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1.  Protein energy landscapes determined by five-dimensional crystallography 
Barriers of activation within the photocycle of a photoactive protein were extracted from comprehensive time courses of time resolved crystallographic data collected at multiple temperature settings.
Free-energy landscapes decisively determine the progress of enzymatically catalyzed reactions [Cornish-Bowden (2012 ▶), Fundamentals of Enzyme Kinetics, 4th ed.]. Time-resolved macromolecular crystallography unifies transient-state kinetics with structure determination [Moffat (2001 ▶), Chem. Rev. 101, 1569–1581; Schmidt et al. (2005 ▶), Methods Mol. Biol. 305, 115–154; Schmidt (2008 ▶), Ultrashort Laser Pulses in Medicine and Biology] because both can be determined from the same set of X-ray data. Here, it is demonstrated how barriers of activation can be determined solely from five-dimensional crystallo­graphy, where in addition to space and time, temperature is a variable as well [Schmidt et al. (2010 ▶), Acta Cryst. A66, 198–206]. Directly linking molecular structures with barriers of activation between them allows insight into the structural nature of the barrier to be gained. Comprehensive time series of crystallo­graphic data at 14 different temperature settings were analyzed and the entropy and enthalpy contributions to the barriers of activation were determined. One hundred years after the discovery of X-ray scattering, these results advance X-ray structure determination to a new frontier: the determination of energy landscapes.
PMCID: PMC3852658  PMID: 24311594
five-dimensional crystallography; time-resolved crystallography; time-resolved microspectrophotometry; chemical kinetics; photoactive yellow protein
2.  BioCARS: a synchrotron resource for time-resolved X-ray science 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2011;18(Pt 4):658-670.
The recently completed commissioning of an upgraded undulator-based beamline at BioCARS, a national user facility for macromolecular time-resolved X-ray crystallography at the Advanced Photon Source, is described.
BioCARS, a NIH-supported national user facility for macromolecular time-resolved X-ray crystallography at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), has recently completed commissioning of an upgraded undulator-based beamline optimized for single-shot laser-pump X-ray-probe measurements with time resolution as short as 100 ps. The source consists of two in-line undulators with periods of 23 and 27 mm that together provide high-flux pink-beam capability at 12 keV as well as first-harmonic coverage from 6.8 to 19 keV. A high-heat-load chopper reduces the average power load on downstream components, thereby preserving the surface figure of a Kirkpatrick–Baez mirror system capable of focusing the X-ray beam to a spot size of 90 µm horizontal by 20 µm vertical. A high-speed chopper isolates single X-ray pulses at 1 kHz in both hybrid and 24-bunch modes of the APS storage ring. In hybrid mode each isolated X-ray pulse delivers up to ∼4 × 1010 photons to the sample, thereby achieving a time-averaged flux approaching that of fourth-generation X-FEL sources. A new high-power picosecond laser system delivers pulses tunable over the wavelength range 450–2000 nm. These pulses are synchronized to the storage-ring RF clock with long-term stability better than 10 ps RMS. Monochromatic experimental capability with Biosafety Level 3 certification has been retained.
PMCID: PMC3121234  PMID: 21685684
synchrotron beamline; Laue crystallography; time-resolved crystallography; X-ray optics
3.  Remote access to crystallography beamlines at SSRL: novel tools for training, education and collaboration 
Journal of Applied Crystallography  2010;43(Pt 5):1261-1270.
The ultimate goal of synchrotron data collection is to obtain the best possible data from the best available crystals, and the combination of automation and remote access at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) has revolutionized the way in which scientists achieve this goal. This has also seen a change in the way novice crystallographers are trained in the use of the beamlines, and a wide range of remote tools and hands-on workshops are now offered by SSRL to facilitate the education of the next generation of protein crystallographers.
For the past five years, the Structural Molecular Biology group at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) has provided general users of the facility with fully remote access to the macromolecular crystallography beamlines. This was made possible by implementing fully automated beamlines with a flexible control system and an intuitive user interface, and by the development of the robust and efficient Stanford automated mounting robotic sample-changing system. The ability to control a synchrotron beamline remotely from the comfort of the home laboratory has set a new paradigm for the collection of high-quality X-ray diffraction data and has fostered new collaborative research, whereby a number of remote users from different institutions can be connected at the same time to the SSRL beamlines. The use of remote access has revolutionized the way in which scientists interact with synchrotron beamlines and collect diffraction data, and has also triggered a shift in the way crystallography students are introduced to synchrotron data collection and trained in the best methods for collecting high-quality data. SSRL provides expert crystallographic and engineering staff, state-of-the-art crystallography beamlines, and a number of accessible tools to facilitate data collection and in-house remote training, and encourages the use of these facilities for education, training, outreach and collaborative research.
PMCID: PMC3238386  PMID: 22184477
protein crystallography; high-throughput screening; robotics; remote access; crystallographic education and training; outreach
4.  A comprehensive experimental and detailed chemical kinetic modelling study of 2,5-dimethylfuran pyrolysis and oxidation 
Combustion and flame  2013;160(11):2291-2318.
The pyrolytic and oxidative behaviour of the biofuel 2,5-dimethylfuran (25DMF) has been studied in a range of experimental facilities in order to investigate the relatively unexplored combustion chemistry of the title species and to provide combustor relevant experimental data. The pyrolysis of 25DMF has been re-investigated in a shock tube using the single-pulse method for mixtures of 3% 25DMF in argon, at temperatures from 1200–1350 K, pressures from 2–2.5 atm and residence times of approximately 2 ms.
Ignition delay times for mixtures of 0.75% 25DMF in argon have been measured at atmospheric pressure, temperatures of 1350–1800 K at equivalence ratios (ϕ) of 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 along with auto-ignition measurements for stoichiometric fuel in air mixtures of 25DMF at 20 and 80 bar, from 820–1210 K.
This is supplemented with an oxidative speciation study of 25DMF in a jet-stirred reactor (JSR) from 770–1220 K, at 10.0 atm, residence times of 0.7 s and at ϕ = 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0.
Laminar burning velocities for 25DMF-air mixtures have been measured using the heat-flux method at unburnt gas temperatures of 298 and 358 K, at atmospheric pressure from ϕ = 0.6–1.6. These laminar burning velocity measurements highlight inconsistencies in the current literature data and provide a validation target for kinetic mechanisms.
A detailed chemical kinetic mechanism containing 2768 reactions and 545 species has been simultaneously developed to describe the combustion of 25DMF under the experimental conditions described above. Numerical modelling results based on the mechanism can accurately reproduce the majority of experimental data. At high temperatures, a hydrogen atom transfer reaction is found to be the dominant unimolecular decomposition pathway of 25DMF. The reactions of hydrogen atom with the fuel are also found to be important in predicting pyrolysis and ignition delay time experiments.
