Publications

    Loss of LRRC33-dependent TGFβ1 activation enhances antitumor immunity and checkpoint blockade therapy
    Jiang, A., Qin, Y. & Springer, T.A. Loss of LRRC33-dependent TGFβ1 activation enhances antitumor immunity and checkpoint blockade therapy. Cancer Immunol Res 10, 4, 453-467 (2022).Abstract
    TGFβ has multiple roles and gene products (TGFβ1, -β2, and -β3), which make global targeting of TGFβ undesirable. Expression of TGFβ requires association with milieu molecules, which localize TGFβ to the surface of specific cells or extracellular matrices. Here, we found that LRRC33 was specifically associated with TGFβ1, not TGFβ2 and TGFβ3, and was required for surface display and activation of TGFβ1 on tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells. Loss of LRRC33-dependent TGFβ1 activation slowed tumor growth and metastasis by enhancing innate and adaptive antitumor immunity in multiple mouse syngeneic tumor models. LRRC33 loss resulted in a more immunogenic microenvironment, with decreased myeloid-derived suppressor cells, more active CD8+ T and NK cells, and more skewing toward tumor-suppressive M1 macrophages. LRRC33 loss and PD-1 blockade synergized in controlling B16.F10 tumor growth. Our results demonstrate the importance of LRRC33 in tumor biology and highlight the therapeutic potential of dual blockade of the LRRC33/TGFβ1 axis and PD-1/PD-L1 in cancer immunotherapy.
    Von Willebrand factor A1 domain stability and affinity for GPIbα are differentially regulated by its O-glycosylated N- and C-linker
    Bonazza, K., et al. Von Willebrand factor A1 domain stability and affinity for GPIbα are differentially regulated by its O-glycosylated N- and C-linker. Elife 11, (2022).Abstract
    Hemostasis in the arterial circulation is mediated by binding of the A1 domain of the ultralong protein von Willebrand factor (VWF) to GPIbα on platelets to form a platelet plug. A1 is activated by tensile force on VWF concatemers imparted by hydrodynamic drag force. The A1 core is protected from force-induced unfolding by a long-range disulfide that links cysteines near its N- and C-termini. The O-glycosylated linkers between A1 and its neighboring domains, which transmit tensile force to A1, are reported to regulate A1 activation for binding to GPIb, but the mechanism is controversial and incompletely defined. Here, we study how these linkers, and their polypeptide and O-glycan moieties, regulate A1 affinity by measuring affinity, kinetics, thermodynamics, hydrogen deuterium exchange (HDX), and unfolding by temperature and urea. The N-linker lowers A1 affinity 40-fold with a stronger contribution from its O-glycan than polypeptide moiety. The N-linker also decreases HDX in specific regions of A1 and increases thermal stability and the energy gap between its native state and an intermediate state, which is observed in urea-induced unfolding. The C-linker also decreases affinity of A1 for GPIbα, but in contrast to the N-linker, has no significant effect on HDX or A1 stability. Among different models for A1 activation, our data are consistent with the model that the intermediate state has high affinity for GPIbα, which is induced by tensile force physiologically and regulated allosterically by the N-linker.
    Regulation by metal ions and the ADMIDAS of integrin α5β1 conformational states and intrinsic affinities
    Anderson, J.M., Li, J. & Springer, T.A. Regulation by metal ions and the ADMIDAS of integrin α5β1 conformational states and intrinsic affinities. Mol Biol Cell mbcE21110536 (2022).Abstract
    Activation of integrins by Mn2+ is a benchmark in the integrin field, but how it works and whether it reproduces physiologic activation is unknown. We show that Mn2+ and high Mg2+ concentrations compete with Ca2+ at the ADMIDAS and shift the conformational equilibrium toward the open state, but the shift is far from complete. Additionally, replacement of Mg2+ by Mn2+ at the MIDAS increases the intrinsic affinities of both the high affinity open and low affinity closed states of integrins, in agreement with stronger binding of Mn2+ than Mg2+ to oxygen atoms. Mutation of the ADMIDAS increases the affinity of closed states and decreases the affinity of the open state and thus reduces the difference in affinity between the open and closed states. An important biological function of the ADMIDAS may be to stabilize integrins in highly discrete states, so that when integrins support cell adhesion and migration, their high and low affinity correspond to discrete on- and off-states, respectively.
