Given the rise in drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae, there is an urgent need to discover new antimicrobials targeting this pathogen and an equally urgent need to characterize new drug targets. A promising antibiotic target is dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS), which catalyzes the rate-limiting step in lysine biosynthesis. In this study, we firstly show by gene knock out studies that S. pneumoniae (sp) lacking the DHDPS gene is unable to grow unless supplemented with lysine-rich media. We subsequently set out to characterize the structure, function and stability of the enzyme drug target. Our studies show that sp-DHDPS is folded and active with a kcat = 22 s-1, KMPYR = 2.55 ± 0.05 mM and KMASA = 0.044 ± 0.003 mM. Thermal denaturation experiments demonstrate sp-DHDPS exhibits an apparent melting temperature (TMapp) of 72 °C, which is significantly greater than Escherichia coli DHDPS (Ec-DHDPS) (TMapp = 59 °C). Sedimentation studies show that sp-DHDPS exists in a dimer-tetramer equilibrium with a KD4→2 = 1.7 nM, which is considerably tighter than its E. coli ortholog (KD4→2 = 76 nM). To further characterize the structure of the enzyme and probe its enhanced stability, we solved the high resolution (1.9 Å) crystal structure of sp-DHDPS (PDB ID 3VFL). The enzyme is tetrameric in the crystal state, consistent with biophysical measurements in solution. Although the sp-DHDPS and Ec-DHDPS active sites are almost identical, the tetramerization interface of the s. pneumoniae enzyme is significantly different in composition and has greater buried surface area (800 Å2) compared to its E. coli counterpart (500 Å2). This larger interface area is consistent with our solution studies demonstrating that sp-DHDPS is considerably more thermally and thermodynamically stable than Ec-DHDPS. Our study describe for the first time the knock-out phenotype, solution properties, stability and crystal structure of DHDPS from S. pneumoniae, a promising antimicrobial target.
Uterine proprotein convertase (PC) 6 plays a critical role in embryo implantation and is pivotal for pregnancy establishment. Inhibition of PC6 may provide a novel approach for the development of non-hormonal and female-controlled contraceptives. We investigated a class of five synthetic non-peptidic small molecule compounds that were previously reported as potent inhibitors of furin, another PC member. We examined (i) the potency of these compounds in inhibiting PC6 activity in vitro; (ii) their binding modes in the PC6 active site in silico; (iii) their efficacy in inhibiting PC6-dependent cellular processes essential for embryo implantation using human cell-based models. All five compounds showed potent inhibition of PC6 activity in vitro, and in silico docking demonstrated that these inhibitors could adopt a similar binding mode in the PC6 active site. However, when these compounds were tested for their inhibition of decidualization of primary human endometrial stromal cells, a PC6-dependent cellular process critical for embryo implantation, only one (compound 1o) showed potent inhibition. The lack of activity in the cell-based assay may reflect the inability of the compounds to penetrate the cell membrane. Because compound's lipophilicity is linked to cell penetration, a measurement of lipophilicity (logP) was calculated for each compound. Compound 1o is unique as it appears the most lipophilic among the five compounds. Compound 1o also inhibited another crucial PC6-dependent process, the attachment of human trophoblast spheroids to endometrial epithelial cells (a model for human embryo attachment). We thus identified compound 1o as a potent small molecule PC6 inhibitor with pharmaceutical potential to inhibit embryo implantation. Our findings also highlight that human cell-based functional models are vital to complement the biochemical and in silico analyses in the selection of promising drug candidates. Further investigations for compound 1o are warranted in animal models to test its utility as an implantation-inhibiting contraceptive drug.
The management of misaligned paternity findings raises important controversy worldwide. It has mainly, however, been discussed in the context of high-income countries. Genetic and genomics research, with the potential to show misaligned paternity, are becoming increasingly common in Africa. During a genomics study in Kenya, a dilemma arose over testing and sharing information on paternal sickle cell disease status. This dilemma may be paradigmatic of challenges in sharing misaligned paternity findings in many research and health care settings. Using a deliberative approach to community consultation to inform research practice, we explored residents' views on paternal testing and sharing misaligned paternity information. Between December 2009 and November 2010, 63 residents in Kilifi County were engaged in informed deliberative small group discussions, structured to support normative reflection within the groups, with purposive selection to explore diversity. Analysis was based on a modified framework analysis approach, drawing on relevant social science and bioethics literature.
