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PLoS ONE ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 16 (9) ◽  
pp. e0257473
Daria V. Kim ◽  
Liliya M. Kulishova ◽  
Natalia A. Torgasheva ◽  
Vasily S. Melentyev ◽  
Grigory L. Dianov ◽  

The major human apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) site endonuclease, APEX1, is a central player in the base excision DNA repair (BER) pathway and has a role in the regulation of DNA binding by transcription factors. In vertebrates, APEX1 knockouts are embryonic lethal, and only a handful of knockout cell lines are known. To facilitate studies of multiple functions of this protein in human cells, we have used the CRISPR/Cas9 system to knock out the APEX1 gene in a widely used non-cancer hypotriploid HEK 293FT cell line. Two stable knockout lines were obtained, one carrying two single-base deletion alleles and one single-base insertion allele in exon 3, another homozygous in the single-base insertion allele. Both mutations cause a frameshift that leads to premature translation termination before the start of the protein’s catalytic domain. Both cell lines totally lacked the APEX1 protein and AP site-cleaving activity, and showed significantly lower levels of the APEX1 transcript. The APEX1-null cells were unable to support BER on uracil- or AP site-containing substrates. Phenotypically, they showed a moderately increased sensitivity to methyl methanesulfonate (MMS; ~2-fold lower EC50 compared with wild-type cells), and their background level of natural AP sites detected by the aldehyde-reactive probe was elevated ~1.5–2-fold. However, the knockout lines retained a nearly wild-type sensitivity to oxidizing agents hydrogen peroxide and potassium bromate. Interestingly, despite the increased MMS cytotoxicity, we observed no additional increase in AP sites in knockout cells upon MMS treatment, which could indicate their conversion into more toxic products in the absence of repair. Overall, the relatively mild cell phenotype in the absence of APEX1-dependent BER suggests that mammalian cells possess mechanisms of tolerance or alternative repair of AP sites. The knockout derivatives of the extensively characterized HEK 293FT cell line may provide a valuable tool for studies of APEX1 in DNA repair and beyond.

Diabetologia ◽  
2021 ◽  
Sara Langer ◽  
Rica Waterstradt ◽  
Georg Hillebrand ◽  
René Santer ◽  
Simone Baltrusch

Abstract Aims/hypothesis The mammalian enzyme glucokinase (GK), expressed predominantly in liver and pancreas, plays an essential role in carbohydrate metabolism. Monogenic GK disorders emphasise the role of GK in determining the blood glucose set point. Methods A family with congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI) was examined for GCK gene variants by Sanger sequencing. A combined approach, involving kinetic analysis (also using GK activators and inhibitors), intracellular translocation assays, insulin secretion measurements and structural modelling, was used to investigate the novel variant compared with known variants. Results We report on the novel gain-of-function GCK variant p.Val455Leu (V455L), inherited as an autosomal dominant trait in a German family with CHI and concomitant obesity (fasting blood glucose 2.1 mmol/l, BMI 45.0 kg/m2, HOMA-IR 1.5 in an adult female family member); one male family member developed type 2 diabetes until age 35 years (with fasting glucose 2.8–3.7 mmol/l, BMI 38.9 kg/m2, HOMA-IR 4.6). Kinetic characterisation of the V455L variant revealed a significant increase in glucose affinity (glucose concentration at which reaction rate is half its maximum rate [S0.5]: mutant 2.4 ± 0.3 mmol/l vs wild-type 7.6 ± 1.0 mmol/l), accompanied by a distinct additive susceptibility to both the endogenous activator fructose 2,6-bisphosphatase and the synthetic allosteric activator RO-28-1675. The effect of RO-28-1675 was more pronounced when compared with the previously known GK variants V455M and V455E. Binding to the inhibitor glucokinase regulatory protein was unimpaired for V455L and V455E but was reduced for V455M, whereas mannoheptulose inhibited all GK variants and the wild-type enzyme. Structural analyses suggested a role for residue 455 in rearrangements between the inactive and active conformations of GK and also in allosteric activation. Comparison with V455M and V455E and an overview of activating GK variants provided a context for the novel sequence aberration in terms of altered GK enzyme characteristics caused by single amino acid changes. Conclusion/interpretation We provide new knowledge on the structure–function relationship of GK, with special emphasis on enzyme activation, potentially yielding fresh strategic insights into breaking the vicious circle of fluctuating blood glucose levels and the attendant risk of long-lasting metabolic changes in both CHI and type 2 diabetes. Graphical abstract

