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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.
Lens crystallin proteins make up 90% of expressed proteins in the ocular lens and are primarily responsible for maintaining lens transparency and establishing the gradient of refractive index necessary for proper focusing of images onto the retina. Age-related modifications to lens crystallins have been linked to insolubilization and cataractogenesis in human lenses. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) has been shown to provide spatial maps of such age-related modifications. Previous work demonstrated that, under standard protein IMS conditions, α-crystallin signals dominated the mass spectrum and age-related modifications to α-crystallins could be mapped. In the current study, a new sample preparation method was optimized to allow imaging of β- and γ-crystallins in ocular lens tissue. Acquired images showed that γ-crystallins were localized predominately in the lens nucleus whereas β-crystallins were primarily localized to the lens cortex. Age-related modifications such as truncation, acetylation, and carbamylation were identified and spatially mapped. Protein identifications were determined by top-down proteomics analysis of lens proteins extracted from tissue sections and analyzed by LC-MS/MS with electron transfer dissociation. This new sample preparation method combined with the standard method allows the major lens crystallins to be mapped by MALDI IMS.
© 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
The accurate and specific detection of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in different cellular and tissue compartments is essential to the study of redox-regulated signaling in biological settings. Electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) is the only direct method to assess free radicals unambiguously. Its advantage is that it detects physiologic levels of specific species with a high specificity, but it does require specialized technology, careful sample preparation, and appropriate controls to ensure accurate interpretation of the data. Cyclic hydroxylamine spin probes react selectively with superoxide or other radicals to generate a nitroxide signal that can be quantified by EPR spectroscopy. Cell-permeable spin probes and spin probes designed to accumulate rapidly in the mitochondria allow for the determination of superoxide concentration in different cellular compartments. In cultured cells, the use of cell permeable 1-hydroxy-3-methoxycarbonyl-2,2,5,5-tetramethylpyrrolidine (CMH) along with and without cell-impermeable superoxide dismutase (SOD) pretreatment, or use of cell-permeable PEG-SOD, allows for the differentiation of extracellular from cytosolic superoxide. The mitochondrial 1-hydroxy-4-[2-triphenylphosphonio)-acetamido]-2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-piperidine,1-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4-[2-(triphenylphosphonio)acetamido] piperidinium dichloride (mito-TEMPO-H) allows for measurement of mitochondrial ROS (predominantly superoxide). Spin probes and EPR spectroscopy can also be applied to in vivo models. Superoxide can be detected in extracellular fluids such as blood and alveolar fluid, as well as tissues such as lung tissue. Several methods are presented to process and store tissue for EPR measurements and deliver intravenous 1-hydroxy-3-carboxy-2,2,5,5-tetramethylpyrrolidine (CPH) spin probe in vivo. While measurements can be performed at room temperature, samples obtained from in vitro and in vivo models can also be stored at -80 °C and analyzed by EPR at 77 K. The samples can be stored in specialized tubing stable at -80 °C and run at 77 K to enable a practical, efficient, and reproducible method that facilitates storing and transferring samples.
Purpose - The purpose of this study was to characterize the palmitoyl-proteome in lens fiber cells. S-palmitoylation is the most common form of protein S-acylation and the reversible nature of this modification functions as a molecular switch to regulate many biological processes. This modification could play important roles in regulating protein functions and protein-protein interactions in the lens.
Methods - The palmitoyl-proteome of bovine lens fiber cells was investigated by combining acyl-biotin exchange (ABE) chemistry and mass-spectrometry analysis. Due to the possibility of false-positive results from ABE experiment, a method was also developed for direct detection of palmitoylated peptides by mass spectrometry for validating palmitoylation of lens proteins MP20 and AQP5. Palmitoylation levels on AQP5 in different regions of the lens were quantified after iodoacetamide (IAA)-palmitate exchange.
Results - The ABE experiment identified 174 potential palmitoylated proteins. These proteins include 39 well-characterized palmitoylated proteins, 92 previously reported palmitoylated proteins in other tissues, and 43 newly identified potential palmitoylated proteins including two important transmembrane proteins in the lens, AQP5 and MP20. Further analysis by direct detection of palmitoylated peptides confirmed palmitoylation of AQP5 on C6 and palmitoylation of MP20 on C159. Palmitoylation of AQP5 was found to only occur in a narrow region of the inner lens cortex and does not occur in the lens epithelium, in the lens outer cortex, or in the lens nucleus.
Conclusions - AQP5 and MP20 are among 174 palmitoylated proteins found in bovine lens fiber cells. This modification to AQP5 and MP20 may play a role in their translocation from the cytoplasm to cell membranes during fiber cell differentiation.
