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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Traversing the fungal terpenome.
Nat Prod Rep
PUBLISHED: 08-30-2014
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Fungi (Ascomycota and Basidiomycota) are prolific producers of structurally diverse terpenoid compounds. Classes of terpenoids identified in fungi include the sesqui-, di- and triterpenoids. Biosynthetic pathways and enzymes to terpenoids from each of these classes have been described. These typically involve the scaffold generating terpene synthases and cyclases, and scaffold tailoring enzymes such as e.g. cytochrome P450 monoxygenases, NAD(P)+ and flavin dependent oxidoreductases, and various group transferases that generate the final bioactive structures. The biosynthesis of several sesquiterpenoid mycotoxins and bioactive diterpenoids has been well-studied in Ascomycota (e.g. filamentous fungi). Little is known about the terpenoid biosynthetic pathways in Basidiomycota (e.g. mushroom forming fungi), although they produce a huge diversity of terpenoid natural products. Specifically, many trans-humulyl cation derived sesquiterpenoid natural products with potent bioactivities have been isolated. Biosynthetic gene clusters responsible for the production of trans-humulyl cation derived protoilludanes, and other sesquiterpenoids, can be rapidly identified by genome sequencing and bioinformatic methods. Genome mining combined with heterologous biosynthetic pathway refactoring has the potential to facilitate discovery and production of pharmaceutically relevant fungal terpenoids.
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Engineering protein farnesyltransferase for enzymatic protein labeling applications.
Bioconjug. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 07-02-2014
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Creating covalent protein conjugates is an active area of research due to the wide range of uses for protein conjugates spanning everything from biological studies to protein therapeutics. Protein Farnesyltransferase (PFTase) has been used for the creation of site-specific protein conjugates, and a number of PFTase substrates have been developed to facilitate that work. PFTase is an effective catalyst for protein modification because it transfers Farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) analogues to protein substrates on a cysteine four residues from the C-terminus. While much work has been done to synthesize various FPP analogues, there are few reports investigating how mutations in PFTase alter the kinetics with these unnatural analogues. Herein we examined how different mutations within the PFTase active site alter the kinetics of the PFTase reaction with a series of large FPP analogues. We found that mutating either a single tryptophan or tyrosine residue to alanine results in greatly improved catalytic parameters, particularly in kcat. Mutation of tryptophan 102? to alanine caused a 4-fold increase in kcat and a 10-fold decrease in KM for a benzaldehyde-containing FPP analogue resulting in an overall 40-fold increase in catalytic efficiency. Similarly, mutation of tyrosine 205? to alanine caused a 25-fold increase in kcat and a 10-fold decrease in KM for a coumarin-containing analogue leading to a 300-fold increase in catalytic efficiency. Smaller but significant changes in catalytic parameters were also obtained for cyclo-octene- and NBD-containing FPP analogues. The latter compound was used to create a fluorescently labeled form of Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor (CNTF), a protein of therapeutic importance. Additionally, computational modeling was performed to study how the large non-natural isoprenoid analogues can fit into the active sites enlarged via mutagenesis. Overall, these results demonstrate that PFTase can be improved via mutagenesis in ways that will be useful for protein engineering and the creation of site-specific protein conjugates.
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Construction of a Chimeric Biosynthetic Pathway for the De Novo Biosynthesis of Rosmarinic Acid in Escherichia coli.
Chembiochem
PUBLISHED: 05-30-2014
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Hydroxycinnamic acid esters (HCEs) are widely-distributed phenylpropanoid-derived plant natural products. Rosmarinic acid (RA), the most well-known HCE, shows promise as a treatment for cancer and neurological disorders. In contrast to extraction from plant material or plant cell culture, microbial production of HCEs could be a sustainable, controlled means of production. Through the overexpression of a six-enzyme chimeric bacterial and plant pathway, we show the de novo biosynthesis of RA, and the related HCE isorinic acid (IA), in Escherichia coli. Probing the pathway through precursor supplementation showed several potential pathway bottlenecks. We demonstrated HCE biosynthesis using three plant rosmarinic acid synthase (RAS) orthologues, which exhibited different levels of HCE biosynthesis but produced the same ratio of IA to RA. This work serves as a proof-of-concept for a microbial production platform for HCEs by using a modular biosynthetic approach to access diverse natural and non-natural HCEs.
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Modifications of the C terminus affect functionality and stability of yeast triacylglycerol lipase Tgl3p.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 05-20-2014
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Lipid droplets are specific organelles for the storage of triacylglycerols and steryl esters. They are surrounded by a phospholipid monolayer with a small but specific set of proteins embedded. Assembly and insertion of proteins into this surface membrane is an intriguing question of lipid droplet biology. To address this question we studied the topology of Tgl3p, the major triacylglycerol lipase of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, on lipid droplets. Employing the method of limited proteolysis of lipid droplet surface proteins, we found that the C terminus of Tgl3p faces the inside of the organelle, whereas the N terminus is exposed at the cytosolic side of lipid droplets. Detailed analysis of the C terminus revealed a stretch of seven amino acids that are critical for protein stability and functionality. The negative charge of two aspartate residues within this stretch is crucial for lipase activity of Tgl3p. A portion of Tgl3p, which is located to the endoplasmic reticulum, exhibits a different topology. In the phospholipid bilayer of the endoplasmic reticulum the C terminus faces the cytosol, which results in instability of the protein. Thus, the topology of Tgl3p is important for its function and strongly dependent on the membrane environment.
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Defects in triacylglycerol lipolysis affect synthesis of triacylglycerols and steryl esters in the yeast.
Biochim. Biophys. Acta
PUBLISHED: 03-27-2014
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Tgl3p, Tgl4p and Tgl5p are the major triacylglycerol lipases of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae catalyzing degradation of triacylglycerols stored in lipid droplets. Previous results from our laboratory (Athenstaedt and Daum, 2005, J. Biol. Chem. 280, 37301-37309) demonstrated that a yeast strain lacking all three triacylglycerol lipases accumulates not only triacylglycerols at high amount, but also steryl esters. Here we show a metabolic link between synthesis and mobilization of non-polar lipids. In particular, we demonstrate that a block in tri-acylglycerol degradation in a tgl3?tgl4?tgl5? triple mutant lacking all major triacylglycerol lipases causes marked changes in non-polar lipid synthesis. Under these conditions formation of triacylglycerols is reduced, whereas steryl ester synthesis is enhanced as shown by quantification of non-polar lipids, in vivo labeling of lipids using [(14)C]oleic acid and [(14)C]acetic acid as precursors, and enzyme analyses in vitro. In summary, this study demonstrates that triacylglycerol metabolism and steryl ester metabolism are linked processes. The importance of balanced storage and degradation of these components for lipid homeostasis in the yeast is highlighted.
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Storage lipids of yeasts: a survey of nonpolar lipid metabolism in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Pichia pastoris, and Yarrowia lipolytica.
FEMS Microbiol. Rev.
PUBLISHED: 02-21-2014
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Biosynthesis and storage of nonpolar lipids, such as triacylglycerols (TG) and steryl esters (SE), have gained much interest during the last decades because defects in these processes are related to severe human diseases. The baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has become a valuable tool to study eukaryotic lipid metabolism because this single-cell microorganism harbors many enzymes and pathways with counterparts in mammalian cells. In this article, we will review aspects of TG and SE metabolism and turnover in the yeast that have been known for a long time and combine them with new perceptions of nonpolar lipid research. We will provide a detailed insight into the mechanisms of nonpolar lipid synthesis, storage, mobilization, and degradation in the yeast S. cerevisiae. The central role of lipid droplets (LD) in these processes will be addressed with emphasis on the prevailing view that this compartment is more than only a depot for TG and SE. Dynamic and interactive aspects of LD with other organelles will be discussed. Results obtained with S. cerevisiae will be complemented by recent investigations of nonpolar lipid research with Yarrowia lipolytica and Pichia pastoris. Altogether, this review article provides a comprehensive view of nonpolar lipid research in yeast.
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Designer microbes for biosynthesis.
Curr. Opin. Biotechnol.
PUBLISHED: 02-19-2014
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Microbes have long been adapted for the biosynthetic production of useful compounds. There is increasing demand for the rapid and cheap microbial production of diverse molecules in an industrial setting. Microbes can now be designed and engineered for a particular biosynthetic purpose, thanks to recent developments in genome sequencing, metabolic engineering, and synthetic biology. Advanced tools exist for the genetic manipulation of microbes to create novel metabolic circuits, making new products accessible. Metabolic processes can be optimized to increase yield and balance pathway flux. Progress is being made towards the design and creation of fully synthetic microbes for biosynthetic purposes. Together, these emerging technologies will facilitate the production of designer microbes for biosynthesis.
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Immune activation alters cellular and humoral responses to yellow fever 17D vaccine.
J. Clin. Invest.
PUBLISHED: 01-28-2014
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Defining the parameters that modulate vaccine responses in African populations will be imperative to design effective vaccines for protection against HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, and dengue virus infections. This study aimed to evaluate the contribution of the patient-specific immune microenvironment to the response to the licensed yellow fever vaccine 17D (YF-17D) in an African cohort.
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BioBrick™ compatible vector system for protein expression in Rhodobacter sphaeroides.
Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol.
