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Dogan J.,Uppsala University | Gianni S.,CNR Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology | Gianni S.,University of Cambridge | Jemth P.,Uppsala University
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics | Year: 2014

Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) of proteins are very common and instrumental for cellular signaling. Recently, a number of studies have investigated the kinetic binding mechanisms of IDPs and IDRs. These results allow us to draw conclusions about the energy landscape for the coupled binding and folding of disordered proteins. The association rate constants of IDPs cover a wide range (10 5-109 M-1 s-1) and are largely governed by long-range charge-charge interactions, similarly to interactions between well-folded proteins. Off-rate constants also differ significantly among IDPs (with half-lives of up to several minutes) but are usually around 0.1-1000 s-1, allowing for rapid dissociation of complexes. Likewise, affinities span from pM to μM suggesting that the low-affinity high-specificity concept for IDPs is not straightforward. Overall, it appears that binding precedes global folding although secondary structure elements such as helices may form before the protein-protein interaction. Short IDPs bind in apparent two-state reactions whereas larger IDPs often display complex multi-step binding reactions. While the two extreme cases of two-step binding (conformational selection and induced fit) or their combination into a square mechanism is an attractive model in theory, it is too simplistic in practice. Experiment and simulation suggest a more complex energy landscape in which IDPs bind targets through a combination of conformational selection before binding (e.g., secondary structure formation) and induced fit after binding (global folding and formation of short-range intermolecular interactions). © 2014 the Partner Organisations. Source

Raffa G.D.,CNR Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology
Nucleus (Austin, Tex.) | Year: 2011

In most organisms, telomeres are extended by telomerase and contain GC-rich repeats. Drosophila telomeres are elongated by occasional transposition of specialized retroelements rather than telomerase activity, and are assembled independently of the sequence of the DNA termini. Recent work has shown that Drosophila telomeres are capped by a complex, we call terminin, which includes HOAP, HipHop, Moi and Ver; these are fast-evolving proteins that prevent telomere fusion, directly interact with each other, and appear to localize and function only at telomeres. With the possible exception of Ver that contains an OB fold domain structurally similar to the Stn1 OB fold, none of the terminin proteins is evolutionarily conserved outside the Drosophila species. Human telomeres are protected by the shelterin complex, which comprises six proteins that bind chromosome ends in a sequence-dependent manner. Shelterin subunits are not fast-evolving proteins and are not conserved in flies, but localize and function only at telomeres like the terminin components. Based on these findings, we propose that concomitant with telomerase loss Drosophila rapidly evolved terminin to bind chromosome ends in a sequence-independent fashion, and that terminin is functionally analogous to shelterin. Source

Di Domenico F.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Foppoli C.,CNR Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology | Coccia R.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Perluigi M.,University of Rome La Sapienza
Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease | Year: 2012

Cervical cancer lesions are a major threat to the health of women, representing the second most common cancer worldwide. The unanimously recognized etiological factor in the causation of cervical cancer is the infection with human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV infection, although necessary, is not per se sufficient to induce cancer. Other factors have to be involved in the progression of infected cells to the full neoplastic phenotype. Oxidative stress represents an interesting and under-explored candidate as a promoting factor in HPV-initiated carcinogenesis. Oxidative stress is known to perturb the cellular redox status thus leading to alteration of gene expression responses through the activation of several redox-sensitive transcription factors. This signaling cascade affects both cell growth and cell death. The ability of naturally occurring antioxidants to modulate cellular signal transduction pathways, through the activation/repression of multiple redox-sensitive transcription factors, has been claimed for their potential therapeutic use as chemopreventive agents. Among these compounds, polyphenols have been found to be promising agents toward cervical cancer. In addition to acting as antioxidants, polyphenols display a wide variety of biological function including induction of apoptosis, growth arrest, inhibition of DNA synthesis and modulation of signal transduction pathways. They can interfere with each stage of carcinogenesis initiation, promotion and progression to prevent cancer development. The present review discusses current knowledge of the major molecular pathways, which are involved in HPV-driven cancerogenesis, and the ability of polyphenols to modulate these pathways. By acting at specific steps of viral transformation cascade, polyphenols have been demonstrated to selectively inhibit tumor cell growth and may be a promising therapeutic tool for treatment of cervical cancer. In addition, recent results obtained in clinical trials using polyphenols are also discussed. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Antioxidants and Antioxidant Treatment in Disease. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. Source

D'Avino P.P.,University of Cambridge | Giansanti M.G.,CNR Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology | Petronczki M.,Cancer Research UK Research Institute
Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology | Year: 2015

Cell division ends with the physical separation of the two daughter cells, a process known as cytokinesis. This final event ensures that nuclear and cytoplasmic contents are accurately partitioned between the two nascent cells. Cytokinesis is one of the most dramatic changes in cell shape and requires an extensive reorganization of the cell’s cytoskeleton. Here, we describe the cytoskeletal structures, factors, and signaling pathways that orchestrate this robust and yet highly dynamic process in animal cells. Finally, we discuss possible future directions in this growing area of cell division research and its implications in human diseases, including cancer. © 2015 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved. Source

Lavia P.,CNR Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology
Chromosome Research | Year: 2016

Growing lines of evidence implicate the small GTPase RAN, its regulators and effectors—predominantly, nuclear transport receptors—in practically all aspects of centrosome biology in mammalian cells. These include duplication licensing, cohesion, positioning, and microtubule-nucleation capacity. RAN cooperates with the protein nuclear export vector exportin 1/CRM1 to recruit scaffolding proteins containing nuclear export sequences that play roles in the structural organization of centrosomes. Together, they also limit centrosome reduplication by regulating the localization of key “licensing” proteins during the centrosome duplication cycle. In parallel, RAN also regulates the capacity of centrosomes to nucleate and organize functional microtubules, and this predominanlty involves importin vectors: many factors regulating microtubule nucleation or function harbor nuclear localization sequences that interact with importin molecules and such interaction inhibits their activity. Active RANGTP binding to importin molecules removes the inhibition and releases microtubule regulatory factors in the free productive form. A dynamic scenario emerges, in which RAN is pivotal in linking spatiotemporal control of centrosome regulators to the cell cycle machinery. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source

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