Hwai-Chen Guo

University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, United States

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Publications (13)56.83 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidase 1 (ERAP1) is an essential component of the immune system, because it trims peptide precursors and generates the N--restricted epitopes. To examine ERAP1's unique properties of length- and sequence-dependent processing of antigen precursors, we report a 2.3 Å resolution complex structure of the ERAP1 regulatory domain. Our study reveals a binding conformation of ERAP1 to the carboxyl terminus of a peptide, and thus provides direct evidence for the molecular ruler mechanism.
    Scientific Reports 01/2011; 1:186. · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • Yeming Wang, Hwai-Chen Guo
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    ABSTRACT: Glycosylasparaginase belongs to a family of N-terminal nucleophile hydrolases that autoproteolytically generate their mature enzymes from single-chain protein precursors. Previously, based on a precursor structure paused at pre-autoproteolysis stage by a reversible inhibitor (glycine), we proposed a mechanism of intramolecular autoproteolysis. A key structural feature, a highly strained conformation at the scissile peptide bond, had been identified and was hypothesized to be critical for driving autoproteolysis through an N-O acyl shift. To examine this "twist-and-break" hypothesis, we report here a 1. 9-Å-resolution structure of an autoproteolysis-active precursor (a T152C mutant) that is free of inhibitor or ligand and is poised to undergo autoproteolysis. The current crystallographic study has provided direct evidence for the natural conformation of the glycosylasparaginase autocatalytic site without influence from any inhibitor or ligand. This finding has confirmed our previous proposal that conformational strain is an intrinsic feature of an active precursor.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 10/2010; 403(1):120-30. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    Yixin Sun, Hwai-Chen Guo
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    ABSTRACT: Nucleoporin Nup98, a 98-kDa protein component of the nuclear pore complex, plays an important role in both protein and RNA transport. During its maturation process, Nup98 undergoes post-translational autoproteolysis, which is critical for targeting to the NPC. Here we present high-resolution crystal structures of the C-terminal autoproteolytic domains of Nup98 (2.3 A for the wild type and 1.9 A for the S864A precursor), and propose a detailed autoproteolysis mechanism through an N-O acyl shift. Structural constraints are found at the autocleavage site, and could thus provide a driving force for autocleavage at the scissile peptide bond. Such structural constraints appear to be generated, at least in part, by anchoring a conserved phenylalanine side chain into a highly conserved hydrophobic pocket at the catalytic site. Our high-resolution crystal structures also reveal that three highly conserved residues, Tyr866, Gly867, and Leu868, provide most of the interactions between the autoproteolytic domain and the C-terminal tail. These results suggest that Nup98 may represent a new subtype of protein that utilizes autoprocessing to control biogenesis pathways and intracellular translocation.
    Protein Science 04/2008; 17(3):494-505. · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    Yeming Wang, Hwai-Chen Guo
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    ABSTRACT: Glycosylasparaginase (GA) plays an important role in asparagine-linked glycoprotein degradation. A deficiency in the activity of human GA leads to a lysosomal storage disease named aspartylglycosaminuria. GA belongs to a superfamily of N-terminal nucleophile hydrolases that autoproteolytically generate their mature enzymes from inactive single chain protein precursors. The side-chain of the newly exposed N-terminal residue then acts as a nucleophile during substrate hydrolysis. By taking advantage of mutant enzyme of Flavobacterium meningosepticum GA with reduced enzymatic activity, we have obtained a crystallographic snapshot of a productive complex with its substrate (NAcGlc-Asn), at 2.0 A resolution. This complex structure provided us an excellent model for the Michaelis complex to examine the specific contacts critical for substrate binding and catalysis. Substrate binding induces a conformational change near the active site of GA. To initiate catalysis, the side-chain of the N-terminal Thr152 is polarized by the free alpha-amino group on the same residue, mediated by the side-chain hydroxyl group of Thr170. Cleavage of the amide bond is then accomplished by a nucleophilic attack at the carbonyl carbon of the amide linkage in the substrate, leading to the formation of an acyl-enzyme intermediate through a negatively charged tetrahedral transition state.