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1.  Crystallographic analysis of new psychrophilic haloalkane dehalogenases: DpcA from Psychrobacter cryohalolentis K5 and DmxA from Marinobacter sp. ELB17 
The novel haloalkane dehalogenases DpcA from P. cryohalolentis K5 and DmxA from Marinobacter sp. ELB17 were successfully crystallized and diffraction data were collected to resolutions of 1.05 and 2.49 Å, respectively.
Haloalkane dehalogenases are hydrolytic enzymes with a broad range of potential practical applications such as biodegradation, biosensing, biocatalysis and cellular imaging. Two newly isolated psychrophilic haloalkane dehalogenases exhibiting interesting catalytic properties, DpcA from Psychrobacter cryohalolentis K5 and DmxA from Marinobacter sp. ELB17, were purified and used for crystallization experiments. After the optimization of crystallization conditions, crystals of diffraction quality were obtained. Diffraction data sets were collected for native enzymes and complexes with selected ligands such as 1-bromohexane and 1,2-dichloroethane to resolutions ranging from 1.05 to 2.49 Å.
PMCID: PMC3668595  PMID: 23722854
haloalkane dehalogenases; DpcA; Psychrobacter cryohalolentis K5; DmxA; Marinobacter sp. ELB17
2.  Differences in crystallization of two LinB variants from Sphingobium japonicum UT26 
To study enzyme functionality, two haloalkane dehalogenase variants LinB32 and LinB70 carrying single-point and double-point mutations were constructed and crystallized in different crystallization conditions. Both LinB variants and their complexes with halogenated substrates diffracted to resolutions ranging from 1.6 to 2.8 Å.
Haloalkane dehalogenases are microbial enzymes that convert a broad range of halogenated aliphatic compounds to their corresponding alcohols by the hydrolytic mechanism. These enzymes play an important role in the biodegradation of various environmental pollutants. Haloalkane dehalogenase LinB isolated from a soil bacterium Sphingobium japonicum UT26 has a relatively broad substrate specificity and can be applied in bioremediation and biosensing of environmental pollutants. The LinB variants presented here, LinB32 and LinB70, were constructed with the goal of studying the effect of mutations on enzyme functionality. In the case of LinB32 (L117W), the introduced mutation leads to blocking of the main tunnel connecting the deeply buried active site with the surrounding solvent. The other variant, LinB70 (L44I, H107Q), has the second halide-binding site in a position analogous to that in the related haloalkane dehalogenase DbeA from Bradyrhizobium elkanii USDA94. Both LinB variants were successfully crystallized and full data sets were collected for native enzymes as well as their complexes with the substrates 1,2-dibromoethane (LinB32) and 1-bromobutane (LinB70) to resolutions ranging from 1.6 to 2.8 Å. The two mutants crystallize differently from each other, which suggests that the mutations, although deep inside the molecule, can still affect the protein crystallizability.
PMCID: PMC3606575  PMID: 23519805
haloalkane dehalogenase; LinB; macroseeding; Sphingobium japonicum
3.  A Pseudomonas putida Strain Genetically Engineered for 1,2,3-Trichloropropane Bioremediation 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2014;80(17):5467-5476.
1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP) is a toxic compound that is recalcitrant to biodegradation in the environment. Attempts to isolate TCP-degrading organisms using enrichment cultivation have failed. A potential biodegradation pathway starts with hydrolytic dehalogenation to 2,3-dichloro-1-propanol (DCP), followed by oxidative metabolism. To obtain a practically applicable TCP-degrading organism, we introduced an engineered haloalkane dehalogenase with improved TCP degradation activity into the DCP-degrading bacterium Pseudomonas putida MC4. For this purpose, the dehalogenase gene (dhaA31) was cloned behind the constitutive dhlA promoter and was introduced into the genome of strain MC4 using a transposon delivery system. The transposon-located antibiotic resistance marker was subsequently removed using a resolvase step. Growth of the resulting engineered bacterium, P. putida MC4-5222, on TCP was indeed observed, and all organic chlorine was released as chloride. A packed-bed reactor with immobilized cells of strain MC4-5222 degraded >95% of influent TCP (0.33 mM) under continuous-flow conditions, with stoichiometric release of inorganic chloride. The results demonstrate the successful use of a laboratory-evolved dehalogenase and genetic engineering to produce an effective, plasmid-free, and stable whole-cell biocatalyst for the aerobic bioremediation of a recalcitrant chlorinated hydrocarbon.
