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author:("usn, Isabel")
1.  Structure solution of DNA-binding proteins and complexes with ARCIMBOLDO libraries 
The structure solution of DNA-binding protein structures and complexes based on the combination of location of DNA-binding protein motif fragments with density modification in a multi-solution frame is described.
Protein–DNA interactions play a major role in all aspects of genetic activity within an organism, such as transcription, packaging, rearrangement, replication and repair. The molecular detail of protein–DNA interactions can be best visualized through crystallography, and structures emphasizing insight into the principles of binding and base-sequence recognition are essential to understanding the subtleties of the underlying mechanisms. An increasing number of high-quality DNA-binding protein structure determinations have been witnessed despite the fact that the crystallographic particularities of nucleic acids tend to pose specific challenges to methods primarily developed for proteins. Crystallographic structure solution of protein–DNA complexes therefore remains a challenging area that is in need of optimized experimental and computational methods. The potential of the structure-solution program ARCIMBOLDO for the solution of protein–DNA complexes has therefore been assessed. The method is based on the combination of locating small, very accurate fragments using the program Phaser and density modification with the program SHELXE. Whereas for typical proteins main-chain α-helices provide the ideal, almost ubiquitous, small fragments to start searches, in the case of DNA complexes the binding motifs and DNA double helix constitute suitable search fragments. The aim of this work is to provide an effective library of search fragments as well as to determine the optimal ARCIMBOLDO strategy for the solution of this class of structures.
PMCID: PMC4051508  PMID: 24914984
protein–DNA complexes and macromolecule structure solutions; structure-solution pipelines; molecular replacement; density modification
2.  Structure of sulfamidase provides insight into the molecular pathology of mucopolysaccharidosis IIIA 
Mucopolysaccharidosis IIIA is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that typically manifests itself in childhood and is caused by mutations in the gene for the lysosomal enzyme sulfamidase. The first structure of this enzyme is presented, which provides insight into the molecular basis of disease-causing mutations, and the enzymatic mechanism is proposed.
Mucopolysaccharidosis type IIIA (Sanfilippo A syndrome), a fatal childhood-onset neurodegenerative disease with mild facial, visceral and skeletal abnormalities, is caused by an inherited deficiency of the enzyme N-sulfoglucosamine sulfohydrolase (SGSH; sulfamidase). More than 100 mutations in the SGSH gene have been found to reduce or eliminate its enzymatic activity. However, the molecular understanding of the effect of these mutations has been confined by a lack of structural data for this enzyme. Here, the crystal structure of glycosylated SGSH is presented at 2 Å resolution. Despite the low sequence identity between this unique N-sulfatase and the group of O-sulfatases, they share a similar overall fold and active-site architecture, including a catalytic formylglycine, a divalent metal-binding site and a sulfate-binding site. However, a highly conserved lysine in O-sulfatases is replaced in SGSH by an arginine (Arg282) that is positioned to bind the N-linked sulfate substrate. The structure also provides insight into the diverse effects of pathogenic mutations on SGSH function in mucopolysaccharidosis type IIIA and convincing evidence for the molecular consequences of many missense mutations. Further, the molecular characterization of SGSH mutations will lay the groundwork for the development of structure-based drug design for this devastating neurodegenerative disorder.
PMCID: PMC4014121  PMID: 24816101
sulfamidase; mucopolysaccharidosis IIIA
3.  Structure of a stacked anthraquinone–DNA complex 
The molecular structure of a complex of an anthraquinone derivative and the oligonucleotide d(UBrAGG) is presented. The anthraquinone molecules are stacked. Isolated base pairs are intercalated in the stack of drug molecules.
The crystal structure of the telomeric sequence d(UBrAGG) interacting with an anthraquinone derivative has been solved by MAD. In all previously studied complexes of intercalating drugs, the drug is usually sandwiched between two DNA base pairs. Instead, the present structure looks like a crystal of stacked anthraquinone molecules in which isolated base pairs are intercalated. Unusual base pairs are present in the structure, such as G·G and A·UBr reverse Watson–Crick base pairs.
PMCID: PMC2935217  PMID: 20823516
anthraquinone; telomere DNA sequence; drug–DNA complexes
4.  The Structure of the Oligomerization Domain of Lsr2 from Mycobacterium tuberculosis Reveals a Mechanism for Chromosome Organization and Protection 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38542.
