The structure of L. donovani pteridine reductase has been targeted to assist in a program of structure-based inhibitor research. Crystals that diffracted to 2.5 Å resolution were obtained and the structure has been solved. Unfortunately, the active site is disordered and this crystal form is unsuitable for use in characterizing enzyme–ligand interactions.
Pteridine reductase (PTR1) is a potential target for drug development against parasitic Trypanosoma and Leishmania species, protozoa that are responsible for a range of serious diseases found in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. As part of a structure-based approach to inhibitor development, specifically targeting Leishmania species, well ordered crystals of L. donovani PTR1 were sought to support the characterization of complexes formed with inhibitors. An efficient system for recombinant protein production was prepared and the enzyme was purified and crystallized in an orthorhombic form with ammonium sulfate as the precipitant. Diffraction data were measured to 2.5 Å resolution and the structure was solved by molecular replacement. However, a sulfate occupies a phosphate-binding site used by NADPH and occludes cofactor binding. The nicotinamide moiety is a critical component of the active site and without it this part of the structure is disordered. The crystal form obtained under these conditions is therefore unsuitable for the characterization of inhibitor complexes.
antifolates; pteridine reductase; Leishmania; pterins; Trypanosoma
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
A preliminary crystallographic study of cysteine synthase, a major enzyme in the cysteine-biosynthesis pathway, from the amoebic pathogen E. histolytica.
Entamoeba histolytica, the causative agent of human amoebiasis, is essentially anaerobic, requiring a small amount of oxygen for growth. It cannot tolerate the higher concentration of oxygen present in human tissues or blood. However, during tissue invasion it is exposed to a higher level of oxygen, leading to oxygen stress. Cysteine, which is a vital thiol in E. histolytica, plays an essential role in its oxygen-defence mechanisms. The major route of cysteine biosynthesis in this parasite is the condensation of O-acetylserine with sulfide by the de novo cysteine-biosynthetic pathway, which involves cysteine synthase (EhCS) as a key enzyme. In this study, EhCS was cloned, expressed in Escherichia coli and purified by affinity and size-exclusion chromatography. The purified protein was crystallized in space group P41 with two molecules per asymmetric unit and a complete data set was collected to a resolution of 1.86 Å. A molecular-replacement solution was obtained using the Salmonella typhimurium
O-acetylserine sulfhydrylase structure as a probe and had a correlation coefficient of 37.7% and an R factor of 48.8%.
cysteine synthase; Entamoeba histolytica
The detoxification enzyme glyoxalase I from L. major has been crystallized. Preliminary molecular-replacement calculations indicate the presence of three glyoxalase I dimers in the asymmetric unit.
Glyoxalase I (GLO1) is a putative drug target for trypanosomatids, which are pathogenic protozoa that include the causative agents of leishmaniasis. Significant sequence and functional differences between Leishmania major and human GLO1 suggest that it may make a suitable template for rational inhibitor design. L. major GLO1 was crystallized in two forms: the first is extremely disordered and does not diffract, while the second, an orthorhombic form, produces diffraction to 2.0 Å. Molecular-replacement calculations indicate that there are three GLO1 dimers in the asymmetric unit, which take up a helical arrangement with their molecular dyads arranged approximately perpendicular to the c axis. Further analysis of these data are under way.
glyoxalase I; leishmaniasis
Crystallographic studies of lumazine synthase, the penultimate enzyme of the riboflavin-biosynthetic pathway in B. anthracis, provide a structural framework for the design of antibiotic inhibitors, together with calorimetric and kinetic investigations of inhibitor binding.
The crystal structure of lumazine synthase from Bacillus anthracis was solved by molecular replacement and refined to R
cryst = 23.7% (R
free = 28.4%) at a resolution of 3.5 Å. The structure reveals the icosahedral symmetry of the enzyme and specific features of the active site that are unique in comparison with previously determined orthologues. The application of isothermal titration calorimetry in combination with enzyme kinetics showed that three designed pyrimidine derivatives bind to lumazine synthase with micromolar dissociation constants and competitively inhibit the catalytic reaction. Structure-based modelling suggested the binding modes of the inhibitors in the active site and allowed an estimation of the possible contacts formed upon binding. The results provide a structural framework for the design of antibiotics active against B. anthracis.
