982 research outputs found

    Apo, Zn 2 + -bound and Mn 2 + -bound structures reveal ligand-binding properties of SitA from the pathogen Staphylococcus pseudintermedius

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    Synopsis The Gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is a leading cause of canine bacterial pyoderma, resulting in worldwide morbidity in dogs. S. pseudintermedius also causes life-threatening human infections. Furthermore, methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius is emerging, resembling the human health threat of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Therefore it is increasingly important to characterize targets for intervention strategies to counteract S. pseudintermedius infections. Here we used biophysical methods, mutagenesis, and X-ray crystallography, to define the ligand-binding properties and structure of SitA, an S. pseudintermedius surface lipoprotein. SitA was strongly and specifically stabilized by Mn 2 + and Zn 2 + ions. Crystal structures of SitA complexed with Mn 2 + and Zn 2 + revealed a canonical class III solute-binding protein with the metal cation bound in a cavity between Nand C-terminal lobes. Unexpectedly, one crystal contained both apo-and holo-forms of SitA, revealing a large sidechain reorientation of His 64 , and associated structural differences accompanying ligand binding. Such conformational changes may regulate fruitful engagement of the cognate ABC (ATP-binding cassette) transporter system (SitBC) required for metal uptake. These results provide the first detailed characterization and mechanistic insights for a potential therapeutic target of the major canine pathogen S. pseudintermedius, and also shed light on homologous structures in related staphylococcal pathogens afflicting humans

    Structure analysis and site-directed mutagenesis of defined key residues and motives for pilus-related sortase C1 in group B Streptococcus

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    In group B Streptococcus (GBS), 3 structurally distinct types of pili have been discovered as potential virulence factors and vaccine candidates. The pilus-forming proteins are assembled into high-molecular-weight polymers via a transpeptidation mechanism mediated by specific class C sortases. Using a multidisciplinary approach including bioinformatics, structural and biochemical studies, and in vivo mutagenesis, we performed a broad characterization of GBS sortase C1 of pilus island 2a. The high-resolution X-ray structure of the enzyme revealed that the active site, into the \u3b2-barrel core of the enzyme, is made of the catalytic triad His157-Cys219-Arg228 and covered by a loop, known as the \u201clid.\u201d We show that the catalytic triad and the predicted N- and C-terminal transmembrane regions are required for the enzyme activity. Interestingly, by in vivo complementation mutagenesis studies, we found that the deletion of the entire lid loop or mutations in specific lid key residues had no effect on catalytic activity of the enzyme. In addition, kinetic characterizations of recombinant enzymes indicate that the lid mutants can still recognize and cleave the substrate-mimicking peptide at least as well as the wild-type protein.\u2014Cozzi, R., Malito, E., Nuccitelli, A., D\u2019Onofrio, M., Martinelli, M., Ferlenghi, I., Grandi, G., Telford, J. L., Maione, D., Rinaudo, C. D. Structure analysis and site-directed mutagenesis of defined key residues and motives for pilus-related sortase C1 in group B Streptococcus

    Designed Inhibitors of Insulin-Degrading Enzyme Regulate the Catabolism and Activity of Insulin

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    Background: Insulin is a vital peptide hormone that is a central regulator of glucose homeostasis, and impairments in insulin signaling cause diabetes mellitus. In principle, it should be possible to enhance the activity of insulin by inhibiting its catabolism, which is mediated primarily by insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE), a structurally and evolutionarily distinctive zinc-metalloprotease. Despite interest in pharmacological inhibition of IDE as an attractive anti-diabetic approach dating to the 1950s, potent and selective inhibitors of IDE have not yet emerged. Methodology/Principal Findings: We used a rational design approach based on analysis of combinatorial peptide mixtures and focused compound libraries to develop novel peptide hydroxamic acid inhibitors of IDE. The resulting compounds are ∼106 times more potent than existing inhibitors, non-toxic, and surprisingly selective for IDE vis-à-vis conventional zinc-metalloproteases. Crystallographic analysis of an IDE-inhibitor complex reveals a novel mode of inhibition based on stabilization of IDE's “closed,” inactive conformation. We show further that pharmacological inhibition of IDE potentiates insulin signaling by a mechanism involving reduced catabolism of internalized insulin. Conclusions/Significance: The inhibitors we describe are the first to potently and selectively inhibit IDE or indeed any member of this atypical zinc-metalloprotease superfamily. The distinctive structure of IDE's active site, and the mode of action of our inhibitors, suggests that it may be possible to develop inhibitors that cross-react minimally with conventional zinc-metalloproteases. Significantly, our results reveal that insulin signaling is normally regulated by IDE activity not only extracellularly but also within cells, supporting the longstanding view that IDE inhibitors could hold therapeutic value for the treatment of diabetes

