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Localization and quaternary structure of the PKA RIβ holoenzyme

Ilouz, Ronit; Bubis, José; Wu, Jian; Yim, Yun Young; Deal, Michael S.; Kornev, Alexandr P.; Ma, Yuliang; Blumenthal, Donald K.; Taylor, Susan S.
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Specificity for signaling by cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) is achieved by both targeting and isoform diversity. The inactive PKA holoenzyme has two catalytic (C) subunits and a regulatory (R) subunit dimer (R2:C2). Although the RIα, RIIα, and RIIβ isoforms are well studied, little is known about RIβ. We show here that RIβ is enriched selectively in mitochondria and hypothesized that its unique biological importance and functional nonredundancy will correlate with its structure. Small-angle X-ray scattering showed that the overall shape of RIβ2:C2 is different from its closest homolog, RIα2:C2. The full-length RIβ2:C2 crystal structure allows us to visualize all the domains of the PKA holoenzyme complex and shows how isoform-specific assembly of holoenzyme complexes can create distinct quaternary structures even though the R1:C1 heterodimers are similar in all isoforms. The creation of discrete isoform-specific PKA holoenzyme signaling “foci” paves the way for exploring further biological roles of PKA RIβ and establishes a paradigm for PKA signaling.

Putting the concept of biological embedding in historical perspective

Hertzman, Clyde
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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This paper describes evidence that led to the concept of biological embedding and research approaches designed to elucidates its mechanisms. Biological embedding occurs when experience gets under the skin and alters human biological and developmental processes; when systematic differences in experience in different social environments in society lead to systematically different biological and developmental states; when these differences are stable and long term; and, finally, when they have the capacity to influence health, well-being, learning, or behavior over the life course. Biological embedding emerged from insights in population health on the unique characteristics of socioeconomic gradients: Ubiquity in poor and postscarcity societies alike; gradient seen regardless of whether socioeconomic status is measured by income, education, or occupation; cutting widely across health, well-being, learning, and behavior outcomes; replicating itself on new conditions entering society; and, often, showing that flatter gradients mean better overall societal outcomes. Most important, the gradient begins the life course as a gradient in developmental health, suggesting that the emergence of a multifaceted resilience/vulnerability early in life is the best place to look for evidence of biological embedding. To understand its character...

Alternative ground states enable pathway switching in biological electron transfer

Abriata, Luciano A.; Álvarez-Paggi, Damián; Ledesma, Gabriela N.; Blackburn, Ninian J.; Vila, Alejandro J.; Murgida, Daniel H.
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Electron transfer is the simplest chemical reaction and constitutes the basis of a large variety of biological processes, such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Nature has evolved specific proteins and cofactors for these functions. The mechanisms optimizing biological electron transfer have been matter of intense debate, such as the role of the protein milieu between donor and acceptor sites. Here we propose a mechanism regulating long-range electron transfer in proteins. Specifically, we report a spectroscopic, electrochemical, and theoretical study on WT and single-mutant CuA redox centers from Thermus thermophilus, which shows that thermal fluctuations may populate two alternative ground-state electronic wave functions optimized for electron entry and exit, respectively, through two different and nearly perpendicular pathways. These findings suggest a unique role for alternative or “invisible” electronic ground states in directional electron transfer. Moreover, it is shown that this energy gap and, therefore, the equilibrium between ground states can be fine-tuned by minor perturbations, suggesting alternative ways through which protein–protein interactions and membrane potential may optimize and regulate electron–proton energy transduction.

