The chemical ecology of Biomphalaria glabrata: the effects of ammonia on the growth rate of juvenile snails.
When juvenile specimens of Biomphalaria glabrata were subjected to concentrations of ammonia ranging from 1-100 mug/ml in various media the following effects were observed: the addition of ammonia to borate buffered media caused mortality. Both borate and tris-buffered media caused a decrease in the growth rate of snails when compared with controls in SSW. The growth rates of the snails could be enhanced by increasing the concentration of ammonia to critical thresholds, but further increases beyond these thresholds resulted in growth inhibition. The toxicity of ammonia in ambient water was augmented by an an increase in pH. The possible causation and ecological significance of these effects are discussed. There are indications that the snails are physiologically well-adapted to utilize ammonia when required and also to control its excretion and uptake from the medium. (+info
Does gill boundary layer carbonic anhydrase contribute to carbon dioxide excretion: a comparison between dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).
In vivo experiments were conducted on spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in sea water to determine the potential role of externally oriented or gill boundary layer carbonic anhydrase in carbon dioxide excretion. This was accomplished by assessing pH changes in expired water using a stopped-flow apparatus. In dogfish, expired water was in acid-base disequilibrium as indicated by a pronounced acidification (delta pH=-0.11+/-0.01; N=22; mean +/- s.e.m.) during the period of stopped flow; inspired water, however, was in acid-base equilibrium (delta pH=-0.002+/-0.01; N=22). The acid-base disequilibrium in expired water was abolished (delta pH=-0.005+/-0.01; N=6) by the addition of bovine carbonic anhydrase (5 mg l-1) to the external medium. Addition of the carbonic anhydrase inhibitor acetazolamide (1 mmol l-1) to the water significantly reduced the magnitude of the pH disequilibrium (from -0.133+/-0.03 to -0.063+/-0.02; N=4). However, after correcting for the increased buffering capacity of the water caused by acetazolamide, the acid-base disequilibrium during stopped flow was unaffected by this treatment (control delta [H+]=99.8+/-22.8 micromol l-1; acetazolamide delta [H+]=81.3+/-21.5 micromol l-1). In rainbow trout, expired water displayed an acid-base disequilibrium (delta pH=0.09+/-0.01; N=6) that also was abolished by the application of external carbonic anhydrase (delta pH=0.02+/-0.01). The origin of the expired water acid-base disequilibrium was investigated further in dogfish. Intravascular injection of acetazolamide (40 mg kg-1) to inhibit internal carbonic anhydrase activity non-specifically and thus CO2 excretion significantly diminished the extent of the expired water disequilibrium pH after 30 min (from -0.123+/-0.01 to -0.065+/-0.01; N=6). Selective inhibition of extracellular carbonic anhydrase activity using a low intravascular dose (1.3 mg kg-1) of the inhibitor benzolamide caused a significant reduction in the acid-base disequilibrium after 5 min (from -0.11+/-0.01 to -0.07+/-0. 01; N=14). These results demonstrate that the expired water acid-base disequilibrium originates, at least in part, from excretory CO2 and that extracellular carbonic anhydrase in dogfish may have a significant role in carbon dioxide excretion. However, externally oriented carbonic anhydrase (if present in dogfish) plays no role in catalysing the hydration of the excretory CO2 in water flowing over the gills and thus is unlikely to facilitate CO2 excretion. (+info
Inward rectification in KATP channels: a pH switch in the pore.
Inward-rectifier potassium channels (Kir channels) stabilize the resting membrane potential and set a threshold for excitation in many types of cell. This function arises from voltage-dependent rectification of these channels due to blockage by intracellular polyamines. In all Kir channels studied to date, the voltage-dependence of rectification is either strong or weak. Here we show that in cardiac as well as in cloned KATP channels (Kir6.2 + sulfonylurea receptor) polyamine-mediated rectification is not fixed but changes with intracellular pH in the physiological range: inward-rectification is prominent at basic pH, while at acidic pH rectification is very weak. The pH-dependence of polyamine block is specific for KATP as shown in experiments with other Kir channels. Systematic mutagenesis revealed a titratable C-terminal histidine residue (H216) in Kir6.2 to be the structural determinant, and electrostatic interaction between this residue and polyamines was shown to be the molecular mechanism underlying pH-dependent rectification. This pH-dependent block of KATP channels may represent a novel and direct link between excitation and intracellular pH. (+info
The disulfide-bonded loop of chromogranin B mediates membrane binding and directs sorting from the trans-Golgi network to secretory granules.
