Project description:T cells and B cells are essential in the adaptive immunity via expressing T cell receptors and immunoglogulins respectively for recognizing antigens. To recognize a wide variety of antigens, a highly diverse repertoire of receptors is generated via complex recombination of the receptor genes. Reasonably, frequencies of the recombination events have been shown to predict immune diseases and provide insights into the development of immunity. The field is further boosted by high-throughput sequencing and several computational tools have been released to analyze the recombined sequences. However, all current tools assume regular recombination of the receptor genes, which is not always valid in data prepared using a RACE approach. Compared to the traditional multiplex PCR approach, RACE is free of primer bias, therefore can provide accurate estimation of recombination frequencies. To handle the non-regular recombination events, a new computational program is needed.We propose TRIg to handle non-regular T cell receptor and immunoglobulin sequences. Unlike all current programs, TRIg does alignments to the whole receptor gene instead of only to the coding regions. This brings new computational challenges, e.g., ambiguous alignments due to multiple hits to repetitive regions. To reduce ambiguity, TRIg applies a heuristic strategy and incorporates gene annotation to identify authentic alignments. On our own and public RACE datasets, TRIg correctly identified non-regularly recombined sequences, which could not be achieved by current programs. TRIg also works well for regularly recombined sequences.TRIg takes into account non-regular recombination of T cell receptor and immunoglobulin genes, therefore is suitable for analyzing RACE data. Such analysis will provide accurate estimation of recombination events, which will benefit various immune studies directly. In addition, TRIg is suitable for studying aberrant recombination in immune diseases. TRIg is freely available at https://github.com/TLlab/trig .
Project description:The transient receptor potential Ankyrin-1 (TRPA1) ion channel is modulated by myriad noxious stimuli that interact with multiple regions of the channel, including cysteine-reactive natural extracts from onion and garlic which modify residues in the cytoplasmic domains. The way in which TRPA1 cytoplasmic domain modification is coupled to opening of the ion-conducting pore has yet to be elucidated. The cryo-EM structure of TRPA1 revealed a tetrameric C-terminal coiled-coil surrounded by N-terminal ankyrin repeat domains (ARDs), an architecture shared with the canonical transient receptor potential (TRPC) ion channel family. Similarly, structures of the TRP melastatin (TRPM) ion channel family also showed a C-terminal coiled-coil surrounded by N-terminal cytoplasmic domains. This conserved architecture may indicate a common gating mechanism by which modification of cytoplasmic domains can transduce conformational changes to open the ion-conducting pore. We developed an in vitro system in which N-terminal ARDs and C-terminal coiled-coil domains can be expressed in bacteria and maintain the ability to interact. We tested three gating regulators: temperature; the polyphosphate compound IP6; and the covalent modifier allyl isothiocyanate to determine whether they alter N- and C-terminal interactions. We found that none of the modifiers tested abolished ARD-coiled-coil interactions, though there was a significant reduction at 37˚C. We found that coiled-coils tetramerize in a concentration dependent manner, with monomers and trimers observed at lower concentrations. Our system provides a method for examining the mechanism of oligomerization of TRPA1 cytoplasmic domains as well as a system to study the transmission of conformational changes resulting from covalent modification.
Project description:T cell repertoire diversity and clonotype follow-up in vaccination, cancer, infectious and immune diseases represent a major challenge owing to the enormous complexity of the data generated. Here we describe a next generation methodology, which combines 5'RACE PCR, 454 sequencing and, for analysis, IMGT, the international ImMunoGeneTics information system (IMGT), IMGT/HighV-QUEST web portal and IMGT-ONTOLOGY concepts. The approach is validated in a human case study of T cell receptor beta (TRB) repertoire, by chronologically tracking the effects of influenza vaccination on conventional and regulatory T cell subpopulations. The IMGT/HighV-QUEST paradigm defines standards for genotype/haplotype analysis and characterization of IMGT clonotypes for clonal diversity and expression and achieves a degree of resolution for next generation sequencing verifiable by the user at the sequence level, while providing a normalized reference immunoprofile for human TRB.
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: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: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:Traditionally, physical features in musical chords have been proposed to be at the root of consonance perception. Alternatively, recent studies suggest that different types of experience modulate some perceptual foundations for musical sounds. The present study tested whether the mechanisms involved in the perception of consonance are present in an animal with no extensive experience with harmonic stimuli and a relatively limited vocal repertoire. In Experiment 1, rats were trained to discriminate consonant from dissonant chords and tested to explore whether they could generalize such discrimination to novel chords. In Experiment 2, we tested if rats could discriminate between chords differing only in their interval ratios and generalize them to different octaves. To contrast the observed pattern of results, human adults were tested with the same stimuli in Experiment 3. Rats successfully discriminated across chords in both experiments, but they did not generalize to novel items in either Experiment 1 or Experiment 2. On the contrary, humans not only discriminated among both consonance-dissonance categories, and among sets of interval ratios, they also generalized their responses to novel items. These results suggest that experience with harmonic sounds may be required for the construction of categories among stimuli varying in frequency ratios. However, the discriminative capacity observed in rats suggests that at least some components of auditory processing needed to distinguish chords based on their interval ratios are shared across species.
Project description:Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) drives the evolution of recipient organism particularly if it provides a novel function which enhances the fitness or its adaption to the environment. Virus-host co-evolution is attractive for studying co-evolutionary processes, since viruses strictly replicate inside of the host cells and thus their evolution is inexorably tangled with host biology. HGT, as a mechanism of co-evolution between human and viruses, has been widely documented, however, the roles HGT play during the interaction between human and viruses are still in their infancy. In this study, we performed a comprehensive analysis on the genes horizontally transferred between viruses and their corresponding human hosts. Our study suggests that the HGT genes in human are predominantly enriched in immune related GO terms while viral HGT genes are tend to be encoded by viruses which promote the invasion of immune system of hosts. Based on our results, it gives us a hint about the evolution trajectory of HGT events. Overall, our study suggests that the HGT between human and viruses are highly relevant to immune interaction and probably reshaped the arm race between hosts and viruses.