All Publications

  • Structure of a Signaling Cannabinoid Receptor 1-G Protein Complex. Cell Krishna Kumar, K., Shalev-Benami, M., Robertson, M. J., Hu, H., Banister, S. D., Hollingsworth, S. A., Latorraca, N. R., Kato, H. E., Hilger, D., Maeda, S., Weis, W. I., Farrens, D. L., Dror, R. O., Malhotra, S. V., Kobilka, B. K., Skiniotis, G. 2018


    Cannabis elicits its mood-enhancing and analgesic effects through the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1), aG protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that signals primarily through the adenylyl cyclase-inhibiting heterotrimeric G protein Gi. Activation of CB1-Gi signaling pathways holds potential for treating a number of neurological disorders and is thus crucial to understand the mechanism of Gi activation by CB1. Here, we present the structure of the CB1-Gi signaling complex bound to the highly potent agonist MDMB-Fubinaca (FUB), a recently emerged illicit synthetic cannabinoid infused in street drugs that have been associated with numerous overdoses and fatalities. The structure illustrates how FUB stabilizes the receptor in an active state to facilitate nucleotide exchange in Gi. The results compose the structural framework to explain CB1 activation by different classes of ligands and provide insights into the G protein coupling and selectivity mechanisms adopted by the receptor.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2018.11.040

    View details for PubMedID 30639101

  • Development of an antibody fragment that stabilizes GPCR/G-protein complexes. Nature communications Maeda, S., Koehl, A., Matile, H., Hu, H., Hilger, D., Schertler, G. F., Manglik, A., Skiniotis, G., Dawson, R. J., Kobilka, B. K. 2018; 9 (1): 3712


    Single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has recently enabled high-resolution structure determination of numerous biological macromolecular complexes. Despite this progress, the application of high-resolution cryo-EM to G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) in complex with heterotrimeric G proteins remains challenging, owning to both the relative small size and the limited stability of these assemblies. Here we describe the development of antibody fragments that bind and stabilize GPCR-G protein complexes for the application of high-resolution cryo-EM. One antibody in particular, mAb16, stabilizes GPCR/G-protein complexes by recognizing an interface between Galpha and Gbetagamma subunits in the heterotrimer, and confers resistance to GTPgammaS-triggered dissociation. The unique recognition mode of this antibody makes it possible to transfer its binding and stabilizing effect to other G-protein subtypes through minimal protein engineering. This antibody fragment is thus a broadly applicable tool for structural studies of GPCR/G-protein complexes.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-018-06002-w

    View details for PubMedID 30213947

  • Structure and Conformational Dynamics of a COMPASS Histone H3K4 Methyltransferase Complex. Cell Qu, Q., Takahashi, Y., Yang, Y., Hu, H., Zhang, Y., Brunzelle, J. S., Couture, J., Shilatifard, A., Skiniotis, G. 2018


    The methylation of histone 3 lysine 4 (H3K4) is carried out by an evolutionarily conserved family of methyltransferases referred to as complex of proteins associated with Set1 (COMPASS). The activity of the catalytic SET domain (su(var)3-9, enhancer-of-zeste, and trithorax) is endowed through forming a complex with a set of core proteins that are widely shared from yeast to humans. We obtained cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) maps of the yeast Set1/COMPASS core complex at overall 4.0- to 4.4-A resolution, providing insights into its structural organization and conformational dynamics. The Cps50 C-terminal tail weaves within the complex to provide a central scaffold for assembly. The SET domain, snugly positioned at the junction of the Y-shaped complex, is extensively contacted by Cps60 (Bre2), Cps50 (Swd1), and Cps30 (Swd3). The mobile SET-I motif of the SET domain is engaged by Cps30, explaining its key role in COMPASS catalytic activity toward higher H3K4 methylation states.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2018.07.020

    View details for PubMedID 30100186

  • Structure of the µ-opioid receptor-Gi protein complex. Nature Koehl, A., Hu, H., Maeda, S., Zhang, Y., Qu, Q., Paggi, J. M., Latorraca, N. R., Hilger, D., Dawson, R., Matile, H., Schertler, G. F., Granier, S., Weis, W. I., Dror, R. O., Manglik, A., Skiniotis, G., Kobilka, B. K. 2018


    The mu-opioid receptor (muOR) is a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) and the target of most clinically and recreationally used opioids. The induced positive effects of analgesia and euphoria are mediated by muOR signalling through the adenylyl cyclase-inhibiting heterotrimeric G protein Gi. Here we present the 3.5A resolution cryo-electron microscopy structure of the muOR bound to the agonist peptide DAMGO and nucleotide-free Gi. DAMGO occupies the morphinan ligand pocket, with its Nterminus interacting with conserved receptor residues and its Cterminus engaging regions important for opioid-ligand selectivity. Comparison of the muOR-Gi complex to previously determined structures of other GPCRs bound to the stimulatory G protein Gs reveals differences in the position of transmembrane receptor helix 6 and in the interactions between the G protein alpha-subunit and the receptor core. Together, these results shed light on the structural features that contribute to the Gi protein-coupling specificity of the OR.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-018-0219-7

    View details for PubMedID 29899455

  • Cryo-EM structure of the activated GLP-1 receptor in complex with a G protein. Nature Zhang, Y., Sun, B., Feng, D., Hu, H., Chu, M., Qu, Q., Tarrasch, J. T., Li, S., Sun Kobilka, T., Kobilka, B. K., Skiniotis, G. 2017; 546 (7657): 248-253


    Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is a hormone with essential roles in regulating insulin secretion, carbohydrate metabolism and appetite. GLP-1 effects are mediated through binding to the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R), a class B G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that signals primarily through the stimulatory G protein Gs. Class B GPCRs are important therapeutic targets; however, our understanding of their mechanism of action is limited by the lack of structural information on activated and full-length receptors. Here we report the cryo-electron microscopy structure of the peptide-activated GLP-1R-Gs complex at near atomic resolution. The peptide is clasped between the N-terminal domain and the transmembrane core of the receptor, and further stabilized by extracellular loops. Conformational changes in the transmembrane domain result in a sharp kink in the middle of transmembrane helix 6, which pivots its intracellular half outward to accommodate the α5-helix of the Ras-like domain of Gs. These results provide a structural framework for understanding class B GPCR activation through hormone binding.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature22394

    View details for PubMedID 28538729