An enzyme with sarcosine dimethylglycine methyltransferase activity has been identified in the thermophilic eukaryote, Galdieria sulphuraria. The crystal structure of the enzyme, solved to a resolution of 1.95 Å, revealed a fold highly similar to that of mycolic acid synthases. The kcat and apparent KM values were 64.3 min-1 and 2.0 mM for sarcosine and 85.6 min-1 and 2.8 mM for dimethylglycine. Apparent KM values for S-adenosylmethionine were 144 and 150 μM for sarcosine and dimethylglycine respectively, and the enzyme melting temperature was 61.1 °C. Modeling of cofactor binding in the active site based on the structure of methoxy mycolic acid synthase 2 revealed a number of conserved interactions within the active site.
Betaine synthesis; structural genomics; thermophile; osmoregulation
The halophilic methanoarchaeon Methanohalophilus portucalensis can synthesize the osmolyte betaine de novo in response to extracellular salt stress. Betaine is generated by the stepwise methylation of glycine to form sarcosine, N, N-dimethylglycine and betaine by using S-adenosyl-L-methionine (AdoMet) as the methyl donor. The complete gene cluster of Mpgsmt-sdmt was cloned from Southern hybridization and heterologous expressed in E. coli respectively. The recombinant MpGSMT and MpSDMT both retained their in vivo functional activities in E. coli BL21(DE3)RIL to synthesize and accumulate betaine and conferred elevated survival ability in betaine transport deficient mutant E. coli MKH13 under high salt stress. The dramatic activating effects of sodium and potassium ions on the in vitro methyltransferase activities of MpGSMT, but not MpSDMT or bacterial GSMT and SDMT, revealed that GSMT from halophilic methanoarchaeon possesses novel regulate mechanism in betaine biosynthesis pathway. The circular dichroism spectra showed the fluctuated peaks at 206 nm were detected in the MpGSMT under various concentrations of potassium or sodium ions. This fluctuated difference may cause by a change in the β-turn structure located at the conserved glycine- and sarcosine-binding residue Arg167 of MpGSMT. The analytical ultracentrifugation analysis indicated that the monomer MpGSMT switched to dimeric form increased from 7.6% to 70% with KCl concentration increased from 0 to 2.0 M. The level of potassium and sodium ions may modulate the substrate binding activity of MpGSMT through the conformational change. Additionally, MpGSMT showed a strong end product, betaine, inhibitory effect and was more sensitive to the inhibitor AdoHcy. The above results indicated that the first enzymatic step involved in synthesizing the osmolyte betaine in halophilic archaea, namely, GSMT, may also play a major role in coupling the salt-in and compatible solute (osmolyte) osmoadaptative strategies in halophilic methanogens for adapting to high salt environments.
Glycine betaine is accumulated in cells living in high salt concentrations to balance the osmotic pressure. Glycine sarcosine N-methyltransferase (GSMT) and sarcosine dimethylglycine N-methyltransferase (SDMT) of Ectothiorhodospira halochloris catalyze the threefold methylation of glycine to betaine, with S-adenosylmethionine acting as the methyl group donor. These methyltransferases were expressed in Escherichia coli and purified, and some of their enzymatic properties were characterized. Both enzymes had high substrate specificities and pH optima near the physiological pH. No evidence of cofactors was found. The enzymes showed Michaelis-Menten kinetics for their substrates. The apparent Km and Vmax values were determined for all substrates when the other substrate was present in saturating concentrations. Both enzymes were strongly inhibited by the reaction product S-adenosylhomocysteine. Betaine inhibited the methylation reactions only at high concentrations.
