Data from: The Cardiovascular Effects of Adjunctive Metformin Therapy in Overweight/obese Youth with Type 1 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial
This dataset is the primary data source for a manuscript submitted for publication.
Context: The cardiovascular effect of adjunctive metformin therapy in overweight/obese youth with type 1 diabetes (T1D) is unknown.
Objective: To compare the effect of prolonged, adjunctive metformin vs. placebo therapy on markers of cardiovascular risk in overweight/obese youth with T1D based on differences in total cholesterol (TC)/ high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio, triglycerides (TG)/HDL ratio, Atherogenic Index of Plasma (AIP) log [TG/HDL] ratio, adiponectin/leptin ratio, and 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] concentration.
Hypothesis: Adjunctive metformin therapy will improve markers of cardiovascular health in overweight/obese youth with T1D.
Setting: University outpatient facility.
Design and Participants: A 9-mo randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of metformin (1000 mg daily) and placebo in 28 subjects (13m/15f) of ages 10-20years (y), with HbA1c >8%, BMI >85%, and T1D > 12 months. The metformin group consisted of 15 subjects (8 m/7f), of age 15.0±2.5 y; while the control group consisted of 13 subjects (5m/8f), of age 14.5±3.1y. Participants employed a self-directed treat-to-target insulin regimen based on a titration algorithm of (-2)-0-(+2) units to adjust long-acting insulin dose every 3rd day from -3 mo through +9 mo to maintain fasting plasma glucose between 90-120 mg/dL.
Results: After adjusting for age, gender, BMI, and baseline values, the metformin group had a clinically significant reduction in TC/HDL of 0.5 unit: 3.5[3.0-4.1] vs. 4.0 [3.3-4.4] (p=0.578); and TG/HDL of 1.0 unit, 2.6 [1.1-4.3] vs. 3.6 [2.0-5.2] (p=0.476); and AIP of 0.44 unit: -0.23 ± 0.9 vs. 0.21 ± 0.8 (p=0.251). Conversely, the metformin group had a clinically significant elevation in adiponectin/leptin ratio of 0.8 unit: 2.0[0.84-3.2] vs. 1.2[0.11-2.3], (p=0.057); and a mean serum 25(OH)D in the vitamin D sufficiency range, 31.3 ng/mL [22.3-40.4] compared to the placebo group's lower mean 25(OH)D of 25.8 ng/mL [14.1-35.9], (p=0.337).
Conclusions: Prolonged adjunctive metformin therapy may be cardio-protective in overweight/obese youth with T1D.
High-throughput sequencing has enabled many powerful approaches in biological research. Here, we review sequencing approaches to measure frequency changes within engineered mutational libraries subject to selection. These analyses can provide direct estimates of biochemical and fitness effects for all individual mutations across entire genes (and likely compact genomes in the near future) in genetically tractable systems such as microbes, viruses, and mammalian cells. The effects of mutations on experimental fitness can be assessed using sequencing to monitor time-dependent changes in mutant frequency during bulk competitions. The impact of mutations on biochemical functions can be determined using reporters or other means of separating variants based on individual activities (e.g., binding affinity for a partner molecule can be interrogated using surface display of libraries of mutant proteins and isolation of bound and unbound populations). The comprehensive investigation of mutant effects on both biochemical function and experimental fitness provide promising new avenues to investigate the connections between biochemistry, cell physiology, and evolution. We summarize recent findings from systematic mutational analyses; describe how they relate to a field rich in both theory and experimentation; and highlight how they may contribute to ongoing and future research into protein structure-function relationships, systems-level descriptions of cell physiology, and population-genetic inferences on the relative contributions of selection and drift.
This review discusses three inter-related topics: (1) the immaturity of the neonatal and infant immune response; (2) heterologous immunity, where prior infection history with unrelated pathogens alters disease outcome resulting in either enhanced protective immunity or increased immunopathology to new infections, and (3) epidemiological human vaccine studies that demonstrate vaccines can have beneficial or detrimental effects on subsequent unrelated infections. The results from the epidemiological and heterologous immunity studies suggest that the immune system has tremendous plasticity and that each new infection or vaccine that an individual is exposed to during a lifetime will potentially alter the dynamics of their immune system. It also suggests that each new infection or vaccine that an infant receives is not only perturbing the immune system but is educating the immune system and laying down the foundation for all subsequent responses. This leads to the question, is there an optimum way to educate the immune system? Should this be taken into consideration in our vaccination protocols?
