Publications

2022
Le Xiao, Venkat Giri Magupalli, and Hao Wu. 11/28/2022. “Cryo-EM structures of the active NLRP3 inflammasome disk.” Nature. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Inflammasomes are cytosolic innate immune complexes that activate caspase-1 upon detection of pathogenic and endogenous dangers1-5, and NLRP3 is an inflammasome sensor of membrane damage highly important in inducing inflammation2,6,7. Here we report cryo-EM structures of disk-shaped active NLRP3 oligomers in complex with ATP&\#x1D6FE;S, the centrosomal kinase NEK7, and the adaptor protein ASC which recruits caspase-1. In these NLRP3-NEK7-ASC complexes, the central NACHT domain of NLRP3 assumes an ATP-bound conformation in which two of its subdomains rotate by \textasciitilde85 ° relative to the ADP-bound inactive conformation8-12. The FISNA domain conserved in NLRP3 but absent in most NLRPs13 becomes ordered in its key regions to stabilize the active NACHT conformation and mediate most interactions in the disk. Mutations on these interactions compromise NLRP3-mediated caspase-1 activation. The N-terminal PYDs from all the NLRP3 subunits gather together to form a PYD filament that recruits ASC PYD to elicit downstream signalling. Surprisingly, the C-terminal LRR domain and the LRR-bound NEK7 do not participate in disk interfaces. Together with previous structures of inactive NLRP3 cage in which LRR-LRR interactions play an important role8-11, we propose that the role of NEK7 is to break the inactive cage to transform NLRP3 into the active NLRP3 inflammasome disk.
José A. Velilla, Matthew R. Volpe, Grace E. Kenney, Richard M. Walsh, Emily P. Balskus, and Rachelle Gaudet. 10/17/2022. “Structural basis of colibactin activation by the ClbP peptidase.” Nature Chemical Biology. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Colibactin, a DNA cross-linking agent produced by gut bacteria, is implicated in colorectal cancer. Its biosynthesis uses a prodrug resistance mechanism: a non-toxic precursor assembled in the cytoplasm is activated after export to the periplasm. This activation is mediated by ClbP, an inner-membrane peptidase with an N-terminal periplasmic catalytic domain and a C-terminal three-helix transmembrane domain. Although the transmembrane domain is required for colibactin activation, its role in catalysis is unclear. Our structure of full-length ClbP bound to a product analog reveals an interdomain interface important for substrate binding and enzyme stability and interactions that explain the selectivity of ClbP for the N-acyl-d-asparagine prodrug motif. Based on structural and biochemical evidence, we propose that ClbP dimerizes to form an extended substrate-binding site that can accommodate a pseudodimeric precolibactin with its two terminal prodrug motifs in the two ClbP active sites, thus enabling the coordinated activation of both electrophilic warheads.
Ying Dong, Xiong Pi, Frauke Bartels-Burgahn, Deniz Saltukoglu, Zhuoyi Liang, Jianying Yang, Frederick W. Alt, Michael Reth, and Hao Wu. 10/14/2022. “Structural principles of B-cell antigen receptor assembly.” Nature. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) is composed of a membrane-bound immunoglobulin (mIg) of class M, D, G, E or A for antigen recognition1–3 and a disulfide-linked Ig$\alpha$ and Ig$\beta$ heterodimer (Ig$\alpha$/$\beta$) that functions as the signalling entity through their intracellular immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAMs)4,5. The organizing principle of the BCR remains elusive. Here we report cryogenic electron microscopy structures of mouse full-length IgM BCR at 8.2 \AA resolution and its Fab-deleted form at 3.3 \AA resolution. At the ectodomain (ECD), the Ig$\alpha$/$\beta$ heterodimer mainly uses Ig$\alpha$ to associate with Cµ3-Cµ4 domains of one heavy chain (µHC) while leaving the other heavy chain (µHC') empty. The transmembrane domain (TMD) helices of the two µHCs interact with those of the Ig$\alpha$/$\beta$ heterodimer to form a tight 4-helix bundle. The asymmetry at the TMD prevents the recruitment of two Ig$\alpha$/$\beta$ heterodimers. Surprisingly, the connecting peptide between the ECD and TMD of µHC intervenes in between those of Ig$\alpha$ and Ig$\beta$ to guide the TMD assembly through striking charge complementarity. Weaker but distinct density for the Ig$\beta$ ITAMs nestles next to the TMD, suggesting potential autoinhibition of ITAM phosphorylation. Interfacial analyses suggest that all BCR classes utilize a general organizational architecture. Our studies provide a structural platform for understanding B-cell signalling and designing rational therapies against BCR-mediated diseases.
