Prp8 intein in fungal pathogens: target for potential antifungal drugs.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada B3H 4H7.
FEBS Letters (Impact Factor: 3.58). 09/2004; 572(1-3):46-50. DOI:10.1016/j.febslet.2004.07.016
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Inteins are self-splicing intervening sequences in proteins, and inteins of pathogenic organisms can be attractive drug targets. Here, we report an intein in important fungal pathogens including Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus nidulans, Histoplasma capsulatum, and different serotypes of Cryptococcus neoformans. This intein is inside the extremely conserved and functionally essential Prp8 protein, and it varies in size from 170 aa in C. neoformans to 819 aa in A. fumigatus, which is caused by the presence or absence of an endonuclease domain and a putative tongs subdomain in the intein. Prp8 inteins of these organisms were demonstrated to do protein splicing in a recombinant protein in Escherichia coli. These findings revealed Prp8 inteins as attractive targets for potential antifungal drugs to be identified using existing selection and screening methods.

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    ABSTRACT: Protein trans-splicing by split inteins has many uses in protein production and research. Splicing proteins with synthetic peptides, which employs atypical split inteins, is particularly useful for site-specific protein modifications and labeling, because the synthetic peptide can be made to contain a variety of unnatural amino acids and chemical modifications. For this purpose, atypical split inteins need to be engineered to have a small N-intein or C-intein fragment that can be more easily included in a synthetic peptide that also contains a small extein to be trans-spliced onto target proteins. Here we have successfully engineered multiple atypical split inteins capable of protein trans-splicing, by modifying and testing more than a dozen natural inteins. These included both S1 split inteins having a very small (11-12 aa) N-intein fragment and S11 split inteins having a very small (6 aa) C-intein fragment. Four of the new S1 and S11 split inteins showed high efficiencies (85-100%) of protein trans-splicing both in E. coli cells and in vitro. Under in vitro conditions, they exhibited reaction rate constants ranging from ∼1.7×10(-4) s(-1) to ∼3.8×10(-4) s(-1), which are comparable to or higher than those of previously reported atypical split inteins. These findings should facilitate a more general use of trans-splicing between proteins and synthetic peptides, by expanding the availability of different atypical split inteins. They also have implications on understanding the structure-function relationship of atypical split inteins, particularly in terms of intein fragment complementation.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(4):e59516. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The PRP8 intein is the most widespread intein among the Kingdom Fungi. This genetic element occurs within the prp8 gene, and is transcribed and translated simultaneously with the gene. After translation, the intein excises itself from the Prp8 protein by an autocatalytic splicing reaction, subsequently joining the N and C terminals of the host protein, which retains its functional conformation. Besides the splicing domain, some PRP8 inteins also have a homing endonuclease (HE) domain which, if functional, makes the intein a mobile element capable of becoming fixed in a population. This work aimed to study 1) The occurrence of this intein in Histoplasma capsulatum isolates (n = 99) belonging to different cryptic species collected in diverse geographical locations, and 2) The functionality of the endonuclease domains of H. capsulatum PRP8 inteins and their phylogenetic relationship among the cryptic species. Our results suggest that the PRP8 intein is fixed in H. capsulatum populations and that an admixture or a probable ancestral polymorphism of the PRP8 intein sequences is responsible for the apparent paraphyletic pattern of the LAmA clade which, in the intein phylogeny, also encompasses sequences from LAmB isolates. The PRP8 intein sequences clearly separate the different cryptic species, and may serve as an additional molecular typing tool, as previously proposed for other fungi genus, such as Cryptococcus and Paracoccidioides.
    Infection, genetics and evolution: journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases 05/2013; · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein sequences are diversified on the DNA level by recombination and mutation and can be further increased on the RNA level by alternative RNA splicing, involving introns that have important roles in many biological processes. The protein version of introns (inteins), which catalyze protein splicing, were first reported in the 1990s. The biological roles of protein splicing still remain elusive because inteins neither provide any clear benefits nor have an essential role in their host organisms. We now report protein alternative splicing, in which new protein sequences can be produced by protein recombination by intermolecular domain swapping of inteins, as elucidated by NMR spectroscopy and crystal structures. We demonstrate that intein-mediated protein alternative splicing could be a new strategy to increase protein diversity (that is, functions) without any modification in genetic backgrounds. We also exploited it as a post-translational protein conformation-driven switch of protein functions (for example, as highly specific protein interference).
    Nature Chemical Biology 08/2013; · 12.95 Impact Factor


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Xiang-Qin Liu