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1.  Building a super elongation complex for HIV 
eLife  2013;2:e00577.
A better understanding of the host cell protein complex that helps HIV replicate inside cells offers the possibility of new therapeutic targets.
doi:10.7554/eLife.00577
PMCID: PMC3592195  PMID: 23538671
transcription elongation; super elongation complex; SEC; intrinsically disordered proteins; structural biology; Human
2.  Structure and Function of the Membrane Deformation AAA ATPase Vps4 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2011;1823(1):172-181.
The ATPase Vps4 belongs to the type-I AAA family of proteins. Vps4 functions together with a group of proteins referred to as ESCRTs in membrane deformation and fission events. These cellular functions include vesicle formation at the endosome, cytokinesis and viral budding. The highly dynamic quaternary structure of Vps4 and its interactions with a network of regulators and co-factors have made the analysis of this ATPase challenging. Nevertheless, recent advances in the understanding of the cell biology of Vps4 together with structural information and in vitro studies are guiding mechanistic models of this ATPase.
doi:10.1016/j.bbamcr.2011.08.017
PMCID: PMC3245771  PMID: 21925211
3.  UNC119 is required for G protein trafficking in sensory neurons 
Nature neuroscience  2011;14(7):874-880.
SUMMARY
UNC119 is widely expressed among vertebrates and invertebrates. Here we report that UNC119 recognized the acylated N-terminus of the rod photoreceptor transducin α-subunit (Tα) as well as C. elegans G proteins Odr-3 and Gpa-13. The crystal structure of human UNC119 at 1.95 Å resolution revealed an immunoglobulin-like β-sandwich fold. Pulldowns and isothermal titration calorimetry revealed a tight interaction between UNC119 and acylated Gα peptides. Co-crystallization of UNC119 with an acylated Tα N-terminal peptide at 2.0 Å revealed that the lipid chain is buried deeply into UNC119's hydrophobic cavity. UNC119 bound TαGTP inhibiting its GTPase activity, thereby providing a stable UNC119-TαGTP complex that is capable of diffusing from the inner segment back to the outer segment following light-induced translocation. UNC119 deletion in both mouse and C. elegans lead to G protein mislocalization. These results establish UNC119 as a novel Gα-subunit cofactor that is essential for G-protein trafficking in sensory cilia.
doi:10.1038/nn.2835
PMCID: PMC3178889  PMID: 21642972
4.  Crystal Structure of the Flagellar Rotor Protein FliN from Thermotoga maritima†  
Journal of Bacteriology  2005;187(8):2890-2902.
FliN is a component of the bacterial flagellum that is present at levels of more than 100 copies and forms the bulk of the C ring, a drum-shaped structure at the inner end of the basal body. FliN interacts with FliG and FliM to form the rotor-mounted switch complex that controls clockwise-counterclockwise switching of the motor. In addition to its functions in motor rotation and switching, FliN is thought to have a role in the export of proteins that form the exterior structures of the flagellum (the rod, hook, and filament). Here, we describe the crystal structure of most of the FliN protein of Thermotoga maritima. FliN is a tightly intertwined dimer composed mostly of β sheet. Several well-conserved hydrophobic residues form a nonpolar patch on the surface of the molecule. A mutation in the hydrophobic patch affected both flagellar assembly and switching, showing that this surface feature is important for FliN function. The association state of FliN in solution was studied by analytical ultracentrifugation, which provided clues to the higher-level organization of the protein. T. maritima FliN is primarily a dimer in solution, and T. maritima FliN and FliM together form a stable FliM1-FliN4 complex. Escherichia coli FliN forms a stable tetramer in solution. The arrangement of FliN subunits in the tetramer was modeled by reference to the crystal structure of tetrameric HrcQBC, a related protein that functions in virulence factor secretion in Pseudomonas syringae. The modeled tetramer is elongated, with approximate dimensions of 110 by 40 by 35Å, and it has a large hydrophobic cleft formed from the hydrophobic patches on the dimers. On the basis of the present data and available electron microscopic images, we propose a model for the organization of FliN subunits in the C ring.
doi:10.1128/JB.187.8.2890-2902.2005
PMCID: PMC1070373  PMID: 15805535
5.  Crystal structures of the S. cerevisiae Spt6 core and C-terminal tandem SH2 domain 
Journal of molecular biology  2011;408(4):697-713.
