Retroviral integrases (INs) catalyze the integration of viral DNA in the chromosomal DNA of the infected cell. This reaction requires the multimerization of IN to coordinate a nucleophilic attack of the 3’ ends of viral DNA at two staggered phosphodiester bonds on the recipient DNA. Several models indicate that a tetramer of IN would be required for two-end concerted integration. Complementation assays have shown that the N-terminal domain (NTD) of integrase is essential for concerted integration, contributing to the formation of a multimer through protein-protein interaction. The isolated NTD of Mo-MLV integrase behave as a dimer in solution however the structure of the dimer in solution is not known.
In this work, crosslinking and mass spectrometry were used to identify regions involved in the dimerization of the isolated Mo-MLV NTD. The distances between the crosslinked lysines within the monomer are in agreement with the structure of the NTD monomer found in 3NNQ. The intermolecular crosslinked peptides corresponding to Lys 20-Lys 31, Lys 24-Lys 24 and Lys 68-Lys 88 were identified. The 3D coordinates of 3NNQ were used to derive a theoretical structure of the NTD dimer with the suite 3D-Dock, based on shape and electrostatics complementarity, and filtered with the distance restraints determined in the crosslinking experiments.
The crosslinking results are consistent with the monomeric structure of NTD in 3NNQ, but for the dimer, in our model both polypeptides are oriented in parallel with each other and the contacting areas between the monomers would involve the interactions between helices 1 and helices 3 and 4.
Strict regulation of replisome components is essential to ensure the accurate transmission of the genome to the next generation. The sliding clamp processivity factors play a central role in this regulation, interacting with both DNA polymerases and multiple DNA processing and repair proteins. Clamp binding partners share a common peptide binding motif, the nature of which is essentially conserved from phage through to humans. Given the degree of conservation of these motifs, much research effort has focussed on understanding how the temporal and spatial regulation of multiple clamp binding partners is managed. The bacterial sliding clamps have come under scrutiny as potential targets for rational drug design and comprehensive understanding of the structural basis of their interactions is crucial for success.
In this study we describe the crystal structure of a complex of the E. coli β-clamp with a 12-mer peptide from the UmuC protein. UmuC is the catalytic subunit of the translesion DNA polymerase, Pol V (UmuD’2C). Due to its potentially mutagenic action, Pol V is tightly regulated in the cell to limit access to the replication fork. Atypically for the translesion polymerases, both bacterial and eukaryotic, Pol V is heterotrimeric and its β-clamp binding motif (357 QLNLF 361) is internal to the protein, rather than at the more usual C-terminal position. Our structure shows that the UmuC peptide follows the overall disposition of previously characterised structures with respect to the highly conserved glutamine residue. Despite good agreement with the consensus β-clamp binding motif, distinct variation is shown within the hydrophobic binding pocket. While UmuC Leu-360 interacts as noted in other structures, Phe-361 does not penetrate the pocket at all, sitting above the surface.
Although the β-clamp binding motif of UmuC conforms to the consensus sequence, variation in its mode of clamp binding is observed compared to related structures, presumably dictated by the proximal aspartate residues that act as linker to the poorly characterised, unique C-terminal domain of UmuC. Additionally, interactions between Asn-359 of UmuC and Arg-152 on the clamp surface may compensate for the reduced interaction of Phe-361.
Translesion synthesis; Sliding clamp; Processivity factor; UmuC; Regulation
Signal Regulatory Protein γ (SIRPγ) is a member of a closely related family of three cell surface receptors implicated in modulating immune/inflammatory responses. SIRPγ is expressed on T lymphocytes where it appears to be involved in the integrin-independent adhesion of lymphocytes to antigen-presenting cells. Here we describe the first full length structure of the extracellular region of human SIRPγ.
We obtained crystals of SIRPγ by making a complex of the protein with the Fab fragment of the anti-SIRP antibody, OX117, which also binds to SIRPα and SIRPβ. We show that the epitope for FabOX117 is formed at the interface of the first and second domains of SIRPγ and comprises residues which are conserved between all three SIRPs. The FabOX117 binding site is distinct from the region in domain 1 which interacts with CD47, the physiological ligand for both SIRPγ and SIRPα but not SIRPβ. Comparison of the three domain structures of SIRPγ and SIRPα showed that these receptors can adopt different overall conformations due to the flexibility of the linker between the first two domains. SIRPγ in complex with FabOX117 forms a dimer in the crystal. Binding to the Fab fixes the position of domain 1 relative to domains 2/3 exposing a surface which favours formation of a homotypic dimer. However, the interaction appears to be relatively weak since only monomers of SIRPγ were observed in sedimentation velocity analytical ultracentrifugation of the protein alone. Studies of complex formation by equilibrium ultracentrifugation showed that only a 1:1 complex of SIRPγ: FabOX117 was formed with a dissociation constant in the low micromolar range (Kd = 1.2 +/− 0.3 μM).
