An extensive polymorphism analysis of pollen profilin, a fundamental regulator of the actin cytoskeleton dynamics, has been performed with a major focus in 3D-folding maintenance, changes in the 2-D structural elements, surface residues involved in ligands-profilin interactions and functionality, and the generation of conformational and lineal B- and T-cell epitopes variability.
Our results revealed that while the general fold is conserved among profilins, substantial structural differences were found, particularly affecting the special distribution and length of different 2-D structural elements (i.e. cysteine residues), characteristic loops and coils, and numerous micro-heterogeneities present in fundamental residues directly involved in the interacting motifs, and to some extension these residues nearby to the ligand-interacting areas. Differential changes as result of polymorphism might contribute to generate functional variability among the plethora of profilin isoforms present in the olive pollen from different genetic background (olive cultivars), and between plant species, since biochemical interacting properties and binding affinities to natural ligands may be affected, particularly the interactions with different actin isoforms and phosphoinositides lipids species.
Furthermore, conspicuous variability in lineal and conformational epitopes was found between profilins belonging to the same olive cultivar, and among different cultivars as direct implication of sequences polymorphism. The variability of the residues taking part of IgE-binding epitopes might be the final responsible of the differences in cross-reactivity among olive pollen cultivars, among pollen and plant-derived food allergens, as well as between distantly related pollen species, leading to a variable range of allergy reactions among atopic patients. Identification and analysis of commonly shared and specific epitopes in profilin isoforms is essential to gain knowledge about the interacting surface of these epitopes, and for a better understanding of immune responses, helping design and development of rational and effective immunotherapy strategies for the treatment of allergy diseases.
The structure and activity of enzymes are influenced by pH value of their surroundings. Although many enzymes work well in the pH range from 6 to 8, some specific enzymes have good efficiencies only in acidic (pH<5) or alkaline (pH>9) solution. Studies have demonstrated that the activities of enzymes correlate with their primary sequences. It is crucial to judge enzyme adaptation to acidic or alkaline environment from its amino acid sequence in molecular mechanism clarification and the design of high efficient enzymes. In this study, we developed a sequence-based method to discriminate acidic enzymes from alkaline enzymes. The analysis of variance was used to choose the optimized discriminating features derived from g-gap dipeptide compositions. And support vector machine was utilized to establish the prediction model. In the rigorous jackknife cross-validation, the overall accuracy of 96.7% was achieved. The method can correctly predict 96.3% acidic and 97.1% alkaline enzymes. Through the comparison between the proposed method and previous methods, it is demonstrated that the proposed method is more accurate. On the basis of this proposed method, we have built an online web-server called AcalPred which can be freely accessed from the website (http://lin.uestc.edu.cn/server/AcalPred). We believe that the AcalPred will become a powerful tool to study enzyme adaptation to acidic or alkaline environment.
To produce large quantities of high quality eukaryotic membrane proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we modified a high-copy vector to express membrane proteins C-terminally-fused to a Tobacco Etch Virus (TEV) protease detachable Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)-8His tag, which facilitates localization, quantification, quality control, and purification. Using this expression system we examined the production of a human glucose transceptor and 11 nutrient transporters and transceptors from S. cerevisiae that have not previously been overexpressed in S. cerevisiae and purified. Whole-cell GFP-fluorescence showed that induction of GFP-fusion synthesis from a galactose-inducible promoter at 15°C resulted in stable accumulation of the fusions in the plasma membrane and in intracellular membranes. Expression levels of the 12 fusions estimated by GFP-fluorescence were in the range of 0.4 mg to 1.7 mg transporter pr. liter cell culture. A detergent screen showed that n-dodecyl-ß-D-maltopyranoside (DDM) is acceptable for solubilization of the membrane-integrated fusions. Extracts of solubilized membranes were prepared with this detergent and used for purifications by Ni-NTA affinity chromatography, which yielded partially purified full-length fusions. Most of the fusions were readily cleaved at a TEV protease site between the membrane protein and the GFP-8His tag. Using the yeast oligopeptide transporter Ptr2 as an example, we further demonstrate that almost pure transporters, free of the GFP-8His tag, can be achieved by TEV protease cleavage followed by reverse immobilized metal-affinity chromatography. The quality of the GFP-fusions was analysed by fluorescence size-exclusion chromatography. Membranes solubilized in DDM resulted in preparations containing aggregated fusions. However, 9 of the fusions solubilized in DDM in presence of cholesteryl hemisuccinate and specific substrates, yielded monodisperse preparations with only minor amounts of aggregated membrane proteins. In conclusion, we developed a new effective S. cerevisiae expression system that may be used for production of high-quality eukaryotic membrane proteins for functional and structural analysis.
