Requirement of a novel gene, Xin, in cardiac morphogenesis. (1/4360)

A novel gene, Xin, from chick (cXin) and mouse (mXin) embryonic hearts, may be required for cardiac morphogenesis and looping. Both cloned cDNAs have a single open reading frame, encoding proteins with 2,562 and 1,677 amino acids for cXin and mXin, respectively. The derived amino acid sequences share 46% similarity. The overall domain structures of the predicted cXin and mXin proteins, including proline-rich regions, 16 amino acid repeats, DNA-binding domains, SH3-binding motifs and nuclear localization signals, are highly conserved. Northern blot analyses detect a single message of 8.9 and 5.8 kilo base (kb) from both cardiac and skeletal muscle of chick and mouse, respectively. In situ hybridization reveals that the cXin gene is specifically expressed in cardiac progenitor cells of chick embryos as early as stage 8, prior to heart tube formation. cXin continues to be expressed in the myocardium of developing hearts. By stage 15, cXin expression is also detected in the myotomes of developing somites. Immunofluorescence microscopy reveals that the mXin protein is colocalized with N-cadherin and connexin-43 in the intercalated discs of adult mouse hearts. Incubation of stage 6 chick embryos with cXin antisense oligonucleotides results in abnormal cardiac morphogenesis and an alteration of cardiac looping. The myocardium of the affected hearts becomes thickened and tends to form multiple invaginations into the heart cavity. This abnormal cellular process may account in part for the abnormal looping. cXin expression can be induced by bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) in explants of anterior medial mesoendoderm from stage 6 chick embryos, a tissue that is normally non-cardiogenic. This induction occurs following the BMP-mediated induction of two cardiac-restricted transcription factors, Nkx2.5 and MEF2C. Furthermore, either MEF2C or Nkx2.5 can transactivate a luciferase reporter driven by the mXin promoter in mouse fibroblasts. These results suggest that Xin may participate in a BMP-Nkx2.5-MEF2C pathway to control cardiac morphogenesis and looping.  (+info)

A hyperstable collagen mimic. (2/4360)

BACKGROUND: Collagen is the most abundant protein in animals. Each polypeptide chain of collagen is composed of repeats of the sequence: Gly-X-Y, where X and Y are often L-proline (Pro) and 4(R)-hydroxy-L-proline (Hyp) residues, respectively. These chains are wound into tight triple helices of great stability. The hydroxyl group of Hyp residues contributes much to this conformational stability. The existing paradigm is that this stability arises from interstrand hydrogen bonds mediated by bridging water molecules. This model was tested using chemical synthesis to replace Hyp residues with 4(R)-fluoro-L-proline (Flp) residues. The fluorine atom in Flp residues does not form hydrogen bonds but does elicit strong inductive effects. RESULTS: Replacing the Hyp residues in collagen with Flp residues greatly increases triple-helical stability. The free energy contributed by the fluorine atom in Flp residues is twice that of the hydroxyl group in Hyp residues. The stability of the Flp-containing triple helix far exceeds that of any untemplated collagen mimic of similar size. CONCLUSIONS: Bridging water molecules contribute little to collagen stability. Rather, collagen stability relies on previously unappreciated inductive effects. Collagen mimics containing fluorine or other appropriate electron-withdrawing substituents could be the basis of new biomaterials for restorative therapies.  (+info)

Tyrosine phosphorylation and complex formation of Cbl-b upon T cell receptor stimulation. (3/4360)

Cbl-b, a mammalian homolog of Cbl, consists of an N-terminal region (Cbl-b-N) highly homologous to oncogenic v-Cbl, a Ring finger, and a C-terminal region containing multiple proline-rich stretches and potential tyrosine phosphorylation sites. In the present study, we demonstrate that upon engagement of the T cell receptor (TCR), endogenous Cbl-b becomes rapidly tyrosine-phosphorylated. In heterogeneous COS-1 cells, Cbl-b was phosphorylated on tyrosine residues by both Syk- (Syk/Zap-70) and Src- (Fyn/Lck) family kinases, with Syk kinase inducing the most prominent effect. Syk associates and phosphorylates Cbl-b in Jurkat T cells. A Tyr-316 Cbl-binding site in Syk was required for the association with and for the maximal tyrosine phosphorylation of Cbl-b. Mutation at a loss-of-function site (Gly-298) in Cbl-b-N disrupts its interaction with Syk. Cbl-b constitutively binds Grb2 and becomes associated with Crk-L upon TCR stimulation. The Grb2- and the Crk-L-binding regions were mapped to the C-terminus of Cbl-b. The Crk-L-binding sites were further determined to be Y655DVP and Y709KIP, with the latter being the primary binding site. Taken together, these results implicate that Cbl-b is involved in TCR-mediated intracellular signaling pathways.  (+info)

Low temperature cycled PCR protocol for Klenow fragment of DNA polymerase I in the presence of proline. (4/4360)

A method for performing cycled PCR at low temperatures, using the thermolabile Klenow fragment of DNA polymerase I, is reported. Application of proline as a buffer additive in the range of 3.0-5.5 M remarkably increases the thermal stability of the polymerase and decreases the denaturation temperature of DNAtemplate. This method might be applicable to a broad spectrum of thermolabile DNA polymerases in cycled PCR and other methods of DNA amplification.  (+info)

The role of proline and glycine in determining the backbone flexibility of a channel-forming peptide. (5/4360)

