The linking together of molecular fragments that bind to adjacent sites on an enzyme can lead to high affinity inhibitors. Ideally, this strategy would employ linkers that do not perturb the optimal binding geometries of the fragments and do not have excessive conformational flexibility that would increase the entropic penalty of binding. In reality, these aims are seldom realized due to limitations in linker chemistry. Here we systematically explore the energetic and structural effects of rigid and flexible linkers on the binding of a fragment-based inhibitor of human uracil DNA glycosylase. Analysis of the free energies of binding in combination with co-crystal structures shows that the flexibility and strain of a given linker can have a significant impact on binding affinity even when the binding fragments are optimally positioned. Such effects are not apparent from inspection of structures and underscore the importance of linker optimization in fragment-based drug discovery efforts.
Crystallography of ribosomes, the universal cell nucleoprotein assemblies facilitating the translation of the genetic-code into proteins, met with severe problems owing to their large size, complex structure, inherent flexibility and high conformational variability. For the case of the small ribosomal subunit, which caused extreme difficulties, post crystallization treatment by minute amounts of a heteropolytungstate cluster allowed structure determination at atomic resolution. This cluster played a dual role in ribosomal crystallography: providing anomalous phasing power and dramatically increased the resolution, by stabilization of a selected functional conformation. Thus, four out of the fourteen clusters that bind to each of the crystallized small subunits are attached to a specific ribosomal protein in a fashion that may control a significant component of the subunit internal flexibility, by “gluing” symmetrical related subunits. Here we highlight basic issues in the relationship between metal ions and macromolecules and present common traits controlling in the interactions between polymetalates and various macromolecules, which may be extended towards the exploitation of polymetalates for therapeutical treatment.
Ribosome; ribosomal functional flexibility; heteropolytungstates; crystal order; protein S2
The crystal structure of the 37.2 kDa At3g21360 gene product from A. thaliana was determined at 2.4 Å resolution. The structure establishes that this protein binds a metal ion and is a member of a clavaminate synthase-like superfamily in A. thaliana.
The crystal structure of the gene product of At3g21360 from Arabidopsis thaliana was determined by the single-wavelength anomalous dispersion method and refined to an R factor of 19.3% (R
free = 24.1%) at 2.4 Å resolution. The crystal structure includes two monomers in the asymmetric unit that differ in the conformation of a flexible domain that spans residues 178–230. The crystal structure confirmed that At3g21360 encodes a protein belonging to the clavaminate synthase-like superfamily of iron(II) and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent enzymes. The metal-binding site was defined and is similar to the iron(II) binding sites found in other members of the superfamily.
The crystal structure of a Z-DNA hexamer duplex d(CGCGCG)2 determined at ultra high resolution of 0.55 Å and refined without restraints, displays a high degree of regularity and rigidity in its stereochemistry, in contrast to the more flexible B-DNA duplexes. The estimations of standard uncertainties of all individually refined parameters, obtained by full-matrix least-squares optimization, are comparable with values that are typical for small-molecule crystallography. The Z-DNA model generated with ultra high-resolution diffraction data can be used to revise the stereochemical restraints applied in lower resolution refinements. Detailed comparisons of the stereochemical library values with the present accurate Z-DNA parameters, shows in general a good agreement, but also reveals significant discrepancies in the description of guanine-sugar valence angles and in the geometry of the phosphate groups.
The crystal structure of a phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein from P. vivax, a homolog of Raf-kinase inhibitor protein (RKIP), has been solved to a resolution of 1.3 Å. The inferred interaction surface near the anion-binding site is found to include a distinctive left-handed α-helix.
The structure of a putative Raf kinase inhibitor protein (RKIP) homolog from the eukaryotic parasite Plasmodium vivax has been studied to a resolution of 1.3 Å using multiple-wavelength anomalous diffraction at the Se K edge. This protozoan protein is topologically similar to previously studied members of the phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein (PEBP) sequence family, but exhibits a distinctive left-handed α-helical region at one side of the canonical phospholipid-binding site. Re-examination of previously determined PEBP structures suggests that the P. vivax protein and yeast carboxypeptidase Y inhibitor may represent a structurally distinct subfamily of the diverse PEBP-sequence family.
phosphatidylethanolamine-binding protein; Plasmodium vivax
Crystallization and preliminary diffraction data of the N-terminal 19–139 fragment of the origin-binding domain of bacteriophage λ O replication initiator are reported.
