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1.  Mechanism of Inhibition of Novel Tryptophan Hydroxylase Inhibitors Revealed by Co-crystal Structures and Kinetic Analysis 
Trytophan Hydroxylase Type I (TPH1), most abundantly expressed in the gastrointestinal tract, initiates the synthesis of serotonin by catalyzing hydroxylation of tryptophan in the presence of biopterin and oxygen. We have previously described three series of novel, periphery-specific TPH1 inhibitors that selectively deplete serotonin in the gastrointestinal tract. We have now determined co-crystal structures of TPH1 with three of these inhibitors at high resolution. Analysis of the structural data showed that each of the three inhibitors fills the tryptophan binding pocket of TPH1 without reaching into the binding site of the cofactor pterin, and induces major conformational changes of the enzyme. The enzyme-inhibitor complexes assume a compact conformation that is similar to the one in tryptophan complex. Kinetic analysis showed that all three inhibitors are competitive versus the substrate tryptophan, consistent with the structural data that the compounds occupy the tryptophan binding site. On the other hand, all three inhibitors appear to be uncompetitive versus the cofactor 6-methyltetrahydropterin, which is not only consistent with the structural data but also indicate that the hydroxylation reaction follows an ordered binding mechanism in which a productive complex is formed only if tryptophan binds only after pterin, similar to the kinetic mechanisms of tyrosine and phenylalanine hydroxylase.
PMCID: PMC2885594  PMID: 20556201
Serotonin; structure; kinetics; gastrointestinal disorder; carcinoid; monooxygenase.
2.  The Crystal Structure of Shikimate Dehydrogenase (AroE) Reveals a Unique NADPH Binding Mode 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(14):4144-4151.
Shikimate dehydrogenase catalyzes the NADPH-dependent reversible reduction of 3-dehydroshikimate to shikimate. We report the first X-ray structure of shikimate dehydrogenase from Haemophilus influenzae to 2.4-Å resolution and its complex with NADPH to 1.95-Å resolution. The molecule contains two domains, a catalytic domain with a novel open twisted α/β motif and an NADPH binding domain with a typical Rossmann fold. The enzyme contains a unique glycine-rich P-loop with a conserved sequence motif, GAGGXX, that results in NADPH adopting a nonstandard binding mode with the nicotinamide and ribose moieties disordered in the binary complex. A deep pocket with a narrow entrance between the two domains, containing strictly conserved residues primarily contributed by the catalytic domain, is identified as a potential 3-dehydroshikimate binding pocket. The flexibility of the nicotinamide mononucleotide portion of NADPH may be necessary for the substrate 3-dehydroshikimate to enter the pocket and for the release of the product shikimate.
PMCID: PMC164887  PMID: 12837789
3.  Crystal Structures of Active Fully Assembled Substrate- and Product-Bound Complexes of UDP-N-Acetylmuramic Acid:l-Alanine Ligase (MurC) from Haemophilus influenzae 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(14):4152-4162.
UDP-N-acetylmuramic acid:l-alanine ligase (MurC) catalyzes the addition of the first amino acid to the cytoplasmic precursor of the bacterial cell wall peptidoglycan. The crystal structures of Haemophilus influenzae MurC in complex with its substrate UDP-N-acetylmuramic acid (UNAM) and Mg2+ and of a fully assembled MurC complex with its product UDP-N-acetylmuramoyl-l-alanine (UMA), the nonhydrolyzable ATP analogue AMPPNP, and Mn2+ have been determined to 1.85- and 1.7-Å resolution, respectively. These structures reveal a conserved, three-domain architecture with the binding sites for UNAM and ATP formed at the domain interfaces: the N-terminal domain binds the UDP portion of UNAM, and the central and C-terminal domains form the ATP-binding site, while the C-terminal domain also positions the alanine. An active enzyme structure is thus assembled at the common domain interfaces when all three substrates are bound. The MurC active site clearly shows that the γ-phosphate of AMPPNP is positioned between two bound metal ions, one of which also binds the reactive UNAM carboxylate, and that the alanine is oriented by interactions with the positively charged side chains of two MurC arginine residues and the negatively charged alanine carboxyl group. These results indicate that significant diversity exists in binding of the UDP moiety of the substrate by MurC and the subsequent ligases in the bacterial cell wall biosynthesis pathway and that alterations in the domain packing and tertiary structure allow the Mur ligases to bind sequentially larger UNAM peptide substrates.