Miao Gui, Jacob T. Croft, Davide Zabeo, Vajradhar Acharya, Justin M. Kollman, Thomas Burgoyne, Johanna L. Höög, and Alan Brown. 10/3/2022. “SPACA9 is a lumenal protein of human ciliary singlet and doublet microtubules.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119, 41, Pp. e2207605119. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The cilium-centrosome complex contains triplet, doublet, and singlet microtubules. The lumenal surfaces of each microtubule within this diverse array are decorated by microtubule inner proteins (MIPs). Here, we used single-particle cryo-electron microscopy methods to build atomic models of two types of human ciliary microtubule: the doublet microtubules of multiciliated respiratory cells and the distal singlet microtubules of monoflagellated human spermatozoa. We discover that SPACA9 is a polyspecific MIP capable of binding both microtubule types. SPACA9 forms intralumenal striations in the B tubule of respiratory doublet microtubules and noncontinuous spirals in sperm singlet microtubules. By acquiring new and reanalyzing previous cryo-electron tomography data, we show that SPACA9-like intralumenal striations are common features of different microtubule types in animal cilia. Our structures provide detailed references to help rationalize ciliopathy-causing mutations and position cryo-EM as a tool for the analysis of samples obtained directly from ciliopathy patients.
Paula P. Navarro, Andrea Vettiger, Virly Y. Ananda, Paula Montero Llopis, Christoph Allolio, Thomas G. Bernhardt, and Luke H. Chao. 9/12/2022. “Cell wall synthesis and remodelling dynamics determine division site architecture and cell shape in Escherichia coli.” Nature Microbiology. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The bacterial division apparatus catalyses the synthesis and remodelling of septal peptidoglycan (sPG) to build the cell wall layer that fortifies the daughter cell poles. Understanding of this essential process has been limited by the lack of native three-dimensional views of developing septa. Here, we apply state-of-the-art cryogenic electron tomography (cryo-ET) and fluorescence microscopy to visualize the division site architecture and sPG biogenesis dynamics of the Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli. We identify a wedge-like sPG structure that fortifies the ingrowing septum. Experiments with strains defective in sPG biogenesis revealed that the septal architecture and mode of division can be modified to more closely resemble that of other Gram-negative (Caulobacter crescentus) or Gram-positive (Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria, suggesting that a conserved mechanism underlies the formation of different septal morphologies. Finally, analysis of mutants impaired in amidase activation ($Δ$envC $Δ$nlpD) showed that cell wall remodelling affects the placement and stability of the cytokinetic ring. Taken together, our results support a model in which competition between the cell elongation and division machineries determines the shape of cell constrictions and the poles they form. They also highlight how the activity of the division system can be modulated to help generate the diverse array of shapes observed in the bacterial domain.
Simon Jenni, Joshua A. Horwitz, Louis-Marie Bloyet, Sean P. J. Whelan, and Stephen C. Harrison. 8/15/2022. “Visualizing molecular interactions that determine assembly of a bullet-shaped vesicular stomatitis virus particle.” Nature Communications, 13, 1, Pp. 4802. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) is a negative-strand RNA virus with a non-segmented genome, closely related to rabies virus. Both have characteristic bullet-like shapes. We report the structure of intact, infectious VSV particles determined by cryogenic electron microscopy. By compensating for polymorphism among viral particles with computational classification, we obtained a reconstruction of the shaft (``trunk'') at 3.5þinspace}\AA resolution, with lower resolution for the rounded tip. The ribonucleoprotein (RNP), genomic RNA complexed with nucleoprotein (N), curls into a dome-like structure with about eight gradually expanding turns before transitioning into the regular helical trunk. Two layers of matrix (M) protein link the RNP with the membrane. Radial inter-layer subunit contacts are fixed within single RNA-N-M1-M2 modules, but flexible lateral and axial interactions allow assembly of polymorphic virions. Together with published structures of recombinant N in various states, our results suggest a mechanism for membrane-coupled self-assembly of VSV and its relatives.
