[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peptide hormones perform important biological functions by binding specific cell membrane receptors. For hormone–receptor interaction studies, receptor-binding assays are widely used. However, conventional receptor-binding assays rely on radioactive tracers that have drawbacks. In recent studies, we established novel non-radioactive receptor-binding assays for some recombinant protein hormones based on the ultrasensitive bioluminescence of a newly developed nanoluciferase (NanoLuc) reporter. In the present work, we extended the novel bioluminescent receptor-binding assay to peptide hormones that have small size and can be conveniently prepared by chemical synthesis. Human ghrelin, a 28-amino acid peptide hormone carrying a special O-fatty acid modification, was used as a model. To prepare a bioluminescent ghrelin tracer, a chemically synthesized ghrelin analog with a unique cysteine residue at the C-terminus was site-specifically conjugated with an engineered NanoLuc with a unique exposed cysteine residue at the C-terminus via a reversible disulfide linkage. The NanoLuc-conjugated ghrelin retained high binding affinity with the ghrelin receptor GHSR1a (K
d = 1.14 ± 0.13 nM, n = 3) and was able to sensitively monitor the receptor-binding of various GHSR1a ligands. The novel bioluminescent receptor-binding assay will facilitate the interaction studies of ghrelin with its receptor. We also proposed general procedures for convenient conjugation of other peptide hormones with NanoLuc for novel bioluminescent receptor-binding assays.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Relaxin family peptides are a group of peptide hormones with divergent biological functions. Mature relaxin family peptides are typically composed of two polypeptide chains with three disulfide linkages, rendering their preparation a challenging task. In the present study, we established an efficient approach for preparation of the chimeric relaxin family peptide R3/I5 through secretory overexpression in Pichia pastoris and in vitro enzymatic maturation. A designed single-chain R3/I5 precursor containing the B-chain of human relaxin-3 and the A-chain of human INSL5 was overexpressed in PichiaPink strain 1 by high-density fermentation in a two-liter fermenter, and approximately 200 mg of purified precursor was obtained from one liter of the fermentation supernatant. We also developed an economical approach for preparation of the uniformly (15)N-labeled R3/I5 precursor by culturing in shaking flasks, and approximately 15 mg of purified (15)N-labeled precursor was obtained from one liter of the culture supernatant. After purification by cation ion-exchange chromatography and reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography, the R3/I5 precursor was converted to the mature two-chain form by sequential treatment with endoproteinase Lys-C and carboxypeptidase B. The mature R3/I5 peptide had an α-helix-dominated conformation and retained full receptor-binding and receptor activation activities. Thus, Pichia overexpression was an efficient approach for sample preparation and isotopic labeling of the chimeric R3/I5 peptide. This approach could also be extended to the preparation of other relaxin family peptides in future studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insulin-like peptide 5 (INSL5) is an insulin/relaxin superfamily peptide involved in the regulation of glucose homeostasis by activating its receptor RXFP4, which can also be activated by relaxin-3 in vitro. To determine the interaction mechanism of INSL5 with its receptor RXFP4, we studied their electrostatic interactions using a charge-exchange mutagenesis approach. First, we identified three negatively charged extracellular residues (Glu100, Asp104 and Glu182) in human RXFP4 that were important for receptor activation by wild-type INSL5. Second, we demonstrated that two positively charged B-chain Arg residues (B13Arg and B23Arg) in human INSL5 were involved in receptor binding and activation. Third, we proposed probable electrostatic interactions between INSL5 and RXFP4: the B-chain central B13Arg of INSL5 interacts with both Asp104 and Glu182 of RXFP4, meanwhile the B-chain C-terminal B23Arg of INSL5 interacts with both Glu100 and Asp104 of RXFP4. The present electrostatic interactions between INSL5 and RXFP4 were similar to our previously identified interactions between relaxin-3 and RXFP4, but had subtle differences that might be caused by the different B-chain C-terminal conformations of relaxin-3 and INSL5 because a dipeptide exchange at the B-chain C-terminus significantly decreased the activity of INSL5 and relaxin-3 to receptor RXFP4.
