User Publications

Song D, Rodrigues K, Graham TGW, Loparo JJ. A network of cis and trans interactions is required for ParB spreading. Nucleic Acids Res 2017;Abstract
Most bacteria utilize the highly conserved parABS partitioning system in plasmid and chromosome segregation. This system depends on a DNA-binding protein ParB, which binds specifically to the centromere DNA sequence parS and to adjacent non-specific DNA over multiple kilobases in a phenomenon called spreading. Previous single-molecule experiments in combination with genetic, biochemical and computational studies have argued that ParB spreading requires cooperative interactions between ParB dimers including DNA bridging and possible nearest-neighbor interactions. A recent structure of a ParB homolog co-crystallized with parS revealed that ParB dimers tetramerize to form a higher order nucleoprotein complex. Using this structure as a guide, we systematically ablated a series of proposed intermolecular interactions in the Bacillus subtilis ParB (BsSpo0J) and characterized their effect on spreading using both in vivo and in vitro assays. In particular, we measured DNA compaction mediated by BsSpo0J using a recently developed single-molecule method to simultaneously visualize protein binding on single DNA molecules and changes in DNA conformation without protein labeling. Our results indicate that residues acting as hubs for multiple interactions frequently led to the most severe spreading defects when mutated, and that a network of both cis and trans interactions between ParB dimers is necessary for spreading.
Severson E, Arnett KL, Wang H, Zang C, Taing L, Liu H, Pear WS, Shirley Liu X, Blacklow SC, Aster JC. Genome-wide identification and characterization of Notch transcription complex-binding sequence-paired sites in leukemia cells. Sci Signal 2017;10(477)Abstract
Notch transcription complexes (NTCs) drive target gene expression by binding to two distinct types of genomic response elements, NTC monomer-binding sites and sequence-paired sites (SPSs) that bind NTC dimers. SPSs are conserved and have been linked to the Notch responsiveness of a few genes. To assess the overall contribution of SPSs to Notch-dependent gene regulation, we determined the DNA sequence requirements for NTC dimerization using a fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) assay and applied insights from these in vitro studies to Notch-"addicted" T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cells. We found that SPSs contributed to the regulation of about a third of direct Notch target genes. Although originally described in promoters, SPSs are present mainly in long-range enhancers, including an enhancer containing a newly described SPS that regulates HES5 expression. Our work provides a general method for identifying SPSs in genome-wide data sets and highlights the widespread role of NTC dimerization in Notch-transformed leukemia cells.
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.
Nasr ML, Baptista D, Strauss M, Sun Z-YJ, Grigoriu S, Huser S, Plückthun A, Hagn F, Walz T, Hogle JM, Wagner G. Covalently circularized nanodiscs for studying membrane proteins and viral entry. Nat Methods 2017;Abstract

We engineered covalently circularized nanodiscs (cNDs) which, compared with standard nanodiscs, exhibit enhanced stability, defined diameter sizes and tunable shapes. Reconstitution into cNDs enhanced the quality of nuclear magnetic resonance spectra for both VDAC-1, a β-barrel membrane protein, and the G-protein-coupled receptor NTR1, an α-helical membrane protein. In addition, we used cNDs to visualize how simple, nonenveloped viruses translocate their genomes across membranes to initiate infection.

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.

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.

Yang W, Nagasawa K, Münch C, Xu Y, Satterstrom K, Jeong S, Hayes SD, Jedrychowski MP, Vyas SF, Zaganjor E, Guarani V, Ringel AE, Gygi SP, Harper WJ, Haigis MC. Mitochondrial Sirtuin Network Reveals Dynamic SIRT3-Dependent Deacetylation in Response to Membrane Depolarization. Cell 2016;167(4):985-1000.e21.Abstract

