SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

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Thylakoid membranes, the universal structure where photosynthesis takes place in all oxygenic photosynthetic organisms from cyanobacteria to higher plants, have a unique lipid composition. They contain a high fraction of 2 uncharged glycolipids, the galactoglycerolipids mono- and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG and DGDG, respectively), and an anionic sulfolipid, sulfoquinovosediacylglycerol (SQDG). A remarkable feature of the evolution from cyanobacteria to higher plants is the conservation of MGDG, DGDG, SQDG, and phosphatidylglycerol (PG), the major phospholipid of thylakoids. Using neutron diffraction on reconstituted thylakoid lipid extracts, we observed that the thylakoid lipid mixture self-organizes as a regular stack of bilayers. This natural lipid mixture was shown to switch from hexagonal II toward lamellar phase on hydration. This transition and the observed phase coexistence are modulated by the fine-tuning of the lipid profile, in particular the MGDG/DGDG ratio, and by the hydration. Our analysis highlights the critical role of DGDG as a contributing component to the membrane stacking via hydrogen bonds between polar heads of adjacent bilayers. DGDG interactions balance the repulsive electrostatic contribution of the charged lipids PG and SQDG and allow the persistence of regularly stacked membranes at high hydration. In developmental contexts or in response to environmental variations, these properties can contribute to the highly dynamic flexibility of plastid structure.-Demé, B., Cataye, C., Block, M. A., Maréchal, E., Jouhet, J. Contribution of galactoglycerolipids to the 3-dimensional architecture of thylakoids.

Concepts: Cyanobacteria, Photosynthesis, Chloroplast, Plant, Lipids, Thylakoid, Light-dependent reactions, ATP synthase

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The conversion of the prion protein (PrP) into scrapie PrP (PrP(Sc)) is a central event in prion diseases. Several molecules work as cofactors in the conversion process, including glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). GAGs exhibit a paradoxical effect, as they convert PrP into protease-resistant PrP (PrP-res) but also exert protective activity. We compared the stability and aggregation propensity of PrP and the heparin-PrP complex through the application of different in vitro aggregation approaches, including real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC). Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy-associated forms from mouse and hamster brain homogenates were used to seed RT-QuIC-induced fibrillization. In our study, interaction between heparin and cellular PrP (PrP©) increased thermal PrP stability, leading to an 8-fold decrease in temperature-induced aggregation. The interaction of low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWHep) with the PrP N- or C-terminal domain affected not only the extent of PrP fibrillization but also its kinetics, lowering the reaction rate constant from 1.04 to 0.29 s(-1) and increasing the lag phase from 12 to 19 h in RT-QuIC experiments. Our findings explain the protective effect of heparin in different models of prion and prion-like neurodegenerative diseases and establish the groundwork for the development of therapeutic strategies based on GAGs.-Vieira, T. C. R. G., Cordeiro, Y., Caughey, B., Silva, J. L. Heparin binding confers prion stability and impairs its aggregation.

Concepts: Protein, Prion, Heparin, Chemical kinetics, Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, Reaction rate, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Fatal familial insomnia

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Aggrecan is a major matrix component of articular cartilage, and its degradation is a crucial event in the development of osteoarthritis (OA). Adamalysin-like metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs 5 (ADAMTS-5) is a major aggrecan-degrading enzyme in cartilage, but there is no clear correlation between ADAMTS-5 mRNA levels and OA progression. Here, we report that post-translational endocytosis of ADAMTS-5 by chondrocytes regulates its extracellular activity. We found 2- to 3-fold reduced aggrecanase activity when ADAMTS-5 was incubated with live porcine cartilage, resulting from its rapid endocytic clearance. Studies using receptor-associated protein (RAP), a ligand-binding antagonist for the low-density lipoprotein receptor-related proteins (LRPs), and siRNA-mediated gene silencing revealed that the receptor responsible for ADAMTS-5 clearance is LRP-1. Domain-deletion mutagenesis of ADAMTS-5 identified that the noncatalytic first thrombospondin and spacer domains mediate its endocytosis. The addition of RAP to porcine cartilage explants in culture increased the basal level of aggrecan degradation, as well as ADAMTS-5-induced aggrecan degradation. Notably, LRP-1-mediated endocytosis of ADAMTS-5 is impaired in chondrocytes of OA cartilage, with ∼90% reduction in protein levels of LRP-1 without changes in its mRNA levels. Thus, LRP-1 dictates physiological and pathological catabolism of aggrecan in cartilage as a key modulator of the extracellular activity of ADAMTS-5.-Yamamoto, K., Troeberg, L., Scilabra, S. D., Pelosi, M., Murphy, C. L., Strickland, D. K., Nagase, H. LRP-1-mediated endocytosis regulates extracellular activity of ADAMTS-5 in articular cartilage.

