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1.  PIM2 Induced COX-2 and MMP-9 Expression in Macrophages Requires PI3K and Notch1 Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(3):e4911.
Activation of inflammatory immune responses during granuloma formation by the host upon infection of mycobacteria is one of the crucial steps that is often associated with tissue remodeling and breakdown of the extracellular matrix. In these complex processes, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) plays a major role in chronic inflammation and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) significantly in tissue remodeling. In this study, we investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying Phosphatidyl-myo-inositol dimannosides (PIM2), an integral component of the mycobacterial envelope, triggered COX-2 and MMP-9 expression in macrophages. PIM2 triggers the activation of Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase (PI3K) and Notch1 signaling leading to COX-2 and MMP-9 expression in a Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2)-MyD88 dependent manner. Notch1 signaling perturbations data demonstrate the involvement of the cross-talk with members of PI3K and Mitogen activated protein kinase pathway. Enforced expression of the cleaved Notch1 in macrophages induces the expression of COX-2 and MMP-9. PIM2 triggered significant p65 nuclear factor -κB (NF-κB) nuclear translocation that was dependent on activation of PI3K or Notch1 signaling. Furthermore, COX-2 and MMP-9 expression requires Notch1 mediated recruitment of Suppressor of Hairless (CSL) and NF-κB to respective promoters. Inhibition of PIM2 induced COX-2 resulted in marked reduction in MMP-9 expression clearly implicating the role of COX-2 dependent signaling events in driving the MMP-9 expression. Taken together, these data implicate PI3K and Notch1 signaling as obligatory early proximal signaling events during PIM2 induced COX-2 and MMP-9 expression in macrophages.
PMCID: PMC2654112  PMID: 19290049
2.  Mycobacterial PIMs Inhibit Host Inflammatory Responses through CD14-Dependent and CD14-Independent Mechanisms 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e24631.
Mycobacteria develop strategies to evade the host immune system. Among them, mycobacterial LAM or PIMs inhibit the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines by activated macrophages. Here, using synthetic PIM analogues, we analyzed the mode of action of PIM anti-inflammatory effects. Synthetic PIM1 isomer and PIM2 mimetic potently inhibit TNF and IL-12 p40 expression induced by TLR2 or TLR4 pathways, but not by TLR9, in murine macrophages. We show inhibition of LPS binding to TLR4/MD2/CD14 expressing HEK cells by PIM1 and PIM2 analogues. More specifically, the binding of LPS to CD14 was inhibited by PIM1 and PIM2 analogues. CD14 was dispensable for PIM1 and PIM2 analogues functional inhibition of TLR2 agonists induced TNF, as shown in CD14-deficient macrophages. The use of rough-LPS, that stimulates TLR4 pathway independently of CD14, allowed to discriminate between CD14-dependent and CD14-independent anti-inflammatory effects of PIMs on LPS-induced macrophage responses. PIM1 and PIM2 analogues inhibited LPS-induced TNF release by a CD14-dependent pathway, while IL-12 p40 inhibition was CD14-independent, suggesting that PIMs have multifold inhibitory effects on the TLR4 signalling pathway.
PMCID: PMC3174970  PMID: 21949737
3.  Structural characterization and functional properties of a novel lipomannan variant isolated from a Corynebacterium glutamicum pimB′ mutant 
Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek  2008;94(2):277-287.
The genus Corynebacterium is part of the phylogenetic group nocardioform actinomycetes, which also includes the genus Mycobacterium. Members of this phylogenetic group have a characteristic cell envelope structure, which is dominated by complex lipids and amongst these, lipoglycans are of particular interest. The disruption of NCgl2106 in C. glutamicum resulted in a mutant devoid of monoacylated phosphatidyl-myo-inositol dimannoside (Ac1PIM2) resulting in the accumulation of Ac1PIM1 and cessation of phosphatidyl-myo-inositol (PI) based lipomannan (Cg-LM, now also termed ‘Cg-LM-A’) and lipoarabinomannan (Cg-LAM) biosynthesis. Interestingly, SDS-analysis of the lipoglycan fraction from the mutant revealed the synthesis of a single novel lipoglycan, now termed ‘Cg-LM-B’. Further chemical analyses established the lipoglycan possessed an α-d-glucopyranosyluronic acid-(1 → 3)-glycerol (GlcAGroAc2) based anchor which was then further glycosylated by 8–22 mannose residues, with Man12–20GlcAGroAC2 molecular species being the most abundant, to form a novel lipomannan structure (Cg-LM-B). The deletion of NCgl2106 in C. glutamicum has now provided a useful strain, in addition with a deletion mutant of NCgl0452 in C. glutamicum for the purification of Cg-LM-A and Cg-LM-B. Interestingly, both Cg-LM species induced a similar production of TNF-α by a human macrophage cell line suggesting that the phospho-myo-inositol residue of the PI-anchor does not play a key role in lipoglycan pro-inflammatory activity.
PMCID: PMC2480597  PMID: 18421567
Corynebacterium glutamicum; Lipomannan; Mannosyltransferase; PimB′
4.  Acceptor Substrate Discrimination in Phosphatidyl-myo-inositol Mannoside Synthesis 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2010;285(48):37741-37752.
Long term survival of the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis in humans is linked to the immunomodulatory potential of its complex cell wall glycolipids, which include the phosphatidylinositol mannoside (PIM) series as well as the related lipomannan and lipoarabinomannan glycoconjugates. PIM biosynthesis is initiated by a set of cytosolic α-mannosyltransferases, catalyzing glycosyl transfer from the activated saccharide donor GDP-α-d-mannopyranose to the acceptor phosphatidyl-myo-inositol (PI) in an ordered and regio-specific fashion. Herein, we report the crystal structure of mannosyltransferase Corynebacterium glutamicum PimB′ in complex with nucleotide to a resolution of 2.0 Å. PimB′ attaches mannosyl selectively to the 6-OH of the inositol moiety of PI. Two crystal forms and GDP- versus GDP-α-d-mannopyranose-bound complexes reveal flexibility of the nucleotide conformation as well as of the structural framework of the active site. Structural comparison, docking of the saccharide acceptor, and site-directed mutagenesis pin regio-selectivity to a conserved Asp residue in the N-terminal domain that forces presentation of the correct inositol hydroxyl to the saccharide donor.
