0 Q&A 266 Views Apr 5, 2024

Periodontal disease is characterized by the destruction of the hard and soft tissues comprising the periodontium. This destruction translates to a degradation of the extracellular matrices (ECM), mediated by bacterial proteases, host-derived matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), and other proteases released by host tissues and immune cells. Bacterial pathogens interact with host tissue, triggering adverse cellular functions, including a heightened immune response, tissue destruction, and tissue migration. The oral spirochete Treponema denticola is highly associated with periodontal disease. Dentilisin, a T. denticola outer membrane protein complex, contributes to the chronic activation of pro-MMP-2 in periodontal ligament (PDL) cells and triggers increased expression levels of activators and effectors of active MMP-2 in PDL cells. Despite these advances, no mechanism for dentilisin-induced MMP-2 activation or PDL cytopathic behaviors leading to disease is known. Here, we describe a method for purification of large amounts of the dentilisin protease complex from T. denticola and demonstrate its ability to activate MMP-2, a key regulator of periodontal tissue homeostasis. The T. denticola dentilisin and MMP-2 activation model presented here may provide new insights into the dentilisin protein and identify potential therapeutic targets for further research.

0 Q&A 238 Views Mar 20, 2024

Candida glabrata is an opportunistic pathogen that may cause serious infections in an immunocompromised host. C. glabrata cell wall proteases directly interact with host cells and affect yeast virulence and host immune responses. This protocol describes methods to purify β-1,3-glucan-bonded cell wall proteases from C. glabrata. These cell wall proteases are detached from the cell wall glucan network by lyticase treatment, which hydrolyzes β-1,3-glucan bonds specifically without rupturing cells. The cell wall supernatant is further fractioned by centrifugal devices with cut-offs of 10 and 50 kDa, ion-exchange filtration(charge), and gel filtration (size exclusion). The enzymatic activity of C. glabrata proteases is verified with MDPF-gelatin zymography and the degradation of gelatin is visualized by loss of gelatin fluorescence. With this procedure, the enzymatic activities of the fractions are kept intact, differing from methods used in previous studies with trypsin digestion of the yeast cell wall. The protein bands may be eventually located from a parallel silver-stained gel and identified with LC–MS/MS spectrometry. The advantage of this methodology is that it allows further host protein degradation assays; the protocol is also suitable for studying other Candida yeast species.

Key features

• Uses basic materials and laboratory equipment, enabling low-cost studies.

• Facilitates the selection and identification of proteases with certain molecular weights.

• Enables further functional studies with host proteins, such as structural or immune response–related, or enzymes and candidate protease inhibitors(e.g., from natural substances).

• This protocol has been optimized for C. glabrata but may be applied with modifications to other Candida species.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 1892 Views Mar 20, 2024

Nanobodies are recombinant antigen-specific single domain antibodies (VHHs) derived from the heavy chain–only subset of camelid immunoglobulins. Their small molecular size, facile expression, high affinity, and stability have combined to make them unique targeting reagents with numerous applications in the biomedical sciences. From our work in producing nanobodies to over sixty different proteins, we present a standardised workflow for nanobody discovery from llama immunisation, library building, panning, and small-scale expression for prioritisation of binding clones. In addition, we introduce our suites of mammalian and bacterial vectors, which can be used to functionalise selected nanobodies for various applications such as in imaging and purification.

Key features

• Standardise the process of building nanobody libraries and finding nanobody binders so that it can be repeated in any lab with reasonable equipment.

• Introduce two suites of vectors to functionalise nanobodies for production in either bacterial or mammalian cells.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 423 Views Feb 5, 2024

The human pathogenic yeast Candida albicans can attach to epithelial cells or indwelling medical devices to form biofilms. These microbial communities are highly problematic in the clinic as they reduce both sensitivity to antifungal drugs and detection of fungi by the immune system. Amyloid structures are highly organized quaternary structures that play a critical role in biofilm establishment by allowing fungal cells to adhere to each other. Thus, fungal amyloids are exciting targets to develop new antifungal strategies. Thioflavin T is a specific fluorescent dye widely used to study amyloid properties of target proteins in vitro (spectrophotometry) and in vivo (epifluorescence/confocal microscopy). Notably, thioflavin T has been used to demonstrate the ability of Als5, a C. albicans adhesin, to form an amyloid fiber upon adhesion. We have developed a pipeline that allows us to study amyloid properties of target proteins using thioflavin T staining in vitro and in vivo, as well as in intact fungal biofilms. In brief, we used thioflavin T to sequentially stain (i) amyloid peptides, (ii) recombinant proteins, (iii) fungal cells treated or not with amyloid peptides, (iv) fungal amyloids enriched by cell fractionation, and (v) intact biofilms of C. albicans. Contrary to other methods, our pipeline gives a complete picture of the amyloid behavior of target proteins, from in vitro analysis to intact fungal biofilms. Using this pipeline will allow an assessment of the relevance of the in vitro results in cells and the impact of amyloids on the development and/or maintenance of fungal biofilm.

