Cancer cells engage in a metabolic program to enhance biosynthesis and support cell proliferation. The regulatory properties of pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) influence altered glucose metabolism in cancer. PKM2 interaction with phosphotyrosine-containing proteins inhibits enzyme activity and increases availability of glycolytic metabolites to support cell proliferation. This suggests that high pyruvate kinase activity may suppress tumor growth. We show that expression of PKM1, the pyruvate kinase isoform with high constitutive activity, or exposure to published small molecule PKM2 activators inhibit growth of xenograft tumors. Structural studies reveal that small molecule activators bind PKM2 at the subunit interaction interface, a site distinct from that of the endogenous activator fructose-1,6-bisphosphate (FBP). However, unlike FBP, binding of activators to PKM2 promotes a constitutively active enzyme state that is resistant to inhibition by tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins. These data support the notion that small molecule activation of PKM2 can interfere with anabolic metabolism.
Pyruvate kinase (PYK) plays a central role in the metabolism of many organisms and cell types, but the elucidation of the details of its function in a systems biology context has been hampered by the lack of specific high-affinity small molecule inhibitors. High-throughput screening has been used to identify a family of saccharin derivatives which inhibit Leishmania mexicana PYK (LmPYK) activity in a time- (and dose-) dependent manner; a characteristic of irreversible inhibition. The crystal structure of 4-[(1,1-dioxo-1,2-benzothiazol-3-yl)sulfanyl]benzoic acid (DBS) complexed with LmPYK shows that the saccharin moiety reacts with an active-site lysine residue (Lys335), forming a covalent bond and sterically hindering the binding of ADP/ATP. Mutation of the lysine residue to an arginine residue eliminated the effect of the inhibitor molecule, providing confirmation of the proposed inhibitor mechanism. This lysine residue is conserved in the active sites of the four human PYK isoenzymes, which were also found to be irreversibly inhibited by DBS. X-ray structures of PYK isoforms show structural differences at the DBS binding pocket, and this covalent inhibitor of PYK provides a chemical scaffold for the design of new families of potentially isoform-specific irreversible inhibitors.
Leishmania mexicana; lysine covalent modification; nucleotide binding; pyruvate kinase; saccharin analogues; covalent inhibitor
Cancer multidrug resistance (MDR) mediated by ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters presents a significant unresolved clinical challenge. One strategy to resolve MDR is to develop compounds that selectively kill cells over-expressing the efflux transporter P-glycoprotein (MDR1, P-gp, ABCB1). We have previously reported structure-activity studies based around the lead compound NSC73306 (1, 1-isatin-4-(4′-methoxyphenyl)-3-thiosemicarbazone, 4.3-fold selective). Here we sought to extend this work on MDR1-selective analogs by establishing whether 1 showed ‘robust’ activity against a range of cell lines expressing P-gp. We further aimed to synthesize and test analogs with varied substitution at the N4-position, and substitution around the N4-phenyl ring of isatin-β-thiosemicarbazones (IBTs), to identify compounds with increased MDR1-selectivity. Compound 1 demonstrated MDR1-selectivity against all P-gp-expressing cell lines examined. This selectivity was reversed by inhibitors of P-gp ATPase activity. Structural variation at the 4′-phenyl position of 1 yielded compounds of greater MDR1-selectivity. Two of these analogs, 1-isatin-4-(4′-nitrophenyl)-3-thiosemicarbazone (22, 8.3-fold selective) and 1-isatin-4-(4′-tert-butyl phenyl)-3-thiosemicarbazone (32, 14.8-fold selective), were selected for further testing, and were found to retain the activity profile of 1. These compounds are the most active IBTs identified to date.
Polycomb group proteins (PcG) function as transcriptional repressors of gene expression. The important role of PcG in mediating repression of the INK4b-ARF-INK4a locus, by directly binding to the long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) transcript antisense noncoding RNA in the INK4 locus (ANRIL), was recently shown. INK4b-ARF-INK4a encodes 3 tumor-suppressor proteins, p15INK4b, p14ARF, and p16INK4a, and its transcription is a key requirement for replicative or oncogene-induced senescence and constitutes an important barrier for tumor growth. ANRIL gene is transcribed in the antisense orientation of the INK4b-ARF-INK4a gene cluster, and different single-nucleotide polymorphisms are associated with increased susceptibility to several diseases. Although lncRNA-mediated regulation of INK4b-ARF-INK4a gene is not restricted to ANRIL, both polycomb repressive complex-1 (PRC1) and -2 (PRC2) interact with ANRIL to form heterochromatin surrounding the INK4b-ARF-INK4a locus, leading to its repression. This mechanism would provide an increased advantage for bypassing senescence, sustaining the requirements for the proliferation of stem and/or progenitor cell populations or inappropriately leading to oncogenesis through the aberrant saturation of the INK4b-ARF-INK4a locus by PcG complexes. In this review, we summarize recent findings on the underlying epigenetic mechanisms that link PcG function with ANRIL, which impose gene silencing to control cellular homeostasis as well as cancer development.