2021 ◽  
Vol 14 (1) ◽  
Chelsie A. Kadgien ◽  
Anusha Kamesh ◽  
Austen J. Milnerwood

AbstractVacuolar protein sorting 35 (VPS35) regulates neurotransmitter receptor recycling from endosomes. A missense mutation (D620N) in VPS35 leads to autosomal-dominant, late-onset Parkinson’s disease. Here, we study the basic neurobiology of VPS35 and Parkinson’s disease mutation effects in the D620N knock-in mouse and the effect of leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) inhibition on synaptic phenotypes. The study was conducted using a VPS35 D620N knock-in mouse that expresses VPS35 at endogenous levels. Protein levels, phosphorylation states, and binding ratios in brain lysates from knock-in mice and wild-type littermates were assayed by co-immunoprecipitation and western blot. Dendritic protein co-localization, AMPA receptor surface expression, synapse density, and glutamatergic synapse activity in primary cortical cultures from knock-in and wild-type littermates were assayed using immunocytochemistry and whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology. In brain tissue, we confirm VPS35 forms complexes with LRRK2 and AMPA-type glutamate receptor GluA1 subunits, in addition to NMDA-type glutamate receptor GluN1 subunits and D2-type dopamine receptors. Receptor and LRRK2 binding was unaltered in D620N knock-in mice, but we confirm the mutation results in reduced binding of VPS35 with WASH complex member FAM21, and increases phosphorylation of the LRRK2 kinase substrate Rab10, which is reversed by LRRK2 kinase inhibition in vivo. In cultured cortical neurons from knock-in mice, pRab10 is also increased, and reversed by LRRK2 inhibition. The mutation also results in increased endosomal recycling protein cluster density (VPS35-FAM21 co-clusters and Rab11 clusters), glutamate transmission, and GluA1 surface expression. LRRK2 kinase inhibition, which reversed Rab10 hyper-phosphorylation, did not rescue elevated glutamate release or surface GluA1 expression in knock-in neurons, but did alter AMPAR traffic in wild-type cells. The results improve our understanding of the cell biology of VPS35, and the consequences of the D620N mutation in developing neuronal networks. Together the data support a chronic synaptopathy model for latent neurodegeneration, providing phenotypes and candidate pathophysiological stresses that may drive eventual transition to late-stage parkinsonism in VPS35 PD. The study demonstrates the VPS35 mutation has effects that are independent of ongoing LRRK2 kinase activity, and that LRRK2 kinase inhibition alters basal physiology of glutamate synapses in vitro.

Pengxiu Dai ◽  
Yangou Lv ◽  
Xiaowen Gong ◽  
Jianye Han ◽  
Peng Gao ◽  

Microsporum canis, a common pathogenic skin fungus, can cause dermatophytosis in humans and animals. Zinc is an important trace element and plays an important role in the growth and metabolism of fungi. Currently, the effects of zinc deficiency on growth, gene expression, and metabolic pathway have not been clarified in M. canis. Therefore, M. canis was cultured under zinc restriction, and RNA-Seq was conducted in this study. The growth of M. canis was severely inhibited, and many genes showed significant upregulation and downregulation in M. canis with zinc deficiency. Zinc deficiency could negatively affect the gene expression and biological metabolic pathway in M. canis. The zinc-responsiveness transcriptional activator (ZafA) gene was significantly upregulated and shared homology with Zap1. Thus, the ZafA gene might be the main transcription factor regulating M. canis zinc homeostasis. The ZafA gene knockout strain, ZafA-hph, was constructed via Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation (ATMT) in M. canis for the first time to assess its function. In vitro growth ability, hair biodegradation ability, virulence test, and zinc absorption capacity in ZafA-hph and wild-type M. canis strains were compared. Results showed that the ZafA gene plays an important role in zinc absorption, expression of zinc transporter genes, and growth and pathogenicity in M. canis and can be used as a new drug target. Cutting off the zinc absorption pathway can be used as a way to prevent and control infection in M. canis.

