Biochemistry and Pharmacology - Research Publications

Permanent URI for this collection

Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 62
  • Item
    Thumbnail Image
    Structural and biochemical characterization of a mitochondrial peroxiredoxin from Plasmodium falciparum
    Boucher, IW ; McMillan, PJ ; Gabrielsen, M ; Akerman, SE ; Brannigan, JA ; Schnick, C ; Brzozowski, AM ; Wilkinson, AJ ; Muller, S (WILEY, 2006-08-01)
    Plasmodium falciparum possesses a single mitochondrion with a functional electron transport chain. During respiration, reactive oxygen species are generated that need to be removed to protect the organelle from oxidative damage. In the absence of catalase and glutathione peroxidase, the parasites rely primarily on peroxiredoxin-linked systems for protection. We have analysed the biochemical and structural features of the mitochondrial peroxiredoxin and thioredoxin of P. falciparum. The mitochondrial localization of both proteins was confirmed by expressing green fluorescent protein fusions in parasite erythrocytic stages. Recombinant protein was kinetically characterized using the cytosolic and the mitochondrial thioredoxin (PfTrx1 and PfTrx2 respectively). The peroxiredoxin clearly preferred PfTrx2 to PfTrx1 as a reducing partner, reflected by the KM values of 11.6 microM and 130.4 microM respectively. Substitution of the two dyads asparagine-62/tyrosine-63 and phenylalanine-139/alanine-140 residues by aspartate-phenylalaine and valine-serine, respectively, reduced the KM for Trx1 but had no effect on the KM of Trx2 suggesting some role for these residues in the discrimination between the two substrates. Solution studies suggest that the protein exists primarily in a homodecameric form. The crystal structure of the mitochondrial peroxiredoxin reveals a fold typical of the 2-Cys class peroxiredoxins and a dimeric form with an intermolecular disulphide bridge between Cys67 and Cys187. These results show that the mitochondrial peroxiredoxin of P. falciparum occurs in both dimeric and decameric forms when purified under non-reducing conditions.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Cord blood hemopoietic progenitor profiles predict acute respiratory symptoms in infancy
    Fernandes, R ; Kusel, M ; Cyr, M ; Sehmi, R ; Holt, K ; Holt, B ; Kebadze, T ; Johnston, SL ; Sly, P ; Denburg, JA ; Holt, P (BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, 2008-05-01)
    Atopy is characterized by eosinophilic inflammation associated with recruitment of eosinophil/basophil (Eo/B) progenitors. We have previously shown that Eo/B progenitor phenotypes are altered in cord blood (CB) in infants at high risk of atopy/asthma, and respond to maternal dietary intervention during pregnancy. As respiratory tract viral infections have been shown to induce wheeze in infancy, we investigated the relationship between CB progenitor function and phenotype and acute respiratory illness (ARI), specifically wheeze and fever. CB from 39 high-risk infants was studied by flow cytometry for CD34(+) progenitor phenotype and by ex vivo Eo/B-colony forming unit (CFU) responses to cytokine stimulation in relation to ARI in the first year of life. A consistent relationship was observed between increased numbers of granulocyte/macrophage (GM)-colony-stimulating factor (CSF)- and IL-3-responsive Eo/B-CFU in CB and the frequency/characteristics of ARI during infancy. Comparable associations were found between ARI and CB IL-3R(+) and GM-CSFR(+)CD34(+) cell numbers. Conversely, a reciprocal decrease in the proportion of CB IL-5R(+) cells was found in relation to the clinical outcomes. The elevation of IL-3/GM-CSF-responsive Eo/B progenitors in high-risk infants in relation to ARI outcomes suggests a mechanism for the increased severity of inflammatory responses in these subjects following viral infection.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Strategies for Targeting Tetraspanin Proteins Potential Therapeutic Applications in Microbial Infections
    Hassuna, N ; Monk, PN ; Moseley, GW ; Partridge, LJ (ADIS INT LTD, 2009-01-01)
    The identification of novel targets and strategies for therapy of microbial infections is an area of intensive research due to the failure of conventional vaccines or antibiotics to combat both newly emerging diseases (e.g. viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and new influenza strains, and antibiotic-resistant bacteria) and entrenched, pandemic diseases exemplified by HIV. One clear approach to this problem is to target processes of the host organism rather than the microbe. Recent data have indicated that members of the tetraspanin superfamily, proteins with a widespread distribution in eukaryotic organisms and 33 members in humans, may provide such an approach. Tetraspanins traverse the membrane four times, but are distinguished from other four-pass membrane proteins by the presence of conserved charged residues in the transmembrane domains and a defining 'signature' motif in the larger of the two extracellular domains (the EC2). They characteristically form promiscuous associations with one another and with other membrane proteins and lipids to generate a specialized type of microdomain: the tetraspanin-enriched microdomain (TEM). TEMs are integral to the main role of tetraspanins as 'molecular organizers' involved in functions such as membrane trafficking, cell-cell fusion, motility, and signaling. Increasing evidence demonstrates that tetraspanins are used by intracellular pathogens as a means of entering and replicating within human cells. Although previous investigations focused mainly on viruses such as hepatitis C and HIV, it is now becoming clear that other microbes associate with tetraspanins, using TEMs as a 'gateway' to infection. In this article we review the properties and functions of tetraspanins/TEMs that are relevant to infective processes and discuss the accumulating evidence that shows how different pathogens exploit these properties in infection and in the pathogenesis of disease. We then investigate the novel and exciting possibilities of targeting tetraspanins for the treatment of infectious disease, using specific antibodies, recombinant EC2 domains, small-molecule mimetics, and small interfering RNA. Such therapies, directed at host-cell molecules, may provide alternative options for combating fast-mutating or newly emerging pathogens, where conventional approaches face difficulties.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    RNA interference as a therapeutic strategy for treating CNS disorders.