PUBLISHED: 01-10-2014
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We report here the creation of a modular, plasmid-based protein expression system utilizing elements of the native Rhodobacter puf promoter in a BioBrick(TM)-based vector system with DsRed encoding a red fluorescent reporter protein. A suite of truncations of the puf promoter were made to assess the influence of different portions of this promoter on expression of heterologous proteins. The 3' end of puf was found to be particularly important for increasing expression, with transformants accumulating significant quantities of DsRed under both aerobic and anaerobic growth conditions. Expression levels of this reporter protein in Rhodobacter sphaeroides were comparable to those achieved in Escherichia coli using the strong, constitutive P lac promoter, thus demonstrating the robustness of the engineered system. Furthermore, we demonstrate the ability to tune the designed expression system by modulating cellular DsRed levels based upon the promoter segment utilized and oxygenation conditions. Last, we show that the new expression system is able to drive expression of a membrane protein, proteorhodopsin, and that membrane purifications from R. sphaeroides yielded significant quantities of proteorhodopsin. This toolset lays the groundwork for the engineering of multi-step pathways, including recalcitrant membrane proteins, in R. sphaeroides.
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A tale of two reductases: extending the bacteriochlorophyll biosynthetic pathway in E. coli.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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The creation of a synthetic microbe that can harvest energy from sunlight to drive its metabolic processes is an attractive approach to the economically viable biosynthetic production of target compounds. Our aim is to design and engineer a genetically tractable non-photosynthetic microbe to produce light-harvesting molecules. Previously we created a modular, multienzyme system for the heterologous production of intermediates of the bacteriochlorophyll (BChl) pathway in E. coli. In this report we extend this pathway to include a substrate promiscuous 8-vinyl reductase that can accept multiple intermediates of BChl biosynthesis. We present an informative comparative analysis of homologues of 8-vinyl reductase from the model photosynthetic organisms Rhodobacter sphaeroides and Chlorobaculum tepidum. The first purification of the enzymes leads to their detailed biochemical and biophysical characterization. The data obtained reveal that the two 8-vinyl reductases are substrate promiscuous, capable of reducing the C8-vinyl group of Mg protoporphyrin IX, Mg protoporphyrin IX methylester, and divinyl protochlorophyllide. However, activity is dependent upon the presence of chelated Mg(2+) in the porphyrin ring, with no activity against non-Mg(2+) chelated intermediates observed. Additionally, CD analyses reveal that the two 8-vinyl reductases appear to bind the same substrate in a different fashion. Furthermore, we discover that the different rates of reaction of the two 8-vinyl reductases both in vitro, and in vivo as part of our engineered system, results in the suitability of only one of the homologues for our BChl pathway in E. coli. Our results offer the first insights into the different functionalities of homologous 8-vinyl reductases. This study also takes us one step closer to the creation of a nonphotosynthetic microbe that is capable of harvesting energy from sunlight for the biosynthesis of molecules of choice.
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Long-term follow-up of study participants from prophylactic HIV vaccine clinical trials in Africa.
Hum Vaccin Immunother
PUBLISHED: 12-31-2013
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Long-term safety is critical for the development and later use of a vaccine to prevent HIV/AIDS. Likewise, the persistence of vaccine-induced antibodies and their impact on HIV testing must be established. IAVI has sponsored several Phase I and IIA HIV vaccine trials enrolling healthy, HIV-seronegative African volunteers. Plasmid DNA and viral vector based vaccines were tested. No vaccine-related serious adverse events were reported. After completion of vaccine trials conducted between 2001-2007, both vaccine and placebo recipients were offered enrolment into an observational long-term follow-up study (LTFU) to monitor potential late health effects and persistence of immune responses. At scheduled 6-monthly clinic visits, a health questionnaire was administered; clinical events were recorded and graded for severity. Blood was drawn for HIV testing and cellular immune assays. 287 volunteers were enrolled; total follow-up after last vaccination was 1463 person years (median: 5.2 years). Ninety-three (93)% of volunteers reported good health at their last LTFU visit. Infectious diseases and injuries accounted for almost 50% of the 175 reported clinical events, of which over 95% were mild or moderate in severity. There were 30 six pregnancies, six incident HIV infections and 14 volunteers reported cases of social harm. Persistence of immune responses was rare. No safety signal was identified. No potentially vaccine related medical condition, no immune mediated disease, or malignancy was reported. HIV vaccines studied in these trials had a low potential of induction of persisting HIV antibodies.
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The Drug Diazaborine Blocks Ribosome Biogenesis by Inhibiting the AAA-ATPase Drg1.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 12-26-2013
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The drug diazaborine is the only known inhibitor of ribosome biogenesis and specifically blocks large subunit formation in eukaryotic cells. However, the target of this drug and the mechanism of inhibition were unknown. Here we identify the AAA-ATPase Drg1 as target of diazaborine. Inhibitor binding into the second AAA domain of Drg1 requires ATP loading and results in inhibition of ATP hydrolysis in this site. As a consequence the physiological activity of Drg1, i.e. the release of Rlp24 from pre-60S particles is blocked and further progression of cytoplasmic pre-ribosome maturation is prevented. Our results identify the first target of an inhibitor of ribosome biogenesis and provide the mechanism of inhibition of a key-step in large ribosomal subunit formation.
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High-affinity Rb-binding, p53 inhibition, subcellular localization and transformation by wild type or tumor-derived shortened Merkel Cell Polyomavirus Large T-antigens.
J. Virol.
PUBLISHED: 12-26-2013
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Interference with tumor suppressor pathways by polyomavirus-encoded T(umor)-Antigens (T-Ags) can result in transformation. Consequently, it is thought that T-Ags encoded by MCPyV, a virus integrated in ?90% of all Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) cases, are major contributors to tumorigenesis. The MCPyV large T-Ag (LT-Ag) has preserved the key functional domains present in all family members, but has also acquired unique regions that flank the LxCxE motif. As these regions may mediate unique functions, or may modulate those shared with T-Ags of other polyomaviruses, functional studies of MCPyV T-Ags are required. Here, we have performed a comparative study of full-length or MCC-derived truncated LT-Ags with regard to their biochemical characteristics, their ability to bind to Rb and p53, and their transforming potential. We provide evidence that full-length MCPyV LT-Ag may not directly bind to p53, but nevertheless can significantly reduce p53 dependent transcription in reporter assays. Although early region expression constructs harboring full-length or MCC-derived truncated LT-Ag genes can both transform primary baby rat kidney cells, truncated LT-Ags do not bind to p53 or reduce p53 dependent transcription. Interestingly, shortened LT-Ags exhibit a very high binding affinity for Rb, as shown by co-immunoprecipitation and in vitro binding studies. Additionally, we show that truncated MCPyV LT-Ag proteins are expressed at higher levels compared to the wt protein and are able to partially re-localize Rb to the cytoplasm, indicating that truncated LT proteins may have gained additional features that distinguish them from the full length protein.
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Screening for Hydrolytic Enzymes Reveals Ayr1p as a Novel Triacylglycerol Lipase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 11-01-2013
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Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as well as other eukaryotes, preserves fatty acids and sterols in a biologically inert form, as triacylglycerols and steryl esters. The major triacylglycerol lipases of the yeast S. cerevisiae identified so far are Tgl3p, Tgl4p, and Tgl5p (Athenstaedt, K., and Daum, G. (2003) YMR313c/TGL3 encodes a novel triacylglycerol lipase located in lipid particles of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. J. Biol. Chem. 278, 23317-23323; Athenstaedt, K., and Daum, G. (2005) Tgl4p and Tgl5p, two triacylglycerol lipases of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, are localized to lipid particles. J. Biol. Chem. 280, 37301-37309). We observed that upon cultivation on oleic acid, triacylglycerol mobilization did not come to a halt in a yeast strain deficient in all currently known triacylglycerol lipases, indicating the presence of additional not yet characterized lipases/esterases. Functional proteome analysis using lipase and esterase inhibitors revealed a subset of candidate genes for yet unknown hydrolytic enzymes on peroxisomes and lipid droplets. Based on the conserved GXSXG lipase motif, putative functions, and subcellular localizations, a selected number of candidates were characterized by enzyme assays in vitro, gene expression analysis, non-polar lipid analysis, and in vivo triacylglycerol mobilization assays. These investigations led to the identification of Ayr1p as a novel triacylglycerol lipase of yeast lipid droplets and confirmed the hydrolytic potential of the peroxisomal Lpx1p in vivo. Based on these results, we discuss a possible link between lipid storage, lipid mobilization, and peroxisomal utilization of fatty acids as a carbon source.
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Analysis of yeast lipid droplet proteome and lipidome.
Methods Cell Biol.
PUBLISHED: 10-09-2013
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Lipid droplets (LD) are in the spotlight of lipid research because of the link of lipid storage to health and disease and the just incipient understanding of their involvement in cellular processes apart from nonpolar lipid metabolism. Yeast is an excellent model organism to study the lipidome and proteome of LD under different environmental conditions and to address new aspects of LD biology and chemistry. In this chapter, we describe a versatile protocol for the isolation of LD at high purity and address specific demands for handling different yeast species. Moreover, we discuss the analysis of the LD proteome and lipidome based on standard methods such as thin layer chromatography (TLC), gas liquid chromatography (GLC), mass spectrometry (MS) as well as GLC/MS. Finally, we point out similarities and disparities of LD proteome and lipidome from the three different yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Yarrowia lipolytica, and Pichia pastoris.
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Eut bacterial microcompartments: insights into their function, structure, and bioengineering applications.
