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membrane protein - Top 30 Publications

Methods Employed in Cytofluorometric Assessment of Eryptosis, the Suicidal Erythrocyte Death.

Suicidal erythrocyte death or eryptosis contributes to or even accounts for anemia in a wide variety of clinical conditions, such as iron deficiency, dehydration, hyperphosphatemia, vitamin D excess, chronic kidney disease (CKD), hemolytic-uremic syndrome, diabetes, hepatic failure, malignancy, arteriitis, sepsis, fever, malaria, sickle-cell disease, beta-thalassemia, Hb-C and G6PD-deficiency, Wilsons disease, as well as advanced age. Moreover, eryptosis is triggered by a myriad of xenobiotics and endogenous substances including cytotoxic drugs and uremic toxins. Eryptosis is characterized by cell membrane scrambling with phosphatidylserine exposure to the erythrocyte surface. Triggers of eryptosis include oxidative stress, hyperosmotic shock, and energy depletion. Signalling involved in the regulation of eryptosis includes Ca2+ entry, ceramide, caspases, calpain, p38 kinase, protein kinase C, Janus-activated kinase 3, casein kinase 1α, cyclin-dependent kinase 4, AMP-activated kinase, p21-activated kinase 2, cGMP-dependent protein kinase, mitogen- and stress-activated kinase MSK1/2, and ill-defined tyrosine kinases. Inhibitors of eryptosis may prevent anaemia in clinical conditions associated with enhanced eryptosis and stimulators of eryptosis may favourably influence the clinical course of malaria. Additional experimentation is required to uncover further clinical conditions with enhanced eryptosis, as well as further signalling pathways, further stimulators, and further inhibitors of eryptosis. Thus, a detailed description of the methods employed in the analysis of eryptosis may help those, who enter this exciting research area. The present synopsis describes the experimental procedures required for the analysis of phosphatidylserine exposure at the cell surface with annexin-V, cell volume with forward scatter, cytosolic Ca2+ activity ([Ca2+]i) with Fluo3, oxidative stress with 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofuorescein diacetate (DCFDA), glutathione (GSH) with mercury orange 1(4-chloromercuryphenyl-azo-2-naphthol), lipid peroxidation with BODIPY 581/591 C11 fluorescence, and ceramide abundance with specific antibodies. The contribution of kinases and caspases is defined with the use of the respective inhibitors. It is hoped that the present detailed description of materials and methods required for the analysis of eryptosis encourages further scientists to enter this highly relevant research area.

Effects of collagen peptides intake on skin ageing and platelet release in chronologically aged mice revealed by cytokine array analysis.

Action mechanisms underlying various biological activities of collagen peptides (CPs) remained to be elucidated. Cytokines may play an important role in mediating these health benefits of CPs. This study aimed to systemically examine the cytokines in skin and blood regulated by CPs intake. Thirteen-month-old female Kunming mice were administered with CPs for 2 months (0 or 400 mg/kg bodyweight/day). The cytokines in skin and plasma were analysed using a 53-cytokine array and corresponding ELISA kits. In skin, CPs intake significantly down-regulated placenta growth factor (PIGF-2), insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-binding protein (IGFBP) -2 and IGFBP-3, and up-regulated platelet factor 4 (PF4), serpin E1 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 . CPs treatment also increased the type I collagen mRNA and protein levels and improved the aged skin collagen fibres. In plasma, nine cytokines were significantly down-regulated by CPs intake compared to the model group: fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2, heparin-binding (HB) epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like growth factor (HB-EGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-AB/BB, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1 (KC), matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9, interleukin (IL)-1α and IL-10; 2 cytokines were significantly up-regulated, including TGF-β1 and serpin F1. Furthermore, CPs intake significantly decreased the level of platelet release indicators in the plasma and washed platelets, including PF4, granule membrane protein (GMP)-140, β-thromboglobulin and serotonin. These results provide a mechanism underlying anti-skin ageing by CPs intake and highlight potential application of CPs as a healthcare supplement to combat cancer and cardiovascular disease by inhibiting platelet release.

The three-component system EsrISR regulates a cell envelope stress response in Corynebacterium glutamicum.

When the cell envelope integrity is compromised, bacteria trigger signaling cascades resulting in the production of proteins that counteract these extracytoplasmic stresses. Here, we show that the two-component system EsrSR regulates a cell envelope stress response in the Actinobacterium Corynebacterium glutamicum. The sensor kinase EsrS possesses an amino-terminal phage shock protein C (PspC) domain, a property that sets EsrSR apart from all other two-component systems characterized so far. An integral membrane protein, EsrI, whose gene is divergently transcribed to the esrSR gene locus and which interestingly also possesses a PspC domain, acts as an inhibitor of EsrSR under non-stress conditions. The resulting EsrISR three-component system is activated among others by antibiotics inhibiting the lipid II cycle, such as bacitracin and vancomycin, and it orchestrates a broad regulon including the esrI-esrSR gene locus itself, genes encoding heat shock proteins, ABC transporters, and several putative membrane-associated or secreted proteins of unknown function. Among those, the ABC transporter encoded by cg3322-3320 was shown to be directly involved in bacitracin resistance of C. glutamicum. Since similar esrI-esrSR loci are present in a large number of actinobacterial genomes, EsrISR represents a novel type of stress-responsive system whose components are highly conserved in the phylum Actinobacteria. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Purification and characterisation of the yeast plasma membrane ATP binding cassette transporter Pdr11p.

The ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporters Pdr11p and its paralog Aus1p are expressed under anaerobic growth conditions at the plasma membrane of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and are required for sterol uptake. However, the precise mechanism by which these ABC transporters facilitate sterol movement is unknown. In this study, an overexpression and purification procedure was developed with the aim to characterise the Pdr11p transporter. Engineering of Pdr11p variants fused at the C terminus with green fluorescent protein (Pdr11p-GFP) and containing a FLAG tag at the N terminus facilitated expression analysis and one-step purification, respectively. The detergent-solubilised and purified protein displayed a stable ATPase activity with a broad pH optimum near 7.4. Mutagenesis of the conserved lysine to methionine (K788M) in the Walker A motif abolished ATP hydrolysis. Remarkably, and in contrast to Aus1p, ATPase activity of Pdr11p was insensitive to orthovanadate and not specifically stimulated by phosphatidylserine upon reconstitution into liposomes. Our results highlight distinct differences between Pdr11p and Aus1p and create an experimental basis for further biochemical studies of both ABC transporters to elucidate their function.

Mathematical modeling and quantitative analysis of HIV-1 Gag trafficking and polymerization.

Gag, as the major structural protein of HIV-1, is necessary for the assembly of the HIV-1 sphere shell. An in-depth understanding of its trafficking and polymerization is important for gaining further insights into the mechanisms of HIV-1 replication and the design of antiviral drugs. We developed a mathematical model to simulate two biophysical processes, specifically Gag monomer and dimer transport in the cytoplasm and the polymerization of monomers to form a hexamer underneath the plasma membrane. Using experimental data, an optimization approach was utilized to identify the model parameters, and the identifiability and sensitivity of these parameters were then analyzed. Using our model, we analyzed the weight of the pathways involved in the polymerization reactions and concluded that the predominant pathways for the formation of a hexamer might be the polymerization of two monomers to form a dimer, the polymerization of a dimer and a monomer to form a trimer, and the polymerization of two trimers to form a hexamer. We then deduced that the dimer and trimer intermediates might be crucial in hexamer formation. We also explored four theoretical combined methods for Gag suppression, and hypothesized that the N-terminal glycine residue of the MA domain of Gag might be a promising drug target. This work serves as a guide for future theoretical and experimental efforts aiming to understand HIV-1 Gag trafficking and polymerization, and might help accelerate the efficiency of anti-AIDS drug design.

Minor Salivary Gland Transplantation for Severe Dry Eyes.

Dry eye is a multifactorial disease comprising a wide spectrum of ocular surface alterations and symptoms of discomfort. In most patients with aqueous-deficient dry eye, pharmaceutical tear substitutes are used to control symptoms and prevent ocular surface damage. However, in severe dry eye conditions caused by cicatricial disorders, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome and ocular cicatricial mucous membrane pemphigoid, noninvasive treatments are insufficient, and patients are at risk of developing complications that can lead to blindness. The use of salivary glands as a source of lubrication to treat severe cases of dry eye has been proposed by different authors. The first reports proposed parotid or submandibular gland duct transplantation into the conjunctival fornix. However, complications limited the functional outcomes. Minor salivary gland autotransplantation together with labial mucosa has been used as a complex graft to the conjunctival fornix in severe dry eye with a good outcome. Our group demonstrated significant improvements in best-corrected visual acuity, Schirmer I test score, corneal transparency, and neovascularization after using this technique. A symptoms questionnaire applied to these patients revealed improvements in foreign body sensation, photophobia, and pain. Similar to tears, saliva has a complex final composition comprising electrolytes, immunoglobulins, proteins, enzymes, and mucins. We demonstrated the viability of minor salivary glands transplanted into the fornix of patients with dry eye by performing immunohistochemistry on graft biopsies with antibodies against lactoferrin, lysozyme, MUC1, and MUC16. The findings revealed the presence of functional salivary gland units, indicating local production of proteins, enzymes, and mucins.

New insights into the role of glycosylation in lipoprotein metabolism.

Human genetics has provided new insights into the role of protein glycosylation in regulating lipoprotein metabolism. Here we review these new developments and discuss the biological insights they provide.

Soluble Oligomers Require a Ganglioside to Trigger Neuronal Calcium Overload.

