Euryarchaea from the genus Halorhabdus have been found in hypersaline habitats worldwide, yet are represented by only two isolates: Halorhabdus utahensis?AX-2(T) from the shallow Great Salt Lake of Utah, and Halorhabdus tiamatea?SARL4B(T) from the Shaban deep-sea hypersaline anoxic lake (DHAL) in the Red Sea. We sequenced the H.?tiamatea genome to elucidate its niche adaptations. Among sequenced archaea, H.?tiamatea features the highest number of glycoside hydrolases, the majority of which were expressed in proteome experiments. Annotations and glycosidase activity measurements suggested an adaptation towards recalcitrant algal and plant-derived hemicelluloses. Glycosidase activities were higher at 2% than at 0% or 5% oxygen, supporting a preference for low-oxygen conditions. Likewise, proteomics indicated quinone-mediated electron transport at 2% oxygen, but a notable stress response at 5% oxygen. Halorhabdus tiamatea furthermore encodes proteins characteristic for thermophiles and light-dependent enzymes (e.g. bacteriorhodopsin), suggesting that H.?tiamatea evolution was mostly not governed by a cold, dark, anoxic deep-sea habitat. Using enrichment and metagenomics, we could demonstrate presence of similar glycoside hydrolase-rich Halorhabdus members in the Mediterranean DHAL Medee, which supports that Halorhabdus species can occupy a distinct niche as polysaccharide degraders in hypersaline environments.
Ubiquitous bacteria from the genus Oleispira drive oil degradation in the largest environment on Earth, the cold and deep sea. Here we report the genome sequence of Oleispira antarctica and show that compared with Alcanivorax borkumensis--the paradigm of mesophilic hydrocarbonoclastic bacteria--O. antarctica has a larger genome that has witnessed massive gene-transfer events. We identify an array of alkane monooxygenases, osmoprotectants, siderophores and micronutrient-scavenging pathways. We also show that at low temperatures, the main protein-folding machine Cpn60 functions as a single heptameric barrel that uses larger proteins as substrates compared with the classical double-barrel structure observed at higher temperatures. With 11 protein crystal structures, we further report the largest set of structures from one psychrotolerant organism. The most common structural feature is an increased content of surface-exposed negatively charged residues compared to their mesophilic counterparts. Our findings are relevant in the context of microbial cold-adaptation mechanisms and the development of strategies for oil-spill mitigation in cold environments.
RNA interference (RNAi) is a major tool for basic and applied investigations. However, obtaining RNAi data that have physiological significance requires investigation of regulations and therapeutic strategies in appropriate in vivo settings. To examine in vivo gene regulation and protein function in the adult neural stem cell (NSC) niche, we optimized a new non-viral vector for delivery of siRNA into the subventricular zone (SVZ). This brain region contains the neural stem and progenitor cells populations that express the stem cell marker, SOX2. Temporally and spatially controlled Sox2 knockdown was achieved using the monocationic lipid vector, IC10. siRNA/IC10 complexes were stable over time and smaller (<40?nm) than jetSi complexes (?400?nm). Immunocytochemistry showed that siRNA/IC10 complexes efficiently target both the progenitor and stem cell populations in the adult SVZ. Injection of the complexes into the lateral brain ventricle resulted in specific knockdown of Sox2 in the SVZ. Furthermore, IC10-mediated transient in vivo knockdown of Sox2-modulated expression of several genes implicated in NSC maintenance. Taken together, these data show that IC10 cationic lipid formulation can efficiently vectorize siRNA in a specific area of the adult mouse brain, achieving spatially and temporally defined loss of function.Molecular Therapy-Nucleic Acids (2013) 2, e89; doi:10.1038/mtna.2013.8; published online 23 April 2013.
O-GlcNAcylation is a dynamic protein modification which has been studied mainly in metazoans. We reported previously that an Arabidopsis thaliana O-GlcNAc transferase modifies at least two threonine residues of the Plum pox virus (PPV) capsid protein (CP). Now, six additional residues were shown to be involved in O-GlcNAc modification of PPV CP. CP O-GlcNAcylation was abolished in the PPV CP7-T/A mutant, in which seven threonines were mutated. PPV CP7-T/A infected Nicotiana clevelandii, Nicotiana benthamiana, and Prunus persica without noticeable defects. However, defects in infection of A. thaliana were readily apparent. In mixed infections of wild-type arabidopsis, the CP7-T/A mutant was outcompeted by wild-type virus. These results indicate that CP O-GlcNAcylation has a major role in the infection process. O-GlcNAc modification may have a role in virion assembly and/or stability as the CP of PPV CP7-T/A was more sensitive to protease digestion than that of the wild-type virus.
