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1.  How Changes in Affinity of Corticosteroid-binding Globulin Modulate Free Cortisol Concentration 
Recent studies of corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) indicate that it does not merely transport cortisol passively but also actively regulates its release in the circulation. We show how CBG binding affinity can vary to give changes in free cortisol concentration in a physiologically relevant range.
The objective was to determine how the binding affinity of plasma CBG is affected by glycosylation, changes in body temperature, and the conformational change induced by proteases at sites of inflammation.
Binding assays were performed over a range of temperatures with plasma and recombinant CBG to determine the contribution of glycosylation. The role of conformational change was assessed by measuring binding affinities of plasma CBG before and after reactive loop cleavage by neutrophil elastase.
Main Outcome Measures:
Determination of binding constants allows calculation of clinically relevant changes in CBG saturation and free cortisol concentrations.
On reactive loop cleavage at inflammation sites, CBG can continue to act as a buffered source of cortisol, although with a much reduced affinity, to give a potential quadrupling of free cortisol. Predicted increases in systemic free cortisol resulting from elevated body temperatures, previously reported based on affinity measurements using nonglycosylated recombinant CBG, were shown here to be considerably increased using glycosylated plasma CBG, with a doubling for every 2°C rise in body temperature.
The ability of CBG to modulate free cortisol levels in blood must be considered in the understanding and management of disease processes, as illustrated here with predictable changes in inflammation and fever.
PMCID: PMC3813945  PMID: 23783094
2.  Local Error Estimates Dramatically Improve the Utility of Homology Models for Solving Crystal Structures by Molecular Replacement 
Structure(London, England:1993)  2015;23(2):397-406.
Predicted structures submitted for CASP10 have been evaluated as molecular replacement models against the corresponding sets of structure factor amplitudes. It has been found that the log-likelihood gain score computed for each prediction correlates well with common structure quality indicators but is more sensitive when the accuracy of the models is high. In addition, it was observed that using coordinate error estimates submitted by predictors to weight the model can improve its utility in molecular replacement dramatically, and several groups have been identified who reliably provide accurate error estimates that could be used to extend the application of molecular replacement for low-homology cases.
•Error estimates increase the value of homology models for molecular replacement•Poorer models with good error estimates trump better models without errors•A simple protocol creates coordinate error estimates for individual models•Local coordinate error estimates enable molecular replacement for more targets
Although estimating the size of local errors in homology models is not common practice, Bunkóczi et al. show that the provision of error estimates can have a substantial practical impact in the utility of these models when used to solve crystal structures by molecular replacement.
PMCID: PMC4321884  PMID: 25619999
3.  Towards Engineering Hormone-Binding Globulins as Drug Delivery Agents 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113402.
The treatment of many diseases such as cancer requires the use of drugs that can cause severe side effects. Off-target toxicity can often be reduced simply by directing the drugs specifically to sites of diseases. Amidst increasingly sophisticated methods of targeted drug delivery, we observed that Nature has already evolved elegant means of sending biological molecules to where they are needed. One such example is corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG), the major carrier of the anti-inflammatory hormone, cortisol. Targeted release of cortisol is triggered by cleavage of CBG's reactive centre loop by elastase, a protease released by neutrophils in inflamed tissues. This work aimed to establish the feasibility of exploiting this mechanism to carry therapeutic agents to defined locations. The reactive centre loop of CBG was altered with site-directed mutagenesis to favour cleavage by other proteases, to alter the sites at which it would release its cargo. Mutagenesis succeeded in making CBG a substrate for either prostate specific antigen (PSA), a prostate-specific serine protease, or thrombin, a key protease in the blood coagulation cascade. PSA is conspicuously overproduced in prostatic hyperplasia and is, therefore, a good way of targeting hyperplastic prostate tissues. Thrombin is released during clotting and consequently is ideal for conferring specificity to thrombotic sites. Using fluorescence-based titration assays, we also showed that CBG can be engineered to bind a new compound, thyroxine-6-carboxyfluorescein, instead of its physiological ligand, cortisol, thereby demonstrating that it is possible to tailor the hormone binding site to deliver a therapeutic drug. In addition, we proved that the efficiency with which CBG releases bound ligand can be increased by introducing some well-placed mutations. This proof-of-concept study has raised the prospect of a novel means of targeted drug delivery, using the serpin conformational change to combat the problem of off-target effects in the treatment of diseases.
