PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) guide PIWI proteins to suppress transposons in the cytoplasm and nucleus of animal germ cells, but how silencing in the two compartments is coordinated is not known. Here we demonstrate that endonucleolytic slicing of a transcript by the cytosolic mouse PIWI protein MILI acts as a trigger to initiate its further 5′→3′ processing into non-overlapping fragments. These fragments accumulate as new piRNAs within both cytosolic MILI and the nuclear MIWI2. We also identify Exonuclease domain-containing 1 (EXD1) as a partner of the MIWI2 piRNA biogenesis factor TDRD12. EXD1 homodimers are inactive as a nuclease but function as an RNA adaptor within a PET (PIWI-EXD1-Tdrd12) complex. Loss of Exd1 reduces sequences generated by MILI slicing, impacts biogenesis of MIWI2 piRNAs, and de-represses LINE1 retrotransposons. Thus, piRNA biogenesis triggered by PIWI slicing, and promoted by EXD1, ensures that the same guides instruct PIWI proteins in the nucleus and cytoplasm.
•MILI slicing triggers entry of target transcript into piRNA processing•Slicing generates non-overlapping, contiguous primary piRNAs in MILI and MIWI2•EXD1 is a component of a PET (PIWI-EXD1-TDRD12) complex•RNA-binding protein EXD1 is critical for MIWI2 piRNA biogenesis
Yang et al. show how cytoplasmic slicing of a target transcript by a PIWI endonuclease triggers its conversion into piRNAs that are loaded into both cytosolic and nuclear PIWI proteins, ensuring coordinated silencing in the two compartments. The inactive nuclease EXD1 functions as an RNA-binding in this process.
piRNA; PIWI; Slicer; Inchworming; Ping-pong; Exd1; Tdrd12; Bombyx
The Vacuolar protein sorting 4 AAA-ATPase (Vps4) recycles endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT-III) polymers from cellular membranes. Here, we present a 3.6 Å X-ray structure of ring-shaped Vps4 from Metallosphera sedula (MsVps4), seen as an asymmetric pseudohexamer. Conserved key interface residues are shown to be important for MsVps4 assembly, ATPase activity in vitro, ESCRT-III disassembly in vitro and HIV-1 budding. ADP binding leads to conformational changes within the protomer, which might propagate within the ring structure. All ATP binding sites are accessible and the pseudohexamer binds six ATP with micromolar affinity in vitro. In contrast, ADP occupies one high affinity and five low affinity binding sites in vitro, consistent with conformational asymmetry induced upon ATP hydrolysis. The structure represents a snapshot of an assembled Vps4 conformation and provides insight into the molecular motions the ring-structure undergoes in a concerted action to couple ATP hydrolysis to ESCRT-III substrate disassembly.
The vacuolar protein sorting 4 AAA–ATPase (Vps4) recycles endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT-III) polymers from cellular membranes. Here we present a 3.6-Å X-ray structure of ring-shaped Vps4 from Metallosphera sedula (MsVps4), seen as an asymmetric pseudohexamer. Conserved key interface residues are shown to be important for MsVps4 assembly, ATPase activity in vitro, ESCRT-III disassembly in vitro and HIV-1 budding. ADP binding leads to conformational changes within the protomer, which might propagate within the ring structure. All ATP-binding sites are accessible and the pseudohexamer binds six ATP with micromolar affinity in vitro. In contrast, ADP occupies one high-affinity and five low-affinity binding sites in vitro, consistent with conformational asymmetry induced on ATP hydrolysis. The structure represents a snapshot of an assembled Vps4 conformation and provides insight into the molecular motions the ring structure undergoes in a concerted action to couple ATP hydrolysis to ESCRT-III substrate disassembly.
Vps4 is a AAA+ family protein involved in the disassembly of ESCRT-III polymers during membrane fission events such as occur during HIV budding. Here the authors propose a structure-based model of how the conformational flexibility of Vps4 can be translated into mechanical forces to disassemble ESCRT-III during membrane fission.
The fully automated collection and merging of partial data sets from a series of cryocooled crystals of biological macromolecules contained on the same support is presented, as are the results of test experiments carried out on various systems.
Here, an automated procedure is described to identify the positions of many cryocooled crystals mounted on the same sample holder, to rapidly predict and rank their relative diffraction strengths and to collect partial X-ray diffraction data sets from as many of the crystals as desired. Subsequent hierarchical cluster analysis then allows the best combination of partial data sets, optimizing the quality of the final data set obtained. The results of applying the method developed to various systems and scenarios including the compilation of a complete data set from tiny crystals of the membrane protein bacteriorhodopsin and the collection of data sets for successful structure determination using the single-wavelength anomalous dispersion technique are also presented.
macromolecular crystallography; synchrotron serial crystallography; multi-crystal data collection; hierarchical cluster analysis
Bacterial and fungal type I fatty-acid synthases (FAS I) are evolutionarily connected, as bacterial FAS I is considered to be the ancestor of fungal FAS I. In this work, the production, crystallization and X-ray diffraction data analysis of a bacterial FAS I are reported.