The bacteriophage λ O protein binds to the λ replication origin (oriλ) and serves as the primary replication initiator for the viral genome. The binding energy derived from the binding of O to oriλ is thought to help drive DNA opening to facilitate initiation of DNA replication. Detailed understanding of this process is severely limited by the lack of high-resolution structures of O protein or of any lambdoid phage-encoded paralogs either with or without DNA. The production of crystals of the origin-binding domain of λ O that diffract to 2.5 Å is reported. Anomalous dispersion methods will be used to solve this structure.
bacteriophage λ; O replication initiator; origin-binding domain
The crystal structure of a putative transcriptional regulator protein TM1030 from Thermotoga maritima, a hyperthermophilic bacterium, was determined by an unusual multi-wavelength anomalous dispersion method at 2.0 Å resolution., in which data from two different crystals and two different beamlines were used. The protein belongs to the tetracycline repressor TetR superfamily. The three-dimensional structure of TM1030 is similar to the structures of proteins that function as multidrug-binding transcriptional repressors, and contains a large solvent-exposed pocket similar to the drug-binding pockets present in those repressors. The asymmetric unit in the crystal structure contains a single protein chain and the two-fold symmetry of the dimer is adopted by the crystal symmetry. The structure described in this paper is an apo-form of TM1030. Although it is known that the protein is significantly overexpressed during heat shock, its detailed function cannot be yet explained.
Transcriptional regulator; TM1030; DNA-binding; MAD
The Tyr35→Gly replacement in bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor (BPTI) has previously been shown to dramatically enhance the flexibility of the trypsin-binding region of the free inhibitor and to destabilize the interaction with the protease by about 3 kcal/mol. The effects of this replacement on the enzyme-inhibitor interaction were further studied here by x-ray crystallography and isothermal titration calorimetry. The co-crystal structure of Y35G BPTI bound to trypsin was determined using 1.65 Å resolution x-ray diffraction data collected from cryopreserved crystals, and a new structure of the complex with wild-type BPTI under the same conditions was determined using 1.62 Å data. These structures reveal that, in contrast to the free protein, Y35G BPTI adopts a conformation nearly identical to that of the wild-type protein, with a water-filled cavity in place of the missing Tyr side chain. The crystallographic temperature factors for the two complexes indicate that the mutant inhibitor is nearly as rigid as the wild-type protein when bound to trypsin. Calorimetric measurements show that the change in enthalpy upon dissociation of the complex is 2.5 kcal/mol less favorable for the complex containing Y35G BPTI than for the complex with the wild-type inhibitor. Thus, the destabilization of the complex resulting from the Y35G replacement is due to a more favorable change in entropy upon dissociation. The heat capacity changes for dissociation of the mutant and wild-type complexes were very similar, suggesting that the entropic effects probably do not arise from solvation effects, but are more likely due to an increase in protein conformational entropy upon dissociation of the mutant inhibitor. These results define the biophysical role of a highly conserved core residue located outside of a protein-binding interface, demonstrating that Tyr35 has little impact on the trypsin-bound BPTI structure and acts primarily to define the structure of the free protein so as to maximize binding affinity.
bovine pancreatic trypsin inhibitor; x-ray crystallography; isothermal titration calorimetry; protein flexibility; binding entropy
Structure-based drug design relies on static protein structures despite significant evidence for the need to include protein dynamics as a serious consideration. In practice, dynamic motions are neglected because they are not understood well enough to model – a situation resulting from a lack of explicit experimental examples of dynamic receptor-ligand complexes. Here, we report high-resolution details of pronounced ~1 ms timescale motions of a receptor-small molecule complex using a combination of NMR and X-ray crystallography. Large conformational dynamics in Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase are driven by internal switching motions of the drug-like, nanomolar-affinity inhibitor. Carr-Purcell-Meiboom-Gill relaxation dispersion experiments and NOEs revealed the crystal structure to contain critical elements of the high energy protein-ligand conformation. The availability of accurate, structurally resolved dynamics in a protein-ligand complex should serve as a valuable benchmark for modeling dynamics in other receptor-ligand complexes and prediction of binding affinities.
