Biochemistry (Moscow) (v.78, #2)

The transcription factor Nrf2 governs the expression of a considerable group of genes involved in cell protection against oxidants, electrophiles, and genotoxic compounds. The activity of Nrf2 is sensitive to xenobiotics and endogenous electrophiles. Nrf2 is negatively regulated by specific suppressor protein Keap1, which is also a receptor of electrophiles and adapter for Cul3 ubiquitin ligase. Electrophiles react with critical thiol groups of Keap1 leading to the loss of its ability to inhibit Nrf2. The Keap1-Nrf2 signaling pathway also down-regulates NF-κB transcriptional activity and attenuates cytokine-mediated induction of proinflammatory genes. Pharmacological activation of the Keap1-Nrf2 pathway can be used for treatment and prevention of many diseases. Widely known natural Keap1-Nrf2 activators include curcumin, quercetin, resveratrol, and sulforaphane. The most effective Keap1-Nrf2 activators are synthetic oleanane triterpenoids.
Keywords: protective genes; xenobiotics; thiols; electrophiles; Keap1; Nrf2

Natural antibodies to nucleic acids by V. N. Buneva; M. A. Krasnorutskii; G. A. Nevinsky (127-143).
Blood of healthy donors contains low concentrations of autoantibodies to its own components, including DNA and RNA. Increased concentrations of antibodies to DNA and RNA have been found in blood of people and animals with autoimmune diseases and viral and bacterial infections. Detection of different antibodies with catalytic activities, including abzymes with DNase and RNase activities, is the earliest indicator of the development of some autoimmune diseases. This review reveals possible mechanisms of generation of anti-DNA and anti-RNA antibodies without catalytic activities and abzymes in normal organisms and in organisms with different pathologies. A possible role of these autoantibodies and the reasons of their exceptional diversity in normal organisms and in organisms with different autoimmune diseases are discussed.
Keywords: antibodies against DNA and RNA; natural abzymes; healthy donors; autoimmune diseases

Molecular mechanisms of T-cell anergy by E. M. Kuklina (144-156).
Anergy is a long-term stable state of T-lymphocyte unresponsiveness to antigenic stimulation associated with the blockade of IL-2 production and proliferation. Anergy is a pathway of peripheral tolerance formation. In this review, mechanisms underlying T-cell tolerization are considered in a classical in vitro model of clonal anergy, and these mechanisms are compared with different pathways of anergy induction in vivo. Special attention is given to regulatory T-lymphocytes because, on one hand, anergy is a specific feature of these cells, and on the other hand anergy is also a mechanism of their action on target cells — effector T-lymphocytes. The role of this phenomenon in the differentiation of regulatory T-cells and also in the development of activation-induced apoptosis in effector T-lymphocytes is discussed.
Keywords: T-lymphocytes; anergy; signal transduction; regulatory T-lymphocytes; apoptosis

We have earlier shown that the 5′-untranslated region (5′ UTR) of the mRNA coding for activation factor of apoptotic peptidase 1 (Apaf-1) can direct translation in vivo by strictly 5′ end-dependent way even in the absence of m7G-cap. Dependence of translational efficiency on the cap availability for this mRNA turned out to be relatively low. In this study we demonstrate that this surprising phenomenon is determined the 5′-proximal part (domains I and II) of highly structured Apaf-1 5′ UTR. Remarkably, domain II by itself was able to reduce dependence of the mRNA on the cap on its transferring to a short 5′ UTR derived from a standard vector. We suggest that the low cap-dependence inherent to some cellular mRNAs may have an important physiological significance under those stress conditions when the function of cap-binding factor eIF4E is impaired.
Keywords: protein biosynthesis; translational control; cellular IRES-elements; cap-independent translation; Apaf-1 mRNA

