Publications

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    ABSTRACT: Recent evidence supports the presence of an L-glutamyl methyltransferase(s) in eukaryotic cells, but this enzyme class has been defined only in certain prokaryotic species. Here, we characterize the human C6orf211 gene product as "acidic residue methyltransferase-1" (Armt1), an enzyme that specifically targets proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in breast cancer cells, predominately methylating glutamate side chains. Armt1 homologs share structural similarities with the SAM-dependent methyltransferases, and negative regulation of activity by automethylation indicates a means for cellular control. Notably, shRNA-based knockdown of Armt1 expression in two breast cancer cell lines altered survival in response to genotoxic stress. Increased sensitivity to UV, adriamycin, and MMS was observed in SK-Br-3 cells, while in contrast, increased resistance to these agents was observed in MCF7 cells. Together, these results lay the foundation for defining the mechanism by which this post-translational modification operates in the DNA damage response (DDR). Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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    ABSTRACT: The post-translational modification of DNA repair and checkpoint proteins by ubiquitin and small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) critically orchestrates the DNA damage response (DDR). The ubiquitin ligase RNF4 integrates signaling by SUMO and ubiquitin, through its selective recognition and ubiquitination of SUMO-modified proteins. Here, we define a key new determinant for target discrimination by RNF4, in addition to interaction with SUMO. We identify a nucleosome-targeting motif within the RNF4 RING domain that can bind DNA and thereby enables RNF4 to selectively ubiquitinate nucleosomal histones. Furthermore, RNF4 nucleosome-targeting is crucially required for the repair of TRF2-depleted dysfunctional telomeres by 53BP1-mediated non-homologous end joining.
    EMBO Reports 04/2014; 15(5). DOI:10.1002/embr.201338369 · 7.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: MRE11 within the MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 (MRN) complex acts in DNA double-strand break repair (DSBR), detection, and signaling; yet, how its endo- and exonuclease activities regulate DSBR by nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) versus homologous recombination (HR) remains enigmatic. Here, we employed structure-based design with a focused chemical library to discover specific MRE11 endo- or exonuclease inhibitors. With these inhibitors, we examined repair pathway choice at DSBs generated in G2 following radiation exposure. While nuclease inhibition impairs radiation-induced replication protein A (RPA) chromatin binding, suggesting diminished resection, the inhibitors surprisingly direct different repair outcomes. Endonuclease inhibition promotes NHEJ in lieu of HR, while exonuclease inhibition confers a repair defect. Collectively, the results describe nuclease-specific MRE11 inhibitors, define distinct nuclease roles in DSB repair, and support a mechanism whereby MRE11 endonuclease initiates resection, thereby licensing HR followed by MRE11 exonuclease and EXO1/BLM bidirectional resection toward and away from the DNA end, which commits to HR.
    Molecular cell 12/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.molcel.2013.11.003 · 14.46 Impact Factor
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    Ashley J Pratt, Elizabeth D Getzoff, J Jefferson P Perry
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    J. Jefferson P. Perry, John A Tainer
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    ABSTRACT: The extensive use of small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) over the last few years is rapidly providing new insights into protein interactions, complex formation and conformational states in solution. This SAXS methodology allows for detailed biophysical quantification of samples of interest. Initial analyses provide a judgment of sample quality, revealing the potential presence of aggregation, the overall extent of folding or disorder, the radius of gyration, maximum particle dimensions and oligomerization state. Structural characterizations include ab initio approaches from SAXS data alone, and when combined with previously determined crystal/NMR, atomistic modeling can further enhance structural solutions and assess validity. This combination can provide definitions of architectures, spatial organizations of protein domains within a complex, including those not determined by crystallography or NMR, as well as defining key conformational states of a protein interaction. SAXS is not generally constrained by macromolecule size, and the rapid collection of data in a 96-well plate format provides methods to screen sample conditions. This includes screening for co-factors, substrates, differing protein or nucleotide partners or small molecule inhibitors, to more fully characterize the variations within assembly states and key conformational changes. Such analyses may be useful for screening constructs and conditions to determine those most likely to promote crystal growth of a complex under study. Moreover, these high throughput structural determinations can be leveraged to define how polymorphisms affect assembly formations and activities. This is in addition to potentially providing architectural characterizations of complexes and interactions for systems biology-based research, and distinctions in assemblies and interactions in comparative genomics. Thus, SAXS combined with crystallography/NMR and computation provides a unique set of tools that should be considered as being part of one's repertoire of biophysical analyses, when conducting characterizations of protein and other macromolecular interactions.