Numerous proposals are made on the mechanism and kinetics of the previously unexplored intermediate temperature combustion pathways of 25DMF. Hydroxyl radical addition to the furan ring is highlighted as an important fuel consuming reaction, leading to the formation of methyl vinyl ketone and acetyl radical. The chemically activated recombination of HȮ2 or CH3Ȯ2 with the 5-methyl-2-furanylmethyl radical, forming a 5-methyl-2-furylmethanoxy radical and ȮH or CH3Ȯ radical is also found to exhibit significant control over ignition delay times, as well as being important reactions in the prediction of species profiles in a JSR. Kinetics for the abstraction of a hydrogen atom from the alkyl side-chain of the fuel by molecular oxygen and HȮ2 radical are found to be sensitive in the estimation of ignition delay times for fuel-air mixtures from temperatures of 820–1200 K.
At intermediate temperatures, the resonantly stabilised 5-methyl-2-furanylmethyl radical is found to predominantly undergo bimolecular reactions, and as a result sub-mechanisms for 5-methyl-2-formylfuran and 5-methyl-2-ethylfuran, and their derivatives, have also been developed with consumption pathways proposed. This study is the first to attempt to simulate the combustion of these species in any detail, although future refinements are likely necessary.
The current study illustrates both quantitatively and qualitatively the complex chemical behavior of what is a high potential biofuel. Whilst the current work is the most comprehensive study on the oxidation of 25DMF in the literature to date, the mechanism cannot accurately reproduce laminar burning velocity measurements over a suitable range of unburnt gas temperatures, pressures and equivalence ratios, although discrepancies in the experimental literature data are highlighted. Resolving this issue should remain a focus of future work.
PMCID: PMC3837218  PMID: 24273333
5.  Three-dimensional electron crystallography of protein microcrystals 
eLife  2013;2:e01345.
We demonstrate that it is feasible to determine high-resolution protein structures by electron crystallography of three-dimensional crystals in an electron cryo-microscope (CryoEM). Lysozyme microcrystals were frozen on an electron microscopy grid, and electron diffraction data collected to 1.7 Å resolution. We developed a data collection protocol to collect a full-tilt series in electron diffraction to atomic resolution. A single tilt series contains up to 90 individual diffraction patterns collected from a single crystal with tilt angle increment of 0.1–1° and a total accumulated electron dose less than 10 electrons per angstrom squared. We indexed the data from three crystals and used them for structure determination of lysozyme by molecular replacement followed by crystallographic refinement to 2.9 Å resolution. This proof of principle paves the way for the implementation of a new technique, which we name ‘MicroED’, that may have wide applicability in structural biology.
eLife digest
X-ray crystallography has been used to work out the atomic structure of a large number of proteins. In a typical X-ray crystallography experiment, a beam of X-rays is directed at a protein crystal, which scatters some of the X-ray photons to produce a diffraction pattern. The crystal is then rotated through a small angle and another diffraction pattern is recorded. Finally, after this process has been repeated enough times, it is possible to work backwards from the diffraction patterns to figure out the structure of the protein.
The crystals used for X-ray crystallography must be large to withstand the damage caused by repeated exposure to the X-ray beam. However, some proteins do not form crystals at all, and others only form small crystals. It is possible to overcome this problem by using extremely short pulses of X-rays, but this requires a very large number of small crystals and ultrashort X-ray pulses are only available at a handful of research centers around the world. There is, therefore, a need for other approaches that can determine the structure of proteins that only form small crystals.
Electron crystallography is similar to X-ray crystallography in that a protein crystal scatters a beam to produce a diffraction pattern. However, the interactions between the electrons in the beam and the crystal are much stronger than those between the X-ray photons and the crystal. This means that meaningful amounts of data can be collected from much smaller crystals. However, it is normally only possible to collect one diffraction pattern from each crystal because of beam induced damage. Researchers have developed methods to merge the diffraction patterns produced by hundreds of small crystals, but to date these techniques have only worked with very thin two-dimensional crystals that contain only one layer of the protein of interest.
Now Shi et al. report a new approach to electron crystallography that works with very small three-dimensional crystals. Called MicroED, this technique involves placing the crystal in a transmission electron cryo-microscope, which is a fairly standard piece of equipment in many laboratories. The normal ‘low-dose’ electron beam in one of these microscopes would normally damage the crystal after a single diffraction pattern had been collected. However, Shi et al. realized that it was possible to obtain diffraction patterns without severely damaging the crystal if they dramatically reduced the normal low-dose electron beam. By reducing the electron dose by a factor of 200, it was possible to collect up to 90 diffraction patterns from the same, very small, three-dimensional crystal, and then—similar to what happens in X-ray crystallography—work backwards to figure out the structure of the protein. Shi et al. demonstrated the feasibility of the MicroED approach by using it to determine the structure of lysozyme, which is widely used as a test protein in crystallography, with a resolution of 2.9 Å. This proof-of principle study paves the way for crystallographers to study protein that cannot be studied with existing techniques.
PMCID: PMC3831942  PMID: 24252878
electron crystallography; electron diffraction; electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM); microED; protein structure; microcrystals; None
6.  JBluIce–EPICS control system for macromolecular crystallography 
A fast, user-friendly and easily extensible beamline-control system based on a combination of Java Eclipse RCP and EPICS and featuring a user interface similar to that of the SSRL BluIce has been developed at the GM/CA-CAT macromolecular crystallography beamlines in Sector 23 of the Advanced Photon Source.
The trio of macromolecular crystallography beamlines constructed by the General Medicine and Cancer Institutes Collaborative Access Team (GM/CA-CAT) in Sector 23 of the Advanced Photon Source (APS) have been in growing demand owing to their outstanding beam quality and capacity to measure data from crystals of only a few micrometres in size. To take full advantage of the state-of-the-art mechanical and optical design of these beamlines, a significant effort has been devoted to designing fast, convenient, intuitive and robust beamline controls that could easily accommodate new beamline developments. The GM/CA-CAT beamline controls are based on the power of EPICS for distributed hardware control, the rich Java graphical user interface of Eclipse RCP and the task-oriented philosophy as well as the look and feel of the successful SSRL BluIce graphical user interface for crystallography. These beamline controls feature a minimum number of software layers, the wide use of plug-ins that can be written in any language and unified motion controls that allow on-the-fly scanning and optimization of any beamline com­ponent. This paper describes the ways in which BluIce was combined with EPICS and converted into the Java-based JBluIce, discusses the solutions aimed at streamlining and speeding up operations and gives an overview of the tools that are provided by this new open-source control system for facilitating crystallo­graphic experiments, especially in the field of microcrystallo­graphy.
PMCID: PMC3046456  PMID: 21358048
macromolecular crystallography; beamline automation; data acquisition; high-throughput crystallography
7.  Macromolecular crystallography beamline X25 at the NSLS 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2014;21(Pt 3):627-632.
A description of the upgraded beamline X25 at the NSLS, operated by the PXRR and the Photon Sciences Directorate serving the Macromolecular Crystallography community, is presented.
Beamline X25 at the NSLS is one of the five beamlines dedicated to macromolecular crystallography operated by the Brookhaven National Laboratory Macromolecular Crystallography Research Resource group. This mini-gap insertion-device beamline has seen constant upgrades for the last seven years in order to achieve mini-beam capability down to 20 µm × 20 µm. All major components beginning with the radiation source, and continuing along the beamline and its experimental hutch, have changed to produce a state-of-the-art facility for the scientific community.
