Thomas Schmidt

University of Southern California, Los Ángeles, California, United States

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Publications (4)53.32 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The family of genes implicated in hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSPs) is quickly expanding, mostly owing to the widespread availability of next-generation DNA sequencing methods. Nevertheless, a genetic diagnosis remains unavailable for many patients. To identify the genetic cause for a novel form of pure autosomal dominant HSP. We examined and followed up with a family presenting to a tertiary referral center for evaluation of HSP for a decade until August 2014. Whole-exome sequencing was performed in 4 patients from the same family and was integrated with linkage analysis. Sanger sequencing was used to confirm the presence of the candidate variant in the remaining affected and unaffected members of the family and screen the additional patients with HSP. Five affected and 6 unaffected participants from a 3-generation family with pure adult-onset autosomal dominant HSP of unknown genetic origin were included. Additionally, 163 unrelated participants with pure HSP of unknown genetic cause were screened. Mutation in the neuronal isoform of carnitine palmitoyl-transferase (CPT1C) gene. We identified the nucleotide substitution c.109C>T in exon 3 of CPT1C, which determined the base substitution of an evolutionarily conserved Cys residue for an Arg in the gene product. This variant strictly cosegregated with the disease phenotype and was absent in online single-nucleotide polymorphism databases and in 712 additional exomes of control participants. We showed that CPT1C, which localizes to the endoplasmic reticulum, is expressed in motor neurons and interacts with atlastin-1, an endoplasmic reticulum protein encoded by the ATL1 gene known to be mutated in pure HSPs. The mutation, as indicated by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies, alters the protein conformation and reduces the mean (SD) number (213.0 [46.99] vs 81.9 [14.2]; P < .01) and size (0.29 [0.01] vs 0.26 [0.01]; P < .05) of lipid droplets on overexpression in cells. We also observed a reduction of mean (SD) lipid droplets in primary cortical neurons isolated from Cpt1c-/- mice as compared with wild-type mice (1.0 [0.12] vs 0.44 [0.05]; P < .001), suggesting a dominant negative mechanism for the mutation. This study expands the genetics of autosomal dominant HSP and is the first, to our knowledge, to link mutation in CPT1C with a human disease. The association of the CPT1C mutation with changes in lipid droplet biogenesis supports a role for altered lipid-mediated signal transduction in HSP pathogenesis.
    JAMA Neurology 03/2015; DOI:10.1001/jamaneurol.2014.4769 · 7.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cationic membrane-proximal amino acids determine the topology of membrane proteins by interacting with anionic lipids that are restricted to the intracellular membrane leaflet. This mechanism implies that anionic lipids interfere with electrostatic interactions of membrane proteins. The integrin αIIbβ3 transmembrane (TM) complex is stabilized by a membrane-proximal αIIb(Arg995)-β3(Asp723) interaction; here, we examine the influence of anionic lipids on this complex. Anionic lipids compete for αIIb(Arg995) contacts with β3(Asp723) but paradoxically do not diminish the contribution of αIIb(Arg995)-β3(Asp723) to TM complex stability. Overall, anionic lipids in annular positions stabilize the αIIbβ3 TM complex by up to 0.50 ± 0.02 kcal/mol relative to zwitterionic lipids in a headgroup structure-dependent manner. Comparatively, integrin receptor activation requires TM complex destabilization of 1.5 ± 0.2 kcal/mol revealing a sizeable influence of lipid composition on TM complex stability. We implicate changes in lipid headgroup accessibility to small molecules (physical membrane characteristics) and specific but dynamic protein-lipid contacts in this TM helix-helix stabilization. Thus, anionic lipids in ubiquitous annular positions can benefit the stability of membrane proteins while leaving membrane-proximal electrostatic interactions intact. Copyright © 2015, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding the structure, folding and interaction of membrane proteins requires experimental tools to quantify the association of transmembrane (TM) helices. Here, we introduce isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) to measure integrin αIIbβ3 TM complex affinity, to study the consequences of helix-helix preorientation in lipid bilayers, and to examine protein-induced lipid reorganization. Phospholipid bicelles served as membrane mimics. The association of αIIbβ3 proceeded with a free energy change of -4.61±0.04 kcal/mol at bicelle conditions where the sampling of random helix-helix orientations leads to complex formation. At bicelle conditions that approach a true bilayer structure in effect, an entropy saving of >1 kcal/mol was obtained from helix-helix preorientation. The magnitudes of enthalpy and entropy changes increased distinctly with bicelle dimensions, indicating long-range changes in bicelle lipid properties upon αIIbβ3 TM association. NMR spectroscopy confirmed ITC affinity measurements and revealed αIIbβ3 association and dissociation rates of 4500±100 s(-1) and 2.1±0.1 s(-1), respectively. Thus, ITC is able to provide comprehensive insight into the interaction of membrane proteins.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 08/2014; 426(21). DOI:10.1016/j.jmb.2014.08.020 · 3.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Side chains of Lys/Arg near transmembrane domain (TMD) membrane-water interfaces can 'snorkel', placing their positive charge near negatively charged phospholipid head groups; however, snorkelling's functional effects are obscure. Integrin β TMDs have such conserved basic amino acids. Here we use NMR spectroscopy to show that integrin β(3)(Lys 716) helps determine β(3) TMD topography. The α(ΙΙb)β(3) TMD structure indicates that precise β(3) TMD crossing angles enable the assembly of outer and inner membrane 'clasps' that hold the αβ TMD together to limit transmembrane signalling. Mutation of β(3)(Lys 716) caused dissociation of α(ΙΙb)β(3) TMDs and integrin activation. To confirm that altered topography of β(3)(Lys 716) mutants activated α(ΙΙb)β(3), we used directed evolution of β(3)(K716A) to identify substitutions restoring default state. Introduction of Pro(711) at the midpoint of β(3) TMD (A711P) increased α(ΙΙb)β(3) TMD association and inactivated integrin α(ΙΙb)β(3)(A711P,K716A). β(3)(Pro 711) introduced a TMD kink of 30 ± 1° precisely at the border of the outer and inner membrane clasps, thereby decoupling the tilt between these segments. Thus, widely occurring snorkelling residues in TMDs can help maintain TMD topography and membrane-embedding, thereby regulating transmembrane signalling.
    Nature 12/2011; 481(7380):209-13. DOI:10.1038/nature10697 · 42.35 Impact Factor