The methods generated in-depth individual and group reflection on morally important issues and uncovered wide diversity in views and values. Fundamental and conflicting values emerged around the importance of family interests and openness, underpinned by disagreement on the moral implications of marital infidelity and withholding truth. Wider consideration of ethical issues emerging in these debates supports locally-held reasoning that paternal sickle cell testing should not be undertaken in this context, in contrast to views that testing should be done with or without the disclosure of misaligned paternity information. The findings highlight the importance of facilitating wider testing of family members of affected children, contingent on the development and implementation of national policies for the management of this inherited disorder. Their richness also illustrates the potential for the approach adopted in this study to strengthen community consultation.
•Community consultation on misaligned paternity in Kenya highlights morally important diversity.•Openness and family interests are central conflicting values in debates on misaligned paternity.•In research paternal requests for sickle cell disease testing generate prohibitive moral challenges.•Informed deliberative group discussions strengthen ethical outcomes of community consultation.
Kenya; Misaligned paternity; Genetic testing; Genetic and genomics research; Community consultation; Empirical ethics; Sickle cell disease; Africa
This study focuses on the identification of multiple latent trajectories of pain intensity, and it examines how religiousness is related to different classes of pain trajectory. Participants were 720 community-dwelling older adults who were interviewed at four time points over a 3-year period. Overall, intensity of pain decreased over 3 years. Analysis using latent growth mixture modeling (GMM) identified three classes of pain: (1) increasing (n = 47); (2) consistently unchanging (n = 292); and (3) decreasing (n = 381). Higher levels of intrinsic religiousness (IR) at baseline were associated with higher levels of pain at baseline, although it attenuated the slope of pain trajectories in the increasing pain group. Higher service attendance at baseline was associated with a higher probability of being in the decreasing pain group. The increasing pain group and the consistently unchanging group reported more negative physical and mental health outcomes than the decreasing pain group.
pain trajectory; religiousness; latent growth modeling
The neuropeptide Y (NPY) Y2 receptor shows a large masked surface population in adherent CHO cells or in forebrain cell aggregates, but not in dispersed cells or in particulates from these sources. This is related to adhesion via acidic motifs in the extracellular N-terminal domain. Masking of the Y2 receptor is lifted by non-permeabilizing mechanical dispersion of cells, which also increases internalization of Y2 agonists. Mechanical dispersion and detachment by EDTA expose the same number of surface sites. As we have already shown, phenylarsine oxide (PAO), a cysteine-bridging agent, and to a lesser extent also the cysteine alkylator N-ethylmaleimide, unmask the surface Y2 sites without cell detachment or permeabilization. We now demonstrate that unmasking by permeabilizing but non-detaching treatment with cholesterol-binding detergents digitonin and edelfosine compares with and overlaps that of PAO. The caveolar/raft cholesterol-targeting macrolide filipin III however produces only partial unmasking. Depletion of the surface sites by N-terminally clipped Y2 agonists indicates larger accessibility for a short highly helical peptide. These findings indicate presence of a dynamic masked pool including majority of the cell surface Y2 receptors in adherent CHO cells. This compartmentalization is obviously involved in the low internalization of Y2 receptors in these cells.
