Inosine 5′-monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) catalyzes the first unique step of the GMP branch of the purine nucleotide biosynthetic pathway. This enzyme is found in organisms of all three kingdoms. IMPDH inhibitors have broad clinical applications in cancer treatment, as antiviral drugs and as immunosuppressants, and have also displayed antibiotic activity. We have determined three crystal structures of Bacillus anthracis IMPDH, in a phosphate ion-bound (termed “apo”) form and in complex with its substrate, inosine 5′-monophosphate (IMP), and product, xanthosine 5′-monophosphate (XMP). This is the first example of a bacterial IMPDH in more than one state from the same organism. Furthermore, for the first time for a prokaryotic enzyme, the entire active site flap, containing the conserved Arg-Tyr dyad, is clearly visible in the structure of the apoenzyme. Kinetic parameters for the enzymatic reaction were also determined, and the inhibitory effect of XMP and mycophenolic acid (MPA) has been studied. In addition, the inhibitory potential of two known Cryptosporidium parvum IMPDH inhibitors was examined for the B. anthracis enzyme and compared with those of three bacterial IMPDHs from Campylobacter jejuni, Clostridium perfringens, and Vibrio cholerae. The structures contribute to the characterization of the active site and design of inhibitors that specifically target B. anthracis and other microbial IMPDH enzymes.
LigSearch is a web server for identifying ligands likely to bind to a given protein. It can be accessed at http://www.ebi.ac.uk/thornton-srv/databases/LigSearch.
Identifying which ligands might bind to a protein before crystallization trials could provide a significant saving in time and resources. LigSearch, a web server aimed at predicting ligands that might bind to and stabilize a given protein, has been developed. Using a protein sequence and/or structure, the system searches against a variety of databases, combining available knowledge, and provides a clustered and ranked output of possible ligands. LigSearch can be accessed at http://www.ebi.ac.uk/thornton-srv/databases/LigSearch.
LigSearch; ligand prediction
Background: The serine-rich repeat glycoproteins Srr1 and Srr2 are surface adhesins of Streptococcus agalactiae important for pathogenicity.
Results: Both Srrs bind tandem repeats of the fibrinogen Aα chain, but Srr2 has greater affinity explained by structure-function analysis of the Srrs.
Conclusion: A dock, lock, and latch mechanism describes the Srr-fibrinogen interaction.
Significance: The higher affinity of Srr2 may contribute to the hypervirulence of Srr2-expressing strains.
The serine-rich repeat glycoproteins of Gram-positive bacteria comprise a large family of cell wall proteins. Streptococcus agalactiae (group B streptococcus, GBS) expresses either Srr1 or Srr2 on its surface, depending on the strain. Srr1 has recently been shown to bind fibrinogen, and this interaction contributes to the pathogenesis of GBS meningitis. Although strains expressing Srr2 appear to be hypervirulent, no ligand for this adhesin has been described. We now demonstrate that Srr2 also binds human fibrinogen and that this interaction promotes GBS attachment to endothelial cells. Recombinant Srr1 and Srr2 bound fibrinogen in vitro, with affinities of KD = 2.1 × 10−5 and 3.7 × 10−6
m, respectively, as measured by surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. The binding site for Srr1 and Srr2 was localized to tandem repeats 6–8 of the fibrinogen Aα chain. The structures of both the Srr1 and Srr2 binding regions were determined and, in combination with mutagenesis studies, suggest that both Srr1 and Srr2 interact with a segment of these repeats via a “dock, lock, and latch” mechanism. Moreover, properties of the latch region may account for the increased affinity between Srr2 and fibrinogen. Together, these studies identify how greater affinity of Srr2 for fibrinogen may contribute to the increased virulence associated with Srr2-expressing strains.
