Protein Science

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Wiley Online Library : Protein Science
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The AbgT family: A novel class of antimetabolite transporters

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 08:31
Abstract

The AbgT family of transporters was thought to contribute to bacterial folate biosynthesis by importing the catabolite p-aminobenzoyl-glutamate for producing this essential vitamin. Approximately 13,000 putative transporters of the family have been identified. However, before our work, no structural information was available and even functional data were minimal for this family of membrane proteins. To elucidate the structure and function of the AbgT family of transporters, we recently determined the X-ray structures of the full-length Alcanivorax borkumensis YdaH and Neisseria gonorrhoeae MtrF membrane proteins. The structures reveal that these two transporters assemble as dimers with architectures distinct from all other families of transporters. Both YdaH and MtrF are bowl-shaped dimers with a solvent-filled basin extending from the cytoplasm halfway across the membrane bilayer. The protomers of YdaH and MtrF contain nine transmembrane helices and two hairpins. These structures directly suggest a plausible pathway for substrate transport. A combination of the crystal structure, genetic analysis and substrate accumulation assay indicates that both YdaH and MtrF behave as exporters, capable of removing the folate metabolite p-aminobenzoic acid from bacterial cells. Further experimental data based on drug susceptibility and radioactive transport assay suggest that both YdaH and MtrF participate as antibiotic efflux pumps, importantly mediating bacterial resistance to sulfonamide antimetabolite drugs. It is possible that many of these AbgT-family transporters act as exporters, thereby conferring bacterial resistance to sulfonamides. The AbgT-family transporters may be important targets for the rational design of novel antibiotics to combat bacterial infections.

Categories: Journal Articles

From invagination to navigation: The story of magnetosome-associated proteins in magnetotactic bacteria

Tue, 11/03/2015 - 08:30
Abstract

Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) are a group of Gram-negative microorganisms that are able to sense and change their orientation in accordance with the geomagnetic field. This unique capability is due to the presence of a special suborganelle called the magnetosome, composed of either a magnetite or gregite crystal surrounded by a lipid membrane. MTB were first detected in 1975 and since then numerous efforts have been made to clarify the special mechanism of magnetosome formation at the molecular level. Magnetosome formation can be divided into several steps, beginning with vesicle invagination from the cell membrane, through protein sorting, followed by the combined steps of iron transportation, biomineralization, and the alignment of magnetosomes into a chain. The magnetosome-chain enables the sensing of the magnetic field, and thus, allows the MTB to navigate. It is known that magnetosome formation is tightly controlled by a distinctive set of magnetosome-associated proteins that are encoded mainly in a genomically conserved region within MTB called the magnetosome island (MAI). Most of these proteins were shown to have an impact on the magnetism of MTB. Here, we describe the process in which the magnetosome is formed with an emphasis on the different proteins that participate in each stage of the magnetosome formation scheme.

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Caenorhabditis elegans NONO-1: Insights into DBHS protein structure, architecture, and function

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 02:16
Abstract

Members of the Drosophila behavior/human splicing (DBHS) protein family have been characterized in the vertebrates Homo sapiens and Mus musculus, and the invertebrates Drosophila melanogaster and Chironomus tentans. Collectively, both vertebrate and invertebrate DBHS proteins function throughout gene regulation, largely but not always, within the nucleus. In this study, we report a structural and bioinformatic analysis of the DBHS protein family to guide future studies into DBHS protein function. To explore the structural plasticity of the family, we describe the 2.4 Å crystal structure of Caenorhabditis elegans non-POU domain-containing octamer-binding protein 1 (NONO-1). The structure is dimeric, with a domain arrangement consistent with mammalian DBHS proteins. Comparison with the DBHS structures available from H. sapiens reveals that there is inherent domain flexibility within the homologous DBHS region. Mapping amino acid similarity within the family to the NONO-1 dimer highlights the dimer interface, coiled-coil oligomerization motif, and putative RNA binding surfaces. Surprisingly, the interior surface of RNA recognition motif 2 (RRM2) that faces a large internal void is highly variable, but the external β2–β3 loops of RRM2 show remarkable preservation. Overall, the DBHS region is under strong purifying selection, whereas the sequences N- and C-terminal to the DBHS region are less constrained. The findings described in this study provide a molecular basis for further investigation into the mechanistic function of the DBHS protein family in biology.