The three-domain extracellular regions of SIRPs are structurally conserved but show conformational flexibility in the disposition of the amino terminal ligand-binding Ig domain relative to the two membrane proximal Ig domains. Binding of a cross-reactive anti-SIRP Fab fragment to SIRPγ stabilises a conformation that favours SIRP dimer formation in the crystal structure, though this interaction does not appear sufficiently stable to be observed in solution.
Antigen-binding complex; Signal regulatory protein; Receptor structure
Protein N-glycosylation occurs in the three domains of life. Oligosaccharyltransferase (OST) transfers an oligosaccharide chain to the asparagine residue in the N-glycosylation sequons. The catalytic subunits of the OST enzyme are STT3 in eukaryotes, AglB in archaea and PglB in eubacteria. The genome of a hyperthermophilic archaeon, Archaeoglobus fulgidus, encodes three paralogous AglB proteins. We previously solved the crystal structures of the C-terminal globular domains of two paralogs, AglB-Short 1 and AglB-Short 2.
We determined the crystal structure of the C-terminal globular domain of the third AglB paralog, AglB-Long, at 1.9 Å resolutions. The crystallization of the fusion protein with maltose binding protein (MBP) afforded high quality protein crystals. Two MBP-AglB-L molecules formed a swapped dimer in the crystal. Since the fusion protein behaved as a monomer upon gel filtration, we reconstituted the monomer structure from the swapped dimer by exchanging the swapped segments. The C-terminal domain of A. fulgidus AglB-L includes a structural unit common to AglB-S1 and AglB-S2. This structural unit contains the evolutionally conserved WWDYG and DK motifs. The present structure revealed that A. fulgidus AglB-L contained a variant type of the DK motif with a short insertion, and confirmed that the second signature residue, Lys, of the DK motif participates in the formation of a pocket that binds to the serine and threonine residues at the +2 position of the N-glycosylation sequon.
The structure of A. fulgidus AglB-L, together with the two previously solved structures of AglB-S1 and AglB-S2, provides a complete overview of the three AglB paralogs encoded in the A. fulgidus genome. All three AglBs contain a variant type of the DK motif. This finding supports a previously proposed rule: The STT3/AglB/PglB paralogs in one organism always contain the same type of Ser/Thr-binding pocket. The present structure will be useful as a search model for molecular replacement in the structural determination of the full-length A. fulgidus AglB-L.
AglB; Archaeoglobus fulgidus; Crystal structure; N-glycosylation; MBP fusion; Oligosaccharyltransferase
In the anaerobic pathway of cobalamin (vitamin B12) synthesis, the CbiT enzyme plays two roles, as a cobalt-precorrin-7 C15-methyltransferase and a C12-decarboxylase, to produce the intermediate, cobalt-precorrin 8.
The primary structure of the hypothetical protein MJ0391, from Methanocaldococcus jannaschii, suggested that MJ0391 is a putative CbiT. Here, we report the crystal structure of MJ0391, solved by the MAD procedure and refined to final R-factor and R-free values of 19.8 & 27.3%, respectively, at 2.3 Å resolution. The asymmetric unit contains two NCS molecules, and the intact tetramer generated by crystallographic symmetry may be functionally important. The overall tertiary structure and the tetrameric arrangements are highly homologous to those found in MT0146/CbiT from Methanobacterium thermoautotrophicum.
The conservation of functional residues in the binding site for the co-factor, AdoMet, and in the putative precorrin-7 binding pocket suggested that MJ0391 may also possess CbiT activity. The putative function of MJ0391 is discussed, based on structural homology.
Cobalamin biosynthesis; Vitamin B12; Precorrin 7 C15-methyltransferase; Decarboxylase; CbiT; Crystal structure; AdoHcy cofactor; MJ0391; Methanocaldococcus jannaschii
Mutation of amino acid sequences in a protein may have diverse effects on its structure and function. Point mutations of even a single amino acid residue in the helices of the non-redundant database may lead to sequentially identical peptides which adopt different secondary structures in different proteins. However, various physico-chemical factors which govern the formation of these ambivalent helices generated by point mutations of a sequence are not clearly known.
Sequences generated by point mutations of helices are mapped on to their non-helical counterparts in the SCOP database. The results show that short helices are prone to transform into non-helical conformations upon point mutations. Mutation of amino acid residues by helix breakers preferentially yield non-helical conformations, while mutation with residues of intermediate helix propensity display least preferences for non-helical conformations. Differences in the solvent accessibility of the mutating/mutated residues are found to be a major criteria for these sequences to conform to non-helical conformations. Even with minimal differences in the amino acid distributions of the sequences flanking the helical and non-helical conformations, helix-flanking sequences are found be more solvent accessible.
All types of mutations from helical to non-helical conformations are investigated. The primary factors attributing such changes in conformation can be: i) type/propensity of the mutating and mutant residues ii) solvent accessibility of the residue at the mutation site iii) context/environment dependence of the flanking sequences. The results from the present study may be used to design de novo proteins via point mutations.