The conserved and essential eukaryotic protein Spt6 functions in transcription elongation, chromatin maintenance, and RNA processing. Spt6 has three characterized functions. It is a histone chaperone capable of reassembling nucleosomes, a central component of transcription elongation complexes, and is required for recruitment of RNA processing factors to elongating RNA polymerase II (RNAPII). Here, we report crystal structures of the 168 kDa Spt6 protein from Saccharomyces cerevisiae that together represent essentially all of the ordered sequence. Our two structures of the ~900 residue core region reveal a series of putative nucleic acid and protein-protein interaction domains that fold into an elongated form that resembles the bacterial protein Tex. The similarity to a bacterial transcription factor suggests that the core domain performs nucleosome-independent activities, and as with Tex we find that Spt6 binds DNA. Unlike Tex, however, the Spt6 S1 domain does not contribute to this activity. Crystal structures of the Spt6 C-terminal region reveal a tandem SH2 domain structure comprised of two closely associated SH2 folds. One of these SH2 folds is cryptic, while the other shares striking structural similarity with metazoan SH2 domains and possesses structural features associated with the ability to bind phosphorylated substrates including phosphotyrosine. Binding studies with phosphopeptides that mimic the RNAPII CTD revealed affinities typical of other RNAPII CTD-binding proteins but did not indicate a specific interaction. Overall, these findings provide a structural foundation for understanding how Spt6 encodes several distinct functions within a single polypeptide chain.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2011.03.002
PMCID: PMC3086336  PMID: 21419780
6.  An asymmetric interface between the regulatory particle and core particle of the proteasome 
Nature structural & molecular biology  2011;18(11):1259-1267.
The S. cerevisiae proteasome comprises a 19-subunit regulatory particle (RP) and 28-subunit core particle (CP). To be degraded, substrates must cross the CP-RP interface, a site of complex conformational changes and regulatory events. This interface includes two aligned heteromeric rings: the six ATPase (Rpt) subunits of the RP and the seven α subunits of the CP. Rpt C-termini bind intersubunit cavities of the α ring, thus directing CP gating and proteasome assembly. We used crosslinking to map the Rpt C-termini to the α subunit pockets. This reveals an unexpected asymmetry: one side of the ring shows 1:1 contacts of Rpt2–α4, Rpt6–α3, and Rpt3–α2, whereas, on the opposite side, the Rpt1, Rpt4, and Rpt5 tails each crosslink to multiple α pockets. Rpt-CP crosslinks are all sensitive to nucleotide, implying that ATP hydrolysis drives dynamic alterations at the CP-RP interface.
doi:10.1038/nsmb.2147
PMCID: PMC3210322  PMID: 22037170
proteasome; ubiquitin; AAA protein; crosslinking
7.  Activation of the Retroviral Budding Factor ALIX▿† 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(17):9222-9226.
The cellular ALIX protein functions within the ESCRT pathway to facilitate intralumenal endosomal vesicle formation, the abscission stage of cytokinesis, and enveloped virus budding. Here, we report that the C-terminal proline-rich region (PRR) of ALIX folds back against the upstream domains and auto-inhibits V domain binding to viral late domains. Mutations designed to destabilize the closed conformation of the V domain opened the V domain, increased ALIX membrane association, and enhanced virus budding. These observations support a model in which ALIX activation requires dissociation of the autoinhibitory PRR and opening of the V domain arms.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02653-10
PMCID: PMC3165844  PMID: 21715492
8.  Proteasome Activators 
Molecular cell  2011;41(1):8-19.
