Project description:Important additions have been made to the MEROPS database (http://www.bi.bbsrc.ac.uk/Merops/Merops.htm). These include sequence alignments and cladograms for many of the families of peptidases, and these have proved very helpful in the difficult task of distinguishing the sequences of peptidases that are simply species variants of already known enzymes from those that represent novel enzymes.
Project description:We wished to compare two databases based on sequence similarity: one that aims to be comprehensive in its coverage of known sequences, and one that specialises in a relatively small subset of known sequences. One of the motivations behind this study was quality control. Pfam is a comprehensive collection of alignments and hidden Markov models representing families of proteins and domains. MEROPS is a catalogue and classification of enzymes with proteolytic activity (peptidases or proteases). These secondary databases are used by researchers worldwide, yet their contents are not peer reviewed. Therefore, we hoped that a systematic comparison of the contents of Pfam and MEROPS would highlight missing members and false-positives leading to improvements in quality of both databases. An additional reason for carrying out this study was to explore the extent of consensus in the definition of a protein family.About half (89 out of 174) of the peptidase families in MEROPS overlapped single Pfam families. A further 32 MEROPS families overlapped multiple Pfam families. Where possible, new Pfam families were built to represent most of the MEROPS families that did not overlap Pfam. When comparing the numbers of sequences found in the overlap between a MEROPS family and its corresponding Pfam family, in most cases the overlap was substantial (52 pairs of MEROPS and Pfam families had an intersection size of greater than 75% of the union) but there were some differences in the sets of sequences included in the MEROPS families versus the overlapping Pfam families.A number of the discrepancies between MEROPS families and their corresponding Pfam families arose from differences in the aims and philosophies of the two databases. Examination of some of the discrepancies highlighted additional members of families, which have subsequently been added in both Pfam and MEROPS. This has led to improvements in the quality of both databases. Overall there was a great deal of consensus between the databases in definitions of a protein family.
Project description:While marine top predators can play a critical role in ecosystem structure and dynamics through their effects on prey populations, how the predators function in this role is often not well understood. In the Benguela region of southern Africa, the Cape fur seal (Arctocephalus pusillus pusillus) population constitutes the largest marine top predator biomass, but little is known of its foraging ecology other than its diet and some preliminary dive records. Dive information was obtained from 32 adult females instrumented with dive recorders at the Kleinsee colony (29°34.17' S, 16°59.80' E) in South Africa during 2006-2008. Most dives were in the depth range of epipelagic prey species (less than 50 m deep) and at night, reflecting the reliance of Cape fur seals on small, vertically migrating, schooling prey. However, most females also performed benthic dives, and benthic diving was prevalent in some individuals. Benthic diving was significantly associated with the frequency with which females exceeded their aerobic dive limit. The greater putative costs of benthic diving highlight the potential detrimental effects to Cape fur seals of well-documented changes in the availability of epipelagic prey species in the Benguela.
Project description:Osmoregulation is a key physiological function, critical for homeostasis. The basic physiological mechanisms of osmoregulation are thought to be well established. However, through a series of experiments exposing the freshwater mayfly nymph Austrophlebioides pusillus (Ephemeroptera) to increasing salinities, we present research that challenges the extent of current understanding of the relationship between osmoregulation and mortality. A. pusillus had modelled 96?h LC10, LC50 and LC99 of 2.4, 4.8 and 10?g?l-1 added synthetic marine salt (SMS), respectively. They were strong osmoregulators. At aquarium water osmolality of 256?±?3.12?mmol?kg-1 (±s.e.; equivalent to 10?g?l-1 added SMS), the haemolymph osmolality of A. pusillus was a much higher 401?±?4.18?mmol?kg-1 (±s.e.). The osmoregulatory capacity of A. pusillus did not break down, even at the salinity corresponding to their LC99, thus their mortality at this concentration is due to factors other than increased internal osmotic pressure. No freshwater invertebrate has been previously reported as suffering mortality from rises in salinity that are well below the iso-osmotic point. Recently, studies have reported reduced abundance/richness of Ephemeroptera with slightly elevated salinity. Given that salinization is an increasing global threat to freshwaters, there is an urgent need for studies into the osmophysiology of the Ephemeroptera to determine if their loss at locations with slightly elevated salinity is a direct result of external salinity or other, possibly physiological, causes.
Project description:We describe an unusual presentation of fatal infection due to Rhizomucor pusillus bloodstream infection in a 12-year old pediatric patient recently diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis. R. pusillus was isolated from one blood culture drawn on Day 11 of hospitalization.
Project description:The MEROPS website (https://www.ebi.ac.uk/merops) and database was established in 1996 to present the classification and nomenclature of proteolytic enzymes. This was expanded to include a classification of protein inhibitors of proteolytic enzymes in 2004. Each peptidase or inhibitor is assigned to a distinct identifier, based on its biochemical and biological properties, and homologous sequences are assembled into a family. Families in which the proteins share similar tertiary structures are assembled into a clan. The MEROPS classification is thus a hierarchy with at least three levels (protein-species, family, and clan) showing the evolutionary relationship. Several other data collections have been assembled, which are accessed from all levels in the hierarchy. These include, sequence homologs, selective bibliographies, substrate cleavage sites, peptidase-inhibitor interactions, alignments, and phylogenetic trees. The substrate cleavage collection has been assembled from the literature and includes physiological, pathological, and nonphysiological cleavages in proteins, peptides, and synthetic substrates. In this article, we make recommendations about how best to analyze these data and show analyses to indicate peptidase binding site preferences and exclusions. We also identify peptidases where co-operative binding occurs between adjacent binding sites.
Project description:The MEROPS database (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/merops/) is an integrated source of information about peptidases, their substrates and inhibitors. The hierarchical classification is: protein-species, family, clan, with an identifier at each level. The MEROPS website moved to the EMBL-EBI in 2017, requiring refactoring of the code-base and services provided. The interface to sequence searching has changed and the MEROPS protein sequence libraries can be searched at the EMBL-EBI with HMMER, FastA and BLASTP. Cross-references have been established between MEROPS and the PANTHER database at both the family and protein-species level, which will help to improve curation and coverage between the resources. Because of the increasing size of the MEROPS sequence collection, in future only sequences of characterized proteins, and from completely sequenced genomes of organisms of evolutionary, medical or commercial significance will be added. As an example, peptidase homologues in four proteomes from the Asgard superphylum of Archaea have been identified and compared to other archaean, bacterial and eukaryote proteomes. This has given insights into the origins and evolution of peptidase families, including an expansion in the number of proteasome components in Asgard archaeotes and as organisms increase in complexity. Novel structures for proteasome complexes in archaea are postulated.
Project description:Peptidases, their substrates and inhibitors are of great relevance to biology, medicine and biotechnology. The MEROPS database (http://merops.sanger.ac.uk) aims to fulfill the need for an integrated source of information about these. The database has hierarchical classifications in which homologous sets of peptidases and protein inhibitors are grouped into protein species, which are grouped into families, which are in turn grouped into clans. Recent developments include the following. A community annotation project has been instigated in which acknowledged experts are invited to contribute summaries for peptidases. Software has been written to provide an Internet-based data entry form. Contributors are acknowledged on the relevant web page. A new display showing the intron/exon structures of eukaryote peptidase genes and the phasing of the junctions has been implemented. It is now possible to filter the list of peptidases from a completely sequenced bacterial genome for a particular strain of the organism. The MEROPS filing pipeline has been altered to circumvent the restrictions imposed on non-interactive blastp searches, and a HMMER search using specially generated alignments to maximize the distribution of organisms returned in the search results has been added.