Tasigna® (Nilotinib) is a recently approved BCR-ABL kinase inhibitor by the Food and Drug Administration, which is indicated for the treatment of drug-resistant chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The efflux of tyrosine kinase inhibitors by ATP-binding cassette (ABC) drug transporters, which actively pump these drugs out of cells utilizing ATP as an energy source, has been linked to the development of drug resistance in CML patients. We report here synthesis and characterization of a fluorescent derivative of Tasigna to study its interaction with two major ABC transporters, P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and ABCG2, in in vitro and ex vivo assays. A fluorescent derivative of Tasigna, BODIPY® FL Tasigna, inhibited the BCR-ABL kinase activity in K562 cells and was also effluxed by Pgp- and ABCG2-expressing cells in both cultured cells and rat brain capillaries expressing Pgp and ABCG2. In addition, [3H]-Tasigna was also found to be transported by Pgp-expressing polarized LLC-PK1 cells in a transepithelial transport assay. Consistent with these results, both Tasigna and BODIPY® FL Tasigna were less effective at inhibiting the phosphorylation of Crkl (a substrate of BCR-ABL kinase) in Pgp- and ABCG2-expressing K562 cells due to their reduced intracellular concentration. Taken together, these data provide evidence that BODIPY® FL Tasigna is transported by Pgp and ABCG2, and Tasigna is transported by Pgp. Further, we propose that BODIPY® FL Tasigna can potentially be used as a probe to study Tasigna in imaging Pgp- and/or ABCG2- expressing cancer cells and other preclinical studies.
ABC transporter; ABCG2; BCR-ABL kinase; multidrug resistance; P-glycoprotein; Tasigna
Cyanase is an enzyme found in bacteria and plants that catalyzes the reaction of cyanate with bicarbonate to produce ammonia and carbon dioxide. In Escherichia coli, cyanase is induced from the cyn operon in response to extracellular cyanate. The enzyme is functionally active as a homodecamer of 17 kDa subunits, and displays half-site binding of substrates or substrate analogs. The enzyme shows no significant amino acid sequence homology with other proteins.
We have determined the crystal structure of cyanase at 1.65 Å resolution using the multiwavelength anomalous diffraction (MAD) method. Cyanase crystals are triclinic and contain one homodecamer in the asymmetric unit. Selenomethionine-labeled protein offers 40 selenium atoms for use in phasing. Structures of cyanase with bound chloride or oxalate anions, inhibitors of the enzyme, allowed identification of the active site.
The cyanase monomer is composed of two domains. The N-terminal domain shows structural similarity to the DNA-binding α-helix bundle motif. The C-terminal domain has an ‘open fold’ with no structural homology to other proteins. The subunits of cyanase are arranged in a novel manner both at the dimer and decamer level. The dimer structure reveals the C-terminal domains to be intertwined, and the decamer is formed by a pentamer of these dimers. The active site of the enzyme is located between dimers and is comprised of residues from four adjacent subunits of the homodecamer. The structural data allow a conceivable reaction mechanism to be proposed.
active site; cyanase; decamer structure; MAD phasing; monoanion and dianion inhibitors; synchrotron radiation
Ranasmurfin is an unusual blue protein isolated from the nests of a Malaysian tree frog, Polypedates leucomystax, showing the rich chemical diversity displayed by biomolecular foams. Many species of tropical frogs use foams to protect delicate eggs and developing embryos against environmental challenges. These nests act as miniature ecosystems containing a spectrum of novel proteins and other macromolecules with functions related to foam stabilization and adhesion, resistance to microbial degradation, predation, or dehydration, providing a biocompatible environment for embryonic development.Thisworkformspartofourwiderstudyofthe intriguing physical and chemical properties of biofoams as unusual examples of biological soft matter.