Lsr2 is a small DNA-binding protein present in mycobacteria and related actinobacteria that regulates gene expression and influences the organization of bacterial chromatin. Lsr2 is a dimer that binds to AT-rich regions of chromosomal DNA and physically protects DNA from damage by reactive oxygen intermediates (ROI). A recent structure of the C-terminal DNA-binding domain of Lsr2 provides a rationale for its interaction with the minor groove of DNA, its preference for AT-rich tracts, and its similarity to other bacterial nucleoid-associated DNA-binding domains. In contrast, the details of Lsr2 dimerization (and oligomerization) via its N-terminal domain, and the mechanism of Lsr2-mediated chromosomal cross-linking and protection is unknown. We have solved the structure of the N-terminal domain of Lsr2 (N-Lsr2) at 1.73 Å resolution using crystallographic ab initio approaches. The structure shows an intimate dimer of two ß–ß–a motifs with no close homologues in the structural databases. The organization of individual N-Lsr2 dimers in the crystal also reveals a mechanism for oligomerization. Proteolytic removal of three N-terminal residues from Lsr2 results in the formation of an anti-parallel β-sheet between neighboring molecules and the formation of linear chains of N-Lsr2. Oligomerization can be artificially induced using low concentrations of trypsin and the arrangement of N-Lsr2 into long chains is observed in both monoclinic and hexagonal crystallographic space groups. In solution, oligomerization of N-Lsr2 is also observed following treatment with trypsin. A change in chromosomal topology after the addition of trypsin to full-length Lsr2-DNA complexes and protection of DNA towards DNAse digestion can be observed using electron microscopy and electrophoresis. These results suggest a mechanism for oligomerization of Lsr2 via protease-activation leading to chromosome compaction and protection, and concomitant down-regulation of large numbers of genes. This mechanism is likely to be relevant under conditions of stress where cellular proteases are known to be upregulated.
PMCID: PMC3374832  PMID: 22719899
5.  High-Resolution Crystal Structure of an Outer Membrane-Anchored Endolytic Peptidoglycan Lytic Transglycosylase (MltE) from Escherichia coli 
Biochemistry  2011;50(13):2384-2386.
The crystal structure of the first endolytic peptidoglycan lytic transglycosylase MltE from Escherichia coli is reported herein. The degradative activity of this enzyme initiates the process of cell wall recycling, which is an integral event in the bacterial existence. The structure sheds light on how MltE recognizes its substrate, the cell wall peptidoglycan. It also explains the ability of this endolytic enzyme to cleave in the middle of the peptidoglycan chains. Furthermore, the structure reveals how the enzyme is sequestered on the inner leaf let of the outer membrane.
PMCID: PMC3068208  PMID: 21341761
6.  Practical structure solution with ARCIMBOLDO  
ARCIMBOLDO combines the location of small fragments with Phaser and density modification with SHELXE of all possible Phaser solutions. Its uses are explained and illustrated through practical test cases.
Since its release in September 2009, the structure-solution program ARCIMBOLDO, based on the combination of locating small model fragments such as polyalanine α-helices with density modification with the program SHELXE in a multisolution frame, has evolved to incorporate other sources of stereochemical or experimental information. Fragments that are more sophisticated than the ubiquitous main-chain α-­helix can be proposed by modelling side chains onto the main chain or extracted from low-homology models, as locally their structure may be similar enough to the unknown one even if the conventional molecular-replacement approach has been unsuccessful. In such cases, the program may test a set of alternative models in parallel against a specified figure of merit and proceed with the selected one(s). Experimental information can be incorporated in three ways: searching within ARCIMBOLDO for an anomalous fragment against anomalous differences or MAD data or finding model fragments when an anomalous substructure has been determined with another program such as SHELXD or is subsequently located in the anomalous Fourier map calculated from the partial fragment phases. Both sources of information may be combined in the expansion process. In all these cases the key is to control the workflow to maximize the chances of success whilst avoiding the creation of an intractable number of parallel processes. A GUI has been implemented to aid the setup of suitable strategies within the various typical scenarios. In the present work, the practical application of ARCIMBOLDO within each of these scenarios is described through the distributed test cases.
PMCID: PMC3322593  PMID: 22505254
ARCIMBOLDO; fragment search; Phaser; density modification; multi-solution phasing; SHELXE
7.  The Crystal Structure of the Novobiocin Biosynthetic Enzyme NovP: The First Representative Structure for the TylF O-Methyltransferase Superfamily 
Journal of molecular biology  2009;395(2):390.
