ResearchPad - point-mutation https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Genetic algorithm-based personalized models of human cardiac action potential]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7669 We present a novel modification of genetic algorithm (GA) which determines personalized parameters of cardiomyocyte electrophysiology model based on set of experimental human action potential (AP) recorded at different heart rates. In order to find the steady state solution, the optimized algorithm performs simultaneous search in the parametric and slow variables spaces. We demonstrate that several GA modifications are required for effective convergence. Firstly, we used Cauchy mutation along a random direction in the parametric space. Secondly, relatively large number of elite organisms (6–10% of the population passed on to new generation) was required for effective convergence. Test runs with synthetic AP as input data indicate that algorithm error is low for high amplitude ionic currents (1.6±1.6% for IKr, 3.2±3.5% for IK1, 3.9±3.5% for INa, 8.2±6.3% for ICaL). Experimental signal-to-noise ratio above 28 dB was required for high quality GA performance. GA was validated against optical mapping recordings of human ventricular AP and mRNA expression profile of donor hearts. In particular, GA output parameters were rescaled proportionally to mRNA levels ratio between patients. We have demonstrated that mRNA-based models predict the AP waveform dependence on heart rate with high precision. The latter also provides a novel technique of model personalization that makes it possible to map gene expression profile to cardiac function.

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<![CDATA[Integrated structural variation and point mutation signatures in cancer genomes using correlated topic models]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c99020ad5eed0c484b97533

Mutation signatures in cancer genomes reflect endogenous and exogenous mutational processes, offering insights into tumour etiology, features for prognostic and biologic stratification and vulnerabilities to be exploited therapeutically. We present a novel machine learning formalism for improved signature inference, based on multi-modal correlated topic models (MMCTM) which can at once infer signatures from both single nucleotide and structural variation counts derived from cancer genome sequencing data. We exemplify the utility of our approach on two hormone driven, DNA repair deficient cancers: breast and ovary (n = 755 samples total). We show how introducing correlated structure both within and between modes of mutation can increase accuracy of signature discovery, particularly in the context of sparse data. Our study emphasizes the importance of integrating multiple mutation modes for signature discovery and patient stratification, and provides a statistical modeling framework to incorporate additional features of interest for future studies.

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<![CDATA[Generation of TGFBI knockout ABCG2+/ABCB5+ double-positive limbal epithelial stem cells by CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c7575d5eed0c4843cfdce

Corneal dystrophy is an autosomal dominant disorder caused by mutations of the transforming growth factor β-induced (TGFBI) gene on chromosome 5q31.8. This disease is therefore ideally suited for gene therapy using genome-editing technology. Here, we isolated human limbal epithelial stem cells (ABCG2+/ABCB5+ double-positive LESCs) and established a TGFBI knockout using RNA-guided clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 genome editing. An LESC clone generated with a single-guide RNA (sgRNA) targeting exon 4 of the TGFBI gene was sequenced in order to identify potential genomic insertions and deletions near the Cas9/sgRNA-target sites. A detailed analysis of the differences between wild type LESCs and the single LESC clone modified by the TGFBI-targeting sgRNA revealed two distinct mutations, an 8 bp deletion and a 14 bp deletion flanked by a single point mutation. These mutations each lead to a frameshift missense mutation and generate premature stop codons downstream in exon 4. To validate the TGFBI knockout LESC clone, we used single cell culture to isolate four individual sub-clones, each of which was found to possess both mutations present in the parent clone, indicating that the population is homogenous. Furthermore, we confirmed that TGFBI protein expression is abolished in the TGFBI knockout LESC clone using western blot analysis. Collectively, our results suggest that genome editing of TGFBI in LESCs by CRISPR/Cas9 may be useful strategy to treat corneal dystrophy.

