Extracellular vesicles are spherical bilayered proteolipids, harboring various bioactive molecules. Due to the complexity of the vesicular nomenclatures and components, online searches for extracellular vesicle-related publications and vesicular components are currently challenging.
Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins constitute an RNA-guided microbial defense system against invading foreign genetic materials. Cas2 is one of the core Cas proteins found universally in all the subtypes of CRISPR-Cas systems and is required for incorporating new spacers into CRISPR loci. Cas2 homologues from different CRISPR-Cas subtypes were characterized previously as metal-dependent nucleases with different substrate preferences, and it was proposed that a pH-dependent conformational change mediates metal binding and catalysis. Here, we report the crystal structures of Streptococcus pyogenes Cas2 at three different pHs (5.6, 6.5, and 7.5), as well as the results of its nuclease activity assay against double-stranded DNAs at varying pHs (6.0-9.0). Although S. pyogenes Cas2 exhibited strongly pH-dependent catalytic activity, there was no significant conformational difference among the three crystal structures. However, structural comparisons with other Cas2 homologues revealed structural variability and the flexible nature of its putative hinge regions, supporting the hypothesis that conformational switching is important for catalysis. Taken together, our results confirm that Cas2 proteins have pH-dependent nuclease activity against double-stranded DNAs, and provide indirect structural evidence for their conformational changes.
Mammalian cells, including cancer cells, secrete extracellular vesicles. These vesicles are nanosized, bilayered proteolipids with diameters of 50-1,000 nm. It has been suggested that cancer cell-derived extracellular vesicles play diverse roles in cancer progression, which involve invasion, immune modulation, neovascularization, and metastasis. Moreover, their serum levels are significantly elevated in cancer patients compared with normal controls. Recent high-throughput proteomic and transcriptomic studies of these complex extracellular organelles have accelerated the discovery of cancer-specific biomarkers and the development of novel diagnostic tools based on extracellular vesicles. Although many vesicle-associated biomarker candidates have been reported for various types of cancer, few have been validated for clinical use due to preanalytical, technical, temporal, and financial problems. Here, we discuss the potential of extracellular vesicles as sources of biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and monitoring, as well as the limitations and obstacles to adoption of extracellular vesicle-based diagnosis.
Secretion of extracellular vesicles is a general cellular activity that spans the range from simple unicellular organisms (e.g. archaea; Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria) to complex multicellular ones, suggesting that this extracellular vesicle-mediated communication is evolutionarily conserved. Extracellular vesicles are spherical bilayered proteolipids with a mean diameter of 20-1,000 nm, which are known to contain various bioactive molecules including proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids. Here, we present EVpedia, which is an integrated database of high-throughput datasets from prokaryotic and eukaryotic extracellular vesicles. EVpedia provides high-throughput datasets of vesicular components (proteins, mRNAs, miRNAs, and lipids) present on prokaryotic, non-mammalian eukaryotic, and mammalian extracellular vesicles. In addition, EVpedia also provides an array of tools, such as the search and browse of vesicular components, Gene Ontology enrichment analysis, network analysis of vesicular proteins and mRNAs, and a comparison of vesicular datasets by ortholog identification. Moreover, publications on extracellular vesicle studies are listed in the database. This free web-based database of EVpedia (http://evpedia.info) might serve as a fundamental repository to stimulate the advancement of extracellular vesicle studies and to elucidate the novel functions of these complex extracellular organelles.
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JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
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