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 09/2014; 558. DOI:10.1016/j.abb.2014.07.010 · 3.02 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Relaxin-3 is a newly identified insulin/relaxin superfamily peptide that plays a putative role in the regulation of food intake and stress response by activating its cognate G-protein-coupled receptor RXFP3. Relaxin-3 has three highly conserved arginine residues, B12Arg, B16Arg and B26Arg. We speculated that these positively charged arginines may interact with certain negatively charged residues of RXFP3. To test this hypothesis, we first replaced the negatively charged residues in the extracellular domain of RXFP3 with arginine, respectively. Receptor activation assays showed that arginine replacement of Glu141 or Asp145, especially Glu141, significantly decreased the sensitivity of RXFP3 to wild-type relaxin-3. In contrast, arginine replacement of other negatively charged extracellular residues had little effect. Thus, we deduced that Glu141 and Asp145, locating at the extracellular end of the second transmembrane domain, played a critical role in the interaction of RXFP3 with relaxin-3. To identify the ligand residues interacting with the negatively charged EXXXD motif of RXFP3, we replaced the three conserved arginines of relaxin-3 with negatively charged glutamate or aspartate, respectively. The mutant relaxin-3s retained the native structure, but their binding and activation potencies towards wild-type RXFP3 were decreased significantly. The compensatory effects of the mutant relaxin-3s towards mutant RXFP3s suggested two probable interaction pairs during ligand-receptor interaction: Glu141 of RXFP3 interacted with B26Arg of relaxin-3, meanwhile Asp145 of RXFP3 interacted with both B12Arg and B16Arg of relaxin-3. Based on these results, we proposed a relaxin-3/RXFP3 interaction model that shed new light on the interaction mechanism of the relaxin family peptides with their receptors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insulin-like peptide 3 (INSL3) is a reproduction-related peptide hormone belonging to the insulin/relaxin superfamily, which mediates testicular descent in the male fetus, suppresses male germ cell apoptosis and promotes oocyte maturation in adults by activating the relaxin family peptide receptor 2 (RXFP2). To establish an ultrasensitive receptor-binding assay for INSL3-RXFP2 interaction studies, in the present work we labeled a recombinant INSL3 peptide with a newly developed nanoluciferase (NanoLuc) reporter through a convenient chemical conjugation approach, including the introduction of an active disulfide bond to INSL3 by chemical modification and engineering of a 6×His-Cys-NanoLuc carrying a unique exposed cysteine at the N-terminus. The bioluminescent NanoLuc-conjugated INSL3 retained high binding affinity with the target receptor RXFP2 (Kd=2.0 ± 0.1 nM, n=3) and was able to sensitively monitor the receptor-binding of a variety of ligands, representing a novel ultrasensitive tracer for non-radioactive receptor-binding assays. Our present chemical conjugation approach could readily be adapted for conjugation of NanoLuc with other proteins, even other macrobiomolecules, for various highly sensitive bioluminescent assays.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insulin-like peptide 3 (INSL3) is a peptide hormone belonging to the insulin/relaxin superfamily, which mediates testes descent in the male fetus, and suppresses male germ cell apoptosis and promotes oocyte maturation in adults by activating the leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein coupled receptor RXFP2. In a previous work, we prepared mature two-chain INSL3 by recombinant expression of a designed single-chain precursor in Escherichia coli and subsequent in vitro maturation. To establish a convenient high throughput receptor-binding assay for screening novel RXFP2 agonists or antagonists, in the present study we designed and recombinantly prepared a fully active easily-labeled INSL3 analog. Due to presence of a single primary amine moiety, the easily-labeled analog was conveniently mono-labeled by a DTPA/Eu3+-moiety at the A-chain N-terminus through reacting with excess modification reagent in a simple one-step procedure. The DTPA/Eu3+-labeled INSL3 analog bound receptor RXFP2 with high affinity and low non-specific binding. Using this non-radioactive tracer, we established a high throughput cell-based receptor-binding assay for screening of novel RXFP2 agonists or antagonists in future studies.