PMCID: PMC2988379  PMID: 20843801
Cell Wall; Glycoconjugate; Membrane Lipids; Protein Structure; X-ray Crystallography; Corynebacterium glutamicum; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Glycosyltransferase
5.  Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of PimA, an essential mannosyltransferase from Mycobacterium smegmatis  
Mycobacterial PimA is an essential enzyme that catalyses the first mannosylation step in phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannoside (PIM) biosynthesis. Crystals of the enzyme from M. smegmatis, obtained in the presence of GDP and myo-inositol, are orthorhombic (P212121) and diffract X-rays to 2.4 Å resolution.
Phosphatidylinositol mannosyltransferase (PimA) is an essential enzyme for mycobacterial growth that catalyses the first mannosylation step in phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannoside (PIM) biosynthesis. The enzyme belongs to the large GT4 family of glycosyltransferases, for which no structure is currently available. Recombinant purified PimA from Mycobacterium smegmatis has been crystallized in the presence of GDP and myo-inositol. The crystals belong to space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 37.2, b = 72.4, c = 138.2 Å, and diffract to 2.4 Å resolution.
PMCID: PMC1952298  PMID: 16511084
GT4 glycosyltransferase; tuberculosis; phosphatidylinositol mannoside; PIM; mycobacteria
6.  Inactivation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis mannosyltransferase pimB reduces the cell wall lipoarabinomannan and lipomannan content and increases the rate of bacterial-induced human macrophage cell death 
Glycobiology  2009;19(7):743-755.
The Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) cell wall contains an important group of structurally related mannosylated lipoglycans called phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannosides (PIMs), lipomannan (LM), and mannose-capped lipoarabinomannan (ManLAM), where the terminal α-[1→2] mannosyl structures on higher order PIMs and ManLAM have been shown to engage C-type lectins such as the macrophage mannose receptor directing M.tb phagosome maturation arrest. An important gene described in the biosynthesis of these molecules is the mannosyltransferase pimB (Rv0557). Here, we disrupted pimB in a virulent strain of M.tb. We demonstrate that the inactivation of pimB in M.tb does not abolish the production of any of its cell wall mannosylated lipoglycans; however, it results in a quantitative decrease in the ManLAM and LM content without affecting higher order PIMs. This finding indicates gene redundancy or the possibility of an alternative biosynthetic pathway that may compensate for the PimB deficiency. Furthermore, infection of human macrophages by the pimB mutant leads to an alteration in macrophage phenotype concomitant with a significant increase in the rate of macrophage death.
PMCID: PMC2688391  PMID: 19318518
lipoarabinomannan; macrophage death; mannosyltransferase; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannoside
7.  Probing the substrate specificity of Trypanosoma brucei GlcNAc-PI de-N-acetylase with synthetic substrate analogues† †Electronic supplementary information (ESI) available: Additional experimental procedures and characterisation data for the β-anomers 8 and 10 plus 1H and 13C NMR spectra of all the compounds. See DOI: 10.1039/c3ob42164c Click here for additional data file. Click here for additional data file.  
Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry  2014;12(12):1919-1934.
A series of substrates analogues of GlcNAc-PI de-N-acetylase were tested as substrates and inhibitors of the Trypanosoma brucei enzyme.
A series of synthetic analogues of 1-d-(2-amino-2-deoxy-α-d-glucopyranosyl)-myo-inositol 1-(1,2-di-O-hexadecanoyl-sn-glycerol 3-phosphate), consisting of 7 variants of either the d-myo-inositol, d-GlcpN or the phospholipid components, were prepared and tested as substrates and inhibitors of GlcNAc-PI de-N-acetylase, a genetically validated drug target enzyme responsible for the second step in the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) biosynthetic pathway of Trypanosoma brucei. The d-myo-inositol in the physiological substrate was successfully replaced by cyclohexanediol and is still a substrate for T. brucei GlcNAc-PI de-N-acetylase. However, this compound became sensitive to the stereochemistry of the glycoside linkage (the β-anomer was neither substrate or inhibitor) and the structure of the lipid moiety (the hexadecyl derivatives were inhibitors). Chemistry was successfully developed to replace the phosphate with a sulphonamide, but the compound was neither a substrate or an inhibitor, confirming the importance of the phosphate for molecular recognition. We also replaced the glucosamine by an acyclic analogue, but this also was inactive, both as a substrate and inhibitor. These findings add significantly to our understanding of substrate and inhibitor binding to the GlcNAc-PI de-N-acetylase enzyme and will have a bearing on the design of future inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4184461  PMID: 24519084
8.  Identification of a novel α(1→6) mannopyranosyltransferase MptB from Corynebacterium glutamicum by deletion of a conserved gene, NCgl1505, affords a lipomannan- and lipoarabinomannan-deficient mutant 
Molecular Microbiology  2008;68(6):1595-1613.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Corynebacterium glutamicum share a similar cell wall structure and orthologous enzymes involved in cell wall assembly. Herein, we have studied C. glutamicum NCgl1505, the orthologue of putative glycosyltransferases Rv1459c from M. tuberculosis and MSMEG3120 from Mycobacterium smegmatis. Deletion of NCgl1505 resulted in the absence of lipomannan (Cg-LM-A), lipoarabinomannan (Cg-LAM) and a multi-mannosylated polymer (Cg-LM-B) based on a 1,2-di-O-C16/C18:1-(α-D-glucopyranosyluronic acid)-(1→3)-glycerol (GlcAGroAc2) anchor, while syntheses of triacylated-phosphatidyl-myo-inositol dimannoside (Ac1PIM2) and Man1GlcAGroAc2 were still abundant in whole cells. Cell-free incubation of C. glutamicum membranes with GDP-[14C]Man established that C. glutamicum synthesized a novel α(1→6)-linked linear form of Cg-LM-A and Cg-LM-B from Ac1PIM2 and Man1GlcAGroAc2 respectively. Furthermore, deletion of NCgl1505 also led to the absence of in vitro synthesized linear Cg-LM-A and Cg-LM-B, demonstrating that NCgl1505 was involved in core α(1→6) mannan biosynthesis of Cg-LM-A and Cg-LM-B, extending Ac1PI[14C]M2 and [14C]Man1GlcAGroAc2 primers respectively. Use of the acceptor α-D-Manp-(1→6)-α-D-Manp-O-C8 in an in vitro cell-free assay confirmed NCgl1505 as an α(1→6) mannopyranosyltransferase, now termed MptB. While Rv1459c and MSMEG3120 demonstrated similar in vitroα(1→6) mannopyranosyltransferase activity, deletion of the Rv1459c homologue in M. smegmatis did not result in loss of mycobacterial LM/LAM, indicating a functional redundancy for this enzyme in mycobacteria.