Bacterial Adhesion; Bacterial Pathogenesis; Fibrinogen; Protein Crystallization; Streptococcus; Streptococcus agalactiae; Prot
Microcin C (McC) is heptapeptide-adenylate antibiotic produced by Escherichia coli strains carrying the mccABCDEF gene cluster encoding enzymes, in addition to the heptapeptide structural gene mccA, necessary for McC biosynthesis and self-immunity of the producing cell. The heptapeptide facilitates McC transport into susceptible cells, where it is processed releasing a non-hydrolyzable aminoacyl adenylate that inhibits an essential aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase. The self-immunity gene mccF encodes a specialized serine-peptidase that cleaves an amide bond connecting the peptidyl or aminoacyl moieties of, respectively, intact and processed McC with the nucleotidyl moiety. Most mccF orthologs from organisms other than E. coli are not linked to the McC biosynthesis gene cluster. Here, we show that a protein product of one such gene, MccF from Bacillus anthracis (BaMccF), is able to cleave intact and processed McC and we present a series of structures of this protein. Structural analysis of apo-BaMccF and its AMP-complex reveal specific features of MccF-like peptidases that allow them to interact with substrates containing nucleotidyl moieties. Sequence analyses and phylogenetic reconstructions suggest that several distinct subfamilies form the MccF clade of the large S66 family of bacterial serine peptidases. We show that various representatives of the MccF clade can specifically detoxify non-hydrolyzable aminoacyl adenylates differing in their aminoacyl moieties. We hypothesize that bacterial mccF genes serve as a source of bacterial antibiotic resistance.
MccF; serine peptidase; nucleophilic elbow; catalytic triad (Ser-His-Glu); substrate binding loop
Dehydroquinate dehydratase (DHQD) catalyzes the third step in the biosynthetic shikimate pathway. We present three crystal structures of the Salmonella enterica type I DHQD which address the functionality of a surface loop that is observed to close over the active site following substrate binding. Two wild type structures with differing loop conformations and kinetic and structural studies of a mutant provide evidence of both direct and indirect mechanisms of loop involvement in substrate binding. In addition to allowing amino acid side chains to establish a direct interaction with the substrate, loop closure necessitates a conformational change of a key active site arginine, which in turn positions the substrate productively. The absence of DHQD in humans and its essentiality in many pathogenic bacteria makes the enzyme a target for the development of nontoxic antimicrobials. The structures and ligand binding insights presented here may inform the design of novel type I DHQD inhibiting molecules.
Cyclic diguanylate (c-di-GMP) is a ubiquitous second messenger regulating diverse cellular functions including motility, biofilm formation, cell cycle progression and virulence in bacteria. In the cell, degradation of c-di-GMP is catalyzed by highly specific EAL domain phosphodiesterases whose catalytic mechanism is still unclear. Here, we purified 13 EAL domain proteins from various organisms and demonstrated that their catalytic activity is associated with the presence of 10 conserved EAL domain residues. The crystal structure of the TDB1265 EAL domain was determined in a free state (1.8 Å) and in complex with c-di-GMP (2.35 Å) and unveiled the role of the conserved residues in substrate binding and catalysis. The structure revealed the presence of two metal ions directly coordinated by six conserved residues, two oxygens of the c-di-GMP phosphate, and potential catalytic water molecule. Our results support a two-metal-ion catalytic mechanism of c-di-GMP hydrolysis by EAL domain phosphodiesterases.
EAL domain; cyclic di-GMP; phosphodiesterase; X-ray crystallography; Thiobacillus denitrificans
The EF1143 protein from Enterococcus faecalis is a distant homolog of deoxynucleotide triphosphate triphosphohydrolases (dNTPases) from Escherichia coli and Thermus thermophilus. These dNTPases are important components in the regulation of the dNTP pool in bacteria. Biochemical assays of the EF1143 dNTPase activity demonstrated nonspecific hydrolysis of all canonical dNTPs in the presence of Mn2+. In contrast, with Mg2+ hydrolysis required the presence of dGTP as an effector, activating the degradation of dATP and dCTP with dGTP also being consumed in the reaction with dATP. The crystal structure of EF1143 and dynamic light scattering measurements in solution revealed a tetrameric oligomer as the most probable biologically active unit. The tetramer contains four dGTP specific allosteric regulatory sites and four active sites. Examination of the active site with the dATP substrate suggests an in-line nucleophilic attack on the α-phosphate center as a possible mechanism of the hydrolysis and two highly conserved residues, His-129 and Glu-122, as an acid-base catalytic dyad. Structural differences between EF1143 apo and holo forms revealed mobility of the α3 helix that can regulate the size of the active site binding pocket and could be stabilized in the open conformation upon formation of the tetramer and dGTP effector binding.