PMCID: PMC4245140  PMID: 25426859
4.  Temperature-responsive release of thyroxine and its environmental adaptation in Australians 
The hormone thyroxine that regulates mammalian metabolism is carried and stored in the blood by thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG). We demonstrate here that the release of thyroxine from TBG occurs by a temperature-sensitive mechanism and show how this will provide a homoeostatic adjustment of the concentration of thyroxine to match metabolic needs, as with the hypothermia and torpor of small animals. In humans, a rise in temperature, as in infections, will trigger an accelerated release of thyroxine, resulting in a predictable 23% increase in the concentration of free thyroxine at 39°C. The in vivo relevance of this fever-response is affirmed in an environmental adaptation in aboriginal Australians. We show how two mutations incorporated in their TBG interact in a way that will halve the surge in thyroxine release, and hence the boost in metabolic rate that would otherwise occur as body temperatures exceed 37°C. The overall findings open insights into physiological changes that accompany variations in body temperature, as notably in fevers.
PMCID: PMC3924073  PMID: 24478298
thyroxine; thyroxine-binding globulin; aboriginal Australian; febrile convulsions; hypothermia; hibernation
5.  Automated identification of elemental ions in macromolecular crystal structures 
The solvent-picking procedure in phenix.refine has been extended and combined with Phaser anomalous substructure completion and analysis of coordination geometry to identify and place elemental ions.
Many macromolecular model-building and refinement programs can automatically place solvent atoms in electron density at moderate-to-high resolution. This process frequently builds water molecules in place of elemental ions, the identification of which must be performed manually. The solvent-picking algorithms in phenix.refine have been extended to build common ions based on an analysis of the chemical environment as well as physical properties such as occupancy, B factor and anomalous scattering. The method is most effective for heavier elements such as calcium and zinc, for which a majority of sites can be placed with few false positives in a diverse test set of structures. At atomic resolution, it is observed that it can also be possible to identify tightly bound sodium and magnesium ions. A number of challenges that contribute to the difficulty of completely automating the process of structure completion are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3975891  PMID: 24699654
refinement; ions; PHENIX
6.  Likelihood-based molecular-replacement solution for a highly pathological crystal with tetartohedral twinning and sevenfold translational noncrystallographic symmetry 
With the implementation of a molecular-replacement likelihood target that accounts for translational noncrystallographic symmetry, it became possible to solve the crystal structure of a protein with seven tetrameric assemblies arrayed translationally along the c axis. The new algorithm found 56 protein molecules in reduced symmetry (P1), which was used to resolve space-group ambiguity caused by severe twinning.
Translational noncrystallographic symmetry (tNCS) is a pathology of protein crystals in which multiple copies of a molecule or assembly are found in similar orientations. Structure solution is problematic because this breaks the assumptions used in current likelihood-based methods. To cope with such cases, new likelihood approaches have been developed and implemented in Phaser to account for the statistical effects of tNCS in molecular replacement. Using these new approaches, it was possible to solve the crystal structure of a protein exhibiting an extreme form of this pathology with seven tetrameric assemblies arrayed along the c axis. To resolve space-group ambiguities caused by tetartohedral twinning, the structure was initially solved by placing 56 copies of the monomer in space group P1 and using the symmetry of the solution to define the true space group, C2. The resulting structure of Hyp-1, a pathogenesis-related class 10 (PR-10) protein from the medicinal herb St John’s wort, reveals the binding modes of the fluorescent probe 8-­anilino-1-naphthalene sulfonate (ANS), providing insight into the function of the protein in binding or storing hydrophobic ligands.
PMCID: PMC3940205  PMID: 24531481
maximum likelihood; translational noncrystallographic symmetry; molecular replacement; commensurate modulation; pseudo-symmetry
7.  Automating crystallographic structure solution and refinement of protein–ligand complexes 
A software system for automated protein–ligand crystallography has been implemented in the Phenix suite. This significantly reduces the manual effort required in high-throughput crystallographic studies.
