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  1. Abstract

    Membrane proteins are of biological and pharmaceutical significance. However, their structural study is extremely challenging mainly due to the fact that only a small number of chemical tools are suitable for stabilizing membrane proteins in solution. Detergents are widely used in membrane protein study, but conventional detergents are generally poor at stabilizing challenging membrane proteins such as G protein‐coupled receptors and protein complexes. In the current study, we prepared tandem triazine‐based maltosides (TZMs) with two amphiphilic triazine units connected by different diamine linkers, hydrazine (TZM−Hs) and 1,2‐ethylenediamine (TZM−Es). These TZMs were consistently superior to a gold standard detergent (DDM) in terms of stabilizing a few membrane proteins. In addition, the TZM−Es containing a long linker showed more general protein stabilization efficacy with multiple membrane proteins than the TZM−Hs containing a short linker. This result indicates that introduction of the flexible1,2‐ethylenediamine linker between two rigid triazine rings enables the TZM−Es to fold into favourable conformations in order to promote membrane protein stability. The novel concept of detergent foldability introduced in the current study has potential in rational detergent design and membrane protein applications.

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  2. Abstract

    The outer membrane is a key virulence determinant of gram‐negative bacteria. InYersinia pestis, the deadly agent that causes plague, the protein Ail and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)6enhance lethality by promoting resistance to human innate immunity and antibiotics, enabling bacteria to proliferate in the human host. Their functions are highly coordinated. Here we describe how they cooperate to promote pathogenesis. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we identify mutually constructive interactions between Ail and LPS that produce an extended conformation of Ail at the membrane surface, cause thickening and rigidification of the LPS membrane, and collectively promoteY. pestissurvival in human serum, antibiotic resistance, and cell envelope integrity. The results highlight the importance of the Ail–LPS assembly as an organized whole, rather than its individual components, and provide a handle for targetingY. pestispathogenesis.

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  3. Abstract

    Peptidoglycan (PG) biosynthesis and assembly are needed for bacterial cell wall formation. Lipid II is the precursor in the PG biosynthetic pathway and carries a nascent PG unit that is processed by glycosyltransferases. Despite its immense therapeutic value as a target of several classes of antibiotics, the conformational ensemble of lipid II in bacterial membranes and its interactions with membrane-anchored enzymes remain elusive. In this work, lipid II and its elongated forms (lipid VI and lipid XII) were modeled and simulated in bilayers of POPE (palmitoyl-oleoyl-phosphatidyl-ethanolamine) and POPG (palmitoyl-oleoyl-phosphatidyl-glycerol) that mimic the prototypical composition of Gram-negative cytoplasmic membranes. In addition, penicillin-binding protein 1b (PBP1b) fromEscherichia coliwas modeled and simulated in the presence of a nascent PG to investigate their interactions. Trajectory analysis reveals that as the glycan chain grows, the non-reducing end of the nascent PG displays much greater fluctuation along the membrane normal and minimally interacts with the membrane surface. In addition, dihedral angles within the pyrophosphate moiety are determined by the length of the PG moiety and its surrounding environment. When a nascent PG is bound to PBP1b, the stem peptide remains in close contact with PBP1b by structural rearrangement of the glycan chain. Most importantly, the number of nascent PG units required to reach the transpeptidase domain are determined to be 7 or 8. Our findings complement experimental results to further understand how the structure of nascent PG can dictate the assembly of the PG scaffold.

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  4. null (Ed.)