ResearchPad - nucleotides https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[iterb-PPse: Identification of transcriptional terminators in bacterial by incorporating nucleotide properties into PseKNC]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14750 Terminator is a DNA sequence that gives the RNA polymerase the transcriptional termination signal. Identifying terminators correctly can optimize the genome annotation, more importantly, it has considerable application value in disease diagnosis and therapies. However, accurate prediction methods are deficient and in urgent need. Therefore, we proposed a prediction method “iterb-PPse” for terminators by incorporating 47 nucleotide properties into PseKNC-Ⅰ and PseKNC-Ⅱ and utilizing Extreme Gradient Boosting to predict terminators based on Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis. Combing with the preceding methods, we employed three new feature extraction methods K-pwm, Base-content, Nucleotidepro to formulate raw samples. The two-step method was applied to select features. When identifying terminators based on optimized features, we compared five single models as well as 16 ensemble models. As a result, the accuracy of our method on benchmark dataset achieved 99.88%, higher than the existing state-of-the-art predictor iTerm-PseKNC in 100 times five-fold cross-validation test. Its prediction accuracy for two independent datasets reached 94.24% and 99.45% respectively. For the convenience of users, we developed a software on the basis of “iterb-PPse” with the same name. The open software and source code of “iterb-PPse” are available at https://github.com/Sarahyouzi/iterb-PPse.

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<![CDATA[OmniChange: The Sequence Independent Method for Simultaneous Site-Saturation of Five Codons]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daa7ab0ee8fa60ba7f19

Focused mutant library generation methods have been developed to improve mainly “localizable” enzyme properties such as activity and selectivity. Current multi-site saturation methods are restricted by the gene sequence, require subsequent PCR steps and/or additional enzymatic modifications. Here we report, a multiple site saturation mutagenesis method, OmniChange, which simultaneously and efficiently saturates five independent codons. As proof of principle, five chemically cleaved DNA fragments, each carrying one NNK-degenerated codon, were generated and assembled to full gene length in a one-pot-reaction without additional PCR-amplification or use of restriction enzymes or ligases. Sequencing revealed the presence of up to 27 different codons at individual positions, corresponding to 84.4% of the theoretical diversity offered by NNK-degeneration. OmniChange is absolutely sequence independent, does not require a minimal distance between mutated codons and can be accomplished within a day.

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<![CDATA[Highly efficient serum-free manipulation of miRNA in human NK cells without loss of viability or phenotypic alterations is accomplished with TransIT-TKO]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4e6e8e95-63ae-420d-a6d7-c2f1aa3d99e6

Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes with functions that include target cell killing, inflammation and regulation. NK cells integrate incoming activating and inhibitory signals through an array of germline-encoded receptors to gauge the health of neighbouring cells. The reactive potential of NK cells is influenced by microRNA (miRNA), small non-coding sequences that interfere with mRNA expression. miRNAs are highly conserved between species, and a single miRNA can have hundreds to thousands of targets and influence entire cellular programs. Two miRNA species, miR-155-5p and miR-146a-5p are known to be important in controlling NK cell function, but research to best understand the impacts of miRNA species within NK cells has been bottlenecked by a lack of techniques for altering miRNA concentrations efficiently and without off-target effects. Here, we describe a non-viral and straightforward approach for increasing or decreasing expression of miRNA in primary human NK cells. We achieve >90% transfection efficiency without off-target impacts on NK cell viability, education, phenotype or function. This opens the opportunity to study and manipulate NK cell miRNA profiles and their impacts on NK cellular programs which may influence outcomes of cancer, inflammation and autoimmunity.