Cytoplasmic dynein light chain 1 (DYNLL1) is a component of large protein complex, which is implicated in cargo transport processes, and is known to interact with many cellular and viral proteins through its short consensus motif (K/R)XTQT. Still, it remains to be explored that bacterial proteins also exhibit similar recognition sequences to make them vulnerable to host defense mechanism. We employed multiple docking protocols including AUTODOCK, PatchDock, ZDOCK, DOCK/PIERR and CLUSPRO to explore the DYNLL1 and Pilin interaction followed by molecular dynamics simulation assays. Subsequent structural comparison of the predicted binding site for DYNLL1-Pilin complex against the experimentally verified DYNLL1 binding partners was performed to cross check the residual contributions and to determine the binding mode. On the basis of in silico analysis, here we describe a novel interaction of DYNLL1 and receptor binding domain of Pilin (the main protein constituent of bacterial type IV Pili) of gram negative bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PAO), which is the third most common nosocomial pathogen associated with the life-threatening infections. Evidently, our results underscore that Pilin specific motif (KSTQD) exhibits a close structural similarity to that of Vaccinia virus polymerase, P protein Rabies and P protein Mokola viruses. We speculate that binding of DYNLL1 to Pilin may trigger an uncontrolled inflammatory response of the host immune system during P. aeruginosa chronic infections thereby opening a new pioneering area to investigate the role of DYNLL1 in gram negative bacterial infections other than viral infections. Moreover, by manifesting a strict correspondence between sequence and function, our study anticipates a novel drug target site to control the complications caused by P. aeruginosa infections.
The identification of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) among the targets that fail to form satisfactory crystal structures in the Protein Structure Initiative represent a key to reducing the costs and time for determining three-dimensional structures of proteins. To help in this endeavor, several Protein Structure Initiative Centers were asked to send samples of both crystallizable proteins and proteins that failed to crystallize. The abundance of intrinsic disorder in these proteins was evaluated via computational analysis using Predictors of Natural Disordered Regions (PONDR®) and the potential cleavage sites and corresponding fragments were determined. Then, the target proteins were analyzed for intrinsic disorder by their resistance to limited proteolysis. The rates of tryptic digestion of sample target proteins were compared to those of lysozyme/myoglobin, apo-myoglobin and α-casein as standards of ordered, partially disordered and completely disordered proteins, respectively. At the next stage, the protein samples were subjected to both far-UV and near-UV circular dichroism (CD) analysis. For most of the samples, a good agreement between CD data, predictions of disorder and the rates of limited tryptic digestion was established. Further experimentation is being performed on a smaller subset of these samples in order to obtain more detailed information on the ordered/disordered nature of the proteins.
Intrinsically disordered proteins; protein disorder prediction; Protein Structure Initiative; limited proteolysis
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a slowly progressive movement disorder that results from the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, a small area of cells in the mid-brain. PD is a multifactorial disorder with unknown etiology, in which both genetic and environmental factors play important roles. Substantial evidence links α-synuclein, a small highly conserved presynaptic protein with unknown function, to both familial and sporadic PD. Rare familial cases of PD are associated with missense point mutations in α-synuclein, or with the hyper-expression of the wild type protein due to its gene duplication/triplication. Furthermore, α-synuclein was identified as the major component of amyloid fibrils found in Lewy body and Lewy neurites, the characteristic proteinaceous deposits that are the diagnostic hallmarks of PD. α-Synuclein is abundant in various regions of the brain and has two closely related homologs, β-synuclein and γ-synuclein. When isolated in solution, the protein is intrinsically disordered, but in the presence of lipid surfaces α-synuclein adopts a highly helical structure that is believed to mediate its normal function(s). A number of different conformational states of α-synuclein have been observed. Besides the membrane-bound form, other critical conformations include a partially-folded state that is a key intermediate in aggregation and fibrillation, various oligomeric species, and fibrillar and amorphous aggregates. A number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors that either accelerate or inhibit the rate of α-synuclein aggregation and fibrillation in vitro are known. There is a strong correlation between the conformation of α-synuclein (induced by various factors) and its rate of fibrillation. The aggregation process appears to be branched, with one pathway leading to fibrils and another to oligomeric intermediates that may ultimately form amorphous deposits. The molecular basis of Parkinson’s disease appears to be tightly coupled to the aggregation of α-synuclein and the factors that affect its conformation. This review focuses on the contributions of Prof. Anthony L. Fink to the field and presents some recent developments in this exciting area.
