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1.  Immobilized Metal Affinity Chromatography Co-Purifies TGF-β1 with Histidine-Tagged Recombinant Extracellular Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48629.
Extracellular recombinant proteins are commonly produced using HEK293 cells as histidine-tagged proteins facilitating purification by immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC). Based on gel analyses, this one-step purification typically produces proteins of high purity. Here, we analyzed the presence of TGF-β1 in such IMAC purifications using recombinant extracellular fibrillin-1 fragments as examples. Analysis of various purified recombinant fibrillin-1 fragments by ELISA consistently revealed the presence of picomolar concentrations of active and latent TGF-β1, but not of BMP-2. These quantities of TGF-β1 were not detectable by Western blotting and mass spectrometry. However, the amounts of TGF-β1 were sufficient to consistently trigger Smad2 phosphorylation in fibroblasts. The purification mechanism was analyzed to determine whether the presence of TGF-β1 in these protein preparations represents a specific or non-specific co-purification of TGF-β1 with fibrillin-1 fragments. Control purifications using conditioned medium from non-transfected 293 cells yielded similar amounts of TGF-β1 after IMAC. IMAC of purified TGF-β1 and the latency associated peptide showed that these proteins bound to the immobilized nickel ions. These data clearly demonstrate that TGF-β1 was co-purified by specific interactions with nickel, and not by specific interactions with fibrillin-1 fragments. Among various chromatographic methods tested for their ability to eliminate TGF-β1 from fibrillin-1 preparations, gel filtration under high salt conditions was highly effective. As various recombinant extracellular proteins purified in this fashion are frequently used for experiments that can be influenced by the presence of TGF-β1, these findings have far-reaching implications for the required chromatographic schemes and quality controls.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0048629
PMCID: PMC3485342  PMID: 23119075
2.  Calpain and PARP Activation during Photoreceptor Cell Death in P23H and S334ter Rhodopsin Mutant Rats 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22181.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a heterogeneous group of inherited neurodegenerative diseases affecting photoreceptors and causing blindness. Many human cases are caused by mutations in the rhodopsin gene. An important question regarding RP pathology is whether different genetic defects trigger the same or different cell death mechanisms. To answer this question, we analysed photoreceptor degeneration in P23H and S334ter transgenic rats carrying rhodopsin mutations that affect protein folding and sorting respectively. We found strong activation of calpain and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) in both mutants, concomitant with calpastatin down-regulation, increased oxidative DNA damage and accumulation of PAR polymers. These parameters were strictly correlated with the temporal progression of photoreceptor degeneration, mirroring earlier findings in the phosphodiesterase-6 mutant rd1 mouse, and suggesting execution of non-apoptotic cell death mechanisms. Interestingly, activation of caspases-3 and -9 and cytochrome c leakage—key events in apoptotic cell death—were observed only in the S334ter mutant, which also showed increased expression of PARP-1. The identification of the same metabolic markers triggered by different mutations in two different species suggests the existence of common cell death mechanisms, which is a major consideration for any mutation independent treatment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022181
PMCID: PMC3134478  PMID: 21765948
3.  PARP1 Gene Knock-Out Increases Resistance to Retinal Degeneration without Affecting Retinal Function 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e15495.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited neurodegenerative diseases affecting photoreceptors and causing blindness in humans. Previously, excessive activation of enzymes belonging to the poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) group was shown to be involved in photoreceptor degeneration in the human homologous rd1 mouse model for RP. Since there are at least 16 different PARP isoforms, we investigated the exact relevance of the predominant isoform - PARP1 - for photoreceptor cell death using PARP1 knock-out (KO) mice. In vivo and ex vivo morphological analysis using optic coherence tomography (OCT) and conventional histology revealed no major alterations of retinal phenotype when compared to wild-type (wt). Likewise, retinal function as assessed by electroretinography (ERG) was normal in PARP1 KO animals. We then used retinal explant cultures derived from wt, rd1, and PARP1 KO animals to test their susceptibility to chemically induced photoreceptor degeneration. Since photoreceptor degeneration in the rd1 retina is triggered by a loss-of-function in phosphodiesterase-6 (PDE6), we used selective PDE6 inhibition to emulate the rd1 situation on non-rd1 genotypes. While wt retina subjected to PDE6 inhibition showed massive photoreceptor degeneration comparable to rd1 retina, in the PARP1 KO situation, cell death was robustly reduced. Together, these findings demonstrate that PARP1 activity is in principle dispensable for normal retinal function, but is of major importance for photoreceptor degeneration under pathological conditions. Moreover, our results suggest that PARP dependent cell death or PARthanatos may play a major role in retinal degeneration and highlight the possibility to use specific PARP inhibitors for the treatment of RP.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0015495
PMCID: PMC2990765  PMID: 21124852

Results 1-3 (3)