Plant-parasitic nematodes produce at least one structurally unique class of small helix-rich retinol- and fatty-acid-binding proteins that have no counterparts in their plant hosts. Herein we describe a protein of the plant-parasitic root-knot nematode Meloidogyne javanica, which is a member of the nematode-specific fatty-acid- and retinol-binding (Mj-FAR-1) family of proteins. The mj-far-1 mRNA was detected through M. javanica pre-parasitic J2s, migratory and sedentary parasitic stages by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Immunolocalization assays demonstrate that the FAR protein of Meloidogyne is secreted during sedentary stages, as evidenced by the accumulation of FAR at the nematode cuticle surface and along the adjacent host root tissues. Tomato roots constitutively expressing mj-far-1 demonstrated an increased susceptibility to root-knot nematodes infection as observed by accelerated gall induction and expansion, accompanied by a higher percentage of nematodes developing into mature females compared to control roots. RNA interference assays that expressed double-stranded RNA complementary to mj-far-1 in transgenic tomato lines specifically reduced nematode infection levels. Histological analysis of nematode-infested roots indicated that in roots overexpressing mj-far-1, galls contained larger feeding cells and might support a faster nematode development and maturation. Roots overexpressing mj-far-1 suppressed jasmonic acid responsive genes such as the proteinase inhibitor (Pin2) and γ-thionin, illustrating the possible role of Mj-FAR-1 in manipulating the lipid based signaling in planta. This data, suggests that Meloidogyne FAR might have a strategic function during the interaction of the nematode with its plant host. Our study present the first demonstration of an in planta functional characterization and localization of FAR proteins secreted by plant-parasitic nematodes. It provides evidence that Mj-FAR-1 facilitates infection most likely via the manipulation of host lipid-based defenses, as critical components for a successful parasitism by plant-parasitic nematodes.
Rice white tip nematode, Aphelenchoides besseyi, is a kind of plant parasitic nematodes that cause serious losses in rice and many other crops. Fatty acid and retinoid binding protein (FAR) is a specific protein in nematodes and is related to development, reproduction, infection to the host, and disruption of plant defense reactions, so the inhibition of FAR function is the potential approach to control A. besseyi. The full-length of Ab-far-1 cDNA is 805 bp, including 546 bp of ORF that encodes 181 amino acids. Software analysis revealed that the Ab-FAR-1 was rich in α-helix structure, contained a predicted consensus casein kinase II phosphorylation site and a hydrophobic secretory signal peptide, but did not have glycosylation sites. The Ab-FAR-1 had 52% homology to Gp-FAR-1 protein. The Ab-FAR-1 and Gp-FAR-1 were grouped in the same branch according to the phylogenetic tree. Fluorescence-based ligand binding analysis confirmed that the recombinant Ab-FAR-1 (rAb-FAR-1) bound with the fluorescent analogues 11-((5-dimethylaminonaphthalene-1-sulfonyl) amino) undecannoic acid (DAUDA), cis-parinaric acid and retinol, but the oleic acid would compete with the binding site. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) was used to assess the expression level of Ab-far-1 at different development stages of A. besseyi, the highest expression was found in the females, followed by eggs, juveniles and males. Using in situ hybridization technique, Ab-far-1 mRNA was present in the hypodermis of juveniles and adults, the ovaries of females and the testes of males. When A. besseyi was treated with Ab-far-1 dsRNA for 48 h, the silencing efficiency of Ab-far-1 was the best and the number of nematodes on the carrot was the least. Thus FAR plays important roles in the development and reproduction of nematodes. This study is useful and helpful to figure out a new way to control the plant parasitic nematodes.
