DNA microarray technology allows for a quick and easy comparison of complete transcriptomes, resulting in improved molecular insight in fluctuations of gene expression. After emergence of the microarray technology about a decade ago, the technique has now matured and has become routine in many molecular biology laboratories. Numerous studies have been performed that have provided global transcription patterns of many organisms under a wide range of conditions. Initially, implementation of this high-throughput technology has lead to high expectations for ground breaking discoveries. Here an evaluation is performed of the insight that transcriptome analysis has brought about in the field of hyperthermophilic archaea. The examples that will be discussed have been selected on the basis of their impact, in terms of either biological insight or technological progress.
Prokaryotes possess various defense mechanisms against invading DNA. Adaptive defense by CRISPR/Cas relies on incorporation of invader DNA sequences in the host genome. In Escherichia coli, processed transcripts of these incorporated sequences (crRNAs) guide Cascade-mediated invader DNA recognition.1–4 Cascade is a multisubunit ribonucleoprotein complex, consisting of one crRNA and five proteins: Cse1, Cse2, Cas7, Cas5 and Cas6e.1, 2 Cascade-mediated DNA recognition requires a conserved sequence adjacent to the target (protospacer adjacent motif, PAM) and a negatively supercoiled DNA topology.3, 4 While Cse1 carries out PAM recognition,5 the Cascade structure suggests that Cse2 may interact with target DNA in the PAM-distal end of the protospacer.6 Using Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assays, we here describe the function of the Cse1 and Cse2 subunits in the context of protospacer recognition on negatively supercoiled DNA. While Cse1 is required for nonspecific DNA binding, Cse2 appears to be important for specific binding, presumably by mediating stabilizing interactions with the displaced strand, the R-loop, or both. Furthermore, we performed Scanning Force Microscopy using linearized DNA molecules, which facilitates accurate and reliable measurements of Cascade-mediated bending. This analysis reveals that Cascade binding induces flexibility in the DNA target, most likely due to single stranded DNA regions flanking the R-loop.
CRISPR; DNA; RNA; bacteria; defense; immune; nucleic acids; phage; prokaryotes; ribonucleoprotein complex
The prokaryotic CRISPR/Cas immune system is based on genomic loci that contain incorporated sequence tags from viruses and plasmids. Using small guide RNA molecules, these sequences act as a memory to reject returning invaders. Both the Cascade ribonucleoprotein complex and the Cas3 nuclease/helicase are required for CRISPR-interference in Escherichia coli, but it is unknown how natural target DNA molecules are recognized and neutralized by their combined action. Here we show that Cascade efficiently locates target sequences in negatively supercoiled DNA, but only if these are flanked by a Protospacer Adjacent Motif (PAM). PAM recognition by Cascade exclusively involves the crRNA-complementary DNA strand. After Cascade-mediated R-loop formation, the Cse1 subunit recruits Cas3, which catalyzes nicking of target DNA through its HD-nuclease domain. The target is then progressively unwound and cleaved by the joint ATP-dependent helicase activity and Mg2+-dependent HD-nuclease activity of Cas3, leading to complete target DNA degradation and invader neutralization.
TM0077 from Thermotoga maritima is a member of the carbohydrate esterase family 7 and is active on a variety of acetylated compounds, including cephalosporin C. TM0077 esterase activity is confined to short-chain acyl esters (C2-C3), and is optimal around 100°C and pH 7.5. The positional specificity of TM0077 was investigated using 4-nitrophenyl-β-D-xylopyranoside monoacetates as substrates in a β-xylosidase-coupled assay. TM0077 hydrolyzes acetate at positions 2, 3 and 4 with equal efficiency. No activity was detected on xylan or acetylated xylan, which implies that TM0077 is an acetyl esterase and not an acetyl xylan esterase as currently annotated. Selenomethionine-substituted and native structures of TM0077 were determined at 2.1 Å and 2.5 Å resolution, respectively, revealing a classic α/β-hydrolase fold. TM0077 assembles into a doughnut-shaped hexamer with small tunnels on either side leading to an inner cavity, which contains the six catalytic centers. Structures of TM0077 with covalently bound phenylmethylsulfonyl fluoride (PMSF) and paraoxon were determined to 2.4 Å and 2.1 Å, respectively, and confirmed that both inhibitors bind covalently to the catalytic serine (Ser188). Upon binding of inhibitor, the catalytic serine adopts an altered conformation, as observed in other esterase and lipases, and supports a previously proposed catalytic mechanism in which this Ser hydroxyl rotation prevents reversal of the reaction and allows access of a water molecule for completion of the reaction.
