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The human dopamine (DA) transporter (hDAT) mediates clearance of DA. Genetic variants in hDAT have been associated with DA dysfunction, a complication associated with several brain disorders, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Here, we investigated the structural and behavioral bases of an ASD-associated in-frame deletion in hDAT at N336 (∆N336). We uncovered that the deletion promoted a previously unobserved conformation of the intracellular gate of the transporter, likely representing the rate-limiting step of the transport process. It is defined by a "half-open and inward-facing" state (HOIF) of the intracellular gate that is stabilized by a network of interactions conserved phylogenetically, as we demonstrated in hDAT by Rosetta molecular modeling and fine-grained simulations, as well as in its bacterial homolog leucine transporter by electron paramagnetic resonance analysis and X-ray crystallography. The stabilization of the HOIF state is associated both with DA dysfunctions demonstrated in isolated brains of expressing hDAT ∆N336 and with abnormal behaviors observed at high-time resolution. These flies display increased fear, impaired social interactions, and locomotion traits we associate with DA dysfunction and the HOIF state. Together, our results describe how a genetic variation causes DA dysfunction and abnormal behaviors by stabilizing a HOIF state of the transporter.
The accurate and specific detection of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in different cellular and tissue compartments is essential to the study of redox-regulated signaling in biological settings. Electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) is the only direct method to assess free radicals unambiguously. Its advantage is that it detects physiologic levels of specific species with a high specificity, but it does require specialized technology, careful sample preparation, and appropriate controls to ensure accurate interpretation of the data. Cyclic hydroxylamine spin probes react selectively with superoxide or other radicals to generate a nitroxide signal that can be quantified by EPR spectroscopy. Cell-permeable spin probes and spin probes designed to accumulate rapidly in the mitochondria allow for the determination of superoxide concentration in different cellular compartments. In cultured cells, the use of cell permeable 1-hydroxy-3-methoxycarbonyl-2,2,5,5-tetramethylpyrrolidine (CMH) along with and without cell-impermeable superoxide dismutase (SOD) pretreatment, or use of cell-permeable PEG-SOD, allows for the differentiation of extracellular from cytosolic superoxide. The mitochondrial 1-hydroxy-4-[2-triphenylphosphonio)-acetamido]-2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-piperidine,1-hydroxy-2,2,6,6-tetramethyl-4-[2-(triphenylphosphonio)acetamido] piperidinium dichloride (mito-TEMPO-H) allows for measurement of mitochondrial ROS (predominantly superoxide). Spin probes and EPR spectroscopy can also be applied to in vivo models. Superoxide can be detected in extracellular fluids such as blood and alveolar fluid, as well as tissues such as lung tissue. Several methods are presented to process and store tissue for EPR measurements and deliver intravenous 1-hydroxy-3-carboxy-2,2,5,5-tetramethylpyrrolidine (CPH) spin probe in vivo. While measurements can be performed at room temperature, samples obtained from in vitro and in vivo models can also be stored at -80 °C and analyzed by EPR at 77 K. The samples can be stored in specialized tubing stable at -80 °C and run at 77 K to enable a practical, efficient, and reproducible method that facilitates storing and transferring samples.
While great progress has been made, only 10% of the nearly 1,000 integral, α-helical, multi-span membrane protein families are represented by at least one experimentally determined structure in the PDB. Previously, we developed the algorithm BCL::MP-Fold, which samples the large conformational space of membrane proteins de novo by assembling predicted secondary structure elements guided by knowledge-based potentials. Here, we present a case study of rhodopsin fold determination by integrating sparse and/or low-resolution restraints from multiple experimental techniques including electron microscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Simultaneous incorporation of orthogonal experimental restraints not only significantly improved the sampling accuracy but also allowed identification of the correct fold, which is demonstrated by a protein size-normalized transmembrane root-mean-square deviation as low as 1.2 Å. The protocol developed in this case study can be used for the determination of unknown membrane protein folds when limited experimental restraints are available.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ExoU is a type III-secreted cytotoxin expressing A phospholipase activity when injected into eukaryotic target cells by the bacterium The enzymatic activity of ExoU is undetectable in vitro unless ubiquitin, a required cofactor, is added to the reaction. The role of ubiquitin in facilitating ExoU enzymatic activity is poorly understood but of significance for designing inhibitors to prevent tissue injury during infections with strains of producing this toxin. Most ubiquitin-binding proteins, including ExoU, demonstrate a low (micromolar) affinity for monoubiquitin (monoUb). Additionally, ExoU is a large and dynamic protein, limiting the applicability of traditional structural techniques such as NMR and X-ray crystallography to define this protein-protein interaction. Recent advancements in computational methods, however, have allowed high-resolution protein modeling using sparse data. In this study, we combine double electron-electron resonance (DEER) spectroscopy and Rosetta modeling to identify potential binding interfaces of ExoU and monoUb. The lowest-energy scoring model was tested using biochemical, biophysical, and biological techniques. To verify the binding interface, Rosetta was used to design a panel of mutations to modulate binding, including one variant with enhanced binding affinity. Our analyses show the utility of computational modeling when combined with sensitive biological assays and biophysical approaches that are exquisitely suited for large dynamic proteins.
