Tfg (Trk fused gene) is a Carma-1/IKKgamma interacting protein involved in CD40-induced canonical NF-KB signaling
- Carma-1 is required for B cell receptor-/CD40- and T cell receptor-/CD28-induced B- and T-cell activation via JNK and NF-betaB. In B cells, Carma-1 becomes phosphorylated by PKCbeta, leading to its oligomerization. Subsequent Bcl10 binding induces IKKbeta-activation and, thereby, canonical NF-KB signalling. Despite these findings it is still unknown how exactly Carma-1 is connected to the plasma membrane and to the IKK-complex. Therefore, we purified Carma-1 complexes from mouse CH12 B cells using anti-Carma-1 affinity columns. Mass spectrometric analyses of the column eluates demonstrated the presence of Carma-1 as well as three previously uncharacterized adaptor proteins in B cells, one of which was the Trk-fused gene (Tfg), an adaptor protein containing PB1 and coiledcoil domains. Whereas Tfg was originally identified as fusion partner of oncogenic Trk tyrosine kinase mutants, the normal cellular homologue of Tfg has so far not been described in B cells. However, Tfg has been shown in other systems to interact with IKKgamma and to enhance TNFinduced NF-KB activation. Tfg and Carma-1 co-localized at the plasma membrane and perinuclear structures in B cells. We further corroborated the interactions of Tfg, IKKgamma and Carma-1 by Blue Native gel electrophoresis, where Carma-1 and Tfg formed a 0.7–1 MDa complex. Ectopic expression of Tfg increased the molecular mass of IKKgamma complexes, fused IKKgamma, Bcl10 and Carma-1 complexes to a ~2 MDa complex, and increased basal and CD40-induced canonical activity of NF-KB and IKKbeta. In contrast, shRNA-mediated silencing of Tfg decreased CD40-induced IKKbeta activity. Very interestingly, in primary B cells, highest expression of Tfg was detected in marginal zone and B1 B cells, and Carma-1 and Tfg formed complexes in these B cells. Since Carma-1 is required for marginal zone B cell and B1 B cell development, we suggest that a functional interaction between Carma-1 and Tfg contributes to development and maintenance of these cells by means of canonical NF-KB signals.
Breaking tolerance to the natural human liver autoantigen cytochrome P450 2D6 by virus infection
Eric F. Johnson
Frank J. Gonzalez
Josef Martin Pfeilschifter
Michael P. Manns
Matthias G. von Herrath
- Autoimmune liver diseases, such as autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and primary biliary cirrhosis, often have severe consequences for the patient. Because of a lack of appropriate animal models, not much is known about their potential viral etiology. Infection by liver-tropic viruses is one possibility for the breakdown of self-tolerance. Therefore, we infected mice with adenovirus Ad5 expressing human cytochrome P450 2D6 (Ad-2D6). Ad-2D6–infected mice developed persistent autoimmune liver disease, apparent by cellular infiltration, hepatic fibrosis, “fused” liver lobules, and necrosis. Similar to type 2 AIH patients, Ad-2D6–infected mice generated type 1 liver kidney microsomal–like antibodies recognizing the immunodominant epitope WDPAQPPRD of cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). Interestingly, Ad-2D6–infected wild-type FVB/N mice displayed exacerbated liver damage when compared with transgenic mice expressing the identical human CYP2D6 protein in the liver, indicating the presence of a stronger immunological tolerance in CYP2D6 mice. We demonstrate for the first time that infection with a virus expressing a natural human autoantigen breaks tolerance, resulting in a chronic form of severe, autoimmune liver damage. Our novel model system should be instrumental for studying mechanisms involved in the initiation, propagation, and precipitation of virus-induced autoimmune liver diseases.
