Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) is a crucial step leading to apoptotic destruction of cancer cells. Bcl-2 family proteins delicately regulate mitochondrial outer membrane integrity through protein-protein interactions, which makes the mitochondrion an ideal cell-free system for screening molecules targeting the Bcl-2 anti-apoptotic proteins. But assay conditions need to be optimized for more reliable results. In this study, we aimed at establishing a reliable functional assay using mitochondria isolated from breast cancer cells to decipher the mode of action of BH3 peptides derived from BH3-only proteins. In this study, high ionic strength buffer was adopted during the initiation of MOMP. Mitochondria isolated from human breast cancer cell lines with distinct expression patterns of Bcl-2 anti-apoptotic proteins were permeabilized by different BH3 peptides alone or in combination, with or without the presence of recombinant anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins. Cytochrome C and Smac/Diablo were tested in both supernatants and mitochondrial pellets by Western blotting.
Sufficient ionic strength was required for optimal release of Cytochrome C. Bad and Noxa BH3 peptides exhibited their bona fide antagonistic effects against Bcl-2/Bcl-xL and Mcl-1 proteins, respectively, whereas Bim BH3 peptide antagonized all three anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 members. Bad and Noxa peptides synergized with each other in the induction of MOMP when mitochondria were dually protected by both Bcl-2/Bcl-xL and Mcl-1.
This method based on MOMP is a useful screening tool for identifying BH3 mimetics with selective toxicity against breast cancer cell mitochondria protected by the three major Bcl-2 anti-apoptotic proteins.
Mitochondrion; B cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2); Bcl-2 homolog domain 3 (BH3); Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP)
Plant expansins and fungal swollenin that can disrupt crystalline cellulose have great potential for applications in conversion of biomass. Recent studies have been mainly focused on Trichoderma reesei swollenin that show relatively low activity in the promotion of cellulosic hydrolysis. Our aim was to isolate a novel swollenin with greater disruptive activity, to establish an efficient way of producing recombinant swollenin, and to optimize the procedure using swollenin in facilitation of cellulosic hydrolysis.
A novel gene encoding a swollenin-like protein, POSWOI, was isolated from the filamentous fungus Penicillium oxalicum by Thermal Asymmetric Interlaced PCR (TAIL-PCR). It consisted of a family 1 carbohydrate-binding module (CBM1) followed by a linker connected to a family 45 endoglucanase-like domain. Using the cellobiohydrolase I promoter, recombinant POSWOI was efficiently produced in T. reesei with a yield of 105 mg/L, and showed significant disruptive activity on crystalline cellulose. Simultaneous reaction with both POSWOI and cellulases enhanced the hydrolysis of crystalline cellulose Avicel by approximately 50%. Using a POSWOI-pretreatment procedure, cellulases can produce nearly twice as many reducing sugars as without pretreatment. The mechanism by which POSWOI facilitates the saccharification of cellulose was also studied using a cellulase binding assay.
We present a novel fungal swollenin with considerable disruptive activity on crystalline cellulose, and develop a better procedure for using swollenin in facilitating cellulosic hydrolysis. We thus provide a new approach for the effective bioconversion of cellulosic biomass.
Cellulase; Cellulose; Expansin; Swollenin; Penicillium oxalicum; Trichoderma reesei
Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) using genetically engineered donor cells is currently the most widely used strategy to generate tailored pig models for biomedical research. Although this approach facilitates a similar spectrum of genetic modifications as in rodent models, the outcome in terms of live cloned piglets is quite variable. In this study, we aimed at a comprehensive analysis of environmental and experimental factors that are substantially influencing the efficiency of generating genetically engineered pigs. Based on a considerably large data set from 274 SCNT experiments (in total 18,649 reconstructed embryos transferred into 193 recipients), performed over a period of three years, we assessed the relative contribution of season, type of genetic modification, donor cell source, number of cloning rounds, and pre-selection of cloned embryos for early development to the cloning efficiency.
109 (56%) recipients became pregnant and 85 (78%) of them gave birth to offspring. Out of 318 cloned piglets, 243 (76%) were alive, but only 97 (40%) were clinically healthy and showed normal development. The proportion of stillborn piglets was 24% (75/318), and another 31% (100/318) of the cloned piglets died soon after birth. The overall cloning efficiency, defined as the number of offspring born per SCNT embryos transferred, including only recipients that delivered, was 3.95%. SCNT experiments performed during winter using fetal fibroblasts or kidney cells after additive gene transfer resulted in the highest number of live and healthy offspring, while two or more rounds of cloning and nuclear transfer experiments performed during summer decreased the number of healthy offspring.
