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The structural biology of today is the pharmacology, medical treatment, and biotechnology of tomorrow

A gateway to realm of structural data for biochemists, biophysicists, molecular biologist, and all scientists whose research benefits from accurate structure determination of biological macromolecules, assemblies, and complex molecular machineries at atomic resolution.

Open access to 10 high-end core facilities and assisted expertise in NMR, X-ray crystallography and crystallization, cryo-electron microscopy and tomography, biophysical characterization of biomolecular interaction, nanobiotechnology, proteomics and structural mass spectrometry.

A distributed infrastructure constituted by Core Facilities of CEITEC (Central European Institute of Technology), located in Brno, and BIOCEV (Biotechnology and Biomedicine Centre), located in Vestec near Prague, Central Bohemia.


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CIISB Research Results

T. Machackova, et al.: Utility of RNA sequencing for transcriptome analysis of small extracellular vesicles derived from blood sera of colorectal cancer patients, Cancer Res., 83 (2023) 3, 10.1158/1538-7445.Am2023-6709

P.N. Pham, et al.: Regulation of IL-24/IL-20R2 complex formation using photocaged tyrosines and UV light, Front. Mol. Biosci., 10 (2023) 14, 10.3389/fmolb.2023.1214235

P. Pourali, et al.: Biological Production of Gold Nanoparticles at Different Temperatures: Efficiency Assessment, Particle & Particle Systems Characterization, (2023) 10, 10.1002/ppsc.202200182

P. Slavik, et al.: Synthesis of Enantiomerically Pure Bambus 6 urils Utilizing Orthogonal Protection of Glycolurils, Journal of Organic Chemistry, (2023) 9, 10.1021/acs.joc.3c00667

J. Novotny, et al.: Flipping hosts in hyperfine fields of paramagnetic guests, Cell Rep. Phys. Sci., 4 (2023) 15, 10.1016/j.xcrp.2023.101461

M. Opatikova, et al.: Cryo-EM structure of a plant photosystem II supercomplex with light-harvesting protein Lhcb8 and & alpha;-tocopherol, Nat. Plants, (2023) 14, 10.1038/s41477-023-01483-0

H. Paternoga, et al.: Structural conservation of antibiotic interaction with ribosomes, Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol., (2023) 35, 10.1038/s41594-023-01047-y

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CIISB Research Highlights

the best of science obtained using CIISB Core Facilities

  • Nature Communications 2023 - 2

    Nature Communications 2023 - 2

    Micro-CT images of P0 pups with control and low iron diet, containing 178.58 mg iron/kg or 5.16 mg iron/kg, respectively. The kidney (red), interscapular brown adipose tissue (IBAT) (yellow), liver (green), and adrenal glands (orange) are segmented using 3D Visualization software and superimposed onto the pups.

    Julian Petersen and Igor Adamyeko Research Group


    In this study, we use comparative genomics to uncover a gene with uncharacterized function (1700011H14Rik/C14orf105/CCDC198), which we hereby name FAME (Factor Associated with Metabolism and Energy). We observe that FAME shows an unusually high evolutionary divergence in birds and mammals. Through the comparison of single nucleotide polymorphisms, we identify gene flow of FAME from Neandertals into modern humans. We conduct knockout experiments on animals and observe altered body weight and decreased energy expenditure in Fame knockout animals, corresponding to genome-wide association studies linking FAME with higher body mass index in humans. Gene expression and subcellular localization analyses reveal that FAME is a membrane-bound protein enriched in the kidneys. Although the gene knockout results in structurally normal kidneys, we detect higher albumin in urine and lowered ferritin in the blood. Through experimental validation, we confirm interactions between FAME and ferritin and show co-localization in vesicular and plasma membranes.

    Petersen, J., Englmaier, L., Artemov, A.V. et al. A previously uncharacterized Factor Associated with Metabolism and Energy (FAME/C14orf105/CCDC198/1700011H14Rik) is related to evolutionary adaptation, energy balance, and kidney physiology.

    Nat Commun. 14, 3092 (2023).


  • Nature Plants 2023

    Nature Plants 2023

    a, The view of the C2S2 supercomplex from the lumenal side with indicated subunits of light-harvesting antenna, Lhcb5, Lhcb8 and the S-LHCII trimer, bound to the dimeric core complex. b, The side view of the C2S2 supercomplex along the membrane plane. c, Assigned subunits of the core complex.

