[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prediction of the structures of proteins without detectablesequence similarity to any protein of known structure remains anoutstanding scientific challenge. Here we describe de novo blindstructure predictions of unprecedented accuracy for two proteins in large families made in the recent CASP11 blind test of protein structure prediction methods by incorporating residue-residue co-evolution information in the Rosetta structure prediction program. We then use the method to generate structure models for 58 of the 121 large protein families in prokaryotes for which three dimensionalstructures are not available. These models, which are posted online for public access, provide structural information for the over 400,000 proteins belonging to the 58 families and suggest hypotheses about mechanism for the subset for which the function is known, and hypotheses about function for the remainder.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a widespread protein secretion apparatus used by Gram-negative bacteria to deliver toxic effector proteins into adjacent bacterial or host cells. Here, we uncovered a role in interbacterial competition for the two T6SSs encoded by the marine pathogen Vibrio alginolyticus. Using comparative proteomics and genetics, we identified their effector repertoires. In addition to the previously described effector V12G01_02265, we identified three new effectors secreted by T6SS1, indicating that the T6SS1 secretes at least four antibacterial effectors, of which three are members of the MIX-effector class. We also showed that the T6SS2 secretes at least three antibacterial effectors. Our findings revealed that many MIX-effectors belonging to clan V are "orphan" effectors that neighbor mobile elements and are shared between marine bacteria via horizontal gene transfer. We demonstrated that a MIX V-effector from V. alginolyticus is a functional T6SS effector when ectopically expressed in another Vibrio species. We propose that mobile MIX V-effectors serve as an environmental reservoir of T6SS effectors that are shared and used to diversify antibacterial toxin repertoires in marine bacteria, resulting in enhanced competitive fitness.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inference of homology from protein sequences provides an essential tool for analyzing protein structure, function, and evolution. Current sequence-based homology search methods are still unable to detect many similarities evident from protein spatial structures. In computer science a search engine can be improved by considering networks of known relationships within the search database. Here, we apply this idea to protein-sequence-based homology search and show that it dramatically enhances the search accuracy. Our new method, COMPADRE (COmparison of Multiple Protein sequence Alignments using Database RElationships) assesses the relationship between the query sequence and a hit in the database by considering the similarity between the query and hit's known homologs. This approach increases detection quality, boosting the precision rate from 18% to 83% at half-coverage of all database homologs. The increased precision rate allows detection of a large fraction of protein structural relationships, thus providing structure and function predictions for previously uncharacterized proteins. Our results suggest that this general approach is applicable to a wide variety of methods for detection of biological similarities. The web server is available at prodata.swmed.edu/compadre.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2015; 112(22):7003-8. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1424324112 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Understanding the evolution of a protein, including both close and distant relationships, often reveals insight into its structure and function. Fast and easy access to such up-to-date information facilitates research. We have developed a hierarchical evolutionary classification of all proteins with experimentally determined spatial structures, and presented it as an interactive and updatable online database. ECOD (Evolutionary Classification of protein Domains) is distinct from other structural classifications in that it groups domains primarily by evolutionary relationships (homology), rather than topology (or "fold"). This distinction highlights cases of homology between domains of differing topology to aid in understanding of protein structure evolution. ECOD uniquely emphasizes distantly related homologs that are difficult to detect, and thus catalogs the largest number of evolutionary links among structural domain classifications. Placing distant homologs together underscores the ancestral similarities of these proteins and draws attention to the most important