BBA - Molecular Basis of Disease (v.1690, #2)

Lipopolysaccharides of Vibrio cholerae by S.N. Chatterjee; Keya Chaudhuri (93-109).
An account of our up to date knowledge of the genetics of biosynthesis of Vibrio cholerae lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is presented in this review. While not much information is available in the literature on the genetics of biosynthesis of lipid A of V. cholerae, the available information on the characteristics and proposed functions of the corepolysaccharide (core-PS) biosynthetic genes is discussed. The genetic organizations encoding the O-antigen polysaccharides (O-PS) of V. cholerae of serogroups O1 and O139, the disease causing ones, have been described along with the putative functions of the different constituent genes. The O-PS biosynthetic genes of some non-O1, non-O139 serogroups, particularly the serogroups O37 and O22, and their putative functions have also been discussed briefly. In view of the importance of the serogroup O139, the origination of the O139 strain and the possible donor of the corresponding O-PS gene cluster have been analyzed with a view to having knowledge of (i) the mode of evolution of different serogroups and (ii) the possible emergence of pathogenic strain(s) belonging to non-O1, non-O139 serogroups. The unsolved problems in this area of research and their probable impact on the production of an effective cholera vaccine have been outlined in conclusion.
Keywords: Vibrio cholerae; Lipopolysaccharide; Genetic; Biosynthesis;

Functional analysis of altered reduced folate carrier sequence changes identified in osteosarcomas by Wayne F. Flintoff; Heather Sadlish; Richard Gorlick; Rui Yang; Frederick M.R. Williams (110-117).
Osteosarcomas are common primary malignant bone tumors that do not respond to conventional low-dose treatments of methotrexate (Mtx), suggesting an intrinsic resistance to this drug. Previous work has shown that cDNAs generated from osteosarcoma mRNA from a fraction of patients contain sequence changes in the reduced folate carrier (RFC), the membrane protein transporter for Mtx. In this study, the functionality of the altered RFC proteins was assessed by fusing the green fluorescent protein (GFP) to the C-terminal, and examining the ability of the transfected constructs to complement a hamster cell line null for the carrier. Confocal microscopy and cell surface biotinylation indicated that all altered proteins were properly localized at the cell membrane. Only one of those examined, Leu291Pro, was unable to complement the null carrier line, but did bind Mtx at the cell surface. Thus, this alteration confers drug resistance since the carrier is unable to translocate the substrate across the cell membrane. Three alterations, Ser46Asn, Ser4Pro and Gly259Trp, while able to complement the carrier null line, conferred some degree of resistance to Mtx via a decreased rate of transport (V max). Another set of alterations, Glu21Lys, Ala7Val, and the combined changes Thr222Ile, Met254Thr, complemented the carrier null line and did not confer resistance to Mtx. Thus, some, but not all of these identified alterations in the RFC may contribute to the lack of responsiveness of osteosarcomas to Mtx treatment.
Keywords: Osteosarcomas; Reduced folate carrier; Fusion protein; Methotrexate; Biotinylation;

Calcifying vesicles play an important role in the mechanism of aortic calcification induced by dietary cholesterol interventions. This study was initiated to test the hypothesis that alterations in the ratio of bicarbonate/CO2, which is a main physiological buffer, could affect vesicle-mediated calcification. Using rabbits as a model, in vitro calcification of vesicles isolated from aortas was performed to study the effect of the bicarbonate buffer on the mineralization process. When Tris buffer was initially used to maintain pH of the media, ATP-dependent vesicle calcification increased with pH of calcifying media. By replacing Tris with physiological bicarbonate/CO2 buffer, ATP-dependent vesicle calcification increased rapidly with increased ratios of bicarbonate/CO2. The increase appears to be a result of elevated levels of pH through the alteration in the ratios of bicarbonate/CO2. The effect of the physiological concentration of bicarbonate (30 mM) on pH of calcifying media was remarkable since 50 mM of Tris buffer at pH 7.6 failed to prevent a rapid rise in pH under atmospheric CO2. The effect of bicarbonate and CO2 on vesicle calcification was dependent on the ratio of the surface area to the volume of calcifying media, since the ratio profoundly affects the exchange rate between the gas and liquid phases of CO2. Although the pathological conditions that alter the pH remain unknown, it is conceivable that blockage in the supply of blood CO2 to the media by intimal thickening in the lesions could contribute to focal calcification. We conclude that bicarbonate buffer could provide a dynamic and rapid transitional increase in pH of extracellular fluids, thereby creating a favorable condition for the initiation of vesicle-mediated calcification under pathological conditions.
Keywords: Calcification; CO2; Bicarbonate; pH; Calcifying vesicle;