High-throughput drug-discovery and mechanistic studies often require the determination of multiple related crystal structures that only differ in the bound ligands, point mutations in the protein sequence and minor conformational changes. If performed manually, solution and refinement requires extensive repetition of the same tasks for each structure. To accelerate this process and minimize manual effort, a pipeline encompassing all stages of ligand building and refinement, starting from integrated and scaled diffraction intensities, has been implemented in Phenix. The resulting system is able to successfully solve and refine large collections of structures in parallel without extensive user intervention prior to the final stages of model completion and validation.
PMCID: PMC3919266  PMID: 24419387
protein–ligand complexes; automation; crystallographic structure solution and refinement
8.  Model morphing and sequence assignment after molecular replacement 
A procedure for model building is described that combines morphing a model to match a density map, trimming the morphed model and aligning the model to a sequence.
A procedure termed ‘morphing’ for improving a model after it has been placed in the crystallographic cell by molecular replacement has recently been developed. Morphing consists of applying a smooth deformation to a model to make it match an electron-density map more closely. Morphing does not change the identities of the residues in the chain, only their coordinates. Consequently, if the true structure differs from the working model by containing different residues, these differences cannot be corrected by morphing. Here, a procedure that helps to address this limitation is described. The goal of the procedure is to obtain a relatively complete model that has accurate main-chain atomic positions and residues that are correctly assigned to the sequence. Residues in a morphed model that do not match the electron-density map are removed. Each segment of the resulting trimmed morphed model is then assigned to the sequence of the molecule using information about the connectivity of the chains from the working model and from connections that can be identified from the electron-density map. The procedure was tested by application to a recently determined structure at a resolution of 3.2 Å and was found to increase the number of correctly identified residues in this structure from the 88 obtained using phenix.resolve sequence assignment alone (Terwilliger, 2003 ▶) to 247 of a possible 359. Additionally, the procedure was tested by application to a series of templates with sequence identities to a target structure ranging between 7 and 36%. The mean fraction of correctly identified residues in these cases was increased from 33% using phenix.resolve sequence assignment to 47% using the current procedure. The procedure is simple to apply and is available in the Phenix software package.
PMCID: PMC3817698  PMID: 24189236
morphing; model building; sequence assignment; model–map correlation; loop-building
9.  Phaser.MRage: automated molecular replacement 
The functionality of the molecular-replacement pipeline phaser.MRage is introduced and illustrated with examples.
Phaser.MRage is a molecular-replacement automation framework that implements a full model-generation workflow and provides several layers of model exploration to the user. It is designed to handle a large number of models and can distribute calculations efficiently onto parallel hardware. In addition, phaser.MRage can identify correct solutions and use this information to accelerate the search. Firstly, it can quickly score all alternative models of a component once a correct solution has been found. Secondly, it can perform extensive analysis of identified solutions to find protein assemblies and can employ assembled models for subsequent searches. Thirdly, it is able to use a priori assembly information (derived from, for example, homologues) to speculatively place and score molecules, thereby customizing the search procedure to a certain class of protein molecule (for example, antibodies) and incorporating additional biological information into molecular replacement.
PMCID: PMC3817702  PMID: 24189240
molecular replacement; pipeline; automation; phaser.MRage
10.  Improved estimates of coordinate error for molecular replacement 
A function for estimating the effective root-mean-square deviation in coordinates between two proteins has been developed that depends on both the sequence identity and the size of the protein and is optimized for use with molecular replacement in Phaser. A top peak translation-function Z-score of over 8 is found to be a reliable metric of when molecular replacement has succeeded.
The estimate of the root-mean-square deviation (r.m.s.d.) in coordinates between the model and the target is an essential parameter for calibrating likelihood functions for molecular replacement (MR). Good estimates of the r.m.s.d. lead to good estimates of the variance term in the likelihood functions, which increases signal to noise and hence success rates in the MR search. Phaser has hitherto used an estimate of the r.m.s.d. that only depends on the sequence identity between the model and target and which was not optimized for the MR likelihood functions. Variance-refinement functionality was added to Phaser to enable determination of the effective r.m.s.d. that optimized the log-likelihood gain (LLG) for a correct MR solution. Variance refinement was subsequently performed on a database of over 21 000 MR problems that sampled a range of sequence identities, protein sizes and protein fold classes. Success was monitored using the translation-function Z-score (TFZ), where a TFZ of 8 or over for the top peak was found to be a reliable indicator that MR had succeeded for these cases with one molecule in the asymmetric unit. Good estimates of the r.m.s.d. are correlated with the sequence identity and the protein size. A new estimate of the r.m.s.d. that uses these two parameters in a function optimized to fit the mean of the refined variance is implemented in Phaser and improves MR outcomes. Perturbing the initial estimate of the r.m.s.d. from the mean of the distribution in steps of standard deviations of the distribution further increases MR success rates.
