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Journal of Biological Chemistry

Current research reports and chronological list of recent articles..




The international scientific Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) publishes papers based on original research that are judged to make a novel and important contribution to understanding the molecular and cellular basis of biological processes.

The publisher is the ASBM. The copyright and publishing rights of specialized products listed below are in this publishing house. This is also responsible for the content shown.

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Additional research articles see Current Chemistry Research Articles. Magazines with similar content (biological chemistry):

 - Biological Chemistry,



Journal of Biological Chemistry - Abstracts



ZBP1 promotes fungi-induced inflammasome activation and pyroptosis, apoptosis, and necroptosis (PANoptosis) [Microbiology]

Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus are dangerous fungal pathogens with high morbidity and mortality, particularly in immunocompromised patients. Innate immune-mediated programmed cell death (pyroptosis, apoptosis, necroptosis) is an integral part of host defense against pathogens. Inflammasomes, which are canonically formed upstream of pyroptosis, have been characterized as key mediators of fungal sensing and drivers of proinflammatory responses. However, the specific cell death pathways and key upstream sensors activated in the context of Candida and Aspergillus infections are unknown. Here, we report that C. albicans and A. fumigatus infection induced inflammatory programmed cell death in the form of pyroptosis, apoptosis, and necroptosis (PANoptosis). Further, we identified the innate immune sensor Z-DNA binding protein 1 (ZBP1) as the apical sensor of fungal infection responsible for activating the inflammasome/pyroptosis, apoptosis, and necroptosis. The Zα2 domain of ZBP1 was required to promote this inflammasome activation and PANoptosis. Overall, our results demonstrate that C. albicans and A. fumigatus induce PANoptosis and that ZBP1 plays a vital role in inflammasome activation and PANoptosis in response to fungal pathogens.
Datum: 25.12.2020


In crystallo screening for proline analog inhibitors of the proline cycle enzyme PYCR1 [Metabolism]

Pyrroline-5-carboxylate reductase 1 (PYCR1) catalyzes the biosynthetic half-reaction of the proline cycle by reducing Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C) to proline through the oxidation of NAD(P)H. Many cancers alter their proline metabolism by up-regulating the proline cycle and proline biosynthesis, and knockdowns of PYCR1 lead to decreased cell proliferation. Thus, evidence is growing for PYCR1 as a potential cancer therapy target. Inhibitors of cancer targets are useful as chemical probes for studying cancer mechanisms and starting compounds for drug discovery; however, there is a notable lack of validated inhibitors for PYCR1. To fill this gap, we performed a small-scale focused screen of proline analogs using X-ray crystallography. Five inhibitors of human PYCR1 were discovered: l-tetrahydro-2-furoic acid, cyclopentanecarboxylate, l-thiazolidine-4-carboxylate, l-thiazolidine-2-carboxylate, and N-formyl l-proline (NFLP). The most potent inhibitor was NFLP, which had a competitive (with P5C) inhibition constant of 100 μm. The structure of PYCR1 complexed with NFLP shows that inhibitor binding is accompanied by conformational changes in the active site, including the translation of an α-helix by 1 Å. These changes are unique to NFLP and enable additional hydrogen bonds with the enzyme. NFLP was also shown to phenocopy the PYCR1 knockdown in MCF10A H-RASV12 breast cancer cells by inhibiting de novo proline biosynthesis and impairing spheroidal growth. In summary, we generated the first validated chemical probe of PYCR1 and demonstrated proof-of-concept for screening proline analogs to discover inhibitors of the proline cycle.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Structure, mechanism, and regulation of mitochondrial DNA transcription initiation [Enzymology]

Mitochondria are specialized compartments that produce requisite ATP to fuel cellular functions and serve as centers of metabolite processing, cellular signaling, and apoptosis. To accomplish these roles, mitochondria rely on the genetic information in their small genome (mitochondrial DNA) and the nucleus. A growing appreciation for mitochondria's role in a myriad of human diseases, including inherited genetic disorders, degenerative diseases, inflammation, and cancer, has fueled the study of biochemical mechanisms that control mitochondrial function. The mitochondrial transcriptional machinery is different from nuclear machinery. The in vitro re-constituted transcriptional complexes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (yeast) and humans, aided with high-resolution structures and biochemical characterizations, have provided a deeper understanding of the mechanism and regulation of mitochondrial DNA transcription. In this review, we will discuss recent advances in the structure and mechanism of mitochondrial transcription initiation. We will follow up with recent discoveries and formative findings regarding the regulatory events that control mitochondrial DNA transcription, focusing on those involved in cross-talk between the mitochondria and nucleus.
Datum: 25.12.2020


[4Fe-4S] cluster trafficking mediated by Arabidopsis mitochondrial ISCA and NFU proteins [Enzymology]

Numerous iron-sulfur (Fe-S) proteins with diverse functions are present in the matrix and respiratory chain complexes of mitochondria. Although [4Fe-4S] clusters are the most common type of Fe-S cluster in mitochondria, the molecular mechanism of [4Fe-4S] cluster assembly and insertion into target proteins by the mitochondrial iron-sulfur cluster (ISC) maturation system is not well-understood. Here we report a detailed characterization of two late-acting Fe-S cluster-carrier proteins from Arabidopsis thaliana, NFU4 and NFU5. Yeast two-hybrid and bimolecular fluorescence complementation studies demonstrated interaction of both the NFU4 and NFU5 proteins with the ISCA class of Fe-S carrier proteins. Recombinant NFU4 and NFU5 were purified as apo-proteins after expression in Escherichia coli. In vitro Fe-S cluster reconstitution led to the insertion of one [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster per homodimer as determined by UV-visible absorption/CD, resonance Raman and EPR spectroscopy, and analytical studies. Cluster transfer reactions, monitored by UV-visible absorption and CD spectroscopy, showed that a [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster-bound ISCA1a/2 heterodimer is effective in transferring [4Fe-4S]2+ clusters to both NFU4 and NFU5 with negligible back reaction. In addition, [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster-bound ISCA1a/2, NFU4, and NFU5 were all found to be effective [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster donors for maturation of the mitochondrial apo-aconitase 2 as assessed by enzyme activity measurements. The results demonstrate rapid, unidirectional, and quantitative [4Fe-4S]2+ cluster transfer from ISCA1a/2 to NFU4 or NFU5 that further delineates their respective positions in the plant ISC machinery and their contributions to the maturation of client [4Fe-4S] cluster-containing proteins.
Datum: 25.12.2020


PTPN2 regulates the activation of KRAS and plays a critical role in proliferation and survival of KRAS-driven cancer cells [Signal Transduction]

RAS genes are the most commonly mutated in human cancers and play critical roles in tumor initiation, progression, and drug resistance. Identification of targets that block RAS signaling is pivotal to develop therapies for RAS-related cancer. As RAS translocation to the plasma membrane (PM) is essential for its effective signal transduction, we devised a high-content screening assay to search for genes regulating KRAS membrane association. We found that the tyrosine phosphatase PTPN2 regulates the plasma membrane localization of KRAS. Knockdown of PTPN2 reduced the proliferation and promoted apoptosis in KRAS-dependent cancer cells, but not in KRAS-independent cells. Mechanistically, PTPN2 negatively regulates tyrosine phosphorylation of KRAS, which, in turn, affects the activation KRAS and its downstream signaling. Consistently, analysis of the TCGA database demonstrates that high expression of PTPN2 is significantly associated with poor prognosis of patients with KRAS-mutant pancreatic adenocarcinoma. These results indicate that PTPN2 is a key regulator of KRAS and may serve as a new target for therapy of KRAS-driven cancer.
Datum: 25.12.2020


FUS contributes to mTOR-dependent inhibition of translation [Signal Transduction]

The amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD)–linked RNA-binding protein called FUS (fused in sarcoma) has been implicated in several aspects of RNA regulation, including mRNA translation. The mechanism by which FUS affects the translation of polyribosomes has not been established. Here we show that FUS can associate with stalled polyribosomes and that this association is sensitive to mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) kinase activity. Specifically, we show that FUS association with polyribosomes is increased by Torin1 treatment or when cells are cultured in nutrient-deficient media, but not when cells are treated with rapamycin, the allosteric inhibitor of mTORC1. Moreover, we report that FUS is necessary for efficient stalling of translation because deficient cells are refractory to the inhibition of mTOR-dependent signaling by Torin1. We also show that ALS-linked FUS mutants R521G and P525L associate abundantly with polyribosomes and decrease global protein synthesis. Importantly, the inhibitory effect on translation by FUS is impaired by mutations that reduce its RNA-binding affinity. These findings demonstrate that FUS is an important RNA-binding protein that mediates translational repression through mTOR-dependent signaling and that ALS-linked FUS mutants can cause a toxic gain of function in the cytoplasm by repressing the translation of mRNA at polyribosomes.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Development of a novel mammalian display system for selection of antibodies against membrane proteins [Immunology]

Reliable, specific polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies are important tools in research and medicine. However, the discovery of antibodies against their targets in their native forms is difficult. Here, we present a novel method for discovery of antibodies against membrane proteins in their native configuration in mammalian cells. The method involves the co-expression of an antibody library in a population of mammalian cells that express the target polypeptide within a natural membrane environment on the cell surface. Cells that secrete a single-chain fragment variable (scFv) that binds to the target membrane protein thereby become self-labeled, enabling enrichment and isolation by magnetic sorting and FRET-based flow sorting. Library sizes of up to 109 variants can be screened, thus allowing campaigns of naïve scFv libraries to be selected against membrane protein antigens in a Chinese hamster ovary cell system. We validate this method by screening a synthetic naïve human scFv library against Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing the oncogenic target epithelial cell adhesion molecule and identify a panel of three novel binders to this membrane protein, one with a dissociation constant (KD) as low as 0.8 nm. We further demonstrate that the identified antibodies have utility for killing epithelial cell adhesion molecule–positive cells when used as a targeting domain on chimeric antigen receptor T cells. Thus, we provide a new tool for identifying novel antibodies that act against membrane proteins, which could catalyze the discovery of new candidates for antibody-based therapies.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Molecular architecture and domain arrangement of the placental malaria protein VAR2CSA suggests a model for carbohydrate binding [Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices]

