In an effort to better understand the control of the formation of branched fatty acids in Micrococcus luteus, the structure of β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III, which catalyzes the initial step of fatty-acid biosynthesis, has been determined.
Micrococcus luteus is a Gram-positive bacterium that produces iso- and anteiso-branched alkenes by the head-to-head condensation of fatty-acid thioesters [coenzyme A (CoA) or acyl carrier protein (ACP)]; this activity is of interest for the production of advanced biofuels. In an effort to better understand the control of the formation of branched fatty acids in M. luteus, the structure of FabH (MlFabH) was determined. FabH, or β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III, catalyzes the initial step of fatty-acid biosynthesis: the condensation of malonyl-ACP with an acyl-CoA. Analysis of the MlFabH structure provides insights into its substrate selectivity with regard to length and branching of the acyl-CoA. The most structurally divergent region of FabH is the L9 loop region located at the dimer interface, which is involved in the formation of the acyl-binding channel and thus limits the substrate-channel size. The residue Phe336, which is positioned near the catalytic triad, appears to play a major role in branched-substrate selectivity. In addition to structural studies of MlFabH, transcriptional studies of M. luteus were also performed, focusing on the increase in the ratio of anteiso:iso-branched alkenes that was observed during the transition from early to late stationary phase. Gene-expression microarray analysis identified two genes involved in leucine and isoleucine metabolism that may explain this transition.
biofuels; β-ketoacyl-ACP synthase III; iso- and anteiso-branched alkenes; microarray
Experimental errors in macromolecular crystallography are underestimated as they do not account for the contribution of crystal-to-crystal variations.
Experimental errors as determined by data-processing algorithms in macromolecular crystallography are compared with the direct error estimates obtained by a multiple crystal data-collection protocol. It is found that several-fold error inflation is necessary to account for crystal-to-crystal variation. It is shown that similar error inflation is observed for data collected from multiple sections of the same crystal, indicating non-uniform crystal growth as one of the likely sources of additional data variation. Other potential sources of error inflation include differential X-ray absorption for different reflections and variation of unit-cell parameters. The underestimation of the experimental errors is more severe in lower resolution shells and for reflections characterized by a higher signal-to-noise ratio. These observations partially account for the gap between the expected and the observed R values in macromolecular crystallography.
experimental errors; R values
The crystal structures of the far-red fluorescent proteins eqFP650 and eqFP670 have been solved at 1.8 and 1.6 Å resolution, respectively. This permitted identification of the structural elements responsible for the bathochromic shift in both considered far-red fluorescent proteins.
The crystal structures of the far-red fluorescent proteins (FPs) eqFP650 (λex
max 592/650 nm) and eqFP670 (λex
max 605/670 nm), the successors of the far-red FP Katushka (λex
max 588/635 nm), have been determined at 1.8 and 1.6 Å resolution, respectively. An examination of the structures demonstrated that there are two groups of changes responsible for the bathochromic shift of excitation/emission bands of these proteins relative to their predecessor. The first group of changes resulted in an increase of hydrophilicity at the acylimine site of the chromophore due to the presence of one and three water molecules in eqFP650 and eqFP670, respectively. These water molecules provide connection of the chromophore with the protein scaffold via hydrogen bonds causing an ∼15 nm bathochromic shift of the eqFP650 and eqFP670 emission bands. The second group of changes observed in eqFP670 arises from substitution of both Ser143 and Ser158 by asparagines. Asn143 and Asn158 of eqFP670 are hydrogen bonded with each other, as well as with the protein scaffold and with the p-hydroxyphenyl group of the chromophore, resulting in an additional ∼20 nm bathochromic shift of the eqFP670 emission band as compared to eqFP650. The role of the observed structural changes was verified by mutagenesis.
far-red fluorescent proteins; cell imaging; tissue visualization; Katushka
Dose-dependent atomic B factors are used to determine the average spatial distribution of radiation damage to crystalline thaumatin and urease.
