Deficiency of Neuronal p38{alpha}-MAPK Attenuates Amyloid Pathology in Alzheimer’s Mouse and Cell Models through Facilitating Lysosomal Degradation of BACE1 [Molecular Bases of Disease]

December 16th, 2015 by

Amyloid β (Aβ) damages neurons and triggers microglial inflammatory activation in the Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain. BACE1 is the primary enzyme in Aβ generation. Neuroinflammation potentially up-regulates BACE1 expression and increases Aβ production. In Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein-transgenic mice and SH-SY5Y cell models, we specifically knocked out or knocked down gene expression of mapk14, which encodes p38α-MAPK, a kinase sensitive to inflammatory and oxidative stimuli. Using immunological and biochemical methods, we observed that reduction of p38α-MAPK expression facilitated the lysosomal degradation of BACE1, decreased BACE1 protein and activity, and subsequently attenuated Aβ generation in the AD mouse brain. Inhibition of p38α-MAPK also enhanced autophagy. Blocking autophagy by treating cells with 3-methyladenine or overexpressing dominant-negative ATG5 abolished the deficiency of p38α-MAPK-induced BACE1 protein reduction in cultured cells. Thus, our study demonstrates that p38α-MAPK plays a critical role in the regulation of BACE1 degradation and Aβ generation in AD pathogenesis.
  • Posted in Journal of Biological Chemistry, Publications
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Pseudomonas aeruginosa EftM is a Thermoregulated Methyltransferase [Microbiology]

December 16th, 2015 by

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative opportunistic pathogen that trimethylates elongation factor-Tu (EF-Tu) on lysine 5. Lysine 5 methylation occurs in a temperature-dependent manner and is generally only seen when P. aeruginosa is grown at temperatures close to ambient (25°C), but not at higher temperatures (37°C). We have previously identified the gene, eftM (for EF-Tu modifying enzyme), responsible for this modification and shown its activity to be associated with increase adhesion to and invasion of respiratory epithelial cells. Bioinformatic analyses predicted EftM to be a Class I S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM)-dependent methyltransferase. An in vitro methyltransferase assay was employed to show that, in the presence of SAM, EftM directly trimethylates EF-Tu. A natural variant of EftM, with a glycine to arginine substitution at position 50, in the predicted SAM-binding domain lacks both SAM binding and enzyme activity. Mass spectrometry analysis of the in vitro methyltransferase reaction products revealed that EftM exclusively methylates at lysine 5 of EF-Tu in a distributive manner. Consistent with the in vivo temperature dependence of methylation of EF-Tu, pre-incubation of EftM at 37°C abolished methyltransferase activity, while this activity was retained when EftM was pre-incubated at 25°C. Irreversible protein unfolding at 37°C was observed and we propose is the molecular basis for the temperature dependence of EftM activity. Collectively, our results show that EftM is a thermolabile, SAM-dependent methyltransferase that directly trimethylates lysine 5 of EF-Tu in P. aeruginosa.

Rapid activation of bone morphogenic protein 9 by receptor-mediated displacement of pro-domains [Protein Structure and Folding]

December 16th, 2015 by

By non-covalent association after proteolytic cleavage, the pro-domains modulate the activities of the mature growth factor domains across the transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) family. In case of bone morphogenic protein 9 (BMP9), however, the pro-domains do not inhibit the bioactivity of the growth factor, and the BMP9-pro-domain complexes have equivalent biological activities as the BMP9 mature ligand dimers. By using real-time surface plasmon resonance, we could demonstrate that either binding of pro-domain-complexed BMP9 to type I receptor activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ALK1), type II receptors, co-receptor endoglin (ENG), or to mature BMP9 domain targeting antibodies, leads to immediate and complete displacement of the pro-domains from the complex. Vice versa, pro-domain binding by an anti-pro-domain antibody results in release of the mature BMP9 growth factor. Based on these findings, we adjusted ELISA assays to measure the protein levels of different BMP9 variants. While mature BMP9 and inactive precursor BMP9 protein were directly detectable by ELISA, BMP9-pro-domain complex could only be measured indirectly as dissociated fragments due to displacement of mature growth factor and pro-domains after antibody binding. Our studies provide a model in which BMP9 can be readily activated upon getting into contact with its receptors. This increases the understanding of the underlying biology of BMP9 activation, and also provides guidance for ELISA development for the detection of circulating BMP9 variants.

Mutational constraints on local unfolding inhibit the rheological adaptation of von Willebrand factor [Molecular Bases of Disease]

December 16th, 2015 by

Unusually large von Willebrand factor (ULVWF), the first responder to vascular injury in primary hemostasis, is designed to capture platelets under the high shear stress of rheological blood flow. In type 2M von Willebrand disease (VWD), two rare mutations (G1324A and G1324S) within the platelet GPIbα binding interface of the VWF A1 domain impair the hemostatic function of VWF. We investigate structural and conformational effects of these mutations on the A1 domain's efficacy to bind collagen and adhere platelets under shear flow. These mutations enhance the thermodynamic stability, reduce the rate of unfolding, and enhance the A1 domain's resistance to limited proteolysis. Collagen binding is not significantly affected indicating that the primary stabilizing effect of these mutations is to diminish the platelet binding efficiency under shear flow. The enhanced stability stems from the steric consequences of adding a side chain (G1324A) and additionally a hydrogen bond (G1324S) to H1322 across the β2-β3 hairpin in the GPIbα binding interface which restrains the conformational degrees of freedom and the overall flexibility of the native state. These studies reveal a novel rheological strategy in which the incorporation of a single glycine within the GPIbα binding interface of normal VWF enhances the probability of local unfolding that enables the A1 domain to conformationally adapt to shear flow while maintaining its overall native structure.