An altered distribution of membrane gangliosides (GM), including GM1, has recently been reported in the brains of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Moreover, amyloid-positive synaptosomes obtained from AD brains were found to contain high-density GM1 clusters, suggesting a pathological significance of GM1 increase at presynaptic neuritic terminals in AD. Here, we show that membrane GM1 specifically recruits small soluble oligomers of the 42-residue form of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ42), with intracellular flux of Ca2+ ions in primary rat hippocampal neurons and in human neuroblastoma cells. Specific membrane proteins appear to be involved in the early and transient influx of Ca2+ ions induced by Aβ42 oligomers with high solvent-exposed hydrophobicity (A+), but not in the sustained late influx of the same oligomers and in that induced by Aβ42 oligomers with low solvent-exposed hydrophobicity (A-) in GM1-enriched cells. In addition, A+ oligomers accumulate in proximity of membrane NMDA and AMPA receptors, inducing the early and transient Ca2+ influx, although FRET shows that the interaction is not direct. These results suggest that age-dependent clustering of GM1 within neuronal membranes could induce neurodegeneration in elderly people as a consequence of an increased ability of the lipid bilayers to recruit membrane-permeabilizing oligomers. We also show that both lipid and protein components of the plasma membrane can contribute to neuronal dysfunction, thus expanding the molecular targets for therapeutic intervention in AD.

Inversed Expression Patterns of S100A4 and E-cadherin in Cervical Cancers: Implication in epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

Cervical cancer/CC is the third commonest female malignancy worldwide. The aggressive growth and distal metastases are the leading causes of CC mortality, which is largely due to epithelial-mesenchymal transition/EMT. Fibroblast specific protein S100A4 promotes cancer metastasis and epithelial type cadherin/E-cadherin play pivotal roles in cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interaction. Therefore, the expression patterns of S100A4 and E-cadherin reflect statuses of EMT of carcinoma cells. However, S100A4 expression and its relevance with E-cadherin and HPV16 infection in cervical cancers remain unknown. This study aims to address the above issues using cervical cancer specimens. Immunohistochemistry reveals that the levels of mesenchymal marker S100A4 is upregulated (>++) in cervical adenocarcinomas/CACs (12/16; 75%) and squamous cell carcinomas/CSCCs (23/28; 82%) than that in noncancerous glandular epithelia/GE (0/12; 0%) and squamous epithelia/SE (0/12; 0%). Epithelial marker membranous E-cadherin is remarkably reduced on the surface of CAC and CSCC cells (P=0.00; P=0.00), especially those showing poorly differentiated phenotypes (P<0.05) in comparison with their noncancerous counterparts. Correlative analyses revealed an inverse relationship between S100A4 and E-cadherin expression among the cervical cancer samples (P=0.01, r= -0.38). S100A4 expression level in HPV16-infected group is higher than that in HPV16-free group (P=0.02). These results suggest the close correlation of S100A4 upregulation with cervical cancer formation and HPV16 infection and E-cadherin reduction with the grades of CC dedifferentiation. The concurrent gain of S100A4 and loss of membrane E-cadherin suggest EMT tendency of CC cells and can be regarded as an unfavorable prognostic parameter of CC patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

High resolution imaging of muscle attachment structures in C. elegans.

We used structured illumination microscopy (SIM) to obtain super-resolution images of muscle attachment structures in C. elegans striated muscle. SIM imaging of M-line components revealed two patterns: PAT-3 (β-integrin) and proteins that interact in a complex with the cytoplasmic tail of β-integrin and localize to the basal muscle cell membrane (UNC-112 (kindlin), PAT-4 (ILK), UNC-97 (PINCH), PAT-6 (α-parvin) and UNC-95), are found in discrete, angled segments with gaps. In contrast, proteins localized throughout the depth of the M-line (UNC-89 (obscurin) and UNC-98) are imaged as continuous lines. Systematic immunostaining of muscle cell boundaries revealed that dense body components close to the basal muscle cell membrane also localize at cell boundaries. SIM imaging of muscle cell boundaries reveal "zipper-like" structures. Electron micrographs reveal electron dense material similar in appearance to dense bodies located adjacent to the basolateral cell membranes of adjacent muscle cells separated by ECM. Moreover, by EM, there are a variety of features of the muscle cell boundaries that help explain the zipper-like pattern of muscle protein localization observed by SIM. Short dense bodies in atn-1 mutants that are null for α-actinin and lack the deeper extensions of dense bodies, showed "zipper-like" structures by SIM similar to cell boundary structures, further indicating that the surface-proximal components of dense bodies form the "zipper-like" structures at cell boundaries. Moreover, mutants in thin and thick filament components do not have "dot-like" dense bodies, suggesting that myofilament tension is required for assembly or maintenance of proper dense body shape. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Murine red blood cells from genetically distinct donors cross-regulate when stored together.

Donor variability of red blood cell (RBC) storage has been observed in both humans and animal models. We utilized a strain of mice with RBCs known to store well (B6) and a strain known to store poorly (FVB) to test the hypothesis that RBCs affected the storage of other RBCs.

