The halophile environment has a number of compelling aspects with regard to the origin of structured polypeptides (i.e., proteogenesis) and, instead of a curious niche that living systems adapted into, the halophile environment is emerging as a candidate "cradle" for proteogenesis. In this viewpoint, a subsequent halophile-to-mesophile transition was a key step in early evolution. Several lines of evidence indicate that aromatic amino acids were a late addition to the codon table and not part of the original "prebiotic" set comprising the earliest polypeptides. We test the hypothesis that the availability of aromatic amino acids could facilitate a halophile-to-mesophile transition by hydrophobic core-packing enhancement. The effects of aromatic amino acid substitutions were evaluated in the core of a "primitive" designed protein enriched for the 10 prebiotic amino acids (A,D,E,G,I,L,P,S,T,V)-having an exclusively prebiotic core and requiring halophilic conditions for folding. The results indicate that a single aromatic amino acid substitution is capable of eliminating the requirement of halophile conditions for folding of a "primitive" polypeptide. Thus, the availability of aromatic amino acids could have facilitated a critical halophile-to-mesophile protein folding adaptation-identifying a selective advantage for the incorporation of aromatic amino acids into the codon table.
Top-down symmetric deconstruction (TDSD) is a joint experimental and computational approach to generate a highly stable, functionally benign protein scaffold for intended application in subsequent functional design studies. By focusing on symmetric protein folds, TDSD can leverage the dramatic reduction in sequence space achieved by applying a primary structure symmetric constraint to the design process. Fundamentally, TDSD is an iterative symmetrization process, in which the goal is to maintain or improve properties of thermodynamic stability and folding cooperativity inherent to a starting sequence (the "proxy"). As such, TDSD does not attempt to solve the inverse protein folding problem directly, which is computationally intractable. The present chapter will take the reader through all of the primary steps of TDSD-selecting a proxy, identifying potential mutations, establishing a stability/folding cooperativity screen-relying heavily on a successful TDSD solution for the common ?-trefoil fold.
Models of symmetric protein evolution typically invoke gene duplication and fusion events, in which repetition of a structural motif generates foldable, stable symmetric protein architecture. Success of such evolutionary processes suggests that the duplicated structural motif must be capable of nucleating protein folding. If correct, symmetric expansion of a folding nucleus sequence derived from an extant symmetric fold may be an elegant and computationally tractable solution to de novo protein design. We report the efficient de novo design of a ?-trefoil protein by symmetric expansion of a ?-trefoil folding nucleus, previously identified by ?-value analysis. The resulting protein, having exact sequence symmetry, exhibits superior folding properties compared to its naturally evolved progenitor-with the potential for redundant folding nuclei. In principle, folding nucleus symmetric expansion can be applied to any given symmetric protein fold (that is, nearly one-third of the known proteome) provided information of the folding nucleus is available.
Alkaline phosphatase (AP) from the moderate halophilic bacterium Halomonas sp. 593 (HaAP) catalyzes the hydrolysis of phosphomonoesters over a wide salt-concentration range (1-4?M NaCl). In order to clarify the structural basis of its halophilic characteristics and its wide-range adaptation to salt concentration, the tertiary structure of HaAP was determined by X-ray crystallography to 2.1?Å resolution. The unit cell of HaAP contained one dimer unit corresponding to the biological unit. The monomer structure of HaAP contains a domain comprised of an 11-stranded ?-sheet core with 19 surrounding ?-helices similar to those of APs from other species, and a unique `crown' domain containing an extended `arm' structure that participates in formation of a hydrophobic cluster at the entrance to the substrate-binding site. The HaAP structure also displays a unique distribution of negatively charged residues and hydrophobic residues in comparison to other known AP structures. AP from Vibrio sp. G15-21 (VAP; a slight halophile) has the highest similarity in sequence (70.0% identity) and structure (C(?) r.m.s.d. of 0.82?Å for the monomer) to HaAP. The surface of the HaAP dimer is substantially more acidic than that of the VAP dimer (144 exposed Asp/Glu residues versus 114, respectively), and thus may enable the solubility of HaAP under high-salt conditions. Conversely, the monomer unit of HaAP formed a substantially larger hydrophobic interior comprising 329 C atoms from completely buried residues, whereas that of VAP comprised 264 C atoms, which may maintain the stability of HaAP under low-salt conditions. These characteristics of HaAP may be responsible for its unique functional adaptation permitting activity over a wide range of salt concentrations.
Human kallikrein 5 (KLK5) and 7 (KLK7) are potential targets for the treatment of skin inflammation and cancer. Previously, we identified isomannide derivatives as potent and competitive KLK7 inhibitors. The introduction of N-protected amino acids into the isomannide-based scaffold was studied. Some KLK5 inhibitors with submicromolar affinity (K i values of 0.3-0.7 ?M) were identified, and they were 6- to 13-fold more potent than our previous hits. Enzyme kinetics studies and the determination of the mechanism of inhibition confirmed that the new isomannide-based derivatives are competitive inhibitors of both KLK5 and KLK7. Molecular docking and MD simulations of selected inhibitors into the KLK5 binding site provide insight into the molecular mechanism by which these compounds interact with the enzyme. The promising results obtained in this study open new prospects on the design and synthesis of highly specific KLK5 and KLK7 inhibitors.
