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Development and validation of an epitope prediction tool for swine (PigMatrix) based on the pocket profile method. - BMC bioinformatics
T cell epitope prediction tools and associated vaccine design algorithms have accelerated the development of vaccines for humans. Predictive tools for swine and other food animals are not as well developed, primarily because the data required to develop the tools are lacking. Here, we overcome a lack of T cell epitope data to construct swine epitope predictors by systematically leveraging available human information. Applying the "pocket profile method", we use sequence and structural similarities in the binding pockets of human and swine major histocompatibility complex proteins to infer Swine Leukocyte Antigen (SLA) peptide binding preferences. We developed epitope-prediction matrices (PigMatrices), for three SLA class I alleles (SLA-1*0401, 2*0401 and 3*0401) and one class II allele (SLA-DRB1*0201), based on the binding preferences of the best-matched Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) pocket for each SLA pocket. The contact residues involved in the binding pockets were defined for class I based on crystal structures of either SLA (SLA-specific contacts, Ssc) or HLA supertype alleles (HLA contacts, Hc); for class II, only Hc was possible. Different substitution matrices were evaluated (PAM and BLOSUM) for scoring pocket similarity and identifying the best human match. The accuracy of the PigMatrices was compared to available online swine epitope prediction tools such as PickPocket and NetMHCpan.PigMatrices that used Ssc to define the pocket sequences and PAM30 to score pocket similarity demonstrated the best predictive performance and were able to accurately separate binders from random peptides. For SLA-1*0401 and 2*0401, PigMatrix achieved area under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUC) of 0.78 and 0.73, respectively, which were equivalent or better than PickPocket (0.76 and 0.54) and NetMHCpan version 2.4 (0.41 and 0.51) and version 2.8 (0.72 and 0.71). In addition, we developed the first predictive SLA class II matrix, obtaining an AUC of 0.73 for existing SLA-DRB1*0201 epitopes. Notably, PigMatrix achieved this level of predictive power without training on SLA binding data.Overall, the pocket profile method combined with binding preferences from HLA binding data shows significant promise for developing T cell epitope prediction tools for pigs. When combined with existing vaccine design algorithms, PigMatrix will be useful for developing genome-derived vaccines for a range of pig pathogens for which no effective vaccines currently exist (e.g. porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, influenza and porcine epidemic diarrhea).
Conservation of transit peptide-independent protein import into the mitochondrial and hydrogenosomal matrix. - Genome biology and evolution
The origin of protein import was a key step in the endosymbiotic acquisition of mitochondria. The main translocon of the mitochondrial outer membrane, TOM40, is ubiquitously present and conserved among organelles of mitochondrial ancestry. By contrast, the N-terminal transit peptides, also called N-terminal targeting sequences (NTSs), that direct precursor proteins to the organelle, are not. To better understand the nature of evolutionary conservation in mitochondrial protein import we investigated the targeting behaviour of Trichomonas vaginalis hydrogenosomal proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and vice versa. Hydrogenosomes import yeast mitochondrial proteins even in the absence of their native NTSs, but do not import yeast cytosolic proteins. Conversely, yeast mitochondria import hydrogenosomal proteins with and without their short NTSs. Conservation of an NTS-independent mitochondrial import route from excavates to opisthokonts indicates its presence in the eukaryote common ancestor. Mitochondrial protein import is known to entail electrophoresis of positively charged NTSs across the electrochemical gradient of the inner mitochondrial membrane. Our present findings indicate that mitochondrial transit peptides, which readily arise from random sequences, were initially selected as a signal for charge-dependent protein targeting specifically to the mitochondrial matrix. Evolutionary loss of the electron transport chain in hydrogenosomes and mitosomes lifted the selective constraints that maintain positive charge in NTSs, allowing first the NTS charge, and subsequently the NTS itself, to be lost. This resulted in NTS-independent matrix targeting, which is conserved across the evolutionary divide separating trichomonads and yeast, and which we propose is the ancestral state of mitochondrial protein import.Â© The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Endosymbiotic theories for eukaryote origin. - Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
For over 100 years, endosymbiotic theories have figured in thoughts about the differences between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. More than 20 different versions of endosymbiotic theory have been presented in the literature to explain the origin of eukaryotes and their mitochondria. Very few of those models account for eukaryotic anaerobes. The role of energy and the energetic constraints that prokaryotic cell organization placed on evolutionary innovation in cell history has recently come to bear on endosymbiotic theory. Only cells that possessed mitochondria had the bioenergetic means to attain eukaryotic cell complexity, which is why there are no true intermediates in the prokaryote-to-eukaryote transition. Current versions of endosymbiotic theory have it that the host was an archaeon (an archaebacterium), not a eukaryote. Hence the evolutionary history and biology of archaea increasingly comes to bear on eukaryotic origins, more than ever before. Here, we have compiled a survey of endosymbiotic theories for the origin of eukaryotes and mitochondria, and for the origin of the eukaryotic nucleus, summarizing the essentials of each and contrasting some of their predictions to the observations. A new aspect of endosymbiosis in eukaryote evolution comes into focus from these considerations: the host for the origin of plastids was a facultative anaerobe.Â© 2015 The Authors.