Engineering robust control of two-component system phosphotransfer using modular scaffolds

Whitaker, Weston R.; Davis, Stephanie A.; Arkin, Adam P.; Dueber, John E.
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Synthetic biology applies engineering principles to facilitate the predictable design of biological systems. Biological systems composed of modular parts with clearly defined interactions are generally easier to manipulate than complex systems exhibiting a large number of subtle interactions. However, recreating the function of a naturally complex system with simple modular parts can increase fragility. Here, inspired by scaffold-directed signaling in higher organisms, we modularize prokaryotic signal transduction to allow programmable redirection of phosphate flux from a histidine kinase to response regulators based on targeting by eukaryotic protein–protein interaction domains. Although scaffold-directed colocalization alone was sufficient to direct signaling between components, this minimal system suffered from high sensitivity to changing expression levels of each component. To address this fragility, we demonstrate how to engineer autoinhibition into the kinase so that phosphotransfer is possible only upon binding to the scaffold. This system, in which scaffold performs the dual functions of activating this autoinhibited kinase and directing flux to the cotargeted response regulator, was significantly more robust to varying component concentrations. Thus...

Genome streamlining and chemical defense in a coral reef symbiosis

Kwan, Jason C.; Donia, Mohamed S.; Han, Andrew W.; Hirose, Euichi; Haygood, Margo G.; Schmidt, Eric W.
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Secondary metabolites are ubiquitous in bacteria, but by definition, they are thought to be nonessential. Highly toxic secondary metabolites such as patellazoles have been isolated from marine tunicates, where their exceptional potency and abundance implies a role in chemical defense, but their biological source is unknown. Here, we describe the association of the tunicate Lissoclinum patella with a symbiotic α-proteobacterium, Candidatus Endolissoclinum faulkneri, and present chemical and biological evidence that the bacterium synthesizes patellazoles. We sequenced and assembled the complete Ca. E. faulkneri genome, directly from metagenomic DNA obtained from the tunicate, where it accounted for 0.6% of sequence data. We show that the large patellazoles biosynthetic pathway is maintained, whereas the remainder of the genome is undergoing extensive streamlining to eliminate unneeded genes. The preservation of this pathway in streamlined bacteria demonstrates that secondary metabolism is an essential component of the symbiotic interaction.

Microfluidic Western blotting

Hughes, Alex J.; Herr, Amy E.
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Rapid, quantitative Western blotting is a long-sought bioanalytical goal in the life sciences. To this end, we describe a Western blotting assay conducted in a single glass microchannel under purely electronic control. The μWestern blot is comprised of multiple steps: sample enrichment, protein sizing, protein immobilization (blotting), and in situ antibody probing. To validate the microfluidic assay, we apply the μWestern blot to analyses of human sera (HIV immunoreactivity) and cell lysate (NFκB). Analytical performance advances are achieved, including: short durations of 10–60 min, multiplexed analyte detection, mass sensitivity at the femtogram level, high-sensitivity 50-pM detection limits, and quantitation capability over a 3.6-log dynamic range. Performance gains are attributed to favorable transport and reaction conditions on the microscale. The multistep assay design relies on a photopatternable (blue light) and photoreactive (UV light) polyacrylamide gel. This hydrophilic polymer constitutes both a separation matrix for protein sizing and, after brief UV exposure, a protein immobilization scaffold for subsequent antibody probing of immobilized protein bands. We observe protein capture efficiencies exceeding 75% under sizing conditions. This compact microfluidic design supports demonstration of a 48-plex μWestern blot in a standard microscope slide form factor. Taken together...

Reverse-engineering the genetic circuitry of a cancer cell with predicted intervention in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Vallat, Laurent; Kemper, Corey A.; Jung, Nicolas; Maumy-Bertrand, Myriam; Bertrand, Frédéric; Meyer, Nicolas; Pocheville, Arnaud; Fisher, John W.; Gribben, John G.; Bahram, Seiamak
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Cellular behavior is sustained by genetic programs that are progressively disrupted in pathological conditions—notably, cancer. High-throughput gene expression profiling has been used to infer statistical models describing these cellular programs, and development is now needed to guide orientated modulation of these systems. Here we develop a regression-based model to reverse-engineer a temporal genetic program, based on relevant patterns of gene expression after cell stimulation. This method integrates the temporal dimension of biological rewiring of genetic programs and enables the prediction of the effect of targeted gene disruption at the system level. We tested the performance accuracy of this model on synthetic data before reverse-engineering the response of primary cancer cells to a proliferative (protumorigenic) stimulation in a multistate leukemia biological model (i.e., chronic lymphocytic leukemia). To validate the ability of our method to predict the effects of gene modulation on the global program, we performed an intervention experiment on a targeted gene. Comparison of the predicted and observed gene expression changes demonstrates the possibility of predicting the effects of a perturbation in a gene regulatory network...