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 03/2007; 366(1):82-92. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Activation loop tyrosine autophosphorylation is an essential requirement for full kinase activation of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). However, mechanisms involved are not fully understood. In general, kinase domains of RTKs are folded into two main lobes, NH2- and COOH-terminal lobes. The COOH-terminal lobe of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) is folded into seven alpha-helices (alphaD-alphaI). In the studies presented here we demonstrate that leucine residues of helix I (alphaI) regulate tyrosine autophosphorylation and phosphotransferase activity of VEGFR-2. The presence of leucines 1158, 1161, and 1162 are essential for tyrosine autophosphorylation and kinase activation of VEGFR-2 and are involved in helix-helix packing via hydrophobic interactions. The presence of leucine 1158 is critical for kinase activation of VEGFR-2 and appears to interact with alphaE, alphaF, alphaH, and beta7. The analogous residue, leucine 957 on platelet-derived growth factor receptor-beta and leucine 910 on colony stimulating factor-1R are also found to be critical for tyrosine autophosphorylation of these receptors. Leucines 1161 and 1162 are also involved in helix-helix packing but they play a less critical role in VEGFR-2 activation. Thus, we conclude that leucine motif-mediated helix-helix interactions are critical for kinase regulation of type III RTKs. This mechanism is likely to be shared with other kinases and might provide a basis for the design of a novel class of tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2006; 281(13):8620-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously identified and characterized a heme/hemoglobin receptor, HmuR, in Porphyromonas gingivalis. To analyze the conserved amino acid residues of HmuR that may be involved in hemin/hemoprotein binding and utilization, we constructed a series of P. gingivalis A7436 hmuR mutants with amino acid replacements and characterized the ability of these mutants to utilize hemin and hemoproteins. Site-directed mutagenesis was employed to introduce mutations H95A, H434A, H95A-H434A, YRAP420-423YAAA, and NPDL442-445NAAA into HmuR in both P. gingivalis and Escherichia coli. Point mutations at H95 and H434 and in the NPDL motif of HmuR resulted in decreased binding to hemin, hemoglobin, and human serum albumin-hemin complex. Notably, mutations of these conserved sites and motifs led to reduced growth of P. gingivalis when human serum was used as the heme source. Analysis using a three-dimensional homology model of HmuR indicated that H95, H434, and the NPDL motif are present on apical or extracellular loops of HmuR, while the YRAP motif is present on the barrel wall. Taken together, these results support a role for H95, H434, and the NPDL motif of the P. gingivalis HmuR protein in heme binding and utilization of serum hemoproteins and the HmuR YRAP motif in serum hemoprotein utilization.
    Infection and Immunity 03/2006; 74(2):1222-32. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The crystal structure of the Type IIP restriction endonuclease MspI bound to DNA containing its cognate recognition sequence has been determined in both monoclinic and orthorhombic space groups. Significantly, these two independent crystal forms present an identical structure of a novel monomer-DNA complex, suggesting a functional role for this novel enzyme-DNA complex. In both crystals, MspI interacts with the CCGG DNA recognition sequence as a monomer, using an asymmetric mode of recognition by two different structural motifs in a single polypeptide. In the crystallographic asymmetric unit, the two DNA molecules in the two MspI-DNA complexes appear to stack with each other forming an end-to-end pseudo-continuous 19-mer duplex. They are primarily B-form and no major bends or kinks are observed. For DNA recognition, most of the specific contacts between the enzyme and the DNA are preserved in the orthorhombic structure compared with the monoclinic structure. A cation is observed near the catalytic center in the monoclinic structure at a position homologous to the 74/45 metal site of EcoRV, and the orthorhombic structure also shows signs of this same cation. However, the coordination ligands of the metal are somewhat different from those of the 74/45 metal site of EcoRV. Combined with structural information from other solved structures of Type II restriction enzymes, the possible relationship between the structures of the enzymes and their cleavage behaviors is discussed.
