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91 Publications

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    Gonen Lab
    02/15/08 | A conformational switch in bacteriophage p22 portal protein primes genome injection.
    Zheng H, Olia AS, Gonen M, Andrews S, Cingolani G, Gonen T
    Molecular Cell. 2008 Feb 15;29(3):376-83. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2007.11.034

    Double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses such as herpesviruses and bacteriophages infect by delivering their genetic material into cells, a task mediated by a DNA channel called "portal protein." We have used electron cryomicroscopy to determine the structure of bacteriophage P22 portal protein in both the procapsid and mature capsid conformations. We find that, just as the viral capsid undergoes major conformational changes during virus maturation, the portal protein switches conformation from a procapsid to a mature phage state upon binding of gp4, the factor that initiates tail assembly. This dramatic conformational change traverses the entire length of the DNA channel, from the outside of the virus to the inner shell, and erects a large dome domain directly above the DNA channel that binds dsDNA inside the capsid. We hypothesize that this conformational change primes dsDNA for injection and directly couples completion of virus morphogenesis to a new cycle of infection.

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    Gonen Lab
    02/15/08 | Polymorphic assemblies and crystalline arrays of lens tetraspanin MP20.
    Gonen T, Hite RK, Cheng Y, Petre BM, Kistler J, Walz T
    Journal of Molecular Biology. 2008 Feb 15;376(2):380-92. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2007.09.001

    Members of the tetraspanin superfamily function as transmembrane scaffold proteins that mediate the assembly of membrane proteins into specific signaling complexes. Tetraspanins also interact with each other and concentrate membrane proteins into tetraspanin-enriched microdomains (TEMs). Here we report that lens-specific tetraspanin MP20 can form multiple types of higher-order assemblies and we present crystalline arrays of MP20. When isolated in the absence of divalent cations, MP20 is solubilized predominantly in tetrameric form, whereas the presence of divalent cations during solubilization promotes the association of MP20 tetramers into higher-order species. This effect only occurs when divalent cations are present during solubilization but not when divalent cations are added to solubilized tetrameric MP20, suggesting that other factors may also be involved. When purified MP20 tetramers are reconstituted with native lens lipids in the presence of magnesium, MP20 forms two-dimensional (2D) crystals. A projection map at 18 A resolution calculated from negatively stained 2D crystals showed that the building block of the crystal is an octamer consisting of two tetramers related to each other by 2-fold symmetry. In addition to 2D crystals, reconstitution of MP20 with native lipids also produced a variety of large protein-lipid complexes, and we present three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions of the four most abundant of these complexes in negative stain. The various complexes formed by MP20 most likely reflect the many ways in which tetraspanins can interact with each other to allow formation of TEMs.

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    Gonen Lab
    07/01/07 | Tension applied through the Dam1 complex promotes microtubule elongation providing a direct mechanism for length control in mitosis.
    Franck AD, Powers AF, Gestaut DR, Gonen T, Davis TN, Asbury CL
    Nature Cell Biology. 2007 Jul;9(7):832-7. doi: 10.1038/ncb1609

    In dividing cells, kinetochores couple chromosomes to the tips of growing and shortening microtubule fibres and tension at the kinetochore-microtubule interface promotes fibre elongation. Tension-dependent microtubule fibre elongation is thought to be essential for coordinating chromosome alignment and separation, but the mechanism underlying this effect is unknown. Using optical tweezers, we applied tension to a model of the kinetochore-microtubule interface composed of the yeast Dam1 complex bound to individual dynamic microtubule tips. Higher tension decreased the likelihood that growing tips would begin to shorten, slowed shortening, and increased the likelihood that shortening tips would resume growth. These effects are similar to the effects of tension on kinetochore-attached microtubule fibres in many cell types, suggesting that we have reconstituted a direct mechanism for microtubule-length control in mitosis.

