Protein acylation is an important way in which a number of proteins with a variety of functions are modified. The physiological role of the acylation of cellular proteins is still poorly understood. Covalent binding of fatty acids to nonintegral membrane proteins is thought to produce transient or permanent enhancement of the association of the polypeptide chains with biological membranes. In this paper, we investigate the functional role for the palmitoylation of an atypical membrane-bound protein, yeast protoporphyrinogen oxidase, which is the molecular target of diphenyl ether-type herbicides. Palmitoylation stabilizes an active heat- and protease-resistant conformation of the protein. Palmitoylation of protoporphyrinogen oxidase has been demonstrated to occur in vivo both in yeast cells and in a heterologous bacterial expression system, where it may be inhibited by cerulenin leading to the accumulation of degradation products of the protein. The thiol ester linking palmitoleic acid to the polypeptide chain was shown to be sensitive to hydrolysis by hydroxylamine and also by the widely used serine-protease inhibitor phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride.
Recent evidence suggests a potential role for thrombospondin-2 (TSP-2), a matricellular glycoprotein, in the regulation of primary angiogenesis. To directly examine the biological effect of TSP-2 expression on tumor growth and angiogenesis, human A431 squamous cell carcinoma cells, which do not express TSP-2, were stably transfected with a murine TSP-2 expression vector or with vector alone. A431 cells expressing TSP-2 did not show an altered growth rate, colony-forming ability, or susceptibility to induction of apoptosis in vitro. However, injection of TSP-2-transfected clones into the dermis of nude mice resulted in pronounced inhibition of tumor growth that was significantly stronger than the inhibition observed in A431 clones stably transfected with a thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) expression vector, and combined overexpression of TSP-1 and TSP-2 completely prevented tumor formation. Extensive areas of necrosis were observed in TSP-2-expressing tumors, and both the density and the size of tumor vessels were significantly reduced, although tumor cell expression of the major tumor angiogenesis factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, was maintained at high levels. These findings establish TSP-2 as a potent endogenous inhibitor of tumor growth and angiogenesis.
Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APML) most often is associated with the balanced reciprocal translocation t(15;17) (q22;q11.2) and the expression of both the PML-RARα and RARα-PML fusion cDNAs that are formed by this translocation. In this report, we investigated the biological role of a bcr-3 isoform of RARα-PML for the development of APML in a transgenic mouse model. Expression of RARα-PML alone in the early myeloid cells of transgenic mice did not alter myeloid development or cause APML, but its expression significantly increased the penetrance of APML in mice expressing a bcr-1 isoform of PML-RARα (15% of animals developed APML with PML-RARα alone vs. 57% with both transgenes, P < 0.001). The latency of APML development was not altered substantially by the expression of RARα-PML, suggesting that it does not behave as a classical “second hit” for development of the disease. Leukemias that arose from doubly transgenic mice were less mature than those from PML-RARα transgenic mice, but they both responded to all-trans retinoic acid in vitro. These findings suggest that PML-RARα drives the development of APML and defines its basic phenotype, whereas RARα-PML potentiates this phenotype via mechanisms that are not yet understood.
Filamentous bacterial cells often provide biological information that is not readily evident in normal-size cells. In this study, the effect of cellular filamentation on gliding motility of Myxococcus xanthus, a Gram-negative social bacterium, was investigated. Elongation of the cell body had different effects on adventurous and social motility of M. xanthus. The rate of A-motility was insensitive to cell-body elongation whereas the rate of S-motility was reduced dramatically as the cell body got longer, indicating that these two motility systems work in different ways. The study also showed that filamentous wild-type cells glide smoothly with relatively straight, long cell bodies. However, filamentous cells of certain social motility mutants showed zigzag, tangled cell bodies on a solid surface, apparently a result of a lack of coordination between different fragments within the filaments. Further genetic and biochemical analyses indicated that the uncoordinated movements of these mutant filaments were correlated with the absence of cell surface fibril materials, indicating a possible new function for fibrils.
