Novel small molecule antagonists of NPBWR1 (GPR7) are herein reported. A high-throughput screening (HTS) of the Molecular Libraries-Small Molecule Repository library identified 5-chloro-4-(4-methoxyphenoxy)-2-(p-tolyl)pyridazin-3(2H)-one as a NPBWR1 hit antagonist with micromolar activity. Design, synthesis and structure–activity relationships study of the HTS-derived hit led to the identification of 5-chloro-2-(3,5-dimethylphenyl)-4-(4-methoxyphenoxy)pyridazin-3(2H)-one lead molecule with submicromolar antagonist activity at the target receptor and high selectivity against a panel of therapeutically relevant off-target proteins. This lead molecule may provide a pharmacological tool to clarify the molecular basis of the in vivo physiological function and therapeutic utility of NPBWR1 in diverse disease areas including inflammatory pain and eating disorders.
NPBWR1 (GPR7); Selective small molecule antagonists; Feeding behavior and energy homeostasis; Inflammatory pain
Background, cancer significance and question
BioProspecting is a novel approach that enabled our team to mine genetic marker related data from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) utilizing Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine-Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT) and the Human Gene Ontology (HUGO). Genes associated with disorders using the Multi-threaded Clinical Vocabulary Server (MCVS) Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine, whose output was represented as an ontology-network incorporating the semantic encodings of the literature. Metabolic functions were used to identify potentially novel relationships between (genes or proteins) and (diseases or drugs). In an effort to identify genes important to transformation of normal tissue into a malignancy, we went on to identify the genes linked to multiple cancers and then mapped those genes to metabolic and signaling pathways.
Ten Genes were related to 30 or more cancers, 72 genes were related to 20 or more cancers and 191 genes were related to 10 or more cancers. The three pathways most often associated with the top 200 novel cancer markers were the Acute Phase Response Signaling, the Glucocorticoid Receptor Signaling and the Hepatic Fibrosis/Hepatic Stellate Cell Activation pathway.
Meaning and implications of the advance
This association highlights the role of inflammation in the induction and perhaps transformation of mortal cells into cancers.
BioProspecting can speed our identification and understanding of synergies between articles in the biomedical literature. In this case we found considerable synergy between the Oncology literature and the Sepsis literature. By mapping these associations to known metabolic, regulatory and signaling pathways we were able to identify further evidence for the inflammatory basis of cancer.
Bioinformatics; Biomedical literature data mining; Natural Language Processing (NLP); Ontology; Novel cancer biomarkers
The thermophilic anaerobe Clostridium thermocellum is a candidate consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) biocatalyst for cellulosic ethanol production. It is capable of both cellulose solubilization and its fermentation to produce lignocellulosic ethanol. Intolerance to stresses routinely encountered during industrial fermentations may hinder the commercial development of this organism. A previous C. thermocellum ethanol stress study showed that the largest transcriptomic response was in genes and proteins related to nitrogen uptake and metabolism.
In this study, C. thermocellum was grown to mid-exponential phase and treated with furfural or heat to a final concentration of 3 g.L-1 or 68°C respectively to investigate general and specific physiological and regulatory stress responses. Samples were taken at 10, 30, 60 and 120 min post-shock, and from untreated control fermentations, for transcriptomic analyses and fermentation product determinations and compared to a published dataset from an ethanol stress study. Urea uptake genes were induced following furfural stress, but not to the same extent as ethanol stress and transcription from these genes was largely unaffected by heat stress. The largest transcriptomic response to furfural stress was genes for sulfate transporter subunits and enzymes in the sulfate assimilatory pathway, although these genes were also affected late in the heat and ethanol stress responses. Lactate production was higher in furfural treated culture, although the lactate dehydrogenase gene was not differentially expressed under this condition. Other redox related genes such as a copy of the rex gene, a bifunctional acetaldehyde-CoA/alcohol dehydrogenase and adjacent genes did show lower expression after furfural stress compared to the control, heat and ethanol fermentation profiles. Heat stress induced expression from chaperone related genes and overlap was observed with the responses to the other stresses. This study suggests the involvement of C. thermocellum genes with functions in oxidative stress protection, electron transfer, detoxification, sulfur and nitrogen acquisition, and DNA repair mechanisms in its stress responses and the use of different regulatory networks to coordinate and control adaptation.
