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:Hyper thermophilic archaea not only tolerate high temperature but also operate its biochemical machineries, normally under these conditions. However, the structural signatures in proteins that answer for the hyper thermo-stability relative to its mesophilic homologue remains poorly understood. We present comparative analyses of sequences, structures and salt-bridges of prolyl-oligopeptidase from Pyrococcus furiosus (pfPOP - PDB ID: 5T88) and human (huPOP - PDB ID: 3DDU). A similar level of hydrophobic and hydrophilic residues in pfPOP and huPOP is observed. A low level of interactions between shell-waters and atom-types in pfPOP indicated hyper thermophilic features are negligible. Salt-bridge-forming-residues (sbfrs) are high in pfPOP's core and surface (pfPOP). Increased sbfrs largely indicate specific-electrostatic is important for thermo stability in pfPOP. Four classes of sbfrs are found namely positionally non-conservative (PNCS), conservative (PCS), unchanged (PU) and interchanged (PIC) type of substitutions. PNCS-sbfrs constitutes 28% and it is associated with the topology of pfPOP at high temperature. PCS helps to increase the salt-bridge population. It is also found that PU maintains similar salt-bridges at the active site and other binding sites while PIC abolishes mesophilic patterns.
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:BACKGROUND: Medulloblastoma is the most common malignant childhood brain tumour. Aberrant activation of the WNT/?-catenin pathway occurs in approximately 25% of medulloblastomas. However, its role in medulloblastoma pathogenesis is not understood. METHODS: We have developed a model of WNT/?-catenin pathway-activated medulloblastoma. Pathway activation was induced in a Myc immortalised cerebellar progenitor cell line through stable expression of Wnt1. In vitro and in vivo analysis was undertaken to understand the effect of pathway activation and identify the potential cell of origin. RESULTS: Tumours that histologically resembled classical medulloblastoma formed in vivo using cells overexpressing Wnt1, but not with the control cell line. Wnt1 overexpression inhibited neuronal differentiation in vitro, suggesting WNT/?-catenin pathway activation prevents cells terminally differentiating, maintaining them in a more 'stem-like' state. Analysis of cerebellar progenitor cell markers demonstrated the cell line resembled cells from the cerebellar ventricular zone. CONCLUSION: We have developed a cell line with the means of orthotopically modelling WNT/?-catenin pathway-activated medulloblastoma. We provide evidence of the role pathway activation is playing in tumour pathogenesis and suggest medulloblastomas can arise from cells other than granule cell progenitors. This cell line is a valuable resource to further understand the role of pathway activation in tumorigenesis and for investigation of targeted therapies.
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:The ?-thalassemia syndromes are the most prevalent genetic disorder globally, characterised by reduced or absent ?-globin chain synthesis. HbE/?-thalassemia is a subtype of ?-thalassemia with extremely high frequency in Asia. Studying molecular defects behind ?-thalassemia is severely impeded by paucity of material from patients and lack of suitable cell lines. Approaches to derive erythroid cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) created from patients are confounded by poor levels of erythroid cell expansion, aberrant or incomplete erythroid differentiation and foetal/embryonic rather than adult globin expression. In this study we generate an immortalised erythroid cell line from peripheral blood stem cells of a HbE/?-thalassemia patient. Morphological analysis shows the cells are proerythroblasts with some early basophilic erythroblasts, with no change in morphology over time in culture. The line differentiates along the erythroid pathway to orthochromatic erythroblasts and reticulocytes. Importantly, unlike iPSCs, the line maintains the haemoglobin profile of the patient's red blood cells. This is the first human cellular model for ?-thalassemia providing a sustainable source of disease cells for studying underlying disease mechanisms and for use as drug screening platform, particularly for reagents designed to increase foetal haemoglobin expression as we have additionally demonstrated with hydroxyurea.
Project description:We searched the primary sequence of influenza A H5N1 polyprotein for hexamer amino acid sequences shared with human proteins using the Protein International Resource database and the exact peptide matching analysis program. We find that the viral polyprotein shares numerous hexapeptides with the human proteome. The human proteins involved in the viral overlap are represented by antigens associated with basic cell functions such as proliferation, development, and differentiation. Of special importance, many human proteins that share peptide sequences with influenza A polyprotein are antigens such as reelin, neurexin I-?, myosin-IXa, Bardet-Biedl syndrome 10 protein, Williams syndrome transcription factor, disrupted in schizophrenia 1 protein, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis 2 chromosomal region candidate gene 17 protein, fragile X mental retardation 2 protein, and jouberin. That is, the viral-vs-human overlap involves human proteins that, when altered, have been reported to be potentially associated with multiple neurological disorders that can include autism, epilepsy, obesity, dystonia, ataxia-telangiectasia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sensorineural deafness, sudden infant death syndrome, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and myelination. The present data are discussed as a possible molecular basis for understanding influenza A viral escape from immunosurveillance and for defining anti-influenza immune-therapeutic approaches devoid of collateral adverse events.
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.