Biochemistry and Molecular Biology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 506
Modest Declines in Proteome Quality Impair Hematopoietic Stem Cell Self-Renewal
Low protein synthesis is a feature of somatic stem cells that promotes regeneration in multiple tissues. Modest increases in protein synthesis impair stem cell function, but the mechanisms by which this occurs are largely unknown. We determine that low protein synthesis within hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) is associated with elevated proteome quality in vivo. HSCs contain less misfolded and unfolded proteins than myeloid progenitors. Increases in protein synthesis cause HSCs to accumulate misfolded and unfolded proteins. To test how proteome quality affects HSCs, we examine Aarssti/sti mice that harbor a tRNA editing defect that increases amino acid misincorporation. Aarssti/sti mice exhibit reduced HSC numbers, increased proliferation, and diminished serial reconstituting activity. Misfolded proteins overwhelm the proteasome within Aarssti/sti HSCs, which is associated with increased c-Myc abundance. Deletion of one Myc allele partially rescues serial reconstitution defects in Aarssti/sti HSCs. Thus, HSCs are dependent on low protein synthesis to maintain proteostasis, which promotes their self-renewal.
The association of fecal microbiota and fecal, blood serum and urine metabolites in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome
(Springer Verlag, 2017-01-01)
Introduction: The human gut microbiota has the ability to modulate host metabolism. Metabolic profiling of the microbiota and the host biofluids may determine associations significant of a host–microbe relationship. Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) is a long-term disorder of fatigue that is poorly understood, but has been linked to gut problems and altered microbiota. Objectives: Find changes in fecal microbiota and metabolites in ME/CFS and determine their association with blood serum and urine metabolites. Methods: A workflow was developed that correlates microbial counts with fecal, blood serum and urine metabolites quantitated by high-throughput 1H NMR spectroscopy. The study consists of thirty-four females with ME/CFS (34.9 ± 1.8 SE years old) and twenty-five non-ME/CFS female (33.0 ± 1.6 SE years old). Results: The workflow was validated using the non-ME/CFS cohort where fecal short chain fatty acids (SCFA) were associated with serum and urine metabolites indicative of host metabolism changes enacted by SCFA. In the ME/CFS cohort a decrease in fecal lactate and an increase in fecal butyrate, isovalerate and valerate were observed along with an increase in Clostridium spp. and a decrease in Bacteroides spp. These differences were consistent with an increase in microbial fermentation of fiber and amino acids to produce SCFA in the gut of ME/CFS patients. Decreased fecal amino acids positively correlated with substrates of gluconeogenesis and purine synthesis in the serum of ME/CFS patients. Conclusion: Increased production of SCFA by microbial fermentation in the gut of ME/CFS patients may be associated with deleterious effects on the host energy metabolism.
Mitochondrial dysfunction remodels one - carbon metabolism in human cells
(ELIFE SCIENCES PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2016-06-16)
Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with a spectrum of human disorders, ranging from rare, inborn errors of metabolism to common, age-associated diseases such as neurodegeneration. How these lesions give rise to diverse pathology is not well understood, partly because their proximal consequences have not been well-studied in mammalian cells. Here we provide two lines of evidence that mitochondrial respiratory chain dysfunction leads to alterations in one-carbon metabolism pathways. First, using hypothesis-generating metabolic, proteomic, and transcriptional profiling, followed by confirmatory experiments, we report that mitochondrial DNA depletion leads to an ATF4-mediated increase in serine biosynthesis and transsulfuration. Second, we show that lesioning the respiratory chain impairs mitochondrial production of formate from serine, and that in some cells, respiratory chain inhibition leads to growth defects upon serine withdrawal that are rescuable with purine or formate supplementation. Our work underscores the connection between the respiratory chain and one-carbon metabolism with implications for understanding mitochondrial pathogenesis.