This study has identified C. thermocellum gene regulatory motifs and aspects of physiology and gene regulation for further study. The nexus between future systems biology studies and recently developed genetic tools for C. thermocellum offers the potential for more rapid strain development and for broader insights into this organism’s physiology and regulation.
Biomass; Recalcitrance; Inhibitor; Stress; DNA microarray; Regulation; Regulatory motif
The genetic basis for bacterial mercury methylation has been described recently. For insights into the physiology of mercury-methylating bacteria, we present genome sequences for Desulfococcus multivorans strain DSM 2059, Desulfovibrio alkalitolerans strain DSM 16529, and Desulfovibrio species strain X2.
Protein Arginine Methyltransferases (PRMTs) catalyze the posttranslational methylation of arginine using S–adenosyl–methionine (SAM) as a methyl–donor. The PRMT family is widely expressed and has been implicated in biological functions such as RNA splicing, transcriptional control, signal transduction, and DNA repair. Therefore, specific inhibitors of individual PRMTs have potentially significant research and therapeutic value. In particular, PRMT1 is responsible for >85% of arginine methyltransferase activity, but currently available inhibitors of PRMT1 lack specificity, efficacy, and bioavailability. To address this limitation, we developed a high–throughput screening assay for PRMT1 that utilizes a hyper–reactive cysteine within the active–site, which is lacking in almost all other PRMTs. This assay, which monitors the kinetics of the fluorescence polarization signal increase upon PRMT1 labeling by a rhodamine–containing cysteine–reactive probe, successfully identified two novel inhibitors selective for PRMT1 over other SAM–dependent methyltransferases.
arginine methylation; PRMT1; inhibitor
Zymomonas mobilis ZM4 is a capable ethanologenic bacterium with high ethanol productivity and ethanol tolerance. Previous studies indicated that several stress-related proteins and changes in the ZM4 membrane lipid composition may contribute to ethanol tolerance. However, the molecular mechanisms of its ethanol stress response have not been elucidated fully.
In this study, ethanol stress responses were investigated using systems biology approaches. Medium supplementation with an initial 47 g/L (6% v/v) ethanol reduced Z. mobilis ZM4 glucose consumption, growth rate and ethanol productivity compared to that of untreated controls. A proteomic analysis of early exponential growth identified about one thousand proteins, or approximately 55% of the predicted ZM4 proteome. Proteins related to metabolism and stress response such as chaperones and key regulators were more abundant in the early ethanol stress condition. Transcriptomic studies indicated that the response of ZM4 to ethanol is dynamic, complex and involves many genes from all the different functional categories. Most down-regulated genes were related to translation and ribosome biogenesis, while the ethanol-upregulated genes were mostly related to cellular processes and metabolism. Transcriptomic data were used to update Z. mobilis ZM4 operon models. Furthermore, correlations among the transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolic data were examined. Among significantly expressed genes or proteins, we observe higher correlation coefficients when fold-change values are higher.
Our study has provided insights into the responses of Z. mobilis to ethanol stress through an integrated “omics” approach for the first time. This systems biology study elucidated key Z. mobilis ZM4 metabolites, genes and proteins that form the foundation of its distinctive physiology and its multifaceted response to ethanol stress.
The development of small-molecule inhibitors for perturbing enzyme function requires assays to confirm that the inhibitors interact with their enzymatic targets in vivo. Determining target engagement in vivo can be particularly challenging for poorly characterized enzymes that lack known biomarkers (e.g., endogenous substrates and products) to report on their inhibition. Here, we describe a competitive activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) method for measuring the binding of reversible inhibitors to enzymes in animal models. Key to the success of this approach is the use of activity-based probes that show tempered rates of reactivity with enzymes, such that competition for target engagement with reversible inhibitors can be measured in vivo. We apply the competitive ABPP strategy to evaluate a newly described class of piperazine amide reversible inhibitors for the serine hydrolases LYPAL1 and LYPLA2, two enzymes for which selective, in vivo-active inhibitors are lacking. Competitive ABPP identified individual piperazine amides that selectively inhibit LYPLA1 or LYPLA2 in mice. In summary, competitive ABPP adapted to operate with moderately reactive probes can assess the target engagement of reversible inhibitors in animal models to facilitate the discovery of small-molecule probes for characterizing enzyme function in vivo.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain M3707 was isolated from a sample of commercial distillers yeast, and its genome sequence together with the genome sequences for the four derived haploid strains M3836, M3837, M3838, and M3839 has been determined. Yeasts have potential for consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) for biofuel production, and access to these genome sequences will facilitate their development.