Allosteric Regulation; Crystal Structure; Enzyme Catalysis; Enzyme Structure; Metalloenzymes; Nucleoside Nucleotide Metabolism; Phosphodiesterases; Deoxynucleotide Triphosphate Triphosphohydrolase
ExoU is a potent effector protein that causes rapid host cell death upon injection by the type III secretion system of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The N-terminal half of ExoU contains a patatin-like phospholipase A2 (PLA2) domain that requires the host cell cofactor superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) for activation, while the C-terminal 137 amino acids constitute a membrane localization domain (MLD). Previous studies had utilized insertion and deletion mutations to show that portions of the MLD are required for membrane localization and catalytic activity. Here we further characterize this domain by identifying six residues that are essential for ExoU activity. Substitutions at each of these positions resulted in abrogation of membrane targeting, decreased ExoU-mediated cytotoxicity, and reductions in PLA2 activity. Likewise, each of the six MLD residues was necessary for full virulence in cell culture and murine models of acute pneumonia. Purified recombinant ExoU proteins with substitutions at five of the six residues were not activated by SOD1, suggesting that these five residues are critical for activation by this cofactor. Interestingly, these same five ExoU proteins were partially activated by HeLa cell extracts, suggesting that a host cell cofactor other than SOD1 is capable of modulating the activity of ExoU. These findings add to our understanding of the role of the MLD in ExoU-mediated virulence.
Dietary intake of genistein by patients with prostate cancer has been associated with decreased metastasis and mortality. Genistein blocks activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and thus inhibits matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) expression and cell invasion in cultured cells and inhibits metastasis of human prostate cancer cells in mice. We investigated the target for genistein in prostate cancer cells.
Prostate cell lines PC3-M, PC3, 1532NPTX, 1542NPTX, 1532CPTX, and 1542CPTX were used. All cell lines were transiently transfected with a constitutively active mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4 (MEK4) expression vector (to increase MEK4 expression), small interfering RNA against MEK4 (to decrease MEK4 expression), or corresponding control constructs. Cell invasion was assessed by a Boyden chamber assay. Gene expression was assessed by a quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction. Protein expression was assessed by Western blot analysis. Modeller and AutoDock programs were used for modeling of the structure of MEK4 protein and ligand docking, respectively. MMP-2 transcript levels were assessed in normal prostate epithelial cells from 24 patients with prostate cancer from a phase II randomized trial comparing genistein treatment with no treatment. Statistical significance required a P value of .050 or less. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Overexpression of MEK4 increased MMP-2 expression and cell invasion in all six cell lines. Decreased MEK4 expression had the opposite effects. Modeling showed that genistein bound to the active site of MEK4. Genistein inhibited MEK4 kinase activity with a half maximal inhibitory concentration of 0.40 μM (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.36 to 0.45 μM). The MMP-2 transcript level in normal prostate epithelial cells was statistically significantly higher in the untreated group (100%) than in the genistein-treated group (24%; difference = 76%, 95% CI = 38% to 115%; P = .045).
We identified MEK4 as a proinvasion protein in six human prostate cancer cell lines and the target for genistein. We showed, to our knowledge for the first time, that genistein treatment, compared with no treatment, was associated with decreased levels of MMP-2 transcripts in normal prostate cells from prostate cancer–containing tissue.
