In an effort to better understand the control of the formation of branched fatty acids in Micrococcus luteus, the structure of β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III, which catalyzes the initial step of fatty-acid biosynthesis, has been determined.
Micrococcus luteus is a Gram-positive bacterium that produces iso- and anteiso-branched alkenes by the head-to-head condensation of fatty-acid thioesters [coenzyme A (CoA) or acyl carrier protein (ACP)]; this activity is of interest for the production of advanced biofuels. In an effort to better understand the control of the formation of branched fatty acids in M. luteus, the structure of FabH (MlFabH) was determined. FabH, or β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III, catalyzes the initial step of fatty-acid biosynthesis: the condensation of malonyl-ACP with an acyl-CoA. Analysis of the MlFabH structure provides insights into its substrate selectivity with regard to length and branching of the acyl-CoA. The most structurally divergent region of FabH is the L9 loop region located at the dimer interface, which is involved in the formation of the acyl-binding channel and thus limits the substrate-channel size. The residue Phe336, which is positioned near the catalytic triad, appears to play a major role in branched-substrate selectivity. In addition to structural studies of MlFabH, transcriptional studies of M. luteus were also performed, focusing on the increase in the ratio of anteiso:iso-branched alkenes that was observed during the transition from early to late stationary phase. Gene-expression microarray analysis identified two genes involved in leucine and isoleucine metabolism that may explain this transition.
biofuels; β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III; iso- and anteiso-branched alkenes; microarray
The structure of the Tse3–Tsi3 complex associated with the bacterial type VI secretion system of P. aeruginosa has been solved and refined at 1.9 Å resolution. The structural basis of the recognition of the muramidase effector and its inactivation by its cognate immunity protein is revealed.
The type VI secretion system (T6SS) is a bacterial protein-export machine that is capable of delivering virulence effectors between Gram-negative bacteria. The T6SS of Pseudomonas aeruginosa transports two lytic enzymes, Tse1 and Tse3, to degrade cell-wall peptidoglycan in the periplasm of rival bacteria that are competing for niches via amidase and muramidase activities, respectively. Two cognate immunity proteins, Tsi1 and Tsi3, are produced by the bacterium to inactivate the two antibacterial effectors, thereby protecting its siblings from self-intoxication. Recently, Tse1–Tsi1 has been structurally characterized. Here, the structure of the Tse3–Tsi3 complex is reported at 1.9 Å resolution. The results reveal that Tse3 contains a C-terminal catalytic domain that adopts a soluble lytic transglycosylase (SLT) fold in which three calcium-binding sites were surprisingly observed close to the catalytic Glu residue. The electrostatic properties of the substrate-binding groove are also distinctive from those of known structures with a similar fold. All of these features imply that a unique catalytic mechanism is utilized by Tse3 in cleaving glycosidic bonds. Tsi3 comprises a single domain showing a β-sandwich architecture that is reminiscent of the immunoglobulin fold. Three loops of Tsi3 insert deeply into the groove of Tse3 and completely occlude its active site, which forms the structural basis of Tse3 inactivation. This work is the first crystallographic report describing the three-dimensional structure of the Tse3–Tsi3 effector–immunity pair.
muramidases; peptidoglycan; effectors; immunity; calcium binding; interaction
The gD–E317-Fab complex crystal revealed the conformational epitope of human mAb E317 on HSV gD, providing a molecular basis for understanding the viral neutralization mechanism.
