Protein Structure and Folding
Structural analysis of the interaction between human cytokine BMP-2 and the antagonist Noggin reveals molecular details of cell chondrogenesis inhibitionBone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are secreted cytokines belonging to the transforming growth factor-β superfamily. New therapeutic approaches based on BMP activity, particularly for cartilage and bone repair, have sparked considerable interest; however, a lack of understanding of their interaction pathways and the side effects associated with their use as biopharmaceuticals have dampened initial enthusiasm. Here, we used BMP-2 as a model system to gain further insight into both the relationship between structure and function in BMPs and the principles that govern affinity for their cognate antagonist Noggin.
The permanently chaperone-active small heat shock protein Hsp17 from Caenorhabditis elegans exhibits topological separation of its N-terminal regionsSmall Heat shock proteins (sHsps) are a family of molecular chaperones that bind nonnative proteins in an ATP-independent manner. Caenorhabditis elegans encodes 16 different sHsps, among them Hsp17, which is evolutionarily distinct from other sHsps in the nematode. The structure and mechanism of Hsp17 and how these may differ from other sHsps remain unclear. Here, we find that Hsp17 has a distinct expression pattern, structural organization, and chaperone function. Consistent with its presence under nonstress conditions, and in contrast to many other sHsps, we determined that Hsp17 is a mono-disperse, permanently active chaperone in vitro, which interacts with hundreds of different C. elegans proteins under physiological conditions.
Structural studies of human fission protein FIS1 reveal a dynamic region important for GTPase DRP1 recruitment and mitochondrial fissionFission protein 1 (FIS1) and dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1) were initially described as being evolutionarily conserved for mitochondrial fission, yet in humans the role of FIS1 in this process is unclear and disputed by many. In budding yeast where Fis1p helps to recruit the DRP1 ortholog from the cytoplasm to mitochondria for fission, an N-terminal “arm” of Fis1p is required for function. The yeast Fis1p arm interacts intramolecularly with a conserved tetratricopeptide repeat core and governs in vitro interactions with yeast DRP1.
Tryptophan mutations in G3BP1 tune the stability of a cellular signaling hub by weakening transient interactions with Caprin1 and USP10Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) often coordinate transient interactions with multiple proteins to mediate complex signals within large protein networks. Among these, the IDP hub protein G3BP1 can form complexes with cytoplasmic phosphoprotein Caprin1 and ubiquitin peptidase USP10; the resulting control of USP10 activity contributes to a pathogenic virulence system that targets endocytic recycling of the ion channel CFTR. However, while the identities of protein interactors are known for many IDP hub proteins, the relationship between pairwise affinities and the extent of protein recruitment and activity is not well understood.
Glu289 residue in the pore-forming motif of Vibrio cholerae cytolysin is important for efficient β-barrel pore formationVibrio cholerae cytolysin (VCC) is a potent membrane-damaging β-barrel pore-forming toxin. Upon binding to the target membranes, VCC monomers first assemble into oligomeric prepore intermediates and subsequently transform into transmembrane β-barrel pores. VCC harbors a designated pore-forming motif, which, during oligomeric pore formation, inserts into the membrane and generates a transmembrane β-barrel scaffold. It remains an enigma how the molecular architecture of the pore-forming motif regulates the VCC pore-formation mechanism.
Micro-electron diffraction structure of the aggregation-driving N terminus of Drosophila neuronal protein Orb2A reveals amyloid-like β-sheetsAmyloid protein aggregation is commonly associated with progressive neurodegenerative diseases, however not all amyloid fibrils are pathogenic. The neuronal cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding protein is a regulator of synaptic mRNA translation and has been shown to form functional amyloid aggregates that stabilize long-term memory. In adult Drosophila neurons, the cytoplasmic polyadenylation element binding homolog Orb2 is expressed as 2 isoforms, of which the Orb2B isoform is far more abundant, but the rarer Orb2A isoform is required to initiate Orb2 aggregation.
αα-hub coregulator structure and flexibility determine transcription factor binding and selection in regulatory interactomesFormation of transcription factor (TF)–coregulator complexes is a key step in transcriptional regulation, with coregulators having essential functions as hub nodes in molecular networks. How specificity and selectivity are maintained in these nodes remain open questions. In this work, we addressed specificity in transcriptional networks using complexes formed between TFs and αα-hubs, which are defined by a common αα-hairpin secondary structure motif, as a model. Using NMR spectroscopy and binding thermodynamics, we analyzed the structure, dynamics, stability, and ligand-binding properties of the Arabidopsis thaliana RST domains from TAF4 and known binding partner RCD1, and the TAFH domain from human TAF4, allowing comparison across species, functions, and architectural contexts.
Bioinformatic identification of previously unrecognized amyloidogenic proteinsLow-complexity domains (LCDs) of proteins have been shown to self-associate, and pathogenic mutations within these domains often drive the proteins into amyloid aggregation associated with disease. These domains may be especially susceptible to amyloidogenic mutations because they are commonly intrinsically disordered and function in self-association. The question therefore arises whether a search for pathogenic mutations in LCDs of the human proteome can lead to identification of other proteins associated with amyloid disease.
