(1/7451) Crystal structure of MHC class II-associated p41 Ii fragment bound to cathepsin L reveals the structural basis for differentiation between cathepsins L and S.

The lysosomal cysteine proteases cathepsins S and L play crucial roles in the degradation of the invariant chain during maturation of MHC class II molecules and antigen processing. The p41 form of the invariant chain includes a fragment which specifically inhibits cathepsin L but not S. The crystal structure of the p41 fragment, a homologue of the thyroglobulin type-1 domains, has been determined at 2.0 A resolution in complex with cathepsin L. The structure of the p41 fragment demonstrates a novel fold, consisting of two subdomains, each stabilized by disulfide bridges. The first subdomain is an alpha-helix-beta-strand arrangement, whereas the second subdomain has a predominantly beta-strand arrangement. The wedge shape and three-loop arrangement of the p41 fragment bound to the active site cleft of cathepsin L are reminiscent of the inhibitory edge of cystatins, thus demonstrating the first example of convergent evolution observed in cysteine protease inhibitors. However, the different fold of the p41 fragment results in additional contacts with the top of the R-domain of the enzymes, which defines the specificity-determining S2 and S1' substrate-binding sites. This enables inhibitors based on the thyroglobulin type-1 domain fold, in contrast to the rather non-selective cystatins, to exhibit specificity for their target enzymes.  (+info)

(2/7451) Genetic characterization of a new type IV-A pilus gene cluster found in both classical and El Tor biotypes of Vibrio cholerae.

The Vibrio cholerae genome contains a 5.4-kb pil gene cluster that resembles the Aeromonas hydrophila tap gene cluster and other type IV-A pilus assembly operons. The region consists of five complete open reading frames designated pilABCD and yacE, based on the nomenclature of related genes from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli K-12. This cluster is present in both classical and El Tor biotypes, and the pilA and pilD genes are 100% conserved. The pilA gene encodes a putative type IV pilus subunit. However, deletion of pilA had no effect on either colonization of infant mice or adherence to HEp-2 cells, demonstrating that pilA does not encode the primary subunit of a pilus essential for these processes. The pilD gene product is similar to other type IV prepilin peptidases, proteins that process type IV signal sequences. Mutational analysis of the pilD gene showed that pilD is essential for secretion of cholera toxin and hemagglutinin-protease, mannose-sensitive hemagglutination (MSHA), production of toxin-coregulated pili, and colonization of infant mice. Defects in these functions are likely due to the lack of processing of N termini of four Eps secretion proteins, four proteins of the MSHA cluster, and TcpB, all of which contain type IV-A leader sequences. Some pilD mutants also showed reduced adherence to HEp-2 cells, but this defect could not be complemented in trans, indicating that the defect may not be directly due to a loss of pilD. Taken together, these data demonstrate the effectiveness of the V. cholerae genome project for rapid identification and characterization of potential virulence factors.  (+info)

(3/7451) Protection against lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection induced by a reduced peptide bond analogue of the H-2Db-restricted CD8(+) T cell epitope GP33.

Recent investigations have suggested that pseudopeptides containing modified peptide bonds might advantageously replace natural peptides in therapeutic strategies. We have generated eight reduced peptide bond Psi(CH2-NH) analogues corresponding to the H-2Db-restricted CD8(+) T cell epitope (called GP33) of the glycoprotein of the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. One of these pseudopeptides, containing a reduced peptide bond between residues 6 and 7 (Psi(6-7)), displayed very similar properties of binding to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and recognition by T cell receptor transgenic T cells specific for GP33 when compared with the parent peptide. We assessed in vitro and in vivo the proteolytic resistance of GP33 and Psi(6-7) and analyzed its contribution to the priming properties of these peptides. The Psi(6-7) analogue exhibited a dramatically increased proteolytic resistance when compared with GP33, and we show for the first time that MHC-peptide complexes formed in vivo with a pseudopeptide display a sustained half-life compared with the complexes formed with the natural peptide. Furthermore, in contrast to immunizations with GP33, three injections of Psi(6-7) in saline induced significant antiviral protection in mice. The enhanced ability of Psi(6-7) to induce antiviral protection may result from the higher stability of the analogue and/or of the MHC-analogue complexes.  (+info)

(4/7451) Isolation and characterization of nerve growth factor from the venom of Naja naja atra.

Nerve growth factor was isolated from the venom of Naja naja atra by ion exchange and gel permeation chromatography and was found to be homogeneous by disc gel electrophoresis. The molecular weight was estimated to be approximately 20,000 by gel filtration and 22,000 by ultracentrifugation. This protein, which showed an isoelectric point of pH 7.02, probably consists of two subunits of equal molecular weight which are held together or interact with each other noncovalently. The biological activity survives treatment by a number of proteolytic enzymes, such as trypsin [EC], chymotrypsin [EC], and pepsin [EC].  (+info)

(5/7451) Extracellular matrix remodelling in the endometrium and its possible relevance to the pathogenesis of endometriosis.