Summary
Proteasomes degrade a multitude of protein substrates in the cytosol and nucleus, and thereby are essential for many aspects of cellular function. Because the proteolytic sites are sequestered in a closed barrel-shaped structure, activators are required to facilitate substrate access. Structural and biochemical studies of two activator families, 11S and Blm10, have provided insights to proteasome activation mechanisms, although the biological functions of these factors remain obscure. Recent advances have improved our understanding of the third activator family, including the 19S activator, which targets polyubiquitylated proteins for degradation.
doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2010.12.020
PMCID: PMC3040445  PMID: 21211719
9.  Structure and biological importance of the Spn1-Spt6 interaction, and its regulatory role in nucleosome binding 
Molecular cell  2010;40(5):725-735.
SUMMARY
Eukaryotic transcription and mRNA processing depend upon the coordinated interactions of many proteins, including Spn1 and Spt6, which are conserved across eukaryotes, are essential for viability, and associate with each other in some of their biologically important contexts. Here we report crystal structures of the Spn1 core alone and in complex with the binding determinant of Spt6. Mutating interface residues greatly diminishes binding in vitro and causes strong phenotypes in vivo, including a defect in maintaining repressive chromatin. Overexpression of Spn1 partially suppresses the defects caused by an spt6 mutation affecting the Spn1 interface, indicating that the Spn1-Spt6 interaction is important for managing chromatin. Spt6 binds nucleosomes directly in vitro, and this interaction is blocked by Spn1, providing further mechanistic insight into the function of the interaction. These data thereby reveal the structural and biochemical bases of molecular interactions that function in the maintenance of chromatin structure.
doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2010.11.014
PMCID: PMC3017428  PMID: 21094070
10.  Identification and Structural Characterization of the ALIX-Binding Late Domains of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus SIVmac239 and SIVagmTan-1▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;85(1):632-637.
Retroviral Gag proteins contain short late-domain motifs that recruit cellular ESCRT pathway proteins to facilitate virus budding. ALIX-binding late domains often contain the core consensus sequence YPXnL (where Xn can vary in sequence and length). However, some simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) Gag proteins lack this consensus sequence, yet still bind ALIX. We mapped divergent, ALIX-binding late domains within the p6Gag proteins of SIVmac239 (40SREKPYKEVTEDLLHLNSLF59) and SIVagmTan-1 (24AAGAYDPARKLLEQYAKK41). Crystal structures revealed that anchoring tyrosines (in lightface) and nearby hydrophobic residues (underlined) contact the ALIX V domain, revealing how lentiviruses employ a diverse family of late-domain sequences to bind ALIX and promote virus budding.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01683-10
PMCID: PMC3014167  PMID: 20962096
11.  Molecular architecture of a dynamin adaptor: implications for assembly of mitochondrial fission complexes 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2010;191(6):1127-1139.
Structural and functional studies of the Mdv1 dimer reveal how this mitochondria-associated adaptor protein orients and stabilizes the assembly of dynamins on membranes to promote mitochondrial fission.
Recruitment and assembly of some dynamin-related guanosine triphosphatases depends on adaptor proteins restricted to distinct cellular membranes. The yeast Mdv1 adaptor localizes to mitochondria by binding to the membrane protein Fis1. Subsequent Mdv1 binding to the mitochondrial dynamin Dnm1 stimulates Dnm1 assembly into spirals, which encircle and divide the mitochondrial compartment. In this study, we report that dimeric Mdv1 is joined at its center by a 92-Å antiparallel coiled coil (CC). Modeling of the Fis1–Mdv1 complex using available crystal structures suggests that the Mdv1 CC lies parallel to the bilayer with N termini at opposite ends bound to Fis1 and C-terminal β-propeller domains (Dnm1-binding sites) extending into the cytoplasm. A CC length of appropriate length and sequence is necessary for optimal Mdv1 interaction with Fis1 and Dnm1 and is important for proper Dnm1 assembly before membrane scission. Our results provide a framework for understanding how adaptors act as scaffolds to orient and stabilize the assembly of dynamins on membranes.
doi:10.1083/jcb.201005046
PMCID: PMC3002026  PMID: 21149566
12.  X-ray structures of isopentenyl phosphate kinase 
ACS chemical biology  2010;5(5):517-527.
