Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 21 in total

  1. Ng CL, Reaz MB
    Sensors (Basel), 2017 Mar 12;17(3).
    PMID: 28287493 DOI: 10.3390/s17030574
    Capacitive biosensors are an emerging technology revolutionizing wearable sensing systems and personal healthcare devices. They are capable of continuously measuring bioelectrical signals from the human body while utilizing textiles as an insulator. Different textile types have their own unique properties that alter skin-electrode capacitance and the performance of capacitive biosensors. This paper aims to identify the best textile insulator to be used with capacitive biosensors by analysing the characteristics of 6 types of common textile materials (cotton, linen, rayon, nylon, polyester, and PVC-textile) while evaluating their impact on the performance of a capacitive biosensor. A textile-insulated capacitive (TEX-C) biosensor was developed and validated on 3 subjects. Experimental results revealed that higher skin-electrode capacitance of a TEX-C biosensor yields a lower noise floor and better signal quality. Natural fabric such as cotton and linen were the two best insulating materials to integrate with a capacitive biosensor. They yielded the lowest noise floor of 2 mV and achieved consistent electromyography (EMG) signals measurements throughout the performance test.
  2. Goh HH, Ng CL, Loke KK
    Adv. Exp. Med. Biol., 2018 11 2;1102:11-30.
    PMID: 30382566 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-98758-3_2
    Functional genomics encompasses diverse disciplines in molecular biology and bioinformatics to comprehend the blueprint, regulation, and expression of genetic elements that define the physiology of an organism. The deluge of sequencing data in the postgenomics era has demanded the involvement of computer scientists and mathematicians to create algorithms, analytical software, and databases for the storage, curation, and analysis of biological big data. In this chapter, we discuss on the concept of functional genomics in the context of systems biology and provide examples of its application in human genetic disease studies, molecular crop improvement, and metagenomics for antibiotic discovery. An overview of transcriptomics workflow and experimental considerations is also introduced. Lastly, we present an in-house case study of transcriptomics analysis of an aromatic herbal plant to understand the effect of elicitation on the biosynthesis of volatile organic compounds.
  3. Kahar UM, Ng CL, Chan KG, Goh KM
    Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol., 2016 Jul;100(14):6291-307.
    PMID: 27000839 DOI: 10.1007/s00253-016-7451-6
    Type I pullulanases are enzymes that specifically hydrolyse α-1,6 linkages in polysaccharides. This study reports the analyses of a novel type I pullulanase (PulASK) from Anoxybacillus sp. SK3-4. Purified PulASK (molecular mass of 80 kDa) was stable at pH 5.0-6.0 and was most active at pH 6.0. The optimum temperature for PulASK was 60 °C, and the enzyme was reasonably stable at this temperature. Pullulan was the preferred substrate for PulASK, with 89.90 % adsorbance efficiency (various other starches, 56.26-72.93 % efficiency). Similar to other type I pullulanases, maltotriose was formed on digestion of pullulan by PulASK. PulASK also reacted with β-limit dextrin, a sugar rich in short branches, and formed maltotriose, maltotetraose and maltopentaose. Nevertheless, PulASK was found to preferably debranch long branches at α-1,6 glycosidic bonds of starch, producing amylose, linear or branched oligosaccharides, but was nonreactive against short branches; thus, no reducing sugars were detected. This is surprising as all currently known type I pullulanases produce reducing sugars (predominantly maltotriose) on digesting starch. The closest homologue of PulASK (95 % identity) is a type I pullulanase from Anoxybacillus sp. LM14-2 (Pul-LM14-2), which is capable of forming reducing sugars from starch. With rational design, amino acids 362-370 of PulASK were replaced with the corresponding sequence of Pul-LM14-2. The mutant enzyme formed reducing sugars on digesting starch. Thus, we identified a novel motif involved in substrate specificity in type I pullulanases. Our characterization may pave the way for the industrial application of this unique enzyme.
  4. Arul M, Roslani AC, Ng CL, Cheah SH
    Cytotechnology, 2014 May;66(3):481-91.
