Protein splicing is a self-catalyzed and spontaneous post-translational process in which inteins excise themselves out of precursor proteins while the exteins are ligated together. We report the first discovery of an intramolecular disulfide bond between the two active site cysteines, Cys1 and Cys+1, in an intein precursor composed of the hyperthermophilic P. abyssi PolII intein and extein. The existence of this intramolecular disulfide bond is demonstrated by the effect of reducing agent on the precursor, mutagenesis, and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) with tandem MS (MS/MS) of the tryptic peptide containing the intramolecular disulfide bond. The disulfide bond inhibits protein splicing, and splicing can be induced by reducing agents such as tris (2-carboxyethyl) phosphine (TCEP). The stability of the intramolecular disulfide bond is enhanced by electrostatic interactions between the N- and C-exteins but is reduced by elevated temperature. The presence of this intramolecular disulfide bond may contribute to the redox control of splicing activity in hypoxia and at low temperature and point to the intriguing possibility that inteins may act as switches to control extein function.
intein; protein splicing; intramolecular disulfide bond; extein; catalytic cysteine; MS
Tiny amounts of carbohydrates (ca. 1 zmol) can be detected quantitatively by a real-time method based on the conjugation of carbohydrates with DNA markers (see picture). The proposed method (glyco-qPCR) provides uniform, ultrasensitive detection of carbohydrates, which can be applied to glycobiology, as well as carbohydrate-based drug discovery.
carbohydrates; DNA; glycoconjugates; signal amplification; ultrasensitive detection
Studies have shown that kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) is upregulated in damaged renal proximal tubules. In this study, we examined KIM-1 expression in glomerular epithelial cells in diabetic glomerulopathy.
Renal histology, immunostaining and Western blot for protein level, and real-time PCR for mRNA expression of KIM-1 and podocyte markers were evaluated in untreated or losartan-treated Zucker lean (Fa/+) and Zucker diabetic fatty (Fa/Fa) rats.
The diabetic rats showed an increased glomerular expression of KIM-1. KIM-1 staining was localized primarily in the hyperplastic parietal epithelium of Bowman's capsule in the early stages of diabetes with subsequent increase in KIM-1-positive cells in the glomerular tuft in the more advanced stages. The increase in glomerular KIM-1 was associated with a decrease in podocytes in Fa/Fa rats. Antiproteinuric treatment with losartan attenuated podocytopenia and decreased renal expression of KIM-1 in treated diabetic rats. In an in vitro study, albumin overload increased KIM-1 protein in the primary cultures of rat glomerular epithelial cells.
These results show that glomerular KIM-1 expression was increased, in proportion to the extent of proteinuria and podocytopenia in the diabetic animals, supporting that KIM-1 could be used as a potential biomarker for glomerular injury in proteinuric kidney disease.
Albuminuria; Kidney injury molecule-1; Parietal epithelial cells; Podocytes; Glomerulopathy
Proteoglycans (PGs) are among the most structurally complex biomacromolecules in nature. They are present in all animal cells and frequently exert their critical biological functions through interactions with protein ligands and receptors. PGs are comprised of a core protein to which one or multiple, heterogeneous, and polydisperse glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains are attached. Proteins, including the protein core of PGs, are now routinely sequenced either directly using proteomics or indirectly using molecular biology through their encoding DNA. The sequencing of the GAG component of PGs poses a considerably more difficult challenge because of the relatively underdeveloped state of glycomics and because the control of their biosynthesis in the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi is poorly understood and not believed to be template driven. Recently, the GAG chain of the simplest PG has been suggested to have a defined sequence based on its top-down Fourier transform mass spectral sequencing. This review examines the advances made over the past decade in the sequencing of GAG chains and the challenges the field face in sequencing complex PGs having critical biological functions in developmental biology and pathogenesis.
