Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-17 (17)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Correction: Structure of the Arginine Methyltransferase PRMT5-MEP50 Reveals a Mechanism for Substrate Specificity 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):10.1371/annotation/e6b5348e-9052-4a3b-8f06-90d01dc88fc2.
PMCID: PMC3748266  PMID: 23976936
2.  Inhibition of the PLP-dependent enzyme serine palmitoyltransferase by cycloserine: evidence for a novel decarboxylative mechanism of inactivation 
Molecular bioSystems  2010;6(9):1682-1693.
Cycloserine (CS, 4-amino-3-isoxazolidone) is a cyclic amino acid mimic that is known to inhibit many essential pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzymes. Two CS enantiomers are known; d-cycloserine (DCS, also known as Seromycin), is a natural product that is used to treat resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections as well as neurological disorders since it is a potent NMDA receptor agonist, and l-cycloserine (LCS), is a synthetic enantiomer whose usefulness as a drug has been hampered by its inherent toxicity arising through inhibition of sphingolipid metabolism. Previous studies on various PLP-dependent enzymes revealed a common mechanism of inhibition by both enantiomers of CS; the PLP cofactor is disabled by forming a stable 3-hydroxyisoxazole/pyridoxamine 5′-phosphate (PMP) adduct at the active site where the cycloserine ring remains intact. Here we describe a novel mechanism of CS inactivation of the PLP-dependent enzyme serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT) from Sphingomonas paucimobilis. SPT catalyses the condensation of l-serine and palmitoyl-CoA, the first step in the de novo sphingolipid biosynthetic pathway. We have used a range of kinetic, spectroscopic and structural techniques to postulate that both LCS and DCS inactivate SPT by transamination to form a free pyridoxamine 5′-phosphate (PMP) and β-aminooxyacetaldehyde that remain bound at the active site. We suggest this occurs by ring opening of the cycloserine ring followed by decarboxylation. Enzyme kinetics show that inhibition is reversed by incubation with excess PLP and that LCS is a more effective SPT inhibitor than DCS. UV-visible spectroscopic data, combined with site-directed mutagenesis, suggest that a mobile Arg378 residue is involved in cycloserine inactivation of SPT.
PMCID: PMC3670083  PMID: 20445930
3.  The Protein Structure Initiative Structural Biology Knowledgebase Technology Portal: A Structural Biology Web Resource 
The Technology Portal of the Protein Structure Initiative Structural Biology Knowledgebase (PSI SBKB; is a web resource providing information about methods and tools that can be used to relieve bottlenecks in many areas of protein production and structural biology research. Several useful features are available on the web site, including multiple ways to search the database of over 250 technological advances, a link to videos of methods on YouTube, and access to a technology forum where scientists can connect, ask questions, get news, and develop collaborations. The Technology Portal is a component of the PSI SBKB (, which presents integrated genomic, structural, and functional information for all protein sequence targets selected by the Protein Structure Initiative. Created in collaboration with the Nature Publishing Group, the SBKB offers an array of resources for structural biologists, such as a research library, editorials about new research advances, a featured biological system each month, and a Functional Sleuth for searching protein structures of unknown function. An overview of the various features and examples of user searches highlight the information, tools, and avenues for scientific interaction available through the Technology Portal.
PMCID: PMC3588887  PMID: 22527514
Database; Protein; Protein Production; Structural Biology; Structural Genomics; Technology
4.  Structural and functional characterisation of a conserved archaeal RadA paralog with antirecombinase activity 
Journal of molecular biology  2009;389(4):661-673.
DNA recombinases (RecA in bacteria, Rad51 in eukarya and RadA in archaea) catalyse strand-exchange between homologous DNA molecules, the central reaction of homologous recombination, and are among the most conserved DNA repair proteins known. In bacteria, RecA is the sole protein responsible for this reaction, whereas, in eukaryotes, there are several RAD51 paralogs that cooperate to catalyse strand exchange. All archaea have at least one (and as many as four) RadA paralogs, but their function remains unclear. Here we show the three RadA paralogs encoded by the Sulfolobus solfataricus genome are expressed under normal growth conditions, and are not UV-inducible. We demonstrate that one of these proteins, Sso2452, which is representative of the large aRadC sub-family of archaeal RadA paralogs, functions as an ATPase that binds tightly to ssDNA. However, Sso2452 is not an active recombinase in vitro, and inhibits D-loop formation by RadA. We present the high-resolution crystal structure of Sso2452, which reveals key structural differences from the canonical RecA family recombinases that may explain its functional properties. The possible roles of the archaeal RadA paralogs in vivo are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3387904  PMID: 19414020
Archaea; Recombinase; RadA; Homologous Recombination; Strand Exchange
5.  A model for 3-methyladenine recognition by 3-methyladenine DNA glycosylase I (TAG) from Staphylococcus aureus  
The structure of 3-methyladenine DNA glycosylase I in complex with 3-methyladenine is reported.