Sai Luo, Jun Zhang, Alex J.B. Kreutzberger, Amanda Eaton, Robert J. Edwards, Changbin Jing, Hai-Qiang Dai, Gregory D. Sempowski, Kenneth Cronin, Robert Parks, Adam Yongxin Ye, Katayoun Mansouri, Maggie Barr, Novalia Pishesha, Aimee Chapdelaine Williams, Lucas Vieira Francisco, Anand Saminathan, Hanqin Peng, Himanshu Batra, Lorenza Bellusci, Surender Khurana, S. Munir Alam, David C. Montefiori, Kevin O. Saunders, Ming Tian, Hidde Ploegh, Tom Kirchhausen, Bing Chen, Barton F. Haynes, and Frederick W. Alt. 8/11/2022. “An Antibody from Single Human VH-rearranging Mouse Neutralizes All SARS-CoV-2 Variants Through BA.5 by Inhibiting Membrane Fusion.” Science Immunology, Pp. eadd5446. Publisher's VersionAbstract
SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sub-variants have generated a world-wide health crisis due to resistance to most approved SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies and evasion of vaccination-induced antibodies. To manage Omicron sub-variants and prepare for potential new variants, additional means of isolating broad and potent humanized SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies are desirable. Here, we describe a mouse model in which the primary B cell receptor (BCR) repertoire is generated solely through V(D)J recombination of a human VH1-2 heavy chain (HC) and, substantially, a human Vκ1-33 light chain (LC). Thus, primary humanized BCR repertoire diversity in these mice derives from immensely diverse HC and LC antigen-contact complementarity-region-3 (CDR3) sequences generated by non-templated junctional modifications during V(D)J recombination. Immunizing the human VH1-2/Vκ1-33-rearranging mouse model with SARS-CoV-2 (Wuhan-Hu-1) spike protein immunogens elicited several VH1-2/Vκ1-33-based neutralizing antibodies that bound RBD in a different mode from each other and from those of many prior human patient-derived VH1-2-based neutralizing antibodies. Of these, SP1-77 potently and broadly neutralized all SARS-CoV-2 variants through BA.5. Cryo-EM studies revealed that SP1-77 bound RBD away from the receptor-binding-motif via a CDR3-dominated recognition mode. Lattice-light-sheet-microscopy-based studies showed that SP1-77 did not block ACE2-mediated viral attachment or endocytosis, but rather blocked viral-host membrane fusion. The broad and potent SP1-77 neutralization activity and non-traditonal mechanism of action suggest this antibody might have therapeutic potential. Likewise, the SP1-77 binding epitope may further inform on vacccine strategies. Finally, the general class of humanized mouse models we have described may contribute to identifying therapeutic antibodies against future SARS-CoV-2 variants and other pathogens. A humanized antibody from a recently-developed mouse model potently neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 variants by inhibiting membrane fusion.
Shaun Rawson, Richard M. Walsh, Benjamin Velez, Helena M. Schnell, Fenglong Jiao, Marie Blickling, Jessie Ang, Meera K. Bhanu, Lan Huang, and John Hanna. 8/4/2022. “Yeast PI31 inhibits the proteasome by a direct multisite mechanism.” Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Proteasome inhibitors are widely used as therapeutics and research tools, and typically target one of the three active sites, each present twice in the proteasome complex. An endogeneous proteasome inhibitor, PI31, was identified 30þinspace}years ago, but its inhibitory mechanism has remained unclear. Here, we identify the mechanism of Saccharomyces cerevisiae PI31, also known as Fub1. Using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), we show that the conserved carboxy-terminal domain of Fub1 is present inside the proteasome's barrel-shaped core particle (CP), where it simultaneously interacts with all six active sites. Targeted mutations of Fub1 disrupt proteasome inhibition at one active site, while leaving the other sites unaffected. Fub1 itself evades degradation through distinct mechanisms at each active site. The gate that allows substrates to access the CP is constitutively closed, and Fub1 is enriched in mutant CPs with an abnormally open gate, suggesting that Fub1 may function to neutralize aberrant proteasomes, thereby ensuring the fidelity of proteasome-mediated protein degradation.