Compared to normal differentiated cells, cancer cells have altered metabolic regulation to support biosynthesis and the expression of the M2 isozyme of pyruvate kinase (PKM2) plays an important role in this anabolic metabolism. While the M1 isoform is a highly active enzyme, the alternatively spliced M2 variant is considerably less active and expressed in tumors. While the exact mechanism by which decreased pyruvate kinase activity contributes to anabolic metabolism remains unclear, it is hypothesized that activation of PKM2 to levels seen with PKM1 may promote a metabolic program that is not conducive to cell proliferation. Here we report the third chemotype in a series of PKM2 activators based on the 2-oxo-N-aryl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroquinoline-6-sulfonamide scaffold. The synthesis, structure activity relationships, selectivity and notable physiochemical properties are described.
PKM2; pyruvate kinase; cellular metabolism; anti-cancer strategies; small molecule activators
Expression of the INK4b/ARF/INK4a tumor suppressor locus in normal and cancerous cell growth is controlled by methylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me) as directed by the Polycomb group proteins. The antisense non-coding RNA ANRIL of the INK4b/ARF/INK4a locus is also important for expression of the protein-coding genes in cis, but its mechanism has remained elusive. Here we report that chromobox 7 (CBX7) within the Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 binds to ANRIL, and both CBX7 and ANRIL are found at elevated levels in prostate cancer tissues. In concert with H3K27me recognition, binding to RNA contributes to CBX7 function and disruption of either interaction impacts the ability of CBX7 to repress the INK4b/ARF/INK4a locus and control senescence. Structure-guided analysis reveals the molecular interplay between non-coding RNA and H3K27me as mediated by the conserved chromodomain. Our study suggests a new mechanism by which non-coding RNA participates directly in epigenetic transcriptional repression.
The tumor suppressor Kruppel-like Factor 6 (KLF6) is frequently inactivated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To unearth downstream transcriptional targets of KLF6, cDNA microarray analysis of whole liver was compared between KLF6 +/+ and KLF6 +/− mice. Pituitary Tumor Transforming Gene 1 (PTTG1), an oncogene, was the most up-regulated transcript in KLF6 +/− liver. In human HCCs, KLF6 mRNA was significantly decreased, associated with increased PTTG1. In HepG2, KLF6 transcriptionally repressed PTTG1 by direct promoter interaction. Whereas KLF6 downregulation by siRNA increased HepG2 proliferation, siRNA to PTTG1 was anti-proliferative. PTTG1 downregulation represents a novel tumor suppressor pathway of KLF6.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; KLF6; PTTG1; Liver cancer
Histone lysine acetylation and methylation are important during gene transcription in a chromatin context1,2. Our knowledge about the types of protein modules that can interact with acetyl-lysine has so far been limited to bromodomains1. Recently, a tandem PHD (plant homeodomain) finger3 (PHD12) of human DPF3b, which functions in association with the BAF chromatin remodelling complex to initiate transcription in the heart and muscle development, was reported to bind histones H3 and H4 in an acetylation sensitive manner4, making it a first alternative to bromodomains for acetyl-lysine binding5. Here, we report the structural mechanism of acetylated histone binding by the double PHD fingers of DPF3b. Our three-dimensional solution structures and biochemical analysis of DPF3b illuminate the molecular basis of the integrated tandem PHD finger, which acts as one functional unit in the sequence-specific recognition of lysine 14-acetylated histone H3 (H3K14ac). Whereas the interaction with H3 is promoted by acetylation at lysine 14, it is inhibited by methylation at lysine 4, and these opposing influences are important during transcriptional activation of DPF3b target genes Pitx2 and Jmjd1c. Binding of this tandem protein module to chromatin can thus be regulated by different histone modifications during the initiation of gene transcription.
The zinc finger protein 217 (ZNF217) is an important oncogene based on the high frequency of amplification and overexpression in many cancer types, but its molecular mode of gene regulation is poorly understood. We purified a complex of nuclear ZNF217-binding proteins by affinity chromatography and identified its components by mass spectrometry as Jarid1b/Plu-1, G9a, LSD1, CoREST and CtBP1. Individual binding of these with ZNF217 was confirmed by co-immunoprecipiation (IP). Known activities of these proteins suggested a role of the ZNF217 complex in histone modification. Using in vitro assays the following activities were demonstrated: Histone H3 lysine 4 trimethyl (H3K4me3) demethylase activity, which co-fractionated with Jarid1b/Plu-1 in anion-exchange chromatography; H3K9 methylation, the known principal activity of G9a; and H3K27 methylation. The latter suggested EZH2 as another ZNF217 binding candidate, which could be confirmed by co-IP. Taken together, these findings suggest that ZNF217 assembles a distinct set of histone modifying proteins at target DNA sites that act synergistically in transcriptional repression.
