Fusion inhibitors are a class of antiretroviral drugs used to prevent entry of HIV into host cells. Many of the fusion inhibitors being developed, including the drug enfuvirtide, are peptides designed to competitively inhibit the viral fusion protein gp41. With the emergence of drug resistance, there is an increased need for effective and unique alternatives within this class of antivirals. One such alternative is a class of cyclic, cationic, antimicrobial peptides known as θ-defensins, which are produced by many non-human primates and exhibit broad-spectrum antiviral and antibacterial activity. Currently, the θ-defensin analog RC-101 is being developed as a microbicide due to its specific antiviral activity, lack of toxicity to cells and tissues, and safety in animals. Understanding potential RC-101 resistance, and how resistance to other fusion inhibitors affects RC-101 susceptibility, is critical for future development. In previous studies, we identified a mutant, R5-tropic virus that had evolved partial resistance to RC-101 during in vitro selection. Here, we report that a secondary mutation in gp41 was found to restore replicative fitness, membrane fusion, and the rate of viral entry, which were compromised by an initial mutation providing partial RC-101 resistance. Interestingly, we show that RC-101 is effective against two enfuvirtide-resistant mutants, demonstrating the clinical importance of RC-101 as a unique fusion inhibitor. These findings both expand our understanding of HIV drug-resistance to diverse peptide fusion inhibitors and emphasize the significance of compensatory gp41 mutations.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is the most commonly treated female reproductive tract affliction, characterized by the displacement of healthy lactobacilli by an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria. BV can contribute to pathogenic inflammation, preterm birth, and susceptibility to sexually transmitted infections. As the bacteria responsible for BV pathogenicity and their interactions with host immunity are not understood, we sought to evaluate the effects of BV-associated bacteria on reproductive epithelia. Here we have characterized the interaction between BV-associated bacteria and the female reproductive tract by measuring cytokine and defensin induction in three types of FRT epithelial cells following bacterial inoculation. Four BV-associated bacteria were evaluated alongside six lactobacilli for a comparative assessment. While responses differed between epithelial cell types, our model showed good agreement with clinical BV trends. We observed a distinct cytokine and human β-defensin 2 response to BV-associated bacteria, especially Atopobium vaginae, compared to most lactobacilli. One lactobacillus species, Lactobacillus vaginalis, induced an immune response similar to that elicited by BV-associated bacteria, stimulating significantly higher levels of cytokines and human β-defensin 2 than other lactobacilli. These data provide an important prioritization of BV-associated bacteria and support further characterization of reproductive bacteria and their interactions with host epithelia. Additionally, they demonstrate the distinct immune response potentials of epithelial cells from different locations along the female reproductive tract.
In vivo detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD) neuropathology in living patients using positron emission tomography (PET) in conjunction with high affinity molecular imaging probes for β-amyloid (Aβ) and tau has the potential to assist with early diagnosis, evaluation of disease progression, and assessment of therapeutic interventions. Animal models of AD are valuable for exploring the in vivo binding of these probes, particularly their selectivity for specific neuropathologies, but prior PET experiments in transgenic mice have yielded conflicting results. In this work, we utilized microPET imaging in a transgenic rat model of brain Aβ deposition to assess [F-18]FDDNP binding profiles in relation to age-associated accumulation of neuropathology. Cross-sectional and longitudinal imaging demonstrated that [F-18]FDDNP binding in the hippocampus and frontal cortex progressively increases from 9 to 18 months of age and parallels age-associated Aβ accumulation. Specificity of in vivo [F-18]FDDNP binding was assessed by naproxen pretreatment, which reversibly blocked [F-18]FDDNP binding to Aβ aggregrates. Both [F-18]FDDNP microPET imaging and neuropathological analyses revealed decreased Aβ burden after intracranial anti-Aβ antibody administration. The combination of this non-invasive imaging method and robust animal model of brain Aβ accumulation allows for future longitudinal in vivo assessments of potential therapeutics for AD that target Aβ production, aggregation, and/or clearance. These results corroborate previous analyses of [F-18]FDDNP PET imaging in clinical populations.
