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IMPACT STATEMENT - Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is associated with vasospasm that is refractory to traditional vasodilators, and inhibition of vasospasm after SAH remains a large unmet clinical need. SAH causes changes in the phosphorylation state of the small heat shock proteins (HSPs), HSP20 and HSP27, in the vasospastic vessels. In this study, the levels of HSP27 and HSP20 were manipulated using nanotechnology to mimic the intracellular phenotype of SAH-induced vasospasm, and the effect of this manipulation was tested on vasomotor responses in intact tissues. This work provides insight into potential therapeutic targets for the development of more effective treatments for SAH induced vasospasm.
Bexarotene is a pleiotropic molecule that has been proposed as an amyloid-β (Aβ)-lowering drug for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). It acts by upregulation of an apolipoprotein E (apoE)-mediated Aβ clearance mechanism. However, whether bexarotene induces removal of Aβ plaques in mouse models of AD has been controversial. Here, we show by NMR and CD spectroscopy that bexarotene directly interacts with and stabilizes the transmembrane domain α-helix of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) in a region where cholesterol binds. This effect is not mediated by changes in membrane lipid packing, as bexarotene does not share with cholesterol the property of inducing phospholipid condensation. Bexarotene inhibited the intramembrane cleavage by γ-secretase of the APP C-terminal fragment C99 to release Aβ in cell-free assays of the reconstituted enzyme in liposomes, but not in cells, and only at very high micromolar concentrations. Surprisingly, in vitro, bexarotene also inhibited the cleavage of Notch1, another major γ-secretase substrate, demonstrating that its inhibition of γ-secretase is not substrate specific and not mediated by acting via the cholesterol binding site of C99. Our data suggest that bexarotene is a pleiotropic molecule that interfere with Aβ metabolism through multiple mechanisms.
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the most important signal transducers in higher eukaryotes. Despite considerable progress, the molecular basis of subtype-specific ligand selectivity, especially for peptide receptors, remains unknown. Here, by integrating DNP-enhanced solid-state NMR spectroscopy with advanced molecular modeling and docking, the mechanism of the subtype selectivity of human bradykinin receptors for their peptide agonists has been resolved. The conserved middle segments of the bound peptides show distinct conformations that result in different presentations of their N and C termini toward their receptors. Analysis of the peptide-receptor interfaces reveals that the charged N-terminal residues of the peptides are mainly selected through electrostatic interactions, whereas the C-terminal segments are recognized via both conformations and interactions. The detailed molecular picture obtained by this approach opens a new gateway for exploring the complex conformational and chemical space of peptides and peptide analogs for designing GPCR subtype-selective biochemical tools and drugs.
Current clinical treatment of infection, the main etiological factor in the development of gastritis, gastric ulcers, and gastric carcinoma, requires a combination of at least two antibiotics and one proton pump inhibitor. However, such triple therapy suffers from progressively decreased therapeutic efficacy due to the drug resistance and undesired killing of the commensal bacteria due to poor selectivity. Here, we report the development of antimicrobial polypeptide-based monotherapy, which can specifically kill under acidic pH in the stomach while inducing minimal toxicity to commensal bacteria under physiological pH. Specifically, we designed a class of pH-sensitive, helix-coil conformation transitionable antimicrobial polypeptides (HCT-AMPs) (PGA)--(PHLG-MHH), bearing randomly distributed negatively charged glutamic acid and positively charged poly(γ-6--(methyldihexylammonium)hexyl-l-glutamate) (PHLG-MHH) residues. The HCT-AMPs showed unappreciable toxicity at physiological pH when they adopted random coiled conformation. Under acidic condition in the stomach, they transformed to the helical structure and exhibited potent antibacterial activity against , including clinically isolated drug-resistant strains. After oral gavage, the HCT-AMPs afforded comparable killing efficacy to the triple-therapy approach while inducing minimal toxicity against normal tissues and commensal bacteria, in comparison with the remarkable killing of commensal bacteria by 65% and 86% in the ileal contents and feces, respectively, following triple therapy. This strategy renders an effective approach to specifically target and kill in the stomach while not harming the commensal bacteria/normal tissues.
