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Table of Contents for this page:

  • Current Issue
  • Advanced Online Publications Articles

  • Current Issue of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology

    Nature Structural aamp; Molecular Biology - Issue - science feeds

  • Cellular gatekeepers

  • In a common yet effective analogy, a cell can be compared to a fortified city, in which lipid membranes form the defensive walls, and membrane proteins function as gates and checkpoints that control the transit of molecules and information across these walls. We evoke this concept on the cover of this special Focus on Membrane Proteins.

  • Atomic-level analysis of membrane-protein structure

  • Wayne Hendrickson discusses the consortium efforts and developments in methodology that in recent years have allowed unprecedented advances in atomic-structure determination of membrane proteins.

  • NMR as a tool to investigate the structure, dynamics and function of membrane proteins

  • This Perspective provides an overview of recent progress, successes, challenges and future opportunities in the application of solution NMR and solid-state NMR methods to study the structure, dynamics and function of membrane proteins.

  • Toward high-resolution computational design of the structure and function of helical membrane proteins

  • This Perspective provides an overview of the major advances in recent years in the computational design and structure prediction ofα-helical membrane proteins.

  • Nanodiscs for structural and functional studies of membrane proteins

  • The use of nanodiscs is substantially fostering structural and functional studies of membrane protein. This Perspective summarizes the recent use of nanodiscs as an invaluable tool for the characterization of membrane proteins.

  • Mechanistic diversity in ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters

  • ABC transporters use ATP hydrolysis to translocate substrates across cell membranes. Kaspar Locher reviews the mechanistic diversity of ABC transporters, as has emerged from recent structural studies, and discusses future directions for investigation of ABC-transporter-catalyzed reactions.

  • Structural mechanisms of activation and desensitization in neurotransmitter-gated ion channels

  • Numerous recent crystal and cryo-EM structures have greatly advanced understanding of the functional mechanisms of neurotransmitter-gated ion channels. This Review discusses the structural basis of activation and desensitization mechanisms in glutamate and cysteine-loop receptors.

  • Knud Hermann Nierhaus 1941–2016

  • Escape from epigenetic silencing of lactase expression is triggered by a single-nucleotide change

  • The importance of subtle gene regulation and epigenetics in determining complex human traits is increasingly being recognized. However, bridging the gaps between environmental, epigenetic and genetic influences and unraveling causal relationships remain a big challenge. A study now reports an example of epigenetic changes influenced by genetic factors that are involved in the regulation of lactase gene expression.

  • Reverse transcriptases lend a hand in splicing catalysis

  • The first high-resolution views of group II intron maturases illuminate the architectural and functional roles of these multidomain proteins in splicing and DNA invasion. The maturases show striking structural and functional homology to a central protein involved in spliceosomal pre–messenger RNA splicing, thus reinforcing the idea that group II introns and the spliceosome descended from a common ancestor.

  • Noncoding RNA joins Ku and DNA-PKcs for DNA-break resistance in breast cancer

  • The noncoding RNA LINP1 acts as a scaffold that links Ku and DNA-PKcs and enables efficient DNA double-strand-break repair through nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ), thereby enhancing the resistance of triple-negative breast cancer cells to radiation and chemotherapies.

  • Heavy lessons in protein allostery

  • Hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry reveals that the antiapoptotic protein MCL-1 is inhibited by a covalent modification far from its functional site. This finding opens new avenues for cancer therapy, but it also highlights that much remains to be learned about the fundamental basis of allosteric regulation.

  • Crystal structure of the prefusion surface glycoprotein of the prototypic arenavirus LCMV

  • The crystal structure of the GP1–GP2 complex of the prototypical arenavirus LCMV in prefusion form sheds light on the conformational changes that the arenavirus glycoprotein undergoes to cause fusion.

  • Long noncoding RNA LINP1 regulates repair of DNA double-strand breaks in triple-negative breast cancer

  • New data reveal that LINP1, a lncRNA overexpressed in triple-negative breast cancer, interacts with the Ku70–Ku80 complex and DNA-PKcs, thereby promoting NHEJ-mediated DNA double-strand-break repair.

  • Extensive subunit contacts underpin herpesvirus capsid stability and interior-to-exterior allostery

  • Capsids from two herpesviruses (HSV-1 and PRV), imaged inside intact virions, are analyzed by cryo-EM. The maps allowed the construction of a complete model of subunit and domain organization, revealing extensive subunit contacts.

  • BRD4 is a histone acetyltransferase that evicts nucleosomes from chromatin

  • In vitro and in vivo analyses show that BRD4 has intrinsic acetyltransferase activity targeting histones H3 and H4, and BRD4 acetylation of H3 K122 results in histone eviction, nucleosome clearance and chromatin decompaction.

  • Structure of a group II intron in complex with its reverse transcriptase

  • A 3.8-Å cryo-EM structure of a bacterial group IIA intron in complex with its intron-encoded protein reveals how the reverse transcriptase domain interacts with the mobile intron RNA as well as structural similarities with eukaryotic telomerase and spliceosomal components.

  • Crystal structures of a group II intron maturase reveal a missing link in spliceosome evolution

  • Crystal structures of the reverse transcriptase domains of two group II intron–encoded proteins reveal their similarity to the RT domain of splicing factor Prp8, thus suggesting a common ancestry shared by group II introns and the spliceosome.

