(1/1923) Biophysical characterization of the structure of the amino-terminal region of gp41 of HIV-1. Implications on viral fusion mechanism.

A peptide of 51 amino acids corresponding to the NH2-terminal region (5-55) of the glycoprotein gp41 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 was synthesized to study its conformation and assembly. Nuclear magnetic resonance experiments indicated the sequence NH2-terminal to the leucine zipper-like domain of gp41 was induced into helix in the micellar solution, in agreement with circular dichroism data. Light scattering experiment showed that the peptide molecules self-assembled in water into trimeric structure on average. That the peptide molecules oligomerize in aqueous solution was supported by gel filtration and diffusion coefficient experiments. Molecular dynamics simulation based on the NMR data revealed a flexible region adjacent to the hydrophobic NH2 terminus of gp41. The biological significance of the present findings on the conformational flexibility and the propensity of oligomerization of the peptide may be envisioned by a proposed model for the interaction of gp41 with membranes during fusion process.  (+info)

(2/1923) Molecular dynamics study of substance P peptides partitioned in a sodium dodecylsulfate micelle.

Two neuropeptides, substance P (SP) and SP-tyrosine-8 (SP-Y8), have been studied by molecular dynamics (MD) simulation in an explicit sodium dodecylsulfate (SDS) micelle. Initially, distance restraints derived from NMR nuclear Overhauser enhancements (NOE) were incorporated in the restrained MD (RMD) during the equilibration stage of the simulation. It was shown that when SP-Y8 was initially placed in an insertion (perpendicular) configuration, the peptide equilibrated to a surface-bound (parallel) configuration in approximately 450 ps. After equilibration, the conformation and orientation of the peptides, the solvation of both the backbone and the side chain of the residues, hydrogen bonding, and the dynamics of the peptides were analyzed from trajectories obtained from the RMD or the subsequent free MD (where the NOE restraints were removed). These analyses showed that the peptide backbones of all residues are either solvated by water or are hydrogen-bonded. This is seen to be an important factor against the insertion mode of interaction. Most of the interactions come from the hydrophobic interaction between the side chains of Lys-3, Pro-4, Phe-7, Phe-8, Leu-10, and Met-11 for SP, from Lys-3, Phe-7, Leu-10, and Met-11 in SP-Y8, and the micellar interior. Significant interactions, electrostatic and hydrogen bonding, between the N-terminal residues, Arg-Pro-Lys, and the micellar headgroups were observed. These latter interactions served to affect both the structure and, especially, the flexibility, of the N-terminus. The results from simulation of the same peptides in a water/CCl4 biphasic cell were compared with the results of the present study, and the validity of using the biphasic system as an approximation for peptide-micelle or peptide-bilayer systems is discussed.  (+info)

(3/1923) The intracellular serpin proteinase inhibitor 6 is expressed in monocytes and granulocytes and is a potent inhibitor of the azurophilic granule protease, cathepsin G.

The monocyte and granulocyte azurophilic granule proteinases elastase, proteinase 3, and cathepsin G are implicated in acute and chronic diseases thought to result from an imbalance between the secreted proteinase(s) and circulating serpins such as alpha1-proteinase inhibitor and alpha1-antichymotrypsin. We show here that the intracellular serpin, proteinase inhibitor 6 (PI-6), is present in monocytes, granulocytes, and myelomonocytic cell lines. In extracts from these cells, PI-6 bound an endogenous membrane-associated serine proteinase to form an sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-stable complex. Using antibodies to urokinase, elastase, proteinase 3, or cathepsin G, we demonstrated that the complex contains cathepsin G. Native cathepsin G and recombinant PI-6 formed an SDS-stable complex in vitro similar in size to that observed in the extracts. Further kinetic analysis demonstrated that cathepsin G and PI-6 rapidly form a tight 1:1 complex (ka = 6.8 +/- 0.2 x 10(6) mol/L-1s-1 at 17 degrees C; Ki = 9.2 +/- 0.04 x 10(-10) mol/L). We propose that PI-6 complements alpha1-proteinase inhibitor and alpha1-antichymotrypsin (which control extracellular proteolysis) by neutralizing cathepsin G that leaks into the cytoplasm of monocytes or granulocytes during biosynthesis or phagocytosis. Control of intracellular cathepsin G may be particularly important, because it has recently been shown to activate the proapoptotic proteinase, caspase-7.  (+info)

(4/1923) Single channel analysis of recombinant major outer membrane protein porins from Chlamydia psittaci and Chlamydia pneumoniae.

We recently demonstrated that the major outer membrane protein of Chlamydia psittaci, the primary vaccine candidate for combating chlamydial infections, functions as a porin-like ion channel. In this study, we have cloned, expressed and functionally reconstituted recombinant major outer membrane proteins from C. psittaci and Chlamydia pneumoniae and analysed them at the single channel level. Both form porin-like ion channels that are functionally similar to those formed by native C. psittaci major outer membrane protein. Also, like the native channels, recombinant C. psittaci channels are modified by a native major outer membrane protein-specific monoclonal antibody. This is the first time that native function has been demonstrated for recombinant chlamydial major outer membrane proteins. Future bilayer reconstitution will provide a strategy for detailed structure/function studies of this new subclass of bacterial porins and the work also has important implications for successful protein refolding and the development of improved subunit vaccines.  (+info)

(5/1923) Use of PCR and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis techniques for differentiation of Prevotella intermedia sensu stricto and Prevotella nigrescens.

