Publications by authors named "Nikola P Pavletich"

36 Publications

Mechanism of strand exchange from RecA-DNA synaptic and D-loop structures.

Nature 2020 10 14;586(7831):801-806. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

The strand-exchange reaction is central to homologous recombination. It is catalysed by the RecA family of ATPases, which form a helical filament with single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and ATP. This filament binds to a donor double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) to form synaptic filaments, which search for homology and then catalyse the exchange of the complementary strand, forming either a new heteroduplex or-if homology is limited-a D-loop. How synaptic filaments form, search for homology and catalyse strand exchange is poorly understood. Here we report the cryo-electron microscopy analysis of synaptic mini-filaments with both non-complementary and partially complementary dsDNA, and structures of RecA-D-loop complexes containing a 10- or a 12-base-pair heteroduplex. The C-terminal domain of RecA binds to dsDNA and directs it to the RecA L2 loop, which inserts into and opens up the duplex. The opening propagates through RecA sequestering the homologous strand at a secondary DNA-binding site, which frees the complementary strand to sample pairing with the ssDNA. At each RecA step, there is a roughly 20% probability that duplex opening will terminate and the as-yet-unopened dsDNA portion will bind to another C-terminal domain. Homology suppresses this process, through the cooperation of heteroduplex pairing with the binding of ssDNA to the secondary site, to extend dsDNA opening. This mechanism locally limits the length of ssDNA sampled for pairing if homology is not encountered, and could allow for the formation of multiple, widely separated synapses on the donor dsDNA, which would increase the likelihood of encountering homology. These findings provide key mechanistic insights into homologous recombination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2820-9DOI Listing
October 2020

DNA clamp function of the monoubiquitinated Fanconi anaemia ID complex.

Nature 2020 04 11;580(7802):278-282. Epub 2020 Mar 11.

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

The ID complex, involving the proteins FANCI and FANCD2, is required for the repair of DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICL) and related lesions. These proteins are mutated in Fanconi anaemia, a disease in which patients are predisposed to cancer. The Fanconi anaemia pathway of ICL repair is activated when a replication fork stalls at an ICL; this triggers monoubiquitination of the ID complex, in which one ubiquitin molecule is conjugated to each of FANCI and FANCD2. Monoubiquitination of ID is essential for ICL repair by excision, translesion synthesis and homologous recombination; however, its function remains unknown. Here we report a cryo-electron microscopy structure of the monoubiquitinated human ID complex bound to DNA, and reveal that it forms a closed ring that encircles the DNA. By comparison with the structure of the non-ubiquitinated ID complex bound to ICL DNA-which we also report here-we show that monoubiquitination triggers a complete rearrangement of the open, trough-like ID structure through the ubiquitin of one protomer binding to the other protomer in a reciprocal fashion. These structures-together with biochemical data-indicate that the monoubiquitinated ID complex loses its preference for ICL and related branched DNA structures, and becomes a sliding DNA clamp that can coordinate the subsequent repair reactions. Our findings also reveal how monoubiquitination in general can induce an alternative protein structure with a new function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2110-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7398534PMC
April 2020

Mechanisms of mTORC1 activation by RHEB and inhibition by PRAS40.

Nature 2017 12 13;552(7685):368-373. Epub 2017 Dec 13.

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10065, USA.

The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) controls cell growth and metabolism in response to nutrients, energy levels, and growth factors. It contains the atypical kinase mTOR and the RAPTOR subunit that binds to the Tor signalling sequence (TOS) motif of substrates and regulators. mTORC1 is activated by the small GTPase RHEB (Ras homologue enriched in brain) and inhibited by PRAS40. Here we present the 3.0 ångström cryo-electron microscopy structure of mTORC1 and the 3.4 ångström structure of activated RHEB-mTORC1. RHEB binds to mTOR distally from the kinase active site, yet causes a global conformational change that allosterically realigns active-site residues, accelerating catalysis. Cancer-associated hyperactivating mutations map to structural elements that maintain the inactive state, and we provide biochemical evidence that they mimic RHEB relieving auto-inhibition. We also present crystal structures of RAPTOR-TOS motif complexes that define the determinants of TOS recognition, of an mTOR FKBP12-rapamycin-binding (FRB) domain-substrate complex that establishes a second substrate-recruitment mechanism, and of a truncated mTOR-PRAS40 complex that reveals PRAS40 inhibits both substrate-recruitment sites. These findings help explain how mTORC1 selects its substrates, how its kinase activity is controlled, and how it is activated by cancer-associated mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature25023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5750076PMC
December 2017

N-Terminal Amino Acid Sequence Determination of Proteins by N-Terminal Dimethyl Labeling: Pitfalls and Advantages When Compared with Edman Degradation Sequence Analysis.

