2011 Vol. 2, No. 6

A “bitter” end to asthma revealed
Min-Sheng Zhu
2011, 2(6): 433-434. doi: 10.1007/s13238-011-1066-6
Dr. Chen-lu Tsou: a tireless advocate for advancement in the standards of scientific research in China
Chih-chen Wang, Zhi-Xin Wang, Baoyuan Zhang, Ming Li
2011, 2(6): 435-436. doi: 10.1007/s13238-011-1067-5
Exploring the obscure profiles of pharmacological binding sites on voltage-gated sodium channels by BmK neurotoxins
Zhi-Rui Liu, Pin Ye, Yong-Hua Ji
2011, 2(6): 437-444. doi: 10.1007/s13238-011-1064-8
Diverse subtypes of voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) have been found throughout tissues of the brain, muscles and the heart. Neurotoxins extracted from the venom of the Asian scorpion Buthus martensi Karsch (BmK) act as sodium channel-specific modulators and have therefore been widely used to study VGSCs. α-type neurotoxins, named BmK I, BmK αIV and BmK abT, bind to receptor site-3 on VGSCs and can strongly prolong the inactivation phase of VGSCs. In contrast, β-type neurotoxins, named BmK AS, BmK AS-1, BmK IT and BmK IT2, occupy receptor site-4 on VGSCs and can suppress peak currents and hyperpolarize the activation kinetics of sodium channels. Accumulating evidence from binding assays of scorpion neurotoxins on VGSCs, however, indicate that pharmacological sensitivity of VGSC subtypes to different modulators is much more complex than that suggested by the simple α-type and β-type neurotoxin distinction. Exploring the mechanisms of possible dynamic interactions between site 3-/4-specific modulators and region-and/or speciesspecific subtypes of VGSCs would therefore greatly expand our understanding of the physiological and pharmacological properties of diverse VGSCs. In this review, we discuss the pharmacological and structural diversity of VGSCs as revealed by studies exploring the binding properties and cross-competitive binding of site 3-or site 4-specific modulators in VGSC subtypes in synaptosomes from distinct tissues of diverse species.
Protein microarray biosensors based on imaging ellipsometry techniques and their applications
Yu Niu, Gang Jin
2011, 2(6): 445-455. doi: 10.1007/s13238-011-1054-x
After years of development, biosensors based on imaging ellipsometry and biosensors based on total internal reflection imaging ellipsometry have been suc cessfully implemented in various engineering systems. Their experimental setups, detection principles, and biological and clinical applications are briefly reviewed.
The impact of acetylation and deacetylation on the p53 pathway
Christopher L. Brooks, Wei Gu
2011, 2(6): 456-462. doi: 10.1007/s13238-011-1063-9
The p53 tumor suppressor is a sequence-specific transcription factor that undergoes an abundance of post-translational modifications for its regulation and activation. Acetylation of p53 is an important reversible enzymatic process that occurs in response to DNA damage and genotoxic stress and is indispensible for p53 transcriptional activity. p53 was the first non-histone protein shown to be acetylated by histone acetyl transferases, and a number of more recent in vivo models have underscored the importance of this type of modification for p53 activity. Here, we review the current knowledge and recent findings of p53 acetylation and deacetylation and discuss the implications of these processes for the p53 pathway.
CCAAT/enhancer binding proteins play a role in oriLyt-dependent genome replication during MHV-68 de novo infection
Jing Qi, Danyang Gong, Hongyu Deng
2011, 2(6): 463-469. doi: 10.1007/s13238-011-1060-z
Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68), a member of the gammaherpesvirus family, replicates robustly in permissive cell lines and is able to infect laboratory mice. MHV-68 has emerged as a model for studying the basic aspects of viral replication and host-virus interactions of its human counterparts. Herpesvirus genome replication is mediated through a cis-element in the viral genome called the origin of lytic replication (oriLyt). A family of transcription factors, CCAAT/enhancer binding proteins (C/EBPs), assists in oriLyt-mediated DNA replication during gammaherpesvirus reactivation. In this study, we examined the role of C/EBPs in gammaherpesvirus DNA replication during de novo infection, using MHV-68 as a model. We found that C/EBP α and β bind to the CCAAT boxes in the MHV-68 oriLyt core region both in vitro and in vivo, as demonstrated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. A dominant negative form of C/EBPs significantly impaired the lytic replication efficiency of MHV-68 on both the plasmid and genome levels in a replication assay, indicating that functional C/EBPs are required for maximal MHV-68 genome DNA replication. Collectively, our data demonstrate that C/EBPs interact with the oriLyt core region and play an important role in MHV-68 lytic DNA replication during de novo infection.
Hrs inhibits citron kinase-mediated HIV-1 budding via its FYVE domain
Jiwei Ding, Lishan Su, Guangxia Gao
2011, 2(6): 470-476. doi: 10.1007/s13238-011-1053-y
Hepatocyte growth factor-regulated tyrosine kinase substrate (Hrs) is a key component of the endosomal sorting complexes required for transport and has been demonstrated to play a regulatory role in endocytosis/exocytosis and the accumulation of internal vesicles in multivesicular bodies. Citron kinase is a Ser/The kinase that we previously reported to enhance human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virion production. However, the relationship between Hrs and citron kinase in HIV-1 production remains elusive. Here, we report that Hrs interacts with citron kinase via its FYVE domain. Overexpression of Hrs or the FYVE domain resulted in a significant decrease in HIV-1 virion production. Depletion of Hrs by RNA interference in HEK293T cells increased HIV-1 virion production and enhanced the activity of citron kinase. These data suggest that Hrs inhibits HIV-1 production by inhibiting citron kinase-mediated exocytosis.
