Quorum sensing (QS) is a mechanism of bacterial gene regulation in response to increases in population density. Perhaps most studied are QS pathways mediated by acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs) in Gram-negative bacteria. Production of small molecule QS signals, their accumulation within a diffusion-limited environment and their binding to a LuxR-type receptor trigger QS-controlled gene regulatory cascades. In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, for example, binding of AHLs to their cognate receptors (LasR, RhlR) controls production of virulence factors, pigments, antibiotics and other behaviors important for its interactions with eukaryotic hosts and other bacteria. We have previously shown that marine cyanobacteria produce QS-inhibitory molecules, including 8-epi-malyngamide C (1), malyngamide C (2) and malyngolide (3). Here we isolated a new small cyclopropane-containing fatty acid, lyngbyoic acid (4), as a major metabolite of the marine cyanobacterium, Lyngbya cf. majuscula, collected at various sites in Florida. We screened 4 against four reporters based on different AHL receptors (LuxR, AhyR, TraR and LasR) and found that 4 most strongly affected LasR. We also show that 4 reduces pyocyanin and elastase (LasB) both on the protein and transcript level in wild-type P. aeruginosa, and that 4 directly inhibits LasB enzymatic activity. Conversely, dodecanoic acid (9) increased pyocyanin and LasB, demonstrating that the fused cyclopropane “tag” is functionally relevant and potentially confers resistance to β-oxidation. Global transcriptional effects of 4 in some ways replicate the gene expression changes of P. aeruginosa during chronic lung infections of cystic fibrosis patients, with reduced lasR signaling, increased biofilm and expression of the virulence locus HSI-I. Compound 4 may therefore prove to be a useful tool in the study of P. aeruginosa adaption during such chronic infections.
Human Protein Reference Database (HPRD) is a rich resource of diverse features of human proteins, which are experimentally proven. Protein information in HPRD includes protein–protein interactions, post-translational modifications, enzyme/substrate relationships, disease associations, tissue expression, and subcellular localization of human proteins. Although, protein-protein interaction data from HPRD has been widely used by scientific community, its phosphoproteome data has not been exploited up to the potential. HPRD is one of the largest documentation of human phosphoproteins in the public domain. Currently, phosphorylation data in HPRD comprises of 95,016 phosphosites mapped on to 13,041 proteins. Additionally, enzyme-substrate reactions responsible for 5,930 phosphorylation events were also curated. Significant improvements in technologies and high-throughput platforms in biomedical investigations, led to exponential increase of biological data and phosphoproteomic data in the recent years. Human Proteinpedia, a community annotation portal developed by us, has also led to significant increase in phosphoproteomic data in HPRD. A large number of phosphorylation events have been mapped on to reference sequences available in HPRD and Human Proteinpedia along with associated protein features. This will provide a platform for systems biology approaches to determine role of protein phosphorylation in protein function, cell signaling, biological processes and their implications in human diseases. This review aims to provide a composite view of phosphoproteomic data pertaining to human proteins in HPRD and Human Proteinpedia.
