Publications by authors named "Rory Curtis"

14 Publications

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Structural analysis of the catalytic domain of Artemis endonuclease/SNM1C reveals distinct structural features.

J Biol Chem 2020 08 23;295(35):12368-12377. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Discovery Biology, Albany Molecular Research Inc., Buffalo, New York, USA

The endonuclease Artemis is responsible for opening DNA hairpins during V(D)J recombination and for processing a subset of pathological DNA double-strand breaks. Artemis is an attractive target for the development of therapeutics to manage various B cell and T cell tumors, because failure to open DNA hairpins and accumulation of chromosomal breaks may reduce the proliferation and viability of pre-T and pre-B cell derivatives. However, structure-based drug discovery of specific Artemis inhibitors has been hampered by a lack of crystal structures. Here, we report the structure of the catalytic domain of recombinant human Artemis. The catalytic domain displayed a polypeptide fold similar overall to those of other members in the DNA cross-link repair gene SNM1 family and in mRNA 3'-end-processing endonuclease CPSF-73, containing metallo-β-lactamase and β-CASP domains and a cluster of conserved histidine and aspartate residues capable of binding two metal atoms in the catalytic site. As in SNM1A, only one zinc ion was located in the Artemis active site. However, Artemis displayed several unique features. Unlike in other members of this enzyme class, a second zinc ion was present in the β-CASP domain that leads to structural reorientation of the putative DNA-binding surface and extends the substrate-binding pocket to a new pocket, pocket III. Moreover, the substrate-binding surface exhibited a dominant and extensive positive charge distribution compared with that in the structures of SNM1A and SNM1B, presumably because of the structurally distinct DNA substrate of Artemis. The structural features identified here may provide opportunities for designing selective Artemis inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.RA120.014136DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7458816PMC
August 2020

Pharmacologic inhibition of ghrelin receptor signaling is insulin sparing and promotes insulin sensitivity.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2011 Oct 20;339(1):115-24. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Elixir Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

Ghrelin influences a variety of metabolic functions through a direct action at its receptor, the GhrR (GhrR-1a). Ghrelin knockout (KO) and GhrR KO mice are resistant to the negative effects of high-fat diet (HFD) feeding. We have generated several classes of small-molecule GhrR antagonists and evaluated whether pharmacologic blockade of ghrelin signaling can recapitulate the phenotype of ghrelin/GhrR KO mice. Antagonist treatment blocked ghrelin-induced and spontaneous food intake; however, the effects on spontaneous feeding were absent in GhrR KO mice, suggesting target-specific effects of the antagonists. Oral administration of antagonists to HFD-fed mice improved insulin sensitivity in both glucose tolerance and glycemic clamp tests. The insulin sensitivity observed was characterized by improved glucose disposal with dramatically decreased insulin secretion. It is noteworthy that these results mimic those obtained in similar tests of HFD-fed GhrR KO mice. HFD-fed mice treated for 56 days with antagonist experienced a transient decrease in food intake but a sustained body weight decrease resulting from decreased white adipose, but not lean tissue. They also had improved glucose disposal and a striking reduction in the amount of insulin needed to achieve this. These mice had reduced hepatic steatosis, improved liver function, and no evidence of systemic toxicity relative to controls. Furthermore, GhrR KO mice placed on low- or high-fat diets had lifespans similar to the wild type, emphasizing the long-term safety of ghrelin receptor blockade. We have therefore demonstrated that chronic pharmacologic blockade of the GhrR is an effective and safe strategy for treating metabolic syndrome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.111.183764DOI Listing
October 2011

Insulin resistance, glycemic control and adiposity: key determinants of healthy lifespan.

Curr Alzheimer Res 2007 Apr;4(2):153-7

Elixir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 12 Emily Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Identification of genes and pathways that alter lifespan has allowed for new insights into factors that control the aging process as well as disease. While strong molecular links exist between aging and metabolism, we hypothesize that targeting the mechanisms involved in aging will also give rise to therapeutics that treat other devastating age-related diseases, such as neurodegeneration, cancer, inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Insulin sensitivity, glycemic control and adiposity are not only hallmarks of the major metabolic diseases, type 2 diabetes and obesity, but they also represent significant risk factors for the development of Alzheimer's Disease and cognitive impairment. Insulin/IGF-1 signaling is an important pathway regulating aging and disease in a variety of species, including mammals. Here we describe an important role for the gut-derived peptide ghrelin in upstream signaling through the insulin/IGF-1 pathway and exemplify modulation of ghrelin signaling as an approach to mechanistic treatment of multiple age-related diseases by virtue of its ability to regulate key metabolic functions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2174/156720507780362038DOI Listing
April 2007

Aging networks in Caenorhabditis elegans: AMP-activated protein kinase (aak-2) links multiple aging and metabolism pathways.

