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Structure-function characterization of surface antigen Pas.

J Bacteriol 2021 Aug 2:JB0017521. Epub 2021 Aug 2.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294.

, an oral commensal bacterium, is found at various sites including subgingival dental plaque, purulent infections, and in cystic fibrosis lungs. Oral streptococci utilize proteins on their surface to adhere to tissues and/or surfaces localizing the bacteria, which subsequently leads to the development of biofilms, colonization and infection. Among the 19 genomically annotated cell-wall attached surface proteins on , Pas is an adhesin that belongs to the Antigen I/II (AgI/II) family. Read More

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Distinct immune sensor systems for fungal endopolygalacturonases in closely related Brassicaceae.

Nat Plants 2021 Jul 29. Epub 2021 Jul 29.

Department of Plant Biochemistry, Centre of Plant Molecular Biology (ZMBP), Eberhard-Karls-University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

Plant pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) facilitate recognition of microbial patterns and mediate activation of plant immunity. Arabidopsis thaliana RLP42 senses fungal endopolygalacturonases (PGs) and triggers plant defence through complex formation with SOBIR1 and SERK co-receptors. Here, we show that a conserved 9-amino-acid fragment pg9(At) within PGs is sufficient to activate RLP42-dependent plant immunity. Read More

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Glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptor expression in critical illness: A narrative review.

World J Crit Care Med 2021 Jul 9;10(4):102-111. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

1 Department of Critical Care Medicine & Pulmonary Services, School of Medicine, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, "Evangelismos" Hospital, Athens 10676, Greece.

The glucocorticoid receptor (GCR) and the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) are members of the steroid receptor superfamily of hormone-dependent transcription factors. The receptors are structurally and functionally related. They are localized in the cytosol and translocate into the nucleus after ligand binding. Read More

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MICROSTRUCTURAL AND MECHANICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF THE LAYERS OF HUMAN DESCENDING THORACIC AORTAS.

Acta Biomater 2021 Jul 22. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Institute of Biomechanics, Graz University of Technology, Austria; Department of Structural Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.

The mechanical properties of human aortas are linked to the layered tissue and its microstructure at different length scales. Each layer has specific mechanical and structural properties. While the ground substance and the elastin play an important role in tissue stiffness at small strain, collagen fibers carry most of the load at larger strains, which corresponds to the physiological conditions of the aorta at maximum pulsatile blood pressure. Read More

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COG0523 proteins: A functionally diverse family of transition metal-regulated G3E P-loop GTP hydrolases from bacteria to man.

Metallomics 2021 Jul 24. Epub 2021 Jul 24.

Department of Chemistry, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405-7102 USA.

Transition metal homeostasis ensures that cells and organisms obtain sufficient metal to meet cellular demand while dispensing with any excess so as to avoid toxicity. In bacteria, zinc restriction induces the expression of one or more Zur (zinc-uptake repressor)-regulated Cluster of Orthologous Groups (COG) COG0523 proteins. COG0523 proteins encompass a poorly understood sub-family of G3E P-loop small GTPases, others of which are known to function as metallochaperones in the maturation of cobalamin (CoII) and NiII cofactor-containing metalloenzymes. Read More

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Three-dimensional missense tolerance ratio analysis.

Genome Res 2021 Jul 22. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

Department of Pharmacology and Chemical Biology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.

A wealth of genetic information is available describing single-nucleotide variants in the human population that appear to be well-tolerated and in and of themselves do not confer disease. These variant data sets contain signatures about the protein structure-function relationships and provide an unbiased view of various protein functions in the context of human health. This information can be used to determine regional intolerance to variation, defined as the missense tolerance ratio (MTR), which is an indicator of stretches of the polypeptide chain that can tolerate changes without compromising protein function in a manner that impacts human health. Read More

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Expanding the Chemical Space of Benzimidazole Dicationic Ionic Liquids.

Molecules 2021 Jul 11;26(14). Epub 2021 Jul 11.

Department of Pharmacy, University of Pisa, Via Bonanno 33, 56126 Pisa, Italy.

