Protoglobin from Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A (MaPgb), a strictly anaerobic methanogenic Archaea, is a dimeric haem-protein whose biological role is still unknown. As other globins, protoglobin can bind O2, CO and NO reversibly in vitro, but it displays specific functional and structural properties within members of the hemoglobin superfamily. CO binding to and dissociation from the haem occurs through biphasic kinetics, which arise from binding to (and dissociation from) two distinct tertiary states in a ligation-dependent equilibrium. From the structural viewpoint, protoglobin-specific loops and a N-terminal extension of 20 residues completely bury the haem within the protein matrix. Thus, access of small ligand molecules to the haem is granted by two apolar tunnels, not common to other globins, which reach the haem distal site from locations at the B/G and B/E helix interfaces. Here, the roles played by residues Trp(60)B9, Tyr(61)B10 and Phe(93)E11 in ligand recognition and stabilization are analyzed, through crystallographic investigations on the ferric protein and on selected mutants. Specifically, protein structures are reported for protoglobin complexes with cyanide, with azide (also in the presence of Xenon), and with more bulky ligands, such as imidazole and nicotinamide. Values of the rate constant for cyanide dissociation from ferric MaPgb-cyanide complexes have been correlated to hydrogen bonds provided by Trp(60)B9 and Tyr(61)B10 that stabilize the haem-Fe(III)-bound cyanide. We show that protoglobin can strikingly reshape, in a ligand-dependent way, the haem distal site, where Phe(93)E11 acts as ligand sensor and controls accessibility to the haem through the tunnel system by modifying the conformation of Trp(60)B9.
The R- and K-gingipain proteases of Porphyromonas gingivalis are involved in proteolysis of haemoglobin from which the defensive dimeric haem pigment is formed. Whilst oxyhaemoglobin is refractory towards K-gingipain, methaemoglobin is rapidly degraded. Ligation of methaemoglobin with N3−, which effectively blocks haem dissociation from the protein, prevented haemoglobin breakdown. Haem-free globin was rapidly degraded by K-gingipain. These data emphasise the need for haemoglobin oxidation which encourages haem dissociation and makes the haem-free globin susceptible to proteolytic attack.
gingipains; haem; haemoglobin; periodontal disease; Porphyromonas; protease
Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A encodes three putative hydrogenases, including one cofactor F420-linked (frh) and two methanophenazine-linked (vht) enzymes. Comparison of the amino acid sequences of these putative hydrogenases to those of Methanosarcina barkeri and Methanosarcina mazei shows that each predicted subunit contains all the known residues essential for hydrogenase function. The DNA sequences upstream of the genes in M. acetivorans were aligned with those in other Methanosarcina species to identify conserved transcription and translation signals. The M. acetivorans vht promoter region is well conserved among the sequenced Methanosarcina species, while the second vht-type homolog (here called vhx) and frh promoters have only limited similarity. To experimentally determine whether these promoters are functional in vivo, we constructed and characterized both M. acetivorans and M. barkeri strains carrying reporter gene fusions to each of the M. acetivorans and M. barkeri hydrogenase promoters. Generally, the M. acetivorans gene fusions are not expressed in either organism, suggesting that cis-acting mutations inactivated the M. acetivorans promoters. The M. barkeri hydrogenase gene fusions, on the other hand, are expressed in both organisms, indicating that M. acetivorans possesses the machinery to express hydrogenases, although it does not express its own hydrogenases. These data are consistent with specific inactivation of the M. acetivorans hydrogenase promoters and highlight the importance of testing hypotheses generated by using genomic data.
Crystal structures of ModA from M. acetivorans in the apo and ligand-bound conformations confirm domain rotation upon ligand binding.
