Fang Tian

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, United States

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Publications (26)140.84 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Over the last decade, compelling evidence has linked the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD) to defective intracellular trafficking of the amyloid precursor protein (APP). Faulty APP trafficking results in an overproduction of Aβ peptides, which is generally agreed to be the primary cause of AD-related pathogenesis. LR11 (SorLA), a type I transmembrane sorting receptor, has emerged as a key regulator of APP trafficking and processing. It directly interacts with APP and diverts it away from amyloidogenic processing. The 54-residue cytosolic domain of LR11 is essential for its proper intracellular localization and trafficking which, in turn, determines the fate of APP. Here, we have found a surprising membrane-proximal amphipathic helix in the cytosolic domain of LR11. Moreover, a peptide corresponding to this region folds into an α-helical structure in the presence of liposomes and transforms liposomes to small vesicles and tubule-like particles. We postulate that this amphipathic helix may contribute to the dynamic remodeling of membrane structure and facilitate LR11 intracellular transport. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: NMR Spectroscopy for Atomistic Views of Biomembranes and Cell Surfaces.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes 05/2014; · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tight junctions (TJs) are protein complexes comprised of claudins, which anchor them in the membrane and numerous cytosolic scaffolding proteins including MAGI, MUPP1, cingulin and members of the Zonula Occludens (ZO) family. Originally, their main function was thought to be as a paracellular barrier. More recently, however, additional roles in signal transduction, differentiation and proliferation have been reported. Dysregulation is associated with a wide range of disease states, including diabetic retinopathy, irritable bowel disease and some cancers. ZO proteins and occludin form a protein complex that appears to act as a master regulator of TJ assembly/disassembly. Recent studies have highlighted the structural character of the primary ZO-1:occludin interaction and identified regions on occludin that control association and disassociation of TJ in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. We hypothesize that regions within ZO-1 in the so-called U5 and U6 regions behave in a similar manner.
    Tissue barriers. 01/2013; 1(1):e23496.
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    ABSTRACT: Tight junctions (TJs) are dynamic cellular structures that are critical for compartmentalizing environments within tissues and regulating transport of small molecules, ions, and fluids. Phosphorylation-dependent binding of the transmembrane protein occludin to the structural organizing protein ZO-1 contributes to the regulation of barrier properties; however, the details of their interaction are controversial. Using small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), NMR chemical shift perturbation, cross-saturation, in vitro binding, and site-directed mutagenesis experiments. we define the interface between the ZO-1 PDZ3-SH3-U5-GuK (PSG) and occludin coiled-coil (CC) domains. The interface is comprised of basic residues in PSG and an acidic region in CC. Complex formation is blocked by a peptide (REESEEYM) that corresponds to CC residues 468-475 and includes a previously uncharacterized phosphosite, with the phosphorylated version having a larger effect. Furthermore, mutation of E470 and E472 reduces cell border localization of occludin. Together, these results localize the interaction to an acidic region in CC and a predominantly basic helix V within the ZO-1 GuK domain. This model has important implications for the phosphorylation-dependent regulation of the occludin:ZO-1 complex.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2012; 109(27):10855-60. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    Gary J Pielak, Fang Tian
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2012; 109(13):4715-6. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The feasibility of using solid-state magic-angle-spinning NMR spectroscopy for in situ structural characterization of the LR11 (sorLA) transmembrane domain (TM) in native Escherichia coli membranes is presented. LR11 interacts with the human amyloid precursor protein (APP), a central player in the pathology of Alzheimer's disease. The background signals from E. coli lipids and membrane proteins had only minor effects on the LR11 TM resonances. Approximately 50% of the LR11 TM residues were assigned by using (13)C PARIS data. These assignments allowed comparisons of the secondary structure of the LR11 TM in native membrane environments and commonly used membrane mimics (e.g., micelles). In situ spectroscopy bypasses several obstacles in the preparation of membrane proteins for structural analysis and offers the opportunity to investigate how membrane heterogeneity, bilayer asymmetry, chemical gradients, and macromolecular crowding affect the protein structure.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 08/2011; 133(32):12370-3. · 10.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Initiation of reverse transcription in hepadnaviruses is accomplished by a unique protein-priming mechanism whereby a specific Y residue in the terminal protein (TP) domain of the viral reverse transcriptase (RT) acts as a primer to initiate DNA synthesis, which is carried out by the RT domain of the same protein. When separate TP and RT domains from the duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) RT protein were tested in a trans-complementation assay in vitro, the RT domain could also serve, unexpectedly, as a protein primer for DNA synthesis, as could a TP mutant lacking the authentic primer Y (Y96) residue. Priming at these other, so-called cryptic, priming sites in both the RT and TP domains shared the same requirements as those at Y96. A mini RT protein with both the TP and RT domains linked in cis, as well as the full-length RT protein, could also initiate DNA synthesis using cryptic priming sites. The cryptic priming site(s) in TP was found to be S/T, while those in the RT domain were Y and S/T. As with the authentic TP Y96 priming site, the cryptic priming sites in the TP and RT domains could support DNA polymerization subsequent to the initial covalent linkage of the first nucleotide to the priming amino acid residue. These results provide new insights into the complex mechanisms of protein priming in hepadnaviruses, including the selection of the primer residue and the interactions between the TP and RT domains that is essential for protein priming.
