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Beck GroupPublications

Integrated structural analysis of the human nuclear pore complex scaffold.
Bui, K.H., von Appen, A., DiGuilio, A.L., Ori, A., Sparks, L., Mackmull, M.T., Bock, T., Hagen, W., Andres-Pons, A., Glavy, J.S. & Beck, M.
Cell. 2013 Dec 5;155(6):1233-43. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.10.055.
The nuclear pore complex (NPC) is a fundamental component of all eukaryotic cells that facilitates nucleocytoplasmic exchange of macromolecules. It is assembled from multiple copies of about 30 nucleoporins. Due to its size and complex composition, determining the structure of the NPC is an enormous challenge, and the overall architecture of the NPC scaffold remains elusive. In this study, we have used an integrated approach based on electron tomography, single-particle electron microscopy, and crosslinking mass spectrometry to determine the structure of a major scaffold motif of the human NPC, the Nup107 subcomplex, in both isolation and integrated into the NPC. We show that 32 copies of the Nup107 subcomplex assemble into two reticulated rings, one each at the cytoplasmic and nuclear face of the NPC. This arrangement may explain how changes of the diameter are realized that would accommodate transport of huge cargoes.
Europe PMC

Cell type-specific nuclear pores: a case in point for context-dependent stoichiometry of molecular machines.
Ori, A., Banterle, N., Iskar, M., Andres-Pons, A., Escher, C., Khanh Bui, H., Sparks, L., Solis-Mezarino, V., Rinner, O., Bork, P., Lemke, E.A. & Beck, M.
Mol Syst Biol. 2013 Mar 19;9:648. doi: 10.1038/msb.2013.4.
To understand the structure and function of large molecular machines, accurate knowledge of their stoichiometry is essential. In this study, we developed an integrated targeted proteomics and super-resolution microscopy approach to determine the absolute stoichiometry of the human nuclear pore complex (NPC), possibly the largest eukaryotic protein complex. We show that the human NPC has a previously unanticipated stoichiometry that varies across cancer cell types, tissues and in disease. Using large-scale proteomics, we provide evidence that more than one third of the known, well-defined nuclear protein complexes display a similar cell type-specific variation of their subunit stoichiometry. Our data point to compositional rearrangement as a widespread mechanism for adapting the functions of molecular machines toward cell type-specific constraints and context-dependent needs, and highlight the need of deeper investigation of such structural variants.
Europe PMC

Proteome-wide cellular protein concentrations of the human pathogen Leptospira interrogans.
Malmstrom, J., Beck, M., Schmidt, A., Lange, V., Deutsch, E.W. & Aebersold, R.
Nature. 2009 Aug 6;460(7256):762-5. Epub 2009 Jul 15.
Mass-spectrometry-based methods for relative proteome quantification have broadly affected life science research. However, important research directions, particularly those involving mathematical modelling and simulation of biological processes, also critically depend on absolutely quantitative data--that is, knowledge of the concentration of the expressed proteins as a function of cellular state. Until now, absolute protein concentration measurements of a considerable fraction of the proteome (73%) have only been derived from genetically altered Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells, a technique that is not directly portable from yeast to other species. Here we present a mass-spectrometry-based strategy to determine the absolute quantity, that is, the average number of protein copies per cell in a cell population, for a large fraction of the proteome in genetically unperturbed cells. Applying the technology to the human pathogen Leptospira interrogans, a spirochete responsible for leptospirosis, we generated an absolute protein abundance scale for 83% of the mass-spectrometry-detectable proteome, from cells at different states. Taking advantage of the unique cellular dimensions of L. interrogans, we used cryo-electron tomography morphological measurements to verify, at the single-cell level, the average absolute abundance values of selected proteins determined by mass spectrometry on a population of cells. Because the strategy is relatively fast and applicable to any cell type, we expect that it will become a cornerstone of quantitative biology and systems biology.
Europe PMC

Snapshots of nuclear pore complexes in action captured by cryo-electron tomography.
Beck, M., Lucic, V., Forster, F., Baumeister, W. & Medalia, O.
Nature. 2007 Oct 4;449(7162):611-5. Epub 2007 Sep 12.
Nuclear pore complexes reside in the nuclear envelope of eukaryotic cells and mediate the nucleocytoplasmic exchange of macromolecules. Traffic is regulated by mobile transport receptors that target their cargo to the central translocation channel, where phenylalanine-glycine-rich repeats serve as binding sites. The structural analysis of the nuclear pore is a formidable challenge given its size, its location in a membranous environment and its dynamic nature. Here we have used cryo-electron tomography to study the structure of nuclear pore complexes in their functional environment, that is, in intact nuclei of Dictyostelium discoideum. A new image-processing strategy compensating for deviations of the asymmetric units (protomers) from a perfect eight-fold symmetry enabled us to refine the structure and to identify new features. Furthermore, the superposition of a large number of tomograms taken in the presence of cargo, which was rendered visible by gold nanoparticles, has yielded a map outlining the trajectories of import cargo. Finally, we have performed single-molecule Monte Carlo simulations of nuclear import to interpret the experimentally observed cargo distribution in the light of existing models for nuclear import.
Europe PMC