Isoprenoid compounds are ubiquitous in nature, participating in important biological phenomena such as signal transduction, aerobic cellular respiration, photosynthesis, insect communication, and many others. They are derived from the 5-carbon isoprenoid substrates isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP) and its isomer dimethylallyl diphosphate (DMAPP). In Archaea and Eukarya, these building blocks are synthesized via the mevalonate pathway. However, the genes required to convert mevalonate phosphate (MP) to IPP are missing in several species of Archaea. An enzyme with isopentenyl phosphate kinase (IPK) activity was recently discovered in Methanocaldococcus jannaschii (MJ), suggesting a departure from the classical sequence of converting MP to IPP. We have determined the high-resolution crystal structures of isopentenyl phosphate kinases in complex with both substrates and products from Thermoplasma acidophilum (THA), as well as the IPK from Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus (MTH), by means of single-wavelength anomalous diffraction (SAD) and molecular replacement. A histidine residue (His50) in THA IPK makes a hydrogen bond with the terminal phosphates of IP and IPP, poising these molecules for phosphoryl transfer through an in-line geometry. Moreover, a lysine residue (Lys14) makes hydrogen bonds with non-bridging oxygen atoms at Pα and Pγ and with the Pβ- Pγ bridging oxygen atom in ATP. These interactions suggest a transition state-stabilizing role for this residue. Lys14 is a part of a newly discovered “lysine triangle” catalytic motif in IPK’s that also includes Lys5 and Lys205. Moreover, His50, Lys5, Lys14, and Lys205 are conserved in all IPK’s and can therefore serve as fingerprints for identifying new homologues.
doi:10.1021/cb100032g
PMCID: PMC2879073  PMID: 20402538
13.  Design of a Potent d-Peptide HIV-1 Entry Inhibitor with a Strong Barrier to Resistance▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(21):11235-11244.
The HIV gp41 N-trimer pocket region is an ideal viral target because it is extracellular, highly conserved, and essential for viral entry. Here, we report on the design of a pocket-specific d-peptide, PIE12-trimer, that is extraordinarily elusive to resistance and characterize its inhibitory and structural properties. d-Peptides (peptides composed of d-amino acids) are promising therapeutic agents due to their insensitivity to protease degradation. PIE12-trimer was designed using structure-guided mirror-image phage display and linker optimization and is the first d-peptide HIV entry inhibitor with the breadth and potency required for clinical use. PIE12-trimer has an ultrahigh affinity for the gp41 pocket, providing it with a reserve of binding energy (resistance capacitor) that yields a dramatically improved resistance profile compared to those of other fusion inhibitors. These results demonstrate that the gp41 pocket is an ideal drug target and establish PIE12-trimer as a leading anti-HIV antiviral candidate.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01339-10
PMCID: PMC2953169  PMID: 20719956
14.  Structure of a Blm10 complex reveals common mechanisms for proteasome binding and gate opening 
Molecular cell  2010;37(5):728-735.
Summary
The proteasome is an abundant protease that is critically important for numerous cellular pathways. Proteasomes are activated in vitro by three known classes of proteins/complexes, including Blm10/PA200. Here we report a 3.4Å resolution crystal structure of a proteasome-Blm10 complex, which reveals that Blm10 surrounds the proteasome entry pore in the 1.2 MDa complex to form a largely closed dome that is expected to restrict access of potential substrates. This architecture, and the observation that Blm10 induces a disordered proteasome gate structure, challenges the assumption that Blm10 functions as an activator of proteolysis in vivo. The Blm10 C-terminus binds in the same manner as seen for 11S activators and inferred for 19S/PAN activators, and indicates a unified model for gate opening. We also demonstrate that Blm10 acts to maintain mitochondrial function. Consistent with the structural data, the C-terminal residues of Blm10 are needed for this activity.
doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2010.02.002
PMCID: PMC2859072  PMID: 20227375
15.  Structure of the Blm10-20S Proteasome Complex by Cryo-electron Microscopy. Insights into the Mechanism of Activation of Mature Yeast Proteasomes 
Journal of molecular biology  2006;363(3):648-659.
