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colonizes the gastric mucosa and secretes a pore-forming toxin (VacA). Two main types of VacA, m1 and m2, can be distinguished by phylogenetic analysis. Type m1 forms of VacA have been extensively studied, but there has been relatively little study of m2 forms. In this study, we generated strains producing chimeric proteins in which VacA m1 segments of a parental strain were replaced by corresponding m2 sequences. In comparison to the parental m1 VacA protein, a chimeric protein (designated m2/m1) containing m2 sequences in the N-terminal portion of the m region was less potent in causing vacuolation of HeLa cells, AGS gastric cells, and AZ-521 duodenal cells and had reduced capacity to cause membrane depolarization or death of AZ-521 cells. Consistent with the observed differences in activity, the chimeric m2/m1 VacA protein bound to cells at reduced levels compared to the binding levels of the parental m1 protein. The presence of two strain-specific insertions or deletions within or adjacent to the m region did not influence toxin activity. Experiments with human gastric organoids grown as monolayers indicated that m1 and m2/m1 forms of VacA had similar cell-vacuolating activities. Interestingly, both forms of VacA bound preferentially to the basolateral surface of organoid monolayers and caused increased cell vacuolation when interacting with the basolateral surface compared to the apical surface. These data provide insights into functional correlates of sequence variation in the VacA midregion (m region).
Copyright © 2020 American Society for Microbiology.
Gene network transitions in embryos and other fate-changing contexts involve combinations of transcription factors. A subset of fate-changing transcription factors act as pioneers; they scan and target nucleosomal DNA and initiate cooperative events that can open the local chromatin. However, a gap has remained in understanding how molecular interactions with the nucleosome contribute to the chromatin-opening phenomenon. Here we identified a short α-helical region, conserved among FOXA pioneer factors, that interacts with core histones and contributes to chromatin opening in vitro. The same domain is involved in chromatin opening in early mouse embryos for normal development. Thus, local opening of chromatin by interactions between pioneer factors and core histones promotes genetic programming.
Exploring the interactions between the Ca binding protein calmodulin (CaM) and its target proteins remains a challenging task. Members of the Munc13 protein family play an essential role in short-term synaptic plasticity, modulated via the interaction with CaM at the presynaptic compartment. In this study, we focus on the bMunc13-2 isoform expressed in the brain, as strong changes in synaptic transmission were observed upon its mutagenesis or deletion. The CaM‒bMunc13-2 interaction was previously characterized at the molecular level using short bMunc13-2-derived peptides only, revealing a classical 1‒5‒10 CaM binding motif. Using larger protein constructs, we have now identified for the first time a novel and unique CaM binding site in bMunc13-2 that contains an -terminal extension of a classical 1‒5‒10 CaM binding motif. We characterize this motif using a range of biochemical and biophysical methods and highlight its importance for the CaM‒bMunc13-2 interaction.
Long-lived proteins (LLPs) are present in numerous tissues within the human body. With age, they deteriorate, often leading to the formation of irreversible modifications such as peptide bond cleavage and covalent cross-linking. Currently understanding of the mechanism of formation of these cross-links is limited. As part of an ongoing study, proteomics was used to characterise sites of novel covalent cross-linking in the human lens. In this process, Lys residues were found cross-linked to C-terminal aspartates that had been present in the original protein as Asn residues. Cross-links were identified in major lens proteins such as αA-crystallin, αB-crystallin and aquaporin 0. Quantification of the level of an AQP0/AQP0 cross-linked peptide showed increased cross-linking with age and in cataract lenses. Using model peptides, a mechanism of cross-link formation was elucidated that involves spontaneous peptide bond cleavage on the C-terminal side of Asn residues resulting in the formation of a C-terminal succinimide. This succinimide does not form cross-links, but can hydrolyse to a mixture of C-terminal Asn and C-terminal Asp amide peptides. The C-terminal Asp amide is unstable at neutral pH and decomposes to a succinic anhydride. If the side chain of Lys attacks the anhydride, a covalent cross-link will be formed. This multi-step mechanism represents a link between two spontaneous events: peptide bond cleavage at Asn and covalent cross-linking. Since Asn deamidation and cleavage are abundant age-related modifications in LLPs, this finding suggests that such susceptible Asn residues should also be considered as potential sites for spontaneous covalent cross-linking.
