Project description:The thrombopoietin receptor agonist eltrombopag was successfully used against human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-associated thrombocytopenia refractory to immunomodulatory and antiviral drugs. These effects were ascribed to the effects of eltrombopag on megakaryocytes. Here, we tested whether eltrombopag may also exert direct antiviral effects. Therapeutic eltrombopag concentrations inhibited HCMV replication in human fibroblasts and adult mesenchymal stem cells infected with six different virus strains and drug-resistant clinical isolates. Eltrombopag also synergistically increased the anti-HCMV activity of the mainstay drug ganciclovir. Time-of-addition experiments suggested that eltrombopag interfered with HCMV replication after virus entry. Eltrombopag was effective in thrombopoietin receptor-negative cells, and the addition of Fe<sup>3+</sup> prevented the anti-HCMV effects, indicating that it inhibits HCMV replication via iron chelation. This may be of particular interest for the treatment of cytopenias after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, as HCMV reactivation is a major reason for transplantation failure. Since therapeutic eltrombopag concentrations are effective against drug-resistant viruses, and synergistically increase the effects of ganciclovir, eltrombopag is also a drug-repurposing candidate for the treatment of therapy-refractory HCMV disease.
Project description:Green fluorescent protein (GFP) is tremendously useful for investigating many cellular and intracellular events. The monomeric GFP mNeonGreen is about 3- to 5-times brighter than GFP and monomeric enhanced GFP and shows high photostability. The maturation half-time of mNeonGreen is about 3-fold faster than that of monomeric enhanced GFP. However, the cDNA sequence encoding mNeonGreen contains some codons that are rarely used in Homo sapiens. For better expression of mNeonGreen in human cells, we synthesized a human-optimized cDNA encoding mNeonGreen and generated an expression plasmid for humanized mNeonGreen under the control of the cytomegalovirus promoter. The resultant plasmid was introduced into HEK293 cells. The fluorescent intensity of humanized mNeonGreen was about 1.4-fold higher than that of the original mNeonGreen. The humanized mNeonGreen with a mitochondria-targeting signal showed mitochondrial distribution of mNeonGreen. We further generated an expression vector of humanized mNeonGreen with 3xFLAG tags at its carboxyl terminus as these tags are useful for immunological analyses. The 3xFLAG-tagged mNeonGreen was recognized well with an anti-FLAG-M2 antibody. These plasmids for the expression of humanized mNeonGreen and mNeonGreen-3xFLAG are useful tools for biological studies in mammalian cells using mNeonGreen.
Project description:We introduce target sites for the microRNA (miRNA) miR-142 into the 3’-untranslated region of the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) IE2 to study the transcriptional effect of IE2 knock-down on both viral and host genes in cells that express miR-142. When comparing transcriptional data from miR-142 expressing macrophages infected with HCMV to macrophages infected with IE2-miR-142 targeted HCMV, we see a knock-down of IE2 and differential regulation of predicted viral targets of IE2 including IE1, vIL-10 and US29. We then generated fibroblasts expressing miR-142 to study the knock-down of IE2 in a different cellular system and find drastic differences in loss of IE2 on the host transcriptional profile in the two different cell types. Overall design: BW series: Fibroblasts (MRC-5) and macrophages (THP-1) infected with HCMV and miR-142 targeted HCMV for 24h to see immediate effect of IE2-knock down. CK series: Fibroblasts and macrophages infected with HCMV and miR-142 targeted HCMV for 9 days done in duplicate. EX series: miR-142 expressing fibroblasts infected with HCMV and miR-142 targeted HCMV for 9 days done in duplicate.
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:Genetic differences that specify unique aspects of human evolution have typically been identified by comparative analyses between the genomes of humans and closely related primates, including more recently the genomes of archaic hominins. Not all regions of the genome, however, are equally amenable to such study. Recurrent copy number variation (CNV) at chromosome 16p11.2 accounts for approximately 1% of cases of autism and is mediated by a complex set of segmental duplications, many of which arose recently during human evolution. Here we reconstruct the evolutionary history of the locus and identify bolA family member 2 (BOLA2) as a gene duplicated exclusively in Homo sapiens. We estimate that a 95-kilobase-pair segment containing BOLA2 duplicated across the critical region approximately 282 thousand years ago (ka), one of the latest among a series of genomic changes that dramatically restructured the locus during hominid evolution. All humans examined carried one or more copies of the duplication, which nearly fixed early in the human lineage--a pattern unlikely to have arisen so rapidly in the absence of selection (P?<?0.0097). We show that the duplication of BOLA2 led to a novel, human-specific in-frame fusion transcript and that BOLA2 copy number correlates with both RNA expression (r?=?0.36) and protein level (r?=?0.65), with the greatest expression difference between human and chimpanzee in experimentally derived stem cells. Analyses of 152 patients carrying a chromosome 16p11. rearrangement show that more than 96% of breakpoints occur within the H. sapiens-specific duplication. In summary, the duplicative transposition of BOLA2 at the root of the H. sapiens lineage about 282?ka simultaneously increased copy number of a gene associated with iron homeostasis and predisposed our species to recurrent rearrangements associated with disease.
