Chemokines promote T cell migration by transmitting signals that induce T cell polarization and integrin activation and adhesion. Mst1 kinase is a key signal mediator required for both of these processes; however, its molecular mechanism remains unclear. Here, we present a mouse model in which Mst1 function is disrupted by a hypomorphic mutation. Microscopic analysis of Mst1-deficient CD4 T cells revealed a necessary role for Mst1 in controlling the localization and activity of Myosin IIa, a molecular motor that moves along actin filaments. Using affinity specific LFA-1 antibodies, we identified a requirement for Myosin IIa-dependent contraction in the precise spatial distribution of low and higher affinity LFA-1 on the membrane of migrating T cells. Mst1 deficiency or Myosin inhibition resulted in multipolar cells, difficulties in uropod detachment and mis-localization of low affinity LFA-1. Thus, Mst1 regulates Myosin IIa dynamics to organize high and low affinity LFA-1 to the anterior and posterior membrane during T cell migration.
Rifampicin resistance, a defining attribute of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, is conferred by mutations in the ? subunit of RNA polymerase. Sequencing of rifampicin-resistant (RIF-R) clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis revealed, in addition to RIF-R mutations, enrichment of potential compensatory mutations around the double-psi ?-barrel domain of the ?' subunit comprising the catalytic site and the exit tunnel for newly synthesized RNA. Sequential introduction of the resistance allele followed by the compensatory allele in isogenic Mycobacterium smegmatis showed that these mutations respectively caused and compensated a starvation enhanced growth defect by altering RNA polymerase activity. While specific combinations of resistance and compensatory alleles converged in divergent lineages, other combinations recurred among related isolates suggesting transmission of compensated RIF-R strains. These findings suggest nutrient poor growth conditions impose larger selective pressure on RIF-R organisms that results in the selection of compensatory mutations in a domain involved in catalysis and starvation control of RNA polymerase transcription.
Plasmodium vivax causes 25-40% of malaria cases worldwide, yet research on this human malaria parasite has been neglected. Nevertheless, the recent publication of the P. vivax reference genome now allows genomics and systems biology approaches to be applied to this pathogen. We show here that whole-genome analysis of the parasite can be achieved directly from ex vivo-isolated parasites, without the need for in vitro propagation. A single isolate of P. vivax obtained from a febrile patient with clinical malaria from Peru was subjected to whole-genome sequencing (30× coverage). This analysis revealed over 18,261 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), 6,257 of which were further validated using a tiling microarray. Within core chromosomal genes we find that one SNP per every 985 bases of coding sequence distinguishes this recent Peruvian isolate, designated IQ07, from the reference Salvador I strain obtained in 1972. This full-genome sequence of an uncultured P. vivax isolate shows that the same regions with low numbers of aligned sequencing reads are also highly variable by genomic microarray analysis. Finally, we show that the genes containing the largest ratio of nonsynonymous-to-synonymous SNPs include two AP2 transcription factors and the P. vivax multidrug resistance-associated protein (PvMRP1), an ABC transporter shown to be associated with quinoline and antifolate tolerance in Plasmodium falciparum. This analysis provides a data set for comparative analysis with important potential for identifying markers for global parasite diversity and drug resistance mapping studies.
Approximately 3,500 mammalian genes are predicted to be secreted or single-pass transmembrane proteins. The function of the majority of these genes is still unknown, and a number of the encoded proteins might find use as new therapeutic agents themselves or as targets for small molecule or antibody drug development. To analyze the physiological activities of the extracellular proteome, we developed a large-scale, high-throughput protein expression, purification, and screening platform. For this study, the complete human extracellular proteome was analyzed and prioritized based on genome-wide disease association studies to select 529 initial target genes. These genes were cloned into three expression vectors as native sequences and as N-terminal and C-terminal Fc fusions to create an initial collection of 806 purified secreted proteins. To determine its utility, this library was screened in an OCT4-based cellular assay to identify regulators of human embryonic stem-cell self-renewal. We found that the pigment epithelium-derived factor can promote long-term pluripotent growth of human embryonic stem cells without bFGF or TGFbeta/Activin/Nodal ligand supplementation. Our results further indicate that activation of the pigment epithelium-derived factor receptor-Erk1/2 signaling pathway by the pigment epithelium-derived factor is sufficient to maintain the self-renewal of pluripotent human embryonic stem cells. These experiments illustrate the potential for discovering novel biological functions by directly screening protein diversity in cell-based phenotypic or reporter assays.
Online gene annotation resources are indispensable for analysis of genomics data. However, the landscape of these online resources is highly fragmented, and scientists often visit dozens of these sites for each gene in a candidate gene list. Here, we introduce BioGPS http://biogps.gnf.org, a centralized gene portal for aggregating distributed gene annotation resources. Moreover, BioGPS embraces the principle of community intelligence, enabling any user to easily and directly contribute to the BioGPS platform.
The glycine-rich G loop controls ATP binding and phosphate transfer in protein kinases. Here we show that the functions of Src family and Abl protein tyrosine kinases require an electrostatic interaction between oppositely charged amino acids within their G loops that is conserved in multiple other phylogenetically distinct protein kinases, from plants to humans. By limiting G loop flexibility, it controls ATP binding, catalysis, and inhibition by ATP-competitive compounds such as Imatinib. In WeeB mice, mutational disruption of the interaction results in expression of a Lyn protein with reduced catalytic activity, and in perturbed B cell receptor signaling. Like Lyn(-/-) mice, WeeB mice show profound defects in B cell development and function and succumb to autoimmune glomerulonephritis. This demonstrates the physiological importance of the conserved G loop salt bridge and at the same time distinguishes the in vivo requirement for the Lyn kinase activity from other potential functions of the protein.
Ion channels are intimately involved in virtually every physiological process of consequence in humans. Their importance is underscored by the identification of numerous "channelopathies", human diseases caused by ion channel mutations. Ion Channels have consequently been viewed as fertile ground for drug discovery and, indeed, they represent one of the largest target classes for current medicines. The future prospects of ion channels as a target class are tied to the functional characterization of the human ion channel set on a genomic scale. The focus of this review is to describe the molecular diversity and conservation of human ion channels. The human genome contains at least 232 genes that encode the pore-forming subunits of plasma membrane ion channels. Comparative genome analysis shows that most human ion channel gene families have their origins in the earliest metazoans but the human genes are largely derived from duplications that took place in the vertebrate lineage. The mouse and human ion channel gene sets are virtually identical, but differ significantly from fish channel sets. Genome comparisons highlight a number of highly conserved channel families that do not yet have specifically defined functional roles in vivo. These channel families are likely to have non-redundant functions in metazoans and represent some of the best new opportunities for channel target prospecting. Furthermore, genome-wide patterns of sequence conservation can now be used to refine strategies for the identification of gene-specific channel probes.
The identification of genetic changes that confer drug resistance or other phenotypic changes in pathogens can help optimize treatment strategies, support the development of new therapeutic agents, and provide information about the likely function of genes. Elucidating mechanisms of phenotypic drug resistance can also assist in identifying the mode of action of uncharacterized but potent antimalarial compounds identified in high-throughput chemical screening campaigns against Plasmodium falciparum.
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