We report an NMR based approach to determine the metabolic reprogramming of Chinese hamster ovary cells upon a temperature shift during culture by investigating the extracellular cell culture media and intracellular metabolome of CHOK1 and CHO-S cells during culture and in response to cold-shock and subsequent recovery from hypothermic culturing. A total of 24 components were identified for CHOK1 and 29 components identified for CHO-S cell systems including the observation that CHO-S media contains 5.6 times the level of glucose of CHOK1 media at time zero. We confirm that an NMR metabolic approach provides quantitative analysis of components such as glucose and alanine with both cell lines responding in a similar manner and comparable to previously reported data. However, analysis of lactate confirms a differentiation between CHOK1 and CHO-S and that reprogramming of metabolism in response to temperature was cell line specific. The significance of our results is presented using principal component analysis (PCA) that confirms changes in metabolite profile in response to temperature and recovery. Ultimately, our approach demonstrates the capability of NMR providing real-time analysis to detect reprogramming of metabolism upon cellular perception of cold-shock/sub-physiological temperatures. This has the potential to allow manipulation of metabolites in culture supernatant to improve growth or productivity.
Adequate digital resolution and signal sensitivity are two critical factors for protein structure determinations by solution NMR spectroscopy. The prime objective for obtaining high digital resolution is to resolve peak overlap, especially in NOESY spectra with thousands of signals where the signal analysis needs to be performed on a large scale. Achieving maximum digital resolution is usually limited by the practically available measurement time. We developed a method utilizing non-uniform sampling for balancing digital resolution and signal sensitivity, and performed a large-scale analysis of the effect of the digital resolution on the accuracy of the resulting protein structures. Structure calculations were performed as a function of digital resolution for about 400 proteins with molecular sizes ranging between 5 and 33 kDa. The structural accuracy was assessed by atomic coordinate RMSD values from the reference structures of the proteins. In addition, we monitored also the number of assigned NOESY cross peaks, the average signal sensitivity, and the chemical shift spectral overlap. We show that high resolution is equally important for proteins of every molecular size. The chemical shift spectral overlap depends strongly on the corresponding spectral digital resolution. Thus, knowing the extent of overlap can be a predictor of the resulting structural accuracy. Our results show that for every molecular size a minimal digital resolution, corresponding to the natural linewidth, needs to be achieved for obtaining the highest accuracy possible for the given protein size using state-of-the-art automated NOESY assignment and structure calculation methods.
Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) is rarely used as a primary High-throughput Screening (HTS) tool in fragment-based approaches. With SPR instruments becoming increasingly high-throughput it is now possible to use SPR as a primary tool for fragment finding. SPR becomes, therefore, a valuable tool in the screening of difficult targets such as the ubiquitin E3 ligase Parkin. As a prerequisite for the screen, a large number of SPR tests were performed to characterize and validate the active form of Parkin. A set of compounds was designed and used to define optimal SPR assay conditions for this fragment screen. Using these conditions, more than 5000 pre-selected fragments from our in-house library were screened for binding to Parkin. Additionally, all fragments were simultaneously screened for binding to two off target proteins to exclude promiscuous binding compounds. A low hit rate was observed that is in line with hit rates usually obtained by other HTS screening assays. All hits were further tested in dose responses on the target protein by SPR for confirmation before channeling the hits into Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and other hit-confirmation assays.