Production of Recombinant Rabies Virus Glycoprotein by Insect Cells in a Single-Use Fixed-Bed Bioreactor.

A single-use fixed-bed bioreactor (iCELLis nano) can be used for cultivating non adherent insect cells, which can be then recovered for scaling up or for harvesting a membrane-associated viral glycoprotein with high quality in terms of preserved protein structure and biological function. Here, we describe the procedures for establishing genetically modified Drosophila melanogaster Schneider 2 (S2) cell cultures in the iCELLis nano bioreactor and for quantifying by ELISA the recombinant rabies virus glycoprotein (rRVGP) synthesized. By using the described protocol of production, the following performance can be regularly achieved: 1.7 ± 0.6 × 1E10 total cells; 2.4 ± 0.8 × 1E7 cells/mL and 1.2 ± 0.9 μg of rRVGP/1E7 cells; 1.5 ± 0.8 mg of total rRVGP.

A binding-block ion selective mechanism revealed by a Na/K selective channel.

Mechanosensitive (MS) channels are extensively studied membrane protein for maintaining intracellular homeostasis through translocating solutes and ions across the membrane, but its mechanisms of channel gating and ion selectivity are largely unknown. Here, we identified the YnaI channel as the Na(+)/K(+) cation-selective MS channel and solved its structure at 3.8 Å by cryo-EM single-particle method. YnaI exhibits low conductance among the family of MS channels in E. coli, and shares a similar overall heptamer structure fold with previously studied MscS channels. By combining structural based mutagenesis, quantum mechanical and electrophysiological characterizations, we revealed that ion selective filter formed by seven hydrophobic methionine (YnaI(Met158)) in the transmembrane pore determined ion selectivity, and both ion selectivity and gating of YnaI channel were affected by accompanying anions in solution. Further quantum simulation and functional validation support that the distinct binding energies with various anions to YnaI(Met158) facilitate Na(+)/K(+) pass through, which was defined as binding-block mechanism. Our structural and functional studies provided a new perspective for understanding the mechanism of how MS channels select ions driven by mechanical force.

Kinetic stability of membrane proteins.

Although membrane proteins constitute an important class of biomolecules involved in key cellular processes, study of the thermodynamic and kinetic stability of their structures is far behind that of soluble proteins. It is known that many membrane proteins become unstable when removed by detergent extraction from the lipid environment. In addition, most of them undergo irreversible denaturation, even under mild experimental conditions. This process was found to be associated with partial unfolding of the polypeptide chain exposing hydrophobic regions to water, and it was proposed that the formation of kinetically trapped conformations could be involved. In this review, we will describe some of the efforts toward understanding the irreversible inactivation of membrane proteins. Furthermore, its modulation by phospholipids, ligands, and temperature will be herein discussed.

Mice deficient for ERAD machinery component Sel1L develop central diabetes insipidus.

Deficiency of the antidiuretic hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP) underlies diabetes insipidus, which is characterized by the excretion of abnormally large volumes of dilute urine and persistent thirst. In this issue of the JCI, Shi et al. report that Sel1L-Hrd1 ER-associated degradation (ERAD) is responsible for the clearance of misfolded pro-arginine vasopressin (proAVP) in the ER. Additionally, mice with Sel1L deficiency, either globally or specifically within AVP-expressing neurons, developed central diabetes insipidus. The results of this study demonstrate a role for ERAD in neuroendocrine cells and serve as a clinical example of the effect of misfolded ER proteins retrotranslocated through the membrane into the cytosol, where they are polyubiquitinated, extracted from the ER membrane, and degraded by the proteasome. Moreover, proAVP misfolding in hereditary central diabetes insipidus likely shares common physiopathological mechanisms with proinsulin misfolding in hereditary diabetes mellitus of youth.

pH Tunable and Divalent Metal Ion Tolerant Polymer Lipid Nanodiscs.

The development and applications of detergent-free membrane mimetics have been the focus for the high-resolution structural and functional studies on membrane proteins. The introduction of lipid nanodiscs has attracted new attention towards the structural biology of membrane proteins and also enabled biomedical applications. Lipid nanodiscs provide a native lipid bilayer environment similar to the cell membrane surrounded by a belt made up of proteins or peptides. Recent studies have shown that the hydrolyzed form of styrene maleic anhydride copolymer (SMA) has the ability to form lipid nanodiscs and has several advantages over protein or peptide based nanodiscs. SMA polymer lipid nanodiscs have become very important for structural biology and nanobiotechnological applications. However, applications of the presently available polymer nanodiscs are limited by their instability towards divalent metal ions and acidic conditions. To overcome the limitations of SMA nanodiscs and to broaden the potential applications of polymer nanodiscs, the present study investigates the tunability of SMA polymer nanodiscs by systematically modifying the maleic acid functional group. The two newly developed polymers and subsequent lipid nanodiscs were characterized using solid-state NMR, FT-IR, TEM, and DLS experiments. The pH dependence and metal ion stability of these nanodiscs were studied using static light scattering and FTIR. The reported polymer nanodiscs exhibit unique pH dependent stability based on the modified functional group and show a high tolerance towards divalent metal ions. We also show these tunable nanodiscs can be used to encapsulate and stabilize a polyphenolic natural product curcumin.

