Cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) plays an important role in alcohol-induced toxicity and oxidative stress. Recently, we showed that this predominantly microsomal protein is also localized in rat hepatic mitochondria. In this report, we show that the N-terminal 30 amino acids of CYP2E1 contain a chimeric signal for bimodal targeting of the apoprotein to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and mitochondria. We demonstrate that the cryptic mitochondrial targeting signal at sequence 21–31 of the protein is activated by cAMP-dependent phosphorylation at Ser-129. S129A mutation resulted in lower affinity for binding to cytoplasmic Hsp70, mitochondrial translocases (TOM40 and TIM44) and reduced mitochondrial import. S129A mutation, however, did not affect the extent of binding to the signal recognition particle and association with ER membrane translocator protein Sec61. Addition of saturating levels of signal recognition particle caused only a partial inhibition of CYP2E1 translation under in vitro conditions, and saturating levels of ER resulted only in partial membrane integration. cAMP enhanced the mitochondrial CYP2E1 (referred to as P450MT5) level but did not affect its level in the ER. Our results provide new insights on the mechanism of cAMP-mediated activation of a cryptic mitochondrial targeting signal and regulation of P450MT5 targeting to mitochondria.
A two-step strategy for disaccharide modulation using vancomycin as a model is reported. The strategy relies upon a glycosyltransferase-catalyzed ‘reverse’ reaction to enable the facile attachment of an alkoxyamine-bearing sugar to the vancomycin core. Neoglycosylation of the corresponding aglycon led to a novel set of vancomycin 1,6-disaccharide variants. While the in vitro antibacterial properties of corresponding vancomycin 1,6-disaccharide analogs were equipotent to the parent antibiotic, the chemoenzymatic method presented is expected to be broadly applicable.
Cysteine desulfurases generate a covalent persulfide intermediate from cysteine, and this activated form of sulfur is essential for the synthesis of iron-sulfur (Fe-S) clusters. In yeast mitochondria, there is a complete machinery for Fe-S cluster synthesis, including a cysteine desulfurase, Nfs1p. Here we show that following supplementation of isolated mitochondria with [35S]cysteine, a radiolabeled persulfide could be detected on Nfs1p. The persulfide persisted under conditions that did not permit Fe-S cluster formation, such as nucleotide and/or iron depletion of mitochondria. By contrast, under permissive conditions, the radiolabeled Nfs1p persulfide was greatly reduced and radiolabeled aconitase was formed, indicating transfer of persulfide to downstream Fe-S cluster recipients. Nfs1p in mitochondria was found to be relatively more resistant to inactivation by N-ethylmaleimide (NEM) as compared with a prokaryotic cysteine desulfurase. Mitochondria treated with NEM (1 mM) formed the persulfide on Nfs1p but failed to generate Fe-S clusters on aconitase, likely due to inactivation of downstream recipient(s) of the Nfs1p persulfide. Thus the Nfs1p-bound persulfide as described here represents a precursor en route to Fe-S cluster synthesis in mitochondria.
Cysteine desulfurase; Nfs1p•Isd11p complex; persulfide; Fe-S clusters; aconitase; yeast
The transcriptional regulator AgrA, a member of the LytTR family of proteins, plays a key role in controlling gene expression in some Gram-positive pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis. AgrA is encoded by the agrACDB global regulatory locus, and orthologues are found within the genome of most Clostridium difficile isolates, including the epidemic lineage 027/BI/NAP1. Comparative RNA sequencing of the wild type and otherwise isogenic agrA null mutant derivatives of C. difficile R20291 revealed a network of approximately 75 differentially regulated transcripts at late exponential growth phase, including many genes associated with flagellar assembly and function, such as the major structural subunit, FliC. Other differentially regulated genes include several involved in bis-(3′-5′)-cyclic dimeric GMP (c-di-GMP) synthesis and toxin A expression. C. difficile 027 R20291 agrA mutant derivatives were poorly flagellated and exhibited reduced levels of colonization and relapses in the murine infection model. Thus, the agr locus likely plays a contributory role in the fitness and virulence potential of C. difficile strains in the 027/BI/NAP1 lineage.