G-protein-coupled receptor; CHO cells; Receptor compartmentalization; Cysteine redox; Cholesterol complexing
The 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome is characterised by intellectual disability, epilepsy, distinctive facial dysmorphism, and congenital anomalies. To date, all individuals reported with this syndrome have been simplex patients, resulting from de novo deletions. Here, we report sibling recurrence of the 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome in two independent families. In both families, the mother was confirmed to be the parent-of-origin for the 17q21.31 deletion. Fluorescence in situ hybridisation analyses in buccal mucosa cells, of the mother of family 1, identified monosomy 17q21.31 in 4/50 nuclei (8%). In mother of family 2, the deletion was identified in 2/60 (3%) metaphase and in 3/100 (3%) interphase nuclei in peripheral lymphocytes, and in 7/100 (7%) interphase nuclei in buccal cells. A common 17q21.31 inversion polymorphism predisposes to non-allelic homologous recombination and hereby to the 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome. On the basis of the 17q21.31 inversion status of the parents, we calculated that the probability of the second deletion occurring by chance alone was 1/14 438 and 1/4812, respectively. If the inversion status of the parents of a child with the 17q21.31 microdeletion syndrome is unknown, the overall risk of a second child with the 17q21.31 microdeletion is 1/9461. We conclude that the presence of low-level maternal somatic–gonadal mosaicism is associated with the microdeletion recurrence in these families. This suggests that the recurrence risk for parents with a child with a 17q21.31 microdeletion for future pregnancies is higher than by chance alone and testing for mosaicism in the parents might be considered as a helpful tool in the genetic counselling.
17q21.31; microdeletion; familial; germline mosaicism
The cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) punch holes in target cell membranes through a highly regulated process. Streptococcus mitis lectinolysin (LLY) exhibits another layer of regulation with a lectin domain that enhances the pore-forming activity of the toxin. We have determined the crystal structures of the lectin domain by itself and in complex with various glycans that reveal the molecular basis for the Lewis antigen specificity of LLY. A small-angle X-ray scattering study of intact LLY reveals the molecule is flat and elongated with the lectin domain oriented so that the Lewis antigen-binding site is exposed. We suggest that the lectin domain enhances the pore-forming activity of LLY by concentrating toxin molecules at fucose-rich sites on membranes, thus promoting the formation of pre-pore oligomers on the surface of susceptible cells.
Cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs), a large family of bacterial toxins, are secreted as water-soluble monomers and yet are capable of generating oligomeric pores in membranes. Previous work has demonstrated that large scale structural rearrangements occur during this transition but the detailed mechanism by which these changes take place remains a puzzle. Despite evidence of structural and functional couplings between domains 3 and 4, the crystal structure of the CDC, perfringolysin O (PFO), shows the two domains do not make direct contact. Here, we present crystal structures of PFO that demonstrate movements of domain 4 are sufficient to trigger conformational changes that are transmitted through the molecule to the distant domain 3. These coupled movements result in a loss of many contacts between domain 3 and rest of the molecule that would eventually lead to the exposure of transmembrane regions in preparation for membrane insertion. The structures reveal a detailed molecular pathway that may be the basis for the allosteric transition that occurs on initial membrane binding leading to the exposure of membrane-spanning regions in a domain distant from the initial site of interaction.
cholesterol-dependent cytolysins; membrane insertion; perfringolysin O; pore-forming toxin; X-ray crystallography
A common assumption in genomics research is that the use of ethnic categories has the potential to lead to ethnic stigmatisation – particularly when the research is done on minority populations. Yet few empirical studies have sought to investigate the relation between genomics and stigma, and fewer still with a focus on Africa. In this paper, we investigate the potential for genomics research to lead to harms to ethnic groups. We carried out 49 semi-structured, open-ended interviews with stakeholders in a current medical genomics research project in Africa, MalariaGEN. Interviews were conducted with MalariaGEN researchers, fieldworkers, members of three ethics committees who reviewed MalariaGEN project proposals, and with members of the two funding bodies providing support to the MalariaGEN project. Interviews were conducted in Kenya, The Gambia and the UK between June 2008 and October 2009. They covered a range of aspects relating to the use of ethnicity in the genomics project, including views on adverse effects of the inclusion of ethnicity in such research. Drawing on the empirical data, we argue that the risk of harm to ethnic groups is likely to be more acute in specific types of genomics research. We develop a typology of research questions and projects that carry a greater risk of harm to the populations included in genomics research. We conclude that the potential of generating harm to ethnic groups in genomics research is present if research includes populations that are already stigmatised or discriminated against, or where the research investigates questions with particular normative implications. We identify a clear need for genomics researchers to take account of the social context of the work they are proposing to do, including understanding the local realities and relations between ethnic groups, and whether diseases are already stigmatised.
