The crystal structure of the effector-binding domain of the transcriptional repressor AraR from B. subtilis in complex with the effector molecule (l-arabinose) was determined at 2.2 Å resolution. A detailed analysis of the crystal identified a dimer organization that is distinctive from that of other members of the GalR/LacI family.
In Bacillus subtilis, the arabinose repressor AraR negatively controls the expression of genes in the metabolic pathway of arabinose-containing polysaccharides. The protein is composed of two domains of different phylogenetic origin and function: an N-terminal DNA-binding domain belonging to the GntR family and a C-terminal effector-binding domain that shows similarity to members of the GalR/LacI family. The crystal structure of the C-terminal effector-binding domain of AraR in complex with the effector l-arabinose has been determined at 2.2 Å resolution. The l-arabinose binding affinity was characterized by isothermal titration calorimetry and differential scanning fluorimetry; the K
d value was 8.4 ± 0.4 µM. The effect of l-arabinose on the protein oligomeric state was investigated in solution and detailed analysis of the crystal identified a dimer organization which is distinctive from that of other members of the GalR/LacI family.
repressors; dimerization; effector binding; isothermal titration calorimetry; differential scanning fluorimetry; dimeric interface
A new approach is presented that allows the efficient localization and orientation of heavy-atom cluster compounds used in experimental phasing by a molecular replacement procedure. This permits the calculation of meaningful phases up to the highest resolution of the diffraction data.
Heavy-atom clusters (HA clusters) containing a large number of specifically arranged electron-dense scatterers are especially useful for experimental phase determination of large complex structures, weakly diffracting crystals or structures with large unit cells. Often, the determination of the exact orientation of the HA cluster and hence of the individual heavy-atom positions proves to be the critical step in successful phasing and subsequent structure solution. Here, it is demonstrated that molecular replacement (MR) with either anomalous or isomorphous differences is a useful strategy for the correct placement of HA cluster compounds. The polyoxometallate cluster hexasodium α-metatungstate (HMT) was applied in phasing the structure of death receptor 6. Even though the HA cluster is bound in alternate partially occupied orientations and is located at a special position, its correct localization and orientation could be determined at resolutions as low as 4.9 Å. The broad applicability of this approach was demonstrated for five different derivative crystals that included the compounds tantalum tetradecabromide and trisodium phosphotungstate in addition to HMT. The correct placement of the HA cluster depends on the length of the intramolecular vectors chosen for MR, such that both a larger cluster size and the optimal choice of the wavelength used for anomalous data collection strongly affect the outcome.
experimental phasing; heavy-metal cluster; hexasodium α-metatungstate; molecular replacement; death receptor 6
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.
translational noncrystallographic symmetry; intensity statistics; twinning; maximum likelihood
The crystal structure of the metalloprotease Gentlyase is described and compared with the structures of other related thermolysin-like proteases.
Gentlyase is a bacterial extracellular metalloprotease that is widely applied in cell culture and for tissue dissociation and that belongs to the family of thermolysin-like proteases. The structure of thermolysin has been known since 1972 and that of Bacillus cereus neutral protease since 1992. However, the structure determination of other Bacillus neutral proteases has been hindered by their tendency to cannibalistic autolysis. High calcium conditions that allow the concentration and crystallization of the active Gentlyase metalloprotease without autoproteolysis were identified using thermal fluorescent shift assays. X-ray structures of the protease were solved in the absence and in the presence of the inhibitor phosphoramidon at 1.59 and 1.76 Å resolution, respectively. No domain movement was observed upon inhibitor binding, although such movement is thought to be a general feature of the thermolysin-like protease family. Further analysis of the structure shows that the observed calcium dependency of Gentlyase stability may arise from a partly degenerated calcium site Ca1–2 and a deletion near site Ca3.
thermolysin; neutral proteases; calcium binding; Gentlyase
Crystal structures of the AHL-lactonase AidH in complex with substrate and product are reported at high resolution and a catalytic mechanism is proposed for the metal-independent AHL-lactonase.