    Hoyer, D ; Dev, KK (Elsevier BV, 2006)
    RNA interference (RNAi) controls gene silencing in most living organisms. The potential clinical applications of RNAi represent a strategy with unsurpassed selectivity, with the ability to target multiple disease-related genes, independent of their perceived drugability. The design of highly selective and efficacious small interfering (siRNAs) and short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) has become routine, owing to significant progress in modeling and chemistry. RNAi significantly downregulates gene expression and function both in vitro and in vivo, including in the brain. This essay highlights recent findings and how the pharmaceutical industry intends to apply RNAi for the treatment neuropsychiatric and other diseases.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Membrane-targeted strategies for modulating APP and A beta-mediated toxicity
    Price, KA ; Crouch, PJ ; Donnelly, PS ; Masters, CL ; White, AR ; Curtain, CC (WILEY, 2009-02-01)
    Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by numerous pathological features including the accumulation of neurotoxic amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptide. There is currently no effective therapy for AD, but the development of therapeutic strategies that target the cell membrane is gaining increased interest. The amyloid precursor protein (APP) from which Abeta is formed is a membrane-bound protein, and Abeta production and toxicity are both membrane mediated events. This review describes the critical role of cell membranes in AD with particular emphasis on how the composition and structure of the membrane and its specialized regions may influence toxic or benign Abeta/APP pathways in AD. The putative role of copper (Cu) in AD is also discussed, and we highlight how targeting the cell membrane with Cu complexes has therapeutic potential in AD.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    An update on the toxicity of Abeta in Alzheimer's disease.
    Götz, J ; Ittner, LM ; Schonrock, N ; Cappai, R (Informa UK Limited, 2008-12)
    Alzheimer's disease is characterized histopathologically by deposition of insoluble forms of the peptide Abeta and the protein tau in brain. Abeta is the principal component of amyloid plaques and tau of neurofibrillary tangles. Familial cases of AD are associated with causal mutations in the gene encoding the amyloid precursor protein, APP, from which the amyloidogenic Abeta peptide is derived, and this supports a role for Abeta in disease. Abeta can promote tau pathology and at the same time its toxicity is also tau-dependent. Abeta can adopt different conformations including soluble oligomers and insoluble fibrillar species present in plaques. We discuss which of these conformations exert toxicity, highlight molecular pathways involved and discuss what has been learned by applying functional genomics.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Optimisation of NMR dynamic models II. A new methodology for the dual optimisation of the model-free parameters and the Brownian rotational diffusion tensor
    d'Auvergne, EJ ; Gooley, PR (SPRINGER, 2008-02-01)
    Finding the dynamics of an entire macromolecule is a complex problem as the model-free parameter values are intricately linked to the Brownian rotational diffusion of the molecule, mathematically through the autocorrelation function of the motion and statistically through model selection. The solution to this problem was formulated using set theory as an element of the universal set [formula: see text]-the union of all model-free spaces (d'Auvergne EJ and Gooley PR (2007) Mol BioSyst 3(7), 483-494). The current procedure commonly used to find the universal solution is to initially estimate the diffusion tensor parameters, to optimise the model-free parameters of numerous models, and then to choose the best model via model selection. The global model is then optimised and the procedure repeated until convergence. In this paper a new methodology is presented which takes a different approach to this diffusion seeded model-free paradigm. Rather than starting with the diffusion tensor this iterative protocol begins by optimising the model-free parameters in the absence of any global model parameters, selecting between all the model-free models, and finally optimising the diffusion tensor. The new model-free optimisation protocol will be validated using synthetic data from Schurr JM et al. (1994) J Magn Reson B 105(3), 211-224 and the relaxation data of the bacteriorhodopsin (1-36)BR fragment from Orekhov VY (1999) J Biomol NMR 14(4), 345-356. To demonstrate the importance of this new procedure the NMR relaxation data of the Olfactory Marker Protein (OMP) of Gitti R et al. (2005) Biochem 44(28), 9673-9679 is reanalysed. The result is that the dynamics for certain secondary structural elements is very different from those originally reported.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Optimisation of NMR dynamic models I. Minimisation algorithms and their performance within the model-free and Brownian rotational diffusion spaces
    d'Auvergne, EJ ; Gooley, PR (SPRINGER, 2008-02-01)
