In rodent species, the ovary and the end of oviduct are encapsulated by a thin membrane called ovarian bursa. The biological functions of ovarian bursa remain unexplored despite its structural arrangement in facilitating oocytes transport into oviduct. In the present study, we observed a rapid fluid accumulation and reabsorption within the ovarian bursa after ovarian stimulation (PMSG-primed hCG injection), suggesting that the ovarian bursa might play an active role in regulating local fluid homeostasis around the timing of ovulation. We hypothesized that the aquaporin proteins, which are specialized channels for water transport, might be involved in this process. By screening the expression of aquaporin family members (Aqp1-9) in the ovarian tissue and isolated ovarian bursa (0, 1, 2 and 5 h after hCG injection), we found that AQP2 and AQP5 mRNA showed dynamic changes after hCG treatment, showing upregulation at 1–2 h followed by gradually decrease at 5 h, which is closely related with the intra-bursa fluid dynamics. Further immunofluorescence examinations of AQP2 and AQP5 in the ovarian bursa revealed that AQP2 is specifically localized in the outer layer (peritoneal side) while AQP5 localized in the inner layer (ovarian side) of the bursa, such cell type specific and spatial-temporal expressions of AQP2 and 5 support our hypothesis that they might be involved in efficient water transport through ovarian bursa under ovulation related hormonal regulation. The physiological significance of aquaporin-mediated water transport in the context of ovarian bursa still awaits further clarification.
Both CYP158A1 and CYP158A2 are able to catalyze an oxidative C-C coupling reaction producing biflaviolin or triflaviolin in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). The substrate-bound crystal structures of CYP158A2 and CYP158A1 reveal that the side chain of Ile87 in CYP158A2 points to the active site contacting the distal flaviolin molecule, however, the bulkier side chain of Lys90 in CYP158A1 (corresponding to Ile87 in CYP158A2) is toward the distal surface of the protein. These results suggest that these residues could be important in determining product regiospecificity. In order to explore the role of the two residues in catalysis, the reciprocal mutants, Ile87Lys and Lys90Ile, of CYP158A2 and CYP158A1, respectively, were generated and characterized. The mutant Ile87Lys enzyme forms two isomers of biflaviolin instead of three isomers of biflaviolin in wild-type CYP158A2. CYP158A1 containing the substitution of lysine with isoleucine has the same catalytic activity compared with the wild-type CYP158A1. The crystal structure of Ile87Lys showed that the BC loop in the mutant is in a very different orientation compared with the BC loop in both CYP158A1/A2 structures. These results shed light on the mechanism of the oxidative coupling reaction catalyzed by cytochrome P450.
Cytochrome P450; Oxidative coupling reaction; CYP158A1; CYP158A2; Regiospecificity
Post-translational modification by SUMO was proposed to modulate the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases. Spinocerebellar ataxia type 3/Machado-Joseph disease (SCA3/MJD) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease caused by polyQ-expanded ataxin-3. We have previously shown that ataxin-3 was a new target of SUMOylation in vitro and in vivo. Here we identified that the major SUMO-1 binding site was located on lysine 166. SUMOylation did not influence the subcellular localization, ubiquitination or aggregates formation of mutant-type ataxin-3, but partially increased its stability and the cell apoptosis. Our findings revealed the role of ataxin-3 SUMOylation in SCA3/MJD pathogenesis.
