Education & Certifications
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States, Biophysics (2011)
Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.), Anna University, Chennai, India, Ind. Biotechnology (2005)
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is the prototypical γ-herpesvirus and an obligate human pathogen that infects mainly epithelial cells and B cells, which can result in malignancies. EBV infects these target cells by fusing with the viral and cellular lipid bilayer membranes using multiple viral factors and host receptor(s) thus exhibiting a unique complexity in its entry machinery. To enter epithelial cells, EBV requires minimally the conserved core fusion machinery comprised of the glycoproteins gH/gL acting as the receptor-binding complex and gB as the fusogen. EBV can enter B cells using gp42, which binds tightly to gH/gL and interacts with host HLA class II, activating fusion. Previously, we published the individual crystal structures of EBV entry factors, such as gH/gL and gp42, the EBV/host receptor complex, gp42/HLA-DR1, and the fusion protein EBV gB in a postfusion conformation, which allowed us to identify structural determinants and regions critical for receptor-binding and membrane fusion. Recently, we reported different low resolution models of the EBV B cell entry triggering complex (gHgL/gp42/HLA class II) in "open" and "closed" states based on negative-stain single particle electron microscopy, which provide further mechanistic insights. This review summarizes the current knowledge of these key players in EBV entry and how their structures impact receptor-binding and the triggering of gB-mediated fusion.
View details for DOI 10.14348/molcells.2016.0066
View details for PubMedID 27094060
Omalizumab is a widely used therapeutic anti-IgE antibody. Here we report the crystal structure of the omalizumab-Fab in complex with an IgE-Fc fragment. This structure reveals the mechanism of omalizumab-mediated inhibition of IgE interactions with both high- and low-affinity IgE receptors, and explains why omalizumab selectively binds free IgE. The structure of the complex also provides mechanistic insight into a class of disruptive IgE inhibitors that accelerate the dissociation of the high-affinity IgE receptor from IgE. We use this structural data to generate a mutant IgE-Fc fragment that is resistant to omalizumab binding. Treatment with this omalizumab-resistant IgE-Fc fragment, in combination with omalizumab, promotes the exchange of cell-bound full-length IgE with omalizumab-resistant IgE-Fc fragments on human basophils. This combination treatment also blocks basophil activation more efficiently than either agent alone, providing a novel approach to probe regulatory mechanisms underlying IgE hypersensitivity with implications for therapeutic interventions.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms11610
View details for PubMedID 27194387
Capsules frequently play a key role in bacterial interactions with their environment. Escherichia coli capsules were categorized as groups 1 through 4, each produced by a distinct mechanism. Etk and Etp are members of protein families required for the production of group 1 and group 4 capsules. These members function as a protein tyrosine kinase and protein tyrosine phosphatase, respectively. We show that Etp dephosphorylates Etk in vivo, and mutations rendering Etk or Etp catalytically inactive result in loss of group 4 capsule production, supporting the notion that cyclic phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of Etk is required for capsule formation. Notably, Etp also becomes tyrosine phosphorylated in vivo and catalyzes rapid auto-dephosphorylation. Further analysis identified Tyr121 as the phosphorylated residue of Etp. Etp containing Phe, Glu or Ala in place of Tyr121 retained phosphatase activity and catalyzed dephosphorylation of Etp and Etk. Although EtpY121E and EtpY121A still supported capsule formation, EtpY121F failed to do so. These results suggest that cycles of phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of Etp, as well as Etk, are involved in the formation of group 4 capsule, providing an additional regulatory layer to the complex control of capsule production.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0037984
View details for Web of Science ID 000305341700030
View details for PubMedID 22675501
We report the 1.9 Å resolution crystal structure of enteropathogenic Escherichia coli GfcC, a periplasmic protein encoded by the gfc operon, which is essential for assembly of group 4 polysaccharide capsule (O-antigen capsule). Presumed gene orthologs of gfcC are present in capsule-encoding regions of at least 29 genera of Gram-negative bacteria. GfcC, a member of the DUF1017 family, is comprised of tandem ?-grasp (ubiquitin-like) domains (D2 and D3) and a carboxyl-terminal amphipathic helix, a domain arrangement reminiscent of that of Wza that forms an exit pore for group 1 capsule export. Unlike the membrane-spanning C-terminal helix from Wza, the GfcC C-terminal helix packs against D3. Previously unobserved in a ?-grasp domain structure is a 48-residue helical hairpin insert in D2 that binds to D3, constraining its position and sequestering the carboxyl-terminal amphipathic helix. A centrally located and invariant Arg115 not only is essential for proper localization but also forms one of two mostly conserved pockets. Finally, we draw analogies between a GfcC protein fused to an outer membrane ?-barrel pore in some species and fusion proteins necessary for secreting biofilm-forming exopolysaccharides.
View details for DOI 10.1021/bi101869h
View details for Web of Science ID 000291500200008
View details for PubMedID 21449614