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1.  Likelihood-based molecular-replacement solution for a highly pathological crystal with tetartohedral twinning and sevenfold translational noncrystallographic symmetry 
With the implementation of a molecular-replacement likelihood target that accounts for translational noncrystallographic symmetry, it became possible to solve the crystal structure of a protein with seven tetrameric assemblies arrayed translationally along the c axis. The new algorithm found 56 protein molecules in reduced symmetry (P1), which was used to resolve space-group ambiguity caused by severe twinning.
Translational noncrystallographic symmetry (tNCS) is a pathology of protein crystals in which multiple copies of a molecule or assembly are found in similar orientations. Structure solution is problematic because this breaks the assumptions used in current likelihood-based methods. To cope with such cases, new likelihood approaches have been developed and implemented in Phaser to account for the statistical effects of tNCS in molecular replacement. Using these new approaches, it was possible to solve the crystal structure of a protein exhibiting an extreme form of this pathology with seven tetrameric assemblies arrayed along the c axis. To resolve space-group ambiguities caused by tetartohedral twinning, the structure was initially solved by placing 56 copies of the monomer in space group P1 and using the symmetry of the solution to define the true space group, C2. The resulting structure of Hyp-1, a pathogenesis-related class 10 (PR-10) protein from the medicinal herb St John’s wort, reveals the binding modes of the fluorescent probe 8-­anilino-1-naphthalene sulfonate (ANS), providing insight into the function of the protein in binding or storing hydrophobic ligands.
PMCID: PMC3940205  PMID: 24531481
maximum likelihood; translational noncrystallographic symmetry; molecular replacement; commensurate modulation; pseudo-symmetry
2.  Tetartohedral twinning in IDI-2 from Thermus thermophilus: crystallization under anaerobic conditions 
Type-2 isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase (IDI-2) is a key flavoprotein involved in the biosynthesis of isoprenoids. Since fully reduced flavin mononucleotide (FMNH2) is needed for activity, it was decided to crystallize the enzyme under anaerobic conditions in order to understand how this reduced cofactor binds within the active site and interacts with the substrate isopentenyl diphosphate (IPP). In this study, the protein was expressed and purified under aerobic conditions and then reduced and crystallized under anaerobic conditions. Crystals grown by the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method and then soaked with IPP diffracted to 2.1 Å resolution and belonged to the hexagonal space group P6322, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 133.3, c = 172.9 Å.
PMCID: PMC3944699  PMID: 24598924
isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase; IDI-2; flavoprotein; anaerobic; isoprenoid; twinning
3.  Pseudo-merohedral twinning and noncrystallographic symmetry in orthorhombic crystals of SIVmac239 Nef core domain bound to different-length TCRζ fragments 
P212121 crystals of SIV Nef core domain bound to a peptide fragment of the T-cell receptor ζ subunit exhibited noncrystallographic symmetry and nearly perfect pseudo-merohedral twinning simulating tetragonal symmetry. For a different peptide fragment, nontwinned tetragonal crystals were observed but diffracted to lower resolution. The structure was determined after assignment of the top molecular-replacement solutions to various twin or NCS domains followed by refinement under the appropriate twin law.
HIV/SIV Nef mediates many cellular processes through interactions with various cytoplasmic and membrane-associated host proteins, including the signalling ζ subunit of the T-­cell receptor (TCRζ). Here, the crystallization strategy, methods and refinement procedures used to solve the structures of the core domain of the SIVmac239 isolate of Nef (Nefcore) in complex with two different TCRζ fragments are described. The structure of SIVmac239 Nefcore bound to the longer TCRζ polypeptide (Leu51–Asp93) was determined to 3.7 Å resolution (R work = 28.7%) in the tetragonal space group P43212. The structure of SIVmac239 Nefcore in complex with the shorter TCRζ polypeptide (Ala63–Arg80) was determined to 2.05 Å resolution (R work = 17.0%), but only after the detection of nearly perfect pseudo-merohedral crystal twinning and proper assignment of the orthorhombic space group P212121. The reduction in crystal space-group symmetry induced by the truncated TCRζ polypeptide appears to be caused by the rearrangement of crystal-contact hydrogen-bonding networks and the substitution of crystallographic symmetry operations by similar noncrystallographic symmetry (NCS) operations. The combination of NCS rotations that were nearly parallel to the twin operation (k, h, −l) and a and b unit-cell parameters that were nearly identical predisposed the P212121 crystal form to pseudo-merohedral twinning.