The automation of protein structure determination is an essential component for high-throughput structural analysis in protein X-ray crystallography and is a key element in structural genomics. This highly challenging undertaking relies at present on the availability of high-quality native and derivatized protein crystals diffracting to high or moderate resolution, respectively. Obtaining such crystals often requires significant effort. The present study demonstrates that phases obtained at low resolution (>3.0 Å) from crystals of SeMet-labeled protein can be successfully used for automated structure determination. The crystal structure of acetate CoA-transferase α-subunit was solved using 3.4 Å multiwavelength anomalous dispersion data collected from a crystal containing SeMet-substituted protein and 1.9 Å data collected from a native protein crystal.
High-mobility group B (HMGB) proteins bind duplex DNA without sequence specificity,
facilitating the formation of compact nucleoprotein structures by increasing the apparent
flexibility of DNA through the introduction of DNA kinks. It has remained unclear whether
HMGB binding and DNA kinking are simultaneous and whether the induced kink is rigid
(static) or flexible. The detailed molecular mechanism of HMGB-induced DNA
‘softening’ is explored here by single-molecule fluorescence resonance energy
transfer studies of single yeast Nhp6A (yNhp6A) proteins binding to short DNA duplexes. We
show that the local effect of yNhp6A protein binding to DNA is consistent with formation
of a single static kink that is short lived (lifetimes of a few seconds) under
physiological buffer conditions. Within the time resolution of our experiments, this
static kink occurs at the instant the protein binds to the DNA, and the DNA straightens at
the instant the protein dissociates from the DNA. Our observations support a model in
which HMGB proteins soften DNA through random dynamic binding and dissociation,
accompanied by DNA kinking and straightening, respectively.
The crystal structure of the cdk5/p25 complex has provided information on possible molecular mechanisms of ligand binding, specificity, and regulation of the kinase. Comparative molecular dynamics simulations are reported here for physiological conditions. This study provides new insight on the mechanisms that modulate such processes, which may be exploited to control the pathological activation by p25. The structural changes observed in the kinase are stabilized by a network of interactions involving highly conserved residues within the cdk family. Collective motions of the proteins (cdk5, p25, and CIP) and their complexes are identified by principal component analysis, revealing two conformational states of the activation loop upon p25 complexation, which are absent in the uncomplexed kinase and not apparent from the crystal. Simulations of the uncomplexed inhibitor CIP show structural rearrangements and increased flexibility of the interfacial loop containing the critical residue E240, which becomes fully hydrated and available for interactions with one of several positively charged residues in the kinase. These changes provide a rationale for the observed high affinity and enhanced inhibitory action of CIP when compared to either p25 or to the physiological activators of cdk5.
Determining the structure of a small molecule bound to a biological receptor (e.g., a protein implicated in a disease state) is a necessary step in structure-based drug design. The preferred conformation of a small molecule can change when bound to a protein, and a detailed knowledge of the preferred conformation(s) of a bound ligand can help in optimizing the affinity of a molecule for its receptor. However, the quality of a protein/ligand complex determined using X-ray crystallography is dependent on the size of the protein, crystal quality and the realized resolution. The energy restraints used in traditional X-ray refinement procedures typically use “reduced” (i.e., neglect of electrostatics and dispersion interactions) Engh and Huber force field models that, while quite suitable for modeling proteins often are less suitable for small molecule structures due to a lack of validated parameters. Through the use of ab initio QM/MM based X-ray refinement procedures this shortcoming can be overcome especially in the active site or binding site of a small molecule inhibitor. Herein, we demonstrate that ab initio QM/MM refinement of an inhibitor/protein complex provides insights into the binding of small molecules beyond what is available using more traditional refinement protocols. In particular, QM/MM refinement studies of benzamidinium derivatives show variable conformational preferences depending on the refinement protocol used and the nature of the active site region.
