ResearchPad - electron-density https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Microbeam X-ray diffraction study of lipid structure in stratum corneum of human skin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7631 Human skin, not previously frozen, was studied by small-angle X-ray diffraction. The samples were folded so that a 6μm X-ray beam passed through the top layer of skin, stratum corneum. Diffraction patterns recorded with this method consisted of peaks at about q = 0.5, 1.0 and 1.4 nm-1 in the direction perpendicular to the skin surface more clearly than in previous studies. These peaks are interpreted to arise from lipids between corneocytes. A simple unit of a linear electron density profile with three minima was used to account for the observed intensity profiles. Combinations of calculated diffraction from models with one, two and three units accounted for the major part of the observed diffraction pattern, showing the diversity in the structure of the intercellular lipids.

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<![CDATA[Structural definition of hSP-D recognition of Salmonella enterica LPS inner core oligosaccharides reveals alternative binding modes for the same LPS]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b498fca463d7e0897c6e028

The crystal structures of a biologically and therapeutically active recombinant homotrimeric fragment of native human SP-D (hSP-D) complexed with the inner core oligosaccharide of the Salmonella enterica sv Minnesota rough strains R5 and R7 (rough mutant chemotypes Rc and Rd1) have been determined. The structures reveal that hSP-D specifically and preferentially targets the LPS inner core via the innermost conserved Hep-Kdo pair with the flexibility for alternative recognition when this preferred epitope is not available for binding. Hep-Kdo binding is achieved through calcium dependent recognition of the heptose dihydroxyethyl side chain coupled with specific interactions between the Kdo and the binding site flanking residues Arg343 and Asp325 with evidence for an extended binding site for LPS inner cores containing multiple Kdo residues. In one subunit of the R5-bound structure this preferred mode of binding is precluded by the crystal lattice and oligosaccharide is bound through the terminal inner core glucose. The structures presented here thus provide unique multiple insights into the recognition and binding of bacterial LPS by hSP-D. Not only is it demonstrated that hSP-D targets the highly conserved LPS proximal inner core Hep-Kdo motif, but also that hSP-D can recognise either terminal or non-terminal sugars and has the flexibility and versatility to adopt alternative strategies for bacterial recognition, utilising alternative LPS epitopes when the preferred inner core Hep-Kdo disaccharide is not available for binding.

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<![CDATA[Molecular Basis of Ligand-Dependent Regulation of NadR, the Transcriptional Repressor of Meningococcal Virulence Factor NadA]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da6eab0ee8fa60b940bb

Neisseria adhesin A (NadA) is present on the meningococcal surface and contributes to adhesion to and invasion of human cells. NadA is also one of three recombinant antigens in the recently-approved Bexsero vaccine, which protects against serogroup B meningococcus. The amount of NadA on the bacterial surface is of direct relevance in the constant battle of host-pathogen interactions: it influences the ability of the pathogen to engage human cell surface-exposed receptors and, conversely, the bacterial susceptibility to the antibody-mediated immune response. It is therefore important to understand the mechanisms which regulate nadA expression levels, which are predominantly controlled by the transcriptional regulator NadR (Neisseria adhesin A Regulator) both in vitro and in vivo. NadR binds the nadA promoter and represses gene transcription. In the presence of 4-hydroxyphenylacetate (4-HPA), a catabolite present in human saliva both under physiological conditions and during bacterial infection, the binding of NadR to the nadA promoter is attenuated and nadA expression is induced. NadR also mediates ligand-dependent regulation of many other meningococcal genes, for example the highly-conserved multiple adhesin family (maf) genes, which encode proteins emerging with important roles in host-pathogen interactions, immune evasion and niche adaptation. To gain insights into the regulation of NadR mediated by 4-HPA, we combined structural, biochemical, and mutagenesis studies. In particular, two new crystal structures of ligand-free and ligand-bound NadR revealed (i) the molecular basis of ‘conformational selection’ by which a single molecule of 4-HPA binds and stabilizes dimeric NadR in a conformation unsuitable for DNA-binding, (ii) molecular explanations for the binding specificities of different hydroxyphenylacetate ligands, including 3Cl,4-HPA which is produced during inflammation, (iii) the presence of a leucine residue essential for dimerization and conserved in many MarR family proteins, and (iv) four residues (His7, Ser9, Asn11 and Phe25), which are involved in binding 4-HPA, and were confirmed in vitro to have key roles in the regulatory mechanism in bacteria. Overall, this study deepens our molecular understanding of the sophisticated regulatory mechanisms of the expression of nadA and other genes governed by NadR, dependent on interactions with niche-specific signal molecules that may play important roles during meningococcal pathogenesis.

