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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) vaccine efforts are hampered by the extensive genetic diversity of HCV envelope glycoproteins E1 and E2. Structures of broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) (e.g., HEPC3, HEPC74) isolated from individuals who spontaneously cleared HCV infection facilitate immunogen design to elicit antibodies against multiple HCV variants. However, challenges in expressing HCV glycoproteins previously limited bNAb-HCV structures to complexes with truncated E2 cores. Here we describe crystal structures of full-length E2 ectodomain complexes with HEPC3 and HEPC74, revealing lock-and-key antibody-antigen interactions, E2 regions (including a target of immunogen design) that were truncated or disordered in E2 cores, and an antibody CDRH3 disulfide motif that exhibits common interactions with a conserved epitope despite different bNAb-E2 binding orientations. The structures display unusual features relevant to common genetic signatures of HCV bNAbs and demonstrate extraordinary plasticity in antibody-antigen interactions. In addition, E2 variants that bind HEPC3/HEPC74-like germline precursors may represent candidate vaccine immunogens.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Over time, the long-lived proteins that are present throughout the human body deteriorate. Typically, they become racemized, truncated, and covalently cross-linked. One reaction responsible for age-related protein cross-linking in the lens was elucidated recently and shown to involve spontaneous formation of dehydroalanine (DHA) intermediates from phosphoserine. Cys residues are another potential source of DHA, and evidence for this was found in many lens crystallins. In the human lens, some sites were more prone to forming non-disulfide covalent cross-links than others. Foremost among them was Cys5 in βA4 crystallin. The reason for this enhanced reactivity was investigated using peptides. Oxidation of Cys to cystine was a prerequisite for DHA formation, and DHA production was accelerated markedly by the presence of a Lys, one residue separated from Cys5. Modeling and direct investigation of the N-terminal sequence of βA4 crystallin, as well as a variety of homologous peptides, showed that the epsilon amino group of Lys can promote DHA production by nucleophilic attack on the alpha proton of cystine. Once a DHA residue was generated, it could form intermolecular cross-links with Lys and Cys. In the lens, the most abundant cross-link involved Cys5 of βA4 crystallin attached via a thioether bond to glutathione. These findings illustrate the potential of Cys and disulfide bonds to act as precursors for irreversible covalent cross-links and the role of nearby amino acids in creating 'hotpsots' for the spontaneous processes responsible for protein degradation in aged tissues.
© 2017 The Author(s); published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.
A broad range of redox-regulated proteins undergo reversible disulfide bond formation on oxidation-prone cysteine residues. Heightened reactivity of the thiol groups in these cysteines also increases susceptibility to modification by organic electrophiles, a property that can be exploited in the study of redox networks. Here, we explored whether divinyl sulfone (DVSF), a thiol-reactive bifunctional electrophile, cross-links oxidant-sensitive proteins to their putative redox partners in cells. To test this idea, previously identified oxidant targets involved in oxidant defense (namely, peroxiredoxins, methionine sulfoxide reductases, sulfiredoxin, and glutathione peroxidases), metabolism, and proteostasis were monitored for cross-link formation following treatment of Saccharomyces cerevisiae with DVSF. Several proteins screened, including multiple oxidant defense proteins, underwent intermolecular and/or intramolecular cross-linking in response to DVSF. Specific redox-active cysteines within a subset of DVSF targets were found to influence cross-linking; in addition, DVSF-mediated cross-linking of its targets was impaired in cells first exposed to oxidants. Since cross-linking appeared to involve redox-active cysteines in these proteins, we examined whether potential redox partners became cross-linked to them upon DVSF treatment. Specifically, we found that several substrates of thioredoxins were cross-linked to the cytosolic thioredoxin Trx2 in cells treated with DVSF. However, other DVSF targets, like the peroxiredoxin Ahp1, principally formed intra-protein cross-links upon DVSF treatment. Moreover, additional protein targets, including several known to undergo S-glutathionylation, were conjugated via DVSF to glutathione. Our results indicate that DVSF is of potential use as a chemical tool for irreversibly trapping and discovering thiol-based redox partnerships within cells.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Fracture nonunion is a major complication of bone fracture regeneration and repair. The molecular mechanisms that result in fracture nonunion appearance are not fully determined. We hypothesized that fracture nonunion results from the failure of hypoxia and hematoma, the primary signals in response to bone injury, to trigger Bmp2 expression by mesenchymal progenitor cells (MSCs). Using a model of nonstabilized fracture healing in transgenic 5'Bmp2BAC mice we determined that Bmp2 expression appears in close association with hypoxic tissue and hematoma during the early phases of fracture healing. In addition, BMP2 expression is induced when human periosteum explants are exposed to hypoxia ex vivo. Transient interference of hypoxia signaling in vivo with PX-12, a thioredoxin inhibitor, results in reduced Bmp2 expression, impaired fracture callus formation and atrophic-like nonunion by a HIF-1α independent mechanism. In isolated human periosteum-derived MSCs, BMP2 expression could be induced with the addition of platelets concentrate lysate but not with hypoxia treatment, confirming HIF-1α-independent BMP2 expression. Interestingly, in isolated human periosteum-derived mesenchymal progenitor cells, inhibition of BMP2 expression by PX-12 is accomplished only under hypoxic conditions seemingly through dis-regulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels. In conclusion, we provide evidence of a molecular mechanism of hypoxia-dependent BMP2 expression in MSCs where interference with ROS homeostasis specifies fracture nonunion-like appearance in vivo through inhibition of Bmp2 expression. Stem Cells 2016;34:2342-2353.