Identification of stabilizing point mutations through mutagenesis of destabilized protein librariesAlthough there have been recent transformative advances in the area of protein structure prediction, prediction of point mutations that improve protein stability remains challenging. It is possible to construct and screen large mutant libraries for improved activity or ligand binding. However, reliable screens for mutants that improve protein stability do not yet exist, especially for proteins that are well folded and relatively stable. Here, we demonstrate that incorporation of a single, specific, destabilizing mutation termed parent inactivating mutation into each member of a single-site saturation mutagenesis library, followed by screening for suppressors, allows for robust and accurate identification of stabilizing mutations.
An atomistic model of the coronavirus replication-transcription complex as a hexamer assembled around nsp15The SARS-CoV-2 replication-transcription complex is an assembly of nonstructural viral proteins that collectively act to reproduce the viral genome and generate mRNA transcripts. While the structures of the individual proteins involved are known, how they assemble into a functioning superstructure is not. Applying molecular modeling tools, including protein–protein docking, to the available structures of nsp7-nsp16 and the nucleocapsid, we have constructed an atomistic model of how these proteins associate.
Disease-associated mutations impacting BC-loop flexibility trigger long-range transthyretin tetramer destabilization and aggregationHereditary transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR) is an autosomal dominant disease characterized by the extracellular deposition of the transport protein transthyretin (TTR) as amyloid fibrils. Despite the progress achieved in recent years, understanding why different TTR residue substitutions lead to different clinical manifestations remains elusive. Here, we studied the molecular basis of disease-causing missense mutations affecting residues R34 and K35. R34G and K35T variants cause vitreous amyloidosis, whereas R34T and K35N mutations result in amyloid polyneuropathy and restrictive cardiomyopathy.
Basic residues at the C-gate of DNA gyrase are involved in DNA supercoilingDNA gyrase is a type II topoisomerase that is responsible for maintaining the topological state of bacterial and some archaeal genomes. It uses an ATP-dependent two-gate strand-passage mechanism that is shared among all type II topoisomerases. During this process, DNA gyrase creates a transient break in the DNA, the G-segment, to form a cleavage complex. This allows a second DNA duplex, known as the T-segment, to pass through the broken G-segment. After the broken strand is religated, the T-segment is able to exit out of the enzyme through a gate called the C-gate.
Structural basis of NF-κB signaling by the p75 neurotrophin receptor interaction with adaptor protein TRADD through their respective death domainsThe p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) is a critical mediator of neuronal death and tissue remodeling and has been implicated in various neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. The death domain (DD) of p75NTR is an intracellular signaling hub and has been shown to interact with diverse adaptor proteins. In breast cancer cells, binding of the adaptor protein TRADD to p75NTR depends on nerve growth factor and promotes cell survival. However, the structural mechanism and functional significance of TRADD recruitment in neuronal p75NTR signaling remain poorly understood.
Molecular basis of anticoagulant and anticomplement activity of the tick salivary protein Salp14 and its homologsDuring feeding, a tick's mouthpart penetrates the host's skin and damages tissues and small blood vessels, triggering the extrinsic coagulation and lectin complement pathways. To elude these defense mechanisms, ticks secrete multiple anticoagulant proteins and complement system inhibitors in their saliva. Here, we characterized the inhibitory activities of the homologous tick salivary proteins tick salivary lectin pathway inhibitor, Salp14, and Salp9Pac from Ixodes scapularis in the coagulation cascade and the lectin complement pathway.
Synthetic hookworm-derived peptides are potent modulators of primary human immune cell function that protect against experimental colitis in vivoThe prevalence of autoimmune diseases is on the rise globally. Currently, autoimmunity presents in over 100 different forms and affects around 9% of the world’s population. Current treatments available for autoimmune diseases are inadequate, expensive, and tend to focus on symptom management rather than cure. Clinical trials have shown that live helminthic therapy can decrease chronic inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal autoimmune inflammatory conditions.
Wzb of Vibrio vulnificus represents a new group of low-molecular-weight protein tyrosine phosphatases with a unique insertion in the W-loopProtein tyrosine phosphorylation regulates the production of capsular polysaccharide, an essential virulence factor of the deadly pathogen Vibrio vulnificus. The process requires the protein tyrosine kinase Wzc and its cognate phosphatase Wzb, both of which are largely uncharacterized. Herein, we report the structures of Wzb of V. vulnificus (VvWzb) in free and ligand-bound forms. VvWzb belongs to the low-molecular-weight protein tyrosine phosphatase (LMWPTP) family. Interestingly, it contains an extra four-residue insertion in the W-loop, distinct from all known LMWPTPs.
Structural basis for the DNA-binding activity of human ARID4B Tudor domainHuman ARID4A and ARID4B are homologous proteins that are important in controlling gene expression and epigenetic regulation but have distinct functions. Previous studies have shown that the N-terminal domain of ARID4A is an unusual interdigitated double Tudor domain with DNA-binding activity. However, how the Tudor domain of ARID4B differs from that of ARID4A remains unknown. Here, we found that the ARID4B Tudor domain has significantly weaker DNA affinity than the ARID4A Tudor domain despite sharing more than 80% sequence identity.