Glycoprotein D (gD) of Herpes simplex virus (HSV) binds to a host cell surface receptor, which is required to trigger membrane fusion for virion entry into the host cell. gD has become a validated anti-HSV target for therapeutic antibody development. The highly inhibitory human monoclonal antibody E317 (mAb E317) was previously raised against HSV gD for viral neutralization. To understand the structural basis of antibody neutralization, crystals of the gD ectodomain bound to the E317 Fab domain were obtained. The structure of the complex reveals that E317 interacts with gD mainly through the heavy chain, which covers a large area for epitope recognition on gD, with a flexible N-terminal and C-terminal conformation. The epitope core structure maps to the external surface of gD, corresponding to the binding sites of two receptors, herpesvirus entry mediator (HVEM) and nectin-1, which mediate HSV infection. E317 directly recognizes the gD–nectin-1 interface and occludes the HVEM contact site of gD to block its binding to either receptor. The binding of E317 to gD also prohibits the formation of the N-terminal hairpin of gD for HVEM recognition. The major E317-binding site on gD overlaps with either the nectin-1-binding residues or the neutralizing antigenic sites identified thus far (Tyr38, Asp215, Arg222 and Phe223). The epitopes of gD for E317 binding are highly conserved between two types of human herpesvirus (HSV-1 and HSV-2). This study enables the virus-neutralizing epitopes to be correlated with the receptor-binding regions. The results further strengthen the previously demonstrated therapeutic and diagnostic potential of the E317 antibody.
Herpes simplex virus; glycoprotein D; antibodies; E317
The gene product of M. tuberculosis Rv2969c is shown to be a disulfide oxidase enzyme that has a canonical DsbA-like fold with novel structural and functional characteristics.
The bacterial disulfide machinery is an attractive molecular target for developing new antibacterials because it is required for the production of multiple virulence factors. The archetypal disulfide oxidase proteins in Escherichia coli (Ec) are DsbA and DsbB, which together form a functional unit: DsbA introduces disulfides into folding proteins and DsbB reoxidizes DsbA to maintain it in the active form. In Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), no DsbB homologue is encoded but a functionally similar but structurally divergent protein, MtbVKOR, has been identified. Here, the Mtb protein Rv2969c is investigated and it is shown that it is the DsbA-like partner protein of MtbVKOR. It is found that it has the characteristic redox features of a DsbA-like protein: a highly acidic catalytic cysteine, a highly oxidizing potential and a destabilizing active-site disulfide bond. Rv2969c also has peptide-oxidizing activity and recognizes peptide segments derived from the periplasmic loops of MtbVKOR. Unlike the archetypal EcDsbA enzyme, Rv2969c has little or no activity in disulfide-reducing and disulfide-isomerase assays. The crystal structure of Rv2969c reveals a canonical DsbA fold comprising a thioredoxin domain with an embedded helical domain. However, Rv2969c diverges considerably from other DsbAs, including having an additional C-terminal helix (H8) that may restrain the mobility of the catalytic helix H1. The enzyme is also characterized by a very shallow hydrophobic binding surface and a negative electrostatic surface potential surrounding the catalytic cysteine. The structure of Rv2969c was also used to model the structure of a paralogous DsbA-like domain of the Ser/Thr protein kinase PknE. Together, these results show that Rv2969c is a DsbA-like protein with unique properties and a limited substrate-binding specificity.
DsbA; VKOR; DsbB; antibacterial target; oxidative folding; virulence; thioredoxin
A genetic algorithm has been developed to optimize the phases of the strongest reflections in SIR/SAD data. This is shown to facilitate density modification and model building in several test cases.
Experimental phasing of diffraction data from macromolecular crystals involves deriving phase probability distributions. These distributions are often bimodal, making their weighted average, the centroid phase, improbable, so that electron-density maps computed using centroid phases are often non-interpretable. Density modification brings in information about the characteristics of electron density in protein crystals. In successful cases, this allows a choice between the modes in the phase probability distributions, and the maps can cross the borderline between non-interpretable and interpretable. Based on the suggestions by Vekhter [Vekhter (2005 ▶), Acta Cryst. D61, 899–902], the impact of identifying optimized phases for a small number of strong reflections prior to the density-modification process was investigated while using the centroid phase as a starting point for the remaining reflections. A genetic algorithm was developed that optimizes the quality of such phases using the skewness of the density map as a target function. Phases optimized in this way are then used in density modification. In most of the tests, the resulting maps were of higher quality than maps generated from the original centroid phases. In one of the test cases, the new method sufficiently improved a marginal set of experimental SAD phases to enable successful map interpretation. A computer program, SISA, has been developed to apply this method for phase improvement in macromolecular crystallography.
experimental phasing; density modification; genetic algorithms
Experimental errors in macromolecular crystallography are underestimated as they do not account for the contribution of crystal-to-crystal variations.