The trace-element oxyanion molybdate, which is required for the growth of many bacterial and archaeal species, is transported into the cell by an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily uptake system called ModABC. ModABC consists of the ModA periplasmic solute-binding protein, the integral membrane-transport protein ModB and the ATP-binding and hydrolysis cassette protein ModC. In this study, X-ray crystal structures of ModA from the archaeon Methanosarcina acetivorans (MaModA) have been determined in the apoprotein conformation at 1.95 and 1.69 Å resolution and in the molybdate-bound conformation at 2.25 and 2.45 Å resolution. The overall domain structure of MaModA is similar to other ModA proteins in that it has a bilobal structure in which two mixed α/β domains are linked by a hinge region. The apo MaModA is the first unliganded archaeal ModA structure to be determined: it exhibits a deep cleft between the two domains and confirms that upon binding ligand one domain is rotated towards the other by a hinge-bending motion, which is consistent with the ‘Venus flytrap’ model seen for bacterial-type periplasmic binding proteins. In contrast to the bacterial ModA structures, which have tetrahedral coordination of their metal substrates, molybdate-bound MaModA employs octahedral coordination of its substrate like other archaeal ModA proteins.
ModA; molybdate; Methanosarcina acetivorans; periplasmic binding proteins
The kinetics of association and dissociation for the ouabain-Na+,K+- dependent ATPase complex have been studied in intact turkey erythrocytes as a function of external Na+ concentration, K+ concentration, and temperature. At free ligand concentrations substantially exceeding the concentration of available binding sites, the association reaction exhibits pseudo-first-order kinetics with an association rate constant (k1) that is conveniently determined over a wide range of temperatures (5-37 degrees C). The dissociation reaction exhibits strict first-order kinetics with a dissociation rate constant (k-1) that has the unusual property, in the turkey cell, of being sufficiently great to permit its direct determination even at temperatures as low as 5 degrees C. Values for the equilibrium binding constant for the ouabain-ATPase complex (KA) predicted from the ratio of the association and dissociation rate constants agree closely with independently measured values of KA determined directly under conditions of equilibrium binding. KA is a sensitive function of the composition of the external ionic environment, rising with increasing Na+ concentration and falling with increasing K+ concentration. These changes in KA are shown to be quantitatively attributable to changes in the rate constant k1, k-1 in contrast being unaffected at any given temperature by even very large changes in Na+ or K+ concentration. Arrhenius plots of k1 and k-1 both yield straight lines over the entire temperature range corresponding to activation energies for association and dissociation of 29.5 and 24.2 kcal/mol, respectively. These observations have made it possible to calculate the following standard values for the ouabain binding reaction in the presence of 150 mM Na+: delta G degree = -9.8 kcal/mol; delta H degree = +5.3 kcal/mol; delta S degree = +48.7 cal/degree/mol. The large positive value of delta S degree presumably reflects a highly ordered configuration of the ouabain-free ATPase molecule that is lost upon ouabain binding and that "drives" the reaction despite the positive value of delta H degree.
Methanosarcina acetivorans, a strictly anaerobic methane-producing species belonging to the domain Archaea, contains a gene cluster annotated with homologs encoding oxidative stress proteins. One of the genes (MA3736) is annotated as a gene encoding an uncharacterized carboxymuconolactone decarboxylase, an enzyme required for aerobic growth with aromatic compounds by species in the domain Bacteria. Methane-producing species are not known to utilize aromatic compounds, suggesting that MA3736 is incorrectly annotated. The product of MA3736, overproduced in Escherichia coli, had protein disulfide reductase activity dependent on a C67XXC70 motif not found in carboxymuconolactone decarboxylase. We propose that MA3736 be renamed mdrA (methanosarcina disulfide reductase). Further, unlike carboxymuconolactone decarboxylase, MdrA contained an Fe-S cluster. Binding of the Fe-S cluster was dependent on essential cysteines C67 and C70, while cysteines C39 and C107 were not required. Loss of the Fe-S cluster resulted in conversion of MdrA from an inactive hexamer to a trimer with protein disulfide reductase activity. The data suggest that MdrA is the prototype of a previously unrecognized protein disulfide reductase family which contains an intermolecular Fe-S cluster that controls oligomerization as a mechanism to regulate protein disulfide reductase activity.