Yap reprograms glutamine metabolism to increase nucleotide biosynthesis and enable liver growth
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2016-08-01)
The Hippo pathway is an important regulator of organ size and tumorigenesis. It is unclear, however, how Hippo signalling provides the cellular building blocks required for rapid growth. Here, we demonstrate that transgenic zebrafish expressing an activated form of the Hippo pathway effector Yap1 (also known as YAP) develop enlarged livers and are prone to liver tumour formation. Transcriptomic and metabolomic profiling identify that Yap1 reprograms glutamine metabolism. Yap1 directly enhances glutamine synthetase (glul) expression and activity, elevating steady-state levels of glutamine and enhancing the relative isotopic enrichment of nitrogen during de novo purine and pyrimidine biosynthesis. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of GLUL diminishes the isotopic enrichment of nitrogen into nucleotides, suppressing hepatomegaly and the growth of liver cancer cells. Consequently, Yap-driven liver growth is susceptible to nucleotide inhibition. Together, our findings demonstrate that Yap1 integrates the anabolic demands of tissue growth during development and tumorigenesis by reprogramming nitrogen metabolism to stimulate nucleotide biosynthesis.
CX-5461 activates the DNA damage response and demonstrates therapeutic efficacy in high-grade serous ovarian cancer
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2020-05-26)
Acquired resistance to PARP inhibitors (PARPi) is a major challenge for the clinical management of high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). Here, we demonstrate CX-5461, the first-in-class inhibitor of RNA polymerase I transcription of ribosomal RNA genes (rDNA), induces replication stress and activates the DNA damage response. CX-5461 co-operates with PARPi in exacerbating replication stress and enhances therapeutic efficacy against homologous recombination (HR) DNA repair-deficient HGSOC-patient-derived xenograft (PDX) in vivo. We demonstrate CX-5461 has a different sensitivity spectrum to PARPi involving MRE11-dependent degradation of replication forks. Importantly, CX-5461 exhibits in vivo single agent efficacy in a HGSOC-PDX with reduced sensitivity to PARPi by overcoming replication fork protection. Further, we identify CX-5461-sensitivity gene expression signatures in primary and relapsed HGSOC. We propose CX-5461 is a promising therapy in combination with PARPi in HR-deficient HGSOC and also as a single agent for the treatment of relapsed disease.
Regulation of PRMT5-MDM4 axis is critical in the response to CDK4/6 inhibitors in melanoma
(NATL ACAD SCIENCES, 2019-09-03)
Cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6) inhibitors are an established treatment in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and are currently in clinical development in melanoma, a tumor that exhibits high rates of CDK4 activation. We analyzed melanoma cells with acquired resistance to the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib and demonstrate that the activity of PRMT5, a protein arginine methyltransferase and indirect target of CDK4, is essential for CDK4/6 inhibitor sensitivity. By indirectly suppressing PRMT5 activity, palbociclib alters the pre-mRNA splicing of MDM4, a negative regulator of p53, leading to decreased MDM4 protein expression and subsequent p53 activation. In turn, p53 induces p21, leading to inhibition of CDK2, the main kinase substituting for CDK4/6 and a key driver of resistance to palbociclib. Loss of the ability of palbociclib to regulate the PRMT5-MDM4 axis leads to resistance. Importantly, combining palbociclib with the PRMT5 inhibitor GSK3326595 enhances the efficacy of palbociclib in treating naive and resistant models and also delays the emergence of resistance. Our studies have uncovered a mechanism of action of CDK4/6 inhibitors in regulating the MDM4 oncogene and the tumor suppressor, p53. Furthermore, we have established that palbociclib inhibition of the PRMT5-MDM4 axis is essential for robust melanoma cell sensitivity and provide preclinical evidence that coinhibition of CDK4/6 and PRMT5 is an effective and well-tolerated therapeutic strategy. Overall, our data provide a strong rationale for further investigation of novel combinations of CDK4/6 and PRMT5 inhibitors, not only in melanoma but other tumor types, including breast, pancreatic, and esophageal carcinoma.