Concepts: Cholesterol, Protein, Chondroitin sulfate, RNA, Cell membrane, Cartilage, C-reactive protein, Autologous chondrocyte implantation

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Most cystic fibrosis is caused by the deletion of a single amino acid (F508) from CFTR and the resulting misfolding and destabilization of the protein. Compounds identified by high-throughput screening to improve ΔF508 CFTR maturation have already entered clinical trials, and it is important to understand their mechanisms of action to further improve their efficacy. Here, we showed that several of these compounds, including the investigational drug VX-809, caused a much greater increase (5- to 10-fold) in maturation at 27 than at 37°C (<2-fold), and the mature product remained short-lived (T(1/2)∼4.5 h) and thermally unstable, even though its overall conformational state was similar to wild type, as judged by resistance to proteolysis and interdomain cross-linking. Consistent with its inability to restore thermodynamic stability, VX-809 stimulated maturation 2-5-fold beyond that caused by several different stabilizing modifications of NBD1 and the NBD1/CL4 interface. The compound also promoted maturation of several disease-associated processing mutants on the CL4 side of this interface. Although these effects may reflect an interaction of VX-809 with this interface, an interpretation supported by computational docking, it also rescued maturation of mutants in other cytoplasmic loops, either by allosteric effects or via additional sites of action. In addition to revealing the capabilities and some of the limitations of this important investigational drug, these findings clearly demonstrate that ΔF508 CFTR can be completely assembled and evade cellular quality control systems, while remaining thermodynamically unstable. He, L., Kota, P., Aleksandrov, A. A., Cui, L., Jensen, T., Dokholyan, N. V., Riordan, J. R. Correctors of ΔF508 CFTR restore global conformational maturation without thermally stabilizing the mutant protein.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Clinical trial, Amino acid, Mutant, Cystic fibrosis, Drug discovery, Stability

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Adipose tissues regulate metabolism, reproduction, and life span. The development and growth of adipose tissue are due to increases of both adipocyte cell size and cell number; the latter is mediated by adipocyte progenitors. Various markers have been used to identify either adipocyte progenitors or mature adipocytes. The fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4), commonly known as adipocyte protein 2 (aP2), has been extensively used as a marker for differentiated adipocytes. However, whether aP2 is expressed in adipogenic progenitors is controversial. Using Cre/LoxP-based cell lineage tracing in mice, we have identified a population of aP2-expressing progenitors in the stromal vascular fraction (SVF) of both white and brown adipose tissues. The aP2-lineage progenitors reside in the adipose stem cell niche and express adipocyte progenitor markers, including CD34, Sca1, Dlk1, and PDGFRα. When isolated and grown in culture, the aP2-expressing SVF cells proliferate and differentiate into adipocytes upon induction. Conversely, ablation of the aP2 lineage greatly reduces the adipogenic potential of SVF cells. When grafted into wild-type mice, the aP2-lineage progenitors give rise to adipose depots in recipient mice. Therefore, the expression of aP2 is not limited to mature adipocytes, but also marks a pool of undifferentiated progenitors associated with the vasculature of adipose tissues. Our finding adds to the repertoire of adipose progenitor markers and points to a new regulator of adipose plasticity.-Shan, T., Liu, W., Kuang, S. Fatty acid-binding protein 4 expression marks a population of adipocyte progenitors in white and brown adipose tissues.

