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Espargaro A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Villar-Pique A.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | Sabate R.,University of Barcelona | Sabate R.,Institute Of Nanociencia I Nanotecnologia In2Ub | Ventura S.,Autonomous University of Barcelona
Microbial Cell Factories | Year: 2012

Background: Prions were first identified as infectious proteins associated with fatal brain diseases in mammals. However, fungal prions behave as epigenetic regulators that can alter a range of cellular processes. These proteins propagate as self-perpetuating amyloid aggregates being an example of structural inheritance. The best-characterized examples are the Sup35 and Ure2 yeast proteins, corresponding to [PSI+] and [URE3] phenotypes, respectively.Results: Here we show that both the prion domain of Sup35 (Sup35-NM) and the Ure2 protein (Ure2p) form inclusion bodies (IBs) displaying amyloid-like properties when expressed in bacteria. These intracellular aggregates template the conformational change and promote the aggregation of homologous, but not heterologous, soluble prionogenic molecules. Moreover, in the case of Sup35-NM, purified IBs are able to induce different [PSI+] phenotypes in yeast, indicating that at least a fraction of the protein embedded in these deposits adopts an infectious prion fold.Conclusions: An important feature of prion inheritance is the existence of strains, which are phenotypic variants encoded by different conformations of the same polypeptide. We show here that the proportion of infected yeast cells displaying strong and weak [PSI+] phenotypes depends on the conditions under which the prionogenic aggregates are formed in E. coli, suggesting that bacterial systems might become useful tools to generate prion strain diversity. © 2012 Espargaró et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Serra-Peinado C.,University of Barcelona | Sicart A.,University of Barcelona | Sicart A.,Catholic University of Leuven | Llopis J.,University of Castilla - La Mancha | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2016

We previously reported that actin-depolymerizing agents promote the alkalization of the Golgi stack and the trans-Golgi network. The main determinant of acidic pH at the Golgi is the vacuolar-type H+-translocating ATPase (V-ATPase), whose V1 domain subunits B and C bind actin. We have generated a GFPtagged subunit B2 construct (GFP-B2) that is incorporated into theV1 domain, which in turn is coupled to theV0 sector. GFP-B2 subunit is enriched at distal Golgi compartments in HeLa cells. Subcellular fractionation, immunoprecipitation, and inversal FRAP experiments show that the actin depolymerization promotes the dissociation of V1-V0 domains, which entails subunit B2 translocation from Golgi membranes to the cytosol. Moreover, molecular interaction between subunits B2 and C1 and actin were detected. In addition, Golgi membrane lipid order disruption by D-ceramide-C6 causes Golgi pH alkalization. We conclude that actin regulates the Golgi pH homeostasis maintaining the coupling of V1-V0 domains of V-ATPase through the binding of microfilaments to subunits B and C and preserving the integrity of detergent-resistant membrane organization. These results establish the Golgi-associated V-ATPase activity as the molecular link between actin and the Golgi pH. © 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. Source

Crosas-Molist E.,University of Barcelona | Crosas-Molist E.,Institute Dinvestigacio Biomedica Of Bellvitge Idibell | Meirelles T.,University of Sao Paulo | Lopez-Luque J.,Institute Dinvestigacio Biomedica Of Bellvitge Idibell | And 20 more authors.
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology | Year: 2015

Objective - Marfan's syndrome is characterized by the formation of ascending aortic aneurysms resulting from altered assembly of extracellular matrix microfibrils and chronic tissue growth factor (TGF)-β signaling. TGF-β is a potent regulator of the vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotype. We hypothesized that as a result of the chronic TGF-β signaling, VSMC would alter their basal differentiation phenotype, which could facilitate the formation of aneurysms. This study explores whether Marfan's syndrome entails phenotypic alterations of VSMC and possible mechanisms at the subcellular level. Approach and Results - Immunohistochemical and Western blotting analyses of dilated aortas from Marfan patients showed overexpression of contractile protein markers (α-smooth muscle actin, smoothelin, smooth muscle protein 22 alpha, and calponin-1) and collagen I in comparison with healthy aortas. VSMC explanted from Marfan aortic aneurysms showed increased in vitro expression of these phenotypic markers and also of myocardin, a transcription factor essential for VSMC-specific differentiation. These alterations were generally reduced after pharmacological inhibition of the TGF-β pathway. Marfan VSMC in culture showed more robust actin stress fibers and enhanced RhoA-GTP levels, which was accompanied by increased focal adhesion components and higher nuclear localization of myosin-related transcription factor A. Marfan VSMC and extracellular matrix measured by atomic force microscopy were both stiffer than their respective controls. Conclusions - In Marfan VSMC, both in tissue and in culture, there are variable TGF-β-dependent phenotypic changes affecting contractile proteins and collagen I, leading to greater cellular and extracellular matrix stiffness. Altogether, these alterations may contribute to the known aortic rigidity that precedes or accompanies Marfan's syndrome aneurysm formation. © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc. Source

