Huntington’s disease (HD) is the result of expression of a mutated Huntingtin protein (mtHtt), and is associated with a variety of cellular dysfunctions including excessive mitochondrial fission. Here, we tested whether inhibition of excessive mitochondrial fission prevents mtHtt-induced pathology. We developed a selective inhibitor (P110-TAT) of the mitochondrial fission protein dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1). We found that P110-TAT inhibited mtHtt-induced excessive mitochondrial fragmentation, improved mitochondrial function, and increased cell viability in HD cell culture models. P110-TAT treatment of fibroblasts from patients with HD and patients with HD with iPS cell–derived neurons reduced mitochondrial fragmentation and corrected mitochondrial dysfunction. P110-TAT treatment also reduced the extent of neurite shortening and cell death in iPS cell–derived neurons in patients with HD. Moreover, treatment of HD transgenic mice with P110-TAT reduced mitochondrial dysfunction, motor deficits, neuropathology, and mortality. We found that p53, a stress gene involved in HD pathogenesis, binds to DRP1 and mediates DRP1-induced mitochondrial and neuronal damage. Furthermore, P110-TAT treatment suppressed mtHtt-induced association of p53 with mitochondria in multiple HD models. These data indicate that inhibition of DRP1-dependent excessive mitochondrial fission with a P110-TAT–like inhibitor may prevent or slow the progression of HD.
Ischemia and reperfusion (IR) injury remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality and multiple molecular and cellular pathways have been implicated in this injury. We determined whether acute inhibition of excessive mitochondrial fission at the onset of reperfusion improves mitochondrial dysfunction and cardiac contractility postmyocardial infarction in rats.
Methods and Results
We used a selective inhibitor of the fission machinery, P110, which we have recently designed. P110 treatment inhibited the interaction of fission proteins Fis1/Drp1, decreased mitochondrial fission, and improved bioenergetics in three different rat models of IR, including primary cardiomyocytes, ex vivo heart model, and an in vivo myocardial infarction model. Drp1 transiently bound to the mitochondria following IR injury and P110 treatment blocked this Drp1 mitochondrial association. Compared with control treatment, P110 (1 μmol/L) decreased infarct size by 28±2% and increased adenosine triphosphate levels by 70+1% after IR relative to control IR in the ex vivo model. Intraperitoneal injection of P110 (0.5 mg/kg) at the onset of reperfusion in an in vivo model resulted in improved mitochondrial oxygen consumption by 68% when measured 3 weeks after ischemic injury, improved cardiac fractional shortening by 35%, reduced mitochondrial H2O2 uncoupling state by 70%, and improved overall mitochondrial functions.
Together, we show that excessive mitochondrial fission at reperfusion contributes to long‐term cardiac dysfunction in rats and that acute inhibition of excessive mitochondrial fission at the onset of reperfusion is sufficient to result in long‐term benefits as evidenced by inhibiting cardiac dysfunction 3 weeks after acute myocardial infarction.
cardiac myocytes; Drp1; heart; mitochondria; protein‐protein interaction inhibitor
A new species of Polypedilum (Uresipedilum) Oyewo & Sæther, 1998, Polypedilum (Uresipedilum) minimum
sp. n. is described as male. A key to adult males of the subgenus from China is presented.
Chironomidae; Polypedilum (Uresipedilum); key; new species; China
To investigate the effects of treatment with Multi component Chinese Medicine Jinzhida (JZD) on behavioral deficits in diabetes-associated cognitive decline (DACD) rats and verify our hypothesis that JZD treatment improves cognitive function by suppressing the endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) and improving insulin signaling transduction in the rats’ hippocampus.
A rat model of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) was established using high fat diet and streptozotocin (30 mg/kg, ip). Insulin sensitivity was evaluated by the oral glucose tolerance test and the insulin tolerance test. After 7 weeks, the T2DM rats were treated with JZD. The step-down test and Morris water maze were used to evaluate behavior in T2DM rats after 5 weeks of treatment with JZD. Levels of phosphorylated proteins involved in the ERS and in insulin signaling transduction pathways were assessed by Western blot for T2DM rats’ hippocampus.
Compared to healthy control rats, T2DM rats initially showed insulin resistance and had declines in acquisition and retrieval processes in the step-down test and in spatial memory in the Morris water maze after 12 weeks. Performance on both the step-down test and Morris water maze tasks improved after JZD treatment. In T2DM rats, the ERS was activated, and then inhibited the insulin signal transduction pathways through the Jun NH2-terminal kinases (JNK) mediated. JZD treatment suppressed the ERS, increased insulin signal transduction, and improved insulin resistance in the rats’ hippocampus.