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    Gonen Lab
    03/16/07 | Projection map of aquaporin-9 at 7 A resolution.
    Viadiu H, Gonen T, Walz T
    Journal of Molecular Biology. 2007 Mar 16;367(1):80-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2006.12.042

    Aquaporin-9, an aquaglyceroporin present in diverse tissues, is unique among aquaporins because it is not only permeable to water, urea and glycerol, but also allows passage of larger uncharged solutes. Single particle analysis of negatively stained recombinant rat aquaporin-9 revealed a particle size characteristic of the tetrameric organization of all members of the aquaporin family. Reconstitution of aquaporin-9 into two-dimensional crystals enabled us to calculate a projection map at 7 A resolution. The projection structure indicates a tetrameric structure, similar to GlpF, with each square-like monomer forming a pore. A comparison of the pore-lining residues between the crystal structure of GlpF and a homology model of aquaporin-9 locates substitutions in these residues predominantly to the hydrophobic edge of the tripathic pore of GlpF, providing first insights into the structural basis for the broader substrate specificity of aquaporin-9.

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    Gonen Lab
    11/01/06 | The structure of aquaporins.
    Gonen T, Walz T
    Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics. 2006 Nov;39(4):361-96. doi: 10.1017/S0033583506004458

    The ubiquitous members of the aquaporin (AQP) family form transmembrane pores that are either exclusive for water (aquaporins) or are also permeable for other small neutral solutes such as glycerol (aquaglyceroporins). The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of our current knowledge of AQP structures and to describe the structural features that define the function of these membrane pores. The review will discuss the mechanisms governing water conduction, proton exclusion and substrate specificity, and how the pore permeability is regulated in different members of the AQP family.

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    Gonen Lab
    12/01/05 | Lipid-protein interactions in double-layered two-dimensional AQP0 crystals.
    Gonen T, Cheng Y, Sliz P, Hiroaki Y, Fujiyoshi Y, Harrison SC, Walz T
    Nature. 2005 Dec 1;438(7068):633-8. doi: 10.1038/nature04321

    Lens-specific aquaporin-0 (AQP0) functions as a specific water pore and forms the thin junctions between fibre cells. Here we describe a 1.9 A resolution structure of junctional AQP0, determined by electron crystallography of double-layered two-dimensional crystals. Comparison of junctional and non-junctional AQP0 structures shows that junction formation depends on a conformational switch in an extracellular loop, which may result from cleavage of the cytoplasmic amino and carboxy termini. In the centre of the water pathway, the closed pore in junctional AQP0 retains only three water molecules, which are too widely spaced to form hydrogen bonds with each other. Packing interactions between AQP0 tetramers in the crystalline array are mediated by lipid molecules, which assume preferred conformations. We were therefore able to build an atomic model for the lipid bilayer surrounding the AQP0 tetramers, and we describe lipid-protein interactions.

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    Gonen Lab
    09/24/04 | Aquaporin-0 membrane junctions form upon proteolytic cleavage.
    Gonen T, Cheng Y, Kistler J, Walz T
    Journal of Molecular Biology. 2004 Sep 24;342(4):1337-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2004.07.076

    Aquaporin-0 (AQP0), previously known as major intrinsic protein (MIP), is the only water pore protein expressed in lens fiber cells. AQP0 is highly specific to lens fiber cells and constitutes the most abundant intrinsic membrane protein in these cells. The protein is initially expressed as a full-length protein in young fiber cells in the lens cortex, but becomes increasingly cleaved in the lens core region. Reconstitution of AQP0 isolated from the core of sheep lenses containing a proportion of truncated protein, produced double-layered two-dimensional (2D) crystals, which displayed the same dimensions as the thin 11 nm lens fiber cell junctions, which are prominent in the lens core. In contrast reconstitution of full-length AQP0 isolated from the lens cortex reproducibly yielded single-layered 2D crystals. We present electron diffraction patterns and projection maps of both crystal types. We show that cleavage of the intracellular C terminus enhances the adhesive properties of the extracellular surface of AQP0, indicating a conformational change in the molecule. This change of function of AQP0 from a water pore in the cortex to an adhesion molecule in the lens core constitutes another manifestation of the gene sharing concept originally proposed on the basis of the dual function of crystallins.