Bacillus anthracis; riboflavin biosynthesis; lumazine synthase; anthrax; inhibition; drug design
Native zinc-containing ATP sulfurylase from D. desulfuricans ATCC 27774 was purified to homogeneity and crystallized. Diffraction data were collected to 2.5 Å resolution.
Native zinc/cobalt-containing ATP sulfurylase (ATPS; EC 18.104.22.168; MgATP:sulfate adenylyltransferase) from Desulfovibrio desulfuricans ATCC 27774 was purified to homogeneity and crystallized. The orthorhombic crystals diffracted to beyond 2.5 Å resolution and the X-ray data collected should allow the determination of the structure of the zinc-bound form of this ATPS. Although previous biochemical studies of this protein indicated the presence of a homotrimer in solution, a dimer was found in the asymmetric unit. Elucidation of this structure will permit a better understanding of the role of the metal in the activity and stability of this family of enzymes.
ATP sulfurylases; zinc; cobalt; sulfate-reducing bacteria
Presence of phosphorylated Serine biosynthesis pathway upstream to the de novo cysteine biosynthesis pathway makes PSAT a crucial enzyme. Besides this, phoshoserine produced by the enzyme can also be taken up directly by cysteine synthase as a substrate. PSAT is a PLP dependent enzyme where the cofactor serves as an epicenter for functional catalysis with the active site architecture playing crucial role in optimum function of the enzyme.
EhPSAT is a homodimer of molecular mass 86 kDa. To understand the structural modulations associated with pH dependent changes in functional activity of EhPSAT detailed biophysical studies were carried out. pH alterations had no significant effect on the secondary structure, cofactor orientation and oligomeric configuration of the enzyme however, pH dependent compaction in molecular dimensions was observed. Most interestingly, a direct correlation between pH induced modulation of functional activity and orientation of Trp 101 present in the active site of the enzyme was observed. Sodium halides nullified the pH induced global changes in the enzyme, however differential effect of these salts on the active site microenvironment and functional activity of the enzyme was observed.
The study unequivocally demonstrates that pH induced selective modification of active site microenvironment and not global change in structure or oligomeric status of the enzyme is responsible for the pH dependent change in enzymatic activity of PSAT.
The structure of S. aureus MenB, an enzyme in the biosynthetic pathway to vitamin K2, has been determined and compared with the enzyme derived from another important pathogen, M. tuberculosis.
Vitamin K2, or menaquinone, is an essential cofactor for many organisms and the enzymes involved in its biosynthesis are potential antimicrobial drug targets. One of these enzymes, 1,4-dihydroxy-2-naphthoyl-CoA synthase (MenB) from the pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, has been obtained in recombinant form and its quaternary structure has been analyzed in solution. Cubic crystals of the enzyme allowed a low-resolution structure (2.9 Å) to be determined. The asymmetric unit consists of two subunits and a crystallographic threefold axis of symmetry generates a hexamer consistent with size-exclusion chromatography. Analytical ultracentrifugation indicates the presence of six states in solution, monomeric through to hexameric, with the dimer noted as being particularly stable. MenB displays the crotonase-family fold with distinct N- and C-terminal domains and a flexible segment of structure around the active site. The smaller C-terminal domain plays an important role in oligomerization and also in substrate binding. The presence of acetoacetyl-CoA in one of the two active sites present in the asymmetric unit indicates how part of the substrate binds and facilitates comparisons with the structure of Mycobacterium tuberculosis MenB.
