The discovery of oncogenes and signal transduction
pathways important for mitogenesis has triggered the development of
target-specific small molecule anti-cancer compounds. As exemplified by
imatinib (Gleevec), a specific inhibitor of the Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
(CML)-associated Bcr-Abl kinase, these agents promise impressive activity in
clinical trials, with low levels of clinical toxicity. However, such therapy is
susceptible to the emergence of drug resistance due to amino acid substitutions
in the target protein. Defining the spectrum of such mutations is important for
patient monitoring and the design of next-generation inhibitors. Using imatinib
and BCR/ABL as a paradigm for a drug-target pair, we recently reported a
retroviral vector-based screening strategy to identify the spectrum of
resistance-conferring mutations. Here we provide a detailed methodology for the
screen, which can be generally applied to any drug-target pair.
Genes, ABL; Chronic myeloid leukemia; Drug resistance
The UBA domain is a conserved sequence motif among polyubiquitin
binding proteins. For the first time, we demonstrate a systematic, high
throughput approach to identification of UBA domain-interacting proteins from a
proteome-wide perspective. Using the rabbit reticulocyte lysate in
vitro expression cloning system, we have successfully identified eleven
proteins that interact with p62’s UBA domain, and the majority of the eleven
proteins are associated with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s
disease. Therefore, p62 may play a novel regulatory role through its UBA
domain. Our approach provides an easy route to the characterization of UBA
domain interacting proteins and its application will unfold the important roles
that the UBA domain plays.
Ubiquitin; Alzheimer Disease
It is widely acknowledged that the presence of extracellular matrix components as substrates can drastically modulate the phenotype and gene expression of cultured cells, including tumor cells. A number of published reports indicated that substrates made from two peculiar collagen species, i.e. type V and OF/LB, which are abnormally deposited in the stroma of primary ductal infiltrating carcinoma (d.i.c.) of the breast “in vivo,” were able to exert marked and opposite effects on “in vitro” viability, growth and invasiveness of the 8701-BC cell line, isolated from d.i.c.-affected breast epithelium. To complement such functional data on the effect of cell-collagen interactions with information at molecular level, we have utilized a combination of differential display- and semi-quantitative multiplex-PCR techniques with the aim of detecting variations in the expression levels of selected genes by cells maintained in either culture condition. Here we report some prototypical data on the identification and semi-quantitation of three of the differentially-amplified PCR products found, i.e. HSP2A and MSF-B which are up-regulated in cells grown onto OF/LB collagen substrate, and SRCAP which is prominently down-regulated in the presence of type V collagen substrate. This protocol represents a powerful tool for evaluating changes in the levels and patterns of gene expression which can be theoretically adapted to any experimental model system.
Polymerase Chain Reaction; Gene Expression; Collagen; Tumor Cells, Cultured
Integrin adhesion molecules have important adhesion and signaling functions. They also play a central role in the pathogenesis of many autoimmune diseases. Over the past few years we have described a T cell adoptive transfer model to investigate the role of T cell integrin adhesion molecules in the development of autoimmunity. This report summarizes the methods we used in establishing this murine model. By treating murine CD4+ T cells with DNA hypomethylating agents and by transfection we were able to test the in vitro effects of integrin overexpression on T cell autoreactive proliferation, cytotoxicity, adhesion and trafficking. Furthermore, we showed that the ability to induce in vivo autoimmunity may be unique to the integrin lymphocyte function associated antigen-1 (LFA-1).
Integrins; DNA methylation
We developed a new 2-day protocol for the generation of dendritic cells (DCs) from human monocytes in vitro. First, we demonstrated that 24 hours of culture with GM-CSF and IL-4 are sufficient to generate immature DCs capable of antigen uptake. We then compared two different strategies for DC maturation: proinflammatory mediators were either added together with GM-CSF and IL-4 from the beginning of cell culture or added after 24 hours of differentiation with GM-CSF and IL-4. After 48 hours of total culture period, expression of activation markers was more pronounced in cells generated by the 2-step differentiation and activation method. Our new protocol for 2-day DC differentiation reduces labor, cost and time and also reliably renders high numbers of mature and viable DCs.
