• A Balance between Inhibitor Binding and Substrate Processing Confers Influenza Drug Resistance

      Jiang, Li; Liu, Ping; Bank, Claudia; Renzette, Nicholas; Prachanronarong, Kristina L.; Yilmaz, L. Safak; Caffrey, Daniel R.; Zeldovich, Konstantin B.; Schiffer, Celia A.; Kowalik, Timothy F.; et al. (2016-02-13)
      The therapeutic benefits of the neuraminidase (NA) inhibitor oseltamivir are dampened by the emergence of drug resistance mutations in influenza A virus (IAV). To investigate the mechanistic features that underlie resistance, we developed an approach to quantify the effects of all possible single-nucleotide substitutions introduced into important regions of NA. We determined the experimental fitness effects of 450 nucleotide mutations encoding positions both surrounding the active site and at more distant sites in an N1 strain of IAV in the presence and absence of oseltamivir. NA mutations previously known to confer oseltamivir resistance in N1 strains, including H275Y and N295S, were adaptive in the presence of drug, indicating that our experimental system captured salient features of real-world selection pressures acting on NA. We identified mutations, including several at position 223, that reduce the apparent affinity for oseltamivir in vitro. Position 223 of NA is located adjacent to a hydrophobic portion of oseltamivir that is chemically distinct from the substrate, making it a hotspot for substitutions that preferentially impact drug binding relative to substrate processing. Furthermore, two NA mutations, K221N and Y276F, each reduce susceptibility to oseltamivir by increasing NA activity without altering drug binding. These results indicate that competitive expansion of IAV in the face of drug pressure is mediated by a balance between inhibitor binding and substrate processing.
    • A call to arms: Unifying the fight against resistance

      Kaushansky, Alexis; Hedstrom, Lizbeth; Goldman, Aaron; Singh, Juswinder; Yang, Priscilla L.; Rathod, Pradipsinh K.; Cynamon, Michael; Wodarz, Dominik; Mahadevan, Daruka; Tomaras, Andrew; et al. (2018-10-23)
      This Editorial discusses the state of research on drug resistance in the fields of cancer, infectious disease, and agriculture. Reaching across the aisle for a more cross-collaborative approach may lead to exciting breakthroughs toward tackling the challenges of drug resistance in each field.
    • A computational analysis of the structural determinants of APOBEC3's catalytic activity and vulnerability to HIV-1 Vif

      Shandilya, Shivender; Bohn, Markus-Frederik; Schiffer, Celia A. (2014-12-01)
      APOBEC3s (A3) are Zn(2+) dependent cytidine deaminases with diverse biological functions and implications for cancer and immunity. Four of the seven human A3s restrict HIV by 'hypermutating' the reverse-transcribed viral genomic DNA. HIV Virion Infectivity Factor (Vif) counters this restriction by targeting A3s to proteasomal degradation. However, there is no apparent correlation between catalytic activity, Vif binding, and sequence similarity between A3 domains. Our comparative structural analysis reveals features required for binding Vif and features influencing polynucleotide deaminase activity in A3 proteins. All Vif-binding A3s share a negatively charged surface region that includes residues previously implicated in binding the highly-positively charged Vif. Additionally, catalytically active A3s share a positively charged groove near the Zn(2+) coordinating active site, which may accommodate the negatively charged polynucleotide substrate. Our findings suggest surface electrostatics, as well as the spatial extent of substrate accommodating region, are critical determinants of substrate and Vif binding across A3 proteins with implications for anti-retroviral and anti-cancer therapeutic design.
    • A cross-reactive human IgA monoclonal antibody blocks SARS-CoV-2 spike-ACE2 interaction

