ResearchPad - proteases https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[ArdC, a ssDNA-binding protein with a metalloprotease domain, overpasses the recipient <i>hsdRMS</i> restriction system broadening conjugation host range]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7739 Horizontal gene transfer is the main mechanism by which bacteria acquire and disseminate new traits, such as antibiotic resistance genes, that allow adaptation and evolution. Here we identified a gene, ardC, that enables a plasmid to increase its conjugative host range, and thus positively contributes to plasmid fitness. The crystal structure of the antirestriction protein ArdC revealed a fold different from other antirestriction proteins. Our results have wide implications for understanding how a gene enlarges the environments a plasmid can colonize and point to new targets to harness the bacterial DNA uptake control.

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<![CDATA[The tetraspanin CD9 facilitates MERS-coronavirus entry by scaffolding host cell receptors and proteases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/598bdfb5fa495b7488185485

Infection by enveloped coronaviruses (CoVs) initiates with viral spike (S) proteins binding to cellular receptors, and is followed by proteolytic cleavage of receptor-bound S proteins, which prompts S protein-mediated virus-cell membrane fusion. Infection therefore requires close proximity of receptors and proteases. We considered whether tetraspanins, scaffolding proteins known to facilitate CoV infections, hold receptors and proteases together on cell membranes. Using knockout cell lines, we found that the tetraspanin CD9, but not the tetraspanin CD81, formed cell-surface complexes of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4), the MERS-CoV receptor, and the type II transmembrane serine protease (TTSP) member TMPRSS2, a CoV-activating protease. This CD9-facilitated condensation of receptors and proteases allowed MERS-CoV pseudoviruses to enter cells rapidly and efficiently. Without CD9, MERS-CoV viruses were not activated by TTSPs, and they trafficked into endosomes to be cleaved much later and less efficiently by cathepsins. Thus, we identified DPP4:CD9:TTSP as the protein complexes necessary for early, efficient MERS-CoV entry. To evaluate the importance of these complexes in an in vivo CoV infection model, we used recombinant Adenovirus 5 (rAd5) vectors to express human DPP4 in mouse lungs, thereby sensitizing the animals to MERS-CoV infection. When the rAd5-hDPP4 vectors co-expressed small RNAs silencing Cd9 or Tmprss2, the animals were significantly less susceptible, indicating that CD9 and TMPRSS2 facilitated robust in vivo MERS-CoV infection of mouse lungs. Furthermore, the S proteins of virulent mouse-adapted MERS-CoVs acquired a CD9-dependent cell entry character, suggesting that CD9 is a selective agent in the evolution of CoV virulence.

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<![CDATA[Activity-dependent switches between dynamic regimes of extracellular matrix expression]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndfacbadd-d1b4-4759-ab64-7c15dc34928b

Experimental studies highlight the important role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the regulation of neuronal excitability and synaptic connectivity in the nervous system. In its turn, the neural ECM is formed in an activity-dependent manner. Its maturation closes the so-called critical period of neural development, stabilizing the efficient configurations of neural networks in the brain. ECM is locally remodeled by proteases secreted and activated in an activity-dependent manner into the extracellular space and this process is important for physiological synaptic plasticity. We ask if ECM remodeling may be exaggerated under pathological conditions and enable activity-dependent switches between different regimes of ECM expression. We consider an analytical model based on known mechanisms of interaction between neuronal activity and expression of ECM, ECM receptors and ECM degrading proteases. We demonstrate that either inhibitory or excitatory influence of ECM on neuronal activity may lead to the bistability of ECM expression, so two stable stationary states are observed. Noteworthy, only in the case when ECM has predominant inhibitory influence on neurons, the bistability is dependent on the activity of proteases. Excitatory ECM-neuron feedback influences may also result in spontaneous oscillations of ECM expression, which may coexist with a stable stationary state. Thus, ECM-neuronal interactions support switches between distinct dynamic regimes of ECM expression, possibly representing transitions into disease states associated with remodeling of brain ECM.