PMCID: PMC3998817  PMID: 24763654
beamline; mini-κ; Pilatus 6M; PXRR; macromolecular crystallography; wBPM
8.  A decade of user operation on the macromolecular crystallography MAD beamline ID14-4 at the ESRF 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2009;16(Pt 6):803-812.
The improvement of the X-ray beam quality achieved on ID14-4 by the installation of new X-ray optical elements is described.
ID14-4 at the ESRF is the first tunable undulator-based macromolecular crystallography beamline that can celebrate a decade of user service. During this time ID14-4 has not only been instrumental in the determination of the structures of biologically important molecules but has also contributed significantly to the development of various instruments, novel data collection schemes and pioneering radiation damage studies on biological samples. Here, the evolution of ID14-4 over the last decade is presented, and some of the major improvements that were carried out in order to maintain its status as one of the most productive macromolecular crystallography beamlines are highlighted. The experimental hutch has been upgraded to accommodate a high-precision diffractometer, a sample changer and a large CCD detector. More recently, the optical hutch has been refurbished in order to improve the X-ray beam quality on ID14-4 and to incorporate the most modern and robust optical elements used at other ESRF beamlines. These new optical elements will be described and their effect on beam stability discussed. These studies may be useful in the design, construction and maintenance of future X-ray beamlines for macromolecular crystallography and indeed other applications, such as those planned for the ESRF upgrade.
PMCID: PMC2765085  PMID: 19844017
macromolecular crystallography; X-ray beam quality; beamline diagnostics; beamline automation
9.  Volume-conserving trans-cis isomerization pathways in photoactive yellow protein visualized by picosecond X-ray crystallography 
Nature chemistry  2013;5(3):212-220.
Trans-to-cis isomerization, the key reaction in photoactive proteins, cannot usually occur through the standard one-bond-flip mechanism. Due to spatial constraints imposed by a protein environment, isomerization is likely to proceed via a “volume-conserving” mechanism in which highly-choreographed atomic motions are expected, the details of which have not yet been directly observed. Here we employ time-resolved X-ray crystallography to structurally visualize isomerization of the p-coumaric acid chromophore in photoactive yellow protein with 100 picosecond time resolution and 1.6 Å spatial resolution. The structure of the earliest intermediate (IT) resembles a highly-strained transition state in which the torsion angle is located halfway between the trans and cis isomers. The reaction trajectory of IT bifurcates into two structurally distinct cis intermediates via hula-twist and bicycle-pedal pathways. The bifurcating reaction pathways can be controlled by weakening the hydrogen bond between the chromophore and an adjacent residue via E46Q mutation, which switches off the bicycle-pedal pathway.
PMCID: PMC3579544  PMID: 23422563
10.  To scavenge or not to scavenge, that is STILL the question 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2012;20(Pt 1):23-36.
The reasons for the conflicting results on the efficacy of scavengers in macromolecular crystallography are examined in the light of some new results.
An extensive radiation chemistry literature would suggest that the addition of certain radical scavengers might mitigate the effects of radiation damage during protein crystallography diffraction data collection. However, attempts to demonstrate and quantify such an amelioration and its dose dependence have not yielded consistent results, either at room temperature (RT) or 100 K. Here the information thus far available is summarized and reasons for this lack of quantitative success are identified. Firstly, several different metrics have been used to monitor and quantify the rate of damage, and, as shown here, these can give results which are in conflict regarding scavenger efficacy. In addition, significant variation in results from data collected from crystals treated in nominally the same way has been observed. Secondly, typical crystallization conditions contain substantial concentrations of chemical species which already interact strongly with some of the X-ray-induced radicals that the added scavengers are intended to intercept. These interactions are probed here by the complementary technique of on-line microspectrophotometry carried out on solutions and crystals held both at 100 K and RT, the latter enabled by the use of a beamline-mounted humidifying device. With the help of computational chemistry, attempts are made to assign some of the characteristic spectral features observed experimentally. A further source of uncertainty undoubtedly lies in the challenge of reliably measuring the parameters necessary for the accurate calculation of the absorbed dose (e.g. crystal size and shape, beam profile) and its distribution within the volume of the crystal (an issue addressed in detail in another article in this issue). While microspectrophotometry reveals that the production of various species can be quenched by the addition of scavengers, it is less clear that this observation can be translated into a significant gain in crystal dose tolerance for macromolecular crystallographers.
PMCID: PMC3526919  PMID: 23254653
radiation damage; crystallization buffers; radicals; scavengers; lithium nitrate
11.  Macromolecular neutron crystallography at the Protein Crystallography Station (PCS) 
The Protein Crystallography Station user facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory not only offers open access to a high-performance neutron beamline, but also actively supports and develops new methods in protein expression, deuteration, purification, robotic crystallization and the synthesis of substrates with stable isotopes and provides assistance with data-reduction and structure-refinement software and comprehensive neutron structure analysis.
The Protein Crystallography Station (PCS) at Los Alamos Neutron Science Center is a high-performance beamline that forms the core of a capability for neutron macromolecular structure and function determination. Neutron diffraction is a powerful technique for locating H atoms and can therefore provide unique information about how biological macro­molecules function and interact with each other and smaller molecules. Users of the PCS have access to neutron beam time, deuteration facilities, the expression of proteins and the synthesis of substrates with stable isotopes and also support for data reduction and structure analysis. The beamline exploits the pulsed nature of spallation neutrons and a large electronic detector in order to collect wavelength-resolved Laue patterns using all available neutrons in the white beam. The PCS user facility is described and highlights from the user program are presented.
PMCID: PMC2967422  PMID: 21041938
Protein Crystallography Station; neutron macromolecular crystallography; spallation neutron sources; deuteration; user support
12.  Mobility of Xe atoms within the Oxygen Diffusion Channel of Cytochrome ba3 Oxidase 
Biochemistry  2012;51(23):4669-4676.
We use a form of “freeze-trap, kinetic-crystallography” to explore the migration of Xe atoms away from the dinuclear heme-a3/CuB center in Thermus thermophilus cytochrome ba3 oxidase. This enzyme is a member of the heme-copper oxidase super-family, and is thus crucial for dioxygen dependent life. The mechanisms involved in the migration of oxygen, water, electrons, and protons into and/or out of the specialized channels of the heme-copper oxidases are generally not well understood. Pressurization of crystals with Xe gas previously revealed a O2 diffusion channel in cytochrome ba3 oxidase that is continuous, Y-shaped, 18–20 Å in length and comprised of hydrophobic residues, connecting the protein surface within the bilayer to the a3-CuB center in the active site. To understand movement of gas molecules within the O2 channel, we performed crystallographic analysis of 19 Xe laden crystals freeze-trapped in liquid nitrogen at selected times between 0 and 480 seconds while undergoing out-gassing at room temperature. Variation in Xe crystallographic occupancy at five discrete sites as a function of time leads to a kinetic model revealing relative degrees of mobility of Xe atoms within the channel. Xe egress occurs primarily through the channel formed by the Xe1 → Xe5 → Xe3 → Xe4 sites, suggesting that ingress of O2 is likely to occur by the reverse of this process. The channel itself appears not to undergo significant structural changes during Xe migration, thereby indicating a passive role in this important physiological function.
