The ubiquitin-proteasome system is targeted by many viruses that have evolved strategies to redirect host ubiquitination machinery. Members of the genus Chlorovirus are proposed to share an ancestral lineage with a broader group of related viruses, nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA viruses (NCLDV). Chloroviruses encode an Skp1 homolog and ankyrin repeat (ANK) proteins. Several chlorovirus-encoded ANK repeats contain C-terminal domains characteristic of cellular F-boxes or related NCLDV chordopox PRANC (pox protein repeats of ankyrin at C-terminal) domains. These observations suggested that this unique combination of Skp1 and ANK repeat proteins might form complexes analogous to the cellular Skp1-Cul1-F-box (SCF) ubiquitin ligase complex. We identified two ANK proteins from the prototypic chlorovirus Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus-1 (PBCV-1) that functioned as binding partners for the virus-encoded Skp1, proteins A682L and A607R. These ANK proteins had a C-terminal Skp1 interactional motif that functioned similarly to cellular F-box domains. A C-terminal motif of ANK protein A682L binds Skp1 proteins from widely divergent species. Yeast two-hybrid analyses using serial domain deletion constructs confirmed the C-terminal localization of the Skp1 interactional motif in PBCV-1 A682L. ANK protein A607R represents an ANK family with one member present in all 41 sequenced chloroviruses. A comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of these related ANK and viral Skp1 proteins suggested partnered function tailored to the host alga or common ancestral heritage. Here, we show protein-protein interaction between corresponding family clusters of virus-encoded ANK and Skp1 proteins from three chlorovirus types. Collectively, our results indicate that chloroviruses have evolved complementing Skp1 and ANK proteins that mimic cellular SCF-associated proteins.
Superoxide dismutases (SODs) are metalloproteins that protect organisms from toxic reactive oxygen species by catalyzing the conversion of superoxide anion to hydrogen peroxide and molecular oxygen. Chlorovirus PBCV-1 encodes a 187-amino-acid protein that resembles a Cu-Zn SOD with all of the conserved amino acid residues for binding copper and zinc (named cvSOD). cvSOD has an internal Met that results in a 165-amino-acid protein (named tcvSOD). Both cvSOD and tcvSOD recombinant proteins inhibited nitroblue tetrazolium reduction of superoxide anion generated in a xanthine-xanthine oxidase system in solution. tcvSOD was chosen for further characterization because it was easier to produce. Recombinant tcvSOD also inhibited a riboflavin photochemical reduction system in a polyacrylamide gel assay, which was blocked by the Cu-Zn SOD inhibitor cyanide but not by azide, which inhibits Fe and Mn SODs. A kcat/Km value for cvSOD was determined by stop-flow spectrophotometry as 1.28 × 10(8) M(-1) s(-1), suggesting that cvSOD-catalyzed O2 (-) dismutation was not a diffusion controlled encounter. The cvsod gene was expressed as a late gene, and cvSOD activity was detected in purified virions. Superoxide accumulated rapidly during virus infection, and circumstantial evidence indicates that cvSOD aids its decomposition to benefit virus replication. Cu-Zn SOD homologs have been described to occur in 3 other families of large DNA viruses, poxviruses, baculoviruses, and mimiviruses, which group as a clade. Interestingly, cvSOD does not group in the same clade as the other virus SODs but instead groups in an expanded clade that includes Cu-Zn SODs from many cellular organisms.