[F-18]FDDNP; positron emission tomography; amyloid; transgenic rat; naproxen; immunotherapy
Nasal colonization of Staphylococcus aureus is a risk factor for pathogenic autoinfection, particularly in postoperative patients and the immunocompromised. As such, standardized preoperative nasal decolonization of S. aureus has become a major consideration for the prevention of nosocomial infection. However, only a few treatment options for nasal decolonization are currently available, with resistance to these approaches already a concern. Here we have identified the macrocyclic θ-defensin analogue RC-101 as a promising anti-S. aureus agent for nasal decolonization. RC-101 exhibits bactericidal effects against S. aureus with the use of in vitro epithelium-free systems, while also preventing the pathogen's proliferation and attachment in an ex vivo human nasal epithelial cell adhesion model and an organotypic model of human airway epithelia. Peptide concentrations as low as 2.5 μM elicited significant reductions in S. aureus growth in epithelium-free systems, with 10 μM concentrations being completely bactericidal for all strains tested, including USA300. In ex vivo nasal colonization models, RC-101 significantly reduced adherence, survival, and proliferation of S. aureus on human nasal epithelia. Reductions in S. aureus viability were evident in these assays, with as little as 1 μg of peptide per tissue, while 10 μg of RC-101 completely prevented adhesion of all strains tested. Furthermore, RC-101 did not exhibit cellular toxicity to human nasal epithelia at concentrations up to 200 μM, nor did it induce a proinflammatory response in these cells. Collectively, the findings of this study identify RC-101 as a potential preventative of S. aureus nasal colonization.
Due to the increasing prevalence of nosocomial and community-acquired antibiotic resistant Staphylococcus aureus (SA), understanding the determinants of SA nasal carriage has become a major imperative. Previous research has revealed many host and bacterial factors that contribute to SA nasal carriage. To assess bacterial factors that facilitate nasal carriage, we compared the exoproteome of a nasal carrier strain of SA to a genetically similar non-carrier strain. Additionally, the carrier strain biofilm exoproteome was also compared against its planktonic counterpart. Using high throughput proteomics, it was observed that the carrier strain of SA secretes a greater number of proteins that may promote successful colonization of the human nose, including cell attachment and immunoevasive proteins, than the non-carrier strain. Similarly, SA carrier strain biofilm exoproteome contains a greater number of immunoevasive proteins than its planktonic counterpart. Analysis of the most abundant immunoevasive proteins revealed that Staphylococcal protein A was present at significantly higher levels in carrier than in non-carrier strains of SA, suggesting an association with nasal carriage. While further analyses of specific differences between carrier and non-carrier strains of SA are required, many of the differentially expressed proteins identified can be considered to be putative determinants of nasal carriage.
Innate immunity; bacteria/bacterial immunity; comparative proteomics; nasal colonization; exoproteome
HIV exposed seronegative (HESN) women represent the population most in need of a prophylactic antiviral strategy. Mucosal cationic polypeptides can potentially be regulated for this purpose and we here aimed to determine their endogenous expression and HIV neutralizing activity in genital secretions of women at risk of HIV infection.
Cervicovaginal secretions (CVS) of Kenyan women in HIV-serodiscordant relationships (HESN, n = 164; HIV seropositive, n = 60) and low-risk controls (n = 72) were assessed for the cationic polypeptides HNP1–3, LL-37 and SLPI by ELISA and for HIV neutralizing activity by a PBMC-based assay using an HIV primary isolate. Median levels of HNP1–3 and LL-37 in CVS were similar across study groups. Neither HSV-2 serostatus, nor presence of bacterial vaginosis, correlated with levels of HNP1–3 or LL-37 in the HESN women. However, an association with their partner's viral load was observed. High viral load (>10,000 HIV RNA copies/ml plasma) correlated with higher levels of HNP1–3 and LL-37 (p = 0.04 and 0.03, respectively). SLPI was most abundant in the low-risk group and did not correlate with male partner's viral load in the HESN women. HIV neutralizing activity was found in CVS of all study groups. In experimental studies, selective depletion of cationic polypeptides from CVS rendered the remaining CVS fraction non-neutralizing, whereas the cationic polypeptide fraction retained the activity. Furthermore, recombinant HNP1–3 and LL-37 could induce neutralizing activity when added to CVS lacking intrinsic activity.