Matthew C. J. Yip, Samantha F. Sedor, and Sichen Shao. 8/1/2022. “Mechanism of client selection by the protein quality-control factor UBE2O.” Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The E2/E3 enzyme UBE2O ubiquitylates diverse clients to mediate important processes, including targeting unassembled `orphan' proteins for quality control and clearing ribosomes during erythropoiesis. How quality-control factors, such as UBE2O, select clients on the basis of heterogeneous features is largely unknown. Here, we show that UBE2O client selection is regulated by ubiquitin binding and a cofactor, NAP1L1. Attaching a single ubiquitin onto a client enhances UBE2O binding and multi-mono-ubiquitylation. UBE2O also repurposes the histone chaperone NAP1L1 as an adapter to recruit a subset of clients. Cryo-EM structures of human UBE2O in complex with NAP1L1 reveal a malleable client recruitment interface that is autoinhibited by the intrinsically reactive UBC domain. Adding a ubiquitylated client identifies a distinct ubiquitin-binding SH3-like domain required for client selection. Our findings reveal how multivalency and a feed-forward mechanism drive the selection of protein quality-control clients.
Benjamin R. Morehouse, Matthew C. J. Yip, Alexander F. A. Keszei, Nora K. McNamara-Bordewick, Sichen Shao, and Philip J. Kranzusch. 7/20/2022. “Cryo-EM structure of an active bacterial TIR–STING filament complex.” Nature. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Stimulator of interferon genes (STING) is an antiviral signalling protein that is broadly conserved in both innate immunity in animals and phage defence in prokaryotes1–4. Activation of STING requires its assembly into an oligomeric filament structure through binding of a cyclic dinucleotide4–13, but the molecular basis of STING filament assembly and extension remains unknown. Here we use cryogenic electron microscopy to determine the structure of the active Toll/interleukin-1 receptor (TIR)–STING filament complex from a Sphingobacterium faecium cyclic-oligonucleotide-based antiphage signalling system (CBASS) defence operon. Bacterial TIR–STING filament formation is driven by STING interfaces that become exposed on high-affinity recognition of the cognate cyclic dinucleotide signal c-di-GMP. Repeating dimeric STING units stack laterally head-to-head through surface interfaces, which are also essential for human STING tetramer formation and downstream immune signalling in mammals5. The active bacterial TIR–STING structure reveals further cross-filament contacts that brace the assembly and coordinate packing of the associated TIR NADase effector domains at the base of the filament to drive NAD+ hydrolysis. STING interface and cross-filament contacts are essential for cell growth arrest in vivo and reveal a stepwise mechanism of activation whereby STING filament assembly is required for subsequent effector activation. Our results define the structural basis of STING filament formation in prokaryotic antiviral signalling.
Jacob Ronald Anderson, Jing Li, Timothy A. Springer, and Alan Brown. 7/1/2022. “Structures of VWF tubules before and after concatemerization reveal a mechanism of disulfide bond exchange.” Blood. Publisher's VersionAbstract
von Willebrand Factor (VWF) is an adhesive glycoprotein that circulates in the blood as disulfide-linked concatemers and functions in primary hemostasis. The loss of long VWF concatemers is associated with the excess bleeding of type 2A von Willebrand (VW) disease. Formation of the disulfide bonds that concatemerize VWF requires VWF to self-associate into helical tubules, yet how the helical tubules template intermolecular disulfide bonds is not known. Here, we report cryo-EM structures of complete VWF tubules before and after intermolecular disulfide-bond formation. The structures provide evidence that VWF tubulates through a charge-neutralization mechanism and that the A1 domain enhances tubule length by crosslinking successive helical turns. In addition, the structures reveal disulfide states prior to and after disulfide bond-mediated concatemerization. The structures and proposed assembly mechanism provide a foundation to rationalize VW disease-causing mutations.
