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1.  IDENTIFICATION OF A MEMBRANE-LOCALIZED CYSTEINE CLUSTER NEAR THE SUBSTRATE BINDING SITES OF THE STREPTOCOCCUS EQUISIMILIS HYALURONAN SYNTHASE 
Glycobiology  2004;15(5):529-539.
The membrane-bound hyaluronan synthase (HAS) from Streptococcus equisimilis (seHAS), which is the smallest Class I HAS, has four cysteine residues (positions 226, 262, 281, and 367) that are generally conserved within this family. Although Cys-null seHAS is still active, chemical modification of cysteine residues causes inhibition of wildtype enzyme (Kumari et al., J. Biol. Chem. 277, 13943, 2002). Here we studied the effects of N-ethylmaleimide (NEM) treatment on a panel of seHAS Cys-mutants to examine the structural and functional roles of the four cysteine residues in the activity of the enzyme. We found that Cys226, Cys262, and Cys281 are reactive with NEM, but that Cys367 is not. Substrate protection studies of wildtype seHAS and a variety of Cys-mutants revealed that binding of UDP-GlcUA, UDP-GlcNAc or UDP can protect Cys226 and Cys262 from NEM inhibition. Inhibition of the six double Cys-mutants of seHAS by sodium arsenite, which can crosslink vicinyl sulfhydryl groups, also supported the conclusion that Cys262 and Cys281 are close enough to be crosslinked. Similar results indicated that Cys281 and Cys367 are also very close in the active enzyme. We conclude that three of the four Cys residues in seHAS (Cys262, Cys281, and Cys367 ) are clustered very close together, that these Cys residues and Cys226 are located at the inner surface of the cell membrane, and that Cys226 and Cys262 are located in or near a UDP binding site.
doi:10.1093/glycob/cwi030
PMCID: PMC1242197  PMID: 15616126
Sulfhydryl reagents; N-ethylmaleimide; enzyme inhibition; Cysteine modification; site directed mutagenesis; DTE, dithioerythritol; HA, hyaluronan or hyaluronic acid; HAS, HA synthase; NEM, N-ethylmaleimide; PBS, phosphate buffered saline; seHAS, Streptococcus equisimilis HAS; spHAS, Streptococcus pyogenes HAS
2.  Hyaluronan synthase polymerizing activity and control of product size are discrete enzyme functions that can be uncoupled by mutagenesis of conserved cysteines 
Glycobiology  2012;22(10):1302-1310.
Streptococcus equisimilis hyaluronan (HA) synthase (SeHAS) contains four cysteines (C226, C262, C281 and C367) that are conserved in the mammalian HAS family. Previous studies of single Cys-to-Ser and all possible Cys-to-Ala mutants of SeHAS found that: the Cys-null mutant is active, Cys modification inhibits HAS activity and the conserved cysteines are clustered at the membrane–enzyme interface in substrate-binding sites (Kumari K, Weigel PH. 2005. Identification of a membrane-localized cysteine cluster near the substrate binding sites of the Streptococcus equisimilis hyaluronan synthase. Glycobiology. 15:529–539). We re-examined these Cys mutants using a single technique (size exclusion chromatography–multi-angle laser light scattering) that allows simultaneous assays on the same sample for both HA synthesis activity and HA product size. Among 18 mutants compared with wild type, 4 showed no change in either function and 3 showed changes in both (decreased activity and HA size). Only one of the two functions was altered in 11 other mutants, which showed either decreased polymerizing activity or product size. No mutants made larger HA, 8 made smaller HA and 10 showed no change in HA size. Nine mutants showed no change in activity and nine were less active. The mutants fell into four of nine possible groups in terms of changes in HA size or synthesis rate (i.e. none, increased or decreased). Specific Cys residues were associated with each mutant group and the pattern of effects on both functions. Thus, the four conserved Cys residues, individually and in specific combinations, influence the rate of sugar assembly by HAS and HA product size, but their participation in one function is independent of the other.
doi:10.1093/glycob/cws102
PMCID: PMC3425326  PMID: 22745284
active-site cysteines; elongation rate; polymer length; size control; size control model
3.  CHARACTERIZATION OF THE PURIFIED HYALURONAN SYNTHASE FROM STREPTOCOCCUS EQUISIMILIS* 
Biochemistry  2004;43(28):9234-9242.