The 20S proteasome is regulated at multiple levels including association with endogenous activators. Two activators have been described for the yeast 20S proteasome: the 19S regulatory particle and the Blm10 protein. The sequence of Blm10 is 20% identical to the mammalian PA200 protein. Recent studies have shown that the sequences of Blm10 and PA200 each contain multiple HEAT-repeats and that each binds to the ends of mature proteasomes, suggesting a common structural and biochemical function. In order to advance structural studies, we have developed an efficient purification method that produces high yields of stoichiometric Blm10-mature yeast 20S proteasome complexes and we constructed a three-dimensional (3D) model of the Blm10-20S complex from cryo-electron microscopy images. This reconstruction shows that Blm10 binds in a defined orientation to both ends of the 20S particle and contacts all the proteasome α subunits. Blm10 displays the solenoid folding predicted by the presence of multiple HEAT-like repeats and the axial gates on the α rings of the proteasome appear to be open in the complex. We also performed a genetic analysis in an effort to identify the physiological role of Blm10. These experiments, however, did not reveal a robust phenotype upon gene deletion, overexpression, or in a screen for synthetic effects. This leaves the physiological role of Blm10 unresolved, but challenges earlier findings of a role in DNA repair.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2006.08.010
PMCID: PMC2980845  PMID: 16952374 CAMSID: cams1613
Blm10; PA200; proteasome activator; cryo-electron microscopy; three-dimensional reconstruction
16.  Emergent Properties of EWS/FLI Regulation via GGAA Microsatellites in Ewing’s Sarcoma 
Genes & cancer  2010;1(2):177-187.
ETS proteins are a family of transcription factors that play important roles in the development of cancer. The Ewing’s sarcoma EWS/ETS fusion oncoproteins control a number of cancer-relevant phenotypes in that disease. We recently demonstrated that EWS/FLI, the most common EWS/ETS fusion in Ewing’s sarcoma, regulates a portion of its target genes, including the critical target NR0B1, via GGAA-containing microsatellites in their promoters. Given the unusual nature of microsatellites as EWS/FLI response elements, we sought to elucidate the mechanism of EWS/FLI activity at these sites. We found that the ability to bind GGAA microsatellites is shared by multiple ETS family members from distinct phylogenetic subfamilies. Importantly, however, only EWS/ETS-containing fusions are capable of mediating transcriptional activation via these elements, highlighting a neomorphic function of the Ewing’s sarcoma fusion proteins. Additional analysis revealed that the GGAA microsatellite binds EWS/FLI with an affinity that is 2 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than previously identified high-affinity consensus/redundant binding sites. The stoichiometry of this interaction is 2 protein molecules for each DNA molecule, suggesting that EWS/FLI binds these elements as a homodimer. The isolated FLI ETS domain bound microsatellite sequences in a nearly identical fashion to full-length EWS/FLI, thus indicating that residues required for homodimeric binding are localized to the ETS domain. These data suggest a new paradigm for an ETS family member binding to DNA at cancer-relevant genetic loci and highlight emergent properties of EWS/FLI that are required for the development of Ewing’s sarcoma.
doi:10.1177/1947601910361495
PMCID: PMC2935179  PMID: 20827386
EWS/FLI; ETS; Ewing’s sarcoma; microsatellites
17.  X-ray Structures of the Hexameric Building Block of the HIV Capsid 
Cell  2009;137(7):1282-1292.
SUMMARY
The mature capsids of HIV and other retroviruses organize and package the viral genome and its associated enzymes for delivery into host cells. The HIV capsid is a fullerene cone: a variably curved, closed shell composed of approximately 250 hexamers and exactly 12 pentamers of the viral CA protein. We devised methods for isolating soluble, assembly-competent CA hexamers and derived four crystallographically independent models that define the structure of this capsid assembly unit at atomic resolution. A ring of six CA N-terminal domains form an apparently rigid core, surrounded by an outer ring of C-terminal domains. Mobility of the outer ring appears to be an underlying mechanism for generating the variably curved lattice in authentic capsids. Hexamer-stabilizing interfaces are highly hydrated, and this property may be key to forming quasi-equivalent interactions within hexamers and pentamers. The structures also clarify the molecular basis for capsid assembly inhibition, and should facilitate structure-based drug design strategies.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2009.04.063
PMCID: PMC2840706  PMID: 19523676
18.  Substrate shuttling between active sites of uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase is not required to generate coproporphyrinogen 
Journal of molecular biology  2009;389(2):306-314.