    Protection of the Prodomain α1-Helix Correlates with Latency in the Transforming Growth Factor-β Family
    Le, V.Q., et al. Protection of the Prodomain α1-Helix Correlates with Latency in the Transforming Growth Factor-β Family. J Mol Biol 434, 5, 167439 (2022).Abstract
    The 33 members of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) family are fundamentally important for organismal development and homeostasis. Family members are synthesized and secreted as pro-complexes of non-covalently associated prodomains and growth factors (GF). Pro-complexes from a subset of family members are latent and require activation steps to release the GF for signaling. Why some members are latent while others are non-latent is incompletely understood, particularly because of large family diversity. Here, we have examined representative family members in negative stain electron microscopy (nsEM) and hydrogen deuterium exchange (HDX) to identify features that differentiate latent from non-latent members. nsEM showed three overall pro-complex conformations that differed in prodomain arm domain orientation relative to the bound growth factor. Two cross-armed members, TGF-β1 and TGF-β2, were each latent. However, among V-armed members, GDF8 was latent whereas ActA was not. All open-armed members, BMP7, BMP9, and BMP10, were non-latent. Family members exhibited remarkably varying HDX patterns, consistent with large prodomain sequence divergence. A strong correlation emerged between latency and protection of the prodomain α1-helix from exchange. Furthermore, latency and protection from exchange correlated structurally with increased α1-helix buried surface area, hydrogen bonds, and cation-pi bonds. Moreover, a specific pattern of conserved basic and hydrophobic residues in the α1-helix and aromatic residues in the interacting fastener were found only in latent members. Thus, this first comparative survey of TGF-β family members reveals not only diversity in conformation and dynamics but also unique features that distinguish latent members.
    Structural basis of malaria transmission blockade by a monoclonal antibody to gamete fusogen HAP2
    Feng, J., et al. Structural basis of malaria transmission blockade by a monoclonal antibody to gamete fusogen HAP2. Elife 10, (2021).Abstract
    HAP2 is a transmembrane gamete fusogen found in multiple eukaryotic kingdoms and is structurally homologous to viral class II fusogens. Studies in Plasmodium have suggested that HAP2 is an attractive target for vaccines that block transmission of malaria. HAP2 has three extracellular domains, arranged in the order D2, D1, and D3. Here, we report monoclonal antibodies against the D3 fragment of Plasmodium berghei HAP2 and crystal structures of D3 in complex with Fab fragments of two of these antibodies, one of which blocks fertilization of Plasmodium berghei in vitro and transmission of malaria in mosquitoes. We also show how this Fab binds the complete HAP2 ectodomain with electron microscopy. The two antibodies cross-react with HAP2 among multiple plasmodial species. Our characterization of the Plasmodium D3 structure, HAP2 ectodomain architecture, and mechanism of inhibition provide insights for the development of a vaccine to block malaria transmission.
    Low affinity integrin states have faster ligand binding kinetics than the high affinity state
    Li, J., Yan, J. & Springer, T. Low affinity integrin states have faster ligand binding kinetics than the high affinity state. eLife 10, e73359, (2021). Publisher's VersionAbstract
    Integrin conformational ensembles contain two low-affinity states, bent-closed and extended-closed, and an active, high-affinity, extended-open state. It is widely thought that integrins must be activated before they bind ligand; however, one model holds that activation follows ligand binding. As ligand-binding kinetics are not only rate limiting for cell adhesion but also have important implications for the mechanism of activation, we measure them here for integrins α4β1 and α5β1 and show that the low-affinity states bind substantially faster than the high-affinity state. On and off-rates are similar for integrins on cell surfaces and as ectodomain fragments. Although the extended-open conformation's on-rate is ~20-fold slower, its off-rate is ~25,000-fold slower, resulting in a large affinity increase. The tighter ligand-binding pocket in the open state may slow its on-rate. Low affinity integrin states not only bind ligand more rapidly, but are also more populous on the cell surface than high affinity states. Thus, our results suggest that integrin binding to ligand may precede, rather than follow, activation by "inside-out signaling".