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<![CDATA[Chemical profile of Lippia thymoides, evaluation of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity of its essential oil, and molecular docking and molecular dynamics simulations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8c194fd5eed0c484b4d3c7

The essential oils of the fresh and dry flowers, leaves, branches, and roots of Lippia thymoides were obtained by hydrodistillation and analyzed using gas chromatography (GC) and GC–mass spectrometry (MS). The acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity of the essential oil of fresh leaves was investigated on silica gel plates. The interactions of the key compounds with acetylcholinesterase were simulated by molecular docking and molecular dynamics studies. In total, 75 compounds were identified, and oxygenated monoterpenes were the dominant components of all the plant parts, ranging from 19.48% to 84.99%. In the roots, the main compounds were saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, having contents varying from 39.5% to 32.17%, respectively. In the evaluation of the anticholinesterase activity, the essential oils (detection limit (DL) = 0.1 ng/spot) were found to be about ten times less active than that of physostigmine (DL = 0.01ng/spot), whereas thymol and thymol acetate presented DL values each of 0.01 ng/spot, equivalent to that of the positive control. Based on the docking and molecular dynamics studies, thymol and thymol acetate interact with the catalytic residues Ser203 and His447 of the active site of acetylcholinesterase. The binding free energies (ΔGbind) for these ligands were -18.49 and -26.88 kcal/mol, demonstrating that the ligands are able to interact with the protein and inhibit their catalytic activity.

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<![CDATA[An antibody-free sample pretreatment method for osteopontin combined with MALDI-TOF MS/MS analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c990284d5eed0c484b9802d

Osteopontin is an osteoblast-secreted protein with an aspartic acid-rich, highly phosphorylated, and glycosylated structure. Osteopontin can easily bind to integrins, tumor cells, extracellular matrix and calcium, and is related to bone diseases, various cancers, inflammation etc. Here, DEAE-Cibacron blue 3GA was used to extract recombinant osteopontin from human plasma, and to deplete abundant plasma proteins with an antibody-free method. Using selected buffer systems, osteopontin and human serum albumin could be bound to DEAE-Cibacron blue 3GA, while immunoglobulin G was excluded. The bound osteopontin could then be separated from albumin by using different sequential elution buffers. By this method, 1 μg/mL recombinant osteopontin could be separated from the major part of the most abundant proteins in human plasma. After trypsin digestion, the extracted osteopontin could be successfully detected and identified by MALDI-TOF MS/MS using the m/z 1854.898 peptide and its fragments.

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<![CDATA[Matrix Metalloproteinases in COPD and atherosclerosis with emphasis on the effects of smoking]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c785018d5eed0c484007c7f

Background

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP´s) are known biomarkers of atherosclerosis. MMP´s are also involved in the pathophysiological processes underlying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cigarette smoking plays an important role in both disease states and is also known to affect the concentration and activity of MMP´s systemically. Unfortunately, the epidemiological data concerning the value of MMP´s as biomarkers of COPD and atherosclerosis with special regards to smoking habits are limited.

Methods

450 middle-aged subjects with records of smoking habits and tobacco consumption were examined with comprehensive spirometry, carotid ultrasound examination and biomarker analysis of MMP-1, -3, -7, -10 and -12. Due to missing data 33 subjects were excluded.

Results

The remaining 417 participants were divided into 4 different groups. Group I (n = 157, no plaque and no COPD), group II (n = 136, plaque but no COPD), group III (n = 43, COPD but no plaque) and group IV (n = 81, plaque and COPD). Serum levels of MMP-1,-7,-10-12 were significantly influenced by smoking, and MMP-1, -3, -7 and-12 were elevated in subjects with COPD and carotid plaque. This remained statistically significant for MMP-1 and-12 after adjusting for traditional risk factors.