Treatment with JZD improved cognitive function in the T2DM rat model. The possible mechanism for DACD was related with ERS inducing the insulin signal transduction dysfunction in T2DM rats’ hippocampus. The JZD could reduce ERS and improve insulin signal transduction and insulin resistance in T2DM rats’ hippocampus and as a result improved the cognitive function.
Diabetes; Cognitive decline; Step down test; Morris water; Immunobloting analysis; Hippocampus
Intervertebral disc (IVD) degeneration is implicated as a major cause of low back pain. The alternated phenotypes, reduced cell survival, decreased metabolic activity, loss of matrix production and dystrophic mineralization of nucleus pulposus (NP) cells may be key contributors to progressive IVD degeneration. IVD is the largest avascular structure in the body, characterized by low oxygen tension in vivo. Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is a master transcription factor that is induced upon hypoxia and directs coordinated cellular responses to hypoxic environments. This review summarizes relevant studies concerning the involvement of HIF in the regulation of biological behaviors of NP cells. We describe current data on the expression of HIF in NP cells and further discuss the various roles that HIF plays in the regulation of the phenotype, survival, metabolism, matrix production and dystrophic mineralization of NP cells. Here, we conclude that HIF may be a promising target for the prevention and treatment of IVD degeneration.
Hypoxia inducible factor; intervertebral disc degeneration; nucleus pulposus
Prodigiosins (PGs) are a family of natural red pigments with anticancer activity, and one member of the family has entered clinical phase II trials. However, the anticancer mechanisms of PGs remain largely unclear. This study was designed to investigate the molecular basis of anticancer activity of UP, a derivative of PGs, in P388 cells. By introducing pharmacological inhibitors and utilizing a variety of analytical approaches including western blotting, flow cytometry and confocal laser microscopy, we found that UP inhibited proliferation of P388 via arresting cells at G2/M phase and inducing cells apoptosis, which was related to the activation of P38, JNK rather than ERK1/2 signaling. ROS regeneration and acidification in cells appear not involved in UP induced apoptosis. Furthermore, utilizing mass spectrometry, sucrose density gradient fractionation and immunofluorescence staining, we discovered that UP was apparently located at ribosome. These results together indicate that ribosome may be the potential target of UP in cancer cells, which opened a new avenue in delineating the anticancer mechanism of PGs.
To investigate the effects and mechanisms of rosuvastatin on angiotensin -converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in the process of neointimal formation after vascular balloon injury in rats, and to explore the effects of ACE2 and rosuvastatin in restenosis.
Thirty-six Wistar rats were randomly allocated into three groups: control group (n = 12), surgery group (n = 12), and statin group (n = 12). Aortic endothelial denudation of rats was performed using 2F balloon catheters. At days 14 and 28 after injury, aortic arteries were harvested to examine the following. Intimal thickening was examined by hematoxylin and eosin staining. We measured angiotensin II (Ang II) and angiotensin 1-7 (Ang-[1–7]) levels by a radioimmunological method or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Protein and mRNA expression of ACE2 and Ang II type 1 receptor (AT1) were investigated by immunohistochemistry, Western blots, and Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). We measured changes in proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) by immunohistochemistry. The level of phosphorylated extracellular signal regulated kinase 1/2 (P-ERK1/2) was evaluated by Western blotting.
Proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC) and intimal thickening were higher at day 14 after vascular balloon injury in the surgery group compared with the control group. Proliferation of VSMC was decreased by day 28 after injury, while intimal thickening continued. With rosuvastatin treatment, the extent of VSMC proliferation and intimal thickening was reduced at day 14 and 28 after injury. Ang II and P-ERK levels were significantly increased, Ang-(1–7) levels were significantly decreased, mRNA and protein expressions of ACE2 were significantly decreased, and AT1 expression was significantly increased at days 14 and 28 after vascular balloon injury in the surgery group compared with the control group. PCNA expression was higher in the surgery group than in the control group, and it was significantly decreased after being given rosuvastatin. Expression of ACE2 mRNA and protein, and Ang-(1–7) levels were significantly increased, while AT1 expression and levels of Ang II and P-ERK were significantly decreased in the statin group compared with the surgery group.
Expression of ACE2 mRNA and protein is decreased in the process of intimal thickening after balloon injury. The inhibitory effect of rosuvastatin on intimal thickening is related to upregulation of ACE2, an increase in Ang-(1–7), downregulation of AT1, and activation of the P-ERK pathway.
