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Concept: Adenine


ABSTRACT Shewanella oneidensis strain MR-1 is widely studied for its ability to respire a diverse array of soluble and insoluble electron acceptors. The ability to breathe insoluble substrates is defined as extracellular electron transfer and can occur via direct contact or by electron shuttling in S. oneidensis. To determine the contribution of flavin electron shuttles in extracellular electron transfer, a transposon mutagenesis screen was performed with S. oneidensis to identify mutants unable to secrete flavins. A multidrug and toxin efflux transporter encoded by SO_0702 was identified and renamed bfe (bacterial flavin adenine dinucleotide [FAD] exporter) based on phenotypic characterization. Deletion of bfe resulted in a severe decrease in extracellular flavins, while overexpression of bfe increased the concentration of extracellular flavins. Strains lacking bfe had no defect in reduction of soluble Fe(III), but these strains were deficient in the rate of insoluble Fe(III) oxide reduction, which was alleviated by the addition of exogenous flavins. To test a different insoluble electron acceptor, graphite electrode bioreactors were set up to measure current produced by wild-type S. oneidensis and the Δbfe mutant. With the same concentration of supplemented flavins, the two strains produced similar amounts of current. However, when exogenous flavins were not supplemented to bioreactors, bfe mutant strains produced significantly less current than the wild type. We have demonstrated that flavin electron shuttling accounts for ~75% of extracellular electron transfer to insoluble substrates by S. oneidensis and have identified the first FAD transporter in bacteria. IMPORTANCE Extracellular electron transfer by microbes is critical for the geochemical cycling of metals, bioremediation, and biocatalysis using electrodes. A controversy in the field was addressed by demonstrating that flavin electron shuttling, not direct electron transfer or nanowires, is the primary mechanism of extracellular electron transfer employed by the bacterium Shewanella oneidensis. We have identified a flavin adenine dinucleotide transporter conserved in all sequenced Shewanella species that facilitates export of flavin electron shuttles in S. oneidensis. Analysis of a strain that is unable to secrete flavins demonstrated that electron shuttling accounts for ~75% of the insoluble extracellular electron transfer capacity in S. oneidensis.

Concepts: Bacteria, Adenosine triphosphate, Redox, Electrochemistry, Adenine, Electron acceptor, FAD, Riboflavin


The RecQ4 helicase belongs to the ubiquitous RecQ family but its exact role in the cell is not completely understood. In addition to the helicase domain, RecQ4 has a unique N-terminal part that is essential for viability and is constituted by a region homologous to the yeast Sld2 replication initiation factor, followed by a cysteine-rich region, predicted to fold as a Zn knuckle. We carried out a structural and biochemical analysis of both the human and Xenopus laevis RecQ4 cysteine-rich regions, and showed by NMR spectroscopy that the Xenopus fragment indeed assumes the canonical Zn knuckle fold, whereas the human sequence remains unstructured, consistent with the mutation of one of the Zn ligands. Both the human and Xenopus Zn knuckles bind to a variety of nucleic acid substrates, with a mild preference for RNA. We also investigated the effect of a segment located upstream the Zn knuckle that is highly conserved and rich in positively charged and aromatic residues, partially overlapping with the C-terminus of the Sld2-like domain. In both the human and Xenopus proteins, the presence of this region strongly enhances binding to nucleic acids. These results reveal novel possible roles of RecQ4 in DNA replication and genome stability.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Molecular biology, Metabolism, RNA, Nucleic acid, Biochemistry, Adenine


NRPT is a combination of nicotinamide riboside (NR), a nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) precursor vitamin found in milk, and pterostilbene (PT), a polyphenol found in blueberries. Here, we report this first-in-humans clinical trial designed to assess the safety and efficacy of a repeat dose of NRPT (commercially known as Basis). NRPT was evaluated in a randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled study in a population of 120 healthy adults between the ages of 60 and 80 years. The study consisted of three treatment arms: placebo, recommended dose of NRPT (NRPT 1X), and double dose of NRPT (NRPT 2X). All subjects took their blinded supplement daily for eight weeks. Analysis of NAD+ in whole blood demonstrated that NRPT significantly increases the concentration of NAD+ in a dose-dependent manner. NAD+ levels increased by approximately 40% in the NRPT 1X group and approximately 90% in the NRPT 2X group after 4 weeks as compared to placebo and baseline. Furthermore, this significant increase in NAD+ levels was sustained throughout the entire 8-week trial. NAD+ levels did not increase for the placebo group during the trial. No serious adverse events were reported in this study. This study shows that a repeat dose of NRPT is a safe and effective way to increase NAD+ levels sustainably.

