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Concept: Calcium-binding protein



The P.falciparum Serine Repeat Antigen (PfSERA5) is the most abundantly expressed protein in the parasitophorous vacuole (PV) during the asexual blood stage and serves as both drug and vaccine target. The processed central fragment (56KDa) of PfSERA5 is implicated to play an important role in parasite exit (egress) during schizont rupture from erythrocytes. Structural characterization of its enzymatic domain supports protease like function for this central domain. The understanding of exact functional role of PfSERA5 in parasite egress remains unconfirmed as recent studies also indicate an indispensable non-catalytic role for PfSERA5 putative enzyme domain in the blood stage. No structural insight into PfSERA5 prodomain is available. Structure prediction of PfSERA5 prodomain using insilico approach in our study, showed it to have structural similarity with calcium binding proteins. An earlier observation of steep rise in intracellular calcium concentration as an important factor in egress makes the prodomain calcium binding role significant. The implication of calcium on structure and activity of PfSERA5 putative enzyme domain is also unknown, and such information would aid to substantiating any calcium dependent effects on PfSERA5 To understand this, we performed Molecular Dynamic (MD) simulation both in the presence and absence of calcium. MD results show secondary structure conformational differences in local regions of protein structure. Our results support calcium to be an important parameter for stability and function of PfSERA5. This computational assessment suggest a need to design future experiments like calcium dependent inhibition studies to reveal exact functional role of PfSERA5 in parasite egress.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Protein structure, Enzyme, Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, Protein folding, Calcium-binding protein


Ischemic stroke affects ∼795,000 people each year in the U.S., which results in an estimated annual cost of $73.7 billion. Calcium is pivotal in a variety of neuronal signaling cascades, however, during ischemia, excess calcium influx can trigger excitotoxic cell death. Calcium binding proteins help neurons regulate/buffer intracellular calcium levels during ischemia. Aequorin is a calcium binding protein isolated from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria, and has been used for years as a calcium indicator, but little is known about its neuroprotective properties. The present study used an in vitro rat brain slice preparation to test the hypothesis that an intra-hippocampal infusion of apoaequorin (the calcium binding component of aequorin) protects neurons from ischemic cell death. Bilaterally cannulated rats received an apoaequorin infusion in one hemisphere and vehicle control in the other. Hippocampal slices were then prepared and subjected to 5 minutes of oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD), and cell death was assayed by trypan blue exclusion. Apoaequorin dose-dependently protected neurons from OGD - doses of 1% and 4% (but not 0.4%) significantly decreased the number of trypan blue-labeled neurons. This effect was also time dependent, lasting up to 48 hours. This time dependent effect was paralleled by changes in cytokine and chemokine expression, indicating that apoaequorin may protect neurons via a neuroimmunomodulatory mechanism. These data support the hypothesis that pretreatment with apoaequorin protects neurons against ischemic cell death, and may be an effective neurotherapeutic.

Concepts: Protein, Neuron, Brain, Stroke, Traumatic brain injury, Green fluorescent protein, Protection, Calcium-binding protein


Four isoforms of calcium binding proteins containing 2 EF hand motifs and a dynein light chain-like domain in the human liver flukeOpisthorchis viverrini, namely OvCaBP1, 2, 3, and 4, were characterized. They had molecular weights of 22.7, 21.6, 23.7, and 22.5 kDa, respectively and showed 37.2-42.1% sequence identity to CaBP22.8 ofO. viverrini. All were detected in 2- and 4-week-old immature and mature parasites. Additionally, OvCaBP4 was found in newly excysted juveniles. Polyclonal antibodies against each isoform were generated to detect the native proteins in parasite extracts by Western blot analysis. All OvCaBPs were detected in soluble and insoluble crude worm extracts and in the excretory-secretory product, at approximate sizes of 21-23 kDa. The ion-binding properties of the proteins were analyzed by mobility shift assays with the divalent cations Ca2+, Mg2+, Zn2+, and Cu2+. All OvCaBPs showed mobility shifts with Ca2+and Zn2+. OvCaBP1 showed also positive results with Mg2+and Cu2+. As tegumental proteins, OvCaBP1, 2, and 3 are interesting drug targets for the treatment of opisthorchiasis.

