Weston B. Struwe
Bio: Weston B. Struwe is an academic researcher from University of Oxford. The author has contributed to research in topics: Glycosylation & Glycan. The author has an hindex of 36, co-authored 99 publications receiving 3813 citations. Previous affiliations of Weston B. Struwe include University College Dublin & BlackRock.
TL;DR: Interferometric scattering mass spectrometry allows spatiotemporally resolved measurement of a broad range of biomolecular interactions, one molecule at a time, to characterize the molecular dynamics of processes as diverse as glycoprotein cross-linking, amyloidogenic protein aggregation, and actin polymerization.
Abstract: The cellular processes underpinning life are orchestrated by proteins and their interactions. The associated structural and dynamic heterogeneity, despite being key to function, poses a fundamental challenge to existing analytical and structural methodologies. We used interferometric scattering microscopy to quantify the mass of single biomolecules in solution with 2% sequence mass accuracy, up to 19-kilodalton resolution, and 1-kilodalton precision. We resolved oligomeric distributions at high dynamic range, detected small-molecule binding, and mass-imaged proteins with associated lipids and sugars. These capabilities enabled us to characterize the molecular dynamics of processes as diverse as glycoprotein cross-linking, amyloidogenic protein aggregation, and actin polymerization. Interferometric scattering mass spectrometry allows spatiotemporally resolved measurement of a broad range of biomolecular interactions, one molecule at a time.
TL;DR: By correlating interfacial strength with the presence of interfacial lipids, the development of a mass spectrometry platform provides a rationale for understanding the role of lipids in both transient and stable interactions within a range of α-helical membrane proteins, including G-protein-coupled receptors.
Abstract: Oligomerization of membrane proteins in response to lipid binding has a critical role in many cell-signalling pathways but is often difficult to define or predict. Here we report the development of a mass spectrometry platform to determine simultaneously the presence of interfacial lipids and oligomeric stability and to uncover how lipids act as key regulators of membrane-protein association. Evaluation of oligomeric strength for a dataset of 125 α-helical oligomeric membrane proteins reveals an absence of interfacial lipids in the mass spectra of 12 membrane proteins with high oligomeric stability. For the bacterial homologue of the eukaryotic biogenic transporters (LeuT, one of the proteins with the lowest oligomeric stability), we found a precise cohort of lipids within the dimer interface. Delipidation, mutation of lipid-binding sites or expression in cardiolipin-deficient Escherichia coli abrogated dimer formation. Molecular dynamics simulation revealed that cardiolipin acts as a bidentate ligand, bridging across subunits. Subsequently, we show that for the Vibrio splendidus sugar transporter SemiSWEET, another protein with low oligomeric stability, cardiolipin shifts the equilibrium from monomer to functional dimer. We hypothesized that lipids are essential for dimerization of the Na+/H+ antiporter NhaA from E. coli, which has the lowest oligomeric strength, but not for the substantially more stable homologous Thermus thermophilus protein NapA. We found that lipid binding is obligatory for dimerization of NhaA, whereas NapA has adapted to form an interface that is stable without lipids. Overall, by correlating interfacial strength with the presence of interfacial lipids, we provide a rationale for understanding the role of lipids in both transient and stable interactions within a range of α-helical membrane proteins, including G-protein-coupled receptors.
TL;DR: This work maps the extremes of simplicity and diversity of glycan processing at individual sites and reveals a mosaic of dense clusters of oligomannose glycans on the outer domain of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein trimer.
Abstract: The HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein trimer is covered by an array of N-linked glycans that shield it from immune surveillance. The high density of glycans on the trimer surface imposes steric constraints limiting the actions of glycan-processing enzymes, so that multiple under-processed structures remain on specific areas. These oligomannose glycans are recognized by broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) that are not thwarted by the glycan shield but, paradoxically, target it. Our site-specific glycosylation analysis of a soluble, recombinant trimer (BG505 SOSIP.664) maps the extremes of simplicity and diversity of glycan processing at individual sites and reveals a mosaic of dense clusters of oligomannose glycans on the outer domain. Although individual sites usually minimally affect the global integrity of the glycan shield, we identify examples of how deleting some glycans can subtly influence neutralization by bNAbs that bind at distant sites. The network of bNAb-targeted glycans should be preserved on vaccine antigens.
TL;DR: A high-resolution, Orbitrap mass spectrometry–based method is developed and applied for analyzing intact membrane protein–ligand complexes to resolve the complexity of multiple binding events, quantify small molecule binding and reveal selectivity for endogenous lipids that differ only in acyl chain length.
Abstract: Small molecules are known to stabilize membrane proteins and to modulate their function and oligomeric state, but such interactions are often hard to precisely define. Here we develop and apply a high-resolution, Orbitrap mass spectrometry-based method for analyzing intact membrane protein-ligand complexes. Using this platform, we resolve the complexity of multiple binding events, quantify small molecule binding and reveal selectivity for endogenous lipids that differ only in acyl chain length.
TL;DR: It is shown that mass photometry can accurately characterize the heterogeneity of a sample using minimal material with high resolution within a matter of minutes, with implications for structural studies specifically and in vitro studies more generally.
