Cisplatin (CDDP) can be encapsulated within the central cavity of reconstituted (apo)ferritin, (A)Ft, to form a drug-loaded protein of potential great interest for targeted cancer treatments. In this study, the interactions occurring between cisplatin and native horse spleen Ft in CDDP-encapsulated AFt are investigated by high-resolution X-ray crystallography. A protein bound Pt center is unambiguously identified in AFt subunits by comparative analysis of difference Fourier electron density maps and of anomalous dispersion data. Indeed, a [Pt(NH3)2H2O](2+) fragment is found coordinated to the His132 residue located on the inner surface of the large AFt spherical cage. Remarkably, Pt binding does not alter the overall physicochemical features (shape, volume, polarity/hydrophobicity and electrostatic potential) of the outer surface of the AFt nanocage. CDDP-encapsulated AFt appears to be an ideal nanocarrier for CDDP delivery to target sites, as it possesses high biocompatibility and can be internalized by receptor mediated endocytosis, thus carrying the drug to tumor tissue with higher selectivity than free CDDP.
Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is the most common and aggressive human brain tumor, associated with very poor survival despite surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the platelet-derived growth factor receptor β (PDGFRβ) are hallmarks in GBM with driving roles in tumor progression. In approximately half of the tumors with amplified EGFR, the EGFRvIII truncated extracellular mutant is detected. EGFRvIII does not bind ligands, is highly oncogenic and its expression confers resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). It has been demonstrated that EGFRvIII-dependent cancers may escape targeted therapy by developing dependence on PDGFRβ signaling, thus providing a strong rationale for combination therapy aimed at blocking both EGFRvIII and PDGFRβsignaling.We have recently generated two nuclease resistant RNA aptamers, CL4 and Gint4.T, as high affinity ligands and inhibitors of the human wild-type EGFR (EGFRwt) and PDGFRβ, respectively.Herein, by different approaches, we demonstrate that CL4 aptamer binds to the EGFRvIII mutant even though it lacks most of the extracellular domain. As a consequence of binding, the aptamer inhibits EGFRvIII autophosphorylation and downstream signaling pathways, thus affecting migration, invasion and proliferation of EGFRvIII-expressing GBM cell lines.Further, we show that targeting EGFRvIII by CL4, as well as by EGFR-TKIs, erlotinib and gefitinib, causes upregulation of PDGFRβ. Importantly, CL4 and gefitinib cooperate with the anti-PDGFRβ Gint4.T aptamer in inhibiting cell proliferation.The proposed aptamer-based strategy could have impact on targeted molecular cancer therapies and may result in progresses against GBMs.
In this study, the recombinant α-L-arabinofuranosidase from the fungus Pleurotus ostreatus (rPoAbf) was subjected to site-directed mutagenesis with the aim of elucidating the role of glycosylation on the properties of the enzyme at the level of S160 residue. As a matter of fact, previous mass spectral analyses had led to the localization of a single O-glycosylation at this site. Recombinant expression and characterization of the rPoAbf mutant S160G was therefore performed. It was shown that the catalytic properties are slightly changed by the mutation, with a more evident modification of the Kcat and KM toward the synthetic substrate pN-glucopyranoside. More importantly, the mutation negatively affected the stability of the enzyme at various pHs and temperatures. Circular dichroism (CD) analyses showed a minimum at 210 nm for wild-type (wt) rPoAbf, typical of the beta-sheets structure, whereas this minimum is shifted for rPoAbf S160G, suggesting the presence of an unfolded structure. A similar behavior was revealed when wt rPoAbf was enzymatically deglycosylated. CD structural analyses of both the site-directed mutant and the enzymatically deglycosylated wild-type enzyme indicate a role of the glycosylation at the S160 residue in rPoAbf secondary structure stability.
A deglycosylation step using Peptide-N-Glycosidase F (PNGaseF) has been introduced in a standard proteomic protocol to more confidently identify egg based binders. The ingenuity of introducing a PNGaseF digestion was aimed at removing the molecular hindrance, made up by the heavily glycosylated egg proteins, before the protease(s) hydrolysis. This novelty in the protocol resulted in obtaining a significant increase of proteolytic egg peptides thus improving the quality and reliability of egg identification in artwork samples. The protocol has been set up on paint replicas and successfully tested on two historical samples of different origin.
The use of indwelling medical devices is associated with a significant risk of infections by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) which possesses a variety of virulence factors including many toxins and the ability to invade eukaryotic cells or to form biofilm on biotic and abiotic surfaces. The virulence factors above described are often related to proteins exposed on the bacterial surface. Blocking S. aureus colonization may reduce the incidence of invasive infectious diseases. Previously reports evaluated the anti-infective properties of serratiopeptidase (Spep), an extracellular metalloprotease produced by Serratia marcescens ATCC 21074 (E-15), in impairing virulence-related staphylococcal properties, such as attachment to inert surfaces and adhesion/invasion on eukaryotic cells. However, to date its mechanism of action is unknown.
