In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (66)

Articles by Sergio Marco in JoVE

Other articles by Sergio Marco on PubMed

Three-dimensional Structure by Cryo-electron Microscopy of YvcC, an Homodimeric ATP-binding Cassette Transporter from Bacillus Subtilis

Journal of Molecular Biology. Feb, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 11827477

YvcC, a multidrug transporter from Bacillus subtilis, is a member of the ATP-binding cassette superfamily, highly homologous to each half of human multidrug-resistance P-glycoprotein and to several other bacterial half-ABC transporters. Here, the purified recombinant histidine-tagged YvcC has been reconstituted into a lipid bilayer. Controlled and partial detergent removal from YvcC-lipid micelles allowed the production of particularly interesting lipid-detergent-YvcC ring-shaped particles, about 40 nm in diameter, well suited for single particle analysis by cryo-electron microscopy. Furthermore, binding of these histidine-tagged ring-shaped particles to lipid layers functionalized with a Ni(2+)-chelating head group generated a preferential perpendicular orientation, eliminating the missing cone in the final three-dimensional reconstruction. From such analysis, a computed volume has been determined to 2.5 nm resolution giving a detailed insight into the structural organization of this half-ABC transporter within a membrane. The repetitive unit in the ring-shaped particles is consistent with a homodimeric organization of YvcC. Each subunit was composed of three domains: a 5 nm height transmembrane region, a stalk of about 4 nm in height and 2 nm in diameter, and a cytoplasmic lobe of about 5-6 nm in diameter. The latest domain, which fitted with the reported X-ray structure of HisP, was identified as the nucleotide-binding domain (NBD). The 3D reconstruction of the YvcC homodimer well compared with the very recent X-ray crystallographic data on the MsbA homodimer from Escherichia coli, supporting the existence of a central open chamber between the two subunits constituting the homodimer. In addition, the 3D reconstruction of YvcC embedded in a membrane revealed an asymmetric organization of the two NBDs sites within the homodimer, as well as a dimeric interaction between two homodimers.

Characterization of a Hyperthermophilic P-type ATPase from Methanococcus Jannaschii Expressed in Yeast

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Aug, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12048206

We report on the biochemical and structural properties of a putative P-type H(+)-ATPase, MJ1226p, from the anaerobic hyperthermophilic Archaea Methanococcus jannaschii. An efficient heterologous expression system was developed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and a four-step purification protocol, using n-dodecyl beta-d-maltoside, led to a homogeneous detergent-solubilized protein fraction with a yield of over 2 mg of protein per liter of culture. The three-dimensional structure of the purified detergent-solubilized protein obtained at 2.4 nm resolution by electron microscopy showed a dimeric organization in which the size and the shape of each monomer was compatible with the reported structures of P-type ATPases. The purified MJ1226p ATPase was inactive at 40 degrees C and was active at elevated temperature reaching high specific activity, up to 180 micromol of P(i) x min(-1) x mg(-1) at 95 degrees C. Maximum ATPase activity was observed at pH 4.2 and required up to 200 mm monovalent salts. The ATPase activity was stable for several days upon storage at 65 degrees C and was highly resistant to urea and guanidine hydrochloride. The protein formed catalytic phosphoenzyme intermediates from MgATP or P(i), a functional characteristic specific of P-type ATPases. The highly purified, homogeneous, stable, and active MJ1226p ATPase provides a new model for further structure-function studies of P-type ATPases.

Two-dimensional Structures of the Shiga Toxin B-subunit and of a Chimera Bound to the Glycolipid Receptor Gb3

Journal of Structural Biology. Aug, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12406693

The B-subunit of Shiga toxin has been demonstrated as a powerful vector for carrying attached peptides into cells for intracellular transport studies and for medical research. We have investigated the structure of the B-subunit and of a chimera bearing a peptide extension, bound to the membranous lipidic receptor, the globotriaosylceramide (Gb3). Two-dimensional crystals of both B-subunits have been obtained by the lipid layer method and projection maps have been calculated at 8.5A resolution from ice-embedded samples. The B-subunits as the chimera are organized in a pentameric form similar to the X-ray structure of the B-subunit not bound to Gb3. A difference map of both proteins has been calculated in which no density could be attributed to the peptide extension. Cross-correlations with projections of the B-subunit X-ray structure revealed that pentamers in the 2D crystals were oriented with their binding sites pointing to the lipid layer. Thus, it is likely that the peptide extension was disordered and confined to the surface of the pentamer opposite to the Gb3 binding sites. This location confirms the hypothesis that addition of peptide extension to the C-terminus conserves the ability of the modified B-subunit to bind the membranous receptor Gb3.

AFM Characterization of Tilt and Intrinsic Flexibility of Rhodobacter Sphaeroides Light Harvesting Complex 2 (LH2)

Journal of Molecular Biology. Jan, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12498803

Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has developed into a powerful tool to investigate membrane protein surfaces in a close-to-native environment. Here we report on the surface topography of Rhodobacter sphaeroides light harvesting complex 2 (LH2) reconstituted into two-dimensional crystals. These photosynthetic trans-membrane proteins formed cylindrical oligomeric complexes, which inserted tilted into the lipid membrane. This peculiar packing of an integral membrane protein allowed us to determine oligomerization and tilt of the LH2 complexes, but also protrusion height and intrinsic flexibility of their individual subunits. Furthermore the surface contouring reliability and limits of the atomic force microscopy could be studied. The two-dimensional crystals examined had sizes of up to 5 microm and, as revealed by a 10 A cryo electron microscopy projection map, p22(1)2(1) crystal symmetry. The unit cell had dimensions of a = b = 150 A and gamma = 90 degrees, and housed four nonameric complexes, two pointing up and two pointing down. AFM topographs of these 2D crystals had a lateral resolution of 10 A. Further, the high vertical resolution of approximately 1 A, allowed the protrusion height of the cylindrical LH2 complexes over the membrane to be determined. This was maximally 13.1 A on one side and 3.8 A on the other. Interestingly, the protrusion height varied across the LH2 complexes, showing the complexes to be inserted with a 6.2 degree tilt with respect to the membrane plane. A detailed analysis of the individual subunits showed the intrinsic flexibility of the membrane protruding peptide stretches to be equal and independent of their protrusion height. Furthermore, our analysis of membrane proteins within this peculiar packing confirmed the high vertical resolution of the atomic force microscopy on biological samples, and led us to conclude that the image acquisition function was equally accurate for contouring protrusions with heights up to approximately 15 A.

Recombinant Congenic Strains of Mice: a New Tool for the Genetic Dissection of Efficacy and Toxicity of Adjuvants

Vaccine. Feb, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12547590

The efficacy of immunization of a vaccine depends on an antigen, an adjuvant, and on the expression of multiple genes in the host. The responsiveness of various strains of mice to adjuvants is therefore dependent on their genetic background present as a complex, multigenic trait similarly as in man. We have recently developed a gene-discovery platform, termed recombinant congenic strains (RCS), that greatly facilitates the dissection, localization and characterization of genes that mediate complex traits such as responsiveness to adjuvants. These recombinant congenic mice, which were constructed from two progenitor strains (A/J and C57BL/6) that are phenotypically different for several spontaneous or infectious diseases, were generated such that they carry 13.5% of the one genome in 85% of the other genome. The use of these RCS mice therefore enables a more efficient identification of genes that mediate the responsiveness of the adjuvant.

Three-dimensional Reconstruction of the Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Multidrug Resistance Protein Pdr5p

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Apr, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12551908

Pdr5p, the major multidrug exporter in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) superfamily. Pdr5p shares similar mechanisms of substrate recognition and transport with the human MDR1-Pgp, despite an inverted topology of transmembrane and ATP-binding domains. The hexahistidine-tagged Pdr5p multidrug transporter was highly overexpressed in yeast strains where other ABC genes have been deleted. After solubilization and purification, the 160-kDa recombinant Pdr5p has been reconstituted into a lipid bilayer. Controlled detergent removal from Pdr5p-lipid-detergent micelles allowed the production of peculiar square-shaped particles coexisting with liposomes and proteoliposomes. These particles having 11 nm in side were well suited for single particle analysis by electron microscopy. From such analysis, a computed volume has been determined at 25-A resolution, giving insight into the structural organization of Pdr5p. Comparison with the reported structures of different bacterial ABC transporters was consistent with a dimeric organization of Pdr5p in the square particles. Each monomer was composed of three subregions corresponding to a membrane region of about 50 A in height that joins two well separated protruding stalks of about 40 A in height, ending each one with a cytoplasmic nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) lobe of about 50-60 A in diameter. The three-dimensional reconstruction of Pdr5p revealed a close arrangement and a structural asymmetric organization of the two NBDs that appeared oriented perpendicularly within a monomer. The existence of different angular positions of the NBDs, with respect to the stalks, suggest rotational movements during the catalytic cycle.

Nanodissection and High-resolution Imaging of the Rhodopseudomonas Viridis Photosynthetic Core Complex in Native Membranes by AFM. Atomic Force Microscopy

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Feb, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12574504

In photosynthesis, highly organized multiprotein assemblies convert sunlight into biochemical energy with high efficiency. A challenge in structural biology is to analyze such supramolecular complexes in native membranes. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) with high lateral resolution, high signal-to-noise ratio, and the possibility to nanodissect biological samples is a unique tool to investigate multiprotein complexes at molecular resolution in situ. Here we present high-resolution AFM of the photosynthetic core complex in native Rhodopseudomonas viridis membranes. Topographs at 10-A lateral and approximately 1-A vertical resolution reveal a single reaction center (RC) surrounded by a closed ellipsoid of 16 light-harvesting (LH1) subunits. Nanodissection of the tetraheme cytochrome (4Hcyt) subunit from the RC allows demonstration that the L and M subunits exhibit an asymmetric topography intimately associated to the LH1 subunits located at the short ellipsis axis. This architecture implies a distance distribution between the antenna and the RC compared with a centered location of the RC within a circular LH1, which may influence the energy transfer within the core complex. The LH1 subunits rearrange into a circle after removal of the RC from the core complex.