The removal of chemically damaged DNA bases such as 3-methyladenine (3-­MeA) is an essential process in all living organisms and is catalyzed by the enzyme 3-MeA DNA glycosylase I. A key question is how the enzyme selectively recognizes the alkylated 3-MeA over the much more abundant adenine. The crystal structures of native and Y16F-mutant 3-MeA DNA glycosylase I from Staphylococcus aureus in complex with 3-MeA are reported to 1.8 and 2.2 Å resolution, respectively. Isothermal titration calorimetry shows that protonation of 3-MeA decreases its binding affinity, confirming previous fluorescence studies that show that charge–charge recognition is not critical for the selection of 3-MeA over adenine. It is hypothesized that the hydrogen-bonding pattern of Glu38 and Tyr16 of 3-MeA DNA glycosylase I with a particular tautomer unique to 3-MeA contributes to recognition and selection.
PMCID: PMC3370894  PMID: 22684054
3-methyladenine DNA glycosylase I; fluorescence measurements; ITC; DNA repair; recognition
6.  Crystal structure and silica condensing activities of silicatein α/cathepsin L chimeras 
Cathepsin L mutants with the ability to condense silica from solution have been generated and a 1.5 Å crystal structure of one of these chimeras allows us to rationalize the catalytic mechanism of silicic acid condensation.
PMCID: PMC3326524  PMID: 18379686
7.  An unusual chromophore and novel crosslinks in ranasmurfin - a blue protein from the foam nests of a tropical frog 
Ranasmurfin is an unusual blue protein isolated from the nests of a Malaysian tree frog, Polypedates leucomystax,[1] 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.[2]
PMCID: PMC3313644  PMID: 18781570
8.  The Structural Biology Knowledgebase: a portal to protein structures, sequences, functions, and methods 
The Protein Structure Initiative’s Structural Biology Knowledgebase (SBKB, URL: is an open web resource designed to turn the products of the structural genomics and structural biology efforts into knowledge that can be used by the biological community to understand living systems and disease. Here we will present examples on how to use the SBKB to enable biological research. For example, a protein sequence or Protein Data Bank (PDB) structure ID search will provide a list of related protein structures in the PDB, associated biological descriptions (annotations), homology models, structural genomics protein target status, experimental protocols, and the ability to order available DNA clones from the PSI:Biology-Materials Repository. A text search will find publication and technology reports resulting from the PSI’s high-throughput research efforts. Web tools that aid in research, including a system that accepts protein structure requests from the community, will also be described. Created in collaboration with the Nature Publishing Group, the Structural Biology Knowledgebase monthly update also provides a research library, editorials about new research advances, news, and an events calendar to present a broader view of structural genomics and structural biology.
PMCID: PMC3123456  PMID: 21472436
Protein; Protein production; Structural biology; Structural databases; Structural genomics; Theoretical models
9.  The Scottish Structural Proteomics Facility: targets, methods and outputs 
The Scottish Structural Proteomics Facility was funded to develop a laboratory scale approach to high throughput structure determination. The effort was successful in that over 40 structures were determined. These structures and the methods harnessed to obtain them are reported here. This report reflects on the value of automation but also on the continued requirement for a high degree of scientific and technical expertise. The efficiency of the process poses challenges to the current paradigm of structural analysis and publication. In the 5 year period we published ten peer-reviewed papers reporting structural data arising from the pipeline. Nevertheless, the number of structures solved exceeded our ability to analyse and publish each new finding. By reporting the experimental details and depositing the structures we hope to maximize the impact of the project by allowing others to follow up the relevant biology.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10969-010-9090-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2883930  PMID: 20419351
High-throughput; Protein crystallography; Structural proteomics; SSPF
10.  AcsD catalyzes enantioselective citrate desymmetrization in siderophore biosynthesis 
Nature chemical biology  2009;5(3):174-182.