BackgroundCell walls are essential for most bacteria, archaea, fungi, algae and land plants to provide shape, structural integrity and protection from numerous biotic and abiotic environmental factors. In the case of eukaryotic algae, relatively little is known of the composition, structure or mechanisms of assembly of cell walls in individual species or between species and how these differences enable algae to inhabit a great diversity of environments. In this paper we describe the use of camelid antibody fragments (VHHs) and a streamlined ELISA assay as powerful new tools for obtaining mono-specific reagents for detecting individual algal cell wall components and for isolating algae that share a particular cell surface component.ResultsTo develop new microalgal bioprospecting tools to aid in the search of environmental samples for algae that share similar cell wall and cell surface components, we have produced single-chain camelid antibodies raised against cell surface components of the single-cell alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We have cloned the variable-region domains (VHHs) from the camelid heavy-chain-only antibodies and overproduced tagged versions of these monoclonal-like antibodies in E. coli. Using these VHHs, we have developed an accurate, facile, low cost ELISA that uses live cells as a source of antigens in their native conformation and that requires less than 90 minutes to perform. This ELISA technique was demonstrated to be as accurate as standard ELISAs that employ proteins from cell lysates and that generally require >24 hours to complete. Among the cloned VHHs, VHH B11, exhibited the highest affinity (EC50¿<¿1nM) for the C. reinhardtii cell surface. The live-cell ELISA procedure was employed to detect algae sharing cell surface components with C. reinhardtii in water samples from natural environments. In addition, mCherry-tagged VHH B11 was used along with fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS) to select individual axenic isolates of presumed wild relatives of C. reinhardtii and other Chlorphyceae from the same environmental samples.ConclusionsCamelid antibody VHH domains provide a highly specific tool for detection of individual cell wall components of algae and for allowing the selection of algae that share a particular cell surface molecule from diverse ecosystems.
We have produced three antitoxins consisting of the variable domains of camelid heavy chain-only antibodies (VH H) by expressing the genes in the chloroplast of green algae. These antitoxins accumulate as soluble proteins capable of binding and neutralizing botulinum neurotoxin. Furthermore, they accumulate at up to 5% total soluble protein, sufficient expression to easily produce these antitoxins at scale from algae. The genes for the three different antitoxins were transformed into Chlamydomonas reinhardtii chloroplasts and their products purified from algae lysates and assayed for in vitro biological activity using toxin protection assays. The produced antibody domains bind to botulinum neurotoxin serotype A (BoNT/A) with similar affinities as camelid antibodies produced in Escherichia coli, and they are similarly able to protect primary rat neurons from intoxication by BoNT/A. Furthermore, the camelid antibodies were produced in algae without the use of solubilization tags commonly employed in E. coli. These camelid antibody domains are potent antigen-binding proteins and the heterodimer fusion protein containing two VH H domains was capable of neutralizing BoNT/A at near equimolar concentrations with the toxin. Intact antibody domains were detected in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract of mice treated orally with antitoxin-producing microalgae. These findings support the use of orally delivered antitoxins produced in green algae as a novel treatment for botulism.
The effects of iron on the growth, lipid accumulation, and gene expression profiles of the limnetic Chlorella sorokiniana CCTCC M209220 under photoautotrophy were investigated. The addition of iron up to 10(-5) mol l(-l) increased final cell densities by nearly 2-fold at 2.3?×?10(7) cells/ml, growth rate by 2-fold, and the length of the exponential phase by 5 days as compared to unsupplemented controls while 10(-3) mol l(-1) iron was toxic. The lipid content increased from 12 % for unsupplemented cultures to 33 % at 10(-4) mol l(-1) iron while the highest overall lipid yield reached 179 mg l(-1). A genefishing and qPCR comparison between the C. sorokiniana at low and high iron levels indicated increases in the expression of several genes, including carbonic anhydrase involved in microalgal cell growth, as well as acc1 and choline transporter related to lipid synthesis. This study provides insights into changes in gene expression and metabolism that accompany iron supplementation to Chlorella as well as potential metabolic engineering targets for improving growth and lipid synthesis in microalgae.
While photosynthetic microalgae, such as Chlorella, serve as feedstocks for nutritional oils and biofuels, heterotrophic cultivation can augment growth rates, support high cell densities, and increase triacylglycerol (TAG) lipid content. However, these species differ significantly in their photoautotrophic and heterotrophic characteristics. In this study, the phylogeny of thirty Chlorella strains was determined in order to inform bioprospecting efforts and detailed physiological assessment of three species. The growth kinetics and lipid biochemistry of C. protothecoides UTEX 411, C. vulgaris UTEX 265, and C. sorokiniana UTEX 1230 were quantified during photoautotrophy in Bold's basal medium (BBM) and heterotrophy in BBM supplemented with glucose (10 g L-1). Heterotrophic growth rates of UTEX 411, 265, and 1230 were found to be 1.5-, 3.7-, and 5-fold higher than their respective autotrophic rates. With a rapid nine-hour heterotrophic doubling time, Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1230 maximally accumulated 39% total lipids by dry weight during heterotrophy compared to 18% autotrophically. Furthermore, the discrete fatty acid composition of each strain was examined in order to elucidate lipid accumulation patterns under the two trophic conditions. In both modes of growth, UTEX 411 and 265 produced 18:1 as the principal fatty acid while UTEX 1230 exhibited a 2.5-fold enrichment in 18:2 relative to 18:1. Although the total lipid content was highest in UTEX 411 during heterotrophy, UTEX 1230 demonstrated a two-fold increase in its heterotrophic TAG fraction at a rate of 28.9 mg L(-1) d(-1) to reach 22% of the biomass, corresponding to as much as 90% of its total lipids. Interestingly, UTEX 1230 growth was restricted during mixotrophy and its TAG production rate was suppressed to 18.2 mg L-1 d-1. This constraint on carbon flow raises intriguing questions about the impact of sugar and light on the metabolic regulation of microalgal lipid biosynthesis.
