There is a growing interest in the health-promoting effects of natural substances obtained from plants. Although luteolin has been identified as a potential therapeutic and preventive agent for cancer because of its potent cancer cell-killing activity, the molecular mechanisms have not been well elucidated. This study provides evidence of an alternative target for luteolin and sheds light on the mechanism of its physiological benefits. Treatment of 786-O renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cells (as well as A498 and ACHN) with luteolin caused cell apoptosis and death. This cytotoxicity was caused by the downregulation of Akt and resultant upregulation of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase-1 (Ask1), p38, and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activities, probably via protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) activation. In addition to being a concurrent substrate of caspases and event of cell death, heat shock protein-90 (HSP90) cleavage might also play a role in driving further cellular alterations and cell death, at least in part, involving an Akt-related mechanism. Due to the high expression of HSP90 and Akt-related molecules in RCC and other cancer cells, our findings suggest that PP2A activation might work in concert with HSP90 cleavage to inactivate Akt and lead to a vicious caspase-dependent apoptotic cycle in luteolin-treated 786-O cells.
Flavodoxins, which exist widely in microorganisms, have been found in various pathways with multiple physiological functions. The flavodoxin (Fld) containing the cofactor flavin mononucleotide (FMN) from sulfur-reducing bacteria Desulfovibrio gigas (D. gigas) is a short-chain enzyme that comprises 146 residues with a molecular mass of 15 kDa and plays important roles in the electron-transfer chain. To investigate its structure, we purified this Fld directly from anaerobically grown D. gigas cells. The crystal structure of Fld, determined at resolution 1.3 Å, is a dimer with two FMN packing in an orientation head to head at a distance of 17 Å, which generates a long and connected negatively charged region. Two loops, Thr59–Asp63 and Asp95–Tyr100, are located in the negatively charged region and between two FMN, and are structurally dynamic. An analysis of each monomer shows that the structure of Fld is in a semiquinone state; the positions of FMN and the surrounding residues in the active site deviate. The crystal structure of Fld from D. gigas agrees with a dimeric form in the solution state. The dimerization area, dynamic characteristics and structure variations between monomers enable us to identify a possible binding area for its functional partners.
flavodoxin (Fld); flavin mononucleotide (FMN); crystal structure; dimer; binding region
The crystallization of the Cry4Ba toxin from B. thuringiensis is described.
To obtain a complete structure of the Bacillus thuringiensis Cry4Ba mosquito-larvicidal protein, a 65 kDa functional form of the Cry4Ba-R203Q mutant toxin was generated for crystallization by eliminating the tryptic cleavage site at Arg203. The 65 kDa trypsin-resistant fragment was purified and crystallized using the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals belonged to the rhombohedral space group R32, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 184.62, c = 187.36 Å. Diffraction data were collected to at least 2.07 Å resolution using synchrotron radiation and gave a data set with an overall R
merge of 9.1% and a completeness of 99.9%. Preliminary analysis indicated that the asymmetric unit contained one molecule of the active full-length mutant, with a V
M coefficient and solvent content of 4.33 Å3 Da−1 and 71%, respectively.
Cry4Ba mosquito-larvicidal protein; Bacillus thuringiensis
The crystal structure of B. amyloliquefaciens α-amylase (BAA) at 1.4 Å resolution revealed ambiguities in the thermal adaptation of homologous proteins in this family.
The crystal structure of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens α-amylase (BAA) at 1.4 Å resolution revealed ambiguities in the thermal adaptation of homologous proteins in this family. The final model of BAA is composed of two molecules in a back-to-back orientation, which is likely to be a consequence of crystal packing. Despite a high degree of identity, comparison of the structure of BAA with those of other liquefying-type α-amylases indicated moderate discrepancies at the secondary-structural level. Moreover, a domain-displacement survey using anisotropic B-factor and domain-motion analyses implied a significant contribution of domain B to the total flexibility of BAA, while visual inspection of the structure superimposed with that of B. licheniformis α-amylase (BLA) indicated higher flexibility of the latter in the central domain A. Therefore, it is suggested that domain B may play an important role in liquefying α-amylases, as its rigidity offers a substantial improvement in thermostability in BLA compared with BAA.
