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2.  Auto-inhibitory Mechanism of the Human Mitochondrial RNase P Protein Complex 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:9878.
It is known that tRNAs play an essential role in genetic information transfer from DNA to protein. The maturation of tRNA precursors is performed by the endoribonuclease RNase P, which classically consists of a main RNA segment and accessory proteins. However, the newly identified human mitochondrial RNase P-like protein (MRPP123) complex is unique in that it is composed of three proteins without RNA. Here, we determined the crystal structure of MRPP123 complex subunit 3 (MRPP3), which is thought to carry out the catalytic reaction. A detailed structural analysis in combination with biochemical assays suggests that MRPP3 is in an auto-inhibitory conformation in which metal ions that are essential for catalysis are excluded from the active site. Our results indicate that further regulation is necessary to rearrange the conformation of the active site of MRPP3 and trigger it, thus providing important information to understand the activation of MRPP123.
PMCID: PMC4415599  PMID: 25928769
3.  Lung Phenotype of Juvenile and Adult Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator–Knockout Ferrets 
Chronic bacterial lung infections in cystic fibrosis (CF) are caused by defects in the CF transmembrane conductance regulator chloride channel. Previously, we described that newborn CF transmembrane conductance regulator–knockout ferrets rapidly develop lung infections within the first week of life. Here, we report a more slowly progressing lung bacterial colonization phenotype observed in juvenile to adult CF ferrets reared on a layered antibiotic regimen. Even on antibiotics, CF ferrets were still very susceptible to bacterial lung infection. The severity of lung histopathology ranged from mild to severe, and variably included mucus obstruction of the airways and submucosal glands, air trapping, atelectasis, bronchopneumonia, and interstitial pneumonia. In all CF lungs, significant numbers of bacteria were detected and impaired tracheal mucociliary clearance was observed. Although Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and Enterococcus were observed most frequently in the lungs of CF animals, each animal displayed a predominant bacterial species that accounted for over 50% of the culturable bacteria, with no one bacterial taxon predominating in all animals. Matrix-assisted laser desorption–ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry fingerprinting was used to quantify lung bacteria in 10 CF animals and demonstrated Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, or Escherichia as the most abundant genera. Interestingly, there was significant overlap in the types of bacteria observed in the lung and intestine of a given CF animal, including bacterial taxa unique to the lung and gut of each CF animal analyzed. These findings demonstrate that CF ferrets develop lung disease during the juvenile and adult stages that is similar to patients with CF, and suggest that enteric bacterial flora may seed the lung of CF ferrets.
PMCID: PMC4068938  PMID: 24074402
cystic fibrosis; ferret; bacteria; lung; intestine
4.  Structural Insight into the Central Element Assembly of the Synaptonemal Complex 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:7059.
The key step in meiosis is synaptonemal complex formation, which mediates homologous chromosome alignment and synapsis. False pairing between homologous chromosomes produces infertility. Here, we present a crystal structure of the mouse meiosis-specific protein SYCE3, which is a component of the synaptonemal complex central element. Our studies show that functional SYCE3 most likely forms a dimer or higher order oligomer in cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the SYCE3 N-helix interacts with the SYCE1 C-helix, which is another central element component. Our results suggest that helical packing may mediate intra- or inter-association of each central element protein component, thereby playing an essential role in forming the synaptonemal complex central elements.