    Methods 01/2013; 59(3). DOI:10.1016/j.ymeth.2013.01.005 · 3.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL) has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of a wide variety of pathophysiological conditions. To further define the mechanism of CNSL action, we investigated the effect of cashew nut shell extract (CNSE) on two matrix metalloproteinases, MMP-2/gelatinase A and MMP-9/gelatinase B, which are known to have critical roles in several disease states. We observed that the major constituent of CNSE, anacardic acid, markedly inhibited the gelatinase activity of 3T3-L1 cells. Our gelatin zymography studies on these two secreted gelatinases, present in the conditioned media from 3T3-L1 cells, established that anacardic acid directly inhibited the catalytic activities of both MMP-2 and MMP-9. Our docking studies suggested that anacardic acid binds into the MMP-2/9 active site, with the carboxylate group of anacardic acid chelating the catalytic zinc ion and forming a hydrogen bond to a key catalytic glutamate side chain and the C15 aliphatic group being accommodated within the relatively large S1' pocket of these gelatinases. In agreement with the docking results, our fluorescence-based studies on the recombinant MMP-2 catalytic core domain demonstrated that anacardic acid directly inhibits substrate peptide cleavage in a dose-dependent manner, with an IC(50) of 11.11 μM. In addition, our gelatinase zymography and fluorescence data confirmed that the cardol-cardanol mixture, salicylic acid, and aspirin, all of which lack key functional groups present in anacardic acid, are much weaker MMP-2/MMP-9 inhibitors. Our results provide the first evidence for inhibition of gelatinase catalytic activity by anacardic acid, providing a novel template for drug discovery and a molecular mechanism potentially involved in CNSL therapeutic action.
    Molecular pharmacology 06/2012; 82(4):614-22. DOI:10.1124/mol.112.079020 · 4.12 Impact Factor
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    Ashley J Pratt, Elizabeth D Getzoff, J Jefferson P Perry
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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is the most common form of motor neuron disease. It is typically characterized by adult-onset degeneration of the upper and lower motor neurons, and is usually fatal within a few years of onset. A subset of ALS patients has an inherited form of the disease, and a few of the known mutant genes identified in familial cases have also been found in sporadic forms of ALS. Precisely how the diverse ALS-linked gene products dictate the course of the disease, resulting in compromised voluntary muscular ability, is not entirely known. This review addresses the major advances that are being made in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms giving rise to the disease, which may eventually translate into new treatment options.
    02/2012; 2012(2):1-14. DOI:10.2147/DNND.S19803
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    Advanced Understanding of Neurodegenerative Diseases, 12/2011; , ISBN: 978-953-307-529-7
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    ABSTRACT: Of the five human RecQ family helicases, RecQ4, BLM, and WRN suppress distinct genome instability-linked diseases with severe phenotypes, often with indeterminate etiologies. Here, we functionally define Hrq1, a novel orthologue of RecQ4 from fission yeast. Biochemical analysis of Hrq1 reveals a DEAH box- and ATP-dependent 3'-5' helicase activity on various DNA substrates, including bubbles but not blunt duplexes, characteristic of the RecQ family. Cells lacking Hrq1 suffer spontaneous genomic instability and, consequently, require homologous recombination repair and the DNA damage checkpoint for viability. Hrq1 supports the nucleotide excision repair of DNA damage caused by the chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin and, in certain genetic contexts, UV light. Genetic epistasis analyses reveal that Hrq1 acts parallel to the PCNA/Ubc13/Mms2-dependent postreplication repair (PRR) pathway. Thus, in hrq1Δ cells, lesions are channeled through the PRR pathway, yielding hyper-recombinant and mutator phenotypes; analogous defects may underlie the genetic instability and diseases associated with RecQ4 dysfunction.