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1.  Binding to DPF-motif by the POB1 EH domain is responsible for POB1-Eps15 interaction 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8:29.
Eps15 homology (EH) domains are protein interaction modules binding to peptides containing Asn-Pro-Phe (NPF) motifs and mediating critical events during endocytosis and signal transduction. The EH domain of POB1 associates with Eps15, a protein characterized by a striking string of DPF triplets, 15 in human and 13 in mouse Eps15, at the C-terminus and lacking the typical EH-binding NPF motif.
By screening a multivalent nonapeptide phage display library we have demonstrated that the EH domain of POB1 has a different recognition specificity since it binds to both NPF and DPF motifs. The region of mouse Eps15 responsible for the interaction with the EH domain of POB1 maps within a 18 amino acid peptide (residues 623–640) that includes three DPF repeats. Finally, mutational analysis in the EH domain of POB1, revealed that several solvent exposed residues, while distal to the binding pocket, mediate specific recognition of binding partners through both hydrophobic and electrostatic contacts.
In the present study we have analysed the binding specificity of the POB1 EH domain. We show that it differs from other EH domains since it interacts with both NPF- and DPF-containing sequences. These unusual binding properties could be attributed to a different conformation of the binding pocket that allows to accommodate negative charges; moreover, we identified a cluster of solvent exposed Lys residues, which are only found in the EH domain of POB1, and influence binding to both NPF and DPF motifs. The characterization of structures of the DPF ligands described in this study and the POB1 EH domain will clearly determine the involvement of the positive patch and the rationalization of our findings.
PMCID: PMC2238750  PMID: 18154663
2.  The effects of NaCl concentration and pH on the stability of hyperthermophilic protein Ssh10b 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8:28.
Hyperthermophiles constitute a group of microorganisms with an optimum growth temperature of between 80°C and 100°C. Although the molecular underpinnings of protein thermostabilization have been the focus of many theoretical and experimental efforts, the properties leading to the higher denaturation temperature of hyperthermophilic proteins are still controversial. Among the large number of factors identified as responsible for the thermostability of hyperthermophilic proteins, the electrostatic interactions are thought to be a universally important factor.
In this study, we report the effects of pH and salt concentration on the urea-induced denaturation of the protein Ssh10b from a hyperthermophile in low ionic strength buffer. In the absence of NaCl, the unfolding ΔG of the protein increased from about 33 kJ/mol at pH 3 to about 78 kJ/mol at pH 10. At all values of pH, the ΔG increased with increasing NaCl concentration, indicating that salt stabilizes the protein significantly.
These findings suggests that the increased number of charged residues and ion pairs in the protein Ssh10b from hyperthermophiles does not contribute to the stabilization of the folded protein, but may play a role in determining the denatured state ensemble and also in increasing the denaturation temperature.
PMCID: PMC2241623  PMID: 18096085
3.  Downregulation of COP9 signalosome subunits differentially affects the CSN complex and target protein stability 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8:27.
The COP9 signalosome (CSN) is a conserved protein complex in eukaryotic cells consisting of eight subunits (CSN1 to CSN8). Recent data demonstrate that the CSN is a regulator of the ubiquitin (Ub) proteasome system (UPS). It controls substrate ubiquitination by cullin-RING Ub ligases (CRLs), a process that determines substrate specificity of the UPS. The intrinsic deneddylating activity localized to CSN5 as well as the associated kinases and deubiquitinating activity are involved in the regulatory function of CSN. The exact mechanisms are unclear. In this study we knocked down CSN1 (siCSN1), CSN3 (siCSN3) and CSN5 (siCSN5) by specific siRNA oligos permanently expressed in HeLa cells. The analysis and comparison of siRNA cells revealed differential impact of individual subunits on CSN structure and function.