    Small-Molecule Activators of Insulin-Degrading Enzyme Discovered through High-Throughput Compound Screening

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    Background: Hypocatabolism of the amyloid β-protein (Aβ) by insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) is implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease (AD), making pharmacological activation of IDE an attractive therapeutic strategy. However, it has not been established whether the proteolytic activity of IDE can be enhanced by drug-like compounds. Methodology/Principal Findings: Based on the finding that ATP and other nucleotide polyphosphates modulate IDE activity at physiological concentrations, we conducted parallel high-throughput screening campaigns in the absence or presence of ATP and identified two compounds—designated Ia1 and Ia2—that significantly stimulate IDE proteolytic activity. Both compounds were found to interfere with the crosslinking of a photoaffinity ATP analogue to IDE, suggesting that they interact with a bona fide ATP-binding domain within IDE. Unexpectedly, we observed highly synergistic activation effects when the activity of Ia1 or Ia2 was tested in the presence of ATP, a finding that has implications for the mechanisms underlying ATP-mediated activation of IDE. Notably, Ia1 and Ia2 activated the degradation of Aβ by ∼700% and ∼400%, respectively, albeit only when Aβ was presented in a mixture also containing shorter substrates. Conclusions/Significance: This study describes the first examples of synthetic small-molecule activators of IDE, showing that pharmacological activation of this important protease with drug-like compounds is achievable. These novel activators help to establish the putative ATP-binding domain as a key modulator of IDE proteolytic activity and offer new insights into the modulatory action of ATP. Several larger lessons abstracted from this screen will help inform the design of future screening campaigns and facilitate the eventual development of IDE activators with therapeutic utility

    Regionalism and African agency : negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and SADC-Minus

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    This article investigates the regional dynamics of African agency in the case of negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and a group of Southern African countries, known as SADC-Minus. I argue that these negotiations were shaped by a pattern of differentiated responses to the choice set on offer under the EPAs by SADC-Minus policymakers and by a series of strategic interactions and power plays between them. I offer two contributions to an emerging literature on the role of African agency in international politics. First, I argue for a clear separation between ontological claims about the structure-agency relationship and empirical questions about the preferences, strategies and influence of African actors. Second, I suggest that in order to understand the regional dynamics of African agency it is important to pay close attention to the diversity and contingency of African preferences and to the role of both power politics and rhetorical contestation in regional political processes

    The Substrate-Bound Crystal Structure of a Baeyer–Villiger Monooxygenase Exhibits a Criegee-like Conformation

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    The Baeyer\u2013Villiger monooxygenases (BVMOs) are a family of bacterial flavoproteins that catalyze the synthetically useful Baeyer\u2013Villiger oxidation reaction. This involves the conversion of ketones into esters or cyclic ketones into lactones by introducing an oxygen atom adjacent to the carbonyl group. The BVMOs offer exquisite regio- and enantiospecificity while acting on a wide range of substrates. They use only NADPH and oxygen as cosubstrates, and produce only NADP+ and water as byproducts, making them environmentally attractive for industrial purposes. Here, we report the first crystal structure of a BVMO, cyclohexanone monooxygenase (CHMO) from Rhodococcus sp. HI-31 in complex with its substrate, cyclohexanone, as well as NADP+ and FAD, to 2.4 \uc5 resolution. This structure shows a drastic rotation of the NADP+ cofactor in comparison to previously reported NADP+-bound structures, as the nicotinamide moiety is no longer positioned above the flavin ring. Instead, the substrate, cyclohexanone, is found at this location, in an appropriate position for the formation of the Criegee intermediate. The rotation of NADP+ permits the substrate to gain access to the reactive flavin peroxyanion intermediate while preventing it from diffusing out of the active site. The structure thus reveals the conformation of the enzyme during the key catalytic step. CHMO is proposed to undergo a series of conformational changes to gradually move the substrate from the solvent, via binding in a solvent excluded pocket that dictates the enzyme\u2019s chemospecificity, to a location above the flavin\u2013peroxide adduct where catalysis occurs.Peer reviewed: YesNRC publication: Ye