PMCID: PMC4231325  PMID: 25394919
5.  Bioelectric Characterization of Epithelia from Neonatal CFTR Knockout Ferrets 
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-shortening, recessive, multiorgan genetic disorder caused by the loss of CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel function found in many types of epithelia. Animal models that recapitulate the human disease phenotype are critical to understanding pathophysiology in CF and developing therapies. CFTR knockout ferrets manifest many of the phenotypes observed in the human disease, including lung infections, pancreatic disease and diabetes, liver disease, malnutrition, and meconium ileus. In the present study, we have characterized abnormalities in the bioelectric properties of the trachea, stomach, intestine, and gallbladder of newborn CF ferrets. Short-circuit current (ISC) analysis of CF and wild-type (WT) tracheas revealed the following similarities and differences: (1) amiloride-sensitive sodium currents were similar between genotypes; (2) responses to 4,4′-diisothiocyano-2,2′-stilbene disulphonic acid were 3.3-fold greater in CF animals, suggesting elevated baseline chloride transport through non-CFTR channels in a subset of CF animals; and (3) a lack of 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX)/forskolin–stimulated and N-(2-Naphthalenyl)-((3,5-dibromo-2,4-dihydroxyphenyl)methylene)glycine hydrazide (GlyH-101)–inhibited currents in CF animals due to the lack of CFTR. CFTR mRNA was present throughout all levels of the WT ferret and IBMX/forskolin–inducible ISC was only observed in WT animals. However, despite the lack of CFTR function in the knockout ferret, the luminal pH of the CF ferret gallbladder, stomach, and intestines was not significantly changed relative to WT. The WT stomach and gallbladder exhibited significantly enhanced IBMX/forskolin ISC responses and inhibition by GlyH-101 relative to CF samples. These findings demonstrate that multiple organs affected by disease in the CF ferret have bioelectric abnormalities consistent with the lack of cAMP-mediated chloride transport.
PMCID: PMC3931095  PMID: 23782101
cystic fibrosis; animal model; ferret; intestine; trachea
6.  Structural genomics reveals EVE as a new ASCH/PUA-related domain 
Proteins  2009;75(3):760-773.
We report on several proteins recently solved by structural genomics consortia, in particular by the Northeast Structural Genomics consortium (NESG). The proteins considered in this study differ substantially in their sequences but they share a similar structural core, characterized by a pseudobarrel five-stranded beta sheet. This core corresponds to the PUA domain-like architecture in the SCOP database. By connecting sequence information with structural knowledge, we characterize a new subgroup of these proteins that we propose to be distinctly different from previously described PUA domain-like domains such as PUA proper or ASCH. We refer to these newly defined domains as EVE. Although EVE may have retained the ability of PUA domains to bind RNA, the available experimental and computational data suggests that both the details of its molecular function and its cellular function differ from those of other PUA domain-like domains. This study of EVE and its relatives illustrates how the combination of structure and genomics creates new insights by connecting a cornucopia of structures that map to the same evolutionary potential. Primary sequence information alone would have not been sufficient to reveal these evolutionary links.
PMCID: PMC4080787  PMID: 19191354
structural genomics; protein function prediction; PUA domain-like domains; X-ray crystallography; NMR
7.  Design, Synthesis and Biological Activity of Multifunctional α,β- Unsaturated Carbonyl Scaffolds for Alzheimer’s Disease 
A series of compounds containing an α,β-unsaturated carbonyl moiety, such as chalcones and coumarins were designed, synthesized and tested in a variety of assays to assess their potential as anti-Alzheimers’ disease (AD) agents. The investigations included the inhibition of cholinesterases (AChE, BuChE), the inhibition of amyloid beta (Aβ) self-assembly and the disassembly of preformed Aβ oligomers. Several compounds showed excellent inhibition in multiple assays and thus are potential multifunctional compounds for AD. Docking studies for 16 that performed well in all the assays gave a clear interpretation of various interactions in the gorge of AChE. Based on the results, the long-chain coumarin scaffold appears to be a promising structural template for further AD drug development.
PMCID: PMC3676911  PMID: 23540646
8.  Diaryl Hydrazones as Multifunctional Inhibitors of Amyloid Self-Assembly† 
Biochemistry  2013;52(7):1137-1148.
The design and application of an effective, new class of multifunctional small molecule inhibitors of amyloid self-assembly are described. Several compounds, based on the diaryl hydrazone scaffold were designed. Forty-four substituted derivatives of this core structure were synthesized using a variety of benzaldehydes and phenylhydrazines and were characterized. The inhibitor candidates were evaluated in multiple assays, including the inhibition of Aβ fibrillogenesis and oligomer formation and the reverse processes, the disassembly of preformed fibrils and oligomers. Since the structure of the hydrazone-based inhibitors mimic the redox features of the antioxidant resveratrol the radical scavenging effect of the compounds was evaluated by colorimetric assays against 2,2-diphenyl-lpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and superoxide radicals.
