Emerging Topics in Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance – Nick Cox & Kendra Frederick
The series Emerging topics in Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance will continue on July 9th at 16:00 CEST with the following lecturers and topics:
Nick Cox (Australian National University): Spin state evolution during the biological water splitting reaction
Kendra Frederick (UT Southwestern): In cell structural biology enabled by DNP MAS NMR
Emerging Topics in Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance – 4th edition
The series Emerging topics in Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance will continue on June 25th at 16:00 CEST with the following lecturers and topics:
Melinda J. Duer (University of Cambridge): Understanding extracellular matrix disease states with solid-state NMR?
Claudio Luchinat (University of Florence): NMR for metabolomics: again the ‘second best’ technique?
Emerging Topics in Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance – 3rd edition
The series Emerging topics in Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance will continue on June 18th at 16:00 CEST with the following lecturers and topics:
Tuo Wang (Louisiana State University): Elucidation of carbohydrate structure in plant biomass and fungal pathogens using solid-state NMR and DNP methods
Rina Rosenzweig (Weizmann Institute of Science): Molecular Chaperones in Protein Disaggregation - What we can learn from NMR
Emerging Topics in Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance – On-line lecture series
The series will continue on Thursday, June 11, 2020 at 16:00 CEST with two cutting-edge 30 minutes presentations:
Putative Amyloids in Human Health— Insights from NMR (Ann E. McDermott, Columbia University)
An RNA dynamic ensemble at atomic resolution (Hashim Al-Hashimi, Duke University)
New timsTOF Pro Mass Spectrometer installed at CEITEC.
New timsTOF Pro Mass Spectrometer (Bruker) has been installed at the Proteomics Core Facility, CEITEC MU. The new instrument brings another separation dimension (according collisional cross sections) in qualitative and quantitative characterization of complex protein samples as it is equipped by trapped ion mobility spectrometry (TIMS) module.
Emerging Topics in Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance – A new on-line lecture series
A new on-line lecture series on Emerging Topics in Biomolecular Magnetic Resonance, organized by Loren Andreas, Stefan Glöggler, Christian Griesinger, Mei Hong, Oscar Millet, Art Palmer, and Markus Zweckstetter, starts on Thursday, June 4, 2020.
Highlights of Coronavirus Structural Studies
Molecular architecture of the SARS-CoV-2 virus
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an enveloped virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite recent advances in the structural elucidation of SARS-CoV-2 proteins and the complexes of the spike (S) proteins with the cellular receptor ACE2 or neutralizing antibodies, detailed architecture of the intact virus remains to be unveiled. Here, Li et al. from Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou, China, report the molecular assembly of the authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus using cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) and subtomogram averaging (STA). Native structures of the S proteins in both pre- and post-fusion conformations were determined to average resolutions of 9-11 Å. Compositions of the N-linked glycans from the native spikes were analyzed by mass spectrometry, which revealed highly similar overall processing states of the native glycans to that of the recombinant glycoprotein glycans. The in-situ architecture of the ribonucleoproteins (RNP) and its higher-order assemblies were revealed. These characterizations have revealed the architecture of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to an unprecedented resolution, and shed lights on how the virus packs its ~30 Kb long single-segmented RNA in the ~80 nm diameter lumen. Overall, the results unveiled the molecular architecture and assembly of the SARS-CoV-2 in native context.
Door to the cell for COVID-19 opened, leading way to therapies
A very recent study by Lan et al. published in Nature (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2180-5) determined the crystal structure of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) bound to angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The structure reveals the mechanism of SARS-CoV-2 RBD recognition by its receptor ACE2, which is highly conserved in ACE2 recognition of SARS-CoV RBD. The study provides structural information on developing small molecules targeting SARS-CoV-2 RBD/ACE2 and implies the existence of other mechanisms than receptor binding for the markedly different infection activity of the two evolutionarily close viruses.