Protein database; biocuration; kinases; phosphatases
J proteins are a diverse family of co-chaperones that cooperate with heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) to coordinate protein quality control, especially in response to cellular stress. Current models suggest that individual J proteins might play roles in recruiting Hsp70s to specific functions, such as maintaining cell wall integrity or promoting ribosome biogenesis. However, relatively few stresses have been used to test this model and, as a result, only a few specific activities have been identified. To expand our understanding of the J protein network, we used a synthetic lethal approach in which 11 Saccharomyces cerevisiae deletion strains were treated with 12 well-characterized chemical inhibitors. The results defined new roles for specific J proteins in major signaling pathways. For example, an important role for Swa2 in cell wall integrity was identified and activities of the under-explored Jjj1, Apj1, Jjj3 and Caj1 proteins were suggested. More generally, these findings support a model in which some J proteins, such as Ydj1 and Zuo1, play “generalist” roles, while others, such as Apj1 and Jjj2, are “specialists”, having roles in relatively few pathways. Together, these results provide new insight into the network of J proteins.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that act as post-transcriptional gene regulators and have been shown to regulate many biological processes including embryonal development, cell differentiation, apoptosis, and proliferation. Variations in the expression of certain miRNAs have been linked to a wide range of human diseases – especially cancer – and the diversity of miRNA targets suggests that they are involved in various cellular networks. Several tools have been developed to control the function of individual miRNAs and have been applied to study their biogenesis, biological role, and therapeutic potential; however, common methods lack a precise level of control that allows for the study of miRNA function with high spatial and temporal resolution. Light-activated miRNA antagomirs for mature miR-122 and miR-21 were developed through the site-specific installation of caging groups on the bases of selected nucleotides. Installation of caged nucleotides led to complete inhibition of the antagomir-miRNA hybridization and thus inactivation of antagomir function. The miRNA-inhibitory activity of the caged antagomirs was fully restored upon decaging through a brief UV irradiation. The synthesized antagomirs were applied to the photochemical regulation of miRNA function in mammalian cells. Moreover, spatial control over antagomir activity was obtained in mammalian cells through localized UV exposure. The presented approach enables the precise regulation of miRNA function and miRNA networks with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution using UV irradiation and can be extended to any miRNA of interest.
Cell signaling networks propagate information from extracellular cues via dynamic modulation of protein–protein interactions in a context-dependent manner. Networks based on receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), for example, phosphorylate intracellular proteins in response to extracellular ligands, resulting in dynamic protein–protein interactions that drive phenotypic changes. Most commonly used methods for discovering these protein–protein interactions, however, are optimized for detecting stable, longer-lived complexes, rather than the type of transient interactions that are essential components of dynamic signaling networks such as those mediated by RTKs. Substrate phosphorylation downstream of RTK activation modifies substrate activity and induces phospho-specific binding interactions, resulting in the formation of large transient macromolecular signaling complexes. Since protein complex formation should follow the trajectory of events that drive it, we reasoned that mining phosphoproteomic datasets for highly similar dynamic behavior of measured phosphorylation sites on different proteins could be used to predict novel, transient protein–protein interactions that had not been previously identified. We applied this method to explore signaling events downstream of EGFR stimulation. Our computational analysis of robustly co-regulated phosphorylation sites, based on multiple clustering analysis of quantitative time-resolved mass-spectrometry phosphoproteomic data, not only identified known sitewise-specific recruitment of proteins to EGFR, but also predicted novel, a priori interactions. A particularly intriguing prediction of EGFR interaction with the cytoskeleton-associated protein PDLIM1 was verified within cells using co-immunoprecipitation and in situ proximity ligation assays. Our approach thus offers a new way to discover protein–protein interactions in a dynamic context- and phosphorylation site-specific manner.
As the usage of fluorescence microscopy as a tool to study biological systems continues to grow, so does the need for additional tools that permit the selective detection of proteins of interest. Existing selective and well-characterized kinase inhibitors may be exploited to develop novel small molecule probes useful in imaging kinases by fluorescence microscopy.
Recent studies demonstrated that a variety of bacterial pore-forming toxins induce cell death through a process of programmed necrosis characterized by the rapid depletion of cellular ATP. However, events leading to the necrosis and depletion of ATP are not thoroughly understood. We demonstrate that ATP-depletion induced by two pore-forming toxins, the Clostridium perfringens epsilon-toxin and the Aeromonas hydrophila aerolysin toxin, is associated with decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. To gain further insight into the toxin-induced metabolic changes contributing to necrosis and depletion of ATP, we analyzed the biochemical profiles of 251 distinct compounds by GC/MS or LC/MS/MS following exposure of a human kidney cell line to the epsilon-toxin. As expected, numerous biochemicals were seen to increase or decrease in response to epsilon-toxin. However, the pattern of these changes was consistent with the toxin-induced disruption of major energy-producing pathways in the cell including disruptions to the beta-oxidation of lipids. In particular, treatment with epsilon-toxin led to decreased levels of key coenzymes required for energy production including carnitine, NAD (and NADH), and coenzyme A. Independent biochemical assays confirmed that epsilon-toxin and aerolysin induced the rapid decrease of these coenzymes or their synthetic precursors. Incubation of cells with NADH or carnitine-enriched medium helped protect cells from toxin-induced ATP depletion and cell death. Collectively, these results demonstrate that members of the aerolysin family of pore-forming toxins lead to decreased levels of essential coenzymes required for energy production. The resulting loss of energy substrates is expected to contribute to dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential, opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore, and ultimately cell death.