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<![CDATA[Biochemistry and Crystal Structure of Ectoine Synthase: A Metal-Containing Member of the Cupin Superfamily]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e3ab0ee8fa60b6a4fd

Ectoine is a compatible solute and chemical chaperone widely used by members of the Bacteria and a few Archaea to fend-off the detrimental effects of high external osmolarity on cellular physiology and growth. Ectoine synthase (EctC) catalyzes the last step in ectoine production and mediates the ring closure of the substrate N-gamma-acetyl-L-2,4-diaminobutyric acid through a water elimination reaction. However, the crystal structure of ectoine synthase is not known and a clear understanding of how its fold contributes to enzyme activity is thus lacking. Using the ectoine synthase from the cold-adapted marine bacterium Sphingopyxis alaskensis (Sa), we report here both a detailed biochemical characterization of the EctC enzyme and the high-resolution crystal structure of its apo-form. Structural analysis classified the (Sa)EctC protein as a member of the cupin superfamily. EctC forms a dimer with a head-to-tail arrangement, both in solution and in the crystal structure. The interface of the dimer assembly is shaped through backbone-contacts and weak hydrophobic interactions mediated by two beta-sheets within each monomer. We show for the first time that ectoine synthase harbors a catalytically important metal co-factor; metal depletion and reconstitution experiments suggest that EctC is probably an iron-dependent enzyme. We found that EctC not only effectively converts its natural substrate N-gamma-acetyl-L-2,4-diaminobutyric acid into ectoine through a cyclocondensation reaction, but that it can also use the isomer N-alpha-acetyl-L-2,4-diaminobutyric acid as its substrate, albeit with substantially reduced catalytic efficiency. Structure-guided site-directed mutagenesis experiments targeting amino acid residues that are evolutionarily highly conserved among the extended EctC protein family, including those forming the presumptive iron-binding site, were conducted to functionally analyze the properties of the resulting EctC variants. An assessment of enzyme activity and iron content of these mutants give important clues for understanding the architecture of the active site positioned within the core of the EctC cupin barrel.

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<![CDATA[3D Architecture of the Trypanosoma brucei Flagella Connector, a Mobile Transmembrane Junction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafcab0ee8fa60bc4e25

Background

Cellular junctions are crucial for the formation of multicellular organisms, where they anchor cells to each other and/or supportive tissue and enable cell-to-cell communication. Some unicellular organisms, such as the parasitic protist Trypanosoma brucei, also have complex cellular junctions. The flagella connector (FC) is a three-layered transmembrane junction that moves with the growing tip of a new flagellum and attaches it to the side of the old flagellum. The FC moves via an unknown molecular mechanism, independent of new flagellum growth. Here we describe the detailed 3D architecture of the FC suggesting explanations for how it functions and its mechanism of motility.

Methodology/Principal Findings

We have used a combination of electron tomography and cryo-electron tomography to reveal the 3D architecture of the FC. Cryo-electron tomography revealed layers of repetitive filamentous electron densities between the two flagella in the interstitial zone. Though the FC does not change in length and width during the growth of the new flagellum, the interstitial zone thickness decreases as the FC matures. This investigation also shows interactions between the FC layers and the axonemes of the new and old flagellum, sufficiently strong to displace the axoneme in the old flagellum. We describe a novel filament, the flagella connector fibre, found between the FC and the axoneme in the old flagellum.