Mitochondrial sirtuins, SIRT3-5, are NAD(+)-dependent deacylases and ADP-ribosyltransferases that are critical for stress responses. However, a comprehensive understanding of sirtuin targets, regulation of sirtuin activity, and the relationships between sirtuins remains a key challenge in mitochondrial physiology. Here, we employ systematic interaction proteomics to elucidate the mitochondrial sirtuin protein interaction landscape. This work reveals sirtuin interactions with numerous functional modules within mitochondria, identifies candidate sirtuin substrates, and uncovers a fundamental role for sequestration of SIRT3 by ATP synthase in mitochondrial homeostasis. In healthy mitochondria, a pool of SIRT3 binds ATP synthase, but upon matrix pH reduction with concomitant loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, SIRT3 dissociates. This release correlates with rapid deacetylation of matrix proteins, and SIRT3 is required for recovery of membrane potential. In vitro reconstitution experiments, as well as analysis of CRISPR/Cas9-engineered cells, indicate that pH-dependent SIRT3 release requires H135 in the ATP5O subunit of ATP synthase. Our SIRT3-5 interaction network provides a framework for discovering novel biological functions regulated by mitochondrial sirtuins.

Dimitrova YN, Jenni S, Valverde R, Khin Y, Harrison SC. Structure of the MIND Complex Defines a Regulatory Focus for Yeast Kinetochore Assembly. Cell 2016;167(4):1014-1027.e12.Abstract

Kinetochores connect centromeric nucleosomes with mitotic-spindle microtubules through conserved, cross-interacting protein subassemblies. In budding yeast, the heterotetrameric MIND complex (Mtw1, Nnf1, Nsl1, Dsn1), ortholog of the metazoan Mis12 complex, joins the centromere-proximal components, Mif2 and COMA, with the principal microtubule-binding component, the Ndc80 complex (Ndc80C). We report the crystal structure of Kluyveromyces lactis MIND and examine its partner interactions, to understand the connection from a centromeric nucleosome to a much larger microtubule. MIND resembles an elongated, asymmetric Y; two globular heads project from a coiled-coil shaft. An N-terminal extension of Dsn1 from one head regulates interactions of the other head, blocking binding of Mif2 and COMA. Dsn1 phosphorylation by Ipl1/Aurora B relieves this autoinhibition, enabling MIND to join an assembling kinetochore. A C-terminal extension of Dsn1 recruits Ndc80C to the opposite end of the shaft. The structure and properties of MIND show how it integrates phospho-regulatory inputs for kinetochore assembly and disassembly.

Pascolutti R, Sun X, Kao J, Maute RL, Ring AM, Bowman GR, Kruse AC. Structure and Dynamics of PD-L1 and an Ultra-High-Affinity PD-1 Receptor Mutant. Structure 2016;24(10):1719-1728.Abstract

The immune checkpoint receptor PD-1 and its ligand, PD-L1, have emerged as key regulators of anti-tumor immunity in humans. Recently, we reported an ultra-high-affinity PD-1 mutant, termed high-affinity consensus (HAC) PD-1, which shows superior therapeutic efficacy in mice compared with antibodies. However, the molecular details underlying the action of this agent remain incompletely understood, and a molecular view of PD-1/PD-L1 interactions in general is only beginning to emerge. Here, we report the structure of HAC PD-1 in complex with PD-L1, showing that it binds PD-L1 using a unique set of polar interactions. Biophysical studies and long-timescale molecular dynamics experiments reveal the mechanisms by which ten point mutations confer a 35,000-fold enhancement in binding affinity, and offer atomic-scale views of the role of conformational dynamics in PD-1/PD-L1 interactions. Finally, we show that the HAC PD-1 exhibits pH-dependent affinity, with pseudo-irreversible binding in a low pH setting akin to the tumor microenvironment.

Mevers E, Saurí J, Liu Y, Moser A, Ramadhar TR, Varlan M, Williamson TR, Martin GE, Clardy J. Homodimericin A: A Complex Hexacyclic Fungal Metabolite. J Am Chem Soc 2016;138(38):12324-7.Abstract

Microbes sense and respond to their environment with small molecules, and discovering these molecules and identifying their functions informs chemistry, biology, and medicine. As part of a study of molecular exchanges between termite-associated actinobacteria and pathogenic fungi, we uncovered a remarkable fungal metabolite, homodimericin A, which is strongly upregulated by the bacterial metabolite bafilomycin C1. Homodimericin A is a hexacyclic polyketide with a carbon backbone containing eight contiguous stereogenic carbons in a C20 hexacyclic core. Only half of its carbon atoms have an attached hydrogen, which presented a significant challenge for NMR-based structural analysis. In spite of its microbial production and rich stereochemistry, homodimericin A occurs naturally as a racemic mixture. A plausible nonenzymatic reaction cascade leading from two identical achiral monomers to homodimericin A is presented, and homodimericin A's formation by this path, a six-electron oxidation, could be a response to oxidative stress triggered by bafilomycin C1.