α-Synuclein; synucleinopathies; aggregation; amyloid; fibril; neurodegeneration; intrinsically disordered protein; NMR; partially folded intermediate
Acrosome formation and nuclear shaping are the main events in spermatogenesis. During spermiogenesis in Exopalaemon modestus, a unique microtubular structure called the acroframosome (AFS) forms in spermatids. The AFS links to a temporary organelle called the lamellar complex (LCx) leading to the formation of an everted umbrella-shaped acrosome and a dish-shaped nucleus in the mature sperm. These morphological changes require complex cell motility in which the C-terminal kinesin motor protein called KIFC1 is involved. In this study, we demonstrate that KIFC1 moves along the AFS and plays an important role in acrosome formation and nuclear shaping during spermatogenesis in E. modestus.
We cloned a 3125 bp complete cDNA of kifc1 from the testis of E. modestus by PCR. The predicted secondary and tertiary structures of E. modestus KIFC1 contain three domains: a) the C-terminus, b) the stalk region, and the c) N-terminusl. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR detected the expression of kifc1 mRNA in different tissues of E. modestus. In situ hybridization demonstrated the temporal and spatial expression profile of kifc1 during spermiogenesis. Western blot identified the expression of KIFC1 in different tissues of E. modestus, including the testis. Immunofluorescence localized KIFC1, tubulin, GM130, and mitochondria in order to elucidate their role during spermiogenesis in E. modestus.
Our results indicate that KIFC1 transports the Golgi complex, mitochondria, and other cellular components that results in acrosome formation and nuclear shaping in E. modestus. The KIFC1 transport function depends upon the microtubular structure called the acroframosome (AFS). This study describes some of the molecular mechanisms involved in the acrosome formation and nuclear shaping in E. modestus. In addition, this study may provide a model for studying the molecular mechanisms involved in spermatogenesis in other crustacean species and lead to a better understanding of the fertilization process in crustaceans.
We recently identified a novel anilinoquinazoline derivative, Q15, as a potent apoptosis inducer in a panel of human cancer cell lines and determined that Q15 targets hCAP-G2, a subunit of condensin II complex, leading to abnormal cell division. However, whether the defect in normal cell division directly results in cell death remains unclear. Here, we used an mRNA display method on a microfluidic chip to search for other Q15-binding proteins. We identified an additional Q15-binding protein, MIP-2A (MBP-1 interacting protein-2A), which has been reported to interact with MBP-1, a repressor of the c-Myc promoter. Our results indicate that Q15 inhibits the interaction between MIP-2A and MBP-1 as well as the expression of c-Myc protein, thereby inducing cell death. This study suggests that the simultaneous targeting of hCAP-G2 and MIP-2A is a promising strategy for the development of antitumor drugs as a treatment for intractable tumours.
Malpighian tubules (MTs) are highly specific organs of arthropods (Insecta, Myriapoda and Arachnida) for excretion and osmoregulation. In order to highlight the important genes and pathways involved in multi-functions of MTs, we performed a systematic proteomic analysis of silkworm MTs in the present work. Totally, 1,367 proteins were identified by one-dimensional gel electrophoresis coupled with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and as well as by Trans Proteomic Pipeline (TPP) and Absolute protein expression (APEX) analyses. Forty-one proteins were further identified by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Some proteins were revealed to be significantly associated with various metabolic processes, organic solute transport, detoxification and innate immunity. Our results might lay a good foundation for future functional studies of MTs in silkworm and other lepidoptera.
Maltogenic amylases belong to a subclass of cyclodextrin-hydrolyzing enzymes and hydrolyze cyclodextrins more efficiently than starch unlike typical α-amylases. Several bacterial malto-genic amylases with temperature optima of 40–60°C have been previously characterized. The thermo-adaption, substrate preferences and transglycosylation aspects of extremely thermostable bacterial maltogenic amylases have not yet been reported.