J Biomol Tech 2016 07 7;27(2):61-74. Epub 2016 Mar 7.

1 Microchemistry and Proteomics Core Laboratory, 2 Structural Biology and 3 Molecular Biology Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.

In recent history, alternative approaches to Edman sequencing have been investigated, and to this end, the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities (ABRF) Protein Sequencing Research Group (PSRG) initiated studies in 2014 and 2015, looking into bottom-up and top-down N-terminal (Nt) dimethyl derivatization of standard quantities of intact proteins with the aim to determine Nt sequence information. We have expanded this initiative and used low picomole amounts of myoglobin to determine the efficiency of Nt-dimethylation. Application of this approach on protein domains, generated by limited proteolysis of overexpressed proteins, confirms that it is a universal labeling technique and is very sensitive when compared with Edman sequencing. Finally, we compared Edman sequencing and Nt-dimethylation of the same polypeptide fragments; results confirm that there is agreement in the identity of the Nt amino acid sequence between these 2 methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7171/jbt.16-2702-002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4802820PMC
July 2016

Dna2 nuclease-helicase structure, mechanism and regulation by Rpa.

Elife 2015 Nov 2;4. Epub 2015 Nov 2.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, United States.

The Dna2 nuclease-helicase maintains genomic integrity by processing DNA double-strand breaks, Okazaki fragments and stalled replication forks. Dna2 requires ssDNA ends, and is dependent on the ssDNA-binding protein Rpa, which controls cleavage polarity. Here we present the 2.3 Å structure of intact mouse Dna2 bound to a 15-nucleotide ssDNA. The nuclease active site is embedded in a long, narrow tunnel through which the DNA has to thread. The helicase domain is required for DNA binding but not threading. We also present the structure of a flexibly-tethered Dna2-Rpa interaction that recruits Dna2 to Rpa-coated DNA. We establish that a second Dna2-Rpa interaction is mutually exclusive with Rpa-DNA interactions and mediates the displacement of Rpa from ssDNA. This interaction occurs at the nuclease tunnel entrance and the 5' end of the Rpa-DNA complex. Hence, it only displaces Rpa from the 5' but not 3' end, explaining how Rpa regulates cleavage polarity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.09832DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4716839PMC
November 2015

DNA repair. Mechanism of DNA interstrand cross-link processing by repair nuclease FAN1.

Science 2014 Nov;346(6213):1127-30

Structural Biology Program and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.

DNA interstrand cross-links (ICLs) are highly toxic lesions associated with cancer and degenerative diseases. ICLs can be repaired by the Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway and through FA-independent processes involving the FAN1 nuclease. In this work, FAN1-DNA crystal structures and biochemical data reveal that human FAN1 cleaves DNA successively at every third nucleotide. In vitro, this exonuclease mechanism allows FAN1 to excise an ICL from one strand through flanking incisions. DNA access requires a 5'-terminal phosphate anchor at a nick or a 1- or 2-nucleotide flap and is augmented by a 3' flap, suggesting that FAN1 action is coupled to DNA synthesis or recombination. FAN1's mechanism of ICL excision is well suited for processing other localized DNA adducts as well.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1258973DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4285437PMC
November 2014

mTOR kinase structure, mechanism and regulation.

Nature 2013 May 1;497(7448):217-23. Epub 2013 May 1.

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10065, USA.

The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a phosphoinositide 3-kinase-related protein kinase, controls cell growth in response to nutrients and growth factors and is frequently deregulated in cancer. Here we report co-crystal structures of a complex of truncated mTOR and mammalian lethal with SEC13 protein 8 (mLST8) with an ATP transition state mimic and with ATP-site inhibitors. The structures reveal an intrinsically active kinase conformation, with catalytic residues and a catalytic mechanism remarkably similar to canonical protein kinases. The active site is highly recessed owing to the FKBP12-rapamycin-binding (FRB) domain and an inhibitory helix protruding from the catalytic cleft. mTOR-activating mutations map to the structural framework that holds these elements in place, indicating that the kinase is controlled by restricted access. In vitro biochemistry shows that the FRB domain acts as a gatekeeper, with its rapamycin-binding site interacting with substrates to grant them access to the restricted active site. Rapamycin-FKBP12 inhibits the kinase by directly blocking substrate recruitment and by further restricting active-site access. The structures also reveal active-site residues and conformational changes that underlie inhibitor potency and specificity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12122DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4512754PMC
May 2013

Structure and conformational change of a replication protein A heterotrimer bound to ssDNA.

