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1.  Smoking, variation in N-acetyltransferase 1 (NAT1) and 2 (NAT2), and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: a pooled analysis within the InterLymph consortium 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2012;24(1):125-134.
Studies of smoking and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) have yielded inconsistent results, possibly due to subtype heterogeneity and/or genetic variation impacting the metabolism of tobacco-derived carcinogens, including substrates of the N-acetyltransferase enzymes NAT1 and NAT2.
We conducted a pooled analysis of 5,026 NHL cases and 4,630 controls from seven case–control studies in the international lymphoma epidemiology consortium to examine associations between smoking, variation in the N-acetyltransferase genes NAT1 and NAT2, and risk of NHL subtypes. Smoking data were harmonized across studies, and genetic variants in NAT1 and NAT2 were used to infer acetylation phenotype of the NAT1 and NAT2 enzymes, respectively. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CIs) for risk of NHL and subtypes were calculated using joint fixed effects unconditional logistic regression models.
Current smoking was associated with a significant 30 % increased risk of follicular lymphoma (n = 1,176) but not NHL overall or other NHL subtypes. The association was similar among NAT2 slow (OR 1.36; 95 % CI 1.07–1.75) and intermediate/rapid (OR 1.27; 95 % CI 0.95–1.69) acetylators (pinteraction = 0.82) and also did not differ by NAT1*10 allelotype. Neither NAT2 phenotype nor NAT1*10 allelotype was associated with risk of NHL overall or NHL subtypes.
The current findings provide further evidence for a modest association between current smoking and follicular lymphoma risk and suggest that this association may not be influenced by variation in the N-acetyltransferase enzymes.
PMCID: PMC3529854  PMID: 23160945
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma; Gene environment interaction; Cigarette smoking; N-acetyltransferase; Follicular lymphoma
2.  Peptide truncation leads to a twist and an unusual increase in affinity for casitas B-lineage lymphoma tyrosine kinase binding domain 
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry  2012;55(7):3583-3587.
We describe truncation and SAR studies to identify a pentapeptide that binds Cbl tyrosine kinase binding domain with a higher affinity than the parental peptide. The pentapeptide has an alternate binding mode that allows occupancy of a previously uncharacterized groove. A peptide library was used to map the binding site and define the interface landscape. Our results suggest that the pentapeptide is an ideal starting point for the development of inhibitors against Cbl driven diseases.
PMCID: PMC3325325  PMID: 22394513
Cbl inhibitors; protein-peptide complex; in silico screen; protein-protein interactions
3.  The paradox of conformational constraint in the design of Cbl(TKB)-binding peptides 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1639.
Solving the crystal structure of Cbl(TKB) in complex with a pentapeptide, pYTPEP, revealed that the PEP region adopted a poly-L-proline type II (PPII) helix. An unnatural amino acid termed a proline-templated glutamic acid (ptE) that constrained both the backbone and sidechain to the bound conformation was synthesized and incorporated into the pYTPXP peptide. We estimated imposing structural constraints onto the backbone and sidechain of the peptide and preorganize it to the bound conformation in solution will yield nearly an order of magnitude improvement in activity. NMR studies confirmed that the ptE-containing peptide adopts the PPII conformation, however, competitive binding studies showed an order of magnitude loss of activity. Given the emphasis that is placed on imposing structural constraints, we provide an example to support the contrary. These results point to conformational flexibility at the interface, which have implications in the design of potent Cbl(TKB)-binding peptides.
PMCID: PMC3965358  PMID: 23572190
4.  Holocarboxylase synthetase is a chromatin protein and interacts directly with histone H3 to mediate biotinylation of K9 and K18 
Holocarboxylase synthetase (HCS) mediates the binding of biotin to lysine (K) residues in histones H2A, H3, and H4; HCS knockdown disturbs gene regulation, and decreases stress resistance and life span in eukaryotes. We tested the hypothesis that HCS interacts physically with histone H3 for subsequent biotinylation. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments were conducted and provided evidence that HCS co-localizes with histone H3 in human cells; physical interactions between HCS and H3 were confirmed using limited proteolysis assays. Yeast-two-hybrid studies revealed that the N-terminal and C-terminal domains in HCS participate in H3 binding. Recombinant human HCS was produced and exhibited biological activity, as evidenced by biotinylation of its known substrate, recombinant p67. Recombinant histone H3.2 and synthetic H3-based peptides were also good targets for biotinylation by rHCS in vitro, based on tracing histone-bound biotin with [3H]biotin, streptavidin, and anti-biotin antibody. Biotinylation site-specific antibodies were generated and revealed that both K9 and K18 in H3 were biotinylated by HCS. Collectively, these studies provide conclusive evidence that HCS interacts directly with histone H3, causing biotinylation of K9 and K18. We speculate that the targeting of HCS to distinct regions in human chromatin is mediated by DNA sequence, biotin, RNA, epigenetic marks, or chromatin proteins.
PMCID: PMC2975038  PMID: 20688500
biotin; chromatin; histone H3; holocarboxylase synthetase
5.  The Role of Histone H4 Biotinylation in the Structure of Nucleosomes 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e16299.
