Bacteria from the Chloroflexi phylum are dominant members of phototrophic microbial mat communities in terrestrial thermal environments. Vitamins of B-group are key intermediates (precursors) in the biosynthesis of indispensable enzyme cofactors driving numerous metabolic processes in all forms of life. A genomics-based reconstruction and comparative analysis of respective biosynthetic and salvage pathways and riboswitch regulons in over 20 representative Chloroflexi genomes revealed a widespread auxotrophy for some of the vitamins. The most prominent predicted phenotypic signature, auxotrophy for vitamins B1 and B7 was experimentally confirmed for the best studied model organism Chloroflexus aurantiacus. These observations along with identified candidate genes for the respective uptake transporters pointed to B vitamin cross-feeding as an important aspect of syntrophic metabolism in microbial communities. Inferred specificities of homologous substrate-binding components of ABC transporters for vitamins B1 (ThiY) and B2 (RibY) were verified by thermofluorescent shift approach. A functional activity of the thiamine-specific transporter ThiXYZ from C. aurantiacus was experimentally verified by genetic complementation in E. coli. Expanding the integrative approach, which was applied here for a comprehensive analysis of B-vitamin metabolism in Chloroflexi would allow reconstruction of metabolic interdependencies in microbial communities.
Proximity-dependent biotin identification (BioID) is a method for identifying protein associations that occur in vivo. By fusing a promiscuous biotin ligase to a protein of interest expressed in living cells, BioID permits the labeling of proximate proteins during a defined labeling period. In this study we used BioID to study the human nuclear pore complex (NPC), one of the largest macromolecular assemblies in eukaryotes. Anchored within the nuclear envelope, NPCs mediate the nucleocytoplasmic trafficking of numerous cellular components. We applied BioID to constituents of the Nup107-160 complex and the Nup93 complex, two conserved NPC subcomplexes. A strikingly different set of NPC constituents was detected depending on the position of these BioID-fusion proteins within the NPC. By applying BioID to several constituents located throughout the extremely stable Nup107-160 subcomplex, we refined our understanding of this highly conserved subcomplex, in part by demonstrating a direct interaction of Nup43 with Nup85. Furthermore, by using the extremely stable Nup107-160 structure as a molecular ruler, we defined the practical labeling radius of BioID. These studies further our understanding of human NPC organization and demonstrate that BioID is a valuable tool for exploring the constituency and organization of large protein assemblies in living cells.
Enterotoxigenic anaerobic Bacteroides fragilis is a significant source of inflammatory diarrheal disease and a risk factor for colorectal cancer. Two distinct metalloproteinase types (the homologous 1, 2, and 3 isoforms of fragilysin (FRA1, FRA2, and FRA3, respectively) and metalloproteinase II (MPII)) are encoded by the B. fragilis pathogenicity island. FRA was demonstrated to be important to pathogenesis, whereas MPII, also a potential virulence protein, remained completely uncharacterized. Here, we, for the first time, extensively characterized MPII in comparison with FRA3, a representative of the FRA isoforms. We employed a series of multiplexed peptide cleavage assays to determine substrate specificity and proteolytic characteristics of MPII and FRA. These results enabled implementation of an efficient assay of MPII activity using a fluorescence-quenched peptide and contributed to structural evidence for the distinct substrate cleavage preferences of MPII and FRA. Our data imply that MPII specificity mimics the dibasic Arg?Arg cleavage motif of furin-like proprotein convertases, whereas the cleavage motif of FRA (Pro-X-X-Leu-(Arg/Ala/Leu)?) resembles that of human matrix metalloproteinases. To the best of our knowledge, MPII is the first zinc metalloproteinase with the dibasic cleavage preferences, suggesting a high level of versatility of metalloproteinase proteolysis. Based on these data, we now suggest that the combined (rather than individual) activity of MPII and FRA is required for the overall B. fragilis virulence in vivo.
