2-Cys peroxiredoxins (Prxs) are a large family of peroxidases, responsible for antioxidant function and regulation in cell signaling, apoptosis and differentiation. The Escherichia coli alkylhydroperoxide reductase (AhpR) is a prototype of the Prxs-family, and is composed of an NADH-dependent AhpF reductase (57kDa) and AhpC (21kDa), catalyzing the reduction of H2O2. We show that the E. coli AhpC (EcAhpC, 187 residues) forms a decameric ring structure under reduced and close to physiological conditions, composed of five catalytic dimers. Single particle analysis of cryo-electron micrographs of C-terminal truncated (EcAhpC1-172 and EcAhpC1-182) and mutated forms of EcAhpC reveals the loss of decamer formation, indicating the importance of the very C-terminus of AhpC in dimer to decamer transition. The crystallographic structures of the truncated EcAhpC1-172 and EcAhpC1-182 demonstrate for the first time that, in contrast to the reduced form, the very C-terminus of the oxidized EcAhpC is oriented away from the AhpC dimer interface and away from the catalytic redox-center, reflecting structural rearrangements during redox-modulation and -oligomerization. Furthermore, using an ensemble of different truncated and mutated EcAhpC protein constructs the importance of the very C-terminus in AhpC activity and in AhpC-AhpF assembly has been demonstrated.
Dengue virus (DENV), which consists of four serotypes (DENV1-4), infects over 400 million people annually. Previous studies have indicated most human monoclonal antibodies (HMAbs) from dengue patients are cross-reactive and poorly neutralizing. Rare neutralizing HMAbs are usually serotype-specific and bind to quaternary structure-dependent epitopes. We determined the structure of DENV1 complexed with Fab fragments of a highly potent HMAb 1F4 to 6 Å resolution by cryo-EM. Although HMAb 1F4 appeared to bind to virus and not E proteins in ELISAs in the previous study, our structure showed that the epitope is located within an envelope (E) protein monomer, and not across neighboring E proteins. The Fab molecules bind to domain I (DI), and DI-DII hinge of the E protein. We also showed that HMAb 1F4 can neutralize DENV at different stages of viral entry in a cell type and receptor dependent manner. The structure reveals the mechanism by which this potent and specific antibody blocks viral infection.
Dengue virus (DENV), a mosquito-borne virus, is responsible for millions of cases of infections worldwide. There are four DENV serotypes (DENV1 to -4). After a primary DENV infection, the antibodies elicited confer lifetime protection against that DENV serotype. However, in a secondary infection with another serotype, the preexisting antibodies may cause antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of infection of macrophage cells, leading to the development of the more severe form of disease, dengue hemorrhagic fever. Thus, a safe vaccine should stimulate protection against all dengue serotypes simultaneously. To facilitate the development of a vaccine, good knowledge of different DENV serotype structures is crucial. Structures of DENV1 and DENV2 had been solved previously. Here we present a near-atomic resolution cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of mature DENV4. Comparison of the DENV4 structure with similar-resolution cryo-EM structures of DENV1 and DENV2 showed differences in surface charge distribution, which may explain their differences in binding to cellular receptors, such as heparin. Also, observed variations in amino acid residues involved in interactions between envelope and membrane proteins on the virus surface correlate with their ability to undergo structural changes at higher temperatures.
Dengue virus is a major human pathogen that has four serotypes (DENV1 to -4). Here we report the cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of immature and mature DENV1 at 6- and 4.5-Å resolution, respectively. The subnanometer-resolution maps allow accurate placement of all of the surface proteins. Although the immature and mature viruses showed vastly different surface protein organizations, the envelope protein transmembrane (E-TM) regions remain in similar positions. The pivotal role of the E-TM regions leads to the identification of the start and end positions of all surface proteins during maturation.
Previous binding studies of antibodies that recognized a partially or fully hidden epitope suggest that insect cell-derived dengue virus undergoes structural changes at an elevated temperature. This was confirmed by our cryo-electron microscopy images of dengue virus incubated at 37°C, where viruses change their surface from smooth to rough. Here we present the cryo-electron microscopy structures of dengue virus at 37°C. Image analysis showed four classes of particles. The three-dimensional (3D) map of one of these classes, representing half of the imaged virus population, shows that the E protein shell has expanded and there is a hole at the 3-fold vertices. Fitting E protein structures into the map suggests that all of the interdimeric and some intradimeric E protein interactions are weakened. The accessibility of some previously found cryptic epitopes on this class of particles is discussed.
