[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Strigolactones (SLs) are endogenous hormones and exuded signaling molecules in plant responses to low levels of mineral nutrients. Key mediators of the SL signaling pathway in rice include the α/β-fold hydrolase DWARF 14 (D14) and the F-box component DWARF 3 (D3) of the ubiquitin ligase SCF(D3) that mediate ligand-dependent degradation of downstream signaling repressors. One perplexing feature is that D14 not only functions as the SL receptor but is also an active enzyme that slowly hydrolyzes diverse natural and synthetic SLs including GR24, preventing the crystallization of a binary complex of D14 with an intact SL as well as the ternary D14/SL/D3 complex. Here we overcome these barriers to derive a structural model of D14 bound to intact GR24 and identify the interface that is required for GR24-mediated D14-D3 interaction. The mode of GR24-mediated signaling, including ligand recognition, hydrolysis by D14, and ligand-mediated D14-D3 interaction, is conserved in structurally diverse SLs. More importantly, D14 is destabilized upon the binding of ligands and D3, thus revealing an unusual mechanism of SL recognition and signaling, in which the hormone, the receptor, and the downstream effectors are systematically destabilized during the signal transduction process.Cell Research advance online publication 16 October 2015; doi: 10.1038/cr.2015.122.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The crystal structure of the rhodopsin-arrestin complex provides important insights into how G protein-coupled receptor signaling is terminated by arrestin and a structural basis for understanding the mechanism of arrestin-biased signaling. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The plant hormone jasmonate plays crucial roles in regulating plant responses to herbivorous insects and microbial pathogens and is an important regulator of plant growth and development. Key mediators of jasmonate signalling include MYC transcription factors, which are repressed by jasmonate ZIM-domain (JAZ) transcriptional repressors in the resting state. In the presence of active jasmonate, JAZ proteins function as jasmonate co-receptors by forming a hormone-dependent complex with COI1, the F-box subunit of an SCF-type ubiquitin E3 ligase. The hormone-dependent formation of the COI1-JAZ co-receptor complex leads to ubiquitination and proteasome-dependent degradation of JAZ repressors and release of MYC proteins from transcriptional repression. The mechanism by which JAZ proteins repress MYC transcription factors and how JAZ proteins switch between the repressor function in the absence of hormone and the co-receptor function in the presence of hormone remain enigmatic. Here we show that Arabidopsis MYC3 undergoes pronounced conformational changes when bound to the conserved Jas motif of the JAZ9 repressor. The Jas motif, previously shown to bind to hormone as a partly unwound helix, forms a complete α-helix that displaces the amino (N)-terminal helix of MYC3 and becomes an integral part of the MYC N-terminal fold. In this position, the Jas helix competitively inhibits MYC3 interaction with the MED25 subunit of the transcriptional Mediator complex. Our structural and functional studies elucidate a dynamic molecular switch mechanism that governs the repression and activation of a major plant hormone pathway.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) and the 5-HT3 receptors (5-HT3Rs) are cation-selective members of the pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGICs), which are oligomeric protein assemblies that convert a chemical signal into an ion flux through postsynaptic membrane. They are critical components for synaptic transmission in the nervous system, and their dysfunction contributes to many neurological disorders. The diverse subunit compositions of pLGICs give rise to complex mechanisms of ligand recognition, channel gating, and ion-selective permeability, which have been demonstrated in numerous electrophysiological and molecular biological studies, and unraveled by progress in studying the structural biology of this protein family. In this review, we discuss recent insights into the structural and functional basis of two cation-selective pLGICs, the nAChR and the 5-HT3R, including their subunit compositions, ligand binding, and channel gating mechanisms. We also discuss their relevant pharmacology and drug discovery for treating various neurological disorders. Finally, we review a model of two alternative ion conducting pathways based on the latest 5-HT3A crystal structure.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Acta Pharmacologica Sinica