Robust methods for highly parallel, quantitative analysis of cellular protein tyrosine kinase activities may provide tools critically needed to decipher oncogenic signaling, discover new targeted drugs, diagnose cancer and monitor patients. Here, we describe proof-of-principle for a novel protein kinase assay with potential to answer these challenges. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry provides an ideal tool for label-free multiplexed analysis of peptide phosphorylation, but is poorly matched to homogeneous assays and complex samples. Thus, we conjugated a common oligonucleotide tag to multiple peptide substrates, offering efficient capture from solution-phase kinase reactions by annealing to the complementary sequence tethered to PEG-passivated superparamagnetic microparticles. To enable reversible conjugation, we developed a novel bifunctional cross-linker allowing simple and efficient preparation of photocleavable peptide-oligonucleotide conjugates. After washing away contaminants and photorelease, MALDI-TOF analysis yielded relative phosphorylation of each peptide with high sensitivity and specificity. Validating the hybridization-mediated multiplexed kinase assay, when three peptide substrate-oligonucleotide conjugates were mixed with the tyrosine kinase c-Abl and ATP, we readily observed their differential phosphorylation yet measured a common IC50 for the Abl kinase inhibitor imatinib. This new assay enables analysis of protein kinase activities in a multiplexed format amenable to screening inhibitors against multiple kinases in parallel, an important capability for drug discovery and predictive diagnostics.
In Escherichia coli, the molecular chaperones DnaK and DnaJ cooperate to assist the folding of newly synthesized or unfolded polypeptides. DnaK and DnaJ bind to hydrophobic motifs in these proteins and also each other to promote folding. This system is thought to be sufficiently versatile to act on the entire proteome, which creates interesting challenges in understanding the large-scale, ternary interactions between DnaK, DnaJ and their thousands of potential substrates. To address this question, we computationally predicted the number and frequency of DnaK- and DnaJ-binding motifs in the E. coli proteome, guided by free energy-based binding consensus motifs. This analysis revealed that nearly every protein is predicted to contain multiple DnaK- and DnaJ-binding sites, with the DnaJ sites occurring approximately twice as often. Further, we found that an overwhelming majority of the DnaK sites partially or completely overlapped with the DnaJ-binding motifs. It is well known that high concentrations of DnaJ inhibit DnaK-DnaJ-mediated refolding. The observed overlapping binding sites suggest that this phenomenon may be explained by an important balance in the relative stoichiometry of DnaK and DnaJ which determines whether they bind synergistically or competitively. To test this idea, we measured the chaperone-assisted folding of two denatured substrates and found that the distribution of predicted DnaK- and DnaJ-binding sites was indeed a good predictor of the optimal stoichiometry required for folding. These studies provide insight into how DnaK and DnaJ might cooperate to maintain global protein homeostasis.