Huang P, Nedelcu D, Watanabe M, Jao C, Kim Y, Liu J, Salic A. Cellular Cholesterol Directly Activates Smoothened in Hedgehog Signaling. Cell 2016;166(5):1176-1187.e14.Abstract

In vertebrates, sterols are necessary for Hedgehog signaling, a pathway critical in embryogenesis and cancer. Sterols activate the membrane protein Smoothened by binding its extracellular, cysteine-rich domain (CRD). Major unanswered questions concern the nature of the endogenous, activating sterol and the mechanism by which it regulates Smoothened. We report crystal structures of CRD complexed with sterols and alone, revealing that sterols induce a dramatic conformational change of the binding site, which is sufficient for Smoothened activation and is unique among CRD-containing receptors. We demonstrate that Hedgehog signaling requires sterol binding to Smoothened and define key residues for sterol recognition and activity. We also show that cholesterol itself binds and activates Smoothened. Furthermore, the effect of oxysterols is abolished in Smoothened mutants that retain activation by cholesterol and Hedgehog. We propose that the endogenous Smoothened activator is cholesterol, not oxysterols, and that vertebrate Hedgehog signaling controls Smoothened by regulating its access to cholesterol.

McMillan BJ, Tibbe C, Jeon H, Drabek AA, Klein T, Blacklow SC. Electrostatic Interactions between Elongated Monomers Drive Filamentation of Drosophila Shrub, a Metazoan ESCRT-III Protein. Cell Rep 2016;16(5):1211-7.Abstract

The endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) is a conserved protein complex that facilitates budding and fission of membranes. It executes a key step in many cellular events, including cytokinesis and multi-vesicular body formation. The ESCRT-III protein Shrub in flies, or its homologs in yeast (Snf7) or humans (CHMP4B), is a critical polymerizing component of ESCRT-III needed to effect membrane fission. We report the structural basis for polymerization of Shrub and define a minimal region required for filament formation. The X-ray structure of the Shrub core shows that individual monomers in the lattice interact in a staggered arrangement using complementary electrostatic surfaces. Mutations that disrupt interface salt bridges interfere with Shrub polymerization and function. Despite substantial sequence divergence and differences in packing interactions, the arrangement of Shrub subunits in the polymer resembles that of Snf7 and other family homologs, suggesting that this intermolecular packing mechanism is shared among ESCRT-III proteins.

Nicoludis JM, Vogt BE, Green AG, Schärfe CP, Marks DS, Gaudet R. Antiparallel protocadherin homodimers use distinct affinity- and specificity-mediating regions in cadherin repeats 1-4. Elife 2016;5Abstract

Protocadherins (Pcdhs) are cell adhesion and signaling proteins used by neurons to develop and maintain neuronal networks, relying on trans homophilic interactions between their extracellular cadherin (EC) repeat domains. We present the structure of the antiparallel EC1-4 homodimer of human PcdhγB3, a member of the γ subfamily of clustered Pcdhs. Structure and sequence comparisons of α, β, and γ clustered Pcdh isoforms illustrate that subfamilies encode specificity in distinct ways through diversification of loop region structure and composition in EC2 and EC3, which contains isoform-specific conservation of primarily polar residues. In contrast, the EC1/EC4 interface comprises hydrophobic interactions that provide non-selective dimerization affinity. Using sequence coevolution analysis, we found evidence for a similar antiparallel EC1-4 interaction in non-clustered Pcdh families. We thus deduce that the EC1-4 antiparallel homodimer is a general interaction strategy that evolved before the divergence of these distinct protocadherin families.