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    Gonen Lab
    05/13/04 | Aquaporin-0 membrane junctions reveal the structure of a closed water pore.
    Gonen T, Sliz P, Kistler J, Cheng Y, Walz T
    Nature. 2004 May 13;429(6988):193-7. doi: 10.1038/nature02503

    The lens-specific water pore aquaporin-0 (AQP0) is the only aquaporin known to form membrane junctions in vivo. We show here that AQP0 from the lens core, containing some carboxy-terminally cleaved AQP0, forms double-layered crystals that recapitulate in vivo junctions. We present the structure of the AQP0 membrane junction as determined by electron crystallography. The junction is formed by three localized interactions between AQP0 molecules in adjoining membranes, mainly mediated by proline residues conserved in AQP0s from different species but not present in most other aquaporins. Whereas all previously determined aquaporin structures show the pore in an open conformation, the water pore is closed in AQP0 junctions. The water pathway in AQP0 also contains an additional pore constriction, not seen in other known aquaporin structures, which may be responsible for pore gating.

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    Gonen Lab
    11/01/03 | Insertion of MP20 into lens fibre cell plasma membranes correlates with the formation of an extracellular diffusion barrier.
    Grey AC, Jacobs MD, Gonen T, Kistler J, Donaldson PJ
    Experimental Eye Research. 2003 Nov;77(5):567-74

    It is known that during lens differentiation a number of fibre cell specific membrane proteins change their expression profiles. In this study we have investigated how the profiles of the two most abundant fibre cell membrane proteins AQP0 (formerly known as Major Intrinsic Protein, MIP) and MP20 change as a function of fibre cell differentiation. While AQP0 was always found associated with fibre cell membranes, MP20 was initially found in the cytoplasm of peripheral fibre cells before becoming inserted into the membranes of deeper fibre cells. To determine at what stage in fibre cell differentiation MP20 becomes inserted into the membrane, sections were double-labelled with an antibody against MP20, and propidium iodide, a marker of cell nuclei. This showed that membrane insertion of MP20 occurs in a discrete transition zone that coincided with the degradation of cell nuclei. To test the significance of the membrane insertion of MP20 to overall lens function, whole lenses were incubated for varying times in a solution containing either Texas Red-dextran or Lucifer yellow as markers of extracellular space. Lenses were fixed and then processed for immunocytochemistry. Analysis of these sections showed that both tracer dyes were excluded from the extracellular space in an area that coincided with insertion of MP20 into the plasma membrane. Our results suggest that the insertion of MP20 into fibre cell membranes coincides with the creation of a barrier that restricts the diffusion of molecules into the lens core via the extracellular space.

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    Gonen Lab
    08/14/01 | MP20, the second most abundant lens membrane protein and member of the tetraspanin superfamily, joins the list of ligands of galectin-3.
    Gonen T, Grey AC, Jacobs MD, Donaldson PJ, Kistler J
    BMC Cell Biology. 2001 - Aug;2:17. doi: 10.1186/1471-2121-2-17

    BACKGROUND: Although MP20 is the second most highly expressed membrane protein in the lens its function remains an enigma. Putative functions for MP20 have recently been inferred from its assignment to the tetraspanin superfamily of integral membrane proteins. Members of this family have been shown to be involved in cellular proliferation, differentiation, migration, and adhesion. In this study, we show that MP20 associates with galectin-3, a known adhesion modulator.

    RESULTS: MP20 and galectin-3 co-localized in selected areas of the lens fiber cell plasma membrane. Individually, these proteins purified with apparent molecular masses of 60 kDa and 22 kDa, respectively. A 104 kDa complex was formed in vitro upon mixing the purified proteins. A 102 kDa complex of MP20 and galectin-3 could also be isolated from detergent-solubilized native fiber cell membranes. Binding between MP20 and galectin-3 was disrupted by lactose suggesting the lectin site was involved in the interaction.

    CONCLUSIONS: MP20 adds to a growing list of ligands of galectin-3 and appears to be the first representative of the tetraspanin superfamily identified to possess this specificity.

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