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Journal of Biological Chemistry, The

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Journal of Biological Chemistry
PLP synthase (PLPS) is a remarkable single-enzyme biosynthetic pathway that produces pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP) from glutamine, ribose 5-phosphate, and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate. The intact enzyme includes 12 synthase and 12 glutaminase subunits. PLP synthesis occurs in the synthase active site by a complicated mechanism involving at least two covalent intermediates at a catalytic lysine. The first intermediate forms with ribose 5-phosphate. The glutaminase subunit is a glutamine amidotransferase that hydrolyzes glutamine and channels ammonia to the synthase active site. Ammonia attack on the first covalent intermediate forms the second intermediate. Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate reacts with the second intermediate to form PLP. To investigate the mechanism of the synthase subunit, crystal structures were obtained for three intermediate states of the Geobacillus stearothermophilus intact PLPS or its synthase subunit. The structures capture the synthase active site at three distinct steps in its complicated catalytic cycle, provide insights into the elusive mechanism, and illustrate the coordinated motions within the synthase subunit that separate the catalytic states. In the intact PLPS with a Michaelis-like intermediate in the glutaminase active site, the first covalent intermediate of the synthase is fully sequestered within the enzyme by the ordering of a generally disordered 20-residue C-terminal tail. Following addition of ammonia, the synthase active site opens and admits the Lys-149 side chain, which participates in formation of the second intermediate and PLP. Roles are identified for conserved Asp-24 in the formation of the first intermediate and for conserved Arg-147 in the conversion of the first to the second intermediate.

♦ See referenced article, J. Biol. Chem. 2015, 290, 5226–5239 PLP synthase is a bacterial enzyme that makes pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP) from glutamine, ribose 5-phosphate (R5P), and glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate (G3P). The enzyme has 12 subunits each of synthase and glutaminase; PLP, which is a cofactor for various reactions and is an active form of vitamin B6, is generated by the enzyme through three covalent intermediates. To better understand the complicated synthesis of PLP by this single enzyme, a team led by Janet Smith at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, described the characterization of crystals of the synthase active site in a Paper of the Week. The crystals captured the three steps of catalysis. The investigators found that the synthase goes back and forth between open and closed conformations, depending on the presence of the three substrates and the glutaminase. In the presence of glutamine and R5P, the enzyme's C-terminal tail becomes partially ordered to form a cover over the R5P site in the synthase's closed conformation. The synthase's closed conformation seems to be essential for the formation of one of the intermediates. The authors note, “Lack of PLP synthesis in humans suggests that the single-enzyme pathway may be a potential drug target.” jbc;290/9/5240/FU1F1FU1 Conformational changes in the synthase active site. The image shows closure around an intermediate with glutamine in the active site.

Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) level is extremely elevated in the edematous fluid of acutely injured lungs and pleurae. Elevated PAI-1 specifically inactivates pulmonary urokinase-type (uPA) and tissue-type plasminogen activators (tPA). We hypothesized that plasminogen activation and fibrinolysis may alter epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) activity, a key player in clearing edematous fluid. Two-chain urokinase (tcuPA) has been found to strongly stimulate heterologous human αβγ ENaC activity in a dose- and time-dependent manner. This activity of tcuPA was completely ablated by PAI-1. Furthermore, a mutation (S195A) of the active site of the enzyme also prevented ENaC activation. By comparison, three truncation mutants of the amino-terminal fragment of tcuPA still activated ENaC. uPA enzymatic activity was positively correlated with ENaC current amplitude prior to reaching the maximal level. In sharp contrast to uPA, neither single-chain tPA nor derivatives, including two-chain tPA and tenecteplase, affected ENaC activity. Furthermore, γ but not α subunit of ENaC was proteolytically cleaved at (177GR↓KR180) by tcuPA. In summary, the underlying mechanisms of urokinase-mediated activation of ENaC include release of self-inhibition, proteolysis of γ ENaC, incremental increase in opening rate, and activation of closed (electrically “silent”) channels. This study for the first time demonstrates multifaceted mechanisms for uPA-mediated up-regulation of ENaC, which form the cellular and molecular rationale for the beneficial effects of urokinase in mitigating mortal pulmonary edema and pleural effusions.

CD40 expression on the surface of B lymphocytes is essential for their biological function and fate decision. The engagement of CD40 with its cognate ligand, CD154, leads to a sequence of cellular events in B lymphocytes, including CD40 cytoplasmic translocation, a temporal and spatial organization of effector molecules, and a cascade of CD40-induced signal transduction. The JLP scaffold protein was expressed in murine B lymphocytes. Using B lymphocytes from jlp-deficient mice, we observed that JLP deficiency resulted in defective CD40 internalization upon CD154/CD40 engagement. Examination of interactions and co-localization among CD40, JLP, dynein, and Rab5 in B lymphocytes suggested that CD40 internalization is a process of JLP-mediated vesicle transportation that depends on Rab5 and dynein. JLP deficiency also diminished CD40-dependent activation of MAPK and JNK, but not NF-κB. Inhibiting vesicle transportation from the direction of cell periphery to the cell center by a dynein inhibitor (ciliobrevin D) impaired both CD154-induced CD40 internalization and CD40-dependent MAPK activities in B lymphocytes. Collectively, our data demonstrate a novel role of the JLP scaffold protein in the bridging of CD154-triggered CD40 internalization and CD40-dependent signaling in splenic B lymphocytes.

KCl withdrawal-induced apoptosis in cerebellar granule neurons is associated with aberrant cell cycle activation, and treatment with cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) inhibitors protects cells from undergoing apoptosis. Because the Cdk inhibitor flavopiridol is known to inhibit RNA polymerase II (Pol II)-dependent transcription elongation by inhibiting the positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb, a complex of CDK9 and cyclin T), we examined whether inhibition of RNA Pol II protects neurons from apoptosis. Treatment of neurons with 5, 6-dichloro-1-β-d-ribobenzimidazole (DRB), an RNA Pol II-dependent transcription elongation inhibitor, and flavopiridol inhibited phosphorylation and activation of Pol II and protected neurons from undergoing apoptosis. In addition to Pol II, neurons subjected to KCl withdrawal showed increased phosphorylation and activation of p70 S6 kinase, which was inhibited by both DRB and flavopiridol. Immunostaining analysis of the neurons deprived of KCl showed increased nuclear levels of phospho-p70 S6 kinase, and neurons protected with DRB and flavopiridol showed accumulation of the kinase into large spliceosome assembly factor-positive speckle domains within the nuclei. The formation of these foci corresponded with cell survival, and removal of the inhibitors resulted in dispersal of the speckles into smaller foci with subsequent apoptosis induction. Because p70 S6 kinase is known to induce translation of mRNAs containing a 5′-terminal oligopyrimidine tract, our data suggest that transcription and translation of this subset of mRNAs may contribute to KCl withdrawal-induced apoptosis in neurons.

Septins are a family of 14 cytoskeletal proteins that dynamically form hetero-oligomers and organize membrane microdomains for protein complexes. The previously reported interactions with SNARE proteins suggested the involvement of septins in exocytosis. However, the contradictory results of up- or down-regulation of septin-5 in various cells and mouse models or septin-4 in mice suggested either an inhibitory or a stimulatory role for these septins in exocytosis. The involvement of the ubiquitously expressed septin-2 or general septin polymerization in exocytosis has not been explored to date. Here, by nano-LC with tandem MS and immunoblot analyses of the septin-2 interactome in mouse brain, we identified not only SNARE proteins but also Munc-18-1 (stabilizes assembled SNARE complexes), N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF) (disassembles SNARE complexes after each membrane fusion event), and the chaperones Hsc70 and synucleins (maintain functional conformation of SNARE proteins after complex disassembly). Importantly, α-soluble NSF attachment protein (SNAP), the adaptor protein that mediates NSF binding to the SNARE complex, did not interact with septin-2, indicating that septins undergo reorganization during each exocytosis cycle. Partial depletion of septin-2 by siRNA or impairment of septin dynamics by forchlorfenuron inhibited constitutive and stimulated exocytosis of secreted and transmembrane proteins in various cell types. Forchlorfenuron impaired the interaction between SNAP-25 and its chaperone Hsc70, decreasing SNAP-25 levels in cultured neuroendocrine cells, and inhibited both spontaneous and stimulated acetylcholine secretion in mouse motor neurons. The results demonstrate a stimulatory role of septin-2 and the dynamic reorganization of septin oligomers in exocytosis.

Ubiquitin signaling on chromatin is linked to diverse aspects of genome regulation, including gene expression and DNA repair. The yeast RING E3 ligase Bre1 combines with the E2 Rad6 to monoubiquitinate histone H2B during transcription. Little is known about how Bre1 directs Rad6 toward transferring only a single ubiquitin to a specific lysine residue. Using a defined in vitro system, we show that the Bre1 RING domain interaction with Rad6 is minimally sufficient to monoubiquitinate nucleosomes at histone H2B Lys-123. In addition, we reveal a cluster of charged residues on the Bre1 RING domain that is critical for recognizing the nucleosome surface. Notably, a second Rad6 binding domain of Bre1 interacts with the E2 backside and potentiates ubiquitin transfer to the substrate. Taken together, our study establishes a molecular framework for how distinct RING and non-RING E3 elements cooperate to regulate E2 reactivity and substrate selection during gene expression.