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Crystal structure of a conserved domain in the intermembrane space region of the plastid division protein ARC6

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 02:16
Abstract

The chloroplast division machinery is composed of numerous proteins that assemble as a large complex to divide double-membraned chloroplasts through binary fission. A key mediator of division-complex formation is ARC6, a chloroplast inner envelope protein and evolutionary descendant of the cyanobacterial cell division protein Ftn2. ARC6 connects stromal and cytosolic contractile rings across the two membranes through interaction with an outer envelope protein within the intermembrane space (IMS). The ARC6 IMS region bears a structurally uncharacterized domain of unknown function, DUF4101, that is highly conserved among ARC6 and Ftn2 proteins. Here we report the crystal structure of this domain from Arabidopsis thaliana ARC6. The domain forms an α/β barrel open towards the outer envelope membrane but closed towards the inner envelope membrane. These findings provide new clues into how ARC6 and its homologs contribute to chloroplast and cyanobacterial cell division.

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The unusual internal motion of the villin headpiece subdomain

Thu, 10/29/2015 - 02:15
Abstract

The thermostable 36-residue subdomain of the villin headpiece (HP36) is the smallest known cooperatively folding protein. Although the folding and internal dynamics of HP36 and close variants have been extensively studied, there has not been a comprehensive investigation of side-chain motion in this protein. Here, the fast motion of methyl-bearing amino acid side chains is explored over a range of temperatures using site-resolved solution nuclear magnetic resonance deuterium relaxation. The squared generalized order parameters of methyl groups extensively spatially segregate according to motional classes. This has not been observed before in any protein studied using this methodology. The class segregation is preserved from 275 to 305 K. Motions detected in Helix 3 suggest a fast timescale of conformational heterogeneity that has not been previously observed but is consistent with a range of folding and dynamics studies. Finally, a comparison between the order parameters in solution with previous results based on solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance deuterium line shape analysis of HP36 in partially hydrated powders shows a clear disagreement for half of the sites. This result has significant implications for the interpretation of data derived from a variety of approaches that rely on partially hydrated protein samples.

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Comparison of native and non-native ubiquitin oligomers reveals analogous structures and reactivities

Tue, 10/27/2015 - 17:58
Abstract

Ubiquitin (Ub) chains regulate a wide range of biological processes, and Ub chain connectivity is a critical determinant of the many regulatory roles that this post-translational modification plays in cells. To understand how distinct Ub chains orchestrate different biochemical events, we and other investigators have developed enzymatic and non-enzymatic methods to synthesize Ub chains of well-defined length and connectivity. A number of chemical approaches have been used to generate Ub oligomers connected by non-native linkages; however, few studies have examined the extent to which non-native linkages recapitulate the structural and functional properties associated with native isopeptide bonds. Here, we compare the structure and function of Ub dimers bearing native and non-native linkages. Using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) analysis, we show that scattering profiles for the two types of dimers are similar. Moreover, using an experimental structural library and atomistic simulations to fit the experimental SAXS profiles, we find that the two types of Ub dimers can be matched to analogous structures. An important application of non-native Ub oligomers is to probe the activity and selectivity of deubiquitinases. Through steady-state kinetic analyses, we demonstrate that different families of deubiquitinases hydrolyze native and non-native isopeptide linkages with comparable efficiency and selectivity. Considering the significant challenges associated with building topologically diverse native Ub chains, our results illustrate that chains harboring non-native linkages can serve as surrogate substrates for explorations of Ub function. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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IN THIS ISSUE

Sat, 10/24/2015 - 05:28
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Issue Information

Sat, 10/24/2015 - 05:27
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Elucidating nitric oxide synthase domain interactions by molecular dynamics