Martin Filipovski, Jelly H. M. Soffers, Seychelle M. Vos, and Lucas Farnung. 6/16/2022. “Structural basis of nucleosome retention during transcription elongation.” Science, 376, 6599, Pp. 1313-1316. Publisher's VersionAbstract
In eukaryotes, RNA polymerase (Pol) II transcribes chromatin and must move past nucleosomes, often resulting in nucleosome displacement. How Pol II unwraps the DNA from nucleosomes to allow transcription and how DNA rewraps to retain nucleosomes has been unclear. Here, we report the 3.0-angstrom cryo–electron microscopy structure of a mammalian Pol II-DSIF-SPT6-PAF1c-TFIIS-nucleosome complex stalled 54 base pairs within the nucleosome. The structure provides a mechanistic basis for nucleosome retention during transcription elongation where upstream DNA emerging from the Pol II cleft has rewrapped the proximal side of the nucleosome. The structure uncovers a direct role for Pol II and transcription elongation factors in nucleosome retention and explains how nucleosomes are retained to prevent the disruption of chromatin structure across actively transcribed genes. Eukaryotic cells organize their large genomes into a compacted structure called chromatin. The condensed structure of chromatin, with its fundamental unit the nucleosome, represents a challenge to nucleic acid–transacting machines including RNA polymerase II (Pol II), the enzyme responsible for the transcription of most protein-coding genes. How RNA Pol II overcomes nucleosomes without disrupting chromatin organization remains unknown. Using cryo–electron microscopy, Filipovski et al. provided structural snapshots of a complex between mammalian RNA Pol II and a nucleosome that show how previously transcribed DNA rewraps the nucleosome. The finding provides a structural basis of how nucleosomes, and consequently epigenetic marks, are retained during transcription. —DJ A high-resolution cryo–electron microscopy structure explains how nucleosomes are retained to prevent disruption of chromatin across actively transcribed genes.
Ian W. Windsor, Pei Tong, Olivia Lavidor, Ali Sanjari Moghaddam, Lindsay G. A. McKay, Avneesh Gautam, Yuezhou Chen, Elizabeth A. MacDonald, Duck Kyun Yoo, Anthony Griffths, Duane R. Wesemann, and Stephen C. Harrison. 5/10/2022. “Antibodies induced by an ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain that cross-neutralize variants from Alpha to Omicron BA.1.” Science Immunology, 7, 74, Pp. eabo3425. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Neutralizing antibodies that recognize the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein are the principal host defense against viral invasion. Variants of SARS-CoV-2 bear mutations that allow escape from neutralization by many human antibodies, especially those in widely distributed (“public”) classes. Identifying antibodies that neutralize these variants of concern and determining their prevalence are important goals for understanding immune protection. To determine the Delta and Omicron BA.1 variant specificity of B cell repertoires established by an initial Wuhan strain infection, we measured neutralization potencies of 73 antibodies from an unbiased survey of the early memory B cell response. Antibodies recognizing each of three previously defined epitopic regions on the spike receptor binding domain (RBD) varied in neutralization potency and variant-escape resistance. The ACE2 binding surface (“RBD-2”) harbored the binding sites of neutralizing antibodies with the highest potency but with the greatest sensitivity to viral escape; two other epitopic regions on the RBD (“RBD-1” and “RBD-3”) bound antibodies of more modest potency but greater breadth. The structures of several Fab:spike complexes that neutralized all five variants of concern tested, including one Fab each from the RBD-1, -2, and -3 clusters, illustrated the determinants of broad neutralization and showed that B cell repertoires can have specificities that avoid immune escape driven by public antibodies. The structure of the RBD-2 binding, broad neutralizer shows why it retains neutralizing activity for Omicron BA.1, unlike most others in the same public class. Our results correlate with real-world data on vaccine efficacy, which indicate mitigation of disease caused by Omicron BA.1. Structures of SARS-CoV-2 spike-bound antibodies from Wuhan strain infection show features needed to neutralize variants of concern. As new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) emerge, it is crucial to determine whether immune responses to previous iterations of the virus protect against VOCs. Because antibodies are critical for protection against SARS-CoV-2, a key issue is reactivity for VOCs of antibodies generated by ancestral SARS-CoV-2 exposure. Here, Windsor et al. evaluated VOC binding, cross-inhibition, and neutralization potency of 73 monoclonal antibodies from donors infected in early 2020 with ancestral SARS-CoV-2. They identified three antibodies that neutralized all VOCs tested (including Omicron BA.1) and used cryo-EM of these antibodies bound with SARS-CoV-2 spike to suggest ways in which somatic mutation might restore VOC recognition by other antibodies. This study thus yields better understanding of the reactivity for VOCs of humoral immune responses to ancestral SARS-CoV-2.
