While the vast majority of well-structured single protein chains can now be predicted to high accuracy due to the recent AlphaFold  model, the prediction of multi-chain protein complexes remains a challenge in many cases. In this work, we demonstrate that an AlphaFold model trained specifically for multimeric inputs of known stoichiometry, which we call AlphaFold-Multimer, significantly increases accuracy of predicted multimeric interfaces over input-adapted single-chain AlphaFold while maintaining high intra-chain accuracy. On a benchmark dataset of 17 heterodimer proteins without templates (introduced in ) we achieve at least medium accuracy (DockQ  ≥ 0.49) on 14 targets and high accuracy (DockQ ≥ 0.8) on 6 targets, compared to 9 targets of at least medium accuracy and 4 of high accuracy for the previous state of the art system (an AlphaFold-based system from ). We also predict structures for a large dataset of 4,433 recent protein complexes, from which we score all non-redundant interfaces with low template identity. For heteromeric interfaces we successfully predict the interface (DockQ ≥ 0.23) in 67% of cases, and produce high accuracy predictions (DockQ ≥ 0.8) in 23% of cases, an improvement of +25 and +11 percentage points over the flexible linker modification of AlphaFold  respectively. For homomeric interfaces we successfully predict the interface in 69% of cases, and produce high accuracy predictions in 34% of cases, an improvement of +5 percentage points in both instances.
So far, gene therapies have relied on complex constructs that cannot be finely controlled1,2. Here we report a universal switch element that enables precise control of gene replacement or gene editing after exposure to a small molecule. The small-molecule inducers are currently in human use, are orally bioavailable when given to animals or humans and can reach both peripheral tissues and the brain. Moreover, the switch system, which we denote Xon, does not require the co-expression of any regulatory proteins. Using Xon, the translation of the desired elements for controlled gene replacement or gene editing machinery occurs after a single oral dose of the inducer, and the robustness of expression can be controlled by the drug dose, protein stability and redosing. The ability of Xon to provide temporal control of protein expression can be adapted for cell-biology applications and animal studies. Additionally, owing to the oral bioavailability and safety of the drugs used, the Xon switch system provides an unprecedented opportunity to refine and tailor the application of gene therapies in humans.
Therapeutic proteins such as vaccines, antibodies, hormones, and cytokines are generally produced in bacteria or eukaryotic systems, including chicken eggs and mammalian or insect cell cultures, with high production yield according to well-defined regulatory guidelines ([ 1 ]). The use of plants for the production of therapeutic proteins, called molecular farming, was proposed as an alternative biomanufacturing method in 1986. The first and only plant-derived therapeutic protein for human use was approved in 2012 for the treatment of Gaucher disease. In 2019, a plant-produced influenza virus vaccine completed phase 3 clinical trials, with encouraging results ([ 2 ]). More recently, phase 3 trials for an adjuvanted plant-made vaccine (CoVLP) against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (NCT04636697) began in March 2021. These successes have revived interest in plant-produced pharmaceuticals for human use, which could include edible drugs.
Genome-embedded ribonucleotides arrest replicative DNA polymerases (Pols) and cause DNA breaks. Whether mammalian DNA repair Pols efficiently use template ribonucleotides and promote RNA-templated DNA repair synthesis remains unknown. We find that human Polθ reverse transcribes RNA, similar to retroviral reverse transcriptases (RTs). Polθ exhibits a significantly higher velocity and fidelity of deoxyribonucleotide incorporation on RNA versus DNA. The 3.2-Å crystal structure of Polθ on a DNA/RNA primer-template with bound deoxyribonucleotide reveals that the enzyme undergoes a major structural transformation within the thumb subdomain to accommodate A-form DNA/RNA and forms multiple hydrogen bonds with template ribose 2′-hydroxyl groups like retroviral RTs. Last, we find that Polθ promotes RNA-templated DNA repair in mammalian cells. These findings suggest that Polθ was selected to accommodate template ribonucleotides during DNA repair. Polθ reverse transcribes RNA by undergoing a significant conformational change and promotes RNA-templated DNA repair. Polθ reverse transcribes RNA by undergoing a significant conformational change and promotes RNA-templated DNA repair.