Monocytes; Dendritic cells; Antigen presenting cells; Vaccination; Cell differentiation
Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is capable of swarming over semi-solid surfaces. Although its swarming behavior shares many readily observable similarities with other swarming bacteria, the phenomenon remains somewhat of an enigma in this bacterium since some attributes skew away from the better characterized systems. Swarming is quite distinct from the classic swimming motility, as there is a prerequisite for cells to first undergo a morphological transformation into swarmer cells. In some organisms, swarming is controlled by quorum sensing, and in others, swarming has been shown to be coupled to increased expression of important virulence factors. Swarming in serovar Typhimurium is coupled to elevated resistance to a wide variety of structurally and functionally distinct classes of antimicrobial compounds. As serovar Typhimurium differentiates into swarm cells, the pmrHFIJKLM operon is up-regulated, resulting in a more positively charged LPS core. Furthermore, as swarm cells begin to de-differentiate, the pmr operon expression is down-regulated, rapidly reaching the levels observed in swim cells. This is one potential mechanism which confers swarm cells increased resistance to antibiotics such as the cationic antimicrobial peptides. However, additional mechanisms are likely associated with the cells in the swarm state that confer elevated resistance to such a broad spectrum of antimicrobial agents.
Drug Resistance; Salmonella enterica; Physiological Processes
CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) activity is currently believed to be one of the key immunologic mechanisms responsible for the prevention or attenuation of HIV-1 infection. The induction of CD8+ T cell activation may also result in the production of soluble or non-classical lytic factors that are associated with protection from infection or slower disease progression. Traditionally, CD8+ CTL responses have been measured by the classic chromium release assay, monitoring the ability of T cells (Effector cells) to lyse radiolabelled HLA – matched “target cells” that express the appropriate antigen-MHC complex. This method is not only labor intensive, semi quantitative assay at best, but also needs fresh, non-cryopreserved cells. Recently, cytokine specific ELISPOT assays or tetrameric MHC-I/ peptide complexes have utilized to directly quantitate circulating CD8+ effector cells, and these assays are more sensitive, quantitative and reproducible than the traditional CTL lysis assay and can also be performed on cryopreserved cells. Although these are reproducible assays for the assessment of soluble antiviral activity secreted by activated T cell populations they can be extremely expensive to perform. We have used FACS Analysis to measure Granzyme B release as a function of cell mediated cytotoxicity. This method helps quantitate the CTL activity and also identifies the phenotype of the cells elucidating this immune response. The method described not only monitors immunological response but also is also simple to perform, precise and extremely time efficient and is ideal for screening a large number of samples.
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes; HIV; Killer Cells, Natural
The 72 kDa heat shock protein (HSP72) is a molecular chaperone that binds native protein with low affinity. These interactions can alter function of the substrate, a property known as HSP-mediated activity control. In the present work, BIAcore instrumentation was used to monitor binding reactions between HSP72 and naturally occurring sequence variants of the measles virus (MV) nucleocapsid protein (N), a structural protein regulating transcription/replication of the viral genome. Binding reactions employed synthetic peptides mimicking a putative HSP72 binding motif of N. Sequences were identified that bound HSP72 with affinities comparable to well-characterized activity control reactions. These sequences, but not those binding with lesser affinity, supported HSP72 activity control of MV transcription/replication. BIAcore instrumentation thus provides an effective way to measure biologically relevant low affinity interactions with structural variants of viral proteins.
Surface plasmon resonance; Measles virus
Assembly of DNA into chromatin allows for the formation of a barrier that protects naked DNA from protein and chemical agents geared to degrade or metabolize DNA. Chromatin assembly occurs whenever a length of DNA becomes exposed to the cellular elements, whether during DNA synthesis or repair. This report describes tools to study chromatin assembly in the model system Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Modifications to an in vitro chromatin assembly assay are described that allowed a brute force screen of temperature sensitive (ts) yeast strains in order to identify chromatin assembly defective extracts. This screen yielded mutations in genes encoding two ubiquitin protein ligases (E3s): RSP5, and a subunit of the Anaphase Promoting Complex (APC), APC5. Additional modifications are described that allow for a rapid analysis and an in vivo characterization of yeast chromatin assembly mutants, as well as any other mutant of interest. Our analysis suggests that the in vitro and in
vivo chromatin assembly assays are responsive to different cellular signals, including cell cycle cues that involve different molecular networks.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Histones; Ubiquitin
Here we describe a detailed methodology to study the function of genes whose products function during mitosis by dsRNA-mediated interference (RNAi) in cultured cells of Drosophila melanogaster. This procedure is particularly useful for the analysis of genes for which genetic mutations are not available or for the dissection of complicated phenotypes derived from the analysis of such mutants. With the advent of whole genome sequencing it is expected that RNAi-based screenings will be one method of choice for the identification and study of novel genes involved in particular cellular processes. In this paper we focused particularly on the procedures for the proper phenotypic analysis of cells after RNAi-mediated depletion of proteins required for mitosis, the process by which the genetic information is segregated equally between daughter cells. We use RNAi of the microtubule-associated protein MAST/Orbit as an example for the usefulness of the technique.
