School of Chemistry - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 572
ExoCarta 2012: database of exosomal proteins, RNA and lipids
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2012-01-01)
Exosomes are membraneous nanovesicles of endocytic origin released by most cell types from diverse organisms; they play a critical role in cell-cell communication. ExoCarta (http://www.exocarta.org) is a manually curated database of exosomal proteins, RNA and lipids. The database catalogs information from both published and unpublished exosomal studies. The mode of exosomal purification and characterization, the biophysical and molecular properties are listed in the database aiding biomedical scientists in assessing the quality of the exosomal preparation and the corresponding data obtained. Currently, ExoCarta (Version 3.1) contains information on 11,261 protein entries, 2375 mRNA entries and 764 miRNA entries that were obtained from 134 exosomal studies. In addition to the data update, as a new feature, lipids identified in exosomes are added to ExoCarta. We believe that this free web-based community resource will aid researchers in identifying molecular signatures (proteins/RNA/lipids) that are specific to certain tissue/cell type derived exosomes and trigger new exosomal studies.
Altered Lipid Metabolism in Residual White Adipose Tissues of Bscl2 Deficient Mice
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-12-16)
Mutations in BSCL2 underlie human congenital generalized lipodystrophy type 2 disease. We previously reported that Bscl2 (-/-) mice develop lipodystrophy of white adipose tissue (WAT) due to unbridled lipolysis. The residual epididymal WAT (EWAT) displays a browning phenotype with much smaller lipid droplets (LD) and higher expression of brown adipose tissue marker proteins. Here we used targeted lipidomics and gene expression profiling to analyze lipid profiles as well as genes involved in lipid metabolism in WAT of wild-type and Bscl2(-/-) mice. Analysis of total saponified fatty acids revealed that the residual EWAT of Bscl2(-/-) mice contained a much higher proportion of oleic 18:1n9 acid concomitant with a lower proportion of palmitic 16:0 acid, as well as increased n3- polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) remodeling. The acyl chains in major species of triacylglyceride (TG) and diacylglyceride (DG) in the residual EWAT of Bscl2(-/-) mice were also enriched with dietary fatty acids. These changes could be reflected by upregulation of several fatty acid elongases and desaturases. Meanwhile, Bscl2(-/-) adipocytes from EWAT had increased gene expression in lipid uptake and TG synthesis but not de novo lipogenesis. Both mitochondria and peroxisomal β-oxidation genes were also markedly increased in Bscl2(-/-) adipocytes, highlighting that these machineries were accelerated to shunt the lipolysis liberated fatty acids through uncoupling to dissipate energy. The residual subcutaneous white adipose tissue (ScWAT) was not browning but displays similar changes in lipid metabolism. Overall, our data emphasize that, other than being essential for adipocyte differentiation, Bscl2 is also important in fatty acid remodeling and energy homeostasis.
Increased Zinc and Manganese in Parallel with Neurodegeneration, Synaptic Protein Changes and Activation of Akt/GSK3 Signaling in Ovine CLN6 Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-03-14)
Mutations in the CLN6 gene cause a variant late infantile form of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL; Batten disease). CLN6 loss leads to disease clinically characterized by vision impairment, motor and cognitive dysfunction, and seizures. Accumulating evidence suggests that alterations in metal homeostasis and cellular signaling pathways are implicated in several neurodegenerative and developmental disorders, yet little is known about their role in the NCLs. To explore the disease mechanisms of CLN6 NCL, metal concentrations and expression of proteins implicated in cellular signaling pathways were assessed in brain tissue from South Hampshire and Merino CLN6 sheep. Analyses revealed increased zinc and manganese concentrations in affected sheep brain in those regions where neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration first occur. Synaptic proteins, the metal-binding protein metallothionein, and the Akt/GSK3 and ERK/MAPK cellular signaling pathways were also altered. These results demonstrate that altered metal concentrations, synaptic protein changes, and aberrant modulation of cellular signaling pathways are characteristic features in the CLN6 ovine form of NCL.