Early intervention may be key to safe and effective therapies in patients with Alzheimer disease. Endosomal dysfunction is an early step in neurodegeneration. Endosomes are a major site of production of Aβ peptide from the processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP) by clipping enzymes (β- and γ-secretases). The β-secretase enzyme BACE1 requires acidic lumen pH for optimum function, and acid pH promotes Aβ aggregation. The Na+/H+ exchanger NHE6 provides a leak pathway for protons, limiting luminal acidification by proton pumps. Like APP, NHE6 expression was induced upon differentiation of SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and localized to an endosomal compartment. Therefore, we investigated whether NHE6 expression altered APP localization and processing in a stably transfected cell culture model of human APP expression. We show that co-expression with NHE6 or treatment with the Na+/H+ ionophore monensin shifted APP away from the trans-Golgi network into early and recycling endosomes in HEK293 cells. NHE6 alkalinized the endosomal lumen, similar to monensin, and significantly attenuated APP processing and Aβ secretion. In contrast, Aβ production was elevated upon NHE6 knockdown. We show that NHE6 transcript and protein levels are lowered in Alzheimer brains relative to control. These findings, taken together with emerging genetic evidence linking endosomal Na+/H+ exchangers with Alzheimer disease, suggest that proton leak pathways may regulate Aβ generation and contribute to disease etiology.

Recent genome-wide association studies have identified single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) within the SLC22A3 (solute carrier family 22 member 3) gene associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) in the Caucasian population. We performed molecular analysis to investigate the potential role of SLC22A3 variants in CHD. Our study showed that the common polymorphism rs3088442 G→A, which is localized in the 3′ UTR of the SLC22A3 gene, was associated with a decreased risk of CHD in the Chinese population by a case control study. In silico analysis indicated that G→A substitution of SNP rs3088442 created a putative binding site for miR-147 in the SLC22A3 mRNA. By overexpressing miR-147 or inhibiting endogenous miR-147, we demonstrated that SNP rs3088442 G→A recruited miR-147 to inhibit SLC22A3 expression. Moreover, SLC22A3 deficiency significantly decreased LPS-induced monocytic inflammatory response by interrupting NF-κB and MAPK signaling cascades in a histamine-dependent manner. Notably, the expression of SLC22A3A was also suppressed by LPS stimulus. Our findings might indicate a negative feedback mechanism against inflammatory response by which SLC22A3 polymorphisms decreased the risk of CHD.

Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) has reached nanoscale resolution for in situ three-dimensional imaging of macromolecular complexes and organelles. Yet its current resolution is not sufficient to precisely localize or identify most proteins in situ; for example, the location and arrangement of components of the nexin-dynein regulatory complex (N-DRC), a key regulator of ciliary/flagellar motility that is conserved from algae to humans, have remained elusive despite many cryo-ET studies of cilia and flagella. Here, we developed an in situ localization method that combines cryo-ET/subtomogram averaging with the clonable SNAP tag, a widely used cell biological probe to visualize fusion proteins by fluorescence microscopy. Using this hybrid approach, we precisely determined the locations of the N and C termini of DRC3 and the C terminus of DRC4 within the three-dimensional structure of the N-DRC in Chlamydomonas flagella. Our data demonstrate that fusion of SNAP with target proteins allowed for protein localization with high efficiency and fidelity using SNAP-linked gold nanoparticles, without disrupting the native assembly, structure, or function of the flagella. After cryo-ET and subtomogram averaging, we localized DRC3 to the L1 projection of the nexin linker, which interacts directly with a dynein motor, whereas DRC4 was observed to stretch along the N-DRC base plate to the nexin linker. Application of the technique developed here to the N-DRC revealed new insights into the organization and regulatory mechanism of this complex, and provides a valuable tool for the structural dissection of macromolecular complexes in situ.

There is emerging evidence that chitinases have additional functions beyond degrading environmental chitin, such as involvement in innate and acquired immune responses, tissue remodeling, fibrosis, and serving as virulence factors of bacterial pathogens. We have recently shown that both the human chitotriosidase and a chitinase from Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium hydrolyze LacNAc from Galβ1–4GlcNAcβ-tetramethylrhodamine (LacNAc-TMR (Galβ1–4GlcNAcβ(CH2)8CONH(CH2)2NHCO-TMR)), a fluorescently labeled model substrate for glycans found in mammals. In this study we have examined the binding affinities of the Salmonella chitinase by carbohydrate microarray screening and found that it binds to a range of compounds, including five that contain LacNAc structures. We have further examined the hydrolytic specificity of this enzyme and chitinases from Sodalis glossinidius and Polysphondylium pallidum, which are phylogenetically related to the Salmonella chitinase, as well as unrelated chitinases from Listeria monocytogenes using the fluorescently labeled substrate analogs LacdiNAc-TMR (GalNAcβ1–4GlcNAcβ-TMR), LacNAc-TMR, and LacNAcβ1–6LacNAcβ-TMR. We found that all chitinases examined hydrolyzed LacdiNAc from the TMR aglycone to various degrees, whereas they were less active toward LacNAc-TMR conjugates. LacdiNAc is found in the mammalian glycome and is a common motif in invertebrate glycans. This substrate specificity was evident for chitinases of different phylogenetic origins. Three of the chitinases also hydrolyzed the β1–6 bond in LacNAcβ1–6LacNAcβ-TMR, an activity that is of potential importance in relation to mammalian glycans. The enzymatic affinities for these mammalian-like structures suggest additional functional roles of chitinases beyond chitin hydrolysis.

Recent studies have revealed a role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced unfolded protein response (UPR) in the regulation of RPE cell activity and survival. Herein, we examined the mechanisms by which the UPR modulates apoptotic signaling in human RPE cells challenged with cigarette smoking extract (CSE). Our results show that CSE exposure induced a dose- and time-dependent increase in ER stress markers, enhanced reactive oxygen species (ROS), mitochondrial fragmentation, and apoptosis of RPE cells. These changes were prevented by the anti-oxidant NAC or chemical chaperone TMAO, suggesting a close interaction between oxidative and ER stress in CSE-induced apoptosis. To decipher the role of the UPR, overexpression or down-regulation of XBP1 and CHOP genes was manipulated by adenovirus or siRNA. Overexpressing XBP1 protected against CSE-induced apoptosis by reducing CHOP, p-p38, and caspase-3 activation. In contrast, XBP1 knockdown sensitized the cells to CSE-induced apoptosis, which is likely through a CHOP-independent pathway. Surprisingly, knockdown of CHOP reduced p-eIF2α and Nrf2 resulting in a marked increase in caspase-3 activation and apoptosis. Furthermore, Nrf2 inhibition increased ER stress and exacerbated cell apoptosis, while Nrf2 overexpression reduced CHOP and protected RPE cells. Our data suggest that although CHOP may function as a pro-apoptotic gene during ER stress, it is also required for Nrf2 up-regulation and RPE cell survival. In addition, enhancing Nrf2 and XBP1 activity may help reduce oxidative and ER stress and protect RPE cells from cigarette smoke-induced damage.

Human T cell leukemia virus, type 1 (HTLV-1) replication and spread are controlled by different viral and cellular factors. Although several anti-HIV cellular microRNAs have been described, such a regulation for HTLV-1 has not been reported. In this study, we found that miR-28-3p inhibits HTLV-1 virus expression and its replication by targeting a specific site within the genomic gag/pol viral mRNA. Because miR-28-3p is highly expressed in resting T cells, which are resistant to HTLV-1 infection, we investigated a potential protective role of miR-28-3p against de novo HTLV-1 infection. To this end, we developed a new sensitive and quantitative assay on the basis of the detection of products of reverse transcription. We demonstrate that miR-28-3p does not prevent virus receptor interaction or virus entry but, instead, induces a post-entry block at the reverse transcription level. In addition, we found that HTLV-1, subtype 1A isolates corresponding to the Japanese strain ATK-1 present a natural, single-nucleotide polymorphism within the miR-28-3p target site. As a result of this polymorphism, the ATK-1 virus sequence was not inhibited by miR-28. Interestingly, genetic studies on the transmission of the virus has shown that the ATK-1 strain, which carries a Thr-to-Cys transition mutation, is transmitted efficiently between spouses, suggesting that miR-28 may play an important role in HTLV-1 transmission.

The extracellular loop 3 (EL-3) of SLC4 Na+-coupled transporters contains 4 highly conserved cysteines and multiple N-glycosylation consensus sites. In the electrogenic Na+-HCO3− cotransporter NBCe1-A, EL-3 is the largest extracellular loop and is predicted to consist of 82 amino acids. To determine the structural-functional importance of the conserved cysteines and the N-glycosylation sites in NBCe1-A EL-3, we analyzed the potential interplay between EL-3 disulfide bonding and N-glycosylation and their roles in EL-3 topological folding. Our results demonstrate that the 4 highly conserved cysteines form two intramolecular disulfide bonds, Cys583-Cys585 and Cys617-Cys642, respectively, that constrain EL-3 in a folded conformation. The formation of the second disulfide bond is spontaneous and unaffected by the N-glycosylation state of EL-3 or the first disulfide bond, whereas formation of the first disulfide bond relies on the presence of the second disulfide bond and is affected by N-glycosylation. Importantly, EL-3 from each monomer is adjacently located at the NBCe1-A dimeric interface. When the two disulfide bonds are missing, EL-3 adopts an extended conformation highly accessible to protease digestion. This unique adjacent parallel location of two symmetrically folded EL-3 loops from each monomer resembles a domain-like structure that is potentially important for NBCe1-A function in vivo. Moreover, the formation of this unique structure is critically dependent on the finely tuned interplay between disulfide bonding and N-glycosylation in the membrane processed NBCe1-A dimer.