The hydrazone scaffold was active in all of the different assays. The structure-activity relationship revealed that the substituents on the aromatic rings had considerable effect on the overall activity of the compounds. The inhibitors showed strong activity in the fibrillogenesis inhibition and disassembly, and even greater potency in the inhibition of oligomer formation and oligomer disassembly. Supporting the quantitative fluorometric and colorimetric assays, size exclusion chromatographic studies indicated that the best compounds practically eliminated or substantially inhibited the formation of soluble, aggregated Aβ species, as well. Atomic Force Microscopy was also applied to monitor the morphology of Aβ deposits. The compounds also possessed the predicted antioxidant properties; approximately 30% of the synthesized compounds showed equal or better radical scavenging effect than resveratrol or ascorbic acid.
PMCID: PMC3608202  PMID: 23346953
9.  Expression, purification and preliminary crystallographic analysis of human thyroid hormone responsive protein 
Human Thrsp has been crystallized as a prelude to the determination of its three-dimensional structure by X-ray crystallography.
Thyroid hormone responsive protein (Thrsp, also known as Spot 14 and S14) is a carbohydrate-inducible and thyroid-hormone-inducible nuclear protein specific to liver, adipose and lactating mammary tissues. Thrsp functions to activate genes encoding fatty-acid synthesis enzymes. Recent studies have shown that in some cancers human Thrsp (hS14) localizes to the nucleus and is amplified, suggesting that it plays a role in the regulation of lipogenic enzymes during tumourigenesis. Thrsp, a member of the Spot 14 superfamily, is an acidic homodimeric protein with no sequence similarity to other mammalian gene products and its biochemical function is elusive. To shed light on the structure–function relationship of this protein, human Thrsp was crystallized. Recombinant human Thrsp (hThrsp), the N-terminally truncated human Thrsp10–146 (hThrsp9) and their selenomethionyl (SeMet) derivatives were expressed in Escherichia coli, purified and crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. Diffraction-quality crystals were grown at 293 K using Li2SO4 as a precipitant. Using synchrotron radiation, data for the hThrsp SeMet derivative, hThrsp9 and its SeMet derivative were collected to 4.0, 3.0 and 3.6 Å resolution, respectively, at 100 K. The crystals of full-length hThrsp and its SeMet derivative belonged to space group P41212, with approximate unit-cell parameters a = b = 123.9, c = 242.1 Å, α = β = γ = 90.0°. In contrast, the crystals of the truncated hThrsp9 and its SeMet derivative belonged to space group P212121, with approximate unit-cell parameters a = 91.6, b = 100.8, c = 193.7 Å, α = β = γ = 90.0°. A molecular-replacement solution calculated using a murine Spot 14 structure as a search model indicated the presence of six molecules per asymmetric unit, comprising three hThrsp homodimers.
PMCID: PMC3151134  PMID: 21821901
breast cancer; lipogenesis; Spot 14; S14; Thrsp
10.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of CYP153C1 from Novosphingobium aromaticivorans DSM12444 
The expression, purification and preliminary crystallographic analysis of CYP153C1, an alkane-binding cytochrome P450 enzyme, are reported.
Cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes constitute a large family of haemoproteins that catalyze the monooxygenation of a great variety of endogenous and exogenous organic compounds. In common with other members of the CYP153 family of alkane hydroxylases, CYP153C1 from the oligotrophic bacterium Novosphingobium aromaticivorans DSM 12444 can bind linear alkanes such as heptane, octane and nonane. Here, the production, purification and crystallization of CYP153C1 and the collection of high-resolution diffraction data to 1.77 Å resolution are reported. The crystals belonged to space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 61.0, b = 96.3, c = 149.8 Å, α = β = γ = 90.0°. Preliminary X-ray diffraction data analysis revealed that the asymmetric unit is most likely to contain two protein molecules.
PMCID: PMC3151139  PMID: 21821906
CYP153C1; cytochrome P450; Novosphingobium aromaticivorans DSM 12444
11.  MKK6 Phosphorylation Regulates Production of Superoxide by Enhancing Rac GTPase Activity 
Antioxidants & redox signaling  2007;9(11):1803-1813.