The hamster has been previously found to be a suitable model to study the changes associated with diet-induced hyperlipidemia in humans. Traditionally, studies of hyperlipidemia utilize serum- or plasma-based biochemical assays and histopathological evaluation. However, unbiased metabonomic technologies have the potential to identify novel biomarkers of disease. Thus, to obtain a better understanding of the progression of hyperlipidemia and discover potential biomarkers, we have used a proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-NMR)-based metabonomics approach to study the metabolic changes occurring in the plasma, urine and liver extracts of hamsters fed a high-fat/high-cholesterol diet. Samples were collected at different time points during the progression of hyperlipidemia, and individual proton NMR spectra were visually and statistically assessed using two multivariate analyses (MVA): principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal partial least squares-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA). Using the commercial software package Chenomx NMR suite, 40 endogenous metabolites in the plasma, 80 in the urine and 60 in the water-soluble fraction of liver extracts were quantified. NMR analysis of all samples showed a time-dependent transition from a physiological to a pathophysiological state during the progression of hyperlipidemia. Analysis of the identified biomarkers of hyperlipidemia suggests that significant perturbations of lipid and amino acid metabolism, as well as inflammation, oxidative stress and changes in gut microbiota metabolites, occurred following cholesterol overloading. The results of this study substantially broaden the metabonomic coverage of hyperlipidemia, enhance our understanding of the mechanism of hyperlipidemia and demonstrate the effectiveness of the NMR-based metabonomics approach to study a complex disease.
Oxidized and enzymatically modified low-density lipoproteins (oxLDL and eLDL) play a key role in early stages of atherogenesis. Their uptake by recruited macrophages leads to endolysosomal phospholipidosis or foam cell formation, respectively, each of which is preceded by highly differential lipid restructuring processes. We applied 1H-NMR spectroscopy (NMRS) to elucidate these structural rearrangements both in consequence of lipoprotein modifications and following phagocytosis. Being specifically sensitive to the mobile lipid subset, NMRS of oxLDL and eLDL revealed a partial and total immobilization of lipids, respectively. NMRS of intact macrophages showed a sixfold increase in mobile lipids in case of loading with eLDL but no significant changes for oxLDL or native LDL. This finding reflected the disparate lipid storage in lipid droplets and in multilamellar endolysosomal clusters when loaded with either eLDL or oxLDL, respectively. Moreover, a significant shift of the degree of saturation towards mainly polyunsaturated fatty acid chains was found for the mobile lipid pool in eLDL-loaded macrophages. Additional analyses of lipid extracts by NMRS and mass spectrometry (MS) reflected these changes in lipid content and in fatty acid composition only partially. In summary, in-cell NMRS represents a unique lipidomics tool to investigate structural changes within the mobile lipid pool following atherogenic triggers that can be not detected by the analysis of lipid extracts by MS or NMRS.
DEAF-1 is an important transcriptional regulator that is required for embryonic development and is linked to clinical depression and suicidal behavior in humans. It comprises various structural domains, including a SAND domain that mediates DNA binding and a MYND domain, a cysteine-rich module organized in a Cys4-Cys2-His-Cys (C4-C2HC) tandem zinc binding motif. DEAF-1 transcription regulation activity is mediated through interactions with cofactors such as NCoR and SMRT. Despite the important biological role of the DEAF-1 protein, little is known regarding the structure and binding properties of its MYND domain.
Here, we report the solution structure, dynamics and ligand binding of the human DEAF-1 MYND domain encompassing residues 501–544 determined by NMR spectroscopy. The structure adopts a ββα fold that exhibits tandem zinc-binding sites with a cross-brace topology, similar to the MYND domains in AML1/ETO and other proteins. We show that the DEAF-1 MYND domain binds to peptides derived from SMRT and NCoR corepressors. The binding surface mapped by NMR titrations is similar to the one previously reported for AML1/ETO. The ligand binding and molecular functions of the related BS69 MYND domain were studied based on a homology model and mutational analysis. Interestingly, the interaction between BS69 and its binding partners (viral and cellular proteins) seems to require distinct charged residues flanking the predicted MYND domain fold, suggesting a different binding mode. Our findings demonstrate that the MYND domain is a conserved zinc binding fold that plays important roles in transcriptional regulation by mediating distinct molecular interactions with viral and cellular proteins.
