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Adverse alterations in the composition of the gut microbiota have been implicated in the development of obesity and a variety of chronic diseases. Re-engineering the gut microbiota to produce beneficial metabolites is a potential strategy for treating these chronic diseases. N-acyl-phosphatidylethanolamines (NAPEs) are a family of bioactive lipids with known anti-obesity properties. Previous studies showed that administration of Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) engineered with Arabidopsis thaliana NAPE synthase to produce NAPEs imparted resistance to obesity induced by a high-fat diet that persisted after ending their administration. In prior studies, mice were pre-treated with ampicillin prior to administering engineered EcN for 8 weeks in drinking water. If use of antibiotics and long-term administration are required for beneficial effects, implementation of this strategy in humans might be problematic. Studies were therefore undertaken to determine if less onerous protocols could still impart persistent resistance and sustained NAPE biosynthesis. Administration of engineered EcN for only 2 weeks without pre-treatment with antibiotics sufficed to establish persistent resistance. Sustained NAPE biosynthesis by EcN was required as antibiotic treatment after administration of the engineered EcN markedly attenuated its effects. Finally, heterologous expression of human phospholipase A/acyltransferase-2 (PLAAT2) in EcN provided similar resistance to obesity as heterologous expression of A. thaliana NAPE synthase, confirming that NAPEs are the bioactive mediator of this resistance.
Photorespiration is a central component of photosynthesis; however to better understand its role it should be viewed in the context of an integrated metabolic network rather than a series of individual reactions that operate independently. Isotopically nonstationary C metabolic flux analysis (INST-MFA), which is based on transient labeling studies at metabolic steady state, offers a comprehensive platform to quantify plant central metabolism. In this chapter, we describe the application of INST-MFA to investigate metabolism in leaves. Leaves are an autotrophic tissue, assimilating CO over a diurnal period implying that the metabolic steady state is limited to less than 12 h and thus requiring an INST-MFA approach. This strategy results in a comprehensive unified description of photorespiration, Calvin cycle, sucrose and starch synthesis, tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, and amino acid biosynthetic fluxes. We present protocols of the experimental aspects for labeling studies: transient CO labeling of leaf tissue, sample quenching and extraction, mass spectrometry (MS) analysis of isotopic labeling data, measurement of sucrose and amino acids in vascular exudates, and provide details on the computational flux estimation using INST-MFA.
Food intake induces synthesis of -acylphosphatidylethanolamines (NAPEs) in the intestinal tract. While NAPEs exert leptin-like (leptogenic) effects, including reduced weight gain and food intake, the mechanisms by which NAPEs induce these leptogenic effects remain unclear. One key question is whether intestinal NAPEs act directly on cognate receptors or first require conversion to -acylethanolamides (NAEs) by NAPE-hydrolyzing phospholipase D (NAPE-PLD). Previous studies using mice were equivocal because intraperitoneal injection of NAPEs led to nonspecific aversive effects. To avoid the aversive effects of injection, we delivered NAPEs and NAEs intestinally using gut bacteria synthesizing these compounds. Unlike in wild-type mice, increasing intestinal levels of NAPE using NAPE-synthesizing bacteria in mice failed to reduce food intake and weight gain or alter gene expression. In contrast, increasing intestinal NAE levels in mice using NAE-synthesizing bacteria induced all of these effects. These NAE-synthesizing bacteria also markedly increased NAE levels and decreased inflammatory gene expression in omental adipose tissue. These results demonstrate that intestinal NAPEs require conversion to NAEs by the action of NAPE-PLD to exert their various leptogenic effects, so that the reduced intestinal NAPE-PLD activity found in obese subjects may directly contribute to excess food intake and obesity.
Copyright © 2017 by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
A cellulose synthesis complex with a "rosette" shape is responsible for synthesis of cellulose chains and their assembly into microfibrils within the cell walls of land plants and their charophyte algal progenitors. The number of cellulose synthase proteins in this large multisubunit transmembrane protein complex and the number of cellulose chains in a microfibril have been debated for many years. This work reports a low resolution structure of the catalytic domain of CESA1 from Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana; AtCESA1CatD) determined by small-angle scattering techniques and provides the first experimental evidence for the self-assembly of CESA into a stable trimer in solution. The catalytic domain was overexpressed in Escherichia coli, and using a two-step procedure, it was possible to isolate monomeric and trimeric forms of AtCESA1CatD. The conformation of monomeric and trimeric AtCESA1CatD proteins were studied using small-angle neutron scattering and small-angle x-ray scattering. A series of AtCESA1CatD trimer computational models were compared with the small-angle x-ray scattering trimer profile to explore the possible arrangement of the monomers in the trimers. Several candidate trimers were identified with monomers oriented such that the newly synthesized cellulose chains project toward the cell membrane. In these models, the class-specific region is found at the periphery of the complex, and the plant-conserved region forms the base of the trimer. This study strongly supports the "hexamer of trimers" model for the rosette cellulose synthesis complex that synthesizes an 18-chain cellulose microfibril as its fundamental product.