The halophilic methanoarchaeon Methanohalophilus portucalensis can synthesize de novo and accumulate β-glutamine, Nɛ-acetyl-β-lysine, and glycine betaine (betaine) as compatible solutes (osmolytes) when grown at elevated salt concentrations. Both in vivo and in vitro betaine formation assays in this study confirmed previous nuclear magnetic resonance 13C-labelling studies showing that the de novo synthesis of betaine proceeded from glycine, sarcosine, and dimethylglycine to form betaine through threefold methylation. Exogenous sarcosine (1 mM) effectively suppressed the intracellular accumulation of betaine, and a higher level of sarcosine accumulation was accompanied by a lower level of betaine synthesis. Exogenous dimethylglycine has an effect similar to that of betaine addition, which increased the intracellular pool of betaine and suppressed the levels of Nɛ-acetyl-β-lysine and β-glutamine. Both in vivo and in vitro betaine formation assays with glycine as the substrate showed only sarcosine and betaine, but no dimethylglycine. Dimethylglycine was detected only when it was added as a substrate in in vitro assays. A high level of potassium (400 mM and above) was necessary for betaine formation in vitro. Interestingly, no methylamines were detected without the addition of KCl. Also, high levels of NaCl and LiCl (800 mM) favored sarcosine accumulation, while a lower level (400 mM) favored betaine synthesis. The above observations indicate that a high sarcosine level suppressed multiple methylation while dimethylglycine was rapidly converted to betaine. Also, high levels of potassium led to greater amounts of betaine, while lower levels of potassium led to greater amounts of sarcosine. This finding suggests that the intracellular levels of both sarcosine and potassium are associated with the regulation of betaine synthesis in M. portucalensis.
The halophilic methanogen Methanohalophilus portucalensis synthesizes three distinct zwitterions, (beta)-glutamine, N(sup(epsilon))-acetyl-(beta)-lysine (NA(beta)Lys), and glycine betaine, as osmolytes when it is grown at high concentrations of external NaCl. The selective distribution of these three species was determined by growing cells in the presence of osmolyte biosynthetic precursors. Glycine betaine is formed by the stepwise methylation of glycine. Exogenous glycine (10 mM) and sarcosine (10 mM), although internalized, do not bias the cells to accumulate any more betaine. However, exogenous N,N-dimethylglycine (10 mM) is available to the appropriate methyltransferase and the betaine generated from it suppresses the synthesis of other osmolytes. Precursors of the two zwitterionic (beta)-amino acids ((beta)-glutamate for (beta)-glutamine and (alpha)-lysine and diaminopimelate for NA(beta)Lys) have only small effects on (beta)-amino acid accumulation. The largest effect is provided by L-(alpha)-glutamine, suggesting that nitrogen assimilation is a key factor in osmolyte distribution.
Glycine sarcosine methyltransferase (Gsm) and sarcosine dimethylglycine methyltransferase (Sdm) catalyze glycine betaine synthesis from glycine. Disruption of the M. xanthus gsmA (MXAN 7068) or sdmA (MXAN 3190) gene, encoding Gsm or Sdm homologue proteins, respectively, generated mutants that exhibited a longer lag period of growth and delayed spore germination under osmostress.
A case of imperfect pseudo-merohedral twinning in monoclinic crystals of fungal fatty acid synthase is discussed. A space-group transition during crystal dehydration resulted in a Moiré pattern-like interference of the twinned diffraction patterns.
The recent high-resolution structures of fungal fatty acid synthase (FAS) have provided new insights into the principles of fatty acid biosynthesis by large multifunctional enzymes. The crystallographic phase problem for the 2.6 MDa fungal FAS was initially solved to 5 Å resolution using two crystal forms from Thermomyces lanuginosus. Monoclinic crystals in space group P21 were obtained from orthorhombic crystals in space group P212121 by dehydration. Here, it is shown how this space-group transition induced imperfect pseudo-merohedral twinning in the monoclinic crystal, giving rise to a Moiré pattern-like interference of the two twin-related reciprocal lattices. The strategy for processing the twinned diffraction images and obtaining a quantitative analysis is presented. The twinning is also related to the packing of the molecules in the two crystal forms, which was derived from self-rotation function analysis and molecular-replacement solutions using a low-resolution electron microscopy map as a search model.