Conclusions/Significance

The FC is similar to other cellular junctions in that filamentous proteins bridge the extracellular space and are anchored to underlying cytoskeletal structures; however, it is built between different portions of the same cell and is unique because of its intrinsic motility. The detailed description of its structure will be an important tool to use in attributing structure / function relationships as its molecular components are discovered in the future. The FC is involved in the inheritance of cell shape, which is important for the life cycle of this human parasite.

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<![CDATA[Crystal Structures of Group B Streptococcus Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase: Apo-Form, Binary and Ternary Complexes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2eab0ee8fa60b83a00

Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase or GAPDH is an evolutionarily conserved glycolytic enzyme. It catalyzes the two step oxidative phosphorylation of D-glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate into 1,3-bisphosphoglycerate using inorganic phosphate and NAD+ as cofactor. GAPDH of Group B Streptococcus is a major virulence factor and a potential vaccine candidate. Moreover, since GAPDH activity is essential for bacterial growth it may serve as a possible drug target. Crystal structures of Group B Streptococcus GAPDH in the apo-form, two different binary complexes and the ternary complex are described here. The two binary complexes contained NAD+ bound to 2 (mixed-holo) or 4 (holo) subunits of the tetrameric protein. The structure of the mixed-holo complex reveals the effects of NAD+ binding on the conformation of the protein. In the ternary complex, the phosphate group of the substrate was bound to the new Pi site in all four subunits. Comparison with the structure of human GAPDH showed several differences near the adenosyl binding pocket in Group B Streptococcus GAPDH. The structures also reveal at least three surface-exposed areas that differ in amino acid sequence compared to the corresponding areas of human GAPDH.

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<![CDATA[A Novel Phenanthridionone Based Scaffold As a Potential Inhibitor of the BRD2 Bromodomain: Crystal Structure of the Complex]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fdab0ee8fa60b72cd5

Bromodomain containing proteins recognize the level of histone acetylation and regulate epigenetically controlled processes like gene transcription and chromatin modification. The BET (bromodomain and extra-terminal) family proteins, which are transcriptional co-regulators, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of cancer, neurodegenerative disorders, and defects in embryonic stem cell differentiation. Inhibitors selectively targeting the BET bromodomains can pave the path for new drug discovery against several forms of major diseases. By a rational structure-based approach, we have identified a new inhibitor (NSC127133) of the second bromodomain (BD2) of the BET family protein BRD2 using the NCI Diversity Set III library. A high-resolution crystal structure of the BRD2-BD2 in complex with this compound and in apo- form is refined to 0.91 and 0.94 Å, respectively. The compound, which is a phenanthridinone derivative, binds well to the acetyl-lysine binding pocket of BD2 and displays significant hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions. Moreover, the atomic resolution data obtained in this study allowed us to visualize certain structural features of BD2 which remained unobserved so far. We propose that the discovered compound may be a potential molecule to develop a new library for inhibiting the BRD2-BD2 function.

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<![CDATA[Crystal Structure of Alcohol Oxidase from Pichia pastoris]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da1aab0ee8fa60b7c7bb

FAD-dependent alcohol oxidases (AOX) are key enzymes of methylotrophic organisms that can utilize lower primary alcohols as sole source of carbon and energy. Here we report the crystal structure analysis of the methanol oxidase AOX1 from Pichia pastoris. The crystallographic phase problem was solved by means of Molecular Replacement in combination with initial structure rebuilding using Rosetta model completion and relaxation against an averaged electron density map. The subunit arrangement of the homo-octameric AOX1 differs from that of octameric vanillyl alcohol oxidase and other dimeric or tetrameric alcohol oxidases, due to the insertion of two large protruding loop regions and an additional C-terminal extension in AOX1. In comparison to other alcohol oxidases, the active site cavity of AOX1 is significantly reduced in size, which could explain the observed preference for methanol as substrate. All AOX1 subunits of the structure reported here harbor a modified flavin adenine dinucleotide, which contains an arabityl chain instead of a ribityl chain attached to the isoalloxazine ring.