Environmental perturbations lift the degeneracy of the genetic code to regulate protein levels in bacteria

Subramaniam, Arvind R.; Pan, Tao; Cluzel, Philippe
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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The genetic code underlying protein synthesis is a canonical example of a degenerate biological system. Degeneracies in physical and biological systems can be lifted by external perturbations, thus allowing degenerate systems to exhibit a wide range of behaviors. Here we show that the degeneracy of the genetic code is lifted by environmental perturbations to regulate protein levels in living cells. By measuring protein synthesis rates from a synthetic reporter library in Escherichia coli, we find that environmental perturbations, such as reduction of cognate amino acid supply, lift the degeneracy of the genetic code by splitting codon families into a hierarchy of robust and sensitive synonymous codons. Rates of protein synthesis associated with robust codons are up to 100-fold higher than those associated with sensitive codons under these conditions. We find that the observed hierarchy between synonymous codons is not determined by usual rules associated with tRNA abundance and codon usage. Rather, competition among tRNA isoacceptors for aminoacylation underlies the robustness of protein synthesis. Remarkably, the hierarchy established using the synthetic library also explains the measured robustness of synthesis for endogenous proteins in E. coli. We further found that the same hierarchy is reflected in the fitness cost of synonymous mutations in amino acid biosynthesis genes and in the transcriptional control of σ-factor genes. Our study suggests that organisms can exploit degeneracy lifting as a general strategy to adapt protein synthesis to their environment.

Engineering a lysosomal enzyme with a derivative of receptor-binding domain of apoE enables delivery across the blood–brain barrier

Wang, Daren; El-Amouri, Salim S.; Dai, Mei; Kuan, Chia-Yi; Hui, David Y.; Brady, Roscoe O.; Pan, Dao
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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To realize the potential of large molecular weight substances to treat neurological disorders, novel approaches are required to surmount the blood–brain barrier (BBB). We investigated whether fusion of a receptor-binding peptide from apolipoprotein E (apoE) with a potentially therapeutic protein can bind to LDL receptors on the BBB and be transcytosed into the CNS. A lysosomal enzyme, α-L-iduronidase (IDUA), was used for biological and therapeutic evaluation in a mouse model of mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) type I, one of the most common lysosomal storage disorders with CNS deficits. We identified two fusion candidates, IDUAe1 and IDUAe2, by in vitro screening, that exhibited desirable receptor-mediated binding, endocytosis, and transendothelial transport as well as appropriate lysosomal enzyme trafficking and biological function. Robust peripheral IDUAe1 or IDUAe2 generated by transient hepatic expression led to elevated enzyme levels in capillary-depleted, enzyme-deficient brain tissues and protein delivery into nonendothelium perivascular cells, neurons, and astrocytes within 2 d of treatment. Moreover, 5 mo after long-term delivery of moderate levels of IDUAe1 derived from maturing red blood cells, 2% to 3% of normal brain IDUA activities were obtained in MPS I mice...

Assessing the role of cladogenesis in macroevolution by integrating fossil and molecular evidence

Strotz, Luke C.; Allen, Andrew P.
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Assessing the extent to which population subdivision during cladogenesis is necessary for long-term phenotypic evolution is of fundamental importance in a broad range of biological disciplines. Differentiating cladogenesis from anagenesis, defined as evolution within a species, has generally been hampered by dating precision, insufficient fossil data, and difficulties in establishing a direct link between morphological changes detectable in the fossil record and biological species. Here we quantify the relative frequencies of cladogenesis and anagenesis for macroperforate planktic Foraminifera, which arguably have the most complete fossil record currently available, to address this question. Analyzing this record in light of molecular evidence, while taking into account the precision of fossil dating techniques, we estimate that the fraction of speciation events attributable to anagenesis is <19% during the Cenozoic era (last 65 Myr) and <10% during the Neogene period (last 23 Myr). Our central conclusion—that cladogenesis is the predominant mode by which new planktic Foraminifera taxa become established at macroevolutionary time scales—differs markedly from the conclusion reached in a recent study based solely on fossil data. These disparate findings demonstrate that interpretations of macroevolutionary dynamics in the fossil record can be fundamentally altered in light of genetic evidence.