Conclusion

COPD and concomitant plaque in the carotid artery were associated with elevated levels of MMP-1 and -MMP-12 even when adjusting for risk factors. Further studies are needed to elucidate if these two MMP´s could be useful as biomarkers in a clinical setting. Smoking was associated with increased serum levels of MMP´s (except for MMP-3) and should be taken into account when interpreting serum MMP results.

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<![CDATA[Use of non-insulin diabetes medicines after insulin initiation: A retrospective cohort study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dc9a1d5eed0c484529f41

Background

Clinical guidelines recommend that metformin be continued after insulin is initiated among patients with type 2 diabetes, yet little is known regarding how often metformin or other non-insulin diabetes medications are continued in this setting.

Methods

We conducted a retrospective cohort study to characterize rates and use patterns of six classes of non-insulin diabetes medications: biguanides (metformin), sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones (TZDs), glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP1 receptor agonists), dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors (DPP4 inhibitors), and sodium-glucose co-transporter inhibitors (SGLT2 inhibitors), among patients with type 2 diabetes initiating insulin. We used the 2010–2015 MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters data examining 72,971 patients with type 2 diabetes aged 18–65 years old who initiated insulin and had filled a prescription for a non-insulin diabetes medication in the 90 days prior to insulin initiation. Our primary outcome was the proportion of patients refilling the various non-insulin diabetes medications during the first 90 days after insulin initiation. We also used time-to-event analysis to characterize the time to discontinuation of specific medication classes.

Results

Metformin was the most common non-insulin medication used prior to insulin initiation (N = 53,017, 72.7%), followed by sulfonylureas (N = 25,439, 34.9%) and DPP4 inhibitors (N = 8,540, 11.7%). More than four out of five patients (N = 65,902, 84.7%) refilled prescriptions for any non-insulin diabetes medications within 90 days after insulin initiation. Within that period, metformin remained the most common medication with the highest continuation rate of 84.6%, followed by SGLT2 inhibitors (81.9%) and TZDs (79.3%). Sulfonylureas were the least likely medications to be continued (73.6% continuation) though they remained the second most common medication class used after insulin initiation. The median time to discontinuation varied by therapeutic class from the longest time to discontinuation of 26.4 months among metformin users to the shortest (3.0 months) among SGLT2 inhibitor users.

Conclusion

While metformin was commonly continued among commercially insured adults starting insulin, rates of continuation of other non-insulin diabetes medications were also high. Further studies are needed to determine the comparative effectiveness and safety of continuing insulin secretagogues and newer diabetes medications after insulin initiation.

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<![CDATA[Rosellinia necatrix infection induces differential gene expression between tolerant and susceptible avocado rootstocks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f14bbd5eed0c48467a754

Rosellinia necatrix is the causal agent of avocado white root rot (WRR). Control of this soil-borne disease is difficult, and the use of tolerant rootstocks may present an effective method to lessen its impact. To date, no studies on the molecular mechanisms regulating the avocado plant response towards this pathogen have been undertaken. To shed light on the mechanisms underpinning disease susceptibility and tolerance, molecular analysis of the gene’s response in two avocado rootstocks with a contrasting disease reaction was assessed. Gene expression profiles against R. necatrix were carried out in the susceptible ‘Dusa’ and the tolerant selection BG83 avocado genotypes by micro-array analysis. In ‘Dusa’, the early response was mainly related to redox processes and cell-wall degradation activities, all becoming enhanced after disease progression affected photosynthetic capacity, whereas tolerance to R. necatrix in BG83 relied on the induction of protease inhibitors and their negative regulators, as well as genes related to tolerance to salt and osmotic stress such as aspartic peptidase domain-containing proteins and gdsl esterase lipase proteins. In addition, three protease inhibitors were identified, glu protease, trypsin and endopeptidase inhibitors, which were highly overexpressed in the tolerant genotype when compared to susceptible ‘Dusa’, after infection with R. necatrix, reaching fold change values of 52, 19 and 38, respectively. The contrasting results between ‘Dusa’ and BG83 provide new insights into the different mechanisms involved in avocado tolerance to Phytophthora cinnamomi and R. necatrix, which are consistent with their biotrophic and necrotrophic lifestyles, respectively. The differential induction of genes involved in salt and osmotic stress in BG83 could indicate that R. necatrix penetration into the roots is associated with osmotic effects, suggesting that BG83’s tolerance to R. necatrix is related to the ability to withstand osmotic imbalance. In addition, the high expression of protease inhibitors in tolerant BG83 compared to susceptible ‘Dusa’ after infection with the pathogen suggests the important role that these proteins may play in the defence of avocado rootstocks against R. necatrix.