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cell death and differentiation is a monthly research journal focused on the exciting field of programmed cell death and apoptosis. It provides a single accessible source of information for both scientists and clinicians, keeping them up-to-date with advances in the field. It encompasses programmed cell death, cell death induced by toxic agents, differentiation and the interrelation of these with cell proliferation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TOPLESS (TPL) and TOPLESS-related (TPR) proteins comprise a conserved family of plant transcriptional corepressors that are related to Tup1, Groucho, and TLE (transducin-like enhancer of split) corepressors in yeast, insects, and mammals. In plants, TPL/TPR corepressors regulate development, stress responses, and hormone signaling through interaction with small ethylene response factor-associated amphiphilic repression (EAR) motifs found in diverse transcriptional repressors. How EAR motifs can interact with TPL/TPR proteins is unknown. We confirm the amino-terminal domain of the TPL family of corepressors, which we term TOPLESS domain (TPD), as the EAR motif-binding domain. To understand the structural basis of this interaction, we determined the crystal structures of the TPD of rice (Os) TPR2 in apo (apo protein) state and in complexes with the EAR motifs from Arabidopsis NINJA (novel interactor of JAZ), IAA1 (auxin-responsive protein 1), and IAA10, key transcriptional repressors involved in jasmonate and auxin signaling. The OsTPR2 TPD adopts a new fold of nine helices, followed by a zinc finger, which are arranged into a disc-like tetramer. The EAR motifs in the three different complexes adopt a similar extended conformation with the hydrophobic residues fitting into the same surface groove of each OsTPR2 monomer. Sequence alignments and structure-based mutagenesis indicate that this mode of corepressor binding is highly conserved in a large set of transcriptional repressors, thus providing a general mechanism for gene repression mediated by the TPL family of corepressors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) signal primarily through G proteins or arrestins. Arrestin binding to GPCRs blocks G protein interaction and redirects signalling to numerous G-protein-independent pathways. Here we report the crystal structure of a constitutively active form of human rhodopsin bound to a pre-activated form of the mouse visual arrestin, determined by serial femtosecond X-ray laser crystallography. Together with extensive biochemical and mutagenesis data, the structure reveals an overall architecture of the rhodopsin-arrestin assembly in which rhodopsin uses distinct structural elements, including transmembrane helix 7 and helix 8, to recruit arrestin. Correspondingly, arrestin adopts the pre-activated conformation, with a ∼20° rotation between the amino and carboxy domains, which opens up a cleft in arrestin to accommodate a short helix formed by the second intracellular loop of rhodopsin. This structure provides a basis for understanding GPCR-mediated arrestin-biased signalling and demonstrates the power of X-ray lasers for advancing the frontiers of structural biology.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To establish a method for efficient expression and purification of the human serotonin type 3A receptor (5-HT3A) that is suitable for structural studies.
Codon-optimized cDNA of human 5-HT3A was inserted into a modified BacMam vector, which contained an IgG leader sequence, an 8xHis tag linked with two-Maltose Binding Proteins (MBP), and a TEV protease cleavage site. The BacMam construct was used to generate baculoviruses for expression of 5-HT3A in HEK293F cells. The proteins were solubilized from the membrane with the detergent C12E 9, and purified using MBP affinity chromatography. The affinity tag was removed by TEV protease treatment and immobilized metal ion affinity chromatography. The receptors were further purified by size-exclusion chromatography (SEC). Western blot and SDS-PAGE were used to detect 5-HT3A during purification. The purified receptor was used in crystallization and analyzed with negative stain electron microscopy (EM).
The BacMam system yielded 0.5 milligram of the human 5-HT3A receptor per liter of cells. MBP affinity purification resulted in good yields with high purity and homogeneity. SEC profiles indicated that the purified receptors were pentameric. No protein crystals were obtained; however, a reconstructed 3D density map generated from the negative stain EM data fitted well with the mouse 5-HT3A structure.