Improving spinning disk confocal microscopy by preventing pinhole cross-talk for intravital imaging

Shimozawa, Togo; Yamagata, Kazuo; Kondo, Takefumi; Hayashi, Shigeo; Shitamukai, Atsunori; Konno, Daijiro; Matsuzaki, Fumio; Takayama, Jun; Onami, Shuichi; Nakayama, Hiroshi; Kosugi, Yasuhito; Watanabe, Tomonobu M.; Fujita, Katsumasa; Mimori-Kiyosue, Yuko
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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A recent key requirement in life sciences is the observation of biological processes in their natural in vivo context. However, imaging techniques that allow fast imaging with higher resolution in 3D thick specimens are still limited. Spinning disk confocal microscopy using a Yokogawa Confocal Scanner Unit, which offers high-speed multipoint confocal live imaging, has been found to have wide utility among cell biologists. A conventional Confocal Scanner Unit configuration, however, is not optimized for thick specimens, for which the background noise attributed to “pinhole cross-talk,” which is unintended pinhole transmission of out-of-focus light, limits overall performance in focal discrimination and reduces confocal capability. Here, we improve spinning disk confocal microscopy by eliminating pinhole cross-talk. First, the amount of pinhole cross-talk is reduced by increasing the interpinhole distance. Second, the generation of out-of-focus light is prevented by two-photon excitation that achieves selective-plane illumination. We evaluate the effect of these modifications and test the applicability to the live imaging of green fluorescent protein-expressing model animals. As demonstrated by visualizing the fine details of the 3D cell shape and submicron-size cytoskeletal structures inside animals...

Integrating indigenous livelihood and lifestyle objectives in managing a natural resource

Plagányi, Éva Elizabeth; van Putten, Ingrid; Hutton, Trevor; Deng, Roy A.; Dennis, Darren; Pascoe, Sean; Skewes, Tim; Campbell, Robert A.
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Evaluating the success of natural resource management approaches requires methods to measure performance against biological, economic, social, and governance objectives. In fisheries, most research has focused on industrial sectors, with the contributions to global resource use by small-scale and indigenous hunters and fishers undervalued. Globally, the small-scale fisheries sector alone employs some 38 million people who share common challenges in balancing livelihood and lifestyle choices. We used as a case study a fishery with both traditional indigenous and commercial sectors to develop a framework to bridge the gap between quantitative bio-economic models and more qualitative social analyses. For many indigenous communities, communalism rather than capitalism underlies fishers’ perspectives and aspirations, and we find there are complicated and often unanticipated trade-offs between economic and social objectives. Our results highlight that market-based management options might score highly in a capitalistic society, but have negative repercussions on community coherence and equity in societies with a strong communal ethic. There are complex trade-offs between economic indicators, such as profit, and social indicators, such as lifestyle preferences. Our approach makes explicit the “triple bottom line” sustainability objectives involving trade-offs between economic...

Biological research in India: An interview with Dr Satyajit Mayor, Dean at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India

Fonte: Nature Publishing Group Publicador: Nature Publishing Group
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Satyajit Mayor, Dean at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India, discusses the challenges and opportunities for life science research in India.

