Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 647-667; doi:10.3390/biom5020647 (registering DOI) - published 27 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Bacteriophage N4 regulates the temporal expression of its genome through the activity of three distinct RNA polymerases (RNAP). Expression of the early genes is carried out by a phage-encoded, virion-encapsidated RNAP (vRNAP) that is injected into the host at the onset of infection and transcribes the early genes. These encode the components of new transcriptional machinery (N4 RNAPII and cofactors) responsible for the synthesis of middle RNAs. Both N4 RNAPs belong to the T7-like “single-subunit” family of polymerases. Herein, we describe their mechanisms of promoter recognition, regulation, and roles in the phage life cycle.
Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 635-646; doi:10.3390/biom5020635 - published 24 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: N-acetyl-l-histidine (NAH) is a prominent biomolecule in brain, retina and lens of poikilothermic vertebrates. In fish lens, NAH exhibits an unusual compartmentalized metabolism. It is synthesized from L-histidine (His) and acetyl Co-enzyme A. However, NAH cannot be catabolized by lens cells. For its hydrolysis, NAH is exported to ocular fluid where a specific acylase cleaves His which is then actively taken up by lens and re-synthesized into NAH. This energy-dependent cycling suggested a pump mechanism operating at the lens/ocular fluid interface. Additional studies led to the hypothesis that NAH functioned as a molecular water pump (MWP) to maintain a highly dehydrated lens and avoid cataract formation. In this process, each NAH molecule released to ocular fluid down its gradient carries with it 33 molecules of bound water, effectively transporting the water against a water gradient. In ocular fluid the bound water is released for removal from the eye by the action of NAH acylase. In this paper, we demonstrate for the first time the identification of NAH in fish brain using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and describe recent evidence supporting the NAH MWP hypothesis. Using MRS, we also document a phylogenetic transition in brain metabolism between poikilothermic and homeothermic vertebrates.
Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 617-634; doi:10.3390/biom5020617 - published 23 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae represents an established model system to study the molecular mechanisms associated to neurodegenerative disorders. A key-feature of Parkinson’s disease is the formation of Lewy bodies, which are cytoplasmic protein inclusions. Misfolded α-synuclein is one of their main constituents. Expression of α-synuclein protein in yeast leads to protein aggregation and cellular toxicity, which is reminiscent to Lewy body containing human cells. The molecular mechanism involved in clearance of α-synuclein aggregates is a central question for elucidating the α-synuclein-related toxicity. Cellular clearance mechanisms include ubiquitin mediated 26S proteasome function as well as lysosome/vacuole associated degradative pathways as autophagy. Various modifications change α-synuclein posttranslationally and alter its inclusion formation, cytotoxicity and the distribution to different clearance pathways. Several of these modification sites are conserved from yeast to human. In this review, we summarize recent findings on the effect of phosphorylation and sumoylation of α-synuclein to the enhanced channeling to either the autophagy or the proteasome degradation pathway in yeast model of Parkinson’s disease.
Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 590-616; doi:10.3390/biom5020590 - published 21 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Degradation of helicases or helicase-like proteins, often mediated by ubiquitin-proteasomal pathways, plays important regulatory roles in cellular mechanisms that respond to DNA damage or replication stress. The Bloom’s syndrome helicase (BLM) provides an example of how helicase degradation pathways, regulated by post-translational modifications and protein interactions with components of the Fanconi Anemia (FA) interstrand cross-link (ICL) repair pathway, influence cell cycle checkpoints, DNA repair, and replication restart. The FANCM DNA translocase can be targeted by checkpoint kinases that exert dramatic effects on FANCM stability and chromosomal integrity. Other work provides evidence that degradation of the F-box DNA helicase (FBH1) helps to balance translesion synthesis (TLS) and homologous recombination (HR) repair at blocked replication forks. Degradation of the helicase-like transcription factor (HLTF), a DNA translocase and ubiquitylating enzyme, influences the choice of post replication repair (PRR) pathway. Stability of the Werner syndrome helicase-nuclease (WRN) involved in the replication stress response is regulated by its acetylation. Turning to transcription, stability of the Cockayne Syndrome Group B DNA translocase (CSB) implicated in transcription-coupled repair (TCR) is regulated by a CSA ubiquitin ligase complex enabling recovery of RNA synthesis. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that helicases can be targeted for degradation to maintain genome homeostasis.
Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 545-589; doi:10.3390/biom5020545 - published 21 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Oxidative stress in skin plays a major role in the aging process. This is true for intrinsic aging and even more for extrinsic aging. Although the results are quite different in dermis and epidermis, extrinsic aging is driven to a large extent by oxidative stress caused by UV irradiation. In this review the overall effects of oxidative stress are discussed as well as the sources of ROS including the mitochondrial ETC, peroxisomal and ER localized proteins, the Fenton reaction, and such enzymes as cyclooxygenases, lipoxygenases, xanthine oxidases, and NADPH oxidases. Furthermore, the defense mechanisms against oxidative stress ranging from enzymes like superoxide dismutases, catalases, peroxiredoxins, and GSH peroxidases to organic compounds such as L-ascorbate, α-tocopherol, beta-carotene, uric acid, CoQ10, and glutathione are described in more detail. In addition the oxidative stress induced modifications caused to proteins, lipids and DNA are discussed. Finally age-related changes of the skin are also a topic of this review. They include a disruption of the epidermal calcium gradient in old skin with an accompanying change in the composition of the cornified envelope. This modified cornified envelope also leads to an altered anti-oxidative capacity and a reduced barrier function of the epidermis.
Biomolecules2015, 5(2), 528-544; doi:10.3390/biom5020528 - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Gemin5 is a RNA-binding protein (RBP) that was first identified as a peripheral component of the survival of motor neurons (SMN) complex. This predominantly cytoplasmic protein recognises the small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) through its WD repeat domains, allowing assembly of the SMN complex into small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs). Additionally, the amino-terminal end of the protein has been reported to possess cap-binding capacity and to interact with the eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E). Gemin5 was also shown to downregulate translation, to be a substrate of the picornavirus L protease and to interact with viral internal ribosome entry site (IRES) elements via a bipartite non-canonical RNA-binding site located at its carboxy-terminal end. These features link Gemin5 with translation control events. Thus, beyond its role in snRNPs biogenesis, Gemin5 appears to be a multitasking protein cooperating in various RNA-guided processes. In this review, we will summarise current knowledge of Gemin5 functions. We will discuss the involvement of the protein on translation control and propose a model to explain how the proteolysis fragments of this RBP in picornavirus-infected cells could modulate protein synthesis.