Bacterial pathogens need to scavenge iron from their host for growth and proliferation during infection. They have evolved several strategies to do this, one being the biosynthesis and excretion of small, high-affinity iron chelators known as siderophores. The biosynthesis of siderophores is an important area of study, not only for potential therapeutic intervention, but also to illuminate new enzyme chemistries. Two general pathways for siderophore biosynthesis exist: the well-characterized nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS)-dependent pathway and the NRPS-independent (NIS) pathway, which relies on a different family of sparsely-investigated synthetases. Here, we report structural and biochemical studies of AcsD from Pectobacterium (formerly Erwinia) chrysanthemi, a NIS synthetase involved in achromobactin biosynthesis. The structures of ATP and citrate complexes provide a mechanistic rationale for stereospecific formation of an enzyme-bound (3R)-citryl-adenylate, which reacts with L-serine to form a likely achromobactin precursor. AcsD is a novel acyl adenylate-forming enzyme with a new fold and chemical catalysis strategy.
PMCID: PMC2644304  PMID: 19182782
11.  Extensive DNA mimicry by the ArdA anti-restriction protein and its role in the spread of antibiotic resistance 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;37(15):4887-4897.
The ardA gene, found in many prokaryotes including important pathogenic species, allows associated mobile genetic elements to evade the ubiquitous Type I DNA restriction systems and thereby assist the spread of resistance genes in bacterial populations. As such, ardA contributes to a major healthcare problem. We have solved the structure of the ArdA protein from the conjugative transposon Tn916 and find that it has a novel extremely elongated curved cylindrical structure with defined helical grooves. The high density of aspartate and glutamate residues on the surface follow a helical pattern and the whole protein mimics a 42-base pair stretch of B-form DNA making ArdA by far the largest DNA mimic known. Each monomer of this dimeric structure comprises three alpha–beta domains, each with a different fold. These domains have the same fold as previously determined proteins possessing entirely different functions. This DNA mimicry explains how ArdA can bind and inhibit the Type I restriction enzymes and we demonstrate that 6 different ardA from pathogenic bacteria can function in Escherichia coli hosting a range of different Type I restriction systems.
PMCID: PMC2731889  PMID: 19506028
12.  The protein structure initiative structural genomics knowledgebase 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;37(Database issue):D365-D368.
The Protein Structure Initiative Structural Genomics Knowledgebase (PSI SGKB, has been created to turn the products of the PSI structural genomics effort into knowledge that can be used by the biological research community to understand living systems and disease. This resource provides central access to structures in the Protein Data Bank (PDB), along with functional annotations, associated homology models, worldwide protein target tracking information, available protocols and the potential to obtain DNA materials for many of the targets. It also offers the ability to search all of the structural and methodological publications and the innovative technologies that were catalyzed by the PSI's high-throughput research efforts. In collaboration with the Nature Publishing Group, the PSI SGKB provides a research library, editorials about new research advances, news and an events calendar to present a broader view of structural biology and structural genomics. By making these resources freely available, the PSI SGKB serves as a bridge to connect the structural biology and the greater biomedical communities.
PMCID: PMC2686438  PMID: 19010965
13.  TarO: a target optimisation system for structural biology 
Nucleic Acids Research  2008;36(Web Server issue):W190-W196.
TarO ( offers a single point of reference for key bioinformatics analyses relevant to selecting proteins or domains for study by structural biology techniques. The protein sequence is analysed by 17 algorithms and compared to 8 databases. TarO gathers putative homologues, including orthologues, and then obtains predictions of properties for these sequences including crystallisation propensity, protein disorder and post-translational modifications. Analyses are run on a high-performance computing cluster, the results integrated, stored in a database and accessed through a web-based user interface. Output is in tabulated format and in the form of an annotated multiple sequence alignment (MSA) that may be edited interactively in the program Jalview. TarO also simplifies the gathering of additional annotations via the Distributed Annotation System, both from the MSA in Jalview and through links to Dasty2. Routes to other information gateways are included, for example to relevant pages from UniProt, COG and the Conserved Domains Database. Open access to TarO is available from a guest account with private accounts for academic use available on request. Future development of TarO will include further analysis steps and integration with the Protein Information Management System (PIMS), a sister project in the BBSRC ‘Structural Proteomics of Rational Targets’ initiative
PMCID: PMC2447720  PMID: 18385152
14.  Structure of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate cyclo-ligase from Bacillus anthracis (BA4489) 
The structure of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate cyclo-ligase from B. anthracis determined by X-ray crystallography at a resolution of 1.6 Å is described.