Hyaluronan synthase (HAS) utilizes UDP-GlcUA and UDP-GlcNAc in the presence of Mg2+ to form the GAG hyaluronan (HA). The purified HAS from Streptococcus equisimilis (seHAS) shows high fidelity in that it only polymerizes the native substrates, UDP-GlcNAc and UDP-GlcUA. However, other uridinyl nucleotides and UDP-sugars inhibited enzyme activity, including UDP-GalNAc, UDP-Glc, UDP-Gal, UDP-GalUA, UMP, UDP and UTP. Purified seHAS was ~40% more active in 25 mM, compared to 50 mM, PO4 in the presence of either 50 mM NaCl or KCl, and displayed a slight preference for KCl over NaCl. The pH profile was surprisingly broad, with an effective range of pH 6.5–11.5 and the optimum between pH 9 and 10. SeHAS displayed two apparent pKa values at pH 6.6 and 11.8. As the pH was increased from ~6.5, both Km and Vmax increased until pH ~10.5, above which the kinetic constants gradually declined. Nonetheless, the overall catalytic constant (120/sec) was essentially unchanged from pH 6.5 to pH 10.5. The enzyme is temperature labile, but more stable in the presence of substrate and cardiolipin. Purified seHAS requires exogenous cardiolipin for activity and is very sensitive to the fatty acyl composition of the phospholipid. The enzyme was inactive or highly activated by synthetic cardiolipins containing, respectively, C14:0 or C18:1(Δ9) fatty acids. The apparent Ea for HA synthesis is 40 kJ (9.5 kcal/mol) disaccharide. Increasing the viscosity by increasing concentrations of PEG, ethylene glycol, glycerol, or sucrose inhibited seHAS activity. For PEGs, the extent of inhibition was proportional to their molecular mass. PEGs with average masses of 2.7, 11.7, and 20 Kg/mol caused 50% inhibition of Vmax at 21, 6.5, and 3.5 mM, respectively. The apparent Ki values for ethylene glycol, glycerol, and sucrose were, respectively, 4.5, 3.3 and 1.2 mM.
doi:10.1021/bi049468v
PMCID: PMC1586113  PMID: 15248781
streptococcal; kinetics; pH; viscogens; temperature; divalent cations; CLm cardiolipin; ECM, extracellular matrix; GAG, glycosaminoglycan; HA, hyaluronic acid, hyaluronate, hyaluronan; HAS, HA synthase; seHAS, Streptococcus equisimilis HAS; PBS, phosphate buffered saline; Tris, trishydroxymethylamino methane; TBS, tris-buffered saline; TBST, tris-buffered saline containing 0.05% Tween20
4.  SEC-MALLS ANALYSIS OF HYALURONAN SIZE DISTRIBUTIONS MADE BY MEMBRANE-BOUND HYALURONAN SYNTHASE 
Analytical biochemistry  2006;352(2):243-251.
SEC-MALLS analyses of E. coli membranes expressing Streptococcus equisimilis hyaluronan synthase (seHAS) demonstrated an inherent artifact (10–100 MDa) that co-eluted with HA, and skewed the apparent weight-average mass of HA to erroneously high values. Briefly heating samples to 65–75°C eliminated this artifact and increased the yield of recovered HA, due to the release of HA chains that were attached to membrane-bound HAS. Inclusion of alkaline phosphatase, which removed UDP produced during the reaction, improved the linearity of HA synthesis - even at high substrate utilization. Surprisingly, addition of EDTA, to chelate Mg+2 ions, did not completely stop the HAS reaction at 30°C or at 4°C. The best conditions for stopping the reaction without altering SEC-MALLS profiles of the product HA were to chill samples on ice in the presence of both EDTA and UDP. Even with excess substrate, the maximum size of product HA decreased as the enzyme concentration increased. Therefore, the maximum HA size made by HAS was determined by extrapolation to zero enzyme concentration. Using the above conditions, membrane-bound seHAS synthesized a cohort of HA products that steadily increased in weight-average molar mass, reaching a final maximal steady-state size of 4–6 MDa within 2–4 hours.
doi:10.1016/j.ab.2006.01.019
PMCID: PMC1586112  PMID: 16476403
streptococcal; hyaluronan synthase; light scattering; size distribution; membranes; molar mass
5.  Sirolimus blocks the accumulation of hyaluronan (HA) by arterial smooth muscle cells and reduces monocyte adhesion to the ECM 
Atherosclerosis  2006;195(1):23-30.
Sirolimus (SRL), an inhibitor of human arterial smooth muscle cell (ASMC) proliferation and migration, prevents in-stent restenosis (ISR). Little is known about the effect of SRL on the extracellular matrix (ECM) component, hyaluronan, a key macromolecule in neointimal hyperplasia and inflammation. In this study, we investigated SRL regulation of the synthesis of hyaluronan by cultured human ASMC and the effect of SRL on hyaluronan mediated monocyte adhesion to the ECM. Hyaluronan production on a per cell basis was significantly inhibited by SRL at 4 days and remained so through 10 days. This reduction was correlated with reduced levels of hyaluronan synthase mRNAs while hyaluronan degradation rates were unchanged. Poly I:C, a viral mimetic, caused increased hyaluronan accumulation by ASMC cell layers and this increase was inhibited by SRL. The inhibition was paralleled by a reduction in hyaluronan dependent monocyte adhesion to the ECM. This study demonstrates that SRL not only regulates the proliferation of ASMC but reduces the production of hyaluronan by these cells. This alteration in ECM composition results in reduced monocyte adhesion to the ECM in cultures of ASMC. Alterations in hyaluronan accumulation may contribute to the inhibition of ISR that is achieved by SRL.