Experimental errors as determined by data-processing algorithms in macromolecular crystallography are compared with the direct error estimates obtained by a multiple crystal data-collection protocol. It is found that several-fold error inflation is necessary to account for crystal-to-crystal variation. It is shown that similar error inflation is observed for data collected from multiple sections of the same crystal, indicating non-uniform crystal growth as one of the likely sources of additional data variation. Other potential sources of error inflation include differential X-ray absorption for different reflections and variation of unit-cell parameters. The underestimation of the experimental errors is more severe in lower resolution shells and for reflections characterized by a higher signal-to-noise ratio. These observations partially account for the gap between the expected and the observed R values in macromolecular crystallography.
experimental errors; R values
The crystal structures of the far-red fluorescent proteins eqFP650 and eqFP670 have been solved at 1.8 and 1.6 Å resolution, respectively. This permitted identification of the structural elements responsible for the bathochromic shift in both considered far-red fluorescent proteins.
The crystal structures of the far-red fluorescent proteins (FPs) eqFP650 (λex
max 592/650 nm) and eqFP670 (λex
max 605/670 nm), the successors of the far-red FP Katushka (λex
max 588/635 nm), have been determined at 1.8 and 1.6 Å resolution, respectively. An examination of the structures demonstrated that there are two groups of changes responsible for the bathochromic shift of excitation/emission bands of these proteins relative to their predecessor. The first group of changes resulted in an increase of hydrophilicity at the acylimine site of the chromophore due to the presence of one and three water molecules in eqFP650 and eqFP670, respectively. These water molecules provide connection of the chromophore with the protein scaffold via hydrogen bonds causing an ∼15 nm bathochromic shift of the eqFP650 and eqFP670 emission bands. The second group of changes observed in eqFP670 arises from substitution of both Ser143 and Ser158 by asparagines. Asn143 and Asn158 of eqFP670 are hydrogen bonded with each other, as well as with the protein scaffold and with the p-hydroxyphenyl group of the chromophore, resulting in an additional ∼20 nm bathochromic shift of the eqFP670 emission band as compared to eqFP650. The role of the observed structural changes was verified by mutagenesis.
far-red fluorescent proteins; cell imaging; tissue visualization; Katushka
Dose-dependent atomic B factors are used to determine the average spatial distribution of radiation damage to crystalline thaumatin and urease.
The spatial distribution of radiation damage (assayed by increases in atomic B factors) to thaumatin and urease crystals at temperatures ranging from 25 to 300 K is reported. The nature of the damage changes dramatically at approximately 180 K. Above this temperature the role of solvent diffusion is apparent in thaumatin crystals, as solvent-exposed turns and loops are especially sensitive. In urease, a flap covering the active site is the most sensitive part of the molecule and nearby loops show enhanced sensitivity. Below 180 K sensitivity is correlated with poor local packing, especially in thaumatin. At all temperatures, the component of the damage that is spatially uniform within the unit cell accounts for more than half of the total increase in the atomic B factors and correlates with changes in mosaicity. This component may arise from lattice-level, rather than local, disorder. The effects of primary structure on radiation sensitivity are small compared with those of tertiary structure, local packing, solvent accessibility and crystal contacts.
protein crystallography; radiation damage; temperature dependence
The structure of a tetrameric sponge galectin suggests a basis for glutamate receptor potentiation.