Cross-neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 by a human monoclonal SARS-CoV antibody
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a newly emerged coronavirus that is responsible for the current pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has resulted in more than 3.7 million infections and 260,000 deaths as of 6 May 2020(1,2). Vaccine and therapeutic discovery efforts are paramount to curb the pandemic spread of this zoonotic virus. The SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein promotes entry into host cells and is the main target of neutralizing antibodies. Here Corti and Veeler et. al. describe several monoclonal antibodies that target the S glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, which they identified from memory B cells of an individual who was infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in 2003. One antibody (named S309) potently neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV pseudoviruses as well as authentic SARS-CoV-2, by engaging the receptor-binding domain of the S glycoprotein. Using cryo-electron microscopy and binding assays, they show that S309 recognizes an epitope containing a glycan that is conserved within the Sarbecovirussubgenus, without competing with receptor attachment. Antibody cocktails that include S309 in combination with other antibodies that we identified further enhanced SARS-CoV-2 neutralization, and may limit the emergence of neutralization-escape mutants. These results pave the way for using S309 and antibody cocktails containing S309 for prophylaxis in individuals at a high risk of exposure or as a post-exposure therapy to limit or treat severe disease.
Reader's Corner Archive
Toward Organism-scale Structural Biology: S-layer Reined in by Bacterial LPS
Technical developments are unifying molecular and cellular biology. A recent electron cryo-tomography study by von Kugelgen et al. highlights the bright future for such studies, seamlessly integrating near-atomic resolution protein structures, organism-scale architecture, native mass spectrometry, and molecular dynamic simulations to clarify how the Caulobacter crescentus S-layer assembles on the lipopolysaccharides (LPS) of the cell surface.
Mapping Structural Dynamics of Proteins with Femtosecond Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy
The structure–function relationships of biomolecules have captured the interest and imagination of the scientific community and general public since the field of structural biology emerged to enable the molecular understanding of life processes. Proteins that play numerous functional roles in cellular processes have remained in the forefront of research, inspiring new characterization techniques. In this review in Annual Review of Physical Chemistry, Chong Fang and Longteng Tang present key theoretical concepts and recent experimental strategies using femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy (FSRS) to map the structural dynamics of proteins, highlighting the flexible chromophores on ultrafast timescales. In particular, wavelength-tunable FSRS exploits dynamic resonance conditions to track transient-species-dependent vibrational motions, enabling rational design to alter functions. Various ways of capturing excited-state chromophore structural snapshots in the time and/or frequency domains are discussed. Continuous development of experimental methodologies, synergistic correlation with theoretical modeling, and the expansion to other nonequilibrium, photo-switchable, and controllable protein systems will greatly advance the chemical, physical, and biological sciences.
The regulation and functions of DNA and RNA G-quadruplexes
DNA and RNA can adopt various secondary structures. Four-stranded G-quadruplex (G4) structures form through self-recognition of guanines into stacked tetrads, and considerable biophysical and structural evidence exists for G4 formation in vitro. Computational studies and sequencing methods have revealed the prevalence of G4 sequence motifs at gene regulatory regions in various genomes, including in humans. Experiments using chemical, molecular and cell biology methods have demonstrated that G4s exist in chromatin DNA and in RNA, and have linked G4 formation with key biological processes ranging from transcription and translation to genome instability and cancer. In the paper published in Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, Balasubramanian, S. et al. first discuss the identification of G4s and evidence for their formation in cells using chemical biology, imaging and genomic technologies. They then discuss possible functions of DNA G4s and their interacting proteins, particularly in transcription, telomere biology and genome instability. Roles of RNA G4s in RNA biology, especially in translation, are also discussed. Furthermore, they consider the emerging relationships of G4s with chromatin and with RNA modifications. Finally, they discuss the connection between G4 formation and synthetic lethality in cancer cells, and recent progress towards considering G4s as therapeutic targets in human diseases.