Here we show that the frequency of mutant isolation by two-step allele exchange can be improved by increasing the length of homologous DNA and the opportunity for recombination, obviating the need for counterselection markers. These principles are demonstrated in Clostridium difficile and Streptococcus suis but are likely to be generally applicable.
Little is known about epigenetic mechanisms in birds with the exception of the phenomenon of dosage compensation of sex chromosomes, although such mechanisms could be involved in the phenotypic variability of birds, as in several livestock species. This paper reviews the literature on epigenetic mechanisms that could contribute significantly to trait variability in birds, and compares the results to the existing knowledge of epigenetic mechanisms in mammals. The main issues addressed in this paper are: (1) Does genomic imprinting exist in birds? (2) How does the embryonic environment influence the adult phenotype in avian species? (3) Does the embryonic environment have an impact on phenotypic variability across several successive generations? The potential for epigenetic studies to improve the performance of individual animals through the implementation of limited changes in breeding conditions or the addition of new parameters in selection models is still an open question.
The influence of contraction type on the human ability to use the torque capacity of skeletal muscle during explosive efforts has not been documented. Fourteen male participants completed explosive voluntary contractions of the knee extensors in four separate conditions: concentric (CON) and eccentric (ECC); and isometric at two knee angles (101°, ISO101 and 155°, ISO155). In each condition, torque was measured at 25 ms intervals up to 150 ms from torque onset, and then normalized to the maximum voluntary torque (MVT) specific to that joint angle and angular velocity. Explosive voluntary torque after 50 ms in each condition was also expressed as a percentage of torque generated after 50 ms during a supramaximal 300 Hz electrically evoked octet in the same condition. Explosive voluntary torque normalized to MVT was more than 60 per cent larger in CON than any other condition after the initial 25 ms. The percentage of evoked torque expressed after 50 ms of the explosive voluntary contractions was also greatest in CON (ANOVA; p < 0.001), suggesting higher concentric volitional activation. This was confirmed by greater agonist electromyography normalized to Mmax (recorded during the explosive voluntary contractions) in CON. These results provide novel evidence that the ability to use the muscle's torque capacity explosively is influenced by contraction type, with concentric contractions being more conducive to explosive performance due to a more effective neural strategy.
rate of torque development; neural activation; concentric contractions; eccentric contractions; isometric contractions
Academic partnerships between high-and low/middle-income countries can improve the quality of surgical education and health care delivery in each setting. We report the perceived needs related to collaborative surgical education in a resource-limited setting.
We used qualitative methods to elicit the opinions of surgical faculty members and surgical residents and quantitative methods to outline surgical procedure type and volume.
Ethiopian faculty members identified the management of trauma and emergency surgical care as a priority. They identified supervision in the operating room (OR), topic-specific lectures and supervising resident assessments in the clinic as appropriate roles for partners. Residents were in agreement with faculty members, highlighting a desire for supervision in the OR and topic-specific lectures.
We present specific experiences and needs of a surgical teaching unit in a low-income country, paving the way to form a meaningful and responsive relationship between 2 surgical departments in 2 universities.
The apicomplexan parasite Theileria annulata transforms infected host cells, inducing uncontrolled proliferation and clonal expansion of the parasitized cell population. Shortly after sporozoite entry into the target cell, the surrounding host cell membrane is dissolved and an array of host cell microtubules (MTs) surrounds the parasite, which develops into the transforming schizont. The latter does not egress to invade and transform other cells. Instead, it remains tethered to host cell MTs and, during mitosis and cytokinesis, engages the cell's astral and central spindle MTs to secure its distribution between the two daughter cells. The molecular mechanism by which the schizont recruits and stabilizes host cell MTs is not known. MT minus ends are mostly anchored in the MT organizing center, while the plus ends explore the cellular space, switching constantly between phases of growth and shrinkage (called dynamic instability). Assuming the plus ends of growing MTs provide the first point of contact with the parasite, we focused on the complex protein machinery associated with these structures. We now report how the schizont recruits end-binding protein 1 (EB1), a central component of the MT plus end protein interaction network and key regulator of host cell MT dynamics. Using a range of in vitro experiments, we demonstrate that T. annulata p104, a polymorphic antigen expressed on the schizont surface, functions as a genuine EB1-binding protein and can recruit EB1 in the absence of any other parasite proteins. Binding strictly depends on a consensus SxIP motif located in a highly disordered C-terminal region of p104. We further show that parasite interaction with host cell EB1 is cell cycle regulated. This is the first description of a pathogen-encoded protein to interact with EB1 via a bona-fide SxIP motif. Our findings provide important new insight into the mode of interaction between Theileria and the host cell cytoskeleton.