© 2016 AlphaMed Press.
UNLABELLED - Extraordinary antibodies capable of near pan-neutralization of HIV-1 have been identified. One of the broadest is antibody 10E8, which recognizes the membrane-proximal external region (MPER) of the HIV-1 envelope and neutralizes >95% of circulating HIV-1 strains. If delivered passively, 10E8 might serve to prevent or treat HIV-1 infection. Antibody 10E8, however, is markedly less soluble than other antibodies. Here, we describe the use of both structural biology and somatic variation to develop optimized versions of 10E8 with increased solubility. From the structure of 10E8, we identified a prominent hydrophobic patch; reversion of four hydrophobic residues in this patch to their hydrophilic germ line counterparts resulted in an ∼10-fold decrease in turbidity. We also used somatic variants of 10E8, identified previously by next-generation sequencing, to optimize heavy and light chains; this process yielded several improved variants. Of these, variant 10E8v4 with 26 changes versus the parent 10E8 was the most soluble, with a paratope we showed crystallographically to be virtually identical to that of 10E8, a potency on a panel of 200 HIV-1 isolates also similar to that of 10E8, and a half-life in rhesus macaques of ∼10 days. An anomaly in 10E8v4 size exclusion chromatography that appeared to be related to conformational isomerization was resolved by engineering an interchain disulfide. Thus, by combining a structure-based approach with natural variation in potency and solubility from the 10E8 lineage, we successfully created variants of 10E8 which retained the potency and extraordinary neutralization breadth of the parent 10E8 but with substantially increased solubility.
IMPORTANCE - Antibody 10E8 could be used to prevent HIV-1 infection, if manufactured and delivered economically. It suffers, however, from issues of solubility, which impede manufacturing. We hypothesized that the physical characteristic of 10E8 could be improved through rational design, without compromising breadth and potency. We used structural biology to identify hydrophobic patches on 10E8, which did not appear to be involved in 10E8 function. Reversion of hydrophobic residues in these patches to their hydrophilic germ line counterparts increased solubility. Next, clues from somatic variants of 10E8, identified by next-generation sequencing, were incorporated. A combination of structure-based design and somatic variant optimization led to 10E8v4, with substantially improved solubility and similar potency compared to the parent 10E8. The cocrystal structure of antibody 10E8v4 with its HIV-1 epitope was highly similar to that with the parent 10E8, despite 26 alterations in sequence and substantially improved solubility. Antibody 10E8v4 may be suitable for manufacturing.
Copyright © 2016, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
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.
AIMS - Nitroxyl (HNO) interacts with thiols to act as a redox-sensitive modulator of protein function. It enhances sarcoplasmic reticular Ca(2+) uptake and myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity, improving cardiac contractility. This activity has led to clinical testing of HNO donors for heart failure. Here we tested whether HNO alters the inhibitory interaction between phospholamban (PLN) and the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA2a) in a redox-dependent manner, improving Ca(2+) handling in isolated myocytes/hearts.
RESULTS - Ventriculocytes, sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) vesicles, and whole hearts were isolated from control (wildtype [WT]) or PLN knockout (pln(-/-)) mice. Compared to WT, pln(-/-) myocytes displayed enhanced resting sarcomere shortening, peak Ca(2+) transient, and blunted β-adrenergic responsiveness. HNO stimulated shortening, relaxation, and Ca(2+) transient in WT cardiomyocytes, and evoked positive inotropy/lusitropy in intact hearts. These changes were markedly blunted in pln(-/-) cells/hearts. HNO enhanced SR Ca(2+) uptake in WT but not pln(-/-) SR-vesicles. Spectroscopic studies in insect cell microsomes expressing SERCA2a±PLN showed that HNO increased Ca(2+)-dependent SERCA2a conformational flexibility but only when PLN was present. In cardiomyocytes, HNO achieved this effect by stabilizing PLN in an oligomeric disulfide bond-dependent configuration, decreasing the amount of free inhibitory monomeric PLN available.