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<![CDATA[Presence, persistence and effects of pre-treatment HIV-1 drug resistance variants detected using next generation sequencing: A Retrospective longitudinal study from rural coastal Kenya]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9f3d5eed0c48452a5bd

Background

The epidemiology of HIV-1 drug resistance (HIVDR) determined by Sanger capillary sequencing, has been widely studied. However, much less is known about HIVDR detected using next generation sequencing (NGS) methods. We aimed to determine the presence, persistence and effect of pre-treatment HIVDR variants detected using NGS in HIV-1 infected antiretroviral treatment (ART) naïve participants from rural Coastal Kenya.

Methods

In a retrospective longitudinal study, samples from HIV-1 infected participants collected prior [n = 2 time-points] and after [n = 1 time-point] ART initiation were considered. An ultra-deep amplicon-based NGS assay, calling for nucleotide variants at >2.0% frequency of viral population, was used. Suspected virologic failure (sVF) was defined as a one-off HIV-1 viral load of >1000 copies/ml whilst on ART.

Results

Of the 50 eligible participants, 12 (24.0% [95% CI: 13.1–38.2]) had at least one detectable pre-treatment HIVDR variant against Protease Inhibitors (PIs, n = 6 [12%]), Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs, n = 4 [8.0%]) and Non-NRTIs (n = 3 [6.0%]). Overall, 15 pre-treatment resistance variants were detected (frequency, range: 2.3–92.0%). A positive correlation was observed between mutation frequency and absolute load for NRTI and/or NNRTI variants (r = 0.761 [p = 0.028]), but not for PI variants (r = -0.117 [p = 0.803]). Participants with pre-treatment NRTI and/or NNRTI resistance had increased odds of sVF (OR = 6.0; 95% CI = 1.0–36.9; p = 0.054).

Conclusions

Using NGS, pre-treatment resistance variants were common, though observed PI variants were unlikely transmitted, but rather probably generated de novo. Even when detected from a low frequency, pre-treatment NRTI and/or NNRTI resistance variants may adversely affect treatment outcomes.

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<![CDATA[Comparative analysis of mutational robustness of the intrinsically disordered viral protein VPg and of its interactor eIF4E]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f148fd5eed0c48467a2e5

Conformational intrinsic disorder is a feature present in many virus proteins. Intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) have weaker structural requirement than ordered regions and mutations in IDRs could have a lower impact on the virus fitness. This could favor its exploration of adaptive solutions. The potyviral protein VPg contains IDRs with determinants for adaptation to its host plant. To experimentally assess whether IDRs are more resistant to mutations than ordered regions, the biologically relevant interaction between mutant libraries of both VPg and the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) and their respective wild type partner was examined using yeast two hybrid assay. Our data shows that VPg is significantly more robust to mutations than eIF4E and as such belongs to a particular class of intrinsically disordered proteins. This result is discussed from the standpoint of IDRs involvement in the virus adaptive processes.

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<![CDATA[Dissection of the regulatory role for the N-terminal domain in Candida albicans protein phosphatase Z1]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5df31ad5eed0c484580d1d

The novel type, fungus specific protein phosphatase Z1 of the opportunistic pathogen, Candida albicans (CaPpz1) has several important physiological roles. It consists of a conserved C-terminal catalytic domain and a variable, intrinsically disordered, N-terminal regulatory domain. To test the function of these domains we modified the structure of CaPpz1 by in vitro mutagenesis. The two main domains were separated, four potential protein binding regions were deleted, and the myristoylation site as well as the active site of the enzyme was crippled by point mutations G2A and R262L, respectively. The in vitro phosphatase activity assay of the bacterially expressed recombinant proteins indicated that the N-terminal domain was inactive, while the C-terminal domain became highly active against myosin light chain substrate. The deletion of the N-terminal 1–16 amino acids and the G2A mutation significantly decreased the specific activity of the enzyme. Complementation of the ppz1 Saccharomyces cerevisiae deletion mutant strain with the different CaPpz1 forms demonstrated that the scission of the main domains, the two point mutations and the N-terminal 1–16 deletion rendered the phosphatase incompetent in the in vivo assays of LiCl tolerance and caffeine sensitivity. Thus our results confirmed the functional role of the N-terminal domain and highlighted the significance of the very N-terminal part of the protein in the regulation of CaPpz1.

