Protein Structure and Folding
Swapping N-terminal regions among tick evasins reveals cooperative interactions influencing chemokine binding and selectivityClass A tick evasins are natural chemokine-binding proteins that block the signaling of multiple chemokines from the CC subfamily through their cognate receptors, thus suppressing leukocyte recruitment and inflammation. Development of tick evasins as chemokine-targeted anti-inflammatory therapeutics requires an understanding of the factors controlling their chemokine recognition and selectivity. To investigate the role of the evasin N-terminal region for chemokine recognition, we prepared chimeric evasins by interchanging the N-terminal regions of four class A evasins, including a newly identified evasin, EVA-RPU02.
Anti-inflammatory effects of FS48, the first potassium channel inhibitor from the salivary glands of the flea Xenopsylla cheopisThe voltage-gated potassium (Kv) 1.3 channel plays a crucial role in the immune responsiveness of T-lymphocytes and macrophages, presenting a potential target for treatment of immune- and inflammation related-diseases. FS48, a protein from the rodent flea Xenopsylla cheopis, shares the three disulfide bond feature of scorpion toxins. However, its three-dimensional structure and biological function are still unclear. In the present study, the structure of FS48 was evaluated by circular dichroism and homology modeling.
Engineered anti-inflammatory peptides inspired by mapping an evasin–chemokine interactionChemokines mediate leukocyte migration and homeostasis and are key targets in inflammatory diseases including atherosclerosis, cytokine storm, and chronic autoimmune disease. Chemokine redundancy and ensuing network robustness has frustrated therapeutic development. Salivary evasins from ticks bind multiple chemokines to overcome redundancy and are effective in several preclinical disease models. Their clinical development has not progressed because of concerns regarding potential immunogenicity, parenteral delivery, and cost.
Structural optimization of a TNFR1-selective antagonistic TNFα mutant to create new-modality TNF-regulating biologicsExcessive activation of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) is a major cause of autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. TNFα induces immune responses via TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) and TNFR2. Signaling via TNFR1 induces proinflammatory responses, whereas TNFR2 signaling is suggested to suppress the pathophysiology of inflammatory diseases. Therefore, selective inhibition of TNFR1 signaling and preservation of TNFR2 signaling activities may be beneficial for managing autoimmune diseases.
The structure of the extracellular domains of human interleukin 11α receptor reveals mechanisms of cytokine engagementInterleukin (IL) 11 activates multiple intracellular signaling pathways by forming a complex with its cell surface α-receptor, IL-11Rα, and the β-subunit receptor, gp130. Dysregulated IL-11 signaling has been implicated in several diseases, including some cancers and fibrosis. Mutations in IL-11Rα that reduce signaling are also associated with hereditary cranial malformations. Here we present the first crystal structure of the extracellular domains of human IL-11Rα and a structure of human IL-11 that reveals previously unresolved detail.
Beating tissue factor at its own game: Design and properties of a soluble tissue factor–independent coagulation factor VIIaTwo decades of research have uncovered the mechanism by which the complex of tissue factor (TF) and the plasma serine protease factor VIIa (FVIIa) mediates the initiation of blood coagulation. Membrane-anchored TF directly interacts with substrates and induces allosteric effects in the protease domain of FVIIa. These properties are also recapitulated by the soluble ectodomain of TF (sTF). At least two interdependent allosteric activation pathways originate at the FVIIa:sTF interface are proposed to enhance FVIIa activity upon sTF binding.
Separating cytokine twins with a small moleculeThe cytokine macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) has been characterized as a key immunomodulator and mediator of various diseases. Small molecule inhibitors based on the conserved enzymatic pocket of MIF have been valuable in elucidating MIF mechanisms and developing translational strategies. In contrast, our mechanistic understanding of the MIF homolog MIF-2/d-dopachrome tautomerase (d-DT) and its clinical translation has been hampered, partly because MIF-2–selective inhibitors have been elusive.
