Journals

N-terminal β-strand underpins biochemical specialization of an ATG8 isoform

PLOS Biology (new articles) - 20 hours 41 min ago

by Erin K. Zess, Cassandra Jensen, Neftaly Cruz-Mireles, Juan Carlos De la Concepcion, Jan Sklenar, Madlen Stephani, Richard Imre, Elisabeth Roitinger, Richard Hughes, Khaoula Belhaj, Karl Mechtler, Frank L. H. Menke, Tolga Bozkurt, Mark J. Banfield, Sophien Kamoun, Abbas Maqbool, Yasin F. Dagdas

Autophagy-related protein 8 (ATG8) is a highly conserved ubiquitin-like protein that modulates autophagy pathways by binding autophagic membranes and a number of proteins, including cargo receptors and core autophagy components. Throughout plant evolution, ATG8 has expanded from a single protein in algae to multiple isoforms in higher plants. However, the degree to which ATG8 isoforms have functionally specialized to bind distinct proteins remains unclear. Here, we describe a comprehensive protein–protein interaction resource, obtained using in planta immunoprecipitation (IP) followed by mass spectrometry (MS), to define the potato ATG8 interactome. We discovered that ATG8 isoforms bind distinct sets of plant proteins with varying degrees of overlap. This prompted us to define the biochemical basis of ATG8 specialization by comparing two potato ATG8 isoforms using both in vivo protein interaction assays and in vitro quantitative binding affinity analyses. These experiments revealed that the N-terminal β-strand—and, in particular, a single amino acid polymorphism—underpins binding specificity to the substrate PexRD54 by shaping the hydrophobic pocket that accommodates this protein’s ATG8-interacting motif (AIM). Additional proteomics experiments indicated that the N-terminal β-strand shapes the broader ATG8 interactor profiles, defining interaction specificity with about 80 plant proteins. Our findings are consistent with the view that ATG8 isoforms comprise a layer of specificity in the regulation of selective autophagy pathways in plants.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Diversification of the type IV filament superfamily into machines for adhesion, protein secretion, DNA uptake, and motility

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2019-07-19 23:00

by Rémi Denise, Sophie S. Abby, Eduardo P. C. Rocha

Processes of molecular innovation require tinkering and shifting in the function of existing genes. How this occurs in terms of molecular evolution at long evolutionary scales remains poorly understood. Here, we analyse the natural history of a vast group of membrane-associated molecular systems in Bacteria and Archaea—the type IV filament (TFF) superfamily—that diversified in systems involved in flagellar or twitching motility, adhesion, protein secretion, and DNA uptake. The phylogeny of the thousands of detected systems suggests they may have been present in the last universal common ancestor. From there, two lineages—a bacterial and an archaeal—diversified by multiple gene duplications, gene fissions and deletions, and accretion of novel components. Surprisingly, we find that the ‘tight adherence’ (Tad) systems originated from the interkingdom transfer from Archaea to Bacteria of a system resembling the ‘EppA-dependent’ (Epd) pilus and were associated with the acquisition of a secretin. The phylogeny and content of ancestral systems suggest that initial bacterial pili were engaged in cell motility and/or DNA uptake. In contrast, specialised protein secretion systems arose several times independently and much later in natural history. The functional diversification of the TFF superfamily was accompanied by genetic rearrangements with implications for genetic regulation and horizontal gene transfer: systems encoded in fewer loci were more frequently exchanged between taxa. This may have contributed to their rapid evolution and spread across Bacteria and Archaea. Hence, the evolutionary history of the superfamily reveals an impressive catalogue of molecular evolution mechanisms that resulted in remarkable functional innovation and specialisation from a relatively small set of components.
Categories: Biology, Journals

LATS1/2 suppress NFκB and aberrant EMT initiation to permit pancreatic progenitor differentiation

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2019-07-19 23:00

by Caitlin M. Braitsch, D. Berfin Azizoglu, Yadanar Htike, Haley R. Barlow, Ulrike Schnell, Christopher P. Chaney, Thomas J. Carroll, Ben Z. Stanger, Ondine Cleaver