It is demonstrated that anomalous diffraction based on the signal from a cobalt ion measured on a conventional monochromatic X-ray source can be used to determine the structure of a protein with a novel fold (M. lini avirulence protein AvrL567-A). The approach could be applicable to many metal-binding proteins, particularly when synchrotron radiation is not readily available.
Metal-binding sites are ubiquitous in proteins and can be readily utilized for phasing. It is shown that a protein crystal structure can be solved using single-wavelength anomalous diffraction based on the anomalous signal of a cobalt ion measured on a conventional monochromatic X-ray source. The unique absorption edge of cobalt (1.61 Å) is compatible with the Cu Kα wavelength (1.54 Å) commonly available in macromolecular crystallography laboratories. This approach was applied to the determination of the structure of Melampsora lini avirulence protein AvrL567-A, a protein with a novel fold from the fungal pathogen flax rust that induces plant disease resistance in flax plants. This approach using cobalt ions may be applicable to all cobalt-binding proteins and may be advantageous when synchrotron radiation is not readily available.
AvrL567-A; cobalt; plant disease resistance; single-wavelength anomalous diffraction
Expression, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction studies of a novel bifunctional N-acetylglutamate synthase/kinase from X. campestris homologous to vertebrate N-acetylglutamate synthase are reported.
A novel N-acetylglutamate synthase/kinase bifunctional enzyme of arginine biosynthesis that was homologous to vertebrate N-acetylglutamate synthases was identified in Xanthomonas campestris. The protein was overexpressed, purified and crystallized. The crystals belong to the hexagonal space group P6222, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 134.60, c = 192.11 Å, and diffract to about 3.0 Å resolution. Selenomethionine-substituted recombinant protein was produced and selenomethionine substitution was verified by mass spectroscopy. Multiple anomalous dispersion (MAD) data were collected at three wavelengths at SER-CAT, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory. Structure determination is under way using the MAD phasing method.
argA; argB; N-acetylglutamate synthase; N-acetylglutamate kinase; bifunctional enzymes; arginine biosynthesis
Although lipid phases are routinely studied by X-ray diffraction, their unit cell structures have rarely been constructed from the diffraction data except for the lamellar phases. This is due to the well-known phase problem of X-ray diffraction. Here we successfully applied the multiwavelength anomalous dispersion (MAD) method to solve the phase problem for an inverted hexagonal phase of a phospholipid with brominated chains. Although the principle of the MAD method for all systems is the same, we found that for lipid structures it is necessary to use a procedure of analysis significantly different from that used for protein crystals. The inverted hexagonal phase has been used to study the chain packing in a hydrophobic interstice where three monolayers meet. Hydrophobic interstices are of great interest, because they occur in the intermediate states of membrane fusion. It is generally believed that chain packing in such a region is energy costly. Consequently it has been speculated that the inverted lipid tube is likely to deviate from a circular shape, and the chain density distribution might be non-uniform. The bromine distribution obtained from the MAD analysis provides the information for the chain packing in the hexagonal unit cell. The intensity of the bromine distribution is undulated around the unit cell. The analysis shows that the lipid chains pack the hexagonal unit cell at constant volume per chain, with no detectable effect from a high-energy interstitial region.
A GTP-binding protein from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus has been crystallized. Combined with biochemical analyses, it is expected that the structure of this protein will give insight in the function of a relatively unknown subfamily of the GTPase superfamily.
A predicted GTP-binding protein from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus, termed SsGBP, has been cloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli. The purified protein was crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion technique in the presence of 0.05 M cadmium sulfate and 0.8 M sodium acetate pH 7.5. A single-wavelength anomalous dispersion data set was collected to a maximum resolution of 2.0 Å using a single cadmium-incorporated crystal. The crystal form belongs to space group P212121, with approximate unit-cell parameters a = 65.0, b = 72.6, c = 95.9 Å and with a monomer in the asymmetric unit.
GTP-binding protein; SsGBP; Sulfolobus solfataricus
Using single-wavelength anomalous dispersion data obtained from a gold-derivatized crystal, the X-ray crystal structure of the protein 067745_AQUAE from the prokaryotic organism Aquifex aeolicus has been determined to a resolution of 2.0 Å.