Cell-mediated immunity is critical for host resistance to tuberculosis. T lymphocytes recognizing antigens presented by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and class II molecules have been found to be necessary for control of mycobacterial infection. Mice genetically deficient in the generation of MHC class I and class Ia responses are susceptible to mycobacterial infection. Although soluble protein antigens are generally presented by macrophages to T cells through MHC class II molecules, macrophages infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis or bacille Calmette-Guerin have been shown to facilitate presentation of ovalbumin through the MHC class I presentation pathway via a TAP-dependent mechanism. How mycobacteria, thought to reside within membrane-bound vacuoles, facilitate communication with the cytoplasm and enable MHC class I presentation presents a paradox. By using confocal microscopy to study the localization of fluorescent-tagged dextrans of varying size microinjected intracytoplasmically into macrophages infected with bacille Calmette-Guerin expressing the green fluorescent protein, molecules as large as 70 kilodaltons were shown to gain access to the mycobacterial phagosome. Possible biological consequences of the permeabilization of vacuolar membranes by mycobacteria would be pathogen access to host cell nutrients within the cytoplasm...
Intracellular calcium ions are involved in many forms of cellular function. To accommodate so many control functions, a complex spatiotemporal organization of calcium signaling has developed. In both excitable and nonexcitable cells, calcium signaling was found to fluctuate. Sudden localized increases in the intracellular calcium concentration—or calcium sparks—were found in heart, striated and smooth muscle, Xenopus Laevis oocytes, and HeLa and P12 cells. In the nervous system, intracellular calcium ions were found important in key processes such as transmitter release, repetitive firing, and gene expression. Hence, we examined whether calcium sparks also exist in neurons. Using confocal laser-scanning microscopy and fluorescent probes, we found that calcium sparks exist in two types of neuronal preparations: the presynaptic boutons of the lizard neuromuscular junction and rat hippocampal neurons in cell culture. Control experiments exclude the possibility that these calcium sparks originate from instrumental or biological artifacts. Calcium sparks seem to be just the tip of the iceberg of a more general phenomenon of intracellular calcium “noise.” We speculate that calcium sparks and calcium noise may be of key importance in calcium signaling in the nervous system.
Previously, we showed that retinoic acid (RA) binds to the mannose-6-phosphate/insulin-like growth factor II receptor (M6P/IGF2R) with high affinity, suggesting that M6P/IGF2R may be a receptor for RA. Here, we show that RA, after 2–3 h of incubation with cultured neonatal-rat cardiac fibroblasts, dramatically alters the intracellular distribution of M6P/IGF2R as well as that of cathepsin B (a lysosomal protease bearing M6P). Immunofluorescence techniques indicate that this change in intracellular distribution is characterized by a shift of the proteins from the perinuclear area to cytoplasmic vesicles. The effect of RA was neither blocked by an RA nuclear receptor antagonist (AGN193109) nor mimicked by a selective RA nuclear-receptor agonist (TTNPB). Furthermore, the RA-induced translocation of cathepsin B was not observed in M6P/IGF2R-deficient P388D1 cells but occurred in stably transfected P388D1 cells expressing the receptor, suggesting that the effect of RA might be the result of direct interaction with M6P/IGF2R, rather than the result of binding to the nuclear receptors. These observations not only support the idea that M6P/IGF2R mediates an RA-response pathway but also indicate a role for RA in control of intracellular trafficking of lysosomal enzymes. Therefore...
F- and V-type ATPases are central enzymes in energy metabolism that couple synthesis or hydrolysis of ATP to the translocation of H+ or Na+ across biological membranes. They consist of a soluble headpiece that contains the catalytic sites and an integral membrane-bound part that conducts the ion flow. Energy coupling is thought to occur through the physical rotation of a stalk that connects the two parts of the enzyme complex. This mechanism implies that a stator-like structure prevents the rotation of the headpiece relative to the membrane-bound part. Such a structure has not been observed to date. Here, we report the projected structure of the V-type Na+-ATPase of Clostridium fervidus as determined by electron microscopy. Besides the central stalk, a second stalk of 130 Å in length is observed that connects the headpiece and membrane-bound part in the periphery of the complex. This additional stalk is likely to be the stator.