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<![CDATA[A Patient-Specific Polylactic Acid Bolus Made by a 3D Printer for Breast Cancer Radiation Therapy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da8fab0ee8fa60b9f788

Purpose

The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility and advantages of a patient-specific breast bolus made using a 3D printer technique.

Methods

We used the anthropomorphic female phantom with breast attachments, which volumes are 200, 300, 400, 500 and 650 cc. We simulated the treatment for a right breast patient using parallel opposed tangential fields. Treatment plans were used to investigate the effect of unwanted air gaps under bolus on the dose distribution of the whole breast. The commercial Super-Flex bolus and 3D-printed polylactic acid (PLA) bolus were applied to investigate the skin dose of the breast with the MOSFET measurement. Two boluses of 3 and 5 mm thicknesses were selected.

Results

There was a good agreement between the dose distribution for a virtual bolus generated by the TPS and PLA bolus. The difference in dose distribution between the virtual bolus and Super-Flex bolus was significant within the bolus and breast due to unwanted air gaps. The average differences between calculated and measured doses in a 200 and 300 cc with PLA bolus were not significant, which were -0.7% and -0.6% for 3mm, and -1.1% and -1.1% for 5 mm, respectively. With the Super-Flex bolus, however, significant dose differences were observed (-5.1% and -3.2% for 3mm, and -6.3% and -4.2% for 5 mm).

Conclusion

The 3D-printed solid bolus can reduce the uncertainty of the daily setup and help to overcome the dose discrepancy by unwanted air gaps in the breast cancer radiation therapy.

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<![CDATA[Mass Density Measurement of Mineralized Tissue with Grating-Based X-Ray Phase Tomography]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dadbab0ee8fa60bb9d42

Establishing the mineral content distribution in highly mineralized tissues, such as bones and teeth, is fundamental in understanding a variety of structural questions ranging from studies of the mechanical properties to improved pathological investigations. However, non-destructive, volumetric and quantitative density measurements of mineralized samples, some of which may extend several mm in size, remain challenging. Here, we demonstrate the potential of grating-based x-ray phase tomography to gain insight into the three-dimensional mass density distribution of tooth tissues in a non-destructive way and with a sensitivity of 85 mg/cm3. Density gradients of 13 − 19% over 1 − 2 mm within typical samples are detected, and local variations in density of 0.4 g/cm3 on a length scale of 0.1 mm are revealed. This method proves to be an excellent quantitative tool for investigations of subtle differences in mineral content of mineralized tissues that can change following treatment or during ageing and healing.

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<![CDATA[Structures of foot and mouth disease virus pentamers: Insight into capsid dissociation and unexpected pentamer reassociation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5ab05cb9463d7e27acdf595e

Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) belongs to the Aphthovirus genus of the Picornaviridae, a family of small, icosahedral, non-enveloped, single-stranded RNA viruses. It is a highly infectious pathogen and is one of the biggest hindrances to the international trade of animals and animal products. FMDV capsids (which are unstable below pH6.5) release their genome into the host cell from an acidic compartment, such as that of an endosome, and in the process dissociate into pentamers. Whilst other members of the family (enteroviruses) have been visualized to form an expanded intermediate capsid with holes from which inner capsid proteins (VP4), N-termini (VP1) and RNA can be released, there has been no visualization of any such state for an aphthovirus, instead the capsid appears to simply dissociate into pentamers. Here we present the 8-Å resolution structure of isolated dissociated pentamers of FMDV, lacking VP4. We also found these pentamers to re-associate into a rigid, icosahedrally symmetric assembly, which enabled their structure to be solved at higher resolution (5.2 Å). In this assembly, the pentamers unexpectedly associate ‘inside out’, but still with their exposed hydrophobic edges buried. Stabilizing interactions occur between the HI loop of VP2 and its symmetry related partners at the icosahedral 3-fold axes, and between the BC and EF loops of VP3 with the VP2 βB-strand and the CD loop at the 2-fold axes. A relatively extensive but subtle structural rearrangement towards the periphery of the dissociated pentamer compared to that in the mature virus provides insight into the mechanism of dissociation of FMDV and the marked difference in antigenicity.

