ASPP2 is a key protein in regulating apoptosis both in p53-dependent and-independent pathways. The C-terminal part of ASPP2 contains four ankyrin repeats and an SH3 domain (Ank-SH3) that mediate the interactions of ASPP2 with apoptosis related proteins such as p53, Bcl-2 and the p65 subunit of NFκB. p53 core domain (p53CD) binds the n-src loop and the RT loop of ASPP2 SH3. ASPP2 contains a disordered proline rich domain (ASPP2 Pro) that forms an intramolecular autoinhibitory interaction with the Ank-SH3 domains. Here we show how this intramolecular interaction affects the intermolecular interactions of ASPP2 with p53, Bcl-2 and NFkB. We used biophysical methods to obtain better understanding of the relationship between ASPP2 and its partners for getting a comprehensive view on ASPP2 pathways. Fluorescence anisotropy competition experiments revealed that both ASPP2 Pro and p53CD competed for binding the n-src loop of the ASPP2 SH3, indicating regulation of p53CD binding to this loop by ASPP2 Pro. Peptides derived from the ASPP2-binding interface of Bcl-2 did not compete with p53CD or NFkB peptides for binding the ASPP2 n-src loop. However, p53CD displaced the NFκB peptide (residues 303–332) from its complex with ASPP2 Ank-SH3, indicating that NFκB 303–332 and p53CD bind a partly overlapping site in ASPP2 SH3, mostly in the RT loop. These results are in agreement with previous docking studies, which showed that ASPP2 Ank-SH3 binds Bcl-2 and NFκB mostly via distinct sites from p53. However they show some overlap between the binding sites of p53CD and NFkB in ASPP2 Ank-SH3. Our results provide experimental evidence that the intramolecular interaction in ASPP2 regulates its binding to p53CD and that ASPP2 Ank-SH3 binds Bcl-2 and NFκB via distinct sites.
Marine lytic bacteria can have a substantial effect on phytoplankton and are even capable to terminate blooms of microalgae. The bacterium Kordia algicida was reported to lyse cells of the diatom Skeletonema costatum and several other diatoms by a quorum sensing controlled excretion of proteases. However the diatom Chaetoceros didymus is fully resistant against the bacterial enzymes. We show that the growth curve of this diatom is essentially unaffected by addition of bacterial filtrates that are active against other diatoms. By monitoring proteases from the medium using zymography and fluorescence based activity assays we demonstrate that C. didymus responds to the presence of the lytic bacteria with the induced production of algal proteases. These proteases exhibit a substantially increased activity compared to the bacterial counterparts. The induction is also triggered by signals in the supernatant of a K. algicida culture. Size fractionation shows that only the >30 kD fraction of the bacterial exudates acts as an inducing cue. Implications for a potential induced defense of the diatom C. didymus are discussed.
In human membrane proteins, intrinsically disordered regions, the regions that lack a well-defined three-dimensional structure under physiological conditions, preferentially occur in the cytoplasmic tails. Many of these proteins represent cell receptors that function by recognizing their cognate ligand outside the cell and translating this binding information into an intracellular activation signal. Based on location of recognition and signaling (effector) domains, functionally diverse and unrelated cell receptors can be classified into two main families: those in which binding and signaling domains are located on the same protein chain, the so-called single-chain receptors (SRs), and those in which these domains are intriguingly located on separate subunits, the so-called multichain receptors (MRs). Recognition domains of both SRs and MRs are known to be well ordered. In contrast, while cytoplasmic signaling domains of SRs are well-structured as well, those of MRs are intrinsically disordered. Despite important role of receptor signaling in health and disease, extensive comparative structural analysis of receptor signaling domains has not been carried out as of yet. In this study, using a variety of prediction algorithms, we show that protein disorder is a characteristic and distinctive feature of receptors with recognition and signaling functions distributed between separate protein chains. We also reveal that disorder distribution patterns are rather similar within SR subclasses suggesting potential functional explanations. Why did nature select protein disorder to provide intracellular signaling for MRs? Is there any correlation between disorder profiles of signaling domains and receptor function? These and other questions are addressed in this article.