crotonase; synthase; vitamin biosynthesis; menaquinone; MenB
The ability to acquire iron from the extracellular environment is a key determinant of pathogenicity in mycobacteria. Mycobacterium tuberculosis acquires iron exclusively via the siderophore mycobactin T, the biosynthesis of which depends on the production of salicylate from chorismate. Salicylate production in other bacteria is either a two-step process involving an isochorismate synthase (chorismate isomerase) and a pyruvate lyase, as observed for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, or a single-step conversion catalyzed by a salicylate synthase, as with Yersinia enterocolitica. Here we present the structure of the enzyme MbtI (Rv2386c) from M. tuberculosis, solved by multiwavelength anomalous diffraction at a resolution of 1.8 Å, and biochemical evidence that it is the salicylate synthase necessary for mycobactin biosynthesis. The enzyme is critically dependent on Mg2+ for activity and produces salicylate via an isochorismate intermediate. MbtI is structurally similar to salicylate synthase (Irp9) from Y. enterocolitica and the large subunit of anthranilate synthase (TrpE) and shares the overall architecture of other chorismate-utilizing enzymes, such as the related aminodeoxychorismate synthase PabB. Like Irp9, but unlike TrpE or PabB, MbtI is neither regulated by nor structurally stabilized by bound tryptophan. The structure of MbtI is the starting point for the design of inhibitors of siderophore biosynthesis, which may make useful lead compounds for the production of new antituberculosis drugs, given the strong dependence of pathogenesis on iron acquisition in M. tuberculosis.
The bifunctional trypanothione synthetase-amidase catalyzes biosynthesis and hydrolysis of the glutathione-spermidine adduct trypanothione, the principal intracellular thiol-redox metabolite in parasitic trypanosomatids. These parasites are unique with regard to their reliance on trypanothione to determine intracellular thiol-redox balance in defense against oxidative and chemical stress and to regulate polyamine levels. Enzymes involved in trypanothione biosynthesis provide essential biological activities, and those absent from humans or for which orthologues are sufficiently distinct are attractive targets to underpin anti-parasitic drug discovery. The structure of Leishmania major trypanothione synthetase-amidase, determined in three crystal forms, reveals two catalytic domains. The N-terminal domain, a cysteine, histidine-dependent amidohydrolase/peptidase amidase, is a papain-like cysteine protease, and the C-terminal synthetase domain displays an ATP-grasp family fold common to C:N ligases. Modeling of substrates into each active site provides insight into the specificity and reactivity of this unusual enzyme, which is able to catalyze four reactions. The domain orientation is distinct from that observed in a related bacterial glutathionylspermidine synthetase. In trypanothione synthetase-amidase, the interactions formed by the C terminus, binding in and restricting access to the amidase active site, suggest that the balance of ligation and hydrolytic activity is directly influenced by the alignment of the domains with respect to each other and implicate conformational changes with amidase activity. The potential inhibitory role of the C terminus provides a mechanism to control relative levels of the critical metabolites, trypanothione, glutathionylspermidine, and spermidine in Leishmania.
Cystathionine γ-synthase (CGS) is a transferase that catalyzes the reaction between O
4-succinyl-l-homoserine and l-cysteine to produce l-cystathionine and succinate. The crystal structure of CGS from M. ulcerans is presented covalently linked to the cofactor pyridoxal phosphate (PLP). A second structure contains PLP as well as a highly ordered HEPES molecule in the active site acting as a pseudo-ligand. This is the first structure ever reported from the pathogen M. ulcerans.