We report here a comparative analysis of the genome sequence of Methanosarcina barkeri with those of Methanosarcina acetivorans and Methanosarcina mazei. The genome of M. barkeri is distinguished by having an organization that is well conserved with respect to the other Methanosarcina spp. in the region proximal to the origin of replication, with interspecies gene similarities as high as 95%. However, it is disordered and marked by increased transposase frequency and decreased gene synteny and gene density in the distal semigenome. Of the 3,680 open reading frames (ORFs) in M. barkeri, 746 had homologs with better than 80% identity to both M. acetivorans and M. mazei, while 128 nonhypothetical ORFs were unique (nonorthologous) among these species, including a complete formate dehydrogenase operon, genes required for N-acetylmuramic acid synthesis, a 14-gene gas vesicle cluster, and a bacterial-like P450-specific ferredoxin reductase cluster not previously observed or characterized for this genus. A cryptic 36-kbp plasmid sequence that contains an orc1 gene flanked by a presumptive origin of replication consisting of 38 tandem repeats of a 143-nucleotide motif was detected in M. barkeri. Three-way comparison of these genomes reveals differing mechanisms for the accrual of changes. Elongation of the relatively large M. acetivorans genome is the result of uniformly distributed multiple gene scale insertions and duplications, while the M. barkeri genome is characterized by localized inversions associated with the loss of gene content. In contrast, the short M. mazei genome most closely approximates the putative ancestral organizational state of these species.
Conventional methods to probe the binding kinetics of macromolecules at biosensor surfaces employ a stepwise titration of analyte concentrations and measure the association and dissociation to the immobilized ligand at each concentration level. It has previously been shown that kinetic rates can be measured in a single step by monitoring binding as the analyte concentration increases over time in a linear gradient. We report here the application of nonlinear analyte concentration gradients for determining kinetic rates and equilibrium binding affinities in a single experiment. A versatile nonlinear gradient maker is presented, which is easily applied to microfluidic systems. Simulations validate that accurate kinetic rates can be extracted for a wide range of association and dissociation rates, gradient slopes and curvatures, and with models for mass transport. The nonlinear analyte gradient method is demonstrated with a silicon photonic microring resonator platform to measure prostate specific antigen-antibody binding kinetics.
Analyte gradient; microring resonator; biosensor kinetics; mass transport; prostate specific antigen
The roles of three TATA binding protein (TBP) homologs (TBP1, TBP2, and TBP3) in the archaeon Methanosarcina acetivorans were investigated by using genetic and molecular approaches. Although tbp2 and tbp3 deletion mutants were readily obtained, a tbp1 mutant was not obtained, and the growth of a conditional tbp1 expression strain was tetracycline dependent, indicating that TBP1 is essential. Transcripts of tbp1 were 20-fold more abundant than transcripts of tbp2 and 100- to 200-fold more abundant than transcripts of tbp3, suggesting that TBP1 is the primary TBP utilized during growth. Accordingly, tbp1 is strictly conserved in the genomes of Methanosarcina species. Δtbp3 and Δtbp2 strains exhibited an extended lag phase compared with the wild type, although the lag phase for the Δtbp2 strain was less pronounced when this strain was transitioning from growth on methylotrophic substrates to growth on acetate. Acetate-adapted Δtbp3 cells exhibited growth rates, final growth yields, and lag times that were significantly reduced compared with those of the wild type when the organisms were cultured with growth-limiting concentrations of acetate, and the acetate-adapted Δtbp2 strain exhibited a final growth yield that was reduced compared with that of the wild type when the organisms were cultured with growth-limiting acetate concentrations. DNA microarray analyses identified 92 and 77 genes with altered transcription in the Δtbp2 and Δtbp3 strains, respectively, which is consistent with a role for TBP2 and TBP3 in optimizing gene expression. Together, the results suggest that TBP2 and TBP3 are required for efficient growth under conditions similar to the conditions in the native environment of M. acetivorans.