intrinsically disordered proteins; immune signaling; protein disorder; single-chain receptors; multichain immune recognition receptors; MIRR; T cell receptor; B cell receptor; RTK; receptor tyrosine kinases
When a protein binds to DNA, a conformational change is often induced so that the protein will fit into the DNA structure. Therefore, quantitative analyses were conducted to understand the conformational changes in proteins. The results showed that conformational changes in DNA interfaces are more frequent than in non-interfaces, and DNA interfaces have more conformational variations in the DNA-free form. As expected, the former indicates that interaction with DNA has some influence on protein structure. The latter suggests that the intrinsic conformational flexibility of DNA interfaces is important for adjusting their conformation for DNA. The amino acid propensities of the conformationally changed regions in DNA interfaces indicate that hydrophilic residues are preferred over the amino acids that appear in the conformationally unchanged regions. This trend is true for disordered regions, suggesting again that intrinsic flexibility is of importance not only for DNA binding but also for interactions with other molecules. These results demonstrate that fragments destined to be DNA interfaces have an intrinsic flexibility and are composed of amino acids with the capability of binding to DNA. This information suggests that the prediction of DNA binding sites may be improved by the integration of amino acid preference for DNA and one for disordered regions.
α-Synuclein aggregation and fibrillation are closely associated with the formation of Lewy bodies in neurons and are implicated in the causative pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and other synucleinopathies. Currently, there is no approved therapeutic agent directed toward preventing the protein aggregation, which has been recently shown to have a key role in the cytotoxic nature of amyloidogenic proteins. Flavonoids, known as plant pigments, belong to a broad family of polyphenolic compounds. Over 4,000 flavonoids have been identified from various plants and foodstuffs derived from plants and have been demonstrated as potential neuroprotective agents. In this study 48 flavonoids belonging to several classes with structures differing in the position of double bonds and ring substituents were tested for their ability to inhibit the fibrillation of α-synuclein in vitro. A variety of flavonoids inhibited α-synuclein fibrillation, and most of the strong inhibitory flavonoids were also found to disaggregate preformed fibrils.
The classical ‘lock-and-key’ and ‘induced-fit’ mechanisms for binding both originated in attempts to explain features of enzyme catalysis. For both of these mechanisms and for their recent refinements, enzyme catalysis requires exquisite spatial and electronic complementarity between the substrate and the catalyst. Thus, binding models derived from models originally based on catalysis will be highly biased towards mechanisms that utilize structural complementarity. If mere binding without catalysis is the endpoint, then the structural requirements for the interaction become much more relaxed. Recent observations on specific examples suggest that this relaxation can reach an extreme lack of specific 3D structure, leading to molecular recognition with biological consequences that depend not only upon structural and electrostatic complementarity between the binding partners but also upon kinetic, entropic, and generalized electrostatic effects. In addition to this discussion of binding without fixed structure, examples in which unstructured regions carry out important biological functions not involving molecular recognition will also be discussed. Finally, we discuss whether ‘intrinsically disordered protein’ (IDP) represents a useful new concept.
Contrarily to the general believe, many biologically active proteins lack stable tertiary and/or secondary structure under physiological conditions in vitro. These intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are highly abundant in nature and many of them are associated with various human diseases. The functional repertoire of IDPs complements the functions of ordered proteins. Since IDPs constitute a significant portion of any given proteome, they can be combined in an unfoldome; which is a portion of the proteome including all IDPs (also known as natively unfolded proteins, therefore, unfoldome), and describing their functions, structures, interactions, evolution, and so forth. Amino acid sequence and compositions of IDPs are very different from those of ordered proteins, making possible reliable identification of IDPs at the proteome level by various computational means. Furthermore, IDPs possess a number of unique structural properties and are characterized by a peculiar conformational behavior, including their high stability against low pH and high temperature and their structural indifference toward the unfolding by strong denaturants. These peculiarities were shown to be useful for elaboration of the experimental techniques for the large-scale identification of IDPs in various organisms. Some of the computational and experimental tools for the unfoldome discovery are discussed in this review.
Certain metals lead to increased risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and the aggregation of α-synuclein is implicated in the PD pathology. Although α-synuclein fibrillation has been extensively studied in dilute solutions in vitro, the intracellular environment is highly crowded. We are showing here that certain metals cause a significant acceleration of α-synuclein fibrillation in the presence of high concentrations of various macromolecules mostly through decreasing the fibrillation lagtime. The faster fibrillation in crowded environments in the presence of heavy metals suggests a simple molecular basis for the observed elevated risk of PD due to exposure to metals.
