Bio21 - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 383
Prismatic 2.0 - Simulation software for scanning and high resolution transmission electron microscopy (STEM and HRTEM).
(Elsevier BV, 2021-09-10)
Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), where a converged electron probe is scanned over a sample's surface and an imaging, diffraction, or spectroscopic signal is measured as a function of probe position, is an extremely powerful tool for materials characterization. The widespread adoption of hardware aberration correction, direct electron detectors, and computational imaging methods have made STEM one of the most important tools for atomic-resolution materials science. Many of these imaging methods rely on accurate imaging and diffraction simulations in order to interpret experimental results. However, STEM simulations have traditionally required large calculation times, as modeling the electron scattering requires a separate simulation for each of the typically millions of probe positions. We have created the Prismatic simulation code for fast simulation of STEM experiments with support for multi-CPU and multi-GPU (graphics processing unit) systems, using both the conventional multislice and our recently-introduced PRISM method. In this paper, we introduce Prismatic version 2.0, which adds many new algorithmic improvements, an updated graphical user interface (GUI), post-processing of simulation data, and additional operating modes such as plane-wave TEM. We review various aspects of the simulation methods and codes in detail and provide various simulation examples. Prismatic 2.0 is freely available both as an open-source package that can be run using a C++ or Python command line interface, or GUI, as well within a Docker container environment.
Oestrogen Activates the MAP3K1 Cascade and beta-Catenin to Promote Granulosa-like Cell Fate in a Human Testis-Derived Cell Line
Sex determination triggers the differentiation of the bi-potential gonad into either an ovary or testis. In non-mammalian vertebrates, the presence or absence of oestrogen dictates gonad differentiation, while in mammals, this mechanism has been supplanted by the testis-determining gene SRY. Exogenous oestrogen can override this genetic trigger to shift somatic cell fate in the gonad towards ovarian developmental pathways by limiting the bioavailability of the key testis factor SOX9 within somatic cells. Our previous work has implicated the MAPK pathway in mediating the rapid cellular response to oestrogen. We performed proteomic and phosphoproteomic analyses to investigate the precise mechanism through which oestrogen impacts these pathways to activate β-catenin-a factor essential for ovarian development. We show that oestrogen can activate β-catenin within 30 min, concomitant with the cytoplasmic retention of SOX9. This occurs through changes to the MAP3K1 cascade, suggesting this pathway is a mechanism through which oestrogen influences gonad somatic cell fate. We demonstrate that oestrogen can promote the shift from SOX9 pro-testis activity to β-catenin pro-ovary activity through activation of MAP3K1. Our findings define a previously unknown mechanism through which oestrogen can promote a switch in gonad somatic cell fate and provided novel insights into the impacts of exogenous oestrogen exposure on the testis.
Design of proteasome inhibitors with oral efficacy in vivo against Plasmodium falciparum and selectivity over the human proteasome.
(Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021-09-28)
The Plasmodium falciparum proteasome is a potential antimalarial drug target. We have identified a series of amino-amide boronates that are potent and specific inhibitors of the P. falciparum 20S proteasome (Pf20S) β5 active site and that exhibit fast-acting antimalarial activity. They selectively inhibit the growth of P. falciparum compared with a human cell line and exhibit high potency against field isolates of P. falciparum and Plasmodium vivax They have a low propensity for development of resistance and possess liver stage and transmission-blocking activity. Exemplar compounds, MPI-5 and MPI-13, show potent activity against P. falciparum infections in a SCID mouse model with an oral dosing regimen that is well tolerated. We show that MPI-5 binds more strongly to Pf20S than to human constitutive 20S (Hs20Sc). Comparison of the cryo-electron microscopy (EM) structures of Pf20S and Hs20Sc in complex with MPI-5 and Pf20S in complex with the clinically used anti-cancer agent, bortezomib, reveal differences in binding modes that help to explain the selectivity. Together, this work provides insights into the 20S proteasome in P. falciparum, underpinning the design of potent and selective antimalarial proteasome inhibitors.