In the journey from the male to female reproductive tract, mammalian sperm experience a natural osmotic decrease (e.g., in mouse, from ∼415 mOsm in the cauda epididymis to ∼310 mOsm in the uterine cavity). Sperm have evolved to utilize this hypotonic exposure for motility activation, meanwhile efficiently silence the negative impact of hypotonic cell swelling. Previous physiological and pharmacological studies have shown that ion channel-controlled water influx/efflux is actively involved in the process of sperm volume regulation; however, no specific sperm proteins have been found responsible for this rapid osmoadaptation. Here, we report that aquaporin3 (AQP3) is a sperm water channel in mice and humans. Aqp3-deficient sperm show normal motility activation in response to hypotonicity but display increased vulnerability to hypotonic cell swelling, characterized by increased tail bending after entering uterus. The sperm defect is a result of impaired sperm volume regulation and progressive cell swelling in response to physiological hypotonic stress during male-female reproductive tract transition. Time-lapse imaging revealed that the cell volume expansion begins at cytoplasmic droplet, forcing the tail to angulate and form a hairpin-like structure due to mechanical membrane stretch. The tail deformation hampered sperm migration into oviduct, resulting in impaired fertilization and reduced male fertility. These data suggest AQP3 as an essential membrane pathway for sperm regulatory volume decrease (RVD) that balances the “trade-off” between sperm motility and cell swelling upon physiological hypotonicity, thereby optimizing postcopulatory sperm behavior.
aquaporin3; sperm; osmoregulation; postcopulation
Histone lysine methylation modifies chromatin structure and regulates eukaryotic gene transcription and a variety of developmental and physiological processes. SET domain proteins are lysine methyltransferases containing the evolutionarily-conserved SET domain, which is known to be the catalytic domain.
We identified 59 SET genes in the Populus genome. Phylogenetic analyses of 106 SET genes from Populus and Arabidopsis supported the clustering of SET genes into six distinct subfamilies and identified 19 duplicated gene pairs in Populus. The chromosome locations of these gene pairs and the distribution of synonymous substitution rates showed that the expansion of the SET gene family might be caused by large-scale duplications in Populus. Comparison of gene structures and domain architectures of each duplicate pair indicated that divergence took place at the 3'- and 5'-terminal transcribed regions and at the N- and C-termini of the predicted proteins, respectively. Expression profile analysis of Populus SET genes suggested that most Populus SET genes were expressed widely, many with the highest expression in young leaves. In particular, the expression profiles of 12 of the 19 duplicated gene pairs fell into two types of expression patterns.
The 19 duplicated SET genes could have originated from whole genome duplication events. The differences in SET gene structure, domain architecture, and expression profiles in various tissues of Populus suggest that members of the SET gene family have a variety of developmental and physiological functions. Our study provides clues about the evolution of epigenetic regulation of chromatin structure and gene expression.
Coelibactin is a putative non-ribosomally synthesized peptide with predicted zincophore activity and which has been implicated in antibiotic regulation in Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). The coelibactin biosynthetic pathway contains a stereo- and regio-specific monooxygenation step catalyzed by a cytochrome P450 enzyme (CYP105N1). We have determined the X-ray crystal structure of CYP105N1 at 2.9 Å and analyzed it in the context of the bacterial CYP105 family as a whole. The crystal structure reveals a channel between the α-helical domain and the β-sheet domain exposing the heme pocket and the long helix I to the solvent. This wide-open conformation of CYP105N1 may be related to the bulky substrate coelibactin. The ligand-free CYP105N1 structure has enough room in the substrate access channel to allow the coelibactin to enter into the active site. Analysis of typical siderophore ligands suggests that CYP105N1 may produce derivatives of coelibactin, which would then be able to chelate the zinc divalent cation.
cytochrome P450; CYP105N1; siderophore; Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2); zinc chelation
We report a comprehensive genetic, metabolomic, and biochemical study on the catalytic properties of Streptomyces coelicolor cytochrome P450 (P450) 154A1, known to have a unique heme orientation in its crystal structure. Deletion of the P450 154A1 gene compromised the long-term stability of the bacterial spores. A novel dipentaenone (1) with a high degree of conjugation was identified as an endogenous substrate of P450 154A1 using a metabolomics approach. The biotransformation of 1 by P450 154A1 was shown to be an unexpected intramolecular cyclization to a Paternò–Büchi-like product, without oxidation/reduction.
Toxoplasma gondii is an important zoonotic pathogen causing significant human and animal health problems. Infection in dairy goats not only results in significant reproductive losses, but also represents an important source of human infection due to consumption of infected meat and milk. In the present study we report for the first time seroprevalence of T. gondii infection in Guanzhong and Saanen dairy goats in Shaanxi province, Northwestern China.
