Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease caused by dopamine depletion are associated with burst firing in the subthalamic nucleus (STN). Moreover, regularization or suppression of STN neuronal activity is thought to improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. We reported recently that N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor stimulation of rat STN neurons evokes ATP-sensitive K+ (K-ATP) current via a Ca2+- and nitric oxide-dependent mechanism. The present studies were done to determine whether or not K-ATP channel function in STN neurons is altered in a model of chronic dopamine depletion. Brain slices were prepared from rats with unilateral dopamine depletion caused by intracerebral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) injections. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings showed that NMDA evoked more outward current at −70 mV and greater positive slope conductance in STN neurons located ipsilateral to 6-OHDA treatment compared to neurons located contralateral. Moreover, extracellular, loose-patch recordings showed that NMDA increased spontaneous firing rate in STN neurons in slices from normal rats, whereas NMDA produced a tolbutamide-sensitive inhibition of firing rate in STN neurons located ipsilateral to 6-OHDA treatment. These results show that K-ATP channel function in STN neurons is up-regulated by chronic dopamine deficiency. We suggest that K-ATP channel activation in the STN might benefit symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
ATP-sensitive K+ channel; subthalamic nucleus; N-methyl-D-aspartate; sulfonylurea; tolbutamide; brain slice
This study investigates the performance of a new statistically driven acute ischemia detection algorithm that can process data from two bipolar cutaneous or subcutaneous leads. During a start-up phase, the algorithm processes electrocardiogram signals to determine a normal range of ST-segment deviation as a function of heart rate. The algorithm then generates upper and lower ST-deviation thresholds based on the dispersion of the baseline ST-deviation data. After the start-up phase, persistent ST-deviation that is beyond either the upper or lower thresholds results in detection of acute ischemia. To test the algorithm, we performed long-term (10 day) Holter monitoring in a control group of 14 subjects. We also performed Holter monitoring during balloon angioplasty, and for 2 days after surgery, in 30 subjects who underwent elective percutaneous coronary interventions (“PCI”). We determined the percentage of balloon inflations the algorithm detected without producing false positive detections within the control group 10-day daily life data. The algorithm detected 17/17 LAD occlusions, 7/8 LCX occlusions, and 8/9 RCA occlusions. Our results suggest that automatically generated, subject-specific, heart-rate dependent ST-deviation thresholds can detect PCI induced myocardial ischemia without resulting in false positive detections in a small control group.
Implantable acute ischemia monitor; ST-segment deviation; Balloon occlusion
Amantadine and dextromethorphan suppress levodopa (L-DOPA)-induced dyskinesia (LID) in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) and abnormal involuntary movements (AIMs) in the unilateral 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) rat model. These effects have been attributed to N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) antagonism. However, amantadine and dextromethorphan are also thought to block serotonin (5-HT) uptake and cause 5-HT overflow, leading to stimulation of 5-HT1A receptors, which has been shown to reduce LID. We undertook a study in 6-OHDA rats to determine whether the anti-dyskinetic effects of these two compounds are mediated by NMDA antagonism and/or 5-HT1A agonism. In addition, we assessed the sensorimotor effects of these drugs using the Vibrissae-Stimulated Forelimb Placement and Cylinder tests. Our data show that the AIM-suppressing effect of amantadine was not affected by the 5-HT1A antagonist WAY-100635, but was partially reversed by the NMDA agonist d-cycloserine. Conversely, the AIM-suppressing effect of dextromethorphan was prevented by WAY-100635 but not by d-cycloserine. Neither amantadine nor dextromethorphan affected the therapeutic effects of L-DOPA in sensorimotor tests. We conclude that the anti-dyskinetic effect of amantadine is partially dependent on NMDA antagonism, while dextromethorphan suppresses AIMs via indirect 5-HT1A agonism. Combined with previous work from our group, our results support the investigation of 5-HT1A agonists as pharmacotherapies for LID in PD patients.