While the basal transcription machinery in archaea is eukaryal-like, transcription factors in archaea and their viruses are usually related to bacterial transcription factors. Nevertheless, some of these organisms show predicted classical zinc fingers motifs of the C2H2 type, which are almost exclusively found in proteins of eukaryotes and most often associated with transcription regulators. In this work, we focused on the protein AFV1p06 from the hyperthermophilic archaeal virus AFV1. The sequence of the protein consists of the classical eukaryotic C2H2 motif with the fourth histidine coordinating zinc missing, as well as of N- and C-terminal extensions. We showed that the protein AFV1p06 binds zinc and solved its solution structure by NMR. AFV1p06 displays a zinc finger fold with a novel structure extension and disordered N- and C-termini. Structure calculations show that a glutamic acid residue that coordinates zinc replaces the fourth histidine of the C2H2 motif. Electromobility gel shift assays indicate that the protein binds to DNA with different affinities depending on the DNA sequence. AFV1p06 is the first experimentally characterised archaeal zinc finger protein with a DNA binding activity. The AFV1p06 protein family has homologues in diverse viruses of hyperthermophilic archaea. A phylogenetic analysis points out a common origin of archaeal and eukaryotic C2H2 zinc fingers.
A series of optimized sulfonamide derivatives was recently reported as novel inhibitors of UDP-N-acetylmuramoyl-L-alanine:D-glutamate ligase (MurD). These are based on naphthalene-N-sulfonyl-D-glutamic acid and have the D-glutamic acid replaced with rigidified mimetics. Here we have defined the binding site of these novel ligands to MurD using 1H/13C heteronuclear single quantum correlation. The MurD protein was selectively 13C-labeled on the methyl groups of Ile (δ1 only), Leu and Val, and was isolated and purified. Crucial Ile, Leu and Val methyl groups in the vicinity of the ligand binding site were identified by comparison of chemical shift perturbation patterns among the ligands with various structural elements and known binding modes. The conformational and dynamic properties of the bound ligands and their binding interactions were examined using the transferred nuclear Overhauser effect and saturation transfer difference. In addition, the binding mode of these novel inhibitors was thoroughly examined using unrestrained molecular dynamics simulations. Our results reveal the complex dynamic behavior of ligand–MurD complexes and its influence on ligand–enzyme contacts. We further present important findings for the rational design of potent Mur ligase inhibitors.
There is increasing evidence for the functional importance of multiple dynamically populated states within single proteins. However, peptide binding by protein-protein interaction domains, such as the SH3 domain, has generally been considered to involve the full engagement of peptide to the binding surface with minimal dynamics and simple methods to determine dynamics at the binding surface for multiple related complexes have not been described. We have used NMR spectroscopy combined with isothermal titration calorimetry to comprehensively examine the extent of engagement to the yeast Abp1p SH3 domain for 24 different peptides. Over one quarter of the domain residues display co-linear chemical shift perturbation (CCSP) behavior, in which the position of a given chemical shift in a complex is co-linear with the same chemical shift in the other complexes, providing evidence that each complex exists as a unique dynamic rapidly inter-converting ensemble. The extent the specificity determining sub-surface of AbpSH3 is engaged as judged by CCSP analysis correlates with structural and thermodynamic measurements as well as with functional data, revealing the basis for significant structural and functional diversity amongst the related complexes. Thus, CCSP analysis can distinguish peptide complexes that may appear identical in terms of general structure and percent peptide occupancy but have significant local binding differences across the interface, affecting their ability to transmit conformational change across the domain and resulting in functional differences.
Gangliosides are sialic acid containing glycosphingolipids, commonly found on the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane. O-acetylation of sialic acid hydroxyl groups is one of the most common modifications in gangliosides. Studies on the biological activity of O-acetylated gangliosides have been limited by their scarcity in nature. This comparatively small change in ganglioside structure causes major changes in their physiological properties. When the ganglioside GD1b was O-acetylated in the outer sialic acid, it became the potent inhibitor of astroblast and astrocytoma proliferation called Neurostatin. Although various chemical and enzymatic methods to O-acetylate commercial gangliosides have been described, O-acetylation was nonspecific and produced many side-products that reduced the yield. An enzyme with O-acetyltransferase activity (SOAT) has been previously cloned from the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni. This enzyme catalyzed the acetylation of oligosaccharide-bound sialic acid, with high specificity for terminal alpha-2,8-linked residues. Using this enzyme and commercial gangliosides as starting material, we have specifically O-acetylated the gangliosides’ outer sialic acids, to produce the corresponding gangliosides specifically O-acetylated in the sialic acid bound in alpha-2,3 and alpha-2,8 residues. We demonstrate here that O-acetylation occurred specifically in the C-9 position of the sialic acid. In summary, we present a new method of specific O-acetylation of ganglioside sialic acids that permits the large scale preparation of these modified glycosphingolipids, facilitating both, the study of their mechanism of antitumoral action and their use as therapeutic drugs for treating glioblastoma multiform (GBM) patients.