Nils Marechal, Banyuhay P. Serrano, Xinyan Zhang, and Charles J. Weitz. 5/2/2022. “Formation of thyroid hormone revealed by a cryo-EM structure of native bovine thyroglobulin.” Nature Communications, 13, 1, Pp. 2380. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Thyroid hormones are essential regulators of metabolism, development, and growth. They are formed from pairs of iodinated tyrosine residues within the precursor thyroglobulin (TG), a 660-kDa homodimer of the thyroid gland, by an oxidative coupling reaction. Tyrosine pairs that give rise to thyroid hormones have been assigned within the structure of human TG, but the process of hormone formation is poorly understood. Here we report a \textasciitilde3.3-\AA cryo-EM structure of native bovine TG with nascent thyroid hormone formed at one of the predicted hormonogenic sites. Local structural rearrangements provide insight into mechanisms underlying thyroid hormone formation and stabilization.
Di Liu, François A. Thélot, Joseph A. Piccirilli, Maofu Liao, and Peng Yin. 5/2/2022. “Sub-3-Å cryo-EM structure of RNA enabled by engineered homomeric self-assembly.” Nature Methods. Publisher's VersionAbstract
High-resolution structural studies are essential for understanding the folding and function of diverse RNAs. Herein, we present a nanoarchitectural engineering strategy for efficient structural determination of RNA-only structures using single-particle cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM). This strategy–-ROCK (RNA oligomerization-enabled cryo-EM via installing kissing loops)–-involves installing kissing-loop sequences onto the functionally nonessential stems of RNAs for homomeric self-assembly into closed rings with multiplied molecular weights and mitigated structural flexibility. ROCK enables cryo-EM reconstruction of the Tetrahymena group I intron at 2.98-\AA resolution overall (2.85þinspace}\AA for the core), allowing de novo model building of the complete RNA, including the previously unknown peripheral domains. ROCK is further applied to two smaller RNAs–-the Azoarcus group I intron and the FMN riboswitch, revealing the conformational change of the former and the bound ligand in the latter. ROCK holds promise to greatly facilitate the use of cryo-EM in RNA structural studies.
Wang Zheng, Chen Shen, Longfei Wang, Shaun Rawson, Wen Jun Xie, Carl Nist-Lund, Jason Wu, Zhangfei Shen, Shiyu Xia, Jeffrey R. Holt, Hao Wu, and Tian-Min Fu. 3/25/2022. “pH regulates potassium conductance and drives a constitutive proton current in human TMEM175.” Science Advances, 8, 12, Pp. eabm1568. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Human TMEM175, a noncanonical potassium (K+) channel in endolysosomes, contributes to their pH stability and is implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Structurally, the TMEM175 family exhibits an architecture distinct from canonical potassium channels, as it lacks the typical TVGYG selectivity filter. Here, we show that human TMEM175 not only exhibits pH-dependent structural changes that reduce K+ permeation at acidic pH but also displays proton permeation. TMEM175 constitutively conducts K+ at pH 7.4 but displays reduced K+ permeation at lower pH. In contrast, proton current through TMEM175 increases with decreasing pH because of the increased proton gradient. Molecular dynamics simulation, structure-based mutagenesis, and electrophysiological analysis suggest that K+ ions and protons share the same permeation pathway. The M393T variant of human TMEM175 associated with PD shows reduced function in both K+ and proton permeation. Together, our structural and electrophysiological analysis reveals a mechanism of TMEM175 regulation by pH. Human TMEM175, a noncanonical potassium channel, conducts protons but displays reduced K+ permeation at lower pH.
