Comparative genomic analysis has revealed that in each genome a large number of open reading frames have no homologues in other species. Such singleton genes have attracted the attention of biochemists and structural biologists as a potential untapped source of new folds. Cthe_2751 is a 15.8 kDa singleton from an anaerobic, hyperthermophile Clostridium thermocellum. To gain insights into the architecture of the protein and obtain clues about its function, we decided to solve the structure of Cthe_2751.
The protein crystallized in 4 different space groups that diffracted X-rays to 2.37 Å (P3121), 2.17 Å (P212121), 3.01 Å (P4122), and 2.03 Å (C2221) resolution, respectively. Crystal packing analysis revealed that the 3-D packing of Cthe_2751 dimers in P4122 and C2221 is similar with only a rotational difference of 2.69° around the C axes. A new method developed to quantify the differences in packing of dimers in crystals from different space groups corroborated the findings of crystal packing analysis. Cthe_2751 is an all α-helical protein with a central hydrophobic core providing thermal stability via π:cation and π: π interactions. A ProFunc analysis retrieved a very low match with a splicing endonuclease, suggesting a role for the protein in the processing of nucleic acids.
Non-Pfam singleton Cthe_2751 folds into a known all α-helical fold. The structure has increased sequence coverage of non-Pfam proteins such that more protein sequences can be amenable to modelling. Our work on crystal packing analysis provides a new method to analyze dimers of the protein crystallized in different space groups. The utility of such an analysis can be expanded to oligomeric structures of other proteins, especially receptors and signaling molecules, many of which are known to function as oligomers.
Theoretical analysis and experimental validation prove that a multi-dataset data-collection strategy produces better diffraction data. The readiness test is a simple and sensitive method for X-ray data-collection system evaluation and a benchmark.
A multi-dataset (MDS) data-collection strategy is proposed and analyzed for macromolecular crystal diffraction data acquisition. The theoretical analysis indicated that the MDS strategy can reduce the standard deviation (background noise) of diffraction data compared with the commonly used single-dataset strategy for a fixed X-ray dose. In order to validate the hypothesis experimentally, a data-quality evaluation process, termed a readiness test of the X-ray data-collection system, was developed. The anomalous signals of sulfur atoms in zinc-free insulin crystals were used as the probe to differentiate the quality of data collected using different data-collection strategies. The data-collection results using home-laboratory-based rotating-anode X-ray and synchrotron X-ray systems indicate that the diffraction data collected with the MDS strategy contain more accurate anomalous signals from sulfur atoms than the data collected with a regular data-collection strategy. In addition, the MDS strategy offered more advantages with respect to radiation-damage-sensitive crystals and better usage of rotating-anode as well as synchrotron X-rays.
multi-dataset data-collection strategy; readiness test
A non-Pfam protein, AF1514, from A. fulgidus has been crystallized.
A 10.5 kDa non-Pfam hypothetical protein, AF1514, from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Archeoglobus fulgidus has been overexpressed in Escherichia coli, purified and crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals diffracted X-rays to 2.09 Å resolution and a data set was collected at 100 K using Cu Kα radiation from a rotating-anode X-ray source. The crystals belong to space group P41212 or P43212, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 49.27, c = 106.61 Å. The calculated Matthews coefficient was 3.16 Å3 Da−1, suggesting the presence of one molecule in the asymmetric unit.
non-Pfam proteins; reductive methylation
The crystal structure of the minimized α/β-hydrolase fold protein encoded by the gene TTHA1544 from T. thermophilus HB8 has been determined at 2.0 Å resolution.
The gene encoding TTHA1544 is a singleton found in the Thermus thermophilus HB8 genome and encodes a 131-amino-acid protein. The crystal structure of TTHA1544 has been determined at 2.0 Å resolution by the single-wavelength anomalous dispersion method in order to elucidate its function. There are two molecules in the asymmetric unit. Each molecule consists of four α-helices and six β-strands, with the β-strands composing a central β-sheet. A structural homology search revealed that the overall structure of TTHA1544 resembles the α/β-hydrolase fold, although TTHA1544 lacks the catalytic residues of a hydrolase. These results suggest that TTHA1544 represents the minimized α/β-hydrolase fold and that an additional component would be required for its activity.
