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Expression and characterization of proteins involved in the mTOR kinase pathway and bacterial cell division

Maria Luiza Caldas Nogueira
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Institution: Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Instituto de Biologia
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Ana Carolina Migliorini Figueira; Jörg Kobarg
Advisor: Ana Carolina de Mattos Zeri

The mTOR signaling pathway is a very well conserved pathway that controls cell growth in response to the presence of nutrients and growth factors. Deregulation of this pathway in humans is related to diseases like cancer and diabetes. The TOR kinase is activated in the presence of amino acids and it was recently discovered that the Rag small GTPases family are mediators of signaling by Leucine. These GTPases are anchored on the surface of the lysosome through interactions with a complex of three proteins called Ragulator. This complex also anchors an arm of the pathway of MAPKs (MEK-ERK) to lysosomes. Understanding this can help us to elucidate complex diseases in which the mTOR pathway is upregulated. In this work, the Ragulator complex was obtained through the expression of p18 protein in inclusion bodies and their refolding by adding their partners MP1/p14 to dialysis. Biophysical studies were conducted with the intention of characterizing the complex, however its high degree of dissociation resulted in some difficulty to characterize it completely. In this work we characterized the aggregates formed by p18 and managed reduce its formation by dialysis containing reducing agent and its partner proteins. The p18 renatuation with MP1/p14 improve its yield, indicating interaction among these proteins, however the Ragulator complex wasn´t stabilized. The study of bacterial division is centrally dependent on FtsZ, a prokaryotic homologue of tubulin. FtsZ triggers the division to form the "Z ring", a supramolecular structure consisting in FtsZ polymers that surrounds the cell and acts as a frame of the division apparatus. The formation of the Z ring is regulated by modulators, proteins that affect both negatively and positively the ability of FtsZ to polymerize. The MinC protein is an inhibitor of FtsZ polymerization, recruits MinD to the inner surface of the plasma membrane, where the complex MinCD exerts its function. MinCD is an inhibitor of site-specific polymerization of FtsZ, preventing the formation of the Z ring at the poles of the cells but allowing this to happen in the central region. The elucidation of this process would be invaluable for the rational design of bacterial division inhibitors. In this work, we confirmed the interaction between MinC and FtsZ by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. These proteins were not in their monomeric form and the high molecular weight of the complex prevented the identification of the amino acids involved in this interaction, due to limitations of the 15NHSQC technology. At present, the MinC protein is being expressed in the presence of deuterium, which significantly increases the limit of this technique 15NHSQC. Biophysical studies were also performed with the aim of characterizing the interaction. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 11/04386-5 - Interaction studies among the components of the ragulator complex by nuclear magnetic resonance
Grantee:Maria Luiza Caldas Nogueira
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Master