Balloon injury; Angiotensin converting enzyme 2; Extracellular signal regulated kinase; Rosuvastatin
Automated image analysis of histopathology specimens could potentially provide support for early detection and improved characterization of breast cancer. Automated segmentation of the cells comprising imaged tissue microarrays (TMA) is a prerequisite for any subsequent quantitative analysis. Unfortunately, crowding and overlapping of cells present significant challenges for most traditional segmentation algorithms. In this paper, we propose a novel algorithm which can reliably separate touching cells in hematoxylin stained breast TMA specimens which have been acquired using a standard RGB camera. The algorithm is composed of two steps. It begins with a fast, reliable object center localization approach which utilizes single-path voting followed by mean-shift clustering. Next, the contour of each cell is obtained using a level set algorithm based on an interactive model. We compared the experimental results with those reported in the most current literature. Finally, performance was evaluated by comparing the pixel-wise accuracy provided by human experts with that produced by the new automated segmentation algorithm. The method was systematically tested on 234 image patches exhibiting dense overlap and containing more than 2200 cells. It was also tested on whole slide images including blood smears and tissue microarrays containing thousands of cells. Since the voting step of the seed detection algorithm is well suited for parallelization, a parallel version of the algorithm was implemented using graphic processing units (GPU) which resulted in significant speed-up over the C/C++ implementation.
Mean Shift; Level Set; Segmentation; Seed Detection; Parallel Computing
Automated analysis of imaged histopathology specimens could potentially provide support for improved reliability in detection and classification in a range of investigative and clinical cancer applications. Automated segmentation of cells in the digitized tissue microarray (TMA) is often the prerequisite for quantitative analysis. However overlapping cells usually bring significant challenges for traditional segmentation algorithms.
In this paper, we propose a novel, automatic algorithm to separate overlapping cells in stained histology specimens acquired using bright-field RGB imaging.
It starts by systematically identifying salient regions of interest throughout the image based upon their underlying visual content. The segmentation algorithm subsequently performs a quick, voting based seed detection. Finally, the contour of each cell is obtained using a repulsive level set deformable model using the seeds generated in the previous step. We compared the experimental results with the most current literature, and the pixel wise accuracy between human experts' annotation and those generated using the automatic segmentation algorithm.
The method is tested with 100 image patches which contain more than 1000 overlapping cells. The overall precision and recall of the developed algorithm is 90% and 78%, respectively. We also implement the algorithm on GPU. The parallel implementation is 22 times faster than its C/C++ sequential implementation.
The proposed overlapping cell segmentation algorithm can accurately detect the center of each overlapping cell and effectively separate each of the overlapping cells. GPU is proven to be an efficient parallel platform for overlapping cell segmentation.
Parallel Computing; Segmentation; Seed detection; Pathology images
Microtubule-associated proteins play a crucial role in the regulation of microtubule dynamics, and are very important for plant cell and organ development. SBgLR is a potato pollen-specific protein, with five imperfect V-V-E-K-K-N/E-E repetitive motifs that are responsible for microtubule binding activity. In present study, SBgLR showed typical microtubule-associated protein characteristics; it bound tubulin and microtubules, and colocalized with microtubules in vitro. We also found that SBgLR could form oligomers, and that both the SBgLR monomers and oligomers bundle microtubules in vitro. Constitutive expression of SBgLR in tobacco caused curving and right-handed twisting root growth, abnormal directional cell expansion and cell layer arrangement, and pollen abortion. Immunofluorescence staining assays revealed that microtubule organization is altered in root epidermal cells in SBgLR-overexpressing lines. These suggest that SBgLR functions as a microtubule-associated protein in pollen development. Our results indicate that normal organization of MTs may be crucial for pollen development.
To systematically review the relationship between low pH in intervertebral discs and low back pain.
Material and methods
Electronic database (PubMed, ISI Web of Science, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, AMED, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure) searches and hand searching of conference proceedings were conducted. Two authors independently evaluated the methodological quality and abstracted relevant data according to standard criteria. Then the experimental methods and samples employed in the finally retrieved articles were assessed.
We first retrieved 136 articles regarding pain and pH, and only 16 of them were mainly about low back pain and pH. Finally, 7 articles met our expectation to focus on the pathogenesis of low back pain caused by pH. In these 7 studies the authors held three opinions to explain the pathogenesis of low back pain in relation to low pH. First, low pH caused by lactate stimulates the muscle and increases the muscle tension, which causes low back pain. Second, low pH stimulates the nerve roots and produces the feeling of pain. Third, low pH changes the matrix metabolism, leading to neuronal death and low back pain.