In addition to the core catalytic machinery, bacterial replicative DNA polymerases contain a Polymerase and Histidinol Phosphatase (PHP) domain whose function is not entirely understood. The PHP domains of some bacterial replicases are active metal-dependent nucleases that may play a role in proofreading. In E. coli DNA polymerase III, however, the PHP domain has lost several metal-coordinating residues and is likely to be catalytically inactive.
Genomic searches show that the loss of metal-coordinating residues in polymerase PHP domains is likely to have coevolved with the presence of a separate proofreading exonuclease that works with the polymerase. Although the E. coli Pol III PHP domain has lost metal-coordinating residues, the structure of the domain has been conserved to a remarkable degree when compared to that of metal-binding PHP domains. This is demonstrated by our ability to restore metal binding with only three point mutations, as confirmed by the metal-bound crystal structure of this mutant determined at 2.9 Å resolution. We also show that Pol III, a large multi-domain protein, unfolds cooperatively and that mutations in the degenerate metal-binding site of the PHP domain decrease the overall stability of Pol III and reduce its activity.
While the presence of a PHP domain in replicative bacterial polymerases is strictly conserved, its ability to coordinate metals and to perform proofreading exonuclease activity is not, suggesting additional non-enzymatic roles for the domain. Our results show that the PHP domain is a major structural element in Pol III and its integrity modulates both the stability and activity of the polymerase.
DNA polymerase III; DNA replication; PHP domain; Proofreading exonuclease
The Multidrug Resistance Protein ABCC11/MRP8 is expressed in physiological barriers and tumor breast tissues in which it secretes various substrates including cGMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate) and 5FdUMP (5-fluoro-2′-deoxyuridine-5′-monophosphate), the active metabolite of the anticancer drug 5-FluoroUracil (frequently included to anticancer therapy).
Previously, we described that ABCC11 high levels are associated to the estrogen receptor (ER) expression level in breast tumors and in cell lines resistant to tamoxifen. Consequently, by lowering the intracellular concentration of anticancer drugs, ABCC11 likely promotes a multidrug resistance (MDR) phenotype and decreases efficiency of anticancer therapy of 5FdUMP. Since no experimental data about binding sites of ABCC11 substrate are available, we decided to in silico localize putative substrate interaction sites of the nucleotide derivatives. Taking advantage of molecular dynamics simulation, we also analysed their evolution under computational physiological conditions and during the time.
Since ABCC11 crystal structure is not resolved yet, we used the X-ray structures of the mouse mdr3 (homologous to human ABCB1) and of the bacterial homolog Sav1866 to generate two independent ABCC11 homology models in inward- and outward-facing conformations. Based on docking analyses, two putative binding pockets, for cGMP and 5FdUMP, were localized in both inward- and outward-facing conformations. Furthermore, based on our 3D models, and available biochemical data from homologous transporters, we identified several residues, potentially critical in ABCC11 transport function. Additionally, molecular dynamics simulation on our inward-facing model revealed for the first time conformation changes assumed to occur during transport process.
ABCC11 would present two binding sites for cGMP and for 5FdUMP. Substrates likely first bind at the intracellular side of the transmembrane segment while ABCC11 is open forward the cytoplasm (inward-facing conformation). Then, along with conformational changes, it would pass through ABCC11 and fix the second site (close to the extracellular side), until the protein open itself to the extracellular space and allow substrate release.
ABC transporter; ABCC11/MRP8; cGMP; 5FdUMP; Homology modelling; Docking; Dynamics simulation
The post-genomic era poses several challenges. The biggest is the identification of biochemical function for protein sequences and structures resulting from genomic initiatives. Most sequences lack a characterized function and are annotated as hypothetical or uncharacterized. While homology-based methods are useful, and work well for sequences with sequence identities above 50%, they fail for sequences in the twilight zone (<30%) of sequence identity. For cases where sequence methods fail, structural approaches are often used, based on the premise that structure preserves function for longer evolutionary time-frames than sequence alone. It is now clear that no single method can be used successfully for functional inference. Given the growing need for functional assignments, we describe here a systematic new approach, designated ligand-centric, which is primarily based on analysis of ligand-bound/unbound structures in the PDB. Results of applying our approach to S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) binding proteins are presented.
Our analysis included 1,224 structures that belong to 172 unique families of the Protein Information Resource Superfamily system. Our ligand-centric approach was divided into four levels: residue, protein/domain, ligand, and family levels. The residue level included the identification of conserved binding site residues based on structure-guided sequence alignments of representative members of a family, and the identification of conserved structural motifs. The protein/domain level included structural classification of proteins, Pfam domains, domain architectures, and protein topologies. The ligand level included ligand conformations, ribose sugar puckering, and the identification of conserved ligand-atom interactions. The family level included phylogenetic analysis.