Rac-dependent NADPH oxidases generate reactive oxygen species used in cell signaling and microbial killing or both. Whereas the mechanisms leading to NADPH oxidase activation are fairly well studied, the mechanisms that control downregulation of this enzyme complex remain unclear. We hypothesized that reactive oxygen species produced by NADPH oxidase may autoregulate the complex by inhibiting Rac activity. To this end, we searched for binding partners of Rac1 and identified a tyrosine-phosphorylated fragment of MKK6 that bound to Rac1 under redox-stress conditions. Constitutively active MKK6 interacted directly with Rac1 in vitro, and this interaction was enhanced when MKK6 was phosphorylated on tyrosine 219. Both Rac1 and Rac2 immunoprecipitated an MKK6 fragment under conditions that elevate cellular peroxide levels in 293 and RAW cells, respectively. Constitutively active and wild-type MKK6 enhanced Rac-GTPase activity in vitro, and their overexpression inhibited PMA-induced NADPH oxidase activation in RAW cells. In contrast, a Y219F mutant of MKK6 only partially enhanced Rac1 GTPase activity, and its overexpression did not alter PMA-induced NADPH oxidase activation in RAW cells. Last, MKK6 deficiency led to an increase in Rac1-GTP levels in brain tissue. Our findings suggest that MKK6 downregulates NADPH oxidase activity by enhancing Rac-GTPase activity.
PMCID: PMC3597076  PMID: 17854274
12.  JunD Protects the Liver from Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury by Dampening AP-1 Transcriptional Activation* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2008;283(11):6687-6695.
The AP-1 transcription factor modulates a wide range of cellular processes, including cellular proliferation, programmed cell death, and survival. JunD is a major component of the AP-1 complex following liver ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury; however, its precise function in this setting remains unclear. We investigated the functional significance of JunD in regulating AP-1 transcription following partial lobar I/R injury to the liver, as well as the downstream consequences for hepatocellular remodeling. Our findings demonstrate that JunD plays a protective role, reducing I/R injury to the liver by suppressing acute transcriptional activation of AP-1. In the absence of JunD, c-Jun phosphorylation and AP-1 activation in response to I/R injury were elevated, and this correlated with increased caspase activation, injury, and alterations in hepatocyte proliferation. The expression of dominant negative JNK1 inhibited c-Jun phosphorylation, AP-1 activation, and hepatic injury following I/R in JunD−/− mice but, paradoxically, led to an enhancement of AP-1 activation and liver injury in JunD+/− littermates. Enhanced JunD/JNK1-dependent liver injury correlated with the acute induction of diphenylene iodonium-sensitive NADPH-dependent superoxide production by the liver following I/R. In this context, dominant negative JNK1 expression elevated both Nox2 and Nox4 mRNA levels in the liver in a JunD-dependent manner. These findings suggest that JunD counterbalances JNK1 activation and the downstream redox-dependent hepatic injury that results from I/R, and may do so by regulating NADPH oxidases.
PMCID: PMC3593645  PMID: 18182393
13.  Expression, purification, crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of PA3885 (TpbA) from Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 
PA3885 (TpbA), a tyrosine phosphatase, may function as a balancing factor between biofilm formation and motility in the opportunistic pathogen P. aeruginosa. Here, the expression, purification, crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of PA3885 from P. aeruginosa PAO1 are reported.
Biofilms are important in cell communication and growth in most bacteria and are also responsible for most human clinical infections and diseases. Quorum-sensing systems have been identified to be crucial for biofilm formation and regulation. PA3885 (TpbA), a tyrosine phosphatase, is reported to convert extracellular quorum-sensing signals into internal gene-cascade reactions that result in reduced biofilm formation in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Here, PA3885 from P. aeruginosa PAO1 was expressed, purified and crystallized. Single crystals were studied by X-ray crystallo­graphy and native diffraction data were collected to 2.8 Å resolution. These crystals were determined to belong to space group C2. It was not possible to conclusively determine the number of proteins in the asymmetric unit from the preliminary X-ray diffraction data analysis alone and attempts to determine the crystal structure of PA3885 are currently under way.