Expression of human FUS protein in Drosophila leads to progressive neurodegeneration
Yanbo Chen, Mengxue Yang, Jianwen Deng, Xiaoping Chen, Ye Ye, Li Zhu, Jianghong Liu, Haihong Ye, Yan Shen, Yan Li, Elizabeth J. Rao, Kazuo Fushimi, Xiaohong Zhou, Eileen H. Bigio, Marsel Mesulam, Qi Xu, Jane Y. Wu
2011, 2(6): 477-486. doi: 10.1007/s13238-011-1065-7
Mutations in the Fused in sarcoma/Translated in liposarcoma gene (FUS/TLS, FUS) have been identified among patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). FUS protein aggregation is a major pathological hallmark of FUS proteinopathy, a group of neurodegenerative diseases characterized by FUS-immunoreactive inclusion bodies. We prepared transgenic Drosophila expressing either the wild type (Wt) or ALS-mutant human FUS protein (hFUS) using the UAS-Gal4 system. When expressing Wt, R524S or P525L mutant FUS in photoreceptors, mushroom bodies (MBs) or motor neurons (MNs), transgenic flies show age-dependent progressive neural damages, including axonal loss in MB neurons, morphological changes and functional impairment in MNs. The transgenic flies expressing the hFUS gene recapitulate key features of FUS proteinopathy, representing the first stable animal model for this group of devastating diseases.
Interactomic study on interaction between lipid droplets and mitochondria
Jing Pu, Cheol Woong Ha, Shuyan Zhang, Jong Pil Jung, Won-Ki Huh, Pingsheng Liu
2011, 2(6): 487-496. doi: 10.1007/s13238-011-1061-y
An increasing body of evidence shows that the lipid droplet, a neutral lipid storage organelle, plays a role in lipid metabolism and energy homeostasis through its interaction with mitochondria. However, the cellular functions and molecular mechanisms of the interaction remain ambiguous. Here we present data from transmission electron microscopy, fluorescence imaging, and reconstitution assays, demonstrating that lipid droplets physically contact mitochondria in vivo and in vitro. Using a bimolecular fluorescence complementation assay in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we generated an interactomic map of protein-protein contacts of lipid droplets with mitochondria and peroxisomes. The lipid droplet proteins Erg6 and Pet10 were found to be involved in 75% of the interactions detected. Interestingly, interactions between 3 pairs of lipid metabolic enzymes were detected. Collectively, these data demonstrate that lipid droplets make physical contacts with mitochondria and peroxisomes, and reveal specific molecular interactions that suggest active participation of lipid droplets in lipid metabolism in yeast.
Switch of substrate specificity of hyperthermophilic acylaminoacyl peptidase by combination of protein and solvent engineering
Chang Liu, Guangyu Yang, Lie Wu, Guohe Tian, Zuoming Zhang, Yan Feng
2011, 2(6): 497-506. doi: 10.1007/s13238-011-1057-7
The inherent evolvability of promiscuous enzymes endows them with great potential to be artificially evolved for novel functions. Previously, we succeeded in transforming a promiscuous acylaminoacyl peptidase (apAAP) from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Aeropyrum pernix K1 into a specific carboxylesterase by making a single mutation. In order to fulfill the urgent requirement of thermostable lipolytic enzymes, in this paper we describe how the substrate preference of apAAP can be further changed from p-nitrophenyl caprylate (pNP-C8) to p-nitrophenyl laurate (pNP-C12) by protein and solvent engineering. After one round of directed evolution and subsequent saturation mutagenesis at selected residues in the active site, three variants with enhanced activity towards pNP-C12 were identified. Additionally, a combined mutant W474V/F488G/R526V/T560W was generated, which had the highest catalytic efficiency (kcat/Km) for pNP-C12, about 71-fold higher than the wild type. Its activity was further increased by solvent engineering, resulting in an activity enhancement of 280-fold compared with the wild type in the presence of 30% DMSO. The structural basis for the improved activity was studied by substrate docking and molecular dynamics simulation. It was revealed that W474V and F488G mutations caused a significant change in the geometry of the active center, which may facilitate binding and subsequent hydrolysis of bulky substrates. In conclusion, the combination of protein and solvent engineering may be an effective approach to improve the activities of promiscuous enzymes and could be used to create naturally rare hyperthermophilic enzymes.
Naringenin reduces lung metastasis in a breast cancer resection model
Lei Qin, Lingtao Jin, Linlin Lu, Xiaoyan Lu, Chunling Zhang, Fayun Zhang, Wei Liang
2011, 2(6): 507-516. doi: 10.1007/s13238-011-1056-8
Metastasis is the main cause of death in cancer patients. To improve the outcomes of patients undergoing a surgery, new adjuvant therapies that can effectively inhibit metastases have to be developed. Studies have shown that flavonoid naringenin, a natural product that is mainly present in grapes and citrus, may contribute to cancer prevention. It has many advantages compared to traditional chemotherapeutic drugs, such as low toxicity. To determine whether naringenin can also inhibit metastases, a breast cancer resection model that mimics clinical situations was established. We found that orally administered naringenin significantly decreased the number of metastatic tumor cells in the lung and extended the life span of tumor resected mice. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that T cells displayed enhanced antitumor activity in naringenin treated mice, with an increased proportion of IFN-γ and IL-2 expressing T cells. In vitro studies further demonstrated that relief of immunosuppression caused by regulatory T cells might be the fundamental mechanism of metastasis inhibition by naringenin. These results indicate that orally administered naringenin can inhibit the outgrowth of metastases after surgery via regulating host immunity. Thus, naringenin can be an ideal surgical adjuvant therapy for breast cancer patients.