The spatial distribution of radiation damage (assayed by increases in atomic B factors) to thaumatin and urease crystals at temperatures ranging from 25 to 300 K is reported. The nature of the damage changes dramatically at approximately 180 K. Above this temperature the role of solvent diffusion is apparent in thaumatin crystals, as solvent-exposed turns and loops are especially sensitive. In urease, a flap covering the active site is the most sensitive part of the molecule and nearby loops show enhanced sensitivity. Below 180 K sensitivity is correlated with poor local packing, especially in thaumatin. At all temperatures, the component of the damage that is spatially uniform within the unit cell accounts for more than half of the total increase in the atomic B factors and correlates with changes in mosaicity. This component may arise from lattice-level, rather than local, disorder. The effects of primary structure on radiation sensitivity are small compared with those of tertiary structure, local packing, solvent accessibility and crystal contacts.
protein crystallography; radiation damage; temperature dependence
The structure of a tetrameric sponge galectin suggests a basis for glutamate receptor potentiation.
The galectins are a family of proteins that bind with highest affinity to N-acetyllactosamine disaccharides, which are common constituents of asparagine-linked complex glycans. They play important and diverse physiological roles, particularly in the immune system, and are thought to be critical metastatic agents for many types of cancer cells, including gliomas. A recent bioactivity-based screen of marine sponge (Cinachyrella sp.) extract identified an ancestral member of the galectin family based on its unexpected ability to positively modulate mammalian ionotropic glutamate receptor function. To gain insight into the mechanistic basis of this activity, the 2.1 Å resolution X-ray structure of one member of the family, galectin CchG-1, is reported. While the protomer exhibited structural similarity to mammalian prototype galectin, CchG-1 adopts a novel tetrameric arrangement in which a rigid toroidal-shaped ‘donut’ is stabilized in part by the packing of pairs of vicinal disulfide bonds. Twofold symmetry between binding-site pairs provides a basis for a model for interaction with ionotropic glutamate receptors.
galectins; Cinachyrella sp.
The structure of Giardia prolyl-tRNA synthetase cocrystallized with proline and ATP shows evidence for half-of-the-sites activity, leading to a corresponding mixture of reaction substrates and product (prolyl-AMP) in the two active sites of the dimer.
The genome of the human intestinal parasite Giardia lamblia contains only a single aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase gene for each amino acid. The Giardia prolyl-tRNA synthetase gene product was originally misidentified as a dual-specificity Pro/Cys enzyme, in part owing to its unexpectedly high off-target activation of cysteine, but is now believed to be a normal representative of the class of archaeal/eukaryotic prolyl-tRNA synthetases. The 2.2 Å resolution crystal structure of the G. lamblia enzyme presented here is thus the first structure determination of a prolyl-tRNA synthetase from a eukaryote. The relative occupancies of substrate (proline) and product (prolyl-AMP) in the active site are consistent with half-of-the-sites reactivity, as is the observed biphasic thermal denaturation curve for the protein in the presence of proline and MgATP. However, no corresponding induced asymmetry is evident in the structure of the protein. No thermal stabilization is observed in the presence of cysteine and ATP. The implied low affinity for the off-target activation product cysteinyl-AMP suggests that translational fidelity in Giardia is aided by the rapid release of misactivated cysteine.
aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases; protozoa; structural genomics; Giardia lamblia
A joint X-ray/neutron structure of d-xylose isomerase in complex with the inhibitor sorbitol was determined at room temperature at an acidic pH of 5.9. Protonation of the O5 O atom of the sugar was directly observed in the nuclear density maps. Under acidic conditions sorbitol gains a water-mediated interaction with the enzyme active site, which may explain the increased potency of the inhibitor at low pH.
