Publications by authors named "Simonetta Stefanini"

13 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Study of manganese binding to the ferroxidase centre of human H-type ferritin.

J Inorg Biochem 2018 05 9;182:103-112. Epub 2018 Feb 9.

INSTM, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Florence, Via Sansone 1, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy. Electronic address:

Ferritins are ubiquitous and conserved proteins endowed with enzymatic ferroxidase activity, that oxidize Fe(II) ions at the dimetal ferroxidase centre to form a mineralized Fe(III) oxide core deposited within the apo-protein shell. Herein, the in vitro formation of a heterodimetal cofactor constituted by Fe and Mn ions has been investigated in human H ferritin (hHFt). Namely, Mn and Fe binding at the hHFt ferroxidase centre and its effects on Fe(II) oxidation have been investigated by UV-Vis ferroxidation kinetics, fluorimetric titrations, multifrequency EPR, and preliminary Mössbauer spectroscopy. Our results show that in hHFt, both Fe(II) and Mn(II) bind the ferroxidase centre forming a Fe-Mn cofactor. Moreover, molecular oxygen seems to favour Mn(II) binding and increases the ferroxidation activity of the Mn-loaded protein. The data suggest that Mn influences the Fe binding and the efficiency of the ferroxidation reaction. The higher efficiency of the Mn-Fe heterometallic centre may have a physiological relevance in specific cell types (i.e. glia cells), where the concentration of Mn is the same order of magnitude as iron.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2018.02.003DOI Listing
May 2018

Kineococcus radiotolerans Dps forms a heteronuclear Mn-Fe ferroxidase center that may explain the Mn-dependent protection against oxidative stress.

Biochim Biophys Acta 2013 Jun 8;1830(6):3745-55. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Department of Biochemical Sciences A. Rossi Fanelli, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.

Background: The ferroxidase center of DNA-binding protein from starved cells (Dps) is a major player in the iron oxidation/detoxification process that leads to a decreased reactive oxygen species production. The possible Mn(II) participation in this process has been studied in Dps from Kineococcus radiotolerans, a radiation-resistant bacterium with a high cytosolic Mn/Fe ratio and a high capacity to survive ionizing and stress conditions.

Methods: The X-ray structure of recombinant K. radiotolerans Dps loaded with Mn(II) has been solved at 2.0Å resolution. Mn(II) binding to K. radiotolerans Dps and its effect on Fe(II) oxidation have been characterized in spectroscopic measurements.

Results: In K. radiotolerans Dps, the Fe-Fe ferroxidase center can have a Mn-Fe composition. Mn(II) binds only at the high affinity, so-called A site, whereas Fe(II) binds also at the low affinity, so-called B site. The Mn-Fe and Fe-Fe centers behave distinctly upon iron oxidation by O2. A site-bound Mn(II) or Fe(II) plays a catalytic role, while B site-bound Fe(II) behaves like a substrate and can be replaced by another Fe(II) after oxidation. When H2O2 is the Fe(II) oxidant, single electrons are transferred to aromatic residues near the ferroxidase center and give rise to intra-protein radicals thereby limiting OH release in solution. The presence of the Mn-Fe center results in significant differences in the development of such intra-protein radicals.

Conclusions: Mn(II) bound at the Dps ferroxidase center A site undergoes redox cycling provided the B site contains Fe.

General Significance: The results provide a likely molecular mechanism for the protective role of Mn(II) under oxidative stress conditions as it participates in redox cycling in the hetero-binuclear ferroxidase center.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbagen.2013.02.003DOI Listing
June 2013

Structural stability of human protein tyrosine phosphatase ρ catalytic domain: effect of point mutations.

PLoS One 2012 28;7(2):e32555. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

UT-BIORAD-FARM CR Casaccia ENEA, Rome, Italy.