Hookworms, bloodfeeding intestinal nematodes, infect nearly one billion people in resource limited countries and are a leading cause of anemia and malnutrition. Like other nematodes, hookworms lack the capacity to synthesize essential fatty acids de novo and therefore must acquire those from exogenous sources. The cDNA corresponding to a putative Ancylostoma ceylanicum fatty acid and retinol binding protein-1 (AceFAR-1) was amplified from adult hookworm mRNA. Studies using quantitative reverse transcriptase real time-PCR demonstrate that AceFAR-1 transcripts are most abundant in the earliest developmental stages of the parasite, and greater in females than males. Using in vitro assays, the recombinant AceFAR-1 (rAceFAR-1) was shown to bind individual fatty acids with equilibrium dissociation constants in the low micromolar range. The pattern of fatty acid uptake by live adult worms cultured ex vivo was similar to the in vitro binding profile of rAceFAR-1, raising the possibility that the native protein may be involved in acquisition of fatty acids by A. ceylanicum. Animals vaccinated orally with rAceFAR-1 and the mucosal adjuvant cholera toxin exhibited a statistically significant (40–47%) reduction in intestinal worm burden compared with controls immunized with antigen or adjuvant alone. Together, these data suggest a potential role for AceFAR-1 in hookworm biology, making it a potentially valuable target for drug and vaccine development.
Hookworm; Fatty acid; Nematode; Ancylostoma; Fatty acid binding protein
As-p18, an unusual fatty-acid-binding protein from a parasitic nematode, was expressed in bacteria, purified and crystallized. The use of a microfocus beamline was essential for data collection.
As-p18 is a fatty-acid-binding protein from the parasitic nematode Ascaris suum. Although it exhibits sequence similarity to mammalian intracellular fatty-acid-binding proteins, it contains features that are unique to nematodes. Crystals were obtained, but initial diffraction data analysis revealed that they were composed of a number of ‘microdomains’. Interpretable data could only be collected using a microfocus beamline with a beam size of 12 × 8 µm.
fatty-acid-binding proteins; parasitic nematodes; Ascaris suum; microfocus beamlines
α-11 giardin from the intestinal protozoan parasite, G. lamblia has been cloned, expressed, purified and crystallized under two different conditions and in two different space groups. Crystals from the first condition diffracted to 1.1 Å and belong to a primitive orthorhombic space group and crystals obtained in the second condition diffracted to 2.93 Å and belong to a primitive monoclinic space group.
α-11 Giardin, a protein from the annexin superfamily, is a 35.0 kDa protein from the intestinal protozoan parasite Giardia lamblia which triggers a form of diarrhea called giardiasis. Here, the cloning, expression, purification and the crystallization of α-11 giardin under two different conditions and in two different space groups is reported. Crystals from the first condition diffracted to 1.1 Å and belong to a primitive orthorhombic space group, while crystals from the second condition, which included calcium in the crystallization solution, diffracted to 2.93 Å and belong to a primitive monoclinic space group. Determination of the detailed atomic structure of α-11 giardin will provide a better insight into its biological function and might establish whether this class of proteins is a potential drug target against giardiasis.
α-11 giardin; annexins; Giardia lamblia
Hp-FAR-1 is a major, secreted antigen of the parasitic nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus, a laboratory mouse model frequently used to study the cellular mechanisms of chronic helminth infections. The DNA encoding Hp-FAR-1 was recovered by screening a fourth larval (L4) H. polygyrus cDNA expression library using antibodies raised against L4 stage excretory/secretory (E/S) proteins. Predictions of secondary structure based on the Hp-FAR-1 amino acid sequence indicated that an alpha-helix predominates in Hp-FAR-1, possibly with some coiled-coil conformation, with no beta-structure. Fluorescence-based ligand binding analysis confirmed that the recombinant Hp-FAR-1 (rHp-FAR-1) binds the fluorescent fatty acid analog 11-((5-[dimethylaminoaphthalene-1-sulfonyl)amino)undecanoic acid (DAUDA), and by competition oleic acid. RT-PCR amplification of the hp-far-1 gene indicated that the gene is transcribed in all parasitic stages of the organism's life cycle. The presence of a secreted FAR protein in the well-defined laboratory model of H. polygyrus provides an excellent model for the further study and analysis of the in vivo role of secreted FAR proteins in parasitism, and supports the mounting evidence that secreted FAR proteins play a major role in nematode parasitism.
Heligmosomoides polygyrus; host-parasitic relationship; Hp-FAR-1; hp-far-1; lifecycle; molecular biology; nematode; retinol binding
Human hookworm infection is a major cause of anemia and malnutrition of adults and children in the developing world. As part of on-going efforts to control hookworm infection, The Human Hookworm Vaccine Initiative has identified candidate vaccine antigens from the infective L3 larval stages and adult stages of the parasite. Adult stage antigens include the cytosolic glutathione-S-transferases (GSTs). Nematode GSTs facilitate the inactivation and degradation of a variety of electrophilic substrates (drugs) via the nucleophilic addition of reduced glutathione. Parasite GSTs also play significant roles in multi-drug resistance and the modulation of host-immune defense mechanisms.