Summary
Uroporphyrinogen Decarboxylase (URO-D; EC 4.1.1.37), the fifth enzyme of the heme biosynthetic pathway, is required for the production of heme, vitamin B12, siroheme, and chlorophyll precursors. URO-D catalyzes the sequential decarboxylation of the four acetate side chains on the pyrrole groups of uroporphyrinogen to produce coproporphyrinogen. URO-D is a stable homodimer with the active site clefts of the two subunits adjacent to each other. It has been hypothesized that the two catalytic centers interact functionally, perhaps by shuttling of reaction intermediates between subunits. We tested this hypothesis by construction of a single chain protein (scURO-D) in which the two subunits were connected by a flexible linker. The crystal structure of this protein was shown to be superimposible with wild-type activity and have comparable catalytic activity. Mutations that impaired one or the other of the two active sites of scURO-D resulted in approximately half of wild-type activity. The distribution of reaction intermediates was the same for mutant and wild-type sequences, and was unaltered in a competition experiment using the I and III isomer substrates. These observations indicate that communication between active sites is not required for enzyme function, and suggest that the dimeric structure of URO-D is required to achieve conformational stability and create a large active site cleft.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2009.04.013
PMCID: PMC2705282  PMID: 19362562
Uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase; porphyria; heme biosynthesis
19.  Structure and function of SirC from Bacillus megaterium: a metal-binding precorrin-2 dehydrogenase 
The Biochemical journal  2008;415(2):257-263.
In Bacillus megaterium, the synthesis of vitamin B12 (cobalamin) and sirohaem diverges at sirohydrochlorin along the branched modified tetrapyrrole biosynthetic pathway. This key intermediate is made by the action of SirC, a precorrin-2 dehydrogenase that requires NAD+ as a cofactor. The structure of SirC has now been solved by X-ray crystallography to 2.8 Å (1 Å = 0.1 nm) resolution. The protein is shown to consist of three domains and has a similar topology to the multifunctional sirohaem synthases Met8p and the N-terminal region of CysG, both of which catalyse not only the dehydrogenation of precorrin-2 but also the ferrochelation of sirohydrochlorin to give sirohaem. Guided by the structure, in the present study a number of active-site residues within SirC were investigated by site-directed mutagenesis. No active-site general base was identified, although surprisingly some of the resulting protein variants were found to have significantly enhanced catalytic activity. Unexpectedly, SirC was found to bind metal ions such as cobalt and copper, and to bind them in an identical fashion with that observed in Met8p. It is suggested that SirC may have evolved from a Met8p-like protein by loss of its chelatase activity. It is proposed that the ability of SirC to act as a single monofunctional enzyme, in conjunction with an independent chelatase, may provide greater control over the intermediate at this branchpoint in the synthesis of sirohaem and cobalamin.
doi:10.1042/BJ20080785
PMCID: PMC2857972  PMID: 18588505
chelatase; cobalamin (vitamin B12); dehydrogenase; precorrin-2; sirohaem; sirohydrochlorin
20.  Structure and Mechanistic Implications of a Uroporphyrinogen III Synthase–Product Complex†,‡ 
Biochemistry  2008;47(33):8648-8655.