T. thermophilus HB8; TTHA1544; α/β-hydrolase fold; singleton
Endo-β-N-acetylglucosaminidases (ENGases) are dual specificity enzymes with an ability to catalyze hydrolysis and transglycosylation reactions. Recently, these enzymes have become the focus of intense research because of their potential for synthesis of glycopeptides. We have determined the 3D structures of an ENGase from Arthrobacter protophormiae (Endo-A) in 3 forms, one in native form, one in complex with Man3GlcNAc-thiazoline and another in complex with GlcNAc-Asn. The carbohydrate moiety sits above the TIM-barrel in a cleft region surrounded by aromatic residues. The conserved essential catalytic residues – E173, N171 and Y205 are within hydrogen bonding distance of the substrate. W216 and W244 regulate access to the active site during transglycosylation by serving as “gate-keepers”. Interestingly, Y299F mutation resulted in a 3 fold increase in the transglycosylation activity. The structure provides insights into the catalytic mechanism of GH85 family of glycoside hydrolases at molecular level and could assist rational engineering of ENGases.
The molybdenum-cofactor biosynthesis protein C from T. thermophilus has been crystallized in two different space groups, P21 and R32; the crystals diffracted to 1.9 and 1.75 Å resolution, respectively.
The Gram-negative aerobic eubacterium Thermus thermophilus is an extremely important thermophilic microorganism that was originally isolated from a thermal vent environment in Japan. The molybdenum cofactor in this organism is considered to be an essential component required by enzymes that catalyze diverse key reactions in the global metabolism of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur. The molybdenum-cofactor biosynthesis protein C derived from T. thermophilus was crystallized in two different space groups. Crystals obtained using the first crystallization condition belong to the monoclinic space group P21, with unit-cell parameters a = 64.81, b = 109.84, c = 115.19 Å, β = 104.9°; the crystal diffracted to a resolution of 1.9 Å. The other crystal form belonged to space group R32, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 106.57, c = 59.25 Å, and diffracted to 1.75 Å resolution. Preliminary calculations reveal that the asymmetric unit contains 12 monomers and one monomer for the crystals belonging to space group P21 and R32, respectively.
thermophilic microorganisms; Thermus thermophilus; molybdenum-cofactor biosynthesis; MoaC
Two acostatin heterodimers interact together to form an αββα tetramer.
Disintegrins are a family of small (4–14 kDa) proteins that bind to another class of proteins, integrins. Therefore, as integrin inhibitors, they can be exploited as anticancer and antiplatelet agents. Acostatin, an αβ heterodimeric disintegrin, has been isolated from the venom of Southern copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix contortrix). The three-dimensional structure of acostatin has been determined by macromolecular crystallography using the molecular-replacement method. The asymmetric unit of the acostatin crystals consists of two heterodimers. The structure has been refined to an R
work and R
free of 18.6% and 21.5%, respectively, using all data in the 20–1.7 Å resolution range. The structure of all subunits is similar and is well ordered into N-terminal and C-terminal clusters with four intramolecular disulfide bonds. The overall fold consists of short β-sheets, each of which is formed by a pair of antiparallel β-strands connected by β-turns and flexible loops of different lengths. Conformational flexibility is found in the RGD loops and in the C-terminal segment. The interaction of two N-terminal clusters via two intermolecular disulfide bridges anchors the αβ chains of the acostatin dimers. The C-terminal clusters of the heterodimer project in opposite directions and form a larger angle between them in comparison with other dimeric disintegrins. Extensive interactions are observed between two heterodimers, revealing an αββα acostatin tetramer. Further experiments are required to identify whether the αββα acostatin complex plays a functional role in vivo.
