AtPCS1, a phytochelatin synthase from Arabidopsis: isolation and in vitro reconstitution. (1/414)

Phytochelatins, a class of posttranslationally synthesized peptides, play a pivotal role in heavy metal, primarily Cd2+, tolerance in plants and fungi by chelating these substances and decreasing their free concentrations. Derived from glutathione and related thiols by the action of gamma-glutamylcysteine dipeptidyl transpeptidases (phytochelatin synthases; EC, phytochelatins consist of repeating units of gamma-glutamylcysteine followed by a C-terminal Gly, Ser, or beta-Ala residue [poly-(gamma-Glu-Cys)n-Xaa]. Here we report the suppression cloning of a cDNA (AtPCS1) from Arabidopsis thaliana encoding a 55-kDa soluble protein that enhances heavy-metal tolerance and elicits Cd2+-activated phytochelatin accumulation when expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. On the basis of these properties and the sufficiency of immunoaffinity-purified epitope-tagged AtPCS1 polypeptide for high rates of Cd2+-activated phytochelatin synthesis from glutathione in vitro, AtPCS1 is concluded to encode the enzyme phytochelatin synthase.  (+info)

Phytochelatin synthase genes from Arabidopsis and the yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. (2/414)

Phytochelatins (PCs), a family of heavy metal-inducible peptides important in the detoxification of heavy metals, have been identified in plants and some microorganisms, including Schizosaccharomyces pombe, but not in animals. PCs are synthesized enzymatically from glutathione (GSH) by PC synthase in the presence of heavy metal ions. In Arabidopsis, the CAD1 gene, identified by using Cd-sensitive, PC-deficient cad1 mutants, has been proposed to encode PC synthase. Using a positional cloning strategy, we have isolated the CAD1 gene. Database searches identified a homologous gene in S. pombe, and a mutant with a targeted deletion of this gene was also Cd sensitive and PC deficient. Extracts of Escherichia coli cells expressing a CAD1 cDNA or the S. pombe gene catalyzing GSH-dependent, heavy metal-activated synthesis of PCs in vitro demonstrated that both genes encode PC synthase activity. Both enzymes were activated by a range of metal ions. In contrast, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction experiments showed that expression of the CAD1 mRNA is not influenced by the presence of Cd. A comparison of the two predicted amino acid sequences revealed a highly conserved N-terminal region, which is presumed to be the catalytic domain, and a variable C-terminal region containing multiple Cys residues, which is proposed to be involved in activation of the enzyme by metal ions. Interestingly, a similar gene was identified in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, suggesting that PCs may also be expressed in some animal species.  (+info)

Tolerance to toxic metals by a gene family of phytochelatin synthases from plants and yeast. (3/414)

Phytochelatins play major roles in metal detoxification in plants and fungi. However, genes encoding phytochelatin synthases have not yet been identified. By screening for plant genes mediating metal tolerance we identified a wheat cDNA, TaPCS1, whose expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae results in a dramatic increase in cadmium tolerance. TaPCS1 encodes a protein of approximately 55 kDa with no similarity to proteins of known function. We identified homologs of this new gene family from Arabidopsis thaliana, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and interestingly also Caenorhabditis elegans. The Arabidopsis and S.pombe genes were also demonstrated to confer substantial increases in metal tolerance in yeast. PCS-expressing cells accumulate more Cd2+ than controls. PCS expression mediates Cd2+ tolerance even in yeast mutants that are either deficient in vacuolar acidification or impaired in vacuolar biogenesis. PCS-induced metal resistance is lost upon exposure to an inhibitor of glutathione biosynthesis, a process necessary for phytochelatin formation. Schizosaccharomyces pombe cells disrupted in the PCS gene exhibit hypersensitivity to Cd2+ and Cu2+ and are unable to synthesize phytochelatins upon Cd2+ exposure as determined by HPLC analysis. Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells expressing PCS produce phytochelatins. Moreover, the recombinant purified S.pombe PCS protein displays phytochelatin synthase activity. These data demonstrate that PCS genes encode phytochelatin synthases and mediate metal detoxification in eukaryotes.  (+info)

Functional characterization of the D-Tyr-tRNATyr deacylase from Escherichia coli. (4/414)

The yihZ gene of Escherichia coli is shown to produce a deacylase activity capable of recycling misaminoacylated D-Tyr-tRNATyr. The reaction is specific and, under optimal in vitro conditions, proceeds at a rate of 6 s-1 with a Km value for the substrate equal to 1 microM. Cell growth is sensitive to interruption of the yihZ gene if D-tyrosine is added to minimal culture medium. Toxicity of exogenous D-tyrosine is exacerbated if, in addition to the disruption of yihZ, the gene of D-amino acid dehydrogenase (dadA) is also inactivated. Orthologs of the yihZ gene occur in many, but not all, bacteria. In support of the idea of a general role of the D-Tyr-tRNATyr deacylase function in the detoxification of cells, similar genes can be recognized in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Caenorhabditis elegans, Arabidopsis thaliana, mouse, and man.  (+info)

