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1.  Lsm2 and Lsm3 bridge the interaction of the Lsm1-7 complex with Pat1 for decapping activation 
Cell Research  2013;24(2):233-246.
The evolutionarily conserved Lsm1-7-Pat1 complex is the most critical activator of mRNA decapping in eukaryotic cells and plays many roles in normal decay, AU-rich element-mediated decay, and miRNA silencing, yet how Pat1 interacts with the Lsm1-7 complex is unknown. Here, we show that Lsm2 and Lsm3 bridge the interaction between the C-terminus of Pat1 (Pat1C) and the Lsm1-7 complex. The Lsm2-3-Pat1C complex and the Lsm1-7-Pat1C complex stimulate decapping in vitro to a similar extent and exhibit similar RNA-binding preference. The crystal structure of the Lsm2-3-Pat1C complex shows that Pat1C binds to Lsm2-3 to form an asymmetric complex with three Pat1C molecules surrounding a heptameric ring formed by Lsm2-3. Structure-based mutagenesis revealed the importance of Lsm2-3-Pat1C interactions in decapping activation in vivo. Based on the structure of Lsm2-3-Pat1C, a model of Lsm1-7-Pat1 complex is constructed and how RNA binds to this complex is discussed.
doi:10.1038/cr.2013.152
PMCID: PMC3915908  PMID: 24247251
mRNA decay; decapping activation; Lsm; Pat1; x-ray crystallography
2.  Measurement of the equilibrium relative humidity for common precipitant concentrations: facilitating controlled dehydration experiments 
The equilibrium relative humidity values for a number of the most commonly used precipitants in macromolecular crystallization have been measured using a humidity-control device and compared with independent values where available. The results will simplify experiments using the device.
The dehydration of crystals of macromolecules has long been known to have the potential to increase their diffraction quality. A number of methods exist to change the relative humidity that surrounds crystals, but for reproducible results, with complete characterization of the changes induced, a precise humidity-control device coupled with an X-ray source is required. The first step in these experiments is to define the relative humidity in equilibrium with the mother liquor of the system under study; this can often be quite time-consuming. In order to reduce the time spent on this stage of the experiment, the equilibrium relative humidity for a range of concentrations of the most commonly used precipitants has been measured. The relationship between the precipitant solution and equilibrium relative humidity is explained by Raoult’s law for the equilibrium vapour pressure of water above a solution. The results also have implications for the choice of cryoprotectant and solutions used to dehydrate crystals. For the most commonly used precipitants (10–30% PEG 2000–8000), the starting point will be a relative humidity of 99.5%.
doi:10.1107/S1744309111054029
PMCID: PMC3253849  PMID: 22232186
controlled dehydration; macromolecular crystallography; humidity control; automation
3.  Automatic processing of macromolecular crystallography X-ray diffraction data at the ESRF 
Journal of Applied Crystallography  2013;46(Pt 3):804-810.
A system for the automatic reduction of single- and multi-position macromolecular crystallography data is presented.
The development of automated high-intensity macromolecular crystallography (MX) beamlines at synchrotron facilities has resulted in a remarkable increase in sample throughput. Developments in X-ray detector technology now mean that complete X-ray diffraction datasets can be collected in less than one minute. Such high-speed collection, and the volumes of data that it produces, often make it difficult for even the most experienced users to cope with the deluge. However, the careful reduction of data during experimental sessions is often necessary for the success of a particular project or as an aid in decision making for subsequent experiments. Automated data reduction pipelines provide a fast and reliable alternative to user-initiated processing at the beamline. In order to provide such a pipeline for the MX user community of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), a system for the rapid automatic processing of MX diffraction data from single and multiple positions on a single or multiple crystals has been developed. Standard integration and data analysis programs have been incorporated into the ESRF data collection, storage and computing environment, with the final results stored and displayed in an intuitive manner in the ISPyB (information system for protein crystallography beamlines) database, from which they are also available for download. In some cases, experimental phase information can be automatically determined from the processed data. Here, the system is described in detail.
doi:10.1107/S0021889813006195
PMCID: PMC3654316  PMID: 23682196
automation; data processing; macromolecular crystallography; computer programs
4.  The Ighmbp2 helicase structure reveals the molecular basis for disease-causing mutations in DMSA1 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(21):11009-11022.
