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Toxins ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 14 (1) ◽  
pp. 58
Jonas Krämer ◽  
Tim Lüddecke ◽  
Michael Marner ◽  
Elena Maiworm ◽  
Johanna Eichberg ◽  

Linear cationic venom peptides are antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) that exert their effects by damaging cell membranes. These peptides can be highly specific, and for some, a significant therapeutic value was proposed, in particular for treatment of bacterial infections. A prolific source of novel AMPs are arthropod venoms, especially those of hitherto neglected groups such as pseudoscorpions. In this study, we describe for the first time pharmacological effects of AMPs discovered in pseudoscorpion venom. We examined the antimicrobial, cytotoxic, and insecticidal activity of full-length Checacin1, a major component of the Chelifer cancroides venom, and three truncated forms of this peptide. The antimicrobial tests revealed a potent inhibitory activity of Checacin1 against several bacteria and fungi, including methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and even Gram-negative pathogens. All peptides reduced survival rates of aphids, with Checacin1 and the C-terminally truncated Checacin11−21 exhibiting effects comparable to Spinosad, a commercially used pesticide. Cytotoxic effects on mammalian cells were observed mainly for the full-length Checacin1. All tested peptides might be potential candidates for developing lead structures for aphid pest treatment. However, as these peptides were not yet tested on other insects, aphid specificity has not been proven. The N- and C-terminal fragments of Checacin1 are less potent against aphids but exhibit no cytotoxicity on mammalian cells at the tested concentration of 100 µM.

2022 ◽  
Giulia Ada Corbet ◽  
James M Burke ◽  
Gaia Rachel Bublitz ◽  
Roy Parker

Mammalian cells respond to dsRNA in multiple manners. One key response to dsRNA is the activation of PKR, an eIF2α kinase, which triggers translational arrest and the formation of stress granules. However, the process of PKR activation in cells is not fully understood. In response to increased endogenous or exogenous dsRNA, we observed that PKR forms novel cytosolic condensates, referred to as dsRNA-induced foci (dRIFs). dRIFs contain dsRNA, form in proportion to dsRNA, and are enhanced by longer dsRNAs. dRIFs also enrich several other dsRNA-binding proteins including ADAR1, Stau1, NLRP1, and PACT. Strikingly, dRIFs correlate with and form prior to translation repression by PKR and localize to regions of cells where PKR activation is initiated. We suggest that dRIF formation is a mechanism cells utilize to enhance the sensitivity of PKR activation in response to low levels of dsRNA, or to overcome viral inhibitors of PKR activation.

2022 ◽  
Karim Labib ◽  
Ryo Fujisawa

The unfolding of ubiquitylated proteins by the p97 / Cdc48 ATPase and its ubiquitin receptors Ufd1-Npl4 is essential in many areas of eukaryotic cell biology. Previous studies showed that yeast Cdc48-Ufd1-Npl4 is governed by a quality control mechanism, whereby substrates must be conjugated to at least five ubiquitins. Here we show that substrate processing by mammalian p97-UFD1-NPL4 involves a complex interplay between ubiquitin chain length and additional p97 cofactors. Using disassembly of the ubiquitylated CMG helicase as a model in vitro system, we find that reconstituted p97-UFD1-NPL4 only unfolds substrates with very long ubiquitin chains. However, this high ubiquitin threshold is greatly reduced, to a level resembling yeast Cdc48-Ufd1-Npl4, by the UBXN7, FAF1 or FAF2 partners of mammalian p97-UFD1-NPL4. Stimulation by UBXN7/FAF1/FAF2 requires the UBX domain that connects each factor to p97, together with the ubiquitin-binding UBA domain of UBXN7 and a previously uncharacterised coiled-coil domain in FAF1/FAF2. Furthermore, we show that deletion of the UBXN7 and FAF1 genes impairs CMG disassembly during S-phase and mitosis and sensitises cells to reduced ubiquitin ligase activity. These findings indicate that multiple UBX proteins are important for the efficient unfolding of ubiquitylated proteins by p97-UFD1-NPL4 in mammalian cells.

