ15 and KCNJ16, respectively) rescued polymyxin-induced toxicity in HK-2 cells. Furthermore, we found that polymyxins induced cell depolarization via Kir4.2 and Kir5.1 and a significant cellular uptake of polymyxins was evident. All-atom molecular dynamics simulations revealed that polymyxin B1 spontaneously bound to Kir4.2, thereby increasing opening of the channel, resulting in a potassium influx, and changes of the membrane potential. Consistent with these findings, small molecule inhibitors (BaCl2 and VU0134992) of Kir potassium channels reduced polymyxin-induced toxicity in cell culture and mouse explant kidney tissue. Our findings provide critical mechanistic information that will help attenuate polymyxin-induced nephrotoxicity in patients and facilitate the design of novel, safer polymyxins.
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    Kaptive 2.0: updated capsule and lipopolysaccharide locus typing for the Klebsiella pneumoniae species complex
    Lam, MMC ; Wick, RR ; Judd, LM ; Holt, KE ; Wyres, KL (MICROBIOLOGY SOC, 2022-03-01)
    The outer polysaccharide capsule and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) antigens are key targets for novel control strategies targeting Klebsiella pneumoniae and related taxa from the K. pneumoniae species complex (KpSC), including vaccines, phage and monoclonal antibody therapies. Given the importance and growing interest in these highly diverse surface antigens, we had previously developed Kaptive, a tool for rapidly identifying and typing capsule (K) and outer LPS (O) loci from whole genome sequence data. Here, we report two significant updates, now freely available in Kaptive 2.0 (https://github.com/katholt/kaptive): (i) the addition of 16 novel K locus sequences to the K locus reference database following an extensive search of >17 000 KpSC genomes; and (ii) enhanced O locus typing to enable prediction of the clinically relevant O2 antigen (sub)types, for which the genetic determinants have been recently described. We applied Kaptive 2.0 to a curated dataset of >12 000 public KpSC genomes to explore for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, the distribution of predicted O (sub)types across species, sampling niches and clones, which highlighted key differences in the distributions that warrant further investigation. As the uptake of genomic surveillance approaches continues to expand globally, the application of Kaptive 2.0 will generate novel insights essential for the design of effective KpSC control strategies.
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    Mitochondrial COA7 is a heme-binding protein with disulfide reductase activity, which acts in the early stages of complex IV assembly
    Formosa, LE ; Maghool, S ; Sharpe, AJ ; Reljic, B ; Muellner-Wong, L ; Stroud, DA ; Ryan, MT ; Maher, MJ (NATL ACAD SCIENCES, 2022-02-25)
    Cytochrome c oxidase (COX) assembly factor 7 (COA7) is a metazoan-specific assembly factor, critical for the biogenesis of mitochondrial complex IV (cytochrome c oxidase). Although mutations in COA7 have been linked to complex IV assembly defects and neurological conditions such as peripheral neuropathy, ataxia, and leukoencephalopathy, the precise role COA7 plays in the biogenesis of complex IV is not known. Here, we show that loss of COA7 blocks complex IV assembly after the initial step where the COX1 module is built, progression from which requires the incorporation of copper and addition of the COX2 and COX3 modules. The crystal structure of COA7, determined to 2.4 Å resolution, reveals a banana-shaped molecule composed of five helix-turn-helix (α/α) repeats, tethered by disulfide bonds. COA7 interacts transiently with the copper metallochaperones SCO1 and SCO2 and catalyzes the reduction of disulfide bonds within these proteins, which are crucial for copper relay to COX2. COA7 binds heme with micromolar affinity, through axial ligation to the central iron atom by histidine and methionine residues. We therefore propose that COA7 is a heme-binding disulfide reductase for regenerating the copper relay system that underpins complex IV assembly.