Abstract Background: Establishment of a traumatic brain injury (TBI)-sensitive biomarker or identification of a key therapeutic agent would significantly improve clinicians efforts to diagnose and treat TBI, thereby promoting improved outcomes for patients. Numerous studies support the role of kallikrein-6 (Klk6) as a critical component of neuroinflammation and demyelination. This study assesses whether Klk6 is implicated in the secondary mechanisms of TBI and subsequently if serum levels of Klk6 are useable as a biomarker. Methods: The abundance of Klk6 following controlled cortical impact (CCI) of the medial prefrontal cortex to a depth of either 3.0?mm (severe) or 1.5?mm (moderate) was quantified. Uninjured and rats subjected to craniotomy-only were used as controls. Protein levels were quantified with Western-blotting, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunohistochemistry. Results: Severe and moderate CCI resulted in significant elevation of Klk6 in the contusion-core (?12-fold-increase, p?0.0001) and serum (?5-fold-increase, p?0.01) compared to controls. In all cases, Klk6 elevation was resolved within 72 hours. Conclusion: Serum levels of Klk6 are a statistically significant indicator of TBI 24 hours after CCI and thus may be of great utility to clinicians as a biomarker. These data strongly implicate Klk6 as a player in the neuroinflammation processes following CCI, although the specific mechanisms remain to be characterized.
Kallikreins (KLKs) are a family of 15 secreted serine proteases with emerging roles in neurologic diseases. To illuminate their contributions to the pathophysiology of spinal cord injury (SCI), we evaluated acute through chronic changes in the immunohistochemical appearance of 6 KLKs (KLK1, KLK5, KLK6, KLK7, KLK8, and KLK9) in postmortem human traumatic SCI cases, quantified their RNA expression levels in experimental murine SCI, and assessed the impact of recombinant forms of each enzyme toward murine cortical neurons in vitro. Temporally and spatially distinct changes in KLK expression were observed with partially overlapping patterns between human and murine SCI, including peak elevations (or reductions) during the acute and subacute periods. Kallikrein 9 showed the most marked changes and remained chronically elevated. Importantly, a subset of KLKs (KLK1, KLK5, KLK6, KLK7, and KLK9) were neurotoxic toward primary neurons in vitro. Kallikrein immunoreactivity was also observed in association with swollen axons and retraction bulbs in the human SCI cases examined. Together, these findings demonstrate that elevated levels of a significant subset of KLKs are positioned to contribute to neurodegenerative changes in cases of CNS trauma and disease and, therefore, represent new potential targets for the development of neuroprotective strategies.
The 15 human kallikrein-related peptidases (KLKs) are clinically important biomarkers and therapeutic targets of interest in inflammation, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease. KLKs are secreted as inactive pro-forms (pro-KLKs) that are activated extracellularly by specific proteolytic release of their amino-terminal pro-peptide, and this is a key step in their functional regulation. Physiologically relevant KLK regulatory cascades of activation have been described in skin desquamation and semen liquefaction, and work by a large number of investigators has elucidated pairwise and autolytic activation relationships among the KLKs with the potential for more extensive activation cascades. More recent work has asked whether functional intersection of KLKs with other types of regulatory proteases exists. Such studies show a capacity for members of the thrombostasis axis to act as broad activators of pro-KLKs. In the present report, we ask whether such functional intersection is possible between the KLKs and the members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family by evaluating the ability of the MMPs to activate pro-KLKs. The results identify MMP-20 as a broad activator of pro-KLKs, suggesting the potential for intersection of the KLK and MMP axes under pathological dysregulation of MMP-20 expression.
Protein 3° structure symmetry is a defining feature of nearly one-third of protein folds and is generally thought to result from a combination of gene duplication, fusion, and truncation events. Such events represent major replication errors, involving substantial alteration of protein 3° structure and causing regions of exact repeating 1° structure, both of which are generally considered deleterious to protein folding. Thus, the prevalence of symmetric protein folds is counterintuitive and suggests a specific, yet unexplained, robustness. Using a designed ?-trefoil protein, we show that purely symmetric 1° structure enables utilization of alternative definitions of the critical folding nucleus in response to gross structural rearrangement. Thus, major replication errors producing 1° structure symmetry can conserve foldability. The results provide an explanation for the prevalence of symmetric protein folds and highlight a critical role for 1° structure symmetry in protein evolution.