Membrane fusion at vacuoles requires a consecutive action of the HOPS tethering complex, which is recruited by the Rab GTPase Ypt7, and vacuolar SNAREs to drive membrane fusion. It is assumed that the Sec1/Munc18-like Vps33 within the HOPS complex is largely responsible for SNARE chaperoning. Here, we present direct evidence for HOPS binding to SNAREs and the Habc domain of the Vam3 SNARE protein, which may explain its function during fusion. We show that HOPS interacts strongly with the Vam3 Habc domain, assembled Q-SNAREs, and the R-SNARE Ykt6, but not the Q-SNARE Vti1 or the Vam3 SNARE domain. Electron microscopy combined with Nanogold labeling reveals that the binding sites for vacuolar SNAREs and the Habc domain are located in the large head of the HOPS complex, where Vps16 and Vps33 have been identified before. Competition experiments suggest that HOPS bound to the Habc domain can still interact with assembled Q-SNAREs, whereas Q-SNARE binding prevents recognition of the Habc domain. In agreement, membranes carrying Vam3ΔHabc fuse poorly unless an excess of HOPS is provided. These data suggest that the Habc domain of Vam3 facilitates the assembly of the HOPS/SNARE machinery at fusion sites and thus supports efficient membrane fusion.

SET and MYND domain-containing 2 (Smyd2), a histone 3 lysine 4- and histone 3 lysine 36 (H3K36)-specific methyltransferase, plays critical roles in cardiac development and tumorigenesis. However, the role of Smyd2 in immunity and inflammation remains poorly understood. In this study, we report that Smyd2 is a novel negative regulator for macrophage activation and M1 polarization. Elevated Smyd2 expression suppresses the production of proinflammatory cytokines, including IL-6 and TNF, and inhibits the expression of important cell surface molecules, including major MHC-II and costimulatory molecules. Furthermore, macrophages with high Smyd2 expression inhibit Th-17 cell differentiation but promote regulatory T cell differentiation as a result of increased TGF-β production and decreased IL-6 secretion. In macrophages, Smyd2 specifically facilitates H3K36 dimethylation at Tnf and Il6 promoters to suppress their transcription and inhibits NF-κB and ERK signaling. Therefore, our data demonstrate that epigenetic modification by Smyd2-mediated H3K36 dimethylation at Tnf and Il6 promoters plays an important role in the regulation of macrophage activation during inflammation.

Type I anti-CD20 mAb such as rituximab and ofatumumab engage with the inhibitory FcγR, FcγRIIb on the surface of B cells, resulting in immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM) phosphorylation. Internalization of the CD20·mAb·FcγRIIb complex follows, the rate of which correlates with FcγRIIb expression. In contrast, although type II anti-CD20 mAb such as tositumomab and obinutuzumab also interact with and activate FcγRIIb, this interaction fails to augment the rate of CD20·mAb internalization, raising the question of whether ITIM phosphorylation plays any role in this process. We have assessed the molecular requirements for the internalization process and demonstrate that in contrast to internalization of IgG immune complexes, FcγRIIb-augmented internalization of rituximab-ligated CD20 occurs independently of the FcγRIIb ITIM, indicating that signaling downstream of FcγRIIb is not required. In transfected cells, activatory FcγRI, FcγRIIa, and FcγRIIIa augmented internalization of rituximab-ligated CD20 in a similar manner. However, FcγRIIa mediated a slower rate of internalization than cells expressing equivalent levels of the highly homologous FcγRIIb. The difference was maintained in cells expressing FcγRIIa and FcγRIIb lacking cytoplasmic domains and in which the transmembrane domains had been exchanged. This difference may be due to increased degradation of FcγRIIa, which traffics to lysosomes independently of rituximab. We conclude that the cytoplasmic domain of FcγR is not required for promoting internalization of rituximab-ligated CD20. Instead, we propose that FcγR provides a structural role in augmenting endocytosis that differs from that employed during the endocytosis of immune complexes.

A deficiency in chondroitin N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferase-1 (ChGn-1) was previously shown to reduce the number of chondroitin sulfate (CS) chains, leading to skeletal dysplasias in mice, suggesting that ChGn-1 regulates the number of CS chains for normal cartilage development. Recently, we demonstrated that 2-phosphoxylose phosphatase (XYLP) regulates the number of CS chains by dephosphorylating the Xyl residue in the glycosaminoglycan-protein linkage region of proteoglycans. However, the relationship between ChGn-1 and XYLP in controlling the number of CS chains is not clear. In this study, we for the first time detected a phosphorylated tetrasaccharide linkage structure, GlcUAβ1–3Galβ1–3Galβ1–4Xyl(2-O-phosphate), in ChGn-1−/− growth plate cartilage but not in ChGn-2−/− or wild-type growth plate cartilage. In contrast, the truncated linkage tetrasaccharide GlcUAβ1–3Galβ1–3Galβ1–4Xyl was detected in wild-type, ChGn-1−/−, and ChGn-2−/− growth plate cartilage. Consistent with the findings, ChGn-1 preferentially transferred N-acetylgalactosamine to the phosphorylated tetrasaccharide linkage in vitro. Moreover, ChGn-1 and XYLP interacted with each other, and ChGn-1-mediated addition of N-acetylgalactosamine was accompanied by rapid XYLP-dependent dephosphorylation during formation of the CS linkage region. Taken together, we conclude that the phosphorylated tetrasaccharide linkage is the preferred substrate for ChGn-1 and that ChGn-1 and XYLP cooperatively regulate the number of CS chains in growth plate cartilage.

Sepsis-mediated endothelial Angiopoeitin-2 (Ang2) signaling may contribute to microvascular remodeling in the developing lung. The mechanisms by which bacterial cell wall components such as LPS mediate Ang2 signaling in human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HPMECs) remain understudied. In HPMEC, LPS-induced Ang2, Tie2, and VEGF-A protein expression was preceded by increased superoxide formation. NADPH oxidase 2 (Nox2) inhibition, but not Nox4 or Nox1 inhibition, attenuated LPS-induced superoxide formation and Ang2, Tie2, and VEGF-A expression. Nox2 silencing, but not Nox4 or Nox1 silencing, inhibited LPS-mediated inhibitor of κ-B kinase β (IKKβ) and p38 phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of NF-κB and AP-1. In HPMECs, LPS increased the number of angiogenic tube and network formations in Matrigel by >3-fold. Conditioned media from LPS-treated cells also induced angiogenic tube and network formation in the presence of Toll-like receptor 4 blockade but not in the presence of Ang2 and VEGF blockade. Nox2 inhibition or conditioned media from Nox2-silenced cells attenuated LPS-induced tube and network formation. Ang2 and VEGF-A treatment rescued angiogenesis in Nox2-silenced cells. We propose that Nox2 regulates LPS-mediated Ang2-dependent autocrine angiogenesis in HPMECs through the IKKβ/NF-κB and MAPK/AP-1 pathways.

Human immunoglobulin G isotype 4 (IgG4) antibodies (Abs) are potential candidates for immunotherapy when reduced effector functions are desirable. IgG4 Abs are dynamic molecules able to undergo a process known as Fab arm exchange (FAE). This results in functionally monovalent, bispecific antibodies (bsAbs) with unknown specificity and hence, potentially, reduced therapeutic efficacy. IgG4 FAE is suggested to be an important biological mechanism that provides the basis for the anti-inflammatory activity attributed to IgG4 Abs. To date, the mechanism of FAE is not entirely understood and studies measuring FAE in ex vivo matrices have been hampered by the presence and abundance of endogenous IgG4 wild-type (WT) Abs. Using representative humanized WT IgG4 monoclonal Abs, namely, anti-IL-6 and anti-TNF, and a core-hinge stabilized serine 228 to proline (S228P) anti-IL-6 IgG4 mutant, it is demonstrated for the first time how anti-IgG4 affinity chromatography can be used to prepare physiologically relevant matrices for assessing and quantifying FAE. A novel method for quantifying FAE using a single MSD immunoassay is also reported and confirms previous findings that, dependent on the redox conditions, the S228P mutation can prevent IgG4 FAE to undetectable levels both in vitro and in vivo. Together, the findings and novel methodologies will allow researchers to monitor and quantify FAE of their own IgG4 molecules in physiologically relevant matrices.

Despite the effectiveness of surgery or radiation therapy for the treatment of early-stage prostate cancer (PCa), there is currently no effective strategy for late-stage disease. New therapeutic targets are emerging; in particular, dsRNA receptors Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) and cytosolic helicases expressed by cancer cells, once activated, exert a pro-apoptotic effect in different tumors. We previously demonstrated that the synthetic analog of dsRNA poly(I:C) induces apoptosis in the androgen-dependent PCa cell line LNCaP in a TLR3-dependent fashion, whereas only a weak apoptotic effect is observed in the more aggressive and androgen-independent PCa cells PC3 and DU145. In this paper, we characterize the receptors and the signaling pathways involved in the remarkable apoptosis induced by poly(I:C) transfected by Lipofectamine (in-poly(I:C)) compared with the 12-fold higher free poly(I:C) concentration in PC3 and DU145 cells. By using genetic inhibition of different poly(I:C) receptors, we demonstrate the crucial role of TLR3 and Src in in-poly(I:C)-induced apoptosis. Therefore, we show that the increased in-poly(I:C) apoptotic efficacy is due to a higher binding of endosomal TLR3. On the other hand, we show that in-poly(I:C) binding to cytosolic receptors MDA5 and RIG-I triggers IRF3-mediated signaling, leading uniquely to the up-regulation of IFN-β, which likely in turn induces increased TLR3, MDA5, and RIG-I proteins. In summary, in-poly(I:C) activates two distinct antitumor pathways in PC3 and DU145 cells: one mediated by the TLR3/Src/STAT1 axis, leading to apoptosis, and the other one mediated by MDA5/RIG-I/IRF3, leading to immunoadjuvant IFN-β expression.

