Protein Structure and Folding
- 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.
- Human (h)4-1BB (TNFRSF9 or CD137) is an inducible tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) superfamily member that interacts with its cognate ligand h4-1BBL to promote T lymphocyte activation and proliferation. h4-1BB is currently being targeted with agonists in cancer immunotherapy. Here, we determined the crystal structures of unbound h4-1BBL and both WT h4-1BB and a dimerization-deficient h4-1BB mutant (C121S) in complex with h4-1BBL at resolutions between 2.7 and 3.2 Å. We observed that the structural arrangement of 4-1BBL, both unbound and in the complex, represents the canonical bell shape as seen in other similar TNF proteins and differs from the previously reported three-bladed propeller structure of 4-1BBL.
- 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.