Neurons release neurotransmitters by calcium-dependent exocytosis of synaptic vesicles. However, the molecular steps transducing the calcium signal into membrane fusion are still an enigma. It is reported here that synaptotagmin, a highly conserved synaptic vesicle protein, binds calcium at physiological concentrations in a complex with negatively charged phospholipids. This binding is specific for calcium and involves the cytoplasmic domain of synaptotagmin. Calcium binding is dependent on the intact oligomeric structure of synaptotagmin (it is abolished by proteolytic cleavage at a single site). These results suggest that synaptotagmin acts as a cooperative calcium receptor in exocytosis.
A family of highly polymorphic neuronal cell surface proteins, the neurexins, has been identified. At least two genes for neurexins exist. Each gene uses alternative promoters and multiple variably spliced exons to potentially generate more than a 100 different neurexin transcripts. The neurexins were discovered by the identification of one member of the family as the receptor for alpha-latrotoxin. This toxin is a component of the venom from black widow spiders; it binds to presynaptic nerve terminals and triggers massive neurotransmitter release. Neurexins contain single transmembrane regions and extracellular domains with repeated sequences similar to sequences in laminin A, slit, and agrin, proteins that have been implicated in axon guidance and synaptogenesis. An antibody to neurexin I showed highly concentrated immunoreactivity at the synapse. The polymorphic structure of the neurexins, their neural localization, and their sequence similarity to proteins associated with neurogenesis suggest a function as cell recognition molecules in the nerve terminal.
alpha-Latrotoxin is a potent stimulator of neurosecretion. Its action requires extracellular binding to high affinity presynaptic receptors. Neurexin I alpha was previously described as a high affinity alpha-latrotoxin receptor that binds the toxin only in the presence of calcium ions. Therefore, the interaction of alpha-latrotoxin with neurexin I alpha cannot explain how alpha-latrotoxin stimulates neurotransmitter release in the absence of calcium. We describe molecular cloning and functional expression of the calcium-independent receptor of alpha-latrotoxin (CIRL), which is a second high affinity alpha-latrotoxin receptor that may be the major mediator of alpha-latrotoxin's effects. CIRL appears to be a novel orphan G-protein-coupled receptor, a member of the secretin receptor family. In contrast with other known serpentine receptors, CIRL has two subunits of the 120 and 85 kDa that are the result of endogenous proteolytic cleavage of a precursor polypeptide. CIRL is found in brain where it is enriched in the striatum and cortex. Expression of CIRL in chromaffin cells increases the sensitivity of the cells to the effects of alpha-latrotoxin, demonstrating that this protein is functional in coupling to secretion. Syntaxin, a component of the fusion complex, copurifies with CIRL on an alpha-latrotoxin affinity column and forms stable complexes with this receptor in vitro. Interaction of CIRL with a specific presynaptic neurotoxin and with a component of the docking-fusion machinery suggests its role in regulation of neurosecretion.
Autoantibody-mediated tissue destruction is among the main features of organ-specific autoimmunity. This report describes ''an antibody enzyme'' (abzyme) contribution to the site-specific degradation of a neural antigen. We detected proteolytic activity toward myelin basic protein (MBP) in the fraction of antibodies purified from the sera of humans with multiple sclerosis (MS) and mice with induced experimental allergic encephalomyelitis. Chromatography and zymography data demonstrated that the proteolytic activity of this preparation was exclusively associated with the antibodies. No activity was found in the IgG fraction of healthy donors. The human and murine abzymes efficiently cleaved MBP but not other protein substrates tested. The sites of MBP cleavage determined by mass spectrometry were localized within immunodominant regions of MBP. The abzymes could also cleave recombinant substrates containing encephalytogenic MBP 85-101 peptide. An established MS therapeutic Copaxone appeared to be a specific abzyme inhibitor. Thus, the discovered epitope-specific antibodymediated degradation of MBP suggests a mechanistic explanation of the slow development of neurodegeneration associated with MS.
Organ transplantation has developed over the past 50 years to reach the sophisticated and integrated clinical service of today through several advances in science. One of the most important of these has been the ability to apply organ preservation protocols to deliver donor organs of high quality, via a network of organ exchange to match the most suitable recipient patient to the best available organ, capable of rapid resumption of life-sustaining function in the recipient patient. This has only been possible by amassing a good understanding of the potential effects of hypoxic injury on donated organs, and how to prevent these by applying organ preservation. This review sets out the history of organ preservation, how applications of hypothermia have become central to the process, and what the current status is for the range of solid organs commonly transplanted. The science of organ preservation is constantly being updated with new knowledge and ideas, and the review also discusses what innovations are coming close to clinical reality to meet the growing demands for high quality organs in transplantation over the next few years.