Investigation of the nanoparticle protein corona, the shell of plasma proteins formed around nanoparticles immediately after they enter the bloodstream, is a benchmark in the study of the applications of nanoparticles in all fields of medicine, from pharmacology to toxicology. We report the first investigation of the protein corona adsorbed onto single-walled carbon nanotubes modified with 2 kDa molecular weight polyethylene glycol chains [PEG(2k)-modified SWCNTs or PEG2-SWCNTs] by using a large-scale gel-based proteomics method on biological replicates. More than 240 plasma proteins were selected, and their differences were analyzed among PEG2-SWCNTs differing in surface charge and PEG conformation. The protein corona of PEG2-SWCNTs showed that coagulation proteins, immunoglobulins, apolipoproteins, and proteins of the complement system were among the proteins bound by PEG2-SWCNTs and that their recruitment was independent from the isoelectric point, molecular weight, total hydrophobicity, and number of polyaromatic residues of the proteins. Statistical analysis on protein relative abundance revealed that PEG conformation had a higher influence on the PEG2-SWCNTs protein corona repertoire than nanotube surface charge. PEG conformation also affected the biological performance of PEG2-SWCNTs. A change in PEG conformation from mushroom to mushroom-brush transition affected the competitive adsorption of the major constituents of the protein corona of PEG2-SWCNTs and promoted shorter blood circulation time, faster renal excretion, and higher relative spleen versus liver uptake of PEG2-SWCNTs. Our data suggest that the protein corona, along with steric stabilization, may mediate the action of PEG conformation on the pharmacokinetic profile of PEG-modified SWCNTs.
The E3 ubiquitin ligase Siah regulates key cellular events that are central to cancer development and progression. A promising route to Siah inhibition is disrupting its interactions with adaptor proteins. However, typical of protein-protein interactions, traditional unbiased approaches to ligand discovery did not produce viable hits against this target, despite considerable effort and a multitude of approaches. Ultimately, a rational structure-based design strategy was successful for the identification of Siah inhibitors in which peptide binding drives specific covalent bond formation with the target. X-ray crystallography, mass spectrometry, and functional data demonstrate that these peptide mimetics are efficient covalent inhibitors of Siah and antagonize Siah-dependent regulation of Erk and Hif signaling in the cell. The proposed strategy may result useful as a general approach to the design of peptide-based inhibitors of other protein-protein interactions.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the causative agent of human tuberculosis (TB). Mycobacterial secretory protein ESAT-6 induces matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 in epithelial cells neighboring infected macrophages. MMP-9 then enhances recruitment of uninfected macrophages, which contribute to nascent granuloma maturation and bacterial growth. Disruption of MMP-9 function attenuates granuloma formation and bacterial growth. The abundant mycobacterial 65 kDa heat shock protein (HSP65) chaperone is the major target for the immune response and a critical component in M. tuberculosis adhesion to macrophages. We hypothesized that HSP65 is susceptible to MMP-9 proteolysis and that the resulting HSP65 immunogenic peptides affect host adaptive immunity. To identify MMPs that cleave HSP65, we used MMP-2 and MMP-9 gelatinases, the simple hemopexin domain MMP-8, membrane-associated MMP-14, MMP-15, MMP-16 and MMP-24, and glycosylphosphatidylinositol-linked MMP-17 and MMP-25. We determined both the relative cleavage efficiency of MMPs against the HSP65 substrate and the peptide sequence of the cleavage sites. Cleavage of the unstructured PAGHG474L C-terminal region initiates the degradation of HSP65 by MMPs. This initial cleavage destroys the substrate-binding capacity of the HSP65 chaperone. Multiple additional cleavages of the unfolded HSP65 then follow. MMP-2, MMP-8, MMP-14, MMP-15 and MMP-16, in addition to MMP-9, generate the known highly immunogenic N-terminal peptide of HSP65. Based on our biochemical data, we now suspect that MMP proteolysis of HSP65 in vivo, including MMP-9 proteolysis, also results in the abundant generation of the N-terminal immunogenic peptide and that this peptide, in addition to intact HSP65, contributes to the complex immunomodulatory interplay in the course of TB infection.