The binding of oligomeric peptide-MHC (pMHC) complexes to cell surface TCR can be considered to approximate TCR-pMHC interactions at cell-cell interfaces. Here, we analyzed the equilibrium binding of streptavidin-based pMHC oligomers (tetramers) and their dissociation kinetics from CD8pos T cells from 2C-TCR transgenic mice and from T cell hybridomas that expressed the 2C TCR or a high-affinity mutant (m33) of this TCR. Our results show that the tetramers did not come close to saturating cell-surface TCR (binding only 10-30% of cell-surface receptors), as is generally assumed in deriving affinity values (KD), in part because of dissociative losses from tetramer-stained cells. Guided by a kinetic model, the oligomer dissociation rate and equilibrium constants were seen to depend not only on monovalent association and dissociation rates (koff and kon), but on a multivalent association rate (μ) and TCR cell-surface density. Our results suggest that dissociation rates could account for the recently described surprisingly high frequency of tetramer-negative, functionally competent T cells in some T cell responses.
The effect of medium osmolarity on the morphology and growth of Methanosarcina barkeri, Methanosarcina thermophila, Methanosarcina mazei, Methanosarcina vacuolata, and Methanosarcina acetivorans was examined. Each strain was adapted for growth in NaCl concentrations ranging from 0.05 to 1.0 M. Methanosarcina spp. isolated from both marine and nonmarine sources exhibited similar growth characteristics at all NaCl concentrations tested, demonstrating that these species are capable of adapting to a similar range of medium osmolarities. Concomitant with the adaptation in 0.4 to 1.0 M NaCl, all strains disaggregated and grew as single cells rather than in the characteristic multicellular aggregates. Aggregated cells had a methanochondroitin outer layer, while disaggregated single cells lacked the outer layer but retained the protein S-layer adjacent to the cell membrane. Synthesis of glucuronic acid, a major component of methanochondroitin, was reduced 20-fold in the single-cell form of M. barkeri when compared with synthesis in aggregated cells. Strains with the methanochondroitin outer cell layer exhibited enhanced stability at low (<0.2 M NaCl) osmolarity and grew at higher temperatures. Disaggregated cells could be converted back to aggregated cells by gradually readapting cultures to lower NaCl (<0.2 M) and Mg2+ (<0.005 M) concentrations. Disaggregated Methanosarcina spp. could also be colonized and replica plated with greater than 95% recovery rates on solidified agar basal medium that contained 0.4 to 0.6 M NaCl and either trimethylamine, methanol, or acetate as the substrate. The ability to disaggregate and grow Methanosarcina spp. as viable, detergent-sensitive, single cells on agar medium makes these species amenable to mutant selection and screening for genetic studies and enables cells to be gently lysed for the isolation of intact genetic material.
We used 13C-labeled methane to document the extent of trace
methane oxidation by Archaeoglobus fulgidus,
Archaeoglobus lithotrophicus, Archaeoglobus
thermoautotrophicum, Methanosarcina barkeri
and Methanosarcina acetivorans. The results indicate
trace methane oxidation during growth varied among different species
and among methanogen cultures grown on different substrates. The
extent of trace methane oxidation by Mb.
thermoautotrophicum (0.05 ± 0.04%, ± 2 standard
deviations of the methane produced during growth) was less than that
by M. barkeri (0.15 ± 0.04%), grown under
similar conditions with H2 and CO2.
Methanosarcina acetivorans oxidized more methane
during growth on trimethylamine (0.36 ± 0.05%) than during growth
on methanol (0.07 ± 0.03%). This may indicate that, in M.