    Journal of Virology 05/2011; 85(15):7754-65. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: LR11 (SorLA) is a recently identified neuronal protein that interacts with amyloid precursor protein (APP), a central player in the pathology of the Alzheimer's disease (AD). AD is a neurodegenerative disease and the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. Current estimates suggest that as many as 5.3 million Americans are living with AD. Recent investigations have uncovered the pathophysiological relevance of APP intracellular trafficking in AD. LR11 is of particular importance due to its role in regulating APP transport and processing. LR11 is a type I transmembrane protein and belongs to a novel family of Vps10p receptors. Using a new expression vector, pMTTH (MBP-MCS1 (multiple cloning site)-Thrombin protease cleavage site-MCS2-TEV protease cleavage site-MCS3-His(6)), we successfully expressed, purified and reconstituted the LR11 transmembrane (TM) and cytoplasmic (CT) domains into bicelles and detergent micelles for NMR structural studies. This new construct allowed us to overcome several obstacles during sample preparation. MBP fused LR11TM and LR11TMCT proteins are preferably expressed at high levels in Escherichia coli membrane, making a refolding of the protein unnecessary. The C-terminal His-tag allows for easy separation of the target protein from the truncated products from the C-terminus, and provides a convenient route for screening detergents to produce high quality 2D (1)H-(15)N TROSY spectra. Thrombin protease cleavage is compatible with most of the commonly used detergents, including a direct cleavage at the E. coli membrane surface. This new MBP construct may provide an effective route for the preparation of small proteins with TM domains.
    Protein Expression and Purification 02/2011; 77(2):224-30. · 1.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Experimental residual dipolar couplings (RDCs) in combination with structural models have the potential for accelerating the protein backbone resonance assignment process because RDCs can be measured accurately and interpreted quantitatively. However, this application has been limited due to the need for very high-resolution structural templates. Here, we introduce a new approach to resonance assignment based on optimal agreement between the experimental and calculated RDCs from a structural template that contains all assignable residues. To overcome the inherent computational complexity of such a global search, we have adopted an efficient two-stage search algorithm and included connectivity data from conventional assignment experiments. In the first stage, a list of strings of resonances (CA-links) is generated via exhaustive searches for short segments of sequentially connected residues in a protein (local templates), and then ranked by the agreement of the experimental (13)C(α) chemical shifts and (15)N-(1)H RDCs to the predicted values for each local template. In the second stage, the top CA-links for different local templates in stage I are combinatorially connected to produce CA-links for all assignable residues. The resulting CA-links are ranked for resonance assignment according to their measured RDCs and predicted values from a tertiary structure. Since the final RDC ranking of CA-links includes all assignable residues and the assignment is derived from a "global minimum", our approach is far less reliant on the quality of experimental data and structural templates. The present approach is validated with the assignments of several proteins, including a 42 kDa maltose binding protein (MBP) using RDCs and structural templates of varying quality. Since backbone resonance assignment is an essential first step for most of biomolecular NMR applications and is often a bottleneck for large systems, we expect that this new approach will improve the efficiency of the assignment process for small and medium size proteins and will extend the size limits assignable by current methods for proteins with structural models.