Many pathogenic bacteria that infect humans, animals and plants rely on a quorum-sensing (QS) system to produce virulence factors. N-Acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) are the best-characterized cell–cell communication signals in QS. The concentration of AHL plays a key role in regulating the virulence-gene expression and essential biological functions of pathogenic bacteria. N-Acyl homoserine lactonases (AHL-lactonases) have important functions in decreasing pathogenicity by degrading AHLs. Here, structures of the AHL-lactonase from Ochrobactrum sp. (AidH) in complex with N-hexanoyl homoserine lactone, N-hexanoyl homoserine and N-butanoyl homoserine are reported. The high-resolution structures together with biochemical analyses reveal convincing details of AHL degradation. No metal ion is bound in the active site, which is different from other AHL-lactonases, which have a dual Lewis acid catalysis mechanism. AidH contains a substrate-binding tunnel between the core domain and the cap domain. The conformation of the tunnel entrance varies with the AHL acyl-chain length, which contributes to the binding promiscuity of AHL molecules in the active site. It also supports the biochemical result that AidH is a broad catalytic spectrum AHL-lactonase. Taken together, the present results reveal the catalytic mechanism of the metal-independent AHL-lactonase, which is a typical acid–base covalent catalysis.
quorum sensing; lactonases; α/β-hydrolases; acid–base catalysis; covalent catalysis
A correction to the paper by Abdulmalik et al. [(2011), Acta Cryst. D67, 920–928].
The affiliation of one of the authors of Abdulmalik et al. (2011) [Acta Cryst. D67, 920–928] is corrected.
hemoglobin; oxygen affinity; sickle-cell disease; polymerization; T state; R2 state; corrigendum
The C-terminal domain of the Salmonella virulence factor SseI is structurally similar to the cysteine protease superfamily and contains the conserved catalytic triad characteristic of members of this family.
SseI is secreted into host cells by Salmonella and contributes to the establishment of systemic infections. The crystal structure of the C-terminal domain of SseI has been solved to 1.70 Å resolution, revealing it to be a member of the cysteine protease superfamily with a catalytic triad consisting of Cys178, His216 and Asp231 that is critical to its virulence activities. Structure-based analysis revealed that SseI is likely to possess either acyl hydrolase or acyltransferase activity, placing this virulence factor in the rapidly growing class of enzymes of this family utilized by bacterial pathogens inside eukaryotic cells.
Salmonella; type III secretion; SPI-2; bacterial pathogenesis; cysteine proteases; SseI; SrfH
X-ray analysis of anti-HIV actinohivin in complex with the target α(1-2)mannobiose moiety of high-mannose type glycans attached to HIV-1 gp120 reveals that the three rotamers generated with 120 rotations around the molecular pseudo-rotation axis are packed randomly in the unit cell according to the P212121 symmetry to exhibit an apparent space group P213 as the statistical structure. However, the high-resolution X-ray structure shows the detailed interaction geometry for specific binding.
Actinohivin (AH) is an actinomycete lectin with a potent specific anti-HIV activity. In order to clarify the structural evidence for its specific binding to the α(1–2)mannobiose (MB) moiety of the D1 chains of high-mannose-type glycans (HMTGs) attached to HIV-1 gp120, the crystal structure of AH in complex with MB has been determined. The AH molecule is composed of three identical structural modules, each of which has a pocket in which an MB molecule is bound adopting a bracket-shaped conformation. This conformation is stabilized through two weak C—H⋯O hydrogen bonds facilitated by the α(1–2) linkage. The binding features in the three pockets are quite similar to each other, in accordance with the molecular pseudo-threefold symmetry generated from the three tandem repeats in the amino-acid sequence. The shape of the pocket can accept two neighbouring hydroxyl groups of the O3 and O4 atoms of the equatorial configuration of the second mannose residue. To recognize these atoms through hydrogen bonds, an Asp residue is located at the bottom of each pocket. Tyr and Leu residues seem to block the movement of the MB molecules. Furthermore, the O1 atom of the axial configuration of the second mannose residue protrudes from each pocket into an open space surrounded by the conserved hydrophobic residues, suggesting an additional binding site for the third mannose residue of the branched D1 chain of HMTGs. These structural features provide strong evidence indicating that AH is only highly specific for MB and would facilitate the highly specific affinity of AH for any glycoprotein carrying many HMTGs, such as HIV-1 gp120.
anti-HIV lectins; actinohivin; high-mannose-type glycan
A fast and easy tool to locate unit-cell matches in the PDB is described.
