During chemotherapy of cancer patients, vein inflammation may develop which may lead to pain and difficulty in blood sampling. The use of implanted venous access ports may overcome these problems. With a correct use of needles, venous port membrane may be pierced 2000-2500 times.
The mitochondrial calcium uniporter is a highly selective calcium channel distributed broadly across eukaryotes but absent in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The molecular components of the human uniporter holocomplex (uniplex) have been identified recently. The uniplex consists of three membrane-spanning subunits--mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU), its paralog MCUb, and essential MCU regulator (EMRE)--and two soluble regulatory components--MICU1 and its paralog MICU2. The minimal components sufficient for in vivo uniporter activity are unknown. Here we consider Dictyostelium discoideum (Dd), a member of the Amoebazoa outgroup of Metazoa and Fungi, and show that it has a highly simplified uniporter machinery. We show that D. discoideum mitochondria exhibit membrane potential-dependent calcium uptake compatible with uniporter activity, and also that expression of DdMCU complements the mitochondrial calcium uptake defect in human cells lacking MCU or EMRE. Moreover, expression of DdMCU in yeast alone is sufficient to reconstitute mitochondrial calcium uniporter activity. Having established yeast as an in vivo reconstitution system, we then reconstituted the human uniporter. We show that coexpression of MCU and EMRE is sufficient for uniporter activity, whereas expression of MCU alone is insufficient. Our work establishes yeast as a powerful in vivo reconstitution system for the uniporter. Using this system, we confirm that MCU is the pore-forming subunit, define the minimal genetic elements sufficient for metazoan and nonmetazoan uniporter activity, and provide valuable insight into the evolution of the uniporter machinery.
The mitochondrial uniporter is a highly selective calcium channel in the organelles inner membrane. Its molecular components include the EF-hand-containing calcium-binding proteins mitochondrial calcium uptake 1 (MICU1) and MICU2 and the pore-forming subunit mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU). We sought to achieve a full molecular characterization of the uniporter holocomplex (uniplex). Quantitative mass spectrometry of affinity-purified uniplex recovered MICU1 and MICU2, MCU and its paralog MCUb, and essential MCU regulator (EMRE), a previously uncharacterized protein. EMRE is a 10-kilodalton, metazoan-specific protein with a single transmembrane domain. In its absence, uniporter channel activity was lost despite intact MCU expression and oligomerization. EMRE was required for the interaction of MCU with MICU1 and MICU2. Hence, EMRE is essential for in vivo uniporter current and additionally bridges the calcium-sensing role of MICU1 and MICU2 with the calcium-conducting role of MCU.
The glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor (GITR) is a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily. Attachment of GITR to its ligand (GITRL) regulates diverse biological functions, including cell proliferation, differentiation, and survival. In this study, the extracellular region of human GITRL (hGITRL) was cloned, expressed, and purified. The coding sequence of the extracellular region of hGITRL was isolated from human brain cDNA and inserted in pET20b vector. The hGITRL was expressed in Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) Star at 37 and 25 °C. The majority of the protein was found in inclusion bodies. We identified three important factors for efficient refolding of hGITRL: a ratio of GSH/GSSG, pH, and addition of polyethylene glycol. The renaturated protein was purified by Ni-NTA chromatography. The overall yield of the expression and refolding was higher than 50 mg/l E. coli culture grown at 37 °C. Size exclusion chromatography showed that hGITRL exists as mixture of various multimeric forms in solution. We tested the association of recombinant hGITRL with THP-1 and U937 cell lines and its activity to promote extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase phosphorylation. The results showed that the recombinant protein was biologically active.
How the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) activates is incompletely understood. The intracellular portion of the receptor is intrinsically active in solution, and to study its regulation, we measured autophosphorylation as a function of EGFR surface density in cells. Without EGF, intact EGFR escapes inhibition only at high surface densities. Although the transmembrane helix and the intracellular module together suffice for constitutive activity even at low densities, the intracellular module is inactivated when tethered on its own to the plasma membrane, and fluorescence cross-correlation shows that it fails to dimerize. NMR and functional data indicate that activation requires an N-terminal interaction between the transmembrane helices, which promotes an antiparallel interaction between juxtamembrane segments and release of inhibition by the membrane. We conclude that EGF binding removes steric constraints in the extracellular module, promoting activation through N-terminal association of the transmembrane helices.