Current serological diagnostic assays for typhoid fever are based on detecting antibodies against Salmonella LPS or flagellum, resulting in a high false-positive rate. Here we used a protein microarray containing 2,724 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi antigens (>63% of proteome) and identified antibodies against 16 IgG antigens and 77 IgM antigens that were differentially reactive among acute typhoid patients and healthy controls. The IgG target antigens produced a sensitivity of 97% and specificity of 80%, whereas the IgM target antigens produced 97% and 91% sensitivity and specificity, respectively. Our analyses indicated certain features such as membrane association, secretion, and protein expression were significant enriching features of the reactive antigens. About 72% of the serodiagnostic antigens were within the top 25% of the ranked antigen list using a Naïve bayes classifier. These data provide an important resource for improved diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccine development against an important human pathogen.
The functional characterization of Open Reading Frames (ORFs) from sequenced genomes remains a bottleneck in our effort to understand microbial biology. In particular, the functional characterization of proteins with only remote sequence homology to known proteins can be challenging, as there may be few clues to guide initial experiments. Affinity enrichment of proteins from cell lysates, and a global perspective of protein function as provided by COMBREX, affords an approach to this problem. We present here the biochemical analysis of six proteins from Helicobacter pylori ATCC 26695, a focus organism in COMBREX. Initial hypotheses were based upon affinity capture of proteins from total cellular lysate using derivatized nano-particles, and subsequent identification by mass spectrometry. Candidate genes encoding these proteins were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant proteins were purified and characterized biochemically and their biochemical parameters compared with the native ones. These proteins include a guanosine triphosphate (GTP) cyclohydrolase (HP0959), an ATPase (HP1079), an adenosine deaminase (HP0267), a phosphodiesterase (HP1042), an aminopeptidase (HP1037), and new substrates were characterized for a peptidoglycan deacetylase (HP0310). Generally, characterized enzymes were active at acidic to neutral pH (4.0-7.5) with temperature optima ranging from 35 to 55°C, although some exhibited outstanding characteristics.
A complete understanding of the factors that determine selection of antigens recognized by the humoral immune response following infectious agent challenge is lacking. Here we illustrate a systems biology approach to identify the antibody signature associated with Brucella melitensis (Bm) infection in humans and predict proteomic features of serodiagnostic antigens. By taking advantage of a full proteome microarray expressing previously cloned 1406 and newly cloned 1640 Bm genes, we were able to identify 122 immunodominant antigens and 33 serodiagnostic antigens. The reactive antigens were then classified according to annotated functional features (COGs), computationally predicted features (e.g., subcellular localization, physical properties), and protein expression estimated by mass spectrometry (MS). Enrichment analyses indicated that membrane association and secretion were significant enriching features of the reactive antigens, as were proteins predicted to have a signal peptide, a single transmembrane domain, and outer membrane or periplasmic location. These features accounted for 67% of the serodiagnostic antigens. An overlay of the seroreactive antigen set with proteomic data sets generated by MS identified an additional 24%, suggesting that protein expression in bacteria is an additional determinant in the induction of Brucella-specific antibodies. This analysis indicates that one-third of the proteome contains enriching features that account for 91% of the antigens recognized, and after B. melitensis infection the immune system develops significant antibody titers against 10% of the proteins with these enriching features. This systems biology approach provides an empirical basis for understanding the breadth and specificity of the immune response to B. melitensis and a new framework for comparing the humoral responses against other microorganisms.
Toxoplasmosis, caused by infection of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii, is associated with mild disease in healthy individuals, whereas individuals with depressed immunity may develop encephalitis, neurologic disorders, and other organ diseases. Women who develop acute toxoplasmosis during pregnancy are at risk of transmitting the infection to the fetus, which may lead to fetal damage. A diagnosis is usually confirmed by measuring IgG, or IgM where it is important to determine the onset of infection. A negative IgM result essentially excludes acute infection, whereas a positive IgM test is largely uninterpretable because IgM can persist for up to 18 months after infection. To identify antigens for improved diagnosis of acute infection, we probed protein microarrays displaying the polypeptide products of 1357 Toxoplasma exons with well-characterized sera from Turkey. The sera were classified according to conventional assays into (1) seronegative individuals with no history of T. gondii infection; (2) acute infections defined by clinical symptoms, high IgM titers, and low avidity IgG; (3) chronic/convalescent cases with high avidity IgG but persisting IgM; (iv) true chronic infections, defined by high avidity IgG and no IgM. We have identified 38 IgG target antigens and 108 IgM target antigens that can discriminate infected patients from healthy controls, one or more of which could form the basis of a tier-1 test to determine current or previous exposure. Of these, three IgG antigens and five IgM antigens have the potential to discriminate chronic/IgM persisting or true chronics from recent acutely infected patients (a tier-2 test). Our analysis of the antigens revealed several enriched features relative to the whole proteome, which include transmembrane domains, signal peptides, or predicted localization at the outer membrane. This is the first protein microarray survey of the antibody response to T. gondii, and will help in the development of improved serodiagnostics and vaccines.