Role of Plasmodium falciparum Protein GEXPO7 in Maurer's Cleft Morphology, Knob Architecture, and P. falciparum EMP1 Trafficking
(AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2020-03-01)
The malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum traffics the virulence protein P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) to the surface of infected red blood cells (RBCs) via membranous organelles, known as the Maurer's clefts. We developed a method for efficient enrichment of Maurer's clefts and profiled the protein composition of this trafficking organelle. We identified 13 previously uncharacterized or poorly characterized Maurer's cleft proteins. We generated transfectants expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions of 7 proteins and confirmed their Maurer's cleft location. Using co-immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry, we generated an interaction map of proteins at the Maurer's clefts. We identified two key clusters that may function in the loading and unloading of PfEMP1 into and out of the Maurer's clefts. We focus on a putative PfEMP1 loading complex that includes the protein GEXP07/CX3CL1-binding protein 2 (CBP2). Disruption of GEXP07 causes Maurer's cleft fragmentation, aberrant knobs, ablation of PfEMP1 surface expression, and loss of the PfEMP1-mediated adhesion. ΔGEXP07 parasites have a growth advantage compared to wild-type parasites, and the infected RBCs are more deformable and more osmotically fragile.IMPORTANCE The trafficking of the virulence antigen PfEMP1 and its presentation at the knob structures at the surface of parasite-infected RBCs are central to severe adhesion-related pathologies such as cerebral and placental malaria. This work adds to our understanding of how PfEMP1 is trafficked to the RBC membrane by defining the protein-protein interaction networks that function at the Maurer's clefts controlling PfEMP1 loading and unloading. We characterize a protein needed for virulence protein trafficking and provide new insights into the mechanisms for host cell remodeling, parasite survival within the host, and virulence.
Tailoring the structure of casein micelles through a multifactorial approach to manipulate rennet coagulation properties
(Elsevier Inc., 2020-04-01)
The properties of casein micelles are known to be affected by modifications to the environment, such as variations in pH or the addition of salts, yet the scientific literature typically considers the effects of one factor at a time, while in industrial processes, several modifications are performed simultaneously. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of multifactorial environmental modifications on the colloidal, structural and rennet coagulation properties of casein micelles in a simplified model system. A key finding was that dense regions (~20 nm in size) could be released from the casein micelle. The addition of NaCl and CaCl2 had opposing effects, i.e. enhancing or limiting this micellar disruption, respectively. A decrease in pH had the strongest impact on the mineral balance, causing the colloidal CaP to solubilize and the micelle to swell. The rennet clotting time was impacted by variations in pH and NaCl content. Interestingly, a consideration of all three levels of casein micelle structure and their interactions was needed to explain variations in the firmness of rennet gels. This study illustrates the complex interplay of factors affecting micellar structure and improves our understanding of how micelles can be manipulated to control their properties.
Measurement of tissue azithromycin levels in self-collected vaginal swabs post treatment using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS)
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2017-05-12)
BACKGROUND: Azithromycin is recommended for the treatment of uncomplicated urogenital chlamydia infection although the standard 1gram dose sometimes fails to eradicate the infection (treatment failure). One hypothesis proposed for treatment failure has been insufficient levels of the antibiotic at the site of infection. We developed an assay using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to measure azithromycin concentration in high-vaginal swabs and monitor how concentration changes over time following routine azithromycin treatment. METHODS: Azithromycin concentrations were measured in two groups of women either within the first 24h of taking a 1g dose (N = 11) or over 9 days (N = 10). Azithromycin concentrations were normalised to an internal standard (leucine enkephalin), and the bulk lipid species phosphatidylcholine [PC(34:1)], using an Agilent 6490 triple quadrupole instrument in positive ionisation mode. The abundances of azithromycin, PC(34:1), and leu-enkephalin were determined by multiple reaction monitoring and absolute levels of azithromycin estimated using standard curves prepared on vaginal specimens. RESULTS: Vaginal azithromycin concentrations of women were rapidly obtained after 5h post-treatment (mean concentration = 1031mcg/mg of lipid, range = 173-2693mcg/mg). In women followed for 9 days, peak concentrations were highest after day 2 (mean concentration = 2206mcg/mg, range = 721-5791mcg/mg), and remained high for at least 9 days with a mean concentration of 384mcg/mg (range = 139-1024mcg/mg) on day 9. CONCLUSION: Our study confirmed that a single 1g dose of azithromycin is rapidly absorbed and remains in the vagina at relatively high levels for at least a week, suggesting that poor antibiotic absorption is unlikely to be an explanation for treatment failure.