The galectins are a family of proteins that bind with highest affinity to N-acetyllactosamine disaccharides, which are common constituents of asparagine-linked complex glycans. They play important and diverse physiological roles, particularly in the immune system, and are thought to be critical metastatic agents for many types of cancer cells, including gliomas. A recent bioactivity-based screen of marine sponge (Cinachyrella sp.) extract identified an ancestral member of the galectin family based on its unexpected ability to positively modulate mammalian ionotropic glutamate receptor function. To gain insight into the mechanistic basis of this activity, the 2.1 Å resolution X-ray structure of one member of the family, galectin CchG-1, is reported. While the protomer exhibited structural similarity to mammalian prototype galectin, CchG-1 adopts a novel tetrameric arrangement in which a rigid toroidal-shaped ‘donut’ is stabilized in part by the packing of pairs of vicinal disulfide bonds. Twofold symmetry between binding-site pairs provides a basis for a model for interaction with ionotropic glutamate receptors.
galectins; Cinachyrella sp.
The structure of Giardia prolyl-tRNA synthetase cocrystallized with proline and ATP shows evidence for half-of-the-sites activity, leading to a corresponding mixture of reaction substrates and product (prolyl-AMP) in the two active sites of the dimer.
The genome of the human intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia contains only a single aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase gene for each amino acid. The Giardia prolyl-tRNA synthetase gene product was originally misidentified as a dual-specificity Pro/Cys enzyme, in part owing to its unexpectedly high off-target activation of cysteine, but is now believed to be a normal representative of the class of archaeal/eukaryotic prolyl-tRNA synthetases. The 2.2 Å resolution crystal structure of the G. lamblia enzyme presented here is thus the first structure determination of a prolyl-tRNA synthetase from a eukaryote. The relative occupancies of substrate (proline) and product (prolyl-AMP) in the active site are consistent with half-of-the-sites reactivity, as is the observed biphasic thermal denaturation curve for the protein in the presence of proline and MgATP. However, no corresponding induced asymmetry is evident in the structure of the protein. No thermal stabilization is observed in the presence of cysteine and ATP. The implied low affinity for the off-target activation product cysteinyl-AMP suggests that translational fidelity in Giardia is aided by the rapid release of misactivated cysteine.
aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases; protozoa; structural genomics; Giardia lamblia
A joint X-ray/neutron structure of d-xylose isomerase in complex with the inhibitor sorbitol was determined at room temperature at an acidic pH of 5.9. Protonation of the O5 O atom of the sugar was directly observed in the nuclear density maps. Under acidic conditions sorbitol gains a water-mediated interaction with the enzyme active site, which may explain the increased potency of the inhibitor at low pH.
d-Xylose isomerase (XI) converts the aldo-sugars xylose and glucose to their keto analogs xylulose and fructose, but is strongly inhibited by the polyols xylitol and sorbitol, especially at acidic pH. In order to understand the atomic details of polyol binding to the XI active site, a 2.0 Å resolution room-temperature joint X-ray/neutron structure of XI in complex with Ni2+ cofactors and sorbitol inhibitor at pH 5.9 and a room-temperature X-ray structure of XI containing Mg2+ ions and xylitol at the physiological pH of 7.7 were obtained. The protonation of oxygen O5 of the inhibitor, which was found to be deprotonated and negatively charged in previous structures of XI complexed with linear glucose and xylulose, was directly observed. The Ni2+ ions occupying the catalytic metal site (M2) were found at two locations, while Mg2+ in M2 is very mobile and has a high B factor. Under acidic conditions sorbitol gains a water-mediated interaction that connects its O1 hydroxyl to Asp257. This contact is not found in structures at basic pH. The new interaction that is formed may improve the binding of the inhibitor, providing an explanation for the increased affinity of the polyols for XI at low pH.
d-xylose isomerase; joint X-ray/neutron crystallography; protonation; hydration; metalloenzymes
Determination of the orientation of the enterovirus 71 virions in the crystal required the calculation of a locked rotation function that included only icosahedral threefold and fivefold symmetry axes. Otherwise, misleading high rotation-function values were produced by accidental alignment of icosahedral and crystallographic twofold axes.