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<![CDATA[Analysis of antifungal resistance genes in Candida albicans and Candida glabrata using next generation sequencing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7d3d5eed0c484386a4b

Introduction/Objectives

An increase in antifungal resistant Candida strains has been reported in recent years. The aim of this study was to detect mutations in resistance genes of azole-resistant, echinocandin-resistant or multi-resistant strains using next generation sequencing technology, which allows the analysis of multiple resistance mechanisms in a high throughput setting.

Methods

Forty clinical Candida isolates (16 C. albicans and 24 C. glabrata strains) with MICs for azoles and echinocandins above the clinical EUCAST breakpoint were examined. The genes ERG11, ERG3, TAC1 and GSC1 (FKS1) in C. albicans, as well as ERG11, CgPDR1, FKS1 and FKS2 in C. glabrata were sequenced.

Results

Fifty-four different missense mutations were identified, 13 of which have not been reported before. All nine echinocandin-resistant Candida isolates showed mutations in the hot spot (HS) regions of FKS1, FKS2 or GSC1. In ERG3 two homozygous premature stop codons were identified in two highly azole-resistant and moderately echinocandin-resistant C. albicans strains. Seven point mutations in ERG11 were determined in azole-resistant C. albicans whereas in azole-resistant C. glabrata, no ERG11 mutations were detected. In 10 out of 13 azole-resistant C. glabrata, 12 different potential gain-of-function mutations in the transcription factor CgPDR1 were verified, which are associated with an overexpression of the efflux pumps CDR1/2.

Conclusion

This study showed that next generation sequencing allows the thorough investigation of a large number of isolates more cost efficient and faster than conventional Sanger sequencing. Targeting different resistance genes and a large sample size of highly resistant strains allows a better determination of the relevance of the different mutations, and to differentiate between causal mutations and polymorphisms.

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<![CDATA[Criteria for evaluating molecular markers: Comprehensive quality metrics to improve marker-assisted selection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c38d5eed0c484bd0df6

Despite strong interest over many years, the usage of quantitative trait loci in plant breeding has often failed to live up to expectations. A key weak point in the utilisation of QTLs is the “quality” of markers used during marker-assisted selection (MAS): unreliable markers result in variable outcomes, leading to a perception that MAS products fail to achieve reliable improvement. Most reports of markers used for MAS focus on markers derived from the mapping population. There are very few studies that examine the reliability of these markers in other genetic backgrounds, and critically, no metrics exist to describe and quantify this reliability. To improve the MAS process, this work proposes five core metrics that fully describe the reliability of a marker. These metrics give a comprehensive and quantitative measure of the ability of a marker to correctly classify germplasm as QTL[+]/[–], particularly against a background of high allelic diversity. Markers that score well on these metrics will have far higher reliability in breeding, and deficiencies in specific metrics give information on circumstances under which a marker may not be reliable. The metrics are applicable across different marker types and platforms, allowing an objective comparison of the performance of different markers irrespective of the platform. Evaluating markers using these metrics demonstrates that trait-specific markers consistently out-perform markers designed for other purposes. These metrics also provide a superb set of criteria for designing superior marker systems for a target QTL, enabling the selection of an optimal marker set before committing to design.

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<![CDATA[On the unfounded enthusiasm for soft selective sweeps II: Examining recent evidence from humans, flies, and viruses]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2fcf52d5eed0c484a6e0e8