    Protein Science 11/2005; 14(10):2590-600. · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Villin-type headpiece domains are approximately 70 amino acid modular motifs found at the C terminus of a variety of actin cytoskeleton-associated proteins. The headpiece domain of villin, a protein found in the actin bundles of the brush border epithelium, is of interest both as a compact F-actin binding domain and as a model folded protein. We have determined the high-resolution crystal structures of chicken villin headpiece (HP67) at 1.4 A resolution as well as two mutants, R37A and W64Y, at 1.45 and 1.5 A resolution, respectively. Replacement of R37 causes a 5-fold reduction in F-actin binding affinity in sedimentation assays. Replacement of W64 results in a much more drastic reduction in F-actin binding affinity without significant changes in headpiece structure or stability. The detailed comparison of these crystal structures with each other and to our previously determined NMR structures of HP67 and the 35-residue autonomously folding subdomain in villin headpiece, HP35, provides the details of the headpiece fold and further defines the F-actin binding site of villin-type headpiece domains.
    Biochemistry 10/2005; 44(36):11963-73. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Most well-known restriction endonucleases recognize palindromic DNA sequences and are classified as Type IIP. Due to the recognition and cleavage symmetry, Type IIP enzymes are usually found to act as homodimers in forming 2-fold symmetric enzyme-DNA complexes. Here we report an asymmetric complex of the Type IIP restriction enzyme MspI in complex with its cognate recognition sequence. Unlike any other Type IIP enzyme reported to date, an MspI monomer and not a dimer binds to a palindromic DNA sequence. The enzyme makes specific contacts with all 4 base pairs in the recognition sequence, by six direct and five water-mediated hydrogen bonds and numerous van der Waal contacts. This MspI-DNA structure represents the first example of asymmetric recognition of a palindromic DNA sequence by two different structural motifs in one polypeptide. A few possible pathways are discussed for MspI to cut both strands of DNA, either as a monomer or dimer.
    Structure 10/2004; 12(9):1741-7. · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    Xiaofeng Qian, Chudi Guan, Hwai-Chen Guo
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    ABSTRACT: Glycosylasparaginase uses an autoproteolytic processing mechanism, through an N-O acyl shift, to generate a mature/active enzyme from a single-chain precursor. Structures of glycosylasparaginase precursors in complex with a glycine inhibitor have revealed the backbone in the immediate vicinity of the scissile peptide bond to be in a distorted trans conformation, which is believed to be the driving force for the N-O acyl shift to break the peptide bond. Here we report the effects of point mutation D151N. In addition to the loss of the base essential in autoproteolysis, this mutation also eradicates the backbone distortion near the scissile peptide bond. Binding of the glycine inhibitor to the autoproteolytic site of the D151N mutant does not restore the backbone distortion. Therefore, Asp151 plays a dual role, acting as the general base to activate the nucleophile and holding the distorted trans conformation that is critical for initiating an N-O acyl shift.
    Structure 09/2003; 11(8):997-1003. · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The reverse transcriptase (RT) encoded by hepadnaviruses (hepatitis B viruses) is a multifunctional protein critical for several aspects of viral assembly and replication. Reverse transcription is triggered by the specific interaction between the RT and an RNA signal located on the viral pregenomic RNA, termed epsilon, and is initiated through a novel protein priming mechanism whereby the RT itself serves as a protein primer and epsilon serves as the obligatory template. Using the RT from duck hepatitis B virus as a model, we previously demonstrated that RT-epsilon interaction and protein priming require the assistance of a host cell chaperone complex, heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) and its co-chaperones, which associates with the RT and facilitates the folding of the RT into an active conformation. We now report that extensive truncation removing the entire C-terminal RNase H domain and part of the central RT domain could relieve this dependence on Hsp90 for RT folding such that the truncated RT variants could function in epsilon interaction and protein priming independently of Hsp90. The presence of certain nonionic or zwitterionic detergent was sufficient to establish and maintain the truncated RT proteins in an active, albeit labile, state. Furthermore, we were able to refold an RT truncation variant de novo after complete denaturation. In contrast, the full-length RT and also RT variants with less-extensive C-terminal truncations required Hsp90 for activation. Surprisingly, the presence of detergent plus some yet-to-be-identified cytoplasmic factor(s) led to a dramatic suppression of the RT activities. These results have important implications for RT folding and conformational maturation, Hsp90 chaperone function, and potential inhibition of RT functions by host cell factors.