The discovery of NF-κB signaling pathways has greatly enhanced our understanding of inflammatory and immune responses. In the canonical NF-κB pathway, the proteasomal degradation of IκBα, an inhibitory protein of NF-κB, is widely accepted to be a key regulatory step. However, contradictory findings have been reported as to whether the immunoproteasome plays an obligatory role in the degradation of IκBα and activation of the canonical NF-κB pathway. Such results were obtained mainly using traditional gene deletion strategies. Here, we have revisited the involvement of the immunoproteasome in the canonical NF-κB pathway using small molecule inhibitors of the immunoproteasome, namely UK-101 and LKS01 targeting β1i and β5i, respectively. H23 and Panc-1 cancer cells were pretreated with UK-101, LKS01 or epoxomicin (a prototypic inhibitor targeting both the constitutive proteasome and immunoproteasome). We then examined whether these pretreatments lead to any defect in activating the canonical NF-κB pathway following TNFα exposure by monitoring the phosphorylation and degradation of IκBα, nuclear translocation of NF-κB proteins and DNA binding and transcriptional activity of NF-κB. Our results consistently indicated that there is no defect in activating the canonical NF-κB pathway following selective inhibition of the immunoproteasome catalytic subunits β1i, β5i or both using UK-101 and LKS01, in contrast to epoxomicin. In summary, our current results using chemical genetic approaches strongly support that the catalytic activity of the immunoproteasome subunits β1i and β5i is not required for canonical NF-κB activation in lung and pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell line models.
Two cationic, amphipathic peptoids (poly-N-substituted glycines) were developed as new molecular transporters, which have extensive cellullar uptake and utilize different internalization mechanisms from purely cationic polyguanidine comparators.
The selective reaction of one functional group in the presence of others is not a trivial task. A noteworthy amount of research has been dedicated to the chemoselective reaction of the hydroxyl moiety. This group is prevalent in many biologically important molecules including natural products and proteins. However, targeting the hydroxyl group is difficult for many reasons including its relatively low nucleophilicity in comparison to other ubiquitous functional groups such as amines and thiols. Additionally, many of the developed chemoselective reactions cannot be used in the presence of water. Despite these complications, chemoselective transformation of the hydroxyl moiety has been utilized in the synthesis of complex natural product derivatives, the reaction of tyrosine residues in proteins, the isolation of natural products and is the mechanism of action of myriad drugs. Here, methods for selective targeting of this group, as well as applications of several devised methods, are described.
A fluorescently labeled, biphenylalanine-rich peptide was identified as a cTnI-specific binding agent with preferential staining affinity to myocardium tissues and extremely low staining to other stromal components. Fluorescence images demonstrate that this new peptide is an excellent contrast agent useful for examining troponin I structural distribution and expression density within heart tissue sections. It provides clear contrast between myocardial cells and the surrounding collagen matrix.
Troponin; biphenylalanine; contrast agent; staining; myocyte
Single molecule observation of fluorescence resonance energy transfer can be used to provide insights into the structure and dynamics of proteins. Using a straightforward triple-colour labelling strategy, we present a measurement and analysis scheme that can simultaneously study multiple regions within single intrinsically disordered proteins.
In the last decade, large-scale mass spectrometry-based phosphoproteomic studies of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) have generated a compendium of signalling networks that are activated downstream of these receptors. In this article, a brief summary of previous phosphoproteomic studies on Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) signalling will be presented together with a perspective on the importance for the field to keep pace with new advances in RTK biology. Using examples drawn primarily from studies on the EGFR, c-Met and Flt3 receptors, areas in RTK biology which will greatly benefit from the power of phosphoproteomics will be discussed, including a. validating oncogenic RTK mutants identified in cancer genome sequencing efforts, b. spatial RTK signalling networks and c. understanding crosstalk and co-activation between members of the RTK superfamily.
Receptor Tyrosine Kinase; Signal Transduction; Systems Biology; Phosphoproteomics; Mass Spectrometry
We attached the pathogen associated molecular pattern Kdo2-Lipid A (the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from Escherichia coli (E. coli)) to QDs by hydrophobic interactions to synthetically mimic the surface of E. coli. QD-LPS conjugates bind, are taken up and activate effectively macrophages in vitro and they have potent immunostimulatory activity in vivo.
Throughout Southeast Asia there is a strikingly high incidence of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA - hepatic cancer of the bile duct epithelium), particularly in people from rural settings in Laos and Northeast Thailand who are infected with the liver fluke, Opisthorchis viverrini, one of only three carcinogenic eukaryotic pathogens. More ubiquitous carcinogenic microbes, such as Helicobacter pylori, induce cancer in less than 1% of infected people, while as many as one-sixth of people with opisthorchiasis will develop CCA. The mechanisms by which O. viverrini causes cancer are multi-factorial, involving mechanical irritation from the activities and movements of the flukes, immunopathology, dietary nitrosamines and the secretion of parasite proteins that promote a tumourigenic environment. Genomic and proteomic studies of the liver fluke secretome have accelerated the discovery of parasite proteins with known/potential roles in pathogenesis and tumourigenesis, establishing a framework towards understanding, and ultimately preventing, the morbidity and mortality attributed to this highly carcinogenic parasite.
Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men in the western world. The androgen receptor, a phosphoprotein, is suspected to be involved in all stages of the prostate cancer. Androgen receptor activity can be modulated by various kinases such as PKA, MAPK, AKT, and Src. Phosphorylation is an important post-translational modification and serves as a molecular on/off switch to regulate signaling. Disruptions of cellular phosphorylation are associated with various diseases such as cancer and kinases provide important drug targets. Here we present an analysis of the phosphoproteome in LNCaP human prostate cancer cells. The analytical strategy employed used proteomics based methodologies with a combination of detergent and chaotropic reagent during trypsin digestion followed by titanium dioxide enrichment of phosphopeptides. Over the course of multiple analyses by mass spectrometry we identified a total of 746 phosphorylation sites in 540 phosphopeptides corresponding to 116 phosphoproteins, of which 56 have not been previously reported. Phosphoproteins identified included transcription factors, co-regulators of the androgen receptor, and cancer-related proteins that include β-catenin, USP10, and histone deacetylase-2. The information of signaling pathways, motifs of phosphorylated peptides, biological processes, molecular functions, cellular components, and protein interactions from the identified phosphoproteins established a map of phosphoproteome and signaling pathways in LNCaP cells.
Splicing of mRNA precursors was discovered over 30 years ago. It is one of the most complex steps in gene expression and therefore must be tightly controlled to ensure that splicing occurs efficiently and accurately. Splicing takes place in a large complex, the spliceosome, which contains approximately 200 proteins and five small RNAs (U snRNAs). Since its discovery, much work has been done to elucidate the pathway of the chemical reaction as well as the proteins and RNAs involved in catalysis. A variety of studies have established the potential for U2 and U6 snRNAs to play a role in splicing catalysis, raising the possibility that the spliceosome is a ribozyme. If correct, this would point to the spliceosomal proteins playing a supporting role during splicing. On the other hand, it may be that proteins contribute more directly to the spliceosomal active site, with the highly evolutionarily conserved Prp8 protein being an excellent candidate. This review will concentrate on recent work on splicing catalysis, and elucidating possible roles proteins play in this process.
Many Gram-negative bacterial pathogens use type III secretion systems (TTSSs) for subverting the normal cellular functions of their target eukaryotic cells. The type III secretion apparatus (TTSA) functions like a syringe to inject proteins through an external needle and into a target cell’s membrane and cytosol. The TTSA basal body spans the bacterial inner and outer membranes, and the external needle is topped with a tip complex that controls the secretion and delivery of translocator and effector proteins. Recent structures of TTSA proteins have greatly advanced our understanding of shared themes in apparatus assembly and function. In this review, the structure-function of TTSA needle and tip complex proteins are described and common themes discussed.
Four and a half LIM domains protein 1 (FHL1) is the most widely expressed member of the FHL family of proteins, consisting of four and a half highly conserved LIM domains. A multifunctional and integral role for FHL1 has been implicated in muscle development, structural maintenance, and signaling. To date, 27 FHL1 mutations have been identified that result in at least six different X-linked myopathies, with patients often presenting with cardiovascular complications. Since proteins assemble into dynamic complexes within the cell, FHL1 likely mediates its biological functions in conjunction with other proteins. Delineation of FHL1 interactions could provide insight into its regulatory functions.
We performed tandem affinity purification from human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK-293) cells to purify FHL1 and interacting proteins. To identify the potential interactors of FHL1 we performed a total of 9 different purifications from HEK-293 cells which included 3 experimental replicates for each biological condition: FHL1, tag control (DPYSL3), and negative control (empty vector). Purified samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Potential interactors were then verified by immunoprecipitation from mouse heart ventricles and interactions visualized in adult cardiomyocytes using 3D fluorescence microscopy.
