Artificial environments for the co-translational stabilization of cell-free expressed proteins
- An approach for designing individual expression environments that reduce or prevent protein aggregation and precipitation is described. Inefficient folding of difficult proteins in unfavorable translation environments can cause significant losses of overexpressed proteins as precipitates or inclusion bodies. A number of chemical chaperones including alcohols, polyols, polyions or polymers are known to have positive effects on protein stability. However, conventional expression approaches can use such stabilizing agents only post-translationally during protein extraction and purification. Proteins that already precipitate inside of the producer cells cannot be addressed. The open nature of cell-free protein expression systems offers the option to include single chemicals or cocktails of stabilizing compounds already into the expression environment. We report an approach for systematic screening of stabilizers in order to improve the solubility and quality of overexpressed proteins co-translationally. A comprehensive list of representative protein stabilizers from the major groups of naturally occurring chemical chaperones has been analyzed and their concentration ranges tolerated by cell-free expression systems have been determined. As a proof of concept, we have applied the method to improve the yield of proteins showing instability and partial precipitation during cell-free synthesis. Stabilizers that co-translationally improve the solubility and functional folding of human glucosamine 6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase have been identified and cumulative effects of stabilizers have been studied.
Super-Resolution Microscopy Reveals Specific Recruitment of HIV-1 Envelope Proteins to Viral Assembly Sites Dependent on the Envelope C-Terminal Tail
- The inner structural Gag proteins and the envelope (Env) glycoproteins of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) traffic independently to the plasma membrane, where they assemble the nascent virion. HIV-1 carries a relatively low number of glycoproteins in its membrane, and the mechanism of Env recruitment and virus incorporation is incompletely understood. We employed dual-color super-resolution microscopy visualizing Gag assembly sites and HIV-1 Env proteins in virus-producing and in Env expressing cells. Distinctive HIV-1 Gag assembly sites were readily detected and were associated with Env clusters that always extended beyond the actual Gag assembly site and often showed enrichment at the periphery and surrounding the assembly site. Formation of these Env clusters depended on the presence of other HIV-1 proteins and on the long cytoplasmic tail (CT) of Env. CT deletion, a matrix mutation affecting Env incorporation or Env expression in the absence of other HIV-1 proteins led to much smaller Env clusters, which were not enriched at viral assembly sites. These results show that Env is recruited to HIV-1 assembly sites in a CT-dependent manner, while Env(ΔCT) appears to be randomly incorporated. The observed Env accumulation surrounding Gag assemblies, with a lower density on the actual bud, could facilitate viral spread . Keeping Env molecules on the nascent virus low may be important for escape from the humoral immune response, while cell-cell contacts mediated by surrounding Env molecules could promote HIV-1 transmission through the virological synapse.
A gp41 MPER-specific Llama VHH Requires a Hydrophobic CDR3 for Neutralization but not for Antigen Recognition
David Lutje Hulsik
Nika M. Strokappe
Mohamed El Khattabi
Laura E. McCoy
Alexandre M. J. J. Bonvin
Johannes P. M. Langedijk
Anna Forsman Quigley
Marlén M. I. Aasa-Chapman
Michael S. Seaman
Robin A. Weiss
C. Theo Verrips
- The membrane proximal external region (MPER) of the HIV-1 glycoprotein gp41 is targeted by the broadly neutralizing antibodies 2F5 and 4E10. To date, no immunization regimen in animals or humans has produced HIV-1 neutralizing MPER-specific antibodies. We immunized llamas with gp41-MPER proteoliposomes and selected a MPER-specific single chain antibody (VHH), 2H10, whose epitope overlaps with that of mAb 2F5. Bi-2H10, a bivalent form of 2H10, which displayed an approximately 20-fold increased affinity compared to the monovalent 2H10, neutralized various sensitive and resistant HIV-1 strains, as well as SHIV strains in TZM-bl cells. X-ray and NMR analyses combined with mutagenesis and modeling revealed that 2H10 recognizes its gp41 epitope in a helical conformation. Notably, tryptophan 100 at the tip of the long CDR3 is not required for gp41 interaction but essential for neutralization. Thus bi-2H10 is an anti-MPER antibody generated by immunization that requires hydrophobic CDR3 determinants in addition to epitope recognition for neutralization similar to the mode of neutralization employed by mAbs 2F5 and 4E10.