While a deep understanding of the fungal and mammalian multi-enzyme type I fatty-acid synthases (FAS I) has been achieved in recent years, the bacterial FAS I family, which is narrowly distributed within the Actinomycetales genera Mycobacterium, Corynebacterium and Nocardia, is still poorly understood. This is of particular relevance for two reasons: (i) although homologous to fungal FAS I, cryo-electron microscopic studies have shown that bacterial FAS I has unique structural and functional properties, and (ii) M. tuberculosis FAS I is a drug target for the therapeutic treatment of tuberculosis (TB) and therefore is of extraordinary importance as a drug target. Crystals of FAS I from C. efficiens, a homologue of M. tuberculosis FAS I, were produced and diffracted X-rays to about 4.5 Å resolution.
fatty-acid synthase; fatty-acid synthesis; multienzyme; tuberculosis; mycolic acid
While treatment options are available, excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) remains a significant unmet medical need for many patients. Relatively little rodent behavioural pharmacology has been conducted in this context to assess potential pro-vigilant compounds for their ability to restore functional capacity following experimentally induced sleep loss. Male Wistar rats were prepared for electroencephalographic (EEG) recording and subject to 11 h of sleep restriction using a biofeedback-induced cage rotation protocol. A simple response latency task (SRLT) was used to behaviourally index sleep restriction and the effects of pro-vigilant compounds: modafinil, d-amphetamine, caffeine, and the mGlu5-positive allosteric modulator LSN2814617. Sleep restriction resulted in a consistent, quantified loss of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and REM sleep that impaired SRLT performance in a manner suggestive of progressive task disengagement. In terms of EEG parameters, all compounds induced wakefulness. Amphetamine treatment further decreased SRLT performance capacity, whereas the other three compounds decreased omissions and allowed animals to re-engage in the task. Caffeine and modafinil also significantly increased premature responses during this period, an effect not observed for LSN2814617. While all compounds caused compensatory sleep responses, the magnitude of compensation observed for LSN2814617 was much smaller than would be predicted to result from the prolongation of wakefulness exhibited. Using simple response latencies to index performance, an mGlu5 PAM dramatically increased wakefulness and improved functional capacity of sleep-restricted animals, without eliciting a proportionate compensatory sleep response. This effect was qualitatively distinct from that of amphetamine, caffeine and modafinil.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00213-015-3936-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Vigilance; EEG; RAT; mGlu5; Potentiator; Wake; Translation; Metabotropic; Modafinil; Amphetamine
Eukaryotic elongation factor eEF1A transits between the GTP- and GDP-bound conformations during the ribosomal polypeptide chain elongation. eEF1A*GTP establishes a complex with the aminoacyl-tRNA in the A site of the 80S ribosome. Correct codon–anticodon recognition triggers GTP hydrolysis, with subsequent dissociation of eEF1A*GDP from the ribosome. The structures of both the ‘GTP’- and ‘GDP’-bound conformations of eEF1A are unknown. Thus, the eEF1A-related ribosomal mechanisms were anticipated only by analogy with the bacterial homolog EF-Tu. Here, we report the first crystal structure of the mammalian eEF1A2*GDP complex which indicates major differences in the organization of the nucleotide-binding domain and intramolecular movements of eEF1A compared to EF-Tu. Our results explain the nucleotide exchange mechanism in the mammalian eEF1A and suggest that the first step of eEF1A*GDP dissociation from the 80S ribosome is the rotation of the nucleotide-binding domain observed after GTP hydrolysis.
A hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyltransferase involved in chlorogenic acid biosynthesis in C. canephora was crystallized using the vapour-diffusion method. A diffraction data set was collected to 3.0 Å resolution on the microfocus beamline (ID23-2) at ESRF and a structure solution was obtained using molecular replacement.
Chlorogenic acids (CGAs) are a group of soluble phenolic compounds that are produced by a variety of plants, including Coffea canephora (robusta coffee). The last step in CGA biosynthesis is generally catalysed by a specific hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA quinate hydroxycinnamoyltransferase (HQT), but it can also be catalysed by the more widely distributed hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyltransferase (HCT). Here, the cloning and overexpression of HCT from C. canephora in Escherichia coli as well as its purification and crystallization are presented. Crystals were obtained by the sitting-drop technique at 293 K and X-ray diffraction data were collected on the microfocus beamline ID23-2 at the ESRF. The HCT crystals diffracted to better than 3.0 Å resolution, belonged to space group P42212 with unit-cell parameters a = b = 116.1, c = 158.9 Å and contained two molecules in the asymmetric unit. The structure was solved by molecular replacement and is currently under refinement. Such structural data are needed to decipher the molecular basis of the substrate specifities of this key enzyme, which belongs to the large plant acyl-CoA-dependent BAHD acyltransferase superfamily.