    Roman Kouřil Research Group


    The heart of oxygenic photosynthesis is the water-splitting photosystem II (PSII), which forms supercomplexes with a variable amount of peripheral trimeric light-harvesting complexes (LHCII). Our knowledge of the structure of green plant PSII supercomplex is based on findings obtained from several representatives of green algae and flowering plants; however, data from a non-flowering plant are currently missing. Here we report a cryo-electron microscopy structure of PSII supercomplex from spruce, a representative of non-flowering land plants, at 2.8 Å resolution. Compared with flowering plants, PSII supercomplex in spruce contains an additional Ycf12 subunit, Lhcb4 protein is replaced by Lhcb8, and trimeric LHCII is present as a homotrimer of Lhcb1. Unexpectedly, we have found α-tocopherol (α-Toc)/α-tocopherolquinone (α-TQ) at the boundary between the LHCII trimer and the inner antenna CP43. The molecule of α-Toc/α-TQ is located close to chlorophyll a614 of one of the Lhcb1 proteins and its chromanol/quinone head is exposed to the thylakoid lumen. The position of α-Toc in PSII supercomplex makes it an ideal candidate for the sensor of excessive light, as α-Toc can be oxidized to α-TQ by high-light-induced singlet oxygen at low lumenal pH. The molecule of α-TQ appears to shift slightly into the PSII supercomplex, which could trigger important structure–functional modifications in PSII supercomplex. Inspection of the previously reported cryo-electron microscopy maps of PSII supercomplexes indicates that α-Toc/α-TQ can be present at the same site also in PSII supercomplexes from flowering plants, but its identification in the previous studies has been hindered by insufficient resolution.

    Opatíková, M., Semchonok, D.A., Kopečný, D. et al. Cryo-EM structure of a plant photosystem II supercomplex with light-harvesting protein Lhcb8 and α-tocopherol.

    Nat. Plants 9, 1359–1369 (2023).

  • Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 2023

    Nature Structural and Molecular Biology 2023

    The central ring shows a superimposition of the binding sites on the SSU (gray) of the antibiotics tetracycline (blue), spectinomycin (yellow), hygromycin B (pink), kasugamycin (red), apramycin (green), gentamicin (cyan) and streptomycin (orange), which is surrounded by insets highlighting the interactions between the drug and the 16S rRNA (gray), waters (red spheres with gray transparent density), magnesium ions (green spheres), putative K+ ions (purple sphere with transparent gray density) and uS12 (orange). Potential hydrogen bonds are indicated as dashed lines, colored orange for direct interaction between the drug and the small subunit, cyan for water-mediated interactions, green for Mg2+ ion coordination and purple for K+ coordination.

    Daniel Wilson Research Group


    The ribosome is a major target for clinically used antibiotics, but multidrug resistant pathogenic bacteria are making our current arsenal of antimicrobials obsolete. Here we present cryo-electron-microscopy structures of 17 distinct compounds from six different antibiotic classes bound to the bacterial ribosome at resolutions ranging from 1.6 to 2.2 Å. The improved resolution enables a precise description of antibiotic–ribosome interactions, encompassing solvent networks that mediate multiple additional interactions between the drugs and their target. Our results reveal a high structural conservation in the binding mode between antibiotics with the same scaffold, including ordered water molecules. Water molecules are visualized within the antibiotic binding sites that are preordered, become ordered in the presence of the drug and that are physically displaced on drug binding. Insight into RNA–ligand interactions will facilitate development of new antimicrobial agents, as well as other RNA-targeting therapies.

    Paternoga, H., Crowe-McAuliffe, C., Bock, L.V. et al. Structural conservation of antibiotic interaction with ribosomes.

    Nat Struct Mol Biol (2023).

More publications Research Highlights archive

Reader’s Corner

literature to read, science to follow

In this section, a distinct selection of six highly stimulating research publications and reviews published during past 6 months is presented. It is our hope that links to exciting science, which deserves attention of the structural biology community, will help you to locate gems in the steadily expanding jungle of scientific literature. You are welcome to point out to any paper you found interesting by sending a link or citation to The section is being updated regularly.