    Congenital X-linked neutropenia with myelodysplasia and somatic tetraploidy due to a germline mutation in SEPT6
    Renella, R., et al. Congenital X-linked neutropenia with myelodysplasia and somatic tetraploidy due to a germline mutation in SEPT6. Am J Hematol (2021).Abstract
    Septins play key roles in mammalian cell division and cytokinesis but have not previously been implicated in a germline human disorder. A male infant with severe neutropenia and progressive dysmyelopoiesis with tetraploid myeloid precursors was identified. No known genetic etiologies for neutropenia or bone marrow failure were found. However, next-generation sequencing of germline samples from the patient revealed a novel, de novo germline stop-loss mutation in the X-linked gene SEPT6 that resulted in reduced SEPT6 staining in bone marrow granulocyte precursors and megakaryocytes. Patient skin fibroblast-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) produced reduced myeloid colonies, particularly of the granulocyte lineage. CRISPR/Cas9 knock-in of the patient's mutation or complete knock-out of SEPT6 was not tolerated in non-patient-derived iPSCs or human myeloid cell lines, but SEPT6 knock-out was successful in an erythroid cell line and resulting clones revealed a propensity to multinucleation. In silico analysis predicts that the mutated protein hinders the dimerization of SEPT6 coiled-coils in both parallel and antiparallel arrangements, which could in turn impair filament formation. These data demonstrate a critical role for SEPT6 in chromosomal segregation in myeloid progenitors that can account for the unusual predisposition to aneuploidy and dysmyelopoiesis.
    Single-molecule imaging of von Willebrand factor reveals tension-dependent self-association
    Fu, H., Jiang, Y., Wong, W. & Springer, T.A. Single-molecule imaging of von Willebrand factor reveals tension-dependent self-association. Blood 138, 23, 2425-2434 (2021). Publisher's VersionAbstract
    Von Willebrand factor (VWF) is an ultra-long concatemeric protein important in hemostasis and thrombosis. VWF molecules can associate with other VWF molecules, but little is known about the mechanism. Hydrodynamic drag exerts tensile force on surface-tethered VWF that extends it and is maximal at the tether point and declines linearly to zero at the downstream, free end. Using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy, we directly visualize the kinetics of binding of free VWF in flow to surface-tethered single VWF molecules and show that self-association requires elongation of tethered VWF and that association increases with tension in tethered VWF, reaches half maximum at a characteristic tension of ~10 pN, and plateaus above ~ 25 pN. Association is reversible and hence noncovalent; a sharp decrease in shear flow results in rapid dissociation of bound VWF. Tethered, primary VWF molecules can recruit more than their own mass of secondary VWF from the flow stream. Kinetics show that instead of accelerating, the rate of accumulation decreases with time, revealing an inherently self-limiting self-association mechanism. We propose that this may be because multiple tether points between secondary and primary VWF result in lower tension on the secondary VWF, which shields more highly tensioned primary VWF from further association. GPIbα binding and VWF self-association occur in the same region of high tension in tethered VWF concatemers; however, the half-maximal tension required for activation of GPIbα is higher, suggesting differences in molecular mechanisms. These results have important implications for the mechanism of platelet plug formation in hemostasis and thrombosis.
