group leader: Prof. Carlomagno

Recent Submissions

  • Archaea box C/D enzymes methylate two distinct substrate rRNA sequences with different efficiency.

    Graziadei, Andrea; Masiewicz, Pawel; Lapinaite, Audrone; Carlomagno, Teresa; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-05)
    RNA modifications confer complexity to the 4-nucleotide polymer; nevertheless, their exact function is mostly unknown. rRNA 2'-O-ribose methylation concentrates to ribosome functional sites and is important for ribosome biogenesis. The methyl group is transferred to rRNA by the box C/D RNPs: The rRNA sequence to be methylated is recognized by a complementary sequence on the guide RNA, which is part of the enzyme. In contrast to their eukaryotic homologs, archaeal box C/D enzymes can be assembled in vitro and are used to study the mechanism of 2'-O-ribose methylation. In Archaea, each guide RNA directs methylation to two distinct rRNA sequences, posing the question whether this dual architecture of the enzyme has a regulatory role. Here we use methylation assays and low-resolution structural analysis with small-angle X-ray scattering to study the methylation reaction guided by the sR26 guide RNA fromPyrococcus furiosus We find that the methylation efficacy at sites D and D' differ substantially, with substrate D' turning over more efficiently than substrate D. This observation correlates well with structural data: The scattering profile of the box C/D RNP half-loaded with substrate D' is similar to that of the holo complex, which has the highest activity. Unexpectedly, the guide RNA secondary structure is not responsible for the functional difference at the D and D' sites. Instead, this difference is recapitulated by the nature of the first base pair of the guide-substrate duplex. We suggest that substrate turnover may occur through a zip mechanism that initiates at the 5'-end of the product.
  • Optimization of protein samples for NMR using thermal shift assays.

    Kozak, Sandra; Lercher, Lukas; Karanth, Megha N; Meijers, Rob; Carlomagno, Teresa; Boivin, Stephane; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
    Maintaining a stable fold for recombinant proteins is challenging, especially when working with highly purified and concentrated samples at temperatures >20 °C. Therefore, it is worthwhile to screen for different buffer components that can stabilize protein samples. Thermal shift assays or ThermoFluor(®) provide a high-throughput screening method to assess the thermal stability of a sample under several conditions simultaneously. Here, we describe a thermal shift assay that is designed to optimize conditions for nuclear magnetic resonance studies, which typically require stable samples at high concentration and ambient (or higher) temperature. We demonstrate that for two challenging proteins, the multicomponent screen helped to identify ingredients that increased protein stability, leading to clear improvements in the quality of the spectra. Thermal shift assays provide an economic and time-efficient method to find optimal conditions for NMR structural studies.
  • Structural characterization of the Asf1-Rtt109 interaction and its role in histone acetylation.

    Lercher, Lukas; Danilenko, Nataliya; Kirkpatrick, John; Carlomagno, Teresa; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-12-29)
    Acetylation of histone H3 at lysine-56 by the histone acetyltransferase Rtt109 in lower eukaryotes is important for maintaining genomic integrity and is required for C. albicans pathogenicity. Rtt109 is activated by association with two different histone chaperones, Vps75 and Asf1, through an unknown mechanism. Here, we reveal that the Rtt109 C-terminus interacts directly with Asf1 and elucidate the structural basis of this interaction. In addition, we find that the H3 N-terminus can interact via the same interface on Asf1, leading to a competition between the two interaction partners. This, together with the recruitment and position of the substrate, provides an explanation of the role of the Rtt109 C-terminus in Asf1-dependent Rtt109 activation.
  • CD4 T Cell Dependent Colitis Exacerbation Following Re-Exposure of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis.

    Suwandi, Abdulhadi; Bargen, Imke; Pils, Marina C; Krey, Martina; Zur Lage, Susanne; Singh, Anurag K; Basler, Tina; Falk, Christine S; Seidler, Ursula; Hornef, Mathias W; Goethe, Ralph; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
    Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the causative agent of Johne's disease (JD), a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of cattle characterized by intermittent to chronic diarrhea. In addition, MAP has been isolated from Crohn's disease (CD) patients. The impact of MAP on severity of clinical symptoms in JD as well as its role in CD are yet unknown. We have previously shown that MAP is able to colonize inflamed enteric tissue and to exacerbate the inflammatory tissue response (Suwandi et al., 2014). In the present study, we analyzed how repeated MAP administration influences the course of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis. In comparison to mice exposed to DSS or MAP only, repeated exposure of DSS-treated mice to MAP (DSS/MAP) revealed a significantly enhanced clinical score, reduction of colon length as well as severe CD4(+) T cell infiltration into the colonic lamina propria. Functional analysis identified a critical role of CD4(+) T cells in the MAP-induced disease exacerbation. Additionally, altered immune responses were observed when closely related mycobacteria species such as M. avium ssp. avium and M. avium ssp. hominissuis were administered. These data reveal the specific ability of MAP to aggravate intestinal inflammation and clinical symptoms. Overall, this phenotype is compatible with similar disease promoting capabilites of MAP in JD and CD.
  • A bromodomain-DNA interaction facilitates acetylation-dependent bivalent nucleosome recognition by the BET protein BRDT.

