Open AccessArticle
Inhibition of Bacterial RNase P RNA by Phenothiazine Derivatives
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 38; doi:10.3390/biom6030038 -
Abstract
There is a need to identify novel scaffolds and targets to develop new antibiotics. Methylene blue is a phenothiazine derivative, and it has been shown to possess anti-malarial and anti-trypanosomal activities. Here, we show that different phenothiazine derivatives and pyronine G inhibited [...] Read more.
There is a need to identify novel scaffolds and targets to develop new antibiotics. Methylene blue is a phenothiazine derivative, and it has been shown to possess anti-malarial and anti-trypanosomal activities. Here, we show that different phenothiazine derivatives and pyronine G inhibited the activities of three structurally different bacterial RNase P RNAs (RPRs), including that from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, with Ki values in the lower μM range. Interestingly, three antipsychotic phenothiazines (chlorpromazine, thioridazine, and trifluoperazine), which are known to have antibacterial activities, also inhibited the activity of bacterial RPRs, albeit with higher Ki values than methylene blue. Phenothiazines also affected lead(II)-induced cleavage of bacterial RPR and inhibited yeast tRNAPhe, indicating binding of these drugs to functionally important regions. Collectively, our findings provide the first experimental data showing that long, noncoding RNAs could be targeted by different phenothiazine derivatives. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Epigenomic Approach to Improving Response to Neoadjuvant Cisplatin Chemotherapy in Bladder Cancer
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 37; doi:10.3390/biom6030037 -
Abstract
Bladder cancer is among the five most common cancers diagnosed in the Western world and causes significant mortality and morbidity rates in affected patients. Therapeutic options to treat the disease in advanced muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) include cystectomy and chemotherapy. Neoadjuvant cisplatin-based [...] Read more.
Bladder cancer is among the five most common cancers diagnosed in the Western world and causes significant mortality and morbidity rates in affected patients. Therapeutic options to treat the disease in advanced muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) include cystectomy and chemotherapy. Neoadjuvant cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy is effective in MIBC; however, it has not been widely adopted by the community. One reason is that many patients do not respond to neoadjuvant chemotherapy, and no biomarker currently exists to identify these patients. It is also not clear whether a strategy to sensitize chemoresistant patients may exist. We sought to identify cisplatin-resistance patterns in preclinical models of bladder cancer, and test whether treatment with the epigenetic modifier decitabine is able to sensitize cisplatin-resistant bladder cancer cell lines. Using a screening approach in cisplatin-resistant bladder cancer cell lines, we identified dysregulated genes by RNA sequencing (RNAseq) and DNA methylation assays. DNA methylation analysis of tumors from 18 patients receiving cisplatin-based chemotherapy was used to confirm in vitro results. Cisplatin-resistant bladder cancer cells were treated with decitabine to investigate epigenetic sensitization of resistant cell lines. Our results show that HOXA9 promoter methylation status is associated with response to cisplatin-based chemotherapy in bladder cancer cell lines and in metastatic bladder cancer. Bladder cancer cells resistant to cisplatin chemotherapy can be sensitized to cisplatin by the DNA methylation inhibitor decitabine. Our data suggest that HOXA9 promoter methylation could serve as potential predictive biomarker and decitabine might sensitize resistant tumors in patients receiving cisplatin-based chemotherapy. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Internalization of the Extracellular Full-Length Tau Inside Neuro2A and Cortical Cells Is Enhanced by Phosphorylation
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 36; doi:10.3390/biom6030036 -
Abstract
Tau protein is mainly intracellular. However, several studies have demonstrated that full-length Tau can be released into the interstitial fluid of the brain. The physiological or pathological function of this extracellular Tau remains unknown. Moreover, as evidence suggests, extracellular Tau aggregates can [...] Read more.