These findings show that CVS from HESN, low-risk, and HIV seropositive women contain HIV neutralizing activity. Although several innate immune proteins, including HNP1–3 and LL-37, contribute to this activity these molecules can also have inflammatory properties. This balance is influenced by hormonal and environmental factors and in the present HIV serodiscordant couple cohort study we show that a partner's viral load is associated with levels of such molecules.
RC-101 is a synthetic microbicide analog of retrocyclin, which has shown in vitro activity against X4 and R5 HIV-1. In an effort to develop a safe and effective RC-101 vaginal microbicide product, we assessed safety in ex vivo macaque and human models and efficacy using in vitro and ex vivo models. A polyvinyl-alcohol vaginal film containing RC-101 (100 μg/film) was developed. Formulation assessment was conducted by evaluating disintegration, drug content, mechanical properties, and stability. Efficacy was evaluated by in vitro peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) assay and ex vivo human ectocervical tissue explant model. Ex vivo safety studies were conducted by exposing RC-101 to an excised monkey reproductive tract and excised human ectocervical tissue. RC-101 100 μg films were shown to be safe to human and monkey tissue and effective against HIV-1 in vitro and ex vivo in human ectocervical tissue. The 90% inhibitory concentration (IC90) for RC-101 films at 2,000 μg (IC90 = 57.5 μM) using an ex vivo model was 10-fold higher than the IC90 observed using an in vitro model (IC90 = 5.0 μM). RC-101 films were stable for 1 month at 25°C, with in vitro bioactivity maintained for up to 6 months. RC-101 was developed in a quick-dissolve film formulation that was shown to be safe in an ex vivo model and effective in in vitro and ex vivo models. RC-101 film formulations were shown to maintain bioactivity for a period of 6 months. Findings from the present study contribute to the development of a safe and effective topical microbicide product.
Protein acetylation on Lys residues is recognized as a significant post-translational modification in cells, but it is often difficult to discern the direct structural and functional effects of individual acetylation events. Here we describe a new tool, methylthiocarbonyl-aziridine, to install acetyl-Lys mimics site-specifically into peptides and proteins by alkylation of Cys residues. We demonstrate that the resultant thiocarbamate modification can be recognized by the Brdt bromodomain and site-specific anti-acetyl-Lys antibodies, is resistant to histone deacetylase cleavage, and can confer activation of the histone acetyltransferase Rtt109 by simulating autoacetylation. We also use this approach to obtain functional evidence that acetylation of CK2 protein kinase on Lys102 can stimulate its catalytic activity.
We recently reported that HIV-1 infection can be inhibited by innate antimicrobial components of human seminal plasma (SP). Conversely, naturally occurring peptidic fragments from the SP-derived prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) have been reported to form amyloid fibrils called “SEVI” and enhance HIV-1 infection in vitro. In order to understand the biological consequence of this proviral effect, we extended these studies in the presence of human SP. PAP-derived peptides were agitated to form SEVI and incubated in the presence or absence of SP. While PAP-derived peptides and SEVI alone were proviral, the presence of 1% SP ablated their proviral activity in several different anti-HIV-1 assays. The anti-HIV-1 activity of SP was concentration dependent and was reduced following filtration. Supraphysiological concentrations of PAP peptides and SEVI incubated with diluted SP were degraded within hours, with SP exhibiting proteolytic activity at dilutions as high as 1∶200. Sub-physiological concentrations of two prominent proteases of SP, prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and matriptase, could degrade physiological and supraphysiological concentrations of PAP peptides and SEVI. While human SP is a complex biological fluid, containing both antiviral and proviral factors, our results suggest that PAP peptides and SEVI may be subject to naturally occurring proteolytic components capable of reducing their proviral activity.
Griffithsin, a 121-residue protein isolated from a red algal Griffithsia sp., binds high mannose N-linked glycans of virus surface glycoproteins with extremely high affinity, a property that allows it to prevent the entry of primary isolates and laboratory strains of T- and M-tropic HIV-1. We used the sequence of a portion of griffithsin's sequence as a design template to create smaller peptides with antiviral and carbohydrate-binding properties.
