Biochemistry and Molecular Biology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 494
Interferon regulatory factor 5 and autoimmune lupus
(CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS, 2013-07-27)
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a severe multi-system autoimmune disease, whereas interferon regulatory factor (IRF) 5 belongs to the family of transcription factors that modulate immune system activities. Recently, many lines of investigations suggested that IRF5 gene polymorphisms are closely associated with the disease onset of SLE. Indeed, expressed in B cells, dendritic cells (DCs), monocytes and macrophages, IRF5 could significantly affect these immune cells participating in the pathogenesis of SLE, and numerous studies implied that this transcription factor is mechanistically linked to the disease progression. Here, we comprehensively review the updated evidence indicating the roles of IRF5 in autoimmune lupus. Hopefully, the information obtained will lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis and development of novel therapeutic strategies for the systemic autoimmune disease.
Interaction of Rabies Virus P-Protein With STAT Proteins is Critical to Lethal Rabies Disease
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS INC, 2014-06-27)
Background. Rabies virus (RABV) causes rabies disease resulting in >55 000 human deaths/year. The multifunctional RABV P-protein has essential roles in genome replication, and forms interactions with cellular STAT proteins that are thought to underlie viral antagonism of interferon-dependent immunity. However, the molecular details of P-protein-STAT interaction, and its importance to disease are unresolved.Methods.aEuro integral Studies were performed using sequence/structure analysis, mutagenesis, immunoprecipitation, luciferase and qRT-PCR-based signaling assays, confocal microscopy and reverse genetics/in vivo infection.Results.aEuro integral We identified a hydrophobic pocket of the P-protein C-terminal domain as critical to STAT-binding/antagonism. This interface was found to be functionally and spatially independent of the region responsible for N-protein interaction, which is critical to genome replication. Based on these findings, we generated the first mutant RABV lacking STAT-association. Growth of the virus in vitro was unimpaired, but it lacked STAT-antagonist function and was highly sensitive to interferon. Importantly, growth of the virus was strongly attenuated in brains of infected mice, producing no major neurological symptoms, compared with the invariably lethal wild-type virus.Conclusions.aEuro integral These data represent direct evidence that P-protein-STAT interaction is critical to rabies, and provide novel insights into the mechanism by which RABV coordinates distinct functions in interferon antagonism and replication.
C-terminal peptides modelling constitutive PrPC processing demonstrate ameliorated toxicity predisposition consequent to alpha-cleavage
(PORTLAND PRESS LTD, 2014-04-27)
Misfolding of PrPC (cellular prion protein) to beta-strand-rich conformations constitutes a key event in. prion disease pathogenesis. PrPC can undergo either of two constitutive endoproteolytic events known as alpha- and beta-cleavage, yielding C-terminal fragments known as C1 and C2 respectively. It is unclear whether C-terminal fragments generated through alpha- and beta-cleavage, especially C2, influence pathogenesis directly. Consequently, we compared the biophysical properties and neurotoxicity of recombinant human PrP fragments recapitulating alpha- and beta-cleavage, namely huPrP-(112-231) (equating to Cl) and huPrP-(90-231) (equating to C2). Under conditions we employed, huPrP-(112-231) could not be induced to fold into a beta-stranded isoform and neurotoxicity was not a feature for monomeric or multimeric assemblies. In contrast, huPrP-(90-231) easily adopted a beta-strand conformation, demonstrated considerable thermostability and was toxic to neurons. Synthetic PrP peptides modelled on alpha- and beta-cleavage of the unique Y145STOP (Tyr(145)-> stop) mutant prion protein corroborated the differential toxicity observed for recombinant huPrP-(112-231) and huPrP-(90-231) and suggested that the persistence of soluble oligomeric beta-strand-rich conformers was required for significant neurotoxicity. Our results additionally indicate that alpha- and beta-cleavage of PrPC generate biophysically and biologically non-equivalent C-terminal fragments and that C1 generated through alpha-cleavage appears to be pathogenesis-averse.