Tau protein is mainly intracellular. However, several studies have demonstrated that full-length Tau can be released into the interstitial fluid of the brain. The physiological or pathological function of this extracellular Tau remains unknown. Moreover, as evidence suggests, extracellular Tau aggregates can be internalized by neurons, seeding Tau aggregation. However, much less is known about small species of Tau. In this study, we hypothesized that the status of phosphorylation could alter the internalization of recombinant Tau in Neuro2A and cortical cells. Our preliminary results revealed that the highly phosphorylated form of Tau entered the cells ten times more easily than a low phosphorylated one. This suggests that hyperphosphorylated Tau protein could spread between neurons in pathological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Full article
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Open AccessErratum
Erratum: Lai, R.Y.K.; Harrington, C.R.; Wischik, C.M. Absence of a Role for Phosphorylation in the Tau Pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease. Biomolecules 2016, 6, 19
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 35; doi:10.3390/biom6030035 -
Abstract The authors wish to correct their affiliations in this paper [1] as follows:[...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Functional Consequences of Differential O-glycosylation of MUC1, MUC4, and MUC16 (Downstream Effects on Signaling)
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 34; doi:10.3390/biom6030034 -
Abstract
Glycosylation is one of the most abundant post-translational modifications that occur within the cell. Under normal physiological conditions, O-linked glycosylation of extracellular proteins is critical for both structure and function. During the progression of cancer, however, the expression of aberrant and [...] Read more.
Glycosylation is one of the most abundant post-translational modifications that occur within the cell. Under normal physiological conditions, O-linked glycosylation of extracellular proteins is critical for both structure and function. During the progression of cancer, however, the expression of aberrant and truncated glycans is commonly observed. Mucins are high molecular weight glycoproteins that contain numerous sites of O-glycosylation within their extracellular domains. Transmembrane mucins also play a functional role in monitoring the surrounding microenvironment and transducing these signals into the cell. In cancer, these mucins often take on an oncogenic role and promote a number of pro-tumorigenic effects, including pro-survival, migratory, and invasive behaviors. Within this review, we highlight both the processes involved in the expression of aberrant glycan structures on mucins, as well as the potential downstream impacts on cellular signaling. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mucin-Type O-Glycosylation in Gastric Carcinogenesis
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 33; doi:10.3390/biom6030033 -
Abstract
Mucin-type O-glycosylation plays a crucial role in several physiological and pathological processes of the gastric tissue. Modifications in enzymes responsible for key glycosylation steps and the consequent abnormal biosynthesis and expression of their glycan products constitute well-established molecular hallmarks of disease [...] Read more.
Mucin-type O-glycosylation plays a crucial role in several physiological and pathological processes of the gastric tissue. Modifications in enzymes responsible for key glycosylation steps and the consequent abnormal biosynthesis and expression of their glycan products constitute well-established molecular hallmarks of disease state. This review addresses the major role played by mucins and associated O-glycan structures in Helicobacter pylori adhesion to the gastric mucosa and the subsequent establishment of a chronic infection, with concomitant drastic alterations of the gastric epithelium glycophenotype. Furthermore, alterations of mucin expression pattern and glycan signatures occurring in preneoplastic lesions and in gastric carcinoma are also described, as well as their impact throughout the gastric carcinogenesis cascade and in cancer progression. Altogether, mucin-type O-glycosylation alterations may represent promising biomarkers with potential screening and prognostic applications, as well as predictors of cancer patients’ response to therapy. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Turning on the Radio: Epigenetic Inhibitors as Potential Radiopriming Agents
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 32; doi:10.3390/biom6030032 -
Abstract
First introduced during the late 1800s, radiation therapy is fundamental to the treatment of cancer. In developed countries, approximately 60% of all patients receive radiation therapy (also known as the sixty percenters), which makes radioresistance in cancer an important and, to date, [...] Read more.