The glomerular basement membrane (GBM) is an essential component of the glomerular filtration barrier. Heparan sulfate proteoglycans such as agrin are major components of the GBM, along with α345(IV) collagen, laminin-521 and nidogen. A loss of GBM heparan sulfate chains is associated with proteinuria in several glomerular diseases and may contribute to the underlying pathology. As the major determinants of the anionic charge of the GBM, heparan sulfate chains have been thought to impart charge selectivity to the glomerular filtration, a view challenged by the negligible albuminuria in mice that lack heparan sulfate in the GBM. Recent studies provide increasing evidence that heparan sulfate chains modulate local complement activation by recruiting complement regulatory protein factor H, the major inhibitor of the alternative pathway in plasma. Factor H selectively inactivates C3b bound to surfaces bearing host-specific polyanions such as heparan sulfate, thus limiting complement activation on self surfaces such as the GBM, which are not protected by cell-bound complement regulators. We discuss mechanisms whereby the acquired loss of GBM heparan sulfate can impair the local regulation of the alternative pathway, exacerbating complement activation and glomerular injury in immune-mediated kidney diseases such as membranous nephropathy and lupus nephritis.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX-1 and COX-2) catalyze the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandin G2. The inhibitory activity of rapid, reversible COX inhibitors (ibuprofen, naproxen, mefenamic acid, and lumiracoxib) demonstrated a significant increase in potency and time dependence of inhibition against double tryptophan murine COX-2 mutants at the 89/90 and 89/119 positions. In contrast, the slow, time-dependent COX inhibitors (diclofenac, indomethacin, and flurbiprofen) were unaffected by those mutations. Further mutagenesis studies suggested that mutation at position 89 was principally responsible for the changes in inhibitory potency of rapid, reversible inhibitors, whereas mutation at position 90 may exert some effect on the potency of COX-2-selective diarylheterocycle inhibitors; no effect was observed with mutation at position 119. Several crystal structures with or without NSAIDs indicated that placement of a bulky residue at position 89 caused a closure of a gap at the lobby, and alteration of histidine to tryptophan at position 90 changed the electrostatic profile of the side pocket of COX-2. Thus, these two residues, especially Val-89 at the lobby region, are crucial for the entrance and exit of some NSAIDs from the COX active site.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
The use of ion/ion reactions to effect gas-phase alkylation is demonstrated. Commonly used fixed-charge "onium" cations are well-suited for ion/ion reactions with multiply deprotonated analytes because of their tendency to form long-lived electrostatic complexes. Activation of these complexes results in an SN2 reaction that yields an alkylated anion with the loss of a neutral remnant of the reagent. This alkylation process forms the basis of a general method for alkylation of deprotonated analytes generated via electrospray, and is demonstrated on a variety of anionic sites. SN2 reactions of this nature are demonstrated empirically and characterized using density functional theory (DFT). This method for modification in the gas phase is extended to the transfer of larger and more complex R groups that can be used in later gas-phase synthesis steps. For example, N-cyclohexyl-N'-(2-morpholinoethyl)carbodiimide (CMC) is used to transfer a carbodiimide functionality to a peptide anion containing a carboxylic acid. Subsequent activation yields a selective reaction between the transferred carbodiimide group and a carboxylic acid, suggesting the carbodiimide functionality is retained through the transfer process. Many different R groups are transferable using this method, allowing for new possibilities for charge manipulation and derivatization in the gas phase.
UNLABELLED - Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a reemerging arbovirus responsible for outbreaks of infection throughout Asia and Africa, causing an acute illness characterized by fever, rash, and polyarthralgia. Although CHIKV infects a broad range of host cells, little is known about how CHIKV binds and gains access to the target cell interior. In this study, we tested whether glycosaminoglycan (GAG) binding is required for efficient CHIKV replication using CHIKV vaccine strain 181/25 and clinical isolate SL15649. Preincubation of strain 181/25, but not SL15649, with soluble GAGs resulted in dose-dependent inhibition of infection. While parental Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells are permissive for both strains, neither strain efficiently bound to or infected mutant CHO cells devoid of GAG expression. Although GAGs appear to be required for efficient binding of both strains, they exhibit differential requirements for GAGs, as SL15649 readily infected cells that express excess chondroitin sulfate but that are devoid of heparan sulfate, whereas 181/25 did not. We generated a panel of 181/25 and SL15649 variants containing reciprocal amino acid substitutions at positions 82 and 318 in the E2 glycoprotein. Reciprocal exchange at residue 82 resulted in a phenotype switch; Gly(82) results in efficient infection of mutant CHO cells but a decrease in heparin binding, whereas Arg(82) results in reduced infectivity of mutant cells and an increase in heparin binding. These results suggest that E2 residue 82 is a primary determinant of GAG utilization, which likely mediates attenuation of vaccine strain 181/25.
