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1.  Enhancement of intracellular γ-tocopherol levels in cytokine-stimulated C3H 10T1/2 fibroblasts: relation to NO synthesis, isoprostane formation, and tocopherol oxidation 
Stimulation of C3H 10T1/2 murine fibroblasts with interferon-γ(IFN) and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) generates reactive oxygen and nitrogen species leading to DNA damage, lipid oxidation, and tocopherol oxidation. The tocopherols possess unique chemical and biological properties that suggest they have important roles related to intracellular defense against radical-mediated damage.
Despite increased levels of reactive oxidants and decreased media tocopherol, cellular levels of γ-tocopherol, but not α-tocopherol, were observed to increase significantly when cells were treated with IFN/LPS. Inhibition of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis by a specific inhibitor of inducible NO synthase (iNOS) increased both intracellular α-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol concentrations, but did not significantly alter the reduction in media tocopherol levels caused by IFN/LPS treatment. Both exposure to exogenous NO and cellular synthesis of NO in cell culture increased media levels of 8-epi-prostaglandin F2α, a marker of oxidative lipid damage, whereas inhibition of endogenous NO synthesis reduced media 8-epi-prostaglandin F2α formation to control levels.
Elevated intracellular levels of γ-tocopherol in response to the cellular inflammatory state may indicate that it serves a unique role in minimizing cellular damage resulting from endogenous NO synthesis. Results of the current study suggest that NO is an important mediator of damage within the cell, as well as in the oxidation of both α- and γ-tocopherols. The paradoxical increase in cellular tocopherol associated with the induction of NO synthesis may indicate either enhanced cellular transport/decreased export for tocopherols or recruitment of free tocopherol from tocopherol storage molecules.
PMCID: PMC1931582  PMID: 17608946
2.  The effect of amino acid deletions and substitutions in the longest loop of GFP 
The effect of single and multiple amino acid substitutions in the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from Aequorea victoria has been extensively explored, yielding several proteins of diverse spectral properties. However, the role of amino acid deletions in this protein -as with most proteins- is still unknown, due to the technical difficulties involved in generating combinatorial in-phase amino acid deletions on a target region.
In this study, the region I129-L142 of superglo GFP (sgGFP), corresponding to the longest loop of the protein and located far away from the central chromophore, was subjected to a random amino acid deletion approach, employing an in-house recently developed mutagenesis method termed Codon-Based Random Deletion (COBARDE). Only two mutants out of 16384 possible variant proteins retained fluorescence: sgGFP-Δ I129 and sgGFP-Δ D130. Interestingly, both mutants were thermosensitive and at 30°C sgGFP-Δ D130 was more fluorescent than the parent protein. In contrast with deletions, substitutions of single amino acids from residues F131 to L142 were well tolerated. The substitution analysis revealed a particular importance of residues F131, G135, I137, L138, H140 and L142 for the stability of the protein.
The behavior of GFP variants with both amino acid deletions and substitutions demonstrate that this loop is playing an important structural role in GFP folding. Some of the amino acids which tolerated any substitution but no deletion are simply acting as "spacers" to localize important residues in the protein structure.
PMCID: PMC1919350  PMID: 17594481

Results 1-2 (2)