The present study shows the factors that modulate the photodamage promoted by phenothiazines. Cytochrome c was irradiated with UV light for 120 min, over a pH range from 4.0 to 8.0, in the absence and in the presence of different concentrations of thioridazine (TR) and fluphenazine (FP). In the absence of phenothiazines, the maximal rate of a Soret band blue shift (nm/min) from 409 to 406 nm was obtained at pH 4.0 (0.028 nm/min). The presence of phenothiazines at the concentration range 10-25 µmol/L amplified and accelerated a cytochrome c blue shift (409 to 405 nm, at a rate = 0.041 nm/min). Above 25 µmol/L, crescent concentrations of phenothiazines contributed to cytochrome c protection with (maximal at 2500 µmol/L). Scanning electronic microscopy revealed the formation of nanostructures. The pH also influenced the effect of low phenothiazine concentrations on cytochrome c. Thus, the predominance of phenothiazine-promoted cytochrome c damage or protection depends on a balance of the following factors: the yield of photo-generated drug cation radicals, which is favored by acidic pH; the stability of the cation radicals, which is favored by the drug aggregation; and the cytochrome c structure, modulated by the pH.
S100 proteins are small dimeric calcium-binding proteins which control cell cycle, growth and differentiation via interactions with different target proteins. Intrinsic disorder is a hallmark among many signaling proteins and S100 proteins have been proposed to contain disorder-prone regions. Interestingly, some S100 proteins also form amyloids: S100A8/A9 forms fibrils in prostatic inclusions and S100A6 fibrillates in vitro and seeds SOD1 aggregation. Here we report a study designed to investigate whether β-aggregation is a feature extensive to more members of S100 family. In silico analysis of seven human S100 proteins revealed a direct correlation between aggregation and intrinsic disorder propensity scores, suggesting a relationship between these two independent properties. Averaged position-specific analysis and structural mapping showed that disorder-prone segments are contiguous to aggregation-prone regions and that whereas disorder is prominent on the hinge and target protein-interaction regions, segments with high aggregation propensity are found in ordered regions within the dimer interface. Acidic conditions likely destabilize the seven S100 studied by decreasing the shielding of aggregation-prone regions afforded by the quaternary structure. In agreement with the in silico analysis, hydrophobic moieties become accessible as indicated by strong ANS fluorescence. ATR-FTIR spectra support a structural inter-conversion from α-helices to intermolecular β-sheets, and prompt ThT-binding takes place with no noticeable lag phase. Dot blot analysis using amyloid conformational antibodies denotes a high diversity of conformers; subsequent analysis by TEM shows fibrils as dominant species. Altogether, our data suggests that β-aggregation and disorder-propensity are related properties in S100 proteins, and that the onset of aggregation is likely triggered by loss of protective tertiary and quaternary interactions.
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has become a conventional tool for elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of protein aggregation and, specifically, for analysis of assembly pathways, architecture, aggregation state, and heterogencity of oligomeric intermediates or mature fibrils. AFM imaging provides useful information about particle dimensions, shape, and substructure with nanometer resolution. Conventional AFM methods have been very helpful in the analysis of polymorphic assemblies formed in vitro from homogeneous proteins or peptides. However, AFM imaging on its own provides limited insight into conformation or composition of assemblies produced in the complex environment of a cell, or prepared from a mixture of proteins as a result of cross-seeding. In these cases, its combination with fluorescence microscopy (AFFM) increases its resolution.
Amyloids; Assembly; Atomic force microscopy; Atomic force fluorescence microscopy; Immunofluorescence; Oligomers
Aggregation of α-synuclein (αSyn), the primary protein component in Lewy body inclusions of patients with Parkinson’s disease, arises when the normally soluble intrinsically disordered protein converts to amyloid fibrils. In this work, we provide a mechanistic view of the role of N-terminal acetylation on fibrillation by first establishing a quantitative relationship between monomer secondary structural propensity and fibril assembly kinetics, and secondly by demonstrating in the N-terminal acetylated form of the early onset A53T mutation, that N-terminal transient helices formed and/or inhibited by N-terminal acetylation modulate the fibril assembly rates. Using NMR chemical shifts and fluorescence experiments, we report that secondary structural propensity in residues 5–8, 14–31, and 50–57 are highly correlated to fibril growth rate. A four-way comparison of secondary structure propensity and fibril growth rates of N-terminally acetylated A53T and WT αSyn with non-acetylated A53T and WT αSyn present novel mechanistic insight into the role of N-terminal acetylation in amyloid fibril formation. We show that N-terminal acetylation inhibits the formation of the “fibrillation promoting” transient helix at residues 14–31 resulting from the A53T mutation in the non-acetylated variant and supports the formation of the “fibrillation inhibiting” transient helix in residues 1–12 thereby resulting in slower fibrillation rates relative to the previously studied non-acetylated A53T variant. Our results highlight the critical interplay of the region-specific transient secondary structure of the N-terminal region with fibrillation, and the inhibitory role of the N-terminal acetyl group in fibril formation.