Parkinson’s disease; α-synuclein; crowding; fibrillation; aggregation; metals
Currently, the understanding of the relationships between function, amino acid sequence and protein structure continues to represent one of the major challenges of the modern protein science. As much as 50% of eukaryotic proteins are likely to contain functionally important long disordered regions. Many proteins are wholly disordered but still possess numerous biologically important functions. However, the number of experimentally confirmed disordered proteins with known biological functions is substantially smaller than their actual number in nature. Therefore, there is a crucial need for novel bioinformatics approaches that allow projection of the current knowledge from a few experimentally verified examples to much larger groups of known and potential proteins. The elaboration of a bioinformatics tool for the analysis of functional diversity of intrinsically disordered proteins and application of this data mining tool to >200,000 proteins from Swiss-Prot database, each annotated with at least one of the 875 functional keywords was described in the first paper of this series (Xie H., Vucetic S., Iakoucheva L.M., Oldfield C.J., Dunker A.K., Obradovic Z., Uversky V.N. (2006) Functional anthology of intrinsic disorder. I. Biological processes and functions of proteins with long disordered regions. J. Proteome Res.). Using this tool, we have found that out of the 711 Swiss-Prot functional keywords associated with at least 20 proteins, 262 were strongly positively correlated with long intrinsically disordered regions, and 302 were strongly negatively correlated. Illustrative examples of functional disorder or order were found for the vast majority of keywords showing strongest positive or negative correlation with intrinsic disorder, respectively. Some 80 Swiss-Prot keywords associated with disorder- and order-driven biological processes and protein functions were described in the first paper (Xie H., Vucetic S., Iakoucheva L.M., Oldfield C.J., Dunker A.K., Obradovic Z., Uversky V.N. (2006) Functional anthology of intrinsic disorder. I. Biological processes and functions of proteins with long disordered regions. J. Proteome Res.). The second paper of the series was devoted to the presentation of 87 Swiss-Prot keywords attributed to the cellular components, domains, technical terms, developmental processes and coding sequence diversities possessing strong positive and negative correlation with long disordered regions (Vucetic S., Xie H., Iakoucheva L.M., Oldfield C.J., Dunker A.K., Obradovic Z., Uversky V.N. (2006) Functional anthology of intrinsic disorder. II. Cellular components, domains, technical terms, developmental processes and coding sequence diversities correlated with long disordered regions. J. Proteome Res.). Protein structure and functionality can be modulated by various posttranslational modifications or/and as a result of binding of specific ligands. Numerous human diseases are associated with protein misfolding/misassembly/ misfunctioning. This work concludes the series of papers dedicated to the functional anthology of intrinsic disorder and describes ~80 Swiss-Prot functional keywords that are related to ligands, posttranslational modifications and diseases possessing strong positive or negative correlation with the predicted long disordered regions in proteins.
Intrinsic disorder; protein structure; protein function; intrinsically disordered proteins; bioinformatics; disorder prediction
We present the Database of Disordered Protein Prediction (D2P2), available at http://d2p2.pro (including website source code). A battery of disorder predictors and their variants, VL-XT, VSL2b, PrDOS, PV2, Espritz and IUPred, were run on all protein sequences from 1765 complete proteomes (to be updated as more genomes are completed). Integrated with these results are all of the predicted (mostly structured) SCOP domains using the SUPERFAMILY predictor. These disorder/structure annotations together enable comparison of the disorder predictors with each other and examination of the overlap between disordered predictions and SCOP domains on a large scale. D2P2 will increase our understanding of the interplay between disorder and structure, the genomic distribution of disorder, and its evolutionary history. The parsed data are made available in a unified format for download as flat files or SQL tables either by genome, by predictor, or for the complete set. An interactive website provides a graphical view of each protein annotated with the SCOP domains and disordered regions from all predictors overlaid (or shown as a consensus). There are statistics and tools for browsing and comparing genomes and their disorder within the context of their position on the tree of life.