Revisiting the Structure of Alvinella Pompejana Hemoglobin at 20A Resolution by Cryoelectron Microscopy

Journal of Structural Biology. Jul, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12892724

The hemoglobin of the polychaete worm Alvinella pompejana was reconstructed at 20A resolution from frozen-hydrated samples observed by electron microscopy according to the random conical tilt series method. This three-dimensional reconstruction was mirror-inverted with respect to a previous volume published by de Haas et al. in 1996. In order to explain this handedness discrepancy, various 3D reconstructions using different reference volumes were carried out showing that the choice of the first volume was the keystone during the refinement process. The 3D reconstruction volume of A. pompejana Hb presented structural features characteristic of annelid Hbs with two hexagonal layers each comprising six hollow globular subassemblies and a complex of non-heme linker chains. Moreover, the eclipsed conformation of the two hexagonal layers and a HGS architecture similar to that described for Arenicola marina Hb led to the conclusion that A. pompejana Hb belonged to the architectural type II according to the definition of Jouan et al. (2001). A comparison between this cryo-EM volume and X-ray crystallography density maps of Lumbricus terrestris type-I Hb (Royer et al., 2000) showed that the triple stranded coiled coil structures of linker chains were different. Based on this observation, a model was proposed to explain the eclipsed conformation of the two hexagonal layers of type-II Hbs.

Use of Cryo-negative Staining in Tomographic Reconstruction of Biological Objects: Application to T4 Bacteriophage

Biology of the Cell. Sep, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14519556

Recent advances in electron microscopy and image analysis techniques have resulted in the development of tomography, which makes possible the study of structures neither accessible to X-ray crystallography nor nuclear magnetic resonance. However, the use of tomography to study biological structures, ranging from 100 to 500 nm, requires developments in sample preparation and image analysis. Indeed, cryo-electron tomography present two major drawbacks: the low contrast of recorded images and the sample radiation damage. In the present work we have tested, on T4 bacteriophage samples, the use of a new preparation technique, cryo-negative staining, which reduces the radiation damage while preserving a high signal-to-noise ratio. Our results demonstrate that the combination of cryo-negative staining in tomography with standard cryo-microscopy and single particle analysis results in a methodological approach that could be useful in the study of biological structures ranging in the T4 bacteriophage size.

The C-terminal Domain of Escherichia Coli Hfq Increases the Stability of the Hexamer

European Journal of Biochemistry. Apr, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15030475

The Hfq (Host factor 1) polypeptide is a nucleic acid binding protein involved in the synthesis of many polypeptides. Hfq particularly affects the translation and the stability of several RNAs. In an earlier study, the use of fold recognition methods allowed us to detect a relationship between Escherichia coli Hfq and the Sm topology. This topology was further validated by a series of biophysical studies and the Hfq structure was modelled on an Sm protein. Hfq forms a beta-sheet ring-shaped hexamer. As our previous study predicted a large number of alternative conformations for the C-terminal region, we have determined whether the last 19 C-terminal residues are necessary for protein function. We find that the C-terminal truncated protein is fully capable of binding a polyadenylated RNA (K(d) of 120 pm vs. 50 pm for full-length Hfq). This result shows that the functional core of E. coli Hfq resides in residues 1-70 and confirms previous genetic studies. Using equilibrium unfolding studies, however, we find that full-length Hfq is 1.8 kcal x mol(-1) more stable than its truncated variant. Electron microscopy analysis of both truncated and full-length proteins indicates a structural rearrangement between the subunits upon truncation. This conformational change is coupled to a reduction in beta-strand content, as determined by Fourier transform infra-red. On the basis of these results, we propose that the C-terminal domain could protect the interface between the subunits and stabilize the hexameric Hfq structure. The origin of this C-terminal domain is also discussed.

Fragile X-related Protein FXR1P Regulates Proinflammatory Cytokine Tumor Necrosis Factor Expression at the Post-transcriptional Level

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Feb, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15548538

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is regulated post-transcriptionally by the AU-rich element (ARE) within the 3'-untranslated region of its mRNA. This regulation modulates translational efficacy and mRNA stability. By using a cRNA probe containing the TNF ARE sequence, we screened a macrophage protein expression library and identified FXR1P. Macrophages that we generated from FXR1 knock-out mice had enhanced TNF protein production compared with wild type macrophages following activation. Expression of several other proteins that are regulated by ARE sequences was also affected by FXR1P deficiency. A GFP-ARE reporter that has green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression under control of the 3'-untranslated region of TNF mRNA had enhanced expression in transfected macrophages deficient in FXR1P. Finally, we found that the ablation of FXR1P led to a dramatically enhanced association of the TNF mRNA with polyribosomes demonstrating the important role of FXR1P in the post-transcriptional regulation of TNF expression. Our data suggest that release of this repression by FXR1P occurs during lipopolysaccharide-induced macrophage activation. Finally, complementation of the knock-out macrophages with recombinant FXR1P resulted in decreased TNF protein production, supporting our findings that FXR1P operates as a repressor of TNF translation.

NF-kappa B-mediated MyoD Decay During Muscle Wasting Requires Nitric Oxide Synthase MRNA Stabilization, HuR Protein, and Nitric Oxide Release

Molecular and Cellular Biology. Aug, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16024790

Muscle wasting (cachexia) is a consequence of chronic diseases, such as cancer, and is associated with degradation of muscle proteins such as MyoD. The cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha and gamma interferon induce muscle degeneration by activating the transcription factor NF-kappaB and its target genes. Here, we show that a downstream target of NF-kappaB is the nitric oxide (NO) synthase gene (iNos) and suggest that NO production stimulates MyoD mRNA loss. In fact, although cytokine treatment of iNos(-/-) mice activated NF-kappaB, it did not trigger MyoD mRNA degeneration, demonstrating that NF-kappaB-mediated muscle wasting requires an active iNOS-NO pathway. The induced expression of iNOS by cytokines relies on both transcriptional activation via NF-kappaB and increased mRNA stability via the RNA-binding protein HuR. Moreover, we show that HuR regulates iNOS expression in an AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-dependent manner. Furthermore, AMPK activation results in HuR nuclear sequestration, inhibition of iNOS synthesis, and reduction in cytokine-induced MyoD loss. These results define iNOS and HuR as critical players in cytokine-induced cachexia, establishing them as potential therapeutic targets.

Activation of the Plant Plasma Membrane H+-ATPase by Phosphorylation and Binding of 14-3-3 Proteins Converts a Dimer into a Hexamer

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Aug, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16081536

Plant plasma membrane H+-ATPases (PMAs) can be activated by phosphorylation of their penultimate residue (a Thr) and the subsequent binding of regulatory 14-3-3 proteins. Although 14-3-3 proteins usually exist as dimers and can bind two targets, the in vivo effects of their binding on the quaternary structure of H+-ATPases have never been examined. To address this question, we used a Nicotiana tabacum cell line expressing the Nicotiana plumbaginifolia PMA2 isoform with a 6-His tag. The purified PMA2 was mainly nonphosphorylated and 14-3-3-free, and it was shown by blue native gel electrophoresis and chemical cross-linking to exist as a dimer. Fusicoccin treatment of the cells resulted in a dramatic increase in Thr phosphorylation, 14-3-3 binding, and in vivo and in vitro ATPase activity, as well as in the conversion of the dimer into a larger, possibly hexameric, complex. PMA2 phosphorylation and 14-3-3 binding were observed also when cells in stationary growth phase were metabolically activated by transfer to fresh medium. When expressed in yeast, PMA2 was also phosphorylated and formed a complex with 14-3-3 proteins without requiring fusicoccin; no complex was observed when phosphorylation was prevented by mutagenesis. Single-particle analysis by cryoelectron microscopy showed that the PMA2-14-3-3 complex is a wheel-like structure with a 6-fold symmetry, suggesting that the activated complex consists of six H+-ATPase molecules and six 14-3-3 molecules.

RNA-binding Protein HuR is Required for Stabilization of SLC11A1 MRNA and SLC11A1 Protein Expression

Molecular and Cellular Biology. Sep, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16135804

The solute carrier family 11 member 1 (SLC11A1, formerly NRAMP1) gene is associated with infectious and autoimmune diseases and plays an important role in macrophage activation. Human SLC11A1 mRNA contains an AU-rich element (ARE) within the 3' untranslated region; however, its role in the regulation of SLC11A1 gene expression has not been elucidated. Here we analyze the expression of SLC11A1 in human monocytes and HL-60 cells and then use HL-60 cells as a model to determine whether RNA-binding protein HuR is associated with the ARE and involved in SLC11A1 mRNA turnover. Our results demonstrate a binding of HuR to the SLC11A1 ARE in phorbol myristate acetate (PMA)-differentiated cells dramatically increased compared to that in undifferentiated cells. Interestingly, PMA-induced accumulation of cytoplasmic HuR occurs in parallel with an increase in the binding of HuR to SLC11A1 ARE and with an increase in the SLC11A1 mRNA level. This suggests that HuR's cytoplasmic localization plays an important role in the regulation of SLC11A1 expression. We also observe that down-regulation of HuR expression by RNA interference (RNAi) results in a decrease in SLC11A1 expression which can be restored by the addition of recombinant HuR protein to the RNAi-treated cells. Finally, we show that HuR overexpression in HL-60 cells significantly increases the SLC11A1 mRNA stability. Taken together, our data demonstrate that HuR is a key mediator of posttranscriptional regulation and expression of the SLC11A1 gene.