Cardiolipin is a phospholipid found in the inner mitochondrial membrane and in bacteria, and it is associated with many physiological functions. Cardiolipin has a dimeric structure consisting of two phosphatidyl residues connected by a glycerol bridge and four acyl chains, and therefore it can carry two negative charges. The pKa values of the phosphate groups have previously been reported to differ widely with pKa1 = 2.8 and pKa2 = 7.5–9.5. Still, there are several examples of experimental observations from cardiolipin-containing systems that do not fit with this dissociation behavior. Therefore, we have carried out pH-titration and titration calorimetric experiments on two synthetic cardiolipins, 1,1′,2,2′-tetradecanoyl cardiolipin, CL (C14∶0), and 1,1′,2,2′-tetraoctadecenoyl cardiolipin, CL (C18∶1). Our results show that both behave as strong dibasic acids with pKa1 about the same as the first pKa of phosphoric acid, 2.15, and pKa2 about one unit larger. The characterization of the acidic properties of cardiolipin is crucial for the understanding of the molecular organization in self-assembled systems that contain cardiolipin, and for their biological function.
LC3 is widely used marker for macroautophagy assays. After translation pro-LC3 is processed by Atg4 to expose C-terminal glycine residue for downstream conjugation reactions to accomplish the conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II. SDS-PAGE based Western blot (Wb) is generally utilized to quantify LC3-II levels where the LC3-I band migrates slower than LC3-II. We found that pro-human LC3B migrated at similar rate as LC3B-II in SDS-PAGE. The carboxyl-terminal five amino acids, particularly Lysine122 and Leucine123 of human LC3B play a major role in the faster migration of unprocessed LC3B, rendering it indistinguishable from LC3B-II in Wb assays. The unique faster migration of unprocessed LC3B than LC3B-I is also revealed in mouse LC3B, rat LC3B and rat LC3 but not in human LC3C. Our findings for the first time define pro-LC3 migration patterns for LC3 family member from human, mouse and rat species in SDS-PAGE. These findings provide a reference for pro-LC3 band patterns when Atg4 function is inhibited.
Venoms of brown spiders in the genus Loxosceles contain phospholipase D enzyme toxins that can cause severe dermonecrosis and even death in humans. These toxins cleave the substrates sphingomyelin and lysophosphatidylcholine in mammalian tissues, releasing the choline head group. The other products of substrate cleavage have previously been reported to be monoester phospholipids, which would result from substrate hydrolysis. Using 31P NMR and mass spectrometry we demonstrate that recombinant toxins, as well as whole venoms from diverse Loxosceles species, exclusively catalyze transphosphatidylation rather than hydrolysis, forming cyclic phosphate products from both major substrates. Cyclic phosphates have vastly different biological properties from their monoester counterparts, and they may be relevant to the pathology of brown spider envenomation.
Kinesin-13s are microtubule (MT) depolymerases different from most other kinesins that move along MTs. Like other kinesins, they have a motor or head domain (HD) containing a tubulin and an ATP binding site. Interestingly, kinesin-13s have an additional binding site (Kin-Tub-2) on the opposite side of the HD that contains several family conserved positively charged residues. The role of this site in kinesin-13 function is not clear. To address this issue, we investigated the in-vitro and in-vivo effects of mutating Kin-Tub-2 family conserved residues on the Drosophila melanogaster kinesin-13, KLP10A. We show that the Kin-Tub-2 site enhances tubulin cross-linking and MT bundling properties of KLP10A in-vitro. Disruption of the Kin-Tub-2 site, despite not having a deleterious effect on MT depolymerization, results in abnormal mitotic spindles and lagging chromosomes during mitosis in Drosophila S2 cells. The results suggest that the additional Kin-Tub-2 tubulin biding site plays a direct MT attachment role in-vivo.