J. Mol. Microbiol. Biotechnol.
PUBLISHED: 08-05-2013
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Bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) are protein-based polyhedral organelles which serve to encapsulate and organize enzymes involved in key metabolic pathways. The sequestration of these pathways not only improves the overall reaction efficiency; it can also harbor toxic or volatile pathway intermediates, which would otherwise be detrimental to the cell. Genomic and phylogenetic analyses reveal the presence of these unique organelles in a diverse range of bacterial species, highlighting their evolutionary importance and the essential role that they play in bacterial cell survival. Functional and structural analyses of BMCs involved in ethanolamine utilization are developing our understanding of the self-assembly and encapsulation mechanisms employed by these protein supercomplexes. This knowledge will open up exciting new avenues of research with a range of potential engineering and biotechnological applications.
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A chemical-biological evaluation of rhodium(i) N-heterocyclic carbene complexes as prospective anticancer drugs.
Chemistry
PUBLISHED: 07-18-2013
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Rhodium(I) complexes bearing N-heterocyclic carbene (NHC) ligands have been widely used in catalytic chemistry, but there are very few reports of biological properties of these organometallics. A series of Rh(I) -NHC derivatives with 1,5-cyclooctadiene and CO as secondary ligands were synthesized, characterized, and biologically investigated as prospective antitumor drug candidates. Pronounced antiproliferative effects were noted for all complexes, along with moderate inhibitory activity of thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) and efficient binding to biomolecules (DNA, albumin). Biodistribution studies showed that the presence of albumin lowered the cellular uptake and confirmed the transport of rhodium into the nuclei. Changes in the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were observed as well as DNA fragmentation in wild-type and daunorubicin- or vincristine-resistant Nalm-6 leukemia cells. Overall, these studies indicated that Rh(I) -NHC fragments could be used as partial structures of new antitumor agents, in particular in those drugs designed to address resistant malignant tissues.
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Mushroom hunting by using bioinformatics: application of a predictive framework facilitates the selective identification of sesquiterpene synthases in basidiomycota.
Chembiochem
PUBLISHED: 05-30-2013
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The Basidiomycota fungi represent a diverse source of natural products, particularly the sesquiterpenoids. Recently, genome sequencing, genome mining, and the subsequent discovery of a suite of sesquiterpene synthases in Omphalotus olearius was described. A predictive framework was developed to facilitate the discovery of sesquiterpene synthases in Basidiomycota. Phylogenetic analyses indicated a conservation of both sequence and initial cyclization mechanisms used. Here, the first robust application of this predictive framework is reported. It was used to selectively identify sesquiterpene synthases that follow 1,6-, 1,10-, and 1,11-cyclization mechanisms in the crust fungus Stereum hirsutum. The successful identification and characterization of a 1,6- and a 1,10-cyclizing sesquiterpene synthase, as well as three 1,11-cyclizing ?(6) -protoilludene synthases, is described. This study verifies the accuracy and utility of the predictive framework as a roadmap for the discovery of specific sesquiterpene synthases from Basidiomycota, and thus represents an important step forward in natural product discovery.
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Regulation of the yeast triacylglycerol lipase TGl3p by formation of nonpolar lipids.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 05-14-2013
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Tgl3p, the major triacylglycerol lipase of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is a component of lipid droplets but is also present in the endoplasmic reticulum in a minor amount. Recently, it was shown that this enzyme can also serve as a lysophospholipid acyltransferase (Rajakumari, S., and Daum, G. (2010) Mol. Biol. Cell 21, 501-510). Here, we describe the effects of the presence/absence of triacylglycerols and lipid droplets on the functionality of Tgl3p. In a dga1?lro1?are1?are2? quadruple mutant lacking all four triacylglycerol- and steryl ester-synthesizing acyltransferases and consequently the lipid droplets, the gene expression of TGL3 was only slightly altered. In contrast, protein level and stability of Tgl3p were markedly reduced in the absence of lipid droplets. Under these conditions, the enzyme was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum. Even the lack of the substrate, triacylglycerol, affected stability and localization of Tgl3p to some extent. Interestingly, Tgl3p present in the endoplasmic reticulum seems to lack lipolytic as well as acyltransferase activity as shown by enzymatic analysis and lipid profiling. Thus, we propose that the activity of Tgl3p is restricted to lipid droplets, whereas the endoplasmic reticulum may serve as a parking lot for this enzyme.
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Purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of Omp6, a protoilludene synthase from Omphalotus olearius.
Acta Crystallogr. Sect. F Struct. Biol. Cryst. Commun.
PUBLISHED: 02-21-2013
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Basidiomycetes produce a wide range of industrially relevant natural products. One of the main classes of natural products isolated from fungi are terpenoids, a highly diverse group of secondary metabolites, many of which are bioactive and have been adapted for pharmaceutical purposes. The discovery of a suite of novel sesquiterpene synthases from Omphalotus olearius via genome sequencing and bioinformatic analyses has recently been described. Here, the expression, purification and crystallization of one of these enzymes (Omp6), a protoilludene synthase, is reported. A native crystal diffracted to a resolution of 2.9?Å and belonged to space group P21, with unit-cell parameters a = 43.67, b = 76.76, c = 107.22?Å, ? = ? = 90, ? = 95°. A diffraction data set was collected on a home-source Rigaku/MSC MicroMax-007 X-ray generator.
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Attention in natural scenes: contrast affects rapid visual processing and fixations alike.
Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond., B, Biol. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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For natural scenes, attention is frequently quantified either by performance during rapid presentation or by gaze allocation during prolonged viewing. Both paradigms operate on different time scales, and tap into covert and overt attention, respectively. To compare these, we ask some observers to detect targets (animals/vehicles) in rapid sequences, and others to freely view the same target images for 3 s, while their gaze is tracked. In some stimuli, the targets contrast is modified (increased/decreased) and its background modified either in the same or in the opposite way. We find that increasing target contrast relative to the background increases fixations and detection alike, whereas decreasing target contrast and simultaneously increasing background contrast has little effect. Contrast increase for the whole image (target + background) improves detection, decrease worsens detection, whereas fixation probability remains unaffected by whole-image modifications. Object-unrelated local increase or decrease of contrast attracts gaze, but less than actual objects, supporting a precedence of objects over low-level features. Detection and fixation probability are correlated: the more likely a target is detected in one paradigm, the more likely it is fixated in the other. Hence, the link between overt and covert attention, which has been established in simple stimuli, transfers to more naturalistic scenarios.
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Engineering of biocatalysts - from evolution to creation.
ACS Catal
PUBLISHED: 11-30-2011
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Enzymes are increasingly being used in an industrial setting as a cheap and environmentally-friendly alternative to chemical catalysts. In order to produce the ideal biocatalyst, natural enzymes often require optimization to increase their catalytic efficiencies and specificities under a particular range of reaction conditions. A number of enzyme engineering strategies are currently employed to modify biocatalysts, improving their suitability for large-scale industrial applications. These include various directed evolution techniques, semi-rational design techniques, and more recently, the de novo design of novel enzymes. Advances in mutant library design, high-throughput selection processes, and the introduction of powerful computer algorithms have all contributed to the current exponential growth of the field of enzyme engineering. This review article aims to present some of the currently employed strategies for enzyme engineering and attempts to highlight the most recent advances in methodology.
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Molecular recognition with 2,4-diaminotriazine-functionalized colloids.
Langmuir
PUBLISHED: 10-10-2011
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New polymeric colloids functionalized with 2,4-diaminotriazine residues have been prepared. The functionalities provide a triple hydrogen bond motif with a donor-acceptor-donor (DAD) pattern. The colloids are based on cross-linked poly-4-methoxymethyl styrene and are polymerized by means of surfactant-free emulsion polymerization. The reaction pathway including five steps was successfully tracked and verified via (13)C CP/MAS solid-state NMR. Characterization of the colloids was done by combined static and dynamic light scattering and indicates a compact spherical particle shape. In solvents with the appropriate polarity, intercolloidal hydrogen bonding was enabled, including colloidal aggregation. In highly dilute solutions of THF, this aggregation was recordable by means of time-resolved static light scattering experiments. If THF was saturated with uracil, then aggregation could be completely inhibited. Uracil bears a triple hydrogen bond motif of the form acceptor-donor-acceptor (ADA) and is a direct antagonist of 2,4-diaminotriazine. The charging of the colloids with uracil via hydrogen bond formation as a typical molecular recognition mechanism could be confirmed by IR spectroscopy.
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Replication, gene expression and particle production by a consensus Merkel Cell Polyomavirus (MCPyV) genome.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 09-25-2011
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Merkel Cell Polyomavirus (MCPyV) genomes are clonally integrated in tumor tissues of approximately 85% of all Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) cases, a highly aggressive tumor of the skin which predominantly afflicts elderly and immunosuppressed patients. All integrated viral genomes recovered from MCC tissue or MCC cell lines harbor signature mutations in the early gene transcript encoding for the large T-Antigen (LT-Ag). These mutations selectively abrogate the ability of LT-Ag to support viral replication while still maintaining its Rb-binding activity, suggesting a continuous requirement for LT-Ag mediated cell cycle deregulation during MCC pathogenesis. To gain a better understanding of MCPyV biology, in vitro MCPyV replication systems are required. We have generated a synthetic MCPyV genomic clone (MCVSyn) based on the consensus sequence of MCC-derived sequences deposited in the NCBI database. Here, we demonstrate that transfection of recircularized MCVSyn DNA into some human cell lines recapitulates efficient replication of the viral genome, early and late gene expression together with virus particle formation. However, serial transmission of infectious virus was not observed. This in vitro culturing system allows the study of viral replication and will facilitate the molecular dissection of important aspects of the MCPyV lifecycle.