PMCID: PMC2815668  PMID: 20124696
pseudo-merohedral twinning; noncrystallographic symmetry; pseudosymmetry; human immunodeficiency virus; Nef; T-cell receptor
4.  Pseudosymmetry, high copy number and twinning complicate the structure determination of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans (ATCC 29577) flavodoxin 
Complications to molecular replacement resulting from a poor starting search model, pseudosymmetry, twinning and a high copy number in the asymmetric unit made the determination of the structure of D. desulfuricans (ATCC 29577) flavodoxin in two crystal forms challenging.
The crystal structure of oxidized flavodoxin from Desulfo­vibrio desulfuricans (ATCC 29577) was determined by molecular replacement in two crystal forms, P3121 and P43, at 2.5 and 2.0 Å resolution, respectively. Structure determination in space group P3121 was challenging owing to the presence of pseudo-translational symmetry and a high copy number in the asymmetric unit (8). Initial phasing attempts in space group P3121 by molecular replacement using a poor search model (46% identity) and multi-wavelength anomalous dispersion were unsuccessful. It was necessary to solve the structure in a second crystal form, space group P43, which was characterized by almost perfect twinning, in order to obtain a suitable search model for molecular replacement. This search model with complementary approaches to molecular replacement utilizing the pseudo-translational symmetry operators determined by analysis of the native Patterson map facilitated the selection and manual placement of molecules to generate an initial solution in the P3121 crystal form. During the early stages of refinement, application of the appropriate twin law, (−h, −k, l), was required to converge to reasonable R-factor values despite the fact that in the final analysis the data were untwinned and the twin law could subsequently be removed. The approaches used in structure determination and refinement may be applicable to other crystal structures characterized by these complicating factors. The refined model shows flexibility of the flavin mononucleotide coordinating loops indicated by the isolation of two loop conformations and provides a starting point for the elucidation of the mechanism used for protein-partner recognition.
PMCID: PMC2685730  PMID: 19465766
flavodoxins; pseudosymmetry; twinning; high copy number; molecular replacement
5.  Imperfect pseudo-merohedral twinning in crystals of fungal fatty acid synthase 
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.
PMCID: PMC2631638  PMID: 19171964
imperfect pseudo-merohedral twinning; fungal fatty acid synthase
6.  Surprises and pitfalls arising from (pseudo)symmetry 
The presence of pseudosymmetry can cause problems in structure determination and refinement. The relevant background and representative examples are presented.
It is not uncommon for protein crystals to crystallize with more than a single molecule per asymmetric unit. When more than a single molecule is present in the asymmetric unit, various pathological situations such as twinning, modulated crystals and pseudo translational or rotational symmetry can arise. The presence of pseudosymmetry can lead to uncertainties about the correct space group, especially in the presence of twinning. The background to certain common pathologies is presented and a new notation for space groups in unusual settings is introduced. The main concepts are illustrated with several examples from the literature and the Protein Data Bank.
PMCID: PMC2394827  PMID: 18094473
pathology; twinning; pseudosymmetry
7.  Crystallization of a truncated soluble human semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase 
A truncated soluble human semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase has been crystallized. Data were collected to 2.5 Å from a crystal suffering from twinning, pseudo-symmetry and anisotropy. The structure was solved in space group P43.