Aging Cell 2006 Apr;5(2):119-26

Elixir Pharmaceuticals, One Kendall Square, Building 1000, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Molecular genetics in lower organisms has allowed the elucidation of pathways that modulate the aging process. In certain instances, evolutionarily conserved genes and pathways have been shown to regulate lifespan in mammals as well. Many gene products known to affect lifespan are intimately involved in the control of energy metabolism, including the fuel sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). We have shown previously that over-expression of an AMPK alpha subunit in Caenorhabditis elegans, designated aak-2, increases lifespan. Here we show the interaction of aak-2 with other pathways known to control aging in worms. Lifespan extension caused by daf-2/insulin-like signaling mutations was highly dependent on aak-2, as was the lifespan extension caused by over-expression of the deacetylase, sir-2.1. Similarly, there was partial requirement for aak-2 in lifespan extension by mitochondrial mutations (isp-1 and clk-1). Conversely, aak-2 was not required for lifespan extension in mutants lacking germline stem cells (glp-1) or mutants of the eating response (eat-2). These results show that aging is controlled by overlapping but distinct pathways and that AMPK/aak-2 represents a node in a network of evolutionarily conserved biochemical pathways that control aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1474-9726.2006.00205.xDOI Listing
April 2006

Inhibition of SIRT1 catalytic activity increases p53 acetylation but does not alter cell survival following DNA damage.

Mol Cell Biol 2006 Jan;26(1):28-38

Elixir Pharmaceuticals, Inc., One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Human SIRT1 is an enzyme that deacetylates the p53 tumor suppressor protein and has been suggested to modulate p53-dependent functions including DNA damage-induced cell death. In this report, we used EX-527, a novel, potent, and specific small-molecule inhibitor of SIRT1 catalytic activity to examine the role of SIRT1 in p53 acetylation and cell survival after DNA damage. Treatment with EX-527 dramatically increased acetylation at lysine 382 of p53 after different types of DNA damage in primary human mammary epithelial cells and several cell lines. Significantly, inhibition of SIRT1 catalytic activity by EX-527 had no effect on cell growth, viability, or p53-controlled gene expression in cells treated with etoposide. Acetyl-p53 was also increased by the histone deacetylase (HDAC) class I/II inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA). EX-527 and TSA acted synergistically to increase acetyl-p53 levels, confirming that p53 acetylation is regulated by both SIRT1 and HDACs. While TSA alone reduced cell survival after DNA damage, the combination of EX-527 and TSA had no further effect on cell viability and growth. These results show that, although SIRT1 deacetylates p53, this does not play a role in cell survival following DNA damage in certain cell lines and primary human mammary epithelial cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/MCB.26.1.28-38.2006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1317617PMC
January 2006

Discovery of indoles as potent and selective inhibitors of the deacetylase SIRT1.

J Med Chem 2005 Dec;48(25):8045-54

Elixir Pharmaceuticals, One Kendall Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

High-throughput screening against the human sirtuin SIRT1 led to the discovery of a series of indoles as potent inhibitors that are selective for SIRT1 over other deacetylases and NAD-processing enzymes. The most potent compounds described herein inhibit SIRT1 with IC50 values of 60-100 nM, representing a 500-fold improvement over previously reported SIRT inhibitors. Preparation of enantiomerically pure indole derivatives allowed for their characterization in vitro and in vivo. Kinetic analyses suggest that these inhibitors bind after the release of nicotinamide from the enzyme and prevent the release of deacetylated peptide and O-acetyl-ADP-ribose, the products of enzyme-catalyzed deacetylation. These SIRT1 inhibitors are low molecular weight, cell-permeable, orally bioavailable, and metabolically stable. These compounds provide chemical tools to study the biology of SIRT1 and to explore therapeutic uses for SIRT1 inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jm050522vDOI Listing
December 2005

Microplate filtration assay for nicotinamide release from NAD using a boronic acid resin.