The introduction of the term ‘Tubulin Polymerization Promoting Protein (TPPP)-like proteins’ is suggested. They constitute a eukaryotic protein superfamily, characterized by the presence of the p25alpha domain (Pfam05517, IPR008907), and named after the first identified member, TPPP/p25, exhibiting microtubule stabilizing function. TPPP-like proteins can be grouped on the basis of two characteristics: the length of their p25alpha domain, which can be long, short, truncated or partial, and the presence or absence of additional domain(s). TPPPs, in the strict sense, contain no other domains but one long or short p25alpha one (long- and short-type TPPPs, respectively). Proteins possessing truncated p25alpha domain are first described in this paper. They evolved from the long-type TPPPs and can be considered as arthropod-specific paralogs of long-type TPPPs. Phylogenetic analysis shows that the two groups (long-type and truncated TPPPs) split in the common ancestor of arthropods. Incomplete p25alpha domains can be found in multidomain TPPP-like proteins as well. The various subfamilies occur with a characteristic phyletic distribution: e. g., animal genomes/proteomes contain almost without exception long-type TPPPs; the multidomain apicortins occur almost exclusively in apicomplexan parasites. There are no data about the physiological function of these proteins except two human long-type TPPP paralogs which are involved in developmental processes of the brain and the musculoskeletal system, respectively. I predict that the superfamily members containing long or partial p25alpha domain are often intrinsically disordered proteins, while those with short or truncated domain(s) are structurally ordered. Interestingly, members of this superfamily connected or maybe connected to diseases are intrinsically disordered proteins.
The interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase (IRAK) family comprises critical signaling mediators of the TLR/IL-1R signaling pathways. IRAKs are Ser/Thr kinases. There are 4 members in the vertebrate genome (IRAK1, IRAK2, IRAKM, and IRAK4) and an IRAK homolog, Pelle, in insects. IRAK family members are highly conserved in vertebrates, but the evolutionary relationship between IRAKs in vertebrates and insects is not clear. To investigate the evolutionary history and functional divergence of IRAK members, we performed extensive bioinformatics analysis. The phylogenetic relationship between IRAK sequences suggests that gene duplication events occurred in the evolutionary lineage, leading to early vertebrates. A comparative phylogenetic analysis with insect homologs of IRAKs suggests that the Tube protein is a homolog of IRAK4, unlike the anticipated protein, Pelle. Furthermore, the analysis supports that an IRAK4-like kinase is an ancestral protein in the metazoan lineage of the IRAK family. Through functional analysis, several potentially diverged sites were identified in the common death domain and kinase domain. These sites have been constrained during evolution by strong purifying selection, suggesting their functional importance within IRAKs. In summary, our study highlighted the molecular evolution of the IRAK family, predicted the amino acids that contributed to functional divergence, and identified structural variations among the IRAK paralogs that may provide a starting point for further experimental investigations.
Besides being a common threat to farm animals and poultry, coronavirus (CoV) was responsible for the human severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2002–4. However, many aspects of CoV behavior, including modes of its transmission, are yet to be fully understood. We show that the amount and the peculiarities of distribution of the protein intrinsic disorder in the viral shell can be used for the efficient analysis of the behavior and transmission modes of CoV. The proposed model allows categorization of the various CoVs by the peculiarities of disorder distribution in their membrane (M) and nucleocapsid (N). This categorization enables quick identification of viruses with similar behaviors in transmission, regardless of genetic proximity. Based on this analysis, an empirical model for predicting the viral transmission behavior is developed. This model is able to explain some behavioral aspects of important coronaviruses that previously were not fully understood. The new predictor can be a useful tool for better epidemiological, clinical, and structural understanding of behavior of both newly emerging viruses and viruses that have been known for a long time. A potentially new vaccine strategy could involve searches for viral strains that are characterized by the evolutionary misfit between the peculiarities of the disorder distribution in their shells and their behavior.
The effects of disease mutations on protein structure and function have been extensively investigated, and many predictors of the functional impact of single amino acid substitutions are publicly available. The majority of these predictors are based on protein structure and evolutionary conservation, following the assumption that disease mutations predominantly affect folded and conserved protein regions. However, the prevalence of the intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and regions (IDRs) in the human proteome together with their lack of fixed structure and low sequence conservation raise a question about the impact of disease mutations in IDRs. Here, we investigate annotated missense disease mutations and show that 21.7% of them are located within such intrinsically disordered regions. We further demonstrate that 20% of disease mutations in IDRs cause local disorder-to-order transitions, which represents a 1.7–2.7 fold increase compared to annotated polymorphisms and neutral evolutionary substitutions, respectively. Secondary structure predictions show elevated rates of transition from helices and strands into loops and vice versa in the disease mutations dataset. Disease disorder-to-order mutations also influence predicted molecular recognition features (MoRFs) more often than the control mutations. The repertoire of disorder-to-order transition mutations is limited, with five most frequent mutations (R→W, R→C, E→K, R→H, R→Q) collectively accounting for 44% of all deleterious disorder-to-order transitions. As a proof of concept, we performed accelerated molecular dynamics simulations on a deleterious disorder-to-order transition mutation of tumor protein p63 and, in agreement with our predictions, observed an increased α-helical propensity of the region harboring the mutation. Our findings highlight the importance of mutations in IDRs and refine the traditional structure-centric view of disease mutations. The results of this study offer a new perspective on the role of mutations in disease, with implications for improving predictors of the functional impact of missense mutations.