The crystal structures of Na-GST-1 and Na-GST-2, two major GSTs from Necator americanus the main human hookworm parasite, have been solved at the resolution limits of 2.4 Å and 1.9 Å respectively. The structure of Na-GST-1 was refined to R-factor 18.9% (R-free 28.3%) while that of Na-GST-2 was refined to R-factor 17.1% (R-free 21.7%). Glutathione usurped during the fermentation process in bound in the glutathione binding site (G-site) of each monomer of Na-GST-2. Na-GST-1 is uncomplexed and its G-site is abrogated by Gln 50. These first structures of human hookworm parasite GSTs could aid the design of novel hookworm drugs.
The 3-dimensional structures of Na-GST-1 and Na-GST-2 show two views of human hookworm GSTs. While the GST-complex structure of Na-GST-2 reveals a typical GST G-site that of Na-GST-1 suggests that there is some conformational flexibility required in order to bind the substrate GST. In addition, the overall binding cavities for both are larger, more open, as well as more accessible to diverse ligands than those of GSTs from organisms that have other major detoxifying mechanisms. The results from this study could aid in the design of novel drugs and vaccine antigens.
Hookworm glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) are critical for parasite blood feeding and survival and represent potential targets for vaccination. Three cDNAs, each encoding a full-length GST protein from the human hookworm Necator americanus (and designated Na-GST-1, Na-GST-2, and Na-GST-3, respectively) were isolated from cDNA based on their sequence similarity to Ac-GST-1, a GST from the dog hookworm Ancylostoma caninum. The open reading frames of the three N. americanus GSTs each contain 206 amino acids with 51% to 69% sequence identity between each other and Ac-GST-1. Sequence alignment with GSTs from other organisms shows that the three Na-GSTs belong to a nematode-specific nu-class GST family. All three Na-GSTs, when expressed in Pichia pastoris, exhibited low lipid peroxidase and glutathione-conjugating enzymatic activities but high heme-binding capacities, and they may be involved in the detoxification and/or transport of heme. In two separate vaccine trials, recombinant Na-GST-1 formulated with Alhydrogel elicited 32 and 39% reductions in adult hookworm burdens (P < 0.05) following N. americanus larval challenge relative to the results for a group immunized with Alhydrogel alone. In contrast, no protection was observed in vaccine trials with Na-GST-2 or Na-GST-3. On the basis of these and other preclinical data, Na-GST-1 is under possible consideration for further vaccine development.
The first structure of a two-CAP-domain protein, Na-ASP-1, from the major human hookworm parasite N. americanus refined to a resolution limit of 2.2 Å is presented.
Major proteins secreted by the infective larval stage hookworms upon host entry include Ancylostoma secreted proteins (ASPs), which are characterized by one or two CAP (cysteine-rich secretory protein/antigen 5/pathogenesis related-1) domains. The CAP domain has been reported in diverse phylogenetically unrelated proteins, but has no confirmed function. The first structure of a two-CAP-domain protein, Na-ASP-1, from the major human hookworm parasite Necator americanus was refined to a resolution limit of 2.2 Å. The structure was solved by molecular replacement (MR) using Na-ASP-2, a one-CAP-domain ASP, as the search model. The correct MR solution could only be obtained by truncating the polyalanine model of Na-ASP-2 and removing several loops. The structure reveals two CAP domains linked by an extended loop. Overall, the carboxyl-terminal CAP domain is more similar to Na-ASP-2 than to the amino-terminal CAP domain. A large central cavity extends from the amino-terminal CAP domain to the carboxyl-terminal CAP domain, encompassing the putative CAP-binding cavity. The putative CAP-binding cavity is a characteristic cavity in the carboxyl-terminal CAP domain that contains a His and Glu pair. These residues are conserved in all single-CAP-domain proteins, but are absent in the amino-terminal CAP domain. The conserved His residues are oriented such that they appear to be capable of directly coordinating a zinc ion as observed for CAP proteins from reptile venoms. This first structure of a two-CAP-domain ASP can serve as a template for homology modeling of other two-CAP-domain proteins.