The new peptides derived from a trio of homologous β-sheet repeats that comprise the motifs responsible for its biological activity. Our most active antiviral peptide, grifonin-1 (GRFN-1), had an EC50 of 190.8±11.0 nM in in vitro TZM-bl assays and an EC50 of 546.6±66.1 nM in p24gag antigen release assays. GRFN-1 showed considerable structural plasticity, assuming different conformations in solvents that differed in polarity and hydrophobicity. Higher concentrations of GRFN-1 formed oligomers, based on intermolecular β-sheet interactions. Like its parent protein, GRFN-1 bound viral glycoproteins gp41 and gp120 via the N-linked glycans on their surface.
Its substantial antiviral activity and low toxicity in vitro suggest that GRFN-1 and/or its derivatives may have therapeutic potential as topical and/or systemic agents directed against HIV-1.
RC-101 is a congener of the antiretroviral peptide retrocyclin, which we and others have reported is active against clinical HIV-1 isolates from all major clades, does not hemagglutinate, and is non-toxic and non-inflammatory in cervicovaginal cell culture. Herein, film-formulated RC-101 was assessed for its antiviral activity in vitro, safety in vivo, retention in the cervix and vagina, and ability to remain active against HIV-1 and SHIV after intravaginal application in macaques.
RC-101 was formulated as a quick-dissolving film (2000 µg/film), retained complete activity in vitro as compared to unformulated peptide, and was applied intravaginally in six pigtailed macaques daily for four days. At one and four days following the final application, the presence of RC-101 was assessed in peripheral blood, cervicovaginal lavage, cytobrushed cervicovaginal cells, and biopsied cervical and vaginal tissues by quantitative western blots. One day following the last film application, cervical biopsies from RC-101-exposed and placebo-controlled macaques were collected and were subjected to challenge with RT-SHIV in an ex vivo organ culture model. RC-101 peptide was detected primarily in the cytobrush and biopsied cervical and vaginal tissues, with little to no peptide detected in lavage samples, suggesting that the peptide was associated with the cervicovaginal epithelia. RC-101 remained in the tissues and cytobrush samples up to four days post-application, yet was not detected in any sera or plasma samples. RC-101, extracted from cytobrushes obtained one day post-application, remained active against HIV-1 BaL. Importantly, cervical biopsies from RC-101-treated animals reduced RT-SHIV replication in ex vivo organ culture as compared to placebo-treated animals.
Formulated RC-101 was stable in vivo and was retained in the mucosa. The presence of antivirally active RC-101 after five days in vivo suggests that RC-101 would be an important molecule to develop further as a topical microbicide to prevent HIV-1 transmission.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a single-pass transmembrane protein with an extracellular ligand-binding region and a cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase. Ligand binding activates the tyrosine kinase, which in turn initiates signaling cascades that influence cell proliferation and differentiation. EGFR activity is essential for normal development of many multicellular organisms, and inappropriate activation of EGFR is associated with multiple human cancers. Several drugs targeting EGFR activity are approved cancer therapies, and new EGFR-targeted therapies are being actively pursued. Much of what is known about EGFR structure and function is derived from studies of soluble receptor fragments. We report here development of an approach to producing an active, membrane-spanning form of EGFR of suitable purity, homogeneity, and quantity for structural and functional studies. We show that EGFR is capable of direct autophosphorylation of tyrosine 845, which is located on its kinase activation loop, and that the kinase activity of EGFR is ~500-fold higher in the presence of EGF vs. the inhibitory anti-EGFR antibody Cetuximab. The potencies of the small molecule EGFR kinase inhibitors erlotinib and lapatinib for various forms of EGFR were measured, and the therapeutic and mechanistic implications of these results considered.