d-Xylose isomerase (XI) converts the aldo-sugars xylose and glucose to their keto analogs xylulose and fructose, but is strongly inhibited by the polyols xylitol and sorbitol, especially at acidic pH. In order to understand the atomic details of polyol binding to the XI active site, a 2.0 Å resolution room-temperature joint X-ray/neutron structure of XI in complex with Ni2+ cofactors and sorbitol inhibitor at pH 5.9 and a room-temperature X-ray structure of XI containing Mg2+ ions and xylitol at the physiological pH of 7.7 were obtained. The protonation of oxygen O5 of the inhibitor, which was found to be deprotonated and negatively charged in previous structures of XI complexed with linear glucose and xylulose, was directly observed. The Ni2+ ions occupying the catalytic metal site (M2) were found at two locations, while Mg2+ in M2 is very mobile and has a high B factor. Under acidic conditions sorbitol gains a water-mediated interaction that connects its O1 hydroxyl to Asp257. This contact is not found in structures at basic pH. The new interaction that is formed may improve the binding of the inhibitor, providing an explanation for the increased affinity of the polyols for XI at low pH.
d-xylose isomerase; joint X-ray/neutron crystallography; protonation; hydration; metalloenzymes
Determination of the orientation of the enterovirus 71 virions in the crystal required the calculation of a locked rotation function that included only icosahedral threefold and fivefold symmetry axes. Otherwise, misleading high rotation-function values were produced by accidental alignment of icosahedral and crystallographic twofold axes.
Enterovirus 71 is a picornavirus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease but may induce fatal neurological illness in infants and young children. Enterovirus 71 crystallized in a body-centered orthorhombic space group with two particles in general orientations in the crystallographic asymmetric unit. Determination of the particle orientations required that the locked rotation function excluded the twofold symmetry axes from the set of icosahedral symmetry operators. This avoided the occurrence of misleading high rotation-function values produced by the alignment of icosahedral and crystallographic twofold axes. Once the orientations and positions of the particles had been established, the structure was solved by molecular replacement and phase extension.
enterovirus 71; viruses; rotation function; molecular replacement
The crystal structure of the 11.14 kDa orphan ORF 1382 from Archaeoglobus fulgidus (AF1382) has been determined by sulfur SAD phasing using data collected from a moderately diffracting crystal and 1.9 Å synchrotron X-rays.
The crystal structure of the 11.14 kDa orphan ORF 1382 from Archaeoglobus fulgidus (AF1382) has been determined by sulfur SAD phasing using a moderately diffracting crystal and 1.9 Å wavelength synchrotron X-rays. AF1382 was selected as a structural genomics target by the Southeast Collaboratory for Structural Genomics (SECSG) since sequence analyses showed that it did not belong to the Pfam-A database and thus could represent a novel fold. The structure was determined by exploiting longer wavelength X-rays and data redundancy to increase the anomalous signal in the data. AF1382 is a 95-residue protein containing five S atoms associated with four methionine residues and a single cysteine residue that yields a calculated Bijvoet ratio (ΔF
anom/F) of 1.39% for 1.9 Å wavelength X-rays. Coupled with an average Bijvoet redundancy of 25 (two 360° data sets), this produced an excellent electron-density map that allowed 69 of the 95 residues to be automatically fitted. The S-SAD model was then manually completed and refined (R = 23.2%, R
free = 26.8%) to 2.3 Å resolution (PDB entry 3o3k). High-resolution data were subsequently collected from a better diffracting crystal using 0.97 Å wavelength synchrotron X-rays and the S-SAD model was refined (R = 17.9%, R
free = 21.4%) to 1.85 Å resolution (PDB entry 3ov8). AF1382 has a winged-helix–turn–helix structure common to many DNA-binding proteins and most closely resembles the N-terminal domain (residues 1–82) of the Rio2 kinase from A. fulgidus, which has been shown to bind DNA, and a number of MarR-family transcriptional regulators, suggesting a similar DNA-binding function for AF1382. The analysis also points out the advantage gained from carrying out data reduction and structure determination on-site while the crystal is still available for further data collection.