ZNF217; histone modifying enzymes; repressive complexes; oncogene; gene regulation
MxCuBE is a beamline control environment optimized for the needs of macromolecular crystallography. This paper describes the design of the software and the features that MxCuBE currently provides.
The design and features of a beamline control software system for macromolecular crystallography (MX) experiments developed at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) are described. This system, MxCuBE, allows users to easily and simply interact with beamline hardware components and provides automated routines for common tasks in the operation of a synchrotron beamline dedicated to experiments in MX. Additional functionality is provided through intuitive interfaces that enable the assessment of the diffraction characteristics of samples, experiment planning, automatic data collection and the on-line collection and analysis of X-ray emission spectra. The software can be run in a tandem client-server mode that allows for remote control and relevant experimental parameters and results are automatically logged in a relational database, ISPyB. MxCuBE is modular, flexible and extensible and is currently deployed on eight macromolecular crystallography beamlines at the ESRF. Additionally, the software is installed at MAX-lab beamline I911-3 and at BESSY beamline BL14.1.
automation; macromolecular crystallography; synchrotron beamline control; graphical user interface
The stereocontrolled total synthesis of 4-hydroxydictyolactone (4), a member of the xenicane diterpene family of natural products, is described. These studies feature the development of the B-alkyl Suzuki cross-coupling reaction for direct access to (E)-cyclononenes from acyclic precursors. The Ireland-Claisen rearrangement is effectively utilized to establish the backbone asymmetry of the contiguous C2, C3, C10 stereotriad of 4. The synthesis strategy has devised an intramolecular Nozaki-Hiyama reductive allylation of a formate ester for the stereoselective formation of five-membered lactols 22. In addition, an internally directed SE' propargylation using allenylmagnesium bromide is described to establish the stereochemistry of the C4 alcohol in 27, and the terminal alkyne is subsequently functionalized via a regioselective syn-silylstannylation to yield 30. Finally, the stereocontrolled phenylselenylation of the ester enolate derived from 43 leads to the desired syn-oxidative elimination to yield the natural product 4.
A hallmark of p53 function is to regulate a transcriptional program in response to extracellular and intracellular stress that directs cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and cellular senescence. Independent of the role of p53 in the nucleus, some of the anti-proliferative functions of p53 reside within the mitochondria . p53 can arrest cell growth in response to mitochondrial p53 in an EJ bladder carcinoma cell environment that is naïve of p53 function until induced to express p53 . TP53 can independently partition with endogenous nuclear and mitochondrial proteins consistent with the ability of p53 to enact senescence. In order to address the role of p53 in navigating cellular senescence through the mitochondria, we identified SirT3 to rescue EJ/p53 cells from induced p53-mediated growth arrest. Human SirT3 function appears coupled with p53 early during the initiation of p53 expression in the mitochondria by biochemical and cellular localization analysis. Our evidence suggests that SirT3 partially abrogates p53 activity to enact growth arrest and senescence. Additionally, we identified the chaperone protein BAG-2 in averting SirT3 targeting of p53 -mediated senescence. These studies identify a complex relationship between p53, SirT3, and chaperoning factor BAG-2 that may link the salvaging and quality assurance of the p53 protein for control of cellular fate independent of transcriptional activity.
Commensal lactobacilli frequently produce bile salt hydrolase (Bsh) enzymes whose roles in intestinal survival are unclear. Twenty-six Lactobacillus salivarius strains from different sources all harbored a bsh1 allele on their respective megaplasmids. This allele was related to the plasmid-borne bsh1 gene of the probiotic strain UCC118. A second locus (bsh2) was found in the chromosomes of two strains that had higher bile resistance levels. Four Bsh1-encoding allele groups were identified, defined by truncations or deletions involving a conserved residue. In vitro analyses showed that this allelic variation was correlated with widely varying bile deconjugation phenotypes. Despite very low activity of the UCC118 Bsh1 enzyme, a mutant lacking this protein had significantly lower bile resistance, both in vitro and during intestinal transit in mice. However, the overall bile resistance phenotype of this and other strains was independent of the bsh1 allele type. Analysis of the L. salivarius transcriptome upon exposure to bile and cholate identified a multiplicity of stress response proteins and putative efflux proteins that appear to broadly compensate for, or mask, the effects of allelic variation of bsh genes. Bsh enzymes with different bile-degrading kinetics, though apparently not the primary determinants of bile resistance in L. salivarius, may have additional biological importance because of varying effects upon bile as a signaling molecule in the host.