Large-scale Purification of the Proton Pumping Pyrophosphatase from Thermotoga Maritima: a "Hot-Solve" Method for Isolation of Recombinant Thermophilic Membrane Proteins

Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta. Oct, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16182234

Although several proton-pumping pyrophosphatases (H+-PPases) have been overexpressed in heterologous systems, purification of these recombinant integral membrane proteins in large amounts in order to study their structure-function relationships has proven to be a very difficult task. In this study we report a new method for large-scale production of pure and stable thermophilic H+-PPase from Thermotoga maritima. Following overexpression in yeast, a "Hot-Solve" procedure based on high-temperature solubilization and metal-affinity chromatography was used to obtain a highly purified detergent-solubilized TVP fraction with a yield around 1.5 mg of protein per litre of yeast culture. Electron microscopy showed the monodispersity of the purified protein and single particle analysis provided the first direct evidence of a dimeric structure for H+-PPases. We propose that the method developed could be useful for large-scale purification of other recombinant thermophilic membrane proteins.

Three-dimensional Structures of Fibrillar Sm Proteins: Hfq and Other Sm-like Proteins

Journal of Molecular Biology. Feb, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16337963

Hfq is a nucleic acid-binding protein that functions as a global regulator of gene expression by virtue of its interactions with several small, non-coding RNA species. Originally identified as an Escherichia coli host factor required for RNA phage Qbeta replication, Hfq is now known to post-transcriptionally regulate bacterial gene expression by modulating both mRNA stability and translational activity. Recently shown to be a member of the diverse Sm protein family, Hfq adopts the OB-like fold typical of other Sm and Sm-like (Lsm) proteins, and also assembles into toroidal homo-oligomers that bind single-stranded RNA. Similarities between the structures, functions, and evolution of Sm/Lsm proteins and Hfq are continually being discovered, and we now report an additional, unexpected biophysical property that is shared by Hfq and other Sm proteins: E.coli Hfq polymerizes into well-ordered fibres whose morphologies closely resemble those found for Sm-like archaeal proteins (SmAPs). However, the hierarchical assembly of these fibres is dissimilar: whereas SmAPs polymerize into polar tubes (and striated bundles of such tubes) by head-to-tail stacking of individual homo-heptamers, helical Hfq fibres are formed by cylindrical slab-like layers that consist of 36 subunits arranged as a hexamer of Hfq homo-hexamers (i.e. protofilaments in a 6 x 6 arrangement). The different fibrillar ultrastructures formed by Hfq and SmAP are presented and examined herein, with the overall goal of elucidating another similarity amongst the diverse members of the Sm protein family.

Multiple-axis Tomography: Applications to Basal Bodies from Paramecium Tetraurelia

Biology of the Cell. Jul, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16499478

Transmission electron tomography is becoming a powerful tool for studying subcellular components of cells. Classical approaches for electron tomography consist of recording images along a single-tilt axis. This approach is being improved by dual-axis reconstructions and/or high-tilt devices (tilt angle>+/-60 degrees) on microscopes to compensate part of the information loss due to the 'missing wedge' phenomena.

Structure of a 14-3-3 Coordinated Hexamer of the Plant Plasma Membrane H+ -ATPase by Combining X-ray Crystallography and Electron Cryomicroscopy

Molecular Cell. Feb, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17289589

Regulatory 14-3-3 proteins activate the plant plasma membrane H(+)-ATPase by binding to its C-terminal autoinhibitory domain. This interaction requires phosphorylation of a C-terminal, mode III, recognition motif as well as an adjacent span of approximately 50 amino acids. Here we report the X-ray crystal structure of 14-3-3 in complex with the entire binding motif, revealing a previously unidentified mode of interaction. A 14-3-3 dimer simultaneously binds two H(+)-ATPase peptides, each of which forms a loop within the typical 14-3-3 binding groove and therefore exits from the center of the dimer. Several H(+)-ATPase mutants support this structure determination. Accordingly, 14-3-3 binding could result in H(+)-ATPase oligomerization. Indeed, by using single-particle electron cryomicroscopy, the 3D reconstruction of the purified H(+)-ATPase/14-3-3 complex demonstrates a hexameric arrangement. Fitting of 14-3-3 and H(+)-ATPase atomic structures into the 3D reconstruction map suggests the spatial arrangement of the holocomplex.

Inhibition of the Ubiquitin-proteasome System Induces Stress Granule Formation

Molecular Biology of the Cell. Jul, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17475769

The inhibition of the ubiquitin-dependent proteasome system (UPS) via specific drugs is one type of approach used to combat cancer. Although it has been suggested that UPS inhibition prevents the rapid decay of AU-rich element (ARE)-containing messages, very little is known about the cellular mechanisms leading to this effect. Here we establish a link between the inhibition of UPS activity, the formation of cytoplasmic stress granules (SGs), and mRNA metabolism. The assembly of the SGs requires the phosphorylation of the translation initiation factor eIF2alpha by a mechanism involving the stress kinase GCN2. On prolonged UPS inhibition and despite the maintenance of eIF2alpha phosphorylation, SGs disassemble and translation recovers in an Hsp72 protein-dependent manner. The formation of these SGs coincides with the disassembly of processing bodies (PBs), known as mRNA decay entities. As soon as the SGs assemble, they recruit ARE-containing messages such as p21(cip1) mRNA, which are stabilized under these conditions. Hence, our findings suggest that SGs could be considered as one of the players that mediate the early response of the cell to proteasome inhibitors by interfering temporarily with mRNA decay pathways.

Distinct Role of MAPKAPK-2 in the Regulation of TNF Gene Expression by Toll-like Receptor 7 and 9 Ligands

Molecular Immunology. Jul, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17485113

Toll-like receptor ligands (TLRLs) produced by various pathogens activate mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs). While the dependence on p38 MAPK activation for the induction of inflammatory genes by the TLR4L, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), has been well documented, the importance of the p38 pathway in gene regulation by other TLRLs is less well understood. We have focused our analysis on two TLRLs with therapeutic potential, imidazoquinoline S28463 (TLR7L) and CpG DNA (TLR9L), to explore in detail their effects on the regulation of gene expression in macrophages. Here we report that activation of the p38 MAPK/MK2 pathway is crucial for both S28463- and CpG-induced cytokine and chemokine production. We show that the stability of TNF mRNA induced by CpG DNA and S28463 is not dependent on the p38 MAPK/MK2 pathway, in contrast to LPS-induced TNF mRNA. Using a GFP reporter construct under the control of the 3' untranslated region of the TNF gene, we demonstrate that S28463 and CpG DNA-induced MK2 signalling regulates TNF mRNA primarily at the translational level, whereas LPS-induced MK2 signalling regulates both the stability and translational efficiency of TNF mRNA. Overall, these data provide insight into distinct molecular mechanisms of gene expression regulation by different Toll-like receptor ligands.

The RNA-binding Protein HuR Promotes Cell Migration and Cell Invasion by Stabilizing the Beta-actin MRNA in a U-rich-element-dependent Manner

Molecular and Cellular Biology. Aug, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17548472

A high expression level of the beta-actin protein is required for important biological mechanisms, such as maintaining cell shape, growth, and motility. Although the elevated cellular level of the beta-actin protein is directly linked to the long half-life of its mRNA, the molecular mechanisms responsible for this effect are unknown. Here we show that the RNA-binding protein HuR stabilizes the beta-actin mRNA by associating with a uridine-rich element within its 3' untranslated region. Using RNA interference to knock down the expression of HuR in HeLa cells, we demonstrate that HuR plays an important role in the stabilization but not in the nuclear/cytoplasmic distribution of the beta-actin mRNA. HuR depletion in HeLa cells alters key beta-actin-based cytoskeleton functions, such as cell adhesion, migration, and invasion, and these defects correlate with a loss of the actin stress fiber network. Together our data establish that the posttranscriptional event involving HuR-mediated beta-actin mRNA stabilization could be a part of the regulatory mechanisms responsible for maintaining cell integrity, which is a prerequisite for avoiding transformation and tumor formation.

High Sensitivity of Human Centrin 2 Toward Radiolytical Oxidation: C-terminal Tyrosinyl Residue As the Main Target

Free Radical Biology & Medicine. Jul, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17603931

Centrins are calcium-binding proteins that play a significant role in the maintenance of the centrosomal organization, mainly in the continuity between centrosome and microtubular network. Recent data showed that centrosome duplication abnormalities, like overduplication for example, could be due to hydrogen peroxide, suggesting an important impact of oxidative stress. To challenge this hypothesis, we performed one-electron oxidation experiments with human centrin 2, starting from azide radicals. Our results first revealed several intermolecular cross-links generating dimers, tetramers, hexamers, and higher molecular mass species. Dimers result from covalent bond linking the C-terminal tyrosines of each monomer. Second, the methionyl residue at position 19 was oxidized on the monomeric centrin. Further, electron microscopy experiments on centrin 2 showed a preexisting hexameric organization that was stabilized by covalent bonds as a result of irradiation. Overall, these results show that centrin 2 is highly sensitive to ionizing radiation, which could have important consequences on its biological functions.

Sm-like Protein Hfq: Location of the ATP-binding Site and the Effect of ATP on Hfq-- RNA Complexes

Protein Science : a Publication of the Protein Society. Sep, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17660259

Sm-like proteins are ubiquitous ring-shaped oligomers that exhibit a variety of nucleic acid-binding activities. They have been linked functionally to various cellular events involving RNA, and it is generally believed that their activity is exerted via the passive binding of nucleic acids. Our earlier studies of the Sm-like Escherichia coli protein Hfq provided the first evidence indicating that Hfq is an ATP-binding protein. Using a combination of biochemical and genetic techniques, we have now determined a plausible ATP-binding site in Hfq and tested Hfq's ATP-binding affinity and stoichiometry. The results of RNA footprinting and binding analyses suggest that ATP binding by the Hfq-RNA complex results in its significant destabilization. RNA footprinting indicates deprotection of Hfq-bound RNA tracts in the presence of ATP, suggestive of their release by the protein. The results reported herein broaden the scope of potential in vivo roles for Hfq and other Sm-like proteins.