Key features

• Study of amyloid properties of fungal proteins.

• Visualization of the subcellular localization of fungal amyloid material using epifluorescence or confocal microscopy.

• Unraveling of the amyloid properties of target proteins and their physiological meaning for biofilm formation.

• Observation of the presence of amyloid structures with live-cell imaging on intact fungal biofilm using confocal microscopy.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 413 Views Dec 5, 2023

Bio-hydrogen production is an eco-friendly alternative to commercial H2 production, taking advantage of natural systems. Microbial hydrogenases play a main role in biological mechanisms, catalyzing proton reduction to molecular hydrogen (H2) formation under ambient conditions. Direct determination is an important approach to screen bacteria with active hydrogenase and accurately quantify the amount of H2 production. Here, we present a detailed protocol for determining hydrogenase activity based on H2 production using methyl viologen (MV2+) as an artificial reductant, directly monitored by gas chromatography. Recombinant Escherichia coli is used as a hydrogenase-enriched model in this study. Even so, this protocol can be applied to determine hydrogenase activity in all biological samples.

Key features

• This protocol is optimized for a wide variety of biological samples; both purified hydrogenase (in vitro) and intracellular hydrogenase (in vivo) systems.

• Direct, quantitative, and accurate method to detect the amount of H2 by gas chromatography with reproducibility.

• Requires only 2 h to complete and allows testing various conditions simultaneously.

• Kinetic plot of H2 production allows to analyze kinetic parameters and estimate the efficiency of hydrogenase from different organisms.

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 398 Views Oct 5, 2023

Macrofungi, also known as mushrooms, can produce various bioactive compounds, including exopolysaccharides (EPS) with distinct biological properties and subsequent industrial applications in the preparation of cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and food products. EPS are extracellular polymers with diverse chemical compositions and physical properties secreted by macrofungi in the form of capsules or biofilms into the cellular medium. Submerged cultivation is an industrially implemented biotechnological technique used to produce a wide variety of fungal metabolites, which are of economic and social importance due to their food, pharmaceutical, and agronomic applications. It is a favorable technique for cultivating fungi because it requires little space, minimal labor, and low production costs. Moreover, it allows for control over environmental variables and nutrient supply, essential for the growth of the fungus. Although this technique has been widely applied to yeasts, there is limited knowledge regarding optimal growth conditions for filamentous fungi. Filamentous fungi exhibit different behavior compared to yeast, primarily due to differences in cell morphology, reproductive forms, and the type of aggregates generated during submerged fermentation. Furthermore, various growing conditions can affect the production yield of metabolites, necessitating the development of new knowledge to scale up metabolite production from filamentous fungi. This protocol implements the following culture conditions: an inoculum of three agar discs with mycelium, agitation at 150 rpm, a temperature of 28 °C, an incubation time of 72 h, and a carbon source concentration of 40 g/L. These EPS are precipitated using polar solvents such as water, ethanol, and isopropanol and solubilized using water or alkaline solutions. This protocol details the production procedure of EPS using submerged culture; the conditions and culture medium used are described. A detailed description of the extraction is performed, from neutralization to lyophilization. The concentrations and conditions necessary for solubilization are also described.

Key features

• Production and extraction of EPS from submerged cultures of mycelial forms of macrofungi.

• Modification of the method described by Fariña et al. (2001), extending its application to submerged cultures of mycelial forms of the macrofungi.

• Determination of EPS production parameters in submerged cultures of mycelial forms of macrofungi.

• EPS solubilization using NaOH (0.1 N).