Interaction of short peptides with FITC-labeled wheat histones and their complexes with deoxyribooligonucleotides by L. I. Fedoreyeva; T. A. Smirnova; G. Ya. Kolomijtseva; V. Kh. Khavinson; B. F. Vanyushin (166-175).
Judging from fluorescence modulation (quenching), short peptides (Ala-Glu-Asp-Gly, Glu-Asp-Arg, Ala-Glu-Asp-Leu, Lys-Glu-Asp-Gly, Ala-Glu-Asp-Arg, and Lys-Glu-Asp-Trp) bind with FITC-labeled wheat histones H1, H2в, H3, and H4. This results from the interaction of the peptides with the N-terminal histone regions that contain respective and seemingly homologous peptide-binding motifs. Because homologous amino acid sequences in wheat core histones were not found, the peptides seem to bind with some core histone regions having specific conformational structure. Peptide binding with histones and histone-deoxyribooligonucleotide complexes depends on the nature of the histone and the primary structures of the peptides and oligonucleotides; thus, it is site specific. Histones H1 bind preferentially with single-stranded oligonucleotides by homologous sites in the C-terminal region of the protein. Unlike histone H1, the core histones bind pre-dominantly with double-stranded methylated oligonucleotides and methylated DNA. Stern-Volmer constants of interaction of histone H1 and core histones with double-stranded hemimethylated oligonucleotides are higher compared with that of binding with unmethylated ones. DNA or deoxyribooligonucleotides in a complex with histones can enhance or inhibit peptide binding. It is suggested that site-specific interactions of short biologically active peptides with histone tails can serve in chromatin as control epigenetic mechanisms of regulation of gene activity and cellular differentiation.
Keywords: histones; short peptides; interaction; binding; histone-oligonucleotide-peptide complexes; DNA methylation; wheat; plant; epigenetics

In vitro phosphorylation of histones H1 and H3 by cAMP-dependent protein kinase A and endogenous phosphokinases in the presence of [γ-32P]ATP was studied in isolated rat liver nuclei with different variants of chromatin structural organization: condensed (diameter of fibrils 100–200 nm; N-1) and partly decondensed (diameter of fibrils ∼30 nm; N-2). In the N-1 state histone, H1 is phosphorylated approximately twice as much than histone H3. Upon the decondensation of the chromatin in the N-2 state, 1.5-fold decrease of total phosphorylation of H1 is observed, while that of H3 does not change, although the endogenous phosphorylation of both histones is reduced by half. Changes in histone phosphorylation in the presence of low or high concentrations of distamycin and chromomycin differ for H1 and H3 in N-1 and N-2. It was found that distamycin (DM) stimulates the phosphorylation of tightly bound H1 fraction, which is not extractable by polyglutamic acid (PG), especially in N-1. Chromomycin (CM) increases the phosphorylation of both histones in PG extracts and in the nuclear pellets, particularly in N-2. At the same time, in N-1 one can detect phosphorylation of a tightly bound fraction of histones H1 whose N-termini are located on AT-rich sites that become inaccessible for protein kinase in the process of chromatin decondensation in N-2. At the same time, in N-2 the accessibility for protein kinase A of tightly bound H1 fractions, whose N-termini are located on GC-rich sites, increases dramatically. High concentrations of both CM and DM in N-1 and N-2 stimulated phosphorylation of the non-extractable by PG fraction of H1 whose N-termini are located on sites where AT ≈ GC. CM at high concentration stimulated 4–7 times the phosphorylation of a small fraction of H3, which is extracted by PG from both types of nuclei. We detected an effect of endogenous methylation of histones H1 and H3 in the nuclei on their subsequent phosphorylation depending on the chromatin structure, histone-chromatin binding strength, and concentration of DM.
Keywords: nuclei; chromatin; histones H1 and H3; methylation; phosphorylation; distamycin; chromomycin; polyglutamic acid; cAMP-dependent protein kinase A