Plants lack the adaptive immunity mechanisms of jawed vertebrates, so they rely on innate immune responses to defense themselves from pathogens. The plant immune system perceives the presence of pathogens by recognition of molecules known as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). PAMPs have several common characteristics, including highly conserved structures, essential for the microorganism but absent in host organisms. Plants can specifically recognize PAMPs using a large set of receptors and can respond with appropriate defenses by activating a multicomponent and multilayered response. Lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) and lipooligosaccharides (LOSs) are major components of the cell surface of Gram-negative bacteria with diverse roles in bacterial pathogenesis of animals and plants that include elicitation of host defenses. Little is known on the mechanisms of perception of these molecules by plants and the associated signal transduction pathways that trigger plant immunity.Here we addressed the question whether the defense signaling pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana was triggered by LOS from Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc), using proteomic and transcriptomic approaches. By using affinity capture strategies with immobilized LOS and LC-MS/MS analyses, we identified 8 putative LOS protein ligands. Further investigation of these interactors led to the definition that LOS challenge is able to activate a signal transduction pathway that uses nodal regulators in common with salicylic acid-mediated pathway. Moreover, we proved evidence that Xcc LOS are responsible for oxidative burst in Arabidopsis either in infiltrated or systemic leaves. In addition, gene expression studies highlighted the presence of gene network involved in reactive oxygen species transduction pathway.
The transcription factor Pax8 is already known to be essential at very early stages of mouse thyroid gland development, before the onset of thyroid hormone production. In this paper we show, using a conditional inactivation strategy, that the removal of the Pax8 protein late in gland development results in severe hypothyroidism, consequent to a reduced gland size and a deranged differentiation. These results demonstrate that Pax8 is also an essential player in controlling survival and differentiation of adult thyroid follicular cells.
Spore formers are bacteria able to survive harsh environmental conditions by differentiating a specialized, highly resistant spore. In Bacillus subtilis, the model system for spore formers, the recently discovered crust and the proteinaceous coat are the external layers that surround the spore and contribute to its survival. The coat is formed by about seventy different proteins assembled and organized into three layers by the action of a subset of regulatory proteins, referred to as morphogenetic factors. CotH is a morphogenetic factor needed for the development of spores able to germinate efficiently and involved in the assembly of nine outer coat proteins, including CotG. Here we report that CotG has negative effects on spore germination and on the assembly of at least three outer coat proteins. Such negative action is exerted only in mutants lacking CotH, thus suggesting an antagonistic effect of the two proteins, with CotH counteracting the negative role of CotG.
Copper is an essential yet toxic metal and its overload causes Wilson disease, a disorder due to mutations in copper transporter ATP7B. To remove excess copper into the bile, ATP7B traffics toward canalicular area of hepatocytes. However, the trafficking mechanisms of ATP7B remain elusive. Here, we show that, in response to elevated copper, ATP7B moves from the Golgi to lysosomes and imports metal into their lumen. ATP7B enables lysosomes to undergo exocytosis through the interaction with p62 subunit of dynactin that allows lysosome translocation toward the canalicular pole of hepatocytes. Activation of lysosomal exocytosis stimulates copper clearance from the hepatocytes and rescues the most frequent Wilson-disease-causing ATP7B mutant to the appropriate functional site. Our findings indicate that lysosomes serve as an important intermediate in ATP7B trafficking, whereas lysosomal exocytosis operates as an integral process in copper excretion and hence can be targeted for therapeutic approaches to combat Wilson disease.
Staphylococcus aureus is a flexible microbial pathogen frequently isolated from community-acquired and nosocomial infections. S. aureus expresses a wide array of secreted and cell surface-associated virulence factors, including proteins that promote adhesion to damaged tissue and to the surface of host cells, and that bind proteins in blood to help evade immune responses. Furthermore, surface proteins have a fundamental role in virulence related properties of S. aureus, including biofilm formation. The present study evaluates the anti-infective capabilities of a secreted protein of Serratia marcescens (serratiopeptidase, SPEP), in impairing some staphylococcal virulence-related properties, such as attachment to inert surfaces and adhesion/invasion on eukaryotic cells. SPEP seems to exert its action by modulating specific proteins. It is not assessed if this action is due to the proteolytic activity of SPEP or to a specific mechanism which triggers an out/inside signal. Proteomic studies performed on surface proteins extracted from SPEP treated S. aureus cultures revealed that a number of proteins are affected by the treatment. Among these we found the adhesin/autolysin Atl, SdrD, Sbi, EF-Tu and EF-G. EF-Tu and EF-G are known to perform a variety of function, depending on their cytoplasmic or surface localization. All these factors can facilitate bacterial colonization, persistence and invasion of host tissues. Our results suggest that SPEP could be developed as a potential "anti-infective agent" capable to hinder the entry of S. aureus into human tissues, and also impairs the ability of this pathogen to adhere to prostheses, catheters and medical devices.