Although the effects of individual factors may be different between various laboratories, our results and analysis strategy will help to identify and optimize the factors, which are most critical to cloning success in programs aiming at the generation of genetically engineered pig models.
Transgenic pig; Knockout pig; Somatic cell nuclear transfer; Multi-factorial analysis
In situ magnetic separation (ISMS) has emerged as a powerful tool to overcome process constraints such as product degradation or inhibition of target production. In the present work, an integrated ISMS process was established for the production of his-tagged single chain fragment variable (scFv) D1.3 antibodies (“D1.3”) produced by E. coli in complex media. This study investigates the impact of ISMS on the overall product yield as well as its biocompatibility with the bioprocess when metal-chelate and triazine-functionalized magnetic beads were used.
Both particle systems are well suited for separation of D1.3 during cultivation. While the triazine beads did not negatively impact the bioprocess, the application of metal-chelate particles caused leakage of divalent copper ions in the medium. After the ISMS step, elevated copper concentrations above 120 mg/L in the medium negatively influenced D1.3 production. Due to the stable nature of the model protein scFv D1.3 in the biosuspension, the application of ISMS could not increase the overall D1.3 yield as was shown by simulation and experiments.
We could demonstrate that triazine-functionalized beads are a suitable low-cost alternative to selectively adsorb D1.3 fragments, and measured maximum loads of 0.08 g D1.3 per g of beads. Although copper-loaded metal-chelate beads did adsorb his-tagged D1.3 well during cultivation, this particle system must be optimized by minimizing metal leakage from the beads in order to avoid negative inhibitory effects on growth of the microorganisms and target production. Hereby, other types of metal chelate complexes should be tested to demonstrate biocompatibility. Such optimized particle systems can be regarded as ISMS platform technology, especially for the production of antibodies and their fragments with low stability in the medium. The proposed model can be applied to design future ISMS experiments in order to maximize the overall product yield while the amount of particles being used is minimized as well as the number of required ISMS steps.
In situ product removal; Magnetic separation; Protein purification; Affinity ligands; Triazine beads; Metal chelate beads; Recombinant scFv antibody fragments; Extracellular protein; Escherichia coli fermentation; Complex media
The reconstitution of membrane proteins and complexes into nanoscale lipid bilayer structures has contributed significantly to biochemical and biophysical analyses. Current methods for performing such reconstitutions entail an initial detergent-mediated step to solubilize and isolate membrane proteins. Exposure to detergents, however, can destabilize many membrane proteins and result in a loss of function. Amphipathic copolymers have recently been used to stabilize membrane proteins and complexes following suitable detergent extraction. However, the ability of these copolymers to extract proteins directly from native lipid bilayers for subsequent reconstitution and characterization has not been explored.
The styrene-maleic acid (SMA) copolymer effectively solubilized membranes of isolated mitochondria and extracted protein complexes. Membrane complexes were reconstituted into polymer-bound nanoscale discs along with endogenous lipids. Using respiratory Complex IV as a model, these particles were shown to maintain the enzymatic activity of multicomponent electron transporting complexes.
We report a novel process for reconstituting fully operational protein complexes directly from cellular membranes into nanoscale lipid bilayers using the SMA copolymer. This facile, single-step strategy obviates the requirement for detergents and yields membrane complexes suitable for structural and functional studies.
Styrene-maleic acid; Copolymer; Amphipols; Membrane proteins; Nanoscale model membranes; Mitochondria; Lipodisqs®
Plants are recognized as an efficient and inexpensive system to produce valuable recombinant proteins. Two different strategies have been commonly used for the expression of recombinant proteins in plants: transient expression mediated by Agrobacterium; or stable transformation of the plant genome. However, the use of plants as bioreactors still faces two main limitations: low accumulation levels of some recombinant proteins and lack of efficient purification methods. Elastin-like polypeptide (ELP), hydrophobin I (HFBI) and Zera® are three fusion partners found to increase the accumulation levels of recombinant proteins and induce the formation of protein bodies (PBs) in leaves when targeted to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) in transient expression assays. In this study the effects of ELP and HFBI fusion tags on recombinant protein accumulation levels and PB formation was examined in stable transgenic Nicotiana tabacum.