Takumi Yamane ◽  
Yasuyuki Kitaura ◽  
Ken Iwatsuki ◽  
Yoshiharu Shimomura ◽  
Yuichi Oishi

Abstract We examined the effects of deletion of branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase kinase (BDK), a key enzyme in branched-chain amino acid catabolism, on hyaluronan synthesis in mice. The skin levels of hyaluronan and the gene expression levels of hyaluronan synthase (Has)2, Has3 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPARα) were significantly lower in the BDK-knockout group than in the wild type group.

2021 ◽  
Vol 6 (1) ◽  
Fei Ye ◽  
Xi Lin ◽  
Zimin Chen ◽  
Fanli Yang ◽  
Sheng Lin ◽  

AbstractSARS-CoV-2 recognizes, via its spike receptor-binding domain (S-RBD), human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) to initiate infection. Ecto-domain protein of ACE2 can therefore function as a decoy. Here we show that mutations of S19W, T27W, and N330Y in ACE2 could individually enhance SARS-CoV-2 S-RBD binding. Y330 could be synergistically combined with either W19 or W27, whereas W19 and W27 are mutually unbeneficial. The structures of SARS-CoV-2 S-RBD bound to the ACE2 mutants reveal that the enhanced binding is mainly contributed by the van der Waals interactions mediated by the aromatic side-chains from W19, W27, and Y330. While Y330 and W19/W27 are distantly located and devoid of any steric interference, W19 and W27 are shown to orient their side-chains toward each other and to cause steric conflicts, explaining their incompatibility. Finally, using pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 viruses, we demonstrate that these residue substitutions are associated with dramatically improved entry-inhibition efficacy toward both wild-type and antibody-resistant viruses. Taken together, our biochemical and structural data have delineated the basis for the elevated S-RBD binding associated with S19W, T27W, and N330Y mutations in ACE2, paving the way for potential application of these mutants in clinical treatment of COVID-19.

2021 ◽  
Vol 14 (1) ◽  
Sebastian J. Muderspach ◽  
Folmer Fredslund ◽  
Verena Volf ◽  
Jens-Christian Navarro Poulsen ◽  
Thomas H. Blicher ◽  

Abstract Background Endo-β-1,4-galactanases are glycoside hydrolases (GH) from the GH53 family belonging to the largest clan of GHs, clan GH-A. GHs are ubiquitous and involved in a myriad of biological functions as well as being widely used industrially. Endo-β-1,4-galactanases, in particular hydrolyse galactan and arabinogalactan in pectin, a major component of the primary plant cell wall, with important functions in plant defence and application in the food and other industries. Here, we explore the family’s biological diversity by characterizing the first archaeal and hyperthermophilic GH53 galactanase, and utilize it as a scaffold for engineering enzymes with different product lengths. Results A galactanase gene was identified in the genome of the anaerobic hyperthermophilic archaeon Ignisphaera aggregans, and the isolated catalytic domain expressed and characterized (IaGal). IaGal presents the typical (βα)8 barrel structure of clan GH-A enzymes, with catalytic carboxylates at the end of the 4th and 7th barrel strands. Its activity optimum of at least 95 °C and melting point over 100 °C indicate extreme thermostability, a very advantageous property for industrial applications. If enzyme depletion is reduced, so is the need for re-addition, and thus costs. The main stabilizing features of IaGal compared to other structurally characterized members are π–π and cation–π interactions. The length of the substrate binding site—and thus produced oligosaccharide products—is intermediate compared to previously characterized galactanases. Variants inspired by the structural diversity in the GH53 family were rationally designed to shorten or extend the substrate binding groove, in order to modulate product length. Subsite-deleted variants produced shorter products than IaGal, as do the fungal galactanases inspiring the design. IaGal variants engineered with a longer binding site produced a less expected degradation pattern, though still different from that of wild-type IaGal. All variants remained extremely stable. Conclusions We have characterized in detail the most thermophilic endo-β-1,4-galactanase known to date and successfully engineered it to modify the degradation profile, while maintaining much of its desirable thermostability. This is an important achievement as oligosaccharide products length is an important property for industrial and natural GHs alike.