Symfoil-4P is a de novo protein exhibiting the threefold symmetrical ?-trefoil fold designed based on the human acidic fibroblast growth factor. First three asparagine-glycine sequences of Symfoil-4P are replaced with glutamine-glycine (Symfoil-QG) or serine-glycine (Symfoil-SG) sequences protecting from deamidation, and His-Symfoil-II was prepared by introducing a protease digestion site into Symfoil-QG so that Symfoil-II has three complete repeats after removal of the N-terminal histidine tag. The Symfoil-QG and SG and His-Symfoil-II proteins were expressed in Eschericha coli as soluble protein, and purified by nickel affinity chromatography. Symfoil-II was further purified by anion-exchange chromatography after removing the HisTag by proteolysis. Both Symfoil-QG and Symfoil-II were crystallized in 0.1 M Tris-HCl buffer (pH 7.0) containing 1.8 M ammonium sulfate as precipitant at 293 K; several crystal forms were observed for Symfoil-QG and II. The maximum diffraction of Symfoil-QG and II crystals were 1.5 and 1.1 Å resolution, respectively. The Symfoil-II without histidine tag diffracted better than Symfoil-QG with N-terminal histidine tag. Although the crystal packing of Symfoil-II is slightly different from Symfoil-QG and other crystals of Symfoil derivatives having the N-terminal histidine tag, the refined crystal structure of Symfoil-II showed pseudo-threefold symmetry as expected from other Symfoils. Since the removal of the unstructured N-terminal histidine tag did not affect the threefold structure of Symfoil, the improvement of diffraction quality of Symfoil-II may be caused by molecular characteristics of Symfoil-II such as molecular stability.
CNS trauma generates a proteolytic imbalance contributing to secondary injury, including axonopathy and neuron degeneration. Kallikrein 6 (Klk6) is a serine protease implicated in neurodegeneration, and here we investigate the role of protease-activated receptors 1 (PAR1) and PAR2 in mediating these effects. First, we demonstrate Klk6 and the prototypical activator of PAR1, thrombin, as well as PAR1 and PAR2, are each elevated in murine experimental traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) at acute or subacute time points. Recombinant Klk6 triggered extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2) signaling in cerebellar granule neurons and in the NSC34 spinal cord motoneuron cell line, in a phosphoinositide 3-kinae and MEK-dependent fashion. Importantly, lipopeptide inhibitors of PAR1 or PAR2, and PAR1 genetic deletion, each reduced Klk6-ERK1/2 activation. In addition, Klk6 and thrombin promoted degeneration of cerebellar neurons and exacerbated glutamate neurotoxicity. Moreover, genetic deletion of PAR1 blocked thrombin-mediated cerebellar neurotoxicity and reduced the neurotoxic effects of Klk6. Klk6 also increased glutamate-mediated Bim signaling, poly-ADP-ribose polymerase cleavage and lactate dehydrogenase release in NSC34 motoneurons and these effects were blocked by PAR1 and PAR2 lipopeptide inhibitors. Taken together, these data point to a novel Klk6-signaling axis in CNS neurons that is mediated by PAR1 and PAR2 and is positioned to contribute to neurodegeneration.
Human tissue kallikreins (KLKs) are a group of serine proteases found in many tissues and biological fluids and are differentially expressed in several specific pathologies. Here, we present evidences of the ability of these enzymes to activate plasminogen. Kallikreins 3 and 5 were able to induce plasmin activity after hydrolyzing plasminogen, and we also verified that plasminogen activation was potentiated in the presence of glycosaminoglycans compared with plasminogen activation by tPA. This finding can shed new light on the plasminogen/plasmin system and its involvement in tumor metastasis, in which kallikreins appear to be upregulated.
A compendium of different types of abiotic chemical syntheses identifies a consensus set of 10 "prebiotic" ?-amino acids. Before the emergence of biosynthetic pathways, this set is the most plausible resource for protein formation (i.e., proteogenesis) within the overall process of abiogenesis. An essential unsolved question regarding this prebiotic set is whether it defines a "foldable set"--that is, does it contain sufficient chemical information to permit cooperatively folding polypeptides? If so, what (if any) characteristic properties might such polypeptides exhibit? To investigate these questions, two "primitive" versions of an extant protein fold (the ?-trefoil) were produced by top-down symmetric deconstruction, resulting in a reduced alphabet size of 12 or 13 amino acids and a percentage of prebiotic amino acids approaching 80%. These proteins show a substantial acidification of pI and require high salt concentrations for cooperative folding. The results suggest that the prebiotic amino acids do comprise a foldable set within the halophile environment.
Kallikreins have prognostic value in specific malignancies, but few studies have addressed their clinical significance to glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Kallikrein 6 (KLK6) is of potential high relevance to GBM, since it is upregulated at sites of CNS pathology and linked to reactive astrogliosis. Here we examine the clinical value of KLK6 as a prognostic indicator of GBM patient survival and its activity in promoting resistance to cytotoxic agents.