Cystathionine γ-synthase (CGS) is a transulfurication enzyme that catalyzes the first specific step in l-methionine biosynthesis by the reaction of O
4-succinyl-l-homoserine and l-cysteine to produce l-cystathionine and succinate. Controlling the first step in l-methionine biosythesis, CGS is an excellent potential drug target. Mycobacterium ulcerans is a slow-growing mycobacterium that is the third most common form of mycobacterial infection, mainly infecting people in Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia. Infected patients display a variety of skin ailments ranging from indolent non-ulcerated lesions as well as ulcerated lesions. Here, the crystal structure of CGS from M. ulcerans covalently linked to the cofactor pyridoxal phosphate (PLP) is reported at 1.9 Å resolution. A second structure contains PLP as well as a highly ordered HEPES molecule in the active site acting as a pseudo-ligand. These results present the first structure of a CGS from a mycobacterium and allow comparison with other CGS enzymes. This is also the first structure reported from the pathogen M. ulcerans.
pyridoxal phosphate; l-methionine; O4-succinyl-l-homoserine; l-cysteine; l-cystathionine; AAT-I superfamily; Mycobacteria ulcerans; cystathionine γ-synthase
Crystals of PrnB, the second enzyme in pyrrolnitrin biosynthesis are reported.
Pyrrolnitrin is the active ingredient of drugs for the treatment of superficial fungal infections and was used as a lead structure for the development of fludioxonil. It is an effective agent for plant diseases caused by the fungal pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. Pyrrolnitrin is made in four steps, the second of which, catalyzed by PrnB, is a novel chemical rearrangement of 7-chlorotryptophan. PrnB was overproduced in Pseudomonas fluorescens (BL915) and well diffracting crystals were obtained of a triple cysteine-to-serine mutant by sitting-drop vapour diffusion. Crystals grown in the presence of l-7-chlorotryptophan, d-tryptophan and l-tryptophan are reported. Data sets for each are reported with high-resolution limits of 2.0, 1.75 and 1.75 Å, respectively. Two crystals (PrnB in the presence of d-tryptophan and l-7-chlorotryptophan) belong to space group C2 with similar unit-cell parameters (a = 68.6, b = 79.5, c = 92.7 Å, α = γ = 90.0, β = 103.8°). Crystals grown in the presence of l-tryptophan belong to space group C2221 and have unit-cell parameters a = 67.7, b = 80.1, c = 129.5 Å. All crystals contain a monomer in the asymmetric unit.
PrnB; pyrrolnitrin biosynthesis
A β-glucosidase A (BglA) from the thermophile Halothermothrix orenii has been cloned, purified and crystallized in an orthorhombic space group. X-ray diffraction data have been collected to 3.5 Å resolution, and the structure was solved by molecular replacement, revealing the presence of two molecules in the asymmetric unit.
The β-glucosidase A gene (bglA) has been cloned from the halothermophilic bacterium Halothermothrix orenii and the recombinant enzyme (BglA; EC 22.214.171.124) was bacterially expressed, purified using metal ion-affinity chromatography and subsequently crystallized. Orthorhombic crystals were obtained that diffracted to a resolution limit of 3.5 Å. The crystal structure with two molecules in the asymmetric unit was solved by molecular replacement using a library of known glucosidase structures. Attempts to collect higher resolution diffraction data from crystals grown under different conditions and structure refinement are currently in progress.
β-glucosidases; halothermophiles; Halothermothrix orenii; BglA
Hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HGPRT) (EC 126.96.36.199) is a central enzyme in the purine recycling pathway. Parasitic protozoa of the order Kinetoplastida cannot synthesize purines de novo and use the salvage pathway to synthesize purine bases, making this an attractive target for antiparasitic drug design.
The glycosomal HGPRT from Leishmania tarentolae in a catalytically active form purified and co-crystallized with a guanosine monophosphate (GMP) in the active site. The dimeric structure of HGPRT has been solved by molecular replacement and refined against data extending to 2.1 Å resolution. The structure reveals the contacts of the active site residues with GMP.
Comparative analysis of the active sites of Leishmania and human HGPRT revealed subtle differences in the position of the ligand and its interaction with the active site residues, which could be responsible for the different reactivities of the enzymes to allopurinol reported in the literature. The solution and analysis of the structure of Leishmania HGPRT may contribute to further investigations leading to a full understanding of this important enzyme family in protozoan parasites.