VAR2CSA is the placental-malaria–specific member of the antigenically variant Plasmodium falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) family. It is expressed on the surface of Plasmodium falciparum-infected host red blood cells and binds to specific chondroitin-4-sulfate chains of the placental proteoglycan receptor. The functional ∼310 kDa ectodomain of VAR2CSA is a multidomain protein that requires a minimum 12-mer chondroitin-4-sulfate molecule for specific, high affinity receptor binding. However, it is not known how the individual domains are organized and interact to create the receptor-binding surface, limiting efforts to exploit its potential as an effective vaccine or drug target. Using small angle X-ray scattering and single particle reconstruction from negative-stained electron micrographs of the ectodomain and multidomain constructs, we have determined the structural architecture of VAR2CSA. The relative locations of the domains creates two distinct pores that can each accommodate the 12-mer of chondroitin-4-sulfate, suggesting a model for receptor binding. This model has important implications for understanding cytoadherence of infected red blood cells and potentially provides a starting point for developing novel strategies to prevent and/or treat placental malaria.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Neuroligin-2 dependent conformational activation of collybistin reconstituted in supported hybrid membranes [Membrane Biology]

The assembly of the postsynaptic transmitter sensing machinery at inhibitory nerve cell synapses requires the intimate interplay between cell adhesion proteins, scaffold and adaptor proteins, and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) or glycine receptors. We developed an in vitro membrane system to reconstitute this process, to identify the essential protein components, and to define their mechanism of action, with a specific focus on the mechanism by which the cytosolic C terminus of the synaptic cell adhesion protein Neuroligin-2 alters the conformation of the adaptor protein Collybistin-2 and thereby controls Collybistin-2-interactions with phosphoinositides (PtdInsPs) in the plasma membrane. Supported hybrid membranes doped with different PtdInsPs and 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-{[N-(5-amino-1-carboxypentyl)iminodiacetic acid]succinyl} nickel salt (DGS-NTA(Ni)) to allow for the specific adsorption of the His6-tagged intracellular domain of Neuroligin-2 (His-cytNL2) were prepared on hydrophobically functionalized silicon dioxide substrates via vesicle spreading. Two different collybistin variants, the WT protein (CB2SH3) and a mutant that adopts an intrinsically 'open' and activated conformation (CB2SH3/W24A-E262A), were bound to supported membranes in the absence or presence of His-cytNL2. The corresponding binding data, obtained by reflectometric interference spectroscopy, show that the interaction of the C terminus of Neuroligin-2 with Collybistin-2 induces a conformational change in Collybistin-2 that promotes its interaction with distinct membrane PtdInsPs.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Ischemic stroke disrupts the endothelial glycocalyx through activation of proHPSE via acrolein exposure [Molecular Bases of Disease]

Infiltration of peripheral immune cells after blood-brain barrier dysfunction causes severe inflammation after a stroke. Although the endothelial glycocalyx, a network of membrane-bound glycoproteins and proteoglycans that covers the lumen of endothelial cells, functions as a barrier to circulating cells, the relationship between stroke severity and glycocalyx dysfunction remains unclear. In this study, glycosaminoglycans, a component of the endothelial glycocalyx, were studied in the context of ischemic stroke using a photochemically induced thrombosis mouse model. Decreased levels of heparan sulfate and chondroitin sulfate and increased activity of hyaluronidase 1 and heparanase (HPSE) were observed in ischemic brain tissues. HPSE expression in cerebral vessels increased after stroke onset and infarct volume greatly decreased after co-administration of N-acetylcysteine + glycosaminoglycan oligosaccharides as compared with N-acetylcysteine administration alone. These results suggest that the endothelial glycocalyx was injured after the onset of stroke. Interestingly, scission activity of proHPSE produced by immortalized endothelial cells and HEK293 cells transfected with hHPSE1 cDNA were activated by acrolein (ACR) exposure. We identified the ACR-modified amino acid residues of proHPSE using nano LC–MS/MS, suggesting that ACR modification of Lys139 (6-kDa linker), Lys107, and Lys161, located in the immediate vicinity of the 6-kDa linker, at least in part is attributed to the activation of proHPSE. Because proHPSE, but not HPSE, localizes outside cells by binding with heparan sulfate proteoglycans, ACR-modified proHPSE represents a promising target to protect the endothelial glycocalyx.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Ascertaining the biochemical function of an essential pectin methylesterase in the gut microbe Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron [Metabolism]

Pectins are a major dietary nutrient source for the human gut microbiota. The prominent gut microbe Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron was recently shown to encode the founding member (BT1017) of a new family of pectin methylesterases essential for the metabolism of the complex pectin rhamnogalacturonan-II (RG-II). However, biochemical and structural knowledge of this family is lacking. Here, we showed that BT1017 is critical for the metabolism of an RG-II–derived oligosaccharide ΔBT1017oligoB generated by a BT1017 deletion mutant (ΔBT1017) during growth on carbohydrate extract from apple juice. Structural analyses of ΔBT1017oligoB using a combination of enzymatic, mass spectrometric, and NMR approaches revealed that it is a bimethylated nonaoligosaccharide (GlcA-β1,4-(2-O-Me-Xyl-α1,3)-Fuc-α1,4-(GalA-β1,3)-Rha-α1,3-Api-β1,2-(Araf-α1,3)-(GalA-α1,4)-GalA) containing components of the RG-II backbone and its side chains. We showed that the catalytic module of BT1017 adopts an α/β-hydrolase fold, consisting of a central twisted 10-stranded β-sheet sandwiched by several α-helices. This constitutes a new fold for pectin methylesterases, which are predominantly right-handed β-helical proteins. Bioinformatic analyses revealed that the family is dominated by sequences from prominent genera of the human gut microbiota, including Bacteroides and Prevotella. Our re-sults not only highlight the critical role played by this family of enzymes in pectin metabolism but also provide new insights into the molecular basis of the adaptation of B. thetaiotaomicron to the human gut.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Withdrawal: MicroRNA-7 compromises p53-dependent apoptosis by controlling the expression of the chromatin remodeling factor SMARCD1 [Withdrawals/Retractions]

VOLUME 291 (2015) PAGES 1877–1889This article has been withdrawn by all the authors. The Journal pointed out that the p53 immunoblot from H1975 in Fig. 3F was reused in Fig. 4E (α-tubulin) and Fig. 5A (p53 from A549), representing different experimental conditions. There are duplicated immunoblots representing different experimental conditions in the last column of Fig. 4B (α-tubulin) and first column of Fig 5E. There is a duplicated FACS plot in Fig. 3G (H1975 scramble) and Fig. 4F (H1975 ctrl). There is a duplicated FACS plot in Fig. 5D (H1975 scramble) and Fig. 5F (ctrl). There are some duplicated immunoblots in Fig. 2A (A549 SMARDC1) and Fig. 4A (SMARDC1 column 1) as well as duplications with their respective α-tubulin loading controls. The authors state that the errors occurred during preparation of the figures and figure legends and state that all of the results reported in this article are valid. Through a full discussion, all authors agree on the decision to withdraw the paper.
Datum: 25.12.2020


GUCY2D mutations in retinal guanylyl cyclase 1 provide biochemical reasons for dominant cone-rod dystrophy but not for stationary night blindness [Cell Biology]

Mutations in the GUCY2D gene coding for the dimeric human retinal membrane guanylyl cyclase (RetGC) isozyme RetGC1 cause various forms of blindness, ranging from rod dysfunction to rod and cone degeneration. We tested how the mutations causing recessive congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB), recessive Leber's congenital amaurosis (LCA1), and dominant cone–rod dystrophy-6 (CORD6) affected RetGC1 activity and regulation by RetGC-activating proteins (GCAPs) and retinal degeneration-3 protein (RD3). CSNB mutations R666W, R761W, and L911F, as well as LCA1 mutations R768W and G982VfsX39, disabled RetGC1 activation by human GCAP1, -2, and -3. The R666W and R761W substitutions compromised binding of GCAP1 with RetGC1 in HEK293 cells. In contrast, G982VfsX39 and L911F RetGC1 retained the ability to bind GCAP1 in cyto but failed to effectively bind RD3. R768W RetGC1 did not bind either GCAP1 or RD3. The co-expression of GUCY2D allelic combinations linked to CSNB did not restore RetGC1 activity in vitro. The CORD6 mutation R838S in the RetGC1 dimerization domain strongly dominated the Ca2+ sensitivity of cyclase regulation by GCAP1 in RetGC1 heterodimer produced by co-expression of WT and the R838S subunits. It required higher Ca2+ concentrations to decelerate GCAP-activated RetGC1 heterodimer—6-fold higher than WT and 2-fold higher than the Ser838-harboring homodimer. The heterodimer was also more resistant than homodimers to inhibition by RD3. The observed biochemical changes can explain the dominant CORD6 blindness and recessive LCA1 blindness, both of which affect rods and cones, but they cannot explain the selective loss of rod function in recessive CSNB.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Transcription factor NF-{kappa}B promotes acute lung inȷury via microRNA-99b-mediated PRDM1 down-regulation [Developmental Biology]

Acute lung injury (ALI), is a rapidly progressing heterogenous pulmonary disorder that possesses a high risk of mortality. Accumulating evidence has implicated the activation of the p65 subunit of NF-κB [NF-κB(p65)] activation in the pathological process of ALI. microRNAs (miRNAs), a group of small RNA molecules, have emerged as major governors due to their post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in a wide array of pathological processes, including ALI. The dysregulation of miRNAs and NF-κB activation has been implicated in human diseases. In the current study, we set out to decipher the convergence of miR-99b and p65 NF-κB activation in ALI pathology. We measured the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, and TNFα) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid using ELISA. MH-S cells were cultured and their viability were detected with cell counting kit 8 (CCK8) assays. The results showed that miR-99b was up-regulated, while PRDM1 was down-regulated in a lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced murine model of ALI. Mechanistic investigations showed that NF-κB(p65) was enriched at the miR-99b promoter region, and further promoted its transcriptional activity. Furthermore, miR-99b targeted PRDM1 by binding to its 3'UTR, causing its down-regulation. This in-creased lung injury, as evidenced by increased wet/dry ratio of mouse lung, myeloperoxidase activity and pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion, and enhanced infiltration of inflammatory cells in lung tissues. Together, our findings indicate that NF-κB(p65) promotion of miR-99b can aggravate ALI in mice by down-regulating the expression of PRDM1.
Datum: 25.12.2020


A drug-resistant {beta}-lactamase variant changes the conformation of its active-site proton shuttle to alter substrate specificity and inhibitor potency [Microbiology]