BMC Biology ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 20 (1) ◽  
P. Kleis ◽  
E. Paschen ◽  
U. Häussler ◽  
Y. A. Bernal Sierra ◽  
C. A. Haas

Abstract Background Optogenetic tools allow precise manipulation of neuronal activity via genetically encoded light-sensitive proteins. Currently available optogenetic inhibitors are not suitable for prolonged use due to short-lasting photocurrents, tissue heating, and unintended changes in ion distributions, which may interfere with normal neuron physiology. To overcome these limitations, a novel potassium channel-based optogenetic silencer, named PACK, was recently developed. The PACK tool has two components: a photoactivated adenylyl cyclase from Beggiatoa (bPAC) and a cAMP-dependent potassium channel, SthK, which carries a large, long-lasting potassium current in mammalian cells. Previously, it has been shown that activating the PACK silencer with short light pulses led to a significant reduction of neuronal firing in various in vitro and acute in vivo settings. Here, we examined the viability of performing long-term studies in vivo by looking at the inhibitory action and side effects of PACK and its components in healthy and epileptic adult male mice. Results We targeted hippocampal cornu ammonis (CA1) pyramidal cells using a viral vector and enabled illumination of these neurons via an implanted optic fiber. Local field potential (LFP) recordings from CA1 of freely moving mice revealed significantly reduced neuronal activity during 50-min intermittent (0.1 Hz) illumination, especially in the gamma frequency range. Adversely, PACK expression in healthy mice induced chronic astrogliosis, dispersion of pyramidal cells, and generalized seizures. These side effects were independent of the light application and were also present in mice expressing bPAC without the potassium channel. Light activation of bPAC alone increased neuronal activity, presumably via enhanced cAMP signaling. Furthermore, we applied bPAC and PACK in the contralateral hippocampus of chronically epileptic mice following a unilateral injection of intrahippocampal kainate. Unexpectedly, the expression of bPAC in the contralateral CA1 area was sufficient to prevent the spread of spontaneous epileptiform activity from the seizure focus to the contralateral hippocampus. Conclusion Our study highlights the PACK tool as a potent optogenetic inhibitor in vivo. However, further refinement of its light-sensitive domain is required to avoid unexpected physiological changes.

Benno Verbelen ◽  
Tiziana Girardi ◽  
Sergey O. Sulima ◽  
Stijn Vereecke ◽  
Paulien Verstraete ◽  

2022 ◽  
Lewis A Macdonald ◽  
Gillian C A Taylor ◽  
Jennifer M Brisbane ◽  
Ersi Christodoulou ◽  
Lucy Scott ◽  

Auxin-inducible degrons are a chemical genetic tool for targeted protein degradation and are widely used to study protein function in cultured mammalian cells. Here we develop CRISPR-engineered mouse lines that enable rapid and highly specific degradation of tagged endogenous proteins in vivo. Most but not all cell types are competent for degradation. Using mouse genetics, we show that degradation kinetics depend upon the dose of the tagged protein, ligand, and the E3 ligase subunit Tir1. Rapid degradation of condensin I and condensin II, two essential regulators of mitotic chromosome structure, revealed that both complexes are individually required for cell division in precursor lymphocytes, but not in their differentiated peripheral lymphocyte derivatives. This generalisable approach provides unprecedented temporal control over the dose of endogenous proteins in mouse models, with implications for studying essential biological pathways and modelling drug activity in mammalian tissues.

Viruses ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 14 (1) ◽  
pp. 140
Hao Zheng ◽  
Yong Pan ◽  
Xiong Wang ◽  
Weibin Tian ◽  
Lunguang Yao ◽  

The baculovirus display system (BDS), an excellent eukaryotic surface display technology that offers the advantages of safety, efficiency, and economy, is widely used in biomedicine. A previous study using rBacmid-Δgp64-ires-gp64 expressed in low copy numbers of the gp64 gene achieved high-efficiency expression and co-display of three fluorescent proteins (GFP, YFP, and mCherry). However, low expression of GP64 in recombinant baculoviruses also reduces the efficiency of recombinant baculovirus transduction into mammalian cells. In addition, the baculovirus promoter has no expression activity in mammalian cells and thus cannot meet the application requirements of baculoviral vectors for the BDS. Based on previous research, this study first determined the expression activity of promoters in insect Spodoptera frugiperda 9 cells and mammalian cells and successfully screened the very early promoter pie1 to mediate the co-expression of multiple genes. Second, utilizing the envelope display effect of the INVASIN and VSVG proteins, the efficiency of transduction of recombinant baculovirus particles into non-host cells was significantly improved. Finally, based on the above improvement, a recombinant baculovirus vector displaying four antigen proteins with high efficiency was constructed. Compared with traditional BDSs, the rBacmid-Δgp64 system exhibited increased display efficiency of the target protein by approximately 3-fold and induced an approximately 4-fold increase in the titer of serum antibodies to target antigens in Bal B/c mice. This study systematically explored the application of a new multi-gene co-display technology applicable to multi-vaccine research, and the results provide a foundation for the development of novel BDS technologies.