regions of sequence and structure, as well as conserved functional sites. ECOD also recognizes closer sequence-based relationships between protein domains. Currently, approximately 100,000 protein structures are classified in ECOD into 9,000 sequence families clustered into close to 2,000 evolutionary groups. The classification is assisted by an automated pipeline that quickly and consistently classifies weekly releases of PDB structures and allows for continual updates. This synchronization with PDB uniquely distinguishes ECOD among all protein classifications. Finally, we present several case studies of homologous proteins not recorded in other classifications, illustrating the potential of how ECOD can be used to further biological and evolutionary studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To further understand the molecular distinctions between kidney cancer subtypes, we analyzed exome, transcriptome and copy number alteration data from 167 primary human tumors that included renal oncocytomas and non-clear cell renal cell carcinomas (nccRCCs), consisting of papillary (pRCC), chromophobe (chRCC) and translocation (tRCC) subtypes. We identified ten significantly mutated genes in pRCC, including MET, NF2, SLC5A3, PNKD and CPQ. MET mutations occurred in 15% (10/65) of pRCC samples and included previously unreported recurrent activating mutations. In chRCC, we found TP53, PTEN, FAAH2, PDHB, PDXDC1 and ZNF765 to be significantly mutated. Gene expression analysis identified a five-gene set that enabled the molecular classification of chRCC, renal oncocytoma and pRCC. Using RNA sequencing, we identified previously unreported gene fusions, including ACTG1-MITF fusion. Ectopic expression of the ACTG1-MITF fusion led to cellular transformation and induced the expression of downstream target genes. Finally, we observed upregulation of the anti-apoptotic factor BIRC7 in MiTF-high RCC tumors, suggesting a potential therapeutic role for BIRC7 inhibitors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The heme-copper oxidase superfamily includes heme-copper oxidases (HCOs) in aerobic respiratory chains and nitric oxide reductases (NORs) in the denitrification pathway. The HCO/NOR catalytic subunit has a core structure consisting of 12 transmembrane helices (TMHs) arranged in three-fold rotational pseudosymmetry, with six conserved histidines for heme and metal binding. Using sensitive sequence similarity searches, we detected a number of novel HCO/NOR homologs and named them HCO Homology (HCOH) proteins. Several HCOH families possess only four TMHs that exhibit the most pronounced similarity to the last four TMHs (TMHs 9-12) of HCOs/NORs. Encoded by independent genes, four-TMH HCOH proteins represent a single evolutionary unit (EU) that relates to each of the three homologous EUs from HCO/NOR comprising TMHs 1-4, TMHs 5-8 and TMHs 9-12. Single-EU HCOH proteins could form homotrimers or heterotrimers to maintain the general structure and ligand-binding sites defined by the HCO/NOR catalytic subunit fold. The remaining HCOH families, including NnrS, have 12-TMHs and three EUs. Most three-EU HCOH proteins possess two conserved histidines and could bind a single heme. Limited experimental studies and genomic context analysis suggest that many HCOH proteins could function in the denitrification pathway and in detoxification of reactive molecules such as nitric oxide. HCO/NOR catalytic subunits exhibit remarkable structural similarity to the homotrimers of MAPEG (membrane-associated proteins in eicosanoid and glutathione metabolism) proteins. Gene duplication, fusion and fission likely play important roles in the evolution of HCOs/NORs and HCOH proteins.
Protein Science 09/2014; 23(9). DOI:10.1002/pro.2503 · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vibrio parahaemolyticus is a Gram-negative halophilic bacterium and one of the leading causes of food-borne gastroenteritis. Its genome harbors two Type III Secretion Systems (T3SS1 and T3SS2), but only T3SS2 is required for enterotoxicity seen in animal models. Effector proteins secreted from T3SS2 have been previously shown to promote colonization of the intestinal epithelium, invasion of host cells, and destruction of the epithelial monolayer. In this study, we identify VPA1380, a T3SS2 effector protein that is toxic when expressed in yeast. Bioinformatic analyses revealed that VPA1380 is highly similar to the inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6)-inducible cysteine protease domains of several large bacterial toxins. Mutations in conserved catalytic residues and residues in the putative IP6-binding pocket abolished toxicity in yeast. Furthermore, VPA1380 was not toxic in IP6 deficient yeast cells. Therefore, our findings suggest that VPA1380 is a cysteine protease that requires IP6 as an activator.
PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8)(8):e104387. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0104387 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacteria use diverse mechanisms to kill, manipulate, and compete with other cells. The recently discovered type VI secretion system (T6SS) is widespread in bacterial pathogens and used to deliver virulence effector proteins into target cells. Using comparative proteomics, we identified two previously unidentified T6SS effectors that contained a conserved motif. Bioinformatic analyses revealed that this N-terminal motif, named MIX (marker for type six effectors), is found in numerous polymorphic bacterial proteins that are primarily located in the T6SS genome neighborhood. We demonstrate that several MIX-containing proteins are T6SS effectors and that they are not required for T6SS activity. Thus, we propose that MIX-containing proteins are T6SS effectors. Our findings allow for the identification of numerous uncharacterized T6SS effectors that will undoubtedly lead to the discovery of new biological mechanisms.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2014; 111(25). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1406110111 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial Type III Secretion Systems deliver effectors into host cells to manipulate cellular processes to the advantage of the pathogen. Many host targets of these effectors are found on membranes. Therefore, to identify their targets, effectors often use specialized membrane-localization domains to localize to appropriate host membranes. However, the molecular mechanisms used by many domains are unknown. Here we identify a conserved bacterial phosphoinositide-binding domain (BPD) that is found in functionally diverse Type III effectors of both plant and animal pathogens. We show that members of the BPD family functionally bind phosphoinositides and mediate localization to host membranes. Moreover, NMR studies reveal that the BPD of the newly identified Vibrio parahaemolyticus Type III effector VopR is unfolded in solution, but folds into a specific structure upon binding its ligand phosphatidylinositol-(4,5)-bisphosphate. Thus, our findings suggest a possible mechanism for promoting refolding of Type III effectors after delivery into host cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Unlabelled:
Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, remains a devastating human infectious disease, causing two million deaths annually. We previously demonstrated that M. tuberculosis induces an enzyme, heme oxygenase (HO1), that produces carbon monoxide (CO) gas and that M. tuberculosis adapts its transcriptome during CO exposure. We now demonstrate that M. tuberculosis carries a novel resistance gene to combat CO toxicity. We screened an M. tuberculosis transposon library for CO-susceptible mutants and found that disruption of Rv1829 (carbon monoxide resistance, Cor) leads to marked CO sensitivity. Heterologous expression of Cor in Escherichia coli rescued it from CO toxicity. Importantly, the virulence of the cor mutant is attenuated in a mouse model of tuberculosis. Thus, Cor is necessary and sufficient to protect bacteria from host-derived CO. Taken together, this represents the first report of a role for HO1-derived CO in controlling infection of an intracellular pathogen and the first identification of a CO resistance gene in a pathogenic organism.
Macrophages produce a variety of antimicrobial molecules, including nitric oxide (NO), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and acid (H+), that serve to kill engulfed bacteria. In addition to these molecules, human and mouse macrophages also produce carbon monoxide (CO) gas by the heme oxygenase (HO1) enzyme. We observed that, in contrast to other bacteria, mycobacteria are resistant to CO, suggesting that this might be an evolutionary adaptation of mycobacteria for survival within macrophages. We screened a panel of ~2,500 M. tuberculosis mutants to determine which genes are required for survival of M. tuberculosis in the presence of CO. Within this panel, we identified one such gene, cor, that specifically confers CO resistance. Importantly, we found that the ability of M. tuberculosis cells carrying a mutated copy of this gene to cause tuberculosis in a mouse disease model is significantly attenuated. This indicates that CO resistance is essential for mycobacterial survival in vivo.