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<![CDATA[Structural Details of Ufd1 Binding to p97 and Their Functional Implications in ER-Associated Degradation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db33ab0ee8fa60bd25a7

The hexameric ATPase p97 has been implicated in diverse cellular processes through interactions with many different adaptor proteins at its N-terminal domain. Among these, the Ufd1-Npl4 heterodimer is a major adaptor, and the p97-Ufd1-Npl4 complex plays an essential role in endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD), acting as a segregase that translocates the ubiquitinated client protein from the ER membrane into the cytosol for proteasomal degradation. We determined the crystal structure of the complex of the N-terminal domain of p97 and the SHP box of Ufd1 at a resolution of 1.55 Å. The 11-residue-long SHP box of Ufd1 binds at the far-most side of the Nc lobe of the p97 N domain primarily through hydrophobic interactions, such that F225, F228, N233 and L235 of the SHP box contact hydrophobic residues on the surface of the p97 Nc lobe. Mutating these key interface residues abolished the interactions in two different binding experiments, isothermal titration calorimetry and co-immunoprecipitation. Furthermore, cycloheximide chase assays showed that these same mutations caused accumulation of tyrosinase-C89R, a well-known ERAD substrate, thus implying decreased rate of protein degradation due to their defects in ERAD function. Together, these results provide structural and biochemical insights into the interaction between p97 N domain and Ufd1 SHP box.

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<![CDATA[High-Resolution Crystal Structures Elucidate the Molecular Basis of Cholera Blood Group Dependence]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da0cab0ee8fa60b7805e

Cholera is the prime example of blood-group-dependent diseases, with individuals of blood group O experiencing the most severe symptoms. The cholera toxin is the main suspect to cause this relationship. We report the high-resolution crystal structures (1.1–1.6 Å) of the native cholera toxin B-pentamer for both classical and El Tor biotypes, in complexes with relevant blood group determinants and a fragment of its primary receptor, the GM1 ganglioside. The blood group A determinant binds in the opposite orientation compared to previously published structures of the cholera toxin, whereas the blood group H determinant, characteristic of blood group O, binds in both orientations. H-determinants bind with higher affinity than A-determinants, as shown by surface plasmon resonance. Together, these findings suggest why blood group O is a risk factor for severe cholera.

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<![CDATA[Alteration of the α1β2/α2β1 subunit interface contributes to the increased hemoglobin-oxygen affinity of high-altitude deer mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc1ca

Background

Deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) that are native to high altitudes in the Rocky Mountains have evolved hemoglobins with an increased oxygen-binding affinity relative to those of lowland conspecifics. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms responsible for the evolved increase in hemoglobin-oxygen affinity, the crystal structure of the highland hemoglobin variant was solved and compared with the previously reported structure for the lowland variant.

Results

Highland hemoglobin yielded at least two crystal types, in which the longest axes were 507 and 230 Å. Using the smaller unit cell crystal, the structure was solved at 2.2 Å resolution. The asymmetric unit contained two tetrameric hemoglobin molecules.

Conclusions

The analyses revealed that αPro50 in the highland hemoglobin variant promoted a stable interaction between αHis45 and heme that was not seen in the αHis50 lowland variant. The αPro50 mutation also altered the nature of atomic contacts at the α1β22β1 intersubunit interfaces. These results demonstrate how affinity-altering changes in intersubunit interactions can be produced by mutations at structurally remote sites.

