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Spiliotopoulos D.,Dulbecco Telethon Institute C O S Raffaele Scientific Institute | Spitaleri A.,Dulbecco Telethon Institute C O S Raffaele Scientific Institute | Musco G.,Dulbecco Telethon Institute C O S Raffaele Scientific Institute
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

PHD fingers represent one of the largest families of epigenetic readers capable of decoding post-translationally modified or unmodified histone H3 tails. Because of their direct involvement in human pathologies they are increasingly considered as a potential therapeutic target. Several PHD/histone-peptide structures have been determined, however relatively little information is available on their dynamics. Studies aiming to characterize the dynamic and energetic determinants driving histone peptide recognition by epigenetic readers would strongly benefit from computational studies. Herein we focus on the dynamic and energetic characterization of the PHD finger subclass specialized in the recognition of histone H3 peptides unmodified in position K4 (H3K4me0). As a case study we focused on the first PHD finger of autoimmune regulator protein (AIRE-PHD1) in complex with H3K4me0. PCA analysis of the covariance matrix of free AIRE-PHD1 highlights the presence of a "flapping" movement, which is blocked in an open conformation upon binding to H3K4me0. Moreover, binding free energy calculations obtained through Molecular Mechanics/Poisson-Boltzmann Surface Area (MM/PBSA) methodology are in good qualitative agreement with experiments and allow dissection of the energetic terms associated with native and alanine mutants of AIRE-PHD1/H3K4me0 complexes. MM/PBSA calculations have also been applied to the energetic analysis of other PHD fingers recognizing H3K4me0. In this case we observe excellent correlation between computed and experimental binding free energies. Overall calculations show that H3K4me0 recognition by PHD fingers relies on compensation of the electrostatic and polar solvation energy terms and is stabilized by non-polar interactions. © 2012 Spiliotopoulos et al. Source

Gaetani M.,Dulbecco Telethon Institute C O S Raffaele Scientific Institute | Gaetani M.,University of Palermo | Matafora V.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute | Saare M.,University of Tartu | And 10 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2012

Mutations in autoimmune regulator (AIRE) gene cause autoimmune polyendocrinopathy candidiasis ectodermal dystrophy. AIRE is expressed in thymic medullary epithelial cells, where it promotes the expression of peripheral-tissue antigens to mediate deletional tolerance, thereby preventing selfreactivity. AIRE contains two plant homeodomains (PHDs) which are sites of pathological mutations. AIRE-PHD fingers are important for AIRE transcriptional activity and presumably play a crucial role in the formation of multimeric protein complexes at chromatin level which ultimately control immunological tolerance. As a step forward the understanding of AIRE-PHD fingers in normal and pathological conditions, we investigated their structure and used a proteomic SILAC approach to assess the impact of patient mutations targeting AIRE-PHD fingers. Importantly, both AIRE-PHD fingers are structurally independent and mutually noninteracting domains. In contrast to D297A and V301M on AIRE-PHD1, the C446G mutation on AIRE-PHD2 destroys the structural fold, thus causing aberrant AIRE localization and reduction of AIRE target genes activation. Moreover, mutations targeting AIRE-PHD1 affect the formation of a multimeric protein complex at chromatin level. Overall our results reveal the importance of AIREPHD domains in the interaction with chromatinassociated nuclear partners and gene regulation confirming the role of PHD fingers as versatile protein interaction hubs for multiple binding events. © 2012 The Author(s). Source

Drago D.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute | Cossetti C.,University of Cambridge | Iraci N.,University of Cambridge | Gaude E.,Dulbecco Telethon Institute C O S Raffaele Scientific Institute | And 4 more authors.
Biochimie | Year: 2013

Compelling evidence exists that non-haematopoietic stem cells, including mesenchymal (MSCs) and neural/progenitor stem cells (NPCs), exert a substantial beneficial and therapeutic effect after transplantation in experimental central nervous system (CNS) disease models through the secretion of immune modulatory or neurotrophic paracrine factors. This paracrine hypothesis has inspired an alternative outlook on the use of stem cells in regenerative neurology. In this paradigm, significant repair of the injured brain may be achieved by injecting the biologics secreted by stem cells (secretome), rather than implanting stem cells themselves for direct cell replacement. The stem cell secretome (SCS) includes cytokines, chemokines and growth factors, and has gained increasing attention in recent years because of its multiple implications for the repair, restoration or regeneration of injured tissues. Thanks to recent improvements in SCS profiling and manipulation, investigators are now inspired to harness the SCS as a novel alternative therapeutic option that might ensure more efficient outcomes than current stem cell-based therapies for CNS repair. This review discusses the most recent identification of MSC- and NPC-secreted factors, including those that are trafficked within extracellular membrane vesicles (EVs), and reflects on their potential effects on brain repair. It also examines some of the most convincing advances in molecular profiling that have enabled mapping of the SCS. © 2013 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved. Source

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