- Zika virus (ZIKV) is a re-emerging flavivirus that causes conditions such as microcephaly and testis damage. The spread of ZIKV has become a major public health concern. Recent studies indicated that antimicrobial peptides are an ideal source for screening antiviral candidates with broad-spectrum antiviral activities, including against ZIKV. We herein found that Hc-CATH, a cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide identified from the sea snake Hydrophis cyanocinctus in our previous work, conferred protection against ZIKV infection in host cells and showed preventative efficacy and therapeutic efficacy in C57BL/6J mice, Ifnar1−/− mice, and pregnant mice.
- Type I natural killer T (NKT) cells are a population of innate like T lymphocytes that rapidly respond to α-GalCer presented by CD1d via the production of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. While developing novel α-GalCer analogs that were meant to be utilized as potential adjuvants because of their production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (Th1 skewers), we generated α-galactosylsphingamides (αGSA). Surprisingly, αGSAs are not potent antigens in vivo despite their strong T-cell receptor (TCR)–binding affinities.
- Natural killer T (NKT) cells are a subset of T lymphocytes that recognize glycolipid antigens presented by the CD1d molecule (CD1d). They rapidly respond to antigen challenge and can activate both innate and adaptive immune cells. To study the role of antigen presentation in NKT cell activation, previous studies have developed several anti-CD1d antibodies that block CD1d binding to T-cell receptors (TCRs). Antibodies that are specific to both CD1d and the presented antigen can only be used to study the function of only a limited number of antigens.
- Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a β-herpesvirus that has co-evolved with the host immune system to establish lifelong persistence. HCMV encodes many immunomodulatory molecules, including the glycoprotein UL144. UL144 is a structural mimic of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member HVEM (herpesvirus entry mediator), which binds to the various ligands LIGHT, LTα, BTLA, CD160, and gD. However, in contrast to HVEM, UL144 only binds BTLA, inhibiting T-cell activation. Here, we report the crystal structure of the UL144–BTLA complex, revealing that UL144 utilizes residues from its N-terminal cysteine-rich domain 1 (CRD1) to interact uniquely with BTLA.
- 4-1BB (CD137) is a TNF receptor superfamily (TNFRSF) member that is thought to undergo receptor trimerization upon binding to its trimeric TNF superfamily ligand (4-1BBL) to stimulate immune responses. 4-1BB also can bind to the tandem repeat–type lectin galectin-9 (Gal-9), and signaling through mouse (m)4-1BB is reduced in galectin-9 (Gal-9)–deficient mice, suggesting a pivotal role of Gal-9 in m4-1BB activation. Here, using sulfur-SAD phasing, we determined the crystal structure of m4-1BB to 2.2-Å resolution.
- Vaccinia virus (VACV) envelope protein D8 is one of three glycosaminoglycan adhesion molecules and binds to the linear polysaccharide chondroitin sulfate (CS). D8 is also a target for neutralizing antibody responses that are elicited by the smallpox vaccine, which has enabled the first eradication of a human viral pathogen and is a useful model for studying antibody responses. However, to date, VACV epitopes targeted by human antibodies have not been characterized at atomic resolution. Here, we characterized the binding properties of several human anti-D8 antibodies and determined the crystal structures of three VACV-mAb variants, VACV-66, VACV-138, and VACV-304, separately bound to D8.
- Activation of IKKβ is the key step in canonical activation of NF-κB signaling. Extensive work has provided insight into the mechanisms underlying IKKβ activation through the identification of context-specific regulators. However, the molecular processes responsible for its negative regulation are not completely understood. Here, we identified KLHL21, a member of the Kelch-like gene family, as a novel negative regulator of IKKβ. The expression of KLHL21 was rapidly down-regulated in macrophages upon treatment with proinflammatory stimuli.
- Most proinflammatory actions of C-reactive protein (CRP) are only expressed following dissociation of its native pentameric assembly into monomeric form (mCRP). However, little is known about what underlies the greatly enhanced activities of mCRP. Here we show that a single sequence motif, i.e. cholesterol binding sequence (CBS; a.a. 35–47), is responsible for mediating the interactions of mCRP with diverse ligands. The binding of mCRP to lipoprotein component ApoB, to complement component C1q, to extracellular matrix components fibronectin and collagen, to blood coagulation component fibrinogen, and to membrane lipid component cholesterol, are all found to be markedly inhibited by the synthetic CBS peptide but not by other CRP sequences tested.
- The ability of different glycosphingolipids (GSLs) to activate type I natural killer T cells (NKT cells) has been known for 2 decades. The possible therapeutic use of these GSLs has been studied in many ways; however, studies are needed in which the efficacy of promising GSLs is compared under identical conditions. Here, we compare five unique GSLs structurally derived from α-galactosylceramide. We employed biophysical and biological assays, as well as x-ray crystallography to study the impact of the chemical modifications of the antigen on type I NKT cell activation.