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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[Novel site-specific PEGylated L-asparaginase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c7587d5eed0c4843cfe5d

L-asparaginase (ASNase) from Escherichia coli is currently used in some countries in its PEGylated form (ONCASPAR, pegaspargase) to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). PEGylation refers to the covalent attachment of poly(ethylene) glycol to the protein drug and it not only reduces the immune system activation but also decreases degradation by plasmatic proteases. However, pegaspargase is randomly PEGylated and, consequently, with a high degree of polydispersity in its final formulation. In this work we developed a site-specific N-terminus PEGylation protocol for ASNase. The monoPEG-ASNase was purified by anionic followed by size exclusion chromatography to a final purity of 99%. The highest yield of monoPEG-ASNase of 42% was obtained by the protein reaction with methoxy polyethylene glycol-carboxymethyl N-hydroxysuccinimidyl ester (10kDa) in 100 mM PBS at pH 7.5 and PEG:ASNase ratio of 25:1. The monoPEG-ASNase was found to maintain enzymatic stability for more days than ASNase, also was resistant to the plasma proteases like asparaginyl endopeptidase and cathepsin B. Additionally, monoPEG-ASNase was found to be potent against leukemic cell lines (MOLT-4 and REH) in vitro like polyPEG-ASNase. monoPEG-ASNase demonstrates its potential as a novel option for ALL treatment, being an inventive novelty that maintains the benefits of the current enzyme and solves challenges.

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<![CDATA[Mechanisms underpinning the permanent muscle damage induced by snake venom metalloprotease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59febed5eed0c484135375

Snakebite is a major neglected tropical health issue that affects over 5 million people worldwide resulting in around 1.8 million envenomations and 100,000 deaths each year. Snakebite envenomation also causes innumerable morbidities, specifically loss of limbs as a result of excessive tissue/muscle damage. Snake venom metalloproteases (SVMPs) are a predominant component of viper venoms, and are involved in the degradation of basement membrane proteins (particularly collagen) surrounding the tissues around the bite site. Although their collagenolytic properties have been established, the molecular mechanisms through which SVMPs induce permanent muscle damage are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate the purification and characterisation of an SVMP from a viper (Crotalus atrox) venom. Mass spectrometry analysis confirmed that this protein is most likely to be a group III metalloprotease (showing high similarity to VAP2A) and has been referred to as CAMP (Crotalus atrox metalloprotease). CAMP displays both collagenolytic and fibrinogenolytic activities and inhibits CRP-XL-induced platelet aggregation. To determine its effects on muscle damage, CAMP was administered into the tibialis anterior muscle of mice and its actions were compared with cardiotoxin I (a three-finger toxin) from an elapid snake (Naja pallida) venom. Extensive immunohistochemistry analyses revealed that CAMP significantly damages skeletal muscles by attacking the collagen scaffold and other important basement membrane proteins, and prevents their regeneration through disrupting the functions of satellite cells. In contrast, cardiotoxin I destroys skeletal muscle by damaging the plasma membrane, but does not impact regeneration due to its inability to affect the extracellular matrix. Overall, this study provides novel insights into the mechanisms through which SVMPs induce permanent muscle damage.