PCNA is an essential factor for DNA replication and repair. It forms a ring shaped structure of 86 kDa by the symmetric association of three identical protomers. The ring encircles the DNA and acts as a docking platform for other proteins, most of them containing the PCNA Interaction Protein sequence (PIP-box). We have used NMR to characterize the interactions of PCNA with several other proteins and fragments in solution. The binding of the PIP-box peptide of the cell cycle inhibitor p21 to PCNA is consistent with the crystal structure of the complex. A shorter p21 peptide binds with reduced affinity but retains most of the molecular recognition determinants. However the binding of the corresponding peptide of the tumor suppressor ING1 is extremely weak, indicating that slight deviations from the consensus PIP-box sequence dramatically reduce the affinity for PCNA, in contrast with a proposed less stringent PIP-box sequence requirement. We could not detect any binding between PCNA and the MCL-1 or the CDK2 protein, reported to interact with PCNA in biochemical assays. This suggests that they do not bind directly to PCNA, or they do but very weakly, with additional unidentified factors stabilizing the interactions in the cell. Backbone dynamics measurements show three PCNA regions with high relative flexibility, including the interdomain connector loop (IDCL) and the C-terminus, both of them involved in the interaction with the PIP-box. Our work provides the basis for high resolution studies of direct ligand binding to PCNA in solution.
A new chemical series, triazolo[4,5-b]pyridines, has been identified as an inhibitor of PIM-1 by a chemotype hopping strategy based on a chemically feasible fragment database. In this case, structure-based virtual screening and in silico chemogenomics provide added value to the previously reported strategy of prioritizing among proposed novel scaffolds. Pairwise comparison between compound 3, recently discontinued from Phase I clinical trials, and molecule 8, bearing the selected novel scaffold, shows that the primary activities are similar (IC50 in the 20 to 150 nM range). At the same time, some ADME properties (for example, an increase of more than 45% in metabolic stability in human liver microsomes) and the off-target selectivity (for example, an increase of more than 2 log units in IC50
vs. FLT3) are improved, and the intellectual property (IP) position is enhanced. The discovery of a reliable starting point that fulfills critical criteria for a plausible medicinal chemistry project is demonstrated in this prospective study.
NMR studies of very high molecular weight protein complexes have been greatly facilitated through the development of labeling strategies whereby 13CH3 methyl groups are introduced into highly deuterated proteins. Robust and cost-effective labeling methods are well established for all methyl containing amino acids with the exception of Thr. Here we describe an inexpensive biosynthetic strategy for the production of L-[α-2H; β−2H;γ-13C]-Thr that can then be directly added during protein expression to produce highly deuterated proteins with Thr methyl group probes of structure and dynamics. These reporters are particularly valuable, because unlike other methyl containing amino acids, Thr residues are localized predominantly to the surfaces of proteins, have unique hydrogen bonding capabilities, have a higher propensity to be found at protein nucleic acid interfaces and can play important roles in signaling pathways through phosphorylation. The utility of the labeling methodology is demonstrated with an application to the 670 kDa proteasome core particle, where high quality Thr 13C,1H correlation spectra are obtained that could not be generated from samples prepared with commercially available U-[13C,1H]-Thr.