Concepts: Antibody, Proteins, Protein, Molecular biology, Western blot, Polyclonal antibodies, Atom, Calcium-binding protein


Auditory dysfunction is a common occurrence in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While most cases of ASD are of unknown etiology, in utero exposure to the antiepileptic valproic acid (VPA) significantly increases risk. We have previously identified significant dysmorphology and hypoplasia in the auditory brainstem of humans with ASD and rodents exposed to VPA in utero. Further, we have identified abnormal c-Fos immunolabeling patterns after exposure to pure tone stimuli in VPA-exposed animals. Herein, we describe the impact of repeated exposure to VPA on key components of the auditory hindbrain, the ventral cochlear nucleus (VCN) and superior olivary complex (SOC). Specifically, we examined neuronal number, neuronal morphology, immunolabeling for the calcium binding proteins calbindin (CB) and calretinin (CR), dopaminergic innervation and the structure of calyx terminals in the medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB). VPA-exposed animals had significantly fewer neurons in both the VCN and SOC. VPA had a differential impact on the size of neurons in the VCN and SOC. VPA-exposed animals have reduced CB and CR immunolabeling and a lower density of dopaminergic terminals. Finally, we saw no difference in the surface area or volume of calyx terminals in the MNTB, although there was a relative increase in the surface area and volume of calyces in VPA-exposed animals. These results indicate hypotrophy of the auditory brainstem, abnormal calcium regulation and reduced dopaminergic input. Together, such alterations suggest abnormal brainstem circuitry and significant auditory dysfunction in VPA-exposed animals.

Concepts: Nervous system, Protein, Neuron, Neuroanatomy, Autism, Autism spectrum, Brainstem, Calcium-binding protein


Neuronal networks in the spinal cord generate and execute all locomotor-related movements by transforming descending signals from supraspinal areas into appropriate rhythmic activity patterns. In these spinal networks, neurons that arise from the same progenitor domain share similar distribution patterns, neurotransmitter phenotypes, morphological and electrophysiological features. However, subgroups of them participate in different functionally distinct microcircuits to produce locomotion at different speeds and of different modalities. To better understand the nature of this network complexity, here we characterized the distribution of parvalbumin (PV), calbindin D-28 k (CB) and calretinin (CR) which are regulators of intracellular calcium levels and can serve as anatomical markers for morphologically and potential functionally distinct neuronal subpopulations. We observed wide expression of CBPs in the adult zebrafish, in several spinal and reticulospinal neuronal populations with a diverse neurotransmitter phenotype. We also found that several spinal motoneurons express CR and PV. However, only the motoneuron pools that are responsible for generation of fast locomotion were CR-positive. CR can thus be used as a marker for fast motoneurons and might potentially label the fast locomotor module. Moreover, CB was mainly observed in the neuronal progenitor cells that are distributed around the central canal. Thus, our results suggest that during development the spinal neurons utilize CB and as the neurons mature and establish a neurotransmitter phenotype they use CR or/and PV. The detailed characterization of CBPs expression, in the spinal cord and brainstem neurons, is a crucial step toward a better understanding of the development and functionality of neuronal locomotor networks.

Concepts: Nervous system, Neuron, Spinal cord, Gene, Progenitor cell, Action potential, Computer network, Calcium-binding protein


The rock cavy (Kerodon rupestris) is a crepuscular Hystricomorpha rodent that has been used in comparative analysis of retinal targets, but its retinal organization remains to be investigated. In order to better characterize its visual system, the present study analyzed neurochemical features related to the topographic organization of catecholaminergic cells and ganglion cells, as well the distribution of calcium-binding proteins in the outer and inner retina. Retinal sections and/or wholemounts were processed using tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), GABA, calbindin, parvalbumin and calretinin immunohistochemistry or Nissl staining. Two types of TH-immunoreactive (TH-IR) cells were found which differ in soma size, dendritic arborization, intensity of TH immunoreactivity and stratification pattern in the inner plexiform layer. The topographic distribution of all TH-IR cells defines a visual streak along the horizontal meridian in the superior retina. The ganglion cells are also distributed in a visual streak and the visual acuity estimated considering their peak density is 4.13 cycles/degree. A subset of TH-IR cells express GABA or calbindin. Calretinin is abundant in most of retinal layers and coexists with calbindin in horizontal cells. Parvalbumin is less abundant and expressed by presumed amacrine cells in the INL and some ganglion cells in the GCL. The topographic distribution of TH-IR cells and ganglion cells in the rock cavy retina indicate a suitable adaptation for using a broad extension of its inferior visual field in aspects that involve resolution, adjustment to ambient light intensity and movement detection without specialized eye movements.