Concepts: Clinical trial, Blood, Effectiveness, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, Clinical research, Placebo, Adenine, Adverse event


The Radical Pair Model proposes that the avian magnetic compass is based on spin-chemical processes: since the ratio between the two spin states singlet and triplet of radical pairs depends on their alignment in the magnetic field, it can provide information on magnetic directions. Cryptochromes, blue light-absorbing flavoproteins, with flavin adenine dinucleotide as chromophore, are suggested as molecules forming the radical pairs underlying magnetoreception. When activated by light, cryptochromes undergo a redox cycle, in the course of which radical pairs are generated during photo-reduction as well as during light-independent re-oxidation. This raised the question as to which radical pair is crucial for mediating magnetic directions. Here, we present the results from behavioural experiments with intermittent light and magnetic field pulses that clearly show that magnetoreception is possible in the dark interval, pointing to the radical pair formed during flavin re-oxidation. This differs from the mechanism considered for cryptochrome signalling the presence of light and rules out most current models of an avian magnetic compass based on the radical pair generated during photo-reduction. Using the radical pair formed during re-oxidation may represent a specific adaptation of the avian magnetic compass.

Concepts: Electron, Magnetic field, Spin, Magnetism, Adenine, FAD, Magnetoception, Cryptochrome


Nucleic acid editing holds promise for treating genetic disease, particularly at the RNA level, where disease-relevant sequences can be rescued to yield functional protein products. Type VI CRISPR-Cas systems contain the programmable single-effector RNA-guided RNases Cas13. Here, we profile Type VI systems to engineer a Cas13 ortholog capable of robust knockdown and demonstrate RNA editing by using catalytically-inactive Cas13 (dCas13) to direct adenosine to inosine deaminase activity by ADAR2 to transcripts in mammalian cells. This system, referred to as RNA Editing for Programmable A to I Replacement (REPAIR), which has no strict sequence constraints, can be used to edit full-length transcripts containing pathogenic mutations. We further engineer this system to create a high specificity variant and minimize the system to facilitate viral delivery. REPAIR presents a promising RNA editing platform with broad applicability for research, therapeutics, and biotechnology.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Cell nucleus, Bacteria, RNA, Nucleic acid, Adenosine deaminase, Adenine


Nicotinamide riboside (NR) is a naturally occurring form of vitamin B3 present in trace amounts in some foods. Like niacin, it has been shown to be a precursor in the biosynthesis of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+). The safety of Niagen™, a synthetic form of NR, was determined using a bacterial reverse mutagenesis assay (Ames), an in vitro chromosome aberration assay, an in vivo micronucleus assay, and acute, 14-day and 90-day rat toxicology studies. NR was not genotoxic. There was no mortality at an oral dose of 5000 mg/kg. Based on the results of a 14-day study, a 90-day study was performed comparing NR at 300, 1000, and 3000 mg/kg/day to an equimolar dose of nicotinamide at 1260 mg/kg/day as a positive control. Results from the study show that NR had a similar toxicity profile to nicotinamide at the highest dose tested. Target organs of toxicity were liver, kidney, ovaries, and testes. The lowest observed adverse effect level for NR was 1000 mg/kg/day, and the no observed adverse effect level was 300 mg/kg/day.

