All Publications

  • Structural insights into the mechanism of leptin receptor activation. Nature communications Saxton, R. A., Caveney, N. A., Moya-Garzon, M. D., Householder, K. D., Rodriguez, G. E., Burdsall, K. A., Long, J. Z., Garcia, K. C. 2023; 14 (1): 1797


    Leptin is an adipocyte-derived protein hormone that promotes satiety and energy homeostasis by activating the leptin receptor (LepR)-STAT3 signaling axis in a subset of hypothalamic neurons. Leptin signaling is dysregulated in obesity, however, where appetite remains elevated despite high levels of circulating leptin. To gain insight into the mechanism of leptin receptor activation, here we determine the structure of a stabilized leptin-bound LepR signaling complex using single particle cryo-EM. The structure reveals an asymmetric architecture in which a single leptin induces LepR dimerization via two distinct receptor-binding sites. Analysis of the leptin-LepR binding interfaces reveals the molecular basis for human obesity-associated mutations. Structure-based design of leptin variants that destabilize the asymmetric LepR dimer yield both partial and biased agonists that partially suppress STAT3 activation in the presence of wild-type leptin and decouple activation of STAT3 from LepR negative regulators. Together, these results reveal the structural basis for LepR activation and provide insights into the differential plasticity of signaling pathways downstream of LepR.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-023-37169-6

    View details for PubMedID 37002197

    View details for PubMedCentralID 4859313

  • Biochemical and Functional Evaluation of the Intramolecular Disulfide Bonds in the Zinc-Chelating Antimicrobial Protein Human S100A7 (Psoriasin) BIOCHEMISTRY Cunden, L. S., Brophy, M., Rodriguez, G. E., Flaxman, H. A., Nolan, E. M. 2017; 56 (43): 5726-5738


    Human S100A7 (psoriasin) is a metal-chelating protein expressed by epithelial cells. It is a 22-kDa homodimer with two EF-hand domains per subunit and two transition-metal-binding His3Asp sites at the dimer interface. Each subunit contains two cysteine residues that can exist as free thiols (S100A7red) or as an intramolecular disulfide bond (S100A7ox). Herein, we examine the disulfide bond redox behavior, the Zn(II) binding properties, and the antibacterial activity of S100A7, as well as the effect of Ca(II) ions on these properties. In agreement with prior work [Hein, K. Z., et al. (2013) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 112, 13039-13044], we show that apo S100A7ox is a substrate for the mammalian thioredoxin system; however, negligible reduction of the disulfide bond is observed for Ca(II)- and Zn(II)-bound S100A7ox. Furthermore, metal binding depresses the midpoint potential of the disulfide bond. S100A7ox and S100A7red each coordinate 2 equiv of Zn(II) with subnanomolar affinity in the absence and presence of Ca(II) ions, and the cysteine thiolates in S100A7red do not form a third high-affinity Zn(II) site. These results refute a prior model implicating the Cys thiolates of S100A7red in high-affinity Zn(II) binding [Hein, K. Z., et al. (2013) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 112, 13039-13044]. S100A7ox and the disulfide-null variants show comparable Zn(II)-depletion profiles; however, only S100A7ox exhibits antibacterial activity against select bacterial species. Metal substitution experiments suggest that the disulfide bonds in S100A7 may enhance metal sequestration by the His3Asp sites and thereby confer growth inhibitory properties to S100A7ox.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.biochem.7b00781

    View details for Web of Science ID 000414383400004

    View details for PubMedID 28976190

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5748159