Protein & Cell

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Current impact factor: 3.22

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ISSN 1674-8018

Publications in this journal

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    ABSTRACT: Nuclease-based genome editing has proven to be a powerful and promising tool for disease modeling and gene therapy. Recent advances in CRISPR/Cas and TALE indicate that they could also be used as a targeted regulator of gene expression, as well as being utilized for illuminating specific chromosomal structures or genomic regions.
    Protein & Cell 02/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Cholesterol is an essential component for neuronal physiology not only during development stage but also in the adult life. Cholesterol metabolism in brain is independent from that in peripheral tissues due to blood-brain barrier. The content of cholesterol in brain must be accurately maintained in order to keep brain function well. Defects in brain cholesterol metabolism has been shown to be implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease (AD), Huntington's disease (HD), Parkinson's disease (PD), and some cognitive deficits typical of the old age. The brain contains large amount of cholesterol, but the cholesterol metabolism and its complex homeostasis regulation are currently poorly understood. This review will seek to integrate current knowledge about the brain cholesterol metabolism with molecular mechanisms.
    Protein & Cell 02/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Super-resolution microscopy techniques have overcome the limit of optical diffraction. Recently, the Bayesian analysis of Bleaching and Blinking data (3B) method has emerged as an important tool to obtain super-resolution fluorescence images. 3B uses the change in information caused by adding or removing fluorophores in the cell to fit the data. When adding a new fluorophore, 3B selects a random initial position, optimizes this position and then determines its reliability. However, the fluorophores are not evenly distributed in the entire image region, and the fluorescence intensity at a given position positively correlates with the probability of observing a fluorophore at this position. In this paper, we present a Bayesian analysis of Bleaching and Blinking microscopy method based on fluorescence intensity distribution (FID3B). We utilize the intensity distribution to select more reliable positions as the initial positions of fluorophores. This approach can improve the reconstruction results and significantly reduce the computational time. We validate the performance of our method using both simulated data and experimental data from cellular structures. The results confirm the effectiveness of our method.
    Protein & Cell 02/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Cells can adapt to environment and development by reconstructing their transcriptional networks to regulate diverse cellular processes without altering the underlying DNA sequences. These alterations, namely epigenetic changes, occur during cell division, differentiation and cell death. Numerous evidences demonstrate that epigenetic changes are governed by various types of determinants, including DNA methylation patterns, histone posttranslational modification signatures, histone variants, chromatin remodeling, and recently discovered chromosome conformation characteristics and non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Here, we highlight recent efforts on how the two latter epigenetic factors participate in the sophisticated transcriptional process and describe emerging techniques which permit us to uncover and gain insights into the fascinating genomic regulation.
    Protein & Cell 02/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: DNA primase catalyzes de novo synthesis of a short RNA primer that is further extended by replicative DNA polymerases during initiation of DNA replication. The eukaryotic primase is a heterodimeric enzyme comprising a catalytic subunit Pri1 and a regulatory subunit Pri2. Pri2 is responsible for facilitating optimal RNA primer synthesis by Pri1 and mediating interaction between Pri1 and DNA polymerase α for transition from RNA synthesis to DNA elongation. All eukaryotic Pri2 proteins contain a conserved C-terminal iron-sulfur (Fe-S) cluster-binding domain that is critical for primase catalytic activity in vitro. Here we show that mutations at conserved cysteine ligands for the Pri2 Fe-S cluster markedly decrease the protein stability, thereby causing S phase arrest at the restrictive temperature. Furthermore, Pri2 cysteine mutants are defective in loading of the entire DNA pol α-primase complex onto early replication origins resulting in defective initiation. Importantly, assembly of the Fe-S cluster in Pri2 is impaired not only by mutations at the conserved cysteine ligands but also by increased oxidative stress in the sod1Δ mutant lacking the Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase. Together these findings highlight the critical role of Pri2's Fe-S cluster domain in replication initiation in vivo and suggest a molecular basis for how DNA replication can be influenced by changes in cellular redox state.
    Protein & Cell 02/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Pyruvate kinase isoform M2 (PKM2) converts phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP) to pyruvate and plays an important role in cancer metabolism. Here, we show that post-translational modifications and a patient-derived mutation regulate pyruvate kinase activity of PKM2 through modulating the conformation of the PKM2 tetramer. We determined crystal structures of human PKM2 mutants and proposed a "seesaw" model to illustrate conformational changes between an inactive T-state and an active R-state tetramers of PKM2. Biochemical and structural analyses demonstrate that PKM2(Y105E) (phosphorylation mimic of Y105) decreases pyruvate kinase activity by inhibiting FBP (fructose 1,6-bisphosphate)-induced R-state formation, and PKM2(K305Q) (acetylation mimic of K305) abolishes the activity by hindering tetramer formation. K422R, a patient-derived mutation of PKM2, favors a stable, inactive T-state tetramer because of strong intermolecular interactions. Our study reveals the mechanism for dynamic regulation of PKM2 by post-translational modifications and a patient-derived mutation and provides a structural basis for further investigation of other modifications and mutations of PKM2 yet to be discovered.