The impact of disulfide bonds on protein stability goes beyond simple equilibrium thermodynamics effects associated with the conformational entropy of the unfolded state. Indeed, disulfide crosslinks may play a role in the prevention of dysfunctional association and strongly affect the rates of irreversible enzyme inactivation, highly relevant in biotechnological applications. While these kinetic-stability effects remain poorly understood, by analogy with proposed mechanisms for processes of protein aggregation and fibrillogenesis, we propose that they may be determined by the properties of sparsely-populated, partially-unfolded intermediates. Here we report the successful design, on the basis of high temperature molecular-dynamics simulations, of six thermodynamically and kinetically stabilized variants of phytase from Citrobacter braakii (a biotechnologically important enzyme) with one, two or three engineered disulfides. Activity measurements and 3D crystal structure determination demonstrate that the engineered crosslinks do not cause dramatic alterations in the native structure. The inactivation kinetics for all the variants displays a strongly non-Arrhenius temperature dependence, with the time-scale for the irreversible denaturation process reaching a minimum at a given temperature within the range of the denaturation transition. We show this striking feature to be a signature of a key role played by a partially unfolded, intermediate state/ensemble. Energetic and mutational analyses confirm that the intermediate is highly unfolded (akin to a proposed critical intermediate in the misfolding of the prion protein), a result that explains the observed kinetic stabilization. Our results provide a rationale for the kinetic-stability consequences of disulfide-crosslink engineering and an experimental methodology to arrive at energetic/structural descriptions of the sparsely populated and elusive intermediates that play key roles in irreversible protein denaturation.
Cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) are actively researched as non-viral molecular carriers for the controlled delivery of nucleic acids into cells, but widespread application is severely hampered by their trapping into endosomes. Here we show that the recently introduced endosomolytic CM18-Tat11 hybrid peptide (KWKLFKKIGAVLKVLTTG-YGRKKRRQRRR, residues 1-7 of Cecropin-A, 2-12 of Melittin, and 47-57 of HIV-1 Tat protein) can be exploited to obtain a self-assembled peptide-DNA vector which maintains the CM18-Tat11 ability to enter cells and destabilize vesicular membranes, concomitantly yielding high DNA transfection efficiency with no detectable cytotoxic effects. Different peptide-DNA stoichiometric ratios were tested to optimize vector size, charge, and stability characteristics. The transfection efficiency of selected candidates is quantitatively investigated by the luciferase-reporter assay. Vector intracellular trafficking is monitored in real time and in live cells by confocal microscopy. In particular, fluorescence resonant energy transfer (FRET) between suitably-labeled peptide and DNA modules was exploited to monitor complex disassembly during endocytosis, and this process is correlated to transfection timing and efficiency. We argue that these results can open the way to the rational design and application of CM18-Tat11–based systems for gene-delivery purposes.
Envoplakin, periplakin and desmoplakin are cytoskeletal proteins that provide structural integrity within the skin and heart by resisting shear forces. Here we reveal the nature of unique hinges within their plakin domains that provides divergent degrees of flexibility between rigid long and short arms composed of spectrin repeats. The range of mobility of the two arms about the hinge is revealed by applying the ensemble optimization method to small-angle X-ray scattering data. Envoplakin and periplakin adopt ‘L’ shaped conformations exhibiting a ‘helicopter propeller’-like mobility about the hinge. By contrast desmoplakin exhibits essentially unrestricted mobility by ‘jack-knifing’ about the hinge. Thus the diversity of molecular jointing that can occur about plakin hinges includes ‘L’ shaped bends, ‘U’ turns and fully extended ‘I’ orientations between rigid blocks of spectrin repeats. This establishes specialised hinges in plakin domains as a key source of flexibility that may allow sweeping of cellular spaces during assembly of cellular structures and could impart adaptability, so preventing irreversible damage to desmosomes and the cell cytoskeleton upon exposure to mechanical stress.
