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.
Anti-CRISPR protein AcrIF4 inhibits the type I-F CRISPR-Cas surveillance complex by blocking nuclease recruitment and DNA cleavageThe clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas system provides prokaryotes with protection against mobile genetic elements such as phages. In turn, phages deploy anti-CRISPR (Acr) proteins to evade this immunity. AcrIF4, an Acr targeting the type I-F CRISPR-Cas system, has been reported to bind the crRNA-guided surveillance (Csy) complex. However, it remains controversial whether AcrIF4 inhibits target DNA binding to the Csy complex. Here, we present structural and mechanistic studies into AcrIF4, exploring its unique anti-CRISPR mechanism.
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.
The staphylococcal inhibitory protein SPIN binds to human myeloperoxidase with picomolar affinity but only dampens halide oxidationThe heme enzyme myeloperoxidase (MPO) is one of the key players in the neutrophil-mediated killing of invading pathogens as part of the innate immune system. MPO generates antimicrobial oxidants, which indiscriminately and effectively kill phagocytosed pathogens. Staphylococcus aureus, however, is able to escape this fate, in part by secreting a small protein called SPIN (Staphylococcal Peroxidase Inhibitor), which specifically targets and inhibits MPO in a structurally complex manner. Here, we present the first crystal structures of the complex of SPIN-aureus and a truncated version (SPIN-truncated) with mature dimeric leukocyte MPO.
Unexpected structures formed by the kinase RET C634R mutant extracellular domain suggest potential oncogenic mechanisms in MEN2AThe RET receptor tyrosine kinase plays a pivotal role in cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation, and its abnormal activation leads to cancers through receptor fusions or point mutations. Mutations that disrupt the disulfide network in the extracellular domain (ECD) of RET drive multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2A (MEN2A), a hereditary syndrome associated with the development of thyroid cancers. However, structural details of how specific mutations affect RET are unclear. Here, we present the first structural insights into the ECD of the RET(C634R) mutant, the most common mutation in MEN2A.
The structural dynamics of full-length divisome transmembrane proteins FtsQ, FtsB, and FtsL in FtsQBL complex formationFtsQBL is a transmembrane protein complex in the divisome of Escherichia coli that plays a critical role in regulating cell division. Although extensive efforts have been made to investigate the interactions between the three involved proteins, FtsQ, FtsB, and FtsL, the detailed interaction mechanism is still poorly understood. In this study, we used hydrogen-deuterium exchange mass spectrometry to investigate these full-length proteins and their complexes. We also dissected the structural dynamic changes and the related binding interfaces within the complexes.
Structural insights into the role of the WW2 domain on tandem WW–PPxY motif interactions of oxidoreductase WWOXClass I WW domains are present in many proteins of various functions and mediate protein interactions by binding to short linear PPxY motifs. Tandem WW domains often bind peptides with multiple PPxY motifs, but the interplay of WW–peptide interactions is not always intuitive. The WW domain–containing oxidoreductase (WWOX) harbors two WW domains: an unstable WW1 capable of PPxY binding and stable WW2 that cannot bind PPxY. The WW2 domain has been suggested to act as a WW1 domain chaperone, but the underlying mechanism of its chaperone activity remains to be revealed.
Structural and mechanistic insights into the inhibition of type I-F CRISPR-Cas system by anti-CRISPR protein AcrIF23Prokaryotes evolved clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins as a kind of adaptive immune defense against mobile genetic elements including harmful phages. To counteract this defense, many mobile genetic elements in turn encode anti-CRISPR proteins (Acrs) to inactivate the CRISPR-Cas system. While multiple mechanisms of Acrs have been uncovered, it remains unknown whether other mechanisms are utilized by uncharacterized Acrs. Here, we report a novel mechanism adopted by recently identified AcrIF23.
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.
Two distinct classes of cochaperones compete for the EEVD motif in heat shock protein 70 to tune its chaperone activitiesChaperones of the heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) family engage in protein–protein interactions with many cochaperones. One “hotspot” for cochaperone binding is the EEVD motif, found at the extreme C terminus of cytoplasmic Hsp70s. This motif is known to bind tetratricopeptide repeat domain cochaperones, such as the E3 ubiquitin ligase CHIP. In addition, the EEVD motif also interacts with a structurally distinct domain that is present in class B J-domain proteins, such as DnaJB4. These observations suggest that CHIP and DnaJB4 might compete for binding to Hsp70’s EEVD motif; however, the molecular determinants of such competition are not clear.
