ICRI 2022: International Conference on Research Infrastructures: 19. – 21. October 2022
The upcoming International Conference on Research Infrastructures in 2022 will take place in Brno, Czech Republic, from October 19 until October 21.
The upcoming International Conference on Research Infrastructures in 2022 will take place in Brno, Czech Republic, from October 19 until October 21.
The Institute of Biotechnology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic at the Biotechnology and Biomedicine Centre of the Academy of Sciences and Charles University in Vestec announces an open full-time position: Head of protein production core facility
The TRANSVAC2 TNA call is open, providing a wide range of services designed to help researchers across Europe in vaccine research and development. The deadline for the call is 15th January 2022.
Inspired by the three RI-VIS International Symposia, CREMLINplus has organised the Russia – Europe Symposium, designed to bring together both regions to foster new RI partnerships. The symposium will take place Friday 17th December 2021.
The Instruct-ERIC Training Call is still open for applications! Courses could be either theoretical, or include practical training. The deadline for the call is 30th December 2021.
The series Emerging topics in Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance will continue on 9th of December at 16:00 CEST with the following lecturers and topics:
Critical to viral infection are the multiple interactions between viral proteins and host-cell counterparts. The first such interaction is the recognition of viral envelope proteins by surface receptors that normally fulfil other physiological roles, a hijacking mechanism perfected over the course of evolution. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has successfully adopted this strategy using its spike glycoprotein to dock on the membrane-bound metalloprotease angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The crystal structures of several SARS-CoV-2 proteins alone or in complex with their receptors or other ligands were recently solved at an unprecedented pace. This accomplishment is partly due to the increasing availability of data on other coronaviruses and ACE2 over the past 18 years. Likewise, other key intervening actors and mechanisms of viral infection were elucidated with the aid of biophysical approaches. An understanding of the various structurally important motifs of the interacting partners provides key mechanistic information for the development of structure-based designer drugs able to inhibit various steps of the infective cycle, including neutralizing antibodies, small organic drugs, and vaccines. This review analyzes current progress and the outlook for future structural studies.
Stockwell, B.R., Chavez, A., and Ho, D.D. report the identification of three structurally diverse compounds – compound 4, GC376, and MAC-5576 – as inhibitors of the SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease. Structures of each of these compounds in complex with the protease revealed strategies for further development, as well as general principles for designing SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease inhibitors. These compounds may therefore serve as leads for the basis of building effective SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease inhibitors.
Antibodies are crucial to immune protection against SARS-CoV-2, with some in emergency use as therapeutics. Here, we identify 377 human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) recognizing the virus spike and focus mainly on 80 that bind the receptor binding domain (RBD). We devise a competition data-driven method to map RBD binding sites. We find that although antibody binding sites are widely dispersed, neutralizing antibody binding is focused, with nearly all highly inhibitory mAbs (IC50 < 0.1 mu g/mL) blocking receptor interaction, except for one that binds a unique epitope in the N-terminal domain. Many of these neutralizing mAbs use public V-genes and are close to germline. We dissect the structural basis of recognition for this large panel of antibodies through X-ray crystallography and cryoelectron microscopy of 19 Fab-antigen structures. We find novel binding modes for some potently inhibitory antibodies and demonstrate that strongly neutralizing mAbs protect, prophylactically or therapeutically, in animal models.
Multidimensional TOCSY and NOESY are central experiments in chemical and biophysical NMR. Limited efficiencies are an intrinsic downside of these methods, particularly when targeting labile sites. This study reported by L. Frydman et. al. demonstrates that the decoherence imparted on these protons through solvent exchanges can, when suitably manipulated, lead to dramatic sensitivity gains per unit time in the acquisition of these experiments. To achieve this, a priori selected frequencies are encoded according to Hadamard recipes, while concurrently subject to looped selective inversion or selective saturation procedures. Suitable processing then leads to protein, oligosaccharide and nucleic acid cross-peak enhancements of ≈200–1000% per scan, in measurements that are ≈10-fold faster than conventional counterparts. The extent of these gains will depend on the solvent exchange and relaxation rates of the targeted sites; these gains also benefit considerably from the spectral resolution provided by ultrahigh fields, as corroborated by NMR experiments at 600 MHz and 1 GHz. The mechanisms underlying these experiments’ enhanced efficiencies are analyzed on the basis of three-way polarization transfer interplays between the water, labile and non-labile protons, and the experimental results are rationalized using both analytical and numerical derivations. Limitations as well as further extensions of the proposed methods, are also discussed.