Fast transverse relaxation of 1H, 15N, and 13C by dipole-dipole coupling (DD) and chemical shift anisotropy (CSA) modulated by rotational molecular motions has a dominant impact on the size limit for biomacromolecular structures that can be studied by NMR spectroscopy in solution. Transverse relaxation-optimized spectroscopy (TROSY) is an approach for suppression of transverse relaxation in multidimensional NMR experiments, which is based on constructive use of interference between DD coupling and CSA. For example, a TROSY-type two-dimensional 1H,15N-correlation experiment with a uniformly 15N-labeled protein in a DNA complex of molecular mass 17 kDa at a 1H frequency of 750 MHz showed that 15N relaxation during 15N chemical shift evolution and 1HN relaxation during signal acquisition both are significantly reduced by mutual compensation of the DD and CSA interactions. The reduction of the linewidths when compared with a conventional two-dimensional 1H,15N-correlation experiment was 60% and 40%, respectively, and the residual linewidths were 5 Hz for 15N and 15 Hz for 1HN at 4°C. Because the ratio of the DD and CSA relaxation rates is nearly independent of the molecular size, a similar percentagewise reduction of the overall transverse relaxation rates is expected for larger proteins. For a 15N-labeled protein of 150 kDa at 750 MHz and 20°C one predicts residual linewidths of 10 Hz for 15N and 45 Hz for 1HN...
The biological activity of the transcription factor NF-κB is mainly controlled by the IκB proteins IκBα and IκBβ, which restrict NF-κB in the cytoplasm and enter the nucleus where they terminate NF-κB-dependent transcription. In this paper we describe the cloning and functional characterization of mouse IκBɛ. Mouse IκBɛ contains 6 ankyrin repeats required for its interaction with the Rel proteins and is expressed in different cell types where we found that it is up-regulated by NF-κB inducers, as is the case for IκBα and human IκBɛ. IκBɛ functions as a bona fide IκB protein by restricting Rel proteins in the cytoplasm and inhibiting their in vitro DNA binding activity. Surprisingly, IκBɛ did not inhibit transcription of genes regulated by the p50/p65 heterodimer efficiently, such as the human interferon-β gene. However, IκBɛ was a strong inhibitor of interleukin-8 expression, a gene known to be regulated by p65 homodimers. In addition, IκBɛ appears to function predominantly in the cytoplasm to sequester p65 homodimers, in contrast with the other two members of the family, IκBα and IκBβ, which also function in the nucleus to terminate NF-κB-dependent transcriptional activation.
A variety of agricultural plant species, including corn, respond to insect herbivore damage by releasing large quantities of volatile compounds and, as a result, become highly attractive to parasitic wasps that attack the herbivores. An elicitor of plant volatiles, N-(17-hydroxylinolenoyl)-l-glutamine, named volicitin and isolated from beet armyworm caterpillars, is a key component in plant recognition of damage from insect herbivory. Chemical analysis of the oral secretion from beet armyworms that have fed on 13C-labeled corn seedlings established that the fatty acid portion of volicitin is plant derived whereas the 17-hydroxylation reaction and the conjugation with glutamine are carried out by the caterpillar by using glutamine of insect origin. Ironically, these insect-catalyzed chemical modifications to linolenic acid are critical for the biological activity that triggers the release of plant volatiles, which in turn attract natural enemies of the caterpillar.
Myostatin (GDF-8) is a member of the transforming growth factor β superfamily of secreted growth and differentiation factors that is essential for proper regulation of skeletal muscle mass in mice. Here we report the myostatin sequences of nine other vertebrate species and the identification of mutations in the coding sequence of bovine myostatin in two breeds of double-muscled cattle, Belgian Blue and Piedmontese, which are known to have an increase in muscle mass relative to conventional cattle. The Belgian Blue myostatin sequence contains an 11-nucleotide deletion in the third exon which causes a frameshift that eliminates virtually all of the mature, active region of the molecule. The Piedmontese myostatin sequence contains a missense mutation in exon 3, resulting in a substitution of tyrosine for an invariant cysteine in the mature region of the protein. The similarity in phenotypes of double-muscled cattle and myostatin null mice suggests that myostatin performs the same biological function in these two species and is a potentially useful target for genetic manipulation in other farm animals.