    PMID: 23824584 DOI: 10.1007/s10616-013-9600-4
    There is increasing evidence that a tumour comprises of heterogeneous population of cells. Thus, studying homogenous cell lines in vitro may yield results that are not reflective of the true situation in a tumour and studying low passage cell lines maintained in a heterogeneous population before they transform away from the original state may provide a more complete picture of colorectal cancer. A method was developed to isolate and establish low passage colorectal cancer cell lines from tumour biopsies. The media contents, combination of antimicrobials and specimen collection and transport conditions employed, successfully eliminated microbial contamination which is frequently present in samples obtained from the gastrointestinal tract. A variety of growth forms indicating a heterogeneous mixture of cells was seen in the initial cultures. Using fluorescence immunocytochemistry, primary tumour cultures were shown to variably express selected tumour markers, carcinoembryonic antigen and C2 antigen. These low passage cell lines growing in a heterogeneous environment would more closely reflect the characteristics of the cells of the original tumour.
  5. Hashim OH, Ng CL, Gendeh S, Nik Jaafar MI
    Mol. Immunol., 1991 Apr-May;28(4-5):393-8.
    PMID: 2062319
    The discovery of jacalin, a group of lectins from jackfruit seeds (Artocarpus heterophyllus), has attracted considerable attention due to its numerous interesting immunological properties as well as its usefulness in the isolation of various serum proteins. We have further identified a similar lectin from the seeds of Champedak (Artocarpus integer) which we refer to as lectin-C and performed comparative studies with two types of jacalin isolated from different batches of the Malaysian jackfruit seeds (jacalin-M1 and jacalin-M2). The three purified lectins demonstrated equivalent apparent Mr of about 52,500, each of which comprised of a combination of two types of non-covalently-linked subunits with apparent Mr of approximately 13,300 and 16,000. The lectins demonstrated equal haemagglutinating activity against human erythrocytes of blood groups A, B, AB and O. Our data also demonstrated that lectin-C, jacalin-M1 and jacalin-M2 are similar by selectively precipitating human serum IgA1 and colostral sIgA but not IgA2, IgD, IgG and IgM. When immunoelectrophoresis was performed on normal human sera and reacted with the lectins, single precipitin arcs corresponding to IgA immunoprecipitates were detected with lectin-C and jacalin-MI. Jacalin-M2, however, exhibited two closely associated precipitin arcs. The binding of these lectins with IgA was pronouncedly inhibited in the presence of p-nitrophenyl-beta-D-galactopyranoside, 1-o-methyl-alpha-D-galactopyranoside, D-melibiose, N-acetyl-D-galactosamine and D-galactose. The data therefore provide evidence on the differential specificity of IgA binding lectins isolated from seeds of similar as well as distinct Artocarpus species.
  6. Seman-Kamarulzaman AF, Mohamed-Hussein ZA, Ng CL, Hassan M
    PLoS ONE, 2016;11(8):e0161707.