PMCID: PMC3001651  PMID: 21045298
PA3885; TbpA; tyrosine phosphatases; Pseudomonas aeruginosa
14.  Heterogeneous catalytic hydrogenation of unprotected indoles in water: A green solution to a long-standing challenge 
Organic letters  2011;13(19):5124-5127.
An environmentally benign procedure for the hydrogenation of unprotected indoles is described. The hydrogenation reaction is catalyzed by Pt/C and activated by p-toluenesulfonic acid in water as a solvent. The efficacy of the method is illustrated by the hydrogenation of a variety of substituted indoles to their corresponding indolines which were obtained in excellent yields.
PMCID: PMC3184324  PMID: 21902212
15.  Abnormal endocrine pancreas function at birth in cystic fibrosis ferrets 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(10):3755-3768.
Diabetes is a common comorbidity in cystic fibrosis (CF) that worsens prognosis. The lack of an animal model for CF-related diabetes (CFRD) has made it difficult to dissect how the onset of pancreatic pathology influences the emergence of CFRD. We evaluated the structure and function of the neonatal CF endocrine pancreas using a new CFTR-knockout ferret model. Although CF kits are born with only mild exocrine pancreas disease, progressive exocrine and endocrine pancreatic loss during the first months of life was associated with pancreatic inflammation, spontaneous hyperglycemia, and glucose intolerance. Interestingly, prior to major exocrine pancreas disease, CF kits demonstrated significant abnormalities in blood glucose and insulin regulation, including diminished first-phase and accentuated peak insulin secretion in response to glucose, elevated peak glucose levels following glucose challenge, and variably elevated insulin and C-peptide levels in the nonfasted state. Although there was no difference in lobular insulin and glucagon expression between genotypes at birth, significant alterations in the frequencies of small and large islets were observed. Newborn cultured CF islets demonstrated dysregulated glucose-dependent insulin secretion in comparison to controls, suggesting intrinsic abnormalities in CF islets. These findings demonstrate that early abnormalities exist in the regulation of insulin secretion by the CF endocrine pancreas.
PMCID: PMC3534166  PMID: 22996690
16.  Structural Insights into TIR Domain Specificity of the Bridging Adaptor Mal in TLR4 Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34202.
MyD88 adaptor-like protein (Mal) is a crucial adaptor that acts as a bridge to recruit the MyD88 molecule to activated TLR4 receptors in response to invading pathogens. The specific assembly of the Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR) domains of TLR4, Mal and MyD88 is responsible for proper signal transduction in the TLR4 signaling pathway. However, the molecular mechanism for the specificity of these TIR domains remains unclear. Here, we present the crystal structure of the TIR domain of the human Mal molecule (Mal-TIR) at a resolution of 2.4 Å. Unexpectedly, Mal-TIR exhibits an extraordinarily long AB loop, but no αB helix or BB loop, distinguishing it from other TIR domains. More importantly, the Mal-TIR AB loop is capable of mediating direct binding to the TIR domains of TLR4 and MyD88 simultaneously. We also found that Mal-TIR can form a back-to-back dimer that may resemble the dimeric assembly of the entire Mal molecule. Our data demonstrate the bridge role of the Mal-TIR domain and provide important information about TIR domain specificity.
PMCID: PMC3317499  PMID: 22485159
17.  A multi-dataset data-collection strategy produces better diffraction data 
Theoretical analysis and experimental validation prove that a multi-dataset data-collection strategy produces better diffraction data. The readiness test is a simple and sensitive method for X-ray data-collection system evaluation and a benchmark.