The recombinant monomeric and dimeric forms of maltogenic α-amylase (Gt-Mamy) of the extremely thermophilic bacterium Geobacillus thermoleovorans are of 72.5 and 145 kDa, which are active optimally at 80°C. Extreme thermostability of this enzyme has been explained by analyzing far-UV CD spectra. Dimerization increases T1/2 of Gt-Mamy from 8.2 h to 12.63 h at 90°C and mediates its enthalpy-driven conformational thermostabilization. Furthermore, dime-rization regulates preferential substrate binding of the enzyme. The substrate preference switching of Gt-Mamy upon dimerization has been confirmed from the substrate-binding affinities of the enzyme for various high and low molecular weight substrates. There is an alteration in Km and substrate hydrolysis efficiency (Vmax/Km) of the enzyme (for cyclodex-trins/starch) upon dimerization. N-terminal truncation indicated the role of N-terminal 128 amino acids in the thermostabilization and modulation of substrate-binding affinity. This has been confirmed by molecular docking of β-cyclodextrin to Gt-Mamy that indicated the requirement of homodimer formation by the interaction of a few N-terminal residues of chain A with the catalytic residues of (α/β)8 barrel of chain B and vice-versa for stable cyclodextrin binding. Site directed mutagenesis provided evidence for the role of N-terminal D109 at the dimeric interface in substrate affinity modulation and thermostabilization. The dimeric Gt-Mamy transglycosylates hydrolytic products of G4/G5 and acarbose, while the truncated form does not because of the lack of extra sugar-binding space formed due to dimerization.
N-terminal domain controls enthalpy-driven thermostabilization, substrate-binding affinity and transglycosylation activity of Gt-Mamy by homodimer formation.
Identifying shared sequence segments along amino acid sequences generally requires a collection of closely related proteins, most often curated manually from the sequence datasets to suit the purpose at hand. Currently developed statistical methods are strained, however, when the collection contains remote sequences with poor alignment to the rest, or sequences containing multiple domains. In this paper, we propose a completely unsupervised and automated method to identify the shared sequence segments observed in a diverse collection of protein sequences including those present in a smaller fraction of the sequences in the collection, using a combination of sequence alignment, residue conservation scoring and graph-theoretical approaches. Since shared sequence fragments often imply conserved functional or structural attributes, the method produces a table of associations between the sequences and the identified conserved regions that can reveal previously unknown protein families as well as new members to existing ones. We evaluated the biological relevance of the method by clustering the proteins in gold standard datasets and assessing the clustering performance in comparison with previous methods from the literature. We have then applied the proposed method to a genome wide dataset of 17793 human proteins and generated a global association map to each of the 4753 identified conserved regions. Investigations on the major conserved regions revealed that they corresponded strongly to annotated structural domains. This suggests that the method can be useful in predicting novel domains on protein sequences.
Mitogenomes can provide information for phylogenetic analyses and evolutionary biology. The complete mitochondrial genome of Amata emma (Lepidoptera: Erebidae) was sequenced and analyzed in the study. The circular genome is 15,463 bp in size, with the gene content, orientation and order identical to other ditrysian insects. The genome composition of the major strand shows highly A+T biased and exhibits negative AT-skew and GC-skew. The initial codons are the canonical putative start codons ATN with the exception of cox1 gene which uses CGA instead. Ten genes share complete termination codons TAA, and three genes use incomplete stop codons TA or T. Additionally, the codon distribution and Relative Synonymous Codon Usage of the 13 PCGs in the A. emma mitogenome are consistent with those in other Noctuid mitogenomes. All tRNA genes have typical cloverleaf secondary structures, except for the trnS1 (AGN) gene, in which the dihydrouridine (DHU) arm is simplified down to a loop. The secondary structures of two rRNA genes broadly conform with the models proposed for these genes of other Lepidopteran insects. Except for the A+T-rich region, there are three major intergenic spacers, spanning at least 10 bp and five overlapping regions. There are obvious differences in the A+T-rich region between A. emma and other Lepidopteran insects reported previously except that the A+T-rich region contains an ‘ATAGA’ -like motif followed by a 19 bp poly-T stretch and a (AT)9 element preceded by the ‘ATTTA’ motif. It neither has a poly-A (in the α strand) upstream trnM nor potential stem-loop structures and just has some simple structures like (AT)nGTAT. The phylogenetic relationships based on nucleotide sequences of 13 PCGs using Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood methods provided a well-supported a broader outline of Lepidoptera and which agree with the traditional morphological classification and recently working, but with a much higher support.