Genes Dev 2012 Oct;26(20):2337-47

Sloan-Kettering Division, Joan and Sanford I. Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Cornell University, New York, New York 10065, USA.

Replication protein A (RPA) is the main eukaryotic ssDNA-binding protein with essential roles in DNA replication, recombination, and repair. RPA maintains the DNA as single-stranded and also interacts with other DNA-processing proteins, coordinating their assembly and disassembly on DNA. RPA binds to ssDNA in two conformational states with opposing affinities for DNA and proteins. The RPA-protein interactions are compatible with a low DNA affinity state that involves DNA-binding domain A (DBD-A) and DBD-B but not with the high DNA affinity state that additionally engages DBD-C and DBD-D. The structure of the high-affinity RPA-ssDNA complex reported here shows a compact quaternary structure held together by a four-way interface between DBD-B, DBD-C, the intervening linker (BC linker), and ssDNA. The BC linker binds into the DNA-binding groove of DBD-B, mimicking DNA. The associated conformational change and partial occlusion of the DBD-A-DBA-B protein-protein interaction site establish a mechanism for the allosteric coupling of RPA-DNA and RPA-protein interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.194787.112DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3475805PMC
October 2012

Structure of the FANCI-FANCD2 complex: insights into the Fanconi anemia DNA repair pathway.

Science 2011 Jul;333(6040):312-6

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.

Fanconi anemia is a cancer predisposition syndrome caused by defects in the repair of DNA interstrand cross-links (ICLs). Central to this pathway is the Fanconi anemia I-Fanconi anemia D2 (FANCI-FANCD2) (ID) complex, which is activated by DNA damage-induced phosphorylation and monoubiquitination. The 3.4 angstrom crystal structure of the ~300 kilodalton ID complex reveals that monoubiquitination and regulatory phosphorylation sites map to the I-D interface, suggesting that they occur on monomeric proteins or an opened-up complex and that they may serve to stabilize I-D heterodimerization. The 7.8 angstrom electron-density map of FANCI-DNA crystals and in vitro data show that each protein has binding sites for both single- and double-stranded DNA, suggesting that the ID complex recognizes DNA structures that result from the encounter of replication forks with an ICL.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1205805DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3310437PMC
July 2011

Tel2 structure and function in the Hsp90-dependent maturation of mTOR and ATR complexes.

Genes Dev 2010 Sep 27;24(18):2019-30. Epub 2010 Aug 27.

Laboratory for Cell Biology and Genetics, The Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10065, USA.

We reported previously that the stability of all mammalian phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-related protein kinases (PIKKs) depends on their interaction with Tel2, the ortholog of yeast Tel2 and Caenorhabditis elegans Clk-2. Here we provide evidence that Tel2 acts with Hsp90 in the maturation of PIKK complexes. Quantitative immunoblotting showed that the abundance of Tel2 is low compared with the PIKKs, and Tel2 preferentially bound newly synthesized ATM, ATR, mTOR, and DNA-PKcs. Tel2 complexes contained, in addition to Tti1-Tti2, the Hsp90 chaperone, and inhibition of Hsp90 interfered with the interaction of Tel2 with the PIKKs. Analysis of in vivo labeled nascent protein complexes showed that Tel2 and Hsp90 mediate the formation of the mTOR TORC1 and TORC2 complexes and the association of ATR with ATRIP. The structure of yeast Tel2, reported here, shows that Tel2 consists of HEAT-like helical repeats that assemble into two separate α-solenoids. Through mutagenesis, we identify a surface patch of conserved residues involved in binding to the Tti1-Tti2 complex in vitro. In vivo, mutation of this conserved patch affects cell growth, levels of PIKKs, and ATM/ATR-mediated checkpoint signaling, highlighting the importance of Tti1-Tti2 binding to the function of Tel2. Taken together, our data suggest that the Tel2-Tti1-Tti2 complex is a PIKK-specific cochaperone for Hsp90.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.1956410DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2939364PMC
September 2010

Structure and activation mechanism of the CHK2 DNA damage checkpoint kinase.

Mol Cell 2009 Sep;35(6):818-29

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.