6-hydroxydopamine; dyskinesia; L-DOPA; Parkinson’s disease; serotonin
The valley of Cuatro Ciénegas, an aquatic oasis located in the Mexican Chihuahuan Desert, exhibits the highest level of endemism in North America and is a Mexican National Protected Area. However, little is known about the evolutionary distinctiveness of several vertebrate species present in the Cuatro Ciénegas valley. We conducted a phylogeographic study using mitochondrial haplotypes from the centrarchid fish Lepomis megalotis to determine if the populations found within the valley were evolutionarily distinct from populations outside the valley. We also examined if there was evidence of unique haplotypes of this sunfish within the valley. Genetic divergence of L. megalotis suggests populations within the valley are evolutionarily unique when compared to L. megalotis outside the valley. Significant mitochondrial sequence divergence was also discovered between L. megalotis populations on either side of the Sierra de San Marcos that bisects the valley. Our results reinforce previous studies that suggest the organisms occupying aquatic habitats not only within Cuatro Ciénegas but also in each of the two lobes of the valley generally deserve independent consideration during management decisions.
Centrioles organise centrosomes and template cilia and flagella. Several centriole and centrosome proteins have been linked to microcephaly (MCPH), a neuro-developmental disease associated with small brain size. CPAP (MCPH6) and STIL (MCPH7) are required for centriole assembly, but it is unclear how mutations in them lead to microcephaly. We show that the TCP domain of CPAP constitutes a novel proline recognition domain that forms a 1:1 complex with a short, highly conserved target motif in STIL. Crystal structures of this complex reveal an unusual, all-β structure adopted by the TCP domain and explain how a microcephaly mutation in CPAP compromises complex formation. Through point mutations, we demonstrate that complex formation is essential for centriole duplication in vivo. Our studies provide the first structural insight into how the malfunction of centriole proteins results in human disease and also reveal that the CPAP–STIL interaction constitutes a conserved key step in centriole biogenesis.
Organisms—and individual tissues—grow and develop by dividing their cells. However, the process of cell division does not have to be symmetric, and the fates of the cells can be very different if cellular contents, including RNAs or proteins, are exclusively retained in the ‘mother’ or passed to her ‘daughter’. Organelles known as centrioles can play an important part in influencing whether cell division is symmetric or asymmetric.
Centrioles contain ordered assemblies of various proteins, and mutations in some of these proteins can cause developmental defects in humans. For example, mutations in the centriolar proteins CPAP and STIL cause a syndrome known as microcephaly, in which the brain is smaller than normal. Although CPAP and STIL are known to bind each other, how they interact on a molecular level to form centrioles—and how this interaction is disrupted in microcephaly—is not well understood.
Cottee et al. have now used structural and biochemical assays to explore how these two proteins bind to each other, and have identified specific amino acid residues that enable this interaction. These residues are highly conserved across many organisms, and a mutation in one of them has previously been associated with microcephaly in humans. Now, Cottee et al. demonstrate that this mutation weakens the interaction between CPAP and STIL in vitro.
To explore these processes in vivo, Cottee et al. studied mutant fruit flies in which the interactions between CPAP and STIL were weaker than normal, and found that these mutations prevented the normal formation of centrioles. Furthermore, there was a striking correlation between the ability to form centrioles in fruit flies and the ability of CPAP and STIL to bind each other, based on the structural model and in vitro binding studies.
Cumulatively, these findings reinforce the importance of CPAP and STIL in centriole formation, and suggest that one reason for the development of microcephaly may be defects in the proper formation of centrioles.
centriole; centrosome; CPAP; microcephaly; STIL; C. elegans; D. melanogaster; Zebrafish
Background: The GYPA-PfEBA175 interaction is important for erythrocyte invasion by the malaria parasite.
Results: The entire ectodomain of EBA175 interacted with GYPA with different biochemical parameters to the previously determined GYPA-binding fragment containing two DBL domains.
Conclusion: Regions outside of the tandem DBL domains contribute to GYPA binding by EBA175.
Significance: These findings may assist the design of an EBA175-based malaria vaccine.
PfEBA175 has an important role in the invasion of human erythrocytes by Plasmodium falciparum and is therefore considered a high priority blood-stage malaria vaccine candidate. PfEBA175 mediates adhesion to erythrocytes through binding of the Duffy-binding-like (DBL) domains in its extracellular domain to Neu5Acα2–3Gal displayed on the O-linked glycans of glycophorin-A (GYPA). Because of the difficulties in expressing active full-length (FL) P. falciparum proteins in a recombinant form, previous analyses of the PfEBA175-GYPA interaction have largely focused on the DBL domains alone, and therefore they have not been performed in the context of the native protein sequence. Here, we express the entire ectodomain of PfEBA175 (PfEBA175 FL) in soluble form, allowing us to compare the biochemical and immunological properties with a fragment containing only the tandem DBL domains (“region II,” PfEBA175 RII). Recombinant PfEBA175 FL bound human erythrocytes in a trypsin and neuraminidase-sensitive manner and recognized Neu5Acα2–3Gal-containing glycans, confirming its biochemical activity. A quantitative binding analysis showed that PfEBA175 FL interacted with native GYPA with a KD ∼0.26 μm and is capable of self-association. By comparison, the RII fragment alone bound GYPA with a lower affinity demonstrating that regions outside of the DBL domains are important for interactions with GYPA; antibodies directed to these other regions also contributed to the inhibition of parasite invasion. These data demonstrate the importance of PfEBA175 regions other than the DBL domains in the interaction with GYPA and merit their inclusion in an EBA175-based vaccine.
