Structural rearrangements and subunit interactions in P2X receptors
- P2X receptors represent the third superfamily of ligand gated ion channels with ATP as their natural ligand. Most of the mammalian P2X receptors are non-selective cation channels, which upon activation, mediate membrane depolarization and have physiological roles ranging from fast excitatory synaptic transmission, modulation of pain-sensation, LTP to apoptosis etc. In spite of them being an attractive drug target, their potential as a drug target is limited by the lack of basic understanding of the structure-function relationship of these receptors. In my thesis, I have investigated the behavior of homomeric P2X receptor subunits with the help of photolabeling and fluorescence techniques coupled to electrophysiological measurements using Xenopus laevis oocytes heterologous expression system. Concurrent photolabeling by BzATP and current recordings from the same set of receptors in real time has revealed that the gating process in homomeric P2X receptors is contributed individually by each subunit in an additive manner. Our study for the first time describes the agonist potency of Alexa-ATP (a fluorescent ATP analog) on P2X1 receptors. The use of Alexa-ATP in our experiments elucidated that receptor subunits are not independent but interacting with each other in a cooperative manner. The type of cooperativity, however, depended on the type and concentrations of allosteric/competing ligands. Based on our results, in my thesis we propose an allosteric model for ligand-receptor interactions in P2X receptors. When simulated, the model could replicate our experimental findings thus, further validating our model. Further, correlation between occupancy of P2X1 receptors (determined using binding curve for Alexa-ATP) with the steady-state desensitization suggests that binding of three agonist molecules per receptor are required to desensitize P2X1 receptors. We further extended the approach of fluorescence with electrophysiological measurement to assign the role for different domains in P2X1 receptors with the help of environmental sensitive, cysteine reactive fluorophore (TMRM). Cysteine rich domain-1 of P2X1 receptors (C117-C165) was found to be involved in structural rearrangements after agonist and antagonist binding. In contrast to the present understanding, that the binding of an antagonist cannot induce desensitization in P2X1 receptors and the receptors need to open first before undergoing desensitization, we propose based on our results that a competitive antagonist can also induce desensitization in P2X1 receptors by bypassing the open state. We have attempted to answer few intriguing questions in the field of P2X receptor research and we think that our answers provide many avenues to the basic understanding of functioning of P2X receptors.
GTPase activating protein Rap1GAP2 and synaptotagmin-like protein 1 interact and are involved in platelet dense granule secretion
- Platelets are anucleate cells that play a major role in hemostasis and thrombosis in the vasculature. During primary hemostasis platelets adhere to sites of vascular damage and the initial platelet coat is reinforced by additional platelets forming a stable aggregate. At the same time platelets secrete their intracellular granules containing substances that further activate platelets in an autocrine and paracrine fashion and affect local coagulation and endothelial smooth muscle cell function. The small guanine nucleotide binding protein Rap1 regulates the activity of the platelet integrin alphaIIbbeta3 and thus platelet aggregation. Rap1 activity is controlled by guanine nucleotide exchange factors and GTPase activating proteins. In platelets, Rap1GAP2 is the only GTPase activating protein of Rap1. In order to identify Rap1GAP2-associated proteins, a genetic two-hybrid screening in yeast was performed and synaptotagmin-like protein 1 (Slp1, also called JFC1) was found as a new putative binding partner of Rap1GAP2. Slp1 is a tandem C2 domain containing protein