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See detailAn archaeal compound as a driver of Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis
Trezzi, Jean-Pierre; Aho, Velma UL; Jäger, Christian UL et al

E-print/Working paper (2022)

Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) exhibit differences in their gut microbiomes compared to healthy individuals. Although differences have most commonly been described in the abundances of bacterial ... [more ▼]

Patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) exhibit differences in their gut microbiomes compared to healthy individuals. Although differences have most commonly been described in the abundances of bacterial taxa, changes to viral and archaeal populations have also been observed. Mechanistic links between gut microbes and PD pathogenesis remain elusive but could involve molecules that promote α-synuclein aggregation. Here, we show that 2-hydroxypyridine (2-HP) represents a key molecule for the pathogenesis of PD. We observe significantly elevated 2-HP levels in faecal samples from patients with PD or its prodrome, idiopathic REM sleep behaviour disorder (iRBD), compared to healthy controls. 2-HP is correlated with the archaeal species Methanobrevibacter smithii and with genes involved in methane metabolism, and it is detectable in isolate cultures of M. smithii. We demonstrate that 2-HP is selectively toxic to transgenic α-synuclein overexpressing yeast and increases α-synuclein aggregation in a yeast model as well as in human induced pluripotent stem cell derived enteric neurons. It also exacerbates PD-related motor symptoms, α-synuclein aggregation, and striatal degeneration when injected intrastriatally in transgenic mice overexpressing human α-synuclein. Our results highlight the effect of an archaeal molecule in relation to the gut-brain axis, which is critical for the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of PD. [less ▲]

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See detailUnification of functional annotation descriptions using text mining
Teixeira Queiros, Pedro UL; Novikova, Polina UL; Wilmes, Paul UL et al

in Biological Chemistry (2021)

A common approach to genome annotation involves the use of homology-based tools for the prediction of the functional role of proteins. The quality of functional annotations is dependent on the reference ... [more ▼]

A common approach to genome annotation involves the use of homology-based tools for the prediction of the functional role of proteins. The quality of functional annotations is dependent on the reference data used, as such, choosing the appropriate sources is crucial. Unfortunately, no single reference data source can be universally considered the gold standard, thus using multiple references could potentially increase annotation quality and coverage. However, this comes with challenges, particularly due to the introduction of redundant and exclusive annotations. Through text mining it is possible to identify highly similar functional descriptions, thus strengthening the confidence of the final protein functional annotation and providing a redundancy-free output. Here we present UniFunc, a text mining approach that is able to detect similar functional descriptions with high precision. UniFunc was built as a small module and can be independently used or integrated into protein function annotation pipelines. By removing the need to individually analyse and compare annotation results, UniFunc streamlines the complementary use of multiple reference datasets. [less ▲]

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