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: beta Cells represent one of many cell types in heterogeneous pancreatic islets and play the central role in maintaining glucose homeostasis, such that disrupting beta-cell function leads to diabetes. This review summarizes the methods for isolating and characterizing beta cells, and describes integrated 'omics' approaches used to define the beta cell by its transcriptome and proteome.
RECENT FINDINGS: RNA sequencing and mass spectrometry-based protein identification have now identified RNA and protein profiles for mouse and human pancreatic islets and beta cells, and for beta-cell lines. Recent publications have outlined these profiles and, more importantly, have begun to assign the presence or absence of specific genes and regulatory molecules to beta-cell function and dysfunction. Overall, researchers have focused on understanding the pathophysiology of diabetes by connecting genome, transcriptome, proteome, and regulatory RNA profiles with findings from genome-wide association studies.
SUMMARY: Studies employing these relatively new techniques promise to identify specific genes or regulatory RNAs with altered expression as beta-cell function begins to deteriorate in the spiral toward the development of diabetes. The ultimate goal is to identify the potential therapeutic targets to prevent beta-cell dysfunction and thereby better treat the individual with diabetes.
VIDEO ABSTRACT: http://links.lww.com/COE/A5.
Asparagine (N)-linked glycosylation is essential for efficient protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and anterograde trafficking through the secretory pathway. N-Glycans are attached to nascent polypeptides at consensus sites, N-X-T/S (X not equal P), by one of two enzymatic isoforms of the oligosaccharyltransferase (OST), STT3A or STT3B. Here, we examined the effect of the consensus site X and hydroxyl residue on the distributions of co- and post-translational N-glycosylation of a type I transmembrane glycopeptide scaffold. Using rapid radioactive pulse-chase experiments to resolve co-translational (STT3A) and post-translational (STT3B) events, we determined that NXS consensus sites containing large hydrophobic and negatively charged middle residues are frequently skipped by STT3A during protein translation. Post-translational modification of the cotranslationally skipped sites by STT3B was similarly hindered by the middle X residue, resulting in hypoglycosylation of NXS sites containing large hydrophobic and negatively charged side chains. In contrast, NXT consensus sites (barring NWT) were efficiently modified by the cotranslational machinery, reducing STT3B's role in modifying consensus sites skipped during protein translation. A strong correlation between cotranslational N-glycosylation efficiency and the rate of post-translational N-glycosylation was determined, showing that the OST STT3A and STT3B isoforms are similarly influenced by the hydroxyl and middle X consensus site residues. Substituting various middle X residues into an OST eubacterial homologous structure revealed that small and polar consensus site X residues fit well in the peptide binding site whereas large hydrophobic and negatively charged residues were harder to accommodate, indicating conserved enzymatic mechanisms for the mammalian OST isoforms.
Thousands of large intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) have been identified in the mammalian genome, many of which have important roles in regulating a variety of biological processes. Here, we used a custom microarray to identify lincRNAs associated with activation of the innate immune response. A panel of 159 lincRNAs was found to be differentially expressed following innate activation of THP1 macrophages. Among them, linc1992 was shown to be expressed in many human tissues and was required for induction of TNFalpha expression. Linc1992 bound specifically to heterogenous nuclear ribonucleoprotein L (hnRNPL) and formed a functional linc1992-hnRNPL complex that regulated transcription of the TNFalpha gene by binding to its promoter. Transcriptome analysis revealed that linc1992 was required for expression of many immune-response genes, including other cytokines and transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulators of TNFalpha expression, and that knockdown of linc1992 caused dysregulation of these genes during innate activation of THP1 macrophages. Therefore, we named linc1992 THRIL (TNFalpha and hnRNPL related immunoregulatory LincRNA). Finally, THRIL expression was correlated with the severity of symptoms in patients with Kawasaki disease, an acute inflammatory disease of childhood. Collectively, our data provide evidence that lincRNAs and their binding proteins can regulate TNFalpha expression and may play important roles in the innate immune response and inflammatory diseases in humans.
