Matching Items (7)

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Bacterial Expression, Correct Membrane Targeting, and Functional Folding of the HIV-1 Membrane Protein Vpu Using a Periplasmic Signal Peptide

Description

Viral protein U (Vpu) is a type-III integral membrane protein encoded by Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV- 1). It is expressed in infected host cells and plays several roles in viral

Viral protein U (Vpu) is a type-III integral membrane protein encoded by Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV- 1). It is expressed in infected host cells and plays several roles in viral progeny escape from infected cells, including down-regulation of CD4 receptors. But key structure/function questions remain regarding the mechanisms by which the Vpu protein contributes to HIV-1 pathogenesis. Here we describe expression of Vpu in bacteria, its purification and characterization. We report the successful expression of PelB-Vpu in Escherichia coli using the leader peptide pectate lyase B (PelB) from Erwinia carotovora. The protein was detergent extractable and could be isolated in a very pure form. We demonstrate that the PelB signal peptide successfully targets Vpu to the cell membranes and inserts it as a type I membrane protein. PelB-Vpu was biophysically characterized by circular dichroism and dynamic light scattering experiments and was shown to be an excellent candidate for elucidating structural models.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-02-22

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Biophysical Characterization of a Vaccine Candidate Against HIV-1: The Transmembrane and Membrane Proximal Domains of HIV-1 gp41 as a Maltose Binding Protein Fusion

Description

The membrane proximal region (MPR, residues 649–683) and transmembrane domain (TMD, residues 684–705) of the gp41 subunit of HIV-1’s envelope protein are highly conserved and are important in viral mucosal

The membrane proximal region (MPR, residues 649–683) and transmembrane domain (TMD, residues 684–705) of the gp41 subunit of HIV-1’s envelope protein are highly conserved and are important in viral mucosal transmission, virus attachment and membrane fusion with target cells. Several structures of the trimeric membrane proximal external region (residues 662–683) of MPR have been reported at the atomic level; however, the atomic structure of the TMD still remains unknown. To elucidate the structure of both MPR and TMD, we expressed the region spanning both domains, MPR-TM (residues 649–705), in Escherichia coli as a fusion protein with maltose binding protein (MBP). MPR-TM was initially fused to the C-terminus of MBP via a 42 aa-long linker containing a TEV protease recognition site (MBP-linker-MPR-TM).

Biophysical characterization indicated that the purified MBP-linker-MPR-TM protein was a monodisperse and stable candidate for crystallization. However, crystals of the MBP-linker-MPR-TM protein could not be obtained in extensive crystallization screens. It is possible that the 42 residue-long linker between MBP and MPR-TM was interfering with crystal formation. To test this hypothesis, the 42 residue-long linker was replaced with three alanine residues. The fusion protein, MBP-AAA-MPR-TM, was similarly purified and characterized. Significantly, both the MBP-linker-MPR-TM and MBP-AAA-MPR-TM proteins strongly interacted with broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies 2F5 and 4E10. With epitopes accessible to the broadly neutralizing antibodies, these MBP/MPR-TM recombinant proteins may be in immunologically relevant conformations that mimic a pre-hairpin intermediate of gp41.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-08-21

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Expression, purification and crystallization of CTB-MPR, a candidate mucosal vaccine component against HIV-1

Description

CTB-MPR is a fusion protein between the B subunit of cholera toxin (CTB) and the membrane-proximal region of gp41 (MPR), the transmembrane envelope protein of Human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1),

CTB-MPR is a fusion protein between the B subunit of cholera toxin (CTB) and the membrane-proximal region of gp41 (MPR), the transmembrane envelope protein of Human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1), and has previously been shown to induce the production of anti-HIV-1 antibodies with antiviral functions. To further improve the design of this candidate vaccine, X-ray crystallography experiments were performed to obtain structural information about this fusion protein. Several variants of CTB-MPR were designed, constructed and recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli. The first variant contained a flexible GPGP linker between CTB and MPR, and yielded crystals that diffracted to a resolution of 2.3 Å, but only the CTB region was detected in the electron-density map. A second variant, in which the CTB was directly attached to MPR, was shown to destabilize pentamer formation. A third construct containing a polyalanine linker between CTB and MPR proved to stabilize the pentameric form of the protein during purification. The purification procedure was shown to produce a homogeneously pure and monodisperse sample for crystallization. Initial crystallization experiments led to pseudo-crystals which were ordered in only two dimensions and were disordered in the third dimension. Nanocrystals obtained using the same precipitant showed promising X-ray diffraction to 5 Å resolution in femtosecond nanocrystallography experiments at the Linac Coherent Light Source at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. The results demonstrate the utility of femtosecond X-ray crystallography to enable structural analysis based on nano/microcrystals of a protein for which no macroscopic crystals ordered in three dimensions have been observed before.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2014-08-20

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Polyclonal Antibody Production for Membrane Proteins via Genetic Immunization