Barmah Forest virus (BFV) is a mosquito-borne alphavirus that infects humans. A 6-Å-resolution cryo-electron microscopy three-dimensional structure of BFV exhibits a typical alphavirus organization, with RNA-containing nucleocapsid surrounded by a bilipid membrane anchored with the surface proteins E1 and E2. The map allows details of the transmembrane regions of E1 and E2 to be seen. The C-terminal end of the E2 transmembrane helix binds to the capsid protein. Following the E2 transmembrane helix, a short ?-helical endodomain lies on the inner surface of the lipid envelope. The E2 endodomain interacts with E1 transmembrane helix from a neighboring E1-E2 trimeric spike, thereby acting as a spacer and a linker between spikes. In agreement with previous mutagenesis studies, the endodomain plays an important role in recruiting other E1-E2 spikes to the budding site during virus assembly. The E2 endodomain may thus serve as a target for antiviral drug design.
Remarkable progress has been made during the past ten years in elucidating the structure of the bacteriophage T4 tail by a combination of three-dimensional image reconstruction from electron micrographs and X-ray crystallography of the components. Partial and complete structures of nine out of twenty tail structural proteins have been determined by X-ray crystallography and have been fitted into the 3D-reconstituted structure of the "extended" tail. The 3D structure of the "contracted" tail was also determined and interpreted in terms of component proteins. Given the pseudo-atomic tail structures both before and after contraction, it is now possible to understand the gross conformational change of the baseplate in terms of the change in the relative positions of the subunit proteins. These studies have explained how the conformational change of the baseplate and contraction of the tail are related to the tails host cell recognition and membrane penetration function. On the other hand, the baseplate assembly process has been recently reexamined in detail in a precise system involving recombinant proteins (unlike the earlier studies with phage mutants). These experiments showed that the sequential association of the subunits of the baseplate wedge is based on the induced-fit upon association of each subunit. It was also found that, upon association of gp53 (gene product 53), the penultimate subunit of the wedge, six of the wedge intermediates spontaneously associate to form a baseplate-like structure in the absence of the central hub. Structure determination of the rest of the subunits and intermediate complexes and the assembly of the hub still require further study.
Paramecium bursaria Chlorella virus-1 is an icosahedrally shaped, 1,900-A-diameter virus that infects unicellular eukaryotic green algae. A 5-fold symmetric, 3D reconstruction using cryoelectron microscopy images has now shown that the quasiicosahedral virus has a unique vertex, with a pocket on the inside and a spike structure on the outside of the capsid. The pocket might contain enzymes for use in the initial stages of infection. The unique vertex consists of virally coded proteins, some of which have been identified. Comparison of shape, size, and location of the spike with similar features in bacteriophages T4 and P22 suggests that the spike might be a cell-puncturing device. Similar asymmetric features may have been missed in previous analyses of many other viruses that had been assumed to be perfectly icosahedral.
Flaviviruses are a group of human pathogens causing severe encephalitic or hemorrhagic diseases that include West Nile, dengue and yellow fever viruses. Here, using X-ray crystallography we have defined the structure of the flavivirus cross-reactive antibody E53 that engages the highly conserved fusion loop of the West Nile virus envelope glycoprotein. Using cryo-electron microscopy, we also determined that E53 Fab binds preferentially to spikes in noninfectious, immature flavivirions but is unable to bind significantly to mature virions, consistent with the limited solvent exposure of the epitope. We conclude that the neutralizing impact of E53 and likely similar fusion-loop-specific antibodies depends on its binding to the frequently observed immature component of flavivirus particles. Our results elucidate how fusion-loop antibodies, which comprise a significant fraction of the humoral response against flaviviruses, can function to control infection without appreciably recognizing mature virions. As these highly cross-reactive antibodies are often weakly neutralizing they also may contribute to antibody-dependent enhancement and flavi virus pathogenesis thereby complicating development of safe and effective vaccines.
