Publications by authors named "Anna De Grassi"

31 Publications

Differential Expression of ADP/ATP Carriers as a Biomarker of Metabolic Remodeling and Survival in Kidney Cancers.

Biomolecules 2020 Dec 30;11(1). Epub 2020 Dec 30.

Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies, Biopharmaceutics, University "Aldo Moro" of Bari, Via E. Orabona, 4, 70125 Bari, Italy.

ADP/ATP carriers (AACs) are mitochondrial transport proteins playing a strategic role in maintaining the respiratory chain activity, fueling the cell with ATP, and also regulating mitochondrial apoptosis. To understand if AACs might represent a new molecular target for cancer treatment, we evaluated AAC expression levels in cancer/normal tissue pairs available on the Tissue Cancer Genome Atlas database (TCGA), observing that AACs are dysregulated in most of the available samples. It was observed that at least two AACs showed a significant differential expression in all the available kidney cancer/normal tissue pairs. Thus, we investigated AAC expression in the corresponding kidney non-cancer (HK2)/cancer (RCC-Shaw and CaKi-1) cell lines, grown in complete medium or serum starvation, for investigating how metabolic alteration induced by different growth conditions might influence AAC expression and resistance to mitochondrial apoptosis initiators, such as "staurosporine" or the AAC highly selective inhibitor "carboxyatractyloside". Our analyses showed that AAC2 and AAC3 transcripts are more expressed than AAC1 in all the investigated kidney cell lines grown in complete medium, whereas serum starvation causes an increase of at least two AAC transcripts in kidney cancer cell lines compared to non-cancer cells. However, the total AAC protein content is decreased in the investigated cancer cell lines, above all in the serum-free medium. The observed decrease in AAC protein content might be responsible for the decrease of OXPHOS activity and for the observed lowered sensitivity to mitochondrial apoptosis induced by staurosporine or carboxyatractyloside. Notably, the cumulative probability of the survival of kidney cancer patients seriously decreases with the decrease of AAC1 expression in KIRC and KIRP tissues making AAC1 a possible new biomarker of metabolic remodeling and survival in kidney cancers.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biom11010038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7824283PMC
December 2020

Targeting GMC Oxidoreductase with High Affinity Small Molecules for Reducing Patulin Production.

Biology (Basel) 2020 Dec 31;10(1). Epub 2020 Dec 31.

Laboratory of Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology, Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies, Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari, Via E. Orabona, 4, 70125 Bari, Italy.

Flavine adenine dinucleotide (FAD) dependent glucose methanol choline oxidoreductase (GMC oxidoreductase) is the terminal key enzyme of the patulin biosynthetic pathway. GMC oxidoreductase catalyzes the oxidative ring closure of ()-ascladiol to patulin. Currently, no protein involved in the patulin biosynthesis in has been experimentally characterized or solved by X-ray diffraction. Consequently, nothing is known about GMC oxidoreductase substrate-binding site and mode of action. In the present investigation, a 3D comparative model for GMC oxidoreductase has been described. Furthermore, a multistep computational approach was used to identify GMC oxidoreductase residues involved in the FAD binding and in substrate recognition. Notably, the obtained 3D comparative model of GMC oxidoreductase was used for performing a virtual screening of a chemical/drug library, which allowed to predict new GMC oxidoreductase high affinity ligands to be tested in in vitro/in vivo assays. In vitro assays performed in presence of 6-hydroxycoumarin and meticrane, among the highly affinity predicted binders, confirmed a dose-dependent inhibition (17-81%) of patulin production by 6-hydroxycoumarin (10 µM-1 mM concentration range), whereas the approved drug meticrane inhibited patulin production by 43% already at 10 µM. Furthermore, 6-hydroxycoumarin and meticrane caused a 60 and 41% reduction of patulin production, respectively, in vivo on apples at 100 µg/wound.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biology10010021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7824139PMC
December 2020

Targeting mitochondrial metabolite transporters in Penicillium expansum for reducing patulin production.

Plant Physiol Biochem 2021 Jan 28;158:158-181. Epub 2020 Jul 28.

Laboratory of Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology, Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies, Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari, Via E. Orabona, 4, 70125, Bari, Italy; BROWSer S.r.l. (https://browser-bioinf.com/) c/o, Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies, Biopharmaceutics, University "Aldo Moro" of Bari, Via E. Orabona, 4, 70126, Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

There is an increasing need of alternative treatments to control fungal infection and consequent mycotoxin accumulation in harvested fruits and vegetables. Indeed, only few biological targets of antifungal agents have been characterized and can be used for limiting fungal spread from decayed fruits/vegetables to surrounding healthy ones during storage. On this concern, a promising target of new antifungal treatments may be represented by mitochondrial proteins due to some species-specific functions played by mitochondria in fungal morphogenesis, drug resistance and virulence. One of the most studied mycotoxins is patulin produced by several species of Penicillium and Aspergillus genera. Patulin is toxic to many biological systems including bacteria, higher plants and animalia. Although precise biochemical mechanisms of patulin toxicity in humans are not completely clarified, its high presence in fresh and processed apple fruits and other apple-based products makes necessary developing a strategy for limiting its presence/accumulation. Patulin biosynthetic pathway consists of an enzymatic cascade, whose first step is represented by the synthesis of 6-methylsalicylic acid, obtained from the condensation of one acetyl-CoA molecule with three malonyl-CoA molecules. The most abundant acetyl-CoA precursor is represented by citrate produced by mitochondria. In the present investigation we report about the possibility to control patulin production through the inhibition of mitochondrial/peroxisome transporters involved in the export of acetyl-CoA precursors from mitochondria and/or peroxisomes, with specific reference to the predicted P. expansum mitochondrial Ctp1p, DTC, Sfc1p, Oac1p and peroxisomal PXN carriers.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plaphy.2020.07.027DOI Listing
January 2021

Protein structure analysis of the interactions between SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and the human ACE2 receptor: from conformational changes to novel neutralizing antibodies.

Cell Mol Life Sci 2021 Feb 4;78(4):1501-1522. Epub 2020 Jul 4.

Laboratory of Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology, Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies, Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari, Via E. Orabona, 4, 70125, Bari, Italy.