Methods 2005 Aug;36(4):346-50

Elixir Pharmaceuticals, One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

We describe a microplate-based assay for NAD-dependent Class III histone deacetylases (also known as SIRTs) that measures the enzyme-catalyzed release of nicotinamide from radiolabeled NAD, using a boronic acid resin to selectively capture the NAD. This method avoids the need for fluorogenic or radiolabeled peptides or separation of the reaction products using solvent extraction. The protocol reported here is rapid and uses commercially available materials. The use of a simple microplate filtration device allows for the simultaneous processing of 96 samples, facilitating enzyme kinetic analyses and inhibition studies. Furthermore, monitoring nicotinamide release rather than peptide deacetylation obviates the need for chemical modification of protein and peptide substrates. This assay is applicable to SIRTs and other enzymes that cleave nicotinamide from NAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2005.03.005DOI Listing
August 2005

Ageing and metabolism: drug discovery opportunities.

Nat Rev Drug Discov 2005 Jul;4(7):569-80

Elixir Pharmaceuticals, One Kendall Square, Building 1000, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

There has recently been significant progress in our understanding of the mechanisms that regulate ageing, and it has been shown that changes in single genes can dramatically extend lifespan and increase resistance to many diseases. Furthermore, many of these genes belong to evolutionarily conserved pathways that also control energy metabolism. In this review, we describe the shared molecular machinery that regulates ageing and energy metabolism. Although drugs to slow ageing face severe regulatory hurdles, it is likely that an understanding of ageing pathways will help to identify novel drug targets to treat metabolic disorders and other age-related diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nrd1777DOI Listing
July 2005

Substrate-specific activation of sirtuins by resveratrol.

J Biol Chem 2005 Apr 31;280(17):17038-45. Epub 2005 Jan 31.

Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.

Resveratrol, a small molecule found in red wine, is reported to slow aging in simple eukaryotes and has been suggested as a potential calorie restriction mimetic. Resveratrol has also been reported to act as a sirtuin activator, and this property has been proposed to account for its anti-aging effects. We show here that resveratrol is a substrate-specific activator of yeast Sir2 and human SirT1. In particular, we observed that, in vitro, resveratrol enhances binding and deacetylation of peptide substrates that contain Fluor de Lys, a non-physiological fluorescent moiety, but has no effect on binding and deacetylation of acetylated peptides lacking the fluorophore. Consistent with these biochemical data we found that in three different yeast strain backgrounds, resveratrol has no detectable effect on Sir2 activity in vivo, as measured by rDNA recombination, transcriptional silencing near telomeres, and life span. In light of these findings, the mechanism accounting for putative longevity effects of resveratrol should be reexamined.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M500655200DOI Listing
April 2005

The AMP-activated protein kinase AAK-2 links energy levels and insulin-like signals to lifespan in C. elegans.

Genes Dev 2004 Dec 1;18(24):3004-9. Epub 2004 Dec 1.

Elixir Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Although limiting energy availability extends lifespan in many organisms, it is not understood how lifespan is coupled to energy levels. We find that the AMP:ATP ratio, a measure of energy levels, increases with age in Caenorhabditis elegans and can be used to predict life expectancy. The C. elegans AMP-activated protein kinase alpha subunit AAK-2 is activated by AMP and functions to extend lifespan. In addition, either an environmental stressor that increases the AMP:ATP ratio or mutations that lower insulin-like signaling extend lifespan in an aak-2-dependent manner. Thus, AAK-2 is a sensor that couples lifespan to information about energy levels and insulin-like signals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.1255404DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535911PMC
December 2004

Distinct subcellular localization of different sodium channel alpha and beta subunits in single ventricular myocytes from mouse heart.

Circulation 2004 Mar 8;109(11):1421-7. Epub 2004 Mar 8.

Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7280, USA.

Background: Voltage-gated sodium channels composed of pore-forming alpha and auxiliary beta subunits are responsible for the rising phase of the action potential in cardiac muscle, but their localizations have not yet been clearly defined.

Methods And Results: Immunocytochemical studies show that the principal cardiac alpha subunit isoform Na(v)1.5 and the beta2 subunit are preferentially localized in intercalated disks, identified by immunostaining of connexin 43, the major protein of cardiac gap junctions. The brain alpha subunit isoforms Na(v)1.1, Na(v)1.3, and Na(v)1.6 are preferentially localized with beta1 and beta3 subunits in the transverse tubules, identified by immunostaining of alpha-actinin, a cardiac z-line protein. The beta1 subunit is also present in a small fraction of intercalated disks. The recently cloned beta4 subunit, which closely resembles beta2 in amino acid sequence, is also expressed in ventricular myocytes and is localized in intercalated disks as are beta2 and Na(v)1.5.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that the primary sodium channels present in ventricular myocytes are composed of Na(v)1.5 plus beta2 and/or beta4 subunits in intercalated disks and Na(v)1.1, Na(v)1.3, and Na(v)1.6 plus beta1 and/or beta3 subunits in the transverse tubules.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/01.CIR.0000121421.61896.24DOI Listing
March 2004

Sodium channel beta4, a new disulfide-linked auxiliary subunit with similarity to beta2.