PROCESS BIOCHEMISTRY 12/2012; 47(12):1856–1860. DOI:10.1016/j.procbio.2012.06.013 · 2.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Relaxin-3 (also known as INSL7) is a recently identified neuropeptide belonging to the insulin/relaxin superfamily. It plays a putative role in the regulation of food intake, in the stress response and in reproduction by activating the G-protein-coupled receptor, RXFP3. In a previous study, we prepared 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA)/Eu(3+)-labelled human relaxin-3 as a tracer for the study of ligand-receptor interactions, which necessitated a complicated site-specific labelling strategy because human relaxin-3 contains four primary amine moieties, all of which react with the primary amine-specific modification reagent. To simplify the labelling procedure, in the present study we created an easily labelled, recombinant analogue of human relaxin-3 with only one primary amine moiety at the A-chain N-terminus. The analogue retained full activity and could be easily labelled by various functional probes at the A-chain N-terminus. The DOTA/Eu(3+)-labelled analogue retained high binding affinity for its cognate receptor, RXFP3, and thus represents a useful, nonradioactive and stable tracer for studying the interaction of RXFP3 with various natural or synthetic ligands. This new analogue is also a suitable template for the design of other relaxin-3 analogues that can be easily labelled with the DOTA/Eu(3+) moiety and used to study binding activity and interactions with various RXFP3 analogues in the future.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Relaxin-3 (also known as INSL7) is a recently identified neuropeptide belonging to the insulin/relaxin superfamily. It has putative roles in the regulation of stress responses, food intake, and reproduction by activation of its cognate G-protein-coupled receptor RXFP3. It also binds and activates the relaxin family peptide receptors RXFP1 and RXFP4 in vitro. To obtain a europium-labeled relaxin-3 as tracer for studying the interaction of these receptors with various ligands, in the present work we propose a novel site-specific labeling strategy for the recombinant human relaxin-3 that has been previously prepared in our laboratory. First, the N-terminal 6 × His-tag of the single-chain relaxin-3 precursor was removed by Aeromonas aminopeptidase and all of the primary amines of the resultant peptide were reversibly blocked by citroconic anhydride. Second, the A-chain N-terminus of the blocked peptide was released by endoproteinase Asp-N cleavage that removed the linker peptide between the B- and A-chains. Third, an alkyne moiety was introduced to the newly released A-chain N-terminus by reaction with the highly active primary amine-specific N-hydroxysuccinimide ester. Fourth, after removal of the reversible blockage under mild acidic condition, europium-loaded DOTA with an azide moiety was introduced to the two-chain relaxin-3 carrying the alkyne moiety through click chemistry. Using this site-specific labeling strategy, homogeneous monoeuropium-labeled human relaxin-3 could be obtained with good overall yield. In contrast, conventional random labeling resulted in a complex mixture that was poorly resolved because human relaxin-3 has four primary amine moieties that all react with the modification reagent. Both saturation and competition binding assays demonstrated that the DOTA/Eu(3+)-labeled relaxin-3 retained high binding affinity for human RXFP3, RXFP4, and RXFP1 and was therefore a suitable non-radioactive and stable tracer to study the interaction of various natural or designed ligands with these receptors. Using this site-specific labeling strategy, other functional probes, such as fluorescent dyes, biotin, or nanoparticles could also be introduced to the A-chain N-terminal of the recombinant human relaxin-3. Additionally, we improved the time-resolved fluorescence assay for the DOTA-bound europium ion which paves the way for the use of DOTA as a lanthanide chelator for protein and peptide labeling in future studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insulin-like peptide 6 (INSL6) is a newly identified peptide hormone belonging to the insulin/relaxin superfamily. It is predominantly expressed in the testes and responsible for spermatogenesis. It also shows potential for the treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia. For further basic and preclinical studies, significant quantities of INSL6 peptide are needed. In the present work, we designed and recombinantly expressed a single-chain human INSL6 precursor in Escherichia coli. After purification, in vitro refolding, and cyanogen bromide cleavage, the single-chain precursor was converted to mature two-chain INSL6 peptide. So far, the receptor of INSL6 is remained unknown. To identify its receptor, site-specifically biotin-labeled INSL6 analogues are useful. Thus, we designed and recombinantly prepared a two-chain INSL6 analogue carrying an Avi-tag at the N-terminal of B-chain. Subsequently, biotin moiety was covalently attached to the Avi-tag of the analogue catalyzed by biotin ligase. Circular dichro