PMCID: PMC3431459  PMID: 22607023
13.  Free-energy Landscapes of Ion-channel Gating Are Malleable: changes in the number of bound ligands are accompanied by changes in the location of the transition state in acetylcholine-receptor channels† 
Biochemistry  2003;42(50):14977-14987.
Acetylcholine-receptor channels (AChRs) are allosteric membrane proteins that mediate synaptic transmission by alternatively opening and closing (‘gating’) a cation-selective transmembrane pore. Although ligand binding is not required for the channel to open, the binding of agonists (for example, acetylcholine) increases the closed ⇌ open equilibrium constant because the ion-impermeable → ion-permeable transition of the ion pathway is accompanied by a low → high affinity change at the agonist-binding sites. The fact that the gating conformational change of muscle AChRs can be kinetically modeled as a two-state reaction has paved the way to the experimental characterization of the corresponding transition state, which represents a snapshot of the continuous sequence of molecular events separating the closed and open states. Previous studies of fully (di-) liganded AChRs, combining single-channel kinetic measurements, site-directed mutagenesis, and data analysis in the framework of the linear free-energy relationships of physical organic chemistry, have suggested a transition-state structure that is consistent with channel opening being an asynchronous conformational change that starts at the extracellular agonist-binding sites and propagates towards the intracellular end of the pore. In this paper, I characterize the gating transition state of unliganded AChRs, and report a remarkable difference: unlike that of diliganded gating, the unliganded transition state is not a hybrid of the closed- and open-state structures but, rather, is almost indistinguishable from the open state itself. This displacement of the transition state along the reaction coordinate obscures the mechanism underlying the unliganded closed ⇌ open reaction but brings to light the malleable nature of free-energy landscapes of ion-channel gating.
The muscle acetylcholine receptor channel (AChR)1 is the neurotransmitter-gated ion channel that mediates neuromuscular synaptic transmission in vertebrates (1). Although the structure of this large pentameric transmembrane protein (∼470 residues per subunit) is not known with atomic resolution, a wealth of structural information exists, mainly from mutational studies, affinity labeling, chemical modification of specific residues, electron microscopy, and crystallography (reviewed in ref. 2). As is the case of any other allosteric protein, the dynamic behavior of this receptor-channel can be understood in the framework of thermodynamic cycles, with conformational changes and ligand-binding events as the elementary steps (3-5). Thus, the AChR can adopt a variety of different conformations that can interconvert (closed, open, and desensitized ‘states’), and each conformation has a distinct ligand-binding affinity (low affinity in the closed state and high affinity in the open and desensitized states) and a particular ‘catalytic efficiency’ (ion-impermeable in the closed and desensitized states, and ion-permeable in the open state). To meet the physiological requirement of a small closed ⇌ open (‘gating’) equilibrium constant for the unliganded receptor, and a large gating equilibrium constant for the ACh-diliganded receptor, the affinity of the AChR for ACh must be higher in the open than in the closed conformation (4-6). This follows from the notion that the equilibrium constants governing the different reaction steps (ligand binding and gating) of these cyclic reaction schemes are constrained by the principle of detailed balance.
Hence, irrespective of whether the receptor is diliganded, monoliganded or unliganded, two changes must take place in going from the closed state (low ligand affinity and ion-impermeable) to the open state (high ligand affinity and ion-permeable): a) the pore becomes permeable to ions, and b) the transmitter-binding sites, some 50 Å away from the pore domain (7), increase their affinity for the ligand (with the reverse changes taking place during closing). The apparent lack of stable intermediates between the closed and open conformations, inferred from kinetic modeling of the diliganded-gating reaction (8), suggests that these two changes occur as a result of a one-step, global conformational change. The question, then, arises as to whether this concerted conformational change proceeds synchronously (i.e., every residue of the protein moves ‘in unison’) or asynchronously (i.e., following a sequence of events; ref. 9) and, if the latter were the case, whether multiple, few, or just one sequence of events is actually traversed by the channel to ‘connect’ the end states.
Analysis of the correlation between rate and equilibrium constants of gating in diliganded AChRs has allowed us to address some of these issues by probing the structure of the transition state (8, 10-12), that is, the intermediate species between the end states of a one-step reaction that can be most easily studied. Interpretation of these results in the framework of the classical rate-equilibrium free-energy relationships of physical organic chemistry (13, 14), revealed that AChR diliganded gating is a highly asynchronous reaction, and suggested that the transition-state ensemble is quite homogeneous, as if the crossing of the energy barrier were confined to a narrow pass at the top of the energy landscape. In the opening direction, the conformational rearrangement that leads to the low-to-high affinity change at the extracellular binding sites precedes the conformational rearrangement of the pore that renders the channel ion-permeable. This propagated global conformational change, which we have referred to as a ‘conformational wave’ (11), must reverse during channel closing so that closing starts at the pore and propagates all the way to the binding sites.
It is not at all obvious why the diliganded-gating conformational change starts at the binding sites when the channel opens, nor even why the conformational change propagates at all through the receptor, instead of taking place synchronously throughout the protein. Is there any correlation between the location of the domain that binds agonist and the location of the initiation site for the opening conformational change? Could the latter have started from the intracellular end of the pore, for example, and have propagated to the (extracellular) transmitter-binding sites? What difference does it make to be liganded or unliganded as far as the mechanism of the gating conformational change is concerned? To address these issues, I set out to explore the mechanism of gating in unliganded AChRs by probing the structure of the corresponding transition state using kinetic measurements, site-directed mutagenesis, and the concepts of rate-equilibrium free-energy relationships and Φ-value analysis.
Briefly, a Φ-value can be assigned to any position in the protein by estimating the slope of a ‘Brönsted plot’2 [log (gating rate constant) versus log (gating equilibrium constant)] where each point corresponds to a different amino-acid substitution at that given position. More coarsegrained Φ-values can also be obtained by using different agonists or different transmembrane potentials, for example, as a means of altering the rate and equilibrium constants of gating. Very often, rate-equilibrium plots are linear, and 0 < Φ < 1. A value of Φ = 0 suggests that the position in question (in the case of a mutation series) experiences a closed-state-like environment at the transition state whereas a value of Φ = 1 suggests an open-state-like environment. A fractional Φ-value suggests an environment that is intermediate between those experienced in the closed and open states (16).
Earlier results indicated that the Φ-values obtained by varying the transmembrane potential are different in diliganded and unliganded AChRs. These Φ-values, which are a measure of the closed-state-like versus open-state-like character of the channel’s voltage-sensing elements at the transition state, are 0.070 ± 0.060 in diliganded receptors (17), and 1.025 ± 0.053 in unliganded AChRs (11, 18). The present study reveals that residues at the transmitter-binding sites (Figure 1), the extracellular loop that links the second (M2) and third (M3) transmembrane segments (M2-M3 linker), and the upper and lower half of M2, which during diliganded gating have Φ-values of ∼1 (ref. 11), ∼0.7 (ref. 10), ∼0.35 (refs 8, 11, 12), and ∼0 (ref. 12), respectively, have also Φ-values very close to 1 during unliganded gating. This generalized shift in Φ-values suggests that the diliganded → unliganded perturbation deforms the energy landscape of gating in such a way that the ‘new’ transition state occurs very close to the open state, to such an extent that all tested positions experience an open-state-like environment at the transition state of unliganded gating. Thus, the transition state occurs so ‘late’ (i.e., so close to the open state) that its inferred structure does not provide any clues as to the intermediate stages of this reaction.
