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1.  Structure of recombinant Leishmania donovani pteridine reductase reveals a disordered active site 
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.
PMCID: PMC3079966  PMID: 21206018
antifolates; pteridine reductase; Leishmania; pterins; Trypanosoma
2.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of Leishmania major glyoxalase I 
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.
PMCID: PMC1952357  PMID: 16511153
glyoxalase I; leishmaniasis
3.  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
4.  Purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of adenosine triphosphate sulfurylase (ATPS) from the sulfate-reducing bacterium Desulfovibrio desulfuricans ATCC 27774 
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; 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.
PMCID: PMC2443958  PMID: 18607083
ATP sulfurylases; zinc; cobalt; sulfate-reducing bacteria
5.  Crystal structure of Leishmania tarentolae hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase 
Hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HGPRT) (EC 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.
PMCID: PMC2228302  PMID: 17894860
6.  Structural study and thermodynamic characterization of inhibitor binding to lumazine synthase from Bacillus anthracis  
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.
PMCID: PMC2935281  PMID: 20823551
Bacillus anthracis; riboflavin biosynthesis; lumazine synthase; anthrax; inhibition; drug design
7.  Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of cysteine synthase from Entamoeba histolytica  
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%.
PMCID: PMC2335080  PMID: 17554175
cysteine synthase; Entamoeba histolytica
8.  Expression, purification and preliminary crystallographic analysis of the recombinant β-­glucosidase (BglA) from the halothermophile Halothermothrix orenii  
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 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.
PMCID: PMC3079986  PMID: 21206038
β-glucosidases; halothermophiles; Halothermothrix orenii; BglA
9.  Function and Structure of a Prokaryotic Formylglycine-generating Enzyme*S⃞ 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2008;283(29):20117-20125.
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.
PMCID: PMC2459300  PMID: 18390551
10.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray characterization of the tetrapyrrole-biosynthetic enzyme porphobilinogen deaminase from Bacillus megaterium  
Acta Crystallographica Section F  2013;69(Pt 8):906-908.
The enzyme porphobilinogen deaminase (PBGD; hydroxymethylbilane synthase; EC catalyses a key early step in the biosynthesis of tetrapyrroles in which four molecules of the monopyrrole porphobilinogen are condensed to form a linear tetrapyrrole. PBGD from B. megaterium was expressed and the enzyme was crystallized in a form which diffracts synchrotron radiation to high resolution.
The enzyme porphobilinogen deaminase (PBGD; hydroxymethylbilane synthase; EC catalyses an early step of the tetrapyrrole-biosynthesis pathway in which four molecules of the monopyrrole porphobilinogen are condensed to form a linear tetrapyrrole. The enzyme possesses a dipyrromethane cofactor which is covalently linked by a thioether bridge to an invariant cysteine residue. Expression in Escherichia coli of a His-tagged form of Bacillus megaterium PBGD permitted the crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of the enzyme from this species at high resolution.
PMCID: PMC3729171  PMID: 23908040
tetrapyrrole biosynthesis; porphobilinogen deaminase; Bacillus megaterium; dipyrromethane cofactor
11.  Structure of Salmonella typhimurium OMP synthase in a complete substrates complex 
Biochemistry  2012;51(22):4397-4405.
Dimeric Salmonella typhimurium orotate phosphoribosyltransferase (OMP synthase, E.C., a key enzyme in de novo pyrimidine nucleotide synthesis, has been co-crystallized in a complete substrate complex of E•MgPRPP•orotate, and the structure solved to 2.2 Å resolution. This structure resembles that for Saccharomyces cerevisiae OMP synthase in showing a dramatic and asymmetric reorganization around the active site-bound ligands, but shares the same basic topology previously observed in complexes of OMP synthase from S. typhimurium and Escherichia coli. The catalytic loop (residues 99–109) contributed by subunit A is reorganized to close the active site situated in subunit B and to sequester it from solvent. Furthermore, the overall structure of subunit B is more compact, due to movements of the amino-terminal hood and elements of the core domain. The catalytic loop of subunit B remains open and disordered, and subunit A retains the more relaxed conformation observed in loop-open S. typhimurium OMP synthase structures. A non-proline cis-peptide formed between Ala71 and Tyr72 is seen in both subunits. The loop-closed catalytic site of subunit B reveals that both the loop and the hood interact directly with the bound pyrophosphate group of PRPP. In contrast to dimagnesium hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferases, OMP synthase contains a single catalytic Mg2+ in the closed active site. The remaining pyrophosphate charges of PRPP are neutralized by interactions with Arg99A, Lys100B, Lys103A, and His105A. The new structure confirms the importance of loop movement in catalysis by OMP synthase, and identifies several additional movements that must be accomplished in each catalytic cycle. A catalytic mechanism based on enzymic and substratea-ssisted stabilization of the previously documented oxocarbenium transition state structure is proposed.
PMCID: PMC3442144  PMID: 22531064
12.  Structure of Staphylococcus aureus 1,4-dihydroxy-2-naphthoyl-CoA synthase (MenB) in complex with acetoacetyl-CoA 
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.