      Monir, Ejemel; Li, Qi; Hou, Shurong; Schiller, Zachary; Wallace, Aaron; Amcheslavsky, Alla; Yilmaz, Nese Kurt; Toomey, Jacqueline R.; Schneider, Ryan; Ramchetty, Anudeep S.; et al. (2020-08-21)
      COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 has become a global pandemic requiring the development of interventions for the prevention or treatment to curtail mortality and morbidity. No vaccine to boost mucosal immunity, or as a therapeutic, has yet been developed to SARS-CoV-2. In this study, we discover and characterize a cross-reactive human IgA monoclonal antibody, MAb362. MAb362 binds to both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins and competitively blocks ACE2 receptor binding, by overlapping the ACE2 structural binding epitope. Furthermore, MAb362 IgA neutralizes both pseudotyped SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 in 293 cells expressing ACE2. When converted to secretory IgA, MAb326 also neutralizes authentic SARS-CoV-2 virus while the IgG isotype shows no neutralization. Our results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 specific IgA antibodies, such as MAb362, may provide effective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 by inducing mucosal immunity within the respiratory system, a potentially critical feature of an effective vaccine.
    • A Direct Interaction with RNA Dramatically Enhances the Catalytic Activity of the HIV-1 Protease In Vitro

      Potempa, Marc; Nalivaika, Ellen A.; Ragland, Debra A.; Lee, Sook-Kyung; Schiffer, Celia A.; Swanstrom, Ronald (2015-07-17)
      Though the steps of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virion maturation are well documented, the mechanisms regulating the proteolysis of the Gag and Gag-Pro-Pol polyproteins by the HIV-1 protease (PR) remain obscure. One proposed mechanism argues that the maturation intermediate p15NC must interact with RNA for efficient cleavage by the PR. We investigated this phenomenon and found that processing of multiple substrates by the HIV-1 PR was enhanced in the presence of RNA. The acceleration of proteolysis occurred independently from the substrate's ability to interact with nucleic acid, indicating that a direct interaction between substrate and RNA is not necessary for enhancement. Gel-shift assays demonstrated the HIV-1 PR is capable of interacting with nucleic acids, suggesting that RNA accelerates processing reactions by interacting with the PR rather than the substrate. All HIV-1 PRs examined have this ability; however, the HIV-2 PR does not interact with RNA and does not exhibit enhanced catalytic activity in the presence of RNA. No specific sequence or structure was required in the RNA for a productive interaction with the HIV-1 PR, which appears to be principally, though not exclusively, driven by electrostatic forces. For a peptide substrate, RNA increased the kinetic efficiency of the HIV-1 PR by an order of magnitude, affecting both turnover rate (k(cat)) and substrate affinity (K(m)). These results suggest that an allosteric binding site exists on the HIV-1 PR and that HIV-1 PR activity during maturation could be regulated in part by the juxtaposition of the enzyme with virion-packaged RNA.
    • A sensitive assay using a native protein substrate for screening HIV-1 maturation inhibitors targeting the protease cleavage site between the matrix and capsid

      Lee, Sook-Kyung; Cheng, Nancy; Hull-Ryde, Emily A.; Potempa, Marc; Schiffer, Celia A.; Janzen, William P.; Swanstrom, Ronald I. (2013-07-23)
      The matrix/capsid processing site in the HIV-1 Gag precursor is likely the most sensitive target to inhibit HIV-1 replication. We have previously shown that modest incomplete processing at the site leads to a complete loss of virion infectivity. In the study presented here, a sensitive assay based on fluorescence polarization that can monitor cleavage at the MA/CA site in the context of the folded protein substrate is described. The substrate, an MA/CA fusion protein, was labeled with the fluorescein-based FlAsH (fluorescein arsenical hairpin) reagent that binds to a tetracysteine motif (CCGPCC) that was introduced within the N-terminal domain of CA. By limiting the size of CA and increasing the size of MA (with an N-terminal GST fusion), we were able to measure significant differences in polarization values as a function of HIV-1 protease cleavage. The sensitivity of the assay was tested in the presence of increasing amounts of an HIV-1 protease inhibitor, which resulted in a gradual decrease in the fluorescence polarization values demonstrating that the assay is sensitive in discerning changes in protease processing. The high-throughput screening assay validation in 384-well plates showed that the assay is reproducible and robust with an average Z' value of 0.79 and average coefficient of variation values of <3%. The robustness and reproducibility of the assay were further validated using the LOPAC(1280) compound library, demonstrating that the assay provides a sensitive high-throughput screening platform that can be used with large compound libraries for identifying novel maturation inhibitors targeting the MA/CA site of the HIV-1 Gag polyprotein.
    • Accessibility and order of water sites in and around proteins: A crystallographic time-averaging study