Human semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase (SSAO) is a homodimeric copper-containing monoamine oxidase that occurs in both a membrane-bound and a soluble form. SSAO is also known as vascular adhesion protein-1 (VAP-1). A truncated soluble form of human SSAO (comprising residues 29–763) was expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 cells and purified to homogeneity. Tetragonal crystals were obtained and a data set extending to 2.5 Å was collected. The crystals are merohedrally twinned and the estimation of the twinning fraction was complicated by pseudo-symmetry and the anisotropic character of the crystals. Using a recently developed method for twinning detection that is insensitive to phenomena such as anisotropy or pseudo-symmetry [Padilla & Yeates (2003 ▶), Acta Cryst. D59, 1124–1130], the twinning fraction was estimated to be 0.3. The structure was eventually solved by molecular replacement in space group P43.
PMCID: PMC1952271  PMID: 16511016
crystal twinning; semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase; vascular adhesion protein-1
8.  Dichloridobis(pyridine-2-thiol­ato-κ2 N,S)tin(IV): a new polymorph 
The title compound, [SnCl2(C5H4NS)2], is the product of reaction of 2,2′-dipyridyl disulfide with tin tetra­chloride. The SnIV atom adopts a distorted octa­hedral geometry, with the two bidentate pyridine-2-thiol­ate ligands forming two planar four-membered chelate rings. The two Sn—Cl, two Sn—N and two Sn—S bonds are in cis, cis and trans configurations, respectively. The crystal grown from acetonitrile represents a new monoclinic polymorph in space group C2/c with the mol­ecule having twofold rotational symmetry, the SnIV atom lying on the twofold axis. The mol­ecular structure of the monoclinic polymorph is very close to that of the triclinic polymorph studied previously in space group P-1, the mol­ecule occupying a general position [Masaki & Matsunami (1976 ▶). Bull. Chem. Soc. Jpn, 49, 3274–3279; Masaki et al. (1978 ▶). Bull. Chem. Soc. Jpn, 51, 3298–3301]. Apparently, the formation of the two polymorphs is determined by the different systems of inter­molecular inter­actions. In the crystal of the monoclinic polymorph, mol­ecules are bound into ribbons along the c axis by C—H⋯Cl hydrogen bonds, whereas in the crystal of the triclinic polymorph, mol­ecules form chains along the a axis by attractive S⋯S inter­actions. The crystal studied was a pseudo-merohedral twin; the refined BASF value is 0.221 (1).
PMCID: PMC3393155  PMID: 22807723
9.  A case of structure determination using pseudosymmetry 
When properly applied, pseudosymmetry can be used to improve crystallographic phases through averaging and to facilitate crystal structure determination.
Here, a case is presented of an unusual structure determination which was facilitated by the use of pseudosymmetry. Group A streptococcus uses cysteine protease Mac-1 (also known as IdeS) to evade the host immune system. Native Mac-1 was crystallized in the orthorhombic space group P21212. Surprisingly, crystals of the inactive C94A mutant of Mac-1 displayed monoclinic symmetry with space group P21, despite the use of native orthorhombic Mac-1 microcrystals for seeding. Attempts to solve the structure of the C94A mutant by MAD phasing in the monoclinic space group did not produce an interpretable map. The native Patterson map of the C94A mutant showed two strong peaks along the (1 0 1) diagonal, indicating possible translational pseudosymmetry in space group P21. Interestingly, one-third of the monoclinic reflections obeyed pseudo-orthorhombic P21212 symmetry similar to that of the wild-type crystals and could be indexed and processed in this space group. The pseudo-orthorhombic and monoclinic unit cells were related by the following vector operations: a m = b o − c o, b m = a o and c m = −2c o − b o. The pseudo-orthorhombic subset of data produced good SAD phases, leading to structure determination with one monomer in the asymmetric unit. Subsequently, the structure of the Mac-1 mutant in the monoclinic form was determined by molecular replacement, which showed six molecules forming three translationally related dimers aligned along the (1 0 1) diagonal. Knowing the geometric relationship between the pseudo-orthorhombic and the monoclinic unit cells, all six molecules can be generated in the monoclinic unit cell directly without the use of molecular replacement. The current case provides a successful example of the use of pseudosymmetry as a powerful phase-averaging method for structure determination by anomalous diffraction techniques. In particular, a structure can be solved in a higher pseudosymmetry subcell in which an NCS operator becomes a crystallographic operator. The geometrical relationships between the subcell and parental cell can be used to generate a complete molecular representation of the parental asymmetric unit for refinement.