Nitroxides are widely used in biology as antioxidants, spin labels, functional spin probes for pH, oxygen and thiol levels, and tissue redox status imaging using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR); however, biological applications of nitroxides is hindered by fast bioreduction to EPR-silent hydroxylamines and rapid clearance. In this work, we have studied pyrrolidine nitroxides with acetoxymethoxycarbonyl groups which can undergo hydrolysis by cellular esterases to hydrophilic carboxylate derivatives resistant to bioreduction. Nitroxides containing acetoxymethoxycarbonyl groups were rapidly absorbed by cells from the media, 3,4-bis-(acetoxymethoxycarbonyl)-proxyl (DCP-AM2) and 3-(2-(bis(2-(acetoxymethoxy)-2-oxoethyl)amino)acetamido)-proxyl (DCAP-AM2) showing the strongest EPR signal of the cellular fraction. Remarkably, the EPR parameters of 3,4-dicarboxy-proxyl (DCP) and its mono- and di-acetoxymethyl esters are different, and consequent intracellular hydrolysis of acetoxymethoxycarbonyl groups in DCP-AM2 can be followed by EPR. To elucidate intracellular location of the resultant DCP, the mitochondrial fraction has been isolated. EPR measurements showed that mitochondria were the main place where DCP was finally accumulated. TEMPO derivatives showed expectedly much faster decay of EPR signal in the cellular fraction, compared to pyrrolidine nitroxides. It was found that supplementation of endothelial cells with 50 nM of DCP-AM2 completely normalised the mitochondrial superoxide level. Moreover, administration of DCP-AM2 to mice (1.4 mg/kg/day) resulted in substantial nitroxide accumulation in the tissues and significantly reduced hypertension. We found that hydroxylamine derivatives of dicarboxyproxyl nitroxide DCP-AM-H can be used for the detection of superoxide in vivo in angiotensin II model of hypertension. Infusion of DCP-AM-H in mice leads to accumulation of persistent EPR signal of nitroxide in the blood and vascular tissue in angiotensin II-infused wild-type but not in SOD2 overexpressing mice. Our data demonstrate that acetoxymethoxycarbonyl group containing nitroxides accumulate in mitochondria and demonstrate site-specific antioxidant activity.
SIGNIFICANCE - Oxidative stress contributes to numerous pathophysiological conditions such as development of cancer, neurodegenerative, and cardiovascular diseases. A variety of measurements of oxidative stress markers in biological systems have been developed; however, many of these methods are not specific, can produce artifacts, and do not directly detect the free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that cause oxidative stress. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) is a unique tool that allows direct measurements of free radical species. Cyclic hydroxylamines are useful and convenient molecular probes that readily react with ROS to produce stable nitroxide radicals, which can be quantitatively measured by EPR. In this work, we critically review recent applications of various cyclic hydroxylamine spin probes in biology to study oxidative stress, their advantages, and the shortcomings. Recent Advances: In the past decade, a number of new cyclic hydroxylamine spin probes have been developed and their successful application for ROS measurement using EPR has been published. These new state-of-the-art methods provide improved selectivity and sensitivity for in vitro and in vivo studies.
CRITICAL ISSUES - Although cyclic hydroxylamine spin probes EPR application has been previously described, there has been lack of translation of these new methods into biomedical research, limiting their widespread use. This work summarizes "best practice" in applications of cyclic hydroxylamine spin probes to assist with EPR studies of oxidative stress.
FUTURE DIRECTIONS - Additional studies to advance hydroxylamine spin probes from the "basic science" to biomedical applications are needed and could lead to better understanding of pathological conditions associated with oxidative stress. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 28, 1433-1443.