29 Aug

Cryo-EM structure of coagulation factor V short (Blood)

Coagulation factor V (fV) is the precursor of activated fV (fVa), an essential component of the prothrombinase complex required for the rapid activation of prothrombin in the penultimate step of the coagulation cascade. In addition, fV regulates the tissue factor pathway inhibitor α (TFPIα) and protein C pathways that inhibit the coagulation response. A recent cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of fV has revealed the architecture of its A1-A2-B-A3-C1-C2 assembly but left the mechanism that keeps fV in its inactive state unresolved because of an intrinsic disorder in the B domain. A splice variant of fV, fV short, carries a large deletion of the B domain that produces constitutive fVa-like activity and unmasks epitopes for the binding of TFPIα. The cryo-EM structure of fV short was solved at 3.2 Å resolution and revealed the arrangement of the entire A1-A2-B-A3-C1-C2 assembly. The shorter B domain stretches across the entire width of the protein, making contacts with the A1, A2, and A3 domains but suspended over the C1 and C2 domains. In the portion distal to the splice site, several hydrophobic clusters and acidic residues provide a potential binding site for the basic C-terminal end of TFPIα. In fV, these epitopes may bind intramolecularly to the basic region of the B domain. The cryo-EM structure reported in this study advances our understanding of the mechanism that keeps fV in its inactive state, provides new targets for mutagenesis and facilitates future structural analysis of fV short in complex with TFPIα, protein S, and fXa.

29 Aug

TDP-43 forms amyloid filaments with a distinct fold in type A FTLD-TDP (Nature)

The abnormal assembly of TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) in neuronal and glial cells characterizes nearly all cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and around half of cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). A causal role for TDP-43 assembly in neurodegeneration is evidenced by dominantly inherited missense mutations in TARDBP, the gene encoding TDP-43, that promote assembly and give rise to ALS and FTLD. At least four types (A–D) of FTLD with TDP-43 pathology (FTLD-TDP) are defined by distinct brain distributions of assembled TDP-43 and are associated with different clinical presentations of frontotemporal dementia. We previously showed, using cryo-electron microscopy, that TDP-43 assembles into amyloid filaments in ALS and type B FTLD-TDP. However, the structures of assembled TDP-43 in FTLD without ALS remained unknown. Here we report the cryo-electron microscopy structures of assembled TDP-43 from the brains of three individuals with the most common type of FTLD-TDP, type A. TDP-43 formed amyloid filaments with a new fold that was the same across individuals, indicating that this fold may characterize type A FTLD-TDP. The fold resembles a chevron badge and is unlike the double-spiral-shaped fold of ALS and type B FTLD-TDP, establishing that distinct filament folds of TDP-43 characterize different neurodegenerative conditions. The structures, in combination with mass spectrometry, led to the identification of two new post-translational modifications of assembled TDP-43, citrullination and monomethylation of R293, and indicate that they may facilitate filament formation and observed structural variation in individual filaments. The structures of TDP-43 filaments from type A FTLD-TDP will guide mechanistic studies of TDP-43 assembly, as well as the development of diagnostic and therapeutic compounds for TDP-43 proteinopathies.

18 Aug

Structural basis for specific RNA recognition by the alternative splicing factor RBM5 (Nature Communications)

The RNA-binding motif protein RBM5 belongs to a family of multi-domain RNA binding proteins that regulate alternative splicing of genes important for apoptosis and cell proliferation and have been implicated in cancer. RBM5 harbors structural modules for RNA recognition, such as RRM domains and a Zn finger, and protein-protein interactions such as an OCRE domain. Here, we characterize binding of the RBM5 RRM1-ZnF1-RRM2 domains to cis-regulatory RNA elements. A structure of the RRM1-ZnF1 region in complex with RNA shows how the tandem domains cooperate to sandwich target RNA and specifically recognize a GG dinucleotide in a non-canonical fashion. While the RRM1-ZnF1 domains act as a single structural module, RRM2 is connected by a flexible linker and tumbles independently. However, all three domains participate in RNA binding and adopt a closed architecture upon RNA binding. Our data highlight how cooperativity and conformational modularity of multiple RNA binding domains enable the recognition of distinct RNA motifs, thereby contributing to the regulation of alternative splicing. Remarkably, we observe surprising differences in coupling of the RNA binding domains between the closely related homologs RBM5 and RBM10. The RNA binding protein RBM5 regulates alternative splicing of genes implicated in cancer. Here the authors show structural mechanisms how multiple RNA binding domains of RBM5 cooperate to recognize specific target RNA sequences.

Reader’s Corner Archive

Quote of October

“The distance between insanity and genius is measured only by success.”

Bruce Feirstein

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