Bachelor of Science, University of Wisconsin La Crosse (2010)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of Michigan Ann Arbor (2016)
William Weis, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Salmeterol is a partial agonist for the beta2 adrenergic receptor (beta2AR) and the first long-acting beta2AR agonist to be widely used clinically for the treatment of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Salmeterol's safety and mechanism of action have both been controversial. To understand its unusual pharmacological action and partial agonism, we obtained the crystal structure of salmeterol-bound beta2AR in complex with an active-state-stabilizing nanobody. The structure reveals the location of the salmeterol exosite, where sequence differences between beta1AR and beta2AR explain the high receptor-subtype selectivity. A structural comparison with the beta2AR bound to the full agonist epinephrine reveals differences in the hydrogen-bond network involving residues Ser2045.43 and Asn2936.55. Mutagenesis and biophysical studies suggested that these interactions lead to a distinct active-state conformation that is responsible for the partial efficacy of G-protein activation and the limited beta-arrestin recruitment for salmeterol.
View details for PubMedID 30327561
Classically, G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) stimulation promotes G protein signaling at the plasma membrane, followed by rapid β-arrestin-mediated desensitization and receptor internalization into endosomes. However, it has been demonstrated that some GPCRs activate G proteins from within internalized cellular compartments, resulting in sustained signaling. We have used a variety of biochemical, biophysical, and cell-based methods to demonstrate the existence, functionality, and architecture of internalized receptor complexes composed of a single GPCR, β-arrestin, and G protein. These super-complexes or "megaplexes" more readily form at receptors that interact strongly with β-arrestins via a C-terminal tail containing clusters of serine/threonine phosphorylation sites. Single-particle electron microscopy analysis of negative-stained purified megaplexes reveals that a single receptor simultaneously binds through its core region with G protein and through its phosphorylated C-terminal tail with β-arrestin. The formation of such megaplexes provides a potential physical basis for the newly appreciated sustained G protein signaling from internalized GPCRs.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2016.07.004
View details for PubMedID 27499021
G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) remain the primary conduit by which cells detect environmental stimuli and communicate with each other. Upon activation by extracellular agonists, these seven-transmembrane-domain-containing receptors interact with heterotrimeric G proteins to regulate downstream second messenger and/or protein kinase cascades. Crystallographic evidence from a prototypic GPCR, the β2-adrenergic receptor (β2AR), in complex with its cognate G protein, Gs, has provided a model for how agonist binding promotes conformational changes that propagate through the GPCR and into the nucleotide-binding pocket of the G protein α-subunit to catalyse GDP release, the key step required for GTP binding and activation of G proteins. The structure also offers hints about how G-protein binding may, in turn, allosterically influence ligand binding. Here we provide functional evidence that G-protein coupling to the β2AR stabilizes a ‘closed’ receptor conformation characterized by restricted access to and egress from the hormone-binding site. Surprisingly, the effects of G protein on the hormone-binding site can be observed in the absence of a bound agonist, where G-protein coupling driven by basal receptor activity impedes the association of agonists, partial agonists, antagonists and inverse agonists. The ability of bound ligands to dissociate from the receptor is also hindered, providing a structural explanation for the G-protein-mediated enhancement of agonist affinity, which has been observed for many GPCR–G-protein pairs. Our data also indicate that, in contrast to agonist binding alone, coupling of a G protein in the absence of an agonist stabilizes large structural changes in a GPCR. The effects of nucleotide-free G protein on ligand-binding kinetics are shared by other members of the superfamily of GPCRs, suggesting that a common mechanism may underlie G-protein-mediated enhancement of agonist affinity.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature18324
View details for Web of Science ID 000379015600049
View details for PubMedID 27362234
DNA provides an ideal substrate for the engineering of versatile nanostructures due to its reliable Watson-Crick base pairing and well-characterized conformation. One of the most promising applications of DNA nanostructures arises from the site-directed spatial arrangement with nanometer precision of guest components such as proteins, metal nanoparticles, and small molecules. Two-dimensional DNA origami architectures, in particular, offer a simple design, high yield of assembly, and large surface area for use as a nanoplatform. However, such single-layer DNA origami were recently found to be structurally polymorphous due to their high flexibility, leading to the development of conformationally restrained multilayered origami that lack some of the advantages of the single-layer designs. Here we monitored single-layer DNA origami by transmission electron microscopy (EM) and discovered that their conformational heterogeneity is dramatically reduced in the presence of a low concentration of dimethyl sulfoxide, allowing for an efficient flattening onto the carbon support of an EM grid. We further demonstrated that streptavidin and a biotinylated target protein (cocaine esterase, CocE) can be captured at predesignated sites on these flattened origami while maintaining their functional integrity. Our demonstration that protein assemblies can be constructed with high spatial precision (within ∼2 nm of their predicted position on the platforms) by using strategically flattened single-layer origami paves the way for exploiting well-defined guest molecule assemblies for biochemistry and nanotechnology applications.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acsnano.5b01841
View details for Web of Science ID 000358823200050
View details for PubMedID 26149412
A long-held tenet of molecular pharmacology is that canonical signal transduction mediated by G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) coupling to heterotrimeric G proteins is confined to the plasma membrane. Evidence supporting this traditional view is based on analytical methods that provide limited or no subcellular resolution. It has been subsequently proposed that signalling by internalized GPCRs is restricted to G-protein-independent mechanisms such as scaffolding by arrestins, or GPCR activation elicits a discrete form of persistent G protein signalling, or that internalized GPCRs can indeed contribute to the acute G-protein-mediated response. Evidence supporting these various latter hypotheses is indirect or subject to alternative interpretation, and it remains unknown if endosome-localized GPCRs are even present in an active form. Here we describe the application of conformation-specific single-domain antibodies (nanobodies) to directly probe activation of the β2-adrenoceptor, a prototypical GPCR, and its cognate G protein, Gs (ref. 12), in living mammalian cells. We show that the adrenergic agonist isoprenaline promotes receptor and G protein activation in the plasma membrane as expected, but also in the early endosome membrane, and that internalized receptors contribute to the overall cellular cyclic AMP response within several minutes after agonist application. These findings provide direct support for the hypothesis that canonical GPCR signalling occurs from endosomes as well as the plasma membrane, and suggest a versatile strategy for probing dynamic conformational change in vivo.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature12000
View details for Web of Science ID 000316682800051
View details for PubMedID 23515162