Acetyl esterase; Thermotoga maritima; crystal structure; α/β hydrolase; inhibitor; serine rotation
Proteins that recognize and bind specific sites in DNA are essential for regulation of numerous biological functions. Such proteins often require a negative supercoiled DNA topology to function correctly. In current research, short linear DNA is often used to study DNA–protein interactions. Although linear DNA can easily be modified, for capture on a surface, its relaxed topology does not accurately resemble the natural situation in which DNA is generally negatively supercoiled. Moreover, specific binding sequences are flanked by large stretches of non-target sequence in vivo. Here, we present a straightforward method for capturing negatively supercoiled plasmid DNA on a streptavidin surface. It relies on the formation of a temporary parallel triplex, using a triple helix forming oligonucleotide containing locked nucleic acid nucleotides. All materials required for this method are commercially available. Lac repressor binding to its operator was used as model system. Although the dissociation constants for both the linear and plasmid-based operator are in the range of 4 nM, the association and dissociation rates of Lac repressor binding to the plasmid-based operator are ∼18 times slower than on a linear fragment. This difference underscores the importance of using a physiologically relevant DNA topology for studying DNA–protein interactions.
An intein-driven protein splicing approach allowed for the covalent linkage between the N- and C-termini of a polypeptide chain to create circular variants of the endo-β-1,3-1,4-glucanase, LicA, from Bacillus licheniformis. Two circular variants, LicA-C1 and LicA-C2, which have connecting loops of 20 and 14 amino acids, respectively, showed catalytic activities that are approximately two and three times higher, respectively, compared to that of the linear LicA (LicA-L1). The thermal stability of the circular variants was significantly increased compared to the linear form. Whereas the linear glucanase lost half of its activity after 3 min at 65 °C, the two circular variants have 6-fold (LicA-C1) and 16-fold (LicA-C2) increased half-life time of inactivation. In agreement with this, fluorescence spectroscopy and differential scanning calorimetry studies revealed that circular enzymes undergo structural changes at higher temperatures compared to that of the linear form. The effect of calcium on the conformational stability and function of the circular LicAs was also investigated, and we observed that the presence of calcium ions results in increased thermal stability. The impact of the length of the designed loops on thermal stability of the circular proteins is discussed, and it is suggested that cyclization may be an efficient strategy for the increased stability of proteins.
Thermophilic enzyme; Circular protein; Enzyme stability; Cyclization; Thermostability
Aptamers are oligonucleotide ligands, either RNA or ssDNA, selected for high-affinity binding to molecular targets, such as small organic molecules, proteins or whole microorganisms. While reports of new aptamers are numerous, characterization of their specific interaction is often restricted to the affinity of binding (KD). Over the years, crystal structures of aptamer-protein complexes have only scarcely become available. Here we describe some relevant technical issues about the process of crystallizing aptamer-protein complexes and highlight some biochemical details on the molecular basis of selected aptamer-protein interactions. In addition, alternative experimental and computational approaches are discussed to study aptamer-protein interactions.