The Hippo pathway directs cell differentiation during organogenesis, in part by restricting proliferation. How Hippo signaling maintains a proliferation-differentiation balance in developing tissues via distinct molecular targets is only beginning to be understood. Our study makes the unexpected finding that Hippo suppresses nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NFκB) signaling in pancreatic progenitors to permit cell differentiation and epithelial morphogenesis. We find that pancreas-specific deletion of the large tumor suppressor kinases 1 and 2 (Lats1/2PanKO) from mouse progenitor epithelia results in failure to differentiate key pancreatic lineages: acinar, ductal, and endocrine. We carried out an unbiased transcriptome analysis to query differentiation defects in Lats1/2PanKO. This analysis revealed increased expression of NFκB activators, including the pantetheinase vanin1 (Vnn1). Using in vivo and ex vivo studies, we show that VNN1 activates a detrimental cascade of processes in Lats1/2PanKO epithelium, including (1) NFκB activation and (2) aberrant initiation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which together disrupt normal differentiation. We show that exogenous stimulation of VNN1 or NFκB can trigger this cascade in wild-type (WT) pancreatic progenitors. These findings reveal an unexpected requirement for active suppression of NFκB by LATS1/2 during pancreas development, which restrains a cell-autonomous deleterious transcriptional program and thereby allows epithelial differentiation.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Structural basis for recognition of the tumor suppressor protein PTPN14 by the oncoprotein E7 of human papillomavirus

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2019-07-19 23:00

by Hye-Yeoung Yun, Min Wook Kim, Hye Seon Lee, Wantae Kim, Ji Hye Shin, Hyunmin Kim, Ho-Chul Shin, Hwangseo Park, Byung-Ha Oh, Won Kon Kim, Kwang-Hee Bae, Sang Chul Lee, Eun-Woo Lee, Bonsu Ku, Seung Jun Kim

Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are causative agents of various diseases associated with cellular hyperproliferation, including cervical cancer, one of the most prevalent tumors in women. E7 is one of the two HPV-encoded oncoproteins and directs recruitment and subsequent degradation of tumor-suppressive proteins such as retinoblastoma protein (pRb) via its LxCxE motif. E7 also triggers tumorigenesis in a pRb-independent pathway through its C-terminal domain, which has yet been largely undetermined, with a lack of structural information in a complex form with a host protein. Herein, we present the crystal structure of the E7 C-terminal domain of HPV18 belonging to the high-risk HPV genotypes bound to the catalytic domain of human nonreceptor-type protein tyrosine phosphatase 14 (PTPN14). They interact directly and potently with each other, with a dissociation constant of 18.2 nM. Ensuing structural analysis revealed the molecular basis of the PTPN14-binding specificity of E7 over other protein tyrosine phosphatases and also led to the identification of PTPN21 as a direct interacting partner of E7. Disruption of HPV18 E7 binding to PTPN14 by structure-based mutagenesis impaired E7’s ability to promote keratinocyte proliferation and migration. Likewise, E7 binding-defective PTPN14 was resistant for degradation via proteasome, and it was much more effective than wild-type PTPN14 in attenuating the activity of downstream effectors of Hippo signaling and negatively regulating cell proliferation, migration, and invasion when examined in HPV18-positive HeLa cells. These results therefore demonstrated the significance and therapeutic potential of the intermolecular interaction between HPV E7 and host PTPN14 in HPV-mediated cell transformation and tumorigenesis.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Delayed death in the malaria parasite <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i> is caused by disruption of prenylation-dependent intracellular trafficking

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Thu, 2019-07-18 23:00

by Kit Kennedy, Simon A. Cobbold, Eric Hanssen, Jakob Birnbaum, Natalie J. Spillman, Emma McHugh, Hannah Brown, Leann Tilley, Tobias Spielmann, Malcolm J. McConville, Stuart A. Ralph

