All Publications

  • Cryo-EM and antisense targeting of the 28-kDa frameshift stimulation element from the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome. Nature structural & molecular biology Zhang, K., Zheludev, I. N., Hagey, R. J., Haslecker, R., Hou, Y. J., Kretsch, R., Pintilie, G. D., Rangan, R., Kladwang, W., Li, S., Wu, M. T., Pham, E. A., Bernardin-Souibgui, C., Baric, R. S., Sheahan, T. P., D'Souza, V., Glenn, J. S., Chiu, W., Das, R. 2021


    Drug discovery campaigns against COVID-19 are beginning to target the SARS-CoV-2 RNA genome. The highly conserved frameshift stimulation element (FSE), required for balanced expression of viral proteins, is a particularly attractive SARS-CoV-2 RNA target. Here we present a 6.9A resolution cryo-EM structure of the FSE (88nucleotides, ~28kDa), validated through an RNA nanostructure tagging method. The tertiary structure presents a topologically complex fold in which the 5' end is threaded through a ring formed inside a three-stem pseudoknot. Guided by this structure, we develop antisense oligonucleotides that impair FSE function in frameshifting assays and knock down SARS-CoV-2 virus replication in A549-ACE2 cells at 100nM concentration.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41594-021-00653-y

    View details for PubMedID 34426697

  • Interpretation of RNA cryo-EM maps of various resolutions Kretsch, R., Das, R., Chiu, W. INT UNION CRYSTALLOGRAPHY. 2021: A217
  • De novo 3D models of SARS-CoV-2 RNA elements from consensus experimental secondary structures. Nucleic acids research Rangan, R., Watkins, A. M., Chacon, J., Kretsch, R., Kladwang, W., Zheludev, I. N., Townley, J., Rynge, M., Thain, G., Das, R. 2021


    The rapid spread of COVID-19 is motivating development of antivirals targeting conserved SARS-CoV-2 molecular machinery. The SARS-CoV-2 genome includes conserved RNA elements that offer potential small-molecule drug targets, but most of their 3D structures have not been experimentally characterized. Here, we provide a compilation of chemical mapping data from our and other labs, secondary structure models, and 3D model ensembles based on Rosetta's FARFAR2 algorithm for SARS-CoV-2 RNA regions including the individual stems SL1-8 in the extended 5' UTR; the reverse complement of the 5' UTR SL1-4; the frameshift stimulating element (FSE); and the extended pseudoknot, hypervariable region, and s2m of the 3' UTR. For eleven of these elements (the stems in SL1-8, reverse complement of SL1-4, FSE, s2m and 3' UTR pseudoknot), modeling convergence supports the accuracy of predicted low energy states; subsequent cryo-EM characterization of the FSE confirms modeling accuracy. To aid efforts to discover small molecule RNA binders guided by computational models, we provide a second set of similarly prepared models for RNA riboswitches that bind small molecules. Both datasets ('FARFAR2-SARS-CoV-2',; and 'FARFAR2-Apo-Riboswitch', at') include up to 400 models for each RNA element, which may facilitate drug discovery approaches targeting dynamic ensembles of RNA molecules.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/nar/gkab119

    View details for PubMedID 33693814

  • Structure of hepcidin-bound ferroportin reveals iron homeostatic mechanisms. Nature Billesbølle, C. B., Azumaya, C. M., Kretsch, R. C., Powers, A. S., Gonen, S. n., Schneider, S. n., Arvedson, T. n., Dror, R. O., Cheng, Y. n., Manglik, A. n. 2020


    The serum iron level in humans is tightly controlled by the action of the hormone hepcidin on the iron efflux transporter ferroportin. Hepcidin regulates iron absorption and recycling by inducing ferroportin internalization and degradation1. Aberrant ferroportin activity can lead to diseases of iron overload, such as hemochromatosis, or iron limitation anemias2. Here, we determined cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of ferroportin in lipid nanodiscs, both in the apo state and in complex with cobalt, an iron mimetic, and hepcidin. These structures and accompanying molecular dynamics simulations identify two metal binding sites within the N- and C-domains of ferroportin. Hepcidin binds ferroportin in an outward-open conformation and completely occludes the iron efflux pathway to inhibit transport. The carboxy-terminus of hepcidin directly contacts the divalent metal in the ferroportin C-domain. We further show that hepcidin binding to ferroportin is coupled to iron binding, with an 80-fold increase in hepcidin affinity in the presence of iron. These results suggest a model for hepcidin regulation of ferroportin, where only iron loaded ferroportin molecules are targeted for degradation. More broadly, our structural and functional insights are likely to enable more targeted manipulation of the hepcidin-ferroportin axis in disorders of iron homeostasis.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-020-2668-z

    View details for PubMedID 32814342