Membrane proteins (MPs) used to be the most difficult targets for structural biology when X-ray crystallography was the mainstream approach. With the resolution revolution of single-particle electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM), rapid progress has been made for structural elucidation of isolated MPs. The next challenge is to preserve the electrochemical gradients and membrane curvature for a comprehensive structural elucidation of MPs that rely on these chemical and physical properties for their biological functions. Toward this goal, here Fan, X., Yan, N. et.al. present a convenient workflow for cryo-EM structural analysis of MPs embedded in liposomes, using the well-characterized AcrB as a prototype. Combining optimized proteoliposome isolation, cryo-sample preparation on graphene grids, and an efficient particle selection strategy, the three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction of AcrB embedded in liposomes was obtained at 3.9 angstrom resolution. The conformation of the homotrimeric AcrB remains the same when the surrounding membranes display different curvatures. Their approach, which can be widely applied to cryo-EM analysis of MPs with distinctive soluble domains, lays out the foundation for cryo-EM analysis of integral or peripheral MPs whose functions are affected by transmembrane electrochemical gradients or/and membrane curvatures.
A primary reason for the intense interest in structural biology is the fact that knowledge of structure can elucidate macromolecular functions in living organisms. Sustained effort has resulted in an impressive arsenal of tools for determining the static structures. But under physiological conditions, macromolecules undergo continuous conformational changes, a subset of which are functionally important. Techniques for capturing the continuous conformational changes underlying function are essential for further progress. Here, des Georges, Singharoy, Frank, and Ourmazd et. al. present chemically-detailed conformational movies of biological function, extracted data-analytically from experimental single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) snapshots of ryanodine receptor type 1 (RyR1), a calcium-activated calcium channel engaged in the binding of ligands. The functional motions differ substantially from those inferred from static structures in the nature of conformationally active structural domains, the sequence and extent of conformational motions, and the way allosteric signals are transduced within and between domains. Their approach highlights the importance of combining experiment, advanced data analysis, and molecular simulations. There is a great interest in retrieving functional pathways from cryo-EM single-particle data. Here, the authors present an approach that combines cryo-EM with advanced data-analytical methods and molecular dynamics simulations to reveal the functional pathways traversed on experimentally derived energy landscapes using the ryanodine receptor type 1 as an example.
Sensing and responding to temperature is crucial in biology. The TRPV1 ion channel is a well- studied heat-sensing receptor that is also activated by vanilloid compounds, including cap- saicin. Despite significant interest, the molecular underpinnings of thermosensing have remained elusive. The TRPV1 S1-S4 membrane domain couples chemical ligand binding to the pore domain during channel gating. Here W.D.Van Horn e.al. show that the S1-S4 domain also significantly contributes to thermosensing and couples to heat-activated gating. Evaluation of the isolated human TRPV1 S1-S4 domain by solution NMR, far-UV CD, and intrinsic fluorescence shows that this domain undergoes a non-denaturing temperature-dependent transition with a high thermosensitivity. Further NMR characterization of the temperature-dependent conformational changes suggests the contribution of the S1-S4 domain to thermosensing shares features with known coupling mechanisms between this domain with ligand and pH activation. Taken together, this study shows that the TRPV1 S1-S4 domain contributes to TRPV1 temperature-dependent activation.
