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    ABSTRACT: The matrix protein (M) of paramyxoviruses plays a key role in determining virion morphology by directing viral assembly and budding. Here, we report the crystal structure of the human metapneumovirus M at 2.8 Å resolution in its native dimeric state. The structure reveals the presence of a high-affinity Ca(2+) binding site. Molecular dynamics simulations (MDS) predict a secondary lower-affinity site that correlates well with data from fluorescence-based thermal shift assays. By combining small-angle X-ray scattering with MDS and ensemble analysis, we captured the structure and dynamics of M in solution. Our analysis reveals a large positively charged patch on the protein surface that is involved in membrane interaction. Structural analysis of DOPC-induced polymerization of M into helical filaments using electron microscopy leads to a model of M self-assembly. The conservation of the Ca(2+) binding sites suggests a role for calcium in the replication and morphogenesis of pneumoviruses.
    Structure 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The four R-spondin (Rspo) proteins are secreted agonists of Wnt signalling in vertebrates, functioning in embryogenesis and adult stem cell biology. Through ubiquitination and degradation of Wnt receptors, the transmembrane E3 ubiquitin ligase ZNRF3 and related RNF43 antagonize Wnt signalling. Rspo ligands have been reported to inhibit the ligase activity through direct interaction with ZNRF3 and RNF43. Here we report multiple crystal structures of the ZNRF3 ectodomain (ZNRF3ecto), a signalling-competent Furin1-Furin2 (Fu1-Fu2) fragment of Rspo2 (Rspo2Fu1-Fu2), and Rspo2Fu1-Fu2 in complex with ZNRF3ecto, or RNF43ecto. A prominent loop in Fu1 clamps into equivalent grooves in the ZNRF3ecto and RNF43ecto surface. Rspo binding enhances dimerization of ZNRF3ecto but not of RNF43ecto. Comparison of the four Rspo proteins, mutants and chimeras in biophysical and cellular assays shows that their signalling potency depends on their ability to recruit ZNRF3 or RNF43 via Fu1 into a complex with LGR receptors, which interact with Rspo via Fu2.
    Nature Communications 11/2013; 4:2787.
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    ABSTRACT: The study of virus structures has contributed to methodological advances in structural biology that are generally applicable (molecular replacement and noncrystallographic symmetry are just two of the best known examples). Moreover, structural virology has been instrumental in forging the more general concept of exploiting phase information derived from multiple structural techniques. This hybridization of structural methods, primarily electron microscopy (EM) and X-ray crystallography, but also small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, is central to integrative structural biology. Here, the interplay of X-ray crystallography and EM is illustrated through the example of the structural determination of the marine lipid-containing bacteriophage PM2. Molecular replacement starting from an ∼13 Å cryo-EM reconstruction, followed by cycling density averaging, phase extension and solvent flattening, gave the X-ray structure of the intact virus at 7 Å resolution This in turn served as a bridge to phase, to 2.5 Å resolution, data from twinned crystals of the major coat protein (P2), ultimately yielding a quasi-atomic model of the particle, which provided significant insights into virus evolution and viral membrane biogenesis.
    Acta Crystallographica Section D Biological Crystallography 11/2013; 69(Pt 11):2257-65.
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    ABSTRACT: Correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) is an emerging technique which combines functional information provided by fluorescence microscopy (FM) with the high-resolution structural information of electron microscopy (EM). So far, correlative cryo microscopy of frozen-hydrated samples has not reached better than micrometre range accuracy. Here, a method is presented that enables the correlation between fluorescently tagged proteins and electron cryo tomography (cryoET) data with nanometre range precision. Specifically, thin areas of vitrified whole cells are examined by correlative fluorescence cryo microscopy (cryoFM) and cryoET. Novel aspects of the presented cryoCLEM workflow not only include the implementation of two independent electron dense fluorescent markers to improve the precision of the alignment, but also the ability of obtaining an estimate of the correlation accuracy for each individual object of interest. The correlative workflow from plunge-freezing to cryoET is detailed step-by-step for the example of locating fluorescence-labelled adenovirus particles trafficking inside a cell.