© 2016 American Society of Plant Biologists. All Rights Reserved.
Improving plant productivity is an important aim for metabolic engineering. There are few comprehensive methods that quantitatively describe leaf metabolism, although such information would be valuable for increasing photosynthetic capacity, enhancing biomass production, and rerouting carbon flux toward desirable end products. Isotopically nonstationary metabolic flux analysis (INST-MFA) has been previously applied to map carbon fluxes in photoautotrophic bacteria, which involves model-based regression of transient (13)C-labeling patterns of intracellular metabolites. However, experimental and computational difficulties have hindered its application to terrestrial plant systems. We performed in vivo isotopic labeling of Arabidopsis thaliana rosettes with (13)CO2 and estimated fluxes throughout leaf photosynthetic metabolism by INST-MFA. Plants grown at 200 µmol m(-2)s(-1) light were compared with plants acclimated for 9 d at an irradiance of 500 µmol⋅m(-2)⋅s(-1). Approximately 1,400 independent mass isotopomer measurements obtained from analysis of 37 metabolite fragment ions were regressed to estimate 136 total fluxes (54 free fluxes) under each condition. The results provide a comprehensive description of changes in carbon partitioning and overall photosynthetic flux after long-term developmental acclimation of leaves to high light. Despite a doubling in the carboxylation rate, the photorespiratory flux increased from 17 to 28% of net CO2 assimilation with high-light acclimation (Vc/Vo: 3.5:1 vs. 2.3:1, respectively). This study highlights the potential of (13)C INST-MFA to describe emergent flux phenotypes that respond to environmental conditions or plant physiology and cannot be obtained by other complementary approaches.
Metabolic disorders, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, are widespread in Westernized nations. Gut microbiota composition is a contributing factor to the susceptibility of an individual to the development of these disorders; therefore, altering a person's microbiota may ameliorate disease. One potential microbiome-altering strategy is the incorporation of modified bacteria that express therapeutic factors into the gut microbiota. For example, N-acylphosphatidylethanolamines (NAPEs) are precursors to the N-acylethanolamide (NAE) family of lipids, which are synthesized in the small intestine in response to feeding and reduce food intake and obesity. Here, we demonstrated that administration of engineered NAPE-expressing E. coli Nissle 1917 bacteria in drinking water for 8 weeks reduced the levels of obesity in mice fed a high-fat diet. Mice that received modified bacteria had dramatically lower food intake, adiposity, insulin resistance, and hepatosteatosis compared with mice receiving standard water or control bacteria. The protective effects conferred by NAPE-expressing bacteria persisted for at least 4 weeks after their removal from the drinking water. Moreover, administration of NAPE-expressing bacteria to TallyHo mice, a polygenic mouse model of obesity, inhibited weight gain. Our results demonstrate that incorporation of appropriately modified bacteria into the gut microbiota has potential as an effective strategy to inhibit the development of metabolic disorders.
Methylation of cytosine to 5-methylcytosine (5mC) is important for gene expression, gene imprinting, X-chromosome inactivation, and transposon silencing. Active demethylation in animals is believed to proceed by DNA glycosylase removal of deaminated or oxidized 5mC. In plants, 5mC is removed from the genome directly by the DEMETER (DME) family of DNA glycosylases. Arabidopsis thaliana DME excises 5mC to activate expression of maternally imprinted genes. Although the related Repressor of Silencing 1 (ROS1) enzyme has been characterized, the molecular basis for 5mC recognition by DME has not been investigated. Here, we present a structure-function analysis of DME and the related DME-like 3 (DML3) glycosylases for 5mC and its oxidized derivatives. Relative to 5mC, DME and DML3 exhibited robust activity toward 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, limited activity for 5-carboxylcytosine, and no activity for 5-formylcytosine. We used homology modeling and mutational analysis of base excision and DNA binding to identify residues important for recognition of 5mC within the context of DNA and inside the enzyme active site. Our results indicate that the 5mC binding pocket is composed of residues from discrete domains and is responsible for discrimination against 5mC derivatives, and suggest that DME, ROS1, and DML3 utilize subtly different mechanisms to probe the DNA duplex for cytosine modifications.