Lys234 is one of the residues present in class A β-lactamases that is under selective pressure due to antibiotic use. Located adjacent to proton shuttle residue Ser130, it is suggested to play a role in proton transfer during catalysis of the antibiotics. The mechanism underpinning how substitutions in this position modulate inhibitor efficiency and substrate specificity leading to drug resistance is unclear. The K234R substitution identified in several inhibitor-resistant β-lactamase variants is associated with decreased potency of the inhibitor clavulanic acid, which is used in combination with amoxicillin to overcome β-lactamase–mediated antibiotic resistance. Here we show that for CTX-M-14 β-lactamase, whereas Lys234 is required for hydrolysis of cephalosporins such as cefotaxime, either lysine or arginine is sufficient for hydrolysis of ampicillin. Further, by determining the acylation and deacylation rates for cefotaxime hydrolysis, we show that both rates are fast, and neither is rate-limiting. The K234R substitution causes a 1500-fold decrease in the cefotaxime acylation rate but a 5-fold increase in kcat for ampicillin, suggesting that the K234R enzyme is a good penicillinase but a poor cephalosporinase due to slow acylation. Structural results suggest that the slow acylation by the K234R enzyme is due to a conformational change in Ser130, and this change also leads to decreased inhibition potency of clavulanic acid. Because other inhibitor resistance mutations also act through changes at Ser130 and such changes drastically reduce cephalosporin but not penicillin hydrolysis, we suggest that clavulanic acid paired with an oxyimino-cephalosporin rather than penicillin would impede the evolution of resistance.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Conserved biophysical features of the CaV2 presynaptic Ca2+ channel homologue from the early-diverging animal Trichoplax adhaerens [Membrane Biology]

The dominant role of CaV2 voltage-gated calcium channels for driving neurotransmitter release is broadly conserved. Given the overlapping functional properties of CaV2 and CaV1 channels, and less so CaV3 channels, it is unclear why there have not been major shifts toward dependence on other CaV channels for synaptic transmission. Here, we provide a structural and functional profile of the CaV2 channel cloned from the early-diverging animal Trichoplax adhaerens, which lacks a nervous system but possesses single gene homologues for CaV1–CaV3 channels. Remarkably, the highly divergent channel possesses similar features as human CaV2.1 and other CaV2 channels, including high voltage–activated currents that are larger in external Ba2+ than in Ca2+; voltage-dependent kinetics of activation, inactivation, and deactivation; and bimodal recovery from inactivation. Altogether, the functional profile of Trichoplax CaV2 suggests that the core features of presynaptic CaV2 channels were established early during animal evolution, after CaV1 and CaV2 channels emerged via proposed gene duplication from an ancestral CaV1/2 type channel. The Trichoplax channel was relatively insensitive to mammalian CaV2 channel blockers ω-agatoxin-IVA and ω-conotoxin-GVIA and to metal cation blockers Cd2+ and Ni2+. Also absent was the capacity for voltage-dependent G-protein inhibition by co-expressed Trichoplax Gβγ subunits, which nevertheless inhibited the human CaV2.1 channel, suggesting that this modulatory capacity evolved via changes in channel sequence/structure, and not G proteins. Last, the Trichoplax channel was immunolocalized in cells that express an endomorphin-like peptide implicated in cell signaling and locomotive behavior and other likely secretory cells, suggesting contributions to regulated exocytosis.
Datum: 25.12.2020


A combinatorial native MS and LC-MS/MS approach reveals high intrinsic phosphorylation of human Tau but minimal levels of other key modifications [Neurobiology]

Abnormal changes of neuronal Tau protein, such as phosphorylation and aggregation, are considered hallmarks of cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease. Abnormal phosphorylation is thought to precede aggregation and therefore to promote aggregation, but the nature and extent of phosphorylation remain ill-defined. Tau contains ∼85 potential phosphorylation sites, which can be phosphorylated by various kinases because the unfolded structure of Tau makes them accessible. However, methodological limitations (e.g. in MS of phosphopeptides, or antibodies against phosphoepitopes) led to conflicting results regarding the extent of Tau phosphorylation in cells. Here we present results from a new approach based on native MS of intact Tau expressed in eukaryotic cells (Sf9). The extent of phosphorylation is heterogeneous, up to ∼20 phosphates per molecule distributed over 51 sites. The medium phosphorylated fraction Pm showed overall occupancies of ∼8 Pi (± 5) with a bell-shaped distribution; the highly phosphorylated fraction Ph had 14 Pi (± 6). The distribution of sites was highly asymmetric (with 71% of all P-sites in the C-terminal half of Tau). All sites were on Ser or Thr residues, but none were on Tyr. Other known posttranslational modifications were near or below our detection limit (e.g. acetylation, ubiquitination). These findings suggest that normal cellular Tau shows a remarkably high extent of phosphorylation, whereas other modifications are nearly absent. This implies that abnormal phosphorylations at certain sites may not affect the extent of phosphorylation significantly and do not represent hyperphosphorylation. By implication, the pathological aggregation of Tau is not likely a consequence of high phosphorylation.
Datum: 25.12.2020


High affinity binding of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein enhances ACE2 carboxypeptidase activity [Molecular Bases of Disease]

The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has emerged to a pandemic and caused global public health crisis. Human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2(ACE2) was identified as the entry receptor for SARS-CoV-2. As a carboxypeptidase, ACE2 cleaves many biological substrates besides angiotensin II to control vasodilatation and vascular permeability. Given the nanomolar high affinity between ACE2 and SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, we investigated how this interaction would affect the enzymatic activity of ACE2. Surprisingly, SARS-CoV-2 trimeric spike protein increased ACE2 proteolytic activity ∼3-10 fold against model peptide substrates, such as caspase-1 substrate and Bradykinin-analog. The enhancement in ACE2 enzymatic function was mediated by the binding of SARS-CoV-2 spike RBD domain. These results highlighted the potential for SARS-CoV-2 infection to enhance ACE2 activity, which may be relevant to the cardiovascular symptoms associated with COVID-19.
Datum: 25.12.2020


The structure of a family 110 glycoside hydrolase provides insight into the hydrolysis of {alpha}-1,3-galactosidic linkages in {lambda}-carrageenan and blood group antigens [Enzymology]

α-Linked galactose is a common carbohydrate motif in nature that is processed by a variety of glycoside hydrolases from different families. Terminal Galα1–3Gal motifs are found as a defining feature of different blood group and tissue antigens, as well as the building block of the marine algal galactan λ-carrageenan. The blood group B antigen and linear α-Gal epitope can be processed by glycoside hydrolases in family GH110, whereas the presence of genes encoding GH110 enzymes in polysaccharide utilization loci from marine bacteria suggests a role in processing λ-carrageenan. However, the structure–function relationships underpinning the α-1,3-galactosidase activity within family GH110 remain unknown. Here we focus on a GH110 enzyme (PdGH110B) from the carrageenolytic marine bacterium Pseudoalteromonas distincta U2A. We showed that the enzyme was active on Galα1–3Gal but not the blood group B antigen. X-ray crystal structures in complex with galactose and unhydrolyzed Galα1–3Gal revealed the parallel β-helix fold of the enzyme and the structural basis of its inverting catalytic mechanism. Moreover, an examination of the active site reveals likely adaptations that allow accommodation of fucose in blood group B active GH110 enzymes or, in the case of PdGH110, accommodation of the sulfate groups found on λ-carrageenan. Overall, this work provides insight into the first member of a predominantly marine clade of GH110 enzymes while also illuminating the structural basis of α-1,3-galactoside processing by the family as a whole.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Solvent accessibility changes in a Na+-dependent C4-dicarboxylate transporter suggest differential substrate effects in a multistep mechanism [Membrane Biology]

The divalent anion sodium symporter (DASS) family (SLC13) plays critical roles in metabolic homeostasis, influencing many processes, including fatty acid synthesis, insulin resistance, and adiposity. DASS transporters catalyze the Na+-driven concentrative uptake of Krebs cycle intermediates and sulfate into cells; disrupting their function can protect against age-related metabolic diseases and can extend lifespan. An inward-facing crystal structure and an outward-facing model of a bacterial DASS family member, VcINDY from Vibrio cholerae, predict an elevator-like transport mechanism involving a large rigid body movement of the substrate-binding site. How substrate binding influences the conformational state of VcINDY is currently unknown. Here, we probe the interaction between substrate binding and protein conformation by monitoring substrate-induced solvent accessibility changes of broadly distributed positions in VcINDY using a site-specific alkylation strategy. Our findings reveal that accessibility to all positions tested is modulated by the presence of substrates, with the majority becoming less accessible in the presence of saturating concentrations of both Na+ and succinate. We also observe separable effects of Na+ and succinate binding at several positions suggesting distinct effects of the two substrates. Furthermore, accessibility changes to a solely succinate-sensitive position suggests that substrate binding is a low-affinity, ordered process. Mapping these accessibility changes onto the structures of VcINDY suggests that Na+ binding drives the transporter into an as-yet-unidentified conformational state, involving rearrangement of the substrate-binding site–associated re-entrant hairpin loops. These findings provide insight into the mechanism of VcINDY, which is currently the only structurally characterized representative of the entire DASS family.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Methylated PP2A stabilizes Gcn4 to enable a methionine-induced anabolic program [Metabolism]

Methionine, through S-adenosylmethionine, activates a multifaceted growth program in which ribosome biogenesis, carbon metabolism, and amino acid and nucleotide biosynthesis are induced. This growth program requires the activity of the Gcn4 transcription factor (called ATF4 in mammals), which facilitates the supply of metabolic precursors that are essential for anabolism. However, how Gcn4 itself is regulated in the presence of methionine is unknown. Here, we discover that Gcn4 protein levels are increased by methionine, despite conditions of high cell growth and translation (in which the roles of Gcn4 are not well-studied). We demonstrate that this mechanism of Gcn4 induction is independent of transcription, as well as the conventional Gcn2/eIF2α-mediated increased translation of Gcn4. Instead, when methionine is abundant, Gcn4 phosphorylation is decreased, which reduces its ubiquitination and therefore degradation. Gcn4 is dephosphorylated by the protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A); our data show that when methionine is abundant, the conserved methyltransferase Ppm1 methylates and alters the activity of the catalytic subunit of PP2A, shifting the balance of Gcn4 toward a dephosphorylated, stable state. The absence of Ppm1 or the loss of the PP2A methylation destabilizes Gcn4 even when methionine is abundant, leading to collapse of the Gcn4-dependent anabolic program. These findings reveal a novel, methionine-dependent signaling and regulatory axis. Here methionine directs the conserved methyltransferase Ppm1 via its target phosphatase PP2A to selectively stabilize Gcn4. Through this, cells conditionally modify a major phosphatase to stabilize a metabolic master regulator and drive anabolism.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Unique active-site and subsite features in the arabinogalactan-degrading GH43 exo-{beta}-1,3-galactanase from Phanerochaete chrysosporium [Enzymology]

Arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs) are plant proteoglycans with functions in growth and development. However, these functions are largely unexplored, mainly because of the complexity of the sugar moieties. These carbohydrate sequences are generally analyzed with the aid of glycoside hydrolases. The exo-β-1,3-galactanase is a glycoside hydrolase from the basidiomycete Phanerochaete chrysosporium (Pc1,3Gal43A), which specifically cleaves AGPs. However, its structure is not known in relation to its mechanism bypassing side chains. In this study, we solved the apo and liganded structures of Pc1,3Gal43A, which reveal a glycoside hydrolase family 43 subfamily 24 (GH43_sub24) catalytic domain together with a carbohydrate-binding module family 35 (CBM35) binding domain. GH43_sub24 is known to lack the catalytic base Asp conserved among other GH43 subfamilies. Our structure in combination with kinetic analyses reveals that the tautomerized imidic acid group of Gln263 serves as the catalytic base residue instead. Pc1,3Gal43A has three subsites that continue from the bottom of the catalytic pocket to the solvent. Subsite −1 contains a space that can accommodate the C-6 methylol of Gal, enabling the enzyme to bypass the β-1,6–linked galactan side chains of AGPs. Furthermore, the galactan-binding domain in CBM35 has a different ligand interaction mechanism from other sugar-binding CBM35s, including those that bind galactomannan. Specifically, we noted a Gly → Trp substitution, which affects pyranose stacking, and an Asp → Asn substitution in the binding pocket, which recognizes β-linked rather than α-linked Gal residues. These findings should facilitate further structural analysis of AGPs and may also be helpful in engineering designer enzymes for efficient biomass utilization.
Datum: 25.12.2020


A highly potent CD73 biparatopic antibody blocks organization of the enzyme active site through dual mechanisms [Methods and Resources]

The dimeric ectonucleotidase CD73 catalyzes the hydrolysis of AMP at the cell surface to form adenosine, a potent suppressor of the immune response. Blocking CD73 activity in the tumor microenvironment can have a beneficial effect on tumor eradication and is a promising approach for cancer therapy. Biparatopic antibodies binding different regions of CD73 may be a means to antagonize its enzymatic activity. A panel of biparatopic antibodies representing the pairwise combination of 11 parental monoclonal antibodies against CD73 was generated by Fab-arm exchange. Nine variants vastly exceeded the potency of their parental antibodies with ≥90% inhibition of activity and subnanomolar EC50 values. Pairing the Fabs of parents with nonoverlapping epitopes was both sufficient and necessary whereas monovalent antibodies were poor inhibitors. Some parental antibodies yielded potent biparatopics with multiple partners, one of which (TB19) producing the most potent. The structure of the TB19 Fab with CD73 reveals that it blocks alignment of the N- and C-terminal CD73 domains necessary for catalysis. A separate structure of CD73 with a Fab (TB38) which complements TB19 in a particularly potent biparatopic shows its binding to a nonoverlapping site on the CD73 N-terminal domain. Structural modeling demonstrates a TB19/TB38 biparatopic antibody would be unable to bind the CD73 dimer in a bivalent manner, implicating crosslinking of separate CD73 dimers in its mechanism of action. This ability of a biparatopic antibody to both crosslink CD73 dimers and fix them in an inactive conformation thus represents a highly effective mechanism for the inhibition of CD73 activity.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Ligand bias in receptor tyrosine kinase signaling [Signal Transduction]

Ligand bias is the ability of ligands to differentially activate certain receptor signaling responses compared with others. It reflects differences in the responses of a receptor to specific ligands and has implications for the development of highly specific therapeutics. Whereas ligand bias has been studied primarily for G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs), there are also reports of ligand bias for receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). However, the understanding of RTK ligand bias is lagging behind the knowledge of GPCR ligand bias. In this review, we highlight how protocols that were developed to study GPCR signaling can be used to identify and quantify RTK ligand bias. We also introduce an operational model that can provide insights into the biophysical basis of RTK activation and ligand bias. Finally, we discuss possible mechanisms underpinning RTK ligand bias. Thus, this review serves as a primer for researchers interested in investigating ligand bias in RTK signaling.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Nitro-fatty acids as activators of hSIRT6 deacetylase activity [Protein Structure and Folding]

Sirtuin 6, SIRT6, is critical for both glucose and lipid homeostasis and is involved in maintaining genomic stability under conditions of oxidative DNA damage such as those observed in age-related diseases. There is an intense search for modulators of SIRT6 activity, however, not many specific activators have been reported. Long acyl-chain fatty acids have been shown to increase the weak in vitro deacetylase activity of SIRT6 but this effect is modest at best. Herein we report that electrophilic nitro-fatty acids (nitro-oleic acid and nitro-conjugated linoleic acid) potently activate SIRT6. Binding of the nitro-fatty acid to the hydrophobic crevice of the SIRT6 active site exerted a moderate activation (2-fold at 20 μm), similar to that previously reported for non-nitrated fatty acids. However, covalent Michael adduct formation with Cys-18, a residue present at the N terminus of SIRT6 but absent from other isoforms, induced a conformational change that resulted in a much stronger activation (40-fold at 20 μm). Molecular modeling of the resulting Michael adduct suggested stabilization of the co-substrate and acyl-binding loops as a possible additional mechanism of SIRT6 activation by the nitro-fatty acid. Importantly, treatment of cells with nitro-oleic acid promoted H3K9 deacetylation, whereas oleic acid had no effect. Altogether, our results show that nitrated fatty acids can be considered a valuable tool for specific SIRT6 activation, and that SIRT6 should be considered as a molecular target for in vivo actions of these anti-inflammatory nitro-lipids.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Differential compartmental processing and phosphorylation of pathogenic human tau and native mouse tau in the line 66 model of frontotemporal dementia [Molecular Bases of Disease]

Synapse loss is associated with motor and cognitive decline in multiple neurodegenerative disorders, and the cellular redistribution of tau is related to synaptic impairment in tauopathies, such as Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal dementia. Here, we examined the cellular distribution of tau protein species in human tau overexpressing line 66 mice, a transgenic mouse model akin to genetic variants of frontotemporal dementia. Line 66 mice express intracellular tau aggregates in multiple brain regions and exhibit sensorimotor and motor learning deficiencies. Using a series of anti-tau antibodies, we observed, histologically, that nonphosphorylated transgenic human tau is enriched in synapses, whereas phosphorylated tau accumulates predominantly in cell bodies and axons. Subcellular fractionation confirmed that human tau is highly enriched in insoluble cytosolic and synaptosomal fractions, whereas endogenous mouse tau is virtually absent from synapses. Cytosolic tau was resistant to solubilization with urea and Triton X-100, indicating the formation of larger tau aggregates. By contrast, synaptic tau was partially soluble after Triton X-100 treatment and most likely represents aggregates of smaller size. MS corroborated that synaptosomal tau is nonphosphorylated. Tau enriched in the synapse of line 66 mice, therefore, appears to be in an oligomeric and nonphosphorylated state, and one that could have a direct impact on cognitive function.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Therapeutic targeting of pancreatic cancer stem cells by dexamethasone modulation of the MKP-1-JNK axis [Cell Biology]

Postoperative recurrence from microscopic residual disease must be prevented to cure intractable cancers, including pancreatic cancer. Key to this goal is the elimination of cancer stem cells (CSCs) endowed with tumor-initiating capacity and drug resistance. However, current therapeutic strategies capable of accomplishing this are insufficient. Using in vitro models of CSCs and in vivo models of tumor initiation in which CSCs give rise to xenograft tumors, we show that dexamethasone induces expression of MKP-1, a MAPK phosphatase, via glucocorticoid receptor activation, thereby inactivating JNK, which is required for self-renewal and tumor initiation by pancreatic CSCs as well as for their expression of survivin, an anti-apoptotic protein implicated in multidrug resistance. We also demonstrate that systemic administration of clinically relevant doses of dexamethasone together with gemcitabine prevents tumor formation by CSCs in a pancreatic cancer xenograft model. Our study thus provides preclinical evidence for the efficacy of dexamethasone as an adjuvant therapy to prevent postoperative recurrence in patients with pancreatic cancer.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Seeded fibrils of the germline variant of human {lambda}-III immunoglobulin light chain FOR005 have a similar core as patient fibrils with reduced stability [Molecular Biophysics]

Systemic antibody light chains (AL) amyloidosis is characterized by deposition of amyloid fibrils derived from a particular antibody light chain. Cardiac involvement is a major risk factor for mortality. Using MAS solid-state NMR, we studied the fibril structure of a recombinant light chain fragment corresponding to the fibril protein from patient FOR005, together with fibrils formed by protein sequence variants that are derived from the closest germline (GL) sequence. Both analyzed fibril structures were seeded with ex-vivo amyloid fibrils purified from the explanted heart of this patient. We find that residues 11-42 and 69-102 adopt β-sheet conformation in patient protein fibrils. We identify arginine-49 as a key residue that forms a salt bridge to aspartate-25 in the patient protein fibril structure. In the germline sequence, this residue is replaced by a glycine. Fibrils from the GL protein and from the patient protein harboring the single point mutation R49G can be both heterologously seeded using patient ex-vivo fibrils. Seeded R49G fibrils show an increased heterogeneity in the C-terminal residues 80-102, which is reflected by the disappearance of all resonances of these residues. By contrast, residues 11-42 and 69-77, which are visible in the MAS solid-state NMR spectra, show 13Cα chemical shifts that are highly like patient fibrils. The mutation R49G thus induces a conformational heterogeneity at the C terminus in the fibril state, whereas the overall fibril topology is retained. These findings imply that patient mutations in FOR005 can stabilize the fibril structure.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Correction: Transcriptional factors Smad1 and Smad9 act redundantly to mediate zebrafish ventral specification downstream of Smad5. [Additions and Corrections]

VOLUME 289 (2014) PAGES 6604–6618In Fig. 4G, in the foxi1 panel, the images in Fig. 4G, i and l, corresponding to “smad1 MO” and “smad5 MO + samd1/9 mRNA” samples, respectively, were inadvertently reused during figure preparation. This error has now been corrected using images pertaining to each treatment and sample. This correction does not affect the results or conclusions of the work.jbc;295/52/18650/F4F1F4Figure 4G.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Phosphorylation of SMURF2 by ATM exerts a negative feedback control of DNA damage response [DNA and Chromosomes]

Timely repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) is essential to maintaining genomic integrity and preventing illnesses induced by genetic abnormalities. We previously demonstrated that the E3 ubiquitin ligase SMURF2 plays a critical tumor suppressing role via its interaction with RNF20 (ring finger protein 20) in shaping chromatin landscape and preserving genomic stability. However, the mechanism that mobilizes SMURF2 in response to DNA damage remains unclear. Using biochemical approaches and MS analysis, we show that upon the onset of the DNA-damage response, SMURF2 becomes phosphorylated at Ser384 by ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) serine/threonine kinase, and this phosphorylation is required for its interaction with RNF20. We demonstrate that a SMURF2 mutant with an S384A substitution has reduced capacity to ubiquitinate RNF20 while promoting Smad3 ubiquitination unabatedly. More importantly, mouse embryonic fibroblasts expressing the SMURF2 S384A mutant show a weakened ability to sustain the DSB response compared with those expressing WT SMURF2 following etoposide treatment. These data indicate that SMURF2-mediated RNF20 ubiquitination and degradation controlled by ataxia telangiectasia mutated–induced phosphorylation at Ser384 constitutes a negative feedback loop that regulates DSB repair.
Datum: 25.12.2020