Hence, the mechanism of unliganded gating remains obscure. The change in the position of the transition state along a reaction coordinate, as a result of perturbations to the energy landscape, is a very well known phenomenon in organic chemistry (e.g., refs 20-26), and protein folding (e.g., refs 27-34). In this paper, I show that this phenomenon can also take place in the case of allosteric transitions and, therefore, that the structure of the transition state of a global conformational change need not be fixed; rather, it can change depending on the experimental conditions.
PMCID: PMC1463891  PMID: 14674774
14.  Software for the high-throughput collection of SAXS data using an enhanced Blu-Ice/DCS control system 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2010;17(Pt 6):774-781.
The Blu-Ice GUI and Distributed Control System (DCS) developed in the Macromolecular Crystallography Group at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory has been optimized, extended and enhanced to suit the specific needs of the SAXS endstation at the SIBYLS beamline at the Advanced Light Source. The customizations reported here provide one potential route for other SAXS beamlines in need of robust and efficient beamline control software.
Biological small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) provides powerful complementary data for macromolecular crystallography (MX) by defining shape, conformation and assembly in solution. Although SAXS is in principle the highest throughput technique for structural biology, data collection is limited in practice by current data collection software. Here the adaption of beamline control software, historically developed for MX beamlines, for the efficient operation and high-throughput data collection at synchrotron SAXS beamlines is reported. The Blu-Ice GUI and Distributed Control System (DCS) developed in the Macromolecular Crystallography Group at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory has been optimized, extended and enhanced to suit the specific needs of the biological SAXS endstation at the SIBYLS beamline at the Advanced Light Source. The customizations reported here provide a potential route for other SAXS beamlines in need of robust and efficient beamline control software. As a great deal of effort and optimization has gone into crystallographic software, the adaption and extension of crystallographic software may prove to be a general strategy to provide advanced SAXS software for the synchrotron community. In this way effort can be put into optimizing features for SAXS rather than reproducing those that have already been successfully implemented for the crystallographic community.
PMCID: PMC2964114  PMID: 20975223
SAXS; software; beamline; control system; Blu-Ice; DCS; SIBYLS; GUI
15.  Combinatorial depletion analysis to assemble the network architecture of the SAGA and ADA chromatin remodeling complexes 
A combinatorial depletion strategy is combined with biochemistry, quantitative proteomics and computational approaches to elucidate the structure of the SAGA/ADA complexes. The analysis reveals five connected functional modules capable of independent assembly.
A combinatorial approach of gene depletions with multiple bait proteins coupled with biochemical, proteomic and computational approaches can experimentally determine modules of stable multi-protein complexes.SAGA is a 19-subunit complex consisting of five connected modules with Spt20 being particularly important for the assembly of the intact complex.One of the modules, the HAT/Core module, is also shared with the distinct six-subunit complex ADA.Architectural models of large multi-protein complexes can be assembled using our approach, which is an alternative method to generate novel insight into the organization and architecture of multi-protein complexes.
Determining the architectures of protein complexes improves our understanding of protein cellular functions. In order to efficiently characterize the subunits of protein complexes assembled in vivo, affinity purification followed by proteomics mass spectrometry (APMS) strategies have been devised. Partial or whole protein complexes are first biochemically isolated using tagged components of the complex, followed by an identification of all co-purified proteins using mass spectrometry. However, those approaches are insufficient to provide information about the spatial arrangement and the interrelationship of the proteins of the respective complex.
In this study, we developed and applied a novel method utilizing biochemistry, quantitative proteomics and computational approaches in order to characterize the organization of proteins in a complex. The key of our method is the systematic purification of several tagged components of the protein complex in multiple genetic deletion strains, which serve to compromise the integrity of the complex. Using a series of computational methods, these raw quantitative values are next interpreted in order to determine the modular organization of the complex as well as the interrelationships between its subunits, which in turn can be used to predict a macromolecular model of the complex.
We tested this approach to obtain novel insights into the architecture of multi-protein complexes on the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Spt–Ada–Gcn5 histone acetyltransferase (HAT) (SAGA) and ADA complexes, which are conserved complexes involved in chromatin remodeling (Koutelou et al, 2010). Regular quantitative APMS strategies in wild-type backgrounds were not sufficient to separate tight protein complexes like SAGA/ADA into its distinct modules. However, after perturbing the system using genetic deletions of several subunits located in different topological parts of SAGA, hierarchical cluster analysis performed on 34 purifications (generated using 10 different TAP-tagged baits) resulted in a dissociation of the Gcn5 HAT complexes into five modules: (1) the SA_TAF module, (2) the SA_SPT module, (3) the DUB module, (4) the HAT/Core module and (5) the ADA module (Figure 2A and B).
The approach of purifying a protein in a deletion strain furthermore provides valuable information about the influence of the deleted subunit on the association and interdependency of the bait and the remaining preys. In order to quantify these associations, we calculated a probability between every prey and bait in the deletion strain purifications based on Bayes' theorem (Sardiu et al, 2008). In conjunction with preexisting interaction data obtained from yeast two-hybrid and genetic complementation assays, we finally used these probabilities to predict a low-resolution model for the architecture of the SAGA and ADA complexes (Figure 4).
This novel approach revealed that the SAGA/ADA complexes are composed of five distinct functional modules, of which two were not previously described (SA_SPT and SA_TAF). These modules, which are responsible for different functions of the SAGA complex, are capable of assembling independently from the remaining modules of the complex. Furthermore, we identified a novel subunit of the ADA complex, termed Ahc2, and characterized Sgf29 as an ADA family protein present in all Gcn5 HAT complexes. Compared with other structural studies, which mapped 9 of the 19 known SAGA subunits using single EM reconstruction (Wu et al, 2004) or resolved the structure of the 4 subunits of the DUB module using X-ray crystallography (Kohler et al, 2010; Samara et al, 2010), our approach is not limited to a maximum number of complex subunits. Consequently, we were able to construct a macromolecular model consisting of all 21 SAGA/ADA subunits, which bridges the gap between the previous limited EM analysis and focused X-ray crystallography analysis.
Despite the availability of several large-scale proteomics studies aiming to identify protein interactions on a global scale, little is known about how proteins interact and are organized within macromolecular complexes. Here, we describe a technique that consists of a combination of biochemistry approaches, quantitative proteomics and computational methods using wild-type and deletion strains to investigate the organization of proteins within macromolecular protein complexes. We applied this technique to determine the organization of two well-studied complexes, Spt–Ada–Gcn5 histone acetyltransferase (SAGA) and ADA, for which no comprehensive high-resolution structures exist. This approach revealed that SAGA/ADA is composed of five distinct functional modules, which can persist separately. Furthermore, we identified a novel subunit of the ADA complex, termed Ahc2, and characterized Sgf29 as an ADA family protein present in all Gcn5 histone acetyltransferase complexes. Finally, we propose a model for the architecture of the SAGA and ADA complexes, which predicts novel functional associations within the SAGA complex and provides mechanistic insights into phenotypical observations in SAGA mutants.
