A Chicken Tapasin ortholog can chaperone empty HLA-B∗37:01 molecules independent of other peptide-loading components

Human Tapasin (hTapasin) is the main chaperone of MHC-I molecules, enabling peptide loading and antigen repertoire optimization across HLA allotypes. However, it is restricted to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) lumen as part of the protein loading complex (PLC), and therefore is highly unstable when expressed in recombinant form. Additional stabilizing co-factors such as ERp57 are required to catalyze peptide exchange in vitro, limiting uses for the generation of pMHC-I molecules of desired antigen specificities. Here, we show that the chicken Tapasin (chTapasin) ortholog can be expressed recombinantly at high yields in a stable form, independent of co-chaperones. chTapasin can bind the human HLA-B∗37:01 with low micromolar-range affinity to form a stable tertiary complex. Biophysical characterization by methyl-based NMR methods reveals that chTapasin recognizes a conserved β2m epitope on HLA-B∗37:01, consistent with previously solved X-ray structures of hTapasin. Finally, we provide evidence that the B∗37:01/chTapasin complex is peptide-receptive and can be dissociated upon binding of high-affinity peptides. Our results highlight the use of chTapasin as a stable scaffold for protein engineering applications aiming to expand the ligand exchange function on human MHC-I and MHC-like molecules.

Team NexTGen
Journal Journal of Biological Chemistry
Authors Georgia F. Papadaki et al
DATE 01 October 2023
Nature-inspired sustainable medical materials

As life expectancy increases and health crises arise, our demand for medical materials is higher than ever. There has been, nevertheless, a concomitant increase in the reliance on traditional fabrication and disposal methods, which are environmentally harmful and energy intensive. Therefore, technologies need adaptations to ensure a more sustainable future for medicine. Such technological improvements could be designed by taking inspiration from nature, where the concept of “waste” is virtually non-existent. These nature-inspired solutions can be engineered into the lifecycle of medical materials at different points, from raw materials and fabrication to application and recycling. To achieve this, we present four technological developments as promising enablers – surface patterning, additive manufacturing, microfluidics, and synthetic biology. For each enabler, we discuss how sustainable solutions can be designed based on current understanding of, and ongoing research on, natural systems or concepts, including shark skin, decentralised manufacturing, process intensification, and synthetic biology.

Team NexTGen
Journal Current Opinion in Biomedical Engineering
Authors Matthew H.W. Chin, Julia Linke, , Marc-Olivier Coppens
DATE 03 September 2023
Archival single-cell genomics reveals persistent subclones during DCIS progression

Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a common precursor of invasive breast cancer. Our understanding of its genomic progression to recurrent disease remains poor, partly due to challenges associated with the genomic profiling of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) materials. Here, we developed Arc-well, a high-throughput single-cell DNA-sequencing method that is compatible with FFPE materials. We validated our method by profiling 40,330 single cells from cell lines, a frozen tissue, and 27 FFPE samples from breast, lung, and prostate tumors stored for 3–31 years. Analysis of 10 patients with matched DCIS and cancers that recurred 2–16 years later show that many primary DCIS had already undergone whole-genome doubling and clonal diversification and that they shared genomic lineages with persistent subclones in the recurrences. Evolutionary analysis suggests that most DCIS cases in our cohort underwent an evolutionary bottleneck, and further identified chromosome aberrations in the persistent subclones that were associated with recurrence.

Journal Cell
Authors Kaile Wang et al
DATE 15 August 2023
REPTOR and CREBRF encode key regulators of muscle energy metabolism

Metabolic flexibility of muscle tissue describes the adaptive capacity to use different energy substrates according to their availability. The disruption of this ability associates with metabolic disease. Here, using a Drosophila model of systemic metabolic dysfunction triggered by yorkie-induced gut tumors, we show that the transcription factor REPTOR is an important regulator of energy metabolism in muscles. We present evidence that REPTOR is activated in muscles of adult flies with gut yorkie-tumors, where it modulates glucose metabolism. Further, in vivo studies indicate that sustained activity of REPTOR is sufficient in wildtype muscles to repress glycolysis and increase tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle metabolites. Consistent with the fly studies, higher levels of CREBRF, the mammalian ortholog of REPTOR, reduce glycolysis in mouse myotubes while promoting oxidative metabolism. Altogether, our results define a conserved function for REPTOR and CREBRF as key regulators of muscle energy metabolism.

Journal Nature Communications
Authors Pedro Saavedra et al
DATE 15 August 2023
Metabolic profiling stratifies colorectal cancer and reveals adenosylhomocysteinase as a therapeutic target

The genomic landscape of colorectal cancer (CRC) is shaped by inactivating mutations in tumour suppressors such as APC, and oncogenic mutations such as mutant KRAS. Here we used genetically engineered mouse models, and multimodal mass spectrometry-based metabolomics to study the impact of common genetic drivers of CRC on the metabolic landscape of the intestine. We show that untargeted metabolic profiling can be applied to stratify intestinal tissues according to underlying genetic alterations, and use mass spectrometry imaging to identify tumour, stromal and normal adjacent tissues. By identifying ions that drive variation between normal and transformed tissues, we found dysregulation of the methionine cycle to be a hallmark of APC-deficient CRC. Loss of Apc in the mouse intestine was found to be sufficient to drive expression of one of its enzymes, adenosylhomocysteinase (AHCY), which was also found to be transcriptionally upregulated in human CRC. Targeting of AHCY function impaired growth of APC-deficient organoids in vitro, and prevented the characteristic hyperproliferative/crypt progenitor phenotype driven by acute deletion of Apc in vivo, even in the context of mutant Kras. Finally, pharmacological inhibition of AHCY reduced intestinal tumour burden in ApcMin/+ mice indicating its potential as a metabolic drug target in CRC.

Team Rosetta
Journal Nature Metabolism
Authors Johan Vande Voorde et al
DATE 14 August 2023