NovP is an S-adenosyl-L-methionine-dependent O-methyltransferase that catalyses the penultimate step in the biosynthesis of the aminocoumarin antibiotic novobiocin. Specifically, it methylates at the 4-OH of the noviose moiety, and the resultant methoxy group is important for the potency of the mature antibiotic: previous crystallographic studies have shown that this group interacts directly with the target enzyme DNA gyrase, which is a validated drug target. We have determined the high resolution crystal structure of NovP from Streptomyces spheroides as a binary complex with its desmethylated co-substrate, S-adenosyl-L-homocysteine. The structure displays a typical class I methyltransferase fold, in addition to motifs that are consistent with a divalent metal-dependent mechanism. This is the first representative structure of a methyltransferase from the TylF superfamily, which includes a number of enzymes implicated in the biosynthesis of antibiotics and other therapeutics. The NovP structure reveals a number of distinctive structural features that, based on sequence conservation, are likely to be characteristic of the superfamily. These include a helical 'lid' region that gates access to the co-substrate binding pocket, and an active centre that contains a 3-Asp putative metal-binding site. A further conserved Asp likely acts as the general base that initiates the reaction by deprotonating the 4-OH group of the noviose unit. Using in silico docking we have generated models of the enzyme-substrate complex that are consistent with the proposed mechanism. Furthermore, these models suggest that NovP is unlikely to tolerate significant modifications at the noviose moiety, but could show increasing substrate promiscuity as a function of the distance of the modification from the methylation site. These observations could inform future attempts to utilise NovP for methylating a range of glycosylated compounds.
PMCID: PMC2813333  PMID: 19857499
O-methyltransferase; Streptomyces spheroides; novobiocin; TylF superfamily; crystal structure
8.  High crystallizability under air-exclusion conditions of the full-length LysR-type transcriptional regulator TsaR from Comamonas testosteroni T-2 and data-set analysis for a MIRAS structure-solution approach 
The full-length LysR transcriptional regulator TsaR from C. testosteroni T-2 has been crystallized in two crystal forms and several native and derivative data sets have been collected using synchrotron and in-house X-ray sources.
The full-length LysR-type transcriptional regulator TsaR from Comamonas testosteroni T-2 was heterologously overexpressed in Escherichia coli, purified and stabilized under conditions that favoured its rapid crystallization using the microbatch-under-oil technique. The purified protein was highly crystallizable and two different crystal forms were readily obtained. However, only monoclinic crystals gave diffraction beyond 2 Å and there was a slight variation in unit-cell parameters between crystals. The only other LysR-type regulator for which a full-length crystal form is available is CbnR, but no solution could be obtained when this was used as a model in molecular replacement. Mercury and xenon derivatives were therefore produced in order to phase the structure using a MIRAS approach.
PMCID: PMC2494969  PMID: 18678953
full-length LysR-type regulator; microbatch crystallization; MIRAS phasing
9.  The mechanism of vault opening from the high resolution structure of the N-terminal repeats of MVP 
The EMBO Journal  2009;28(21):3450-3457.
Vaults are ubiquitous ribonucleoprotein complexes involved in a diversity of cellular processes, including multidrug resistance, transport mechanisms and signal transmission. The vault particle shows a barrel-shaped structure organized in two identical moieties, each consisting of 39 copies of the major vault protein MVP. Earlier data indicated that vault halves can dissociate at acidic pH. The crystal structure of the vault particle solved at 8 Å resolution, together with the 2.1-Å structure of the seven N-terminal domains (R1–R7) of MVP, reveal the interactions governing vault association and provide an explanation for a reversible dissociation induced by low pH. The structural comparison with the recently published 3.5 Å model shows major discrepancies, both in the main chain tracing and in the side chain assignment of the two terminal domains R1 and R2.
PMCID: PMC2752026  PMID: 19779459
major vault protein; ribonucleoprotein particle; signal transduction; vault; X-ray crystallography
10.  A new autocatalytic activation mechanism for cysteine proteases revealed by Prevotella intermedia interpain A 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2007;283(5):2871-2882.
Prevotella intermedia is a major periodontopathogen contributing to human gingivitis and periodontitis. Such pathogens release proteases as virulence factors that cause deterrence of host defences and tissue destruction. A new cysteine protease from the cysteine-histidine-dyad class, interpain A, was studied in its zymogenic and its self-processed mature form. The latter consists of a bivalved moiety made up by two subdomains. In the structure of a catalytic cysteine-to-alanine zymogen variant, the right subdomain interacts with an unusual prodomain, thus contributing to latency. Unlike the catalytic cysteine residue, already in its competent conformation in the zymogen, the catalytic histidine is swung out from its active conformation and trapped in a cage shaped by a backing helix, a zymogenic hairpin and a latency flap in the zymogen. Dramatic rearrangement of up to 20Å of these elements triggered by a tryptophan switch occurs during activation and accounts for a new activation mechanism for proteolytic enzymes. These findings can be extrapolated to related potentially pathogenic cysteine proteases such as Streprococcus pyogenes SpeB and Porphyromonas gingivalis periodontain.
PMCID: PMC2772895  PMID: 17993455

Results 1-10 (10)