Mammalian sperm acquire fertility through a functional maturation process called capacitation, where sperm membrane molecules are drastically remodeled. In this study, we found that a wheat germ agglutinin (WGA)-reactive protein on lipid rafts, named WGA16, is removed from the sperm surface on capacitation. WGA16 is a prostate-derived seminal plasma protein that has never been reported and is deposited on the sperm surface in the male reproductive tract. Based on protein and cDNA sequences for purified WGA16, it is a homologue of human zymogen granule protein 16 (ZG16) belonging to the Jacalin-related lectin (JRL) family in crystal and primary structures. A glycan array shows that WGA16 binds heparin through a basic patch containing Lys-53/Lys-73 residues but not the conventional lectin domain of the JRL family. WGA16 is glycosylated, contrary to other ZG16 members, and comparative mass spectrometry clearly shows its unique N-glycosylation profile among seminal plasma proteins. It has exposed GlcNAc and GalNAc residues without additional Gal residues. The GlcNAc/GalNAc residues can work as binding ligands for a sperm surface galactosyltransferase, which actually galactosylates WGA16 in situ in the presence of UDP-Gal. Interestingly, surface removal of WGA16 is experimentally induced by either UDP-Gal or heparin. In the crystal structure, N-glycosylated sites and a potential heparin-binding site face opposite sides. This geography of two functional sites suggest that WGA16 is deposited on the sperm surface through interaction between its N-glycans and the surface galactosyltransferase, whereas its heparin-binding domain may be involved in binding to sulfated glycosaminoglycans in the female tract, enabling removal of WGA16 from the sperm surface.

Uracil in the genome can result from misincorporation of dUTP instead of dTTP during DNA synthesis, and is primarily removed by uracil DNA glycosylase (UNG) during base excision repair. Telomeres contain long arrays of TTAGGG repeats and may be susceptible to uracil misincorporation. Using model telomeric DNA substrates, we showed that the position and number of uracil substitutions of thymine in telomeric DNA decreased recognition by the telomere single-strand binding protein, POT1. In primary mouse hematopoietic cells, uracil was detectable at telomeres, and UNG deficiency further increased uracil loads and led to abnormal telomere lengthening. In UNG-deficient cells, the frequencies of sister chromatid exchange and fragility in telomeres also significantly increased in the absence of telomerase. Thus, accumulation of uracil and/or UNG deficiency interferes with telomere maintenance, thereby underscoring the necessity of UNG-initiated base excision repair for the preservation of telomere integrity.

Brain iron-dyshomeostasis is an important cause of neurotoxicity in prion disorders, a group of neurodegenerative conditions associated with the conversion of prion protein (PrPC) from its normal conformation to an aggregated, PrP-scrapie (PrPSc) isoform. Alteration of iron homeostasis is believed to result from impaired function of PrPC in neuronal iron uptake via its ferrireductase activity. However, unequivocal evidence supporting the ferrireductase activity of PrPC is lacking. Kidney provides a relevant model for this evaluation because PrPC is expressed in the kidney, and ∼370 μg of iron are reabsorbed daily from the glomerular filtrate by kidney proximal tubule cells (PT), requiring ferrireductase activity. Here, we report that PrPC promotes the uptake of transferrin (Tf) and non-Tf-bound iron (NTBI) by the kidney in vivo and mainly NTBI by PT cells in vitro. Thus, uptake of 59Fe administered by gastric gavage, intravenously, or intraperitoneally was significantly lower in PrP-knock-out (PrP−/−) mouse kidney relative to PrP+/+ controls. Selective in vivo radiolabeling of plasma NTBI with 59Fe revealed similar results. Expression of exogenous PrPC in immortalized PT cells showed localization on the plasma membrane and intracellular vesicles and increased transepithelial transport of 59Fe-NTBI and to a smaller extent 59Fe-Tf from the apical to the basolateral domain. Notably, the ferrireductase-deficient mutant of PrP (PrPΔ51–89) lacked this activity. Furthermore, excess NTBI and hemin caused aggregation of PrPC to a detergent-insoluble form, limiting iron uptake. Together, these observations suggest that PrPC promotes retrieval of iron from the glomerular filtrate via its ferrireductase activity and modulates kidney iron metabolism.

Calcium transients in the cell nucleus evoked by synaptic activity in hippocampal neurons function as a signaling end point in synapse-to-nucleus communication. As an important regulator of neuronal gene expression, nuclear calcium is involved in the conversion of synaptic stimuli into functional and structural changes of neurons. Here we identify two synaptic organizers, Lrrtm1 and Lrrtm2, as targets of nuclear calcium signaling. Expression of both Lrrtm1 and Lrrtm2 increased in a synaptic NMDA receptor- and nuclear calcium-dependent manner in hippocampal neurons within 2–4 h after the induction of action potential bursting. Induction of Lrrtm1 and Lrrtm2 occurred independently of the need for new protein synthesis and required calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases and the nuclear calcium signaling target CREB-binding protein. Analysis of reporter gene constructs revealed a functional cAMP response element in the proximal promoter of Lrrtm2, indicating that at least Lrrtm2 is regulated by the classical nuclear Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV-CREB/CREB-binding protein pathway. These results suggest that one mechanism by which nuclear calcium signaling controls neuronal network function is by regulating the expression of Lrrtm1 and Lrrtm2.

Hepatic stellate cells (HSC) are central players in liver fibrosis that when activated, proliferate, migrate to sites of liver injury, and secrete extracellular matrix. Obesity, a known risk factor for liver fibrosis is associated with reduced levels of adiponectin, a protein that inhibits liver fibrosis in vivo and limits HSC proliferation and migration in vitro. Adiponectin-mediated activation of adenosine monophosphate-activated kinase (AMPK) inhibits HSC proliferation, but the mechanism by which it limits HSC migration to sites of injury is unknown. Here we sought to elucidate how adiponectin regulates HSC motility. Primary rat HSCs were isolated and treated with adiponectin in migration assays. The in vivo actions of adiponectin were examined by treating mice with carbon tetrachloride for 12 weeks and then injecting them with adiponectin. Cell and tissue samples were collected and analyzed for gene expression, signaling, and histology. Serum from patients with liver fibrosis was examined for adiponectin and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) protein. Adiponectin administration into mice increased TIMP-1 gene and protein expression. In cultured HSCs, adiponectin promoted TIMP-1 expression and through binding of TIMP-1 to the CD63/β1-integrin complex reduced phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase to limit HSC migration. In mice with liver fibrosis, adiponectin had similar effects and limited focal adhesion kinase phosphorylation. Finally, in patients with advanced fibrosis, there was a positive correlation between serum adiponectin and TIMP-1 levels. In sum, these data show that adiponectin stimulates TIMP-1 secretion by HSCs to retard their migration and contributes to the anti-fibrotic effects of adiponectin.

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prototypic model for B cell epitope spread in autoimmunity. Autoantibodies to numerous and molecularly distinct self-antigens emerge in a sequential manner over several years, leading to disease manifestations. Among the earliest autoantibodies to appear are those targeting the apoptotic cell-binding protein β2-glycoprotein I (β2GPI). Notably, mice immunized with β2GPI and LPS display a remarkably similar pattern of autoantibody emergence to that seen in human SLE. Here, we used this model to investigate whether epitope spread to SLE-related autoantibodies is associated with a unique or limited β2GPI-specific T cell response. We ask whether MHC class II haplotype and its associated T cell epitope restriction impact epitope spread to SLE-related autoantibodies. We found that β2GPI/LPS-immunized mice produced similar SLE-related autoantibody profiles regardless of their β2GPI T cell epitope specificity or MHC class II haplotype. Although β2GPI T cell epitope specificity was clearly determined by MHC class II haplotype, a number of different β2GPI T cell epitopes were associated with epitope spread to SLE-related autoantibodies. Notably, one β2GPI T cell epitope (peptide 23, NTGFYLNGADSAKCT) was also recognized by T cells from an HLA-DRB1*0403+ autoimmune patient. These data suggest that the generation of a β2GPI-reactive T cell response is associated with epitope spread to SLE-related autoantibodies, independent of epitope specificity or MHC class II restriction. On the basis of these findings, we propose that factors enabling a β2GPI-reactive T cell response may predispose individuals to the development of SLE-related autoantibodies independent of their MHC class II haplotype.

Bacterial ATP-binding cassette (ABC) importers are primary active transporters that are critical for nutrient uptake. Based on structural and functional studies, ABC importers can be divided into two distinct classes, type I and type II. Type I importers follow a strict alternating access mechanism that is driven by the presence of the substrate. Type II importers accept substrates in a nucleotide-free state, with hydrolysis driving an inward facing conformation. The ribose transporter in Escherichia coli is a tripartite complex consisting of a cytoplasmic ATP-binding cassette protein, RbsA, with fused nucleotide binding domains; a transmembrane domain homodimer, RbsC2; and a periplasmic substrate binding protein, RbsB. To investigate the transport mechanism of the complex RbsABC2, we probed intersubunit interactions by varying the presence of the substrate ribose and the hydrolysis cofactors, ATP/ADP and Mg2+. We were able to purify a full complex, RbsABC2, in the presence of stable, transition state mimics (ATP, Mg2+, and VO4); a RbsAC complex in the presence of ADP and Mg2+; and a heretofore unobserved RbsBC complex in the absence of cofactors. The presence of excess ribose also destabilized complex formation between RbsB and RbsC. These observations suggest that RbsABC2 shares functional traits with both type I and type II importers, as well as possessing unique features, and employs a distinct mechanism relative to other ABC transporters.