The CHK2 protein kinase is an important transducer of DNA damage checkpoint signals, and its mutation contributes to hereditary and sporadic cancer. CHK2 activation is triggered by the phosphorylation of Thr68 by the DNA damage-activated ATM kinase. This leads to transient CHK2 dimerization, in part through intermolecular phosphoThr68-FHA domain interactions. Dimerization promotes kinase activation through activation-loop autophosphorylation, but the mechanism of this process has not been clear. The dimeric crystal structure of CHK2, described here, in conjunction with biochemical and mutational data reveals that productive CHK2 dimerization additionally involves intermolecular FHA-kinase domain and FHA-FHA interactions. Ile157, mutated in the Li-Fraumeni cancer-predisposition syndrome, plays a central role in the FHA-kinase domain interface, explaining the lack of dimerization and autophosphorylation of this mutant. In the dimer, the kinase active sites face each other in close proximity, indicating that dimerization may also serve to optimally position the kinase active sites for efficient activation loop transphosphorylation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2009.09.007DOI Listing
September 2009

Structural basis of UV DNA-damage recognition by the DDB1-DDB2 complex.

Cell 2008 Dec;135(7):1213-23

Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Maulbeerstrasse 66, CH 4058 Basel, Switzerland.

Ultraviolet (UV) light-induced pyrimidine photodimers are repaired by the nucleotide excision repair pathway. Photolesions have biophysical parameters closely resembling undamaged DNA, impeding discovery through damage surveillance proteins. The DDB1-DDB2 complex serves in the initial detection of UV lesions in vivo. Here we present the structures of the DDB1-DDB2 complex alone and bound to DNA containing either a 6-4 pyrimidine-pyrimidone photodimer (6-4PP) lesion or an abasic site. The structure shows that the lesion is held exclusively by the WD40 domain of DDB2. A DDB2 hairpin inserts into the minor groove, extrudes the photodimer into a binding pocket, and kinks the duplex by approximately 40 degrees. The tightly localized probing of the photolesions, combined with proofreading in the photodimer pocket, enables DDB2 to detect lesions refractory to detection by other damage surveillance proteins. The structure provides insights into damage recognition in chromatin and suggests a mechanism by which the DDB1-associated CUL4 ubiquitin ligase targets proteins surrounding the site of damage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2008.10.045DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2676164PMC
December 2008

Mechanism of homologous recombination from the RecA-ssDNA/dsDNA structures.

Nature 2008 May;453(7194):489-4

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.

The RecA family of ATPases mediates homologous recombination, a reaction essential for maintaining genomic integrity and for generating genetic diversity. RecA, ATP and single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) form a helical filament that binds to double-stranded DNA (dsDNA), searches for homology, and then catalyses the exchange of the complementary strand, producing a new heteroduplex. Here we have solved the crystal structures of the Escherichia coli RecA-ssDNA and RecA-heteroduplex filaments. They show that ssDNA and ATP bind to RecA-RecA interfaces cooperatively, explaining the ATP dependency of DNA binding. The ATP gamma-phosphate is sensed across the RecA-RecA interface by two lysine residues that also stimulate ATP hydrolysis, providing a mechanism for DNA release. The DNA is underwound and stretched globally, but locally it adopts a B-DNA-like conformation that restricts the homology search to Watson-Crick-type base pairing. The complementary strand interacts primarily through base pairing, making heteroduplex formation strictly dependent on complementarity. The underwound, stretched filament conformation probably evolved to destabilize the donor duplex, freeing the complementary strand for homology sampling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature06971DOI Listing
May 2008

Recognition of DNA damage by the Rad4 nucleotide excision repair protein.

Nature 2007 Oct 19;449(7162):570-5. Epub 2007 Sep 19.

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.

Mutations in the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway can cause the xeroderma pigmentosum skin cancer predisposition syndrome. NER lesions are limited to one DNA strand, but otherwise they are chemically and structurally diverse, being caused by a wide variety of genotoxic chemicals and ultraviolet radiation. The xeroderma pigmentosum C (XPC) protein has a central role in initiating global-genome NER by recognizing the lesion and recruiting downstream factors. Here we present the crystal structure of the yeast XPC orthologue Rad4 bound to DNA containing a cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD) lesion. The structure shows that Rad4 inserts a beta-hairpin through the DNA duplex, causing the two damaged base pairs to flip out of the double helix. The expelled nucleotides of the undamaged strand are recognized by Rad4, whereas the two CPD-linked nucleotides become disordered. These findings indicate that the lesions recognized by Rad4/XPC thermodynamically destabilize the Watson-Crick double helix in a manner that facilitates the flipping-out of two base pairs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature06155DOI Listing
October 2007

Structure of a Fbw7-Skp1-cyclin E complex: multisite-phosphorylated substrate recognition by SCF ubiquitin ligases.