Permanent knockdowns of CSN1 and CSN3 led to a reduction of the subunits to approximately 40%, which is accompanied by a proportional decrease of the CSN holocomplex. In contrast, downregulation of CSN5 in HeLa cells reduced the CSN5 protein below 20% without significant effects on the remaining complex. The CRL component Rbx1 was characterized by accelerated proteolysis in siCSN1 and siCSN3 and also in siCSN5 cells, however, with lesser extent. Immunoprecipitated CSN complex from siCSN5 cells was less effective in phosphorylating c-Jun and p27. Accelerated degradation of c-Jun in siCSN5 cells was rescued by overexpression of CSN5 as well as of the deneddylation mutant CSN5D151N. Overexpression of CSN5 cannot rescue c-Jun destabilization in siCSN1.
There exists a coordinated downregulation of CSN subunits in the CSN1 and CSN3 knockdowns. The underlying regulatory mechanisms are obscure. CSN5 seems to possess a specific status in HeLa cells. Its reduction is not connected with coordinated downregulation of other subunits. CSN knockdowns confirm that the stabilization of the CRL component Rbx1 is a major CSN function. In addition, downregulation of CSN subunits influences the stability of important cellular regulators such as c-Jun and p27.
PMCID: PMC2225408  PMID: 18093314
4.  Glutathionylation of beta-actin via a cysteinyl sulfenic acid intermediary 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8:26.
Cysteinyl residues in actin are glutathionylated, ie. form a mixed disulfide with glutathione, even in the absence of exogenous oxidative stress. Glutathionylation inhibits actin polymerization and reversible actin glutathionylation is a redox dependent mechanism for regulation of the cytoskeleton structure. The molecular mechanism that mediates actin glutathionylation in vivo is unclear.
We have studied glutathionylation of α- and β-actin in vitro using an enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay with a monoclonal anti-glutathione antibody. α- and β-actin were both glutathionylated when incubated with reduced glutathione (GSH) combined with diamide as a thiol oxidant. However, β-actin was also glutathionylated by both glutathione disulfide (GSSG) and GSH in the absence of diamide whereas α-actin was poorly glutathionylated by GSH or GSSG. Glutathionylation of β-actin by GSSG is likely to be mediated by a thiol-exchange mechanism whereas glutathionylation by GSH requires thiol oxidation. β-actin glutathionylation by GSH was inhibited by arsenite and dimedone suggesting that the mechanism involved formation of a cysteinyl sulfenic acid residue in β-actin.
We conclude that glutathionylation of β-actin may occur via spontaneous oxidation of a cysteinyl residue to a sulfenic acid that readily reacts with GSH to form a mixed disulfide. We also show that the reactivity and oxidation to a reactive protein thiol intermediary differ between different actin isoforms.
PMCID: PMC2228301  PMID: 18070357
5.  Metabolic signature of breast cancer cell line MCF-7: profiling of modified nucleosides via LC-IT MS coupling 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8:25.
Cancer, like other diseases accompanied by strong metabolic disorders, shows characteristic effects on cell turnover rate, activity of modifying enzymes and DNA/RNA modifications, resulting also in elevated amounts of excreted modified nucleosides. For a better understanding of the impaired RNA metabolism in breast cancer cells, we screened these metabolites in the cell culture supernatants of the breast cancer cell line MCF-7 and compared it to the human mammary epithelial cells MCF-10A. The nucleosides were isolated and analyzed via 2D-chromatographic techniques: In the first dimension by cis-diol specific boronate affinity extraction and subsequently by reversed phase chromatography coupled to an ion trap mass spectrometer.
Besides the determination of ribonucleosides, additional compounds with cis-diol structure, deriving from cross-linked biochemical pathways, like purine-, histidine- and polyamine metabolism were detected. In total, 36 metabolites were identified by comparison of fragmentation patterns and retention time. Relation to the internal standard isoguanosine yielded normalized area ratios for each identified compound and enabled a semi-quantitative metabolic signature of both analyzed cell lines.
