Ruoyan Xu

University of Liverpool, Liverpool, ENG, United Kingdom

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Publications (6)27.27 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A single maleimide function has been installed onto the self-assembled monolayer of gold nanoparticles using copper-free click chemistry, allowing simple covalent biofunctionalisation. This is demonstrated by the coupling of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) protein and an oligosaccharide (heparin-derived dodecasaccharide; dp12) in a 1:1 stoichiometry by thiol-Michael addition, while retaining chromatographic properties relevant to their biological activities.
    Chemical Communications 09/2014; · 6.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The evolution of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF)–FGF receptor (FGFR) signalling system has closely followed that of multicellular organisms. The abilities of nine FGFs (FGF-1 to FGF-9; examples of FGF subfamilies 1, 4, 7, 8, and 9) and seven FGFRs or isoforms (FGFR1b, FGFR1c, FGFR2b, FGFR2c, FGFR3b, FGFR3c, and FGFR4) to support signalling in the presence of heparin, a proxy for the cellular heparan sulfate coreceptor, were assembled into a network. A connection between two FGFRs was defined as their mutual ability to signal with a particular FGF. The network contained a core of four receptors (FGFR1c, FGFR2c, FGFR3c, and FGFR4) with complete connectivity and high redundancy. Analysis of the wider network indicated that neither FGF-3 nor FGF-7 was well connected to this core of four receptors, and that divergence of a precursor of FGF subgroups 1, 4 and 9 from FGF subgroup 8 may have allowed expansion from a three-member FGFR core signalling system to the four-member core network. This increases by four-fold the number of possible signalling combinations. Synchrotron radiation CD spectra of the FGFs with heparin revealed no overall common structural change, suggesting the existence of distinct heparin-binding sites throughout the FGFs. The approach provides a potential method of identifying agents capable of influencing particular FGF–FGFR combinations, or areas of the signalling network, for experimental or therapeutic purposes.
    FEBS Journal 05/2013; 280(10). · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The functions of a large number (> 435) of extracellular regulatory proteins are controlled by their interactions with heparan sulfate (HS). In the case of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs), HS binding determines their transport between cells and is required for the assembly of high affinity signalling complexes with their cognate FGF receptors. However, the specificity of the interaction of FGFs with HS is still debated. Here, we use a panel of FGFs (FGF-1, FGF-2, FGF-7, FGF-9, FGF-18 and FGF-21) spanning five FGF sub-families to probe their specificities for HS at different levels: binding parameters, identification of heparin binding sites (HBSs) in the FGFs, changes in their secondary structure caused by heparin binding and structures in the sugar required for binding. For interaction with heparin, the FGFs exhibit KD values varying between 38 nM (FGF-18) and 620 nM (FGF-9) and association rate constants spanning over 20-fold (FGF-1, 2,900,000 M(-1)s(-1), FGF-9, 130,000 M(-1)s(-1)). The canonical HBS in FGF-1, FGF-2, FGF-7, FGF-9 and FGF-18 differs in its size and these FGFs have a different complement of secondary HBS, ranging from none (FGF-9) to two (FGF-1). Differential scanning fluorimetry identified clear preferences in these FGFs for distinct structural features in the polysaccharide. These data suggest that the differences in heparin binding sites in both the protein and the sugar are greatest between sub-families and may be more restricted within a FGF sub-family in accord with the known conservation of function within FGF sub-families.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2012; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Heparan sulfate (HS) is present on the surface of virtually all mammalian cells and is a major component of the extracellular matrix (ECM), where it plays a pivotal role in cell-cell and cell-matrix cross-talk through its large interactome. Disruption of HS biosynthesis in mice results in neonatal death as a consequence of malformed lungs, indicating that HS is crucial for airway morphogenesis. Neonatal mortality (~50%) in newborns with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is principally associated with lung hypoplasia and pulmonary hypertension. Given the importance of HS for lung morphogenesis, we investigated developmental changes in HS structure in normal and hypoplastic lungs using the nitrofen rat model of CDH and semi-synthetic bacteriophage ('phage) display antibodies, which identify distinct HS structures. The pulmonary pattern