Navigating the structure-function-evolutionary relationship of CsaA chaperone in archaea.

CsaA is a protein involved in the post-translational translocation of proteins across the cytoplasmic membrane. It is considered to be a functional homolog of SecB which participates in the Sec-dependent translocation pathway in an analogous manner. CsaA has also been reported to act as a molecular chaperone, preventing aggregation of unfolded proteins. It is essentially a prokaryotic protein which is absent in eukaryotes, but found extensively in bacteria and earlier thought to be widely present in archaea. The study of phylogenetic distribution of CsaA among prokaryotes suggests that it is present only in few archaeal organisms, mainly species of Thermoplasmatales and Halobacteriales. Interestingly, the CsaA protein from these two archaeal orders cluster separately on the phylogenetic tree with CsaA from Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. It, thus, appears that this protein might have been acquired in these archaeal organisms through independent horizontal gene transfer (HGT) events from different bacteria. In this review, we summarize the earlier biochemical, structural, and functional characterization studies of CsaA. We draw new insights into the evolutionary history of this protein through phylogenetic and structural comparison of bacterial CsaA with modelled archaeal CsaA from Picrophilus torridus and Natrialba magadii.

Calcitox-aging counterbalanced by endogenous farnesol-like sesquiterpenoids: An undervalued evolutionarily ancient key signaling pathway.

Cells are powerful miniature electrophoresis chambers, at least during part of their life cycle. They die at the moment the voltage gradient over their plasma membrane, and their ability to drive a self-generated electric current carried by inorganic ions through themselves irreversibly collapses. Senescence is likely due to the progressive, multifactorial damage to the cell's electrical system. This is the essence of the "Fading electricity theory of aging" (De Loof et al., Aging Res. Rev. 2013;12:58-66). "Biologic electric current" is not carried by electrons, but by inorganic ions. The major ones are H(+), Na(+), K(+), Ca(2+), Mg(2+), Cl(-) and HCO3(-). Ca(2+) and H(+) in particular are toxic to cells. At rising concentrations, they can alter the 3D-conformation of chromatin and some (e.g. cytoskeletal) proteins: Calcitox and Protontox. This paper only focuses on Calcitox and endogenous sesquiterpenoids. pH-control and Ca(2+)-homeostasis have been shaped to near perfection during billions of years of evolution. The role of Ca(2+) in some aspects of aging, e.g., as causal to neurodegenerative diseases is still debated. The main anti-Calcitox mechanism is to keep free cytoplasmic Ca(2+) as low as possible. This can be achieved by restricting the passive influx of Ca(2+) through channels in the plasma membrane, and by maximizing the active extrusion of excess Ca(2+) e.g., by means of different types of Ca(2+)-ATPases. Like there are mechanisms that antagonize the toxic effects of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), there must also exist endogenous tools to counteract Calcitox. During a re-evaluation of which mechanism(s) exactly initiates the fast aging that accompanies induction of metamorphosis in insects, a causal relationship between absence of an endogenous sesquiterpenoid, namely the farnesol ester named "juvenile hormone," and disturbed Ca(2+)-homeostasis was suggested. In this paper, this line of thinking is further explored and extended to vertebrate physiology. A novel concept emerges: horseshoe-shaped sesquiterpenoids seem to act as "inbrome" agonists with the function of a "chemical valve" or "spring" in some types of multi-helix transmembrane proteins (intramolecular prenylation), from bacterial rhodopsins to some types of GPCRs and ion pumps, in particular the SERCA-Ca(2+)-pump. This further underpins the Fading Electricity Theory of Aging.

Sequence and biochemical analysis of Arabidopsis SP1 protein, a regulator of organelle biogenesis.

Peroxisomes, chloroplasts, and mitochondria are essential eukaryotic organelles that host a suite of metabolic processes crucial to energy metabolism and development. Regulatory mechanisms of the dynamics and biogenesis of these important organelles have begun to be discovered in plants. We recently showed that, aside from its previously reported role in targeting chloroplast protein import proteins, the Arabidopsis ubiquitin E3 ligase SP1 (suppressor of ppi1 locus1) negatively regulates peroxisome matrix protein import by promoting the ubiquitination and destabilization of PEX13 and possibly PEX14 and other components of the peroxisome protein import apparatus. Here, we compared protein sequence and domain structure of SP1-like proteins in Arabidopsis and their human homolog, Mitochondrial-Anchored Protein Ligase (MAPL). We further characterized SP1 protein in respect to its membrane topology and ubiquitin E3 ligase activity.

Virulence determinants of West Nile virus: how can these be used for vaccine design?