    The key to obtaining the model-free description of the dynamics of a macromolecule is the optimisation of the model-free and Brownian rotational diffusion parameters using the collected R (1), R (2) and steady-state NOE relaxation data. The problem of optimising the chi-squared value is often assumed to be trivial, however, the long chain of dependencies required for its calculation complicates the model-free chi-squared space. Convolutions are induced by the Lorentzian form of the spectral density functions, the linear recombinations of certain spectral density values to obtain the relaxation rates, the calculation of the NOE using the ratio of two of these rates, and finally the quadratic form of the chi-squared equation itself. Two major topological features of the model-free space complicate optimisation. The first is a long, shallow valley which commences at infinite correlation times and gradually approaches the minimum. The most severe convolution occurs for motions on two timescales in which the minimum is often located at the end of a long, deep, curved tunnel or multidimensional valley through the space. A large number of optimisation algorithms will be investigated and their performance compared to determine which techniques are suitable for use in model-free analysis. Local optimisation algorithms will be shown to be sufficient for minimisation not only within the model-free space but also for the minimisation of the Brownian rotational diffusion tensor. In addition the performance of the programs Modelfree and Dasha are investigated. A number of model-free optimisation failures were identified: the inability to slide along the limits, the singular matrix failure of the Levenberg-Marquardt minimisation algorithm, the low precision of both programs, and a bug in Modelfree. Significantly, the singular matrix failure of the Levenberg-Marquardt algorithm occurs when internal correlation times are undefined and is greatly amplified in model-free analysis by both the grid search and constraint algorithms. The program relax ( http://www.nmr-relax.com ) is also presented as a new software package designed for the analysis of macromolecular dynamics through the use of NMR relaxation data and which alleviates all of the problems inherent within model-free analysis.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Inhibitors of c-Jun N-terminal kinases-JuNK no more?
    Bogoyevitch, MA ; Arthur, PG (ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2008-01-01)
    The c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) have been the subject of intense interest since their discovery in the early 1990s. Major research programs have been directed to the screening and/or design of JNK-selective inhibitors and testing their potential as drugs. We begin this review by considering the first commercially-available JNK ATP-competitive inhibitor, SP600125. We focus on recent studies that have evaluated the actions of SP600125 in lung, brain, kidney and liver following exposure to a range of stress insults including ischemia/reperfusion. In many but not all cases, SP600125 administration has proved beneficial. JNK activation can also follow infection, and we next consider recent examples that demonstrate the benefits of SP600125 administration in viral infection. Additional ATP-competitive JNK inhibitors have now been described following high throughput screening of small molecule libraries, but information on their use in biological systems remains limited and thus these inhibitors will require further evaluation. Peptide substrate-competitive ATP-non-competitive inhibitors of JNK have also now been described, and we discuss the recent advances in the use of JNK inhibitory peptides in the treatment of neuronal death, diabetes and viral infection. We conclude by raising a number of questions that should be considered in the quest for JNK-specific inhibitors.
  • Item
    No Preview Available
    Copper binding to the Alzheimer's disease amyloid precursor protein
    Kong, GK-W ; Miles, LA ; Crespi, GAN ; Morton, CJ ; Ng, HL ; Barnham, KJ ; McKinstry, WJ ; Cappai, R ; Parker, MW (SPRINGER, 2008-03-01)
    Alzheimer's disease is the fourth biggest killer in developed countries. Amyloid precursor protein (APP) plays a central role in the development of the disease, through the generation of a peptide called A beta by proteolysis of the precursor protein. APP can function as a metalloprotein and modulate copper transport via its extracellular copper binding domain (CuBD). Copper binding to this domain has been shown to reduce A beta levels and hence a molecular understanding of the interaction between metal and protein could lead to the development of novel therapeutics to treat the disease. We have recently determined the three-dimensional structures of apo and copper bound forms of CuBD. The structures provide a mechanism by which CuBD could readily transfer copper ions to other proteins. Importantly, the lack of significant conformational changes to CuBD on copper binding suggests a model in which copper binding affects the dimerisation state of APP leading to reduction in A beta production. We thus predict that disruption of APP dimers may be a novel therapeutic approach to treat Alzheimer's disease.