The protein kinase B(?) (Akt2) pathway is known to mediate insulin-stimulated glucose transport through increasing glucose transporter GLUT4 translocation from intracellular stores to the plasma membrane (PM). Combining quantitative phosphoproteomics with RNAi-based functional analyses, we show that a previously uncharacterized 138 kDa C2 domain-containing phosphoprotein (CDP138) is a substrate for Akt2, and is required for optimal insulin-stimulated glucose transport, GLUT4 translocation, and fusion of GLUT4 vesicles with the PM in live adipocytes. The purified C2 domain is capable of binding Ca(2+) and lipid membranes. CDP138 mutants lacking the Ca(2+)-binding sites in the C2 domain or Akt2 phosphorylation site S197 inhibit insulin-stimulated GLUT4 insertion into the PM, a rate-limiting step of GLUT4 translocation. Interestingly, CDP138 is dynamically associated with the PM and GLUT4-containing vesicles in response to insulin stimulation. Together, these results suggest that CDP138 is a key molecule linking the Akt2 pathway to the regulation of GLUT4 vesicle-PM fusion.
Covalent modification of proteins with ubiquitin (Ub) is widely implicated in the control of protein function and fate. Over 100 deubiquitylating enzymes rapidly reverse this modification, posing challenges to the biochemical and biophysical characterization of ubiquitylated proteins. We circumvented this limitation with a synthetic biology approach of reconstructing the entire eukaryotic Ub cascade in bacteria. Co-expression of affinity-tagged substrates and Ub with E1, E2 and E3 enzymes allows efficient purification of ubiquitylated proteins in milligram quantity. Contrary to in-vitro assays that lead to spurious modification of several lysine residues of Rpn10 (regulatory proteasomal non-ATPase subunit), the reconstituted system faithfully recapitulates its monoubiquitylation on lysine 84 that is observed in vivo. Mass spectrometry revealed the ubiquitylation sites on the Mind bomb E3 ligase and the Ub receptors Rpn10 and Vps9. Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) analyses of ubiquitylated Vps9 purified from bacteria revealed that although ubiquitylation occurs on the Vps9-GEF domain, it does not affect the guanine nucleotide exchanging factor (GEF) activity in vitro. Finally, we demonstrated that ubiquitylated Vps9 assumes a closed structure, which blocks additional Ub binding. Characterization of several ubiquitylated proteins demonstrated the integrity, specificity and fidelity of the system, and revealed new biological findings.
Nanotechnology-introduced materials have promising applications as nanocarriers for drugs, peptides, proteins and nucleic acids. Several studies showed that the geometry (shape and size) and chemical properties of nanoparticles affect the kinetics and pathways of cellular uptake and their intracellular trafficking and signaling. Accurate physico-chemical characterization of nanoparticles customarily precedes their use in cell biology and in vivo experiments. However, a fact that is easily overlooked is that nanomaterials decorated with organic matter or resuspended in aqueous buffers can be theoretically contaminated by fungal and bacterial microorganisms. While investigating the effects of extensively characterized PEGylated carbon nanotubes (PNTs) on T lymphocyte activation, we demonstrated bacterial contamination of PNTs, which correlated with low reproducibility and artifacts in cell signaling assays. Contamination and artifacts were easily eliminated by preparing the materials in sterile conditions. We propose that simple sterile preparation procedures should be adopted and sterility evaluation of nanoparticles should be customarily performed, prior to assessing nanoparticle intracellular internalization, trafficking and their effects on cells and entire organisms.