Less than 1.5% of the human genome encodes protein. However, vast portions of the human genome are subject to transcriptional and epigenetic regulation, and many noncoding regulatory DNA elements are thought to regulate the spatial organization of interphase chromosomes. For example, chromosomal "loopings" are pivotal for the orderly process of gene expression, by enabling distal regulatory enhancer or silencer elements to directly interact with proximal promoter and transcription start sites, potentially bypassing hundreds of kilobases of interspersed sequence on the linear genome. To date, however, epigenetic studies in the human brain are mostly limited to the exploration of DNA methylation and posttranslational modifications of the nucleosome core histones. In contrast, very little is known about the regulation of supranucleosomal structures. Here, we show that chromosome conformation capture, a widely used approach to study higher-order chromatin, is applicable to tissue collected postmortem, thereby informing about genome organization in the human brain. We introduce chromosome conformation capture protocols for brain and compare higher-order chromatin structures at the chromosome 6p22.2-22.1 schizophrenia and bipolar disorder susceptibility locus, and additional neurodevelopmental risk genes, (DPP10, MCPH1) in adult prefrontal cortex and various cell culture systems, including neurons derived from reprogrammed skin cells. We predict that the exploration of three-dimensional genome architectures and function will open up new frontiers in human brain research and psychiatric genetics and provide novel insights into the epigenetic risk architectures of regulatory noncoding DNA. All rights reserved.
The ability of an attaching and effacing pathogen to trigger localized actin assembly contributes to virulence by promoting mucosal attachment
Enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) colonizes the intestine and causes bloody diarrhoea and kidney failure by producing Shiga toxin. Upon binding intestinal cells, EHEC triggers a change in host cell shape, generating actin 'pedestals' beneath bound bacteria. To investigate the importance of pedestal formation to disease, we infected genetically engineered mice incapable of supporting pedestal formation by an EHEC-like mouse pathogen, or wild type mice with a mutant of that pathogen incapable of generating pedestals. We found that pedestal formation promotes attachment of bacteria to the intestinal mucosa and vastly increases the severity of Shiga toxin-mediated disease.
Systematic exploration of ubiquitin sequence, E1 activation efficiency, and experimental fitness in yeast
The complexity of biological interaction networks poses a challenge to understanding the function of individual connections in the overall network. To address this challenge, we developed a high-throughput reverse engineering strategy to analyze how thousands of specific perturbations (encompassing all point mutations in a central gene) impact both a specific edge (interaction to a directly connected node) and an overall network function. We analyzed the effects of ubiquitin mutations on activation by the E1 enzyme and compared these to effects on yeast growth rate. Using this approach, we delineated ubiquitin mutations that selectively impacted the ubiquitin-E1 edge. We find that the elasticity function relating the efficiency of ubiquitin-E1 interaction to growth rate is non-linear and that a greater than 50-fold decrease in E1 activation efficiency is required to reduce growth rate by 2-fold. Despite the robustness of fitness to decreases in E1 activation efficiency, the effects of most ubiquitin mutations on E1 activation paralleled the effects on growth rate. Our observations indicate that most ubiquitin mutations that disrupt E1 activation also disrupt other functions. The structurally characterized ubiquitin-E1 interface encompasses the interfaces of ubiquitin with most other known binding partners, and we propose that this enables E1 in wild-type cells to selectively activate ubiquitin protein molecules capable of binding to other partners from the cytoplasmic pool of ubiquitin protein that will include molecules with chemical damage and/or errors from transcription and translation.
Susceptibility to HLA-DM protein is determined by a dynamic conformation of major histocompatibility complex class II molecule bound with peptide
HLA-DM mediates the exchange of peptides loaded onto MHCII molecules during antigen presentation by a mechanism that remains unclear and controversial. Here, we investigated the sequence and structural determinants of HLA-DM interaction. Peptides interacting nonoptimally in the P1 pocket exhibited low MHCII binding affinity and kinetic instability and were highly susceptible to HLA-DM-mediated peptide exchange. These changes were accompanied by conformational alterations detected by surface plasmon resonance, SDS resistance assay, antibody binding assay, gel filtration, dynamic light scattering, small angle x-ray scattering, and NMR spectroscopy. Surprisingly, all of those changes could be reversed by substitution of the P9 pocket anchor residue. Moreover, MHCII mutations outside the P1 pocket and the HLA-DM interaction site increased HLA-DM susceptibility. These results indicate that a dynamic MHCII conformational determinant rather than P1 pocket occupancy is the key factor determining susceptibility to HLA-DM-mediated peptide exchange and provide a molecular mechanism for HLA-DM to efficiently target unstable MHCII-peptide complexes for editing and exchange those for more stable ones.