Global structural motions from the strain of a single hydrogen bond

Danielsson, Jens; Awad, Wael; Saraboji, Kadhirvel; Kurnik, Martin; Lang, Lisa; Leinartaitė, Lina; Marklund, Stefan L.; Logan, Derek T.; Oliveberg, Mikael
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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The origin and biological role of dynamic motions of folded enzymes is not yet fully understood. In this study, we examine the molecular determinants for the dynamic motions within the β-barrel of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1), which previously were implicated in allosteric regulation of protein maturation and also pathological misfolding in the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Relaxation-dispersion NMR, hydrogen/deuterium exchange, and crystallographic data show that the dynamic motions are induced by the buried H43 side chain, which connects the backbones of the Cu ligand H120 and T39 by a hydrogen-bond linkage through the hydrophobic core. The functional role of this highly conserved H120–H43–T39 linkage is to strain H120 into the correct geometry for Cu binding. Upon elimination of the strain by mutation H43F, the apo protein relaxes through hydrogen-bond swapping into a more stable structure and the dynamic motions freeze out completely. At the same time, the holo protein becomes energetically penalized because the twisting back of H120 into Cu-bound geometry leads to burial of an unmatched backbone carbonyl group. The question then is whether this coupling between metal binding and global structural motions in the SOD1 molecule is an adverse side effect of evolving viable Cu coordination or plays a key role in allosteric regulation of biological function...

The human gene connectome as a map of short cuts for morbid allele discovery

Itan, Yuval; Zhang, Shen-Ying; Vogt, Guillaume; Abhyankar, Avinash; Herman, Melina; Nitschke, Patrick; Fried, Dror; Quintana-Murci, Lluis; Abel, Laurent; Casanova, Jean-Laurent
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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High-throughput genomic data reveal thousands of gene variants per patient, and it is often difficult to determine which of these variants underlies disease in a given individual. However, at the population level, there may be some degree of phenotypic homogeneity, with alterations of specific physiological pathways underlying the pathogenesis of a particular disease. We describe here the human gene connectome (HGC) as a unique approach for human Mendelian genetic research, facilitating the interpretation of abundant genetic data from patients with the same disease, and guiding subsequent experimental investigations. We first defined the set of the shortest plausible biological distances, routes, and degrees of separation between all pairs of human genes by applying a shortest distance algorithm to the full human gene network. We then designed a hypothesis-driven application of the HGC, in which we generated a Toll-like receptor 3-specific connectome useful for the genetic dissection of inborn errors of Toll-like receptor 3 immunity. In addition, we developed a functional genomic alignment approach from the HGC. In functional genomic alignment, the genes are clustered according to biological distance (rather than the traditional molecular evolutionary genetic distance)...

Differential principal component analysis of ChIP-seq

Ji, Hongkai; Li, Xia; Wang, Qian-fei; Ning, Yang
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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We propose differential principal component analysis (dPCA) for analyzing multiple ChIP- sequencing datasets to identify differential protein–DNA interactions between two biological conditions. dPCA integrates unsupervised pattern discovery, dimension reduction, and statistical inference into a single framework. It uses a small number of principal components to summarize concisely the major multiprotein synergistic differential patterns between the two conditions. For each pattern, it detects and prioritizes differential genomic loci by comparing the between-condition differences with the within-condition variation among replicate samples. dPCA provides a unique tool for efficiently analyzing large amounts of ChIP-sequencing data to study dynamic changes of gene regulation across different biological conditions. We demonstrate this approach through analyses of differential chromatin patterns at transcription factor binding sites and promoters as well as allele-specific protein–DNA interactions.

Physical and genetic-interaction density reveals functional organization and informs significance cutoffs in genome-wide screens

Dittmar, John C.; Pierce, Steven; Rothstein, Rodney; Reid, Robert J. D.
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Genome-wide experiments often measure quantitative differences between treated and untreated cells to identify affected strains. For these studies, statistical models are typically used to determine significance cutoffs. We developed a method termed “CLIK” (Cutoff Linked to Interaction Knowledge) that overlays biological knowledge from the interactome on screen results to derive a cutoff. The method takes advantage of the fact that groups of functionally related interacting genes often respond similarly to experimental conditions and, thus, cluster in a ranked list of screen results. We applied CLIK analysis to five screens of the yeast gene disruption library and found that it defined a significance cutoff that differed from traditional statistics. Importantly, verification experiments revealed that the CLIK cutoff correlated with the position in the rank order where the rate of true positives drops off significantly. In addition, the gene sets defined by CLIK analysis often provide further biological perspectives. For example, applying CLIK analysis retrospectively to a screen for cisplatin sensitivity allowed us to identify the importance of the Hrq1 helicase in DNA crosslink repair. Furthermore, we demonstrate the utility of CLIK to determine optimal treatment conditions by analyzing genome-wide screens at multiple rapamycin concentrations. We show that CLIK is an extremely useful tool for evaluating screen quality...

