A novel clan of zinc metallopeptidases with possible intramembrane cleavage properties. (1/427)

Computer-based database searching and protein multiple sequence alignment has identified a novel clan of zinc metallopeptidases, which, by phylogenetic analysis, has been shown to contain six subfamilies. The family is characterized by four common transmembrane segments and three conserved sequence motifs. The combination of topology analysis and motif identification has detected three potential Zn2+ coordinating residues. Only two of the sequences of this novel zinc metallopeptidase clan possess any functional annotation, one of which is able to cleave its substrate within a cytosol/transmembrane segment junction. A number of observations suggest that the remaining members of this novel clan may also cleave their substrates within transmembrane segments.  (+info)

The distribution of zinc selenite and expression of metallothionein-III mRNA in the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia of the rat suggest a role for zinc in sensory transmission. (2/427)

Zinc appears to play a role in synaptic transmission in the hippocampus. We tested the hypothesis that zinc is similarly involved in sensory transmission by determining whether vesicular zinc and metallothionein-III (MT-III), a zinc-binding protein, are localized in rat primary afferent neurons. MT-III mRNA, measured using RT-PCR, and MT-III immunoreactivity, were both present in the spinal cord as well as the thoracic and lumbar dorsal root ganglia (DRG). At a time (24 hr) that allows retrograde transport of zinc selenite to cell bodies, only small-diameter neurons and neurons scattered throughout lamina V of the spinal cord were stained by sodium selenite injected intrathecally. This stain disappeared if a ligature was placed on the dorsal root to block axonal transport, demonstrating that these cells are, in fact, zinc-containing primary afferent neurons. When assessed 1 hr after sodium selenite, stain was distributed throughout the neuropil of the spinal cord, especially in lamina III and the area surrounding the central canal. Even in rhizotomized animals, large- and small-diameter DRG neuronal cell bodies were also stained with either selenite (1 hr) or 6-methoxy 8-para-toluene sulfonamide quinoline (TSQ). Paradoxically, this unique pool of zinc was eliminated in large-diameter DRG neurons after neonatal capsaicin treatment, which had no effect on selenite stain or MT-III mRNA content in small-diameter DRG neurons. In summary, we demonstrate that there is a population of capsaicin-insensitive small-diameter primary afferent neurons that are zinc-containing. In addition, there is a unique pool of capsaicin-sensitive zinc that is associated with large-diameter cell bodies.  (+info)

Involvement of PKR in the regulation of myogenesis. (3/427)

The involvement of the double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase PKR in the regulation of the myogenic process was investigated. For this purpose, the murine myogenic cell line C2C12 was used. The cells were first cultivated in either growth medium or differentiation medium (DM), and the activation of PKR during differentiation was determined by monitoring its enzymatic activity and by immunoblot analysis. A significant increase in both parameters was detected already at 24 h in DM, whereas in cells grown in growth medium, the increase was evident only after 96 h, when spontaneous differentiation was observed in highly crowded cultures. Consequently, we established the direct effect of PKR activation on the myogenic process. C2C12 cells were transfected with an expression vector harboring a cDNA molecule encoding human PKR fused to the inducible metallothionein promoter. One of the clones (clone 8) expressing high levels of PKR was selected and further analyzed. In the presence of ZnCl2, which activates the promoter, the rate of cell growth of the transfected cells was clearly reduced compared to that of wild-type C2C12 cells transfected with only the neomycin-resistant gene (C2-NEO). In addition, altered morphology with partial fusion was observed. Biochemically, an increase in creatine kinase activity accompanied by an increased rate of expression of the myogenic protein troponin T and the myogenic transcription factors myoD and myogenin was detected in clone 8 cells exposed to ZnCl2. Most importantly, an induction in the level of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21WAF1 and an increase in the level of the underphosphorylated active form of the tumor suppressor protein pRb concomitant with the down-regulation of cyclin D1 and c-myc were also evident in the transfected clones. These changes were similar to those observed in normal C2C12 cells cultivated in DM. We conclude that PKR is an important regulatory protein participating in the myogenic process.  (+info)

Polaprezinc protects gastric mucosal cells from noxious agents through antioxidant properties in vitro. (4/427)