X-ray crystallography; aptamer; interaction; RNA/DNA-protein complex
HflX GTPases are found in all three domains of life, the Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. HflX from Escherichia coli has been shown to bind to the 50S ribosomal subunit in a nucleotide-dependent manner, and this interaction strongly stimulates its GTPase activity. We recently determined the structure of an HflX ortholog from the archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus (SsoHflX). It revealed the presence of a novel HflX domain that might function in RNA binding and is linked to a canonical G domain. This domain arrangement is common to all archaeal, bacterial, and eukaryotic HflX GTPases. This paper shows that the archaeal SsoHflX, like its bacterial orthologs, binds to the 50S ribosomal subunit. This interaction does not depend on the presence of guanine nucleotides. The HflX domain is sufficient for ribosome interaction. Binding appears to be restricted to free 50S ribosomal subunits and does not occur with 70S ribosomes engaged in translation. The fingerprint 1H-15N heteronuclear correlation nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrum of SsoHflX reveals a large number of well-resolved resonances that are broadened upon binding to the 50S ribosomal subunit. The GTPase activity of SsoHflX is stimulated by crude fractions of 50S ribosomal subunits, but this effect is lost with further high-salt purification of the 50S ribosomal subunits, suggesting that the stimulation depends on an extrinsic factor bound to the 50S ribosomal subunit. Our results reveal common properties but also marked differences between archaeal and bacterial HflX proteins.
Acetoin reductase (ACR) catalyzes the conversion of acetoin to 2,3-butanediol. Under certain conditions, Clostridium acetobutylicum ATCC 824 (and strains derived from it) generates both d- and l-stereoisomers of acetoin, but because of the absence of an ACR enzyme, it does not produce 2,3-butanediol. A gene encoding ACR from Clostridium beijerinckii NCIMB 8052 was functionally expressed in C. acetobutylicum under the control of two strong promoters, the constitutive thl promoter and the late exponential adc promoter. Both ACR-overproducing strains were grown in batch cultures, during which 89 to 90% of the natively produced acetoin was converted to 20 to 22 mM d-2,3-butanediol. The addition of a racemic mixture of acetoin led to the production of both d-2,3-butanediol and meso-2,3-butanediol. A metabolic network that is in agreement with the experimental data is proposed. Native 2,3-butanediol production is a first step toward a potential homofermentative 2-butanol-producing strain of C. acetobutylicum.
Whether evolution is erratic due to random historical details, or is repeatedly directed along similar paths by certain constraints, remains unclear. Epistasis (i.e. non-additive interaction between mutations that affect fitness) is a mechanism that can contribute to both scenarios. Epistasis can constrain the type and order of selected mutations, but it can also make adaptive trajectories contingent upon the first random substitution. This effect is particularly strong under sign epistasis, when the sign of the fitness effects of a mutation depends on its genetic background. In the current study, we examine how epistatic interactions between mutations determine alternative evolutionary pathways, using in vitro evolution of the antibiotic resistance enzyme TEM-1 β-lactamase. First, we describe the diversity of adaptive pathways among replicate lines during evolution for resistance to a novel antibiotic (cefotaxime). Consistent with the prediction of epistatic constraints, most lines increased resistance by acquiring three mutations in a fixed order. However, a few lines deviated from this pattern. Next, to test whether negative interactions between alternative initial substitutions drive this divergence, alleles containing initial substitutions from the deviating lines were evolved under identical conditions. Indeed, these alternative initial substitutions consistently led to lower adaptive peaks, involving more and other substitutions than those observed in the common pathway. We found that a combination of decreased enzymatic activity and lower folding cooperativity underlies negative sign epistasis in the clash between key mutations in the common and deviating lines (Gly238Ser and Arg164Ser, respectively). Our results demonstrate that epistasis contributes to contingency in protein evolution by amplifying the selective consequences of random mutations.
A long-term goal of evolutionary biology is to understand the factors that govern the outcome of evolution. Epistasis (i.e. the situation in which the fitness effect of a mutation depends on its genetic background) is one such factor. Epistasis not only affects the dynamics of evolution, it may also direct its outcome by affecting the type and order of selected mutations. This effect is particularly strong under sign epistasis, which occurs when the sign of a mutation's fitness effect depends on its genetic background. Here, we demonstrate how epistasis causes divergence of mutational pathways of an antibiotic resistance enzyme, TEM-1 β-lactamase. First, we use in vitro mutagenesis followed by selection for cefotaxime resistance to demonstrate that alternative mutational pathways towards highly resistant variants exist in addition to the main pathway that was previously described. Next, to test whether negative interactions between alternative initial substitutions govern this diversification, we start identical evolution experiments with alleles containing initial substitutions from the deviating lines. These alleles consistently evolve to lower adaptive peaks and acquire different mutations than those in the main pathway. Our results demonstrate that sign epistasis between alternative initial substitutions may force evolution to follow different mutational pathways.
Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are polysaccharides that are typically present in a wide diversity of animal tissue. Most common GAGs are well-characterized and pharmaceutical applications exist for many of these compounds, e.g. heparin and hyaluronan. In addition, also bacterial glycosaminoglycan-like structures exist. Some of these bacterial GAGs have been characterized, but until now no bacterial GAG has been found that possesses the modifications that are characteristic for many of the animal GAGs such as sulfation and C5-epimerization. Nevertheless, the latter conversion may also occur in bacterial and archaeal GAGs, as some prokaryotic polysaccharides have been demonstrated to contain L-iduronic acid. However, experimental evidence for the enzymatic synthesis of L-iduronic acid in prokaryotes is as yet lacking. We therefore performed an in silico screen for D-glucuronyl C5-epimerases in prokaryotes. Multiple candidate C5-epimerases were found, suggesting that many more microorganisms are likely to exist possessing an L-iduronic acid residue as constituent of their cell wall polysaccharides.
Glycosaminoglycans; L-iduronic acid; D-glucuronyl C5-epimerase; Lipopolysaccharide; Capsule polysaccharide
A key element during the flow of genetic information in living systems is fidelity. The accuracy of DNA replication influences the genome size as well as the rate of genome evolution. The large amount of energy invested in gene expression implies that fidelity plays a major role in fitness. On the other hand, an increase in fidelity generally coincides with a decrease in velocity. Hence, an important determinant of the evolution of life has been the establishment of a delicate balance between fidelity and variability. This paper reviews the current knowledge on quality control in archaeal information processing. While the majority of these processes are homologous in Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukaryotes, examples are provided of nonorthologous factors and processes operating in the archaeal domain. In some instances, evidence for the existence of certain fidelity mechanisms has been provided, but the factors involved still remain to be identified.
A thermostable esterase (EstA) from Thermotoga maritima was cloned and purified. Crystals of EstA and its selenomethionine derivative were grown and diffract to beyond 2.6 Å resolution at 100 K using synchrotron radiation.
A predicted esterase (EstA) with an unusual new domain from the hyperthermophilic bacterium Thermotoga maritima has been cloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli. The purified protein was crystallized by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion technique in the presence of lithium sulfate and polyethylene glycol 8000. Selenomethionine-substituted EstA crystals were obtained under the same conditions and three different-wavelength data sets were collected to 2.6 Å resolution. The crystal belongs to space group H32, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 130.2, c = 306.2 Å. There are two molecules in the asymmetric unit, with a V
M of 2.9 Å3 Da−1 and 58% solvent content.
esterases; Thermotoga maritima
In eukaryotes, RNA interference (RNAi) is a major mechanism of defense against viruses and transposable elements as well of regulating translation of endogenous mRNAs. The RNAi systems recognize the target RNA molecules via small guide RNAs that are completely or partially complementary to a region of the target. Key components of the RNAi systems are proteins of the Argonaute-PIWI family some of which function as slicers, the nucleases that cleave the target RNA that is base-paired to a guide RNA. Numerous prokaryotes possess the CRISPR-associated system (CASS) of defense against phages and plasmids that is, in part, mechanistically analogous but not homologous to eukaryotic RNAi systems. Many prokaryotes also encode homologs of Argonaute-PIWI proteins but their functions remain unknown.