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.
New milestones have been reached in the field of cation-Cl cotransporters with the recently released cryo-electron microscopy (EM) structures of the (zebrafish) Na-K-2Cl cotransporter (NKCC1) and the human K-Cl cotransporter (hKCC1). In this review we provide a brief timeline that identifies the multiple breakthroughs in the field of solute carrier 12 transporters that led to the structure resolution of two of its key members. While cation-Cl cotransporters share the overall architecture of carriers belonging to the amino acid-polyamine-organocation (APC) superfamily and some of their substrate binding sites, several new insights are gained from the two individual structures. A first major feature relates to the largest extracellular domain between transmembrane domain (TMD) 5 and TMD6 of KCC1, which stabilizes the dimer and forms a cap that likely participates in extracellular gating. A second feature is the conservation of the K and Cl binding sites in both structures and evidence of an unexpected second Cl coordination site in the KCC1 structure. Structural data are discussed in the context of previously published studies that examined the basic and kinetics properties of these cotransport mechanisms. A third characteristic is the evidence of an extracellular gate formed by conserved salt bridges between charged residues located toward the end of TMD3 and TMD4 in both transporters and the existence of an additional neighboring bridge in the hKCC1 structure. A fourth feature of these newly solved structures relates to the multiple points of contacts between the monomer forming the cotransporter homodimer units. These involve the TMDs, the COOH-terminal domains, and the large extracellular loop for hKCC1.
Cation-chloride cotransporters (CCCs) mediate the coupled, electroneutral symport of cations with chloride across the plasma membrane and are vital for cell volume regulation, salt reabsorption in the kidney, and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-mediated modulation in neurons. Here we present cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of human potassium-chloride cotransporter KCC1 in potassium chloride or sodium chloride at 2.9- to 3.5-angstrom resolution. KCC1 exists as a dimer, with both extracellular and transmembrane domains involved in dimerization. The structural and functional analyses, along with computational studies, reveal one potassium site and two chloride sites in KCC1, which are all required for the ion transport activity. KCC1 adopts an inward-facing conformation, with the extracellular gate occluded. The KCC1 structures allow us to model a potential ion transport mechanism in KCCs and provide a blueprint for drug design.
Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
Rotavirus is an important cause of diarrheal disease in young mammals. Rotavirus species A (RVA) causes most human rotavirus diarrheal disease and primarily affects infants and young children. Rotavirus species B (RVB) has been associated with sporadic outbreaks of human adult diarrheal disease. RVA and RVB are predicted to encode mostly homologous proteins but differ significantly in the proteins encoded by the NSP1 gene. In the case of RVB, the NSP1 gene encodes two putative protein products of unknown function, NSP1-1 and NSP1-2. We demonstrate that human RVB NSP1-1 mediates syncytium formation in cultured human cells. Based on sequence alignment, NSP1-1 proteins from species B, G, and I contain features consistent with fusion-associated small transmembrane (FAST) proteins, which have previously been identified in other genera of the family. Like some other FAST proteins, RVB NSP1-1 is predicted to have an N-terminal myristoyl modification. Addition of an N-terminal FLAG peptide disrupts NSP1-1-mediated fusion. NSP1-1 from a human RVB mediates fusion of human cells but not hamster cells and, thus, may serve as a species tropism determinant. NSP1-1 also can enhance RVA replication in human cells, both in single-cycle infection studies and during a multicycle time course in the presence of fetal bovine serum, which inhibits rotavirus spread. These findings suggest potential yet untested roles for NSP1-1 in RVB species tropism, immune evasion, and pathogenesis. While species A rotavirus is commonly associated with diarrheal disease in young children, species B rotavirus has caused sporadic outbreaks of adult diarrheal disease. A major genetic difference between species A and B rotaviruses is the NSP1 gene, which encodes two proteins for species B rotavirus. We demonstrate that the smaller of these proteins, NSP1-1, can mediate fusion of cultured human cells. Comparison with viral proteins of similar function provides insight into NSP1-1 domain organization and fusion mechanism. These comparisons suggest that there is a fatty acid modification at the amino terminus of the protein, and our results show that an intact amino terminus is required for NSP1-1-mediated fusion. NSP1-1 from a human virus mediates fusion of human cells, but not hamster cells, and enhances species A rotavirus replication in culture. These findings suggest potential, but currently untested, roles for NSP1-1 in RVB host species tropism, immune evasion, and pathogenesis.