    Protein & Cell 02/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: Almost all pre-miRNAs in eukaryotic cytoplasm are recognized and processed into double-stranded microRNAs by the endonuclease Dicer protein comprising of multiple domains. As a key player in the small RNA induced gene silencing pathway, the major domains of Dicer are conserved among different species with the exception of the N-terminal components. Human Dicer's N-terminal domain has been shown to play an auto-inhibitory function of the protein's dicing activity. Such an auto-inhibition can be released when the human Dicer protein dimerizes with its partner protein, such as TRBP, PACT through the N-terminal DExH/D (ATPase-helicase) domain. The typical feature of a pre-miRNA contains a terminal loop and a stem duplex, which bind to human Dicer's DExH/D (ATPase-helicase) domain and PAZ domain respectively during the dicing reaction. Here, we show that pre-miRNA's terminal loop can regulate human Dicer's enzymatic activity by interacting with the DExH/D (ATPase-helicase) domain. We found that various editing products of pre-miR-151 by the ADAR1P110 protein, an A-to-I editing enzyme that modifies pre-miRNAs sequence, have different terminal loop structures and different activity regulatory effects on human Dicer. Single particle electron microscopy reconstruction revealed that pre-miRNAs with different terminal loop structures induce human Dicer's DExH/D (ATPase-helicase) domain into different conformational states, in correlation with their activity regulatory effects.
    Protein & Cell 12/2014;
  • Protein & Cell 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Human noroviruses (huNoVs) recognize histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs) as attachment factors, in which genogroup (G) I and GII huNoVs use distinct binding interfaces. The genetic and evolutionary relationships of GII huNoVs under selection by the host HBGAs have been well elucidated via a number of structural studies; however, such relationships among GI NoVs remain less clear due to the fact that the structures of HBGA-binding interfaces of only three GI NoVs with similar binding profiles are known. In this study the crystal structures of the P dimers of a Lewis-binding strain, the GI.8 Boxer virus (BV) that does not bind the A and H antigens, in complex with the Lewis b (Le(b)) and Le(y) antigens, respectively, were determined and compared with those of the three previously known GI huNoVs, i.e. GI.1 Norwalk virus (NV), GI.2 FUV258 (FUV) and GI.7 TCH060 (TCH) that bind the A/H/Le antigens. The HBGA binding interface of BV is composed of a conserved central binding pocket (CBP) that interacts with the β-galactose of the precursor, and a well-developed Le epitope-binding site formed by five amino acids, including three consecutive residues from the long P-loop and one from the S-loop of the P1 subdomain, a feature that was not seen in the other GI NoVs. On the other hand, the H epitope/acetamido binding site observed in the other GI NoVs is greatly degenerated in BV. These data explain the evolutionary path of GI NoVs selected by the polymorphic human HBGAs. While the CBP is conserved, the regions surrounding the CBP are flexible, providing freedom for changes. The loss or degeneration of the H epitope/acetamido binding site and the reinforcement of the Le binding site of the GI.8 BV is a typical example of such change selected by the host Lewis epitope.
    Protein & Cell 12/2014; 6(2).
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    Protein & Cell 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The loss of or decreased functional pancreatic β-cell is a major cause of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Previous studies have shown that adult β-cells can maintain their ability for a low level of turnover through replication and neogenesis. Thus, a strategy to prevent and treat diabetes would be to enhance the ability of β-cells to increase the mass of functional β-cells. Consequently, much effort has been devoted to identify factors that can effectively induce β-cell expansion. This review focuses on recent reports on small molecules and protein factors that have been shown to promote β-cell expansion.
    Protein & Cell 12/2014; 6(2).
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    ABSTRACT: Dear Editor,Histone deacetylase 6 (Hdac6) is a mostly cytoplasmic class II HDAC. Many proteins have been identified as substrates of Hdac6. Among them, the most well characterized substrate of Hdac6 is α-tubulin. Through deacetylating acetylated lysine 40 in α-tubulin, Hdac6 modulates the acetylation of microtubules (Hubbert et al., 2002).Increasing evidences suggest that infection of various types of viruses, including HIV and influenza A virus, is associated with upregulated acetylation level of tubulin or Tat in cultured cells. Hdac6 activity is downregulated in infected cells, consequently resulting in elevated levels of acetylated tubulin or Tat (Huo et al., 2011; Valenzuela-Fernandez et al., 2005). Consistently, overexpression of active Hdac6 inhibits the acetylation of α-tubulin, and remarkably, prevents HIV-1 envelope-dependent cell fusion and infection, without affecting the expression and co-distribution of HIV-1 receptors (Valenzuela-Fernandez et al., 2005). In contrast, kno ...
    Protein & Cell 12/2014; 6(2).
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, human cancer genome projects provide unprecedented opportunities for the discovery of cancer genes and signaling pathways that contribute to tumor development. While numerous gene mutations can be identified from each cancer genome, what these mutations mean for cancer is a challenging question to address, especially for those from less understood putative new cancer genes. As a powerful approach, in silico bioinformatics analysis could efficiently sort out mutations that are predicted to damage gene function. Such an analysis of human large tumor suppressor genes, LATS1 and LATS2, has been carried out and the results support a role of hLATS1//2 as negative growth regulators and tumor suppressors.
    Protein & Cell 12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Excess iron is tightly associated with tumorigenesis in multiple human cancer types through a variety of mechanisms including catalyzing the formation of mutagenic hydroxyl radicals, regulating DNA replication, repair and cell cycle progression, affecting signal transduction in cancer cells, and acting as an essential nutrient for proliferating tumor cells. Thus, multiple therapeutic strategies based on iron deprivation have been developed in cancer therapy. During the past few years, our understanding of genetic association and molecular mechanisms between iron and tumorigenesis has expanded enormously. In this review, we briefly summarize iron homeostasis in mammals, and discuss recent progresses in understanding the aberrant iron metabolism in numerous cancer types, with a focus on studies revealing altered signal transduction in cancer cells.
    Protein & Cell 12/2014; 6(2).
  • Protein & Cell 11/2014;
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    Protein & Cell 11/2014; 6(1).