Carbohydrate-binding Protein; Cell Invasion; Cell Surface Receptor; Infectious Diseases; Malaria; Protein-Protein Interactions; Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR)
Calcium-dependent protein kinase-1 (CDPK1) from Cryptosporidium parvum (CpCDPK1) and Toxoplasma gondii (TgCDPK1) have become attractive targets for discovering selective inhibitors to combat infections caused by these protozoa. We used structure-based design to improve a series of benzoylbenzimidazole-based compounds in terms of solubility, selectivity, and potency against CpCDPK1 and TgCDPK1. The best inhibitors show inhibitory potencies below 50 nM and selectivity well above 200-fold over two human kinases with small gatekeeper residues.
Cryptosporidium parvum; Toxoplasma gondii; calcium-dependent protein kinase 1; enzyme inhibitor; selectivity
Transthyretin (TTR) is one of the many proteins that are known to misfold and aggregate (i.e., undergo amyloidogenesis) in vivo. The process of TTR amyloidogenesis causes nervous system and/or heart pathology. While several of these maladies are associated with mutations that destabilize the TTR native quaternary and/or tertiary structure, wild type TTR amyloidogenesis also leads to the degeneration of post-mitotic tissue. Over the past twenty years, much has been learned about the factors that influence the propensity of TTR to aggregate. This biophysical information led to the development of a therapeutic strategy, termed “kinetic stabilization”, to prevent TTR amyloidogenesis. This strategy afforded the drug, tafamidis (trade name: Vyndaqel®), which was recently approved by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of Transthyretin Familial Amyloid Polyneuropathy (TTR-FAP), a common familial TTR amyloid disease. Tafamidis is the first, and currently the only, medication approved to treat TTR-FAP. Here we review the biophysical basis for the kinetic stabilization strategy and the structure-based drug design effort that led to this first-in-class pharmacologic agent.
Background and Aims
The stigma, a structure which serves as a site for pollen receipt and germination, has been assumed to have evolved once, as a modification of carpels, in early angiosperms. Here it is shown that a functional stigma has evolved secondarily from modified tepals in some Albuca species (Hyacinthaceae).
Deposition of pollen on Albuca floral organs by bees was recorded. Pollen germination and fruit set was measured in flowers that had pollen deposited solely on their tepals or had their tepal tips experimentally isolated or removed after pollination.
Leafcutter bees deposit pollen onto the papillate apices of the inner tepals of Albuca flowers. Pollen germinates in tepal-derived fluid secreted 2 or 3 d after anthesis and pollen tubes subsequently penetrate the style during flower wilting. Application of cross-pollen to the inner tepal apices of A. setosa flowers led to high fruit set. No fruits were produced in pollinated flowers in which the inner tepals were mechanically isolated or removed.
Pollen capture by tepals in the Albuca clade probably evolved in response to selection for floral morphology that maximizes the accuracy of pollen transfer. These findings show how pollination function can be transferred among floral organs, and shed light on how the original angiosperm stigma developed from sporophylls.
Hyacinthaceae; Ornithogaloideae; pollen; pollen germination; pollen receipt; pollen tube; pollination; sexual interference
Neisseria meningitidis is a leading cause of sepsis and meningitis. The bacterium recruits factor H (fH), a negative regulator of the complement system, to its surface via fH binding protein (fHbp), providing a mechanism to avoid complement-mediated killing. fHbp is an important antigen that elicits protective immunity against the meningococcus and has been divided into three different variant groups, V1, V2 and V3, or families A and B. However, immunisation with fHbp V1 does not result in cross-protection against V2 and V3 and vice versa. Furthermore, high affinity binding of fH could impair immune responses against fHbp. Here, we investigate a homologue of fHbp in Neisseria gonorrhoeae, designated as Gonococcal homologue of fHbp (Ghfp) which we show is a promising vaccine candidate for N. meningitidis. We demonstrate that Gfhp is not expressed on the surface of the gonococcus and, despite its high level of identity with fHbp, does not bind fH. Substitution of only two amino acids in Ghfp is sufficient to confer fH binding, while the corresponding residues in V3 fHbp are essential for high affinity fH binding. Furthermore, immune responses against Ghfp recognise V1, V2 and V3 fHbps expressed by a range of clinical isolates, and have serum bactericidal activity against N. meningitidis expressing fHbps from all variant groups.