Application of positive mode atmospheric chemical ionisation to distinguish epimeric oleanolic and ursolic acids. - European journal of mass spectrometry (Chichester, England)
A new and more reliable method is reported for distinguishing the equatorial and axial epimers of oleanolic and ursolic acids and related triterpenoids based primarily on the relative abundance of the [M+H](+) and [M+-H2O](+) signals in their positive mode atmospheric pressure chemical ionisation mass spectra. The rate of elimination of water, which is the principal primary fragmentation of protonated oleanolic and ursolic acids, depends systematically on the stereochemistry of the hydroxyl group in the 3 position. For the b-epimer, in which the 3-hydroxyl substituent is in an equatorial position,[M+-H2O](+) is the base peak. In contrast, for the Î±-epimer, where the 3-hydroxyl group is axial, [Mâ€¯+â€¯H](+) is the base peak. This trend, which is general for a range of derivatives of oleanolic and ursolic acids, including the corresponding methyl esters, allows epimeric triterpenoids in these series to be securely differentiated. Confirmatory information is available from the collision-induced dissociation of the [M+-H2O](+) primary fragment ions, which follow different pathways for the species derived from axial and equatorial epimers of oleanolic and ursolic acids. These two pieces of independent spectral information permit the stereochemistry of epimeric oleanolic and ursolic acids (and selected derivatives) to be assigned with confidence without relying either on chromatographic retention times or referring to the spectra or other properties of authentic samples of these triterpenoids.
Endosymbiotic origin and differential loss of eukaryotic genes. - Nature
Chloroplasts arose from cyanobacteria, mitochondria arose from proteobacteria. Both organelles have conserved their prokaryotic biochemistry, but their genomes are reduced, and most organelle proteins are encoded in the nucleus. Endosymbiotic theory posits that bacterial genes in eukaryotic genomes entered the eukaryotic lineage via organelle ancestors. It predicts episodic influx of prokaryotic genes into the eukaryotic lineage, with acquisition corresponding to endosymbiotic events. Eukaryotic genome sequences, however, increasingly implicate lateral gene transfer, both from prokaryotes to eukaryotes and among eukaryotes, as a source of gene content variation in eukaryotic genomes, which predicts continuous, lineage-specific acquisition of prokaryotic genes in divergent eukaryotic groups. Here we discriminate between these two alternatives by clustering and phylogenetic analysis of eukaryotic gene families having prokaryotic homologues. Our results indicate (1) that gene transfer from bacteria to eukaryotes is episodic, as revealed by gene distributions, and coincides with major evolutionary transitions at the origin of chloroplasts and mitochondria; (2) that gene inheritance in eukaryotes is vertical, as revealed by extensive topological comparison, sparse gene distributions stemming from differential loss; and (3) that continuous, lineage-specific lateral gene transfer, although it sometimes occurs, does not contribute to long-term gene content evolution in eukaryotic genomes.
