Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (AARSs) are ligases (EC.6.1.1.-) that catalyze the acylation of amino acids to their cognate tRNAs in the process of translating genetic information from mRNA to protein. Their amino acid and tRNA specificity are crucial for correctly translating the genetic code. Glycine is the smallest amino acid and the glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GlyRS) belongs to Class II AARSs. The enzyme is unusual because it can assume different quaternary structures. In eukaryotes, archaebac-teria and some bacteria, it forms an α2 homodimer. In some bacteria, GlyRS is an α2β2 heterotetramer and shows a distant similarity to α2 GlyRSs. The human pathogen eubacterium Campylobacter jejuni GlyRS (CjGlyRS) is an α2β2 heterotetramer and is similar to Escherichia coli GlyRS; both are members of Class IIc AARSs. The two-step aminoacylation reaction of tetrameric GlyRSs requires the involvement of both α- and β-subunits. At present, the structure of the GlyRS α2β2 class and the details of the enzymatic mechanism of this enzyme remain unknown. Here we report the crystal structures of the catalytic α-subunit of CjGlyRS and its complexes with ATP, and ATP and glycine. These structures provide detailed information on substrate binding and show evidence for a proposed mechanism for amino acid activation and the formation of the glycyl-adenylate intermediate for Class II AARSs.
Gly-tRNA synthetase; Catalytic subunit; ATP binding; Glycine binding
Inosine 5′-monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) catalyzes the first unique step of the GMP branch of the purine nucleotide biosynthetic pathway. This enzyme is found in organisms of all three kingdoms. IMPDH inhibitors have broad clinical applications in cancer treatment, as antiviral drugs and as immunosuppressants, and have also displayed antibiotic activity. We have determined three crystal structures of Bacillus anthracis IMPDH, in a phosphate ion-bound (termed “apo”) form and in complex with its substrate, inosine 5′-monophosphate (IMP), and product, xanthosine 5′-monophosphate (XMP). This is the first example of a bacterial IMPDH in more than one state from the same organism. Furthermore, for the first time for a prokaryotic enzyme, the entire active site flap, containing the conserved Arg-Tyr dyad, is clearly visible in the structure of the apoenzyme. Kinetic parameters for the enzymatic reaction were also determined, and the inhibitory effect of XMP and mycophenolic acid (MPA) has been studied. In addition, the inhibitory potential of two known Cryptosporidium parvum IMPDH inhibitors was examined for the B. anthracis enzyme and compared with those of three bacterial IMPDHs from Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium perfringens, and Vibrio cholerae. The structures contribute to the characterization of the active site and design of inhibitors that specifically target B. anthracis and other microbial IMPDH enzymes.
The hotdog fold is one of the basic protein folds widely present in bacteria, archaea, and eukaryotes. Many of these proteins exhibit thioesterase activity against fatty acyl-CoAs and play important roles in lipid metabolism, cellular signaling, and degradation of xenobiotics. The genome of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa contains over 20 genes encoding predicted hotdog-fold proteins, none of which have been experimentally characterized. We have found that two P. aeruginosa hotdog proteins display high thioesterase activity against 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA and glutaryl-CoA (PA5202), and octanoyl-CoA (PA2801). Crystal structures of these proteins were solved (1.70 and 1.75 Å) and revealed a hotdog fold with a potential catalytic carboxylate residue located on the long alpha helix (Asp57 in PA5202 and Glu35 in PA2801). Alanine replacement mutagenesis of PA5202 identified four residues (Asn42, Arg43, Asp57, and Thr76), which are critical for activity and are located in the active site. A P. aeruginosa PA5202 deletion strain showed an increased secretion of the antimicrobial pigment pyocyanine and an increased expression of genes involved in pyocyanin biosynthesis suggesting a functional link between the PA5202 activity and pyocyanin production. Thus, the P. aeruginosa hotdog thioesterases PA5202 and PA2801 have similar structures, but exhibit different substrate preferences and functions.