PMCID: PMC2789005  PMID: 19966420
pseudosymmetry; structure determination; cysteine proteases; Mac-1
10.  Structure of the Escherichia coli RNA polymerase α subunit C-terminal domain 
The crystal structure of the dimethyllysine derivative of the E. coli RNA polymerase α subunit C-terminal domain is reported at 2.0 Å resolution.
The α subunit C-terminal domain (αCTD) of RNA polymerase (RNAP) is a key element in transcription activation in Escherichia coli, possessing determinants responsible for the interaction of RNAP with DNA and with transcription factors. Here, the crystal structure of E. coli αCTD (α subunit residues 245–329) determined to 2.0 Å resolution is reported. Crystals were obtained after reductive methylation of the recombinantly expressed domain. The crystals belonged to space group P21 and possessed both pseudo-translational symmetry and pseudo-merohedral twinning. The refined coordinate model (R factor = 0.193, R free = 0.236) has improved geometry compared with prior lower resolution determinations of the αCTD structure [Jeon et al. (1995 ▶), Science, 270, 1495–1497; Benoff et al. (2002 ▶), Science, 297, 1562–1566]. An extensive dimerization interface formed primarily by N- and C-terminal residues is also observed. The new coordinates will facilitate the improved modeling of αCTD-containing multi-component complexes visualized at lower resolution using X-ray crystallo­graphy and electron-microscopy reconstruction.
PMCID: PMC2897699  PMID: 20606261
RNA polymerase; Escherichia coli; α subunit; C-terminal domain
11.  Pseudomerohedrally twinned monoclinic structure of unfolded ‘free’ nona­ctin: comparative analysis of its large conformational change upon encapsulation of alkali metal ions 
The title compound, C40H64O12, crystallizes in a pseudo­merohedrally twinned primitive monoclinic cell with similar contributions of the two twin components. There are two symmetry-independent half-mol­ecules of nona­ctin in the asymmetric unit. Each mol­ecule has a pseudo-S 4 symmetry and resides on a crystallographic twofold axis; the axes pass through the mol­ecular center of mass and are perpendicular to the plane of the macrocycle. The literature description of the room-temperature structure of nona­ctin as an order–disorder structure in an ortho­rhom­bic unit cell is corrected. We report a low-temperature high-precision ordered structure of ‘free’ nona­ctin that allowed for the first time precise determination of its bond distances and angles. It possesses an unfolded and more planar geometry than its complexes with encapsulated Na+, K+, Cs+, Ca2+ or NH4 + cations that exhibit more isometric overall conformations.
PMCID: PMC2816929  PMID: 19805886
12.  Crystal twinning of human MD-2 recognizing endotoxin cores of lipopolysaccharide 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2008;15(Pt 3):262-265.
Twinned crystals of humaan MD-2 are transformed into single crystals with cryoprotectant optimization.
Twinning of crystals causes overlapping of two or more reciprocal lattice points, and hence structure amplitudes for a single crystalline domain are hardly obtained from X-ray diffraction intensities. MD-2 protein forms a stable complex with Toll-like receptor 4 and recognizes bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Excessive immune responses activated by LPS cause septic shocks. Saccharide-trimmed human MD-2 crystallizes in the tetragonal form with apparent Laue symmetry of 4/mmm, and diffraction intensities from these crystals indicate crystal twinning. The crystal consists of two different domains, A and B. The c A axis of domain A coincides with the c B axis of domain B with a smaller lattice, and the a A axis corresponds to the (a B + b B) axis. This twinning severely imposes difficulty in structure determination. Through optimization of cryoprotectant, domain A was thoroughly transformed into domain B. The crystal containing only domain B is in space group P41212 with one MD-2 molecule in the asymmetric unit. The structure of this form of MD-2 as well as its complex with antiendotoxic lipid IVa was successfully determined using the multiple isomorphous replacement method.
