Stanford Advisors

  • Wah Chiu, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor

All Publications

  • Structural visualization of the tubulin folding pathway directed by human chaperonin TRiC/CCT. Cell Gestaut, D., Zhao, Y., Park, J., Ma, B., Leitner, A., Collier, M., Pintilie, G., Roh, S. H., Chiu, W., Frydman, J. 2022; 185 (25): 4770-4787.e20


    The ATP-dependent ring-shaped chaperonin TRiC/CCT is essential for cellular proteostasis. To uncover why some eukaryotic proteins can only fold with TRiC assistance, we reconstituted the folding of β-tubulin using human prefoldin and TRiC. We find unstructured β-tubulin is delivered by prefoldin to the open TRiC chamber followed by ATP-dependent chamber closure. Cryo-EM resolves four near-atomic-resolution structures containing progressively folded β-tubulin intermediates within the closed TRiC chamber, culminating in native tubulin. This substrate folding pathway appears closely guided by site-specific interactions with conserved regions in the TRiC chamber. Initial electrostatic interactions between the TRiC interior wall and both the folded tubulin N domain and its C-terminal E-hook tail establish the native substrate topology, thus enabling C-domain folding. Intrinsically disordered CCT C termini within the chamber promote subsequent folding of tubulin's core and middle domains and GTP-binding. Thus, TRiC's chamber provides chemical and topological directives that shape the folding landscape of its obligate substrates.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2022.11.014

    View details for PubMedID 36493755

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9735246

  • CryoEM reveals the stochastic nature of individual ATP binding events in a group II chaperonin. Nature communications Zhao, Y., Schmid, M. F., Frydman, J., Chiu, W. 2021; 12 (1): 4754


    Chaperonins are homo- or hetero-oligomeric complexes that use ATP binding and hydrolysis to facilitate protein folding. ATP hydrolysis exhibits both positive and negative cooperativity. The mechanism by which chaperonins coordinate ATP utilization in their multiple subunits remains unclear. Here we use cryoEM to study ATP binding in the homo-oligomeric archaeal chaperonin from Methanococcus maripaludis (MmCpn), consisting of two stacked rings composed of eight identical subunits each. Using a series of image classification steps, we obtained different structural snapshots of individual chaperonins undergoing the nucleotide binding process. We identified nucleotide-bound and free states of individual subunits in each chaperonin, allowing us to determine the ATP occupancy state of each MmCpn particle. We observe distinctive tertiary and quaternary structures reflecting variations in nucleotide occupancy and subunit conformations in each chaperonin complex. Detailed analysis of the nucleotide distribution in each MmCpn complex indicates that individual ATP binding events occur in a statistically random manner for MmCpn, both within and across the rings. Our findings illustrate the power of cryoEM to characterize a biochemical property of multi-subunit ligand binding cooperativity at the individual particle level.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-021-25099-0

    View details for PubMedID 34362932