Chitosan, the deacetylated derivative of chitin, can be found in the cell wall of some fungi and is used in translational applications. We have shown that highly purified preparations of chitosan, but not chitin, activate the NOD-like receptor family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome in primed mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMPhi), inducing a robust IL-1beta response. In this article, we further define specific cell types that are activated and delineate mechanisms of activation. BMMPhi differentiated to promote a classically activated (M1) phenotype released more IL-1beta in response to chitosan than intermediate or alternatively activated macrophages (M2). Chitosan, but not chitin, induced a robust IL-1beta response in mouse dendritic cells, peritoneal macrophages, and human PBMCs. Three mechanisms for NLRP3 inflammasome activation may contribute: K(+) efflux, reactive oxygen species, and lysosomal destabilization. The contributions of these mechanisms were tested using a K(+) efflux inhibitor, high extracellular potassium, a mitochondrial reactive oxygen species inhibitor, lysosomal acidification inhibitors, and a cathepsin B inhibitor. These studies revealed that each of these pathways participated in optimal NLRP3 inflammasome activation by chitosan. Finally, neither chitosan nor chitin stimulated significant release from unprimed BMMPhi of any of 22 cytokines and chemokines assayed. This study has the following conclusions: 1) chitosan, but not chitin, stimulates IL-1beta release from multiple murine and human cell types; 2) multiple nonredundant mechanisms appear to participate in inflammasome activation by chitosan; and 3) chitin and chitosan are relatively weak stimulators of inflammatory mediators from unprimed BMMPhi. These data have implications for understanding the nature of the immune response to microbes and biomaterials that contain chitin and chitosan.
Regulatory T (Treg) cells are important in the maintenance of self-tolerance, and the depletion of Treg cells correlates with autoimmune development. It has been shown that type I interferon (IFN) responses induced early in the infection of mice can drive memory (CD44hi) CD8 and CD4 T cells into apoptosis, and we questioned here whether the apoptosis of CD44-expressing Treg cells might be involved in the infection-associated autoimmune development. Instead, we found that Treg cells were much more resistant to apoptosis than CD44hi CD8 and CD4 T cells at days 2 to 3 after lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection, when type I IFN levels are high. The infection caused a downregulation of the interleukin-7 (IL-7) receptor, needed for survival of conventional T cells, while increasing on Treg cells the expression of the high-affinity IL-2 receptor, needed for STAT5-dependent survival of Treg cells. The stably maintained Treg cells early during infection may explain the relatively low incidence of autoimmune manifestations among infected patients.
IMPORTANCE: Autoimmune diseases are controlled in part by regulatory T cells (Treg) and are thought to sometimes be initiated by viral infections. We tested the hypothesis that Treg may die off at early stages of infection, when virus-induced factors kill other lymphocyte types. Instead, we found that Treg resisted this cell death, perhaps reducing the tendency of viral infections to cause immune dysfunction and induce autoimmunity.
Virus-specific CD8+ T cells in the lymphoid organs contract at the resolution of virus infections by apoptosis or by dissemination into peripheral tissues, and those residing in nonlymphoid organs, including the peritoneal cavity and fat pads, are more resistant to apoptosis than those in the spleen and lymph nodes. This stability of memory T cells in the nonlymphoid tissues may enhance protection to secondary challenges. Here, we show that lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV)-specific CD8+ T cells in nonlymphoid tissues were enriched for memory precursors (expressing high levels of interleukin-7 receptor and low levels of killer cell lectin-like receptor G1 [IL-7Rhi KLRG1lo]) and had higher expression of CD27, CXCR3, and T cell factor-1 (TCF-1), each a marker that is individually correlated with decreased apoptosis. CD8+ T cells in the peritoneal cavity of TCF-1-deficient mice had decreased survival, suggesting a role for TCF-1 in promoting survival in the nonlymphoid tissues. CXCR3+ CD8+ T cells resisted apoptosis and accumulated in the lymph nodes of mice treated with FTY720, which blocks the export of lymph node cells into peripheral tissue. The peritoneal exudate cells (PEC) expressed increased amounts of CXCR3 ligands, CXCL9 and CXCL10, which may normally recruit these nonapoptotic cells from the lymph nodes. In addition, adoptive transfer of splenic CD8+ T cells into PEC or spleen environments showed that the peritoneal environment promoted survival of CD8+ T cells. Thus, intrinsic stability of T cells which are present in the nonlymphoid tissues along with preferential migration of apoptosis-resistant CD8+ T cells into peripheral sites and the availability of tissue-specific factors that enhance memory cell survival may collectively account for the tissue-dependent apoptotic differences.
