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1.  GluCl a target of indole alkaloid okaramines: a 25 year enigma solved 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6190.
In 1989, indole alkaloid okaramines isolated from the fermentation products of Penicillium simplicissimum were shown to be insecticidal, yet the mechanism of their toxicity to insects remains unknown. We therefore examined the action of okaramine B on silkworm larval neurons using patch-clamp electrophysiology. Okaramine B induced inward currents which reversed close to the chloride equilibrium potential and were blocked by fipronil. Thus it was tested on the silkworm RDL (resistant-to-dieldrin) γ-aminobutyric-acid-gated chloride channel (GABACl) and a silkworm L-glutamate-gated chloride channel (GluCl) expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Okaramine B activated GluCl, but not RDL. GluCl activation by okaramines correlated with their insecticidal activity, offering a solution to a long-standing enigma concerning their insecticidal actions. Also, unlike ivermectin, okaramine B was inactive at 10 μM on human α1β2γ2 GABACl and α1β glycine-gated chloride channels and provides a new lead for the development of safe insect control chemicals.
PMCID: PMC4143795  PMID: 25155752
2.  Crystal structures of Lymnaea stagnalis AChBP in complex with neonicotinoid insecticides imidacloprid and clothianidin 
Invertebrate Neuroscience   2008;8(2):71-81.
Neonicotinoid insecticides, which act on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in a variety of ways, have extremely low mammalian toxicity, yet the molecular basis of such actions is poorly understood. To elucidate the molecular basis for nAChR–neonicotinoid interactions, a surrogate protein, acetylcholine binding protein from Lymnaea stagnalis (Ls-AChBP) was crystallized in complex with neonicotinoid insecticides imidacloprid (IMI) or clothianidin (CTD). The crystal structures suggested that the guanidine moiety of IMI and CTD stacks with Tyr185, while the nitro group of IMI but not of CTD makes a hydrogen bond with Gln55. IMI showed higher binding affinity for Ls-AChBP than that of CTD, consistent with weaker CH–π interactions in the Ls-AChBP–CTD complex than in the Ls-AChBP–IMI complex and the lack of the nitro group-Gln55 hydrogen bond in CTD. Yet, the NH at position 1 of CTD makes a hydrogen bond with the backbone carbonyl of Trp143, offering an explanation for the diverse actions of neonicotinoids on nAChRs.
PMCID: PMC2413115  PMID: 18338186
Acetylcholine binding protein (Lymnaea stagnalis); Crystal structures; Neonicotinoids; Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors; Ion channels
3.  Heterozygous TGFBR2 mutations in Marfan syndrome 
Nature Genetics  2004;36(8):855-860.
Marfan syndrome (MFS) is an extracellular matrix disorder with cardinal manifestations in the eye, skeleton, and cardiovascular systems and associated with defects in the fibrillin gene (FBN1) at 15q21.1 1. We previously mapped the second locus for MFS (MFS type 2, MFS2, OMIM *154705), at 3p24.2-p25 in a large French family (MS1)2. Identification of a 3p24.1 chromosomal breakpoint disrupting the TGF-beta receptor 2 gene (TGFBR2) in a Japanese MFS patient led us to consider TGFBR2 as the MSF2 gene. We found a Q508Q mutation of TGFBR2 that resulted in abnormal splicing and segregated with MFS2 in MS1. Three other missense mutations were found in four unrelated probands and were shown by luciferase-assays to lead to loss of function of the TGF-β signaling activity on extracellular matrix formation. These results show that heterozygous mutations in TGFBR2, a putative tumor suppressor gene implicated in several malignancies, are also associated with inherited connective-tissue disorders.
PMCID: PMC2230615  PMID: 15235604
Amino Acid Sequence; Chromosomes, Human, Pair 3; Female; Humans; Male; Marfan Syndrome; genetics; Molecular Sequence Data; Mutation; Pedigree; Receptors, Transforming Growth Factor beta; genetics; Signal Transduction; genetics
4.  Significance of p53-binding protein 1 nuclear foci in uterine cervical lesions: endogenous DNA double strand breaks and genomic instability during carcinogenesis 
Histopathology  2011;59(3):441-451.
A defective DNA damage response can result in genomic instability (GIN) and lead to transformation to cancer. As p53-binding protein 1 (53BP1) localizes at the sites of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) and rapidly forms nuclear foci (NF), the presence of 53BP1 NF can be considered to be an indicator of endogenous DSBs reflecting GIN. Our aim was to analyse the presence of DSBs by immunofluorescence for 53BP1 expression in a series of cervical lesions, to evaluate the significance of GIN during carcinogenesis.
Methods and results
A total of 80 archival cervical tissue samples, including 11 normal, 16 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)1, 15 CIN2, 24 CIN3 and 14 squamous cell carcinoma samples, were analysed for 53BP1 NF, human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, and p16INK4a overexpression. The number of 53BP1 NF in cervical cells appeared to increase with progression during carcinogenesis. The distribution of 53BP1 NF was similar to that of the punctate HPV signals as determined by in-situ hybridization and also to p16INK4a overexpression in CIN, suggesting an association with viral infection and replication stress.
Immunofluorescence analysis of 53BP1 expression can be a useful tool with which to estimate the level of GIN. During cervical carcinogenesis, GIN may allow further accumulation of genomic alterations, causing progression to invasive cancer.
PMCID: PMC3229684  PMID: 22034884
53BP1; DNA damage response; genomic instability; immunofluorescence; uterine cervical cancer

Results 1-4 (4)