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1.  Identification of 2R-ohnologue gene families displaying the same mutation-load skew in multiple cancers 
Open Biology  2014;4(5):140029.
The complexity of signalling pathways was boosted at the origin of the vertebrates, when two rounds of whole genome duplication (2R-WGD) occurred. Those genes and proteins that have survived from the 2R-WGD—termed 2R-ohnologues—belong to families of two to four members, and are enriched in signalling components relevant to cancer. Here, we find that while only approximately 30% of human transcript-coding genes are 2R-ohnologues, they carry 42–60% of the gene mutations in 30 different cancer types. Across a subset of cancer datasets, including melanoma, breast, lung adenocarcinoma, liver and medulloblastoma, we identified 673 2R-ohnologue families in which one gene carries mutations at multiple positions, while sister genes in the same family are relatively mutation free. Strikingly, in 315 of the 322 2R-ohnologue families displaying such a skew in multiple cancers, the same gene carries the heaviest mutation load in each cancer, and usually the second-ranked gene is also the same in each cancer. Our findings inspire the hypothesis that in certain cancers, heterogeneous combinations of genetic changes impair parts of the 2R-WGD signalling networks and force information flow through a limited set of oncogenic pathways in which specific non-mutated 2R-ohnologues serve as effectors. The non-mutated 2R-ohnologues are therefore potential therapeutic targets. These include proteins linked to growth factor signalling, neurotransmission and ion channels.
doi:10.1098/rsob.140029
PMCID: PMC4042849  PMID: 24806839
cancer; mutations; 2R-ohnologue families; signal multiplexing; vertebrates
2.  Visualization and Biochemical Analyses of the Emerging Mammalian 14-3-3-Phosphoproteome* 
Molecular & Cellular Proteomics : MCP  2011;10(10):M110.005751.
Hundreds of candidate 14-3-3-binding (phospho)proteins have been reported in publications that describe one interaction at a time, as well as high-throughput 14-3-3-affinity and mass spectrometry-based studies. Here, we transcribed these data into a common format, deposited the collated data from low-throughput studies in MINT (http://mint.bio.uniroma2.it/mint), and compared the low- and high-throughput data in VisANT graphs that are easy to analyze and extend. Exploring the graphs prompted questions about technical and biological specificity, which were addressed experimentally, resulting in identification of phosphorylated 14-3-3-binding sites in the mitochondrial import sequence of the iron-sulfur cluster assembly enzyme (ISCU), cytoplasmic domains of the mitochondrial fission factor (MFF), and endoplasmic reticulum-tethered receptor expression-enhancing protein 4 (REEP4), RNA regulator SMAUG2, and cytoskeletal regulatory proteins, namely debrin-like protein (DBNL) and kinesin light chain (KLC) isoforms. Therefore, 14-3-3s undergo physiological interactions with proteins that are destined for diverse subcellular locations. Graphing and validating interactions underpins efforts to use 14-3-3-phosphoproteomics to identify mechanisms and biomarkers for signaling pathways in health and disease.
doi:10.1074/mcp.M110.005751
PMCID: PMC3205853  PMID: 21725060
3.  Hydroquinone Dioxygenase from Pseudomonas fluorescens ACB: a Novel Member of the Family of Nonheme-Iron(II)-Dependent Dioxygenases▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(15):5199-5209.
Hydroquinone 1,2-dioxygenase (HQDO), an enzyme involved in the catabolism of 4-hydroxyacetophenone in Pseudomonas fluorescens ACB, was purified to apparent homogeneity. Ligandation with 4-hydroxybenzoate prevented the enzyme from irreversible inactivation. HQDO was activated by iron(II) ions and catalyzed the ring fission of a wide range of hydroquinones to the corresponding 4-hydroxymuconic semialdehydes. HQDO was inactivated by 2,2′-dipyridyl, o-phenanthroline, and hydrogen peroxide and inhibited by phenolic compounds. The inhibition with 4-hydroxybenzoate (Ki = 14 μM) was competitive with hydroquinone. Online size-exclusion chromatography-mass spectrometry revealed that HQDO is an α2β2 heterotetramer of 112.4 kDa, which is composed of an α-subunit of 17.8 kDa and a β-subunit of 38.3 kDa. Each β-subunit binds one molecule of 4-hydroxybenzoate and one iron(II) ion. N-terminal sequencing and peptide mapping and sequencing based on matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization—two-stage time of flight analysis established that the HQDO subunits are encoded by neighboring open reading frames (hapC and hapD) of a gene cluster, implicated to be involved in 4-hydroxyacetophenone degradation. HQDO is a novel member of the family of nonheme-iron(II)-dependent dioxygenases. The enzyme shows insignificant sequence identity with known dioxygenases.
doi:10.1128/JB.01945-07
PMCID: PMC2493252  PMID: 18502867

Results 1-3 (3)