acetivorans, either a methyltransferase related to growth on
trimethylamine plays a role in methane oxidation, or that methanol is
an intermediate of methane oxidation. Addition of possible electron
acceptors (O2, NO3–,
or H2 to the headspace did not substantially enhance or
diminish methane oxidation in M. acetivorans
cultures. Separate growth experiments with
FAD and NAD+ showed that inclusion of these electron
carriers also did not enhance methane oxidation. Our results suggest
trace methane oxidized during methanogenesis cannot be coupled to the
reduction of these electron acceptors in pure cultures, and that the
mechanism by which methane is oxidized in methanogens is independent
of H2 concentration. In contrast to the methanogens,
species of the sulfate-reducing genus Archaeoglobus
did not significantly oxidize methane during growth (oxidizing 0.003
± 0.01% of the methane provided to A. fulgidus,
0.002 ± 0.009% to A. lithotrophicus and 0.003
± 0.02% to A. profundus). Lack of observable
methane oxidation in the three Archaeoglobus species
examined may indicate that methyl-coenzyme M reductase, which is not
present in this genus, is required for the anaerobic oxidation of
methane, consistent with the “reverse methanogenesis”
anaerobic methane oxidation; Archaeoglobus; methanogen; reverse methanogenesis; stable isotope label
Nitrophorins are NO carrier proteins that transport and release NO through a pH dependent conformational change. They bind NO tightly in a low pH environment and release it in a higher pH environment. Experimental evidence shows that the increase in the NO dissociation equilibrium constant, Kd, is due mainly to an increase in the NO release rate. Structural and kinetic data strongly suggest that NPs control NO escape by modulating its migration from the active site to the solvent through a pH dependent conformational change. NP2 and NP4 are two representative proteins of the family displaying a 39% overall sequence identity and, interestingly, NP2 releases NO slower than NP4. The proposal that NPs' NO release relies mainly on the NO escape rate make NPs a very peculiar case among typical heme proteins. The connection between the pH dependent conformational change and ligand release mechanism is not fully understood and the structural basis for the pH induced structural transition and the different NO release patterns in NPs are unresolved, yet interesting issues. In this work we have used state of the art molecular dynamics simulations to study the NO escape process in NP2 and NP4 in both the low and high pH states. Our results show that both NPs modulate NO release by switching between a “closed” conformation in a low pH environment and an “open” conformation at higher pH. In both proteins the change is caused by the differential protonation of a common residue Asp30 in NP4 and Asp29 in NP2, and the NO escape route is conserved. Finally, our results show that in NP2, the conformational change to the “open” conformation is smaller than that for NP4 which results in a higher barrier for NO release.
Nitrophorin; Nitric Oxide; Heme Protein; Molecular dynamics; Jarzynski; Chagas disease
Allosteric activators are generally believed to shift the equilibrium distribution of enzyme conformations to favor a catalytically productive structure; the kinetics of conformational exchange is seldom addressed. Several observations suggested that the usual allosteric mechanism might not apply to the activation of IMP dehydrogenase (IMPDH) by monovalent cations. Therefore we investigated the mechanism of K+ activation in IMPDH by delineating the kinetic mechanism in the absence of monovalent cations. Surprisingly, the K+-dependence of kcat derives from the rate of flap closure, which increases by ≥65-fold in the presence of K+. We performed both alchemical free energy simulations and potential of mean force calculations using the orthogonal space random walk strategy to computationally analyze how K+ accelerates this conformational change. The simulations recapitulate the preference of IMPDH for K+, validating the computational models. When K+ is replaced with a dummy ion, the residues of the K+ binding site relax into ordered secondary structure, creating a barrier to conformational exchange. K+ mobilizes these residues by providing alternate interactions for the main chain carbonyls. Potential of mean force calculations indicate that K+ changes the shape of the energy well, shrinking the reaction coordinate by shifting the closed conformation toward the open state. This work suggests that allosteric regulation can be under kinetic as well as thermodynamic control.
Methanosarcina acetivorans strain C2A is a marine methanogenic archaeon notable for its substrate utilization, genetic tractability, and novel energy conservation mechanisms. To help probe the phenotypic implications of this organism's unique metabolism, we have constructed and manually curated a genome-scale metabolic model of M. acetivorans, iMB745, which accounts for 745 of the 4,540 predicted protein-coding genes (16%) in the M. acetivorans genome. The reconstruction effort has identified key knowledge gaps and differences in peripheral and central metabolism between methanogenic species. Using flux balance analysis, the model quantitatively predicts wild-type phenotypes and is 96% accurate in knockout lethality predictions compared to currently available experimental data. The model was used to probe the mechanisms and energetics of by-product formation and growth on carbon monoxide, as well as the nature of the reaction catalyzed by the soluble heterodisulfide reductase HdrABC in M. acetivorans. The genome-scale model provides quantitative and qualitative hypotheses that can be used to help iteratively guide additional experiments to further the state of knowledge about methanogenesis.