The bacterial cell division protein fragment EFtsN binds to and activates the major peptidoglycan synthase PBP1b [Metabolism]

Peptidoglycan (PG) is an essential constituent of the bacterial cell wall. During cell division, the machinery responsible for PG synthesis localizes mid-cell, at the septum, under the control of a multiprotein complex called the divisome. In Escherichia coli, septal PG synthesis and cell constriction rely on the accumulation of FtsN at the division site. Interestingly, a short sequence of FtsN (Leu75–Gln93, known as EFtsN) was shown to be essential and sufficient for its functioning in vivo, but what exactly this sequence is doing remained unknown. Here, we show that EFtsN binds specifically to the major PG synthase PBP1b and is sufficient to stimulate its biosynthetic glycosyltransferase (GTase) activity. We also report the crystal structure of PBP1b in complex with EFtsN, which demonstrates that EFtsN binds at the junction between the GTase and UB2H domains of PBP1b. Interestingly, mutations to two residues (R141A/R397A) within the EFtsN-binding pocket reduced the activation of PBP1b by FtsN but not by the lipoprotein LpoB. This mutant was unable to rescue the ΔponB-ponAts strain, which lacks PBP1b and has a thermosensitive PBP1a, at nonpermissive temperature and induced a mild cell-chaining phenotype and cell lysis. Altogether, the results show that EFtsN interacts with PBP1b and that this interaction plays a role in the activation of its GTase activity by FtsN, which may contribute to the overall septal PG synthesis and regulation during cell division.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Determinants of replication protein A subunit interactions revealed using a phosphomimetic peptide [Molecular Biophysics]

Replication protein A (RPA) is a eukaryotic ssDNA-binding protein and contains three subunits: RPA70, RPA32, and RPA14. Phosphorylation of the N-terminal region of the RPA32 subunit plays an essential role in DNA metabolism in processes such as replication and damage response. Phosphorylated RPA32 (pRPA32) binds to RPA70 and possibly regulates the transient RPA70-Bloom syndrome helicase (BLM) interaction to inhibit DNA resection. However, the structural details and determinants of the phosphorylated RPA32–RPA70 interaction are still unknown. In this study, we provide molecular details of the interaction between RPA70 and a mimic of phosphorylated RPA32 (pmRPA32) using fluorescence polarization and NMR analysis. We show that the N-terminal domain of RPA70 (RPA70N) specifically participates in pmRPA32 binding, whereas the unphosphorylated RPA32 does not bind to RPA70N. Our NMR data revealed that RPA70N binds pmRPA32 using a basic cleft region. We also show that at least 6 negatively charged residues of pmRPA32 are required for RPA70N binding. By introducing alanine mutations into hydrophobic positions of pmRPA32, we found potential points of contact between RPA70N and the N-terminal half of pmRPA32. We used this information to guide docking simulations that suggest the orientation of pmRPA32 in complex with RPA70N. Our study demonstrates detailed features of the domain-domain interaction between RPA70 and RPA32 upon phosphorylation. This result provides insight into how phosphorylation tunes transient bindings between RPA and its partners in DNA resection.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Humanin selectively prevents the activation of pro-apoptotic protein BID by sequestering it into fibers [Protein Structure and Folding]

Members of the B-cell lymphoma (BCL-2) protein family regulate mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP), a phenomenon in which mitochondria become porous and release death-propagating complexes during the early stages of apoptosis. Pro-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins oligomerize at the mitochondrial outer membrane during MOMP, inducing pore formation. Of current interest are endogenous factors that can inhibit pro-apoptotic BCL-2 mitochondrial outer membrane translocation and oligomerization. A mitochondrial-derived peptide, Humanin (HN), was reported being expressed from an alternate ORF in the mitochondrial genome and inhibiting apoptosis through interactions with the pro-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins. Specifically, it is known to complex with BAX and BID. We recently reported the fibrillation of HN and BAX into β-sheets. Here, we detail the fibrillation between HN and BID. These fibers were characterized using several spectroscopic techniques, protease fragmentation with mass analysis, and EM. Enhanced fibrillation rates were detected with rising temperatures or pH values and the presence of a detergent. BID fibers are similar to those produced using BAX; however, the structures differ in final conformations of the BCL-2 proteins. BID fibers display both types of secondary structure in the fiber, whereas BAX was converted entirely to β-sheets. The data show that two distinct segments of BID are incorporated into the fiber structure, whereas other portions of BID remain solvent-exposed and retain helical structure. Similar analyses show that anti-apoptotic BCL-xL does not form fibers with humanin. These results support a general mechanism of sequestration of pro-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins into fibers by HN to inhibit MOMP.
Datum: 25.12.2020


MMP activation-associated aminopeptidase N reveals a bivalent 14-3-3 binding motif [Protein Structure and Folding]

Aminopeptidase N (APN, CD13) is a transmembrane ectopeptidase involved in many crucial cellular functions. Besides its role as a peptidase, APN also mediates signal transduction and is involved in the activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). MMPs function in tissue remodeling within the extracellular space and are therefore involved in many human diseases, such as fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, tumor angiogenesis, and metastasis, as well as viral infections. However, the exact mechanism that leads to APN-driven MMP activation is unclear. It was previously shown that extracellular 14-3-3 adapter proteins bind to APN and thereby induce the transcription of MMPs. As a first step, we sought to identify potential 14-3-3–binding sites in the APN sequence. We constructed a set of phosphorylated peptides derived from APN to probe for interactions. We identified and characterized a canonical 14-3-3–binding site (site 1) within the flexible, structurally unresolved N-terminal APN region using direct binding fluorescence polarization assays and thermodynamic analysis. In addition, we identified a secondary, noncanonical binding site (site 2), which enhances the binding affinity in combination with site 1 by many orders of magnitude. Finally, we solved crystal structures of 14-3-3σ bound to mono- and bis-phosphorylated APN-derived peptides, which revealed atomic details of the binding mode of mono- and bivalent 14-3-3 interactions. Therefore, our findings shed some light on the first steps of APN-mediated MMP activation and open the field for further investigation of this important signaling pathway.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Serum lipoprotein-derived fatty acids regulate hypoxia-inducible factor [Metabolism]

Oxygen regulates hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) transcription factors to control cell metabolism, erythrogenesis, and angiogenesis. Whereas much has been elucidated about how oxygen regulates HIF, whether lipids affect HIF activity is un-known. Here, using cultured cells and two animal models, we demonstrate that lipoprotein-derived fatty acids are an independent regulator of HIF. Decreasing extracellular lipid supply inhibited HIF prolyl hydroxylation, leading to accumulation of the HIFα subunit of these heterodimeric transcription factors comparable with hypoxia with activation of downstream target genes. The addition of fatty acids to culture medium suppressed this signal, which required an intact mitochondrial respiratory chain. Mechanistically, fatty acids and oxygen are distinct signals integrated to control HIF activity. Finally, we observed lipid signaling to HIF and changes in target gene expression in developing zebrafish and adult mice, and this pathway operates in cancer cells from a range of tissues. This study identifies fatty acids as a physiological modulator of HIF, defining a mechanism for lipoprotein regulation that functions in parallel to oxygen.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Exofacial membrane composition and lipid metabolism regulates plasma membrane P4-ATPase substrate specificity [Lipids]

The plasma membrane of a cell is characterized by an asymmetric distribution of lipid species across the exofacial and cytofacial aspects of the bilayer. Regulation of membrane asymmetry is a fundamental characteristic of membrane biology and is crucial for signal transduction, vesicle transport, and cell division. The type IV family of P-ATPases, or P4-ATPases, establishes membrane asymmetry by selection and transfer of a subset of membrane lipids from the lumenal or exofacial leaflet to the cytofacial aspect of the bilayer. It is unclear how P4-ATPases sort through the spectrum of membrane lipids to identify their desired substrate(s) and how the membrane environment modulates this activity. Therefore, we tested how the yeast plasma membrane P4-ATPase, Dnf2, responds to changes in membrane composition induced by perturbation of endogenous lipid biosynthetic pathways or exogenous application of lipid. The primary substrates of Dnf2 are glucosylceramide (GlcCer) and phosphatidylcholine (PC, or their lyso-lipid derivatives), and we find that these substrates compete with each other for transport. Acutely inhibiting sphingolipid synthesis using myriocin attenuates transport of exogenously applied GlcCer without perturbing PC transport. Deletion of genes controlling later steps of glycosphingolipid production also perturb GlcCer transport to a greater extent than PC transport. In contrast, perturbation of ergosterol biosynthesis reduces PC and GlcCer transport equivalently. Surprisingly, application of lipids that are poor transport substrates differentially affects PC and GlcCer transport by Dnf2, thus altering substrate preference. Our data indicate that Dnf2 exhibits exquisite sensitivity to the membrane composition, thus providing feedback onto the function of the P4-ATPases.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Quantitative phosphoproteomic analysis reveals involvement of PD-1 in multiple T cell functions [Signal Transduction]

Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) is a critical inhibitory receptor that limits excessive T cell responses. Cancer cells have evolved to evade these immunoregulatory mechanisms by upregulating PD-1 ligands and preventing T cell–mediated anti-tumor responses. Consequently, therapeutic blockade of PD-1 enhances T cell–mediated anti-tumor immunity, but many patients do not respond and a significant proportion develop inflammatory toxicities. To improve anti-cancer therapy, it is critical to reveal the mechanisms by which PD-1 regulates T cell responses. We performed global quantitative phosphoproteomic interrogation of PD-1 signaling in T cells. By complementing our analysis with functional validation assays, we show that PD-1 targets tyrosine phosphosites that mediate proximal T cell receptor signaling, cytoskeletal organization, and immune synapse formation. PD-1 ligation also led to differential phosphorylation of serine and threonine sites within proteins regulating T cell activation, gene expression, and protein translation. In silico predictions revealed that kinase/substrate relationships engaged downstream of PD-1 ligation. These insights uncover the phosphoproteomic landscape of PD-1–triggered pathways and reveal novel PD-1 substrates that modulate diverse T cell functions and may serve as future therapeutic targets. These data are a useful resource in the design of future PD-1–targeting therapeutic approaches.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Inhibition of oxidative metabolism by nitric oxide restricts EMCV replication selectively in pancreatic beta-cells [Enzymology]

