Doctor of Philosophy, University of Nebraska Medical Center (2013)
Bachelor of Science, Creighton University (2000)
Joseph Puglisi, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Viral internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) are unique RNA elements, which use stable and dynamic RNA structures to recruit ribosomes and drive protein synthesis. IRESs overcome the high complexity of the canonical eukaryotic translation initiation pathway, often functioning with a limited set of eukaryotic initiation factors. The simplest types of IRESs are typified by the cricket paralysis virus intergenic region (CrPV IGR) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) IRESs, both of which independently form high-affinity complexes with the small (40S) ribosomal subunit and bypass the molecular processes of cap-binding and scanning. Owing to their simplicity and ribosomal affinity, the CrPV and HCV IRES have been important models for structural and functional studies of the eukaryotic ribosome during initiation, serving as excellent targets for recent technological breakthroughs in cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and single-molecule analysis. High-resolution structural models of ribosome : IRES complexes, coupled with dynamics studies, have clarified decades of biochemical research and provided an outline of the conformational and compositional trajectory of the ribosome during initiation. Here we review recent progress in the study of HCV- and CrPV-type IRESs, highlighting important structural and dynamics insights and the synergy between cryo-EM and single-molecule studies.This article is part of the themed issue 'Perspectives on the ribosome'.
View details for DOI 10.1098/rstb.2016.0177
View details for Web of Science ID 000393403600002
View details for PubMedID 28138065
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5311923
Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) causes the most severe form of human viral hepatitis. HDV requires a hepatitis B virus (HBV) co-infection to provide HDV with HBV surface antigen envelope proteins. The net effect of HDV is to make the underlying HBV disease worse, including higher rates of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Accurate assessments of current HDV prevalence have been hampered by the lack of readily available and reliable quantitative assays, combined with the absence of an FDA-approved therapy. We sought to develop a convenient assay for accurately screening populations and to use this assay to determine HDV prevalence in a population with abnormally high rates of HCC. We developed a high throughput quantitative microarray antibody capture (Q-MAC) assay for anti-HDV IgG wherein recombinant HDV delta antigen is printed by microarray on slides coated with a noncontinuous, nanostructured plasmonic gold film, enabling quantitative fluorescent detection of anti-HDV antibody in small aliquots of patient serum. This assay was then used to screen all HBV-infected patients identified in a large randomly selected cohort designed to represent the Mongolian population. We identified two quantitative thresholds of captured antibody that were 100% predictive of the sample either being positive on standard western blot, or harboring HDV RNA detectable by qPCR, respectively. Subsequent screening of the HBV-positive cohort revealed that a remarkable 57% were RNA positive and an additional 4% were positive on western blot alone.The Q-MAC assay's unique performance characteristics make it ideal for population screening. Its application to the Mongolian HBsAg+ population reveals an apparent ∼60% prevalence of HDV co-infection amongst these HBV-infected Mongolian subjects, which may help explain the extraordinarily high rate of HCC in Mongolia. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
View details for DOI 10.1002/hep.28957
View details for PubMedID 27880976
The mannose 6-phosphate/insulin-like growth factor II receptor (M6P/IGF2R) binds M6P-capped ligands and IGF-II at different binding sites within the ectodomain and mediates ligand internalization and trafficking to the lysosome. Multivalent M6P-based ligands can cross-bridge the M6P/IGF2R, which increases the rate of receptor internalization, permitting IGF-II binding as a passenger ligand and subsequent trafficking to the lysosome, where the IGF-II is degraded. This unique feature of the receptor may be exploited to design novel therapeutic agents against IGF-II-dependent cancers that will lead to decreased bioavailable IGF-II within the tumor microenvironment. We have designed a panel of M6P-based ligands that bind to the M6P/IGF2R with high affinity in a bivalent manner and cause decreased cell viability. We present evidence that our ligands bind through the M6P-binding sites of the receptor and facilitate internalization and degradation of IGF-II from conditioned medium to mediate this cellular response. To our knowledge, this is the first panel of synthetic bivalent ligands for the M6P/IGF2R that can take advantage of the ligand-receptor interactions of the M6P/IGF2R to provide proof-of-principle evidence for the feasibility of novel chemotherapeutic agents that decrease IGF-II-dependent growth of cancer cells.