Neisseria meningitidis is a major cause of sepsis and meningitis in young children and adolescents. Although vaccines are currently available against several serogroups, a broadly effective vaccine against serogroup B is still needed. Factor H binding protein (fHbp) can bind the human complement regulator factor H (fH) and is an important meningococcal immunogen. fHbp is divided into three variant groups (V1, V2 and V3) and immunisation with V1 fHbp does not elicit cross-protection against meningococcus expressing fHbp V2 or V3, and vice versa. Here, we investigate a homologue of fHbp in Neisseria gonorrhoeae which we named Gonococcal homologue of factor H binding protein (Ghfp). We show that in contrast to fHbp, Ghfp is not expressed on the bacterial surface and is unable to bind to factor H. Surprisingly, we found that antibodies raised against Ghfp have the capacity to mediate protective immunity against N. meningitidis expressing any of the three variant groups of fHbp, and could provide a broadly protective vaccine against N. meningitidis.
Type III secretion systems (T3SSs) are bacterial membrane-embedded secretion nanomachines designed to export specifically targeted sets of proteins from the bacterial cytoplasm. Secretion through T3SS is governed by a subset of inner membrane proteins termed the ‘export apparatus’. We show that a key member of the Shigella flexneri export apparatus, MxiA, assembles into a ring essential for secretion in vivo. The ring forming interfaces are well conserved in both non-flagellar and flagellar homologues, implying that the ring is an evolutionary conserved feature in these systems. Electron cryo-tomography reveals a T3SS-associated cytoplasmic torus of size and shape corresponding to the MxiA ring aligned to the secretion channel located between the secretion pore and the ATPase complex. This defines the molecular architecture of the dominant component of the export apparatus and allows us to propose a model for the molecular mechanisms controlling secretion.
Although the tremendous variability in floral colour among angiosperms is often attributed to divergent selection by pollinators, it is usually difficult to preclude the possibility that floral colour shifts were driven by non-pollinator processes. Here, we examine the adaptive significance of flower colour in Disa ferruginea, a non-rewarding orchid that is thought to attract its butterfly pollinator by mimicking the flowers of sympatric nectar-producing species. Disa ferruginea has red flowers in the western part of its range and orange flowers in the eastern part—a colour shift that we hypothesized to be the outcome of selection for resemblance to different local nectar-producing plants. Using reciprocal translocations of red and orange phenotypes as well as arrays of artificial flowers, we found that the butterfly Aeropetes tulbaghia, the only pollinator of the orchid, preferred both the red phenotype and red artificial flowers in the west where its main nectar plant also has red flowers, and both the orange phenotype and orange artificial flowers in the east, where its main nectar plant has orange flowers. This phenotype by environment interaction demonstrates that the flower colour shift in D. ferruginea is adaptive and driven by local colour preference in its pollinator.
Batesian mimicry; Disa ferruginea; ecological divergence; geographical colour variation; local adaptation; pollinator selection
The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway is one of two general protein transport systems found in the prokaryotic cytoplasmic membrane and is conserved in the thylakoid membrane of plant chloroplasts. The defining, and highly unusual, property of the Tat pathway is that it transports folded proteins, a task that must be achieved without allowing significant ion leakage across the membrane. The integral membrane TatC protein is the central component of the Tat pathway. TatC captures substrate proteins by binding their signal peptides. TatC then recruits TatA family proteins to form the active translocation complex. Here we report the crystal structure of TatC from the hyperthermophilic bacterium Aquifex aeolicus. This structure provides a molecular description of the core of the Tat translocation system and a framework for understanding the unique Tat transport mechanism.
