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1.  Structural Basis of Ligand Interactions of the Large Extracellular Domain of Tetraspanin CD81 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(18):9606-9616.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and primary liver cancer. Despite 130 million people being at risk worldwide, no vaccine exists, and effective therapy is limited by drug resistance, toxicity, and high costs. The tetraspanin CD81 is an essential entry-level receptor required for HCV infection of hepatocytes and represents a critical target for intervention. In this study, we report the first structural characterization of the large extracellular loop of CD81, expressed in mammalian cells and studied in physiological solutions. The HCV E2 glycoprotein recognizes CD81 through a dynamic loop on the helical bundle, which was shown by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to adopt a conformation distinct from that seen in crystals. A novel membrane binding interface was revealed adjacent to the exposed HCV interaction site in the extracellular loop of CD81. The binding pockets for two proposed inhibitors of the CD81-HCV interaction, namely, benzyl salicylate and fexofenadine, were shown to overlap the HCV and membrane interaction sites. Although the dynamic loop region targeted by these compounds presents challenges for structure-based design, the NMR assignments enable realistic screening and validation of ligands. Together, these data provide an improved avenue for developing potent agents that specifically block CD81-HCV interaction and also pave a way for elucidating the recognition mechanisms of diverse tetraspanins.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00559-12
PMCID: PMC3446547  PMID: 22740401
2.  Is iron overload in alcohol-related cirrhosis mediated by hepcidin? 
In this case report we describe the relationship between ferritin levels and hepcidin in a patient with alcohol-related spur cell anemia who underwent liver transplantation. We demonstrate a reciprocal relationship between serum or urinary hepcidin and serum ferritin, which indicates that inadequate hepcidin production by the diseased liver is associated with elevated serum ferritin. The ferritin level falls with increasing hepcidin production after transplantation. Neither inflammatory indices (IL6) nor erythropoietin appear to be related to hepcidin expression in this case. We suggest that inappropriately low hepcidin production by the cirrhotic liver may contribute substantially to elevated tissue iron stores in cirrhosis and speculate that hepcidin replacement in these patients may be of therapeutic benefit in the future.
doi:10.3748/wjg.15.5864
PMCID: PMC2791283  PMID: 19998511
Alcohol; Iron; Anaemia; Hepcidin; Cirrhosis
3.  Increased hepcidin expression in colorectal carcinogenesis 
AIM: To investigate whether the iron stores regulator hepcidin is implicated in colon cancer-associated anaemia and whether it might have a role in colorectal carcinogenesis.
METHODS: Mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS and SELDI-TOF MS) was employed to measure hepcidin in urine collected from 56 patients with colorectal cancer. Quantitative Real Time RT-PCR was utilized to determine hepcidin mRNA expression in colorectal cancer tissue. Hepcidin cellular localization was determined using immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: We demonstrate that whilst urinary hepcidin expression was not correlated with anaemia it was positively associated with increasing T-stage of colorectal cancer (P < 0.05). Furthermore, we report that hepcidin mRNA is expressed in 34% of colorectal cancer tissue specimens and was correlated with ferroportin repression. This was supported by hepcidin immunoreactivity in colorectal cancer tissue.
CONCLUSION: We demonstrate that systemic hepcidin expression is unlikely to be the cause of the systemic anaemia associated with colorectal cancer. However, we demonstrate for the first time that hepcidin is expressed by colorectal cancer tissue and that this may represent a novel oncogenic signalling mechanism.
doi:10.3748/wjg.14.1339
PMCID: PMC2693679  PMID: 18322945
Iron; Hepcidin; Colon; Cancer; Anaemia; Mass spectrometry
4.  SELDI-TOF-MS determination of hepcidin in clinical samples using stable isotope labelled hepcidin as an internal standard 
Proteome Science  2008;6:28.
Background
Hepcidin is a 25-residue peptide hormone crucial to iron homeostasis. It is essential to measure the concentration of hepcidin in cells, tissues and body fluids to understand its mechanisms and roles in physiology and pathophysiology. With a mass of 2791 Da hepcidin is readily detectable by mass spectrometry and LC-ESI, MALDI and SELDI have been used to estimate systemic hepcidin concentrations by analysing serum or urine. However, peak heights in mass spectra may not always reflect concentrations in samples due to competition during binding steps and variations in ionisation efficiency. Thus the purpose of this study was to develop a robust assay for measuring hepcidin using a stable isotope labelled hepcidin spiking approach in conjunction with SELDI-TOF-MS.
Results
We synthesised and re-folded hepcidin labelled with 13C/15N phenylalanine at position 9 to generate an internal standard for mass spectrometry experiments. This labelled hepcidin is 10 Daltons heavier than the endogenous peptides and does not overlap with the isotopic envelope of the endogenous hepcidin or other common peaks in human serum or urine mass spectra and can be distinguished in low resolution mass spectrometers. We report the validation of adding labelled hepcidin into serum followed by SELDI analysis to generate an improved assay for hepcidin.
Conclusion
We demonstrate that without utilising a spiking approach the hepcidin peak height in SELDI spectra gives a good indication of hepcidin concentration. However, a stable isotope labelled hepcidin spiking approach provides a more robust assay, measures the absolute concentration of hepcidin and should facilitate inter-laboratory hepcidin comparisons.
doi:10.1186/1477-5956-6-28
PMCID: PMC2571088  PMID: 18854031
5.  Proteomic profiling of urine for the detection of colon cancer 
Proteome Science  2008;6:19.
Background
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer related death in the developed world. To date, no blood or stool biomarkers with both high sensitivity and specificity for potentially curable early stage disease have been validated for clinical use. SELDI and MALDI profiling are being used increasingly to search for biomarkers in both blood and urine. Both techniques provide information predominantly on the low molecular weight proteome (<15 kDa). There have been several reports that colorectal cancer is associated with changes in the serum proteome that are detectable by SELDI and we hypothesised that proteomic changes would also be detectable in urine.
Results
We collected urine from 67 patients with colorectal cancer and 72 non-cancer control subjects, diluted to a constant protein concentration and generated MALDI and SELDI spectra. The intensities of 19 peaks differed significantly between cancer and non-cancer patients by both t-tests and after adjusting for confounders using multiple linear regressions. Logistic regression classifiers based on peak intensities identified colorectal cancer with up to 78% sensitivity at 87% specificity. We identified and independently quantified 3 of the discriminatory peaks using synthetic stable isotope peptides (an 1885 Da fragment of fibrinogen and hepcidin-20) or ELISA (β2-microglobulin).
Conclusion
Changes in the urine proteome may aid in the early detection of colorectal cancer.
doi:10.1186/1477-5956-6-19
PMCID: PMC2440369  PMID: 18558005

Results 1-5 (5)