• Mitoparan and target-selective chimeric analogues: membrane translocation and intracellular redistribution induces mitochondrial apoptosis.

      Jones, Sarah; Martel, Cecile; Belzacq-Casagrande, Anne-Sophie; Brenner, Catherine; Howl, John D. (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2008)
      Mastoparan, and structurally-related amphipathic peptides, may induce cell death by augmentation of necrotic and/or apoptotic pathways. To more precisely delineate cytotoxic mechanisms, we determined that [Lys(5,8)Aib(10)]mastoparan (mitoparan) specifically induces apoptosis of U373MG and ECV304 cells, as demonstrated by endonuclease and caspase-3 activation and phosphatidylserine translocation. Live cell imaging confirmed that, following translocation of the plasma membrane, mitoparan specifically co-localizes with mitochondria. Complementary studies indicated that mitoparan induces swelling and permeabilization of isolated mitochondria, through cooperation with a protein of the permeability transition pore complex VDAC, leading to the release of the apoptogenic factor, cytochrome c. N-terminal acylation of mitoparan facilitated the synthesis of chimeric peptides that incorporated target-specific address motifs including an integrin-specific RGD sequence and a Fas ligand mimetic. Significantly, these sychnologically-organised peptides demonstrated further enhanced cytotoxic potencies. We conclude that the cell penetrant, mitochondriotoxic and apoptogenic properties of mitoparan, and its chimeric analogues, offer new insights to the study and therapeutic induction of apoptosis.
    • Identification and biological applications of rhegnylogically-organized cell penetrating peptides.

      Howl, John D.; Jones, Sarah (Australian Peptide Association, 2007)
      Introduction: Many different cell penetrating peptides (CPPs) have been utilized as vectors to affect the highly efficient intracellular delivery of bioactive moieties. A majority of such studies employ sychnologically-organized tandem combinations of a cargo (message) and a CPP (address). To date, bioactive cargoes have included peptides, proteins and a range of oligonucleotides attached either by direct chemical conjugation or as a component of a larger macromolecular complex. Moreover, a majority of CPPs, including the commonly used sequences Tat and penetratin, are designed to be both biologically and toxicologically inert. More recently, a QSAR-based algorithm has been developed to predict cryptic polycationic CPP motifs within the primary sequences of proteins. As described here, this novel technology has enabled the study of rhegnylogic CPPs in which multiple pharmacophores for cellular penetration and desirable biological activities are discontinuously organized within the primary sequence of single peptide. This organization differs from the more commonly utilized sychnologic strategy which joins functionally discrete and continous address and messages together in a tandem construct.
    • Mitoparans: mitochondriotoxic cell penetrating peptides and novel inducers of apoptosis.

      Jones, Sarah; Martel, Cecile; Belzacq-Casagrande, Anne-Sophie; Brenner, Catherine; Howl, John D. (Australian Peptide Association, 2007)
      Introduction: The amphipathic helical peptide mastoparan (MP; H-INLKALAALAKKIL-NH2) inserts into biological membranes to modulate the activity of heterotrimeric G proteins and other targets. Moreover, whilst cell free models of apoptosis demonstrate MP to facilitate mitochondrial permeability transition and release of apoptogenic cytochrome c, MP-induced death of intact cells has been attributed to its non-specific membrane destabilising properties (necrotic mechanisms). However, MP and related peptides are known to activate other signalling systems, including p42/p44 MAP kinases and could therefore, also modulate cell fate and specific apoptotic events. The ability of MP to facilitate mitochondrial permeability in cell free systems has lead to proposals that MP could be of utility in tumour therapeutics provided that it conferred features of cellular penetration and mitochondrial localization. We have recently reported that our highly potent amphipathic MP analogue mitoparan (mitP; [Lys5,8Aib10]MP; Aib = -aminoisobutyric acid) specifically promotes apoptosis of human cancer cells, as was confirmed by in situ TUNEL staining and activation of caspase-3. Moreover, we have also demonstrated that mitP penetrates plasma membranes and redistributes to co-localize with mitochondria. Complementary studies, using isolated mitochondria, further demonstrated that mitP, through co-operation with a protein of the permeability transition pore complex voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), induced swelling and permeabilization of mitochondria, leading to the release of the apoptogenic factor cytochrome c. An expanding field of peptide and cell penetrating peptide (CPP) research has focussed on the selective targeting of tumours by engineering constructs that incorporate cell-specific or tissue–specific address motifs. Peptidyl address motifs could enhance the selectivity of drug delivery whilst the improved cellular uptake offered by CPP enhances bioavailability. Thus and as a potential therapeutic strategy, we extended our findings to design target-specific mitP analogues. The integrin-specific address motif RGD and a Fas ligand mimetic WEWT were incorporated by N-terminal acylation of mitP to produce novel tandem-linked chimeric peptides.
    • Cell penetrating peptides as signal transduction modulators