Pharmacokinetics of a single 1 g dose of azithromycin in rectal tissue in men
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2017-03-28)
Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection among men who have sex with men. Repeat infection following treatment with 1g azithromycin is common and treatment failure of up to 22% has been reported. This study measured the pharmacokinetics of azithromycin in rectal tissue in men following a single 1g dose to assess whether azithromycin reaches the rectal site in adequate concentrations to kill chlamydia. Ten healthy men took a single oral dose of 1g azithromycin and provided nine self-collected swabs and one blood sample over 14 days. Participant demographics, medications, sexual behaviour, treatment side effects, lubricant use and douching practices were recorded with each swab. Drug concentration over time was determined using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry and total exposure (AUC0-∞) was estimated from the concentration-time profiles. Following 1g of azithromycin, rectal concentrations peaked after a median of 24 hours (median 133mcg/g) and remained above the minimum inhibitory concentration for chlamydia (0.125mcg/mL) for at least 14 days in all men. AUC0-∞ was the highest ever reported in human tissue (13103((mcg/g).hr)). Tissue concentrations were not associated with weight (mg/kg), but data suggest that increased gastric pH could increase azithromycin levels and diarrhoea or use of water-based lubricants could decrease concentrations. High and sustained concentrations of azithromycin were found in rectal tissue following a single 1g dose suggesting that inadequate concentrations are unlikely to cause treatment failure. Factors effecting absorption (pH and diarrhoea) or drug depletion (douching and water-based lubricants) may be more important determinants of concentrations in situ.
Significant Accumulation of Polymyxin in Single Renal Tubular Cells: A Medicinal Chemistry and Triple Correlative Microscopy Approach
(AMER CHEMICAL SOC, 2015-02-03)
Polymyxin is the last-line therapy against Gram-negative 'superbugs'; however, dose-limiting nephrotoxicity can occur in up to 60% of patients after intravenous administration. Understanding the accumulation and concentration of polymyxin within renal tubular cells is essential for the development of novel strategies to ameliorate its nephrotoxicity and to develop safer, new polymyxins. We designed and synthesized a novel dual-modality iodine-labeled fluorescent probe for quantitative mapping of polymyxin in kidney proximal tubular cells. Measured by synchrotron X-ray fluorescence microscopy, polymyxin concentrations in single rat (NRK-52E) and human (HK-2) kidney tubular cells were approximately 1930- to 4760-fold higher than extracellular concentrations. Our study is the first to quantitatively measure the significant uptake of polymyxin in renal tubular cells and provides crucial information for the understanding of polymyxin-induced nephrotoxicity. Importantly, our approach represents a significant methodological advancement in determination of drug uptake for single-cell pharmacology.
Coxiella burnetii utilizes both glutamate and glucose during infection with glucose uptake mediated by multiple transporters
(PORTLAND PRESS LTD, 2019-10-15)
Coxiella burnetii is a Gram-negative bacterium which causes Q fever, a complex and life-threatening infection with both acute and chronic presentations. C. burnetii invades a variety of host cell types and replicates within a unique vacuole derived from the host cell lysosome. In order to understand how C. burnetii survives within this intracellular niche, we have investigated the carbon metabolism of both intracellular and axenically cultivated bacteria. Both bacterial populations were shown to assimilate exogenous [13C]glucose or [13C]glutamate, with concomitant labeling of intermediates in glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, and in the TCA cycle. Significantly, the two populations displayed metabolic pathway profiles reflective of the nutrient availabilities within their propagated environments. Disruption of the C. burnetii glucose transporter, CBU0265, by transposon mutagenesis led to a significant decrease in [13C]glucose utilization but did not abolish glucose usage, suggesting that C. burnetii express additional hexose transporters which may be able to compensate for the loss of CBU0265. This was supported by intracellular infection of human cells and in vivo studies in the insect model showing loss of CBU0265 had no impact on intracellular replication or virulence. Using this mutagenesis and [13C]glucose labeling approach, we identified a second glucose transporter, CBU0347, the disruption of which also showed significant decreases in 13C-label incorporation but did not impact intracellular replication or virulence. Together, these analyses indicate that C. burnetii may use multiple carbon sources in vivo and exhibits greater metabolic flexibility than expected.