Ligand substitution of receptor targeted DNA complexes affects gene transfer into hepatoma cells.
We have targeted the serpin enzyme complex receptor for gene transfer in human hepatoma cell lines using peptides < 30 amino acids in length which contain the five amino acid recognition sequence for this receptor, coupled to poly K of average chain length 100 K, using the heterobifunctional coupling reagent sulfo-LC SPDP. The number of sulfo-LC SPDP modified poly-L-lysine residues, as well as the degree of peptide substitution was assessed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Conjugates were prepared in which 3.5%, 7.8% or 26% of the lysine residues contained the sulfo-LC SPDP moiety. Each of these conjugates was then coupled with ligand peptides so that one in 370, one in 1039, or one in 5882 lysines were substituted with receptor ligand. Electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy were used to assess complex structure and size. HuH7 human hepatoma cells were transfected with complexes of these conjugates with the plasmid pGL3 and luciferase expression measured 2 to 16 days after treatment. All the protein conjugates in which 26% of the K residues were modified with sulfo-LC SPDP were poor gene transfer reagents. Complexes containing less substituted poly K, averaged 17 +/- 0.5 nm in diameter and gave peak transgene expression of 3-4 x 10(6) ILU/mg which persisted (> 7 x 10(5) ILU) at 16 days. Of these, more substituted polymers condensed DNA into complexes averaging 20 +/- 0.7 nm in diameter and gave five-fold less luciferase than complexes containing less substituted conjugates. As few as eight to 11 ligands per complex are optimal for DNA delivery via the SEC receptor. The extent of substitution of receptor-mediated gene transfer complexes affects the size of the complexes, as well as the intensity and duration of transgene expression. These observations may permit tailoring of complex construction for the usage required. (+info
Small antibody-like proteins with prescribed ligand specificities derived from the lipocalin fold.
We demonstrate that the ligand pocket of a lipocalin from Pieris brassicae, the bilin-binding protein (BBP), can be reshaped by combinatorial protein design such that it recognizes fluorescein, an established immunological hapten. For this purpose 16 residues at the center of the binding site, which is formed by four loops on top of an eight-stranded beta-barrel, were subjected to random mutagenesis. Fluorescein-binding BBP variants were then selected from the mutant library by bacterial phage display. Three variants were identified that complex fluorescein with high affinity, exhibiting dissociation constants as low as 35.2 nM. Notably, one of these variants effects almost complete quenching of the ligand fluorescence, similarly as an anti-fluorescein antibody. Detailed ligand-binding studies and site-directed mutagenesis experiments indicated (i) that the molecular recognition of fluorescein is specific and (ii) that charged residues at the center of the pocket are responsible for tight complex formation. Sequence comparison of the BBP variants directed against fluorescein with the wild-type protein and with further variants that were selected against several other ligands revealed that all of the randomized amino acid positions are variable. Hence, a lipocalin can be used for generating molecular pockets with a diversity of shapes. We term this class of engineered proteins "anticalins." Their one-domain scaffold makes them a promising alternative to antibodies to create a stable receptor protein for a ligand of choice. (+info
Tolerance of Arc repressor to multiple-alanine substitutions.
Arc repressor mutants containing from three to 15 multiple-alanine substitutions have spectral properties expected for native Arc proteins, form heterodimers with wild-type Arc, denature cooperatively with Tms equal to or greater than wild type, and, in some cases, fold as much as 30-fold faster and unfold as much as 50-fold slower than wild type. Two of the mutants, containing a total of 14 different substitutions, also footprint operator DNA in vitro. The stability of some of the proteins with multiple-alanine mutations is significantly greater than that predicted from the sum of the single substitutions, suggesting that a subset of the wild-type residues in Arc may interact in an unfavorable fashion. Overall, these results show that almost half of the residues in Arc can be replaced by alanine en masse without compromising the ability of this small, homodimeric protein to fold into a stable, native-like structure. (+info
The two-dimensional IR nonlinear spectroscopy of a cyclic penta-peptide in relation to its three-dimensional structure.
A form of two-dimensional (2D) vibrational spectroscopy, which uses two ultrafast IR laser pulses, is used to examine the structure of a cyclic penta-peptide in solution. Spectrally resolved cross peaks occur in the off-diagonal region of the 2D IR spectrum of the amide I region, analogous to those in 2D NMR spectroscopy. These cross peaks measure the coupling between the different amide groups in the structure. Their intensities and polarizations relate directly to the three-dimensional structure of the peptide. With the help of a model coupling Hamiltonian, supplemented by density functional calculations, the spectra of this penta-peptide can be regenerated from the known solution phase structure. This 2D-IR measurement, with an intrinsic time resolution of less than 1 ps, could be used in all time regimes of interest in biology. (+info
Reversible conversion of monomeric human prion protein between native and fibrilogenic conformations.
Prion propagation involves the conversion of cellular prion protein (PrPC) into a disease-specific isomer, PrPSc, shifting from a predominantly alpha-helical to beta-sheet structure. Here, conditions were established in which recombinant human PrP could switch between the native alpha conformation, characteristic of PrPC, and a compact, highly soluble, monomeric form rich in beta structure. The soluble beta form (beta-PrP) exhibited partial resistance to proteinase K digestion, characteristic of PrPSc, and was a direct precursor of fibrillar structures closely similar to those isolated from diseased brains. The conversion of PrPC to beta-PrP in suitable cellular compartments, and its subsequent stabilization by intermolecular association, provide a molecular mechanism for prion propagation. (+info
Denatured states of human carbonic anhydrase II: an NMR study of hydrogen/deuterium exchange at tryptophan-indole-H(N) sites.
Hydrogen/deuterium (H/D) exchange measurements in low and moderate concentrations of GuHCI were conducted on the side chain H(N) atoms of the seven tryptophans of pseudo wild-type human carbonic anhydrase II. Tryptophans 5, 16 and 245, situated in or close to the N-terminal domain were found to have little protection against exchange. The H/D exchange results for Trp-123, Trp-192 and Trp-209 showed that a previously identified molten globule and the native state gave a similar protection against exchange. Global unfolding of the protein is necessary for the efficient exchange at Trp-97, which is located in the central part of the beta-sheet. (+info
Probing cell-surface architecture through synthesis: an NMR-determined structural motif for tumor-associated mucins.
Cell-surface mucin glycoproteins are altered with the onset of oncogenesis. Knowledge of mucin structure could be used in vaccine strategies that target tumor-associated mucin motifs. Thus far, however, mucins have resisted detailed molecular analysis. Reported herein is the solution conformation of a highly complex segment of the mucin CD43. The elongated secondary structure of the isolated mucin strand approaches the stability of motifs found in folded proteins. The features required for the mucin motif to emerge are also described. Immunocharacterization of related constructs strongly suggests that the observed epitopes represent distinguishing features of tumor cell-surface architecture. (+info
The structure of the antimicrobial active center of lactoferricin B bound to sodium dodecyl sulfate micelles.
Lactoferricin B (LfcinB) is a 25-residue antimicrobial peptide released from bovine lactoferrin upon pepsin digestion. The antimicrobial center of LfcinB consists of six residues (RRWQWR-NH2), and it possesses similar bactericidal activity to LfcinB. The structure of the six-residue peptide bound to sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) micelles has been determined by NMR spectroscopy and molecular dynamics refinement. The peptide adopts a well defined amphipathic structure when bound to SDS micelles with the Trp sidechains separated from the Arg residues. Additional evidence demonstrates that the peptide is oriented in the micelle such that the Trp residues are more deeply buried in the micelle than the Arg and Gln residues. (+info