Mol Cell 2007 Apr;26(1):131-43

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.

The ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis of cyclin E plays a central role in cell-cycle progression, and cyclin E accumulation is a common event in cancer. Cyclin E degradation is triggered by multisite phosphorylation, which induces binding to the SCF(Fbw7) ubiquitin ligase complex. Structures of the Skp1-Fbw7 complex bound to cyclin E peptides identify a doubly phosphorylated pThr380/pSer384 cyclin E motif as an optimal, high-affinity degron and a singly phosphorylated pThr62 motif as a low-affinity one. Biochemical data indicate that the closely related yeast SCF(Cdc4) complex recognizes the multisite phosphorylated Sic1 substrate similarly and identify three doubly phosphorylated Sic1 degrons, each capable of high-affinity interactions with two Cdc4 phosphate binding sites. A model that explains the role of multiple cyclin E/Sic1 degrons is provided by the findings that Fbw7 and Cdc4 dimerize, that Fbw7 dimerization enhances the turnover of a weakly associated cyclin E in vivo, and that Cdc4 dimerization increases the rate and processivity of Sic1 ubiquitination in vitro.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2007.02.022DOI Listing
April 2007

Ubiquitination regulates PTEN nuclear import and tumor suppression.

Cell 2007 Jan;128(1):141-56

Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.

The PTEN tumor suppressor is frequently affected in cancer cells, and inherited PTEN mutation causes cancer-susceptibility conditions such as Cowden syndrome. PTEN acts as a plasma-membrane lipid-phosphatase antagonizing the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/AKT cell survival pathway. However, PTEN is also found in cell nuclei, but mechanism, function, and relevance of nuclear localization remain unclear. We show that nuclear PTEN is essential for tumor suppression and that PTEN nuclear import is mediated by its monoubiquitination. A lysine mutant of PTEN, K289E associated with Cowden syndrome, retains catalytic activity but fails to accumulate in nuclei of patient tissue due to an import defect. We identify this and another lysine residue as major monoubiquitination sites essential for PTEN import. While nuclear PTEN is stable, polyubiquitination leads to its degradation in the cytoplasm. Thus, we identify cancer-associated mutations of PTEN that target its posttranslational modification and demonstrate how a discrete molecular mechanism dictates tumor progression by differentiating between degradation and protection of PTEN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2006.11.040DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1855245PMC
January 2007

Structure of the Rb C-terminal domain bound to E2F1-DP1: a mechanism for phosphorylation-induced E2F release.

Cell 2005 Dec;123(6):1093-106

Structural Biology Program and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY 10021, USA.

The retinoblastoma (Rb) protein negatively regulates the G1-S transition by binding to the E2F transcription factors, until cyclin-dependent kinases phosphorylate Rb, causing E2F release. The Rb pocket domain is necessary for E2F binding, but the Rb C-terminal domain (RbC) is also required for growth suppression. Here we demonstrate a high-affinity interaction between RbC and E2F-DP heterodimers shared by all Rb and E2F family members. The crystal structure of an RbC-E2F1-DP1 complex reveals an intertwined heterodimer in which the marked box domains of both E2F1 and DP1 contact RbC. We also demonstrate that phosphorylation of RbC at serines 788 and 795 destabilizes one set of RbC-E2F-DP interactions directly, while phosphorylation at threonines 821 and 826 induces an intramolecular interaction between RbC and the Rb pocket that destabilizes the remaining interactions indirectly. Our findings explain the requirement of RbC for high-affinity E2F binding and growth suppression and establish a mechanism for the regulation of Rb-E2F association by phosphorylation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2005.09.044DOI Listing
December 2005

High-level expression and purification of recombinant SCF ubiquitin ligases.

Methods Enzymol 2005 ;398:125-42

Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.

The SCF complexes are the prototype of a superfamily of cullin-dependent ubiquitin ligases, which regulate diverse cellular functions by promoting the ubiquitination of a large number of regulatory and signaling proteins. The SCF complexes are organized by the elongated scaffold protein subunit Cul1, which interacts with the Rbx1 RING finger protein at one end and the Skp1 adaptor protein at the other. By binding to Skp1, members of the F-box protein family are responsible for recruiting specific substrates to the ligase machine. This chapter describes methods that we have developed to achieve high-level expression and purification of two recombinant SCF complexes from both insect cells and bacteria. We emphasize the power of protein coexpression and a novel "Split-n-Coexpress" method in producing soluble and functional recombinant proteins and protein complexes. We propose that similar approaches can be used to obtain large quantities of other SCF and SCF-like complexes for biochemical and structural investigations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0076-6879(05)98012-9DOI Listing
December 2005

Structural basis of the Cks1-dependent recognition of p27(Kip1) by the SCF(Skp2) ubiquitin ligase.

