Lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) are ubiquitous and vital components of the cell surface of Gram-negative bacteria that have been shown to play a relevant role in the induction of the immune-system response. In animal and plant cells, innate immune defenses toward microorganisms are triggered by the perception of pathogen associated molecular patterns. These are conserved and generally indispensable microbial structures such as LPSs that are fundamental in the Gram-negative immunity recognition. This paper reports the development of an integrated strategy based on lipopolysaccharide affinity methodology that represents a new starting point to elucidate the molecular mechanisms elicited by bacterial LPS and involved in the different steps of innate immunity response. Biotin-tagged LPS was immobilized on streptavidin column and used as a bait in an affinity capture procedure to identify protein partners from human serum specifically interacting with this effector. The complex proteins/lipopolysaccharide was isolated and the protein partners were fractionated by gel electrophoresis and identified by mass spectrometry. This procedure proved to be very effective in specifically binding proteins functionally correlated with the biological role of LPS. Proteins specifically bound to LPS essentially gathered within two functional groups, regulation of the complement system (factor H, C4b, C4BP, and alpha 2 macroglobulin) and inhibition of LPS-induced inflammation (HRG and Apolipoproteins). The reported strategy might have important applications in the elucidation of biological mechanisms involved in the LPSs-mediated molecular recognition and anti-infection responses.
An α-L-arabinofuranosidase produced by Pleurotus ostreatus (PoAbf) during solid state fermentation on tomato pomace was identified and the corresponding gene and cDNA were cloned and sequenced. Molecular analysis showed that the poabf gene carries 26 exons interrupted by 25 introns and has an open reading frame encoding a protein of 646 amino acid residues, including a signal peptide of 20 amino acid residues. The amino acid sequence similar to the other α-L-arabinofuranosidases indicated that the enzyme encoded by poabf can be classified as a family 51 glycoside hydrolase. Heterologous recombinant expression of PoAbf was carried out in the yeasts Pichia pastoris and Kluyveromyces lactis achieving the highest production level of the secreted enzyme (180 mg L(-1)) in the former host. rPoAbf produced in P. pastoris was purified and characterized. It is a glycosylated monomer with a molecular weight of 81,500 Da in denaturing conditions. Mass spectral analyses led to the localization of a single O-glycosylation site at the level of Ser160. The enzyme is highly specific for α-L-arabinofuranosyl linkages and when assayed with p-nitrophenyl α-L-arabinofuranoside it follows Michaelis-Menten kinetics with a K (M) of 0.64 mM and a k (cat) of 3,010 min(-1). The optimum pH is 5 and the optimal temperature 40°C. It is worth noting that the enzyme shows a very high stability in a broad range of pH. The more durable activity showed by rPoAbf in comparison to the other α-L-arabinofuranosidases enhances its potential for biotechnological applications and increases interest in elucidating the molecular bases of its peculiar properties.
Sixteen variants of apolipoprotein A-I (ApoA-I) are associated with hereditary systemic amyloidoses, characterized by amyloid deposition in peripheral organs of patients. As these are heterozygous for the amyloidogenic variants, their isolation from plasma is impracticable and recombinant expression systems are needed. Here we report the expression of recombinant ApoA-I amyloidogenic variant Leu174 with Ser (L174S) in stably transfected Chinese hamster ovary-K1 cells. ApoA-I variant L174S was found to be efficiently secreted in the culture medium, from which it was isolated following a one-step purification procedure. Mass spectrometry analyses allowed the qualitative and quantitative definition of the amyloidogenic variant lipid content, which was found to consist of two saturated and two monounsaturated fatty acids. Interestingly, the same lipid species were found to be associated with the wild-type ApoA-I, expressed and isolated using the same cell system, with lower values of the lipid to protein molar ratios with respect to the amyloidogenic variant. A possible role of fatty acids in trafficking and secretion of apolipoproteins may be hypothesized.