We found that SAM bound to a total of 18 different fold types (I-XVIII). We identified 4 new fold types and 11 additional topological arrangements of strands within the well-studied Rossmann fold Methyltransferases (MTases). This extends the existing structural classification of SAM binding proteins. A striking correlation between fold type and the conformation of the bound SAM (classified as types) was found across the 18 fold types. Several site-specific rules were created for the assignment of functional residues to families and proteins that do not have a bound SAM or a solved structure.
To explore novel platinum-based anticancer agents that are distinct from the structure and interaction mode of the traditional cisplatin by forming the bifunctional intrastrand 1,2 GpG adduct, the monofunctional platinum + DNA adducts with extensive non-covalent interactions had been studied. It was reported that the monofunctional testosterone-based platinum(II) agents present the high anticancer activity. Moreover, it was also found that the testosterone-based platinum agents could cause the DNA helix to undergo significant unwinding and bending over the non-testosterone-based platinum agents. However, the interaction mechanisms of these platinum agents with DNA at the atomic level are not yet clear so far.
In the present work, we used molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and DNA conformational dynamics calculations to study the DNA distortion properties of the testosterone-based platinum + DNA, the improved testosterone-based platinum + DNA and the non-testosterone-based platinum + DNA adducts. The results show that the intercalative interaction of the improved flexible testosterone-based platinum agent with DNA molecule could cause larger DNA conformational distortion than the groove-face interaction of the rigid testosterone-based platinum agent with DNA molecule. Further investigations for the non-testosterone-based platinum agent reveal the occurrence of insignificant change of DNA conformation due to the absence of testosterone ligand in such agent. Based on the DNA dynamics analysis, the DNA base motions relating to DNA groove parameter changes and hydrogen bond destruction of DNA base pairs were also discussed in this work.
The flexible linker in the improved testosterone-based platinum agent causes an intercalative interaction with DNA in the improved testosterone-based platinum + DNA adduct, which is different from the groove-face interaction caused by a rigid linker in the testosterone-based platinum agent. The present investigations provide useful information of DNA conformation affected by a testosterone-based platinum complex at the atomic level.
Molecular dynamics simulations; Groove-face and intercalative interactions; Testosterone-based platinum agent; Pt + DNA adducts; DNA conformation distortion
The CWxP motif of transmembrane helix 6 (x: any residue) is highly conserved in class A GPCRs. Within this motif, W6.48 is a big star in the theory of the global “toggle switch” because of its key role in the activation mechanism of GPCRs upon ligand binding. With all footlights focused on W6.48, the reason why the preceding residue, C6.47, is largely conserved is still unknown. The present study is aimed to fill up this lack of knowledge by characterizing the role of C6.47 of the CWxP motif.
A complete analysis of available crystal structures has been made alongside with molecular dynamics simulations of model peptides to explore a possible structural role for C6.47.
We conclude that C6.47 does not modulate the conformation of the TM6 proline kink and propose that C6.47 participates in the rearrangement of the TM6 and TM7 interface accompanying activation.
Predicting protein structure from sequence is one of the most significant and challenging problems in bioinformatics. Numerous bioinformatics techniques and tools have been developed to tackle almost every aspect of protein structure prediction ranging from structural feature prediction, template identification and query-template alignment to structure sampling, model quality assessment, and model refinement. How to synergistically select, integrate and improve the strengths of the complementary techniques at each prediction stage and build a high-performance system is becoming a critical issue for constructing a successful, competitive protein structure predictor.
Over the past several years, we have constructed a standalone protein structure prediction system MULTICOM that combines multiple sources of information and complementary methods at all five stages of the protein structure prediction process including template identification, template combination, model generation, model assessment, and model refinement. The system was blindly tested during the ninth Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP9) in 2010 and yielded very good performance. In addition to studying the overall performance on the CASP9 benchmark, we thoroughly investigated the performance and contributions of each component at each stage of prediction.
Our comprehensive and comparative study not only provides useful and practical insights about how to select, improve, and integrate complementary methods to build a cutting-edge protein structure prediction system but also identifies a few new sources of information that may help improve the design of a protein structure prediction system. Several components used in the MULTICOM system are available at: http://sysbio.rnet.missouri.edu/multicom_toolbox/.
Protein structure prediction; Template identification; Template combination; Model generation; Model assessment; Model combination; Model refinement
The editors of BMC Structural Biology would like to thank all of our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 12 (2012).
Microsomal CYP2E1 metabolizes about 160 hydrophobic exogens, many of which are environmental pollutants. While metabolising xenobiotics CYP2E1 on one hand facilitates in their excretion and on the other hand activates them into the cytotoxins, which may damage the cell. Thus the CYP2E1 activity level significantly affects the processes in cell. Posttranslational stabilization of CYP2E1 seems to be the main mechanism of its regulation in living cell. It is known that degradation of CYP2El takes part in cytoplasmic proteasome system. The efficiency of such degradation depends on the presence of molecular chaperones (HSP90) as was shown from in vitro experiments. But the processes that involve HSP90 in the degradation of CYP2E1 and the mechanisms of transfer of microsomal CYP2E1 to the proteasome system remain unknown. This paper investigates HSP90-dependent processes in mechanisms of CYP2El degradation and the possible role of ethanol in them.