and is known to bind to Rab27, a small GTPase involved in platelet dense granule secretion. The direct interaction between Rap1GAP2 and Slp1 was confirmed in yeast and in transfected cells. More importantly, Slp1 is expressed in platelets and binding of endogenous Rap1GAP2 and Slp1 was verified in these cells. The Rap1GAP2 and Slp1 interaction sites were mapped by mutational analysis. Rap1GAP2 binds through the -TKXT- motif within its C-terminus to the C2A domain of Slp1. Moreover, the Slp1 binding -TKXT- motif of Rap1GAP2 was confirmed by complementary approaches using short synthetic Rap1GAP2 peptides. The C2A domain of Slp1 is a phospholipid binding domain and thus mediates binding of Slp1 to the plasma membrane. Phospholipid overlay assays revealed that simultaneous binding of Slp1 via its C2A domain to Rap1GAP2 and to phospholipids can occur. In addition, the interaction between Rap1GAP2 and Slp1 is regulated by cAMP-dependent protein kinase (cAK or PKA), and kinase activation in platelets enhanced binding of endogenous Rap1GAP2 to Slp1. In-vitro phosphorylation assays revealed that Slp1 is a substrate of PKA, and serine 111 was identified as phosphorylation site. Since Slp1 is a Rab27 binding protein, a trimeric complex of Slp1, Rab27 and Rap1GAP2 is conceivable. The association of Slp1, Rab27 and Rap1GAP2 was investigated by immunofluorescence and co-immuno-precipitation experiments in both, transfected cells and platelets. By Slp1 affinity chromatography and subsequent mass spectrometric analysis additional Slp1 binding proteins were identified in platelets, and binding of Slp1 to Rab8 was confirmed in pull-down assays. To investigate the functional significance of the interaction between Rap1GAP2 and Slp1, an assay system was established to determine serotonin secretion of streptolysin-O permeabilized platelets. Addition of recombinant Slp1 protein to permeabilized platelets strongly inhibited platelet dense granule secretion, whereas addition of recombinant Rap1GAP2 protein or synthetic Rap1GAP2 peptide enhanced secretion. Deleting the Slp1 binding -TKXT- motif abolished the stimulatory effect of Rap1GAP2 on secretion. Addition of Rap1 to permeabilized platelets had no effect on secretion. These findings indicate that the Rap1GAP2 effect on platelet secretion does not depend on the GTPase activating function of Rap1GAP2, but is rather dependent on the -TKXT- mediated interaction of Rap1GAP2 with Slp1. In addition, in-vitro GAP assays revealed that Slp1 binding to Rap1GAP2 does not affect the Rap1GAP activity of Rap1GAP2, and adhesion assays excluded a role for the Rap1GAP2/Slp1 interaction in cell adhesion. Altogether, the results of the present study demonstrate that besides its function in platelet aggregation by controlling the activity of the small guanine nucleotide binding protein Rap1, Rap1GAP2 is involved in platelet dense granule secretion by the new -TKXT- mediated interaction with the Rab27 and membrane binding protein Slp1. In addition, the interaction between Rap1GAP2 and Slp1 is embedded into an elaborate network of protein-protein interactions in platelets which appear to be regulated by phosphorylation. Future studies will in particular aim to dissect the molecular details of Rap1GAP2 and Slp1 action in platelet secretion and investigate the potential biochemical and pharmacological value of the unique protein binding -TKXT- motif of Rap1GAP2.
Yedies - YIVO News
Agroeca dentigera and Entelecara omissa (Araneae: Liocranidae, Linyphiidae) found in Sweden
Lars J. Jonsson
- The rare spider species Agroeca dentigera Kulczyński, 1913 (Liocranidae) and Entelecara omissa O. P.-Cambridge, 1902 (Linyphiidae), have been found in a small coastal freshwater fen in Lomma (55°42'N 13°4'E), north of Malmö in Scania in southernmost Sweden. A. dentigera was also found on a salt water meadow south of Malmö. Both species have been found only in a few wet localities in Europe. Entelecara depilata Tullgren, 1955, is a junior synonym of Entelecara omissa O. P.-Cambridge, 1902, new synonymy.