We identified a total of 310 different proteins from all 9 purifications and by applying stringent filtering criteria we eliminated all proteins found in any of the controls and only allowed those that were detected in two or more bait purification. We identified 34 high confidence potential binding partners of FHL1. We then showed that FHL1 exists as part of a complex that binds with PDLIM1, GSN and ACTN1.
PMID: 21246116 CAMSID: cams3057
Photochemical activation of a deoxyribozyme with peroxidase activity was achieved by the synthesis and incorporation of a caged deoxyguanosine.
A great portion of tyrosine kinases are involved in cell development and their structural alteration are intimately involved in associated pathologies of development and oncology. These kinases are one of major groups of targets under investigation for molecular therapeutics. To carry out biochemical and structural biological studies on these kinases, economical production of their purified forms is highly desirable. However over-expressing tyrosine kinases as recombinant forms in bacterial systems and their purification is a significant challenge. Abelson kinase (Abl) has previously been expressed on a large scale to facilitate X-ray crystallography and NMR structure studies mainly in baculovirus infected insect cells. Even though success has been achieved in expression of soluble tyrosine kinases in E. coli with chaperones to improve correct folding, low expression level of kinases are intrinsic in such systems because of diversion of resources to produce chaperones. Here we present a straightforward method to express and purify isolated Abl kinase domain, and SH3-SH2-kinase multi-domain structures. The expressed Abl protein retains its correct folding and biological function. The yield of soluble protein is in a several mg/L range in minimal media. Furthermore we demonstrate that segmental isotopic labelling using expressed protein ligation can be achieved using bacterial expressed Abl kinase domain constructs, which is especially useful in NMR structure/activity studies.
Metabolomics aims at identification and quantitation of small molecules involved in metabolic reactions. LC-MS has enjoyed a growing popularity as the platform for metabolomic studies due to its high throughput, soft ionization, and good coverage of metabolites. The success of LC-MS-based metabolomic study often depends on multiple experimental, analytical, and computational steps. This review presents a workflow of a typical LC-MS-based metabolomic analysis for identification and quantitation of metabolites indicative of biological/environmental perturbations. Challenges and current solutions in each step of the workflow are reviewed. The review intends to help investigators understand the challenges in metabolomic studies and to determine appropriate experimental, analytical, and computational methods to address these challenges.
Intramolecular hydrogen bonding is an important determinant of enzyme structure, catalysis, and inhibitor action. Monoacylglycerol lipase (MGL) modulates cannabinergic signaling as the main enzyme responsible for deactivating 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), a primary endocannabinoid lipid messenger. By enhancing tissue-protective 2-AG tone, targeted MGL inhibitors hold therapeutic promise for managing pain and treating inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. We report study of purified, solubilized human MGL (hMGL) to explore the details of hMGL catalysis by using two known covalent hMGL inhibitors, the carbamoyl tetrazole AM6701 and N-arachidonoylmaleimide (NAM), that act through distinct mechanisms. Using proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) with purified wild-type and mutant hMGLs, we have directly observed a strong hydrogen-bond network involving Asp239 and His269 of the catalytic triad and neighboring Leu241 and Cys242 residues. hMGL inhibition by AM6701 alters this hydrogen-bonding pattern through subtle active-site structural rearrangements without influencing hydrogen-bond occupancies. Rapid carbamoylation of hMGL Ser122 by AM6701 and elimination of the leaving group is followed by a slow hydrolysis of the carbamate group, ultimately regenerating catalytically competent hMGL. In contrast, hMGL titration with NAM, which leads to cysteine alkylation, stoichiometrically decreases the population of the active-site hydrogen bonds. NAM prevents reformation of this network, and in this manner inhibits hMGL irreversibly. These data provide detailed molecular insight into the distinctive mechanisms of two covalent hMGL inhibitors and implicate a hydrogen-bond network as a structural feature of hMGL catalytic function.