ResearchPad - cysteine https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Atco, a yeast mitochondrial complex of Atp9 and Cox6, is an assembly intermediate of the ATP synthase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14724 Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (oxphos) is the process by which the ATP synthase conserves the energy released during the oxidation of different nutrients as ATP. The yeast ATP synthase consists of three assembly modules, one of which is a ring consisting of 10 copies of the Atp9 subunit. We previously reported the existence in yeast mitochondria of high molecular weight complexes composed of mitochondrially encoded Atp9 and of Cox6, an imported structural subunit of cytochrome oxidase (COX). Pulse-chase experiments indicated a correlation between the loss of newly translated Atp9 complexed to Cox6 and an increase of newly formed Atp9 ring, but did not exclude the possibility of an alternate source of Atp9 for ring formation. Here we have extended studies on the functions and structure of this complex, referred to as Atco. We show that Atco is the exclusive source of Atp9 for the ATP synthase assembly. Pulse-chase experiments show that newly translated Atp9, present in Atco, is converted to a ring, which is incorporated into the ATP synthase with kinetics characteristic of a precursor-product relationship. Even though Atco does not contain the ring form of Atp9, cross-linking experiments indicate that it is oligomeric and that the inter-subunit interactions are similar to those of the bona fide ring. We propose that, by providing Atp9 for biogenesis of ATP synthase, Atco complexes free Cox6 for assembly of COX. This suggests that Atco complexes may play a role in coordinating assembly and maintaining proper stoichiometry of the two oxphos enzymes

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<![CDATA[Crystal structures of Triosephosphate Isomerases from Taenia solium and Schistosoma mansoni provide insights for vaccine rationale and drug design against helminth parasites]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N340e3046-cb91-4c84-8d1b-fb2a65cf4cdb

Triosephosphate isomerases (TPIs) from Taenia solium (TsTPI) and Schistosoma mansoni (SmTPI) are potential vaccine and drug targets against cysticercosis and schistosomiasis, respectively. This is due to the dependence of parasitic helminths on glycolysis and because those proteins elicit an immune response, presumably due to their surface localization. Here we report the crystal structures of TsTPI and SmTPI in complex with 2-phosphoglyceric acid (2-PGA). Both TPIs fold into a dimeric (β-α)8 barrel in which the dimer interface consists of α-helices 2, 3, and 4, and swapping of loop 3. TPIs from parasitic helminths harbor a region of three amino acids knows as the SXD/E insert (S155 to E157 and S157 to D159 in TsTPI and SmTPI, respectively). This insert is located between α5 and β6 and is proposed to be the main TPI epitope. This region is part of a solvent-exposed 310–helix that folds into a hook-like structure. The crystal structures of TsTPI and SmTPI predicted conformational epitopes that could be used for vaccine design. Surprisingly, the epitopes corresponding to the SXD/E inserts are not the ones with the greatest immunological potential. SmTPI, but not TsTPI, habors a sole solvent exposed cysteine (SmTPI-S230) and alterations in this residue decrease catalysis. The latter suggests that thiol-conjugating agents could be used to target SmTPI. In sum, the crystal structures of SmTPI and TsTPI are a blueprint for targeted schistosomiasis and cysticercosis drug and vaccine development.

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<![CDATA[Toscana virus non-structural protein NSs acts as E3 ubiquitin ligase promoting RIG-I degradation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Na0a913dc-a63b-43c4-adc6-448aab832714

It is known that the non-structural protein (NSs) of Toscana virus (TOSV), an emergent sandfly-borne virus causing meningitis or more severe central nervous system injuries in humans, exerts its function triggering RIG-I for degradation in a proteasome-dependent manner, thus breaking off the IFN-β production. The non-structural protein of different members of Bunyavirales has recently appeared as a fundamental protagonist in immunity evasion through ubiquitination-mediated protein degradation targets. We showed that TOSV NSs has an E3 ubiquitin ligase activity, mapping at the carboxy-terminal domain and also involving the amino-terminal of the protein. Indeed, neither the amino- (NSsΔN) nor the carboxy- (NSsΔC) terminal-deleted mutants of TOSV NSs were able to cause ubiquitin-mediated proteasome degradation of RIG-I. Moreover, the addition of the C-terminus of TOSV NSs to the homologous protein of the Sandfly Fever Naples Virus, belonging to the same genus and unable to inhibit IFN-β activity, conferred new properties to this protein, favoring RIG-I ubiquitination and its degradation. NSs lost its antagonistic activity to IFN when one of the terminal residues was missing. Therefore, we showed that NSs could behave as an atypical RING between RING (RBR) E3 ubiquitin ligases. This is the first report which identified the E3 ubiquitin ligase activity in a viral protein among negative strand RNA viruses.

