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author:("youngs, Hina")
1.  Alda-1 is an agonist and chemical chaperone for the common human aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 variant 
In approximately one billion people, a point mutation inactivates a key detoxifying enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2). This mitochondrial enzyme metabolizes toxic biogenic and environmental aldehydes, including the endogenously produced 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE) and the environmental pollutant, acrolein. ALDH2 also bioactivates nitroglycerin, but it is best known for its role in ethanol metabolism. The accumulation of acetaldehyde following the consumption of even a single alcoholic beverage leads to the Asian Alcohol-induced Flushing Syndrome in ALDH2*2 homozygotes. The ALDH2*2 allele is semi-dominant and heterozygotic individuals exhibit a similar, but not as severe phenotype. We recently identified a small molecule, Alda-1, which activates wild-type ALDH2 and restores near wild-type activity to ALDH2*2. The structures of Alda-1 bound to ALDH2 and ALDH2*2 reveal how Alda-1 activates the wild-type enzyme and how it restores the activity of ALDH2*2 by acting as a structural chaperone.
PMCID: PMC2857674  PMID: 20062057
2.  Atypical Biosynthetic Properties of a Δ12/ν+3 Desaturase from the Model Basidiomycete Phanerochaete chrysosporium▿ †  
The model white-rot basidiomycete Phanerochaete chrysosporium contains a single integral membrane Δ12-desaturase FAD2 related to the endoplasmic reticular plant FAD2 enzymes. The fungal fad2-like gene was cloned and distinguished itself from plant homologs by the presence of four introns and a significantly larger coding region. The coding sequence exhibits ca. 35% sequence identity to plant homologs, with the highest sequence conservation found in the putative catalytic and major structural domains. In vivo activity of the heterologously expressed enzyme favors C18 substrates with ν+3 regioselectivity, where the site of desaturation is three carbons carboxy-distal to the reference position of a preexisting double bond (ν). Linoleate accumulated to levels in excess of 12% of the total fatty acids upon heterologous expression of P. chrysosporium FAD2 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In contrast to the behavior of the plant FAD2 enzymes, this oleate desaturase does not 12-hydroxylate lipids and is the first example whose activity increases at higher temperatures (30°C versus 15°C). Thus, while maintaining the hallmark activity of the fatty acyl Δ12-desaturase family, the basidiomycete fad2 genes appear to have evolved substantially from an ancestral desaturase.
PMCID: PMC2643574  PMID: 19088315

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