Human alpha and beta defensins contribute substantially to innate immune defenses against microbial and viral infections. Certain nonhuman primates also produce theta-defensins—18 residue cyclic peptides that act as HIV-1 entry inhibitors. Multiple human theta-defensin genes exist, but they harbor a premature termination codon that blocks translation. Consequently, the theta-defensins (retrocyclins) encoded within the human genome are not expressed as peptides. In vivo production of theta-defensins in rhesus macaques involves the post-translational ligation of two nonapeptides, each derived from a 12-residue “demidefensin” precursor. Neither the mechanism of this unique process nor its existence in human cells is known. To ascertain if human cells retained the ability to process demidefensins, we transfected human promyelocytic cells with plasmids containing repaired retrocyclin-like genes. The expected peptides were isolated, their sequences were verified by mass spectrometric analyses, and their anti-HIV-1 activity was confirmed in vitro. Our study reveals for the first time, to our knowledge, that human cells have the ability to make cyclic theta-defensins. Given this evidence that human cells could make theta-defensins, we attempted to restore endogenous expression of retrocyclin peptides. Since human theta-defensin genes are transcribed, we used aminoglycosides to read-through the premature termination codon found in the mRNA transcripts. This treatment induced the production of intact, bioactive retrocyclin-1 peptide by human epithelial cells and cervicovaginal tissues. The ability to reawaken retrocyclin genes from their 7 million years of slumber using aminoglycosides could provide a novel way to secure enhanced resistance to HIV-1 infection.
Defensins are a large family of small antimicrobial peptides that contribute to host defense against a broad spectrum of pathogens. In primates, defensins are divided into three subfamilies—alpha, beta, and theta—on the basis of their disulfide bonding pattern. Theta-defensins were the most recently identified defensin subfamily, isolated initially from white blood cells and bone marrow of rhesus monkeys. They are the only known cyclic peptides in mammals and act primarily by preventing viruses such as HIV-1 from entering cells. Whereas theta-defensin genes are intact in Old World monkeys, in humans they have a premature stop codon that prevents their expression; they thus exist as pseudogenes. In this work, we reveal that, upon correction of the premature termination codon in theta-defensin pseudogenes, human myeloid cells produce cyclic, antiviral peptides (which we have termed “retrocyclins”), indicating that the cells retain the intact machinery to make cyclic peptides. Furthermore, we exploited the ability of aminoglycoside antibiotics to read-through the premature termination codon within retrocyclin transcripts to produce functional peptides that are active against HIV-1. Given that the endogenous production of retrocyclins could also be restored in human cervicovaginal tissues, we propose that aminoglycoside-based topical microbicides might be useful in preventing sexual transmission of HIV-1.
Repairing an ancestral human pseudogene by mutagenesis, or by the application of aminoglycosides to suppress the termination codon, can restore the production of retrocyclins, which are peptides of the defensin family that are remarkable inhibitors of HIV-1 entry into cells.
Type I interferons (IFNs) inhibit viral replication and cell growth and enhance the immune response, and therefore have many clinical applications. IFN-α2b ranks third in world market use for a biopharmaceutical, behind only insulin and erythropoietin. The average annual cost of IFN-α2b for the treatment of hepatitis C infection is $26 000, and is therefore unavailable to the majority of patients in developing countries. Therefore, we expressed IFN-α2b in tobacco chloroplasts, and transgenic lines were grown in the field after obtaining United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) approval. Stable, site-specific integration of transgenes into chloroplast genomes and homoplasmy through several generations were confirmed. IFN-α2b levels reached up to 20% of total soluble protein, or 3 mg per gram of leaf (fresh weight). Transgenic IFN-α2b had similar in vitro biological activity to commercially produced PEG-Intron™ when tested for its ability to protect cells against cytopathic viral replication in the vesicular stomatitis virus cytopathic effect (VSV CPE) assay and to inhibit early-stage human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The antitumour and immunomodulating properties of IFN-α2b were also seen in vivo . Chloroplast-derived IFN-α2b increased the expression of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC I) on splenocytes and the total number of natural killer (NK) cells. Finally, IFN-α2b purified from chloroplast transgenic lines (cpIFN-α2b) protected mice from a highly metastatic tumour line. This demonstration of high levels of expression of IFN-α2b, transgene containment and biological activity akin to that of commercial preparations of IFN-α2b facilitated the first field production of a plant-derived human blood protein, a critical step towards human clinical trials and commercialization.
