A set of 44 protein targets was used to test expression in the wheat germ cell-free system, the vast majority of which were expressed and soluble in this system; further increases in solubility were achieved by addition of the NVoy polymer.
Recombinant expression of proteins of interest in Escherichia coli is an important tool in the determination of protein structure. However, lack of expression and insolubility remain significant challenges to the expression and crystallization of these proteins. The SSGCID program uses a wheat germ cell-free expression system as a rescue pathway for proteins that are either not expressed or insoluble when produced in E. coli. Testing indicates that the system is a valuable tool for these protein targets. Further increases in solubility were obtained by the addition of the NVoy polymer reagent to the reaction mixture. These data indicate that this eukaryotic cell-free expression system has a high success rate and that the addition of specific reagents can increase the yield of soluble protein.
cell-free expression; protein expression; protein solubility; Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease; NVoy; E. coli expression
Structural characterization of the bifunctional enzyme dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase from B. bovis in the apo state and complexed with antifolate inhibitors in both enzymatic active sites is reported.
Babesiosis is a tick-borne disease caused by eukaryotic Babesia parasites which are morphologically similar to Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria in humans. Like Plasmodium, different species of Babesia are tuned to infect different mammalian hosts, including rats, dogs, horses and cattle. Most species of Plasmodium and Babesia possess an essential bifunctional enzyme for nucleotide synthesis and folate metabolism: dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase. Although thymidylate synthase is highly conserved across organisms, the bifunctional form of this enzyme is relatively uncommon in nature. The structural characterization of dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase in Babesia bovis, the causative agent of babesiosis in livestock cattle, is reported here. The apo state is compared with structures that contain dUMP, NADP and two different antifolate inhibitors: pemetrexed and raltitrexed. The complexes reveal modes of binding similar to that seen in drug-resistant malaria strains and point to the utility of applying structural studies with proven cancer chemotherapies towards infectious disease research.
Babesia bovis; dihydrofolate reductase; thymidylate synthase; pemetrexed; raltitrexed; antifolates; SSGCID
B. henselae is the etiological agent responsible for cat scratch fever (bartonellosis). The crystal structure of the smaller of the two Nudix hydrolases encoded in the genome of B. henselae, Bh-MutT, was determined to 2.1 Å resolution.
Cat scratch fever (also known as cat scratch disease and bartonellosis) is an infectious disease caused by the proteobacterium Bartonella henselae following a cat scratch. Although the infection usually resolves spontaneously without treatment in healthy adults, bartonellosis may lead to severe complications in young children and immunocompromised patients, and there is new evidence suggesting that B. henselae may be associated with a broader range of clinical symptoms then previously believed. The genome of B. henselae contains genes for two putative Nudix hydrolases, BH02020 and BH01640 (KEGG). Nudix proteins play an important role in regulating the intracellular concentration of nucleotide cofactors and signaling molecules. The amino-acid sequence of BH02020 is similar to that of the prototypical member of the Nudix superfamily, Escherichia coli MutT, a protein that is best known for its ability to neutralize the promutagenic compound 7,8-dihydro-8-oxoguanosine triphosphate. Here, the crystal structure of BH02020 (Bh-MutT) in the Mg2+-bound state was determined at 2.1 Å resolution (PDB entry 3hhj). As observed in all Nudix hydrolase structures, the α-helix of the highly conserved ‘Nudix box’ in Bh-MutT is one of two helices that sandwich a four-stranded mixed β-sheet with the central two β-strands parallel to each other. The catalytically essential divalent cation observed in the Bh-MutT structure, Mg2+, is coordinated to the side chains of Glu57 and Glu61. The structure is not especially robust; a temperature melt obtained using circular dichroism spectroscopy shows that Bh-MutT irreversibly unfolds and precipitates out of solution upon heating, with a T
m of 333 K.
Nudix hydrolases; Bartonella henselae; MutT; cat scratch fever
The crystal structure of the ubiquitous glycolytic enzyme triosephosphate isomerase from C. parvum in the open-loop conformation was determined at a resolution of 1.55 Å.
Cryptosporidium parvum is one of several Cryptosporidium spp. that cause the parasitic infection cryptosporidiosis. Cryptosporidiosis is a diarrheal infection that is spread via the fecal–oral route and is commonly caused by contaminated drinking water. Triosephosphate isomerase is an enzyme that is ubiquitous to all organisms that perform glycolysis. Triosephosphate isomerase catalyzes the formation of glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate from dihydroxyacetone phosphate, which is a critical step to ensure the maximum ATP production per glucose molecule. In this paper, the 1.55 Å resolution crystal structure of the open-loop form of triosephosphate isomerase from C. parvum Iowa II is presented. An unidentified electron density was found in the active site.
glycolysis; triosephosphate; triosephosphate isomerases; metabolism; Cryptosporidium parvum
The structure of a β-lactamase-like protein from B. melitensis was solved independently using two data sets with anomalous signal. Anomalous Fourier maps could confirm the identity of two metal ions in the active site. AMP-bound and GMP-bound structures provide hints to the possible function of the protein.
