Project description:Kynureninase is a member of a large family of catalytically diverse but structurally homologous pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) dependent enzymes known as the aspartate aminotransferase superfamily or alpha-family. The Homo sapiens and other eukaryotic constitutive kynureninases preferentially catalyze the hydrolytic cleavage of 3-hydroxy-l-kynurenine to produce 3-hydroxyanthranilate and l-alanine, while l-kynurenine is the substrate of many prokaryotic inducible kynureninases. The human enzyme was cloned with an N-terminal hexahistidine tag, expressed, and purified from a bacterial expression system using Ni metal ion affinity chromatography. Kinetic characterization of the recombinant enzyme reveals classic Michaelis-Menten behavior, with a Km of 28.3 +/- 1.9 microM and a specific activity of 1.75 micromol min-1 mg-1 for 3-hydroxy-dl-kynurenine. Crystals of recombinant kynureninase that diffracted to 2.0 A were obtained, and the atomic structure of the PLP-bound holoenzyme was determined by molecular replacement using the Pseudomonas fluorescens kynureninase structure (PDB entry 1qz9) as the phasing model. A structural superposition with the P. fluorescens kynureninase revealed that these two structures resemble the "open" and "closed" conformations of aspartate aminotransferase. The comparison illustrates the dynamic nature of these proteins' small domains and reveals a role for Arg-434 similar to its role in other AAT alpha-family members. Docking of 3-hydroxy-l-kynurenine into the human kynureninase active site suggests that Asn-333 and His-102 are involved in substrate binding and molecular discrimination between inducible and constitutive kynureninase substrates.
Project description:We have sequenced miRNA libraries from human embryonic, neural and foetal mesenchymal stem cells. We report that the majority of miRNA genes encode mature isomers that vary in size by one or more bases at the 3’ and/or 5’ end of the miRNA. Northern blotting for individual miRNAs showed that the proportions of isomiRs expressed by a single miRNA gene often differ between cell and tissue types. IsomiRs were readily co-immunoprecipitated with Argonaute proteins in vivo and were active in luciferase assays, indicating that they are functional. Bioinformatics analysis predicts substantial differences in targeting between miRNAs with minor 5’ differences and in support of this we report that a 5’ isomiR-9-1 gained the ability to inhibit the expression of DNMT3B and NCAM2 but lost the ability to inhibit CDH1 in vitro. This result was confirmed by the use of isomiR-specific sponges. Our analysis of the miRGator database indicates that a small percentage of human miRNA genes express isomiRs as the dominant transcript in certain cell types and analysis of miRBase shows that 5’ isomiRs have replaced canonical miRNAs many times during evolution. This strongly indicates that isomiRs are of functional importance and have contributed to the evolution of miRNA genes Sequence library of miRNAs from a single sample of human foetal mesenchymal stem cells. Results tested and confirmed by northern blotting. Please note that only raw data files are available for the embryonic and neual samples and thus, directly submitted to SRA (SRX547311, SRX548700, respectively under SRP042115/PRJNA247767)
Project description:We investigated the evidence of recent positive selection in the human phototransduction system at single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and gene level.SNP genotyping data from the International HapMap Project for European, Eastern Asian, and African populations was used to discover differences in haplotype length and allele frequency between these populations. Numeric selection metrics were computed for each SNP and aggregated into gene-level metrics to measure evidence of recent positive selection. The level of recent positive selection in phototransduction genes was evaluated and compared to a set of genes shown previously to be under recent selection, and a set of highly conserved genes as positive and negative controls, respectively.Six of 20 phototransduction genes evaluated had gene-level selection metrics above the 90th percentile: RGS9, GNB1, RHO, PDE6G, GNAT1, and SLC24A1. The selection signal across these genes was found to be of similar magnitude to the positive control genes and much greater than the negative control genes.There is evidence for selective pressure in the genes involved in retinal phototransduction, and traces of this selective pressure can be demonstrated using SNP-level and gene-level metrics of allelic variation. We hypothesize that the selective pressure on these genes was related to their role in low light vision and retinal adaptation to ambient light changes. Uncovering the underlying genetics of evolutionary adaptations in phototransduction not only allows greater understanding of vision and visual diseases, but also the development of patient-specific diagnostic and intervention strategies.