BACKGROUND: Polaprezinc has been shown to exert an anti-oxidant property in a tube experiment, protect gastric mucosa from experimental ulcerations in vivo, and accelerate the healing of gastric ulcer in humans. AIM: To examine a possible protective effect of polaprezinc on oxidant-mediated injury in primary monolayer cultures of rat gastric fundic mucosa. METHODS: Cytotoxicity was quantified by measuring 51Cr release. Whether or not polaprezinc exerts an antioxidant property was investigated by determining the effect of this agent on hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced injury. The effects of polaprezinc on superoxide (O2-. ) generation as well as on ethanol (EtOH)-induced injury were also examined. Generation of O2-. was assessed by the reduction in cytochrome c. RESULTS: H2O2 caused a time- and dose-dependent increase in 51Cr release. The dose-response curve of 51Cr release by H2O2 shifted to the right in the presence of polaprezinc. Polaprezinc, at submillimolar concentrations, prevented H2O2-induced 51Cr release. EtOH also caused a dose-dependent increase in 51Cr release, which was prevented by the addition of polaprezinc. The incubation of cells with EtOH caused an increase in cytochrome c reduction, as the concentrations of EtOH increased. Polaprezinc inhibited EtOH-induced cytochrome c reduction. Protection by polaprezinc was microscopically associated with the prevention of monolayer disruption. CONCLUSIONS: Polaprezinc is antioxidative and directly protects gastric mucosal cells from noxious agents through its antioxidant properties in vitro. This finding may provide the theoretical basis for the usage of an antiulcer drug with antioxidant properties for the treatment of gastric inflammation, such as that induced by ethanol.  (+info)

Extracellular heavy-metal ions stimulate Ca2+ mobilization in hepatocytes. (5/427)

Populations of hepatocytes in primary culture were loaded with fura 2 and the effects of extracellular heavy-metal ions were examined under conditions that allowed changes in fura 2 fluorescence (R340/360, the ratio of fluorescence recorded at 340 and 360 nm) to be directly attributed to changes in cytosolic free [Ca2+] ([Ca2+]i). In Ca2+-free media, Ni2+ [EC50 (concentration causing 50% stimulation) approximately 24+/-9 microM] caused reversible increases in [Ca2+]i that resulted from mobilization of the same intracellular Ca2+ stores as were released by [Arg8]vasopressin. The effects of Ni2+ were not mimicked by increasing the extracellular [Mg2+], by addition of MnCl2, CoCl2 or CdCl2 or by decreasing the extracellular pH from 7.3 to 6.0; nor were they observed in cultures of smooth muscle, endothelial cells or pituitary cells. CuCl2 (80 microM), ZnCl2 (80 microM) and LaCl3 (5 mM) mimicked the ability of Ni2+ to evoke Ca2+ mobilization. The response to La3+ was sustained even in the absence of extracellular Ca2+, probably because La3+ also inhibited Ca2+ extrusion. Although Ni2+ entered hepatocytes, from the extent to which it quenched fura 2 fluorescence the free cytosolic [Ni2+] ([Ni2+]i) was estimated to be <5 nM at the peak of the maximal Ni2+-evoked Ca2+ signals and there was no correlation between [Ni2+]i and the amplitude of the evoked increases in [Ca2+]i. We conclude that extracellular Ni2+, Zn2+, Cu2+ and La3+, but not all heavy-metal ions, evoke an increase in [Ca2+]i in hepatocytes by stimulating release of the hormone-sensitive intracellular Ca2+ stores and that they may do so by interacting with a specific cell-surface ion receptor. This putative ion receptor may be important in allowing hepatocytes to contribute to regulation of plasma heavy-metal ions and may mediate responses to Zn2+ released into the portal circulation with insulin.  (+info)

Polaprezinc, a mucosal protective agent, in combination with lansoprazole, amoxycillin and clarithromycin increases the cure rate of Helicobacter pylori infection. (6/427)