Willkommen im Molekül-Kino : die drei Emmy-Noether-Stipendiaten am FB 14
Genome-wide multi-parametric analysis of H2AX or γH2AX distributions during ionizing radiation-induced DNA damage response
Maria Cristina Cardoso
- Background: After induction of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs), the DNA damage response (DDR) is activated. One of the earliest events in DDR is the phosphorylation of serine 139 on the histone variant H2AX (gH2AX) catalyzed by phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases-related kinases. Despite being extensively studied, H2AX distribution across the genome and gH2AX spreading around DSBs sites in the context of different chromatin compaction states or transcription are yet to be fully elucidated.
Materials and methods: gH2AX was induced in human hepatocellular carcinoma cells (HepG2) by exposure to 10 Gy X-rays (250 kV, 16 mA). Samples were incubated 0.5, 3 or 24 hours post irradiation to investigate early, intermediate and late stages of DDR, respectively. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was performed to select H2AX, H3 and gH2AX-enriched chromatin fractions. Chromatin-associated DNA was then sequenced by Illumina ChIP-Seq platform. HepG2 gene expression and histone modification (H3K36me3, H3K9me3) ChIP-Seq profiles were retrieved from Gene Expression Omnibus (accession numbers GSE30240 and GSE26386, respectively).
Results: First, we combined G/C usage, gene content, gene expression or histone modification profiles (H3K36me3, H3K9me3) to define genomic compartments characterized by different chromatin compaction states or transcriptional activity. Next, we investigated H3, H2AX and gH2AX distributions in such defined compartments before and after exposure to ionizing radiation (IR) to study DNA repair kinetics during DDR. Our sequencing results indicate that H2AX distribution followed H3 occupancy and, thus, the nucleosome pattern. The highest H2AX and H3 enrichment was observed in transcriptionally active compartments (euchromatin) while the lowest was found in low G/C and gene-poor compartments (heterochromatin). Under physiological conditions, the body of highly and moderately transcribed genes was devoid of gH2AX, despite presenting high H2AX levels. gH2AX accumulation was observed in 5’ or 3’ flanking regions, instead. The same genes showed a prompt gH2AX accumulation during the early stage of DDR which then decreased over time as DDR proceeded.
Finally, during the late stage of DDR the residual gH2AX signal was entirely retained in heterochromatic compartments. At this stage, euchromatic compartments were completely devoid of gH2AX despite presenting high levels of non-phosphorylated H2AX.
Conclusions: We show that gH2AX distribution ultimately depends on H2AX occupancy, the latter following H3 occupancy and, thus, nucleosome pattern. Both H2AX and H3 levels were higher in actively transcribed compartments. However, gH2AX levels were remarkably low over the body of actively transcribed genes suggesting that transcription levels antagonize gH2AX spreading. Moreover, repair processes did not take place uniformly across the genome; rather, DNA repair was affected by genomic location and transcriptional activity. We propose that higher H2AX density in euchromaticcompartments results in high relative gH2AXconcentration soon after the activation of DDR, thus favoring the recruitment of the DNA repair machinery to those compartments. When the damage is repaired and gH2AX is removed, its residual fraction is retained in the heterochromatic compartments which are then targeted and repaired at later times.
Ordnung des Fachbereichs Biochemie, Chemie und Pharmazie für den Masterstudiengang Biochemie mit dem Abschluss Master of Science vom 11.02.2013 : genehmigt durch das Präsidium der Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am 19.03.2013
Defining the core proteome of the chloroplast envelope membranes
Dimitrios G. Papasotiriou
Maik S. Sommer
- High-throughput protein localization studies require multiple strategies. Mass spectrometric analysis of defined cellular fractions is one of the complementary approaches to a diverse array of cell biological methods. In recent years, the protein content of different cellular (sub-)compartments was approached. Despite of all the efforts made, the analysis of membrane fractions remains difficult, in that the dissection of the proteomes of the envelope membranes of chloroplasts or mitochondria is often not reliable because sample purity is not always warranted. Moreover, proteomic studies are often restricted to single (model) species, and therefore limited in respect to differential individual evolution. In this study we analyzed the chloroplast envelope proteomes of different plant species, namely, the individual proteomes of inner and outer envelope (OE) membrane of Pisum sativum and the mixed envelope proteomes of Arabidopsis thaliana and Medicago sativa. The analysis of all three species yielded 341 identified proteins in total, 247 of them being unique. 39 proteins were genuine envelope proteins found in at least two species. Based on this and previous envelope studies we defined the core envelope proteome of chloroplasts. Comparing the general overlap of the available six independent studies (including ours) revealed only a number of 27 envelope proteins. Depending on the stringency of applied selection criteria we found 231 envelope proteins, while less stringent criteria increases this number to 649 putative envelope proteins. Based on the latter we provide a map of the outer and inner envelope core proteome, which includes many yet uncharacterized proteins predicted to be involved in transport, signaling, and response. Furthermore, a foundation for the functional characterization of yet unidentified functions of the inner and OE for further analyses is provided.
