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Duennwald M.L.,Boston Biomedical Research Institute
Methods | Year: 2011

Experiments in yeast have significantly contributed to our understanding of general aspects of biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology. Yeast models have also delivered deep insights in to the molecular mechanism underpinning human diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases. Many neurodegenerative diseases are associated with the conversion of a protein from a normal and benign conformation into a disease-associated and toxic conformation - a process called protein misfolding. The misfolding of proteins with abnormally expanded polyglutamine (polyQ) regions causes several neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington's disease and the Spinocerebellar Ataxias. Yeast cells expressing polyQ expansion proteins recapitulate polyQ length-dependent aggregation and toxicity, which are hallmarks of all polyQ-expansion diseases. The identification of modifiers of polyQ toxicity in yeast revealed molecular mechanisms and cellular pathways that contribute to polyQ toxicity. Notably, several of these findings in yeast were reproduced in other model organisms and in human patients, indicating the validity of the yeast polyQ model. Here, we describe different expression systems for polyQ-expansion proteins in yeast and we outline experimental protocols to reliably and quantitatively monitor polyQ toxicity in yeast. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. Source

Duennwald M.L.,Boston Biomedical Research Institute
Prion | Year: 2011

Protein misfolding is associated with many human diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease and Huntington disease. Protein misfolding often results in the formation of intracellular or extracellular inclusions or aggregates. Even though deciphering the role of these aggregates has been the object of intense research activity, their role in protein misfolding diseases is unclear. Here, I discuss the implications of studies on polyglutamine aggregation and toxicity in yeast and other model organisms. These studies provide an excellent experimental and conceptual paradigm that contributes to understanding the differences between toxic and protective trajectories of protein misfolding. Future studies like the ones discussed here have the potential to transform basic concepts of protein misfolding in human diseases and may thus help to identify new therapeutic strategies for their treatment. © 2011 Landes Bioscience. Source

Boston Biomedical Research Institute | Date: 2015-04-16

Disclosed herein are compositions and methods useful for controlling -amyloid levels. In particular, the instant invention relates to an antibody that catalyzes hydrolysis of -amyloid at a predetermined amide linkage are provided. The present invention also provides a vectorized antibody that is capable of crossing the blood brain barrier and is also capable of catalyzing the hydrolysis of -amyloid at a predetermined amide linkage. Also provided are methods for modulating -amyloid levels in vivo using antibodies that bind to -amyloid. These compositions and methods have therapeutic applications, including the treatment of Alzheimers disease.

Duennwald M.L.,Boston Biomedical Research Institute | Echeverria A.,Boston Biomedical Research Institute | Shorter J.,University of Pennsylvania
PLoS Biology | Year: 2012

How small heat shock proteins (sHsps) might empower proteostasis networks to control beneficial prions or disassemble pathological amyloid is unknown. Here, we establish that yeast sHsps, Hsp26 and Hsp42, inhibit prionogenesis by the [PSI+] prion protein, Sup35, via distinct and synergistic mechanisms. Hsp42 prevents conformational rearrangements within molten oligomers that enable de novo prionogenesis and collaborates with Hsp70 to attenuate self-templating. By contrast, Hsp26 inhibits self-templating upon binding assembled prions. sHsp binding destabilizes Sup35 prions and promotes their disaggregation by Hsp104, Hsp70, and Hsp40. In yeast, Hsp26 or Hsp42 overexpression prevents [PSI+] induction, cures [PSI+], and potentiates [PSI+]-curing by Hsp104 overexpression. In vitro, sHsps enhance Hsp104-catalyzed disaggregation of pathological amyloid forms of α-synuclein and polyglutamine. Unexpectedly, in the absence of Hsp104, sHsps promote an unprecedented, gradual depolymerization of Sup35 prions by Hsp110, Hsp70, and Hsp40. This unanticipated amyloid-depolymerase activity is conserved from yeast to humans, which lack Hsp104 orthologues. A human sHsp, HspB5, stimulates depolymerization of α-synuclein amyloid by human Hsp110, Hsp70, and Hsp40. Thus, we elucidate a heretofore-unrecognized human amyloid-depolymerase system that could have applications in various neurodegenerative disorders. © 2012 Duennwald et al. Source

Komaba S.,Boston Biomedical Research Institute | Coluccio L.M.,Boston Biomedical Research Institute
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2010

Myosin 1b (Myo1b), a class I myosin, is a widely expressed, single-headed, actin-associated molecular motor. Transient kinetic and single-molecule studies indicate that it is kinetically slow and responds to tension. Localization and subcellular fractionation studies indicate that Myo1b associates with the plasma membrane and certain subcellular organelles such as endosomes and lysosomes. Whether Myo1b directly associates with membranes is unknown. We demonstrate here that fulllength rat Myo1b binds specifically and with high affinity to phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) and phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-triphosphate (PIP3), two phosphoinositides that play important roles in cell signaling. Binding is not Ca2+-dependent and does not involve the calmodulin-binding IQ region in the neck domain of Myo1b. Furthermore, the binding site is contained entirely within the C-terminal tail region, which contains a putative pleckstrin homology domain. Single mutations in the putative pleckstrin homology domain abolish binding of the tail domain of Myo1b to PIP2 and PIP3 in vitro. These same mutations alter the distribution of Myc-tagged Myo1b at membrane protrusions in HeLa cells where PIP2 localizes. In addition, we found that motor activity is required for Myo1b localization in filopodia. These results suggest that binding of Myo1b to phosphoinositides plays an important role in vivo by regulating localization to actin-enriched membrane projections. © 2010 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. Source

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