First introduced during the late 1800s, radiation therapy is fundamental to the treatment of cancer. In developed countries, approximately 60% of all patients receive radiation therapy (also known as the sixty percenters), which makes radioresistance in cancer an important and, to date, unsolved, clinical problem. Unfortunately, the therapeutic refractoriness of solid tumors is the rule not the exception, and the ubiquity of resistance also extends to standard chemotherapy, molecularly targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Based on extrapolation from recent clinical inroads with epigenetic agents to prime refractory tumors for maximum sensitivity to concurrent or subsequent therapies, the radioresistant phenotype is potentially reversible, since aberrant epigenetic mechanisms are critical contributors to the evolution of resistant subpopulations of malignant cells. Within the framework of a syllogism, this review explores the emerging link between epigenetics and the development of radioresistance and makes the case that a strategy of pre- or co-treatment with epigenetic agents has the potential to, not only derepress inappropriately silenced genes, but also increase reactive oxygen species production, resulting in the restoration of radiosensitivity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Aberrant Glycosylation of Anchor-Optimized MUC1 Peptides Can Enhance Antigen Binding Affinity and Reverse Tolerance to Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 31; doi:10.3390/biom6030031 -
Abstract
Cancer vaccines have often failed to live up to their promise, although recent results with checkpoint inhibitors are reviving hopes that they will soon fulfill their promise. Although mutation-specific vaccines are under development, there is still high interest in an off-the-shelf vaccine [...] Read more.
Cancer vaccines have often failed to live up to their promise, although recent results with checkpoint inhibitors are reviving hopes that they will soon fulfill their promise. Although mutation-specific vaccines are under development, there is still high interest in an off-the-shelf vaccine to a ubiquitous antigen, such as MUC1, which is aberrantly expressed on most solid and many hematological tumors, including more than 90% of breast carcinomas. Clinical trials for MUC1 have shown variable success, likely because of immunological tolerance to a self-antigen and to poor immunogenicity of tandem repeat peptides. We hypothesized that MUC1 peptides could be optimized, relying on heteroclitic optimizations of potential anchor amino acids with and without tumor-specific glycosylation of the peptides. We have identified novel MUC1 class I peptides that bind to HLA-A*0201 molecules with significantly higher affinity and function than the native MUC1 peptides. These peptides elicited CTLs from normal donors, as well as breast cancer patients, which were highly effective in killing MUC1-expressing MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Each peptide elicited lytic responses in greater than 6/8 of normal individuals and 3/3 breast cancer patients. The CTLs generated against the glycosylated-anchor modified peptides cross reacted with the native MUC1 peptide, STAPPVHNV, suggesting these analog peptides may offer substantial improvement in the design of epitope-based vaccines. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Role of Transcription Factors in Steatohepatitis and Hypertension after Ethanol: The Epicenter of Metabolism
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 29; doi:10.3390/biom6030029 -
Abstract
Chronic alcohol consumption induces multi-organ damage, including alcoholic liver disease (ALD), pancreatitis and hypertension. Ethanol and ethanol metabolic products play a significant role in the manifestation of its toxicity. Ethanol metabolizes to acetaldehyde and produces reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) by cytosolic [...] Read more.
Chronic alcohol consumption induces multi-organ damage, including alcoholic liver disease (ALD), pancreatitis and hypertension. Ethanol and ethanol metabolic products play a significant role in the manifestation of its toxicity. Ethanol metabolizes to acetaldehyde and produces reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) by cytosolic alcohol dehydrogenase. Ethanol metabolism mediated by cytochrome-P450 2E1 causes oxidative stress due to increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Acetaldehyde, increased redox cellular state and ROS activate transcription factors, which in turn activate genes for lipid biosynthesis and offer protection of hepatocytes from alcohol toxicity. Sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs) and peroxisome proliferator activated-receptors (PPARs) are two key lipogenic transcription factors implicated in the development of fatty liver in alcoholic and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. SREBP-1 is activated in the livers of chronic ethanol abusers. An increase in ROS activates nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) and hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) to provide protection to hepatocytes from ethanol toxicity. Under ethanol exposure, due to increased gut permeability, there is release of gram-negative bacteria-derived lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from intestine causing activation of immune response. In addition, the metabolic product, acetaldehyde, modifies the proteins in hepatocyte, which become antigens inviting auto-immune response. LPS activates macrophages, especially the liver resident macrophages, Kupffer cells. These Kupffer cells and circulating macrophages secrete various cytokines. The level of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), interleukin-1beta (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-8 and IL-12 have been found elevated among chronic alcoholics. In addition to elevation of these cytokines, the peripheral iron (Fe2+) is also mobilized. An increased level of hepatic iron has been observed among alcoholics. Increased ROS, IL-1β, acetaldehyde, and increased hepatic iron, all activate nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) transcription factor. Resolution of increased reactive oxygen species requires increased expression of genes responsible for dismutation of increased ROS which is partially achieved by IL-6 mediated activation of signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3). In addition to these transcription factors, activator protein-1 may also be activated in hepatocytes due to its association with resolution of increased ROS. These transcription factors are central to alcohol-mediated hepatotoxicity. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mechanistic and Structural Studies of Protein-Only RNase P Compared to Ribonucleoproteins Reveal the Two Faces of the Same Enzymatic Activity
Biomolecules 2016, 6(3), 30; doi:10.3390/biom6030030 -
Abstract
RNase P, the essential activity that performs the 5′ maturation of tRNA precursors, can be achieved either by ribonucleoproteins containing a ribozyme present in the three domains of life or by protein-only enzymes called protein-only RNase P (PRORP) that occur in eukaryote [...] Read more.