Formation of cristae and crista junctions in mitochondria depends on antagonism between Fcj1 and Su e/g
Andreas S. Reichert
- Crista junctions (CJs) are important for mitochondrial organization and function, but the molecular basis of their formation and architecture is obscure. We have identified and characterized a mitochondrial membrane protein in yeast, Fcj1 (formation of CJ protein 1), which is specifically enriched in CJs. Cells lacking Fcj1 lack CJs, exhibit concentric stacks of inner membrane in the mitochondrial matrix, and show increased levels of F1FO–ATP synthase (F1FO) supercomplexes. Overexpression of Fcj1 leads to increased CJ formation, branching of cristae, enlargement of CJ diameter, and reduced levels of F1FO supercomplexes. Impairment of F1FO oligomer formation by deletion of its subunits e/g (Su e/g) causes CJ diameter enlargement and reduction of cristae tip numbers and promotes cristae branching. Fcj1 and Su e/g genetically interact. We propose a model in which the antagonism between Fcj1 and Su e/g locally modulates the F1FO oligomeric state, thereby controlling membrane curvature of cristae to generate CJs and cristae tips.
Metamorphosis and identity : psychoanalytical notes to Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle
- Far greater liberties can be taken by animation than by live-action films The possibilities of the narratives are enriched by unrestricted visual images that offer unique means of exploring and portraying states of desire, conscious and unconscious realities, as well as different layers of relationships and experiences. This leads to a fusion of the traditional and modern roles of representation. Anime from acclaimed Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki, particularly the Academy Award winner Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, 2003) and Oscar-nominated Howl’s Moving Castle (Hauru no Ugoku Shiro, 2004), which in recent years have acquired a global cult status, offer new perspectives on human subjectivity. Through their playful use of the motif of transformation, striking similarities in the development of the plots and ambiguous dénouements, the movies problematize the fundamental question of identity, representing a close illustration of some of the core psychoanalytical concepts found in Lacanian theory.
Cell migration and organization
- Information sent to and received by cells is essential for a homeostatic development of tissues and organs. These same signals are responsible for the good functioning of lymphatic organs and therefore govern the immune response. Dysfunctioning of the signaling networks is related to pathological situations, among which one can find cancer and auto-immune diseases. Intercellular communication involves the synthesis and the adjustment of signals by the secreting/emitting cell in order to reach the needed threshold. Diffusion of the signal to the target cell in addition to its interpretation lead to functional changes like cell migration and aggregation. Individual cells such as bacteria find food or increase their virulence through taxis (directional stimulus) and/or kinesis (speed stimulus). Immune cells appear to use the same processes to find bacteria and cellular debris, as well as to perform the cellular dance observed in germinal centers. This behavior is a result of an up or down regulation of specific signals that suggest to B and T-cells the paths to follow. Furthermore, cell segregation in the white pulp of the spleen, was also shown to be a result of a tight adjustment of T-cell kinesis. Restriction to cellular tracks and other experimentally provided measurements does not ensure a full comprehension of the observed cellular behavior. Thus, the study of patterns opens new gates to our understanding of the immune system. With the help of the agent-based modeling technique, cellular migration and aggregation are investigated in response to various cell-cell interactions. This work aims to explore different mechanisms that lead to cellular migration and aggregation, by defining the emergent properties of interest and that will help distinguish between interactions, starting by a simple look at the emergent patterns, followed by an analysis of their size, their degree of aggregation and the effective communication distances. Finally, the results obtained from the in silico experiments provided a guideline to differentiate between many cell-cell interactions under specific circumstances. Chemotaxis and phototaxis with and without diffusive cellular motion were shown to be distinguishable through an analysis of the emerging aggregation profiles.
Peptide Bbeta(15-42) preserves endothelial barrier function in shock
- Loss of vascular barrier function causes leak of fluid and proteins into tissues, extensive leak leads to shock and death. Barriers are largely formed by endothelial cell-cell contacts built up by VE-cadherin and are under the control of RhoGTPases. Here we show that a natural plasmin digest product of fibrin, peptide Bß15-42 (also called FX06), significantly reduces vascular leak and mortality in animal models for Dengue shock syndrome. The ability of Bß15-42 to preserve endothelial barriers is confirmed in rats i.v.-injected with LPS. In endothelial cells, Bß15-42 prevents thrombin-induced stress fiber formation, myosin light chain phosphorylation and RhoA activation. The molecular key for the protective effect of Bß15-42 is the src kinase Fyn, which associates with VE-cadherin-containing junctions. Following exposure to Bß15-42 Fyn dissociates from VE-cadherin and associates with p190RhoGAP, a known antagonists of RhoA activation. The role of Fyn in transducing effects of Bß15-42 is confirmed in Fyn -/- mice, where the peptide is unable to reduce LPS-induced lung edema, whereas in wild type littermates the peptide significantly reduces leak. Our results demonstrate a novel function for Bß15-42. Formerly mainly considered as a degradation product occurring after fibrin inactivation, it has now to be considered as a signaling molecule. It stabilizes endothelial barriers and thus could be an attractive adjuvant in the treatment of shock.
