(1/477) Effect of melittin on ion transport across cell membranes.

Extensive work with melittin has shown that the venom has multiple effects, probably, as a result of its interaction with negatively changed phospholipids. It inhibits well known transport pumps such as the Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase and the H(+)-K(+)-ATPase. Melittin increases the permeability of cell membranes to ions, particularly Na+ and indirectly Ca2+, because of the Na(+)-Ca(2+)-exchange. This effect results in marked morphological and functional changes, particularly in excitable tissues such as cardiac myocytes. In some other tissues, e.g., cornea, not only Na+ but Cl- permeability is also increased by melittin. Similar effects to melittin on H(+)-K(+)-ATPase have been found with the synthetic amphipathic polypeptide Trp-3.  (+info)

(2/477) The Salmonella typhi melittin resistance gene pqaB affects intracellular growth in PMA-differentiated U937 cells, polymyxin B resistance and lipopolysaccharide.

Salmonella typhi is the causative agent of typhoid fever in humans. A cell-culture based assay involving the human monocyte macrophage cell line U937 has been developed to examine S. typhi invasion and survival. An S. typhi PhoP- (null) mutant was shown to be restricted in net growth in phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) differentiated U937 (PMA-U937) cells, and an S. typhi PhoPc (constitutive) mutant showed a defect in invasion. Neither of the phoP/Q mutants were growth impaired in HeLa cells, however the PhoPc mutant was impaired in invasion. As opposed to what was found for S. typhi, Salmonella typhimurium wild-type, PhoP- and PhoPc mutants grew equally well in PMA-U937 cells, indicating that the PhoP(-)-mediated net growth restriction in the PMA-U937 cells was S. typhi specific. An S. typhi mutation, pqaB::MudJ, recently shown to be a PhoP-activated locus, was shown to have a net growth defect in PMA-U937 cells. Sequencing of the S. typhipqaB gene revealed it had 98% identity to the fifth gene in a S. typhimurium PmrA/B regulated operon necessary for 4-aminoarabinose lipid A modification and polymyxin B resistance. The pqaB locus was regulated by PmrA/B (whose activity is modulated by PhoP-PhoQ) and the pqaB transposon mutant was sensitive to polymyxin B. The lipopolysaccharides (LPS) of S. typhi and S. typhimurium wild-type, PhoP- and PhoPc mutants, were compared by SDS-PAGE and silver staining. Differences in the LPS profile between the two Salmonella species were observed, and shown to be affected differently by the PhoPc mutation. Additionally, the pqaB::MudJ mutation affected S. typhi LPS. The effects on LPS may have ramifications for the difference between S. typhi and S. typhimurium infection of hosts.  (+info)

(3/477) Hydrophobic hydration of amphipathic peptides.

Biomolecular surfaces and interfaces are commonly found with apolar character. The hydrophobic effect thus plays a crucial role in processes involving association with biomolecular surfaces in the cellular environment. By computer simulation, we compared the hydrogen bonding structures and energetics of the proximal hydration shells of the monomer and dimer from a recent study of an extrinsic membrane peptide, melittin. The two peptides were studied in their amphipathic alpha-helical forms, which possess extended hydrophobic surfaces characterized by different topography. The topography of the peptide-water interface was found to be critical in determining the enthalpic nature of hydrophobic hydration. This topographical dependence has far-reaching implications in the regulation of bioactivities in the presence of amphipathicity. This result also engenders reconsideration of the validity of using free energy parameters that depend solely on the chemical nature of constituent moieties in characterizing hydrophobic hydration of proteins and biomolecules in general.  (+info)

(4/477) Biological activities of C-terminal 15-residue synthetic fragment of melittin: design of an analog with improved antibacterial activity.

Melittin, the 26-residue predominant toxic peptide from bee venom, exhibits potent antibacterial activity in addition to its hemolytic activity. The synthetic peptide of 15 residues corresponding to its C-terminal end (MCF), which encompasses its most amphiphilic segment, is now being shown to possess antibacterial activity about 5-7 times less compared to that of melittin. MCF, however, is 300 times less hemolytic. An analog of MCF, MCFA, in which two cationic residues have been transpositioned to the N-terminal region from the C-terminal region, exhibits antibacterial activity comparable to that of melittin, but is only marginally more hemolytic than MCF. The biophysical properties of the peptides, like folding and aggregation, correlate well with their biological properties.  (+info)

(5/477) Reactive oxygen species activate a Ca2+-dependent cell death pathway in the unicellular organism Trypanosoma brucei brucei.

Here we examine a cell death process induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the haemoflagellate Trypanosoma brucei brucei. Ca2+ distribution in cellular compartments was measured with stable transformants expressing aequorin targeted to the cytosol, nucleus or mitochondrion. Within 1.5 h of ROS production, mitochondrial Ca2+ transport was impaired and the Ca2+ barrier between the nuclear envelope and cytosol was disrupted. Consequently the mitochondrion did not accumulate Ca2+ efficiently in response to an extracellular stimulus, and excess Ca2+ accumulated in the nucleus. The terminal transferase deoxytidyl uridine end labelling assay revealed that, 5 h after treatment with ROS, extensive fragmentation of nuclear DNA occurred in over 90% of the cells. Permeability changes in the plasma membrane did not occur until an additional 2 h had elapsed. The intracellular Ca2+ buffer, EGTA acetoxymethyl ester, prevented DNA fragmentation and prolonged the onset of changes in cell permeability. Despite some similarities to apoptosis, nuclease activation was not a consequence of caspase 3, caspase 1, calpain, serine protease, cysteine protease or proteasome activity. Moreover, trypanosomes expressing mouse Bcl-2 were not protected from ROS even though protection from mitochondrial dysfunction and ROS have been reported for mammalian cells. Overall, these results demonstrate that Ca2+ pathways can induce pathology in trypanosomes, although the specific proteins involved might be distinct from those in metazoans.  (+info)

(6/477) Enzyme kinetic characterization of the smooth muscle myosin phosphorylating system: activation by calcium and calmodulin and possible inhibitory mechanisms of antagonists.