Protein tyrosine phosphatase ρ (PTPρ) belongs to the classical receptor type IIB family of protein tyrosine phosphatase, the most frequently mutated tyrosine phosphatase in human cancer. There are evidences to suggest that PTPρ may act as a tumor suppressor gene and dysregulation of Tyr phosphorylation can be observed in diverse diseases, such as diabetes, immune deficiencies and cancer. PTPρ variants in the catalytic domain have been identified in cancer tissues. These natural variants are nonsynonymous single nucleotide polymorphisms, variations of a single nucleotide occurring in the coding region and leading to amino acid substitutions. In this study we investigated the effect of amino acid substitution on the structural stability and on the activity of the membrane-proximal catalytic domain of PTPρ. We expressed and purified as soluble recombinant proteins some of the mutants of the membrane-proximal catalytic domain of PTPρ identified in colorectal cancer and in the single nucleotide polymorphisms database. The mutants show a decreased thermal and thermodynamic stability and decreased activation energy relative to phosphatase activity, when compared to wild- type. All the variants show three-state equilibrium unfolding transitions similar to that of the wild- type, with the accumulation of a folding intermediate populated at ~4.0 M urea.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0032555PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3289658PMC
July 2012

Dps proteins prevent Fenton-mediated oxidative damage by trapping hydroxyl radicals within the protein shell.

Free Radic Biol Med 2010 Jan 3;48(2):292-7. Epub 2009 Nov 3.

CNR Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, Department of Biochemical Sciences A. Rossi-Fanelli, Sapienza University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy.

Dps (DNA-binding proteins from starved cells) proteins belong to a widespread bacterial family of proteins expressed under nutritional and oxidative stress conditions. In particular, Dps proteins protect DNA against Fenton-mediated oxidative stress, as they catalyze iron oxidation by hydrogen peroxide at highly conserved ferroxidase centers and thus reduce significantly hydroxyl radical production. This work investigates the possible generation of intraprotein radicals during the ferroxidation reaction by Escherichia coli and Listeria innocua Dps, two representative members of the family. Stopped-flow analyses show that the conserved tryptophan and tyrosine residues located near the metal binding/oxidation center are in a radical form after iron oxidation by hydrogen peroxide. DNA protection assays indicate that the presence of both residues is necessary to limit release of hydroxyl radicals in solution and the consequent oxidative damage to DNA. In general terms, the demonstration that conserved protein residues act as a trap that dissipates free electrons generated during the oxidative process brings out a novel role for the Dps protein cage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2009.10.053DOI Listing
January 2010

Iron translocation into and out of Listeria innocua Dps and size distribution of the protein-enclosed nanomineral are modulated by the electrostatic gradient at the 3-fold "ferritin-like" pores.

J Biol Chem 2009 Jul 20;284(28):19101-9. Epub 2009 May 20.

CNR Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, Department of Biochemical Sciences, University of Rome, 00185 Rome, Italy.

Elucidating pore function at the 3-fold channels of 12-subunit, microbial Dps proteins is important in understanding their role in the management of iron/hydrogen peroxide. The Dps pores are called "ferritin-like" because of the structural resemblance to the 3-fold channels of 24-subunit ferritins used for iron entry and exit to and from the protein cage. In ferritins, negatively charged residues lining the pores generate a negative electrostatic gradient that guides iron ions toward the ferroxidase centers for catalysis with oxidant and destined for the mineralization cavity. To establish whether the set of three aspartate residues that line the pores in Listeria innocua Dps act in a similar fashion, D121N, D126N, D130N, and D121N/D126N/D130N proteins were produced; kinetics of iron uptake/release and the size distribution of the iron mineral in the protein cavity were compared. The results, discussed in the framework of crystal growth in a confined space, indicate that iron uses the hydrophilic 3-fold pores to traverse the protein shell. For the first time, the strength of the electrostatic potential is observed to modulate kinetic cooperativity in the iron uptake/release processes and accordingly the size distribution of the microcrystalline iron minerals in the Dps protein population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M109.014670DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2707210PMC
July 2009

The unusual co-assembly of H- and M-chains in the ferritin molecule from the Antarctic teleosts Trematomus bernacchii and Trematomus newnesi.

Arch Biochem Biophys 2008 Oct 28;478(1):69-74. Epub 2008 Jun 28.

