functional characterisation
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2022 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Jennifer R. Deuis ◽  
Lotten Ragnarsson ◽  
Samuel D. Robinson ◽  
Zoltan Dekan ◽  
Lerena Chan ◽  

Venoms from cone snails and arachnids are a rich source of peptide modulators of voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels, however relatively few venom-derived peptides with activity at the mammalian NaV1.8 subtype have been isolated. Here, we describe the discovery and functional characterisation of β-theraphotoxin-Eo1a, a peptide from the venom of the Tanzanian black and olive baboon tarantula Encyocratella olivacea that modulates NaV1.8. Eo1a is a 37-residue peptide that increases NaV1.8 peak current (EC50 894 ± 146 nM) and causes a large hyperpolarising shift in both the voltage-dependence of activation (ΔV50–20.5 ± 1.2 mV) and steady-state fast inactivation (ΔV50–15.5 ± 1.8 mV). At a concentration of 10 μM, Eo1a has varying effects on the peak current and channel gating of NaV1.1–NaV1.7, although its activity is most pronounced at NaV1.8. Investigations into the binding site of Eo1a using NaV1.7/NaV1.8 chimeras revealed a critical contribution of the DII S3-S4 extracellular loop of NaV1.8 to toxin activity. Results from this work may form the basis for future studies that lead to the rational design of spider venom-derived peptides with improved potency and selectivity at NaV1.8.

2022 ◽  
Kyle T Mincham ◽  
Robert J Snelgrove

This 25-parameter, 22-colour full spectrum flow cytometry panel was designed and optimised for the comprehensive enumeration and functional characterisation of innate lymphoid cell (ILC) subsets in murine tissues (Table 1). The panel presented here allows the discrimination of ILC progenitors (ILCP), ILC1, ILC2, NCR+ ILC3, NCR- ILC3, CCR6+ ILC3 and mature natural killer (NK) cell populations. Further characterisation of ILC and NK cell functional profiles in response to stimulation is provided by the inclusion of subset-specific cytokine markers, and proliferation markers. Development and optimisation of this panel was performed on freshly isolated cells from adult BALB/c lungs and small intestine lamina propria, and ex vivo stimulation with phorbol 12-myrisate 13-acetate, ionomycin, brefeldin A and pro-ILC activating cytokines.

2021 ◽  
Pamela Sweeney ◽  
Ashleigh Crowe ◽  
Abhishek Kumar ◽  
Dinesh Raju ◽  
Naveen B. Krishna ◽  

The enzyme m1A22-tRNA methyltransferase (TrmK) catalyses the transfer of a methyl group from SAM to the N1 of adenine 22 in tRNAs. TrmK is essential for Staphylococcus aureus survival during infection, but has no homologue in mammals, making it a promising target for antibiotic development. Here we describe the structural and functional characterisation of S. aureus TrmK. Crystal structures are reported for S. aureus TrmK apoenzyme and in complexes with SAM and SAH. Isothermal titration calorimetry showed that SAM binds to the enzyme with favourable but modest enthalpic and entropic contributions, whereas SAH binding leads to an entropic penalty compensated by a large favourable enthalpic contribution. Molecular dynamics simulations point to specific motions of the C-terminal domain being altered by SAM binding, which might have implications for tRNA recruitment. Activity assays for S. aureus TrmK-catalysed methylation of WT and position 22 mutants of tRNALeu demonstrate that the enzyme requires an adenine at position 22 of the tRNA. Intriguingly, a small RNA hairpin of 18 nucleotides is methylated by TrmK depending on the position of the adenine. In-silico screening of compounds suggested plumbagin as a potential inhibitor of TrmK, which was confirmed by activity measurements. Furthermore, LC-MS indicated the protein was covalently modified by one equivalent of the inhibitor, and proteolytic digestion coupled with LC-MS identified Cys92, in the vicinity of the SAM-binding site, as the sole residue modified. These results these results identify a cryptic binding pocket of S. aureus TrmK and lay the foundation for future structure-based drug discovery.

2021 ◽  
Sharon Wong ◽  
Nikhil Awatade ◽  
Miro Astore ◽  
Katelin Allan ◽  
Michael Carnell ◽  

Characterisation of I37R, a novel mutation in the lasso motif of ABC-transporter CFTR, a chloride channel, was conducted by theratyping using CFTR potentiators which increase channel gating activity and correctors which repair protein trafficking defects. I37R-CFTR function was characterised using intestinal current measurements (ICM) in rectal biopsies, forskolin-induced swelling (FIS) in intestinal organoids and short circuit current measurements (Isc) in organoid-derived monolayers from an individual with I37R/F508del CFTR genotype. We demonstrated that the I37R-CFTR mutation results in a residual function defect amenable to treatment with potentiators and type III, but not to type I, correctors. Molecular dynamics of I37R-CFTR using an extended model of the phosphorylated, ATP-bound human CFTR identified an altered lasso motif conformation which results in an unfavourable strengthening of the interactions between the lasso motif, the regulatory (R) domain and the transmembrane domain two (TMD2). In conclusion, structural and functional characterisation of the I37R-CFTR mutation increases understanding of CFTR channel regulation and provides a potential pathway to access CFTR modulator treatments for individuals with CF caused by ultra-rare CFTR mutations.