Enterovirus 71 is a picornavirus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease but may induce fatal neurological illness in infants and young children. Enterovirus 71 crystallized in a body-centered orthorhombic space group with two particles in general orientations in the crystallographic asymmetric unit. Determination of the particle orientations required that the locked rotation function excluded the twofold symmetry axes from the set of icosahedral symmetry operators. This avoided the occurrence of misleading high rotation-function values produced by the alignment of icosahedral and crystallographic twofold axes. Once the orientations and positions of the particles had been established, the structure was solved by molecular replacement and phase extension.
enterovirus 71; viruses; rotation function; molecular replacement
The crystal structure of the 11.14 kDa orphan ORF 1382 from Archaeoglobus fulgidus (AF1382) has been determined by sulfur SAD phasing using data collected from a moderately diffracting crystal and 1.9 Å synchrotron X-rays.
The crystal structure of the 11.14 kDa orphan ORF 1382 from Archaeoglobus fulgidus (AF1382) has been determined by sulfur SAD phasing using a moderately diffracting crystal and 1.9 Å wavelength synchrotron X-rays. AF1382 was selected as a structural genomics target by the Southeast Collaboratory for Structural Genomics (SECSG) since sequence analyses showed that it did not belong to the Pfam-A database and thus could represent a novel fold. The structure was determined by exploiting longer wavelength X-rays and data redundancy to increase the anomalous signal in the data. AF1382 is a 95-residue protein containing five S atoms associated with four methionine residues and a single cysteine residue that yields a calculated Bijvoet ratio (ΔF
anom/F) of 1.39% for 1.9 Å wavelength X-rays. Coupled with an average Bijvoet redundancy of 25 (two 360° data sets), this produced an excellent electron-density map that allowed 69 of the 95 residues to be automatically fitted. The S-SAD model was then manually completed and refined (R = 23.2%, R
free = 26.8%) to 2.3 Å resolution (PDB entry 3o3k). High-resolution data were subsequently collected from a better diffracting crystal using 0.97 Å wavelength synchrotron X-rays and the S-SAD model was refined (R = 17.9%, R
free = 21.4%) to 1.85 Å resolution (PDB entry 3ov8). AF1382 has a winged-helix–turn–helix structure common to many DNA-binding proteins and most closely resembles the N-terminal domain (residues 1–82) of the Rio2 kinase from A. fulgidus, which has been shown to bind DNA, and a number of MarR-family transcriptional regulators, suggesting a similar DNA-binding function for AF1382. The analysis also points out the advantage gained from carrying out data reduction and structure determination on-site while the crystal is still available for further data collection.
AF1382; orphan ORFs; sulfur SAD; Archaeoglobus fulgidus
A new crystal-mounting method has been developed that involves a combination of controlled humid air and polymer glue for crystal coating. This method is particularly useful when applied to fragile protein crystals that are known to be sensitive to subtle changes in their physicochemical environment.
Protein crystals are fragile, and it is sometimes difficult to find conditions suitable for handling and cryocooling the crystals before conducting X-ray diffraction experiments. To overcome this issue, a protein crystal-mounting method has been developed that involves a water-soluble polymer and controlled humid air that can adjust the moisture content of a mounted crystal. By coating crystals with polymer glue and exposing them to controlled humid air, the crystals were stable at room temperature and were cryocooled under optimized humidity. Moreover, the glue-coated crystals reproducibly showed gradual transformations of their lattice constants in response to a change in humidity; thus, using this method, a series of isomorphous crystals can be prepared. This technique is valuable when working on fragile protein crystals, including membrane proteins, and will also be useful for multi-crystal data collection.
cryocrystallography; macromolecular crystallography; crystal mounting
The crystal structure of the AvrBs3–DNA complex is reported.
Transcription activator-like effectors contain a DNA-binding domain organized in tandem repeats. The repeats include two adjacent residues known as the repeat variable di-residue, which recognize a single base pair, establishing a direct code between the dipeptides and the target DNA. This feature suggests this scaffold as an excellent candidate to generate new protein–DNA specificities for biotechnological applications. Here, the crystal structure of AvrBs3 (residues 152–895, molecular mass 82 kDa) in complex with its target DNA sequence is presented, revealing a new mode of interaction with the initial thymine of the target sequence, together with an analysis of both the binding specificity and the thermodynamic properties of AvrBs3. This study quantifies the affinity and the specificity between AvrBs3 and its target DNA. Moreover, in vitro and in vivo analyses reveal that AvrBs3 does not show a strict nucleotide-binding preference for the nucleotide at the zero position of the DNA, widening the number of possible sequences that could be targeted by this scaffold.
gene targeting; protein–DNA interaction; genetics
The high-resolution crystal structures of apo and peptide-bound XIAP BIR2 are presented and compared with BIR3 structures to understand their selectivity. This crystal system can be used to determine the structures of BIR2–inhibitor complexes.
