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SbnG, a citrate synthase in Staphylococcus aureus: a new fold on an old enzyme.

In response to iron deprivation, Staphylococcus aureus produces staphyloferrin B, a citrate-containing siderophore that delivers iron back to the cell. This bacterium also possesses a second citrate synthase, SbnG, that is necessary for supplying citrate to the staphyloferrin B biosynthetic pathway. We present the structure of SbnG bound to the inhibitor calcium and an active site variant in complex with oxaloacetate. The overall fold of SbnG is structurally distinct from TCA cycle citrate synthases yet similar to metal-dependent class II aldolases. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that SbnG forms a separate clade with homologs from other siderophore biosynthetic gene clusters and is representative of a metal-independent subgroup in the phosphoenolpyruvate/pyruvate domain superfamily. A structural superposition of the SbnG active site to TCA cycle citrate synthases and site-directed mutagenesis suggests a case for convergent evolution toward a conserved catalytic mechanism for citrate production.

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Improved detection of domoic acid using covalently immobilised antibody fragments.

Antibody molecules, and antibody fragments in particular, have enormous potential in the development of biosensors for marine monitoring. Conventional immobilisation approaches used in immunoassays typically yield unstable and mostly incorrectly oriented antibodies, however, resulting in reduced detection sensitivities for already low concentration analytes. The 2H12 anti-domoic acid scFv antibody fragment was engineered with cysteine-containing linkers of two different lengths, distal to the antigen binding pocket, for covalent and correctly oriented immobilisation of the scFvs on functionalised solid supports. The Escherichia coli-produced, cysteine-engineered scFvs dimerised in solution and demonstrated similar efficiencies of covalent immobilisation on maleimide-activated plates and minimal non-covalent attachment. The covalently attached scFvs exhibited negligible leaching from the support under acidic conditions that removed almost 50% of the adsorbed wildtype fragment, and IC50s for domoic acid of 270 and 297 ng/mL compared with 1126 and 1482 ng/mL, respectively, for their non-covalently adsorbed counterparts. The expression and immobilisation approach will facilitate the development of stable, reusable biosensors with increased stability and detection sensitivity for marine neurotoxins.

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Structural analysis of a dengue cross-reactive antibody complexed with envelope domain III reveals the molecular basis of cross-reactivity.

Dengue virus infections are still increasing at an alarming rate in tropical and subtropical countries, underlying the need for a dengue vaccine. Although it is relatively easy to generate Ab responses to dengue virus, low avidity or low concentrations of Ab may enhance infection of FcR-bearing cells with clinical impact, posing a challenge to vaccine production. In this article, we report the characterization of a mAb, 2H12, which is cross-reactive to all four serotypes in the dengue virus group. Crystal structures of 2H12-Fab in complex with domain III of the envelope protein from three dengue serotypes have been determined. 2H12 binds to the highly conserved AB loop of domain III of the envelope protein that is poorly accessible in the mature virion. 2H12 neutralization varied between dengue serotypes and strains; in particular, dengue serotype 2 was not neutralized. Because the 2H12-binding epitope was conserved, this variation in neutralization highlights differences between dengue serotypes and suggests that significant conformational changes in the virus must take place for Ab binding. Surprisingly, 2H12 facilitated little or no enhancement of infection. These data provide a structural basis for understanding Ab neutralization and enhancement of infection, which is crucial for the development of future dengue vaccines.

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Procedure for determination of immunosuppressive drugs in whole blood with liquid chromatography-isotope dilution mass spectrometry.

Cyclosporin A, sirolimus, tacrolimus, and everolimus are immunosuppressive drugs used for therapy after organ transplantation. There are several analytical procedures for monitoring the drug level in blood, e.g. immunological methods and high-performance liquid chromatography combined with mass spectrometry (MS). From external quality assessment schemes, it became evident that the analytical results show high dispersion and further standardization is required.

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Screening and assessing violence and mental health disorders in a cohort of inner city HIV-positive youth between 1998-2006.