The recent severe acute respiratory syndrome, known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread so much rapidly and severely to induce World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a state of emergency over the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. While several countries have chosen the almost complete lock-down for slowing down SARS-CoV-2 spread, the scientific community is called to respond to the devastating outbreak by identifying new tools for diagnosis and treatment of the dangerous COVID-19. With this aim, we performed an in silico comparative modeling analysis, which allows gaining new insights into the main conformational changes occurring in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, at the level of the receptor-binding domain (RBD), along interactions with human cells angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, that favor human cell invasion. Furthermore, our analysis provides (1) an ideal pipeline to identify already characterized antibodies that might target SARS-CoV-2 spike RBD, aiming to prevent interactions with the human ACE2, and (2) instructions for building new possible neutralizing antibodies, according to chemical/physical space restraints and complementary determining regions (CDR) mutagenesis of the identified existing antibodies. The proposed antibodies show in silico high affinity for SARS-CoV-2 spike RBD and can be used as reference antibodies also for building new high-affinity antibodies against present and future coronaviruses able to invade human cells through interactions of their spike proteins with the human ACE2. More in general, our analysis provides indications for the set-up of the right biological molecular context for investigating spike RBD-ACE2 interactions for the development of new vaccines, diagnostic kits, and other treatments based on the targeting of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00018-020-03580-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7334636PMC
February 2021

FAD/NADH Dependent Oxidoreductases: From Different Amino Acid Sequences to Similar Protein Shapes for Playing an Ancient Function.

J Clin Med 2019 Dec 2;8(12). Epub 2019 Dec 2.

Laboratory of Biochemistry; Molecular and Structural Biology; Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies, Biopharmaceutics; University of Bari; Via E. Orabona 4; 70125 Bari, Italy.

Flavoprotein oxidoreductases are members of a large protein family of specialized dehydrogenases, which include type II NADH dehydrogenase, pyridine nucleotide-disulphide oxidoreductases, ferredoxin-NAD+ reductases, NADH oxidases, and NADH peroxidases, playing a crucial role in the metabolism of several prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Although several studies have been performed on single members or protein subgroups of flavoprotein oxidoreductases, a comprehensive analysis on structure-function relationships among the different members and subgroups of this great dehydrogenase family is still missing. Here, we present a structural comparative analysis showing that the investigated flavoprotein oxidoreductases have a highly similar overall structure, although the investigated dehydrogenases are quite different in functional annotations and global amino acid composition. The different functional annotation is ascribed to their participation in species-specific metabolic pathways based on the same biochemical reaction, i.e., the oxidation of specific cofactors, like NADH and FADH. Notably, the performed comparative analysis sheds light on conserved sequence features that reflect very similar oxidation mechanisms, conserved among flavoprotein oxidoreductases belonging to phylogenetically distant species, as the bacterial type II NADH dehydrogenases and the mammalian apoptosis-inducing factor protein, until now retained as unique protein entities in or , respectively. Furthermore, the presented computational analyses will allow consideration of FAD/NADH oxidoreductases as a possible target of new small molecules to be used as modulators of mitochondrial respiration for patients affected by rare diseases or cancer showing mitochondrial dysfunction, or antibiotics for treating bacterial/fungal/protista infections.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm8122117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947548PMC
December 2019

CRAT missense variants cause abnormal carnitine acetyltransferase function in an early-onset case of Leigh syndrome.

Hum Mutat 2020 01 23;41(1):110-114. Epub 2019 Sep 23.

Department of Biosciences, Biotechnology and Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari, Bari, Italy.

Leigh syndrome, or subacute necrotizing encephalomyelopathy, is one of the most severe pediatric disorders of the mitochondrial energy metabolism. By performing whole-exome sequencing in a girl affected by Leigh syndrome and her parents, we identified two heterozygous missense variants (p.Tyr110Cys and p.Val569Met) in the carnitine acetyltransferase (CRAT) gene, encoding an enzyme involved in the control of mitochondrial short-chain acyl-CoA concentrations. Biochemical assays revealed carnitine acetyltransferase deficiency in the proband-derived fibroblasts. Functional analyses of recombinant-purified CRAT proteins demonstrated that both missense variants, located in the acyl-group binding site of the enzyme, severely impair its catalytic function toward acetyl-CoA, and the p.Val569Met variant also toward propionyl-CoA and octanoyl-CoA. Although a single recessive variant in CRAT has been recently associated with neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation (NBIA), this study reports the first kinetic analysis of naturally occurring CRAT variants and demonstrates the genetic basis of carnitine acetyltransferase deficiency in a case of mitochondrial encephalopathy.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/humu.23901DOI Listing
January 2020

Translational Theragnosis of Ovarian Cancer: where do we stand?

Curr Med Chem 2020 ;27(34):5675-5715

Department of Pharmacy - Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Bari "A. Moro", Via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy.

Background: Ovarian cancer is the second most common gynecologic malignancy, accounting for approximately 220,000 deaths annually worldwide. Despite radical surgery and initial high response rates to platinum- and taxane-based chemotherapy, most patients experience a relapse, with a median progression-free survival of only 18 months. Overall survival is approximately 30% at 5 years from the diagnosis. In comparison, patients out from breast cancer are more than 80 % after ten years from the disease discovery. In spite of a large number of published fundamental and applied research, and clinical trials, novel therapies are urgently needed to improve outcomes of the ovarian cancer. The success of new drugs development in ovarian cancer will strongly depend on both fully genomic disease characterization and, then, availability of biomarkers able to identify women likely to benefit from a given new therapy.

Methods: In this review, the focus is given to describe how complex is the diseases under the simple name of ovarian cancer, in terms of cell tumor types, histotypes, subtypes, and specific gene mutation or differently expressed in the tumor with respect the healthy ovary. The first- and second-line pharmacological treatment clinically used over the last fifty years are also described. Noteworthy achievements in vitro and in vivo tested new drugs are also summarized. Recent literature related to up to date ovarian cancer knowledge, its detection by biomarkers and chemotherapy was searched from several articles on Pubmed, Google Scholar, MEDLINE and various Governmental Agencies till April 2019.

Results: The papers referenced by this review allow a deep analysis of status of the art in the classification of the several types of ovarian cancer, the present knowledge of diagnosis based on biomarkers and imaging techniques, and the therapies developed over the past five decades.