Dehydroquinate dehydratase (DHQD) catalyzes the third step in the biosynthetic shikimate pathway. Here we identify a Bifidobacterium longum protein with high sequence homology to type II DHQDs but no detectable DHQD activity under standard assay conditions. A crystal structure reveals that the B. longum protein adopts a DHQD-like tertiary structure but a distinct quaternary state. Apparently forming a dimer, the B. longum protein lacks the active site aspartic acid contributed from a neighboring protomer in the type II DHQD dodecamer. Relating to the absence of protein–protein interactions established in the type II DHQD dodecameric assembly, substantial conformational changes distinguish the would-be active site of the B. longum protein. As B. longum possess no other genes with homology to known DHQDs, these findings imply a unique DHQD activity within B. longum.
Post-translational activation; Quaternary structure; Shikimate pathway; X-ray crystal structure; Structural genomics
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the second highest cause of cancer death in United States males. If the metastatic movement of PCa cells could be inhibited, then mortality from PCa could be greatly reduced. Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4 (MAP2K4) has previously been shown to activate pro-invasion signaling pathways in human PCa. Recognizing that MAP2K4 represents a novel and validated therapeutic target, we sought to develop and characterize an efficient process for the identification of small molecules that target MAP2K4. Using a fluorescence-based thermal shift assay (FTS) assay, we first evaluated an 80 compound library of known kinase inhibitors, thereby identifying 8 hits that thermally stabilized MAP2K4 in a concentration dependent manner. We then developed an in vitro MAP2K4 kinase assay employing the biologically relevant downstream substrates, JNK1 and p38 MAPK, to evaluate kinase inhibitory function. In this manner, we validated the performance of our initial FTS screen. We next applied this approach to a 2000 compound chemically diverse library, identified 7 hits, and confirmed them in the in vitro kinase assay. Finally, by coupling our structure-activity relationship data to MAP2K4's crystal structure, we constructed a model for ligand binding. It predicts binding of our identified inhibitory compounds to the ATP binding pocket. Herein we report the creation of a robust inhibitor-screening platform with the ability to inform the discovery and design of new and potent MAP2K4 inhibitors.
Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (AARSs) are ligases (EC.6.1.1.-) that catalyze the acylation of amino acids to their cognate tRNAs in the process of translating genetic information from mRNA to protein. Their amino acid and tRNA specificity are crucial for correctly translating the genetic code. Glycine is the smallest amino acid and the glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GlyRS) belongs to Class II AARSs. The enzyme is unusual because it can assume different quaternary structures. In eukaryotes, archaebac-teria and some bacteria, it forms an α2 homodimer. In some bacteria, GlyRS is an α2β2 heterotetramer and shows a distant similarity to α2 GlyRSs. The human pathogen eubacterium Campylobacter jejuni GlyRS (CjGlyRS) is an α2β2 heterotetramer and is similar to Escherichia coli GlyRS; both are members of Class IIc AARSs. The two-step aminoacylation reaction of tetrameric GlyRSs requires the involvement of both α- and β-subunits. At present, the structure of the GlyRS α2β2 class and the details of the enzymatic mechanism of this enzyme remain unknown. Here we report the crystal structures of the catalytic α-subunit of CjGlyRS and its complexes with ATP, and ATP and glycine. These structures provide detailed information on substrate binding and show evidence for a proposed mechanism for amino acid activation and the formation of the glycyl-adenylate intermediate for Class II AARSs.