Obesity is associated with increased breast cancer (BrCA) incidence. Considering that inactivation of estrogen receptor (ER)α promotes obesity and metabolic dysfunction in women and female mice, understanding the mechanisms and tissue-specific sites of ERα action to combat metabolic-related disease, including BrCA, is of clinical importance. To study the role of ERα in adipose tissue we generated fat-specific ERα knock-out (FERKO) mice. Herein we show that ERα deletion increased adipocyte size, fat pad weight, and tissue expression and circulating levels of the secreted glycoprotein, lipocalin 2 (Lcn2), an adipokine previously associated with BrCA development. Chromatin immunoprecipitation and luciferase reporter studies showed that ERα binds the Lcn2 promoter to repress its expression. Because adipocytes constitute an important cell type of the breast microenvironment, we examined the impact of adipocyte ERα deletion on cancer cell behavior. Conditioned medium from ERα-null adipocytes and medium containing pure Lcn2 increased proliferation and migration of a subset of BrCA cells in culture. The proliferative and promigratory effects of ERα-deficient adipocyte-conditioned medium on BrCA cells was reversed by Lcn2 deletion. BrCA cell responsiveness to exogenous Lcn2 was heightened in cell types where endogenous Lcn2 expression was minimal, but components of the Lcn2 signaling pathway were enriched, i.e. SLC22A17 and 3-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase (BDH2). In breast tumor biopsies from women diagnosed with BrCA we found that BDH2 expression was positively associated with adiposity and circulating Lcn2 levels. Collectively these data suggest that reduction of ERα expression in adipose tissue promotes adiposity and is linked with the progression and severity of BrCA via increased adipocyte-specific Lcn2 production and enhanced tumor cell Lcn2 sensitivity.

The kidney is an important organ for arterial blood pressure (BP) maintenance. Reduced NO generation in the kidney is associated with hypertension in insulin resistance. NO is a critical regulator of vascular tone; however, whether insulin regulates NO production in the renal inner medullary collecting duct (IMCD), the segment with the greatest enzymatic activity for NO production in kidney, is not clear. Using an NO-sensitive 4-amino-5-methylamino-2′,7′-difluorofluorescein (DAF-FM) fluorescent dye, we found that insulin increased NO production in mouse IMCD cells (mIMCD) in a time- and dose-dependent manner. A concomitant dose-dependent increase in the NO metabolite (NOx) was also observed in the medium from insulin-stimulated cells. NO production peaked in mIMCD cells at a dose of 100 nm insulin with simultaneously increased NOx levels in the medium. At this dose, insulin significantly increased p-eNOSSer1177 levels in mIMCD cells. Pretreatment of cells with a PI 3-kinase inhibitor or insulin receptor silencing with RNA interference abolished these effects of insulin, whereas insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) silencing had no effect. We also showed that chronic insulin infusion to normal C57BL/6J mice resulted in increased endothelial NOS (eNOS) protein levels and NO production in the inner medulla. However, insulin-infused IRKO mice, with targeted deletion of insulin receptor from tubule epithelial cells of the kidney, had ∼50% reduced eNOS protein levels in their inner medulla along with a significant rise in BP relative to WT littermates. We have previously reported increased baseline BP and reduced urine NOx in IRKO mice. Thus, reduced insulin receptor signaling in IMCD could contribute to hypertension in the insulin-resistant state.

Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) are ubiquitously expressed serine-threonine kinases involved in a plethora of functions ranging from the control of glycogen metabolism to transcriptional regulation. We recently demonstrated that GSK3 inhibition triggers JNK-cJUN-dependent apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells. However, the comprehensive picture of downstream GSK3-regulated pathways/functions remains elusive. Herein, counterbalancing the death signals, we show that GSK3 inhibition induces prosurvival signals through increased activity of the autophagy/lysosomal network. Our data also reveal a contribution of GSK3 in the regulation of the master transcriptional regulator of autophagy and lysosomal biogenesis, transcription factor EB (TFEB) in pancreatic cancer cells. Similarly to mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibition, GSK3 inhibitors promote TFEB nuclear localization and leads to TFEB dephosphorylation through endogenous serine/threonine phosphatase action. However, GSK3 and mTOR inhibition impinge differently and independently on TFEB phosphorylation suggesting that TFEB is regulated by a panel of kinases and/or phosphatases. Despite their differential impact on TFEB phosphorylation, both GSK3 and mTOR inhibitors promote 14-3-3 dissociation and TFEB nuclear localization. Quantitative mass spectrometry analyses further reveal an increased association of TFEB with nuclear proteins upon GSK3 and mTOR inhibition suggesting a positive impact on TFEB transcriptional function. Finally, a predominant nuclear localization of TFEB is unveiled in fully fed pancreatic cancer cells, whereas a reduction in TFEB expression significantly impairs their capacity for growth in an anchorage-independent manner. In addition, TFEB-restricted cells are more sensitive to apoptosis upon GSK3 inhibition. Altogether, our data uncover new functions under the control of GSK3 in pancreatic cancer cells in addition to providing key insight into TFEB regulation.

Cyclooxygenases (COXs) catalyze the committed step in prostaglandin (PG) biosynthesis. COX-1 is constitutively expressed and stable, whereas COX-2 is inducible and short lived. COX-2 is degraded via endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD) following post-translational glycosylation of Asn-594. COX-1 and COX-2 are found in abundance on the luminal surfaces of the ER and inner membrane of the nuclear envelope. Using confocal immunocytofluorescence, we detected both COX-2 and microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1) but not COX-1 in the Golgi apparatus. Inhibition of trafficking between the ER and Golgi retarded COX-2 ERAD. COX-2 has a C-terminal STEL sequence, which is an inefficient ER retention signal. Substituting this sequence with KDEL, a robust ER retention signal, concentrated COX-2 in the ER where it was stable and slowly glycosylated on Asn-594. Native COX-2 and a recombinant COX-2 having a Golgi targeting signal but not native COX-1 exhibited efficient catalytic coupling to mPGES-1. We conclude that N-glycosylation of Asn-594 of COX-2 occurs in the ER, leading to anterograde movement of COX-2 to the Golgi where the Asn-594-linked glycan is trimmed prior to retrograde COX-2 transport to the ER for ERAD. Having an inefficient ER retention signal leads to sluggish Golgi to ER transit of COX-2. This permits significant Golgi residence time during which COX-2 can function catalytically. Cytosolic phospholipase A2α, which mobilizes arachidonic acid for PG synthesis, preferentially translocates to the Golgi in response to physiologic Ca2+ mobilization. We propose that cytosolic phospholipase A2α, COX-2, and mPGES-1 in the Golgi comprise a dedicated system for COX-2-dependent PGE2 biosynthesis.

Pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGICs) mediate fast chemoelectrical transduction in the nervous system. The mechanism by which the energy of ligand binding leads to current-conducting receptors is poorly understood and may vary among family members. We addressed these questions by correlating the structural and energetic mechanisms by which a naturally occurring M1 domain mutation (α1Q−26′E) enhances receptor activation in homo- and heteromeric glycine receptors. We systematically altered the charge of spatially clustered residues at positions 19′ and 24′, in the M2 and M2-M3 linker domains, respectively, which are known to be critical to efficient receptor activation, on a background of α1Q−26′E. Changes in the durations of single receptor activations (clusters) and conductance were used to determine interaction coupling energies, which we correlated with conformational displacements as measured in pLGIC crystal structures. Presence of the α1Q−26′E enhanced cluster durations and reduced channel conductance in homo- and heteromeric receptors. Strong coupling between α1−26′ and α119′ across the subunit interface suggests an important role in receptor activation. A lack of coupling between α1−26′ and α124′ implies that 24′ mutations disrupt activation via other interactions. A similar lack of energetic coupling between α1−26′ and reciprocal mutations in the β subunit suggests that this subunit remains relatively static during receptor activation. However, the channel effects of α1Q−26′E on α1β receptors suggests at least one α1-α1 interface per pentamer. The coupling-energy change between α1−26′ and α119′ correlates with a local structural rearrangement essential for pLGIC activation, implying it comprises a key energetic pathway in activating glycine receptors and other pLGICs.

DNA replication in bacteria and eukaryotes requires the activity of DNA primase, a DNA-dependent RNA polymerase that lays short RNA primers for DNA polymerases. Eukaryotic and archaeal primases are heterodimers consisting of small catalytic and large accessory subunits, both of which are necessary for RNA primer synthesis. Understanding of RNA synthesis priming in eukaryotes is currently limited due to the lack of crystal structures of the full-length primase and its complexes with substrates in initiation and elongation states. Here we report the crystal structure of the full-length human primase, revealing the precise overall organization of the enzyme, the relative positions of its functional domains, and the mode of its interaction with modeled DNA and RNA. The structure indicates that the dramatic conformational changes in primase are necessary to accomplish the initiation and then elongation of RNA synthesis. The presence of a long linker between the N- and C-terminal domains of p58 provides the structural basis for the bulk of enzyme's conformational flexibility. Deletion of most of this linker affected the initiation and elongation steps of the primer synthesis.

Recent studies indicate both clinical and mechanistic links between atherosclerotic heart disease and intestinal microbial metabolism of certain dietary nutrients producing trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Here we test the hypothesis that gut microbial transplantation can transmit choline diet-induced TMAO production and atherosclerosis susceptibility. First, a strong association was noted between atherosclerotic plaque and plasma TMAO levels in a mouse diversity panel (n = 22 strains, r = 0.38; p = 0.0001). An atherosclerosis-prone and high TMAO-producing strain, C57BL/6J, and an atherosclerosis-resistant and low TMAO-producing strain, NZW/LacJ, were selected as donors for cecal microbial transplantation into apolipoprotein e null mice in which resident intestinal microbes were first suppressed with antibiotics. Trimethylamine (TMA) and TMAO levels were initially higher in recipients on choline diet that received cecal microbes from C57BL/6J inbred mice; however, durability of choline diet-dependent differences in TMA/TMAO levels was not maintained to the end of the study. Mice receiving C57BL/6J cecal microbes demonstrated choline diet-dependent enhancement in atherosclerotic plaque burden as compared with recipients of NZW/LacJ microbes. Microbial DNA analyses in feces and cecum revealed transplantation of donor microbial community features into recipients with differences in taxa proportions between donor strains that were transmissible to recipients and that tended to show coincident proportions with TMAO levels. Proportions of specific taxa were also identified that correlated with plasma TMAO levels in donors and recipients and with atherosclerotic lesion area in recipients. Atherosclerosis susceptibility may be transmitted via transplantation of gut microbiota. Gut microbes may thus represent a novel therapeutic target for modulating atherosclerosis susceptibility.