doi:10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2006.11.023
PMCID: PMC2504412  PMID: 17174314
restenosis; arterial smooth muscle cells; sirolimus; hyaluronan; monocytes
6.  The Role of Hyaluronan Synthase 3 in Ventilator-induced Lung Injury 
We recently found that low-molecular-weight hyaluronan was induced by cyclic stretch in lung fibroblasts and accumulated in lungs from animals with ventilator-induced lung injury. The low-molecular-weight hyaluronan produced by stretch increased interleukin-8 production in epithelial cells, and was accompanied by an upregulation of hyaluronan synthase–3 mRNA. We hypothesized that low-molecular-weight hyaluronan induced by high VT was dependent on hyaluronan synthase 3, and was associated with ventilator-induced lung injury. Effects of high VT ventilation in C57BL/6 wild-type and hyaluronan synthase–3 knockout mice were compared. Significantly increased neutrophil infiltration, macrophage inflammatory protein–2 production, and lung microvascular leak were found in wild-type animals ventilated with high VT. These reactions were significantly reduced in hyaluronan synthase–3 knockout mice, except the capillary leak. Wild-type mice ventilated with high VT were found to have increased low-molecular-weight hyaluronan in lung tissues and concomitant increased expression of hyaluronan synthase–3 mRNA, neither of which was found in hyaluronan synthase–3 knockout mice. We conclude that high VT induced low-molecular-weight hyaluronan production is dependent on de novo synthesis through hyaluronan synthase 3, and plays a role in the inflammatory response of ventilator-induced lung injury.
doi:10.1164/rccm.200405-652OC
PMCID: PMC2718450  PMID: 15790861
hyaluronic acid; knockout mice; mechanical ventilation; tidal volume
7.  Bacterial Secretins Form Constitutively Open Pores Akin to General Porins 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(1):121-128.
Proteins called secretins form large multimeric complexes that are essential for macromolecular transit across the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. Evidence suggests that the channels formed by some secretin complexes are not tightly closed, but their permeability properties have not been well characterized. Here, we used cell-free synthesis coupled with spontaneous insertion into liposomes to investigate the permeability of the secretin PulD. Leakage assays using preloaded liposomes indicated that PulD allows the efflux of small fluorescent molecules with a permeation cutoff similar to that of general porins. Other secretins were also found to form similar pores. To define the polypeptide region involved in determining the pore size, we analyzed a collection of PulD variants and studied the roles of gates 1 and 2, which were previously reported to affect the pore size of filamentous phage f1 secretin pIV, in assembly and pore formation. Liposome leakage and a novel in vivo assay showed that replacement of the conserved proline residue at position 443 in PulD by leucine increased the apparent size of the pore. The in vitro approach described here could be used to study the pore properties of membrane proteins whose production in vivo is toxic.
doi:10.1128/JB.00750-13
PMCID: PMC3911138  PMID: 24142256
8.  Physiochemical characterization of the nisin-membrane interaction with liposomes derived from Listeria monocytogenes. 
Mechanistic information about the bacteriocin nisin was obtained by examining the efflux of 5(6)-carboxy-fluorescein from Listeria monocytogenes-derived liposomes. The initial leakage rate (percentage of efflux per minute) of the entrapped dye was dependent on both nisin and lipid concentrations. At all nisin concentrations tested, 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein efflux plateaued before all of the 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein was released (suggesting that pore formation was transient), but efflux resumed when more nisin was added. Isotherms for the binding of nisin to liposomes constructed on the basis of the Langmuir isotherm gave an apparent binding constant of 6.2 x 10(5)M(-1) at pH 6.0. The critical number of nisin molecules required to induce efflux from liposomes at pH 6.0 was approximately 7,000 molecules per liposome. The pH affected the 5(6)-carboxyfluorescein leakage rates, with higher pH values resulting in higher leakage rates. The increased leakage rate observed at higher pH values was not due to an increase in the binding affinity of the nisin molecules towards the liposomal membrane. Rather, the critical number of nisin molecules required to induce activity was decreased (approximately 1,000 nisin molecules per liposome at pH 7.0). These data are consistent with a poration mechanism in which the ionization state of histidine residues in nisin plays an important role in membrane permeabilization.
PMCID: PMC167801  PMID: 8593036
9.  Direct Membrane Insertion of Voltage-dependent Anion-selective Channel Protein Catalyzed by Mitochondrial Tom20  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1999;145(5):973-978.