PMCID: PMC2394791  PMID: 18421154
crystal twinning; innate immunity; endotoxin
13.  Structure determination of the 1918 H1N1 neuraminidase from a crystal with lattice-translocation defects 
The structure of the 1918 H1N1 neuraminidase was determined to 1.65 Å from crystals with a lattice-translocation defect using uncorrected, as well as corrected, diffraction data.
Few examples of macromolecular crystals containing lattice-translocation defects have been published in the literature. Lattice translocation and twinning are believed to be two common but different crystal-growth anomalies. While the successful use of twinned data for structure determination has become relatively routine in recent years, structure determination of crystals with lattice-translocation defects has not often been reported. To date, only four protein crystal structures containing such a crystal defect have been determined, using corrected, but not uncorrected, intensity data. In this report, the crystallization, structure determination and refinement of N1 neuraminidase derived from the 1918 H1N1 influenza virus (18NA) at 1.65 Å resolution are described. The crystal was indexed in space group C2221, with unit-cell parameters a = 117.7, b = 138.5, c = 117.9 Å, and the structure was solved by molecular replacement. The lattice-translocation vector in the 18NA crystal was (0, 1/2, 1/2) or its equivalent vector (1/2, 0, 1/2) owing to the C lattice symmetry. Owing to this special lattice-translocation vector in space group C2221, structure refinement could be achieved in two different ways: using corrected or uncorrected diffraction data. In the refinement with uncorrected data, a composite model was built to represent the molecules in the translated and untranslated layers, respectively. This composite structure model provided a unique example to examine how the molecules were arranged in the two lattice domains resulting from lattice-translocation defects.
PMCID: PMC2631119  PMID: 18645233
neuraminidases; crystal defects; lattice translocation; pseudo-translation; residual electron density
14.  4-(1-Allyl-4,5-diphenyl-1H-imidazol-2-yl)-N,N-dimethyl­aniline 
The title compound, C26H25N3, crystallizes with four independent mol­ecules, 1–4, in the asymmetric unit of the triclinic unit cell. The allyl substituents on the imidazole rings adopt similar conformations in all four mol­ecules. The imadazole and the 4-and 5-substituted phenyl rings of two pairs of molecules in the asymmetric unit stack parallel to (110). In contrast, the dimethyl­aniline systems in these pairs of mol­ecules are almost normal to one another, with dihedral angles of 85.84 (10) and 85.65 (10)° between the benzene rings of the two dimethyl­aniline fragments of mol­ecules 1 and 2, and 3 and 4, respectively. The crystal structure features an extensive series of C—H⋯π inter­actions that link the mol­ecules into undulating rows along the c axis. The crystal studied was a pseudo-merohedral twin with twin law [-100, 0-10, 111] and the BASF parameter refined to 0.513 (3).
PMCID: PMC3629582  PMID: 23634069
15.  Structure of the orthorhombic form of human inosine triphosphate pyrophosphatase 
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.
PMCID: PMC2225220  PMID: 17077483
inosine triphosphate pyrophosphohydrolase
16.  A general method to determine twinning elements 
Journal of Applied Crystallography  2010;43(Pt 6):1426-1430.
Based on the minimum shear criterion, a direct and simple method is proposed to calculate twinning elements from the experimentally determined twinning plane for Type I twins or the twinning direction for Type II twins. It is generic and applicable to any crystal structure.
The fundamental theory of crystal twinning has been long established, leading to a significant advance in understanding the nature of this physical phenomenon. However, there remains a substantial gap between the elaborate theory and the practical determination of twinning elements. This paper proposes a direct and simple method – valid for any crystal structure and based on the minimum shear criterion – to calculate various twinning elements from the experimentally determined twinning plane for Type I twins or the twinning direction for Type II twins. Without additional efforts, it is generally applicable to identify and predict possible twinning modes occurring in a variety of crystalline solids. Therefore, the present method is a promising tool to characterize twinning elements, especially for those materials with complex crystal structure.
