[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa L.) is a perennial herb native to deciduous woodlands in eastern North America with an extensive history of traditional use, most commonly for rheumatoid arthri- tis and female reproductive issues. Modern clinical research has maintained this herb’s relevance into the 21st century with a majority of authentic black cohosh raw material still harvested from naturally occurring populations in Appalachian woodlands for use in botanical supplements. In- creased use and interest in black cohosh have led to increased wild harvesting, reports of adulte- ration, and stress on this important natural resource. In an effort to study this significant medicin- al plant as part of an ecosystem, and to understand factors that would contribute to the more ef- fective growth and maintenance of black cohosh, key chemical, physiological, and ecological as- pects of two occurring populations in western Maryland were surveyed. Rhizomes were harvested from six populations of naturally occurring black cohosh in two state forests located in the Alleg- heny Plateau and Ridge and Valley physiogeographic provinces of Maryland. The concentrations of five medicinal compounds found in black cohosh extracts, actein, 23-epi-26-deoxyactein, cafeic acid, ferulicacid, and N-methylserotonin, were compared with plant reproductive status as well as accompanying overstory and under story species, soil moisture, and soil pH at each site. Com- pound levels showed a complex dependence on physiography but were independent of reproduc- tive state. The findings provide clues to guide efforts at effective growth and management of wild populations of black cohosh and other threatened medicinal plants.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · American Journal of Plant Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A significant challenge in the molecular interaction field is to accurately determine the stoichiometry and stepwise binding affinity constants for macromolecules having >1 binding site. The mission of the Molecular Interactions Research Group (MIRG) of the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) is to show how biophysical technologies are used to quantitatively characterize molecular interactions, and to educate the ABRF members and scientific community on the utility and limitations of core technologies [such as biosensor, microcalorimetry, or analytic ultracentrifugation (AUC)]. In the present work, the MIRG has developed a robust model protein interaction pair consisting of a bivalent variant of the Bacillus amyloliquefaciens extracellular RNase barnase and a variant of its natural monovalent intracellular inhibitor protein barstar. It is demonstrated that this system can serve as a benchmarking tool for the quantitative analysis of 2-site protein-protein interactions. The protein interaction pair enables determination of precise binding constants for the barstar protein binding to 2 distinct sites on the bivalent barnase binding partner (termed binase), where the 2 binding sites were engineered to possess affinities that differed by 2 orders of magnitude. Multiple MIRG laboratories characterized the interaction using isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), AUC, and surface plasmon resonance (SPR) methods to evaluate the feasibility of the system as a benchmarking model. Although general agreement was seen for the binding constants measured using solution-based ITC and AUC approaches, weaker affinity was seen for surface-based method SPR, with protein immobilization likely affecting affinity. An analysis of the results from multiple MIRG laboratories suggests that the bivalent barnase-barstar system is a suitable model for benchmarking new approaches for the quantitative characterization of complex biomolecular interactions.
No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Journal of biomolecular techniques: JBT
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC) is a first principles based method to determine absolute sedimentation coefficients and buoyant molar masses of macromolecules and their complexes, reporting on their size and shape in free solution. The purpose of this multi-laboratory study was to establish the precision and accuracy of basic data dimensions in AUC and validate previously proposed calibration techniques. Three kits of AUC cell assemblies containing radial and temperature calibration tools and a bovine serum albumin (BSA) reference sample were shared among 67 laboratories, generating 129 comprehensive data sets. These allowed for an assessment of many parameters of instrument performance, including accuracy of the reported scan time after the start of centrifugation, the accuracy of the temperature calibration, and the accuracy of the radial magnification. The range of sedimentation coefficients obtained for BSA monomer in different instruments and using different optical systems was from 3.655 S to 4.949 S, with a mean and standard deviation of (4.304 ± 0.188) S (4.4%). After the combined application of correction factors derived from the external calibration references for elapsed time, scan velocity, temperature, and radial magnification, the range of s-values was reduced 7-fold with a mean of 4.325 S and a 6-fold reduced standard deviation of ± 0.030 S (0.7%). In addition, the large data set provided an opportunity to determine the instrument-to-instrument variation of the absolute radial positions reported in the scan files, the precision of photometric or refractometric signal magnitudes, and the precision of the calculated apparent molar mass of BSA monomer and the fraction of BSA dimers. These results highlight the necessity and effectiveness of independent calibration of basic AUC data dimensions for reliable quantitative studies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recepteur d'origine nantais (RON) receptor tyrosine kinase and its ligand, serum macrophage-stimulating protein (MSP), play
important roles in inflammation, cell growth, migration, and epithelial to mesenchymal transition during tumor development.