In this systematic review we propose a new hypothesis that low back pain may be caused by low pH based on the previous literature. Further experimental studies are necessary to verify our hypothesis. This hypothesis will promote our understanding of the pathogenesis of low back pain and the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for low back pain.
low back pain; pH; acidity; intervertebral disc; systematic review
Vanadium compounds were studied during recent years to be considered as a representative of a new class of nonplatinum metal anticancer agents in combination to its low toxicity. Here, we found a vanadium compound Van-7 as an inhibitor of Topo I other than Topo II using topoisomerase-mediated supercoiled DNA relaxation assay. Agarose gel electrophoresis and comet assay showed that Van-7 treatment did not produce cleavable complexes like HCPT, thereby suggesting that Topo I inhibition occurred upstream of the relegation step. Further studies revealed that Van-7 inhibited Topo I DNA binding involved in its intercalating DNA. Van-7 did not affect the catalytic activity of DNase I even up to100 μM. Van-7 significantly suppressed the growth of cancer cell lines with IC50 at nanomolar concentrations and arrested cell cycle of A549 cells at G2/M phase. All these results indicate that Van-7 is a potential selective Topo I inhibitor with anticancer activities as a kind of Topo I suppressor, not Topo I poison.
Climate change is affecting and will increasingly influence human health and wellbeing. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. An extensive literature review regarding the impact of climate change on children’s health was conducted in April 2012 by searching electronic databases PubMed, Scopus, ProQuest, ScienceDirect, and Web of Science, as well as relevant websites, such as IPCC and WHO. Climate change affects children’s health through increased air pollution, more weather-related disasters, more frequent and intense heat waves, decreased water quality and quantity, food shortage and greater exposure to toxicants. As a result, children experience greater risk of mental disorders, malnutrition, infectious diseases, allergic diseases and respiratory diseases. Mitigation measures like reducing carbon pollution emissions, and adaptation measures such as early warning systems and post-disaster counseling are strongly needed. Future health research directions should focus on: (1) identifying whether climate change impacts on children will be modified by gender, age and socioeconomic status; (2) refining outcome measures of children’s vulnerability to climate change; (3) projecting children’s disease burden under climate change scenarios; (4) exploring children’s disease burden related to climate change in low-income countries; and (5) identifying the most cost-effective mitigation and adaptation actions from a children’s health perspective.
climate change; child health; mechanism; mitigation; adaptation
A new species of the genus Microtendipes Kieffer, 1915, Microtendipes zhejiangensis
sp.n., is described, and its morphological description and illustrations are given. A catalogue of the genus in Oriental Region is provided and a key to the males of Microtendipes in the Oriental Region is given.
Microtendipes; new species; key; catalogue; Oriental Region
Understanding the spatial distribution of suicide can inform the planning, implementation and evaluation of suicide prevention activity. This study explored spatial clusters of suicide in Australia, and investigated likely socio-demographic determinants of these clusters.
National suicide and population data at a statistical local area (SLA) level were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics for the period of 1999 to 2003. Standardised mortality ratios (SMR) were calculated at the SLA level, and Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques were applied to investigate the geographical distribution of suicides and detect clusters of high risk in Australia.
Male suicide incidence was relatively high in the northeast of Australia, and parts of the east coast, central and southeast inland, compared with the national average. Among the total male population and males aged 15 to 34, Mornington Shire had the whole or a part of primary high risk cluster for suicide, followed by the Bathurst-Melville area, one of the secondary clusters in the north coastal area of the Northern Territory. Other secondary clusters changed with the selection of cluster radius and age group. For males aged 35 to 54 years, only one cluster in the east of the country was identified. There was only one significant female suicide cluster near Melbourne while other SLAs had very few female suicide cases and were not identified as clusters. Male suicide clusters had a higher proportion of Indigenous population and lower median socio-economic index for area (SEIFA) than the national average, but their shapes changed with selection of maximum cluster radii setting.
This study found high suicide risk clusters at the SLA level in Australia, which appeared to be associated with lower median socio-economic status and higher proportion of Indigenous population. Future suicide prevention programs should focus on these high risk areas.
Two new species of Bryophaenocladius Thienemann, 1934, Bryophaenocladius mucronatus
sp. n. and Bryophaenocladius parictericus
sp. n. are described and illustrated as males. A key to male imagines of the genus from China is presented.