Mutations in immunoglobulin µ-binding protein 2 (Ighmbp2) cause distal spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (DSMA1), an autosomal recessive disease that is clinically characterized by distal limb weakness and respiratory distress. However, despite extensive studies, the mechanism of disease-causing mutations remains elusive. Here we report the crystal structures of the Ighmbp2 helicase core with and without bound RNA. The structures show that the overall fold of Ighmbp2 is very similar to that of Upf1, a key helicase involved in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Similar to Upf1, domains 1B and 1C of Ighmbp2 undergo large conformational changes in response to RNA binding, rotating 30° and 10°, respectively. The RNA binding and ATPase activities of Ighmbp2 are further enhanced by the R3H domain, located just downstream of the helicase core. Mapping of the pathogenic mutations of DSMA1 onto the helicase core structure provides a molecular basis for understanding the disease-causing consequences of Ighmbp2 mutations.
doi:10.1093/nar/gks792
PMCID: PMC3505976  PMID: 22965130
5.  The use of workflows in the design and implementation of complex experiments in macromolecular crystallography 
A powerful and easy-to-use workflow environment has been developed at the ESRF for combining experiment control with online data analysis on synchrotron beamlines. This tool provides the possibility of automating complex experiments without the need for expertise in instrumentation control and programming, but rather by accessing defined beamline services.
The automation of beam delivery, sample handling and data analysis, together with increasing photon flux, diminishing focal spot size and the appearance of fast-readout detectors on synchrotron beamlines, have changed the way that many macromolecular crystallography experiments are planned and executed. Screening for the best diffracting crystal, or even the best diffracting part of a selected crystal, has been enabled by the development of microfocus beams, precise goniometers and fast-readout detectors that all require rapid feedback from the initial processing of images in order to be effective. All of these advances require the coupling of data feedback to the experimental control system and depend on immediate online data-analysis results during the experiment. To facilitate this, a Data Analysis WorkBench (DAWB) for the flexible creation of complex automated protocols has been developed. Here, example workflows designed and implemented using DAWB are presented for enhanced multi-step crystal characterizations, experiments involving crystal re­orientation with kappa goniometers, crystal-burning experiments for empirically determining the radiation sensitivity of a crystal system and the application of mesh scans to find the best location of a crystal to obtain the highest diffraction quality. Beamline users interact with the prepared workflows through a specific brick within the beamline-control GUI MXCuBE.
doi:10.1107/S090744491201863X
PMCID: PMC3413211  PMID: 22868763
workflows; automation; data processing; macromolecular crystallography; experimental protocols; characterization; reorientation; radiation damage
6.  Crystal Structures of Lsm3, Lsm4 and Lsm5/6/7 from Schizosaccharomyces pombe 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36768.
Sm-like (Lsm) proteins are ubiquitous and function in many aspects of RNA metabolism, including pre-mRNA splicing, nuclear RNA processing, mRNA decay and miRNA biogenesis. Here three crystal structures including Lsm3, Lsm4 and Lsm5/6/7 sub-complex from S. pombe are reported. These structures show that all the five individual Lsm subunits share a conserved Sm fold, and Lsm3, Lsm4, and Lsm5/6/7 form a heptamer, a trimer and a hexamer within the crystal lattice, respectively. Analytical ultracentrifugation indicates that Lsm3 and Lsm5/6/7 sub-complex exist in solution as a heptamer and a hexamer, respectively while Lsm4 undergoes a dynamic equilibrium between monomer and trimer in solution. RNA binding assays show that Lsm2/3 and Lsm5/6/7 bind to oligo(U) whereas no RNA binding is observed for Lsm3 and Lsm4. Analysis of the inter-subunit interactions in Lsm5/6/7 reveals the organization order among Lsm5, Lsm6 and Lsm7.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036768
PMCID: PMC3355152  PMID: 22615807
7.  MxCuBE: a synchrotron beamline control environment customized for macromolecular crystallography experiments 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2010;17(Pt 5):700-707.
MxCuBE is a beamline control environment optimized for the needs of macromolecular crystallography. This paper describes the design of the software and the features that MxCuBE currently provides.
The design and features of a beamline control software system for macromolecular crystallography (MX) experiments developed at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) are described. This system, MxCuBE, allows users to easily and simply interact with beamline hardware components and provides automated routines for common tasks in the operation of a synchrotron beamline dedicated to experiments in MX. Additional functionality is provided through intuitive interfaces that enable the assessment of the diffraction characteristics of samples, experiment planning, automatic data collection and the on-line collection and analysis of X-ray emission spectra. The software can be run in a tandem client-server mode that allows for remote control and relevant experimental parameters and results are automatically logged in a relational database, ISPyB. MxCuBE is modular, flexible and extensible and is currently deployed on eight macromolecular crystallography beamlines at the ESRF. Additionally, the software is installed at MAX-lab beamline I911-3 and at BESSY beamline BL14.1.
doi:10.1107/S0909049510020005
PMCID: PMC3025540  PMID: 20724792
automation; macromolecular crystallography; synchrotron beamline control; graphical user interface

Results 1-7 (7)