PMCID: PMC3817694  PMID: 24189232
Phaser; maximum likelihood; molecular replacement
11.  Improving experimental phases for strong reflections prior to density modification 
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.
PMCID: PMC3792643  PMID: 24100322
experimental phasing; density modification; genetic algorithms
12.  Structural basis for benzothiazinone-mediated killing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis 
Science translational medicine  2012;4(150):150ra121.
BTZ043, a tuberculosis drug candidate with nanomolar whole-cell activity, targets the DprE1 enzyme of the essential decaprenylphosphoryl-β-D-ribofuranose-2′-epimerase thus blocking biosynthesis of arabinans, vital cell-wall components of mycobacteria. Crystal structures of DprE1, in its native form and in complex with BTZ043, unambiguously reveal formation of a semimercaptal adduct between the drug and an active-site cysteine, as well as contacts to a neighbouring catalytic lysine residue. Kinetic studies confirm BTZ043 as a mechanism-based, covalent inhibitor. This explains the exquisite potency of BTZ043, which, when fluorescently labelled, localizes DprE1 at the poles of growing bacteria. Menaquinone can reoxidize the FAD cofactor in DprE1 and may be the natural electron acceptor for this reaction in the cell. Our structural and kinetic analysis provides both insight into a critical epimerization reaction and a platform for structure-based design of improved inhibitors. Surprisingly, given the colossal tuberculosis burden globally, BTZ043 is the only new drug candidate to have been co-crystallized with its target.
PMCID: PMC3659392  PMID: 22956199
13.  Intensity statistics in the presence of translational noncrystallographic symmetry 
The statistical effects of translational noncrystallographic symmetry can be characterized by maximizing parameters describing the noncrystallographic symmetry in a likelihood function, thereby unmasking the competing statistical effects of twinning.
In the case of translational noncrystallographic symmetry (tNCS), two or more copies of a component in the asymmetric unit of the crystal are present in a similar orientation. This causes systematic modulations of the reflection intensities in the diffraction pattern, leading to problems with structure determination and refinement methods that assume, either implicitly or explicitly, that the distribution of intensities is a function only of resolution. To characterize the statistical effects of tNCS accurately, it is necessary to determine the translation relating the copies, any small rotational differences in their orientations, and the size of random coordinate differences caused by conformational differences. An algorithm to estimate these parameters and refine their values against a likelihood function is presented, and it is shown that by accounting for the statistical effects of tNCS it is possible to unmask the competing statistical effects of twinning and tNCS and to more robustly assess the crystal for the presence of twinning.
PMCID: PMC3565438  PMID: 23385454
translational noncrystallographic symmetry; intensity statistics; twinning; maximum likelihood
14.  The Phenix Software for Automated Determination of Macromolecular Structures 
Methods (San Diego, Calif.)  2011;55(1):94-106.
X-ray crystallography is a critical tool in the study of biological systems. It is able to provide information that has been a prerequisite to understanding the fundamentals of life. It is also a method that is central to the development of new therapeutics for human disease. Significant time and effort are required to determine and optimize many macromolecular structures because of the need for manual interpretation of complex numerical data, often using many different software packages, and the repeated use of interactive three-dimensional graphics. The Phenix software package has been developed to provide a comprehensive system for macromolecular crystallographic structure solution with an emphasis on automation. This has required the development of new algorithms that minimize or eliminate subjective input in favour of built-in expert-systems knowledge, the automation of procedures that are traditionally performed by hand, and the development of a computational framework that allows a tight integration between the algorithms. The application of automated methods is particularly appropriate in the field of structural proteomics, where high throughput is desired. Features in Phenix for the automation of experimental phasing with subsequent model building, molecular replacement, structure refinement and validation are described and examples given of running Phenix from both the command line and graphical user interface.
PMCID: PMC3193589  PMID: 21821126
Macromolecular Crystallography; Automation; Phenix; X-ray; Diffraction; Python
15.  Exome sequencing identifies NBEAL2 as the causative gene for Gray Platelet Syndrome 
Nature genetics  2011;43(8):735-737.