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 11/2011; 32(2):276-87. DOI:10.1128/MCB.06184-11 · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: XPG is a structure-specific endonuclease required for nucleotide excision repair (NER). XPG incision defects result in the cancer-prone syndrome xeroderma pigmentosum, whereas truncating mutations of XPG cause the severe postnatal progeroid developmental disorder Cockayne syndrome. We show that XPG interacts directly with WRN protein, which is defective in the premature aging disorder Werner syndrome, and that the two proteins undergo similar subnuclear redistribution in S phase and colocalize in nuclear foci. The co-localization was observed in mid- to late S phase, when WRN moves from nucleoli to nuclear foci that have been shown to contain both protein markers of stalled replication forks and telomeric proteins. We mapped the interaction between XPG and WRN to the C-terminal domains of each, and show that interaction with the C-terminal domain of XPG strongly stimulates WRN helicase activity. WRN also possesses a competing DNA single-strand annealing activity that, combined with unwinding, has been shown to coordinate regression of model replication forks to form Holliday junction/chicken foot intermediate structures. We tested whether XPG stimulated WRN annealing activity, and found that XPG itself has intrinsic strand annealing activity that requires the unstructured R- and C-terminal domains but not the conserved catalytic core or endonuclease activity. Annealing by XPG is cooperative, rather than additive, with WRN annealing. Taken together, our results suggest a novel function for XPG in S phase that is, at least in part, performed coordinately with WRN, and which may contribute to the severity of the phenotypes that occur upon loss of XPG.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 06/2011; 10(12):1998-2007. DOI:10.4161/cc.10.12.15878 · 5.01 Impact Factor
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    J Jefferson P Perry, John A Tainer
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    ABSTRACT: Ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T) is a rare, neurodegenerative, inherited disease arising from mutations in the kinase A-T mutated (ATM), which promotes cell cycle checkpoints and DNA double-strand break repair. Puzzlingly, these ATM activities fail to fully explain A-T neuropathologies, which instead have links to stress induced by reactive oxygen species (ROS). However, a landmark discovery reveals an unexpected intersection of ROS and kinase signaling: ATM can be directly activated by oxidation to form a disulfide-linked dimer in a mechanism distinct from DNA damage activation. When combined with notable structural-based insights into the ATM homolog DNA-PK (DNA-protein kinase) and mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), these results suggest conformation and assembly mechanisms to signal oxidative stress through an ATM nodal point. These findings fundamentally affect our understanding of ROS and ATM signaling and of the A-T phenotype, with implications for altering signaling in cancer cells to increase sensitivities to current therapeutic interventions.
    Science Signaling 04/2011; 4(167):pe18. DOI:10.1126/scisignal.2001961 · 7.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Global sumoylation, SUMO chain formation, and genome stabilization are all outputs generated by a limited repertoire of enzymes. Mechanisms driving selectivity for each of these processes are largely uncharacterized. Here, through crystallographic analyses we show that the SUMO E2 Ubc9 forms a noncovalent complex with a SUMO-like domain of Rad60 (SLD2). Ubc9:SLD2 and Ubc9:SUMO noncovalent complexes are structurally analogous, suggesting that differential recruitment of Ubc9 by SUMO or Rad60 provides a novel means for such selectivity. Indeed, deconvoluting Ubc9 function by disrupting either the Ubc9:SLD2 or Ubc9:SUMO noncovalent complex reveals distinct roles in facilitating sumoylation. Ubc9:SLD2 acts in the Nse2 SUMO E3 ligase-dependent pathway for DNA repair, whereas Ubc9:SUMO instead promotes global sumoylation and chain formation, via the Pli1 E3 SUMO ligase. Moreover, this Pli1-dependent SUMO chain formation causes the genome instability phenotypes of SUMO-targeted ubiquitin ligase (STUbL) mutants. Overall, we determine that, unexpectedly, Ubc9 noncovalent partner choice dictates the role of sumoylation in distinct cellular pathways.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 03/2011; 31(11):2299-310. DOI:10.1128/MCB.05188-11 · 5.