Triacylglycerol (TAG) analysis and quantification are commonly performed by first obtaining a purified TAG fraction from a total neutral lipid extract using thin-layer chromatography (TLC), and then analyzing the fatty acid composition of the purified TAG fraction by gas chromatography (GC). This process is time-consuming, labor intensive and is not suitable for analysis of small sample sizes or large numbers. A rapid and efficient method for monitoring oil accumulation in algae using high performance liquid chromatography for separation of all lipid classes combined with detection by evaporative light scattering (HPLC-ELSD) was developed and compared to the conventional TLC/GC method. TAG accumulation in two Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (21 gr and CC503) and three Chlorella strains (UTEX 1230, CS01 and UTEX 2229) grown under conditions of nitrogen depletion was measured. The TAG levels were found to be 3-6 % DW (Chlamydomonas strains) and 7-12 % DW (Chlorella strains) respectively by both HPLC-ELSD and TLC/GC methods. HPLC-ELSD resolved the major lipid classes such as carotenoids, TAG, diacylglycerol (DAG), free fatty acids, phospholipids, and galactolipids in a 15-min run. Quantitation of TAG content was based on comparison to calibration curves of trihexadecanoin (16:0 TAG) and trioctadecadienoin (18:2 TAG) and showed linearity from 0.2 to 10 ?g. Algal TAG levels >0.5 ?g/g DW were detectable by this method. Furthermore TAG content in Chlorella kessleri UTEX 2229 could be detected. TAG as well as DAG and TAG content were estimated at 1.6 % DW by HPLC-ELSD, while it was undetectable by TLC/GC method.
Chlorella sorokiniana CS-01, UTEX 1230 and UTEX 2714 were maintained in 10% anaerobic digester effluent (ADE) from cattle manure digestion and compared with algal cultivation in Bolds Basal Medium (BBM). Biomass of CS-01 and UTEX 1230 in ADE produced similar or greater than 280mg/L after 21days in BBM, however, UTEX 2714 growth in ADE was suppressed by more than 50% demonstrating a significant species bias to synthetic compared to organic waste-based media. The highest accumulation of protein and starch was exhibited in UTEX 1230 in ADE yielding 34% and 23% ash free dry weight (AFDW), respectively, though fatty acid methyl ester total lipid measured less than 12% AFDW. Results suggest that biomass from UTEX 1230 in ADE may serve as a candidate alga and growth system combination sustainable for animal feed production considering high yields of protein, starch and low lipid accumulation.
Single-domain antibodies (sdAbs) are powerful tools for the detection, quantification, purification and subcellular localization of proteins of interest in biological research. We have generated camelid (Lama pacos) heavy chain-only variable VH domain (VH H) libraries against antigens in total cell lysates from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The sdAbs in the sera from immunized animals and VH H antibody domains isolated from the library show specificity to C. reinhardtii and lack of reactivity to antigens from four other algae: Chlorella variabilis, Coccomyxa subellipsoidea, Nannochloropsis oceanica and Thalassiosira pseudonana. Antibodies were produced against a diverse representation of antigens as evidenced by sera ELISA and protein-blot analyses. A phage-display library consisting of the VH H region contained at least 10(6) individual transformants, and thus should represent a wide range of C. reinhardtii antigens. The utility of the phage library was demonstrated by using live C. reinhardtii cells to pan for VH H clones with specific recognition of cell-surface epitopes. The lead candidate VH H clones (designated B11 and H10) bound to C. reinhardtii with EC50 values ? 0.5 nm. Treatment of cells with VH H B11 fused to the mCherry or green fluorescent proteins allowed brilliant and specific staining of the C. reinhardtii cell wall and analysis of cell-wall genesis during cell division. Such high-complexity VH H antibody libraries for algae will be valuable tools for algal researchers and biotechnologists.