The accumulation of recombinant protein and PB formation was evaluated in two cultivars of Nicotiana tabacum transformed with green fluorescent protein (GFP) fused to ELP or HFBI, both targeted and retrieved to the ER. The ELP and HFBI tags increased the accumulation of the recombinant protein and induced the formation of PBs in leaves of stable transgenic plants from both cultivars. Furthermore, these tags induced the formation of PBs in a concentration-dependent manner, where a specific level of recombinant protein accumulation was required for PBs to appear. Moreover, agro-infiltration of plants accumulating low levels of recombinant protein with p19, a suppressor of post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS), increased accumulation levels in four independent transgenic lines, suggesting that PTGS might have caused the low accumulation levels in these plants.
The use of ELP and HFBI tags as fusion partners in stable transgenic plants of tobacco is feasible and promising. In a constitutive environment, these tags increase the accumulation levels of the recombinant protein and induce the formation of PBs regardless of the cultivar used. However, a specific level of recombinant protein accumulation needs to be reached for PBs to form.
Protein body; Protein body formation; Elastin-like polypeptide; ELP; Hydrophobin I; HFBI; Tobacco; Transgenic expression; Molecular farming; Green fluorescent protein
Lack of accounting for proton uptake and secretion has confounded interpretation of the stoichiometry of photosynthetic growth of algae. This is also problematic for achieving growth of microalgae to high cell concentrations which is necessary to improve productivity and the economic feasibility of commercial-scale chemical production systems. Since microalgae are capable of consuming both nitrate and ammonium, this represents an opportunity to balance culture pH based on a nitrogen feeding strategy that does not utilize gas-phase CO2 buffering. Stoichiometry suggests that approximately 36 weight%N-NH4+ (balance nitrogen as NO3-) would minimize the proton imbalance and permit high-density photoautotrophic growth as it does in higher plant tissue culture. However, algal media almost exclusively utilize nitrate, and ammonium is often viewed as ‘toxic’ to algae.
The microalgae Chlorella vulgaris and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii exclusively utilize ammonium when both ammonium and nitrate are provided during growth on excess CO2. The resulting proton imbalance from preferential ammonium utilization causes the pH to drop too low to sustain further growth when ammonium was only 9% of the total nitrogen (0.027 gN-NH4+/L). However, providing smaller amounts of ammonium sequentially in the presence of nitrate maintained the pH of a Chlorella vulgaris culture for improved growth on 0.3 gN/L to 5 gDW/L under 5% CO2 gas-phase supplementation. Bioreactor pH dynamics are shown to be predictable based on simple nitrogen assimilation as long as there is sufficient CO2 availability.
This work provides both a media formulation and a feeding strategy with a focus on nitrogen metabolism and regulation to support high-density algal culture without buffering. The instability in culture pH that is observed in microalgal cultures in the absence of buffers can be overcome through alternating utilization of ammonium and nitrate. Despite the highly regulated array of nitrogen transporters, providing a nitrogen source with a balanced degree of reduction minimizes pH fluctuations. Understanding and accommodating the behavior of nitrogen utilization in microalgae is key to avoiding ‘culture crash’ and reliance on gas phase CO2 buffering, which becomes both ineffective and cost-prohibitive for commercial-scale algal culture.
Microalgae; Nitrogen metabolism; pH control; Stoichiometry; High density; Chlorella vulgaris; Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Basidiomycete high-redox potential laccases (HRPLs) working in human physiological fluids (pH 7.4, 150 mM NaCl) arise great interest in the engineering of 3D-nanobiodevices for biomedical uses. In two previous reports, we described the directed evolution of a HRPL from basidiomycete PM1 strain CECT 2971: i) to be expressed in an active, soluble and stable form in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and ii) to be active in human blood. In spite of the fact that S. cerevisiae is suited for the directed evolution of HRPLs, the secretion levels obtained in this host are not high enough for further research and exploitation. Thus, the search for an alternative host to over-express the evolved laccases is mandatory.
A blood-active laccase (ChU-B mutant) fused to the native/evolved α-factor prepro-leader was cloned under the control of two different promoters (PAOX1 and PGAP) and expressed in Pichia pastoris. The most active construct, which contained the PAOX1 and the evolved prepro-leader, was fermented in a 42-L fed-batch bioreactor yielding production levels of 43 mg/L. The recombinant laccase was purified to homogeneity and thoroughly characterized. As happened in S. cerevisiae, the laccase produced by P. pastoris presented an extra N-terminal extension (ETEAEF) generated by an alternative processing of the α-factor pro-leader at the Golgi compartment. The laccase mutant secreted by P. pastoris showed the same improved properties acquired after several cycles of directed evolution in S. cerevisiae for blood-tolerance: a characteristic pH-activity profile shifted to the neutral-basic range and a greatly increased resistance against inhibition by halides. Slight biochemical differences between both expression systems were found in glycosylation, thermostability and turnover numbers.