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a receptor tyrosine kinase involved in cell growth that is often misregulated in cancer. Several recent studies highlight the unique structural mechanisms involved in its regulation. Some elucidate the important role that the juxtamembrane segment and the transmembrane helix play in stabilizing the activating asymmetric kinase dimer, and suggest that its activation mechanism is likely to be conserved among the other human EGFR-related receptors. Other studies provide new explanations for two long observed, but poorly understood phenomena, the apparent heterogeneity in ligand binding and the formation of ligand-independent dimers. New insights into the allosteric mechanisms utilized by intracellular regulators of EGFR provide hope that allosteric sites could be used as targets for drug development.
The Tic complex (Translocon at the inner envelope membrane of chloroplasts) mediates the translocation of nuclear encoded chloroplast proteins across the inner envelope membrane. Tic110 forms one prominent protein translocation channel. Additionally, Tic20, another subunit of the complex, was proposed to form a protein import channel - either together with or independent of Tic110. However, no experimental evidence for Tic20 channel activity has been provided so far.
Sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC), a lipid mediator with putative second messenger functions, has been reported to regulate ryanodine receptors (RyRs), Ca2+ channels of the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum. RyRs are also regulated by the ubiquitous Ca2+ sensor calmodulin (CaM), and we have previously shown that SPC disrupts the complex of CaM and the peptide corresponding to the CaM-binding domain of the skeletal muscle Ca2+ release channel (RyR1). Here we report that SPC also displaces Ca2+-bound CaM from the intact RyR1, which we hypothesized might lead to channel activation by relieving the negative feedback Ca2+CaM exerts on the channel. We could not demonstrate such channel activation as we have found that SPC has a direct, CaM-independent inhibitory effect on channel activity, confirmed by both single channel measurements and [3H]ryanodine binding assays. In the presence of Ca2+CaM, however, the addition of SPC did not reduce [3H]ryanodine binding, which we could explain by assuming that the direct inhibitory action of the sphingolipid was negated by the simultaneous displacement of inhibitory Ca2+CaM. Additional experiments revealed that RyRs are unlikely to be responsible for SPC-elicited Ca2+ release from brain microsomes, and that SPC does not exert detergent-like effects on sarcoplasmic reticulum vesicles. We conclude that regulation of RyRs by SPC involves both CaM-dependent and -independent mechanisms, thus, the sphingolipid might play a physiological role in RyR regulation, but channel activation previously attributed to SPC is unlikely.
Lipid-protein interactions are rarely characterized at a structural molecular level due to technical difficulties; however, the biological significance of understanding the mechanism of these interactions is outstanding. In this report, we provide mechanistic insight into the inhibitory complex formation of the lipid mediator sphingosylphosphorylcholine with calmodulin, the most central and ubiquitous regulator protein in calcium signaling. We applied crystallographic, thermodynamic, kinetic, and spectroscopic approaches using purified bovine calmodulin and bovine cerebral microsomal fraction to arrive at our conclusions. Here we present 1) a 1.6-? resolution crystal structure of their complex, in which the sphingolipid occupies the conventional hydrophobic binding site on calmodulin; 2) a peculiar stoichiometry-dependent binding process: at low or high protein-to-lipid ratio calmodulin binds lipid micelles or a few lipid molecules in a compact globular conformation, respectively, and 3) evidence that the sphingolipid displaces calmodulin from its targets on cerebral microsomes. We have ascertained the specificity of the interaction using structurally related lipids as controls. Our observations reveal the structural basis of selective calmodulin inhibition by the sphingolipid. On the basis of the crystallographic and biophysical characterization of the calmodulin-sphingosylphosphorylcholine interaction, we propose a novel lipid-protein binding model, which might be applicable to other interactions as well.
