Another cat and mouse game: Deciphering the evolution of the SCGB superfamily and exploring the molecular similarity of major cat allergen Fel d 1 and mouse ABP using computational approaches.
ABSTRACT: The mammalian secretoglobin (SCGB) superfamily contains functionally diverse members, among which the major cat allergen Fel d 1 and mouse salivary androgen-binding protein (ABP) display similar subunits. We searched for molecular similarities between Fel d 1 and ABP to examine the possibility that they play similar roles. We aimed to i) cluster the evolutionary relationships of the SCGB superfamily; ii) identify divergence patterns, structural overlap, and protein-protein docking between Fel d 1 and ABP dimers; and iii) explore the residual interaction between ABP dimers and steroid binding in chemical communication using computational approaches. We also report that the evolutionary tree of the SCGB superfamily comprises seven unique palm-like clusters, showing the evolutionary pattern and divergence time tree of Fel d 1 with 28 ABP paralogs. Three ABP subunits (A27, BG27, and BG26) share phylogenetic relationships with Fel d 1 chains. The Fel d 1 and ABP subunits show similarities in terms of sequence conservation, identical motifs and binding site clefts. Topologically equivalent positions were visualized through superimposition of ABP A27:BG27 (AB) and ABP A27:BG26 (AG) dimers on a heterodimeric Fel d 1 model. In docking, Fel d 1-ABP dimers exhibit the maximum surface binding ability of AG compared with that of AB dimers and the several polar interactions between ABP dimers with steroids. Hence, cat Fel d 1 is an ABP-like molecule in which monomeric chains 1 and 2 are the equivalent of the ABPA and ABPBG monomers, respectively. These findings suggest that the biological and molecular function of Fel d 1 is similar to that of ABP in chemical communication, possibly via pheromone and/or steroid binding.
Project description:Two decades ago, we developed a congenic strain of Mus musculus, called b-congenic, by replacing the androgen-binding protein Abpa27(a) allele in the C3H/HeJ genome with the Abpa27(b) allele from DBA/2J. We and other researchers used this b-congenic strain and its C3H counterpart, the a-congenic strain, to test the hypothesis that, given the choice between signals from two strains with different a27 alleles on the same genetic background, test subjects would prefer the homosubspecific one. It was our purpose in undertaking this study to characterize the segment transferred from DBA to the C3H background in producing the b-congenic strain on which a role for ABPA27 in behavior has been predicated. We determined the size of the chromosome 7 segment transferred from DBA and the genes it contains that might influence preference. We found that the "functional" DBA segment is about 1% the size of the mouse haploid genome and contains at least 29 genes expressed in salivary glands, however, only three of these encode proteins identified in the mouse salivary proteome. At least two of the three genes Abpa27, Abpbg26 and Abpbg27 encoding the subunits of androgen-binding protein ABP dimers evolved under positive selection and the third one may have also. In the sense that they are subunits of the same two functional entities, the ABP dimers, we propose that their evolutionary histories might not be independent of each other.
Project description:The major cat allergen Fel d 1 is a tetrameric glycoprotein of the secretoglobin superfamily. Structural aspects and allergenic properties of this protein have been investigated, but its physiological function remains unclear. Fel d 1 is assumed to bind lipids and steroids like the mouse androgen-binding protein, which is involved in chemical communication, either as a semiochemical carrier or a semiochemical itself. This study focused on the binding activity of a recombinant model of Fel d 1 (rFel d 1) towards semiochemical analogs, i.e., fatty acids and steroids, using both in silico calculations and fluorescence measurements. In silico analyses were first adopted to model the interactions of potential ligands, which were then tested in binding assays using the fluorescent reporter N-phenyl-1-naphthylamine. Good ligands were fatty acids, such as the lauric, oleic, linoleic, and myristic fatty acids, as well as steroids like androstenone, pregnenolone, and progesterone, that were predicted by in silico molecular models to bind into the central and surface cavities of rFel d 1, respectively. The lowest dissociation constants were shown by lauric acid (2.6 µM) and androstenone (2.4 µM). The specific affinity of rFel d 1 to semiochemicals supports a function of the protein in cat's chemical communication, and highlights a putative role of secretoglobins in protein semiochemistry.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Allergen-specific immunotherapy is clinically effective for the treatment of cat allergy but shows a high rate of side effects. OBJECTIVE:We sought to engineer recombinant fusion proteins for cat immunotherapy that allow reducing both IgE-mediated and T cell-mediated side effects. METHODS:Fusion proteins consisting of the hepatitis B virus-derived PreS domain and 2 nonallergenic Fel d 1-derived peptides were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. IgE reactivity and allergenic activity of Fel d 1 and the fusion proteins were compared by using IgE-binding assays and basophil activation tests in patients with cat allergy. Mice and rabbits were immunized subcutaneously with Fel d 1 and the fusion proteins to investigate the allergenicity of the vaccines and the development of Fel d 1-specific IgG antibodies. RESULTS:The recombinant fusion proteins showed no relevant IgE reactivity and exhibited more than 1000-fold reduced allergenic activity in basophil activation tests. On immunization of mice and rabbits, the fusion proteins induced Fel d 1-specific IgG antibodies that inhibited the binding of allergic patients' IgE to the allergen without allergic sensitization to Fel d 1. CONCLUSION:The described recombinant fusion proteins exhibit strongly reduced IgE-mediated allergenic activity, contain less than 40% of the Fel d 1 sequence, and thus lack many of the specific T-cell epitopes. Therefore they should represent safe vaccines for the treatment of cat allergy.