West Nile virus (WNV), a neurotropic mosquito-borne flavivirus, has become endemic in the USA and parts of Europe since 1999. There is no licensed WNV vaccine for humans. Considering the robust immunity from immunization with live, attenuated vaccines, a live WNV vaccine is an ideal platform for disease control. Animal and mosquito studies have identified a number of candidate attenuating mutations, including the structural proteins premembrane/membrane and envelope, and the nonstructural proteins NS1, NS2A, NS3, NS4A, NS4B and NS5, and the 3' UTR. Many of the mutations that have been examined attenuate WNV using different mechanisms, thus providing a greater understanding of WNV virulence while also identifying specific mutations as candidates to include in a WNV live vaccine.

Trypanosoma cruzi Evades the Complement System as an Efficient Strategy to Survive in the Mammalian Host: The Specific Roles of Host/Parasite Molecules and Trypanosoma cruzi Calreticulin.

American Trypanosomiasis is an important neglected reemerging tropical parasitism, infecting about 8 million people worldwide. Its agent, Trypanosoma cruzi, exhibits multiple mechanisms to evade the host immune response and infect host cells. An important immune evasion strategy of T. cruzi infective stages is its capacity to inhibit the complement system activation on the parasite surface, avoiding opsonizing, immune stimulating and lytic effects. Epimastigotes, the non-infective form of the parasite, present in triatomine arthropod vectors, are highly susceptible to complement-mediated lysis while trypomastigotes, the infective form, present in host bloodstream, are resistant. Thus T. cruzi susceptibility to complement varies depending on the parasite stage (amastigote, trypomastigotes or epimastigote) and on the T. cruzi strain. To avoid complement-mediated lysis, T. cruzi trypomastigotes express on the parasite surface a variety of complement regulatory proteins, such as glycoprotein 58/68 (gp58/68), T. cruzi complement regulatory protein (TcCRP), trypomastigote decay-accelerating factor (T-DAF), C2 receptor inhibitor trispanning (CRIT) and T. cruzi calreticulin (TcCRT). Alternatively, or concomitantly, the parasite captures components with complement regulatory activity from the host bloodstream, such as factor H (FH) and plasma membrane-derived vesicles (PMVs). All these proteins inhibit different steps of the classical (CP), alternative (AP) or lectin pathways (LP). Thus, TcCRP inhibits the CP C3 convertase assembling, gp58/68 inhibits the AP C3 convertase, T-DAF interferes with the CP and AP convertases assembling, TcCRT inhibits the CP and LP, CRIT confers ability to resist the CP and LP, FH is used by trypomastigotes to inhibit the AP convertases and PMVs inhibit the CP and LP C3 convertases. Many of these proteins have similar molecular inhibitory mechanisms. Our laboratory has contributed to elucidate the role of TcCRT in the host-parasite interplay. Thus, we have proposed that TcCRT is a pleiotropic molecule, present not only in the parasite endoplasmic reticulum, but also on the trypomastigote surface, participating in key processes to establish T. cruzi infection, such as inhibition of the complement system and serving as an important virulence factor. Additionally, TcCRT interaction with key complement components, participates as an anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor molecule, inhibiting at least in important part, tumor growth in infected animals.

Genomic and Transcriptomic Analysis of Growth-Supporting Dehalogenation of Chlorinated Methanes in Methylobacterium.

Bacterial adaptation to growth with toxic halogenated chemicals was explored in the context of methylotrophic metabolism of Methylobacterium extorquens, by comparing strains CM4 and DM4, which show robust growth with chloromethane and dichloromethane, respectively. Dehalogenation of chlorinated methanes initiates growth-supporting degradation, with intracellular release of protons and chloride ions in both cases. The core, variable and strain-specific genomes of strains CM4 and DM4 were defined by comparison with genomes of non-dechlorinating strains. In terms of gene content, adaptation toward dehalogenation appears limited, strains CM4 and DM4 sharing between 75 and 85% of their genome with other strains of M. extorquens. Transcript abundance in cultures of strain CM4 grown with chloromethane and of strain DM4 grown with dichloromethane was compared to growth with methanol as a reference C1 growth substrate. Previously identified strain-specific dehalogenase-encoding genes were the most transcribed with chlorinated methanes, alongside other genes encoded by genomic islands (GEIs) and plasmids involved in growth with chlorinated compounds as carbon and energy source. None of the 163 genes shared by strains CM4 and DM4 but not by other strains of M. extorquens showed higher transcript abundance in cells grown with chlorinated methanes. Among the several thousand genes of the M. extorquens core genome, 12 genes were only differentially abundant in either strain CM4 or strain DM4. Of these, 2 genes of known function were detected, for the membrane-bound proton translocating pyrophosphatase HppA and the housekeeping molecular chaperone protein DegP. This indicates that the adaptive response common to chloromethane and dichloromethane is limited at the transcriptional level, and involves aspects of the general stress response as well as of a dehalogenation-specific response to intracellular hydrochloric acid production. Core genes only differentially abundant in either strain CM4 or strain DM4 total 13 and 58 CDS, respectively. Taken together, the obtained results suggest different transcriptional responses of chloromethane- and dichloromethane-degrading M. extorquens strains to dehalogenative metabolism, and substrate- and pathway-specific modes of growth optimization with chlorinated methanes.