Mol Cell 2005 Oct;20(1):9-19

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New York, New York 10021, USA.

The ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis of the Cdk2 inhibitor p27(Kip1) plays a central role in cell cycle progression, and enhanced degradation of p27(Kip1) is associated with many common cancers. Proteolysis of p27(Kip1) is triggered by Thr187 phosphorylation, which leads to the binding of the SCF(Skp2) (Skp1-Cul1-Rbx1-Skp2) ubiquitin ligase complex. Unlike other known SCF substrates, p27(Kip1) ubiquitination also requires the accessory protein Cks1. The crystal structure of the Skp1-Skp2-Cks1 complex bound to a p27(Kip1) phosphopeptide shows that Cks1 binds to the leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domain and C-terminal tail of Skp2, whereas p27(Kip1) binds to both Cks1 and Skp2. The phosphorylated Thr187 side chain of p27(Kip1) is recognized by a Cks1 phosphate binding site, whereas the side chain of an invariant Glu185 inserts into the interface between Skp2 and Cks1, interacting with both. The structure and biochemical data support the proposed model that Cdk2-cyclin A contributes to the recruitment of p27(Kip1) to the SCF(Skp2)-Cks1 complex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2005.09.003DOI Listing
October 2005

Structural biology of ubiquitin-protein ligases.

Harvey Lect 2002-2003;98:65-102

Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.

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August 2005

Structure of the SWI2/SNF2 chromatin-remodeling domain of eukaryotic Rad54.

Nat Struct Mol Biol 2005 Apr 3;12(4):350-6. Epub 2005 Apr 3.

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.

SWI2/SNF2 chromatin-remodeling proteins mediate the mobilization of nucleosomes and other DNA-associated proteins. SWI2/SNF2 proteins contain sequence motifs characteristic of SF2 helicases but do not have helicase activity. Instead, they couple ATP hydrolysis with the generation of superhelical torsion in DNA. The structure of the nucleosome-remodeling domain of zebrafish Rad54, a protein involved in Rad51-mediated homologous recombination, reveals that the core of the SWI2/SNF2 enzymes consist of two alpha/beta-lobes similar to SF2 helicases. The Rad54 helicase lobes contain insertions that form two helical domains, one within each lobe. These insertions contain SWI2/SNF2-specific sequence motifs likely to be central to SWI2/SNF2 function. A broad cleft formed by the two lobes and flanked by the helical insertions contains residues conserved in SWI2/SNF2 proteins and motifs implicated in DNA-binding by SF2 helicases. The Rad54 structure suggests that SWI2/SNF2 proteins use a mechanism analogous to helicases to translocate on dsDNA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nsmb919DOI Listing
April 2005

The BRCA2 homologue Brh2 nucleates RAD51 filament formation at a dsDNA-ssDNA junction.

Nature 2005 Feb;433(7026):653-7

Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.

The BRCA2 tumour suppressor is essential for the error-free repair of double-strand breaks (DSBs) in DNA by homologous recombination. This is mediated by RAD51, which forms a nucleoprotein filament with the 3' overhanging single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) of the resected DSB, searches for a homologous donor sequence, and catalyses strand exchange with the donor DNA. The 3,418-amino-acid BRCA2 contains eight approximately 30-amino-acid BRC repeats that bind RAD51 (refs 5, 6) and a approximately 700-amino-acid DBD domain that binds ssDNA. The isolated BRC and DBD domains have the opposing effects of inhibiting and stimulating recombination, respectively, and the role of BRCA2 in repair has been unclear. Here we show that a full-length BRCA2 homologue (Brh2) stimulates Rad51-mediated recombination at substoichiometric concentrations relative to Rad51. Brh2 recruits Rad51 to DNA and facilitates the nucleation of the filament, which is then elongated by the pool of free Rad51. Brh2 acts preferentially at a junction between double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and ssDNA, with strict specificity for the 3' overhang polarity of a resected DSB. These results establish a BRCA2 function in RAD51-mediated DSB repair and explain the loss of this repair capacity in BRCA2-associated cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature03234DOI Listing
February 2005

Structural differences in the DNA binding domains of human p53 and its C. elegans ortholog Cep-1.