Cutaneous malignant melanoma is an aggressive disease of poor prognosis. Clinical and experimental studies have provided major insight into the pathogenesis of the disease, including the functional interaction between melanoma cells and surrounding keratinocytes, fibroblasts, and immune cells. Nevertheless, patients with metastasized melanoma have a very poor prognosis and are largely refractory to clinical therapies. Hence, diagnostic tools to monitor melanoma development, as well as therapeutic targets, are urgently needed. We investigated the expression pattern of the kallikrein-related peptidase 6 (KLK6) in human melanoma tissue sections throughout tumor development. Although KLK6 was not detectable in tumor cells, we found strong KLK6 protein expression in keratinocytes and stromal cells located adjacent to benign nevi, primary melanomas, and cutaneous metastatic lesions, suggesting a paracrine function of extracellular KLK6 during neoplastic transformation and malignant progression. Accordingly, recombinant Klk6 protein significantly induced melanoma cell migration and invasion accompanied by an accelerated intracellular Ca(2+) flux. We could further demonstrate that KLK6-induced intracellular Ca(2+) flux and tumor cell invasion critically depends on the protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR1). Our data provide experimental evidence that specific inhibition of the KLK6-PAR1 axis may interfere with the deleterious effect of tumor-microenvironment interaction and represent a potential option for translational melanoma research.
Human kallikrein 5 and 7 (KLK5 and KLK7) are trypsin-like and chymotrypsin-like serine proteases, respectively, and promising targets for the treatment of skin desquamation, inflammation and cancer. In an effort to develop new inhibitors for these enzymes, we carried out enzymatic inhibition assays and docking studies with three isocoumarin compounds. Some promising inhibitors were uncovered, with vioxanthin and 8,8-paepalantine being the most potent competitive inhibitors of KLK5 (K(i)=22.9 ?M) and KLK7 (K(i)=12.2 ?M), respectively. Our docking studies showed a good correlation with the experimental results, and revealed a distinct binding mode for the inhibitors at the binding sites of KLK5 and KLK7. In addition, the docking results suggested that the formation of hydrogen bonds at the oxyanion hole is essential for a good inhibitor.
KLK13 is a kallikrein-related peptidase preferentially expressed in tonsils, esophagus, testis, salivary glands and cervix. We report the activation of KLK13 by kosmotropic salts and glycosaminoglycans and its substrate specificity by employing a series of five substrates derived from the fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) peptide Abz-KLRSSKQ-EDDnp. KLK13 hydrolyzed all these peptides only at basic residues with highest efficiency for R; furthermore, the S(3) to S(2) subsites accepted most of the natural amino acids with preference also for basic residues. Using a support-bound FRET peptide library eight peptide substrates were identified containing sequences of proteins found in testis and one with myelin basic protein sequence, each of which was well hydrolyzed by KLK13. Histatins are salivary peptides present in higher primates with broad antifungal and mucosal healing activities that are generated from the hydrolysis from large precursor peptides. KLK13 efficiently hydrolyzed synthetic histatin 3 exclusively at R(25) (DSHAKRHHGYKRKFHEKHHSHRGYR(25)?SNYLYDN) that is the first cleavage observed inside the salivary gland. In conclusion, the observed hydrolytic activities of KLK13 and its co-localization with its activators, glycosaminoglycans in the salivary gland and high concentration of sodium citrate in male reproductive tissues, indicates that KLK13 may play a role in the defense of the upper digestive apparatus and in male reproductive organs.
Kallikrein 6 (KLK6) is a newly identified member of the kallikrein family of secreted serine proteases that prior studies indicate is elevated at sites of central nervous system (CNS) inflammation and which shows regulated expression with T cell activation. Notably, KLK6 is also elevated in the serum of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients however its potential roles in immune function are unknown. Herein we specifically examine whether KLK6 alters immune cell survival and the possible mechanism by which this may occur.
Fibroblast growth factor-1, a member of the 3-fold symmetric ?-trefoil fold, was subjected to a series of symmetric constraint mutations in a process termed "top-down symmetric deconstruction." The mutations enforced a cumulative exact 3-fold symmetry upon symmetrically equivalent positions within the protein and were combined with a stability screen. This process culminated in a ?-trefoil protein with exact 3-fold primary-structure symmetry that exhibited excellent folding and stability properties. Subsequent fragmentation of the repeating primary-structure motif yielded a 42-residue polypeptide capable of spontaneous assembly as a homotrimer, producing a thermostable ?-trefoil architecture. The results show that despite pronounced reduction in sequence complexity, pure symmetry in the design of a foldable, thermostable ?-trefoil fold is possible. The top-down symmetric deconstruction approach provides a novel alternative means to successfully identify a useful polypeptide "building block" for subsequent "bottom-up" de novo design of target protein architecture.
The majority of protein architectures exhibit elements of structural symmetry, and "gene duplication and fusion" is the evolutionary mechanism generally hypothesized to be responsible for their emergence from simple peptide motifs. Despite the central importance of the gene duplication and fusion hypothesis, experimental support for a plausible evolutionary pathway for a specific protein architecture has yet to be effectively demonstrated. To address this question, a unique "top-down symmetric deconstruction" strategy was utilized to successfully identify a simple peptide motif capable of recapitulating, via gene duplication and fusion processes, a symmetric protein architecture (the threefold symmetric ?-trefoil fold). The folding properties of intermediary forms in this deconstruction agree precisely with a previously proposed "conserved architecture" model for symmetric protein evolution. Furthermore, a route through foldable sequence-space between the simple peptide motif and extant protein fold is demonstrated. These results provide compelling experimental support for a plausible evolutionary pathway of symmetric protein architecture via gene duplication and fusion processes.
