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  1. The family of lysine acetyltransferases (KATs) regulates epigenetics and signaling pathways in eukaryotic cells. So far, knowledge of different KAT members contributing to the cellular acetylome is limited, which limits our understanding of biological functions of KATs in physiology and disease. Here, we found that a clickable acyl-CoA reporter, 3-azidopropanoyl CoA (3AZ-CoA), presented remarkable cell permeability and effectively acylated proteins in cells. We rationally engineered the major KAT member, histone acetyltransferase 1 (HAT1), to generate its mutant forms that displayed excellent bio-orthogonal activity for 3AZ-CoA in substrate labeling. We were able to apply the bio-orthogonal enzyme–cofactor pair combined with SILAC proteomics to achieve HAT1 substrate targeting, enrichment, and proteomic profiling in living cells. A total of 123 protein substrates of HAT1 were disclosed, underlining the multifactorial functions of this important enzyme than hitherto known. This study demonstrates the first example of utilizing bio-orthogonal reporters as a chemoproteomic strategy for substrate mapping of individual KAT isoforms in the native biological contexts.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 13, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 18, 2023
  3. Protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are essential epigenetic and post-translational regulators in eukaryotic organisms. Dysregulation of PRMTs is intimately related to multiple types of human diseases, particularly cancer. Based on the previously reported PRMT1 inhibitors bearing the diamidine pharmacophore, we performed virtual screening to identify additional amidine-associated structural analogs. Subsequent enzymatic tests and characterization led to the discovery of a top lead K313 (2-(4-((4-carbamimidoylphenyl)amino)phenyl)-1 H -indole-6-carboximidamide), which possessed low-micromolar potency with biochemical IC 50 of 2.6 μM for human PRMT1. Limited selectivity was observed over some other PRMT isoforms such as CARM1 and PRMT7. Molecular modeling and inhibition pattern studies suggest that K313 is a nonclassic noncompetitive inhibitor to PRMT1. K313 significantly inhibited cell proliferation and reduced the arginine asymmetric dimethylation level in the leukaemia cancer cells.
  4. Abstract Short-chain acylations of lysine residues in eukaryotic proteins are recognized as essential posttranslational chemical modifications (PTMs) that regulate cellular processes from transcription, cell cycle, metabolism, to signal transduction. Lysine butyrylation was initially discovered as a normal straight chain butyrylation (Knbu). Here we report its structural isomer, branched chain butyrylation, i.e. lysine isobutyrylation (Kibu), existing as a new PTM on nuclear histones. Uniquely, isobutyryl-CoA is derived from valine catabolism and branched chain fatty acid oxidation which is distinct from the metabolism of n-butyryl-CoA. Several histone acetyltransferases were found to possess lysine isobutyryltransferase activity in vitro, especially p300 and HAT1. Transfection and western blot experiments showed that p300 regulated histone isobutyrylation levels in the cell. We resolved the X-ray crystal structures of HAT1 in complex with isobutyryl-CoA that gleaned an atomic level insight into HAT-catalyzed isobutyrylation. RNA-Seq profiling revealed that isobutyrate greatly affected the expression of genes associated with many pivotal biological pathways. Together, our findings identify Kibu as a novel chemical modification mark in histones and suggest its extensive role in regulating epigenetics and cellular physiology.
  5. Protein acylation, exemplified by lysine acetylation, is a type of indispensable and widespread protein posttranslational modification in eukaryotes. Functional annotation of various lysine acetyltransferases (KATs) is critical to understanding their regulatory roles in abundant biological processes. Traditional radiometric and immunosorbent assays have found broad use in KAT study but have intrinsic limitations. Designing acyl–coenzyme A (CoA) reporter molecules bearing chemoselective chemical warhead groups as surrogates of the native cofactor acetyl-CoA for bioorthogonal labeling of KAT substrates has come into a technical innovation in recent years. This chemical biology platform equips molecular biologists with empowering tools in acyltransferase activity detection and substrate profiling. In the bioorthogonal labeling, protein substrates are first enzymatically modified with a functionalized acyl group. Subsequently, the chemical warhead on the acyl chain conjugates with either an imaging chromophore or an affinity handle or any other appropriate probes through an orthogonal chemical ligation. This bioorganic strategy reformats the chemically inert acetylation and acylation marks into a chemically maneuverable functionality and generates measurable signals without recourse to radioisotopes or antibodies. It offers ample opportunities for facile sensitive detection of KAT activity with temporal and spatial resolutions as well as allows for chemoproteomic profiling of protein acetylation pertaining to specificmore »KATs of interest on the global scale. We reviewed here the past and current advances in bioorthogonal protein acylations and highlighted their wide-spectrum applications. We also discussed the design of other related acyl-CoA and CoA-based chemical probes and their deployment in illuminating protein acetylation and acylation biology.

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