α-amylases; thermostability; flexibility; alignment
Several different members of the Polyomaviridae, including some human pathogens, encode microRNAs (miRNAs) that lie antisense with respect to the early gene products, the tumor (T) antigens. These miRNAs negatively regulate T antigen expression by directing small interfering RNA (siRNA)-like cleavage of the early transcripts. miRNA mutant viruses of some members of the Polyomaviridae express increased levels of early proteins during lytic infection. However, the importance of miRNA-mediated negative regulation of the T antigens remains uncertain. Bandicoot papillomatosis carcinomatosis virus type 1 (BPCV1) is associated with papillomas and carcinomas in the endangered marsupial the western barred bandicoot (Perameles bougainville). BPCV1 is the founding member of a new group of viruses that remarkably share distinct properties in common with both the polyomavirus and papillomavirus families. Here, we show that BPCV1 encodes, in the same orientation as the papillomavirus-like transcripts, a miRNA located within a long noncoding region (NCR) of the genome. Furthermore, this NCR serves the function of both promoter and template for the primary transcript that gives rise to the miRNA. Unlike the polyomavirus miRNAs, the BPCV1 miRNA is not encoded antisense to the T antigen transcripts but rather lies in a separate, proximal region of the genome. We have mapped the 3′ untranslated region (UTR) of the BPCV1 large T antigen early transcript and identified a functional miRNA target site that is imperfectly complementary to the BPCV1 miRNA. Chimeric reporters containing the entire BPCV1 T antigen 3′ UTR undergo negative regulation when coexpressed with the BPCV1 miRNA. Notably, the degree of negative regulation observed is equivalent to that of an identical reporter that is engineered to bind to the BPCV1 miRNA with perfect complementarity. We also show that this miRNA and this novel mode of early gene regulation are conserved with the related BPCV2. Finally, papillomatous lesions from a western barred bandicoot express readily detectable levels of this miRNA, stressing its likely importance in vivo. Combined, the alternative mechanisms of negative regulation of T antigen expression between the BPCVs and the polyomaviruses support the importance of miRNA-mediated autoregulation in the life cycles of some divergent polyomaviruses and polyomavirus-like viruses.
The crystallization of xylose reductase from C. tropicalis is reported.
Xylose reductase (XR), which requires NADPH as a co-substrate, catalyzes the reduction of d-xylose to xylitol, which is the first step in the metabolism of d-xylose. The detailed three-dimensional structure of XR will provide a better understanding of the biological significance of XR in the efficient production of xylitol from biomass. XR of molecular mass 36.6 kDa from Candida tropicalis was crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. According to X-ray diffraction data from C. tropicalis XR crystals at 2.91 Å resolution, the unit cell belongs to space group P31 or P32. Preliminary analysis indicated the presence of four XR molecules in the asymmetric unit, with 68.0% solvent content.
xylose reductase; Candida tropicalis
The aminoacylhistidine dipeptidase encoded by V. alginolyticus pepD has been overexpressed and crystallized.
The aminoacylhistidine dipeptidase (PepD) protein encoded by Vibrio alginolyticus pepD was successfully overexpressed and characterized and the putative active-site residues responsible for metal binding and catalysis were identified. The purified enzyme contained two zinc ions per monomer. The recombinant dipeptidase enzyme, which was identified as a homodimer in solution, exhibited broad substrate specificity for Xaa-His dipeptides, with highest activity towards the His-His dipeptide. The purified protein was crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. Preliminary crystallographic analysis showed that the crystal belonged to space group P61 or P65, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 80.42, c = 303.11 Å. The crystal contained two molecules per asymmetric unit and the predicted solvent content was 53.4%.
aminoacylhistidine dipeptidases; Vibrio alginolyticus; metallopeptidases
The insufficient investigations on the changes of spinal structures during traction prevent further exploring the possible therapeutic mechanism of cervical traction. A blind randomized crossover-design study was conducted to quantitatively compare the intervertebral disc spaces between axial and anterior lean cervical traction in sitting position. A total of 96 radiographic images from the baseline measurements, axial and anterior lean tractions in 32 asymptomatic subjects were digitized for further analysis. The intra- and inter-examiner reliabilities for measuring the intervertebral disc spaces were in good ranges (ICCs = 0.928–0.942). With the application of anterior lean traction, the statistical increases were detected both in anterior and in posterior disc spaces compared to the baseline (0.29 mm and 0.24 mm; both P < 0.01) and axial traction (0.16 mm and 0.35 mm; both P < 0.01). The greater intervertebral disc spaces obtained during anterior lean traction might be associated with the more even distribution of traction forces over the anterior and posterior neck structures. The neck extension moment through mandible that generally occurred in the axial traction could be counteracted by the downward force of head weight during anterior lean traction. This study quantitatively demonstrated that anterior lean traction in sitting position provided more intervertebral disc space enlargements in both anterior and posterior aspects than axial traction did. These findings may serve as a therapeutic reference when cervical traction is suggested.