A knottin scaffold directs the CXC-chemokine–binding specificity of tick evasinsTick evasins (EVAs) bind either CC- or CXC-chemokines by a poorly understood promiscuous or “one-to-many” mechanism to neutralize inflammation. Because EVAs potently inhibit inflammation in many preclinical models, highlighting their potential as biological therapeutics for inflammatory diseases, we sought to further unravel the CXC-chemokine–EVA interactions. Using yeast surface display, we identified and characterized 27 novel CXC-chemokine–binding evasins homologous to EVA3 and defined two functional classes.
Apolipoprotein E binds to and reduces serum levels of DNA-mimicking, pyrrolated proteinsLysine N-pyrrolation, converting lysine residues to N%epsiv;-pyrrole-l-lysine, is a recently discovered post-translational modification. This naturally occurring reaction confers electrochemical properties onto proteins that potentially produce an electrical mimic to DNA and result in specificity toward DNA-binding molecules such as anti-DNA autoantibodies. The discovery of this unique covalent protein modification provides a rationale for establishing the molecular mechanism and broad functional significance of the formation and regulation of N%epsiv;-pyrrole-l-lysine–containing proteins.
Conformational flexibility and inhibitor binding to unphosphorylated interleukin-1 receptor–associated kinase 4 (IRAK4)Interleukin-1 receptor–associated kinase 4 (IRAK4) is a key player in innate immune and inflammatory responses, performing a critical role in signal transduction downstream of Toll-like receptors and interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptors. Upon ligand binding and via its N-terminal death domain, IRAK4 is recruited to an oligomeric receptor that is proximal to the Myddosome signaling complex, inducing IRAK4 kinase domain dimerization, autophosphorylation, and activation. To date, all known IRAK4 structures are in the active conformation, precluding a good understanding of IRAK4’s conformational dynamics.
The inflammasome adapter ASC assembles into filaments with integral participation of its two Death Domains, PYD and CARDThe inflammasome is a multiprotein complex necessary for the onset of inflammation. The adapter protein ASC assembles inflammasome components by acting as a molecular glue between danger-signal sensors and procaspase-1. The assembly is mediated by ASC self-association and protein interactions via its two Death Domains, PYD and CARD. Truncated versions of ASC have been shown to form filaments, but information on the filaments formed by full-length ASC is needed to construct a meaningful model of inflammasome assembly.
Peptide from Sea Anemone Metridium senile Affects Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin-repeat 1 (TRPA1) Function and Produces Analgesic EffectThe transient receptor potential ankyrin-repeat 1 (TRPA1) is an important player in pain and inflammatory pathways. It is a promising target for novel drug development for the treatment of a number of pathological states. A novel peptide producing a significant potentiating effect on allyl isothiocyanate- and diclofenac-induced currents of TRPA1 was isolated from the venom of sea anemone Metridium senile. It is a 35-amino acid peptide cross-linked by two disulfide bridges named τ-AnmTX Ms 9a-1 (short name Ms 9a-1) according to a structure similar to other sea anemone peptides belonging to structural group 9a.
Structural Basis for Carbohydrate Recognition and Anti-inflammatory Modulation by Gastrointestinal Nematode Parasite Toxascaris leonina GalectinToxascaris leonina galectin (Tl-gal) is a galectin-9 homologue protein isolated from an adult worm of the canine gastrointestinal nematode parasite, and Tl-gal-vaccinated challenge can inhibit inflammation in inflammatory bowel disease-induced mice. We determined the first X-ray structures of full-length Tl-gal complexes with carbohydrates (lactose, N-acetyllactosamine, lacto-N-tetraose, sialyllactose, and glucose). Bonds were formed on concave surfaces of both carbohydrate recognition domains (CRDs) in Tl-gal.
ASC Pyrin Domain Self-associates and Binds NLRP3 Protein Using Equivalent Binding InterfacesDeath domain superfamily members typically act as adaptors mediating in the assembly of supramolecular complexes with critical apoptosis and inflammation functions. These modular proteins consist of death domains, death effector domains, caspase recruitment domains, and pyrin domains (PYD). Despite the high structural similarity among them, only homotypic interactions participate in complex formation, suggesting that subtle factors differentiate each interaction type. It is thus critical to identify these factors as an essential step toward the understanding of the molecular basis of apoptosis and inflammation.