Melanotransferrin (MTf) or melanoma tumor antigen p97 is a membrane-bound transferrin (Tf) homologue that binds iron (Fe). This protein is also found as a soluble form in the plasma (sMTf) and was suggested to be an Alzheimer's disease marker. In addition, sMTf has been recently suggested to cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB) and accumulate in the brain of the mouse following intravenous infusion. Considering the importance of this observation to the physiology and pathophysiology of the BBB and the function of sMTf in vivo, we investigated the uptake and distribution of 59Fe-125I-sMTf and compared it to 59Fe-125I-Tf that were injected intravenously in rats. Studies were also performed to measure 59Fe and 125I-protein uptake by reticulocytes using these radiolabelled proteins. The results showed that sMTf was rapidly catabolized, mainly in the liver and to a lesser extent by the kidneys. The 59Fe was largely retained by these organs but the 125I was released into the plasma. Only a small amount of 125I-sMTf or its bound 59Fe was taken up by the brain, less than that from 59Fe-125I-Tf. There was much less 59Fe uptake by erythropoietic organs (spleen and femurs) from 59Fe-sMTf than from 59Fe-Tf, and no evidence of receptor-mediated uptake of sMTf was obtained using reticulocytes. It is concluded that compared to Tf, sMTf plays little or no role in Fe supply to the brain and erythropoietic tissue. However, a small amount of sMTf was taken up from the plasma by the brain and a far greater amount by the liver.
Keywords: Transferrin; Melanotransferrin; Iron transport; Iron metabolism;

Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome (WAS) is an X-linked disorder characterized by eczema, thrombocytopenia and increased susceptibility of infections, with mutations of the WAS gene being responsible for WAS and X-linked thrombocytopenia. Herein, two novel mutations of WAS at T336C on exon 3, and at 1326–1329, a G deletion on exon 10, resulting in L101P missense mutation and frameshift mutation 444 stop, respectively, are reported. The affected patients with either mutation showed severe suppression of WAS protein (WASP) levels, T cell proliferation, and CFSE-labeled T cells division. Because WASP L101 have not shown direct nuclear Overhauser effect (NOE) contact with the WASP-interacting protein (WIP) in NMR spectroscopy, molecular modeling was performed to evaluate the molecular effect of WASP P101 to WIP peptide. It is presumed that P101 induced a conformational change in the Q99 residue of WASP and made the side chain of Q99 move away from the WIP peptide, resulting in disruption of the hydrogen bond between Q99 WASP and Y475 WIP. A possible model for the molecular pathogenesis of WAS has been proposed by analyzing the interactions of WASP and WIP using a molecular modeling study.
Keywords: Wiskott–Aldrich syndrome (WAS); WAS protein (WASP); WASP-interacting protein (WIP); Molecular modeling;

Purification, characterisation and intracellular localisation of aryl hydrocarbon interacting protein-like 1 (AIPL1) and effects of mutations associated with inherited retinal dystrophies by Victoria A. Gallon; Susan E. Wilkie; Evelyne C. Deery; Richard J. Newbold; Melanie M. Sohocki; Shomi S. Bhattacharya; David M. Hunt; Martin J. Warren (141-149).
Mutations in AIPL1 are associated with Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a major cause of childhood blindness, yet the cellular function of the encoded protein has yet to be fully elucidated. In order to investigate the biochemistry of AIPL1, we have developed a system for the expression of the recombinant protein in bacteria and its subsequent purification. The secondary structure and thermostability of wild-type and mutant proteins have been examined by circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. Some of the variants, notably W278X and P376S, had markedly different secondary structure compositions, indicating that the proteins had not folded properly, whilst W278X and T114I were particularly thermolabile. When eukaryotic cells were transfected with the AIPL1 expression constructs, we show by immunofluorescence microscopy that wild-type protein is distributed throughout the nucleus and cytoplasm. Several of the mutants give similar results. With two of the disease-associated variants (W278X and A336Δ2), however, the protein remains in the cytoplasm in aggresome-like particles. These particles were shown to be ubiquitinated, indicating that the mutant protein had been tagged for proteosomal degradation. On this basis, we can conclude that wild-type protein is expressed in a soluble and folded manner, and that some of the disease-associated mutant proteins are nonfunctional because they are insoluble and are degraded by the cell. Other mutations appear to have a more localised effect on secondary structure, which does not result in insolubility or affect protein targeting, but reduces the stability of the protein at human body temperature.
Keywords: AIPL1; LCA; Circular dichroism; Immunofluorescence;

Role of ceramide in activation of stress-associated MAP kinases by minimally modified LDL in vascular smooth muscle cells by Alexandra Loidl; Ralf Claus; Elisabeth Ingolic; Hans-Peter Deigner; Albin Hermetter (150-158).
Interaction of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) with arterial smooth muscle cells (SMC) is believed to play a key role in the development of atherosclerosis. Depending on the extent of oxidation, apolipoproteins and/or lipids in the particle may be modified and thus lead to different cellular responses (e.g. proliferation or cell death). Here we report on the signaling effects of LDL, in which only the lipids were oxidized. This so-called minimally modified LDL (mmLDL) mainly activated components involved in stress response and apoptotic cell death including p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase (JNK) as well as neutral and acid sphingomyelinase. In contrast, proliferative signaling elements such as extracellular regulated kinase, AKT-kinase and phospho-BAD seem to play a minor role as they were only slightly stimulated by mmLDL.Ceramide, the hydrolysis product of sphingomyelin, seems to be a key mediator as it mimics mmLDL by inducing activation of the same signaling components. Moreover, mmLDL- and ceramide-associated effects on apoptotic protein kinases were abolished by NB6, a specific inhibitor of acid sphingomyelinase. Thus, acid sphingomyelinase is very likely to be primarily responsible for triggering intracellular signal transduction in SMC after exposure to mmLDL via formation of ceramide by an autocatalytic mechanism.
Keywords: Sphingomyelinase; Apoptosis; AKT-kinase; Lipid oxidation; Atherosclerosis;