Occupational Allergic Sensitization Among Workers Processing King Crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) and Edible Crab (Cancer pagurus) in Norway and Identification of Novel Putative Allergenic Proteins
(Frontiers Media SA, 2021-08-23)
Introduction: Asthma and allergy occur frequently among seafood processing workers, with the highest prevalence seen in the crustacean processing industry. In this study we established for the first time the prevalence of allergic sensitization in the Norwegian king- and edible crab processing industry and characterized the IgE-reactive proteins. Materials and Methods: Two populations of crab processing workers participated; 119 king crab and 65 edible crab workers. The investigation included information on work tasks and health through a detailed questionnaire. Allergic sensitization was investigated by crab-specific IgE quantification and skin prick tests (SPT) to four in-house prepared crab extracts; raw meat, cooked meat, raw intestines and raw shell. Allergen-specific IgE binding patterns were analyzed by IgE immunoblotting to the four allergen extracts using worker serum samples. Total proteins in crab SPT extracts and immunoblot-based IgE binding proteins were identified by mass spectrometric analysis. Results: Positive SPTs were established in 17.5% of king- and 18.1% of edible crab workers, while elevated IgE to crab were demonstrated in 8.9% of king- and 12.2% of edible crab processing workers. There was no significant difference between the king and edible crab workers with respect to self-reported respiratory symptoms, elevated specific IgE to crab or SPT results. Individual workers exhibited differential IgE binding patterns to different crab extracts, with most frequent binding to tropomyosin and arginine kinase and two novel IgE binding proteins, hemocyanin and enolase, identified as king- and edible crab allergens. Conclusions: Occupational exposure to king- and edible crabs may frequently cause IgE mediated allergic sensitization. Future investigations addressing the diagnostic value of crab allergens including tropomyosin and arginine kinase and the less well-known IgE-binding proteins hemocyanin and enolase in a component-resolved diagnostic approach to crab allergy should be encouraged.
Characterisation of putative lactate synthetic pathways of Coxiella burnetii
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2021-01-01)
The zoonotic pathogen Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of the human disease Q fever, is an ever-present danger to global public health. Investigating novel metabolic pathways necessary for C. burnetii to replicate within its unusual intracellular niche may identify new therapeutic targets. Recent studies employing stable isotope labelling established the ability of C. burnetii to synthesize lactate, despite the absence of an annotated synthetic pathway on its genome. A noncanonical lactate synthesis pathway could provide a novel anti-Coxiella target if it is essential for C. burnetii pathogenesis. In this study, two C. burnetii proteins, CBU1241 and CBU0823, were chosen for analysis based on their similarities to known lactate synthesizing enzymes. Recombinant GST-CBU1241, a putative malate dehydrogenase (MDH), did not produce measurable lactate in in vitro lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity assays and was confirmed to function as an MDH. Recombinant 6xHis-CBU0823, a putative NAD+-dependent malic enzyme, was shown to have both malic enzyme activity and MDH activity, however, did not produce measurable lactate in either LDH or malolactic enzyme activity assays in vitro. To examine potential lactate production by CBU0823 more directly, [13C]glucose labelling experiments compared label enrichment within metabolic pathways of a cbu0823 transposon mutant and the parent strain. No difference in lactate production was observed, but the loss of CBU0823 significantly reduced 13C-incorporation into glycolytic and TCA cycle intermediates. This disruption to central carbon metabolism did not have any apparent impact on intracellular replication within THP-1 cells. This research provides new information about the mechanism of lactate biosynthesis within C. burnetii, demonstrating that CBU1241 is not multifunctional, at least in vitro, and that CBU0823 also does not synthesize lactate. Although critical for normal central carbon metabolism of C. burnetii, loss of CBU0823 did not significantly impair replication of the bacterium inside cells.