PMCID: PMC2440535  PMID: 18452585
9.  Mycobacterium tuberculosis Lipomannan Induces Apoptosis and Interleukin-12 Production in Macrophages  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(4):2067-2074.
The mycobacterial cell wall component lipoarabinomannan (LAM) has been described as a virulence factor of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and modification of the terminal arabinan residues of this compound with mannose caps (producing mannosyl-capped LAM [ManLAM]) in M. tuberculosis or with phosphoinositol caps (producing phosphoinositol-capped LAM [PILAM]) in Mycobacterium smegmatis has been implicated in various functions associated with these lipoglycans. A structure-function analysis was performed by using LAMs and their biosynthetic precursor lipomannans (LMs) isolated from different mycobacterial species on the basis of their capacity to induce the production of interleukin-12 (IL-12) and/or apoptosis of macrophage cell lines. Independent of the mycobacterial species, ManLAMs did not induce IL-12 gene expression or apoptosis of macrophages, whereas PILAMs induced IL-12 secretion and apoptosis. Interestingly, uncapped LAM purified from Mycobacterium chelonae did not induce IL-12 secretion or apoptosis. Furthermore, LMs, independent of their mycobacterial origins, were potent inducers of IL-12 and apoptosis. The precursor of LM, phosphatidyl-myo-inositol dimannoside, had no activity, suggesting that the mannan core of LM was required for the activity of LM. The specific interaction of LM with Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR-2) but not with TLR-4 suggested that these responses were mediated via the TLR-2 signaling pathway. Our experiments revealed an important immunostimulatory activity of the biosynthetic LAM precursor LM. The ratio of LAM to LM in the cell wall of mycobacteria may be an important determinant of virulence, and enzymes that modify LM could provide targets for development of antituberculosis drugs and for derivation of attenuated strains of M. tuberculosis.
PMCID: PMC375177  PMID: 15039328
10.  Mycobacterial Phosphatidylinositol Mannoside 6 (PIM6) Up-Regulates TCR-Triggered HIV-1 Replication in CD4+ T Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e80938.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of mortality among those infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) worldwide. HIV-1 load and heterogeneity are increased both locally and systemically in active TB. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) infection supports HIV-1 replication through dysregulation of host cytokines, chemokines, and their receptors. However the possibility that mycobacterial molecules released from MTB infected macrophages directly interact with CD4+ T cells triggering HIV-1 replication has not been fully explored. We studied the direct effect of different MTB molecules on HIV-1 replication (R5-tropic strain Bal) in anti-CD3- stimulated CD4+ T cells from healthy donors in an antigen presenting cell (APC)-free system. PIM6, a major glycolipid of the mycobacterial cell wall, induced significant increases in the percent of HIV-1 infected T cells and the viral production in culture supernatants. In spite of structural relatedness, none of the other three major MTB cell wall glycolipids had significant impact on HIV-1 replication in T cells. Increased levels of IFN-γ in culture supernatants from cells treated with PIM6 indicate that HIV-1 replication is likely dependent on enhanced T cell activation. In HEK293 cells transfected with TLR2, PIM6 was the strongest TLR2 agonist among the cell wall associated glycolipids tested. PIM6 increased the percentage of HIV infected cells and viral particles in the supernatant in a T-cell-based reporter cell line (JLTRg-R5) transfected with TLR1 and TLR2 but not in the cells transfected with the empty vector (which lack TLR2 expression) confirming that PIM6-induced HIV-1 replication depends at least partially on TLR2 signaling.
PMCID: PMC3839890  PMID: 24282561
11.  Differential roles of Toll-like receptors in the elicitation of proinflammatory responses by macrophages 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2001;60(Suppl 3):iii6-iii12.
BACKGROUND—Mammalian Toll-like receptor (TLR) proteins are pattern recognition receptors for a diverse array of bacterial and viral products. Gram negative bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) activates cells through TLR4, whereas the mycobacterial cell wall glycolipids, lipoarabinomannan (LAM) and mannosylated phosphatidylinositol (PIM), activate cells through TLR2. Furthermore, short term culture filtrates of M tuberculosis bacilli contain a TLR2 agonist activity, termed soluble tuberculosis factor (STF), that appears to be PIM. It was recently shown that stimulation of RAW264.7 murine macrophages by LPS, LAM, STF, and PIM rapidly activated NF-κB, AP1, and MAP kinases.