      Jones, Sarah; Howl, John D. (CRC Press (Taylor & Francis), 2007)
      THIS BOOK: Since the first Handbook of Cell-Penetrating Peptides was prepared in 2001, the wealth of new information on the use of these peptides as transport systems has in fact served to confound the field. The constant internal change in the field of cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) is due to recent research uncovering apparent ambiguities in cellular uptake. There is still neither a common terminology nor a uniform explanation for the penetrative mechanism of cell-penetrating peptides. In this second edition of the Handbook of Cell-Penetrating Peptides, the authors summarize the current state of the field including recent reevaluations of earlier studies of CPP mechanisms. Beginning with an overview of the classes of peptides and their individual uptake mechanisms, from the earlier lipid models to the more recent endocytotic pathways, the book demonstrates the diversity and the opportunity for these biologically active proteins to serve as future drug leads. The text then covers the use of CPPs in gene modulation, addressing the application of antisense and decoy oligonucleotides, as well as the new avenue of research targeting specific tumors and other tissues-questions that had barely been asked when the first edition was published. By summarizing the diffuse information regarding CPPs, including the ambiguities and variety of mechanisms, the Handbook of Cell-Penetrating Peptides provides the most solid foundation available from which to expand the potential of this rapidly growing field of medicine. (CRC Press)
    • A polyphosphate kinase 1 (ppk1) mutant of Pseudomonas aeruginosa exhibits multiple ultrastructural and functional defects.

      Fraley, Cresson D.; Rashid, M. Harunur; Lee, Sam S. K.; Gottschalk, Rebecca; Harrison, Janine; Wood, Pauline J.; Brown, Michael R. W.; Kornberg, Arthur (National Academy of Sciences, 2007)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa, of medical, environmental, and industrial importance, depends on inorganic polyphosphate (poly P) for a wide range of functions, especially survival. Mutants of PAO1 lacking poly P kinase 1, PPK1, the enzyme responsible for most poly P synthesis in Escherichia coli and other bacteria, are defective in motility, quorum sensing, biofilm formation, and virulence. We describe here multiple defects in the ppk1 mutant PAOM5, including a striking compaction of the nucleoid, distortion of the cell envelope, lack of planktonic motility and exopolymer production, and susceptibility to the beta-lactam antibiotic carbenicillin as well as desiccation. We propose that P. aeruginosa with reduced poly P levels undergoes ultrastructural changes that contribute to profound deficiencies in cellular functions.
    • The interaction between endogenous calcineurin and the plasma membrane calcium-dependent ATPase is isoform specific in breast cancer cells

      Holton, Marylouisa; Yang, Di; Wang, Weiguang; Mohamed, Tamer M. A.; Neyses, Ludwig; Armesilla, Angel Luis (Elsevier, 2007)
      Plasma membrane calcium/calmodulin-dependent ATPases (PMCAs) are high affinity calcium pumps that extrude calcium from the cell. Emerging evidence suggests a novel role for PMCAs as regulators of calcium/calmodulin-dependent signal transduction pathways via interaction with specific partner proteins. In this work, we demonstrate that endogenous human PMCA2 and -4 both interact with the signal transduction phosphatase, calcineurin, whereas, no interaction was detected with PMCA1. The strongest interaction was observed between PMCA2 and calcineurin. The domain of PMCA2 involved in the interaction is equivalent to that reported for PMCA4b. PMCA2-calcineurin interaction results in inhibition of the calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T-cells signalling pathway.
    • The many futures for cell-penetrating peptides: how soon is now?