Estelrich J.,University of Barcelona | Estelrich J.,Institute Of Nanociencia I Nanotecnologia In2Ub | Sanchez-Martin M.J.,University of Barcelona | Busquets M.A.,University of Barcelona | Busquets M.A.,Institute Of Nanociencia I Nanotecnologia In2Ub
International Journal of Nanomedicine | Year: 2015

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become one of the most widely used and powerful tools for noninvasive clinical diagnosis owing to its high degree of soft tissue contrast, spatial resolution, and depth of penetration. MRI signal intensity is related to the relaxation times (T1, spin–lattice relaxation and T2, spin–spin relaxation) of in vivo water protons. To increase contrast, various inorganic nanoparticles and complexes (the so-called contrast agents) are administered prior to the scanning. Shortening T1 and T2 increases the corresponding relaxation rates, 1/T1 and 1/T2, producing hyperintense and hypointense signals respectively in shorter times. Moreover, the signal-to-noise ratio can be improved with the acquisition of a large number of measurements. The contrast agents used are generally based on either iron oxide nanoparticles or ferrites, providing negative contrast in T2-weighted images; or complexes of lanthanide metals (mostly containing gadolinium ions), providing positive contrast in T1-weighted images. Recently, lanthanide complexes have been immobilized in nanostructured materials in order to develop a new class of contrast agents with functions including blood-pool and organ (or tumor) targeting. Meanwhile, to overcome the limitations of individual imaging modalities, multimodal imaging techniques have been developed. An important challenge is to design all-in-one contrast agents that can be detected by multimodal techniques. Magnetoliposomes are efficient multimodal contrast agents. They can simultaneously bear both kinds of contrast and can, furthermore, incorporate targeting ligands and chains of polyethylene glycol to enhance the accumulation of nanoparticles at the site of interest and the bioavailability, respectively. Here, we review the most important characteristics of the nanoparticles or complexes used as MRI contrast agents. © 2015 Estelrich et al. Source

Suarez-Germa C.,University of Barcelona | Suarez-Germa C.,Institute Of Nanociencia I Nanotecnologia In2Ub | Loura L.M.S.,University of Coimbra | Domenech O.,University of Barcelona | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Physical Chemistry B | Year: 2012

In this work we have investigated the selectivity of lactose permease (LacY) of Escherichia coli (E. coli) for its surrounding phospholipids when reconstituted in binary mixtures of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphoethanolamine (POPE), 1,2-Palmitoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DPPE), or 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE) with 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-(phospho-rac-(1-glycerol)) (POPG). Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) measurements have been performed to investigate the selectivity between a single tryptophan mutant of LacY used as donor (D), and two analogues of POPE and POPG labeled with pyrene in the acyl chains (Pyr-PE and Pyr-PG) used as acceptors. As a difference from previous works, now the donor has been single-W151/C154G/D68C LacY. It has been reported that the replacement of the aspartic acid in position 68 by cysteine inhibits active transport in LacY. The objectives of this work were to elucidate the phospholipid composition of the annular region of this mutant and to determine whether the mutation performed, D68C, induced changes in the protein-lipid selectivity. FRET efficiencies for Pyr-PE were always higher than for Pyr-PG. The values of the probability of each site in the annular ring being occupied by a label (μ) were similar at the studied temperatures (24 °C and 37 °C), suggesting that the lipid environment is not significantly affected when increasing the temperature. By comparing the results with those obtained for single-W151/C154G LacY, we observe that the mutation in the 68 residue indeed changes the selectivity of the protein for the phospholipids. This might be probably due to a change in the conformational dynamics of LacY. © 2012 American Chemical Society. Source

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