Thu, 10/22/2015 - 03:21
Abstract

Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) is a multidomain enzyme that catalyzes the production of nitric oxide (NO) by oxidizing l-Arg to NO and L-citrulline. NO production requires multiple interdomain electron transfer steps between the flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and heme domain. Specifically, NADPH-derived electrons are transferred to the heme-containing oxygenase domain via the flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and FMN containing reductase domains. While crystal structures are available for both the reductase and oxygenase domains of NOS, to date there is no atomic level structural information on domain interactions required for the final FMN-to-heme electron transfer step. Here, we evaluate a model of this final electron transfer step for the heme–FMN–calmodulin NOS complex based on the recent biophysical studies using a 105-ns molecular dynamics trajectory. The resulting equilibrated complex structure is very stable and provides a detailed prediction of interdomain contacts required for stabilizing the NOS output state. The resulting equilibrated complex model agrees well with previous experimental work and provides a detailed working model of the final NOS electron transfer step required for NO biosynthesis.

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Production of soluble and active microbial transglutaminase in Escherichia coli for site-specific antibody drug conjugation

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 03:31
Abstract

Applications of microbial transglutaminase (mTGase) produced from Streptomyces mobarensis (S. mobarensis) were recently extended from food to pharmaceutical industry. To use mTGase for clinical applications, like generation of site specific antibody drug conjugates, it would be beneficial to manufacture mTGase in Escherichia coli (E. coli). To date, attempts to express recombinant soluble and active S. mobarensis mTGase have been largely unsuccessful. mTGase from S. mobarensis is naturally expressed as proenzyme and stepwise proteolytically processed into its active mature form outside of the bacterial cell. The pro-domain is essential for correct folding of mTGase as well as for inhibiting activity of mTGase inside the cell. Here we report a genetically modified mTGase that has full activity and can be expressed at high yields in the cytoplasm of E. coli. To achieve this we performed an alanine-scan of the mTGase pro-domain and identified mutants that maintain its chaperone function but destabilize the cleaved pro-domain/mTGase interaction in a temperature dependent fashion. This allows proper folding of mTGase and keeps the enzyme inactive during expression at 20°C, but results in full activity when shifted to 37°C due to loosened domain interactions. The insertion of the 3C protease cleavage site together with pro-domain alanine mutants Tyr14, Ile24 or Asn25 facilitate high yields (30-75mg/L), and produced an enzyme with activity identical to wild type mTGase from S. mobarensis. Site-specific antibody drug conjugates made with the E .coli produced mTGase demonstrated identical potency in an in vitro cell assay to those made with mTGase from S. mobarensis. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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1,3-Propanediol binds inside the water-conducting pore of aquaporin 4: Does this efficacious inhibitor have sufficient potency?

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 03:31
Abstract

Among the thirteen types of water channel proteins, aquaporins (AQPs), which play various essential roles in human physiology, AQP4 is richly expressed in cells of the central nervous system and implicated in pathological conditions such as brain edema. Therefore, researchers have been looking for ways to inhibit AQP4's water-conducting function. Many small molecules have been investigated for their interactions with the residues that form the AQP4 channel entry vestibule on the extracellular side and their interruption of waters entering into the conducting pore. Conducting all-atom simulations on the basis of CHARMM 36 force field, we study one such inhibitor, 5-acetamido-1,3,4-thiadiazole-2-sulfonamide (AZM), to achieve quantitative agreement between the computed and the experimentally measured values of AZM-AQP4 binding affinity. Using the same method, we examine the possibility of plugging up the AQP4 channel around the Asn-Pro-Ala motifs located near the channel center because a small molecule bound there would totally occlude water conduction through AQP4. We compute the binding affinities of 1,2-ethanediol (EDO) and 1,3-propanediol (PDO) inside the AQP4 conducting pore and identify the specificities of the interactions. The EDO-AQP4 interaction is weak with a dissociation constant of 80 mM. The PDO-AQP4 interaction is rather strong with a dissociation constant of 328 µM, which indicates that PDO is an efficacious AQP4 inhibitor with sufficiently high potency. Considering the fact that PDO is classified by the US Food and Drug Administration as generally safe, we predict that 1,3-propanediol could be an effective drug for brain edema and other AQP4-correlated neurological conditions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Crystal structure of quinone-dependent alcohol dehydrogenase from Pseudogluconobacter saccharoketogenes. A versatile dehydrogenase oxidizing alcohols and carbohydrates

