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1 Ideal Weyl points and helicoid surface states in artificial photonic crystal structures 2018-01-13             

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Weyl points are the crossings of linearly dispersing energy bands of three-dimensional crystals, providing the opportunity to explore a variety of intriguing phenomena such as topologically protected surface states and chiral anomalies. However, the lack of an ideal Weyl system in which the Weyl points all exist at the same energy and are separated from any other bands, poses a serious limitation to the further development of Weyl physics and potential applications. By experimentally characterizing a microwave photonic crystal of saddle-shaped metallic coils, we observe ideal Weyl points that are related to each other through symmetry operations. Topological surface states exhibiting helicoidal structure have also been demonstrated. Our system provides a photonic platform for exploring ideal Weyl systems and developing possible topological devices.

2 Observation of bulk Fermi arc and polarization half charge from paired exceptional points 2018-01-13             

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The ideas of topology have found tremendous success in closed physical systems, but even richer properties exist in the more general open or dissipative framework. We theoretically propose and experimentally demonstrate a bulk Fermi arc that develops from non-Hermitian radiative losses in an open system of photonic crystal slabs. Moreover, we discover half-integer topological charges in the polarization of far-field radiation around the bulk Fermi arc. Both phenomena are shown to be direct consequences of the non-Hermitian topological properties of exceptional points, where resonances coincide in their frequencies and linewidths. Our work connects the fields of topological photonics, non-Hermitian physics and singular optics, providing a framework to explore more complex non-Hermitian topological systems.

3 Genomic correlates of response to immune checkpoint therapies in clear cell renal cell carcinoma 2018-01-06             

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Immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting the programmed cell death-1 receptor (PD-1) improve survival in a subset of patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). To identify genomic alterations in ccRCC that correlate with response to anti-PD-1 monotherapy, we performed whole exome sequencing of metastatic ccRCC from 35 patients. We found that clinical benefit was associated with loss-of-function mutations in the PBRM1 gene (p=0.012), which encodes a subunit of a SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex (the PBAF subtype). We confirmed this finding in an independent validation cohort of 63 ccRCC patients treated with PD-(L)1 blockade therapy alone or in combination with anti-CTLA-4 therapies (p=0.0071). Gene expression analysis of PBAF-deficient ccRCC cell lines and PBRM1-deficient tumors revealed altered transcriptional output in JAK/STAT, hypoxia, and immune signaling pathways. PBRM1 loss in ccRCC may alter global tumor cell expression profiles to influence responsiveness to immune checkpoint therapy.

4 Multiplexed gene synthesis in emulsions for exploring protein functional landscapes 2018-01-06             

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Improving our ability to construct and functionally characterize DNA sequences would broadly accelerate progress in biology. Here, we introduce DropSynth, a scalable, low-cost method to build thousands of defined gene-length constructs in a pooled (multiplexed) manner. DropSynth uses a library of barcoded beads that pull down the oligonucleotides necessary for a gene’s assembly, which are then processed and assembled in water-in-oil emulsions. We use DropSynth to successfully build >7000 synthetic genes that encode phylogenetically-diverse homologs of two essential genes in E. coli. We tested the ability of phosphopantetheine adenylyltransferase homologs to complement a knockout E. coli strain in multiplex, revealing core functional motifs and reasons underlying homolog incompatibility. DropSynth coupled with multiplexed functional assays allow us to rationally explore sequence-function relationships at unprecedented scale.

5 Structure of the yeast oligosaccharyltransferase complex gives insight into eukaryotic N-glycosylation 2018-01-06             

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Oligosaccharyltransferase (OST) is an essential membrane protein complex in the Endoplasmic Reticulum, where it transfers an oligosaccharide from a dolichol-pyrophosphate-activated donor to glycosylation sites of secretory proteins. We here describe the atomic structure of yeast OST determined by cryo-EM, revealing a conserved subunit arrangement. The active site of the catalytic STT3 subunit points away from the center of the complex, allowing unhindered access to substrates. The dolichol-pyrophosphate moiety binds to a lipid-exposed groove of STT3, while two non-catalytic subunits and an ordered N-glycan form a membrane-proximal pocket for the oligosaccharide. The acceptor polypeptide site faces an oxidoreductase domain in standalone OST complexes or is immediately adjacent to the translocon, suggesting how eukaryotic OSTs efficiently glycosylate a large number of polypeptides prior to their folding.

