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See detailQuantitative kinetic study of the actin-bundling protein L-plastin and of its impact on actin turn-over.
Al Tanoury, Ziad; Schaffner-Reckinger, Elisabeth UL; Halavatyi, Aliaksandr UL et al

in PloS one (2010), 5(2), 9210

BACKGROUND: Initially detected in leukocytes and cancer cells derived from solid tissues, L-plastin/fimbrin belongs to a large family of actin crosslinkers and is considered as a marker for many cancers ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Initially detected in leukocytes and cancer cells derived from solid tissues, L-plastin/fimbrin belongs to a large family of actin crosslinkers and is considered as a marker for many cancers. Phosphorylation of L-plastin on residue Ser5 increases its F-actin binding activity and is required for L-plastin-mediated cell invasion. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To study the kinetics of L-plastin and the impact of L-plastin Ser5 phosphorylation on L-plastin dynamics and actin turn-over in live cells, simian Vero cells were transfected with GFP-coupled WT-L-plastin, Ser5 substitution variants (S5/A, S5/E) or actin and analyzed by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP). FRAP data were explored by mathematical modeling to estimate steady-state reaction parameters. We demonstrate that in Vero cell focal adhesions L-plastin undergoes rapid cycles of association/dissociation following a two-binding-state model. Phosphorylation of L-plastin increased its association rates by two-fold, whereas dissociation rates were unaffected. Importantly, L-plastin affected actin turn-over by decreasing the actin dissociation rate by four-fold, increasing thereby the amount of F-actin in the focal adhesions, all these effects being promoted by Ser5 phosphorylation. In MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) treatment induced L-plastin translocation to de novo actin polymerization sites in ruffling membranes and spike-like structures and highly increased its Ser5 phosphorylation. Both inhibition studies and siRNA knock-down of PKC isozymes pointed to the involvement of the novel PKC-delta isozyme in the PMA-elicited signaling pathway leading to L-plastin Ser5 phosphorylation. Furthermore, the L-plastin contribution to actin dynamics regulation was substantiated by its association with a protein complex comprising cortactin, which is known to be involved in this process. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Altogether these findings quantitatively demonstrate for the first time that L-plastin contributes to the fine-tuning of actin turn-over, an activity which is regulated by Ser5 phosphorylation promoting its high affinity binding to the cytoskeleton. In carcinoma cells, PKC-delta signaling pathways appear to link L-plastin phosphorylation to actin polymerization and invasion. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification of novel inhibitors of dietary lipid absorption using zebrafish.
Clifton, Justin D.; Lucumi Moreno, Edinson UL; Myers, Michael C. et al

in PloS one (2010), 5(8), 12386

Pharmacological inhibition of dietary lipid absorption induces favorable changes in serum lipoprotein levels in patients that are at risk for cardiovascular disease and is considered an adjuvant or ... [more ▼]

Pharmacological inhibition of dietary lipid absorption induces favorable changes in serum lipoprotein levels in patients that are at risk for cardiovascular disease and is considered an adjuvant or alternative treatment with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins). Here we demonstrate the feasibility of identifying novel inhibitors of intestinal lipid absorption using the zebrafish system. A pilot screen of an unbiased chemical library identified novel compounds that inhibited processing of fluorescent lipid analogues in live zebrafish larvae. Secondary assays identified those compounds suitable for testing in mammals and provided insight into mechanism of action, which for several compounds could be distinguished from ezetimibe, a drug used to inhibit cholesterol absorption in humans that broadly inhibited lipid absorption in zebrafish larvae. These findings support the utility of zebrafish screening assays to identify novel compounds that target complex physiological processes. [less ▲]

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See detailDefective Lamin A-Rb Signaling in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome and Reversal by Farnesyltransferase Inhibition
Marji, Jackleen; O'Donoghue, Sean I.; McClintock, Dayle et al

in PLoS ONE (2010), 5(6),

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a rare premature aging disorder caused by a de novo heterozygous point mutation G608G (GGC>GGT) within exon 11 of LMNA gene encoding A-type nuclear lamins ... [more ▼]

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS) is a rare premature aging disorder caused by a de novo heterozygous point mutation G608G (GGC>GGT) within exon 11 of LMNA gene encoding A-type nuclear lamins. This mutation elicits an internal deletion of 50 amino acids in the carboxyl-terminus of prelamin A. The truncated protein, progerin, retains a farnesylated cysteine at its carboxyl terminus, a modification involved in HGPS pathogenesis. Inhibition of protein farnesylation has been shown to improve abnormal nuclear morphology and phenotype in cellular and animal models of HGPS. We analyzed global gene expression changes in fibroblasts from human subjects with HGPS and found that a lamin A-Rb signaling network is a major defective regulatory axis. Treatment of fibroblasts with a protein farnesyltransferase inhibitor reversed the gene expression defects. Our study identifies Rb as a key factor in HGPS pathogenesis and suggests that its modulation could ameliorate premature aging and possibly complications of physiological aging. [less ▲]