Mitosis; Microtubules; Kinetochores; Drosophila
We have developed two whole genome-scanning techniques to aid in the discovery of polymorphisms as well as horizontally acquired genes in prokaryotic organisms. First, two-dimensional bacterial genomic display (2DBGD) was developed using restriction enzyme fragmentation to separate genomic DNA based on size, and then employing denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) in the second dimension to exploit differences in sequence composition. This technique was used to generate high-resolution displays that enable the direct comparison of > 800 genomic fragments simultaneously and can be adapted for the high-throughput comparison of bacterial genomes. 2DBGDs are capable of detecting acquired and altered DNA, however, only in very closely related strains. If used to compare more distantly related strains (e.g. different species within a genus) numerous small changes (i.e. small deletions and point mutations) unrelated to the interesting phenotype, would encumber the comparison of 2DBGDs. For this reason a second method, bacterial comparative genomic hybridization (BCGH), was developed to directly compare bacterial genomes to identify gain or loss of genomic DNA. BCGH relies on performing 2DBGD on a pooled sample of genomic DNA from 2 strains to be compared and subsequently hybridizing the resulting 2DBGD blot separately with DNA from each individual strain. Unique spots (hybridization signals) represent foreign DNA. The identification of novel DNA is easily achieved by excising the DNA from a dried gel followed by subsequent cloning and sequencing. 2DBGD and BCGH thus represent novel high resolution genome scanning techniques for directly identifying altered and/or acquired DNA.
Genomics; DNA fingerprinting
Here we describe in more depth the previously published application of the fluorescent probe 4,5-diaminofluorescein (DAF-2) in order to reliably measure low levels of nitric oxide (NO) as released from human endothelial cells in vitro. The used approach is based on the following considerations a) use low concentrations of DAF-2 (0.1 µM) in order to reduce the contribution of DAF-2 auto-fluorescence to the measured total fluorescence, and b) subtract the DAF-2 auto-fluorescence from the measured total fluorescence. The advantage of this method is the reliable quantification of NO in a biological system in the nanomolar range once thoroughly validated. Here we focus in addition to the previous publication (Leikert et al., FEBS Lett 2001, 506:131-134) on aspects of validation procedures as well as limitations and pitfalls of this method.
Investigative Techniques; Biological Assay; Nitric-Oxide Synthase
In proteins, some processes require conformational changes involving structural domain diffusion. Among these processes are protein folding, unfolding and enzyme catalysis. During catalysis some enzymes undergo large conformational changes as they progress through the catalytic cycle. According to Kramers theory, solvent viscosity results in friction against proteins in solution, and this should result in decreased motion, inhibiting catalysis in motile enzymes. Solution viscosity was increased by adding increasing concentrations of glycerol, sucrose and trehalose, resulting in a decrease in the reaction rate of the H+-ATPase from the plasma membrane of Kluyveromyces lactis. A direct correlation was found between viscosity (η) and the inhibition of the maximum rate of catalysis (V
max). The protocol used to measure viscosity by means of a falling ball type viscometer is described, together with the determination of enzyme kinetics and the application of Kramers’ equation to evaluate the effect of viscosity on the rate of ATP hydrolysis by the H+-ATPase.
Shotgun phage display cloning involves construction of libraries from randomly fragmented bacterial chromosomal DNA, cloned genes, or eukaryotic cDNAs, into a phagemid vector. The library obtained consists of phages expressing polypeptides corresponding to all genes encoded by the organism, or overlapping peptides derived from the cloned gene. From such a library, polypeptides with affinity for another molecule can be isolated by affinity selection, panning. The technique can be used to identify bacterial receptins and identification of their minimal binding domain, and but also to identify epitopes recognised by antibodies. In addition, after modification of the phagemid vector, the technique has also been used to identify bacterial extracytoplasmic proteins.
Peptide Library; Staphylococcus aureus
Microsatellite markers are simple sequence repeats within the mammalian genome that can be used for identifying disease loci, mapping genes of interest as well as studying segregation patterns related to meiotic nondisjunction. Different strains of mice have variable CA repeat lengths and PCR based methods can be used to identify them, thus allowing for specific genotypes to be assigned. Molecular genotyping offers such identification at any developmental stage, which allows for a broad range of anomalies to be studied. We studied chromosomal segregation in relation to nondisjunction in early-gestation mouse embryos using molecular genotyping. Information on the parental origin as well as the number of chromosomes a given progeny carried was obtained in our analysis.