Gray platelet syndrome (GPS) is a predominantly recessive platelet disorder characterized by a mild thrombocytopenia with large platelets and a paucity of α-granules; these abnormalities cause mostly moderate but in rare cases severe bleeding. We sequenced the exomes of four unrelated cases and identified as the causative gene NBEAL2, a gene with previously unknown function but a member of a gene family involved in granule development. Silencing of nbeal2 in zebrafish abrogated thrombocyte formation.
PMCID: PMC3428934  PMID: 21765411
16.  Improved crystallographic models through iterated local density-guided model deformation and reciprocal-space refinement 
A density-based procedure is described for improving a homology model that is locally accurate but differs globally. The model is deformed to match the map and refined, yielding an improved starting point for density modification and further model-building.
An approach is presented for addressing the challenge of model rebuilding after molecular replacement in cases where the placed template is very different from the structure to be determined. The approach takes advantage of the observation that a template and target structure may have local structures that can be superimposed much more closely than can their complete structures. A density-guided procedure for deformation of a properly placed template is introduced. A shift in the coordinates of each residue in the structure is calculated based on optimizing the match of model density within a 6 Å radius of the center of that residue with a prime-and-switch electron-density map. The shifts are smoothed and applied to the atoms in each residue, leading to local deformation of the template that improves the match of map and model. The model is then refined to improve the geometry and the fit of model to the structure-factor data. A new map is then calculated and the process is repeated until convergence. The procedure can extend the routine applicability of automated molecular replacement, model building and refinement to search models with over 2 Å r.m.s.d. representing 65–100% of the structure.
PMCID: PMC3388814  PMID: 22751672
molecular replacement; automation; macromolecular crystallography; structure similarity; modeling; Phenix; morphing
17.  Novel Pentameric Structure of the Diarrhea-Inducing Region of the Rotavirus Enterotoxigenic Protein NSP4▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(23):12721-12732.
A novel pentameric structure which differs from the previously reported tetrameric form of the diarrhea-inducing region of the rotavirus enterotoxin NSP4 is reported here. A significant feature of this pentameric form is the absence of the calcium ion located in the core region of the tetrameric structures. The lysis of cells, the crystallization of the region spanning residues 95 to 146 of NSP4 (NSP495-146) of strain ST3 (ST3:NSP495-146) at acidic pH, and comparative studies of the recombinant purified peptide under different conditions by size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) and of the crystal structures suggested pH-, Ca2+-, and protein concentration-dependent oligomeric transitions in the peptide. Since the NSP495-146 mutant lacks the N-terminal amphipathic domain (AD) and most of the C-terminal flexible region (FR), to demonstrate that the pentameric transition is not a consequence of the lack of the N- and C-terminal regions, glutaraldehyde cross-linking of the ΔN72 and ΔN94 mutant proteins, which contain or lack the AD, respectively, but possess the complete C-terminal FR, was carried out. The results indicate the presence of pentamers in preparations of these longer mutants. Detailed SEC analyses of ΔN94 prepared under different conditions, however, revealed protein concentration-dependent but metal ion- and pH-independent pentamer accumulation at high concentrations which dissociated into tetramers and lower oligomers at low protein concentrations. While calcium appeared to stabilize the tetramer, magnesium in particular stabilized the dimer. ΔN72 existed primarily in the multimeric form under all conditions. These findings of a calcium-free NSP4 pentamer and its concentration-dependent and largely calcium-independent oligomeric transitions open up a new dimension in an understanding of the structural basis of its multitude of functions.
PMCID: PMC3209389  PMID: 21917949
18.  Increasing the Radius of Convergence of Molecular Replacement by Density and Energy Guided Protein Structure Optimization 
Nature  2011;473(7348):540-543.