Hwang S-Y, Deng X, Byun S, Lee C, Lee S-J, Suh H, Zhang J, Kang Q, Zhang T, Westover KD, Mandinova A, Lee SW. Direct Targeting of β-Catenin by a Small Molecule Stimulates Proteasomal Degradation and Suppresses Oncogenic Wnt/β-Catenin Signaling. Cell Rep 2016;16(1):28-36.Abstract

The Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway plays a major role in tissue homeostasis, and its dysregulation can lead to various human diseases. Aberrant activation of β-catenin is oncogenic and is a critical driver in the development and progression of human cancers. Despite the significant potential of targeting the oncogenic β-catenin pathway for cancer therapy, the development of specific inhibitors remains insufficient. Using a T cell factor (TCF)-dependent luciferase-reporter system, we screened for small-molecule compounds that act against Wnt/β-catenin signaling and identified MSAB (methyl 3-{[(4-methylphenyl)sulfonyl]amino}benzoate) as a selective inhibitor of Wnt/β-catenin signaling. MSAB shows potent anti-tumor effects selectively on Wnt-dependent cancer cells in vitro and in mouse cancer models. MSAB binds to β-catenin, promoting its degradation, and specifically downregulates Wnt/β-catenin target genes. Our findings might represent an effective therapeutic strategy for cancers addicted to the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.

Uljon S, Xu X, Durzynska I, Stein S, Adelmant G, Marto JA, Pear WS, Blacklow SC. Structural Basis for Substrate Selectivity of the E3 Ligase COP1. Structure 2016;24(5):687-96.Abstract

COP1 proteins are E3 ubiquitin ligases that regulate phototropism in plants and target transcription factors for degradation in mammals. The substrate-binding region of COP1 resides within a WD40-repeat domain that also binds to Trib proteins, which are adaptors for C/EBPα degradation. Here we report structures of the human COP1 WD40 domain in isolation, and complexes of the human and Arabidopsis thaliana COP1 WD40 domains with the binding motif of Trib1. The human and Arabidopsis WD40 domains are seven-bladed β propellers with an inserted loop on the bottom face of the first blade. The Trib1 peptide binds in an extended conformation to a highly conserved surface on the top face of the β propeller, indicating a general mode for recognition of peptide motifs by COP1. Together, these studies identify the structural basis and key interactions for motif recognition by COP1, and hint at how Trib1 autoinhibition is overcome to target C/EBPα for degradation.

Schmidt HR, Zheng S, Gurpinar E, Koehl A, Manglik A, Kruse AC. Crystal structure of the human σ1 receptor. Nature 2016;532(7600):527-30.Abstract

The human σ1 receptor is an enigmatic endoplasmic-reticulum-resident transmembrane protein implicated in a variety of disorders including depression, drug addiction, and neuropathic pain. Recently, an additional connection to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has emerged from studies of human genetics and mouse models. Unlike many transmembrane receptors that belong to large, extensively studied families such as G-protein-coupled receptors or ligand-gated ion channels, the σ1 receptor is an evolutionary isolate with no discernible similarity to any other human protein. Despite its increasingly clear importance in human physiology and disease, the molecular architecture of the σ1 receptor and its regulation by drug-like compounds remain poorly defined. Here we report crystal structures of the human σ1 receptor in complex with two chemically divergent ligands, PD144418 and 4-IBP. The structures reveal a trimeric architecture with a single transmembrane domain in each protomer. The carboxy-terminal domain of the receptor shows an extensive flat, hydrophobic membrane-proximal surface, suggesting an intimate association with the cytosolic surface of the endoplasmic reticulum membrane in cells. This domain includes a cupin-like β-barrel with the ligand-binding site buried at its centre. This large, hydrophobic ligand-binding cavity shows remarkable plasticity in ligand recognition, binding the two ligands in similar positions despite dissimilar chemical structures. Taken together, these results reveal the overall architecture, oligomerization state, and molecular basis for ligand recognition by this important but poorly understood protein.

Clark MJ, Miduturu C, Schmidt AG, Zhu X, Pitts JD, Wang J, Potisopon S, Zhang J, Wojciechowski A, Hann Chu JJ, Gray NS, Yang PL. GNF-2 Inhibits Dengue Virus by Targeting Abl Kinases and the Viral E Protein. Cell Chem Biol 2016;23(4):443-52.Abstract

Dengue virus infects more than 300 million people annually, yet there is no widely protective vaccine or drugs against the virus. Efforts to develop antivirals against classical targets such as the viral protease and polymerase have not yielded drugs that have advanced to the clinic. Here, we show that the allosteric Abl kinase inhibitor GNF-2 interferes with dengue virus replication via activity mediated by cellular Abl kinases but additionally blocks viral entry via an Abl-independent mechanism. To characterize this newly discovered antiviral activity, we developed disubstituted pyrimidines that block dengue virus entry with structure-activity relationships distinct from those driving kinase inhibition. We demonstrate that biotin- and fluorophore-conjugated derivatives of GNF-2 interact with the dengue glycoprotein, E, in the pre-fusion conformation that exists on the virion surface, and that this interaction inhibits viral entry. This study establishes GNF-2 as an antiviral compound with polypharmacological activity and provides "lead" compounds for further optimization efforts.