Environmental factors, such as viral infection, are proposed to play a role in the initiation of autoimmune diabetes. In response to encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) infection, resident islet macrophages release the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β, to levels that are sufficient to stimulate inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression and production of micromolar levels of the free radical nitric oxide in neighboring β-cells. We have recently shown that nitric oxide inhibits EMCV replication and EMCV-mediated β-cell lysis and that this protection is associated with an inhibition of mitochondrial oxidative metabolism. Here we show that the protective actions of nitric oxide against EMCV infection are selective for β-cells and associated with the metabolic coupling of glycolysis and mitochondrial oxidation that is necessary for insulin secretion. Inhibitors of mitochondrial respiration attenuate EMCV replication in β-cells, and this inhibition is associated with a decrease in ATP levels. In mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), inhibition of mitochondrial metabolism does not modify EMCV replication or decrease ATP levels. Like most cell types, MEFs have the capacity to uncouple the glycolytic utilization of glucose from mitochondrial respiration, allowing for the maintenance of ATP levels under conditions of impaired mitochondrial respiration. It is only when MEFs are forced to use mitochondrial oxidative metabolism for ATP generation that mitochondrial inhibitors attenuate viral replication. In a β-cell selective manner, these findings indicate that nitric oxide targets the same metabolic pathways necessary for glucose stimulated insulin secretion for protection from viral lysis.
Datum: 25.12.2020


C-tag TNF: a reporter system to study TNF shedding [Methods and Resources]

TNF is a highly pro-inflammatory cytokine that contributes not only to the regulation of immune responses but also to the development of severe inflammatory diseases. TNF is synthesized as a transmembrane protein, which is further matured via proteolytic cleavage by metalloproteases such as ADAM17, a process known as shedding. At present, TNF is mainly detected by measuring the precursor or the mature cytokine of bulk cell populations by techniques such as ELISA or immunoblotting. However, these methods do not provide information on the exact timing and extent of TNF cleavage at single-cell resolution and they do not allow the live visualization of shedding events. Here, we generated C-tag TNF as a genetically encoded reporter to study TNF shedding at the single-cell level. The functionality of the C-tag TNF reporter is based on the exposure of a cryptic epitope on the C terminus of the transmembrane portion of pro-TNF on cleavage. In both denatured and nondenatured samples, this epitope can be detected by a nanobody in a highly sensitive and specific manner only upon TNF shedding. As such, C-tag TNF can successfully be used for the detection of TNF cleavage in flow cytometry and live-cell imaging applications. We furthermore demonstrate its applicability in a forward genetic screen geared toward the identification of genetic regulators of TNF maturation. In summary, the C-tag TNF reporter can be employed to gain novel insights into the complex regulation of ADAM-dependent TNF shedding.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Molecular characterization of the RNA-protein complex directing -2/-1 programmed ribosomal frameshifting during arterivirus replicase expression [Protein Structure and Folding]

Programmed ribosomal frameshifting (PRF) is a mechanism used by arteriviruses like porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) to generate multiple proteins from overlapping reading frames within its RNA genome. PRRSV employs −1 PRF directed by RNA secondary and tertiary structures within its viral genome (canonical PRF), as well as a noncanonical −1 and −2 PRF that are stimulated by the interactions of PRRSV nonstructural protein 1β (nsp1β) and host protein poly(C)-binding protein (PCBP) 1 or 2 with the viral genome. Together, nsp1β and one of the PCBPs act as transactivators that bind a C-rich motif near the shift site to stimulate −1 and −2 PRF, thereby enabling the ribosome to generate two frameshift products that are implicated in viral immune evasion. How nsp1β and PCBP associate with the viral RNA genome remains unclear. Here, we describe the purification of the nsp1β:PCBP2:viral RNA complex on a scale sufficient for structural analysis using small-angle X-ray scattering and stochiometric analysis by analytical ultracentrifugation. The proteins associate with the RNA C-rich motif as a 1:1:1 complex. The monomeric form of nsp1β within the complex differs from previously reported homodimer identified by X-ray crystallography. Functional analysis of the complex via mutational analysis combined with RNA-binding assays and cell-based frameshifting reporter assays reveal a number of key residues within nsp1β and PCBP2 that are involved in complex formation and function. Our results suggest that nsp1β and PCBP2 both interact directly with viral RNA during formation of the complex to coordinate this unusual PRF mechanism.
Datum: 25.12.2020


A kinetic dissection of the fast and superprocessive kinesin-3 KIF1A reveals a predominant one-head-bound state during its chemomechanical cycle [Molecular Biophysics]

The kinesin-3 family contains the fastest and most processive motors of the three neuronal transport kinesin families, yet the sequence of states and rates of kinetic transitions that comprise the chemomechanical cycle and give rise to their unique properties are poorly understood. We used stopped-flow fluorescence spectroscopy and single-molecule motility assays to delineate the chemomechanical cycle of the kinesin-3, KIF1A. Our bacterially expressed KIF1A construct, dimerized via a kinesin-1 coiled-coil, exhibits fast velocity and superprocessivity behavior similar to WT KIF1A. We established that the KIF1A forward step is triggered by hydrolysis of ATP and not by ATP binding, meaning that KIF1A follows the same chemomechanical cycle as established for kinesin-1 and -2. The ATP-triggered half-site release rate of KIF1A was similar to the stepping rate, indicating that during stepping, rear-head detachment is an order of magnitude faster than in kinesin-1 and kinesin-2. Thus, KIF1A spends the majority of its hydrolysis cycle in a one-head-bound state. Both the ADP off-rate and the ATP on-rate at physiological ATP concentration were fast, eliminating these steps as possible rate-limiting transitions. Based on the measured run length and the relatively slow off-rate in ADP, we conclude that attachment of the tethered head is the rate-limiting transition in the KIF1A stepping cycle. Thus, KIF1A's activity can be explained by a fast rear-head detachment rate, a rate-limiting step of tethered-head attachment that follows ATP hydrolysis, and a relatively strong electrostatic interaction with the microtubule in the weakly bound post-hydrolysis state.
Datum: 25.12.2020


{alpha}-Synuclein facilitates endocytosis by elevating the steady-state levels of phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate [Membrane Biology]

α-Synuclein (α-Syn) is a protein implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD). It is an intrinsically disordered protein that binds acidic phospholipids. Growing evidence supports a role for α-Syn in membrane trafficking, including, mechanisms of endocytosis and exocytosis, although the exact role of α-Syn in these mechanisms is currently unclear. Here we investigate the associations of α-Syn with the acidic phosphoinositides (PIPs), phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P2) and phosphatidylinositol 3,4-bisphosphate (PI(3,4)P2). Our results show that α-Syn colocalizes with PIP2 and the phosphorylated active form of the clathrin adaptor protein 2 (AP2) at clathrin-coated pits. Using endocytosis of transferrin as an indicator for clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME), we find that α-Syn involvement in endocytosis is specifically mediated through PI(4,5)P2 levels on the plasma membrane. In accord with their effects on PI(4,5)P2 levels, the PD associated A30P, E46K, and A53T mutations in α-Syn further enhance CME in neuronal and nonneuronal cells. However, lysine to glutamic acid substitutions at the KTKEGV repeat domain of α-Syn, which interfere with phospholipid binding, are ineffective in enhancing CME. We further show that the rate of synaptic vesicle (SV) endocytosis is differentially affected by the α-Syn mutations and associates with their effects on PI(4,5)P2 levels, however, with the exception of the A30P mutation. This study provides evidence for a critical involvement of PIPs in α-Syn–mediated membrane trafficking.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Exploitation of dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) and p53 activation as therapeutic targets: A case study in polypharmacology [Computational Biology]

The tenovins are a frequently studied class of compounds capable of inhibiting sirtuin activity, which is thought to result in increased acetylation and protection of the tumor suppressor p53 from degradation. However, as we and other laboratories have shown previously, certain tenovins are also capable of inhibiting autophagic flux, demonstrating the ability of these compounds to engage with more than one target. In this study, we present two additional mechanisms by which tenovins are able to activate p53 and kill tumor cells in culture. These mechanisms are the inhibition of a key enzyme of the de novo pyrimidine synthesis pathway, dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH), and the blockage of uridine transport into cells. These findings hold a 3-fold significance: first, we demonstrate that tenovins, and perhaps other compounds that activate p53, may activate p53 by more than one mechanism; second, that work previously conducted with certain tenovins as SirT1 inhibitors should additionally be viewed through the lens of DHODH inhibition as this is a major contributor to the mechanism of action of the most widely used tenovins; and finally, that small changes in the structure of a small molecule can lead to a dramatic change in the target profile of the molecule even when the phenotypic readout remains static.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Tyrosine phosphorylation of the scaffold protein IQGAP1 in the MET pathway alters function [Signal Transduction]

IQGAP1 is a key scaffold protein that regulates numerous cellular processes and signaling pathways. Analogous to many other cellular proteins, IQGAP1 undergoes post-translational modifications, including phosphorylation. Nevertheless, very little is known about the specific sites of phosphorylation or the effects on IQGAP1 function. Here, using several approaches, including MS, site-directed mutagenesis, siRNA-mediated gene silencing, and chemical inhibitors, we identified the specific tyrosine residues that are phosphorylated on IQGAP1 and evaluated the effect on function. Tyr-172, Tyr-654, Tyr-855, and Tyr-1510 were phosphorylated on IQGAP1 when phosphotyrosine phosphatase activity was inhibited in cells. IQGAP1 was phosphorylated exclusively on Tyr-1510 under conditions with enhanced MET or c-Src signaling, including in human lung cancer cell lines. This phosphorylation was significantly reduced by chemical inhibitors of MET or c-Src or by siRNA-mediated knockdown of MET. To investigate the biological sequelae of phosphorylation, we generated a nonphosphorylatable IQGAP1 construct by replacing Tyr-1510 with alanine. The ability of hepatocyte growth factor, the ligand for MET, to promote AKT activation and cell migration was significantly greater when IQGAP1-null cells were reconstituted with IQGAP1 Y1510A than when cells were reconstituted with WT IQGAP1. Collectively, our data suggest that phosphorylation of Tyr-1510 of IQGAP1 alters cell function. Because increased MET signaling is implicated in the development and progression of several types of carcinoma, IQGAP1 may be a potential therapeutic target in selected malignancies.
Datum: 25.12.2020


The endosomal trafficking regulator LITAF controls the cardiac Nav1.5 channel via the ubiquitin ligase NEDD4-2 [Computational Biology]