Genotype; Nondisjunction, Genetic; Polymorphism (Genetics)
Herein we review the various methods currently in use for determining the expression of chemokines by CNS cells in vitro. Chemokine detection assays are used in conjuction with one another to provide a comprehensive, biologically relevant assessment of the chemokines which is necessary for correct data interpretation of a specific observed biological effect. The methods described include bioassays for soluble chemokine receptors, RNA extraction, RT-PCR, Real - time quantitative PCR, gene array analysis, northern blot analysis, Ribonuclease Protection assay, Flow cytometry, ELISPOT, western blot analysis, and ELISA. No single method of analysis meets the criteria for a comprehensive, biologically relevant assessment of the chemokines, therefore more than one assay might be necessary for correct data interpretation, a choice that is based on development of a scientific rationale for the method with emphasis on the reliability and relevance of the method.
Chemokines; Central Nervous System; Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
Real-time PCR methodology can successfully quantitate microchimeric cell populations at a concentration of 100 microchimeric cells/100,000 host cells; however, it has not been successful in quantitating DNA from trace numbers of microchimeric white blood cells which we reported are present in murine peripheral blood at a concentration as low as 2/100,000 host cells. We report methodology using primers for a portion of the H2-kb murine histocompatibility sequence, specific for the C57BL/6J mouse. When these primers were used in the presence of 11,000 μM primer, a 20-fold increase in the median manufacturer’s recommended concentration, the assay could be optimized to detect 34 pg of C57BL/6J DNA in a background of 2.5 μg of carrier BALB/cJ DNA (1/100,000). These conditions resulted in a detection limit half as sensitive as that found when no carrier DNA was present.
Polymerase Chain Reaction; DNA; Mice; T-Lymphocytes; leukocytes
During a complex macromolecular reaction multiple changes in molecular conformation and interactions with ligands may occur. X-ray crystallography may provide only a limited set of snapshots of these changes. Solution methods can augment such structural information to provide a more complete picture of a macromolecular reaction. We analyzed the changes in protein conformation and protein:nucleic acid interactions which occur during transcription initiation by using a chemical nuclease tethered to cysteines introduced site-specifically into the RNA polymerase of bacteriophage T7 (T7 RNAP). Changes in cleavage patterns as the polymerase steps through transcription reveal a series of structural transitions which mediate transcription initiation. Cleavage by tethered chemical nucleases is seen to be a powerful method for revealing the conformational dynamics of macromolecular reactions, and has certain advantages over cross-linking or energy transfer approaches.
DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases; Transcription, Genetic; Protein Conformation
Tetrahydromethanopterin (H4MPT) is a tetrahydrofolate analog originally discovered in methanogenic archaea, but later found in other archaea and bacteria. The extent to which H4MPT occurs among living organisms is unknown. The key enzyme which distinguishes the biosynthetic pathways of H4MPT and tetrahydrofolate is ribofuranosylaminobenzene 5'-phosphate synthase (RFAP synthase). Given the importance of RFAP synthase in H4MPT biosynthesis, the identification of putative RFAP synthase genes and measurement of RFAP synthase activity would provide an indication of the presence of H4MPT in untested microorganisms. Investigation of putative archaeal RFAP synthase genes has been hampered by the tendency of the resulting proteins to form inactive inclusion bodies in Escherichia coli. The current work describes a colorimetric assay for measuring RFAP synthase activity, and two modified procedures for expressing recombinant RFAP synthase genes to produce soluble, active enzyme. By lowering the incubation temperature during expression, RFAP synthase from Archaeoglobus fulgidus was produced in E. coli and purified to homogeneity. The production of active RFAP synthase from Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus was achieved by coexpression of the gene MTH0830 with a molecular chaperone. This is the first direct biochemical identification of a methanogen gene that codes for an active RFAP synthase.
Satellite DNA sequences are known to be highly variable and to have been subjected to concerted evolution that homogenizes member sequences within species. We have analyzed the mode of evolution of satellite DNA sequences in four fishes from the genus Diplodus by calculating the nucleotide frequency of the sequence array and the phylogenetic distances between member sequences. Calculation of nucleotide frequency and pairwise sequence comparison enabled us to characterize the divergence among member sequences in this satellite DNA family. The results suggest that the evolutionary rate of satellite DNA in D. bellottii is about two-fold greater than the average of the other three fishes, and that the sequence homogenization event occurred in D. puntazzo more recently than in the others. The procedures described here are effective to characterize mode of evolution of satellite DNA.