With the help of computational methods we have shown that CYP2E1 can interact with HSP90 resulting in dissociation of CYP2E1 from membrane and formation of the CYP2E1-HSP90 complex for its further transfer to the proteasome for degradation. The twofold increase of both CYP2E1 and HSP90 in the mouse liver under the constant alcohol administration was shown using WB methods. Also, as was shown in silico, ethanol molecule, while binding to the CYP2E1 active site, prevents its interaction with HSP90, thus resulting in accumulation of CYP2E1 in cell.
Cytoplasmic HSP90 and membrane-bound CYP2E1 may directly interact with each other as partner proteins, leading to the dissociation of the CYP2E1 from the membrane. This makes it possible to transfer microsomal CYP2E1 in complex with HSP90 to the proteasome for proteolysis. The ethanol molecule inhibits the interaction of HSP90 with CYP2E1 leading to the suppression of its proteasome degradation, thus increasing level of this protein in the cell. Other substrates of CYP2E1 should increase level of this protein in the same way. This may be one of the mechanisms of substrate-dependent regulation of the CYP2E1 expression in the cell.
Human farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase (FPPS) controls intracellular levels of farnesyl pyrophosphate, which is essential for various biological processes. Bisphosphonate inhibitors of human FPPS are valuable therapeutics for the treatment of bone-resorption disorders and have also demonstrated efficacy in multiple tumor types. Inhibition of human FPPS by bisphosphonates in vivo is thought to involve closing of the enzyme’s C-terminal tail induced by the binding of the second substrate isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP). This conformational change, which occurs through a yet unclear mechanism, seals off the enzyme’s active site from the solvent environment and is essential for catalysis. The crystal structure of human FPPS in complex with a novel bisphosphonate YS0470 and in the absence of a second substrate showed partial ordering of the tail in the closed conformation.
We have determined crystal structures of human FPPS in ternary complex with YS0470 and the secondary ligands inorganic phosphate (Pi), inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi), and IPP. Binding of PPi or IPP to the enzyme-inhibitor complex, but not that of Pi, resulted in full ordering of the C-terminal tail, which is most notably characterized by the anchoring of the R351 side chain to the main frame of the enzyme. Isothermal titration calorimetry experiments demonstrated that PPi binds more tightly to the enzyme-inhibitor complex than IPP, and differential scanning fluorometry experiments confirmed that Pi binding does not induce the tail ordering. Structure analysis identified a cascade of conformational changes required for the C-terminal tail rigidification involving Y349, F238, and Q242. The residues K57 and N59 upon PPi/IPP binding undergo subtler conformational changes, which may initiate this cascade.
In human FPPS, Y349 functions as a safety switch that prevents any futile C-terminal closure and is locked in the “off” position in the absence of bound IPP. Q242 plays the role of a gatekeeper and directly controls the anchoring of R351 side chain. The interactions between the residues K57 and N59 and those upstream and downstream of Y349 are likely responsible for the switch activation. The findings of this study can be exploited for structure-guided optimization of existing inhibitors as well as development of new pharmacophores.
Mevalonate pathway; Farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase; Isopentenyl pyrophosphate; Bisphosphonates; C-terminal tail closure; Cancer chemotherapeutics
With the progress of nanotechnology, one frequently has to model biological macromolecules simultaneously with nano-objects. However, the atomic structures of the nano objects are typically not available or they are solid state entities. Because of that, the researchers have to investigate such nano systems by generating models of the nano objects in a manner that the existing software be able to carry the simulations. In addition, it should allow generating composite objects with complex shape by combining basic geometrical figures and embedding biological macromolecules within the system.
Here we report the Protein Nano-Object Integrator (ProNOI) which allows for generating atomic-style geometrical objects with user desired shape and dimensions. Unlimited number of objects can be created and combined with biological macromolecules in Protein Data Bank (PDB) format file. Once the objects are generated, the users can use sliders to manipulate their shape, dimension and absolute position. In addition, the software offers the option to charge the objects with either specified surface or volumetric charge density and to model them with user-desired dielectric constants. According to the user preference, the biological macromolecule atoms can be assigned charges and radii according to four different force fields: Amber, Charmm, OPLS and PARSE. The biological macromolecules and the atomic-style objects are exported as a position, charge and radius (PQR) file, or if a default dielectric constant distribution is not selected, it is exported as a position, charge, radius and epsilon (PQRE) file. As illustration of the capabilities of the ProNOI, we created a composite object in a shape of a robot, aptly named the Clemson Robot, whose parts are charged with various volumetric charge densities and holds the barnase-barstar protein complex in its hand.