Post-translational modifications of histones play important roles in regulating nucleosome structure and gene transcription. It has been shown that biotinylation of histone H4 at lysine-12 in histone H4 (K12Bio-H4) is associated with repression of a number of genes. We hypothesized that biotinylation modifies the physical structure of nucleosomes, and that biotin-induced conformational changes contribute to gene silencing associated with histone biotinylation.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To test this hypothesis we used atomic force microscopy to directly analyze structures of nucleosomes formed with biotin-modified and non-modified H4. The analysis of the AFM images revealed a 13% increase in the length of DNA wrapped around the histone core in nucleosomes with biotinylated H4. This statistically significant (p<0.001) difference between native and biotinylated nucleosomes corresponds to adding approximately 20 bp to the classical 147 bp length of nucleosomal DNA.
The increase in nucleosomal DNA length is predicted to stabilize the association of DNA with histones and therefore to prevent nucleosomes from unwrapping. This provides a mechanistic explanation for the gene silencing associated with K12Bio-H4. The proposed single-molecule AFM approach will be instrumental for studying the effects of various epigenetic modifications of nucleosomes, in addition to biotinylation.
PMCID: PMC3029316  PMID: 21298003
6.  Functional Study of the P32T ITPA Variant Associated with Drug Sensitivity in Humans 
Journal of molecular biology  2009;392(3):602-613.
Sanitization of the cellular nucleotide pools from mutagenic base analogs is necessary for the accuracy of transcription and replication of genetic material and plays a substantial role in cancer prevention. The undesirable mutagenic, recombinogenic and toxic incorporation of purine base analogs (i.e. ITP, dITP, XTP, dXTP or 6-hydroxyaminopurine (HAP) deoxynucleoside triphosphate) into nucleic acids is prevented by inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase (ITPA). The ITPA gene is a highly conserved, moderately expressed gene. Defects in ITPA orthologs in model organisms cause severe sensitivity to HAP and chromosome fragmentation. A human polymorphic allele 94C->A encodes for the enzyme with a P32T amino acid change and leads to accumulation of non-hydrolyzed ITP. ITPase activity is not detected in erythrocytes of these patients. The P32T polymorphism has also been associated with adverse sensitivity to purine base analog drugs. We have found that the ITPA-P32T mutant is a dimer in solution, as is wild-type ITPA, and has normal ITPA activity in vitro, but the melting point of ITPA-P32T is 5 degrees C lower than that of wild-type. ITPA-P32T is also fully functional in vivo in model organisms as determined by a HAP mutagenesis assay and its complementation of a bacterial ITPA defect. The amount of ITPA protein detected by western blot is severely diminished in a human fibroblast cell line with the 94C->A change. We propose that the P32T mutation exerts its effect in certain human tissues by cumulative effects of destabilization of transcripts, protein stability and availability.
PMCID: PMC2745931  PMID: 19631656
7.  Structure of the orthorhombic form of human inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase 
X-ray crystallographic analysis of human inosine triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase provided the secondary structure and active-site structure at 1.6 Å resolution in an orthorhombic crystal form. The structure gives a framework for future structure–function studies employing site-directed mutagenesis and for the identification of substrate/product-binding sites.
The structure of human inosine triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase (ITPA) has been determined using diffraction data to 1.6 Å resolution. ITPA contributes to the accurate replication of DNA by cleansing cellular dNTP pools of mutagenic nucleotide purine analogs such as dITP or dXTP. A similar high-resolution unpublished structure has been deposited in the Protein Data Bank from a monoclinic and pseudo-merohedrally twinned crystal. Here, cocrystallization of ITPA with a molar ratio of XTP appears to have improved the crystals by eliminating twinning and resulted in an orthorhombic space group. However, there was no evidence for bound XTP in the structure. Comparison with substrate-bound NTPase from a thermophilic organism predicts the movement of residues within helix α1, the loop before α6 and helix α7 to cap off the active site when substrate is bound.
PMCID: PMC2225220  PMID: 17077483
inosine triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase
8.  Human Replication Protein A−Rad52−Single-Stranded DNA Complex: Stoichiometry and Evidence for Strand Transfer Regulation by Phosphorylation† 
Biochemistry  2009;48(28):6633-6643.
The eukaryotic single-stranded DNA-binding protein, replication protein A (RPA), is essential in DNA metabolism and is phosphorylated in response to DNA-damaging agents. Rad52 and RPA participate in the repair of double-stranded DNA breaks (DSBs). It is known that human RPA and Rad52 form a complex, but the molecular mass, stoichiometry, and exact role of this complex in DSB repair are unclear. In this study, absolute molecular masses of individual proteins and complexes were measured in solution using analytical size-exclusion chromatography coupled with multiangle light scattering, the protein species present in each purified fraction were verified via sodium dodecyl sulfate−polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS−PAGE)/Western analyses, and the presence of biotinylated ssDNA in the complexes was verified by chemiluminescence detection. Then, employing UV cross-linking, the protein partner holding the ssDNA was identified. These data show that phosphorylated RPA promoted formation of a complex with monomeric Rad52 and caused the transfer of ssDNA from RPA to Rad52. This suggests that RPA phosphorylation may regulate the first steps of DSB repair and is necessary for the mediator function of Rad52.
PMCID: PMC2710861  PMID: 19530647

Results 1-8 (8)