View details for DOI 10.18632/oncotarget.11493
View details for Web of Science ID 000387164700119
View details for PubMedID 27694692
The complexity of eukaryotic translation allows fine-tuned regulation of protein synthesis. Viruses use internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) to minimize or, like the CrPV IRES, eliminate the need for initiation factors. Here, by exploiting the CrPV IRES, we observed the entire process of initiation and transition to elongation in real time. We directly tracked the CrPV IRES, 40S and 60S ribosomal subunits, and tRNA using single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and identified multiple parallel initiation pathways within the system. Our results distinguished two pathways of 80S:CrPV IRES complex assembly that produce elongation-competent complexes. Following 80S assembly, the requisite eEF2-mediated translocation results in an unstable intermediate that is captured by binding of the elongator tRNA. Whereas initiation can occur in the 0 and +1 frames, the arrival of the first tRNA defines the reading frame and strongly favors 0 frame initiation. Overall, even in the simplest system, an intricate reaction network regulates translation initiation.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.molcel.2016.03.020
View details for PubMedID 27058789
Neuronal precursor cell-expressed developmentally down-regulated 4 (Nedd4) was the first ubiquitin protein ligase identified to interact with connexin43 (Cx43), and its suppressed expression results in accumulation of gap junction plaques at the plasma membrane. Nedd4-mediated ubiquitination of Cx43 is required to recruit Eps15 and target Cx43 to the endocytic pathway. Although the Cx43 residues that undergo ubiquitination are still unknown, in this study we address other unresolved questions pertaining to the molecular mechanisms mediating the direct interaction between Nedd4 (WW1-3 domains) and Cx43 (carboxyl terminus (CT)). All three WW domains display a similar three antiparallel β-strand structure and interact with the same Cx43CT(283)PPXY(286)sequence. Although Tyr(286)is essential for the interaction, MAPK phosphorylation of the preceding serine residues (Ser(P)(279)and Ser(P)(282)) increases the binding affinity by 2-fold for the WW domains (WW2 > WW3 ≫ WW1). The structure of the WW2·Cx43CT(276-289)(Ser(P)(279), Ser(P)(282)) complex reveals that coordination of Ser(P)(282)with the end of β-strand 3 enables Ser(P)(279)to interact with the back face of β-strand 3 (Tyr(286)is on the front face) and loop 2, forming a horseshoe-shaped arrangement. The close sequence identity of WW2 with WW1 and WW3 residues that interact with the Cx43CT PPXY motif and Ser(P)(279)/Ser(P)(282)strongly suggests that the significantly lower binding affinity of WW1 is the result of a more rigid structure. This study presents the first structure illustrating how phosphorylation of the Cx43CT domain helps mediate the interaction with a molecular partner involved in gap junction regulation.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M115.701417
View details for Web of Science ID 000383447600035
View details for PubMedID 26841867
The connexin carboxyl-terminal (CxCT) domain plays a role in the trafficking, localization, and turnover of gap junction channels, as well as the level of gap junction intercellular communication via numerous post-translational modifications and protein-protein interactions. As a key player in the regulation of gap junctions, the CT presents itself as a target for manipulation intended to modify function. Specific to intrinsically disordered proteins, identifying residues whose secondary structure can be manipulated will be critical toward unlocking the therapeutic potential of the CxCT domain. To accomplish this goal, we used biophysical methods to characterize CxCT domains attached to their fourth transmembrane domain (TM4). Circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance were complementary in demonstrating the connexin isoforms that form the greatest amount of α-helical structure in their CT domain (Cx45 > Cx43 > Cx32 > Cx50 > Cx37 ≈ Cx40 ≈ Cx26). Studies compared the influence of 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol, pH, phosphorylation, and mutations (Cx32, X-linked Charcot-Marie Tooth disease; Cx26, hearing loss) on the TM4-CxCT structure. While pH modestly influences the CT structure, a major structural change was associated with phosphomimetic substitutions. Since most connexin CT domains are phosphorylated throughout their life cycle, studies of phospho-TM4-CxCT isoforms will be critical toward understanding the role that structure plays in regulating gap junction function.