Two-hybrid methods have augmented the classical genetic techniques biologists use to assign function to genes. Here, we describe construction of a two-bait interaction trap that uses yeast cells to register more complex protein relationships than those detected in existing two-hybrid systems. We show that such cells can identify bridge or connecting proteins and peptide aptamers that discriminate between closely related allelic variants. The protein relationships detected by these cells are analogous to classical genetic relationships, but lend themselves to systematic application to the products of entire genomes and combinatorial libraries. We show that, by performing logical operations on the phenotypic outputs of these complex cells and existing two-hybrid cells, we can make inferences about the topology and order of protein interactions. Finally, we show that cells that register such relationships can perform logical operations on protein inputs. Thus these cells will be useful for analysis of gene and allele function, and may also define a path for construction of biological computational devices.
The activity of Ras family proteins is modulated in vivo by the function of GTPase activating proteins, which increase their intrinsic rate of GTP hydrolysis. We have isolated cDNAs encoding a GAP for the Drosophila Rap1 GTPase. Drosophila Rapgap1 encodes an 850-amino acid protein with a central region that displays substantial sequence similarity to human RapGAP. This domain, when expressed in Escherichia coli, potently stimulates Rap1 GTPase activity in vitro. Unlike Rap1, which is ubiquitously expressed, Rapgap1 expression is highly restricted. Rapgap1 is expressed at high levels in the developing photoreceptor cells and in the optic lobe. Rapgap1 mRNA is also localized in the pole plasm in an oskar-dependent manner. Although mutations that completely abolish Rapgap1 function display no obvious phenotypic abnormalities, overexpression of Rapgap1 induces a rough eye phenotype that is exacerbated by reducing Rap1 gene dosage. Thus, Rapgap1 can function as a negative regulator of Rap1-mediated signaling in vivo.
Two isoforms of human interleukin 15 (IL-15) exist. One isoform has a shorter putative signal peptide (21 amino acids) and its transcript shows a tissue distribution pattern that is distinct from that of the alternative IL-15 isoform with a 48-aa signal peptide. The 21-aa signal isoform is preferentially expressed in tissues such as testis and thymus. Experiments using different combinations of signal peptides and mature proteins (IL-2, IL-15, and green fluorescent protein) showed that the short signal peptide regulates the fate of the mature protein by controlling the intracellular trafficking to nonendoplasmic reticulum sites, whereas the long signal peptide both regulates the rate of protein translation and functions as a secretory signal peptide. As a consequence, the IL-15 associated with the short signal peptide is not secreted, but rather is stored intracellularly, appearing in the nucleus and cytoplasmic components. Such production of an intracellular lymphokine is not typical of other soluble interleukin systems, suggesting a biological function for IL-15 as an intracellular molecule.
Insight into the dependence of benthic communities on biological and physical processes in nearshore pelagic environments, long considered a “black box,” has eluded ecologists. In rocky intertidal communities at Oregon coastal sites 80 km apart, differences in abundance of sessile invertebrates, herbivores, carnivores, and macrophytes in the low zone were not readily explained by local scale differences in hydrodynamic or physical conditions (wave forces, surge flow, or air temperature during low tide). Field experiments employing predator and herbivore manipulations and prey transplants suggested top-down (predation, grazing) processes varied positively with bottom-up processes (growth of filter-feeders, prey recruitment), but the basis for these differences was unknown. Shore-based sampling revealed that between-site differences were associated with nearshore oceanographic conditions, including phytoplankton concentration and productivity, particulates, and water temperature during upwelling. Further, samples taken at 19 sites along 380 km of coastline suggested that the differences documented between two sites reflect broader scale gradients of phytoplankton concentration. Among several alternative explanations, a coastal hydrodynamics hypothesis...