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<![CDATA[Drosophila ZDHHC8 palmitoylates scribble and Ras64B and controls growth and viability]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730b5d5eed0c484f37f58

Palmitoylation is an important posttranslational modification regulating diverse cellular functions. Consequently, aberrant palmitoylation can lead to diseases such as neuronal disorders or cancer. In humans there are roughly one hundred times more palmitoylated proteins than enzymes catalyzing palmitoylation (palmitoyltransferases). Therefore, it is an important challenge to establish the links between palmitoyltransferases and their targets. From publicly available data, we find that expression of human ZDHHC8 correlates significantly with cancer survival. To elucidate the organismal function of ZDHHC8, we study the Drosophila ortholog of hZDHHC8, CG34449/dZDHHC8. Knockdown of dZDHHC8 causes tissue overgrowth while dZDHHC8 mutants are larval lethal. We provide a list of 159 palmitoylated proteins in Drosophila and present data suggesting that scribble and Ras64B are targets of dZDHHC8.

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<![CDATA[Controlling the dynamics of the Nek2 leucine zipper by engineering of “kinetic” disulphide bonds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df370d5eed0c4845812dc

Nek2 is a dimeric serine/ threonine protein kinase that belongs to the family of NIMA-related kinases (Neks). Its N-terminal catalytic domain and its C-terminal regulatory region are bridged by a leucine zipper, which plays an important role in the activation of Nek2’s catalytic activity. Unusual conformational dynamics on the intermediary/slow timescale has thwarted all attempts so far to determine the structure of the Nek2 leucine zipper by means of X-ray crystallography and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). Disulfide engineering, the strategic placement of non-native disulfide bonds into flexible regions flanking the coiled coil, was used to modulate the conformational exchange dynamics of this important dimerization domain. The resulting reduction in exchange rate leads to substantial improvements of important features in NMR spectra, such as line width, coherence transfer leakage and relaxation. These effects were comprehensively analyzed for the wild type protein, two single disulfide bond-bearing mutants and another double disulfide bonds-carrying mutant. Furthermore, exchange kinetics were measured across a wide temperature range, allowing for a detailed analysis of activation energy (ΔG) and maximal rate constant (k’ex). For one mutant carrying a disulfide bond at its C-terminus, a full backbone NMR assignment could be obtained for both conformers, demonstrating the benefits of the disulfide engineering. Our study demonstrates the first successful application of ‘kinetic’ disulfide bonds for the purpose of controlling the adverse effects of protein dynamics. Firstly, this provides a promising, robust platform for the full structural and functional investigation of the Nek2 leucine zipper in the future. Secondly, this work broadens the toolbox of protein engineering by disulfide bonds through the addition of a kinetic option in addition to the well-established thermodynamic uses of disulfide bonds.

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<![CDATA[Isolation and characterization of a tandem-repeated cysteine protease from the symbiotic dinoflagellate Symbiodinium sp. KB8]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca294d5eed0c48441e6cc