13 of the identified 26 modified ribonucleosides were elevated in the cell culture supernatants of MCF-7 cells, with 5-methyluridine, N2,N2,7-trimethylguanosine, N6-methyl-N6-threonylcarbamoyladenosine and 3-(3-aminocarboxypropyl)-uridine showing the most significant differences. 1-ribosylimidazole-4-acetic acid, a histamine metabolite, was solely found in the supernatants of MCF-10A cells, whereas 1-ribosyl-4-carboxamido-5-aminoimidazole and S-adenosylmethionine occurred only in supernatants of MCF-7 cells.
The obtained results are discussed against the background of pathological changes in cell metabolism, resulting in new perspectives for modified nucleosides and related metabolites as possible biomedical markers for breast carcinoma in vivo.
PMCID: PMC2219991  PMID: 18047657
6.  Roles and potential therapeutic targets of the ubiquitin proteasome system in muscle wasting 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S7.
Muscle wasting, characterized by the loss of protein mass in myofibers, is in most cases largely due to the activation of intracellular protein degradation by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS). During the last decade, mechanisms contributing to this activation have been unraveled and key mediators of this process identified. Even though much remains to be understood, the available information already suggests screens for new compounds inhibiting these mechanisms and highlights the potential for pharmaceutical drugs able to treat muscle wasting when it becomes deleterious. This review presents an overview of the main pathways contributing to UPS activation in muscle and describes the present state of efforts made to develop new strategies aimed at blocking or slowing muscle wasting.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106371  PMID: 18047744
7.  HECT E3s and human disease 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S6.
In a simplified view, members of the HECT E3 family have a modular structure consisting of the C-terminal HECT domain, which is catalytically involved in the attachment of ubiquitin to substrate proteins, and N-terminal extensions of variable length and sequence that mediate the substrate specificity of the respective HECT E3. Although the physiologically relevant substrates of most HECT E3s have remained elusive, it is becoming increasingly clear that HECT E3s play an important role in sporadic and hereditary human diseases including cancer, cardiovascular (Liddle's syndrome) and neurological (Angelman syndrome) disorders, and/or in disease-relevant processes including bone homeostasis, immune response and retroviral budding. Thus, molecular approaches to target the activity of distinct HECT E3s, regulators thereof, and/or of HECT E3 substrates could prove valuable in the treatment of the respective diseases.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106370  PMID: 18047743
8.  Ubiquitin-mediated signalling and Paget's disease of bone 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S5.
Multiple steps in the RANK-NF-κB signalling pathway are regulated by ubiquitylation. Mutations affecting different components of this pathway, including the ubiquitin binding p62 signalling adapter protein, are found in patients with Paget's disease of bone or related syndromes. Here, we review the molecular defects and potential disease mechanisms in these conditions and conclude that the mutations may confer a common increased sensitivity of osteoclasts to cytokines, resulting in disordered NF-κB-dependent osteoclast function. Modulation of the osteoclast RANK-NF-κB signalling axis may represent a viable therapeutic strategy for Paget's disease and other conditions where excessive bone resorption or remodelling is a feature.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106369  PMID: 18047742
9.  Role of the ubiquitin proteasome system in renal cell carcinoma 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S4.
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for approximately 2.6% of all cancers in the United States. While early stage disease is curable by surgery, the median survival of metastatic disease is only 13 months. In the last decade, there has been considerable progress in understanding the genetics of RCC. The VHL tumor suppressor gene is inactivated in the majority of RCC cases. The VHL protein (pVHL) acts as an E3 ligase that targets HIF-1, the hypoxia inducible transcription factor, for degradation by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS). In RCC cases with mutant pVHL, HIF-1 is stabilized and aberrantly expressed in normoxia, leading to the activation of pro-survival genes such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This review will focus on the defect in the UPS that underlies RCC and describe the development of novel therapies that target the UPS.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106368  PMID: 18047741