The crystal structure of a β-lactamase-like protein from Brucella melitensis was initially solved by SAD phasing from an in-house data set collected on a crystal soaked with iodide. A high-resolution data set was collected at a synchroton at the Se edge wavelength, which also provided an independent source of phasing using a small anomalous signal from metal ions in the active site. Comparisons of anomalous peak heights at various wavelengths allowed the identification of the active-site metal ions as manganese. In the native data set a partially occupied GMP could be identified. When co-crystallized with AMPPNP or GMPPNP, clear density for the hydrolyzed analogs was observed, providing hints to the function of the protein.
Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease; iodide; SAD phasing; anomalous diffraction; Brucella melitensis; lactamase; Phn
The R. prowazekii 3-ketoacyl-(acyl-carrier-protein) reductase is similar to those from other prokaryotic pathogens but differs significantly from the mammalian orthologue, strengthening its case as a potential drug target.
Rickettsia prowazekii, a parasitic Gram-negative bacterium, is in the second-highest biodefense category of pathogens of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, but only a handful of structures have been deposited in the PDB for this bacterium; to date, all of these have been solved by the SSGCID. Owing to its small genome (about 800 protein-coding genes), it relies on the host for many basic biosynthetic processes, hindering the identification of potential antipathogenic drug targets. However, like many bacteria and plants, its metabolism does depend upon the type II fatty-acid synthesis (FAS) pathway for lipogenesis, whereas the predominant form of fatty-acid biosynthesis in humans is via the type I pathway. Here, the structure of the third enzyme in the FAS pathway, 3-ketoacyl-(acyl-carrier-protein) reductase, is reported at a resolution of 2.25 Å. Its fold is highly similar to those of the existing structures from some well characterized pathogens, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Burkholderia pseudomallei, but differs significantly from the analogous mammalian structure. Hence, drugs known to target the enzymes of pathogenic bacteria may serve as potential leads against Rickettsia, which is responsible for spotted fever and typhus and is found throughout the world.
Rickettsia prowazekii; 3-oxoacyl-(acyl-carrier-protein) reductase; FabG; epidemic typhus; infectious diseases; SSGCID
Fumarate hydratase is an enzyme of the tricarboxylic acid cycle, one of the metabolic pathways characteristic of the mitochondria. The structure of R. prowazekii class II fumarate hydratase is reported at 2.4 Å resolution and is compared with the available structure of the human homolog.
Rickettsiae are obligate intracellular parasites of eukaryotic cells that are the causative agents responsible for spotted fever and typhus. Their small genome (about 800 protein-coding genes) is highly conserved across species and has been postulated as the ancestor of the mitochondria. No genes that are required for glycolysis are found in the Rickettsia prowazekii or mitochondrial genomes, but a complete set of genes encoding components of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and the respiratory-chain complex is found in both. A 2.4 Å resolution crystal structure of R. prowazekii fumarate hydratase, an enzyme catalyzing the third step of the tricarboxylic acid cycle pathway that ultimately converts phosphoenolpyruvate into succinyl-CoA, has been solved. A structure alignment with human mitochondrial fumarate hydratase highlights the close similarity between R. prowazekii and mitochondrial enzymes.
tricarboxylic acid cycle; mitochondria; Rickettsia; typhus; fumarate hydratases; lyases
B. melitensis is a NIAID Category B microorganism that is responsible for brucellosis and is a potential agent for biological warfare. Here, the solution structure of the 116-residue arsenate reductase-related protein Bm-YffB (BR0369) from this organism is reported.
