This fellowship will revitalize the applicant's research career by stimulating a major change in the direction of her research, broadening her scientific background, and acquiring new skills and capabilities in the area of Virology. Our past work has focused on the mechanism by which ubiquitin-proteasome system regulates cell growth and division of the non-infectious, single-cell organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Of special interest is the finding that substrates can be trapped at the 26S proteasome in a manner that allows their later proteolysis under controlled in vitro conditions, thereby leading to an accumulation of peptides that can be analyzed by mass spectrometry. Our unpublished data suggest that this strategy could be used to monitor large pools of natural product peptides generated by mammalian 26S proteasome and its immune 26Si version stimulated by interferons (IFNs) that produces antigenic peptides. When applied to virus-infected cells, this analysis may reveal a specific "peptide signature" of virus-mediated changes in proteasomal proteolysis, including viral subversion of specific cellular pathways and natural precursors of antigenic peptides. These themes have a major significance in virology, but addressing them via traditional approaches has a low rate of success. We will characterize changes in pools of peptides generated from natural substrates co-purified with 26S or 26Si proteasomes from uninfected primary mouse macrophages and from macrophages infected with the poxvirus ectromelia (EV). EV overcomes the IFNs-mediated antiviral defenses of macrophages, which is key to its pathogenicity and may depend on a yet undefined form of proteasome.
In Aim 1, we will characterize the 26S and 26Si proteasomes expressed in uninfected and EV-infected macrophages in the presence or absence of IFNs. We will use qPCR, quantitative western blot and immuno-cytochemistry to detect expression of 26S and 26Si specific subunits;immuno-precipitation with affinity purified, subunit-specific antibodies to characterize and isolate 26S ad 26Si proteasomes;activity assays with model substrate peptides to characterize the catalytic properties of 26S and 26i active sites;and electron microscopy to visualize individual 20S and 20Si particles with the associated activators thereby allowing their classification and quantitation.
In Aim 2, we will immuno-purify the 26S or 26Si proteasomes in a manner that traps their interaction with substrates, generate product peptides, identify them by mass spectrometry and perform bioinformatic analysis. We will establish the cell extraction procedure that most efficiently traps substrates at the 26S or 26i proteasomes;immuno-purify the proteasome/substrate complexes with subunit-specific antibodies;perform in vitro degradation of the co-purified substrates under conditions of single recruitment that most closely recapitulates degradation in vivo;isolate product peptides in a two step procedure that selects for peptides with normal and antigenic properties;and separate the peptide mixtures from any full length proteins that may dissociate from the proteasome. The peptide mixtures will be identified by mass spectrometry.

Public Health Relevance

This fellowship will revitalize the applicant's research career by stimulating a major change in the direction of her research, broadening her scientific background, and acquiring new skills and capabilities in the area of Virology. She will establish an approach for the identification of large pools of natural peptides produced by 26S and the immune 26Si proteasome, and provide a proof of principle that this approach can identify viral subversion of specific cellular pathways and/or natural precursors of antigenic peptides. A successful proof of principle may allow this approach to be employed in other disease models and have a major scientific impact.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
National Research Service Awards for Senior Fellows (F33)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-F13-C (20))
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Challberg, Mark D
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Saint Louis University
Schools of Medicine
Saint Louis
United States
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Haddock, Christopher J; Blomenkamp, Keith; Gautam, Madhav et al. (2014) PiZ mouse liver accumulates polyubiquitin conjugates that associate with catalytically active 26S proteasomes. PLoS One 9:e106371