Natural products serve as chemical blueprints for most antibiotics in clinical use. The evolutionary process by which these molecules arise is inherently accompanied by the co-evolution of resistance mechanisms that shorten the clinical lifetime of any given class of antibiotics. Virginiamycin acetyltransferase (Vat) enzymes are resistance proteins that provide protection against streptogramins, potent antibiotics against Gram-positive bacteria that inhibit the bacterial ribosome. Owing to the challenge of selectively modifying the chemically complex, 23-membered macrocyclic scaffold of group A streptogramins, analogues that overcome the resistance conferred by Vat enzymes have not been previously developed. Here we report the design, synthesis, and antibacterial evaluation of group A streptogramin antibiotics with extensive structural variability. Using cryo-electron microscopy and forcefield-based refinement, I.B.Seiple et al. characterize the binding of eight analogues to the bacterial ribosome at high resolution, revealing binding interactions that extend into the peptidyl tRNA-binding site and towards synergistic binders that occupy the nascent peptide exit tunnel. One of these analogues has excellent activity against several streptogramin-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, exhibits decreased rates of acetylation in vitro, and is effective at lowering bacterial load in a mouse model of infection. Their results demonstrate that the combination of rational design and modular chemical synthesis can revitalize classes of antibiotics that are limited by naturally arising resistance mechanisms.
For the sake of energy preservation, bacteria, upon transition to stationary phase, tone down their protein synthesis. This process is favored by the reversible binding of small stress- induced proteins to the ribosome to prevent unnecessary translation. One example is the conserved bacterial ribosome silencing factor (RsfS) that binds to uL14 protein onto the large ribosomal subunit and prevents its association with the small subunit. Here G. Yusupova, M, Yusupov et.al. describe the binding mode of Staphylococcus aureus RsfS to the large ribosomal subunit and present a 3.2 Å resolution cryo-EM reconstruction of the 50S-RsfS complex together with the crystal structure of uL14-RsfS complex solved at 2.3 Å resolution. The understanding of the detailed landscape of RsfS-uL14 interactions within the ribosome shed light on the mechanism of ribosome shutdown in the human pathogen S. aureus and might deliver a novel target for pharmacological drug development and treatment of bacterial infections.
Plants as non-mobile organisms constantly integrate varying environmental signals to flexibly adapt their growth and development. Local fluctuations in water and nutrient availability, sudden changes in temperature or other abiotic and biotic stresses can trigger changes in the growth of plant organs. Multiple mutually interconnected hormonal signaling cascades act as essential endogenous translators of these exogenous signals in the adaptive responses of plants. Although the molecular backbones of hormone transduction pathways have been identified, the mechanisms underlying their interactions are largely unknown. Here, using genome wide transcriptome profiling E. Benková et. al. identify an auxin and cytokinin cross-talk component; SYNERGISTIC ON AUXIN AND CYTOKININ 1 (SYAC1), whose expression in roots is strictly dependent on both of these hormonal pathways. They show that SYAC1 is a regulator of secretory pathway, whose enhanced activity interferes with deposition of cell wall components and can fine-tune organ growth and sensitivity to soil pathogens.
Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) have fluctuating heterogeneous conformations, which makes their structural characterization challenging. Although challenging, characterization of the conformational ensembles of IDPs is of great interest, since their conformational ensembles are the link between their sequences and functions. An accurate description of IDP conformational ensembles depends crucially on the amount and quality of the experimental data, how it is integrated, and if it supports a consistent structural picture. G-N.W. Gomes and C. Gradinaru et.al. used integrative modeling and validation to apply conformational restraints and assess agreement with the most common structural techniques for IDPs: Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, Small-angle X-ray Scattering (SAXS), and single-molecule Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (smFRET). Agreement with such a diverse set of experimental data suggests that details of the generated ensembles can now be examined with a high degree of confidence. Using the disordered N-terminal region of the Sic1 protein as a test case, they examined relationships between average global polymeric descriptions and higher-moments of their distributions. To resolve apparent discrepancies between smFRET and SAXS inferences, they integrated SAXS data with NMR data and reserved the smFRET data for independent validation. Consistency with smFRET, which was not guaranteed a priori, indicates that, globally, the perturbative effects of NMR or smFRET labels on the Sic1 ensemble are minimal. Analysis of the ensembles revealed distinguishing features of Sic1, such as overall compactness and large end-to-end distance fluctuations, which are consistent with biophysical models of Sic1’s ultrasensitive binding to its partner Cdc4. Their results underscore the importance of integrative modeling and validation in generating and drawing conclusions from IDP conformational ensembles.