A wildlife hospital and rehabilitation center in northwestern United States received several big brown bats with necrosuppurative osteomyelitis in multiple joints. Wing and joint tissues were positive by PCR for poxvirus. Thin-section electron microscopy showed poxvirus particles within A-type inclusions. Phylogenetic comparison supports establishment of a new genus of Poxviridae.
poxvirus; viruses; osteomyelitis; Eptesicus fuscus; big brown bats; zoonoses; United States; expedited
Pore-forming proteins containing the structurally conserved membrane attack complex/perforin fold play an important role in immunity and host-pathogen interactions. Intermedilysin (ILY) is an archetypal member of a cholesterol-dependent cytolysin subclass that hijacks the complement receptor CD59 to make cytotoxic pores in human cells. ILY directly competes for the membrane attack complex binding site on CD59, rendering cells susceptible to complement lysis. To understand how these bacterial pores form in lipid bilayers and the role CD59 plays in complement regulation, we determined the crystal structure of human CD59 bound to ILY. Here, we show the ILY-CD59 complex at 3.5 Å resolution and identify two interfaces mediating this host-pathogen interaction. An ILY-derived peptide based on the binding site inhibits pore formation in a CD59-containing liposome model system. These data provide insight into how CD59 coordinates ILY monomers, nucleating an early prepore state, and suggest a potential mechanism of inhibition for the complement terminal pathway.
•Crystal structure of the ILY-CD59 complex defines two interfaces•Our two binding interfaces are supported by previous mutagenesis studies•An ILY-derived peptide competes for binding in a liposome model system•Our model provides a structural basis for CD59 nucleation of an ILY early prepore
The crystal structure of human CD59 in complex with the bacterial toxin intermedilysin (ILY) is now presented by Bubeck and colleagues. These results suggest that CD59 positions the cholesterol-binding motif of ILY in proximity to the membrane and nucleates oligomerization of ILY monomers through two binding faces. This model for CD59 function gives insight into the mechanism of cholesterol-dependent cytolysin pore formation and provides a framework for future investigation probing regulation of the complement terminal pathway.
CD200 is a widely distributed membrane glycoprotein that regulates myeloid cell activity through its interaction with an inhibitory receptor (CD200R). The interaction is of interest as a target for treating excessive inflammation and for treating leukaemia. There are closely related proteins to CD200R that give activating signals making this a ‘paired receptor’. We report X-ray crystallography structures for the inhibitory CD200R, the activating receptor CD200RLa and a complex between CD200R and CD200. Both CD200 and CD200R contain two Ig-like domains and interact through their NH2 terminal domains compatible with immunological synapse like interactions occurring between myeloid cells and other CD200 expressing cells. The failure of the activating receptor to bind CD200 resides in subtle changes around the interface. CD200 has been acquired by herpesviruses to mimic the host interaction. CD200R has evolved rapidly presumably driven by pathogen pressure but it may also be important in homeostasis through interactions with commensal bacteria.
CD200; receptor; evolution; regulation; myeloid
In a field where structure has finally begun to have a real impact a series of new structures over the last two years have further extended our understanding of some of the critical regulatory events. Notably information has begun to flow from larger assemblies of components which allow insight into the often transient assemblies critical to complement regulation at the cell surface. This review will summarise the key structures determined since the last International Complement Workshop and the insights these have given us, before highlighting some questions that still require molecular frameworks to drive understanding.
Complement; structure; regulation; protein complexes
The structure of ErpC, a member of the complement regulator-acquiring surface protein family from B. burgdorferi, has been solved, providing insights into the strategies of complement evasion by this zoonotic bacterium and suggesting a common architecture for other members of this protein family.
Borrelia burgdorferi is a spirochete responsible for Lyme disease, the most commonly occurring vector-borne disease in Europe and North America. The bacterium utilizes a set of proteins, termed complement regulator-acquiring surface proteins (CRASPs), to aid evasion of the human complement system by recruiting and presenting complement regulator factor H on its surface in a manner that mimics host cells. Presented here is the atomic resolution structure of a member of this protein family, ErpC. The structure provides new insights into the mechanism of recruitment of factor H and other factor H-related proteins by acting as a molecular mimic of host glycosaminoglycans. It also describes the architecture of other CRASP proteins belonging to the OspE/F-related paralogous protein family and suggests that they have evolved to bind specific complement proteins, aiding survival of the bacterium in different hosts.
BbCRASP-4; Borrelia burgdorferi; ErpC; factor H; complement
Lifestyle behavior modification is an essential component of self-management of type 2 diabetes. We evaluated the prevalence of engagement in lifestyle behaviors for management of the disease, as well as the impact of healthcare professional support on these behaviors.