Protein-protein interactions forming dominant signalling events are providing ever-growing platforms for the development of novel Biologic tools for controlling cell growth. Casein Kinase 1 α (CK1α) forms a genetic and physical interaction with the murine double minute chromosome 2 (MDM2) oncoprotein resulting in degradation of the p53 tumour suppressor. Pharmacological inhibition of CK1 increases p53 protein level and induces cell death, whilst small interfering RNA-mediated depletion of CK1α stabilizes p53 and induces growth arrest. We mapped the dominant protein-protein interface that stabilizes the MDM2 and CK1α complex in order to determine whether a peptide derived from the core CK1α-MDM2 interface form novel Biologics that can be used to probe the contribution of the CK1-MDM2 protein-protein interaction to p53 activation and cell viability. Overlapping peptides derived from CK1α were screened for dominant MDM2 binding sites using (i) ELISA with recombinant MDM2; (ii) cell lysate pull-down towards endogenous MDM2; (iii) MDM2-CK1α complex-based competition ELISA; and (iv) MDM2-mediated ubiquitination. One dominant peptide, peptide 35 was bioactive in all four assays and its transfection induced cell death/growth arrest in a p53-independent manner. Ectopic expression of flag-tagged peptide 35 induced a novel ubiquitin and NEDD8 modification of CK1α, providing one of the first examples whereby NEDDylation of a protein kinase can be induced. These data identify an MDM2 binding motif in CK1α which when isolated as a small peptide can (i) function as a dominant negative inhibitor of the CK1α-MDM2 interface, (ii) be used as a tool to study NEDDylation of CK1α, and (iii) reduce cell growth. Further, this approach provides a technological blueprint, complementing siRNA and chemical biology approaches, by exploiting protein-protein interactions in order to develop Biologics to manipulate novel types of signalling pathways such as cross-talk between NEDDylation, protein kinase signalling, and cell survival.
We report here the first structure of double helical arabino nucleic acid (ANA), the C2′-stereoisomer of RNA, and the 2′-fluoro-ANA analogue (2′F-ANA). A chimeric dodecamer based on the Dickerson sequence, containing a contiguous central segment of arabino nucleotides, flanked by two 2′-deoxy-2′F-ANA wings was studied. Our data show that this chimeric oligonucleotide can adopt two different structures of comparable thermal stabilities. One structure is a monomeric hairpin in which the stem is formed by base paired 2′F-ANA nucleotides and the loop by unpaired ANA nucleotides. The second structure is a bimolecular duplex, with all the nucleotides (2′F-ANA and ANA) forming Watson–Crick base pairs. The duplex structure is canonical B-form, with all arabinoses adopting a pure C2′-endo conformation. In the ANA:ANA segment, steric interactions involving the 2′-OH substituent provoke slight changes in the glycosidic angles and, therefore, in the ANA:ANA base pair geometry. These distortions are not present in the 2′F-ANA:2′F-ANA regions of the duplex, where the –OH substituent is replaced by a smaller fluorine atom. 2′F-ANA nucleotides adopt the C2′-endo sugar pucker and fit very well into the geometry of B-form duplex, allowing for favourable 2′F···H8 interactions. This interaction shares many features of pseudo-hydrogen bonds previously observed in 2′F-ANA:RNA hybrids and in single 2′F-ANA nucleotides.