Ancylostoma secreted proteins; Necator americanus; sperm coating protein; CAP domains; venom allergens; testis specific protein; venom antigen 5
Nematode polyprotein allergens (NPAs) are an unusual class of lipid-binding proteins found only in nematodes. They are synthesized as large, tandemly repetitive polyproteins that are post-translationally cleaved into multiple copies of small lipid binding proteins with virtually identical fatty acid and retinol (Vitamin A)-binding characteristics. They are probably central to transport and distribution of small hydrophobic compounds between the tissues of nematodes, and may play key roles in nutrient scavenging, immunomodulation, and IgE antibody-based responses in infection. In some species the repeating units are diverse in amino acid sequence, but, in ascarid and filarial nematodes, many of the units are identical or near-identical. ABA-1A is the most common repeating unit of the NPA of Ascaris suum, and is closely similar to that of Ascaris lumbricoides, the large intestinal roundworm of humans. Immune responses to NPAs have been associated with naturally-acquired resistance to infection in humans, and the immune repertoire to them is under strict genetic control.
The solution structure of ABA-1A was determined by protein nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The protein adopts a novel seven-helical fold comprising a long central helix that participates in two hollow four-helical bundles on either side. Discrete hydrophobic ligand-binding pockets are found in the N-terminal and C-terminal bundles, and the amino acid sidechains affected by ligand (fatty acid) binding were identified. Recombinant ABA-1A contains tightly-bound ligand(s) of bacterial culture origin in one of its binding sites.
This is the first mature, post-translationally processed, unit of a naturally-occurring tandemly-repetitive polyprotein to be structurally characterized from any source, and it belongs to a new structural class. NPAs have no counterparts in vertebrates, so represent potential targets for drug or immunological intervention. The nature of the (as yet) unidentified bacterial ligand(s) may be pertinent to this, as will our characterization of the unusual binding sites.
Parasitic nematode worms cause serious health problems in humans and other animals. They can induce allergic-type immune responses, which can be harmful but may at the same time protect against the infections. Allergens are proteins that trigger allergic reactions and these parasites produce a type that is confined to nematodes, the nematode polyprotein allergens (NPAs). These are synthesized as large precursor proteins comprising repeating units of similar amino acid sequence that are subsequently cleaved into multiple copies of the allergen protein. NPAs bind small lipids such as fatty acids and retinol (Vitamin A) and probably transport these sensitive and insoluble compounds between the tissues of the worms. Nematodes cannot synthesize these lipids, so NPAs may also be crucial for extracting nutrients from their hosts. They may also be involved in altering immune responses by controlling the lipids by which the immune and inflammatory cells communicate. We describe the molecular structure of one unit of an NPA, the well-known ABA-1 allergen of Ascaris, and find its structure to be of a type not previously found for lipid-binding proteins, and we describe the unusual sites where lipids bind within this structure.
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
ϕ29 bacteriophage scaffolding protein (gp7) has been overproduced in E. coli, purified, crystallized and characterized by X-ray diffraction. Two distinct crystal forms were obtained and a diffraction data set was collected to 1.8 Å resolution.
The Bacillus subtilis bacteriophage ϕ29 scaffolding protein (gp7) has been crystallized by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method at 293 K. Two new distinct crystal forms that both differed from a previously crystallized and solved scaffolding protein were grown under the same conditions. Form I belongs to the primitive tetragonal space group P41212, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 77.13, c = 37.12 Å. Form II crystals exhibit an orthorhombic crystal form, with space group C222 and unit-cell parameters a = 107.50, b = 107. 80, c = 37.34 Å. Complete data sets have been collected to 1.78 and 1.80 Å for forms I and II, respectively, at 100 K using Cu Kα X-rays from a rotating-anode generator. Calculation of a V
M value of 2.46 Å3 Da−1 for form I suggests the presence of one molecule in the asymmetric unit, corresponding to a solvent content of 50.90%, whereas form II has a V
M of 4.80 Å3 Da−1 with a solvent content of 48.76% and two molecules in the asymmetric unit. The structures of both crystal forms are being determined by the molecular-replacement method using the coordinates of the published crystal structure of gp7.
scaffolding protein; bacteriophage ϕ29
The blood-feeding hookworm Necator americanus infects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In order to elucidate fundamental molecular biological aspects of this hookworm, the transcriptome of the adult stage of Necator americanus was explored using next-generation sequencing and bioinformatic analyses.