Tue, 10/20/2015 - 02:18
Abstract

The quinone-dependent alcohol dehydrogenase (PQQ-ADH, E.C. 1.1.5.2) from the Gram-negative bacterium Pseudogluconobacter saccharoketogenes IFO 14464 oxidizes primary alcohols (e.g. ethanol, butanol), secondary alcohols (monosaccharides), as well as aldehydes, polysaccharides, and cyclodextrins. The recombinant protein, expressed in Pichia pastoris, was crystallized, and three-dimensional (3D) structures of the native form, with PQQ and a Ca2+ ion, and of the enzyme in complex with a Zn2+ ion and a bound substrate mimic were determined at 1.72 Å and 1.84 Å resolution, respectively. PQQ-ADH displays an eight-bladed β-propeller fold, characteristic of Type I quinone-dependent methanol dehydrogenases. However, three of the four ligands of the Ca2+ ion differ from those of related dehydrogenases and they come from different parts of the polypeptide chain. These differences result in a more open, easily accessible active site, which explains why PQQ-ADH can oxidize a broad range of substrates. The bound substrate mimic suggests Asp333 as the catalytic base. Remarkably, no vicinal disulfide bridge is present near the PQQ, which in other PQQ-dependent alcohol dehydrogenases has been proposed to be necessary for electron transfer. Instead an associated cytochrome c can approach the PQQ for direct electron transfer.

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Population shuffling between ground and high energy excited states

Thu, 10/15/2015 - 00:28
Abstract

Stochastic processes powered by thermal energy lead to protein motions traversing time-scales from picoseconds to seconds. Fundamental to protein functionality is the utilization of these dynamics for tasks such as catalysis, folding, and allostery. A hierarchy of motion is hypothesized to connect and synergize fast and slow dynamics toward performing these essential activities. Population shuffling predicts a “top-down” temporal hierarchy, where slow time-scale conformational interconversion leads to a shuffling of the free energy landscape for fast time-scale events. Until now, population shuffling was only applied to interconverting ground states. Here, we extend the framework of population shuffling to be applicable for a system interconverting between low energy ground and high energy excited states, such as the SH3 domain mutants G48M and A39V/N53P/V55L from the Fyn tyrosine kinase, providing another tool for accessing the structural dynamics of high energy excited states. Our results indicate that the higher energy gauche− rotameric state for the leucine χ2 dihedral angle contributes significantly to the distribution of rotameric states in both the major and minor forms of the SH3 domain. These findings are corroborated with unrestrained molecular dynamics (MD) simulations on both the major and minor states of the SH3 domain demonstrating high correlations between experimental and back-calculated leucine χ2 rotameric populations. Taken together, we demonstrate how fast time-scale rotameric side-chain population distributions can be extracted from slow time-scale conformational exchange data further extending the scope and the applicability of the population shuffling model.

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Expression, purification, and functional characterization of the insulin-responsive facilitative glucose transporter GLUT4

Wed, 10/14/2015 - 00:07
Abstract

The insulin-responsive facilitative glucose transporter GLUT4 is of fundamental importance for maintenance of glucose homeostasis. Despite intensive effort, the ability to express and purify sufficient quantities of structurally and functionally intact protein for biophysical analysis has previously been exceedingly difficult. We report here the development of novel methods to express, purify, and functionally reconstitute GLUT4 into detergent micelles and proteoliposomes. Rat GLUT4 containing FLAG and His tags at the amino and carboxy termini, respectively, was engineered and stably transfected into HEK-293 cells. Overexpression in suspension culture yielded over 1.5 mg of protein per liter of culture. Systematic screening of detergent solubilized GLUT4-GFP fusion protein via fluorescent-detection size exclusion chromatography identified lauryl maltose neopentyl glycol (LMNG) as highly effective for isolating monomeric GLUT4 micelles. Preservation of structural integrity and ligand binding was demonstrated via quenching of tryptophan fluorescence and competition of ATB-BMPA photolabeling by cytochalasin B. GLUT4 was reconstituted into lipid nanodiscs and proper folding was confirmed. Reconstitution of purified GLUT4 with amphipol A8-35 stabilized the transporter at elevated temperatures for extended periods of time. Functional activity of purified GLUT4 was confirmed by reconstitution of LMNG-purified GLUT4 into proteoliposomes and measurement of saturable uptake of D-glucose over L-glucose. Taken together, these data validate the development of an efficient means to generate milligram quantities of stable and functionally intact GLUT4 that is suitable for a wide array of biochemical and biophysical analyses.