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Through as yet undefined proteins and pathways, the SUMO-targeted ubiquitin ligase (STUbL) suppresses genomic instability by ubiquitinating SUMO conjugated proteins and driving their proteasomal destruction. Here, we identify a critical function for fission yeast STUbL in suppressing spontaneous and chemically induced topoisomerase I (Top1)-mediated DNA damage. Strikingly, cells with reduced STUbL activity are dependent on tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1 (Tdp1). This is notable, as cells lacking Tdp1 are largely aphenotypic in the vegetative cell cycle due to the existence of alternative pathways for the removal of covalent Top1-DNA adducts (Top1cc). We further identify Rad60, a SUMO mimetic and STUbL-interacting protein, and the SUMO E3 ligase Nse2 as critical Top1cc repair factors in cells lacking Tdp1. Detection of Top1ccs using chromatin immunoprecipitation and quantitative PCR shows that they are elevated in cells lacking Tdp1 and STUbL, Rad60, or Nse2 SUMO ligase activity. These unrepaired Top1ccs are shown to cause DNA damage, hyper-recombination, and checkpoint-mediated cell cycle arrest. We further determine that Tdp1 and the nucleotide excision repair endonuclease Rad16-Swi10 initiate the major Top1cc repair pathways of fission yeast. Tdp1-based repair is the predominant activity outside S phase, likely acting on transcription-coupled Top1cc. Epistasis analyses suggest that STUbL, Rad60, and Nse2 facilitate the Rad16-Swi10 pathway, parallel to Tdp1. Collectively, these results reveal a unified role for STUbL, Rad60, and Nse2 in protecting genome stability against spontaneous Top1-mediated DNA damage.
    PLoS Genetics 03/2011; 7(3):e1001320. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1001320 · 8.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Werner syndrome (WS) is a rare progeroid disorder characterized by genomic instability, increased cancer incidence, and early onset of a variety of aging pathologies. WS is unique among early aging syndromes in that affected individuals are developmentally normal, and phenotypic onset is in early adulthood. The protein defective in WS (WRN) is a member of the large RecQ family of helicases but is unique among this family in having an exonuclease. RecQ helicases form multimers, but the mechanism and consequence of multimerization remain incompletely defined. Here, we identify a novel heptad repeat coiled coil region between the WRN nuclease and helicase domains that facilitates multimerization of WRN. We mapped a novel and unique DNA-dependent protein kinase phosphorylation site proximal to the WRN multimerization region. However, phosphorylation at this site affected neither exonuclease activity nor multimeric state. We found that WRN nuclease is stimulated by DNA-dependent protein kinase independently of kinase activity or WRN nuclease multimeric status. In addition, WRN nuclease multimerization significantly increased nuclease processivity. We found that the novel WRN coiled coil domain is necessary for multimerization of the nuclease domain and sufficient to multimerize with full-length WRN in human cells. Importantly, correct homomultimerization is required for WRN function in vivo as overexpression of this multimerization domain caused increased sensitivity to camptothecin and 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide similar to that in cells lacking functional WRN protein.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2010; 285(33):25699-707. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M110.124941 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Changing macromolecular conformations and complexes are critical features of cellular networks, typified by DNA damage response pathways that are essential to life. These fluctuations enhance the specificity of macromolecular recognition and catalysis, and enable an integrated functioning of pathway components, ensuring efficiency while reducing off pathway reactions. Such dynamic complexes challenge classical detailed structural analyses, so their characterizations demand combining methods that provide detail with those that inform dynamics in solution. Small-angle X-ray scattering, electron microscopy, hydrogen-deuterium exchange and computation are complementing detailed structures from crystallography and NMR to provide comprehensive models for DNA damage searching, specificity, signaling, and repair. Here, we review new approaches and results on DNA damage responses that advance structural biology in the fourth dimension, connecting proteins to pathways.