In contrast to the damaging effect of high-concentration chemical stressors, the same agents in very low (submicromolar) concentrations have a positive effect on the treated plants, which is non-specific (independent of the chemical nature of the agent). The direct responses depend on the treated organ. When leaves are treated, the effects include an increase in chlorophyll content, CO(2) fixation and delaying senescence of chloroplasts. When roots are treated, the direct effect is an increased cytokinin synthesis. This hormone, after being transported to the shoot, exerts secondary effects, which are similar to the primary ones in leaves. The signalization routes involved in the primary effects proved to be the phosphoinositide and MAPK pathways in any stimulated organ. In this mini-review we summarize our current knowledge about the effects of low-concentration stressors and their mechanism of action with the help of the four used model systems: detached non-rooting and rooting leaves, hydroponically treated and sprayed seedlings.
Numerous human genes display dual coding within alternatively spliced regions, which give rise to distinct protein products that include segments translated in more than one reading frame. To resolve the ensuing protein structural puzzle, we identified 67 human genes with alternative splice variants comprising a dual-coding region at least 75 nucleotides in length and analyzed the structural status of the protein segments they encode. The inspection of their amino acid composition and predictions by the IUPred and PONDR VSL2 algorithms suggest a high propensity for structural disorder in dual-coding regions. In the case of +1 frameshifts, the average level of disorder in the two frames is similarly high (47.2% in the ancestral frame, 58.2% in the derived frame, with the average level of disorder in human proteins being approximately 30%), whereas in the case of -1 frameshifts, there is a significant tendency to become more disordered upon shifting the frame (16.7% in the ancestral frame, 56.3% in the derived frame). The regions encoded by the derived frame are mostly disordered (disorder percentage > 50%) in 39 out of 62 cases, which strongly suggests that structural disorder enables these protein products to exist and function without the need of a highly evolved 3D fold. The potential advantages are also demonstrated by the appearance of novel functions and the high incidence of transcripts escaping nonsense-mediated decay. By discussing several examples, we demonstrate that dual coding may be an effective mechanism for the evolutionary appearance of novel intrinsically disordered regions with new functions.
Chloroplasts like mitochondria were derived from an endosymbiontic event. Due to the massive gene transfer to the nucleus during endosymbiosis, only a limited number of chloroplastic proteins are still encoded for in the plastid genome. Most of the nuclear-encoded plastidic proteins are post-translationally translocated back to the chloroplast via the general import pathway through distinct outer and inner envelope membrane protein complexes, the Toc and Tic translocons (Translocon at the outer/inner envelope membrane of chloroplasts). Eight Tic subunits have been described so far, including two potential channel proteins (Tic110 and Tic20), the "motor complex" (Tic40 associated with the stromal chaperone Hsp93) and the "redox regulon" (Tic62, Tic55, and Tic32) involved in regulation of protein import via the metabolic redox status of the chloroplast. Regulation can additionally occur via thioredoxins (Tic110 and Tic55) or via the calcium/calmodulin network (Tic110 and Tic32). In this review we present the current knowledge about the Tic complex focusing on its regulation and addressing some still open questions.
Previously we have identified the lipid mediator sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC) as the first potentially endogenous inhibitor of the ubiquitous Ca2+ sensor calmodulin (CaM) (Kovacs, E., and Liliom, K. (2008) Biochem. J. 410, 427-437). Here we give mechanistic insight into CaM inhibition by SPC, based on fluorescence stopped-flow studies with the model CaM-binding domain melittin. We demonstrate that both the peptide and SPC micelles bind to CaM in a rapid and reversible manner with comparable affinities. Furthermore, we present kinetic evidence that both species compete for the same target site on CaM, and thus SPC can be considered as a competitive inhibitor of CaM-target peptide interactions. We also show that SPC disrupts the complex of CaM and the CaM-binding domain of ryanodine receptor type 1, inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor type 1, and the plasma membrane Ca2+ pump. By interfering with these interactions, thus inhibiting the negative feedback that CaM has on Ca2+ signaling, we hypothesize that SPC could lead to Ca2+ mobilization in vivo. Hence, we suggest that the action of the sphingolipid on CaM might explain the previously recognized phenomenon that SPC liberates Ca2+ from intracellular stores. Moreover, we demonstrate that unlike traditional synthetic CaM inhibitors, SPC disrupts the complex between not only the Ca2+-saturated but also the apo form of the protein and the target peptide, suggesting a completely novel regulation for target proteins that constitutively bind CaM, such as ryanodine receptors.