Insertion of newly synthesized proteins into or across the mitochondrial outer membrane is initiated by import receptors at the surface of the organelle. Typically, this interaction directs the precursor protein into a preprotein translocation pore, comprised of Tom40. Here, we show that a prominent β-barrel channel protein spanning the outer membrane, human voltage- dependent anion-selective channel (VDAC), bypasses the requirement for the Tom40 translocation pore during biogenesis. Insertion of VDAC into the outer membrane is unaffected by plugging the translocation pore with a partially translocated matrix preprotein, and mitochondria containing a temperature-sensitive mutant of Tom40 insert VDAC at the nonpermissive temperature. Synthetic liposomes harboring the cytosolic domain of the human import receptor Tom20 efficiently insert newly synthesized VDAC, resulting in transbilayer transport of ATP.  Therefore, Tom20 transforms newly synthesized cytosolic VDAC into a transmembrane channel that is fully integrated into the lipid bilayer.
PMCID: PMC2133124  PMID: 10352015
voltage-dependent anion-selective channel; porin; Tom20; import; mitochondria
10.  Site-directed mutation of conserved cysteine residues does not inactivate the Streptococcus pyogenes hyaluronan synthase 
Glycobiology  2001;11(12):1017-1024.
Hyaluronan synthase (HAS), the enzyme responsible for the production of hyaluronic acid (HA), is a well-conserved membrane-bound protein in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. This enzyme performs at least six discrete functions in producing a heterodisaccharide polymer of several million molecular weight and extruding it from the cell. Among the conserved motifs and domains within the Class I HAS family are four cysteine residues. Cysteines in many proteins are important in establishing and maintaining tertiary structure or in the coordination of catalytic functions. In the present study we utilized a combination of site-directed mutagenesis, chemical labeling, and kinetic analyses to determine the importance of specific Cys residues for catalysis and structure of the HA synthase from Streptococcus pyogenes (spHAS). The enzyme activity of spHAS was partially inhibited by cysteine-reactive chemical reagents such as N-ethylmaleimide. Quantitation of the number of Cys residues modified by these reagents, using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, demonstrated that there are no stable disulfide bonds in spHAS. The six Cys residues of spHAS were then mutated, individually and in various combinations, to serine or alanine. The single Cys-mutants were all kinetically similar to the wild-type enzyme in terms of their Vmax and Km values for HA synthesis. The Cys-null mutant, in which all Cys residues were mutated to alanine, retained ∼66% of wild-type activity, demonstrating that despite their high degree of conservation within the HAS family, Cys residues are not absolutely necessary for HA biosynthesis by the spHAS enzyme.
PMCID: PMC4042541  PMID: 11805074
Key words: cysteine residues/disulfide bonds/HA biosynthesis/mutagenesis/synthase
11.  Transport of Phage P22 DNA across the Cytoplasmic Membrane▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;191(1):135-140.
Although a great deal is known about the life cycle of bacteriophage P22, the mechanism of phage DNA transport into Salmonella is poorly understood. P22 DNA is initially ejected into the periplasmic space and subsequently transported into the host cytoplasm. Three phage-encoded proteins (gp16, gp20, and gp7) are coejected with the DNA. To test the hypothesis that one or more of these proteins mediate transport of the DNA across the cytoplasmic membrane, we purified gp16, gp20, and gp7 and analyzed their ability to associate with membranes and to facilitate DNA uptake into membrane vesicles in vitro. Membrane association experiments revealed that gp16 partitioned into the membrane fraction, while gp20 and gp7 remained in the soluble fraction. Moreover, the addition of gp16, but not gp7 or gp20, to liposomes preloaded with a fluorescent dye promoted release of the dye. Transport of 32P-labeled DNA into liposomes occurred only in the presence of gp16 and an artificially created membrane potential. Taken together, these results suggest that gp16 partitions into the cytoplasmic membrane and mediates the active transport of P22 DNA across the cytoplasmic membrane of Salmonella.
doi:10.1128/JB.00778-08
PMCID: PMC2612440  PMID: 18978055
12.  Hyaluronan production increases the malignant properties of mesothelioma cells 
British Journal of Cancer  2001;85(4):600-607.
Malignant pleural mesotheliomas is in most cases associated with elevated amounts of hyaluronan. To investigate the importance of hyaluronan for the malignant properties of mesotheliomas, we have expressed murine hyaluronan synthase 2 (HAS2) in the non-hyaluronan producing mesothelioma cell line, Mero-25. We found that upon hyaluronan overproduction the mesothelioma cells changed their epitheloid character to a fibroblastic phenotype and were surrounded by pericellular matrices, the size of which correlated to the amount of synthesized hyaluronan. HAS2-transfected cells with the ability to synthesize about 520 ng hyaluronan/5 × 104cells/24 h exhibited about a 2-fold increase in the expression of the cell surface hyaluronan receptor CD44 and their locomotion increased compared to that of mock-transfected Mero-25 cells. Furthermore, the malignant properties of mesothelioma cell clones as determined by the ability to grow in a soft agar assay correlated to their hyaluronan production. These results provide evidence for an important role of hyaluronan in the aggressive spread of mesotheliomas in adjacent non-cancerous stromal tissues. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign http://www.bjcancer.com
doi:10.1054/bjoc.2001.1922
PMCID: PMC2364109  PMID: 11506502
malignant mesothelioma; hyaluronan synthase; hyaluronan receptor; tumour spreading
13.  Mode of Action of Lactococcin B, a Thiol-Activated Bacteriocin from Lactococcus lactis 
Lactococcin B (LcnB) is a small, hydrophobic, positively charged bacteriocin produced by Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris 9B4. Purified LcnB has a bactericidal effect on sensitive L. lactis cells by dissipating the proton motive force and causing leakage of intracellular substrates. The activity of LcnB depends on the reduced state of the Cys-24 residue. Uptake and efflux studies of different solutes suggest that LcnB forms pores in the cytoplasmic membrane of sensitive L. lactis cells in the absence of a proton motive force. At low concentrations of LcnB, efflux of those ions and amino acids which are taken up by proton motive force-driven systems was observed. However, a 150-fold higher LcnB concentration was required for efflux of glutamate, previously taken up via a unidirectional ATP-driven transport system. Strains carrying the genetic information for the immunity protein against LcnB were not affected by LcnB. The proton motive force of immune cells was not dissipated, and no leakage of intracellular substrates could be detected.