By using the fMLP-induced respiratory burst approach, the involvement of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) in human neutrophil priming by S- or Re-glycoforms of endotoxin from Escherichia coli has been elucidated. The priming effect of Re-glycoform is more pronounced than that of the S-glycoform. Unexpectedly, fMLP-triggered generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by endotoxin primed neutrophils was amplified by preincubation of the cells with anti-TLR4 (HTA125) antibodies or with isotype-matched immunoglobulin IgG2a. The most significant finding of our study is that neutrophils exposed to anti-TLR4 antibodies retain their ability to distinguish between S- or Re-glycoforms being primed, respectively. Moreover, differentiated effect of HTA125 antibodies on functional responses of neutrophils during their priming and fMLP stimulation was revealed. Taking these results into consideration, it is reasonable to assume that there is a contribution of Fcγ receptors to fMLP-induced ROS generation by neutrophils preincubated with HTA125 or IgG2a and primed by endotoxins.
Keywords: lipopolysaccharide (endotoxin); Toll-like receptor 4; receptor cluster; Fcγ receptors; IgG2a; anti-human TLR4 antibody; reactive oxygen species

Action of two phospholipases A2 purified from Bothrops alternatus snake venom on macrophages by S. S. Setúbal; A. S. Pontes; J. L. Furtado; C. V. Xavier; F. L. Silva; A. M. Kayano; L. F. M. Izidoro; A. M. Soares; L. A. Calderon; R. G. Stábeli; J. P. Zuliani (194-203).
The in vitro effects of BaltTX-I, a catalytically inactive Lys49 variant of phospholipase A2 (PLA2), and BaltTX-II, an Asp49 catalytically active PLA2 isolated from Bothrops alternatus snake venom, on thioglycollate-elicited macrophages (TG-macrophages) were investigated. At non-cytotoxic concentrations, the secretory PLA2 BaltTX-I but not BaltTX-II stimulated complement receptor-mediated phagocytosis. Pharmacological treatment of TG-macrophages with staurosporine, a protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor, showed that this kinase is involved in the increase of serum-opsonized zymosan phagocytosis induced by BaltTX-I but not BaltTX-II secretory PLA2, suggesting that PKC may be involved in the stimulatory effect of this toxin in serum-opsonized zymosan phagocytosis. Moreover, BaltTX-I and -II induced superoxide production by TG-macrophages. This superoxide production stimulated by both PLA2s was abolished after treatment of cells with staurosporine, indicating that PKC is an important signaling pathway for the production of this radical. Our experiments showed that, at non-cytotoxic concentrations, BaltTX-I may upregulate phagocytosis via complement receptors, and that both toxins upregulated the respiratory burst in TG-macrophages.
Keywords: snake venom PLA2 ; macrophages; phagocytosis; PKC; superoxide; inflammation

Human neuromodulator SLURP-1: Bacterial expression, binding to muscle-type nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, secondary structure, and conformational heterogeneity in solution by M. A. Shulepko; E. N. Lyukmanova; A. S. Paramonov; A. A. Lobas; Z. O. Shenkarev; I. E. Kasheverov; D. A. Dolgikh; V. I. Tsetlin; A. S. Arseniev; M. P. Kirpichnikov (204-211).
Human protein SLURP-1 is an endogenous neuromodulator belonging to the Ly-6/uPAR family and acting on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. In the present work, the gene of SLURP-1 was expressed in E. coli. The bacterial systems engineered for SLURP-1 expression as fused with thioredoxin and secretion with leader peptide STII failed in the production of milligram quantities of the protein. The SLURP-1 was produced with high-yield in the form of inclusion bodies, and different methods of the protein refolding were tested. Milligram quantities of recombinant SLURP-1 and its 15N-labeled analog were obtained. The recombinant SLURP-1 competed with 125I-α-bungarotoxin for binding to muscle-type Torpedo californica nAChR at micromolar concentrations, indicating a partial overlap in the binding sites for SLURP-1 and α-neurotoxins on the receptor surface. NMR study revealed conformational heterogeneity of SLURP-1 in aqueous solution, which was associated with cis-trans isomerization of the Tyr39-Pro40 peptide bond. The two structural forms of the protein have almost equal population in aqueous solution, and exchange process between them takes place with characteristic time of about 4 ms. Almost complete 1H and 15N resonance assignment was obtained for both structural forms of SLURP-1. The secondary structure of SLURP-1 involves two antiparallel β-sheets formed from five β-strands and closely resembles those of three-finger snake neurotoxins.
Keywords: nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; bacterial expression; Lynx; conformational exchange; three-finger snake neurotoxin; NMR spectroscopy