      Schiffer, Celia A.; van Gunsteren, Wilfred F. (1999-08-18)
      Water plays an essential role in most biological processes. Water molecules solvating biomolecules are generally in fast exchange with the environment. Nevertheless, well-defined electron density is seen for water associated with proteins whose crystal structure is determined to high resolution. The relative accessibility of these water sites is likely to be relevant to their biological role but is difficult to assess. A time-averaging crystallographic refinement simulation on basic pancreatic trypsin inhibitor successfully characterizes the relative accessibility of the crystallographic water sites. In such a refinement simulation water diffuses through the crystal lattice in a manner that is consistent with the crystallographic data. This refinement discovers that internal crystallographic waters in this particular protein are bridged to the outside protein surface via a series of progressively more accessible water sites. On the surface of the protein, water molecules exchange quickly between crystallographic water sites. Time-averaging crystallographic refinement provides a view based on experimental data of the relative accessibility of water sites in and around a protein in a crystalline environment. Proteins 1999;36:501-511.
    • Accounting for molecular mobility in structure determination based on nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopic and X-ray diffraction data

      van Gunsteren, Wilfred F.; Brunne, Roger M.; Gros, P.; Van Schaik, René C.; Schiffer, Celia A.; Torda, Andrew E. (1994-01-01)
    • Additivity in the analysis and design of HIV protease inhibitors

      Jorissen, Robert N.; Reddy, G. S. Kiran Kumar; Ali, Akbar; Altman, Michael D.; Chellappan, Sripriya; Anjum, Saima G.; Tidor, Bruce; Schiffer, Celia A.; Rana, Tariq M.; Gilson, Michael K. (2009-02-06)
      We explore the applicability of an additive treatment of substituent effects to the analysis and design of HIV protease inhibitors. Affinity data for a set of inhibitors with a common chemical framework were analyzed to provide estimates of the free energy contribution of each chemical substituent. These estimates were then used to design new inhibitors whose high affinities were confirmed by synthesis and experimental testing. Derivations of additive models by least-squares and ridge-regression methods were found to yield statistically similar results. The additivity approach was also compared with standard molecular descriptor-based QSAR; the latter was not found to provide superior predictions. Crystallographic studies of HIV protease-inhibitor complexes help explain the perhaps surprisingly high degree of substituent additivity in this system, and allow some of the additivity coefficients to be rationalized on a structural basis.
    • Affinity maturation of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies confers potency, breadth, and resilience to viral escape mutations

      Muecksch, Frauke; Hou, Shurong; Schiffer, Celia A.; Nussenzweig, Michel C.; Bjorkman, Pamela J.; Hatziioannou, Theodora; Bieniasz, Paul D. (2021-08-10)
      Antibodies elicited by infection accumulate somatic mutations in germinal centers that can increase affinity for cognate antigens. We analyzed 6 independent groups of clonally related severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) Spike receptor-binding domain (RBD)-specific antibodies from 5 individuals shortly after infection and later in convalescence to determine the impact of maturation over months. In addition to increased affinity and neutralization potency, antibody evolution changed the mutational pathways for the acquisition of viral resistance and restricted neutralization escape options. For some antibodies, maturation imposed a requirement for multiple substitutions to enable escape. For certain antibodies, affinity maturation enabled the neutralization of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and heterologous sarbecoviruses. Antibody-antigen structures revealed that these properties resulted from substitutions that allowed additional variability at the interface with the RBD. These findings suggest that increasing antibody diversity through prolonged or repeated antigen exposure may improve protection against diversifying SARS-CoV-2 populations, and perhaps against other pandemic threat coronaviruses.
    • Analyses of HIV proteases variants at the threshold of viability reveals relationships between processing efficiency and fitness