We present a detailed analysis of Argonaute-PIWI protein sequences and the genomic neighborhoods of the respective genes in prokaryotes. Whereas eukaryotic Ago/PIWI proteins always contain PAZ (oligonucleotide binding) and PIWI (active or inactivated nuclease) domains, the prokaryotic Argonaute homologs (pAgos) fall into two major groups in which the PAZ domain is either present or absent. The monophyly of each group is supported by a phylogenetic analysis of the conserved PIWI-domains. Almost all pAgos that lack a PAZ domain appear to be inactivated, and the respective genes are associated with a variety of predicted nucleases in putative operons. An additional, uncharacterized domain that is fused to various nucleases appears to be a unique signature of operons encoding the short (lacking PAZ) pAgo form. By contrast, almost all PAZ-domain containing pAgos are predicted to be active nucleases. Some proteins of this group (e.g., that from Aquifex aeolicus) have been experimentally shown to possess nuclease activity, and are not typically associated with genes for other (putative) nucleases. Given these observations, the apparent extensive horizontal transfer of pAgo genes, and their common, statistically significant over-representation in genomic neighborhoods enriched in genes encoding proteins involved in the defense against phages and/or plasmids, we hypothesize that pAgos are key components of a novel class of defense systems. The PAZ-domain containing pAgos are predicted to directly destroy virus or plasmid nucleic acids via their nuclease activity, whereas the apparently inactivated, PAZ-lacking pAgos could be structural subunits of protein complexes that contain, as active moieties, the putative nucleases that we predict to be co-expressed with these pAgos. All these nucleases are predicted to be DNA endonucleases, so it seems most probable that the putative novel phage/plasmid-defense system targets phage DNA rather than mRNAs. Given that in eukaryotic RNAi systems, the PAZ domain binds a guide RNA and positions it on the complementary region of the target, we further speculate that pAgos function on a similar principle (the guide being either DNA or RNA), and that the uncharacterized domain found in putative operons with the short forms of pAgos is a functional substitute for the PAZ domain.
The hypothesis that pAgos are key components of a novel prokaryotic immune system that employs guide RNA or DNA molecules to degrade nucleic acids of invading mobile elements implies a functional analogy with the prokaryotic CASS and a direct evolutionary connection with eukaryotic RNAi. The predictions of the hypothesis including both the activities of pAgos and those of the associated endonucleases are readily amenable to experimental tests.
This article was reviewed by Daniel Haft, Martijn Huynen, and Chris Ponting.
Carboxylic ester hydrolyzing enzymes constitute a large group of enzymes that are able to catalyze the hydrolysis, synthesis or transesterification of an ester bond. They can be found in all three domains of life, including the group of hyperthermophilic bacteria and archaea. Esterases from the latter group often exhibit a high intrinsic stability, which makes them of interest them for various biotechnological applications. In this review, we aim to give an overview of all characterized carboxylic ester hydrolases from hyperthermophilic microorganisms and provide details on their substrate specificity, kinetics, optimal catalytic conditions, and stability. Approaches for the discovery of new carboxylic ester hydrolases are described. Special attention is given to the currently characterized hyperthermophilic enzymes with respect to their biochemical properties, 3D structure, and classification.
Carboxylic ester hydrolase; Esterase; Lipase; Hyperthermophile; Biochemical properties; Structure; Classification; Review
Caldicellulosiruptor saccharolyticus is an extremely thermophilic, gram-positive anaerobe which ferments cellulose-, hemicellulose- and pectin-containing biomass to acetate, CO2, and hydrogen. Its broad substrate range, high hydrogen-producing capacity, and ability to coutilize glucose and xylose make this bacterium an attractive candidate for microbial bioenergy production. Here, the complete genome sequence of C. saccharolyticus, consisting of a 2,970,275-bp circular chromosome encoding 2,679 predicted proteins, is described. Analysis of the genome revealed that C. saccharolyticus has an extensive polysaccharide-hydrolyzing capacity for cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and starch, coupled to a large number of ABC transporters for monomeric and oligomeric sugar uptake. The components of the Embden-Meyerhof and nonoxidative pentose phosphate pathways are all present; however, there is no evidence that an Entner-Doudoroff pathway is present. Catabolic pathways for a range of sugars, including rhamnose, fucose, arabinose, glucuronate, fructose, and galactose, were identified. These pathways lead to the production of NADH and reduced ferredoxin. NADH and reduced ferredoxin are subsequently used by two distinct hydrogenases to generate hydrogen. Whole-genome transcriptome analysis revealed that there is significant upregulation of the glycolytic pathway and an ABC-type sugar transporter during growth on glucose and xylose, indicating that C. saccharolyticus coferments these sugars unimpeded by glucose-based catabolite repression. The capacity to simultaneously process and utilize a range of carbohydrates associated with biomass feedstocks is a highly desirable feature of this lignocellulose-utilizing, biofuel-producing bacterium.