Using single-wavelength anomalous dispersion data obtained from a gold-derivatized crystal, the X-ray crystal structure of the protein 067745_AQUAE from the prokaryotic organism Aquifex aeolicus has been determined to a resolution of 2.0 Å. Amino-acid residues 1–371 of the 44 kDa protein were identified by Pfam as an HD domain and a member of the metal-dependent phosphohydrolase superfamily (accession No. PF01966). Although three families from this large and diverse group of enzymatic proteins are represented in the PDB, the structure of 067745_AQUAE reveals a unique fold that is unlike the others and that is likely to represent a new subfamily, further organizing the families and characterizing the proteins. Data are presented that provide the first insights into the structural organization of the proteins within this clan and a distal alternative GDP-binding domain outside the metal-binding active site is proposed.
067745_AQUAE ; Aquifex aeolicus; HD domains
The first crystallographic study of a member of the NLP (Nep1-like protein) toxin and elicitor protein family is reported.
The elicitor protein Nep1-like protein from the plant pathogen Pythium aphanidermatum was purified and crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. A native data set was collected to 1.35 Å resolution at 100 K using synchrotron radiation. Since selenomethionine-labelled protein did not crystallize under the original conditions, a second crystal form was identified that yielded crystals that diffracted to 2.1 Å resolution. A multiple-wavelength anomalous dispersion (MAD) experiment was performed at 100 K and all four selenium sites were identified, which allowed solution of the structure.
elicitor proteins; plant pathogens; MAD; SeMet
The crystal structure of the first representative of the Pfam PF07336 (DUF1470) family reveals a two-domain organization that contains a new fold, termed the ABATE domain, at the N-terminus and a treble-clef zinc finger that is likely to bind DNA at the C-terminus.
The crystal structure of Jann_2411 from Jannaschia sp. strain CCS1, a member of the Pfam PF07336 family classified as a domain of unknown function (DUF1470), was solved to a resolution of 1.45 Å by multiple-wavelength anomalous dispersion (MAD). This protein is the first structural representative of the DUF1470 Pfam family. Structural analysis revealed a two-domain organization, with the N-terminal domain presenting a new fold called the ABATE domain that may bind an as yet unknown ligand. The C-terminal domain forms a treble-clef zinc finger that is likely to be involved in DNA binding. Analysis of the Jann_2411 protein and the broader ABATE-domain family suggests a role as stress-induced transcriptional regulators.
structural genomics; environmental stress; domains of unknown function; Pfam; bound metal identification
The crystal structure of a probable pyridoxine 5′-phosphate oxidase, Rv2074 from M. tuberculosis, has been solved by the two-wavelength anomalous dispersion method and has been refined at 1.6 Å resolution. Two citric acid molecules are bound fortuitously to the possible active site of Rv2074.
The crystal structure of a conserved hypothetical protein corresponding to open reading frame Rv2074 from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) has been solved by the two-wavelength anomalous dispersion method. Refinement of the molecular structure at 1.6 Å resolution resulted in an R
work of 0.178 and an R
free of 0.204. The crystal asymmetric unit contains an Rv2074 monomer; however, the crystallographic twofold symmetry operation of space group P43212 generates dimeric Rv2074. Each monomer folds into a six-stranded antiparallel β-barrel flanked by two α-helices. The three-dimensional structure of Rv2074 is very similar to that of Mtb Rv1155, a probable pyridoxine 5′-phosphate oxidase (PNPOx), which corroborates well with the relatively high sequence similarity (52%) between the two. A structural comparison between Rv2074 and Rv1155 revealed that the core structure (a six-stranded β-barrel) is also well conserved; the major differences between the two lie in the N- and C-termini and in the small helical domain. Two citric acid molecules were observed in the active site of Rv2074, the crystals of which were grown in 0.2 M sodium citrate buffer pH 5.0. The citric acid molecules are bound to Rv2074 by hydrogen-bonding interactions with Thr55, Gln60 and Lys61. One of the two citric acid molecules occupies the same spatial position that corresponds to the position of the phosphate and ribose sugar moieties of the flavin mononucleotide (FMN) in the Mtb Rv1155–FMN, Escherichia coli PNPOx–FMN and human PNPOx–FMN complex structures. Owing to its extensive structural similarity with Mtb Rv1155 and to the E. coli and human PNPOx enzymes, Rv2074 may be involved in the final step in the biosynthesis of pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP; a vitamin B6).