PMCID: PMC3159981  PMID: 21734642
ADA; architecture; protein interaction network; quantitative proteomics; SAGA
16.  On the Configurational and Conformational Changes in Photoactive Yellow Protein that Leads to Signal Generation in Ectothiorhodospira halophila 
Journal of Biological Physics  2002;28(3):395-412.
Photoactive Yellow Protein (PYP), a phototaxis photoreceptor from Ectothiorhodospira halophila, is a small water-soluble protein that iscrystallisable and excellently photo-stable. It can be activated with light(λmax= 446 nm), to enter a series of transientintermediates that jointly form the photocycle of this photosensor protein.The most stable of these transient states is the signalling state forphototaxis, pB.The spatial structure of the ground state of PYP, pG and the spectralproperties of the photocycle intermediates have been very well resolved.Owing to its excellent chemical- and photochemical stability, also the spatialstructure of its photocycle intermediates has been characterised with X-raydiffraction and multinuclear NMR spectroscopy. Surprisingly, the resultsobtained showed that their structure is dependent on the molecular contextin which they are formed. Therefore, a large range of diffraction-,scattering- and spectroscopic techniques is now being employed to resolvein detail the dynamical changes of the structure of PYP while it progressesthrough its photocycle. This approach has led to considerable progress,although some techniques still result in mutually inconsistent conclusionsregarding aspects of the structure of particular intermediates.Recently, significant progress has also been made with simulations withmolecular dynamics analyses of the initial events that occur in PYP uponphoto activation. The great challenge in this field is to eventually obtainagreement between predicted dynamical alterations in PYP structure, asobtained with the MD approach and the actually measured dynamicalchanges in its structure as evolving during photocycle progression.
PMCID: PMC3456738  PMID: 23345784
4-hydroxy-cinnamic acid; contact dependence; hysteresis; photoactive yellow protein; photo-isomerisation; polarization spectroscopy; protein dynamics; time-resolved X-ray diffraction; time-resolved FTIR spectroscopy; transient intermediates
17.  Temperature-dependent macromolecular X-ray crystallography 
The dynamical behaviour of crystalline macromolecules and their surrounding solvent as a function of cryo-temperature is reviewed.
X-ray crystallography provides structural details of biological macromolecules. Whereas routine data are collected close to 100 K in order to mitigate radiation damage, more exotic temperature-controlled experiments in a broader temperature range from 15 K to room temperature can provide both dynamical and structural insights. Here, the dynamical behaviour of crystalline macromolecules and their surrounding solvent as a function of cryo-temperature is reviewed. Experimental strategies of kinetic crystallography are discussed that have allowed the generation and trapping of macromolecular intermediate states by combining reaction initiation in the crystalline state with appropriate temperature profiles. A particular focus is on recruiting X-ray-induced changes for reaction initiation, thus unveiling useful aspects of radiation damage, which otherwise has to be minimized in macromolecular crystallography.
PMCID: PMC2852308  PMID: 20382997
temperature-dependent macromolecular crystallography
18.  Radiation damage in single-particle cryo-electron microscopy: effects of dose and dose rate 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2011;18(Pt 3):398-412.
The effects of dose and dose-rate were investigated for single-particle cryo-electron microscopy using stroboscopic data collection. A dose-rate effect was observed favoring lower flux densities.
Radiation damage is an important resolution limiting factor both in macromolecular X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy. Systematic studies in macromolecular X-ray crystallography greatly benefited from the use of dose, expressed as energy deposited per mass unit, which is derived from parameters including incident flux, beam energy, beam size, sample composition and sample size. In here, the use of dose is reintroduced for electron microscopy, accounting for the electron energy, incident flux and measured sample thickness and composition. Knowledge of the amount of energy deposited allowed us to compare doses with experimental limits in macromolecular X-ray crystallography, to obtain an upper estimate of radical concentrations that build up in the vitreous sample, and to translate heat-transfer simulations carried out for macromolecular X-ray crystallography to cryo-electron microscopy. Stroboscopic exposure series of 50–250 images were collected for different incident flux densities and integration times from Lumbricus terrestris extracellular hemoglobin. The images within each series were computationally aligned and analyzed with similarity metrics such as Fourier ring correlation, Fourier ring phase residual and figure of merit. Prior to gas bubble formation, the images become linearly brighter with dose, at a rate of approximately 0.1% per 10 MGy. The gradual decomposition of a vitrified hemoglobin sample could be visualized at a series of doses up to 5500 MGy, by which dose the sample was sublimed. Comparison of equal-dose series collected with different incident flux densities showed a dose-rate effect favoring lower flux densities. Heat simulations predict that sample heating will only become an issue for very large dose rates (50 e−Å−2 s−1 or higher) combined with poor thermal contact between the grid and cryo-holder. Secondary radiolytic effects are likely to play a role in dose-rate effects. Stroboscopic data collection combined with an improved understanding of the effects of dose and dose rate will aid single-particle cryo-electron microscopists to have better control of the outcome of their experiments.
PMCID: PMC3083915  PMID: 21525648
single-particle cryo-electron microscopy; radiation damage; dose; dose-rate effect; macromolecular X-ray crystallography
19.  The kinetic dose limit in room-temperature time-resolved macromolecular crystallography 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2012;19(Pt 2):264-273.
The effect of the X-ray dose on room-temperature time-resolved Laue data is discussed.
Protein X-ray structures are determined with ionizing radiation that damages the protein at high X-ray doses. As a result, diffraction patterns deteriorate with the increased absorbed dose. Several strategies such as sample freezing or scavenging of X-ray-generated free radicals are currently employed to minimize this damage. However, little is known about how the absorbed X-ray dose affects time-resolved Laue data collected at physiological temperatures where the protein is fully functional in the crystal, and how the kinetic analysis of such data depends on the absorbed dose. Here, direct evidence for the impact of radiation damage on the function of a protein is presented using time-resolved macromolecular crystallography. The effect of radiation damage on the kinetic analysis of time-resolved X-ray data is also explored.
PMCID: PMC3284346  PMID: 22338689
radiation damage; X-ray dose; room temperature; time-resolved crystallography; Laue crystallography
20.  PHENIX: a comprehensive Python-based system for macromolecular structure solution 
The PHENIX software for macromolecular structure determination is described.
Macromolecular X-ray crystallography is routinely applied to understand biological processes at a molecular level. How­ever, significant time and effort are still required to solve and complete many of these structures because of the need for manual interpretation of complex numerical data using many software packages and the repeated use of interactive three-dimensional graphics. PHENIX has been developed to provide a comprehensive system for macromolecular crystallo­graphic structure solution with an emphasis on the automation of all procedures. This has relied on the development of algorithms that minimize or eliminate subjective input, the development of algorithms that automate procedures that are traditionally performed by hand and, finally, the development of a framework that allows a tight integration between the algorithms.