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<![CDATA[Crystal Structure of Saccharomyces cerevisiae ECM4, a Xi-Class Glutathione Transferase that Reacts with Glutathionyl-(hydro)quinones]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daaeab0ee8fa60baa4bf

Glutathionyl-hydroquinone reductases (GHRs) belong to the recently characterized Xi-class of glutathione transferases (GSTXs) according to unique structural properties and are present in all but animal kingdoms. The GHR ScECM4 from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been studied since 1997 when it was found to be potentially involved in cell-wall biosynthesis. Up to now and in spite of biological studies made on this enzyme, its physiological role remains challenging. The work here reports its crystallographic study. In addition to exhibiting the general GSTX structural features, ScECM4 shows extensions including a huge loop which contributes to the quaternary assembly. These structural extensions are probably specific to Saccharomycetaceae. Soaking of ScECM4 crystals with GS-menadione results in a structure where glutathione forms a mixed disulfide bond with the cysteine 46. Solution studies confirm that ScECM4 has reductase activity for GS-menadione in presence of glutathione. Moreover, the high resolution structures allowed us to propose new roles of conserved residues of the active site to assist the cysteine 46 during the catalytic act.

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<![CDATA[Crystal Structures of Putative Sugar Kinases from Synechococcus Elongatus PCC 7942 and Arabidopsis Thaliana]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3eab0ee8fa60bd5e5b

The genome of the Synechococcus elongatus strain PCC 7942 encodes a putative sugar kinase (SePSK), which shares 44.9% sequence identity with the xylulose kinase-1 (AtXK-1) from Arabidopsis thaliana. Sequence alignment suggests that both kinases belong to the ribulokinase-like carbohydrate kinases, a sub-family of FGGY family carbohydrate kinases. However, their exact physiological function and real substrates remain unknown. Here we solved the structures of SePSK and AtXK-1 in both their apo forms and in complex with nucleotide substrates. The two kinases exhibit nearly identical overall architecture, with both kinases possessing ATP hydrolysis activity in the absence of substrates. In addition, our enzymatic assays suggested that SePSK has the capability to phosphorylate D-ribulose. In order to understand the catalytic mechanism of SePSK, we solved the structure of SePSK in complex with D-ribulose and found two potential substrate binding pockets in SePSK. Using mutation and activity analysis, we further verified the key residues important for its catalytic activity. Moreover, our structural comparison with other family members suggests that there are major conformational changes in SePSK upon substrate binding, facilitating the catalytic process. Together, these results provide important information for a more detailed understanding of the cofactor and substrate binding mode as well as the catalytic mechanism of SePSK, and possible similarities with its plant homologue AtXK-1.

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<![CDATA[Lipid interactions and angle of approach to the HIV-1 viral membrane of broadly neutralizing antibody 10E8: Insights for vaccine and therapeutic design]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdcf59

Among broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV, 10E8 exhibits greater neutralizing breadth than most. Consequently, this antibody is the focus of prophylactic/therapeutic development. The 10E8 epitope has been identified as the conserved membrane proximal external region (MPER) of gp41 subunit of the envelope (Env) viral glycoprotein and is a major vaccine target. However, the MPER is proximal to the viral membrane and may be laterally inserted into the membrane in the Env prefusion form. Nevertheless, 10E8 has not been reported to have significant lipid-binding reactivity. Here we report x-ray structures of lipid complexes with 10E8 and a scaffolded MPER construct and mutagenesis studies that provide evidence that the 10E8 epitope is composed of both MPER and lipid. 10E8 engages lipids through a specific lipid head group interaction site and a basic and polar surface on the light chain. In the model that we constructed, the MPER would then be essentially perpendicular to the virion membrane during 10E8 neutralization of HIV-1. As the viral membrane likely also plays a role in selecting for the germline antibody as well as size and residue composition of MPER antibody complementarity determining regions, the identification of lipid interaction sites and the MPER orientation with regard to the viral membrane surface during 10E8 engagement can be of great utility for immunogen and therapeutic design.