    PMID: 27560927 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161707
    Juvenile Hormone III is of great concern due to negative effects on major developmental and reproductive maturation in insect pests. Thus, the elucidation of enzymes involved JH III biosynthetic pathway has become increasing important in recent years. One of the enzymes in the JH III biosynthetic pathway that remains to be isolated and characterized is farnesal dehydrogenase, an enzyme responsible to catalyze the oxidation of farnesal into farnesoic acid. A novel NAD+-farnesal dehydrogenase of Polygonum minus was purified (315-fold) to apparent homogeneity in five chromatographic steps. The purification procedures included Gigacap S-Toyopearl 650M, Gigacap Q-Toyopearl 650M, and AF-Blue Toyopearl 650ML, followed by TSK Gel G3000SW chromatographies. The enzyme, with isoelectric point of 6.6 is a monomeric enzyme with a molecular mass of 70 kDa. The enzyme was relatively active at 40°C, but was rapidly inactivated above 45°C. The optimal temperature and pH of the enzyme were found to be 35°C and 9.5, respectively. The enzyme activity was inhibited by sulfhydryl agent, chelating agent, and metal ion. The enzyme was highly specific for farnesal and NAD+. Other terpene aldehydes such as trans- cinnamaldehyde, citral and α- methyl cinnamaldehyde were also oxidized but in lower activity. The Km values for farnesal, citral, trans- cinnamaldehyde, α- methyl cinnamaldehyde and NAD+ were 0.13, 0.69, 0.86, 1.28 and 0.31 mM, respectively. The putative P. minus farnesal dehydrogenase that's highly specific towards farnesal but not to aliphatic aldehydes substrates suggested that the enzyme is significantly different from other aldehyde dehydrogenases that have been reported. The MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS/MS spectrometry further identified two peptides that share similarity to those of previously reported aldehyde dehydrogenases. In conclusion, the P. minus farnesal dehydrogenase may represent a novel plant farnesal dehydrogenase that exhibits distinctive substrate specificity towards farnesal. Thus, it was suggested that this novel enzyme may be functioning specifically to oxidize farnesal in the later steps of JH III pathway. This report provides a basic understanding for recombinant production of this particular enzyme. Other strategies such as adding His-tag to the protein makes easy the purification of the protein which is completely different to the native protein. Complete sequence, structure and functional analysis of the enzyme will be important for developing insect-resistant crop plants by deployment of transgenic plant.
  7. Pang SL, Ho KL, Waterman J, Teh AH, Chew FT, Ng CL
    Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun, 2015 Nov;71(Pt 11):1396-400.
    PMID: 26527267 DOI: 10.1107/S2053230X1501818X
    Dermatophagoides farinae is one of the major house dust mite (HDM) species that cause allergic diseases. N-terminally His-tagged recombinant Der f 21 (rDer f 21), a group 21 allergen, with the signal peptide truncated was successfully overexpressed in an Escherichia coli expression system. The purified rDer f 21 protein was initially crystallized using the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method. Well diffracting protein crystals were obtained after optimization of the crystallization conditions using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method with a reservoir solution consisting of 0.19 M Tris-HCl pH 8.0, 32% PEG 400 at 293 K. X-ray diffraction data were collected to 1.49 Å resolution using an in-house X-ray source. The crystal belonged to the C-centered monoclinic space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 123.46, b = 27.71, c = 90.25 Å, β = 125.84°. The calculated Matthews coefficient (VM) of 2.06 Å(3) Da(-1) suggests that there are two molecules per asymmetric unit, with a solvent content of 40.3%. Despite sharing high sequence identity with Blo t 5 (45%) and Blo t 21 (41%), both of which were determined to be monomeric in solution, size-exclusion chromatography, static light scattering and self-rotation function analysis indicate that rDer f 21 is likely to be a dimeric protein.
  8. Krishnamurithy G, Shilpa PN, Ahmad RE, Sulaiman S, Ng CL, Kamarul T
    J Biomed Mater Res A, 2011 Dec 01;99(3):500-6.
    PMID: 21913317 DOI: 10.1002/jbm.a.33184
    Human amniotic membrane (HAM) is an established biomaterial used in many clinical applications. However, its use for tissue engineering purposes has not been fully realized. A study was therefore conducted to evaluate the feasibility of using HAM as a chondrocyte substrate/carrier. HAMs were obtained from fresh human placenta and were process to produced air dried HAM (AdHAM) and freeze dried HAM (FdHAM). Rabbit chondrocytes were isolated and expanded in vitro and seeded onto these preparations. Cell proliferation, GAG expression and GAG/cell expression were measured at days 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 21, and 28. These were compared to chondrocytes seeded onto plastic surfaces. Histological analysis and scanning electron microscopy was performed to observe cell attachment. There was significantly higher cell proliferation rates observed between AdHAM (13-51%, P=0.001) or FdHAM (18-48%, p = 0.001) to chondrocytes in monolayer. Similarly, GAG and GAG/cell expressed in AdHAM (33-82%, p = 0.001; 22-60%, p = 0.001) or FdHAM (41-81%, p = 0.001: 28-60%, p = 0.001) were significantly higher than monolayer cultures. However, no significant differences were observed in the proliferation rates (p = 0.576), GAG expression (p = 0.476) and GAG/cell expression (p = 0.135) between AdHAM and FdHAM. The histology and scanning electron microscopy assessments demonstrates good chondrocyte attachments on both HAMs. In conclusion, both AdHAM and FdHAM provide superior chondrocyte proliferation, GAG expression, and attachment than monolayer cultures making it a potential substrate/carrier for cell based cartilage therapy and transplantation.
