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5 Janelia Publications

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    12/09/16 | Structure of the transporter associated with antigen processing trapped by herpes simplex virus.
    Oldham ML, Grigorieff N, Chen J
    eLife. 2016 Dec 09;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.21829

    The transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) is an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter essential to cellular immunity against viral infection. Some persistent viruses have evolved strategies to inhibit TAP so that they may go undetected by the immune system. The herpes simplex virus for example evades immune surveillance by blocking peptide transport with a small viral protein ICP47. In this study, we determined the structure of human TAP bound to ICP47 by electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) to 4.0 Å. The structure shows that ICP47 traps TAP in an inactive conformation distinct from the normal transport cycle. The specificity and potency of ICP47 inhibition result from contacts between the tip of the helical hairpin and the apex of the transmembrane cavity. This work provides a clear molecular description of immune evasion by a persistent virus. It also establishes the molecular structure of TAP to facilitate mechanistic studies of the antigen presentation process.

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    06/07/16 | Frealign: an exploratory tool for single-particle cryo-EM.
    Grigorieff N
    Methods in Enzymology. 2016 Jun 07:. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2016.04.013

    Frealign is a software tool designed to process electron microscope images of single molecules and complexes to obtain reconstructions at the highest possible resolution. It provides a number of refinement parameters and options that allow users to tune their refinement to achieve specific goals, such as masking to classify selected regions within a particle, control over the refinement of specific alignment parameters to accommodate various data collection schemes, refinement of pseudosymmetric particles, and generation of initial maps. This chapter provides a general overview of Frealign functions and a more detailed guide to using Frealign in typical scenarios.

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    06/02/16 | Activation of NMDA receptors and the mechanism of inhibition by ifenprodil.
    Tajima N, Karakas E, Grant T, Simorowski N, Diaz-Avalos R, Grigorieff N, Furukawa H
    Nature. 2016 Jun 2;534(7605):63-8. doi: 10.1038/nature17679

    The physiology of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors is fundamental to brain development and function. NMDA receptors are ionotropic glutamate receptors that function as heterotetramers composed mainly of GluN1 and GluN2 subunits. Activation of NMDA receptors requires binding of neurotransmitter agonists to a ligand-binding domain (LBD) and structural rearrangement of an amino-terminal domain (ATD). Recent crystal structures of GluN1-GluN2B NMDA receptors bound to agonists and an allosteric inhibitor, ifenprodil, represent the allosterically inhibited state. However, how the ATD and LBD move to activate the NMDA receptor ion channel remains unclear. Here we applied X-ray crystallography, single-particle electron cryomicroscopy and electrophysiology to rat NMDA receptors to show that, in the absence of ifenprodil, the bi-lobed structure of GluN2 ATD adopts an open conformation accompanied by rearrangement of the GluN1-GluN2 ATD heterodimeric interface, altering subunit orientation in the ATD and LBD and forming an active receptor conformation that gates the ion channel.

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    05/16/16 | Cryo-EM reveals the steric zipper structure of a light chain-derived amyloid fibril.
    Schmidt A, Annamalai K, Schmidt M, Grigorieff N, Fändrich M
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2016 May 16;113(22):6200-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1522282113

    Amyloid fibrils are proteinaceous aggregates associated with diseases in humans and animals. The fibrils are defined by intermolecular interactions between the fibril-forming polypeptide chains, but it has so far remained difficult to reveal the assembly of the peptide subunits in a full-scale fibril. Using electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM), we present a reconstruction of a fibril formed from the pathogenic core of an amyloidogenic immunoglobulin (Ig) light chain. The fibril density shows a lattice-like assembly of face-to-face packed peptide dimers that corresponds to the structure of steric zippers in peptide crystals. Interpretation of the density map with a molecular model enabled us to identify the intermolecular interactions between the peptides and rationalize the hierarchical structure of the fibril based on simple chemical principles.

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    05/09/16 | Ensemble cryo-EM uncovers inchworm-like translocation of a viral IRES through the ribosome.
    Abeyrathne PD, Koh CS, Grant T, Grigorieff N, Korostelev AA
    eLife. 2016 May 9;5:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.14874

    Internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) mediate cap-independent translation of viral mRNAs. Using electron cryo-microscopy of a single specimen, we present five ribosome structures formed with the Taura syndrome virus IRES and translocase eEF2•GTP bound with sordarin. The structures suggest a trajectory of IRES translocation, required for translation initiation, and provide an unprecedented view of eEF2 dynamics. The IRES rearranges from extended to bent to extended conformations. This inchworm-like movement is coupled with ribosomal inter-subunit rotation and 40S head swivel. eEF2, attached to the 60S subunit, slides along the rotating 40S subunit to enter the A site. Its diphthamide-bearing tip at domain IV separates the tRNA-mRNA-like pseudoknot I (PKI) of the IRES from the decoding center. This unlocks 40S domains, facilitating head swivel and biasing IRES translocation via hitherto-elusive intermediates with PKI captured between the A and P sites. The structures suggest missing links in our understanding of tRNA translocation.

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