    Ultramicroscopy 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Hedgehog (Hh) morphogens play fundamental roles during embryogenesis and adulthood, in health and disease. Multiple cell surface receptors regulate the Hh signaling pathway. Among these, the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) chains of proteoglycans shape Hh gradients and signal transduction. We have determined crystal structures of Sonic Hh complexes with two GAGs, heparin and chondroitin sulfate. The interaction determinants, confirmed by site-directed mutagenesis and binding studies, reveal a previously not identified Hh site for GAG binding, common to all Hh proteins. The majority of Hh residues forming this GAG-binding site have been previously implicated in developmental diseases. Crystal packing analysis, combined with analytical ultracentrifugation of Sonic Hh-GAG complexes, suggests a potential mechanism for GAG-dependent Hh multimerization. Taken together, these results provide a direct mechanistic explanation of the observed correlation between disease and impaired Hh gradient formation. Moreover, GAG binding partially overlaps with the site of Hh interactions with an array of protein partners including Patched, hedgehog interacting protein, and the interference hedgehog protein family, suggesting a unique mechanism of Hh signaling modulation.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Guanarito virus (GTOV) is an emergent and deadly pathogen. We present the crystal structure of the glycosylated GTOV fusion glycoprotein to 4.1 Å-resolution, in the post-fusion conformation. Our structure reveals a classical six-helix bundle and presents direct verification that New World arenaviruses exhibit class-I viral membrane fusion machinery. The structure provides visualization of an N-linked glycocalyx coat and consideration of glycan dynamics reveals extensive coverage of the underlying protein surface, following virus-host membrane fusion.
    Journal of Virology 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The hallmark of a virus is its capsid, which harbors the viral genome and is formed from protein subunits, which assemble following precise geometric rules. dsRNA viruses use an unusual protein multiplicity (120 copies) to form their closed capsids. We have determined the atomic structure of the capsid protein (P1) from the dsRNA cystovirus Φ8. In the crystal P1 forms pentamers, very similar in shape to facets of empty procapsids, suggesting an unexpected assembly pathway that proceeds via a pentameric intermediate. Unlike the elongated proteins used by dsRNA mammalian reoviruses, P1 has a compact trapezoid-like shape and a distinct arrangement in the shell, with two near-identical conformers in nonequivalent structural environments. Nevertheless, structural similarity with the analogous protein from the mammalian viruses suggests a common ancestor. The unusual shape of the molecule may facilitate dramatic capsid expansion during phage maturation, allowing P1 to switch interaction interfaces to provide capsid plasticity.
    Structure 07/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Cell fate is governed by combinatorial actions of transcriptional regulators assembling into multiprotein complexes. However, the molecular details of how these complexes form are poorly understood. One such complex, which contains the basic-helix-loop-helix heterodimer SCL:E47 and bridging proteins LMO2:LDB1, critically regulates hematopoiesis and induces T cell leukemia. Here, we report the crystal structure of (SCL:E47)bHLH:LMO2:LDB1LID bound to DNA, providing a molecular account of the network of interactions assembling this complex. This reveals an unexpected role for LMO2. Upon binding to SCL, LMO2 induces new hydrogen bonds in SCL:E47, thereby strengthening heterodimer formation. This imposes a rotation movement onto E47 that weakens the heterodimer:DNA interaction, shifting the main DNA-binding activity onto additional protein partners. Along with biochemical analyses, this illustrates, at an atomic level, how hematopoietic-specific SCL sequesters ubiquitous E47 and associated cofactors and supports SCL's reported DNA-binding-independent functions. Importantly, this work will drive the design of small molecules inhibiting leukemogenic processes.
    Cell Reports 07/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Functional outcomes of ephrin binding to Eph receptors (Ephs) range from cell repulsion to adhesion. Here we used cell collapse and stripe assays, showing contrasting effects of human ephrinA5 binding to EphA2 and EphA4. Despite equivalent ligand binding affinities, EphA4 triggered greater cell collapse, whereas EphA2-expressing cells adhered better to ephrinA5-coated surfaces. Chimeric receptors showed that the ectodomain is a major determinant of cell response. We report crystal structures of EphA4 ectodomain alone and in complexes with ephrinB3 and ephrinA5. These revealed closed clusters with a dimeric or circular arrangement in the crystal lattice, contrasting with extended arrays previously observed for EphA2 ectodomain. Localization microscopy showed that ligand-stimulated EphA4 induces smaller clusters than does EphA2. Mutant Ephs link these characteristics to interactions observed in the crystal lattices, suggesting a mechanism by which distinctive ectodomain surfaces determine clustering, and thereby signaling, properties.
    Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Repulsive guidance molecule family members (RGMs) control fundamental and diverse cellular processes including motility and adhesion, immune cell regulation and systemic iron metabolism. However, it is not known how RGMs initiate signaling through their common cell surface receptor, neogenin (NEO1). Here, we present crystal structures of the NEO1 RGM-binding region and its complex with human RGMB (also called Dragon). The RGMB structure reveals a novel protein fold, a functionally important autocatalytic cleavage mechanism and provides a framework to explain numerous disease-linked mutations in RGMs. In the complex, two RGMB ectodomains conformationally stabilize the juxtamembrane regions of two NEO1 receptors, in a pH-dependent manner. We demonstrate that all RGM-NEO1 complexes share this architecture, which therefore represents the core of multiple signaling pathways.
    Science 06/2013;
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