Axial traction; Anterior lean traction; Intervertebral disc space; Image analysis
Adenylylsulfate reductase (adenosine 5′-phosphosulfate [APS] reductase [APSR]) plays a key role in catalyzing APS to sulfite in dissimilatory sulfate reduction. Here, we report the crystal structure of APSR from Desulfovibrio gigas at 3.1-Å resolution. Different from the α2β2-heterotetramer of the Archaeoglobus fulgidus, the overall structure of APSR from D. gigas comprises six αβ-heterodimers that form a hexameric structure. The flavin adenine dinucleotide is noncovalently attached to the α-subunit, and two [4Fe-4S] clusters are enveloped by cluster-binding motifs. The substrate-binding channel in D. gigas is wider than that in A. fulgidus because of shifts in the loop (amino acid 326 to 332) and the α-helix (amino acid 289 to 299) in the α-subunit. The positively charged residue Arg160 in the structure of D. gigas likely replaces the role of Arg83 in that of A. fulgidus for the recognition of substrates. The C-terminal segment of the β-subunit wraps around the α-subunit to form a functional unit, with the C-terminal loop inserted into the active-site channel of the α-subunit from another αβ-heterodimer. Electrostatic interactions between the substrate-binding residue Arg282 in the α-subunit and Asp159 in the C terminus of the β-subunit affect the binding of the substrate. Alignment of APSR sequences from D. gigas and A. fulgidus shows the largest differences toward the C termini of the β-subunits, and structural comparison reveals notable differences at the C termini, activity sites, and other regions. The disulfide comprising Cys156 to Cys162 stabilizes the C-terminal loop of the β-subunit and is crucial for oligomerization. Dynamic light scattering and ultracentrifugation measurements reveal multiple forms of APSR upon the addition of AMP, indicating that AMP binding dissociates the inactive hexamer into functional dimers, presumably by switching the C terminus of the β-subunit away from the active site. The crystal structure of APSR, together with its oligomerization properties, suggests that APSR from sulfate-reducing bacteria might self-regulate its activity through the C terminus of the β-subunit.
A rapid SYBR green I real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assay was developed to identify pandemic influenza H1N1 virus from clinical specimens in less than 1 h. Probe real-time RT-PCR influenza A/B, H1/H3, and swNP/swHA assays were modified into the same PCR program, which allows for rapid and simultaneous typing and subtyping of influenza viruses.
The crystallization of branched-chain aminotransferase from D. radiodurans is described.
The branched-chain amino-acid aminotransferase (BCAT), which requires pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP) as a cofactor, is a key enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway of the hydrophobic amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. DrBCAT from Deinococcus radiodurans, which has a molecular weight of 40.9 kDa, was crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. According to X-ray diffraction data to 2.50 Å resolution from a DrBCAT crystal, the crystal belongs to space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 56.37, b = 90.70, c = 155.47 Å. Preliminary analysis indicates the presence of two DrBCAT molecules in the asymmetric unit, with a solvent content of 47.52%.
branched-chain amino-acid aminotransferase; Deinococcus radiodurans
The crystallization of B. cereus chitinase is reported.
Chitinases (EC 188.8.131.52) are found in a broad range of organisms, including bacteria, fungi and higher plants, and play different roles depending on their origin. A chitinase from Bacillus cereus NCTU2 (ChiNCTU2) capable of hydrolyzing chitin as a carbon and nitrogen nutrient has been identified as a member of the family 18 glycoside hydrolases. ChiNCTU2 of molecular weight 36 kDa has been crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. According to the diffraction of chitinase crystals at 1.10 Å resolution, the crystal belongs to space group P21, with unit-cell parameters a = 50.79, b = 48.79, c = 66.87 Å, β = 99.31°. Preliminary analysis indicates there is one chitinase molecule in the asymmetric unit, with a solvent content of 43.4%.
chitinase; Bacillus cereus NCTU2
The crystallization of rice α-amylase/subtilisin bifunctional inhibitor is reported.
Rice bifunctional α-amylase/subtilisin inhibitor (RASI) can inhibit both α-amylase from larvae of the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) and subtilisin from Bacillus subtilis. The synthesis of RASI is up-regulated during the late milky stage in developing seeds. The 8.9 kDa molecular-weight RASI from rice has been crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. According to 1.81 Å resolution X-ray diffraction data from rice RASI crystals, the crystal belongs to space group P21212, with unit-cell parameters a = 79.99, b = 62.95, c = 66.70 Å. Preliminary analysis indicates two RASI molecules in an asymmetric unit with a solvent content of 44%.
α-amylase/subtilisin inhibitor; rice
Rice Bowman–Birk inhibitor was expressed and crystallized.
Bowman–Birk inhibitors (BBIs) are cysteine-rich proteins with inhibitory activity against proteases that are widely distributed in monocot and dicot species. The expression of rice BBI from Oryza sativa is up-regulated and induced by pathogens or insects during germination of rice seeds. The rice BBI (RBTI) of molecular weight 15 kDa has been crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. According to the diffraction of rice BBI crystals at a resolution of 2.07 Å, the unit cell belongs to space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 74.37, b = 96.69, c = 100.36 Å. Preliminary analysis indicates four BBI molecules in an asymmetric unit, with a solvent content of 58.29%.