Benjamin A. Ford ◽  
Geraldine J. Sullivan ◽  
Lisa Moore ◽  
Deepa Varkey ◽  
Hannah Zhu ◽  

Marine cyanobacteria are key primary producers, contributing significantly to the microbial food web and biogeochemical cycles by releasing and importing many essential nutrients cycled through the environment. A subgroup of these, the picocyanobacteria (Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus), have colonised almost all marine ecosystems, covering a range of distinct light and temperature conditions, and nutrient profiles. The intra-clade diversities displayed by this monophyletic branch of cyanobacteria is indicative of their success across a broad range of environments. Part of this diversity is due to nutrient acquisition mechanisms, such as the use of high-affinity ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters to competitively acquire nutrients, particularly in oligotrophic (nutrient scarce) marine environments. The specificity of nutrient uptake in ABC transporters is primarily determined by the peripheral substrate-binding protein (SBP), a receptor protein that mediates ligand recognition and initiates translocation into the cell. The recent availability of large numbers of sequenced picocyanobacterial genomes indicates both Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus apportion >50% of their transport capacity to ABC transport systems. However, the low degree of sequence homology among the SBP family limits the reliability of functional assignments using sequence annotation and prediction tools. This review highlights the use of known SBP structural representatives for the uptake of key nutrient classes by cyanobacteria to compare with predicted SBP functionalities within sequenced marine picocyanobacteria genomes. This review shows the broad range of conserved biochemical functions of picocyanobacteria and the range of novel and hypothetical ABC transport systems that require further functional characterisation.

Wan-Atirah Azemin ◽  
Nadiawati Alias ◽  
Abdul Manaf Ali ◽  
Mohd Shahir Shamsir

iScience ◽  
2021 ◽  
pp. 103710
Sharon L. Wong ◽  
Nikhil T. Awatade ◽  
Miro A. Astore ◽  
Katelin M. Allan ◽  
Michael J. Carnell ◽  

2021 ◽  
Ingrid Richter

<p>Marine microorganisms generate a wide range of ’bioactive’ compounds that can have far-reaching effects on biological and ecological processes. Metazoans have developed specialised biochemical pathways that metabolise and eliminate potentially toxic chemicals (xenobiotics) from their bodies. The vertebrate xenobiotic receptor, pregnane X receptor (PXR), is a ligand-activated nuclear receptor transcription factor regulating expression of multiple detoxification genes. Ligand-binding domains (LBDs) of vertebrate PXR orthologues may have adaptively evolved to bind toxins typically encountered by these organisms. Marine invertebrate filter-feeders are exposed to relatively high concentrations of xenobiotics associated with their diet. Tunicates (phylum: Chordata) are of particular interest as they form the sister clade to the Vertebrata. Genomes of the solitary tunicate Ciona intestinalis and the colonial tunicate Botryllus schlosseri both encode at least two xenobiotic receptors that are orthologues to both the vertebrate vitamin D receptor (VDR) and PXR.  Pursuing the idea that tunicate xenobiotic receptors (VDR/PXR) may adaptively evolve to bind toxic chemicals commonly present in an organism’s environment, this thesis aims to identify if: (i) adaptive evolution is acting on putative tunicate VDR/PXR orthologues to enhance binding of dietary xenobiotics; (ii) these receptors are activated by dietary xenobiotics (e.g. microalgal biotoxins) and; (iii) tunicate VDR/PXR LBDs can be used as sensor elements in yeast bioassays for the detection of both natural and synthetic bioactive compounds. To identify genetic variation and to search for evidence of positive selection, next-generation sequencing was performed on three tunicate VDR/PXR orthologues genes. Recombinant yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) cell lines were developed for the functional characterisation of tunicate VDR/PXR LBDs. These tunicate VDR/PXR LBD-based yeast bioassays were utilised to detect known microalgal biotoxins, natural bioactive compounds, and environmental contaminants.  Next-generation sequencing revealed both an unusually high genetic diversity and strong purifying selection in VDR/PXR orthologues from C. intestinalis and B. schlosseri. Single-base-deletion allelic variants were found in C. intestinalis VDR/PXR orthologues resulting in predicted proteins having a DNA-binding domain but lacking a LBD. The persistence of these variants may reflect constitutive expression of detoxification genes as a selective advantage in the marine environment.  To assess the functional characteristics of tunicate VDR/PXR orthologues, recombinant yeast cell lines were developed that express VDR/PXRα LBDs from C. intestinalis and B. schlosseri. These chimeric proteins mediate liganddependent expression of a lacZ reporter gene which encodes an easily assayed enzyme (β-galactosidase). These yeast bioassays were highly sensitive towards both synthetic and natural toxins (coefficients of variance, CV <25%). Microalgal biotoxins (okadaic acid and portimine) were two orders of magnitude more potent than synthetic chemicals, which was consistent with the hypothesis that tunicate xenobiotic receptors can bind marine bioactive compounds frequently present in a filter-feeder’s diet.  Following these functional studies, the yeast bioassays were tested in a more applied context by screening the following compounds: (i) natural bioactive compounds that represent promising compounds for drug development and; (ii) synthetic chemicals that are common environmental pollutants. Of the 34 compounds tested, 30 were active in the tunicate yeast bioassays. The yeast bioassays were particularly sensitive towards a small number (n = 11) of marine and terrestrial bioactive compounds (CJ-13-014, CJ-13-104, thysanone and naringin) and emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals (ketoconazole), antifungals (radicicol), preservatives (butylated hydroxtoluene) and surfactants (oil dispersants), generating CV values <25%. Activities of the remaining 19 compounds were highly variable and appeared to depend on several factors, such as solvent used, duration of exposure and type of recombinant protein expressed (e.g. C. intestinalis versus B. schlosseri VDR/PXRα).  In conclusion, the yeast bioassay developed in this thesis, with further development, may provide a template for novel bioassays that may find application in routine microalgal biotoxin testing and environmental monitoring. These bioassays may also assist in the identification of marine bioactive compounds as drug lead compounds.</p>

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