Structure determination remains a challenge for many biologically important proteins. In particular, proteins that adopt multiple conformations often evade crystallization in all biologically relevant states. Although computational de novo protein folding approaches often sample biologically relevant conformations, the selection of the most accurate model for different functional states remains a formidable challenge, in particular, for proteins with more than about 150 residues. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy can obtain limited structural information for proteins in well-defined biological states and thereby assist in selecting biologically relevant conformations. The present study demonstrates that de novo folding methods are able to accurately sample the folds of 192-residue long soluble monomeric Bcl-2-associated X protein (BAX). The tertiary structures of the monomeric and homodimeric forms of BAX were predicted using the primary structure as well as 25 and 11 EPR distance restraints, respectively. The predicted models were subsequently compared to respective NMR/X-ray structures of BAX. EPR restraints improve the protein-size normalized root-mean-square-deviation (RMSD100) of the most accurate models with respect to the NMR/crystal structure from 5.9Å to 3.9Å and from 5.7Å to 3.3Å, respectively. Additionally, the model discrimination is improved, which is demonstrated by an improvement of the enrichment from 5% to 15% and from 13% to 21%, respectively.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The small multidrug transporter from Escherichia coli, EmrE, couples the energetically uphill extrusion of hydrophobic cations out of the cell to the transport of two protons down their electrochemical gradient. Although principal mechanistic elements of proton/substrate antiport have been described, the structural record is limited to the conformation of the substrate-bound state, which has been shown to undergo isoenergetic alternating access. A central but missing link in the structure/mechanism relationship is a description of the proton-bound state, which is an obligatory intermediate in the transport cycle. Here we report a systematic spin labeling and double electron electron resonance (DEER) study that uncovers the conformational changes of EmrE subsequent to protonation of critical acidic residues in the context of a global description of ligand-induced structural rearrangements. We find that protonation of E14 leads to extensive rotation and tilt of transmembrane helices 1-3 in conjunction with repacking of loops, conformational changes that alter the coordination of the bound substrate and modulate its access to the binding site from the lipid bilayer. The transport model that emerges from our data posits a proton-bound, but occluded, resting state. Substrate binding from the inner leaflet of the bilayer releases the protons and triggers alternating access between inward- and outward-facing conformations of the substrate-loaded transporter, thus enabling antiport without dissipation of the proton gradient.
KCNE1 is a single transmembrane protein that modulates the function of voltage-gated potassium channels, including KCNQ1. Hereditary mutations in the genes encoding either protein can result in diseases such as congenital deafness, long QT syndrome, ventricular tachyarrhythmia, syncope, and sudden cardiac death. Despite the biological significance of KCNE1, the structure and dynamic properties of its physiologically relevant native membrane-bound state are not fully understood. In this study, the structural dynamics and topology of KCNE1 in bilayered lipid vesicles was investigated using site-directed spin labeling (SDSL) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. A 53-residue nitroxide EPR scan of the KCNE1 protein sequence including all 27 residues of the transmembrane domain (45-71) and 26 residues of the N- and C-termini of KCNE1 in lipid bilayered vesicles was analyzed in terms of nitroxide side-chain motion. Continuous wave-EPR spectral line shape analysis indicated the nitroxide spin label side-chains located in the KCNE1 TMD are less mobile when compared to the extracellular region of KCNE1. The EPR data also revealed that the C-terminus of KCNE1 is more mobile when compared to the N-terminus. EPR power saturation experiments were performed on 41 sites including 18 residues previously proposed to reside in the transmembrane domain (TMD) and 23 residues of the N- and C-termini to determine the topology of KCNE1 with respect to the 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC)/1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho-(1'-rac-glycerol) (POPG) lipid bilayers. The results indicated that the transmembrane domain is indeed buried within the membrane, spanning the width of the lipid bilayer. Power saturation data also revealed that the extracellular region of KCNE1 is solvent-exposed with some of the portions partially or weakly interacting with the membrane surface. These results are consistent with the previously published solution NMR structure of KCNE1 in micelles.
Membrane proteins conduct many important biological functions essential to the survival of organisms. However, due to their inherent hydrophobic nature, it is very difficult to obtain structural information on membrane-bound proteins using traditional biophysical techniques. We are developing a new approach to probe the secondary structure of membrane proteins using the pulsed EPR technique of Electron Spin Echo Envelope Modulation (ESEEM) Spectroscopy. This method has been successfully applied to model peptides made synthetically. However, in order for this ESEEM technique to be widely applicable to larger membrane protein systems with no size limitations, protein samples with deuterated residues need to be prepared via protein expression methods. For the first time, this study shows that the ESEEM approach can be used to probe the local secondary structure of a (2) H-labeled d8 -Val overexpressed membrane protein in a membrane mimetic environment. The membrane-bound human KCNE1 protein was used with a known solution NMR structure to demonstrate the applicability of this methodology. Three different α-helical regions of KCNE1 were probed: the extracellular domain (Val21), transmembrane domain (Val50), and cytoplasmic domain (Val95). These results indicated α-helical structures in all three segments, consistent with the micelle structure of KCNE1. Furthermore, KCNE1 was incorporated into a lipid bilayer and the secondary structure of the transmembrane domain (Val50) was shown to be α-helical in a more native-like environment. This study extends the application of this ESEEM approach to much larger membrane protein systems that are difficult to study with X-ray crystallography and/or NMR spectroscopy.
© 2015 The Protein Society.