Voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav) initiate action potentials in excitable cells and are important pharmacological targets. Despite the long history of the Nav channel research, the structure basis of its functions remains elusive. As a joint member of Dr. Bill Catterll's group and our group, Jian got a first glimpse of a bacterial Nav channel, which features an interesting selectivity filter that was characterized by Dr. Bertil Hille in the UW in the 60s.....
Laura Sheard, Xu Tan, and Haibin Mao have just published a paper in Nature reporting the structural mechanisms by which an important plant hormone, jasmonate, is sensed by a three-molecule co-receptor. Jasmonate signaling regulates wound and stress responses in plants and involves an F-box protein, COI1, as part of an SCF ubiquitin ligase complex. In this paper, Laura, Xu, and Haibin revealed that jasmonate is perceived by a co-receptor system consisting of the ubiquitin ligase COI1, its polypeptide substrate, JAZ proteins, and an unexpected inositol pentakisphosphate......
In collaboration with Drs. Alwin Köhler and Ed Hurt in University of Heidelberg, Germany, Erik Zimmerman solved the crystal structure of the entire hetero-tetrameric SAGA H2B deubiquitinase (DUB) module. The structure unveils how two small zinc finger proteins allosterically activate the H2B DUB in the protein complex. Human cells have nearly 100 DUBs, which are involved in diverse pathways. Allosteric regulation of DUBs by their binding proteins might be a widespread phenomemon. Erik's work is published in Cell.
Laura Sheard wrote a short News & Views article for Nature, summarizing five exciting studies that simultaneously revealed the mechanism by which an important plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) is perceived by its recently identified receptors. She was interviewed by Nature Podcast.
In collaboration with Dr. Michel Strubin in Switzerland, Ti Li has identified a hidden helical motif in DCAFs, the substrate receptor subunits of the DDB1-Cul4A-Rbx1 ubiquitin ligase machinery. This motif is also found in the X protein of the hepatitis B virus, which binds DDB1 and possibly hijacks the host E3 complex to benefit viral replication. Ti's work was published in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.
Each month, David S. Goodsell at the Scripts Research Institute and the RCSB PDB publish a brief introduction of interesting molecules selected from the Protein Data Bank and present it as the RCSB PDB Molecule of the Month (MOTM). Our “Auxin and TIR1 Ubiquitin Ligase” story is featured in Feb, 2009.
Among five final winners worldwide, Xu Tan was awarded the 2008 GE & Science Prize for Young Life Scientists as the single Regional Winner in North America. “Since 1995, the aim of the prize has been to recognize outstanding Ph.D. graduate students from around the world and reward their research in the field of molecular biology.” Congratulations to Xu!
Ning Zheng was selected as an Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator earlier this year. His appointment offcially started this month.