β Subunits Control the Effects of Human Kv4.3 Potassium Channel Phosphorylation.

The transient outward K(+) current, Ito, activates early in the cardiac myocyte action potential, to begin repolarization. Human Ito is generated primarily by two Kv4.3 potassium channel α subunit splice variants (Kv4.3L and Kv4.3S) that diverge only by a C-terminal, membrane-proximal, 19-residue stretch unique to Kv4.3L. Protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation of threonine 504 within the Kv4.3L-specific 19-residues mediates α-adrenergic inhibition of Ito in human heart. Kv4.3 is regulated in human heart by various β subunits, including cytosolic KChIP2b and transmembrane KCNEs, yet their impact on the functional effects of human Kv4.3 phosphorylation has not been reported. Here, this gap in knowledge was addressed using human Kv4.3 splice variants, T504 mutants, and human β subunits. Subunits were co-expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and analyzed by two-electrode voltage-clamp, using phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) to stimulate PKC. Unexpectedly, KChIP2b removed the inhibitory effect of PKC on Kv4.3L (but not Kv4.3L threonine phosphorylation by PKC per-se), while co-expression with KCNE2, but not KCNE4, restored PKC-dependent inhibition of Kv4.3L-KChIP2b to quantitatively resemble previously reported effects of α-adrenergic modulation of human ventricular Ito. In addition, PKC accelerated recovery from inactivation of Kv4.3L-KChIP2b channels and, interestingly, of both Kv4.3L and Kv4.3S alone. Thus, β subunits regulate the response of human Kv4.3 to PKC phosphorylation and provide a potential mechanism for modifying the response of Ito to α-adrenergic regulation in vivo.

Exploring bacterial outer membrane barrier to combat bad bugs.

One of the main fundamental mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in Gram-negative bacteria comprises an effective change in the membrane permeability to antibiotics. The Gram-negative bacterial complex cell envelope comprises an outer membrane that delimits the periplasm from the exterior environment. The outer membrane contains numerous protein channels, termed as porins or nanopores, which are mainly involved in the influx of hydrophilic compounds, including antibiotics. Bacterial adaptation to reduce influx through these outer membrane proteins (Omps) is one of the crucial mechanisms behind antibiotic resistance. Thus to interpret the molecular basis of the outer membrane permeability is the current challenge. This review attempts to develop a state of knowledge pertinent to Omps and their effective role in antibiotic influx. Further, it aims to study the bacterial response to antibiotic membrane permeability and hopefully provoke a discussion toward understanding and further exploration of prospects to improve our knowledge on physicochemical parameters that direct the translocation of antibiotics through the bacterial membrane protein channels.

Bacterial membrane vesicles as novel nanosystems for drug delivery.

Bacterial membrane vesicles (BMVs) are closed spherical nanostructures that are shed naturally and ubiquitously by most bacterial species both in vivo and in vitro. Researchers have elucidated their roles in long-distance transport of a wide array of cargoes, such as proteins, toxins, antigens, virulence factors, microbicidal agents and antibiotics. Given that these natural carriers are important players in intercellular communication, it has been hypothesized that they are equally well attuned for transport and delivery of exogenous therapeutic cargoes. Additionally, BMVs appear to possess specific properties that enable their utilization as drug delivery vehicles. These include their ability to evade the host immune system, protection of the therapeutic payload and natural stability. Using bioengineering approaches, BMVs have been applied as carriers of therapeutic moieties in vaccines and for targeted delivery in cancer. In this article, we explore BMVs from the perspective of understanding their applicability to drug delivery. BMV biology, including biogenesis, physiology and pathology, is briefly reviewed. Practical issues related to bioprocessing, loading of therapeutic moieties and characterization for enabling scalability and commercial viability are evaluated. Finally, challenges to clinical translation and rational design approaches for novel BMV formulations are presented. Although the realization of the full potential of BMVs in drug delivery hinges on the development of scalable approaches for their production as well as the refinement of targeting and loading methods, they are promising candidates for development of a novel generation of drug delivery vehicles in future.

Puerarin transport across rat nasal epithelial cells and the influence of compatibility with peoniflorin and menthol.