DNA, satellite; evolution, molecular; phylogeny
Excitable cells in many endocrine and neuronal systems display rhythms with periodicities on the order of many minutes. To observe firing patterns that represent the output of these rhythms requires a recording technique that can monitor electrophysiological activity for several hours without affecting cell behavior. A targeted extracellular approach (also known as loose-patch) accomplishes this objective. Because low resistance seals (<20 MΩ) do not influence the cell membrane and because the normal intracellular milieu is maintained, this approach is the least invasive method for monitoring the endogenous electrical activity of single cells. In this report, we detail our use of this technique to record the firing patterns of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons in brain slices continuously for several hours.
gonadorelin; periodicity; neurons
Type I interferon (IFN) gene therapy modulates the immune response leading to inflammatory heart disease following cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection in a murine model of post-viral myocarditis. Efficacy of different immunisation protocols for the IFN constructs was influenced by the dose of DNA, subtype choice, combination use, pre-medication, and timing of DNA administration. Optimal efficacy was found with bupivacaine treatment prior to DNA inoculation of 200mg IFN DNA 14 days prior to virus challenge. Maximal antiviral and antimyocarditic effects were achieved with this vaccination schedule. Furthermore, inoculation of synergistic IFN subtypes demonstrated enhanced efficacy when delivered either alone or with CMV gB DNA vaccination in the CMV model. Thus naked DNA delivery of IFN provides an avenue of immunotherapy for regulating herpesvirus-induced diseases.
interferons; gene therapy; cytomegalovirus; DNA
Relocation into the nucleus of the yeast cytoplasmic linear plasmids was studied using a monitor plasmid pCLU1. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the nuclearly-relocated pCLU1 replicated in a linear form (termed pTLU-type plasmid) which carried the host telomeric repeats TG1-3 of 300-350 bp at both ends. The telomere sequences mainly consisted of a major motif TGTGTGGGTGTGG which was complementary to part of the RNA template of yeast telomerase and were directly added to the very end of the pCLU1-terminal element ITR (inverted terminal repeat), suggesting that the ITR end played a role as a substrate of telomerase. The telomere sequences varied among isolated pTLU-type plasmids, but the TG1-3 organization was symmetrically identical on both ends of any one plasmid. During cell growth under non-selective condition, the telomeric repeat sequences were progressively rearranged on one side, but not on the opposite side of pTLU plasmid ends. This indicates that the mode of telomeric DNA replication or repair differed between both ends. Clonal analysis showed that the intense rearrangement of telomeric DNA was closely associated with extreme instability of pTLU plasmids.
telomere; telomerase; plasmids
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) can activate (in vitro) the nuclear transcription factors known as the peroxisome proliferators activated receptors (PPAR). CLA was fed at 11 g CLA/kg of feed for 45d to castrated male pigs (barrows) to better understand long term effects of PPAR activation in vivo. The barrows fed CLA had lean muscle increased by 3.5% and overall fat reduced by 9.2% but intramuscular fat (IMF %) was increased by 14% (P < 0.05). To measure the effect of long term feeding of CLA on porcine muscle gene expression, a semi-quantitative RT-PCR method was developed using cDNA normalized against the housekeeping genes cyclophilin and β-actin. This method does not require radioactivity or expensive PCR instruments with real-time fluorescent detection. PPARγ and the PPAR responsive gene AFABP but not PPARα were significantly increased (P < 0.05) in the CLA fed pig’s muscle. PPARα and PPARγ were also quantitatively tested for large differences in gene expression by western blot analysis but no significant difference was detected at this level. Although large differences in gene expression of the PPAR transcriptional factors could not be confirmed by western blotting techniques. The increased expression of AFABP gene, which is responsive to PPAR transcriptional factors, confirmed that dietary CLA can induce a detectable increase in basal PPAR transcriptional activity in the live animal.
Reverse Transcriptase polymerase chain reaction; peroxisomes
Disarmed versions of the cytotoxin ricin can deliver fused peptides into target cells leading to MHC class I-restricted antigen presentation [Smith et al. J Immunol 2002; 169:99-107]. The ricin delivery vector must contain an attenuated catalytic domain to prevent target cell death, and the fused peptide epitope must remain intact for delivery and functional loading to MHC class I molecules. Expression in E. coli and purification by cation exchange chromatography of the fusion protein is described. Before used for delivery, the activity of the vector must be characterized in vitro, via an N-glycosidase assay, and in vivo, by a cytotoxicity assay. The presence of an intact epitope must be confirmed using mass spectrometry by comparing the actual mass with the predicted mass.
ricin; genetic vectors