Nitric oxide-independent vasodilator rescues heme-oxidized soluble guanylate cyclase from proteosomal degradation
Peter M. Schmidt
Harald H. H. W. Schmidt
- Poster presentation: Background Nitric oxide (NO) is an essential vasodilator. In vascular diseases, oxidative stress attenuates NO signaling by both chemical scavenging of free NO and oxidation and down-regulation of its major intracellular receptor, the alpha/beta heterodimeric heme-containing soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC). Oxidation can also induce loss of sGC's heme and responsiveness to NO. Results sGC activators such as BAY 58-2667 bind to oxidized/heme-free sGC and reactivate the enzyme to exert disease-specific vasodilation. Here we show that oxidation-induced down-regulation of sGC protein extends to isolated blood vessels. Mechanistically, degradation was triggered through sGC ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. The heme-binding site ligand, BAY 58-2667, prevented sGC ubiquitination and stabilized both alpha and beta subunits. Conclusion Collectively, our data establish oxidation-ubiquitination of sGC as a modulator of NO/cGMP signaling and point to a new mechanism of action for sGC activating vasodilators by stabilizing their receptor, oxidized/heme-free sGC.
Nerve injury evoked loss of latexin expression in spinal cord neurons contributes to the development of neuropathic pain
Hilmar Nils Kühlein
Ingo Wilhelm Matthias Jennes
- Nerve injury leads to sensitization mechanisms in the peripheral and central nervous system which involve transcriptional and post-transcriptional modifications in sensory nerves. To assess protein regulations in the spinal cord after injury of the sciatic nerve in the Spared Nerve Injury model (SNI) we performed a proteomic analysis using 2D-difference gel electrophoresis (DIGE) technology. Among approximately 2300 protein spots separated on each gel we detected 55 significantly regulated proteins after SNI whereof 41 were successfully identified by MALDI-TOF MS. Out of the proteins which were regulated in the DIGE analyses after SNI we focused on the carboxypeptidase A inhibitor latexin because protease dysfunctions contribute to the development of neuropathic pain. Latexin protein expression was reduced after SNI which could be confirmed by Western Blot analysis, quantitative RT-PCR and in-situ hybridisation. The decrease of latexin was associated with an increase of the activity of carboxypeptidase A indicating that the balance between latexin and carboxypeptidase A was impaired in the spinal cord after peripheral nerve injury due to a loss of latexin expression in spinal cord neurons. This may contribute to the development of cold allodynia because normalization of neuronal latexin expression in the spinal cord by AAV-mediated latexin transduction or administration of a small molecule carboxypeptidase A inhibitor significantly reduced acetone-evoked nociceptive behavior after SNI. Our results show the usefulness of proteomics as a screening tool to identify novel mechanisms of nerve injury evoked hypernociception and suggest that carboxypeptidase A inhibition might be useful to reduce cold allodynia.
Upregulation of alpha 7 nicotinic receptors by acetylcholinesterase c-terminal peptides
Cherie E. Bond
Susan A. Greenfield
- Background: The alpha-7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (alpha 7-nAChR) is well known as a potent calcium ionophore that, in the brain, has been implicated in excitotoxicity and hence in the underlying mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Previous research implied that the activity of this receptor may be modified by exposure to a peptide fragment derived from the C-terminal region of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. This investigation was undertaken to determine if the functional changes observed could be attributed to peptide binding interaction with the alpha 7-nAChR, or peptide modulation of receptor expression. Methodology/Principal Findings: This study provides evidence that two peptides derived from the C-terminus of acetylcholinesterase, not only selectively displace specific bungarotoxin binding at the alpha 7-nAChR, but also alter receptor binding properties for its familiar ligands, including the alternative endogenous agonist choline. Of more long-term significance, these peptides also induce upregulation of alpha 7-nAChR mRNA and protein expression, as well as enhancing receptor trafficking to the plasma membrane. Conclusions/Significance: The results reported here demonstrate a hitherto unknown relationship between the alpha 7-nAChR and the non-enzymatic functions of acetylcholinesterase, mediated independently by its C-terminal domain. Such an interaction may prove valuable as a pharmacological tool, prompting new approaches for understanding, and combating, the process of neurodegeneration.