Project description:Allergy to cat epithelia is highly prevalent, being the major recommendation for allergy sufferers its avoidance. However, this is not always feasible. Allergen specific immunotherapy is therefore recommended for these patients. The use of polymerized allergen extracts, allergoids, would allow to achieve the high allergen doses suggested to be effective while maintaining safety.Cat native extract and its depigmented allergoid were manufactured and biochemically and immunochemically characterized. Protein and chromatographic profiles showed significant modification of the depigmented allergoid with respect to its corresponding native extract. However, the presence of different allergens (Fel d 1, Fel d 2, Fel d 3, Fel d 4 and Fel d 7) was confirmed in the allergoid. Differences in IgE-binding capacity were observed as loss of biological potency and lower stability of the IgE-allergen complex on surface plasmon resonance. The allergoid induced production of IgG antibodies able to block IgE-binding to native extract. Finally, studies carried out with peripheral-blood mononuclear cells from cat allergic patients showed that the allergoid induced IFN-? and IL-10 production similar to that induced by native extract.Cat depigmented allergoid induced production of cytokines involved in a Th1 and Treg response, was able to induce production of IgG-antibodies that blocks IgE-binding to cat native extract, and showed reduced interaction with IgE, suggesting greater safety than native extract while maintaining in vitro efficacy.
Project description:The Androgen-binding protein (Abp) region of the mouse genome contains 30 Abpa genes encoding alpha subunits and 34 Abpbg genes encoding betagamma subunits, their products forming dimers composed of an alpha and a betagamma subunit. We endeavored to determine how many Abp genes are expressed as proteins in tears and saliva, and as transcripts in the exocrine glands producing them. Using standard PCR, we amplified Abp transcripts from cDNA libraries of C57BL/6 mice and found fifteen Abp gene transcripts in the lacrimal gland and five in the submandibular gland. Proteomic analyses identified proteins corresponding to eleven of the lacrimal gland transcripts, all of them different from the three salivary ABPs reported previously. Our qPCR results showed that five of the six transcripts that lacked corresponding proteins are expressed at very low levels compared to those transcripts with proteins. We found 1) no overlap in the repertoires of expressed Abp paralogs in lacrimal gland/tears and salivary glands/saliva; 2) substantial sex-limited expression of lacrimal gland/tear expressed-paralogs in males but no sex-limited expression in females; and 3) that the lacrimal gland/tear expressed-paralogs are found exclusively in ancestral clades 1, 2 and 3 of the five clades described previously while the salivary glands/saliva expressed-paralogs are found only in clade 5. The number of instances of extremely low levels of transcription without corresponding protein production in paralogs specific to tears and saliva suggested the role of subfunctionalization, a derived condition wherein genes that may have been expressed highly in both glands ancestrally were down-regulated subsequent to duplication. Thus, evidence for subfunctionalization can be seen in our data and we argue that the partitioning of paralog expression between lacrimal and salivary glands that we report here occurred as the result of adaptive evolution.
Project description:The house mouse Androgen-binding protein (Abp) gene family is comprised of 64 paralogs, 30 Abpa and 34 Abpbg, encoding the alpha (ABPA) and beta-gamma (ABPBG) protein subunits that are disulfide-bridged to form dimers in secretions. Only 14 Abp genes are expressed in distinct patterns in the lacrimal (11) and submandibular glands (3). We created a knockout mouse line lacking two of the three genes expressed in submandibular glands, Abpa27 and Abpbg27, by replacing them with the neomycin resistance gene. The knockout genotype (-/-) showed no Abpa27 or Abpbg27 transcripts in submandibular gland complementary DNA (cDNA) libraries and there was a concomitant lack of protein expression of ABPA27 and ABPBG27 in the -/- genotype saliva, shown by elimination of these two proteins from the saliva proteome and the loss of cross-reactive material in the acinar cells of the submandibular glands. We also observed a decrease in BG26 protein in the -/- animals, suggesting monomer instability. Overall, we observed no major phenotypic changes in the -/- genotype, compared with their +/+ and +/- siblings raised in a laboratory setting, including normal growth curves, tissue histology, fecundity, and longevity. The only difference is that male and female C57BL/6 mice preferred saliva of the opposite sex containing ABP statistically significantly more than saliva of the opposite sex without ABP in a Y-maze test. These results show for the first time that mice can sense the presence of ABP between saliva targets with and without ABPs, and that they spend more time investigating the target containing ABP.
