Journals Current Opinion in Structural ...

Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Shannon Zhuang, Pijush Chakraborty, Markus Zweckstetter
Tau is an intrinsically disordered protein found abundantly in axons, where it binds to microtubules. Since tau is a central player in the dynamic microtubule network, it is highly regulated by post-translational modifications. Abnormal hyperphosphorylation and aggregation of tau characterize a group of diseases called tauopathies. A specific protein family of cis/trans peptidyl-prolyl isomerases (PPIases) can interact with tau to regulate its aggregation and neuronal resilience. Structural interactions between tau and specific PPIases have been determined, establishing possible mechanisms for tau regulation and modification...
December 6, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Aditya Udupa, Sanjana R Kotha, Max V Staller
Eukaryotic transcription factors activate gene expression with their DNA-binding domains and activation domains. DNA-binding domains bind the genome by recognizing structurally related DNA sequences; they are structured, conserved, and predictable from protein sequences. Activation domains recruit chromatin modifiers, coactivator complexes, or basal transcriptional machinery via structurally diverse protein-protein interactions. Activation domains and DNA-binding domains have been called independent, modular units, but there are many departures from modularity, including interactions between these regions and overlap in function...
December 5, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Roman Zadorozhnyi, Angela M Gronenborn, Tatyana Polenova
Proteins are inherently dynamic and their internal motions are essential for biological function. Protein motions cover a broad range of timescales: 10-14 -10 s, spanning from sub-picosecond vibrational motions of atoms via microsecond loop conformational rearrangements to millisecond large amplitude domain reorientations. Observing protein dynamics over all timescales and connecting motions and structure to biological mechanisms requires integration of multiple experimental and computational techniques...
December 3, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Sandhya Bhatia, Jayant B Udgaonkar
Relating the native fold of a protein to its amino acid sequence remains a fundamental problem in biology. While computer algorithms have demonstrated recently their prowess in predicting what structure a particular amino acid sequence will fold to, an understanding of how and why a specific protein fold is achieved remains elusive. A major challenge is to define the role of conformational heterogeneity during protein folding. Recent experimental studies, utilizing time-resolved FRET, hydrogen-exchange coupled to mass spectrometry, and single-molecule force spectroscopy, often in conjunction with simulation, have begun to reveal how conformational heterogeneity evolves during folding, and whether an intermediate ensemble of defined free energy consists of different sub-populations of molecules that may differ significantly in conformation, energy and entropy...
December 1, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Munehito Arai, Shunji Suetaka, Koji Ooka
Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are widespread in eukaryotes and participate in a variety of important cellular processes. Numerous studies using state-of-the-art experimental and theoretical methods have advanced our understanding of IDPs and revealed that disordered regions engage in a large repertoire of intra- and intermolecular interactions through their conformational dynamics, thereby regulating many intracellular functions in concert with folded domains. The mechanisms by which IDPs interact with their partners are diverse, depending on their conformational propensities, and include induced fit, conformational selection, and their mixtures...
November 30, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Anne Wentink, Rina Rosenzweig
Proteins carry out the vast majority of functions in cells, but can only do so when properly folded. Following stress or mutation, proteins can lose their proper fold, resulting in misfolding, inactivity, and aggregation-posing a threat to cellular health. In order to counteract protein aggregation, cells have evolved a remarkable subset of molecular chaperones, called protein disaggregases, which collaboratively possess the ability to forcibly untangle protein aggregates. Here, we review the different chaperone disaggregation machineries present in the human cytosol and their mechanisms of action...
November 23, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Paulina Szymczak, Ewa Szczurek
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) emerge as promising agents against antimicrobial resistance, providing an alternative to conventional antibiotics. Artificial intelligence (AI) revolutionized AMP discovery through both discrimination and generation approaches. The discriminators aid in the identification of promising candidates by predicting key peptide properties such as activity and toxicity, while the generators learn the distribution of peptides and enable sampling novel AMP candidates, either de novo or as analogs of a prototype peptide...
November 21, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Chen Huang, Judy S Kim, Angus I Kirkland
There is a clear need for developments in characterisation techniques that provide detailed information about structure-function relationships in biology. Using electron microscopy to achieve high resolution while maintaining a broad field of view remains a challenge, particularly for radiation-sensitive specimens where the signal-to-noise ratio required to maintain structural integrity is limited by low electron fluence. In this review, we explore the potential of cryogenic electron ptychography as an alternative method for characterising biological systems under low-fluence conditions...
November 21, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Joshua H Mendez, Eugene Y D Chua, Mohammadreza Paraan, Clinton S Potter, Bridget Carragher
Cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) has become a popular method for determining high-resolution structures of biomolecules. However, data processing can be time-consuming, particularly for new researchers entering the field. To improve data quality and increase data collection efficiency, several software packages have been developed for on-the-fly data processing with various degrees of automation. These software packages allow researchers to perform tasks such as motion correction, CTF estimation, 2D classification, and 3D reconstruction in real-time, with minimal human input...