Dipartimento di Scienze Biochimiche A. Rossi Fanelli, Sapienza, Università di Roma, P.le A. Moro, 5, 00185 Roma, Italy.

Ferritins from the liver and spleen of the cold-adapted Antarctic teleosts Trematomus bernacchii and Trematomus newnesi have been isolated and characterized. Interestingly, only H- and M-chains are expressed and no L-chains. The H-chains contain the conserved ferroxidase center residues while M-chains harbor both the ferroxidase center and the micelle nucleation site ligands. Ferritins have an organ-specific subunit composition, they are: M homopolymers in spleen and H/M heteropolymers in liver. The M-chain homopolymer mineralizes iron at higher rate with respect to the H/M heteropolymer, which however is endowed with a lower activation energy for the iron incorporation process, indicative of a higher local flexibility. These findings and available literature data on ferritin expression in fish point to the role of tissue-specific expression of different chains in modulating the iron oxidation/mineralization process.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.abb.2008.06.022DOI Listing
October 2008

Transcription of the Listeria monocytogenes fri gene is growth-phase dependent and is repressed directly by Fur, the ferric uptake regulator.

Gene 2008 Feb 28;410(1):113-21. Epub 2008 Jan 28.

Dipartimento di Scienze Biochimiche A. Rossi Fanelli, Università La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

The Listeria monocytogenes fri gene encodes the only ferritin-like protein of this pathogen, a Dps protein (DNA binding protein from starved cells). Listeria Dps is endowed with the capacity to detoxify concurrently free iron and H(2)O(2), is essential for virulence and is required for efficient bacterial growth at early stages of the infection process. The transcription of fri is known to depend on sigma(A) and sigma(B) factors, to be affected by growth conditions and to be derepressed in a perR (peroxide-inducible stress response regulator) mutant background. The present work shows that fri transcription is restricted to the exponential phase of growth, whereas the Dps protein has a long half-life and is detected in significant amounts also in stationary phase cells. Expression of fri is downregulated under iron-rich conditions and is controlled directly by Fur, the ferric uptake regulator, which binds within the DNA region encompassing nucleotides from position -23 to position +90 relative to the proximal sigma(A) transcription startpoint. The putative Fur-box is proposed to coincide with the putative Per-box both in sequence and position. The primary structure of L. monocytogenes Fur has a high degree of similarity with homologues of known X-ray crystal structure. The molecular model of L. monocytogenes Fur built on this basis shows that the ligands of the structural Zn(II) and of the regulatory Fe(II) are conserved and are located in positions fully compatible with their respective roles.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gene.2007.12.007DOI Listing
February 2008

The mutations Lys 114 --> Gln and Asp 126 --> Asn disrupt an intersubunit salt bridge and convert Listeria innocua Dps into its natural mutant Listeria monocytogenes Dps. Effects on protein stability at Low pH.

Proteins 2007 Mar;66(4):975-83

Dipartimento di Scienze Biochimiche A. Rossi Fanelli, Università La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

The stability of the dodecameric Listeria monocytogenes Dps has been compared with that of the Listeria innocua protein. The two proteins differ only in two amino acid residues that form an intersubunit salt-bridge in L. innocua Dps. This salt-bridge is replaced by a hydrogen bonding network in L. monocytogenes Dps as revealed by the X-ray crystal structure. The resistance to low pH and high temperature was assayed for both Dps proteins under equilibrium conditions and kinetically. Despite the identical equilibrium behavior, significant differences in the kinetic stability and activation energy of the unfolding process are apparent at pH 1.5. The higher stability of L. monocytogenes Dps has been accounted for in terms of the persistence of the hydrogen bonding network at this low pH value. In contrast, the salt-bridge between Lys 114 and Asp 126 characteristic of L. innocua Dps is most likely abolished due to protonation of Asp 126.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/prot.21305DOI Listing
March 2007

The unusual intersubunit ferroxidase center of Listeria innocua Dps is required for hydrogen peroxide detoxification but not for iron uptake. A study with site-specific mutants.

Biochemistry 2005 Apr;44(15):5579-87

Istituto di Biologia e Patologia Molecolari CNR, Dipartimento di Scienze Biochimiche, Università La Sapienza, P.le A. Moro, 5, 00185 Roma, Italy.