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<![CDATA[Biological Membranes in Extreme Conditions: Simulations of Anionic Archaeal Tetraether Lipid Membranes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da47ab0ee8fa60b8c128

In contrast to the majority of organisms that have cells bound by di-ester phospholipids, archaeal membranes consist of di- and tetraether phospholipids. Originating from organisms that withstand harsh conditions (e.g., low pH and a wide range of temperatures) such membranes have physical properties that make them attractive materials for biological research and biotechnological applications. We developed force-field parameters based on the widely used Generalized Amber Force Field (GAFF) to enable the study of anionic tetraether membranes of the model archaean Sulfolobus acidocaldarius by computer simulations. The simulations reveal that the physical properties of these unique membranes depend on the number of cyclopentane rings included in each lipid unit, and on the size of cations that are used to ensure charge neutrality. This suggests that the biophysical properties of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius cells depend not only on the compositions of their membranes but also on the media in which they grow.

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<![CDATA[Structures of Two Melanoma-Associated Antigens Suggest Allosteric Regulation of Effector Binding]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafcab0ee8fa60bc51bf

The MAGE (melanoma associated antigen) protein family are tumour-associated proteins normally present only in reproductive tissues such as germ cells of the testis. The human genome encodes over 60 MAGE genes of which one class (containing MAGE-A3 and MAGE-A4) are exclusively expressed in tumours, making them an attractive target for the development of targeted and immunotherapeutic cancer treatments. Some MAGE proteins are thought to play an active role in driving cancer, modulating the activity of E3 ubiquitin ligases on targets related to apoptosis. Here we determined the crystal structures of MAGE-A3 and MAGE-A4. Both proteins crystallized with a terminal peptide bound in a deep cleft between two tandem-arranged winged helix domains. MAGE-A3 (but not MAGE-A4), is predominantly dimeric in solution. Comparison of MAGE-A3 and MAGE-A3 with a structure of an effector-bound MAGE-G1 suggests that a major conformational rearrangement is required for binding, and that this conformational plasticity may be targeted by allosteric binders.

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<![CDATA[Soaking suggests “alternative facts”: Only co-crystallization discloses major ligand-induced interface rearrangements of a homodimeric tRNA-binding protein indicating a novel mode-of-inhibition]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc8f9

For the efficient pathogenesis of Shigella, the causative agent of bacillary dysentery, full functionality of tRNA-guanine transglycosylase (TGT) is mandatory. TGT performs post-transcriptional modifications of tRNAs in the anticodon loop taking impact on virulence development. This suggests TGT as a putative target for selective anti-shigellosis drug therapy. Since bacterial TGT is only functional as homodimer, its activity can be inhibited either by blocking its active site or by preventing dimerization. Recently, we discovered that in some crystal structures obtained by soaking the full conformational adaptation most likely induced in solution upon ligand binding is not displayed. Thus, soaked structures may be misleading and suggest irrelevant binding modes. Accordingly, we re-investigated these complexes by co-crystallization. The obtained structures revealed large conformational rearrangements not visible in the soaked complexes. They result from spatial perturbations in the ribose-34/phosphate-35 recognition pocket and, consequently, an extended loop-helix motif required to prevent access of water molecules into the dimer interface loses its geometric integrity. Thermodynamic profiles of ligand binding in solution indicate favorable entropic contributions to complex formation when large conformational adaptations in the dimer interface are involved. Native MS titration experiments reveal the extent to which the homodimer is destabilized in the presence of each inhibitor. Unexpectedly, one ligand causes a complete rearrangement of subunit packing within the homodimer, never observed in any other TGT crystal structure before. Likely, this novel twisted dimer is catalytically inactive and, therefore, suggests that stabilizing this non-productive subunit arrangement may be used as a further strategy for TGT inhibition.

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