A multi-dataset (MDS) data-collection strategy is proposed and analyzed for macromolecular crystal diffraction data acquisition. The theoretical analysis indicated that the MDS strategy can reduce the standard deviation (background noise) of diffraction data compared with the commonly used single-dataset strategy for a fixed X-ray dose. In order to validate the hypothesis experimentally, a data-quality evaluation process, termed a readiness test of the X-ray data-collection system, was developed. The anomalous signals of sulfur atoms in zinc-free insulin crystals were used as the probe to differentiate the quality of data collected using different data-collection strategies. The data-collection results using home-laboratory-based rotating-anode X-ray and synchrotron X-ray systems indicate that the diffraction data collected with the MDS strategy contain more accurate anomalous signals from sulfur atoms than the data collected with a regular data-collection strategy. In addition, the MDS strategy offered more advantages with respect to radiation-damage-sensitive crystals and better usage of rotating-anode as well as synchrotron X-rays.
PMCID: PMC3211246  PMID: 22011470
multi-dataset data-collection strategy; readiness test
18.  Structural and functional insight into the mechanism of an alkaline exonuclease from Laribacter hongkongensis 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;39(22):9803-9819.
Alkaline exonuclease and single-strand DNA (ssDNA) annealing proteins (SSAPs) are key components of DNA recombination and repair systems within many prokaryotes, bacteriophages and virus-like genetic elements. The recently sequenced β-proteobacterium Laribacter hongkongensis (strain HLHK9) encodes putative homologs of alkaline exonuclease (LHK-Exo) and SSAP (LHK-Bet) proteins on its 3.17 Mb genome. Here, we report the biophysical, biochemical and structural characterization of recombinant LHK-Exo protein. LHK-Exo digests linear double-stranded DNA molecules from their 5′-termini in a highly processive manner. Exonuclease activities are optimum at pH 8.2 and essentially require Mg2+ or Mn2+ ions. 5′-phosphorylated DNA substrates are preferred over dephosphorylated ones. The crystal structure of LHK-Exo was resolved to 1.9 Å, revealing a ‘doughnut-shaped’ toroidal trimeric arrangement with a central tapered channel, analogous to that of λ-exonuclease (Exo) from bacteriophage-λ. Active sites containing two bound Mg2+ ions on each of the three monomers were located in clefts exposed to this central channel. Crystal structures of LHK-Exo in complex with dAMP and ssDNA were determined to elucidate the structural basis for substrate recognition and binding. Through structure-guided mutational analysis, we discuss the roles played by various active site residues. A conserved two metal ion catalytic mechanism is proposed for this class of alkaline exonucleases.
PMCID: PMC3239189  PMID: 21893587
19.  CGRP induction in cystic fibrosis airways alters the submucosal gland progenitor cell niche in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(8):3144-3158.
In cystic fibrosis (CF), a lack of functional CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channels causes defective secretion by submucosal glands (SMGs), leading to persistent bacterial infection that damages airways and necessitates tissue repair. SMGs are also important niches for slow-cycling progenitor cells (SCPCs) in the proximal airways, which may be involved in disease-related airway repair. Here, we report that calcitonin gene–related peptide (CGRP) activates CFTR-dependent SMG secretions and that this signaling pathway is hyperactivated in CF human, pig, ferret, and mouse SMGs. Since CGRP-expressing neuroendocrine cells reside in bronchiolar SCPC niches, we hypothesized that the glandular SCPC niche may be dysfunctional in CF. Consistent with this hypothesis, CFTR-deficient mice failed to maintain glandular SCPCs following airway injury. In wild-type mice, CGRP levels increased following airway injury and functioned as an injury-induced mitogen that stimulated SMG progenitor cell proliferation in vivo and altered the proliferative potential of airway progenitors in vitro. Components of the receptor for CGRP (RAMP1 and CLR) were expressed in a very small subset of SCPCs, suggesting that CGRP indirectly stimulates SCPC proliferation in a non-cell-autonomous manner. These findings demonstrate that CGRP-dependent pathways for CFTR activation are abnormally upregulated in CF SMGs and that this sustained mitogenic signal alters properties of the SMG progenitor cell niche in CF airways. This discovery may have important implications for injury/repair mechanisms in the CF airway.
PMCID: PMC3148720  PMID: 21765217
20.  PDlim2 Selectively Interacts with the PDZ Binding Motif of Highly Pathogenic Avian H5N1 Influenza A Virus NS1 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19511.