Africa; Kenya; The Gambia; Ethnicity; Stigma; Genomics; MalariaGEN
MLL2 mutations are detected in 55 to 80% of patients with Kabuki syndrome (KS). In 20 to 45% patients with KS, the genetic basis remains unknown, suggesting possible genetic heterogeneity. Here, we present the largest yet reported cohort of 116 patients with KS. We identified MLL2 variants in 74 patients, of which 47 are novel and a majority are truncating. We show that pathogenic missense mutations were commonly located in exon 48. We undertook a systematic facial KS morphology study of patients with KS at our regional dysmorphology meeting. Our data suggest that nearly all patients with typical KS facial features have pathogenic MLL2 mutations, although KS can be phenotypically variable. Furthermore, we show that MLL2 mutation-positive KS patients are more likely to have feeding problems, kidney anomalies, early breast bud development, joint dislocations and palatal malformations in comparison with MLL2 mutation-negative patients. Our work expands the mutation spectrum of MLL2 that may help in better understanding of this molecule, which is important in gene expression, epigenetic control of active chromatin states, embryonic development and cancer. Our analyses of the phenotype indicates that MLL2 mutation-positive and -negative patients differ systematically, and genetic heterogeneity of KS is not as extensive as previously suggested. Moreover, phenotypic variability of KS suggests that MLL2 testing should be considered even in atypical patients.
Kabuki syndrome; MLL2; genetic heterogeneity; mutation spectrum; facial dysmorphism
Should those who work on ethics welcome or resist moves to open access publishing? This paper analyses arguments in favour and against the increasing requirement for open access publishing and considers their implications for bioethics research. In the context of biomedical science, major funders are increasingly mandating open access as a condition of funding and such moves are also common in other disciplines. Whilst there has been some debate about the implications of open-access for the social sciences and humanities, there has been little if any discussion about the implications of open access for ethics. This is surprising given both the central role of public reason and critique in ethics and the fact that many of the arguments made for and against open access have been couched in moral terms. In what follows I argue that those who work in ethics have a strong interest in supporting moves towards more open publishing approaches which have the potential both to inform and promote richer and more diverse forms of public deliberation and to be enriched by them. The importance of public deliberation in practical and applied ethics suggests that ethicists have a particular interest in the promotion of diverse and experimental forms of publication and debate and in supporting new, more creative and more participatory approaches to publication.
Ethics; Bioethics open access; Publishing ethics; Gold model; Universities humanities
The Src-homology 2 (SH2) domain of Csk-family protein tyrosine kinases acts as a conformational switch to regulate their catalytic activity, which in turn promotes the inhibition of their proto-oncogenic targets, the Src-family kinases. Here, the expression, purification, small-angle X-ray scattering and preliminary diffraction analysis of the SH2 domain of the Csk-homologous kinase is reported.
The C-terminal Src kinase (Csk) and Csk-homologous kinase (CHK) are endogenous inhibitors of the proto-oncogenic Src family of protein tyrosine kinases (SFKs). Phosphotyrosyl peptide binding to their Src-homology 2 (SH2) domains activates Csk and CHK, enhancing their ability to suppress SFK signalling; however, the detailed mechanistic basis of this activation event is unclear. The CHK SH2 was expressed in Escherichia coli and the purified protein was characterized as monomeric by synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering in-line with size-exclusion chromatography. The CHK SH2 crystallized in 0.2 M sodium bromide, 0.1 M bis-Tris propane pH 6.5 and 20% polyethylene glycol 3350 and the best crystals diffracted to ∼1.6 Å resolution. The crystals belonged to space group P2, with unit-cell parameters a = 25.8, b = 34.6, c = 63.2 Å, β = 99.4°.
Csk-homologous kinase; Src-homology 2 domains; enzyme inhibition; Src-family protein tyrosine kinases; cancer; small-angle X-ray scattering
This study examined the effects of religiosity on the trajectories of depressive symptoms in a sample of community-dwelling older adults over a four-year period in a Southern state in the U.S.
Data from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Study (UAB) of Aging were analyzed using a hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) method. This study involved 1,000 participants aged 65 and older (M age = 75 at baseline, SD = 5.97) and data were collected annually from 1999 through 2003. The Geriatric Depression Scale measured depressive symptoms; the Duke University Religion Index measured religious service attendance, prayer, and intrinsic religiosity; and control variables included sociodemographics, health, and social and economic factors.