hotdog fold; thioesterase; crystal structure; pyocyanin; Pseudomonas aeruginosa
The magnesium ion, Mg2+, is essential for myriad biochemical processes and remains the only major biological ion whose transport mechanisms remain unknown. The CorA family of magnesium transporters is the primary Mg2+ uptake system of most prokaryotes1–3 and a functional homologue of the eukaryotic mitochondrial magnesium transporter4. Here we determine crystal structures of the full-length Thermotoga maritima CorA in an apparent closed state and its isolated cytoplasmic domain at 3.9 Å and 1.85Å resolution, respectively. The transporter is a funnel-shaped homopentamer with two transmembrane helices per monomer. The channel is formed by an inner group of five helices and putatively gated by bulky hydrophobic residues. The large cytoplasmic domain forms a funnel whose wide mouth points into the cell and whose walls are formed by five long helices that are extensions of the transmembrane helices. The cytoplasmic neck of the pore is surrounded, on the outside of the funnel, by a ring of highly conserved positively charged residues. Two negatively charged helices in the cytoplasmic domain extend back towards the membrane on the outside of the funnel and abut the ring of positive charge. An apparent Mg2+ ion was bound between monomers at a conserved site in the cytoplasmic domain, suggesting a mechanism to link gating of the pore to the intra-cellular concentration of Mg2+.
Compounds able to interfere with amino acid biosynthesis have the potential to inhibit cell growth. In both prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms, unless an ornithine cyclodeaminase is present, the activity of δ1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C) reductase is mandatory to proline production, and the enzyme inhibition should result in amino acid starvation, blocking in turn protein synthesis. The ability of some substituted derivatives of aminomethylenebisphosphonic acid and its analogues to interfere with the activity of the enzyme from the human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes was investigated. Several compounds were able to suppress activity in the micromolar range of concentrations, with a mechanism of uncompetitive type with respect to the substrate P5C and non-competitive with respect to the electron donor NAD(P)H. The actual occurrence of enzyme inhibition in vivo was supported by the effects of the most active derivatives upon bacterial growth and free amino acid content.
Amino acid metabolism; Antibiotics; P5C reductase; Proline; Streptococcus sp
In vitro growth experiments have demonstrated that aromatic compounds derived from lignin can be metabolized and represent a major carbon resource for many soil bacteria. However, the proteins that mediate the movement of these metabolites across the cell membrane have not been thoroughly characterized. To address this deficiency, we used a library representative of lignin degradation products and a thermal stability screen to determine ligand specificity for a set of solute-binding proteins (SBPs) from ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters. The ligand mapping process identified a set of proteins from Alphaproteobacteria that recognize various benzoate derivatives. Seven high-resolution crystal structures of these proteins in complex with four different aromatic compounds were obtained. The protein–ligand complexes provide details of molecular recognition that can be used to infer binding specificity. This structure–function characterization provides new insight for the biological roles of these ABC transporters and their SBPs, which had been previously annotated as branched-chain amino-acid-binding proteins. The knowledge derived from the crystal structures provides a foundation for development of sequencebased methods to predict the ligand specificity of other uncharacterized transporters. These results also demonstrate that Alphaproteobacteria possess a diverse set of transport capabilities for lignin-derived compounds. Characterization of this new class of transporters improves genomic annotation projects and provides insight into the metabolic potential of soil bacteria.
ABC transporters; lignin degradation; Rhodopseudomonas palustris; solute-binding protein; benzoate
Proteins of unknown function comprise a significant fraction of sequenced genomes. Defining the roles of these proteins is vital to understanding cellular processes. Here, we describe a method to determine a protein function based on the identification of its natural ligand(s) by the crystallographic screening of the binding of a metabolite library, followed by a focused search in the metabolic space. The method was applied to two protein families with unknown function, PF01256 and YjeF_N. The PF01256 proteins, represented by YxkO from Bacillus subtilis and the C-terminal domain of Tm0922 from Thermotoga maritima, were shown to catalyze ADP/ATP-dependent NAD(P)H-hydrate dehydratation, a previously described orphan activity. The YjeF_N proteins, represented by mouse apolipoprotein A-I binding protein and the N-terminal domain of Tm0922, were found to interact with an adenosine diphosphoribose-related substrate and likely serve as ADP-ribosyltransferases. Crystallographic screening of metabolites serves as an efficient tool in functional analyses of uncharacterized proteins.