    Journal of Biomolecular NMR 02/2011; 49(2):85-98. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Challenges for structural characterization of membrane-bound glycosphingolipids include their high internal dynamic motions and their physical proximity to membrane surfaces. Here we demonstrate that NMR paramagnetic relaxation enhancement can be used, alongside independent molecular dynamics simulations and an outer-sphere relaxation model, to quantitatively characterize the presentation (insertion depth and orientation relative to a membrane surface) of ganglioside GM1 in biologically relevant membrane environments. Longitudinal and transverse paramagnetic relaxation enhancement effects were measured for GM1, anchored to phospholipid bicelles, using both water-soluble and membrane-anchored paramagnetic probes, respectively. A method was developed to rapidly calculate paramagnetic relaxation enhancement effects from thousands of structures taken from a simulation of GM1 in a phospholipid bilayer. The combined computational and experimental approach yielded experimentally verified atomic-resolution 3D models of a highly plastic membrane-bound biomolecule.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 02/2010; 132(4):1334-8. · 10.68 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2010; 98(3). · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glycans that are either N-linked to asparagine or O-linked to serine or threonine are the hallmark of glycoproteins, a class of protein that dominates the mammalian proteome. These glycans perform important functions in cells and in some cases are required for protein activity. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is a powerful tool for studying glycan structure and interactions, particularly in a form that exploits heteronuclei such as 13C. Here an approach is presented that that uses alpha-2,6-sialyltransferase (ST6Gal-I) to enzymatically add 13C-N-acetylneuraminic acid (NeuAc or sialic acid) to glycoproteins after their preparation using nonbacterial hosts. ST6Gal-I is itself a glycoprotein, and in this initial application, labeling of its own glycans and observation of these glycans by NMR are illustrated. The catalytic domain from rat ST6Gal-I was expressed in mammalian HEK293 cells. The glycans from the two glycosylation sites were analyzed with mass spectrometry and found to contain sialylated biantennary structures. The isotopic labeling approach involved removal of the native NeuAc residues from ST6Gal-I with neuraminidase, separation of the neuramindase with a lectin affinity column, and addition of synthesized 13C-CMP-NeuAc to the desialylated ST6Gal-I. Chemical shift dispersion due to the various 13C-NeuAc adducts on ST6Gal-I was observed in a 3D experiment correlating 1H-13C3-13C2 atoms of the sugar ring.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 10/2008; 130(36):11864-5. · 10.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The amyloid precursor protein (APP) is subject to alternative pathways of proteolytic processing, leading either to production of the amyloid-beta (Abeta) peptides or to non-amyloidogenic fragments. Here, we report the first structural study of C99, the 99-residue transmembrane C-terminal domain of APP liberated by beta-secretase cleavage. We also show that cholesterol, an agent that promotes the amyloidogenic pathway, specifically binds to this protein. C99 was purified into model membranes where it was observed to homodimerize. NMR data show that the transmembrane domain of C99 is an alpha-helix that is flanked on both sides by mostly disordered extramembrane domains, with two exceptions. First, there is a short extracellular surface-associated helix located just after the site of alpha-secretase cleavage that helps to organize the connecting loop to the transmembrane domain, which is known to be essential for Abeta production. Second, there is a surface-associated helix located at the cytosolic C-terminus, adjacent to the YENPTY motif that plays critical roles in APP trafficking and protein-protein interactions. Cholesterol was seen to participate in saturable interactions with C99 that are centered at the critical loop connecting the extracellular helix to the transmembrane domain. Binding of cholesterol to C99 and, most likely, to APP may be critical for the trafficking of these proteins to cholesterol-rich membrane domains, which leads to cleavage by beta- and gamma-secretase and resulting amyloid-beta production. It is proposed that APP may serve as a cellular cholesterol sensor that is linked to mechanisms for suppressing cellular cholesterol uptake.
    Biochemistry 10/2008; 47(36):9428-46. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: REDCRAFT, a new open source software tool that accommodates the analysis of RDC data for simultaneous structure and dynamics characterization of proteins is presented in this article. Simultaneous consideration of structure and motion is believed to be necessary for accurate representation of the solution-state of a protein. REDCRAFT is designed to primarily utilize RDC data from multiple alignment media in two stages. During Stage-I, a list of possible torsion angles joining any two neighboring peptide planes is ranked based on their fitness to experimental constraints; in Stage-II, a dipeptide fragment is extended by addition of one peptide plane at a time. The algorithm adopted by REDCRAFT is very efficient and can produce a structure for an 80 residue protein within two hours on a typical desktop computer. REDCRAFT exhibits robustness with respect to noise and missing data. REDCRAFT describes the overall alignment of the molecule in the form of an order tensor matrix and is capable of identifying peptide fragments with internal dynamics. Identification of the location of internal motion will permit a more accurate structural representation. Experimental data from two proteins as well as simulated data are presented to illustrate the capabilities of REDCRAFT in both structure determination and identification of the dynamical regions.