In plants and animals, 5-methylcytosine (5mC) serves as an epigenetic mark to repress gene expression, playing critical roles for cellular differentiation and transposon silencing. Mammals also have 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), resulting from hydroxylation of 5mC by TET family-enzymes. 5hmC is abundant in mouse Purkinje neurons and embryonic stem cells, and regarded as an important intermediate for active DNA demethylation in mammals. However, the presence of 5hmC in plants has not been clearly demonstrated. In Arabidopsis, the DEMETER (DME) family DNA glycosylases efficiently remove 5mC, which results in DNA demethylation and transcriptional activation of target genes. Here we show that DME and ROS1 have a significant 5hmC excision activity in vitro, although we detected no 5hmC in Arabidopsis, suggesting that it is very unlikely for plants to utilize 5hmC as a DNA demethylation intermediate. Our results indicate that both plants and animals have 5mC in common but DNA demethylation systems have independently evolved with distinct mechanisms.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Canonical translation initiation in eukaryotes begins with the Eukaryotic Initiation Factor 4F (eIF4F) complex, made up of eIF4E, which recognizes the 7-methylguanosine cap of messenger RNA, and eIF4G, which serves as a scaffold to recruit other translation initiation factors that ultimately assemble the 80S ribosome. Many eukaryotes have secondary EIF4E genes with divergent properties. The model plant Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) encodes two such genes in tandem loci on chromosome 1, EIF4E1B (At1g29550) and EIF4E1C (At1g29590). This work identifies EIF4E1B/EIF4E1C-type genes as a Brassicaceae-specific diverged form of EIF4E. There is little evidence for EIF4E1C gene expression; however, the EIF4E1B gene appears to be expressed at low levels in most tissues, though microarray and RNA Sequencing data support enrichment in reproductive tissue. Purified recombinant eIF4E1b and eIF4E1c proteins retain cap-binding ability and form functional complexes in vitro with eIF4G. The eIF4E1b/eIF4E1c-type proteins support translation in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) but promote translation initiation in vitro at a lower rate compared with eIF4E. Findings from surface plasmon resonance studies indicate that eIF4E1b and eIF4E1c are unlikely to bind eIF4G in vivo when in competition with eIF4E. This study concludes that eIF4E1b/eIF4E1c-type proteins, although bona fide cap-binding proteins, have divergent properties and, based on apparent limited tissue distribution in Arabidopsis, should be considered functionally distinct from the canonical plant eIF4E involved in translation initiation.
During the development of the peripheral nervous system there is extensive apoptosis, and these neuronal corpses need to be cleared to prevent an inflammatory response. Recently, Jedi-1 and MEGF10, both expressed in glial precursor cells, were identified in mouse as having an essential role in this phagocytosis (Wu et al., 2009); however, the mechanisms by which they promote engulfment remained unknown. Both Jedi-1 and MEGF10 are homologous to the Drosophila melanogaster receptor Draper, which mediates engulfment through activation of the tyrosine kinase Shark. Here, we identify Syk, the mammalian homolog of Shark, as a signal transducer for both Jedi-1 and MEGF10. Syk interacted with each receptor independently through the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAMs) in their intracellular domains. The interaction was enhanced by phosphorylation of the tyrosines in the ITAMs by Src family kinases (SFKs). Jedi association with Syk and activation of the kinase was also induced by exposure to dead cells. Expression of either Jedi-1 or MEGF10 in HeLa cells facilitated engulfment of carboxylated microspheres to a similar extent, and there was no additive effect when they were coexpressed. Mutation of the ITAM tyrosines of Jedi-1 and MEGF10 prevented engulfment. The SFK inhibitor PP2 or a selective Syk inhibitor (BAY 61-3606) also blocked engulfment. Similarly, in cocultures of glial precursors and dying sensory neurons from embryonic mice, addition of PP2 or knock down of endogenous Syk decreased the phagocytosis of apoptotic neurons. These results indicate that both Jedi-1 and MEGF10 can mediate phagocytosis independently through the recruitment of Syk.