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  • Journal article
    Ritzefeld M, Wright MH, Tate EW, 2017,

    New developments in probing and targeting protein acylation in malaria, leishmaniasis and African sleeping sickness

    , Parasitology, Vol: 145, Pages: 157-174, ISSN: 1469-8161

    Infections by protozoan parasites, such as Plasmodium falciparum or Leishmania donovani, have a significant health, social and economic impact and threaten billions of people living in tropical and sub-tropical regions of developing countries worldwide. The increasing range of parasite strains resistant to frontline therapeutics makes the identification of novel drug targets and the development of corresponding inhibitors vital. Post-translational modifications (PTMs) are important modulators of biology and inhibition of protein lipidation has emerged as a promising therapeutic strategy for treatment of parasitic diseases. In this review we summarize the latest insights into protein lipidation in protozoan parasites. We discuss how recent chemical proteomic approaches have delivered the first global overviews of protein lipidation in these organisms, contributing to our understanding of the role of this PTM in critical metabolic and cellular functions. Additionally, we highlight the development of new small molecule inhibitors to target parasite acyl transferases.

  • Journal article
    Lanyon-Hogg T, Patel NV, Ritzefeld M, Boxall KJ, Burke R, Blagg J, Magee AI, Tate EWet al., 2017,

    Microfluidic mobility shift assay for real-time analysis of peptide n-palmitoylation

    , SLAS Discovery, Vol: 22, Pages: 418-424, ISSN: 2472-5552

    The Hedgehog pathway is a key developmental signaling pathway but is also implicated in many types of cancer. The extracellular signaling protein Sonic hedgehog (Shh) requires dual lipidation for functional signaling, whereby N-terminal palmitoylation is performed by the enzyme Hedgehog acyltransferase (Hhat). Hhat is an attractive target for small-molecule inhibition to arrest Hedgehog signaling, and methods for assaying Hhat activity are central to understanding its function. However, all existing assays to quantify lipidation of peptides suffer limitations, such as safety hazards, high costs, extensive manual handling, restriction to stopped-assay measurements, or indirect assessment of lipidation. To address these limitations, we developed a microfluidic mobility shift assay (MSA) to analyze Shh palmitoylation. MSA allowed separation of fluorescently labeled Shh amine-substrate and palmitoylated Shh amide-product peptides based on differences in charge and hydrodynamic radius, coupled with online fluorescence intensity measurements for quantification. The MSA format was employed to study Hhat-catalyzed reactions, investigate Hhat kinetics, and determine small-molecule inhibitor IC50 values. Both real-time and stopped assays were performed, with the latter achieved via addition of excess unlabeled Shh peptide. The MSA format therefore allows direct and real-time fluorescence-based measurement of acylation and represents a powerful alternative technique in the study of N-lipidation.

  • Journal article
    Demetriadou A, Morales-Sanfrutos J, Nearchou M, Baba O, Kyriacou K, Tate EW, Drousiotou A, Petrou PPet al., 2017,

    Mouse Stbd1 is N-myristoylated and affects ER-mitochondria association and mitochondrial morphology

    , Journal of Cell Science, Vol: 130, Pages: 903-915, ISSN: 1477-9137

    Starch binding domain-containing protein 1 (Stbd1) is a carbohydrate-binding protein that has been proposed to be a selective autophagy receptor for glycogen. Here, we show that mouse Stbd1 is a transmembrane endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident protein with the capacity to induce the formation of organized ER structures in HeLa cells. In addition to bulk ER, Stbd1 was found to localize to mitochondria-associated membranes (MAMs), which represent regions of close apposition between the ER and mitochondria. We demonstrate that N-myristoylation and binding of Stbd1 to glycogen act as major determinants of its subcellular targeting. Moreover, overexpression of non-myristoylated Stbd1 enhanced the association between ER and mitochondria, and further induced prominent mitochondrial fragmentation and clustering. Conversely, shRNA-mediated Stbd1 silencing resulted in an increase in the spacing between ER and mitochondria, and an altered morphology of the mitochondrial network, suggesting elevated fusion and interconnectivity of mitochondria. Our data unravel the molecular mechanism underlying Stbd1 subcellular targeting, support and expand its proposed function as a selective autophagy receptor for glycogen and uncover a new role for the protein in the physical association between ER and mitochondria.