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(8R)-3?,8-dihydroxypolypoda-13E,17E,21-triene induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in treatment-resistant prostate cancer cells.
J. Nat. Prod.
PUBLISHED: 07-29-2011
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Mastic, a resinous exudate from Pistacia lentiscus, has been reported to exhibit selective cytotoxicity against different cancer cell lines. There are, however, no data published correlating distinct mastic-derived compounds with the postulated cytotoxic activity. A polypodane-type bicyclic triterpenoid, (8R)-3?,8-dihydroxypolypoda-13E,17E,21-triene (1), was isolated from P. lentiscus oleogum resin. In androgen-independent PC-3 prostate cancer cells, 1 potently inhibited the expression of cyclins D1 and E, but had no effect on the expression of the cyclin kinase inhibitor p21(Waf1/Cip1). Inhibition of the expression of cell cycle-regulating cyclins resulted in cell cycle arrest in the G?/G? phase, reduction in the number of cells in the S phase, and the triggering of apoptosis, as detected by increased expression of phosphatidylserine on the cell surface and by formation of DNA laddering. In addition, 1 suppressed the formation of prostate cancer colonies in soft agar and inhibited proliferation, angiogenesis, and the growth of prostate tumors xenografted onto chick chorioallantoic membranes without overt systemic toxicity. Taken together, these data show that 1 triggers apoptosis in chemoresistant, androgen-independent human prostate cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Thus, 1 may serve as a lead compound for targeting so far incurable androgen-insensitive prostate cancers.
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Optimized compatible set of BioBrick™ vectors for metabolic pathway engineering.
Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol.
PUBLISHED: 07-21-2011
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The BioBrick™ paradigm for the assembly of enzymatic pathways is being adopted and becoming a standard practice in microbial engineering. We present a strategy to adapt the BioBrick™ paradigm to allow the quick assembly of multi-gene pathways into a number of vectors as well as for the quick mobilization of any cloned gene into vectors with different features for gene expression and protein purification. A primary BioBrick™ (BB-eGFP) was developed where the promoter/RBS, multiple cloning sites, optional protein purification affinity tags and reporter gene were all separated into discrete regions by additional restriction enzymes. This primary BB-eGFP then served as the template for additional BioBrick™ vectors with different origins of replication, antibiotic resistances, inducible promoters (arabinose, IPTG or anhydrotetracycline), N- or C-terminal Histidine tags with thrombin cleavage, a LacZ? reporter gene and an additional origin of mobility (oriT). All developed BioBricks™ and BioBrick™ compatible vectors were shown to be functional by measuring reporter gene expression. Lastly, a C(30) carotenoid pathway was assembled as a model enzymatic pathway to demonstrate in vivo functionality and compatibility of this engineered vector system.
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Reasons for ineligibility in phase 1 and 2A HIV vaccine clinical trials at Kenya AIDS vaccine initiative (KAVI), Kenya.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-21-2011
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With the persistent challenges towards controlling the HIV epidemic, there is an ongoing need for research into HIV vaccines and drugs. Sub-Saharan African countries--worst affected by the HIV pandemic--have participated in the conduct of clinical trials for HIV vaccines. In Kenya, the Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative (KAVI) at the University of Nairobi has conducted HIV vaccine clinical trials since 2001.
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Effect of shear on vesicle and lamellar phases of DDAB/lecithin ternary systems.
J Colloid Interface Sci
PUBLISHED: 01-19-2011
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The influence of shear flow on bilayer structures (vesicle and planar lamellar phases, L(?)), formed in DDAB/lecithin ternary systems, is studied by means of conventional rheology, Rheo NMR, and optical microscopy. The vesicles in the diluted (Lam(1)) phase are polydisperse multilamellae which turn into smaller monodisperse vesicles under shear. The concentrated (Lam(2)) phase is formed by non-oriented lamellae that do not surprisingly exhibit any pronounced shear-induced alignment prior to the transition into giant multilamellar vesicles. The biphasic region (Lam(1)+Lam(2)) shows a mosaic texture with a powder pattern indicating the prevalence of lamellae that transform into onions under shear.
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Homogeneous length scale of shear-induced multilamellar vesicles studied by diffusion NMR.
J. Magn. Reson.
PUBLISHED: 01-19-2011
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A recently developed protocol for pulsed gradient spin echo (PGSE) NMR is applied for the size determination of multilamellar vesicles (MLVs). By monitoring the self-diffusion behavior of water, the technique yields an estimate of the homogeneous length scale ?(hom), i.e. the maximum length scale at which there is local structural heterogeneity in a globally homogeneous material. A cross-over between local non-Gaussian to global Gaussian diffusion is observed by varying the experimentally defined length- and time-scales. Occasional observation of a weak Bragg peak in the PGSE signal attenuation curves permits the direct estimation of the MLV radius in favorable cases, thus yielding the constant of proportionality between ?(hom) and radius. The microstructural origin of the Bragg peak is verified through Brownian dynamics simulations and a theoretical analysis based on the center-of-mass diffusion propagator. ?(hom) is decreasing with increasing shear rate in agreement with theoretical expectations and results from (2)H NMR lineshape analysis.
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Bronchial epithelial cell-derived prostaglandin E2 dampens the reactivity of dendritic cells.
J. Immunol.
PUBLISHED: 01-12-2011
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Airway epithelial cells regulate immune reactivity of local dendritic cells (DCs), thus contributing to microenvironment homeostasis. In this study, we set out to identify factors that mediate this regulatory interaction. We show that tracheal epithelial cells secrete soluble factors that downregulate TNF-? and IL-12p40 secretion by bone marrow-derived DCs but upregulate IL-10 and arginase-1. Size exclusion chromatography identified small secreted molecules having high modulatory activity on DCs. We observed that airway tracheal epithelial cells constitutively release the lipid mediator PGE(2). Blocking the synthesis of PGs within airway epithelial cells relieved DCs from inhibition. Cyclooxygenase-2 was found to be expressed in primary tracheal epithelial cell cultures in vitro and in vivo as shown by microdissection of epithelial cells followed by real-time PCR. Paralleling these findings we observed that DCs treated with an antagonist for E-prostanoid 4 receptor as well as DCs lacking E-prostanoid 4 receptor showed reduced inhibition by airway epithelial cells with respect to secretion of proinflammatory cytokines measured by ELISA. Furthermore, PGE(2) mimicked the effects of epithelial cells on DCs. The results indicate that airway epithelial cell-derived PGE(2) contributes to the modulation of DCs under homeostatic conditions.
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Selectivity of fungal sesquiterpene synthases: role of the active sites H-1 alpha loop in catalysis.
Appl. Environ. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 10-01-2010
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Sesquiterpene synthases are responsible for the cyclization of farnesyl pyrophosphate into a myriad of structurally diverse compounds with various biological activities. We examine here the role of the conserved active site H-?1 loop in catalysis in three previously characterized fungal sesquiterpene synthases. The H-?1 loops of Cop3, Cop4, and Cop6 from Coprinus cinereus were altered by site-directed mutagenesis and the resultant product profiles were analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and compared to the wild-type enzymes. In addition, we examine the effect of swapping the H-?1 loop from the promiscuous enzyme Cop4 with the more selective Cop6 and the effect of acidic or basic conditions on loop mutations in Cop4. Directed mutations of the H-?1 loop had a marked effect on the product profile of Cop3 and Cop4, while little to no change was shown in Cop6. Swapping of the Cop4 and Cop6 loops with one another was again shown to influence the product profile of Cop4, while the product profile of Cop6 remained identical to the wild-type enzyme. The loop mutations in Cop4 also implicate specific residues responsible for the pH sensitivity of the enzyme. These results affirm the role of the H-?1 loop in catalysis and provide a potential target to increase the product diversity of terpene synthases.
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Novel activity of Rhodobacter sphaeroides spheroidene monooxygenase CrtA expressed in Escherichia coli.
Appl. Environ. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 09-17-2010
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The spheroidene monooxygenase CrtA of Rhodobacter sphaeroides introduces a keto group and/or hydroxy group at the ends of nonnative substrates in Escherichia coli, resulting in the production of novel oxocarotenoids. The heme-containing CrtA is not a P450 enzyme but a new type of oxygenase.
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A phase 2 study to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a recombinant HIV type 1 vaccine based on adeno-associated virus.
AIDS Res. Hum. Retroviruses
PUBLISHED: 07-30-2010
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The recombinant vaccine, tgAAC09, based on an adeno-associated virus serotype 2 (AAV2) vector encoding HIV-1 subtype C Gag, protease, and part of reverse transcriptase, induced robust T cell and antibody responses in nonhuman primates. In a previous phase I study in 80 healthy HIV-seronegative European and Indian adults, the vaccine was generally safe, well tolerated, and modestly immunogenic when administered once at doses up to 3 x 10(11) DRP. This phase II double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial tested two administrations and a higher dosage of tgAAC009. Ninety-one healthy HIV-seronegative adults from three African countries were given one of three dosage levels of tgAAC09 (3 x 10(10), 3 x 10(11), or 3 x 10(12) DRP) intramuscularly, either at a 6- or 12-month interval; follow-up was 18 months. Overall, 65% and 57% of vaccine recipients experienced local and systemic signs and symptoms, respectively, most being mild. Frequency and severity were not dose related and were similar to those in placebo recipients. No vaccine-related serious adverse events were reported. Overall, HIV-specific T cell responses were detected by IFN-gamma ELISPOT in 17/69 (25%) vaccine recipients with 38% (10/26) responders in the highest dosage group. The response rate improved significantly with boosting at 6, but not 12 months, in the 3 x 10(11) and 3 x 10(12) dosage groups only. Neutralizing antibody titers to the AAV2 did not alter the frequency of immune responses to HIV. Two doses of tgAAC09 were well tolerated at the dosage levels given. Fewer than half the recipients of the highest vaccine dosage, 3 x 10(12) DRP, had T cell responses to HIV.