The binding of mature MSPαβ (disulfide-linked α- and β-chains) to RON ectodomain modulates receptor dimerization, followed
by autophosphorylation of tyrosines in the cytoplasmic receptor kinase domains. Receptor recognition is mediated by binding
of MSP β-chain (MSPβ) to the RON Sema. Here we report the structure of RON Sema-PSI-IPT1 (SPI1) domains in complex with MSPβ at 3.0 Å resolution. The MSPβ serine protease-like β-barrel uses the degenerate serine protease
active site to recognize blades 2, 3, and 4 of the β-propeller fold of RON Sema. Despite the sequence homology between RON
and MET receptor tyrosine kinase and between MSP and hepatocyte growth factor, it is well established that there is no cross-reactivity
between the two receptor-ligand systems. Comparison of the structure of RON SPI1 in complex with MSPβ and that of MET receptor tyrosine kinase Sema-PSI in complex with hepatocyte growth factor β-chain reveals
the receptor-ligand selectivity determinants. Analytical ultracentrifugation studies of the SPI1-MSPβ interaction confirm the formation of a 1:1 complex. SPI1 and MSPαβ also associate primarily as a 1:1 complex with a binding affinity similar to that of SPI1-MSPβ. In addition, the SPI1-MSPαβ ultracentrifuge studies reveal a low abundance 2:2 complex with ∼10-fold lower binding affinity compared with the 1:1
species. These results support the hypothesis that the α-chain of MSPαβ mediates RON dimerization.
No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The diversity of useful compounds produced by plant secondary metabolism has stimulated broad systems biology approaches to identify the genes involved in their biosynthesis. Systems biology studies in non-model plants pose interesting but addressable challenges, and have been greatly facilitated by the ability to grow and maintain plants, develop laboratory culture systems, and profile key metabolites in order to identify critical genes involved their biosynthesis. In this chapter we describe a suite of approaches that have been useful in Actaea racemosa (L.; syn. Cimicifuga racemosa, Nutt., black coshosh), a non-model medicinal plant with no genome sequence and little horticultural information available, that have led to the development of initial gene-metabolite relationships for the production of several bioactive metabolites in this multicomponent botanical therapeutic, and that can be readily applied to a wide variety of under-characterized medicinal plants.
No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Protein-protein interactions identified through high-throughput proteomics efforts continue to advance our understanding of the protein interactome. In addition to highly specific protein-protein interactions, it is becoming increasingly more common for yeast two-hybrid, pull-down assays, and other proteomics techniques to identify multiple protein ligands that bind to the same target protein. A resulting challenge is to accurately characterize the assembly of these multiprotein complexes and the competition among multiple protein ligands for a given target. The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities-Molecular Interactions Research Group recently conducted a benchmark study to assess participants' ability to correctly describe the interactions between two protein ligands and their target protein using primarily biosensor technologies, such as surface plasmon resonance. Participants were provided with microgram quantities of three proteins (A, B, and C) and asked to determine if a ternary A-B-C complex can form or if protein-B and protein-C bind competitively to protein-A. This article will summarize the experimental approaches taken by participants to characterize the molecular interactions, the interpretation of the data, and the results obtained using different biosensor instruments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report here an unliganded receptor structure in the common gamma-chain (γ(c)) family of receptors and cytokines. The crystal structure of the unliganded form of the interleukin-7 alpha receptor (IL-7Rα) extracellular domain (ECD) at 2.15 Å resolution reveals a homodimer forming an "X" geometry looking down onto the cell surface with the C termini of the two chains separated by 110 Å and the dimer interface comprising residues critical for IL-7 binding. Further biophysical studies indicate a weak association of the IL-7Rα ECDs but a stronger association between the γ(c)/IL-7Rα ECDs, similar to previous studies of the full-length receptors on CD4(+) T cells. Based on these and previous results, we propose a molecular mechanism detailing the progression from the inactive IL-7Rα homodimer and IL-7Rα-γ(c) heterodimer to the active IL-7-IL-7Rα-γ(c) ternary complex whereby the two receptors undergo at least a 90° rotation away from the cell surface, moving the C termini of IL-7Rα and γ(c) from a distance of 110 Å to less than 30 Å at the cell surface. This molecular mechanism can be used to explain recently discovered IL-7- and γ(c)-independent gain-of-function mutations in IL-7Rα from B- and T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients. The mechanism may also be applicable to other γ(c) receptors that form inactive homodimers and heterodimers independent of their cytokines.