The tandem-yeast system based on S. cerevisiae to perform directed evolution and P. pastoris to over-express the evolved laccases constitutes a promising approach for the in vitro evolution and production of these enzymes towards different biocatalytic and bioelectrochemical applications.
High-redox potential laccase; Functional expression; Pichia pastoris; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Directed evolution; Halide inhibition; Hydroxyl inhibition; Blood tolerance
Selectable marker genes (SMGs) and selection agents are useful tools in the production of transgenic plants by selecting transformed cells from a matrix consisting of mostly untransformed cells. Most SMGs express protein products that confer antibiotic- or herbicide resistance traits, and typically reside in the end product of genetically-modified (GM) plants. The presence of these genes in GM plants, and subsequently in food, feed and the environment, are of concern and subject to special government regulation in many countries. The presence of SMGs in GM plants might also, in some cases, result in a metabolic burden for the host plants. Their use also prevents the re-use of the same SMG when a second transformation scheme is needed to be performed on the transgenic host. In recent years, several strategies have been developed to remove SMGs from GM products while retaining the transgenes of interest. This review describes the existing strategies for SMG removal, including the implementation of site specific recombination systems, TALENs and ZFNs. This review discusses the advantages and disadvantages of existing SMG-removal strategies and explores possible future research directions for SMG removal including emerging technologies for increased precision for genome modification.
Biosafety; Clean-gene technology; Co-transformation; Homologous recombination; Intra-chromosomal recombination; Marker-free; Meganuclease; Negative selection; Site-specific recombination; TAL effector nucleases; Transposons; Zinc finger nuclease
The ongoing global efforts to control influenza epidemics and pandemics require high-throughput technologies to detect, quantify, and functionally characterize viral isolates. The 2009 influenza pandemic as well as the recent in-vitro selection of highly transmissible H5N1 variants have only increased existing concerns about emerging influenza strains with significantly enhanced human-to-human transmissibility. High-affinity binding of the virus hemagglutinin to human receptor glycans is a highly sensitive and stringent indicator of host adaptation and virus transmissibility. The surveillance of receptor-binding characteristics can therefore provide a strong additional indicator for the relative hazard imposed by circulating and newly emerging influenza strains.
Streptavidin-coated microspheres were coated with selected biotinylated glycans to mimic either human or avian influenza host-cell receptors. Such glycospheres were used to selectively capture influenza virus of diverse subtypes from a variety of samples. Bound virus was then detected by fluorescently labelled antibodies and analyzed by quantitative flow cytometry. Recombinant hemagglutinin, inactivated virus, and influenza virions were captured and analyzed with regards to receptor specificity over a wide range of analyte concentration. High-throughput analyses of influenza virus produced dose–response curves that allow for functional assessment of relative receptor affinity and thus transmissibility.
Modular glycosphere assays for high-throughput functional characterization of influenza viruses introduce an important tool to augment the surveillance of clinical and veterinarian influenza isolates with regards to receptor specificity, host adaptation, and virus transmissibility.
Sialoadhesin (Sn)-expressing monocytes/macrophages have been associated with several diseases like inflammatory and autoimmune disorders as well as viral infections, and they also appear to play a role in the initiation of an adaptive immune response. This makes Sn-expressing cells not only attractive targets for cell-directed therapies, but also an appealing target for vaccination. Furthermore, since Sn was shown to be an endocytic receptor, the conjugation of effector molecules to an Sn-specific ligand should allow intracellular delivery of these conjugates. Previously, we developed functional Sn-specific immunoconjugates that were generated via chemical coupling. Although successful, the system requires significant optimization for each immunoconjugate to be made. To generate a more flexible and controlled system, we developed a recombinant antibody vector allowing the creation of genetic antibody fusion constructs. This paper reports on the characterization of the recombinant antibody and the evaluation of its use for Sn-directed targeting.
The variable domains of the porcine Sn-specific monoclonal antibody 41D3 were sequenced and cloned in frame with a mouse IgG1 backbone. Transfection of HEK293T cells with the resulting plasmid led to the secretion of fully assembled IgG into the culture medium. This recombinant antibody rec41D3 was shown to specifically bind to porcine Sn with a comparable affinity as the native monoclonal antibody. In addition, rec41D3 also induced Sn endocytosis in primary macrophages and resided for prolonged times in early/late endosomes. To allow the generation of antibody fusion constructs, a multiple cloning site was introduced at the C-terminus of the heavy chain. Two fusion constructs were generated, one containing a V5 peptide tag and one containing an eGFP molecule. Both constructs were shown to be efficiently produced in HEK293T cells and easily purified using standard protein G chromatography. In addition, both V5 and eGFP were shown to be co-internalized together with rec41D3 into Sn-expressing primary macrophages.