Real-Time Analysis and Visualization for Single-Molecule Based Super-Resolution Microscopy
- Accurate multidimensional localization of isolated fluorescent emitters is a time consuming process in single-molecule based super-resolution microscopy. We demonstrate a functional method for real-time reconstruction with automatic feedback control, without compromising the localization accuracy. Compatible with high frame rates of EM-CCD cameras, it relies on a wavelet segmentation algorithm, together with a mix of CPU/GPU implementation. A combination with Gaussian fitting allows direct access to 3D localization. Automatic feedback control ensures optimal molecule density throughout the acquisition process. With this method, we significantly improve the efficiency and feasibility of localization-based super-resolution microscopy.
CD69 Is a TGF-β/1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 Target Gene in Monocytes
Thea K. Wöbke
Andreas von Knethen
Bernd L. Sorg
- CD69 is a transmembrane lectin that can be expressed on most hematopoietic cells. In monocytes, it has been functionally linked to the 5-lipoxygenase pathway in which the leukotrienes, a class of highly potent inflammatory mediators, are produced. However, regarding CD69 gene expression and its regulatory mechanisms in monocytes, only scarce data are available. Here, we report that CD69 mRNA expression, analogous to that of 5-lipoxygenase, is induced by the physiologic stimuli transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1α,25(OH)2D3) in monocytic cells. Comparison with T- and B-cell lines showed that the effect was specific for monocytes. CD69 expression levels were increased in a concentration-dependent manner, and kinetic analysis revealed a rapid onset of mRNA expression, indicating that CD69 is a primary TGF-β/1α,25(OH)2D3 target gene. PCR analysis of different regions of the CD69 mRNA revealed that de novo transcription was initiated and proximal and distal parts were induced concomitantly. In common with 5-lipoxygenase, no activation of 0.7 kb or ~2.3 kb promoter fragments by TGF-β and 1α,25(OH)2D3 could be observed in transient reporter assays for CD69. Analysis of mRNA stability using a transcription inhibitor and a 3′UTR reporter construct showed that TGF-β and 1α,25(OH)2D3 do not influence CD69 mRNA stability. Functional knockdown of Smad3 clearly demonstrated that upregulation of CD69 mRNA, in contrast to 5-LO, depends on Smad3. Comparative studies with different inhibitors for mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs) revealed that MAPK signalling is involved in CD69 gene regulation, whereas 5-lipoxygenase gene expression was only partly affected. Mechanistically, we found evidence that CD69 gene upregulation depends on TAK1-mediated p38 activation. In summary, our data indicate that CD69 gene expression, conforming with 5-lipoxygenase, is regulated monocyte-specifically by the physiologic stimuli TGF-β and 1α,25(OH)2D3 on mRNA level, although different mechanisms account for the upregulation of each gene.
HuR promotes tumorigenic characteristics in hepatocellular carcinoma
- In the absence of apparent mutations, alteration of gene expression patterns represents the key mechanism by which normal cells evolve to cancer cells.
Gene expression is tightly regulated by posttranscriptional processes. Within this context, RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) represent fundamental factors, since they control mechanisms, such as mRNA-stabilization, -translation and -degradation. Human antigen R (HuR) was among the first RBPs that have been directly associated to carcinogenesis. HuR modulates the stability and translation of mRNAs which encode proteins facilitating various ‘hallmarks of cancer’, namely proliferation, evasion of growth suppression, angiogenesis, cell death resistance, invasion and metastasis. Furthermore, it is well established that tumor-promoting inflammation contributes to tumorigenesis. In this process, monocytes are attracted to the site of the tumor and educated towards a tumor-promoting macrophage phenotype. While HuR has been extensively studied in various tumor cell types, little is known about HuR in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Thus, the aim of my work was to characterize the contribution of HuR to the development of cancer characteristics in HCC. I was particularly interested to investigate if HuR facilitates tumor-promoting inflammation, since a role for HuR has not been described in this context. To this end, I depleted HuR in HepG2 cells (HuR k/d) and used a co-culture model of HepG2 tumor spheroids and infiltrating monocytes to study the impact of HuR on the tumor microenvironment. I could show that depletion of HuR resulted in the reduction of cell numbers. Additionally, the expression of proliferation marker KI-67 and proto-oncogene c-Myc was reduced, supporting a proliferative role of HuR. Furthermore, exposure to cytotoxic staurosporine elevated apoptosis in HuR k/d cells compared to control cells. Concomitantly, the expression of the anti-apoptotic mediator B-cell lymphoma protein-2 (Bcl-2) was markedly reduced in the HuR k/d cells, pointing to an involvement of HuR in cell survival processes.