Sera from 751 dairy goats from 9 farms in 6 counties were examined for T. gondii antibodies with an indirect haemagglutination (IHA) test. Antibodies to T. gondii were detected in 106 (14.1%) serum samples, with antibody titres ranging from 1:64 to 1:1024. Seropositive goats were found in all 9 farms and seroprevalences in Guanzhong (16.3%, 75/461) and Saanen (10.7%, 31/290) dairy goats were not statistically significantly different. All the factors (sex, age and location) reported in the present study affected prevalence of infection, and seroprevalence increased with age, suggesting postnatal acquisition of T. gondii infection.
The results of the present survey indicate that infection by T. gondii is widely prevalent in dairy goats in Shaanxi province, Northwestern China, and this has implications for prevention and control of toxoplasmosis in this province.
Pregnancy loss is a serious social and medical issue, with one important cause associated with aberrant embryo implantation during early pregnancy. However, whether and how the process of embryo implantation is affected by environmental factors such as stress-induced sympathetic activation remained elusive. Here we report an unexpected, transient effect of β2-adrenoreceptor (β2-AR) activation (day 4 postcoitus) in disrupting embryo spacing at implantation, leading to substantially increased midterm pregnancy loss. The abnormal embryo spacing could be prevented by pretreatment of β2-AR antagonist or genetic ablation of β-AR. Similar β2-AR activation at day 5 postcoitus, when implantation sites have been established, did not affect embryo spacing or pregnancy outcome, indicating that the adverse effect of β2-AR activation is limited to the preimplantation period before embryo attachment. In vitro and in vivo studies demonstrated that the transient β2-AR activation abolished normal preimplantation uterine contractility without adversely affecting blastocyst quality. The contractility inhibition is mediated by activation of the cAMP-PKA pathway and accompanied by specific down-regulation of lpa3, a gene previously found to be critical for uterine contraction and embryo spacing. These results indicated that normal uterine contraction-mediated correct intrauterine embryo distribution is crucial for successful ongoing pregnancy. Abnormal β2-AR activation at early pregnancy provided a molecular clue in explaining how maternal stress at early stages could adversely affect the pregnancy outcome.
Adrenergic Receptor; Development; Embryo; Gene Knockout; Reproduction; cAMP; Embryo Implantation; Embryo Spacing; Pregnancy Loss; Uterine Contraction
The gene from Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) encoding CYP102B1, a recently discovered CYP102 subfamily which exists solely as a single P450 heme domain, has been cloned, expressed in Escherichia coli, purified, characterized, and compared to its fusion protein family members. Purified reconstitution metabolism experiments with spinach ferredoxin, ferredoxin reductase, and NADPH revealed differences in the regio- and stereoselective metabolism of arachidonic acid compared to that of CYP102A1, exclusively producing 11,12-epoxyeicosa-5,8,14-trienoic acid in addition to the shared metabolites 18-hydroxy arachidonic acid and 14,15-epoxyeicosa-5,8,11-trienoic acid. Consequently, in order to elucidate the physiological function of CYP102B1, transposon mutagenesis was used to generate an S. coelicolor A3(2) strain lacking CYP102B1 activity and the phenotype was assessed.
Microbial colonization on implanted devices and biofilm formation is a recurrent complication in implant surgery and may result in loss of implants. The aim of this study was to deposit silver nanoparticles on a titanium surface to obtain antibacterial properties. In the present study, we prepared a silver nanoparticle-modified titanium (Ti-nAg) surface using silanization method. The morphology and chemical components of the Ti-nAg surface were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) equipped with energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). Two species of bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli, were utilized to test the antibacterial effect of the Ti-nAg treated surface. The SEM examination revealed that a small quantity of silver nanoparticles was sparsely deposited on the titanium surface. The diameter of these nanoparticles ranged from ten to several hundred nm. EDS analyses revealed that there was 4.26% of Ag present on the surface. After a 24-hour incubation, 94% of Staphylococcus aureus and over 95% of Escherichia coli had been killed on the Ti-nAg surface, and the SEM examination of anti-adhesive efficacy test showed that there were less bacteria attached to Ti-nAg surface than to a control surface of untreated Titanium. These data suggest that silver nanoparticle-modified titanium is a promising material with an antibacterial property that may be used as an implantable biomaterial.