2021 ◽  
Vol 8 ◽  
Penglong Wu ◽  
Mingqi Cai ◽  
Jinbao Liu ◽  
Xuejun Wang

Background: Catecholamine surges and resultant excessive β-adrenergic stimulation occur in a broad spectrum of diseases. Excessive β-adrenergic stimulation causes cardiomyocyte necrosis, but the underlying mechanism remains obscure. Necroptosis, a major form of regulated necrosis mediated by RIPK3-centered pathways, is implicated in heart failure; however, it remains unknown whether excessive β-adrenergic stimulation-induced cardiac injury involves necroptosis. Hence, we conducted the present study to address these critical gaps.Methods and Results: Two consecutive daily injections of isoproterenol (ISO; 85 mg/kg, s.c.) or saline were administered to adult mixed-sex mice. At 24 h after the second ISO injection, cardiac area with Evans blue dye (EBD) uptake and myocardial protein levels of CD45, RIPK1, Ser166-phosphorylated RIPK1, RIPK3, and Ser345-phosphorylated MLKL (p-MLKL) were significantly greater, while Ser321-phosphorylated RIPK1 was significantly lower, in the ISO-treated than in saline-treated wild-type (WT) mice. The ISO-induced increase of EBD uptake was markedly less in RIPK3−/− mice compared with WT mice (p = 0.016). Pretreatment with the RIPK1-selective inhibitor necrostatin-1 diminished ISO-induced increases in RIPK3 and p-MLKL in WT mice and significantly attenuated ISO-induced increases of EBD uptake in WT but not RIPK3−/− mice.Conclusions: A large proportion of cardiomyocyte necrosis induced by excessive β-adrenergic stimulation belongs to necroptosis and is mediated by a RIPK1–RIPK3-dependent pathway, identifying RIPK1 and RIPK3 as potential therapeutic targets for catecholamine surges.

Shuhong Ma ◽  
Wenjian Jiang ◽  
Xujie Liu ◽  
Wen-Jing Lu ◽  
Tao Qi ◽  

Rationale: Genetic editing has shown great potential for the treatment of human hereditary disorders via the elimination of mutations in embryos. However, the efficiency and safety of germline gene editing are not well understood. Objective: We aimed to examine the preclinical efficacy/safety of embryonic base editing in a mouse model of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) using a novel adenine base editor (ABE) platform. Methods and Results: Here, we described the use of an ABEmax-NG to directly correct the pathogenic R404Q/+ mutation (Myh6 c.1211C>T) in embryos for a mouse model of HCM, increasing the number of wild-type embryos for in vitro fertilization. Delivery of the ABEmax-NG mRNA to embryos from R404Q/+ HCM mice resulted in 62.5-70.8% correction of the Myh6 c.1211C>T, reducing the level of mutant RNA and eliminating HCM in the post-natal mice as well as their offspring. In addition, the same sgRNA was also used to target an intronic locus (TGG PAM) with an overall editing rate of 86.7%, thus confirming that ABEmax-NG can efficiently edit target loci with different PAMs (NG) and genomic distribution in vivo. Compared with CRISPR/ssODN-mediated correction, ABEmax-NG displayed a much higher correction rate without introducing indels. DNA and RNA off-target analysis did not detect off-target editing in treated embryos and founder mice. In utero injection of adeno-associated virus 9 (AAV9) encoding the ABEmax-NG also resulted in around 25.3% correction of the pathogenic mutation and reduced of mutant RNA, thereby indicating ABEmax-NG has the potential to correct the HCM mutation in vivo. Conclusions: We developed an ABEmax-NG system, which efficiently corrected a pathogenic Myh6 HCM mutation in mouse embryos without off target lesions, thus safely eliminating HCM in derived mice and their progeny.

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