Conclusion: This review aims at stimulating more multi-disciplinary efforts to identify a panel of novel and more specific biomarkers to be used to screen patients for a very early diagnosis, to have prognosis and therapy efficacy indications. The desired final goal would be to have available tools allowing to reduce the recurrence rate, increase both the disease progression free interval and of course the overall survival at five years from the diagnosis that today is still very low.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/0929867326666190816232330DOI Listing
December 2020

A novel variant m.641A>T in the mitochondrial MT-TF gene is associated with epileptic encephalopathy in adolescent.

Mitochondrion 2019 07 19;47:10-17. Epub 2019 Apr 19.

Department of Inborn Errors of Metabolism, FSBI 'Research Centre for Medical Genetics', Moscow, Russia.

We present a 14-year-old girl with loss of motor functions, tetraplegia, epilepsy and nystagmus, caused by a novel heteroplasmic m.641A>T transition in an evolutionary conserved region of mitochondrial genome, affecting the aminoacyl stem of mitochondrial tRNA-Phe. In silico prediction, respirometry, Western blot and enzymatic analyses in skin fibroblasts support the pathogenicity of the m.641A>T substitution. This is the 18th MT-TF point mutation associated with a mitochondrial disorder. The onset and the severity of the disease, however, is unique in this case and broadens the clinical picture related to mutations of mitochondrial tRNA-Phe.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mito.2019.04.004DOI Listing
July 2019

Heterozygous RNF13 Gain-of-Function Variants Are Associated with Congenital Microcephaly, Epileptic Encephalopathy, Blindness, and Failure to Thrive.

Am J Hum Genet 2019 01 27;104(1):179-185. Epub 2018 Dec 27.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, 500 University Drive, Hershey, PA 17033, USA. Electronic address:

Accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) initiates a stress response mechanism to clear out the unfolded proteins by either facilitating their re-folding or inducing their degradation. When this fails, an apoptotic cascade is initiated so that the affected cell is eliminated. IRE1α is a critical sensor of the unfolded-protein response, essential for initiating the apoptotic signaling. Here, we report an infantile neurodegenerative disorder associated with enhanced activation of IRE1α and increased apoptosis. Three unrelated affected individuals with congenital microcephaly, infantile epileptic encephalopathy, and profound developmental delay were found to carry heterozygous variants (c.932T>C [p.Leu311Ser] or c.935T>C [p.Leu312Pro]) in RNF13, which codes for an IRE1α-interacting protein. Structural modeling predicted that the variants, located on the surface of the protein, would not alter overall protein folding. Accordingly, the abundance of RNF13 and IRE1α was not altered in affected individuals' cells. However, both IRE1α-mediated stress signaling and stress-induced apoptosis were increased in affected individuals' cells. These results indicate that the RNF13 variants confer gain of function to the encoded protein and thereby lead to altered signaling of the ER stress response associated with severe neurodegeneration in infancy.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.11.018DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6323416PMC
January 2019

An overview of combined D-2- and L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria: functional analysis of CIC variants.

J Inherit Metab Dis 2018 03 13;41(2):169-180. Epub 2017 Dec 13.

Metabolic Laboratory, Department of Clinical Chemistry, Amsterdam Neuroscience, VU Medical Center Metabolic Unit PK 1X009, Postbus 7057, 1007 MB, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Combined D-2- and L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria (D/L-2-HGA) is a devastating neurometabolic disorder, usually lethal in the first years of life. Autosomal recessive mutations in the SLC25A1 gene, which encodes the mitochondrial citrate carrier (CIC), were previously detected in patients affected with combined D/L-2-HGA. We showed that transfection of deficient fibroblasts with wild-type SLC25A1 restored citrate efflux and decreased intracellular 2-hydroxyglutarate levels, confirming that deficient CIC is the cause of D/L-2-HGA. We developed and implemented a functional assay and applied it to all 17 missense variants detected in a total of 26 CIC-deficient patients, including eight novel cases, showing reduced activities of varying degrees. In addition, we analyzed the importance of residues affected by these missense variants using our existing scoring system. This allowed not only a clinical and biochemical overview of the D/L-2-HGA patients but also phenotype-genotype correlation studies.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10545-017-0106-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5830478PMC
March 2018

SLC25A10 biallelic mutations in intractable epileptic encephalopathy with complex I deficiency.

Hum Mol Genet 2018 02;27(3):499-504

Department of Biosciences, Biotechnology and Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari, 70125 Bari, Italy.

Mitochondrial diseases are a plethora of inherited neuromuscular disorders sharing defects in mitochondrial respiration, but largely different from one another for genetic basis and pathogenic mechanism. Whole exome sequencing was performed in a familiar trio (trio-WES) with a child affected by severe epileptic encephalopathy associated with respiratory complex I deficiency and mitochondrial DNA depletion in skeletal muscle. By trio-WES we identified biallelic mutations in SLC25A10, a nuclear gene encoding a member of the mitochondrial carrier family. Genetic and functional analyses conducted on patient fibroblasts showed that SLC25A10 mutations are associated with reduction in RNA quantity and aberrant RNA splicing, and to absence of SLC25A10 protein and its transporting function. The yeast SLC25A10 ortholog knockout strain showed defects in mitochondrial respiration and mitochondrial DNA content, similarly to what observed in the patient skeletal muscle, and growth susceptibility to oxidative stress. Albeit patient fibroblasts were depleted in the main antioxidant molecules NADPH and glutathione, transport assays demonstrated that SLC25A10 is unable to transport glutathione. Here, we report the first recessive mutations of SLC25A10 associated to an inherited severe mitochondrial neurodegenerative disorder. We propose that SLC25A10 loss-of-function causes pathological disarrangements in respiratory-demanding conditions and oxidative stress vulnerability.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddx419DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5886107PMC
February 2018

Biochemical characterization of a new mitochondrial transporter of dephosphocoenzyme A in Drosophila melanogaster.

Biochim Biophys Acta Bioenerg 2017 Feb 9;1858(2):137-146. Epub 2016 Nov 9.

Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Bari, via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

CoA is an essential cofactor that holds a central role in cell metabolism. Although its biosynthetic pathway is conserved across the three domains of life, the subcellular localization of the eukaryotic biosynthetic enzymes and the mechanism behind the cytosolic and mitochondrial CoA pools compartmentalization are still under debate. In humans, the transport of CoA across the inner mitochondrial membrane has been ascribed to two related genes, SLC25A16 and SLC25A42 whereas in D. melanogaster genome only one gene is present, CG4241, phylogenetically closer to SLC25A42. CG4241 encodes two alternatively spliced isoforms, dPCoAC-A and dPCoAC-B. Both isoforms were expressed in Escherichia coli, but only dPCoAC-A was successfully reconstituted into liposomes, where transported dPCoA and, to a lesser extent, ADP and dADP but not CoA, which was a powerful competitive inhibitor. The expression of both isoforms in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain lacking the endogenous putative mitochondrial CoA carrier restored the growth on respiratory carbon sources and the mitochondrial levels of CoA. The results reported here and the proposed subcellular localization of some of the enzymes of the fruit fly CoA biosynthetic pathway, suggest that dPCoA may be synthesized and phosphorylated to CoA in the matrix, but it can also be transported by dPCoAC to the cytosol, where it may be phosphorylated to CoA by the monofunctional dPCoA kinase. Thus, dPCoAC may connect the cytosolic and mitochondrial reactions of the CoA biosynthetic pathway without allowing the two CoA pools to get in contact.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbabio.2016.11.006DOI Listing
February 2017

Characterization of Citrus-Associated Alternaria Species in Mediterranean Areas.

PLoS One 2016 16;11(9):e0163255. Epub 2016 Sep 16.

Dipartimento di Scienze del Suolo, della Pianta e degli Alimenti, Università degli Studi Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy.

Alternaria brown spot is one of the most important diseases of tangerines and their hybrids worldwide. Recently, outbreaks in Mediterranean areas related to susceptible cultivars, refocused attention on the disease. Twenty representatives were selected from a collection of 180 isolates of Alternaria spp. from citrus leaves and fruit. They were characterized along with reference strains of Alternaria spp. Micro- and macroscopic characteristics separated most Alternaria isolates into six morphotypes referable to A. alternata (5) and A. arborescens (1). Phylogenetic analyses, based on endopolygalacturonase (endopg) and internal transcribed spacer (ITS), confirmed this finding. Moreover, a five-gene phylogeny including two anonymous genomics regions (OPA 1-3 and OPA 2-1), and the beta-tubulin gene (ß-tub), produced a further clustering of A. alternata into three clades. This analysis suggested the existence of intra-species molecular variability. Investigated isolates showed different levels of virulence on leaves and fruit. In particular, the pathogenicity on fruit seemed to be correlated with the tissue of isolation and the clade. The toxigenic behavior of Alternaria isolates was also investigated, with tenuazonic acid (TeA) being the most abundant mycotoxin (0.2-20 mg/L). Isolates also synthesized the mycotoxins alternariol (AOH), its derivate alternariol monomethyl ether (AME), and altenuene (ALT), although to a lesser extent. AME production significantly varied among the six morphotypes. The expression of pksJ/pksH, biosynthetic genes of AOH/AME, was not correlated with actual toxin production, but it was significantly different between the two genotypes and among the four clades. Finally, ten isolates proved to express the biosynthetic genes of ACTT1 phytotoxin, and thus to be included in the Alternaria pathotype tangerine. A significant correlation between pathogenicity on leaves and ACTT1 gene expression was recorded. The latter was significantly dependent on geographical origin. The widespread occurrence of Alternaria spp. on citrus fruit and their ability to produce mycotoxins might represent a serious concern for producers and consumers.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0163255PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5026349PMC
August 2017

Molecular modeling of antibodies for the treatment of TNFα-related immunological diseases.

Pharmacol Res Perspect 2016 Feb 15;4(1):e00197. Epub 2016 Jan 15.

Department of Pharmacy - Drug Science University of Bari Bari Italy.

Therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) have high efficacy in treating TNF α-related immunological diseases. Other than neutralizing TNF α, these IgG1 antibodies exert Fc receptor-mediated effector functions such as the complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) and antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC). The crystallizable fragment (Fc) of these IgG1 contains a single glycosylation site at Asn 297/300 that is essential for the CDC and ADCC. Glycosylated antibodies lacking core fucosylation showed an improved ADCC. However, no structural data are available concerning the ligand-binding interaction of these mAbs used in TNF α-related diseases and the role of the fucosylation. We therefore used comparative modeling for generating complete 3D mAb models that include the antigen-binding fragment (Fab) portions of infliximab, complexed with TNF α (4G3Y.pdb), the Fc region of the human IGHG1 fucosylated (3SGJ) and afucosylated (3SGK) complexed with the Fc receptor subtype Fcγ RIIIA, and the Fc region of a murine immunoglobulin (1IGT). After few thousand steps of energy minimization on the resulting 3D mAb models, minimized final models were used to quantify interactions occurring between Fcγ RIIIA and the fucosylated/afucosylated Fc fragments. While fucosylation does not affect Fab-TNF α interactions, we found that in the absence of fucosylation the Fc-mAb domain and Fcγ RIIIA are closer and new strong interactions are established between G129 of the receptor and S301 of the Chimera 2 Fc mAb; new polar interactions are also established between the Chimera 2 Fc residues Y299, N300, and S301 and the Fcγ RIIIA residues K128, G129, R130, and R155. These data help to explain the reduced ADCC observed in the fucosylated mAbs suggesting the specific AA residues involved in binding interactions.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/prp2.197DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4777268PMC
February 2016

Identification of new highly selective inhibitors of the human ADP/ATP carriers by molecular docking and in vitro transport assays.

Biochem Pharmacol 2016 Jan 23;100:112-32. Epub 2015 Nov 23.

Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy. Electronic address:

Mitochondrial carriers are proteins that shuttle a variety of metabolites, nucleotides and coenzymes across the inner mitochondrial membrane. The mitochondrial ADP/ATP carriers (AACs) specifically translocate the ATP synthesized within mitochondria to the cytosol in exchange for the cytosolic ADP, playing a key role in energy production, in promoting cell viability and regulating mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening. In Homo sapiens four genes code for AACs with different tissue distribution and expression patterns. Since AACs are dysregulated in several cancer types, the employment of known and new AAC inhibitors might be crucial for inducing mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in cancer cells. Albeit carboxyatractyloside (CATR) and bongkrekic acid (BKA) are known to be powerful and highly selective AAC inhibitors, able to induce mitochondrial dysfunction at molecular level and poisoning at physiological level, we estimated here for the first time their affinity for the human recombinant AAC2 by in vitro transport assays. We found that the inhibition constants of CATR and BKA are 4 nM and 2.0 μM, respectively. For finding new AAC inhibitors we also performed a docking-based virtual screening of an in-house developed chemical library and we identified about 100 ligands showing high affinity for the AAC2 binding region. By testing 13 commercially available molecules, out of the 100 predicted candidates, we found that 2 of them, namely suramin and chebulinic acid, are competitive AAC2 inhibitors with inhibition constants 0.3 μM and 2.1 μM, respectively. We also demonstrated that chebulinic acid and suramin are "highly selective" AAC2 inhibitors, since they poorly inhibit other human mitochondrial carriers (namely ORC1, APC1 and AGC1).
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2015.11.019DOI Listing
January 2016

Deep sequencing of the X chromosome reveals the proliferation history of colorectal adenomas.