nano-silver; titanium; antibacterial activity; silanization method
The genome sequence of the giant virus Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus revealed the presence of two putative cytochrome P450 (CYP) genes. The product of one of the two predicted CYP genes (YP_143162) showed low-level homology to sterol 14-demethylase (CYP51) and contained a C-terminal polypeptide domain of unknown function. YP_143162 expression (without an N-terminal membrane binding domain) in Escherichia coli yields a CYP protein which gives a reduced CO difference maximum at 448 nm and was formally demonstrated as the first viral cytochrome P450. Analysis of binding of lipid and sterol substrates indicated no perturbation in CYP heme environment, and an absence of activity was seen when 14-methyl sterols were used as a substrate. The function of the CYP protein and its C-terminal domain remain unknown.
Hypoxia-inducible transcription factor 1 (HIF-1) and HIF-2α regulate the expression of an expansive array of genes associated with cellular responses to hypoxia. Although HIF-regulated genes mediate crucial beneficial short-term biological adaptations, we hypothesized that chronic activation of the HIF pathway in cardiac muscle, as occurs in advanced ischemic heart disease, is detrimental. We generated mice with cardiac myocyte-specific deletion of the von Hippel-Lindau protein (VHL), an essential component of an E3 ubiquitin ligase responsible for suppressing HIF levels during normoxia. These mice were born at expected frequency and thrived until after 3 months postbirth, when they developed severe progressive heart failure and premature death. VHL-null hearts developed lipid accumulation, myofibril rarefaction, altered nuclear morphology, myocyte loss, and fibrosis, features seen for various forms of human heart failure. Further, nearly 50% of VHL−/− hearts developed malignant cardiac tumors with features of rhabdomyosarcoma and the capacity to metastasize. As compelling evidence for the mechanistic contribution of HIF-1α, the concomitant deletion of VHL and HIF-1α in the heart prevented this phenotype and restored normal longevity. These findings strongly suggest that chronic activation of the HIF pathway in ischemic hearts is maladaptive and contributes to cardiac degeneration and progression to heart failure.
The largest subgroup of integrins is that containing the β1 subunit. β1 integrins have been implicated in a wide array of biological processes ranging from adhesion to cell growth, organogenesis, and mechanotransduction. Global deletion of β1 integrin expression results in embryonic death at ca. embryonic day 5 (E5), a developmental time point too early to determine the effects of this integrin on vascular development. To elucidate the specific role of β1 integrin in the vasculature, we conditionally deleted the β1 gene in the endothelium. Homozygous deletion of β1 integrins in the endothelium resulted in failure of normal vascular patterning, severe fetal growth retardation, and embryonic death at E9.5 to 10, although there were no overt effects on vasculogenesis. Heterozygous endothelial β1 gene deletion did not diminish fetal or postnatal survival, but it reduced β1 subunit expression in endothelial cells from adult mice by approximately 40%. These mice demonstrated abnormal vascular remodeling in response to experimentally altered in vivo blood flow and diminished vascularization in healing wounds. These data demonstrate that endothelial expression of β1 integrin is required for developmental vascular patterning and that endothelial β1 gene dosing has significant functional effects on vascular remodeling in the adult. Understanding how β1 integrin expression is modulated may have significant clinical importance.