The focus of the primary care appointments for HIV-positive youth is often solely on medical concerns. However, these youth also present with mental health issues and histories of exposure to violence. To screen and assess for mental health disorders, HIV-positive youth between the ages of 13 to 24 consecutively enrolled in an adolescent and young adult HIV clinic between 1998-2006 (n = 174), were screened for mental health disorders and violence, using the Client Diagnostic Questionnaire (CDQ). All youth subsequently had diagnostic interviews conducted by psychologists. Findings of the CDQ and the psychological interviews revealed the following. Violence reported by youth occurred in several forms: physical assault/abuse (24% in childhood; 19% as adolescents), sexual abuse/assault (28% in childhood; 15% as adolescents), dating violence (i.e., physical abuse by sexual partner) (18%), and family violence (44%). Females had higher sexual abuse (p < .001). Psychological disorders included: major depressive disorders (15%), generalized anxiety disorder (17%); posttraumatic stress disorder (28%); alcohol abuse disorder (19%); and substance abuse disorder (31%). Physically abused youth had higher symptoms of anxiety (p < 0.05, and PTSD (p < 0.01). Sexually abused youth had higher symptoms of PTSD (p < 0.05). Youth with family violence had higher symptoms of Anxiety Disorder (p < 0.05) and PTSD (p < 0.01). CDQ findings closely correlated with diagnostic assessments of the psychological interview. We conclude that inner city HIV-positive youth present with high prevalence of violence and with psychological disorders. Failure to screen for and treat these psychological disorders may impact successful treatment of their HIV infection.

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Development of a bispecific monoclonal antibody to pesticide carbofuran and triazophos using hybrid hybridomas.

A mouse hybrid hybridoma (tetradoma) was derived from fusing hybridomas producing monoclonal antibody to N-methylcarbamate pesticide carbofuran with hybridomas producing monoclonal antibody to organophosphorus pesticide Triazophos. The prepared tetradoma line (12C1 to 2H12) secreted hybrid immunoglobulin exhibiting parental and bispecific binding characteristics. The effect of relevant physicochemical factors on the immunoassay based on the 12C1 to 2H12 bispecific monoclonal antibody had been studied to optimize the ELISA performance. The developed immunoassay showed that the detection limit (I(20)) were 0.36 and 1.89 ng/mL for triazophos and carbofuran, respectively, without obvious cross-reactivity to other related compounds. Water samples spiked with triazophos at 0.5, 1, and 5 ng/mL or carbofuran at 5, 10, and 20 ng/mL were directly analyzed by the developed ELISA format. The mean recovery of triazophos and carbofuran were 108.1% and 107.5%, with variation coefficient of 15.9% and 17.7%, respectively.

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Effects of heat shock on the distribution and expression levels of nuclear proteins in HeLa S3 cells.

Cumulating evidence has led to the idea that nuclear functions such as DNA replication, RNA transcription, RNA splicing and nucleocytoplasmic transport are facilitated by a proteinaceous architectural framework within the nuclear compartment and at the nuclear envelope. In the present study, we have used immunofluorescence microscopy and quantitative Western blotting to compare the distribution and expression levels of several nuclear proteins during the response of HeLa S3 cells to both mild and severe hyperthermia. Cells were exposed to mild (42 degrees C) or severe (45 degrees C) hyperthermia treatment for 90 min and left to recover at 37 degrees C for 1-25 h. The cell response was monitored immediately after the heat stress and at different time intervals during the recovery period. Our observations indicate that inner nuclear membrane proteins, LAP2beta and emerin, as well as major components of the nuclear lamina, lamins A/C and lamin B1, maintain an overall normal distribution at the nuclear periphery throughout the cell response to mild or severe hyperthermia. The response was nevertheless characterized by significant changes in the expression levels of emerin following recovery from a mild stress and of lamin B1 after recovery from a severe stress. Our results also provide evidence that the organization of functional domains within the nuclear interior such as nucleoli and splicing speckles differs between cells responding to a mild or a severe stress. Mild hyperthermia was accompanied by a significant decrease in the expression level of the nucleolar protein 2H12 whereas severe hyperthermia was characterized by a reduction in the expression of the nucleocytoplasmic shuttling protein 2A7. Our data underline the complexity of nuclear function/structure relationships and the needs for a better understanding of protein-protein interactions within the nuclear compartment.

