Matching Items (3)

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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.

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Date Created
  • 2015-08-21

Serial time-resolved crystallography of photosystem II using a femtosecond X-ray laser

Description

Photosynthesis, a process catalysed by plants, algae and cyanobacteria converts sunlight to energy thus sustaining all higher life on Earth. Two large membrane protein complexes, photosystem I and II (PSI

Photosynthesis, a process catalysed by plants, algae and cyanobacteria converts sunlight to energy thus sustaining all higher life on Earth. Two large membrane protein complexes, photosystem I and II (PSI and PSII), act in series to catalyse the light-driven reactions in photosynthesis. PSII catalyses the light-driven water splitting process, which maintains the Earth’s oxygenic atmosphere. In this process, the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) of PSII cycles through five states, S[subscript 0] to S[subscript 4], in which four electrons are sequentially extracted from the OEC in four light-driven charge-separation events. Here we describe time resolved experiments on PSII nano/microcrystals from Thermosynechococcus elongatus performed with the recently developed technique of serial femtosecond crystallography. Structures have been determined from PSII in the dark S[subscript 1] state and after double laser excitation (putative S[subscript 3] state) at 5 and 5.5 Å resolution, respectively. The results provide evidence that PSII undergoes significant conformational changes at the electron acceptor side and at the Mn[subscript 4]CaO[subscript 5] core of the OEC. These include an elongation of the metal cluster, accompanied by changes in the protein environment, which could allow for binding of the second substrate water molecule between the more distant protruding Mn (referred to as the ‘dangler’ Mn) and the Mn[subscript 3]CaO[subscript x] cubane in the S[subscript 2] to S[subscript 3] transition, as predicted by spectroscopic and computational studies. This work shows the great potential for time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography for investigation of catalytic processes in biomolecules.

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Date Created
  • 2014-09-11

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Isolation and functional studies of the F-type ATP synthase from spinach chloroplasts and Heliobacterium modesticaldum

Description

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the universal chemical energy currency in most living cells, used to power many cellular reactions and generated by an enzyme supercomplex known as the ATP synthase,

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the universal chemical energy currency in most living cells, used to power many cellular reactions and generated by an enzyme supercomplex known as the ATP synthase, consisting of a hydrophilic F1 subcomplex and a membrane-bound FO subcomplex. Driven by the electrochemical gradient generated by the respiratory or photosynthetic electron transport chain, the rotation of the FO domain drives movements of the central stalk in response to conformational changes in the F1 domain, in which the physical energy is converted into chemical energy through the condensation of ADP and Pi to ATP. The exact mechanism how ATP synthesis is coupled to proton translocation is not known as no structure of the intact ATP-synthase nor the intact FO subcomplex has been determined to date. Structural information may shed light on these mechanisms and aid in understanding how structural changed relate to its coupling to ATP synthesis. The work in this thesis has successful established a defined large-scale CF1FO isolation procedure resulting in high purity and high yield of this complex from spinach thylakoid membranes by incorporating a unique combination of biochemical methods will form the basis for the subsequent structural determination of this complex. Isolation began from the isolation of intact chloroplasts and the separation of intact thylakoid membranes. Both native and denaturing electrophoresis analyses clearly demonstrated that the purified CF1FO retains its quaternary structure consisting of the CF1 and CFO subcomplexes and nine subunits (five F1 subunits: α, β, γ, δ and ε, and four FO subunits: a, b, b' and c). Moreover, both ATP synthesis and hydrolysis activities were successfully detected using protein reconstitution in combination with acid-base incubation and in-gel ATPase assays, respectively. Furthermore, the ATP-synthase of H. modesticaldum, an anaerobic photosynthetic bacterium, was also isolated and characterized at the biochemical level. These biochemical characterizations directly influenced recent studies on the high-resolution structure determination of intact CF1FO using electron crystallography on two-dimensional crystals. The availability of the functionally intact CF1FO purified at a large scale will lead to studies that investigate the possible crystallization conditions to ultimately determine its three-dimensional structure at atomic resolution.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015