Intimal stiffening has been linked with increased vascular permeability and leukocyte transmigration, hallmarks of atherosclerosis. However, recent evidence indicates age-related intimal stiffening is not uniform but rather characterized by increased point-to-point heterogeneity in subendothelial matrix stiffness, the impact of which is much less understood. To investigate the impact of spatially heterogeneous matrix rigidity on endothelial monolayer integrity, we develop a micropillar model to introduce closely-spaced, step-changes in substrate rigidity and compare endothelial monolayer phenotype to rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff and compliant substrates. We found equivalent disruption of adherens junctions within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates relative to uniformly compliant substrates. Similarly, monolayers cultured on step-rigidity substrates exhibited equivalent percentages of leukocyte transmigration to monolayers on rigidity-matched, uniformly stiff substrates. Adherens junction tension and focal adhesion density, but not size, increased within monolayers on step-rigidity and uniformly stiff substrates compared to more compliant substrates suggesting that elevated tension is disrupting adherens junction integrity. Leukocyte transmigration frequency and time, focal adhesion size, and focal adhesion density did not differ between stiff and compliant sub-regions of step-rigidity substrates. Overall, our results suggest that endothelial monolayers exposed to mechanically heterogeneous substrates adopt the phenotype associated with the stiffer matrix, indicating that spatial heterogeneities in intimal stiffness observed with age could disrupt endothelial barrier integrity and contribute to atherogenesis.
Cell contraction regulates how cells sense their mechanical environment. We sought to identify the set-point of cell contraction, also referred to as tensional homeostasis. In this work, bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAECs), cultured on substrates with different stiffness, were characterized using traction force microscopy (TFM). Numerical models were developed to provide insights into the mechanics of cell-substrate interactions. Cell contraction was modeled as eigenstrain which could induce isometric cell contraction without external forces. The predicted traction stresses matched well with TFM measurements. Furthermore, our numerical model provided cell stress and displacement maps for inspecting the fundamental regulating mechanism of cell mechanosensing. We showed that cell spread area, traction force on a substrate, as well as the average stress of a cell were increased in response to a stiffer substrate. However, the cell average strain, which is cell type-specific, was kept at the same level regardless of the substrate stiffness. This indicated that the cell average strain is the tensional homeostasis that each type of cell tries to maintain. Furthermore, cell contraction in terms of eigenstrain was found to be the same for both BAECs and fibroblast cells in different mechanical environments. This implied a potential mechanical set-point across different cell types. Our results suggest that additional measurements of contractility might be useful for monitoring cell mechanosensing as well as dynamic remodeling of the extracellular matrix (ECM). This work could help to advance the understanding of the cell-ECM relationship, leading to better regenerative strategies.
A unique aspect of arrestin-3 is its ability to support both receptor-dependent and receptor-independent signaling. Here, we show that inositol hexakisphosphate (IP) is a non-receptor activator of arrestin-3 and report the structure of IP-activated arrestin-3 at 2.4-Å resolution. IP-activated arrestin-3 exhibits an inter-domain twist and a displaced C-tail, hallmarks of active arrestin. IP binds to the arrestin phosphate sensor, and is stabilized by trimerization. Analysis of the trimerization surface, which is also the receptor-binding surface, suggests a feature called the finger loop as a key region of the activation sensor. We show that finger loop helicity and flexibility may underlie coupling to hundreds of diverse receptors and also promote arrestin-3 activation by IP. Importantly, we show that effector-binding sites on arrestins have distinct conformations in the basal and activated states, acting as switch regions. These switch regions may work with the inter-domain twist to initiate and direct arrestin-mediated signaling.
The emergence of microscale thermophoresis (MST) as a technique for determining the dissociation constants for bimolecular interactions has enabled these quantities to be measured in systems that were previously difficult or impracticable. However, most models for analyses of these data featured the assumption of a simple 1:1 binding interaction. The only model widely used for multiple binding sites was the Hill equation. Here, we describe two new MST analytic models that assume a 1:2 binding scheme: the first features two microscopic binding constants (K(1) and K(2)), while the other assumes symmetry in the bivalent molecule, culminating in a model with a single macroscopic dissociation constant (K) and a single factor (α) that accounts for apparent cooperativity in the binding. We also discuss the general applicability of the Hill equation for MST data. The performances of the algorithms on both real and simulated data are assessed, and implementation of the algorithms in the MST analysis program PALMIST is discussed.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Studies of regulatory activity and gene expression have revealed an intriguing dichotomy: There is substantial turnover in the regulatory activity of orthologous sequences between species; however, the expression level of orthologous genes is largely conserved. Understanding how distal regulatory elements, for example, enhancers, evolve and function is critical, as alterations in gene expression levels can drive the development of both complex disease and functional divergence between species. In this study, we investigated determinants of the conservation of regulatory enhancer activity for orthologous sequences across mammalian evolution. Using liver enhancers identified from genome-wide histone modification profiles in ten diverse mammalian species, we compared orthologous sequences that exhibited regulatory activity in all species (conserved-activity enhancers) to shared sequences active only in a single species (species-specific-activity enhancers). Conserved-activity enhancers have greater regulatory potential than species-specific-activity enhancers, as quantified by both the density and diversity of transcription factor binding motifs. Consistent with their greater regulatory potential, conserved-activity enhancers have greater regulatory activity in humans than species-specific-activity enhancers: They are active across more cellular contexts, and they regulate more genes than species-specific-activity enhancers. Furthermore, the genes regulated by conserved-activity enhancers are expressed in more tissues and are less tolerant of loss-of-function mutations than those targeted by species-specific-activity enhancers. These consistent results across various stages of gene regulation demonstrate that conserved-activity enhancers are more pleiotropic than their species-specific-activity counterparts. This suggests that pleiotropy is associated with the conservation of regulatory across mammalian evolution.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.