A total of 19,997 contigs were assembled from the sequence data; 6,771 of these contigs had known orthologues in the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and most of them encoded proteins with WD40 repeats (10.6%), proteinase inhibitors (7.8%) or calcium-binding EF-hand proteins (6.7%). Bioinformatic analyses inferred that the C. elegans homologues are involved mainly in biological pathways linked to ribosome biogenesis (70%), oxidative phosphorylation (63%) and/or proteases (60%); most of these molecules were predicted to be involved in more than one biological pathway. Comparative analyses of the transcriptomes of N. americanus and the canine hookworm, Ancylostoma caninum, revealed qualitative and quantitative differences. For instance, proteinase inhibitors were inferred to be highly represented in the former species, whereas SCP/Tpx-1/Ag5/PR-1/Sc7 proteins ( = SCP/TAPS or Ancylostoma-secreted proteins) were predominant in the latter. In N. americanus, essential molecules were predicted using a combination of orthology mapping and functional data available for C. elegans. Further analyses allowed the prioritization of 18 predicted drug targets which did not have homologues in the human host. These candidate targets were inferred to be linked to mitochondrial (e.g., processing proteins) or amino acid metabolism (e.g., asparagine t-RNA synthetase).
This study has provided detailed insights into the transcriptome of the adult stage of N. americanus and examines similarities and differences between this species and A. caninum. Future efforts should focus on comparative transcriptomic and proteomic investigations of the other predominant human hookworm, A. duodenale, for both fundamental and applied purposes, including the prevalidation of anti-hookworm drug targets.
The blood-feeding hookworm Necator americanus infects hundreds of millions of people. To elucidate fundamental molecular biological aspects of this hookworm, the transcriptome of adult Necator americanus was studied using next-generation sequencing and in silico analyses. Contigs (n = 19,997) were assembled from the sequence data; 6,771 of them had known orthologues in the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and most encoded proteins with WD40 repeats (10.6%), proteinase inhibitors (7.8%) or calcium-binding EF-hand proteins (6.7%). Bioinformatic analyses inferred that C. elegans homologues are involved mainly in biological pathways linked to ribosome biogenesis (70%), oxidative phosphorylation (63%) and/or proteases (60%). Comparative analyses of the transcriptomes of N. americanus and the canine hookworm, Ancylostoma caninum, revealed qualitative and quantitative differences. Essential molecules were predicted using a combination of orthology mapping and functional data available for C. elegans. Further analyses allowed the prioritization of 18 predicted drug targets which did not have human homologues. These candidate targets were inferred to be linked to mitochondrial metabolism or amino acid synthesis. This investigation provides detailed insights into the transcriptome of the adult stage of N. americanus.
Soil-transmitted helminths are parasitic nematodes that inhabit the human intestine. These parasites, which include two hookworm species, Ancylostomaduodenale and Necator americanus, the whipworm Trichuristrichiura, and the large roundworm Ascarislumbricoides, infect upwards of two billion people and are a major cause of disease burden in children and pregnant women. The challenge with treating these diseases is that poverty, safety, and inefficient public health policy have marginalized drug development and distribution to control infection in humans. Anthelmintics (anti-worm drugs) have historically been developed and tested for treatment of non-human parasitic nematodes that infect livestock and companion animals. Here we systematically compare the in vitro efficacy of all major anthelmintic classes currently used in human therapy (benzimidazoles, nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonists, macrocyclic lactones, nitazoxanide) against species closely related to human parasitic nematodes-Ancylostoma ceylanicum, Trichurismuris, and Ascarissuum--- as well as a rodent parasitic nematode used in veterinary drug discovery, Heligmosomoidesbakeri, and the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Extensive in vitro data is complemented with single-dose in vivo data in three rodent models of parasitic diseases. We find that the effects of the drugs in vitro and in vivo can vary greatly among these nematode species, e.g., the efficacy of albendazole is strong on A. ceylanicum but weak on H. bakeri. Nonetheless, certain commonalities of the in vitro effects of the drugs can be seen, e.g., nitazoxanide consistently shows an all-or-nothing response. Our in vitro data suggest that further optimization of the clinical efficacy of some of these anthelmintics could be achieved by altering the treatment routine and/or dosing. Most importantly, our in vitro and in vivo data indicate that the hookworm A. ceylanicum is a particularly sensitive and useful model for anthelmintic studies and should be incorporated early on in drug screens for broad-spectrum human soil-transmitted helminth therapies.