The functional activity of invasion-promoting membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP) is elevated in cancer. This elevated activity promotes cancer cell migration, invasion, and metastasis. MT1-MMP is synthesized as a zymogen, the latency of which is maintained by its prodomain. Excision by furin was considered sufficient for the prodomain release and MT1-MMP activation. We determined, however, that the full-length intact prodomain released by furin alone is a potent autoinhibitor of MT1-MMP. Additional MMP cleavages within the prodomain sequence are required to release the MT1-MMP enzyme activity. Using mutagenesis of the prodomain sequence and mass spectrometry analysis of the prodomain fragments, we demonstrated that the intradomain cleavage of the PGD/L(50) site initiates the MT1-MMP activation, whereas the (108)RRKR(111)/Y(112) cleavage by furin completes the removal and the degradation of the autoinhibitory prodomain and the liberation of the functional activity of the emerging enzyme of MT1-MMP.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system with autoimmune etiology. Susceptibility to MS is linked to viral and bacterial infections. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play a significant role in the fragmentation of myelin basic protein (MBP) and demyelination. The splice variants of the single MBP gene are expressed in the oligodendrocytes of the central nervous system (classic MBP) and in the immune cells (Golli-MBPs). Our data suggest that persistent inflammation caused by environmental risk factors is a step to MS. We have discovered biochemical evidence suggesting the presence of the inflammatory proteolytic pathway leading to MS. The pathway involves the self-activated furin and PC2 proprotein convertases and membrane type-6 MMP (MT6-MMP/MMP-25) that is activated by furin/PC2. These events are followed by MMP-25 proteolysis of the Golli-MBP isoforms in the immune system cells and stimulation of the specific autoimmune T cell clones. It is likely that the passage of these autoimmune T cell clones through the disrupted blood-brain barrier to the brain and the recognition of neuronal, classic MBP causes inflammation leading to the further up-regulation of the activity of the multiple individual MMPs, the massive cleavage of MBP in the brain, demyelination, and MS. In addition to the cleavage of Golli-MBPs, MMP-25 proteolysis readily inactivates crystallin alphaB that is a suppressor of MS. These data suggest that MMP-25 plays an important role in MS pathology and that MMP-25, especially because of its restricted cell/tissue expression pattern and cell surface/lipid raft localization, is a promising drug target in MS.
We describe a detailed and widely applicable method for comprehensive proteomic profiling of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe by 2-dimensional high performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry that demonstrates high sensitivity and robust operation. Steps ranging from the preparation of total proteins, digestion of proteins to peptides, and separation of peptides by two-dimensional (1. strong cation exchange and 2. reversed-phase) high performance liquid chromatography followed by tandem mass spectrometry and data processing have been optimized for our instrumentation platform. Using this technology, we identify ca. 3400 proteins per sample and have identified an estimated 4600 proteins in vegetative cells (equal to ca. 90% of the predicted S. pombe proteome) at a false discovery rate of 0.02. Considering the fact that approximately 500 genes are strongly induced during sexual differentiation, and sexual differentiation was not included in our experiments, the proteomic profiling technique affords what should be virtually complete coverage of the vegetative S. pombe proteome. In addition, these methods are widely applicable, having been used for proteomic profiling of several other organisms.
Before furin can act on protein substrates, it must go through an ordered process of activation. Similar to many other proteinases, furin is synthesized as a zymogen (profurin) which becomes active only after the autocatalytic removal of its auto-inhibitory prodomain. We hypothesized that to activate profurin its prodomain had to be removed and, in addition, the emerging enzymes N-terminus had to be ejected from the catalytic cleft.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play a significant role in the fragmentation of myelin basic protein (MBP) and demyelination leading to autoimmune multiple sclerosis (MS) and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The classic MBP isoforms are predominantly expressed in the oligodendrocytes of the CNS. The splice variants of the single MBP gene (Golli-MBP BG21 and J37) are widely expressed in the neurons and also in the immune cells. The relative contribution of the individual MMPs to the MBP cleavage is not known.
Trophinin is an intrinsic membrane protein that forms a complex in the cytoplasm with bystin and tastin, linking it microtubule-associated motor dynein (ATPase) in some cell types. Previously, we found that human sperm tails contain trophinin, bystin and tastin proteins, and that trophinin-binding GWRQ (glycine, tryptophan, arginine, glutamine) peptide enhanced motility of human sperm.
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