Accordingly, a pro-survival function of HuR was also observed in tumor spheroids, since HuR k/d spheroids exhibited a larger necrotic core region at earlier time points and showed elevated numbers of dead cells compared to control (Ctr.) spheroids. Interestingly, HuR k/d spheroids isplayed reduced numbers of infiltrated macrophages, suggesting that HuR contributes to a tumor-promoting, inflammatory microenvironment by recruiting monocytes/macrophages to the tumor site. Aiming at identifying HuR-regulated factors responsible for the recruitment of monocytes, I found reduced levels of the chemokine interleukin 8 (IL-8) in supernatants of HuR k/d spheroids, supporting a critical involvement of HuR in the chemoattraction of monocytes. Analyzing supernatants of co-cultures of macrophages and HuR k/d or Ctr. spheroids revealed additional differences in chemokine secretion patterns. Interestingly, protein levels of many chemokines were elevated in co-cultures of HuR k/d spheroids compared to control co-cultures. Albeit enhanced chemokine secretion was observed, less monocytes are recruited into HuR k/d spheroids, further underlining the necessity of HuR in cancer related monocyte/macrophage attraction and infiltration. Differences between chemokine profiles of mono- and co-cultured spheroids could be attributable to changes in spheroid-derived chemokines as a result of the crosstalk with the immune cells. Provided the chemokines originate from monocytes/macrophages, the different secretion patterns suggest that HuR contributes to the modulation of the functional phenotype of infiltrated macrophages, since the tumorenvironment is critically involved in the shaping of macrophage phenotypes. Regions of low-oxygen (hypoxia) represent another critical feature of tumors. Therefore, I next analyzed the impact of HuR on the hypoxic response. Loss of HuR attenuated hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) 2α expression after exposure to hypoxia, while HIF-1α protein levels remained unaltered. Considering previous results of our group, showing that HIF-2α depletion (HIF-2α k/d) resulted in the enhanced expression of HIF-1α protein, I aimed to determine the involvement of HuR in the compensatory upregulation of HIF-1α protein in HIF-2α k/d cells. I could demonstrate that not only total HuR protein levels, but specifically cytoplasmic HuR was elevated in HIF-2α depleted cells pointing to enhanced HuR activity. Silencing HuR in HIF-2α deficient cells attenuated enhanced HIF-1α protein expression, thus confirming a direct role of HuR in the compensatory upregulation of HIF-1α. This as also reflected on HIF-1α target gene expression. I further investigated the mechanism underlying the compensatory HIF-1α expression in HIF-2α deficient cells. Analyzing HIF-1α mRNA expression, I excluded enhanced HIF1-α transcription and stability to account for elevated HIF-1α expression in HIF-2α k/d cells. HIF-1α promoter activity assays confirmed the mRNA data. Furthermore, HIF-1α protein half-life was not elevated in HIF-2α k/d cells compared to control cells, indicating that HIF-1α protein stability is not altered in HIF-2α k/d cells. Analysis of the association of HIF-1α with the translational machinery using polysomal fractionation finally revealed an increased istribution of HIF-1α mRNA in the heavier polysomal fractions in HIF-2α k/d cells compared to control cells. Since augmented ribosome occupancy is an indicator for more efficient translation, I propose enhanced HIF-1α translation as underlying principle of the compensatory increase in HIF-1α protein levels in HIF-2α k/d cells. In summary, my results demonstrate that HuR is critical for the development of cancer characteristics in HCC. Future work analyzing the impact of HuR on tumor-promoting inflammation, specifically macrophage attraction and activation could provide new trategies to inhibit macrophage-driven tumor progression. Furthermore, I provide evidence that HuR contributes to the hypoxic response by regulating the expression of HIF-1α and HIF-2α. Targeting single HIF-isoforms for tumor therapy should be carefully considered, because of their compensatory regulation when one α-subunit is depleted. Thus, therapeutic strategies targeting factors such as HuR that control both α-subunits and at the same time prevent compensation might be more promising.