Low iodide concentrations were sufficient to allow SAD and SIRAS phasing of cubic crystals of a novel fatty acid isomerase using Cu Kα radiation.
The polyenoic fatty-acid isomerase from Propionibacterium acnes (PAI) catalyzes the double-bond isomerization of linoleic acid to conjugated linoleic acid, which is a dairy- or meat-derived fatty acid in the human diet. PAI was overproduced in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity as a yellow-coloured protein. The nature of the bound cofactor was analyzed by absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy. Single crystals of PAI were obtained in two crystal forms. Cubic shaped crystals belong to space group I213, with a unit-cell parameter of 160.4 Å, and plate-like crystals belong to the monoclinic space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 133.7, b = 60.8, c = 72.2 Å, β = 115.8°. Both crystal forms contain one molecule per asymmetric unit and diffract to a resolution of better than 2.0 Å. Initial phases were obtained by SIRAS from in-house data from a cubic crystal that was soaked with an unusually low KI concentration of 0.25 M.
fatty-acid isomerases; Propionibacterium acnes
A recombinant cysteine protease inhibitor from the human nematode parasite A. lumbricoides has been overexpressed in E. coli, purified and crystallized. Diffraction data were collected to 2.1 Å resolution.
The cysteine protease inhibitor from Ascaris lumbricoides, a roundworm that lives in the human intestine, may be involved in the suppression of human immune responses. Here, the molecular cloning, protein expression and purification, preliminary crystallization and crystallographic characterization of the cysteine protease inhibitor from A. lumbricoides are reported. The rod-shaped crystal belonged to space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 99.40, b = 37.52, c = 62.92 Å, β = 118.26°. The crystal diffracted to 2.1 Å resolution and contained two molecules in the asymmetric unit.
cysteine protease inhibitors; nematode parasites; Ascaris lumbricoides
Serum albumin is one of the most widely studied proteins. It is the most abundant protein in plasma with a typical concentration of 5 g/100 mL and the principal transporter of fatty acids in plasma. While the crystal structures of human serum albumin (HSA) free and in complex with fatty acids, hemin, and local anesthetics have been characterized, no crystallographic models are available on bovine serum albumin (BSA), presumably because of the poor diffraction power of existing hexagonal BSA crystals. Here, the crystallization and diffraction data of a new BSA crystal form, obtained by the hanging drop method using MPEG 5K as precipitating agent, are presented. The crystals belong to space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 216.45 Å, b = 44.72 Å, c = 140.18 Å, β = 114.5°. Dehydration was found to increase the diffraction limit of BSA crystals from ~8 Å to 3.2 Å, probably by improving the packing of protein molecules in the crystal lattice. These results, together with a survey of more than 60 successful cases of protein crystal dehydration, confirm that it can be a useful procedure to be used in initial screening as a method of improving the diffraction limits of existing crystals.
serum albumin; protein crystallization; crystal dehydration; crystal quality; X-ray crystallography; post-crystallization treatment
Bacterial acyl carrier protein synthase plays an essential role in the synthesis of fatty acids, nonribosomal peptides and polyketides. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis, AcpS or group I phosphopentatheine transferase exhibits two different structural conformations depending upon the pH.
The crystal structures of acyl carrier protein synthase (AcpS) from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and Corynebacterium ammoniagenes determined at pH 5.3 and pH 6.5, respectively, are reported. Comparison of the Mtb apo-AcpS structure with the recently reported structure of the Mtb AcpS–ADP complex revealed that AcpS adopts two different conformations: the orthorhombic and trigonal space-group structures show structural differences in the α2 helix and in the conformation of the α3–α4 connecting loop, which is in a closed conformation. The apo-AcpS structure shows electron density for the entire model and was obtained at lower pH values (4.4–6.0). In contrast, at a higher pH value (6.5) AcpS undergoes significant conformational changes, resulting in disordered regions that show no electron density in the AcpS model. The solved structures also reveal that C. ammoniagenes AcpS undergoes structural rearrangement in two regions, similar to the recently reported Mtb AcpS–ADP complex structure. In vitro reconstitution experiments show that AcpS has a higher post-translational modification activity between pH 4.4 and 6.0 than at pH values above 6.5, where the activity drops owing to the change in conformation. The results show that apo-AcpS and AcpS–ADP adopt different conformations depending upon the pH conditions of the crystallization solution.