Since the initial description of the genomic patterns expected under models of positive selection acting on standing genetic variation and on multiple beneficial mutations—so-called soft selective sweeps—researchers have sought to identify these patterns in natural population data. Indeed, over the past two years, large-scale data analyses have argued that soft sweeps are pervasive across organisms of very different effective population size and mutation rate—humans, Drosophila, and HIV. Yet, others have evaluated the relevance of these models to natural populations, as well as the identifiability of the models relative to other known population-level processes, arguing that soft sweeps are likely to be rare. Here, we look to reconcile these opposing results by carefully evaluating three recent studies and their underlying methodologies. Using population genetic theory, as well as extensive simulation, we find that all three examples are prone to extremely high false-positive rates, incorrectly identifying soft sweeps under both hard sweep and neutral models. Furthermore, we demonstrate that well-fit demographic histories combined with rare hard sweeps serve as the more parsimonious explanation. These findings represent a necessary response to the growing tendency of invoking parameter-heavy, assumption-laden models of pervasive positive selection, and neglecting best practices regarding the construction of proper demographic null models.

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<![CDATA[Mutation, drift and selection in single-driver hematologic malignancy: Example of secondary myelodysplastic syndrome following treatment of inherited neutropenia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d00e3d5eed0c484036660

Cancer development is driven by series of events involving mutations, which may become fixed in a tumor via genetic drift and selection. This process usually includes a limited number of driver (advantageous) mutations and a greater number of passenger (neutral or mildly deleterious) mutations. We focus on a real-world leukemia model evolving on the background of a germline mutation. Severe congenital neutropenia (SCN) evolves to secondary myelodysplastic syndrome (sMDS) and/or secondary acute myeloid leukemia (sAML) in 30–40%. The majority of SCN cases are due to a germline ELANE mutation. Acquired mutations in CSF3R occur in >70% sMDS/sAML associated with SCN. Hypotheses underlying our model are: an ELANE mutation causes SCN; CSF3R mutations occur spontaneously at a low rate; in fetal life, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells expands quickly, resulting in a high probability of several tens to several hundreds of cells with CSF3R truncation mutations; therapeutic granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) administration early in life exerts a strong selective pressure, providing mutants with a growth advantage. Applying population genetics theory, we propose a novel two-phase model of disease development from SCN to sMDS. In Phase 1, hematopoietic tissues expand and produce tens to hundreds of stem cells with the CSF3R truncation mutation. Phase 2 occurs postnatally through adult stages with bone marrow production of granulocyte precursors and positive selection of mutants due to chronic G-CSF therapy to reverse the severe neutropenia. We predict the existence of the pool of cells with the mutated truncated receptor before G-CSF treatment begins. The model does not require increase in mutation rate under G-CSF treatment and agrees with age distribution of sMDS onset and clinical sequencing data.

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<![CDATA[Real-world management of patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutation-positive non–small-cell lung cancer in the USA]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390bfcd5eed0c48491f430

Background

Randomized phase III trials have established the efficacy of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors as first-line treatment for EGFR mutation-positive advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (EGFR Mut+ NSCLC). This retrospective cohort study examined the management patterns and outcomes of patients with EGFR Mut+ NSCLC in a real-world setting.

Materials and methods

Data were extracted from the US Flatiron Electronic Health Record-derived database. Adult patients with stage IIIB/IV EGFR Mut+ NSCLC (exon 19 deletion or exon 21 L858R mutation) who had received first-line systemic therapy between 2011 and 2016 were included. Demographic and clinical characteristics were analyzed. Outcomes evaluated were time to next treatment (a surrogate for progression-free survival) and overall survival.

Results

Of the 22,258 patients with advanced NSCLC in the database, 961 met the inclusion criteria. Median age was 69.0 years (range: 61–78) and the majority were female (68.0%), with stage IV (93.9%), non-squamous cell carcinoma (97.4%). EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors were the most widely prescribed first-line therapy (72.8%). The likelihood of receiving an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor or chemotherapy was unaffected by the type of medical insurance patients had. Patients treated with an EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor had significantly longer time to next treatment than those given other first-line systemic therapies (p < 0.0001). There were no significant differences in overall survival according to treatment type.

Conclusion

Results from this large US cohort study reflect those obtained in randomized trials of patients with advanced EGFR Mut+ NSCLC and demonstrate their transferability into a real-world setting.