UVB oxidizes proteins through the generation of reactive oxygen species. One consequence of UVB irradiation is carbonylation, the irreversible formation of a carbonyl group on proline, lysine, arginine or threonine residues. In this study, redox proteomics was performed to identify carbonylated proteins in the UVB resistant marine bacterium Photobacterium angustum. Mass-spectrometry was performed with either biotin-labeled or dinitrophenylhydrazide (DNPH) derivatized proteins. The DNPH redox proteomics method enabled the identification of 62 carbonylated proteins (5% of 1221 identified proteins) in cells exposed to UVB or darkness. Eleven carbonylated proteins were quantified and the UVB/dark abundance ratio was determined at both the protein and peptide levels. As a result we determined which functional classes of proteins were carbonylated, which residues were preferentially modified, and what the implications of the carbonylation were for protein function. As the first large scale, shotgun redox proteomics analysis examining carbonylation to be performed on bacteria, our study provides a new level of understanding about the effects of UVB on cellular proteins, and provides a methodology for advancing studies in other biological systems.
The aggregation of TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) has been shown as a hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) since 2006. While evidence has suggested that mutation or truncation in TDP-43 influences its aggregation process, nevertheless, the correlation between the TDP-43 aggregation propensity and its binding substrates has not been fully established in TDP-43 proteinopathy. To address this question, we have established a platform based on the in vitro protein expression system to evaluate the solubility change of TDP-43 in response to factors such as nucleotide binding and temperature. Our results suggest that the solubility of TDP-43 is largely influenced by its cognate single-strand DNA (ssDNA) or RNA (ssRNA) rather than hnRNP, which is known to associate with TDP-43 C-terminus. The direct interaction between the refolded TDP-43, purified from E.coli, and ssDNA were further characterized by Circular Dichroism (CD) as well as turbidity and filter binding assay. In addition, ssDNA or ssRNA failed to prevent the aggregation of the F147L/F149L double mutant or truncated TDP-43 (TDP208–414). Consistently, these two mutants form aggregates, in contrast with the wild-type TDP-43, when expressed in Neuro2a cells. Our results demonstrate an intimate relationship between the solubility of TDP-43 and its DNA or RNA binding affinity, which may shed light on the role of TDP-43 in ALS and FTLD.
Group II chaperonins play important roles in protein homeostasis in the eukaryotic cytosol and in Archaea. These proteins assist in the folding of nascent polypeptides and also refold unfolded proteins in an ATP-dependent manner. Chaperonin-mediated protein folding is dependent on the closure and opening of a built-in lid, which is controlled by the ATP hydrolysis cycle. Recent structural studies suggest that the ring structure of the chaperonin twists to seal off the central cavity. In this study, we demonstrate ATP-dependent dynamics of a group II chaperonin at the single-molecule level with highly accurate rotational axes views by diffracted X-ray tracking (DXT). A UV light-triggered DXT study with caged-ATP and stopped-flow fluorometry revealed that the lid partially closed within 1 s of ATP binding, the closed ring subsequently twisted counterclockwise within 2–6 s, as viewed from the top to bottom of the chaperonin, and the twisted ring reverted to the original open-state with a clockwise motion. Our analyses clearly demonstrate that the biphasic lid-closure process occurs with unsynchronized closure and a synchronized counterclockwise twisting motion.
The planar lipid bilayer technique has a distinguished history in electrophysiology but is arguably the most technically difficult and time-consuming method in the field. Behind this is a lack of experimental consistency between laboratories, the challenges associated with painting unilamellar bilayers, and the reconstitution of ion channels into them. While there has be a trend towards automation of this technique, there remain many instances where manual bilayer formation and subsequent membrane protein insertion is both required and advantageous. We have developed a comprehensive method, which we have termed “wicking”, that greatly simplifies many experimental aspects of the lipid bilayer system. Wicking allows one to manually insert ion channels into planar lipid bilayers in a matter of seconds, without the use of a magnetic stir bar or the addition of other chemicals to monitor or promote the fusion of proteoliposomes. We used the wicking method in conjunction with a standard membrane capacitance test and a simple method of proteoliposome preparation that generates a heterogeneous mixture of vesicle sizes. To determine the robustness of this technique, we selected two ion channels that have been well characterized in the literature: CLIC1 and α-hemolysin. When reconstituted using the wicking technique, CLIC1 showed biophysical characteristics congruent with published reports from other groups; and α-hemolysin demonstrated Type A and B events when threading single stranded DNA through the pore. We conclude that the wicking method gives the investigator a high degree of control over many aspects of the lipid bilayer system, while greatly reducing the time required for channel reconstitution.