PROCESS BIOCHEMISTRY 06/2011; 46(6):1243-1247. DOI:10.1016/j.procbio.2011.02.011 · 2.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Relaxin-3 (also known as INSL7) is the most recently identified member of the insulin-like family. It is predominantly expressed in the nucleus incertus of the brain and involved in the control of stress response, food intake, and reproduction. In the present work, we have established a simple approach for the preparation of the mature human relaxin-3 peptide. We first designed and recombinantly expressed a single-chain relaxin-3 precursor in E. coli cells. After purification by immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography, refolding in vitro through disulfide reshuffling, and digestion by endoproteinase Asp-N, mature human relaxin-3 was obtained in high yield and at low cost. Peptide mapping and circular dichroism spectroscopy studies suggested that the recombinant relaxin-3 adopted an insulin-like fold with the expected disulfide linkages. The recombinant mature relaxin-3 was fully active in both RXFP3 binding and activation assays. The activity of the single-chain precursor was very low, suggesting that a free C-terminus of the B-chain is necessary for receptor-binding and activation of relaxin-3. Our present work provides a highly efficient approach for the preparation of relaxin-3 as well as its analogues for functional and structural analyses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insulin-like peptide 5 (INSL5) is a recently identified insulin superfamily member. Although it binds to and activates the G-protein coupled receptor, RXFP4, its precise biological function remains unknown. To help determine its function, significant quantities of INSL5 are required. In the present work, three single-chain INSL5 precursors were designed, two of which were successfully expressed in E. coli cells. The expressed precursors were solubilized from inclusion bodies, purified almost to homogeneity by immobilized metal-ion affinity chromatography, and then refolded in vitro. One precursor could be converted to two-chain human INSL5 bearing an extended N-terminus of the A-chain (designated long-INSL5) by sequential Lys-C endoproteinase and carboxypeptidase B treatment. The 6 residue A-chain N-terminal extension of long-INSL5 was subsequently removed by Aeromonas aminopeptidase to yield native INSL5 that was designated short-INSL5. Circular dichroism spectroscopic analysis and peptide mapping showed that the recombinant INSL5s adopted an insulin-like conformation and possessed the expected characteristic insulin-like disulfide linkages. Activity assay showed that both long- and short-INSL5 had full RXFP4 receptor activity compared with chemically synthesized human INSL5. This suggested that extension of the N-terminus of the A-chain of long-INSL5 did not adversely impact upon the binding to or activation of the RXFP4 receptor. However, the single-chain INSL5 precursor was inactive which indicated that a free C-terminus of the B-chain is critical for the activity of INSL5. Our present work thus provides an efficient approach for preparation of INSL5 and its analogs through recombinant expression in E. coli cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In our present work, seven conotoxins and conopeptides were cloned from four cone snail species based on the M-superfamily signal peptides. Among them, two conopeptides, Vt3.1 and Vt3.2, showed unusual sequence characteristics. Both of them contained two cysteines that are separated by just one non-cysteine residue. In vitro, the chemically synthesized Vt3.1 formed dimers with different intermolecular disulfide linkages. Only the dimer with crossed disulfides showed bioactivity when injected into the intraventricular region of mice brains. Therefore, Vt3.1 and Vt3.2 represent a new group of conopeptides that form disulfide-crosslinked dimers in vitro and probably in vivo.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bowman-Birk protease inhibitors have recently attracted attention for their potential as cancer preventive and suppressing agents. They contain two canonical binding loops, both consisting of nine highly conserved residues capable of inhibiting corresponding serine proteases. In this study, we cloned the cDNA of the mung bean trypsin inhibitor, one of the most studied Bowman-Birk protease inhibitors. A modified peptide, Lys33GP, with 33 residues derived from the long chain of the Lys active fragment of mung bean trypsin inhibitor, was successfully expressed in Escherichia coli as a glutathione-S-transferase fusion protein. The recombinant product was obtained with a high yield, and exhibited potent inhibitory activity. Meanwhile, a shorter peptide composed of only 16 residues (the Lys16 peptide), corresponding to the active core of the fragment, was synthesized. Both the recombinant and the synthesized peptides had the same inhibitory activity