The HLM analysis indicated a curvilinear trajectory of depressive symptoms over time. At baseline, participants who attended religious services more frequently tended to report fewer depressive symptoms. Participants with the highest levels of intrinsic religiosity at baseline experienced a steady decline in the number of depressive symptoms over the four-year period, while those with lower levels of intrinsic religiosity experienced a short-term decline followed by an increase in the number of depressive symptoms.
In addition to facilitating access to health, social support and financial resources for older adults, service professionals might consider culturally-appropriate, patient-centered interventions that boost the salutary effects of intrinsic religiosity on depressive symptoms.
depressive symptoms; HLM; religiosity; trajectories
Bapineuzumab is a humanized antibody developed by Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson targeting the amyloid (Aβ) plaques that underlie Alzheimer's disease neuropathology. Here we report the crystal structure of a Fab-Aβ peptide complex that reveals Bapineuzumab surprisingly captures Aβ in a monomeric helical conformation at the N-terminus. Microscale thermophoresis suggests that the Fab binds soluble Aβ(1–40) with a KD of 89 (±9) nM. The structure explains the antibody's exquisite selectivity for particular Aβ species and why it cannot recognize N-terminally modified or truncated Aβ peptides.
Intestinal fatty-acid binding proteins from human and rat have been crystallized in complex with the fluorescent probe 11-(dansylamino)undecanoic acid. Diffraction data for the crystals were collected to 1.8 Å resolution (human) and 1.6 Å resolution (rat).
Fatty-acid binding proteins (FABPs) are abundantly expressed proteins that bind a range of lipophilic molecules. They have been implicated in the import and intracellular distribution of their ligands and have been linked with metabolic and inflammatory responses in the cells in which they are expressed. Despite their high sequence identity, human intestinal FABP (hIFABP) and rat intestinal FABP (rIFABP) bind some ligands with different affinities. In order to address the structural basis of this differential binding, diffraction-quality crystals have been obtained of hIFABP and rIFABP in complex with the fluorescent fatty-acid analogue 11-(dansylamino)undecanoic acid.
drug delivery; fatty acids; fatty-acid binding proteins; hydrophobic ligand binding
Dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS) is an essential oligomeric enzyme of interest to antibiotic discovery research and studies probing the importance of quaternary structure to protein function, stability and dynamics. The cloning, expression, purification and crystallization of DHDPS from the psychrophilic (cold-dwelling) bacterium Shewanella benthica are described.
Dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS) is an oligomeric enzyme that catalyzes the first committed step of the lysine-biosynthesis pathway in plants and bacteria, which yields essential building blocks for cell-wall and protein synthesis. DHDPS is therefore of interest to drug-discovery research as well as to studies that probe the importance of quaternary structure to protein function, stability and dynamics. Accordingly, DHDPS from the psychrophilic (cold-dwelling) organism Shewanella benthica (Sb-DHDPS) was cloned, expressed, purified and crystallized. The best crystals of Sb-DHDPS were grown in 200 mM ammonium sulfate, 100 mM bis-tris pH 5.0–6.0, 23–26%(w/v) PEG 3350, 0.02%(w/v) sodium azide and diffracted to beyond 2.5 Å resolution. Processing of diffraction data to 2.5 Å resolution resulted in a unit cell with space group P212121 and dimensions a = 73.1, b = 84.0, c = 143.7 Å. These studies of the first DHDPS enzyme to be characterized from a bacterial psychrophile will provide insight into the molecular evolution of enzyme structure and dynamics.