    Journal of Virology 05/2003; 77(8):4471-80. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    Yeming Wang, Hwai-Chen Guo
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    ABSTRACT: Glycosylasparaginase (GA) is an amidase and belongs to a novel family of N-terminal nucleophile hydrolases that use a similar autoproteolytic processing mechanism to generate a mature/active enzyme from a single chain protein precursor. From bacteria to eukaryotes, GAs are conserved in primary sequences, tertiary structures, and activation of amidase activity by intramolecular autoproteolysis. An evolutionarily conserved His-Asp-Thr sequence is cleaved to generate a newly exposed N-terminal threonine, which plays a central role in both autoproteolysis and in its amidase activity. We have recently determined the crystal structure of the bacterial GA precursor at 1.9-A resolution, which reveals a highly distorted and energetically unfavorable conformation at the scissile peptide bond. A mechanism of autoproteolysis via an N-O acyl shift was proposed to relieve these conformational strains. However, it is not understood how the polypeptide chain distortion was generated and preserved during the folding of GA to trigger autoproteolysis. An obstacle to our understanding of GA autoproteolysis is the uncertainty concerning its quaternary structure in solution. Here we have revisited this question and show that GA forms dimers in solution. Mutants with alterations at the dimer interface cannot form dimers and are impaired in the autoproteolytic activation. This suggests that dimerization of GA plays an essential role in autoproteolysis to activate the amidase activity. Comparison of the melting temperatures of GA dimers before and after autoproteolysis suggests two states of dimerization in the process of enzyme maturation. A two-step dimerization mechanism to trigger autoproteolysis is proposed to accommodate the data presented here as well as those in the literature.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2003; 278(5):3210-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glycosylasparaginase (GA) is a member of a novel family of N-terminal nucleophile hydrolases that catalytically use an N-terminal residue as both a polarizing base and a nucleophile. These enzymes are activated from a single chain precursor by intramolecular autoproteolysis to yield the N-terminal nucleophile. A deficiency of GA results in the human genetic disorder known as aspartylglycosaminuria. In this study, we report the crystal structure of recombinant GA fromFlavobacterium meningosepticum. Similar to the human structure, the bacterial GA forms an αββα sandwich. However, some significant differences are observed between theFlavobacterium and human structures. The active site ofFlavobacterium glycosylasparaginase is in an open conformation when compared with the human structure. We also describe the structure of a mutant wherein the N-terminal nucleophile Thr152 is substituted by a cysteine. In the bacterial GA crystals, we observe a heterotetrameric structure similar to that found in the human structure, as well as that observed in solution for eukaryotic glycosylasparaginases. The results confirm the suitability of the bacterial enzyme as a model to study the consequences of mutations in aspartylglycosaminuria patients. They also suggest that further studies are necessary to understand the detail mechanism of this enzyme. The presence of the heterotetrameric structure in the crystals is significant because dimerization of precursors has been suggested in the human enzyme to be a prerequisite to trigger autoproteolysis.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/1998; 273(32):20205-20212. · 4.65 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

164 Citations
56.83 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011
    • University of Massachusetts Lowell
      • Department of Biological Sciences
      Lowell, MA, United States
  • 2003–2010
    • Boston University
      • Department of Physiology and Biophysics
      Boston, MA, United States
  • 1998–2008
    • University of Massachusetts Boston
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2006
    • Georgia State University
      • Department of Chemistry
      Atlanta, GA, United States