Cucurbitacins are a class of triterpenoid natural compounds with potent bioactivities that led to their use as traditional remedies, and which continue to attract considerable attention as chemical biology tools and potential therapeutics. One obvious target is the actin-cytoskeleton; treatment with cucurbitacins results in cytoskeletal rearrangements that impact upon motility and cell morphology.
Cucurbitacin reacted with protein cysteine thiols as well as dithiothreitol, and we propose that the cucurbitacin mechanism of action is through broad protein thiol modifications that could result in inhibition of numerous protein targets. An example of such a target protein is Cofilin1, whose filamentous actin severing activity is inhibited by cucurbitacin conjugation.
The implications of these results are that cucurbitacins are unlikely to be improved for selectivity by medicinal chemistry and that their use as chemical biology probes to analyse the role of specific signalling pathways should be undertaken with caution.
Actin; Cofilin; Cytoskeleton; Cucurbitacin
In this work, we describe the utility of Light, Oxygen, or Voltage-sensing (LOV) flavoprotein domains from plant phototropins as a reporter for protein expression and function. Specifically, we used iLOV, an enhanced and more photostable variant of LOV. A pET-based plasmid for protein expression was constructed, encoding a C terminal iLOV-octahistidine (His8)-tag and a HRV 3C protease cleavage recognition site. Ten different proteins, with various sub-cellular locations, were cloned into the plasmid, creating iLOV-His8 tag fusions. To test protein expression and how iLOV could be used as a reporter, the proteins were expressed in three different cell lines, in four different culture media, at two different temperatures. To establish whether the presence of the iLOV tag could have an impact on the functionality, one of the proteins, EspG, was over-expressed and purified. EspG is an “effector” protein normally produced by enterohemorrhagic E. coli strains and “injected” into host cells via the T3SS. We tested functionality of EspG-iLOV fusion by performing functional studies of EspG in mammalian host cells. When EspG-iLOV was microinjected into the host cell, the Golgi apparatus was completely disrupted as had previously been observed for EspG.
Recombinant thiol peroxidase from Y. pseudotuberculosis has been purified and crystallized in three crystal forms.
Thiol peroxidase is an atypical 2-Cys peroxiredoxin that reduces alkyl hydroperoxides. Wild-type and C61S mutant protein have been recombinantly expressed in Escherichia coli and purified using nickel-affinity chromatography. Initial crystallization trials yielded three crystal forms in three different space groups (P21, P64 and P212121) both in the presence and the absence of DTT.
Yersinia pseudotuberculosis; thiol peroxidases; Tpx; peroxiredoxins
As-p18, an unusual fatty-acid-binding protein from a parasitic nematode, was expressed in bacteria, purified and crystallized. The use of a microfocus beamline was essential for data collection.
As-p18 is a fatty-acid-binding protein from the parasitic nematode Ascaris suum. Although it exhibits sequence similarity to mammalian intracellular fatty-acid-binding proteins, it contains features that are unique to nematodes. Crystals were obtained, but initial diffraction data analysis revealed that they were composed of a number of ‘microdomains’. Interpretable data could only be collected using a microfocus beamline with a beam size of 12 × 8 µm.
fatty-acid-binding proteins; parasitic nematodes; Ascaris suum; microfocus beamlines
Na-FAR-1, a fatty acid- and retinol-binding protein, was expressed in bacteria, purified and crystallized. Crystals grew in two different morphologies under the same conditions.
Na-FAR-1 is an unusual α-helix-rich fatty acid- and retinol-binding protein from Necator americanus, a blood-feeding intestinal parasitic nematode of humans. It belongs to the FAR protein family, which is unique to nematodes; no structural information is available to date for FAR proteins from parasites. Crystals were obtained with two different morphologies that corresponded to different space groups. Crystal form 1 exhibited space group P432 (unit-cell parameters a = b = c = 120.80 Å, α = β = γ = 90°) and diffracted to 2.5 Å resolution, whereas crystal form 2 exhibited space group F23 (unit-cell parameters a = b = c = 240.38 Å, α = β = γ = 90°) and diffracted to 3.2 Å resolution. Crystal form 2 showed signs of significant twinning.
fatty acid- and retinol-binding proteins; parasitic nematodes; Necator americanus; Na-FAR-1
Champedak mannose-binding lectin was crystallized at 293 K. Crystallization conditions and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis are reported.
Mannose-binding lectin from champedak (Artocarpus integer) is a homotetramer with a single-monomer molecular weight of 16 800 Da. Previous work has shown it to bind IgE and IgM, as well as being a mitogen of T cells in humans. Champedak mannose-binding lectin has successfully been used to detect altered glycosylation states of serum proteins. The protein was crystallized at 293 K in space group P212121 (unit-cell parameters a = 76.89, b = 86.22, c = 95.37 Å) and the crystals diffracted to 2.0 Å resolution.
lectins; Artocarpus integer; champedak; mannose binding
► Structural investigation of FolX from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. ► A combination of AUC and SAXS allows the X-ray structure to be ‘improved’. ► FolX is shown an octamer in both crystal and in solution. ► A network of 16 hydrogen bonds and 8 salt bridges provide octamer stability.
FolX encodes an epimerase that forms one step of the tetrahydrofolate biosynthetic pathway, which is of interest as it is an established target for important drugs. Here we report the crystal structure of FolX from the bacterial opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as a detailed analysis of the protein in solution, using analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC) and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). In combination, these techniques confirm that the protein is an octamer both in the crystal structure, and in solution.