PMCID: PMC202235  PMID: 16348905
14.  Calcium Influx Rescues Adenylate Cyclase-Hemolysin from Rapid Cell Membrane Removal and Enables Phagocyte Permeabilization by Toxin Pores 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(4):e1002580.
Bordetella adenylate cyclase toxin-hemolysin (CyaA) penetrates the cytoplasmic membrane of phagocytes and employs two distinct conformers to exert its multiple activities. One conformer forms cation-selective pores that permeabilize phagocyte membrane for efflux of cytosolic potassium. The other conformer conducts extracellular calcium ions across cytoplasmic membrane of cells, relocates into lipid rafts, translocates the adenylate cyclase enzyme (AC) domain into cells and converts cytosolic ATP to cAMP. We show that the calcium-conducting activity of CyaA controls the path and kinetics of endocytic removal of toxin pores from phagocyte membrane. The enzymatically inactive but calcium-conducting CyaA-AC− toxoid was endocytosed via a clathrin-dependent pathway. In contrast, a doubly mutated (E570K+E581P) toxoid, unable to conduct Ca2+ into cells, was rapidly internalized by membrane macropinocytosis, unless rescued by Ca2+ influx promoted in trans by ionomycin or intact toxoid. Moreover, a fully pore-forming CyaA-ΔAC hemolysin failed to permeabilize phagocytes, unless endocytic removal of its pores from cell membrane was decelerated through Ca2+ influx promoted by molecules locked in a Ca2+-conducting conformation by the 3D1 antibody. Inhibition of endocytosis also enabled the native B. pertussis-produced CyaA to induce lysis of J774A.1 macrophages at concentrations starting from 100 ng/ml. Hence, by mediating calcium influx into cells, the translocating conformer of CyaA controls the removal of bystander toxin pores from phagocyte membrane. This triggers a positive feedback loop of exacerbated cell permeabilization, where the efflux of cellular potassium yields further decreased toxin pore removal from cell membrane and this further enhances cell permeabilization and potassium efflux.
Author Summary
The adenylate cyclase toxin (CyaA) of pathogenic Bordetellae eliminates the first line of host innate immune defense by inhibiting the oxidative burst and complement-mediated opsonophagocytic killing of bacteria. The toxin penetrates myeloid phagocytes, such as neutrophil, macrophage or dendritic cells, and subverts their signaling by catalyzing a rapid and massive conversion of intracellular ATP to the key signaling molecule cAMP. In parallel, the toxin forms cation-selective pores and permeabilizes the cytoplasmic membrane of phagocytes. This so-called ‘hemolysin’ activity synergizes with the enzymatic AC activity of CyaA in promoting apoptotic or necrotic cell death, depending on the toxin dose. Moreover, the pore-forming activity promotes activation of NALP3 inflammasome and release of interleukin IL-1β. We show here that the capacity of CyaA to permeabilize phagocytes depends on its ability to mediate influx of extracellular calcium ions into cells. This enables bystander CyaA pores to escape rapid macropinocytic removal from cell membrane and exacerbate the permeabilization of cells. These observations set a new paradigm for the mechanism of action of pore-forming RTX leukotoxins on phagocytes.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002580
PMCID: PMC3320606  PMID: 22496638
15.  Translocators YopB and YopD from Yersinia enterocolitica Form a Multimeric Integral Membrane Complex in Eukaryotic Cell Membranes ▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(24):6923-6928.