Xiaozhe Xiong, Songhai Tian, Pan Yang, Francois Lebreton, Huan Bao, Kuanwei Sheng, Linxiang Yin, Pengsheng Chen, Jie Zhang, Wanshu Qi, Jianbin Ruan, Hao Wu, Hong Chen, David T. Breault, Ashlee M. Earl, Michael S. Gilmore, Jonathan Abraham, and Min Dong. 3/7/2022. “Emerging enterococcus pore-forming toxins with MHC/HLA-I as receptors.” Cell. Publisher's Version
Blake M. Hauser, Maya Sangesland, Kerri J. St. Denis, Evan C. Lam, James Brett Case, Ian W. Windsor, Jared Feldman, Timothy M. Caradonna, Ty Kannegieter, Michael S. Diamond, Alejandro B. Balazs, Daniel Lingwood, and Aaron G. Schmidt. 3/7/2022. “Rationally designed immunogens enable immune focusing following SARS-CoV-2 spike imprinting.” Cell Reports, 38, 12, Pp. 110561. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Summary Eliciting antibodies to surface-exposed viral glycoproteins can generate protective responses that control and prevent future infections. Targeting conserved sites may reduce the likelihood of viral escape and limit the spread of related viruses with pandemic potential. Here we leverage rational immunogen design to focus humoral responses on conserved epitopes. Using glycan engineering and epitope scaffolding in boosting immunogens, we focus murine serum antibody responses to conserved receptor binding motif (RBM) and receptor binding domain (RBD) epitopes following severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike imprinting. Although all engineered immunogens elicit a robust SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing serum response, RBM-focusing immunogens exhibit increased potency against related sarbecoviruses, SARS-CoV, WIV1-CoV, RaTG13-CoV, and SHC014-CoV; structural characterization of representative antibodies defines a conserved epitope. RBM-focused sera confer protection against SARS-CoV-2 challenge. Thus, RBM focusing is a promising strategy to elicit breadth across emerging sarbecoviruses without compromising SARS-CoV-2 protection. These engineering strategies are adaptable to other viral glycoproteins for targeting conserved epitopes.
Henning Arlt, Xuewu Sui, Brayden Folger, Carson Adams, Xiao Chen, Roman Remme, Fred A. Hamprecht, Frank DiMaio, Maofu Liao, Joel M. Goodman, Robert V. Farese, and Tobias C. Walther. 2/24/2022. “Seipin forms a flexible cage at lipid droplet formation sites.” Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.Abstract
Lipid droplets (LDs) form in the endoplasmic reticulum by phase separation of neutral lipids. This process is facilitated by the seipin protein complex, which consists of a ring of seipin monomers, with a yet unclear function. Here, we report a structure of S. cerevisiae seipin based on cryogenic-electron microscopy and structural modeling data. Seipin forms a decameric, cage-like structure with the lumenal domains forming a stable ring at the cage floor and transmembrane segments forming the cage sides and top. The transmembrane segments interact with adjacent monomers in two distinct, alternating conformations. These conformations result from changes in switch regions, located between the lumenal domains and the transmembrane segments, that are required for seipin function. Our data indicate a model for LD formation in which a closed seipin cage enables triacylglycerol phase separation and subsequently switches to an open conformation to allow LD growth and budding.
Alex G. Johnson, Tanita Wein, Megan L. Mayer, Brianna Duncan-Lowey, Erez Yirmiya, Yaara Oppenheimer-Shaanan, Gil Amitai, Rotem Sorek, and Philip J. Kranzusch. 1/13/2022. “Bacterial gasdermins reveal an ancient mechanism of cell death.” Science, 375, 6577, Pp. 221-225. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Gasdermins are cell death proteins in mammals that form membrane pores in response to pathogen infection. Johnson et al. report that diverse bacteria encode structural and functional homologs of mammalian gasdermins. Like their mammalian counterparts, bacterial gasdermins are activated by caspase-like proteases, oligomerize into large membrane pores, and defend against pathogen—in this case, bacteriophage—infection. Proteolytic activation occurs through the release of a short inhibitory peptide, and many bacterial gasdermins are lipidated to facilitate membrane pore formation. Pyroptotic cell death, a central component of mammalian innate immunity, thus has a shared origin with an ancient antibacteriophage defense system. —SMH Bacteria encode gasdermins that are activated by dedicated proteases, defend from phage, and induce cell death. Gasdermin proteins form large membrane pores in human cells that release immune cytokines and induce lytic cell death. Gasdermin pore formation is triggered by caspase-mediated cleavage during inflammasome signaling and is critical for defense against pathogens and cancer. We discovered gasdermin homologs encoded in bacteria that defended against phages and executed cell death. Structures of bacterial gasdermins revealed a conserved pore-forming domain that was stabilized in the inactive state with a buried lipid modification. Bacterial gasdermins were activated by dedicated caspase-like proteases that catalyzed site-specific cleavage and the removal of an inhibitory C-terminal peptide. Release of autoinhibition induced the assembly of large and heterogeneous pores that disrupted membrane integrity. Thus, pyroptosis is an ancient form of regulated cell death shared between bacteria and animals.

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