XIAP, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis family of proteins, is a critical regulator of apoptosis. Inhibition of the BIR domain–caspase interaction is a promising approach towards treating cancer. Previous work has been directed towards inhibiting the BIR3–caspase-9 interaction, which blocks the intrinsic apoptotic pathway; selectively inhibiting the BIR2–caspase-3 interaction would also block the extrinsic pathway. The BIR2 domain of XIAP has successfully been crystallized; peptides and small-molecule inhibitors can be soaked into these crystals, which diffract to high resolution. Here, the BIR2 apo crystal structure and the structures of five BIR2–tetrapeptide complexes are described. The structural flexibility observed on comparing these structures, along with a comparison with XIAP BIR3, affords an understanding of the structural elements that drive selectivity between BIR2 and BIR3 and which can be used to design BIR2-selective inhibitors.
apoptosis; XIAP; BIR domains; caspases; extrinsic pathway; inhibitor of apoptosis; peptide complex; SMAC; AVPI
The amino acid l-proline is shown to be a good cryoprotectant for protein crystals. Four examples are provided; the range of proline used for cryoprotection is 2.0–3.0 M.
l-Proline is one of Mother Nature’s cryoprotectants. Plants and yeast accumulate proline under freeze-induced stress and the use of proline in the cryopreservation of biological samples is well established. Here, it is shown that l-proline is also a useful cryoprotectant for protein crystallography. Proline was used to prepare crystals of lysozyme, xylose isomerase, histidine acid phosphatase and 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase for low-temperature data collection. The crystallization solutions in these test cases included the commonly used precipitants ammonium sulfate, sodium chloride and polyethylene glycol and spanned the pH range 4.6–8.5. Thus, proline is compatible with typical protein-crystallization formulations. The proline concentration needed for cryoprotection of these crystals is in the range 2.0–3.0 M. Complete data sets were collected from the proline-protected crystals. Proline performed as well as traditional cryoprotectants based on the diffraction resolution and data-quality statistics. The structures were refined to assess the binding of proline to these proteins. As observed with traditional cryoprotectants such as glycerol and ethylene glycol, the electron-density maps clearly showed the presence of proline molecules bound to the protein. In two cases, histidine acid phosphatase and 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase, proline binds in the active site. It is concluded that l-proline is an effective cryoprotectant for protein crystallography.
The first crystal structure of the vitamin B12-binding protein from a three-component O-demethylase enzyme system is reported. During O-demethylation methyl groups are transferred from phenyl methyl ethers to tetrahydrofolate via methyl-B12 intermediates.
This study describes the identification and the structural and spectroscopic analysis of a cobalamin-binding protein (termed CobDH) implicated in O-demethylation by the organohalide-respiring bacterium Desulfitobacterium hafniense DCB-2. The 1.5 Å resolution crystal structure of CobDH is presented in the cobalamin-bound state and reveals that the protein is composed of an N-terminal helix-bundle domain and a C-terminal Rossmann-fold domain, with the cobalamin coordinated in the base-off/His-on conformation similar to other cobalamin-binding domains that catalyse methyl-transfer reactions. EPR spectroscopy of CobDH confirms cobalamin binding and reveals the presence of a cob(III)alamin superoxide, indicating binding of oxygen to the fully oxidized cofactor. These data provide the first structural insights into the methyltransferase reactions that occur during O-demethylation by D. hafniense.
O-demethylation; cobalamin-binding proteins; Desulfitobacterium hafniense
A systematic approach to the scaling and merging of data from multiple crystals in macromolecular crystallography is introduced and explained.
