Tuesday 14 June 2011

Shotgun proteomic analysis of Emiliania huxleyi, a marine phytoplankton species of major biogeochemical importance

Jones BM*, Edwards RJ*, Skipp PJ, O’Connor CD & Iglesias-Rodriguez MD (2011): Shotgun Proteomic Analysis of Emiliania huxleyi, a Marine Phytoplankton Species of Major Biogeochemical Importance. Marine Biotechnology 13(3): 496-504. *Joint first authors


Emiliania huxleyi is a unicellular marine phytoplankton species known to play a significant role in global biogeochemistry. Through the dual roles of photosynthesis and production of calcium carbonate (calcification), carbon is transferred from the atmosphere to ocean sediments. Almost nothing is known about the molecular mechanisms that control calcification, a process that is tightly regulated within the cell. To initiate proteomic studies on this important and phylogenetically remote organism, we have devised efficient protein extraction protocols and developed a bioinformatics pipeline that allows the statistically robust assignment of proteins from MS/MS data using preexisting EST sequences. The bioinformatics tool, termed BUDAPEST (Bioinformatics Utility for Data Analysis of Proteomics using ESTs), is fully automated and was used to search against data generated from three strains. BUDAPEST increased the number of identifications over standard protein database searches from 37 to 99 proteins when data were amalgamated. Proteins involved in diverse cellular processes were uncovered. For example, experimental evidence was obtained for a novel type I polyketide synthase and for various photosystem components. The proteomic and bioinformatic approaches developed in this study are of wider applicability, particularly to the oceanographic community where genomic sequence data for species of interest are currently scarce.

PMID: 20924652

Friday 27 May 2011

SLiMSearch 2.0: biological context for short linear motifs in proteins

Davey NE, Haslam NJ, Shields DC & Edwards RJ (2011): SLiMSearch 2.0: biological context for short linear motifs in proteins. Nucleic Acids Research 39: W56-W60.


Short, linear motifs (SLiMs) play a critical role in many biological processes. The SLiMSearch 2.0 (Short, Linear Motif Search) web server allows researchers to identify occurrences of a user-defined SLiM in a proteome, using conservation and protein disorder context statistics to rank occurrences. User-friendly output and visualizations of motif context allow the user to quickly gain insight into the validity of a putatively functional motif occurrence. For each motif occurrence, overlapping UniProt features and annotated SLiMs are displayed. Visualization also includes annotated multiple sequence alignments surrounding each occurrence, showing conservation and protein disorder statistics in addition to known and predicted SLiMs, protein domains and known post-translational modifications. In addition, enrichment of Gene Ontology terms and protein interaction partners are provided as indicators of possible motif function. All web server results are available for download. Users can search motifs against the human proteome or a subset thereof defined by Uniprot accession numbers or GO term. The SLiMSearch server is available at: http://bioware.ucd.ie/slimsearch2.html.

PMID: 21622654

Friday 18 March 2011

Selective toxicity of the anthelmintic emodepside revealed by heterologous expression of human KCNMA1 in Caenorhabditis elegans

Crisford A, Murray C, O’Connor V, Edwards RJ, Kruger N, Welz C, von Samson-Himmelstjerna G, Harder A, Walker RJ & Holden-Dye L. (2011): Selective Toxicity of the Anthelmintic Emodepside Revealed by Heterologous Expression of Human KCNMA1 in Caenorhabditis elegans. Molecular Pharmacology 79 (6): 1031-43.


Emodepside is a resistance-breaking anthelmintic of a new chemical class, the cyclooctadepsipeptides. A major determinant of its anthelmintic effect is the calcium-activated potassium channel SLO-1. SLO-1 belongs to a family of channels that are highly conserved across the animal phyla and regulate neurosecretion, hormone release, muscle contraction, and neuronal network excitability. To investigate the selective toxicity of emodepside, we performed transgenic experiments in which the nematode SLO-1 channel was swapped for a mammalian ortholog, human KCNMA1. Expression of either the human channel or Caenorhabditis elegans slo-1 from the native slo-1 promoter in a C. elegans slo-1 functional null mutant rescued behavioral deficits that otherwise resulted from loss of slo-1 signaling. However, worms expressing the human channel were 10- to 100-fold less sensitive to emodepside than those expressing the nematode channel. Strains expressing the human KCNMA1 channel were preferentially sensitive to the mammalian channel agonists NS1619 and rottlerin. In the C. elegans pharyngeal nervous system, slo-1 is expressed in neurons, not muscle, and cell-specific rescue experiments have previously shown that emodepside inhibits serotonin-stimulated feeding by interfering with SLO-1 signaling in the nervous system. Here we show that ectopic overexpression of slo-1 in pharyngeal muscle confers sensitivity of the muscle to emodepside, consistent with a direct interaction of emodepside with the channel. Taken together, these data predict an emodepside-selective pharmacophore harbored by SLO-1. This has implications for the development of this drug/target interface for the treatment of helminth infections.

PMID: 21415309