TomoJ: Tomography Software for Three-dimensional Reconstruction in Transmission Electron Microscopy

BMC Bioinformatics. Aug, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17683598

Transmission electron tomography is an increasingly common three-dimensional electron microscopy approach that can provide new insights into the structure of subcellular components. Transmission electron tomography fills the gap between high resolution structural methods (X-ray diffraction or nuclear magnetic resonance) and optical microscopy. We developed new software for transmission electron tomography, TomoJ. TomoJ is a plug-in for the now standard image analysis and processing software for optical microscopy, ImageJ.

Caspase-mediated Cleavage of HuR in the Cytoplasm Contributes to Pp32/PHAP-I Regulation of Apoptosis

The Journal of Cell Biology. Jan, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18180367

The RNA-binding protein HuR affects cell fate by regulating the stability and/or the translation of messenger RNAs that encode cell stress response proteins. In this study, we delineate a novel regulatory mechanism by which HuR contributes to stress-induced cell death. Upon lethal stress, HuR translocates into the cytoplasm by a mechanism involving its association with the apoptosome activator pp32/PHAP-I. Depleting the expression of pp32/PHAP-I by RNA interference reduces both HuR cytoplasmic accumulation and the efficiency of caspase activation. In the cytoplasm, HuR undergoes caspase-mediated cleavage at aspartate 226. This cleavage activity is significantly reduced in the absence of pp32/PHAP-I. Substituting aspartate 226 with an alanine creates a noncleavable isoform of HuR that, when overexpressed, maintains its association with pp32/PHAP-I and delays the apoptotic response. Thus, we propose a model in which HuR association with pp32/PHAP-I and its caspase-mediated cleavage constitutes a regulatory step that contributes to an amplified apoptotic response.

Conformational Change Induced by ATP Binding in the Multidrug ATP-binding Cassette Transporter BmrA

Biochemistry. Feb, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18215075

ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are involved in the transport of a wide variety of substrates, and ATP-driven dimerization of their nucleotide binding domains (NBDs) has been suggested to be one of the most energetic steps of their catalytic cycle. Taking advantage of the propensity of BmrA, a bacterial multidrug resistance ABC transporter, to form stable, highly ordered ring-shaped structures [Chami et al. (2002) J. Mol. Biol. 315, 1075-1085], we show here that addition of ATP in the presence of Mg2+ prevented ring formation or destroyed the previously formed rings. To pinpoint the catalytic step responsible for such an effect, two classes of hydrolysis-deficient mutants were further studied. In contrast to hydrolytically inactive glutamate mutants that behaved essentially as the wild-type, lysine Walker A mutants formed ring-shaped structures even in the presence of ATP-Mg. Although the latter mutants still bound ATP-Mg, and even slowly hydrolyzed it for the K380R mutant, they were most likely unable to undergo a proper NBD dimerization upon ATP-Mg addition. The ATP-driven dimerization step, which was still permitted in glutamate mutants and led to a stable conformation suitable to monitor the growth of 2D crystals, appeared therefore responsible for destabilization of the BmrA ring structures. Our results provide direct visual evidence that the ATP-induced NBD dimerization triggers a conformational change large enough in BmrA to destabilize the rings, which is consistent with the assumption that this step might constitute the "power stroke" for ABC transporters.

Electron Tomography of Early Melanosomes: Implications for Melanogenesis and the Generation of Fibrillar Amyloid Sheets

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Dec, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 19033461

Melanosomes are lysosome-related organelles (LROs) in which melanins are synthesized and stored. Early stage melanosomes are characterized morphologically by intralumenal fibrils upon which melanins are deposited in later stages. The integral membrane protein Pmel17 is a component of the fibrils, can nucleate fibril formation in the absence of other pigment cell-specific proteins, and forms amyloid-like fibrils in vitro. Before fibril formation Pmel17 traffics through multivesicular endosomal compartments, but how these compartments participate in downstream events leading to fibril formation is not fully known. By using high-pressure freezing of MNT-1 melanoma cells and freeze substitution to optimize ultrastructural preservation followed by double tilt 3D electron tomography, we show that the amyloid-like fibrils begin to form in multivesicular compartments, where they radiate from the luminal side of intralumenal membrane vesicles. The fibrils in fully formed stage II premelanosomes organize into sheet-like arrays and exclude the remaining intralumenal vesicles, which are smaller and often in continuity with the limiting membrane. These observations indicate that premelanosome fibrils form in association with intralumenal endosomal membranes. We suggest that similar processes regulate amyloid formation in pathological models.

Electron Tomography Study of Isolated Human Centrioles

Microscopy Research and Technique. Jan, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 18837435

Centrioles are components of the centrosome, which is present in most eukaryotic cells (from protozoa to mammals). They organize the microtubule skeleton during interphase and the mitotic spindle during cell division. In ciliate cells, centrioles form basal bodies that are involved in cellular motility. Despite their important roles in biology, the detailed structure of centrioles remains obscure. This work contributes to a more complete model of centriole structure. The authors used electron tomography of isolated centrosomes from the human lymphoblast KE37 to explore the details of subdistal appendages and centriole lumen organization in mother centrioles. Their results reveal that each of the nine subdistal appendages is composed of two halves (20 nm diameter each) fused in a 40 nm tip that extends 100 nm from where it anchors to microtubules. The centriole lumen is filled at the distal domain by a 45 nm periodic stack of rings. Each ring has a 30 nm diameter, is 15 nm thick, and appears to be tilted at 53 degrees perpendicular to the centriole axis. The rings are anchored to microtubules by arms. Based on their results, the authors propose a model of the mother centriole distal structure.

Visualization of Proteins in Intact Cells with a Clonable Tag for Electron Microscopy

Journal of Structural Biology. Mar, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19114107

Identification of proteins in 3D maps of cells is a main challenge in structural cell biology. For light microscopy (LM) clonable reagents such as green fluorescent protein represented a real revolution and equivalent reagents for transmission electron microscopy (TEM) have been pursued for a long time. To test the viability of the metal-binding protein metallothionein (MT) as a tag for TEM in cells we have studied three MT-fusion proteins in Escherichia coli: AmiC, a component of the division ring, RecA, a DNA-binding protein, and a truncated cytoplasmic form of maltose-binding protein (MBP). Proteins fused to MT were expressed in E. coli. live cells treated with gold salts were processed by fast-freezing and freeze-substitution. Small electron-dense particles were detected in sections of bacteria expressing the MT-fusion proteins and immunogold labelling confirmed that these particles were associated to the fusion proteins. The distribution of the particles correlated with the functional locations of these proteins: MBP-MT3 concentrated in the cytoplasm, AmiC-MT1 in the bacterial division ring and RecA-MT1 in the nucleoid. The electron-dense tag was easily visualized by electron tomography and in frozen-hydrated cells.

Involvement of HFq Protein in the Post-transcriptional Regulation of E. Coli Bacterial Cytoskeleton and Cell Division Proteins

Cell Cycle (Georgetown, Tex.). Aug, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19571680

Tristetraprolin: a Weapon Against HPV-induced Cervical Cancer?

Aging. Oct, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 20157555

Self-assembling SAS-6 Multimer is a Core Centriole Building Block

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20083610

Centrioles are conserved microtubule-based organelles with 9-fold symmetry that are essential for cilia and mitotic spindle formation. A conserved structure at the onset of centriole assembly is a "cartwheel" with 9-fold radial symmetry and a central tubule in its core. It remains unclear how the cartwheel is formed. The conserved centriole protein, SAS-6, is a cartwheel component that functions early in centriole formation. Here, combining biochemistry and electron microscopy, we characterize SAS-6 and show that it self-assembles into stable tetramers, which serve as building blocks for the central tubule. These results suggest that SAS-6 self-assembly may be an initial step in the formation of the cartwheel that provides the 9-fold symmetry. Electron microscopy of centrosomes identified 25-nm central tubules with repeating subunits and show that SAS-6 concentrates at the core of the cartwheel. Recombinant and native SAS-6 self-oligomerizes into tetramers with approximately 6-nm subunits, and these tetramers are components of the centrosome, suggesting that tetramers are the building blocks of the central tubule. This is further supported by the observation that elevated levels of SAS-6 in Drosophila cells resulted in higher order structures resembling central tubule morphology. Finally, in the presence of embryonic extract, SAS-6 tetramers assembled into high density complexes, providing a starting point for the eventual in vitro reconstruction of centrioles.

Procentriole Assembly Revealed by Cryo-electron Tomography

The EMBO Journal. May, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20339347

Centrosomes are cellular organelles that have a major role in the spatial organisation of the microtubule network. The centrosome is comprised of two centrioles that duplicate only once during the cell cycle, generating a procentriole from each mature centriole. Despite the essential roles of centrosomes, the detailed structural mechanisms involved in centriole duplication remain largely unknown. Here, we describe human procentriole assembly using cryo-electron tomography. In centrosomes, isolated from human lymphoblasts, we observed that each one of the nine microtubule triplets grows independently around a periodic central structure. The proximal end of the A-microtubule is capped by a conical structure and the B- and C-microtubules elongate bidirectionally from its wall. These observations suggest that the gamma tubulin ring complex (gamma-TuRC) has a fundamental role in procentriole formation by nucleating the A-microtubule that acts as a template for B-microtubule elongation that, in turn, supports C-microtubule growth. This study provides new insights into the initial structural events involved in procentriole assembly and establishes the basis for determining the molecular mechanisms of centriole duplication on the nanometric scale.