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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[Dual role of iodine, silver, chlorhexidine and octenidine as antimicrobial and antiprotease agents]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2e7d5eed0c48441ece4

Objectives

The majority of human chronic wounds contain bacterial biofilms, which produce proteases and retard the resolution of inflammation. This in turn leads to elevated patient protease activity. Chronic wounds progressing towards closure show a reduction in proteolytic degradation. Therefore, the modulation of protease activity may lead to the faster healing of chronic wounds. Antimicrobials are used to control biofilm-based infection; however, some of them also exhibit the inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases and bacterial proteases. We investigated the antimicrobial agents used in wound healing for their potential to inhibit bacterial and host proteases relevant to chronic wounds.

Methods

Using in vitro zymography, we tested the ability of povidone-iodine, silver lactate, chlorhexidine digluconate, and octenidine hydrochloride to inhibit selected human proteases and proteases from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Serratia marcescens, and Serratia liquefaciens. We investigated penetration and skin protease inhibition by means of in situ zymography.

Results

All the tested antimicrobials inhibited both eukaryotic and prokaryotic proteases in a dose-dependent manner in vitro. The tested compounds were also able to penetrate into skin ex vivo and inhibit the resident proteases. Silver lactate and chlorhexidine digluconate showed an inhibitory effect ex vivo even in partial contact with skin in Franz diffusion cells.

Conclusions

Our in vitro and ex vivo results suggest that wound healing devices which contain iodine, silver, chlorhexidine, and octenidine may add value to the antibacterial effect and also aid in chronic wound healing. Antiprotease effects should be considered in the design of future antimicrobial wound healing devices.

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<![CDATA[Thioguanine-based DENV-2 NS2B/NS3 protease inhibitors: Virtual screening, synthesis, biological evaluation and molecular modelling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536b8fd5eed0c484a48cc8

Dengue virus Type 2 (DENV-2) is predominant serotype causing major dengue epidemics. There are a number of studies carried out to find its effective antiviral, however to date, there is still no molecule either from peptide or small molecules released as a drug. The present study aims to identify small molecules inhibitor from National Cancer Institute database through virtual screening. One of the hits, D0713 (IC50 = 62 μM) bearing thioguanine scaffold was derivatised into 21 compounds and evaluated for DENV-2 NS2B/NS3 protease inhibitory activity. Compounds 18 and 21 demonstrated the most potent activity with IC50 of 0.38 μM and 16 μM, respectively. Molecular dynamics and MM/PBSA free energy of binding calculation were conducted to study the interaction mechanism of these compounds with the protease. The free energy of binding of 18 calculated by MM/PBSA is -16.10 kcal/mol compared to the known inhibitor, panduratin A (-11.27 kcal/mol), which corroborates well with the experimental observation. Results from molecular dynamics simulations also showed that both 18 and 21 bind in the active site and stabilised by the formation of hydrogen bonds with Asn174.

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<![CDATA[The peptidoglycan and biofilm matrix of Staphylococcus epidermidis undergo structural changes when exposed to human platelets]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c57e669d5eed0c484ef3082

Staphylococcus epidermidis is a bacterium frequently isolated from contaminated platelet concentrates (PCs), a blood product used to treat bleeding disorders in transfusion patients. PCs offer an accidental niche for colonization of S. epidermidis by forming biofilms and thus avoiding clearance by immune factors present in this milieu. Using biochemical and microscopy techniques, we investigated the structural changes of the peptidoglycan (PG) and the biofilm matrix of S. epidermidis biofilms formed in whole-blood derived PCs compared to biofilms grown in glucose-supplemented trypticase soy broth (TSBg). Both, the PG and the biofilm matrix are primary mechanisms of defense against environmental stress. Here we show that in PCs, the S. epidermidis biofilm matrix is mainly of a proteinaceous nature with extracellular DNA, in contrast to the predominant polysaccharide nature of the biofilm matrix formed in TSBg cultures. PG profile studies demonstrated that the PG of biofilm cells remodels during PC storage displaying fewer muropeptides variants than those observed in TSBg. The PG muropeptides contain two chemical modifications (amidation and O-acetylation) previously associated with resistance to antimicrobial agents by other staphylococci. Our study highlights two key structural features of S. epidermidis that are remodeled when exposed to human platelets and could be used as targets to reduce septic transfusions events.