Genome Biol 2014 Aug 30;15(8):437. Epub 2014 Aug 30.

Background: Mismatch repair deficient colorectal adenomas are composed of transformed cells that descend from a common founder and progressively accumulate genomic alterations. The proliferation history of these tumors is still largely unknown. Here we present a novel approach to rebuild the proliferation trees that recapitulate the history of individual colorectal adenomas by mapping the progressive acquisition of somatic point mutations during tumor growth.

Results: Using our approach, we called high and low frequency mutations acquired in the X chromosome of four mismatch repair deficient colorectal adenomas deriving from male individuals. We clustered these mutations according to their frequencies and rebuilt the proliferation trees directly from the mutation clusters using a recursive algorithm. The trees of all four lesions were formed of a dominant subclone that co-existed with other genetically heterogeneous subpopulations of cells. However, despite this similar hierarchical organization, the growth dynamics varied among and within tumors, likely depending on a combination of tumor-specific genetic and environmental factors.

Conclusions: Our study provides insights into the biological properties of individual mismatch repair deficient colorectal adenomas that may influence their growth and also the response to therapy. Extended to other solid tumors, our novel approach could inform on the mechanisms of cancer progression and on the best treatment choice.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13059-014-0437-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4181412PMC
August 2014

Origin and evolution of European community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

mBio 2014 Aug 26;5(5):e01044-14. Epub 2014 Aug 26.

Microbiology and Infection Control, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Unlabelled: Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) was recognized in Europe and worldwide in the late 1990s. Within a decade, several genetically and geographically distinct CA-MRSA lineages carrying the small SCCmec type IV and V genetic elements and the Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) emerged around the world. In Europe, the predominant CA-MRSA strain belongs to clonal complex 80 (CC80) and is resistant to kanamycin/amikacin and fusidic acid. CC80 was first reported in 1993 but was relatively rare until the late 1990s. It has since been identified throughout North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, with recent sporadic reports in sub-Saharan Africa. While strongly associated with skin and soft tissue infections, it is rarely found among asymptomatic carriers. Methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) CC80 strains are extremely rare except in sub-Saharan Africa. In the current study, we applied whole-genome sequencing to a global collection of both MSSA and MRSA CC80 isolates. Phylogenetic analyses strongly suggest that the European epidemic CA-MRSA lineage is derived from a PVL-positive MSSA ancestor from sub-Saharan Africa. Moreover, the tree topology suggests a single acquisition of both the SCCmec element and a plasmid encoding the fusidic acid resistance determinant. Four canonical SNPs distinguish the derived CA-MRSA lineage and include a nonsynonymous mutation in accessory gene regulator C (agrC). These changes were associated with a star-like expansion into Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa in the early 1990s, including multiple cases of cross-continent imports likely driven by human migrations.

Importance: With increasing levels of CA-MRSA reported from most parts of the Western world, there is a great interest in understanding the origin and factors associated with the emergence of these epidemic lineages. To trace the origin, evolution, and dissemination pattern of the European CA-MRSA clone (CC80), we sequenced a global collection of strains of the S. aureus CC80 lineage. Our study determined that a single descendant of a PVL-positive methicillin-sensitive ancestor circulating in sub-Saharan Africa rose to become the dominant CA-MRSA clone in Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. In the transition from a methicillin-susceptible lineage to a successful CA-MRSA clone, it simultaneously became resistant to fusidic acid, a widely used antibiotic for skin and soft tissue infections, thus demonstrating the importance of antibiotic selection in the success of this clone. This finding furthermore highlights the significance of horizontal gene acquisitions and underscores the combined importance of these factors for the success of CA-MRSA.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mBio.01044-14DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4173770PMC
August 2014

Distance-dependent hydrophobic-hydrophobic contacts in protein folding simulations.

Phys Chem Chem Phys 2014 Sep;16(35):18907-17

Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70125, Bari, Italy.

Successful prediction of protein folding from an amino acid sequence is a challenge in computational biology. In order to reveal the geometric constraints that drive protein folding, highlight those constraints kept or missed by distinct lattices and for establishing which class of intra- and inter-secondary structure element interactions is the most relevant for the correct folding of proteins, we have calculated inter-alpha carbon distances in a set of 42 crystal structures consisting of mainly helix, sheet or mixed conformations. The inter-alpha carbon distances were also calculated in several lattice "hydrophobic-polar" models built from the same protein set. We found that helix structures are more prone to form "hydrophobic-hydrophobic" contacts than beta-sheet structures. At a distance lower than or equal to 3.8 Å (very short-range interactions), "hydrophobic-hydrophobic" contacts are almost absent in the native structures, while they are frequent in all the analyzed lattice models. At distances in-between 3.8 and 9.5 Å (short-/medium-range interactions), the best performing lattice for reproducing mainly helix structures is the body-centered-cubic lattice. If protein structures contain sheet portions, lattice performances get worse, with few exceptions observed for double-tetrahedral and body-centered-cubic lattices. Finally, we can observe that ab initio protein folding algorithms, i.e. those based on the employment of lattices and Monte Carlo simulated annealings, can be improved simply and effectively by preventing the generation of "hydrophobic-hydrophobic" contacts shorter than 3.8 Å, by monitoring the "hydrophobic-hydrophobic/polar-polar" contact ratio in short-/medium distance ranges and by using preferentially a body-centered-cubic lattice.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c4cp01131gDOI Listing
September 2014

Prediction of high- and low-affinity quinol-analogue-binding sites in the aa3 and bo3 terminal oxidases from Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli1.

Biochem J 2014 Jul;461(2):305-14

†Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy.