Apicomplexan parasites possess a plastid organelle called the apicoplast. Inhibitors that selectively target apicoplast housekeeping functions, including DNA replication and protein translation, are lethal for the parasite, and several (doxycycline, clindamycin, and azithromycin) are in clinical use as antimalarials. A major limitation of such drugs is that treated parasites only arrest one intraerythrocytic development cycle (approximately 48 hours) after treatment commences, a phenotype known as the ‘delayed death’ effect. The molecular basis of delayed death is a long-standing mystery in parasitology, and establishing the mechanism would aid rational clinical implementation of apicoplast-targeted drugs. Parasites undergoing delayed death transmit defective apicoplasts to their daughter cells and cannot produce the sole, blood-stage essential metabolic product of the apicoplast: the isoprenoid precursor isopentenyl-pyrophosphate. How the isoprenoid precursor depletion kills the parasite remains unknown. We investigated the requirements for the range of isoprenoids in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum and characterised the molecular and morphological phenotype of parasites experiencing delayed death. Metabolomic profiling reveals disruption of digestive vacuole function in the absence of apicoplast derived isoprenoids. Three-dimensional electron microscopy reveals digestive vacuole fragmentation and the accumulation of cytostomal invaginations, characteristics common in digestive vacuole disruption. We show that digestive vacuole disruption results from a defect in the trafficking of vesicles to the digestive vacuole. The loss of prenylation of vesicular trafficking proteins abrogates their membrane attachment and function and prevents the parasite from feeding. Our data show that the proximate cause of delayed death is an interruption of protein prenylation and consequent cellular trafficking defects.
Categories: Biology, Journals

The biology of extracellular vesicles: The known unknowns

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Thu, 2019-07-18 23:00

by Leonid Margolis, Yoel Sadovsky

For many years, double-layer phospholipid membrane vesicles, released by most cells, were not considered to be of biological significance. This stance has dramatically changed with the recognition of extracellular vesicles (EVs) as carriers of biologically active molecules that can traffic to local or distant targets and execute defined biological functions. The dimensionality of the field has expanded with the appreciation of diverse types of EVs and the complexity of vesicle biogenesis, cargo loading, release pathways, targeting mechanisms, and vesicle processing. With the expanded interest in the field and the accelerated rate of publications on EV structure and function in diverse biomedical fields, it has become difficult to distinguish between well-established biological features of EV and the untested hypotheses or speculative assumptions that await experimental proof. With the growing interest despite the limited evidence, we sought in this essay to formulate a set of unsolved mysteries in the field, sort out established data from fascinating hypotheses, and formulate several challenging questions that must be answered for the field to advance.
Categories: Biology, Journals

True Grit: Passion and persistence make an innovative course design work

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Thu, 2019-07-18 23:00

by Anne M. Casper, Sarah L. Eddy, Scott Freeman

Our first two experiments on adapting a high-structure course model to an essentially open-enrollment university produced negative or null results. Our third experiment, however, proved more successful: performance improved for all students, and a large achievement gap that impacted underrepresented minority students under traditional lecturing closed. Although the successful design included preclass preparation videos, intensive active learning in class, and weekly practice exams, student self-report data indicated that total study time decreased. Faculty who have the grit to experiment and persevere in making evidence-driven changes to their teaching can reduce the inequalities induced by economic and educational disadvantage.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Assembling a plug-and-play production line for combinatorial biosynthesis of aromatic polyketides in <i>Escherichia coli</i>

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Thu, 2019-07-18 23:00

by Matthew Cummings, Anna D. Peters, George F. S. Whitehead, Binuraj R. K. Menon, Jason Micklefield, Simon J. Webb, Eriko Takano

Polyketides are a class of specialised metabolites synthesised by both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. These chemically and structurally diverse molecules are heavily used in the clinic and include frontline antimicrobial and anticancer drugs such as erythromycin and doxorubicin. To replenish the clinicians’ diminishing arsenal of bioactive molecules, a promising strategy aims at transferring polyketide biosynthetic pathways from their native producers into the biotechnologically desirable host Escherichia coli. This approach has been successful for type I modular polyketide synthases (PKSs); however, despite more than 3 decades of research, the large and important group of type II PKSs has until now been elusive in E. coli. Here, we report on a versatile polyketide biosynthesis pipeline, based on identification of E. coli–compatible type II PKSs. We successfully express 5 ketosynthase (KS) and chain length factor (CLF) pairs—e.g., from Photorhabdus luminescens TT01, Streptomyces resistomycificus, Streptoccocus sp. GMD2S, Pseudoalteromonas luteoviolacea, and Ktedonobacter racemifer—as soluble heterodimeric recombinant proteins in E. coli for the first time. We define the anthraquinone minimal PKS components and utilise this biosynthetic system to synthesise anthraquinones, dianthrones, and benzoisochromanequinones (BIQs). Furthermore, we demonstrate the tolerance and promiscuity of the anthraquinone heterologous biosynthetic pathway in E. coli to act as genetically applicable plug-and-play scaffold, showing it to function successfully when combined with enzymes from phylogenetically distant species, endophytic fungi and plants, which resulted in 2 new-to-nature compounds, neomedicamycin and neochaetomycin. This work enables plug-and-play combinatorial biosynthesis of aromatic polyketides using bacterial type II PKSs in E. coli, providing full access to its many advantages in terms of easy and fast genetic manipulation, accessibility for high-throughput robotics, and convenient biotechnological scale-up. Using the synthetic and systems biology toolbox, this plug-and-play biosynthetic platform can serve as an engine for the production of new and diversified bioactive polyketides in an automated, rapid, and versatile fashion.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Primary cilium loss in mammalian cells occurs predominantly by whole-cilium shedding