Brucella melitensis is the etiological agent responsible for brucellosis. Present in the B. melitensis genome is a 116-residue protein related to arsenate reductases (Bm-YffB; BR0369). Arsenate reductases (ArsC) convert arsenate ion (H2AsO4
−), a compound that is toxic to bacteria, to arsenite ion (AsO2
−), a product that may be efficiently exported out of the cell. Consequently, Bm-YffB is a potential drug target because if arsenate reduction is the protein’s major biological function then disabling the cell’s ability to reduce arsenate would make these cells more sensitive to the deleterious effects of arsenate. Size-exclusion chromatography and NMR spectroscopy indicate that Bm-YffB is a monomer in solution. The solution structure of Bm-YffB (PDB entry 2kok) shows that the protein consists of two domains: a four-stranded mixed β-sheet flanked by two α-helices on one side and an α-helical bundle. The α/β domain is characteristic of the fold of thioredoxin-like proteins and the overall structure is generally similar to those of known arsenate reductases despite the marginal sequence similarity. Chemical shift perturbation studies with 15N-labeled Bm-YffB show that the protein binds reduced glutathione at a site adjacent to a region similar to the HX
3R catalytic sequence motif that is important for arsenic detoxification activity in the classical arsenate-reductase family of proteins. The latter observation supports the hypothesis that the ArsC-YffB family of proteins may function as glutathione-dependent thiol reductases. However, comparison of the structure of Bm-YffB with the structures of proteins from the classical ArsC family suggest that the mechanism and possibly the function of Bm-YffB and other related proteins (ArsC-YffB) may differ from those of the ArsC family of proteins.
arsenate reductases; Brucella melitensis; YffB; brucellosis
NMR structures of the glutaredoxin (GLXR) domains from Br. melitensis and Ba. henselae have been determined as part of the SSGCID initiative. Comparison of the domains with known structures reveals overall structural similarity between these proteins and previously determined E. coli GLXR structures, with minor changes associated with the position of helix 1 and with regions that diverge from similar structures found in the closest related human homolog.
Glutaredoxin proteins (GLXRs) are essential components of the glutathione system that reductively detoxify substances such as arsenic and peroxides and are important in the synthesis of DNA via ribonucleotide reductases. NMR solution structures of glutaredoxin domains from two Gram-negative opportunistic pathogens, Brucella melitensis and Bartonella henselae, are presented. These domains lack the N-terminal helix that is frequently present in eukaryotic GLXRs. The conserved active-site cysteines adopt canonical proline/tyrosine-stabilized geometries. A difference in the angle of α-helix 2 relative to the β-sheet surface and the presence of an extended loop in the human sequence suggests potential regulatory regions and/or protein–protein interaction motifs. This observation is consistent with mutations in this region that suppress defects in GLXR–ribonucleotide reductase interactions. These differences between the human and bacterial forms are adjacent to the dithiol active site and may permit species-selective drug design.
glutaredoxins; metal detoxification; reactive oxygen species; ribonucleotide reductases; Brucella melitensis; Bartonella henselae; cat-scratch fever; Malta fever; thioredoxin fold
One third of the world’s human population is infected with M. tuberculosis, the etiological agent responsible for tuberculosis (TB). Here, the solution structure of the small iron-binding protein from this organism, rubredoxin B (Rv3250c), is reported in the zinc-substituted form.
Owing to the evolution of multi-drug-resistant and extremely drug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains, there is an urgent need to develop new antituberculosis strategies to prevent TB epidemics in the industrial world. Among the potential new drug targets are two small nonheme iron-binding proteins, rubredoxin A (Rv3251c) and rubredoxin B (Rv3250c), which are believed to play a role in electron-transfer processes. Here, the solution structure and biophysical properties of one of these two proteins, rubredoxin B (Mt-RubB), determined in the zinc-substituted form are reported. The zinc-substituted protein was prepared by expressing Mt-RubB in minimal medium containing excess zinc acetate. Size-exclusion chromatography and NMR spectroscopy indicated that Mt-RubB was a monomer in solution. The structure (PDB entry 2kn9) was generally similar to those of other rubredoxins, containing a three-stranded antiparallel β-sheet (β2–β1–β3) and a metal tetrahedrally coordinated to the S atoms of four cysteine residues (Cys9, Cys12, Cys42 and Cys45). The first pair of cysteine residues is at the C-terminal end of the first β-strand and the second pair of cysteine residues is towards the C-terminal end of the loop between β2 and β3. The structure shows the metal buried deeply within the protein, an observation that is supported by the inability to remove the metal with excess EDTA at room temperature. Circular dichroism spectroscopy shows that this stability extends to high temperature, with essentially no change being observed in the CD spectrum of Mt-RubB upon heating to 353 K.
rubredoxin B; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Rv3250c
Cystathionine γ-synthase (CGS) is a transferase that catalyzes the reaction between O
4-succinyl-l-homoserine and l-cysteine to produce l-cystathionine and succinate. The crystal structure of CGS from M. ulcerans is presented covalently linked to the cofactor pyridoxal phosphate (PLP). A second structure contains PLP as well as a highly ordered HEPES molecule in the active site acting as a pseudo-ligand. This is the first structure ever reported from the pathogen M. ulcerans.