PMCID: PMC2815670  PMID: 20124702
PHENIX; Python; macromolecular crystallography; algorithms
21.  Structural Basis for Regioisomerization in the Alkali-Metal-Mediated Zincation (AMMZn) of Trifluoromethyl Benzene by Isolation of Kinetic and Thermodynamic Intermediates 
Performed with a desire to advance knowledge of the structures and mechanisms governing alkali-metal-mediated zincation, this study monitors the reaction between the TMP-dialkylzincate reagent [(TMEDA)Na(TMP)(tBu)Zn(tBu)] 1 and trifluoromethyl benzene C6H5CF32. A complicated mixture of products is observed at room temperature. X-ray crystallography has identified two of these products as ortho- and meta-regioisomers of heterotrianionic [(TMEDA)Na(TMP)(C6H4-CF3)Zn(tBu)], 3-ortho and 3-meta, respectively. Multinuclear NMR data of the bulk crystalline product confirm the presence of these two regioisomers as well as a third isomer, 3-para, in a respective ratio of 20:11:1, and an additional product 4, which also exhibits ortho-zincation of the aryl substrate. Repeating the reaction at 0 °C gave exclusively 4, which was crystallographically characterized as [{(TMEDA)2Na}+{Zn(C6H4-CF3)(tBu)2}−]. Mimicking the original room-temperature reaction, this kinetic product was subsequently reacted with TMP(H) to afford a complicated mixture of products, including significantly the three regioisomers of 3. Surprisingly, 4 adopts a solvent-separated ion pair arrangement in contrast to the contacted ion variants of 3-ortho and 3-meta. Aided by DFT calculations on model systems, discussion focuses on the different basicities, amido or alkyl, and steps, exhibited in these reactions, and how the structures and bonding within these isolated key metallic intermediates (prior to any electrophilic interception step), specifically the interactions involving the alkali metal, influence the regioselectivity of the Zn−H exchange process.
PMCID: PMC3660950  PMID: 20568749
22.  Facilities for macromolecular crystallography at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2012;19(Pt 3):442-449.
The three macromolecular crystallography beamlines BL14.1, BL14.2 and BL14.3 at the BESSY II storage ring at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin are described.
Three macromolecular crystallography (MX) beamlines at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) are available for the regional, national and international structural biology user community. The state-of-the-art synchrotron beamlines for MX BL14.1, BL14.2 and BL14.3 are located within the low-β section of the BESSY II electron storage ring. All beamlines are fed from a superconducting 7 T wavelength-shifter insertion device. BL14.1 and BL14.2 are energy tunable in the range 5–16 keV, while BL14.3 is a fixed-energy side station operated at 13.8 keV. All three beamlines are equipped with CCD detectors. BL14.1 and BL14.2 are in regular user operation providing about 200 beam days per year and about 600 user shifts to approximately 50 research groups across Europe. BL14.3 has initially been used as a test facility and was brought into regular user mode operation during the year 2010. BL14.1 has recently been upgraded with a microdiffractometer including a mini-κ goniometer and an automated sample changer. Additional user facilities include office space adjacent to the beamlines, a sample preparation laboratory, a biology laboratory (safety level 1) and high-end computing resources. In this article the instrumentation of the beamlines is described, and a summary of the experimental possibilities of the beamlines and the provided ancillary equipment for the user community is given.
PMCID: PMC3408958  PMID: 22514183
macromolecular crystallography beamlines; high-throughput methods; crystal dehydration; UV radiation-damage-induced phasing; long-wavelength phasing
23.  The Phenix Software for Automated Determination of Macromolecular Structures 
Methods (San Diego, Calif.)  2011;55(1):94-106.
X-ray crystallography is a critical tool in the study of biological systems. It is able to provide information that has been a prerequisite to understanding the fundamentals of life. It is also a method that is central to the development of new therapeutics for human disease. Significant time and effort are required to determine and optimize many macromolecular structures because of the need for manual interpretation of complex numerical data, often using many different software packages, and the repeated use of interactive three-dimensional graphics. The Phenix software package has been developed to provide a comprehensive system for macromolecular crystallographic structure solution with an emphasis on automation. This has required the development of new algorithms that minimize or eliminate subjective input in favour of built-in expert-systems knowledge, the automation of procedures that are traditionally performed by hand, and the development of a computational framework that allows a tight integration between the algorithms. The application of automated methods is particularly appropriate in the field of structural proteomics, where high throughput is desired. Features in Phenix for the automation of experimental phasing with subsequent model building, molecular replacement, structure refinement and validation are described and examples given of running Phenix from both the command line and graphical user interface.
PMCID: PMC3193589  PMID: 21821126
Macromolecular Crystallography; Automation; Phenix; X-ray; Diffraction; Python
The Journal of General Physiology  1945;28(5):463-537.
On the basis of available data with regard to the chemical and physical properties of the "substrate" luciferin (LH2) and enzyme, luciferase (A), and of kinetic data derived both from the reaction in extracts of Cypridina, and from the luminescence of intact bacteria, the fundamental reactions involved in the phenomenon of bioluminescence have been schematized. These reactions provide a satisfactory basis for interpreting the known characteristics of the system, as well as the theoretical chemistry with regard to the control of its over-all velocity in relation to various factors. These factors, here studied experimentally wholly with bacteria, Photobacterium phosphoreum in particular, include pH, temperature, pressure, and the drugs sulfanilamide, urethane, and alcohol, separately and in relation to each other. Under steady state conditions of bacterial luminescence, with excess of oxidizable substrate and with oxygen not limiting, the data indicate that the chief effects of these agents center around the pace setting reactions, which may be designated by the equation: A + LH2 → ALH2 following which light emission is assumed proportional to the amount of the excited molecule, AL*. The relation between pH and luminescence intensity varies with (a), the buffer mixture and concentration, (b), the temperature, and (c), the hydrostatic pressure. At an optimum temperature for luminescence of about 22° C. in P. phosphoreum, the effects of increasing or decreasing the hydrogen ion concentration are largely reversible over the range between pH 3.6 and pH 8.8. The relation between luminescence intensity and pH, under the experimental conditions employed, is given by the following equation, in which I1 represents the maximum intensity, occurring about pH 6.5; I2 the intensity at any other given pH; K5 the equilibrium constant between hydrogen ions and the AL-; and K6 the corresponding constant with respect to hydroxyl ions: See PDF for Equation The value of K5, as indicated by the data, amounts to 4.84 x 104, while that of K6 amounts to 4.8 x 105. Beyond the range between approximately pH 3.8 and 8.8, destructive effects of the hydrogen and hydroxyl ions, respectively, were increasingly apparent. By raising the temperature above the optimum, the destructive effects were apparent at all pH, and the intensity of the luminescence diminished logarithmically with time. With respect to pH, the rate of destruction of the light-emitting system at temperatures above the optimum was slowest between pH 6.5 and 7.0, and increased rapidly with more acid or more alkaline reactions of the medium. The reversible effects of slightly acid pH vary with the temperature in the manner of an inhibitor (Type I) that acts independently of the normal, reversible denaturation equilibrium (K1) of the enzyme. The per cent inhibition caused by a given acid pH in relation to the luminescence intensity at optimum pH, is much greater at