imperfect pseudo-merohedral twinning; fungal fatty acid synthase
Our previous work described a clear loss of Escherichia coli (E. coli) membrane integrity after incubation with glycine or its N-methylated derivatives N-methylglycine (sarcosine) and N,N-dimethylglycine (DMG), but not N,N,N-trimethylglycine (betaine), under alkaline stress conditions. The current study offers a thorough viability analysis, based on a combination of real-time physiological techniques, of E. coli exposed to glycine and its N-methylated derivatives at alkaline pH. Flow cytometry was applied to assess various physiological parameters such as membrane permeability, esterase activity, respiratory activity and membrane potential. ATP and inorganic phosphate concentrations were also determined. Membrane damage was confirmed through the measurement of nucleic acid leakage. Results further showed no loss of esterase or respiratory activity, while an instant and significant decrease in the ATP concentration occurred upon exposure to either glycine, sarcosine or DMG, but not betaine. There was a clear membrane hyperpolarization as well as a significant increase in cellular inorganic phosphate concentration. Based on these results, we suggest that the inability to sustain an adequate level of ATP combined with a decrease in membrane functionality leads to the loss of bacterial viability when exposed to the proton scavengers glycine, sarcosine and DMG at alkaline pH.
Colwellia is a genus of mostly psychrophilic halophilic Gammaproteobacteria frequently isolated from polar marine sediments and sea ice. In exploring the capacity of Colwellia psychrerythraea 34H to survive and grow in the liquid brines of sea ice, we detected a duplicated 37 kbp genomic island in its genome based on the abnormally high G + C content. This island contains an operon encoding for heterotetrameric sarcosine oxidase and is located adjacent to several genes used in the serial demethylation of glycine betaine, a compatible solute commonly used for osmoregulation, to dimethylglycine, sarcosine, and glycine. Molecular clock inferences of important events in the adaptation of C. psychrerythraea 34H to compatible solute utilization reflect the geological evolution of the polar regions. Validating genomic predictions, C. psychrerythraea 34H was shown to grow on defined media containing either choline or glycine betaine, and on a medium with sarcosine as the sole organic source of carbon and nitrogen. Growth by 8 of 9 tested Colwellia species on a newly developed sarcosine-based defined medium suggested that the ability to catabolize glycine betaine (the catabolic precursor of sarcosine) is likely widespread in the genus Colwellia. This capacity likely provides a selective advantage to Colwellia species in cold, salty environments like sea ice, and may have contributed to the ability of Colwellia to invade these extreme niches.
Compatible solutes; Halophiles; Psychrophiles; Genomics
Protein crystallization is a slow process of trial and error and limits the amount of solved protein structures. Search of a universal heterogeneous nucleant is an effort to facilitate crystallizability of proteins.
The effect of polystyrene nanospheres on protein crystallization were tested with three commercial proteins: lysozyme, xylanase, xylose isomerase, and with five research target proteins: hydrophobins HFBI and HFBII, laccase, sarcosine dimethylglycine N-methyltransferase (SDMT), and anti-testosterone Fab fragment 5F2. The use of nanospheres both in screening and as an additive for known crystallization conditions was studied. In screening, the addition of an aqueous solution of nanosphere to the crystallization drop had a significant positive effect on crystallization success in comparison to the control screen. As an additive in hydrophobin crystallization, the nanospheres altered the crystal packing, most likely due to the amphiphilic nature of hydrophobins. In the case of laccase, nanospheres could be used as an alternative for streak-seeding, which insofar had remained the only technique to produce high-diffracting crystals. With methyltransferase SDMT the nanospheres, used also as an additive, produced fewer, larger crystals in less time. Nanospheres, combined with the streak-seeding method, produced single 5F2 Fab crystals in shorter equilibration times.
All in all, the use of nanospheres in protein crystallization proved to be beneficial, both when screening new crystallization conditions to promote nucleation and when used as an additive to produce better quality crystals, faster. The polystyrene nanospheres are easy to use, commercially available and close to being inert, as even with amphiphilic proteins only the crystal packing is altered and the nanospheres do not interfere with the structure and function of the protein.