Ralstonia sp. strain OR214 belongs to the class Betaproteobacteria and was isolated from subsurface sediments in Oak Ridge, TN. A member of this genus has been described as a potential bioremediation agent. Strain OR214 is tolerant to various heavy metals, such as uranium, nickel, cobalt, and cadmium. We present its draft genome sequence here.
Caulobacter sp. strain OR37 belongs to the class Alphaproteobacteria and was isolated from subsurface sediments in Oak Ridge, TN. Strain OR37 is noteworthy due to its tolerance to high concentrations of heavy metals, such as uranium, nickel, cobalt, and cadmium, and we present its draft genome sequence here.
To aid in the investigation of the Populus deltoides microbiome, we generated draft genome sequences for 21 Pseudomonas strains and 19 other diverse bacteria isolated from Populus deltoides roots. Genome sequences for isolates similar to Acidovorax, Bradyrhizobium, Brevibacillus, Caulobacter, Chryseobacterium, Flavobacterium, Herbaspirillum, Novosphingobium, Pantoea, Phyllobacterium, Polaromonas, Rhizobium, Sphingobium, and Variovorax were generated.
Factors interacting with core circadian clock components are essential to achieve transcriptional feedback necessary for metazoan clocks. Here, we show that all three members of the Drosophila behavior human splicing (DBHS) family of RNA-binding proteins play a role in the mammalian circadian oscillator, abrogating or altering clock function when overexpressed or depleted in cells. Although these proteins are members of so-called nuclear paraspeckles, depletion of paraspeckles themselves via silencing of the structural noncoding RNA (ncRNA) Neat1 did not affect overall clock function, suggesting that paraspeckles are not required for DBHS-mediated circadian effects. Instead, we show that the proteins bound to circadian promoter DNA in a fashion that required the PERIOD (PER) proteins and potently repressed E-box-mediated transcription but not cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter-mediated transcription when they were exogenously recruited. Nevertheless, mice with one or both copies of these genes deleted show only small changes in period length or clock gene expression in vivo. Data from transient transfections show that each of these proteins can either repress or activate, depending on the context. Taken together, our data suggest that all of the DBHS family members serve overlapping or redundant roles as transcriptional cofactors at circadian clock-regulated genes.
An international multilaboratory collaborative study was conducted to develop standard media and consensus methods for the performance and quality control of antimicrobial susceptibility testing of Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Mycoplasma hominis, and Ureaplasma urealyticum using broth microdilution and agar dilution techniques. A reference strain from the American Type Culture Collection was designated for each species, which was to be used for quality control purposes. Repeat testing of replicate samples of each reference strain by participating laboratories utilizing both methods and different lots of media enabled a 3- to 4-dilution MIC range to be established for drugs in several different classes, including tetracyclines, macrolides, ketolides, lincosamides, and fluoroquinolones. This represents the first multilaboratory collaboration to standardize susceptibility testing methods and to designate quality control parameters to ensure accurate and reliable assay results for mycoplasmas and ureaplasmas that infect humans.