A native-like smooth muscle filamentous myosin system was characterized from an enzyme kinetic point of view. The system contains endogenous myosin light chain kinase (MLCKase) and calmodulin (CM) (A. Sobieszek, J. Muscle Res. Cell Motil. 11 (1990) 114-124) and is, therefore, well suited for testing the action of CM-antagonists or other inhibitory compounds. However, this has not been done due to its complexity. The characterization of the system includes: (1) derivation of a relationship for rate of myosin phosphorylation in terms of total CM, free Ca2+ and total MLCKase concentrations, which includes only three binding constants; and (2) derivation of relationships between fractional inhibition rate (vi/vo) and total inhibitor concentration (It) which cover most of the inhibitory mechanisms applicable to the myosin system or to other CM-dependent enzymes. The three binding constants were subsequently evaluated from experimental data for filamentous myosin and for its isolated regulatory light chain (ReLC) using a non-linear regression software. They indicated differences in the interaction of myosin filament with the active CM-MLCKase complex in comparison to that of the isolated ReLC. The derived vi/vo versus It relationships, together with the software, make it possible to evaluate the inhibition constants and binding stoichiometries of CM-antagonists and other compounds inhibiting myosin phosphorylation. This approach was successfully applied to experimental data on inhibition of MLCKase by amiloride, cadmium, or CM-binding peptide (M-12) for simple mechanisms. For more complex mechanisms, inhibition by calmidozolium, trifluoperazine or melittin, the analysis showed that only calmidozolium acted specifically at the CM level in a multiple-site activator-depletion mechanism. Melittin and trifluoperazine inhibited the phosphorylation rate by a novel substrate-and-activator depletion mechanism, in which additional inhibition of the substrate resulted in the removal of the inhibition at lower range of the antagonists' concentration.  (+info)

(7/477) Protein kinase C and a calcium-independent phospholipase are required for IgG-mediated phagocytosis by Mono-Mac-6 cells.

Mono-Mac-6 (MM6) human monocytes ingest IgG-opsonized particles better than other human cell lines. We compared the phagocytic signaling pathway in MM6 with human monocytes. MM6 expressed FcgammaRI at levels similar to monocytes, whereas FcRgammaII expression was approximately double. MM6 ingested IgG-opsonized erythrocytes (EIgG) in a calcium-independent manner. Incubation of MM6 with bromoenol lactone, an inhibitor of the phagocytic phospholipase (pPL), coordinately decreased phagocytosis and pPL activity. This inhibition was overcome by exogenous arachidonic acid, suggesting that phagocytosis requires pPL activation and arachidonic acid release. MM6 phagocytosis was inhibited with staurosporine and activated with diacylglycerol, supporting a role for protein kinase C (PKC) in this process. The pPL activators mastoparan and melittin restored phagocytosis to PKC-inhibited cells, suggesting that pPL lies downstream from PKC. These results suggest that the MM6 signal transduction pathway for IgG-mediated phagocytosis is similar to that of monocytes (PKC-->pPL-->arachidonic acid-->phagocytosis). The results are discussed in the context of the finding that MM6 exhibit low phagocytosis relative to monocytes and thus may represent an attractive cell line for molecular manipulation in "recovery of function" studies.  (+info)

(8/477) Expression of a cytosolic phospholipase A2 by ovine endometrium on days 11-14 of a simulated oestrous cycle.

Oxytocin stimulates the synthesis and secretion of PGF2 alpha from uterine tissues in vivo and in vitro late in the ovine oestrous cycle. The synthesis of eicosanoids is dependent upon the availability of free arachidonic acid which is released through the activity of arachidonate releasing phospholipases. In the present study, the following hypothesis was tested: the ovine endometrium expresses a cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2) and expression or activity of cPLA2 increases as uterine secretory responsiveness to oxytocin develops late in the oestrous cycle. Endometrial tissue was collected from cyclic ewes on day 15 of the oestrous cycle for the preparation of tissue homogenates and isolation of mRNA to determine whether ovine endometrium expressed a cPLA2. A 110 kDa band was detected by western blotting, indicating the presence of a putative ovine cPLA2. A 834 bp fragment of the ovine cPLA2 shared 87% homology with human and mouse cDNA, and northern blot hybridization analysis indicated a single 3.4 kb transcript. A total of 20 ewes were ovariectomized and treated with progesterone and oestrogen to simulate the oestrous cycle to determine whether the expression or activity of ovine cPLA2 changed during the onset of uterine secretory responsiveness to oxytocin in vivo. On days 11-14 (n = 5 per day) of a simulated oestrous cycle, caruncular endometrium was evaluated for expression of ovine cPLA2 mRNA and protein and the synthesis of PGF2 alpha in response to melittin (a potent stimulator of PLA2 activity). Immunoreactive cPLA2 and cPLA2 mRNA were observed on all days and did not increase during the development of uterine responsiveness to oxytocin in vivo. Similarly, melittin increased the synthesis of PGF2 alpha irrespective of day, indicating the presence of a functional cPLA2 on all days examined. These data indicate that the ovine endometrium expresses a functional cPLA2 and that ample concentrations of cPLA2 are present by day 11 of a simulated oestrous cycle.  (+info)