Uroporphyrinogen III synthase (U3S) catalyzes the asymmetrical cyclization of a linear tetrapyrrole to form the physiologically relevant uroporphyrinogen III (uro’gen III) isomer during heme biosynthesis. Here, we report four apoenzyme and one product complex crystal structures of the Thermus thermophilus (HB27) U3S protein. The overlay of eight crystallographically unique U3S molecules reveals a huge range of conformational flexibility, including a “closed” product complex. The product, uro’gen III, binds between the two domains and is held in place by a network of hydrogen bonds between the product’s side chain carboxylates and the protein’s main chain amides. Interactions of the product A and B ring carboxylate side chains with both structural domains of U3S appear to dictate the relative orientation of the domains in the closed enzyme conformation and likely remain intact during catalysis. The product C and D rings are less constrained in the structure, consistent with the conformational changes required for the catalytic cyclization with inversion of D ring orientation. A conserved tyrosine residue is potentially positioned to facilitate loss of a hydroxyl from the substrate to initiate the catalytic reaction.
doi:10.1021/bi800635y
PMCID: PMC2852885  PMID: 18651750
21.  Emergent Properties of EWS/FLI Regulation via GGAA Microsatellites in Ewing’s Sarcoma 
Genes & Cancer  2010;1(2):177-187.
ETS proteins are a family of transcription factors that play important roles in the development of cancer. The Ewing’s sarcoma EWS/ETS fusion oncoproteins control a number of cancer-relevant phenotypes in that disease. We recently demonstrated that EWS/FLI, the most common EWS/ETS fusion in Ewing’s sarcoma, regulates a portion of its target genes, including the critical target NR0B1, via GGAA-containing microsatellites in their promoters. Given the unusual nature of microsatellites as EWS/FLI response elements, we sought to elucidate the mechanism of EWS/FLI activity at these sites. We found that the ability to bind GGAA microsatellites is shared by multiple ETS family members from distinct phylogenetic subfamilies. Importantly, however, only EWS/ETS-containing fusions are capable of mediating transcriptional activation via these elements, highlighting a neomorphic function of the Ewing’s sarcoma fusion proteins. Additional analysis revealed that the GGAA microsatellite binds EWS/FLI with an affinity that is 2 to 3 orders of magnitude lower than previously identified high-affinity consensus/redundant binding sites. The stoichiometry of this interaction is 2 protein molecules for each DNA molecule, suggesting that EWS/FLI binds these elements as a homodimer. The isolated FLI ETS domain bound microsatellite sequences in a nearly identical fashion to full-length EWS/FLI, thus indicating that residues required for homodimeric binding are localized to the ETS domain. These data suggest a new paradigm for an ETS family member binding to DNA at cancer-relevant genetic loci and highlight emergent properties of EWS/FLI that are required for the development of Ewing’s sarcoma.
doi:10.1177/1947601910361495
PMCID: PMC2935179  PMID: 20827386
EWS/FLI; ETS; Ewing’s sarcoma; microsatellites
22.  Structural Basis for ESCRT-III Protein Autoinhibition 
ESCRT-III (endosomal sorting complexes required for transport-III) subunits cycle between two states: soluble monomers and higher-order assemblies that bind and remodel membranes during endosomal vesicle formation, midbody abscission and enveloped virus budding. Here, we show that the N-terminal core domains of IST1 (increased sodium tolerance-1) and CHMP3 (charged multivesicularbody protein-3) form equivalent four-helix bundles, revealing that IST1 is a previously unrecognized ESCRT-III family member. IST1 and its ESCRT-III binding partner, CHMP1B, both form higher-order helical structures in vitro, and IST1-CHMP1 interactions are required for abscission. The IST1 and CHMP3 structures also reveal that equivalent downstream α5 helices can fold back against the core domains. Mutations within the CHMP3 core-α5 interface stimulate the protein’s in vitro assembly and HIV inhibition activities, indicating that dissociation of the autoinhibitory α5 helix from the core activates ESCRT-III proteins for assembly at membranes.
doi:10.1038/nsmb.1621
PMCID: PMC2712734  PMID: 19525971
23.  Biochemical and Structural Studies of Yeast Vps4 Oligomerization 
Journal of molecular biology  2008;384(4):878-895.