Structure 2004 Jul;12(7):1237-43

Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

The DNA binding domains of human p53 and Cep-1, its C. elegans ortholog, recognize essentially identical DNA sequences despite poor sequence similarity. We solved the three-dimensional structure of the Cep-1 DNA binding domain in the absence of DNA and compared it to that of human p53. The two domains have similar overall folds. However, three loops, involved in DNA and Zn binding in human p53, contain small alpha helices in Cep-1. The alpha helix in loop L3 of Cep-1 orients the side chains of two conserved arginines toward DNA; in human p53, both arginines are mutation hotspots, but only one contacts DNA. The alpha helix in loop L1 of Cep-1 repositions the entire loop, making it unlikely for residues of this loop to contact bases in the major groove of DNA, as occurs in human p53. Thus, during evolution there have been considerable changes in the structure of the p53 DNA binding domain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.str.2004.05.007DOI Listing
July 2004

N-(cycloalkylamino)acyl-2-aminothiazole inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinase 2. N-[5-[[[5-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-2-oxazolyl]methyl]thio]-2-thiazolyl]-4- piperidinecarboxamide (BMS-387032), a highly efficacious and selective antitumor agent.

J Med Chem 2004 Mar;47(7):1719-28

Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, PO Box 4000, Princeton, New Jersey 08543-4000, USA.

N-Acyl-2-aminothiazoles with nonaromatic acyl side chains containing a basic amine were found to be potent, selective inhibitors of CDK2/cycE which exhibit antitumor activity in mice. In particular, compound 21 [N-[5-[[[5-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-2-oxazolyl]methyl]thio]-2-thiazolyl]-4-piperidinecarboxamide, BMS-387032], has been identified as an ATP-competitive and CDK2-selective inhibitor which has been selected to enter Phase 1 human clinical trials as an antitumor agent. In a cell-free enzyme assay, 21 showed a CDK2/cycE IC(50) = 48 nM and was 10- and 20-fold selective over CDK1/cycB and CDK4/cycD, respectively. It was also highly selective over a panel of 12 unrelated kinases. Antiproliferative activity was established in an A2780 cellular cytotoxicity assay in which 21 showed an IC(50) = 95 nM. Metabolism and pharmacokinetic studies showed that 21 exhibited a plasma half-life of 5-7 h in three species and moderately low protein binding in both mouse (69%) and human (63%) serum. Dosed orally to mouse, rat, and dog, 21 showed 100%, 31%, and 28% bioavailability, respectively. As an antitumor agent in mice, 21 administered at its maximum-tolerated dose exhibited a clearly superior efficacy profile when compared to flavopiridol in both an ip/ip P388 murine tumor model and in a s.c./i.p. A2780 human ovarian carcinoma xenograft model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jm0305568DOI Listing
March 2004

The BRCA2-interacting protein DSS1 is vital for DNA repair, recombination, and genome stability in Ustilago maydis.

Mol Cell 2003 Oct;12(4):1043-9

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Hearst Microbiology Research Center, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA.

DSS1 encodes a small acidic protein shown in recent structural studies to interact with the DNA binding domain of BRCA2. Here we report that an ortholog of DSS1 is present in Ustilago maydis and associates with Brh2, the BRCA2-related protein, thus recapitulating the protein partnership in this genetically amenable fungus. Mutants of U. maydis deleted of DSS1 are extremely radiation sensitive, deficient in recombination, defective in meiosis, and disturbed in genome stability; these phenotypes mirror previous observations of U. maydis mutants deficient in Brh2 or Rad51. These findings conclusively show that Dss1 constitutes a protein with a significant role in the recombinational repair pathway in U. maydis, and imply that it plays a similar key role in the recombination systems of organisms in which recombinational repair is BRCA2 dependent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s1097-2765(03)00367-8DOI Listing
October 2003

Werner syndrome protein contains three structure-specific DNA binding domains.

J Biol Chem 2003 Dec 8;278(52):52997-3006. Epub 2003 Oct 8.

Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.