disintegrins; acostatin; tetramer
We report here the characterization of the first agmatine/cadaverine aminopropyl transferase (ACAPT), the enzyme responsible for polyamine biosynthesis from an archaeon. The gene PF0127 encoding ACAPT in the hyperthermophile Pyrococcus furiosus was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli, and the recombinant protein was purified to homogeneity. P. furiosus ACAPT is a homodimer of 65 kDa. The broad substrate specificity of the enzyme toward the amine acceptors is unique, as agmatine, 1,3-diaminopropane, putrescine, cadaverine, and sym-nor-spermidine all serve as substrates. While maximal catalytic activity was observed with cadaverine, agmatine was the preferred substrate on the basis of the kcat/Km value. P. furiosus ACAPT is thermoactive and thermostable with an apparent melting temperature of 108°C that increases to 112°C in the presence of cadaverine. Limited proteolysis indicated that the only proteolytic cleavage site is localized in the C-terminal region and that the C-terminal peptide is not necessary for the integrity of the active site. The crystal structure of the enzyme determined to 1.8-Å resolution confirmed its dimeric nature and provided insight into the proteolytic analyses as well as into mechanisms of thermal stability. Analysis of the polyamine content of P. furiosus showed that spermidine, cadaverine, and sym-nor-spermidine are the major components, with small amounts of sym-nor-spermine and N-(3-aminopropyl)cadaverine (APC). This is the first report in Archaea of an unusual polyamine APC that is proposed to play a role in stress adaptation.
Strongly diffracting crystals of a methanol-induced corrinoid protein from M. thermoacetica have been obtained.
A corrinoid protein was induced and overexpressed in methanol-grown cells of the thermophilic anaerobic bacterium Moorella thermoacetica. The protein was purified from cytosolic extracts. After screening for crystallization conditions and optimization, crystals were obtained that diffracted strongly on a rotating-anode X-ray source. A diffraction data set was collected and processed including reflections to 1.9 Å resolution. Reflections were indexed in a primitive orthorhombic cell with unit-cell parameters a = 55.69, b = 62.74, c = 34.54 Å. N-terminal amino-acid sequencing indicates that the crystals contain a C-terminal fragment of the protein.
The crystal structure of the hypothetical protein PF0899 from P. furiosus has been determined to 1.85 Å resolution.
The hypothetical protein PF0899 is a 95-residue peptide from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus that represents a gene family with six members. P. furiosus ORF PF0899 has been cloned, expressed and crystallized and its structure has been determined by the Southeast Collaboratory for Structural Genomics (http://www.secsg.org). The structure was solved using the SCA2Structure pipeline from multiple data sets and has been refined to 1.85 Å against the highest resolution data set collected (a presumed gold derivative), with a crystallographic R factor of 21.0% and R
free of 24.0%. The refined structure shows some structural similarity to a wedge-shaped domain observed in the structure of the major capsid protein from bacteriophage HK97, suggesting that PF0899 may be a structural protein.
structural genomics; SECSG; Pfu-871755; PF0899; high-throughput structure
The major bottleneck for determination of 3 D structures of proteins using X-rays is the production of diffraction quality crystals. Often proteins are subjected to chemical modification to improve the chances of crystallization
Here, we report the successful crystallization of a nuclease employing a reductive methylation protocol. The key to crystallization was the successful introduction of 44 new cohesive (NZ) CH...O contacts (3.2 – 3.7 Å) by the addition of 2 methyl groups to the side chain amine nitrogen (NZ) of 9 lysine residues of the nuclease. The new contacts dramatically altered the crystallization properties of the protein, resulting in crystals that diffracted to 1.2 Å resolution. Analytical ultracentrifugation analysis and thermodynamics results revealed a more compact protein structure with better solvent exclusion of buried Trp residues in the folded state of the methylated protein, assisting crystallization.
In this study, introduction of novel cohesive (NZ)CH...O contacts by reductive methylation resulted in the crystallization of a protein that had previously resisted crystallization in spite of extensive purification and crystallization space screening. Introduction of (NZ)CH...O contacts could provide a solution to crystallization problems for a broad range of protein targets.