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<![CDATA[Uncovering and resolving challenges of quantitative modeling in a simplified community of interacting cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c99020dd5eed0c484b97589

Quantitative modeling is useful for predicting behaviors of a system and for rationally constructing or modifying the system. The predictive power of a model relies on accurate quantification of model parameters. Here, we illustrate challenges in parameter quantification and offer means to overcome these challenges, using a case example in which we quantitatively predict the growth rate of a cooperative community. Specifically, the community consists of two Saccharomyces cerevisiae strains, each engineered to release a metabolite required and consumed by its partner. The initial model, employing parameters measured in batch monocultures with zero or excess metabolite, failed to quantitatively predict experimental results. To resolve the model–experiment discrepancy, we chemically identified the correct exchanged metabolites, but this did not improve model performance. We then remeasured strain phenotypes in chemostats mimicking the metabolite-limited community environments, while mitigating or incorporating effects of rapid evolution. Almost all phenotypes we measured, including death rate, metabolite release rate, and the amount of metabolite consumed per cell birth, varied significantly with the metabolite environment. Once we used parameters measured in a range of community-like chemostat environments, prediction quantitatively agreed with experimental results. In summary, using a simplified community, we uncovered and devised means to resolve modeling challenges that are likely general to living systems.

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<![CDATA[The ability of locked nucleic acid oligonucleotides to pre-structure the double helix: A molecular simulation and binding study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c7570d5eed0c4843cfda2

Locked nucleic acid (LNA) oligonucleotides bind DNA target sequences forming Watson-Crick and Hoogsteen base pairs, and are therefore of interest for medical applications. To be biologically active, such an oligonucleotide has to efficiently bind the target sequence. Here we used molecular dynamics simulations and electrophoresis mobility shift assays to elucidate the relation between helical structure and affinity for LNA-containing oligonucleotides. In particular, we have studied how LNA substitutions in the polypyrimidine strand of a duplex (thus forming a hetero duplex, i.e. a duplex with a DNA polypurine strand and an LNA/DNA polypyrimidine strand) enhance triplex formation. Based on seven polypyrimidine single strand oligonucleotides, having LNAs in different positions and quantities, we show that alternating LNA with one or more non-modified DNA nucleotides pre-organizes the hetero duplex toward a triple-helical-like conformation. This in turn promotes triplex formation, while consecutive LNAs distort the duplex structure disfavoring triplex formation. The results support the hypothesis that a pre-organization in the hetero duplex structure enhances the binding of triplex forming oligonucleotides. Our findings may serve as a criterion in the design of new tools for efficient oligonucleotide hybridization.

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<![CDATA[DeepDrug3D: Classification of ligand-binding pockets in proteins with a convolutional neural network]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8ebd5eed0c48496f3ee

Comprehensive characterization of ligand-binding sites is invaluable to infer molecular functions of hypothetical proteins, trace evolutionary relationships between proteins, engineer enzymes to achieve a desired substrate specificity, and develop drugs with improved selectivity profiles. These research efforts pose significant challenges owing to the fact that similar pockets are commonly observed across different folds, leading to the high degree of promiscuity of ligand-protein interactions at the system-level. On that account, novel algorithms to accurately classify binding sites are needed. Deep learning is attracting a significant attention due to its successful applications in a wide range of disciplines. In this communication, we present DeepDrug3D, a new approach to characterize and classify binding pockets in proteins with deep learning. It employs a state-of-the-art convolutional neural network in which biomolecular structures are represented as voxels assigned interaction energy-based attributes. The current implementation of DeepDrug3D, trained to detect and classify nucleotide- and heme-binding sites, not only achieves a high accuracy of 95%, but also has the ability to generalize to unseen data as demonstrated for steroid-binding proteins and peptidase enzymes. Interestingly, the analysis of strongly discriminative regions of binding pockets reveals that this high classification accuracy arises from learning the patterns of specific molecular interactions, such as hydrogen bonds, aromatic and hydrophobic contacts. DeepDrug3D is available as an open-source program at https://github.com/pulimeng/DeepDrug3D with the accompanying TOUGH-C1 benchmarking dataset accessible from https://osf.io/enz69/.