6 A major chromatin regulator determines resistance of tumor cells to T cell-mediated killing 2018-01-06             

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Many human cancers are resistant to immunotherapy for reasons that are poorly understood. We used a genome-scale CRISPR/Cas9 screen to identify mechanisms of tumor cell resistance to killing by cytotoxic T cells, the central effectors of anti-tumor immunity. Inactivation of >100 genes sensitized mouse B16F10 melanoma cells to killing by T cells, including Pbrm1, Arid2 and Brd7, which encode components of the PBAF form of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. Loss of PBAF function increased tumor cell sensitivity to interferon-, resulting in enhanced secretion of chemokines that recruit effector T cells. Treatment-resistant tumors became responsive to immunotherapy when Pbrm1 was inactivated. In many human cancers, expression of PBRM1 and ARID2 inversely correlated with expression of T cell cytotoxicity genes, and Pbrm1-deficient murine melanomas were more strongly infiltrated by cytotoxic T cells.

7 Defective cholesterol clearance limits remyelination in the aged central nervous system 2018-01-06             

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Age-associated decline in regeneration capacity limits the restoration of nervous system functionality after injury. In a model for demyelination, we found that old mice fail to resolve the inflammatory response initiated after myelin damage. Aged phagocytes accumulated excessive amounts of myelin debris, which triggered cholesterol crystal formation, phagolysosomal membrane rupture, and stimulated inflammasomes. Myelin debris clearance required cholesterol transporters including apolipoprotein E. Remarkably, stimulation of reverse cholesterol transport was sufficient to restore the capacity of old mice to remyelinate lesioned tissue. Thus, cholesterol-rich myelin debris can overwhelm the efflux capacity of phagocytes, resulting in a phase transition of cholesterol into crystals thereby inducing a maladaptive immune response that impedes tissue regeneration.

8 Structure of a human catalytic step I spliceosome 2018-01-06             

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Splicing by the spliceosome involves branching and exon ligation. The branching reaction leads to the formation of the catalytic step I spliceosome (C complex). Here we report the cryo-EM structure of the human C complex at an average resolution of 4.1 Å. Compared to the structure of the S. cerevisiae C complex, the human complex contains 11 additional proteins. The step I splicing factors CCDC49 and CCDC94 (Cwc25 and Yju2 in S. cerevisiae, respectively) closely interact with the DEAH-family ATPase/helicase Prp16 and bridge the gap between Prp16 and the active site RNA elements. These features, together with structural comparison between the human C and C* complexes, reveal mechanistic insights into ribonucleoprotein remodeling and allow proposition of a working mechanism for the C-to-C* transition.

9 Structural mechanisms of centromeric nucleosome recognition by the kinetochore protein CENP-N 2017-12-23             

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Accurate chromosome segregation requires the proper assembly of kinetochore proteins. A key step in this process is the recognition of the histone H3 variant CENP-A in the centromeric nucleosome by the kinetochore protein CENP-N. We report cryo-EM, biophysical, biochemical, and cell biological studies of the interaction between the CENP-A nucleosome and CENP-N. We show that human CENP-N confers binding specificity through interactions with the L1 loop of CENP-A, stabilized by electrostatic interactions with the nucleosomal DNA. Mutational analyses demonstrate analogous interactions in Xenopus, which is further supported by residue-swapping experiments involving the L1 loop of CENP-A. Our results are consistent with co-evolution of CENP-N and CENP-A, and establish the structural basis for recognition of the CENP-A nucleosome to enable kinetochore assembly and centromeric chromatin organization.

10 Dicer uses distinct modules for recognizing dsRNA termini 2017-12-23             

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Invertebrates rely on Dicer to cleave viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), and Drosophila Dicer-2 distinguishes dsRNA substrates by their termini. Blunt termini promote processive cleavage, while 3' overhanging termini are cleaved distributively. To understand this discrimination, we used cryo–electron microscopy to solve structures of Drosophila Dicer-2 alone and in complex with blunt dsRNA. While the Platform-PAZ domains have been considered the only Dicer domains that bind dsRNA termini, unexpectedly, we found that the helicase domain is required for binding blunt, but not 3' overhanging, termini. We further showed that blunt dsRNA is locally unwound and threaded through the helicase domain in an ATP-dependent manner. Our studies reveal a previously unrecognized mechanism for optimizing antiviral defense and set the stage for discovery of helicase-dependent functions in other Dicers.

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