Benzimidazole dicationic ionic liquids (BDILs) have not yet been widely explored in spite of their potential. Therefore, two structurally related families of BDILs, paired with either bromide or bistriflimide anions and bearing alkyl spacers ranging from C3 to C6, have been prepared. Their thermal properties have been studied by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), while their electrical properties have been assessed by cyclic voltammetry (CV). Read More

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Neither a Novel Tau Proteinopathy nor an Expansion of a Phenotype: Reappraising Clinicopathology-Based Nosology.

Int J Mol Sci 2021 Jul 7;22(14). Epub 2021 Jul 7.

Gardner Family Center for Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders, Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45219, USA.

The gold standard for classification of neurodegenerative diseases is postmortem histopathology; however, the diagnostic odyssey of this case challenges such a clinicopathologic model. We evaluated a 60-year-old woman with a 7-year history of a progressive dystonia-ataxia syndrome with supranuclear gaze palsy, suspected to represent Niemann-Pick disease Type C. Postmortem evaluation unexpectedly demonstrated neurodegeneration with 4-repeat tau deposition in a distribution diagnostic of progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP). Read More

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Functional Roles of Bromodomain Proteins in Cancer.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jul 19;13(14). Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Colchester, VT 05446, USA.

Histone acetylation is generally associated with an open chromatin configuration that facilitates many cellular processes including gene transcription, DNA repair, and DNA replication. Aberrant levels of histone lysine acetylation are associated with the development of cancer. Bromodomains represent a family of structurally well-characterized effector domains that recognize acetylated lysines in chromatin. Read More

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Structural insights in galectin-1-glycan recognition: Relevance of the glycosidic linkage and the N-acetylation pattern of sugar moieties.

Bioorg Med Chem 2021 Jul 14;44:116309. Epub 2021 Jul 14.

Laboratorio de Bioquímica, Departamento de Biociencias, Facultad de Química, UdelaR, Gral. Flores, 2124, 11800 Montevideo, Uruguay. Electronic address:

Galectins, soluble lectins widely expressed intra- and extracellularly in different cell types, play major roles in deciphering the cellular glycocode. Galectin-1 (Gal-1), a prototype member of this family, presents a carbohydrate recognition domain (CRD) with specific affinity for β-galactosides such as N-acetyllactosamine (β-d-Galp-(1 → 4)-d-GlcpNAc), and mediate numerous physiological and pathological processes. In this work, Gal-1 binding affinity for β-(1 → 6) galactosides, including β-d-Galp-(1 → 6)-β-d-GlcpNAc-(1 → 4)-d-GlcpNAc was evaluated, and their performance was compared to that of β-(1 → 4) and β-(1 → 3) galactosides. Read More

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Electrochemical activation of diverse conventional photoredox catalysts induces new potent photoreductant activity.

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 2021 Jul 19. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

UNITED STATES.

Herein, we disclose that electrochemical stimulation  induces new photocatalytic activity from a range of structurally diverse conventional photocatalysts. Read More

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Structures of the TetR-like transcription regulator RcdA alone and in complexes with ligands.

Proteins 2021 Jul 20. Epub 2021 Jul 20.

Institute of Molecular and Industrial Biotechnology, Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Sciences, Lodz University of Technology, Lodz, Poland.

RcdA is a helix-turn-helix (HTH) transcriptional regulator belonging to the TetR family. The protein regulates the transcription of curlin subunit gene D, the master regulator of biofilm formation. Moreover, it was predicted that it might be involved in the regulation of up to 27 different genes. Read More

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Visual and ocular findings in a family with X-linked cone dysfunction and protanopia.

Ophthalmic Genet 2021 Jul 21:1-7. Epub 2021 Jul 21.

Department of Paediatric Ophthalmology, Strabismus, Electrophysiology and Ocular Oncology, St. Erik Eye Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden.

: Bornholm eye disease (BED) is a rare X-linked cone dysfunction disorder with high myopia, amblyopia, and color vision defects. Visual and ocular outcomes in a family where two of five siblings had molecularly confirmed BED are reported. Ophthalmological assessments included best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), color vision test, and optical coherence tomography (OCT). Read More

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Cerebral Dopamine Neurotrophic Factor (CDNF): Structure, Functions, and Therapeutic Potential.

