Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) directly stimulates endothelial cell proliferation and migration via tyrosine kinase receptors of the split kinase domain family. It mediates vascular growth and angiogenesis in the embryo but also in the adult in a variety of physiological and pathological conditions. The potential binding site of VEGF with its receptor was identified using cellulose-bound overlapping peptides of the extracytosolic part of the human vascular endothelial growth factor receptor II (VEGFR II). Thus, a peptide originating from the third globular domain of the VEGFR II comprising residues 247RTELNVGIDFNWEYP261 was revealed as contiguous sequence stretch, which bound 125I-VEGF165. A systematic replacement with L-amino acids within the peptide representing the putative VEGF-binding site on VEGFR II indicates Asp255 as the hydrophilic key residue for binding. The dimerized peptide (RTELNVGIDFNWEYPAS)2K inhibits VEGF165 binding with an IC50 of 0.5 microM on extracellular VEGFR II fragments and 30 microM on human umbilical vein cells. VEGF165-stimulated autophosphorylation of VEGFR II as well as proliferation and migration of microvascular endothelial cells was inhibited by the monomeric peptide RTELNVGIDFNWEYPASK at a half-maximal concentration of 3-10, 0.1, and 0.1 microM, respectively. We conclude that transduction of the VEGF165 signal can be interrupted with a peptide derived from the third Ig-like domain of VEGFR II by blockade of VEGF165 binding to its receptor. (+info)
Cell-specific peptide binding by human neutrophils.
Analysis of peptide binding to human neutrophils (PMN) using phage display techniques has revealed cell-specific motifs reactive with the PMN surface. Phage libraries displaying either linear 9-mer or cyclic 10-mer and 6-mer peptides were incubated with normal human neutrophils followed by elution of bound phage with low pH (pH 2.2) and non-ionic detergent. Three rounds of selection generated several related peptide sequences that bound with high avidity to PMN. Using the linear 9-mer library, PMN-binding phage expressed peptides with the motif (G/A)PNLTGRW. The binding of phage bearing this motif was highly specific since no binding was observed on lymphocytes, fibroblasts, epithelial, or endothelial cells. Functional assays revealed that phage bearing the sequence FGPNLTGRW induced a pertussis toxin-sensitive increase in PMN cytosolic calcium analogous to that observed with Galphai coupled receptors. Other prominent motifs identified included phage bearing the consensus DLXTSK(M/L)X(V/I/L), where X represents a non-conserved position. Phage with this motif bound exclusively to a sub population of human PMN that comprised approximately 50% of the total and did not elicit a calcium response. The binding of such phage to PMN was prevented by co-incubation with competing peptides displaying identical or similar sequences (IC50 range from 0.6 micromol/L to 50 micromol/L for DLXTSK and GPNLTG, respectively). We speculate that these techniques will be useful in identifying functional cell-specific binding motifs and contribute to the development of new therapeutic and diagnostic strategies in human disease. (+info)
Identification of a domain in guanylyl cyclase-activating protein 1 that interacts with a complex of guanylyl cyclase and tubulin in photoreceptors.
The membrane-bound guanylyl cyclase in rod photoreceptors is activated by guanylyl cyclase-activating protein 1 (GCAP-1) at low free [Ca2+]. GCAP-1 is a Ca2+-binding protein and belongs to the superfamily of EF-hand proteins. We created an oligopeptide library of overlapping peptides that encompass the entire amino acid sequence of GCAP-1. Peptides were used in competitive screening assays to identify interaction regions in GCAP-1 that directly bind the guanylyl cyclase in bovine photoreceptor cells. We found four regions in GCAP-1 that participate in regulating guanylyl cyclase. A 15-amino acid peptide located adjacent to the second EF-hand motif (Phe73-Lys87) was identified as the main interaction domain. Inhibition of GCAP-1-stimulated guanylyl cyclase activity by the peptide Phe73-Lys87 was completely relieved when an excess amount of GCAP-1 was added. An affinity column made from this peptide was able to bind a complex of photoreceptor guanylyl cyclase and tubulin. Using an anti-GCAP-1 antibody, we coimmunoprecipitated GCAP-1 with guanylyl cyclase and tubulin. Complex formation between GCAP-1 and guanylyl cyclase was observed independent of [Ca2+]. Our experiments suggest that there exists a tight association of guanylyl cyclase and tubulin in rod outer segments. (+info)
Cell-free immunology: construction and in vitro expression of a PCR-based library encoding a single-chain antibody repertoire.