  • Lactase nonpersistence is directed by DNA-variation-dependent epigenetic aging

  • Age-dependent epigenetic changes that are influenced by genetic factors contribute to lactase nonpersistence, which is linked to the inability of adult mammals to digest lactose.

  • Structure of the Dcp2–Dcp1 mRNA-decapping complex in the activated conformation

  • Crystal structures, along with biochemistry data, capture the active form of the Dcp2 decapping enzyme in complex with Dcp1 and a peptide from Edc1, thus revealing the mechanism of activation by Dcp1 and Edc1 activators.

  • Functional interplay between MSL1 and CDK7 controls RNA polymerase II Ser5 phosphorylation

  • MSL1, a component of the Drosophila dosage compensation complex, genetically and biochemically interacts with CDK7, a subunit of the TFIIH transcription factor, thus revealing a complex interplay between MSL1 and the general transcriptional machinery.

  • Mechanism of extracellular ion exchange and binding-site occlusion in a sodium/calcium exchanger

  • A series of crystal structures and calculated free-energy landscapes of a Na+/Ca2+ exchanger explain how its alternating-access mechanism is controlled by the ion occupancy, thus leading to coupled antiport.

  • Allosteric inhibition of antiapoptotic MCL-1

  • Identification of an allosteric mechanism disrupting the antiapoptotic BH3 binding activity of MCL-1 offers a new approach for targeting the apoptotic resistance of human cancers.

  • Multilayered proteomics reveals molecular switches dictating ligand-dependent EGFR trafficking

  • Analysis of changes in the EGFR interactome, ubiquitinome, phosphoproteome and proteome in response to EGF or TGF-α identifies RAB7 phosphorylation and RCP recruitment to EGFR as ligand-specific switches controlling receptor trafficking, signal duration and cellular responses.

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    Nature -Advance Online Publications

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    Nature Structural aamp; Molecular Biology - AOP - science feeds

  • Toward the atomic structure of the nuclear pore complex: when top down meets bottom up

  • This Perspective discusses how two complementary approaches, bottom-up in vitro and top-down in situ structural biology, have now converged to generate the first predictive structural models of the nuclear pore scaffold.

  • Neddylation requires glycyl-tRNA synthetase to protect activated E2

  • Biochemical, structural and cell-based analyses reveal a chaperone-like function of glycyl-tRNA synthetase, which supports neddylation via direct interactions with NEDD8, E1 and E2.

  • 53BP1 fosters fidelity of homology-directed DNA repair

  • A new study reveals that 53BP1 influences high-fidelity homology-directed repair by showing that its depletion in the presence of increasing DNA-damage levels triggers a shift from RAD51-dependent gene conversion, an error-free process, to RAD52-mediated single-strand annealing, which is mutagenic.

  • Functional interdependence of BRD4 and DOT1L in MLL leukemia

  • The histone methyltransferase DOT1L and the chromatin reader BRD4 together facilitate transcription of genes critical to the molecular pathogenesis of MLL leukemia.

  • N-linked glycosylation of SV2 is required for binding and uptake of botulinum neurotoxin A

  • BoNT/A1 invades motoneurons by binding to the neuronal receptor SV2. A combination of structural, biophysical and cellular analyses reveal that BoNT/A1 binding and uptake require glycosylation of SV2.

  • Direct observation of DNA threading in flap endonuclease complexes

  • A new 'metal mimic' mutagenesis approach that captures a T5 flap endonuclease complex with an intact DNA substrate provides structural evidence that the single-stranded 5′ flap generated by Okazaki-fragment synthesis threads through the flap endonuclease enzyme.

  • The transcription factor ERG recruits CCR4–NOT to control mRNA decay and mitotic progression

  • The canonical transcription factor ERG promotes degradation of a subset of mRNAs linked to mitotic progression by recruiting the CCR4–NOT deadenylation complex, thus revealing a new regulatory interplay between mRNA synthesis and degradation.

  • Human BRCA1–BARD1 ubiquitin ligase activity counteracts chromatin barriers to DNA resection

  • The E3 ubiquitin ligase activity of the BRCA1–BARD1 complex is required to reposition 53BP1 on damaged chromatin and to promote DNA resection and repair via homologous recombination, in a mechanism involving the chromatin remodeler SMARCAD1.

  • lnc-β-Catm elicits EZH2-dependent β-catenin stabilization and sustains liver CSC self-renewal

  • The lncRNA lnc-β-Catm associates with β-catenin and the methyltransferase Ezh2, thereby promoting β-catenin methylation and stabilization, which in turn lead to activation of Wnt–β-catenin signaling and promote liver CSCs self-renewal.

  • FANCD2 limits replication stress and genome instability in cells lacking BRCA2

  • Probing the synthetic lethal effect of FANCD2 deletion in BRCA2-deficient cells reveals independent roles of FANCD2 and BRCA2 in stabilizing stalled replication forks to maintain genome stability and promote cell survival.

  • The dynamic interactome and genomic targets of Polycomb complexes during stem-cell differentiation

  • Proteomic and genomic analysis of Polycomb group complexes in embryonic stem cells and neural progenitor cells identifies new PRC1 and PRC2 interaction partners and targets during neural lineage commitment.

  • Visualizing chaperone-assisted protein folding

  • READ is a new crystallographic approach to visualize conformational ensembles of heterogeneous and dynamic molecules. READ is applied here to structurally characterize the various folding states of client Im7 bound to chaperone Spy.
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