      Howl, John D.; Nicholl, Iain D.; Jones, Sarah (Portland Press on behalf of the Biochemical Society, 2007)
      Studies of CPPs (cell-penetrating peptides), sequences that are also commonly designated as protein transduction domains, now extend to a second decade of exciting and far-reaching discoveries. CPPs are proven vehicles for the intracellular delivery of macromolecules that include oligonucleotides, peptides and proteins, low-molecular-mass drugs, nanoparticles and liposomes. The biochemical properties of different classes of CPP, including various sequences derived from the HIV-1 Tat (transactivator of transcription) [e.g. Tat-(48-60), GRKKRRQRRRPPQ], and the homeodomain of the Drosophila homeoprotein Antennapaedia (residues 43-58, commonly named penetratin, RQIKIWFQNRRMKWKK), also provide novel insights into the fundamental mechanisms of translocation across biological membranes. Thus the efficacy of CPP-mediated cargo delivery continues to provide valuable tools for biomedical research and, as witnessed in 2007, candidate and emerging therapeutics. Thus it is anticipated that the further refinement of CPP technologies will provide drug-delivery vectors, cellular imaging tools, nanoparticulate devices and molecular therapeutics that will have a positive impact on the healthcare arena. The intention of this article is to provide both a succinct overview of current developments and applications of CPP technologies, and to illustrate key developments that the concerted efforts of the many researchers contributing to the Biochemical Society's Focused Meeting in Telford predict for the future. The accompanying papers in this issue of Biochemical Society Transactions provide additional details and appropriate references. Hopefully, the important and eagerly anticipated biomedical and clinical developments within the CPP field will occur sooner rather than later.
    • Neuronal Nitric Oxide Synthase Signaling in the Heart Is Regulated by the Sarcolemmal Calcium Pump 4b.

      Oceandy, Delvac; Cartwright, Elizabeth J.; Emerson, Michael; Prehar, Sukhpal; Baudoin, Florence M.; Zi, Min; Alatwi, Nasser; Venetucci, Luigi; Schuh, Kai; Williams, Judith C.; Armesilla, Angel Luis; Neyses, Ludwig (American Heart Association, 2007)
      BACKGROUND: Neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) has recently been shown to be a major regulator of cardiac contractility. In a cellular system, we have previously shown that nNOS is regulated by the isoform 4b of plasma membrane calcium/calmodulin-dependent ATPase (PMCA4b) through direct interaction mediated by a PDZ domain (PSD 95, Drosophilia Discs large protein and Zona occludens-1) on nNOS and a cognate ligand on PMCA4b. It remains unknown, however, whether this interaction has physiological relevance in the heart in vivo. METHODS AND RESULTS: We generated 2 strains of transgenic mice overexpressing either human PMCA4b or PMCA ct120 in the heart. PMCA ct120 is a highly active mutant form of the pump that does not interact with or modulate nNOS function. Calcium was extruded normally from PMCA4b-overexpressing cardiomyocytes, but in vivo, overexpression of PMCA4b reduced the beta-adrenergic contractile response. This attenuated response was not observed in ct120 transgenic mice. Treatment with a specific nNOS inhibitor (Nomega-propyl-L-arginine) reduced the beta-adrenergic response in wild-type and ct120 transgenic mice to levels comparable to those of PMCA4b transgenic animals. No differences in lusitropic response were observed in either transgenic strain compared with wild-type littermates. CONCLUSIONS: These data demonstrate the physiological relevance of the interaction between PMCA4b and nNOS and suggests its signaling role in the heart.
    • A sychnological cell penetrating peptide mimic of p21(WAF1/CIP1) is pro-apoptogenic.