The calcium-independent receptor of ␣-latrotoxin (CIRL), a neuronal cell surface receptor implicated in the regulation of exocytosis, is a natural chimera of the cell adhesion protein and the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). In contrast with canonic GPCRs, CIRL consists of two heterologous non-covalently bound subunits, p120 and p85, due to endogenous proteolytic processing of the receptor precursor in the endoplasmic reticulum. Extracellularly oriented p120 contains hydrophilic cell adhesion domains, whereas p85 resembles a generic GPCR. We determined that the site of the CIRL cleavage is located within a juxtamembrane Cys-and Trp-rich domain of the N-terminal extracellular region of CIRL. Mutations in this domain make CIRL resistant to the cleavage and impair its trafficking. Therefore, we have named it GPS for G protein-coupled receptor proteolysis site. The GPS motif is found in homologous adhesion GPCRs and thus defines a novel receptor family. We postulate that the proteolytic processing and twosubunit structure is a common characteristic feature in the family of GPS-containing adhesion GPCRs.Cell adhesion receptors provide physical links between cell plasma membranes and the extracellular matrix. These receptors have large extracellular domains that contain characteristic structural modules that are directly involved in cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix interaction. They can also function as signaling receptors, providing the cell with critical information required for proper tissue growth and development. The signaling function of cell adhesion receptors has been primarily attributed to their connection to the tyrosine phosphorylation pathway via tyrosine kinase or phosphatase domains in their intracellular region or to the recruitment of other tyrosine kinases upon activation. The recent discovery of heptahelical receptors with large extracellular cell adhesion-like domains opens an intriguing possibility that cell-to-cell and cell-to-matrix interaction can be also coupled to G protein signaling (1, 2).By this mechanism, cells should be able to produce fast and sensitive responses to physical contacts with the extracellular environment.Putative cell adhesion GPCRs 1 are linked to different cellular functions in a variety of tissues. CD97 and EMR1 (F4/80 antigen) are involved in leukocyte activation (3-6). The calcium-independent receptor of ␣-latrotoxin (CIRL), a neuronal target of a presynaptic neurotoxin, has been implicated in the regulation of secretion (7,8). BAI, a p53-inducible protein, is an inhibitor of angiogenesis (9). The Drosophila receptor Flamingo has a role in establishing planar cell polarity, as pointed out by genetic studies (10). Expression of the HE6 receptor is restricted to epididymis, thus suggesting its function in sperm maturation (11). Most of the other adhesion GPCRs were discovered by gene sequencing and have not been thoroughly characterized either functionally or biochemically. Among the adhesion GPCRs, only CD97 has a known binding partner, the membrane protein CD55 (or d...
This article contributes a highly accurate model for predicting the melting points (MPs) of medicinal chemistry compounds. The model was developed using the largest published data set, comprising more than 47k compounds. The distributions of MPs in drug-like and drug lead sets showed that >90% of molecules melt within [50,250]°C. The final model calculated an RMSE of less than 33 °C for molecules from this temperature interval, which is the most important for medicinal chemistry users. This performance was achieved using a consensus model that performed calculations to a significantly higher accuracy than the individual models. We found that compounds with reactive and unstable groups were overrepresented among outlying compounds. These compounds could decompose during storage or measurement, thus introducing experimental errors. While filtering the data by removing outliers generally increased the accuracy of individual models, it did not significantly affect the results of the consensus models. Three analyzed distance to models did not allow us to flag molecules, which had MP values fell outside the applicability domain of the model. We believe that this negative result and the public availability of data from this article will encourage future studies to develop better approaches to define the applicability domain of models. The final model, MP data, and identified reactive groups are available online at .
A vertebrate neurotoxin, alpha-latrotoxin, from black widow spider venom causes synaptic vesicle exocytosis and neurotransmitter release from presynaptic nerve terminals. Although the mechanism of action of alpha-latrotoxin is not known, it does require binding of alpha-latrotoxin to a high-affinity receptor on the presynaptic plasma membrane. The alpha-latrotoxin receptor seems to be exclusively at the presynaptic plasmamembrane. Here we report that the alpha-latrotoxin receptor specifically binds to a synaptic vesicle protein, synaptotagmin, and modulates its phosphorylation. Synaptotagmin is a synaptic vesicle-specific membrane protein that binds negatively charged phospholipids and contains two copies of a putative Ca(2+)-binding domain from protein kinase C (the C2-domain), suggesting a regulatory role in synaptic vesicle fusion. Our findings suggest that a physiological role of the alpha-latrotoxin receptor may be the docking of synaptic vesicles at the active zone. The direct interaction of the alpha-latrotoxin receptor with a synaptic vesicle protein also suggests a mechanism of action for this toxin in causing neurotransmitter release.
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