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2019-07-17 23:00

by Mary Mirvis, Kathleen A. Siemers, W. James Nelson, Tim P. Stearns

The primary cilium is a central signaling hub in cell proliferation and differentiation and is built and disassembled every cell cycle in many animal cells. Disassembly is critically important, as misregulation or delay of cilia loss leads to cell cycle defects. The physical means by which cilia are lost are poorly understood but are thought to involve resorption of ciliary components into the cell body. To investigate cilium loss in mammalian cells, we used live-cell imaging to comprehensively characterize individual events. The predominant mode of cilium loss was rapid deciliation, in which the membrane and axoneme of the cilium was shed from the cell. Gradual resorption was also observed, as well as events in which a period of Gradual resorption was followed by rapid deciliation. Deciliation resulted in intact shed cilia that could be recovered from culture medium and contained both membrane and axoneme proteins. We modulated levels of katanin and intracellular calcium, two putative regulators of deciliation, and found that excess katanin promotes cilia loss by deciliation, independently of calcium. Together, these results suggest that mammalian ciliary loss involves a tunable decision between deciliation and resorption.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Activity patterns in mammals: Circadian dominance challenged

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Mon, 2019-07-15 23:00

by David G. Hazlerigg, Nicholas J. C. Tyler

The evidence that diel patterns of physiology and behaviour in mammals are governed by circadian ‘clocks’ is based almost entirely on studies of nocturnal rodents. The emergent circadian paradigm, however, neglects the roles of energy metabolism and alimentary function (feeding and digestion) as determinants of activity pattern. The temporal control of activity varies widely across taxa, and ungulates, microtine rodents, and insectivores provide examples in which circadian timekeeping is vestigial. The nocturnal rodent/human paradigm of circadian organisation is unhelpful when considering the broader manifestation of activity patterns in mammals.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Attenuation of chronic antiviral T-cell responses through constitutive COX2-dependent prostanoid synthesis by lymph node fibroblasts

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Mon, 2019-07-15 23:00

by Karin Schaeuble, Hélène Cannelle, Stéphanie Favre, Hsin-Ying Huang, Susanne G. Oberle, Daniel E. Speiser, Dietmar Zehn, Sanjiv A. Luther

Lymphoid T-zone fibroblastic reticular cells (FRCs) actively promote T-cell trafficking, homeostasis, and expansion but can also attenuate excessive T-cell responses via inducible nitric oxide (NO) and constitutive prostanoid release. It remains unclear how these FRC-derived mediators dampen T-cell responses and whether this occurs in vivo. Here, we confirm that murine lymph node (LN) FRCs produce prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) in a cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2)-dependent and inflammation-independent fashion. We show that this COX2/PGE2 pathway is active during both strong and weak T-cell responses, in contrast to NO, which only comes into play during strong T-cell responses. During chronic infections in vivo, PGE2-receptor signaling in virus-specific cluster of differentiation (CD)8 cytotoxic T cells was shown by others to suppress T-cell survival and function. Using COX2flox/flox mice crossed to mice expressing Cre recombinase expression under control of the CC chemokine ligand (CCL19) promoter (CCL19cre), we now identify CCL19+ FRC as the critical source of this COX2-dependent suppressive factor, suggesting PGE2-expressing FRCs within lymphoid tissues are an interesting therapeutic target to improve T-cell–mediated pathogen control during chronic infection.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Successful validation of a larval dispersal model using genetic parentage data