FasL Expression in Activated T Lymphocytes Involves HuR-mediated Stabilization

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Oct, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20675370

A prolonged activation of the immune system is one of the main causes of hyperproliferation of lymphocytes leading to defects in immune tolerance and autoimmune diseases. Fas ligand (FasL), a member of the TNF superfamily, plays a crucial role in controlling this excessive lymphoproliferation by inducing apoptosis in T cells leading to their rapid elimination. Here, we establish that posttranscriptional regulation is part of the molecular mechanisms that modulate FasL expression, and we show that in activated T cells FasL mRNA is stable. Our sequence analysis indicates that the FasL 3'-untranslated region (UTR) contains two AU-rich elements (AREs) that are similar in sequence and structure to those present in the 3'-UTR of TNFα mRNA. Through these AREs, the FasL mRNA forms a complex with the RNA-binding protein HuR both in vitro and ex vivo. Knocking down HuR in HEK 293 cells prevented the phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-induced expression of a GFP reporter construct fused to the FasL 3'-UTR. Collectively, our data demonstrate that the posttranscriptional regulation of FasL mRNA by HuR represents a novel mechanism that could play a key role in the maintenance and proper functioning of the immune system.

Brg-1 Mediates the Constitutive and Fenretinide-induced Expression of SPARC in Mammary Carcinoma Cells Via Its Interaction with Transcription Factor Sp1

Molecular Cancer. Aug, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20687958

Secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) is a matricellular protein that mediates cell-matrix interactions. It has been shown, depending on the type of cancer, to possess either pro- or anti-tumorigenic properties. The transcriptional regulation of the SPARC gene expression has not been fully elucidated and the effects of anti-cancer drugs on this process have not been explored.

The Multidrug Resistance Half-transporter ABCG2 is Purified As a Tetramer Upon Selective Extraction from Membranes

Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta. Nov, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20691149

ABCG2 is a human membrane ATP-binding cassette half-transporter that hydrolyzes ATP to efflux a large number of chemotherapeutic agents. Several oligomeric states of ABCG2 from homodimers to dodecamers have been reported depending on the overexpression systems and/or the protocols used for purification. Here, we compared the oligomeric state of His(6)-ABCG2 expressed in Sf9 insect cells and in human Flp-In-293/ABCG2 cells after solubilization in mild detergents. His(6)-ABCG2 was purified through a new approach involving its specific recognition onto a functionalized lipid layer containing a Ni-NTA lipid. This approach allowed the purification of His-ABCG2 in presence of all solubilized membrane components that might be involved in the stabilisation of native oligomers and without requiring any additional washing or concentration passages. ABCG2 purified onto the NiNTA lipid surfaces were directly analyzed by electron microscopy and by biochemical assays. Altogether, our data are consistent with a tetrameric organization of ABCG2 when expressed in either heterologous Sf9 insect cells or in human homologous cells.

HuR and Myogenesis: Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta. Sep, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21315776

The process of muscle cell differentiation into myotubes, termed myogenesis, depends on a complex coordination of myogenic factors, many of which are regulated post-transcriptionally. HuR, an mRNA-binding protein, is responsible for regulating the expression of several such myogenic factors by stabilizing their mRNAs. The critical role for HuR in myogenesis also involves the nucleocytoplasmic shuttling ability of this protein. Indeed, in order to perform its stabilizing functions, HuR must accumulate in the cytoplasm. This requires its dissociation from the import factor Transportin 2 (TRN2) which is actually caused by the cleavage of a portion of cytoplasmic HuR. In this review, we describe the roles of HuR during myogenesis, and the mechanisms regulating its cytoplasmic accumulation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Regulation of Signaling and Cellular Fate through Modulation of Nuclear Protein Import.

Down-regulation of Cytokine-induced Interleukin-8 Requires Inhibition of P38 Mitogen-activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) Via MAPK Phosphatase 1-dependent and -independent Mechanisms

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. May, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21454676

Down-regulation of overabundant interleukin (IL)-8 present in cystic fibrosis (CF) airways could ease excessive neutrophil burden and its deleterious consequences for the lung. IL-8 production in airway epithelial cells, stimulated with e.g. inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, is regulated by several signaling pathways including nuclear factor (NF)-κB and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). We previously demonstrated that the anti-inflammatory drugs dexamethasone and ibuprofen suppress NF-κB; however, only dexamethasone down-regulates cytokine-induced IL-8, highlighting the importance of non-NF-κB mechanisms. Here, we tested the hypothesis that down-regulation of cytokine-induced IL-8 requires modulation of the MAPK phosphatase (MKP)-1/p38 MAPK/mRNA stability pathway. The effects of dexamethasone (5 nm) and ibuprofen (480 μm) on this pathway and IL-8 were studied in CF (CFTE29o-, CFBE41o-) and non-CF (1HAEo-) airway epithelial cells. We observed that dexamethasone, but not ibuprofen, destabilizes IL-8 mRNA and up-regulates MKP-1 mRNA. Further, siRNA silencing of MKP-1, via p38 MAPK, leads to IL-8 overproduction and diminishes the anti-IL-8 potential of dexamethasone. However, MKP-1 overexpression does not significantly alter IL-8 production. By contrast, direct inhibition of p38 MAPK (inhibitor SB203580) efficiently suppresses IL-8 with potency comparable with dexamethasone. Similar to dexamethasone, SB203580 decreases IL-8 mRNA stability. Dexamethasone does not affect p38 MAPK activation, which excludes its effects upstream of p38 MAPK. In conclusion, normal levels of MKP-1 are necessary for a full anti-IL-8 potential of pharmacological agents; however, efficient pharmacological down-regulation of cytokine-induced IL-8 also requires direct effects on p38 MAPK and mRNA stability independently of MKP-1.

Three Dimensional Morphology of Rabies Virus Studied by Cryo-electron Tomography

Journal of Structural Biology. Oct, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21784158

The rabies virus (RABV) continues to be a worldwide health problem. RABV contains a single-stranded RNA genome that associates with the nucleoprotein N. The resulting ribonucleoprotein complex is surrounded by matrix protein M, lipid bilayer and glycoprotein G. RABV was reported to organize in bullet-like virions, but the role of each viral component in adopting this morphology is unclear. We present here a cryo-electron tomography study of RABV showing additional morphologies consisting in bullet-like virions containing a tubular, lipidic appendage having G-protein at its apex. In addition, there was evidence for an important fraction of pleomorphic particles. These pleomorphic forms differed in the amount of membrane-associated M-, M/N-protein providing interesting insight into its role in viral morphogenesis. In the absence of membrane-associated M-, M/N-protein viral morphology was almost spherical. Other images, showing straight membrane portions, correlate with the M-protein recruitment at the membrane independently of the presence of the G-protein. The viral membrane was found to contain a negative net charge indicating that M-, M/N-protein-membrane charge attraction drives this interaction.

Inducible Nitric Oxide Synthase (iNOS) in Muscle Wasting Syndrome, Sarcopenia, and Cachexia

Aging. Aug, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21832306

Muscle atrophy-also known as muscle wasting-is a debilitating syndrome that slowly develops with age (sarcopenia) or rapidly appears at the late stages of deadly diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and sepsis (cachexia). Despite the prevalence and the drastic detrimental effects of these two syndromes, there are currently no widely used, effective treatment options for those suffering from muscle wasting. In an attempt to identify potential therapeutic targets, the molecular mechanisms of sarcopenia and cachexia have begun to be elucidated. Growing evidence suggests that inflammatory cytokines may play an important role in the pathology of both syndromes. As one of the key cytokines involved in both sarcopenic and cachectic muscle wasting, tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) and its downstream effectors provide an enticing target for pharmacological intervention. However, to date, no drugs targeting the TNFα signaling pathway have been successful as a remedial option for the treatment of muscle wasting. Thus, there is a need to identify new effectors in this important pathway that might prove to be more efficacious targets. Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) has recently been shown to be an important mediator of TNFα-induced cachectic muscle loss, and studies suggest that it may also play a role in sarcopenia. In addition, investigations into the mechanism of iNOS-mediated muscle loss have begun to reveal potential therapeutic strategies. In this review, we will highlight the potential for targeting the iNOS/NO pathway in the treatment of muscle loss and discuss its functional relevance in sarcopenia and cachexia.

Turnover of AU-rich-containing MRNAs During Stress: a Matter of Survival

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. RNA. May-Jun, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21957021

Cells undergo various adaptive measures in response to stress. Among these are specific changes in the posttranscriptional regulation of various genes. In particular, the turnover of mRNA is modified to either increase or decrease the abundance of certain target messages. Some of the best-studied mRNAs that are affected by stress are those that contain adenine/uridine-rich elements (AREs) in their 3'-untranslated regions. ARE-containing mRNAs are involved in many important cellular processes and are normally labile, but in response to stress they are differentially regulated through the concerted efforts of ARE-binding proteins (AUBPs) such as HuR, AUF1, tristetraprolin, BRF1, and KSRP, along with microRNA-mediated effects. Additionally, the fate of ARE-containing mRNAs is modified by inducing their localization to stress granules or mRNA processing bodies. Coordination of these various mechanisms controls the turnover of ARE-containing mRNAs, and thereby enables proper responses to cellular stress. In this review, we discuss how AUBPs regulate their target mRNAs in response to stress, along with the involvement of cytoplasmic granules in this process.