Concepts: Nervous system, Neuron, Retina, Eye, Photoreceptor cell, Visual system, Optic nerve, Calcium-binding protein


The superior colliculus (SC) of mammals is a midbrain center, that can be subdivided into the superficial (SCs) and deep layers (SCd). In contrast to the visual SCs, the SCd are involved in multisensory and motor processing. This study investigated the pattern of distribution and colocalization of cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CART) and three calcium-binding proteins (CaBPs) i.e. calbindin (CB), calretinin (CR) and parvalbumin (PV) in the SCd of the guinea pig. CART labeling was seen almost exclusively in the neuropil and fibers, which differed in regard to morphology and location. CART-positive neurons were very rare and restricted to a narrow area of the SCd. The most intense CART immunoreactivity was observed in the most dorsally located sublayer of the SCd, which is anatomically and functionally connected with the SCs. CART immunoreactivity in the remaining SCd was less intensive, but still relatively high. This characteristic pattern of immunoreactivity indicates that CART as a putative neurotransmitter or neuromodulator may play an important role in processing of visual information, while its involvement in the auditory and visuomotor processing is less significant, but still possible. CaBPs-positive neurons were morphologically diverse and widely distributed throughout all SCd. From studied CaBPs, CR showed a markedly different distribution compared to CB and PV. Overall, the patterns of distribution of CB and PV were similar in the entire SCd. Consequently, the complementarity of these patterns in the guinea pig was very weak. Double immunostaining revealed that CART did not colocalize with either CaBPs, which suggested that these neurochemical substances might not coexist in the multisensory and visuomotor parts of the SC.

Concepts: Protein, Brain, Molecular biology, Substantia nigra, Pattern, Dopamine, Superior colliculus, Calcium-binding protein


Expression of the calcium binding protein, calbindin (CB), is well established as a hallmark of Renshaw cells, a class of interneurons found in spatially restricted areas in the ventral spinal cord that directly modulate motor neuron activity. Calbindin expression, however, is not restricted only to Renshaw cells in the ventral horn, and within this population other interneuron subtypes may be identifiable on the basis of cell position and the potential for coexpression of other calcium binding proteins.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Spinal cord, Gene, Cell nucleus, Cell, Cytoplasm, Calcium-binding protein


Primary cutaneous amyloidosis (PCA) is a localized skin disorder that is characterized by the abnormal deposition of amyloid in the extracellular matrix (ECM) of the dermis. The pathogenesis of PCA is poorly understood. The objective of the present study was to survey proteome changes in PCA lesions in order to gain insight into the molecular basis and pathogenesis of PCA. Total protein from PCA lesions and normal skin tissue samples were extracted and analyzed using the isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation technique. The function of differentially expressed proteins in PCA were analyzed by gene ontology (GO), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and protein-protein interaction analysis. The proteins that were most upregulated in PCA lesions were further analyzed by immunohistochemistry. A total of 1,032 proteins were identified in PCA lesions and control skin samples, with 51 proteins differentially expressed in PCA lesions, of which 27 were upregulated. In PCA lesions, the upregulated proteins were primarily extracellulary located. In addition, GO analysis indicated that the upregulated proteins were significantly enriched in the biological processes of epidermal development, collagen fiber organization and response to wounding (adjusted P<0.001). KEGG analysis indicated that the upregulated proteins were significantly enriched in the signaling pathways of cell communication, ECM receptor interaction and focal adhesion (adjusted P<0.001). Furthermore, the upregulated proteins were enriched in the molecular function of calcium ion binding, and the calcium binding proteins calmodulin-like protein 5, S100 calcium-binding protein A7 (S100A7)/fatty-acid binding protein and S100A8/A9 exhibited the highest levels of upregulation in PCA. This analysis of differentially expressed proteins in PCA suggests that increased focal adhesion, differentiation and wound healing is associated with the pathogenesis of PCA.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Signal transduction, Wound healing, Cell biology, Proteomics, Calcium-binding protein