We report the enzymatic properties and substrate specificity of human recombinant KLK3 in the presence of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and sodium citrate. This salt is highly concentrated in prostate and in its presence KLK3 had a similar hydrolytic efficiency as chymotrypsin. In contrast to the latter peptidase, KLK3 activated by sodium citrate efficiently hydrolyzed substrates containing R, H and P at the P1 position. Activated KLK3 also cleaved peptides derived from the bradykinin domain of human kininogen at the same sites as human kallikrein KLK1, but presented low kininogenase activity. Angiotensin I has several sites for hydrolysis by KLK3; however, it was cleaved only at the Y-I bond (DRVY downward arrowIHPFHL). Sodium citrate modulated KLK3 conformation as observed by alterations to the intrinsic fluorescence of phenylalanines and tryptophans. Activated KLK3 was reversibly inhibited by Z-Pro-Prolinal and competitively inhibited by ortho-phenantroline. Together, these are noteworthy observations for the future design of specific non-peptide inhibitors of KLK3 and to find natural substrates.
A large body of emerging evidence indicates a functional interaction between the kallikrein-related peptidases (KLKs) and proteases of the thrombostasis axis. These interactions appear relevant for both normal health as well as pathologies associated with inflammation, tissue injury, and remodeling. Regulatory interactions between the KLKs and thrombostasis proteases could impact several serious human diseases, including neurodegeneration and cancer. The emerging network of specific interactions between these two protease families appears to be complex, and much work remains to elucidate it. Complete understanding how this functional network resolves over time, given specific initial conditions, and how it might be controllably manipulated, will probably contribute to the emergence of novel diagnostics and therapeutic agents for major diseases.
Whether assembling proteins onto nanoscale, mesoscopic, or macroscropic material surfaces, maintaining a proteins structure and function when conjugated to a surface is complicated by the high propensity for electrostatic or hydrophobic surface interactions and the possibility of direct metal coordination of protein functional groups. In this study, the assembly of a 1.5 nm CAAKA passivated gold nanoparticle (AuNP) onto FGF1 (human acidic fibroblast growth factor) using an amino terminal His(6) tag is analyzed. The impact of structure and time-dependent changes in the structural elements in FGF1and FGF1-heparin in the presence of the AuNP is probed by a molecular beacon fluorescence assay, circular dichroism, and NMR spectroscopy. Analysis of the results indicates that a time-dependent evolution of the protein structure without loss of FGF1 heparin binding occurs following the formation of the initial FGF1-AuNP complex. The time-dependent changes are believed to reflect protein sampling of the AuNP surface to minimize the free energy of the AuNP-FGF1 complex without impacting FGF1 function.
The rabbit is an important and de facto animal model in the study of ischemic disease and angiogenic therapy. Additionally, fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF-1) is emerging as one of the most important growth factors for novel proangiogenic and pro-arteriogenic therapy. However, despite its significance, the fundamental biophysical properties of rabbit FGF-1, including its X-ray structure, have never been reported. Here, the cloning, crystallization, X-ray structure and determination of the biophysical properties of rabbit FGF-1 are described. The X-ray structure shows that the amino-acid differences between human and rabbit FGF-1 are solvent-exposed and therefore potentially immunogenic, while the biophysical studies identify differences in thermostability and receptor-binding affinity that distinguish rabbit FGF-1 from human FGF-1.
Large-volume protein crystals are a prerequisite for neutron diffraction studies and their production represents a bottleneck in obtaining neutron structures. Many protein crystals that permit the collection of high-resolution X-ray diffraction data are inappropriate for neutron diffraction owing to a plate-type morphology that limits the crystal volume. Human fibroblast growth factor 1 crystallizes in a plate morphology that yields atomic resolution X-ray diffraction data but has insufficient volume for neutron diffraction. The thin physical dimension has been identified as corresponding to the b cell edge and the X-ray structure identified a solvent-mediated crystal contact adjacent to position Glu81 that was hypothesized to limit efficient crystal growth in this dimension. In this report, a series of mutations at this crystal contact designed to both reduce side-chain entropy and replace the solvent-mediated interface with direct side-chain contacts are reported. The results suggest that improved crystal growth is achieved upon the introduction of direct crystal contacts, while little improvement is observed with side-chain entropy-reducing mutations alone.