Biochemistry (Mosc) 2021 Jul;86(7):852-866

Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia.

The cerebral dopamine neurotrophic factor (CDNF) together with the mesencephalic astrocyte-derived neurotrophic factor (MANF) form a unique family of neurotrophic factors (NTFs) structurally and functionally different from other proteins with neurotrophic activity. CDNF has no receptors on the cell membrane, is localized mainly in the cavity of endoplasmic reticulum (ER), and its primary function is to regulate ER stress. In addition, CDNF is able to suppress inflammation and apoptosis. Read More

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Altered islet prohormone processing: A cause or consequence of diabetes?

Physiol Rev 2021 Jul 19. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, Life Sciences Institute, grid.17091.3eUniversity of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Peptide hormones are first produced as larger precursor prohormones that require endoproteolytic cleavage to liberate the mature hormones. A structurally conserved but functionally distinct family of nine prohormone convertase enzymes (PCs) are responsible for cleavage of protein precursors of which PC1/3 and PC2 are known to be exclusive to neuroendocrine cells and responsible for prohormone cleavage. Differential expression of PCs within tissues define prohormone processing; whereas glucagon is the major product liberated from proglucagon via PC2 in pancreatic α-cells, proglucagon is preferentially processed by PC1/3 in intestinal L cells to produce glucagon-like peptides 1 and 2 (GLP-1, GLP-2). Read More

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Intermolecular binding preferences of haloethynyl halogen-bond donors as a function of molecular electrostatic potentials in a family of -(pyridin-2-yl)amides.

Org Biomol Chem 2021 Jul 19. Epub 2021 Jul 19.

Department of Chemistry, Kansas State University, 213 CBC Building, 1212 Mid-Campus Dr North, Manhattan, KS 66506 - 0401, USA.

In order to explore how σ-hole potentials, as evaluated by molecular electrostatic potential (MEP) calculations, affect the ability of halogen atoms to engage in structure-directing intermolecular interactions, we synthesized four series of ethynyl halogen-substituted amide containing pyridines (activated targets); (N-(pyridin-2-yl)benzamides (Bz-act-X), N-(pyridin-2-yl)picolinamides (2act-X), N-(pyridin-2-yl)nicotinamides (3act-X) and N-(pyridin-2-yl) isonicotinamides (4act-X), where X = Cl/Br/I. The molecules are deliberately equipped with three distinctly different halogen-bond acceptor sites, π, N(pyr), and O[double bond, length as m-dash]C, to determine binding site preferences of different halogen-bond donors. Crystallographic data for ten (out of a possible twelve) new compounds were thus analyzed and compared with data for the corresponding unactivated species. Read More

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Post-Transcriptional Regulation of Immune Responses and Inflammatory Diseases by RNA-Binding ZFP36 Family Proteins.

Front Immunol 2021 1;12:711633. Epub 2021 Jul 1.

Department of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.

Post-transcriptional regulation is involved in the regulation of many inflammatory genes. Zinc finger protein 36 (ZFP36) family proteins are RNA-binding proteins involved in messenger RNA (mRNA) metabolism pathways. The ZFP36 family is composed of ZFP36 (also known as tristetraprolin, TTP), ZFP36L1, ZFP36L2, and ZFP36L3 (only in rodents). Read More

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Dietary supplementation with sulforaphane ameliorates skin aging through activation of the Keap1-Nrf2 pathway.

J Nutr Biochem 2021 Jul 13:108817. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal; Institute for Interdisciplinary Research, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal; Department of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA. Electronic address:

Visible impairments in skin appearance, as well as a subtle decline in its functionality at the molecular level, are hallmarks of skin aging. Activation of the nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2)-pathway, which is important in controlling inflammation and oxidative stress that occur during aging, can be triggered by sulforaphane (SFN), an isothiocyanate found in plants from the Brassicaceae family. This study aimed to assess the effects of SFN intake on age-related skin alterations. Read More

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Synthesis, Spectroscopic, and O Sensitization Characteristics of Extended Pd(II) 10,10-Dimethylbiladiene Complexes Bearing Alkynyl-Aryl Appendages.

