Michael Eckart

Stanford Medicine, Stanford, California, United States

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Publications (11)88.31 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Bacteria use partitioning systems based on the ParA ATPase to actively mobilize and spatially organize molecular cargoes throughout the cytoplasm. The bacterium Caulobacter crescentus uses a ParA-based partitioning system to segregate newly replicated chromosomal centromeres to opposite cell poles. Here we demonstrate that the Caulobacter PopZ scaffold creates an organizing center at the cell pole that actively regulates polar centromere transport by the ParA partition system. As segregation proceeds, the ParB-bound centromere complex is moved by progressively disassembling ParA from a nucleoid-bound structure. Using superresolution microscopy, we show that released ParA is recruited directly to binding sites within a 3D ultrastructure composed of PopZ at the cell pole, whereas the ParB-centromere complex remains at the periphery of the PopZ structure. PopZ recruitment of ParA stimulates ParA to assemble on the nucleoid near the PopZ-proximal cell pole. We identify mutations in PopZ that allow scaffold assembly but specifically abrogate interactions with ParA and demonstrate that PopZ/ParA interactions are required for proper chromosome segregation in vivo. We propose that during segregation PopZ sequesters free ParA and induces target-proximal regeneration of ParA DNA binding activity to enforce processive and pole-directed centromere segregation, preventing segregation reversals. PopZ therefore functions as a polar hub complex at the cell pole to directly regulate the directionality and destination of transfer of the mitotic segregation machine.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2014; · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vital to bacterial survival is the faithful propagation of cellular signals, and in Caulobacter crescentus, ChpT is an essential mediator within the cell-cycle circuit. ChpT functions as a histidine-containing phosphotransfer protein (HPt) that shuttles a phosphoryl group from the receiver domain of CckA, the upstream hybrid histidine kinase (HK), to one of two downstream response regulators (CtrA or CpdR) that controls cell-cycle progression. To understand how ChpT interacts with multiple signaling partners, we solved the crystal structure of ChpT at 2.3 Å resolution. ChpT adopts a pseudo-HK architecture but does not bind ATP. We identified two point mutation classes affecting phosphotransfer and cell morphology: one that globally impairs ChpT phosphotransfer, and a second that mediates partner selection. Importantly, a small set of conserved ChpT residues promotes signaling crosstalk and contributes to the branched signaling that activates the master regulator CtrA while inactivating the CtrA degradation signal, CpdR.
    Structure 08/2013; · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A potent neutralizing antibody to a conserved hepatitis C virus (HCV) epitope might overcome its extreme variability, allowing immunotherapy. The human monoclonal antibody HC-1 recognizes a conformational epitope on the HCV E2 glycoprotein. Previous studies showed that HC-1 neutralizes most HCV genotypes but has modest potency. To improve neutralization, we affinity-matured HC-1 by constructing a library of yeast-displayed HC-1 single chain Fv (scFv) mutants, using for selection an E2 antigen from one of the poorly neutralized HCVpp. We developed an approach by parallel mutagenesis of the heavy chain variable (VH) and κ-chain variable (Vk) genes separately, then combining the optimized VH and Vk mutants. This resulted in the generation of HC-1-related scFv variants exhibiting improved affinities. The best scFv variant had a 92-fold improved affinity. After conversion to IgG1, some of the antibodies exhibited a 30-fold improvement in neutralization activity. Both surface plasmon resonance and solution kinetic exclusion analysis showed that the increase in affinity was largely due to a lowering of the dissociation rate constant, Koff. Neutralization against a panel of HCV pseudoparticles and infectious 2a HCV virus improved with the affinity-matured IgG1 antibodies. Interestingly, some of these antibodies neutralized a viral isolate that was not neutralized by wild-type HC-1. Moreover, propagating 2a HCVcc under the selective pressure of WT HC-1 or affinity-matured HC-1 antibodies yielded no viral escape mutants and, with the affinity-matured IgG1, needed 100-fold less antibody to achieve complete virus elimination. Taken together, these findings suggest that affinity-matured HC-1 antibodies are excellent candidates for therapeutic development.