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Structural Basis of μ-Opioid Receptor-Targeting by a Nanobody Antagonist

Abstract

The μ-opioid receptor (μOR), a prototypical member of the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family, is the molecular target of opioid analgesics such as morphine and fentanyl. Due to the limitations and severe side effects of currently available opioid drugs, there is considerable interest in developing novel modulators of μOR function. Most GPCR ligands today are small molecules, however biologics, including antibodies and nanobodies, are emerging as alternative therapeutics with clear advantages such as affinity and target selectivity. Here, we describe the nanobody NbE, which selectively binds to the μOR and acts as an antagonist. We functionally characterize NbE as an extracellular and genetically encoded μOR ligand and uncover the molecular basis for μOR antagonism by solving the cryo-EM structure of the NbE-μOR complex. NbE displays a unique ligand binding mode and achieves μOR selectivity by interactions with the orthosteric pocket and extracellular receptor loops. Based on a μ-hairpin loop formed by NbE that deeply inserts into the μOR and centers most binding contacts, we design short peptide analogues that retain μOR antagonism. The work illustrates the potential of nanobodies to uniquely engage with GPCRs and describes novel μOR ligands that can serve as a basis for therapeutic developments.

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New structural features of the APC/C revealed by high resolution cryo-EM structures of apo-APC/C and the APC/CCDH1:EMI1 complex

Abstract

The multi-subunit anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) is a master regulator of cell division. It controls progression through the cell cycle by timely marking mitotic cyclins and other cell cycle regulatory proteins for degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. The APC/C itself is regulated by the sequential action of its coactivator subunits CDC20 and CDH1, post-translational modifications, and its inhibitory binding partners EMI1 and the mitotic checkpoint complex (MCC). In this study, we took advantage of the latest developments in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to determine the structures of human APC/CCDH1:EMI1 and apo-APC/C at 2.9 Å and 3.2 Å, respectively, providing novel insights into the regulation of APC/C activity. The high resolution maps allowed the unambigious assignment of a previously unassigned α-helix to the N-terminus of CDH1 (CDH1α1) in the APC/CCDH1:EMI1 ternary complex. CDH1α1 binds at the APC1:APC8 interface, thereby interacting with a loop segment of APC1 through electrostatic interactions only provided by CDH1 but not CDC20. We also indentified a novel zinc-binding module in APC2, and confirmed the presence of zinc ions experimentally. Finally, due to the higher resolution and well defined density of these maps we were able to build, aided by AlphaFold predictions, several intrinsically disordered regions in different APC/C subunits that play a fundamental role in proper complex assembly.

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The CryoEM Structure of the Ribosome Maturation Factor Rea1

Abstract

The biogenesis of the 60S ribosomal subunit is initiated in the nucleus where rRNAs and proteins form pre-60S particles. These pre-60S particles mature by transiently interacting with various assembly factors. The ~5000 amino-acid AAA+ ATPase Rea1 (or Midasin) generates force to mechanically remove assembly factors from pre-60S particles, which promotes their export to the cytosol. Here we present three Rea1 cryoEM structures. We visualize the Rea1 engine, a hexameric ring of AAA+ domains, and identify an α-helical bundle of AAA2 as a major ATPase activity regulator. The α-helical bundle interferes with nucleotide induced conformational changes that create a docking site for the substrate binding MIDAS domain of Rea1 on the AAA+ ring. Furthermore, we reveal the architecture of the Rea1 linker, which is involved in force generation and extends from the AAA+ ring. The data presented here provide insights into the mechanism of one of the most complex ribosome maturation factors.

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