The role of the ferroxidase center in iron uptake and hydrogen peroxide detoxification was investigated in Listeria innocua Dps by substituting the iron ligands His31, His43, and Asp58 with glycine or alanine residues either individually or in combination. The X-ray crystal structures of the variants reveal only small alterations in the ferroxidase center region compared to the native protein. Quenching of the protein fluorescence was exploited to assess stoichiometry and affinity of metal binding. Substitution of either His31 or His43 decreases Fe(II) affinity significantly with respect to wt L. innocua Dps (K approximately 10(5) vs approximately 10(7) M(-)(1)) but does not alter the binding stoichiometry [12 Fe(II)/dodecamer]. In the H31G-H43G and H31G-H43G-D58A variants, binding of Fe(II) does not take place with measurable affinity. Oxidation of protein-bound Fe(II) increases the binding stoichiometry to 24 Fe(III)/dodecamer. However, the extent of fluorescence quenching upon Fe(III) binding decreases, and the end point near 24 Fe(III)/dodecamer becomes less distinct with increase in the number of mutated residues. In the presence of dioxygen, the mutations have little or no effect on the kinetics of iron uptake and in the formation of micelles inside the protein shell. In contrast, in the presence of hydrogen peroxide, with increase in the number of substitutions the rate of iron oxidation and the capacity to inhibit Fenton chemistry, thereby protecting DNA from oxidative damage, appear increasingly compromised, a further indication of the role of ferroxidation in conferring peroxide tolerance to the bacterium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bi050005eDOI Listing
April 2005

The so-called Listeria innocua ferritin is a Dps protein. Iron incorporation, detoxification, and DNA protection properties.

Biochemistry 2005 Apr;44(15):5572-8

Department of Chemistry, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824, USA.

Listeria innocua Dps (DNA binding protein from starved cells) affords protection to DNA against oxidative damage and can accumulate about 500 iron atoms within its central cavity through a process facilitated by a ferroxidase center. The chemistry of iron binding and oxidation in Listeria Dps (LiDps, formerly described as a ferritin) using H(2)O(2) as oxidant was studied to further define the mechanism of iron deposition inside the protein and the role of LiDps in protecting DNA from oxidative damage. The relatively strong binding of 12 Fe(2+) to the apoprotein (K(D) approximately 0.023 microM) was demonstrated by isothermal titration calorimetry, fluorescence quenching, and pH stat experiments. Hydrogen peroxide was found to be a more efficient oxidant for the protein-bound Fe(2+) than O(2). Iron(II) oxidation by H(2)O(2) occurs with a stoichiometry of 2 Fe(2+)/H(2)O(2) in both the protein-based ferroxidation and subsequent mineralization reactions, indicating complete reduction of H(2)O(2) to H(2)O. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spin-trapping experiments demonstrated that LiDps attenuates the production of hydroxyl radical by Fenton chemistry. DNA cleavage assays showed that the protein, while not binding to DNA itself, protects it against the deleterious combination of Fe(2+) and H(2)O(2). The overall process of iron deposition and detoxification by LiDps is described by the following equations. For ferroxidation, Fe(2+) + Dps(Z)--> [(Fe(2+))-Dps](Z+1) + H(+) (Fe(2+) binding) and [(Fe(2+))-Dps](Z+1) + Fe(2+) + H(2)O(2) --> [(Fe(3+))(2)(O)(2)-Dps](Z+1) + 2H(+) (Fe(2+) oxidation/hydrolysis). For mineralization, 2Fe(2+) + H(2)O(2) + 2H(2)O --> 2Fe(O)OH((core)) + 4H(+) (Fe(2+) oxidation/hydrolysis). These reactions occur in place of undesirable odd-electron redox processes that produce hydroxyl radical.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/bi0472705DOI Listing
April 2005

Iron and proteins for iron storage and detoxification.

Biometals 2004 Jun;17(3):197-202

CNR Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, Department of Biochemical Sciences, University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.