Intrinsically unstructured or disordered proteins have been implicated in the etiology of a wide spectrum of diseases. However, the molecular mechanisms that relate mutations in intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) to disease pathogenesis have not been investigated. Disordered proteins do not conform to the prevailing view of deleterious mutations which equates function, structure and evolutionary conservation – intrinsically disordered regions are functional, but lack a fixed three-dimensional structure and in general have low sequence conservation. Here we demonstrate that >20% of disease-associated missense mutations affect IDRs and interfere with their functions. We further show that 20% of deleterious mutations in IDRs induce predicted disorder-to-order transitions. Our predictions are supported by accelerated molecular dynamics simulations that show an increase in helical propensity of the region harboring a disease disorder-to-order transition mutation of tumor protein p63. Our results refine the traditional structure-centric view of disease mutations and offer a new perspective on the role of non-synonymous mutations in disease. Our findings have broad implications for improving predictors of the functional impact of missense mutations, and for interpretation of novel variants identified in large genome sequencing projects that aim to provide a better understanding of human genetic variation and its relevance to common diseases.
Rifampin resistant (RifR) mutants of the insect pathogenic bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens LN2 from entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis indica LN2 were genetically and proteomically characterized. The RifR mutants showed typical phase one characters of Photorhabdus bacteria, and insecticidal activity against Galleria mellonella larvae, but surprisingly influenced their nematicidal activity against axenic infective juveniles (IJs) of H. bacteriophora H06, an incompatible nematode host. 13 out of 34 RifR mutants lost their nematicidal activity against H06 IJs but supported the reproduction of H06 nematodes. 7 nematicidal-producing and 7 non-nematicidal-producing RifR mutants were respectively selected for rpoB sequence analysis. rpoB mutations were found in all 14 RifR mutants. The rpoB (P564L) mutation was found in all 7 mutants which produced nematicidal activity against H06 nematodes, but not in the mutants which supported H06 nematode production. Allelic exchange assays confirmed that the Rif-resistance and the impact on nematicidal activity of LN2 bacteria were conferred by rpoB mutation(s). The non-nematicidal-producing RifR mutant was unable to colonize in the intestines of H06 IJs, but able to colonize in the intestines of its indigenous LN2 IJs. Proteomic analysis revealed different protein expression between wild-type strain and RifR mutants, or between nematicidal-producing and non nematicidal-producing mutants. At least 7 putative proteins including DsbA, HlpA, RhlE, RplC, NamB (a protein from T3SS), and 2 hypothetical proteins (similar to unknown protein YgdH and YggE of Escherichia coli respectively) were probably involved in the nematicidal activity of LN2 bacteria against H06 nematodes. This hypothesis was further confirmed by creating insertion-deletion mutants of three selected corresponding genes (the downregulated rhlE and namB, and upregualted dsbA). These results indicate that the rpoB mutations greatly influence the symbiotic association between the symbionts and their entomopathogenic nematode hosts.
Protein L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase (PIMT) repairs abnormal isoaspartyl peptide bonds in age-damaged proteins. It has been reported that synuclein, a protein implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, is a major target of PIMT in mouse brain. To extend this finding and explore its possible relevance to neurodegenerative diseases, we attempted to determine the stoichiometry of isoaspartate accumulation in synuclein in vivo and in vitro. Brain proteins from PIMT knockout mice were separated by 2D electrophoresis followed by on-blot [3H]-methylation to label isoaspartyl proteins, and by immunoblotting to confirm the coincident presence of synuclein. On-blot 3H-methylation revealed numerous isoaspartyl proteins, but no signal in the position of synuclein. This finding was corroborated by immunoprecipitation of synuclein followed by on-blot 3H-methylation. To assess the propensity of synuclein to form isoaspartyl sites in vitro, samples of recombinant mouse and human α-synucleins were aged for two weeks by incubation at pH 7.5 and 37°C. The stoichiometries of isoaspartate accumulation were extremely low at 0.02 and 0.07 mol of isoaspartate per mol of protein respectively. Using a simple mathematical model based on the first order kinetics of isoaspartyl protein methyl ester hydrolysis, we ascribe the discrepancy between our results and the previous report to methodological limitations of the latter stemming from an inherent, and somewhat counterintuitive, relationship between the propensity of proteins to form isoaspartyl sites and the instability of the 3H-methyl esters used to tag them. The results presented here indicate that synuclein is not a major target of PIMT in vivo, and emphasize the need to minimize methyl ester hydrolysis when using methylation to assess the abundance of isoaspartyl sites in proteins.