A dual-targeted aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase in Plasmodium falciparum charges cytosolic and apicoplast tRNA(Cys)
(PORTLAND PRESS LTD, 2014-03-27)
Plasmodium parasites possess two endosymbiotic organelles: a mitochondrion and a relict plastid called the apicoplast. To accommodate the translational requirements of these organelles in addition to its cytosolic translation apparatus, the parasite must maintain a supply of charged tRNA molecules in each of these compartments. In the present study we investigate how the parasite manages these translational requirements for charged tRNA(Cys) with only a single gene for CysRS (cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase). We demonstrate that the single PfCysRS (Plasmodium falciparum CysRS) transcript is alternatively spliced, and, using a combination of endogenous and heterologous tagging experiments in both R falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii, we show that CysRS isoforms traffic to the cytosol and apicoplast. PfCysRS can recognize and charge the eukaryotic tRNA(Cys) encoded by the Plasmodium nucleus as well as the bacterial-type tRNA encoded by the apicoplast genome, albeit with a preference for the eukaryotic type cytosolic tRNA. The results of the present study indicate that apicomplexan parasites have lost their original plastidic cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase, and have replaced it with a dual-targeted eukaryotic type CysRS that recognizes plastid and nuclear tRNA(Cys). Inhibitors of the Plasmodium dual-targeted CysRS would potentially offer a therapy capable of the desirable immediate effects on parasite growth as well as the irreversibility of inhibitors that disrupt apicoplast inheritance.
cAMP-dependent Protein Kinase and c-Jun N-terminal Kinase Mediate Stathmin Phosphorylation for the Maintenance of Interphase Microtubules during Osmotic Stress
(AMER SOC BIOCHEMISTRY MOLECULAR BIOLOGY INC, 2014-01-27)
Dynamic microtubule changes after a cell stress challenge are required for cell survival and adaptation. Stathmin (STMN), a cytoplasmic microtubule-destabilizing phosphoprotein, regulates interphase microtubules during cell stress, but the signaling mechanisms involved are poorly defined. In this study ectopic expression of single alanine-substituted phospho-resistant mutants demonstrated that STMN Ser-38 and Ser-63 phosphorylation were specifically required to maintain interphase microtubules during hyperosmotic stress. STMN was phosphorylated on Ser-38 and Ser-63 in response to hyperosmolarity, heat shock, and arsenite treatment but rapidly dephosphorylated after oxidative stress treatment. Two-dimensional PAGE and Phos-tag gel analysis of stress-stimulated STMN phospho-isoforms revealed rapid STMN Ser-38 phosphorylation followed by subsequent Ser-25 and Ser-63 phosphorylation. Previously, we delineated stress-stimulated JNK targeting of STMN. Here, we identified cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) signaling as responsible for stress-induced STMN Ser-63 phosphorylation. Increased cAMP levels induced by cholera toxin triggered potent STMN Ser-63 phosphorylation. Osmotic stress stimulated an increase in PKA activity and elevated STMN Ser-63 and CREB (cAMP-response element-binding protein) Ser-133 phosphorylation that was substantially attenuated by pretreatment with H-89, a PKA inhibitor. Interestingly, PKA activity and subsequent phosphorylation of STMN were augmented in the absence of JNK activation, indicating JNK and PKA pathway cross-talk during stress regulation of STMN. Taken together our study indicates that JNK- and PKA-mediated STMN Ser-38 and Ser-63 phosphorylation are required to preserve interphase microtubules in response to hyperosmotic stress.
Global Phylogeny of Shigella sonnei Strains from Limited Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) and Development of a Rapid and Cost-Effective SNP-Typing Scheme for Strain Identification by High-Resolution Melting Analysis
(AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2013-01-27)
The current Shigella sonnei pandemic involves geographically associated, multidrug-resistant clones. This study has demonstrated that S. sonnei phylogeny can be accurately defined with limited single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). By typing 6 informative SNPs using a high-resolution melting (HRM) assay, major S. sonnei lineages/sublineages can be identified as defined by whole-genome variation.
A biosensor of Src family kinase conformation by exposable tetracysteine useful for cell-based screening
(American Chemical Society (ACS), 2014)
We developed a new approach to distinguish distinct protein conformations in live cells. The method, exposable tetracysteine (XTC), involved placing an engineered tetracysteine motif into a target protein that has conditional access to biarsenical dye binding by conformational state. XTC was used to distinguish open and closed regulatory conformations of Src family kinases. Substituting just four residues with cysteines in the conserved SH2 domain of three Src-family kinases (c-Src, Lck, Lyn) enabled open and closed conformations to be monitored based on binding differences to biarsenical dyes FlAsH or ReAsH. Fusion of the kinases with a fluorescent protein tracked the kinase presence, and the XTC approach enabled simultaneous assessment of regulatory state. The c-Src XTC biosensor was applied in a boutique screen of kinase inhibitors, which revealed six compounds to induce conformational closure. The XTC approach demonstrates new potential for assays targeting conformational changes in key proteins in disease and biology.