AIM: To evaluate the efficacy of polaprezinc, a mucosal protective agent, in combination with a 7-day triple therapy containing lansoprazole, amoxycillin and clarithromycin, as a treatment for Helicobacter pylori. METHODS: Sixty-six consecutive patients suffering from dyspeptic symptoms with H. pylori infection were randomly allocated to one of two regimens: one group (LAC; n = 31) received lansoprazole 30 mg b.d., amoxycillin 500 mg b.d. and clarithromycin 400 mg b.d. for 7 days. The other group (LACP; n = 35) received the LAC regimen plus polaprezinc 150 mg b.d. for 7 days. H. pylori status was evaluated by rapid urease test, histology and culture at entry and 4 weeks after treatment. RESULTS: Five patients did not complete the treatment: no follow-up endoscopy was performed on two patients in the LAC group; one patient in the LAC group and two in the LACP group had their treatment stopped due to severe diarrhoea. By per protocol analysis, H. pylori eradication was achieved in 24 of the 28 evaluable patients (86%; 95% CI: 72-100%) after LAC therapy, and in 33 of the 33 evaluable patients (100%) after LACP therapy (P < 0.05). On intention-to-treat analysis, the rates of eradication were 24 of 31 patients (77%; 95% CI: 62-93%) in the LAC group, and 33 of 35 patients (94%; 95% CI: 86-100%) in the LACP group (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: A 7-day triple therapy with lansoprazole, amoxycillin and clarithromycin is effective in H. pylori eradication, but this regimen is significantly improved by the addition of polaprezinc.  (+info)

Zinc coordination and substrate catalysis within the neuropeptide processing enzyme endopeptidase EC Identification of active site histidine and glutamate residues. (7/427)

Endopeptidase EC (EP24.15) is a zinc metalloendopeptidase that is broadly distributed within the brain, pituitary, and gonads. Its substrate specificity includes a number of physiologically important neuropeptides such as neurotensin, bradykinin, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone, the principal regulatory peptide for reproduction. In studying the structure and function of EP24.15, we have employed in vitro mutagenesis and subsequent protein expression to genetically dissect the enzyme and allow us to glean insight into the mechanism of substrate binding and catalysis. Comparison of the sequence of EP24.15 with bacterial homologues previously solved by x-ray crystallography and used as models for mammalian metalloendopeptidases, indicates conserved residues. The active site of EP24.15 exhibits an HEXXH motif, a common feature of zinc metalloenzymes. Mutations have confirmed the importance, for binding and catalysis, of the residues (His473, Glu474, and His477) within this motif. A third putative metal ligand, presumed to coordinate directly to the active site zinc ion in concert with His473 and His477, has been identified as Glu502. Conservative alterations to these residues drastically reduces enzymatic activity against both a putative physiological substrate and a synthetic quenched fluorescent substrate as well as binding of the specific active site-directed inhibitor, N-[1-(RS)-carboxy-3-phenylpropyl]-Ala-Ala-Tyr-p-aminobenzoate, the binding of which we have shown to be dependent upon the presence, and possibly coordination, of the active site zinc ion. These studies contribute to a more complete understanding of the catalytic mechanism of EP24.15 and will aid in rational design of inhibitors and pharmacological agents for this class of enzymes.  (+info)

Colocalization and membrane association of murine hepatitis virus gene 1 products and De novo-synthesized viral RNA in infected cells. (8/427)

Murine hepatitis virus (MHV) gene 1, the 22-kb polymerase (pol) gene, is first translated into a polyprotein and subsequently processed into multiple proteins by viral autoproteases. Genetic complementation analyses suggest that the majority of the gene 1 products are required for viral RNA synthesis. However, there is no physical evidence supporting the association of any of these products with viral RNA synthesis. We have now performed immunofluorescent-staining studies with four polyclonal antisera to localize various MHV-A59 gene 1 products in virus-infected cells. Immunoprecipitation experiments showed that these antisera detected proteins representing the two papain-like proteases and the 3C-like protease encoded by open reading frame (ORF) 1a, the putative polymerase (p100) and a p35 encoded by ORF 1b, and their precursors. De novo-synthesized viral RNA was labeled with bromouridine triphosphate in lysolecithin-permeabilized MHV-infected cells. Confocal microscopy revealed that all of the viral proteins detected by these antisera colocalized with newly synthesized viral RNA in the cytoplasm, particularly in the perinuclear region of infected cells. Several cysteine and serine protease inhibitors, i.e., E64d, leupeptin, and zinc chloride, inhibited viral RNA synthesis without affecting the localization of viral proteins, suggesting that the processing of the MHV gene 1 polyprotein is tightly associated with viral RNA synthesis. Dual labeling with antibodies specific for cytoplasmic membrane structures showed that MHV gene 1 products and RNA colocalized with the Golgi apparatus in HeLa cells. However, in murine 17CL-1 cells, the viral proteins and viral RNA did not colocalize with the Golgi apparatus but, instead, partially colocalized with the endoplasmic reticulum. Our results provide clear physical evidence that several MHV gene 1 products, including the proteases and the polymerase, are associated with the viral RNA replication-transcription machinery, which may localize to different membrane structures in different cell lines.  (+info)