Algal endosymbionts in European Hydra strains reflect multiple origins of the zoochlorella symbiosis. - Molecular phylogenetics and evolution
Symbiotic associations are of broad significance in evolution and biodiversity. Green Hydra is a classic example of endosymbiosis. In its gastrodermal myoepithelial cells it harbors endosymbiotic unicellular green algae, most commonly from the genus Chlorella. We reconstructed the phylogeny of cultured algal endosymbionts isolated and maintained in laboratory conditions for years from green Hydra strains collected from four different geographical sites within Croatia, one from Germany and one from Israel. Nuclear (18S rDNA, ITS region) and chloroplast markers (16S, rbcL) for maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses were used. We focused on investigating the positions of these algal endosymbiotic strains within the chlorophyte lineage. Molecular analyses established that different genera and species of unicellular green algae are present as endosymbionts in green Hydra, showing that endosymbiotic algae growing within green Hydra sampled from four Croatian localities are not monophyletic. Our results indicate that the intracellular algal endosymbionts of green Hydra have become established several times independently in evolution.Copyright Â© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Dose Optimization of the Administered Activity in Pediatric Bone Scintigraphy: Validation of the North American Consensus Guidelines. - Journal of nuclear medicine : official publication, Society of Nuclear Medicine
The 2010 North American Consensus Guidelines (NACG) for pediatric administered doses and the European Association of Nuclear Medicine (EANM) Dosage Card guidelines recommend lower activities than those administered at our institution. We compared the quality of the lower-activity images with the higher-activity images to determine whether the reduction in counts affects overall image quality.Twenty patients presenting to our pediatric radiology department for bone scintigraphy were evaluated. Their mean weight was 20 kg. The patients were referred for oncologic (n = 10), infectious/inflammatory (n = 5), and pain (n = 5) evaluation. Dynamic anterior and posterior images were acquired for 5 min for each patient. Data were subsampled to represent different administered activities corresponding to the activities recommended by the NACG and the EANM Dosage Card. Images were evaluated twice, first for diagnostic quality and then for acceptability for daily clinical use.There was no statistically significant difference in the diagnostic quality of the images from any of the 3 protocols. Pathologic uptake was correctly identified independent of the administered activity, although there was a single false-positive result for an EANM image. When images were subjectively evaluated as acceptable for daily clinical use, there was a slight preference for the higher-activity images over the NACG (P = 0.04).The recommended administered activities of the NACG produce images of diagnostic quality while reducing patient radiation exposure.Â© 2015 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, Inc.
Bicyclic [3.3.0]-Octahydrocyclopenta[c]pyrrolo Antagonists of Retinol Binding Protein 4: Potential Treatment of Atrophic Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Stargardt Disease. - Journal of medicinal chemistry
Antagonists of retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) impede ocular uptake of serum all-trans retinol (1) and have been shown to reduce cytotoxic bisretinoid formation in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), which is associated with the pathogenesis of both dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and Stargardt disease. Thus, these agents show promise as a potential pharmacotherapy by which to stem further neurodegeneration and concomitant vision loss associated with geographic atrophy of the macula. We previously disclosed the discovery of a novel series of nonretinoid RBP4 antagonists, represented by bicyclic [3.3.0]-octahydrocyclopenta[c]pyrrolo analogue 4. We describe herein the utilization of a pyrimidine-4-carboxylic acid fragment as a suitable isostere for the anthranilic acid appendage of 4, which led to the discovery of standout antagonist 33. Analogue 33 possesses exquisite in vitro RBP4 binding affinity and favorable drug-like characteristics and was found to reduce circulating plasma RBP4 levels in vivo in a robust manner (>90%).
Structure and Evolution of the Archaeal Lipid Synthesis Enzyme sn-Glycerol-1-phosphate Dehydrogenase. - The Journal of biological chemistry
One of the most critical events in the origins of cellular life was the development of lipid membranes. Archaea use isoprenoid chains linked via ether bonds to sn-glycerol 1-phosphate (G1P), whereas bacteria and eukaryotes use fatty acids attached via ester bonds to enantiomeric sn-glycerol 3-phosphate. NAD(P)H-dependent G1P dehydrogenase (G1PDH) forms G1P and has been proposed to have played a crucial role in the speciation of the Archaea. We present here, to our knowledge, the first structures of archaeal G1PDH from the hyperthermophilic methanogen Methanocaldococcus jannaschii with bound substrate dihydroxyacetone phosphate, product G1P, NADPH, and Zn(2+) cofactor. We also biochemically characterized the enzyme with respect to pH optimum, cation specificity, and kinetic parameters for dihydroxyacetone phosphate and NAD(P)H. The structures provide key evidence for the reaction mechanism in the stereospecific addition for the NAD(P)H-based pro-R hydrogen transfer and the coordination of the Zn(2+) cofactor during catalysis. Structure-based phylogenetic analyses also provide insight into the origins of G1PDH.Â© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
The Ribofilm as a Concept for Life's Origins. - Cell
Recent phylogenetic data indicating that the first archaea were methane-producing galvanizes cross-disciplinary evidence supporting the hypothesis that life arose via thermodynamically directed events at hydrothermal vents. The new developments lead us to propose the concept of a ribofilm in which RNA's origin-of-life role is more akin to a slowly changing platform than a spontaneous self-replicator.Copyright Â© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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