Doctor of Philosophy, Chinese Academy Of Sciences (2015)
Bachelor of Engineering, Xi'An Jiaotong University (2009)
Liang Feng, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Structural insights into catalytic mechanism and product delivery of cyanobacterial acyl-acyl carrier protein reductase.
2020; 11 (1): 1525
Long-chain alk(a/e)nes represent the major constituents of conventional transportation fuels. Biosynthesis of alkanes is ubiquitous in many kinds of organisms. Cyanobacteria possess two enzymes, acyl-acyl carrier protein (acyl-ACP) reductase (AAR) and aldehyde-deformylating oxygenase (ADO), which function in a two-step alkane biosynthesis pathway. These two enzymes act in series and possibly form a complex that efficiently converts long chain fatty acyl-ACP/fatty acyl-CoA into hydrocarbon. While the structure of ADO has been previously described, structures of both AAR and AAR-ADO complex have not been solved, preventing deeper understanding of this pathway. Here, we report a ligand-free AAR structure, and three AAR-ADO complex structures in which AARs bind various ligands. Our results reveal the binding pattern of AAR with its substrate/cofactor, and suggest a potential aldehyde-transferring channel from AAR to ADO. Based on our structural and biochemical data, we proposed a model for the complete catalytic cycle of AAR.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-020-15268-y
View details for PubMedID 32251275
Structure and mechanism of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter holocomplex.
2020; 582 (7810): 129–33
Mitochondria take up Ca2+ through the mitochondrial calcium uniporter complex to regulate energy production, cytosolic Ca2+ signalling and cell death1,2. In mammals, the uniporter complex (uniplex) contains four core components: the pore-forming MCU protein, the gatekeepers MICU1 and MICU2, and an auxiliary subunit, EMRE, essential for Ca2+ transport3-8. To prevent detrimental Ca2+ overload, the activity of MCU must be tightly regulated by MICUs, which sense changes in cytosolic Ca2+ concentrations to switch MCU on and off9,10. Here we report cryo-electron microscopic structures of the human mitochondrial calcium uniporter holocomplex in inhibited and Ca2+-activated states. These structures define the architecture of this multicomponent Ca2+-uptake machinery and reveal the gating mechanism by which MICUs control uniporter activity. Our work provides a framework for understanding regulated Ca2+ uptake in mitochondria, and could suggest ways of modulating uniporter activity to treat diseases related to mitochondrial Ca2+ overload.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-020-2309-6
View details for PubMedID 32494073
X-ray and cryo-EM structures of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter.
Mitochondrial calcium uptake is critical for regulating ATP production, intracellular calcium signalling, and cell death. This uptake is mediated by a highly selective calcium channel called the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU). Here, we determined the structures of the pore-forming MCU proteins from two fungi by X-ray crystallography and single-particle cryo-electron microscopy. The stoichiometry, overall architecture, and individual subunit structure differed markedly from those described in the recent nuclear magnetic resonance structure of Caenorhabditis elegans MCU. We observed a dimer-of-dimer architecture across species and chemical environments, which was corroborated by biochemical experiments. Structural analyses and functional characterization uncovered the roles of key residues in the pore. These results reveal a new ion channel architecture, provide insights into calcium coordination, selectivity and conduction, and establish a structural framework for understanding the mechanism of mitochondrial calcium uniporter function.
View details for PubMedID 29995856