Temperature is a variable component of the environment, and all organisms must deal with or adapt to temperature change. Acute temperature change activates cellular stress responses, resulting in refolding or removal of damaged proteins. However, how organisms adapt to long-term temperature change remains largely unexplored. Here we report that budding yeast responds to long-term high temperature challenge by switching from chaperone induction to reduction of temperature-sensitive proteins and re-localizing a portion of its proteome. Surprisingly, we also find that many proteins adopt an alternative conformation. Using Fet3p as an example, we find that the temperature-dependent conformational difference is accompanied by distinct thermostability, subcellular localization, and, importantly, cellular functions. We postulate that, in addition to the known mechanisms of adaptation, conformational plasticity allows some polypeptides to acquire new biophysical properties and functions when environmental change endures.
Oral cancer is among the deadliest types of malignancy due to the late stage at which it is usually diagnosed, leaving the patient with an average five-year survival rate of less than 50%. The booming field of biosensing and point of care diagnostics can, in this regard, play a major role in the early detection of oral cancer. Saliva is gaining interest as an alternative biofluid for non-invasive diagnostics, and many salivary biomarkers of oral cancer have been proposed. While these findings are promising for the application of salivaomics tools in routine practice, studies on larger cohorts are still needed for clinical validation. This review aims to summarize the most recent development in the field of biosensing related to the detection of salivary biomarkers commonly associated with oral cancer. An introduction to oral cancer diagnosis, prognosis and treatment is given to define the clinical problem clearly, then saliva as an alternative biofluid is presented, along with its advantages, disadvantages, and collection procedures. Finally, a brief paragraph on the most promising salivary biomarkers introduces the sensing technologies commonly exploited to detect oral cancer markers in saliva. Hence this review provides a comprehensive overview of both the clinical and technological advantages and challenges associated with oral cancer detection through salivary biomarkers.
RNA N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modifications are essential in plants. Here, we show that transgenic expression of the human RNA demethylase FTO in rice caused a more than threefold increase in grain yield under greenhouse conditions. In field trials, transgenic expression of FTO in rice and potato caused ~50% increases in yield and biomass. We demonstrate that the presence of FTO stimulates root meristem cell proliferation and tiller bud formation and promotes photosynthetic efficiency and drought tolerance but has no effect on mature cell size, shoot meristem cell proliferation, root diameter, plant height or ploidy. FTO mediates substantial m6A demethylation (around 7% of demethylation in poly(A) RNA and around 35% decrease of m6A in non-ribosomal nuclear RNA) in plant RNA, inducing chromatin openness and transcriptional activation. Therefore, modulation of plant RNA m6A methylation is a promising strategy to dramatically improve plant growth and crop yield.
Depression is currently the leading cause of disability around the world. We conducted an epigenome-wide association study (EWAS) in a sample of 58 depression score-discordant monozygotic twin pairs, aiming to detect specific epigenetic variants potentially related to depression and further integrate with gene expression profile data. Association between the methylation level of each CpG site and depression score was tested by applying a linear mixed effect model. Weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) was performed for gene expression data. The association of DNA methylation levels of 66 CpG sites with depression score reached the level of P
Many DNA-hypermethylated cancer genes are occupied by the Polycomb (PcG) repressor complex in embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Their prevalence in the full spectrum of cancers, the exact context of chromatin involved, and their status in adult cell renewal systems are unknown. Using a genome-wide analysis, we demonstrate that ∼75% of hypermethylated genes are marked by PcG in the context of bivalent chromatin in both ESCs and adult stem/progenitor cells. A large number of these genes are key developmental regulators, and a subset, which we call the “DNA hypermethylation module,” comprises a portion of the PcG target genes that are down-regulated in cancer. Genes with bivalent chromatin have a low, poised gene transcription state that has been shown to maintain stemness and self-renewal in normal stem cells. However, when DNA-hypermethylated in tumors, we find that these genes are further repressed. We also show that the methylation status of these genes can cluster important subtypes of colon and breast cancers. By evaluating the subsets of genes that are methylated in different cancers with consideration of their chromatin status in ESCs, we provide evidence that DNA hypermethylation preferentially targets the subset of PcG genes that are developmental regulators, and this may contribute to the stem-like state of cancer. Additionally, the capacity for global methylation profiling to cluster tumors by phenotype may have important implications for further refining tumor behavior patterns that may ultimately aid therapeutic interventions.