acyl carrier protein synthases; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Corynebacterium ammoniagenes; acyl carrier proteins; fatty-acid synthases
Partial proteolysis of the avian reovirus cell-attachment protein σC yields a major homotrimeric C-terminal fragment that presumably contains the receptor-binding domain. This fragment has been crystallized in the presence and absence of zinc sulfate and cadmium sulfate. One of the crystal forms diffracts synchrotron X-rays to 2.2–2.3 Å.
Avian reovirus fibre, a homotrimer of the σC protein, is responsible for primary host-cell attachment. Using the protease trypsin, a C-terminal σC fragment containing amino acids 156–326 has been generated which was subsequently purified and crystallized. Two different crystal forms were obtained, one grown in the absence of divalent cations and belonging to space group P6322 (unit-cell parameters a = 75.6, c = 243.1 Å) and one grown in the presence of either zinc or cadmium sulfate and belonging to space group P321 (unit-cell parameters a = 74.7, c = 74.5 Å and a = 73.1, c = 69.9 Å for the ZnII- and CdII-grown crystals, respectively). The first crystal form diffracted synchrotron radiation to 3.0 Å resolution and the second form to 2.2–2.3 Å. Its closest related structure, the C-terminal fragment of mammalian reovirus fibre, has only 18% sequence identity and molecular-replacement attempts were unsuccessful. Therefore, a search is under way for suitable heavy-atom derivatives and attempts are being made to grow protein crystals containing selenomethionine instead of methionine.
avian reovirus fibre; σC
The crystallization and results of multiwavelength anomalous diffraction studies of a recombinant C3-inhibitory fragment of Efb from S. aureus are reported.
The extracellular fibrinogen-binding protein (Efb) of Staphylococcus aureus is a multifunctional virulence factor capable of potent inhibition of complement component-3 (C3) activity in addition to its previously described fibrinogen-binding properties. A truncated recombinant form of Efb (Efb-C) that binds C3 has been overexpressed and purified and has been crystallized using the hanging-drop vapor-diffusion technique. Crystals of native Efb-C grew in the tetragonal space group P43 (unit-cell parameters a = b = 59.53, c = 46.63 Å) with two molecules in the asymmetric unit and diffracted well beyond 1.25 Å limiting Bragg spacing. To facilitate de novo phasing of the Efb-C crystals, two independent site-directed mutants were engineered in which either residue Ile112 or Val140 was replaced with methionine and crystals isomorphous to those of native Efb-C were reproduced using a seleno-l-methionine-labeled form of each mutant protein. Multiwavelength anomalous diffraction (MAD) data were collected on both mutants and analyzed for their phasing power toward solution and refinement of a high-resolution Efb-C crystal structure.
Efb; Staphylococcus aureus; virulence factor
The expression, purification and crystallization of the periplasmic protein AlgX from P. aeruginosa is described. The crystals diffracted to 2.1 Å resolution.
AlgX is a periplasmic protein required for the production of the exopolysaccharide alginate in Pseudomonas sp. and Azotobacter vinelandii. AlgX has been overexpressed and purified and diffraction-quality crystals have been grown using iterative seeding and the hanging-drop vapor-diffusion method. The crystals grew as flat plates with unit-cell parameters a = 46.4, b = 120.6, c = 86.9 Å, β = 95.7°. The crystals exhibited the symmetry of space group P21 and diffracted to a minimum d-spacing of 2.1 Å. On the basis of the Matthews coefficient (V
M = 2.25 Å3 Da−1), two molecules were estimated to be present in the asymmetric unit.
AlgX; alginate; exopolysaccharides; biofilms; Pseudomonas aeruginosa; cystic fibrosis
Industrially used carbohydrate oxidase was successfully crystallized in several forms, diffraction data suitable for structural analysis were collected.
