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Souza P.C.T.,University of Campinas | Puhl A.C.,University of Sao Paulo | Martinez L.,University of Campinas | Aparicio R.,University of Campinas | And 7 more authors.
Molecular Endocrinology | Year: 2014

Thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) are members of the nuclear receptor superfamily of ligand-activated transcription factors involved in cell differentiation, growth, and homeostasis. Although X-ray structures of many nuclear receptor ligand-binding domains (LBDs) reveal that the ligand binds within the hydrophobic core of the ligand-binding pocket, a few studies suggest the possibility of ligands binding to other sites. Here, we report a new x-ray crystallographic structure of TR-LBD that shows a second binding site for T3 and T4 located between H9, H10, and H11 of the TRα LBD surface. Statistical multiple sequence analysis, site-directed mutagenesis, and cell transactivation assays indicate that residues of the second binding site could be important for the TR function. We also conducted molecular dynamics simulations to investigate ligand mobility and ligand-protein interaction for T3 and T4 bound to this new TR surface-binding site. Extensive molecular dynamics simulations designed to compute ligand-protein dissociation constant indicate that the binding affinities to this surface site are of the order of the plasma and intracellular concentrations of the thyroid hormones, suggesting that ligands may bind to this new binding site under physiological conditions. Therefore, the second binding site could be useful as a new target site for drug design and could modulate selectively TR functions. © 2014 by the Endocrine Society. Source

Belizario J.E.,University of Sao Paulo | Akamini P.,University of Sao Paulo | Wolf P.,University of Sao Paulo | Strauss B.,the Heart Institute InCor | Xavier-Neto J.,National Laboratory of Biosciences
Journal of Applied Genetics | Year: 2012

Transgenesis refers to the molecular genetic techniques for directing specific insertions, deletions and point mutations in the genome of germ cells in order to create genetically modified organisms (GMO). Genetic modification is becoming more practicable, efficient and predictable with the development and use of a variety of cell and molecular biology tools and DNA sequencing technologies. A collection of plasmidial and viral vectors, cell-type specific promoters, positive and negative selectable markers, reporter genes, drug-inducible Cre-loxP and Flp/FRT recombinase systems are available which ensure efficient transgenesis in the mouse. The technologies for the insertion and removal of genes by homologous-directed recombination in embryonic stem cells (ES) and generation of targeted gain- and loss-of function alleles have allowed the creation of thousands of mouse models of a variety of diseases. The engineered zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) and small hairpin RNA-expressing constructs are novel tools with useful properties for gene knockout free of ES manipulation. In this review we briefly outline the different approaches and technologies for transgenesis as well as their advantages and disadvantages. We also present an overview on how the novel integrative mouse and human genomic databases and bioinformatics approaches have been used to understand genotype-phenotype relationships of hundreds of mutated and candidate disease genes in mouse models. The updating and continued improvements of the genomic technologies will eventually help us to unraveling the biological and pathological processes in such a way that they can be translated more efficiently from mouse to human and vise-versa. © 2012 Institute of Plant Genetics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poznan. Source

Bernardes A.,University of Sao Paulo | Batista F.A.H.,University of Sao Paulo | de Oliveira Neto M.,University of Sao Paulo | Figueira A.C.M.,National Laboratory of Biosciences | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) regulate genes involved in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, and are targets of drugs approved for human use. Whereas the crystallographic structure of the complex of full length PPARγ and RXRα is known, structural alterations induced by heterodimer formation and DNA contacts are not well understood. Herein, we report a small-angle X-ray scattering analysis of the oligomeric state of hPPARγ alone and in the presence of retinoid X receptor (RXR). The results reveal that, in contrast with other studied nuclear receptors, which predominantly form dimers in solution, hPPARγ remains in the monomeric form by itself but forms heterodimers with hRXRα. The low-resolution models of hPPARγ/RXRα complexes predict significant changes in opening angle between heterodimerization partners (LBD) and extended and asymmetric shape of the dimer (LBD-DBD) as compared with X-ray structure of the full-length receptor bound to DNA. These differences between our SAXS models and the high-resolution crystallographic structure might suggest that there are different conformations of functional heterodimer complex in solution. Accordingly, hydrogen/deuterium exchange experiments reveal that the heterodimer binding to DNA promotes more compact and less solvent-accessible conformation of the receptor complex. © 2012 Bernardes et al. Source

Stehling E.G.,University of Sao Paulo | Sforca M.L.,National Laboratory of Biosciences | Zanchin N.I.T.,National Laboratory of Biosciences | Oyama S.,National Laboratory of Biosciences | And 6 more authors.
Biochemistry | Year: 2012

α-KTx toxin Tc32, from the Amazonian scorpion Tityus cambridgei, lacks the dyad motif, including Lys27, characteristic of the family and generally associated with channel blockage. The toxin has been cloned and expressed for the first time. Electrophysiological experiments, by showing that the recombinant form blocks Kv1.3 channels of olfactory bulb periglomerular cells like the natural Tc32 toxin, when tested on the Kv1.3 channel of human T lymphocytes, confirmed it is in an active fold. The nuclear magnetic resonance-derived structure revealed it exhibits an α/β scaffold typical of the members of the α-KTx family. TdK2 and TdK3, all belonging to the same α-KTx 18 subfamily, share significant sequence identity with Tc32 but diverse selectivity and affinity for Kv1.3 and Kv1.1 channels. To gain insight into the structural features that may justify those differences, we used the recombinant Tc32 nuclear magnetic resonance-derived structure to model the other two toxins, for which no experimental structure is available. Their interaction with Kv1.3 and Kv1.1 has been investigated by means of docking simulations. The results suggest that differences in the electrostatic features of the toxins and channels, in their contact surfaces, and in their total dipole moment orientations govern the affinity and selectivity of toxins. In addition, we found that, regardless of whether the dyad motif is present, it is always a Lys side chain that physically blocks the channels, irrespective of its position in the toxin sequence. © 2012 American Chemical Society. Source

Oliveira S.H.P.,University of Sao Paulo | Oliveira S.H.P.,University of Oxford | Ferraz F.A.N.,National Laboratory of Biosciences | Ferraz F.A.N.,University of Sao Paulo | And 5 more authors.
BMC Bioinformatics | Year: 2014

Background: The characterization of protein binding sites is a major challenge in computational biology. Proteins interact with a wide variety of molecules and understanding of such complex interactions is essential to gain deeper knowledge of protein function. Shape complementarity is known to be important in determining protein-ligand interactions. Furthermore, these protein structural features have been shown to be useful in assisting medicinal chemists during lead discovery and optimization.Results: We developed KVFinder, a highly versatile and easy-to-use tool for cavity prospection and spatial characterization. KVFinder is a geometry-based method that has an innovative customization of the search space. This feature provides the possibility of cavity segmentation, which alongside with the large set of customizable parameters, allows detailed cavity analyses. Although the main focus of KVFinder is the steered prospection of cavities, we tested it against a benchmark dataset of 198 known drug targets in order to validate our software and compare it with some of the largely accepted methods. Using the one click mode, we performed better than most of the other methods, staying behind only of hybrid prospection methods. When using just one of KVFinder's customizable features, we were able to outperform all other compared methods. KVFinder is also user friendly, as it is available as a PyMOL plugin, or command-line version.Conclusion: KVFinder presents novel usability features, granting full customizable and highly detailed cavity prospection on proteins, alongside with a friendly graphical interface. KVFinder is freely available on http://lnbio.cnpem.br/bioinformatics/main/software/. © 2014 Oliveira et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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