Heterotetrameric sarcosine oxidase (TSOX) is a complex bifunctional enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of the methyl group in sarcosine (N-methylglycine) and transfer of the oxidized methyl group into the 1-carbon metabolic pool. In addition to four different subunits, TSOX contains three coenzymes (FAD, FMN, NAD) and a binding site for tetrahydrofolate, the coenzyme acceptor of the oxidized methyl group from sarcosine. Based on preliminary success in crystallization of the natural enzyme, the genes encoding the subunits for TSOX from Pseudomonas maltophila (pTSOX) were cloned by functional screening of a genomic library. Recombinant enzyme exhibiting the same specific activity as natural pTSOX could not be isolated using a similar or identical purification procedure. This difficulty was overcome by affinity purification of recombinant pTSOX containing a C-terminal (His)6 tag on the subunit (γ) encoded by soxG, the gene located at the 3′ end of the pTSOX operon. Affinity purified pTSOX could not be crystallized, a problem traced to microheterogeneity in the recombinant enzyme where about half of the FMN is present in a modified form that is not found in the natural enzyme and may be a biosynthetic intermediate. The modified flavin was eliminated by expression of the recombinant enzyme in the presence of sarcosine, the same reagent used to induce expression of the natural enzyme. Homogenous recombinant pTSOX was isolated from cells grown in the presence of sarcosine by chromatography on affinity and hydrophobic interaction matrices. High quality crystals that diffract to 1.85 Å resolution have been obtained.
The first diffraction-quality crystals of a PutA protein are reported. One of the three crystal forms described here exhibits pseudo-merohedral twinning. Removal of the N-terminal histidine tag aided the crystallization of another form.
Proline utilization A proteins (PutAs) are large (1000–1300 residues) membrane-associated bifunctional flavoenzymes that catalyze the two-step oxidation of proline to glutamate by the sequential action of proline dehydrogenase and Δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase domains. Here, the first successful crystallization efforts for a PutA protein are described. Three crystal forms of PutA from Bradyrhizobium japonicum are reported: apparent tetragonal, hexagonal and centered monoclinic. The apparent tetragonal and hexagonal crystals were grown in the presence of PEG 3350 and sodium formate near pH 7. The apparent tetragonal form diffracted to 2.7 Å resolution and exhibited pseudo-merohedral twinning such that the true space group is P212121 with four molecules in the asymmetric unit. The hexagonal form diffracted to 2.3 Å resolution and belonged to space group P6222 with one molecule in the asymmetric unit. Centered monoclinic crystals were grown in ammonium sulfate, diffracted to 2.3 Å resolution and had two molecules in the asymmetric unit. Removing the histidine tag was important in order to obtain the C2 crystal form.
proline utilization A; PutA; proline catabolism; proline dehydrogenase; P5C dehydrogenase; pseudo-merohedral twinning
Dimethylglycine dehydrogenase (DMGDH) is a mitochondrial matrix flavoprotein that catalyses the demethylation of dimethylglycine to form sarcosine, accompanied by the reduction of the covalently bound FAD cofactor. Electron-transfer flavoprotein reoxidizes the reduced flavin and transfers reducing equivalents to the main mitochondrial respiratory chain through the enzyme ETF-ubiquinone oxidoreductase. DMGDH plays a prominent role in choline and 1-carbon metabolism. We have expressed the mature form of human DMGDH and the H109R variant identified in a DMGDH-deficient patient as N-terminally His6-tagged proteins in E. coli. The enzymes were purified to homogeneity by nickel affinity and anion exchange chromatography. The presence of FAD in the wild-type enzyme was confirmed by spectrophotometric analysis. The H109R variant, however, had only 47% of the wild-type level of bound flavin as expressed in E. coli, indicating its reduced affinity for FAD As previously described for rat enzyme studies, the wild-type human enzyme exhibited two Km values for N,N-dimethylglycine (Km1 = 0.039 ± 0.010 mmol/L and Km2 = 15.4 ± 1.2 mmol/L). The addition of 4 μmol/L tetrahydrofolate resulted in a slight decrease in specific activity and a substantial decrease in Km2 (1.10 ± 0.55 mmol/L). The flavinated H109R variant protein exhibited a 27-fold decrease in specific activity and a 65-fold increase in Km, explaining its pathogenicity. Additionally, the current expression system represents a significant improvement over a previously described rat DMGDH expression system and will enhance our ability to further study this important metabolic enzyme.