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<![CDATA[In-stem molecular beacon targeted to a 5′-region of tRNA inclusive of the D arm that detects mature tRNA with high sensitivity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59febad5eed0c484135341

Cellular functions are regulated by the up- and down-regulation and localization of RNA molecules. Therefore, many RNA detection methods have been developed to analyze RNA levels and localization. Molecular beacon (MB) is one of the major methods for quantitative RNA detection and analysis of RNA localization. Most oligonucleotide-based probes, including MB, are designed to target a long flexible region on the target RNA molecule, e.g., a single-stranded region. Recently, analyses of tRNA localization and levels became important, as it has been shown that environmental stresses and chemical reagents induce nuclear accumulation of tRNA and tRNA degradation in mammalian cells. However, tRNA is highly structured and does not harbor any long flexible regions. Hence, only a few methods are currently available for detecting tRNA. In the present study, we attempted to detect elongator tRNAMet (eMet) and initiator tRNAMet (iMet) by using an in-stem molecular beacon (ISMB), characterized by more effective quenching and significantly higher sensitivity than those of conventional MB. We found that ISMB1 targeted a 5′- region that includes the D arm of tRNA and that it detected eMet and iMet transcripts as well as mature eMet with high sensitivity. Moreover, the analysis revealed that the formation of the ISMB/tRNA transcript complex required more time than the formation of an ISMB/unstructured short RNA complex. These results suggest that ISMB-based tRNA detection can be a useful tool for various biological and medical studies.

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<![CDATA[Quadruplex-forming oligonucleotide targeted to the VEGF promoter inhibits growth of non-small cell lung cancer cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e675d5eed0c484ef32bf

Background

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is commonly overexpressed in a variety of tumor types including lung cancer. As a key regulator of angiogenesis, it promotes tumor survival, growth, and metastasis through the activation of the downstream protein kinase B (AKT) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK 1/2) activation. The VEGF promoter contains a 36 bp guanine-rich sequence (VEGFq) which is capable of forming quadruplex (four-stranded) DNA. This sequence has been implicated in the down-regulation of both basal and inducible VEGF expression and represents an ideal target for inhibition of VEGF expression.

Results

Our experiments demonstrate sequence-specific interaction between a G-rich quadruplex-forming oligonucleotide encoding a portion of the VEGFq sequence and its double stranded target sequence, suggesting that this G-rich oligonucleotide binds specifically to its complementary C-rich sequence in the genomic VEGF promoter by strand invasion. We show that treatment of A549 non-small lung cancer cells (NSCLC) with this oligonucleotide results in decreased VEGF expression and growth inhibition. The VEGFq oligonucleotide inhibits proliferation and invasion by decreasing VEGF mRNA/protein expression and subsequent ERK 1/2 and AKT activation. Furthermore, the VEGFq oligonucleotide is abundantly taken into cells, localized in the cytoplasm/nucleus, inherently stable in serum and intracellularly, and has no effect on non-transformed cells. Suppression of VEGF expression induces cytoplasmic accumulation of autophagic vacuoles and increased expression of LC3B, suggesting that VEGFq may induce autophagic cell death.

Conclusion

Our data strongly suggest that the G-rich VEGFq oligonucleotide binds specifically to the C-rich strand of the genomic VEGF promoter, via strand invasion, stabilizing the quadruplex structure formed by the genomic G-rich sequence, resulting in transcriptional inhibition. Strand invading oligonucleotides represent a new approach to specifically inhibit VEGF expression that avoids many of the problems which have plagued the therapeutic use of oligonucleotides. This is a novel approach to specific inhibition of gene expression.

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<![CDATA[Crystal structure of a Thermus aquaticus diversity-generating retroelement variable protein]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7b0d5eed0c484386634

Diversity-generating retroelements (DGRs) are widely distributed in bacteria, archaea, and microbial viruses, and bring about unparalleled levels of sequence variation in target proteins. While DGR variable proteins share low sequence identity, the structures of several such proteins have revealed the C-type lectin (CLec)-fold as a conserved scaffold for accommodating massive sequence variation. This conservation has led to the suggestion that the CLec-fold may be useful in molecular surface display applications. Thermostability is an attractive feature in such applications, and thus we studied the variable protein of a DGR encoded by a prophage of the thermophile Thermus aquaticus. We report here the 2.8 Å resolution crystal structure of the variable protein from the T. aquaticus DGR, called TaqVP, and confirm that it has a CLec-fold. Remarkably, its variable region is nearly identical in structure to those of several other CLec-fold DGR variable proteins despite low sequence identity among these. TaqVP was found to be thermostable, which appears to be a property shared by several CLec-fold DGR variable proteins. These results provide impetus for the pursuit of the DGR variable protein CLec-fold in molecular display applications.