IMPORTANCE: Most infections are initiated at nonlymphoid tissue sites, and the presence of memory T cells in nonlymphoid tissues is critical for protective immunity in various viral infection models. Virus-specific CD8+ T cells in the nonlymphoid tissues are more resistant to apoptosis than those in lymphoid organs during the resolution and memory phase of the immune response to acute LCMV infection. Here, we investigated the mechanisms promoting stability of T cells in the nonlymphoid tissues. This increased resistance to apoptosis of virus-specific CD8+ T cells in nonlymphoid tissues was due to several factors. Nonlymphoid tissues were enriched in memory phenotype CD8+ T cells, which were intrinsically resistant to apoptosis irrespective of the tissue environment. Furthermore, apoptosis-resistant CD8+ T cells preferentially migrated into the nonlymphoid tissues, where the availability of tissue-specific factors may enhance memory cell survival. Our findings are relevant for the generation of long-lasting vaccines providing protection at peripheral infection sites.
Substantial evidence has suggested that the brain structures of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and amygdala (AMYG) are implicated in the pathophysiology of stress-related disorders. However, little is known with respect to the system-level adaptation of their neural circuitries to the perturbations of traumatic stressors. By utilizing behavioral tests and an awake animal imaging approach, in the present study we non-invasively investigated the impact of single-episode predator odor exposure in an inescapable environment on behaviors and neural circuits in rodents. We found that predator odor exposure significantly increased the freezing behavior. In addition, animals exhibited heightened anxiety levels seven days after the exposure. Intriguingly, we also found that the intrinsic functional connectivity within the AMYG-mPFC circuit was considerably compromised seven days after the traumatic event. Our data provide neuroimaging evidence suggesting that prolonged neuroadaptation induced by a single episode of traumatic stress can be non-invasively detected in rodents. These results also support the face validity and construction validity of using the paradigm of single trauma exposure in an inescapable environment as an animal model for post-traumatic stress disorder. Taken together, the present study has opened a new avenue to investigating animal models of stress-related mental disorders by going beyond static neuroanatomy, and ultimately bridging the gap between basic biomedical and human imaging research.
Folding of globular proteins can be envisioned as the contraction of a random coil unfolded state toward the native state on an energy surface rough with local minima trapping frustrated species. These substructures impede productive folding and can serve as nucleation sites for aggregation reactions. However, little is known about the relationship between frustration and its underlying sequence determinants. Chemotaxis response regulator Y (CheY), a 129-amino acid bacterial protein, has been shown previously to populate an off-pathway kinetic trap in the microsecond time range. The frustration has been ascribed to premature docking of the N- and C-terminal subdomains or, alternatively, to the formation of an unproductive local-in-sequence cluster of branched aliphatic side chains, isoleucine, leucine, and valine (ILV). The roles of the subdomains and ILV clusters in frustration were tested by altering the sequence connectivity using circular permutations. Surprisingly, the stability and buried surface area of the intermediate could be increased or decreased depending on the location of the termini. Comparison with the results of small-angle X-ray-scattering experiments and simulations points to the accelerated formation of a more compact, on-pathway species for the more stable intermediate. The effect of chain connectivity in modulating the structures and stabilities of the early kinetic traps in CheY is better understood in terms of the ILV cluster model. However, the subdomain model captures the requirement for an intact N-terminal domain to access the native conformation. Chain entropy and aliphatic-rich sequences play crucial roles in biasing the early events leading to frustration in the folding of CheY.
It has been some 40 years since repeating subunits in eukaryotic chromatin, initially termed "nu bodies," were described. Four decades of study have characterized the structural organization of the nucleosome, from multiple crystal structures of individual nucleosomes to genome-wide maps of nucleosome positions in scores of organisms. Nucleosome positioning can impact essentially all DNA-templated processes, making an appreciation of the forces shaping the nucleosomal landscape in eukaryotes key to fully understanding genomic regulation. Here, we review the factors impacting nucleosome positioning and the ways that nucleosomes can control the output of the genome.