IMPORTANCE - Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection causes a debilitating rheumatic disease that can persist for months to years, and yet there are no licensed vaccines or antiviral therapies. Like other alphaviruses, CHIKV displays broad tissue tropism, which is thought to be influenced by virus-receptor interactions. In this study, we determined that cell-surface glycosaminoglycans are utilized by both a vaccine strain and a clinical isolate of CHIKV to mediate virus binding. We also identified an amino acid polymorphism in the viral E2 attachment protein that influences utilization of glycosaminoglycans. These data enhance an understanding of the viral and host determinants of CHIKV cell entry, which may foster development of new antivirals that act by blocking this key step in viral infection.
Replication protein A (RPA) is the primary single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) binding protein in eukaryotes. The N-terminal domain of the RPA70 subunit (RPA70N) interacts via a basic cleft with a wide range of DNA processing proteins, including several that regulate DNA damage response and repair. Small molecule inhibitors that disrupt these protein-protein interactions are therefore of interest as chemical probes of these critical DNA processing pathways and as inhibitors to counter the upregulation of DNA damage response and repair associated with treatment of cancer patients with radiation or DNA-damaging agents. Determination of three-dimensional structures of protein-ligand complexes is an important step for elaboration of small molecule inhibitors. However, although crystal structures of free RPA70N and an RPA70N-peptide fusion construct have been reported, RPA70N-inhibitor complexes have been recalcitrant to crystallization. Analysis of the P61 lattice of RPA70N crystals led us to hypothesize that the ligand-binding surface was occluded. Surface reengineering to alter key crystal lattice contacts led to the design of RPA70N E7R, E100R, and E7R/E100R mutants. These mutants crystallized in a P212121 lattice that clearly had significant solvent channels open to the critical basic cleft. Analysis of X-ray crystal structures, target peptide binding affinities, and (15)N-(1)H heteronuclear single-quantum coherence nuclear magnetic resonance spectra showed that the mutations do not result in perturbations of the RPA70N ligand-binding surface. The success of the design was demonstrated by determining the structure of RPA70N E7R soaked with a ligand discovered in a previously reported molecular fragment screen. A fluorescence anisotropy competition binding assay revealed this compound can inhibit the interaction of RPA70N with the peptide binding motif from the DNA damage response protein ATRIP. The implications of the results are discussed in the context of ongoing efforts to design RPA70N inhibitors.
In the cyanobacteria Synechococcus elongatus and Thermosynechococcus elongatus, the KaiA, KaiB and KaiC proteins in the presence of ATP generate a post-translational oscillator (PTO) that can be reconstituted in vitro. KaiC is the result of a gene duplication and resembles a double doughnut with N-terminal CI and C-terminal CII hexameric rings. Six ATPs are bound between subunits in both the CI and CII ring. CI harbors ATPase activity, and CII catalyzes phosphorylation and dephosphorylation at T432 and S431 with a ca. 24-h period. KaiA stimulates KaiC phosphorylation, and KaiB promotes KaiC subunit exchange and sequesters KaiA on the KaiB-KaiC interface in the final stage of the clock cycle. Studies of the PTO protein-protein interactions are convergent in terms of KaiA binding to CII but have led to two opposing models of the KaiB-KaiC interaction. Electron microscopy (EM) and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), together with native PAGE using full-length proteins and separate CI and CII rings, are consistent with binding of KaiB to CII. Conversely, NMR together with gel filtration chromatography and denatured PAGE using monomeric CI and CII domains support KaiB binding to CI. To resolve the existing controversy, we studied complexes between KaiB and gold-labeled, full-length KaiC with negative stain EM. The EM data clearly demonstrate that KaiB contacts the CII ring. Together with the outcomes of previous analyses, our work establishes that only CII participates in interactions with KaiA and KaiB as well as with the His kinase SasA involved in the clock output pathway.