Concepts: Gene, Gene expression, Cytoplasm, Cellular differentiation, Fat, Adipose tissue, Adipocyte, Fatty acid-binding protein

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Age-related cataract (ARC) is the leading cause of blindness among older adults, and the chaperone-like activity of αA-crystallin (CRYAA) is considered to be critical for the maintenance of eye lens transparency. To assess the potential contribution of epigenetic regulation of CRYAA genes relevant to ARC pathogenesis, we evaluated DNA methylation, a tissue-specific genetic modulation that affects gene expression. Reverse-transcription PCR and Western blot were used to analyze the expression of CRYAA. Methylation status was analyzed by bisulfite genomic sequencing of the CpG islands in 15 eyes with age-related nuclear cataracts and 15 control eyes. The demethylating agent zebularine was used to investigate the relationship between hypermethylation of the CpG islands and down-expression of CRYAA. The mRNA and protein levels of CRYAA were significantly reduced in the lens epithelia of age-related nuclear cataract cases vs. age-matched controls, which corresponded to hypermethylation of the CpG island of CRYAA promoter. Treatment with a DNA-demethylating agent was associated with restoration of CRYAA expression. Comparing DNA methylation and mRNA and protein levels revealed significant differences between age-related nuclear cataract and control lenses. The evidence presented suggests that CRYAA undergoes epigenetic repression in the lens epithelia in age-related nuclear cataract.-Zhou, P., Luo, Y., Liu, X., Fan, L., Lu, Y. Down-regulation and CpG island hypermethylation of CRYAA in age-related nuclear cataract.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Molecular biology, Histone, Epigenetics, DNA methylation

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Unregulated inflammation underlies many diseases, including sepsis. Much interest lies in targeting anti-inflammatory mechanisms to develop new treatments. One such target is the anti-inflammatory protein annexin A1 (AnxA1) and its receptor, FPR2/ALX. Using intravital videomicroscopy, we investigated the role of AnxA1 and FPR2/ALX in a murine model of endotoxin-induced cerebral inflammation [intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)]. An inflammatory response was confirmed by elevations in proinflammatory serum cytokines, increased cerebrovascular permeability, elevation in brain myeloperoxidase, and increased leukocyte rolling and adhesion in cerebral venules of wild-type (WT) mice, which were further exacerbated in AnxA1-null mice. mRNA expression of TLR2, TLR4, MyD-88, and Ly96 was also assessed. The AnxA1-mimetic peptide, AnxA1(Ac2-26) (100 μg/mouse, ∼33 μmol) mitigated LPS-induced leukocyte adhesion in WT and AnxA1-null animals without affecting leukocyte rolling, in comparison to saline control. AnxA1(Ac2-26) effects were attenuated by Boc2 (pan-FPR antagonist, 10 μg/mouse, ∼12 nmol), and by minocycline (2.25 mg/mouse, ∼6.3 nmol). The nonselective Fpr agonists, fMLP (6 μg/mouse, ∼17 nmol) and AnxA1(Ac2-26), and the Fpr2-selective agonist ATLa (5 μg/mouse, ∼11 nmol) were without effect in Fpr2/3(-/-) mice. In summary, our novel results demonstrate that the AnxA1/FPR2 system has an important role in effecting the resolution of cerebral inflammation in sepsis and may, therefore, provide a novel therapeutic target.-Gavins, F. N. E., Hughes, E. L., Buss, N. A. P. S., Holloway, P. M., Getting, S. J., Buckingham, J. C. Leukocyte recruitment in the brain in sepsis: involvement of the annexin 1-FPR2/ALX anti-inflammatory system.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Receptor antagonist, Anti-inflammatory, Agonist, C-reactive protein, Inverse agonist, Annexin A1

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Activity of human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) 1 voltage-gated K(+) channels is responsible for portions of phase 2 and phase 3 repolarization of the human ventricular action potential. Here, we questioned whether and how physiologically and pathophysiologically relevant changes in surface N-glycosylation modified hERG channel function. Voltage-dependent hERG channel gating and activity were evaluated as expressed in a set of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell lines under conditions of full glycosylation, no sialylation, no complex N-glycans, and following enzymatic deglycosylation of surface N-glycans. For each condition of reduced glycosylation, hERG channel steady-state activation and inactivation relationships were shifted linearly by significant depolarizing ∼9 and ∼18 mV, respectively. The hERG window current increased significantly by 50-150%, and the peak shifted by a depolarizing ∼10 mV. There was no significant change in maximum hERG current density. Deglycosylated channels were significantly more active (20-80%) than glycosylated controls during phases 2 and 3 of action potential clamp protocols. Simulations of hERG current and ventricular action potentials corroborated experimental data and predicted reduced sialylation leads to a 50-70-ms decrease in action potential duration. The data describe a novel mechanism by which hERG channel gating is modulated through physiologically and pathophysiologically relevant changes in N-glycosylation; reduced channel sialylation increases hERG channel activity during the action potential, thereby increasing the rate of action potential repolarization.-Norring, S. A., Ednie, A. R., Schwetz, T. A., Du, D., Yang, H., Bennett, E. S. Channel sialic acids limit hERG channel activity during the ventricular action potential.

