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4 Janelia Publications

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    06/01/17 | Ensemble cryo-EM elucidates the mechanism of translation fidelity.
    Loveland AB, Demo G, Grigorieff N, Korostelev AA
    Nature. 2017 Jun 01;546(7656):113-117. doi: 10.1038/nature22397

    Gene translation depends on accurate decoding of mRNA, the structural mechanism of which remains poorly understood. Ribosomes decode mRNA codons by selecting cognate aminoacyl-tRNAs delivered by elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu). Here we present high-resolution structural ensembles of ribosomes with cognate or near-cognate aminoacyl-tRNAs delivered by EF-Tu. Both cognate and near-cognate tRNA anticodons explore the aminoacyl-tRNA-binding site (A site) of an open 30S subunit, while inactive EF-Tu is separated from the 50S subunit. A transient conformation of decoding-centre nucleotide G530 stabilizes the cognate codon-anticodon helix, initiating step-wise 'latching' of the decoding centre. The resulting closure of the 30S subunit docks EF-Tu at the sarcin-ricin loop of the 50S subunit, activating EF-Tu for GTP hydrolysis and enabling accommodation of the aminoacyl-tRNA. By contrast, near-cognate complexes fail to induce the G530 latch, thus favouring open 30S pre-accommodation intermediates with inactive EF-Tu. This work reveals long-sought structural differences between the pre-accommodation of cognate and near-cognate tRNAs that elucidate the mechanism of accurate decoding.

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    06/25/19 | High-resolution cryo-EM structures of outbreak strain human norovirus shells reveal size variations.
    Jung J, Grant T, Thomas DR, Diehnelt CW, Grigorieff N, Leemor J
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2019 Jun 25;116(26):12828-32. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1903562116

    Noroviruses are a leading cause of foodborne illnesses worldwide. Although GII.4 strains have been responsible for most norovirus outbreaks, the assembled virus shell structures have been available in detail for only a single strain (GI.1). We present high-resolution (2.6- to 4.1-Å) cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of GII.4, GII.2, GI.7, and GI.1 human norovirus outbreak strain virus-like particles (VLPs). Although norovirus VLPs have been thought to exist in a single-sized assembly, our structures reveal polymorphism between and within genogroups, with small, medium, and large particle sizes observed. Using asymmetric reconstruction, we were able to resolve a Zn2+ metal ion adjacent to the coreceptor binding site, which affected the structural stability of the shell. Our structures serve as valuable templates for facilitating vaccine formulations.

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    05/21/19 | In situ structure of rotavirus VP1 RNA-dependent RNA polymerase.
    Jenni S, Salgado EN, Herrmann T, Li Z, Grant T, Grigorieff N, Trapani S, Estrozi LF, Harrison SC
    Journal of Molecular Biology. 2019 Jun 21;431(17):3124-38. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2019.06.016

    Rotaviruses, like other non-enveloped, double-strand RNA (dsRNA) viruses, package an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) with each duplex of their segmented genomes. Rotavirus cell entry results in loss of an outer protein layer and delivery into the cytosol of an intact, inner capsid particle (the “double-layer particle” or DLP). The RdRp, designated VP1, is active inside the DLP; each VP1 achieves many rounds of mRNA transcription from its associated genome segment. Previous work has shown that one VP1 molecule lies close to each fivefold axis of the icosahedrally symmetric DLP, just beneath the inner surface of its protein shell, embedded in tightly packed RNA. We have determined a high-resolution structure for the rotavirus VP1 RdRp in situ, by local reconstruction of density around individual fivefold positions. We have analyzed intact virions (“triple-layer particles” or TLPs), non-transcribing DLPs and transcribing DLPs. Outer layer dissociation enables the DLP to synthesize RNA, in vitro as well as in vivo, but appears not to induce any detectable structural change in the RdRp. Addition of NTPs, Mg2+, and S-adenosyl methionine, which allows active transcription, results in conformational rearrangements, in both VP1 and the DLP capsid shell protein, that allow a transcript to exit the polymerase and the particle. The position of VP1 (among the five symmetrically related alternatives) at one vertex does not correlate with its position at other vertices. This stochastic distribution of site occupancies limits long-range order in the 11-segment, dsRNA genome.

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    03/07/19 | Cryo-EM fibril structures from systemic AA amyloidosis reveal the species complementarity of pathological amyloids.
    Liberta F, Loerch S, Rennegarbe M, Schierhorn A, Westermark P, Westermark GT, Hazenberg BP, Grigorieff N, Fändrich M, Schmidt M
    Nature Communications. 2019 Mar 07;10(1):1104. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09033-z

    Systemic AA amyloidosis is a worldwide occurring protein misfolding disease of humans and animals. It arises from the formation of amyloid fibrils from the acute phase protein serum amyloid A. Here, we report the purification and electron cryo-microscopy analysis of amyloid fibrils from a mouse and a human patient with systemic AA amyloidosis. The obtained resolutions are 3.0 Å and 2.7 Å for the murine and human fibril, respectively. The two fibrils differ in fundamental properties, such as presence of right-hand or left-hand twisted cross-β sheets and overall fold of the fibril proteins. Yet, both proteins adopt highly similar β-arch conformations within the N-terminal ~21 residues. Our data demonstrate the importance of the fibril protein N-terminus for the stability of the analyzed amyloid fibril morphologies and suggest strategies of combating this disease by interfering with specific fibril polymorphs.

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