AF1382; orphan ORFs; sulfur SAD; Archaeoglobus fulgidus
The amino acid l-proline is shown to be a good cryoprotectant for protein crystals. Four examples are provided; the range of proline used for cryoprotection is 2.0–3.0 M.
l-Proline is one of Mother Nature’s cryoprotectants. Plants and yeast accumulate proline under freeze-induced stress and the use of proline in the cryopreservation of biological samples is well established. Here, it is shown that l-proline is also a useful cryoprotectant for protein crystallography. Proline was used to prepare crystals of lysozyme, xylose isomerase, histidine acid phosphatase and 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase for low-temperature data collection. The crystallization solutions in these test cases included the commonly used precipitants ammonium sulfate, sodium chloride and polyethylene glycol and spanned the pH range 4.6–8.5. Thus, proline is compatible with typical protein-crystallization formulations. The proline concentration needed for cryoprotection of these crystals is in the range 2.0–3.0 M. Complete data sets were collected from the proline-protected crystals. Proline performed as well as traditional cryoprotectants based on the diffraction resolution and data-quality statistics. The structures were refined to assess the binding of proline to these proteins. As observed with traditional cryoprotectants such as glycerol and ethylene glycol, the electron-density maps clearly showed the presence of proline molecules bound to the protein. In two cases, histidine acid phosphatase and 1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate dehydrogenase, proline binds in the active site. It is concluded that l-proline is an effective cryoprotectant for protein crystallography.
Succinyl-CoA synthetase catalyzes the reaction succinyl-CoA + NDP + Pi ⇌ succinate + CoA + NTP, where N denotes adenosine or guanosine. The enzyme from T. aquaticus was characterized biochemically and its structure was determined in complex with GDP-Mn2+, the preferred nucleotide.
Succinyl-CoA synthetase (SCS) from Thermus aquaticus was characterized biochemically via measurements of the activity of the enzyme and determination of its quaternary structure as well as its stability and refolding properties. The enzyme is most active between pH 8.0 and 8.4 and its activity increases with temperature to about 339 K. Gel-filtration chromatography and sedimentation equilibrium under native conditions demonstrated that the enzyme is a heterotetramer of two α-subunits and two β-subunits. The activity assays showed that the enzyme uses either ADP/ATP or GDP/GTP, but prefers GDP/GTP. This contrasts with Escherichia coli SCS, which uses GDP/GTP but prefers ADP/ATP. To understand the nucleotide preference, T. aquaticus SCS was crystallized in the presence of GDP, leading to the determination of the structure in complex with GDP-Mn2+. A water molecule and Pro20β in T. aquaticus take the place of Gln20β in pig GTP-specific SCS, interacting well with the guanine base and other residues of the nucleotide-binding site. This leads to the preference for GDP/GTP, but does not hinder the binding of ADP/ATP.
thermostability; denaturation; nucleotide specificity; ATP-grasp fold; enzyme kinetics
The histidine WalK (YycG) plays a crucial role in coordinating murein synthesis with cell division and the crystal structure of its ATP binding domain has been determined. Interestingly the bound ATP was not hydrolyzed during crystallization and remains intact in the crystal lattice.
In Bacillus subtilis, the WalRK (YycFG) two-component system coordinates murein synthesis with cell division. It regulates the expression of autolysins that function in cell-wall remodeling and of proteins that modulate autolysin activity. The transcription factor WalR is activated upon phosphorylation by the histidine kinase WalK, a multi-domain homodimer. It autophosphorylates one of its histidine residues by transferring the γ-phosphate from ATP bound to its ATP-binding domain. Here, the high-resolution crystal structure of the ATP-binding domain of WalK in complex with ATP is presented at 1.61 Å resolution. The bound ATP remains intact in the crystal lattice. It appears that the strong binding interactions and the nature of the binding pocket contribute to its stability. The triphosphate moiety of ATP wraps around an Mg2+ ion, providing three O atoms for coordination in a near-ideal octahedral geometry. The ATP molecule also makes strong interactions with the protein. In addition, there is a short contact between the exocyclic O3′ of the sugar ring and O2B of the β-phosphate, implying an internal hydrogen bond. The stability of the WalK–ATP complex in the crystal lattice suggests that such a complex may exist in vivo poised for initiation of signal transmission. This feature may therefore be part of the sensing mechanism by which the WalRK two-component system is so rapidly activated when cells encounter conditions conducive for growth.