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<![CDATA[Deep learning image recognition enables efficient genome editing in zebrafish by automated injections]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d011cd5eed0c484038663

One of the most popular techniques in zebrafish research is microinjection. This is a rapid and efficient way to genetically manipulate early developing embryos, and to introduce microbes, chemical compounds, nanoparticles or tracers at larval stages. Here we demonstrate the development of a machine learning software that allows for microinjection at a trained target site in zebrafish eggs at unprecedented speed. The software is based on the open-source deep-learning library Inception v3. In a first step, the software distinguishes wells containing embryos at one-cell stage from wells to be skipped with an accuracy of 93%. A second step was developed to pinpoint the injection site. Deep learning allows to predict this location on average within 42 μm to manually annotated sites. Using a Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), both steps together take less than 100 milliseconds. We first tested our system by injecting a morpholino into the middle of the yolk and found that the automated injection efficiency is as efficient as manual injection (~ 80%). Next, we tested both CRISPR/Cas9 and DNA construct injections into the zygote and obtained a comparable efficiency to that of an experienced experimentalist. Combined with a higher throughput, this results in a higher yield. Hence, the automated injection of CRISPR/Cas9 will allow high-throughput applications to knock out and knock in relevant genes to study their mechanisms or pathways of interest in diverse areas of biomedical research.

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<![CDATA[CRISPR-Cas9 In Situ engineering of subtilisin E in Bacillus subtilis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d0133d5eed0c48403922d

CRISPR-Cas systems have become widely used across all fields of biology as a genome engineering tool. With its recent demonstration in the Gram positive industrial workhorse Bacillus subtilis, this tool has become an attractive option for rapid, markerless strain engineering of industrial production hosts. Previously described strategies for CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in B. subtilis have involved chromosomal integrations of Cas9 and single guide RNA expression cassettes, or construction of large plasmids for simultaneous transformation of both single guide RNA and donor DNA. Here we use a flexible, co-transformation approach where the single guide RNA is inserted in a plasmid for Cas9 co-expression, and the donor DNA is supplied as a linear PCR product observing an editing efficiency of 76%. This allowed multiple, rapid rounds of in situ editing of the subtilisin E gene to incorporate a salt bridge triad present in the Bacillus clausii thermotolerant homolog, M-protease. A novel subtilisin E variant was obtained with increased thermotolerance and activity.

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<![CDATA[Development of the covalent antibody-DNA conjugates technology for detection of IgE and IgM antibodies by immuno-PCR]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390bc3d5eed0c48491e355

Immuno-PCR (iPCR) is one of the methods used for the detection of a wide range of analytes and features the high sensitivity of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method. iPCR uses antibodies coupled to DNA, followed by the amplification of the attached DNA using RT-PCR. Two major types of antibody-DNA conjugates are currently used, which are obtained as a result of non-covalent (biotin-streptavidin) or covalent interactions. Using a strain-promoted azide-alkyne cycloaddition (SPAAC), we synthesized covalent DNA-antibody conjugates, optimized the reaction conditions, and developed an efficient protocol for the purification of conjugates, with which all unreacted antibodies and oligonucleotides are separated. Covalent DNA-antibody conjugates were tested with iPCR assays that were previously developed for the detection of IgE and IgM antibodies with the use of the supramolecular complex of 5'- and 3'-biotinylated DNA and streptavidin. The results show that the modification of antibodies with amino groups did not allow us to obtain monolabeled antibodies or antibodies with a strictly defined number of DNA-labels. The degree of labeling determined by the dyes introduced through the azido group reflects the actual labeling degree statistically. If the average labeling degree for azido groups is 1.1, the conjugates contain 25% mono-labeled antibodies, 50% double-labeled antibodies, and 25% unlabeled ones. The specificity of the monoclonal antibody to human IgE (BE5) changed after conjugation with the oligonucleotide. The sensitivity of iPCR in the detection of IgM antibodies produced against the LeC disaccharide using a covalent conjugate was similar to that of a supramolecular complex of 5'- and 3'-biotinylated DNA and streptavidin, but the new procedure is two steps shorter.