Chironomidae; Bryophaenocladius; new species; key; China
Chemical investigation of the ethanol extract of soft coral Sinularia sp. collected from the South China Sea led to the isolation of three new polyoxygenated sterols, (3S,23R,24S)-ergost-5-ene-3β,23α,25-triol (1), (24S)-ergostane-6-acetate-3β,5α,6β,25-tetraol (2), (24S)-ergostane-6-acetate-3β,6β,12β,25-tetraol (3) together with three known ones (4–6). The structures, including relative configurations of the new compounds (1–3), were elucidated by detailed analysis of spectroscopic data (IR, UV, NMR, MS) and by comparison with related reported compounds. The absolute configuration of 1 was further determined by modified Mosher’s method. Compound 5 exhibited moderate cytotoxicity against K562 cell line with an IC50 value of 3.18 μM, but also displayed strong lethality toward the brine shrimp Artemia salina with a LC50 value of 0.96 μM.
soft coral; Sinularia sp.; polyoxygenated sterols; cytotoxicity
We report here a simple and rapid method by which to screen one bead one compound libraries for highly specific ligands to cell surface proteins such as G protein-coupled receptors. This protocol, which harvests “hits” in a cell-based binding screen magnetically, eliminates the most tedious aspects of previously published bead screening techniques and allows millions of different compounds to be screened rapidly and cheaply. The method is demonstrated using the Orexin Receptor 1, which resulted in the isolation of moderate potency antagonists.
Orexin receptor 1 peptoid magnetic screen
The genus Dicrotendipes Kieffer from China, including 8 species, is reviewed. Two new species, Dicrotendipes nudus
sp. n. and Dicrotendipes saetanumerosus
sp. n. are described and the male imagines are illustrated; the record of Dicrotendipes fusconotatus (Kieffer) is the first for China. A key to the males of Dicrotendipes in China is given.
Chironomidae; Dicrotendipes; new species; key; China
Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway plays important roles in urinary tract development although the detailed regulation of its activity in this process remains unclear. Here we report that follistatin-like 1 (Fstl1), encoding a secreted extracellular glycoprotein, is expressed in developing ureter and antagonizes BMP signaling activity. Mouse embryos carrying disrupted Fstl1 gene displayed prominent hydroureter arising from proximal segment and ureterovesical junction defects. These defects were associated with significant reduction in ureteric epithelial cell proliferation at E15.5 and E16.5 as well as absence of subepithelial ureteral mesenchymal cells in the urinary tract at E16.5 and E18.5. At the molecular level, increased BMP signaling was found in Fstl1 deficient ureters, indicated by elevated pSmad1/5/8 activity. In vitro study also indicated that Fstl1 can directly bind to ALK6 which is specifically expressed in ureteric epithelial cells in developing ureter. Furthermore, Sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling, which is crucial for differentiation of ureteral subepithelial cell proliferation, was also impaired in Fstl1-/- ureter. Altogether, our data suggest that Fstl1 is essential in maintaining normal ureter development by antagonizing BMP signaling.
Principal component analysis (PCA) is one of the key techniques in functional data analysis. One important feature of functional PCA is that there is a need for smoothing or regularizing of the estimated principal component curves. Silverman's method for smoothed functional principal component analysis is an important approach in situation where the sample curves are fully observed due to its theoretical and practical advantages. However, lack of knowledge about the theoretical properties of this method makes it difficult to generalize it to the situation where the sample curves are only observed at discrete time points. In this paper, we first establish the existence of the solutions of the successive optimization problems in this method. We then provide upper bounds for the bias parts of the estimation errors for both eigenvalues and eigenfunctions. We also prove functional central limit theorems for the variation parts of the estimation errors. As a corollary, we give the convergence rates of the estimations for eigenvalues and eigenfunctions, where these rates depend on both the sample size and the smoothing parameters. Under some conditions on the convergence rates of the smoothing parameters, we can prove the asymptotic normalities of the estimations.
