Graduate Student, University of Washington
Structural, functional, and biophysical analysis of disease-associated protein mutants.
I work on a protein called HSPB5 that is responsible for keeping our cells healthy under stressful conditions, such as those following heart attack. Inherited changes in the amino acid sequence of this protein are associated with cataract and myopathy development. Cataract is the leading cause of blindness worldwide, and this work could form the basis for future medical treatments to prevent and reverse loss of sight. It may also shed light on molecular determinants of myopathy development both in skeletal and cardiac muscle.
Abstract: The structure and properties of different members of a large family of small heat shock proteins (sHsp) playing an important role in cell homeostasis are described. Participation of the N-terminal domain in formation of large oligomers and chaperone activity of sHsp is analyzed. The structure of the α-crystallin domain of sHsp is characterized and the role of this domain in sHsp dimerization and chaperone activity is discussed. The properties of the C-terminal region of sHsp are described, and its participation in formation of large oligomers and chaperone activity are analyzed. The data from the literature on HspB1 and HspB3 mutations are presented, and involvement of these mutations in development of certain neurodegenerative diseases is discussed. Mutations of HspB4 are described and data on involvement of these mutations in development of cataract are presented. Multiple effects of HspB5 mutations are analyzed, and data are presented indicating that mutations of this protein are accompanied by development of different congenital diseases, such as cataract and different types of myopathies. The data on HspB6 and HspB8 mutations are presented, and feasible effects of these mutations on proteins structure are analyzed. Probable mechanisms underlying sHsp mutation-induced development of different congenital diseases are discussed.
Pub.: 06 Feb '13, Pinned: 04 Jul '17
Abstract: The small heat shock protein (sHSP) αB-crystallin (αB) plays a key role in the cellular protection system against stress. For decades, high-resolution structural studies on heterogeneous sHSPs have been confounded by the polydisperse nature of αB oligomers. We present an atomic-level model of full-length αB as a symmetric 24-subunit multimer based on solid-state NMR, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), and EM data. The model builds on our recently reported structure of the homodimeric α-crystallin domain (ACD) and C-terminal IXI motif in the context of the multimer. A hierarchy of interactions contributes to build multimers of varying sizes: Interactions between two ACDs define a dimer, three dimers connected by their C-terminal regions define a hexameric unit, and variable interactions involving the N-terminal region define higher-order multimers. Within a multimer, N-terminal regions exist in multiple environments, contributing to the heterogeneity observed by NMR. Analysis of SAXS data allows determination of a heterogeneity parameter for this type of system. A mechanism of multimerization into higher-order asymmetric oligomers via the addition of up to six dimeric units to a 24-mer is proposed. The proposed asymmetric multimers explain the homogeneous appearance of αB in negative-stain EM images and the known dynamic exchange of αB subunits. The model of αB provides a structural basis for understanding known disease-associated missense mutations and makes predictions concerning substrate binding and the reported fibrilogenesis of αB.
Pub.: 06 Apr '11, Pinned: 04 Jul '17
Abstract: Small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) are essential 'holdase' chaperones that form large assemblies and respond dynamically to pH and temperature stresses to protect client proteins from aggregation. While the alpha-crystallin domain (ACD) dimer of sHSPs is the universal building block, how the ACD transmits structural changes in response to stress to promote holdase activity is unknown. We found that the dimer interface of HSPB5 is destabilized over physiological pHs and a conserved histidine (His-104) controls interface stability and oligomer structure in response to acidosis. Destabilization by pH or His-104 mutation shifts the ACD from dimer to monomer but also results in a large expansion of HSPB5 oligomer states. Remarkably, His-104 mutant-destabilized oligomers are efficient holdases that reorganize into structurally distinct client-bound complexes. Our data support a model for sHSP function wherein cell stress triggers small perturbations that alter the ACD building blocks to unleash a cryptic mode of chaperone action.
Pub.: 12 May '15, Pinned: 03 Jul '17
Abstract: Cataracts reduce vision in 50% of individuals over 70 years of age and are a common form of blindness worldwide. Cataracts are caused when damage to the major lens crystallin proteins causes their misfolding and aggregation into insoluble amyloids. Using a thermal stability assay, we identified a class of molecules that bind α-crystallins (cryAA and cryAB) and reversed their aggregation in vitro. The most promising compound improved lens transparency in the R49C cryAA and R120G cryAB mouse models of hereditary cataract. It also partially restored protein solubility in the lenses of aged mice in vivo and in human lenses ex vivo. These findings suggest an approach to treating cataracts by stabilizing α-crystallins.
Pub.: 07 Nov '15, Pinned: 01 Jul '17
Abstract: The human small heat-shock protein αB-crystallin (αB) rescues misfolded proteins from irreversible aggregation during cellular stress. Binding of Cu(II) was shown to modulate the oligomeric architecture and the chaperone activity of αB. However, the mechanistic basis of this stimulation is so far not understood. We provide here first structural insights into this Cu(II)-mediated modulation of chaperone function using NMR spectroscopy and other biophysical approaches. We show that the α-crystallin domain is the elementary Cu(II)-binding unit specifically coordinating one Cu(II) ion with picomolar binding affinity. Putative Cu(II) ligands are His(83), His(104), His(111), and Asp(109) at the dimer interface. These loop residues are conserved among different metazoans, but also for human αA-crystallin, HSP20, and HSP27. The involvement of Asp(109) has direct implications for dimer stability, because this residue forms a salt bridge with the disease-related Arg(120) of the neighboring monomer. Furthermore, we observe structural reorganization of strands β2-β3 triggered by Cu(II) binding. This N-terminal region is known to mediate both the intermolecular arrangement in αB oligomers and the binding of client proteins. In the presence of Cu(II), the size and the heterogeneity of αB multimers are increased. At the same time, Cu(II) increases the chaperone activity of αB toward the lens-specific protein β(L)-crystallin. We therefore suggest that Cu(II) binding unblocks potential client binding sites and alters quaternary dynamics of both the dimeric building block as well as the higher order assemblies of αB.
Pub.: 18 Nov '11, Pinned: 01 Jul '17
Abstract: Small heat-shock proteins, including αB-crystallin (αB), play an important part in protein homeostasis, because their ATP-independent chaperone activity inhibits uncontrolled protein aggregation. Mechanistic details of human αB, particularly in its client-bound state, have been elusive so far, owing to the high molecular weight and the heterogeneity of these complexes. Here we provide structural insights into this highly dynamic assembly and show, by using state-of-the-art NMR spectroscopy, that the αB complex is assembled from asymmetric building blocks. Interaction studies demonstrated that the fibril-forming Alzheimer's disease Aβ1-40 peptide preferentially binds to a hydrophobic edge of the central β-sandwich of αB. In contrast, the amorphously aggregating client lysozyme is captured by the partially disordered N-terminal domain of αB. We suggest that αB uses its inherent structural plasticity to expose distinct binding interfaces and thus interact with a wide range of structurally variable clients.
Pub.: 13 Oct '15, Pinned: 01 Jul '17