PMCID: PMC4136109  PMID: 24973068
4.  Stepwise enhancement of catalytic performance of haloalkane dehalogenase LinB towards β-hexachlorocyclohexane 
AMB Express  2014;4:72.
Two haloalkane dehalogenases, LinBUT and LinBMI, each with 296 amino acid residues, exhibit only seven amino acid residue differences between them, but LinBMI’s catalytic performance towards β-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH) is considerably higher than LinBUT’s. To elucidate the molecular basis governing this difference, intermediate mutants between LinBUT and LinBMI were constructed and kinetically characterized. The activities of LinBUT-based mutants gradually increased by cumulative mutations into LinBUT, and the effects of the individual amino acid substitutions depended on combination with other mutations. These results indicated that LinBUT’s β-HCH degradation activity can be enhanced in a stepwise manner by the accumulation of point mutations.
PMCID: PMC4230811  PMID: 25401073
β-Hexachlorocyclohexane; Xenobiotics; Biodegradation; Haloalkane dehalogenase; Protein evolution
5.  Fructose 1-phosphate is the one and only physiological effector of the Cra (FruR) regulator of Pseudomonas putida 
FEBS Open Bio  2014;4:377-386.
•The role of FBP as effector of the Cra protein of soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida is unclear.•Biochemical, biophysical and genetic data show that Cra binds only F1P as metabolic agonist.•F1P is the only physiological effector of the Cra protein of P. putida in vivo.•This regulatory exaptation of Cra exemplifies how transcriptional factors can diversify in bacteria.
Fructose-1-phosphate (F1P) is the preferred effector of the catabolite repressor/activator (Cra) protein of the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida but its ability to bind other metabolic intermediates in vivo is unclear. The Cra protein of this microorganism (CraPP) was submitted to mobility shift assays with target DNA sequences (the PfruB promoter) and candidate effectors fructose-1,6-bisphosphate (FBP), glucose 6-phosphate (G6P), and fructose-6-phosphate (F6P). 1 mM F1P was sufficient to release most of the Cra protein from its operators but more than 10 mM of FBP or G6P was required to free the same complex. However, isothermal titration microcalorimetry failed to expose any specific interaction between CraPP and FBP or G6P. To solve this paradox, transcriptional activity of a PfruB-lacZ fusion was measured in wild-type and ΔfruB cells growing on substrates that change the intracellular concentrations of F1P and FBP. The data indicated that PfruB activity was stimulated by fructose but not by glucose or succinate. This suggested that CraPP represses expression in vivo of the cognate fruBKA operon in a fashion dependent just on F1P, ruling out any other physiological effector. Molecular docking and dynamic simulations of the Cra-agonist interaction indicated that both metabolites can bind the repressor, but the breach in the relative affinity of CraPP for F1P vs FBP is three orders of magnitude larger than the equivalent distance in the Escherichia coli protein. This assigns the Cra protein of P. putida the sole role of transducing the presence of fructose in the medium into a variety of direct and indirect physiological responses.
PMCID: PMC4050194  PMID: 24918052
Cra, catabolic repression/activation protein; F1P, fructose-1-phosphate; FBP, fructose-1,6-bisphosphate; G6P, glucose 6-phosphate; F6P, fructose-6-phosphate; ITC, isothermal calorimetry; Cra; FruR; Pseudomonas putida; Fructose 1-phosphate; Fructose operon
6.  PredictSNP: Robust and Accurate Consensus Classifier for Prediction of Disease-Related Mutations 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(1):e1003440.