Werner syndrome (WS) is a premature aging syndrome caused by mutations in the WS gene (WRN) and a deficiency in the function of the Werner protein (WRN). WRN is a multifunctional nuclear protein that catalyzes three DNA-dependent reactions: a 3'-5'-exonuclease, an ATPase, and a 3'-5'-helicase. Deficiency in WRN results in a cellular phenotype of genomic instability. The biochemical characteristics of WRN and the cellular phenotype of WRN mutants suggest that WRN plays an important role in DNA metabolic pathways such as recombination, transcription, replication, and repair. The catalytic activities of WRN have been extensively studied and are fairly well understood. However, much less is known about the domain-specific interactions between WRN and its DNA substrates. This study identifies and characterizes three distinct WRN DNA binding domains using recombinant truncated fragments of WRN and five DNA substrates (long forked duplex, blunt-ended duplex, single-stranded DNA, 5'-overhang duplex, and Holliday junction). Substrate-specific DNA binding activity was detected in three domains, one N-terminal and two different C-terminal WRN fragments (RecQ conserved domain and helicase RNase D conserved domain-containing domains). The substrate specificity of each DNA binding domain may indicate that each protein domain has a distinct biological function. The importance of these results is discussed with respect to proposed roles for WRN in distinct DNA metabolic pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M308338200DOI Listing
December 2003

Crystal structure of a human Mob1 protein: toward understanding Mob-regulated cell cycle pathways.

Structure 2003 Sep;11(9):1163-70

Molecular Genetics and Structural Biology Programs, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

The Mob protein family comprises a group of highly conserved eukaryotic proteins whose founding member functions in the mitotic exit network. At the molecular level, Mob proteins act as kinase-activating subunits. We cloned a human Mob1 family member, Mob1A, and determined its three-dimensional structure by X-ray crystallography. The core of Mob1A consists of a four-helix bundle that is stabilized by a bound zinc atom. The N-terminal helix of the bundle is solvent exposed and together with adjacent secondary structure elements forms an evolutionarily conserved surface with a strong negative electrostatic potential. Several conditional mutant alleles of S. cerevisiae MOB1 target this surface and decrease its net negative charge. Interestingly, the kinases with which yeast Mob proteins interact have two conserved basic regions within their N-terminal lobe. Thus, Mob proteins may regulate their target kinases through electrostatic interactions mediated by conserved charged surfaces.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0969-2126(03)00182-5DOI Listing
September 2003

Structure of a beta-TrCP1-Skp1-beta-catenin complex: destruction motif binding and lysine specificity of the SCF(beta-TrCP1) ubiquitin ligase.

Mol Cell 2003 Jun;11(6):1445-56

Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.

The SCF ubiquitin ligases catalyze protein ubiquitination in diverse cellular processes. SCFs bind substrates through the interchangeable F box protein subunit, with the >70 human F box proteins allowing the recognition of a wide range of substrates. The F box protein beta-TrCP1 recognizes the doubly phosphorylated DpSGphiXpS destruction motif, present in beta-catenin and IkappaB, and directs the SCF(beta-TrCP1) to ubiquitinate these proteins at specific lysines. The 3.0 A structure of a beta-TrCP1-Skp1-beta-catenin complex reveals the basis of substrate recognition by the beta-TrCP1 WD40 domain. The structure, together with the previous SCF(Skp2) structure, leads to the model of SCF catalyzing ubiquitination by increasing the effective concentration of the substrate lysine at the E2 active site. The model's prediction that the lysine-destruction motif spacing is a determinant of ubiquitination efficiency is confirmed by measuring ubiquitination rates of mutant beta-catenin peptides, solidifying the model and also providing a mechanistic basis for lysine selection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s1097-2765(03)00234-xDOI Listing
June 2003

Features of a Smad3 MH1-DNA complex. Roles of water and zinc in DNA binding.

J Biol Chem 2003 May 9;278(22):20327-31. Epub 2003 Apr 9.

Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Lewis Thomas Laboratory, New Jersey 08544, USA.

The Smad family of proteins mediates transforming growth factor-beta signaling from cell membrane to the nucleus. In the nucleus, Smads serve as transcription factors by directly binding to specific DNA sequences and regulating the expression of ligand-response genes. A previous structural analysis, at 2.8-A resolution, revealed a novel DNA-binding mode for the Smad MH1 domain but did not allow accurate assignment of the fines features of protein-DNA interactions. The crystal structure of a Smad3 MH1 domain bound to a palindromic DNA sequence, determined at 2.4-A resolution, reveals a surprisingly important role for water molecules. The asymmetric placement of the DNA-binding motif (a conserved 11-residue beta-hairpin) in the major groove of DNA is buttressed by seven well ordered water molecules. These water molecules make specific hydrogen bonds to the DNA bases, the DNA phosphate backbones, and several critical Smad3 residues. In addition, the MH1 domain is found to contain a bound zinc atom using four invariant residues among Smad proteins, three cysteines and one histidine. Removal of the zinc atom results in compromised DNA binding activity. These results define the Smad MH1 domain as a zinc-coordinating module that exhibits unique DNA binding properties.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.C300134200DOI Listing
May 2003