Structural insights into the interactions and epigenetic functions of human nucleic acid repair protein ALKBH6Human AlkB homolog 6, ALKBH6, plays key roles in nucleic acid damage repair and tumor therapy. However, no precise structural and functional information are available for this protein. In this study, we determined atomic resolution crystal structures of human holo-ALKBH6 and its complex with ligands. AlkB members bind nucleic acids by NRLs (nucleotide recognition lids, also called Flips), which can recognize DNA/RNA and flip methylated lesions. We found that ALKBH6 has unusual Flip1 and Flip2 domains, distinct from other AlkB family members both in sequence and conformation.
Mechanistic insights into the inhibition of the CRISPR-Cas surveillance complex by anti-CRISPR protein AcrIF13Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) and CRISPR-associated (Cas) proteins provide prokaryotes with nucleic acid–based adaptive immunity against infections of mobile genetic elements, including phages. To counteract this immune process, phages have evolved various anti-CRISPR (Acr) proteins which deactivate CRISPR-Cas–based immunity. However, the mechanisms of many of these Acr-mediated inhibitions are not clear. Here, we report the crystal structure of AcrIF13 and explore its inhibition mechanism.
Members of the vertebrate contactin and amyloid precursor protein families interact through a conserved interfaceContactins (CNTNs) are neural cell adhesion molecules that encode axon-target specificity during the patterning of the vertebrate visual and olfactory systems. Because CNTNs are tethered to the plasma membrane by a glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor, they lack an intracellular region to communicate across the membrane. Instead, they form coreceptor complexes with distinct transmembrane proteins to transmit signals inside the cell. In particular, a complex of CNTN4 and amyloid precursor protein (APP) is known to guide the assembly of specific circuits in the visual system.
RetS inhibits Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm formation by disrupting the canonical histidine kinase dimerization interface of GacSBacterial signaling histidine kinases (HKs) have long been postulated to function exclusively through linear signal transduction chains. However, several HKs have recently been shown to form complex multikinase networks (MKNs). The most prominent MKN, involving the enzymes RetS and GacS, controls the switch between the motile and biofilm lifestyles in the pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. While GacS promotes biofilm formation, RetS counteracts GacS using three distinct mechanisms. Two are dephosphorylating mechanisms.
Deamidation drives molecular aging of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor-binding motifThe spike protein is the main protein component of the SARS-CoV-2 virion surface. The spike receptor-binding motif mediates recognition of the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor, a critical step in infection, and is the preferential target for spike-neutralizing antibodies. Posttranslational modifications of the spike receptor-binding motif have been shown to modulate viral infectivity and host immune response, but these modifications are still being explored. Here we studied asparagine deamidation of the spike protein, a spontaneous event that leads to the appearance of aspartic and isoaspartic residues, which affect both the protein backbone and its charge.
Collagen’s primary structure determines collagen:HSP47 complex stoichiometryCollagens play important roles in development and homeostasis in most higher organisms. In order to function, collagens require the specific chaperone HSP47 for proper folding and secretion. HSP47 is known to bind to the collagen triple helix, but the exact positions and numbers of binding sites are not clear. Here, we employed a collagen II peptide library to characterize high-affinity binding sites for HSP47. We show that many previously predicted binding sites have very low affinities due to the presence of a negatively charged amino acid in the binding motif.
Structural delineation and phase-dependent activation of the costimulatory CD27:CD70 complexCD27 is a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor, which stimulates lymphocytes and promotes their differentiation upon activation by TNF ligand CD70. Activation of the CD27 receptor provides a costimulatory signal to promote T cell, B cell, and NK cell activity to facilitate antitumor and anti-infection immunity. Aberrant increased and focused expression of CD70 on many tumor cells renders CD70 an attractive therapeutic target for direct tumor killing. However, despite their use as drug targets to treat cancers, the molecular basis and atomic details of CD27 and CD70 interaction remain elusive.
Nephrotic-syndrome-associated mutation of KANK2 induces pathologic binding competition with physiological interactor KIF21ANephrotic syndrome (NS) is a common kidney disorder caused by dysfunction of the glomerular filtration barrier. Some genetic mutations identified in NS patients cause amino acid substitutions of kidney ankyrin repeat-containing (KANK) proteins, which are scaffold proteins that regulate actin polymerization, microtubule targeting, and cell adhesion via binding to various molecules, including the kinesin motor protein KIF21A. However, the mechanisms by which these mutations lead to NS are unclear.