The ygfZ gene product of Escherichia coli represents a large protein family conserved in bacteria to eukaryotes. The members of this family are uncharacterized proteins with marginal sequence similarity to the T-protein (aminomethyltransferase) of the glycine cleavage system. To assist with the functional assignment of the YgfZ family, the crystal structure of the E. coli protein was determined by multiwavelength anomalous diffraction. The protein molecule has a three-domain architecture with a central hydrophobic channel. The structure is very similar to that of bacterial dimethylglycine oxidase, an enzyme of the glycine betaine pathway and a homolog of the T-protein. Based on structural superposition, a folate-binding site was identified in the central channel of YgfZ, and the ability of YgfZ to bind folate derivatives was confirmed experimentally. However, in contrast to dimethylglycine oxidase and T-protein, the YgfZ family lacks amino acid conservation at the folate site, which implies that YgfZ is not an aminomethyltransferase but is likely a folate-dependent regulatory protein involved in one-carbon metabolism.
X-ray crystallographic analysis of human inosine triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase provided the secondary structure and active-site structure at 1.6 Å resolution in an orthorhombic crystal form. The structure gives a framework for future structure–function studies employing site-directed mutagenesis and for the identification of substrate/product-binding sites.
The structure of human inosine triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase (ITPA) has been determined using diffraction data to 1.6 Å resolution. ITPA contributes to the accurate replication of DNA by cleansing cellular dNTP pools of mutagenic nucleotide purine analogs such as dITP or dXTP. A similar high-resolution unpublished structure has been deposited in the Protein Data Bank from a monoclinic and pseudo-merohedrally twinned crystal. Here, cocrystallization of ITPA with a molar ratio of XTP appears to have improved the crystals by eliminating twinning and resulted in an orthorhombic space group. However, there was no evidence for bound XTP in the structure. Comparison with substrate-bound NTPase from a thermophilic organism predicts the movement of residues within helix α1, the loop before α6 and helix α7 to cap off the active site when substrate is bound.
inosine triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase
The crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of a β-d-xylosidase from G. stearothermophilus T-6, a family 43 glycoside hydrolase, is described. Native and catalytic inactive mutants of the enzymes were crystallized in two different space groups, orthorhombic P21212 and tetragonal P41212 (or the enantiomorphic space group P43212), using a sensitive cryoprotocol. The latter crystal form diffracted X-rays to a resolution of 2.2 Å.
β-d-Xylosidases (EC 18.104.22.168) are hemicellulases that cleave single xylose units from the nonreducing end of xylooligomers. In this study, the crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of a β-d-xylosidase from Geobacillus stearothermophilus T-6 (XynB3), a family 43 glycoside hydrolase, is described. XynB3 is a 535-amino-acid protein with a calculated molecular weight of 61 891 Da. Purified recombinant native and catalytic inactive mutant proteins were crystallized and cocrystallized with xylobiose in two different space groups, P21212 (unit-cell parameters a = 98.32, b = 99.36, c = 258.64 Å) and P41212 (or the enantiomorphic space group P43212; unit-cell parameters a = b = 140.15, c = 233.11 Å), depending on the detergent. Transferring crystals to cryoconditions required a very careful protocol. Orthorhombic crystals diffract to 2.5 Å and tetragonal crystals to 2.2 Å.
family 43 glycosidase hydrolases; xylosidases; hemicellulases; Geobacillus stearothermophilus; xylan; xylose
Two methyltransferases from flaviviruses (Meaban and Yokose viruses) have been overexpressed and crystallized. Diffraction data and characterization of the two crystal forms are presented, together with a preliminary molecular-replacement solution for both enzymes.