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2012 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa L., syn. Cimicifuga racemosa, Nutt., Ranunculaceae) is a popular herb used for relieving menopausal discomforts. A variety of secondary metabolites, including triterpenoids, phenolic dimers, and serotonin derivatives have been associated with its biological activity, but the genes and metabolic pathways as well as the tissue distribution of their production in this plant are unknown. A gene discovery effort was initiated in A. racemosa by partial sequencing of cDNA libraries constructed from young leaf, rhizome, and root tissues. In total, 2,066 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were assembled into 1,590 unique genes (unigenes). Most of the unigenes were predicted to encode primary metabolism genes, but about 70 were identified as putative secondary metabolism genes. Several of these candidates were analyzed further and full-length cDNA and genomic sequences for a putative 2,3 oxidosqualene cyclase (CAS1) and two BAHD-type acyltransferases (ACT1 and HCT1) were obtained. Homology-based PCR screening for the central gene in plant serotonin biosynthesis, tryptophan decarboxylase (TDC), identified two TDC-related sequences in A. racemosa. CAS1, ACT1, and HCT1 were expressed in most plant tissues, whereas expression of TDC genes was detected only sporadically in immature flower heads and some very young leaf tissues. The cDNA libraries described and assorted genes identified provide initial insight into gene content and diversity in black cohosh, and provide tools and resources for detailed investigations of secondary metabolite genes and enzymes in this important medicinal plant.
No preview · Article · Dec 2010 · Plant Cell Reports
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS), 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone, is an intercellular alkyl quinolone signaling molecule produced by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Alkyl quinolone signaling is an atypical system that, in P. aeruginosa, controls the expression of numerous virulence factors. PQS is synthesized from the tryptophan pathway intermediate, anthranilate, which is derived either from the kynurenine pathway or from an alkyl quinolone specific anthranilate synthase encoded by phnAB. Anthranilate is converted to PQS by the enzymes encoded by the pqsABCDE operon and pqsH. PqsA forms an activated anthraniloyl-CoA thioester that shuttles anthranilate to the PqsD active site where it is transferred to Cys112 of PqsD. In the only biochemically characterized reaction, a condensation then occurs between anthraniloyl-PqsD and malonyl-CoA or malonyl-ACP, a second PqsD substrate, forming 2,4-dihydroxyquinoline (DHQ). The role PqsD plays in the biosynthesis of other alkyl quinolones, such as PQS, is unclear, though it has been reported to be required for their production. No evidence exists that DHQ is a PQS precursor, however. Here we present a structural and biophysical characterization of PqsD that includes several crystal structures of the enzyme, including that of the PqsD-anthranilate covalent intermediate and the inactive Cys112Ala active site mutant in complex with anthranilate. The structure reveals that PqsD is structurally similar to the FabH and chalcone synthase families of fatty acid and polyketide synthases. The crystallographic asymmetric unit contains a PqsD dimer. The PqsD monomer is composed of two nearly identical approximately 170-residue alphabetaalphabetaalpha domains. The structures show anthranilate-liganded Cys112 is positioned deep in the protein interior at the bottom of an approximately 15 A long channel while a second anthraniloyl-CoA molecule is waiting in the cleft leading to the protein surface. Cys112, His257, and Asn287 form the FabH-like catalytic triad of PqsD. The C112A mutant is inactive, although it still reversibly binds anthraniloyl-CoA. The covalent complex between anthranilate and Cys112 clearly illuminates the orientation of key elements of the PqsD catalytic machinery and represents a snapshot of a key point in the catalytic cycle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thioesters play a central role in the cells where they participate in