The type III secretion systems are contact-activated secretion systems that allow bacteria to inject effector proteins across eukaryotic cell membranes. The secretion apparatus, called injectisome or needle complex, includes a needle that terminates with a tip structure. The injectisome exports its own distal components, like the needle subunit and the needle tip. Upon contact, it exports two hydrophobic proteins called translocators (YopB and YopD in Yersinia enterocolitica) and the effectors. The translocators, assisted by the needle tip, form a pore in the target cell membrane, but the structure of this pore remains elusive. Here, we purified the membranes from infected sheep erythrocytes, and we show that they contain integrated and not simply adherent YopB and YopD. In blue native PAGE, these proteins appeared as a multimeric 500- to 700-kDa complex. This heteropolymeric YopBD complex could be copurified after solubilization in 0.5% dodecyl maltoside but not visualized in the electron microscope. We speculate that this complex may not be stable and rigid but only transient.
doi:10.1128/JB.05555-11
PMCID: PMC3232856  PMID: 22001511
16.  Cholesterol Effects on Bax Pore Activation 
Journal of molecular biology  2008;381(5):1168-1183.
The importance of bcl-2–family proteins in the control of cell death has been clearly established. One of the key members of this family, bax, has soluble, membrane bound and membrane integrated forms that are central to the regulation of apoptosis. Using purified monomeric human bax, defined liposomes and isolated human mitochondria we have characterized the soluble to membrane transition and pore formation by this protein. For the purified protein, activation but not oligomerization, is required for membrane binding. The transition to the membrane environment includes a binding step that is reversible and distinct from the membrane integration step. Oligomerization and pore activation occur after the membrane integration. In cells, bax targets several intracellular membranes, but notably does not target the plasma membrane while initiating apoptosis. When cholesterol was added to either the liposome bilayer or mitochondrial membranes we observed increased binding but markedly reduced integration of bax into both membranes. This cholesterol inhibition of membrane integration accounts for the reduction of bax pore activation in liposomes and mitochondrial membranes. Our results indicate that the presence of cholesterol in membranes inhibits the pore forming activity of bax by reducing the ability of bax to transition from a membrane associated to a membrane integral protein.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2008.06.037
PMCID: PMC2597564  PMID: 18590739
17.  Functional Relevance of AcrB Trimerization in Pump Assembly and Substrate Binding 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89143.
AcrB is a multidrug transporter in the inner membrane of Escherichia coli. It is an obligate homotrimer and forms a tripartite efflux complex with AcrA and TolC. AcrB is the engine of the efflux machinery and determines substrate specificity. Active efflux depends on several functional features including proton translocation across the inner membrane through a proton relay pathway in the transmembrane domain of AcrB; substrate binding and migration through the substrate translocation pathway; the interaction of AcrB with AcrA and TolC; and the formation of AcrB homotrimer. Here we investigated two aspects of the inter-correlation between these functional features, the dependence of AcrA-AcrB interaction on AcrB trimerization, and the reliance of substrate binding and penetration on protein-protein interaction. Interaction between AcrA and AcrB was investigated through chemical crosslinking, and a previously established in vivo fluorescent labeling method was used to probe substrate binding. Our data suggested that dissociation of the AcrB trimer drastically decreased its interaction with AcrA. In addition, while substrate binding with AcrB seemed to be irrelevant to the presence or absence of AcrA and TolC, the capability of trimerization and conduction of proton influx did affect substrate binding at selected sites along the substrate translocation pathway in AcrB.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089143
PMCID: PMC3925222  PMID: 24551234
18.  Quantification of group A colicin import sites. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1995;177(17):4935-4939.
Pore-forming colicins are soluble bacteriocins which form voltage-gated ion channels in the inner membrane of Escherichia coli. To reach their target, these colicins first bind to a receptor located on the outer membrane and then are translocated through the envelope. Colicins are subdivided into two groups according to the envelope proteins involved in their translocation: group A colicins use the Tol proteins; group B colicins use the proteins TonB, ExbB, and ExbD. We have previously shown that a double-cysteine colicin A mutant which possesses a disulfide bond in its pore-forming domain is translocated through the envelope but is unable to form a channel in the inner membrane (D. Duché, D. Baty, M. Chartier, and L. Letellier, J. Biol. Chem. 269:24820-24825, 1994). Measurements of colicin-induced K+ efflux reveal that preincubation of the cells with the double-cysteine mutant prevents binding of colicins of group A but not of group B. Moreover, we show that the mutant is still in contact with its receptor and import machinery when it interacts with the inner membrane. From these competition experiments, we conclude that each Escherichia coli cell contains approximately 400 and 1,000 colicin A receptors and translocation sites, respectively.
PMCID: PMC177268  PMID: 7545150
19.  Hyaluronan-Dependent Pericellular Matrix 
Advanced drug delivery reviews  2007;59(13):1351-1365.