Vesiclepedia: A Compendium for Extracellular Vesicles with Continuous Community Annotation
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-12-01)
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are membraneous vesicles released by a variety of cells into their microenvironment. Recent studies have elucidated the role of EVs in intercellular communication, pathogenesis, drug, vaccine and gene-vector delivery, and as possible reservoirs of biomarkers. These findings have generated immense interest, along with an exponential increase in molecular data pertaining to EVs. Here, we describe Vesiclepedia, a manually curated compendium of molecular data (lipid, RNA, and protein) identified in different classes of EVs from more than 300 independent studies published over the past several years. Even though databases are indispensable resources for the scientific community, recent studies have shown that more than 50% of the databases are not regularly updated. In addition, more than 20% of the database links are inactive. To prevent such database and link decay, we have initiated a continuous community annotation project with the active involvement of EV researchers. The EV research community can set a gold standard in data sharing with Vesiclepedia, which could evolve as a primary resource for the field.
A Purpose-Synthesised Anti-Fibrotic Agent Attenuates Experimental Kidney Diseases in the Rat
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-10-10)
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Locally-active growth factors have been implicated in the pathogenesis of many diseases in which organ fibrosis is a characteristic feature. In the setting of chronic kidney disease (CKD), two such pro-fibrotic factors, transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) have emerged as lead potential targets for intervention. Given the incomplete organ protection afforded by blocking the actions of TGF-β or PDGF individually, we sought to determine whether an agent that inhibited the actions of both may have broader effects in ameliorating the key structural and functional abnormalities of CKD. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Accordingly, we studied the effects of a recently described, small molecule anti-fibrotic drug, 3-methoxy-4-propargyloxycinnamoyl anthranilate (FT011, Fibrotech Therapeutics, Australia), which should have these effects. KEY RESULTS: In the in vitro setting, FT011 inhibited both TGF-β1 and PDGF-BB induced collagen production as well as PDGF-BB-mediated mesangial proliferation. Consistent with these in vitro actions, when studied in a robust model of non-diabetic kidney disease, the 5/6 nephrectomised rat, FT011 attenuated the decline in GFR, proteinuria and glomerulosclerosis (p<0.05 for all). Similarly, in the streptozotocin-diabetic Ren-2 rat, a model of advanced diabetic nephropathy, FT011 reduced albuminuria, glomerulosclerosis and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Together these studies suggest that broadly antagonising growth factor actions, including those of TGF-β1 and PDGF-BB, has the potential to protect the kidney from progressive injury in both the diabetic and non-diabetic settings.
Elucidation of relaxin-3 binding interactions in the extracellular loops of RXFP3.
(Frontiers Media SA, 2013)
Relaxin-3 is a highly conserved neuropeptide in vertebrate species and binds to the Class A G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) RXFP3. Relaxin-3 is involved in a wide range of behaviors, including feeding, stress responses, arousal, and cognitive processes and therefore targeting of RXFP3 may be relevant for a range of neurological diseases. Structural knowledge of RXFP3 and its interaction with relaxin-3 would both increase our understanding of ligand recognition in GPCRs that respond to protein ligands and enable acceleration of the design of drug leads. In this study we have used comparative sequence analysis, molecular modeling and receptor mutagenesis to investigate the binding site of the native ligand human relaxin-3 (H3 relaxin) on the human RXFP3 receptor. Previous structure function studies have demonstrated that arginine residues in the H3 relaxin B-chain are critical for binding interactions with the receptor extracellular loops and/or N-terminal domain. Hence we have concentrated on determining the ligand interacting sites in these domains and have focused on glutamic (E) and aspartic acid (D) residues in these regions that may form electrostatic interactions with these critical arginine residues. Conserved D/E residues identified from vertebrate species multiple sequence alignments were mutated to Ala in human RXFP3 to test the effect of loss of amino acid side chain on receptor binding using a Eu-labeled relaxin-3 agonist. Finally data from mutagenesis experiments have been used in ligand docking simulations to a homology model of human RXFP3 based on the peptide-bound chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) structure. These studies have resulted in a model of the relaxin-3 interaction with RXFP3 which will inform further interrogation of the agonist binding site.