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Mouse models of IgG- and IgM-mediated hemolysis.

Well-characterized mouse models of allo-immune antibody-mediated hemolysis would provide a valuable approach for gaining greater insight into the pathophysiology of hemolytic transfusion reactions. To this end, mouse red blood cells (mRBCs) from human glycophorin A transgenic (hGPA-Tg) donor mice were transfused into non-Tg recipients that had been passively immunized with IgG or IgM hGPA-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). In this novel murine "blood group system," mRBCs from hGPA-Tg mice are "antigen positive" and mRBCs from non-Tg mice are "antigen negative." Passive immunization of non-Tg mice with the IgG1 10F7 and IgG3 NaM10-2H12 anti-hGPA mAbs each induced rapid clearance of incompatible transfused hGPA-Tg-mRBCs in a dose-response manner. Using various knockout mice as transfusion recipients, both the complement system and activating Fcgamma receptors were found to be important in the clearance of incompatible mRBCs by each of these IgG mAbs. In addition, the IgM E4 anti-hGPA mAb induced complement-dependent intravascular hemolysis of transfused incompatible hGPA-Tg-mRBCs accompanied by gross hemoglobinuria. These initial studies validate the relevance of these new mouse models for addressing important questions in the field of transfusion medicine.

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Structure of a NADH-insensitive hexameric citrate synthase that resists acid inactivation.

Acetobacter aceti converts ethanol to acetic acid, and strains highly resistant to both are used to make vinegar. A. aceti survives acetic acid exposure by tolerating cytoplasmic acidification, which implies an unusual adaptation of cytoplasmic components to acidic conditions. A. aceti citrate synthase (AaCS), a hexameric type II citrate synthase, is required for acetic acid resistance and, therefore, would be expected to function at low pH. Recombinant AaCS has intrinsic acid stability that may be a consequence of strong selective pressure to function at low pH, and unexpectedly high thermal stability for a protein that has evolved to function at approximately 30 degrees C. The crystal structure of AaCS, complexed with oxaloacetate (OAA) and the inhibitor carboxymethyldethia-coenzyme A (CMX), was determined to 1.85 A resolution using protein purified by a tandem affinity purification procedure. This is the first crystal structure of a "closed" type II CS, and its active site residues interact with OAA and CMX in the same manner observed in the corresponding type I chicken CS.OAA.CMX complex. While AaCS is not regulated by NADH, it retains many of the residues used by Escherichia coli CS (EcCS) for NADH binding. The surface of AaCS is abundantly decorated with basic side chains and has many fewer uncompensated acidic charges than EcCS; this constellation of charged residues is stable in varied pH environments and may be advantageous in the A. aceti cytoplasm.

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The vibrational spectrum of the stable free radical 1,1,3,3-tetramethylisoindolin-2-yloxyl.

Solid and solution IR and Raman spectra of a stable nitroxide radical, 1,1,3,3-tetramethylisoindolin-2-yloxyl (TMIO), are reported and compared to ab initio density functional theory calculations of the vibrational frequencies to obtain unequivocal band assignments, in particular of the NO stretching frequency, nu(NO). The band position was found to be at 1431 cm(-1) for the solid, which is well outside the previously published range of 1310-1380 cm(-1) for nitroxide radicals. This apparently anomalous peak position was confirmed by undertaking isotopic substitution studies through the preparation and recording of vibrational spectra of tetrakis(trideuteriomethyl)isoindolin-2-yloxyl ([2H12]-TMIO) and [2H12,15N]-TMIO analogues. Solution spectra of TMIO in methanol and CCl4 are assessed for possible solvent-dependent spin density distribution effects in the NO bond.

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