10.  Role of proteasomes in disease 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S3.
A functional ubiquitin proteasome system is essential for all eukaryotic cells and therefore any alteration to its components has potential pathological consequences. Though the exact underlying mechanism is unclear, an age-related decrease in proteasome activity weakens cellular capacity to remove oxidatively modified proteins and favours the development of neurodegenerative and cardiac diseases. Up-regulation of proteasome activity is characteristic of muscle wasting conditions including sepsis, cachexia and uraemia, but may not be rate limiting. Meanwhile, enhanced presence of immunoproteasomes in aging brain and muscle tissue could reflect a persistent inflammatory defence and anti-stress mechanism, whereas in cancer cells, their down-regulation reflects a means by which to escape immune surveillance. Hence, induction of apoptosis by synthetic proteasome inhibitors is a potential treatment strategy for cancer, whereas for other diseases such as neurodegeneration, the use of proteasome-activating or -modulating compounds could be more effective.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106367  PMID: 18047740
11.  Patented small molecule inhibitors in the ubiquitin proteasome system 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S14.
Deregulation of the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many human diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. The recent approval of the proteasome inhibitor Velcade® (bortezomib) for the treatment of multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma establishes this system as a valid target for cancer treatment. We review here new patented proteasome inhibitors and patented small molecule inhibitors targeting more specific UPS components, such as E3 ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitylating enzymes.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106365  PMID: 18047738
12.  Role of the ubiquitin proteasome system in Parkinson's disease 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S13.
Parkinson's disease (PD) is the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder. Although a subject of intense research, the etiology of PD remains poorly understood. Recently, several lines of evidence have implicated an intimate link between aberrations in the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) and PD pathogenesis. Derangements of the UPS, which normally functions as a type of protein degradation machinery, lead to alterations in protein homeostasis that could conceivably promote the toxic accumulation of proteins detrimental to neuronal survival. Not surprisingly, various cellular and animal models of PD that are based on direct disruption of UPS function reproduce the most prominent features of PD. Although persuasive, new developments in the past few years have in fact raised serious questions about the link between the UPS and PD. Here I review current thoughts and controversies about their relationship and discuss whether strategies aimed at mitigating UPS dysfunction could represent rational ways to intervene in the disease.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106364  PMID: 18047737
13.  Role of the ubiquitin proteasome system in Alzheimer's disease 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S12.
Though Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a syndrome with well-defined clinical and neuropathological manifestations, an array of molecular defects underlies its pathology. A role for the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) was suspected in the pathogenesis of AD since the presence of ubiquitin immunoreactivity in AD-related neuronal inclusions, such as neurofibrillary tangles, is seen in all AD cases. Recent studies have indicated that components of the UPS could be linked to the early phase of AD, which is marked by synaptic dysfunction, as well as to the late stages of the disease, characterized by neurodegeneration. Insoluble protein aggregates in the brain of AD patients could result from malfunction or overload of the UPS, or from structural changes in the protein substrates, which prevent their recognition and degradation by the UPS. Defective proteolysis could cause the synaptic dysfunction observed early in AD since the UPS is known to play a role in the normal functioning of synapses. In this review, we discuss recent observations on possible links between the UPS and AD, and the potential for utilizing UPS components as targets for treatment of this disease.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106363  PMID: 18047736