Selective kappa Opioid Antagonists nor-BNI, GNTI and JDTic Have Low Affinities for Non-Opioid Receptors and Transporters
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-08-14)
BACKGROUND: Nor-BNI, GNTI and JDTic induce selective κ opioid antagonism that is delayed and extremely prolonged, but some other effects are of rapid onset and brief duration. The transient effects of these compounds differ, suggesting that some of them may be mediated by other targets. RESULTS: In binding assays, the three antagonists showed no detectable affinity (K(i)≥10 µM) for most non-opioid receptors and transporters (26 of 43 tested). There was no non-opioid target for which all three compounds shared detectable affinity, or for which any two shared sub-micromolar affinity. All three compounds showed low nanomolar affinity for κ opioid receptors, with moderate selectivity over μ and δ (3 to 44-fold). Nor-BNI bound weakly to the α(2C)-adrenoceptor (K(i) = 630 nM). GNTI enhanced calcium mobilization by noradrenaline at the α(1A)-adrenoceptor (EC₅₀ = 41 nM), but did not activate the receptor, displace radioligands, or enhance PI hydrolysis. This suggests that it is a functionally-selective allosteric enhancer. GNTI was also a weak M₁ receptor antagonist (K(B) = 3.7 µM). JDTic bound to the noradrenaline transporter (K(i) = 54 nM), but only weakly inhibited transport (IC₅₀ = 1.1 µM). JDTic also bound to the opioid-like receptor NOP (K(i) = 12 nM), but gave little antagonism even at 30 µM. All three compounds exhibited rapid permeation and active efflux across Caco-2 cell monolayers. CONCLUSIONS: Across 43 non-opioid CNS targets, only GNTI exhibited a potent functional effect (allosteric enhancement of α(1A)-adrenoceptors). This may contribute to GNTI's severe transient effects. Plasma concentrations of nor-BNI and GNTI may be high enough to affect some peripheral non-opioid targets. Nonetheless, κ opioid antagonism persists for weeks or months after these transient effects dissipate. With an adequate pre-administration interval, our results therefore strengthen the evidence that nor-BNI, GNTI and JDTic are highly selective κ opioid antagonists.
Imaging the action of antimicrobial peptides on living bacterial cells
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2013-03-27)
Antimicrobial peptides hold promise as broad-spectrum alternatives to conventional antibiotics. The mechanism of action of this class of peptide is a topical area of research focused predominantly on their interaction with artificial membranes. Here we compare the interaction mechanism of a model antimicrobial peptide with single artificial membranes and live bacterial cells. The interaction kinetics was imaged using time-lapse fluorescence lifetime imaging of a fluorescently-tagged melittin derivative. Interaction with the synthetic membranes resulted in membrane pore formation. In contrast, the interaction with bacteria led to transient membrane disruption and corresponding leakage of the cytoplasm, but surprisingly with a much reduced level of pore formation. The discovery that pore formation is a less significant part of lipid-peptide interaction in live bacteria highlights the mechanistic complexity of these interactions in living cells compared to simple artificial systems.
Localization of Oleuropeyl Glucose Esters and a Flavanone to Secretory Cavities of Myrtaceae
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-07-20)
We report the widespread occurrence of structurally diverse oleuropeyl glucose esters, including the new diester eucaglobulin B, localized specifically to the essential oil secretory cavities of myrtaceous species. Clear taxonomic patterns in the composition of cavity extracts within the genus Eucalyptus are shown with species from subgenus Symphyomyrtus dominated by oleuropeyl glucose esters and species from subgenus Eucalyptus dominated instead by the flavanone, pinocembrin. We also examined the intra-species occurrence of oleuropeyl glucose esters by quantifying the abundant constituents cuniloside B and froggattiside A in trees from two populations of Eucalyptus polybractea R.T. Baker. All trees contained both compounds, which were positively correlated with total essential oil concentration. This apparent ubiquity of oleuropeyl glucose esters at both intra- and inter-specific levels in Eucalyptus is indicative of important physiological or ecological functions. The significance of their prevalence and the sequestration of these esters and also pinocembrin to the extracellular domain of secretory cavities is discussed in light of their potential biological activities and our findings that they are spatially segregated to the exterior of cavity lumina. The localization of oleuropeyl glucose esters to a specific and isolatable tissue type has the potential to aid in future elucidation of function and biosynthesis.