The Protein Nano-Object Integrator (ProNOI) is a convenient tool for generating atomic-style nano shapes in conjunction with biological macromolecule(s). Charges and radii on the macromolecule atoms and the atoms in the shapes are assigned according to the user’s preferences allowing various scenarios of modeling. The default output file is in PQR (PQRE) format which is readable by almost any software available in biophysical field. It can be downloaded from: http://compbio.clemson.edu/downloadDir/ProNO_integrator.tar.gz
Biological macromolecules; Electrostatic calculations; Molecular modeling; Nano technology; DelPhi; Poisson-Boltzmann equation
Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular coccidian parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. It was estimated that more than one third of the world population is infected by T. gondii, and the disease is critical in fetuses and immunosuppressed patients. Thus, early detection is crucial for disease diagnosis and therapy. However, the current available toxoplasmosis diagnostic tests vary in their accuracy and the better ones are costly.
An earlier published work discovered a highly antigenic 12 kDa excretory-secretory (ES) protein of T. gondii which may potentially be used for the development of an antigen detection test for toxoplasmosis. However, the three-dimensional structure of the protein is unknown. Since epitope identification is important prior to designing of a specific antibody for an antigen-detection based diagnostic test, the structural elucidation of this protein is essential. In this study, we constructed a three dimensional model of the 12 kDa ES protein. The built structure possesses a thioredoxin backbone which consists of four α-helices flanking five β-strands at the center. Three potential epitopes (6–8 residues) which can be combined into one “single” epitope have been identified from the built structure as the most potential antibody binding site.
Together with specific antibody design, this work could contribute towards future development of an antigen detection test for toxoplasmosis.
Toxoplasma gondii; Excretory-secretory protein; Homology modeling; Epitope prediction; Molecular docking
MTMDAT is a program designed to facilitate analysis of mass spectrometry data of proteins and biomolecular complexes that are probed structurally by limited proteolysis. This approach can provide information about stable fragments of multidomain proteins, yield tertiary and quaternary structure data, and help determine the origin of stability changes at the amino acid residue level. Here, we introduce a pipeline between MTMDAT and HADDOCK, that facilitates protein-protein complex structure probing in a high-throughput and highly automated fashion.
A new feature of MTMDAT allows for the direct identification of residues that are involved in complex formation by comparing the mass spectra of bound and unbound proteins after proteolysis. If 3D structures of the unbound components are available, this data can be used to define restraints for data-driven docking to calculate a model of the complex. We describe here a new implementation of MTMDAT, which includes a pipeline to the data-driven docking program HADDOCK, thus streamlining the entire procedure. This addition, together with usability improvements in MTMDAT, enables high-throughput modeling of protein complexes from mass spectrometry data. The algorithm has been validated by using the protein-protein interaction between the ubiquitin-binding domain of proteasome component Rpn13 and ubiquitin. The resulting structural model, based on restraints extracted by MTMDAT from limited proteolysis and modeled by HADDOCK, was compared to the published NMR structure, which relied on twelve unambiguous intermolecular NOE interactions. The MTMDAT-HADDOCK structure was of similar quality to structures generated using only chemical shift perturbation data derived by NMR titration experiments.
The new MTMDAT-HADDOCK pipeline enables direct high-throughput modeling of protein complexes from mass spectrometry data. MTMDAT-HADDOCK can be downloaded from http://www.ifm.liu.se/chemistry/molbiotech/maria_sunnerhagens_group/mtmdat/together with the manual and example files. The program is free for academic/non-commercial purposes.
Interaction of non-structural protein 5A (NS5A) of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) with human kinases namely, casein kinase 1α (ck1α) and protein kinase R (PKR) have different functional implications such as regulation of viral replication and evasion of interferon induced immune response respectively. Understanding the structural and molecular basis of interactions of the viral protein with two different human kinases can be useful in developing strategies for treatment against HCV.
Serine 232 of NS5A is known to be phosphorylated by human ck1α. A structural model of NS5A peptide containing phosphoacceptor residue Serine 232 bound to ck1α has been generated using the known 3-D structures of kinase-peptide complexes. The substrate interacting residues in ck1α has been identified from the model and these are found to be conserved well in the ck1 family. ck1α – substrate peptide complex has also been used to understand the structural basis of association between ck1α and its other viral stress induced substrate, tumour suppressor p53 transactivation domain which has a crystal structure available.
Interaction of NS5A with another human kinase PKR is primarily genotype specific. NS5A from genotype 1b has been shown to interact and inhibit PKR whereas NS5A from genotype 2a/3a are unable to bind and inhibit PKR efficiently. This is one of the main reasons for the varied response to interferon therapy in HCV patients across different genotypes. Using PKR crystal structure, sequence alignment and evolutionary trace analysis some of the critical residues responsible for the interaction of NS5A 1b with PKR have been identified.