The ESCRT pathway functions in vesicle formation at the multivesicular body, the budding of enveloped RNA viruses such as HIV-1, and the final abscission stage of cytokinesis. As the only known enzyme in the ESCRT pathway, the AAA ATPase Vps4 provides the energy required for multiple rounds of vesicle formation. Like other Vps4 proteins, yeast Vps4 cycles through two states: a catalytically inactive disassembled state that we show here is a dimer, and a catalytically active higher order assembly that we have modeled as a dodecamer composed of two stacked hexameric rings. We also report crystal structures of yeast Vps4 proteins in the apo- and ATPγS-bound states. In both cases, Vps4 subunits assembled into continuous helices with six-fold screw axes that are analogous to helices seen previously in other Vps4 crystal forms. The helices are stabilized by extensive interactions between the large and small AAA ATPase domains of adjacent Vps4 subunits, suggesting that these contact surfaces may be used to build both the catalytically active dodecamer and catalytically inactive dimer. Consistent with this model, we have identified interface mutants that specifically inhibit Vps4 dimerization, dodecamerization, or both. Thus, the Vps4 dimer and dodecamer likely form distinct but overlapping interfaces. Finally, our structural studies have allowed us to model the conformation of a conserved loop (Pore Loop 2) that is predicted to form an arginine-rich pore at the center of one of the Vps4 hexameric rings. Our mutational analyses demonstrate that Pore Loop 2 residues Arg241 and Arg251 are required for efficient HIV-1 budding, thereby supporting a role for this “arginine collar” in Vps4 function.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2008.09.066
PMCID: PMC2632936  PMID: 18929572
Vps4; AAA ATPase; Oligomerization; MVB pathway; X-ray Crystallography
24.  Autoregulation of the Rsc4 Tandem Bromodomain by Gcn5 Acetylation 
Molecular cell  2007;27(5):817-828.
SUMMARY
An important issue for chromatin remodeling complexes is how their bromodomains recognize particular acetylated lysine residues in histones. The Rsc4 subunit of the yeast remodeler RSC contains an essential tandem bromodomain (TBD) that binds acetylated K14 of histone H3 (H3K14ac). We report a series of crystal structures that reveal a compact TBD that binds H3K14ac in the second bromodomain and, remarkably, binds acetylated K25 of Rsc4 itself in the first bromodomain. Endogenous Rsc4 is acetylated only at K25, and Gcn5 is identified as necessary and sufficient for Rsc4 K25 acetylation in vivo and in vitro. Rsc4 K25 acetylation inhibits binding to H3K14ac, and mutation of Rsc4 K25 results in altered growth rates. These data suggest an autoregulatory mechanism in which Gcn5 performs both the activating (H3K14ac) and inhibitory (Rsc4 K25ac) modifications, perhaps to provide temporal regulation. Additional regulatory mechanisms are indicated as H3S10 phosphorylation inhibits Rsc4 binding to H3K14ac peptides.
doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2007.08.018
PMCID: PMC2788556  PMID: 17803945
25.  Crystal Structure and RNA binding of the Tex protein from Pseudomonas aeruginosa 
Journal of molecular biology  2008;377(5):1460-1473.
Summary
Tex is a highly conserved bacterial protein that likely functions in a variety of transcriptional processes. Here we describe two crystal structures of the 86 kDa Tex protein from Pseudomonas aeruginosa at 2.3 Å and 2.5 Å resolution, respectively. These structures reveal a relatively flat and elongated protein, with several potential nucleic-acid binding motifs clustered at one end, including an S1 domain near the C-terminus that displays considerable structural flexibility. Tex binds nucleic acids, with a preference for ssRNA, and the Tex S1 domain is required for this binding activity. Point mutants further demonstrate that the primary nucleic acid binding site corresponds to a surface of the S1 domain. Sequence alignment and modeling indicate that the eukaryotic Spt6 transcription factor adopts a similar core structure. Structural analysis further suggests that the RNA polymerase and nucleosome interacting regions of Spt6 flank opposite sides of the Tex-like scaffold. Therefore, the Tex structure may represent a conserved scaffold that binds ssRNA to regulate transcription in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms.
doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2008.01.096
PMCID: PMC2680229  PMID: 18321528
transcription; S1 domain; RNA; x-ray crystallography; Spt6

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