The availability of intense microbeam macromolecular crystallography beamlines at third-generation synchrotron sources has enabled data collection and structure solution from microcrystals of <10 µm in size. The increased likelihood of severe radiation damage where microcrystals or particularly sensitive crystals are used forces crystallographers to acquire large numbers of data sets from many crystals of the same protein structure. The associated analysis and merging of multi-crystal data is currently a manual and time-consuming step. Here, a computer program, BLEND, that has been written to assist with and automate many of the steps in this process is described. It is demonstrated how BLEND has successfully been used in the solution of a novel membrane protein.
clustering; multiple crystals; BLEND; scaling; merging; multi-crystal data sets
The crystal structure of the N-terminal part of T. thermophilus DnaJ unexpectedly showed an ordered GF domain and guided the design of a construct enabling the first structure determination of a complete DnaJ cochaperone molecule. By combining the crystal structures with spin-labelling EPR and cross-linking in solution, a dynamic view of this flexible molecule was developed.
Hsp70 chaperones assist in a large variety of protein-folding processes in the cell. Crucial for these activities is the regulation of Hsp70 by Hsp40 cochaperones. DnaJ, the bacterial homologue of Hsp40, stimulates ATP hydrolysis by DnaK (Hsp70) and thus mediates capture of substrate protein, but is also known to possess chaperone activity of its own. The first structure of a complete functional dimeric DnaJ was determined and the mobility of its individual domains in solution was investigated. Crystal structures of the complete molecular cochaperone DnaJ from Thermus thermophilus comprising the J, GF and C-terminal domains and of the J and GF domains alone showed an ordered GF domain interacting with the J domain. Structure-based EPR spin-labelling studies as well as cross-linking results showed the existence of multiple states of DnaJ in solution with different arrangements of the various domains, which has implications for the function of DnaJ.
molecular chaperones; crystal dehydration; radiation-damage-induced phasing with anomalous scattering; single-wavelength anomalous diffraction; electron paramagnetic resonance; cross-linking; hybrid structure determination
Succinyl-CoA synthetase catalyzes the reaction succinyl-CoA + NDP + Pi ⇌ succinate + CoA + NTP, where N denotes adenosine or guanosine. The enzyme from T. aquaticus was characterized biochemically and its structure was determined in complex with GDP-Mn2+, the preferred nucleotide.
Succinyl-CoA synthetase (SCS) from Thermus aquaticus was characterized biochemically via measurements of the activity of the enzyme and determination of its quaternary structure as well as its stability and refolding properties. The enzyme is most active between pH 8.0 and 8.4 and its activity increases with temperature to about 339 K. Gel-filtration chromatography and sedimentation equilibrium under native conditions demonstrated that the enzyme is a heterotetramer of two α-subunits and two β-subunits. The activity assays showed that the enzyme uses either ADP/ATP or GDP/GTP, but prefers GDP/GTP. This contrasts with Escherichia coli SCS, which uses GDP/GTP but prefers ADP/ATP. To understand the nucleotide preference, T. aquaticus SCS was crystallized in the presence of GDP, leading to the determination of the structure in complex with GDP-Mn2+. A water molecule and Pro20β in T. aquaticus take the place of Gln20β in pig GTP-specific SCS, interacting well with the guanine base and other residues of the nucleotide-binding site. This leads to the preference for GDP/GTP, but does not hinder the binding of ADP/ATP.
thermostability; denaturation; nucleotide specificity; ATP-grasp fold; enzyme kinetics
The histidine WalK (YycG) plays a crucial role in coordinating murein synthesis with cell division and the crystal structure of its ATP binding domain has been determined. Interestingly the bound ATP was not hydrolyzed during crystallization and remains intact in the crystal lattice.
