Pathogens rely on proteins embedded on their surface to perform tasks essential for host infection. These obligatory structures exposed to the host immune system provide important targets for rational vaccine design. Here, we use a systematically designed series of multi-domain constructs in combination with small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) to determine the structure of the main immunoreactive region from a major antigen from Leptospira interrogans, LigB. An anti-LigB monoclonal antibody library exhibits cell binding and bactericidal activity with extensive domain coverage complementing the elongated architecture observed in the SAXS structure. Combining antigenic motifs in a single-domain chimeric immunoglobulin-like fold generated a vaccine that greatly enhances leptospiral protection over vaccination with single parent domains. Our study demonstrates how understanding an antigen's structure and antibody accessible surfaces can guide the design and engineering of improved recombinant antigen-based vaccines.
- Yung-Fu Chang
- Yung-Fu Chang
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Animals were housed in isolation units approved by the Cornell University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (Protocol number: 2015-0133).
- Volker Dötsch, J.W. Goethe-University, Germany
© 2017, Hsieh et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Interleukin 27 (IL-27) is a heterodimeric cytokine that functions to constrain T cell-mediated inflammation and plays an important role in immune homeostasis. Binding of IL-27 to cell surface receptors, IL-27Rα and gp130, results in activation of receptor-associated Janus Kinases and nuclear translocation of Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 1 (STAT1) and STAT3 transcription factors. Despite the emerging therapeutic importance of this cytokine axis in cancer and autoimmunity, a molecular blueprint of the IL-27 receptor signaling complex, and its relation to other gp130/IL-12 family cytokines, is currently unclear. We used cryogenic-electron microscopy to determine the quaternary structure of IL-27, composed of p28 and Epstein-Barr Virus-Induced 3 (Ebi3) subunits, bound to receptors, IL-27Rα and gp130. The resulting 3.47 Å resolution structure revealed a three-site assembly mechanism nucleated by the central p28 subunit of the cytokine. The overall topology and molecular details of this binding are reminiscent of IL-6 but distinct from related heterodimeric cytokines IL-12 and IL-23. These results indicate distinct receptor assembly mechanisms used by heterodimeric cytokines with important consequences for targeted agonism and antagonism of IL-27 signaling.
Cryogenic optical localization in three dimensions (COLD) was recently shown to resolve up to four binding sites on a single protein. However, because COLD relies on intensity fluctuations that result from the blinking behavior of fluorophores, it is limited to cases where individual emitters show different brightness. This significantly lowers the measurement yield. To extend the number of resolved sites as well as the measurement yield, we employ partial labeling and combine it with polarization encoding in order to identify single fluorophores during their stochastic blinking. We then use a particle classification scheme to identify and resolve heterogenous subsets and combine them to reconstruct the three-dimensional arrangement of large molecular complexes. We showcase this method (polarCOLD) by resolving the trimer arrangement of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and six different sites of the hexamer protein Caseinolytic Peptidase B (ClpB) of Thermus thermophilus in its quaternary structure, both with Angstrom resolution. The combination of polarCOLD and single-particle cryogenic electron microscopy (cryoEM) promises to provide crucial insight into intrinsic heterogeneities of biomolecular structures. Furthermore, our approach is fully compatible with fluorescent protein labeling and can, thus, be used in a wide range of studies in cell and membrane biology.