Protein Arginine Methyltransferase 8: Tetrameric Structure and Protein Substrate Specificity

December 15th, 2015 by

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Biochemistry
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.5b00995

Active Site Structure and Peroxidase Activity of Oxidatively Modified Cytochrome c Species in Complexes with Cardiolipin

December 15th, 2015 by

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Biochemistry
DOI: 10.1021/acs.biochem.5b00922

Involvement of receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand-induced incomplete cytokinesis in polyploidization of osteoclasts [Developmental Biology]

December 15th, 2015 by

Osteoclasts are specialized polyploid cells that resorb bone. Upon stimulation with receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa-B ligand (RANKL), myeloid precursors commit to becoming polyploid, largely via cell fusion. Polyploidization of osteoclasts is necessary for their bone-resorbing activity, but the mechanisms by which polyploidization is controlled remain to be determined. Here, we demonstrated that in addition to cell fusion, incomplete cytokinesis also plays a role in osteoclast polyploidization. In in vitro cultured osteoclasts derived from mice expressing the fluorescent ubiquitin-based cell cycle indicator (Fucci), RANKL induced polyploidy by incomplete cytokinesis as well as cell fusion. Polyploid cells generated by incomplete cytokinesis had the potential to subsequently undergo cell fusion. Nuclear polyploidy was also observed in osteoclasts in vivo, suggesting the involvement of incomplete cytokinesis in physiological polyploidization. Furthermore, RANKL-induced incomplete cytokinesis was reduced by inhibition of Akt, resulting in impaired multinucleated osteoclast formation. Taken together, these results reveal that RANKL-induced incomplete cytokinesis contributes to polyploidization of osteoclasts via Akt activation.
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A Novel Serpin Regulatory Mechanism: SERPINB9 is Reversibly Inhibited By Vicinal Disulfide Bond Formation in the Reactive Center Loop. [Immunology]

December 15th, 2015 by

The intracellular protease inhibitor, SERPINB9 (Sb9), is a regulator of the cytotoxic lymphocyte protease, granzyme B (GzmB). Although primarily involved in the destruction of compromised cells, recent evidence suggests that GzmB is also involved in lysosome-mediated death of the cytotoxic lymphocyte itself. Sb9 protects the cell from GzmB released from lysosomes into the cytosol. Here we show that reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated within cytotoxic lymphocytes by receptor stimulation are required for lyososomal permeabilization, and release of GzmB into the cytosol. Importantly, ROS also inactivate Sb9 by oxidizing a highly conserved cysteine pair (P1-P1′ in rodents; P1′-P2′ in other mammals) in the reactive center loop to form a vicinal disulfide bond. Replacement of the P4-P3′ reactive center loop residues of the prototype serpin, SERPINA1, with the P4-P5′ residues of Sb9 containing the cysteine pair is sufficient to convert SERPINA1 into a ROS-sensitive GzmB inhibitor. Conversion of the cysteine pair to serines in either human or mouse Sb9 results in a functional serpin that inhibits GzmB and resists ROS inactivation. We conclude that ROS sensitivity of Sb9 allows the threshold for GzmB-mediated suicide to be lowered, as part of a conserved post-translational homeostatic mechanism regulating lymphocyte numbers or activity. It follows for example that antioxidants may improve NK cell viability in adoptive immunotherapy applications by stabilizing Sb9.
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Boronic Acid for the Traceless Delivery of Proteins into Cells

December 15th, 2015 by

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ACS Chemical Biology
DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.5b00966

Nerve Growth Factor is Regulated by Toll-Like Receptor 2 in Human Intervertebral Discs [Molecular Bases of Disease]

December 14th, 2015 by

Nerve growth factor (NGF) contributes to the development of chronic pain associated with degenerative connective tissue pathologies, such as intervertebral disc degeneration and osteoarthritis. However, surprisingly little is known about the regulation of NGF in these conditions. Toll-like receptors (TLR) are pattern recognition receptors classically associated with innate immunity, but more recently were found to be activated by endogenous alarmins such as fragmented extra-cellular matrix proteins found in degenerating discs or cartilage. In this study we investigated if TLR activation regulates NGF and which signaling mechanisms control this response in intervertebral discs. TLR2 agonists, TLR4 agonists, or IL-1β (control) treatment increased NGF, BDNF and IL-1β gene expression in human disc cells isolated from healthy, pain-free organ donors. However, only TLR2 activation or IL-1β treatment increased NGF protein secretion. TLR2 activation increased p38, ERK1/2 and p65 activity and increased p65 translocation to the cell nucleus. JNK activity was not affected by TLR2 activation. Inhibition of NF-κB, and to a lesser extent p38, but not ERK1/2 activity blocked TLR2-driven NGF upregulation at both the transcript and protein levels. These results provide a novel mechanism of NGF regulation in the intervertebral disc and potentially other pathogenic connective tissues. TLR2 and NF-κB signaling are known to increase cytokines and proteases, which accelerate matrix degradation. Therefore, TLR2 or NF-κB inhibition may both attenuate chronic pain and slow the degenerative progress in vivo.