RESULTS—This study shows that signalling by TLR2 and TLR4 also activates the protein kinase Akt, a downstream target of phosphatidylinositol-3'-kinase (PI-3-K). This finding suggests that activation of PI-3-K represents an additional signalling pathway induced by engagement of TLR2 and TLR4. Subsequently, the functional responses induced by the different TLR agonists were compared. LPS, the mycobacterial glycolipids, and the OspC lipoprotein (a TLR2 agonist) all induced macrophages to secrete tumour necrosis factor α (TNFα), whereas only LPS could induce nitric oxide (NO) secretion. Human alveolar macrophages also exhibited a distinct pattern of cellular response after stimulation with TLR2 and TLR4 agonists. Specifically, LPS induced TNFα, MIP-1β, and RANTES production in these cells, whereas the TLR2 agonists induced only MIP-1β production.
CONCLUSION—Together, these data show that different TLR proteins mediate the activation of distinct cellular responses, despite their shared ability to activate NF-κB, AP1, MAP kinases, and PI-3-K.

PMCID: PMC1766663  PMID: 11890657
12.  Biosynthetic Pathways of Inositol and Glycerol Phosphodiesters Used by the Hyperthermophile Archaeoglobus fulgidus in Stress Adaptation▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(23):8128-8135.
Archaeoglobus fulgidus accumulates di-myo-inositol phosphate (DIP) and diglycerol phosphate (DGP) in response to heat and osmotic stresses, respectively, and the level of glycero-phospho-myo-inositol (GPI) increases primarily when the two stresses are combined. In this work, the pathways for the biosynthesis of these three compatible solutes were established based on the detection of the relevant enzymatic activities and characterization of the intermediate metabolites by nuclear magnetic resonance analysis. The synthesis of DIP proceeds from glucose-6-phosphate via four steps: (i) glucose-6-phosphate was converted into l-myo-inositol 1-phosphate by l-myo-inositol 1-phosphate synthase; (ii) l-myo-inositol 1-phosphate was activated to CDP-inositol at the expense of CTP; this is the first demonstration of CDP-inositol synthesis in a biological system; (iii) CDP-inositol was coupled with l-myo-inositol 1-phosphate to yield a phosphorylated intermediate, 1,1′-di-myo-inosityl phosphate 3-phosphate (DIPP); (iv) finally, DIPP was dephosphorylated into DIP by the action of a phosphatase. The synthesis of the two other polyol-phosphodiesters, DGP and GPI, proceeds via the condensation of CDP-glycerol with the respective phosphorylated polyol, glycerol 3-phosphate for DGP and l-myo-inositol 1-phosphate for GPI, yielding the respective phosphorylated intermediates, 1X,1′X-diglyceryl phosphate 3-phosphate (DGPP) and 1-(1X-glyceryl) myo-inosityl phosphate 3-phosphate (GPIP), which are subsequently dephosphorylated to form the final products. The results disclosed here represent an important step toward the elucidation of the regulatory mechanisms underlying the differential accumulation of these compounds in response to heat and osmotic stresses.
PMCID: PMC1698214  PMID: 17028285
13.  Toward Functional Carboxylate-Bridged Diiron Protein Mimics: Achieving Structural Stability and Conformational Flexibility Using a Macrocylic Ligand Framework 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2011;133(27):10568-10581.
A dinucleating macrocycle, H2PIM, containing phenoxylimine metal-binding units has been prepared. Reaction of H2PIM with [Fe2(Mes)4] (Mes = 2,4,6-trimethylphenyl) and sterically hindered carboxylic acids, Ph3CCO2H or ArTolCO2H (2,6-bis(p-tolyl)benzoic acid), afforded complexes [Fe2(PIM)(Ph3CCO2)2] (1) and [Fe2(PIM)(ArTolCO2)2] (2), respectively. X-ray diffraction studies revealed that these diiron(II) complexes closely mimic the active site structures of the hydroxylase components of bacterial multi-component monooxygenases (BMMs), particularly the syn disposition of the nitrogen donor atoms and the bridging μ-η1η2 and μ-η1η1 modes of the carboxylate ligands at the diiron(II) centers. Cyclic voltammograms of 1 and 2 displayed quasi-reversible redox couples at +16 and +108 mV vs. ferrocene/ferrocenium, respectively. Treatment of 2 with silver perchlorate afforded a silver(I)/iron(III) heterodimetallic complex, [Fe2(μ-OH)2(ClO4)2(PIM)(ArTolCO2)Ag] (3), which was structurally and spectroscopically characterized. Complexes 1 and 2 both react rapidly with dioxygen. Oxygenation of 1 afforded a (μ-hydroxo)diiron(III) complex [Fe2(μ-OH)(PIM)(Ph3CCO2)3] (4), a hexa(μ-hydroxo)tetrairon(III) complex [Fe4(μ-OH)6(PIM)2(Ph3CCO2)2] (5), and an unidentified iron(III) species. Oxygenation of 2 exclusively formed di(carboxylato)diiron(III) compounds, a testimony to the role of the macrocylic ligand in preserving the dinuclear iron center under oxidizing conditions. X-ray crystallographic and 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopic investigations indicated that 2 reacts with dioxygen to give a mixture of (μ-oxo)diiron(III) [Fe2(μ-O)(PIM)(ArTolCO2)2] (6) and di(μ-hydroxo)diiron(III) [Fe2(μ-OH)2(PIM)(ArTolCO2)2] (7) units in the same crystal lattice. Compounds 6 and 7 spontaneously convert to a tetrairon(III) complex, [Fe4(μ-OH)6(PIM)2(ArTolCO2)2] (8), when treated with excess H2O.
PMCID: PMC3149837  PMID: 21682286
14.  Inositol monophosphate phosphatase genes of Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
BMC Microbiology  2010;10:50.