Peptide binding to major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII) molecules is a key process in antigen presentation and CD4+ T cell epitope selection. This unit describes a fairly simple but powerful fluorescence polarization-based binding competition assay to measure peptide binding to soluble recombinant MHCII molecules. The binding of a peptide of interest to MHCII molecules is assessed based on its ability to inhibit the binding of a fluorescence-labeled probe peptide, with the strength of binding characterized as IC50 (concentration required for 50% inhibition of probe peptide binding). Data analysis related to this method is discussed. In addition, this unit includes a support protocol for fluorescence labeling peptide using an amine-reactive probe. The advantage of this protocol is that it allows simple, fast, and high-throughput measurements of binding for a large set of peptides to MHCII molecules.
Kinome-wide functional analysis highlights the role of cytoskeletal remodeling in somatic cell reprogramming
The creation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from somatic cells by ectopic expression of transcription factors has galvanized the fields of regenerative medicine and developmental biology. Here, we report a kinome-wide RNAi-based analysis to identify kinases that regulate somatic cell reprogramming to iPSCs. We prepared 3,686 small hairpin RNA (shRNA) lentiviruses targeting 734 kinase genes covering the entire mouse kinome and individually examined their effects on iPSC generation. We identified 59 kinases as barriers to iPSC generation and characterized seven of them further. We found that shRNA-mediated knockdown of the serine/threonine kinases TESK1 or LIMK2 promoted mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition, decreased COFILIN phosphorylation, and disrupted Actin filament structures during reprogramming of mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Similarly, knockdown of TESK1 in human fibroblasts also promoted reprogramming to iPSCs. Our study reveals the breadth of kinase networks regulating pluripotency and identifies a role for cytoskeletal remodeling in modulating the somatic cell reprogramming process.
Insulin receptor substrate 2-mediated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase signaling selectively inhibits glycogen synthase kinase 3beta to regulate aerobic glycolysis
Insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1) and IRS-2 are cytoplasmic adaptor proteins that mediate the activation of signaling pathways in response to ligand stimulation of upstream cell surface receptors. Despite sharing a high level of homology and the ability to activate PI3K, only Irs-2 positively regulates aerobic glycolysis in mammary tumor cells. To determine the contribution of Irs-2-dependent PI3K signaling to this selective regulation, we generated an Irs-2 mutant deficient in the recruitment of PI3K. We identified four tyrosine residues (Tyr-649, Tyr-671, Tyr-734, and Tyr-814) that are essential for the association of PI3K with Irs-2 and demonstrate that combined mutation of these tyrosines inhibits glucose uptake and lactate production, two measures of aerobic glycolysis. Irs-2-dependent activation of PI3K regulates the phosphorylation of specific Akt substrates, most notably glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (Gsk-3beta). Inhibition of Gsk-3beta by Irs-2-dependent PI3K signaling promotes glucose uptake and aerobic glycolysis. The regulation of unique subsets of Akt substrates by Irs-1 and Irs-2 may explain their non-redundant roles in mammary tumor biology. Taken together, our study reveals a novel mechanism by which Irs-2 signaling preferentially regulates tumor cell metabolism and adds to our understanding of how this adaptor protein contributes to breast cancer progression.
Allosteric regulation is an essential function of many proteins that control a variety of different processes such as catalysis, signal transduction, and gene regulation. Structural rearrangements have historically been considered the main means of communication between different parts of a protein. Recent studies have highlighted the importance, however, of changes in protein flexibility as an effective way to mediate allosteric communication across a protein. Scapharca dimeric hemoglobin (HbI) is the simplest possible allosteric system, with cooperative ligand binding between two identical subunits. Thermodynamic equilibrium studies of the binding of oxygen to HbI have shown that cooperativity is an entropically driven effect. The change in entropy of the system observed upon ligand binding may arise from changes in the protein, the ligand, or the water of the system. The goal of this study is to determine the contribution of the change in entropy of the protein backbone to HbI cooperative binding. Molecular dynamics simulations and nuclear magnetic resonance relaxation techniques have revealed that the fast internal motions of HbI contribute to the cooperative binding to carbon monoxide in two ways: (1) by contributing favorably to the free energy of the system and (2) by participating in the cooperative mechanism at the HbI subunit interface. The internal dynamics of the weakly cooperative HbI mutant, F97Y, were also investigated with the same methods. The changes in backbone NH dynamics observed for F97Y HbI upon ligand binding are not as large as for the wild type, in agreement with the reduced cooperativity observed for this mutant. The results of this study indicate that interface flexibility and backbone conformational entropy of HbI participate in and are important for the cooperative mechanism of carbon monoxide binding.