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In JoVE (2)

Other Publications (12)

Articles by Gongpu Zhao in JoVE

 JoVE Immunology and Infection

Structure of HIV-1 Capsid Assemblies by Cryo-electron Microscopy and Iterative Helical Real-space Reconstruction

1Department of Structural Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


JoVE 3041

This article describes a method to obtain a three-dimensional (3D) structure of helically assembled molecules using cryo-electron microscopy. In this protocol, we use HIV-1 capsid assemblies to illustrate the detailed 3D reconstruction procedure for achieving a density map by the iterative helical real-space reconstruction method.

 JoVE Bioengineering

Correlative Microscopy for 3D Structural Analysis of Dynamic Interactions

1Department of Structural Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 2Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine


JoVE 50386

We describe a correlative microscopy method that combines high-speed 3D live-cell fluorescent light microscopy and high-resolution cryo-electron tomography. We demonstrate the capability of the correlative method by imaging dynamic, small HIV-1 particles interacting with host HeLa cells.

Other articles by Gongpu Zhao on PubMed

Single-crystalline GdB6 Nanowire Field Emitters

Having the lowest work function in the rare-earth hexaboride family, GdB6 nanowires of rectangular cross-section with about 50 nm in lateral dimension and several microns in length have been successfully produced using a CVD method. The nanowires are grown in the 001 lattice direction, and both the tip-top and the side surfaces are terminated with the {100} lattice planes. A GdB6 single nanowire field emitter has also been built with an emission current of more than 150 nA at an applied field of less than 3.2 V/mum. The work function of the nanowire emitter was estimated to be about 1.5 eV.

Structural Convergence Between Cryo-EM and NMR Reveals Intersubunit Interactions Critical for HIV-1 Capsid Function

Mature HIV-1 particles contain conical-shaped capsids that enclose the viral RNA genome and perform essential functions in the virus life cycle. Previous structural analysis of two- and three-dimensional arrays of the capsid protein (CA) hexamer revealed three interfaces. Here, we present a cryoEM study of a tubular assembly of CA and a high-resolution NMR structure of the CA C-terminal domain (CTD) dimer. In the solution dimer structure, the monomers exhibit different relative orientations compared to previous X-ray structures. The solution structure fits well into the EM density map, suggesting that the dimer interface is retained in the assembled CA. We also identified a CTD-CTD interface at the local three-fold axis in the cryoEM map and confirmed its functional importance by mutagenesis. In the tubular assembly, CA intermolecular interfaces vary slightly, accommodating the asymmetry present in tubes. This provides the necessary plasticity to allow for controlled virus capsid dis/assembly.

Expeditious Synthesis and Assembly of Sub-100 Nm Hollow Spherical Gold Nanoparticle Superstructures

Sub-100 nm hollow gold nanoparticle superstructures were prepared in a direct one-pot reaction. A gold-binding peptide conjugate, C(6)-AA-PEP(Au) (PEP(Au) = AYSSGAPPMPPF), was constructed and used to direct the simultaneous synthesis and assembly of gold nanoparticles. Transmission electron microscopy and electron tomography revealed that the superstructures are uniform and consist of monodisperse gold nanoparticles arranged into a spherical monolayer shell.

Rhesus TRIM5α Disrupts the HIV-1 Capsid at the Inter-hexamer Interfaces

TRIM proteins play important roles in the innate immune defense against retroviral infection, including human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV-1). Rhesus macaque TRIM5α (TRIM5α(rh)) targets the HIV-1 capsid and blocks infection at an early post-entry stage, prior to reverse transcription. Studies have shown that binding of TRIM5α to the assembled capsid is essential for restriction and requires the coiled-coil and B30.2/SPRY domains, but the molecular mechanism of restriction is not fully understood. In this study, we investigated, by cryoEM combined with mutagenesis and chemical cross-linking, the direct interactions between HIV-1 capsid protein (CA) assemblies and purified TRIM5α(rh) containing coiled-coil and SPRY domains (CC-SPRY(rh)). Concentration-dependent binding of CC-SPRY(rh) to CA assemblies was observed, while under equivalent conditions the human protein did not bind. Importantly, CC-SPRY(rh), but not its human counterpart, disrupted CA tubes in a non-random fashion, releasing fragments of protofilaments consisting of CA hexamers without dissociation into monomers. Furthermore, such structural destruction was prevented by inter-hexamer crosslinking using P207C/T216C mutant CA with disulfide bonds at the CTD-CTD trimer interface of capsid assemblies, but not by intra-hexamer crosslinking via A14C/E45C at the NTD-NTD interface. The same disruption effect by TRIM5α(rh) on the inter-hexamer interfaces also occurred with purified intact HIV-1 cores. These results provide insights concerning how TRIM5α disrupts the virion core and demonstrate that structural damage of the viral capsid by TRIM5α is likely one of the important components of the mechanism of TRIM5α-mediated HIV-1 restriction.