Essential features of endometrial physiology involve the extracellular matrix (ECM). In the pathogenesis of endometriosis, interactions of endometriosis cells with ECM can be postulated. Two systems of secreted proteases in the endometrium, the plasmin(ogen) activator/inhibitor and the matrix metalloproteinases and their inhibitors were examined in cell cultures of uterine endometrial cells from women with and without endometriosis. Soluble urokinase receptor secretion is increased, and mRNA transcription of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-2 (TIMP-2) is upregulated by progestin in endometriosis. These findings are compatible with an altered ECM turnover in the endometrium of these patients that may explain a higher invasive potential of retrogradely menstruated endometrial fragments.  (+info)

(6/7451) Mechanisms and mediators in coal dust induced toxicity: a review.

Chronic inhalation of coal dust can cause several lung disorders, including simple coal workers pneumoconiosis (CWP), progressive massive fibrosis (PMF), chronic bronchitis, lung function loss, and emphysema. This review focuses on the cellular actions and interactions of key inflammatory cells and target cells in coal dust toxicity and related lung disorders, i.e. macrophages and neutrophils, epithelial cells, and fibroblasts. Factors released from or affecting these cells are outlined in separate sections, i.e. (1) reactive oxygen species (ROS) and related antioxidant protection mechanisms, and (2) cytokines, growth factors and related proteins. Furthermore, (3) components of the extracellular matrix (ECM), including the modifying role of ROS, cytokines, proteases and antiproteases are discussed in relation to tissue damage and remodelling in the respiratory tract. It is recognised that inhaled coal dust particles are important non-cellular and cellular sources of ROS in the lung, and may be significantly involved in the damage of lung target cells as well as important macromolecules including alpha-1-antitrypsin and DNA. In vitro and in vivo studies with coal dusts showed the up-regulation of important leukocyte recruiting factors, e.g. Leukotriene-B4 (LTB4), Platelet Derived Growth Factor (PDGF), Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1 (MCP-1), and Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF alpha), as well as the neutrophil adhesion factor Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 (ICAM-1). Coal dust particles are also known to stimulate the (macrophage) production of various factors with potential capacity to modulate lung cells and/or extracellular matrix, including O2-., H2O2, and NO, fibroblast chemoattractants (e.g. Transforming Growth Factor-beta (TGF beta), PDGF, and fibronectin) and a number of factors that have been shown to stimulate and/or inhibit fibroblast growth or collagen production such as (TNF alpha, TGF beta, PDGF, Insulin Like Growth Factor, and Prostaglandin-E2). Further studies are needed to clarify the in vivo kinetics and relative impact of these factors.  (+info)

(7/7451) Prion domain initiation of amyloid formation in vitro from native Ure2p.

The [URE3] non-Mendelian genetic element of Saccharomyces cerevisiae is an infectious protein (prion) form of Ure2p, a regulator of nitrogen catabolism. Here, synthetic Ure2p1-65 were shown to polymerize to form filaments 40 to 45 angstroms in diameter with more than 60 percent beta sheet. Ure2p1-65 specifically induced full-length native Ure2p to copolymerize under conditions where native Ure2p alone did not polymerize. Like Ure2p in extracts of [URE3] strains, these 180- to 220-angstrom-diameter filaments were protease resistant. The Ure2p1-65-Ure2p cofilaments could seed polymerization of native Ure2p to form thicker, less regular filaments. All filaments stained with Congo Red to produce the green birefringence typical of amyloid. This self-propagating amyloid formation can explain the properties of [URE3].  (+info)

(8/7451) Generation and characterization of aggrecanase. A soluble, cartilage-derived aggrecan-degrading activity.

A method was developed for generating soluble, active "aggrecanase" in conditioned media from interleukin-1-stimulated bovine nasal cartilage cultures. Using bovine nasal cartilage conditioned media as a source of the aggrecanase enzyme, an enzymatic assay was established employing purified aggrecan monomers as a substrate and monitoring specific aggrecanase-mediated cleavage products by Western analysis using the monoclonal antibody, BC-3 (which recognizes the new N terminus, ARGS, on fragments produced by cleavage between amino acid residues Glu373 and Ala374). Using this assay we have characterized cartilage aggrecanase with respect to assay kinetics, pH and salt optima, heat sensitivity, and stability upon storage. Aggrecanase activity was inhibited by the metalloprotease inhibitor, EDTA, while a panel of inhibitors of serine, cysteine, and aspartic proteinases had no effect, suggesting that aggrecanase is a metalloproteinase. Sensitivity to known matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors as well as to the endogenous tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases, TIMP-1, further support the notion that aggrecanase is a metalloproteinase potentially related to the ADAM family or MMP family of proteases previously implicated in the catabolism of the extracellular matrix.  (+info)