  9. Shaibullah S, Mohd-Sharif N, Ho KL, Firdaus-Raih M, Nathan S, Mohamed R, et al.
    Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun, 2014 Dec 1;70(Pt 12):1697-700.
    PMID: 25484229 DOI: 10.1107/S2053230X14025278
    Melioidosis is an infectious disease caused by the pathogenic bacterium Burkholderia pseudomallei. Whole-genome sequencing revealed that the B. pseudomallei genome includes 5855 coding DNA sequences (CDSs), of which ∼25% encode hypothetical proteins. A pathogen-associated hypothetical protein, BPSL1038, was overexpressed in Escherichia coli, purified and crystallized using vapour-diffusion methods. A BPSL1038 protein crystal that grew using sodium formate as precipitant diffracted to 1.55 Å resolution. It belonged to space group C2221, with unit-cell parameters a = 85.36, b = 115.63, c = 46.73 Å. The calculated Matthews coefficient (VM) suggests that there are two molecules per asymmetric unit, with a solvent content of 48.8%.
  10. Chia JY, Tan WS, Ng CL, Hu NJ, Foo HL, Ho KL
    Sci Rep, 2016 08 09;6:31210.
    PMID: 27502833 DOI: 10.1038/srep31210
    DNA methylation in a CpG context can be recognised by methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2) via its methyl-CpG binding domain (MBD). An A/T run next to a methyl-CpG maximises the binding of MeCP2 to the methylated DNA. The A/T run characteristics are reported here with an X-ray structure of MBD A140V in complex with methylated DNA. The A/T run geometry was found to be strongly stabilised by a string of conserved water molecules regardless of its flanking nucleotide sequences, DNA methylation and bound MBD. New water molecules were found to stabilise the Rett syndrome-related E137, whose carboxylate group is salt bridged to R133. A structural comparison showed no difference between the wild type and MBD A140V. However, differential scanning calorimetry showed that the melting temperature of A140V constructs in complex with methylated DNA was reduced by ~7 °C, although circular dichroism showed no changes in the secondary structure content for A140V. A band shift analysis demonstrated that the larger fragment of MeCP2 (A140V) containing the transcriptional repression domain (TRD) destabilises the DNA binding. These results suggest that the solution structure of MBD A140V may differ from the wild-type MBD although no changes in the biochemical properties of X-ray A140V were observed.
  11. Tan CS, Hassan M, Mohamed Hussein ZA, Ismail I, Ho KL, Ng CL, et al.
    Plant Physiol. Biochem., 2018 Feb;123:359-368.
    PMID: 29304481 DOI: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2017.12.033
    Geraniol degradation pathway has long been elucidated in microorganisms through bioconversion studies, yet weakly characterised in plants; enzyme with specific nerol-oxidising activity has not been reported. A novel cDNA encodes nerol dehydrogenase (PmNeDH) was isolated from Persicaria minor. The recombinant PmNeDH (rPmNeDH) is a homodimeric enzyme that belongs to MDR (medium-chain dehydrogenases/reductases) superfamily that catalyses the first oxidative step of geraniol degradation pathway in citral biosynthesis. Kinetic analysis revealed that rPmNeDH has a high specificity for allylic primary alcohols with backbone ≤10 carbons. rPmNeDH has ∼3 fold higher affinity towards nerol (cis-3,7-dimethyl-2,6-octadien-1-ol) than its trans-isomer, geraniol. To our knowledge, this is the first alcohol dehydrogenase with higher preference towards nerol, suggesting that nerol can be effective substrate for citral biosynthesis in P. minor. The rPmNeDH crystal structure (1.54 Å) showed high similarity with enzyme structures from MDR superfamily. Structure guided mutation was conducted to describe the relationships between substrate specificity and residue substitutions in the active site. Kinetics analyses of wild-type rPmNeDH and several active site mutants demonstrated that the substrate specificity of rPmNeDH can be altered by changing any selected active site residues (Asp280, Leu294 and Ala303). Interestingly, the L294F, A303F and A303G mutants were able to revamp the substrate preference towards geraniol. Furthermore, mutant that exhibited a broader substrate range was also obtained. This study demonstrates that P. minor may have evolved to contain enzyme that optimally recognise cis-configured nerol as substrate. rPmNeDH structure provides new insights into the substrate specificity and active site plasticity in MDR superfamily.