A GTP-binding protein from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus has been crystallized. Combined with biochemical analyses, it is expected that the structure of this protein will give insight in the function of a relatively unknown subfamily of the GTPase superfamily.
A predicted GTP-binding protein from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricus, termed SsGBP, has been cloned and overexpressed in Escherichia coli. The purified protein was crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion technique in the presence of 0.05 M cadmium sulfate and 0.8 M sodium acetate pH 7.5. A single-wavelength anomalous dispersion data set was collected to a maximum resolution of 2.0 Å using a single cadmium-incorporated crystal. The crystal form belongs to space group P212121, with approximate unit-cell parameters a = 65.0, b = 72.6, c = 95.9 Å and with a monomer in the asymmetric unit.
GTP-binding protein; SsGBP; Sulfolobus solfataricus
Sulfolobus acidocaldarius 2-keto-3-deoxygluconate
aldolase (SacKdgA) displays optimal activity at 95 °C and is
studied as a model enzyme for aldol condensation reactions. For
application of SacKdgA at lower temperatures, a library of randomly
generated mutants was screened for improved synthesis of
2-keto-3-deoxygluconate from pyruvate and glyceraldehyde at the
suboptimal temperature of 50 °C. The single mutant SacKdgA-V193A
displayed a threefold increase in activity compared with wild type
SacKdgA. The increased specific activity at 40–60 °C of
this mutant was observed, not only for the condensation of pyruvate
with glyceraldehyde, but also for several unnatural acceptor
aldehydes. The optimal temperature for activity of SacKdgA-V193A was
lower than for the wild type enzyme, but enzymatic stability of the
mutant was similar to that of the wild type, indicating that activity
and stability were uncoupled. Valine193 has Van der Waals interactions
with Lysine153, which covalently binds the substrate during catalysis.
The mutation V193A introduced space close to this essential residue,
and the increased activity of the mutant presumably resulted from
increased flexibility of Lysine153. The increased activity of
SacKdgA-V193A with unaffected stability demonstrates the potential for
optimizing extremely thermostable aldolases for synthesis reactions at
biocatalysis; directed evolution; enzyme; error-prone PCR; laboratory evolution; thermophile
Certain bacteria are able to conserve energy via the reductive dehalogenation of halo-organic compounds in a respiration-type metabolism. The transcriptional regulator CprK from Desulfitobacterium spp. induces expression of halorespiratory genes upon binding of o-chlorophenol ligands and is reversibly inactivated by oxygen through disulphide bond formation. We report crystal structures of D. hafniense CprK in the ligand-free (both oxidation states), ligand-bound (reduced) and DNA-bound states, making it the first member of the widespread CRP-FNR superfamily for which a complete structural description of both redox-dependent and allosteric molecular rearrangements is available. In conjunction with kinetic and thermodynamic ligand binding studies, we provide a model for the allosteric mechanisms underpinning transcriptional control. Amino acids that play a key role in this mechanism are not conserved in functionally distinct CRP-FNR members. This suggests that, despite significant structural homology, distinct allosteric mechanisms are used, enabling this protein family to control a very wide range of processes.
There is considerable interest in the use of enantioselective alcohol dehydrogenases for the production of enantio- and diastereomerically pure diols, which are important building blocks for pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and fine chemicals. Due to the need for a stable alcohol dehydrogenase with activity at low-temperature process conditions (30°C) for the production of (2S,5S)-hexanediol, we have improved an alcohol dehydrogenase from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus (AdhA). A stable S-selective alcohol dehydrogenase with increased activity at 30°C on the substrate 2,5-hexanedione was generated by laboratory evolution on the thermostable alcohol dehydrogenase AdhA. One round of error-prone PCR and screening of ∼1,500 mutants was performed. The maximum specific activity of the best performing mutant with 2,5-hexanedione at 30°C was tenfold higher compared to the activity of the wild-type enzyme. A 3D-model of AdhA revealed that this mutant has one mutation in the well-conserved NADP(H)-binding site (R11L), and a second mutation (A180V) near the catalytic and highly conserved threonine at position 183.