For almost five decades, two competing mechanisms of ligand recognition – conformational selection and induced-fit - have dominated our interpretation of ligand binding in biological macromolecules. When binding/dissociation events are fast compared to conformational transitions, the rate of approach to equilibrium, kobs, becomes diagnostic of conformational selection or induced-fit based on whether it decreases or increases with the ligand concentration, [L]. However, this simple conclusion based on the rapid-equilibrium approximation is not valid in general. Here we show that conformational selection is associated with a rich repertoire of kinetic properties, with kobs decreasing or increasing with [L] depending on the relative magnitude of the rate of ligand dissociation, koff, and the rate of conformational isomerization, kr. We prove that, even for the simplest two-step mechanism of ligand binding, a decrease of kobs with [L] is unequivocal evidence of conformational selection, but an increase of kobs with [L] is not unequivocal evidence of induced-fit. Ligand binding to glucokinase, thrombin and its precursor prethrombin-2 are used as relevant examples. We conclude that conformational selection as a mechanism for ligand binding to its target may be far more common than currently believed.
The structural basis for allosteric regulation of porphobilinogen synthase (PBGS) is modulation of a quaternary structure equilibrium between octamer and hexamer (via dimers), which is represented schematically as 8mer ⇔ 2mer ⇔ 2mer* ⇔ 6mer*. The “*” represents a reorientation between two domains of each subunit that occurs in the dissociated state because it is sterically forbidden in the larger multimers. Allosteric effectors of PBGS are both intrinsic and extrinsic and are phylogenetically variable. In some species this equilibrium is modulated intrinsically by magnesium which binds at a site specific to the 8mer. In other species this equilibrium is modulated intrinsically by pH; the guanidinium group of an arginine being spatially equivalent to the allosteric magnesium ion. In humans, disease associated variants all shift the equilibrium toward the 6mer* relative to wild type. The 6mer* has a surface cavity that is not present in the 8mer and is proposed as a small molecule allosteric binding site. In silico and in vitro approaches have revealed species-specific allosteric PBGS inhibitors that stabilize the 6mer*. Some of these inhibitors are drugs in clinical use leading to the hypothesis that extrinsic allosteric inhibition of human PBGS could be a mechanism for drug side effects.
Probe-capture systems based on proteins and synthetic ligands have become important for new analytical and imaging applications. We have used kinetic measurements of luminescence and measurements of binding by isothermal calorimetry to determine essential rate and equilibrium constants for a system that permanently captures modified DOTA chelates for positron imaging. We used that information along with previous results to quantitatively characterize the behavior of this system in vitro and in vivo. Under physiological conditions at 37 °C, the equilibrium dissociation constant for yttrium S-2-(4-aminobenzyl)-1, 4, 7, 10-tetraazacyclododecanetetraacetate from antibody 2D12.5 is 2.0(±0.4) ×10−9 M and the dissociation rate constant is 7.0(±0.7) ×10−3 s−1, leading to an inferred association rate constant of 3.5 × 106 M−1s−1. Using these values to interpret data from earlier experiments leads to the rate constant 2.5 × 10−2 s−1 for covalent attachment of bound yttrium S-2-(4-acrylamidobenzyl)-1, 4, 7, 10-tetraazacyclododecanetetraacetate to the G54C mutant of antibody 2D12.5. These values lead to a model for the detailed behavior of the latter system for tumor imaging in vivo that is consistent with experimental observations.