Anaeromyxobacter dehalogenans is a δ-proteobacterium found in diverse soils and sediments. It is of interest in bioremediation efforts due to its dechlorination and metal-reducing capabilities. To gain an understanding on A. dehalogenans' abilities to adapt to diverse environments we analyzed its signal transduction proteins. The A. dehalogenans genome codes for a large number of sensor histidine kinases (HK) and methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins (MCP); among these 23 HK and 11 MCP proteins have a sensor domain in the periplasm. These proteins most likely contribute to adaptation to the organism's surroundings. We predicted their three-dimensional folds and determined the structures of two of the periplasmic sensor domains by X-ray diffraction. Most of the domains are predicted to have either PAS-like or helical bundle structures, with two predicted to have solute-binding protein fold, and another predicted to have a 6-phosphogluconolactonase like fold. Atomic structures of two sensor domains confirmed the respective fold predictions. The Adeh_2942 sensor (HK) was found to have a helical bundle structure, and the Adeh_3718 sensor (MCP) has a PAS-like structure. Interestingly, the Adeh_3718 sensor has an acetate moiety bound in a binding site typical for PAS-like domains. Future work is needed to determine whether Adeh_3718 is involved in acetate sensing by A. dehalogenans.
Acetate; chemotaxis; helical bundle; PAS-like; periplasmic sensor domains; sensor histidine kinase
Remodeling of the peptidoglycan (PG) exoskeleton is intimately tied to the growth and division of bacteria. Enzymes that hydrolyze PG are critical for these processes, but their activities must be tightly regulated to prevent the generation of lethal breaches in the PG matrix. Despite their importance, the mechanisms regulating PG hydrolase activity have remained elusive. Here we investigate the control of cell division hydrolases called amidases (AmiA, AmiB, and AmiC) required for Escherichia coli cell division. Poorly regulated amiB mutants were isolated encoding lytic AmiB variants with elevated basal PG hydrolase activities in vitro. The structure of an AmiB ortholog was also solved, revealing that the active site of AmiB is occluded by a conserved alpha-helix. Strikingly, most of the amino acid substitutions in the lytic AmiB variants mapped to this domain and are predicted to disrupt its interaction with the active site. Our results therefore support a model in which cell separation is stimulated by the reversible relief of amidase auto-inhibition governed by conserved sub-complexes within the cytokinetic ring. Analogous conformational control mechanisms are likely to be part of a general strategy used to control PG hydrolases present within multi-enzyme PG remodeling machines.
autolysin; cytokinesis; morphogenesis; murein; sacculus
Microcin C (McC) is heptapeptide-adenylate antibiotic produced by Escherichia coli strains carrying the mccABCDEF gene cluster encoding enzymes, in addition to the heptapeptide structural gene mccA, necessary for McC biosynthesis and self-immunity of the producing cell. The heptapeptide facilitates McC transport into susceptible cells, where it is processed releasing a non-hydrolyzable aminoacyl adenylate that inhibits an essential aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. The self-immunity gene mccF encodes a specialized serine-peptidase that cleaves an amide bond connecting the peptidyl or aminoacyl moieties of, respectively, intact and processed McC with the nucleotidyl moiety. Most mccF orthologs from organisms other than E. coli are not linked to the McC biosynthesis gene cluster. Here, we show that a protein product of one such gene, MccF from Bacillus anthracis (BaMccF), is able to cleave intact and processed McC and we present a series of structures of this protein. Structural analysis of apo-BaMccF and its AMP-complex reveal specific features of MccF-like peptidases that allow them to interact with substrates containing nucleotidyl moieties. Sequence analyses and phylogenetic reconstructions suggest that several distinct subfamilies form the MccF clade of the large S66 family of bacterial serine peptidases. We show that various representatives of the MccF clade can specifically detoxify non-hydrolyzable aminoacyl adenylates differing in their aminoacyl moieties. We hypothesize that bacterial mccF genes serve as a source of bacterial antibiotic resistance.