We previously reported the activation profiles of the human kallikrein-related peptidases (KLKs) as determined from a KLK pro-peptide fusion-protein system. That report described the activity profiles of 12 of the 15 mature KLKs versus the 15 different pro-KLK sequences. The missing profiles in the prior report, involving KLK9, 10, and 15, are now described. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, and N-terminal sequence analyses show that KLK9 and 10 exhibit low hydrolytic activities towards all of the 15 pro-KLK sequences, while KLK15 exhibits significant activity towards both Arg- and Lys-containing KLK pro-sequences. The ability of KLK15 to activate pro-KLK8, 12, and 14 is confirmed using recombinant pro-KLK proteins, and shown to be significant for activation of pro-KLK8 and 14, but not 12. These additional data for KLK9, 10, and 15 now permit a completed KLK activome profile, using a KLK pro-peptide fusion-protein system, to be described. The results suggest that KLK15, once activated, can potentially feed back into additional pro-KLK activation pathways. Conversely, KLK9 and 10, once activated, are unlikely to participate in further pro-KLK activation pathways, although similar to KLK1 they may activate other bioactive peptides.
Protein biopharmaceuticals are an important and growing area of human therapeutics; however, the intrinsic property of proteins to adopt alternative conformations (such as during protein unfolding and aggregation) presents numerous challenges, limiting their effective application as biopharmaceuticals. Using fibroblast growth factor-1 as model system, we describe a cooperative interaction between the intrinsic property of thermostability and the reactivity of buried free-cysteine residues that can substantially modulate protein functional half-life. A mutational strategy that combines elimination of buried free cysteines and secondary mutations that enhance thermostability to achieve a substantial gain in functional half-life is described. Furthermore, the implementation of this design strategy utilizing stabilizing mutations within the core region resulted in a mutant protein that is essentially indistinguishable from wild type as regard protein surface and solvent structure, thus minimizing the immunogenic potential of the mutations. This design strategy should be generally applicable to soluble globular proteins containing buried free-cysteine residues.
The 22 members of the mouse/human fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family of proteins contain a conserved cysteine residue at position 83 (numbering scheme of the 140-residue form of FGF-1). Sequence and structure information suggests that this position is a free cysteine in 16 members and participates as a half-cystine in at least 3 (and perhaps as many as 6) other members. While a structural role as a half-cystine provides a stability basis for possible selective pressure, it is less clear why this residue is conserved as a free cysteine (although free buried thiols can limit protein functional half-life). To probe the structural role of the free cysteine at position 83 in FGF-1, we constructed Ala, Ser, Thr, Val, and Ile mutations and determined their effects on structure and stability. These results show that position 83 in FGF-1 is thermodynamically optimized to accept a free cysteine. A second cysteine mutation was introduced into wild-type FGF-1 at adjacent position Ala66, which is known to participate as a half-cystine with position 83 in FGF-8, FGF-19, and FGF-23. Results show that, unlike position 83, a free cysteine at position 66 destabilizes FGF-1; however, upon oxidation, a near-optimal disulfide bond is formed between Cys66 and Cys83, resulting in approximately 14 kJ/mol of increased thermostability. Thus, while the conserved free cysteine at position 83 in the majority of the FGF proteins may have a principal role in limiting functional half-life, evidence suggests that it is a vestigial half-cystine.
Fibroblast growth factor-1 (FGF-1) is an angiogenic factor with therapeutic potential for the treatment of ischemic disease. FGF-1 has low intrinsic thermostability and is characteristically formulated with heparin as a stabilizing agent. Heparin, however, adds a number of undesirable properties that negatively impact safety and cost. Mutations that increase the thermostability of FGF-1 may obviate the need for heparin in formulation and may prove to be useful "2nd-generation" forms for therapeutic use. We report a pharmacokinetic (PK) study in rabbits of human FGF-1 in the presence and absence of heparin, as well as three mutant forms having differential effects upon thermostability, buried reactive thiols, and heparin affinity. The results support the hypothesis that heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) in the vasculature of liver, kidney and spleen serves as the principle peripheral compartment in the distribution kinetics. The addition of heparin to FGF-1 is shown to increase endocrine-like properties of distribution. Mutant forms of FGF-1 that enhance thermostability or eliminate buried reactive thiols demonstrate a shorter distribution half-life, a longer elimination half-life, and a longer mean residence time (MRT) in comparison to wild-type FGF-1. The results show how such mutations can produce useful 2nd-generation forms with tailored PK profiles for specific therapeutic application.
The acquisition of function is often associated with destabilizing mutations, giving rise to the stability-function tradeoff hypothesis. To test whether function is also accommodated at the expense of foldability, fibroblast growth factor-1 (FGF-1) was subjected to a comprehensive ?-value analysis at each of the 11 turn regions. FGF-1, a ?-trefoil fold, represents an excellent model system with which to evaluate the influence of function on foldability: because of its threefold symmetric structure, analysis of FGF-1 allows for direct comparisons between symmetry-related regions of the protein that are associated with function to those that are not; thus, a structural basis for regions of foldability can potentially be identified. The resulting ?-value distribution of FGF-1 is highly polarized, with the majority of positions described as either folded-like or denatured-like in the folding transition state. Regions important for folding are shown to be asymmetrically distributed within the protein architecture; furthermore, regions associated with function (i.e., heparin-binding affinity and receptor-binding affinity) are localized to regions of the protein that fold after barrier crossing (late in the folding pathway). These results provide experimental support for the foldability-function tradeoff hypothesis in the evolution of FGF-1. Notably, the results identify the potential for folding redundancy in symmetric protein architecture with important implications for protein evolution and design.