Concepts: Enzyme, Action potential, Ion channel, Electrophysiology, Membrane potential, Potassium channel, Resting potential, Cardiac action potential

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Mitochondrial fission, regulated by dynamin-related protein-1 (Drp1), is a newly recognized determinant of mitochondrial function, but its contribution to left ventricular (LV) impairment following ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury is unknown. We report that Drp1 activation during IR results in LV dysfunction and that Drp1 inhibition is beneficial. In both isolated neonatal murine cardiomyocytes and adult rat hearts (Langendorff preparation) mitochondrial fragmentation and swelling occurred within 30 min of IR. Drp1-S637 (serine 637) dephosphorylation resulted in Drp1 mitochondrial translocation and increased mitochondrial fission. The Drp1 inhibitor Mdivi-1 preserved mitochondrial morphology, reduced cytosolic calcium, and prevented cell death. Drp1 siRNA similarly preserved mitochondrial morphology. In Langendorff hearts, Mdivi-1 reduced mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, improved LV developed pressure (92±5 vs. 28±10 mmHg, P<0.001), and lowered LV end diastolic pressure (10±1 vs. 86±13 mmHg, P<0.001) following IR. Mdivi-1 was protective if administered prior to or following ischemia. Because Drp1-S637 dephosphorylation is calcineurin sensitive, we assessed the effects of a calcineurin inhibitor, FK506. FK506 treatment prior to IR prevented Drp1-S637 dephosphorylation and preserved cardiac function. Likewise, therapeutic hypothermia (30°C) inhibited Drp1-S637 dephosphorylation and preserved mitochondrial morphology and myocardial function. Drp1 inhibition is a novel strategy to improve myocardial function following IR.-Sharp, W. S., Fang, Y. H., Han, M., Zhang, H. J., Hong, Z., Banathy, A., Morrow, E., Ryan, J. J., Archer, S. L. Dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1)-mediated diastolic dysfunction in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury: therapeutic benefits of Drp1 inhibition to reduce mitochondrial fission.

Concepts: Oxygen, Mitochondrion, Heart, Stroke, Oxidative phosphorylation, Reactive oxygen species, Hydrogen peroxide, Cardiovascular system

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Oxidation of retinol via retinaldehyde results in the formation of the essential morphogen all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA). Previous studies have identified critical roles in the regulation of embryonic ATRA levels for retinol, retinaldehyde, and ATRA-oxidizing enzymes; however, the contribution of retinaldehyde reductases to ATRA metabolism is not completely understood. Herein, we investigate the role of the retinaldehyde reductase Dhrs3 in embryonic retinoid metabolism using a Dhrs3-deficient mouse. Lack of DHRS3 leads to a 40% increase in the levels of ATRA and a 60% and 55% decrease in the levels of retinol and retinyl esters, respectively, in Dhrs3(-/-) embryos compared to wild-type littermates. Furthermore, accumulation of excess ATRA is accompanied by a compensatory 30-50% reduction in the expression of ATRA synthetic genes and a 120% increase in the expression of the ATRA catabolic enzyme Cyp26a1 in Dhrs3(-/-) embryos vs. controls. Excess ATRA also leads to alterations (40-80%) in the expression of several developmentally important ATRA target genes. Consequently, Dhrs3(-/-) embryos die late in gestation and display defects in cardiac outflow tract formation, atrial and ventricular septation, skeletal development, and palatogenesis. These data demonstrate that the reduction of retinaldehyde by DHRS3 is critical for preventing formation of excess ATRA during embryonic development.-Billings, S. E., Pierzchalski, K., Butler Tjaden, N. E., Pang, X.-Y., Trainor, P. A., Kane, M. A., Moise, A. R. The retinaldehyde reductase DHRS3 is essential for preventing the formation of excess retinoic acid during embryonic development.

Concepts: Gene, Amino acid, Enzyme, Retinol, Retinal, Retinoic acid, Tretinoin, Retinoid