      Nachum, Gily S.; Flynn, Julia; Mavor, David; Schiffer, Celia A.; Bolon, Daniel N. (2021-09-01)
      Investigating the relationships between protein function and fitness provides keys for understanding biochemical mechanisms that underly evolution. Mutations with partial fitness defects can delineate the threshold of biochemical function required for viability. We utilized a previous deep mutational scan of HIV-1 protease (PR) to identify variants with 15-45 per cent defects in replication and analysed the biochemical function of eight variants (L10M, L10S, V32C, V32I, A71V, A71S, Q92I, Q92N). We purified each variant and assessed the efficiency of peptide cleavage for three cut sites (MA-CA, TF-PR, and PR-RT) as well as gel-based analyses of processing of purified Gag. The cutting activity of at least one site was perturbed relative to WT protease for all variants, consistent with cutting activity being a primary determinant of fitness effects. We examined the correlation of fitness defects with cutting activity of different sites. MA-CA showed the weakest correlation (R (2) = 0.02) with fitness, suggesting relatively weak coupling with viral replication. In contrast, cutting of the TF-PR site showed the strongest correlation with fitness (R (2) = 0.53). Cutting at the TF-PR site creates a new PR protein with a free N-terminus that is critical for activity. Our findings indicate that increasing the pool of active PR is rate limiting for viral replication, making this an ideal step to target with inhibitors.
    • APOBEC3s: DNA-editing human cytidine deaminases

      Silvas, Tania V.; Schiffer, Celia A. (2019-09-01)
      Nucleic acid editing enzymes are essential components of the human immune system that lethally mutate viral pathogens and somatically mutate immunoglobulins. Among these enzymes are cytidine deaminases of the apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide-like (APOBEC) super family, each with unique target sequence specificity and subcellular localization. We focus on the DNA-editing APOBEC3 enzymes that have recently attracted attention because of their involvement in cancer and potential in gene-editing applications. We review and compare the crystal structures of APOBEC3 (A3) domains, binding interactions with DNA, substrate specificity, and activity. Recent crystal structures of A3A and A3G bound to ssDNA have provided insights into substrate binding and specificity determinants of these enzymes. Still many unknowns remain regarding potential cooperativity, nucleic acid interactions, and systematic quantification of substrate preference of many APOBEC3s, which are needed to better characterize the biological functions and consequences of misregulation of these gene editors.
    • Assembly of human C-terminal binding protein (CtBP) into tetramers

      Bellesis, Andrew G.; Jecrois, Anne M.; Hayes, Janelle A.; Schiffer, Celia A.; Royer, William E. (2018-06-08)
      C-terminal binding protein 1 (CtBP1) and CtBP2 are transcriptional coregulators that repress numerous cellular processes, such as apoptosis, by binding transcription factors and recruiting chromatin-remodeling enzymes to gene promoters. The NAD(H)-linked oligomerization of human CtBP is coupled to its co-transcriptional activity, which is implicated in cancer progression. However, the biologically relevant level of CtBP assembly has not been firmly established; nor has the stereochemical arrangement of the subunits above that of a dimer. Here, multi-angle light scattering (MALS) data established the NAD(+)- and NADH-dependent assembly of CtBP1 and CtBP2 into tetramers. An examination of subunit interactions within CtBP1 and CtBP2 crystal lattices revealed that both share a very similar tetrameric arrangement resulting from assembly of two dimeric pairs, with specific interactions probably being sensitive to NAD(H) binding. Creating a series of mutants of both CtBP1 and CtBP2, we tested the hypothesis that the crystallographically observed interdimer pairing stabilizes the solution tetramer. MALS data confirmed that these mutants disrupt both CtBP1 and CtBP2 tetramers, with the dimer generally remaining intact, providing the first stereochemical models for tetrameric assemblies of CtBP1 and CtBP2. The crystal structure of a subtle destabilizing mutant suggested that small structural perturbations of the hinge region linking the substrate- and NAD-binding domains are sufficient to weaken the CtBP1 tetramer. These results strongly suggest that the tetramer is important in CtBP function, and the series of CtBP mutants reported here can be used to investigate the physiological role of the tetramer.
    • Association of a novel human immunodeficiency virus type 1 protease substrate cleft mutation, L23I, with protease inhibitor therapy and in vitro drug resistance