Intermediate intrinsic diversity enhances neural population coding

Tripathy, Shreejoy J.; Padmanabhan, Krishnan; Gerkin, Richard C.; Urban, Nathaniel N.
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Cell-to-cell variability in molecular, genetic, and physiological features is increasingly recognized as a critical feature of complex biological systems, including the brain. Although such variability has potential advantages in robustness and reliability, how and why biological circuits assemble heterogeneous cells into functional groups is poorly understood. Here, we develop analytic approaches toward answering how neuron-level variation in intrinsic biophysical properties of olfactory bulb mitral cells influences population coding of fluctuating stimuli. We capture the intrinsic diversity of recorded populations of neurons through a statistical approach based on generalized linear models. These models are flexible enough to predict the diverse responses of individual neurons yet provide a common reference frame for comparing one neuron to the next. We then use Bayesian stimulus decoding to ask how effectively different populations of mitral cells, varying in their diversity, encode a common stimulus. We show that a key advantage provided by physiological levels of intrinsic diversity is more efficient and more robust encoding of stimuli by the population as a whole. However, we find that the populations that best encode stimulus features are not simply the most heterogeneous...

Role of aspartate 132 at the orifice of a proton pathway in cytochrome c oxidase

Johansson, Ann-Louise; Högbom, Martin; Carlsson, Jens; Gennis, Robert B.; Brzezinski, Peter
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Proton transfer across biological membranes underpins central processes in biological systems, such as energy conservation and transport of ions and molecules. In the membrane proteins involved in these processes, proton transfer takes place through specific pathways connecting the two sides of the membrane via control elements within the protein. It is commonly believed that acidic residues are required near the orifice of such proton pathways to facilitate proton uptake. In cytochrome c oxidase, one such pathway starts near a conserved Asp-132 residue. Results from earlier studies have shown that replacement of Asp-132 by, e.g., Asn, slows proton uptake by a factor of ∼5,000. Here, we show that proton uptake at full speed (∼104 s−1) can be restored in the Asp-132–Asn oxidase upon introduction of a second structural modification further inside the pathway (Asn-139–Thr) without compensating for the loss of the negative charge. This proton-uptake rate was insensitive to Zn2+ addition, which in the wild-type cytochrome c oxidase slows the reaction, indicating that Asp-132 is required for Zn2+ binding. Furthermore, in the absence of Asp-132 and with Thr at position 139, at high pH (>9), proton uptake was significantly accelerated. Thus...

Sustained accurate recording of intracellular acidification in living tissues with a photo-controllable bioluminescent protein

Hattori, Mitsuru; Haga, Sanae; Takakura, Hideo; Ozaki, Michitaka; Ozawa, Takeaki
Fonte: National Academy of Sciences Publicador: National Academy of Sciences
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
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Regulation of an intracellular acidic environment plays a pivotal role in biological processes and functions. However, spatiotemporal analysis of the acidification in complex tissues of living subjects persists as an important challenge. We developed a photo-inactivatable bioluminescent indicator, based on a combination of luciferase-fragment complementation and a photoreaction of a light, oxygen, and voltage domain from Avena sativa Phototropin1 (LOV2), to visualize temporally dynamic acidification in living tissue samples. Bioluminescence of the indicator diminished upon light irradiation and it recovered gradually in the dark state thereafter. The recovery rate was remarkably sensitive to pH changes but unsusceptible to fluctuation of luciferin or ATP concentrations. Bioluminescence imaging, taken as an index of the recovery rates, enabled long-time recording of acidification in apoptotic and autophagous processes in a cell population and an ischemic condition in living mice. This technology using the indicator is widely applicable to sense organelle-specific acidic changes in target biological tissues.