Alamethicin is a helical 20-amino acid voltage-gated channel-forming peptide, which is known to exhibit segmental flexibility in solution along its backbone near alpha-methylalanine (MeA)-10 and Gly-11. In an alpha-helical configuration, MeA at position 10 would normally hydrogen-bond with position 14, but the presence of proline at this position prevents the formation of this interhelical hydrogen bond. To determine whether the presence of proline at position 14 contributes to the flexibility of this helix, two analogs of alamethicin were synthesized, one with proline 14 replaced by alanine and another with both proline 14 and glycine 11 replaced by alanine. The C-termini of these peptides were derivatized with a proxyl nitroxide, and paramagnetic enhancements produced by the nitroxide on the Calpha protons were used to estimate r-6 weighted distances between the nitroxide and the backbone protons. When compared to native alamethicin, the analog lacking proline 14 exhibited similar C-terminal to Calpha proton distances, indicating that substitution of proline alone does not alter the flexibility of this helix; however, the subsequent removal of glycine 11 resulted in a significant increase in the averaged distances between the C- and N-termini. Thus, the G-X-X-P motif found in alamethicin appears to be largely responsible for mediating high-amplitude bending motions that have been observed in the central helical domain of alamethicin in methanol. To determine whether these substitutions alter the channel behavior of alamethicin, the macroscopic and single-channel currents produced by these analogs were compared. Although the substitution of the G-X-X-P motif produces channels with altered characteristics, this motif is not essential to achieve voltage-dependent gating or alamethicin-like behavior.  (+info)

Protein ProQ influences osmotic activation of compatible solute transporter ProP in Escherichia coli K-12. (6/4360)

ProP is an osmoregulatory compatible solute transporter in Escherichia coli K-12. Mutation proQ220::Tn5 decreased the rate constant for and the extent of ProP activation by an osmotic upshift but did not alter proP transcription or the ProP protein level. Allele proQ220::Tn5 was isolated, and the proQ sequence was determined. Locus proQ is upstream from prc (tsp) at 41.2 centisomes on the genetic map. The proQ220::Tn5 and prc phenotypes were different, however. Gene proQ is predicted to encode a 232-amino-acid, basic, hydrophilic protein (molecular mass, 25,876 Da; calculated isoelectric point, 9.66; 32% D, E, R, or K; 54.5% polar amino acids). The insertion of PCR-amplified proQ into vector pBAD24 produced a plasmid containing the wild-type proQ open reading frame, the expression of which yielded a soluble protein with an apparent molecular mass of 30 kDa. Antibodies raised against the overexpressed ProQ protein detected cross-reactive material in proQ+ bacteria but not in proQ220::Tn5 bacteria. ProQ may be a structural element that influences the osmotic activation of ProP at a posttranslational level.  (+info)

Unexpected crucial role of residue 225 in serine proteases. (7/4360)

Residue 225 in serine proteases of the chymotrypsin family is Pro or Tyr in more than 95% of nearly 300 available sequences. Proteases with Y225 (like some blood coagulation and complement factors) are almost exclusively found in vertebrates, whereas proteases with P225 (like degradative enzymes) are present from bacteria to human. Saturation mutagenesis of Y225 in thrombin shows that residue 225 affects ligand recognition up to 60,000-fold. With the exception of Tyr and Phe, all residues are associated with comparable or greatly reduced catalytic activity relative to Pro. The crystal structures of three mutants that differ widely in catalytic activity (Y225F, Y225P, and Y225I) show that although residue 225 makes no contact with substrate, it drastically influences the shape of the water channel around the primary specificity site. The activity profiles obtained for thrombin also suggest that the conversion of Pro to Tyr or Phe documented in the vertebrates occurred through Ser and was driven by a significant gain (up to 50-fold) in catalytic activity. In fact, Ser and Phe are documented in 4% of serine proteases, which together with Pro and Tyr account for almost the entire distribution of residues at position 225. The unexpected crucial role of residue 225 in serine proteases explains the evolutionary selection of residues at this position and shows that the structural determinants of protease activity and specificity are more complex than currently believed. These findings have broad implications in the rational design of enzymes with enhanced catalytic properties.  (+info)

A specific transition state for S-peptide combining with folded S-protein and then refolding. (8/4360)

We measured the folding and unfolding kinetics of mutants for a simple protein folding reaction to characterize the structure of the transition state. Fluorescently labeled S-peptide analogues combine with S-protein to form ribonuclease S analogues: initially, S-peptide is disordered whereas S-protein is folded. The fluorescent probe provides a convenient spectroscopic probe for the reaction. The association rate constant, kon, and the dissociation rate constant, koff, were both determined for two sets of mutants. The dissociation rate constant is measured by adding an excess of unlabeled S-peptide analogue to a labeled complex (RNaseS*). This strategy allows kon and koff to be measured under identical conditions so that microscopic reversibility applies and the transition state is the same for unfolding and refolding. The first set of mutants tests the role of the alpha-helix in the transition state. Solvent-exposed residues Ala-6 and Gln-11 in the alpha-helix of native RNaseS were replaced by the helix destabilizing residues glycine or proline. A plot of log kon vs. log Kd for this series of mutants is linear over a very wide range, with a slope of -0.3, indicating that almost all of the molecules fold via a transition state involving the helix. A second set of mutants tests the role of side chains in the transition state. Three side chains were investigated: Phe-8, His-12, and Met-13, which are known to be important for binding S-peptide to S-protein and which also contribute strongly to the stability of RNaseS*. Only the side chain of Phe-8 contributes significantly, however, to the stability of the transition state. The results provide a remarkably clear description of a folding transition state.  (+info)