Single nucleotide variants represent a prevalent form of genetic variation. Mutations in the coding regions are frequently associated with the development of various genetic diseases. Computational tools for the prediction of the effects of mutations on protein function are very important for analysis of single nucleotide variants and their prioritization for experimental characterization. Many computational tools are already widely employed for this purpose. Unfortunately, their comparison and further improvement is hindered by large overlaps between the training datasets and benchmark datasets, which lead to biased and overly optimistic reported performances. In this study, we have constructed three independent datasets by removing all duplicities, inconsistencies and mutations previously used in the training of evaluated tools. The benchmark dataset containing over 43,000 mutations was employed for the unbiased evaluation of eight established prediction tools: MAPP, nsSNPAnalyzer, PANTHER, PhD-SNP, PolyPhen-1, PolyPhen-2, SIFT and SNAP. The six best performing tools were combined into a consensus classifier PredictSNP, resulting into significantly improved prediction performance, and at the same time returned results for all mutations, confirming that consensus prediction represents an accurate and robust alternative to the predictions delivered by individual tools. A user-friendly web interface enables easy access to all eight prediction tools, the consensus classifier PredictSNP and annotations from the Protein Mutant Database and the UniProt database. The web server and the datasets are freely available to the academic community at
PMCID: PMC3894168  PMID: 24453961
7.  The PCNA Interaction Protein Box Sequence in Rad54 Is an Integral Part of Its ATPase Domain and Is Required for Efficient DNA Repair and Recombination 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82630.
Rad54 is an ATP-driven translocase involved in the genome maintenance pathway of homologous recombination (HR). Although its activity has been implicated in several steps of HR, its exact role(s) at each step are still not fully understood. We have identified a new interaction between Rad54 and the replicative DNA clamp, proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). This interaction was only mildly weakened by the mutation of two key hydrophobic residues in the highly-conserved PCNA interaction motif (PIP-box) of Rad54 (Rad54-AA). Intriguingly, the rad54-AA mutant cells displayed sensitivity to DNA damage and showed HR defects similar to the null mutant, despite retaining its ability to interact with HR proteins and to be recruited to HR foci in vivo. We therefore surmised that the PCNA interaction might be impaired in vivo and was unable to promote repair synthesis during HR. Indeed, the Rad54-AA mutant was defective in primer extension at the MAT locus as well as in vitro, but additional biochemical analysis revealed that this mutant also had diminished ATPase activity and an inability to promote D-loop formation. Further mutational analysis of the putative PIP-box uncovered that other phenotypically relevant mutants in this domain also resulted in a loss of ATPase activity. Therefore, we have found that although Rad54 interacts with PCNA, the PIP-box motif likely plays only a minor role in stabilizing the PCNA interaction, and rather, this conserved domain is probably an extension of the ATPase domain III.
PMCID: PMC3869717  PMID: 24376557
8.  Lincomycin Biosynthesis Involves a Tyrosine Hydroxylating Heme Protein of an Unusual Enzyme Family 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e79974.
The gene lmbB2 of the lincomycin biosynthetic gene cluster of Streptomyces lincolnensis ATCC 25466 was shown to code for an unusual tyrosine hydroxylating enzyme involved in the biosynthetic pathway of this clinically important antibiotic. LmbB2 was expressed in Escherichia coli, purified near to homogeneity and shown to convert tyrosine to 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA). In contrast to the well-known tyrosine hydroxylases (EC and tyrosinases (EC, LmbB2 was identified as a heme protein. Mass spectrometry and Soret band-excited Raman spectroscopy of LmbB2 showed that LmbB2 contains heme b as prosthetic group. The CO-reduced differential absorption spectra of LmbB2 showed that the coordination of Fe was different from that of cytochrome P450 enzymes. LmbB2 exhibits sequence similarity to Orf13 of the anthramycin biosynthetic gene cluster, which has recently been classified as a heme peroxidase. Tyrosine hydroxylating activity of LmbB2 yielding DOPA in the presence of (6R)-5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-L-biopterin (BH4) was also observed. Reaction mechanism of this unique heme peroxidases family is discussed. Also, tyrosine hydroxylation was confirmed as the first step of the amino acid branch of the lincomycin biosynthesis.
PMCID: PMC3851162  PMID: 24324587
9.  Gates of Enzymes 
Chemical Reviews  2013;113(8):5871-5923.
PMCID: PMC3744840  PMID: 23617803
10.  Crystallization and crystallographic analysis of the Rhodococcus rhodochrous NCIMB 13064 DhaA mutant DhaA31 and its complex with 1,2,3-trichloropropane 
A mutant of the haloalkane dehalogenase DhaA (DhaA31) from R. rhodochrous NCIMB 13064 and its complex with 1,2,3-trichloropropane were crystallized and the crystals diffracted to high resolution.