Analysis of the regulatory and catalytic domains of PTEN-induced kinase-1 (PINK1)
Mutations of the phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)-induced kinase 1 (PINK1) gene can cause early-onset familial Parkinson disease (PD). PINK1 encodes a neuroprotective protein kinase localized at the mitochondria, and its involvement in regulating mitochondrial dynamics, trafficking, structure, and function is well documented. Owing to the lack of information on structure and biochemical properties for PINK1, exactly how PINK1 exerts its neuroprotective function and how the PD-causative mutations impact on PINK1 structure and function remain unclear. As an approach to address these questions, we conducted bioinformatic analyses of the mitochondrial targeting, the transmembrane, and kinase domains of PINK1 to predict the motifs governing its regulation and function. Our report sheds light on how PINK1 is targeted to the mitochondria and how PINK1 is cleaved by mitochondrial peptidases. Moreover, it includes a potential optimal phosphorylation sequence preferred by the PINK1 kinase domain. On the basis of the results of our analyses, we predict how the PD-causative mutations affect processing of PINK1 in the mitochondria, PINK1 kinase activity, and substrate specificity. In summary, our results provide a conceptual framework for future investigation of the structural and biochemical basis of regulation and the neuroprotective mechanism of PINK1.
Prediction of the repeat domain structures and impact of parkinsonism-associated variations on structure and function of all functional domains of Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2)
Genetic variations of leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) are the major cause of dominantly inherited Parkinson disease (PD). LRRK2 protein contains seven predicted domains: a tandem Ras-like GTPase (ROC) domain and C-terminal of Roc (COR) domain, a protein kinase domain and four repeat domains. PD-causative variations arise in all domains, suggesting that aberrant functioning of any domain can contribute to neurotoxic mechanisms of LRRK2. Determination of the three-dimensional structure of LRRK2 is one of the best avenues to decipher its neurotoxic mechanism. However, with the exception of the Roc domain, the three-dimensional structures of the functional domains of LRRK2 have yet to be determined. Based upon the known three-dimensional structures of repeat domains of other proteins, the tandem Roc-COR domains of the C. tepidum Rab family protein, and the kinase domain of the D. discoideum Roco4 protein, we predicted (i) the motifs essential for protein-protein interactions in all domains, (ii) the motifs critical for catalysis and substrate recognition in the tandem Roc-COR and kinase domains, and (iii) the effects of some PD-associated missense variations on the neurotoxic action of LRRK2. Results of our analysis provide a conceptual framework for future investigation into the regulation and the neurotoxic mechanism of LRRK2.
Porphyromonas gingivalis and Treponema denticola exhibit metabolic symbioses
(Public Library of Science (PLOS), 2014)
Porphyromonas gingivalis and Treponema denticola are strongly associated with chronic periodontitis. These bacteria have been co-localized in subgingival plaque and demonstrated to exhibit symbiosis in growth in vitro and synergistic virulence upon co-infection in animal models of disease. Here we show that during continuous co-culture a P. gingivalis:T. denticola cell ratio of 6:1 was maintained with a respective increase of 54% and 30% in cell numbers when compared with monoculture. Co-culture caused significant changes in global gene expression in both species with altered expression of 184 T. denticola and 134 P. gingivalis genes. P. gingivalis genes encoding a predicted thiamine biosynthesis pathway were upregulated whilst genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis were down-regulated. T. denticola genes encoding virulence factors including dentilisin and glycine catabolic pathways were significantly up-regulated during co-culture. Metabolic labeling using 13C-glycine showed that T. denticola rapidly metabolized this amino acid resulting in the production of acetate and lactate. P. gingivalis may be an important source of free glycine for T. denticola as mono-cultures of P. gingivalis and T. denticola were found to produce and consume free glycine, respectively; free glycine production by P. gingivalis was stimulated by T. denticola conditioned medium and glycine supplementation of T. denticola medium increased final cell density 1.7-fold. Collectively these data show P. gingivalis and T. denticola respond metabolically to the presence of each other with T. denticola displaying responses that help explain enhanced virulence of co-infections.
Putting huntingtin "aggregation" in view with windows into the cellular milieu
(Bentham Science, 2012)
Huntington's disease arises from CAG codon-repeat expansions in the Htt gene, which leads to a Htt gene product with an expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) sequence. The length of the polyQ expansion correlates with an increased tendency to form aggregates and clustering into micrometer-plus sized inclusion bodies in neurons and other cell types. Yet after nearly 20 years since the genetic basis for HD was identified, our knowledge of how polyQ-expanded Htt fragment aggregation relates to disease mechanisms remains fragmentary and controversial. Challenges remain in defining the aggregation process at the molecular level and how this process is influenced by, or influences cellular activities. Insight is further confounded by the term "aggregation" being used to describe a composite of distinct processes that may have opposing consequences to cell health and survival. This review discusses these issues in light of a historic summary of Htt aggregation in the cellular milieu and the intrinsic attributes of polyQ-expanded Htt that lead to aggregation. Finally, discussion centers on strategies forward to improve our knowledge for how aggregation relates to cellular dysfunction.