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Theses Doctoral

Structure Characterization of the 70S-BipA Complex Using Novel Methods of Single-Particle Cryo-Electron Microscopy

Ho, Danny Nam

Diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria continue to be major health concerns. For example, it is estimated that in the year 2000 typhoid fever caused over 21,000,000 illnesses and ~200,000 deaths (Crump et al., 2004). The disease is caused by S. typhi, a closely-related serotype of S. typhiumurium, the salmonella strain in which BipA was first identified. The CDC estimated that in 2013, multidrug resistant bacteria caused over 2 million infections in the United States, ending in more than 23,000 deaths (CDC, 2013). This number is set to rise as more bacteria become resilient to the collection of conventional antibiotics. The increasing number of multidrug resistant bacterial strains necessitates the development of new antimicrobial drugs.
BipA is an attractive target for drug research. As mentioned in Section 2.5.2, BipA is ubiquitous in eubacteria and lower eukaryotes such as protozoa, but is absent from higher-order eukaryotes such as humans. Because the protein is essential for bacterial survival, BipA presents a major vulnerability of pathogenic bacteria. A drug targeting the protein itself or its interactions to the ribosome will disable only the bacteria, but have no effect on the eukaryotic host. A comprehensive model of BipA bound to the 70S ribosome will provide unparalleled insight into BipA's binding site and its mechanism. Toward this goal, cryo-EM techniques were employed to visualize the binding site of BipA on the 70S ribosome, characterize its interactions with the ribosome, and elucidate its mechanism on the ribosome.
An X-ray structure of isolated BipA-GMPPNP was elucidated, by collaborators, and used for further molecular modeling of the protein to reveal possible atomic interactions between BipA and 70S ribosome. Additional biochemical studies were performed to fully characterize the specific ribosomal complex that optimizes binding of the factor. Together, the cryo-EM reconstruction, the BipA X-ray structure, the subsequent molecular modeling, and the additional biochemical studies provide a comprehensive model for BipA binding.
Over the last years, the introduction of new automated algorithms for particle selection (AutoPicker) and classification (RELION) for the cryo-EM technique has revolutionized the workflow of the entire imaging and reconstruction process. The BipA dataset was primed to be used as a test bed for these algorithms and classification technique, respectively. Using old and new techniques to process the dataset allows a discussion of how the single particle reconstruction process can be vastly improved, with greater automation and efficiency.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Biological Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Frank, Joachim
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 27, 2014