RG-Leiter: Dr. Scrima

Recent Submissions

  • Identification, biochemical characterization and crystallization of the central region of human ATG16L1.

    Archna, Archna; Scrima, Andrea; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-10-01)
    ATG16L1 plays a major role in autophagy. It acts as a molecular scaffold which mediates protein-protein interactions essential for autophagosome formation. The ATG12~ATG5-ATG16L1 complex is one of the key complexes involved in autophagosome formation. Human ATG16L1 comprises 607 amino acids with three functional domains named ATG5BD, CCD and WD40, where the C-terminal WD40 domain represents approximately 50% of the full-length protein. Previously, structures of the C-terminal WD40 domain of human ATG16L1 as well as of human ATG12~ATG5 in complex with the ATG5BD of ATG16L1 have been reported. However, apart from the ATG5BD, no structural information for the N-terminal half, including the CCD, of human ATG16L1 is available. In this study, the authors aimed to structurally characterize the N-terminal half of ATG16L1. ATG16L111-307 in complex with ATG5 has been purified and crystallized in two crystal forms. However, both crystal structures revealed degradation of ATG16L1, resulting in crystals comprising only full-length ATG5 and the ATG5BD of ATG16L1. The structures of ATG5-ATG5BD in two novel crystal forms are presented, further supporting the previously observed dimerization of ATG5-ATG16L1. The reported degradation points towards a high instability at the linker region between the ATG5BD and the CCD in ATG16L1. Based on this observation and further biochemical analysis of ATG16L1, a stable 236-amino-acid subfragment comprising residues 72-307 of the N-terminal half of ATG16L1, covering the residual, so far structurally uncharacterized region of human ATG16L1, was identified. Here, the identification, purification, biochemical characterization and crystallization of the proteolytically stable ATG16L172-307 subfragment are reported.
  • UL36 Rescues Apoptosis Inhibition and In vivo Replication of a Chimeric MCMV Lacking the M36 Gene.

    Chaudhry, M Zeeshan; Kasmapour, Bahram; Plaza-Sirvent, Carlos; Bajagic, Milica; Casalegno Garduño, Rosaely; Borkner, Lisa; Lenac Roviš, Tihana; Scrima, Andrea; Jonjic, Stipan; Schmitz, Ingo; Cicin-Sain, Luka; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
    Apoptosis is an important defense mechanism mounted by the immune system to control virus replication. Hence, cytomegaloviruses (CMV) evolved and acquired numerous anti-apoptotic genes. The product of the human CMV (HCMV) UL36 gene, pUL36 (also known as vICA), binds to pro-caspase-8, thus inhibiting death-receptor apoptosis and enabling viral replication in differentiated THP-1 cells. In vivo studies of the function of HCMV genes are severely limited due to the strict host specificity of cytomegaloviruses, but CMV orthologues that co-evolved with other species allow the experimental study of CMV biology in vivo. The mouse CMV (MCMV) homolog of the UL36 gene is called M36, and its protein product (pM36) is a functional homolog of vICA that binds to murine caspase-8 and inhibits its activation. M36-deficient MCMV is severely growth impaired in macrophages and in vivo. Here we show that pUL36 binds to the murine pro-caspase-8, and that UL36 expression inhibits death-receptor apoptosis in murine cells and can replace M36 to allow MCMV growth in vitro and in vivo. We generated a chimeric MCMV expressing the UL36 ORF sequence instead of the M36 one. The newly generated MCMV(UL36) inhibited apoptosis in macrophage lines RAW 264.7, J774A.1, and IC-21 and its growth was rescued to wild type levels. Similarly, growth was rescued in vivo in the liver and spleen, but only partially in the salivary glands of BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. In conclusion, we determined that an immune-evasive HCMV gene is conserved enough to functionally replace its MCMV counterpart and thus allow its study in an in vivo setting. As UL36 and M36 proteins engage the same molecular host target, our newly developed model can facilitate studies of anti-viral compounds targeting pUL36 in vivo.
  • Identification of molecular sub-networks associated with cell survival in a chronically SIVmac-infected human CD4+ T cell line