Viral methyltranferases (MTase) are involved in the third step of the mRNA-capping process, transferring a methyl group from S-adenosyl-l-methionine (SAM) to the capped mRNA. MTases are classified into two groups: (guanine-N7)-methyltransferases (N7MTases), which add a methyl group onto the N7 atom of guanine, and (nucleoside-2′-O-)-methyltransferases (2′OMTases), which add a methyl group to a ribose hydroxyl. The MTases of two flaviviruses, Meaban and Yokose viruses, have been overexpressed, purified and crystallized in complex with SAM. Characterization of the crystals together with details of preliminary X-ray diffraction data collection (at 2.8 and 2.7 Å resolution, respectively) are reported here. The sequence homology relative to Dengue virus 2′OMTase and the structural conservation of specific residues in the putative active sites suggest that both enzymes belong to the 2′OMTase subgroup.
(nucleoside-2′-O-)-methyltransferases; flaviviruses; Meaban virus; Yokose virus
This paper reports studies of two patients proven by a variety of studies to have mitochondrial depletion syndromes due to mutations in either their MPV17 or DGUOK genes. Each was initially investigated metabolically because of plasma methionine concentrations as high as 15–21-fold above the upper limit of the reference range, then found also to have plasma levels of S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet) 4.4–8.6-fold above the upper limit of the reference range. Assays of S-adenosylhomocysteine, total homocysteine, cystathionine, sarcosine, and other relevant metabolites and studies of their gene encoding glycine N-methyltransferase produced evidence suggesting they had none of the known causes of elevated methionine with or without elevated AdoMet. Patient 1 grew slowly and intermittently, but was cognitively normal. At age 7 years he was found to have hepatocellular carcinoma, underwent a liver transplant and died of progressive liver and renal failure at age almost 9 years. Patient 2 had a clinical course typical of DGUOK deficiency and died at age 8 ½ months. Although each patient had liver abnormalities, evidence is presented that such abnormalities are very unlikely to explain their elevations of AdoMet or the extent of their hypermethioninemias. A working hypothesis is presented suggesting that with mitochondrial depletion the normal usage of AdoMet by mitochondria is impaired, AdoMet accumulates in the cytoplasm of affected cells poor in glycine N-methyltransferase activity, the accumulated AdoMet causes methionine to accumulate by inhibiting activity of methionine adenosyltransferase II, and that both AdoMet and methionine consequently leak abnormally into the plasma.
mitochondria; depletion; methionine; S-adenosylmethionine; MPV17; DGUOK
Methylation of lysine residues in histones has been known to serve a regulatory role in gene expression. Although enzymatic removal of the methyl groups was discovered as early as 1973 the enzymes responsible for their removal were isolated and their mechanism of action was described only recently. The first enzyme to show such activity was LSD1, a flavin containing enzyme that removes the methyl groups from lysines 4 and 9 of histone 3 with the generation of formaldehyde from the methyl group. This reaction is similar to the previously described demethylation reactions carried out by the enzymes dimethylglycine dehydrogenase and sarcosine dehydrogenase, in which protein-bound tetrahydrofolate serves as an accepter of the formaldehyde that is generated. We now show that nuclear extracts of HeLa cells contain LSD1 that is associated with folate. Using the method of Back-Scattering Interferometry (BSI) we have measured the binding of various forms of folate to both full length LSD1 and to a truncated form of LSD1 in free solution. The (R,S) form of the natural pentaglutamate form of tetrahydrofolate bound with the highest affinity (Kd = 2.8 µM) to full length LSD1. The fact that folate participates in the enzymatic demethylation of histones provides an opportunity for this micronutrient to play a role in the epigenetic control of gene expression.