antitumour; antiviral; gene containment; molecular ‘pharming’; plant-made cytokine
AIM: To measure total energy expenditure and body composition in small for gestational age (SGA) infants in order to investigate proposed hypermetabolism in such babies. METHODS: A cross sectional study of 52 SGA infants measured at 5 weeks of age was made, using existing data from appropriate for gestational age (AGA) infants as controls. The double labelled water technique was used to assess both total energy expenditure and body composition. RESULTS: Multiple regression analysis showed that expressing energy expenditure per kg fat free mass adjusts for body composition in infants of this age. The relation between total energy expenditure and fat free mass differed between the two groups. CONCLUSION: These data indicate that for a given fat free mass the total energy expenditure of SGA infants is greater than that of AGA infants. Such data should be taken into account when energy requirements for SGA infants are being considered.
OBJECTIVE: To measure total energy expenditure and body composition in small for gestational age (SGA) infants, to investigate hypermetabolism. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was performed in 52 small for gestational age (SGA) measured at 5 weeks of age, using existing data from appropriate for gestational age (AGA) infants as controls. The doubly-labelled water technique was used to assess both total energy expenditure and body composition in both cohorts of infants. RESULTS: Multiple regression analysis revealed that expressing energy expenditure per kg fat free mass adjusts for body composition in infants of this age. Regression analysis also showed that the relation between total energy expenditure and fat free mass differed between the two groups. CONCLUSION: These data indicate that for a given fat free mass, the total energy expenditure of SGA infants is greater than that of AGA infants. Such data should be taken into account when energy requirements for SGA infants are being considered.
It is well known that deprivation affects bone growth. The study was set up to investigate what aspects of deprivation are of greatest importance. Bone ages of 1593 child trauma patients aged 0-19 years from Middlesbrough General Hospital, Cleveland, were related to local authority ward indices of socioeconomic status (51 wards). After adjustment for chronological age and sex, the mean bone ages in each ward were highly significantly negatively associated with five ward indices of deprivation: the rate of single parent families, low care ownership, unemployment, rented housing, and overcrowding. There was a mean four month deficit in bone age among children living in wards with the highest single parent family rates. The inverse association between deprivation and bone age is unlikely to be causal throughout childhood, as older and younger children were affected to the same extent. However the bone age deficit could be caused by deprivation retarding skeletal maturation during a critical period in early life.
The avermectins, a family of new anthelmintic agents, were isolated from the mycelia of Streptomyces avermitilis. Four closely related major components and four homologous minor components were separated from the complex. Solvent extraction, solvent partition, and adsorption methods were used to isolate and purify the complex; novel partition chromatography systems using Sephadex LH-20 were used to separate the components. A reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography assay for the quantitative determination of all components was used extensively to monitor the purification methods.
The alternating current resistance and capacity of suspensions of unfertilized eggs of Asterias forbesi have been measured at frequencies from one thousand to sixteen million cycles per second. The plasma membrane of the egg has a static capacity of 1.10µf/cm.2 which is practically independent of frequency. The suspensions show a capacity dependent on frequency at low frequencies which may be attributable to surface conductance. The specific resistance of the cytoplasm is between 136 and 225 ohm cm. (4 to 7 times sea water), indicating a relatively high concentration of non-electrolytes. At frequencies above one million cycles there is definite evidence of another element of which the nucleus is presumably a part.
The alternating current resistance and capacity of suspensions of unfertilized and fertilized eggs of Arbacia punctulata have been measured at frequencies from 103 to 1.64 x 107 cycles per second. The unfertilized egg has a static plasma membrane capacity of 0.73 µf./cm.2 which is practically independent of frequency. The fertilized egg has a static membrane capacity of 3.1 µf./cm.2 at low frequencies which decreases to a value of 0.55 µf./cm.2 at high frequencies. The decrease follows closely the relaxation dispersion of the dielectric constant if the dissipation of such a system is ignored. It is considered more probable that the effect is due to a fertilization membrane of 3.1 µf./cm.2 capacity lifted 1.5 µ. from the plasma membrane, the interspace having the conductivity of sea water. The suspensions show a frequency-dependent capacity at low frequencies which may be attributable to surface conductance. The equivalent low frequency internal specific resistance of both the unfertilized and fertilized egg is about 186 ohm cm. or about 6 times that of sea water, while the high frequency data extrapolate to a value of about 4 times sea water. There is evidence at the highest frequencies that the current is penetrating the nucleus and other materials in the cytoplasm. If this effect were entirely due to the nucleus it would lead to a very approximate value of 0.1 µf./cm.2 for the capacity of the nuclear membrane. The measurements do not indicate any change in this effect on fertilization.