MccF; serine peptidase; nucleophilic elbow; catalytic triad (Ser-His-Glu); substrate binding loop
One goal of the CASP Community Wide Experiment on the Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction is to identify the current state of the art in protein structure prediction and modeling. A fundamental principle of CASP is blind prediction on a set of relevant protein targets, i.e. the participating computational methods are tested on a common set of experimental target proteins, for which the experimental structures are not known at the time of modeling. Therefore, the CASP experiment would not have been possible without broad support of the experimental protein structural biology community. In this manuscript, several experimental groups discuss the structures of the proteins which they provided as prediction targets for CASP9, highlighting structural and functional peculiarities of these structures: the long tail fibre protein gp37 from bacteriophage T4, the cyclic GMP-dependent protein kinase Iβ (PKGIβ) dimerization/docking domain, the ectodomain of the JTB (Jumping Translocation Breakpoint) transmembrane receptor, Autotaxin (ATX) in complex with an inhibitor, the DNA-Binding J-Binding Protein 1 (JBP1) domain essential for biosynthesis and maintenance of DNA base-J (β-D-glucosyl-hydroxymethyluracil) in Trypanosoma and Leishmania, an so far uncharacterized 73 residue domain from Ruminococcus gnavus with a fold typical for PDZ-like domains, a domain from the Phycobilisome (PBS) core-membrane linker (LCM) phycobiliprotein ApcE from Synechocystis, the Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) activators PFC0360w and PFC0270w from Plasmodium falciparum, and 2-oxo-3-deoxygalactonate kinase from Klebsiella pneumoniae.
CASP; protein structure; X-ray crystallography; NMR; structure prediction
The ultimate goal of structural biology is to understand the structural basis of proteins in cellular processes. In structural biology, the most critical issue is the availability of high-quality samples. “Structural biology-grade” proteins must be generated in the quantity and quality suitable for structure determination using X-ray crystallography or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The purification procedures must reproducibly yield homogeneous proteins or their derivatives containing marker atom(s) in milligram quantities. The choice of protein purification and handling procedures plays a critical role in obtaining high-quality protein samples. With structural genomics emphasizing a genome-based approach in understanding protein structure and function, a number of unique structures covering most of the protein folding space have been determined and new technologies with high efficiency have been developed. At the Midwest Center for Structural Genomics (MCSG), we have developed semi-automated protocols for high-throughput parallel protein expression and purification. A protein, expressed as a fusion with a cleavable affinity tag, is purified in two consecutive immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC) steps: (i) the first step is an IMAC coupled with buffer-exchange, or size exclusion chromatography (IMAC-I), followed by the cleavage of the affinity tag using the highly specific Tobacco Etch Virus (TEV) protease;  the second step is IMAC and buffer exchange (IMAC-II) to remove the cleaved tag and tagged TEV protease. These protocols have been implemented on multidimensional chromatography workstations and, as we have shown, many proteins can be successfully produced in large-scale. All methods and protocols used for purification, some developed by MCSG, others adopted and integrated into the MCSG purification pipeline and more recently the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID) purification pipeline, are discussed in this chapter.
domain design; expression vectors; gene cloning; protein purification; crystallization screening; quality assessment
The bacterial heat shock protein Hsp33 is a redox-regulated chaperone activated by oxidative stress. In response to oxidation, four cysteines within a Zn2+ binding C-terminal domain form two disulfide bonds with concomitant release of the metal. This leads to the formation of the biologically active Hsp33 dimer. The crystal structure of the N-terminal domain of the E. coli protein has been reported, but neither the structure of the Zn2+ binding motif nor the nature of its regulatory interaction with the rest of the protein are known. Here we report the crystal structure of the full-length B. subtilis Hsp33 in the reduced form. The structure of the N-terminal, dimerization domain is similar to that of the E. coli protein, although there is no domain swapping. The Zn2+ binding domain is clearly resolved showing the details of the tetrahedral coordination of Zn2+ by four thiolates. We propose a structure-based activation pathway for Hsp33.