With the BacMam system, robust expression of the human 5-HT3A receptor is obtained, which is monodisperse, therefore enabling 3D reconstruction of an EM map. This method is suitable for high-throughput screening of different constructs, thus facilitating structural and biochemical studies of the 5-HT3A receptor.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Acta Pharmacologica Sinica
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To report our methods for expression and purification of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7-nAChR), a ligand-gated pentameric ion channel and an important drug target.
α7-nAChRs of 10 different species were cloned into an inducible BacMam vector with an N-terminal tag of a tandem maltose-binding protein (MBP) and a TEV cleavage site. This α7-nAChR fusion receptor was expressed in mammalian HEK293F cells and detected by Western blot. The expression was scaled up to liters. The receptor was purified using amylose resin and size-exclusion chromatography. The quality of the purified receptor was assessed using SDS-PAGE gels, thermal stability analysis, and negative stain electron microscopy (EM). The expression construct was optimized through terminal truncations and site-directed mutagenesis.
Expression screening revealed that α7-nAChR from Taeniopygia guttata had the highest expression levels. The fusion receptor was expressed mostly on the cell surface, and it could be efficiently purified using one-step amylose affinity chromatography. One to two milligrams of the optimized α7-nAChR expression construct were purified from one liter of cell culture. The purified α7-nAChR samples displayed high thermal stability with a Tm of 60 °C, which was further enhanced by antagonist binding but decreased in the presence of agonist. EM analysis revealed ring-like structures with a central hydrophilic hole, which was consistent with the pentameric assembly of the α7-nAChR channel.
We have established methods for crystallization scale expression and purification of α7-nAChR, which lays a foundation for high-resolution structural studies using X-ray crystallography or single particle cryo-EM analysis.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Acta Pharmacologica Sinica
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The fucose post-translational modification is frequently increased in pancreatic cancer, thus forming the basis for promising biomarkers, but a subset of pancreatic cancer patients does not elevate the known fucose-containing biomarkers. We hypothesized that such patients elevate glycan motifs with fucose in linkages and contexts different from the known fucose-containing biomarkers. We used a database of glycan array data to identify the lectins CCL2 to detect glycan motifs with fucose in a 3’ linkage; CGL2 for motifs with fucose in a 2’ linkage; and RSL for fucose in all linkages. We used several practical methods to test the lectins and determine the optimal mode of detection, and we then tested whether the lectins detected glycans in pancreatic cancer patients who did not elevate the sialyl-Lewis A glycan, which is upregulated in ~75% of pancreatic adenocarcinomas. Patients who did not upregulate sialyl-Lewis A, which contains fucose in a 4’ linkage, tended to upregulate fucose in a 3’ linkage, as detected by CCL2, but they did not upregulate total fucose or fucose in a 2’ linkage. CCL2 binding was high in cancerous epithelia from pancreatic tumors, including areas negative for sialyl-Lewis A and a related motif containing 3’ fucose, sialyl-Lewis X. Thus glycans containing 3’ fucose may complement sialyl-Lewis A to contribute to improved detection of pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, the use of panels of recombinant lectins may uncover details about glycosylation that could be important for characterizing and detecting cancer.
Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Journal of Proteome Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Due to its ability to be rapidly generated and propagated over long distances, H2O2 is an important second messenger for biotic and abiotic stress signaling in plants. In response to low water potential and high salt concentrations sensed in the roots of plants, the stress hormone abscisic acid (ABA) activates NADPH oxidase to generate H2O2, which is propagated in guard cells in leaves to induce stomatal closure and prevent water loss from transpiration. Using a reconstituted system, we demonstrate that H2O2 reversibly prevents the protein phosphatase HAB1, a key component of the core ABA-signaling pathway, from inhibiting its main target in guard cells, SnRK2.6/OST1 kinase. We have identified HAB1 C186 and C274 as H2O2-sensitive thiols and demonstrate that their oxidation inhibits both HAB1 catalytic activity and its ability to physically associate with SnRK2.6 by formation of intermolecular dimers.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RNA-binding proteins play crucial roles in RNA processing and function as regulators of gene expression. Recent studies have defined the structural basis for RNA recognition by diverse RNA-binding motifs. While many RNA-binding proteins recognize RNA sequence non-specifically by associating with 5' or 3' RNA ends, sequence-specific recognition by RNA-binding proteins is typically achieved by combining multiple modular domains to form complex binding surfaces. In this review, we present examples of structures from different classes of RNA-binding proteins, identify the mechanisms utilized by them to target specific RNAs, and describe structural principles of how protein-protein interactions affect RNA recognition specificity. We also highlight the structural mechanism of sequence-dependent and -independent interactions in the Cas9-RNA-DNA complex.