      Johnston, Elizabeth; Winters, Mark A.; Rhee, Soo-Yon; Merigan, Thomas C.; Schiffer, Celia A.; Shafer, Robert W. (2004-11-25)
      We observed a previously uncharacterized mutation in the protease substrate cleft, L23I, in 31 of 4,303 persons undergoing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 genotypic resistance testing. In combination with V82I, L23I was associated with a sevenfold reduction in nelfinavir susceptibility and a decrease in replication capacity. In combination with other drug resistance mutations, L23I was associated with multidrug resistance and a compensatory increase in replication capacity.
    • Avoiding Drug Resistance by Substrate Envelope-Guided Design: Toward Potent and Robust HCV NS3/4A Protease Inhibitors

      Matthew, Ashley N.; Zephyr, Jacqueto; Desaboini, Nageswara Rao; Henes, Mina; Kamran, Wasih; Kosovrasti, Klajdi; Hedger, Adam; Lockbaum, Gordon J.; Timm, Jennifer; Ali, Akbar; et al. (2020-03-31)
      Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects millions of people worldwide, causing chronic liver disease that can lead to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma, and liver transplant. In the last several years, the advent of direct-acting antivirals, including NS3/4A protease inhibitors (PIs), has remarkably improved treatment outcomes of HCV-infected patients. However, selection of resistance-associated substitutions and polymorphisms among genotypes can lead to drug resistance and in some cases treatment failure. A proactive strategy to combat resistance is to constrain PIs within evolutionarily conserved regions in the protease active site. Designing PIs using the substrate envelope is a rational strategy to decrease the susceptibility to resistance by using the constraints of substrate recognition. We successfully designed two series of HCV NS3/4A PIs to leverage unexploited areas in the substrate envelope to improve potency, specifically against resistance-associated substitutions at D168. Our design strategy achieved better resistance profiles over both the FDA-approved NS3/4A PI grazoprevir and the parent compound against the clinically relevant D168A substitution. Crystallographic structural analysis and inhibition assays confirmed that optimally filling the substrate envelope is critical to improve inhibitor potency while avoiding resistance. Specifically, inhibitors that enhanced hydrophobic packing in the S4 pocket and avoided an energetically frustrated pocket performed the best. Thus, the HCV substrate envelope proved to be a powerful tool to design robust PIs, offering a strategy that can be translated to other targets for rational design of inhibitors with improved potency and resistance profiles.IMPORTANCE Despite significant progress, hepatitis C virus (HCV) continues to be a major health problem with millions of people infected worldwide and thousands dying annually due to resulting complications. Recent antiviral combinations can achieve > 95% cure, but late diagnosis, low access to treatment, and treatment failure due to drug resistance continue to be roadblocks against eradication of the virus. We report the rational design of two series of HCV NS3/4A protease inhibitors with improved resistance profiles by exploiting evolutionarily constrained regions of the active site using the substrate envelope model. Optimally filling the S4 pocket is critical to avoid resistance and improve potency. Our results provide drug design strategies to avoid resistance that are applicable to other quickly evolving viral drug targets.
    • Characterizing protein-ligand binding using atomistic simulation and machine learning: Application to drug resistance in HIV-1 protease

      Whitfield, Troy W.; Ragland, Debra A.; Zeldovich, Konstantin B.; Schiffer, Celia A. (2019-12-26)
      Over the past several decades, atomistic simulations of biomolecules, whether carried out using molecular dynamics or Monte Carlo techniques, have provided detailed insights into their function. Comparing the results of such simulations for a few closely related systems has guided our understanding of the mechanisms by which changes like ligand binding or mutation can alter function. The general problem of detecting and interpreting such mechanisms from simulations of many related systems, however, remains a challenge. This problem is addressed here by applying supervised and unsupervised machine learning techniques to a variety of thermodynamic observables extracted from molecular dynamics simulations of different systems. As an important test case, these methods are applied to understanding the evasion by HIV-1 protease of darunavir, a potent inhibitor to which resistance can develop via the simultaneous mutation of multiple amino acids. Complex mutational patterns have been observed among resistant strains, presenting a challenge to developing a mechanistic picture of resistance in the protease. In order to dissect these patterns and gain mechanistic insight on the role of specific mutations, molecular dynamics simulations were carried out on a collection of HIV-1 protease variants, chosen to include highly resistant strains and susceptible controls, in complex with darunavir. Using a machine learning approach that takes advantage of the hierarchical nature in the relationships among sequence, structure and function, an integrative analysis of these trajectories reveals key details of the resistance mechanism, including changes in protein structure, hydrogen bonding and protein-ligand contacts.
    • Citrullination of NF-kappaB p65 promotes its nuclear localization and TLR-induced expression of IL-1beta and TNFalpha