Gene- and cell-based therapies are promising strategies for the treatment of degenerative retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, Stargardt disease, and retinitis pigmentosa. Cellular engineering before transplantation may allow the delivery of cellular factors that can promote functional improvements, such as increased engraftment or survival of transplanted cells. A current challenge in traditional DNA-based vector transfection is to find a delivery system that is both safe and efficient, but using mRNA as an alternative to DNA can circumvent these major roadblocks. In this study, we show that both unmodified and modified mRNA can be delivered to retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells with a high efficiency compared with conventional plasmid delivery systems. On the other hand, administration of unmodified mRNA induced a strong innate immune response that was almost absent when using modified mRNA. Importantly, transfection of mRNA encoding a key regulator of RPE gene expression, microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF), confirmed the functionality of the delivered mRNA. Immunostaining showed that transfection with either type of mRNA led to the expression of roughly equal levels of MITF, primarily localized in the nucleus. Despite these findings, quantitative RT-PCR analyses showed that the activation of the expression of MITF target genes was higher following transfection with modified mRNA compared with unmodified mRNA. Our findings, therefore, show that modified mRNA transfection can be applied to human embryonic stem cell-derived RPE cells and that the method is safe, efficient, and functional.

Sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide (NTCP) is an entry receptor for hepatitis B virus (HBV) and is regarded as one of the determinants that confer HBV permissiveness to host cells. However, how host factors regulate the ability of NTCP to support HBV infection is largely unknown. We aimed to identify the host signaling that regulated NTCP expression and thereby permissiveness to HBV. Here, a cell-based chemical screening method identified that Ro41-5253 decreased host susceptibility to HBV infection. Pretreatment with Ro41-5253 inhibited the viral entry process without affecting HBV replication. Intriguingly, Ro41-5253 reduced expression of both NTCP mRNA and protein. We found that retinoic acid receptor (RAR) regulated the promoter activity of the human NTCP (hNTCP) gene and that Ro41-5253 repressed the hNTCP promoter by antagonizing RAR. RAR recruited to the hNTCP promoter region, and nucleotides −112 to −96 of the hNTCP was suggested to be critical for RAR-mediated transcriptional activation. HBV susceptibility was decreased in pharmacologically RAR-inactivated cells. CD2665 showed a stronger anti-HBV potential and disrupted the spread of HBV infection that was achieved by continuous reproduction of the whole HBV life cycle. In addition, this mechanism was significant for drug development, as antagonization of RAR blocked infection of multiple HBV genotypes and also a clinically relevant HBV mutant that was resistant to nucleoside analogs. Thus, RAR is crucial for regulating NTCP expression that determines permissiveness to HBV infection. This is the first demonstration showing host regulation of NTCP to support HBV infection.

Thioredoxin (Trx)-fold proteins are protagonists of numerous cellular pathways that are subject to thiol-based redox control. The best characterized regulator of thiols in proteins is Trx1 itself, which together with thioredoxin reductase 1 (TR1) and peroxiredoxins (Prxs) comprises a key redox regulatory system in mammalian cells. However, there are numerous other Trx-like proteins, whose functions and redox interactors are unknown. It is also unclear if the principles of Trx1-based redox control apply to these proteins. Here, we employed a proteomic strategy to four Trx-like proteins containing CXXC motifs, namely Trx1, Rdx12, Trx-like protein 1 (Txnl1) and nucleoredoxin 1 (Nrx1), whose cellular targets were trapped in vivo using mutant Trx-like proteins, under conditions of low endogenous expression of these proteins. Prxs were detected as key redox targets of Trx1, but this approach also supported the detection of TR1, which is the Trx1 reductant, as well as mitochondrial intermembrane proteins AIF and Mia40. In addition, glutathione peroxidase 4 was found to be a Rdx12 redox target. In contrast, no redox targets of Txnl1 and Nrx1 could be detected, suggesting that their CXXC motifs do not engage in mixed disulfides with cellular proteins. For some Trx-like proteins, the method allowed distinguishing redox and non-redox interactions. Parallel, comparative analyses of multiple thiol oxidoreductases revealed differences in the functions of their CXXC motifs, providing important insights into thiol-based redox control of cellular processes.

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) plays a pivotal role in glucose homeostasis through its receptor GLP1R. Due to its multiple beneficial effects, GLP-1 has gained great attention for treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity. However, little is known about the molecular mechanism underlying the interaction of GLP-1 with the heptahelical core domain of GLP1R conferring high affinity ligand binding and ligand-induced receptor activation. Here, using chimeric and point-mutated GLP1R, we determined that the evolutionarily conserved amino acid residue Arg380 flanked by hydrophobic Leu379 and Phe381 in extracellular loop 3 (ECL3) may have an interaction with Asp9 and Gly4 of the GLP-1 peptide. The molecular modeling study showed that Ile196 at transmembrane helix 2, Met233 at ECL1, and Asn302 at ECL2 of GLP1R have contacts with His1 and Thr7 of GLP-1. This study may shed light on the mechanism underlying high affinity interaction between the ligand and the binding pocket that is formed by these conserved residues in the GLP1R core domain.

Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) has been shown to alter its ionic selectivity profile in a time- and agonist-dependent manner. One hallmark of this dynamic process is an increased permeability to large cations such as N-methyl-d-glucamine (NMDG). In this study, we mutated residues throughout the TRPV1 pore domain to identify loci that contribute to dynamic large cation permeability. Using resiniferatoxin (RTX) as the agonist, we identified multiple gain-of-function substitutions within the TRPV1 pore turret (N628P and S629A), pore helix (F638A), and selectivity filter (M644A) domains. In all of these mutants, maximum NMDG permeability was substantially greater than that recorded in wild type TRPV1, despite similar or even reduced sodium current density. Two additional mutants, located in the pore turret (G618W) and selectivity filter (M644I), resulted in significantly reduced maximum NMDG permeability. M644A and M644I also showed increased and decreased minimum NMDG permeability, respectively. The phenotypes of this panel of mutants were confirmed by imaging the RTX-evoked uptake of the large cationic fluorescent dye YO-PRO1. Whereas none of the mutations selectively altered capsaicin-induced changes in NMDG permeability, the loss-of-function phenotypes seen with RTX stimulation of G618W and M644I were recapitulated in the capsaicin-evoked YO-PRO1 uptake assay. Curiously, the M644A substitution resulted in a loss, rather than a gain, in capsaicin-evoked YO-PRO1 uptake. Modeling of our mutations onto the recently determined TRPV1 structure revealed several plausible mechanisms for the phenotypes observed. We conclude that side chain interactions at a few specific loci within the TRPV1 pore contribute to the dynamic process of ionic selectivity.

Calnexin is a type I integral endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein, molecular chaperone, and a component of the translocon. We discovered a novel interaction between the calnexin cytoplasmic domain and UBC9, a SUMOylation E2 ligase, which modified the calnexin cytoplasmic domain by the addition of SUMO. We demonstrated that calnexin interaction with the SUMOylation machinery modulates an interaction with protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B), an ER-associated protein tyrosine phosphatase involved in the negative regulation of insulin and leptin signaling. We showed that calnexin and PTP1B form UBC9-dependent complexes, revealing a previously unrecognized contribution of calnexin to the retention of PTP1B at the ER membrane. This work shows that the SUMOylation machinery links two ER proteins from divergent pathways to potentially affect cellular protein quality control and energy metabolism.

We expressed an active form of CtCel5E (a bifunctional cellulase/xylanase from Clostridium thermocellum), performed biochemical characterization, and determined its apo- and ligand-bound crystal structures. From the structures, Asn-93, His-168, His-169, Asn-208, Trp-347, and Asn-349 were shown to provide hydrogen-bonding/hydrophobic interactions with both ligands. Compared with the structures of TmCel5A, a bifunctional cellulase/mannanase homolog from Thermotoga maritima, a flexible loop region in CtCel5E is the key for discriminating substrates. Moreover, site-directed mutagenesis data confirmed that His-168 is essential for xylanase activity, and His-169 is more important for xylanase activity, whereas Asn-93, Asn-208, Tyr-270, Trp-347, and Asn-349 are critical for both activities. In contrast, F267A improves enzyme activities.

The human angiotensinogen (hAGT) gene has polymorphisms in its 2.5-kb promoter that form two haplotype (Hap) blocks: −6A/G (−1670A/G, −1562C/T, and −1561T/C) and −217A/G (−532T/C, −793A/G, −1074T/C, and −1178G/A). Hap −6A/−217A is associated with human hypertension, whereas Hap −6G/−217G reduces cardiovascular risk. Hap −6A/−217A has increased promoter activity with enhanced transcription factor binding, including to the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Glucocorticoid therapy frequently causes hypertension, the mechanisms for which are incompletely understood. We have engineered double transgenic (TG) mice containing the human renin gene with either Hap of the hAGT gene and examined the physiological significance of glucocorticoid-mediated allele-specific regulation of the hAGT gene. We have also studied the consequential effects on the renin angiotensin system and blood pressure. TG mice with Hap −6A and −6G were treated with and without a low dose of a GR agonist, dexamethasone (2.5 μg/ml), for 72 h. We found greater chromatin-GR binding with increased GR agonist-induced hAGT expression in liver and renal tissues of Hap −6A mice. Additionally, dexamethasone treatment increased circulating hAGT and angiotensin II levels in Hap −6A mice, as compared with −6G mice. Importantly, GR agonist significantly increased blood pressure and redox markers in TG mice with Hap-6A of the hAGT gene. Taken together, our results show, for the first time, that glucocorticoids affect hAGT expression in a haplotype-dependent fashion with SNPs in Hap −6A favoring agonist-induced GR binding. This leads to increased expression of the hAGT, up-regulation of the renin angiotensin system, and increased blood pressure and oxidative stress in Hap −6A mice.