A cysteine protease belonging to peptidase C1A superfamily from the eukaryotic, symbiotic dinoflagellate, Symbiodinium sp. strain KB8, was characterized. The protease was purified to near homogeneity (566-fold) by (NH4)2SO4 fractionation, ultrafiltration, and column chromatography using a fluorescent peptide, butyloxycarbonyl-Val-Leu-Lys-4-methylcoumaryl-7-amide (Boc-VLK-MCA), as a substrate for assay purposes. The enzyme was termed VLKP (VLK protease), and its activity was strongly inhibited by cysteine protease inhibitors and activated by reducing agents. Based on the results for the amino acid sequence determined by liquid chromatography–coupled tandem mass spectrometry, a cDNA encoding VLKP was synthesized. VLKP was classified into the peptidase C1A superfamily of cysteine proteases (C1AP). The predicted amino acid sequence of VLKP indicated a tandem array of highly conserved precursors of C1AP with a molecular mass of approximately 71 kDa. The results of gel-filtration chromatography and SDS-PAGE suggested that VLKP exists as a monomer of 31–32 kDa, indicating that the tandem array is likely divided into two mass-equivalent halves that undergo equivalent posttranslational modifications. The VLKP precursor contains an inhibitor prodomain that might become activated after acidic autoprocessing at approximately pH 4. Both purified and recombinant VLKPs had a similar substrate specificity and kinetic parameters for common C1AP substrates. Most C1APs reside in acidic organelles such as the vacuole and lysosomes, and indeed VLKP was most active at pH 4.5. Since VLKP exhibited maximum activity during the late logarithmic growth phase, these attributes suggest that, VLKP is involved in the metabolism of proteins in acidic organelles.

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<![CDATA[Effect of Sec61 interaction with Mpd1 on endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6448b0d5eed0c484c2eb9d

Proteins that misfold in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are transported back to the cytosol for ER-associated degradation (ERAD). The Sec61 channel is one of the candidates for the retrograde transport conduit. Channel opening from the ER lumen must be triggered by ERAD factors and substrates. Here we aimed to identify new lumenal interaction partners of the Sec61 channel by chemical crosslinking and mass spectrometry. In addition to known Sec61 interactors we detected ERAD factors including Cue1, Ubc6, Ubc7, Asi3, and Mpd1. We show that the CPY* ERAD factor Mpd1 binds to the lumenal Sec61 hinge region. Deletion of the Mpd1 binding site reduced the interaction between both proteins and caused an ERAD defect specific for CPY* without affecting protein import into the ER or ERAD of other substrates. Our data suggest that Mpd1 binding to Sec61 is a prerequisite for CPY* ERAD and confirm a role of Sec61 in ERAD of misfolded secretory proteins.

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<![CDATA[Palmitoylation mediates membrane association of hepatitis E virus ORF3 protein and is required for infectious particle secretion]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c181386d5eed0c484775274

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a positive-strand RNA virus encoding 3 open reading frames (ORF). HEV ORF3 protein is a small, hitherto poorly characterized protein involved in viral particle secretion and possibly other functions. Here, we show that HEV ORF3 protein forms membrane-associated oligomers. Immunoblot analyses of ORF3 protein expressed in cell-free vs. cellular systems suggested a posttranslational modification. Further analyses revealed that HEV ORF3 protein is palmitoylated at cysteine residues in its N-terminal region, as corroborated by 3H-palmitate labeling, the investigation of cysteine-to-alanine substitution mutants and treatment with the palmitoylation inhibitor 2-bromopalmitate (2-BP). Abrogation of palmitoylation by site-directed mutagenesis or 2-BP treatment altered the subcellular localization of ORF3 protein, reduced the stability of the protein and strongly impaired the secretion of infectious particles. Moreover, selective membrane permeabilization coupled with immunofluorescence microscopy revealed that HEV ORF3 protein is entirely exposed to the cytosolic side of the membrane, allowing to propose a model for its membrane topology and interactions required in the viral life cycle. In conclusion, palmitoylation determines the subcellular localization, membrane topology and function of HEV ORF3 protein in the HEV life cycle.

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<![CDATA[RitR is an archetype for a novel family of redox sensors in the streptococci that has evolved from two-component response regulators and is required for pneumococcal colonization]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b04166d463d7e0b28e418a9

To survive diverse host environments, the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae must prevent its self-produced, extremely high levels of peroxide from reacting with intracellular iron. However, the regulatory mechanism(s) by which the pneumococcus accomplishes this balance remains largely enigmatic, as this pathogen and other related streptococci lack all known redox-sensing transcription factors. Here we describe a two-component-derived response regulator, RitR, as the archetype for a novel family of redox sensors in a subset of streptococcal species. We show that RitR works to both repress iron transport and enable nasopharyngeal colonization through a mechanism that exploits a single cysteine (Cys128) redox switch located within its linker domain. Biochemical experiments and phylogenetics reveal that RitR has diverged from the canonical two-component virulence regulator CovR to instead dimerize and bind DNA only upon Cys128 oxidation in air-rich environments. Atomic structures show that Cys128 oxidation initiates a “helical unravelling” of the RitR linker region, suggesting a mechanism by which the DNA-binding domain is then released to interact with its cognate regulatory DNA. Expanded computational studies indicate this mechanism could be shared by many microbial species outside the streptococcus genus.