PMCID: PMC3253729  PMID: 22477779
twinning; minimum shear; interface structure; transmission electron microscopy; scanning electron microscopy/electron backscatter diffraction
17.  X-ray diffraction studies on merohedrally twinned Δ1–62NtNBCe1-A crystals of the sodium/bicarbonate cotransporter 
A truncated mutant missing the first 62 residues of the N-terminal, cytoplasmic domain of the sodium-bicarbonate NBCe1-A cotransporter crystallizes in space group P31 with pseudo-P3121 symmetry and a hemihedral twin fraction of 33.0%. Twinned fractions and twin-pair statistics over binned resolutions confirm that the calculated twin fraction is associated with hemihedral twinning and not to non-crystallographic symmetry.
NBCe1-A membrane-embedded macromolecules that cotransport sodium and bicarbonate ions across the bilayer serve to maintain acid–base homeostasis throughout the body. Defects result in a number of renal and eye disorders, including type-II renal tubular acidosis and cataracts. Here, crystals of a human truncated mutant of the cytoplasmic N-terminal domain of NBCe1 (Δ1–62NtNBCe1-A) are reported that diffract X-rays to 2.4 Å resolution. The crystal symmetry of Δ1–62NtNBCe1-A is of space group P31 with pseudo-P3121 symmetry and it has a hemihedral twin fraction of 33.0%. The crystals may provide insight into the pathogenic processes observed in a subset of patients with truncating and point mutations in the gene encoding NBCe1.
PMCID: PMC3702328  PMID: 23832211
NBCe1; bicarbonate transport
18.  Imperfect twinning: a clinical and ethical dilemma 
Revista Paulista de Pediatria  2013;31(3):384-391.
To review the history, epidemiology, etiology, gestational aspects, diagnosis and prognosis of imperfect twinning.
Scientific articles were searched in PubMed, SciELO and Lilacs databases, using the descriptors "conjoined twins", "multiple pregnancy", "ultrasound", "magnetic resonance imaging" and "prognosis". The research was not delimited to a specific period of time and was supplemented with bibliographic data from books.
The description of conjoined twins is legendary. The estimated frequency is 1/45,000-200,000 births. These twins are monozygotic, monochorionic and usually monoamniotic. They can be classified by the most prominent fusion site, by the symmetry between the conjoined twins or by the sharing structure. The diagnosis can be performed in the prenatal period or after birth by different techniques, such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging and echocardiography. These tests are of paramount importance for understanding the anatomy of both fetuses/children, as well as for prognosis and surgical plan determination.
Although imperfect twinning is a rare condition, the prenatal diagnosis is very important in order to evaluate the fusion site and its complexity. Hence, the evaluation of these children should be multidisciplinary, involving mainly obstetricians, pediatricians and pediatric surgeons. However, some decisions may constitute real ethical dilemmas, in which different points should be discussed and analyzed with the health team and the family.
PMCID: PMC4182971  PMID: 24142323
twins; twins, conjoined; twins, monozygotic; pregnancy, multiple; prognosis
19.  Cloning, expression, purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of succinyl-diaminopimelate desuccinylase (Rv1202, DapE) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis  
Acta Crystallographica Section F  2012;68(Pt 9):1089-1093.
M. tuberculosis succinyl-diaminopimelate desuccinylase, the enzyme which catalyzes the seventh step of the lysine-biosynthesis pathway, has been cloned, expressed, purified and crystallized. Preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis indicated the presence of pseudo-merohedral twinning in space group P21, resulting in possible emulation of space group C2221.
Succinyl-diaminopimelate desuccinylase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (DapE, Rv1202) has been cloned, heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli and purified using standard chromatographic techniques. Diffraction-quality crystals were obtained at acidic pH from ammonium sulfate and PEG and diffraction data were collected from two crystals to resolutions of 2.40 and 2.58 Å, respectively. The crystals belonged to the monoclinic space group P21, with unit-cell parameters a = 79.7, b = 76.0, c = 82.9 Å, β = 119°. The most probable content of the asymmetric unit was two molecules of DapE, which would correspond to a solvent content of 56%. Both examined crystals turned out to be pseudo-merohedrally twinned, with twin operator −h, −k, h + l and twin fractions of approximately 0.46 and 0.16, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3433205  PMID: 22949202
succinyl-diaminopimelate desuccinylase; DapE; Rv1202; Mycobacterium tuberculosis
20.  Genetic, environmental and stochastic factors in monozygotic twin discordance with a focus on epigenetic differences 
BMC Medicine  2012;10:93.