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<![CDATA[Characteristics of interactions at protein segments without non-local intramolecular contacts in the Protein Data Bank]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1966f9d5eed0c484b537eb

The principle of three-dimensional protein structure formation is a long-standing conundrum in structural biology. A globular domain of a soluble protein is formed by a network of atomic contacts among amino acid residues, but regions without intramolecular non-local contacts are often observed in the protein structure, especially in loop, linker, and peripheral segments with secondary structures. Although these regions can play key roles for protein function as interfaces for intermolecular interactions, their nature remains unclear. Here, we termed protein segments without non-local contacts as floating segments and sought them in tens of thousands of entries in the Protein Data Bank. As a result, we found that 0.72% of residues are in floating segments. Regarding secondary structural elements, coil structures are enriched in floating segments, especially for long segments. Interactions with polypeptides and polynucleotides, but not chemical compounds, are enriched in floating segments. The amino acid preferences of floating segments are similar to those of surface residues, with exceptions; the small side chain amino acids, Gly and Ala, are preferred, and some charged side chains, Arg and His, are disfavored for floating segments compared to surface residues. Our comprehensive characterization of floating segments may provide insights into understanding protein sequence-structure-function relationships.

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<![CDATA[The Transcriptional landscape of Streptococcus pneumoniae TIGR4 reveals a complex operon architecture and abundant riboregulation critical for growth and virulence]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c117b9cd5eed0c484699dd5

Efficient and highly organized regulation of transcription is fundamental to an organism’s ability to survive, proliferate, and quickly respond to its environment. Therefore, precise mapping of transcriptional units and understanding their regulation is crucial to determining how pathogenic bacteria cause disease and how they may be inhibited. In this study, we map the transcriptional landscape of the bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae TIGR4 by applying a combination of high-throughput RNA-sequencing techniques. We successfully map 1864 high confidence transcription termination sites (TTSs), 790 high confidence transcription start sites (TSSs) (742 primary, and 48 secondary), and 1360 low confidence TSSs (74 secondary and 1286 primary) to yield a total of 2150 TSSs. Furthermore, our study reveals a complex transcriptome wherein environment-respondent alternate transcriptional units are observed within operons stemming from internal TSSs and TTSs. Additionally, we identify many putative cis-regulatory RNA elements and riboswitches within 5’-untranslated regions (5’-UTR). By integrating TSSs and TTSs with independently collected RNA-Seq datasets from a variety of conditions, we establish the response of these regulators to changes in growth conditions and validate several of them. Furthermore, to demonstrate the importance of ribo-regulation by 5’-UTR elements for in vivo virulence, we show that the pyrR regulatory element is essential for survival, successful colonization and infection in mice suggesting that such RNA elements are potential drug targets. Importantly, we show that our approach of combining high-throughput sequencing with in vivo experiments can reconstruct a global understanding of regulation, but also pave the way for discovery of compounds that target (ribo-)regulators to mitigate virulence and antibiotic resistance.