Streptomycetes have been studied mostly as producers of secondary metabolites, while the transition from dormant spores to an exponentially growing culture has largely been ignored. Here, we focus on a comparative analysis of fluorescently and radioactively labeled proteome and microarray acquired transcriptome expressed during the germination of Streptomyces coelicolor. The time-dynamics is considered, starting from dormant spores through 5.5 hours of growth with 13 time points. Time series of the gene expressions were analyzed using correlation, principal components analysis and an analysis of coding genes utilization. Principal component analysis was used to identify principal kinetic trends in gene expression and the corresponding genes driving S. coelicolor germination. In contrast with the correlation analysis, global trends in the gene/protein expression reflected by the first principal components showed that the prominent patterns in both the protein and the mRNA domains are surprisingly well correlated. Analysis of the number of expressed genes identified functional groups activated during different time intervals of the germination.
Aggregation of tau protein in the brain is associated with a class of neurodegenerative diseases known as tauopathies. FK506 binding protein 51 kDa (FKBP51, encoded by FKBP5) forms a mature chaperone complex with Hsp90 that prevents tau degradation. In this study, we have shown that tau levels are reduced throughout the brains of Fkbp5–/– mice. Recombinant FKBP51 and Hsp90 synergized to block tau clearance through the proteasome, resulting in tau oligomerization. Overexpression of FKBP51 in a tau transgenic mouse model revealed that FKBP51 preserved the species of tau that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathogenesis, blocked amyloid formation, and decreased tangle load in the brain. Alterations in tau turnover and aggregate structure corresponded with enhanced neurotoxicity in mice. In human brains, FKBP51 levels increased relative to age and AD, corresponding with demethylation of the regulatory regions in the FKBP5 gene. We also found that higher FKBP51 levels were associated with AD progression. Our data support a model in which age-associated increases in FKBP51 levels and its interaction with Hsp90 promote neurotoxic tau accumulation. Strategies aimed at attenuating FKBP51 levels or its interaction with Hsp90 have the potential to be therapeutically relevant for AD and other tauopathies.
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
We analyzed the applicability of high-resolution 2H-HMR spectroscopy for the analysis of microbe metabolism in samples of mitochondrion isolated from rat liver and from aqueous extracts of homogenates of rat liver and other organs and tissues in the presence of high D2O contents. Such analysis is possible due to the fast microbe adaptation to life in the heavy water. It is also shown that some enzymatic processes typical for the intact cells are preserved in the homogenized tissue preparations. The microbial and cellular metabolic processes can be differentiated via the strategic use of cell poisons and antibiotics.
Microbe adaptation; Microbial metabolism; 2H-HMR spectroscopy; High resolution NMR; Heavy water
Sodium measurement during hemodialysis treatment is important to preserve the patient from clinical events related to hypo- or hyper-natremia Usually, sodium measurement is performed through laboratory equipment which is typically expensive, and requires manual intervention. We propose a new method, based on conductivity measurement after treatment of dialysate solution through ion-exchange resin. To test this method, we performed in vitro experiments. We prepared 40 ml sodium chloride (NaCl) samples at 280, 140, 70, 35, 17.5, 8.75, 4.375 mEq/l, and some “mixed samples”, i.e., with added potassium chloride (KCl) at different concentrations (4.375-17.5 mEq/l), to simulate the confounding factors in a conductivity-based sodium measurement. We measured the conductivity of all samples. Afterwards, each sample was treated for 1 min with 1 g of Dowex G-26 resin, and conductivity was measured again. On average, the difference in the conductivity between mixed samples and corresponding pure NaCl samples (at the same NaCl concentration) was 20.9%. After treatment with the exchange resin, it was 14.7%, i.e., 42% lower. Similar experiments were performed with calcium chloride and magnesium chloride as confounding factors, with similar results. We also performed some experiments on actual dialysate solution during hemodialysis sessions in 15 patients, and found that the correlation between conductivity measures and sodium concentration improved after resin treatment (R=0.839 before treatment, R=0.924 after treatment, P<0.0001). We conclude that ion-exchange resin treatment coupled with conductivity measures may improve the measurement of sodium compared to conductivity measures alone, and may become a possible simple approach for continuous and automatic sodium measurement during hemodialysis.
sodium; dialysis; conductivity; resin; ion-exchange; ultrafiltration
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.