View details for DOI 10.1002/bip.22762
View details for Web of Science ID 000368187900003
View details for PubMedID 26542351
Gap junctions are specialized membrane channels that enable coordination of cellular functions and whole-organ responses by facilitating both molecular and electrical communication between neighboring cells. Connexin43 (Cx43) is the most widely expressed and well-studied gap junction protein. In the heart, Cx43 is essential for normal cardiac development and function. Studies using a soluble version of the Cx43 carboxyl-terminal domain (Cx43CT; S255-I382) have established the central role it plays in channel regulation. However, in purifying and characterizing a more 'native-like' construct (Cx43CT attached to the fourth transmembrane domain (TM4-Cx43CT; D196-I382)), we have identified that the TM4-Cx43CT is a better model than the soluble Cx43CT to further investigate the mechanisms governing Cx43 channel regulation. Here, we report the backbone (1)H, (15)N, and (13)C assignments and predicted secondary structure of the TM4-Cx43CT. Assignment of the TM4-Cx43CT is a key step towards a better understanding of the structural basis of Cx43 regulation, which will lead to improved strategies for modulation of junctional communication that has been altered due to disease or ischemic injury.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s12104-012-9432-8
View details for Web of Science ID 000323740300041
View details for PubMedID 23065337
Phosphorylation of the connexin43 C-terminal (Cx43CT) domain regulates gap junction intercellular communication. However, an understanding of the mechanisms by which phosphorylation exerts its effects is lacking. Here, we test the hypothesis that phosphorylation regulates Cx43 gap junction intercellular communication by mediating structural changes in the C-terminal domain. Circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance were used to characterize the effects of phosphorylation on the secondary structure and backbone dynamics of soluble and membrane-tethered Cx43CT domains. Cx43CT phospho-mimetic isoforms, which have Asp substitutions at specific Ser/Tyr sites, revealed phosphorylation alters the α-helical content of the Cx43CT domain only when attached to the membrane. The changes in secondary structure are due to variations in the conformational preference and backbone flexibility of residues adjacent and distal to the site(s) of modification. In addition to the known direct effects of phosphorylation on molecular partner interactions, the data presented here suggest phosphorylation may also indirectly regulate binding affinity by altering the conformational preference of the Cx43CT domain.
View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M113.454389
View details for Web of Science ID 000330612300050
View details for PubMedID 23828237
Gap junctions are specialized membrane structures that provide an intercellular pathway for the propagation and/or amplification of signaling cascades responsible for impulse propagation, cell growth, and development. Prior to the identification of the proteins that comprise gap junctions, elucidation of channel structure began with initial observations of a hexagonal nexus connecting apposed cellular membranes. Concomitant with technological advancements spanning over 50 years, atomic resolution structures are now available detailing channel architecture and the cytoplasmic domains that have helped to define mechanisms governing the regulation of gap junctions. Highlighted in this review are the seminal structural studies that have led to our current understanding of gap junction biology.
View details for DOI 10.3109/15419061.2013.775256
View details for Web of Science ID 000317484000002
View details for PubMedID 23469928
pH-mediated gating of Cx43 channels following an ischemic event is believed to contribute to the development of lethal cardiac arrhythmias. Studies using a soluble version of the Cx43 carboxyl-terminal domain (Cx43CT; S255-I382) have established the central role it plays in channel regulation; however, research in the authors' laboratory suggests that this construct may not be the ideal model system. Therefore, we have developed a more 'native-like' construct (Cx43CT attached to the 4th transmembrane domain [TM4-Cx43CT; G178-I382]) than the soluble Cx43CT to further investigate the mechanism(s) governing this regulation. Here, we utilize circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) were used to validate the TM4-Cx43CT for studying channel gating and optimize solution conditions for structural studies. The data indicate that, unlike the soluble Cx43CT, the TM4-Cx43CT is structurally responsive to changes in pH, suggesting the presence of the TM4 facilitates pH-induced structural alterations. Additionally, the optimal solution conditions for solving the NMR solution structure include 10% 2,2,2 trifluoroethanol and removal of the 2nd extracellular loop (G178-V196).
View details for DOI 10.3109/15419061.2010.487956
View details for Web of Science ID 000279090800001
View details for PubMedID 20513204
In recent years, reports have identified that many eukaryotic proteins contain disordered regions spanning greater than 30 consecutive residues in length. In particular, a number of these intrinsically disordered regions occur in the cytoplasmic segments of plasma membrane proteins. These intrinsically disordered regions play important roles in cell signaling events, as they are sites for protein-protein interactions and phosphorylation. Unfortunately, in many crystallographic studies of membrane proteins, these domains are removed because they hinder the crystallization process. Therefore, a purification procedure was developed to enable the biophysical and structural characterization of these intrinsically disordered regions while still associated with the lipid environment. The carboxyl terminal domain from the gap junction protein connexin43 attached to the 4th transmembrane domain (TM4-Cx43CT) was used as a model system (residues G178-I382). The purification was optimized for structural analysis by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) because this method is well suited for small membrane proteins and proteins that lack a well-structured three-dimensional fold. The TM4-Cx43CT was purified to homogeneity with a yield of approximately 6 mg/L from C41(DE3) bacterial cells, reconstituted in the anionic detergent 1-palmitoyl-2-hydroxy-sn-glycero-3-[phospho-RAC-(1-glycerol)], and analyzed by circular dichroism and NMR to demonstrate that the TM4-Cx43CT was properly folded into a functional conformation by its ability to form alpha-helical structure and associate with a known binding partner, the c-Src SH3 domain, respectively.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pep.2008.01.023
View details for Web of Science ID 000256514200004
View details for PubMedID 18411056