The aspiration to mimic and accelerate natural evolution has fueled interest in directed evolution experiments, which endow or enhance functionality in enzymes. Barring a few de novo approaches, most methods take a template protein having the desired activity, known active site residues and structure, and proceed to select a target protein which has a pre-existing scaffold congruent to the template motif. Previously, we have established a computational method (CLASP) based on spatial and electrostatic properties to detect active sites, and a method to quantify promiscuity in proteins. We exploit the prospect of promiscuous active sites to serve as the starting point for directed evolution and present a method to select a target protein which possesses a significant partial match with the template scaffold (DECAAF). A library of partial motifs, constructed from the active site residues of the template protein, is used to rank a set of target proteins based on maximal significant matches with the partial motifs, and cull out the best candidate from the reduced set as the target protein. Considering the scenario where this ‘incubator’ protein lacks activity, we identify mutations in the target protein that will mirror the template motif by superimposing the target and template protein based on the partial match. Using this superimposition technique, we analyzed the less than expected gain of activity achieved by an attempt to induce β-lactamase activity in a penicillin binding protein (PBP) (PBP-A from T. elongatus), and attributed this to steric hindrance from neighboring residues. We also propose mutations in PBP-5 from E. coli, which does not have similar steric constraints. The flow details have been worked out in an example which aims to select a substitute protein for human neutrophil elastase, preferably related to grapevines, in a chimeric anti-microbial enzyme which bolsters the innate immune defense system of grapevines.
Because of the increasing gap between the data from sequencing and structural genomics, the accurate prediction of the structural class of a protein domain solely from the primary sequence has remained a challenging problem in structural biology. Traditional sequence-based predictors generally select several sequence features and then feed them directly into a classification program to identify the structural class. The current best sequence-based predictor achieved an overall accuracy of 74.1% when tested on a widely used, non-homologous benchmark dataset 25PDB. In the present work, we built a multiple linear regression (MLR) model to convert the 440-dimensional (440D) sequence feature vector extracted from the Position Specific Scoring Matrix (PSSM) of a protein domain to a 4-dimensinal (4D) structural feature vector, which could then be used to predict the four major structural classes. We performed 10-fold cross-validation and jackknife tests of the method on a large non-homologous dataset containing 8,244 domains distributed among the four major classes. The performance of our approach outperformed all of the existing sequence-based methods and had an overall accuracy of 83.1%, which is even higher than the results of those predicted secondary structure-based methods.
Many biologically active proteins, which are usually called intrinsically disordered or natively unfolded proteins, lack stable tertiary and/or secondary structure under physiological conditions in vitro. Their functions complement the functional repertoire of ordered proteins, with intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) often being involved in regulation, signaling and control. Their amino acid sequences and compositions are very different from those of ordered proteins, making reliable identification of IDPs possible at the proteome level. IDPs are highly abundant in various human diseases, including neurodegeneration and other protein dysfunction maladies and, therefore, represent attractive novel drug targets. Some of the aspects of IDPs, as well as their roles in neurodegeneration and protein dysfunction diseases, are discussed in this article, together with the peculiarities of IDPs as potential drug targets.
disorder-based drug discovery; disorder prediction; intrinsically disordered protein; molten globule; premolten globule; random coil
Motivation: Molecular recognition features (MoRFs) are short binding regions located within longer intrinsically disordered regions that bind to protein partners via disorder-to-order transitions. MoRFs are implicated in important processes including signaling and regulation. However, only a limited number of experimentally validated MoRFs is known, which motivates development of computational methods that predict MoRFs from protein chains.