Silver and gold nanoparticles (of average size ∼20–27 nm) were incorporated in PU (Polyurethane), PCLm (Polycaprolactam), PC (polycarbonate) and PMMA (Polymethylmethaacrylate) by swelling and casting methods under ambient conditions. In the latter method the nanoparticle would be present not only on the surface, but also inside the polymer. These nanoparticles were prepared initially by using a cosolvent, THF. PU and PCLm were dissolved and swollen with THF. PC and PMMA were dissolved in CHCl3 and here the cosolvent, THF, acted as an intermediate between water and CHCl3. FTIR indicated that the interaction between the polymer and the nanoparticle was through the functional group in the polymer. The formation of E.coli biofilm on these nanocomposites under low (in a Drip flow biofilm reactor) and high shear (in a Shaker) conditions indicated that the biofilm growth was higher (twice) in the former than in the latter (ratio of shear force = 15). A positive correlation between the contact angle (of the virgin surface) and the number of colonies, carbohydrate and protein attached on it were observed. Ag nanocomposites exhibited better antibiofilm properties than Au. Bacterial attachment was highest on PC and least on PU nanocomposite. Casting method appeared to be better than swelling method in reducing the attachment (by a factor of 2). Composites reduced growth of organisms by six orders of magnitude, and protein and carbohydrate by 2–5 times. This study indicates that these nanocomposites may be suitable for implant applications.
Monoclonal antibodies are widely used to target disease-related antigens. However, because conventional antibody binds to the antigen but cannot eliminate the antigen from plasma, and rather increases the plasma antigen concentration by reducing the clearance of the antigen, some clinically important antigens are still difficult to target with monoclonal antibodies because of the huge dosages required. While conventional antibody can only bind to the antigen, some natural endocytic receptors not only bind to the ligands but also continuously eliminate them from plasma by pH-dependent dissociation of the ligands within the acidic endosome and subsequent receptor recycling to the cell surface. Here, we demonstrate that an engineered antibody, named sweeping antibody, having both pH-dependent antigen binding (to mimic the receptor-ligand interaction) and increased binding to cell surface neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) at neutral pH (to mimic the cell-bound form of the receptor), selectively eliminated the antigen from plasma. With this novel antigen-sweeping activity, antibody without in vitro neutralizing activity exerted in vivo efficacy by directly eliminating the antigen from plasma. Moreover, conversion of conventional antibody with in vitro neutralizing activity into sweeping antibody further potentiated the in vivo efficacy. Depending on the binding affinity to FcRn at neutral pH, sweeping antibody reduced antigen concentration 50- to 1000-fold compared to conventional antibody. Thereby, sweeping antibody antagonized excess amounts of antigen in plasma against which conventional antibody was completely ineffective, and could afford marked reduction of dosage to a level that conventional antibody can never achieve. Thus, the novel mode of action of sweeping antibody provides potential advantages over conventional antibody and may allow access to the target antigens which were previously undruggable by conventional antibody.
Myosin VI is an ATP driven molecular motor that normally takes forward and processive steps on actin filaments, but also on occasion stochastic backward steps. While a number of models have attempted to explain the backwards steps, none offer an acceptable mechanism for their existence. We therefore performed single molecule imaging of myosin VI and calculated the stepping rates of forward and backward steps at the single molecule level. The forward stepping rate was proportional to the ATP concentration, whereas the backward stepping rate was independent. Using these data, we proposed that spontaneous detachment of the leading head is uncoupled from ATP binding and is responsible for the backward steps of myosin VI.
Messenger RNA (mRNA) introduction is a promising approach to produce therapeutic proteins and peptides without any risk of insertion mutagenesis into the host genome. However, it is difficult to introduce mRNA in vivo mainly because of the instability of mRNA under physiological conditions and its strong immunogenicity through the recognition by Toll-like receptors (TLRs). We used a novel carrier based on self-assembly of a polyethylene glycol (PEG)-polyamino acid block copolymer, polyplex nanomicelle, to administer mRNA into the central nervous system (CNS). The nanomicelle with 50 nm in diameter has a core-shell structure with mRNA-containing inner core surrounded by PEG layer, providing the high stability and stealth property to the nanomicelle. The functional polyamino acids possessing the capacity of pH-responsive membrane destabilization allows smooth endosomal escape of the nanomicelle into the cytoplasm. After introduction into CNS, the nanomicelle successfully provided the sustained protein expression in the cerebrospinal fluid for almost a week. Immune responses after mRNA administration into CNS were effectively suppressed by the use of the nanomicelle compared with naked mRNA introduction. In vitro analyses using specific TLR-expressing HEK293 cells confirmed that the nanomicelle inclusion prevented mRNA from the recognition by TLRs. Thus, the polyplex nanomicelle is a promising system that simultaneously resolved the two major problems of in vivo mRNA introduction, the instability and immunogenicity, opening the door to various new therapeutic strategies using mRNA.