A recombinant antibody allowing targeted delivery of peptides and proteins to Sn-expressing macrophages was developed. Production and purification of antibody fusion constructs was possible without major optimization and with batch to batch consistency, confirming the development of a versatile antibody vector to evaluate Sn-directed targeting strategies in a porcine animal model.
Macrophage; Sialoadhesin; CD169; Siglec-1; Recombinant antibody; Targeting; Cell-directed therapy
Human α-synuclein is a small-sized, natively unfolded protein that in fibrillar form is the primary component of Lewy bodies, the pathological hallmark of Parkinson’s disease. Experimental evidence suggests that α-synuclein aggregation is the key event that triggers neurotoxicity although additional findings have proposed a protective role of α-synuclein against oxidative stress. One way to address the mechanism of this protective action is to evaluate α-synuclein-mediated protection by delivering this protein inside cells using a chimeric protein fused with the Tat-transduction domain of HIV Tat, named TAT-α-synuclein.
A reliable protocol was designed to efficiently express and purify two different forms of human α-synuclein. The synthetic cDNAs encoding for the native α-synuclein and the fusion protein with the transduction domain of Tat protein from HIV were overexpressed in a BL21(DE3) E. coli strain as His-tagged proteins. The recombinant proteins largely localized (≥ 85%) to the periplasmic space. By using a quick purification protocol, based on recovery of periplasmic space content and metal-chelating chromatography, the recombinant α-synuclein protein forms could be purified in a single step to ≥ 95% purity. Both α-synuclein recombinant proteins form fibrils and the TAT-α-synuclein is also cytotoxic in the micromolar concentration range.
To further characterize the molecular mechanisms of α-synuclein neurotoxicity both in vitro and in vivo and to evaluate the relevance of extracellular α-synuclein for the pathogenesis and progression of Parkinson’s disease, a suitable method to produce different high-quality forms of this pathological protein is required. Our optimized expression and purification procedure offers an easier and faster means of producing different forms (i.e., both the native and the TAT-fusion form) of soluble recombinant α-synuclein than previously described procedures.
α-Synuclein; TAT-fusion protein; Recombinant proteins; Parkinson’s disease; Oxidative stress; Protein aggregation
The editors of BMC Biotechnology would like to thank all of our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 12 (2012).
Human interactome is predicted to contain 150,000 to 300,000 protein-protein interactions, (PPIs). Protein-fragment complementation assay (PCA) is one of the most widely used methods to detect PPI, as well as Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET). To date, successful applications of firefly luciferase (Fluc)-based PCA have been reported in vivo, in cultured cells and in cell-free lysate, owing to its high sensitivity, high signal-to-background (S/B) ratio, and reversible response. Here we show the assay also works with purified proteins with unexpectedly rapid kinetics.
Split Fluc fragments both fused with a rapamycin-dependently interacting protein pair were made and expressed in E. coli system, and purified to homogeneity. When the proteins were used for PCA to detect rapamycin-dependent PPI, they enabled a rapid detection (~1 s) of PPI with high S/B ratio. When Fn7-8 domains (7 nm in length) that was shown to abrogate GFP mutant-based FRET was inserted between split Fluc and FKBP12 as a rigid linker, it still showed some response, suggesting less limitation in interacting partner’s size. Finally, the stability of the probe was investigated. Preincubation of the probes at 37 degreeC up to 1 h showed marked decrease of the luminescent signal to 1.5%, showing the limited stability of this system.
Fluc PCA using purified components will enable a rapid and handy detection of PPIs with high S/B ratio, avoiding the effects of concomitant components. Although the system might not be suitable for large-scale screening due to its limited stability, it can detect an interaction over larger distance than by FRET. This would be the first demonstration of Fluc PCA in vitro, which has a distinct advantage over other PPI assays. Our system enables detection of direct PPIs without risk of perturbation by PPI mediators in the complex cellular milieu.
Protein-protein interaction; Firefly luciferase; Bioluminescence; Protein fragment complementation assay; Thermostability; In vitro diagnostics
Techniques that enable high levels of transgene expression in plants are attractive for the commercial production of plant-made recombinant pharmaceutical proteins or other gene transfer related strategies. The conventional way to increase the yield of desired transgenic products is to use strong promoters to control the expression of the transgene. Although many such promoters have been identified and characterized, the increase obtainable from a single promoter is ultimately limited to a certain extent.