Staphylococcus aureus is a flexible microbial pathogen frequently isolated from community-acquired and nosocomial infections. The use of indwelling medical devices is associated with a significant risk of infection by this bacterium 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 present study evaluates the anti-infective properties of serratiopeptidase, a secreted protein of Serratia marcescens, in impairing virulence-related staphylococcal properties, such as attachment to inert surfaces and adhesion/invasion on eukaryotic cells. SPEP seems to exert its action by modulating specific proteins. 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, FnBP-A, SecA1, Sbi, EF-Tu, EF-G, and alpha-enolase. EF-Tu, EF-G and alpha-enolase are known to perform a variety of functions, 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 impair the ability of this pathogen to form biofilm on prostheses, catheters and medical devices.
3'-Nitrotyrosine (3NT) is a post-translational modification (PTM) of body fluids and tissues that is sustained by chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, two main clinical traits of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Despite this background, protein targets and their differential susceptibility to in vivo nitration remain almost completely unexplored in CKD. This study reports a first investigation of plasma nitroproteome in these patients, carried out by both immunorecognition and LC-MS/MS techniques. Plasma proteins of chronic and end-stage KD patients showed a higher burden of nitration than in healthy controls, but main nitration targets appeared to be the same in these populations. Immunoblotting data showed that uremic albumin is largely represented in the uremic nitroproteome together with fibrinogen chains (A, B and C), transferrin, α1-antitrypsin, complement factor D, haptoglobin, and IgG light and heavy chains. However, immunopurification and affinity chromatography experiments demonstrated that the relative content of 3NT on the albumin molecule was very low when compared with that of the remaining plasma proteins. The uremic nitroproteome was investigated using also plasma proteins obtained by in vivo ultrafiltration from patients treated with protein leaking or standard high-flux hemodialyzers. The study of these samples revealed the possibility to selectively remove protein nitration products during hemodialysis. Identification of intramolecular sites of nitration was preliminarily obtained in IgG chains isolated by 2D PAGE and assessed by bidimensional tandem mass spectrometry after chemoselective tagging. Further studies are needed to confirm at the molecular level the presence of nitrated Tyr residues in other proteins tentatively identified as nitration targets in this study and to explore the biological meaning of such a selective modification of plasma proteins by reactive nitrogen species in uremia and dialysis patients.
By generating mRNA containing a premature termination codon (PTC), alternative splicing (AS) can quantitatively regulate the expression of genes that are degraded by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). We previously demonstrated that AS-induced retention of part of intron 3 of rpL3 pre-mRNA produces an mRNA isoform that contains a PTC and is targeted for decay by NMD. We also demonstrated that overexpression of rpL3 downregulates canonical splicing and upregulates the alternative splicing of its pre-mRNA. We are currently investigating the molecular mechanism underlying rpL3 autoregulation. Here we report that the heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) H1 is a transacting factor able to interact in vitro and in vivo with rpL3 and with intron 3 of the rpL3 gene. We investigated the role played by hnRNP H1 in the regulation of splicing of rpL3 pre-mRNA by manipulating its expression level. Depletion of hnRNP H1 reduced the level of the PTC-containing mRNA isoform, whereas its overexpression favored the selection of the cryptic 3' splice site of intron 3. We also identified and characterized the cis-acting regulatory elements involved in hnRNP H1-mediated regulation of splicing. RNA electromobility shift assay demonstrated that hnRNP H1 specifically recognizes and binds directly to the intron 3 region that contains seven copies of G-rich elements. Site-directed mutagenesis analysis and in vivo studies showed that the G3 and G6 elements are required for hnRNP H1-mediated regulation of rpL3 pre-mRNA splicing. We propose a working model in which rpL3 recruits hnRNP H1 and, through cooperation with other splicing factors, promotes selection of the alternative splice site.