The ubiquitous mitochondrial J-protein Jac1, called HscB in Escherichia coli, and its partner Hsp70 play a critical role in the transfer of Fe-S clusters from the scaffold protein Isu to recipient proteins. Biochemical results from eukaryotic and prokaryotic systems indicate that formation of the Jac1-Isu complex is important for both targeting of the Isu for Hsp70 binding and stimulation of Hsp70’s ATPase activity. However, in apparent contradiction, we previously reported that an 8 fold decrease in Jac1’s affinity for Isu1 is well tolerated in vivo, raising the question as to whether the Jac1:Isu interaction actually plays an important biological role. Here we report the determination of the structure of Jac1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Taking advantage of this information and recently published data from the homologous bacterial system, a total of eight surface exposed residues were determined to play a role in Isu binding, as assessed by a set of biochemical assays. A variant having alanines substituted for these eight residues was unable to support growth of a jac1-Δ strain. However, replacement of three residues caused partial loss of function, resulting in a significant decrease in the Jac1:Isu1 interaction, a slow growth phenotype and a reduction in the activity of Fe-S cluster containing enzymes. Thus, we conclude that the Jac1:Isu1 interaction plays an indispensible role in the essential process of mitochondrial Fe-S cluster biogenesis.
The crystal structures of two 6-P-β-glucosidases from the GH1 family were determined in the apo form and in the presence of a 6′-P-salicin substrate, of the reaction product 6-P-β-glucose and of glucose corresponding to the aglycon molecule. The presence of natural ligands enabled the definition of the structural elements responsible for the recognition and hydrolysis of 6′-P-β-glucosides.
In lactic acid bacteria and other bacteria, carbohydrate uptake is mostly governed by phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase systems (PTSs). PTS-dependent translocation through the cell membrane is coupled with phosphorylation of the incoming sugar. After translocation through the bacterial membrane, the β-glycosidic bond in 6′-P-β-glucoside is cleaved, releasing 6-P-β-glucose and the respective aglycon. This reaction is catalyzed by 6-P-β-glucosidases, which belong to two glycoside hydrolase (GH) families: GH1 and GH4. Here, the high-resolution crystal structures of GH1 6-P-β-glucosidases from Lactobacillus plantarum (LpPbg1) and Streptococcus mutans (SmBgl) and their complexes with ligands are reported. Both enzymes show hydrolytic activity towards 6′-P-β-glucosides. The LpPbg1 structure has been determined in an apo form as well as in a complex with phosphate and a glucose molecule corresponding to the aglycon molecule. The S. mutans homolog contains a sulfate ion in the phosphate-dedicated subcavity. SmBgl was also crystallized in the presence of the reaction product 6-P-β-glucose. For a mutated variant of the S. mutans enzyme (E375Q), the structure of a 6′-P-salicin complex has also been determined. The presence of natural ligands enabled the definition of the structural elements that are responsible for substrate recognition during catalysis.
6-P-β-glucosidases; glycoside hydrolases; GH1; cellobiose; gentiobiose; salicin
We compared chromosome number (CN) variation among vascular floras of three different countries with increasing latitude in the Boreal hemisphere: Italy, Slovakia, Poland. Aim of the study was to verify whether the patterns of CN variation parallel the differences in latitudinal ranges. The three datasets comprised 3426 (Italy), 3493 (Slovakia) and 1870 (Poland) distinct cytotypes. Standard statistics (ANOVA, Kruskal–Wallis tests) evidenced significant differences among the three countries, mean CN increasing together with latitude. On the contrary, an inverse relation (r = -1) was evidenced among the frequency of odd CNs and latitude. Our results show that the hypothesis of a polyploid increase proportional with distance from the Equator seems to be confirmed, when territories from the same hemisphere are compared.
Biogeography; chromosome number; cytogeography; cytotaxonomy; Europe; polyploidy
The structural characterization of acyl-carrier-protein synthase (AcpS) from three different pathogenic microorganisms is reported. One interesting finding of the present work is a crystal artifact related to the activity of the enzyme, which fortuitously represents an opportunity for a strategy to design a potential inhibitor of a pathogenic AcpS.