Translation inhibitors induce cell death by multiple mechanisms and Mcl-1 reduction is only a minor contributor
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2012-10-01)
There is significant interest in treating cancers by blocking protein synthesis, to which hematological malignancies seem particularly sensitive. The translation elongation inhibitor homoharringtonine (Omacetaxine mepesuccinate) is undergoing clinical trials for chronic myeloid leukemia, whereas the translation initiation inhibitor silvestrol has shown promise in mouse models of cancer. Precisely how these compounds induce cell death is unclear, but reduction in Mcl-1, a labile pro-survival Bcl-2 family member, has been proposed to constitute the critical event. Moreover, the contribution of translation inhibitors to neutropenia and lymphopenia has not been precisely defined. Herein, we demonstrate that primary B cells and neutrophils are highly sensitive to translation inhibitors, which trigger the Bax/Bak-mediated apoptotic pathway. However, contrary to expectations, reduction of Mcl-1 did not significantly enhance cytotoxicity of these compounds, suggesting that it does not have a principal role and cautions that strong correlations do not always signify causality. On the other hand, the killing of T lymphocytes was less dependent on Bax and Bak, indicating that translation inhibitors can also induce cell death via alternative mechanisms. Indeed, loss of clonogenic survival proved to be independent of the Bax/Bak-mediated apoptosis altogether. Our findings warn of potential toxicity as these translation inhibitors are cytotoxic to many differentiated non-cycling cells.
Discovery of Inhibitors of Leishmania beta-1,2-Mannosyltransferases Using a Click-Chemistry-Derived Guanosine Monophosphate Library
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-02-29)
Leishmania spp. are a medically important group of protozoan parasites that synthesize a novel intracellular carbohydrate reserve polymer termed mannogen. Mannogen is a soluble homopolymer of β-1,2-linked mannose residues that accumulates in the major pathogenic stages in the sandfly vector and mammalian host. While several steps in mannogen biosynthesis have been defined, none of the enzymes have been isolated or characterized. We report the development of a simple assay for the GDP-mannose-dependent β-1,2-mannosyltransferases involved in mannogen synthesis. This assay utilizes octyl α-D-mannopyranoside to prime the formation of short mannogen oligomers up to 5 mannose residues. This assay was used to screen a focussed library of 44 GMP-triazole adducts for inhibitors. Several compounds provided effective inhibition of mannogen β-1,2-mannosyltransferases in a cell-free membrane preparation. This assay and inhibitor compounds will be useful for dissecting the role of different mannosyltransferases in regulating de novo biosynthesis and elongation reactions in mannogen metabolism.
Distribution of Metals in the Termite Tumulitermes tumuli (Froggatt): Two Types of Malpighian Tubule Concretion Host Zn and Ca Mutually Exclusively
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2011-11-08)
The aim of this study was to determine specific distribution of metals in the termite Tumulitermes tumuli (Froggatt) and identify specific organs within the termite that host elevated metals and therefore play an important role in the regulation and transfer of these back into the environment. Like other insects, termites bio-accumulate essential metals to reinforce cuticular structures and utilize storage detoxification for other metals including Ca, P, Mg and K. Previously, Mn and Zn have been found concentrated in mandible tips and are associated with increased hardness whereas Ca, P, Mg and K are accumulated in Malpighian tubules. Using high resolution Particle Induced X-Ray Emission (PIXE) mapping of whole termites and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX) spot analysis, localised accumulations of metals in the termite T. tumuli were identified. Tumulitermes tumuli was found to have proportionally high Mn concentrations in mandible tips. Malpighian tubules had significant enrichment of Zn (1.6%), Mg (4.9%), P (6.8%), Ca (2.7%) and K (2.4%). Synchrotron scanning X-ray Fluorescence Microprobe (XFM) mapping demonstrated two different concretion types defined by the mutually exclusive presence of Ca and Zn. In-situ SEM EDX realisation of these concretions is problematic due to the excitation volume caused by operating conditions required to detect minor amounts of Zn in the presence of significant amounts of Na. For this reason, previous researchers have not demonstrated this surprising finding.