The process of allylic transposition in SE′ reactions is a significant construct for synthesis. The flexibility of a variety of allylation strategies provides for the rational design of pathways to a diverse array of complex targets. Our recent studies of SE′ reactions will examine issues of stereoselectivity and efficiency in the context of applications toward the synthesis of marine natural products such as the xenicane diterpenes, which feature the strained E-cyclononene ring system, and peloruside A, a 16-membered macrocyclic lactone.
natural products; xenicanes; peloruside A; asymmetric allylation reactions; B-alkyl Suzuki cross-coupling; Kumada cross-coupling; E-cyclononenes
Polycomb (PcG) and trithorax (trxG) proteins play important roles in establishing lineage-specific genetic programs through induction of chromatin modifications that lead to gene silencing or activation. Previously, we described an association between the MLL/SET1 complexes and a highly restricted, gene-specific DNA-binding protein Ap2δ that is required for recruitment of the MLL/SET1 complex to target Hoxc8 specifically. Here, we reduced levels of Ap2δ and Ash2l in the neuroblastoma cell line, Neuro2A, and analyzed their gene expression profiles using whole-genome mouse cDNA microarrays. This analysis yielded 42 genes that are potentially co-regulated by Ap2δ and Ash2l, and we have identified evolutionarily conserved Ap2-binding sites in 20 of them. To determine whether some of these were direct targets of the Ap2δ-Ash2l complex, we analyzed several promoters for the presence of Ap2δ and Ash2l by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP). Among the targets we screened, we identified Fgfr3 as a direct transcriptional target of the Ap2δ-Ash2l complex. Additionally, we found that Ap2δ is necessary for the recruitment of Ash2l-containing complexes to this promoter and that this recruitment leads to trimethylation of lysine 4 of histone H3 (H3K4me3). Thus, we have identified several candidate targets of complexes containing Ap2δ and Ash2l that can be used to further elucidate their roles during development and showed that Fgfr3 is a novel direct target of these complexes.
Edc3 is an enhancer of decapping and serves as a scaffold that aggregates mRNA ribonucleoproteins together for P-body formation. Edc3 forms a network of interactions with the components of the mRNA decapping machinery and has a modular domain architecture consisting of an N-terminal Lsm domain, a central FDF domain, and a C-terminal YjeF-N domain. We have determined the crystal structure of the N-terminally truncated human Edc3 at a resolution of 2.2 Å. The structure reveals that the YjeF-N domain of Edc3 possesses a divergent Rossmann fold topology that forms a dimer, which is supported by sedimentation velocity and sedimentation equilibrium analysis in solution. The dimerization interface of Edc3 is highly conserved in eukaryotes despite the overall low sequence homology across species. Structure-based site-directed mutagenesis revealed dimerization is required for efficient RNA binding, P-body formation, and likely for regulating the yeast Rps28B mRNA as well, suggesting that the dimeric form of Edc3 is a structural and functional unit in mRNA degradation.
The 19ID undulator beamline of the Structure Biology Center has been designed and built to take full advantage of the high flux, brilliance and quality of X-ray beams delivered by the Advanced Photon Source. The beamline optics are capable of delivering monochromatic X-rays with photon energies from 3.5 to 20 keV (3.5–0.6 Å wavelength) with fluxes up to 8–18 × 1012 photons s−1 (depending on photon energy) onto cryogenically cooled crystal samples. The size of the beam (full width at half-maximum) at the sample position can be varied from 2.2 mm × 1.0 mm (horizontal × vertical, unfocused) to 0.083 mm × 0.020 mm in its fully focused configuration. Specimen-to-detector distances of between 100 mm and 1500 mm can be used. The high flexibility, inherent in the design of the optics, coupled with a κ-geometry goniometer and beamline control software allows optimal strategies to be adopted in protein crystallographic experiments, thus maximizing the chances of their success. A large-area mosaic 3 × 3 CCD detector allows high-quality diffraction data to be measured rapidly to the crystal diffraction limits. The beamline layout and the X-ray optical and endstation components are described in detail, and the results of representative crystallographic experiments are presented.