Self-reported data were available from 2682 adult respondents, age 20 years or older, to the 2011 Survey on Living with Chronic Diseases in Canada’s diabetes component. Associations with never engaging in and not sustaining self-management behaviors (of dietary change, weight control, exercise, and smoking cessation) were evaluated using binomial regression models.
The prevalence of reported dietary change, weight control/loss, increased exercise and smoking cessation (among those who smoked since being diagnosed) were 89.7%, 72.1%, 69.5%, and 30.6%, respectively. Those who reported not receiving health professional advice in the previous 12 months were more likely to report never engaging in dietary change (RR = 2.7, 95% CI 1.8 – 4.2), exercise (RR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.3 – 2.1), or weight control/loss (RR = 2.2, 95% CI 1.3 – 3.6), but not smoking cessation (RR = 1.0; 95% CI: 0.7 – 1.5). Also, living with diabetes for more than six years was associated with not sustaining dietary change, weight loss and smoking cessation.
Health professional advice for lifestyle behaviors for type 2 diabetes self-management may support individual actions. Patients living with the disease for more than 6 years may require additional support in sustaining recommended behaviors.
Type 2 diabetes; Health behaviors; Health professional advice; Self-management
CD200 is a widely distributed membrane glycoprotein that regulates myeloid cell activity through its interaction with an inhibitory receptor (CD200R). The interaction is of interest as a target for treating excessive inflammation and for treating leukemia. There are closely related proteins to CD200R that give activating signals making this a “paired receptor.” We report X-ray crystallography structures for the inhibitory CD200R, the activating receptor CD200RLa, and a complex between CD200R and CD200. Both CD200 and CD200R contain two Ig-like domains and interact through their NH2 terminal domains compatible with immunological synapse-like interactions occurring between myeloid cells and other CD200-expressing cells. The failure of the activating receptor to bind CD200 resides in subtle changes around the interface. CD200 has been acquired by herpes viruses to mimic the host interaction. CD200R has evolved rapidly presumably driven by pathogen pressure but it may also be important in homeostasis through interactions with commensal bacteria.
•Structure of CD200R and in complex with its ligand CD200 complex•Structure of an activating member of the CD200 receptor family•Mutagenesis showing specificity of CD200 paired receptor family
Hatherley et al. present a structural basis explaining why the cell surface protein CD200 binds to its receptor (CD200R) but not to the related activating receptor CD200RLa. The rapid evolution of the receptors was probably driven by pathogens and might play a role in mediating interaction with the microbiome.
Eukaryotic chromatin architecture is affected by intrinsic histone-DNA sequence preferences, steric exclusion between nucleosome particles, formation of higher-order structures, and in vivo activity of chromatin remodeling enzymes.
To disentangle sequence-dependent nucleosome positioning from the other factors, we have created two high-throughput maps of nucleosomes assembled in vitro on genomic DNA from the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. A comparison of in vitro nucleosome positions with those observed in a mixed-stage, mixed-tissue population of C. elegans cells reveals that in vivo sequence preferences are modified on the genomic scale. Indeed, G/C dinucleotides are predicted to be most favorable for nucleosome formation in vitro but not in vivo. Nucleosome sequence read coverage in vivo is distinctly lower in chromosome arms than in central regions; the observed changes in apparent nucleosome sequence specificity, likely due to genome-wide chromatin remodeler activity, contribute to the formation of these megabase-scale chromatin domains. We also observe that the majority of well-positioned in vivo nucleosomes do not occupy thermodynamically favorable sequences observed in vitro. Finally, we find that exons are intrinsically more amenable to nucleosome formation compared to introns. Nucleosome occupancy of introns and exons consistently increases with G/C content in vitro but not in vivo, in agreement with our observation that G/C dinucleotide enrichment does not strongly promote in vivo nucleosome formation.
Our findings highlight the importance of both sequence specificity and active nucleosome repositioning in creating large-scale chromatin domains, and the antagonistic roles of intrinsic sequence preferences and chromatin remodelers in C. elegans.
Sequence read data has been deposited into Sequence Read Archive (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sra; accession number SRA050182). Additional data, software and computational predictions are available on the Nucleosome Explorer website (http://nucleosome.rutgers.edu).