Type I sulfatases require an unusual co- or post-translational modification for their activity in hydrolyzing sulfate esters. In eukaryotic sulfatases, an active site cysteine residue is oxidized to the aldehyde-containing Cα-formylglycine residue by the formylglycine-generating enzyme (FGE). The machinery responsible for sulfatase activation is poorly understood in prokaryotes. Here we describe the identification of a prokaryotic FGE from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In addition, we solved the crystal structure of the Streptomyces coelicolor FGE homolog to 2.1Å resolution. The prokaryotic homolog exhibits remarkable structural similarity to human FGE, including the position of catalytic cysteine residues. Both biochemical and structural data indicate the presence of an oxidized cysteine modification in the active site that may be relevant to catalysis. In addition, we generated a mutant M. tuberculosis strain lacking FGE. Although global sulfatase activity was reduced in the mutant, a significant amount of residual sulfatase activity suggests the presence of FGE-independent sulfatases in this organism.
The structure of E. coli dihydrodipicolinate synthase cocrystallized with oxaloacetic acid has been solved at a resolution of 2.0 Å. The structure was found to contain a pyruvate molecule bound at the active site rather than oxaloacetate.
Dihydrodipicolinate synthase (DHDPS) mediates the key first reaction common to the biosynthesis of (S)-lysine and meso-diaminopimelate, molecules which play a crucial cross-linking role in bacterial cell walls. An effective inhibitor of DHDPS would represent a useful antibacterial agent; despite extensive effort, a suitable inhibitor has yet to be found. In an attempt to examine the specificity of the active site of DHDPS, the enzyme was cocrystallized with the substrate analogue oxaloacetate. The resulting crystals diffracted to 2.0 Å resolution, but solution of the protein structure revealed that pyruvate was bound in the active site rather than oxaloacetic acid. Kinetic analysis confirmed that the decarboxylation of oxaloacetate was not catalysed by DHDPS and was instead a slow spontaneous chemical process.
substrate specificity; dihydrodipicolinate synthase; (S)-lysine biosynthesis
The protozoan Trypanosoma brucei has a functional pteridine reductase (TbPTR1), an NADPH-dependent short-chain reductase that participates in the salvage of pterins, which are essential for parasite growth. PTR1 displays broad-spectrum activity with pterins and folates, provides a metabolic bypass for inhibition of the trypanosomatid dihydrofolate reductase and therefore compromises the use of antifolates for treatment of trypanosomiasis. Catalytic properties of recombinant TbPTR1 and inhibition by the archetypal antifolate methotrexate have been characterized and the crystal structure of the ternary complex with cofactor NADP+ and the inhibitor determined at 2.2 Å resolution. This enzyme shares 50% amino acid sequence identity with Leishmania major PTR1 (LmPTR1) and comparisons show that the architecture of the cofactor binding site, and the catalytic centre are highly conserved, as are most interactions with the inhibitor. However, specific amino acid differences, in particular the placement of Trp221 at the side of the active site, and adjustment of the β6-α6 loop and α6 helix at one side of the substrate-binding cleft significantly reduce the size of the substrate binding site of TbPTR1 and alter the chemical properties compared with LmPTR1. A reactive Cys168, within the active site cleft, in conjunction with the C-terminus carboxyl group and His267 of a partner subunit forms a triad similar to the catalytic component of cysteine proteases. TbPTR1 therefore offers novel structural features to exploit in the search for inhibitors of therapeutic value against African trypanosomiasis.
Overexpression, purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of the nucleoside diphosphate kinase b from Leishmania major are reported. The crystals belonged to the trigonal space group P3221 and diffracted to 2.18 Å resolution.