Human genome sequencing has resulted in a great body of data, including a stunningly large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with unknown phenotypic manifestations. Identification and comprehensive analysis of regulatory SNPs in human gene promoters will help quantify the effects of these SNPs on human health. Based on our experimental and computer-aided study of SNPs in TATA boxes and the use of literature data, we have derived an equation for TBP/TATA equilibrium binding in three successive steps: TATA-binding protein (TBP) sliding along DNA due to their nonspecific affinity for each other ↔ recognition of the TATA box ↔ stabilization of the TBP/TATA complex. Using this equation, we have analyzed TATA boxes containing SNPs associated with human diseases and made in silico predictions of changes in TBP/TATA affinity. An electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA)-based experimental study performed under the most standardized conditions demonstrates that the experimentally measured values are highly correlated with the predicted values: the coefficient of linear correlation, r, was 0.822 at a significance level of α<10−7 for equilibrium KD values, (-ln KD), and 0.785 at a significance level of α<10−3 for changes in equilibrium KD (δ) due to SNPs in the TATA boxes (). It has been demonstrated that the SNPs associated with increased risk of human diseases such as α-, β- and δ-thalassemia, myocardial infarction and thrombophlebitis, changes in immune response, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, lung cancer and hemophilia B Leyden cause 2–4-fold changes in TBP/TATA affinity in most cases. The results obtained strongly suggest that the TBP/TATA equilibrium binding equation derived can be used for analysis of TATA-box sequences and identification of SNPs with a potential of being functionally important.
Prion diseases are fatal neurodegenerative diseases associated with the conversion of cellular prion protein (PrPC) in the central nervous system into the infectious isoform (PrPSc). The mechanics of conversion are almost entirely unknown, with understanding stymied by the lack of an atomic-level structure for PrPSc. A number of pathogenic PrPC mutants exist that are characterized by an increased propensity for conversion into PrPSc and that differ from wild-type by only a single amino-acid point mutation in their primary structure. These mutations are known to perturb the stability and conformational dynamics of the protein. Understanding of how this occurs may provide insight into the mechanism of PrPC conversion. In this work we sought to explore wild-type and pathogenic mutant prion protein structure and dynamics by analysis of the current fluctuations through an organic α-hemolysin nanometer-scale pore (nanopore) in which a single prion protein has been captured electrophoretically. In doing this, we find that wild-type and D178N mutant PrPC, (a PrPC mutant associated with both Fatal Familial Insomnia and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease), exhibit easily distinguishable current signatures and kinetics inside the pore and we further demonstrate, with the use of Hidden Markov Model signal processing, accurate discrimination between these two proteins at the single molecule level based on the kinetics of a single PrPC capture event. Moreover, we present a four-state model to describe wild-type PrPC kinetics in the pore as a first step in our investigation on characterizing the differences in kinetics and conformational dynamics between wild-type and D178N mutant PrPC. These results demonstrate the potential of nanopore analysis for highly sensitive, real-time protein and small molecule detection based on single molecule kinetics inside a nanopore, and show the utility of this technique as an assay to probe differences in stability between wild-type and mutant prion proteins at the single molecule level.
The presented study examines the phenomenon of the fluorescence under UV light excitation (312 nm) of E. coli cells expressing a novel metagenomic-derived putative methylthioadenosine phosphorylase gene, called rsfp, grown on LB agar supplemented with a fluorescent dye rhodamine B. For this purpose, an rsfp gene was cloned and expressed in an LMG194 E. coli strain using an arabinose promoter. The resulting RSFP protein was purified and its UV-VIS absorbance spectrum and emission spectrum were assayed. Simultaneously, the same spectroscopic studies were carried out for rhodamine B in the absence or presence of RSFP protein or native E. coli proteins, respectively. The results of the spectroscopic studies suggested that the fluorescence of E. coli cells expressing rsfp gene under UV illumination is due to the interaction of rhodamine B molecules with the RSFP protein. Finally, this interaction was proved by a crystallographic study and then by site-directed mutagenesis of rsfp gene sequence. The crystal structures of RSFP apo form (1.98 Å) and complex RSFP/RB (1.90 Å) show a trimer of RSFP molecules located on the crystallographic six fold screw axis. The RSFP complex with rhodamine B revealed the binding site for RB, in the pocket located on the interface between symmetry related monomers.