Human kallikrein 7 (KLK7) is a potential target for the treatment of skin inflammation and cancer. Despite its potential, few KLK7-specific small-molecule inhibitors have been reported in the literature. As an extension of our program to design serine protease inhibitors, here we describe the in vitro assays and the investigation of the binding mechanism by molecular dynamics simulation of a novel class of pseudo-peptide inhibitors derived from isomannide. Of the inhibitors tested, two inhibited KLK7 with K(i) values in the low micromolar range (9g=1.8?M; 9j=3.0?M). Eadie-Hofstee and Dixon plots were used to evaluate the competitive mechanism of inhibition for the molecules. Calculated binding free energies using molecular MM/PB(GB)SA approach are in good agreement with experimental results, suggesting that the inhibitors share the same binding mode, which is stabilized by hydrophobic interactions and by a conserved network of hydrogen bonds. The promising results obtained in this study make these compounds valid leads for further optimization studies aiming to improve the potency of this new class of kallikrein inhibitors.
Structural symmetry is observed in the majority of fundamental protein folds and gene duplication and fusion evolutionary processes are postulated to be responsible. However, convergent evolution leading to structural symmetry has also been proposed; additionally, there is debate regarding the extent to which exact primary structure symmetry is compatible with efficient protein folding. Issues of symmetry in protein evolution directly impact strategies for de novo protein design as symmetry can substantially simplify the design process. Additionally, when considering gene duplication and fusion in protein evolution, there are two competing models: "emergent architecture" and "conserved architecture". Recent experimental work has shed light on both the evolutionary process leading to symmetric protein folds as well as the ability of symmetric primary structure to efficiently fold. Such studies largely support a "conserved architecture" evolutionary model, suggesting that complex protein architecture was an early evolutionary achievement involving oligomerization of smaller polypeptides.
"Proteogenesis" (the origin of proteins) is a likely key event in the unsolved problem of biogenesis (the origin of life). The raw material for the very first proteins comprised the available amino acids produced and accumulated upon the early earth via abiotic chemical and physical processes. A broad consensus is emerging that this pre-biotic set likely comprised Ala, Asp, Glu, Gly, Ile, Leu, Pro, Ser, Thr, and Val. A key question in proteogenesis is whether such abiotically-produced amino acids comprise a "foldable" set. Current knowledge of protein folding identifies properties of complexity, secondary structure propensity, hydrophobic-hydrophilic patterning, core-packing potential, among others, as necessary elements of foldability. None of these requirements excludes the pre-biotic set of amino acids from being a foldable set. Moreover, nucleophile and metal ion/mineral binding capabilities also appear present in the pre-biotic set. Properties of the pre-biotic set, however, likely restrict foldability to the acidophilic/halophilic environment.
?1-Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) synthase catalyzes the oxidative cyclization of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) into THCA, the precursor of the primary psychoactive agent ?1-tetrahydrocannabinol in Cannabis sativa. The enzyme was overproduced in insect cells, purified, and crystallized in order to investigate the structure-function relationship of THCA synthase, and the tertiary structure was determined to 2.75Å resolution by X-ray crystallography (R(cryst)=19.9%). The THCA synthase enzyme is a member of the p-cresol methyl-hydroxylase superfamily, and the tertiary structure is divided into two domains (domains I and II), with a flavin adenine dinucleotide coenzyme positioned between each domain and covalently bound to His114 and Cys176 (located in domain I). The catalysis of THCA synthesis involves a hydride transfer from C3 of CBGA to N5 of flavin adenine dinucleotide and the deprotonation of O6 of CBGA. The ionized residues in the active site of THCA synthase were investigated by mutational analysis and X-ray structure. Mutational analysis indicates that the reaction does not involve the carboxyl group of Glu442 that was identified as the catalytic base in the related berberine bridge enzyme but instead involves the hydroxyl group of Tyr484. Mutations at the active-site residues His292 and Tyr417 resulted in a decrease in, but not elimination of, the enzymatic activity of THCA synthase, suggesting a key role for these residues in substrate binding and not direct catalysis.
The purpose of this review is to describe the development of top-down approaches to protein design. It will be argued that a diverse number of studies over the past decade, involving many investigators, and focused upon elucidating the role of symmetry in protein evolution and design, are converging into a novel top-down approach to protein design. Top-down design methodologies have successfully produced comparatively simple polypeptide building blocks (typically comprising 40-60 amino acids) useful in generating complex protein architecture, and have produced compelling data in support of macro-evolutionary pathways of protein structure. Furthermore, a distillation of the experimental approaches utilized in such studies suggests the potential for method formalism, one that may accelerate future success in this field.