Primers were designed from 16S rRNA sequences of Prevotella intermedia sensu stricto and Prevotella nigrescens and were used to discriminate these two species by PCR. The results were compared with those from the PCR technique using primers designed from arbitrarily primed PCR products by Guillot and Mouton (E. Guillot and C. Mouton, J. Clin. Microbiol. 35:1876-1882, 1997). The specificities of both assays were studied by using P. intermedia ATCC 25611, P. nigrescens ATCC 33563, 174 clinical isolates of P. intermedia sensu lato, and 59 reference strains and 58 clinical isolates of other Prevotella species and/or common oral flora. In addition, the usefulness and reliability of sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) in the differentiation of the two species were examined by comparing the results with those from PCR assays. The controversial lipase test for distinguishing these species was also carried out. Unambiguous differentiation was made by both PCR assays, and the results matched each other. The SDS-PAGE assay was found to misidentify a few strains tested, compared with the results of PCR assays. The lipase test was positive for both species, including the reference strains of P. intermedia and P. nigrescens. We conclude that both PCR assays are simple, rapid, reliable, and specific methods which could be used in clinical studies and that the lipase test is not valuable in the differentiation. The reliable discrimination of the two species by SDS-PAGE is questionable.  (+info)

(6/1923) Mutant and wild type human alpha-synucleins assemble into elongated filaments with distinct morphologies in vitro.

alpha-Synuclein is a soluble presynaptic protein which is pathologically redistributed within intracellular lesions characteristic of several neurodegenerative diseases. Here we demonstrate that wild type and two mutant forms of alpha-synuclein linked to familial Parkinson's disease (Ala30 --> Pro and Ala53 --> Thr) self-aggregate and assemble into 10-19-nm-wide filaments with distinct morphologies under defined in vitro conditions. Immunogold labeling demonstrates that the central region of all these filaments are more robustly labeled than the N-terminal or C-terminal regions, suggesting that the latter regions are buried within the filaments. Since in vitro generated alpha-synuclein filaments resemble the major ultrastructural elements of authentic Lewy bodies that are hallmark lesions of Parkinson's disease, we propose that self-aggregating alpha-synuclein is the major subunit protein of these filamentous lesions.  (+info)

(7/1923) PhoP-PhoQ-regulated loci are required for enhanced bile resistance in Salmonella spp.

As enteric pathogens, Salmonella spp. are resistant to the actions of bile. Salmonella typhimurium and Salmonella typhi strains were examined to better define the bile resistance phenotype. The MICs of bile for wild-type S. typhimurium and S. typhi were 18 and 12%, respectively, and pretreatment of log-phase S. typhimurium with 15% bile dramatically increased bile resistance. Mutant strains of S. typhimurium and S. typhi lacking the virulence regulator PhoP-PhoQ were killed at significantly lower bile concentrations than wild-type strains, while strains with constitutively active PhoP were able to survive prolonged incubation with bile at concentrations of >60%. PhoP-PhoQ was shown to mediate resistance specifically to the bile components deoxycholate and conjugated forms of chenodeoxycholate, and the protective effect was not generalized to other membrane-active agents. Growth of both S. typhimurium and S. typhi in bile and in deoxycholate resulted in the induction or repression of a number of proteins, many of which appeared identical to PhoP-PhoQ-activated or -repressed products. The PhoP-PhoQ regulon was not induced by bile, nor did any of the 21 PhoP-activated or -repressed genes tested play a role in bile resistance. However, of the PhoP-activated or -repressed genes tested, two (prgC and prgH) were transcriptionally repressed by bile in the medium independent of PhoP-PhoQ. These data suggest that salmonellae can sense and respond to bile to increase resistance and that this response likely includes proteins that are members of the PhoP regulon. These bile- and PhoP-PhoQ-regulated products may play an important role in the survival of Salmonella spp. in the intestine or gallbladder.  (+info)

(8/1923) Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) of oral black-pigmented bacteria induce tumor necrosis factor production by LPS-refractory C3H/HeJ macrophages in a way different from that of Salmonella LPS.

Some lipopolysaccharide (LPS) preparations from S- or R-form members of the family Enterobacteriaceae and oral black-pigmented bacteria (Porphyromonas gingivalis and Prevotella intermedia) are known to activate LPS-refractory C3H/HeJ macrophages. When contaminating proteins are removed from R-form LPS of Enterobacteriaceae by repurification, however, this ability is lost. In the present study, we investigated the capacity of LPS from P. gingivalis, P. intermedia, Salmonella minnesota, and Salmonella abortusequi to induce production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in gamma interferon-primed C3H/HeJ macrophages before and after repurification. P. abortusequi S-LPS was fractionated by centrifugal partition chromatography into two LPS forms: SL-LPS, having homologous long O-polysaccharide chains, and SS-LPS having short oligosaccharide chains. Prior to repurification, all LPS forms except SL-LPS induced TNF production in both C3H/HeJ and C3H/HeN macrophages. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis showed that repurification removed contaminating protein from the preparations, and repurified SS-LPS and S. minnesota Ra-LPS no longer stimulated TNF production in C3H/HeJ macrophages, although C3H/HeN macrophages remained responsive. In contrast, repurified oral bacterial LPS retained the capacity to induce TNF production in C3H/HeJ macrophages. Oral bacterial LPS preparations also were not antagonized by excess inactive, repurified SL-LPS; Ra-LPS; Rhodobacter sphaeroides lipid A, a competitive LPS antagonist, or paclitaxel, an LPS agonist, and they were comparatively resistant to polymyxin B treatment. Nevertheless, oral bacterial LPS was less toxic to D-galactosamine-treated C3H/HeN mice than was LPS from Salmonella. These findings indicate that the active molecule(s) and mode of action of LPS from P. gingivalis and P. intermedia are quite different from those of LPS from Salmonella.  (+info)