Characterization of the peroxidase system at low H2O2 concentrations in isolated neonatal rat islets by Luiz F. Stoppiglia; Luiz F. Rezende; Fabiano Ferreira; Eliane Filiputti; Everardo M. Carneiro; Antonio C. Boschero (159-168).
B cell destruction during the onset of diabetes mellitus is associated with oxidative stress. In this work, we attempted to further trace the fate of H2O2 inside the pancreatic islets and determine whether it is mediated by enzymatic (peroxidase) activity or by chemical reaction with thiols from any protein chain. Our results suggest that the islet cells have a very similar peroxidase activity at the hydrophilic (cytoplasm) and hydrophobic compartments (organelles and nucleus), independent of the catalase content of the samples. This activity is composed of sacrificial thiols and by proteins with Fe3+/Mn3+ ions at non-heme catalytic sites. The capacity of the hydrophobic fraction to scavenge O2 was increased in the presence of high concentrations of NADP and RS and was highly dependent on RSH. On the contrary, the hydrophilic fraction exhibited a low RSH-dependent activity where the O2 scavenging is related to metal Cu2+/Fe3+/Mn3+ ions attached to the protein molecules.
Keywords: NADPH; Neonatal pancreatic islet; Oxidative stress; Peroxidase; H2O2;

Tissue-specific changes in iron metabolism genes in mice following phenylhydrazine-induced haemolysis by G.O. Latunde-Dada; C.D. Vulpe; G.J. Anderson; R.J. Simpson; A.T. McKie (169-176).
Iron meatbolism in animals is altered by haemolytic anaemia induced by phenylhydrazine (PHZ). In common with a number of other modulators of iron metabolism, the mode and the mechanisms of this response are yet to be determined. However, recent studies have shown increased expression of the ferrous transporter DMT1 in the duodenum and other tissues of mice administered PHZ. We examined the expression of the ferric reductase Dcytb, DMT1 and some other genes involved in Fe metabolism in tissues of mice dosed with PHZ. The expression of iron-related genes in the duodenum, liver, and spleen of the mice were evaluated using Northern blot analyses, RT-PCR and immunocytochemistry. Dcytb, and DMT1 mRNA and protein increased markedly in the duodenum of mice given PHZ. The efflux protein Ireg1 also increased in the duodenum of the treated mice. These changes correlated with a decrease in hepatic hepcidin expression. Dcytb, DMT1, Ireg1 and transferrin receptor 1 mRNA expression in the spleen and liver of mice treated with PHZ responded to the enhanced iron demand associated with the resulting stimulation of erythropoiesis. Enhanced iron absorption observed in PHZ-treated animals is facilitated by the up-regulation of the genes involved in iron transport and recycling. The probable association of the erythroid and the store regulators of iron homeostasis and absorption in the mice is discussed.
Keywords: Haemolysis; Phenylhydrazine; Dcytb; DMT1; Ireg1; Hepcidin;

The effects of enalapril, an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, and losartan, an angiotensin II receptor type I antagonist, were investigated on alterations in myofibrillar ATPase activity as well as myosin heavy chain (MHC) content and gene expression in failing hearts following myocardial infarction (MI). Three weeks after ligation of the left coronary artery, rats were treated with or without enalapril (10 mg/kg/day), and/or losartan (20 mg/kg/day) for 5 weeks. The infarcted animals exhibited an increase in left ventricle (LV) end diastolic pressure and depressed rates of LV pressure development as well as pressure decay. LV myofibrillar Ca2+-stimulated ATPase activity was decreased in the infarcted hearts compared with controls, MHC α-isoform content was significantly decreased whereas that of MHC β-isoform was markedly increased. The level of MHC α-isoform mRNA was decreased whereas that of MHC β-isoform was increased in the viable infarcted LV. Treatment of animal with enalapril, losartan, or combination of enalapril and losartan partially prevented the MI induced changes in LV function, myofibrillar Ca2+-stimulated ATPase activity, MHC protein expression and MHC gene expression. The results suggest that the beneficial effects of the renin–angiotensin system blockade in heart failure are associated with partial prevention of myofibrillar remodeling.
Keywords: Myosin heavy chain isoform; Myocardial infarction; Congestive heart failure; Myofibrillar ATPase; Cardiac gene expression; Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor; Angiotensin II receptor antagonist;