Bowman–Birk inhibitors; rice
Rice lectin was crystallized and analyzed by X-ray crystallography.
Lectins with sugar-binding specificity are widely distributed in higher plants and various other species. The expression of rice lectin from Oryza sativa is up-regulated in the growing coleoptile when anaerobic stress persists. A rice lectin of molecular weight 15.2 kDa has been crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. From the diffraction of the lectin crystals at 1.93 Å resolution, the unit cell belongs to space group P31, with unit-cell parameters a = 98.58, b = 98.58, c = 44.72 Å. Preliminary analysis indicates that there are two lectin molecules in an asymmetric unit with a large solvent content, 70.1%.
The C-terminal domain of adenylyltransferase (ATase) from Escherichia coli has been overexpressed, purified and crystallized in a form suitable for structure analysis.
The C-terminal domain of adenylyltransferase (ATase) from Escherichia coli has been overexpressed, purified and crystallized in a form suitable for structure analysis. The domain is contained in a fragment that extends from residues 441–945 of the intact ATase.
adenylyltransferases; C-terminal domain
Esterase (EST) from Pseudomonas putida IFO12996 catalyzes the stereoselective hydrolysis of methyl dl-β-acetylthioisobutyrate (dl-MATI) to produce d-β-acetylthioisobutyric acid (DAT), serving as a key intermediate for the synthesis of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. The EST gene was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli; the recombinant protein is a non-disulfide-linked homotrimer with a monomer molecular weight of 33,000 in both solution and crystalline states, indicating that these ESTs function as trimers. EST hydrolyzed dl-MATI to produce DAT with a degree of conversion of 49.5% and an enantiomeric excess value of 97.2% at an optimum pH of about 8 to 10 and an optimum temperature of about 57 to 67°C. The crystal structure of EST has been determined by X-ray diffraction to a resolution of 1.6 Å, confirming that EST is a member of the α/β hydrolase fold superfamily of enzymes and includes a catalytic triad of Ser97, Asp227, and His256. The active site is located approximately in the middle of the molecule at the end of a pocket ∼12 Å deep. EST can hydrolyze the methyl ester group without affecting the acetylthiol ester moiety in dl-MATI. The examination of substrate specificity of EST toward other linear esters revealed that the enzyme showed specific activity toward methyl esters and that it recognized the configuration at C-2.
Sac7d, a small, abundant, sequence-general DNA-binding protein from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius, causes a single-step sharp kink in DNA (∼60°) via the intercalation of both Val26 and Met29. These two amino acids were systematically changed in size to probe their effects on DNA kinking. Eight crystal structures of five Sac7d mutant–DNA complexes have been analyzed. The DNA-binding pattern of the V26A and M29A single mutants is similar to that of the wild-type, whereas the V26A/M29A protein binds DNA without side chain intercalation, resulting in a smaller overall bending (∼50°). The M29F mutant inserts the Phe29 side chain orthogonally to the C2pG3 step without stacking with base pairs, inducing a sharp kink (∼80°). In the V26F/M29F-GCGATCGC complex, Phe26 intercalates deeply into DNA bases by stacking with the G3 base, whereas Phe29 is stacked on the G15 deoxyribose, in a way similar to those used by the TATA box-binding proteins. All mutants have reduced DNA-stabilizing ability, as indicated by their lower Tm values. The DNA kink patterns caused by different combinations of hydrophobic side chains may be relevant in understanding the manner by which other minor groove-binding proteins interact with DNA.
Infection with Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) causes cerebral inflammation and stimulates inflammatory cytokine expression. Glial cells orchestrate immunocyte recruitment to focal sites of viral infection within the central nervous system (CNS) and synchronize immune cell functions through a regulated network of cytokines and chemokines. Since immune cell infiltration is prominent, we investigated the production of a responding chemoattractant, RANTES (regulated upon activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted), in response to JEV infection of glial cells. Infection with JEV was found to elicit the production of RANTES from primary neurons/glia, mixed glia, microglia, and astrocytes but not from neuron cultures. The production of RANTES did not seem to be directly responsible for JEV-induced neuronal death but instead contributed to the recruitment of immune cells. RANTES expression required viral replication and the activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) as well as transcription factors, including nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and nuclear factor IL-6 (NF-IL-6). The induction of RANTES expression by JEV infection in glial cells needed the coordinate activation of NF-κB and NF-IL-6. Using enzymatic inhibitors, we demonstrated a strong correlation between the ERK signaling pathway and RANTES expression. However, JEV replication was not dependent on the activation of ERK, NF-κB, and NF-IL-6. Altogether, these results demonstrated that infection of glial cells by JEV provided the early ERK-, NF-κB-, and NF-IL-6-mediated signals that directly activated RANTES expression, which might be involved in the initiation and amplification of inflammatory responses in the CNS.