Lipid-protein interactions in double-layered two-dimensional AQP0 crystals.

Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, 240 Longwood Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
Nature (Impact Factor: 42.35). 01/2006; 438(7068):633-8. DOI: 10.1038/nature04321
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Lens-specific aquaporin-0 (AQP0) functions as a specific water pore and forms the thin junctions between fibre cells. Here we describe a 1.9 A resolution structure of junctional AQP0, determined by electron crystallography of double-layered two-dimensional crystals. Comparison of junctional and non-junctional AQP0 structures shows that junction formation depends on a conformational switch in an extracellular loop, which may result from cleavage of the cytoplasmic amino and carboxy termini. In the centre of the water pathway, the closed pore in junctional AQP0 retains only three water molecules, which are too widely spaced to form hydrogen bonds with each other. Packing interactions between AQP0 tetramers in the crystalline array are mediated by lipid molecules, which assume preferred conformations. We were therefore able to build an atomic model for the lipid bilayer surrounding the AQP0 tetramers, and we describe lipid-protein interactions.

Download full-text


Available from: Yifan Cheng, Jul 04, 2015
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cryo-electron microscopy techniques and computational 3-D reconstruction of macromolecular assemblies are tightly linked tools in modern structural biology. This symbiosis has produced vast amounts of detailed information on the structure and function of biological macromolecules. Typically, one of two fundamentally different strategies is used depending on the specimens and their environment. A: 3-D reconstruction based on repetitive and structurally identical unit cells that allow for averaging, and B: tomographic 3-D reconstructions where tilt-series between approximately ±60 and ±70° at small angular increments are collected from highly complex and flexible structures that are beyond averaging procedures, at least during the first round of 3-D reconstruction. Strategies of group A are averaging-based procedures and collect large number of 2-D projections at different angles that are computationally aligned, averaged together, and back-projected in 3-D space to reach a most complete 3-D dataset with high resolution, today often down to atomic detail. Evidently, success relies on structurally repetitive particles and an aligning procedure that unambiguously determines the angular relationship of all 2-D projections with respect to each other. The alignment procedure of small particles may rely on their packing into a regular array such as a 2-D crystal, an icosahedral (viral) particle, or a helical assembly. Critically important for cryo-methods, each particle will only be exposed once to the electron beam, making these procedures optimal for highest-resolution studies where beam-induced damage is a significant concern. In contrast, tomographic 3-D reconstruction procedures (group B) do not rely on averaging, but collect an entire dataset from the very same structure of interest. Data acquisition requires collecting a large series of tilted projections at angular increments of 1-2° or less and a tilt range of ±60° or more. Accordingly, tomographic data collection exposes its specimens to a large electron dose, which is particularly problematic for frozen-hydrated samples. Currently, cryo-electron tomography is a rapidly emerging technology, on one end driven by the newest developments of hardware such as super-stabile microscopy stages as well as the latest generation of direct electron detectors and cameras. On the other end, success also strongly depends on new software developments on all kinds of fronts such as tilt-series alignment and back-projection procedures that are all adapted to the very low-dose and therefore very noisy primary data. Here, we will review the status quo of cryo-electron microscopy and discuss the future of cellular cryo-electron tomography from data collection to data analysis, CTF-correction of tilt-series, post-tomographic sub-volume averaging, and 3-D particle classification. We will also discuss the pros and cons of plunge freezing of cellular specimens to vitrified sectioning procedures and their suitability for post-tomographic volume averaging despite multiple artifacts that may distort specimens to some degree.
    Protoplasma 01/2014; 251(2). DOI:10.1007/s00709-013-0600-1 · 3.17 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Among the thirteen human aquaporins (AQP0-12), the primary structure of AQP8 is unique. By sequence alignment it is evident that mammalian AQP8s form a separate subfamily distinct from the other mammalian aquaporins. The constriction region of the pore determining the solute specificity deviates in AQP8 making it permeable to both ammonia and H(2)O(2) in addition to water. To better understand the selectivity and gating mechanism of aquaporins, high-resolution structures are necessary. So far, the structure of three human aquaporins (HsAQP1, HsAQP4, and HsAQP5) have been solved at atomic resolution. For mammalian aquaporins in general, high-resolution structures are only available for those belonging to the water-specific subfamily (including HsAQP1, HsAQP4 and HsAQP5). Thus, it is of interest to solve structures of other aquaporin subfamily members with different solute specificities. To achieve this the aquaporins need to be overexpressed heterologously and purified. Here we use the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris as a host for the overexpression. A wide screen of different detergents and detergent-lipid combinations resulted in the solubilization of functional human AQP8 protein and in well-ordered 2D crystals. It also became evident that removal of amino acids constituting affinity tags was crucial to achieve highly ordered 2D crystals diffracting to 3Å.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 12/2011; 1818(3):839-50. DOI:10.1016/j.bbamem.2011.12.006 · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Biological specimens have to be prepared for imaging in the electron microscope in a way that preserves their native structure. Two-dimensional (2D) protein crystals to be analyzed by electron crystallography are best preserved by sugar embedding. One of the sugars often used to embed 2D crystals is trehalose, a disaccharide used by many organisms for protection against stress conditions. Sugars such as trehalose can also be added to negative staining solutions used to prepare proteins and macromolecular complexes for structural studies by single-particle electron microscopy (EM). In this review, we describe trehalose and its characteristics that make it so well suited for preparation of EM specimens and we review specimen preparation methods with a focus on the use of trehalose.
    Micron 12/2011; 42(8):762-72. DOI:10.1016/j.micron.2011.06.005 · 2.06 Impact Factor