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<![CDATA[The Unusual Resistance of Avian Defensin AvBD7 to Proteolytic Enzymes Preserves Its Antibacterial Activity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da17ab0ee8fa60b7bacf

Defensins are frontline peptides of mucosal immunity in the animal kingdom, including birds. Their resistance to proteolysis and their ensuing ability to maintain antimicrobial potential remains questionable and was therefore investigated. We have shown by bottom-up mass spectrometry analysis of protein extracts that both avian beta-defensins AvBD2 and AvBD7 were ubiquitously distributed along the chicken gut. Cathepsin B was found by immunoblotting in jejunum, ileum, caecum, and caecal tonsils, while cathepsins K, L, and S were merely identified in caecal tonsils. Hydrolysis product of AvBD2 and AvBD7 incubated with a panel of proteases was analysed by RP-HPLC, mass spectrometry and antimicrobial assays. AvBD2 and AvBD7 were resistant to serine proteases and to cathepsins D and H. Conversely cysteine cathepsins B, K, L, and S degraded AvBD2 and abolished its antibacterial activity. Only cathepsin K cleaved AvBD7 and released Ile4-AvBD7, a N-terminal truncated natural peptidoform of AvBD7 that displayed antibacterial activity. Besides the 3-stranded antiparallel beta-sheet typical of beta-defensins, structural analysis of AvBD7 by two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy highlighted the restricted accessibility of the C-terminus embedded by the N-terminal region and gave a formal evidence of a salt bridge (Asp9-Arg12) that could account for proteolysis resistance. The differential susceptibility of avian defensins to proteolysis opens intriguing questions about a distinctive role in the mucosal immunity against pathogen invasion.

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<![CDATA[An Interplay of S-Nitrosylation and Metal Ion Binding for Astrocytic S100B Protein]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1dab0ee8fa60b7d9f6

Mammalian S100B protein plays multiple important roles in cellular brain processes. The protein is a clinically used marker for several pathologies including brain injury, neurodegeneration and cancer. High levels of S100B released by astrocytes in Down syndrome patients are responsible for reduced neurogenesis of neural progenitor cells and induction of cell death in neurons. Despite increasing understanding of S100B biology, there are still many questions concerning the detailed molecular mechanisms that determine specific activities of S100B. Elevated overexpression of S100B protein is often synchronized with increased nitric oxide-related activity. In this work we show S100B is a target of exogenous S-nitrosylation in rat brain protein lysate and identify endogenous S-nitrosylation of S100B in a cellular model of astrocytes. Biochemical studies are presented indicating S-nitrosylation tunes the conformation of S100B and modulates its Ca2+ and Zn2+ binding properties. Our in vitro results suggest that the possibility of endogenous S-nitrosylation should be taken into account in the further studies of in vivo S100B protein activity, especially under conditions of increased NO-related activity.

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<![CDATA[Rational Design of a Carrier Protein for the Production of Recombinant Toxic Peptides in Escherichia coli]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daadab0ee8fa60baa344

Commercial uses of bioactive peptides require low cost, effective methods for their production. We developed a new carrier protein for high yield production of recombinant peptides in Escherichia coli very well suited for the production of toxic peptides like antimicrobial peptides. GKY20, a short antimicrobial peptide derived from the C-terminus of human thrombin, was fused to the C-terminus of Onconase, a small ribonuclease (104 amino acids), which efficiently drove the peptide into inclusion bodies with very high expression levels (about 200–250 mg/L). After purification of the fusion protein by immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography, peptide was obtained by chemical cleavage in diluted acetic acid of an acid labile Asp-Pro sequence with more than 95% efficiency. To improve peptide purification, Onconase was mutated to eliminate all acid labile sequences thus reducing the release of unwanted peptides during the acid cleavage. Mutations were chosen to preserve the differential solubility of Onconase as function of pH, which allows its selective precipitation at neutral pH after the cleavage. The improved carrier allowed the production of 15–18 mg of recombinant peptide per liter of culture with 96–98% purity without the need of further chromatographic steps after the acid cleavage. The antimicrobial activity of the recombinant peptide, with an additional proline at the N-terminus, was tested on Gram-negative and Gram-positive strains and was found to be identical to that measured for synthetic GKY20. This finding suggests that N-terminal proline residue does not change the antimicrobial properties of recombinant (P)GKY20. The improved carrier, which does not contain cysteine and methionine residues, Asp-Pro and Asn-Gly sequences, is well suited for the production of peptides using any of the most popular chemical cleavage methods.