Inorg Chem 2021 Aug 15;60(15):11154-11163. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716, United States.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT), which involves the photoinduced sensitization of singlet oxygen, is an attractive treatment for certain types of cancer. The development of new photochemotherapeutic agents remains an important area of research. Macrocyclic tetrapyrrole compounds including porphyrins, phthalocyanines, chlorins, and bacteriochlorins have been pursued as sensitizers of singlet oxygen for PDT applications but historically are difficult to prepare/purify and can also suffer from high nonspecific dark toxicity, poor solubility in biological media, and/or slow clearance from biological tissues. Read More

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Cryo-EM structures of the caspase-activated protein XKR9 involved in apoptotic lipid scrambling.

Elife 2021 Jul 15;10. Epub 2021 Jul 15.

Department of Biochemistry, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

The exposure of the negatively charged lipid phosphatidylserine on the cell surface, catalyzed by lipid scramblases, is an important signal for the clearance of apoptotic cells by macrophages. The protein XKR9 is a member of a conserved family that has been associated with apoptotic lipid scrambling. Here, we describe structures of full-length and caspase-treated XKR9 from in complex with a synthetic nanobody determined by cryo-electron microscopy. Read More

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Robust Yellow-Violet Pigments Tuned by Site-Selective Manganese Chromophores.

Inorg Chem 2021 Aug 14;60(15):11579-11590. Epub 2021 Jul 14.

Key Laboratory of Bioinorganic and Synthetic Chemistry of Ministry of Education, School of Chemistry, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, People's Republic of China.

The rational design of multifunctional inorganic pigments relies on the manipulation of ionic valence and local surroundings of a chromophore in structurally and chemically habitable hosts. To date, the development of environmentally benign and intense violet/purple pigments is still a challenge. Here we report a family of MnTeO and MnLiTeO ( = Zn, Mg; = 0. Read More

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Structural and biophysical aspects of l-asparaginases: a growing family with amazing diversity.

IUCrJ 2021 Jul 30;8(Pt 4):514-531. Epub 2021 Jun 30.

Department of Crystallography, Faculty of Chemistry, A. Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland.

l-Asparaginases have remained an intriguing research topic since their discovery ∼120 years ago, especially after their introduction in the 1960s as very efficient antileukemic drugs. In addition to bacterial asparaginases, which are still used to treat childhood leukemia, enzymes of plant and mammalian origin are now also known. They have all been structurally characterized by crystallography, in some cases at outstanding resolution. Read More

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Triadic embeddedness structure in family networks predicts mobile communication response to a sudden natural disaster.

Nat Commun 2021 07 13;12(1):4286. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Shenzhen Finance Institute, School of Management and Economics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, China.

Kinship networks are a fundamental social unit in human societies, and like social networks in general, provide social support in times of need. Here, we investigate the impact of sudden environmental shock, the M 7.0 2013 Ya'an earthquake, on the mobile communications patterns of local families, which we operationalize using anonymized individual-level mobile telecommunications metadata from family plan subscribers of a major carrier (N = 35,565 people). Read More

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Systematic mining of fungal chimeric terpene synthases using an efficient precursor-providing yeast chassis.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Jul;118(29)

Key Laboratory of Combinatorial Biosynthesis and Drug Discovery, Ministry of Education, Wuhan University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Wuhan 430071, People's Republic of China;

Chimeric terpene synthases, which consist of C-terminal prenyltransferase (PT) and N-terminal class I terpene synthase (TS) domains (termed PTTSs here), is unique to fungi and produces structurally diverse di- and sesterterpenes. Prior to this study, 20 PTTSs had been functionally characterized. Our understanding of the origin and functional evolution of genes is limited. Read More

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The fluoride permeation pathway and anion recognition in Fluc family fluoride channels.

Elife 2021 Jul 12;10. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States.