Hyaluronan is a multifunctional glycosaminoglycan that forms the structural basis of the pericellular matrix. Hyaluronan is extruded directly through the plasma membrane by one of three hyaluronan synthases and anchored to the cell surface by the synthase or cell surface receptors such as CD44 or RHAMM. Aggregating proteoglycans and other hyaluronan-binding proteins, contribute to the material and biological properties of the matrix and regulate cell and tissue function. The pericellular matrix plays multiple complex roles in cell adhesion/de-adhesion, and cell shape changes associated with proliferation and locomotion. Time-lapse studies show that pericellular matrix formation facilitates cell detachment and mitotic cell rounding. Hyaluronan crosslinking occurs through various proteins, such as tenascin, TSG-6, inter-alpha-trypsin inhibitor, pentraxin and TSP-1. This creates higher order levels of structured hyaluronan that may regulate inflammation and other biological processes. Microvillous or filopodial membrane protrusions are created by active hyaluronan synthesis, and form the scaffold of hyaluronan coats in certain cells. The importance of the pericellular matrix in cellular mechanotransduction and the response to mechanical strain are also discussed.
doi:10.1016/j.addr.2007.08.008
PMCID: PMC2174428  PMID: 17804111
Proteoglycan; Hyaluronan; Versican; Aggrecan; CD44; RHAMM; Mechanotransduction; Cell Adhesion; Cell Traction
20.  Inverse expression of hyaluronidase 2 and hyaluronan synthases 1–3 is associated with reduced hyaluronan content in malignant cutaneous melanoma 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:181.
Background
Hyaluronan is an extracellular matrix glycosaminoglycan involved in invasion, proliferation and metastasis of various types of carcinomas. In many cancers, aberrant hyaluronan expression implicates disease progression and metastatic potential. Melanoma is an aggressive skin cancer. The role of hyaluronan in melanoma progression including benign nevi and lymph node metastases has not been investigated earlier, nor the details of its synthesis and degradation.
Methods
The melanocytic and dysplastic nevi, in situ melanomas, superficially and deeply invasive melanomas and their lymph node metastases were analysed immunohistochemically for the amount of hyaluronan, its cell surface receptor CD44, hyaluronan synthases 1–3 and hyaluronidases 1–2.
Results
Hyaluronan content of tumoral cells in deeply invasive melanomas and metastatic lesions was clearly reduced compared to superficial melanomas or benign lesions. Furthermore, hyaluronan content in the stromal cells of benign nevi was higher than in the premalignant or malignant tumors. The immunopositivity of hyaluronidase 2 was significantly increased in the premalignant and malignant lesions indicating its specific role in the degradation of hyaluronan during tumor progression. Similarly, the expression of hyaluronan synthases 1–2 and CD44 receptor was decreased in the metastases compared to the primary melanomas.
Conclusions
These findings suggest that the reciprocal relationship between the degrading and synthesizing enzymes account for the alterations in hyaluronan content during the growth of melanoma. These results provide new information about hyaluronan metabolism in benign, premalignant and malignant melanocytic tumors of the skin.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-181
PMCID: PMC3626669  PMID: 23560496
Hyaluronan; Hyaluronan synthase; Hyaluronidase; Cutaneous tumor; Benign nevus; Melanoma
21.  Efficient isolation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa type III secretion translocators and assembly of heteromeric transmembrane pores in model membranes† 
Biochemistry  2011;50(33):7117-7131.
Translocation of bacterial toxins or effectors into host cells using the Type III Secretion (T3S) system is a conserved mechanism shared by many Gram-negative pathogens. Pseudomonas aeruginosa injects different proteins across the plasma membrane of target cells altering the normal metabolism of the host. Protein translocation presumably occurs through a proteinaceous transmembrane pore formed by two T3S secreted protein translocators, PopB and PopD. Unfolded translocators are secreted through the T3S needle prior to insertion into the target membrane. Purified PopB and PopD form pores in model membranes. However, their tendency to form heterogeneous aggregates in solution had hampered the analysis of how these proteins transition from a denatured state to a membrane-inserted state. Translocators were purified as stable complexes with the cognate chaperone PcrH, and isolated from the chaperone using 6 M urea. We report here the assembly of stable transmembrane pores by dilution of urea-denatured translocators in the presence of membranes. PopB and PopD spontaneously bound liposomes containing anionic phospholipids and cholesterol in a pH dependant manner as observed by two independent assays, time-resolved FRET and sucrose-step gradient ultracentrifugation. Using Bodipy-labeled proteins we found that PopB interacts with PopD on the membrane surface as determined by excitation energy migration and fluorescence quenching. Stable transmembrane pores are more efficiently assembled at pH lower than 5.0, suggesting that acidic-residues might be involved in the initial membrane binding and/or insertion. Altogether, the experimental setup described here represents an efficient method for the reconstitution and analysis of membrane-inserted translocators.
doi:10.1021/bi200905x
PMCID: PMC3171962  PMID: 21770428
22.  THE FUNCTIONAL MOLECULAR MASS OF THE PASTEURELLA HYALURONAN SYNTHASE IS A MONOMER* 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2006;1770(2):286-290.