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<![CDATA[Screen of Non-annotated Small Secreted Proteins of Pseudomonas syringae Reveals a Virulence Factor That Inhibits Tomato Immune Proteases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e2ab0ee8fa60b69f3b

Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000 (PtoDC3000) is an extracellular model plant pathogen, yet its potential to produce secreted effectors that manipulate the apoplast has been under investigated. Here we identified 131 candidate small, secreted, non-annotated proteins from the PtoDC3000 genome, most of which are common to Pseudomonas species and potentially expressed during apoplastic colonization. We produced 43 of these proteins through a custom-made gateway-compatible expression system for extracellular bacterial proteins, and screened them for their ability to inhibit the secreted immune protease C14 of tomato using competitive activity-based protein profiling. This screen revealed C14-inhibiting protein-1 (Cip1), which contains motifs of the chagasin-like protease inhibitors. Cip1 mutants are less virulent on tomato, demonstrating the importance of this effector in apoplastic immunity. Cip1 also inhibits immune protease Pip1, which is known to suppress PtoDC3000 infection, but has a lower affinity for its close homolog Rcr3, explaining why this protein is not recognized in tomato plants carrying the Cf-2 resistance gene, which uses Rcr3 as a co-receptor to detect pathogen-derived protease inhibitors. Thus, this approach uncovered a protease inhibitor of P. syringae, indicating that also P. syringae secretes effectors that selectively target apoplastic host proteases of tomato, similar to tomato pathogenic fungi, oomycetes and nematodes.

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<![CDATA[The Panitumumab EGFR Complex Reveals a Binding Mechanism That Overcomes Cetuximab Induced Resistance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab9ab0ee8fa60bade78

Panitumumab and cetuximab target the epidermal growth factor receptor for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer. These therapies provide a significant survival benefit to patients with metastatic colorectal cancer with wild-type RAS. A single point mutation in the ectodomain of EGFR (S468R) confers acquired or secondary resistance in cetuximab treated patients, which is not observed in panitumumab-treated patients. Structural and biophysical studies presented here show this mutation directly blocks cetuximab binding to EGFR domain III and describes a unique mechanism by which panitumumab uses a central cavity to accommodate this mutation.

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<![CDATA[Giardia co-infection promotes the secretion of antimicrobial peptides beta-defensin 2 and trefoil factor 3 and attenuates attaching and effacing bacteria-induced intestinal disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be10ed

Our understanding of polymicrobial gastrointestinal infections and their effects on host biology remains incompletely understood. Giardia duodenalis is an ubiquitous intestinal protozoan parasite infecting animals and humans. Concomitant infections with Giardia and other gastrointestinal pathogens commonly occur. In countries with poor sanitation, Giardia infection has been associated with decreased incidence of diarrheal disease and fever, and reduced serum inflammatory markers release, via mechanisms that remain obscure. This study analyzed Giardia spp. co-infections with attaching and effacing (A/E) pathogens, and assessed whether and how the presence of Giardia modulates host responses to A/E enteropathogens, and alters intestinal disease outcome. In mice infected with the A/E pathogen Citrobacter rodentium, co-infection with Giardia muris significantly attenuated weight loss, macro- and microscopic signs of colitis, bacterial colonization and translocation, while concurrently enhancing the production and secretion of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) mouse β-defensin 3 and trefoil factor 3 (TFF3). Co-infection of human intestinal epithelial cells (Caco-2) monolayers with G. duodenalis trophozoites and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) enhanced the production of the AMPs human β-defensin 2 (HBD-2) and TFF3; this effect was inhibited with treatment of G. duodenalis with cysteine protease inhibitors. Collectively, these results suggest that Giardia infections are capable of reducing enteropathogen-induced colitis while increasing production of host AMPs. Additional studies also demonstrated that Giardia was able to directly inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria. These results reveal novel mechanisms whereby Giardia may protect against gastrointestinal disease induced by a co-infecting A/E enteropathogen. Our findings shed new light on how microbial-microbial interactions in the gut may protect a host during concomitant infections.