Quick discrimination of A delta and C fiber mediated pain based on three verbal descriptors
Bruno Georg Oertel
- Background: A delta and C fibers are the major pain-conducting nerve fibers, activate only partly the same brain areas, and are differently involved in pain syndromes. Whether a stimulus excites predominantly A delta or C fibers is a commonly asked question in basic pain research but a quick test was lacking so far. Methodology/Principal Findings: Of 77 verbal descriptors of pain sensations, "pricking", "dull" and "pressing" distinguished best (95% cases correctly) between A delta fiber mediated (punctate pressure produced by means of von Frey hairs) and C fiber mediated (blunt pressure) pain, applied to healthy volunteers in experiment 1. The sensation was assigned to A delta fibers when "pricking" but neither "dull" nor "pressing" were chosen, and to C fibers when the sum of the selections of "dull" or "pressing" was greater than that of the selection of "pricking". In experiment 2, with an independent cohort, the three-descriptor questionnaire achieved sensitivity and specificity above 0.95 for distinguishing fiber preferential non-mechanical induced pain (laser heat, exciting A delta fibers, and 5-Hz electric stimulation, exciting C fibers). Conclusion: A three-item verbal rating test using the words "pricking", "dull", and "pressing" may provide sufficient information to characterize a pain sensation evoked by a physical stimulus as transmitted via A delta or via C fibers. It meets the criteria of a screening test by being easy to administer, taking little time, being comfortable in handling, and inexpensive while providing high specificity for relevant information.
Complement factor H-related proteins CFHR2 and CFHR5 represent novel ligands for the infection-associated CRASP proteins of Borrelia burgdorferi
Peter F. Zipfel
- Background: One virulence property of Borrelia burgdorferi is its resistance to innate immunity, in particular to complement-mediated killing. Serum-resistant B. burgdorferi express up to five distinct complement regulator-acquiring surface proteins (CRASP) which interact with complement regulator factor H (CFH) and factor H-like protein 1 (FHL1) or factor H-related protein 1 (CFHR1). In the present study we elucidate the role of the infection-associated CRASP-3 and CRASP-5 protein to serve as ligands for additional complement regulatory proteins as well as for complement resistance of B. burgdorferi. Methodology/Principal Findings: To elucidate whether CRASP-5 and CRASP-3 interact with various human proteins, both borrelial proteins were immobilized on magnetic beads. Following incubation with human serum, bound proteins were eluted and separated by Glycine-SDS-PAGE. In addition to CFH and CFHR1, complement regulators CFHR2 and CFHR5 were identified as novel ligands for both borrelial proteins by employing MALDI-TOF. To further assess the contributions of CRASP-3 and CRASP-5 to complement resistance, a serum-sensitive B. garinii strain G1 which lacks all CFH-binding proteins was used as a valuable model for functional analyses. Both CRASPs expressed on the B. garinii outer surface bound CFH as well as CFHR1 and CFHR2 in ELISA. In contrast, live B. garinii bound CFHR1, CFHR2, and CFHR5 and only miniscute amounts of CFH as demonstrated by serum adsorption assays and FACS analyses. Further functional analysis revealed that upon NHS incubation, CRASP-3 or CRASP-5 expressing borreliae were killed by complement. Conclusions/Significance: In the absence of CFH and the presence of CFHR1, CFHR2 and CFHR5, assembly and integration of the membrane attack complex was not efficiently inhibited indicating that CFH in co-operation with CFHR1, CFHR2 and CFHR5 supports complement evasion of B. burgdorferi.