Coffea canephora; phenylpropanoid-biosynthesis pathway; chlorogenic acids; plant acyl-CoA-dependent acyltransferase superfamily; hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyltransferase; molecular replacement
Hardware and software solutions for MX data-collection strategies using the EMBL/ESRF miniaturized multi-axis goniometer head are presented.
Most macromolecular crystallography (MX) diffraction experiments at synchrotrons use a single-axis goniometer. This markedly contrasts with small-molecule crystallography, in which the majority of the diffraction data are collected using multi-axis goniometers. A novel miniaturized κ-goniometer head, the MK3, has been developed to allow macromolecular crystals to be aligned. It is available on the majority of the structural biology beamlines at the ESRF, as well as elsewhere. In addition, the Strategy for the Alignment of Crystals (STAC) software package has been developed to facilitate the use of the MK3 and other similar devices. Use of the MK3 and STAC is streamlined by their incorporation into online analysis tools such as EDNA. The current use of STAC and MK3 on the MX beamlines at the ESRF is discussed. It is shown that the alignment of macromolecular crystals can result in improved diffraction data quality compared with data obtained from randomly aligned crystals.
kappa goniometer; crystal alignment; data-collection strategies
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.
automation; data processing; macromolecular crystallography; computer programs
Rhythmic neural network activity patterns are defining features of sleep, but interdependencies between limbic and cortical oscillations at different frequencies and their functional roles have not been fully resolved. This is particularly important given evidence linking abnormal sleep architecture and memory consolidation in psychiatric diseases. Using EEG, local field potential (LFP), and unit recordings in rats, we show that anteroposterior propagation of neocortical slow-waves coordinates timing of hippocampal ripples and prefrontal cortical spindles during NREM sleep. This coordination is selectively disrupted in a rat neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia: fragmented NREM sleep and impaired slow-wave propagation in the model culminate in deficient ripple-spindle coordination and disrupted spike timing, potentially as a consequence of interneuronal abnormalities reflected by reduced parvalbumin expression. These data further define the interrelationships among slow-wave, spindle, and ripple events, indicating that sleep disturbances may be associated with state-dependent decoupling of hippocampal and cortical circuits in psychiatric diseases.
► Abnormal neurodevelopment leads to fragmented NREM sleep in the MAM-E17 model ► Delta wave and spindle abnormalities match patterns of altered parvalbumin expression ► Spindle phase-locked units in frontal cortex fire during CA1 ripples in normal NREM ► Mistimed limbic-cortical oscillations during fragmented NREM may impair cognition
A restless pillow makes a ruffled mind? Investigating sleep architecture and associated neural network activity in an animal model of schizophrenia, Phillips et al. propose a new sleep-dependent mechanism for cognitive deficits in neuropsychiatric disease.
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.
workflows; automation; data processing; macromolecular crystallography; experimental protocols; characterization; reorientation; radiation damage
The restriction factor Bst2/tetherin contains two membrane anchors which are employed to retain some enveloped viruses including HIV-1 tethered to the plasma membrane in the absence of virus encoded antagonists. The 2.77 Å crystal structure of the extracellular core presented here reveals a parallel 90 Å long disulfide linked coiled-coil domain while the complete extracellular domain forms an extended 170 Å long rod-like structure based on small angle X-ray scattering data. Mutagenesis analyses indicate that both the coiled-coil and the N-terminal region are required for retention of HIV-1, suggesting that the elongated structure can function as a molecular ruler to bridge long distances. The structure reveals substantial irregularities and instabilities throughout the coiled-coil, which contribute to its low stability in the absence of disulfide bonds. We propose that the irregular coiled-coil provides conformational flexibility and ensures that Bst2/tetherin anchoring in the plasma and the newly formed virus membrane do not interfere with budding.
A rapid, easy-to-perform translation calibration procedure has been developed for use with the EMBL/ESRF mini-κ goniometer head and for other inverse-kappa goniometers designed for macromolecular crystallography. Regular calibration ensures the precision of experiments that rely on many degrees of freedom in crystal reorientation.