Gly-tRNA synthetase; Catalytic subunit; ATP binding; Glycine binding
Serine-threonine protein kinases are critical to CNS function, yet there is a dearth of highly selective, CNS-active kinase inhibitors for in vivo investigations. Further, prevailing assumptions raise concerns about whether single kinase inhibitors can show in vivo efficacy for CNS pathologies, and debates over viable approaches to the development of safe and efficacious kinase inhibitors are unsettled. It is critical, therefore, that these scientific challenges be addressed in order to test hypotheses about protein kinases in neuropathology progression and the potential for in vivo modulation of their catalytic activity. Identification of molecular targets whose in vivo modulation can attenuate synaptic dysfunction would provide a foundation for future disease-modifying therapeutic development as well as insight into cellular mechanisms. Clinical and preclinical studies suggest a critical link between synaptic dysfunction in neurodegenerative disorders and the activation of p38αMAPK mediated signaling cascades. Activation in both neurons and glia also offers the unusual potential to generate enhanced responses through targeting a single kinase in two distinct cell types involved in pathology progression. However, target validation has been limited by lack of highly selective inhibitors amenable to in vivo use in the CNS. Therefore, we employed high-resolution co-crystallography and pharmacoinformatics to design and develop a novel synthetic, active site targeted, CNS-active, p38αMAPK inhibitor (MW108). Selectivity was demonstrated by large-scale kinome screens, functional GPCR agonist and antagonist analyses of off-target potential, and evaluation of cellular target engagement. In vitro and in vivo assays demonstrated that MW108 ameliorates beta-amyloid induced synaptic and cognitive dysfunction. A serendipitous discovery during co-crystallographic analyses revised prevailing models about active site targeting of inhibitors, providing insights that will facilitate future kinase inhibitor design. Overall, our studies deliver highly selective in vivo probes appropriate for CNS investigations and demonstrate that modulation of p38αMAPK activity can attenuate synaptic dysfunction.
Disease causing bacteria often manipulate host cells in a way that facilitates the infectious process. Many pathogenic gram-negative bacteria accomplish this by using type III secretion systems. In these complex secretion pathways, bacterial chaperones direct effector proteins to a needle-like secretion apparatus, which then delivers the effector protein into the host cell cytosol. The effector protein ExoU and its chaperone SpcU are components of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa type III secretion system. Secretion of ExoU has been associated with more severe infections in both humans and animal models. Here we describe the 1.92 Å X-ray structure of the ExoU–SpcU complex, a full-length type III effector in complex with its full-length cognate chaperone. Our crystallographic data allow a better understanding of the mechanism by which ExoU kills host cells and provides a foundation for future studies aimed at designing inhibitors of this potent toxin.
The structural characterization of acyl-carrier-protein synthase (AcpS) from three different pathogenic microorganisms is reported. One interesting finding of the present work is a crystal artifact related to the activity of the enzyme, which fortuitously represents an opportunity for a strategy to design a potential inhibitor of a pathogenic AcpS.
Some bacterial type II fatty-acid synthesis (FAS II) enzymes have been shown to be important candidates for drug discovery. The scientific and medical quest for new FAS II protein targets continues to stimulate research in this field. One of the possible additional candidates is the acyl-carrier-protein synthase (AcpS) enzyme. Its holo form post-translationally modifies the apo form of an acyl carrier protein (ACP), which assures the constant delivery of thioester intermediates to the discrete enzymes of FAS II. At the Center for Structural Genomics of Infectious Diseases (CSGID), AcpSs from Staphylococcus aureus (AcpSSA), Vibrio cholerae (AcpSVC) and Bacillus anthracis (AcpSBA) have been structurally characterized in their apo, holo and product-bound forms, respectively. The structure of AcpSBA is emphasized because of the two 3′,5′-adenosine diphosphate (3′,5′-ADP) product molecules that are found in each of the three coenzyme A (CoA) binding sites of the trimeric protein. One 3′,5′-ADP is bound as the 3′,5′-ADP part of CoA in the known structures of the CoA–AcpS and 3′,5′-ADP–AcpS binary complexes. The position of the second 3′,5′-ADP has never been described before. It is in close proximity to the first 3′,5′-ADP and the ACP-binding site. The coordination of two ADPs in AcpSBA may possibly be exploited for the design of AcpS inhibitors that can block binding of both CoA and ACP.
acyl-carrier-protein synthase; acyl carrier protein; type II fatty-acid synthesis; inhibition; 3′,5′-adenosine diphosphate; coenzyme A