Mycobacteria use inositol in phosphatidylinositol, for anchoring lipoarabinomannan (LAM), lipomannan (LM) and phosphatidylinosotol mannosides (PIMs) in the cell envelope, and for the production of mycothiol, which maintains the redox balance of the cell. Inositol is synthesized by conversion of glucose-6-phosphate to inositol-1-phosphate, followed by dephosphorylation by inositol monophosphate phosphatases (IMPases) to form myo-inositol. To gain insight into how Mycobacterium tuberculosis synthesises inositol we carried out genetic analysis of the four IMPase homologues that are present in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome.
Mutants lacking either impA (Rv1604) or suhB (Rv2701c) were isolated in the absence of exogenous inositol, and no differences in levels of PIMs, LM, LAM or mycothiol were observed. Mutagenesis of cysQ (Rv2131c) was initially unsuccessful, but was possible when a porin-like gene of Mycobacterium smegmatis was expressed, and also by gene switching in the merodiploid strain. In contrast, we could only obtain mutations in impC (Rv3137) when a second functional copy was provided in trans, even when exogenous inositol was provided. Experiments to obtain a mutant in the presence of a second copy of impC containing an active-site mutation, in the presence of porin-like gene of M. smegmatis, or in the absence of inositol 1-phosphate synthase activity, were also unsuccessful. We showed that all four genes are expressed, although at different levels, and levels of inositol phosphatase activity did not fall significantly in any of the mutants obtained.
We have shown that neither impA, suhB nor cysQ is solely responsible for inositol synthesis. In contrast, we show that impC is essential for mycobacterial growth under the conditions we used, and suggest it may be required in the early stages of mycothiol synthesis.
PMCID: PMC2834668  PMID: 20167072
15.  Structural Characterization of Phosphatidyl-myo-Inositol Mannosides from Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette Gúerin by Multiple-Stage Quadrupole Ion-Trap Mass Spectrometry with Electrospray Ionization. II. Monoacyl- and Diacyl-PIMs 
The multiple-stage ion-trap mass spectrometric approaches towards to the structural characterization of the monoacyl-PIM (triacylated PIM) and the diacyl-PIM (tetracylated PIM), namely, the PIM (diacylated PIM) consisting of one or two additional fatty acid substituents attached to the glycoside, respectively, were described. While the assignment and confirmation of the fatty acid substituents on the glycerol backbone can be easily achieved by the methods described in the previous article, the identity of the glycoside moiety and its acylation state can be determined by the observation of a prominent acylglycoside ion arising from cleavage of the diacylglycerol moiety ([M – H – diacylglycerol]−) in the MS2-spectra of monoacyl-PIM and diacyl-PIM. The distinction of the fatty acid substituents on the 2-O-mannoside (i.e., R3CO2H) from that on the inositol (i.e., R4CO2H) is based on the findings that the MS3-spectrum of [M – H – diacylglycerol]− contains a prominent ion arising from further loss of the fatty acid at the 2-O-mannoside (i.e., the [M – H – diacylglycerol – R3CO2H]− ion), while the ion arising from loss of the fatty acid substituent at the inositol (i.e., the [M – H – diacylglycerol – R4CO2H]− ion) is of low abundance. The fatty acyl moiety on the inositol can also be identified by the product-ion spectrum from MS4 of the [M – H – diacylglycerol – R3CO2H]− ion, which gives rise to a prominent ion corresponding to loss of R4CO2H. An [M – H – acylmannose]− ion was also observed in the MS2-spectra and, thus, the identity of the fatty acid substituent attached to 2-O-mannoside can be confirmed. The combined information obtained from the multiple-stage product-ion spectra from MS2, MS3, and MS4 permit the assignment of the complex structures of monoacyl-PIMs and diacyl-PIMs in a mixture isolated from M. bovis Bacillus Calmette Guérin.
PMCID: PMC2044505  PMID: 17141525
16.  A Small-Molecule Inhibitor of PIM Kinases as a Potential Treatment for Urothelial Carcinomas12 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2014;16(5):403-412.
The proto-oncogene proviral integration site for moloney murine leukemia virus (PIM) kinases (PIM-1, PIM-2, and PIM-3) are serine/threonine kinases that are involved in a number of signaling pathways important to cancer cells. PIM kinases act in downstream effector functions as inhibitors of apoptosis and as positive regulators of G1-S phase progression through the cell cycle. PIM kinases are upregulated in multiple cancer indications, including lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, and prostate, gastric, and head and neck cancers. Overexpression of one or more PIM family members in patient tumors frequently correlates with poor prognosis. The aim of this investigation was to evaluate PIM expression in low- and high-grade urothelial carcinoma and to assess the role PIM function in disease progression and their potential to serve as molecular targets for therapy. One hundred thirty-seven cases of urothelial carcinoma were included in this study of surgical biopsy and resection specimens. High levels of expression of all three PIM family members were observed in both noninvasive and invasive urothelial carcinomas. The second-generation PIM inhibitor, TP-3654, displays submicromolar activity in pharmacodynamic biomarker modulation, cell proliferation studies, and colony formation assays using the UM-UC-3 bladder cancer cell line. TP-3654 displays favorable human ether-à-go-go-related gene and cytochrome P450 inhibition profiles compared with the first-generation PIM inhibitor, SGI-1776, and exhibits oral bioavailability. In vivo xenograft studies using a bladder cancer cell line show that PIM kinase inhibition can reduce tumor growth, suggesting that PIM kinase inhibitors may be active in human urothelial carcinomas.
PMCID: PMC4198696  PMID: 24953177
PIM, proviral integration site for moloney murine leukemia virus; STAT, signal transducer and activator of transcription; FLT3, fms-like tyrosine kinase 3; hERG, human ether-à-go-go-related gene; AML, acute myeloid leukemia; BAD, Bcl-2 associated death promoter
17.  Pim-selective inhibitor DHPCC-9 reveals Pim kinases as potent stimulators of cancer cell migration and invasion 
Molecular Cancer  2010;9:279.