Haem-copper oxidases are the terminal enzymes in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic respiratory chains. They catalyse the reduction of dioxygen to water and convert redox energy into a transmembrane electrochemical proton gradient during their catalytic activity. Haem-copper oxidases show substantial structure similarity, but spectroscopic and biochemical analyses indicate that these enzymes contain diverse prosthetic groups and use different substrates (i.e. cytochrome c or quinol). Owing to difficulties in membrane protein crystallization, there are no definitive structural data about the quinol oxidase physiological substrate-binding site(s). In the present paper, we propose an atomic structure model for the menaquinol:O2 oxidoreductase of Bacillus subtilis (QOx.aa3). Furthermore, a multistep computational approach is used to predict residues involved in the menaquinol/menaquinone binding within B. subtilis QOx.aa3 as well as those involved in quinol/quinone binding within Escherichia coli QOx.bo3. Two specific sequence motifs, R70GGXDX4RXQX3PX3FX[D/N/E/Q]X2HYNE97 and G159GSPX2GWX2Y169 (B. subtilis numbering), were highlighted within QOx from Bacillales. Specific residues within the first and the second sequence motif participate in the high- and low-affinity substrate-binding sites respectively. Using comparative analysis, two analogous motifs, R71GFXDX4RXQX8[Y/F]XPPHHYDQ101 and G163EFX3GWX2Y173 (E. coli numbering) were proposed to be involved in Enterobacteriales/Rhodobacterales/Rhodospirillales QOx high- and low-affinity quinol-derivative-binding sites. Results and models are discussed in the context of the literature.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BJ20140082DOI Listing
July 2014

Mutations in the Mitochondrial Citrate Carrier SLC25A1 are Associated with Impaired Neuromuscular Transmission.

J Neuromuscul Dis 2014;1(1):75-90

Institute of Genetic Medicine, MRC Centre for Neuromuscular Diseases, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Background And Objective: Congenital myasthenic syndromes are rare inherited disorders characterized by fatigable weakness caused by malfunction of the neuromuscular junction. We performed whole exome sequencing to unravel the genetic aetiology in an English sib pair with clinical features suggestive of congenital myasthenia.

Methods: We used homozygosity mapping and whole exome sequencing to identify the candidate gene variants. Mutant protein expression and function were assessed and a knockdown zebrafish model was generated to assess neuromuscular junction development.

Results: We identified a novel homozygous missense mutation in the gene, encoding the mitochondrial citrate carrier. Mutant SLC25A1 showed abnormal carrier function. has recently been linked to a severe, often lethal clinical phenotype. Our patients had a milder phenotype presenting primarily as a neuromuscular (NMJ) junction defect. Of note, a previously reported patient with different compound heterozygous missense mutations of has since been shown to suffer from a neuromuscular transmission defect. Using knockdown of SLC25A1 expression in zebrafish, we were able to mirror the human disease in terms of variable brain, eye and cardiac involvement. Importantly, we show clear abnormalities in the neuromuscular junction, regardless of the severity of the phenotype.

Conclusions: Based on the axonal outgrowth defects seen in SLC25A1 knockdown zebrafish, we hypothesize that the neuromuscular junction impairment may be related to pre-synaptic nerve terminal abnormalities. Our findings highlight the complex machinery required to ensure efficient neuromuscular function, beyond the proteomes exclusive to the neuromuscular synapse.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/JND-140021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4746751PMC
January 2014

Single-nucleotide evolution quantifies the importance of each site along the structure of mitochondrial carriers.

Cell Mol Life Sci 2014 Jan 26;71(2):349-64. Epub 2013 Jun 26.

Department of Biosciences, Biotechnologies and Biopharmaceutics, University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70125, Bari, Italy.

Mitochondrial carriers are membrane-embedded proteins consisting of a tripartite structure, a three-fold pseudo-symmetry, related sequences, and similar folding whose main function is to catalyze the transport of various metabolites, nucleotides, and coenzymes across the inner mitochondrial membrane. In this study, the evolutionary rate in vertebrates was screened at each of the approximately 50,000 nucleotides corresponding to the amino acids of the 53 human mitochondrial carriers. Using this information as a starting point, a scoring system was developed to quantify the evolutionary pressure acting on each site of the common mitochondrial carrier structure and estimate its functional or structural relevance. The degree of evolutionary selection varied greatly among all sites, but it was highly similar among the three symmetric positions in the tripartite structure, known as symmetry-related sites or triplets, suggesting that each triplet constitutes an evolutionary unit. Based on evolutionary selection, 111 structural sites (37 triplets) were found to be important. These sites play a key role in structure/function of mitochondrial carriers and are involved in either conformational changes (sites of the gates, proline-glycine levels, and aromatic belts) or in binding and specificity of the transported substrates (sites of the substrate-binding area in between the two gates). Furthermore, the evolutionary pressure analysis revealed that the matrix short helix sites underwent different degrees of selection with high inter-paralog variability. Evidence is presented that these sites form a new sequence motif in a subset of mitochondrial carriers, including the ADP/ATP translocator, and play a regulatory function by interacting with ligands and/or proteins of the mitochondrial matrix.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00018-013-1389-yDOI Listing
January 2014

Evolution, structure and function of mitochondrial carriers: a review with new insights.

Plant J 2011 Apr;66(1):161-81

Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Pharmaco-Biology, University of Bari, Via Orabona 4, 70125 Bari, Italy.

The mitochondrial carriers (MC) constitute a large family (MCF) of inner membrane transporters displaying different substrate specificities, patterns of gene expression and even non-mitochondrial organelle localization. In Arabidopsis thaliana 58 genes encode these six trans-membrane domain proteins. The number in other sequenced plant genomes varies from 37 to 125, thus being larger than that of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and comparable with that of Homo sapiens. In addition to displaying highly similar secondary structures, the proteins of the MCF can be subdivided into subfamilies on the basis of substrate specificity and the presence of specific symmetry-related amino acid triplets. We assessed the predictive power of these triplets by comparing predictions with experimentally determined data for Arabidopsis MCs, and applied these predictions to the not yet functionally characterized mitochondrial carriers of the grass, Brachypodium distachyon, and the alga, Ostreococcus lucimarinus. We additionally studied evolutionary aspects of the plant MCF by comparing sequence data of the Arabidopsis MCF with those of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Homo sapiens, then with those of Brachypodium distachyon and Ostreococcus lucimarinus, employing intra- and inter-genome comparisons. Finally, we discussed the importance of the approaches of global gene expression analysis and in vivo characterizations in order to address the relevance of these vital carrier proteins.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-313X.2011.04516.xDOI Listing
April 2011

Ultradeep sequencing of a human ultraconserved region reveals somatic and constitutional genomic instability.