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2019-07-12 23:00

by Michael Bode, Jeffrey M. Leis, Luciano B. Mason, David H. Williamson, Hugo B. Harrison, Severine Choukroun, Geoffrey P. Jones

Larval dispersal is a critically important yet enigmatic process in marine ecology, evolution, and conservation. Determining the distance and direction that tiny larvae travel in the open ocean continues to be a challenge. Our current understanding of larval dispersal patterns at management-relevant scales is principally and separately informed by genetic parentage data and biological-oceanographic (biophysical) models. Parentage datasets provide clear evidence of individual larval dispersal events, but their findings are spatially and temporally limited. Biophysical models offer a more complete picture of dispersal patterns at regional scales but are of uncertain accuracy. Here, we develop statistical techniques that integrate these two important sources of information on larval dispersal. We then apply these methods to an extensive genetic parentage dataset to successfully validate a high-resolution biophysical model for the economically important reef fish species Plectropomus maculatus in the southern Great Barrier Reef. Our results demonstrate that biophysical models can provide accurate descriptions of larval dispersal at spatial and temporal scales that are relevant to management. They also show that genetic parentage datasets provide enough statistical power to exclude poor biophysical models. Biophysical models that included species-specific larval behaviour provided markedly better fits to the parentage data than assuming passive behaviour, but incorrect behavioural assumptions led to worse predictions than ignoring behaviour altogether. Our approach capitalises on the complementary strengths of genetic parentage datasets and high-resolution biophysical models to produce an accurate picture of larval dispersal patterns at regional scales. The results provide essential empirical support for the use of accurately parameterised biophysical larval dispersal models in marine spatial planning and management.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Spectrin-based membrane skeleton supports ciliogenesis

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Fri, 2019-07-12 23:00

by Ru Jia, Dongdong Li, Ming Li, Yongping Chai, Yufan Liu, Zhongyun Xie, Wenxin Shao, Chao Xie, Liuju Li, Xiaoshuai Huang, Liangyi Chen, Wei Li, Guangshuo Ou

Cilia are remarkable cellular devices that power cell motility and transduce extracellular signals. To assemble a cilium, a cylindrical array of 9 doublet microtubules push out an extension of the plasma membrane. Membrane tension regulates cilium formation; however, molecular pathways that link mechanical stimuli to ciliogenesis are unclear. Using genome editing, we introduced hereditary elliptocytosis (HE)- and spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA)-associated mutations into the Caenorhabditis elegans membrane skeletal protein spectrin. We show that these mutations impair mechanical support for the plasma membrane and change cell shape. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analyses of spectrin-mutant animals uncovered a global down-regulation of ciliary gene expression, prompting us to investigate whether spectrin participates in ciliogenesis. Spectrin mutations affect intraflagellar transport (IFT), disrupt axonemal microtubules, and inhibit cilium formation, and the endogenous spectrin periodically distributes along cilia. Mammalian spectrin also localizes in cilia and regulates ciliogenesis. These results define a previously unrecognized yet conserved role of spectrin-based mechanical support for cilium biogenesis.
Categories: Biology, Journals

A novel Ca2+-binding protein that can rapidly transduce auxin responses during root growth

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Thu, 2019-07-11 23:00

by Ora Hazak, Elad Mamon, Meirav Lavy, Hasana Sternberg, Smrutisanjita Behera, Ina Schmitz-Thom, Daria Bloch, Olga Dementiev, Itay Gutman, Tomer Danziger, Netanel Schwarz, Anas Abuzeineh, Keithanne Mockaitis, Mark Estelle, Joel A. Hirsch, Jörg Kudla, Shaul Yalovsky