      Baker, Rachael D.; Howl, John D.; Nicholl, Iain D. (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2007)
      Targeting chemotherapeutic agents directly to sites of DNA replication and repair within cancerous cells is problematic. This study attempts to address the issue of nuclear delivery of biologically active peptides with the potential to disrupt cancer cell growth. Herein, the protein transduction domain of the HIV-1 transactivator of transcription, Tat (Tat(48-60)), is used to deliver a cytotoxic peptide mimic of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, p21(WAF1/CIP1) into the nucleus. This construct, which we designate as Tat(48-60)-P10, contains the PCNA interacting protein (PIP) box. We demonstrate the utility of Tat(48-60) for peptide delivery to the nucleus and show that Tat(48-60)-P10 induces apoptosis specific to the inclusion of the wild type PIP box containing sequence. Colocalization of Tat(48-60)-P10 with nuclear PCNA was observed by immunofluorescence analysis, supporting the hypothesis that cytotoxicity is potentially related to disruption of nuclear PCNA function. The U251 and U373 glioma cell lines exhibited particular sensitivity to the construct.
    • Study on Angelica and its different extracts by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and two-dimensional correlation IR spectroscopy.

      Liu, Hong-xia; Sun, Su-qin; Lu, Guang-Hua; Chan, Kelvin C. (Elsevier, 2006)
      In order to develop a rapid and effective analysis method for studying integrally the main constituents in the medicinal materials and their extracts, discriminating the extracts from different extraction process, comparing the categories of chemical constituents in the different extracts and monitoring the qualities of medicinal materials, we applied Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) associated with second derivative infrared spectroscopy and two-dimensional correlation infrared spectroscopy (2D-IR) to study the main constituents in traditional Chinese medicine Angelica and its different extracts (extracted by petroleum ether, ethanol and water in turn). The findings indicated that FT-IR spectrum can provide many holistic variation rules of chemical constituents. Use of the macroscopical fingerprint characters of FT-IR and 2D-IR spectrum can not only identify the main chemical constituents in medicinal materials and their different extracts, but also compare the components differences among the similar samples. This analytical method is highly rapid, effective, visual and accurate for pharmaceutical research.
    • Critical value determination on similarity of fingerprints

      Fang, Kai-Tai; Liang, Yi-Zeng; Yin, Xiao-lin; Chan, Kelvin C.; Lu, Guang-Hua (Elsevier, 2006)
      A high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) fingerprint of Chinese Angelica (CA) was developed basing on the consistent chromatograms of 40 CA samples (Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels). The unique properties of this HPLC fingerprints were validated by analyzing 13 related herbs including 4 Japanese Angelicae Root samples (JA, A. acutiloba Kitagawa and A. acutiloba Kitagawa var. sugiyame Hikino), 6 Szechwan Lovage Rhizome samples (SL, Ligusticum chuanxiong Hort.) and 3 Cnidium Rhizome samples (CR, Cnidium officinale Makino). Both correlation coefficients of similarity in chromatograms and relative peak areas of characteristic compounds were calculated for quantitative expression of the HPLC fingerprints. The amount of senkyunolide A in CA was less than 30-fold of that in SL and CR samples, which was used as a chemical marker to distinguish them. JA was easily distinguished from CA, SL and CR based on either chromatographic patterns or the amount of coniferyl ferulate. No obvious difference between SL and CR chromatograms except the relative amount of some compounds, suggesting that SL and CR might have very close relationship in terms of chemotaxonomy. Ferulic acid and Z-ligustilide were unequivocally determined whilst senkyunolide I, senkyunolide H, coniferyl ferulate, senkyunolide A, butylphthalide, E-ligustilide, E-butylidenephthalide, Z-butylidenephthalide and levistolide A were tentatively identified in chromatograms based on their atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) MS data and the comparison of their UV spectra with those published in literatures.
    • Peptidyl-based delivery systems as a strategy for the therapeutic intervention of human astrocytoma and medulloblastoma

      Jones, Sarah; Howl, John D. (Springer Verlag, 2006)
      THIS BOOK: Understanding Biology Using Peptides: Proceedings of the 19th American Peptide Symposium highlights many of the recent developments in peptide science, with a particular emphasis on how these advances are being applied to basic problems in biology and medicine. Specific topics covered include novel synthetic strategies, peptides in biological signaling, post-translational modifications of peptides and proteins, peptide quaternary structure in material science and disease, and peptides as tools in drug discovery. (Springer Verlag)
    • Signaling pathway of ginsenoside-Rg1 leading to nitric oxide production in endothelial cells.

