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Thermobifida fuscaLam81A is a single domain family-81 beta-1,3-endoglucanase, but no structure is known for this family. Site-directed mutagenesis of 14 conserved residues chosen from sequence alignments was used to identify those with critical roles in catalysis, binding or substrate specificity. Mutant enzymes were assayed for their ability to bind and hydrolyze substrates with various glycosyl linkages. Residues D422, E499 and E503 were candidates for the catalytic acid or catalytic base, and E499 was shown to be the catalytic base by azide rescue. F425 was shown to have a major role in substrate binding possibly mediated by aromatic ring stacking with the sugar substrate. In addition, mutation of D424 to histidine altered the substrate specificity by increasing the rate of cleavage of mixed-linkage beta-glucan and carboxymethyl-cellulose, 60- and 16-fold, respectively, over the wild-type enzyme.
The mechanism of mitochondrial damage, a key contributor to renal tubular cell death during acute kidney injury, remains largely unknown. Here, we have demonstrated a striking morphological change of mitochondria in experimental models of renal ischemia/reperfusion and cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. This change contributed to mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization, release of apoptogenic factors, and consequent apoptosis. Following either ATP depletion or cisplatin treatment of rat renal tubular cells, mitochondrial fragmentation was observed prior to cytochrome c release and apoptosis. This mitochondrial fragmentation was inhibited by Bcl2 but not by caspase inhibitors. Dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), a critical mitochondrial fission protein, translocated to mitochondria early during tubular cell injury, and both siRNA knockdown of Drp1 and expression of a dominant-negative Drp1 attenuated mitochondrial fragmentation, cytochrome c release, caspase activation, and apoptosis. Further in vivo analysis revealed that mitochondrial fragmentation also occurred in proximal tubular cells in mice during renal ischemia/reperfusion and cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity. Notably, both tubular cell apoptosis and acute kidney injury were attenuated by mdivi-1, a newly identified pharmacological inhibitor of Drp1. This study demonstrates a rapid regulation of mitochondrial dynamics during acute kidney injury and identifies mitochondrial fragmentation as what we believe to be a novel mechanism contributing to mitochondrial damage and apoptosis in vivo in mouse models of disease.