    Current Opinion in Structural Biology 05/2010; 20(3):283-94. DOI:10.1016/j.sbi.2010.03.012 · 8.75 Impact Factor
  • J Jefferson P Perry, David S Shin, John A Tainer
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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a common neurological disorder that results in loss of motor neurons, leading to a rapidly progressive form of muscle paralysis that is fatal. There is no available cure and current therapies only provide minimal benefit at best. The disease is predominantly sporadic and until very recently only the Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (Cu,ZnSOD), which is involved in a small number of sporadic cases and a larger component of familial ones, have been analyzed in any detail. Here we describe the clinical aspects of ALS and highlight the genetics and molecular mechanisms behind the disease. We discuss the current understanding and controversies of how mutations in Cu,ZnSOD may cause the disease. We also focus on the recent discovery that mutations in either TDP-43 or FUS/TLS, which are both involved in DNA/RNA synthesis, are likely the cause behind many cases of ALS that are not linked to Cu,ZnSOD.
    Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 01/2010; 685:9-20. · 2.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The discovery of superoxide dismutases (SODs), which convert superoxide radicals to molecular oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, has been termed the most important discovery of modern biology never to win a Nobel Prize. Here, we review the reasons this discovery has been underappreciated, as well as discuss the robust results supporting its premier biological importance and utility for current research. We highlight our understanding of SOD function gained through structural biology analyses, which reveal important hydrogen-bonding schemes and metal-binding motifs. These structural features create remarkable enzymes that promote catalysis at faster than diffusion-limited rates by using electrostatic guidance. These architectures additionally alter the redox potential of the active site metal center to a range suitable for the superoxide disproportionation reaction and protect against inhibition of catalysis by molecules such as phosphate. SOD structures may also control their enzymatic activity through product inhibition; manipulation of these product inhibition levels has the potential to generate therapeutic forms of SOD. Markedly, structural destabilization of the SOD architecture can lead to disease, as mutations in Cu,ZnSOD may result in familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a relatively common, rapidly progressing and fatal neurodegenerative disorder. We describe our current understanding of how these Cu,ZnSOD mutations may lead to aggregation/fibril formation, as a detailed understanding of these mechanisms provides new avenues for the development of therapeutics against this so far untreatable neurodegenerative pathology.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 11/2009; 1804(2):245-62. DOI:10.1016/j.bbapap.2009.11.004 · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase protein family has a critical role in cellular signaling events, with MAP kinase p38alpha acting in inflammatory processes and being an important drug discovery target. MAP kinase drug design efforts have focused on small-molecule inhibitors of the ATP catalytic site, which exhibit dose-limiting adverse effects. Therefore, characterizing other potential sites that bind substrates, inhibitors, or allosteric effectors is of great interest. Here, we present the crystal structure of human p38alpha MAP kinase, which has a lead compound bound both in the active site and in the lipid-binding site of the C-terminal cap. This C-terminal cap is formed from an extension to the kinase fold, unique to the MAP kinase and cyclin-dependent kinase families and glycogen synthase kinase 3. Binding of this lead, 4-[3-(4-fluorophenyl)-1H-pyrazol-4-yl]pyridine, to wild-type p38alpha induces movement of the C-terminal cap region, creating a hydrophobic pocket centered around residue Trp197. Computational analysis of this C-terminal domain pocket indicates notable flexibility for potentially binding different-shaped compounds, including lipids, oxidized arachidonic acid species such as leukotrienes, and small-molecule effectors. Furthermore, our structural results defining the open p38alpha C-lobe pocket provide a detailed framework for the design of novel small molecules with affinities comparable to active-site binders: to bind and potentially modulate the shape and activity of p38alpha in predetermined ways. Moreover, these results and analyses of p38alpha suggest strategies for designing specific binding compounds applicable to other MAP kinases, as well as the cyclin-dependent kinase family and glycogen synthase kinase 3beta that also utilize the C-terminal insert in their interactions.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 07/2009; 391(1):1-11. DOI:10.1016/j.jmb.2009.06.005 · 3.96 Impact Factor
  • J Jefferson P Perry, Kenichi Hitomi, John A Tainer
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    ABSTRACT: Y-family lesion bypass polymerases can process 8-oxoguanine, a potentially mutagenic form of oxidative DNA damage, error-free. In this issue of Structure, Rechkoblit et al. reveal that Y-family polymerases overcome 8-oxoguanine:adenine mismatches using a mechanism that screens for conformational heterogeneity.
    Structure 06/2009; 17(5):633-4. DOI:10.1016/j.str.2009.04.003 · 6.79 Impact Factor

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