14.  The role of the UPS in cystic fibrosis 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S11.
CF is an inherited autosomal recessive disease whose lethality arises from malfunction of CFTR, a single chloride (Cl-) ion channel protein. CF patients harbor mutations in the CFTR gene that lead to misfolding of the resulting CFTR protein, rendering it inactive and mislocalized. Hundreds of CF-related mutations have been identified, many of which abrogate CFTR folding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). More than 70% of patients harbor the ΔF508 CFTR mutation that causes misfolding of the CFTR proteins. Consequently, mutant CFTR is unable to reach the apical plasma membrane of epithelial cells that line the lungs and gut, and is instead targeted for degradation by the UPS. Proteins located in both the cytoplasm and ER membrane are believed to identify misfolded CFTR for UPS-mediated degradation. The aberrantly folded CFTR protein then undergoes polyubiquitylation, carried out by an E1-E2-E3 ubiquitin ligase system, leading to degradation by the 26S proteasome. This ubiquitin-dependent loss of misfolded CFTR protein can be inhibited by the application of ‘corrector’ drugs that aid CFTR folding, shielding it from the UPS machinery. Corrector molecules elevate cellular CFTR protein levels by protecting the protein from degradation and aiding folding, promoting its maturation and localization to the apical plasma membrane. Combinatory application of corrector drugs with activator molecules that enhance CFTR Cl- ion channel activity offers significant potential for treatment of CF patients.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106362  PMID: 18047735
15.  The Fanconi anemia pathway and ubiquitin 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S10.
Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by aplastic anemia, cancer/leukemia susceptibility and cellular hypersensitivity to DNA crosslinking agents, such as cisplatin. To date, 12 FA gene products have been identified, which cooperate in a common DNA damage-activated signaling pathway regulating DNA repair (the FA pathway). Eight FA proteins form a nuclear complex harboring E3 ubiquitin ligase activity (the FA core complex) that, in response to DNA damage, mediates the monoubiquitylation of the FA protein FANCD2. Monoubiquitylated FANCD2 colocalizes in nuclear foci with proteins involved in DNA repair, including BRCA1, FANCD1/BRCA2, FANCN/PALB2 and RAD51. All these factors are required for cellular resistance to DNA crosslinking agents. The inactivation of the FA pathway has also been observed in a wide variety of human cancers and is implicated in the sensitivity of cancer cells to DNA crosslinking agents. Drugs that inhibit the FA pathway may be useful chemosensitizers in the treatment of cancer.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106361  PMID: 18047734
16.  Ubiquitin domain proteins in disease 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S1.
The human genome encodes several ubiquitin-like (UBL) domain proteins (UDPs). Members of this protein family are involved in a variety of cellular functions and many are connected to the ubiquitin proteasome system, an essential pathway for protein degradation in eukaryotic cells. Despite their structural similarity, the UBL domains appear to have a range of different targets, resulting in a considerable diversity with respect to UDP function. Here, we give a short summary of the biochemical and physiological roles of the UDPs, which have been linked to human diseases including neurodegeneration and cancer.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106360  PMID: 18047733
17.  Wrenches in the works: drug discovery targeting the SCF ubiquitin ligase and APC/C complexes 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S9.
Recently, the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) has matured as a drug discovery arena, largely on the strength of the proven clinical activity of the proteasome inhibitor Velcade in multiple myeloma. Ubiquitin ligases tag cellular proteins, such as oncogenes and tumor suppressors, with ubiquitin. Once tagged, these proteins are degraded by the proteasome. The specificity of this degradation system for particular substrates lies with the E3 component of the ubiquitin ligase system (ubiquitin is transferred from an E1 enzyme to an E2 enzyme and finally, thanks to an E3 enzyme, directly to a specific substrate). The clinical effectiveness of Velcade (as it theoretically should inhibit the output of all ubiquitin ligases active in the cell simultaneously) suggests that modulating specific ubiquitin ligases could result in an even better therapeutic ratio. At present, the only ubiquitin ligase leads that have been reported inhibit the degradation of p53 by Mdm2, but these have not yet been developed into clinical therapeutics. In this review, we discuss the biological rationale, assays, genomics, proteomics and three-dimensional structures pertaining to key targets within the UPS (SCFSkp2 and APC/C) in order to assess their drug development potential.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106342  PMID: 18047746
18.  Membrane binding of the neuronal calcium sensor recoverin – modulatory role of the charged carboxy-terminus 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8:24.