histidine kinases; ATP-binding domains; intact ATP
ATP bound in the active site of protein kinase A is readily hydrolysed to ADP and free phosphate by X-ray irradiation at room temperature. The phosphate ion observed in the active site causes a dramatic conformational change of the bound peptide inhibitor.
Post-translational protein phosphorylation by protein kinase A (PKA) is a ubiquitous signalling mechanism which regulates many cellular processes. A low-temperature X-ray structure of the ternary complex of the PKA catalytic subunit (PKAc) with ATP and a 20-residue peptidic inhibitor (IP20) at the physiological Mg2+ concentration of ∼0.5 mM (LT PKA–MgATP–IP20) revealed a single metal ion in the active site. The lack of a second metal in LT PKA–MgATP–IP20 renders the β- and γ-phosphoryl groups of ATP very flexible, with high thermal B factors. Thus, the second metal is crucial for tight positioning of the terminal phosphoryl group for transfer to a substrate, as demonstrated by comparison of the former structure with that of the LT PKA–Mg2ATP–IP20 complex obtained at high Mg2+ concentration. In addition to its kinase activity, PKAc is also able to slowly catalyze the hydrolysis of ATP using a water molecule as a substrate. It was found that ATP can be readily and completely hydrolyzed to ADP and a free phosphate ion in the crystals of the ternary complex PKA–Mg2ATP–IP20 by X-ray irradiation at room temperature. The cleavage of ATP may be aided by X-ray-generated free hydroxyl radicals, a very reactive chemical species, which move rapidly through the crystal at room temperature. The phosphate anion is clearly visible in the electron-density maps; it remains in the active site but slides about 2 Å from its position in ATP towards Ala21 of IP20, which mimics the phosphorylation site. The phosphate thus pushes the peptidic inhibitor away from the product ADP, while resulting in dramatic conformational changes of the terminal residues 24 and 25 of IP20. X-ray structures of PKAc in complex with the nonhydrolysable ATP analogue AMP-PNP at both room and low temperature demonstrated no temperature effects on the conformation and position of IP20.
protein kinase A; ATPases; ATP hydrolysis
The crystal structure of ShSPI, a serpin from the blood fluke S. haematobium, reveals some peculiar features of the helical subdomain which have not been observed previously in the serpin superfamily.
Parasitic organisms are constantly challenged by the defence mechanisms of their respective hosts, which often depend on serine protease activities. Consequently, protease inhibitors such as those belonging to the serpin superfamily have emerged as protective elements that support the survival of the parasites. This report describes the crystal structure of ShSPI, a serpin from the trematode Schistosoma haematobium. The protein is exposed on the surface of invading cercaria as well as of adult worms, suggesting its involvement in the parasite–host interaction. While generally conforming to the well established serpin fold, the structure reveals several distinctive features, mostly concerning the helical subdomain of the protein. It is proposed that these peculiarities are related to the unique biological properties of a small serpin subfamily which is conserved among pathogenic schistosomes.
serpins; Schistosoma haematobium; protease inhibitors; parasites
Using X-ray crystallography and isothermal titration calorimetry, we show that sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) binds specifically to a pre-formed internal cavity in horse-spleen apoferritin.