The extraordinary persistence of intoxication occurring after exposure to some Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) serotypes is both a therapeutic marvel and a biodefense nightmare. Understanding the mechanisms underlying BoNT persistence will offer new strategies for improving the efficacy and extending the applications of BoNT therapeutic agents as well as for treating the symptoms of botulism. Research indicates that the persistence of BoNT intoxication can be influenced both by the ability of the toxin protease or its cleaved soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) protein substrate to resist turnover. Protease turnover seems to be mediated in part by the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and efforts to manipulate the UPS may prove to be an effective strategy for improving therapeutic utility of BoNT products and in the development of botulism antidotes.
Fluorescent proteins (FPs) have become essential tools for a growing number of fields in biology. However, such tools have not been widely adopted for use in microalgal research. The aim of this study was to express and compare six FPs (blue mTagBFP, cyan mCerulean, green CrGFP, yellow Venus, orange tdTomato and red mCherry) in the popular model microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. To circumvent the transgene silencing that often occurs in C. reinhardtii, the FPs were expressed from the nuclear genome as transcriptional fusions with the sh-ble antibiotic resistance gene, with the foot and mouth disease virus 2A self-cleaving sequence placed between the coding sequences. All ble-2A-FPs tested are well-expressed and efficiently processed to yield mature, unfused FPs that localize throughout the cytoplasm. The fluorescence signals of each FP were detectable in whole cells by fluorescence microplate reader analysis, live-cell fluorescence microscopy, and flow cytometry. Furthermore, we report a comparative analysis of fluorescence levels relative to auto-fluorescence for the chosen FPs. Finally, we demonstrate that the ble-2A expression vector may be used to fluorescently label an endogenous protein (?-tubulin). We show that the mCerulean-?-tubulin fusion protein localizes to the cytoskeleton and flagella, as expected, and that cells containing this fusion protein had normal cellular function. Overall, our results indicate that, by use of the ble-2A nuclear expression construct, a wide array of FP tools and technologies may be applied to microalgal research, opening up many possibilities for microalgal biology and biotechnology.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) deliver a protease to neurons which can cause a flaccid paralysis called botulism. Development of botulism antidotes will require neuronal delivery of agents that inhibit or destroy the BoNT protease. Here, we investigated the potential of engineering Clostridium difficile toxin B (TcdB) as a neuronal delivery vehicle by testing two recombinant TcdB chimeras. For AGT-TcdB chimera, an alkyltransferase (AGT) was appended to the N-terminal glucosyltransferase (GT) of TcdB. Recombinant AGT-TcdB had alkyltransferase activity, and the chimera was nearly as toxic to Vero cells as wild-type TcdB, suggesting efficient cytosolic delivery of the AGT/GT fusion. For AGT-TcdB-BoNT/A-Hc, the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of TcdB was replaced by the equivalent RBD from BoNT/A (BoNT/A-Hc). AGT-TcdB-BoNT/A-Hc was >25-fold more toxic to neuronal cells and >25-fold less toxic to Vero cells than AGT-TcdB. Thus, TcdB can be engineered for cytosolic delivery of biomolecules and improved targeting of neuronal cells.