The Ca2+-binding protein recoverin operates as a Ca2+-sensor in vertebrate photoreceptor cells. It undergoes a so-called Ca2+-myristoyl switch when cytoplasmic Ca2+-concentrations fluctuate in the cell. Its covalently attached myristoyl-group is exposed at high Ca2+-concentrations and enables recoverin to associate with lipid bilayers and to inhibit its target rhodopsin kinase. At low Ca2+-concentrations the myristoyl group is inserted into a hydrophobic pocket of recoverin thereby relieving inhibitory constraint on rhodopsin kinase. Hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions of recoverin with membranes have not been clearly determined, in particular the function of the positively charged carboxy-terminus in recoverin 191QKVKEKLKEKKL202 in this context is poorly understood.
Binding of myristoylated recoverin to lipid bilayer depends on the charge distribution in phospholipids. Binding was tested by equilibrium centrifugation and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) assays. It is enhanced to a certain degree by the inclusion of phosphatidylserine (up to 60%) in the lipid mixture. However, a recoverin mutant that lacked the charged carboxy-terminus displayed the same relative binding amplitudes as wildtype (WT) recoverin when bound to neutral or acidic lipids. Instead, the charged carboxy-terminus of recoverin has a significant impact on the biphasic dissociation of recoverin from membranes. On the other hand, the nonmyristoylated WT and truncated mutant form of recoverin did not bind to lipid bilayers to a substantial amount as binding amplitudes observed in SPR measurements are similar to bulk refractive index changes.
Our data indicate a small, but evident electrostatic contribution to the overall binding energy of recoverin association with lipid bilayer. Properties of the charged carboxy-terminus are consistent with a role of this region as an internal effector region that prolongs the time recoverin stays on the membrane by influencing its Ca2+-sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC2203989  PMID: 18034895
19.  Role of the ubiquitin system and tumor viruses in AIDS-related cancer 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S8.
Tumor viruses are linked to approximately 20% of human malignancies worldwide. This review focuses on examples of human oncogenic viruses that manipulate the ubiquitin system in a subset of viral malignancies; those associated with AIDS. The viruses include Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus, Epstein-Barr virus and human papilloma virus, which are causally linked to Kaposi's sarcoma, certain B-cell lymphomas and cervical cancer, respectively. We discuss the molecular mechanisms by which these viruses subvert the ubiquitin system and potential viral targets for anti-cancer therapy from the perspective of this system.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106372  PMID: 18047745
20.  The ubiquitin proteasome system in Huntington's disease and the spinocerebellar ataxias 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8(Suppl 1):S2.
Huntington's disease and several of the spinocerebellar ataxias are caused by the abnormal expansion of a CAG repeat within the coding region of the disease gene. This results in the production of a mutant protein with an abnormally expanded polyglutamine tract. Although these disorders have a clear monogenic cause, each polyglutamine expansion mutation is likely to cause the dysfunction of many pathways and processes within the cell. It has been proposed that the ubiquitin proteasome system is impaired in polyglutamine expansion disorders and that this contributes to pathology. However, this is controversial with some groups demonstrating decreased proteasome activity in polyglutamine expansion disorders, some showing no change in activity and others demonstrating an increase in proteasome activity. It remains unknown whether the ubiquitin proteasome system is a feasible therapeutic target in these disorders. Here we review the conflicting results obtained from different assays performed in a variety of different systems.
Publication history: Republished from Current BioData's Targeted Proteins database (TPdb; ).
PMCID: PMC2106366  PMID: 18047739
21.  The FTO (fat mass and obesity associated) gene codes for a novel member of the non-heme dioxygenase superfamily 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8:23.
Genetic variants in the FTO (fat mass and obesity associated) gene have been associated with an increased risk of obesity. However, the function of its protein product has not been experimentally studied and previously reported sequence similarity analyses suggested the absence of homologs in existing protein databases. Here, we present the first detailed computational analysis of the sequence and predicted structure of the protein encoded by FTO.
We performed a sequence similarity search using the human FTO protein as query and then generated a profile using the multiple sequence alignment of the homologous sequences. Profile-to-sequence and profile-to-profile based comparisons identified remote homologs of the non-heme dioxygenase family.