Some bacterial type II fatty-acid synthesis (FAS II) enzymes have been shown to be important candidates for drug discovery. The scientific and medical quest for new FAS II protein targets continues to stimulate research in this field. One of the possible additional candidates is the acyl-carrier-protein synthase (AcpS) enzyme. Its holo form post-translationally modifies the apo form of an acyl carrier protein (ACP), which assures the constant delivery of thioester intermediates to the discrete enzymes of FAS II. At the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID), AcpSs from Staphylococcus aureus (AcpSSA), Vibrio cholerae (AcpSVC) and Bacillus anthracis (AcpSBA) have been structurally characterized in their apo, holo and product-bound forms, respectively. The structure of AcpSBA is emphasized because of the two 3′,5′-adenosine diphosphate (3′,5′-ADP) product molecules that are found in each of the three coenzyme A (CoA) binding sites of the trimeric protein. One 3′,5′-ADP is bound as the 3′,5′-ADP part of CoA in the known structures of the CoA–AcpS and 3′,5′-ADP–AcpS binary complexes. The position of the second 3′,5′-ADP has never been described before. It is in close proximity to the first 3′,5′-ADP and the ACP-binding site. The coordination of two ADPs in AcpSBA may possibly be exploited for the design of AcpS inhibitors that can block binding of both CoA and ACP.
acyl-carrier-protein synthase; acyl carrier protein; type II fatty-acid synthesis; inhibition; 3′,5′-adenosine diphosphate; coenzyme A
Prediction of peptide binding to human leukocyte antigen (HLA) molecules is essential to a wide range of clinical entities from vaccine design to stem cell transplant compatibility. Here we present a new structure-based methodology that applies robust computational tools to model peptide-HLA (p-HLA) binding interactions. The method leverages the structural conservation observed in p-HLA complexes to significantly reduce the search space and calculate the system’s binding free energy. This approach is benchmarked against existing p-HLA complexes and the prediction performance is measured against a library of experimentally validated peptides. The effect on binding activity across a large set of high-affinity peptides is used to investigate amino acid mismatches reported as high-risk factors in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
The crystal structure of 2-oxo-3-deoxygalactonate kinase from the De Ley–Doudoroff pathway of galactose metabolism has been determined at 2.1 Å resolution.
In most organisms, efficient d-galactose utilization requires the highly conserved Leloir pathway that converts d-galactose to d-glucose 1-phosphate. However, in some bacterial and fungal species alternative routes of d-galactose assimilation have been identified. In the so-called De Ley–Doudoroff pathway, d-galactose is metabolized into pyruvate and d-glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate in five consecutive reactions carried out by specific enzymes. The penultimate step in this pathway involves the phosphorylation of 2-oxo-3-deoxygalactonate to 2-oxo-3-deoxygalactonate 6-phosphate catalyzed by 2-oxo-3-deoxygalactonate kinase, with ATP serving as a phosphoryl-group donor. Here, a crystal structure of 2-oxo-3-deoxygalactonate kinase from Klebsiella pneumoniae determined at 2.1 Å resolution is reported, the first structure of an enzyme from the De Ley–Doudoroff pathway. Structural comparison indicates that the enzyme belongs to the ASKHA (acetate and sugar kinases/hsc70/actin) family of phosphotransferases. The protein is composed of two α/β domains, each of which contains a core common to all family members. Additional elements introduced between conserved structural motifs define the unique features of 2-oxo-3-deoxygalactonate kinase and possibly determine the biological function of the protein.
2-oxo-3-deoxygalactonate kinase; galactose; De Ley–Doudoroff pathway; ASKHA family
Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis ATCC 15697 utilizes several small-mass neutral human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), several of which are fucosylated. Whereas previous studies focused on endpoint consumption, a temporal glycan consumption profile revealed a time-dependent effect. Specifically, among preferred HMOs, tetraose was favored early in fermentation, with other oligosaccharides consumed slightly later. In order to utilize fucosylated oligosaccharides, ATCC 15697 possesses several fucosidases, implicating GH29 and GH95 α-l-fucosidases in a gene cluster dedicated to HMO metabolism. Evaluation of the biochemical kinetics demonstrated that ATCC 15697 expresses three fucosidases with a high turnover rate. Moreover, several ATCC 15697 fucosidases are active on the linkages inherent to the HMO molecule. Finally, the HMO cluster GH29 α-l-fucosidase possesses a crystal structure that is similar to previously characterized fucosidases.