Familial prion protein (PrP) mutants undergo conversion from soluble and protease-sensitive to insoluble and partially protease-resistant proteins. Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) phosphorylation of wild type PrP (pPrP) at serine 43 induces a conversion of PrP into aggregates and fibrils. Here, we investigated whether familial PrP mutants are predisposed to Cdk5 phosphorylation and whether phosphorylation of familial PrP mutants increases conversion. PrP mutants representing three major familial PrP diseases and different PrP structural domains were studied. We developed a novel in vitro kinase reaction coupled with Thioflavin T binding to amyloid structure assay to monitor phosphorylation-dependent amyloid conversion. Although non-phosphorylated full-length wild type or PrP mutants did not convert into amyloid, Cdk5 phosphorylation rapidly converted these into Thioflavin T-positive structures following first order kinetics. Dephosphorylation partially reversed conversion. Phosphorylation-dependent conversion of PrP from α-helical structures into β-sheet structures was confirmed by circular dichroism. Relative to wild type pPrP, most PrP mutants showed increased rate constants of conversion. In contrast, non-phosphorylated truncated PrP Y145X (where X represents a stop codon) and Q160X mutants converted spontaneously into Thioflavin T-positive fibrils after a lag phase of over 20 h, indicating nucleation-dependent polymerization. Phosphorylation reduced the lag phase by over 50% and thus accelerated the formation of the nucleating event. Consistently, phosphorylated Y145X and phosphorylated Q160X exacerbated conversion in a homologous seeding reaction, whereas WT pPrP could not seed WT PrP. These results demonstrate an influence of both the N terminus and the C terminus of PrP on conversion. We conclude that post-translational modifications of the flexible N terminus of PrP can cause or exacerbate PrP mutant conversion.

The syndecans are a type of cell surface adhesion receptor that initiates intracellular signaling events through receptor clustering mediated by their highly conserved transmembrane domains (TMDs). However, the exact function of the syndecan TMD is not yet fully understood. Here, we investigated the specific regulatory role of the syndecan-2 TMD. We found that syndecan-2 mutants in which the TMD had been replaced with that of syndecan-4 were defective in syndecan-2-mediated functions, suggesting that the TMD of syndecan-2 plays one or more specific roles. Interestingly, syndecan-2 has a stronger tendency to form sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-resistant homodimers than syndecan-4. Our structural studies showed that a unique phenylalanine residue (Phe167) enables an additional molecular interaction between the TMDs of the syndecan-2 homodimer. The presence of Phe167 was correlated with a higher tendency toward oligomerization, and its replacement with isoleucine significantly reduced the SDS-resistant dimer formation and cellular functions of syndecan-2 (e.g. cell migration). Conversely, replacement of isoleucine with phenylalanine at this position in the syndecan-4 TMD rescued the defects observed in a mutant syndecan-2 harboring the syndecan-4 TMD. Taken together, these data suggest that Phe167 in the TMD of syndecan-2 endows the protein with specific functions. Our work offers new insights into the signaling mediated by the TMD of syndecan family members.

Netrin-1, acting through its principal receptor DCC (deleted in colorectal cancer), serves as an axon guidance cue during neural development and also contributes to vascular morphogenesis, epithelial migration, and the pathogenesis of some tumors. Several lines of evidence suggest that netrin-DCC signaling can regulate and be regulated by the cAMP-dependent protein kinase, PKA, although the molecular details of this relationship are poorly understood. Specificity in PKA signaling is often achieved through differential subcellular localization of the enzyme by interaction with protein kinase A anchoring proteins (AKAPs). Here, we show that AKAP function is required for DCC-mediated activation of PKA and phosphorylation of cytoskeletal regulatory proteins of the Mena/VASP (vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein) family. Moreover, we show that DCC and PKA physically interact and that this association is mediated by the ezrin-radixin-moesin (ERM) family of plasma membrane-actin cytoskeleton cross-linking proteins. Silencing of ERM protein expression inhibits DCC-PKA interaction, DCC-mediated PKA activation, and phosphorylation of Mena/VASP proteins as well as growth cone morphology and neurite outgrowth. Finally, although expression of wild-type radixin partially rescued growth cone morphology and tropism toward netrin in ERM-knockdown cells, expression of an AKAP-deficient mutant of radixin did not fully rescue growth cone morphology and switched netrin tropism from attraction to repulsion. These data support a model in which ERM-mediated anchoring of PKA activity to DCC is required for proper netrin/DCC-mediated signaling.

p27Kip1 (p27) is an inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinases. Inhibiting p27 protein degradation is an actively developing cancer therapy strategy. One focus has been to identify small molecule inhibitors to block recruitment of Thr-187-phosphorylated p27 (p27T187p) to SCFSkp2/Cks1 ubiquitin ligase. Since phosphorylation of Thr-187 is required for this recruitment, p27T187A knockin (KI) mice were generated to determine the effects of systemically blocking interaction between p27 and Skp2/Cks1 on tumor susceptibility and other proliferation related mouse physiology. Rb1+/− mice develop pituitary tumors with full penetrance and the tumors are invariably Rb1−/−, modeling tumorigenesis by two-hit loss of RB1 in humans. Immunization induced humoral immunity depends on rapid B cell proliferation and clonal selection in germinal centers (GCs) and declines with age in mice and humans. Here, we show that p27T187A KI prevented pituitary tumorigenesis in Rb1+/− mice and corrected decline in humoral immunity in older mice following immunization with sheep red blood cells (SRBC). These findings reveal physiological contexts that depend on p27 ubiquitination by SCFSkp2-Cks1 ubiquitin ligase and therefore help forecast clinical potentials of Skp2/Cks1-p27T187p interaction inhibitors. We further show that GC B cells and T cells use different mechanisms to regulate their p27 protein levels, and propose a T helper cell exhaustion model resembling that of stem cell exhaustion to understand decline in T cell-dependent humoral immunity in older age.

The high diversity of the plant lipid mixture raises the question of their respective involvement in the definition of membrane organization. This is particularly the case for plant plasma membrane, which is enriched in specific lipids, such as free and conjugated forms of phytosterols and typical phytosphingolipids, such as glycosylinositolphosphoceramides. This question was here addressed extensively by characterizing the order level of membrane from vesicles prepared using various plant lipid mixtures and labeled with an environment-sensitive probe. Fluorescence spectroscopy experiments showed that among major phytosterols, campesterol exhibits a stronger ability than β-sitosterol and stigmasterol to order model membranes. Multispectral confocal microscopy, allowing spatial analysis of membrane organization, demonstrated accordingly the strong ability of campesterol to promote ordered domain formation and to organize their spatial distribution at the membrane surface. Conjugated sterol forms, alone and in synergy with free sterols, exhibit a striking ability to order membrane. Plant sphingolipids, particularly glycosylinositolphosphoceramides, enhanced the sterol-induced ordering effect, emphasizing the formation and increasing the size of sterol-dependent ordered domains. Altogether, our results support a differential involvement of free and conjugated phytosterols in the formation of ordered domains and suggest that the diversity of plant lipids, allowing various local combinations of lipid species, could be a major contributor to membrane organization in particular through the formation of sphingolipid-sterol interacting domains.

Nucleotide-signaling pathways are found in all kingdoms of life and are utilized to coordinate a rapid response to external stimuli. The stringent response alarmones guanosine tetra- (ppGpp) and pentaphosphate (pppGpp) control a global response allowing cells to adapt to starvation conditions such as amino acid depletion. One more recently discovered signaling nucleotide is the secondary messenger cyclic diadenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP). Here, we demonstrate that this signaling nucleotide is essential for the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, and its increased production during late growth phases indicates that c-di-AMP controls processes that are important for the survival of cells in stationary phase. By examining the transcriptional profile of cells with high levels of c-di-AMP, we reveal a significant overlap with a stringent response transcription signature. Examination of the intracellular nucleotide levels under stress conditions provides further evidence that high levels of c-di-AMP lead to an activation of the stringent response through a RelA/SpoT homologue (RSH) enzyme-dependent increase in the (p)ppGpp levels. This activation is shown to be indirect as c-di-AMP does not interact directly with the RSH protein. Our data extend this interconnection further by showing that the S. aureus c-di-AMP phosphodiesterase enzyme GdpP is inhibited in a dose-dependent manner by ppGpp, which itself is not a substrate for this enzyme. Altogether, these findings add a new layer of complexity to our understanding of nucleotide signaling in bacteria as they highlight intricate interconnections between different nucleotide-signaling networks.

