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1.  Structural characterization and comparison of three acyl-carrier-protein synthases from pathogenic bacteria 
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.
PMCID: PMC3447402  PMID: 22993090
acyl-carrier-protein synthase; acyl carrier protein; type II fatty-acid synthesis; inhibition; 3′,5′-adenosine diphosphate; coenzyme A
2.  Pollen performance before and during the autotrophic-heterotrophic transition of pollen tube growth. 
For species with bicellular pollen, the attrition of pollen tubes is often greatest where the style narrows at the transition between stigmatic tissue and the transmitting tissue of the style. In this region, the tubes switch from predominantly autotrophic to predominantly heterotrophic growth, the generative cell divides, the first callose plugs are produced, and, in species with RNase-type self-incompatibility (SI), incompatible tubes are arrested. We review the literature and present new findings concerning the genetic, environmental and stylar influences on the performance of pollen before and during the autotrophic-heterotrophic transition of pollen tube growth. We found that the ability of the paternal sporophyte to provision its pollen during development significantly influences pollen performance during the autotrophic growth phase. Consequently, under conditions of pollen competition, pollen selection during the autotrophic phase is acting on the phenotype of the paternal sporophyte. In a field experiment, using Cucurbita pepo, we found broad-sense heritable variation for herbivore-pathogen resistance, and that the most resistant families produced larger and better performing pollen when the paternal sporophytes were not protected by insecticides, indicating that selection during the autotrophic phase can act on traits that are not expressed by the microgametophyte. In a study of a weedy SI species, Solanum carolinense, we found that the ability of the styles to arrest self-pollen tubes at the autotrophic-heterotrophic transition changes with floral age and the presence of developing fruits. These findings have important implications for selection at the level of the microgametophyte and the evolution of mating systems of plants.
PMCID: PMC1693202  PMID: 12831466

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