Conformational changes are essential for protein-protein and protein-ligand recognition. Here we probed changes in the structure of the protein ubiquitin at low temperatures in supercooled water using NMR spectroscopy. We demonstrate that ubiquitin is well folded down to 263 K, although slight rearrangements in the hydrophobic core occur. However, amide proton chemical shifts show non-linear temperature dependence in supercooled solution and backbone hydrogen bonds become weaker in the region that is most prone to cold-denaturation. Our data suggest that the weakening of the hydrogen bonds in the β-sheet of ubiquitin might be one of the first events that occur during cold-denaturation of ubiquitin. Interestingly, the same region is strongly involved in ubiquitin-protein complexes suggesting that this part of ubiquitin more easily adjusts to conformational changes required for complex formation.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) affects nearly 200 million people worldwide and is a leading factor for serious chronic liver diseases. For replicating HCV genome, the membrane-associated replication machinery needs to be formed by both HCV non-structural proteins including NS5A and human host factors. Recently NS5A has been identified to bind ER-anchored human VAP proteins and consequently this interaction may serve as a novel target for design of anti-HCV drugs. So far no biophysical characterization of this interaction has been reported. Here, we dissected the 243-residue VAPB into 4 and 447-residue NS5A into 10 fragments, followed by CD and NMR characterization of their structural properties. Subsequently, binding interactions between these fragments have been extensively assessed by NMR HSQC titration which is very powerful in detecting even very weak binding. The studies lead to three important findings: 1). a “fuzzy complex” is formed between the intrinsically-unstructured third domain (D3) of NS5A and the well-structured MSP domain of VAPB, with an average dissociation constant (Kd) of ∼5 µM. 2). The binding-important residues on both NS5A-D3 and VAPB-MSP have been successfully mapped out, which provided experimental constraints for constructing the complex structure. In the complex, unstructured D3 binds to three surface pockets on one side of the MSP structure. Interestingly, two ALS-causing mutations T46I and P56S are also located on the D3-MSP interface. Moreover, NS5A-D3, FFAT-containing proteins and EphA4 appear to have overlapped binding interfaces on the MSP domain. 3). NS5A-D3 has been experimentally confirmed to competes with EphA4 in binding to the MSP domain, and T46I mutation of MSP dramatically abolishes its binding ability to D3. Our study not only provides essential foundation for further deciphering structure and function of the HCV replication machinery, but may also shed light on rationalizing a recent observation that a chronic HCV patient surprisingly developed ALS-like syndrome.
CDP-ME kinase (IspE) contributes to the non-mevalonate or deoxy-xylulose phosphate (DOXP) pathway for isoprenoid precursor biosynthesis found in many species of bacteria and apicomplexan parasites. IspE has been shown to be essential by genetic methods and since it is absent from humans it constitutes a promising target for antimicrobial drug development. Using in silico screening directed against the substrate binding site and in vitro high-throughput screening directed against both, the substrate and co-factor binding sites, non-substrate-like IspE inhibitors have been discovered and structure-activity relationships were derived. The best inhibitors in each series have high ligand efficiencies and favourable physico-chemical properties rendering them promising starting points for drug discovery. Putative binding modes of the ligands were suggested which are consistent with established structure-activity relationships. The applied screening methods were complementary in discovering hit compounds, and a comparison of both approaches highlights their strengths and weaknesses. It is noteworthy that compounds identified by virtual screening methods provided the controls for the biochemical screens.
Tau protein is the longest disordered protein for which nearly complete backbone NMR resonance assignments have been reported. Full-length tau protein was initially assigned using a laborious combination of bootstrapping assignments from shorter tau fragments and conventional triple resonance NMR experiments. Subsequently it was reported that assignments of comparable quality could be obtained in a fully automated fashion from data obtained using reduced dimensionality NMR (RDNMR) experiments employing a large number of indirect dimensions. Although the latter strategy offers many advantages, it presents some difficulties if manual intervention, confirmation, or correction of the assignments is desirable, as may often be the case for long disordered and degenerate polypeptide sequences. Here we demonstrate that nearly complete backbone resonance assignments for full-length tau isoforms can be obtained without resorting either to bootstrapping from smaller fragments or to very high dimensionality experiments and automation. Instead, a set of RDNMR triple resonance experiments of modest dimensionality lend themselves readily to efficient and unambiguous manual assignments. An analysis of the backbone chemical shifts obtained in this fashion indicates several regions in full length tau with a notable propensity for helical or strand-like structure that are in good agreement with previous observations.