Neuropathic Gaucher disease (nGD), also known as type 2 or type 3 Gaucher disease, is caused by a deficiency of the enzyme glucocerebrosidase (GC). This deficiency impairs the degradation of glucosylceramide (GluCer) and glucosylsphingosine (GluSph), leading to their accumulation in the brains of patients and mouse models of the disease. These accumulated substrates have been thought to cause the severe neuropathology and early death observed in patients with nGD and mouse models. Substrate accumulation is evident at birth in both nGD mouse models and humans affected with the most severe type of the disease. Current treatment of non-nGD relies on the intravenous delivery of recombinant human glucocerebrosidase to replace the missing enzyme or the administration of glucosylceramide synthase inhibitors to attenuate GluCer production. However, the currently approved drugs that use these mechanisms do not cross the blood brain barrier, and thus are not expected to provide a benefit for the neurological complications in nGD patients. Here we report the successful reduction of substrate accumulation and CNS pathology together with a significant increase in lifespan after systemic administration of a novel glucosylceramide synthase inhibitor to a mouse model of nGD. To our knowledge this is the first compound shown to cross the blood brain barrier and reduce substrates in this animal model while significantly enhancing its lifespan. These results reinforce the concept that systemically administered glucosylceramide synthase inhibitors could hold enhanced therapeutic promise for patients afflicted with neuropathic lysosomal storage diseases.
Increased metabolism is a requirement for tumor cell proliferation. To understand the dependence of tumor cells on fatty acid metabolism, we evaluated various nodes of the fatty acid synthesis pathway. Using RNAi we have demonstrated that depletion of fatty-acid synthesis pathway enzymes SCD1, FASN, or ACC1 in HCT116 colon cancer cells results in cytotoxicity that is reversible by addition of exogenous fatty acids. This conditional phenotype is most pronounced when SCD1 is depleted. We used this fatty-acid rescue strategy to characterize several small-molecule inhibitors of fatty acid synthesis, including identification of TOFA as a potent SCD1 inhibitor, representing a previously undescribed activity for this compound. Reference FASN and ACC inhibitors show cytotoxicity that is less pronounced than that of TOFA, and fatty-acid rescue profiles consistent with their proposed enzyme targets. Two reference SCD1 inhibitors show low-nanomolar cytotoxicity that is offset by at least two orders of magnitude by exogenous oleate. One of these inhibitors slows growth of HCT116 xenograft tumors. Our data outline an effective strategy for interrogation of on-mechanism potency and pathway-node-specificity of fatty acid synthesis inhibitors, establish an unambiguous link between fatty acid synthesis and cancer cell survival, and point toward SCD1 as a key target in this pathway.
This paper reports the growth, mechanical, thermal and spectral properties of Cr3+∶MgMoO4 crystals. The Cr3+∶MgMoO4 crystals with dimensions up to 30 mm×18 mm×14 mm were obtained by TSSG method. The absorption cross-sections of 4A2→4T1 and 4A2→4T2 transitions are 12.94×10−20 cm2 at 493 nm and 7.89×10−20 cm2 at 705 nm for E//Ng, respectively. The Cr3+∶MgMoO4 crystal shows broad band emission extending from 750 nm to 1300 nm with peak at about 705 nm. The emission cross-section with FWHM of 188 nm is 119.88×10−20 cm2 at 963 nm for E//Ng. The investigated results showed that the Cr3+∶MgMoO4 crystal may be regarded as a potential tunable laser gain medium.
Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is an important immunosuppressive and immunomodulatory virus that primarily infects immune cells and strongly suppresses the proliferation of infected cells. However, the mechanisms responsible for the regulation and suppression mediated by HHV-6 are still unknown. In this study, we examined the ability of HHV-6A to manipulate cell cycle progression in infected cells and explored the potential molecular mechanisms. We demonstrated that infection with HHV-6A imposed a growth-inhibitory effect on HSB-2 cells by inducing cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase. We then showed that the activity of the Cdc2–cyclin B1 complex was significantly decreased in HHV-6A-infected HSB-2 cells. Furthermore, we found that inactivation of Cdc2–cyclin B1 in HHV-6A-infected cells occurred through the inhibitory Tyr15 phosphorylation resulting from elevated Wee1 expression and inactivated Cdc25C. The reduction of Cdc2–cyclin B1 activity in HHV-6-infected cells was also partly due to the increased expression of the cell cycle-regulatory molecule p21 in a p53-dependent manner. In addition, HHV-6A infection activated the DNA damage checkpoint kinases Chk2 and Chk1. Our data suggest that HHV-6A infection induces G2/M arrest in infected T cells via various molecular regulatory mechanisms. These results further demonstrate the potential mechanisms involved in immune suppression and modulation mediated by HHV-6 infection, and they provide new insights relevant to the development of novel vaccines and immunotherapeutic approaches.
The neuropathic glycosphingolipidoses are a subgroup of lysosomal storage disorders for which there are no effective therapies. A potential approach is substrate reduction therapy using inhibitors of glucosylceramide synthase (GCS) to decrease the synthesis of glucosylceramide and related glycosphingolipids that accumulate in the lysosomes. Genz-529468, a blood-brain barrier-permeant iminosugar-based GCS inhibitor, was used to evaluate this concept in a mouse model of Sandhoff disease, which accumulates the glycosphingolipid GM2 in the visceral organs and CNS. As expected, oral administration of the drug inhibited hepatic GM2 accumulation. Paradoxically, in the brain, treatment resulted in a slight increase in GM2 levels and a 20-fold increase in glucosylceramide levels. The increase in brain glucosylceramide levels might be due to concurrent inhibition of the non-lysosomal glucosylceramidase, Gba2. Similar results were observed with NB-DNJ, another iminosugar-based GCS inhibitor. Despite these unanticipated increases in glycosphingolipids in the CNS, treatment nevertheless delayed the loss of motor function and coordination and extended the lifespan of the Sandhoff mice. These results suggest that the CNS benefits observed in the Sandhoff mice might not necessarily be due to substrate reduction therapy but rather to off-target effects.
Fibrates, the ligands of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α, have been shown to have a renal protective action in diabetic models of renal disease, but the mechanisms underlying this effect are unknown. In the present study, we sought to investigate in greater detail the effect of fenofibrate and its mechanism of action on renal inflammation and tubulointerstitial fibrosis in an animal model of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Twelve-week-old non-diabetic Zucker lean (ZL) and Zucker diabetic fatty (ZD) rats were treated with vehicle or fenofibrate for 10 weeks. mRNA and protein analyses were performed by real-time polymerase chain reaction, Western blot and immunostaining. The diabetic condition of ZD rats was associated with an increase in collagen and α-smooth muscle actin accumulation in the kidney, which was significantly reduced by fenofibrate. Chronic treatment of ZD rats with fenofibrate attenuated renal inflammation and tubular injury as evidenced by a decrease in mRNA and protein expression of secreted phosphoprotein-1, monocyte chemotactic protein-1 and kidney injury molecule-1 in the kidneys. Renal interstitial macrophage infiltration was also significantly reduced in the kidneys of fenofibrate-treated diabetic animals. Moreover, renal nuclear factor (NF)-κB DNA-binding activity, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 and phospho-Smad3 proteins were significantly higher in ZD animals compared with ZL ones. This increase in NF-κB activity, TGF-β1 expression and Smad3 phosphorylation was greatly attenuated by fenofibrate in the diabetic kidneys. Taken together, fenofibrate suppressed NF-κB and TGF-β1/Smad3 signaling pathways and reduced renal inflammation and tubulointerstitial fibrosis in diabetic ZD animals.