lysine-specific demethylase; formaldehyde; tetrahydrofolate; tetrahydrofolate pentaglutamate; ligand binding; back-scattering interferometry
Monomeric sarcosine oxidase is a flavoenzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of the methyl group in sarcosine (N-methylglycine). Rapid reaction kinetic studies under anaerobic conditions at pH 8.0 show that the enzyme forms a charge transfer Michaelis complex with sarcosine (E-FADox·sarcosine) that exhibits an intense long wavelength absorption band (λmax = 516 nm, ε516 =4800 M−1 cm−1). Since charge transfer interaction with sarcosine as donor is possible only with the anionic form of the amino acid, the results indicate that the pKa of enzyme-bound sarcosine must be considerably lower than the free amino acid (pKa = 10.0). No redox intermediate is detectable during sarcosine oxidation, as judged by the isosbestic spectral course observed for conversion of E-FADox·sarcosine to reduced enzyme at 25 or 5 °C. The limiting rate of the reductive half-reaction at 25 °C (140 ± 3 s−1) is slightly faster than turnover (117 ± 3 s−1). The kinetics of formation of the Michaelis charge transfer complex can be directly monitored at 5 °C where the reduction rate is 4.5-fold slower and complex stability is increased 2-fold. The observed rate of complex formation exhibits a hyperbolic dependence on sarcosine concentration with a finite y-intercept, consistent with a mechanism involving formation of an initial complex followed by isomerization to yield a more stable complex. Similar results are obtained for charge transfer complex formation with methylthioacetate. The observed kinetics are consistent with structural studies which show that a conformational change occurs upon binding of methylthioacetate and other competitive inhibitors.
T. maritima TrmFO was overexpressed, purified and crystallized. A diffraction data set was collected to a resolution of 2.6 Å.
TrmFO, previously classified as GID, is a methyltransferase that catalyzes the formation of 5-methyluridine or ribothymidine (T) at position 54 in tRNA in some Gram-positive bacteria. To date, TrmFO is the only characterized tRNA methyltransferase that does not use S-adenosylmethionine as the methyl-group donor. Instead, the donor of the methyl group is N
10-methylenetetrahydrofolate. The crystallization and preliminary X-ray crystallographic studies of TrmFO are reported here. The recombinant protein, cloned from Thermotoga maritima genomic DNA, was overproduced in Esherichia coli and crystallized in 25%(v/v) PEG 4000, 100 mM NaCl and sodium citrate buffer pH 5.0 at 291 K using the hanging-drop vapor-diffusion method. The plate-shaped crystals diffracted to 2.6 Å and belong to the orthorhombic space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 79.94, b = 92.46, c = 127.20 Å.
GIDs; TrmFO; RNA modifications
The stabilizing osmolyte trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is shown to be an efficient primary precipitant for protein crystal growth. In addition to TMAO, two other methylamine osmolytes, sarcosine and betaine, are shown to be effective cryoprotective agents for protein crystal cooling.
Both crystallization and cryoprotection are often bottlenecks for high-resolution X-ray structure determination of macromolecules. Methylamine osmolytes are known stabilizers of protein structure. One such osmolyte, trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), has seen occasional use as an additive to improve macromolecular crystal quality and has recently been shown to be an effective cryoprotective agent for low-temperature data collection. Here, TMAO and the related osmolytes sarcosine and betaine are investigated as primary precipitating agents for protein crystal growth. Crystallization experiments were undertaken with 14 proteins. Using TMAO, seven proteins crystallized in a total of 13 crystal forms, including a new tetragonal crystal form of trypsin. The crystals diffracted well, and eight of the 13 crystal forms could be effectively cryocooled as grown with TMAO as an in situ cryoprotective agent. Sarcosine and betaine produced crystals of four and two of the 14 proteins, respectively. In addition to TMAO, sarcosine and betaine were effective post-crystallization cryoprotective agents for two different crystal forms of thermolysin. Precipitation reactions of TMAO with several transition-metal ions (Fe3+, Co2+, Cu2+ and Zn2+) did not occur with sarcosine or betaine and were inhibited for TMAO at lower pH. Structures of proteins from TMAO-grown crystals and from crystals soaked in TMAO, sarcosine or betaine were determined, showing osmolyte binding in five of the 12 crystals tested. When an osmolyte was shown to bind, it did so near the protein surface, interacting with water molecules, side chains and backbone atoms, often at crystal contacts.
crystallization; cryoprotection; osmolytes; trimethylamine N-oxide; sarcosine; betaine
The gene-regulation factor PyrR from B. halodurans has been crystallized in two crystal forms. Preliminary crystallographic analysis showed that the protein forms tetramers in both space groups.