    Complement Receptor 3 Forms a Compact High-Affinity Complex with iC3b
    Jensen, R.K., et al. Complement Receptor 3 Forms a Compact High-Affinity Complex with iC3b. J Immunol (2021).Abstract
    Complement receptor 3 (CR3, also known as Mac-1, integrin αMβ2, or CD11b/CD18) is expressed on a subset of myeloid and certain activated lymphoid cells. CR3 is essential for the phagocytosis of complement-opsonized particles such as pathogens and apoptotic or necrotic cells opsonized with the complement fragment iC3b and, to a lesser extent, C3dg. Although the interaction between the iC3b thioester domain and the ligand binding CR3 αM I-domain is structurally and functionally well characterized, the nature of additional CR3-iC3b interactions required for phagocytosis of complement-opsonized objects remains obscure. In this study, we analyzed the interaction between iC3b and the 150-kDa headpiece fragment of the CR3 ectodomain. Surface plasmon resonance experiments demonstrated a 30 nM affinity of the CR3 headpiece for iC3b compared with 515 nM for the iC3b thioester domain, whereas experiments monitoring binding of iC3b to CR3-expressing cells suggested an affinity of 50 nM for the CR3-iC3b interaction. Small angle x-ray scattering analysis revealed that iC3b adopts an extended but preferred conformation in solution. Upon interaction with CR3, iC3b rearranges to form a compact receptor-ligand complex. Overall, the data suggest that the iC3b-CR3 interaction is of high affinity and relies on minor contacts formed between CR3 and regions outside the iC3b thioester domain. Our results rationalize the more efficient phagocytosis elicited by iC3b than by C3dg and pave the way for the development of specific therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases that do not interfere with the recognition of noncomplement CR3 ligands.
    CD11c regulates hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells under stress
    Hou, L., Voit, R.A., Sankaran, V.G., Springer, T.A. & Yuki, K. CD11c regulates hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells under stress. Blood Adv 4, 24, 6086-6097 (2020).Abstract
    β2 integrins are well-known leukocyte adhesion molecules consisting of 4 members: CD11a-d. Their known biological functions range widely from leukocyte recruitment, phagocytosis, to immunological synapse formation, but the studies have been primarily focused on CD11a and CD11b. CD11c is 1 of the 4 members and is extremely homologous to CD11b. It has been well known as a dendritic cell marker, but the characterization of its function has been limited. We found that CD11c was expressed on the short-term hematopoietic stem cells and multipotent progenitor cells. The lack of CD11c did not affect the number of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) in healthy CD11c knockout mice. Different from other β2 integrin members, however, CD11c deficiency was associated with increased apoptosis and significant loss of HSPCs in sepsis and bone marrow transplantation. Although integrins are generally known for their overlapping and redundant roles, we showed that CD11c had a distinct role of regulating the expansion of HSPCs under stress. This study shows that CD11c, a well-known dendritic cell marker, is expressed on HSPCs and serves as their functional regulator. CD11c deficiency leads to the loss of HSPCs via apoptosis in sepsis and bone marrow transplantation.
    Evolutionarily distant I domains can functionally replace the essential ligand-binding domain of TRAP
    Klug, D., et al. Evolutionarily distant I domains can functionally replace the essential ligand-binding domain of TRAP. Elife 9, (2020).Abstract
    Inserted (I) domains function as ligand-binding domains in adhesins that support cell adhesion and migration in many eukaryotic phyla. These adhesins include integrin αβ heterodimers in metazoans and single subunit transmembrane proteins in apicomplexans such as TRAP in and MIC2 in . Here we show that the I domain of TRAP is essential for sporozoite gliding motility, mosquito salivary gland invasion and mouse infection. Its replacement with the I domain from Toxoplasma MIC2 fully restores tissue invasion and parasite transmission, while replacement with the aX I domain from human integrins still partially restores liver infection. Mutations around the ligand binding site allowed salivary gland invasion but led to inefficient transmission to the rodent host. These results suggest that apicomplexan parasites appropriated polyspecific I domains in part for their ability to engage with multiple ligands and to provide traction for emigration into diverse organs in distant phyla.