The enzyme prephenate dehydratase (PDT) converts prephenate to phenylpyruvate in L-phenylalanine biosynthesis. PDT is allosterically regulated by L-Phe and other amino acids. We report the first crystal structures of PDT from Staphylococcus aureus in a relaxed (R) state and PDT from Chlorobium tepidum in a tense (T) state. The two enzymes show low sequence identity (27.3%) but the same prototypic architecture and domain organization. Both enzymes are tetramers (dimer of dimers) in crystal and solution while a PDT dimer can be regarded as a basic catalytic unit. The N-terminal PDT domain consists of two similar subdomains with a cleft in between, which hosts the highly conserved active site. In one PDT dimer two clefts are aligned to form an extended active site across the dimer interface. Similarly at the interface two ACT regulatory domains create two highly conserved pockets. Upon binding of the L-Phe inside the pockets, PDT transits from an open to a closed conformation.
prephenate dehydratase structure; PDT domain; ACT domain; allosteric regulation; L-Phe binding
The high-throughput structure determination pipelines developed by structural genomics programs offer a unique opportunity for data mining. One important question is how protein properties derived from a primary sequence correlate with the protein’s propensity to yield X-ray quality crystals (crystallizability) and 3D X-ray structures. A set of protein properties were computed for over 1,300 proteins that expressed well but were insoluble, and for ~720 unique proteins that resulted in X-ray structures. The correlation of the protein’s iso-electric point and grand average hydropathy (GRAVY) with crystallizability was analyzed for full length and domain constructs of protein targets. In a second step, several additional properties that can be calculated from the protein sequence were added and evaluated. Using statistical analyses we have identified a set of the attributes correlating with a protein’s propensity to crystallize and implemented a Support Vector Machine (SVM) classifier based on these. We have created applications to analyze and provide optimal boundary information for query sequences and to visualize the data. These tools are available via the web site http://bioinformatics.anl.gov/cgi-bin/tools/pdpredictor.
Bioinformatics; Data mining; Protein crystallization; Crystallizability
The first crucial step in any structural genomics project is the selection and prioritization of target proteins for structure determination. There may be a number of selection criteria to be satisfied, including that the proteins have novel folds, that they be representatives of large families for which no structure is known, and so on. The better the selection at this stage, the greater is the value of the structures obtained at the end of the experimental process. This value can be further enhanced once the protein structures have been solved if the functions of the given proteins can also be determined. Here we describe the methods used at either end of the experimental process: firstly, sensitive sequence comparison techniques for selecting a high-quality list of target proteins, and secondly the various computational methods that can be applied to the eventual 3D structures to determine the most likely biochemical function of the proteins in question.
Structural genomics; target selection; function from structure; functional annotation
Sortases anchor surface proteins to the cell wall of Gram-positive pathogens through recognition of specific motif sequences. Loss of sortase leads to large reductions in virulence, which identifies sortase as a target for the development of antibacterials. By screening 135,625 small molecules for inhibition, we report here that aryl (β-amino)ethyl ketones inhibit sortase enzymes from staphylococci and bacilli. Inhibition of sortases occurs through an irreversible, covalent modification of their active site cysteine. Sortases specifically activate this class of molecules via β-elimination, generating a reactive olefin intermediate that covalently modifies the cysteine thiol. Analysis of the three-dimensional structure of Bacillus anthracis sortase B with and without inhibitor provides insights into the mechanism of inhibition and reveals binding pockets that can be exploited for drug discovery.
Here, we report the 1.53-Å crystal structure of the enzyme 7-cyano-7-deazaguanine reductase (QueF) from Vibrio cholerae, which is responsible for the complete reduction of a nitrile (C≡N) bond to a primary amine (H2C–NH2). At present, this is the only example of a biological pathway that includes reduction of a nitrile bond, establishing QueF as particularly noteworthy. The structure of the QueF monomer resembles two connected ferrodoxin-like domains that assemble into dimers. Ligands identified in the crystal structure suggest the likely binding conformation of the native substrates NADPH and 7-cyano-7-deazaguanine. We also report on a series of numerical simulations that have shed light on the mechanism by which this enzyme affects the transfer of four protons (and electrons) to the 7-cyano-7-deazaguanine substrate. In particular, the simulations suggest that the initial step of the catalytic process is the formation of a covalent adduct with the residue Cys194, in agreement with previous studies. The crystal structure also suggests that two conserved residues (His233 and Asp102) play an important role in the delivery of a fourth proton to the substrate.
queuosine; oxidoreductase; QueF; nitrile reduction