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  1. Kaposi's sarcoma–associated herpesvirus (KSHV) inhibitor of cyclic GMP–AMP synthase (cGAS) (KicGAS) encoded by ORF52 is a conserved major tegument protein of KSHV and the first reported viral inhibitor of cGAS. In our previous study, we found that KicGAS is highly oligomerized in solution and that oligomerization is required for its cooperative DNA binding and for inhibiting DNA-induced phase separation and activation of cGAS. However, how KicGAS oligomerizes remained unclear. Here, we present the crystal structure of KicGAS at 2.5 Å resolution, which reveals an “L”-shaped molecule with each arm of the L essentially formed by a single α helix (α1 and α2). Antiparallel dimerization of α2 helices from two KicGAS molecules leads to a unique “Z”-shaped dimer. Surprisingly, α1 is also a dimerization domain. It forms a parallel dimeric leucine zipper with the α1 from a neighboring dimer, leading to the formation of an infinite chain of KicGAS dimers. Residues involved in leucine zipper dimer formation are among the most conserved residues across ORF52 homologs of gammaherpesviruses. The self-oligomerization increases the valence and cooperativity of interaction with DNA. The resultant multivalent interaction is critical for the formation of liquid condensates with DNA and consequent sequestration of DNA from being sensed by cGAS, explaining its role in restricting cGAS activation. The structure presented here not only provides a mechanistic understanding of the function of KicGAS but also informs a molecular target for rational design of antivirals against KSHV and related viruses. 
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  2. Abstract

    RecentlyO‐carboxyanhydrides (OCAs) have emerged as a class of viable monomers which can undergo ring‐opening polymerization (ROP) to prepare poly(α‐hydroxyalkanoic acid) with functional groups that are typically difficult to achieve by ROP of lactones. Organocatalysts for the ROP of OCAs, such as dimethylaminopyridine (DMAP), may induce undesired epimerization of the α‐carbon atom in polyesters resulting in the loss of isotacticity. Herein, we report the use of (BDI‐IE)Zn(OCH(CH3)COOCH3) ((BDI)Zn‐1, (BDI‐IE)=2‐((2,6‐diethylphenyl)amino)‐4‐((2,6‐diisopropylphenyl)imino)‐2‐pentene), for the controlled ROP of various OCAs without epimerization. Both homopolymers and block copolymers with controlled molecular weights, narrow molecular weight distributions, and isotactic backbones can be readily synthesized. (BDI)Zn‐1 also enables controlled copolymerization of OCAs and lactide, facilitating the synthesis of block copolymers potentially useful for various biomedical applications. Preliminary mechanistic studies suggest that the monomer/dimer equilibrium of the zinc catalyst influences the ROP of OCAs, with the monomeric (BDI)Zn‐1 possessing superior catalytic activity for the initiation of ROP in comparison to the dimeric (BDI)Zn complex.

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