Cystathionine γ-synthase (CGS) is a transulfurication enzyme that catalyzes the first specific step in l-methionine biosynthesis by the reaction of O
4-succinyl-l-homoserine and l-cysteine to produce l-cystathionine and succinate. Controlling the first step in l-methionine biosythesis, CGS is an excellent potential drug target. Mycobacterium ulcerans is a slow-growing mycobacterium that is the third most common form of mycobacterial infection, mainly infecting people in Africa, Australia and Southeast Asia. Infected patients display a variety of skin ailments ranging from indolent non-ulcerated lesions as well as ulcerated lesions. Here, the crystal structure of CGS from M. ulcerans covalently linked to the cofactor pyridoxal phosphate (PLP) is reported at 1.9 Å resolution. A second structure contains PLP as well as a highly ordered HEPES molecule in the active site acting as a pseudo-ligand. These results present the first structure of a CGS from a mycobacterium and allow comparison with other CGS enzymes. This is also the first structure reported from the pathogen M. ulcerans.
pyridoxal phosphate; l-methionine; O4-succinyl-l-homoserine; l-cysteine; l-cystathionine; AAT-I superfamily; Mycobacteria ulcerans; cystathionine γ-synthase
An introduction and overview of the focus, goals and overall mission of the Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSGCID) is given.
The Seattle Structural Genomics Center for Infectious Disease (SSGCID) is a consortium of researchers at Seattle BioMed, Emerald BioStructures, the University of Washington and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory that was established to apply structural genomics approaches to drug targets from infectious disease organisms. The SSGCID is currently funded over a five-year period by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to determine the three-dimensional structures of 400 proteins from a variety of Category A, B and C pathogens. Target selection engages the infectious disease research and drug-therapy communities to identify drug targets, essential enzymes, virulence factors and vaccine candidates of biomedical relevance to combat infectious diseases. The protein-expression systems, purified proteins, ligand screens and three-dimensional structures produced by SSGCID constitute a valuable resource for drug-discovery research, all of which is made freely available to the greater scientific community. This issue of Acta Crystallographica Section F, entirely devoted to the work of the SSGCID, covers the details of the high-throughput pipeline and presents a series of structures from a broad array of pathogenic organisms. Here, a background is provided on the structural genomics of infectious disease, the essential components of the SSGCID pipeline are discussed and a survey of progress to date is presented.
SSGCID; structural genomics; structure-based drug design; infectious diseases; pathogens; emerging and re-emerging diseases
Phosphopantetheine adenylyltransferase (PPAT) reversibly converts ATP and 4′-phosphopantetheine into dephospho-coenzyme A and pyrophosphate. Crystal structures are presented of PPAT from B. pseudomallei, the pathogenic bacterium that causes melioidosis.
Phosphopantetheine adenylyltransferase (PPAT) catalyzes the fourth of five steps in the coenzyme A biosynthetic pathway, reversibly transferring an adenylyl group from ATP onto 4′-phosphopantetheine to yield dephospho-coenzyme A and pyrophosphate. Burkholderia pseudomallei is a soil- and water-borne pathogenic bacterium and the etiologic agent of melioidosis, a potentially fatal systemic disease present in southeast Asia. Two crystal structures are presented of the PPAT from B. pseudomallei with the expectation that, because of the importance of the enzyme in coenzyme A biosynthesis, they will aid in the search for defenses against this pathogen. A crystal grown in ammonium sulfate yielded a 2.1 Å resolution structure that contained dephospho-coenzyme A with partial occupancy. The overall structure and ligand-binding interactions are quite similar to other bacterial PPAT crystal structures. A crystal grown at low pH in the presence of coenzyme A yielded a 1.6 Å resolution structure in the same crystal form. However, the experimental electron density was not reflective of fully ordered coenzyme A, but rather was only reflective of an ordered 4′-diphosphopantetheine moiety.
biosynthesis; CoaD; coenzyme A; Burkholderia; infectious diseases; melioidosis; nucleotidyltransferases; pantetheine-phosphate adenylyltransferase; phosphopanthetheine adenylyltransferase; PPAT; Rossman fold
The pathogenic fungus C. immitis causes coccidioidomycosis, a potentially fatal disease. Here, apo and glutathione-bound crystal structures of a previously uncharacterized protein from C. immitis that appears to be a ζ-class glutathione S-transferase are presented.