of elaborated HS structures is developmentally regulated. For example, the HS4E4V epitope is highly expressed in sub-epithelial mesenchyme of E15.5 - E17.5 lungs and at a lower level in more distal mesenchyme. However, by E19.5, this epitope is expressed similarly throughout the lung mesenchyme.We also reveal abnormalities in HS fine structure and spatiotemporal distribution of HS epitopes in hypoplastic CDH lungs. These changes involve structures recognised by key growth factors, FGF2 and FGF9. For example, the EV3C3V epitope, which was abnormally distributed in the mesenchyme of hypoplastic lungs, is recognised by FGF2. The observed spatiotemporal changes in HS structure during normal lung development will likely reflect altered activities of many HS-binding proteins regulating lung morphogenesis. Abnormalities in HS structure and distribution in hypoplastic lungs can be expected to perturb HS:protein interactions, ECM microenvironments and crucial epithelial-mesenchyme communication, which may contribute to lung dysmorphogenesis. Indeed, a number of epitopes correlate with structures recognised by FGFs, suggesting a functional consequence of the observed changes in HS in these lungs. These results identify a novel, significant molecular defect in hypoplastic lungs and reveals HS as a potential contributor to hypoplastic lung development in CDH. Finally, these results afford the prospect that HS-mimetic therapeutics could repair defective signalling in hypoplastic lungs, improve lung growth, and reduce CDH mortality.
    BMC Developmental Biology 06/2011; 11:38. · 2.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The activities of heparan sulfate (HS) and heparin do not correlate simply with sulfation levels or sequence. The alternative hypothesis, that appropriate charge and conformational characteristics for protein binding and activity can be provided by other sequences in heparan sulfate and, possibly, also in unrelated sulfated polysaccharides, is explored. Differential scanning fluorimetry was used to measure the thermostabilisation bestowed by modified heparin polysaccharides (proxies for heparan sulfate) on fibroblast growth factor-1 (FGF-1) and fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2), prototypical heparan sulfate-binding proteins, revealing varied abilities and primary sequence-activity redundancy. The effect of substitution pattern on the heparin/heparan sulfate backbone was explored using principal component analysis of (13)C NMR chemical shift data for homogeneously modified heparin polysaccharides revealing complex conformational effects. No simple relationship emerged between these polysaccharides, with their distinct charge distributions and geometries, and their ability to signal. Other, structurally unrelated sulfated polysaccharides were also able to support signalling. These influenced FGF stabilisation in a similar manner to the HS analogues and provided analogous cell signalling activity. For FGF-1, but not FGF-2, signaling correlated strongly with protein stabilisation and circular dichroism spectroscopy demonstrated that some non-HS polysaccharides invoked comparable secondary structural changes to those induced by heparin. Active conformations can readily be found in several heparin derivatives, as well as among non-HS polysaccharides, which comprise unrelated primary sequences, confirming the hypothesis and implying that the level of unique information contained in HS sequences may be much lower than previously thought.
    Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry 12/2010; 8(23):5390-7. · 3.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The interaction between glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and proteins is important for the regulation of protein transport and activity. Here we present a novel method for the measurement of protein-GAG interactions suitable for high-throughput screening, able to discriminate between the interactions of a protein with GAGs of different structures. Binding of proteins to the GAG heparin, a proxy for sulfated regions of extracellular heparan sulfate, was found to enhance the stability of three test proteins, fibroblast growth factors (FGFs)-1, -2, and -18. Chemically modified heparins and heparin oligosaccharides of different lengths stabilized the three FGFs to different extents, depending on the pattern of sugar binding specificity. The method is based on a differential scanning fluorescence approach. It uses a Sypro Orange dye, which binds to exposed core residues of a denatured protein and results in an increased fluorescence signal. It is convenient, requiring low micromolar amounts of protein and ligand compared to other interaction assays, employing only a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) instrument.
    Analytical Chemistry 03/2010; 82(9):3796-802. · 5.70 Impact Factor