Reversible lysine acetylation and methylation regulate the function of a wide variety of proteins, including histones. Here we have synthesized azalysine-containing peptides in acetylated and unacetylated forms as chemical probes of the histone deacetylases (HDAC8, Sir2Tm, and SIRT1) and the histone demethylase, LSD1. We have shown that the acetyl-azalysine modification is a fairly efficient substrate for the sirtuins, but a weaker substrate for HDAC8, a classical HDAC. In addition to deacetylation by sirtuins, the acetyl-azalysine analog generates a novel ADP-ribose adduct that was characterized by mass spectrometry, western blot analysis, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. This peptide-ADP-ribose adduct is proposed to correspond to a derailed reaction intermediate, providing unique evidence for the direct 2′-hydroxyl attack on the O-alkylimidate intermediate that is formed in the course of sirtuin catalyzed deacetylation. An unacetylated azalysine-containing H3 peptide proved to be a potent inhibitor of the LSD1 demethylase, forming an FAD adduct characteristic of previously reported related structures, providing a new chemical probe for mechanistic analysis.
Sirtuin; HDAC; deacetylation; demethylation; ADP-ribosylation; histone
Fatigue is highly prevalent in the general population and is one of the most common side effects of cancer treatment. There is growing evidence that pro-inflammatory cytokines play a role in cancer-related fatigue, although the molecular mechanisms for chronic inflammation and fatigue have not been determined. The current study utilized genome-wide expression microarrays to identify differences in gene expression and associated alterations in transcriptional activity in leukocytes from breast cancer survivors with persistent fatigue (n = 11) and non-fatigued controls (n = 10). We focused on transcription of inflammation-related genes, particularly those responsive to the pro-inflammatory NF-κB transcription control pathway. Further, given the role of glucocorticoids as key regulators of inflammatory processes, we examined transcription of glucocorticoid-responsive genes indicative of potential glucocorticoid receptor (GR) desensitization. Plasma levels of cortisol were also assessed. Consistent with hypotheses, results showed increased expression of transcripts with response elements for NF-κB, and reduced expression of transcripts with response elements for glucocorticoids (p < .05) in fatigued breast cancer survivors. No differences in plasma levels of cortisol were observed. These data indicate that increased activity of pro-inflammatory transcription factors may contribute to persistent cancer-related fatigue and provide insight into potential mechanisms for tonic increases in NF-κB activity, specifically decreased expression of GR anti-inflammatory transcription factors.
Gene expression; Inflammation; Fatigue; Cancer; Cortisol; NF-κB; Glucocorticoid receptor
Demonstrated are 1060 nm microelectromechanical-systems-based tunable vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (MEMS-VCSELs) with a 100 nm continuous tuning range under repetitively scanned operation at rates beyond 500 kHz and a 90 nm continuous tuning range under static operation. These devices employ a thin strained InGaAs multiple quantum well active region integrated with a fully oxidised GaAs/AlxOy bottom mirror and a suspended dielectric top mirror. The devices are optically pumped via 850 nm light. These ultra-widely tunable lasers represent the first MEMS-VCSELs reported in this wavelength range, and are ideally suited for application in ophthalmic swept-source optical coherence tomography.
Innate immune responses are regulated by microorganisms and cell death, as well as by a third class of stress signal from the nervous and endocrine systems. The innate immune system also feeds back, through the production of cytokines, to regulate the function of the central nervous system (CNS), and this has effects on behaviour. These signals provide an extrinsic regulatory circuit that links physiological, social and environmental conditions, as perceived by the CNS, with transcriptional ‘decision-making’ in leukocytes. CNS-mediated regulation of innate immune responses optimizes total organism fitness and provides new opportunities for therapeutic control of chronic infectious, inflammatory and neuropsychiatric diseases.