Tissue factor (TF) is the cellular receptor for an activated form of clotting factor VII (VIIa) and the binding of factor VII(a) to TF initiates the coagulation cascade. Sequence and structural patterns extracted from a global alignment of TF confers homology with interferon receptors of the cytokine receptor super family. Several recent studies suggested that TF could function as a genuine signal transducing receptor. However, it is unknown which biological function(s) of cells are altered upon the ligand, VIIa, binding to TF. In the present study, we examined the effect of VIIa binding to cell surface TF on cellular gene expression in fibroblasts. Differential mRNA display PCR technique was used to identify transcriptional changes in fibroblasts upon VIIa binding to TF. The display showed that VIIa binding to TF either up or down-regulated several mRNA species. The differential expression of one such transcript, VIIa-induced up-regulation, was confirmed by Northern blot analysis. Isolation of a full-length cDNA corresponding to the differentially expressed transcript revealed that VIIa-up-regulated gene was poly(A) polymerase. Northern blot analysis of various carcinomas and normal human tissues revealed an over expression of PAP in cancer tissues. Enhanced expression of PAP upon VIIa binding to tumor cell TF may potentially play an important role in tumor metastasis.
Interleukin 10 (IL-10) is a recently described natural endogenous immunosuppressive cytokine that has been identified in human, murine, and other organisms. Human IL-10 (hIL-10) has high homology with murine IL-10 (mIL-10) as well as with an Epstein–Barr virus genome product BCRFI. This viral IL-10 (vIL-10) shares a number of activities with hIL-10. IL-10 significantly affects chemokine biology, because human IL-10 inhibits chemokine production and is a specific chemotactic factor for CD8+ T cells. It suppresses the ability of CD4+ T cells, but not CD8+ T cells, to migrate in response to IL-8. A nonapeptide (IT9302) with complete homology to a sequence of hIL-10 located in the C-terminal portion (residues 152–160) of the cytokine was found to possess activities that mimic some of those of hIL-10. These are: (i) inhibition of IL-1β-induced IL-8 production by peripheral blood mononuclear cell, (ii) inhibition of spontaneous IL-8 production by cultured human monocytes, (iii) induction of IL-1 receptor antagonistic protein production by human monocytes, (iv) induction of chemotactic migration of CD8+ human T lymphocytes in vitro, (v) desensitization of human CD8+ T cells resulting in an unresponsiveness toward rhIL-10-induced chemotaxis...
Although nitric oxide synthase (NOS) is widely considered as the major source of NO in biological cells and tissues, direct evidence demonstrating NO formation from the purified enzyme has been lacking. It was recently reported that NOS does not synthesize NO, but rather generates nitroxyl anion (NO−) that is subsequently converted to NO by superoxide dismutase (SOD). To determine if NOS synthesizes NO, electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy was applied to directly measure NO formation from purified neuronal NOS. In the presence of the NO trap Fe2+-N-methyl-d-glucamine dithiocarbamate, NO gives rise to characteristic EPR signals with g = 2.04 and aN = 12.7 G, whereas NO− is undetectable. In the presence of l-arginine (l-Arg) and cofactors, NOS generated prominent NO signals. This NO generation did not require SOD, and it was blocked by the specific NOS inhibitor N-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester. Isotope-labeling experiments with l-[15N]Arg further demonstrated that NOS-catalyzed NO arose from the guanidino nitrogen of l-Arg. Measurement of the time course of NO formation demonstrated that it paralleled that of l-citrulline. The conditions used in the prior study were shown to result in potent superoxide generation, and this may explain the failure to measure NO formation in the absence of SOD. These experiments provide unequivocal evidence that NOS does directly synthesize NO from l-Arg.
The efficient expression of therapeutic genes in target cells or tissues is an important component of efficient and safe gene therapy. Utilizing regulatory elements from the human cytokeratin 18 (K18) gene, including 5′ genomic sequences and one of its introns, we have developed a novel expression cassette that can efficiently express reporter genes, as well as the human cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene, in cultured lung epithelial cells. CFTR transcripts expressed from the native K18 enhancer/promoter include two alternative splicing products, due to the activation of two cryptic splice sites in the CFTR coding region. Modification of the K18 intron and CFTR cDNA sequences eliminated the cryptic splice sites without changing the CFTR amino acid sequence, and led to enhanced CFTR mRNA and protein expression as well as biological function. Transgenic expression analysis in mice showed that the modified expression cassette can direct efficient and epithelium-specific expression of the Escherichia coli LacZ gene in the airways of fetal lungs, with no detectable expression in lung fibroblasts or endothelial cells. This is the first expression cassette which selectively directs lung transgene expression for CFTR gene therapy to airway epithelia.