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Annual Review of Biochemistry

Zebulon G Levine, Suzanne Walker
O-linked N-acetylglucosamine transferase (OGT) is found in all metazoans and plays an important role in development but at the single-cell level is only essential in dividing mammalian cells. Postmitotic mammalian cells and cells of invertebrates such as Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila can survive without copies of OGT. Why OGT is required in dividing mammalian cells but not in other cells remains unknown. OGT has multiple biochemical activities. Beyond its well-known role in adding β-O-GlcNAc to serine and threonine residues of nuclear and cytoplasmic proteins, OGT also acts as a protease in the maturation of the cell cycle regulator host cell factor 1 (HCF-1) and serves as an integral member of several protein complexes, many of them linked to gene expression...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Kasturi Chakraborty, Aneesh T Veetil, Samie R Jaffrey, Yamuna Krishnan
The nanoscale engineering of nucleic acids has led to exciting molecular technologies for high-end biological imaging. The predictable base pairing, high programmability, and superior new chemical and biological methods used to access nucleic acids with diverse lengths and in high purity, coupled with computational tools for their design, have allowed the creation of a stunning diversity of nucleic acid-based nanodevices. Given their biological origin, such synthetic devices have a tremendous capacity to interface with the biological world, and this capacity lies at the heart of several nucleic acid-based technologies that are finding applications in biological systems...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Emmanuel Compe, Jean-Marc Egly
Transcription factor IIH (TFIIH) is a multiprotein complex involved in both transcription and DNA repair, revealing a striking functional link between these two processes. Some of its subunits also belong to complexes involved in other cellular processes, such as chromosome segregation and cell cycle regulation, emphasizing the multitasking capabilities of this factor. This review aims to depict the structure of TFIIH and to dissect the roles of its subunits in different cellular mechanisms. Our understanding of the biochemistry of TFIIH has greatly benefited from studies focused on diseases related to TFIIH mutations...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Celine E Riera, Carsten Merkwirth, C Daniel De Magalhaes Filho, Andrew Dillin
The health of an organism is orchestrated by a multitude of molecular and biochemical networks responsible for ensuring homeostasis within cells and tissues. However, upon aging, a progressive failure in the maintenance of this homeostatic balance occurs in response to a variety of endogenous and environmental stresses, allowing the accumulation of damage, the physiological decline of individual tissues, and susceptibility to diseases. What are the molecular and cellular signaling events that control the aging process and how can this knowledge help design therapeutic strategies to combat age-associated diseases? Here we provide a comprehensive overview of the evolutionarily conserved biological processes that alter the rate of aging and discuss their link to disease prevention and the extension of healthy life span...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Sabine Petry
Life depends on cell proliferation and the accurate segregation of chromosomes, which are mediated by the microtubule (MT)-based mitotic spindle and ∼200 essential MT-associated proteins. Yet, a mechanistic understanding of how the mitotic spindle is assembled and achieves chromosome segregation is still missing. This is mostly due to the density of MTs in the spindle, which presumably precludes their direct observation. Recent insight has been gained into the molecular building plan of the metaphase spindle using bulk and single-molecule measurements combined with computational modeling...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Larissa Krasnova, Chi-Huey Wong
Glycoscience research has been significantly impeded by the complex compositions of the glycans present in biological molecules and the lack of convenient tools suitable for studying the glycosylation process and its function. Polysaccharides and glycoconjugates are not encoded directly by genes; instead, their biosynthesis relies on the differential expression of carbohydrate enzymes, resulting in heterogeneous mixtures of glycoforms, each with a distinct physiological activity. Access to well-defined structures is required for functional study, and this has been provided by chemical and enzymatic synthesis and by the engineering of glycosylation pathways...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Maya Bar Dolev, Ido Braslavsky, Peter L Davies
Ice-binding proteins (IBPs) are a diverse class of proteins that assist organism survival in the presence of ice in cold climates. They have different origins in many organisms, including bacteria, fungi, algae, diatoms, plants, insects, and fish. This review covers the gamut of IBP structures and functions and the common features they use to bind ice. We discuss mechanisms by which IBPs adsorb to ice and interfere with its growth, evidence for their irreversible association with ice, and methods for enhancing the activity of IBPs...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Haifeng Wang, Marie La Russa, Lei S Qi
The Cas9 protein (CRISPR-associated protein 9), derived from type II CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) bacterial immune systems, is emerging as a powerful tool for engineering the genome in diverse organisms. As an RNA-guided DNA endonuclease, Cas9 can be easily programmed to target new sites by altering its guide RNA sequence, and its development as a tool has made sequence-specific gene editing several magnitudes easier. The nuclease-deactivated form of Cas9 further provides a versatile RNA-guided DNA-targeting platform for regulating and imaging the genome, as well as for rewriting the epigenetic status, all in a sequence-specific manner...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
George A Soultoukis, Linda Partridge
Dietary restriction (DR), a moderate reduction in food intake, improves health during aging and extends life span across multiple species. Specific nutrients, rather than overall calories, mediate the effects of DR, with protein and specific amino acids (AAs) playing a key role. Modulations of single dietary AAs affect traits including growth, reproduction, physiology, health, and longevity in animals. Epidemiological data in humans also link the quality and quantity of dietary proteins to long-term health...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Diego De Stefani, Rosario Rizzuto, Tullio Pozzan
