The receptor-interacting serine-threonine kinase 3 (RIP3) is a key signaling molecule in the programmed necrosis (necroptosis) pathway. This pathway plays important roles in a variety of physiological and pathological conditions, including development, tissue damage response, and antiviral immunity. Here, we report the identification of a small molecule called (E)-N-(4-(N-(3-methoxypyrazin-2-yl)sulfamoyl)phenyl)-3-(5-nitrothiophene-2-yl)acrylamide--hereafter referred to as necrosulfonamide--that specifically blocks necrosis downstream of RIP3 activation. An affinity probe derived from necrosulfonamide and coimmunoprecipitation using anti-RIP3 antibodies both identified the mixed lineage kinase domain-like protein (MLKL) as the interacting target. MLKL was phosphorylated by RIP3 at the threonine 357 and serine 358 residues, and these phosphorylation events were critical for necrosis. Treating cells with necrosulfonamide or knocking down MLKL expression arrested necrosis at a specific step at which RIP3 formed discrete punctae in cells. These findings implicate MLKL as a key mediator of necrosis signaling downstream of the kinase RIP3.
In this study, we explored the molecular basis determining the virulence of H5N1 avian influenza viruses in mammalian hosts by comparing two viruses, A/Duck/Guangxi/12/03 (DK/12) and A/Duck/Guangxi/27/03 (DK/ 27), which are genetically similar but differ in their pathogenicities in mice. To assess the genetic basis for this difference in virulence, we used reverse genetics to generate a series of reassortants and mutants of these two viruses. We found that a single-amino-acid substitution of serine for proline at position 42 (P42S) in the NS1 protein dramatically increased the virulence of the DK/12 virus in mice, whereas the substitution of proline for serine at the same position (S42P) completely attenuated the DK/27 virus. We further demonstrated that the amino acid S42 of NS1 is critical for the H5N1 influenza virus to antagonize host cell interferon induction and for the NS1 protein to prevent the double-stranded RNA-mediated activation of the NF-B pathway and the IRF-3 pathway. Our results indicate that the NS1 protein is critical for the pathogenicity of H5N1 influenza viruses in mammalian hosts and that the amino acid S42 of NS1 plays a key role in undermining the antiviral immune response of the host cell.
The ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) resulted from the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 in December 2019. Currently, multiple efforts are being made to rapidly develop vaccines and treatments to fight COVID-19. Current vaccine candidates use inactivated SARS-CoV-2 viruses; therefore, it is important to understand the architecture of inactivated SARS-CoV-2. We have genetically and structurally characterized β-propiolactone-inactivated viruses from a propagated and purified clinical strain of SARS-CoV-2. We observed that the virus particles are roughly spherical or moderately pleiomorphic. Although a small fraction of prefusion spikes are found, most spikes appear nail shaped, thus resembling a postfusion state, where the S1 protein of the spike has disassociated from S2. Cryoelectron tomography and subtomogram averaging of these spikes yielded a density map that closely matches the overall structure of the SARS-CoV postfusion spike and its corresponding glycosylation site. Our findings have major implications for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine design, especially those using inactivated viruses.
The incidence of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) and associated mortality have increased rapidly worldwide in recent years. Therefore, it is critical to develop new therapies for CDI. In this study, we generated a novel, potently neutralizing, tetravalent, and bispecific antibody composed of 2 heavy-chain-only VH (VHH) binding domains against both TcdA and TcdB (designated "ABA") that reverses fulminant CDI in mice infected with an epidemic 027 strain after a single injection of the antibody. We demonstrated that ABA bound to both toxins simultaneously and displayed a significantly enhanced neutralizing activity both in vitro and in vivo. Additionally, ABA was able to broadly neutralize toxins from clinical C. difficile isolates that express both TcdA and TcdB but failed to neutralize the toxin from TcdA(-)TcdB(+) C. difficile strains. This study thus provides a rationale for the development of multivalent VHHs that target both toxins and are broadly neutralizing for treating severe CDI.
BackgroundThe dysregulation of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes plays an important role in many cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), which is one of the most common cancers in the world. In a previous microarray experiment, we found that DLGAP5 is overexpressed in HCCs. However, whether the up-regulation of DLGAP5 contributes to hepatocarcinogenesis remains unclear. Methodology/Principal FindingsIn this study, we showed that DLGAP5 was significantly up-regulated in 76.4% (168 of 220) of the analyzed HCC specimens when compared with adjacent liver tissue. DLGAP5 overexpression was evident in 25% (22 of 88) of the HCC specimens without AFP expression, suggesting that DLGAP5 may be a novel biomarker for HCC pathogenesis. The silencing of DLGAP5 gene expression by RNA interference significantly suppressed cell growth, migration and colony formation in vitro. The expression level of DLGAP5 was also found to be related to the methylation level of its promoter in the HCC specimens. Conclusions/SignificanceTaken together, these data suggest that the expression of DLGAP5 is regulated by methylation and that the up-regulation of DLGAP5 contributes to HCC tumorigenesis by promoting cell proliferation.
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