Graphical overview

0 Q&A 793 Views Nov 5, 2022

Ubiquitination is a post-translational modification conserved across eukaryotic species. It contributes to a variety of regulatory pathways, including proteasomal degradation, DNA repair, and cellular differentiation. The ubiquitination of substrate proteins typically requires three ubiquitination enzymes: a ubiquitin-activating E1, a ubiquitin-conjugating E2, and an E3 ubiquitin ligase. Cooperation between E2s and E3s is required for substrate ubiquitination, but some ubiquitin-conjugating E2s are also able to catalyze by themselves the formation of free di-ubiquitin, independently or in cooperation with a ubiquitin E2 variant. Here, we describe a method for assessing (i) di-ubiquitin formation by an E1 together with an E2 and an E2 variant, and (ii) the cooperation of an E3 with an E1 and E2 (with or without the E2 variant). Reaction products are assessed using western blotting with one of two antibodies: the first detects all ubiquitin conjugates, while the second specifically recognizes K63-linked ubiquitin. This allows unambiguous identification of ubiquitinated species and assessment of whether K63 linkages are present. We have developed these methods for studying ubiquitination proteins of Leishmania mexicana, specifically the activities of the E2, UBC2, and the ubiquitin E2 variant UEV1, but we anticipate the assays to be applicable to other ubiquitination systems with UBC2/UEV1 orthologues.

0 Q&A 994 Views Oct 20, 2022

The human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) consists of a viral membrane surrounding the conical capsid. The capsid is a protein container assembled from approximately 1,500 copies of the viral capsid protein (CA), functioning as a reaction and transport chamber for the viral genome after cell entry. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is a widely used technique for characterizing the ultrastructure of isolated viral capsids after removal of the viral membrane, which otherwise hinders negative staining of structures inside the viral particle for TEM. Here, we provide a protocol to permeabilize the membrane of HIV-1 particles using a pore-forming toxin for negative staining of capsids, which are stabilized with inositol hexakisphosphate to prevent premature capsid disassembly. This approach revealed the pleomorphic nature of capsids with a partially intact membrane surrounding them. The permeabilization strategy using pore-forming toxins can be readily applied to visualize the internal architecture of other enveloped viruses using TEM.

Graphical abstract:

0 Q&A 772 Views Oct 5, 2022

Here, we present the first quantitative method for the activity analysis of protealysin-like protease (PLP) inhibitors. This approach is based on a previously developed method for protealysin activity determination by hydrolysis of internally quenched fluorescent peptide substrate 2-aminobenzoyl-L-arginyl-L-seryl-L-valyl-L-isoleucyl-L-(ϵ-2,4-dinitrophenyl)lysine. In this protocol, we significantly reduced enzyme concentration and introduced some minor modifications to decrease variation between replicates. The protocol was validated using emfourin, a novel proteinaceous metalloprotease inhibitor. Data obtained demonstrates that the developed assay method is an affordable approach for characterizing and screening various PLP inhibitors.

Graphical abstract:

0 Q&A 761 Views Sep 20, 2022

Dolichol diphosphate-linked oligosaccharides (LLO) are the sugar donors in N-glycosylation, a fundamental protein post-translational modification of the eukaryotic secretory pathway. Defects in LLO biosynthesis produce human Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation Type I. The synthesis of LLOs and the transfer reactions to their protein acceptors is highly conserved among animal, plant, and fungi kingdoms, making the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe a suitable model to study these processes. Here, we present a protocol to determine the LLO patterns produced in vivo by S. pombe cells that may be easily adapted to other cell types. First, exponentially growing cultures are labeled with a pulse of [14C]-glucose. LLOs are then purified by successive extractions with organic solvents, and glycans are separated from the lipid moieties in mild acid hydrolysis and a new solvent extraction. The purified glycans are then run on paper chromatography. We use a deconvolution process to adjust the profile obtained to the minimal number of Gaussian functions needed to fit the data and determine the proportion of each species with respect to total glycan species present in the cell. The method we provide here might be used without any expensive or specialized equipment. The deconvolution process described here might also be useful to analyze species in non-completely resolved chromatograms.

Graphical abstract:

Workflow for the labeling, extraction, separation, and identification of LLO species in S. pombe. (A) Radioactive pulse of S. pombe cells with [14C]-glucose for 15 min at 28 °C. (B) Organic extraction of LLOs from labeled yeasts sequentially using methanol, chloroform, H2O, chloroform:methanol:H2O (1:1:0.3), 0.02 M HCl (to separate glycans from dolichol), and chloroform:methanol:H2O (1:16:16). (C) Preparation of the sample for chromatography on paper: drying by airflow and radioactivity check. (D) Loading of samples in chromatographic paper and descendent chromatography in a glass chamber. The obtained plots (CPM versus running distance) need to be analyzed to identify single glycan species.