Copyright © 2019 American Society for Microbiology.
Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes the sexually-transmitted infection gonorrhea, a global disease that is difficult to treat and for which there is no vaccine. This pathogen employs an arsenal of conserved outer membrane proteins called TonB-dependent transporters (TdTs) that allow the gonococcus to overcome nutritional immunity, the host strategy of sequestering essential nutrients away from invading bacteria to handicap infectious ability. N. gonorrhoeae produces eight known TdTs, of which four are utilized for acquisition of iron or iron chelates from host-derived proteins or xenosiderophores produced by other bacteria. Of the remaining TdTs, two of them, TdfH and TdfJ, facilitate zinc uptake. TdfH was recently shown to bind Calprotectin, a member of the S100 protein family, and subsequently extract its zinc, which is then internalized by N. gonorrhoeae. Like Calprotectin, other S100s are also capable of binding transition metals such as zinc and copper, and thus have demonstrated growth suppression of numerous other pathogens via metal sequestration. Considering the functional and structural similarities of the TdTs and of the S100s, as well as the upregulation in response to Zn limitation shown by TdfH and TdfJ, we sought to evaluate whether other S100s have the ability to support gonococcal growth by means of zinc acquisition and to frame this growth in the context of the TdTs. We found that both S100A7 and S10012 are utilized by N. gonorrhoeae as a zinc source in a mechanism that depends on the zinc transport system ZnuABC. Moreover, TdfJ binds directly to S100A7, from which it internalizes zinc. This interaction is restricted to the human version of S100A7, and zinc presence in S100A7 is required to fully support gonococcal growth. These studies highlight how gonococci co-opt human nutritional immunity, by presenting a novel interaction between TdfJ and human S100A7 for overcoming host zinc restriction.
Probiotics can ameliorate diseases of humans and wildlife, but the mechanisms remain unclear. Host responses to interventions that change their microbiota are largely uncharacterized. We applied a consortium of four natural antifungal bacteria to the skin of endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs, Rana sierrae, before experimental exposure to the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). The probiotic microbes did not persist, nor did they protect hosts, and skin peptide sampling indicated immune modulation. We characterized a novel skin defense peptide brevinin-1Ma (FLPILAGLAANLVPKLICSITKKC) that was downregulated by the probiotic treatment. Brevinin-1Ma was tested against a range of amphibian skin cultures and found to inhibit growth of fungal pathogens Bd and B. salamandrivorans, but enhanced the growth of probiotic bacteria including Janthinobacterium lividum, Chryseobacterium ureilyticum, Serratia grimesii, and Pseudomonas sp. While commonly thought of as antimicrobial peptides, here brevinin-1Ma showed promicrobial function, facilitating microbial growth. Thus, skin exposure to probiotic bacterial cultures induced a shift in skin defense peptide profiles that appeared to act as an immune response functioning to regulate the microbiome. In addition to direct microbial antagonism, probiotic-host interactions may be a critical mechanism affecting disease resistance.
We tested the interactions with four different G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) of arrestin-3 mutants with substitutions in the four loops, three of which contact the receptor in the structure of the arrestin-1-rhodopsin complex. Point mutations in the loop at the distal tip of the N-domain (Glu157Ala), in the C-loop (Phe255Ala), back loop (Lys313Ala), and one of the mutations in the finger loop (Gly65Pro) had mild variable effects on receptor binding. In contrast, the deletion of Gly65 at the beginning of the finger loop reduced the binding to all GPCRs tested, with the binding to dopamine D2 receptor being affected most dramatically. Thus, the presence of a glycine at the beginning of the finger loop appears to be critical for the arrestin-receptor interaction.