Streptococcus suis is a neglected zoonotic pathogen that has to adapt to the nutritional requirements in the different host niches encountered during infection and establishment of invasive diseases. To dissect the central metabolic activity of S. suis under different conditions of nutrient availability, we performed labeling experiments starting from [13C]glucose specimens and analyzed the resulting isotopologue patterns in amino acids of S. suis grown under in vitro and ex vivo conditions. In combination with classical growth experiments, we found that S. suis is auxotrophic for Arg, Gln/Glu, His, Leu, and Trp in chemically defined medium. De novo biosynthesis was shown for Ala, Asp, Ser, and Thr at high rates and for Gly, Lys, Phe, Tyr, and Val at moderate or low rates, respectively. Glucose degradation occurred mainly by glycolysis and to a minor extent by the pentose phosphate pathway. Furthermore, the exclusive formation of oxaloacetate by phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) carboxylation became evident from the patterns in de novo synthesized amino acids. Labeling experiments with S. suis grown ex vivo in blood or cerebrospinal fluid reflected the metabolic adaptation to these host niches with different nutrient availability; however, similar key metabolic activities were identified under these conditions. This points at the robustness of the core metabolic pathways in S. suis during the infection process. The crucial role of PEP carboxylation for growth of S. suis in the host was supported by experiments with a PEP carboxylase-deficient mutant strain in blood and cerebrospinal fluid.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) results from mutations in genes encoding sarcomeric proteins, most often MYBPC3, which encodes cardiac myosin binding protein-C (cMyBP-C). A recently discovered HCM-associated 25-base pair deletion in MYBPC3 is inherited in millions worldwide. Although this mutation causes changes in the C10 domain of cMyBP-C (cMyBP-CC10mut), which binds to the light meromyosin (LMM) region of the myosin heavy chain, the underlying molecular mechanism causing HCM is unknown. In this study, adenoviral expression of cMyBP-CC10mut in cultured adult rat cardiomyocytes was used to investigate protein localization and evaluate contractile function and Ca2+ transients, compared with wild-type cMyBP-C expression (cMyBP-CWT) and controls. Forty-eight hours after infection, 44% of cMyBP-CWT and 36% of cMyBP-CC10mut protein levels were determined in total lysates, confirming equal expression. Immunofluorescence experiments showed little or no localization of cMyBP-CC10mut to the C-zone, whereas cMyBP-CWT mostly showed C-zone staining, suggesting that cMyBP-CC10mut could not properly integrate in the C-zone of the sarcomere. Subcellular fractionation confirmed that most cMyBP-CC10mut resided in the soluble fraction, with reduced presence in the myofilament fraction. Also, cMyBP-CC10mut displayed significantly reduced fractional shortening, sarcomere shortening, and relaxation velocities, apparently caused by defects in sarcomere function, because Ca2+ transients were unaffected. Co-sedimentation and protein cross-linking assays confirmed that C10mut causes the loss of C10 domain interaction with myosin LMM. Protein homology modeling studies showed significant structural perturbation in cMyBP-CC10mut, providing a potential structural basis for the alteration in its mode of interaction with myosin LMM. Therefore, expression of cMyBP-CC10mut protein is sufficient to cause contractile dysfunction in vitro.

15-Hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15PGDH) is the primary enzyme catalyzing the conversion of hydroxylated arachidonic acid species to their corresponding oxidized metabolites. The oxidation of hydroxylated fatty acids, such as the conversion of prostaglandin (PG) E2 to 15-ketoPGE2, by 15PGDH is viewed to inactivate signaling responses. In contrast, the typically electrophilic products can also induce anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative responses. This study determined that hydroxylated docosahexaenoic acid metabolites (HDoHEs) are substrates for 15PGDH. Examination of 15PGDH substrate specificity was conducted in cell culture (A549 and primary human airway epithelia and alveolar macrophages) using chemical inhibition and shRNA knockdown of 15PGDH. Substrate specificity is broad and relies on the carbon position of the acyl chain hydroxyl group. 14-HDoHE was determined to be the optimal DHA substrate for 15PGDH, resulting in the formation of its electrophilic metabolite, 14-oxoDHA. Consistent with this, 14-HDoHE was detected in bronchoalveolar lavage cells of mild to moderate asthmatics, and the exogenous addition of 14-oxoDHA to primary alveolar macrophages inhibited LPS-induced proinflammatory cytokine mRNA expression. These data reveal that 15PGDH-derived DHA metabolites are biologically active and can contribute to the salutary signaling actions of Ω-3 fatty acids.

Insulin receptor substrates (IRSs) have been shown to be major mediators of insulin signaling. Recently, we found that IRSs form high-molecular weight complexes, and here, we identify by yeast two-hybrid screening a novel IRS-1-associated protein: a 42-kDa cGMP-dependent protein kinase-anchoring protein (GKAP42). GKAP42 knockdown in 3T3-L1 adipocytes suppressed insulin-dependent IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation and downstream signaling, resulting in suppression of GLUT4 translocation to plasma membrane induced by insulin. In addition, GLUT4 translocation was also suppressed in cells overexpressing GKAP42-N (the IRS-1 binding region of GKAP42), which competed with GKAP42 for IRS-1, indicating that GKAP42 binding to IRS-1 is required for insulin-induced GLUT4 translocation. Long term treatment of 3T3-L1 adipocytes with TNF-α, which induced insulin resistance, significantly decreased the GKAP42 protein level. We then investigated the roles of cGMP-dependent kinase (cGK)-Iα, which bound to GKAP42, in these changes. cGK-Iα knockdown partially rescued TNF-α-induced decrease in GKAP42 and impairment of insulin signals. These data indicated that TNF-α-induced repression of GKAP42 via cGK-Iα caused reduction of insulin-induced IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation at least in part. The present study describes analysis of the novel TNF-α-induced pathway, cGK-Iα-GKAP42, which regulates insulin-dependent signals and GLUT4 translocation.

The steadily rising frequency of emerging diseases and antibiotic resistance creates an urgent need for new drugs and targets. Inosine 5′-monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMP dehydrogenase or IMPDH) is a promising target for the development of new antimicrobial agents. IMPDH catalyzes the oxidation of IMP to XMP with the concomitant reduction of NAD+, which is the pivotal step in the biosynthesis of guanine nucleotides. Potent inhibitors of bacterial IMPDHs have been identified that bind in a structurally distinct pocket that is absent in eukaryotic IMPDHs. The physiological role of this pocket was not understood. Here, we report the structures of complexes with different classes of inhibitors of Bacillus anthracis, Campylobacter jejuni, and Clostridium perfringens IMPDHs. These structures in combination with inhibition studies provide important insights into the interactions that modulate selectivity and potency. We also present two structures of the Vibrio cholerae IMPDH in complex with IMP/NAD+ and XMP/NAD+. In both structures, the cofactor assumes a dramatically different conformation than reported previously for eukaryotic IMPDHs and other dehydrogenases, with the major change observed for the position of the NAD+ adenosine moiety. More importantly, this new NAD+-binding site involves the same pocket that is utilized by the inhibitors. Thus, the bacterial IMPDH-specific NAD+-binding mode helps to rationalize the conformation adopted by several classes of prokaryotic IMPDH inhibitors. These findings offer a potential strategy for further ligand optimization.

TrmI generates N1-methyladenosine at position 58 (m1A58) in tRNA. The Thermus thermophilus tRNAPhe transcript was methylated efficiently by T. thermophilus TrmI, whereas the yeast tRNAPhe transcript was poorly methylated. Fourteen chimeric tRNA transcripts derived from these two tRNAs revealed that TrmI recognized the combination of aminoacyl stem, variable region, and T-loop. This was confirmed by 10 deletion tRNA variants: TrmI methylated transcripts containing the aminoacyl stem, variable region, and T-arm. The requirement for the T-stem itself was confirmed by disrupting the T-stem. Disrupting the interaction between T- and D-arms accelerated the methylation, suggesting that this disruption is included in part of the reaction. Experiments with 17 point mutant transcripts elucidated the positive sequence determinants C56, purine 57, A58, and U60. Replacing A58 with inosine and 2-aminopurine completely abrogated methylation, demonstrating that the 6-amino group in A58 is recognized by TrmI. T. thermophilus tRNAGGUThrGGUThr contains C60 instead of U60. The tRNAGGUThr transcript was poorly methylated by TrmI, and replacing C60 with U increased the methylation, consistent with the point mutation experiments. A gel shift assay revealed that tRNAGGUThr had a low affinity for TrmI than tRNAPhe. Furthermore, analysis of tRNAGGUThr purified from the trmI gene disruptant strain revealed that the other modifications in tRNA accelerated the formation of m1A58 by TrmI. Moreover, nucleoside analysis of tRNAGGUThr from the wild-type strain indicated that less than 50% of tRNAGGUThr contained m1A58. Thus, the results from the in vitro experiments were confirmed by the in vivo methylation patterns.

In the past decade, the increasing amount of nanoparticles (NP) and nanomaterials used in multiple applications led the scientific community to investigate the potential toxicity of NP. Many studies highlighted the cytotoxic effects of various NP, including titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and silver nanoparticles (AgNP). In a few studies, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress was found to be associated with NP cytotoxicity leading to apoptosis in different cell types. In this study, we report for the first time that silver nanoparticles of 15 nm (AgNP15), depending on the concentration, induced different signature ER stress markers in human THP-1 monocytes leading to a rapid ER stress response with degradation of the ATF-6 sensor. Also, AgNP15 induced pyroptosis and activation of the NLRP-3 inflammasome as demonstrated by the processing and increased activity of caspase-1 and secretion of IL-1β and ASC (apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD domain) pyroptosome formation. Transfection of THP-1 cells with siRNA targeting NLRP-3 decreased the AgNP15-induced IL-1β production. The absence of caspase-4 expression resulted in a significant reduction of pro-IL-1β. However, caspase-1 activity was significantly higher in caspase-4-deficient cells when compared with WT cells. Inhibition of AgNP15-induced ATF-6 degradation with Site-2 protease inhibitors completely blocked the effect of AgNP15 on pyroptosis and secretion of IL-1β, indicating that ATF-6 is crucial for the induction of this type of cell death. We conclude that AgNP15 induce degradation of the ER stress sensor ATF-6, leading to activation of the NLRP-3 inflammasome regulated by caspase-4 in human monocytes.