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; β-barrel; citric acid; pyridoxine 5′-phosphate oxidase
The availability of high-intensity synchrotron facilities, technological advances in data-collection techniques and improved data-reduction and crystallographic software have ushered in a new era in high-throughput macromolecular crystallography. Here, the de novo automated crystal structure determination at 1.28 Å resolution of an NAD(P)H-dependent FMN reductase flavoprotein from Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA01-derived protein Q9I4D4 using the anomalous signal from an unusually small number of S atoms is reported. Although this protein lacks the flavodoxin key fingerprint motif [(T/S)XTGXT], it has been confirmed to bind flavin mononucleotide and the binding site was identified via X-ray crystallography. This protein contains a novel flavin mononucleotide-binding site GSLRSGSYN, which has not been previously reported. Detailed statistics pertaining to sulfur phasing and other factors contributing to structure determination are discussed. Structural comparisons of the apoenzyme and the protein complexed with flavin mononucleotide show conformational changes on cofactor binding. NADPH-dependent activity has been confirmed with biochemical assays.
A method to modify proteins with glutaraldehyde under reducing conditions is presented. Treatment with glutaraldehyde and dimethylaminoborane was found to result in cyclic pentylation of free amines and facilitated the structural determination of a protein previously recalcitrant to the formation of diffraction quality crystals.
The pentapeptide-repeat protein EfsQnr from Enterococcus faecalis protects DNA gyrase from inhibition by fluoroquinolones. EfsQnr was cloned and purified to homogeneity, but failed to produce diffraction-quality crystals in initial crystallization screens. Treatment of EfsQnr with glutaraldehyde and the strong reducing agent borane–dimethylamine resulted in a derivatized protein which produced crystals that diffracted to 1.6 Å resolution; their structure was subsequently determined by single-wavelength anomalous dispersion. Analysis of the derivatized protein using Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry indicated a mass increase of 68 Da per free amino group. Electron-density maps about a limited number of structurally ordered lysines indicated that the modification was a cyclic pentylation of free amines, producing piperidine groups.
pentapeptide-repeat proteins; chemical modification; glutaraldehyde; reductive cyclic pentylation
The structure of P. horikoshii OT3 protein PH0500 was determined by the multiple anomalous dispersion method and refined in two crystal forms. The protein is a dimer and has a PIN-domain fold.
The Pyrococcus horikoshii OT3 protein PH0500 is highly conserved within the Pyrococcus genus of hyperthermophilic archaea and shows low amino-acid sequence similarity with a family of PIN-domain proteins. The protein has been expressed, purified and crystallized in two crystal forms: PH0500-I and PH0500-II. The structure was determined at 2.0 Å by the multiple anomalous dispersion method using a selenomethionyl derivative of crystal form PH0500-I (PH0500-I-Se). The structure of PH0500-I has been refined at 1.75 Å resolution to an R factor of 20.9% and the structure of PH0500-II has been refined at 2.0 Å resolution to an R factor of 23.4%. In both crystal forms as well as in solution the molecule appears to be a dimer. Searches of the databases for protein-fold similarities confirmed that the PH0500 protein is a PIN-domain protein with possible exonuclease activity and involvement in DNA or RNA editing.
PIN domain; Pyrococcus horikoshii
Clustering of 99 available X-ray crystal structures of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) at the flexible non-nucleoside inhibitor binding pocket (NNIBP) provides information about features of the conformational landscape for binding non-nucleoside inhibitors (NNRTIs), including effects of mutation and crystal forms. The ensemble of NNIBP conformations is separated into eight discrete clusters based primarily on the position of the functionally important primer grip, the displacement of which is believed to be one of the mechanisms of inhibition of RT. Two of these clusters are populated by structures in which the primer grip exhibits novel conformations that differ from the predominant cluster by over 4 Å and are induced by the unique inhibitors capravirine and rilpivirine/TMC278. This work identifies a new conformation of the NNIBP that may be used to design NNRTIs. It can also be used to guide more complete exploration of the NNIBP free energy landscape using advanced sampling techniques.