Thanh X Dang

The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, United States

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Publications (3)9.69 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: To facilitate purification and subsequent structural studies of recombinant proteins the most widely used genetically encoded tag is the histidine tag (His-tag) which specifically binds to N-nitrilotriacetic-acid-chelated nickel ions. Lipids derivatized with a nickel-chelating head group can be mixed with galactosylceramide glycolipids to prepare lipid nanotubes that bind His-tagged proteins. In this study, we use His-tagged perfringolysin O (PFO), a soluble toxin secreted by the bacterial pathogen Clostridium perfringens, as a model protein to test the utility of nickel-lipid nanotubes as a tool for structural studies of His-tagged proteins. PFO is a member of the cholesterol dependent cytolysin family (CDC) of oligomerizing, pore-forming toxins found in a variety of Gram-positive bacterial pathogens. CDC pores have been difficult to study by X-ray crystallography because they are membrane associated and vary in size. We demonstrate that both a wild-type and a mutant form of PFO form helical arrays on nickel-lipid containing nanotubes. Cryo-electron microscopy and image analysis of the helical arrays were used to reconstruct a 3D density map of wild-type PFO. This study suggests that the use of nickel-lipid nanotubes may offer a general approach for structural studies of recombinant proteins and may provide insights into the molecular interactions of proteins that have a natural affinity for a membrane surface.
    Journal of Structural Biology 12/2005; 152(2):129-39. DOI:10.1016/j.jsb.2005.07.010 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Perfringolysin O (PFO), a soluble toxin secreted by the pathogenic Clostridium perfringens, forms large homo-oligomeric pore complexes comprising up to 50 PFO molecules in cholesterol-containing membranes. In this study, electron microscopy (EM) and single-particle image analysis were used to reconstruct two-dimensional (2D) projection maps from images of oligomeric PFO prepore and pore complexes formed on cholesterol-rich lipid layers. The projection maps are characterized by an outer and an inner ring of density peaks. The outer rings of the prepore and pore complexes are very similar; however, the protein densities that make up the inner ring of the pore complex are more intense and discretely resolved than they are for the prepore complex. The change in inner-ring protein density is consistent with a mechanism in which the monomers within the prepore complex make a transition from a partially disordered state to a more ordered transmembrane beta-barrel in the pore complex. Finally, the orientation of the monomers within the oligomeric complexes was determined by visualization of streptavidin (SA) molecules bound to biotinylated cysteine-substituted residues predicted to face either the inner or outer surface of the oligomeric pore complex. This study provides an unprecedented view of the conversion of the PFO prepore to pore complex.
    Journal of Structural Biology 05/2005; 150(1):100-8. DOI:10.1016/j.jsb.2005.02.003 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, we use streptavidin (SA) as a model system to study helical protein array formation on lipid nanotubes, an alternative to 2D studies on lipid monolayers. We demonstrate that wild-type and a mutant form of SA form helical arrays on biotinylated lipid nanotubes. 3D maps from helical arrays of wild-type and mutant SA were reconstructed using two different approaches: Fourier-Bessel methods and an iterative single particle algorithm. The maps show that wild-type and mutant streptavidin molecules order differently. The molecular packing arrangements of SA on the surface of the lipid nanotubes differ from previously reported lattice packing of SA on biotinylated monolayers. Helical crystallization on lipid nanotubes presents an alternative platform to explore fundamentals of protein ordering, intermolecular protein interaction and phase behavior. We demonstrate that lipid nanotubes offer a robust and reproducible substrate for forming helical protein arrays which present a means for studying protein structure and structure-function relationships.
    Journal of Structural Biology 05/2005; 150(1):90-9. DOI:10.1016/j.jsb.2005.02.002 · 3.23 Impact Factor