When embarking upon X-ray diffraction data collection from a potentially novel macromolecular crystal form, it can be useful to ascertain whether the measured data reflect a crystal form that is already recorded in the Protein Data Bank and, if so, whether it is part of a large family of related structures. Providing such information to crystallographers conveniently and quickly, as soon as the first images have been recorded and the unit cell characterized at an X-ray beamline, has the potential to save time and effort as well as pointing to possible search models for molecular replacement. Given an input unit cell, and optionally a space group, Nearest-cell rapidly scans the Protein Data Bank and retrieves near-matches.
Nearest-cell; crystal matches; Protein Data Bank
Pyridyl derivatives of vanillin increase the fraction of the more soluble oxygenated sickle hemoglobin and/or directly increase the solubility of deoxygenated sickle hemoglobin. Crystallographic analysis reveals the structural basis of the potent and dual antisickling activity of these derivatives.
Vanillin has previously been studied clinically as an antisickling agent to treat sickle-cell disease. In vitro investigations with pyridyl derivatives of vanillin, including INN-312 and INN-298, showed as much as a 90-fold increase in antisickling activity compared with vanillin. The compounds preferentially bind to and modify sickle hemoglobin (Hb S) to increase the affinity of Hb for oxygen. INN-312 also led to a considerable increase in the solubility of deoxygenated Hb S under completely deoxygenated conditions. Crystallographic studies of normal human Hb with INN-312 and INN-298 showed that the compounds form Schiff-base adducts with the N-terminus of the α-subunits to constrain the liganded (or relaxed-state) Hb conformation relative to the unliganded (or tense-state) Hb conformation. Interestingly, while INN-298 binds and directs its meta-positioned pyridine-methoxy moiety (relative to the aldehyde moiety) further down the central water cavity of the protein, that of INN-312, which is ortho to the aldehyde, extends towards the surface of the protein. These studies suggest that these compounds may act to prevent sickling of SS cells by increasing the fraction of the soluble high-affinity Hb S and/or by stereospecific inhibition of deoxygenated Hb S polymerization.
hemoglobin; oxygen affinity; sickle-cell disease; polymerization; T state; R2 state
The optimization of WbdD crystals using a novel dehydration protocol and experimental phasing at 3.5 Å resolution by cross-crystal averaging followed by molecular replacement of electron density into a non-isomorphous 3.0 Å resolution native data set are reported.
WbdD is a bifunctional kinase/methyltransferase that is responsible for regulation of lipopolysaccharide O antigen polysaccharide chain length in Escherichia coli serotype O9a. Solving the crystal structure of this protein proved to be a challenge because the available crystals belonging to space group I23 only diffracted to low resolution (>95% of the crystals diffracted to resolution lower than 4 Å and most only to 8 Å) and were non-isomorphous, with changes in unit-cell dimensions of greater than 10%. Data from a serendipitously found single native crystal that diffracted to 3.0 Å resolution were non-isomorphous with a lower (3.5 Å) resolution selenomethionine data set. Here, a strategy for improving poor (3.5 Å resolution) initial phases by density modification and cross-crystal averaging with an additional 4.2 Å resolution data set to build a crude model of WbdD is desribed. Using this crude model as a mask to cut out the 3.5 Å resolution electron density yielded a successful molecular-replacement solution of the 3.0 Å resolution data set. The resulting map was used to build a complete model of WbdD. The hydration status of individual crystals appears to underpin the variable diffraction quality of WbdD crystals. After the initial structure had been solved, methods to control the hydration status of WbdD were developed and it was thus possible to routinely obtain high-resolution diffraction (to better than 2.5 Å resolution). This novel and facile crystal-dehydration protocol may be useful for similar challenging situations.
WbdD; crystal dehydration
A repetitive measurement of the same diffraction image allows to judge the performance of a data collection facility.