The QT interval is a recording of cardiac electrical activity. Previous genome-wide association studies identified genetic variants that modify the QT interval upstream of LITAF (lipopolysaccharide-induced tumor necrosis factor-α factor), a protein encoding a regulator of endosomal trafficking. However, it was not clear how LITAF might impact cardiac excitation. We investigated the effect of LITAF on the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.5, which is critical for cardiac depolarization. We show that overexpressed LITAF resulted in a significant increase in the density of Nav1.5-generated voltage-gated sodium current INa and Nav1.5 surface protein levels in rabbit cardiomyocytes and in HEK cells stably expressing Nav1.5. Proximity ligation assays showed co-localization of endogenous LITAF and Nav1.5 in cardiomyocytes, whereas co-immunoprecipitations confirmed they are in the same complex when overexpressed in HEK cells. In vitro data suggest that LITAF interacts with the ubiquitin ligase NEDD4-2, a regulator of Nav1.5. LITAF overexpression down-regulated NEDD4-2 in cardiomyocytes and HEK cells. In HEK cells, LITAF increased ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of co-expressed NEDD4-2 and significantly blunted the negative effect of NEDD4-2 on INa. We conclude that LITAF controls cardiac excitability by promoting degradation of NEDD4-2, which is essential for removal of surface Nav1.5. LITAF-knockout zebrafish showed increased variation in and a nonsignificant 15% prolongation of action potential duration. Computer simulations using a rabbit-cardiomyocyte model demonstrated that changes in Ca2+ and Na+ homeostasis are responsible for the surprisingly modest action potential duration shortening. These computational data thus corroborate findings from several genome-wide association studies that associated LITAF with QT interval variation.
Datum: 25.12.2020


BMP-9 and LDL crosstalk regulates ALK-1 endocytosis and LDL transcytosis in endothelial cells [Signal Transduction]

Bone morphogenetic protein-9 (BMP-9) is a circulating cytokine that is known to play an essential role in the endothelial homeostasis and the binding of BMP-9 to the receptor activin-like kinase 1 (ALK-1) promotes endothelial cell quiescence. Previously, using an unbiased screen, we identified ALK-1 as a high-capacity receptor for low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in endothelial cells that mediates its transcytosis in a nondegradative manner. Here we examine the crosstalk between BMP-9 and LDL and how it influences their interactions with ALK-1. Treatment of endothelial cells with BMP-9 triggers the extensive endocytosis of ALK-1, and it is mediated by caveolin-1 (CAV-1) and dynamin-2 (DNM2) but not clathrin heavy chain. Knockdown of CAV-1 reduces BMP-9–mediated internalization of ALK-1, BMP-9–dependent signaling and gene expression. Similarly, treatment of endothelial cells with LDL reduces BMP-9–induced SMAD1/5 phosphorylation and gene expression and silencing of CAV-1 and DNM2 diminishes LDL-mediated ALK-1 internalization. Interestingly, BMP-9–mediated ALK-1 internalization strongly re-duces LDL transcytosis to levels seen with ALK-1 deficiency. Thus, BMP-9 levels can control cell surface levels of ALK-1, via CAV-1, to regulate both BMP-9 signaling and LDL transcytosis.
Datum: 25.12.2020


NSun2 promotes cell migration through methylating autotaxin mRNA [Cell Biology]

NSun2 is an RNA methyltransferase introducing 5-methylcytosine into tRNAs, mRNAs, and noncoding RNAs, thereby influencing the levels or function of these RNAs. Autotaxin (ATX) is a secreted glycoprotein and is recognized as a key factor in converting lysophosphatidylcholine into lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). The ATX-LPA axis exerts multiple biological effects in cell survival, migration, proliferation, and differentiation. Here, we show that NSun2 is involved in the regulation of cell migration through methylating ATX mRNA. In the human glioma cell line U87, knockdown of NSun2 decreased ATX protein levels, whereas overexpression of NSun2 elevated ATX protein levels. However, neither overexpression nor knockdown of NSun2 altered ATX mRNA levels. Further studies revealed that NSun2 methylated the 3′-UTR of ATX mRNA at cytosine 2756 in vitro and in vivo. Methylation by NSun2 enhanced ATX mRNA translation. In addition, NSun2-mediated 5-methylcytosine methylation promoted the export of ATX mRNA from nucleus to cytoplasm in an ALYREF-dependent manner. Knockdown of NSun2 suppressed the migration of U87 cells, which was rescued by the addition of LPA. In summary, we identify NSun2-mediated methylation of ATX mRNA as a novel mechanism in the regulation of ATX.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Distant coupling between RNA editing and alternative splicing of the osmosensitive cation channel Tmem63b [Cell Biology]

Post-transcriptional modifications of pre-mRNAs expand the diversity of proteomes in higher eukaryotes. In the brain, these modifications diversify the functional output of many critical neuronal signal molecules. In this study, we identified a brain-specific A-to-I RNA editing that changed glutamine to arginine (Q/R) at exon 20 and an alternative splicing of exon 4 in Tmem63b, which encodes a ubiquitously expressed osmosensitive cation channel. The channel isoforms lacking exon 4 occurred in ∼80% of Tmem63b mRNAs in the brain but were not detected in other tissues, suggesting a brain-specific splicing. We found that the Q/R editing was catalyzed by Adar2 (Adarb1) and required an editing site complementary sequence located in the proximal 5′ end of intron 20. Moreover, the Q/R editing was almost exclusively identified in the splicing isoform lacking exon 4, indicating a coupling between the editing and the splicing. Elimination of the Q/R editing in brain-specific Adar2 knockout mice did not affect the splicing efficiency of exon 4. Furthermore, transfection with the splicing isoform containing exon 4 suppressed the Q/R editing in primary cultured cerebellar granule neurons. Thus, our study revealed a coupling between an RNA editing and a distant alternative splicing in the Tmem63b pre-mRNA, in which the splicing plays a dominant role. Finally, physiological analysis showed that the splicing and the editing coordinately regulate Ca2+ permeability and osmosensitivity of channel proteins, which may contribute to their functions in the brain.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Inhibition of the SUV4-20 H1 histone methyltransferase increases frataxin expression in Friedreich's ataxia patient cells [Gene Regulation]

The molecular mechanisms of reduced frataxin (FXN) expression in Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) are linked to epigenetic modification of the FXN locus caused by the disease-associated GAA expansion. Here, we identify that SUV4-20 histone methyltransferases, specifically SUV4-20 H1, play an important role in the regulation of FXN expression and represent a novel therapeutic target. Using a human FXN–GAA–Luciferase repeat expansion genomic DNA reporter model of FRDA, we screened the Structural Genomics Consortium epigenetic probe collection. We found that pharmacological inhibition of the SUV4-20 methyltransferases by the tool compound A-196 increased the expression of FXN by ∼1.5-fold in the reporter cell line. In several FRDA cell lines and patient-derived primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells, A-196 increased FXN expression by up to 2-fold, an effect not seen in WT cells. SUV4-20 inhibition was accompanied by a reduction in H4K20me2 and H4K20me3 and an increase in H4K20me1, but only modest (1.4–7.8%) perturbation in genome-wide expression was observed. Finally, based on the structural activity relationship and crystal structure of A-196, novel small molecule A-196 analogs were synthesized and shown to give a 20-fold increase in potency for increasing FXN expression. Overall, our results suggest that histone methylation is important in the regulation of FXN expression and highlight SUV4-20 H1 as a potential novel therapeutic target for FRDA.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Structural transitions in Orb2 prion-like domain relevant for functional aggregation in memory consolidation [Molecular Biophysics]

The recent structural elucidation of ex vivo Drosophila Orb2 fibrils revealed a novel amyloid formed by interdigitated Gln and His residue side chains belonging to the prion-like domain. However, atomic-level details on the conformational transitions associated with memory consolidation remain unknown. Here, we have characterized the nascent conformation and dynamics of the prion-like domain (PLD) of Orb2A using a nonconventional liquid-state NMR spectroscopy strategy based on 13C detection to afford an essentially complete set of 13Cα, 13Cβ, 1Hα, and backbone 13CO and 15N assignments. At pH 4, where His residues are protonated, the PLD is disordered and flexible, except for a partially populated α-helix spanning residues 55–60, and binds RNA oligos, but not divalent cations. At pH 7, in contrast, His residues are predominantly neutral, and the Q/H segments adopt minor populations of helical structure, show decreased mobility and start to self-associate. At pH 7, the His residues do not bind RNA or Ca2+, but do bind Zn2+, which promotes further association. These findings represent a remarkable case of structural plasticity, based on which an updated model for Orb2A functional amyloidogenesis is suggested.
Datum: 25.12.2020


High temperature promotes amyloid {beta}-protein production and {gamma}-secretase complex formation via Hsp90 [Neurobiology]

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by neuronal loss and accumulation of β-amyloid-protein (Aβ) in the brain parenchyma. Sleep impairment is associated with AD and affects about 25–40% of patients in the mild-to-moderate stages of the disease. Sleep deprivation leads to increased Aβ production; however, its mechanism remains largely unknown. We hypothesized that the increase in core body temperature induced by sleep deprivation may promote Aβ production. Here, we report temperature-dependent regulation of Aβ production. We found that an increase in temperature, from 37 °C to 39 °C, significantly increased Aβ production in amyloid precursor protein-overexpressing cells. We also found that high temperature (39 °C) significantly increased the expression levels of heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) and the C-terminal fragment of presenilin 1 (PS1-CTF) and promoted γ-secretase complex formation. Interestingly, Hsp90 was associated with the components of the premature γ-secretase complex, anterior pharynx-defective-1 (APH-1), and nicastrin (NCT) but was not associated with PS1-CTF or presenilin enhancer-2. Hsp90 knockdown abolished the increased level of Aβ production and the increased formation of the γ-secretase complex at high temperature in culture. Furthermore, with in vivo experiments, we observed increases in the levels of Hsp90, PS1-CTF, NCT, and the γ-secretase complex in the cortex of mice housed at higher room temperature (30 °C) compared with those housed at standard room temperature (23 °C). Our results suggest that high temperature regulates Aβ production by modulating γ-secretase complex formation through the binding of Hsp90 to NCT/APH-1.
Datum: 25.12.2020


MicroRNA-98 reduces nerve growth factor expression in nicotine-induced airway remodeling [Gene Regulation]