RNase P, the essential activity that performs the 5′ maturation of tRNA precursors, can be achieved either by ribonucleoproteins containing a ribozyme present in the three domains of life or by protein-only enzymes called protein-only RNase P (PRORP) that occur in eukaryote nuclei and organelles. A fast growing list of studies has investigated three-dimensional structures and mode of action of PRORP proteins. Results suggest that similar to ribozymes, PRORP proteins have two main domains. A clear functional analogy can be drawn between the specificity domain of the RNase P ribozyme and PRORP pentatricopeptide repeat domain, and between the ribozyme catalytic domain and PRORP N4BP1, YacP-like Nuclease domain. Moreover, both types of enzymes appear to dock with the acceptor arm of tRNA precursors and make specific contacts with the corner of pre-tRNAs. While some clear differences can still be delineated between PRORP and ribonucleoprotein (RNP) RNase P, the two types of enzymes seem to use, fundamentally, the same catalytic mechanism involving two metal ions. The occurrence of PRORP and RNP RNase P represents a remarkable example of convergent evolution. It might be the unique witness of an ongoing replacement of catalytic RNAs by proteins for enzymatic activities. Full article
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Open AccessReview
NMR Meets Tau: Insights into Its Function and Pathology
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 28; doi:10.3390/biom6020028 -
Abstract
In this review, we focus on what we have learned from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) studies on the neuronal microtubule-associated protein Tau. We consider both the mechanistic details of Tau: the tubulin relationship and its aggregation process. Phosphorylation of Tau is intimately [...] Read more.
In this review, we focus on what we have learned from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) studies on the neuronal microtubule-associated protein Tau. We consider both the mechanistic details of Tau: the tubulin relationship and its aggregation process. Phosphorylation of Tau is intimately linked to both aspects. NMR spectroscopy has depicted accurate phosphorylation patterns by different kinases, and its non-destructive character has allowed functional assays with the same samples. Finally, we will discuss other post-translational modifications of Tau and its interaction with other cellular factors in relationship to its (dys)function. Full article
Open AccessReview
The Diversity of Ribonuclease P: Protein and RNA Catalysts with Analogous Biological Functions
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 27; doi:10.3390/biom6020027 -
Abstract
Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is an essential endonuclease responsible for catalyzing 5’ end maturation in precursor transfer RNAs. Since its discovery in the 1970s, RNase P enzymes have been identified and studied throughout the three domains of life. Interestingly, RNase P is [...] Read more.
Ribonuclease P (RNase P) is an essential endonuclease responsible for catalyzing 5’ end maturation in precursor transfer RNAs. Since its discovery in the 1970s, RNase P enzymes have been identified and studied throughout the three domains of life. Interestingly, RNase P is either RNA-based, with a catalytic RNA subunit, or a protein-only (PRORP) enzyme with differential evolutionary distribution. The available structural data, including the active site data, provides insight into catalysis and substrate recognition. The hydrolytic and kinetic mechanisms of the two forms of RNase P enzymes are similar, yet features unique to the RNA-based and PRORP enzymes are consistent with different evolutionary origins. The various RNase P enzymes, in addition to their primary role in tRNA 5’ maturation, catalyze cleavage of a variety of alternative substrates, indicating a diversification of RNase P function in vivo. The review concludes with a discussion of recent advances and interesting research directions in the field. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Bitter Sweet Symphony: Immune Responses to Altered O-glycan Epitopes in Cancer
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 26; doi:10.3390/biom6020026 -
Abstract
The appearance of aberrant glycans on the tumor cell surface is one of the emerging hallmarks of cancer. Glycosylation is an important post-translation modification of proteins and lipids and is strongly affected by oncogenesis. Tumor-associated glycans have been extensively characterized regarding their [...] Read more.