Structured summary of protein interactions
FolX and FolXbind by x-ray crystallography (View interaction)
FolX and FolXbind by cosedimentation in solution (View interaction)
FolX and FolXbind by x ray scattering (View interaction)
FolX, 7,8-dihydroneopterin-triphosphate-epimerase; AUC, analytical ultracentrifugation; SAXS, small-angle X-ray scattering; SV, sedimentation velocity; SE, sedimentation equilibrium; Pteridine biosynthesis; X-ray structure; Solution structure
Thiol peroxidase, Tpx, has been shown to be a target protein of the salicylidene acylhydrazide class of antivirulence compounds. In this study we present the crystal structures of Tpx from Y. pseudotuberculosis (ypTpx) in the oxidised and reduced states, together with the structure of the C61S mutant. The structures solved are consistent with previously solved atypical 2-Cys thiol peroxidases, including that for “forced” reduced states using the C61S mutant. In addition, by investigating the solution structure of ypTpx using small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), we have confirmed that reduced state ypTpx in solution is a homodimer. The solution structure also reveals flexibility around the dimer interface. Notably, the conformational changes observed between the redox states at the catalytic triad and at the dimer interface have implications for substrate and inhibitor binding. The structural data were used to model the binding of two salicylidene acylhydrazide compounds to the oxidised structure of ypTpx. Overall, the study provides insights into the binding of the salicylidene acylhydrazides to ypTpx, aiding our long-term strategy to understand the mode of action of this class of compounds.
Galactose-binding lectin from champedak was crystallized at 293 K. Preliminary X-ray diffraction analyses are reported.
Galactose-binding lectin from champedak (Artocarpus integer) consists of two chains: α and β (133 and 21 amino acids, respectively). It has been shown to recognize and bind to carbohydrates involved in IgA and C1 inhibitor molecules. The protein was purified and crystallized at 293 K. Crystals were observed in two space groups, P21 and P21212, and diffracted to 1.65 and 2.6 Å, respectively.
lectins; Artocarpus integer; champedak; galactose binding
A class of anti-virulence compounds, the salicylidene acylhydrazides, has been widely reported to block the function of the type three secretion system of several Gram-negative pathogens by a previously unknown mechanism. In this work we provide the first identification of bacterial proteins that are targeted by this group of compounds. We provide evidence that their mode of action is likely to result from a synergistic effect arising from a perturbation of the function of several conserved proteins. We also examine the contribution of selected target proteins to the pathogenicity of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and to expression of virulence genes in Escherichia coli O157.
Bacteria; Bacterial Genetics; Gene Regulation; Protein Drug Interactions; Protein Secretion; Protein Targeting; Transcription
The structure of a triclinic crystal form of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol kinase has been determined. Comparisons with a previously reported monoclinic crystal form raise questions about our knowledge of the quaternary structure of this enzyme.
4-Diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol kinase (IspE; EC 220.127.116.11) contributes to the 1-deoxy-d-xylulose 5-phosphate or mevalonate-independent biosynthetic pathway that produces the isomers isopentenyl diphosphate and dimethylallyl diphosphate. These five-carbon compounds are the fundamental building blocks for the biosynthesis of isoprenoids. The mevalonate-independent pathway does not occur in humans, but is present and has been shown to be essential in many dangerous pathogens, i.e. Plasmodium species, which cause malaria, and Gram-negative bacteria. Thus, the enzymes involved in this pathway have attracted attention as potential drug targets. IspE produces 4-diphosphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol 2-phosphate by ATP-dependent phosphorylation of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-d-erythritol. A triclinic crystal structure of the Escherichia coli IspE–ADP complex with two molecules in the asymmetric unit was determined at 2 Å resolution and compared with a monoclinic crystal form of a ternary complex of E. coli IspE also with two molecules in the asymmetric unit. The molecular packing is different in the two forms. In the asymmetric unit of the triclinic crystal form the substrate-binding sites of IspE are occluded by structural elements of the partner, suggesting that the ‘triclinic dimer’ is an artefact of the crystal lattice. The surface area of interaction in the triclinic form is almost double that observed in the monoclinic form, implying that the dimeric assembly in the monoclinic form may also be an artifact of crystallization.
mevalonate-independent pathway; isoprenoid biosynthesis; kinases
Plasmodium falciparum possesses a single mitochondrion with a functional electron transport chain. During respiration, reactive oxygen species are generated that need to be removed to protect the organelle from oxidative damage. In the absence of catalase and glutathione peroxidase, the parasites rely primarily on peroxiredoxin-linked systems for protection. We have analysed the biochemical and structural features of the mitochondrial peroxiredoxin and thioredoxin of P. falciparum. The mitochondrial localization of both proteins was confirmed by expressing green fluorescent protein fusions in parasite erythrocytic stages. Recombinant protein was kinetically characterized using the cytosolic and the mitochondrial thioredoxin (PfTrx1 and PfTrx2 respectively). The peroxiredoxin clearly preferred PfTrx2 to PfTrx1 as a reducing partner, reflected by the KM values of 11.6 μM and 130.4 μM respectively. Substitution of the two dyads asparagine-62/tyrosine-63 and phenylalanine-139/alanine-140 residues by aspartate-phenylalaine and valine-serine, respectively, reduced the KM for Trx1 but had no effect on the KM of Trx2 suggesting some role for these residues in the discrimination between the two substrates. Solution studies suggest that the protein exists primarily in a homodecameric form. The crystal structure of the mitochondrial peroxiredoxin reveals a fold typical of the 2-Cys class peroxiredoxins and a dimeric form with an intermolecular disulphide bridge between Cys67 and Cys187. These results show that the mitochondrial peroxiredoxin of P. falciparum occurs in both dimeric and decameric forms when purified under non-reducing conditions.