Haloalkane dehalogenases hydrolyze carbon–halogen bonds in a wide range of halogenated aliphatic compounds. The potential use of haloalkane dehalogenases in bioremediation applications has stimulated intensive investigation of these enzymes and their engineering. The mutant DhaA31 was constructed to degrade the anthropogenic compound 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP) using a new strategy. This strategy enhances activity towards TCP by decreasing the accessibility of the active site to water molecules, thereby promoting formation of the activated complex. The structure of DhaA31 will help in understanding the structure–function relationships involved in the improved dehalogenation of TCP. The mutant protein DhaA31 was crystallized by the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion technique and crystals of DhaA31 in complex with TCP were obtained using soaking experiments. Both crystals belonged to the triclinic space group P1. Diffraction data were collected to high resolution: to 1.31 Å for DhaA31 and to 1.26 Å for DhaA31 complexed with TCP.
PMCID: PMC3053171  PMID: 21393851
haloalkane dehalogenases; DhaA; Rhodococcus rhodochrous
11.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of the wild-type haloalkane dehalogenase DhaA and its variant DhaA13 complexed with different ligands 
Crystals of the wild-type haloalkane dehalogenase DhaA derived from R. rhodochrous NCIMB 13064 and of its catalytically inactive variant DhaA13 were grown in the presence of various ligands and diffraction data were collected to high and atomic resolution.
Haloalkane dehalogenases make up an important class of hydrolytic enzymes which catalyse the cleavage of carbon–halogen bonds in halogenated aliphatic compounds. There is growing interest in these enzymes owing to their potential use in environmental and industrial applications. The haloalkane dehalogenase DhaA from Rhodococcus rhodochrous NCIMB 13064 can slowly detoxify the industrial pollutant 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP). Structural analysis of this enzyme complexed with target ligands was conducted in order to obtain detailed information about the structural limitations of its catalytic properties. In this study, the crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of complexes of wild-type DhaA with 2-propanol and with TCP and of complexes of the catalytically inactive variant DhaA13 with the dye coumarin and with TCP are described. The crystals of wild-type DhaA were plate-shaped and belonged to the triclinic space group P1, while the variant DhaA13 can form prism-shaped crystals belonging to the orthorhombic space group P212121 as well as plate-shaped crystals belonging to the triclinic space group P1. Diffraction data for crystals of wild-type DhaA grown from crystallization solutions with different concentrations of 2-propanol were collected to 1.70 and 1.26 Å resolution, respectively. A prism-shaped crystal of DhaA13 complexed with TCP and a plate-shaped crystal of the same variant complexed with the dye coumarin diffracted X-rays to 1.60 and 1.33 Å resolution, respectively. A crystal of wild-type DhaA and a plate-shaped crystal of DhaA13, both complexed with TCP, diffracted to atomic resolutions of 1.04 and 0.97 Å, respectively.
PMCID: PMC3034621  PMID: 21301099
haloalkane dehalogenases; DhaA; Rhodococcus rhodochrous; microseeding; atomic resolution
12.  Biochemical Characterization of a Novel Haloalkane Dehalogenase from a Cold-Adapted Bacterium 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(14):4995-4998.
A haloalkane dehalogenase, DpcA, from Psychrobacter cryohalolentis K5, representing a novel psychrophilic member of the haloalkane dehalogenase family, was identified and biochemically characterized. DpcA exhibited a unique temperature profile with exceptionally high activities at low temperatures. The psychrophilic properties of DpcA make this enzyme promising for various environmental applications.
PMCID: PMC3416366  PMID: 22582053
13.  CAVER 3.0: A Tool for the Analysis of Transport Pathways in Dynamic Protein Structures 
PLoS Computational Biology  2012;8(10):e1002708.