Description

Antibodies are essential for structural determinations and functional studies of membrane proteins, but antibody generation is limited by the availability of properly-folded and purified antigen. We describe the first application

Antibodies are essential for structural determinations and functional studies of membrane proteins, but antibody generation is limited by the availability of properly-folded and purified antigen. We describe the first application of genetic immunization to a structurally diverse set of membrane proteins to show that immunization of mice with DNA alone produced antibodies against 71% (n = 17) of the bacterial and viral targets. Antibody production correlated with prior reports of target immunogenicity in host organisms, underscoring the efficiency of this DNA-gold micronanoplex approach. To generate each antigen for antibody characterization, we also developed a simple in vitro membrane protein expression and capture method. Antibody specificity was demonstrated upon identifying, for the first time, membrane-directed heterologous expression of the native sequences of the FopA and FTT1525 virulence determinants from the select agent Francisella tularensis SCHU S4. These approaches will accelerate future structural and functional investigations of therapeutically-relevant membrane proteins.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2016-02-24

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Microfluidic sorting of protein nanocrystals by size for X-ray free-electron laser diffraction

Description

The advent and application of the X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) has uncovered the structures of proteins that could not previously be solved using traditional crystallography. While this new technology is

The advent and application of the X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) has uncovered the structures of proteins that could not previously be solved using traditional crystallography. While this new technology is powerful, optimization of the process is still needed to improve data quality and analysis efficiency. One area is sample heterogeneity, where variations in crystal size (among other factors) lead to the requirement of large data sets (and thus 10–100 mg of protein) for determining accurate structure factors. To decrease sample dispersity, we developed a high-throughput microfluidic sorter operating on the principle of dielectrophoresis, whereby polydisperse particles can be transported into various fluid streams for size fractionation. Using this microsorter, we isolated several milliliters of photosystem I nanocrystal fractions ranging from 200 to 600 nm in size as characterized by dynamic light scattering, nanoparticle tracking, and electron microscopy. Sorted nanocrystals were delivered in a liquid jet via the gas dynamic virtual nozzle into the path of the XFEL at the Linac Coherent Light Source. We obtained diffraction to ∼4 Å resolution, indicating that the small crystals were not damaged by the sorting process. We also observed the shape transforms of photosystem I nanocrystals, demonstrating that our device can optimize data collection for the shape transform-based phasing method. Using simulations, we show that narrow crystal size distributions can significantly improve merged data quality in serial crystallography. From this proof-of-concept work, we expect that the automated size-sorting of protein crystals will become an important step for sample production by reducing the amount of protein needed for a high quality final structure and the development of novel phasing methods that exploit inter-Bragg reflection intensities or use variations in beam intensity for radiation damage-induced phasing. This method will also permit an analysis of the dependence of crystal quality on crystal size.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-08-19

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A Hinge Migration Mechanism Unlocks the Evolution of Green-to-Red Photoconversion in GFP-like Proteins

Description

In proteins, functional divergence involves mutations that modify structure and dynamics. Here we provide experimental evidence for an evolutionary mechanism driven solely by long-range dynamic motions without significant backbone adjustments,

In proteins, functional divergence involves mutations that modify structure and dynamics. Here we provide experimental evidence for an evolutionary mechanism driven solely by long-range dynamic motions without significant backbone adjustments, catalytic group rearrangements, or changes in subunit assembly. Crystallographic structures were determined for several reconstructed ancestral proteins belonging to a GFP class frequently employed in superresolution microscopy. Their chain flexibility was analyzed using molecular dynamics and perturbation response scanning. The green-to-red photoconvertible phenotype appears to have arisen from a common green ancestor by migration of a knob-like anchoring region away from the active site diagonally across the β barrel fold. The allosterically coupled mutational sites provide active site conformational mobility via epistasis. We propose that light-induced chromophore twisting is enhanced in a reverse-protonated subpopulation, activating internal acid-base chemistry and backbone cleavage to enlarge the chromophore. Dynamics-driven hinge migration may represent a more general platform for the evolution of novel enzyme activities.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2015-01-06

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Double-flow Focused Liquid Injector for Efficient Serial Femtosecond Crystallography

Description

Serial femtosecond crystallography requires reliable and efficient delivery of fresh crystals across the beam of an X-ray free-electron laser over the course of an experiment. We introduce a double-flow focusing

Serial femtosecond crystallography requires reliable and efficient delivery of fresh crystals across the beam of an X-ray free-electron laser over the course of an experiment. We introduce a double-flow focusing nozzle to meet this challenge, with significantly reduced sample consumption, while improving jet stability over previous generations of nozzles. We demonstrate its use to determine the first room-temperature structure of RNA polymerase II at high resolution, revealing new structural details. Moreover, the double flow-focusing nozzles were successfully tested with three other protein samples and the first room temperature structure of an extradiol ring-cleaving dioxygenase was solved by utilizing the improved operation and characteristics of these devices.

Contributors

Created

Date Created
  • 2017-03-16