Although sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) is widely used as an anionic detergent, it can also exert specific pharmacological effects that are independent of the surfactant properties of the molecule. However, structural details of how proteins recognize SDS are scarce. Here, it is demonstrated that SDS binds specifically to a naturally occurring four-helix bundle protein: horse apoferritin. The X-ray crystal structure of the apoferritin–SDS complex was determined at a resolution of 1.9 Å and revealed that the SDS binds in an internal cavity that has previously been shown to recognize various general anesthetics. A dissociation constant of 24 ± 9 µM at 293 K was determined by isothermal titration calorimetry. SDS binds in this cavity by bending its alkyl tail into a horseshoe shape; the charged SDS head group lies in the opening of the cavity at the protein surface. This crystal structure provides insights into the protein–SDS interactions that give rise to binding and may prove useful in the design of novel SDS-like ligands for some proteins.
sodium dodecyl sulfate; detergents; apoferritin
A comparative analysis of sulfur phasing of death receptor 6 (DR6) using data collected at wavelengths of 2.0 and 2.7 Å is presented. SAXS analysis of unliganded DR6 defines a dimer as the minimum physical unit in solution.
A subset of tumour necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) superfamily members contain death domains in their cytoplasmic tails. Death receptor 6 (DR6) is one such member and can trigger apoptosis upon the binding of a ligand by its cysteine-rich domains (CRDs). The crystal structure of the ectodomain (amino acids 1–348) of human death receptor 6 (DR6) encompassing the CRD region was phased using the anomalous signal from S atoms. In order to explore the feasibility of S-SAD phasing at longer wavelengths (beyond 2.5 Å), a comparative study was performed on data collected at wavelengths of 2.0 and 2.7 Å. In spite of sub-optimal experimental conditions, the 2.7 Å wavelength used for data collection showed potential for S-SAD phasing. The results showed that the R
p.i.m. ratio is a good indicator for monitoring the anomalous data quality when the anomalous signal is relatively strong, while d′′/sig(d′′) calculated by SHELXC is a more sensitive and stable indicator applicable for grading a wider range of anomalous data qualities. The use of the ‘parameter-space screening method’ for S-SAD phasing resulted in solutions for data sets that failed during manual attempts. SAXS measurements on the ectodomain suggested that a dimer defines the minimal physical unit of an unliganded DR6 molecule in solution.
sulfur phasing; SAXS analysis; long-wavelength X-rays; death receptor 6
Radiation-induced reduction, radiolysis of copper sites and the effect of pH value together with the concomitant geometrical distortions of the active centres were analysed in several fungal (C. gallica) laccase structures collected at cryotemperature. This study emphasizes the importance of careful interpretation when the crystallographic structure of a metalloprotein is described.
X-ray radiation induces two main effects at metal centres contained in protein crystals: radiation-induced reduction and radiolysis and a resulting decrease in metal occupancy. In blue multicopper oxidases (BMCOs), the geometry of the active centres and the metal-to-ligand distances change depending on the oxidation states of the Cu atoms, suggesting that these alterations are catalytically relevant to the binding, activation and reduction of O2. In this work, the X-ray-determined three-dimensional structure of laccase from the basidiomycete Coriolopsis gallica (Cg L), a high catalytic potential BMCO, is described. By combining spectroscopic techniques (UV–Vis, EPR and XAS) and X-ray crystallography, structural changes at and around the active copper centres were related to pH and absorbed X-ray dose (energy deposited per unit mass). Depletion of two of the four active Cu atoms as well as low occupancies of the remaining Cu atoms, together with different conformations of the metal centres, were observed at both acidic pH and high absorbed dose, correlating with more reduced states of the active coppers. These observations provide additional evidence to support the role of flexibility of copper sites during O2 reduction. This study supports previous observations indicating that interpretations regarding redox state and metal coordination need to take radiation effects explicitly into account.
bioelectrocatalysis; blue multicopper oxidases; copper reduction; dioxygen; fungal laccases; MicroPIXE; O2 reduction; protein electrochemistry; radiolysis; radiation damage; X-ray-induced reduction
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
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
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
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