Oral administration of bovine milk-derived extracellular vesicles induces senescence in the primary tumor but accelerates cancer metastasis
(NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-06-24)
The concept that extracellular vesicles (EVs) from the diet can be absorbed by the intestinal tract of the consuming organism, be bioavailable in various organs, and in-turn exert phenotypic changes is highly debatable. Here, we isolate EVs from both raw and commercial bovine milk and characterize them by electron microscopy, nanoparticle tracking analysis, western blotting, quantitative proteomics and small RNA sequencing analysis. Orally administered bovine milk-derived EVs survive the harsh degrading conditions of the gut, in mice, and is subsequently detected in multiple organs. Milk-derived EVs orally administered to mice implanted with colorectal and breast cancer cells reduce the primary tumor burden. Intriguingly, despite the reduction in primary tumor growth, milk-derived EVs accelerate metastasis in breast and pancreatic cancer mouse models. Proteomic and biochemical analysis reveal the induction of senescence and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in cancer cells upon treatment with milk-derived EVs. Timing of EV administration is critical as oral administration after resection of the primary tumor reverses the pro-metastatic effects of milk-derived EVs in breast cancer models. Taken together, our study provides context-based and opposing roles of milk-derived EVs as metastasis inducers and suppressors.
SdrA, an NADP(H)-regenerating enzyme, is crucial for Coxiella burnetii to resist oxidative stress and replicate intracellularly
Coxiella burnetii, the causative agent of the zoonotic disease Q fever, is a Gram-negative bacterium that replicates inside macrophages within a highly oxidative vacuole. Screening of a transposon mutant library suggested that sdrA, which encodes a putative short-chain dehydrogenase, is required for intracellular replication. Short-chain dehydrogenases are NADP(H)-dependent oxidoreductases, and SdrA contains a predicted NADP+ binding site, suggesting it may facilitate NADP(H) regeneration by C. burnetii, a key process for surviving oxidative stress. Purified recombinant 6×His-SdrA was able to convert NADP+ to NADP(H) in vitro. Mutation to alanine of a conserved glycine residue at position 12 within the predicted NADP binding site abolished significant enzymatic activity. Complementation of the sdrA mutant (sdrA::Tn) with plasmid-expressed SdrA restored intracellular replication to wild-type levels, but expressing enzymatically inactive G12A_SdrA did not. The sdrA::Tn mutant was more susceptible in vitro to oxidative stress, and treating infected host cells with L-ascorbate, an anti-oxidant, partially rescued the intracellular growth defect of sdrA::Tn. Finally, stable isotope labelling studies demonstrated a shift in flux through metabolic pathways in sdrA::Tn consistent with the presence of increased oxidative stress, and host cells infected with sdrA::Tn had elevated levels of reactive oxygen species compared with C. burnetii NMII.
Comparative metabolomics implicates threitol as a fungal signal supporting colonization of Armillaria luteobubalina on eucalypt roots
Armillaria root rot is a fungal disease that affects a wide range of trees and crops around the world. Despite being a widespread disease, little is known about the plant molecular responses towards the pathogenic fungi at the early phase of their interaction. With recent research highlighting the vital roles of metabolites in plant root-microbe interactions, we sought to explore the presymbiotic metabolite responses of Eucalyptus grandis seedlings towards Armillaria luteobuablina, a necrotrophic pathogen native to Australia. Using a metabolite profiling approach, we have identified threitol as one of the key metabolite responses in E. grandis root tips specific to A. luteobubalina that were not induced by three other species of soil-borne microbes of different lifestyle strategies (a mutualist, a commensalist, and a hemi-biotrophic pathogen). Using isotope labelling, threitol detected in the Armillaria-treated root tips was found to be largely derived from the fungal pathogen. Exogenous application of d-threitol promoted microbial colonization of E. grandis and triggered hormonal responses in root cells. Together, our results support a role of threitol as an important metabolite signal during eucalypt-Armillaria interaction prior to infection thus advancing our mechanistic understanding on the earliest stage of Armillaria disease development. Comparative metabolomics of eucalypt roots interacting with a range of fungal lifestyles identified threitol enrichment as a specific characteristic of Armillaria pathogenesis. Our findings suggest that threitol acts as one of the earliest fungal signals promoting Armillaria colonization of roots.