The Translation Inhibitor Pateamine A Prevents Cachexia-induced Muscle Wasting in Mice

Nature Communications. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22692539

Cachexia, or muscle-wasting syndrome, is one of the major causes of death in patients affected by diseases such as cancer, AIDS and sepsis. However, no effective anti-cachectic treatment is currently available. Here we show that a low dose of pateamine A, an inhibitor of translation initiation, prevents muscle wasting caused by the cytokines interferon γ and tumour necrosis factor α or by C26-adenocarcinoma tumours. Surprisingly, although high doses of pateamine A abrogate general translation, low doses selectively inhibit the expression of pro-cachectic factors such as inducible nitric oxide synthase. This selectivity depends on the 5'UTR of inducible nitric oxide synthase messenger RNA (mRNA) that, unlike the 5'UTR of MyoD mRNA, promotes the recruitment of inducible nitric oxide synthase mRNA to stress granules, where its translation is repressed. Collectively, our data provide a proof of principle that nontoxic doses of compounds such as pateamine A could be used as novel drugs to combat cachexia-induced muscle wasting.

Vesicular Glycolysis Provides On-board Energy for Fast Axonal Transport

Cell. Jan, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23374344

Fast axonal transport (FAT) requires consistent energy over long distances to fuel the molecular motors that transport vesicles. We demonstrate that glycolysis provides ATP for the FAT of vesicles. Although inhibiting ATP production from mitochondria did not affect vesicles motility, pharmacological or genetic inhibition of the glycolytic enzyme GAPDH reduced transport in cultured neurons and in Drosophila larvae. GAPDH localizes on vesicles via a huntingtin-dependent mechanism and is transported on fast-moving vesicles within axons. Purified motile vesicles showed GAPDH enzymatic activity and produced ATP. Finally, we show that vesicular GAPDH is necessary and sufficient to provide on-board energy for fast vesicular transport. Although detaching GAPDH from vesicles reduced transport, targeting GAPDH to vesicles was sufficient to promote FAT in GAPDH deficient neurons. This specifically localized glycolytic machinery may supply constant energy, independent of mitochondria, for the processive movement of vesicles over long distances in axons.

Post-transcriptional Regulation of Connexin43 in H-Ras-transformed Cells

PloS One. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23505521

Connexin43 (Cx43) expression is lost in cancer cells and many studies have reported that Cx43 is a tumor suppressor gene. Paradoxically, in a cellular NIH3T3 model, we have previously shown that Ha-Ras-mediated oncogenic transformation results in increased Cx43 expression. Although the examination of transcriptional regulation revealed essential regulatory elements, it could not solve this paradox. Here we studied post-transcriptional regulation of Cx43 expression in cancer using the same model in search of novel gene regulatory elements. Upon Ras transformation, both Cx43 mRNA stability and translation efficiency were increased. We investigated the role of Cx43 mRNA 3' and 5'Untranslated regions (UTRs) and found an opposing effect; a 5'UTR-driven positive regulation is observed in Ras-transformed cells (NIH-3T3(Ras)), while the 3'UTR is active only in normal NIH-3T3(Neo) cells and completely silenced in NIH-3T3(Ras) cells. Most importantly, we identified a previously unknown regulatory element within the 3'UTR, named S1516, which accounts for this 3'UTR-mediated regulation. We also examined the effect of other oncogenes and found that Ras- and Src-transformed cells show a different Cx43 UTRs post-transcriptional regulation than ErbB2-transformed cells, suggesting distinct regulatory pathways. Next, we detected different patterns of S1516 RNA-protein complexes in NIH-3T3(Neo) compared to NIH-3T3(Ras) cells. A proteomic approach identified most of the S1516-binding proteins as factors involved in post-transcriptional regulation. Building on our new findings, we propose a model to explain the discrepancy between the Cx43 expression in Ras-transformed NIH3T3 cells and the data in clinical specimens.

An Atomistic View of Microtubule Stabilization by GTP

Structure (London, England : 1993). May, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23623730

A microtubule is a dynamic system formed of αβ-tubulins. The presence of nonhydrolyzable guanosine-5'-triphosphate (GTP)/guanosine diphosphate (GDP) on the β-tubulins provokes microtubule polymerization/depolymerization. Despite the large number of experimental studies of this dynamical process, its mechanism is still unclear. To provide insights into this mechanism we studied the first depolymerization steps of GDP/GTP-bound microtubules by normal-mode analysis with the all-atom model. We also constructed a depolymerizing microtubule and compared it to cryo-electron microscopy tomograms (cyro-ET). The results show that during depolymerization, the protofilaments not only curve but twist to weaken their lateral interactions. These interactions are stabilized by GTP, but not evenly. Not all of the interface residues are of equal importance: five of them, belonging to the H2-S3 loop, play a special role; acting as a lock whose key is the γ-phosphate of GTP. Sequence alignments of several tubulins confirm the importance of these residues.

Hepatitis B Subvirus Particles Display Both a Fluid Bilayer Membrane and a Strong Resistance to Freeze Drying: a Study by Solid-state NMR, Light Scattering, and Cryo-electron Microscopy/tomography

FASEB Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Oct, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23839934

Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) subvirus particles produced from yeast share immunological determinants with mature viruses, which enable the use of HBsAg as a potent antigen for human vaccination. Because the intimate structure of such pseudoviral particles is still a matter of debate, we investigated the robustness of the external barrier and its structure and dynamics using the noninvasive solid-state NMR technique. This barrier is made of 60% proteins and 40% lipids. Phospholipids represent 83% of all lipids, and chain unsaturation is of 72%. Dynamics was reported by embedding small amounts of deuterium chain-labeled unsaturated phospholipid into the external barrier of entire subviral particles, while controlling particle integrity by cryoelectron microscopy, tomography, and light scattering. Variable preparation modes were used, from mild incubation of small unilamellar vesicles to very stringent incorporation with freeze-drying. A lipid bilayer structure of 4- to 5-nm thickness was evidenced with a higher rigidity than that of synthetic phospholipid vesicles, but nonetheless reflecting a fluid membrane (50-52% of maximum rigidity) in agreement with the elevated unsaturation content. The HBsAg particles of 20- to 24-nm diameter were surprisingly found resistant to lyophilization, in such a way that trapped water inside particles could not be removed. These dual properties bring more insight into the mode of action of native subviral particles and their recombinant counterparts used in vaccines.

Three-dimensional Chemical Mapping by EFTEM-TomoJ Including Improvement of SNR by PCA and ART Reconstruction of Volume by Noise Suppression

Microscopy and Microanalysis : the Official Journal of Microscopy Society of America, Microbeam Analysis Society, Microscopical Society of Canada. Dec, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23981296

Electron tomography is becoming one of the most used methods for structural analysis at nanometric scale in biological and materials sciences. Combined with chemical mapping, it provides qualitative and semiquantitative information on the distribution of chemical elements on a given sample. Due to the current difficulties in obtaining three-dimensional (3D) maps by energy-filtered transmission electron microscopy (EFTEM), the use of 3D chemical mapping has not been widely adopted by the electron microscopy community. The lack of specialized software further complicates the issue, especially in the case of data with a low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Moreover, data interpretation is rendered difficult by the absence of efficient segmentation tools. Thus, specialized software for the computation of 3D maps by EFTEM needs to include optimized methods for image series alignment, algorithms to improve SNR, different background subtraction models, and methods to facilitate map segmentation. Here we present a software package (EFTEM-TomoJ, which can be downloaded from, specifically dedicated to computation of EFTEM 3D chemical maps including noise filtering by image reconstitution based on multivariate statistical analysis. We also present an algorithm named BgART (for background removing algebraic reconstruction technique) allowing the discrimination between background and signal and improving the reconstructed volume in an iterative way.

HuR and MiR-1192 Regulate Myogenesis by Modulating the Translation of HMGB1 MRNA

Nature Communications. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24005720

Upon muscle injury, the high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) protein is upregulated and secreted to initiate reparative responses. Here we show that HMGB1 controls myogenesis both in vitro and in vivo during development and after adult muscle injury. HMGB1 expression in muscle cells is regulated at the translational level: the miRNA miR-1192 inhibits HMGB1 translation and the RNA-binding protein HuR promotes it. HuR binds to a cis-element, HuR binding sites (HuRBS), located in the 3'UTR of the HMGB1 transcript, and at the same time miR-1192 is recruited to an adjacent seed element. The binding of HuR to the HuRBS prevents the recruitment of Argonaute 2 (Ago2), overriding miR-1192-mediated translation inhibition. Depleting HuR reduces myoblast fusion and silencing miR-1192 re-establishes the fusion potential of HuR-depleted cells. We propose that HuR promotes the commitment of myoblasts to myogenesis by enhancing the translation of HMGB1 and suppressing the translation inhibition mediated by miR-1192.

Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor-dependent Retention of Nuclear HuR Suppresses Cigarette Smoke-induced Cyclooxygenase-2 Expression Independent of DNA-binding

PloS One. 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24086407

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), a ligand-activated transcription factor that responds to man-made environmental toxicants, has emerged as an endogenous regulator of cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) by a mechanism that is poorly understood. In this study, we first used AhR-deficient (AhR(-/-) ) primary pulmonary cells, together with pharmacological tools to inhibit new RNA synthesis, to show that the AhR is a prominent factor in the destabilization of Cox-2 mRNA. The destabilization of Cox-2 mRNA and subsequent suppression of cigarette smoke-induced COX-2 protein expression by the AhR was independent of its ability to bind the dioxin response element (DRE), thereby differentiating the DRE-driven toxicological AhR pathway from its anti-inflammatory abilities. We further describe that the AhR destabilizes Cox-2 mRNA by sequestering HuR within the nucleus. The role of HuR in AhR stabilization of Cox-2 mRNA was confirmed by knockdown of HuR, which resulted in rapid Cox-2 mRNA degradation. Finally, in the lungs of AhR(-/-) mice exposed to cigarette smoke, there was little Cox-2 mRNA despite robust COX-2 protein expression, a finding that correlates with almost exclusive cytoplasmic HuR within the lungs of AhR(-/-) mice. Therefore, we propose that the AhR plays an important role in suppressing the expression of inflammatory proteins, a function that extends beyond the ability of the AhR to respond to man-made toxicants. These findings open the possibility that a DRE-independent AhR pathway may be exploited therapeutically as an anti-inflammatory target.