With over 60,000 protein structures available in the Protein Data Bank, it is frequently possible use one of them to obtain starting phase information and to solve new crystal structures. Molecular replacement1–4 procedures, which search for placements of a starting model within the crystallographic unit cell that best account for the measured diffraction amplitudes, followed by automatic chain tracing methods5–8, have allowed the rapid solution of large numbers of protein structures. Despite extensive work9–14, molecular replacement or the subsequent rebuilding usually fail with more divergent starting models based on remote homologues with less than 30% sequence identity. Here we show that this limitation can be substantially reduced by combining algorithms for protein structure modeling with those developed for crystallographic structure determination. An approach integrating Rosetta structure modeling with Autobuild chain tracing yielded high-resolution structures for 8 of 13 X-ray diffraction datasets that could not be solved in the laboratories of expert crystallographers and that remained unsolved after application of an extensive array of alternative approaches. We estimate the new method should allow rapid structure determination without experimental phase information for over half the cases where current methods fail, given diffraction datasets of better than 3.2Å resolution, four or fewer copies in the asymmetric unit, and the availability of structures of homologous proteins with >20% sequence identity.
PMCID: PMC3365536  PMID: 21532589
19.  Graphical tools for macromolecular crystallography in PHENIX  
Journal of Applied Crystallography  2012;45(Pt 3):581-586.
The foundations and current features of a widely used graphical user interface for macromolecular crystallography are described.
A new Python-based graphical user interface for the PHENIX suite of crystallography software is described. This interface unifies the command-line programs and their graphical displays, simplifying the development of new interfaces and avoiding duplication of function. With careful design, graphical interfaces can be displayed automatically, instead of being manually constructed. The resulting package is easily maintained and extended as new programs are added or modified.
PMCID: PMC3359726  PMID: 22675231
macromolecular crystallography; graphical user interfaces; PHENIX
20.  Application of DEN refinement and automated model building to a difficult case of molecular-replacement phasing: the structure of a putative succinyl-diaminopimelate desuccinylase from Corynebacterium glutamicum  
DEN refinement and automated model building with AutoBuild were used to determine the structure of a putative succinyl-diaminopimelate desuccinylase from C. glutamicum. This difficult case of molecular-replacement phasing shows that the synergism between DEN refinement and AutoBuild outperforms standard refinement protocols.
Phasing by molecular replacement remains difficult for targets that are far from the search model or in situations where the crystal diffracts only weakly or to low resolution. Here, the process of determining and refining the structure of Cgl1109, a putative succinyl-diaminopimelate desuccinylase from Corynebacterium glutamicum, at ∼3 Å resolution is described using a combination of homology modeling with MODELLER, molecular-replacement phasing with Phaser, deformable elastic network (DEN) refinement and automated model building using AutoBuild in a semi-automated fashion, followed by final refinement cycles with phenix.refine and Coot. This difficult molecular-replacement case illustrates the power of including DEN restraints derived from a starting model to guide the movements of the model during refinement. The resulting improved model phases provide better starting points for automated model building and produce more significant difference peaks in anomalous difference Fourier maps to locate anomalous scatterers than does standard refinement. This example also illustrates a current limitation of automated procedures that require manual adjustment of local sequence misalignments between the homology model and the target sequence.
PMCID: PMC3322598  PMID: 22505259
reciprocal-space refinement; DEN refinement; real-space refinement; automated model building; succinyl-diaminopimelate desuccinylase
21.  phenix.mr_rosetta: molecular replacement and model rebuilding with Phenix and Rosetta 
The combination of algorithms from the structure-modeling field with those of crystallographic structure determination can broaden the range of templates that are useful for structure determination by the method of molecular replacement. Automated tools in phenix.mr_rosetta simplify the application of these combined approaches by integrating Phenix crystallographic algorithms and Rosetta structure-modeling algorithms and by systematically generating and evaluating models with a combination of these methods. The phenix.mr_rosetta algorithms can be used to automatically determine challenging structures. The approaches used in phenix.mr_rosetta are described along with examples that show roles that structure-modeling can play in molecular replacement.
PMCID: PMC3375004  PMID: 22418934
Molecular replacement; Automation; Macromolecular crystallography; Rosetta; Phenix
22.  Structural insights into the redox-switch mechanism of the MarR/DUF24-type regulator HypR 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(9):4178-4192.