Multiple factors determine the susceptibility to intrauterine hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. These factors include the HBV structure, HBV mutation, HBV DNA level, placental barrier, the immune status of the mother, and the genetic make-ups of the newborn infants. Since HLA system is an integral component of the immune response, we hypothesized that the highly polymorphic HLA genes are the key determinants of intrauterine HBV infection. In this study, we selected newborn infants of HBsAg-positive mothers, and divided the infants into 2 groups: intrauterine infection group and non-intrauterine infection group according to the status whether or not they were infected at birth. Each infected infant was compared with 2 controls from the same birth cohort. HLA-DR allele typing was performed using a PCR-sequence specific primer (PCR-SSP) for 24 subjects with intrauterine infection and 48 controls without infection. We found that, among the fifteen (15) HLA-DR alleles assessed, HLA-DRB1*07 was the one, and the only one, significantly in excess (OR = 6.66, P = 0.004) in the intrauterine infection group compared to the non-intrauterine infection group. Our findings thus suggest that high frequency of HLA class II molecules, e.g. HLA-DRB1*07, is associated with the susceptibility of the infants to intrauterine HBV infection.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV); Human leukocyte antigen (HLA); Genetic susceptibility; Intrauterine infection; Nested case-control study
Gene fusion produces proteins with novel structural architectures during evolution. Recent comparative genome analysis
shows several cases of fusion÷fission across distant phylogeny. However, the selection forces driving gene fusion are not
fully understood due to the lack of structural, dynamics and kinetics data. Available structural data at PDB (protein databank)
contains limited cases of structural pairs describing fused and un-fused structures. Nonetheless, we identified a pair of IGPS
(imidazole glycerol phosphate synthetase) structures (comprising of HisF glutaminase unit and HisH cyclase unit) from S.
cerevisiae (SC) and T. thermophilus (TT). The HisFHisH structural units are domains in SC and subunits in TT. Hence, they are
fused in SC and un-fused in TT. Subsequently, a domain-domain interface is formed in SC and a subunit-subunit interface in TT
between HisF and HisH. Our interest is to document the structure and dynamics differences between fused and un-fused IGPS.
Therefore, we probed into the structures of fused IGPS in SC and un-fused IGPS in TT using molecular dynamics simulation for
5ns. Simulation shows that fused IGPS in SC has larger interface area between HisFHisH and greater radius of gyration
compared to un-fused IGPS in TT. These structural features for the first time demonstrate the evolutionary advantage in
generating proteins with novel structural architecture through gene fusion.
gene fusion; fused proteins; evolution; molecular dynamics; interface; domains; subunits
Protein dimers are either homodimers (complexation of identical monomers) or heterodimers (complexation of non-identical
monomers). These dimers are common in catalysis and regulation. However, the molecular principles of protein dimer
interactions are difficult to understand mainly due to the geometrical and chemical characteristics of proteins. Nonetheless,
the principles of protein dimer interactions are often studied using a dataset of 3D structural complexes determined by X-ray
crystallography. A number of physical and chemical properties govern protein dimer interactions. Yet, a handful of such
properties are known to dominate protein dimer interfaces. Here, we discuss the differences between homodimer and heterodimer
interfaces using a selected set of interface properties.
Dimer; heterodimer; homodimer; interface; interaction; molecular recognition; interface properties; interface area; hydrogen bonds; hydrophobicity; interface residues
The GCN2 eIF2α kinase is essential for activation of the general amino acid control pathway in yeast when one or more amino acids become limiting for growth. GCN2's function in mammals is unknown, but must differ, since mammals, unlike yeast, can synthesize only half of the standard 20 amino acids. To investigate the function of mammalian GCN2, we have generated a Gcn2−/− knockout strain of mice. Gcn2−/− mice are viable, fertile, and exhibit no phenotypic abnormalities under standard growth conditions. However, prenatal and neonatal mortalities are significantly increased in Gcn2−/− mice whose mothers were reared on leucine-, tryptophan-, or glycine-deficient diets during gestation. Leucine deprivation produced the most pronounced effect, with a 63% reduction in the expected number of viable neonatal mice. Cultured embryonic stem cells derived from Gcn2−/− mice failed to show the normal induction of eIF2α phosphorylation in cells deprived of leucine. To assess the biochemical effects of the loss of GCN2 in the whole animal, liver perfusion experiments were conducted. Histidine limitation in the presence of histidinol induced a twofold increase in the phosphorylation of eIF2α and a concomitant reduction in eIF2B activity in perfused livers from wild-type mice, but no changes in livers from Gcn2−/− mice.