  12. Remali J, Loke KK, Ng CL, Aizat WM, Tiong J, Zin NM
    Genom Data, 2017 Sep;13:7-10.
    PMID: 28580299 DOI: 10.1016/j.gdata.2017.05.015
    Streptomyces sp. produces bioactive compounds with a broad spectrum of activities. Streptomyces kebangsaanesis SUK12 has been identified as a novel endophytic bacteria isolated from ethnomedicinal plant Portulaca olerace, and was found to produce the phenazine class of biologically active antimicrobial metabolites. The potential use of the phenazines has led to our research interest in determining the genome sequence of Streptomyces kebangsaanensis SUK12. This Whole Genome Shotgun project has been deposited at DDBJ/ENA/GenBank under the accession number PRJNA269542. The raw sequence data are available [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Traces/study/?acc=SRP105770].
  13. Rahaman SN, Mat Yusop J, Mohamed-Hussein ZA, Ho KL, Teh AH, Waterman J, et al.
    Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun, 2016 Mar;72(Pt 3):207-13.
    PMID: 26919524 DOI: 10.1107/S2053230X16002016
    C1ORF123 is a human hypothetical protein found in open reading frame 123 of chromosome 1. The protein belongs to the DUF866 protein family comprising eukaryote-conserved proteins with unknown function. Recent proteomic and bioinformatic analyses identified the presence of C1ORF123 in brain, frontal cortex and synapses, as well as its involvement in endocrine function and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), indicating the importance of its biological role. In order to provide a better understanding of the biological function of the human C1ORF123 protein, the characterization and analysis of recombinant C1ORF123 (rC1ORF123), including overexpression and purification, verification by mass spectrometry and a Western blot using anti-C1ORF123 antibodies, crystallization and X-ray diffraction analysis of the protein crystals, are reported here. The rC1ORF123 protein was crystallized by the hanging-drop vapor-diffusion method with a reservoir solution comprised of 20% PEG 3350, 0.2 M magnesium chloride hexahydrate, 0.1 M sodium citrate pH 6.5. The crystals diffracted to 1.9 Å resolution and belonged to an orthorhombic space group with unit-cell parameters a = 59.32, b = 65.35, c = 95.05 Å. The calculated Matthews coefficient (VM) value of 2.27 Å(3) Da(-1) suggests that there are two molecules per asymmetric unit, with an estimated solvent content of 45.7%.
  14. Chai KP, Othman NF, Teh AH, Ho KL, Chan KG, Shamsir MS, et al.
    Sci Rep, 2016 Mar 15;6:23126.
    PMID: 26975884 DOI: 10.1038/srep23126
    A new subfamily of glycosyl hydrolase family GH13 was recently proposed for α-amylases from Anoxybacillus species (ASKA and ADTA), Geobacillus thermoleovorans (GTA, Pizzo, and GtamyII), Bacillus aquimaris (BaqA), and 95 other putative protein homologues. To understand this new GH13 subfamily, we report crystal structures of truncated ASKA (TASKA). ASKA is a thermostable enzyme capable of producing high levels of maltose. Unlike GTA, biochemical analysis showed that Ca(2+) ion supplementation enhances the catalytic activities of ASKA and TASKA. The crystal structures reveal the presence of four Ca(2+) ion binding sites, with three of these binding sites are highly conserved among Anoxybacillus α-amylases. This work provides structural insights into this new GH13 subfamily both in the apo form and in complex with maltose. Furthermore, structural comparison of TASKA and GTA provides an overview of the conformational changes accompanying maltose binding at each subsite.