2022 ◽  
Vol 12 (1) ◽  
Yi Ling Tang ◽  
Tiow Suan Sim ◽  
Kai Soo Tan

AbstractIn periodontal health, oral streptococci constitute up to 80% of the plaque biofilm. Yet, destructive inflammatory events of the periodontium are rare. This observation suggests that oral streptococci may possess mechanisms to co-exist with the host. However, the mechanisms employed by oral streptococci to modulate the innate immune response have not been well studied. One of the key virulence factors produced by oral streptococci is hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). In mammalian cells, H2O2 triggers the activation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a key pathway mediating antioxidant defence. This study aimed to determine (1) if H2O2 producing oral streptococci activated the Nrf2 pathway in macrophages, and (2) if the activation of Nrf2 influenced the innate immune response. We found that oral streptococci downregulated the innate immune response in a H2O2 dependent manner through the activation of the Nrf2. The activation of the Nrf2 signalling pathway led to the inhibition of nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NFĸB), the key transcription factor regulating pro-inflammatory response. This study showed for the first time that oral streptococci are unlikely passive bystanders but could play an active role in the maintenance of periodontal health by preventing overt inflammation.

2022 ◽  
Vol 221 (3) ◽  
Suzan Kors ◽  
Christian Hacker ◽  
Chloe Bolton ◽  
Renate Maier ◽  
Lena Reimann ◽  

Peroxisomes and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) cooperate in cellular lipid metabolism. They form membrane contacts through interaction of the peroxisomal membrane protein ACBD5 (acyl-coenzyme A–binding domain protein 5) and the ER-resident protein VAPB (vesicle-associated membrane protein–associated protein B). ACBD5 binds to the major sperm protein domain of VAPB via its FFAT-like (two phenylalanines [FF] in an acidic tract) motif. However, molecular mechanisms, which regulate formation of these membrane contact sites, are unknown. Here, we reveal that peroxisome–ER associations via the ACBD5-VAPB tether are regulated by phosphorylation. We show that ACBD5-VAPB binding is phosphatase-sensitive and identify phosphorylation sites in the flanking regions and core of the FFAT-like motif, which alter interaction with VAPB—and thus peroxisome–ER contact sites—differently. Moreover, we demonstrate that GSK3β (glycogen synthase kinase-3 β) regulates this interaction. Our findings reveal for the first time a molecular mechanism for the regulation of peroxisome–ER contacts in mammalian cells and expand the current model of FFAT motifs and VAP interaction.

2022 ◽  
Kajal Rajput ◽  
Mohammad Nafees Ansari ◽  
Somesh Kumar Jha ◽  
Pankaj Sharma ◽  
Sudeshna Datta ◽  

Sphingolipid and ganglioside metabolic pathways are crucial components of cell signalling, having established roles in tumor cell proliferation, invasion, and migration. However, regulatory mechanisms controlling sphingolipid and ganglioside synthesis in mammalian cells is less known. Here, we show that RICTOR, the regulatory subunit of mTORC2, regulates the synthesis of sphingolipids and gangliosides in Luminal breast cancer-specific MCF-7 cells through transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms. RICTOR regulates glucosylceramide levels by modulating the expression of UDP-Glucose Ceramide Glucosyl transferase (UGCG). We identify Zinc Finger protein X-linked (ZFX) as a RICTOR-responsive transcription factor whose recruitment to the UGCG promoter is regulated by DNA methyltransferases and histone demethylase (KDM5A) that are known AKT substrates. We further demonstrate that RICTOR regulates the synthesis of GD3 gangliosides through ZFX and UGCG, and triggers the activation of the EGFR signalling pathway, thereby promoting tumor growth. In line with our findings in cell culture and mice models, we observe an elevated expression of RICTOR, ZFX, and UGCG in Indian Luminal breast cancer patient samples, and in TCGA and METABRIC datasets. Together, we establish a key regulatory circuit, RICTOR-AKT-ZFX-UGCG-Ganglioside-EGFR-AKT, and elucidate its contribution to breast cancer progression.

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