The multi-functional NS1 protein of influenza A virus is a viral virulence determining factor. The last four residues at the C-terminus of NS1 constitute a type I PDZ domain binding motif (PBM). Avian influenza viruses currently in circulation carry an NS1 PBM with consensus sequence ESEV, whereas human influenza viruses bear an NS1 PBM with consensus sequence RSKV or RSEV. The PBM sequence of the influenza A virus NS1 is reported to contribute to high viral pathogenicity in animal studies. Here, we report the identification of PDlim2 as a novel binding target of the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus H5N1 strain with an NS1 PBM of ESEV (A/Chicken/Henan/12/2004/H5N1, HN12-NS1) by yeast two-hybrid screening. The interaction was confirmed by in vitro GST pull-down assays, as well as by in vivo mammalian two-hybrid assays and bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays. The binding was also confirmed to be mediated by the interaction of the PDlim2 PDZ domain with the NS1 PBM motif. Interestingly, our assays showed that PDlim2 bound specifically with HN12-NS1, but exhibited no binding to NS1 from a human influenza H1N1 virus bearing an RSEV PBM (A/Puerto Rico/8/34/H1N1, PR8-NS1). A crystal structure of the PDlim2 PDZ domain fused with the C-terminal hexapeptide from HN12-NS1, together with GST pull-down assays on PDlim2 mutants, reveals that residues Arg16 and Lys31 of PDlim2 are critical for the binding between PDlim2 and HN12-NS1. The identification of a selective binding target of HN12-NS1 (ESEV), but not PR8-NS1 (RSEV), enables us to propose a structural mechanism for the interaction between NS1 PBM and PDlim2 or other PDZ-containing proteins.
PMCID: PMC3100292  PMID: 21625420
21.  Purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of cytochrome P450 219A1 from Novosphingobium aromaticivorans DSM 12444 
A 2.4 Å resolution data set was collected from a crystal of CYP219A1. This is the first protein of a new P450 family from the oligotrophic organism N. aromaticivorans which can oxidize steroids and bind sesquiterpenoids.
Cytochrome P450 enzymes catalyze a variety of reactions and are widely distributed in living organisms. In recent studies, the first members of five new families of cytochrome P450 enzymes have been identified, including cyto­chrome P450 219A1 (CYP219A1) from Novosphingobium aromaticivorans DSM 12444. It has also been reported that isolongifolen-9-one (C15H22O), a sesqui­terpenoid ketone derivative, is a potential substrate for CYP219A1, inducing a ≥95% shift of the haem spin state to high spin upon binding. The CYP219A1 protein has been crystallized and single crystals have been studied by X-ray crystallography. Diffraction data were collected to 2.4 Å resolution. The crystals belonged to space group P6, with unit-cell parameters a = 93.1, b = 93.1, c = 98.0 Å. Preliminary X-ray diffraction data analysis revealed that the asymmetric unit contained one protein molecule.
PMCID: PMC2664761  PMID: 19342781
cytochrome P450 219A1; Novosphingobium aromaticivorans DSM 12444
22.  Disease phenotype of a ferret CFTR-knockout model of cystic fibrosis  
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2010;120(9):3149-3160.
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a recessive disease that affects multiple organs. It is caused by mutations in CFTR. Animal modeling of this disease has been challenging, with species- and strain-specific differences in organ biology and CFTR function influencing the emergence of disease pathology. Here, we report the phenotype of a CFTR-knockout ferret model of CF. Neonatal CFTR-knockout ferrets demonstrated many of the characteristics of human CF disease, including defective airway chloride transport and submucosal gland fluid secretion; variably penetrant meconium ileus (MI); pancreatic, liver, and vas deferens disease; and a predisposition to lung infection in the early postnatal period. Severe malabsorption by the gastrointestinal (GI) tract was the primary cause of death in CFTR-knockout kits that escaped MI. Elevated liver function tests in CFTR-knockout kits were corrected by oral administration of ursodeoxycholic acid, and the addition of an oral proton-pump inhibitor improved weight gain and survival. To overcome the limitations imposed by the severe intestinal phenotype, we cloned 4 gut-corrected transgenic CFTR-knockout kits that expressed ferret CFTR specifically in the intestine. One clone passed feces normally and demonstrated no detectable ferret CFTR expression in the lung or liver. The animals described in this study are likely to be useful tools for dissecting CF disease pathogenesis and developing treatments.