Staphylococcus aureus sortase, an enzyme that anchors surface proteins to the cell wall. (5/414)

Surface proteins of Gram-positive bacteria are linked to the bacterial cell wall by a mechanism that involves cleavage of a conserved Leu-Pro-X-Thr-Gly (LPXTG) motif and that occurs during assembly of the peptidoglycan cell wall. A Staphylococcus aureus mutant defective in the anchoring of surface proteins was isolated and shown to carry a mutation in the srtA gene. Overexpression of srtA increased the rate of surface protein anchoring, and homologs of srtA were found in other pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria. The protein specified by srtA, sortase, may be a useful target for the development of new antimicrobial drugs.  (+info)

Evidence for tissue-specific forms of glutaminyl cyclase. (6/414)

Glutaminyl cyclase (QC) is responsible for the presence of pyroglutamyl residues in many neuroendocrine peptides. An examination of the bovine tissue distribution of QC immunoreactivity, enzyme activity, and mRNA confirmed that QC was abundant in brain and pituitary by all three measures. However, enzymatic activity was considerably more widespread than either immunoreactivity or mRNA, suggesting multiple enzyme forms. Partially purified QC from bovine spleen differed significantly from the known bovine pituitary QC in physical and catalytic properties. We propose that this form of glutaminyl cyclase plays a role in the posttranslational processing of constitutively secreted pGlu-containing proteins.  (+info)

Effect of dietary inducer dimethylfumarate on glutathione in cultured human retinal pigment epithelial cells. (7/414)

PURPOSE: To determine the effect of dimethylfumarate (DMF), an inducer of glutathione (GSH)-dependent detoxification, on intracellular GSH levels in cultured human retinal pigment epithelium (hRPE) cells, its mechanism of action, and its effect on hRPE cells subjected to oxidative injury. METHODS: Established hRPE cell lines were treated with DMF and assayed by high-pressure liquid chromatography for intracellular and extracellular GSH levels. Quantification of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (GLCL) was determined through northern and western blot analyses, and activity was measured. Effects of pretreatment with DMF on GSH redox status of hRPE cells was determined. Sensitivity of hRPE cells to oxidative stress was determined using tert-butylhydroperoxide as the oxidative agent. RESULTS: Dimethylfumarate caused a transient decrease followed by a significant increase in intracellular GSH. Glutathione increased maximally at 24 hours with 100 to 200 microM DMF. The initial decrease could be accounted for by the formation of a DMF-GSH conjugate. Dimethylfumarate treatment increased the steady state mRNA expression of the regulatory subunit of GLCL, but no increase was seen for the catalytic subunit. However, protein levels were increased for both, and the catalytic activity of GLCL was also increased. Whereas the initial decrease in GSH made hRPE cells more susceptible to oxidative damage, pretreatment with DMF under conditions that increased intracellular GSH protected hRPE cells against oxidative damage. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest a means by which the antioxidant capability of hRPE may be augmented without direct antioxidant supplementation. Specifically, a dietary compound that conjugates with GSH can induce GSH synthesis, increase GSH concentration, and improve protection by GSH-dependent detoxification pathways in hRPE. However, the early depletion of GSH before stimulated synthesis necessitates caution in prevention strategies using dietary inducers.  (+info)

Spread of drug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae in Asian countries: Asian Network for Surveillance of Resistant Pathogens (ANSORP) Study. (8/414)

Antimicrobial susceptibility of 996 isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae from clinical specimens was investigated in 11 Asian countries from September 1996 to June 1997. Korea had the greatest frequency of nonsusceptible strains to penicillin with 79.7%, followed by Japan (65.3%), Vietnam (60.8%), Thailand (57.9%), Sri Lanka (41.2%), Taiwan (38.7%), Singapore (23.1%), Indonesia (21.0%), China (9.8%), Malaysia (9.0%), and India (3.8%). Serotypes 23F and 19F were the most common. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of 154 isolates from Asian countries showed several major PFGE patterns. The serotype 23F Spanish clone shared the same PFGE pattern with strains from Korea, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Malaysia. Fingerprinting analysis of pbp1a, pbp2x, and pbp2b genes of 12 strains from six countries also showed identical fingerprints of penicillin-binding protein genes in most strains. These data suggest the possible introduction and spread of international epidemic clones into Asian countries and the increasing problems of pneumococcal drug resistance in Asian countries for the first time.  (+info)