Nannochloropsis oculata CCMP 525, Dunaliella salina FACHB 435, and Chlorella sorokiniana CCTCC M209220 were compared in mixotrophic and photoautotrophic cultures in terms of growth rate, protein, and lipid content. Growth improved in glucose, and the biomass productivities of N. oculata, D. salina, and C. sorokiniana were found to be 1.4-, 2.2- and 4.2-fold that observed photoautotrophically. However, biomass and lipid production decreased at the highest glucose concentrations. Meanwhile, the content of protein and lipid were significantly augmented for mixotrophic conditions at least for some species. C. sorokiniana was found to be well suited for lipid production based on its high biomass production rate and lipid content reaching 51% during mixotrophy. Expression levels of accD (heteromeric acetyl-CoA carboxylase beta subunit), acc1 (homomeric acetyl-CoA carboxylase), rbcL (ribulose 1, 5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase large subunit) genes in C. sorokiniana were studied by real-time PCR. Increased expression levels of accD reflect the increased lipid content in stationary phase of mixotrophic growth, but expression of the acc1 gene remains low, suggesting that this gene may not be critical to lipid accumulation. Additionally, reduction of expression of the rbcL gene during mixotrophy indicated that utilization of glucose was found to reduce the role of this gene and photosynthesis.
Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT), a Category A biodefense agent, delivers a protease to motor neuron cytosol that cleaves one or more soluble NSF attachment protein receptors (SNARE) proteins involved in neurotransmission to cause a flaccid paralysis. No antidotes exist to reverse symptoms of BoNT intoxication so severely affected patients require artificial respiration with prolonged intensive care. Time to recovery depends on toxin serotype because the intraneuronal persistence of the seven known BoNT serotypes varies widely from days to many months. Our therapeutic antidote strategy is to develop targeted F-box (TFB) agents that target the different intraneuronal BoNT proteases for accelerated degradation by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS), thus promoting rapid recovery from all serotypes. These agents consist of a camelid heavy chain-only V(H) (VHH) domain specific for a BoNT protease fused to an F-box domain recognized by an intraneuronal E3-ligase. A fusion protein containing the 14 kDa anti-BoNT/A protease VHH, ALcB8, joined to a 15 kDa F-box domain region of TrCP (D5) was sufficient to cause increased ubiquitination and accelerate turnover of the targeted BoNT/A protease within neurons. Neuronal cells expressing this TFB, called D5-B8, were also substantially resistant to BoNT/A intoxication and recovered from intoxication at least 2.5 fold quicker than control neurons. Fusion of D5 to a VHH specific for BoNT/B protease (BLcB10) led to accelerated turnover of the targeted protease within neurons, thus demonstrating the modular nature of these therapeutic agents and suggesting that development of similar therapeutic agents specific to all botulinum serotypes should be readily achievable.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNT) are the most potent of all toxins that cause flaccid muscle paralysis leading to death. They are also potential biothreat agents. A systematic investigation of various short peptide inhibitors of the BoNT protease domain with a 17-residue peptide substrate led to arginine-arginine-glycine-cysteine having a basic tetrapeptide structure as the most potent inhibitor. When assayed in the presence of dithiothreitol (DTT), the inhibitory effect was drastically reduced. Replacing the terminal cysteine with one hydrophobic residue eliminated the DTT effect but with two hydrophobic residues made the pentapeptide a poor inhibitor. Replacing the first arginine with cysteine or adding an additional cysteine at the N terminus did not improve inhibition. When assessed using mouse brain lysates, the tetrapeptides also inhibited BoNT/A cleavage of the endogenous SNAP-25. The peptides penetrated the neuronal cell lines, N2A and BE(2)-M17, without adversely affecting metabolic functions as measured by ATP production and P-38 phosphorylation. Biological activity of the peptides persisted within cultured chick motor neurons and rat and mouse cerebellar neurons for more than 40 h and inhibited BoNT/A protease action inside the neurons in a dose- and time-dependent fashion. Our results define a tetrapeptide as the smallest peptide inhibitor in the backdrop of a large substrate protein of 200+ amino acids having multiple interaction regions with its cognate enzyme. The inhibitors should also be valuable candidates for drug development.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are the most potent natural toxins known. The effects of BoNT serotype A (BoNT/A) can last several months, whereas the effects of BoNT serotype E (BoNT/E), which shares the same synaptic target, synaptosomal-associated protein 25 (SNAP25), last only several weeks. The long-lasting effects or persistence of BoNT/A, although desirable for therapeutic applications, presents a challenge for medical treatment of BoNT intoxication. Although the mechanisms for BoNT toxicity are well known, little is known about the mechanisms that govern the persistence of the toxins. We show that the recombinant catalytic light chain (LC) of BoNT/E is ubiquitylated and rapidly degraded in cells. In contrast, BoNT/A LC is considerably more stable. Differential susceptibility of the catalytic LCs to ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis therefore might explain the differential persistence of BoNT serotypes. In this regard we show that TRAF2, a RING finger protein implicated in ubiquitylation, selectively associates with BoNT/E LC and promotes its proteasomal degradation. Given these data, we asked whether BoNT/A LC could be targeted for rapid proteasomal degradation by redirecting it to characterized ubiquitin ligase domains. We describe chimeric SNAP25-based ubiquitin ligases that target BoNT/A LC for degradation, reducing its duration in a cellular model for toxin persistence.
Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) function by delivering a protease to neuronal cells that cleave SNARE proteins and inactivate neurotransmitter exocytosis. Small (14 kDa) binding domains specific for the protease of BoNT serotypes A or B were selected from libraries of heavy chain only antibody domains (VHHs or nanobodies) cloned from immunized alpacas. Several VHHs bind the BoNT proteases with high affinity (K(D) near 1 nM) and include potent inhibitors of BoNT/A protease activity (K(i) near 1 nM). The VHHs retain their binding specificity and inhibitory functions when expressed within mammalian neuronal cells as intrabodies. A VHH inhibitor of BoNT/A protease was able to protect neuronal cell SNAP25 protein from cleavage following intoxication with BoNT/A holotoxin. These results demonstrate that VHH domains have potential as components of therapeutic agents for reversal of botulism intoxication.
Proteins produced by DNA recombinant technology have been playing important roles in modern medicine ever since the first such protein drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about three decades ago. However the inherent high cost of producing recombinant proteins, particularly those produced from mammalian cells, has hampered their broad application. Other protein expression systems that can reduce the cost yet still maintain the high-level therapeutic activities of the recombinant proteins are a top R&D priority. Eukaryotic unicellular green algae cells may provide a good solution to this long-standing challenge.
Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) are short amino acid sequences that promote their own translocation across cell plasma membrane. When linked with cargo such as polypeptides, nucleic acid, or liposomes, CPPs can facilitate the transport of these entities across the cell membrane. Therefore, CPPs are receiving increased interest in drug delivery and gene therapy. The majority of CPPs identified so far are polycationic peptides which interact with heparin sulfate chains of plasma membrane for internalization. Here, we report the identification and characterization of a conformationally constrained 13 amino acid peptide (CVQWSLLRGYQPC, designated as S41) which is clearly distinct from classical polycationic peptides. Immunofluorescence assay was employed to test the cellular uptake of S41 in mouse neuroblastoma cell line Neuro2A (N2A) and rat cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs). Internalization of S41 was further examined in N2A cells by means of mutational analysis, flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. Our results demonstrate that S41 can enter cells through lipid rafts dependent endocytosis.
Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) heavy chain (Hc) facilitates receptor-mediated endocytosis into neuronal cells and transport of the light chain (Lc) protease to the cytosol where neurotransmission is inhibited as a result of SNARE protein cleavage. Here we show that the role of BoNT Hc in cell intoxication can be replaced by commercial lipid-based and polycationic polymer DNA transfection reagents. BoNT "transduction" by these reagents permits efficient intoxication of neuronal cells as well as some non-neuronal cell lines normally refractory to BoNT. Surprisingly, the reagents facilitate delivery of recombinant BoNT Lc protease to the cytosol of both neuronal and non-neuronal cells in the absence of BoNT Hc, and with sensitivities approaching that of BoNT holotoxin. Transduction of BoNT, as with natural intoxication, is inhibited by bafilomycin A1, methylamine and ammonium chloride indicating that both pathways require endosome acidification. DNA transfection reagents facilitate intoxication by holotoxins, or isolated Lc proteases, of all three BoNT serotypes tested (A, B, E). These results suggest that lipid and cationic polymer transfection reagents facilitate cytosolic delivery of BoNT holotoxins and isolated Lc proteases by an endosomal uptake pathway.