November 20, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Geneviève Almouzni, Juan M Vaquerizas
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 9, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
G V Shivashankar
Traditionally, the field of genomics has been studied from a biochemical perspective. Besides chemical influences, cells are subject to a variety of mechanical signals from their surrounding tissue microenvironment. These mechanical signals can not only cause changes to a cell's physical structure but can also lead to alterations in their genomes and gene expression programs. Understanding the mechanical control of genome organization and expression may provide a new perspective on gene regulation.
November 8, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Andrew R Leach, Alison E Ondrus
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 7, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Liang-Fu Chen, Hannah Katherine Long
The importance of 3D genome topology in the control of gene expression is becoming increasingly apparent, while regulatory mechanisms remain incompletely understood. Several recent studies have identified architectural elements that influence developmental gene expression by shaping locus topology. We refer to these elements as topological regulatory elements (TopoREs) to reflect their dual roles in genome organisation and gene expression. Importantly, these elements do not harbour autonomous transcriptional activation capacity, and instead appear to facilitate enhancer-promoter interactions, contributing to robust and precise timing of transcription...
November 4, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Alhosna Benjdia, Olivier Berteau
In the last decade, B12 -dependent radical SAM enzymes have emerged as central biocatalysts in the biosynthesis of a myriad of natural products. Notably, these enzymes have been shown to catalyze carbon-carbon bond formation on unactivated carbon atoms leading to unusual methylations. Recently, structural studies have revealed unprecedented insights into the complex chemistry catalyzed by these enzymes. In this review, we cover recent advances in our understanding of B12 -dependent radical SAM enzymes from a mechanistic and structural perspective...
November 4, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Carlos A Elena-Real, Pablo Mier, Nathalie Sibille, Miguel A Andrade-Navarro, Pau Bernadó
Homorepeats (or polyX), protein segments containing repetitions of the same amino acid, are abundant in proteomes from all kingdoms of life and are involved in crucial biological functions as well as several neurodegenerative and developmental diseases. Mainly inserted in disordered segments of proteins, the structure/function relationships of homorepeats remain largely unexplored. In this review, we summarize present knowledge for the most abundant homorepeats, highlighting the role of the inherent structure and the conformational influence exerted by their flanking regions...
November 2, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Mousam Roy, Amnon Horovitz
Characterization of transition and intermediate states of reactions provides insights into their mechanisms and is often achieved through analysis of linear free energy relationships. Such an approach has been used extensively in protein folding studies but less so for analyzing allosteric transitions. Here, we point out analogies in ways to characterize pathways and intermediates in folding and allosteric transitions. Achieving an understanding of the mechanisms by which proteins undergo allosteric switching is important in many cases for obtaining insights into how they function...
November 1, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Hagen Hofmann
Allostery is probably the most important concept in the regulation of cellular processes. Models to explain allostery are plenty. Each sheds light on different aspects but their entirety conveys an ambiguous feeling of comprehension and disappointment. Here, I discuss the most popular allostery models, their roots, similarities, and limitations. All of them are thermodynamic models. Naturally this bears a certain degree of redundancy, which forms the center of this review. After sixty years, many questions remain unanswered, mainly because our human longing for causality as base for understanding is not satisfied by thermodynamics alone...
October 26, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Ruth Nussinov, Yonglan Liu, Wengang Zhang, Hyunbum Jang
Proteins exist as dynamic conformational ensembles. Here we suggest that the propensities of the conformations can be predictors of cell function. The conformational states that the molecules preferentially visit can be viewed as phenotypic determinants, and their mutations work by altering the relative propensities, thus the cell phenotype. Our examples include (i) inactive state variants harboring cancer driver mutations that present active state-like conformational features, as in K-Ras4BG12V compared to other K-Ras4BG12X mutations; (ii) mutants of the same protein presenting vastly different phenotypic and clinical profiles: cancer and neurodevelopmental disorders; (iii) alterations in the occupancies of the conformational (sub)states influencing enzyme reactivity...
October 21, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Jake Lachowicz, James Lee, Alia Sagatova, Kristen Jew, Tyler L Grove
The Radical SAM (RS) superfamily of enzymes catalyzes a wide array of enzymatic reactions. The majority of these enzymes employ an electron from a reduced [4Fe-4S]+1 cluster to facilitate the reductive cleavage of S-adenosyl-l-methionine, thereby producing a highly reactive 5'-deoxyadenosyl radical (5'-dA⋅) and l-methionine. Typically, RS enzymes use this 5'-dA⋅ to extract a hydrogen atom from the target substrate, starting the cascade of an expansive and impressive variety of chemical transformations...
October 18, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
Letitia Sarah, Danica Galonić Fujimori
Histone methylation, one of the most common histone modifications, has fundamental roles in regulating chromatin-based processes. Jumonji histone lysine demethylases (JMJC KDMs) influence regulation of gene transcription through both their demethylation and chromatin scaffolding functions. It has recently been demonstrated that dysregulation of JMJC KDMs contributes to pathogenesis and progression of several diseases, including cancer. These observations have led to an increased interest in modulation of enzymes that regulate lysine methylation...
October 11, 2023: Current Opinion in Structural Biology
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