Functional PCA; smoothing methods; roughness penalty; convergence rates; functional central limit theorem; asymptotic normality
The robustness of image features is a very important consideration in quantitative image analysis. The objective of this paper is to investigate the robustness of a range of image texture features using hematoxylin stained breast tissue microarray slides which are assessed while simulating different imaging challenges including out of focus, changes in magnification and variations in illumination, noise, compression, distortion, and rotation. We employed five texture analysis methods and tested them while introducing all of the challenges listed above. The texture features that were evaluated include co-occurrence matrix, center-symmetric auto-correlation, texture feature coding method, local binary pattern, and texton. Due to the independence of each transformation and texture descriptor, a network structured combination was proposed and deployed on the Rutgers private cloud. The experiments utilized 20 randomly selected tissue microarray cores. All the combinations of the image transformations and deformations are calculated, and the whole feature extraction procedure was completed in 70 minutes using a cloud equipped with 20 nodes. Center-symmetric auto-correlation outperforms all the other four texture descriptors but also requires the longest computational time. It is roughly 10 times slower than local binary pattern and texton. From a speed perspective, both the local binary pattern and texton features provided excellent performance for classification and content-based image retrieval.
Cloud computing; tissue microarray; texture features
Cancer stem cells (CSCs) play an important role in cancer initiation, relapse and metastasis. To date, no specific medicine has been found to target CSCs as they are resistant to most conventional therapies and proliferate indefinitely. Compound Kushen Injection (CKI) has been widely used for cancer patients with remarkable therapeutic effects in Chinese clinical settings for many years. This study focused on whether CKI could inhibit MCF-7 SP cells in vitro and in vivo.
The analysis of CKI on SP population and the main genes of Wnt signaling pathway were studied first. Then we studied the tumorigenicity of SP cells and the effects of CKI on SP cells in vivo. The mice inoculated with 10,000 SP cells were randomly divided into three groups (6 in each group) and treated with CKI, cisplatin and saline (as a control) respectively for 7 weeks. The tumor formation rates of each group were compared. The main genes and proteins of the Wnt signaling pathway were analyzed by RT-PCR and western blot.
CKI suppressed the size of SP population (approximately 90%), and down-regulated the main genes of Wnt signaling pathway. We also determined that MCF-7 SP cells were more tumorigenic than non-SP and unsorted cells. The Wnt signaling pathway was up-regulated in tumors derived from SP cells compared with that in tumors from non-SP cells. The tumor formation rate of the CKI Group was 33% (2/6, P < 0.05), and that of Cisplatin Group was 50%(3/6, P < 0.05), whereas that of the Control Group was 100% (6/6).The RT-PCR and western blot results indicated that CKI suppressed tumor growth by down-regulating the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, while cisplatin activated the Wnt/β-catenin pathway and might spare SP cells.
It suggested that CKI may serve as a novel drug targeting cancer stem-like cells, though further studies are recommended.
cancer stem-like cells; side population; Compound Kushen Injection; MCF-7; Wnt/β-catenin signaling; cisplatin
Arginine-rich peptides and small-molecule intercalating agents utilize distinct molecular mechanisms for RNA recognition. Here, we combined these distinct binding modules in an effort to create conjugate ligands with enhanced affinity and specificity using the bacteriophage λ N peptide/boxB interaction as a model system. We first designed and synthesized a series of peptide-acridine conjugates using portions of the RNA-binding domain of N protein (11- and 22- residue peptide segments), then compared the binding affinity, specificity, salt dependence, and structural properties of the RNA-peptide and RNA-peptide-acridine conjugate complexes using steady-state fluorescence, CD spectroscopy, NMR, and native gel mobility shift assays (GMSA). These analyses revealed that the full-length peptide-acridine conjugate displayed substantially improved RNA-binding affinity (~80-fold; Kd ~ 15 pM) relative to the peptide alone (Kd ~ 1.2 nM). In accordance, we also observed specificity enhancement (~25-fold) as determined by comparing binding of the best conjugate to a cognate λ boxB RNA with that to a noncognate P22 RNA hairpin (80-fold vs. 3.2-fold enhancement). Furthermore, the observed binding enhancement was unique to the full length conjugate with a flexible linker, implying that the structural context of acridine presentation was critical. Taken together, our observations support the idea that peptide- and intercalation-based binding can be combined to create a new class of high-affinity, high-specificity RNA-binding ligands.
acridine-peptide conjugate; N peptide; boxB RNA recognition; 2-aminopurine; multiple binding modules
Cardiac mitochondria, the main source of energy as well as free radicals, are vital organelles for normal functioning of the heart. Mitochondrial number, structure, turnover and function are regulated by processes such as mitochondrial protein quality control, mitochondrial fusion and fission and mitophagy. Recent studies suggest that abnormal changes in these mitochondrial regulatory processes may contribute to the pathology of heart failure (HF). Here we discuss these processes and their potential as therapeutic targets.