      Leung, Kar Wah; Cheng, Yuen-Kit; Mak, Nai Ki; Chan, Kelvin C.; Fan, T. P. David; Wong, Ricky N. S. (Elsevier, 2006)
      We here provide definitive evidence that ginsenoside-Rg1, the pharmacologically active component of ginseng, is a functional ligand of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) as determined by fluorescence polarization assay. Rg1 increased the phosphorylation of GR, phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K), Akt/PKB and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) leading to increase nitric oxide (NO) production in human umbilical vein endothelial cell. Rg1-induced eNOS phosphorylation and NO production were significantly reduced by RU486, LY294,002, or SH-6. Also, knockdown of GR completely eliminated the Rg1-induced NO production. This study revealed that Rg1 can indeed serve as an agonist ligand for GR and the activated GR can induce rapid NO production from eNOS via the non-transcriptional PI3K/Akt pathway.
    • Simultaneous detection of precore/basal core promoter mutations in hepatitis B virus using arrayed primer extension.

      Ha, Wai-Yan; Lau, Chi-Chiu; Yue, Patrick Y. K.; Hung, Kaman K. M.; Chan, Kelvin C.; Chui, Siu-Hon; Chui, Albert K. K.; Yam, Wing-Cheong; Wong, Ricky N. S. (Adis, 2006)
      BACKGROUND: Hepatitis B is a major disease that causes serious public health problems worldwide. The loss of HBeAg expression due to point mutations or single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the precore/basal core promoter region of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is associated with hepatocellular cirrhosis and carcinoma. Simultaneous screening for these mutations is strongly advocated for monitoring disease development in HBV-infected patients. The aim of this study is to apply arrayed primer extension (APEX) for the detection of HBV SNPs at the precore/basal core promoter. METHODS AND RESULTS: We optimized APEX for simultaneous detection of eight potential sites of SNPs in the precore/basal core promoter region of HBV. The precore/basal core promoter regions of HBV from 36 HBV-infected patients were amplified by PCR. After purification and DNA fragmentation, the short, single-stranded HBV DNA fragments were allowed to hybridize with the oligonucleotides corresponding to the sites of SNPs immobilized on glass slides, followed by incorporation of different fluorescently labeled dideoxynucleotides. This allows fast and unequivocal discrimination between wild-type and mutant genotypes with high dideoxy-nucleotide incorporation efficiency, sensitivity, and specificity. The coexistence of both genotypes was also detected; this was undetected by DNA sequencing. CONCLUSION: The simultaneous detection of SNPs in HBV precore/basal core promoter by APEX enables large-scale diagnostic analysis, which can be extended to the whole HBV genome.
    • Applications of cell-penetrating peptides as signal transduction modulators.

      Jones, Sarah; Howl, John D. (Washington, D.C.: CRC Press, 2006)
      THIS BOOK: Since the first Handbook of Cell-Penetrating Peptides was prepared in 2001, the wealth of new information on the use of these peptides as transport systems has in fact served to confound the field. The constant internal change in the field of cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) is due to recent research uncovering apparent ambiguities in cellular uptake. There is still neither a common terminology nor a uniform explanation for the penetrative mechanism of cell-penetrating peptides. In this second edition of the Handbook of Cell-Penetrating Peptides, the authors summarize the current state of the field including recent reevaluations of earlier studies of CPP mechanisms. Beginning with an overview of the classes of peptides and their individual uptake mechanisms, from the earlier lipid models to the more recent endocytotic pathways, the book demonstrates the diversity and the opportunity for these biologically active proteins to serve as future drug leads. The text then covers the use of CPPs in gene modulation, addressing the application of antisense and decoy oligonucleotides, as well as the new avenue of research targeting specific tumors and other tissues-questions that had barely been asked when the first edition was published. (CRC Press)
    • A rhegnylogic strategy for the synthesis of signal transduction modulatory, cell penetrating peptides