The appearance of aberrant glycans on the tumor cell surface is one of the emerging hallmarks of cancer. Glycosylation is an important post-translation modification of proteins and lipids and is strongly affected by oncogenesis. Tumor-associated glycans have been extensively characterized regarding their composition and tumor-type specific expression patterns. Nevertheless whether and how tumor-associated glycans contribute to the observed immunomodulatory actions by tumors has not been extensively studied. Here, we provide a detailed overview of the current knowledge on how tumor-associated O-glycans affect the anti-tumor immune response, thereby focusing on truncated O-glycans present on epithelial tumors and mucins. These tumor-associated O-glycans and mucins bind a variety of lectin receptors on immune cells to facilitate the subsequently induction of tolerogenic immune responses. We, therefore, postulate that tumor-associated glycans not only support tumor growth, but also actively contribute to immune evasion. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Enzymes for N-Glycan Branching and Their Genetic and Nongenetic Regulation in Cancer
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 25; doi:10.3390/biom6020025 -
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, [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessReview
Molecular Mechanisms in the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and Tauopathies-Prion-Like Seeded Aggregation and Phosphorylation
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 24; doi:10.3390/biom6020024 -
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Taurine Bromamine: Reactivity of an Endogenous and Exogenous Anti-Inflammatory and Antimicrobial Amino Acid Derivative
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 23; doi:10.3390/biom6020023 -
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessReview
Sequence Analysis and Comparative Study of the Protein Subunits of Archaeal RNase P
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 22; doi:10.3390/biom6020022 -
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessReview
New Features about Tau Function and Dysfunction
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 21; doi:10.3390/biom6020021 -
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
Open AccessEditorial
Multi-Organ Alcohol-Related Damage: Mechanisms and Treatment
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 20; doi:10.3390/biom6020020 -
Abstract Alcohol consumption causes damage to various organs and systems.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Absence of a Role for Phosphorylation in the Tau Pathology of Alzheimer’s Disease
Biomolecules 2016, 6(2), 19; doi:10.3390/biom6020019 -
Abstract
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by redistribution of the tau protein pool from soluble to aggregated states. Aggregation forms proteolytically stable core polymers restricted to the repeat domain, and this binding interaction has prion-like properties. We have compared the binding properties of tau [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by redistribution of the tau protein pool from soluble to aggregated states. Aggregation forms proteolytically stable core polymers restricted to the repeat domain, and this binding interaction has prion-like properties. We have compared the binding properties of tau and tubulin in vitro using a system in which we can measure binding affinities for proteins alternated between solid and aqueous phases. The study reveals that a phase-shifted repeat domain fragment from the Paired Helical Filament core contains all that is required for high affinity tau-tau binding. Unlike tau-tubulin binding, tau-tau binding shows concentration-dependent enhancement in both phase directions due to an avidity effect which permits one molecule to bind to many as the concentration in the opposite phase increases. Phosphorylation of tau inhibits tau-tau binding and tau-tubulin binding to equivalent extents. Tau-tau binding is favoured over tau-tubulin binding by factors in the range 19–41-fold, irrespective of phosphorylation status. A critical requirement for tau to become aggregation-competent is prior binding to a solid-phase substrate, which induces a conformational change in the repeat domain permitting high-affinity binding to occur even if tau is phosphorylated. The endogenous species enabling this nucleation event to occur in vivo remains to be identified. The findings of the study suggest that development of disease-modifying drugs for tauopathies should not target phosphorylation, but rather should target inhibitors of tau-tau binding or inhibitors of the binding interaction with as yet unidentified endogenous polyanionic substrates required to nucleate tau assembly. Full article
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