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1.  Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus: transmission, virology and therapeutic targeting to aid in outbreak control 
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes high fever, cough, acute respiratory tract infection and multiorgan dysfunction that may eventually lead to the death of the infected individuals. MERS-CoV is thought to be transmitted to humans through dromedary camels. The occurrence of the virus was first reported in the Middle East and it subsequently spread to several parts of the world. Since 2012, about 1368 infections, including ~487 deaths, have been reported worldwide. Notably, the recent human-to-human ‘superspreading' of MERS-CoV in hospitals in South Korea has raised a major global health concern. The fatality rate in MERS-CoV infection is four times higher compared with that of the closely related severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus infection. Currently, no drug has been clinically approved to control MERS-CoV infection. In this study, we highlight the potential drug targets that can be used to develop anti-MERS-CoV therapeutics.
doi:10.1038/emm.2015.76
PMCID: PMC4558490  PMID: 26315600
2.  Structure and Effects of Cyanobacterial Lipopolysaccharides 
Marine Drugs  2015;13(7):4217-4230.
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a component of the outer membrane of mainly Gram-negative bacteria and cyanobacteria. The LPS molecules from marine and terrestrial bacteria show structural variations, even among strains within the same species living in the same environment. Cyanobacterial LPS has a unique structure, since it lacks heptose and 3-deoxy-d-manno-octulosonic acid (also known as keto-deoxyoctulosonate (KDO)), which are present in the core region of common Gram-negative LPS. In addition, the cyanobacterial lipid A region lacks phosphates and contains odd-chain hydroxylated fatty acids. While the role of Gram-negative lipid A in the regulation of the innate immune response through Toll-like Receptor (TLR) 4 signaling is well characterized, the role of the structurally different cyanobacterial lipid A in TLR4 signaling is not well understood. The uncontrolled inflammatory response of TLR4 leads to autoimmune diseases such as sepsis, and thus the less virulent marine cyanobacterial LPS molecules can be effective to inhibit TLR4 signaling. This review highlights the structural comparison of LPS molecules from marine cyanobacteria and Gram-negative bacteria. We discuss the potential use of marine cyanobacterial LPS as a TLR4 antagonist, and the effects of cyanobacterial LPS on humans and marine organisms.
doi:10.3390/md13074217
PMCID: PMC4515613  PMID: 26198237
LPS; endotoxin; cyanobacteria; cyanotoxin; TLR; lipid A; sepsis
3.  Homology modeling of an antifungal metabolite plipastatin synthase from the Bacillus subtilis 168 
Bioinformation  2011;7(8):384-387.
Lipopeptides have a widespread role in different pathways of Bacillus subtilis; they can act as antagonists, spreader and immunostimulators. Plipastatin, an antifungal antibiotic, is one of the most important lipopeptide nonribosomly produced by Bacillus subtilis. Plipastatin has strong fungitoxic activity and involve in inhibition of phospholipase A2 and biofilm formation. For better understanding of the molecule and pathway by which lipopeptide plipastatin is synthesized, we present a computationally predicted structure of plipastatin using homology modeling. Primary and secondary structure analysis suggested that ppsD is a hydrophilic protein containing a significant proportion of alpha helices, and subcellular localization predictions suggested it is a cytoplasmic protein. The tertiary structure of protein (plipastatin synthase subunit D) was predicted by homology modeling. The results suggest a flexible structure which is also an important characteristic of active enzymes enabling them to bind various cofactors and substrates for proper functioning. Validation of 3D structure was done using Ramachandran plot ProsA-web and QMEAN score.This predicted information will help in better understanding of mechanisms underlying plipastatin synthase subunit D synthesis. Plipastatin can be used as an inhibitor of various fungal diseases in plants.
PMCID: PMC3280437  PMID: 22347779
Bacillus subtilis; plipastatin synthase; homology modeling
4.  Homology modeling, comparative genomics and functional annotation of Mycoplasma genitalium hypothetical protein MG_237 
Bioinformation  2011;7(6):299-303.
Mycoplasma genitalium is a human pathogen associated with several sexually transmitted diseases. The complete genome of M. genitalium G37 has been sequenced and provides an opportunity to understand the pathogenesis and identification of therapeutic targets. However, complete understanding of bacterial function requires proper annotation of its proteins. The genome of M. genitalium consists of 475 proteins. Among these, 94 are without any known function and are described as ‘hypothetical proteins’. We selected MG_237 for sequence and structural analysis using a bioinformatics approach. Primary and secondary structure analysis suggested that MG_237 is a hydrophilic protein containing a significant proportion of alpha helices, and subcellular localization predictions suggested it is a cytoplasmic protein. Homology modeling was used to define the three-dimensional (3D) structure of MG-237. A search for templates revealed that MG_237 shares 63% homology to a hypothetical protein of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, indicating this protein is evolutionary conserved. The refined 3D model was generated using (PS)2­v2 sever that incorporates MODELLER. Several quality assessment and validation parameters were computed and indicated that the homology model is reliable. Furthermore, comparative genomics analysis suggested MG_237 as non-homologous protein and involved in four different metabolic pathways. Experimental validation will provide more insight into the actual function of this protein in microbial pathways.
PMCID: PMC3280499  PMID: 22355225
Mycoplasma genitalium; homology modelling; hypothetical proteins; comparative genomics; metabolic pathways

Results 1-4 (4)