Bacillus anthracis is a spore-forming bacterium and the causative agent of the disease anthrax. The Oxford Protein Production Facility has been targeting proteins from B. anthracis in order to develop high-throughput technologies within the Structural Proteomics in Europe project. As part of this work, the structure of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate cyclo-ligase (BA4489) has been determined by X-ray crystallography to 1.6 Å resolution. The structure, solved in complex with magnesium-ion-bound ADP and phosphate, gives a detailed picture of the proposed catalytic mechanism of the enzyme. Chemical differences from other cyclo-ligase structures close to the active site that could be exploited to design specific inhibitors are also highlighted.
PMCID: PMC2330188  PMID: 17329806
5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate synthetase; MTHFS
15.  Crystallization of Ranasmurfin, a blue-coloured protein from Polypedates leucomystax  
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.
PMCID: PMC2225219  PMID: 17077494
16.  Preliminary crystallographic characterization of PrnB, the second enzyme in the pyrrolnitrin biosynthetic pathway 
Crystals of PrnB, the second enzyme in pyrrolnitrin biosynthesis are reported.
Pyrrolnitrin is the active ingredient of drugs for the treatment of superficial fungal infections and was used as a lead structure for the development of fludioxonil. It is an effective agent for plant diseases caused by the fungal pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. Pyrrolnitrin is made in four steps, the second of which, catalyzed by PrnB, is a novel chemical rearrangement of 7-chlorotryptophan. PrnB was overproduced in Pseudomonas fluorescens (BL915) and well diffracting crystals were obtained of a triple cysteine-to-serine mutant by sitting-drop vapour diffusion. Crystals grown in the presence of l-7-chlorotryptophan, d-­tryptophan and l-tryptophan are reported. Data sets for each are reported with high-resolution limits of 2.0, 1.75 and 1.75 Å, respectively. Two crystals (PrnB in the presence of d-tryptophan and l-7-chlorotryptophan) belong to space group C2 with similar unit-cell parameters (a = 68.6, b = 79.5, c = 92.7 Å, α = γ = 90.0, β = 103.8°). Crystals grown in the presence of l-­tryptophan belong to space group C2221 and have unit-cell parameters a = 67.7, b = 80.1, c = 129.5 Å. All crystals contain a monomer in the asymmetric unit.
PMCID: PMC2225210  PMID: 17077497
PrnB; pyrrolnitrin biosynthesis
17.  Structure of the Arginine Methyltransferase PRMT5-MEP50 Reveals a Mechanism for Substrate Specificity 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57008.
The arginine methyltransferase PRMT5-MEP50 is required for embryogenesis and is misregulated in many cancers. PRMT5 targets a wide variety of substrates, including histone proteins involved in specifying an epigenetic code. However, the mechanism by which PRMT5 utilizes MEP50 to discriminate substrates and to specifically methylate target arginines is unclear. To test a model in which MEP50 is critical for substrate recognition and orientation, we determined the crystal structure of Xenopus laevis PRMT5-MEP50 complexed with S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH). PRMT5-MEP50 forms an unusual tetramer of heterodimers with substantial surface negative charge. MEP50 is required for PRMT5-catalyzed histone H2A and H4 methyltransferase activity and binds substrates independently. The PRMT5 catalytic site is oriented towards the cross-dimer paired MEP50. Histone peptide arrays and solution assays demonstrate that PRMT5-MEP50 activity is inhibited by substrate phosphorylation and enhanced by substrate acetylation. Electron microscopy and reconstruction showed substrate centered on MEP50. These data support a mechanism in which MEP50 binds substrate and stimulates PRMT5 activity modulated by substrate post-translational modifications.
PMCID: PMC3581573  PMID: 23451136

Results 1-17 (17)