Evolving evidence suggests that nicotine may contribute to impaired asthma control by stimulating expression of nerve growth factor (NGF), a neurotrophin associated with airway remodeling and airway hyperresponsiveness. We explored the hypothesis that nicotine increases NGF by reducing lung fibroblast (LF) microRNA-98 (miR-98) and PPARγ levels, thus promoting airway remodeling. Levels of NGF, miR-98, PPARγ, fibronectin 1 (FN1), endothelin-1 (EDN1, herein referred to as ET-1), and collagen (COL1A1 and COL3A1) were measured in human LFs isolated from smoking donors, in mouse primary LFs exposed to nicotine (50 μg/ml), and in whole lung homogenates from mice chronically exposed to nicotine (100 μg/ml) in the drinking water. In selected studies, these pathways were manipulated in LFs with miR-98 inhibitor (anti-miR-98), miR-98 overexpression (miR-98 mimic), or the PPARγ agonist rosiglitazone. Compared with unexposed controls, nicotine increased NGF, FN1, ET-1, COL1A1, and COL3A1 expression in human and mouse LFs and mouse lung homogenates. In contrast, nicotine reduced miR-98 levels in LFs in vitro and in lung homogenates in vivo. Treatment with anti-miR-98 alone was sufficient to recapitulate increases in NGF, FN1, and ET-1, whereas treatment with a miR-98 mimic significantly suppressed luciferase expression in cells transfected with a luciferase reporter linked to the putative seed sequence in the NGF 3′UTR and also abrogated nicotine-induced increases in NGF, FN1, and ET-1 in LFs. Similarly, rosiglitazone increased miR-98 and reversed nicotine-induced increases in NGF, FN1, and ET-1. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that nicotine-induced increases in NGF and other markers of airway remodeling are negatively regulated by miR-98.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Coronavirus infection and PARP expression dysregulate the NAD metabolome: An actionable component of innate immunity [Molecular Bases of Disease]

Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) superfamily members covalently link either a single ADP-ribose (ADPR) or a chain of ADPR units to proteins using NAD as the source of ADPR. Although the well-known poly(ADP-ribosylating) (PARylating) PARPs primarily function in the DNA damage response, many noncanonical mono(ADP-ribosylating) (MARylating) PARPs are associated with cellular antiviral responses. We recently demonstrated robust up-regulation of several PARPs following infection with murine hepatitis virus (MHV), a model coronavirus. Here we show that SARS-CoV-2 infection strikingly up-regulates MARylating PARPs and induces the expression of genes encoding enzymes for salvage NAD synthesis from nicotinamide (NAM) and nicotinamide riboside (NR), while down-regulating other NAD biosynthetic pathways. We show that overexpression of PARP10 is sufficient to depress cellular NAD and that the activities of the transcriptionally induced enzymes PARP7, PARP10, PARP12 and PARP14 are limited by cellular NAD and can be enhanced by pharmacological activation of NAD synthesis. We further demonstrate that infection with MHV induces a severe attack on host cell NAD+ and NADP+. Finally, we show that NAMPT activation, NAM, and NR dramatically decrease the replication of an MHV that is sensitive to PARP activity. These data suggest that the antiviral activities of noncanonical PARP isozyme activities are limited by the availability of NAD and that nutritional and pharmacological interventions to enhance NAD levels may boost innate immunity to coronaviruses.
Datum: 25.12.2020


PDE5 inhibition rescues mitochondrial dysfunction and angiogenic responses induced by Akt3 inhibition by promotion of PRC expression [Bioenergetics]

Akt3 regulates mitochondrial content in endothelial cells through the inhibition of PGC-1α nuclear localization and is also required for angiogenesis. However, whether there is a direct link between mitochondrial function and angiogenesis is unknown. Here we show that Akt3 depletion in primary endothelial cells results in decreased uncoupled oxygen consumption, increased fission, decreased membrane potential, and increased expression of the mitochondria-specific protein chaperones, HSP60 and HSP10, suggesting that Akt3 is required for mitochondrial homeostasis. Direct inhibition of mitochondrial homeostasis by the model oxidant paraquat results in decreased angiogenesis, showing a direct link between angiogenesis and mitochondrial function. Next, in exploring functional links to PGC-1α, the master regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis, we searched for compounds that induce this process. We found that, sildenafil, a phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor, induced mitochondrial biogenesis as measured by increased uncoupled oxygen consumption, mitochondrial DNA content, and voltage-dependent anion channel protein expression. Sildenafil rescued the effects on mitochondria by Akt3 depletion or pharmacological inhibition and promoted angiogenesis, further supporting that mitochondrial homeostasis is required for angiogenesis. Sildenafil also induces the expression of PGC-1 family member PRC and can compensate for PGC-1α activity during mitochondrial stress by an Akt3-independent mechanism. The induction of PRC by sildenafil depends upon cAMP and the transcription factor CREB. Thus, PRC can functionally substitute during Akt3 depletion for absent PGC-1α activity to restore mitochondrial homeostasis and promote angiogenesis. These findings show that mitochondrial homeostasis as controlled by the PGC family of transcriptional activators is required for angiogenic responses.
Datum: 25.12.2020


HIV-1 Gag release from yeast reveals ESCRT interaction with the Gag N-terminal protein region [Molecular Bases of Disease]

The HIV-1 protein Gag assembles at the plasma membrane and drives virion budding, assisted by the cellular endosomal complex required for transport (ESCRT) proteins. Two ESCRT proteins, TSG101 and ALIX, bind to the Gag C-terminal p6 peptide. TSG101 binding is important for efficient HIV-1 release, but how ESCRTs contribute to the budding process and how their activity is coordinated with Gag assembly is poorly understood. Yeast, allowing genetic manipulation that is not easily available in human cells, has been used to characterize the cellular ESCRT function. Previous work reported Gag budding from yeast spheroplasts, but Gag release was ESCRT-independent. We developed a yeast model for ESCRT-dependent Gag release. We combined yeast genetics and Gag mutational analysis with Gag-ESCRT binding studies and the characterization of Gag-plasma membrane binding and Gag release. With our system, we identified a previously unknown interaction between ESCRT proteins and the Gag N-terminal protein region. Mutations in the Gag-plasma membrane–binding matrix domain that reduced Gag-ESCRT binding increased Gag-plasma membrane binding and Gag release. ESCRT knockout mutants showed that the release enhancement was an ESCRT-dependent effect. Similarly, matrix mutation enhanced Gag release from human HEK293 cells. Release enhancement partly depended on ALIX binding to p6, although binding site mutation did not impair WT Gag release. Accordingly, the relative affinity for matrix compared with p6 in GST-pulldown experiments was higher for ALIX than for TSG101. We suggest that a transient matrix-ESCRT interaction is replaced when Gag binds to the plasma membrane. This step may activate ESCRT proteins and thereby coordinate ESCRT function with virion assembly.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Murine GFP-Mx1 forms nuclear condensates and associates with cytoplasmic intermediate filaments: Novel antiviral activity against VSV [Immunology]

Type I and III interferons induce expression of the “myxovirus resistance proteins” MxA in human cells and its ortholog Mx1 in murine cells. Human MxA forms cytoplasmic structures, whereas murine Mx1 forms nuclear bodies. Whereas both HuMxA and MuMx1 are antiviral toward influenza A virus (FLUAV) (an orthomyxovirus), only HuMxA is considered antiviral toward vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) (a rhabdovirus). We previously reported that the cytoplasmic human GFP-MxA structures were phase-separated membraneless organelles (“biomolecular condensates”). In the present study, we investigated whether nuclear murine Mx1 structures might also represent phase-separated biomolecular condensates. The transient expression of murine GFP-Mx1 in human Huh7 hepatoma, human Mich-2H6 melanoma, and murine NIH 3T3 cells led to the appearance of Mx1 nuclear bodies. These GFP-MuMx1 nuclear bodies were rapidly disassembled by exposing cells to 1,6-hexanediol (5%, w/v), or to hypotonic buffer (40–50 mosm), consistent with properties of membraneless phase-separated condensates. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) assays revealed that the GFP-MuMx1 nuclear bodies upon photobleaching showed a slow partial recovery (mobile fraction: ∼18%) suggestive of a gel-like consistency. Surprisingly, expression of GFP-MuMx1 in Huh7 cells also led to the appearance of GFP-MuMx1 in 20–30% of transfected cells in a novel cytoplasmic giantin-based intermediate filament meshwork and in cytoplasmic bodies. Remarkably, Huh7 cells with cytoplasmic murine GFP-MuMx1 filaments, but not those with only nuclear bodies, showed antiviral activity toward VSV. Thus, GFP-MuMx1 nuclear bodies comprised phase-separated condensates. Unexpectedly, GFP-MuMx1 in Huh7 cells also associated with cytoplasmic giantin-based intermediate filaments, and such cells showed antiviral activity toward VSV.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Identification of compounds that bind the centriolar protein SAS-6 and inhibit its oligomerization [Computational Biology]

Centrioles are key eukaryotic organelles that are responsible for the formation of cilia and flagella, and for organizing the microtubule network and the mitotic spindle in animals. Centriole assembly requires oligomerization of the essential protein spindle assembly abnormal 6 (SAS-6), which forms a structural scaffold templating the organization of further organelle components. A dimerization interaction between SAS-6 N-terminal “head” domains was previously shown to be essential for protein oligomerization in vitro and for function in centriole assembly. Here, we developed a pharmacophore model allowing us to assemble a library of low-molecular-weight ligands predicted to bind the SAS-6 head domain and inhibit protein oligomerization. We demonstrate using NMR spectroscopy that a ligand from this family binds at the head domain dimerization site of algae, nematode, and human SAS-6 variants, but also that another ligand specifically recognizes human SAS-6. Atomistic molecular dynamics simulations starting from SAS-6 head domain crystallographic structures, including that of the human head domain which we now resolve, suggest that ligand specificity derives from favorable Van der Waals interactions with a hydrophobic cavity at the dimerization site.
Datum: 25.12.2020


Disease-associated mutations in inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor subunits impair channel function [Molecular Bases of Disease]

The inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3) receptors (IP3Rs), which form tetrameric channels, play pivotal roles in regulating the spatiotemporal patterns of intracellular calcium signals. Mutations in IP3Rs have been increasingly associated with many debilitating human diseases such as ataxia, Gillespie syndrome, and generalized anhidrosis. However, how these mutations affect IP3R function, and how the perturbation of as-sociated calcium signals contribute to the pathogenesis and severity of these diseases remains largely uncharacterized. Moreover, many of these diseases occur as the result of autosomal dominant inheritance, suggesting that WT and mutant subunits associate in heterotetrameric channels. How the in-corporation of different numbers of mutant subunits within the tetrameric channels affects its activities and results in different disease phenotypes is also unclear. In this report, we investigated representative disease-associated missense mutations to determine their effects on IP3R channel activity. Additionally, we designed concatenated IP3R constructs to create tetrameric channels with a predefined subunit composition to explore the functionality of heteromeric channels. Using calcium imaging techniques to assess IP3R channel function, we observed that all the mutations studied resulted in severely attenuated Ca2+ release when expressed as homotetramers. However, some heterotetramers retained varied degrees of function dependent on the composition of the tetramer. Our findings suggest that the effect of mutations depends on the location of the mutation in the IP3R structure, as well as on the stoichiometry of mutant subunits assembled within the tetrameric channel. These studies provide insight into the pathogenesis and penetrance of these devastating human diseases.
Datum: 25.12.2020


 


Category: Current Chemistry Research

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