X-ray beamline; protein crystallography; MAD/SAD; X-ray optics
The problems encountered during the phasing and structure determination of the packaging enzyme P4 from bacteriophage ϕ13 using the anomalous signal from selenium in a single-wavelength anomalous dispersion experiment (SAD) are described. The oligomeric state of P4 in the virus is a hexamer (with sixfold rotational symmetry) and it crystallizes in space group C2, with four hexamers in the crystallographic asymmetric unit. Current state-of-the-art ab initio phasing software yielded solutions consisting of 96 atoms arranged as sixfold symmetric clusters of Se atoms. However, although these solutions showed high correlation coefficients indicative that the substructure had been solved, the resulting phases produced uninterpretable electron-density maps. Only after further analysis were correct solutions found (also of 96 atoms), leading to the eventual identification of the positions of 120 Se atoms. Here, it is demonstrated how the difficulties in finding a correct phase solution arise from an intricate false-minima problem.
A novel blue protein from frog nests has been crystallized.
Ranasmurfin, a previously uncharacterized ∼13 kDa blue protein found in the nests of the frog Polypedates leucomystax, has been purified and crystallized. The crystals are an intense blue colour and diffract to 1.51 Å with P21 symmetry and unit-cell parameters a = 40.9, b = 59.9, c = 45.0 Å, β = 93.3°. Self-rotation function analysis indicates the presence of a dimer in the asymmetric unit. Biochemical data suggest that the blue colour of the protein is related to dimer formation. Sequence data for the protein are incomplete, but thus far have identified no model for molecular replacement. A fluorescence scan shows a peak at 9.676 keV, indicating that the protein binds zinc and suggesting a route for structure solution.
DNA methyltransferases (MTases) are sequence-specific enzymes which transfer a methyl group from S-adenosyl-l-methionine (AdoMet) to the amino group of either cytosine or adenine within a recognized DNA sequence. Methylation of a base in a specific DNA sequence protects DNA from nucleolytic cleavage by restriction enzymes recognizing the same DNA sequence. We have determined at 1.74 Å resolution the crystal structure of a β-class DNA MTase MboIIA (M·MboIIA) from the bacterium Moraxella bovis, the smallest DNA MTase determined to date. M·MboIIA methylates the 3′ adenine of the pentanucleotide sequence 5′-GAAGA-3′. The protein crystallizes with two molecules in the asymmetric unit which we propose to resemble the dimer when M·MboIIA is not bound to DNA. The overall structure of the enzyme closely resembles that of M·RsrI. However, the cofactor-binding pocket in M·MboIIA forms a closed structure which is in contrast to the open-form structures of other known MTases.
DNA methylation is important in cellular, developmental and disease processes, as well as in bacterial restriction–modification systems. Methylation of DNA at the amino groups of cytosine and adenine is a common mode of protection against restriction endonucleases afforded by the bacterial methyltransferases. The first structure of an N6-adenine methyltransferase belonging to the β class of bacterial methyltransferases is described here. The structure of M·RsrI from Rhodobacter sphaeroides, which methylates the second adenine of the GAATTC sequence, was determined to 1.75 Å resolution using X-ray crystallography. Like other methyltransferases, the enzyme contains the methylase fold and has well-defined substrate binding pockets. The catalytic core most closely resembles the PvuII methyltransferase, a cytosine amino methyltransferase of the same β group. The larger nucleotide binding pocket observed in M·RsrI is expected because it methylates adenine. However, the most striking difference between the RsrI methyltransferase and the other bacterial enzymes is the structure of the putative DNA target recognition domain, which is formed in part by two helices on an extended arm of the protein on the face of the enzyme opposite the active site. This observation suggests that a dramatic conformational change or oligomerization may take place during DNA binding and methylation.
Walsh, Martin J. (Communicable Disease Center, Atlanta, Ga.), Bobby C. Brown, Leonard Brown, and Carl I. Pirkle. Use of the chick embryo in maintaining and restoring virulence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. J. Bacteriol. 86:478–481. 1963.—Data based on its capabilities of producing acute urethritis in human male volunteers showed that Neisseria gonorrhoeae rapidly decreased in virulence after repeated subculture on chocolate agar medium. Cultures of a particular strain (GCM13) in the allantoic cavity of a developing chick embryo maintained virulence after 82 successive transfers. Another strain (GCF62), after loss of virulence through repeated subculture on chocolate agar, was again able to produce infection after 15 consecutive transfers in chick embryo. Thus, chick embryo apparently had the capability not only to maintain the virulence factor but also to reconstitute virulence. It is postulated that chick embryo serves as a selective medium for the growth of virulent gonococci, permitting rapid multiplication of these organisms and suppressing growth of the nonvirulent organisms.