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<![CDATA[Characterisation of a type II functionally-deficient variant of alpha-1-antitrypsin discovered in the general population]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c424390d5eed0c4845e05dc

Lung disease in alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) results from dysregulated proteolytic activity, mainly by neutrophil elastase (HNE), in the lung parenchyma. This is the result of a substantial reduction of circulating alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) and the presence in the plasma of inactive polymers of AAT. Moreover, some AAT mutants have reduced intrinsic activity toward HNE, as demonstrated for the common Z mutant, as well as for other rarer variants. Here we report the identification and characterisation of the novel AAT reactive centre loop variant Gly349Arg (p.G373R) present in the ExAC database. This AAT variant is secreted at normal levels in cellular models of AATD but shows a severe reduction in anti-HNE activity. Biochemical and molecular dynamics studies suggest it exhibits unfavourable RCL presentation to cognate proteases and compromised insertion of the RCL into β-sheet A. Identification of a fully dysfunctional AAT mutant that does not show a secretory defect underlines the importance of accurate genotyping of patients with pulmonary AATD manifestations regardless of the presence of normal levels of AAT in the circulation. This subtype of disease is reminiscent of dysfunctional phenotypes in anti-thrombin and C1-inibitor deficiencies so, accordingly, we classify this variant as the first pure functionally-deficient (type II) AATD mutant.

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<![CDATA[Matrix metalloprotease-1 inhibits and disrupts Enterococcus faecalis biofilms]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c42436bd5eed0c4845e0123

Enterococcus faecalis is a major opportunistic pathogen that readily forms protective biofilms leading to chronic infections. Biofilms protect bacteria from detergent solutions, antimicrobial agents, environmental stress, and effectively make bacteria 10 to 1000-fold more resistant to antibiotic treatment. Extracellular proteins and polysaccharides are primary components of biofilms and play a key role in cell survival, microbial persistence, cellular interaction, and maturation of E. faecalis biofilms. Degradation of biofilm components by mammalian proteases is an effective antibiofilm strategy because proteases are known to degrade bacterial proteins leading to bacterial cell lysis and growth inhibition. Here, we show that human matrix metalloprotease-1 inhibits and disrupts E. faecalis biofilms. MMPs are cell-secreted zinc- and calcium-dependent proteases that degrade and regulate various structural components of the extracellular matrix. Human MMP1 is known to degrade type-1 collagen and can also cleave a wide range of substrates. We found that recombinant human MMP1 significantly inhibited and disrupted biofilms of vancomycin sensitive and vancomycin resistant E. faecalis strains. The mechanism of antibiofilm activity is speculated to be linked with bacterial growth inhibition and degradation of biofilm matrix proteins by MMP1. These findings suggest that human MMP1 can potentially be used as a potent antibiofilm agent against E. faecalis biofilms.

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<![CDATA[Probing the impact of nairovirus genomic diversity on viral ovarian tumor domain protease (vOTU) structure and deubiquitinase activity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f818d5eed0c484387080