IDPs, while structurally poor, are functionally rich by virtue of their flexibility and modularity. However, how mutations in IDPs elicit diseases, remain elusive. Herein, we have identified tumor suppressor PTEN as an intrinsically disordered protein (IDP) and elucidated the molecular principles by which its intrinsically disordered region (IDR) at the carboxyl-terminus (C-tail) executes its functions. Post-translational modifications, conserved eukaryotic linear motifs and molecular recognition features present in the C-tail IDR enhance PTEN's protein-protein interactions that are required for its myriad cellular functions. PTEN primary and secondary interactomes are also enriched in IDPs, most being cancer related, revealing that PTEN functions emanate from and are nucleated by the C-tail IDR, which form pliable network-hubs. Together, PTEN higher order functional networks operate via multiple IDP-IDP interactions facilitated by its C-tail IDR. Targeting PTEN IDR and its interaction hubs emerges as a new paradigm for treatment of PTEN related pathologies.
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.
Targeted therapy for cancer, which is specifically directed toward the cancer without any potential for effects outside of controlling the tumor, is a gold standard for treatment. Ewing’s sarcoma contains the potential target EWS-FLI1, as a result of a pathognomonic chromosomal translocation. The EWS-FLI1 fusion protein includes the EWS domain, a potent transcriptional activator alongside the highly conserved FLI1 ets DNA-binding domain. Because of the combination of these domains, the EWS-FLI1 fusion protein acts as an aberrant transcription factor whose expression results in cellular transformation. EWS-FLI1 functions by binding to normal cellular protein partners in transcription and splicing, similar to how a virus would corrupt normal cellular machinery for virion production. Therefore, understanding the protein-protein interactions of EWS-FLI1 and the pathways that are regulated by these partnerships will inform both oncogenesis and therapeutics. This review describes the known protein partners and transcriptional targets of EWS-FLI1, while proposing strategies for exploiting these partnerships with targeted therapy.
Alternative splicing is critical for generating complex proteomes in response to extracellular signals. Nuclear receptors including estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and their ligands promote alternative splicing. The endogenous targets of ERα:estradiol (E2)-mediated alternative splicing and the influence of extracellular kinases that phosphorylate ERα on E2-induced splicing are unknown.
MCF-7 and its anti-estrogen derivatives were used for the majority of the assays. CD44 mini gene was used to measure the effect of E2 and AKT on alternative splicing. ExonHit array analysis was performed to identify E2 and AKT-regulated endogenous alternatively spliced apoptosis-related genes. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was performed to verify alternative splicing. ERα binding to alternatively spliced genes was verified by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Bromodeoxyuridine incorporation-ELISA and Annexin V labeling assays were done to measure cell proliferation and apoptosis, respectively.
We identified the targets of E2-induced alternative splicing and deconstructed some of the mechanisms surrounding E2-induced splicing by combining splice array with ERα cistrome and gene expression array. E2-induced alternatively spliced genes fall into at least two subgroups: coupled to E2-regulated transcription and ERα binding to the gene without an effect on rate of transcription. Further, AKT, which phosphorylates both ERα and splicing factors, influenced ERα:E2 dependent splicing in a gene-specific manner. Genes that are alternatively spliced include FAS/CD95, FGFR2, and AXIN-1. E2 increased the expression of FGFR2 C1 isoform but reduced C3 isoform at mRNA level. E2-induced alternative splicing of FAS and FGFR2 in MCF-7 cells correlated with resistance to FAS activation-induced apoptosis and response to keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), respectively. Resistance of MCF-7 breast cancer cells to the anti-estrogen tamoxifen was associated with ERα-dependent overexpression of FGFR2, whereas resistance to fulvestrant was associated with ERα-dependent isoform switching, which correlated with altered response to KGF.
E2 may partly alter cellular proteome through alternative splicing uncoupled to its effects on transcription initiation and aberration in E2-induced alternative splicing events may influence response to anti-estrogens.
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