Kallikrein-related peptidase 6 (KLK6) is a trypsin-like serine protease upregulated at sites of central nervous system (CNS) injury, including de novo expression by reactive astrocytes, yet its physiological actions are largely undefined. Taken with recent evidence that KLK6 activates G-protein-coupled protease-activated receptors (PARs), we hypothesized that injury-induced elevations in KLK6 contribute to the development of astrogliosis and that this occurs in a PAR-dependent fashion. Using primary murine astrocytes and the Neu7 astrocyte cell line, we show that KLK6 causes astrocytes to transform from an epitheliod to a stellate morphology and to secrete interleukin 6 (IL-6). By contrast, KLK6 reduced expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). The stellation-promoting activities of KLK6 were shown to be dependent on activation of the thrombin receptor, PAR1, as a PAR1-specific inhibitor, SCH79797, blocked KLK6-induced morphological changes. The ability of KLK6 to promote astrocyte stellation was also shown to be linked to activation of protein kinase C (PKC). These studies indicate that KLK6 is positioned to serve as a molecular trigger of select physiological processes involved in the development of astrogliosis and that this is likely to occur at least in part by activation of the G-protein-coupled receptor, PAR1.
Kallikrein 6 (Klk6) is a secreted serine protease that is elevated in active multiple sclerosis lesions and patient sera. To further evaluate the involvement of Klk6 in chronic progressive demyelinating disease, we determined its expression in the brain and spinal cord of SJL mice infected with Theilers murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) and assessed the effects of Klk6-neutralizing antibodies on disease progression. Klk6 RNA expression was elevated in the brain and spinal cord by 7 days postinfection (dpi). Thereafter, Klk6 expression persisted primarily in the spinal cord reaching a peak of fivefold over controls at mid-chronic stages (60 dpi-120 dpi). Significant elevations in Klk6 RNA were also induced in splenocytes stimulated with viral capsid proteins in vitro and in activated human acute monocytic leukemia cells. Klk6-neutralizing antibodies reduced TMEV-driven brain and spinal cord pathology and delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) responses when examined at early chronic time points (40 dpi). Reductions in spinal cord pathology included a decrease in activated monocytes/microglia and reductions in the loss of myelin basic protein (MBP). By 180 dpi, pathology scores no longer differed between groups. These findings point to regulatory activities for Klk6 in the development and progression of central nervous system (CNS) inflammation and demyelination that can be effectively targeted through the early chronic stages with neutralizing antibody.
Glycosyltrehalose trehalohydrolase (GTHase) is an ?-amylase that cleaves the ?-1,4 bond adjacent to the ?-1,1 bond of maltooligosyltrehalose to release trehalose. To investigate the catalytic and substrate recognition mechanisms of GTHase, two residues, Asp252 (nucleophile) and Glu283 (general acid/base), located at the catalytic site of GTHase were mutated (Asp252?Ser (D252S), Glu (D252E) and Glu283?Gln (E283Q)), and the activity and structure of the enzyme were investigated. The E283Q, D252E, and D252S mutants showed only 0.04, 0.03, and 0.6% of enzymatic activity against the wild-type, respectively. The crystal structure of the E283Q mutant GTHase in complex with the substrate, maltotriosyltrehalose (G3-Tre), was determined to 2.6-Å resolution. The structure with G3-Tre indicated that GTHase has at least five substrate binding subsites and that Glu283 is the catalytic acid, and Asp252 is the nucleophile that attacks the C1 carbon in the glycosidic linkage of G3-Tre. The complex structure also revealed a scheme for substrate recognition by GTHase. Substrate recognition involves two unique interactions: stacking of Tyr325 with the terminal glucose ring of the trehalose moiety and perpendicularly placement of Trp215 to the pyranose rings at the subsites -1 and +1 glucose.
Nucleoside diphosphate kinase (NDK) is known to form homotetramers or homohexamers. To clarify the oligomer state of NDK from moderately halophilic Halomonas sp. 593 (HaNDK), the oligomeric state of HaNDK was characterized by light scattering followed by X-ray crystallography. The molecular weight of HaNDK is 33,660, and the X-ray crystal structure determination to 2.3 and 2.7 Å resolution showed a dimer form which was confirmed in the different space groups of R3 and C2 with an independent packing arrangement. This is the first structural evidence that HaNDK forms a dimeric assembly. Moreover, the inferred molecular mass of a mutant HaNDK (E134A) indicated 62.1-65.3 kDa, and the oligomerization state was investigated by X-ray crystallography to 2.3 and 2.5 Å resolution with space groups of P2(1) and C2. The assembly form of the E134A mutant HaNDK was identified as a Type I tetramer as found in Myxococcus NDK. The structural comparison between the wild-type and E134A mutant HaNDKs suggests that the change from dimer to tetramer is due to the removal of negative charge repulsion caused by the E134 in the wild-type HaNDK. The higher ordered association of proteins usually contributes to an increase in thermal stability and substrate affinity. The change in the assembly form by a minimum mutation may be an effective way for NDK to acquire molecular characteristics suited to various circumstances.
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) toxicity results predominantly from myocardial sodium-channel blockade. Subsequent ventricular dysrhythmias, myocardial depression, and hypotension cause cardiovascular collapse. Animal studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of intravenous lipid-emulsion in treating TCA cardiotoxicity.
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