PLoS Biol 2010 Jan 5;8(1):e1000275. Epub 2010 Jan 5.

Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, Milan, Italy.

Early detection of cancer-associated genomic instability is crucial, particularly in tumour types in which this instability represents the essential underlying mechanism of tumourigenesis. Currently used methods require the presence of already established neoplastic cells because they only detect clonal mutations. In principle, parallel sequencing of single DNA filaments could reveal the early phases of tumour initiation by detecting low-frequency mutations, provided an adequate depth of coverage and an effective control of the experimental error. We applied ultradeep sequencing to estimate the genomic instability of individuals with hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). To overcome the experimental error, we used an ultraconserved region (UCR) of the human genome as an internal control. By comparing the mutability outside and inside the UCR, we observed a tendency of the ultraconserved element to accumulate significantly fewer mutations than the flanking segments in both neoplastic and nonneoplastic HNPCC samples. No difference between the two regions was detectable in cells from healthy donors, indicating that all three HNPCC samples have mutation rates higher than the healthy genome. This is the first, to our knowledge, direct evidence of an intrinsic genomic instability of individuals with heterozygous mutations in mismatch repair genes, and constitutes the proof of principle for the development of a more sensitive molecular assay of genomic instability.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000275DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2794366PMC
January 2010

Tandem repeats modify the structure of human genes hosted in segmental duplications.

Genome Biol 2009 2;10(12):R137. Epub 2009 Dec 2.

Department of Experimental Oncology, European Institute of Oncology, IFOM-IEO Campus, Via Adamello, 20139 Milan, Italy.

Background: Recently duplicated genes are often subject to genomic rearrangements that can lead to the development of novel gene structures. Here we specifically investigated the effect of variations in internal tandem repeats (ITRs) on the gene structure of human paralogs located in segmental duplications.

Results: We found that around 7% of the primate-specific genes located within duplicated regions of the genome contain variable tandem repeats. These genes are members of large groups of recently duplicated paralogs that are often polymorphic in the human population. Half of the identified ITRs occur within coding exons and may be either kept or spliced out from the mature transcript. When ITRs reside within exons, they encode variable amino acid repeats. When located at exon-intron boundaries, ITRs can generate alternative splicing patterns through the formation of novel introns.

Conclusions: Our study shows that variation in the number of ITRs impacts on recently duplicated genes by modifying their coding sequence, splicing pattern, and tissue expression. The resulting effect is the production of a variety of primate-specific proteins, which mostly differ in number and sequence of amino acid repeats.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/gb-2009-10-12-r137DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2812944PMC
May 2010

Genome duplication and gene-family evolution: the case of three OXPHOS gene families.

Gene 2008 Sep 23;421(1-2):1-6. Epub 2008 Jun 23.

Istituto di Tecnologie Biomediche, Sede di Bari, CNR, Bari, Italy.

DNA duplication is one of the main forces acting on the evolution of organisms because it creates the raw genetic material that natural selection can subsequently modify. Duplicated regions are mainly due to "errors" in different phases of meiosis, but DNA transposable elements and reverse transcription also contribute to amplify and move the genomic material to different genomic locations. As a result, redundancy affects genomes to variable degrees: from the single gene to the whole genome (WGD). Gene families are clusters of genes created by duplication and their size reflects the number of duplicated genes, called paralogs, in each species. The aim of this review is to describe the state of the art in the identification and analysis of gene families in eukaryotes, with specific attention to those generated by ancient large scale events in vertebrates (WGD or large segmental duplications). As a case study, we report our work on the evolution of gene families encoding subunits of the five OXPHOS (oxidative phosphorylation) complexes, fundamental and highly conserved in all respiring cells. Although OXPHOS gene families are smaller than the general trend in nuclear gene families, some exceptions are observed, such as three gene families with at least two paralogs in vertebrates. These gene families encode cytochrome c (Cyt c, the electron shuttle protein between complex III and IV), Lipid Binding Protein (LBP, the channel protein of complex V which transfers protons through the inner mitochondrial membrane) and the MLRQ subunit (MLRQ, a supernumerary subunit of the large complex I, with unknown function). We provide a two-step approach, based on structural genomic data, to demonstrate that these gene families should have arisen through WGD (or large segmental duplication) events at the origin of vertebrates and, only afterwards, underwent species-specific events of further gene duplications and loss. In summary, this review reflects the need to apply genome comparative approaches, deriving from both "classical" molecular phylogenetic analysis and "new" genome map analysis, to successfully define the complex evolutionary relations between gene family members which, in turn, are essential to obtain any other comparative phylogenetic or functional results.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2008.05.011DOI Listing
September 2008

Lattices for ab initio protein structure prediction.

Proteins 2008 Nov;73(2):351-61

Department of Pharmaco-Biology, University of Bari, Va E. Orabona, Bari, Italy.

In the study of the protein folding problem with ab initio methods, the protein backbone can be built on some periodic lattices. Any vertex of these lattices can be occupied by a "ball," which can represent the mass center of an amino acid in a simplified coarse-grained model of the protein. The backbone, at a coarse-grained level, can be constituted of a No Reverse Self Avoiding Walk, which cannot intersect itself and cannot go back on itself. There is still much debate between those who use lattices to simplify the study of the protein folding problem and those preferring to work by using an off-lattice approach. Lattices can help to identify the protein tertiary structure in a computational less-expensive way, than off-lattice approaches that have to consider a potentially infinite number of possible structures. However, the use of a lattice, constituted of insufficiently accurate direction vectors, constrains the predictive ability of the model. The aim of this study is to perform a systematic screening of 7 known classic and 11 newly proposed lattices in terms of predictive power. The crystal structures of 42 different proteins (14 mainly alpha helical, 14 mainly beta sheet and 14 mixed structure proteins) were compared to the most accurate simulated models for each lattice. This strategy defines a scale of fitness for all the analyzed lattices and demonstrates that an increase in the coordination number and in the degrees of freedom is necessary but not sufficient to reach the best result. Instead, the introduction of a good set of direction vectors, as developed and tested in this study, strongly increases the lattice performance.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/prot.22070DOI Listing
November 2008

p53FamTaG: a database resource of human p53, p63 and p73 direct target genes combining in silico prediction and microarray data.