  15. Remali J, Sarmin N'M, Ng CL, Tiong JJL, Aizat WM, Keong LK, et al.
    PeerJ, 2017;5:e3738.
    PMID: 29201559 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3738
    Background: Streptomyces are well known for their capability to produce many bioactive secondary metabolites with medical and industrial importance. Here we report a novel bioactive phenazine compound, 6-((2-hydroxy-4-methoxyphenoxy) carbonyl) phenazine-1-carboxylic acid (HCPCA) extracted from Streptomyces kebangsaanensis, an endophyte isolated from the ethnomedicinal Portulaca oleracea.

    Methods: The HCPCA chemical structure was determined using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. We conducted whole genome sequencing for the identification of the gene cluster(s) believed to be responsible for phenazine biosynthesis in order to map its corresponding pathway, in addition to bioinformatics analysis to assess the potential of S. kebangsaanensis in producing other useful secondary metabolites.

    Results: The S. kebangsaanensis genome comprises an 8,328,719 bp linear chromosome with high GC content (71.35%) consisting of 12 rRNA operons, 81 tRNA, and 7,558 protein coding genes. We identified 24 gene clusters involved in polyketide, nonribosomal peptide, terpene, bacteriocin, and siderophore biosynthesis, as well as a gene cluster predicted to be responsible for phenazine biosynthesis.

    Discussion: The HCPCA phenazine structure was hypothesized to derive from the combination of two biosynthetic pathways, phenazine-1,6-dicarboxylic acid and 4-methoxybenzene-1,2-diol, originated from the shikimic acid pathway. The identification of a biosynthesis pathway gene cluster for phenazine antibiotics might facilitate future genetic engineering design of new synthetic phenazine antibiotics. Additionally, these findings confirm the potential of S. kebangsaanensis for producing various antibiotics and secondary metabolites.

  16. Veeramohan R, Azizan KA, Aizat WM, Goh HH, Mansor SM, Yusof NSM, et al.
    Data Brief, 2018 Jun;18:1212-1216.
    PMID: 29900296 DOI: 10.1016/j.dib.2018.04.001
    Mitragyna speciosa is a psychoactive plant known as "ketum" in Malaysia and "kratom" in Thailand. This plant is distinctly known to produce two important alkaloids, namely mitragynine (MG) and 7-hydroxymitragynine (7-OH-MG) that can bind to opioid receptors [1]. MG was reported to exhibit antidepressant properties in animal studies [2]. These compounds were also proposed to have the potential to replace opioid analgesics with much lower risks of side effects [3]. To date, there are only over 40 metabolites identified in M. speciosa [4,5]. To obtain a more complete profile of secondary metabolites in ketum, we performed metabolomics study using mature leaves of the green M. speciosa variety. The leaf samples were extracted using methanol prior to liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-TOF-MS) analysis. This data can be useful to for the identification of unknown metabolites that are associated with alkaloid biosynthesis pathway in M. speciosa.
  17. Mohd-Sharif N, Shaibullah S, Givajothi V, Tan CS, Ho KL, Teh AH, et al.
    Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun, 2017 02 01;73(Pt 2):109-115.
    PMID: 28177322 DOI: 10.1107/S2053230X17001212
    TylP is one of five regulatory proteins involved in the regulation of antibiotic (tylosin) production, morphological and physiological differentiation in Streptomyces fradiae. Its function is similar to those of various γ-butyrolactone receptor proteins. In this report, N-terminally His-tagged recombinant TylP protein (rTylP) was overproduced in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity. The rTylP protein was crystallized from a reservoir solution comprising 34%(v/v) ethylene glycol and 5%(v/v) glycerol. The protein crystals diffracted X-rays to 3.05 Å resolution and belonged to the trigonal space group P3121, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 126.62, c = 95.63 Å.