Src kinase is an attractive target for drug development based on its established relationship with cancer and possible link to hypertension. The suitability of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) compounds as potential drug ligands for further biological evaluation was investigated using structure-based, ligand-based, and molecular dynamics (MD) analysis. Isopraeroside IV, 9alpha-hydroxyfraxinellone-9-O-beta-D-glucoside (9HFG) and aurantiamide were the top three TCM candidates identified from docking. Hydrogen bonds and hydrophobic interactions were the primary forces governing docking stability. Their stability with Src kinase under a dynamic state was further validated through MD and torsion angle analysis. Complexes formed by TCM candidates have lower total energy estimates than the control Sacaratinib. Four quantitative-structural activity relationship (QSAR) in silico verifications consistently suggested that the TCM candidates have bioactive properties. Docking conformations of 9HFG and aurantiamide in the Src kinase ATP binding site suggest potential inhibitor-like characteristics, including competitive binding at the ATP binding site (Lys295) and stabilization of the catalytic cleft integrity. The TCM candidates have significantly lower ligand internal energies and are estimated to form more stable complexes with Src kinase than Saracatinib. Structure-based and ligand-based analysis support the drug-like potential of 9HFG and aurantiamide and binding mechanisms reveal the tendency of these two candidates to compete for the ATP binding site.
Transketolase is an enzyme involved in a critical step of the non-oxidative branch of the pentose phosphate pathway whose inhibition could lead to new anticancer drugs. Here, we report new human transketolase inhibitors, based on the phenyl urea scaffold, found by applying structure-based virtual screening. These inhibitors are designed to cover a hot spot in the dimerization interface of the homodimer of the enzyme, providing for the first time compounds with a suggested novel binding mode not based on mimicking the thiamine pyrophosphate cofactor.
Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) is an essential factor for DNA replication and repair. PCNA forms a toroidal, ring shaped structure of 90 kDa by the symmetric association of three identical monomers. The ring encircles the DNA and acts as a platform where polymerases and other proteins dock to carry out different DNA metabolic processes. The amino acid sequence of human PCNA is 35% identical to the yeast homolog, and the two proteins have the same 3D crystal structure. In this report, we give evidence that the budding yeast (sc) and human (h) PCNAs have highly similar structures in solution but differ substantially in their stability and dynamics. hPCNA is less resistant to chemical and thermal denaturation and displays lower cooperativity of unfolding as compared to scPCNA. Solvent exchange rates measurements show that the slowest exchanging backbone amides are at the β-sheet, in the structure core, and not at the helices, which line the central channel. However, all the backbone amides of hPCNA exchange fast, becoming undetectable within hours, while the signals from the core amides of scPCNA persist for longer times. The high dynamics of the α-helices, which face the DNA in the PCNA-loaded form, is likely to have functional implications for the sliding of the PCNA ring on the DNA since a large hole with a flexible wall facilitates the establishment of protein-DNA interactions that are transient and easily broken. The increased dynamics of hPCNA relative to scPCNA may allow it to acquire multiple induced conformations upon binding to its substrates enlarging its binding diversity.
Nanoviruses are a family of plant viruses that posses a genome of multiple circular single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) components and are strikingly similar in their replication mode to the plant geminiviruses and to the circoviruses that infect birds or mammals. These viruses multiply by rolling circle replication using virus-encoded multifunctional replication initiator proteins (Rep proteins) that catalyze the initiation of replication on a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) intermediate and the resolution of the ssDNA into circles. Here we report the solution NMR three-dimensional structure of the endonuclease domain from the Master Rep (M-Rep) protein of faba bean necrotic yellows virus (FBNYV), a representative of the nanoviruses. The domain comprises amino acids 2-95 (M-Rep2-95) and its global fold is similar to those previously described for the gemini- and circovirus Rep endonuclease domain, consisting of a central 5-stranded antiparallel β-sheet covered on one side by an α-helix and irregular loops and on the other, more open side of the domain, by an α-helix containing the catalytic tyrosine residue (the catalytic helix). Longer domain constructs extending to amino acids 117 and 124, were also characterized. They contain an additional α-helix, are monomeric and exhibit catalytic activity indistinguishable from that of M-Rep2-95. The binding site for the catalytic metal was identified by paramagnetic broadening and maps to residues on the exposed face of the central β-sheet. A comparison with the previously determined Rep endonuclease domain structures of tomato yellow leaf curl Sardinia virus (TYLCSV), a geminivirus, and that of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) Rep allows the identification of a positively charged surface that is most likely involved dsDNA binding, and reveals common features shared by all endonuclease domains of nanovirus, geminivirus, and circovirus Rep proteins.