HIV-1 Gag selects and packages a dimeric, unspliced viral RNA in the context of a large excess of cytosolic human RNAs. As Gag assembles on the plasma membrane, the HIV-1 genome is enriched relative to cellular RNAs by an unknown mechanism. We used a minimal system consisting of purified RNAs, recombinant HIV-1 Gag and giant unilamellar vesicles to recapitulate the selective packaging of the 5' untranslated region of the HIV-1 genome in the presence of excess competitor RNA. Mutations in the CA-CTD domain of Gag which subtly affect the self-assembly of Gag abrogated RNA selectivity. We further found that tRNA suppresses Gag membrane binding less when Gag has bound viral RNA. The ability of HIV-1 Gag to selectively package its RNA genome and its self-assembly on membranes are thus interdependent on one another.
- Wesley I Sundquist, University of Utah, United States
© 2016, Carlson et al.
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The transcriptional regulator SsrB acts as a switch between virulent and biofilm lifestyles of non-typhoidal Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. During infection, phosphorylated SsrB activates genes on Salmonella Pathogenicity Island-2 (SPI-2) essential for survival and replication within the macrophage. Low pH inside the vacuole is a key inducer of expression and SsrB activation. Previous studies demonstrated an increase in SsrB protein levels and DNA-binding affinity at low pH; the molecular basis was unknown (Liew et al., 2019). This study elucidates its underlying mechanism and in vivo significance. Employing single-molecule and transcriptional assays, we report that the SsrB DNA binding domain alone (SsrBc) is insufficient to induce acid pH-sensitivity. Instead, His12, a conserved residue in the receiver domain, confers pH sensitivity to SsrB allosterically. Acid-dependent DNA binding was highly cooperative, suggesting a new configuration of SsrB oligomers at SPI-2-dependent promoters. His12 also plays a role in SsrB phosphorylation; substituting His12 reduced phosphorylation at neutral pH and abolished pH-dependent differences. Failure to flip the switch in SsrB renders Salmonella avirulent and represents a potential means of controlling virulence.
Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is essential for long-term potentiation (LTP) of excitatory synapses that is linked to learning and memory. In this study, we focused on understanding how interactions between CaMKIIα and the actin-crosslinking protein α-actinin-2 underlie long-lasting changes in dendritic spine architecture. We found that association of the two proteins was unexpectedly elevated within 2 minutes of NMDA receptor stimulation that triggers structural LTP in primary hippocampal neurons. Furthermore, disruption of interactions between the two proteins prevented the accumulation of enlarged mushroom-type dendritic spines following NMDA receptor activation. α-Actinin-2 binds to the regulatory segment of CaMKII. Calorimetry experiments, and a crystal structure of α-actinin-2 EF hands 3 and 4 in complex with the CaMKII regulatory segment, indicate that the regulatory segment of autoinhibited CaMKII is not fully accessible to α-actinin-2. Pull-down experiments show that occupation of the CaMKII substrate-binding groove by GluN2B markedly increases α-actinin-2 access to the CaMKII regulatory segment. Furthermore, in situ labelling experiments are consistent with the notion that recruitment of CaMKII to NMDA receptors contributes to elevated interactions between the kinase and α-actinin-2 during structural LTP. Overall, our study provides new mechanistic insight into the molecular basis of structural LTP and reveals an added layer of sophistication to the function of CaMKII.