    Diversity of a cytokinin dehydrogenase gene in wild and cultivated barley

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    The cytokinin dehydrogenase gene HvCKX2.1 is the regulatory target for the most abundant heterochromatic small RNAs in drought-stressed barley caryopses. We investigated the diversity of HvCKX2.1 in 228 barley landraces and 216 wild accessions and identified 14 haplotypes, five of these with ten or more members, coding for four different protein variants. The third largest haplotype was abundant in wild accessions (51 members), but absent from the landrace collection. Protein structure predictions indicated that the amino acid substitution specific to haplotype 3 could result in a change in the functional properties of the HvCKX2.1 protein. Haplotypes 1–3 have overlapping geographical distributions in the wild population, but the average rainfall amounts at the collection sites for haplotype 3 plants are significantly higher during November to February compared to the equivalent data for plants of haplotypes 1 and 2. We argue that the likelihood that haplotype 3 plants were excluded from landraces by sampling bias that occurred when the first wild barley plants were taken into cultivation is low, and that it is reasonable to suggest that plants with haplotype 3 are absent from the crop because these plants were less suited to the artificial conditions associated with cultivation. Although the cytokinin signalling pathway influences many aspects of plant development, the identified role of HvCKX2.1 in the drought response raises the possibility that the particular aspect of cultivation that mitigated against haplotype 3 relates in some way to water utilization. Our results therefore highlight the possibility that water utilization properties should be looked on as a possible component of the suite of physiological adaptations accompanying the domestication and subsequent evolution of cultivated barley

    Plasmodium falciparum Choline Kinase Inhibition Leads to a Major Decrease in Phosphatidylethanolamine Causing Parasite Death

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    This work was supported by Agencia Aragonesa para la Investigación y Desarrollo (ARAID), Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (CTQ2013-44367-C2-2-P to R.H.-G.) and Diputación General de Aragón (DGA; B89 to R.H.-G.) and the EU Seventh Framework Programme (2007–2013) under BioStruct-X (grant agreement 283570 and BIOSTRUCTX 5186, to R.H.-G.). T.K.S. was supported by the Wellcome Trust grant 093228 and European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement No. 602773 (Project KINDRED).Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by different species of the protozoan parasite Plasmodium, with P. falciparum being the deadliest. Increasing parasitic resistance to existing antimalarials makes the necessity of novel avenues to treat this disease an urgent priority. The enzymes responsible for the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylethanolamine are attractive drug targets to treat malaria as their selective inhibition leads to an arrest of the parasite’s growth and cures malaria in a mouse model. We present here a detailed study that reveals a mode of action for two P. falciparum choline kinase inhibitors both in vitro and in vivo. The compounds present distinct binding modes to the choline/ethanolamine-binding site of P. falciparum choline kinase, reflecting different types of inhibition. Strikingly, these compounds primarily inhibit the ethanolamine kinase activity of the P. falciparum choline kinase, leading to a severe decrease in the phosphatidylethanolamine levels within P. falciparum, which explains the resulting growth phenotype and the parasites death. These studies provide an understanding of the mode of action, and act as a springboard for continued antimalarial development efforts selectively targeting P. falciparum choline kinase.Publisher PDFPeer reviewe

    Differential Role of Human Choline Kinase α and β Enzymes in Lipid Metabolism: Implications in Cancer Onset and Treatment

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    11 pages, 6 figures, 1 table.Background The Kennedy pathway generates phosphocoline and phosphoethanolamine through its two branches. Choline Kinase (ChoK) is the first enzyme of the Kennedy branch of synthesis of 1phosphocholine, the major component of the plasma membrane. ChoK family of proteins is composed by ChoKα and ChoKβ isoforms, the first one with two different variants of splicing. Recently ChoKα has been implicated in the carcinogenic process, since it is over-expressed in a variety of human cancers. However, no evidence for a role of ChoKβ in carcinogenesis has been reported. Methodology/Principal Findings Here we compare the in vitro and in vivo properties of ChoKα1 and ChoKβ in lipid metabolism, and their potential role in carcinogenesis. Both ChoKα1 and ChoKβ showed choline and ethanolamine kinase activities when assayed in cell extracts, though with different affinity for their substrates. However, they behave differentially when overexpressed in whole cells. Whereas ChoKβ display an ethanolamine kinase role, ChoKα1 present a dual choline/ethanolamine kinase role, suggesting the involvement of each ChoK isoform in distinct biochemical pathways under in vivo conditions. In addition, while overexpression of ChoKα1 is oncogenic when overexpressed in HEK293T or MDCK cells, ChoKβ overexpression is not sufficient to induce in vitro cell transformation nor in vivo tumor growth. Furthermore, a significant upregulation of ChoKα1 mRNA levels in a panel of breast and lung cancer cell lines was found, but no changes in ChoKβ mRNA levels were observed. Finally, MN58b, a previously described potent inhibitor of ChoK with in vivo antitumoral activity, shows more than 20-fold higher efficiency towards ChoKα1 than ChoKβ. Conclusion/Significance This study represents the first evidence of the distinct metabolic role of ChoKα and ChoKβ isoforms, suggesting different physiological roles and implications in human carcinogenesis. These findings constitute a step forward in the design of an antitumoral strategy based on ChoK inhibition.This work has been supported by grants to JCL from Comunidad de Madrid (GR-SAL-0821-2004), Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (SAF2008-03750, RD06/0020/0016), Fundación Mutua Madrileña, and by a grant to ARM from Fundación Mutua Madrileña.Peer reviewe
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