Tunnels and channels facilitate the transport of small molecules, ions and water solvent in a large variety of proteins. Characteristics of individual transport pathways, including their geometry, physico-chemical properties and dynamics are instrumental for understanding of structure-function relationships of these proteins, for the design of new inhibitors and construction of improved biocatalysts. CAVER is a software tool widely used for the identification and characterization of transport pathways in static macromolecular structures. Herein we present a new version of CAVER enabling automatic analysis of tunnels and channels in large ensembles of protein conformations. CAVER 3.0 implements new algorithms for the calculation and clustering of pathways. A trajectory from a molecular dynamics simulation serves as the typical input, while detailed characteristics and summary statistics of the time evolution of individual pathways are provided in the outputs. To illustrate the capabilities of CAVER 3.0, the tool was applied for the analysis of molecular dynamics simulation of the microbial enzyme haloalkane dehalogenase DhaA. CAVER 3.0 safely identified and reliably estimated the importance of all previously published DhaA tunnels, including the tunnels closed in DhaA crystal structures. Obtained results clearly demonstrate that analysis of molecular dynamics simulation is essential for the estimation of pathway characteristics and elucidation of the structural basis of the tunnel gating. CAVER 3.0 paves the way for the study of important biochemical phenomena in the area of molecular transport, molecular recognition and enzymatic catalysis. The software is freely available as a multiplatform command-line application at
PMCID: PMC3475669  PMID: 23093919
15.  The new platinum-based anticancer agent LA-12 induces retinol binding protein 4 in vivo 
Proteome Science  2011;9:68.
The initial pharmacokinetic study of a new anticancer agent (OC-6-43)-bis(acetato)(1-adamantylamine)amminedichloroplatinum (IV) (LA-12) was complemented by proteomic screening of rat plasma. The objective of the study was to identify new LA-12 target proteins that serve as markers of LA-12 treatment, response and therapy monitoring.
Proteomic profiles were measured by surface-enhanced laser desorption-ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (SELDI-TOF MS) in 72 samples of rat plasma randomized according to LA-12 dose and time from administration. Correlation of 92 peak clusters with platinum concentration was evaluated using Spearman correlation analysis.
We identified Retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) whose level correlated with LA-12 level in treated rats. Similar results were observed in randomly selected patients involved in Phase I clinical trials.
RBP4 induction is in agreement with known RBP4 regulation by amantadine and cisplatin. Since retinol metabolism is disrupted in many cancers and inversely associates with malignancy, these data identify a potential novel mechanism for the action of LA-12 and other similar anti-cancer drugs.
PMCID: PMC3221626  PMID: 22040120
(OC-6-43)-bis(acetato)(1-adamantylamine)amminedichloroplatinum (IV) (LA-12); plasma retinol-binding protein 4; RBP4; cisplatin; adamantylamine; proteomics
16.  Biochemical Characteristics of the Novel Haloalkane Dehalogenase DatA, Isolated from the Plant Pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58 ▿ †  
We report the biochemical characterization of a novel haloalkane dehalogenase, DatA, isolated from the plant pathogen Agrobacterium tumefaciens C58. DatA possesses a peculiar pair of halide-stabilizing residues, Asn-Tyr, which have not been reported to play this role in other known haloalkane dehalogenases. DatA has a number of other unique characteristics, including substrate-dependent and cooperative kinetics, a dimeric structure, and excellent enantioselectivity toward racemic mixtures of chiral brominated alkanes and esters.
PMCID: PMC3067286  PMID: 21193677
17.  Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of a novel haloalkane dehalogenase DbeA from Bradyrhizobium elkani USDA94 
A novel haloalkane dehalogenase DbeA from B. elkani USDA94 and its mutant variant DbeA1 were crystallized and diffraction data were collected to 2.2 Å resolution.
A novel enzyme, DbeA, belonging to the haloalkane dehalogenase family (EC was isolated from Bradyrhizobium elkani USDA94. This halo­alkane dehalogenase is closely related to the DbjA enzyme from B. japonicum USDA110 (71% sequence identity), but has different biochemical properties. DbeA is generally less active and has a higher specificity towards brominated and iodinated compounds than DbjA. In order to understand the altered activity and specificity of DbeA, its mutant variant DbeA1, which carries the unique fragment of DbjA, was also constructed. Both wild-type DbeA and DbeA1 were crystallized using the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals of DbeA belonged to the primitive orthorhombic space group P212121, while the crystals of DbeA1 belonged to the monoclinic space group C2. Diffraction data were collected to 2.2 Å resolution for both DbeA and DbeA1 crystals.