The PyrR transcriptional regulator is widely distributed in bacteria. This RNA-binding protein is involved in the control of genes involved in pyrimidine biosynthesis, in which uridyl and guanyl nucleotides function as effectors. Here, the crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of two crystal forms of Bacillus halodurans PyrR are reported. One of the forms belongs to the monoclinic space group P21 with unit-cell parameters a = 59.7, b = 87.4, c = 72.1 Å, β = 104.4°, while the other form belongs to the orthorhombic space group P22121 with unit-cell parameters a = 72.7, b = 95.9, c = 177.1 Å. Preliminary X-ray diffraction data analysis and molecular-replacement solution revealed the presence of four and six monomers per asymmetric unit; a crystallographic tetramer is formed in both forms.
Bacillus halodurans; pyrimidine biosynthesis; riboswitch-like element; PyrR; transcriptional/translational factor
S-Adenosylmethionine (AdoMet or SAM)-dependent methyltransferases belong to a large and diverse family of group-transfer enzymes that perform vital biological functions on a host of substrates. Despite the progress in genomics, structural proteomics and computational biology, functional annotation of methyltransferases remains a challenge. Herein, we report the synthesis and activity of a new AdoMet analog functionalized with a ketone group. Using catechol O-methyltransferase (COMT, EC 22.214.171.124) and thiopurine S-methyltransferase (TPMT, EC 126.96.36.199) as model enzymes, this robust and readily accessible analog displays kinetic parameters that are comparable to AdoMet and exhibits multiple turnovers with enzyme. More importantly, this AdoMet surrogate displays the same substrate specificity as the natural methyl donor. Incorporation of the ketone group allows for subsequent modification via bio-orthogonal labeling strategies and sensitive detection of the tagged ketone products. Hence, this AdoMet analog expands the toolbox available to interrogate the biochemical functions of methyltransferases.
We have determined the structure of Pvu II methyltransferase (M. Pvu II) complexed with S -adenosyl-L-methionine (AdoMet) by multiwavelength anomalous diffraction, using a crystal of the selenomethionine-substituted protein. M. Pvu II catalyzes transfer of the methyl group from AdoMet to the exocyclic amino (N4) nitrogen of the central cytosine in its recognition sequence 5'-CAGCTG-3'. The protein is dominated by an open alpha/beta-sheet structure with a prominent V-shaped cleft: AdoMet and catalytic amino acids are located at the bottom of this cleft. The size and the basic nature of the cleft are consistent with duplex DNA binding. The target (methylatable) cytosine, if flipped out of the double helical DNA as seen for DNA methyltransferases that generate 5-methylcytosine, would fit into the concave active site next to the AdoMet. This M. Pvu IIalpha/beta-sheet structure is very similar to those of M. Hha I (a cytosine C5 methyltransferase) and M. Taq I (an adenine N6 methyltransferase), consistent with a model predicting that DNA methyltransferases share a common structural fold while having the major functional regions permuted into three distinct linear orders. The main feature of the common fold is a seven-stranded beta-sheet (6 7 5 4 1 2 3) formed by five parallel beta-strands and an antiparallel beta-hairpin. The beta-sheet is flanked by six parallel alpha-helices, three on each side. The AdoMet binding site is located at the C-terminal ends of strands beta1 and beta2 and the active site is at the C-terminal ends of strands beta4 and beta5 and the N-terminal end of strand beta7. The AdoMet-protein interactions are almost identical among M. Pvu II, M. Hha I and M. Taq I, as well as in an RNA methyltransferase and at least one small molecule methyltransferase. The structural similarity among the active sites of M. Pvu II, M. Taq I and M. Hha I reveals that catalytic amino acids essential for cytosine N4 and adenine N6 methylation coincide spatially with those for cytosine C5 methylation, suggesting a mechanism for amino methylation.