Assembly requirements of PU.1-Pip (IRF-4) activator complexes: inhibiting function in vivo using fused dimers.
Gene expression in higher eukaryotes appears to be regulated by specific combinations of transcription factors binding to regulatory sequences. The Ets factor PU.1 and the IRF protein Pip (IRF-4) represent a pair of interacting transcription factors implicated in regulating B cell-specific gene expression. Pip is recruited to its binding site on DNA by phosphorylated PU.1. PU.1-Pip interaction is shown to be template directed and involves two distinct protein-protein interaction surfaces: (i) the ets and IRF DNA-binding domains; and (ii) the phosphorylated PEST region of PU.1 and a lysine-requiring putative alpha-helix in Pip. Thus, a coordinated set of protein-protein and protein-DNA contacts are essential for PU.1-Pip ternary complex assembly. To analyze the function of these factors in vivo, we engineered chimeric repressors containing the ets and IRF DNA-binding domains connected by a flexible POU domain linker. When stably expressed, the wild-type fused dimer strongly repressed the expression of a rearranged immunoglobulin lambda gene, thereby establishing the functional importance of PU.1-Pip complexes in B cell gene expression. Comparative analysis of the wild-type dimer with a series of mutant dimers distinguished a gene regulated by PU.1 and Pip from one regulated by PU.1 alone. This strategy should prove generally useful in analyzing the function of interacting transcription factors in vivo, and for identifying novel genes regulated by such complexes. (+info
Engineering a chimeric pyrroloquinoline quinone glucose dehydrogenase: improvement of EDTA tolerance, thermal stability and substrate specificity.
An engineered Escherichia coli PQQ glucose dehydrogenase (PQQGDH) with improved enzymatic characteristics was constructed by substituting and combining the gene-encoding protein regions responsible for EDTA tolerance, thermal stability and substrate specificity. The protein region responsible for complete EDTA tolerance in Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, which is recognized as the indicator of high stability in co-factor binding, was elucidated. The region is located between 32 and 59% from the N-terminus of A. calcoaceticus PQQGDH(A27 region) and also corresponds to the same position from 32 to 59% from the N-terminus in E. coli PQQGDH, though E. coli PQQGDH is EDTA sensitive. We previously reported that the C-terminal 3% region of A. calcoaceticus (A3 region) played an important role in the increase of thermal stability, and that His775Asn substitution in E. coli PQQGDH resulted in an increase in the substrate specificity of E. coli PQQGDH towards glucose. Based on these findings, chimeric and/or mutated PQQGDHs, E97A3 H775N, E32A27E41 H782N, E32A27E38A3 and E32A27E38A3 H782N were constructed to investigate the compatibility of two protein regions and one amino acid substitution. His775 substitution to Asn corresponded to His782 substitution to Asn (H782N) in chimeric enzymes harbouring the A27 region. Since all the chimeric PQQGDHs harbouring the A27 region were EDTA tolerant, the A27 region was found to be compatible with the other region and substituted amino acid responsible for the improvement of enzymatic properties. The contribution of the A3 region to thermal stability complemented the decrease in the thermal stability due to the His775 or His782 substitution to Asn. E32A27E38A3 H782N, which harbours all the above mentioned three regions, showed improved EDTA tolerance, thermal stability and substrate specificity. These results suggested a strategy for the construction of a semi-artificial enzyme by substituting and combining the gene-encoding protein regions responsible for the improvement of enzyme characteristics. The characteristics of constructed chimeric PQQGDH are discussed based on the predicted model, beta-propeller structure. (+info
Toward controlling gene expression at will: selection and design of zinc finger domains recognizing each of the 5'-GNN-3' DNA target sequences.
We have taken a comprehensive approach to the generation of novel DNA binding zinc finger domains of defined specificity. Herein we describe the generation and characterization of a family of zinc finger domains developed for the recognition of each of the 16 possible 3-bp DNA binding sites having the sequence 5'-GNN-3'. Phage display libraries of zinc finger proteins were created and selected under conditions that favor enrichment of sequence-specific proteins. Zinc finger domains recognizing a number of sequences required refinement by site-directed mutagenesis that was guided by both phage selection data and structural information. In many cases, residues not expected to make base-specific contacts had effects on specificity. A number of these domains demonstrate exquisite specificity and discriminate between sequences that differ by a single base with >100-fold loss in affinity. We conclude that the three helical positions -1, 3, and 6 of a zinc finger domain are insufficient to allow for the fine specificity of the DNA binding domain to be predicted. These domains are functionally modular and may be recombined with one another to create polydactyl proteins capable of binding 18-bp sequences with subnanomolar affinity. The family of zinc finger domains described here is sufficient for the construction of 17 million novel proteins that bind the 5'-(GNN)6-3' family of DNA sequences. These materials and methods should allow for the rapid construction of novel gene switches and provide the basis for a universal system for gene control. (+info
Re-design of Rhodobacter sphaeroides dimethyl sulfoxide reductase. Enhancement of adenosine N1-oxide reductase activity.