In this study, we report a method to magnify the effect of a single promoter by using a weak promoter-based selection system in transgenic rice. tCUP1, a fragment derived from the tobacco cryptic promoter (tCUP), was tested for its activity in rice by fusion to both a β-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter and a hygromycin phosphotransferase (HPT) selectable marker. The tCUP1 promoter allowed the recovery of transformed rice plants and conferred tissue specific expression of the GUS reporter, but was much weaker than the CaMV 35S promoter in driving a selectable marker for growth of resistant calli. However, in the resistant calli and regenerated transgenic plants selected by the use of tCUP1, the constitutive expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP) was dramatically increased as a result of the additive effect of multiple T-DNA insertions. The correlation between attenuated selection by a weak promoter and elevation of copy number and foreign gene expression was confirmed by using another relatively weak promoter from nopaline synthase (Nos).
The use of weak promoter derived selectable markers leads to a high T-DNA copy number and then greatly increases the expression of the foreign gene. The method described here provides an effective approach to robustly enhance the expression of heterogenous transgenes through copy number manipulation in rice.
tCUP; Promoter activity; Selectable marker; Transgene expression; Copy number; Rice
Biofilms occur on a wide variety of surfaces including metals, ceramics, glass etc. and often leads to accumulation of large number of various microorganisms on the surfaces. This biofilm growth is highly undesirable in most cases as biofilms can cause degradation of the instruments and its performance along with contamination of the samples being processed in those systems. The current “offline” biofilm removal methods are effective but labor intensive and generates waste streams that are toxic to be directly disposed. We present here a novel process that uses nano-energetic materials to eliminate biofilms in < 1 second. The process involves spray-coating a thin layer of nano-energetic material on top of the biofilm, allowing it to dry, and igniting the dried coating to incinerate the biofilm.
The nanoenergetic material is a mixture of aluminum (Al) nanoparticles dispersed in a THV-220A (fluoropolymer oxidizer) matrix. Upon ignition, the Al nanoparticles react with THV-220A exothermically, producing high temperatures (>2500 K) for an extremely brief period (~100 ms) that destroys the biofilm underneath. However, since the total amount of heat produced is low (~0.1 kJ/cm2), the underlying surface remains undamaged. Surfaces with biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa initially harboring ~ 107 CFU of bacteria /cm2 displayed final counts of less than 5 CFU/cm2 after being subjected to our process. The byproducts of the process consist only of washable carbonaceous residue and gases, making this process potentially inexpensive due to low toxic-waste disposal costs.
This novel method of biofilm removal is currently in the early stage of development. However, it has potential to be used in offline biofilm elimination as a rapid, easy and environmentally friendly method.
Nanoenergetic materials; Nanothermites; Biofilms; Biofilm removal; Nanomaterial combustion; Ultra-rapid decontamination
Candidate genes for color pattern formation in butterfly wings have been known based on gene expression patterns since the 1990s, but their functions remain elusive due to a lack of a functional assay. Several methods of transferring and expressing a foreign gene in butterfly wings have been reported, but they have suffered from low success rates or low expression levels. Here, we developed a simple, practical method to efficiently deliver and express a foreign gene using baculovirus-mediated gene transfer in butterfly wings in vivo.
A recombinant baculovirus containing a gene for green fluorescent protein (GFP) was injected into pupae of the blue pansy butterfly Junonia orithya (Nymphalidae). GFP fluorescence was detected in the pupal wings and other body parts of the injected individuals three to five days post-injection at various degrees of fluorescence. We obtained a high GFP expression rate at relatively high virus titers, but it was associated with pupal death before color pattern formation in wings. To reduce the high mortality rate caused by the baculovirus treatment, we administered an anti-gp64 antibody, which was raised against baculovirus coat protein gp64, to infected pupae after the baculovirus injection. This treatment greatly reduced the mortality rate of the infected pupae. GFP fluorescence was observed in pupal and adult wings and other body parts of the antibody-treated individuals at various degrees of fluorescence. Importantly, we obtained completely developed wings with a normal color pattern, in which fluorescent signals originated directly from scales or the basal membrane after the removal of scales. GFP fluorescence in wing tissues spatially coincided with anti-GFP antibody staining, confirming that the fluorescent signals originated from the expressed GFP molecules.
Our baculovirus-mediated gene transfer system with an anti-gp64 antibody is reasonably efficient, and it can be an invaluable tool to transfer, express, and functionally examine foreign genes in butterfly wings and also in other non-model insect systems.