    Design and assessment of TRAP-CSP fusion antigens as effective malaria vaccines
    Lu, C., et al. Design and assessment of TRAP-CSP fusion antigens as effective malaria vaccines. PLoS One 15, 1, e0216260 (2020).Abstract
    The circumsporozoite protein (CSP) and thrombospondin-related adhesion protein (TRAP) are major targets for pre-erythrocytic malaria vaccine development. However, the CSP-based vaccine RTS,S provides only marginal protection, highlighting the need for innovative vaccine design and development. Here we design and characterize expression and folding of P. berghei (Pb) and P. falciparum (Pf) TRAP-CSP fusion proteins, and evaluate immunogenicity and sterilizing immunity in mice. TRAP N-terminal domains were fused to the CSP C-terminal αTSR domain with or without the CSP repeat region, expressed in mammalian cells, and evaluated with or without N-glycan shaving. Pb and Pf fusions were each expressed substantially better than the TRAP or CSP components alone; furthermore, the fusions but not the CSP component could be purified to homogeneity and were well folded and monomeric. As yields of TRAP and CSP fragments were insufficient, we immunized BALB/c mice with Pb TRAP-CSP fusions in AddaVax adjuvant and tested the effects of absence or presence of the CSP repeats and absence or presence of high mannose N-glycans on total antibody titer and protection from infection by mosquito bite both 2.5 months and 6 months after the last immunization. Fusions containing the repeats were completely protective against challenge and re-challenge, while those lacking repeats were significantly less effective. These results correlated with higher total antibody titers when repeats were present. Our results show that TRAP-CSP fusions increase protein antigen production, have the potential to yield effective vaccines, and also guide design of effective proteins that can be encoded by nucleic acid-based and virally vectored vaccines.
    General structural features that regulate integrin affinity revealed by atypical αVβ8
    Wang, J., Su, Y., Iacob, R.E., Engen, J.R. & Springer, T.A. General structural features that regulate integrin affinity revealed by atypical αVβ8. Nat Commun 10, 1, 5481 (2019).Abstract
    Integrin αVβ8, which like αVβ6 functions to activate TGF-βs, is atypical. Its β8 subunit binds to a distinctive cytoskeleton adaptor and does not exhibit large changes in conformation upon binding to ligand. Here, crystal structures, hydrogen-deuterium exchange dynamics, and affinity measurements on mutants are used to compare αVβ8 and αVβ6. Lack of a binding site for one of three βI domain divalent cations and a unique β6-α7 loop conformation in β8 facilitate movements of the α1 and α1' helices at the ligand binding pocket toward the high affinity state, without coupling to β6-α7 loop reshaping and α7-helix pistoning that drive large changes in βI domain-hybrid domain orientation seen in other integrins. Reciprocal swaps between β6 and β8 βI domains increase affinity of αVβ6 and decrease affinity of αVβ8 and define features that regulate affinity of the βI domain and its coupling to the hybrid domain.
    Specific high affinity interaction of Helicobacter pylori CagL with integrin α β promotes type IV secretion of CagA into human cells
    Buß, M., et al. Specific high affinity interaction of Helicobacter pylori CagL with integrin α β promotes type IV secretion of CagA into human cells. FEBS J 286, 20, 3980-3997 (2019).Abstract
    CagL is an essential pilus surface component of the virulence-associated type IV secretion system (T4SS) employed by Helicobacter pylori to translocate the oncogenic effector protein CagA into human gastric epithelial cells. CagL contains an RGD motif and integrin α β is widely accepted as its host cell receptor. Here, we show that CagL binds integrin α β with substantially higher affinity and that this interaction is functionally important. Cell surface expression of α β on various cell lines correlated perfectly with cell adhesion to immobilized CagL and with binding of soluble CagL to cells. We found no such correlation for α β . The purified α β ectodomain bound CagL with high affinity. This interaction was highly specific, as the affinity of CagL for other RGD-binding integrins was two to three orders of magnitude weaker. Mutation of either conserved leucine in the CagL RGDLXXL motif, a motif that generally confers specificity for integrin α β and α β , lowered the affinity of CagL for α β . Stable expression of α β in α β -negative but α β -expressing human cells promoted two hallmarks of the functional H. pylori T4SS, namely translocation of CagA into host cells and induction of interleukin-8 secretion by host cells. These findings suggest that integrin α β , although not essential for T4SS function, represents an important host cell receptor for CagL.