PMCID: PMC2664758  PMID: 19342778
DbeA; haloalkane dehalogenases; Bradyrhizobium elkani USDA94
18.  Rad52 SUMOylation affects the efficiency of the DNA repair 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;38(14):4708-4721.
Homologous recombination (HR) plays a vital role in DNA metabolic processes including meiosis, DNA repair, DNA replication and rDNA homeostasis. HR defects can lead to pathological outcomes, including genetic diseases and cancer. Recent studies suggest that the post-translational modification by the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) protein plays an important role in mitotic and meiotic recombination. However, the precise role of SUMOylation during recombination is still unclear. Here, we characterize the effect of SUMOylation on the biochemical properties of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae recombination mediator protein Rad52. Interestingly, Rad52 SUMOylation is enhanced by single-stranded DNA, and we show that SUMOylation of Rad52 also inhibits its DNA binding and annealing activities. The biochemical effects of SUMO modification in vitro are accompanied by a shorter duration of spontaneous Rad52 foci in vivo and a shift in spontaneous mitotic recombination from single-strand annealing to gene conversion events in the SUMO-deficient Rad52 mutants. Taken together, our results highlight the importance of Rad52 SUMOylation as part of a ‘quality control’ mechanism regulating the efficiency of recombination and DNA repair.
PMCID: PMC2919706  PMID: 20371517
19.  Crystals of DhaA mutants from Rhodococcus rhodochrous NCIMB 13064 diffracted to ultrahigh resolution: crystallization and preliminary diffraction analysis 
Three mutants of the haloalkane dehalogenase DhaA derived from R. rhodochrous NCIMB 13064 were crystallized and diffracted to ultrahigh resolution.
The enzyme DhaA from Rhodococcus rhodochrous NCIMB 13064 belongs to the haloalkane dehalogenases, which catalyze the hydrolysis of haloalkanes to the corresponding alcohols. The haloalkane dehalogenase DhaA and its variants can be used to detoxify the industrial pollutant 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP). Three mutants named DhaA04, DhaA14 and DhaA15 were constructed in order to study the importance of tunnels connecting the buried active site with the surrounding solvent to the enzymatic activity. All protein mutants were crystallized using the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals of DhaA04 belonged to the orthorhombic space group P212121, while the crystals of the other two mutants DhaA14 and DhaA15 belonged to the triclinic space group P1. Native data sets were collected for the DhaA04, DhaA14 and DhaA15 mutants at beamline X11 of EMBL, DESY, Hamburg to the high resolutions of 1.30, 0.95 and 1.15 Å, respectively.
PMCID: PMC2374176  PMID: 18259069
ultrahigh resolution; haloalkane dehalogenase DhaA mutants; Rhodococcus rhodochrous
20.  HotSpot Wizard: a web server for identification of hot spots in protein engineering 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;37(Web Server issue):W376-W383.
HotSpot Wizard is a web server for automatic identification of ‘hot spots’ for engineering of substrate specificity, activity or enantioselectivity of enzymes and for annotation of protein structures. The web server implements the protein engineering protocol, which targets evolutionarily variable amino acid positions located in the active site or lining the access tunnels. The ‘hot spots’ for mutagenesis are selected through the integration of structural, functional and evolutionary information obtained from: (i) the databases RCSB PDB, UniProt, PDBSWS, Catalytic Site Atlas and nr NCBI and (ii) the tools CASTp, CAVER, BLAST, CD-HIT, MUSCLE and Rate4Site. The protein structure and e-mail address are the only obligatory inputs for the calculation. In the output, HotSpot Wizard lists annotated residues ordered by estimated mutability. The results of the analysis are mapped on the enzyme structure and visualized in the web browser using Jmol. The HotSpot Wizard server should be useful for protein engineers interested in exploring the structure of their favourite protein and for the design of mutations in site-directed mutagenesis and focused directed evolution experiments. HotSpot Wizard is available at
PMCID: PMC2703904  PMID: 19465397
21.  Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of a haloalkane dehalogenase, DbjA, from Bradyrhizobium japonicum USDA110 
A haloalkane dehalogenase, DbjA, was crystallized by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method using PEG 4000 as a precipitant. The crystal belongs to the orthorhombic system, space group P21212 and diffracts to 1.75 Å resolution.