Concepts: Metabolism, Niacin, Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, In vivo, Toxicology, In vitro, Adenine, Nicotinamide


The cryptochrome (CRY) flavoproteins act as blue-light receptors in plants and insects, but perform light-independent functions at the core of the mammalian circadian clock. To drive clock oscillations, mammalian CRYs associate with the Period proteins (PERs) and together inhibit the transcription of their own genes. The SCF(FBXL3) ubiquitin ligase complex controls this negative feedback loop by promoting CRY ubiquitination and degradation. However, the molecular mechanisms of their interactions and the functional role of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) binding in CRYs remain poorly understood. Here we report crystal structures of mammalian CRY2 in its apo, FAD-bound and FBXL3-SKP1-complexed forms. Distinct from other cryptochromes of known structures, mammalian CRY2 binds FAD dynamically with an open cofactor pocket. Notably, the F-box protein FBXL3 captures CRY2 by simultaneously occupying its FAD-binding pocket with a conserved carboxy-terminal tail and burying its PER-binding interface. This novel F-box-protein-substrate bipartite interaction is susceptible to disruption by both FAD and PERs, suggesting a new avenue for pharmacological targeting of the complex and a multifaceted regulatory mechanism of CRY ubiquitination.

Concepts: Protein, Adenine, Feedback, Negative feedback, Circadian rhythm, FAD, Riboflavin, Cryptochrome


Diamond-anvil cell, pressure-tuning infrared (IR), and Raman microspectroscopic measurements have been undertaken to examine the effects of high pressures up to about 45 kbar on the vibrational spectra of the four DNA bases, adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. Small structural changes were evident for all the four bases, viz., for adenine and cytosine at 28-31 kbar; for guanine at 16-19 kbar; and for thymine at 25-26 kbar. These changes are most likely associated with alterations in the intermolecular hydrogen-bonding interactions. The pressure dependences of the main peaks observed in the IR spectra of the two phases of guanine lie in the -0.07-0.66 (low-pressure phase) and 0.06-0.91 (high-pressure phase) cm(-1)/kbar ranges. Also, in the Raman spectra of this nucleoside base, the dν/dP values range from -0.07-0.31 (low-pressure phase) to 0.08-0.50 (high-pressure phase) cm(-1)/kbar. Similar ranges of dν/dP values were obtained for the other three nucleoside bases.

Concepts: DNA, RNA, Nucleoside, Nucleotide, Adenine, Nucleobase, Guanine, Thymine


A new flow-through electrochemical aptasensor was designed for ultrasensitive monitoring of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) by coupling microvalve-programmable capillary column with CdS-functionalized DNA concatamer for signal amplification. Initially, a layer of primary DNA-conjugated polyacrylamide hydrogel was covalently linked onto the internal surface of capillary column, and then an automated sequenctial injection format with a syringe pump was employed for development of the programmable capillary-based aptasensor. In the presence of target DNA aptamer, the immobilized primary DNA hybridized with partial bases of the aptamer. The excess aptamer fregment could trigger the formation of DNA concatamer between auxiliary DNA1 and CdS-labeled auxiliary DNA2. Upon target ATP introduction, a specific ATP-aptamer reaction was excuated, thereby resulting in the release of CdS-functionalized DNA concatamer from the capillary. Subsenquent anodic stripping voltammetric detection of cadmium released under acidic conditions from the released CdS nanoparticles could be conducted in a homemade detection cell. Under optimal conditions, the dynamic concentration range spanned from 0.1 pM to 10nM ATP with a detection limit of 0.06 pM ATP. The electrochemical aptasensor showed good reproducibility, selectivity, and stability. In addition, the methodology was evaluated for the analysis of ATP spiked serum samples, and the recoveries was 81-140%.

Concepts: Cell, Adenosine triphosphate, Electrochemistry, Nucleoside, Battery, Adenine, Electrolysis, Polyacrylamide


The preparation of flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and FMN analogs from their corresponding riboflavin precursors is traditionally performed in a two-step procedure. After initial enzymatic conversion of riboflavin to flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) by a bifunctional FAD synthetase, the adenyl moiety of FAD is hydrolyzed with snake venom phosphodiesterase to yield FMN. To simplify the protocol, we have engineered the FAD synthetase from Corynebacterium ammoniagenes by deleting its N-terminal adenylation domain. The newly created biocatalyst is stable and efficient for direct and quantitative phosphorylation of riboflavin and riboflavin analogs to their corresponding FMN cofactors at preparative-scale.

Concepts: Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Oxidative phosphorylation, Adenine, FAD, Riboflavin, Flavin mononucleotide, Cofactors