A novel cloning-independent strategy has been developed to generate a combinatorial library of PCR fragments encoding a murine single-chain antibody repertoire and express it directly in a cell-free system. The new approach provides an effective alternative to the techniques involving in vivo procedures of preparation and handling large libraries of antibodies. The possible use of the described strategy in the ribosome display is discussed. (+info)
A fast, stochastic threading algorithm for proteins.
MOTIVATION: Sequences for new proteins are being determined at a rapid rate, as a result of the Human Genome Project, and related genome research. The ability to predict the three-dimensional structure of proteins from sequence alone would be useful in discovering and understanding their function. Threading, or fold recognition, aims to predict the tertiary structure of a protein by aligning its amino acid sequence with a large number of structures, and finding the best fit. This approach depends on obtaining good performance from both the scoring function, which simulates the free energy for given trial alignments, and the threading algorithm, which searches for the lowest-score alignment. It appears that current scoring functions and threading algorithms need improvement. RESULTS: This paper presents a new threading algorithm. Numerical tests demonstrate that it is more powerful than two popular approximate algorithms, and much faster than exact methods. (+info)
Molecular cloning, cell localization and binding affinity to DNA replication proteins of the p36/LACK protective antigen from Leishmania infantum.
The p36/LACK antigen from Leishmania, an analogue of the receptor for activated protein kinase C (PKC), induces high levels of protection against parasite infection in the BALB/c mouse model. This protection is more than twice as high as that elicited by major parasite antigens such as soluble Leishmania antigen or the main surface protease gp63. We have cloned and purified p36/LACK from Leishmania infantum, the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis in Europe. This protein belongs to the large family of WD 40 repeat proteins confined to eukaryotes and involved in numerous regulatory functions. Differential solubilization and immunofluorescence experiments indicate that p36/LACK is present close to the kinetoplast disc in the cell cytoplasm, probably bound to multiprotein complexes but not to membrane structures. These complexes probably also include cytoplasm PKC isoforms. The use of a genetically-encoded peptide library indicates that p36/LACK binds sequences present in several proteins involved in DNA replication and RNA synthesis. The recognition and binding sequences present in vacuolar proteins and at the beta-chain of major histocompatability complex (MHC) class II suggest the involvement of this regulatory protein in the early mechanisms triggering the protective immune response of the host against the parasite infection. (+info)
Combinatorial protein engineering by incremental truncation.
We have developed a combinatorial approach, using incremental truncation libraries of overlapping N- and C-terminal gene fragments, that examines all possible bisection points within a given region of an enzyme that will allow the conversion of a monomeric enzyme into its functional heterodimer. This general method for enzyme bisection will have broad applications in the engineering of new catalytic functions through domain swapping and chemical synthesis of modified peptide fragments and in the study of enzyme evolution and protein folding. We have tested this methodology on Escherichia coli glycinamide ribonucleotide formyltransferase (PurN) and, by genetic selection, identified PurN heterodimers capable of glycinamide ribonucleotide transformylation. Two were chosen for physical characterization and were found to be comparable to the wild-type PurN monomer in terms of stability to denaturation, activity, and binding of substrate and cofactor. Sequence analysis of 18 randomly chosen, active PurN heterodimers revealed that the breakpoints primarily clustered in loops near the surface of the enzyme, that the breaks could result in the deletion of highly conserved residues and, most surprisingly, that the active site could be bisected. (+info)
Divergence time estimates for the early history of animal phyla and the origin of plants, animals and fungi.
In the past, molecular clocks have been used to estimate divergence times among animal phyla, but those time estimates have varied widely (1200-670 million years ago, Ma). In order to obtain time estimates that are more robust, we have analysed a larger number of genes for divergences among three well-represented animal phyla, and among plants, animals and fungi. The time estimate for the chordate-arthropod divergence, using 50 genes, is 993 +/- 46 Ma. Nematodes were found to have diverged from the lineage leading to arthropods and chordates at 1177 +/- 79 Ma. Phylogenetic analyses also show that a basal position of nematodes has strong support (p > 99%) and is not the result of rate biases. The three-way split (relationships unresolved) of plants, animals and fungi was estimated at 1576 +/- 88 Ma. By inference, the basal animal phyla (Porifera, Cnidaria, Ctenophora) diverged between about 1200-1500 Ma. This suggests that at least six animal phyla originated deep in the Precambrian, more than 400 million years earlier than their first appearance in the fossil record. (+info)