toward trypsin at a molar ratio of 1 : 1, implying that the Lys16 peptide with two disulfide bonds is possibly the essential structural unit for inhibitory activity. Using site-directed mutagenesis, the P(1) position Lys was replaced by Phe, and the resulting mutant, Lys33K/F, was determined to have potent chymotrypsin inhibitory activity. Both Lys33GP and the Lys33K/F mutant may be potential pharmaceutical agents for the prevention of oncogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Insulin-like peptide 3 (INSL3), which is primarily expressed in the Leydig cells of the testes, is a member of the insulin superfamily of peptide hormones. One of its primary functions is to initiate and mediate descent of the testes of the male fetus via interaction with its G protein-coupled receptor, RXFP2. Study of the peptide has relied upon chemical synthesis of the separate A- and B-chains and subsequent chain recombination. To establish an alternative approach to the preparation of human INSL3, we designed and recombinantly expressed a single-chain INSL3 precursor in Escherichia coli cells. The precursor was solubilized from the inclusion body, purified almost to homogeneity by immobilized metal-ion affinity chromatography and refolded efficiently in vitro. The refolded precursor was subsequently converted to mature human INSL3 by sequential endoproteinase Lys-C and carboxypeptidase B treatment. CD spectroscopic analysis and peptide mapping showed that the refolded INSL3 possessed an insulin-like fold with the expected disulfide linkages. Recombinant human INSL3 demonstrated full activity in stimulating cAMP activity in RXFP2-expressing cells. Interestingly, the activity of the single-chain precursor was comparable with that of the mature two-chain INSL3, suggesting that the receptor-binding region within the mid- to C-terminal of B-chain is maintained in an active conformation in the precursor. This study not only provides an efficient approach for mature INSL3 preparation, but also resulted in the acquisition of a useful single-chain template for additional structural and functional studies of the peptide.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We purified two novel conotoxins, designated as ca11a and ca11b, from the venom of Conus caracteristicus. Based on the amino acid sequence of mature ca11a, we cloned its full-length cDNA. Based on the signal peptide of ca11a, several ca11a-like conotoxins were cloned from C. caracteristicus and C. pulicarius. These novel conotoxins have an I-superfamily cysteine pattern but with a novel signal peptide sequence, suggesting they belong to a new branch of I-superfamily, designated as I(3)-superfamily. Additionally, two O-superfamily conotoxins were also cloned based on the signal peptide of ca11a, suggesting a possible evolutionary relationship between O- and I-superfamilies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new conotoxin, ca16a, containing 8 cysteine residues was purified, sequenced, and cloned from a worm-hunting snail, Conus caracteristicus. This conotoxin is an extremely hydrophilic peptide comprising 34 residues, with 4 acidic and 4 basic residues. It is rich in polar Gly, Ser, and Thr residues and includes a hydroxylated Pro residue. The cysteine arrangement pattern of ca16a (-C-C-CC-C-CC-C-, designated as framework #16) is distinct from that of other known conotoxins. Furthermore, the signal peptide sequence of this conotoxin does not share any homology with those of other conotoxins. Leu residues account for almost 50% of its 20-residue signal peptide. The unique cysteine framework and signal peptide sequence of ca16a suggest that it belongs to a new conotoxin superfamily.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The oxidative folding of disulfide-rich conotoxins is essential for their biological functions. In vivo, disulfide bond formation is mainly catalyzed by protein disulfide isomerase. To elucidate the physiologic roles of protein disulfide isomerase in the folding of conotoxins, we have cloned a novel full-length protein disulfide isomerase from Conus marmoreus. Its ORF encodes a 500 amino acid protein that shares sequence homology with protein disulfide isomerases from other species, and 70% homology with human protein disulfide isomerase. Enzymatic analyses of recombinant C. marmoreus protein disulfide isomerase showed that it shared functional similarities with human protein disulfide isomerase. Using conotoxins tx3a and sTx3.1 as substrate, we analyzed the oxidase and isomerase activities of the C. marmoreus protein disulfide isomerase and found that it was much more efficient than glutathione in catalyzing oxidative folding and disulfide isomerization of conotoxins. We further demonstrated that macromolecular crowding had little effect on the protein disulfide isomerase-catalyzed oxidative folding and disulfide isomerization of conotoxins. On the basis of these data, we propose that the C. marmoreus protein disulfide isomerase plays a key role during in vivo folding of conotoxins.