      Sun, Bo; Dwivedi, Nishant; Bechtel, Tyler J.; Paulsen, Janet L.; Muth, Aaron; Bawadekar, Mandar; Li, Gang; Thompson, Paul R.; Shelef, Miriam A.; Schiffer, Celia A.; et al. (2017-06-09)
      Many citrullinated proteins are known autoantigens in rheumatoid arthritis, a disease mediated by inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFalpha). Citrullinated proteins are generated by converting peptidylarginine to peptidylcitrulline, a process catalyzed by the peptidylarginine deiminases (PADs), including PAD1 to PAD4 and PAD6. Several major risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis are associated with heightened citrullination. However, the physiological role of citrullination in immune cells is poorly understood. We report that suppression of PAD activity attenuates Toll-like receptor-induced expression of interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and TNFalpha by neutrophils in vivo and in vitro but not their global transcription activity. Mechanistically, PAD4 directly citrullinates nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) p65 and enhances the interaction of p65 with importin alpha3, which brings p65 into the nucleus. The citrullination-enhanced interaction of p65 with importin alpha3 and its nuclear translocation and transcriptional activity can be attributed to citrullination of four arginine residues located in the Rel homology domain of p65. Furthermore, a rheumatoid arthritis-prone variant of PAD4, carrying three missense mutations, is more efficient in interacting with p65 and enhancing NF-kappaB activity. Together, these data not only demonstrate a critical role of citrullination in an NF-kappaB-dependent expression of IL-1beta and TNFalpha but also provide a molecular mechanism by which heightened citrullination propagates inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Accordingly, attenuating p65-mediated production of IL-1beta and TNFalpha by blocking the citrullination of p65 has great therapeutic potential in rheumatoid arthritis.
    • Co-evolution of nelfinavir-resistant HIV-1 protease and the p1-p6 substrate

      Kolli, Madhavi; Lastere, Stephane; Schiffer, Celia A. (2006-04-10)
      The selective pressure of the competitive protease inhibitors causes both HIV-1 protease and occasionally its substrates to evolve drug resistance. We hypothesize that this occurs particularly in substrates that protrude beyond the substrate envelope and contact residues that mutate in response to a particular protease inhibitor. To validate this hypothesis, we analyzed substrate and protease sequences for covariation. Using the chi2 test, we show a positive correlation between the nelfinavir-resistant D30N/N88D protease mutations and mutations at the p1-p6 cleavage site as compared to the other cleavage sites. Both nelfinavir and the substrate p1-p6 protrude beyond the substrate envelope and contact residue 30, thus possibly making the p1-p6 cleavage site more vulnerable to co-evolution.
    • Combating susceptibility to drug resistance: lessons from HIV-1 protease

      King, Nancy M.; Prabu-Jeyabalan, Moses; Nalivaika, Ellen A.; Schiffer, Celia A. (2004-10-19)
      Drug resistance is a major obstacle in modern medicine. However, resistance is rarely considered in drug development and may inadvertently be facilitated, as many designed inhibitors contact residues that can mutate to confer resistance, without significantly impairing function. Contemporary drug design often ignores the detailed atomic basis for function and primarily focuses on disrupting the target's activity, which is necessary but not sufficient for developing a robust drug. In this study, we examine the impact of drug-resistant mutations in HIV-1 protease on substrate recognition and demonstrate that most primary active site mutations do not extensively contact substrates, but are critical to inhibitor binding. We propose a general, structure-based strategy to reduce the probability of drug resistance by designing inhibitors that interact only with those residues that are essential for function.