    Electrostatic Steering Enables Flow-Activated Von Willebrand Factor to Bind Platelet Glycoprotein, Revealed by Single-Molecule Stretching and Imaging
    Jiang, Y., Fu, H., Springer, T.A. & Wong, W.P. Electrostatic Steering Enables Flow-Activated Von Willebrand Factor to Bind Platelet Glycoprotein, Revealed by Single-Molecule Stretching and Imaging. J Mol Biol 431, 7, 1380-1396 (2019).Abstract
    Von Willebrand factor (VWF), a large multimeric blood protein, senses changes in shear stress during bleeding and responds by binding platelets to plug ruptures in the vessel wall. Molecular mechanisms underlying this dynamic process are difficult to uncover using standard approaches due to the challenge of applying mechanical forces while monitoring structure and activity. By combining single-molecule fluorescence imaging with high-pressure, rapidly switching microfluidics, we reveal the key role of electrostatic steering in accelerating the binding between flow-activated VWF and GPIbα, and in rapidly immobilizing platelets under flow. We measure the elongation and tension-dependent activation of individual VWF multimers under a range of ionic strengths and pH levels, and find that the association rate is enhanced by 4 orders of magnitude by electrostatic steering. Under supraphysiologic salt concentrations, strong electrostatic screening dramatically decreases platelet binding to VWF in flow, revealing the critical role of electrostatic attraction in VWF-platelet binding during bleeding.
    The von Willebrand factor D'D3 assembly and structural principles for factor VIII binding and concatemer biogenesis
    Dong, X., et al. The von Willebrand factor D'D3 assembly and structural principles for factor VIII binding and concatemer biogenesis. Blood (2019).Abstract
    D assemblies comprise half of von Willebrand factor yet are of unknown structure. D1 and D2 in the prodomain and D'D3 in mature VWF at Golgi pH form helical VWF tubules in Weibel Palade bodies and template dimerization of D3 through disulfides to form ultralong VWF concatemers. D'D3 forms the binding site for factor VIII. The crystal structure of monomeric D'D3 with cysteine residues required for dimerization mutated to alanine was determined at endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-like pH. The smaller C8-3, TIL3 and E3 modules pack through specific interfaces as they wind around the larger, N-terminal, Ca-binding VWD3 module to form a wedge shape. D' with its TIL' and E' modules projects away from D3. The two mutated cysteines implicated in D3 dimerization are buried, providing a mechanism for protecting them against premature disulfide linkage in the ER where intrachain disulfide linkages are formed. D3 dimerization requires co-association with D1 and D2, Ca, and Golgi-like acidic pH. Associated structural rearrangements in the C8-3 and TIL3 modules are required to expose cysteine residues for disulfide linkage. Our structure provides insight into many von Willebrand disease mutations including those that diminish FVIII binding, which suggest that factor VIII binds not only to the N-terminal TIL' domain of D' distal from D3 but also extends across one side of D3. The organizing principle for the D3 assembly has implications for other D assemblies and the construction of higher order, disulfide-linked assemblies in the Golgi in both VWF and mucins.