Nucleoside diphosphate kinases (NDKs; EC 188.8.131.52) play an essential role in the synthesis of nucleotides from intermediates in the salvage pathway in all parasitic trypanosomatids and their structural studies will be instrumental in shedding light on the biochemical machinery involved in the parasite life cycle and host–parasite interactions. In this work, NDKb from Leishmania major was overexpressed in Escherichia coli, purified to homogeneity and crystallized using the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method. The NDK crystal diffracted to 2.2 Å resolution and belonged to the trigonal crystal system, with unit-cell parameters a = 114.2, c = 93.9 Å. Translation-function calculations yielded an unambiguous solution in the enantiomorphic space group P3221.
Leishmania major; salvage pathway; nucleoside diphosphate kinase b
Histamine dehydrogenase (HADH) from Nocardioides simplex catalyzes the oxidative deamination of histamine to produce imidazole acetaldehyde and ammonium. HADH is functionally related to trimethylamine dehydrogenase (TMADH) but HADH has strict substrate specificity towards histamine. HADH is a homodimer with each 76 kDa subunit containing two redox cofactors, a [4Fe-4S] cluster and an unusual covalently bound flavin mononucleotide, 6-S-cysteinyl-FMN. In order to understand the substrate specificity of HADH, we seek to determine its structure by X-ray crystallography. This enzyme has been expressed recombinantly in Escherichia coli and successfully crystallized in two forms. Diffraction data were collected to 2.7 Å resolution at the SSRL synchrotron with 99.7% completeness. The crystals belong to the orthorhombic space group P212121 with unit-cell parameters a = 101.14 Å, b = 107.03 Å, and c = 153.35 Å.
The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum is able to synthesize de novo pyridoxal 5-phosphate (PLP), a crucial cofactor, during erythrocytic schizogony. However, the parasite possesses additionally a pyridoxine/pyridoxal kinase (PdxK) to activate B6 vitamers salvaged from the host. We describe a strategy whereby synthetic pyridoxyl-amino acid adducts are channelled into the parasite. Trapped upon phosphorylation by the plasmodial PdxK, these compounds block PLP-dependent enzymes and thus impair the growth of P. falciparum. The novel compound PT3, a cyclic pyridoxyl-tryptophan methyl ester, inhibited the proliferation of Plasmodium very efficiently (IC50-value of 14 µM) without harming human cells. The non-cyclic pyridoxyl-tryptophan methyl ester PT5 and the pyridoxyl-histidine methyl ester PHME were at least one order of magnitude less effective or completely ineffective in the case of the latter. Modeling in silico indicates that the phosphorylated forms of PT3 and PT5 fit well into the PLP-binding site of plasmodial ornithine decarboxylase (PfODC), the key enzyme of polyamine synthesis, consistent with the ability to abolish ODC activity in vitro. Furthermore, the antiplasmodial effect of PT3 is directly linked to the capability of Plasmodium to trap this pyridoxyl analog, as shown by an increased sensitivity of parasites overexpressing PfPdxK in their cytosol, as visualized by GFP fluorescence.
Glucosamine-6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase is an essential enzyme of the eukaryotic UDP-GlcNAc biosynthetic pathway. A crystal structure at 1.55 Å resolution revealed a highly unusual covalent product complex and biochemical studies investigated the function of a fully conserved active-site cysteine.
Glucosamine-6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase 1 (GNA1) produces GlcNAc-6-phosphate from GlcN-6-phosphate and acetyl coenzyme A. Early mercury-labelling experiments implicated a conserved cysteine in the reaction mechanism, whereas recent structural data appear to support a mechanism in which this cysteine plays no role. Here, two crystal structures of Caenorhabditis elegans GNA1 are reported, revealing an unusual covalent complex between this cysteine and the coenzyme A product. Mass-spectrometric and reduction studies showed that this inactive covalent complex can be reactivated through reduction, yet mutagenesis of the cysteine supports a previously reported bi-bi mechanism. The data unify the apparently contradictory earlier reports on the role of a cysteine in the GNA1 active site.
carbohydrates; glycobiology; Caenorhabditis elegans; glucosamine-6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase; coenzyme A adduct; mechanism
MosA from S. meliloti L5-30 has been crystallized in solution with pyruvate and the 2.3 Å resolution structure has been solved by molecular replacement using E. coli dihydrodipicolinate synthase as the model.