Results: We introduce a new MoRF predictor, MoRFpred, which identifies all MoRF types (α, β, coil and complex). We develop a comprehensive dataset of annotated MoRFs to build and empirically compare our method. MoRFpred utilizes a novel design in which annotations generated by sequence alignment are fused with predictions generated by a Support Vector Machine (SVM), which uses a custom designed set of sequence-derived features. The features provide information about evolutionary profiles, selected physiochemical properties of amino acids, and predicted disorder, solvent accessibility and B-factors. Empirical evaluation on several datasets shows that MoRFpred outperforms related methods: α-MoRF-Pred that predicts α-MoRFs and ANCHOR which finds disordered regions that become ordered when bound to a globular partner. We show that our predicted (new) MoRF regions have non-random sequence similarity with native MoRFs. We use this observation along with the fact that predictions with higher probability are more accurate to identify putative MoRF regions. We also identify a few sequence-derived hallmarks of MoRFs. They are characterized by dips in the disorder predictions and higher hydrophobicity and stability when compared to adjacent (in the chain) residues.
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels are tetrameric assemblies of transmembrane Kv proteins with cytosolic N- and C-termini. The N-terminal domain of Kv1 proteins binds to β-subunits, but the role of the C-terminus is less clear. Therefore, we studied the role of the C-terminus in regulating Kv1.5 channel and its interactions with Kvβ-subunits. When expressed in COS-7 cells, deletion of the C-terminal domain of Kv1.5 did not affect channel gating or kinetics. Co-expression of Kv1.5 with Kvβ3 increased current inactivation, whereas Kvβ2 caused a hyperpolarizing shift in the voltage-dependence of current activation. Inclusion of NADPH in the patch pipette solution accelerated the inactivation of Kv1.5-Kvβ3 currents. In contrast, NADP+ decreased the rate and the extent of Kvβ3-induced inactivation and reversed the hyperpolarizing shift in the voltage-dependence of activation induced by Kvβ2. Currents generated by Kv1.5ΔC+Kvβ3 or Kv1.5ΔC+Kvβ2 complexes did not respond to changes in intracellular pyridine nucleotide concentration, indicating that the C-terminus is required for pyridine nucleotide-dependent interactions between Kvβ and Kv1.5. A glutathione-S-transferase (GST) fusion protein containing the C-terminal peptide of Kv1.5 did not bind to apoKvβ2, but displayed higher affinity for Kvβ2:NADPH than Kvβ2:NADP+. The GST fusion protein also precipitated Kvβ proteins from mouse brain lysates. Pull-down experiments, structural analysis and electrophysiological data indicated that a specific region of the C-terminus (Arg543-Val583) is required for Kvβ binding. These results suggest that the C-terminal domain of Kv1.5 interacts with β-subunits and that this interaction is essential for the differential regulation of Kv currents by oxidized and reduced nucleotides.
Voltage-gated potassium channel; whole-cell patch clamp; Kvβ; pyridine nucleotides; redox; aldo-keto reductase
The CYP2D family members are instrumental in the metabolism of 20–25% of commonly prescribed drugs. Although many CYP2D isoforms have been well characterized in other animal models, research concerning the chicken CYP2Ds is limited. In this study, a cDNA encoding a novel CYP2D enzyme (CYP2D49) was cloned from the chicken liver for the first time. The CYP2D49 cDNA contained an open reading frame of 502 amino acids that shared 52%–57% identities with other CYP2Ds. The gene structure and neighboring genes of CYP2D49 are conserved and similar to those of human CYP2D6. Additionally, similar to human CYP2D6, CYP2D49 is un-inducible in the liver and expressed predominantly in the liver, kidney and small intestine, with detectable levels in several other tissues. Metabolic assays of the CYP2D49 protein heterologously expressed in E. coli and Hela cells indicated that CYP2D49 metabolized the human CYP2D6 substrate, bufuralol, but not debrisoquine. Moreover, quinidine, a potent inhibitor of human CYP2D6, only inhibited the bufuralol 1′-hydroxylation activity of CYP2D49 to a negligible degree. All these results indicated that CYP2D49 had functional characteristics similar to those of human CYP2D6 but measurably differed in the debrisoquine 4′-hydroxylation and quinidine inhibitory profile. Further structure-function investigations that employed site-directed mutagenesis and circular dichroism spectroscopy identified the importance of Val-126, Glu-222, Asp-306, Phe-486 and Phe-488 in keeping the enzymatic activity of CYP2D49 toward bufuralol as well as the importance of Asp-306, Phe-486 and Phe-488 in maintaining the conformation of CYP2D49 protein. The current study is only the first step in characterizing the metabolic mechanism of CYP2D49; further studies are still required.