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Molecular shuttles powered by motor proteins: loading and unloading stations for nanocargo integrated into one device.
Lab Chip
PUBLISHED: 07-26-2010
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A central challenge on the way to engineer novel materials and nanodevices comprising active transport by nanomotors is the integration of cargo loading and unloading stations on one chip. Exploiting DNA hybridization in zipping and shearing geometries, we demonstrate spatially distinct cargo pick-up and unload by "molecular shuttles" in an integrated device. With this approach, applications can be realized where motor-driven processes are needed to enable transport and active sorting of analytes and nanosystems, or the reconfiguration or self-repair of materials and devices.
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Redesign, reconstruction, and directed extension of the Brevibacterium linens C40 carotenoid pathway in Escherichia coli.
Appl. Environ. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 06-04-2010
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In this study, the carotenoid biosynthetic pathways of Brevibacterium linens DSMZ 20426 were reconstructed, redesigned, and extended with additional carotenoid-modifying enzymes of other sources in a heterologous host Escherichia coli. The modular lycopene pathway synthesized an unexpected carotenoid structure, 3,4-didehydrolycopene, as well as lycopene. Extension of the novel 3,4-didehydrolycopene pathway with the mutant Pantoea lycopene cyclase CrtY(2) and the Rhodobacter spheroidene monooxygenase CrtA generated monocyclic torulene and acyclic oxocarotenoids, respectively. The reconstructed beta-carotene pathway synthesized an unexpected 7,8-dihydro-beta-carotene in addition to beta-carotene. Extension of the beta-carotene pathway with the B. linens beta-ring desaturase CrtU and Pantoea beta-carotene hydroxylase CrtZ generated asymmetric carotenoid agelaxanthin A, which had one aromatic ring at the one end of carotene backbone and one hydroxyl group at the other end, as well as aromatic carotenoid isorenieratene and dihydroxy carotenoid zeaxanthin. These results demonstrate that reconstruction of the biosynthetic pathways and extension with promiscuous enzymes in a heterologous host holds promise as a rational strategy for generating structurally diverse compounds that are hardly accessible in nature.
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L1cam acts as a modifier gene during enteric nervous system development.
Neurobiol. Dis.
PUBLISHED: 05-14-2010
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The enteric nervous system is derived from neural crest cells that migrate from the caudal hindbrain and colonise the gut. Failure of neural crest cells to fully colonise the gut results in an "aganglionic zone" that lacks a functional enteric nervous system over a variable length of the distal bowel, a condition in human infants known as Hirschsprungs disease. The variability observed in the penetrance and severity of Hirschsprungs disease suggests a role for modifier genes. Clinical studies have identified a population of Hirschsprungs patients with mutations in L1CAM that also have a common polymorphism in RET, suggesting a possible interaction between L1CAM and RET. Therefore, we examined whether L1cam could interact with Ret, its ligand Gdnf, and a known transcriptional activator of Ret, Sox10. Using a two-locus complementation approach, we show that loss of L1cam in conjunction with a heterozygous loss of Ret or Gdnf did not result in aganglionosis. However, L1cam did interact with Sox10 to significantly increase the incidence of aganglionosis. We show that an interaction between L1cam and Sox10 significantly perturbs neural crest migration within the developing gut, and that neural crest cells undergo excessive cell death prior to gut entry. Finally, we show that Sox10 can regulate the expression of L1cam. Thus, L1cam can act as a modifier gene for the HSCR associated gene, Sox10, and is likely to play a role in the etiology of Hirschsprungs disease.
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Enhancement of survival and electricity production in an engineered bacterium by light-driven proton pumping.
Appl. Environ. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 05-07-2010
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Microorganisms can use complex photosystems or light-dependent proton pumps to generate membrane potential and/or reduce electron carriers to support growth. The discovery that proteorhodopsin is a light-dependent proton pump that can be expressed readily in recombinant bacteria enables development of new strategies to probe microbial physiology and to engineer microbes with new light-driven properties. Here, we describe functional expression of proteorhodopsin and light-induced changes in membrane potential in the bacterium Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1. We report that there were significant increases in electrical current generation during illumination of electrochemical chambers containing S. oneidensis expressing proteorhodopsin. We present evidence that an engineered strain is able to consume lactate at an increased rate when it is illuminated, which is consistent with the hypothesis that proteorhodopsin activity enhances lactate uptake by increasing the proton motive force. Our results demonstrate that there is coupling of a light-driven process to electricity generation in a nonphotosynthetic engineered bacterium. Expression of proteorhodopsin also preserved the viability of the bacterium under nutrient-limited conditions, providing evidence that fulfillment of basic energy needs of organisms may explain the widespread distribution of proteorhodopsin in marine environments.
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Sesquiterpene synthases Cop4 and Cop6 from Coprinus cinereus: catalytic promiscuity and cyclization of farnesyl pyrophosphate geometric isomers.
Chembiochem
PUBLISHED: 04-27-2010
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Sesquiterpene synthases catalyze with different catalytic fidelity the cyclization of farnesyl pyrophosphate (FPP) into hundreds of known compounds with diverse structures and stereochemistries. Two sesquiterpene synthases, Cop4 and Cop6, were previously isolated from Coprinus cinereus as part of a fungal genome survey. This study investigates the reaction mechanism and catalytic fidelity of the two enzymes. Cyclization of all-trans-FPP ((E,E)-FPP) was compared to the cyclization of the cis-trans isomer of FPP ((Z,E)-FPP) as a surrogate for the secondary cisoid neryl cation intermediate generated by sesquiterpene synthases, which are capable of isomerizing the C2--C3 pi bond of all-trans-FPP. Cop6 is a "high-fidelity" alpha-cuprenene synthase that retains its fidelity under various conditions tested. Cop4 is a catalytically promiscuous enzyme that cyclizes (E,E)-FPP into multiple products, including (-)-germacrene D and cubebol. Changing the pH of the reaction drastically alters the fidelity of Cop4 and makes it a highly selective enzyme. Cyclization of (Z,E)-FPP by Cop4 and Cop6 yields products that are very different from those obtained with (E,E)-FPP. Conversion of (E,E)-FPP proceeds via a (6R)-beta-bisabolyl carbocation in the case of Cop6 and an (E,E)-germacradienyl carbocation in the case of Cop4. However, (Z,E)-FPP is cyclized via a (6S)-beta-bisabolene carbocation by both enzymes. Structural modeling suggests that differences in the active site and the loop that covers the active site of the two enzymes might explain their different catalytic fidelities.
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Safety and immunogenicity study of Multiclade HIV-1 adenoviral vector vaccine alone or as boost following a multiclade HIV-1 DNA vaccine in Africa.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 04-08-2010
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We conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled Phase I study of a recombinant replication-defective adenovirus type 5 (rAd5) vector expressing HIV-1 Gag and Pol from subtype B and Env from subtypes A, B and C, given alone or as boost following a DNA plasmid vaccine expressing the same HIV-1 proteins plus Nef, in 114 healthy HIV-uninfected African adults.
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Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)gamma can inhibit chronic renal allograft damage.
Am. J. Pathol.
PUBLISHED: 04-02-2010
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Chronic inflammation and fibrosis are the leading causes of chronic allograft failure. The nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)gamma is a transcription factor known to have antidiabetogenic and immune effects, and PPARgamma forms obligate heterodimers with the retinoid X receptor (RXR). We have reported that a retinoic acid (RAR)/RXR-agonist can potently influence the course of renal chronic allograft dysfunction. In this study, in a Fischer to Lewis rat renal transplantation model, administration of the PPARgamma-agonist, rosiglitazone, independent of dose (3 or 30 mg/kgBW/day), lowered serum creatinine, albuminuria, and chronic allograft damage with a chronic vascular damage score as follows: 35.0 +/- 5.8 (controls) vs. 8.1 +/- 2.4 (low dose-Rosi; P < 0.05); chronic tubulointerstitial damage score: 13.6 +/- 1.8 (controls) vs. 2.6 +/- 0.4 (low dose-Rosi; P < 0.01). The deposition of extracellular matrix proteins (collagen, fibronectin, decorin) was strikingly lower. The expression of transforming growth factor-beta1 was inhibited, whereas that of bone morphogenic protein-7 (BMP-7) was increased. Intragraft mononuclear cells and activated fibroblast numbers were reduced by 50%. In addition, the migratory and proliferative activity of these cells was significantly inhibited in vitro. PPARgamma activation diminished the number of cells expressing the proinflammatory and fibrogenic proteoglycan biglycan. In macrophages its secretion was blocked by rosiglitazone in a predominantly PPARgamma-dependent manner. The combination of PPARgamma- and RAR/RXR-agonists resulted in additive effects in the inhibition of fibrosis. In summary, PPARgamma activation was potently immunosuppressive and antifibrotic in kidney allografts, and these effects were enhanced by a RAR/RXR-agonist.