Abstract: Sample purity is central to in vitro studies of protein function and regulation, and to the efficiency and success of structural studies using techniques such as x-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). Here, we show that mass photometry (MP) can accurately characterize the heterogeneity of a sample using minimal material with high resolution within a matter of minutes. To benchmark our approach, we use negative stain electron microscopy (nsEM), a popular method for EM sample screening. We include typical workflows developed for structure determination that involve multi-step purification of a multi-subunit ubiquitin ligase and chemical cross-linking steps. When assessing the integrity and stability of large molecular complexes such as the proteasome, we detect and quantify assemblies invisible to nsEM. Our results illustrate the unique advantages of MP over current methods for rapid sample characterization, prioritization and workflow optimization.
TL;DR: The roles of glycans are highlighted by the fact that alterations in glycosylation regulate the development and progression of cancer, serving as important biomarkers and providing a set of specific targets for therapeutic intervention.
Abstract: Despite recent progress in understanding the cancer genome, there is still a relative delay in understanding the full aspects of the glycome and glycoproteome of cancer. Glycobiology has been instrumental in relevant discoveries in various biological and medical fields, and has contributed to the deciphering of several human diseases. Glycans are involved in fundamental molecular and cell biology processes occurring in cancer, such as cell signalling and communication, tumour cell dissociation and invasion, cell-matrix interactions, tumour angiogenesis, immune modulation and metastasis formation. The roles of glycans in cancer have been highlighted by the fact that alterations in glycosylation regulate the development and progression of cancer, serving as important biomarkers and providing a set of specific targets for therapeutic intervention. This Review discusses the role of glycans in fundamental mechanisms controlling cancer development and progression, and their applications in oncology.
TL;DR: It is shown how SARS-CoV-2 S glycans differ from typical host glycan processing, which may have implications in viral pathobiology and vaccine design, and enables mapping of the glycan-processing states across the trimeric viral spike.
Abstract: The emergence of the betacoronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), represents a considerable threat to global human health. Vaccine development is focused on the principal target of the humoral immune response, the spike (S) glycoprotein, which mediates cell entry and membrane fusion. The SARS-CoV-2 S gene encodes 22 N-linked glycan sequons per protomer, which likely play a role in protein folding and immune evasion. Here, using a site-specific mass spectrometric approach, we reveal the glycan structures on a recombinant SARS-CoV-2 S immunogen. This analysis enables mapping of the glycan-processing states across the trimeric viral spike. We show how SARS-CoV-2 S glycans differ from typical host glycan processing, which may have implications in viral pathobiology and vaccine design.
TL;DR: This work has shown that a high lipid diversity is universal in eukaryotes and is seen from the scale of a membrane leaflet to that of a whole organism, highlighting its importance and suggesting that membrane lipids fulfil many functions.
Abstract: Cellular membranes are formed from a chemically diverse set of lipids present in various amounts and proportions. A high lipid diversity is universal in eukaryotes and is seen from the scale of a membrane leaflet to that of a whole organism, highlighting its importance and suggesting that membrane lipids fulfil many functions. Indeed, alterations of membrane lipid homeostasis are linked to various diseases. While many of their functions remain unknown, interdisciplinary approaches have begun to reveal novel functions of lipids and their interactions. We are beginning to understand why even small changes in lipid structures and in composition can have profound effects on crucial biological functions.
TL;DR: Using diverse assays for antibodies recognizing SARS-CoV-2 proteins, preexisting humoral immunity was detected and antibodies targeting the S2 subunit were particularly prevalent in children and adolescents.
Abstract: Zoonotic introduction of novel coronaviruses may encounter preexisting immunity in humans. Using diverse assays for antibodies recognizing SARS-CoV-2 proteins, we detected preexisting humoral immunity. SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein (S)–reactive antibodies were detectable using a flow cytometry–based method in SARS-CoV-2–uninfected individuals and were particularly prevalent in children and adolescents. They were predominantly of the immunoglobulin G (IgG) class and targeted the S2 subunit. By contrast, SARS-CoV-2 infection induced higher titers of SARS-CoV-2 S–reactive IgG antibodies targeting both the S1 and S2 subunits, and concomitant IgM and IgA antibodies, lasting throughout the observation period. SARS-CoV-2–uninfected donor sera exhibited specific neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 S pseudotypes. Distinguishing preexisting and de novo immunity will be critical for our understanding of susceptibility to and the natural course of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
TL;DR: Overall, these characterizations have revealed the architecture of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in exceptional detail, and shed lights on how the virus packs its ∼30 kb long single-segmented RNA in the ∼80 nm diameter lumen.
Abstract: Summary SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite recent advances in the structural elucidation of SARS-CoV-2 proteins, the detailed architecture of the intact virus remains to be unveiled. Here we report the molecular assembly of the authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus using cryoelectron tomography (cryo-ET) and subtomogram averaging (STA). Native structures of the S proteins in pre- and postfusion conformations were determined to average resolutions of 8.7–11 A. Compositions of the N-linked glycans from the native spikes were analyzed by mass spectrometry, which revealed overall processing states of the native glycans highly similar to that of the recombinant glycoprotein glycans. The native conformation of the ribonucleoproteins (RNPs) and their higher-order assemblies were revealed. Overall, these characterizations revealed the architecture of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in exceptional detail and shed light on how the virus packs its ∼30-kb-long single-segmented RNA in the ∼80-nm-diameter lumen.