low temperatures, and decreases as the temperature is raised towards the optimum temperature. The observed maximum intensity of luminescence is thus shifted to slightly higher temperatures by increase in (H+). The apparent activation energy of luminescence is increased by a decrease in pH. The value of ΔH‡ at pH 5.05 was calculated to be 40,900 calories, in comparison with 20,700 at a pH of 6.92. The difference of 20,200 is taken to represent an estimate of the heat of ionization of ALH in the activation process, and compares roughtly with the 14,000 calories estimated for the same process, by analyzing the data from the point of view of hydrogen ions as an inhibitor. The decreasing temperature coefficient for luminescence in proceeding from low temperatures towards the optimum is accounted for in part by the greater degree of ionization of ALH. At the optimum temperature and acid reactions, pressures up to about 500 atmospheres retard the velocity of the luminescent oxidation. At the same temperature, with decrease in hydrogen ion concentration, the pressure effect is much less, indicating a considerable volume increase in the process of ionization and activation. In the extremely alkaline range, beyond pH 9, luminescence is greatly reduced, as compared with the intensity at neutrality, and under these conditions pressure causes a pronounced increase in intensity, presumably by acting upon the reversible denaturation equilibrium of the protein enzyme, A. Sulfanilamide, in neutral solutions, acts on luminescence in a manner very much resembling that of hydrogen ions at acidities between pH 4.0 and pH 6.5. Like the hydrogen ion equilibrium, the sulfanilamide equilibrium involves a ratio of approximately one inhibitor molecule to one enzyme molecule. The heat of reaction amounts to about 11,600 calories or more in a reversible combination that evidently evolves heat. Like the action of H ions, sulfanilamide causes a slight shifting of maximum luminescence intensity in the direction of higher temperatures, and an increase in the energy of activation. The effect of sulfanilamide on the growth of broth cultures of eight species of luminous bacteria indicates that there is no regular relationship among the different organisms between the concentration of the drug that prevents growth, and that which prevents luminescence in the cells which develop in the presence of sulfanilamide. p-Aminobenzoic acid (PAB) antagonizes the sulfanilamide inhibition of growth in luminous bacteria, and the cultures that develop are luminous. When (PAB) is added to cells from fully developed cultures, it has no effect on luminescence, or causes a slight inhibition, depending on the concentration. With luminescence partly inhibited by sulfanilamide, the addition of PAB has no effect, or has an inhibitory effect which adds to that caused by sulfanilamide. Two different, though possibly related, enzyme systems thus appear to limit growth and luminescence, respectively. The possible mechanism through which both the inhibitions and the antagonism take place is discussed. The irreversible destruction of the luminescent system at temperatures above that of the maximum luminescence, in a medium of favorable pH to which no inhibitors have been added, proceeds logarithmically with time at both normal and increased hydrostatic pressures. Pressure retards the rate of the destruction, and the analysis of the data indicates that a volume increase of roughly 71 cc. per gm. molecule at 32° C. takes place in going from the normal to the activated state in this reaction. At normal pressure, the rate of destruction has a temperature coefficient of approximately 90,000 calories, or about 20,000 calories more than the heat of reaction in the reversible denaturation equilibrium. The data indicate that the equilibrium and the rate process are two distinct reactions. The equation for luminescence intensity, taking into account both the reversible and irreversible phases of the reaction is given below. In the equation b is a proportionality constant; k' the rate constant of the luminescent reaction; A0 the total luciferase; A0i the total initial luciferase at time t equals 0; kn the rate constant for the destruction of the native, active form of the enzyme; kd the rate constant for the destruction of the reversibly denatured, inactive form; t the time; and the other symbols are as indicated above: See PDF for Equation For reasons cited in the text, kn evidently equals kd. Urethane and alcohol, respectively, act in a manner (Type II) that promotes the breaking of the type of bonds broken in both the reversible and irreversible reactions and so promotes the irreversible denaturation. This result is in contrast to the effects of sulfanilamide, which at appropriate concentrations may give rise to the same initial inhibition as that caused by urethane, but remains constant with time. The inhibition caused by urethane and alcohol, respectively, increases as the temperature is raised. As a result, the apparent optimum is shifted to lower temperatures, and the activation energy for the over-all process of luminescence diminishes. An analysis for the approximate heat of reaction in the equilibrium between these drugs and the enzyme, indicates 65,000 calories for urethane, and 37,000 for alcohol. A similar analysis with respect to the effect of hydroxyl ions as the inhibitor gives 60,300 calories. The effects of alcohol and urethane are sensitive to hydrostatic pressure. Moderate inhibitions at optimum temperature and pH, caused by relatively small concentrations of either drug, are completely abolished by pressures of 3,000 to 4,000 pounds per square inch. At optimum temperature and pH, increasing concentrations of alcohol caused the apparent optimum pressure for luminescence to shift markedly in the direction of higher pressures. Analysis of the data with respect to concentration of alcohol at different pressures indicated that the ratio of alcohol to enzyme molecules amounted to approximately 4, at 7,000 pounds, but only about 2.8 at normal pressures. This phenomenon was taken to indicate that more than one equilibrium is established between the alcohol and the protein. A similar interpretation was suggested in connection with the fact that analysis of the relation between concentration of urethane and amount of inhibition at different temperatures also indicated a ratio of urethane to enzyme molecules that increased with temperature in the equilibria involved. Analysis of the data with respect to pressure and the inhibition caused by a given concentration of alcohol at different temperatures indicated that the volume change involved in the combination of alcohol with the enzyme must be very small, while the actual effect of pressure is apparently mediated through the reversible denaturation of the protein enzyme, which is promoted by alcohol, urethane, and drugs of similar type.
PMCID: PMC2142682  PMID: 19873433
25.  Infrared Study of Carbon Monoxide Migration among Internal Cavities of Myoglobin Mutant L29W 
Journal of Biological Physics  2002;28(2):163-172.
Myoglobin, a small globular heme protein that binds gaseous ligands such asO2, CO and NO reversibly at the heme iron, provides an excellent modelsystem for studying structural and dynamic aspects of protein reactions. Flashphotolysis experiments, performed over wide ranges in time and temperature, reveal a complex ligand binding reaction with multiple kinetic intermediates, resulting from protein relaxation and movements of the ligand within the protein. Our recent studies of carbonmonoxy-myoglobin (MbCO) mutant L29W, using time-resolved infrared spectroscopy in combination with x-ray crystallography, have correlated kinetic intermediates with photoproduct structures that are characterized by the CO residing in different internal protein cavities, so-called xenon holes. Here we have used Fourier transform infrared temperature derivative spectroscopy (FTIR-TDS) to further examine the role of internal cavities in the dynamics. Different cavities can be accessed by the CO ligands at different temperatures, and characteristic infrared absorption spectra have been obtained for the different locations of the CO ligand within the protein, enabling us to monitor ligand migration through the protein as well as conformational changes of the protein.
PMCID: PMC3456666  PMID: 23345766
FTIR spectroscopy; ligand binding; myoglobin; temperature derivative spectroscopy

Results 1-25 (696147)