Bacillus subtilis encodes redox-sensing MarR-type regulators of the OhrR and DUF24-families that sense organic hydroperoxides, diamide, quinones or aldehydes via thiol-based redox-switches. In this article, we characterize the novel redox-sensing MarR/DUF24-family regulator HypR (YybR) that is activated by disulphide stress caused by diamide and NaOCl in B. subtilis. HypR controls positively a flavin oxidoreductase HypO that confers protection against NaOCl stress. The conserved N-terminal Cys14 residue of HypR has a lower pKa of 6.36 and is essential for activation of hypO transcription by disulphide stress. HypR resembles a 2-Cys-type regulator that is activated by Cys14–Cys49′ intersubunit disulphide formation. The crystal structures of reduced and oxidized HypR proteins were resolved revealing structural changes of HypR upon oxidation. In reduced HypR a hydrogen-bonding network stabilizes the reactive Cys14 thiolate that is 8–9 Å apart from Cys49′. HypR oxidation breaks these H-bonds, reorients the monomers and moves the major groove recognition α4 and α4′ helices ∼4 Å towards each other. This is the first crystal structure of a redox-sensing MarR/DUF24 family protein in bacteria that is activated by NaOCl stress. Since hypochloric acid is released by activated macrophages, related HypR-like regulators could function to protect pathogens against the host immune defense.
PMCID: PMC3351151  PMID: 22238377
23.  A New Generation of Crystallographic Validation Tools for the Protein Data Bank 
Structure(London, England:1993)  2011;19(10):1395-1412.
This report presents the conclusions of the X-ray Validation Task Force of the worldwide Protein Data Bank (PDB). The PDB has expanded massively since current criteria for validation of deposited structures were adopted, allowing a much more sophisticated understanding of all the components of macromolecular crystals. The size of the PDB creates new opportunities to validate structures by comparison with the existing database, and the now-mandatory deposition of structure factors creates new opportunities to validate the underlying diffraction data. These developments highlighted the need for a new assessment of validation criteria. The Task Force recommends that a small set of validation data be presented in an easily understood format, relative to both the full PDB and the applicable resolution class, with greater detail available to interested users. Most importantly, we recommend that referees and editors judging the quality of structural experiments have access to a concise summary of well-established quality indicators.
► Validation criteria used by the PDB for X-ray crystal structures have been reassessed ► Key scores should be presented prominently in an easily understood format ► A concise validation report should be available to referees of papers on crystal structures
PMCID: PMC3195755  PMID: 22000512
24.  A redox switch in angiotensinogen modulates angiotensin release 
Nature  2010;468(7320):108-111.
Blood pressure is critically controlled by angiotensins1, vasopressor peptides specifically released by the enzyme renin from the tail of angiotensinogen, a non-inhibitory member of the serpin family of protease inhibitors2,3. Although angiotensinogen has long been regarded as a passive substrate, the crystal structures solved here to 2.1Å resolution show that the angiotensin cleavage-site is inaccessibly buried in its amino-terminal tail. The conformational rearrangement that makes this site accessible for proteolysis is revealed in a 4.4Å structure of the complex of human angiotensinogen with renin. The co-ordinated changes involved are seen to be critically linked by a conserved but labile disulphide bridge. We show that the reduced unbridged form of angiotensinogen is present in the circulation in a near 40:60 ratio with the oxidised sulphydryl-bridged form, which preferentially interacts with receptor-bound renin. We propose that this redox-responsive transition of angiotensinogen to a form that will more effectively release angiotensin at a cellular level contributes to the modulation of blood pressure. Specifically, we demonstrate the oxidative switch of angiotensinogen to its more active sulphydryl-bridged form in the maternal circulation in pre-eclampsia - the hypertensive crisis of pregnancy that threatens the health and survival of both mother and child.
PMCID: PMC3024006  PMID: 20927107
25.  Overview of the CCP4 suite and current developments 
An overview of the CCP4 software suite for macromolecular crystallography is given.
The CCP4 (Collaborative Computational Project, Number 4) software suite is a collection of programs and associated data and software libraries which can be used for macromolecular structure determination by X-ray crystallography. The suite is designed to be flexible, allowing users a number of methods of achieving their aims. The programs are from a wide variety of sources but are connected by a common infrastructure provided by standard file formats, data objects and graphical interfaces. Structure solution by macromolecular crystallo­graphy is becoming increasingly automated and the CCP4 suite includes several automation pipelines. After giving a brief description of the evolution of CCP4 over the last 30 years, an overview of the current suite is given. While detailed descriptions are given in the accompanying articles, here it is shown how the individual programs contribute to a complete software package.
PMCID: PMC3069738  PMID: 21460441
CCP4; macromolecular crystallography; software; collaboration; automation; macromolecular structure determination

Results 1-25 (41)