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1.  Comprehensive predictions of target proteins based on protein-chemical interaction using virtual screening and experimental verifications 
BMC Chemical Biology  2012;12:2.
Identification of the target proteins of bioactive compounds is critical for elucidating the mode of action; however, target identification has been difficult in general, mostly due to the low sensitivity of detection using affinity chromatography followed by CBB staining and MS/MS analysis.
We applied our protocol of predicting target proteins combining in silico screening and experimental verification for incednine, which inhibits the anti-apoptotic function of Bcl-xL by an unknown mechanism. One hundred eighty-two target protein candidates were computationally predicted to bind to incednine by the statistical prediction method, and the predictions were verified by in vitro binding of incednine to seven proteins, whose expression can be confirmed in our cell system.
As a result, 40% accuracy of the computational predictions was achieved successfully, and we newly found 3 incednine-binding proteins.
This study revealed that our proposed protocol of predicting target protein combining in silico screening and experimental verification is useful, and provides new insight into a strategy for identifying target proteins of small molecules.
PMCID: PMC3471015  PMID: 22480302
2.  Pathogenic Mechanism of Mouse Brain Damage Caused by Oral Infection with Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 
Infection and Immunity  2000;68(3):1207-1214.
In a previous study, we showed that infection with Shiga toxin (Stx)-producing Escherichia coli O157:H7 (strain SmrN-9) caused neurologic symptoms in malnourished mice with positive immunoreactions of Stx2 in brain tissues. The present study explores the mechanism of how Stx injures the vascular endothelium to enter the central nervous system in mice. Oral infection with strain SmrN-9 elicited a tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) response in the blood as early as 2 days after infection, while Stx was first detected at 3 days postinfection. In the brain, TNF-α was detected at day 3, and its quantity was increased over the next 3 days. Frozen sections of the brains from moribound mice contained high numbers of apoptotic cells. Glycolipids recognized by an anti-Gb3 monoclonal antibody were extracted from the brain, and purified Stx2 was able to bind to the glycolipids. In human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVEC) cultured with fluorescein-labeled Stx2 (100 ng/ml), TNF-α (20 U/ml) significantly facilitated the intracellular compartmentalization of fluorescence during 24 h of incubation, suggesting the enhanced intracellular processing of Stx2. Consequently, higher levels of apoptosis in HUVEC were found at 48 h. Short-term exposure of HUVEC to Stx2 abrogated their apoptotic response to subsequent incubation with TNF-α alone or TNF-α and Stx2. In contrast, primary exposure of HUVEC to TNF-α followed by exposure to Stx2 alone or TNF-α and Stx2 induced apoptosis at the same level as obtained after 48-h incubation with these two agents. These results suggest that the rapid production of circulating TNF-α after infection induces a state of competence in vascular endothelial cells to undergo apoptosis, which would be finally achieved by subsequent elevation of Stx in the blood. In this synergistic action, target cells must be first exposed to TNF-α. Such cell injury may be a prerequisite to brain damage after infection with Stx-producing E. coli O157:H7.
PMCID: PMC97269  PMID: 10678928

Results 1-2 (2)