INNOVATION - HNO-dependent redox changes in myocyte PLN oligomerization relieve PLN inhibition of SERCA2a.
CONCLUSIONS - PLN plays a central role in HNO-induced enhancement of SERCA2a activity, leading to increased inotropy/lusitropy in intact myocytes and hearts. PLN remains physically associated with SERCA2a; however, less monomeric PLN is available resulting in decreased inhibition of the enzyme. These findings offer new avenues to improve Ca(2+) handling in failing hearts.
Since it was discovered that the anti-hypertensive agent ifenprodil has neuroprotective activity through its effects on NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors, a determined effort has been made to understand the mechanism of action and to develop improved therapeutic compounds on the basis of this knowledge. Neurotransmission mediated by NMDA receptors is essential for basic brain development and function. These receptors form heteromeric ion channels and become activated after concurrent binding of glycine and glutamate to the GluN1 and GluN2 subunits, respectively. A functional hallmark of NMDA receptors is that their ion-channel activity is allosterically regulated by binding of small compounds to the amino-terminal domain (ATD) in a subtype-specific manner. Ifenprodil and related phenylethanolamine compounds, which specifically inhibit GluN1 and GluN2B NMDA receptors, have been intensely studied for their potential use in the treatment of various neurological disorders and diseases, including depression, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Despite considerable enthusiasm, mechanisms underlying the recognition of phenylethanolamines and ATD-mediated allosteric inhibition remain limited owing to a lack of structural information. Here we report that the GluN1 and GluN2B ATDs form a heterodimer and that phenylethanolamine binds at the interface between GluN1 and GluN2B, rather than within the GluN2B cleft. The crystal structure of the heterodimer formed between the GluN1b ATD from Xenopus laevis and the GluN2B ATD from Rattus norvegicus shows a highly distinct pattern of subunit arrangement that is different from the arrangements observed in homodimeric non-NMDA receptors and reveals the molecular determinants for phenylethanolamine binding. Restriction of domain movement in the bi-lobed structure of the GluN2B ATD, by engineering of an inter-subunit disulphide bond, markedly decreases sensitivity to ifenprodil, indicating that conformational freedom in the GluN2B ATD is essential for ifenprodil-mediated allosteric inhibition of NMDA receptors. These findings pave the way for improving the design of subtype-specific compounds with therapeutic value for neurological disorders and diseases.
©2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
To determine the contribution of cysteines to the function of the mouse E-prostanoid subtype 3 gamma (mEP3γ), we tested a series of cysteine-to-alanine mutants. Two of these mutants, C107A and C184A, showed no agonist-dependent activation in a cell-based reporter assay for mEP3γ, whereas none of the other cysteine-to-alanine mutations disrupted mEP3γ signal transduction. Total cell membranes prepared from HEK293 cells transfected with mEP3γ C107A or C184A had no detectable radioligand binding. Other mutant mEP3γ receptors had radioligand affinities and receptor densities similar to wild-type. Cell-surface ELISA against the N-terminal HA-tag of C107A and C184A demonstrated 40% and 47% reductions respectively in receptor protein expression at the cell surface, and no radioligand binding was detected as assessed by intact cell radioligand binding experiments. These data suggest a key role for C107 and C184 in both receptor structure/stability and function and is consistent with the presence of a conserved disulfide bond between C107 and C184 in mouse EP3 that is required for normal receptor expression and function. Our results also indicate that if a second disulfide bond is present in the native receptor it is non-essential for receptor assembly or function.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a γ-herpesvirus that infects B cells and epithelial cells and that has been linked to malignancies in both cell types in vivo. EBV, like other herpesviruses, has three glycoproteins, glycoprotein B (gB), gH, and gL, that form the core membrane fusion machinery mediating viral penetration into the cell. The gH and gL proteins associate to form a heterodimeric complex, which is necessary for efficient membrane fusion and also implicated in direct binding to epithelial cell receptors required for viral entry. To gain insight into the mechanistic role of gH/gL, we determined the crystal structure of the EBV gH/gL complex. The structure is comprised of four domains organized along the longest axis of the molecule. Comparisons with homologous HSV-2 gH/gL and partial pseudorabies virus gH structures support the domain boundaries determined for the EBV gH/gL structure and illustrate significant differences in interdomain packing angles. The gL subunit and N-terminal residues of gH form a globular domain at one end of the structure, implicated in interactions with gB and activation of membrane fusion. The C-terminal domain of gH, proximal to the viral membrane, is also implicated in membrane fusion. The gH/gL structure locates an integrin binding motif, implicated in epithelial cell entry, on a prominent loop in the central region of the structure. Multiple regions of gH/gL, including its two extreme ends, are functionally important, consistent with the multiple roles of gH/gL in EBV entry.