Biomolecules2016, 6(2), 25; doi:10.3390/biom6020025 - published 28 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: N-glycan, a fundamental and versatile protein modification in mammals, plays critical roles in various physiological and pathological events including cancer progression. The formation of N-glycan branches catalyzed by specific N-acetylglucosaminyltransferases [GnT-III, GnT-IVs, GnT-V, GnT-IX (Vb)] and a fucosyltransferase, Fut8, provides functionally diverse N-glycosylated proteins. Aberrations of these branches are often found in cancer cells and are profoundly involved in cancer growth, invasion and metastasis. In this review, we focus on the GlcNAc and fucose branches of N-glycans and describe how their expression is dysregulated in cancer by genetic and nongenetic mechanisms including epigenetics and nucleotide sugar metabolisms. We also survey the roles that these N-glycans play in cancer progression and therapeutics. Finally, we discuss possible applications of our knowledge on basic glycobiology to the development of medicine and biomarkers for cancer therapy.
Biomolecules2016, 6(2), 24; doi:10.3390/biom6020024 - published 28 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Neurofibrillary tau pathology (tangles and threads) and extracellular amyloid-β (Aβ) pathology are defining features of Alzheimer’s disease. For 25 years, most research has focused on the amyloid hypothesis of AD pathogenesis and progression. But, because of failures in clinical trials of Aβ-targeted therapies and the new concept of prion-like propagation of intracellular abnormal proteins, tau has come back into the spotlight as a candidate therapeutic target in AD. Tau pathologies are found in a range of neurodegenerative disorders, but extensive analyses of pathological tau in diseased brains has demonstrated that the abnormal tau protein in each disease is structurally distinct, supporting the idea that progression of the diverse but characteristic tau pathologies occurs through prion-like seed-dependent aggregation. Therefore, intervention in the conversion of normal tau to abnormal forms and in cell-to-cell transmission of tau may be the key to development of disease-modifying therapies for AD and other dementing disorders.
Biomolecules2016, 6(2), 23; doi:10.3390/biom6020023 - published 21 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Taurine bromamine (Tau-NHBr) is produced by the reaction between hypobromous acid (HOBr) and the amino acid taurine. There are increasing number of applications of Tau-NHBr as an anti-inflammatory and microbicidal drug for topical usage. Here, we performed a comprehensive study of the chemical reactivity of Tau-NHBr with endogenous and non-endogenous compounds. Tau-NHBr reactivity was compared with HOBr, hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and taurine chloramine (Tau-NHCl). The second-order rate constants (k2) for the reactions between Tau-NHBr and tryptophan (7.7 × 102 M−1s−1), melatonin (7.3 × 103 M−1s−1), serotonin (2.9 × 103 M−1s−1), dansylglycine (9.5 × 101 M−1s−1), tetramethylbenzidine (6.4 × 102 M−1s−1) and H2O2 (3.9 × M−1s−1) were obtained. Tau-NHBr demonstrated the following selectivity regarding its reactivity with free amino acids: tryptophan > cysteine ~ methionine > tyrosine. The reactivity of Tau-NHBr was strongly affected by the pH of the medium (for instance with dansylglycine: pH 5.0, 1.1 × 104 M−1s−1, pH 7.0, 9.5 × 10 M−1s−1 and pH 9.0, 1.7 × 10 M−1s−1), a property that is related to the formation of the dibromamine form at acidic pH (Tau-NBr2). The formation of singlet oxygen was observed in the reaction between Tau-NHBr and H2O2. Tau-NHBr was also able to react with linoleic acid, but with low efficiency compared with HOBr and HOCl. Compared with HOBr, Tau-NHBr was not able to react with nucleosides. In conclusion, the following reactivity sequence was established: HOBr > HOCl > Tau-NHBr > Tau-NHCl. These findings can be very helpful for researchers interested in biological applications of taurine haloamines.
Biomolecules2016, 6(2), 22; doi:10.3390/biom6020022 - published 20 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: RNase P, a ribozyme-based ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex that catalyzes tRNA 5′-maturation, is ubiquitous in all domains of life, but the evolution of its protein components (RNase P proteins, RPPs) is not well understood. Archaeal RPPs may provide clues on how the complex evolved from an ancient ribozyme to an RNP with multiple archaeal and eukaryotic (homologous) RPPs, which are unrelated to the single bacterial RPP. Here, we analyzed the sequence and structure of archaeal RPPs from over 600 available genomes. All five RPPs are found in eight archaeal phyla, suggesting that these RPPs arose early in archaeal evolutionary history. The putative ancestral genomic loci of archaeal RPPs include genes encoding several members of ribosome, exosome, and proteasome complexes, which may indicate coevolution/coordinate regulation of RNase P with other core cellular machineries. Despite being ancient, RPPs generally lack sequence conservation compared to other universal proteins. By analyzing the relative frequency of residues at every position in the context of the high-resolution structures of each of the RPPs (either alone or as functional binary complexes), we suggest residues for mutational analysis that may help uncover structure-function relationships in RPPs.
Biomolecules2016, 6(2), 21; doi:10.3390/biom6020021 - published 19 April 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Tau is a brain microtubule-associated protein that directly binds to a microtubule and dynamically regulates its structure and function. Under pathological conditions, tau self-assembles into filamentous structures that end up forming neurofibrillary tangles. Prominent tau neurofibrillary pathology is a common feature in a number of neurodegenerative disorders, collectively referred to as tauopathies, the most common of which is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Beyond its classical role as a microtubule-associated protein, recent advances in our understanding of tau cellular functions have revealed novel insights into their important role during pathogenesis and provided potential novel therapeutic targets. Regulation of tau behavior and function under physiological and pathological conditions is mainly achieved through post-translational modifications, including phosphorylation, glycosylation, acetylation, and truncation, among others, indicating the complexity and variability of factors influencing regulation of tau toxicity, all of which have significant implications for the development of novel therapeutic approaches in various neurodegenerative disorders. A more comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating tau function and dysfunction will provide us with a better outline of tau cellular networking and, hopefully, offer new clues for designing more efficient approaches to tackle tauopathies in the near future.