Size-controlled Peptide-directed Synthesis of Hollow Spherical Gold Nanoparticle Superstructures

Direct Visualization of HIV-1 with Correlative Live-cell Microscopy and Cryo-electron Tomography

Cryo-electron tomography (cryoET) allows 3D visualization of cellular structures at molecular resolution in a close-to-native state and therefore has the potential to help elucidate early events of HIV-1 infection in host cells. However, structural details of infecting HIV-1 have not been observed, due to technological challenges in working with rare and dynamic HIV-1 particles in human cells. Here, we report structural analysis of HIV-1 and host-cell interactions by means of a correlative high-speed 3D live-cell-imaging and cryoET method. Using this method, we showed under near-native conditions that intact hyperstable mutant HIV-1 cores are released into the cytoplasm of host cells. We further obtained direct evidence to suggest that a hyperstable mutant capsid, E45A, showed delayed capsid disassembly compared to the wild-type capsid. Together, these results demonstrate the advantages of our correlative live-cell and cryoET approach for imaging dynamic processes, such as viral infection.

3D Structure Determination of Native Mammalian Cells Using Cryo-FIB and Cryo-electron Tomography

Cryo-electron tomography (cryo-ET) has enabled high resolution three-dimensional(3D) structural analysis of virus and host cell interactions and many cell signaling events; these studies, however, have largely been limited to very thin, peripheral regions of eukaryotic cells or to small prokaryotic cells. Recent efforts to make thin, vitreous sections using cryo-ultramicrotomy have been successful, however,this method is technically very challenging and with many artifacts. Here, we report a simple and robust method for creating in situ, frozen-hydrated cell lamellas using a focused ion beam at cryogenic temperature (cryo-FIB), allowing access to any interior cellular regions of interest. We demonstrate the utility of cryo-FIB with high resolution 3D cellular structures from both bacterial cells and large mammalian cells. The method will not only facilitate high-throughput 3D structural analysis of biological specimens, but is also broadly applicable to sample preparation of thin films and surface materials without the need for FIB "lift-out".

Protease Cleavage Leads to Formation of Mature Trimer Interface in HIV-1 Capsid

During retrovirus particle maturation, the assembled Gag polyprotein is cleaved by the viral protease into matrix (MA), capsid (CA), and nucleocapsid (NC) proteins. To form the mature viral capsid, CA rearranges, resulting in a lattice composed of hexameric and pentameric CA units. Recent structural studies of assembled HIV-1 CA revealed several inter-subunit interfaces in the capsid lattice, including a three-fold interhexamer interface that is critical for proper capsid stability. Although a general architecture of immature particles has been provided by cryo-electron tomographic studies, the structural details of the immature particle and the maturation pathway remain unknown. Here, we used cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) to determine the structure of tubular assemblies of the HIV-1 CA-SP1-NC protein. Relative to the mature assembled CA structure, we observed a marked conformational difference in the position of the CA-CTD relative to the NTD in the CA-SP1-NC assembly, involving the flexible hinge connecting the two domains. This difference was verified via engineered disulfide crosslinking, revealing that inter-hexamer contacts, in particular those at the pseudo three-fold axis, are altered in the CA-SP1-NC assemblies compared to the CA assemblies. Results from crosslinking analyses of mature and immature HIV-1 particles containing the same Cys substitutions in the Gag protein are consistent with these findings. We further show that cleavage of preassembled CA-SP1-NC by HIV-1 protease in vitro leads to release of SP1 and NC without disassembly of the lattice. Collectively, our results indicate that the proteolytic cleavage of Gag leads to a structural reorganization of the polypeptide and creates the three-fold interhexamer interface, important for the formation of infectious HIV-1 particles.