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell surface growth factor receptors couple environmental cues to the regulation of cytoplasmic homeostatic processes, including autophagy, and aberrant activation of such receptors is a common feature of human malignancies. Here, we defined the molecular basis by which the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase regulates autophagy. Active EGFR binds the autophagy protein Beclin 1, leading to its multisite tyrosine phosphorylation, enhanced binding to inhibitors, and decreased Beclin 1-associated VPS34 kinase activity. EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy disrupts Beclin 1 tyrosine phosphorylation and binding to its inhibitors and restores autophagy in non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) cells with a TKI-sensitive EGFR mutation. In NSCLC tumor xenografts, the expression of a tyrosine phosphomimetic Beclin 1 mutant leads to reduced autophagy, enhanced tumor growth, tumor dedifferentiation, and resistance to TKI therapy. Thus, oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinases directly regulate the core autophagy machinery, which may contribute to tumor progression and chemoresistance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanism of autophagy and its relationship to other lysosomal degradation pathways remain incompletely understood. Here, we identified a previously uncharacterized mammalian-specific protein, Beclin 2, which, like Beclin 1, functions in autophagy and interacts with class III PI3K complex components and Bcl-2. However, Beclin 2, but not Beclin 1, functions in an additional lysosomal degradation pathway. Beclin 2 is required for ligand-induced endolysosomal degradation of several G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) through its interaction with GASP1. Beclin 2 homozygous knockout mice have decreased embryonic viability, and heterozygous knockout mice have defective autophagy, increased levels of brain cannabinoid 1 receptor, elevated food intake, and obesity and insulin resistance. Our findings identify Beclin 2 as a converging regulator of autophagy and GPCR turnover and highlight the functional and mechanistic diversity of Beclin family members in autophagy, endolysosomal trafficking, and metabolism.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One approach to infer functions of new proteins from their homologs utilizes visualization of an all-against-all pairwise similarity network (A2ApsN) that exploits the speed of BLAST and avoids the complexity of multiple sequence alignment. However, identifying functions of the protein clusters in A2ApsN is never trivial, due to a lack of linking characterized proteins to their relevant information in current software packages. Given the database errors introduced by automatic annotation transfer, functional deduction should be made from proteins with experimental studies, i.e. "reference proteins". Here, we present a web server, termed Pclust, which provides a user-friendly interface to visualize the A2ApsN, placing emphasis on such "reference proteins" and providing access to their full information in source databases, e.g. articles in PubMed. The identification of "reference proteins" and the ease of cross-database linkage will facilitate understanding the functions of protein clusters in the network, thus promoting interpretation of proteins of interest.
The Pclust server is freely available at http://prodata.swmed.edu/pclust CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: VEGF and PDGF receptors are implicated in development and tumorigenesis and dual inhibitors like sunitinib are prescribed for cancer treatment. While mammalian VEGF and PDGF receptors are present in multiple isoforms and heterodimers, Drosophila encodes one ancestral PDGF/VEGF receptor, PVR. We identified PVR in an unbiased cell-based RNAi screen of all Drosophila kinases and phosphatases for novel regulators of TORC1. PVR is essential to sustain TORC1 and ERK activity in cultured insect cells and for maximal stimulation by insulin. CG32406 (hereafter PVRAP, for PVR adaptor protein), an SH2-domain containing protein, binds PVR and is required for TORC1 activation. TORC1 activation by PVR involves Tsc1/Tsc2 and, in a cell type-dependent manner, Lobe|PRAS40. PVR is required for cell survival in vitro, and both PVR and TORC1 are necessary for hemocyte expansion in vivo. Constitutive PVR activation induces tumor-like structures that exhibit high TORC1 activity. Like its mammalian orthologs, PVR is inhibited by sunitinib, and sunitinib treatment phenocopies PVR loss in hemocytes. Sunitinib inhibits TORC1 in insect cells, and sunitinib-mediated TORC1 inhibition requires an intact Tsc1/Tsc2 complex. Sunitinib similarly inhibited TORC1 in human endothelial cells in a Tsc1/Tsc2-dependent manner. Our findings provide insight into the mechanism of action of PVR and may have implications for understanding sunitinib sensitivity and resistance in tumors.