  • Journal article
    French PMW, Görlitz F, Kelly D, Warren S, Alibhai D, West L, Kumar S, Alexandrov Y, Munro I, McGinty J, Talbot C, Serwa R, Thinon E, Da Paola V, Murray EJ, Stuhmeier F, Neil M, Tate E, Dunsby Cet al., 2017,

    Open source high content analysis utilizing automated fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy

    , Jove-Journal of Visualized Experiments, Vol: 119, ISSN: 1940-087X

    We present an open source high content analysis instrument utilizing automated fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM) for assaying protein interactions using Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) based readouts of fixed or live cells in multiwell plates. This provides a means to screen for cell signaling processes read out using intramolecular FRET biosensors or intermolecular FRET of protein interactions such as oligomerization or heterodimerization, which can be used to identify binding partners. We describe herethe functionality of this automated multiwell plate FLIM instrumentation and present exemplar data from our studies of HIV Gag protein oligomerization and a time course of a FRET biosensor in live cells. A detailed description of the practical implementation is then provided with reference to a list of hardware components and a description of the open source data acquisition software written in μ Manager. The application of FLIMfit, an open source MATLAB-based client for the OMERO platform, to analyze arrays of multiwell plate FLIM data is also presented. The protocols for imaging fixed and live cells are outlined and a demonstration of an automated multiwell plate FLIM experiment using cells expressing fluorescent protein-based FRET constructs is presented. This is complemented by a walk-through of the data analysis for this specific FLIM FRET data set.

  • Journal article
    Duluc L, Ahmetaj-Shala B, Mitchell J, Abdul Salam VB, Mahomed AS, Aldabbous L, Oliver E, Iannone L, Dubois OD, Storck EM, Tate EW, Zhao L, Wilkins MR, Wojciak-Stothard B, Wojciak-Stothard B, Duluc L, Ahmetaj-Shala B, Mitchell J, Abdul Salam VB, Mahomed AS, Aldabbous L, Oliver E, Dubois OD, Storck EM, Tate EW, Zhao L, Wilkins MRet al., 2017,

    Tipifarnib prevents development of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension

    , Cardiovascular Research, Vol: 113, Pages: 276-287, ISSN: 1755-3245

    Aims.RhoB plays a key role in the pathogenesis of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension. Farnesylated RhoB promotes growth responses in cancer cells and we investigated whether inhibition of protein farnesylation will have a protective effect. Methods and Results.The analysis of lung tissues from rodent models and pulmonary hypertensive patientsshowed increased levels of protein farnesylation. Oral farnesyltransferase inhibitor tipifarnib prevented development of hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension in mice. Tipifarnib reduced hypoxia-induced vascular cell proliferation, increased endothelium-dependent vasodilatation and reduced vasoconstriction of intrapulmonary arteries without affecting cell viability. Protective effects of tipifarnib were associated with inhibition of Ras and RhoB, actin depolymerisation and increased eNOS expression in vitroand in vivo. Farnesylated-only RhoB (F-RhoB) increased proliferative responses in cultured pulmonary vascular cells, mimicking the effects of hypoxia, while both geranylgeranylated-only RhoB (GG-RhoB) and tipifarnib had an inhibitory effect. Label-free proteomics linked F-RhoB with cell survival, activation of cell cycle and mitochondrial biogenesis. Hypoxia increased and tipifarnib reduced the levels of F-RhoB-regulated proteins in the lung, reinforcing the importance of RhoB as a signalling mediator.Unlike simvastatin, tipifarnib did not increase the expression levels of Rho proteins.Conclusions.Our study demonstrates the importance of protein farnesylation in pulmonary vascular remodeling and provides a rationale for selective targeting of this pathway in pulmonary hypertension.

  • Journal article
    Perdios L, Lowe AR, Saladino G, Bunney TD, Thiyagarajan N, Alexandrov Y, Dunsby C, French PM, Chin JW, Gervasio FL, Tate EW, Katan Met al., 2017,

    Conformational transition of FGFR kinase activation revealed by site-specific unnatural amino acid reporter and single molecule FRET

    , Scientific Reports, Vol: 7, ISSN: 2045-2322

    Protein kinases share significant structural similarity; however, structural features alone are insufficient to explain their diverse functions. Thus, bridging the gap between static structure and function requires a more detailed understanding of their dynamic properties. For example, kinase activation may occur via a switch-like mechanism or by shifting a dynamic equilibrium between inactive and active states. Here, we utilize a combination of FRET and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to probe the activation mechanism of the kinase domain of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor (FGFR). Using genetically-encoded, site-specific incorporation of unnatural amino acids in regions essential for activation, followed by specific labeling with fluorescent moieties, we generated a novel class of FRET-based reporter to monitor conformational differences corresponding to states sampled by non phosphorylated/inactive and phosphorylated/active forms of the kinase. Single molecule FRET analysis in vitro, combined with MD simulations, shows that for FGFR kinase, there are populations of inactive and active states separated by a high free energy barrier resulting in switch-like activation. Compared to recent studies, these findings support diversity in features of kinases that impact on their activation mechanisms. The properties of these FRET-based constructs will also allow further studies of kinase dynamics as well as applications in vivo.