CpG oligonucleotide activates Toll-like receptor 9 and causes lung inflammation in vivo
- Background Bacterial DNA containing motifs of unmethylated CpG dinucleotides (CpG-ODN) initiate an innate immune response mediated by the pattern recognition receptor Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9). This leads in particular to the expression of proinflammatory mediators such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta). TLR9 is expressed in human and murine pulmonary tissue and induction of proinflammatory mediators has been linked to the development of acute lung injury. Therefore, the hypothesis was tested whether CpG-ODN administration induces an inflammatory response in the lung via TLR9 in vivo. Methods Wild-type (WT) and TLR9-deficient (TLR9-D) mice received CpG-ODN intraperitoneally (1668-Thioat, 1 nmol/g BW) and were observed for up to 6 hrs. Lung tissue and plasma samples were taken and various inflammatory markers were measured. Results In WT mice, CpG-ODN induced a strong activation of pulmonary NFKB as well as a significant increase in pulmonary TNF-alpha and IL-1beta mRNA/protein. In addition, cytokine serum levels were significantly elevated in WT mice. Increased pulmonary content of lung myeloperoxidase (MPO) was documented in WT mice following application of CpG-ODN. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) revealed that CpG-ODN stimulation significantly increased total cell number as well as neutrophil count in WT animals. In contrast, the CpG-ODN-induced inflammatory response was abolished in TLR9-D mice. Conclusion This study suggests that bacterial CpG-ODN causes lung inflammation via TLR9.
Heat shock inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced tissue factor activity in human whole blood
- Background During gram-negative sepsis, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induces tissue factor expression on monocytes. The resulting disseminated intravascular coagulation leads to tissue ischemia and worsens the prognosis of septic patients. There are indications, that fever reduces the mortality of sepsis, the effect on tissue factor activity on monocytes is unknown. Therefore, we investigated whether heat shock modulates LPS-induced tissue factor activity in human blood. Methods Whole blood samples and leukocyte suspensions, respectively, from healthy probands (n = 12) were incubated with LPS for 2 hours under heat shock conditions (43°C) or control conditions (37°C), respectively. Subsequent to further 3 hours of incubation at 37°C the clotting time, a measure of tissue factor expression, was determined. Cell integrity was verified by trypan blue exclusion test and FACS analysis. Results Incubation of whole blood samples with LPS for 5 hours at normothermia resulted in a significant shortening of clotting time from 357 ± 108 sec to 82 ± 8 sec compared to samples incubated without LPS (n = 12; p < 0.05). This LPS effect was mediated by tissue factor, as inhibition with active site-inhibited factor VIIa (ASIS) abolished the effect of LPS on clotting time. Blockade of protein synthesis using cycloheximide demonstrated that LPS exerted its procoagulatory effect via an induction of tissue factor expression. Upon heat shock treatment, the LPS effect was blunted: clotting times were 312 ± 66 s in absence of LPS and 277 ± 65 s in presence of LPS (n = 8; p > 0.05). Similarly, heat shock treatment of leukocyte suspensions abolished the LPS-induced tissue factor activity. Clotting time was 73 ± 31 s, when cells were treated with LPS (100 ng/mL) under normothermic conditions, and 301 ± 118 s, when treated with LPS (100 ng/mL) and heat shock (n = 8, p < 0.05). Control experiments excluded cell damage as a potential cause of the observed heat shock effect. Conclusion Heat shock treatment inhibits LPS-induced tissue factor activity in human whole blood samples and isolated leukocytes.