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<![CDATA[Efficacy, safety, and resistance profile of osimertinib in T790M mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer in real-world practice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa577d5eed0c484ca4b0e

The efficacy and safety of osimertinib were demonstrated in clinical trials; however, real-world clinical data, particularly the resistance profile, are limited. Here, we investigated the efficacy, safety, and resistance profile of osimertinib in real-world practice. We reviewed medical records of T790M mutation-positive lung cancer patients who started osimertinib between February 2016 and June 2017. Molecular pathologic data of biopsy samples obtained after acquisition of resistance to osimertinib were also analyzed. The study included 23 patients with a median age of 59 years. The median follow-up duration was 11.9 months (IQR, 4.7–15.8). Objective response was achieved in 17 (73.9%) patients, and the disease was controlled in 22 (95.7%) patients. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 7.4 months (95% CI, 3.6–11.0). Adverse events were minimal except for one case of pneumonitis. Of 14 patients experiencing disease progression, 10 underwent re-biopsy. The T790M mutation disappeared in seven patients (70%), and one showed wild-type conversion. PFS was shorter in the T790M-loss group than in the T790M-persistent group (4.4 vs. 7.7 months). Two patients with small cell transformation responded well to subsequent chemotherapy. One patient developed a C797S mutation that became undetectable after two cycles of gemcitabine and cisplatin followed by six cycles of pembrolizumab, after which the patient responded well to osimertinib. In conclusion, osimertinib showed favorable efficacy and safety in real-world practice comparable to those observed in clinical trials. Repeat biopsy after the acquisition of resistance to osimertinib is helpful to direct further treatment strategies.

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<![CDATA[Reducing phenolic off-flavors through CRISPR-based gene editing of the FDC1 gene in Saccharomyces cerevisiae x Saccharomyces eubayanus hybrid lager beer yeasts]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5d6d5eed0c484ca92ab

Today’s beer market is challenged by a decreasing consumption of traditional beer styles and an increasing consumption of specialty beers. In particular, lager-type beers (pilsner), characterized by their refreshing and unique aroma and taste, yet very uniform, struggle with their sales. The development of novel variants of the common lager yeast, the interspecific hybrid Saccharomyces pastorianus, has been proposed as a possible solution to address the need of product diversification in lager beers. Previous efforts to generate new lager yeasts through hybridization of the ancestral parental species (S. cerevisiae and S. eubayanus) yielded strains with an aromatic profile distinct from the natural biodiversity. Unfortunately, next to the desired properties, these novel yeasts also inherited unwanted characteristics. Most notably is their phenolic off-flavor (POF) production, which hampers their direct application in the industrial production processes. Here, we describe a CRISPR-based gene editing strategy that allows the systematic and meticulous introduction of a natural occurring mutation in the FDC1 gene of genetically complex industrial S. cerevisiae strains, S. eubayanus yeasts and interspecific hybrids. The resulting cisgenic POF- variants show great potential for industrial application and diversifying the current lager beer portfolio.

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<![CDATA[CDHR3 extracellular domains EC1-3 mediate rhinovirus C interaction with cells and as recombinant derivatives, are inhibitory to virus infection]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1813ced5eed0c484775dec

Viruses in the rhinovirus C species (RV-C) are more likely to cause severe wheezing illnesses and asthma exacerbations in children than related isolates of the RV-A or RV-B. The RV-C capsid is structurally distinct from other rhinoviruses and does not bind ICAM-1 or LDL receptors. The RV-C receptor is instead, human cadherin-related family member 3 (CDHR3), a protein unique to the airway epithelium. A single nucleotide polymorphism (rs6967330, encoding C529Y) in CDHR3 regulates the display density of CDHR3 on cell surfaces and is among the strongest known genetic correlates for childhood virus-induced asthma susceptibility. CDHR3 immunoprecipitations from transfected or transduced cell lysates were used to characterize the RV-C interaction requirements. The C529 and Y529 variations in extracellular repeat domain 5 (EC5), bound equivalently to virus. Glycosylase treatment followed by mass spectrometry mapped 3 extracellular N-linked modification sites, and further detected surface-dependent, α2–6 sialyation unique to the Y529 format. None of these modifications were required for RV-C recognition, but removal or even dilution of structurally stabilizing calcium ions from the EC junctions irreversibly abrogated virus binding. CDHR3 deletions expressed in HeLa cells or as bacterial recombinant proteins, mapped the amino-terminal EC1 unit as the required virus contact. Derivatives containing the EC1 domain, could not only recapitulate virus:receptor interactions in vitro, but also directly inhibit RV-C infection of susceptible cells for several virus genotypes (C02, C15, C41, and C45). We propose that all RV-C use the same EC1 landing pad, interacting with putative EC3-mediated multimerization formats of CDHR3.