The substrate interacting residues in ck1α have been identified using the structural model of kinase - substrate peptide. The PKR interacting NS5A 1b residues have also been predicted using PKR crystal structure, NS5A sequence analysis along with known experimental results. Functional significance and nature of interaction of interferon sensitivity determining region and variable region 3 of NS5A in different genotypes with PKR which was experimentally shown are also supported by the findings of evolutionary trace analysis. Designing inhibitors to prevent this interaction could enable the HCV genotype 1 infected patients respond well to interferon therapy.
Casein kinase 1α; Hepatitis C virus; Interferon therapy; Kinase-substrate complex; Non-structural protein 5A; Protein kinase R
SCOP is a hierarchical domain classification system for proteins of known structure. The superfamily level has a clear definition: Protein domains belong to the same superfamily if there is structural, functional and sequence evidence for a common evolutionary ancestor. Superfamilies are sub-classified into families, however, there is not such a clear basis for the family level groupings. Do SCOP families group together domains with sequence similarity, do they group domains with similar structure or by common function? It is these questions we answer, but most importantly, whether each family represents a distinct phylogenetic group within a superfamily.
Several phylogenetic trees were generated for each superfamily: one derived from a multiple sequence alignment, one based on structural distances, and the final two from presence/absence of GO terms or EC numbers assigned to domains. The topologies of the resulting trees and confidence values were compared to the SCOP family classification.
We show that SCOP family groupings are evolutionarily consistent to a very high degree with respect to classical sequence phylogenetics. The trees built from (automatically generated) structural distances correlate well, but are not always consistent with SCOP (hand annotated) groupings. Trees derived from functional data are less consistent with the family level than those from structure or sequence, though the majority still agree. Much of GO and EC annotation applies directly to one family or subset of the family; relatively few terms apply at the superfamily level. Maximum sequence diversity within a family is on average 22% but close to zero for superfamilies.
Protein structures incorporate characteristic three-dimensional elements defined by some or all of hydrogen bonding, dihedral angles and amino acid sequence. The software application, Structure Motivator, allows interactive exploration and analysis of such elements, and their resolution into sub-classes.
Structure Motivator is a standalone application with an embedded relational database of proteins that, as a starting point, can furnish the user with a palette of unclassified small peptides or a choice of pre-classified structural motifs. Alternatively the application accepts files of data generated externally. After loading, the structural elements are displayed as two-dimensional plots of dihedral angles (φ/ψ, φ/χ1 or in combination) for each residue, with visualization options to allow the conformation or amino acid composition at one residue to be viewed in the context of that at other residues. Interactive selections may then be made and structural subsets saved to file for further sub-classification or external analysis. The application has been applied both to classical motifs, such as the β-turn, and ‘non-motif’ structural elements, such as specific segments of helices.
Structure Motivator allows structural biologists, whether or not they possess computational skills, to subject small structural elements in proteins to rapid interactive analysis that would otherwise require complex programming or database queries. Within a broad group of structural motifs, it facilitates the identification and separation of sub-classes with distinct stereochemical properties.
Protein motif; Ramachandran plot; Dihedral angle; Relational database
P-type ATPases hydrolyze ATP and release energy that is used in the transport of ions against electrochemical gradients across plasma membranes, making these proteins essential for cell viability. Currently, the distribution and function of these ion transporters in mycobacteria are poorly understood.
In this study, probabilistic profiles were constructed based on hidden Markov models to identify and classify P-type ATPases in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) according to the type of ion transported across the plasma membrane. Topology, hydrophobicity profiles and conserved motifs were analyzed to correlate amino acid sequences of P-type ATPases and ion transport specificity. Twelve candidate P-type ATPases annotated in the M. tuberculosis H37Rv proteome were identified in all members of the MTBC, and probabilistic profiles classified them into one of the following three groups: heavy metal cation transporters, alkaline and alkaline earth metal cation transporters, and the beta subunit of a prokaryotic potassium pump. Interestingly, counterparts of the non-catalytic beta subunits of Hydrogen/Potassium and Sodium/Potassium P-type ATPases were not found.
The high content of heavy metal transporters found in the MTBC suggests that they could play an important role in the ability of M. tuberculosis to survive inside macrophages, where tubercle bacilli face high levels of toxic metals. Finally, the results obtained in this work provide a starting point for experimental studies that may elucidate the ion specificity of the MTBC P-type ATPases and their role in mycobacterial infections.
Tuberculosis; Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex; P-type ATPases; Ion transport; Conserved motifs
Bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium can utilize acetate as the sole source of carbon and energy. Acetate kinase (AckA) and phosphotransacetylase (Pta), key enzymes of acetate utilization pathway, regulate flux of metabolites in glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, TCA cycle, glyoxylate bypass and fatty acid metabolism.