No preview · Article · Nov 2014 · Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a central cellular energy sensor and regulator of energy homeostasis, and a promising drug target for the treatment of diabetes, obesity, and cancer. Here we present low-resolution crystal structures of the human α1β2γ1 holo-AMPK complex bound to its allosteric modulators AMP and the glycogen-mimic cyclodextrin, both in the phosphorylated (4.05 Å) and non-phosphorylated (4.60 Å) state. In addition, we have solved a 2.95 Å structure of the human kinase domain (KD) bound to the adjacent autoinhibitory domain (AID) and have performed extensive biochemical and mutational studies. Together, these studies illustrate an underlying mechanism of allosteric AMPK modulation by AMP and glycogen, whose binding changes the equilibria between alternate AID (AMP) and carbohydrate-binding module (glycogen) interactions.Cell Research advance online publication 21 November 2014; doi:10.1038/cr.2014.150.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cdc7-Dbf4 kinase or DDK (Dbf4-dependent kinase) is required to initiate DNA replication by phosphorylating and activating the replicative Mcm2-7 DNA helicase. DDK is overexpressed in many tumor cells and is an emerging chemotherapeutic target since DDK inhibition causes apoptosis of diverse cancer cell types but not of normal cells. PHA-767491 and XL413 are among a number of potent DDK inhibitors with low nanomolar IC50 values against the purified kinase. Although XL413 is highly selective for DDK, its activity has not been extensively characterized on cell lines. We measured anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects of XL413 on a panel of tumor cell lines compared to PHA-767491, whose activity is well characterized. Both compounds were effective biochemical DDK inhibitors but surprisingly, their activities in cell lines were highly divergent. Unlike PHA-767491, XL413 had significant anti-proliferative activity against only one of the ten cell lines tested. Since XL413 did not effectively inhibit DDK in multiple cell lines, this compound likely has limited bioavailability. To identify potential leads for additional DDK inhibitors, we also tested the cross-reactivity of ∼400 known kinase inhibitors against DDK using a DDK thermal stability shift assay (TSA). We identified 11 compounds that significantly stabilized DDK. Several inhibited DDK with comparable potency to PHA-767491, including Chk1 and PKR kinase inhibitors, but had divergent chemical scaffolds from known DDK inhibitors. Taken together, these data show that several well-known kinase inhibitors cross-react with DDK and also highlight the opportunity to design additional specific, biologically active DDK inhibitors for use as chemotherapeutic agents.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Androgens and androgen receptors (AR) play a pivotal role in expression of the male phenotype. Several diseases, such as androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) and prostate cancer, are associated with alterations in AR functions. Indeed, androgen blockade by drugs that prevent the production of androgens and/or block the action of the AR inhibits prostate cancer growth. However, resistance to these drugs often occurs after 2-3 years as the patients develop castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). In CRPC, a functional AR remains a key regulator. Early studies focused on the functional domains of the AR and its crucial role in the pathology. The elucidation of the structures of the AR DNA binding domain (DBD) and ligand binding domain (LBD) provides a new framework for understanding the functions of this receptor and leads to the development of rational drug design for the treatment of prostate cancer. An overview of androgen receptor structure and activity, its actions in prostate cancer, and how structural information and high-throughput screening have been or can be used for drug discovery are provided herein.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Acta Pharmacologica Sinica