• CMI SEC-MALS system
  • CMI Jasco J815 CD instrument
  • CMI MST and ITC instruments
  • CMI SPR and BLI instruments
  • CMI Laboratory

Center for Macromolecular Interactions

Welcome to the Center for Macromolecular Interactions (CMI) in the department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School.  Our mission is to enhance basic research in the HMS community by providing scientific consultation, training and access to shared biophysical instruments for the characterization and analysis of macromolecules and their complexes.

The facility currently includes instruments for Isothermal Titration Calorimetry (ITC), Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR), Biolayer Interferometry (BLI), Differential Scanning Fluorimetry (DSF), Circular Dichroism (CD), Analytical Size Exclusion Chromatography for Multi-Angle Light Scattering (SEC-MALS) or Fluorescence detection (FSEC), and MicroScale Thermophoresis (MST).


Recent CMI User Publications

Li J, Su Y, Xia W, Qin Y, Humphries MJ, Vestweber D, Cabañas C, Lu C, Springer TA. Conformational equilibria and intrinsic affinities define integrin activation. EMBO J 2017;36(5):629-645.Abstract
We show that the three conformational states of integrin α5β1 have discrete free energies and define activation by measuring intrinsic affinities for ligand of each state and the equilibria linking them. The 5,000-fold higher affinity of the extended-open state than the bent-closed and extended-closed states demonstrates profound regulation of affinity. Free energy requirements for activation are defined with protein fragments and intact α5β1 On the surface of K562 cells, α5β1 is 99.8% bent-closed. Stabilization of the bent conformation by integrin transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains must be overcome by cellular energy input to stabilize extension. Following extension, headpiece opening is energetically favored. N-glycans and leg domains in each subunit that connect the ligand-binding head to the membrane repel or crowd one another and regulate conformational equilibria in favor of headpiece opening. The results suggest new principles for regulating signaling in the large class of receptors built from extracellular domains in tandem with single-span transmembrane domains.
Behrouzi R, Lu C, Currie MA, Jih G, Iglesias N, Moazed D. Heterochromatin assembly by interrupted Sir3 bridges across neighboring nucleosomes. Elife 2016;5Abstract

Heterochromatin is a conserved feature of eukaryotic chromosomes with central roles in regulation of gene expression and maintenance of genome stability. Heterochromatin formation involves spreading of chromatin-modifying factors away from initiation points over large DNA domains by poorly understood mechanisms. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, heterochromatin formation requires the SIR complex, which contains subunits with histone-modifying, histone-binding, and self-association activities. Here, we analyze binding of the Sir proteins to reconstituted mono-, di-, tri-, and tetra-nucleosomal chromatin templates and show that key Sir-Sir interactions bridge only sites on different nucleosomes but not sites on the same nucleosome, and are therefore 'interrupted' with respect to sites on the same nucleosome. We observe maximal binding affinity and cooperativity to unmodified di-nucleosomes and propose that nucleosome pairs bearing unmodified histone H4-lysine16 and H3-lysine79 form the fundamental units of Sir chromatin binding and that cooperative binding requiring two appropriately modified nucleosomes mediates selective Sir recruitment and spreading.

Chen H, Coseno M, Ficarro SB, Mansueto MS, Komazin-Meredith G, Boissel S, Filman DJ, Marto JA, Hogle JM, Coen DM. A Small Covalent Allosteric Inhibitor of Human Cytomegalovirus DNA Polymerase Subunit Interactions. ACS Infect Dis 2017;3(2):112-118.Abstract

Human cytomegalovirus DNA polymerase comprises a catalytic subunit, UL54, and an accessory subunit, UL44, the interaction of which may serve as a target for the development of new antiviral drugs. Using a high-throughput screen, we identified a small molecule, (5-((dimethylamino)methylene-3-(methylthio)-6,7-dihydrobenzo[c]thiophen-4(5H)-one), that selectively inhibits the interaction of UL44 with a UL54-derived peptide in a time-dependent manner, full-length UL54, and UL44-dependent long-chain DNA synthesis. A crystal structure of the compound bound to UL44 revealed a covalent reaction with lysine residue 60 and additional noncovalent interactions that cause steric conflicts that would prevent the UL44 connector loop from interacting with UL54. Analyses of the reaction of the compound with model substrates supported a resonance-stabilized conjugation mechanism, and substitution of the lysine reduced the ability of the compound to inhibit UL44-UL54 peptide interactions. This novel covalent inhibitor of polymerase subunit interactions may serve as a starting point for new, needed drugs to treat human cytomegalovirus infections.


Latest News

Demo: SEC-MALS integrated HPLC control software

December 7, 2016

Wyatt has launched HPLC management software that integrates control of Agilent chromatography systems into Astra 7.  We'll be testing this software over the next few months.  Talk to Kelly if you'd like to try it.