Here we report kinetic characterization of S. typhimurium AckA (StAckA) and structures of its unliganded (Form-I, 2.70 Å resolution) and citrate-bound (Form-II, 1.90 Å resolution) forms. The enzyme showed broad substrate specificity with kcat/Km in the order of acetate > propionate > formate. Further, the Km for acetyl-phosphate was significantly lower than for acetate and the enzyme could catalyze the reverse reaction (i.e. ATP synthesis) more efficiently. ATP and Mg2+ could be substituted by other nucleoside 5′-triphosphates (GTP, UTP and CTP) and divalent cations (Mn2+ and Co2+), respectively. Form-I StAckA represents the first structural report of an unliganded AckA. StAckA protomer consists of two domains with characteristic βββαβαβα topology of ASKHA superfamily of proteins. These domains adopt an intermediate conformation compared to that of open and closed forms of ligand-bound Methanosarcina thermophila AckA (MtAckA). Spectroscopic and structural analyses of StAckA further suggested occurrence of inter-domain motion upon ligand-binding. Unexpectedly, Form-II StAckA structure showed a drastic change in the conformation of residues 230–300 compared to that of Form-I. Further investigation revealed electron density corresponding to a citrate molecule in a pocket located at the dimeric interface of Form-II StAckA. Interestingly, a similar dimeric interface pocket lined with largely conserved residues could be identified in Form-I StAckA as well as in other enzymes homologous to AckA suggesting that ligand binding at this pocket may influence the function of these enzymes.
The biochemical and structural characterization of StAckA reported here provides insights into the biochemical specificity, overall fold, thermal stability, molecular basis of ligand binding and inter-domain motion in AckA family of enzymes. Dramatic conformational differences observed between unliganded and citrate-bound forms of StAckA led to identification of a putative ligand-binding pocket at the dimeric interface of StAckA with implications for enzymatic function.
Acetate metabolism; AckA-Pta pathway; Acetate and Sugar Kinases/Heat shock cognate (Hsc) 70/Actin (ASKHA) superfamily; Conformational rearrangement; Enzyme regulation
HutZ is the sole heme storage protein identified in the pathogenic bacterium Vibrio cholerae and is required for optimal heme utilization. However, no heme oxygenase activity has been observed with this protein. Thus far, HutZ’s structure and heme-binding mechanism are unknown.
We report the first crystal structure of HutZ in a homodimer determined at 2.0 Å resolution. The HutZ structure adopted a typical split-barrel fold. Through a docking study and site-directed mutagenesis, a heme-binding model for the HutZ dimer is proposed. Very interestingly, structural superimposition of HutZ and its homologous protein HugZ, a heme oxygenase from Helicobacter pylori, exhibited a structural mismatch of one amino acid residue in β6 of HutZ, although residues involved in this region are highly conserved in both proteins. Derived homologous models of different single point variants with model evaluations suggested that Pro140 of HutZ, corresponding to Phe215 of HugZ, might have been the main contributor to the structural mismatch. This mismatch initiates more divergent structural characteristics towards their C-terminal regions, which are essential features for the heme-binding of HugZ as a heme oxygenase.
HutZ’s deficiency in heme oxygenase activity might derive from its residue shift relative to the heme oxygenase HugZ. This residue shift also emphasized a limitation of the traditional template selection criterion for homology modeling.
HutZ; Heme-binding; Crystal structure; Homology modeling
Structure-based drug design (SBDD) can accelerate inhibitor lead design and optimization, and efficient methods including protein purification, characterization, crystallization, and high-resolution diffraction are all needed for rapid, iterative structure determination. Janus kinases are important targets that are amenable to structure-based drug design. Here we present the first mouse Tyk2 crystal structures, which are complexed to 3-aminoindazole compounds.
A comprehensive construct design effort included N- and C-terminal variations, kinase-inactive mutations, and multiple species orthologs. High-throughput cloning and expression methods were coupled with an abbreviated purification protocol to optimize protein solubility and stability. In total, 50 Tyk2 constructs were generated. Many displayed poor expression, inadequate solubility, or incomplete affinity tag processing. One kinase-inactive murine Tyk2 construct, complexed with an ATP-competitive 3-aminoindazole inhibitor, provided crystals that diffracted to 2.5–2.6 Å resolution. This structure revealed initial “hot-spot” regions for SBDD, and provided a robust platform for ligand soaking experiments. Compared to previously reported human Tyk2 inhibitor crystal structures (Chrencik et al. (2010) J Mol Biol 400:413), our structures revealed a key difference in the glycine-rich loop conformation that is induced by the inhibitor. Ligand binding also conferred resistance to proteolytic degradation by thermolysin. As crystals could not be obtained with the unliganded enzyme, this enhanced stability is likely important for successful crystallization and inhibitor soaking methods.
Practical criteria for construct performance and prioritization, the optimization of purification protocols to enhance protein yields and stability, and use of high-throughput construct exploration enable structure determination methods early in the drug discovery process. Additionally, specific ligands stabilize Tyk2 protein and may thereby enable crystallization.
Tyk2; Jak kinase; Crystallization; Proteolysis