  18. Ker DS, Pang SL, Othman NF, Kumaran S, Tan EF, Krishnan T, et al.
    PeerJ, 2017;5:e2961.
    PMID: 28265494 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2961
    BACKGROUND: Sesquiterpenes are 15-carbon terpenes synthesized by sesquiterpene synthases using farnesyl diphosphate (FPP) as a substrate. Recently, a sesquiterpene synthase gene that encodes a 65 kDa protein was isolated from the aromatic plant Persicaria minor. Here, we report the expression, purification and characterization of recombinant P. minor sesquiterpene synthase protein (PmSTS). Insights into the catalytic active site were further provided by structural analysis guided by multiple sequence alignment.

    METHODS: The enzyme was purified in two steps using affinity and size exclusion chromatography. Enzyme assays were performed using the malachite green assay and enzymatic product was identified using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. Sequence analysis of PmSTS was performed using multiple sequence alignment (MSA) against plant sesquiterpene synthase sequences. The homology model of PmSTS was generated using I-TASSER server.

    RESULTS: Our findings suggest that the recombinant PmSTS is mainly expressed as inclusion bodies and soluble aggregate in the E. coli protein expression system. However, the addition of 15% (v/v) glycerol to the protein purification buffer and the removal of N-terminal 24 amino acids of PmSTS helped to produce homogenous recombinant protein. Enzyme assay showed that recombinant PmSTS is active and specific to the C15 substrate FPP. The optimal temperature and pH for the recombinant PmSTS are 30 °C and pH 8.0, respectively. The GC-MS analysis further showed that PmSTS produces β-sesquiphellandrene as a major product and β-farnesene as a minor product. MSA analysis revealed that PmSTS adopts a modified conserved metal binding motif (NSE/DTE motif). Structural analysis suggests that PmSTS may binds to its substrate similarly to other plant sesquiterpene synthases.

    DISCUSSION: The study has revealed that homogenous PmSTS protein can be obtained with the addition of glycerol in the protein buffer. The N-terminal truncation dramatically improved the homogeneity of PmSTS during protein purification, suggesting that the disordered N-terminal region may have caused the formation of soluble aggregate. We further show that the removal of the N-terminus disordered region of PmSTS does not affect the product specificity. The optimal temperature, optimal pH, Km and kcat values of PmSTS suggests that PmSTS shares similar enzyme characteristics with other plant sesquiterpene synthases. The discovery of an altered conserved metal binding motif in PmSTS through MSA analysis shows that the NSE/DTE motif commonly found in terpene synthases is able to accommodate certain level of plasticity to accept variant amino acids. Finally, the homology structure of PmSTS that allows good fitting of substrate analog into the catalytic active site suggests that PmSTS may adopt a sesquiterpene biosynthesis mechanism similar to other plant sesquiterpene synthases.

  19. A Rahaman SN, Mat Yusop J, Mohamed-Hussein ZA, Aizat WM, Ho KL, Teh AH, et al.
    PeerJ, 2018;6:e5377.
    PMID: 30280012 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5377
    Proteins of the DUF866 superfamily are exclusively found in eukaryotic cells. A member of the DUF866 superfamily, C1ORF123, is a human protein found in the open reading frame 123 of chromosome 1. The physiological role of C1ORF123 is yet to be determined. The only available protein structure of the DUF866 family shares just 26% sequence similarity and does not contain a zinc binding motif. Here, we present the crystal structure of the recombinant human C1ORF123 protein (rC1ORF123). The structure has a 2-fold internal symmetry dividing the monomeric protein into two mirrored halves that comprise of distinct electrostatic potential. The N-terminal half of rC1ORF123 includes a zinc-binding domain interacting with a zinc ion near to a potential ligand binding cavity. Functional studies of human C1ORF123 and its homologue in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe (SpEss1) point to a role of DUF866 protein in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation.
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