metabolism, membrane synthesis, signal transduction, and gene regulation. Thioesters are converted to the thiol and carboxylic acid components by thioesterase-catalyzed hydrolysis. Here we examine the biochemical and biological function of the hot dog fold thioesterase YciA (EcYciA) from Escherichia coli and its close sequence homologue HI0827 from Haemophilus influenzae (HiYciA). The quaternary structure of HiYciA was determined, using equilibrium sedimentation techniques, to be a homohexamer. Mass spectral and (31)P NMR analysis of purified HiYciA revealed a bound CoA ligand. Kinetic analyses showed that CoA is a strong feedback inhibitor. YciA thioesterase activity toward acyl-CoA substrates was determined using steady-state kinetic methods. The k cat and k cat/ K m values obtained reveal a striking combination of high catalytic efficiency and low substrate specificity. The substrate activity of propionyl-s- N-acetylcysteine was found to be negligible and that of n-butyryl-pantetheinephosphate low, and therefore, it is evident YciA does not target acylated ACPs or other acylated proteins as substrates. The results from bioinformatic analysis of the biological distribution and genome contexts of yciAs are reported. We conclude that YciA is responsible for the efficient, "seemingly" indiscriminant, CoA-regulated hydrolysis of cellular acyl-CoA thioesters in a wide range of bacteria and hypothesize that this activity may support membrane biogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The solution structure of the 154-residue conserved hypothetical protein HI0004 has been determined using multidimensional heteronuclear NMR spectroscopy. HI0004 has sequence homologs in many organisms ranging from bacteria to humans and is believed to be essential in Haemophilus influenzae, although an exact function has yet to be defined. It has a alpha-beta-alpha sandwich architecture consisting of a central four-stranded beta-sheet with the alpha2-helix packed against one side of the beta-sheet and four alpha-helices (alpha1, alpha3, alpha4, alpha5) on the other side. There is structural homology with the eukaryotic matrix metalloproteases (MMPs), but little sequence similarity except for a conserved region containing three histidines that appears in both the MMPs and throughout the HI0004 family of proteins. The solution structure of HI0004 is compared with the X-ray structure of an Aquifex aeolicus homolog, AQ_1354, which has 36% sequence identity over 148 residues. Despite this level of sequence homology, significant differences exist between the two structures. These differences are described along with possible functional implications of the structures.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PhzG is a flavin-dependent oxidase that is believed to play a role in phenazine antibiotic synthesis in various bacteria, including Pseudomonas. Phenazines are chorismic acid derivatives that provide the producing organisms, including the opportunistic pathogen P. aeruginosa, with a competitive growth advantage. Here, the crystal structures of PhzG from both P. aeruginosa and P. fluorescens solved in an unliganded state at 1.9 and 1.8 A resolution, respectively, are described. Although the specific reaction in phenazine biosynthesis catalyzed by PhzG is unknown, the structural data indicates that PhzG is closely related to pyridoxine-5'-phosphate oxidase, the Escherichia coli pdxH gene product, which catalyzes the final step in pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (PLP) biosynthesis. A previous proposal suggested that the physiological substrate of PhzG to be 2,3-dihydro-3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (DHHA), a phenazine precursor produced by the sequential actions of the PhzE and PhzD enzymes on chorismate, and that two DHHA molecules dimerized in another enzyme-catalyzed reaction to yield phenazine-1-carboxylate. However, it was not possible to demonstrate any in vitro activity upon incubation of PhzG and DHHA. Interestingly, analysis of the in vitro activities of PhzG in combination with PhzF suggests that PhzF acts on DHHA and that PhzG then reacts with a non-aromatic tricyclic phenazine precusor to catalyze an oxidation/aromatization reaction that yields phenazine-1-carboxylate. It is proposed that phzG arose by duplication of pdxH and that the subtle differences seen between the structures of PhzG and PdxH correlate with the loss of the ability of PhzG to catalyze PLP formation. Sequence alignments and superimpositions of the active sites of PhzG and PdxH reveal that the residues that form a positively charged pocket around the phosphate of PLP in the PdxH-PLP complex are not conserved in PhzG, consistent with the inability of phosphorylated compounds to serve as substrates for PhzG.