      Jones, Sarah; Ostlund, Pernilla; Langel, Ulo; Zorko, Matjaz; Nicholl, Iain D.; Howl, John D. (Wiley InterScience, 2006)
      INTRODUCTION: Many cell-penetrating peptides (CPP) have been utilised as biologically inert vectors. A majority of these studies employ sychnologically organised constructs in which a bioactive cargo (message) is chemically conjugated to the CPP (address). Previously, we have adopted a sychnologic strategy to modulate intracellular signal transduction. Using chimeric constructs composed of the CPP transportan 10, conjugated to partial sequences that correspond to functional domains of signal transduction proteins, we have selectively modulated a variety of cellular activities including secretion and activation of p42/p44 mitogen-activated protein kinases [1, 2]. However, a QSAR-based algorithm can now be used to predict CPP that reside within the primary sequences of proteins [3]. We have adapted this strategy to identify CPP within signal transducing proteins including functional domains that govern protein-protein interactions. Data presented herein indicate that it is now feasible to identify rhegnylogic sequences, containing vectoral-independent discontinuously organised pharmacophores, that are cell penetrant modulators of signal transduction pathways.
    • Amoebae promote persistence of epidemic strains of MRSA.

      Huws, Sharon A.; Smith, Anthony W.; Enright, Mark C.; Wood, Pauline J.; Brown, Michael R. W. (Wiley InterScience, 2006)
      The control of healthcare-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is of concern worldwide. Given the evidence that several pathogenic species replicate within amoebae and emerge more virulent and more resistant and the abundance of amoebae in healthcare settings, we investigated interactions of Acanthamoeba polyphaga with epidemic MRSA isolates. MRSA proliferated in the presence of amoebae, attributable partly to intracellular replication. Following 24 h of co-culture, confocal microscopy revealed that c. 50% amoebae had viable MRSA within phago-lysosomes and 2% of amoebae were heavily infected with viable cocci throughout the cytoplasm. Infection control strategies should recognize the contribution of protozoa.
    • The sarcolemmal calcium pump, alpha-1 syntrophin, and neuronal nitric-oxide synthase are parts of a macromolecular protein complex.

      Williams, Judith C.; Armesilla, Angel Luis; Mohamed, Tamer M. A.; Hagarty, Cassandra L.; McIntyre, Fiona H.; Schomburg, Sybille; Zaki, Aly O.; Oceandy, Delvac; Cartwright, Elizabeth J.; Buch, Mamta H.; Emerson, Michael; Neyses, Ludwig (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2006)
      The main role of the plasma membrane Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent ATPase (PMCA) is in the removal of Ca2+ from the cytosol. Recently, we and others have suggested a new function for PMCA as a modulator of signal transduction pathways. This paper shows the physical interaction between PMCA (isoforms 1 and 4) and alpha-1 syntrophin and proposes a ternary complex of interaction between endogenous PMCA, alpha-1 syntrophin, and NOS-1 in cardiac cells. We have identified that the linker region between the pleckstrin homology 2 (PH2) and the syntrophin unique (SU) domains, corresponding to amino acids 399-447 of alpha-1 syntrophin, is crucial for interaction with PMCA1 and -4. The PH2 and the SU domains alone failed to interact with PMCA. The functionality of the interaction was demonstrated by investigating the inhibition of neuronal nitric-oxide synthase-1 (NOS-1); PMCA is a negative regulator of NOS-1-dependent NO production, and overexpression of alpha-1 syntrophin and PMCA4 resulted in strongly increased inhibition of NO production. Analysis of the expression levels of alpha-1 syntrophin protein in the heart, skeletal muscle, brain, uterus, kidney, or liver of PMCA4-/- mice, did not reveal any differences when compared with those found in the same tissues of wild-type mice. These results suggest that PMCA4 is tethered to the syntrophin complex as a regulator of NOS-1, but its absence does not cause collapse of the complex, contrary to what has been reported for other proteins within the complex, such as dystrophin. In conclusion, the present data demonstrate for the first time the localization of PMCA1b and -4b to the syntrophin.dystrophin complex in the heart and provide a specific molecular mechanism of interaction as well as functionality.