Nucleosome; Histone-DNA interactions; Chromatin domains; Nucleosome positioning
Diseases caused by the apicomplexan protozoans Toxoplasma gondii and Cryptosporidium parvum are a major health concern. The life cycle of these parasites is regulated by a family of calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) that have no direct homologs in the human host. Fortuitously, CDPK1 from both parasites contains a rare glycine gatekeeper residue adjacent to the ATP-binding pocket. This has allowed creation of a series of C3-substituted pyrazolopyrimidine compounds that are potent inhibitors selective for CDPK1 over a panel of human kinases. Here we demonstrate that selectivity is further enhanced by modification of the scaffold at the C1 position. The explanation for this unexpected result is provided by crystal structures of the inhibitors bound to CDPK1 and the human kinase c-SRC. Furthermore, the insight gained from these studies was applied to transform an alternative ATP-competitive scaffold lacking potency and selectivity for CDPK1 into a low nanomolar inhibitor of this enzyme with no activity against SRC.
Toxoplasmosis is a disease of prominent health concern that is caused by the protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. Proliferation of T. gondii is dependent on its ability to invade host cells, which is mediated, in part, by calcium-dependent protein kinase 1 (CDPK1). We have developed ATP competitive inhibitors of TgCDPK1 that block invasion of parasites into host cells, preventing their proliferation. The presence of a unique glycine gatekeeper residue in TgCDPK1 permits selective inhibition of the parasite enzyme over human kinases. These potent TgCDPK1 inhibitors do not inhibit the growth of human cell lines and represent promising candidates as toxoplasmosis therapeutics.
Background and Aims
Pollen-collecting bees are among the most important pollinators globally, but are also the most common pollen thieves and can significantly reduce plant reproduction. The pollination efficiency of pollen collectors depends on the frequency of their visits to female(-phase) flowers, contact with stigmas and deposition of pollen of sufficient quantity and quality to fertilize ovules. Here we investigate the relative importance of these components, and the hypothesis that floral and inflorescence characteristics mediate the pollination role of pollen collection by bees.
For ten Aloe species that differ extensively in floral and inflorescence traits, we experimentally excluded potential bird pollinators to quantify the contributions of insect visitors to pollen removal, pollen deposition and seed production. We measured corolla width and depth to determine nectar accessibility, and the phenology of anther dehiscence and stigma receptivity to quantify herkogamy and dichogamy. Further, we compiled all published bird-exclusion studies of aloes, and compared insect pollination success with floral morphology.
Species varied from exclusively insect pollinated, to exclusively bird pollinated but subject to extensive pollen theft by insects. Nectar inaccessibility and strong dichogamy inhibited pollination by pollen-collecting bees by discouraging visits to female-phase (i.e. pollenless) flowers. For species with large inflorescences of pollen-rich flowers, pollen collectors successfully deposited pollen, but of such low quality (probably self-pollen) that they made almost no contribution to seed set. Indeed, considering all published bird-exclusion studies (17 species in total), insect pollination efficiency varied significantly with floral shape.
Species-specific floral and inflorescence characteristics, especially nectar accessibility and dichogamy, control the efficiency of pollen-collecting bees as pollinators of aloes.
Pollen theft; pollination efficiency; dichogamy; floral morphology; Aloe; Alooideae; Xanthorrhoeaceae; Asphodeloideae
Nectar guides, contrasting patterns on flowers that supposedly direct pollinators towards a concealed nectar reward, are taxonomically widespread. However, there have been few studies of their functional significance and effects on plant fitness. Most previous studies focused on pollinator behaviour and used artificial flowers in laboratory settings. We experimentally investigated the role of putative nectar guides in a natural system: the South African iris Lapeirousia oreogena, whose flowers have a clearly visible pattern of six white arrow-markings pointing towards the narrow entrance of the long corolla tube, and its sole pollinator, a long-proboscid nemestrinid fly. We painted over none, some or all of the white arrow-markings with ink that matched the colour of the corolla background. Although arrow-marking removal had little effect on the approaches by flies to flowers from a distance, it dramatically reduced the likelihood of proboscis insertion. Export of pollen dye analogue (an estimate of male fitness) was reduced to almost zero in flowers from which all nectar guides had been removed, and fruit set (a measure of female fitness) was also significantly reduced. Our results confirm that the markings on L. oreogena flowers serve as nectar guides and suggest that they are under strong selective maintenance through both male and female fitness components in this pollination system.
pollination; nectar guide; pollinator behaviour; long-tongued fly; plant fitness