Butterfly wing; Gene transfer; Baculovirus vector; Green fluorescent protein; gp64; Virus infection; Antibody injection; Immunohistochemistry
The conventional degumming process of ramie with alkaline treatment at high temperature causes severe environmental pollution. Pectate lyases can be used to remove pectin from ramie in a degumming process with reduced environmental pollution and energy consumption. Pectate lyase PEL168 from Bacillus subtilis has been previously characterized and the protein structure was resolved. However, Bacillus is not a suitable host for pectate lyases during the degumming process since most Bacillus produce cellulases endogenously with a detrimental effect to the fiber. Pichia pastoris, which does not express endogenous cellulases and has high secretion capability, will be an ideal host for the expression. No previous work was reported concerning the heterologous expression of pectate lyase PEL168 in P. pastoris with an aim for industrial application in ramie bio-degumming.
The gene pel168 was expressed in P. pastoris in this study. The recombinant protein PEL168 in P. pastoris (PEL168P) showed two bands of 48.6 kDa and 51.4 kDa on SDS-PAGE whereas the enzyme expressed in E. coli (PEL168E) was the same as predicted with a band of 46 kDa. Deglycosylation digestion suggested that PEL168P was glycosylated. The optimum reaction temperature of the two PEL168s was 50°C, and the optimum pH 9.5. After preincubation at 60°C for 20 min, PEL168E completely lost its activity, whereas PEL168P kept 26% of the residual activity. PEL168P had a specific activity of 1320 U/mg with a Km of 0.09 mg/ml and a Vmax of 18.13 μmol/min. K+, Li+, Ni2+ and Sr2+ showed little or no inhibitory effect on PEL168P activity, and Ca2+ enhanced enzyme activity by 38%. PEL168P can remove the pectin from ramie effectively in a degumming process. A 1.5 fold increase of PEL168 enzyme expression in P. pastoris was achieved by further codon optimization.
Pectate lyase PEL168 with an available protein structure can be heterologously expressed in P. pastoris. The characterized recombinant PEL168P can be used to remove pectin from ramie efficiently and the expression level of PEL168 in P. pastoris was increased markedly by codon optimization. Therefore, PEL168 is an ideal candidate for further optimization and engineering for bio-degumming.
Bacillus subtilis; Pectate lyase; Pichia pastoris; Glycosylation; Degumming; Codon optimization
There is a continuous demanding for tightly regulated prokaryotic expression systems, which allow functional synthesis of toxic proteins in Escherichia coli for bioscience or biotechnology application. However, most of the current promoter options either are tightly repressed only with low protein production levels, or produce substantial protein but lacking of the necessary repression to avoid mutations initiated by leaky expression in the absence of inducer. The aim of this study was to develop a tightly regulated, relatively high-efficient expression vector in E. coli based on the principle of iron uptake system.
By using GFP as reporter, PfhuA with the highest relative fluorescence units, but leaky expression, was screened from 23 iron-regulated promoter candidates. PfhuA was repressed by ferric uptake regulator (Fur)-Fe2+ complex binding to Fur box locating at the promoter sequence. Otherwise, PfhuA was activated without Fur-Fe2+ binding in the absence of iron. In order to improve the tightness of PfhuA regulation for toxic gene expression, Fur box in promoter sequence and fur expression were refined through five different approaches. Eventually, through substituting E. coli consensus Fur box for original one of PfhuA, the induction ratio of modified PfhuA (named PfhuA1) was improved from 3 to 101. Under the control of PfhuA1, strong toxic gene E was successfully expressed in high, middle, low copy-number vectors, and other two toxic proteins, Gef and MazF were functionally synthesized without E. coli death before induction.
The features of easy control, tight regulation and relatively high efficiency were combined in the newly engineered PfhuA1. Under this promoter, the toxic genes E, gef and mazF were functionally expressed in E. coli induced by iron chelator in a tightly controllable way. This study provides a tightly regulated expression system that might enable the stable cloning, and functional synthesis of toxic proteins for their function study, bacterial programmed cell death in biological containment system and bacterial vector vaccine development.
VanYn, encoded by the dbv7 gene (also known as vanYn) of the biosynthetic cluster devoted to A40926 production, is a novel protein involved in the mechanism of self-resistance in Nonomuraea sp. ATCC 39727. This filamentous actinomycete is an uncommon microorganism, difficult-to-handle but biotechnologically valuable since it produces the glycopeptide antibiotic A40926, which is the precursor of the second-generation dalbavancin in phase III of clinical development. In order to investigate VanYn role in glycopeptide resistance in the producer actinomycete an appropriate host-vector expression system is required.