The apicomplexan parasite Theileria can reprogram the cell it infects, inducing uncontrolled proliferation and clonal expansion. This is brought about by the schizont, which resides free in the host cell cytoplasm. As the schizont never leaves the cell to infect other cells, it can only persist provided it is distributed over the two daughter cells each time the host cell divides. This is achieved by interacting dynamically with microtubules (MTs) that form part of the host cell mitotic apparatus. How MTs are recruited to the schizont surface is not known. MTs are highly dynamic, undergoing continuous cycles of growth and shrinkage that is regulated to a large extent by an array of proteins, called +TIPs, that associate with the free plus-ends of MTs. End-binding protein 1 (EB1) is a master regulator and central adaptor that mediates MT plus-end tracking of potentially all other +TIPs. We established that a schizont surface protein, p104, provides a docking site for EB1, which critically depends on a consensus SxIP motif, present in p104. These finding provides important new insight into the complex interaction of the transforming schizont with host cell MTs. To our knowledge, p104 is the first pathogen-derived protein identified so far to join the SxIP family of EB1-binding proteins.
Mycobacterium fortuitum is a member of the rapidly growing nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). It is ubiquitous in water and soil habitats, including hospital environments. M. fortuitum is increasingly recognized as an opportunistic nosocomial pathogen causing disseminated infection. Here we report the genome sequence of M. fortuitum subsp. fortuitum type strain DSM46621.
Mycobacterium vaccae is a rapidly growing, nontuberculous Mycobacterium species that is generally not considered a human pathogen and is of major pharmaceutical interest as an immunotherapeutic agent. We report here the annotated genome sequence of the M. vaccae type strain, ATCC 25954.
Plasmodium falciparum virulence has been ascribed to its ability to sequester in deep vascular beds, mediated by the variant surface antigen family PfEMP1 binding endothelial receptors like ICAM-1. We previously observed that naturally-acquired antibodies that block a PfEMP1 domain, DBL2β of PF11_0521 allele, from binding to the human ICAM1 receptor, reduce the risk of malaria hospitalization in children. Here, we find that DBL2βPF11_0521 binds ICAM-1 in the low nM range and relate the structure of this domain with its function and immunogenicity. We demonstrate that the interaction with ICAM-1 is not impaired by point mutations in the N-terminal subdomain or in the flexible Loop 4 of DBL2βPF11_0521, although both substructures were previously implicated in binding ICAM-1. These data will help to refine the existing model of DBLβ::ICAM-1 interactions. Antibodies raised against full-length DBL2βPF11_0521, but not truncated forms lacking the N terminal fragment, block its interaction with ICAM-1. Our data suggest that full length domain is optimal for displaying functional epitopes and has a broad surface of interaction with ICAM-1 that is not disrupted by individual amino acid substitutions at putative key residues. This information might be important for the future design of anti-malarial vaccines based on PfEMP1 antigens.