    He, Feng Q; Sauermann, Ulrike; Beer, Christiane; Winkelmann, Silke; Yu, Zheng; Sopper, Sieghart; Zeng, An-Ping; Wirth, Manfred (2014-08-27)
    Abstract Background The deciphering of cellular networks to determine susceptibility to infection by HIV or the related simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) is a major challenge in infection biology. Results Here, we have compared gene expression profiles of a human CD4+ T cell line at 24 h after infection with a cell line of the same origin permanently releasing SIVmac. A new knowledge-based-network approach (Inter-Chain-Finder, ICF) has been used to identify sub-networks associated with cell survival of a chronically SIV-infected T cell line. Notably, the method can identify not only differentially expressed key hub genes but also non-differentially expressed, critical, ‘hidden’ regulators. Six out of the 13 predicted major hidden key regulators were among the landscape of proteins known to interact with HIV. Several sub-networks were dysregulated upon chronic infection with SIV. Most prominently, factors reported to be engaged in early stages of acute viral infection were affected, e.g. entry, integration and provirus transcription and other cellular responses such as apoptosis and proliferation were modulated. For experimental validation of the gene expression analyses and computational predictions, individual pathways/sub-networks and significantly altered key regulators were investigated further. We showed that the expression of caveolin-1 (Cav-1), the top hub in the affected protein-protein interaction network, was significantly upregulated in chronically SIV-infected CD4+ T cells. Cav-1 is the main determinant of caveolae and a central component of several signal transduction pathways. Furthermore, CD4 downregulation and modulation of the expression of alternate and co-receptors as well as pathways associated with viral integration into the genome were also observed in these cells. Putatively, these modifications interfere with re-infection and the early replication cycle and inhibit cell death provoked by syncytia formation and bystander apoptosis. Conclusions Thus, by using the novel approach for network analysis, ICF, we predict that in the T cell line chronically infected with SIV, cellular processes that are known to be crucial for early phases of HIV/SIV replication are altered and cellular responses that result in cell death are modulated. These modifications presumably contribute to cell survival despite chronic infection.
  • The AibR-isovaleryl coenzyme A regulator and its DNA binding site - a model for the regulation of alternative de novo isovaleryl coenzyme A biosynthesis in Myxococcus xanthus.

    Bock, Tobias; Volz, Carsten; Hering, Vanessa; Scrima, Andrea; Müller, Rolf; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Hel,holtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-12-09)
    Isovaleryl coenzyme A (IV-CoA) is an important building block of iso-fatty acids. In myxobacteria, IV-CoA is essential for the formation of signaling molecules involved in fruiting body formation. Leucine degradation is the common source of IV-CoA, but a second, de novo biosynthetic route to IV-CoA termed AIB (alternative IV-CoA biosynthesis) was recently discovered in M. xanthus The AIB-operon contains the TetR-like transcriptional regulator AibR, which we characterize in this study. We demonstrate that IV-CoA binds AibR with micromolar affinity and show by gelshift experiments that AibR interacts with the promoter region of the AIB-operon once IV-CoA is present. We identify an 18-bp near-perfect palindromic repeat as containing the AibR operator and provide evidence that AibR also controls an additional genomic locus coding for a putative acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase. To elucidate atomic details, we determined crystal structures of AibR in the apo, the IV-CoA- and the IV-CoA-DNA-bound state to 1.7 Å, 2.35 Å and 2.92 Å, respectively. IV-CoA induces partial unfolding of an α-helix, which allows sequence-specific interactions between AibR and its operator. This study provides insights into AibR-mediated regulation and shows that AibR functions in an unusual TetR-like manner by blocking transcription not in the ligand-free but in the effector-bound state.
  • The internal initiation of translation in bovine viral diarrhea virus RNA depends on the presence of an RNA pseudoknot upstream of the initiation codon.

    Moes, Lorin; Wirth, Manfred (2007-11-22)
    The IRES of the non-cytopathic BVDV SD-1 strain displays features known from other pestivirus IRESes. The predicted pseudoknot in the 5'UTR of BVDV SD-1 virus represents an important structural element in BVDV translation.
  • Arranged sevenfold: structural insights into the C-terminal oligomerization domain of human C4b-binding protein.

    Hofmeyer, Thomas; Schmelz, Stefan; Degiacomi, Matteo T; Dal Peraro, Matteo; Daneschdar, Matin; Scrima, Andrea; van den Heuvel, Joop; Heinz, Dirk W; Kolmar, Harald; Institute for Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Petersenstraße 22, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany. (2013-04-26)
    The complement system as a major part of innate immunity is the first line of defense against invading microorganisms. Orchestrated by more than 60 proteins, its major task is to discriminate between host cells and pathogens and to initiate immune response. Additional recognition of necrotic or apoptotic cells demands a fine-tune regulation of this powerful system. C4b-binding protein (C4BP) is the major inhibitor of the classical complement and lectin pathway. The crystal structure of the human C4BP oligomerization domain in its 7α isoform and molecular simulations provide first structural insights of C4BP oligomerization. The heptameric core structure is stabilized by intermolecular disulfide bonds. In addition, thermal shift assays indicate that layers of electrostatic interactions mainly contribute to the extraordinary thermodynamic stability of the complex. These findings make C4BP a promising scaffold for multivalent ligand display with applications in immunology and biological chemistry.