PMCID: PMC2929732  PMID: 20739752
23.  SOD1 mutations disrupt redox-sensitive Rac regulation of NADPH oxidase in a familial ALS model 
Neurodegeneration in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is associated with enhanced redox stress caused by dominant mutations in superoxide dismutase–1 (SOD1). SOD1 is a cytosolic enzyme that facilitates the conversion of superoxide (O2•–) to H2O2. Here we demonstrate that SOD1 is not just a catabolic enzyme, but can also directly regulate NADPH oxidase–dependent (Nox-dependent) O2•– production by binding Rac1 and inhibiting its GTPase activity. Oxidation of Rac1 by H2O2 uncoupled SOD1 binding in a reversible fashion, producing a self-regulating redox sensor for Nox-derived O2•– production. This process of redox-sensitive uncoupling of SOD1 from Rac1 was defective in SOD1 ALS mutants, leading to enhanced Rac1/Nox activation in transgenic mouse tissues and cell lines expressing ALS SOD1 mutants. Glial cell toxicity associated with expression of SOD1 mutants in culture was significantly attenuated by treatment with the Nox inhibitor apocynin. Treatment of ALS mice with apocynin also significantly increased their average life span. This redox sensor mechanism may explain the gain-of-function seen with certain SOD1 mutations associated with ALS and defines new therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC2213375  PMID: 18219391
24.  Isolation, crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of a methanol-induced corrinoid protein from Moorella thermoacetica  
Strongly diffracting crystals of a methanol-induced corrinoid protein from M. thermoacetica have been obtained.
A corrinoid protein was induced and overexpressed in methanol-grown cells of the thermophilic anaerobic bacterium Moorella thermoacetica. The protein was purified from cytosolic extracts. After screening for crystallization conditions and optimization, crystals were obtained that diffracted strongly on a rotating-anode X-ray source. A diffraction data set was collected and processed including reflections to 1.9 Å resolution. Reflections were indexed in a primitive orthorhombic cell with unit-cell parameters a = 55.69, b = 62.74, c = 34.54 Å. N-­terminal amino-acid sequencing indicates that the crystals contain a C-­terminal fragment of the protein.
PMCID: PMC1952305  PMID: 16511090
corrinoid; methyltransferases
25.  Nox2 and Rac1 Regulate H2O2-Dependent Recruitment of TRAF6 to Endosomal Interleukin-1 Receptor Complexes†  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(1):140-154.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by NADPH oxidases (Nox) have been implicated in the regulation of signal transduction. However, the cellular mechanisms that link Nox activation with plasma membrane receptor signaling remain poorly defined. We have found that Nox2-derived ROS influence the formation of an active interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor complex in the endosomal compartment by directing the H2O2-dependent binding of TRAF6 to the IL-1R1/MyD88 complex. Clearance of both superoxide and H2O2 from within the endosomal compartment significantly abrogated IL-1β-dependent IKK and NF-κB activation. MyD88-dependent endocytosis of IL-1R1 following IL-1β binding was required for the redox-dependent formation of an active endosomal receptor complex competent for IKK and NF-κB activation. Small interfering RNAs to either MyD88 or Rac1 inhibited IL-1β induction of endosomal superoxide and NF-κB activation. However, MyD88 and Rac1 appear to be recruited independently to IL-1R1 following ligand stimulation. In this context, MyD88 binding was required for inducing endocytosis of IL-1R1 following ligand binding, while Rac1 facilitated the recruitment of Nox2 into the endosomal compartment and subsequent redox-dependent recruitment of TRAF6 to the MyD88/IL-1R1 complex. The identification of Nox-active endosomes helps explain how subcellular compartmentalization of redox signals can be used to direct receptor activation from the plasma membrane.
PMCID: PMC1317618  PMID: 16354686

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