The cloning strategy of vanYn gene (G-C ratio 73.3%) in the expression vector pIJ86 yielded a recombinant protein with a tag encoding for a histidine hexamer added at the C-terminus (C-His6-vanYn) or at the N-terminus (N-His6-vanYn). These plasmids were used to transform three Streptomyces spp., which are genetically-treatable high G-C content Gram-positive bacteria taxonomically related to the homologous producer Nonomuraea sp.. Highest yield of protein expression and purification (12 mg of protein per liter of culture at 3 L bioreactor-scale) was achieved in Streptomyces venezuelae ATCC 10595, that is a fast growing streptomyces susceptible to glycopeptides. VanYn is a transmembrane protein which was easily detached and recovered from the cell wall fraction. Purified C-His6-VanYn showed d,d-carboxypeptidase and d,d-dipeptidase activities on synthetic analogs of bacterial peptidoglycan (PG) precursors. C-His6-VanYn over-expression conferred glycopeptide resistance to S. venezuelae. On the contrary, the addition of His6-tag at the N-terminus of the protein abolished its biological activity either in vitro or in vivo assays.
Heterologous expression of vanYn from Nonomuraea sp. ATCC 39727 in S. venezuelae was successfully achieved and conferred the host an increased level of glycopeptide resistance. Cellular localization of recombinant VanYn together with its enzymatic activity as a d,d-peptidase/d,d-carboxypeptidase agree with its role in removing the last d-Ala from the pentapeptide PG precursors and reprogramming cell wall biosynthesis, as previously reported in glycopeptide resistant pathogens.
Streptomyces; Heterologous protein production; d,d-carboxypeptidases; Glycopeptide production; Glycopeptide resistance; Dalbavancin
Cold-active enzymes, sourced from cold-adapted organisms, are characterized by high catalytic efficiencies at low temperatures compared with their mesophilic counterparts, which have poor activity. This property makes them advantageous for biotechnology applications as it: (i) saves energy costs, (ii) shortens the times for processes operated at low temperatures, (iii) protects thermosensitive substrates or products of the enzymatic reaction, (iv) prevents undesired chemical transformations, and (v) prevents the loss of volatile compounds.
A bglMKg gene that encodes a monomeric cold-active glycoside hydrolase family 1 enzyme with an apparent molecular mass of 50 kDa was isolated by the functional screening of a marine metagenomic library. The BglMKg enzyme was expressed in E. coli, purified by FPLC and characterized. The recombinant BglMKg could effectively hydrolyze various chromogenic substrates and β-linked oligosaccharides, and had remarkably high β-galactosidase, β-glucosidase and β-fucosidase activities. Because of the lack of information about the usefulness of β-fucosidases in industry, further characterization of the enzymatic properties of BglMKg was only carried out with substrates specific for β-glucosidase or β-galactosidase. The BglMKg had maximal β-galactosidase and β-glucosidase activities at approximately 40°C and 45°C, respectively. The optimum pH for β-galactosidase activity was 6.5, whereas the optimum pH for β-glucosidase activity was 7.5. In general, the enzyme was stable below 30°C and from pHs 6.0 to 8.0. The results of the kinetic studies revealed that BglMKg more efficiently hydrolyzed β-glucosidase substrates than β-galactosidase ones.
BglMKg is a small, monomeric, cold-active β-glucosidase with additional enzymatic activities. It was efficiently expressed in E. coli indicating that BglMKg might be a candidate for industrial applications.
Metagenomics; Cold-active enzyme; β-galactosidase; β-glucosidase; β-fucosidase
Dried blood (Guthrie card) spots provide an efficient way to collect and store blood specimens. DNA from this source has been utilised for a number of molecular analyses including genome-wide association studies, but only few studies have tested the feasibility of using it for epigenetic applications, particularly at a genome-wide level.
In this study, we demonstrate the successful use of DNA isolated from archived dried blood spots for the Infinium HumanMethylation450 Beadchip, along with DNA from matched frozen buffy coats. We obtained high quality and reproducible genome-wide DNA methylation profiles using both sample types. We also report high correlations (r > 0.9907) between DNA obtained from matched dried blood spots and frozen buffy coats, sufficient to distinguish between unrelated individuals.
We, thus, demonstrate that DNA from archived dried blood spots is suitable for genome-wide DNA methylation profiling.
DNA methylation; Epigenetics; Infinium HumanMethylation450; Dried blood spots; Guthrie cards; Genome-wide DNA methylation