Biophysical characterization of the ETV6 PNT domain polymerization interfacesETV6 is an E26 transformation specific family transcriptional repressor that self-associates by its PNT domain to facilitate cooperative DNA binding. Chromosomal translocations frequently generate constitutively active oncoproteins with the ETV6 PNT domain fused to the kinase domain of one of many protein tyrosine kinases. Although an attractive target for therapeutic intervention, the propensity of the ETV6 PNT domain to polymerize via the tight head-to-tail association of two relatively flat interfaces makes it challenging to identify suitable small molecule inhibitors of this protein–protein interaction.
Structural characterization of a PCP–R didomain from an archaeal nonribosomal peptide synthetase reveals novel interdomain interactionsNonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) are multimodular enzymes that produce a wide range of bioactive peptides, such as siderophores, toxins, and antibacterial and insecticidal agents. NRPSs are dynamic proteins characterized by extensive interdomain communications as a consequence of their assembly-line mode of synthesis. Hence, crystal structures of multidomain fragments of NRPSs have aided in elucidating crucial interdomain interactions that occur during different steps of the NRPS catalytic cycle.
A novel peptide antagonist of the human growth hormone receptorExcess circulating human growth hormone (hGH) in vivo is linked to metabolic and growth disorders such as cancer, diabetes, and acromegaly. Consequently, there is considerable interest in developing antagonists of hGH action. Here, we present the design, synthesis, and characterization of a 16-residue peptide (site 1-binding helix [S1H]) that inhibits hGH-mediated STAT5 phosphorylation in cultured cells. S1H was designed as a direct sequence mimetic of the site 1 mini-helix (residues 36–51) of wild-type hGH and acts by inhibiting the interaction of hGH with the human growth hormone receptor (hGHR).
Crystal structure and mutational analysis of the human TRIM7 B30.2 domain provide insights into the molecular basis of its binding to glycogenin-1Tripartite motif (TRIM)7 is an E3 ubiquitin ligase that was first identified through its interaction with glycogenin-1 (GN1), the autoglucosyltransferase that initiates glycogen biosynthesis. A growing body of evidence indicates that TRIM7 plays an important role in cancer development, viral pathogenesis, and atherosclerosis and, thus, represents a potential therapeutic target. TRIM family proteins share a multidomain architecture with a conserved N-terminal TRIM and a variable C-terminal domain.
Using biochemistry and biophysics to extinguish androgen receptor signaling in prostate cancerCastration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) continues to be androgen receptor (AR) driven. Inhibition of AR signaling in CRPC could be advanced using state-of-the-art biophysical and biochemical techniques. Structural characterization of AR and its complexes by cryo-electron microscopy would advance the development of N-terminal domain (NTD) and ligand-binding domain (LBD) antagonists. The structural basis of AR function is unlikely to be determined by any single structure due to the intrinsic disorder of its NTD, which not only interacts with coregulators but likely accounts for the constitutive activity of AR-splice variants (SV), which lack the LBD and emerge in CRPC.
MMP activation–associated aminopeptidase N reveals a bivalent 14-3-3 binding motifAminopeptidase N (APN, CD13) is a transmembrane ectopeptidase involved in many crucial cellular functions. Besides its role as a peptidase, APN also mediates signal transduction and is involved in the activation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). MMPs function in tissue remodeling within the extracellular space and are therefore involved in many human diseases, such as fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis, tumor angiogenesis, and metastasis, as well as viral infections. However, the exact mechanism that leads to APN-driven MMP activation is unclear.
Determinants of replication protein A subunit interactions revealed using a phosphomimetic peptideReplication protein A (RPA) is a eukaryotic ssDNA-binding protein and contains three subunits: RPA70, RPA32, and RPA14. Phosphorylation of the N-terminal region of the RPA32 subunit plays an essential role in DNA metabolism in processes such as replication and damage response. Phosphorylated RPA32 (pRPA32) binds to RPA70 and possibly regulates the transient RPA70-Bloom syndrome helicase (BLM) interaction to inhibit DNA resection. However, the structural details and determinants of the phosphorylated RPA32–RPA70 interaction are still unknown.