    Journal of Magnetic Resonance 05/2008; 191(2):322-34. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) study in solution of the structures of human normal hemoglobin (Hb A) in the deoxy or unligated form in the absence and presence of an allosteric effector, inositol hexaphosphate (IHP), using 15N-1H residual dipolar coupling (RDC) measurements. There are several published crystal structures for deoxyhemoglobin A (deoxy-Hb A), and it has been reported that the functional properties of Hb A in single crystals are different from those in solution. Carbonmonoxyhemoglobin A (HbCO A) can also be crystallized in several structures. Our recent RDC studies of HbCO A in the absence and presence of IHP have shown that the solution structure of this Hb molecule is distinctly different from its classical crystal structures (R and R2). To have a better understanding of the structure-function relationship of Hb A under physiological conditions, we need to evaluate its structures in both ligated and unligated states in solution. Here, the intrinsic paramagnetic property of deoxy-Hb A has been exploited for the measurement of RDCs using the magnetic-field dependence of the apparent one-bond 1H-15N J couplings. Our RDC analysis suggests that the quaternary and tertiary structures of deoxy-Hb A in solution differ from its recently determined high-resolution crystal structures. Upon binding of IHP, structural changes in deoxy-Hb A are also observed, and these changes are largely within the alpha1beta1 (or alpha2beta2) dimer itself. These new structural findings allow us to gain a deeper insight into the structure-function relationship of this interesting allosteric protein.
    Biochemistry 10/2007; 46(35):9973-80. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years paramagnetic NMR derived structural constraints have become increasingly popular for the study of biomolecules. Some of these are based on the distance and angular dependences of pseudo contact shifts (PCSs). When modulated by internal motions PCSs also become sensitive reporters on molecular dynamics. We present here an investigation of the domain-domain motion in a two domain protein (PA0128) through time-modulation of PCSs. PA0128 is a protein of unknown function from Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) and contains a Zn(2+) binding site in the N-terminal domain. When substituted with Co(2+) in the binding site, several resonances from the C-terminal domain showed severe line broadening along the (15)N dimension. Relaxation compensated CPMG experiments revealed that the dramatic increase in the (15)N linewidth came from contributions of chemical exchange. Since several sites with perturbed relaxation are localized to a single beta-strand region, and since extracted timescales of motion for the perturbed sites are identical, and since the magnitude of the chemical exchange contributions is consistent with PCSs, the observed rate enhancements are interpreted as the result of concerted domain motion on the timescale of a few milliseconds. Given the predictability of PCS differences and the easy interpretation of the experimental results, we suggest that these effects might be useful in the study of molecular processes occurring on the millisecond to microsecond timescale.
    Journal of Biomolecular NMR 10/2007; 39(1):53-61. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Structural data on mammalian proteins are often difficult to obtain by conventional NMR approaches because of an inability to produce samples with uniform isotope labeling in bacterial expression hosts. Proteins with sparse isotope labels can be produced in eukaryotic hosts by using isotope-labeled forms of specific amino acids, but structural analysis then requires information from experiments other than nuclear Overhauser effects. One source of alternate structural information is distance-dependent perturbation of spin relaxation times by nitroxide spin-labeled analogs of natural protein ligands. Here, we introduce spin-labeled analogs of sugar nucleotide donors for sialyltransferases, specifically, CMP-TEMPO (CMP-4-O-[2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl]) and CMP-4carboxyTEMPO (CMP-4-O-[4-carboxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidinine-1-oxyl]). An ability to identify resonances from active site residues and produce distance constraints is illustrated on a (15)N phenylalanine-labeled version of the structurally uncharacterized, alpha-2,6-linked sialyltransferase, ST6Gal I.
    Chemistry & Biology 05/2007; 14(4):409-18. · 6.16 Impact Factor
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    Angewandte Chemie International Edition 10/2002; 41(18):3454-7. · 11.34 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Biomolecular NMR 08/2002; 23(3):253-4. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Biomolecular NMR 06/2002; 23(3):253-254. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A new approach for simultaneous protein backbone resonance assignment and structure determination by NMR is introduced. This approach relies on recent advances in high-resolution NMR spectroscopy that allow observation of anisotropic interactions, such as dipolar couplings, from proteins partially aligned in field ordered media. Residual dipolar couplings are used for both geometric information and a filter in the assembly of residues in a sequential manner. Experimental data were collected in less than one week on a small redox protein, rubredoxin, that was 15N enriched but not enriched above 1% natural abundance in 13C. Given the acceleration possible with partial 13C enrichment, the protocol described should provide a very rapid route to protein structure determination. This is critical for the structural genomics initiative where protein expression and structural determination in a high-throughput manner will be needed.
    Journal of the American Chemical Society 12/2001; 123(47):11791-6. · 10.68 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

542 Citations
140.84 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2012
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      • Department of Chemistry
      Chapel Hill, NC, United States
  • 2011
    • National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
      Tallahassee, Florida, United States
    • Pennsylvania State University
      • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
      University Park, MD, United States
  • 1999–2010
    • University of Georgia
      • Complex Carbohydrate Research Center
      Athens, GA, United States