inflammation; kidney; peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α; renal injury; type 2 diabetes
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are important mediators of the primary defense mechanism against microbial invasion. In the present study, a big defensin was identified from Venerupis philippinarum haemocytes (denoted as VpBD) by RACE and EST approaches. The VpBD cDNA contained an open reading frame (ORF) of 285 bp encoding a polypeptide of 94 amino acids. The deduce amino acid sequence of VpBD shared the common features of big defensin including disulfide array organization and helix structure, indicating that VpBD should be a new member of the big defensin family. The mRNA transcript of VpBD was up-regulated significantly during the first 24 hr after Vibrio anguillarum challenge, which was 7.4-fold increase compared to that of the control group. Then the expression decreased gradually from 24 hr to 96 hr, and the lowest expression level was detected at 96 hr post-infection, which was still 3.9-fold higher than that of control. The mature peptide of VpBD was recombined in Escherichia coli and purified for minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) determination. The rVpBD displayed broad-spectrum inhibitory activity towards all tested bacteria with the highest activity against Staphyloccocus aureus and Pseudomonas putida. These results indicated that VpBD was involved in the host immune response against bacterial infection and might contribute to the clearance of invading bacteria.
Methanosarcina acetivorans strain C2A is an acetate- and methanol-utilizing methane-producing organism for which the genome, the largest yet sequenced among the Archaea, reveals extensive physiological diversity. LC linear ion trap-FTICR mass spectrometry was employed to analyze acetate- vs. methanol-grown cells metabolically labeled with 14N vs. 15N, respectively, to obtain quantitative protein abundance ratios. DNA microarray analyses of acetate- vs. methanol-grown cells was also performed to determine gene expression ratios. The combined approaches were highly complementary, extending the physiological understanding of growth and methanogenesis. Of the 1081 proteins detected, 255 were ≥ 3-fold differentially abundant. DNA microarray analysis revealed 410 genes that were ≥ 2.5-fold differentially expressed of 1972 genes with detected expression. The ratios of differentially abundant proteins were in good agreement with expression ratios of the encoding genes. Taken together, the results suggest several novel roles for electron transport components specific to acetate-grown cells, including two flavodoxins each specific for growth on acetate or methanol. Protein abundance ratios indicated that duplicate CO dehydrogenase/acetyl-CoA complexes function in the conversion of acetate to methane. Surprisingly, the protein abundance and gene expression ratios indicated a general stress response in acetate- vs. methanol-grown cells that included enzymes specific for polyphosphate accumulation and oxidative stress. The microarray analysis identified transcripts of several genes encoding regulatory proteins with identity to the PhoU, MarR, GlnK, and TetR families commonly found in the Bacteria domain. An analysis of neighboring genes suggested roles in controlling phosphate metabolism (PhoU), ammonia assimilation (GlnK), and molybdopterin cofactor biosynthesis (TetR). Finally, the proteomic and microarray results suggested roles for two-component regulatory systems specific for each growth substrate.
Quantitative proteomics; metabolic labeling; microarray; methanogenesis; acetate; methanol
A new algorithm is described for label-free quantitation of relative protein abundances across multiple complex proteomic samples. Q-MEND is based on the denoising and peak picking algorithm, MEND, previously developed in our laboratory. Q-MEND takes advantage of the high resolution and mass accuracy of the hybrid LTQFT MS mass spectrometer (or other high resolution mass spectrometers, such as a Q-TOF MS). The strategy, termed “cross-assignment”, is introduced to increase substantially the number of quantitated proteins. In this approach, all MS/MS identifications for the set of analyzed samples are combined into a master ID list, and then each LC/MS run is searched for the features that can be assigned to a specific identification from that master list. The reliability of quantitation is enhanced by quantitating separately all peptide charge states, along with a scoring procedure to filter out less reliable peptide abundance measurements. The effectiveness of Q-MEND is illustrated in the relative quantitative analysis of E.coli samples spiked with known amounts of non-E.coli protein digests. A mean quantitation accuracy of 7% and mean precision of 15% is demonstrated. Q-MEND can perform relative quantitation of a set of LC/MS datasets without manual intervention and can generate files compatible with the Guidelines for Proteomic Data Publication.