    Miller, Thomas C R; Simon, Bernd; Rybin, Vladimir; Grötsch, Helga; Curtet, Sandrine; Khochbin, Saadi; Carlomagno, Teresa; Müller, Christoph W; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-12-19)
    Bromodomains are critical components of many chromatin modifying/remodelling proteins and are emerging therapeutic targets, yet how they interact with nucleosomes, rather than acetylated peptides, remains unclear. Using BRDT as a model, we characterized how the BET family of bromodomains interacts with site-specifically acetylated nucleosomes. Here we report that BRDT interacts with nucleosomes through its first (BD1), but not second (BD2) bromodomain, and that acetylated histone recognition by BD1 is complemented by a bromodomain-DNA interaction. Simultaneous DNA and histone recognition enhances BRDT's nucleosome binding affinity and specificity, and its ability to localize to acetylated chromatin in cells. Conservation of DNA binding in bromodomains of BRD2, BRD3 and BRD4, indicates that bivalent nucleosome recognition is a key feature of these bromodomains and possibly others. Our results elucidate the molecular mechanism of BRDT association with nucleosomes and identify structural features of the BET bromodomains that may be targeted for therapeutic inhibition.
  • The histone chaperone sNASP binds a conserved peptide motif within the globular core of histone H3 through its TPR repeats.

    Bowman, Andrew; Lercher, Lukas; Singh, Hari R; Zinne, Daria; Timinszky, Gyula; Carlomagno, Teresa; Ladurner, Andreas G; Biomedical Center, Faculty of Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit ̈ at München, Großhaderner Strasse 9.. (2016-04-20)
    Eukaryotic chromatin is a complex yet dynamic structure, which is regulated in part by the assembly and disassembly of nucleosomes. Key to this process is a group of proteins termed histone chaperones that guide the thermodynamic assembly of nucleosomes by interacting with soluble histones. Here we investigate the interaction between the histone chaperone sNASP and its histone H3 substrate. We find that sNASP binds with nanomolar affinity to a conserved heptapeptide motif in the globular domain of H3, close to the C-terminus. Through functional analysis of sNASP homologues we identified point mutations in surface residues within the TPR domain of sNASP that disrupt H3 peptide interaction, but do not completely disrupt binding to full length H3 in cells, suggesting that sNASP interacts with H3 through additional contacts. Furthermore, chemical shift perturbations from(1)H-(15)N HSQC experiments show that H3 peptide binding maps to the helical groove formed by the stacked TPR motifs of sNASP. Our findings reveal a new mode of interaction between a TPR repeat domain and an evolutionarily conserved peptide motif found in canonical H3 and in all histone H3 variants, including CenpA and have implications for the mechanism of histone chaperoning within the cell.
  • RNA structure determination by solid-state NMR spectroscopy.

    Marchanka, Alexander; Simon, Bernd; Althoff-Ospelt, Gerhard; Carlomagno, Teresa; Helmholtzzentrum für Infektionsforschung, 38124 Braunschweig (2015)
    Knowledge of the RNA three-dimensional structure, either in isolation or as part of RNP complexes, is fundamental to understand the mechanism of numerous cellular processes. Because of its flexibility, RNA represents a challenge for crystallization, while the large size of cellular complexes brings solution-state NMR to its limits. Here, we demonstrate an alternative approach on the basis of solid-state NMR spectroscopy. We develop a suite of experiments and RNA labeling schemes and demonstrate for the first time that ssNMR can yield a RNA structure at high-resolution. This methodology allows structural analysis of segmentally labelled RNA stretches in high-molecular weight cellular machines—independent of their ability to crystallize—and opens the way to mechanistic studies of currently difficult-to-access RNA-protein assemblies.
  • The structure of the SOLE element of oskar mRNA.

    Simon, Bernd; Masiewicz, Pawel; Ephrussi, Anne; Carlomagno, Teresa; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-06-18)
    mRNA localization by active transport is a regulated process that requires association of mRNPs with protein motors for transport along either the microtubule or the actin cytoskeleton. oskar mRNA localization at the posterior pole of the Drosophila oocyte requires a specific mRNA sequence, termed the SOLE, which comprises nucleotides of both exon 1 and exon 2 and is assembled upon splicing. The SOLE folds into a stem-loop structure. Both SOLE RNA and the exon junction complex (EJC) are required for oskar mRNA transport along the microtubules by kinesin. The SOLE RNA likely constitutes a recognition element for a yet unknown protein, which either belongs to the EJC or functions as a bridge between the EJC and the mRNA. Here, we determine the solution structure of the SOLE RNA by Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy. We show that the SOLE forms a continuous helical structure, including a few noncanonical base pairs, capped by a pentanucleotide loop. The helix displays a widened major groove, which could accommodate a protein partner. In addition, the apical helical segment undergoes complex dynamics, with potential functional significance.