PMCID: PMC164886  PMID: 12837790
4.  Comparative Genomic Analysis of Archaeal Genotypic Variants in a Single Population and in Two Different Oceanic Provinces 
Planktonic crenarchaeotes are present in high abundance in Antarctic winter surface waters, and they also make up a large proportion of total cell numbers throughout deep ocean waters. To better characterize these uncultivated marine crenarchaeotes, we analyzed large genome fragments from individuals recovered from a single Antarctic picoplankton population and compared them to those from a representative obtained from deeper waters of the temperate North Pacific. Sequencing and analysis of the entire DNA insert from one Antarctic marine archaeon (fosmid 74A4) revealed differences in genome structure and content between Antarctic surface water and temperate deepwater archaea. Analysis of the predicted gene products encoded by the 74A4 sequence and those derived from a temperate, deepwater planktonic crenarchaeote (fosmid 4B7) revealed many typical archaeal proteins but also several proteins that so far have not been detected in archaea. The unique fraction of marine archaeal genes included, among others, those for a predicted RNA-binding protein of the bacterial cold shock family and a eukaryote-type Zn finger protein. Comparison of closely related archaea originating from a single population revealed significant genomic divergence that was not evident from 16S rRNA sequence variation. The data suggest that considerable functional diversity may exist within single populations of coexisting microbial strains, even those with identical 16S rRNA sequences. Our results also demonstrate that genomic approaches can provide high-resolution information relevant to microbial population genetics, ecology, and evolution, even for microbes that have not yet been cultivated.
PMCID: PMC126555  PMID: 11772643
5.  Genomic Analysis Reveals Chromosomal Variation in Natural Populations of the Uncultured Psychrophilic Archaeon Cenarchaeum symbiosum 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(19):5003-5009.
Molecular phylogenetic surveys have recently revealed an ecologically widespread crenarchaeal group that inhabits cold and temperate terrestrial and marine environments. To date these organisms have resisted isolation in pure culture, and so their phenotypic and genotypic characteristics remain largely unknown. To characterize these archaea, and to extend methodological approaches for characterizing uncultivated microorganisms, we initiated genomic analyses of the nonthermophilic crenarchaeote Cenarchaeum symbiosum found living in association with a marine sponge, Axinella mexicana. Complex DNA libraries derived from the host-symbiont population yielded several large clones containing the ribosomal operon from C. symbiosum. Unexpectedly, cloning and sequence analysis revealed the presence of two closely related variants that were consistently found in the majority of host individuals analyzed. Homologous regions from the two variants were sequenced and compared in detail. The variants exhibit >99.2% sequence identity in both small- and large-subunit rRNA genes and they contain homologous protein-encoding genes in identical order and orientation over a 28-kbp overlapping region. Our study not only indicates the potential for characterizing uncultivated prokaryotes by genome sequencing but also identifies the primary complication inherent in the approach: the widespread genomic microheterogeneity in naturally occurring prokaryotic populations.
PMCID: PMC107533  PMID: 9748430
6.  Molecular Cloning and Functional Expression of a Protein-Serine/Threonine Phosphatase from the Hyperthermophilic Archaeon Pyrodictium abyssi TAG11 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(16):4030-4035.
An open reading frame coding for a putative protein-serine/threonine phosphatase was identified in the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrodictium abyssi TAG11 and named Py-PP1. Py-PP1 was expressed in Escherichia coli, purified from inclusion bodies, and biochemically characterized. The phosphatase gene is part of an operon which may provide, for the first time, insight into a physiological role for archaeal protein phosphatases in vivo.
PMCID: PMC107395  PMID: 9696747

Results 1-6 (6)