Nose-to-brain transport can provide an excellent pathway for drugs of the central nervous system. Consequently, how to make full use of this pathway in practical applications has become a focus of drug design. However, many aspects affecting drug delivery from the nose to the brain remain unclear. This study aimed to more deeply investigate the transport of puerarin and to explore the mechanism underlying the influence of compatible drugs on puerarin permeability in a primary cell model simulating the nasal mucosa. In this research, based on rat nasal epithelial cells (RNECs) cultured in vitro and cytotoxicity assays, the bidirectional transport of puerarin across RNEC monolayers and the effect of its compatibility with peoniflorin and menthol were analyzed. The apparent permeability coefficient was <1.5×10(-6) cm/s, and the efflux ratio of puerarin was <2, indicating that puerarin had poor absorption and that menthol but not peoniflorin significantly improved puerarin transport. Simultaneously, through experiments, such as immunofluorescence staining, transepithelial electrical resistance measurement, rhodamine 123 efflux evaluation, the cell membrane fluorescence recovery after photobleaching test, and ATPase activity determination, the permeability promoting mechanism of menthol was confirmed to be closely related to disruption of the tight junction protein structure, to the P-glycoprotein inhibitory effect, to increased membrane fluidity, and to the promotion of enzyme activity. These results provide reliable data on nasal administration of the studied drugs and lay the foundation for a deeper investigation of the nose-brain pathway and nasal administration.

Vaccination with Salmonella Typhi recombinant outer membrane protein 28 induces humoral but non-protective immune response in rabbit.

Typhoid is one of the most important food and water borne disease causing millions of deaths over the world. Presently, there is no cost effective vaccine available in India. The outer-membrane proteins (Omps) of Salmonella have been exhibited as a potential candidate for development of subunit vaccine against typhoid. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the use of recombinant Omp 28 protein for immunization of rabbit to elucidate its protection against virulent Salmonella Typhi.

Preparation and evaluation of Salmonella Enteritidis antigen conjugated with nanogold for screening of poultry flocks.

The present work aimed to develop lateral flow immunochromatographic strip (ICS) test for detection of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) specific antibodies in chicken sera.

Membrane Binding of Parkinson's Protein α-Synuclein: Effect of Phosphorylation at Positions 87 and 129 by the S to D Mutation Approach.

Human α-synuclein, a protein relevant in the brain with so-far unknown function, plays an important role in Parkinson's disease. The phosphorylation state of αS was related to the disease, prompting interest in this process. The presumed physiological function and the disease action of αS involves membrane interaction. Here, we study the effect of phosphorylation at positions 87 and 129, mimicked by the mutations S87A, S129A (nonphosphorylated) and S87D, S129D (phosphorylated) on membrane binding. Local binding is detected by spin-label continuous-wave electron paramagnetic resonance. For S87A/D, six positions (27, 56, 63, 69, 76, and 90) are probed; and for S129A/D, three (27, 56, and 69). Binding to large unilamellar vesicles of 100 nm diameter of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-(1'-rac-glycerol) and 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine in a 1 : 1 composition is not affected by the phosphorylation state of S129. For phosphorylation at S87, local unbinding of αS from the membrane is observed. We speculate that modulating the local membrane affinity by phosphorylation could tune the way αS interacts with different membranes; for example, tuning its membrane fusion activity.

Identification of potential antigens from non-classically secreted proteins and designing novel multitope peptide vaccine candidate against Brucella melitensis through reverse vaccinology and immunoinformatics approach.

Brucella melitensis is an intracellular pathogen resides in the professional and non-professional phagocytes of the host, causing zoonotic disease brucellosis. The stealthy nature of the Brucella makes it's highly pathogenic, and it is hard to eliminate the bacteria completely from the infected host. Hitherto, no licensed vaccines are available for human brucellosis. In this study, we identified potential antigens for vaccine development from non-classically secreted proteins through reverse vaccinology approach. Based on the systemic screening of non-classically secreted proteins of B. melitensis 16M, we identified nine proteins as potential vaccine candidates. Among these, Omp31 and Omp22 are known immunogens, and its role in the virulence of Brucella is known. Roles of other proteins in the pathogenesis are yet to be studied. From the nine proteins, we identified six novel antigenic epitopes that can elicit both B-cell and T-cell immune responses. Among the nine proteins, the epitopes were predicted from Omp31 immunogenic protein precursor, Omp22 protein precursor, extracellular serine protease, hypothetical membrane-associated protein, iron-regulated outer membrane protein FrpB. Further, we designed a multitope vaccine using Omp31 immunogenic protein precursor, Omp22 protein precursor, extra cellular serine protease, iron-regulated outer membrane protein FrpB, hypothetical membrane-associated protein, and LPS-assembly protein LptD and polysaccharide export protein identified in the previous study. Epitopes were joined using amino acid linkers such as EAAAK and GPGPG. Cholera toxin subunit B, the nontoxic part of cholera toxin, was used as an adjuvant and it was linked to the N-terminal of the multitope vaccine candidate. The designed vaccine candidate was modeled, validated and the physicochemical properties were analyzed. Results revealed that the vaccine candidate is soluble, stable, non-allergenic, antigenic and 87% of residues of the designed vaccine candidate is located in the favored region. In conclusion, the computational analysis showed that the newly designed multitope protein could be used to develop a promising vaccine for human brucellosis.