    A Tandem Mass Spectrometry Sequence Database Search Method for Identification of O-Fucosylated Proteins by Mass Spectrometry
    Swearingen, K.E., et al. A Tandem Mass Spectrometry Sequence Database Search Method for Identification of O-Fucosylated Proteins by Mass Spectrometry. J Proteome Res 18, 2, 652-663 (2019).Abstract
    Thrombospondin type 1 repeats (TSRs), small adhesive protein domains with a wide range of functions, are usually modified with O-linked fucose, which may be extended to O-fucose-β1,3-glucose. Collision-induced dissociation (CID) spectra of O-fucosylated peptides cannot be sequenced by standard tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) sequence database search engines because O-linked glycans are highly labile in the gas phase and are effectively absent from the CID peptide fragment spectra, resulting in a large mass error. Electron transfer dissociation (ETD) preserves O-linked glycans on peptide fragments, but only a subset of tryptic peptides with low m/ z can be reliably sequenced from ETD spectra compared to CID. Accordingly, studies to date that have used MS to identify O-fucosylated TSRs have required manual interpretation of CID mass spectra even when ETD was also employed. In order to facilitate high-throughput, automatic identification of O-fucosylated peptides from CID spectra, we re-engineered the MS/MS sequence database search engine Comet and the MS data analysis suite Trans-Proteomic Pipeline to enable automated sequencing of peptides exhibiting the neutral losses characteristic of labile O-linked glycans. We used our approach to reanalyze published proteomics data from Plasmodium parasites and identified multiple glycoforms of TSR-containing proteins.
    Dendritic cell-expressed common gamma-chain recruits IL-15 for trans-presentation at the murine immunological synapse
    Beilin, C., et al. Dendritic cell-expressed common gamma-chain recruits IL-15 for trans-presentation at the murine immunological synapse. Wellcome Open Res 3, 84 (2018).Abstract
    Mutations of the common cytokine receptor gamma chain (γc) cause Severe Combined Immunodeficiency characterized by absent T and NK cell development. Although stem cell therapy restores these lineages, residual immune defects are observed that may result from selective persistence of γc-deficiency in myeloid lineages. However, little is known about the contribution of myeloid-expressed γc to protective immune responses.  Here we examine the importance of γc for myeloid dendritic cell (DC) function. We utilize a combination of DC/T-cell co-culture assays and a novel lipid bilayer system mimicking the T cell surface to delineate the role of DC-expressed γc during DC/T-cell interaction. We observed that γc in DC was recruited to the contact interface following MHCII ligation, and promoted IL-15Rα colocalization with engaged MHCII. Unexpectedly, trans-presentation of IL-15 was required for optimal CD4+T cell activation by DC and depended on DC γc expression. Neither recruitment of IL-15Rα nor IL-15 trans-signaling at the DC immune synapse (IS), required γc signaling in DC, suggesting that γc facilitates IL-15 transpresentation through induced intermolecular associations or cytoskeletal reorganization following MHCII ligation. These findings show that DC-expressed γc is required for effective antigen-induced CD4+ T cell activation. We reveal a novel mechanism for recruitment of DC IL-15/IL-15Rα complexes to the IS, leading to CD4+ T cell costimulation through localized IL-15 transpresentation that is coordinated with antigen-recognition.
    Fusion surface structure, function, and dynamics of gamete fusogen HAP2
    Feng, J., et al. Fusion surface structure, function, and dynamics of gamete fusogen HAP2. Elife 7, (2018).Abstract
    HAP2 is a class II gamete fusogen in many eukaryotic kingdoms. A crystal structure of HAP2 shows a trimeric fusion state. Domains D1, D2.1 and D2.2 line the 3-fold axis; D3 and a stem pack against the outer surface. Surprisingly, hydrogen-deuterium exchange shows that surfaces of D1, D2.2 and D3 closest to the 3-fold axis are more dynamic than exposed surfaces. Three fusion helices in the fusion loops of each monomer expose hydrophobic residues at the trimer apex that are splayed from the 3-fold axis, leaving a solvent-filled cavity between the fusion loops in each monomer. At the base of the two fusion loops, Arg185 docks in a carbonyl cage. Comparisons to other structures, dynamics, and the greater effect on gamete fusion of mutation of axis-proximal than axis-distal fusion helices suggest that the apical portion of each monomer could tilt toward the 3-fold axis with merger of the fusion helices into a common fusion surface.

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