The accuracy of X-ray diffraction data depends on the properties of the crystalline sample and on the performance of the data-collection facility (synchrotron beamline elements, goniostat, detector etc.). However, it is difficult to evaluate the level of performance of the experimental setup from the quality of data sets collected in rotation mode, as various crystal properties such as mosaicity, non-uniformity and radiation damage affect the measured intensities. A multiple-image experiment, in which several analogous diffraction frames are recorded consecutively at the same crystal orientation, allows minimization of the influence of the sample properties. A series of 100 diffraction images of a thaumatin crystal were measured on the SBC beamline 19BM at the APS (Argonne National Laboratory). The obtained data were analyzed in the context of the performance of the data-collection facility. An objective way to estimate the uncertainties of individual reflections was achieved by analyzing the behavior of reflection intensities in the series of analogous diffraction images. The multiple-image experiment is found to be a simple and adequate method to decompose the random errors from the systematic errors in the data, which helps in judging the performance of a data-collection facility. In particular, displaying the intensity as a function of the frame number allows evaluation of the stability of the beam, the beamline elements and the detector with minimal influence of the crystal properties. Such an experiment permits evaluation of the highest possible data quality potentially achievable at the particular beamline.
diffraction data precision; signal-to-noise ratio; measurement uncertainty; beamline performance
The complex between the motor protein Eg5 and the phase II clinical candidate ispinesib provides insights into the mechanism of action of this important class of inhibitors.
The human kinesin Eg5 is responsible for bipolar spindle formation during early mitosis. Inhibition of Eg5 triggers the formation of monoastral spindles, leading to mitotic arrest that eventually causes apoptosis. There is increasing evidence that Eg5 constitutes a potential drug target for the development of cancer chemotherapeutics. The most advanced Eg5-targeting agent is ispinesib, which exhibits potent antitumour activity and is currently in multiple phase II clinical trials. In this study, the crystal structure of the Eg5 motor domain in complex with ispinesib, supported by kinetic and thermodynamic binding data, is reported. Ispinesib occupies the same induced-fit pocket in Eg5 as other allosteric inhibitors, making extensive hydrophobic interactions with the protein. The data for the Eg5–ADP–ispinesib complex suffered from pseudo-merohedral twinning and revealed translational noncrystallographic symmetry, leading to challenges in data processing, space-group assignment and structure solution as well as in refinement. These complications may explain the lack of available structural information for this important agent and its analogues. The present structure represents the best interpretation of these data based on extensive data-reduction, structure-solution and refinement trials.
Eg5; kinesins; ispinesib
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
The surface of proteins can be charged with zinc ions and the anomalous signals from these zinc ions can be used for structure determination of proteins.
Zinc is a suitable metal for anomalous dispersion phasing methods in protein crystallography. Structure determination using zinc anomalous scattering has been almost exclusively limited to proteins with intrinsically bound zinc(s). Here, it is reported that multiple zinc ions can easily be charged onto the surface of proteins with no intrinsic zinc-binding site by using zinc-containing solutions. Zn derivatization of protein surfaces appears to be a largely unnoticed but promising method of protein structure determination.
zinc anomalous scattering; phasing; Zn derivatization
Acoustic droplet ejection achieves precise, tipless, non-invasive transfer of diverse aqueous solutions, enabling nanolitre-scale crystallization trials. The rapid and scalable technique demonstrated successful crystal growth with diverse targets in drop volumes as small as 20 nl.
Focused acoustic energy allows accurate and precise liquid transfer on scales from picolitre to microlitre volumes. This technology was applied in protein crystallization, successfully transferring a diverse set of proteins as well as hundreds of precipitant solutions from custom and commercial crystallization screens and achieving crystallization in drop volumes as small as 20 nl. Only higher concentrations (>50%) of 2-methyl-2,4-pentanediol (MPD) appeared to be systematically problematic in delivery. The acoustic technology was implemented in a workflow, successfully reproducing active crystallization systems and leading to the discovery of crystallization conditions for previously uncharacterized proteins. The technology offers compelling advantages in low-nanolitre crystallization trials by providing significant reagent savings and presenting seamless scalability for those crystals that require larger volume optimization experiments using the same vapor-diffusion format.
acoustic liquid transfer; nanolitre-scale crystallization
All-atom models derived from moderate-resolution protein crystal structures contain a high frequency of close nonbonded contacts, independent of the major refinement program used for structure determination. All-atom refinement with PrimeX corrects many of these problematic interactions, producing models that are better suited for use in computational chemistry and related applications.