Genetic-epidemiological studies on monozygotic (MZ) twins have been used for decades to tease out the relative contributions of genes and the environment to a trait. Phenotypic discordance in MZ twins has traditionally been ascribed to non-shared environmental factors acting after birth, however recent data indicate that this explanation is far too simple. In this paper, we review other reasons for discordance, including differences in the in utero environment, genetic mosaicism, and stochastic factors, focusing particularly on epigenetic discordance. Epigenetic differences are gaining increasing recognition. Although it is clear that in specific cases epigenetic alterations provide a causal factor in disease etiology, the overall significance of epigenetics in twin discordance remains unclear. It is also challenging to determine the causality and relative contributions of environmental, genetic, and stochastic factors to epigenetic variability. Epigenomic profiling studies have recently shed more light on the dynamics of temporal methylation change and methylome heritability, yet have not given a definite answer regarding their relevance to disease, because of limitations in establishing causality. Here, we explore the subject of epigenetics as another component in human phenotypic variability and its links to disease focusing particularly on evidence from MZ twin studies.
PMCID: PMC3566971  PMID: 22898292
Twins; Discordance; Epigenetics; Heritability; Environment
21.  Two polymorphs of chlorido(cyclo­hexyl­diphenyl­phosphine)gold(I) 
The title compound, [AuCl(C18H21P)], a monomeric two-coordinate gold(I) complex, has been characterized at 100 K as two distinct monoclinic polymorphs, one from a single crystal, (Is), and one from a pseudo-merohedrally twinned crystal, (It). The mol­ecular structures in the two monoclinic [P21/n for (Is) and P21/c for (It)] polymorphs are similar; however, the packing arrangements in the two lattices differ considerably. The structure of (It) is pseudo-merohedrally twinned by a twofold rotation about the a* axis.
PMCID: PMC2855583  PMID: 20203394
22.  Comparison of Genomic and Epigenomic Expression in Monozygotic Twins Discordant for Rett Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66729.
Monozygotic (identical) twins have been widely used in genetic studies to determine the relative contributions of heredity and the environment in human diseases. Discordance in disease manifestation between affected monozygotic twins has been attributed to either environmental factors or different patterns of X chromosome inactivation (XCI). However, recent studies have identified genetic and epigenetic differences between monozygotic twins, thereby challenging the accepted experimental model for distinguishing the effects of nature and nurture. Here, we report the genomic and epigenomic sequences in skin fibroblasts of a discordant monozygotic twin pair with Rett syndrome, an X-linked neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by autistic features, epileptic seizures, gait ataxia and stereotypical hand movements. The twins shared the same de novo mutation in exon 4 of the MECP2 gene (G269AfsX288), which was paternal in origin and occurred during spermatogenesis. The XCI patterns in the twins did not differ in lymphocytes, skin fibroblasts, and hair cells (which originate from ectoderm as does neuronal tissue). No reproducible differences were detected between the twins in single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), insertion-deletion polymorphisms (indels), or copy number variations. Differences in DNA methylation between the twins were detected in fibroblasts in the upstream regions of genes involved in brain function and skeletal tissues such as Mohawk Homeobox (MKX), Brain-type Creatine Kinase (CKB), and FYN Tyrosine Kinase Protooncogene (FYN). The level of methylation in these upstream regions was inversely correlated with the level of gene expression. Thus, differences in DNA methylation patterns likely underlie the discordance in Rett phenotypes between the twins.
PMCID: PMC3689680  PMID: 23805272
23.  Partial rotational lattice order–disorder in stefin B crystals 
Crystal lattice disorders are a phenomenon which may hamper the determination of macromolecular crystal structures. Using the case of the crystal structure of stefin B, identification of rotational order–disorder and structure determination are described.