Pim family kinases are small constitutively active serine/threonine-specific kinases, elevated levels of which have been detected in human hematopoietic malignancies as well as in solid tumours. While we and others have previously shown that the oncogenic Pim kinases stimulate survival of hematopoietic cells, we now examined their putative role in regulating motility of adherent cancer cells. For this purpose, we inhibited Pim kinase activity using a small molecule compound, 1,10-dihydropyrrolo[2,3-a]carbazole-3-carbaldehyde (DHPCC-9), which we had recently identified as a potent and selective inhibitor for all Pim family members.
We now demonstrate that the Pim kinase inhibitor DHPCC-9 is very effective also in cell-based assays. DHPCC-9 impairs the anti-apoptotic effects of Pim-1 in cytokine-deprived myeloid cells and inhibits intracellular phosphorylation of Pim substrates such as Bad. Moreover, DHPCC-9 slows down migration and invasion of cancer cells derived from either prostate cancer or squamocellular carcinoma patients. Silencing of Pim expression reduces cell motility, while Pim overexpression enhances it, strongly suggesting that the observed effects of DHPCC-9 are dependent on Pim kinase activity. Interestingly, DHPCC-9 also abrogates NFATc-dependent migration of cancer cells, implying that NFATc factors mediate at least part of the pro-migratory effects of Pim kinases.
Altogether, our data indicate that DHPCC-9 is not only a powerful tool to investigate physiological effects of the oncogenic Pim family kinases, but also an attractive molecule for drug development to inhibit invasiveness of Pim-overexpressing cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC2978147  PMID: 20958956
18.  Characterization of myo-Inositol Utilization by Corynebacterium glutamicum: the Stimulon, Identification of Transporters, and Influence on l-Lysine Formation▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(23):8054-8061.
Although numerous bacteria possess genes annotated iol in their genomes, there have been very few studies on the possibly associated myo-inositol metabolism and its significance for the cell. We found that Corynebacterium glutamicum utilizes myo-inositol as a carbon and energy source, enabling proliferation with a high maximum rate of 0.35 h−1. Whole-genome DNA microarray analysis revealed that 31 genes respond to myo-inositol utilization, with 21 of them being localized in two clusters of >14 kb. A set of genomic mutations and functional studies yielded the result that some genes in the two clusters are redundant, and only cluster I is necessary for catabolizing the polyol. There are three genes which encode carriers belonging to the major facilitator superfamily and which exhibit a >12-fold increased mRNA level on myo-inositol. As revealed by mutant characterizations, one carrier is not involved in myo-inositol uptake whereas the other two are active and can completely replace each other with apparent Kms for myo-inositol as a substrate of 0.20 mM and 0.45 mM, respectively. Interestingly, upon utilization of myo-inositol, the l-lysine yield is 0.10 mol/mol, as opposed to 0.30 mol/mol, with glucose as the substrate. This is probably not only due to myo-inositol metabolism alone since a mixture of 187 mM glucose and 17 mM myo-inositol, where the polyol only contributes 8% of the total carbon, reduced the l-lysine yield by 29%. Moreover, genome comparisons with other bacteria highlight the core genes required for growth on myo-inositol, whose metabolism is still weakly defined.
PMCID: PMC1698185  PMID: 16997948
19.  Bifunctional CTP:Inositol-1-Phosphate Cytidylyltransferase/CDP-Inositol:Inositol-1-Phosphate Transferase, the Key Enzyme for Di-myo-Inositol-Phosphate Synthesis in Several (Hyper)thermophiles▿ †  
Journal of Bacteriology  2007;189(15):5405-5412.
The pathway for the synthesis of di-myo-inositol-phosphate (DIP) was recently elucidated on the basis of the detection of the relevant activities in cell extracts of Archaeoglobus fulgidus and structural characterization of products by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) (N. Borges, L. G. Gonçalves, M. V. Rodrigues, F. Siopa, R. Ventura, C. Maycock, P. Lamosa, and H. Santos, J. Bacteriol. 188:8128-8135, 2006). Here, a genomic approach was used to identify the genes involved in the synthesis of DIP. Cloning and expression in Escherichia coli of the putative genes for CTP:l-myo-inositol-1-phosphate cytidylyltransferase and DIPP (di-myo-inositol-1,3′-phosphate-1′-phosphate, a phosphorylated form of DIP) synthase from several (hyper)thermophiles (A. fulgidus, Pyrococcus furiosus, Thermococcus kodakaraensis, Aquifex aeolicus, and Rubrobacter xylanophilus) confirmed the presence of those activities in the gene products. The DIPP synthase activity was part of a bifunctional enzyme that catalyzed the condensation of CTP and l-myo-inositol-1-phosphate into CDP-l-myo-inositol, as well as the synthesis of DIPP from CDP-l-myo-inositol and l-myo-inositol-1-phosphate. The cytidylyltransferase was absolutely specific for CTP and l-myo-inositol-1-P; the DIPP synthase domain used only l-myo-inositol-1-phosphate as an alcohol acceptor, but CDP-glycerol, as well as CDP-l-myo-inositol and CDP-d-myo-inositol, were recognized as alcohol donors. Genome analysis showed homologous genes in all organisms known to accumulate DIP and for which genome sequences were available. In most cases, the two activities (l-myo-inositol-1-P cytidylyltransferase and DIPP synthase) were fused in a single gene product, but separate genes were predicted in Aeropyrum pernix, Thermotoga maritima, and Hyperthermus butylicus. Additionally, using l-myo-inositol-1-phosphate labeled on C-1 with carbon 13, the stereochemical configuration of all the metabolites involved in DIP synthesis was established by NMR analysis. The two inositol moieties in DIP had different stereochemical configurations, in contradiction of previous reports. The use of the designation di-myo-inositol-1,3′-phosphate is recommended to facilitate tracing individual carbon atoms through metabolic pathways.