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An electron microscopy journey in the study of microtubule structure and dynamics

Sun, 10/11/2015 - 23:25
Eva Nogales is the winner of the 2015 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Award.Abstract

Structural characterization of microtubules has been the realm of three-dimensional electron microscopy and thus has evolved hand in hand with the progress of this technique, from the initial 3D reconstructions of stained tubulin assemblies, and the first atomic model of tubulin by electron crystallography of 2D sheets of protofilaments, to the ever more detailed cryoelectron microscopy structures of frozen-hydrated microtubules. Most recently, hybrid helical and single particle image processing techniques, and the latest detector technology, have lead to atomic models built directly into the density maps of microtubules in different functional states, shading new light into the critical process of microtubule dynamic instability.

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Robust and convenient analysis of protein thermal and chemical stability

Sat, 10/10/2015 - 00:29
Abstract

We present the software CDpal that is used to analyze thermal and chemical denaturation data to obtain information on protein stability. The software uses standard assumptions and equations applied to two-state and various types of three-state denaturation models in order to determine thermodynamic parameters. It can analyze denaturation monitored by both circular dichroism and fluorescence spectroscopy and is extremely flexible in terms of input format. Furthermore, it is intuitive and easy to use because of the graphical user interface and extensive documentation. As illustrated by the examples herein, CDpal should be a valuable tool for analysis of protein stability.

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A critical element of the light-induced quaternary structural changes in YtvA-LOV

Sat, 10/10/2015 - 00:28
Abstract

YtvA, a photosensory LOV (light-oxygen-voltage) protein from Bacillus subtilis, exists as a dimer that previously appeared to undergo surprisingly small structural changes after light illumination compared with other light-sensing proteins. However, we now report that light induces significant structural perturbations in a series of YtvA-LOV domain derivatives in which the Jα helix has been truncated or replaced. Results from native gel analysis showed significant mobility changes in these derivatives after light illumination; YtvA-LOV without the Jα helix dimerized in the dark state but existed as a monomer in the light state. The absence of the Jα helix also affected the dark regeneration kinetics and the stability of the flavin mononucleotide (FMN) binding to its binding site. Our results demonstrate an alternative way of photo-induced signal propagation that leads to a bigger functional response through dimer/monomer conversions of the YtvA-LOV than the local disruption of Jα helix in the As-LOV domain.

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Structure of lpg0406, a carboxymuconolactone decarboxylase family protein possibly involved in antioxidative response from Legionella pneumophila

Sat, 10/10/2015 - 00:28
Abstract

Lpg0406, a hypothetical protein from Legionella pneumophila, belongs to carboxymuconolactone decarboxylase (CMD) family. We determined the crystal structure of lpg0406 both in its apo and reduced form. The structures reveal that lpg0406 forms a hexamer and have disulfide exchange properties. The protein has an all-helical fold with a conserved thioredoxin-like active site CXXC motif and a proton relay system similar to that of alkylhydroperoxidase from Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MtAhpD), suggesting that lpg0406 might function as an enzyme with peroxidase activity and involved in antioxidant defense. A comparison of the size and the surface topology of the putative substrate-binding region between lpg0406 and MtAhpD indicates that the two enzymes accommodate the different substrate preferences. The structural findings will enhance understanding of the CMD family protein structure and its various functions.

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