Project description:The continuous characterization of genome-wide diversity in population and case-cohort samples, allied to the development of new algorithms, are shedding light on host ancestry impact and selection events on various infectious diseases. Especially interesting are the long-standing associations between humans and certain bacteria, such as the case of <i>Helicobacter pylori</i>, which could have been strong drivers of adaptation leading to coevolution. Some evidence on admixed gastric cancer cohorts have been suggested as supporting <i>Homo</i>-<i>Helicobacter</i> coevolution, but reliable experimental data that control both the bacterium and the host ancestries are lacking. Here, we conducted the first in vitro coinfection assays with dual human- and bacterium-matched and -mismatched ancestries, in African and European backgrounds, to evaluate the genome wide gene expression host response to <i>H. pylori</i>. Our results showed that: (1) the host response to <i>H. pylori</i> infection was greatly shaped by the human ancestry, with variability on innate immune system and metabolism; (2) African human ancestry showed signs of coevolution with <i>H. pylori</i> while European ancestry appeared to be maladapted; and (3) mismatched ancestry did not seem to be an important differentiator of gene expression at the initial stages of infection as assayed here.
Project description:Defining the distinctive capacities of Homo sapiens relative to other hominins is a major focus for human evolutionary studies. It has been argued that the procurement of small, difficult-to-catch, agile prey is a hallmark of complex behavior unique to our species; however, most research in this regard has been limited to the last 20,000 years in Europe and the Levant. Here, we present detailed faunal assemblage and taphonomic data from Fa-Hien Lena Cave in Sri Lanka that demonstrates specialized, sophisticated hunting of semi-arboreal and arboreal monkey and squirrel populations from ca. 45,000 years ago, in a tropical rainforest environment. Facilitated by complex osseous and microlithic technologies, we argue these data highlight that the early capture of small, elusive mammals was part of the plastic behavior of Homo sapiens that allowed it to rapidly colonize a series of extreme environments that were apparently untouched by its hominin relatives.
Project description:This study identifies and analyzes statistically significant overlaps between selective sweep screens in anatomically modern humans and several domesticated species. The results obtained suggest that (paleo-)genomic data can be exploited to complement the fossil record and support the idea of self-domestication in Homo sapiens, a process that likely intensified as our species populated its niche. Our analysis lends support to attempts to capture the "domestication syndrome" in terms of alterations to certain signaling pathways and cell lineages, such as the neural crest.
Project description:Gene expression profiling of immortalized human mesenchymal stem cells with hTERT/E6/E7 transfected MSCs. hTERT may change gene expression in MSCs. Goal was to determine the gene expressions of immortalized MSCs. Overall design: One-condition experment, gene expression of 3A6
Project description:The geometric morphometric analysis of shape variation in complex biological structures such as the human skull poses a number of specific challenges: the registration of homologous morphologies, the treatment of bilateral symmetry, the graphical representation of form variability in three dimensions and the interpretation of the results in terms of differential growth processes. To visualize complex patterns of shape change, we propose an alternative to classical Cartesian deformation grids in the style of D'Arcy W. Thompson. Reference to the surface structures of the organism under investigation permits a comprehensive visual grasp of shape change and its tentative interpretation in terms of differential growth. The application of this method to the analysis of human craniofacial shape variation reveals distinct modes of growth and development of the neurocranial and viscerocranial regions of the skull. Our data further indicate that variations in the orientation of the viscerocranium relative to the neurocranium impinge on the shapes of the face and the cranial vault.
Project description:The body of human genomic and proteomic evidence continues to grow at ever-increasing rates, while annotation efforts struggle to keep pace. A surprisingly small fraction of human genes have clear, documented associations with specific functions, and new functions continue to be found for characterized genes. Here we assembled an integrated collection of diverse genomic and proteomic data for 21,341 human genes and make quantitative associations of each to 4333 Gene Ontology terms. We combined guilt-by-profiling and guilt-by-association approaches to exploit features unique to the data types. Performance was evaluated by cross-validation, prospective validation, and by manual evaluation with the biological literature. Functional-linkage networks were also constructed, and their utility was demonstrated by identifying candidate genes related to a glioma FLN using a seed network from genome-wide association studies. Our annotations are presented-alongside existing validated annotations-in a publicly accessible and searchable web interface.