The disulfide-bonded loop of chromogranin B (CgB), a regulated secretory protein with widespread distribution in neuroendocrine cells, is known to be essential for the sorting of CgB from the trans-Golgi network (TGN) to immature secretory granules. Here we show that this loop, when fused to the constitutively secreted protein alpha1-antitrypsin (AT), is sufficient to direct the fusion protein to secretory granules. Importantly, the sorting efficiency of the AT reporter protein bearing two loops (E2/3-AT-E2/3) is much higher compared with that of AT with a single disulfide-bonded loop. In contrast to endogenous CgB, E2/3-AT-E2/3 does not undergo Ca2+/pH-dependent aggregation in the TGN. Furthermore, the disulfide-bonded loop of CgB mediates membrane binding in the TGN and does so with 5-fold higher efficiency if two loops are present on the reporter protein. The latter finding supports the concept that under physiological conditions, aggregates of CgB are the sorted units of cargo which have multiple loops on their surface leading to high membrane binding and sorting efficiency of CgB in the TGN. (+info
Calorimetric studies on the stability of the ribosome-inactivating protein abrin II: effects of pH and ligand binding.
The effects of pH and ligand binding on the stability of abrin II, a heterodimeric ribosome-inactivating protein, and its subunits have been studied using high-sensitivity differential scanning calorimetry. At pH7.2, the calorimetric scan consists of two transitions, which correspond to the B-subunit [transition temperature (Tm) 319.2K] and the A-subunit (Tm 324.6K) of abrin II, as also confirmed by studies on the isolated A-subunit. The calorimetric enthalpy of the isolated A-subunit of abrin II is similar to that of the higher-temperature transition. However, its Tm is 2.4K lower than that of the higher-temperature peak of intact abrin II. This indicates that there is some interaction between the two subunits. Abrin II displays increased stability as the pH is decreased to 4.5. Lactose increases the Tm values as well as the enthalpies of both transitions. This effect is more pronounced at pH7.2 than at pH4.5. This suggests that ligand binding stabilizes the native conformation of abrin II. Analysis of the B-subunit transition temperature as a function of lactose concentration suggests that two lactose molecules bind to one molecule of abrin II at pH7.2. The presence of two binding sites for lactose on the abrin II molecule is also indicated by isothermal titration calorimetry. Plotting DeltaHm (the molar transition enthalpy at Tm) against Tm yielded values for DeltaCp (change in excess heat capacity) of 27+/-2 kJ.mol-1.K-1 for the B-subunit and 20+/-1 kJ.mol-1.K-1 for the A-subunit. These values have been used to calculate the thermal stability of abrin II and to surmise the mechanism of its transmembrane translocation. (+info
A new alkali-resistant hemoglobin alpha2J Oxford gammaF2 in a Sicilian baby girl with homozygous beta0 thalassemia.
A 10-mo-old baby girl with homozygous beta0 thalassemia and alphaJOxford, presenting the clinical picture of homozygous beta thalassemia is described. Hemoglobin electrophoresis showed three bands: the first two with the mobilities of hemoglobin Hb A2 (1%) and Hb F (69%), respectively, the third migrating a little faster than Hb A (30%). About 30% of her alpha chains were J Oxford which, bound to her gamma chains, produced a new alkali-resistant hemoglobin, alpha2 J Oxford gamma F2, which has not been described previously. Hemoglobin synthesis in vitro showed the absence of beta chain synthesis and an alpha/non-alpha ratio of 2. The patient's father was heterozygous for both the Hb J Oxford and beta0 thalassemia genes, the mother a carrier of beta0 thalassemia; four other relatives were carriers of Hb J Oxford, and one was a carrier of beta thalassemia. (+info
Phe161 and Arg166 variants of p-hydroxybenzoate hydroxylase. Implications for NADPH recognition and structural stability.
Phe161 and Arg166 of p-hydroxybenzoate hydroxylase from Pseudomonas fluorescens belong to a newly discovered sequence motif in flavoprotein hydroxylases with a putative dual function in FAD and NADPH binding . To study their role in more detail, Phe161 and Arg166 were selectively changed by site-directed mutagenesis. F161A and F161G are catalytically competent enzymes having a rather poor affinity for NADPH. The catalytic properties of R166K are similar to those of the native enzyme. R166S and R166E show impaired NADPH binding and R166E has lost the ability to bind FAD. The crystal structure of substrate complexed F161A at 2.2 A is indistinguishable from the native enzyme, except for small changes at the site of mutation. The crystal structure of substrate complexed R166S at 2.0 A revealed that Arg166 is important for providing an intimate contact between the FAD binding domain and a long excursion of the substrate binding domain. It is proposed that this interaction is essential for structural stability and for the recognition of the pyrophosphate moiety of NADPH. (+info
Insulin-like growth factors I and II are unable to form and maintain their native disulfides under in vivo redox conditions.
Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) I does not quantitatively form its three native disulfide bonds in the presence of 10 mM reduced and 1 mM oxidized glutathione in vitro [Hober, S. et al. (1992) Biochemistry 31, 1749-1756]. In this paper, we show (i) that both IGF-I and IGF-II are unable to form and maintain their native disulfide bonds at redox conditions that are similar to the situation in the secretory vesicles in vivo and (ii) that the presence of protein disulfide isomerase does not overcome this problem. The results indicate that the previously described thermodynamic disulfide exchange folding problem of IGF-I in vitro is also present in vivo. Speculatively, we suggest that the thermodynamic disulfide exchange properties of IGF-I and II are biologically significant for inactivation of the unbound growth factors by disulfide exchange reactions to generate variants destined for rapid clearance. (+info