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<![CDATA[T47D Cells Expressing Myeloperoxidase Are Able to Process, Traffic and Store the Mature Protein in Lysosomes: Studies in T47D Cells Reveal a Role for Cys319 in MPO Biosynthesis that Precedes Its Known Role in Inter-Molecular Disulfide Bond Formation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db19ab0ee8fa60bcdd84

Among the human heme-peroxidase family, myeloperoxidase (MPO) has a unique disulfide-linked oligomeric structure resulting from multi-step processing of the pro-protein monomer (proMPO) after it exits the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Related family members undergo some, but not all, of the processing steps involved with formation of mature MPO. Lactoperoxidase has its pro-domain proteolytically removed and is a monomer in its mature form. Eosinophil peroxidase undergoes proteolytic removal of its pro-domain followed by proteolytic separation into heavy and light chains and is a heterodimer. However, only MPO undergoes both these proteolytic modifications and then is further oligomerized into a heterotetramer by a single inter-molecular disulfide bond. The details of how and where the post-ER processing steps of MPO occur are incompletely understood. We report here that T47D breast cancer cells stably transfected with an MPO expression plasmid are able to efficiently replicate all of the processing steps that lead to formation of the mature MPO heterotetramer. MPO also traffics to the lysosome granules of T47D cells where it accumulates, allowing in-depth immunofluorescent microscopy studies of MPO trafficking and storage for the first time. Using this novel cell model we show that formation of MPO’s single inter-molecular disulfide bond can occur normally in the absence of the proteolytic events that lead to separation of the MPO heavy and light chains. We further demonstrate that Cys319, which forms MPO’s unique inter-molecular disulfide bond, is important for events that precede this step. Mutation of this residue alters the glycosylation and catalytic activity of MPO and blocks its entry into the endocytic pathway where proteolytic processing and disulfide bonding occur. Finally, using the endocytic trafficking of lysosomal hydrolases as a guide, we investigate the role of candidate receptors in the endocytic trafficking of MPO.

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<![CDATA[The Neurite Outgrowth Inhibitory Nogo-A-Δ20 Region Is an Intrinsically Disordered Segment Harbouring Three Stretches with Helical Propensity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db2cab0ee8fa60bd18bf

Functional recovery from central neurotrauma, such as spinal cord injury, is limited by myelin-associated inhibitory proteins. The most prominent example, Nogo-A, imposes an inhibitory cue for nerve fibre growth via two independent domains: Nogo-A-Δ20 (residues 544–725 of the rat Nogo-A sequence) and Nogo-66 (residues 1026–1091). Inhibitory signalling from these domains causes a collapse of the neuronal growth cone via individual receptor complexes, centred around sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 2 (S1PR2) for Nogo-A-Δ20 and Nogo receptor 1 (NgR1) for Nogo-66. Whereas the helical conformation of Nogo-66 has been studied extensively, only little structural information is available for the Nogo-A-Δ20 region. We used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to assess potential residual structural propensities of the intrinsically disordered Nogo-A-Δ20. Using triple resonance experiments, we were able to assign 94% of the non-proline backbone residues. While secondary structure analysis and relaxation measurements highlighted the intrinsically disordered character of Nogo-A-Δ20, three stretches comprising residues 561EAIQESL567, 639EAMNVALKALGT650, and 693SNYSEIAK700 form transient α-helical structures. Interestingly, 561EAIQESL567 is situated directly adjacent to one of the most conserved regions of Nogo-A-Δ20 that contains a binding motif for β1-integrin. Likewise, 639EAMNVALKALGT650 partially overlaps with the epitope recognized by 11C7, a Nogo-A-neutralizing antibody that promotes functional recovery from spinal cord injury. Diffusion measurements by pulse-field gradient NMR spectroscopy suggest concentration- and oxidation state-dependent dimerisation of Nogo-A-Δ20. Surprisingly, NMR and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) data could not validate previously shown binding of extracellular loops of S1PR2 to Nogo-A-Δ20.