The C/EBP Homologous Protein (CHOP) is a nuclear protein that is integral to the unfolded protein response culminating from endoplasmic reticulum stress. Previously, CHOP was shown to comprise extensive disordered regions and to self-associate in solution. In the current study, the intrinsically disordered nature of this protein was characterized further by comprehensive in silico analyses. Using circular dichroism, differential scanning calorimetry and nuclear magnetic resonance, we investigated the global conformation and secondary structure of CHOP and demonstrated, for the first time, that conformational changes in this protein can be induced by the free amino acid l-cysteine. Addition of l-cysteine caused a significant dose-dependent decrease in the protein helicity – dropping from 69.1% to 23.8% in the presence of 1 mM of l-cysteine – and a sequential transition to a more disordered state, unlike that caused by thermal denaturation. Furthermore, the presence of small amounts of free amino acid (80 µM, an 8∶1 cysteine∶CHOP ratio) during CHOP thermal denaturation altered the molecular mechanism of its melting process, leading to a complex, multi-step transition. On the other hand, high levels (4 mM) of free l-cysteine seemed to cause a complete loss of rigid cooperatively melting structure. These results suggested a potential regulatory function of l-cysteine which may lead to changes in global conformation of CHOP in response to the cellular redox state and/or endoplasmic reticulum stress.
We describe molecular processes that can facilitate pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) by analyzing the catalytic cycle of a membrane-imbedded protease γ-secretase, from the initial interaction with its C99 substrate to the final release of toxic Aβ peptides.
The C-terminal AICD fragment is cleaved first in a pre-steady-state burst. The lowest Aβ42/Aβ40 ratio is observed in pre-steady-state when Aβ40 is the dominant product. Aβ42 is produced after Aβ40, and therefore Aβ42 is not a precursor for Aβ40. The longer more hydrophobic Aβ products gradually accumulate with multiple catalytic turnovers as a result of interrupted catalytic cycles. Saturation of γ-secretase with its C99 substrate leads to 30% decrease in Aβ40 with concomitant increase in the longer Aβ products and Aβ42/Aβ40 ratio. To different degree the same changes in Aβ products can be observed with two mutations that lead to an early onset of AD, ΔE9 and G384A. Four different lines of evidence show that γ-secretase can bind and cleave multiple substrate molecules in one catalytic turnover. Consequently depending on its concentration, NotchΔE substrate can activate or inhibit γ-secretase activity on C99 substrate. Multiple C99 molecules bound to γ-secretase can affect processive cleavages of the nascent Aβ catalytic intermediates and facilitate their premature release as the toxic membrane-imbedded Aβ-bundles.
Gradual saturation of γ-secretase with its substrate can be the pathogenic process in different alleged causes of AD. Thus, competitive inhibitors of γ-secretase offer the best chance for a successful therapy, while the noncompetitive inhibitors could even facilitate development of the disease by inducing enzyme saturation at otherwise sub-saturating substrate. Membrane-imbedded Aβ-bundles generated by γ-secretase could be neurotoxic and thus crucial for our understanding of the amyloid hypothesis and AD pathogenesis.
The cysteine rich prostate and testis expressed (Pate) proteins identified till date are thought to resemble the three fingered protein/urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor proteins. In this study, for the first time, we report the identification, cloning and characterization of rat Pate gene cluster and also determine the expression pattern. The rat Pate genes are clustered on chromosome 8 and their predicted proteins retained the ten cysteine signature characteristic to TFP/Ly-6 protein family. PATE and PATE-F three dimensional protein structure was found to be similar to that of the toxin bucandin. Though Pate gene expression is thought to be prostate and testis specific, we observed that rat Pate genes are also expressed in seminal vesicle and epididymis and in tissues beyond the male reproductive tract. In the developing rats (20–60 day old), expression of Pate genes seem to be androgen dependent in the epididymis and testis. In the adult rat, androgen ablation resulted in down regulation of the majority of Pate genes in the epididymides. PATE and PATE-F proteins were found to be expressed abundantly in the male reproductive tract of rats and on the sperm. Recombinant PATE protein exhibited potent antibacterial activity, whereas PATE-F did not exhibit any antibacterial activity. Pate expression was induced in the epididymides when challenged with LPS. Based on our results, we conclude that rat PATE proteins may contribute to the reproductive and defense functions.