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2011; 286(51):44218-33. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A potent neutralizing antibody to a conserved HCV epitope might overcome its extreme variability, allowing immunotherapy. The human monoclonal antibody HC-1 recognizes a conformational epitope on the HCV E2 glycoprotein. Previous studies showed that HC-1 neutralized most HCV genotypes but having modest potency. To improve neutralization, we affinity-matured HC-1 by constructing a library of yeast-displayed HC-1 single chain Fv (scFv) mutants and using for selection an E2 antigen from one of the poorly neutralized HCVpp. We developed an approach by parallel mutagenesis of the heavy chain variable (VH) and kappa chain variable (Vk) genes separately and then combining the optimized VH and Vk mutants. This resulted in the generation of HC-1-related scFv variants exhibiting improved affinities. The best scFv variant had a 92-fold improved affinity. After conversion to IgG1, some of the antibodies exhibited a 30-fold improvement in neutralization activity. Both surface plasmon resonance and solution kinetic exclusion analysis showed the increase in affinity was largely due to a lowering of the dissociation rate constant, Koff. Neutralization against a panel of HCV pseudoparticles and infectious 2a HCV virus improved with the affinity-matured IgG1 antibodies. Interestingly, some of these antibodies neutralized a viral isolate that was not neutralized by wildtype (wt) HC-1. Moreover, propagating 2a HCVcc under the selective pressure of wt HC-1 or affinity-matured HC-1 antibodies yielded no viral escape mutants, and, with the affinity-matured IgG1, needed 100-fold less antibody to achieve complete virus elimination. Taken together, these findings suggest that affinity-matured HC-1 antibodies are excellent candidates for therapeutic development.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2011; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A series of novel HIV-1 protease inhibitors based on the (hydroxyethylamino)-sulfonamide isostere incorporating substituted phenyls and benzheterocycle derivatives bearing rich hydrogen bonding acceptors as P(2) ligands were synthesized. Prolonged chain linking the benzhereocycle to the carbonyl group resulted in partial loss of binding affinities. Introduction of a small alkyl substituent with appropriate size to the -CH2- of P(1)-P(2) linkage as a side chain resulted in improved inhibitory potency, and in this study, isopropyl was the best side chain. Replacement of the isobutyl substituent at P(1)'group with phenyl substituent decreased the inhibitory potency. One of the most potent inhibitor, compound 23 showing high affinity to HIV-1 protease with an IC(50) value of 5 nM, also exhibited good anti-SIV activity (EC(50) = 0.8 microM) with low toxicity (TC(50) > 100 microM). The flexible docking of inhibitor 23 to HIV-1 protease active site rationalized the interactions with protease.
    Chemical Biology &amp Drug Design 08/2010; 76(2):174-80. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Until recently, a dedicated mitotic apparatus that segregates newly replicated chromosomes into daughter cells was believed to be unique to eukaryotic cells. Here we demonstrate that the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus segregates its chromosome using a partitioning (Par) apparatus that has surprising similarities to eukaryotic spindles. We show that the C. crescentus ATPase ParA forms linear polymers in vitro and assembles into a narrow linear structure in vivo. The centromere-binding protein ParB binds to and destabilizes ParA structures in vitro. We propose that this ParB-stimulated ParA depolymerization activity moves the centromere to the opposite cell pole through a burnt bridge Brownian ratchet mechanism. Finally, we identify the pole-specific TipN protein as a new component of the Par system that is required to maintain the directionality of DNA transfer towards the new cell pole. Our results elucidate a bacterial chromosome segregation mechanism that features basic operating principles similar to eukaryotic mitotic machines, including a multivalent protein complex at the centromere that stimulates the dynamic disassembly of polymers to move chromosomes into daughter compartments.