PMCID: PMC1951816  PMID: 17526717
20.  Activation of Dendritic Cells by Liposomes Prepared from Phosphatidylinositol Mannosides from Mycobacterium bovis Bacillus Calmette-Guérin and Adjuvant Activity In Vivo†  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(9):5235-5246.
Liposome vesicles could be formed at 65°C from the chloroform-soluble, total polar lipids (TPL) extracted from Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG). Mice immunized with ovalbumin (OVA) entrapped in TPL liposomes produced both anti-OVA antibody and cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses. Murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells were activated to secrete interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor upon exposure to antigen-free TPL liposomes. Three phosphoglycolipids and three phospholipids comprising 96% of TPL were identified as phosphatidylinositol dimannoside, palmitoyl-phosphatidylinositol dimannoside, dipalmitoyl-phosphatidylinositol dimannoside, phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylethanolamine, and cardiolipin. The activation of dendritic cells by liposomes prepared from each purified lipid component of TPL was evaluated in vitro. A basal activity of phosphatidylinositol liposomes to activate proinflammatory cytokine production appeared to be attributable to the tuberculosteric fatty acyl 19:0 chain characteristic of mycobacterial glycerolipids, as similar lipids lacking tuberculosteric chains showed little activity. Phosphatidylinositol dimannoside was identified as the primary lipid that activated dendritic cells to produce amounts of proinflammatory cytokines several times higher than the basal level, indicating the importance of mannose residues. Although the activity of phosphatidylinositol dimannoside was little influenced by palmitoylation of mannose at C-6, a further palmitoylation at inositol C-3 diminished the induction levels of IL-6 and IL-12. Further, OVA entrapped in palmitoyl-phosphatidylinositol dimannoside liposomes was delivered to dendritic cells for major histocompatibility complex class I presentation more effectively than TPL OVA-liposomes. BCG liposomes containing mannose lipids caused up-regulation of costimulatory molecules and CD40. Thus, the inclusion of pure phosphatidylinositol mannosides of BCG in lipid vesicle vaccines represents a simple and efficient option for targeting antigen delivery and providing immune stimulation.
PMCID: PMC517455  PMID: 15322018
21.  EBNA3C Augments Pim-1 Mediated Phosphorylation and Degradation of p21 to Promote B-Cell Proliferation 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(8):e1004304.
Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), a ubiquitous human herpesvirus, can latently infect the human population. EBV is associated with several types of malignancies originating from lymphoid and epithelial cell types. EBV latent antigen 3C (EBNA3C) is essential for EBV-induced immortalization of B-cells. The Moloney murine leukemia provirus integration site (PIM-1), which encodes an oncogenic serine/threonine kinase, is linked to several cellular functions involving cell survival, proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Notably, enhanced expression of Pim-1 kinase is associated with numerous hematological and non-hematological malignancies. A higher expression level of Pim-1 kinase is associated with EBV infection, suggesting a crucial role for Pim-1 in EBV-induced tumorigenesis. We now demonstrate a molecular mechanism which reveals a direct role for EBNA3C in enhancing Pim-1 expression in EBV-infected primary B-cells. We also showed that EBNA3C is physically associated with Pim-1 through its amino-terminal domain, and also forms a molecular complex in B-cells. EBNA3C can stabilize Pim-1 through abrogation of the proteasome/Ubiquitin pathway. Our results demonstrate that EBNA3C enhances Pim-1 mediated phosphorylation of p21 at the Thr145 residue. EBNA3C also facilitated the nuclear localization of Pim-1, and promoted EBV transformed cell proliferation by altering Pim-1 mediated regulation of the activity of the cell-cycle inhibitor p21/WAF1. Our study demonstrated that EBNA3C significantly induces Pim-1 mediated proteosomal degradation of p21. A significant reduction in cell proliferation of EBV-transformed LCLs was observed upon stable knockdown of Pim-1. This study describes a critical role for the oncoprotein Pim-1 in EBV-mediated oncogenesis, as well as provides novel insights into oncogenic kinase-targeted therapeutic intervention of EBV-associated cancers.
Author Summary
The oncogenic serine/threonine kinase Pim-1 is upregulated in a number of human cancers including lymphomas, gastric, colorectal and prostate carcinomas. EBV nuclear antigen 3C (EBNA3C) is essential for EBV-induced transformation of human primary B-lymphocytes. Our current study revealed that EBNA3C significantly enhances Pim-1 kinase expression at both the transcript and protein levels. EBNA3C also interacts with Pim-1 and can form a complex in EBV-transformed cells. Moreover, EBNA3C increases nuclear localization of Pim-1 and stabilizes Pim-1 protein levels by inhibiting its poly-ubiquitination. Additionally, EBNA3C augments Pim-1 mediated phosphorylation of p21 and its proteosomal degradation. Stable knockdown of Pim-1 using si-RNA showed a significant decrease in proliferation of EBV transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines and subsequent induction of apoptosis by triggering the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Therefore, our study demonstrated a new mechanism by which the oncogenic Pim-1 kinase targeted by EBV latent antigen 3C can inhibit p21 function, and is therefore a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of EBV-associated malignancies.
PMCID: PMC4133388  PMID: 25121590
22.  A defect in sodium-dependent amino acid uptake in diabetic rabbit peripheral nerve. Correction by an aldose reductase inhibitor or myo-inositol administration. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1990;85(5):1657-1665.
