Biomolecules2015, 5(1), 142-165; doi:10.3390/biom5010142 - published 25 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Candida albicans is a major fungal pathogen of humans, causing approximately 400,000 life-threatening systemic infections world-wide each year in severely immunocompromised patients. An important fungicidal mechanism employed by innate immune cells involves the generation of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide. Consequently, there is much interest in the strategies employed by C. albicans to evade the oxidative killing by macrophages and neutrophils. Our understanding of how C. albicans senses and responds to ROS has significantly increased in recent years. Key findings include the observations that hydrogen peroxide triggers the filamentation of this polymorphic fungus and that a superoxide dismutase enzyme with a novel mode of action is expressed at the cell surface of C. albicans. Furthermore, recent studies have indicated that combinations of the chemical stresses generated by phagocytes can actively prevent C. albicans oxidative stress responses through a mechanism termed the stress pathway interference. In this review, we present an up-date of our current understanding of the role and regulation of oxidative stress responses in this important human fungal pathogen.
Biomolecules2015, 5(1), 121-141; doi:10.3390/biom5010121 - published 13 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Peroxisomal biogenesis and function critically depends on the import of cytosolic proteins carrying a PTS1 sequence into this organelle upon interaction with the peroxin Pex5p. Recent structural studies have provided important insights into the molecular recognition of cargo proteins by Pex5p. Peroxisomal import is a key feature in the pathogenesis of primary hyperoxaluria type 1 (PH1), where alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase (AGT) undergoes mitochondrial mistargeting in about a third of patients. Here, we study the molecular recognition of PTS1 cargo proteins by Pex5p using oligopeptides and AGT variants bearing different natural PTS1 sequences, and employing an array of biophysical, computational and cell biology techniques. Changes in affinity for Pex5p (spanning over 3–4 orders of magnitude) reflect different thermodynamic signatures, but overall bury similar amounts of molecular surface. Structure/energetic analyses provide information on the contribution of ancillary regions and the conformational changes induced in Pex5p and the PTS1 cargo upon complex formation. Pex5p stability in vitro is enhanced upon cargo binding according to their binding affinities. Moreover, we provide evidence that the rational modulation of the AGT: Pex5p binding affinity might be useful tools to investigate mistargeting and misfolding in PH1 by pulling the folding equilibria towards the native and peroxisomal import competent state.
Biomolecules2015, 5(1), 113-120; doi:10.3390/biom5010113 - published 10 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Apoptosis (programmed cell death) is regarded as ultimate differentiation of the cell. We have recently demonstrated that a targeted delivery of Dd-MRP4 (Dictyostelium mitochondrial ribosomal protein S4) suppresses specifically the proliferation of the human cancer cells, by inducing their apoptotic cell death (Chida et al., 2014, doi:10.1186/1475-2867-14-56). This amazing fact was discovered, simply based on the finding that Dd-MRP4 expression is absolutely required for transition of Dictyostelium cells from growth to differentiation (Chida et al., 2008, doi:10.1186/1471-2156-9-25; Maeda et al., 2013, doi:10.3390/biom3040943). Dd-MRP4 protein has quite unique structural characters, in that it is highly basic (pI: about 11.5) and interestingly has several nuclear-localization signals within the molecule. In this review, we introduce briefly the efficacy of several apoptosis-inducing substances reported thus far for cancer therapy, and speculate the possible mechanisms, by which apoptosis is specifically induced by Dd-MRP4, on the basis of its structural uniqueness. We also discuss several issues to be solved for the medical application of ectopically expressed Dd-MRP4 in human cancer cells.
Biomolecules2015, 5(1), 95-112; doi:10.3390/biom5010095 - published 9 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Alternative redox stimuli such as pervanadate or hypoxia/reoxygenation, induce transcription factor NF-κB by phospho-tyrosine-dependent and proteasome-independent mechanisms. While considerable attention has been paid to the absence of proteasomal regulation of tyrosine phosphorylated IκBα, there is a paucity of information regarding proteasomal regulation of signaling events distinct from tyrosine phosphorylation of IκBα. To delineate roles for the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in the phospho-tyrosine dependent mechanism of NF-κB induction, we employed the proteasome inhibitor, Aclacinomycin, and the phosphotyrosine phosphatase inhibitor, pervanadate (PV). Results from these studies demonstrate that phospho-IκBα (Tyr-42) is not subject to proteasomal degradation in a murine stromal epithelial cell line, confirming results previously reported. Correspondingly, proteasome inhibition had no discernable effect on the key signaling intermediaries, Src and ERK1/2, involved in the phospho-tyrosine mechanisms regulating PV-mediated activation of NF-κB. Consistent with previous reports, a significant redox imbalance leading to the activation of tyrosine kinases, as occurs with pervanadate, is required for the induction of NF-κB. Strikingly, our studies demonstrate that proteasome inhibition can potentiate oxidative stress associated with PV-stimulation without impacting kinase activation, however, other cellular implications for this increase in intracellular oxidation remain to be fully delineated.
Biomolecules2015, 5(1), 76-94; doi:10.3390/biom5010076 - published 5 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Hepatitis C and alcohol are the most widespread causes of liver disease worldwide. Approximately 80% of patients with a history of hepatitis C and alcohol abuse develop chronic liver injury. Alcohol consumption in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients exacerbates liver disease leading to rapid progression of fibrosis, cirrhosis and even hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatocytes are the main sites of HCV-infection and ethanol metabolism, both of which generate oxidative stress. Oxidative stress levels affect HCV replication and innate immunity, resulting in a greater susceptibility for HCV-infection and virus spread in the alcoholic patients. In this review paper, we analyze the effects of ethanol metabolism and other factors on HCV replication. In addition, we illustrate the mechanisms of how HCV hijacks innate immunity and how ethanol exposure regulates this process. We also clarify the effects of HCV and ethanol metabolism on interferon signaling—a crucial point for activation of anti-viral genes to protect cells from virus—and the role that HCV- and ethanol-induced impairments play in adaptive immunity which is necessary for recognition of virally-infected hepatocytes. In conclusion, ethanol exposure potentiates the suppressive effects of HCV on innate immunity, which activates viral spread in the liver and finally, leads to impairments in adaptive immunity. The dysregulation of immune response results in impaired elimination of HCV-infected cells, viral persistence, progressive liver damage and establishment of chronic infection that worsens the outcomes of chronic hepatitis C in alcoholic patients.
Biomolecules2015, 5(1), 60-75; doi:10.3390/biom5010060 - published 30 January 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: A number of natural proteins are known to have affinity and specificity for immunoglobulins. Some of them are widely used as reagents for detection or capture applications, such as Protein G and Protein A. However, these natural proteins have a defined spectrum of recognition that may not fit specific needs. With the development of combinatorial protein engineering and selection techniques, it has become possible to design artificial affinity proteins with the desired properties. These proteins, termed alternative scaffold proteins, are most often chosen for their stability, ease of engineering and cost-efficient recombinant production in bacteria. In this review, we focus on alternative scaffold proteins for which immunoglobulin binders have been identified and characterized.