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1.  Structural and Functional Characterization of DUF1471 Domains of Salmonella Proteins SrfN, YdgH/SssB, and YahO 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101787.
Bacterial species in the Enterobacteriaceae typically contain multiple paralogues of a small domain of unknown function (DUF1471) from a family of conserved proteins also known as YhcN or BhsA/McbA. Proteins containing DUF1471 may have a single or three copies of this domain. Representatives of this family have been demonstrated to play roles in several cellular processes including stress response, biofilm formation, and pathogenesis. We have conducted NMR and X-ray crystallographic studies of four DUF1471 domains from Salmonella representing three different paralogous DUF1471 subfamilies: SrfN, YahO, and SssB/YdgH (two of its three DUF1471 domains: the N-terminal domain I (residues 21–91), and the C-terminal domain III (residues 244–314)). Notably, SrfN has been shown to have a role in intracellular infection by Salmonella Typhimurium. These domains share less than 35% pairwise sequence identity. Structures of all four domains show a mixed α+β fold that is most similar to that of bacterial lipoprotein RcsF. However, all four DUF1471 sequences lack the redox sensitive cysteine residues essential for RcsF activity in a phospho-relay pathway, suggesting that DUF1471 domains perform a different function(s). SrfN forms a dimer in contrast to YahO and SssB domains I and III, which are monomers in solution. A putative binding site for oxyanions such as phosphate and sulfate was identified in SrfN, and an interaction between the SrfN dimer and sulfated polysaccharides was demonstrated, suggesting a direct role for this DUF1471 domain at the host-pathogen interface.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101787
PMCID: PMC4092069  PMID: 25010333
2.  Solution NMR Structure and Histone Binding of the PHD Domain of Human MLL5 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77020.
Mixed Lineage Leukemia 5 (MLL5) is a histone methyltransferase that plays a key role in hematopoiesis, spermatogenesis and cell cycle progression. In addition to its catalytic domain, MLL5 contains a PHD finger domain, a protein module that is often involved in binding to the N-terminus of histone H3. Here we report the NMR solution structure of the MLL5 PHD domain showing a variant of the canonical PHD fold that combines conserved H3 binding features from several classes of other PHD domains (including an aromatic cage) along with a novel C-terminal α-helix, not previously seen. We further demonstrate that the PHD domain binds with similar affinity to histone H3 tail peptides di- and tri-methylated at lysine 4 (H3K4me2 and H3K4me3), the former being the putative product of the MLL5 catalytic reaction. This work establishes the PHD domain of MLL5 as a bone fide ‘reader’ domain of H3K4 methyl marks suggesting that it may guide the spreading or further methylation of this site on chromatin.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077020
PMCID: PMC3793974  PMID: 24130829
3.  Structural analysis of HopPmaL reveals the presence of a second adaptor domain common to the HopAB family of Pseudomonas syringae type III effectors 
Biochemistry  2011;51(1):1-3.
HopPmaL is a member of the HopAB family of type 3 effectors present in the phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae. Using both X-ray crystallography and solution NMR, we demonstrate that HopPmaL contains two structurally homologous yet functionally distinct domains. The N-terminal domain corresponds to the previously-described Pto-binding domain, while the previously uncharacterised C-terminal domain spans residues 308 to 385. While structurally similar these domains do not share significant sequence similarity and most importantly demonstrate significant differences in key residues involved in host protein recognition suggesting that each of them targets a different host protein.
doi:10.1021/bi2013883
PMCID: PMC3656468  PMID: 22191472
4.  SRD5A3 is required for the conversion of polyprenol to dolichol, essential for N-linked protein glycosylation 
Cell  2010;142(2):203-217.
SUMMARY
N-linked glycosylation is the most frequent modification of secreted and membrane-bound proteins in eukaryotic cells, disruption of which is the basis of the Congenital Disorders of Glycosylation (CDG). We describe a new type of CDG caused by mutations in the steroid 5α-reductase type 3 (SRD5A3) gene. Patients have mental retardation, ophthalmologic and cerebellar defects. We found that SRD5A3 is necessary for the reduction of the alpha-isoprene unit of polyprenols to form dolichols, required for synthesis of dolichol-linked monosaccharides and the oligosaccharide precursor used for N-glycosylation. The presence of residual dolichol in cells depleted for this enzyme suggests the existence of an unexpected alternative pathway for dolichol de novo biosynthesis. Our results thus suggest that SRD5A3 is likely to be the long-sought polyprenol reductase and reveal the genetic basis of one of the earliest steps in protein N-linked glycosylation.
doi:10.1016/j.cell.2010.06.001
PMCID: PMC2940322  PMID: 20637498
N-glycosylation; dolichol; polyprenol; SRD5A3
5.  Glycosylation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Strain Pa5196 Type IV Pilins with Mycobacterium-Like α-1,5-Linked d-Araf Oligosaccharides▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2006;189(1):151-159.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a gram-negative bacterium that uses polar type IV pili for adherence to various materials and for rapid colonization of surfaces via twitching motility. Within the P. aeruginosa species, five distinct alleles encoding variants of the structural subunit PilA varying in amino acid sequence, length, and presence of posttranslational modifications have been identified. In this work, a combination of mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy was used to identify a novel glycan modification on the pilins of the group IV strain Pa5196. Group IV pilins continued to be modified in a lipopolysaccharide (wbpM) mutant of Pa5196, showing that, unlike group I strains, the pilins of group IV are not modified with the O-antigen unit of the background strain. Instead, the pilin glycan was determined to be an unusual homo-oligomer of α-1,5-linked d-arabinofuranose (d-Araf). This sugar is uncommon in prokaryotes, occurring mainly in the cell wall arabinogalactan and lipoarabinomannan (LAM) polymers of mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae. Antibodies raised against M. tuberculosis LAM specifically identified the glycosylated pilins from Pa5196, confirming that the glycan is antigenically, as well as chemically, identical to those of Mycobacterium. P. aeruginosa Pa5196, a rapidly growing strain of low virulence that expresses large amounts of glycosylated type IV pilins on its surface, represents a genetically tractable model system for elucidation of alternate pathways for biosynthesis of d-Araf and its polymerization into mycobacterium-like α-1,5-linked oligosaccharides.
doi:10.1128/JB.01224-06
PMCID: PMC1797228  PMID: 17085575

Results 1-5 (5)