J Neurosci 2003 Aug;23(20):7577-85

Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7280, USA.

The principal alpha subunit of voltage-gated sodium channels is associated with auxiliary beta subunits that modify channel function and mediate protein-protein interactions. We have identified a new beta subunit termed beta4. Like the beta1-beta3 subunits, beta4 contains a cleaved signal sequence, an extracellular Ig-like fold, a transmembrane segment, and a short intracellular C-terminal tail. Using TaqMan reverse transcription-PCR analysis, in situ hybridization, and immunocytochemistry, we show that beta4 is widely distributed in neurons in the brain, spinal cord, and some sensory neurons.beta4 is most similar to the beta2 subunit (35% identity), and, like the beta2 subunit, the Ig-like fold of beta4 contains an unpaired cysteine that may interact with the alpha subunit. Under nonreducing conditions, beta4 has a molecular mass exceeding 250 kDa because of its covalent linkage to Nav1.2a, whereas on reduction, it migrates with a molecular mass of 38 kDa, similar to the mature glycosylated forms of the other beta subunits. Coexpression of beta4 with brain Nav1.2a and skeletal muscle Nav1.4 alpha subunits in tsA-201 cells resulted in a negative shift in the voltage dependence of channel activation, which overrode the opposite effects of beta1 and beta3 subunits when they were present. This novel, disulfide-linked beta subunit is likely to affect both protein-protein interactions and physiological function of multiple sodium channel alpha subunits.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6740763PMC
August 2003

TRPV3 is a calcium-permeable temperature-sensitive cation channel.

Nature 2002 Jul 23;418(6894):181-6. Epub 2002 Jun 23.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Enders 1309, 320 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Transient receptor potential (TRP) proteins are cation-selective channels that function in processes as diverse as sensation and vasoregulation. Mammalian TRP channels that are gated by heat and capsaicin (>43 degrees C; TRPV1 (ref. 1)), noxious heat (>52 degrees C; TRPV2 (ref. 2)), and cooling (< 22 degrees C; TRPM8 (refs 3, 4)) have been cloned; however, little is known about the molecular determinants of temperature sensing in the range between approximately 22 degrees C and 40 degrees C. Here we have identified a member of the vanilloid channel family, human TRPV3 (hTRPV3) that is expressed in skin, tongue, dorsal root ganglion, trigeminal ganglion, spinal cord and brain. Increasing temperature from 22 degrees C to 40 degrees C in mammalian cells transfected with hTRPV3 elevated intracellular calcium by activating a nonselective cationic conductance. As in published recordings from sensory neurons, the current was steeply dependent on temperature, sensitized with repeated heating, and displayed a marked hysteresis on heating and cooling. On the basis of these properties, we propose that hTRPV3 is thermosensitive in the physiological range of temperatures between TRPM8 and TRPV1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature00882DOI Listing
July 2002

A novel membrane potential-sensitive fluorescent dye improves cell-based assays for ion channels.

J Biomol Screen 2002 Feb;7(1):79-85

Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

The study of ion channel-mediated changes in membrane potential using the conventional bisoxonol fluorescent dye DiBAC(4)(3) has several limitations, including a slow onset of response and multistep preparation, that limit both the fidelity of the results and the throughput of membrane potential assays. Here, we report the characterization of the FLIPR Membrane Potential Assay Kit (FMP) in cells expressing voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels. The steady-state and kinetics fluorescence properties of FMP were compared with those of DiBAC(4)(3), using both FLIPR and whole-cell patch-clamp recording. Our experiments with the voltage-gated K(+) channel, hElk-1, revealed that FMP was 14-fold faster than DiBAC(4)(3) in response to depolarization. On addition of 60 mM KCl, the kinetics of fluorescence changes of FMP using FLIPR were identical to those observed in the electrophysiological studies using whole-cell current clamp. In addition, KCl concentration-dependent increases in FMP fluorescence correlated with the changes of membrane potential recorded in whole-cell patch clamp. In studies examining vanilloid receptor-1, a ligand-gated nonselective cation channel, FMP was superior to DiBAC(4)(3) with respect to both kinetics and amplitude of capsaicin-induced fluorescence changes. FMP has also been used to measure the activation of K(ATP) and hERG. Thus this novel membrane potential dye represents a powerful tool for developing high-throughput screening assays for ion channels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/108705710200700110DOI Listing
February 2002