Beneficial effects of low-concentration chemical stressors have been investigated previously in different model systems. The symptoms of stimulation are known from earlier studies, but information about the mechanism is at an initial stage. In the present work, the mechanism of stimulation of low-concentration Cd (5 x 10(-8)M) and 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea (DCMU, 10(-7)M) was investigated in barley seedlings. In treated plants, the amount of cytokinins increased in roots and, after being transported to the leaves, they caused stimulation there. To identify the signal transduction pathway(s) involved in the primary stimulation of cytokinin synthesis (and/or activation) in roots, specific phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate-inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate/diacylglycerol (PIP(2)-IP(3)/DAG) and mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway inhibitors were added to the nutrient solution, and all proved to be effective, eliminating the stimulation by the stressors. Measurements of superoxide dismutase (SOD, EC 18.104.22.168) activity and the amount of malonyldialdehyde (MDA) showed that the increased amount of Cd did not cause oxidative stress in the roots, and no oxidative stress was found in the leaves, where Cd did not even accumulate. DCMU slightly increased the activity of SOD after 1 week in roots, but did not cause lipid peroxidation. In leaves, there was no oxidative stress upon treatment with DCMU. Thus, oxidative stress cannot be responsible for the stimulation with low-concentration stressors, as they changed the activity of SOD differently, while being equally stimulative for the plants.
Five years ago (in September, 2003), the activity of the 5th Haemopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Centre of Hungary has begun. This centre has been registered as No 648. by the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation-Centres.
Beta(2)-microglobulin- (beta2m-) based fibril deposition is the key symptom in dialysis-related amyloidosis. beta2m readily forms amyloid fibrils in vitro at pH 2.5. However, it is not well understood which factors promote this process in vivo, because beta2m cannot polymerize at neutral pH without additives even at elevated concentration. Here we show that lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), an in vivo occurring lysophospholipid mediator, promotes amyloid formation under physiological conditions through a complex mechanism. In the presence of LPA, at and above its critical micelle concentration, native beta2m became sensitive to limited proteolytic digestion, indicating increased conformational flexibility. Isothermal titration calorimetry indicates that beta2m exhibits high affinity for LPA. Fluorescence and CD spectroscopy, as well as calorimetry, showed that LPA destabilizes the structure of monomeric beta2m inducing a partially unfolded form. This intermediate is capable of fibril extension in a nucleation-dependent manner. Our findings also indicate that the molecular organization of fibrils formed under physiological conditions differs from that of fibrils formed at pH 2.5. Fibrils grown in the presence of LPA depolymerize very slowly in the absence of LPA; moreover, LPA stabilizes the fibrils even below its critical micelle concentration. Neither the amyloidogenic nor the fibril-stabilizing effects of LPA were mimicked by its structural and functional lysophospholipid analogues, showing its selectivity. On the basis of our findings and the observed increase in blood LPA levels in dialysis patients, we suggest that the interaction of LPA with beta2m might contribute to the pathomechanism of dialysis-related amyloidosis.
Tic110 has been proposed to be a channel-forming protein at the inner envelope of chloroplasts whose function is essential for the import of proteins synthesized in the cytosol. Sequence features and topology determination experiments presently summarized suggest that Tic110 consists of six transmembrane helices. Its topology has been mapped by limited proteolysis experiments in combination with mass spectrometric determinations and cysteine modification analysis. Two hydrophobic transmembrane helices located in the N terminus serve as a signal for the localization of the protein to the membrane as shown previously. The other amphipathic transmembrane helices are located in the region composed of residues 92-959 in the pea sequence. This results in two regions in the intermembrane space localized to form supercomplexes with the TOC machinery and to receive the transit peptide of preproteins. A large region also resides in the stroma for interaction with proteins such as molecular chaperones. In addition to characterizing the topology of Tic110, we show that Ca(2+) has a dramatic effect on channel activity in vitro and that the protein has a redox-active disulfide with the potential to interact with stromal thioredoxin.
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