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<![CDATA[Deleterious mitochondrial DNA point mutations are overrepresented in Drosophila expressing a proofreading-defective DNA polymerase γ]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bfc6269d5eed0c484ec8fa8

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations cause severe maternally inherited syndromes and the accumulation of somatic mtDNA mutations is implicated in aging and common diseases. However, the mechanisms that influence the frequency and pathogenicity of mtDNA mutations are poorly understood. To address this matter, we created a Drosophila mtDNA mutator strain expressing a proofreading-deficient form of the mitochondrial DNA polymerase. Mutator flies have a dramatically increased somatic mtDNA mutation frequency that correlates with the dosage of the proofreading-deficient polymerase. Mutator flies also exhibit mitochondrial dysfunction, shortened lifespan, a progressive locomotor deficit, and loss of dopaminergic neurons. Surprisingly, the frequency of nonsynonymous, pathogenic, and conserved-site mutations in mutator flies exceeded predictions of a neutral mutational model, indicating the existence of a positive selection mechanism that favors deleterious mtDNA variants. We propose from these findings that deleterious mtDNA mutations are overrepresented because they selectively evade quality control surveillance or because they are amplified through compensatory mitochondrial biogenesis.

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<![CDATA[Adaptation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to the chronic phenotype by mutations in the algTmucABD operon in isolates from Brazilian cystic fibrosis patients]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0993d5d5eed0c4842ada44

Chronic lung infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. This is associated with the conversion of the non-mucoid to the mucoid phenotype. However, there is little information about the occurrence of alginate-producing P. aeruginosa in CF patients outside Europe and North America. The aim of the present study was to investigate mutations in the algTmucABD operon in mucoid and non-mucoid isolates from Brazilian CF patients. Twenty-seven mucoid and 37 non-mucoid isolates from 40 CF patients chronically infected by P. aeruginosa attending a CF reference center in Brazil were evaluated by sequence analysis. Mutations in mucA were observed in 93% of the mucoid isolates and 54% of the non-mucoid isolates. Among these non-mucoid isolates, 55% were considered revertants, since they also had mutations in algT (algU). Most isolates associated with moderate alginate production presented point mutations in mucB and/or mucD. We identified 30 mutations not previously described in the operon. In conclusion, mutations in mucA were the main mechanism of conversion to mucoidy, and most of the non-mucoid isolates were revertants, but the mechanism of revertance is not fully explained by changes in algT.

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<![CDATA[Ubiquitination of alpha-synuclein filaments by Nedd4 ligases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b60175f463d7e3bf2e777da

Alpha-synuclein can form beta-sheet filaments, the accumulation of which plays a key role in the development of Parkinson’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy. It has previously been shown that alpha-synuclein is a substrate for the HECT domain-containing ubiquitin ligase Nedd4, and is subject to ubiquitin-mediated endosomal degradation. We show here that alpha-synuclein filaments are much better substrates for ubiquitination in vitro than monomeric alpha-synuclein, and that this increased susceptibility cannot be mimicked by the mere clustering of monomers. Recognition by Nedd4 family enzymes is not through the conventional binding of PPxY-containing sequences to WW domains of the ligase, but it also involves C2 and HECT domains. The disease-causing alpha-synuclein mutant A53T is a much less efficient substrate for Nedd4 ligases than the wild-type protein. We suggest that preferential recognition, ubiquitination and degradation of beta-sheet-containing filaments may help to limit toxicity, and that A53T alpha-synuclein may be more toxic, at least in part because it avoids this fate.