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See detailReduced basal autophagy and impaired mitochondrial dynamics due to loss of Parkinson's disease-associated protein DJ-1.
Krebiehl, Guido; Ruckerbauer, Sabine; Burbulla, Lena F. et al

in PloS one (2010), 5(2), 9367

BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial dysfunction and degradation takes a central role in current paradigms of neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Loss of DJ-1 function is a rare cause of familial PD ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial dysfunction and degradation takes a central role in current paradigms of neurodegeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Loss of DJ-1 function is a rare cause of familial PD. Although a critical role of DJ-1 in oxidative stress response and mitochondrial function has been recognized, the effects on mitochondrial dynamics and downstream consequences remain to be determined. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using DJ-1 loss of function cellular models from knockout (KO) mice and human carriers of the E64D mutation in the DJ-1 gene we define a novel role of DJ-1 in the integrity of both cellular organelles, mitochondria and lysosomes. We show that loss of DJ-1 caused impaired mitochondrial respiration, increased intramitochondrial reactive oxygen species, reduced mitochondrial membrane potential and characteristic alterations of mitochondrial shape as shown by quantitative morphology. Importantly, ultrastructural imaging and subsequent detailed lysosomal activity analyses revealed reduced basal autophagic degradation and the accumulation of defective mitochondria in DJ-1 KO cells, that was linked with decreased levels of phospho-activated ERK2. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: We show that loss of DJ-1 leads to impaired autophagy and accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria that under physiological conditions would be compensated via lysosomal clearance. Our study provides evidence for a critical role of DJ-1 in mitochondrial homeostasis by connecting basal autophagy and mitochondrial integrity in Parkinson's disease. [less ▲]

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See detailMutant Parkin impairs mitochondrial function and morphology in human fibroblasts.
Grünewald, Anne UL; Voges, Lisa; Rakovic, Aleksandar et al

in PloS one (2010), 5(9), 12962

BACKGROUND: Mutations in Parkin are the most common cause of autosomal recessive Parkinson disease (PD). The mitochondrially localized E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase Parkin has been reported to be involved ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Mutations in Parkin are the most common cause of autosomal recessive Parkinson disease (PD). The mitochondrially localized E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase Parkin has been reported to be involved in respiratory chain function and mitochondrial dynamics. More recent publications also described a link between Parkin and mitophagy. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, we investigated the impact of Parkin mutations on mitochondrial function and morphology in a human cellular model. Fibroblasts were obtained from three members of an Italian PD family with two mutations in Parkin (homozygous c.1072delT, homozygous delEx7, compound-heterozygous c.1072delT/delEx7), as well as from two relatives without mutations. Furthermore, three unrelated compound-heterozygous patients (delEx3-4/duplEx7-12, delEx4/c.924C>T and delEx1/c.924C>T) and three unrelated age-matched controls were included. Fibroblasts were cultured under basal or paraquat-induced oxidative stress conditions. ATP synthesis rates and cellular levels were detected luminometrically. Activities of complexes I-IV and citrate synthase were measured spectrophotometrically in mitochondrial preparations or cell lysates. The mitochondrial membrane potential was measured with 5,5',6,6'-tetrachloro-1,1',3,3'-tetraethylbenzimidazolylcarbocyanine iodide. Oxidative stress levels were investigated with the OxyBlot technique. The mitochondrial network was investigated immunocytochemically and the degree of branching was determined with image processing methods. We observed a decrease in the production and overall concentration of ATP coinciding with increased mitochondrial mass in Parkin-mutant fibroblasts. After an oxidative insult, the membrane potential decreased in patient cells but not in controls. We further determined higher levels of oxidized proteins in the mutants both under basal and stress conditions. The degree of mitochondrial network branching was comparable in mutants and controls under basal conditions and decreased to a similar extent under paraquat-induced stress. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that Parkin mutations cause abnormal mitochondrial function and morphology in non-neuronal human cells. [less ▲]

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See detailInference of surface membrane factors of HIV-1 infection through functional interaction networks.
Ertaylan, Gökhan UL; Jaeger, S.; van Dijk, D. et al

in PLoS ONE (2010), 5(10), 1-2

Background: HIV infection affects the populations of T helper cells, dendritic cells and macrophages. Moreover, it has a serious impact on the central nervous system. It is yet not clear whether this list ... [more ▼]