Peptide amphiphiles (PAs) are a class of amphiphilic molecules able to self-assemble into nanomaterials that have shown efficient in vivo targeted delivery. Understanding the interactions of PAs with cells and the mechanisms of their internalization and intracellular trafficking is critical in their further development for therapeutic delivery applications.
PAs of a novel, cell- and tissue-penetrating peptide were synthesized possessing two different lipophilic tail architectures and their interactions with prostate cancer cells were studied in vitro. Cell uptake of peptides was greatly enhanced post-modification. Internalization occurred via lipid-raft mediated endocytosis and was common for the two analogs studied. On the contrary, we identified the non-peptidic part as the determining factor of differences between intracellular trafficking and retention of PAs. PAs composed of di-stearyl lipid tails linked through poly(ethylene glycol) to the peptide exhibited higher exocytosis rates and employed different recycling pathways compared to ones consisting of di-palmitic-coupled peptides. As a result, cell association of the former PAs decreased with time.
Control over peptide intracellular localization and retention is possible by appropriate modification with synthetic hydrophobic tails. We propose this as a strategy to design improved peptide-based delivery systems.
Many applications in biosensing, biomaterial engineering and single molecule biophysics require multiple non-covalent linkages between DNA, protein molecules, and surfaces that are specific yet strong. Here, we present a novel method to join proteins and dsDNA molecule at their ends, in an efficient, rapid and specific manner, based on the recently developed linkage between the protein StrepTactin (STN) and the peptide StrepTag II (ST). We introduce a two-step approach, in which we first construct a hybrid between DNA and a tandem of two STs peptides (tST). In a second step, this hybrid is linked to polystyrene bead surfaces and Maltose Binding Protein (MBP) using STN. Furthermore, we show the STN-tST linkage is more stable against forces applied by optical tweezers than the commonly used biotin-Streptavidin (STV) linkage. It can be used in conjunction with Neutravidin (NTV)-biotin linkages to form DNA tethers that can sustain applied forces above 65 pN for tens of minutes in a quarter of the cases. The method is general and can be applied to construct other surface-DNA and protein-DNA hybrids. The reversibility, high mechanical stability and specificity provided by this linking procedure make it highly suitable for single molecule mechanical studies, as well as biosensing and lab on chip applications.
Peptidoglycan recognition proteins (PGRPs) are part of the innate immune system. The 19 kDa Short PGRP (PGRP-S) is one of the four mammalian PGRPs. The concentration of PGRP-S in camel (CPGRP-S) has been shown to increase considerably during mastitis. The structure of CPGRP-S consists of four protein molecules designated as A, B, C and D forming stable intermolecular contacts, A–B and C–D. The A–B and C–D interfaces are located on the opposite sides of the same monomer leading to the the formation of a linear chain with alternating A–B and C–D contacts. Two ligand binding sites, one at C–D contact and another at A–B contact have been observed. CPGRP-S binds to the components of bacterial cell wall molecules such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS), lipoteichoic acid (LTA), and peptidoglycan (PGN) from both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. It also binds to fatty acids including mycolic acid of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Previous structural studies of binary complexes of CPGRP-S with LPS and stearic acid (SA) have shown that LPS binds to CPGRP-S at C–D contact (Site-1) while SA binds to it at the A–B contact (Site-2). The binding studies using surface plasmon resonance showed that LPS and SA bound to CPGRP-S in the presence of each other. The structure determination of the ternary complex showed that LPS and SA bound to CPGRP-S at Site-1 and Site-2 respectively. LPS formed 13 hydrogen bonds and 159 van der Waals contacts (distances ≤4.2 Å) while SA formed 56 van der Waals contacts. The ELISA test showed that increased levels of productions of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IFN-γ due to LPS and SA decreased considerably upon the addition of CPGRP-S.