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1.  Prediction of Missense Mutation Functionality Depends on both the Algorithm and Sequence Alignment Employed 
Human mutation  2011;32(6):661-668.
Multiple algorithms are used to predict the impact of missense mutations on protein structure and function using algorithm-generated sequence alignments or manually curated alignments. We compared the accuracy with native alignment of SIFT, Align-GVGD, PolyPhen-2 and Xvar when generating functionality predictions of well characterized missense mutations (n = 267) within the BRCA1, MSH2, MLH1 and TP53 genes. We also evaluated the impact of the alignment employed on predictions from these algorithms (except Xvar) when supplied the same four alignments including alignments automatically generated by (1) SIFT, (2) Polyphen-2, (3) Uniprot, and (4) a manually curated alignment tuned for Align-GVGD. Alignments differ in sequence composition and evolutionary depth. Data-based receiver operating characteristic curves employing the native alignment for each algorithm result in area under the curve of 78-79% for all four algorithms. Predictions from the PolyPhen-2 algorithm were least dependent on the alignment employed. In contrast, Align-GVGD predicts all variants neutral when provided alignments with a large number of sequences. Of note, algorithms make different predictions of variants even when provided the same alignment and do not necessarily perform best using their own alignment. Thus, researchers should consider optimizing both the algorithm and sequence alignment employed in missense prediction.
PMCID: PMC4154965  PMID: 21480434
multiple sequence alignment; SIFT; PolyPhen-2; Align-GVGD; Xvar; BRCA1; MSH2; MLH1; TP53
3.  An S/T-Q cluster domain census unveils new putative targets under Tel1/Mec1 control 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:664.
The cellular response to DNA damage is immediate and highly coordinated in order to maintain genome integrity and proper cell division. During the DNA damage response (DDR), the sensor kinases Tel1 and Mec1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and ATM and ATR in human, phosphorylate multiple mediators which activate effector proteins to initiate cell cycle checkpoints and DNA repair. A subset of kinase substrates are recognized by the S/T-Q cluster domain (SCD), which contains motifs of serine (S) or threonine (T) followed by a glutamine (Q). However, the full repertoire of proteins and pathways controlled by Tel1 and Mec1 is unknown.
To identify all putative SCD-containing proteins, we analyzed the distribution of S/T-Q motifs within verified Tel1/Mec1 targets and arrived at a unifying SCD definition of at least 3 S/T-Q within a stretch of 50 residues. This new SCD definition was used in a custom bioinformatics pipeline to generate a census of SCD-containing proteins in both yeast and human. In yeast, 436 proteins were identified, a significantly larger number of hits than were expected by chance. These SCD-containing proteins did not distribute equally across GO-ontology terms, but were significantly enriched for those involved in processes related to the DDR. We also found a significant enrichment of proteins involved in telophase and cytokinesis, protein transport and endocytosis suggesting possible novel Tel1/Mec1 targets in these pathways. In the human proteome, a wide range of similar proteins were identified, including homologs of some SCD-containing proteins found in yeast. This list also included high concentrations of proteins in the Mediator, spindle pole body/centrosome and actin cytoskeleton complexes.
Using a bioinformatic approach, we have generated a census of SCD-containing proteins that are involved not only in known DDR pathways but several other pathways under Tel1/Mec1 control suggesting new putative targets for these kinases.
PMCID: PMC3564818  PMID: 23176708
DNA damage response; Phosphorylation; Proteome; Tel1/Mec1; ATM; ATR
5.  A Fluorogenic, Small Molecule Reporter for Mammalian Phospholipase C Isozymes 
ACS Chemical Biology  2011;6(3):223-228.
Phospholipase C isozymes (PLCs) catalyze the conversion of the membrane lipid phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) into two second messengers, inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate and diacylglycerol. This family of enzymes are key signaling proteins that regulate the physiological responses of many extracellular stimuli such as hormones, neurotransmitters, and growth factors. Aberrant regulation of PLCs has been implicated in various diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. How, when, and where PLCs are activated under different cellular contexts are still largely unknown. We have developed a fluorogenic PLC reporter, WH-15, that can be cleaved in a cascade reaction to generate fluorescent 6-aminoquinoline. When applied in enzymatic assays with either pure PLCs or cell lysates, this reporter displays more than a 20-fold fluorescence enhancement in response to PLC activity. Under assay conditions, WH-15 has comparable Km and Vmax with the endogenous PIP2. This novel reporter will likely find broad applications that vary from imaging PLC activity in live cells to high throughput screening of PLC inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3312000  PMID: 21158426
6.  Kinetic Scaffolding Mediated by a Phospholipase C–β and Gq Signaling Complex 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2010;330(6006):974-980.