p63, a transcription factor related to the p53 tumor suppressor, plays a key role in epidermal differentiation and limb development. The gene has two distinct promoters that allow the formation of proteins that either contain (TA) or lack (DeltaN) a transactivation domain. DeltaNp63alpha is the most widely expressed isoform, at all stages of development and in adult tissues. It supports the regenerative capacity of basal keratinocytes and its upregulation is a hallmark of human squamous carcinomas. To get insight into the complex biology of DeltaNp63alpha, we set out to identify DeltaNp63alpha interacting proteins by co-immunoprecipitation in mammalian cells and mass spectrometry analysis. A total of 49 potential DeltaNp63alpha binding proteins, including several heterogeneous ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs), were identified. Integration of the proteomic data with a Human Coexpression Network highlighted 5 putative p63 protein interactors whose expression is significantly comodulated with p63: hnRNPA/B, hnRNPK, hnRNPQ, FUS/TLS and Keratin 5. hnRNPA/B was already described as a p63 partner, but the others were novel. Interaction of DeltaNp63alpha with hnRNPQ, hnRNPK and FUS/TLS was confirmed by reciprocal co-immunoprecipitations in human keratinocytes. The finding that DeltaNp63alpha exists in complexes with several RNA-binding proteins lays the premises for the analysis of the role of DeltaNp63alpha in mRNA metabolism and transport.
Bottom up proteomics requires efficient and selective pre-fractionation procedures to simplify the analysis of the enormous number of peptides resulting from the hydrolysis of a cellular extract enabling the detection, identification and the structural characterization of the post-translational modifications. Glycosylation, a well-known post-translational modification, plays a key role in the enormous complexity, and heterogeneity of the human blood serum proteome. Thereby, characterization of glycosylation from serum is a challenging task, even for the existing sophisticated analytical methodologies. Here we report a glycoproteomics study on the identification of even low abundant glycoproteins, including the localization of N-glycosylation sites and the glycan profiling in human sera from healthy and myocarditis affected donors. The strategy is simply based on proteolytic digestion of total serum proteins followed by a single enrichment step of glycopeptides on ConA lectin affinity chromatography. Glycopeptides were then deglycosylated by PNGaseF treatment and nano-liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry analyses of the free peptides provided the basis for both identification of the individual proteins and elucidation of their modification sites. Moreover, glycan profilings could be obtained by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry analysis of the released oligosaccharides. Our data led to the identification of 68 different glycosylation sites within 49 different proteins. Moreover, the analyses carried out on glycans represent the first picture of a glycosylation pattern in myocardial lesions. As a whole, several differences in the glycosylation patterns from different sera were observed, thus indicating glycan profiling as a possible tool to discriminate among different diseases.
In this study, a proteomic approach that combines selective labelling of proteins containing reduced cysteine residues with two-dimensional electrophoresis/mass spectrometry was used to evaluate the redox state of protein cysteines during chronological ageing in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The procedure was developed on the grounds that biotin-conjugated iodoacetamide (BIAM) specifically reacts with reduced cysteine residues. BIAM-labelled proteins can then be selectively isolated by streptavidin affinity capture. We compared cells grown on 2% glucose in the exponential phase and during chronological ageing and we found that many proteins undergo cysteine oxidation. The target proteins include enzymes involved in glucose metabolism. Both caloric restriction and growth on glycerol resulted in a decrease in the oxidative modification. Furthermore, in these conditions a reduced production of ROS and a more negative glutathione half cell redox potential were observed.
The importance of post-translational modifications (PTMs) of proteins has become evident in the proteomic era as it plays a critical role in modulating cellular function, and can vary in response to different stimuli thereby tuning cellular mechanisms. Assessment of PTMs on a proteomic scale is a challenging task since they are substoichiometric, transient and reversible. Moreover, the amount of post-translationally modified proteins is generally very small when compared to their unmodified counterparts. Existing methodologies for identification of PTMs essentially relies on enrichment procedure to selectively increase the amount of modified peptides. These procedures need to be integrated with sophisticated mass spectrometric methods to enable the identifications of PTMs. Although the strategies developed so far are not optimal, a number of examples will be given where the combination of innovative separation methods along with advanced mass spectrometric analyses provide positive results. These experiences are leading the way for the next generation of proteomic approaches for identification of a wide range of PTMs.