Coccidioides immitis is a pathogenic fungus populating the southwestern United States and is a causative agent of coccidioidomycosis, sometimes referred to as Valley Fever. Although the genome of this fungus has been sequenced, many operons are not properly annotated. Crystal structures are presented for a putative uncharacterized protein that shares sequence similarity with ζ-class glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) in both apo and glutathione-bound forms. The apo structure reveals a nonsymmetric homodimer with each protomer comprising two subdomains: a C-terminal helical domain and an N-terminal thioredoxin-like domain that is common to all GSTs. Half-site binding is observed in the glutathione-bound form. Considerable movement of some components of the active site relative to the glutathione-free form was observed, indicating an induced-fit mechanism for cofactor binding. The sequence homology, structure and half-site occupancy imply that the protein is a ζ-class glutathione S-transferase, a maleylacetoacetate isomerase (MAAI).
Coccidioides immitis; coccidioidomycosis; dichloroacetic acid; glutathione S-transferase; maleylacetoacetate isomerase; phenylalanine and tyrosine metabolism; thioredoxin-like fold; Valley Fever
An ensemble of crystal structures are reported for 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate-dependent phosphoglycerate mutase from B. pseudomallei. The structures include two vanadate complexes, revealing the structure of a close analogue of the transition state for phosphate transfer.
Burkholderia pseudomallei is a soil-dwelling bacterium endemic to Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. Burkholderia is responsible for melioidosis, a serious infection of the skin. The enzyme 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate-dependent phosphoglycerate mutase (PGAM) catalyzes the interconversion of 3-phosphoglycerate and 2-phosphoglycerate, a key step in the glycolytic pathway. As such it is an extensively studied enzyme and X-ray crystal structures of PGAM enzymes from multiple species have been elucidated. Vanadate is a phosphate mimic that is a powerful tool for studying enzymatic mechanisms in phosphoryl-transfer enzymes such as phosphoglycerate mutase. However, to date no X-ray crystal structures of phosphoglycerate mutase have been solved with vanadate acting as a substrate mimic. Here, two vanadate complexes together with an ensemble of substrate and fragment-bound structures that provide a comprehensive picture of the function of the Burkholderia enzyme are reported.
Burkholderia pseudomallei; melioidosis; 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate-dependent phosphoglycerate mutase; fragment screening; vanadate; transition-state mimics; SSGCID; FBDD
The first crystal structure is reported of a glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase in the apo state without flavin adenine dinucleotide cofactor bound. Additional structures with small molecules complexed in the catalytic active site were obtained by fragment-based screening.
Glutaric acidemia type 1 is an inherited metabolic disorder which can cause macrocephaly, muscular rigidity, spastic paralysis and other progressive movement disorders in humans. The defects in glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase (GCDH) associated with this disease are thought to increase holoenzyme instability and reduce cofactor binding. Here, the first structural analysis of a GCDH enzyme in the absence of the cofactor flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) is reported. The apo structure of GCDH from Burkholderia pseudomallei reveals a loss of secondary structure and increased disorder in the FAD-binding pocket relative to the ternary complex of the highly homologous human GCDH. After conducting a fragment-based screen, four small molecules were identified which bind to GCDH from B. pseudomallei. Complex structures were determined for these fragments, which cause backbone and side-chain perturbations to key active-site residues. Structural insights from this investigation highlight differences from apo GCDH and the utility of small-molecular fragments as chemical probes for capturing alternative conformational states of preformed protein crystals.
Burkholderia pseudomallei; glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase; glutaric acidemia; fragment screening; flavoproteins; pantothenate; glutaryl-CoA; crotonyl-CoA; flavin adenine dinucleotide; SSGCID
The crystal structure of a conserved hypothetical protein from L. major, Pfam sequence family PF04543, structural genomics target ID Lmaj006129AAA, has been determined at a resolution of 1.6 Å.
The gene product of structural genomics target Lmaj006129 from Leishmania major codes for a 164-residue protein of unknown function. When SeMet expression of the full-length gene product failed, several truncation variants were created with the aid of Ginzu, a domain-prediction method. 11 truncations were selected for expression, purification and crystallization based upon secondary-structure elements and disorder. The structure of one of these variants, Lmaj006129AAH, was solved by multiple-wavelength anomalous diffraction (MAD) using ELVES, an automatic protein crystal structure-determination system. This model was then successfully used as a molecular-replacement probe for the parent full-length target, Lmaj006129AAA. The final structure of Lmaj006129AAA was refined to an R value of 0.185 (R
free = 0.229) at 1.60 Å resolution. Structure and sequence comparisons based on Lmaj006129AAA suggest that proteins belonging to Pfam sequence families PF04543 and PF01878 may share a common ligand-binding motif.