Signaling cross talks between auxin, a regulator of plant development, and Ca2+, a universal second messenger, have been proposed to modulate developmental plasticity in plants. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. Here, we report that in Arabidopsis roots, auxin elicits specific Ca2+ signaling patterns that spatially coincide with the expression pattern of auxin-regulated genes. We have identified the single EF-hand Ca2+-binding protein Ca2+-dependent modulator of ICR1 (CMI1) as an interactor of the Rho of plants (ROP) effector interactor of constitutively active ROP (ICR1). CMI1 expression is directly up-regulated by auxin, whereas the loss of function of CMI1 associates with the repression of auxin-induced Ca2+ increases in the lateral root cap and vasculature, indicating that CMI1 represses early auxin responses. In agreement, cmi1 mutants display an increased auxin response including shorter primary roots, longer root hairs, longer hypocotyls, and altered lateral root formation. Binding to ICR1 affects subcellular localization of CMI1 and its function. The interaction between CMI1 and ICR1 is Ca2+-dependent and involves a conserved hydrophobic pocket in CMI1 and calmodulin binding-like domain in ICR1. Remarkably, CMI1 is monomeric in solution and in vitro changes its secondary structure at cellular resting Ca2+ concentrations ranging between 10−9 and 10−8 M. Hence, CMI1 is a Ca2+-dependent transducer of auxin-regulated gene expression, which can function in a cell-specific fashion at steady-state as well as at elevated cellular Ca2+ levels to regulate auxin responses.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Macaque anterior cingulate cortex deactivation impairs performance and alters lateral prefrontal oscillatory activities in a rule-switching task

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Thu, 2019-07-11 23:00

by Liya Ma, Jason L. Chan, Kevin Johnston, Stephen G. Lomber, Stefan Everling

In primates, both the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) are key regions of the frontoparietal cognitive control network. To study the role of the dACC and its communication with the dlPFC in cognitive control, we recorded local field potentials (LFPs) from the dlPFC before and during the reversible deactivation of the dACC, in macaque monkeys engaging in uncued switches between 2 stimulus-response rules, namely prosaccade and antisaccade. Cryogenic dACC deactivation impaired response accuracy during maintenance of—but not the initial switching to—the cognitively demanding antisaccade rule, which coincided with a reduction in task-related theta activity and the correct-error (C-E) difference in dlPFC beta-band power. During both rule switching and maintenance, dACC deactivation prolonged the animals’ reaction time and reduced task-related alpha power in the dlPFC. Our findings support a role of the dACC in prefrontal oscillatory activities that are involved the maintenance of a new, challenging task rule.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Correction: Attention promotes the neural encoding of prediction errors

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Wed, 2019-07-10 23:00

by Cooper A. Smout, Matthew F. Tang, Marta I. Garrido, Jason B. Mattingley

Categories: Biology, Journals

Novel antibiotics effective against gram-positive and -negative multi-resistant bacteria with limited resistance

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Tue, 2019-07-09 23:00

by Irène Nicolas, Valérie Bordeau, Arnaud Bondon, Michèle Baudy-Floc’h, Brice Felden

Antibiotics are a medical wonder, but an increasing frequency of resistance among most human pathogens is rendering them ineffective. If this trend continues, the consequences for public health and for the general community could be catastrophic. The current clinical pipeline, however, is very limited and is dominated by derivatives of established classes, the “me too” compounds. Here, we have exploited our recent identification of a bacterial toxin to transform it into antibiotics active on multidrug-resistant (MDR) gram-positive and -negative bacterial pathogens. We generated a new family of peptidomimetics—cyclic heptapseudopeptides—inspired from a natural bacterial peptide. Out of the 4 peptides studied, 2 are effective against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in mild and severe sepsis mouse models without exhibiting toxicity on human erythrocytes and kidney cells, zebrafish embryos, and mice. These new compounds are safe at their active doses and above, without nephrotoxicity. Efficacy was also demonstrated against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and MRSA in a mouse skin infection model. Importantly, these compounds did not result in resistance after serial passages for 2 weeks and 4 or 6 days’ exposure in mice. Activity of heptapseudopeptides was explained by the ability of unnatural amino acids to strengthen dynamic association with bacterial lipid bilayers and to induce membrane permeability, leading to bacterial death. Based on structure determination, we showed that cationic domains surrounded by an extended hydrophobic core could improve bactericidal activity. Because 2 peptide analogs, Pep 16 and Pep19, are effective against both MRSA and P. aeruginosa in severe sepsis and skin infection models, respectively, we believe that these peptidomimetics are promising lead candidates for drug development. We have identified potential therapeutic agents that can provide alternative treatments against antimicrobial resistance. Because the compounds are potential leads for therapeutic development, the next step is to start phase I clinical trials.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Spermine in semen of male sea lamprey acts as a sex pheromone