antibiotics; dihydrodipicolinate synthase; lysine biosynthesis; molecular evolution; oligomers; quaternary structure
We report the rational design and in vivo testing of mosaic proteins for a polyvalent pan-filoviral vaccine using a computational strategy designed for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus type 1 (HIV-1) but also appropriate for Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and potentially other diverse viruses. Mosaics are sets of artificial recombinant proteins that are based on natural proteins. The recombinants are computationally selected using a genetic algorithm to optimize the coverage of potential cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes. Because evolutionary history differs markedly between HIV-1 and filoviruses, we devised an adapted computational technique that is effective for sparsely sampled taxa; our first significant result is that the mosaic technique is effective in creating high-quality mosaic filovirus proteins. The resulting coverage of potential epitopes across filovirus species is superior to coverage by any natural variants, including current vaccine strains with demonstrated cross-reactivity. The mosaic cocktails are also robust: mosaics substantially outperformed natural strains when computationally tested against poorly sampled species and more variable genes. Furthermore, in a computational comparison of cross-reactive potential a design constructed prior to the Bundibugyo outbreak performed nearly as well against all species as an updated design that included Bundibugyo. These points suggest that the mosaic designs would be more resilient than natural-variant vaccines against future Ebola outbreaks dominated by novel viral variants. We demonstrate in vivo immunogenicity and protection against a heterologous challenge in a mouse model. This design work delineates the likely requirements and limitations on broadly-protective filoviral CTL vaccines.
Community engagement is increasingly promoted in developing countries, especially in international health research, but there is little published experience. The Shoklo Malaria Research Unit (SMRU) conducts research with refugees, migrant workers, displaced people, and day migrants on the Thai-Burmese border, and has recently facilitated the set up of the Tak Province Border Community Ethics Advisory Board (T-CAB). Valuable lessons have been learnt from consultation with the T-CAB especially in the area of participant recruitment and the informed consent process. A lot of new research questions have emerged from consultation with the T-CAB. This paper describes our experience, lessons learnt and the unique challenges faced working with the T-CAB from its initial conception to date. We conclude that consultation with the T-CAB has made improvements in our research in particular operational and ethical aspects of our studies.
Community engagement; Community advisory board; Ethics; Community; Migrants; Border population
Ethics; research; developing countries; Thailand; Burma; genetics; genetics research ethics; ethics theory; clinical ethics
Seeking consent for genetic and genomic research can be challenging, particularly in populations with low literacy levels, and in emergency situations. All of these factors were relevant to the MalariaGEN study of genetic factors influencing immune responses to malaria in northern rural Ghana. This study sought to identify issues arising in practice during the enrolment of paediatric cases with severe malaria and matched healthy controls into the MalariaGEN study.
The study used a rapid assessment incorporating multiple qualitative methods including in depth interviews, focus group discussions and observations of consent processes. Differences between verbal information provided during community engagement processes, and consent processes during the enrolment of cases and controls were identified, as well as the factors influencing the tailoring of such information.
MalariaGEN participants and field staff seeking consent were generally satisfied with their understanding of the project and were familiar with aspects of the study relating to malaria. Some genetic aspects of the study were also well understood. Participants and staff seeking consent were less aware of the methodologies employed during genomic research and their implications, such as the breadth of data generated and the potential for future secondary research.
Moreover, trust in and previous experience with the Navrongo Health Research Centre which was conducting the research influenced beliefs about the benefits of participating in the MalariaGEN study and subsequent decision-making about research participation.
It is important to recognise that some aspects of complex genomic research may be of less interest to and less well understood by research participants and that such gaps in understanding may not be entirely addressed by best practice in the design and conduct of consent processes. In such circumstances consideration needs to be given to additional protections for participants that may need to be implemented in such research, and how best to provide such protections.
Capacity building for research ethics committees with limited familiarity with genetic and genomic research, and appropriate engagement with communities to elicit opinions of the ethical issues arising and acceptability of downstream uses of genome wide association data are likely to be important.
Consent; Genetic research; Genomic research; Research ethics; Qualitative research; Ghana; Africa
The TRIM family of proteins is distinguished by its tripartite motif (TRIM). Typically, TRIM proteins contain a RING finger domain, one or two B-box domains, a coiled-coil domain and the more variable C-terminal domains. TRIM16 does not have a RING domain but does harbour two B-box domains. Here we showed that TRIM16 homodimerized through its coiled-coil domain and heterodimerized with other TRIM family members; TRIM24, Promyelocytic leukaemia (PML) protein and Midline-1 (MID1). Although, TRIM16 has no classic RING domain, three-dimensional modelling of TRIM16 suggested that its B-box domains adopts RING-like folds leading to the hypothesis that TRIM16 acts as an ubiquitin ligase. Consistent with this hypothesis, we demonstrated that TRIM16, devoid of a classical RING domain had auto-polyubiquitination activity and acted as an E3 ubiquitin ligase in vivo and in vitro assays. Thus via its unique structure, TRIM16 possesses both heterodimerization function with other TRIM proteins and also has E3 ubiquitin ligase activity.