The periplasmic DMSO reductase from Rhodobacter sphaeroides f. sp. denitrificans has been expressed in Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) cells in its mature form and with the R. sphaeroides or E. coli N-terminal signal sequence. Whereas the R. sphaeroides signal sequence prevents formation of active enzyme, addition of a 6x His-tag at the N terminus of the mature peptide maximizes production of active enzyme and allows for affinity purification. The recombinant protein contains 1.7-1.9 guanines and greater than 0.7 molybdenum atoms per molecule and has a DMSO reductase activity of 3.4-3.7 units/nmol molybdenum, compared with 3.7 units/nmol molybdenum for enzyme purified from R. sphaeroides. The recombinant enzyme differs from the native enzyme in its color and spectrum but is indistinguishable from the native protein after redox cycling with reduced methyl viologen and Me2SO. Substitution of Cys for the molybdenum-ligating Ser-147 produced a protein with DMSO reductase activity of 1.4-1.5 units/nmol molybdenum. The mutant protein differs from wild type in its color and absorption spectrum in both the oxidized and reduced states. This substitution leads to losses of 61-99% of activity toward five substrates, but the adenosine N1-oxide reductase activity increases by over 400%. (+info
CD86 (B7-2) can function to drive MHC-restricted antigen-specific CTL responses in vivo.
Activation of T cells requires both TCR-specific ligation by direct contact with peptide Ag-MHC complexes and coligation of the B7 family of ligands through CD28/CTLA-4 on the T cell surface. We recently reported that coadministration of CD86 cDNA along with DNA encoding HIV-1 Ags i.m. dramatically increased Ag-specific CTL responses. We investigated whether the bone marrow-derived professional APCs or muscle cells were responsible for the enhancement of CTL responses following CD86 coadministration. Accordingly, we analyzed CTL induction in bone marrow chimeras. These chimeras are capable of generating functional viral-specific CTLs against vaccinia virus and therefore represent a useful model system to study APC/T cell function in vivo. In vaccinated chimeras, we observed that only CD86 + Ag + MHC class I results in 1) detectable CTLs following in vitro restimulation, 2) detectable direct CTLs, 3) enhanced IFN-gamma production in an Ag-specific manner, and 4) dramatic tissue invasion of T cells. These results support that CD86 plays a central role in CTL induction in vivo, enabling non-bone marrow-derived cells to prime CTLs, a property previously associated solely with bone marrow-derived APCs. (+info
Elimination of the immunogenicity of therapeutic antibodies.
The immunogenicity of therapeutic Abs limits their long-term use. The processes of complementarity-determining region grafting, resurfacing, and hyperchimerization diminish mAb immunogenicity by reducing the number of foreign residues. However, this does not prevent anti-idiotypic and anti-allotypic responses following repeated administration of cell-binding Abs. Classical studies have demonstrated that monomeric human IgG is profoundly tolerogenic in a number of species. If cell-binding Abs could be converted into monomeric non-cell-binding tolerogens, then it should be possible to pretolerize patients to the therapeutic cell-binding form. We demonstrate that non-cell-binding minimal mutants of the anti-CD52 Ab CAMPATH-1H lose immunogenicity and can tolerize to the "wild-type" Ab in CD52-expressing transgenic mice. This finding could have utility in the long-term administration of therapeutic proteins to humans. (+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
Rational design of a scytalone dehydratase-like enzyme using a structurally homologous protein scaffold.
The generation of enzymes to catalyze specific reactions is one of the more challenging problems facing protein engineers. Structural similarities between the enzyme scytalone dehydratase with nuclear transport factor 2 (NTF2) suggested the potential for NTF2 to be re-engineered into a scytalone dehydratase-like enzyme. We introduced four key catalytic residues into NTF2 to create a scytalone dehydratase-like active site. A C-terminal helix found in scytalone dehydratase but absent in NTF2 also was added. Mutant NTF2 proteins were tested for catalytic activity by using a spectroscopic assay. One of the engineered enzymes exhibited catalytic activity with minimal kcat and Km values of 0.125 min-1 and 800 microM, respectively. This level of catalytic activity represents minimally a 150-fold improvement in activity over the background rate for substrate dehydration and a dramatic step forward from the catalytically inert parent NTF2. This work represents one of the few examples of converting a protein scaffold into an enzyme, outside those arising from the induction of catalytic activity into antibodies. (+info