Human cultural traits, such as languages, musics, rituals and material objects, vary widely across cultures. However, the majority of comparative analyses of human cultural diversity focus on between-culture variation without consideration for within-culture variation. In contrast, biological approaches to genetic diversity, such as the analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) framework, partition genetic diversity into both within- and between-population components. We attempt here for the first time to quantify both components of cultural diversity by applying the AMOVA model to music. By employing this approach with 421 traditional songs from 16 Austronesian-speaking populations, we show that the vast majority of musical variability is due to differences within populations rather than differences between. This demonstrates a striking parallel to the structure of genetic diversity in humans. A neighbour-net analysis of pairwise population musical divergence shows a large amount of reticulation, indicating the pervasive occurrence of borrowing and/or convergent evolution of musical features across populations.
analysis of molecular variance; cultural diversity; music; population structure; Austronesian language family; Taiwan
Desulfovibrio africanus strain PCS is an anaerobic sulfate-reducing bacterium (SRB) isolated from sediment from Paleta Creek, San Diego, CA. Strain PCS is capable of reducing metals such as Fe(III) and Cr(VI), has a cell cycle, and is predicted to produce methylmercury. We present the D. africanus PCS genome sequence.
Pelosinus fermentans JBW45 is an anaerobic, lactate-fermenting bacterium isolated from Cr(VI)-contaminated groundwater at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation 100-H site (Washington) that was collected after stimulation with a polylactate compound. The genome sequence of this organism will provide insight into the metabolic potential of a predominant population during stimulation for metal-reducing conditions.
Pelosinus fermentans 16S rRNA gene sequences have been reported from diverse geographical sites since the recent isolation of the type strain. We present the genome sequence of the P. fermentans type strain R7 (DSM 17108) and genome sequences for two new strains with different abilities to reduce iron, chromate, and uranium.
We report the first genome sequences for six strains of Rhodanobacter species isolated from a variety of soil and subsurface environments. Three of these strains are capable of complete denitrification and three others are not. However, all six strains contain most of the genes required for the respiration of nitrate to gaseous nitrogen. The nondenitrifying members of the genus lack only the gene for nitrate reduction, the first step in the full denitrification pathway. The data suggest that the environmental role of bacteria from the genus Rhodanobacter should be reevaluated.
Mesorhizobium loti is the microsymbiont of Lotus species, including the model legume L. japonicus. M. loti differs from other rhizobia in that it contains two copies of the key nitrogen fixation regulatory gene nifA, nifA1 and nifA2, both of which are located on the symbiosis island ICEMlSymR7A. M. loti R7A also contains two rpoN genes, rpoN1 located on the chromosome outside of ICEMlSymR7A and rpoN2 that is located on ICEMlSymR7A. The aims of the current work were to establish how nifA expression was activated in M. loti and to characterise the NifA-RpoN regulon. The nifA2 and rpoN2 genes were essential for nitrogen fixation whereas nifA1 and rpoN1 were dispensable. Expression of nifA2 was activated, possibly in response to an inositol derivative, by a novel regulator of the LacI/GalR family encoded by the fixV gene located upstream of nifA2. Other than the well-characterized nif/fix genes, most NifA2-regulated genes were not required for nitrogen fixation although they were strongly expressed in nodules. The NifA-regulated nifZ and fixU genes, along with nifQ which was not NifA-regulated, were required in M. loti for a fully effective symbiosis although they are not present in some other rhizobia. The NifA-regulated gene msi158 that encodes a porin was also required for a fully effective symbiosis. Several metabolic genes that lacked NifA-regulated promoters were strongly expressed in nodules in a NifA2-dependent manner but again mutants did not have an overt symbiotic phenotype. In summary, many genes encoded on ICEMlSymR7A were strongly expressed in nodules but not free-living rhizobia, but were not essential for symbiotic nitrogen fixation. It seems likely that some of these genes have functional homologues elsewhere in the genome and that bacteroid metabolism may be sufficiently plastic to adapt to loss of certain enzymatic functions.
High affinity and selective small molecule agonists of the S1P4 receptor (S1P4-R) may have significant therapeutic utility in diverse disease areas including autoimmune diseases, viral infections and thrombocytopenia. A high-throughput screening (HTS) of the Molecular Libraries-Small Molecule Repository library identified 3-(2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)ethoxy)-6-methyl-2-nitropyridine as a moderately potent and selective S1P4-R hit agonist. Design, synthesis and systematic structure-activity relationships study of the HTS-derived hit led to the development of novel potent S1P4-R agonists exquisitely selective over the remaining S1P1–3,5–Rs family members. Remarkably, the molecules herein reported provide novel pharmacological tools to decipher the biological function and assess the therapeutic utility of the S1P4–R.