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<![CDATA[Distribution of Cathepsin K in Late Stage of Tooth Germ Development and Its Function in Degrading Enamel Matrix Proteins in Mouse]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadcab0ee8fa60bba1d6

Cathepsin K (CTSK) is a member of cysteine proteinase family, and is predominantly expressed in osteoclastsfor degradationof bone matrix proteins. Given the similarity in physical properties of bone and dental mineralized tissues, including enamel, dentin and cementum, CTSK is likely to take part in mineralization process during odontogenesis. On the other hand, patients with pycnodysostosis caused by mutations of the CTSK gene displayedmultipledental abnormalities, such as hypoplasia of the enamel, obliterated pulp chambers, hypercementosis and periodontal disease. Thereforeitis necessary to study the metabolic role of CTSK in tooth matrix proteins. In this study, BALB/c mice at embryonic day 18 (E18), post-natal day 1 (P1), P5, P10 and P20 were used (5 mice at each time point)for systematic analyses of CTSK expression in the late stage of tooth germ development. We found that CTSK was abundantly expressed in the ameloblasts during secretory and maturation stages (P5 and P10) by immunohistochemistry stainings.During dentinogenesis, the staining was also intense in the mineralization stage (P5 and P10),but not detectable in the early stage of dentin formation (P1) and after tooth eruption (P20).Furthermore, through zymography and digestion test in vitro, CTSK was proved to be capable of hydrolyzing Emdogain and also cleaving Amelogenininto multiple products. Our resultsshed lights on revealing new functions of CTSK and pathogenesis of pycnodysostosis in oral tissues.

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<![CDATA[Anti-trypanosomal activity of non-peptidic nitrile-based cysteine protease inhibitors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db53ab0ee8fa60bdcf12

The cysteine protease cruzipain is considered to be a validated target for therapeutic intervention in the treatment of Chagas disease. Anti-trypanosomal activity against the CL Brener strain of T. cruzi was observed in the 0.1 μM to 1 μM range for three nitrile-based cysteine protease inhibitors based on two scaffolds known to be associated with cathepsin K inhibition. The two compounds showing the greatest potency against the trypanosome were characterized by EC50 values (0.12 μM and 0.25 μM) that were an order of magnitude lower than the corresponding Ki values measured against cruzain, a recombinant form of cruzipain, in an enzyme inhibition assay. This implies that the anti-trypanosomal activity of these two compounds may not be explained only by the inhibition of the cruzain enzyme, thereby triggering a putative polypharmacological profile towards cysteine proteases.

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<![CDATA[Observation of σ-pore currents in mutant hKv1.2_V370C potassium channels]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc5dc

Current through the σ-pore was first detected in hKv1.3_V388C channels, where the V388C mutation in hKv1.3 channels opened a new pathway (σ-pore) behind the central α-pore. Typical for this mutant channel was inward current at potentials more negative than -100 mV when the central α-pore was closed. The α-pore blockers such as TEA+ and peptide toxins (CTX, MTX) could not reduce current through the σ-pore of hKv1.3_V388C channels. This new pathway would proceed in parallel to the α-pore in the S6-S6 interface gap. To see whether this phenomenon is restricted to hKv1.3 channels we mutated hKv1.2 at the homologue position (hKv1.2_V370C). By overexpression of hKv1.2_V370C mutant channels in COS-7 cells we could show typical σ-currents. The electrophysiological properties of the σ-pore in hKv1.3_V388C and hKv1.2_V370C mutant channels were similar. The σ-pore of hKv1.2_V370C channels was most permeable to Na+ and Li+ whereas Cl- and protons did not influence current through the σ-pore. Tetraethylammonium (TEA+), charybdotoxin (CTX) and maurotoxin (MTX), known α-pore blockers, could not reduce current through the σ-pore of hKv1.2_V370C channels. Taken together we conclude that the observation of σ-pore currents is not restricted to Kv1.3 potassium channels but can also be observed in a closely related potassium channel. This finding could have implications in the treatment of different ion channel diseases linked to mutations of the respective channels in regions close to homologue position investigated by us.

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