The endogenous production of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) in carnivorous teleost species inhabiting freshwater environments is poorly understood. Although a predatory lifestyle could potentially supply sufficient LC-PUFA to satisfy the requirements of these species, the nutrient-poor characteristics of the freshwater food web could impede this advantage. In this study, we report the cloning and functional characterisation of an elongase enzyme in the LC-PUFA biosynthesis pathway from striped snakehead (Channa striata), which is a strict freshwater piscivore that shows high deposition of LC-PUFA in its flesh. We also functionally characterised a previously isolated fatty acyl desaturase cDNA from this species. Results showed that the striped snakehead desaturase is capable of Δ4 and Δ5 desaturation activities, while the elongase showed the characteristics of Elovl5 elongases. Collectively, these findings reveal that striped snakehead exhibits the genetic resources to synthesise docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6n-3) from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5n-3). Both genes are expressed at considerable levels in the brain and the liver. In liver, both genes were up-regulated by dietary C18 PUFA, although this increase did not correspond to a significant rise in the deposition of muscle LC-PUFA. Brain tissue of fish fed with plant oil diets showed higher expression of fads2 gene compared to fish fed with fish oil-based diet, which could ensure DHA levels remain constant under limited dietary DHA intake. This suggests the importance of DHA production from EPA via the ∆4 desaturation step in order to maintain an optimal reserve of DHA in the neuronal tissues of carnivores.
Cardiotoxins are the most abundant toxin components of cobra venom. Although many cardiotoxins have been purified and characterized by amino acid sequencing and other pharmacological and biochemical studies, to date only five cardiotoxin cDNAs from Taiwan cobra (Naja naja atra), three cDNAs from Chinese cobra (Naja atra) and two more of uncertain origin (either Chinese or Taiwan cobra) have been reported. In this paper we show the existence of four isoforms of cardiotoxin by protein analysis and nine cDNA sequences encoding six isoforms of cardiotoxins (CTX 1-3, 4a, 4b and 5) from N. n. sputatrix by cDNA cloning. This forms the first report on the cloning and characterization of several cardiotoxin genes from a single species of a spitting cobra. The cDNAs encoding these isoforms, obtained by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), were subsequently expressed in Escherichia coli. The native and recombinant cardiotoxins were first characterized by Western blotting and N-terminal protein sequencing. These proteins were also found to have different levels of cytolytic activity on cultured baby hamster kidney cells. Four of the isoforms (CTX 1, 2, 4 and 5) are unique to N. n. sputatrix, with CTX 2 being the most abundant species constituting about 50% of the total cardiotoxins. The isoform CTX 3 (20% constitution) is highly homologous to the cardiotoxins of N. n. atra and N. n. naja, indicating that it may be universally present in all Naja naja subspecies. Our studies suggest that the most hydrophilic isoform (CTX 5) could have evolved first followed by the hydrophobic isoforms (CTX 1, 2, 3 and 4). We also speculate that Asiatic cobras could be the modern descendants of the African and Egyptian counterparts.
We recently adopted immobilized jacalin as an affinity adsorbent to purify human serum IgA for laboratory study. In the course of our investigation, we detected a serum protein that co-eluted with IgA from jacalin-agarose affinity column. It constituted in significant quantity (24.0 +/- 0.9%, n = 30) of total jacalin-bound protein (JBP) and the yield was equivalent to 0.4 +/- 0.1 mg per ml serum. The molecular mass of this protein was 55 kDa with electromobility in the alpha 2 region as demonstrated by SDS-PAGE and immunoelectrophoresis. N-terminal microsequencing of this 55 kDa protein revealed that it is human alpha 2-HS glycoprotein (alpha 2HSG). The molecular interaction of alpha 2HSG with jacalin was characterized by competitive ELISA: human serum IgA, human colostrum secretory IgA (sIgA), and monosaccharides including D-galactose and melibiose exhibited strong inhibitory effect on its binding to jacalin. Accordingly, we propose that human alpha 2HSG binds in a similar manner as that of the bovine fetuin to jacalin. In addition, alpha 2HSG displays similar binding property to jacalin from different geographic area (India and Malaysia) and from different laboratory preparations (Sigma, Pierce and 'homemade' jacalin).
Twenty authentic steroids, derivatized as O-methyl oximes (MO), trimethylsilyl (TMS) ethers or as MO-TMS ethers have been subjected to capillary gas chromatography using two different columns. Virtually all of the steroid derivatives have been resolved, one difficult pair to separate being 5,16-androstadien-3 beta-ol and 5 alpha-androst-16-en-3 beta-ol on the non-selective phase OV-1. Where syn and anti forms of MO derivatives arose, these were also resolved under the conditions utilised. This technique of 'steroid profiling' has been applied to the separation and quantification of metabolites of pregnenolone which were formed during incubations of the microsomal and cytosolic fractions from rat testes. The majority of the metabolites were found in the microsomal incubation. These compounds included some odorous 16-androstenes as well as other C21 and C19 steroids, the formation of which was consistent with the 5-ene and 4-ene pathways of testosterone biosynthesis being operative. In addition, evidence was obtained for 16 alpha-hydroxylation of C21 steroids. Very much less metabolic activity was found in the cytosolic fraction of rat testes. Metabolic pathways have been proposed which both confirm and extend earlier work. We conclude that the rat testis can only form some of the odorous, possibly pheromonal, 16-androstenes and that these are quantitatively less important than in the porcine testis.
Plasmepsin II is a malarial pepsin-like aspartic protease produced as a zymogen containing an N-terminal prosegment domain that is removed during activation. Despite structural similarities between active plasmepsin II and pepsin, their prosegments adopt different conformations in the respective zymogens. In contrast to pepsinogen, the proplasmepsin II prosegment is 80 residues longer, contains a transmembrane region and is non-essential for recombinant expression in an active form, thus calling into question the prosegment's precise function. The present study examines the role of the prosegment in the folding mechanism of plasmepsin II. Both a shorter (residues 77-124) and a longer (residues 65-124) prosegment catalyze plasmepsin II folding at rates more than four orders of magnitude faster compared to folding without prosegment. Native plasmepsin II is kinetically trapped and requires the prosegment both to catalyze folding and to shift the folding equilibrium towards the native conformation. Thus, despite low sequence identity and distinct zymogen conformations, the folding landscapes of plasmepsin II and pepsin, both with and without prosegment, are qualitatively identical. These results imply a conserved and unusual feature of the pepsin-like protease topology that necessitates prosegment-assisted folding.
Oxalacetate and glyoxylate are each weak inhibitors of NADP+-specific isocitrate dehydrogenase (threo-DS-isocitrate:NADP+ oxidoreductase (decarboxylating), EC 220.127.116.11)9 Together, however, they act in a concerted manner and strongly inhibit the enzyme. The rates of formation and dissociation of the enzyme inhibitor complex, and the rate of formation and the stability of the aldol condensation product of oxalacetate and glyoxylate, oxalomalate, were examined. The data obtained do not support the often suggested possibility that oxalomalate, per se, formed non-enzymatically in isocitrate dehydrogenase assay mixtures containing oxalacetate and glyoxylate, is responsible for the observed inhibition of the enzyme. Rather, the data presented in this communication suggest that oxalacetate binds to the enzyme first, and that the subsequent binding of glyoxylate leads to the formation of a catalytically inactive enzyme-inhibitor complex.