Haloalkane dehalogenases are key enzymes for the degradation of halogenated aliphatic pollutants. The haloalkane dehalogenase DbjA constitutes a novel substrate-specificity class with high catalytic activity for β-methylated haloalkanes. In order to reveal the mechanism of its substrate specificity, DbjA has been crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. The best crystals were obtained using the microseeding technique with a reservoir solution consisting of 17–19.5%(w/v) PEG 4000, 0.2 M calcium acetate and 0.1 M Tris–HCl pH 7.7–8.0. The space group of the DbjA crystal is P21212, with unit-cell parameters a = 212.9, b = 117.8, c = 55.8 Å. The crystal diffracts to 1.75 Å resolution.
PMCID: PMC2330215  PMID: 17401198
haloalkane dehalogenases; biodegradation; α/β hydrolases; rhizobia
22.  High occurrence of BRCA1 intragenic rearrangements in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome in the Czech Republic 
BMC Medical Genetics  2007;8:32.
Alterations in the highly penetrant cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 are responsible for the majority of hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancers. However, the number of detected germline mutations has been lower than expected based upon genetic linkage data. Undetected deleterious mutations in the BRCA1 gene in some high-risk families could be due to the presence of intragenic rearrangements as deletions, duplications or insertions spanning whole exons. Standard PCR-based screening methods are mainly focused on detecting point mutations and small insertions/deletions, but large rearrangements might escape detection.
The purpose of this study was to determine the type and frequency of large genomic rearrangements in the BRCA1 gene in hereditary breast and ovarian cancer cases in the Czech Republic.
Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) was used to examine BRCA1 rearrangements in 172 unrelated patients with hereditary breast and/or ovarian cancer syndrome without finding deleterious mutation after complete screening of whole coding regions of BRCA1/2 genes. Positive MLPA results were confirmed and located by long-range PCR. The breakpoints of detected rearrangements were characterized by sequencing.
Six different large deletions in the BRCA1 gene were identified in 10 out of 172 unrelated high-risk patients: exons 1A/1B and 2 deletion; partial deletion of exon 11 and exon 12; exons 18 and 19 deletion; exon 20 deletion; exons 21 and 22 deletion; and deletion of exons 5 to 14. The breakpoint junctions were localized and further characterized. Destabilization and global unfolding of the mutated BRCT domains explain the molecular and genetic defects associated with the exon 20 in-frame deletion and the exon 21 and 22 in-frame deletion, respectively.
Using MLPA, mutations were detected in 6% of high-risk patients previously designated as BRCA1/2 mutation-negative. The breakpoints of five out of six large deletions detected in Czech patients are novel. Screening for large genomic rearrangements in the BRCA1 gene in the Czech high-risk patients is highly supported by this study.
PMCID: PMC1904436  PMID: 17561994
23.  Molecular Dissection of Interactions between Rad51 and Members of the Recombination-Repair Group 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(3):966-976.
Recombination is important for the repair of DNA damage and for chromosome segregation during meiosis; it has also been shown to participate in the regulation of cell proliferation. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, recombination requires products of the RAD52 epistasis group. The Rad51 protein associates with the Rad51, Rad52, Rad54, and Rad55 proteins to form a dynamic complex. We describe a new strategy to screen for mutations which cause specific disruption of the interaction between certain proteins in the complex, leaving other interactions intact. This approach defines distinct protein interaction domains and protein relationships within the Rad51 complex. Alignment of the mutations onto the constructed three-dimensional model of the Rad51 protein reveal possible partially overlapping interfaces for the Rad51-Rad52 and the Rad51-Rad54 interactions. Rad51-Rad55 and Rad51-Rad51 interactions are affected by the same spectrum of mutations, indicating similarity between the two modes of binding. Finally, the detection of a subset of mutations within Rad51 which disrupt the interaction with mutant Rad52 protein but activate the interaction with Rad54 suggests that dynamic changes within the Rad51 protein may contribute to an ordered reaction process.
PMCID: PMC86686  PMID: 11154282

Results 1-23 (23)