Fluc family fluoride channels protect microbes against ambient environmental fluoride by undermining the cytoplasmic accumulation of this toxic halide. These proteins are structurally idiosyncratic, and thus the permeation pathway and mechanism have no analogy in other known ion channels. Although fluoride-binding sites were identified in previous structural studies, it was not evident how these ions access aqueous solution, and the molecular determinants of anion recognition and selectivity have not been elucidated. Read More

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Bph30 confers resistance to brown planthopper by fortifying sclerenchyma in rice leaf sheath.

Mol Plant 2021 Jul 8. Epub 2021 Jul 8.

State Key Laboratory of Hybrid Rice, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China. Electronic address:

Phloem-feeding insects cause massive losses in agriculture and horticulture. Host plant-mediated resistance to phloem-feeding insects is often mediated by changes in phloem composition to deter insect settling, feeding and viability. Here, we describe a mechanism of resistance to the phloem-feeding brown planthopper (BPH) associated with the fortified sclerenchyma tissue, which is just beneath the epidermis and a cell layer or two away from the vascular bundle in the rice leaf sheath. Read More

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Whole-exome sequencing increases the diagnostic rate for prenatal fetal structural anomalies.

Eur J Med Genet 2021 Jul 9;64(9):104288. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Chong Qing Health Center for Women and Children, Chongqing, 401120, China.

Background: Prenatal whole-exome sequencing (WES) is becoming increasingly used when karyotype and microarray tests are not diagnostic of fetal malformations. Although the value of WES clearly emerges in terms of higher diagnostic rates, the limitations of prenatal phenotyping together with the counseling challenges for variants of uncertain significance and incidental results suggest that the routine application of prenatal WES is not yet easy.

Methods: Structurally abnormal fetuses with a mean gestational age of 24 weeks (range 13-38 weeks) were recruited from the Chong Qing Health Center for Women and Children. Read More

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A new class of sensing elements for sensors: Clamp peptides for Zika virus.

Biosens Bioelectron 2021 Jul 1;191:113471. Epub 2021 Jul 1.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL, 33136, United States; Dr. JT Macdonald Foundation Biomedical Nanotechnology Institute, University of Miami, Miami, FL, 33136, United States; University of Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University of Miami, Miami, FL, 33136, United States. Electronic address:

The design of a new class of selective and high affinity antibody mimetics termed clamp peptide (CP) that incorporate three short peptides structurally and mechanically mimicking a clamp is proposed as sensing elements for a reliable detection sensor platform. The CPs consist of two short peptides functioning as arms that recognize two different epitopes in the target protein and are connected by a third short peptide that acts as a hinge between the peptide arms. For the construction of CPs, we employed a rational design combined with computational methods. Read More

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New Polyketides With Anti-Inflammatory Activity From the Fungus .

Front Pharmacol 2021 21;12:700573. Epub 2021 Jun 21.

Hubei Key Laboratory of Natural Medicinal Chemistry and Resource Evaluation, School of Pharmacy, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China.

Two new polyketide compounds, asperulosins A and B (-), and one new prenylated small molecule, asperulosin C (), along with nine known compounds (-), were isolated and identified from a fungus . Their structures were extensively elucidated HRESIMS, 1D, and 2D NMR analysis. The absolute configurations of the new compounds were determined by the comparison of their electronic circular dichroism (ECD), calculated ECD spectra, and the detailed discussion with those in previous reports. Read More

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Uncovering Novel Peptide Chemistry from Bacterial Natural Products.

Chimia (Aarau) 2021 Jun;75(6):543-547

Institute of Microbiology, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich, Vladimir-Prelog-Weg 1-5/10, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland;, Email:

Nature has evolved a remarkable array of biosynthetic enzymes that install diverse chemistries into natural products (NPs), bestowing them with a range of important biological properties that are of considerable therapeutic value. This is epitomized by the ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs), a class of peptide natural products that undergo extensive post-translational modifications to produce structurally diverse bioactive peptides. In this review, we provide an overview of our research into the proteusin RiPP family, describing characterized members and the maturation enzymes responsible for their unique chemical structures and biological activities. Read More

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