Our analysis suggests that human FTO is a member of the non-heme dioxygenase (Fe(II)- and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases) superfamily. Amino acid conservation patterns support this hypothesis and indicate that both 2-oxoglutarate and iron should be important for FTO function. This computational prediction of the function of FTO should suggest further steps for its experimental characterization and help to formulate hypothesis about the mechanisms by which it relates to obesity in humans.
PMCID: PMC2241624  PMID: 17996046
22.  Recognition of essential purines by the U1A protein 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8:22.
The RNA recognition motif (RRM) is one of the largest families of RNA binding domains. The RRM is modulated so that individual proteins containing RRMs can specifically recognize RNA targets with diverse sequences and structures. Understanding the principles governing this specificity will be important for the rational modification and design of RRM-RNA complexes.
In this paper we have investigated the origins of specificity of the N terminal RRM of the U1A protein for stem loop 2 (SL2) of U1 snRNA by substituting modified bases for essential purines in SL2 RNA. In one series of modified bases, hydrogen bond donors and acceptors were replaced by aliphatic groups to probe the importance of these functional groups to binding. In a second series of modified bases, hydrogen bond donors and acceptors were incorrectly placed on the purine bases to analyze the origins of discrimination between cognate and non-cognate RNA. The results of these experiments show that three different approaches are used by the U1A protein to gain specificity for purines. Specificity for the first base in the loop, A1, is based primarily on discrimination against RNA containing the incorrect base, specificity for the fourth base in the loop, G4, is based largely on recognition of the donors and acceptors of G4, while specificity for the sixth base in the loop, A6, results from a combination of direct recognition of the base and discrimination against incorrectly placed functional groups.
These investigations identify different roles that hydrogen bond donors and acceptors on bases in both cognate and non-cognate RNA play in the specific recognition of RNA by the U1A protein. Taken together with investigations of other RNA-RRM complexes, the results contribute to a general understanding of the origins of RNA-RRM specificity and highlight, in particular, the contribution of steric and electrostatic repulsion to binding specificity.
PMCID: PMC2203988  PMID: 17980039
23.  Aminopeptidase B, a glucagon-processing enzyme: site directed mutagenesis of the Zn2+-binding motif and molecular modelling 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8:21.
Aminopeptidase B (Ap-B; EC catalyzes the cleavage of basic residues at the N-terminus of peptides and processes glucagon into miniglucagon. The enzyme exhibits, in vitro, a residual ability to hydrolyze leukotriene A4 into the pro-inflammatory lipid mediator leukotriene B4. The potential bi-functional nature of Ap-B is supported by close structural relationships with LTA4 hydrolase (LTA4H ; EC A structure-function analysis is necessary for the detailed understanding of the enzymatic mechanisms of Ap-B and to design inhibitors, which could be used to determine the complete in vivo functions of the enzyme.
The rat Ap-B cDNA was expressed in E. coli and the purified recombinant enzyme was characterized. 18 mutants of the H325EXXHX18E348 Zn2+-binding motif were constructed and expressed. All mutations were found to abolish the aminopeptidase activity. A multiple alignment of 500 sequences of the M1 family of aminopeptidases was performed to identify 3 sub-families of exopeptidases and to build a structural model of Ap-B using the x-ray structure of LTA4H as a template. Although the 3D structures of the two enzymes resemble each other, they differ in certain details. The role that a loop, delimiting the active center of Ap-B, plays in discriminating basic substrates, as well as the function of consensus motifs, such as RNP1 and Armadillo domain are discussed. Examination of electrostatic potentials and hydrophobic patches revealed important differences between Ap-B and LTA4H and suggests that Ap-B is involved in protein-protein interactions.