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Applications of quorum sensing in biotechnology.
Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol.
PUBLISHED: 02-24-2010
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Many unicellular microorganisms use small signaling molecules to determine their local concentration. The processes involved in the production and recognition of these signals are collectively known as quorum sensing (QS). This form of cell-cell communication is used by unicellular microorganisms to co-ordinate their activities, which allows them to function as multi-cellular systems. Recently, several groups have demonstrated artificial intra-species and inter-species communication through synthetic circuits which incorporate components of bacterial QS systems. Engineered QS-based circuits have a wide range of applications such as production of biochemicals, tissue engineering, and mixed-species fermentations. They are also highly useful in designing microbial biosensors to identify bacterial species present in the environment and within living organisms. In this review, we first provide an overview of bacterial QS systems and the mechanisms developed by bacteria and higher organisms to obstruct QS communications. Next, we describe the different ways in which researchers have designed QS-based circuits and their applications in biotechnology. Finally, disruption of quorum sensing is discussed as a viable strategy for preventing the formation of harmful biofilms in membrane bioreactors and marine transportation.
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Tyrosine phosphatase inhibition triggers sustained canonical serine-dependent NFkappaB activation via Src-dependent blockade of PP2A.
Biochem. Pharmacol.
PUBLISHED: 02-17-2010
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Activation status of Tyr-kinase Src as well as of the transcription factor NFkappaB is a decisive criterion for the onset of cancer and in conveying radio-resistance. While the activation status of Src is Tyr phosphorylation-dependent, NFkappaB activation requires Ser phosphorylation of its cytosolic inhibitor, IkappaBalpha. Since constitutive NFkappaB activation was linked to tumor maintenance, its tight regulation is mandatory. We provide evidence that inhibition of pan-Tyr phosphatase activity by orthovanadate is translated via Src to inhibition of Ser phosphatase PP2A, thereby changing the physiologic response of the cell. In particular we unravelled a new sequence of molecular interactions linking initial activating Tyr416 phosphorylation of Src not to Tyr42-dependent phosphorylation and degradation of IkappaBalpha, but to sustained Ser177/181 phosphorylation of IkappaBalpha kinase IKKbeta following IL-1 stimulation. Consequently, sustained IKKbeta activation provides for chronic canonical IkappaBalpha degradation, thereby eliciting constitutive NFkappaB activation. As the critical translator of Tyr to Ser phosphorylation we identified Ser/Thr phosphatase PP2A. We show that the catalytic subunit PP2Ac serves as a Src substrate with Tyr307 phosphorylation leading to its catalytic inhibition. Additionally to the known survival pathways triggered by Src, Src-mediated canonical and persistent NFkappaB activation may fortify its tumorigenic effects.
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Phase 1 safety and immunogenicity evaluation of ADMVA, a multigenic, modified vaccinia Ankara-HIV-1 B/C candidate vaccine.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-25-2010
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We conducted a Phase I dose-escalation trial of ADMVA, a Clade-B/C-based HIV-1 candidate vaccine expressing env, gag, pol, nef, and tat in a modified vaccinia Ankara viral vector. Sequences were derived from a prevalent circulating HIV-1 recombinant form in Yunnan, China, an area of high HIV incidence. The objective was to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of ADMVA in human volunteers.
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Phase 1 safety and immunogenicity evaluation of ADVAX, a multigenic, DNA-based clade C/B HIV-1 candidate vaccine.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-25-2010
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We conducted a Phase I dose escalation trial of ADVAX, a DNA-based candidate HIV-1 vaccine expressing Clade C/B env, gag, pol, nef, and tat genes. Sequences were derived from a prevalent circulating recombinant form in Yunnan, China, an area of high HIV-1 incidence. The objective was to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of ADVAX in human volunteers.
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Recipient Toll-like receptors contribute to chronic graft dysfunction by both MyD88- and TRIF-dependent signaling.
Dis Model Mech
PUBLISHED: 12-28-2009
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Toll-like receptors (TLRs) recognize specific molecular patterns derived from microbial components (exogenous ligands) or stressed cells (endogenous ligands). Stimulation of these receptors leads to a pronounced inflammatory response in a variety of acute animal models. Chronic allograft dysfunction (CAD) was regarded as a candidate disease to test whether TLRs influence chronic fibrosing inflammation. Potential endogenous renal TLR ligands, specifically for TLR2 and TLR4, have now been detected by a significant upregulation of glucose regulated protein (GRP)-94, fibrinogen, heat shock protein (HSP)-60, HSP-70, biglycan (Bgn) and high-mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 (HMGB1) in the acute and chronic transplant setting. In a genetic approach to define the contribution of TLR2 and TLR4, and their adaptor proteins MyD88 and TRIF [Toll/interleukin (IL)-1 receptor domain-containing adaptor-protein inducing interferon beta], to CAD, kidney transplantation of TLR wild-type grafts to recipients who were deficient in TLR2, TLR4, TLR2/4, MyD88 and TRIF was performed. TLR and adaptor protein deficiencies significantly improved the excretory function of chronic kidney grafts by between 65% and 290%, and histopathologic signs of chronic allograft damage were significantly ameliorated. T cells, dendritic cells (DCs) and foremost macrophages were reduced in grafts by up to 4.5-fold. The intragraft concentrations of IL-6, IL-10, monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) and IL-12p70 were significantly lower. TLR-, MyD88- and TRIF-deficient recipients showed a significant reduction in fibrosis. alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA)-positive cells were decreased by up to ninefold, and collagen I and III were reduced by up to twofold. These findings highlight the functional relevance of TLRs and their two major signaling pathways in graft-infiltrating mononuclear cells in the pathophysiology of CAD. A TLR signaling blockade may be a therapeutic option for the prevention of CAD.
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Multi-enzymatic synthesis.
Curr Opin Chem Biol
PUBLISHED: 10-30-2009
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Biocatalytic conversions can involve one enzyme that carries out one specific reaction at a time, or multiple enzymes that carry out a series of conversions to yield a desired product. The use of several enzymes allows the realization of much more complex synthetic schemes. Multi-step synthesis can be carried out in biological systems by utilizing or engineering their metabolic networks for catalysis. Alternatively, multi-enzymatic catalysis can be carried out in vitro using isolated biocatalysts. Both approaches, in vivo or in vitro, have their specific advantages, problems, and challenges that will be illustrated using recent examples.
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Loss of nocturnal blood pressure fall in various extrapyramidal syndromes.
Mov. Disord.
PUBLISHED: 09-22-2009
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Cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction has frequently been reported in some patients with extrapyramidal syndromes, especially multiple system atrophy (MSA) but also Parkinsons disease (PD). However, there are only few reports on the prevalence of cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction progressive in supranuclear palsy (PSP). Moreover, the relation of detailed cardiovascular testing and easy to assess 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure (BP) is not known. Our study evaluates 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring in patients with PD, PSP, MSA, and corresponding controls (Con) and relates the findings to the results of comprehensive cardiovascular autonomic testing. Twenty-three patients with PD, 25 patients with PSP, 25 patients with MSA, and 26 corresponding controls were studied by 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring (ABPM) in comparison to cardiovascular autonomic testing. Patients with PD, PSP, and MSA presented frequently with a pathological nocturnal BP regulation (no decrease or even an increase of nocturnal BP) in comparison to the control group (PD 48%, PSP 40%, MSA 68% vs. Con 8%). In MSA and PD patients, the frequent pathological BP increase during night was closely correlated to orthostatic hypotension. Since loss of nocturnal BP fall is frequent in patients with extrapyramidal syndromes, even if they are free of subjective autonomic dysfunction, we recommend 24-hour ABPM as an easy to perform screening test, especially if detailed autonomic testing is not available. Pathological loss of nocturnal BP fall may account for increased cardiovascular mortality in extrapyramidal syndromes.
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Renal fibrosis is attenuated by targeted disruption of KCa3.1 potassium channels.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
PUBLISHED: 08-13-2009
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Proliferation of interstitial fibroblasts is a hallmark of progressive renal fibrosis commonly resulting in chronic kidney failure. The intermediate-conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channel (K(Ca)3.1) has been proposed to promote mitogenesis in several cell types and contribute to disease states characterized by excessive proliferation. Here, we hypothesized that K(Ca)3.1 activity is pivotal for renal fibroblast proliferation and that deficiency or pharmacological blockade of K(Ca)3.1 suppresses development of renal fibrosis. We found that mitogenic stimulation up-regulated K(Ca)3.1 in murine renal fibroblasts via a MEK-dependent mechanism and that selective blockade of K(Ca)3.1 functions potently inhibited fibroblast proliferation by G(0)/G(1) arrest. Renal fibrosis induced by unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO) in mice was paralleled by a robust up-regulation of K(Ca)3.1 in affected kidneys. Mice lacking K(Ca)3.1 (K(Ca)3.1(-/-)) showed a significant reduction in fibrotic marker expression, chronic tubulointerstitial damage, collagen deposition and alphaSMA(+) cells in kidneys after UUO, whereas functional renal parenchyma was better preserved. Pharmacological treatment with the selective K(Ca)3.1 blocker TRAM-34 similarly attenuated progression of UUO-induced renal fibrosis in wild-type mice and rats. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that K(Ca)3.1 is involved in renal fibroblast proliferation and fibrogenesis and suggest that K(Ca)3.1 may represent a therapeutic target for the treatment of fibrotic kidney disease.