Mimivirus is the largest known virus whose genome and physical size are comparable to some small bacteria, blurring the boundary between a virus and a cell. Structural studies of Mimivirus have been difficult because of its size and long surface fibers. Here we report the use of enzymatic digestions to remove the surface fibers of Mimivirus in order to expose the surface of the viral capsid. Cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) and atomic force microscopy were able to show that the 20 icosahedral faces of Mimivirus capsids have hexagonal arrays of depressions. Each depression is surrounded by six trimeric capsomers that are similar in structure to those in many other large, icosahedral double-stranded DNA viruses. Whereas in most viruses these capsomers are hexagonally close-packed with the same orientation in each face, in Mimivirus there are vacancies at the systematic depressions with neighboring capsomers differing in orientation by 60 degrees . The previously observed starfish-shaped feature is well-resolved and found to be on each virus particle and is associated with a special pentameric vertex. The arms of the starfish fit into the gaps between the five faces surrounding the unique vertex, acting as a seal. Furthermore, the enveloped nucleocapsid is accurately positioned and oriented within the capsid with a concave surface facing the unique vertex. Thus, the starfish-shaped feature and the organization of the nucleocapsid might regulate the delivery of the genome to the host. The structure of Mimivirus, as well as the various fiber components observed in the virus, suggests that the Mimivirus genome includes genes derived from both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. The three-dimensional cryoEM reconstruction reported here is of a virus with a volume that is one order of magnitude larger than any previously reported molecular assembly studied at a resolution of equal to or better than 65 Angstroms.
The contractile tail of bacteriophage T4 is a molecular machine that facilitates very high viral infection efficiency. Its major component is a tail sheath, which contracts during infection to less than half of its initial length. The sheath consists of 138 copies of the tail sheath protein, gene product (gp) 18, which surrounds the central non-contractile tail tube. The contraction of the sheath drives the tail tube through the outer membrane, creating a channel for the viral genome delivery. A crystal structure of about three quarters of gp18 has been determined and was fitted into cryo-electron microscopy reconstructions of the tail sheath before and after contraction. It was shown that during contraction, gp18 subunits slide over each other with no apparent change in their structure.
Dengue virus infects approximately 100 million people annually, but there is no available therapeutic treatment. The mimetic peptide, DN59, consists of residues corresponding to the membrane interacting, amphipathic stem region of the dengue virus envelope (E) glycoprotein. This peptide is inhibitory to all four serotypes of dengue virus, as well as other flaviviruses. Cryo-electron microscopy image reconstruction of dengue virus particles incubated with DN59 showed that the virus particles were largely empty, concurrent with the formation of holes at the five-fold vertices. The release of RNA from the viral particle following incubation with DN59 was confirmed by increased sensitivity of the RNA genome to exogenous RNase and separation of the genome from the E protein in a tartrate density gradient. DN59 interacted strongly with synthetic lipid vesicles and caused membrane disruptions, but was found to be non-toxic to mammalian and insect cells. Thus DN59 inhibits flavivirus infectivity by interacting directly with virus particles resulting in release of the genomic RNA.
Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that affects 2.5 billion people worldwide. There are four dengue serotypes (DENV1 to DENV4), and infection with one elicits lifelong immunity to that serotype but offers only transient protection against the other serotypes. Identification of the protective determinants of the human antibody response to DENV is a vital requirement for the design and evaluation of future preventative therapies and treatments. Here, we describe the isolation of a neutralizing antibody from a DENV1-infected patient. The human antibody 14c10 (HM14c10) binds specifically to DENV1. HM14c10 neutralizes the virus principally by blocking virus attachment; at higher concentrations, a post-attachment step can also be inhibited. In vivo studies show that the HM14c10 antibody has antiviral activity at picomolar concentrations. A 7 Å resolution cryoelectron microscopy map of Fab fragments of HM14c10 in a complex with DENV1 shows targeting of a discontinuous epitope that spans the adjacent surface of envelope protein dimers. As found previously, a human antibody specific for the related West Nile virus binds to a similar quaternary structure, suggesting that this could be an immunodominant epitope. These findings provide a structural and molecular context for durable, serotype-specific immunity to DENV infection.
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