Amiloride and its derivative 5-(N-ethyl-N-isopropyl)amiloride (EIPA) were previously shown to inhibit coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) RNA replication in cell culture, with two amino acid substitutions in the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase 3Dpol conferring partial resistance of CVB3 to these compounds (D. N. Harrison, E. V. Gazina, D. F. Purcell, D. A. Anderson, and S. Petrou, J. Virol. 82:1465–1473, 2008). Here we demonstrate that amiloride and EIPA inhibit the enzymatic activity of CVB3 3Dpol in vitro, affecting both VPg uridylylation and RNA elongation. Examination of the mechanism of inhibition of 3Dpol by amiloride showed that the compound acts as a competitive inhibitor, competing with incoming nucleoside triphosphates (NTPs) and Mg2+. Docking analysis suggested a binding site for amiloride and EIPA in 3Dpol, located in close proximity to one of the Mg2+ ions and overlapping the nucleotide binding site, thus explaining the observed competition. This is the first report of a molecular mechanism of action of nonnucleoside inhibitors against a picornaviral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase.
Increase in global health research undertaken in resource poor settings in the last decade though a positive development has raised ethical concerns relating to potential for exploitation. Some of the suggested strategies to address these concerns include calls for providing universal standards of care, reasonable availability of proven interventions and more recently, promoting the overall social value of research especially in clinical research. Promoting the social value of research has been closely associated with providing fair benefits to various stakeholders involved in research. The debate over what constitutes fair benefits; whether those that addresses micro level issues of justice or those focusing on the key determinants of health at the macro level has continued. This debate has however not benefited from empirical work on what stakeholders consider fair benefits. This study explores practical experiences of stakeholders involved in global health research in Kenya, over what benefits are fair within a developing world context.
Methods and results
We conducted in-depth interviews with key informants drawn from within the broader health research system in Kenya including researchers from the mainstream health research institutions, networks and universities, teaching hospitals, policy makers, institutional review boards, civil society organisations and community representative groups.
The range of benefits articulated by stakeholders addresses both micro and macro level concerns for justice by for instance, seeking to engage with interests of those facilitating research, and the broader systemic issues that make resource poor settings vulnerable to exploitation. We interpret these views to suggest a need for global health research to engage with current crises that face people in these settings as well as the broader systemic issues that produce them.
Global health research should provide benefits that address both the micro and macro level issues of justice in order to forestall exploitation. Embracing the two is however challenging in terms of how the various competing interests/needs should be balanced ethically, especially in the absence of structures to guide the process. This challenge should point to the need for greater dialogue to facilitate value clarification among stakeholders.
The emergence of drug-resistant bacteria highlights the importance of identifying potential drug targets. Dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS) is a valid but as yet unexploited antimicrobial target that functions in the biosynthesis of (S)-lysine. In this study, the cloning, expression, purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of DHDPS from S. pneumoniae are described.
Dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS; EC 220.127.116.11) catalyzes the rate-limiting step in the (S)-lysine biosynthesis pathway of bacteria and plants. Here, the cloning of the DHDPS gene from a clinical isolate of Streptococcus pneumoniae (OXC141 strain) and the strategy used to express, purify and crystallize the recombinant enzyme are described. Diffracting crystals were grown in high-molecular-weight PEG precipitants using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. The best crystal, from which data were collected, diffracted to beyond 2.0 Å resolution. Initially, the crystals were thought to belong to space group P42212, with unit-cell parameters a = 105.5, b = 105.5, c = 62.4 Å. However, the R factors remained high following initial processing of the data. It was subsequently shown that the data set was twinned and it was thus reprocessed in space group P2, resulting in a significant reduction in the R factors. Determination of the structure will provide insight into the design of novel antimicrobial agents targeting this important enzyme from S. pneumoniae.
antimicrobials; antibiotic resistance; dihydrodipicolinate synthase; lysine biosynthesis; Streptococcus pneumoniae