Mesophilic Crenarchaeota have recently been thought to be significant contributors to nitrogen (N) and carbon (C) cycling. In this study, we examined the vertical distribution of ammonia-oxidizing Crenarchaeota at offshore site in Southern Tyrrhenian Sea. The median value of the crenachaeal cell to amoA gene ratio was close to one suggesting that virtually all deep-sea Crenarchaeota possess the capacity to oxidize ammonia. Crenarchaea-specific genes, nirK and ureC, for nitrite reductase and urease were identified and their affiliation demonstrated the presence of deep-sea clades distinct from shallow representatives. Measured deep-sea dark CO(2) fixation estimates were comparable to the median value of photosynthetic biomass production calculated for this area of Tyrrhenian Sea, pointing to the significance of this process in the C cycle of aphotic marine ecosystems. To elucidate the pivotal organisms in this process, we targeted known marine crenarchaeal autotrophy-related genes, coding for acetyl-CoA carboxylase (accA) and 4-hydroxybutyryl-CoA dehydratase (4-hbd). As in case of nirK and ureC, these genes are grouped with deep-sea sequences being distantly related to those retrieved from the epipelagic zone. To pair the molecular data with specific functional attributes we performed [(14)C]HCO(3) incorporation experiments followed by analyses of radiolabeled proteins using shotgun proteomics approach. More than 100 oligopeptides were attributed to 40 marine crenarchaeal-specific proteins that are involved in 10 different metabolic processes, including autotrophy. Obtained results provided a clear proof of chemolithoautotrophic physiology of bathypelagic crenarchaeota and indicated that this numerically predominant group of microorganisms facilitate a hitherto unrecognized sink for inorganic C of a global importance.
Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are a superfamily of cytoplasmic serine/threonine kinases that transduce many types of extracellular stimuli into cellular responses. p38MAPK is a member of this family with its active form in a diphosphorylated state (p38MAPKdiP). Two strong anti-p38MAPKdiP immunoreactive bands (apparent molecular weight 38 and 34 kDa) were detected by Western blotting in cultured astrocytes. Using a specific antibody and employing immunoprecipitation procedures and SELDI-TOF analysis, the 34 kDa band was found to correspond to Mxi2, a splice variant of p38MAPK; cultured astrocytes therefore express Mxi2. Separate protein extractions of different subcellular fractions, and fluorescent immunovisualisation employing confocal microscopy, showed Mxi2 to have a non-nuclear, cytosolic distribution in the studied cells. ERK1/2, protein whose intracellular distribution is influenced by Mxi2, showed the same cytoplasmic pattern than Mxi2.
Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) is a water channel protein mainly located in the astroglial plasma membrane, the precise function of which in the brain edema that accompanies hepatic encephalopathy (HE) is unclear. Since ammonia is the main pathogenic agent in HE, its effect on AQP4 expression and distribution in confluent primary astroglial cultures was examined via their exposure to ammonium chloride (1, 3 and 5 mM) for 5 and 10 days. Ammonia induced the general inhibition of AQP4 mRNA synthesis except in the 1 mM/5 day treatment. However, the AQP4 protein content measured was dependent on the method of analysis; an apparent increase was recorded in treated cells in in-cell Western assays, while an apparent reduction was seen with the classic Western blot method, perhaps due to differences in AQP4 aggregation. Ammonia might therefore induce the formation of insoluble AQP4 aggregates in the astroglial plasma membrane. The finding of AQP4 in the pellet of classic Western blot samples, plus data obtained via confocal microscopy, atomic force microscopy (using immunolabeled cells with gold nanoparticles) and scanning electron microscopy, all corroborate this hypothesis. The effect of ammonia on AQP4 seems not to be due to any osmotic effect; identical osmotic stress induced by glutamine and salt had no significant effect on the AQP4 content. AQP4 functional analysis (subjecting astrocytes to a hypo-osmotic medium and using flow cytometry to measure cell size) demonstrated a smaller water influx in ammonia-treated astrocytes suggesting that AQP4 aggregates are representative of an inactive status; however, more confirmatory studies are required to fully understand the functional status of AQP4 aggregates. The present results suggest that ammonia affects AQP4 expression and distribution, and that astrocytes change their expression of AQP4 mRNA as well as the aggregation status of the ensuing protein depending on the ammonia concentration and duration of exposure.
Despite the importance of Salmonella infections in human and animal health, the target antigens of Salmonella-specific immunity remain poorly defined. We have previously shown evidence for antibody-mediating protection against invasive Salmonellosis in mice and African children. To generate an overview of antibody targeting in systemic Salmonellosis, a Salmonella proteomic array containing over 2,700 proteins was constructed and probed with immune sera from Salmonella-infected mice and humans. Analysis of multiple inbred mouse strains identified 117 antigens recognized by systemic antibody responses in murine Salmonellosis. Importantly, many of these antigens were independently identified as target antigens using sera from Malawian children with Salmonella bacteremia, validating the study of the murine model. Furthermore, vaccination with SseB, the most prominent antigenic target in Malawian children, provided mice with significant protection against Salmonella infection. Together, these data uncover an overlapping immune signature of disseminated Salmonellosis in mice and humans and provide a foundation for the generation of a protective subunit vaccine.
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