Stress signaling and cellular proliferation reverse the effects of mitochondrial mistranslation
Translation fidelity is crucial for prokaryotes and eukaryotic nuclear-encoded proteins; however, little is known about the role of mistranslation in mitochondria and its potential effects on metabolism. We generated yeast and mouse models with error-prone and hyper-accurate mitochondrial translation, and found that translation rate is more important than translational accuracy for cell function in mammals. Specifically, we found that mitochondrial mistranslation causes reduced overall mitochondrial translation and respiratory complex assembly rates. In mammals, this effect is compensated for by increased mitochondrial protein stability and upregulation of the citric acid cycle. Moreover, this induced mitochondrial stress signaling, which enables the recovery of mitochondrial translation via mitochondrial biogenesis, telomerase expression, and cell proliferation, and thereby normalizes metabolism. Conversely, we show that increased fidelity of mitochondrial translation reduces the rate of protein synthesis without eliciting a mitochondrial stress response. Consequently, the rate of translation cannot be recovered and this leads to dilated cardiomyopathy in mice. In summary, our findings reveal mammalian-specific signaling pathways that respond to changes in the fidelity of mitochondrial protein synthesis and affect metabolism.
Hydrolysis of homocysteine thiolactone results in the formation of Protein-Cys-S-S-homocysteinylation
An increased level of homocysteine, a reactive thiol amino acid, is associated with several complex disorders and is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. A majority (>80%) of circulating homocysteine is protein bound. Homocysteine exclusively binds to protein cysteine residues via thiol disulfide exchange reaction, the mechanism of which has been reported. In contrast, homocysteine thiolactone, the cyclic thioester of homocysteine, is believed to exclusively bind to the primary amine group of lysine residue leading to N-homocysteinylation of proteins and hence studies on binding of homocysteine thiolactone to proteins thus far have only focused on N-homocysteinylation. Although it is known that homocysteine thiolactone can hydrolyze to homocysteine at physiological pH, surprisingly the extent of S-homocysteinylation during the exposure of homocysteine thiolactone with proteins has never been looked into. In this study, we clearly show that the hydrolysis of homocysteine thiolactone is pH dependent, and at physiological pH, 1 mM homocysteine thiolactone is hydrolysed to ~0.71 mM homocysteine within 24 h. Using albumin, we also show that incubation of HTL with albumin leads to a greater proportion of S-homocysteinylation (0.41 mol/mol of albumin) than N-homocysteinylation (0.14 mol/mol of albumin). S-homocysteinylation at Cys34 of HSA on treatment with homocysteine thiolactone was confirmed using LC-MS. Further, contrary to earlier reports, our results indicate that there is no cross talk between the cysteine attached to Cys34 of albumin and homocysteine attached to lysine residues.
Variability of allergens in commercial fish extracts for skin prick testing
BACKGROUND: Commercial allergen extracts for allergy skin prick testing (SPT) are widely used for diagnosing fish allergy. However, there is currently no regulatory requirement for standardization of protein and allergen content, potentially impacting the diagnostic reliability of SPTs. We therefore sought to analyse commercial fish extracts for the presence and concentration of fish proteins and in vitro IgE reactivity using serum from fish-allergic patients. METHODS: Twenty-six commercial fish extracts from five different manufacturers were examined. The protein concentrations were determined, protein compositions analysed by mass spectrometry, followed by SDS-PAGE and subsequent immunoblotting with antibodies detecting 4 fish allergens (parvalbumin, tropomyosin, aldolase and collagen). IgE-reactive proteins were identified using serum from 16 children with confirmed IgE-mediated fish allergy, with focus on cod, tuna and salmon extracts. RESULTS: The total protein, allergen concentration and IgE reactivity of the commercial extracts varied over 10-fold between different manufacturers and fish species. The major fish allergen parvalbumin was not detected by immunoblotting in 6/26 extracts. In 7/12 extracts, five known fish allergens were detected by mass spectrometry. For cod and tuna, almost 70% of patients demonstrated the strongest IgE reactivity to collagen, tropomyosin, aldolase A or β-enolase but not parvalbumin. CONCLUSIONS: Commercial fish extracts often contain insufficient amounts of important allergens including parvalbumin and collagen, resulting in low IgE reactivity. A comprehensive proteomic approach for the evaluation of SPT extracts for their utility in allergy diagnostics is presented. There is an urgent need for standardized allergen extracts, which will improve the diagnosis and management of fish allergy.