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5 Janelia Publications

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    09/22/15 | A specific E3 ligase/deubiquitinase pair modulates TBP protein levels during muscle differentiation.
    Li L, Martinez SS, Hu W, Liu Z, Tjian R
    eLife. 2015;4:. doi: 10.7554/eLife.08536

    TFIID-a complex of TATA-binding protein (TBP) and TBP-associated factors (TAFs)-is a central component of the Pol II promoter recognition apparatus. Recent studies have revealed significant downregulation of TFIID subunits in terminally differentiated myocytes, hepatocytes and adipocytes. Here, we report that TBP protein levels are tightly regulated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Using an in vitro ubiquitination assay coupled with biochemical fractionation, we identified Huwe1 as an E3 ligase targeting TBP for K48-linked ubiquitination and proteasome-mediated degradation. Upregulation of Huwe1 expression during myogenesis induces TBP degradation and myotube differentiation. We found that Huwe1 activity on TBP is antagonized by the deubiquitinase USP10, which protects TBP from degradation. Thus, modulating the levels of both Huwe1 and USP10 appears to fine-tune the requisite degradation of TBP during myogenesis. Together, our study unmasks a previously unknown interplay between an E3 ligase and a deubiquitinating enzyme regulating TBP levels during cellular differentiation.

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    Gonen Lab
    09/09/15 | Structure of the toxic core of α-synuclein from invisible crystals.
    Rodriguez JA, Ivanova MI, Sawaya MR, Cascio D, Reyes FE, Shi D, Sangwan S, Guenther EL, Johnson LM, Zhang M, Jiang L, Arbing MA, Nannenga BL, Hattne J, Whitelegge J, Brewster AS, Messerschmidt M, Boutet S, Sauter NK, Gonen T, Eisenberg DS
    Nature. 2015 Sep 9;525(7570):486-90. doi: 10.1038/nature15368

    The protein α-synuclein is the main component of Lewy bodies, the neuron-associated aggregates seen in Parkinson disease and other neurodegenerative pathologies. An 11-residue segment, which we term NACore, appears to be responsible for amyloid formation and cytotoxicity of human α-synuclein. Here we describe crystals of NACore that have dimensions smaller than the wavelength of visible light and thus are invisible by optical microscopy. As the crystals are thousands of times too small for structure determination by synchrotron X-ray diffraction, we use micro-electron diffraction to determine the structure at atomic resolution. The 1.4 Å resolution structure demonstrates that this method can determine previously unknown protein structures and here yields, to our knowledge, the highest resolution achieved by any cryo-electron microscopy method to date. The structure exhibits protofibrils built of pairs of face-to-face β-sheets. X-ray fibre diffraction patterns show the similarity of NACore to toxic fibrils of full-length α-synuclein. The NACore structure, together with that of a second segment, inspires a model for most of the ordered portion of the toxic, full-length α-synuclein fibril, presenting opportunities for the design of inhibitors of α-synuclein fibrils.

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    Gonen Lab
    07/15/15 | Structure of a designed tetrahedral protein assembly variant engineered to have improved soluble expression.
    Bale JB, Park RU, Liu Y, Gonen S, Gonen T, Cascio D, King NP, Yeates TO, Baker D
    Protein Science. 2015 Jul 15;24(10):1695-701. doi: 10.1002/pro.2748

    We recently reported the development of a computational method for the design of co-assembling, multi-component protein nanomaterials. While four such materials were validated at high-resolution by X-ray crystallography, low yield of soluble protein prevented X-ray structure determination of a fifth designed material, T33-09. Here we report the design and crystal structure of T33-31, a variant of T33-09 with improved soluble yield resulting from redesign efforts focused on mutating solvent-exposed side chains to charged amino acids. The structure is found to match the computational design model with atomic-level accuracy, providing further validation of the design approach and demonstrating a simple and potentially general means of improving the yield of designed protein nanomaterials. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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    Gonen Lab
    07/01/15 | MicroED data collection and processing.
    Hattne J, Reyes FE, Nannenga BL, Shi D, de la Cruz MJ, Leslie AG, Gonen T
    Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations & Advances. 2015 Jul 01;71(Pt 4):353-60. doi: 10.1107/S2053273315010669

    MicroED, a method at the intersection of X-ray crystallography and electron cryo-microscopy, has rapidly progressed by exploiting advances in both fields and has already been successfully employed to determine the atomic structures of several proteins from sub-micron-sized, three-dimensional crystals. A major limiting factor in X-ray crystallography is the requirement for large and well ordered crystals. By permitting electron diffraction patterns to be collected from much smaller crystals, or even single well ordered domains of large crystals composed of several small mosaic blocks, MicroED has the potential to overcome the limiting size requirement and enable structural studies on difficult-to-crystallize samples. This communication details the steps for sample preparation, data collection and reduction necessary to obtain refined, high-resolution, three-dimensional models by MicroED, and presents some of its unique challenges.

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    Gonen Lab
    06/19/15 | Design of ordered two-dimensional arrays mediated by noncovalent protein-protein interfaces.
    Gonen S, DiMaio F, Gonen T, Baker D
    Science. 2015 Jun 19;348(6241):1365-8. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa9897

    We describe a general approach to designing two-dimensional (2D) protein arrays mediated by noncovalent protein-protein interfaces. Protein homo-oligomers are placed into one of the seventeen 2D layer groups, the degrees of freedom of the lattice are sampled to identify configurations with shape-complementary interacting surfaces, and the interaction energy is minimized using sequence design calculations. We used the method to design proteins that self-assemble into layer groups P 3 2 1, P 4 21 2, and P 6. Projection maps of micrometer-scale arrays, assembled both in vitro and in vivo, are consistent with the design models and display the target layer group symmetry. Such programmable 2D protein lattices should enable new approaches to structure determination, sensing, and nanomaterial engineering.

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