At present, the determination of crystal structures from data that have been acquired from twinned crystals is routine; however, with the increasing number of crystal structures additional crystal lattice disorders are being discovered. Here, a previously undescribed partial rotational order–disorder that has been observed in crystals of stefin B is described. The diffraction images revealed normal diffraction patterns that result from a regular crystal lattice. The data could be processed in space groups I4 and I422, yet one crystal exhibited a notable rejection rate in the higher symmetry space group. An explanation for this behaviour was found once the crystal structures had been solved and refined and the electron-density maps had been inspected. The lattice of stefin B crystals is composed of five tetramer layers: four well ordered layers which are followed by an additional layer of alternatively placed tetramers. The presence of alternative positions was revealed by the inspection of electron-density score maps. The well ordered layers correspond to the crystal symmetry of space group I422. In addition, the positions of the molecules in the additional layer are related by twofold rotational axes which correspond to space group I422; however, these molecules lie on the twofold axis and can only be related in a statistical manner. When the occupancies of alternate positions and overlapping are equal, the crystal lattice indeed fulfills the criteria of space group I422; when these occupancies are not equal, the lattice only fulfills the criteria of space group I4.
PMCID: PMC3975888  PMID: 24699646
crystal disorder; rotational order–disorder; twinning; stefin B
24.  5-[(1R,2R,4R)-2-Meth­oxy-1,7,7-tri­methylbi­cyclo­[2.2.1]hept-2-yl]-1H-tetra­zole 
The title compound, C12H20N4O, undergoes a phase transition on cooling. The room-temperature structure is tetra­gonal (P43212, Z′ = 1), with the meth­oxy­bornyl group being extremely disordered. Below 213 K the structure is ortho­rhom­bic (P212121, Z′ = 2), with ordered mol­ecules. The two independent mol­ecules (A and B) have very similar conformations; significant differences only occur for the torsion angles about the Cborn­yl—Ctetra­zole bonds. The independent mol­ecules are approximately related by the pseudo-symmetry relation: xB = −1/4 + yA, yB = 3/4 - xA and zB = 1/4 + zA. In the crystal, mol­ecules are connected by N—H⋯N hydrogen bonds between the tetra­zole groups, forming a pseudo-43 helix parallel to the c-axis direction. The crystal studied was a merohedral twin with a refined twin fraction value of 0.231 (2).
PMCID: PMC3772465  PMID: 24046608
25.  The Incidence of Isolated Single Umbilical Artery in Twins And Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes 
Prenatal diagnosis  2013;33(3):269-272.
To estimate the incidence of single umbilical artery (SUA) in twin pregnancies and to investigate whether SUA in twin gestations is associated with adverse obstetric outcomes.
Retrospective cohort study of consecutive twin pregnancies over 17 years at a tertiary care hospital. Primary exposure was SUA in one or both twins documented at routine second trimester anatomic survey. Adverse obstetric outcomes included small for gestational age (SGA), placental abruption, and preterm birth, evaluated in univariable and multivariable analyses. Analysis was performed both at the pregnancy level and at the fetal level using paired analyses to account for the non-independence of twin pairs.
Of 2,378 twin pregnancies without major anatomic abnormalities, 1.7% (n=40) had SUA. Only 1 pregnancy (one monochorionic twin pair) was complicated by both twins having SUA. Twin fetuses with SUA are at increased risk for SGA (aOR 2.1 (1.2-4.1), p=0.03) after adjusting for pertinent confounding factors, similar to the findings of previous studies in singleton pregnancies. In addition, twins with SUA may be at increased risk for preterm delivery before 28 weeks compared to twin pregnancies with normal three-vessel umbilical cords (aOR 3.2 (1.3-7.89.4), p=0.01).
The incidence of SUA in twin gestations in this cohort is significantly less than recently published data. Similar to reports in singleton gestations, SUA appears to be associated with an increased risk for SGA in twins.
PMCID: PMC3612977  PMID: 23354986
Twin pregnancies; Single Umbilical Artery; Fetal anomaly

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