S1P4 receptor; selective small molecule S1P4–R agonists; autoimmune diseases; viral infections; thrombocytopenia
Some chronic pain patients and healthy individuals experience pain when observing injury or others in pain. To further understand shared pain, we investigated perspective taking, bodily ownership and tooth pain sensitivity. First, participants who reported shared pain (responders) and those who did not (non-responders) viewed an avatar on a screen. Intermittently, 0–3 circles appeared. Sometimes the participant's and avatar's perspective were consistent, both directly viewed the same circles, and sometimes inconsistent, both directly viewed different circles. Responders were faster than non-responders to identify the number of circles when adopting a consistent perspective. Second, participants sat with their left hand hidden while viewing a rubber hand. All participants reported an illusory sensation of feeling stroking in the rubber hand and a sense of ownership of the rubber hand during synchronous stroking of the rubber and hidden hand. The responders also reported feeling the stroking and a sense of ownership of the rubber hand during asynchronous stroking. For experiment three, participants with either low, moderate, or high tooth sensitivity observed a series of images depicting someone eating an ice-popsicle. Low sensitivity participants never reported pain. In contrast, moderate and high sensitivity participants reported pain in response to an image depicting someone eating an ice popsicle (4 and 19% of the time, respectively) and depicting someone eating an ice-popsicle and expressing pain (23 and 40%, respectively). In summary, responders have reduced ability to distinguish their own and others' visual perspective and enhanced ability to integrate a foreign arm into their bodily representation. The tendency to share pain is also enhanced when an observed pain is commonly experienced by the observer. Shared pain may therefore involve reactivation of pain memories or pain schema that are readily integrated into a self perspective and bodily representation.
pain; empathy; illusion; vicarious; sensitivity
Sweet Screens: The promiscuity of sialyl- and fucosyltransferases has been exploited to develop a high-throughput screening (HTS) platform wherein transfer of a fluorescent analog of the natural donor substrate to a glycoprotein acceptor results in a robust fluorescence polarization readout. The use of this method to screen 16,000 compounds against 5 different glycosyltransferases has identified a panel of interesting inhibitors.
Carbohydrates; Fucose; Glycoproteins; Glycosyltransferase; Sialic Acid
Clostridium thermocellum wild-type strain YS is an anaerobic, thermophilic, cellulolytic bacterium capable of directly converting cellulosic substrates into ethanol. Strain YS and a derived cellulose adhesion-defective mutant strain, AD2, played pivotal roles in describing the original cellulosome concept. We present their draft genome sequences.
Microbacterium laevaniformans strain OR221 was isolated from subsurface sediments obtained from the Field Research Center (FRC) in Oak Ridge, TN. It was characterized as a bacterium tolerant to heavy metals, such as uranium, nickel, cobalt, and cadmium, as well as nitrate and low pH. We present its draft genome sequence.
High affinity and selective S1P4 receptor (S1P4–R) small molecule agonists may be important proof-of-principle tools used to clarify the receptor biological function and effects to assess the therapeutic potential of the S1P4–R in diverse disease areas including treatment of viral infections and thrombocytopenia. A high-throughput screening campaign of the Molecular Libraries-Small Molecule Repository was carried out by our laboratories and identified (2Z,5Z)-5-((1-(2-fluorophenyl)-2,5-dimethyl-1H-pyrrol-3-yl)methylene)-3-methyl-2-(methylimino) thiazolidin-4-one as a promising S1P4–R agonist hit distinct from literature S1P4–R modulators. Rational chemical modifications of the hit allowed the identification of a promising lead molecule with low nanomolar S1P4–R agonist activity and exquisite selectivity over the other S1P1-3,5–Rs family members. The lead molecule herein disclosed constitutes a valuable pharmacological tool to explore the effects of the S1P4–R signaling cascade and elucidate the molecular basis of the receptor function.
S1P4 receptor; selective small molecule S1P4–R agonists; thrombocytopenia; viral infections