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A multifactorial risk prioritization framework for foodborne pathogens.
Risk Anal.
PUBLISHED: 08-10-2009
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We develop a prioritization framework for foodborne risks that considers public health impact as well as three other factors (market impact, consumer risk acceptance and perception, and social sensitivity). Canadian case studies are presented for six pathogen-food combinations: Campylobacter spp. in chicken; Salmonella spp. in chicken and spinach; Escherichia coli O157 in spinach and beef; and Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meats. Public health impact is measured by disability-adjusted life years and the cost of illness. Market impact is quantified by the economic importance of the domestic market. Likert-type scales are used to capture consumer perception and acceptance of risk and social sensitivity to impacts on vulnerable consumer groups and industries. Risk ranking is facilitated through the development of a knowledge database presented in the format of info cards and the use of multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) to aggregate the four factors. Three scenarios representing different stakeholders illustrate the use of MCDA to arrive at rankings of pathogen-food combinations that reflect different criteria weights. The framework provides a flexible instrument to support policymakers in complex risk prioritization decision making when different stakeholder groups are involved and when multiple pathogen-food combinations are compared.
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Comprehensive autonomic assessment does not differentiate between Parkinsons disease, multiple system atrophy and progressive supranuclear palsy.
J Neural Transm
PUBLISHED: 06-29-2009
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Differential diagnosis of parkinsonian syndromes is a major challenge in movement disorders. Dysautonomia is a common feature but may vary in clinical severity and onset. The study attempted to find a pattern of autonomic abnormalities discriminative for patients with different parkinsonian syndromes. The cross-sectional study included 38 patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA), 32 patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), 26 patients with idiopathic Parkinsons disease (IPD) and 27 age-matched healthy controls. Autonomic symptoms were evaluated by a standardized questionnaire. The performance of patients and controls was compared on five autonomic function tests: deep breathing, Valsalva manoeuvre, tilt-table testing, sympathetic skin response, pupillography, and 24-h ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). Disease severity was significantly lower in IPD than PSP and MSA. Except for pupillography, none of the laboratory autonomic tests distinguished one patient group from the other alone or in combination. The same was observed on the questionnaire. Receiver operating characteristic curve revealed discriminating performance of pupil diameter in darkness and nocturnal blood pressure change. The composite score of urogenital and vasomotor domains significantly distinguished MSA from IPD patients but not from PSP. Our study supports the observation that even mild IPD is frequently indistinguishable from more severe MSA and PSP. Thus, clinical combination of motor and non-motor symptoms does not exclusively point at MSA. Pupillography, ABPM and the questionnaire may assist in delineating the three syndromes when applied in combination.
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Diversity of sesquiterpene synthases in the basidiomycete Coprinus cinereus.
Mol. Microbiol.
PUBLISHED: 04-28-2009
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Fungi are a rich source of bioactive secondary metabolites, and mushroom-forming fungi (Agaricomycetes) are especially known for the synthesis of numerous bioactive and often cytotoxic sesquiterpenoid secondary metabolites. Compared with the large number of sesquiterpene synthases identified in plants, less than a handful of unique sesquiterpene synthases have been described from fungi. Here we describe the functional characterization of six sesquiterpene synthases (Cop1 to Cop6) and two terpene-oxidizing cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (Cox1 and Cox2) from Coprinus cinereus. The genes were cloned and, except for cop5, functionally expressed in Escherichia coli and/or Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Cop1 and Cop2 each synthesize germacrene A as the major product. Cop3 was identified as an alpha-muurolene synthase, an enzyme that has not been described previously, while Cop4 synthesizes delta-cadinene as its major product. Cop6 was originally annotated as a trichodiene synthase homologue but instead was found to catalyse the highly specific synthesis of alpha-cuprenene. Coexpression of cop6 and the two monooxygenase genes next to it yields oxygenated alpha-cuprenene derivatives, including cuparophenol, suggesting that these genes encode the enzymes for the biosynthesis of antimicrobial quinone sesquiterpenoids (known as lagopodins) that were previously isolated from C. cinereus and other Coprinus species.
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Low genetic differentiation across three major ocean populations of the whale shark, Rhincodon typus.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 02-07-2009
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Whale sharks are a declining species for which little biological data is available. While these animals are protected in many parts of their range, they are fished legally and illegally in some countries. Baseline biological and ecological data are needed to allow the formulation of an effective conservation plan for whale sharks. It is not known, for example, whether the whale shark is represented by a single worldwide panmictic population or by numerous, reproductively isolated populations. Genetic analysis of population structure is one essential component of the baseline data required for whale shark conservation.
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Investigation of cellular targeting of carotenoid pathway enzymes in Pichia pastoris.
J. Biotechnol.
PUBLISHED: 01-21-2009
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Cellular targeting of lycopene biosynthetic enzymes was investigated in Pichia pastoris X-33. Three lycopene pathway enzymes, CrtE, CrtB, and CrtI, were fused to fluorescent EGFPs with or without a peroxisomal targeting sequence (PTS1) and then expressed in P. pastoris. When P. pastoris was grown in YPD, the PTS1 fusion enzymes were found to be localized in peroxisomes, whereas the enzymes not fused with PTS1 were equally distributed throughout the entire cell. A similar targeting pattern was also observed in P. pastoris strains that were grown in peroxisome-proliferating medium, YPOT. Analysis of the fluorescent images of isolated peroxisomes showed that the PTS1 fused enzymes were dominantly present in peroxisomes whereas small amount of the enzymes not fused with PTS1 were non-specifically sent to peroxisomes. These results indicate that PTS1 specifically target lycopene pathway enzymes into peroxisomes and this targeting pathway was strong enough to overcome their inherent targeting program. In conclusion, we first showed that carotenogenic enzymes can be targeted into the specific cellular location of recombinant hosts and this targeting strategy can serve as the basis for the subsequent development of sophisticated pathway engineering in microorganisms.
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A versatile photoactivatable probe designed to label the diphosphate binding site of farnesyl diphosphate utilizing enzymes.
Bioorg. Med. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 01-13-2009
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Farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) is a substrate for a diverse number of enzymes found in nature. Photoactive analogues of isoprenoid diphosphates containing either benzophenone, diazotrifluoropropionate or azide groups have been useful for studying both the enzymes that synthesize FPP as well as those that employ FPP as a substrate. Here we describe the synthesis and properties of a new class of FPP analogues that links an unmodified farnesyl group to a diphosphate mimic containing a photoactive benzophenone moiety; thus, importantly, these compounds are photoactive FPP analogues that contain no modifications of the isoprenoid portion of the molecule that may interfere with substrate binding in the active site of an FPP utilizing enzyme. Two isomeric compounds containing meta- and para-substituted benzophenones were prepared. These two analogues inhibit Saccharomyces cerevisiae protein farnesyltransferase (ScPFTase) with IC(50) values of 5.8 (meta isomer) and 3.0 microM (para isomer); the more potent analogue, the para isomer, was shown to be a competitive inhibitor of ScPFTase with respect to FPP with a K(I) of 0.46 microM. Radiolabeled forms of both analogues selectively labeled the beta-subunit of ScPFTase. The para isomer was also shown to label Escherichia coli farnesyl diphosphate synthase and Drosophila melanogaster farnesyl diphosphate synthase. Finally, the para isomer was shown to be an alternative substrate for a sesquiterpene synthase from Nostoc sp. strain PCC7120, a cyanobacterial source; the compound also labeled the purified enzyme upon photolysis. Taken together, these results using a number of enzymes demonstrate that this new class of probes should be useful for a plethora of studies of FPP-utilizing enzymes.
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Embedding DNA in surfactant mesophases: the phase diagram of the ternary system dodecyltrimethylammonium-DNA/monoolein/water in comparison to the DNA-free analogue.
J Colloid Interface Sci
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The self-assembly of a true ternary mixture comprising an electroneutral complex of DNA anions and surfactant cations (dodecyltrimethylammonium cations, DTA), water, and nonionic surfactant (monoolein, MO) has been studied. The phase diagrams of two systems, DTA-DNA/MO/water and, for comparison, dodecyltrimethylammonium bromide (DTAB)/MO/water, were obtained by visual inspection, microscopic examination under polarized light, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and deuterium NMR ((2)H NMR) at 298 K and normal pressure. The isothermal phase diagram of the DTA-DNA/MO/water system contains four liquid crystalline (LC) phase regions (reversed hexagonal, Pn3m, Ia3d, lamellar). The supramolecular assemblies evolve from a bicontinuous cubic structure of the reversed type to the two-dimensional hexagonal phase as the content of DTA-DNA is increased. While DTA-DNA tends to form a reversed hexagonal phase, DTAB is incorporated into the existing lamellar phase formed by MO and water giving rise to swelling and to significant extension of the lamellar phase region. There is only a small tendency of the cubic phases existing in the binary system MO/water to accommodate DTAB or DTA-DNA.
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Self-assembled nanoparticles of modified-chitosan conjugates for the sustained release of DL-?-tocopherol.