In Bacillus subtilis, the WalRK (YycFG) two-component system coordinates murein synthesis with cell division. It regulates the expression of autolysins that function in cell-wall remodeling and of proteins that modulate autolysin activity. The transcription factor WalR is activated upon phosphorylation by the histidine kinase WalK, a multi-domain homodimer. It autophosphorylates one of its histidine residues by transferring the γ-phosphate from ATP bound to its ATP-binding domain. Here, the high-resolution crystal structure of the ATP-binding domain of WalK in complex with ATP is presented at 1.61 Å resolution. The bound ATP remains intact in the crystal lattice. It appears that the strong binding interactions and the nature of the binding pocket contribute to its stability. The triphosphate moiety of ATP wraps around an Mg2+ ion, providing three O atoms for coordination in a near-ideal octahedral geometry. The ATP molecule also makes strong interactions with the protein. In addition, there is a short contact between the exocyclic O3′ of the sugar ring and O2B of the β-phosphate, implying an internal hydrogen bond. The stability of the WalK–ATP complex in the crystal lattice suggests that such a complex may exist in vivo poised for initiation of signal transmission. This feature may therefore be part of the sensing mechanism by which the WalRK two-component system is so rapidly activated when cells encounter conditions conducive for growth.
histidine kinases; ATP-binding domains; intact ATP
ATP bound in the active site of protein kinase A is readily hydrolysed to ADP and free phosphate by X-ray irradiation at room temperature. The phosphate ion observed in the active site causes a dramatic conformational change of the bound peptide inhibitor.
Post-translational protein phosphorylation by protein kinase A (PKA) is a ubiquitous signalling mechanism which regulates many cellular processes. A low-temperature X-ray structure of the ternary complex of the PKA catalytic subunit (PKAc) with ATP and a 20-residue peptidic inhibitor (IP20) at the physiological Mg2+ concentration of ∼0.5 mM (LT PKA–MgATP–IP20) revealed a single metal ion in the active site. The lack of a second metal in LT PKA–MgATP–IP20 renders the β- and γ-phosphoryl groups of ATP very flexible, with high thermal B factors. Thus, the second metal is crucial for tight positioning of the terminal phosphoryl group for transfer to a substrate, as demonstrated by comparison of the former structure with that of the LT PKA–Mg2ATP–IP20 complex obtained at high Mg2+ concentration. In addition to its kinase activity, PKAc is also able to slowly catalyze the hydrolysis of ATP using a water molecule as a substrate. It was found that ATP can be readily and completely hydrolyzed to ADP and a free phosphate ion in the crystals of the ternary complex PKA–Mg2ATP–IP20 by X-ray irradiation at room temperature. The cleavage of ATP may be aided by X-ray-generated free hydroxyl radicals, a very reactive chemical species, which move rapidly through the crystal at room temperature. The phosphate anion is clearly visible in the electron-density maps; it remains in the active site but slides about 2 Å from its position in ATP towards Ala21 of IP20, which mimics the phosphorylation site. The phosphate thus pushes the peptidic inhibitor away from the product ADP, while resulting in dramatic conformational changes of the terminal residues 24 and 25 of IP20. X-ray structures of PKAc in complex with the nonhydrolysable ATP analogue AMP-PNP at both room and low temperature demonstrated no temperature effects on the conformation and position of IP20.
protein kinase A; ATPases; ATP hydrolysis
An introduction to the proceedings of the CCP4 Study Weekend held at the University of Warwick on the 5–6 January 2012.
CCP4 Study Weekend 2012
The basis for decision making in the program xia2 is described, alongside the framework to support these protocols. Where appropriate, applications of these protocols to interactive data processing are highlighted.
xia2 is an expert system for the automated reduction of macromolecular crystallography (MX) data employing well trusted existing software. The system can process a full MX data set consisting of one or more sequences of images at one or more wavelengths from images to structure-factor amplitudes with no user input. To achieve this many decisions are made, the rationale for which is described here. In addition, it is critical to support the testing of hypotheses and to allow feedback of results from later stages in the analysis to earlier points where decisions were made: the flexible framework employed by xia2 to support this feedback is summarized here. While the decision-making protocols described here were developed for xia2, they are equally applicable to interactive data reduction.
automation; data reduction; expert system; xia2