All-atom models are essential for many applications in molecular modeling and computational chemistry. Nonbonded atomic contacts much closer than the sum of the van der Waals radii of the two atoms (clashes) are commonly observed in such models derived from protein crystal structures. A set of 94 recently deposited protein structures in the resolution range 1.5–2.8 Å were analyzed for clashes by the addition of all H atoms to the models followed by optimization and energy minimization of the positions of just these H atoms. The results were compared with the same set of structures after automated all-atom refinement with PrimeX and with nonbonded contacts in protein crystal structures at a resolution equal to or better than 0.9 Å. The additional PrimeX refinement produced structures with reasonable summary geometric statistics and similar R
free values to the original structures. The frequency of clashes at less than 0.8 times the sum of van der Waals radii was reduced over fourfold compared with that found in the original structures, to a level approaching that found in the ultrahigh-resolution structures. Moreover, severe clashes at less than or equal to 0.7 times the sum of atomic radii were reduced 15-fold. All-atom refinement with PrimeX produced improved crystal structure models with respect to nonbonded contacts and yielded changes in structural details that dramatically impacted on the interpretation of some protein–ligand interactions.
H atoms; van der Waals radii; restraints; nonbonded contacts; clashes; molecular geometry; model quality; force fields; refinement; riding H atoms; electrostatics; hydrogen bonds
A powerful and easy-to-use workflow environment has been developed at the ESRF for combining experiment control with online data analysis on synchrotron beamlines. This tool provides the possibility of automating complex experiments without the need for expertise in instrumentation control and programming, but rather by accessing defined beamline services.
The automation of beam delivery, sample handling and data analysis, together with increasing photon flux, diminishing focal spot size and the appearance of fast-readout detectors on synchrotron beamlines, have changed the way that many macromolecular crystallography experiments are planned and executed. Screening for the best diffracting crystal, or even the best diffracting part of a selected crystal, has been enabled by the development of microfocus beams, precise goniometers and fast-readout detectors that all require rapid feedback from the initial processing of images in order to be effective. All of these advances require the coupling of data feedback to the experimental control system and depend on immediate online data-analysis results during the experiment. To facilitate this, a Data Analysis WorkBench (DAWB) for the flexible creation of complex automated protocols has been developed. Here, example workflows designed and implemented using DAWB are presented for enhanced multi-step crystal characterizations, experiments involving crystal reorientation with kappa goniometers, crystal-burning experiments for empirically determining the radiation sensitivity of a crystal system and the application of mesh scans to find the best location of a crystal to obtain the highest diffraction quality. Beamline users interact with the prepared workflows through a specific brick within the beamline-control GUI MXCuBE.
workflows; automation; data processing; macromolecular crystallography; experimental protocols; characterization; reorientation; radiation damage
RCrane is a new tool for the partially automated building of RNA crystallographic models into electron-density maps of low or intermediate resolution. This tool helps crystallographers to place phosphates and bases into electron density and then automatically predicts and builds the detailed all-atom structure of the traced nucleotides.
RNA crystals typically diffract to much lower resolutions than protein crystals. This low-resolution diffraction results in unclear density maps, which cause considerable difficulties during the model-building process. These difficulties are exacerbated by the lack of computational tools for RNA modeling. Here, RCrane, a tool for the partially automated building of RNA into electron-density maps of low or intermediate resolution, is presented. This tool works within Coot, a common program for macromolecular model building. RCrane helps crystallographers to place phosphates and bases into electron density and then automatically predicts and builds the detailed all-atom structure of the traced nucleotides. RCrane then allows the crystallographer to review the newly built structure and select alternative backbone conformations where desired. This tool can also be used to automatically correct the backbone structure of previously built nucleotides. These automated corrections can fix incorrect sugar puckers, steric clashes and other structural problems.