Preview · Article · Dec 2004 · Acta Crystallographica Section D Biological Crystallography
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phenazines, including pyocyanin and iodonin, are biologically active compounds that are believed to confer producing organisms with a competitive growth advantage, and also are thought to be virulence factors in certain diseases including cystic fibrosis. The basic, tricyclic phenazine ring system is synthesized in a series of poorly characterized steps by enzymes encoded in a seven-gene cistron in Pseudomonas and other organisms. Despite the biological importance of these compounds, and our understanding of their mode of action, the biochemistry and mechanisms of phenazine biosynthesis are not well resolved. Here we report the 1.8 A crystal structure of PhzF, a key enzyme in phenazine biosynthesis, solved by molecular replacement. PhzF is structurally similar to the lysine biosynthetic enzyme diaminopimelate epimerase, sharing an unusual fold consisting of two nearly identical domains with the active site located in an occluded cleft between the domains. Unlike diaminopimelate epimerase, PhzF is a dimer in solution. The two apparently independent active sites open toward opposite sides of the dimer and are occupied by sulfate ions in the structure. In vitro experiments using a mixture of purified PhzF, -A, -B, and -G confirm that phenazine-1-carboxylic acid (PCA) is readily produced from trans-2,3-dihydro-3-hydroxyanthranilic acid (DHHA) without aid of other cellular factors. PhzA, -B, and -G have no activity toward DHHA. However, in the presence of PhzF, individually or in combinations, they accelerate the formation of PCA from DHHA and therefore appear to function after the action of PhzF. Surprisingly, PhzF is itself capable of producing PCA, albeit slowly, from DHHA. These observations suggest that PhzF catalyzes the initial step in the conversion of DHHA to PCA, probably via a rearrangement reaction yielding the more reactive 3-oxo analogue of DHHA, and that subsequent steps can occur spontaneously. A hypothetical model for how DHHA binds to the PhzF active site suggests that Glu45 and Asp208 could act as general acid-base catalysts in a rearrangement reaction. Given that four reactions lie between DHHA and PCA, ketone formation, ring formation, decarboxylation, and oxidation, we hypothesize that the similar PhzA and -B proteins catalyze ring formation and thus may be more than noncatalytic accessory proteins. PhzG is almost certainly an oxidase and is predicted to catalyze the final oxidation/aromatization reaction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fully characterizing the interactions involving biomolecules requires information on the assembly state, affinity, kinetics, and thermodynamics associated with complex formation. The analytical technologies often used to measure biomolecular interactions include analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC), isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), and surface plasmon resonance (SPR). In order to evaluate the capabilities of core facilities to implement these technologies, the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) Molecular Interactions Research Group (MIRG) developed a standardized model system and distributed it to a panel of AUC, ITC, and SPR operators. The model system was composed of a well-characterized enzyme-inhibitor pair, namely bovine carbonic anhydrase II (CA II) and 4-carboxybenzenesulfonamide (CBS). Study participants were asked to measure one or more of the following: (1) the molecular mass, homogeneity, and assembly state of CA II by AUC; (2) the affinity and thermodynamics for complex formation by ITC; and (3) the affinity and kinetics of complex formation by SPR. The results from this study provide a benchmark for comparing the capabilities of individual laboratories and for defining the utility of the different instrumentation.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2004 · Journal of biomolecular techniques: JBT
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The bacterial protein encoded by the gene ychF is 1 of 11 universally conserved GTPases and the only one whose function is unknown. The crystal structure determination
of YchF was sought to help with the functional assignment of the protein. The YchF protein from Haemophilus influenzae was cloned and expressed, and the crystal structure was determined at 2.4 Å resolution. The polypeptide chain is folded into
three domains. The N-terminal domain has a mononucleotide binding fold typical for the P-loop NTPases. An 80-residue domain
next to it has a pronounced α-helical coiled coil. The C-terminal domain features a six-stranded half-barrel that curves around
an α-helix. The crablike three-domain structure of YchF suggests the binding site for a double-stranded nucleic acid in the
cleft between the domains. The structure of the putative GTP-binding site is consistent with the postulated guanine specificity
of the protein. Fluorescence measurements have demonstrated the ability of YchF to bind a double-stranded nucleic acid and
GTP. Taken together with other experimental data and genomic analysis, these results suggest that YchF may be part of a nucleoprotein
complex and may function as a GTP-dependent translation factor.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2003 · Journal of Bacteriology