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    cropCSM: designing safe and potent herbicides with graph-based signatures
    Pires, DE ; Stubbs, KA ; Mylne, JS ; Ascher, DB (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2022-02-24)
    Herbicides have revolutionised weed management, increased crop yields and improved profitability allowing for an increase in worldwide food security. Their widespread use, however, has also led to a rise in resistance and concerns about their environmental impact. Despite the need for potent and safe herbicidal molecules, no herbicide with a new mode of action has reached the market in 30 years. Although development of computational approaches has proven invaluable to guide rational drug discovery pipelines, leading to higher hit rates and lower attrition due to poor toxicity, little has been done in contrast for herbicide design. To fill this gap, we have developed cropCSM, a computational platform to help identify new, potent, nontoxic and environmentally safe herbicides. By using a knowledge-based approach, we identified physicochemical properties and substructures enriched in safe herbicides. By representing the small molecules as a graph, we leveraged these insights to guide the development of predictive models trained and tested on the largest collected data set of molecules with experimentally characterised herbicidal profiles to date (over 4500 compounds). In addition, we developed six new environmental and human toxicity predictors, spanning five different species to assist in molecule prioritisation. cropCSM was able to correctly identify 97% of herbicides currently available commercially, while predicting toxicity profiles with accuracies of up to 92%. We believe cropCSM will be an essential tool for the enrichment of screening libraries and to guide the development of potent and safe herbicides. We have made the method freely available through a user-friendly webserver at http://biosig.unimelb.edu.au/crop_csm.
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    Systematic evaluation of computational tools to predict the effects of mutations on protein stability in the absence of experimental structures
    Pan, Q ; Nguyen, TB ; Ascher, DB ; Pires, DE (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2022-03-10)
    Changes in protein sequence can have dramatic effects on how proteins fold, their stability and dynamics. Over the last 20 years, pioneering methods have been developed to try to estimate the effects of missense mutations on protein stability, leveraging growing availability of protein 3D structures. These, however, have been developed and validated using experimentally derived structures and biophysical measurements. A large proportion of protein structures remain to be experimentally elucidated and, while many studies have based their conclusions on predictions made using homology models, there has been no systematic evaluation of the reliability of these tools in the absence of experimental structural data. We have, therefore, systematically investigated the performance and robustness of ten widely used structural methods when presented with homology models built using templates at a range of sequence identity levels (from 15% to 95%) and contrasted performance with sequence-based tools, as a baseline. We found there is indeed performance deterioration on homology models built using templates with sequence identity below 40%, where sequence-based tools might become preferable. This was most marked for mutations in solvent exposed residues and stabilizing mutations. As structure prediction tools improve, the reliability of these predictors is expected to follow, however we strongly suggest that these factors should be taken into consideration when interpreting results from structure-based predictors of mutation effects on protein stability.
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    Mechanism of Bloom syndrome complex assembly required for double Holliday junction dissolution and genome stability
    Hodson, C ; Low, JKK ; van Twest, S ; Jones, SE ; Swuec, P ; Murphy, V ; Tsukada, K ; Fawkes, M ; Bythell-Douglas, R ; Davies, A ; Holien, JK ; O'Rourke, JJ ; Parker, BL ; Glaser, A ; Parker, MW ; Mackay, JP ; Blackford, AN ; Costa, A ; Deans, AJ (NATL ACAD SCIENCES, 2022-02-08)
    The RecQ-like helicase BLM cooperates with topoisomerase IIIα, RMI1, and RMI2 in a heterotetrameric complex (the "Bloom syndrome complex") for dissolution of double Holliday junctions, key intermediates in homologous recombination. Mutations in any component of the Bloom syndrome complex can cause genome instability and a highly cancer-prone disorder called Bloom syndrome. Some heterozygous carriers are also predisposed to breast cancer. To understand how the activities of BLM helicase and topoisomerase IIIα are coupled, we purified the active four-subunit complex. Chemical cross-linking and mass spectrometry revealed a unique architecture that links the helicase and topoisomerase domains. Using biochemical experiments, we demonstrated dimerization mediated by the N terminus of BLM with a 2:2:2:2 stoichiometry within the Bloom syndrome complex. We identified mutations that independently abrogate dimerization or association of BLM with RMI1, and we show that both are dysfunctional for dissolution using in vitro assays and cause genome instability and synthetic lethal interactions with GEN1/MUS81 in cells. Truncated BLM can also inhibit the activity of full-length BLM in mixed dimers, suggesting a putative mechanism of dominant-negative action in carriers of BLM truncation alleles. Our results identify critical molecular determinants of Bloom syndrome complex assembly required for double Holliday junction dissolution and maintenance of genome stability.