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<![CDATA[Expression of the sRNAs CrcZ and CrcY modulate the strength of carbon catabolite repression under diazotrophic or non-diazotrophic growing conditions in Azotobacter vinelandii]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1c0ae7d5eed0c484426e0d

Azotobacter vinelandii is a nitrogen-fixing bacterium of the Pseudomonadaceae family that prefers the use of organic acids rather than carbohydrates. Thus, in a mixture of acetate-glucose, glucose is consumed only after acetate is exhausted. In a previous work, we investigated the molecular basis of this carbon catabolite repression (CCR) process under diazotrophic conditions. In the presence of acetate, Crc-Hfq inhibited translation of the gluP mRNA, encoding the glucose transporter in A. vinelandii. Herein, we investigated the regulation in the expression of the small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) crcZ and crcY, which are known to antagonize the repressing activity of Hfq-Crc. Our results indicated higher expression levels of the sRNAs crcZ and crcY under low CCR conditions (i.e. glucose), in relation to the strong one (acetate one). In addition, we also explored the process of CCR in the presence of ammonium. Our results revealed that CCR also occurs under non-diazotrophic conditions as we detected a hierarchy in the utilization of the supplied carbon sources, which was consistent with the higher expression level of the crcZ/Y sRNAs during glucose catabolism. Analysis of the promoters driving transcription of crcZ and crcY confirmed that they were RpoN-dependent but we also detected a processed form of CrcZ (CrcZ*) in the RpoN-deficient strain derived from a cbrB-crcZ co-transcript. CrcZ* was functional and sufficient to allow the assimilation of acetate.

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<![CDATA[Conditional mutagenesis by oligonucleotide-mediated integration of loxP sites in zebrafish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c256c78d5eed0c484474cf3

Many eukaryotic genes play essential roles in multiple biological processes in several different tissues. Conditional mutants are needed to analyze genes with such pleiotropic functions. In vertebrates, conditional gene inactivation has only been feasible in the mouse, leaving other model systems to rely on surrogate experimental approaches such as overexpression of dominant negative proteins and antisense-based tools. Here, we have developed a simple and straightforward method to integrate loxP sequences at specific sites in the zebrafish genome using the CRISPR/Cas9 technology and oligonucleotide templates for homology directed repair. We engineered conditional (floxed) mutants of tbx20 and fleer, and demonstrate excision of exons flanked by loxP sites using tamoxifen-inducible CreERT2 recombinase. To demonstrate broad applicability of our method, we also integrated loxP sites into two additional genes, aldh1a2 and tcf21. The ease of this approach will further expand the use of zebrafish to study various aspects of vertebrate biology, especially post-embryonic processes such as regeneration.

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<![CDATA[Hepatic gene body hypermethylation is a shared epigenetic signature of murine longevity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bff05fdd5eed0c484a340dc

Dietary, pharmacological and genetic interventions can extend health- and lifespan in diverse mammalian species. DNA methylation has been implicated in mediating the beneficial effects of these interventions; methylation patterns deteriorate during ageing, and this is prevented by lifespan-extending interventions. However, whether these interventions also actively shape the epigenome, and whether such epigenetic reprogramming contributes to improved health at old age, remains underexplored. We analysed published, whole-genome, BS-seq data sets from mouse liver to explore DNA methylation patterns in aged mice in response to three lifespan-extending interventions: dietary restriction (DR), reduced TOR signaling (rapamycin), and reduced growth (Ames dwarf mice). Dwarf mice show enhanced DNA hypermethylation in the body of key genes in lipid biosynthesis, cell proliferation and somatotropic signaling, which strongly correlates with the pattern of transcriptional repression. Remarkably, DR causes a similar hypermethylation in lipid biosynthesis genes, while rapamycin treatment increases methylation signatures in genes coding for growth factor and growth hormone receptors. Shared changes of DNA methylation were restricted to hypermethylated regions, and they were not merely a consequence of slowed ageing, thus suggesting an active mechanism driving their formation. By comparing the overlap in ageing-independent hypermethylated patterns between all three interventions, we identified four regions, which, independent of genetic background or gender, may serve as novel biomarkers for longevity-extending interventions. In summary, we identified gene body hypermethylation as a novel and partly conserved signature of lifespan-extending interventions in mouse, highlighting epigenetic reprogramming as a possible intervention to improve health at old age.

