instructions): This component of the Program Project will enhance a new sample preparation method we have developed for single-particle electron microscopy (EM) and apply it to studying the multisubunit tethering complexes (MTCs) that target vesicular carriers of membrane traffic. (1) We have recently developed the "monolayer purification" and "Affinity Grid" techniques, which use Ni-NTA lipids in a lipid monolayer to recruit His-tagged target proteins directly from cell extracts. We propose to extend the Affinity Grid repertoire to include capture of proteins with tags other than histidine. In particular, we will test biotinylated lipids to recruit proteins using an avidin adaptor, synthesis of a lipid with a glutathione (D,l-glutamyl-l-cysteinylglycine, GSH) group to recruit proteins with a glutathione-S-transferase (GST) tag, and affinity-tagged Fc fragments to recruit proteins with a tandem affinity purification (TAP) tag. Because of the commercial availability of yeast libraries of TAP-tagged and GST-fusion constructs, the tagged Fc fragments and the GSH-functionalized lipid may allow high-throughput applications of the Affinity Grid. (2) We will continue our structural studies of multisubunit tethering complexes (MTCs), taking advantage of the Affinity Grid approach. MTCs mediate the first contact between a transport vesicle and its target membrane and are thought to orchestrate vesicle capture, docking, and fusion through interactions with Rab GTPases, coat proteins and SNAREs. We have already obtained structures of TRAPPI and II and of the DsH complex and the Cog1-4 subcomplex of COG. By determining the structures of additional MTCs - TRAPPIII, HOPS, GARP, intact COG and exocyst - and analyzing their interactions with Rab GTPases and SNARE proteins, we aim to understand how these MTCs are organized, how their different organizations mediate vesicle tethering, what conformational changes underlie MTC-assisted SNARE complex assembly, and how mutations in subunits interfere with function of MTCs.

Public Health Relevance

The Affinity Grid approach could significantly accelerate structure determination of protein complexes by single-particle electron microscopy. Multisubunit tethering complexes (MTCs) mediate the first contact between transport vesicles and their target membranes and assist in SNARE-mediated membrane fusion. Mutations in MTC subunits are the cause of many human diseases, and determining the subunit organization of MTCs will provide insights into the basis of disease-causing mutations.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BST-J)
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Harvard University
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