BMC Bioinformatics 2007 Mar 8;8 Suppl 1:S20. Epub 2007 Mar 8.

Istituto di Tecnologie Biomediche-Sede di Bari, CNR, Via Amendola, 122/D 70126 Bari, Italy.

Background: The p53 gene family consists of the three genes p53, p63 and p73, which have polyhedral non-overlapping functions in pivotal cellular processes such as DNA synthesis and repair, growth arrest, apoptosis, genome stability, angiogenesis, development and differentiation. These genes encode sequence-specific nuclear transcription factors that recognise the same responsive element (RE) in their target genes. Their inactivation or aberrant expression may determine tumour progression or developmental disease. The discovery of several protein isoforms with antagonistic roles, which are produced by the expression of different promoters and alternative splicing, widened the complexity of the scenario of the transcriptional network of the p53 family members. Therefore, the identification of the genes transactivated by p53 family members is crucial to understand the specific role for each gene in cell cycle regulation. We have combined a genome-wide computational search of p53 family REs and microarray analysis to identify new direct target genes. The huge amount of biological data produced has generated a critical need for bioinformatic tools able to manage and integrate such data and facilitate their retrieval and analysis.

Description: We have developed the p53FamTaG database (p53 FAMily TArget Genes), a modular relational database, which contains p53 family direct target genes selected in the human genome searching for the presence of the REs and the expression profile of these target genes obtained by microarray experiments. p53FamTaG database also contains annotations of publicly available databases and links to other experimental data. The genome-wide computational search of the REs was performed using PatSearch, a pattern-matching program implemented in the DNAfan tool. These data were integrated with the microarray results we produced from the overexpression of different isoforms of p53, p63 and p73 stably transfected in isogenic cell lines, allowing the comparative study of the transcriptional activity of all the proteins in the same cellular background.p53FamTaG database is available free at http://www2.ba.itb.cnr.it/p53FamTaG/ CONCLUSION: p53FamTaG represents a unique integrated resource of human direct p53 family target genes that is extensively annotated and provides the users with an efficient query/retrieval system which displays the results of our microarray experiments and allows the export of RE sequences. The database was developed for supporting and integrating high-throughput in silico and experimental analyses and represents an important reference source of knowledge for research groups involved in the field of oncogenesis, apoptosis and cell cycle regulation.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2105-8-S1-S20DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1885850PMC
March 2007

Relative impact of nucleotide and copy number variation on gene expression phenotypes.

Science 2007 Feb;315(5813):848-53

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Wellcome Trust Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, CB10 1SA, UK.

Extensive studies are currently being performed to associate disease susceptibility with one form of genetic variation, namely, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). In recent years, another type of common genetic variation has been characterized, namely, structural variation, including copy number variants (CNVs). To determine the overall contribution of CNVs to complex phenotypes, we have performed association analyses of expression levels of 14,925 transcripts with SNPs and CNVs in individuals who are part of the International HapMap project. SNPs and CNVs captured 83.6% and 17.7% of the total detected genetic variation in gene expression, respectively, but the signals from the two types of variation had little overlap. Interrogation of the genome for both types of variants may be an effective way to elucidate the causes of complex phenotypes and disease in humans.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1136678DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2665772PMC
February 2007

Metazoan OXPHOS gene families: evolutionary forces at the level of mitochondrial and nuclear genomes.

Biochim Biophys Acta 2006 Sep-Oct;1757(9-10):1171-8. Epub 2006 May 4.

Istituto di Tecnologie Biomediche, Sede di Bari, CNR, Bari, Italy.

Mitochondrial and nuclear DNAs contribute to encode the whole mitochondrial protein complement. The two genomes possess highly divergent features and properties, but the forces influencing their evolution, even if different, require strong coordination. The gene content of mitochondrial genome in all Metazoa is in a frozen state with only few exceptions and thus mitochondrial genome plasticity especially concerns some molecular features, i.e. base composition, codon usage, evolutionary rates. In contrast the high plasticity of nuclear genomes is particularly evident at the macroscopic level, since its redundancy represents the main feature able to introduce genetic material for evolutionary innovations. In this context, genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) represent a classical example of the different evolutionary behaviour of mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. The simple DNA sequence of Cytochrome c oxidase I (encoded by the mitochondrial genome) seems to be able to distinguish intra- and inter-species relations between organisms (DNA Barcode). Some OXPHOS subunits (cytochrome c, subunit c of ATP synthase and MLRQ) are encoded by several nuclear duplicated genes which still represent the trace of an ancient segmental/genome duplication event at the origin of vertebrates.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbabio.2006.04.021DOI Listing
December 2006

Evolution of ATP synthase subunit c and cytochrome c gene families in selected Metazoan classes.

Gene 2006 Apr 7;371(2):224-33. Epub 2006 Feb 7.

Istituto di Tecnologie Biomediche, Sezione di Bari, CNR, Bari, Italy.

To investigate the integrated evolution of mitochondrial and nuclear genomes in the eukaryotic cell, we have focused our attention on OXPHOS (oxidative phosphorylation) gene families which encode proteins involved in the main mitochondrial function. The present study reports the phylogenetic analysis of two OXPHOS gene families: ATP synthase subunit c (or lipid binding protein, LBP) and Cytochrome c (Cytc). Both gene families possess a higher expansion trend than the typically low duplication rate of OXPHOS genes in Metazoa, but follow a completely different evolutionary history, especially in mammals. LBP is represented by three well conserved isoforms in all mammals (P1, P2, P3): only P3 possesses a clearly conserved isoform in all Vertebrates, P1 and P2 were already present before the bird-mammal divergence and there are preliminary evidence from the in silico analysis that P1, the most evolutionary divergent isoform, is poorly expressed and not regulated by NRF1. In contrast, Cytc family presents at least two duplicated genes in all the analysed Vertebrates, is subject to a high expansion trend, especially of processed pseudogenes in mammals, and some events of gain and loss of function can be supposed.
View Article and Find Full Text PDF

Download full-text PDF

Source
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2005.11.022DOI Listing
April 2006