A myo-inositol-related defect in nerve sodium-potassium ATPase activity in experimental diabetes has been suggested as a possible pathogenetic factor in diabetic neuropathy. Because the sodium-potassium ATPase is essential for other sodium-cotransport systems, and because myo-inositol-derived phosphoinositide metabolites regulate multiple membrane transport processes, sodium gradient-dependent amino acid uptake was examined in vitro in endoneurial preparations derived from nondiabetic and 14-d alloxan diabetic rabbits. Untreated alloxan diabetes reduced endoneurial sodium-gradient dependent uptake of the nonmetabolized amino acid 2-aminoisobutyric acid by greater than 50%. Administration of an aldose reductase inhibitor prevented reductions in both nerve myo-inositol content and endoneurial sodium-dependent 2-aminoisobutyric acid uptake. Myo-inositol supplementation that produced a transient pharmacological elevation in plasma myo-inositol concentration, but did not raise nerve myo-inositol content, reproduced the effect of the aldose reductase inhibitor on endoneurial sodium-dependent 2-aminoisobutyric acid uptake. Phorbol myristate acetate, which acutely normalizes sodium-potassium ATPase activity in diabetic nerve, did not acutely correct 2-aminoisobutyric uptake when added in vitro. These data suggest that depletion of a small myo-inositol pool may be implicated in the pathogenesis of defects in amino acid uptake in diabetic nerve and that rapid correction of sodium-potassium ATPase activity with protein kinase C agonists in vitro does not acutely normalize sodium-dependent 2-aminoisobutyric acid uptake.
PMCID: PMC296618  PMID: 2185278
23.  Chemical Synthesis and Molecular Recognition of Phosphatase-Resistant Analogues of Phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate 
The remodeling of phosphatidylinositol polyphosphates in cellular membranes by phosphatases and kinases orchestrates the signaling by these lipids in space and time. In order to provide chemical tools to study of the changes in cell physiology mediated by these lipids, three new metabolically-stabilized (ms) analogues of phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate (PtdIns(3)P were synthesized. We describe herein the total asymmetric synthesis of 3-methylphosphonate, 3-monofluoromethylphosphonate and 3-phosphorothioate analogues of PtdIns(3)P. From differentially protected D-myo-inositol key intermediates, a versatile phosphoramidite reagent was employed in the synthesis of PtdIns(3)P analogues with diacylglyceryl moieties containing dioleoyl, dipalmitoyl and dibutyryl chains. In addition, we introduce a new phosphorlyation reagent, monofluoromethylphosphonyl chloride, which has general applications for the preparation of “pKa-matched” monofluorophosphonates. These ms-PtdIns(3)P analogues exhibited reduced binding activities with 15N-labelled FYVE and PX domains, as significant 1H and 15N chemical shift changes in the FYVE domain were induced by titrating ms-PtdIns(3)Ps into membrane-mimetic dodecylphosphocholine (DPC) micelles. In addition, the PtdIns(3)P analogues with dioleyl and dipalmitoyl chains were substrates for the 5-kinase enzyme PIKfyve; the corresponding phosphorylated ms-PI(3,5)P2 products were detected by radio-TLC analysis.
PMCID: PMC2535791  PMID: 16417379
24.  Ppm1-Encoded Polyprenyl Monophosphomannose Synthase Activity Is Essential for Lipoglycan Synthesis and Survival in Mycobacteria 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48211.
The biosynthesis of mycobacterial mannose-containing lipoglycans, such as lipomannan (LM) and the immunomodulator lipoarabinomanan (LAM), is carried out by the GT-C superfamily of glycosyltransferases that require polyprenylphosphate-based mannose (PPM) as a sugar donor. The essentiality of lipoglycan synthesis for growth makes the glycosyltransferase that synthesizes PPM, a potential drug target in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis. In M. tuberculosis, PPM has been shown to be synthesized by Ppm1 in enzymatic assays. However, genetic evidence for its essentiality and in vivo role in LM/LAM and PPM biosynthesis is lacking. In this study, we demonstrate that MSMEG3859, a Mycobacterium smegmatis gene encoding the homologue of the catalytic domain of M. tuberculosis Ppm1, is essential for survival. Depletion of MSMEG3859 in a conditional mutant of M. smegmatis resulted in the loss of higher order phosphatidyl-myo-inositol mannosides (PIMs) and lipomannan. We were also able to demonstrate that two other M. tuberculosis genes encoding glycosyltransferases that either had been shown to possess PPM synthase activity (Rv3779), or were involved in synthesizing similar polyprenol-linked donors (ppgS), were unable to compensate for the loss of MSMEG3859 in the conditional mutant.
PMCID: PMC3485146  PMID: 23118955
25.  Novel benzylidene-thiazolidine-2,4-diones inhibit Pim protein kinase activity and induce cell cycle arrest in leukemia and prostate cancer cells 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2009;8(6):1473-1483.
The Pim protein kinases play important roles in cancer development and progression, including prostate tumors and hematologic malignancies. To investigate the potential role of these enzymes as anticancer drug targets, we have synthesized novel benzylidene-thiazolidine-2,4-diones that function as potent Pim protein kinase inhibitors. With IC50 values in the nanomolar range, these compounds block the ability of Pim to phosphorylate peptides and proteins in vitro and, when added to DU145 prostate cancer cells overex-pressing Pim, inhibit the ability of this enzyme to phosphorylate a known substrate, the BH3 protein BAD. When added to prostate cancer cell lines, including PC3, DU145, and CWR22Rv1, and human leukemic cells, MV4;11, K562, and U937 cells, these compounds induce G1-S cell cycle arrest and block the antiapoptotic effect of the Pim protein kinase. The cell cycle arrest induced by these compounds is associated with an inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase 2 and activity and translocation of the Pim-1 substrate p27Kip1, a cyclin-dependent kinase 2 inhibitory protein, to the nucleus. Furthermore, when added to leukemic cells, these compounds synergize with the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor rapamycin to decrease the phosphorylation level of the translational repressor 4E-BP1 at sites phosphorylated by mammalian target of rapamycin. Combinations of rapamycin and the benzylidene-thiazolidine-2,4-diones synergistically block the growth of leukemic cells. Thus, these agents represent novel Pim inhibitors and point to an important role for the Pim protein kinases in cell cycle control in multiple types of cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3415237  PMID: 19509254

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