The Sindbis viral expression system enables the rapid production of high levels of recombinant protein in mammalian cells; however, this expression is typically limited to transient production due to the cytotoxicity of the virus. Limiting the lethality inherent in the Sindbis virus vector in order to enable long term, sustained expression of recombinant proteins may be possible. In this study, modifications to virus and host have been combined in order to reduce the cytopathic effects. Non-cytopathic replication competent viruses of two Sindbis viral strains, TE and 633, were developed using a non-structural protein (nsP) P726S point mutation in order to obtain persistent heterologous gene expression in infected Baby Hamster Kidney (BHK) cells and Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. Cells infected with the P726S variant viruses were able to recover after infection, while cells infected with normal virus died within 3 days. The P726S mutation did not reduce the susceptibility of 5- and 14-day-old mice to 633 and TE viruses in vivo. In addition, animal survival with the P726S variant viruses was increased and GFP expression was sustained for at least 14 days while the 633 and TE infection resulted in short-term GFP expression or an earlier mortality. Modifications to the host BHK and CHO cells themselves were subsequently undertaken by including the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl-2 and a deletion mutant of Bcl-2 (Bcl-2Delta) as another method for limiting the cytopathic effects of the Sindbis virus. The inclusion of anti-apoptotic genes permitted higher production of heterologous GFP protein following Sindbis virus infection, and the combination of the TE-P726S virus and the CHO-Bcl-2Delta cell line showed the greatest improvement in cell survival. Sindbis virus infection also induced ER stress in mammalian cells as detected by increased PERK phosphorylation and ATF4 translation. Overexpression of Parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase that can protect cells against agents that induce ER stress, suppressed Sindbis virus-induced cell death in both BHK cells and in vivo studies in mice. Such findings show that viral and host modifications can improve cell survival and production of heterologous proteins, change viral behavior in vitro and in vivo, and assist in the development of new expression or gene delivery vehicles.
The development of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies has provided novel tools for genome analysis and expression profiling. A high throughput cDNA sequencing method using a bench top next-generation sequencing system, GS Junior, is now available. Here, we used an alternative protocol to the standard method for generating the cDNA library. This protocol can decrease the number of processing steps to manipulate RNA when constructing a cDNA library from an RNA sample, and does not require mRNA isolation from total RNA. Thus it can decrease the risk of RNA degradation and the cost for preparing a cDNA library. Also, the efficiency of sequencing data obtained with this approach is comparable to the standard method as verified by sequencing characteristics and expression levels of the reference gene glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH).
Botulinum neurotoxins are most potent of all toxins. Their N-terminal light chain domain (Lc) translocates into peripheral cholinergic neurons to exert its endoproteolytic action leading to muscle paralysis. Therapeutic development against these toxins is a major challenge due to their in vitro and in vivo structural differences. Although three-dimensional structures and reaction mechanisms are very similar, the seven serotypes designated A through G vastly vary in their intracellular catalytic stability. To investigate if protein phosphorylation could account for this difference, we employed Src-catalyzed tyrosine phosphorylation of the Lc of six serotypes namely LcA, LcB, LcC1, LcD, LcE, and LcG. Very little phosphorylation was observed with LcD and LcE but LcA, LcB, and LcG were maximally phosphorylated by Src. Phosphorylation of LcA, LcB, and LcG did not affect their secondary and tertiary structures and thermostability significantly. Phosphorylation of Y250 and Y251 made LcA resistant to autocatalysis and drastically reduced its k(cat)/K(m) for catalysis. A tyrosine residue present near the essential cysteine at the C-terminal tail of LcA, LcB, and LcG was readily phosphorylated in vitro. Inclusion of a competitive inhibitor protected Y426 of LcA from phosphorylation, shedding light on the role of the C-terminus in the enzymes substrate or product binding.
A novel green unicellular microalgal isolate from the freshwater of the Inner Mongolia Province of China and named as CCTCC M209220, grows between pH 6 and 11 and temperatures of 20-35°C with optimal conditions at pH 9 and 30°C. Morphological features and the phylogenetic analysis for the 18S rRNA gene reveal that the isolate is a Chlorella sorokiniana strain. A nitrogen source test reveals that this strain can grow well with nitrate and urea, but not ammonium. The strain can grow heterotrophically with glucose as the carbon source and accumulates lipid content as high as 56% (w/w) dry weight after 7 days in high glucose concentrations compared to 19% lipids achieved in 30 days of photoautotrophic culture. The relative neutral lipid content as a fraction of the total lipid is also much higher in heterotrophic culture as compared to photoautotrophic culture.
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