Alignment of the primary structures of the M1 family members clearly demonstrates the existence of different sub-families and highlights crucial residues in the enzymatic activity of the whole family. E. coli recombinant enzyme and Ap-B structural model constitute powerful tools for investigating the importance and possible roles of these conserved residues in Ap-B, LTA4H and M1 aminopeptidase catalytic sites and to gain new insight into their physiological functions. Analysis of Ap-B structural model indicates that several interactions between Ap-B and proteins can occur and suggests that endopeptidases might form a complex with Ap-B during hormone processing.
PMCID: PMC2241622  PMID: 17974014
24.  A study on the two binding sites of hexokinase on brain mitochondria 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8:20.
Type I hexokinase (HK-I) constitutes the predominant form of the enzyme in the brain, a major portion of which is associated with the outer mitochondrial membrane involving two sets of binding sites. In addition to the glucose-6-phosphate (G6P)-sensitive site (Type A), the enzyme is bound on a second set of sites (Type B) which are, while insensitive to G6P, totally releasable by use of high concentrations of chaotropic salts such as KSCN. Results obtained on release of HK-I from these "sites" suggested the possibility for the existence of distinct populations of the bound enzyme, differing in susceptibility to release by G6P.
In the present study, the sensitivity of HK-I toward release by G6P (2 mM) and a low concentration of KSCN (45 mM) was investigated using rat brain, bovine brain and human brain mitochondria. Partial release from the G6P-insensitive site occurred without disruption of the mitochondrial membrane as a whole and as related to HK-I binding to the G6P-sensitive site. While, as expected, the sequential regime release-rebinding-release was observed on site A, no rebinding was detectable on site B, pre-treated with 45 mM KSCN. Also, no binding was detectable on mitochondria upon blocking site A for HK-I binding utilizing dicyclohexylcarbodiimide (DCCD), followed by subsequent treatment with KSCN. These observations while confirmed the previously-published results on the overall properties of the two sites, demonstrated for the first time that the reversible association of the enzyme on mitochondria is uniquely related to the Type A site.
Use of very low concentrations of KSCN at about 10% of the level previously reported to cause total release of HK-I from the G6P- insensitive site, caused partial release from this site in a reproducible manner. In contrast to site A, no rebinding of the enzyme takes place on site B, suggesting that site A is 'the only physiologically-important site in relation to the release-rebinding of the enzyme which occur in response to the energy requirements of the brain. Based on the results presented, a possible physiological role for distribution of the enzyme between the two sites on the mitochondrion is proposed.
PMCID: PMC2148039  PMID: 17949503
25.  The subunit composition of human extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) regulate enzymatic activity 
BMC Biochemistry  2007;8:19.
Human extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) is a tetrameric metalloenzyme responsible for the removal of superoxide anions from the extracellular space. We have previously shown that the EC-SOD subunit exists in two distinct folding variants based on differences in the disulfide bridge pattern (Petersen SV, Oury TD, Valnickova Z, Thøgersen IB, Højrup P, Crapo JD, Enghild JJ. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2003;100(24):13875–80). One variant is enzymatically active (aEC-SOD) while the other is inactive (iEC-SOD). The EC-SOD subunits are associated into covalently linked dimers through an inter-subunit disulfide bridge creating the theoretical possibility of 3 dimers (aa, ai or ii) with different antioxidant potentials. We have analyzed the quaternary structure of the endogenous EC-SOD disulfide-linked dimer to investigate if these dimers in fact exist.
The analyses of EC-SOD purified from human tissue show that all three dimer combinations exist including two homo-dimers (aa and ii) and a hetero-dimer (ai). Because EC-SOD is a tetramer the dimers may combine to generate 5 different mature EC-SOD molecules where the specific activity of each molecule is determined by the ratio of aEC-SOD and iEC-SOD subunits.
This finding shows that the aEC-SOD and iEC-SOD subunits combine in all 3 possible ways supporting the presence of tetrameric enzymes with variable enzymatic activity. This variation in enzymatic potency may regulate the antioxidant level in the extracellular space and represent a novel way of modulating enzymatic activity.
PMCID: PMC2100054  PMID: 17937792

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