Bilateral deficit (BLD) describes the phenomenon of a reduction in performance during synchronous bilateral (BL) movements when compared to the sum of identical unilateral (UL) movements. Despite a large body of research investigating BLD of maximal voluntary force (MVF) there exist a paucity of research examining the BLD for explosive strength. Therefore, this study investigated the BLD in voluntary and electrically-evoked explosive isometric contractions of the knee extensors and assessed agonist and antagonist neuromuscular activation and measurement artefacts as potential mechanisms. Thirteen healthy untrained males performed a series of maximum and explosive voluntary contractions bilaterally (BL) and unilaterally (UL). UL and BL evoked twitch and octet contractions were also elicited. Two separate load cells were used to measure MVF and explosive force at 50, 100 and 150 ms after force onset. Surface EMG amplitude was measured from three superficial agonists and an antagonist. Rate of force development (RFD) and EMG were reported over consecutive 50 ms periods (0–50, 50–100 and 100–150 ms). Performance during UL contractions was compared to combined BL performance to measure BLD. Single limb performance during the BL contractions was assessed and potential measurement artefacts, including synchronisation of force onset from the two limbs, controlled for. MVF showed no BLD (P = 0.551), but there was a BLD for explosive force at 100 ms (11.2%, P = 0.007). There was a BLD in RFD 50–100 ms (14.9%, P = 0.004), but not for the other periods. Interestingly, there was a BLD in evoked force measures (6.3–9.0%, P<0.001). There was no difference in agonist or antagonist EMG for any condition (P≥0.233). Measurement artefacts contributed minimally to the observed BLD. The BLD in volitional explosive force found here could not be explained by measurement issues, or agonist and antagonist neuromuscular activation. The BLD in voluntary and evoked explosive force might indicate insufficient stabiliser muscle activation during BL explosive contractions.
The advent of next generation sequencing technology has accelerated efforts to map and catalogue copy number variation (CNV) in genomes of important micro-organisms for public health. A typical analysis of the sequence data involves mapping reads onto a reference genome, calculating the respective coverage, and detecting regions with too-low or too-high coverage (deletions and amplifications, respectively). Current CNV detection methods rely on statistical assumptions (e.g., a Poisson model) that may not hold in general, or require fine-tuning the underlying algorithms to detect known hits. We propose a new CNV detection methodology based on two Poisson hierarchical models, the Poisson-Gamma and Poisson-Lognormal, with the advantage of being sufficiently flexible to describe different data patterns, whilst robust against deviations from the often assumed Poisson model.
Using sequence coverage data of 7 Plasmodium falciparum malaria genomes (3D7 reference strain, HB3, DD2, 7G8, GB4, OX005, and OX006), we showed that empirical coverage distributions are intrinsically asymmetric and overdispersed in relation to the Poisson model. We also demonstrated a low baseline false positive rate for the proposed methodology using 3D7 resequencing data and simulation. When applied to the non-reference isolate data, our approach detected known CNV hits, including an amplification of the PfMDR1 locus in DD2 and a large deletion in the CLAG3.2 gene in GB4, and putative novel CNV regions. When compared to the recently available FREEC and cn.MOPS approaches, our findings were more concordant with putative hits from the highest quality array data for the 7G8 and GB4 isolates.
In summary, the proposed methodology brings an increase in flexibility, robustness, accuracy and statistical rigour to CNV detection using sequence coverage data.
A mixed culture of Pseudomonas fluorescens BS2 and Pusillimonas noertemannii BS8 degraded poly-γ-d-glutamic acid; when the 2 strains were cultured separately, no hydrolytic activity was apparent. Here we report the draft genome sequences of both soil isolates.
Clostridium difficile is a Gram-positive anaerobic, spore-forming bacillus that is the leading cause of nosocomial diarrhoea worldwide. We demonstrate that C. difficile aggregates and forms biofilms in vitro on abiotic surfaces. These polymicrobial aggregates are attached to each other and to an abiotic surface by an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS). The EPS matrix provides the scaffold bonding together vegetative cells and spores, as well as forming a protective barrier for vegetative cells against oxygen stress. The master regulator of sporulation, Spo0A, may play a key role in biofilm formation, as genetic inactivation of spo0A in strain R20291 exhibits decreased biofilm formation. Our findings highlight an important attribute of C. difficile pathogenesis, which may have significant implications for infection, treatment and relapse.
Mycobacterium xenopi is a slow-growing, thermophilic, water-related Mycobacterium species. Like other nontuberculous mycobacteria, M. xenopi more commonly infects humans with altered immune function, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients. It is considered clinically relevant in a significant proportion of the patients from whom it is isolated. We report here the whole genome sequence of M. xenopi type strain RIVM700367.