Spherical harmonics coeffcients for ligand-based virtual screening of cyclooxygenase inhibitors
Carlo Federico Angioni
- Background: Molecular descriptors are essential for many applications in computational chemistry, such as ligand-based similarity searching. Spherical harmonics have previously been suggested as comprehensive descriptors of molecular structure and properties. We investigate a spherical harmonics descriptor for shape-based virtual screening. Methodology/Principal Findings: We introduce and validate a partially rotation-invariant three-dimensional molecular shape descriptor based on the norm of spherical harmonics expansion coefficients. Using this molecular representation, we parameterize molecular surfaces, i.e., isosurfaces of spatial molecular property distributions. We validate the shape descriptor in a comprehensive retrospective virtual screening experiment. In a prospective study, we virtually screen a large compound library for cyclooxygenase inhibitors, using a self-organizing map as a pre-filter and the shape descriptor for candidate prioritization. Conclusions/Significance: 12 compounds were tested in vitro for direct enzyme inhibition and in a whole blood assay. Active compounds containing a triazole scaffold were identified as direct cyclooxygenase-1 inhibitors. This outcome corroborates the usefulness of spherical harmonics for representation of molecular shape in virtual screening of large compound collections. The combination of pharmacophore and shape-based filtering of screening candidates proved to be a straightforward approach to finding novel bioactive chemotypes with minimal experimental effort.
Bioassays to monitor taspase1 function for the identification of pharmacogenetic inhibitors
- Background: Threonine Aspartase 1 (Taspase1) mediates cleavage of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) protein and leukemia provoking MLL-fusions. In contrast to other proteases, the understanding of Taspase1's (patho)biological relevance and function is limited, since neither small molecule inhibitors nor cell based functional assays for Taspase1 are currently available. Methodology/Findings: Efficient cell-based assays to probe Taspase1 function in vivo are presented here. These are composed of glutathione S-transferase, autofluorescent protein variants, Taspase1 cleavage sites and rational combinations of nuclear import and export signals. The biosensors localize predominantly to the cytoplasm, whereas expression of biologically active Taspase1 but not of inactive Taspase1 mutants or of the protease Caspase3 triggers their proteolytic cleavage and nuclear accumulation. Compared to in vitro assays using recombinant components the in vivo assay was highly efficient. Employing an optimized nuclear translocation algorithm, the triple-color assay could be adapted to a high-throughput microscopy platform (Z'factor = 0.63). Automated high-content data analysis was used to screen a focused compound library, selected by an in silico pharmacophor screening approach, as well as a collection of fungal extracts. Screening identified two compounds, N-[2-[(4-amino-6-oxo-3H-pyrimidin-2-yl)sulfanyl]ethyl]benzenesulfonamideand 2-benzyltriazole-4,5-dicarboxylic acid, which partially inhibited Taspase1 cleavage in living cells. Additionally, the assay was exploited to probe endogenous Taspase1 in solid tumor cell models and to identify an improved consensus sequence for efficient Taspase1 cleavage. This allowed the in silico identification of novel putative Taspase1 targets. Those include the FERM Domain-Containing Protein 4B, the Tyrosine-Protein Phosphatase Zeta, and DNA Polymerase Zeta. Cleavage site recognition and proteolytic processing of these substrates were verified in the context of the biosensor. Conclusions: The assay not only allows to genetically probe Taspase1 structure function in vivo, but is also applicable for high-content screening to identify Taspase1 inhibitors. Such tools will provide novel insights into Taspase1's function and its potential therapeutic relevance.
DOGS: reaction-driven de novo design of bioactive compounds
- We present a computational method for the reaction-based de novo design of drug-like molecules. The software DOGS (Design of Genuine Structures) features a ligand-based strategy for automated ‘in silico’ assembly of potentially novel bioactive compounds. The quality of the designed compounds is assessed by a graph kernel method measuring their similarity to known bioactive reference ligands in terms of structural and pharmacophoric features. We implemented a deterministic compound construction procedure that explicitly considers compound synthesizability, based on a compilation of 25'144 readily available synthetic building blocks and 58 established reaction principles. This enables the software to suggest a synthesis route for each designed compound. Two prospective case studies are presented together with details on the algorithm and its implementation. De novo designed ligand candidates for the human histamine H4 receptor and γ-secretase were synthesized as suggested by the software. The computational approach proved to be suitable for scaffold-hopping from known ligands to novel chemotypes, and for generating bioactive molecules with drug-like properties.