    Nature Cell Biology 08/2010; 12(8):791-8. · 20.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transient transfection of mammalian cells in suspension culture has recently emerged as a very useful method for production of research-scale quantities of recombinant proteins. The most commonly used cell lines for this purpose are suspension-adapted HEK and CHO cells. We report here that the plasma exposure in mice of an IL-23R extracellular domain Fc fusion protein (IL23R-Fc) differed dramatically depending on whether the protein was prepared by transient transfection of HEK or CHO cells. Specifically, IL23R-Fc expressed using CHO cells had about 30-fold higher in vivo plasma exposure compared to the HEK-expressed protein. In contrast to their differing plasma exposures, the HEK- and CHO-expressed proteins had equivalent in vitro biological activity. Characterization of the CHO- and HEK-expressed IL23R-Fc proteins indicated that the differences in in vivo plasma exposure between them are due to differential glycosylation.
    Protein Expression and Purification 05/2010; 71(1):96-102. · 1.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Azetidine-2-carboxylic acid (Aze) 1 is a non-protein amino acid present in sugar beets and in table beets (Beta vulgaris). It is readily misincorporated into proteins in place of proline 2 in many species, including humans, and causes numerous toxic effects as well as congenital malformations. Its role in the pathogenesis of disease in humans has remained unexplored. Sugar beet agriculture, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, has become widespread during the past 150 years, and now accounts for nearly 30% of the world's supply of sucrose. Sugar beet byproducts are also used as a dietary supplement for livestock. Therefore, this study was undertaken as an initial survey to identify Aze-containing links in the food chain. Herein, we report the presence of Aze 1 in three sugar beet byproducts that are fed to farm animals: sugar beet molasses, shredded sugar beet pulp, and pelleted sugar beet pulp.
    Phytochemistry 01/2009; 70(1):100-4. · 3.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial replication origins move towards opposite ends of the cell during DNA segregation. We have identified a proline-rich polar protein, PopZ, required to anchor the separated Caulobacter crescentus chromosome origins at the cell poles, a function that is essential for maintaining chromosome organization and normal cell division. PopZ interacts directly with the ParB protein bound to specific DNA sequences near the replication origin. As the origin/ParB complex is being replicated and moved across the cell, PopZ accumulates at the cell pole and tethers the origin in place upon arrival. The polar accumulation of PopZ occurs by a diffusion/capture mechanism that requires the MreB cytoskeleton. High molecular weight oligomers of PopZ assemble in vitro into a filamentous network with trimer junctions, suggesting that the PopZ network and ParB-bound DNA interact in an adhesive complex, fixing the chromosome origin at the cell pole.
    Cell 10/2008; 134(6):945-55. · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Compared to the emerging embryonic stem cell (ESC) gene network, little is known about the dynamic gene network that directs reprogramming in the early embryo. We hypothesized that Oct4, an ESC pluripotency regulator that is also highly expressed at the 1- to 2-cell stages in embryos, may be a critical regulator of the earliest gene network in the embryo. Using antisense morpholino oligonucleotide (MO)-mediated gene knockdown, we show that Oct4 is required for development prior to the blastocyst stage. Specifically, Oct4 has a novel and critical role in regulating genes that encode transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulators as early as the 2-cell stage. Our data suggest that the key function of Oct4 may be to switch the developmental program from one that is predominantly regulated by post-transcriptional control to one that depends on the transcriptional network. Further, we propose to rank candidate genes quantitatively based on the inter-embryo variation in their differential expression in response to Oct4 knockdown. Of over 30 genes analyzed according to this proposed paradigm, Rest and Mta2, both of which have established pluripotency functions in ESCs, were found to be the most tightly regulated by Oct4 at the 2-cell stage. We show that the Oct4-regulated gene set at the 1- to 2-cell stages of early embryo development is large and distinct from its established network in ESCs. Further, our experimental approach can be applied to dissect the gene regulatory network of Oct4 and other pluripotency regulators to deconstruct the dynamic developmental program in the early embryo.
    PLoS ONE 02/2008; 3(12):e4109. · 3.53 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

264 Citations
88.31 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2013
    • Stanford Medicine
      • Department of Developmental Biology
      Stanford, California, United States
  • 2008–2010
    • Stanford University
      • Department of Developmental Biology
      Stanford, CA, United States