Posttranslational modifications (PTMs) are important strategies used by eukaryotic organisms to modulate their phenotypes. One of the well studied PTMs, arginine methylation, is catalyzed by protein arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) with SAM as the methyl donor. The functions of PRMTs have been broadly studied in different biological processes and diseased states, but the molecular basis for arginine methylation is not well defined. In this study, we report the transient-state kinetic analysis of PRMT1 catalysis. The fast association and dissociation rates suggest that PRMT1 catalysis of histone H4 methylation follows a rapid equilibrium sequential kinetic mechanism. The data give direct evidence that the chemistry of methyl transfer is the major rate-limiting step, and that binding of the cofactor SAM or SAH affects the association and dissociation of H4 with PRMT1. Importantly, from the stopped-flow fluorescence measurements, we have identified a critical kinetic step suggesting a precatalytic conformational transition induced by substrate binding. These results provide new insights into the mechanism of arginine methylation and the rational design of PRMT inhibitors.
PRMT1; arginine methylation; transient-state kinetics; conformational transition; fluorescent probe; stopped flow
Methanogens are ancient organisms that are key players in the carbon cycle accounting for about one billion tones of biological methane produced annually. Methanosarcina acetivorans, with a genome size of ~5.7 mb, is the largest sequenced archaeon methanogen and unique amongst the methanogens in its biochemical characteristics. By following a systematic workflow we reconstruct a genome-scale metabolic model for M. acetivorans. This process relies on previously developed computational tools developed in our group to correct growth prediction inconsistencies with in vivo data sets and rectify topological inconsistencies in the model.
The generated model iVS941 accounts for 941 genes, 705 reactions and 708 metabolites. The model achieves 93.3% prediction agreement with in vivo growth data across different substrates and multiple gene deletions. The model also correctly recapitulates metabolic pathway usage patterns of M. acetivorans such as the indispensability of flux through methanogenesis for growth on acetate and methanol and the unique biochemical characteristics under growth on carbon monoxide.
Based on the size of the genome-scale metabolic reconstruction and extent of validated predictions this model represents the most comprehensive up-to-date effort to catalogue methanogenic metabolism. The reconstructed model is available in spreadsheet and SBML formats to enable dissemination.
Acetate kinase, a member of the acetate and sugar kinase/Hsc 70/actin (ASKHA) structural superfamily, catalyzes the reversible transfer of the γ-phosphoryl group from ATP to acetate yielding ADP and acetyl phosphate. A catalytic mechanism for the enzyme from Methanosarcina thermophila has been proposed based on the crystal structure and kinetic analyses of amino acid replacement variants. The Gln43Trp variant was generated to further investigate the catalytic mechanism via changes in fluorescence. The dissociation constants for ADP:Mg2+, ATP:Mg2+ were determined for the Gln43Trp variant and double variants generated by replacing Arg241 and Arg91 with Ala and Lys. The dissociation constants and kinetic analyses indicated roles for the arginines in transition state stabilization for catalysis but not in nucleotide binding. The results also provide the first experimental evidence for domain motion, and that catalysis is not as two independent active sites of the homodimer but the active site activities are coordinated in a half-the-sites manner.
Previous studies revealed that one species of methanogenic archaea, Methanocaldococcus jannaschii, is polyploid, while a second species, Methanothermobacter thermoautotrophicus, is diploid. To further investigate the distribution of ploidy in methanogenic archaea, species of two additional genera—Methanosarcina acetivorans and Methanococcus maripaludis—were investigated. M. acetivorans was found to be polyploid during fast growth (tD = 6 h; 17 genome copies) and oligoploid during slow growth (doubling time = 49 h; 3 genome copies). M. maripaludis has the highest ploidy level found for any archaeal species, with up to 55 genome copies in exponential phase and ca. 30 in stationary phase. A compilation of archaeal species with quantified ploidy levels reveals a clear dichotomy between Euryarchaeota and Crenarchaeota: none of seven euryarchaeal species of six genera is monoploid (haploid), while, in contrast, all six crenarchaeal species of four genera are monoploid, indicating significant genetic differences between these two kingdoms. Polyploidy in asexual species should lead to accumulation of inactivating mutations until the number of intact chromosomes per cell drops to zero (called “Muller's ratchet”). A mechanism to equalize the genome copies, such as gene conversion, would counteract this phenomenon. Making use of a previously constructed heterozygous mutant strain of the polyploid M. maripaludis we could show that in the absence of selection very fast equalization of genomes in M. maripaludis took place probably via a gene conversion mechanism. In addition, it was shown that the velocity of this phenomenon is inversely correlated to the strength of selection.