Transmembrane signals initiated by a broad range of extracellular stimuli converge on nodes that regulate phospholipase C (PLC)–dependent inositol lipid hydrolysis for signal propagation. We describe how heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide–binding proteins (G proteins) activate PLC-βs and in turn are deactivated by these downstream effectors. The 2.7-angstrom structure of PLC-β3 bound to activated Gαq reveals a conserved module found within PLC-βs and other effectors optimized for rapid engagement of activated G proteins. The active site of PLC-β3 in the complex is occluded by an intramolecular plug that is likely removed upon G protein–dependent anchoring and orientation of the lipase at membrane surfaces. A second domain of PLC-β3 subsequently accelerates guanosine triphosphate hydrolysis by Gαq, causing the complex to dissociate and terminate signal propagation. Mutations within this domain dramatically delay signal termination in vitro and in vivo. Consequently, this work suggests a dynamic catch-and-release mechanism used to sharpen spatiotemporal signals mediated by diverse sensory inputs.
PMCID: PMC3046049  PMID: 20966218
7.  Prediction of Protein-Protein Interfaces on G-Protein β Subunits Reveals a Novel Phospholipase C β2 Binding Domain 
Journal of molecular biology  2009;392(4):1044-1054.
Gβ subunits from heterotrimeric G-proteins directly bind diverse proteins, including effectors and regulators, to modulate a wide array of signaling cascades. These numerous interactions constrained the evolution of the molecular surface of Gβ. Though mammals contain five Gβ genes comprising two classes (Gβ1-like and Gβ5-like), plants and fungi have a single ortholog and organisms such as Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster contain one copy from each class. A limited number of crystal structures of complexes containing Gβ subunits and complementary biochemical data highlight specific sites within Gβs needed for protein interactions. It is difficult to determine from these interaction sites what, if any, additional regions of the Gβ molecular surface comprise interaction interfaces essential to Gβ's role as a nexus in numerous signaling cascades. We used a comparative evolutionary approach to identify five known and eight previously-unknown putative interfaces on the surface of Gβ. We show that one such novel interface occurs between Gβ and phospholipase C β2 (PLC-β2), a mammalian Gβ interacting protein. Substitutions of residues within this Gβ-PLC-β2 interface reduce the activation of PLC-β2 by Gβ1, confirming that our de novo comparative evolutionary approach predicts previously unknown Gβ-protein interfaces. Similarly, we hypothesize the seven remaining untested novel regions contribute to putative interfaces for other Gβ interacting proteins. Finally, this comparative evolutionary approach is suitable for application to any protein involved in a significant number of protein-protein interactions.
PMCID: PMC2767172  PMID: 19646992
Heterotrimeric G proteins; Phospholipase C-β2; Protein surface evolution; Interface prediction; PLC-β2 – Gβγ interaction interface
8.  General and Versatile Autoinhibition of PLC Isozymes 
Molecular cell  2008;31(3):383-394.
Phospholipase C (PLC) isozymes are directly activated by heterotrimeric G proteins and Ras-like GTPases to hydrolyze phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate into the second messengers diacylglycerol and inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate. Although PLCs play central roles in myriad signaling cascades, the molecular details of their activation remain poorly understood. As described here, the crystal structure of PLC-β2 illustrates occlusion of the active site by a loop separating the two halves of the catalytic TIM barrel. Removal of this insertion constitutively activates PLC-β2 without ablating its capacity to be further stimulated by classical G protein modulators. Similar regulation occurs in other PLC members, and a general mechanism of interfacial activation at membranes is presented that provides a unifying framework for PLC activation by diverse stimuli.
PMCID: PMC2702322  PMID: 18691970

Results 1-8 (8)