Project description:The major cat allergen, Fel d 1, is a structurally complex protein with two N-glycosylation sites that may be filled by different glycoforms. In addition, the protein contains three putative Ca2+ binding sites. Since the impact of these Fel d 1 structure modifications on the protein dynamics, physiology and pathology are not well established, the present work employed computational biology techniques to tackle these issues. While conformational effects brought upon by glycosylation were identified, potentially involved in cavity volume regulation, our results indicate that only the central Ca2+ ion remains coordinated to Fel d 1 in biological solutions, impairing its proposed role in modulating phospholipase A2 activity. As these results increase our understanding of Fel d 1 structural biology, they may offer new support for understanding its physiological role and impact into cat-promoted allergy.
Project description:Short AT base pair sequences that are separated by a small number of GCs are common in eukaryotic parasite genomes. Cell-permeable compounds that bind effectively and selectively to such sequences present an attractive therapeutic approach. Compounds with linked, one or two amidine-benzimidazole-phenyl (ABP) motifs were designed, synthesized, and evaluated for binding to adjacent AT sites by biosensor-surface plasmon resonance (SPR). A surprising feature of the linked ABP motifs is that a set of six similar compounds has three different minor groove binding modes with the target sequences. Compounds with one ABP bind independently to two separated AT sites. Unexpectedly, compounds with two ABP motifs can bind strongly either as monomers or as cooperative dimers to the full site. The results are supported by mass spectrometry and circular dichroism, and models to explain the different binding modes are presented.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Allergies to cats are the most common animal-origin allergy, and affect approximately 1 in 5 adults worldwide. The prevalence of allergy to furry animals has been increasing, and allergy to cats is a major risk factor for the development of asthma and rhinitis. The diagnosis of cat allergy is now well established. The exact significance of component-resolved diagnosis in the diagnosis of cat allergy remains to be fully understood. Allergen avoidance is effective but often has a psychologic impact. Allergen immunotherapy is not well demonstrated. There is a need for innovative approaches to better manage cat allergens. Next-generation care pathways for asthma and rhinitis will define the place of cat allergen avoidance. METHODS AND RESULTS:This manuscript, based on content presented at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress 2019, provides information on the prevalence and impact of cat allergies and the molecular biology of Fel d 1, the major cat allergen. DISCUSSION:The authors present the scientific basis of a novel care pathway that utilizes anti-Fel d 1 IgY antibodies to safely and effectively neutralize Fel d 1 after its production by the cat but before human exposure. CONCLUSION:Efficacy of a feline diet with an egg product ingredient containing anti-Fel d 1 IgY antibodies was demonstrated in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo, and further validated by a pilot exposure study involving cat-allergic human participants.
Project description:Leishmania infantum is a vector-borne zoonotic disease transmitted by phlebotomine sand flies and dogs are considered the main reservoir of the parasite. Feline leishmaniosis (FeL) caused by L. infantum is an emergent feline disease more and more frequently reported in endemic areas. This review summarizes current knowledge focusing similarities and differences with canine leishmaniosis (CanL). Cats are infected by the same Leishmania species than dogs but prevalence of the infection is lower and cases of disease are less frequently reported. Scarce information is available on adaptive immune response of cats naturally exposed to L. infantum infection and mechanisms responsible for susceptibility or resistance of feline hosts. However, about half of clinical cases of FeL are reported in cats with possible impaired immunocompetence. Coinfections or comorbidities are frequently detected in sick cats and they can contribute to a misrepresentation of clinical FeL albeit lesions associated with the presence of the parasite have been detected in skin, lymph nodes, spleen, bone marrow, liver, oral mucosa, stomach, large bowel, kidney, nasal exudate, lung, eye. As for dogs, skin or mucocutaneous lesions are the most common reason for veterinary consultation and finding on physical examination in cats with leishmaniosis. Molecular investigations of Leishmania DNA and anti- Leishmania antibody detection are largely used with the same methodologies for both CanL and FeL, however few information is available about their diagnostic performance in feline hosts. Treatment of cats with clinical FeL is still empirically based and off label by using the most common drugs prescribed to dogs. Life expectancy of cats with clinical FeL is usually good unless concurrent conditions or complications occur and prognosis does not seem significantly influenced by therapy or retroviral coinfection. According to current knowledge, cats can play a role as additional reservoir host of L. infantum and, in a « One Health » perspective, preventative measures should be taken. In conclusion, albeit feline infection and the associated cat disease caused by L. infantum is increasingly reported in endemic areas and have many similarities with CanL, consolidated evidence-based knowledge is not available and we cannot exclude that important differences between dogs and cats exist about transmission, immunopathogenesis and best practice for management and prevention.