The architecture of the Gram-positive bacterial cell wall
The primary structural component of the bacterial cell wall is peptidoglycan, which is essential for viability and the synthesis of which is the target for crucial antibiotics. Peptidoglycan is a single macromolecule made of glycan chains crosslinked by peptide side branches that surrounds the cell, acting as a constraint to internal turgor. In Gram-positive bacteria, peptidoglycan is tens of nanometers thick, generally portrayed as a homogeneous structure that provides mechanical strength. S. J. Foster & J. K. Hobbs et.al. applied atomic force microscopy to interrogate the morphologically distinct Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis species, using live cells and purified peptidoglycan. The paper published in Nature shows that the mature surface of live cells is characterized by a landscape of large (up to 60 nm in diameter), deep (up to 23 nm) pores constituting a disordered gel of peptidoglycan. The inner peptidoglycan surface, consisting of more nascent material, is much denser, with glycan strand spacing typically less than 7 nm. The inner surface architecture is location dependent; the cylinder of B. subtilis has dense circumferential orientation, while in S. aureus and division septa for both species, peptidoglycan is dense but randomly oriented. Revealing the molecular architecture of the cell envelope frames our understanding of its mechanical properties and role as the environmental interface, providing information complementary to traditional structural biology approaches.
Emerging solution NMR methods to illuminate the structural and dynamic properties of proteins
The first recognition of protein breathing was more than 50 years ago. Today, we are able to detect the multitude of interaction modes, structural polymorphisms, and binding-induced changes in protein structure that direct function. Solution-state NMR spectroscopy has proved to be a powerful technique, not only to obtain high-resolution structures of proteins, but also to provide unique insights into the functional dynamics of proteins. Hari Arthanari, Gerhard Wager et. al. in the Current Opinion in Structural Biology review summarize recent technical landmarks in solution NMR that have enabled characterization of key biological macromolecular systems. These methods have been fundamental to atomic resolution structure determination and quantitative analysis of dynamics over a wide range of time scales by NMR. The ability of NMR to detect lowly populated protein conformations and transiently formed complexes plays a critical role in its ability to elucidate functionally important structural features of proteins and their dynamics.
Fragment-based drug discovery using cryo-EM
Recent advances in electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) structure determination have pushed the resolutions obtainable by the method into the range widely considered to be of utility for drug discovery. Harren Jhoti et. al. in Drug Discovery Today review the use of cryo-EM in fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) based on in-house method development. They demonstrate not only that cryo-EM can reveal details of the molecular interactions between fragments and a protein, but also that the current reproducibility, quality, and throughput are compatible with FBDD. In addition, they exemplify this using the test system β-galactosidase (Bgal) and the oncology target pyruvate kinase 2 (PKM2).
Integrating cryo-EM and NMR data
Single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) is increasingly used as a technique to determine the atomic structure of challenging biological systems. Recent advances in microscope engineering, electron detection, and image processing have allowed the structural determination of bigger and more flexible targets than possible with the complementary techniques X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy. However, there exist many biological targets for which atomic resolution cannot be currently achieved with cryo-EM, making unambiguous determination of the protein structure impossible. Although determining the structure of large biological systems using solely NMR is often difficult, highly complementary experimental atomic-level data for each molecule can be derived from the spectra, and used in combination with cryo-EM data. Gunnar F. Schröder et.al. review in Current Opinion in Structural Biology strategies with which both techniques can be synergistically combined, in order to reach detail and understanding unattainable by each technique acting alone; and the types of biological systems for which such an approach would be desirable.
Integrated multidisciplinarity in the natural sciences
The integration of multiple perspectives in both the arts and natural sciences is tremendously powerful and arguably necessary for capturing relevant features of complex phenomena. Individual methods and models comprise abstractions from and idealizations of nature, and only the integration of multiple models, methods, and representations provides a means to reach more accurate results than relying on any single approach. In the Mildred Cohn Award Lecture at the 2019 ASBMB meeting, and the subsequent Journal of Biological Chemistry award article, A. Gronenborn illustrates the power of such multidisciplinary work by highlighting the successful integration of data and multiple views afforded by NMR spectroscopy, cryo-electron micros- copy, cryo-electron tomography, X-ray crystallography, computation, and functional assays made possible through collaborative efforts by members of the Pittsburgh Center for HIV Protein Interactions. This approach permitted her to generate the first all-atom model of a native HIV-1 capsid core.