Microdochium nivale carbohydrate oxidase was produced by heterologous recombinant expression in Aspergillus oryzae, purified and crystallized. The enzyme crystallizes with varying crystal morphologies depending on the crystallization conditions. Several different crystal forms were obtained using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method, two of which were used for diffraction measurements. Hexagon-shaped crystals (form I) diffracted to 2.66 Å resolution, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 55.7, c = 610.4 Å and apparent space group P6222. Analysis of the data quality showed almost perfect twinning of the crystals. Attempts to solve the structure by molecular replacement did not give satisfactory results. Recently, clusters of rod-shaped crystals (form II) were grown in a solution containing PEG MME 550. These crystals belonged to the monoclinic system C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 132.9, b = 56.6, c = 86.5 Å, β = 95.7°. Data sets were collected to a resolution of 2.4 Å. The structure was solved by the molecular-replacement method. Model refinement is currently in progress.
carbohydrate oxidases; Microdochium nivale
A 79 kDa fragment of FlgE from C. jejuni has been crystallized.
A 79 kDa fragment of the bacterial flagellar hook protein FlgE from Campylobacter jejuni was cloned, overexpressed, purified and crystallized. Two different crystal forms were obtained. Synchrotron X-ray diffraction data showed that the first crystal form, which diffracted to 4.9 Å resolution, belonged to the tetragonal crystal system, with space group I4122 and unit-cell parameters a = b = 186.2, c = 386.6 Å, α = β = γ = 90°. The second crystal form diffracted to 2.5 Å resolution and belonged to the monoclinic crystal system, with space group P21 and unit-cell parameters a = 75.7, b = 173.8, c = 150.8 Å, α = γ = 90, β = 106.5°. SeMet protein was also overexpressed, purified and crystallized, and a 2.6 Å resolution MAD data set was collected.
FlgE; hook proteins; bacterial flagella; motility; universal joints; nanomachines
AlgX is a periplasmic protein required for the production of the exopolysaccharide alginate in Pseudomonas sp. and Azotobacter vinelandii. AlgX has been overexpressed and purified and diffraction-quality crystals have been grown using iterative seeding and the hanging-drop vapor-diffusion method. The crystals grew as flat plates with unit-cell parameters a = 46.4, b = 120.6, c = 86.9 Å, β = 95.7°. The crystals exhibited the symmetry of space group P21 and diffracted to a minimum d-spacing of 2.1 Å. On the basis of the Matthews coefficient (VM = 2.25 Å3 Da−1), two molecules were estimated to be present in the asymmetric unit.
PMID: 20445266 CAMSID: cams1418
Naturally occurring human immunity to both schistosomiasis and hookworm infection has been associated with IgE responses against parasite allergen-like proteins. Since the two helminths frequently coinfect the same individuals, there is growing advocacy for their concurrent treatment. However, both helminths are known to exert strong immunomodulatory effects; therefore, coinfected individuals could have immune responses different from those characteristically seen in monoinfected individuals. In this study, we measured changes in IgE, IgG1, and IgG4 responses to schistosome and hookworm antigens, including the allergen-like proteins Schistosoma mansoni tegumental-allergen-like 1 protein (SmTAL1), SmTAL2, and Necator americanus Ancylostoma-secreted protein-2 (Na-ASP-2), following concurrent treatment of schoolchildren coinfected with Schistosoma mansoni and hookworm. Antibody responses to schistosome egg (soluble egg antigen and SmTAL2) or somatic adult hookworm (AHW) antigens either decreased after treatment or were unchanged, whereas those to schistosome worm antigens (soluble worm antigen and SmTAL1) increased. The observed different effects of treatment likely reflect the different modes of drug action and sites of infection for these two helminths. Importantly, there was no evidence that the simultaneous treatment of coinfected children with praziquantel and albendazole affected schistosome- and hookworm-specific humoral responses differently from those characteristic of populations in which only one organism is endemic; schistosome- and hookworm-specific responses were not associated, and there was no evidence for cross-regulation. Posttreatment increases in the levels of IgE to schistosome worm antigens were associated with lower Schistosoma mansoni reinfection intensity, while no associations between humoral responses to AHW antigen and protection from hookworm reinfection were observed in this sample of school-aged children.