Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 1035-1062; doi:10.3390/biom5021035 - published 27 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Transcription initiation is a highly regulated step of gene expression. Here, we discuss the series of large conformational changes set in motion by initial specific binding of bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) to promoter DNA and their relevance for regulation. Bending and wrapping of the upstream duplex facilitates bending of the downstream duplex into the active site cleft, nucleating opening of 13 bp in the cleft. The rate-determining opening step, driven by binding free energy, forms an unstable open complex, probably with the template strand in the active site. At some promoters, this initial open complex is greatly stabilized by rearrangements of the discriminator region between the −10 element and +1 base of the nontemplate strand and of mobile in-cleft and downstream elements of RNAP. The rate of open complex formation is regulated by effects on the rapidly-reversible steps preceding DNA opening, while open complex lifetime is regulated by effects on the stabilization of the initial open complex. Intrinsic DNA opening-closing appears less regulated. This noncovalent mechanism and its regulation exhibit many analogies to mechanisms of enzyme catalysis.
Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 1020-1034; doi:10.3390/biom5021020 - published 26 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Enhanced expression of chemotactic cytokines (aka chemokines) within pancreatic islets likely contributes to islet inflammation by regulating the recruitment and activation of various leukocyte populations, including macrophages, neutrophils, and T-lymphocytes. Because of the powerful actions of these chemokines, precise transcriptional control is required. In this review, we highlight what is known about the signals and mechanisms that govern the transcription of genes encoding specific chemokine proteins in pancreatic islet β-cells, which include contributions from the NF-κB and STAT1 pathways. We further discuss increased chemokine expression in pancreatic islets during autoimmune-mediated and obesity-related development of diabetes.
Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 1012-1019; doi:10.3390/biom5021012 - published 21 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Here we review recent findings and offer a perspective on how the major variant RNA polymerase of bacteria, which contains the sigma54 factor, functions for regulated gene expression. We consider what gaps exist in our understanding of its genetic, biochemical and biophysical functioning and how they might be addressed.
Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 1000-1011; doi:10.3390/biom5021000 - published 19 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Axonal swellings are histological hallmarks of axonopathies in various types of disorders in the central nervous system, including neurodegenerative diseases. Given the pivotal role of axonopathies during the early phase of neurodegenerative process, axonal swellings may be good models which may provide some clues for early pathogenesis of α-synucleinopathies, including Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). In this mini-review, such a possibility is discussed based on our recent studies as well as other accumulating studies. Consistent with the current view that dysfunction in the autophagy-lysosomal system may play a major role in the formation of axonal swellings, our studies showed globule, small axonal swellings, derived from transgenic mice expressing either human wild-type α-synuclein (αS-globule) or DLB-linked P123H β-synuclein (βS-globule), contained autophagosome-like membranes. However, other pathological features, such as abnormal mitochondria, enhanced oxidative stress and LRRK2 accumulation, were observed in the αS-globules, but not in the βS-globules. Collectively, it is predicted that αS and βS may be involved in axonopathies through similar but distinct mechanisms, and thus, contribute to diverse axonal pathologies. Further studies of the axonal swellings may lead to elucidating the pathogenic mechanism of early α-synucleinopathies and illuminating a strategy for a disease-modifying therapy against these devastating disorders.
Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 974-999; doi:10.3390/biom5020974 - published 18 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerases (PPIases) that include immunophilins (cyclophilins and FKBPs) and parvulins (Pin1, Par14, Par17) participate in cell signaling, transcription, pre-mRNA processing and mRNA decay. The human genome encodes 19 cyclophilins, 18 FKBPs and three parvulins. Immunophilins are receptors for the immunosuppressive drugs cyclosporin A, FK506, and rapamycin that are used in organ transplantation. Pin1 has also been targeted in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, and a number of cancers. While these PPIases are characterized as molecular chaperones, they also act in a nonchaperone manner to promote protein-protein interactions using surfaces outside their active sites. The immunosuppressive drugs act by a gain-of-function mechanism by promoting protein-protein interactions in vivo. Several immunophilins have been identified as components of the spliceosome and are essential for alternative splicing. Pin1 plays roles in transcription and RNA processing by catalyzing conformational changes in the RNA Pol II C-terminal domain. Pin1 also binds several RNA binding proteins such as AUF1, KSRP, HuR, and SLBP that regulate mRNA decay by remodeling mRNP complexes. The functions of ribonucleoprotein associated PPIases are largely unknown. This review highlights PPIases that play roles in RNA-mediated gene expression, providing insight into their structures, functions and mechanisms of action in mRNP remodeling in vivo.
Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 958-973; doi:10.3390/biom5020958 - published 15 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The 70-kDa heat shock protein (Hsp70), one of the major stress-inducible molecular chaperones, is localized not only in the cytosol, but also in extracellular milieu in mammals. Hsp70 interacts with various cell surface glycolipids including sulfatide (3'-sulfogalactosphingolipid). However, the molecular mechanism, as well as the biological relevance, underlying the glycolipid-Hsp70 interaction is unknown. Here we report that sulfatide promotes Hsp70 oligomerization through the N-terminal ATPase domain, which stabilizes the binding of Hsp70 to unfolded protein in vitro. We find that the Hsp70 oligomer has apparent molecular masses ranging from 440 kDa to greater than 669 kDa. The C-terminal peptide-binding domain is dispensable for the sulfatide-induced oligomer formation. The oligomer formation is impaired in the presence of ATP, while the Hsp70 oligomer, once formed, is unable to bind to ATP. These results suggest that sulfatide locks Hsp70 in a high-affinity state to unfolded proteins by clustering the peptide-binding domain and blocking the binding to ATP that induces the dissociation of Hsp70 from protein substrates.