RCrane; RNA model building
Glucosamine-6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase is an essential enzyme of the eukaryotic UDP-GlcNAc biosynthetic pathway. A crystal structure at 1.55 Å resolution revealed a highly unusual covalent product complex and biochemical studies investigated the function of a fully conserved active-site cysteine.
Glucosamine-6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase 1 (GNA1) produces GlcNAc-6-phosphate from GlcN-6-phosphate and acetyl coenzyme A. Early mercury-labelling experiments implicated a conserved cysteine in the reaction mechanism, whereas recent structural data appear to support a mechanism in which this cysteine plays no role. Here, two crystal structures of Caenorhabditis elegans GNA1 are reported, revealing an unusual covalent complex between this cysteine and the coenzyme A product. Mass-spectrometric and reduction studies showed that this inactive covalent complex can be reactivated through reduction, yet mutagenesis of the cysteine supports a previously reported bi-bi mechanism. The data unify the apparently contradictory earlier reports on the role of a cysteine in the GNA1 active site.
carbohydrates; glycobiology; Caenorhabditis elegans; glucosamine-6-phosphate N-acetyltransferase; coenzyme A adduct; mechanism
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.
molecular replacement; automation; macromolecular crystallography; structure similarity; modeling; Phenix; morphing
Truncation of ribosomal protein L9 in T. thermophilus allows the generation of new crystal forms and the crystallization of ribosome–GTPase complexes.
Crystallographic studies of the ribosome have provided molecular details of protein synthesis. However, the crystallization of functional complexes of ribosomes with GTPase translation factors proved to be elusive for a decade after the first ribosome structures were determined. Analysis of the packing in different 70S ribosome crystal forms revealed that regardless of the species or space group, a contact between ribosomal protein L9 from the large subunit and 16S rRNA in the shoulder of a neighbouring small subunit in the crystal lattice competes with the binding of GTPase elongation factors to this region of 16S rRNA. To prevent the formation of this preferred crystal contact, a mutant strain of Thermus thermophilus, HB8-MRCMSAW1, in which the ribosomal protein L9 gene has been truncated was constructed by homologous recombination. Mutant 70S ribosomes were used to crystallize and solve the structure of the ribosome with EF-G, GDP and fusidic acid in a previously unobserved crystal form. Subsequent work has shown the usefulness of this strain for crystallization of the ribosome with other GTPase factors.
ribosome; GTPase; engineering
The CCP4 template-restraint library defines restraints for biopolymers, their modifications and ligands that are used in macromolecular structure refinement. JLigand is a graphical editor for generating descriptions of new ligands and covalent linkages.
Biological macromolecules are polymers and therefore the restraints for macromolecular refinement can be subdivided into two sets: restraints that are applied to atoms that all belong to the same monomer and restraints that are associated with the covalent bonds between monomers. The CCP4 template-restraint library contains three types of data entries defining template restraints: descriptions of monomers and their modifications, both used for intramonomer restraints, and descriptions of links for intermonomer restraints. The library provides generic descriptions of modifications and links for protein, DNA and RNA chains, and for some post-translational modifications including glycosylation. Structure-specific template restraints can be defined in a user’s additional restraint library. Here, JLigand, a new CCP4 graphical interface to LibCheck and REFMAC that has been developed to manage the user’s library and generate new monomer entries is described, as well as new entries for links and associated modifications.
macromolecular refinement; restraint library; molecular graphics
An introduction to the proceedings of the CCP4 Study Weekend held at the University of Warwick on the 6–7 January 2011.
CCP4 Study Weekend
Two developments in the process of automated protein model building in the Buccaneer software are described: the use of a database of protein fragments in improving the model completeness and the assembly of disconnected chain fragments into complete molecules.
Two developments in the process of automated protein model building in the Buccaneer software are presented. A general-purpose library for protein fragments of arbitrary size is described, with a highly optimized search method allowing the use of a larger database than in previous work. The problem of assembling an autobuilt model into complete chains is discussed. This involves the assembly of disconnected chain fragments into complete molecules and the use of the database of protein fragments in improving the model completeness. Assembly of fragments into molecules is a standard step in existing model-building software, but the methods have not received detailed discussion in the literature.
model building; databases; Buccaneer