Post-translational modification of host and viral proteins by ubiquitin (Ub) and Ub-like proteins, such as interferon stimulated gene product 15 (ISG15), plays a key role in response to infection. Viruses have been increasingly identified that contain proteases possessing deubiquitinase (DUB) and/or deISGylase functions. This includes viruses in the Nairoviridae family that encode a viral homologue of the ovarian tumor protease (vOTU). vOTU activity was recently demonstrated to be critical for replication of the often-fatal Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, with DUB activity suppressing the type I interferon responses and deISGylase activity broadly removing ISG15 conjugated proteins. There are currently about 40 known nairoviruses classified into fourteen species. Recent genomic characterization has revealed a high degree of diversity, with vOTUs showing less than 25% amino acids identities within the family. Previous investigations have been limited to only a few closely related nairoviruses, leaving it unclear what impact this diversity has on vOTU function. To probe the effects of vOTU diversity on enzyme activity and specificity, we assessed representative vOTUs spanning the Nairoviridae family towards Ub and ISG15 fluorogenic substrates. This revealed great variation in enzymatic activity and specific substrate preferences. A subset of the vOTUs were further assayed against eight biologically relevant di-Ub substrates, uncovering both common trends and distinct preferences of poly-Ub linkages by vOTUs. Four novel X-ray crystal structures were obtained that provide a biochemical rationale for vOTU substrate preferences and elucidate structural features that distinguish the vOTUs, including a motif in the Hughes orthonairovirus species that has not been previously observed in OTU domains. Additionally, structure-informed mutagenesis provided the first direct evidence of a second site involved in di-Ub binding for vOTUs. These results provide new insight into nairovirus evolution and pathogenesis, and further enhances the development of tools for therapeutic purposes.

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<![CDATA[Potent, multi-target serine protease inhibition achieved by a simplified β-sheet motif]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c48fd5eed0c4845e88ff

Engagement of an extended β-sheet is a common substrate/inhibitor interaction at the active site of serine proteases and is an important feature of Laskowski mechanism inhibitors that present a substrate-like loop to a target protease. This loop is cleaved but subsequently relegated forming a stable inhibitor/protease complex. Laskowski inhibitors are ubiquitous in nature and are used extensively in serine protease inhibitor design. However, most studies concentrate on introducing new sidechain interactions rather than the direct contributions of the substrate-like β-sheet to enzyme inhibition. Here we report the crystal structure of an simplified β-sheet inhibitory motif within the Sunflower Trypsin Inhibitor (SFTI) in complex with trypsin. We show that the intramolecular hydrogen bond network of this SFTI variant (SFTI-TCTR) engages the inhibitor sidechains that would normally interact with a target protease, giving mainchain interactions a more prominent role in complex formation. Despite having reduced sidechain interactions, this SFTI variant is remarkably potent and inhibits a diverse range of serine proteases. Crystal structural analysis and molecular modelling of SFTI-TCTR complexes again indicates an interface dominated by β–sheet interactions, highlighting the importance of this motif and the adaptability of SFTI as a scaffold for inhibitor design.

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<![CDATA[Computational characterization of the peptidome in transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP)-deficient cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478ca9d5eed0c484bd3c18

The transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) is a key element of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I antigen processing and presentation pathway. Nonfunctional TAP complexes impair the translocation of cytosol-derived proteolytic peptides to the endoplasmic reticulum lumen. This drastic reduction in the available peptide repertoire leads to a significant decrease in MHC class I cell surface expression. Using mass spectrometry, different studies have analyzed the cellular MHC class I ligandome from TAP-deficient cells, but the analysis of the parental proteins, the source of these ligands, still deserves an in-depth analysis. In the present report, several bioinformatics protocols were applied to investigate the nature of parental proteins for the previously identified TAP-independent MHC class I ligands. Antigen processing in TAP-deficient cells mainly focused on small, abundant or highly integral transmembrane proteins of the cellular proteome. This process involved abundant proteins of the central RNA metabolism. In addition, TAP-independent ligands were preferentially cleaved from the N- and C-terminal ends with respect to the central regions of the parental proteins. The abundance of glycine, proline and aromatic residues in the C-terminal sequences from TAP-independently processed proteins allows the accessibility and specificity required for the proteolytic activities that generates the TAP-independent ligandome. This limited proteolytic activity towards a set of preferred proteins in a TAP-negative environment would therefore suffice to promote the survival of TAP-deficient individuals.

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