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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.
Dehydroalanine (DHA) and dehydrobutyrine (DHB) intermediates, formed through β-elimination, induce protein irreversible glutathionylation and protein-protein crosslinking in human lens fiber cells. In total, irreversible glutathionylation was detected on 52 sites including cysteine, serine and threonine residues in 18 proteins in human lenses. In this study, the levels of GSH modification on three serine residues and four cysteine residues located in seven different lens proteins isolated from different regions and different aged lenses were quantified. The relative levels of modification (modified/nonmodified) were site-specific and age-related, ranging from less than 0.05% to about 500%. The levels of modification on all of the sites quantified in the lens cortex increased with age and GSH modification also increased from cortex to outer nucleus region suggesting an age-related increase of modification. The levels of modification on sites located in stable regions of the proteins such as Cys117 of βA3, Cys80 of βB1 and Cys27 of γS, continued increasing in inner nucleus, but modification on sites located in regions undergoing degradation with age decreased in the inner nucleus suggesting GSH modified proteins were more susceptible to further modification. Irreversible GSH modification in cataract lenses was typically higher than in age-matched normal lenses, but the difference did not reach statistical significance for a majority of sites, with the exception Cys117 of βA3 crystallin in WSF. Except for S59 of αA and αB crystallins, GSH modification did not induce protein insolubility suggesting a possible role for this modification in protection from protein-protein crosslinking.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. 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.
Selective serotonin (5-HT, SERT) reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed treatments for depression. However, they have delayed efficacy and can induce side-effects that can encourage discontinuation. Recently, agents have been developed, including vortioxetine (Trintellix), that augment SERT blockade with interactions at other targets. At therapeutic doses, vortioxetine interacts with SERT as well as 5-HT, 5-HT, 5-HT, and 5-HT receptors. We assessed the SERT-dependency of vortioxetine action using the SERT Met172 mouse model, which disrupts high-affinity interactions of many antidepressants with the transporter. We demonstrate that the SERT Met172 substitution induces an ∼19-fold loss in vortioxetine potency for SERT inhibition in midbrain synaptosomes. Moreover, in these mice, we observed reduced SERT occupancy, a diminished ability to prolong 5-HT clearance, and a reduced capacity to elevate extracellular 5-HT. Despite reduced interactions with SERT, vortioxetine maintained its ability to enhance mobility in tail suspension and forced swim tests, reduce consumption latency in the novelty induced hypophagia test, and promoted proliferation and survival of subgranular zone hippocampal stem cells. Our findings suggest that the antidepressant actions of vortioxetine may be SERT-independent, and encourage consideration of agents that mimic one or more actions of the drug in the development of improved depression treatments.
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.
No therapies have been shown to accelerate recovery or prevent fibrosis after acute kidney injury (AKI). In part, this is because most therapeutic candidates have to be given at the time of injury and the diagnosis of AKI is usually made too late for drugs to be efficacious. Strategies to enhance post-AKI repair represent an attractive approach to address this. Using a phenotypic screen in zebrafish, we identified 4-(phenylthio)butanoic acid (PTBA), which promotes proliferation of embryonic kidney progenitor cells (EKPCs), and the PTBA methyl ester UPHD25, which also increases postinjury repair in ischemia-reperfusion and aristolochic acid-induced AKI in mice. In these studies, a new panel of PTBA analogs was evaluated. Initial screening was performed in zebrafish EKPC assays followed by survival assays in a gentamicin-induced AKI larvae zebrafish model. Using this approach, we identified UPHD186, which in contrast to UPHD25, accelerates recovery and reduces fibrosis when administered several days after ischemia-reperfusion AKI and reduces fibrosis after unilateral ureteric obstruction in mice. UPHD25 and 186 are efficiently metabolized to the active analog PTBA in liver and kidney microsome assays, indicating both compounds may act as PTBA prodrugs in vivo. UPHD186 persists longer in the circulation than UPHD25, suggesting that sustained levels of UPHD186 may increase efficacy by acting as a reservoir for renal metabolism to PTBA. These findings validate use of zebrafish EKPC and AKI assays as a drug discovery strategy for molecules that reduce fibrosis in multiple AKI models and can be administered days after initiation of injury.
Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society.
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.
This unit contains a complete procedure for the detection and structural characterization of DNA protein crosslinks (DPCs). The procedure also describes an approach for the quantitation of the various structurally distinct DPCs. Although various methods have been described in the literature for labile DPCs, characterization of nonlabile adducts remain a challenge. Here we present a novel approach for characterization of both labile and non-labile adducts by the use of a combination of chemical, enzymatic, and mass spectrometric approaches. A Raney Ni-catalyzed reductive desulfurization method was used for removal of the bulky peptide adducts, enzymatic digestion was used to digest the protein to smaller peptides and DNA to nucleosides, and finally LC-ESI-tandem mass spectrometry (MS) was utilized for detection and characterization of nucleoside adducts.
Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.