Project description:Endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondrial contacts, known as mitochondria-associated membranes, regulate important cellular functions including calcium signaling, bioenergetics, and apoptosis. Human cytomegalovirus is a medically important herpesvirus whose growth increases energy demand and depends upon continued cell survival. To gain insight into how human cytomegalovirus infection affects endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondrial contacts, we undertook quantitative proteomics of mitochondria-associated membranes using differential stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture strategy and liquid chromatography-tandem MS analysis. This is the first reported quantitative proteomic analyses of a suborganelle during permissive human cytomegalovirus infection. Human fibroblasts were uninfected or human cytomegalovirus-infected for 72 h. Heavy mitochondria-associated membranes were isolated from paired unlabeled, uninfected cells and stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture-labeled, infected cells and analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem MS analysis. The results were verified by a reverse labeling experiment. Human cytomegalovirus infection dramatically altered endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondrial contacts by late times. Notable is the increased abundance of several fundamental networks in the mitochondria-associated membrane fraction of human cytomegalovirus-infected fibroblasts. Chaperones, including HSP60 and BiP, which is required for human cytomegalovirus assembly, were prominently increased at endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondrial contacts after infection. Minimal translational and translocation machineries were also associated with endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondrial contacts and increased after human cytomegalovirus infection as were glucose regulated protein 75 and the voltage dependent anion channel, which can form an endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondrial calcium signaling complex. Surprisingly, mitochondrial metabolic enzymes and cytosolic glycolytic enzymes were confidently detected in the mitochondria-associated membrane fraction and increased therein after infection. Finally, proapoptotic regulatory proteins, including Bax, cytochrome c, and Opa1, were augmented in endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondrial contacts after infection, suggesting attenuation of proapoptotic signaling by their increased presence therein. Together, these results suggest that human cytomegalovirus infection restructures the proteome of endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondrial contacts to bolster protein translation at these junctions, calcium signaling to mitochondria, cell survival, and bioenergetics and, thereby, allow for enhanced progeny production.
Project description:Mutations in PANK2 lead to neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation. PANK2 has a role in the biosynthesis of coenzyme A (CoA) from dietary vitamin B5, but the neuropathological mechanism and reasons for iron accumulation remain unknown. In this study, atypical patient-derived fibroblasts were reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and subsequently differentiated into cortical neuronal cells for studying disease mechanisms in human neurons. We observed no changes in PANK2 expression between control and patient cells, but a reduction in protein levels was apparent in patient cells. CoA homeostasis and cellular iron handling were normal, mitochondrial function was affected; displaying activated NADH-related and inhibited FADH-related respiration, resulting in increased mitochondrial membrane potential. This led to increased reactive oxygen species generation and lipid peroxidation in patient-derived neurons. These data suggest that mitochondrial deficiency is an early feature of the disease process and can be explained by altered NADH/FADH substrate supply to oxidative phosphorylation. Intriguingly, iron chelation appeared to exacerbate the mitochondrial phenotype in both control and patient neuronal cells. This raises caution for the use iron chelation therapy in general when iron accumulation is absent.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection results in the production of virions, dense bodies (DBs) and non-infectious enveloped particles, all of which incorporate proteins and RNAs that can be transferred to host cells. Here, we investigated whether virions and DBs also carry microRNAs (miRNAs) and assessed their delivery and functionality in cells. Human lung fibroblasts (MRC-5) were infected with the HCMV strain AD169, and conditioned cell culture medium was collected and centrifuged. The pellets were treated with RNase-ONE, and the virions and DBs were purified with a potassium tartrate-glycerol gradient and dialysed. The virions and DBs were incubated with micrococcal nuclease, DNA and RNA were extracted and then analysed with TaqMan PCR assays, while the proteins were examined with Western blots. To assess the delivery of miRNAs to cells and their functionality, virions and DBs were irradiated with UV light. The purity of the virions and DBs was confirmed by typical morphology, the presence of the structural protein pp65 and the HCMV genome, the ability to infect MRC-5 cells and the absence of the host genome. RNA analysis revealed the presence of 14 HCMV-encoded miRNAs (UL22A-5p, US25-1-5p, UL22A-3p, US5-2-3p, UL112-3p, US25-2-3p, US25-2-5p, US33-3p, US5-1, UL36-5p, US4-5p, UL36-3p, UL70-5p and US25-1-3p), HCMV immediate-early mRNA and long non-coding RNA2.7, moreover, two host-encoded miRNAs (hsa-miR-218-5p and hsa-miR-21-5p) and beta-2-microglobulin RNA. UV-irradiated virions and DBs delivered viral miRNAs (US25-1-5p and UL112-3p) to the host cells, and miR-US25-1-5p was functional in a luciferase reporter assay. We conclude that virions and DBs carry miRNAs that are biologically functional and can be delivered to cells, which may affect cellular processes.