Polka JK, Silver PA. A Tunable Protein Piston That Breaks Membranes to Release Encapsulated Cargo. ACS Synth Biol 2016;5(4):303-11.Abstract

Movement of molecules across membranes in response to a stimulus is a key component of cellular programming. Here, we characterize and manipulate the response of a protein-based piston capable of puncturing membranes in a pH-dependent manner. Our protein actuator consists of modified R bodies found in a bacterial endosymbiont of paramecium. We express and purify R bodies from in E. coli; these pistons undergo multiple rounds of rapid extension and retraction. We developed a high throughput screen for mutants with altered pH sensitivity for tuning of the extension process. We show that the R bodies are capable of acting as synthetic pH-dependent pistons that can puncture E. coli membranes to release the trapped content. As such, these protein machines present a novel way to selectively rupture membrane compartments and will be important for programming cellular compartmentalization.

Song D, Graham TGW, Loparo JJ. A general approach to visualize protein binding and DNA conformation without protein labelling. Nat Commun 2016;7:10976.Abstract

Single-molecule manipulation methods, such as magnetic tweezers and flow stretching, generally use the measurement of changes in DNA extension as a proxy for examining interactions between a DNA-binding protein and its substrate. These approaches are unable to directly measure protein-DNA association without fluorescently labelling the protein, which can be challenging. Here we address this limitation by developing a new approach that visualizes unlabelled protein binding on DNA with changes in DNA conformation in a relatively high-throughput manner. Protein binding to DNA molecules sparsely labelled with Cy3 results in an increase in fluorescence intensity due to protein-induced fluorescence enhancement (PIFE), whereas DNA length is monitored under flow of buffer through a microfluidic flow cell. Given that our assay uses unlabelled protein, it is not limited to the low protein concentrations normally required for single-molecule fluorescence imaging and should be broadly applicable to studying protein-DNA interactions.

Sharma O, O'Seaghdha M, Velarde JJ, Wessels MR. NAD+-Glycohydrolase Promotes Intracellular Survival of Group A Streptococcus. PLoS Pathog 2016;12(3):e1005468.Abstract

A global increase in invasive infections due to group A Streptococcus (S. pyogenes or GAS) has been observed since the 1980s, associated with emergence of a clonal group of strains of the M1T1 serotype. Among other virulence attributes, the M1T1 clone secretes NAD+-glycohydrolase (NADase). When GAS binds to epithelial cells in vitro, NADase is translocated into the cytosol in a process mediated by streptolysin O (SLO), and expression of these two toxins is associated with enhanced GAS intracellular survival. Because SLO is required for NADase translocation, it has been difficult to distinguish pathogenic effects of NADase from those of SLO. To resolve the effects of the two proteins, we made use of anthrax toxin as an alternative means to deliver NADase to host cells, independently of SLO. We developed a novel method for purification of enzymatically active NADase fused to an amino-terminal fragment of anthrax toxin lethal factor (LFn-NADase) that exploits the avid, reversible binding of NADase to its endogenous inhibitor. LFn-NADase was translocated across a synthetic lipid bilayer in vitro in the presence of anthrax toxin protective antigen in a pH-dependent manner. Exposure of human oropharyngeal keratinocytes to LFn-NADase in the presence of protective antigen resulted in cytosolic delivery of NADase activity, inhibition of protein synthesis, and cell death, whereas a similar construct of an enzymatically inactive point mutant had no effect. Anthrax toxin-mediated delivery of NADase in an amount comparable to that observed during in vitro infection with live GAS rescued the defective intracellular survival of NADase-deficient GAS and increased the survival of SLO-deficient GAS. Confocal microscopy demonstrated that delivery of LFn-NADase prevented intracellular trafficking of NADase-deficient GAS to lysosomes. We conclude that NADase mediates cytotoxicity and promotes intracellular survival of GAS in host cells.