Precise and convenient crystal reorientation is of experimental importance in macromolecular crystallography (MX). The development of multi-axis goniometers, such as the ESRF/EMBL mini-κ, necessitates the corresponding development of calibration procedures that can be used for the setup, maintenance and troubleshooting of such devices. While traditional multi-axis goniometers require all rotation axes to intersect the unique point of the sample position, recently developed miniaturized instruments for sample reorientation in MX are not as restricted. However, the samples must always be re-centred following a change in orientation. To overcome this inconvenience and allow the use of multi-axis goniometers without the fundamental restriction of having all axes intersecting in the same point, an automatic translation correction protocol has been developed for such instruments. It requires precise information about the direction and location of the rotation axes. To measure and supply this information, a general, easy-to-perform translation calibration (TC) procedure has also been developed. The TC procedure is routinely performed on most MX beamlines at the ESRF and some results are presented for reference.
kappa goniometer; macromolecular crystallography; reorientation; calibration
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.
automation; macromolecular crystallography; synchrotron beamline control; graphical user interface
The improvement of the X-ray beam quality achieved on ID14-4 by the installation of new X-ray optical elements is described.
ID14-4 at the ESRF is the first tunable undulator-based macromolecular crystallography beamline that can celebrate a decade of user service. During this time ID14-4 has not only been instrumental in the determination of the structures of biologically important molecules but has also contributed significantly to the development of various instruments, novel data collection schemes and pioneering radiation damage studies on biological samples. Here, the evolution of ID14-4 over the last decade is presented, and some of the major improvements that were carried out in order to maintain its status as one of the most productive macromolecular crystallography beamlines are highlighted. The experimental hutch has been upgraded to accommodate a high-precision diffractometer, a sample changer and a large CCD detector. More recently, the optical hutch has been refurbished in order to improve the X-ray beam quality on ID14-4 and to incorporate the most modern and robust optical elements used at other ESRF beamlines. These new optical elements will be described and their effect on beam stability discussed. These studies may be useful in the design, construction and maintenance of future X-ray beamlines for macromolecular crystallography and indeed other applications, such as those planned for the ESRF upgrade.
macromolecular crystallography; X-ray beam quality; beamline diagnostics; beamline automation
Robo1 is a large transmembrane receptor expressed on the axon growth cone. Activation of Robo1 by Slit proteins results in axon repulsion from the midline. Here, the purification and crystallization conditions of first two Ig domains of Robo1 are reported.
Activation of Roundabout 1 (Robo1) by Slit proteins results in axon repulsion from the midline. Robo1 is a large transmembrane receptor expressed on the axon growth cone and the minimal Robo1-binding region required for Slit activation has been mapped to the N-terminal Ig1–2 domains. The cDNA encoding the first two Ig domains of Robo1 has been cloned and the protein has been expressed in HEK293 EBNA-1 mammalian cells. Here, the purification and crystallization conditions of this Robo1 construct are reported. The crystals are orthorhombic, space group P21212, with unit-cell parameters a = 38.8, b = 69.4, c = 103.3 Å and one molecule in the asymmetric unit. X-ray diffraction data have been collected to 2.8 Å resolution on beamline ID29 at the ESRF.
Roundabout; Slit; mammalian expression
Slit proteins are secreted ligands that interact with the Roundabout (Robo) receptors to provide important guidance cues in neuronal and vascular development. Slit–Robo signalling is mediated by an interaction between the second Slit domain and the first Robo domain, as well as being dependent on heparan sulphate. In an effort to understand the role of the other Slit domains in signalling, we determined the crystal structure of the fourth Slit2 domain (D4) and examined the effects of various Slit2 constructs on chick retinal ganglion cell axons. Slit2 D4 forms a homodimer using the conserved residues on its concave face, and can also bind to heparan sulphate. We observed that Slit2 D4 frequently results in growth cones with collapsed lamellipodia and that this effect can be inhibited by exogenously added heparan sulphate. Our results show that Slit2 D4–heparan sulphate binding contributes to a Slit–Robo signalling mechanism more intricate than previously thought.
neurons; guidance cues; signalling
The genes encoding XMT and DXMT, the enzymes from Coffea canephora (robusta) that catalyse the three independent N-methyl transfer reactions in the caffeine-biosynthesis pathway, have been cloned and the proteins have been expressed in Escherichia coli. Both proteins have been crystallized in the presence of the demethylated cofactor S-adenosyl-l-cysteine (SAH) and substrate (xanthosine for XMT and theobromine for DXMT).
Caffeine is a secondary metabolite produced by a variety of plants including Coffea canephora (robusta) and there is growing evidence that caffeine is part of a chemical defence strategy protecting young leaves and seeds from potential predators. The genes encoding XMT and DXMT, the enzymes from Coffea canephora (robusta) that catalyse the three independent N-methyl transfer reactions in the caffeine-biosynthesis pathway, have been cloned and the proteins have been expressed in Escherichia coli. Both proteins have been crystallized in the presence of the demethylated cofactor S-adenosyl-l-cysteine (SAH) and substrate (xanthosine for XMT and theobromine for DXMT). The crystals are orthorhombic, with space group P212121 for XMT and C2221 for DXMT. X-ray diffraction to 2.8 Å for XMT and to 2.5 Å for DXMT have been collected on beamline ID23-1 at the ESRF.
caffeine; SAM; N-methyltransferases