Mycobacterium phlei is a rapidly growing nontuberculous Mycobacterium species that is typically nonpathogenic, with few reported cases of human disease. Here we report the whole genome sequence of M. phlei type strain RIVM601174.
Summary: READSCAN is a highly scalable parallel program to identify non-host
sequences (of potential pathogen origin) and estimate their genome relative abundance in
high-throughput sequence datasets. READSCAN accurately classified human and viral
sequences on a 20.1 million reads simulated dataset in <27 min using a small Beowulf
compute cluster with 16 nodes (Supplementary Material).
firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics
Bacterial microcompartments form a protective proteinaceous barrier around metabolic enzymes that process unstable or toxic chemical intermediates. The genome of the virulent, multidrug-resistant Clostridium difficile 630 strain contains an operon, eut, encoding a bacterial microcompartment with genes for the breakdown of ethanolamine and its utilisation as a source of reduced nitrogen and carbon. The C. difficile eut operon displays regulatory genetic elements and protein encoding regions in common with homologous loci found in the genomes of other bacteria, including the enteric pathogens Salmonella enterica and Enterococcus faecalis. The crystal structures of two microcompartment shell proteins, CD1908 and CD1918, and an uncharacterised protein with potential enzymatic activity, CD1925, were determined by X-ray crystallography. CD1908 and CD1918 display the same protein fold, though the order of secondary structure elements is permuted in CD1908 and this protein displays an N-terminal β-strand extension. These proteins form hexamers with molecules related by crystallographic and non-crystallographic symmetry. The structure of CD1925 has a cupin β-barrel fold and a putative active site that is distinct from the metal-ion dependent catalytic cupins. Thin-section transmission electron microscopy of Escherichia coli over-expressing eut proteins indicates that CD1918 is capable of self-association into arrays, suggesting an organisational role for CD1918 in the formation of this microcompartment. The work presented provides the basis for further study of the architecture and function of the C. difficile eut microcompartment, its role in metabolism and the wider consequences of intestinal colonisation and virulence in this pathogen.
Retinal ganglion cell (RGC) degeneration occurs in numerous retinal diseases leading to blindness, either as a primary process like in glaucoma, or secondary to photoreceptor loss. However, no commercial drug is yet directly targeting RGCs for their neuroprotection. In the 70s, taurine, a small sulfonic acid provided by nutrition, was found to be essential for the survival of photoreceptors, but this dependence was not related to any retinal disease. More recently, taurine deprivation was incriminated in the retinal toxicity of an antiepileptic drug. We demonstrate here that taurine can improve RGC survival in culture or in different animal models of RGC degeneration. Taurine effect on RGC survival was assessed in vitro on primary pure RCG cultures under serum-deprivation conditions, and on NMDA-treated retinal explants from adult rats. In vivo, taurine was administered through the drinking water in two glaucomatous animal models (DBA/2J mice and rats with vein occlusion) and in a model of Retinitis pigmentosa with secondary RGC degeneration (P23H rats). After a 6-day incubation, 1 mM taurine significantly enhanced RGCs survival (+68%), whereas control RGCs were cultured in a taurine-free medium, containing all natural amino-acids. This effect was found to rely on taurine-uptake by RGCs. Furthermore taurine (1 mM) partly prevented NMDA-induced RGC excitotoxicity. Finally, taurine supplementation increased RGC densities both in DBA/2J mice, in rats with vein occlusion and in P23H rats by contrast to controls drinking taurine-free water. This study indicates that enriched taurine nutrition can directly promote RGC survival through RGC intracellular pathways. It provides evidence that taurine can positively interfere with retinal degenerative diseases.