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<![CDATA[Development of ultra-short PCR assay to reveal BRAF V600 mutation status in Thai colorectal cancer tissues]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b28b870463d7e14181b184d

The protein kinase BRAF is one of the key players in regulating cellular responses to extracellular signals. Somatic mutations of the BRAF gene, causing constitutive activation of BRAF, have been found in various types of human cancers such as malignant melanoma, and colorectal cancer. BRAF V600E and V600K, most commonly observed mutations in these cancers, may predict response to targeted therapies. Many techniques suffer from a lack of diagnostic sensitivity in mutation analysis in clinical samples with a low cancer cell percentage or poor-quality fragmented DNA. Here we present allele-specific real-time PCR assay for amplifying 35- to 45-base target sequences in BRAF gene. Forward primer designed for BRAF V600E detection is capable of recognizing both types of BRAF V600E mutation, i.e. V600E1 (c.1799T>A) and V600E2 (c.1799_1800delTGinsAA), as well as complex tandem mutation caused by nucleotide changes in codons 600 and 601. We utilized this assay to analyze Thai formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues. Forty-eight percent of 178 Thai colorectal cancer tissues has KRAS mutation detected by highly sensitive commercial assays. Although these DNA samples contain low overall yield of amplifiable DNA, our newly-developed assay successfully revealed BRAF V600 mutations in 6 of 93 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded colorectal cancer tissues which KRAS mutation was not detected. Ultra-short PCR assay with forward mutation-specific primers is potentially useful to detect BRAF V600 mutations in highly fragmented DNA specimens from cancer patients.

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<![CDATA[Calpain-Catalyzed Proteolysis of Human dUTPase Specifically Removes the Nuclear Localization Signal Peptide]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1eab0ee8fa60b7e167

Background

Calpain proteases drive intracellular signal transduction via specific proteolysis of multiple substrates upon Ca2+-induced activation. Recently, dUTPase, an enzyme essential to maintain genomic integrity, was identified as a physiological calpain substrate in Drosophila cells. Here we investigate the potential structural/functional significance of calpain-activated proteolysis of human dUTPase.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Limited proteolysis of human dUTPase by mammalian m-calpain was investigated in the presence and absence of cognate ligands of either calpain or dUTPase. Significant proteolysis was observed only in the presence of Ca(II) ions, inducing calpain action. The presence or absence of the dUTP-analogue α,β-imido-dUTP did not show any effect on Ca2+-calpain-induced cleavage of human dUTPase. The catalytic rate constant of dUTPase was unaffected by calpain cleavage. Gel electrophoretic analysis showed that Ca2+-calpain-induced cleavage of human dUTPase resulted in several distinctly observable dUTPase fragments. Mass spectrometric identification of the calpain-cleaved fragments identified three calpain cleavage sites (between residues 4SE5; 7TP8; and 31LS32). The cleavage between the 31LS32 peptide bond specifically removes the flexible N-terminal nuclear localization signal, indispensable for cognate localization.

Conclusions/Significance

Results argue for a mechanism where Ca2+-calpain may regulate nuclear availability and degradation of dUTPase.

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<![CDATA[Covalent Bonding of Pyrrolobenzodiazepines (PBDs) to Terminal Guanine Residues within Duplex and Hairpin DNA Fragments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da88ab0ee8fa60b9cdcd

Pyrrolobenzodiazepines (PBDs) are covalent-binding DNA-interactive agents with growing importance as payloads in Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs). Until now, PBDs were thought to covalently bond to C2-NH2 groups of guanines in the DNA-minor groove across a three-base-pair recognition sequence. Using HPLC/MS methodology with designed hairpin and duplex oligonucleotides, we have now demonstrated that the PBD Dimer SJG-136 and the C8-conjugated PBD Monomer GWL-78 can covalently bond to a terminal guanine of DNA, with the PBD skeleton spanning only two base pairs. Control experiments with the non-C8-conjugated anthramycin along with molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the C8-substituent of a PBD Monomer, or one-half of a PBD Dimer, may provide stability for the adduct. This observation highlights the importance of PBD C8-substituents, and also suggests that PBDs may bind to terminal guanines within stretches of DNA in cells, thus representing a potentially novel mechanism of action at the end of DNA strand breaks.

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