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Tue, 2019-07-09 23:00

by Anne M. Scott, Zhe Zhang, Liang Jia, Ke Li, Qinghua Zhang, Thomas Dexheimer, Edmund Ellsworth, Jianfeng Ren, Yu-Wen Chung-Davidson, Yao Zu, Richard R. Neubig, Weiming Li

Semen is fundamental for sexual reproduction. The non-sperm part of ejaculated semen, or seminal plasma, facilitates the delivery of sperm to the eggs. The seminal plasma of some species with internal fertilization contains anti-aphrodisiac molecules that deter promiscuity in post-copulatory females, conferring fitness benefits to the ejaculating male. By contrast, in some taxa with external fertilization such as fish, exposure to semen promotes spawning behaviors. However, no specific compounds in semen have been identified as aphrodisiac pheromones. We sought to identify a pheromone from the milt (fish semen) of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), a jawless fish that spawns in lek-like aggregations in which each spermiating male defends a nest, and ovulatory females move from nest to nest to mate. We postulated that milt compounds signal to ovulatory females the presence of spawning spermiating males. We determined that spermine, an odorous polyamine initially identified from human semen, is indeed a milt pheromone. At concentrations as low as 10−14 molar, spermine stimulated the lamprey olfactory system and attracted ovulatory females but did not attract males or pre-ovulatory females. We found spermine activated a trace amine-associated receptor (TAAR)-like receptor in the lamprey olfactory epithelium. A novel antagonist to that receptor nullified the attraction of ovulatory females to spermine. Our results elucidate a mechanism whereby a seminal plasma pheromone attracts ready-to-mate females and implicates a possible conservation of the olfactory detection of semen from jawless vertebrates to humans. Milt pheromones may also have management implications for sea lamprey populations.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Global proteomic analyses define an environmentally contingent Hsp90 interactome and reveal chaperone-dependent regulation of stress granule proteins and the R2TP complex in a fungal pathogen

PLOS Biology (new articles) - Mon, 2019-07-08 23:00

by Teresa R. O’Meara, Matthew J. O’Meara, Elizabeth J. Polvi, M. Reza Pourhaghighi, Sean D. Liston, Zhen-Yuan Lin, Amanda O. Veri, Andrew Emili, Anne-Claude Gingras, Leah E. Cowen

Hsp90 is a conserved molecular chaperone that assists in the folding and function of diverse cellular regulators, with a profound impact on biology, disease, and evolution. As a central hub of protein interaction networks, Hsp90 engages with hundreds of protein–protein interactions within eukaryotic cells. These interactions include client proteins, which physically interact with Hsp90 and depend on the chaperone for stability or function, as well as co-chaperones and partner proteins that modulate chaperone function. Currently, there are no methods to accurately predict Hsp90 interactors and there has been considerable network rewiring over evolutionary time, necessitating experimental approaches to define the Hsp90 network in the species of interest. This is a pressing challenge for fungal pathogens, for which Hsp90 is a key regulator of stress tolerance, drug resistance, and virulence traits. To address this challenge, we applied a novel biochemical fractionation and quantitative proteomic approach to examine alterations to the proteome upon perturbation of Hsp90 in a leading human fungal pathogen, Candida albicans. In parallel, we performed affinity purification coupled to mass spectrometry to define physical interacting partners for Hsp90 and the Hsp90 co-chaperones and identified 164 Hsp90-interacting proteins, including 111 that are specific to the pathogen. We performed the first analysis of the Hsp90 interactome upon antifungal drug stress and demonstrated that Hsp90 stabilizes processing body (P-body) and stress granule proteins that contribute to drug tolerance. We also describe novel roles for Hsp90 in regulating posttranslational modification of the Rvb1-Rvb2-Tah1-Pih1 (R2TP) complex and the formation of protein aggregates in response to thermal stress. This study provides a global view of the Hsp90 interactome in a fungal pathogen, demonstrates the dynamic role of Hsp90 in response to environmental perturbations, and highlights a novel connection between Hsp90 and the regulation of mRNA-associated protein granules.
Categories: Biology, Journals

Author Index

Bioinformatics - Fri, 2019-07-05 02:00
Agar,J. i208
Categories: Bioinformatics, Journals