Carbohydr Polym
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Synthetic O6-succinylated chitosan and commercial glycol chitosan were covalently linked to dl-?-tocopheryl monoesters for controlled release of vitamin E. These conjugates formed self-assembled nanoparticles in aqueous solution with 254-496 nm mean diameters and dl-?-tocopherol contents between 27 and 39% (w/w). The particles appeared as 40-75 nm almost spherical nanoparticles when studied by scanning and transmission electron microscopy upon drying. Drug linking to chitosan matrix was confirmed by FTIR spectroscopy and proton NMR. Conjugates were also characterized by differential scanning calorimetry and wide-angle X-ray diffraction. In vitro tocopherol release studies performed in water at acid pH indicated a drug release dependence on drug content, hydrated particle sizes and employed chitosan derivative. Almost constant release rates were observed the first 7h. The obtained nanoparticles exhibited radical scavenging activity in DPPH essay. The potential of these nanoparticles was also demonstrated by the enhancement of HMVEC cell proliferation.
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The conserved Bud20 zinc finger protein is a new component of the ribosomal 60S subunit export machinery.
Mol. Cell. Biol.
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The nuclear export of the preribosomal 60S (pre-60S) subunit is coordinated with late steps in ribosome assembly. Here, we show that Bud20, a conserved C(2)H(2)-type zinc finger protein, is an unrecognized shuttling factor required for the efficient export of pre-60S subunits. Bud20 associates with late pre-60S particles in the nucleoplasm and accompanies them into the cytoplasm, where it is released through the action of the Drg1 AAA-ATPase. Cytoplasmic Bud20 is then reimported via a Kap123-dependent pathway. The deletion of Bud20 induces a strong pre-60S export defect and causes synthetic lethality when combined with mutant alleles of known pre-60S subunit export factors. The function of Bud20 in ribosome export depends on a short conserved N-terminal sequence, as we observed that mutations or the deletion of this motif impaired 60S subunit export and generated the genetic link to other pre-60S export factors. We suggest that the shuttling Bud20 is recruited to the nascent 60S subunit via its central zinc finger rRNA binding domain to facilitate the subsequent nuclear export of the preribosome employing its N-terminal extension.
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N,O6-partially acetylated chitosan nanoparticles hydrophobically-modified for controlled release of steroids and vitamin E.
Carbohydr Polym
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Diosgenin, two synthetic analogs of brassinosteroids, testosterone and dl-?-tocopherol were covalently linked to synthetic water-soluble N,O6-partially acetylated chitosan, for their controlled release. Drug linking was confirmed by FTIR spectroscopy and proton NMR. Conjugates were also characterized by differential scanning calorimetry and wide-angle X-ray diffraction. These conjugates formed self-assembled nanoparticles in aqueous solution with particle sizes ranging from 197 to 358 nm and drug contents between 11.8 and 56.4% (w/w). Spherical 30-60 nm nanoparticles were observed by scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy upon drying. In vitro release studies performed at acid pH indicated a drug release dependence on substitution degree and particle sizes. Almost constant release rates were observed during the first 6-8h. Brassinosteroids-modified nanoparticles showed good agrochemical activity in radish seeds bioassay at 10(-1) to 10(-4) mg mL(-1). Tocopheryl-modified nanoparticles exhibited radical scavenging activity in DPPH test.
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Discovery and characterization of terpenoid biosynthetic pathways of fungi.
Meth. Enzymol.
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Fungi produce a myriad of terpenoids with a broad range of biological activities, many of which can be adapted to human use. This requires knowledge of the enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis of these compounds. Herein, we describe strategies for identification and characterization of putative biosynthetic genes, structural examination of important pathway enzymes with a focus on altering activity, and identification of biosynthetic clusters, and genome mining for yet-to-be-discovered pathways. Fungi are a particularly attractive class of organism for terpenoid pathway discovery, as they often cluster their biosynthetic genes. The affordability of genome sequencing and the relatively small size of fungal genomes further simplify this process. While only a select few fungal strains are genetically tractable, many terpenoid biosynthetic genes are functional in Escherichia coli and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, allowing easy characterization. Identification of new terpenoid biosynthetic pathways has the potential to uncover new pharmaceutical compounds and establish new strategies for metabolic engineering.
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Draft genome of Omphalotus olearius provides a predictive framework for sesquiterpenoid natural product biosynthesis in Basidiomycota.
Chem. Biol.
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The secondary metabolome of Basidiomycota represents a largely uncharacterized source of pharmaceutically relevant natural products. Terpenoids are the primary class of bioactive compounds isolated from mushrooms. The Jack OLantern mushroom Omphalotus olearius was identified 50 years ago as a prolific producer of anticancer illudin sesquiterpenoids; however, to date there have been exceptionally few studies into the biosynthesis of these important compounds. Here, we report the draft genome sequence of O. olearius, which reveals a diverse network of sesquiterpene synthases and two metabolic gene clusters associated with illudin biosynthesis. Characterization of the sesquiterpene synthases enabled a comprehensive survey of all currently available Basidiomycota genomes, thereby creating a predictive resource for terpenoid natural product biosynthesis in these organisms. Our results will facilitate discovery and biosynthetic production of unique pharmaceutically relevant bioactive compounds from Basidiomycota.
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Stochastic simulations of a synthetic bacteria-yeast ecosystem.
BMC Syst Biol
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The field of synthetic biology has greatly evolved and numerous functions can now be implemented by artificially engineered cells carrying the appropriate genetic information. However, in order for the cells to robustly perform complex or multiple tasks, co-operation between them may be necessary. Therefore, various synthetic biological systems whose functionality requires cell-cell communication are being designed. These systems, microbial consortia, are composed of engineered cells and exhibit a wide range of behaviors. These include yeast cells whose growth is dependent on one another, or bacteria that kill or rescue each other, synchronize, behave as predator-prey ecosystems or invade cancer cells.
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Structural evolution in the isotropic channel of a water-nonionic surfactant system that has a disconnected lamellar phase: a 1H NMR self-diffusion study.
Langmuir
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We showed in a previous study that a water-nonionic surfactant system, where the surfactant is a 9:1 mixture of tetraethylene glycol monodecyl ether (C(10)E(4)) and pentaethylene glycol monodecyl ether (C(10)E(5)), forms a disconnected lamellar (L(?)) phase. Thus, the isotropic phase spans the whole concentration range from the water-rich L(1) region to the surfactant-rich L(2) region of the phase diagram. The L(1) and L(2) regions are connected via an isotropic channel that separates the two regions of the L(?) phase. In this letter, we monitored the structural evolution of the isotropic phase along a path through this isotropic channel via (1)H NMR self-diffusion measurements. We used this technique because it enables us to distinguish between discrete and bicontinuous structures by comparing the relative self-diffusion coefficients (obstruction factors) D/D(0) of the solvents (i.e. of water and surfactant in the present case). We found that the obstruction factor of water decreases whereas the obstruction factor of the surfactant increases with increasing surfactant concentration and increasing temperature. This trend is interpreted as the transition from a water-continuous L(1) region, which contains discrete micelles, to a bicontinuous structure, which may extend to very high surfactant concentrations. Although there is good evidence of bicontinuity over a broad concentration range, there is no evidence of inverse micelles or any other microstructure at the highest concentration studied in the surfactant-rich L(2) phase.
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Tuning the "roadblock" effect in kinesin-based transport.
Nano Lett.
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Major efforts are underway to harness motor proteins for technical applications. Yet how to best attach cargo to microtubules that serve as kinesin-driven "molecular shuttles" without compromising transport performance remains challenging. Furthermore, microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) can block motor protein-powered transport in neurons, which can lead to neurodegenerative diseases. Again it is unclear how different physical roadblock parameters interfere with the stepping motion of kinesins. Here, we employ a series of MAPs, tailored (strept)avidins, and DNA as model roadblocks and determine how their geometrical, nanomechanical, and electrochemical properties can reduce kinesin-mediated transport. Our results provide insights into kinesin transport regulation and might facilitate the choice of appropriate cargo linkers for motor protein-driven transport devices.
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Background morbidity in HIV vaccine trial participants from various geographic regions as assessed by unsolicited adverse events.
Hum Vaccin Immunother
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Recently, more clinical trials are being conducted in Africa and Asia, therefore, background morbidity in the respective populations is of interest. Between 2000 and 2007, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative sponsored 19 Phase 1 or 2A preventive HIV vaccine trials in the US, Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and India, enrolling 900 healthy HIV-1 uninfected volunteers.
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Engineered protein nano-compartments for targeted enzyme localization.
PLoS ONE
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Compartmentalized co-localization of enzymes and their substrates represents an attractive approach for multi-enzymatic synthesis in engineered cells and biocatalysis. Sequestration of enzymes and substrates would greatly increase reaction efficiency while also protecting engineered host cells from potentially toxic reaction intermediates. Several bacteria form protein-based polyhedral microcompartments which sequester functionally related enzymes and regulate their access to substrates and other small metabolites. Such bacterial microcompartments may be engineered into protein-based nano-bioreactors, provided that they can be assembled in a non-native host cell, and that heterologous enzymes and substrates can be targeted into the engineered compartments. Here, we report that recombinant expression of Salmonella enterica ethanolamine utilization (eut) bacterial microcompartment shell proteins in E. coli results in the formation of polyhedral protein shells. Purified recombinant shells are morphologically similar to the native Eut microcompartments purified from S. enterica. Surprisingly, recombinant expression of only one of the shell proteins (EutS) is sufficient and necessary for creating properly delimited compartments. Co-expression with EutS also facilitates the encapsulation of EGFP fused with a putative Eut shell-targeting signal sequence. We also demonstrate the functional localization of a heterologous enzyme (?-galactosidase) targeted to the recombinant shells. Together our results provide proof-of-concept for the engineering of protein nano-compartments for biosynthesis and biocatalysis.
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