Iron is required by most organisms, but is potentially toxic due to the low solubility of the stable oxidation state, Fe(III), and to the tendency to potentiate the production of reactive oxygen species, ROS. The reactivity of iron is counteracted by bacteria with the same strategies employed by the host, namely by sequestering the metal into ferritin, the ubiquitous iron storage protein. Ferritins are highly conserved, hollow spheres constructed from 24 subunits that are endowed with ferroxidase activity and can harbour up to 4500 iron atoms as oxy-hydroxide micelles. The release of the metal upon reduction can alter the microorganism-host iron balance and hence permit bacteria to overcome iron limitation. In bacteria, the relevance of the Dps (DNA-binding proteins from starved cells) family in iron storage-detoxification has been recognized recently. The seminal studies on the protein from Listeria innocua demonstrated that Dps proteins have ferritin-like activity and most importantly have the capacity to attenuate the production of ROS. This latter function allows bacterial pathogens that lack catalase, e.g. Porphyromonas gingivalis, to survive in an aerobic environment and resist to peroxide stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/b:biom.0000027692.24395.76DOI Listing
June 2004

The expression of the dodecameric ferritin in Listeria spp. is induced by iron limitation and stationary growth phase.

Gene 2002 Aug;296(1-2):121-8

Dipartimento di Scienze di Sanità Pubblica, University of Rome La Sapienza, P.le A. Moro, Italy.

The Gram-positive bacterium Listeria innocua possesses an authentic ferritin with an unusual dodecameric assemblage that resembles the quaternary structure of the DNA-binding proteins designated Dps (DNA-binding proteins from starved cells). The L. innocua gene encoding the above protein, termed ferritin from Listeria innocua (fri), has been localized on a 3-kb HindIII chromosomal fragment cloned in the Escherichia coli strain DH5alphaF'. DNA sequence analysis reveals an open reading frame of 468 nucleotides matching perfectly the amino acid sequence of the protein. Primer extension analysis indicates the presence of two transcriptional startpoints located 36 (proximal) and 85 nt (distal) upstream the fri start codon, respectively. Each transcriptional startpoint is preceded by suitably located -10 and -35 elements, which match the sigma(A) (proximal) and sigma(B) (distal) consensus sequences.In L. innocua and Liseria monocytogenes, fri expression increases both upon entry into stationary phase and, more markedly, under low-iron growth conditions. The effect of iron is apparent in the exponential and stationary phases of growth. An up-regulation by iron limitation has never been observed in other proven ferritins and bacterioferritins, but has been reported for several members of the Dps family. The unusual regulation by iron of the Listeria ferritin gene provides further support to the evolutionary link with the Dps family and suggests that the iron storage function may not be the unique role of ferritin in the physiology of this bacterium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0378-1119(02)00839-9DOI Listing
August 2002

Ferritin from the spleen of the Antarctic teleost Trematomus bernacchii is an M-type homopolymer.

Eur J Biochem 2002 Mar;269(6):1600-6

Department of Biochemical Sciences and CNR, Center of Molecular Biology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy.

Ferritin from the spleen of the Antarctic teleost Trematomus bernacchii is composed of a single subunit that contains both the ferroxidase center residues, typical of mammalian H chains, and the carboxylate residues forming the micelle nucleation site, typical of mammalian L chains. Comparison of the amino-acid sequence with those available from lower vertebrates indicates that T. bernacchii ferritin can be classified as an M-type homopolymer. Interestingly, the T. bernacchii ferritin chain shows 85.7% identity with a cold-inducible ferritin chain of the rainbow trout Salmo gairdneri. The structural and functional properties indicate that cold acclimation and functional adaptation to low temperatures are achieved without significant modification of the protein stability. In fact, the stability of T. bernacchii ferritin to denaturation induced by acid or temperature closely resembles that of mesophilic mammalian ferritins. Moreover iron is taken up efficiently and the activation energy of the reaction is 74.9 kJ.mol(-1), a value slightly lower than that measured for the human recombinant H ferritin (80.8 kJ.mol(-1)).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1432-1327.2002.02762.xDOI Listing
March 2002