Regulation of Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 4AII by MyoD During Murine Myogenic Cell Differentiation

PloS One. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24466343

Gene expression during muscle cell differentiation is tightly regulated at multiple levels, including translation initiation. The PI3K/mTOR signalling pathway exerts control over protein synthesis by regulating assembly of eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4F, a heterotrimeric complex that stimulates recruitment of ribosomes to mRNA templates. One of the subunits of eIF4F, eIF4A, supplies essential helicase function during this phase of translation. The presence of two cellular eIF4A isoforms, eIF4AI and eIF4AII, has long thought to impart equivalent functions to eIF4F. However, recent experiments have alluded to distinct activities between them. Herein, we characterize distinct regulatory mechanisms between the eIF4A isoforms during muscle cell differentiation. We find that eIF4AI levels decrease during differentiation whereas eIF4AII levels increase during myofiber formation in a MyoD-dependent manner. This study characterizes a previously undefined mechanism for eIF4AII regulation in differentiation and highlights functional differences between eIF4AI and eIF4AII. Finally, RNAi-mediated alterations in eIF4AI and eIF4AII levels indicate that the myogenic process can tolerate short term reductions in eIF4AI or eIF4AII levels, but not both.

3D Cryo-electron Reconstruction of BmrA, a Bacterial Multidrug ABC Transporter in an Inward-facing Conformation and in a Lipidic Environment

Journal of Molecular Biology. May, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24630999

ABC (ATP-binding cassette) membrane exporters are efflux transporters of a wide diversity of molecule across the membrane at the expense of ATP. A key issue regarding their catalytic cycle is whether or not their nucleotide-binding domains (NBDs) are physically disengaged in the resting state. To settle this controversy, we obtained structural data on BmrA, a bacterial multidrug homodimeric ABC transporter, in a membrane-embedded state. BmrA in the apostate was reconstituted in lipid bilayers forming a mixture of ring-shaped structures of 24 or 39 homodimers. Three-dimensional models of the ring-shaped structures of 24 or 39 homodimers were calculated at 2.3 nm and 2.5 nm resolution from cryo-electron microscopy, respectively. In these structures, BmrA adopts an inward-facing open conformation similar to that found in mouse P-glycoprotein structure with the NBDs separated by 3 nm. Both lipidic leaflets delimiting the transmembrane domains of BmrA were clearly resolved. In planar membrane sheets, the NBDs were even more separated. BmrA in an ATP-bound conformation was determined from two-dimensional crystals grown in the presence of ATP and vanadate. A projection map calculated at 1.6 nm resolution shows an open outward-facing conformation. Overall, the data are consistent with a mechanism of drug transport involving large conformational changes of BmrA and show that a bacterial ABC exporter can adopt at least two open inward conformations in lipid membrane.

An Invitation to the 2nd Cancer Cachexia Conference, Montréal, Canada

Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle. Sep, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24965540

Destabilization of Nucleophosmin MRNA by the HuR/KSRP Complex is Required for Muscle Fibre Formation

Nature Communications. Jun, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24969639

HuR promotes myogenesis by stabilizing the MyoD, myogenin and p21 mRNAs during the fusion of muscle cells to form myotubes. Here we show that HuR, via a novel mRNA destabilizing activity, promotes the early steps of myogenesis by reducing the expression of the cell cycle promoter nucleophosmin (NPM). Depletion of HuR stabilizes the NPM mRNA, increases NPM protein levels and inhibits myogenesis, while its overexpression elicits the opposite effects. NPM mRNA destabilization involves the association of HuR with the decay factor KSRP as well as the ribonuclease PARN and the exosome. The C terminus of HuR mediates the formation of the HuR-KSRP complex and is sufficient for maintaining a low level of the NPM mRNA as well as promoting the commitment of muscle cells to myogenesis. We therefore propose a model whereby the downregulation of the NPM mRNA, mediated by HuR, KSRP and its associated ribonucleases, is required for proper myogenesis.

Free MRNA in Excess Upon Polysome Dissociation is a Scaffold for Protein Multimerization to Form Stress Granules

Nucleic Acids Research. Jul, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25013173

The sequence of events leading to stress granule assembly in stressed cells remains elusive. We show here, using isotope labeling and ion microprobe, that proportionally more RNA than proteins are present in stress granules than in surrounding cytoplasm. We further demonstrate that the delivery of single strand polynucleotides, mRNA and ssDNA, to the cytoplasm can trigger stress granule assembly. On the other hand, increasing the cytoplasmic level of mRNA-binding proteins like YB-1 can directly prevent the aggregation of mRNA by forming isolated mRNPs, as evidenced by atomic force microscopy. Interestingly, we also discovered that enucleated cells do form stress granules, demonstrating that the translocation to the cytoplasm of nuclear prion-like RNA-binding proteins like TIA-1 is dispensable for stress granule assembly. The results lead to an alternative view on stress granule formation based on the following sequence of events: after the massive dissociation of polysomes during stress, mRNA-stabilizing proteins like YB-1 are outnumbered by the burst of nonpolysomal mRNA. mRNA freed of ribosomes thus becomes accessible to mRNA-binding aggregation-prone proteins or misfolded proteins, which induces stress granule formation. Within the frame of this model, the shuttling of nuclear mRNA-stabilizing proteins to the cytoplasm could dissociate stress granules or prevent their assembly.

Cell Localisation of Gadolinium-based Nanoparticles and Related Radiosensitising Efficacy in Glioblastoma Cells

Cancer Nanotechnology. 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25328549

Recently, the addition of nanoparticles (NPs) has been proposed as a new strategy to enhance the effect of radiotherapy particularly in the treatment of aggressive tumors such as glioblastoma. The physical processes involved in radiosensitisation by nanoparticles have been well studied although further understanding of its biological impact is still lacking, and this includes the localisation of these NPs in the target cells. Most studies were performed with NPs tagged with fluorescent markers. However, the presence of these markers can influence the NPs uptake and localisation. In this study, a set of methods was used to unambiguously and fully characterise the uptake of label-free NPs, their co-localisation with cell organelles, and their radiosensitising efficacy. This set was applied to the case of gadolinium-based nanoparticles (GdBN) used to amplify the radiation killing of U87 glioblastoma cells extracted from highly aggressive human tumor. For the first time, Synchrotron Radiation Deep UV (SR-DUV) microscopy is proposed as a new tool to track label-free GdBN. It confirmed the localisation of the NPs in the cytoplasm of U87 cells and the absence of NPs in the nucleus. In a second step, Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) demonstrated that GdBN penetrate cells by endocytosis. Third, using confocal microscopy it was found that GdBN co-localise with lysosomes but not with mitochondria. Finally, clonogenic assay measurements proved that the presence of NPs in the lysosomes induces a neat amplification of the killing of glioblastoma cells irradiated by gamma rays. The set of combined experimental protocols-TEM, SR-DUV and confocal microscopy-demonstrates a new standard method to study the localisation of label-free NPs together with their radiosensitising properties. This will further the understanding of NP-induced radiosentisation and contribute to the development of nanoagents for radiotherapy.

Riboregulation of the Bacterial Actin-homolog MreB by DsrA Small Noncoding RNA

Integrative Biology : Quantitative Biosciences from Nano to Macro. Jan, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25407044

The bacterial actin-homolog MreB is a key player in bacterial cell-wall biosynthesis and is required for the maintenance of the rod-like morphology of Escherichia coli. However, how MreB cellular levels are adjusted to growth conditions is poorly understood. Here, we show that DsrA, an E. coli small noncoding RNA (sRNA), is involved in the post-transcriptional regulation of mreB. DsrA is required for the downregulation of MreB cellular concentration during environmentally induced slow growth-rates, mainly growth at low temperature and during the stationary phase. DsrA interacts in an Hfq-dependent manner with the 5' region of mreB mRNA, which contains signals for translation initiation and thereby affects mreB translation and stability. Moreover, as DsrA is also involved in the regulation of two transcriptional regulators, σ(S) and the nucleoid associated protein H-NS, which negatively regulate mreB transcription, it also indirectly contributes to mreB transcriptional down-regulation. By using quantitative analyses, our results evidence the complexity of this regulation and the tangled interplay between transcriptional and post-transcriptional control. As transcription factors and sRNA-mediated post-transcriptional regulators use different timescales, we propose that the sRNA pathway helps to adapt to changes in temperature, but also indirectly mediates long-term regulation of MreB concentration. The tight regulation and fine-tuning of mreB gene expression in response to cellular stresses is discussed in regard to the effect of the MreB protein on cell elongation.

New Insight into the Structure and Function of Hfq C-terminus

Bioscience Reports. Apr, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25772301

Accumulating evidence indicates that RNA metabolism components assemble into supramolecular cellular structures to mediate functional compartmentalization within the cytoplasmic membrane of the bacterial cell. This cellular compartmentalization could play important roles in the processes of RNA degradation and maturation. These components include Hfq, the RNA chaperone protein, which is involved in the post-transcriptional control of protein synthesis mainly by the virtue of its interactions with several small regulatory ncRNAs (sRNA). The Escherichia coli Hfq is structurally organized into two domains. An N-terminal domain that folds as strongly bent β-sheets within individual protomers to assemble into a typical toroidal hexameric ring. A C-terminal flexible domain that encompasses approximately one-third of the protein seems intrinsically unstructured. RNA-binding function of Hfq mainly lies within its N-terminal core, whereas the function of the flexible domain remains controversial and largely unknown. In the present study, we demonstrate that the Hfq-C-terminal region (CTR) has an intrinsic property to self-assemble into long amyloid-like fibrillar structures in vitro. We show that normal localization of Hfq within membrane-associated coiled structures in vivo requires this C-terminal domain. This finding establishes for the first time a function for the hitherto puzzling CTR, with a plausible central role in RNA transactions.

Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy Through-focal Tilt-series on Biological Specimens

Micron (Oxford, England : 1993). Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26093182

Since scanning transmission electron microscopy can produce high signal-to-noise ratio bright-field images of thick (≥500 nm) specimens, this tool is emerging as the method of choice to study thick biological samples via tomographic approaches. However, in a convergent-beam configuration, the depth of field is limited because only a thin portion of the specimen (from a few nanometres to tens of nanometres depending on the convergence angle) can be imaged in focus. A method known as through-focal imaging enables recovery of the full depth of information by combining images acquired at different levels of focus. In this work, we compare tomographic reconstruction with the through-focal tilt-series approach (a multifocal series of images per tilt angle) with reconstruction with the classic tilt-series acquisition scheme (one single-focus image per tilt angle). We visualised the base of the flagellum in the protist Trypanosoma brucei via an acquisition and image-processing method tailored to obtain quantitative and qualitative descriptors of reconstruction volumes. Reconstructions using through-focal imaging contained more contrast and more details for thick (≥500 nm) biological samples.

Poly(ε-caprolactone)-block-polysarcosine by Ring-Opening Polymerization of Sarcosine N-Thiocarboxyanhydride: Synthesis and Thermoresponsive Self-Assembly

Biomacromolecules. Oct, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26388179

Biocompatible amphiphilic block copolymers composed of polysarcosine (PSar) and poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) were synthesized using ring-opening polymerization of sarcosine N-thiocarboxyanhydride initiated by oxyamine-ended PCL and characterized by NMR, SEC, and DSC. Self-assembling of two triblock copolymers PSar8-b-PCL28-b-PSar8 (CS7) and PSar16-b-PCL40-b-PSar16 (CS10) in dilute solution was studied in detail toward polymersome formation using thin-film hydration and nanoprecipitation techniques. A few giant vesicles were obtained by thin-film hydration from both copolymers and visualized by confocal laser scanning microscope. Unilamellar sheets and nanofibers (with 8-10 nm thickness or diameter) were obtained by nanoprecipitation at room temperature and observed by Cryo-TEM. These lamellae and fibrous structures were transformed into worm-like cylinders and spheres (D∼30-100 nm) after heating to 65 °C (>Tm,PCL). Heating CS10 suspensions to 90 °C led eventually to multilamellar polymersomes (D∼100-500 nm). Mechanism II, where micelles expand to vesicles through water diffusion and hydrophilic core forming, was proposed for polymersome formation. A cell viability test confirmed the self-assemblies were not cytotoxic.

Nanobody-functionalized PEG-b-PCL Polymersomes and Their Targeting Study

Journal of Biotechnology. Nov, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26433047

We prepared and characterized polymersomes functionalized with nanobodies (VHHs) on the basis of biocompatible, biodegradable and FDA-approved poly(ethylene glycol)-block-poly(ϵ-caprolactone) (PEG-b-PCL). Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) and N-beta-maleimidopropyl-oxysuccinimide ester were allowed reacting with H2N-PEG-b-PCL to produce FITC and maleimide (Mal) functionalized copolymers, Mal-PEG-b-PCL and FITC-PEG-b-PCL. A mixture of MeO-PEG-b-PCL, Mal-PEG-b-PCL and FITC-PEG-b-PCL was used to prepare polymersomes by thin film hydration and nanoprecipitation methods. Morphological studies by cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (Cryo-TEM) showed that the nanoparticles exhibited predominantly vesicular structures (polymersomes). Their mean diameters measured by dynamic light scattering were around 150 nm and the zeta-potentials around -1 mV at pH 7.4. The nanoparticles were functionalized with either anti-HER2 (VHH1) or anti-GFP (VHH2) nanobodies using maleimide-cysteine chemistry. Their particle size and zeta-potential increased slightly after nanobody-functionalization. The specific binding of VHH-functionalized polymersomes and control nanoparticles towards HER2 positive breast cancer cells was analyzed by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. The collected results represent the first report which experimentally demonstrates that VHH1-functionalized PEO-b-PCL polymersomes can target specifically breast cancer cells expressing HER2 receptors. The detailed morphological and cell-binding studies described herein pave the way for future in vivo studies to evaluate the feasibility to use such nanoparticles for targeted drug delivery.

Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles Increase Superoxide Anion Production by Acting on NADPH Oxidase

PloS One. 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26714308

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) anatase nanoparticles (NPs) are metal oxide NPs commercialized for several uses of everyday life. However their toxicity has been poorly investigated. Cellular internalization of NPs has been shown to activate macrophages and neutrophils that contribute to superoxide anion production by the NADPH oxidase complex. Transmission electron micrososcopy images showed that the membrane fractions were close to the NPs while fluorescence indicated an interaction between NPs and cytosolic proteins. Using a cell-free system, we have investigated the influence of TiO2 NPs on the behavior of the NADPH oxidase. In the absence of the classical activator molecules of the enzyme (arachidonic acid) but in the presence of TiO2 NPs, no production of superoxide ions could be detected indicating that TiO2 NPs were unable to activate by themselves the complex. However once the NADPH oxidase was activated (i.e., by arachidonic acid), the rate of superoxide anion production went up to 140% of its value without NPs, this effect being dependent on their concentration. In the presence of TiO2 nanoparticles, the NADPH oxidase produces more superoxide ions, hence induces higher oxidative stress. This hyper-activation and the subsequent increase in ROS production by TiO2 NPs could participate to the oxidative stress development.

Polymersomes of Biodegradable Polysarcosine-block-poly(ε-caprolactone)

Journal of Controlled Release : Official Journal of the Controlled Release Society. Sep, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 27005081

Overview of Chemical Imaging Methods to Address Biological Questions

Micron (Oxford, England : 1993). May, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26922256

Chemical imaging offers extensive possibilities for better understanding of biological systems by allowing the identification of chemical components at the tissue, cellular, and subcellular levels. In this review, we introduce modern methods for chemical imaging that can be applied to biological samples. This work is mainly addressed to the biological sciences community and includes the bases of different technologies, some examples of its application, as well as an introduction to approaches on combining multimodal data.

MMX-I: Data-processing Software for Multimodal X-ray Imaging and Tomography

Journal of Synchrotron Radiation. May, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27140159

A new multi-platform freeware has been developed for the processing and reconstruction of scanning multi-technique X-ray imaging and tomography datasets. The software platform aims to treat different scanning imaging techniques: X-ray fluorescence, phase, absorption and dark field and any of their combinations, thus providing an easy-to-use data processing tool for the X-ray imaging user community. A dedicated data input stream copes with the input and management of large datasets (several hundred GB) collected during a typical multi-technique fast scan at the Nanoscopium beamline and even on a standard PC. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first software tool that aims at treating all of the modalities of scanning multi-technique imaging and tomography experiments.

Psammomys Obesus, a Unique Model of Metabolic Syndrome, Inflammation and Autophagy in the Pathologic Development of Hepatic Steatosis

Comptes Rendus Biologies. Nov - Dec, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27614586

The aim of our transmission electron microscope study was to show, for the first time, the alteration of liver cells involved in the evolution of steatosis to steatohepatitis on a murine model of the diet-induced metabolic syndrome, Psammomys obesus. This pathologic evolution was induced by using the standard laboratory diet during 10 months, and analyzed with metabolic studies and the immunohistochemistry technique. Four months later, hepatocytes charged with lipid vacuoles were involved in autophagy. Furthermore, in the sinusoids, we observed Kupffer cells, neutrophils and macrophages. All those cells were associated with necrotic hepatocytes inducing hepatocellular necrosis. We also noticed a synthesis of extracellular matrix in excess, caused by proliferation and activation of hepatic stellate cells in necrotic areas. We observed as well a fragmentation of the endoplasmic reticulum, which formed isolated membranes (phagophores) surrounding mitochondria. The complex membrane-mitochondria formed like an autophagosome. Thus, a defect in autophagy favored the development and progression of steatohepatitis. In conclusion, our results suggest that P. obesus is very well adapted for experimental research, and could help improve the early therapeutic management of patients and the prevention of autophagic risks in the liver.

STAT3 Promotes IFNγ/TNFα-induced Muscle Wasting in an NF-κB-dependent and IL-6-independent Manner

EMBO Molecular Medicine. Mar, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28264935

Cachexia is a debilitating syndrome characterized by involuntary muscle wasting that is triggered at the late stage of many cancers. While the multifactorial nature of this syndrome and the implication of cytokines such as IL-6, IFNγ, and TNFα is well established, we still do not know how various effector pathways collaborate together to trigger muscle atrophy. Here, we show that IFNγ/TNFα promotes the phosphorylation of STAT3 on Y705 residue in the cytoplasm of muscle fibers by activating JAK kinases. Unexpectedly, this effect occurs both in vitro and in vivo independently of IL-6, which is considered as one of the main triggers of STAT3-mediated muscle wasting. pY-STAT3 forms a complex with NF-κB that is rapidly imported to the nucleus where it is recruited to the promoter of the iNos gene to activate the iNOS/NO pathway, a well-known downstream effector of IFNγ/TNFα-induced muscle loss. Together, these findings show that STAT3 and NF-κB respond to the same upstream signal and cooperate to promote the expression of pro-cachectic genes, the identification of which could provide effective targets to combat this deadly syndrome.

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