  • Journal article
    Goncalves V, Brannigan JA, Laporte A, Bell AS, Roberts SM, Wilkinson AJ, Leatherbarrow RJ, Tate EWet al., 2016,

    Structure-guided optimization of quinoline inhibitors of Plasmodium N-myristoyltransferase

    , MedChemComm, Vol: 8, Pages: 191-197, ISSN: 2040-2511

    The parasite Plasmodium vivax is the most widely distributed cause of recurring malaria. N-myristoyltransferase (NMT), an enzyme that catalyses the covalent attachment of myristate to the N-terminal glycine of substrate proteins, has been described as a potential target for the treatment of this disease. Herein, we report the synthesis and the structure-guided optimization of a series of quinolines with balanced activity against both Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum N-myristoyltransferase (NMT).

  • Journal article
    Ward JA, McLellan L, Stockley M, Gibson KR, Whitlock GA, Knights C, Harrigan JA, Jacq X, Tate EWet al., 2016,

    Quantitative Chemical Proteomic Profiling of Ubiquitin Specific Proteases in Intact Cancer Cells

    , ACS Chemical Biology, Vol: 11, Pages: 3268-3272, ISSN: 1554-8937

    Deubiquitinating enzymes play an important role in a plethora of therapeutically relevant processes and are emerging as pioneering drug targets. Herein, we present a novel probe, Ubiquitin Specific Protease (USP) inhibitor, alongside an alkyne-tagged activity-based probe analogue. Activity-based proteome profiling identified 12 USPs, including USP4, USP16, and USP33, as inhibitor targets using submicromolar probe concentrations. This represents the first intact cell activity-based profiling of deubiquitinating enzymes. Further analysis demonstrated functional inhibition of USP33 and identified a synergistic relationship in combination with ATR inhibition, consistent with USP4 inhibition.

  • Journal article
    Rodgers U, Lanyon-Hogg T, Masumoto N, Ritzefeld M, Burke R, Blagg J, Magee A, Tate Eet al., 2016,

    Characterization of hedgehog acyltransferase inhibitors identifies a small molecule probe for hedgehog signaling by cancer cells

    , ACS Chemical Biology, Vol: 11, Pages: 3256-3262, ISSN: 1554-8937

    The Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway plays a critical role during embryonic development and cancer progression. N-terminal palmitoylation of Shh by Hedgehog acyltransferase (Hhat) is essential for efficient signaling, raising interest in Hhat as a novel drug target. A recently identified series of dihydrothienopyridines has been proposed to function via this mode of action; however, the lead compound in this series (RUSKI-43) was subsequently shown to possess cytotoxic activity unrelated to canonical Shh signaling. To identify a selective chemical probe for cellular studies, we profiled three RUSKI compounds in orthogonal cell-based assays. We found that RUSKI-43 exhibits off-target cytotoxicity, masking its effect on Hhat-dependent signaling, hence results obtained with this compound in cells should be treated with caution. In contrast, RUSKI-201 showed no off-target cytotoxicity, and quantitative whole-proteome palmitoylation profiling with a bioorthogonal alkyne-palmitate reporter demonstrated specific inhibition of Hhat in cells. RUSKI-201 is the first selective Hhat chemical probe in cells and should be used in future studies of Hhat catalytic function.

  • Journal article
    Zhao W, Jamshidiha M, Lanyon-Hogg T, Recchi C, Cota E, Tate EWet al., 2016,

    Direct targeting of the Ras GTPase superfamily through structure-based design

    , Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, Vol: 16, Pages: 16-29, ISSN: 1873-4294

    The Ras superfamily of small monomeric GTPases includes some of the most prominent cancer targets for which no selective therapeutic agent has yet been successfully developed. The turn of the millennium saw a resurgence of efforts to target these enzymes using new and improved biophysical techniques to overcome the perceived difficulties of insurmountably high affinity for guanosine nucleotides and flat, flexible topology lacking suitable pockets for small molecule inhibitors. Further, recent investigations have begun to probe the dynamic conformational status of GTP-bound Ras, opening up new mechanisms of inhibition. While much of the literature has focused on the oncogenic Ras proteins, particularly K-Ras, these represent only a small minority of therapeutically interesting targets within the superfamily; for example, the Rab GTPases are the largest subfamily of about 70 members, and present an as yet untapped class of potential targets. The present review documents the key methodologies employed to date in structure-guided attempts to drug the Ras GTPases, and forecasts their transferability to other similarly challenging proteins in the superfamily.

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