Activity-dependent conformational transitions of the insulin receptor–related receptorThe insulin receptor (IR), insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R), and insulin receptor-related receptor (IRR) form a mini family of predimerized receptor-like tyrosine kinases. IR and IGF-1R bind to their peptide agonists triggering metabolic and cell growth responses. In contrast, IRR, despite sharing with them a strong sequence homology, has no peptide-like agonist but can be activated by mildly alkaline media. The spatial structure and activation mechanisms of IRR have not been established yet.
The CFTR P67L variant reveals a key role for N-terminal lasso helices in channel folding, maturation, and pharmacologic rescuePatients with cystic fibrosis (CF) harboring the P67L variant in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) often exhibit a typical CF phenotype, including severe respiratory compromise. This rare mutation (reported in <300 patients worldwide) responds robustly to CFTR correctors, such as lumacaftor and tezacaftor, with rescue in model systems that far exceed what can be achieved for the archetypical CFTR mutant F508del. However, the specific molecular consequences of the P67L mutation are poorly characterized.
Evolving the naturally compromised chorismate mutase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis to top performanceChorismate mutase (CM), an essential enzyme at the branch-point of the shikimate pathway, is required for the biosynthesis of phenylalanine and tyrosine in bacteria, archaea, plants, and fungi. MtCM, the CM from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, has less than 1% of the catalytic efficiency of a typical natural CM and requires complex formation with 3-deoxy-d-arabino-heptulosonate 7-phosphate synthase for high activity. To explore the full potential of MtCM for catalyzing its native reaction, we applied diverse iterative cycles of mutagenesis and selection, thereby raising kcat/Km 270-fold to 5 × 105m−1s−1, which is even higher than for the complex.
Representative cancer-associated U2AF2 mutations alter RNA interactions and splicingHigh-throughput sequencing of hematologic malignancies and other cancers has revealed recurrent mis-sense mutations of genes encoding pre-mRNA splicing factors. The essential splicing factor U2AF2 recognizes a polypyrimidine-tract splice-site signal and initiates spliceosome assembly. Here, we investigate representative, acquired U2AF2 mutations, namely N196K or G301D amino acid substitutions associated with leukemia or solid tumors, respectively. We determined crystal structures of the wild-type (WT) compared with N196K- or G301D-substituted U2AF2 proteins, each bound to a prototypical AdML polypyrimidine tract, at 1.5, 1.4, or 1.7 Å resolutions.
Mass spectrometry characterization of light chain fragmentation sites in cardiac AL amyloidosis: insights into the timing of proteolysisAmyloid fibrils are polymeric structures originating from aggregation of misfolded proteins. In vivo, proteolysis may modulate amyloidogenesis and fibril stability. In light chain (AL) amyloidosis, fragmented light chains (LCs) are abundant components of amyloid deposits; however, site and timing of proteolysis are debated. Identification of the N and C termini of LC fragments is instrumental to understanding involved processes and enzymes. We investigated the N and C terminome of the LC proteoforms in fibrils extracted from the hearts of two AL cardiomyopathy patients, using a proteomic approach based on derivatization of N- and C-terminal residues, followed by mapping of fragmentation sites on the structures of native and fibrillar relevant LCs.
Mutant thermal proteome profiling for characterization of missense protein variants and their associated phenotypes within the proteomeTemperature-sensitive (TS) missense mutants have been foundational for characterization of essential gene function. However, an unbiased approach for analysis of biochemical and biophysical changes in TS missense mutants within the context of their functional proteomes is lacking. We applied MS-based thermal proteome profiling (TPP) to investigate the proteome-wide effects of missense mutations in an application that we refer to as mutant thermal proteome profiling (mTPP). This study characterized global impacts of temperature sensitivity–inducing missense mutations in two different subunits of the 26S proteasome.
The cytoplasmic domain of the AAA+ protease FtsH is tilted with respect to the membrane to facilitate substrate entryAAA+ proteases are degradation machines that use ATP hydrolysis to unfold protein substrates and translocate them through a central pore toward a degradation chamber. FtsH, a bacterial membrane-anchored AAA+ protease, plays a vital role in membrane protein quality control. How substrates reach the FtsH central pore is an open key question that is not resolved by the available atomic structures of cytoplasmic and periplasmic domains. In this work, we used both negative stain TEM and cryo-EM to determine 3D maps of the full-length Aquifex aeolicus FtsH protease.
Interactions of ferritin with scavenger receptor class A membersScavenger receptors are a superfamily of membrane-bound receptors that recognize both self and nonself targets. Scavenger receptor class A (SR-A) has five known members (SCARA1 to -5 or SR-A1 to -A5), which are type II transmembrane proteins that form homotrimers on the cell surface. SR-A members recognize various ligands and are involved in multiple biological pathways. Among them, SCARA5 can function as a ferritin receptor; however, the interaction between SCARA5 and ferritin has not been fully characterized.