Background: HIV infection affects the populations of T helper cells, dendritic cells and macrophages. Moreover, it has a serious impact on the central nervous system. It is yet not clear whether this list is complete and why specifically those cell types are affected. To address this question, we have developed a method to identify cellular surface proteins that permit, mediate or enhance HIV infection in different cell/tissue types in HIV-infected individuals. Receptors associated with HIV infection share common functions and domains and are involved in similar cellular processes. These properties are exploited by bioinformatics techniques to predict novel cell surface proteins that potentially interact with HIV. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We compiled a set of surface membrane proteins (SMP) that are known to interact with HIV. This set is extended by proteins that have direct interaction and share functional similarity. This resulted in a comprehensive network around the initial SMP set. Using network centrality analysis we predict novel surface membrane factors from the annotated network. We identify 21 surface membrane factors, among which three have confirmed functions in HIV infection, seven have been identified by at least two other studies, and eleven are novel predictions and thus excellent targets for experimental investigation. CONCLUSIONS: Determining to what extent HIV can interact with human SMPs is an important step towards understanding patient specific disease progression. Using various bioinformatics techniques, we generate a set of surface membrane factors that constitutes a well-founded starting point for experimental testing of cell/tissue susceptibility of different HIV strains as well as for cohort studies evaluating patient specific disease progression. [less ▲]

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See detailMetaproteomics Provides Functional Insight into Activated Sludge Wastewater Treatment
Wilmes, Paul UL; Wexler, Margaret; Bond, Philip L.

in PLoS ONE (2008), 3(3), 1-2

Background: Through identification of highly expressed proteins from a mixed culture activated sludge system this study provides functional evidence of microbial transformations important for enhanced ... [more ▼]

Background: Through identification of highly expressed proteins from a mixed culture activated sludge system this study provides functional evidence of microbial transformations important for enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR). Methodology/Principal Findings: A laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactor was successfully operated for different levels of EBPR, removing around 25, 40 and 55 mg/l P. The microbial communities were dominated by the uncultured polyphosphate-accumulating organism "Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis''. When EBPR failed, the sludge was dominated by tetrad-forming alpha-Proteobacteria. Representative and reproducible 2D gel protein separations were obtained for all sludge samples. 638 protein spots were matched across gels generated from the phosphate removing sludges. 111 of these were excised and 46 proteins were identified using recently available sludge metagenomic sequences. Many of these closely match proteins from "Candidatus Accumulibacter phosphatis'' and could be directly linked to the EBPR process. They included enzymes involved in energy generation, polyhydroxyalkanoate synthesis, glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, glycogen synthesis, glyoxylate/TCA cycle, fatty acid beta oxidation, fatty acid synthesis and phosphate transport. Several proteins involved in cellular stress response were detected. Conclusions/Significance: Importantly, this study provides direct evidence linking the metabolic activities of "Accumulibacter'' to the chemical transformations observed in EBPR. Finally, the results are discussed in relation to current EBPR metabolic models. [less ▲]

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See detailRecombinant interleukin-24 lacks apoptosis-inducing properties in melanoma cells
Kreis, Stephanie UL; Philippidou, Demetra UL; Margue, Christiane UL et al

in PLoS ONE (2007), 2(12), 1300

IL-24, also known as melanoma differentiation antigen 7 (mda-7), is a member of the IL-10 family of cytokines and is mainly produced by Th(2) cells as well as by activated monocytes. Binding of IL-24 to ... [more ▼]

IL-24, also known as melanoma differentiation antigen 7 (mda-7), is a member of the IL-10 family of cytokines and is mainly produced by Th(2) cells as well as by activated monocytes. Binding of IL-24 to either of its two possible heterodimeric receptors IL-20R1/IL-20R2 and IL-22R/IL-20R2 activates STAT3 and/or STAT1 in target tissues such as lung, testis, ovary, keratinocytes and skin. To date, the physiological properties of IL-24 are still not well understood but available data suggest that IL-24 affects epidermal functions by increasing proliferation of dermal cells. In stark contrast to its "normal" and physiological behaviour, IL-24 has been reported to selectively and efficiently kill a vast variety of cancer cells, especially melanoma cells, independent of receptor expression and Jak-STAT signalling. These intriguing properties have led to the development of adenovirally-expressed IL-24, which is currently being evaluated in clinical trials. Using three different methods, we have analysed a large panel of melanoma cell lines with respect to IL-24 and IL-24 receptor expression and found that none of the investigated cell lines expressed sufficient amounts of functional receptor pairs and therefore did not react to IL-24 stimulation with Jak/STAT activation. Results for three cell lines contrasted with previous studies, which reported presence of IL-24 receptors and activation of STAT3 following IL-24 stimulation. Furthermore, evaluating four different sources and modes of IL-24 administration (commercial recombinant IL-24, bacterially expressed GST-IL-24 fusion protein, IL-24 produced from transfected Hek cells, transiently over-expressed IL-24) no induction or increase in cell death was detected when compared to appropriate control treatments. Thus, we conclude that the cytokine IL-24 itself has no cancer-specific apoptosis-inducing properties in melanoma cells. [less ▲]

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