Archaea; Pyrococcus furiosus; Laboratory evolution; Thermostability; Alcohol dehydrogenase
E. coli bacterioferritin was crystallized in a novel crystal form from different conditions and the structure was solved. The crystals belonged to space group P213 and diffracted to a resolution of 2.5 Å.
Escherichia coli bacterioferritin was serendipitously crystallized in a novel cubic crystal form and its structure could be determined to 2.5 Å resolution despite a high degree of merohedral twinning. This is the first report of crystallographic data on ‘as-isolated’ E. coli bacterioferritin. The ferroxidase active site contains positive difference density consistent with two metal ions that had co-purified with the protein. X-ray fluorescence studies suggest that the metal composition is different from that of previous structures and is a mix of zinc and native iron ions. The ferroxidase-centre configuration displays a similar flexibility as previously noted for other bacterioferritins.
Escherichia coli bacterioferritin; iron storage and homeostasis; ferroxidase; merohedral twinning
The gene encoding a novel alcohol dehydrogenase that belongs to the aldo-keto reductase superfamily has been identified in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus. The gene, referred to as adhD, was functionally expressed in Escherichia coli and subsequently purified to homogeneity. The enzyme has a monomeric conformation with a molecular mass of 32 kDa. The catalytic activity of the enzyme increases up to 100°C, and a half-life value of 130 min at this temperature indicates its high thermostability. AdhD exhibits a broad substrate specificity with, in general, a preference for the reduction of ketones (pH optimum, 6.1) and the oxidation of secondary alcohols (pH optimum, 8.8). Maximal specific activities were detected with 2,3-butanediol (108.3 U/mg) and diacetyl-acetoin (22.5 U/mg) in the oxidative and reductive reactions, respectively. Gas chromatrography analysis indicated that AdhD produced mainly (S)-2-pentanol (enantiomeric excess, 89%) when 2-pentanone was used as substrate. The physiological role of AdhD is discussed.
The recently identified CprK branch of the CRP (cyclic AMP receptor protein)-FNR (fumarate and nitrate reduction regulator) family of transcriptional regulators includes proteins that activate the transcription of genes encoding proteins involved in reductive dehalogenation of chlorinated aromatic compounds. Here we report the characterization of the CprK1 protein from Desulfitobacterium hafniense, an anaerobic low-G+C gram-positive bacterium that is capable of reductive dechlorination of 3-chloro-4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid (Cl-OHPA). The gene encoding CprK1 was cloned and functionally overexpressed in Escherichia coli, and the protein was subsequently purified to homogeneity. To investigate the interaction of CprK1 with three of its predicted binding sequences (dehaloboxes), we performed in vitro DNA-binding assays (electrophoretic mobility shift assays) as well as in vivo promoter probe assays. Our results show that CprK1 binds its target dehaloboxes with high affinity (dissociation constant, 90 nM) in the presence of Cl-OHPA and that transcriptional initiation by CprK1 is influenced by deviations in the dehaloboxes from the consensus TTAAT----ATTAA sequence. A mutant CprK1 protein was created by a Val→Glu substitution at a conserved position in the recognition α-helix that gained FNR-type DNA-binding specificity, recognizing the TTGAT----ATCAA sequence (FNR box) instead of the dehaloboxes. CprK1 was subject to oxidative inactivation in vitro, most likely caused by the formation of an intermolecular disulfide bridge between Cys11 and Cys200. The possibility of redox regulation of CprK1 by a thiol-disulfide exchange reaction was investigated by using two Cys→Ser mutants. Our results indicate that a Cys11-Cys200 disulfide bridge does not appear to play a physiological role in the regulation of CprK1.