Structural Insight into HIV-1 Capsid Recognition by Rhesus TRIM5α

Tripartite motif protein isoform 5 alpha (TRIM5α) is a potent antiviral protein that restricts infection by HIV-1 and other retroviruses. TRIM5α recognizes the lattice of the retrovirus capsid through its B30.2 (PRY/SPRY) domain in a species-specific manner. Upon binding, TRIM5α induces premature disassembly of the viral capsid and activates the downstream innate immune response. We have determined the crystal structure of the rhesus TRIM5α PRY/SPRY domain that reveals essential features for capsid binding. Combined cryo-electron microscopy and biochemical data show that the monomeric rhesus TRIM5α PRY/SPRY, but not the human TRIM5α PRY/SPRY, can bind to HIV-1 capsid protein assemblies without causing disruption of the capsid. This suggests that the PRY/SPRY domain alone constitutes an important pattern-sensing component of TRIM5α that is capable of interacting with viral capsids of different curvatures. Our results provide molecular insights into the mechanisms of TRIM5α-mediated retroviral restriction.

Tubular Crystals and Helical Arrays: Structural Determination of HIV-1 Capsid Assemblies Using Iterative Helical Real-space Reconstruction

Helical structures are important in many different life forms and are well-suited for structural studies by cryo-EM. A unique feature of helical objects is that a single projection image contains all the views needed to perform a three-dimensional (3D) crystallographic reconstruction. Here, we use HIV-1 capsid assemblies to illustrate the detailed approaches to obtain 3D density maps from helical objects. Mature HIV-1 particles contain a conical- or tubular-shaped capsid that encloses the viral RNA genome and performs essential functions in the virus life cycle. The capsid is composed of capsid protein (CA) oligomers which are helically arranged on the surface. The N-terminal domain (NTD) of CA is connected to its C-terminal domain (CTD) through a flexible hinge. Structural analysis of two- and three-dimensional crystals provided molecular models of the capsid protein (CA) and its oligomer forms. We determined the 3D density map of helically assembled HIV-1 CA hexamers at 16 Ã… resolution using an iterative helical real-space reconstruction method. Docking of atomic models of CA-NTD and CA-CTD dimer into the electron density map indicated that the CTD dimer interface is retained in the assembled CA. Furthermore, molecular docking revealed an additional, novel CTD trimer interface.

Mature HIV-1 Capsid Structure by Cryo-electron Microscopy and All-atom Molecular Dynamics

Retroviral capsid proteins are conserved structurally but assemble into different morphologies. The mature human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) capsid is best described by a 'fullerene cone' model, in which hexamers of the capsid protein are linked to form a hexagonal surface lattice that is closed by incorporating 12 capsid-protein pentamers. HIV-1 capsid protein contains an amino-terminal domain (NTD) comprising seven α-helices and a β-hairpin, a carboxy-terminal domain (CTD) comprising four α-helices, and a flexible linker with a 310-helix connecting the two structural domains. Structures of the capsid-protein assembly units have been determined by X-ray crystallography; however, structural information regarding the assembled capsid and the contacts between the assembly units is incomplete. Here we report the cryo-electron microscopy structure of a tubular HIV-1 capsid-protein assembly at 8 Å resolution and the three-dimensional structure of a native HIV-1 core by cryo-electron tomography. The structure of the tubular assembly shows, at the three-fold interface, a three-helix bundle with critical hydrophobic interactions. Mutagenesis studies confirm that hydrophobic residues in the centre of the three-helix bundle are crucial for capsid assembly and stability, and for viral infectivity. The cryo-electron-microscopy structures enable modelling by large-scale molecular dynamics simulation, resulting in all-atom models for the hexamer-of-hexamer and pentamer-of-hexamer elements as well as for the entire capsid. Incorporation of pentamers results in closer trimer contacts and induces acute surface curvature. The complete atomic HIV-1 capsid model provides a platform for further studies of capsid function and for targeted pharmacological intervention.

Tailorable Plasmonic Circular Dichroism Properties of Helical Nanoparticle Superstructures

We utilize a peptide-based methodology to prepare a diverse collection of double-helical gold nanoparticle superstructures having controllable handedness and structural metrics. These materials exhibit well-defined circular dichroism (CD) signatures at visible wavelengths owing to the collective dipole-dipole interactions between the nanoparticles. We couple theory and experiment to show how tuning the metrics and structure of the helices results in predictable and tailorable chirooptical properties. Finally, we experimentally and theoretically demonstrate that the intensity, position, and nature of the chirooptical activity can be carefully adjusted via silver overgrowth. These studies illustrate the utility of peptide-based nanoparticle assembly platforms for designing and preparing complex plasmonic materials with tailorable optical properties.

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