We sequenced the genome of Theileria orientalis, a tick-borne apicomplexan protozoan parasite of cattle. The focus of this study was a comparative genome analysis of T. orientalis relative to other highly pathogenic Theileria species, T. parva and T. annulata. T. parva and T. annulata induce transformation of infected cells of lymphocyte or macrophage/monocyte lineages; in contrast, T. orientalis does not induce uncontrolled proliferation of infected leukocytes and multiplies predominantly within infected erythrocytes. While synteny across homologous chromosomes of the three Theileria species was found to be well conserved overall, subtelomeric structures were found to differ substantially, as T. orientalis lacks the large tandemly arrayed subtelomere-encoded variable secreted protein-encoding gene family. Moreover, expansion of particular gene families by gene duplication was found in the genomes of the two transforming Theileria species, most notably, the TashAT/TpHN and Tar/Tpr gene families. Gene families that are present only in T. parva and T. annulata and not in T. orientalis, Babesia bovis, or Plasmodium were also identified. Identification of differences between the genome sequences of Theileria species with different abilities to transform and immortalize bovine leukocytes will provide insight into proteins and mechanisms that have evolved to induce and regulate this process. The T. orientalis genome database is available at http://totdb.czc.hokudai.ac.jp/.
Cancer-like growth of leukocytes infected with malignant Theileria parasites is a unique cellular event, as it involves the transformation and immortalization of one eukaryotic cell by another. In this study, we sequenced the whole genome of a nontransforming Theileria species, Theileria orientalis, and compared it to the published sequences representative of two malignant, transforming species, T. parva and T. annulata. The genome-wide comparison of these parasite species highlights significant genetic diversity that may be associated with evolution of the mechanism(s) deployed by an intracellular eukaryotic parasite to transform its host cell.
In malaria parasites the systematic experimental validation of drug and vaccine targets by reverse genetics is constrained by the inefficiency of homologous recombination and by the difficulty of manipulating adenine and thymine (AT) rich Plasmodium DNA in E. coli. We overcome these roadblocks by demonstrating that a high integrity library of P. berghei genomic DNA (>77% AT) in a bacteriophage N15-based vector can be modified efficiently using the lambda Red method of recombineering. We built a pipeline for generating Plasmodium berghei genetic modification vectors at genome scale in serial liquid cultures on 96-well plates. Vectors have long homology arms, which increase recombination frequency up to 10-fold over conventional designs. The feasibility of efficient genetic modification at scale will stimulate collaborative, genome-wide knockout and tagging programs for P. berghei.
anticancer agents; anticoagulant; carbohydrates; glycosylation; medicinal chemistry
Overexpression of muscle atrophy F-box (MAFbx/atrogin-1), an E3 ubiquitin ligase, induces proteasomal degradation in cardiomyocytes. The role of endogenous MAFbx in regulating cardiac hypertrophy and failure remains unclear.
We investigated the role of MAFbx in regulating cardiac hypertrophy and function in response to pressure overload. Transverse aortic constriction (TAC) was applied to MAFbx KO and wild type (WT) mice.
Methods and Results
Expression of MAFbx in WT mice was significantly increased by TAC. TAC-induced increases in cardiac hypertrophy were significantly smaller in MAFbx KO than in WT mice. There was significantly less lung congestion and interstitial fibrosis in MAFbx KO than in WT mice. MAFbx KO also inhibited β-adrenergic cardiac hypertrophy. DNA microarray analysis revealed that activation of genes associated with the transcription factor binding site for the NF-κB family were inhibited in MAFbx KO mice compared with WT mice after TAC. Although the levels of IκB-α were significantly decreased after TAC in WT mice, they were increased in MAFbx KO mice. MAFbx regulates ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of IκB-α in cardiomyocytes. In primary cultured rat cardiomyocytes, phenylephrine-induced activation of NF-κB and hypertrophy were significantly suppressed by MAFbx knock-down, but were partially rescued by overexpression of NF-κB p65.
MAFbx plays an essential role in mediating cardiac hypertrophy in response to pressure overload. Downregulation of MAFbx inhibits cardiac hypertrophy in part through stabilization of IκB-α and inactivation of NF-κB. Taken together, inhibition of MAFbx attenuates pathological hypertrophy, thereby protecting the heart from progression into heart failure.
E3 ligase; ubiquitin proteasome system; cardiac hypertrophy; NF-κB