PMCID: PMC2339762  PMID: 18007038
crotonase; synthase; vitamin biosynthesis; menaquinone; MenB
13.  Structure and reactivity of Trypanosoma brucei pteridine reductase: inhibition by the archetypal antifolate methotrexate 
Molecular Microbiology  2006;61(6):1457-1468.
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.
PMCID: PMC1618733  PMID: 16968221
14.  Production, purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction studies of the nucleoside diphosphate kinase b from Leishmania major  
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 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.
PMCID: PMC2777038  PMID: 19923730
Leishmania major; salvage pathway; nucleoside diphosphate kinase b
15.  Structure of the SARS coronavirus main proteinase as an active C2 crystallographic dimer 
An orthorhombic crystal form of the SARS CoV main proteinase diffracting to a resolution of 1.9 Å is reported. The conformation of residues in the catalytic site indicates an active enzyme.
The 34 kDa main proteinase (Mpro) from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) plays an important role in the virus life cycle through the specific processing of viral polyproteins. As such, SARS-CoV Mpro is a key target for the identification of specific inhibitors directed against the SARS virus. With a view to facilitating the development of such compounds, crystals were obtained of the enzyme at pH 6.5 in the orthorhombic space group P21212 that diffract to a resolution of 1.9 Å. These crystals contain one monomer per asymmetric unit and the biologically active dimer is generated via the crystallographic twofold axis. The conformation of the catalytic site indicates that the enzyme is active in the crystalline form and thus suitable for structure-based inhibition studies.
PMCID: PMC1978130  PMID: 16511208
protease; crystallographic dimer; SARS coronavirus
16.  Entamoeba histolytica Phosphoserine aminotransferase (EhPSAT): insights into the structure-function relationship 
BMC Research Notes  2010;3:52.
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.
PMCID: PMC2850911  PMID: 20199659
17.  Poisoning Pyridoxal 5-Phosphate-Dependent Enzymes: A New Strategy to Target the Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(2):e4406.
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.
PMCID: PMC2634962  PMID: 19197387
18.  Expression, purification and crystallization and preliminary X-ray studies of histamine dehydrogenase from Nocardioides simplex 
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.
PMCID: PMC2531280  PMID: 18765904
19.  Structural and biochemical characterization of a trapped coenzyme A adduct of Caenorhabditis elegans glucosamine-6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase 1 
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.
PMCID: PMC3413214  PMID: 22868768
carbohydrates; glycobiology; Caenorhabditis elegans; glucosamine-6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase; coenzyme A adduct; mechanism
20.  Structure of the cystathionine γ-synthase MetB from Mycobacterium ulcerans  
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.
PMCID: PMC3169418  PMID: 21904066
pyridoxal phosphate; l-methionine; O4-succinyl-l-homoserine; l-cysteine; l-cystathionine; AAT-I superfamily; Mycobacteria ulcerans; cystathionine γ-synthase
21.  The Structure of MbtI from Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the First Enzyme in the Biosynthesis of the Siderophore Mycobactin, Reveals It To Be a Salicylate Synthase 
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;188(17):6081-6091.
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.
PMCID: PMC1595383  PMID: 16923875
22.  Purification, crystallization and preliminary crystallographic studies of the TLDc domain of oxidation resistance protein 2 from zebrafish 
The crystallization of the TLDc domain of oxidation resistance protein 2 from zebrafish is reported.
Cell metabolic processes are constantly producing reactive oxygen species (ROS), which have deleterious effects by triggering, for example, DNA damage. Numerous enzymes such as catalase, and small compounds such as vitamin C, provide protection against ROS. The TLDc domain of the human oxidation resistance protein has been shown to be able to protect DNA from oxidative stress; however, its mechanism of action is still not understood and no structural information is available on this domain. Structural information on the TLDc domain may therefore help in understanding exactly how it works. Here, the purification, crystallization and preliminary crystallographic studies of the TLDc domain from zebrafish are reported. Crystals belonging to the orthorhombic space group P21212 were obtained and diffracted to 0.97 Å resolution. Selenomethionine-substituted protein could also be crystallized; these crystals diffracted to 1.1 Å resolution and the structure could be solved by SAD/MAD methods.
PMCID: PMC3212376  PMID: 22102041
oxidation resistance proteins; TLDc domain
23.  Structure of SAICAR synthase from Thermotoga maritima at 2.2 Å reveals an unusual covalent dimer 
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.
PMCID: PMC2222583  PMID: 16582479
SAICAR synthase; purine biosynthesis; Thermotoga maritima
24.  Leishmania Trypanothione Synthetase-Amidase Structure Reveals a Basis for Regulation of Conflicting Synthetic and Hydrolytic Activities*S⃞ 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2008;283(25):17672-17680.
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.
PMCID: PMC2427367  PMID: 18420578
25.  Crystallization, preliminary X-ray diffraction and structure solution of MosA, a dihydrodipicolinate synthase from Sinorhizobium meliloti L5-30 
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.
PMCID: PMC2150934  PMID: 16511261
dihydrodipicolinate synthase; rhizopine; nitrogen fixation; aldolase

Results 1-25 (668608)