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    Segregation of the membrane cargoes, BACE1 and amyloid precursor protein (APP) throughout the Golgi apparatus
    Fourriere, L ; Cho, EH-J ; Gleeson, PA (WILEY, 2022-02-13)
    The intracellular trafficking of β-site amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaving enzyme (BACE1) and APP regulates amyloid-β production. Our previous work demonstrated that newly synthesized BACE1 and APP are segregated into distinct trafficking pathways from the trans-Golgi network (TGN), and that alterations in their trafficking lead to an increase in Aβ production in non-neuronal and neuronal cells. However, it is not known whether BACE1 and APP are transported through the Golgi stacks together and sorted at the TGN or segregated prior to arrival at the TGN. To address this question, we have used high-resolution Airyscan technology followed by Huygens deconvolution to quantify the overlap of BACE1 and APP in Golgi subcompartments in HeLa cells and primary neurons. Here, we show that APP and BACE1 are segregated, on exit from the endoplasmic reticulum and in the cis-Golgi and throughout the Golgi stack. In contrast, the transferrin receptor, which exits the TGN in AP-1 mediated transport carriers as for BACE1, colocalizes with BACE1, but not APP, throughout the Golgi stack. The segregation of APP and BACE1 is independent of the Golgi ribbon structure and the cytoplasmic domain of the cargo. Overall, our findings reveal the segregation of different membrane cargoes early in the secretory pathway, a finding relevant to the regulation of APP processing events.
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    Oxidative desulfurization pathway for complete catabolism of sulfoquinovose by bacteria
    Sharma, M ; Lingford, JP ; Petricevic, M ; Snow, AJD ; Zhang, Y ; Jarva, MA ; Mui, JW-Y ; Scott, NE ; Saunders, EC ; Epa, R ; da Silva, BM ; Pires, DEV ; Ascher, DB ; McConville, MJ ; Davies, GJ ; Williams, SJ ; Goddard-Borger, ED (NATL ACAD SCIENCES, 2022-01-25)
    Catabolism of sulfoquinovose (SQ; 6-deoxy-6-sulfoglucose), the ubiquitous sulfosugar produced by photosynthetic organisms, is an important component of the biogeochemical carbon and sulfur cycles. Here, we describe a pathway for SQ degradation that involves oxidative desulfurization to release sulfite and enable utilization of the entire carbon skeleton of the sugar to support the growth of the plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens SQ or its glycoside sulfoquinovosyl glycerol are imported into the cell by an ATP-binding cassette transporter system with an associated SQ binding protein. A sulfoquinovosidase hydrolyzes the SQ glycoside and the liberated SQ is acted on by a flavin mononucleotide-dependent sulfoquinovose monooxygenase, in concert with an NADH-dependent flavin reductase, to release sulfite and 6-oxo-glucose. An NAD(P)H-dependent oxidoreductase reduces the 6-oxo-glucose to glucose, enabling entry into primary metabolic pathways. Structural and biochemical studies provide detailed insights into the recognition of key metabolites by proteins in this pathway. Bioinformatic analyses reveal that the sulfoquinovose monooxygenase pathway is distributed across Alpha- and Betaproteobacteria and is especially prevalent within the Rhizobiales order. This strategy for SQ catabolism is distinct from previously described pathways because it enables the complete utilization of all carbons within SQ by a single organism with concomitant production of inorganic sulfite.
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    Peak saccadic eye velocity across menstrual phases in naturally cycling women; A pilot study.
    Giddey, T ; Thomas, N ; Hudaib, A-R ; Thomas, EHX ; Le, J ; Gray, P ; Gurvich, C (Elsevier BV, 2020-11)
    Peak saccadic eye velocity (pSEV) has been investigated in studies that characterise the pathophysiology of menstrual cycle related mood disorders, such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). pSEV is a stable and sensitive measure of gamma-aminobutyric acid A (GABAA) receptor function. Dysregulation of the GABA pathway has been associated with the onset of PMDD. Despite a growing number of studies utilising pSEV as an outcome measure in interventional drug studies for menstrual cycle related mood disorders, there are no reported studies that have investigated whether pSEV is sensitive to hormone fluctuations across the natural menstrual cycle. To address this gap, this pilot study aimed to characterise pSEV in women across the menstrual cycle. Participants were monitored across two menstrual cycles and saccadic eye movements were measured in both luteal and follicular phases. Seven participants completed the full study and were included in the final analysis. Results revealed luteal phase pSEV was significantly less than follicular phase pSEV. This finding is novel and forms a stepping-stone for further understanding the associations between menstrual hormone profiles and GABAA receptors.