The structure of MosA, a dihydrodipicolinate synthase and reported methyltransferase from Sinorhizobium meliloti, has been solved using molecular replacement with Escherichia coli dihydrodipicolinate synthase as the model. A crystal grown in the presence of pyruvate diffracted X-rays to 2.3 Å resolution using synchrotron radiation and belonged to the orthorhombic space group C2221, with unit-cell parameters a = 69.14, b = 138.87, c = 124.13 Å.
dihydrodipicolinate synthase; rhizopine; nitrogen fixation; aldolase
Polyamines are essential in all branches of life. Spermidine synthase (putrescine aminopropyltransferase, PAPT) catalyzes the biosynthesis of spermidine, a ubiquitous polyamine. The crystal structure of the PAPT from Thermotoga maritima (TmPAPT) has been solved to 1.5 Å resolution in the presence and absence of AdoDATO (S-adenosyl-1,8-diamino-3-thiooctane), a compound containing both substrate and product moieties. This, the first structure of an aminopropyltransferase, reveals deep cavities for binding substrate and cofactor, and a loop that envelops the active site. The AdoDATO binding site is lined with residues conserved in PAPT enzymes from bacteria to humans, suggesting a universal catalytic mechanism. Other conserved residues act sterically to provide a structural basis for polyamine specificity. The enzyme is tetrameric; each monomer consists of a C-terminal domain with a Rossmann-like fold and an N-terminal β-stranded domain. The tetramer is assembled using a novel barrel-type oligomerization motif.
The crystal structure of phophoribosylaminoimidazole-succinocarboxamide or SAICAR synthase from T. maritima at 2.2 Å revealed an unusual covalent dimer.
As a part of a structural genomics program, the 2.2 Å resolution crystal structure of the PurC gene product from Thermotoga maritima has been solved. This 26.2 kDa protein belongs to the phophoribosylaminoimidazole-succinocarboxamide or SAICAR synthase family of enzymes, the members of which are involved in de novo purine biosynthesis. SAICAR synthase can be divided into three subdomains: two α+β regions exhibiting structural homology with ATP-binding proteins and a carboxy-terminal subdomain of two α-helices. The asymmetric unit contains two copies of the protein which are covalently linked by a disulfide bond between Cys126(A) and Cys126(B). This 230-amino-acid protein exhibits high structural homology with SAICAR synthase from baker’s yeast. The protein structure is described and compared with that of the ATP–SAICAR synthase complex from yeast.
SAICAR synthase; purine biosynthesis; Thermotoga maritima
Uroporphyrinogen decarboxylase (UROD) is a branch point enzyme in the biosynthesis of the tetrapyrroles. It catalyzes the decarboxylation of four acetate groups of uroporphyrinogen III to yield coproporphyrinogen III, leading to heme and chlorophyll biosynthesis. UROD is a special type of nonoxidative decarboxylase, since no cofactor is essential for catalysis. In this work, the first crystal structure of a bacterial UROD, Bacillus subtilis UROD (URODBs), has been determined at a 2.3 Å resolution. The biological unit of URODBs was determined by dynamic light scattering measurements to be a homodimer in solution. There are four molecules in the crystallographic asymmetric unit, corresponding to two homodimers. Structural comparison of URODBs with eukaryotic URODs reveals a variation of two loops, which possibly affect the binding of substrates and release of products. Structural comparison with the human UROD-coproporphyrinogen III complex discloses a similar active cleft, with five invariant polar residues (Arg29, Arg33, Asp78, Tyr154, and His322) and three invariant hydrophobic residues (Ile79, Phe144, and Phe207), in URODBs. Among them, Asp78 may interact with the pyrrole NH groups of the substrate, and Arg29 is a candidate for positioning the acetate groups of the substrate. Both residues may also play catalytic roles.