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<![CDATA[A speed–fidelity trade-off determines the mutation rate and virulence of an RNA virus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b5c065b463d7e28a3e55d71

Mutation rates can evolve through genetic drift, indirect selection due to genetic hitchhiking, or direct selection on the physicochemical cost of high fidelity. However, for many systems, it has been difficult to disentangle the relative impact of these forces empirically. In RNA viruses, an observed correlation between mutation rate and virulence has led many to argue that their extremely high mutation rates are advantageous because they may allow for increased adaptability. This argument has profound implications because it suggests that pathogenesis in many viral infections depends on rare or de novo mutations. Here, we present data for an alternative model whereby RNA viruses evolve high mutation rates as a byproduct of selection for increased replicative speed. We find that a poliovirus antimutator, 3DG64S, has a significant replication defect and that wild-type (WT) and 3DG64S populations have similar adaptability in 2 distinct cellular environments. Experimental evolution of 3DG64S under selection for replicative speed led to reversion and compensation of the fidelity phenotype. Mice infected with 3DG64S exhibited delayed morbidity at doses well above the lethal level, consistent with attenuation by slower growth as opposed to reduced mutational supply. Furthermore, compensation of the 3DG64S growth defect restored virulence, while compensation of the fidelity phenotype did not. Our data are consistent with the kinetic proofreading model for biosynthetic reactions and suggest that speed is more important than accuracy. In contrast with what has been suggested for many RNA viruses, we find that within-host spread is associated with viral replicative speed and not standing genetic diversity.

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<![CDATA[Investigation of amino acid specificity in the CydX small protein shows sequence plasticity at the functional level]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b498f9c463d7e0897c6e017

Small proteins are a new and expanding area of research. Many characterized small proteins are composed of a single hydrophobic α-helix, and the functional requirements of their limited amino acid sequence are not well understood. One hydrophobic small protein, CydX, has been shown to be a component of the cytochrome bd oxidase complex in Escherichia coli, and is required for enzyme function. To investigate small protein sequence specificity, an alanine scanning mutagenesis on the small protein CydX was conducted using mutant alleles expressed from the E. coli chromosome at the wild-type locus. The resulting mutant strains were assayed for CydX function. No single amino acid was required to maintain wild-type resistance to β-mercaptoethanol. However, substitutions of 10-amino acid blocks indicated that the N-terminus of the protein was required for wild-type CydX activity. A series of double mutants showed that multiple mutations at the N-terminus led to β-mercaptoethanol sensitivity in vivo. Triple mutants showed both in vivo and in vitro phenotypes. Together, these data provide evidence suggesting a high level of functional plasticity in CydX, in which multiple amino acids may work cooperatively to facilitate CydX function.

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<![CDATA[Reverse Chemical Genetics: Comprehensive Fitness Profiling Reveals the Spectrum of Drug Target Interactions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9daab0ee8fa60b67260

The emergence and prevalence of drug resistance demands streamlined strategies to identify drug resistant variants in a fast, systematic and cost-effective way. Methods commonly used to understand and predict drug resistance rely on limited clinical studies from patients who are refractory to drugs or on laborious evolution experiments with poor coverage of the gene variants. Here, we report an integrative functional variomics methodology combining deep sequencing and a Bayesian statistical model to provide a comprehensive list of drug resistance alleles from complex variant populations. Dihydrofolate reductase, the target of methotrexate chemotherapy drug, was used as a model to identify functional mutant alleles correlated with methotrexate resistance. This systematic approach identified previously reported resistance mutations, as well as novel point mutations that were validated in vivo. Use of this systematic strategy as a routine diagnostics tool widens the scope of successful drug research and development.

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