While glycoproteins are abundant in nature, and changes in glycosylation occur in cancer and other diseases, glycoprotein characterization remains a challenge due to the structural complexity of the biopolymers. This paper presents a general strategy, termed GlyDB, for glycan structure annotation of N-linked glycopeptides from tandem mass spectra in the LC-MS analysis of proteolytic digests of glycoproteins. The GlyDB approach takes advantage of low-energy collision induced dissociation of N-linked glycopeptides that preferentially cleaves the glycosidic bonds while the peptide backbone remains intact. A theoretical glycan structure database derived from biosynthetic rules for N-linked glycans was constructed employing a novel representation of branched glycan structures consisting of multiple linear sequences. The commonly used peptide identification program, Sequest, could then be utilized to assign experimental tandem mass spectra to individual glycoforms. Analysis of synthetic glycopeptides and well-characterized glycoproteins demonstrate that the GlyDB approach can be a useful tool for annotation of glycan structures and for selection of a limited number of potential glycan structure candidates for targeted validation.
Overexpression of the HipA protein of the HipBA toxin/antitoxin module leads to multidrug tolerance in Escherichia coli. HipA is a “toxin” that causes reversible dormancy, whereas HipB is an antitoxin that binds HipA and acts as a transcriptional repressor of the hipBA operon. Comparative sequence analysis shows that HipA is a member of the phosphatidylinositol 3/4-kinase superfamily. The kinase activity of HipA was examined. HipA was autophosphorylated in the presence of ATP in vitro, and the purified protein appeared to carry a single phosphate group on serine 150. Thus, HipA is a serine kinase that is at least partially phosphorylated in vivo. Overexpression of HipA caused inhibition of cell growth and increase in persister formation. Replacing conserved aspartate 309 in the conserved kinase active site or aspartate 332 in the Mg2+-binding site with glutamine produced mutant proteins that lost the ability to stop cellular growth upon overexpression. Replacing serine 150 with alanine yielded a similarly inactive protein. The mutant proteins were then examined for their ability to increase antibiotic tolerance. Cells overexpressing wild-type HipA were highly tolerant to cefotaxime, a cell wall synthesis inhibitor, to ofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone inhibitor of DNA gyrase, and to topoisomerase IV and were almost completely resistant to killing by mitomycin C, which forms DNA adducts. The mutant proteins did not protect cells from cefotaxime or ofloxacin and had an impaired ability to protect from mitomycin C. Taken together, these results suggest that the protein kinase activity of HipA is essential for persister formation.
A liquid chromatography-hybrid linear ion trap-Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry approach was used to determine the differential abundance of proteins in acetate-grown cells compared to that of proteins in methanol-grown cells of the marine isolate Methanosarcina acetivorans metabolically labeled with 14N versus 15N. The 246 differentially abundant proteins in M. acetivorans were compared with the previously reported 240 differentially expressed genes of the freshwater isolate Methanosarcina mazei determined by transcriptional profiling of acetate-grown cells compared to methanol-grown cells. Profound differences were revealed for proteins involved in electron transport and energy conservation. Compared to methanol-grown cells, acetate-grown M. acetivorans synthesized greater amounts of subunits encoded in an eight-gene transcriptional unit homologous to operons encoding the ion-translocating Rnf electron transport complex previously characterized from the Bacteria domain. Combined with sequence and physiological analyses, these results suggest that M. acetivorans replaces the H2-evolving Ech hydrogenase complex of freshwater Methanosarcina species with the Rnf complex, which generates a transmembrane ion gradient for ATP synthesis. Compared to methanol-grown cells, acetate-grown M. acetivorans synthesized a greater abundance of proteins encoded in a seven-gene transcriptional unit annotated for the Mrp complex previously reported to function as a sodium/proton antiporter in the Bacteria domain. The differences reported here between M. acetivorans and M. mazei can be attributed to an adaptation of M. acetivorans to the marine environment.