Hyaluronan (HA), a linear polysaccharide composed of β1,3-GlcNAc-β1,4-GlcUA repeats, is found in the extracellular matrix of vertebrate tissues as well as the capsule of several pathogenic bacteria. All known HA synthases (HASs) are dual-action glycosyltransferases that catalyze the addition of two different sugars from UDP-linked precursors to the growing HA chain. The bacterial hyaluronan synthase, PmHAS from Gram-negative Pasteurella multocida, is a 972-residue membrane-associated protein. Previously, the Gram-positive Streptococcus pyogenes enzyme, SpHAS (419 residues), and the vertebrate enzyme, XlHAS1 (588 residues), were found to function as monomers of protein, but the PmHAS is not similar at the protein sequence level and has quite different enzymological properties. We have utilized radiation inactivation to measure the target size of recombinant full-length and truncated PmHAS. The target size of HAS activity was confirmed using internal enzyme standards of known molecular weight. We found that the Pasteurella HA synthase protein functions catalytically as a monomer. Functional truncated soluble PmHAS also behaves as a polypeptide monomer as assessed by gel filtration chromatography and light scattering.
doi:10.1016/j.bbagen.2006.09.020
PMCID: PMC1847639  PMID: 17095162
glycosaminoglycan; glycosyltransferase; hyaluronan; hyaluronan synthase; Pasteurella multocida; radiation inactivation
23.  Disrupted yeast mitochondria can import precursor proteins directly through their inner membrane 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1989;109(2):487-493.
Import of precursor proteins into the yeast mitochondrial matrix can occur directly across the inner membrane. First, disruption of the outer membrane restores protein import to mitochondria whose normal import sites have been blocked by an antibody against the outer membrane or by a chimeric, incompletely translocated precursor protein. Second, a potential- and ATP-dependent import of authentic or artificial precursor proteins is observed with purified inner membrane vesicles virtually free of outer membrane components. Third, import into purified inner membrane vesicles is insensitive to antibody against the outer membrane. Thus, while outer membrane components are clearly required in vivo, the inner membrane contains a complete protein translocation system that can operate by itself if the outer membrane barrier is removed.
PMCID: PMC2115710  PMID: 2668297
24.  Inhibition of hyaluronan export reduces collagen degradation in interleukin-1 treated cartilage 
Background
Osteoarthrosis is characterized by cartilage erosion, proteolysis of aggrecan and collagen, and disturbed rates of synthesis of aggrecan and hyaluronan by chondrocytes, with hyaluronan over-production being an early reaction. We considered that inhibition of hyaluronan export might prevent subsequent proteoglycan loss and collagen degradation.
Methods
To test this hypothesis, we studied a tissue culture model using bovine cartilages explants activated with IL-1α to induce osteoarthritic reactions using the phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors tadalafil, zaprinast and vardenafil.
Results
These drugs inhibited hyaluronan export, but they did not inhibit hyaluronan synthase activity. Simultaneously, they inhibited proteoglycan loss and collagen degradation, but not their synthesis. They also reduced the release of gelatinases into the culture media and diffusion of the indicator protein horseradish peroxidase through the cartilage explants. The mechanism of action of these compounds may be through inhibition of hyaluronan exporter multidrug resistance-associated protein 5 (MRP5), because the effective drug concentrations were much higher than required for phosphodiesterase-5 inhibition and intracellular cGMP accumulation.
Conclusion
Inhibition of hyaluronan over-production may be an appropriate target to attenuate IL-1-induced reactions in osteoarthritic cartilage.
doi:10.1186/ar2357
PMCID: PMC2374471  PMID: 18205921
25.  Antisense inhibition of hyaluronan synthase-2 in human osteosarcoma cells inhibits hyaluronan retention and tumorigenicity 
Experimental cell research  2005;307(1):194-203.
Osteosarcoma is a common malignant bone tumor associated with childhood and adolescence. The results of numerous studies have suggested that hyaluronan plays an important role in regulating the aggressive behavior of various types of cancer cells. However, no studies have addressed hyaluronan with respect to osteosarcomas. In this investigation, the mRNA expression copy number of three mammalian hyaluronan synthases (HAS) was determined using competitive RT-PCR in the osteoblastic osteosarcoma cell line, MG-63. MG-63 are highly malignant osteosarcoma cells with an abundant hyaluronan-rich matrix. The results demonstrated that HAS-2 is the predominant HAS in MG-63. Accumulation of intracellular hyaluronan increased in association with the proliferative phase of these cells. The selective inhibition of HAS-2 mRNA in MG-63 cells by antisense phosphorothioate oligonucleotides resulted in reduced hyaluronan accumulation by these cells. As expected, the reduction in hyaluronan disrupted the assembly of cell-associated matrices. However, of most interest, coincident with the reduction in hyaluronan, there was a substantial decrease in cell proliferation, a decrease in cell motility and a decrease in cell invasiveness. These data suggest that hyaluronan synthesized by HAS-2 in MG-63 plays a crucial role in osteosarcoma cell proliferation, motility and invasion.
doi:10.1016/j.yexcr.2005.03.026
PMCID: PMC3182490  PMID: 15922739
hyaluronan synthase; hyaluronan; MG-63; osteosarcoma

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