In the last 5 years, most of the molecules that control mitochondrial Ca(2+) homeostasis have been finally identified. Mitochondrial Ca(2+) uptake is mediated by the Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter (MCU) complex, a macromolecular structure that guarantees Ca(2+) accumulation inside mitochondrial matrix upon increases in cytosolic Ca(2+). Conversely, Ca(2+) release is under the control of the Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger, encoded by the NCLX gene, and of a H(+)/Ca(2+) antiporter, whose identity is still debated. The low affinity of the MCU complex, coupled to the activity of the efflux systems, protects cells from continuous futile cycles of Ca(2+) across the inner mitochondrial membrane and consequent massive energy dissipation...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Andreas C Joerger, Alan R Fersht
Inactivation of the transcription factor p53, through either direct mutation or aberrations in one of its many regulatory pathways, is a hallmark of virtually every tumor. In recent years, screening for p53 activators and a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of oncogenic perturbations of p53 function have opened up a host of novel avenues for therapeutic intervention in cancer: from the structure-guided design of chemical chaperones to restore the function of conformationally unstable p53 cancer mutants, to the development of potent antagonists of the negative regulators MDM2 and MDMX and other modulators of the p53 pathway for the treatment of cancers with wild-type p53...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Bradley J Landgraf, Erin L McCarthy, Squire J Booker
Radical S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) enzymes catalyze an astonishing array of complex and chemically challenging reactions across all domains of life. Of approximately 114,000 of these enzymes, 8 are known to be present in humans: MOCS1, molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis; LIAS, lipoic acid biosynthesis; CDK5RAP1, 2-methylthio-N(6)-isopentenyladenosine biosynthesis; CDKAL1, methylthio-N(6)-threonylcarbamoyladenosine biosynthesis; TYW1, wybutosine biosynthesis; ELP3, 5-methoxycarbonylmethyl uridine; and RSAD1 and viperin, both of unknown function...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Jason C Bell, Stephen C Kowalczykowski
The repair of DNA by homologous recombination is an essential, efficient, and high-fidelity process that mends DNA lesions formed during cellular metabolism; these lesions include double-stranded DNA breaks, daughter-strand gaps, and DNA cross-links. Genetic defects in the homologous recombination pathway undermine genomic integrity and cause the accumulation of gross chromosomal abnormalities-including rearrangements, deletions, and aneuploidy-that contribute to cancer formation. Recombination proceeds through the formation of joint DNA molecules-homologously paired but metastable DNA intermediates that are processed by several alternative subpathways-making recombination a versatile and robust mechanism to repair damaged chromosomes...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Poonam Bheda, Hui Jing, Cynthia Wolberger, Hening Lin
Sirtuins are NAD(+)-dependent enzymes universally present in all organisms, where they play central roles in regulating numerous biological processes. Although early studies showed that sirtuins deacetylated lysines in a reaction that consumes NAD(+), more recent studies have revealed that these enzymes can remove a variety of acyl-lysine modifications. The specificities for varied acyl modifications may thus underlie the distinct roles of the different sirtuins within a given organism. This review summarizes the structure, chemistry, and substrate specificity of sirtuins with a focus on how different sirtuins recognize distinct substrates and thus carry out specific functions...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Walter Neupert
This article introduces the Mitochondria theme of the Annual Review of Biochemistry, Volume 85.
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
F Ulrich Hartl
Aging and longevity are controlled by a multiplicity of molecular and cellular signaling events that interface with environmental factors to maintain cellular homeostasis. Modulation of these pathways to extend life span, including insulin-like signaling and the response to dietary restriction, identified the cellular machineries and networks of protein homeostasis (proteostasis) and stress resistance pathways as critical players in the aging process. A decline of proteostasis capacity during aging leads to dysfunction of specific cell types and tissues, rendering the organism susceptible to a range of chronic diseases...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Christine C Winterbourn, Anthony J Kettle, Mark B Hampton
Neutrophils are essential for killing bacteria and other microorganisms, and they also have a significant role in regulating the inflammatory response. Stimulated neutrophils activate their NADPH oxidase (NOX2) to generate large amounts of superoxide, which acts as a precursor of hydrogen peroxide and other reactive oxygen species that are generated by their heme enzyme myeloperoxidase. When neutrophils engulf bacteria they enclose them in small vesicles (phagosomes) into which superoxide is released by activated NOX2 on the internalized neutrophil membrane...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Andrija Finka, Rayees U H Mattoo, Pierre Goloubinoff
Molecular chaperones control the cellular folding, assembly, unfolding, disassembly, translocation, activation, inactivation, disaggregation, and degradation of proteins. In 1989, groundbreaking experiments demonstrated that a purified chaperone can bind and prevent the aggregation of artificially unfolded polypeptides and use ATP to dissociate and convert them into native proteins. A decade later, other chaperones were shown to use ATP hydrolysis to unfold and solubilize stable protein aggregates, leading to their native refolding...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
Ananya Ray-Soni, Michael J Bellecourt, Robert Landick
Transcript termination is essential for accurate gene expression and the removal of RNA polymerase (RNAP) at the ends of transcription units. In bacteria, two mechanisms are responsible for proper transcript termination: intrinsic termination and Rho-dependent termination. Intrinsic termination is mediated by signals directly encoded within the DNA template and nascent RNA, whereas Rho-dependent termination relies upon the adenosine triphosphate-dependent RNA translocase Rho, which binds nascent RNA and dissociates the elongation complex...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
David Drew, Olga Boudker
The determination of the crystal structures of small-molecule transporters has shed light on the conformational changes that take place during structural isomerization from outward- to inward-facing states. Rather than using a simple rocking movement of two bundles around a central substrate-binding site, it has become clear that even the most simplistic transporters utilize rearrangements of nonrigid bodies. In the most dramatic cases, one bundle is fixed while the other, structurally divergent, bundle carries the substrate some 18 Å across the membrane, which in this review is termed an elevator alternating-access mechanism...
June 2, 2016: Annual Review of Biochemistry
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