A pharmacophore-based screen identified 32 compounds including ethyl 5-amino-3-(4-tert-butylphenyl)-4-oxo-3,4-dihydrothieno[3,4-d]pyridazine-1-carboxylate (8) as a new allosteric modulator of the adenosine A1 receptor (A1AR). On the basis of this lead, various derivatives were prepared and evaluated for activity at the human A1AR. A number of the test compounds allosterically stabilized agonist-receptor-G protein ternary complexes in dissociation kinetic assays, but were found to be more potent as antagonists in subsequent functional assays of ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Additional experiments on the most potent antagonist, 13b, investigating A1AR-mediated [35S]GTPγS binding and [3H]CCPA equilibrium binding confirmed its antagonistic mode of action and also identified inverse agonism. This study has thus identified a new class of A1AR antagonists that can also recognize the receptor’s allosteric site with lower potency.
The bacterial single-stranded DNA-binding protein (SSB) and the archaeal/eukaryotic functional homolog, replication protein A (RPA), are essential for most aspects of DNA metabolism. Structural analyses of the architecture of SSB and RPA suggest that they are composed of different combinations of a module called the oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide-binding (OB) fold. Members of the domains Bacteria and Eukarya, in general, contain one type of SSB or RPA. In contrast, organisms in the archaeal domain have different RPAs made up of different organizations of OB folds. Interestingly, the euryarchaeon Methanosarcina acetivorans harbors multiple functional RPAs named MacRPA1 (for M. acetivorans RPA 1), MacRPA2, and MacRPA3. Comparison of MacRPA1 with related proteins in the publicly available databases suggested that intramolecular homologous recombination might play an important role in generating some of the diversity of OB folds in archaeal cells. On the basis of this information, from a four-OB-fold-containing RPA, we engineered chimeric modules to create three-OB-fold-containing RPAs to mimic a novel form of RPA found in Methanococcoides burtonii and Methanosaeta thermophila. We further created two RPAs that mimicked the RPAs in Methanocaldococcus jannaschii and Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus through fusions of modules from MacRPA1 and M. thermautotrophicus RPA. Functional studies of these engineered proteins suggested that fusion and shuffling of OB folds can lead to well-folded polypeptides with most of the known properties of SSB and RPAs. On the basis of these results, different models that attempt to explain how intramolecular and intermolecular homologous recombination can generate novel forms of SSB or RPAs are proposed.
Methanosarcina is the only acetate-consuming genus of methanogenic archaea other than Methanosaeta and thus is important in methanogenic environments for the formation of the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide. However, little is known about isotopic discrimination during acetoclastic CH4 production. Therefore, we studied two species of the Methanosarcinaceae family, Methanosarcina barkeri and Methanosarcina acetivorans, and a methanogenic rice field soil amended with acetate. The values of the isotope enrichment factor (ɛ) associated with consumption of total acetate (ɛac), consumption of acetate-methyl (ɛac-methyl) and production of CH4 (ɛCH4) were an ɛac of −30.5‰, an ɛac-methyl of −25.6‰, and an ɛCH4 of −27.4‰ for M. barkeri and an ɛac of −35.3‰, an ɛac-methyl of −24.8‰, and an ɛCH4 of −23.8‰ for M. acetivorans. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism of archaeal 16S rRNA genes indicated that acetoclastic methanogenic populations in rice field soil were dominated by Methanosarcina spp. Isotope fractionation determined during acetoclastic methanogenesis in rice field soil resulted in an ɛac of −18.7‰, an ɛac-methyl of −16.9‰, and an ɛCH4 of −20.8‰. However, in rice field soil as well as in the pure cultures, values of ɛac and ɛac-methyl decreased as acetate concentrations decreased, eventually approaching zero. Thus, isotope fractionation of acetate carbon was apparently affected by substrate concentration. The ɛ values determined in pure cultures were consistent with those in rice field soil if the concentration of acetate was taken into account.