Wiktor Koźmiński's NMR group

Biological and Chemical Research Centre, University of Warsaw

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Wiktor Koźmiński's NMR Group

New Article in Journal of the American Chemical Society

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Structure and Dynamics of the Huntingtin Exon-1 N-Terminus: A Solution NMR Perspective

Maria Baias, Pieter E. S. Smith, Koning Shen, Lukasz A. Joachimiak, Szymon Żerko, Wiktor Koźmiński, Judith Frydman, Lucio Frydman


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Many neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by misfolding and aggregation of an expanded polyglutamine tract (polyQ). Huntington’s Disease, caused by expansion of the polyQ tract in exon 1 of the Huntingtin protein (Htt), is associated with aggregation and neuronal toxicity. Despite recent structural progress in understanding the structures of amyloid fibrils, little is known about the solution states of Htt in general, and about molecular details of their transition from soluble to aggregation-prone conformations in particular. This is an important question, given the increasing realization that toxicity may reside in soluble conformers. This study presents an approach that combines NMR with computational methods to elucidate the structural conformations of Htt Exon 1 in solution. Of particular focus was Htt’s N17 domain sited N-terminal to the polyQ tract, which is key to enhancing aggregation and modulate Htt toxicity. Such in-depth structural study of Htt presents a number of unique challenges: the long homopolymeric polyQ tract contains nearly identical residues, exon 1 displays a high degree of conformational flexibility leading to a scaling of the NMR chemical shift dispersion, and a large portion of the backbone amide groups are solvent-exposed leading to fast hydrogen exchange and causing extensive line broadening. To deal with these problems, NMR assignment was achieved on a minimal Htt exon 1, comprising the N17 domain, a polyQ tract of 17 glutamines, and a short hexameric polyProline region that does not contribute to the spectrum. A pH titration method enhanced this polypeptide’s solubility and, with the aid of ≤5D NMR, permitted the full assignment of N17 and the entire polyQ tract. Structural predictions were then derived using the experimental chemical shifts of the Htt peptide at low and neutral pH, together with various different computational approaches. All these methods concurred in indicating that low-pH protonation stabilizes a soluble conformation where a helical region of N17 propagates into the polyQ region, while at neutral pH both N17 and the polyQ become largely unstructured—thereby suggesting a mechanism for how N17 regulates Htt aggregation.

 

Congratulations!

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Congratulations to Saurabh Saxena on defending Ph.D. thesis entitled New NMR experiments for nucleic acids and intrinsically disordered proteins.

 

New Article in Journal of Biomolecular NMR

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Five and four dimensional experiments for robust backbone resonance assignment of large intrinsically disordered proteins: application to Tau3x protein

Szymon Żerko, Piotr Byrski, Paweł Włodarczyk-Pruszyński, Michał Górka, Karin Ledolter, Eliezer Masliah, Robert Konrat, Wiktor Koźmiński


5Ds

New experiments dedicated for large IDPs backbone resonance assignment are presented. The most distinctive feature of all described techniques is the employment of MOCCA-XY16 mixing sequences to obtain effective magnetization transfers between carbonyl carbon backbone nuclei. The proposed 4 and 5 dimensional experiments provide a high dispersion of obtained signals making them suitable for use in the case of large IDPs (application to 354 a. a. residues of Tau protein 3x isoform is presented) as well as provide both forward and backward connectivities. What is more, connecting short chains interrupted with proline residues is also possible. All the experiments employ non-uniform sampling.

 

New Article in Scientific Reports

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Metal-coupled folding as the driving force for the extreme stability of Rad50 zinc hook dimer assembly

Tomasz Kochańczyk, Michał Nowakowski, Dominika Wojewska, Andrzej Ejchart, Wiktor Koźmiński, Artur Krężel


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The binding of metal ions at the interface of protein complexes presents a unique and poorly understood mechanism of molecular assembly. A remarkable example is the Rad50 zinc hook domain, which is highly conserved and facilitates the Zn2+-mediated homodimerization of Rad50 proteins. Here, we present a detailed analysis of the structural and thermodynamic effects governing the formation and stability (logK12 = 20.74) of this evolutionarily conserved protein assembly. We have dissected the determinants of the stability contributed by the small β-hairpin of the domain surrounding the zinc binding motif and the coiled-coiled regions using peptides of various lengths from 4 to 45 amino acid residues, alanine substitutions and peptide bond-to-ester perturbations. In the studied series of peptides, an >650 000-fold increase of the formation constant of the dimeric complex arises from favorable enthalpy because of the increased acidity of the cysteine thiols in metal-free form and the structural properties of the dimer. The dependence of the enthalpy on the domain fragment length is partially compensated by the entropic penalty of domain folding, indicating enthalpy-entropy compensation. This study facilitates understanding of the metal-mediated protein-protein interactions in which the metal ion is critical for the tight association of protein subunits.

 

A to B Transition

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'A' state

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Transition state

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'B' state

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