BMC Structural Biology
The latest research articles published by BMC Structural Biology
Background: p300/CBP associating factor (PCAF, also known as KAT2B for lysine acetyltransferase 2B) is a catalytic subunit of megadalton metazoan complex ATAC (Ada-Two-A containing complex) for acetylation of histones. However, relatively little is known about the regulation of the enzymatic activity of PCAF. Results: Here we present two dimeric structures of the PCAF acetyltransferase (HAT) domain. These dimerizations are mediated by either four-helical hydrophobic interactions or a Ss-sheet extension. Our chemical cross-linking experiments in combined with site-directed mutagenesis demonstrated that the PCAF HAT domain mainly forms a dimer in solution through one of the observed interfaces. The results of maltose binding protein (MBP)-pulldown, co-immunoprecipitation and multiangle static light scattering experiments further indicated that PCAF dimeric state is detectable and may possibly exist in vivo. Conclusions: Taken together, our structural and biochemical studies indicate that PCAF appears to be a dimer in its functional ATAC complex.
Crystal structures of IspF from Plasmodium falciparum and Burkholderia cenocepacia: comparisons inform antimicrobial drug target assessment
Background: 2C-methyl-D-erythritol-2,4-cyclodiphosphate synthase (IspF) catalyzes the conversion of 4-diphosphocytidyl-2C-methyl-D-erythritol-2-phosphate to 2C-methyl-D-erythritol-2,4-cyclodiphosphate and cytidine monophosphate in production of isoprenoid-precursors via the methylerythritol phosphate biosynthetic pathway. IspF is found in the protozoan Plasmodium falciparum, a parasite that causes cerebral malaria, as well as in many Gram-negative bacteria such as Burkholderia cenocepacia. IspF represents a potential target for development of broad-spectrum antimicrobial drugs since it is proven or inferred as essential in these pathogens and absent from mammals. Structural studies of IspF from these two important yet distinct pathogens, and comparisons with orthologues have been carried out to generate reagents, to support and inform a structure-based approach to early stage drug discovery. Results: Efficient recombinant protein production and crystallization protocols were developed, and high-resolution crystal structures of IspF from P. falciparum (PfIspF) and B. cenocepacia (BcIspF) in complex with cytidine nucleotides determined. Comparisons with orthologues, indicate a high degree of order and conservation in parts of the active site where Zn2+ is bound and where recognition of the cytidine moiety of substrate occurs. However, conformational flexibility is noted in that area of the active site responsible for binding the methylerythritol component of substrate. Unexpectedly, one structure of BcIspF revealed two molecules of cytidine monophosphate in the active site, and another identified citrate coordinating to the catalytic Zn2+. In both cases interactions with ligands appear to help order a flexible loop at one side of the active site. Difficulties were encountered when attempting to derive complex structures with other ligands. Conclusions: High-resolution crystal structures of IspF from two important human pathogens have been obtained and compared to orthologues. The studies reveal new data on ligand binding, with citrate coordinating to the active site Zn2+ and when present in high concentrations cytidine monophosphate displays two binding modes in the active site. Ligand binding appears to order a part of the active site involved in substrate recognition. The high degree of structural conservation in and around the IspF active site suggests that any structural model might be suitable to support a program of structure-based drug discovery.
BioSuper: A web tool for the superimposition of biomolecules and assemblies with rotational symmetry
Background: Most of the proteins in the Protein Data Bank (PDB) are oligomeric complexes consisting of two or more subunits that associate by rotational or helical symmetries. Despite the myriad of superimposition tools in the literature, we could not find any able to account for rotational symmetry and display the graphical results in the web browser. Results: BioSuper is a free web server that superimposes and calculates the root mean square deviation (RMSD) of protein complexes displaying rotational symmetry. To the best of our knowledge, BioSuper is the first tool of its kind that provides immediate interactive visualization of the graphical results in the browser, biomolecule generator capabilities, different levels of atom selection, sequence-dependent and structure-based superimposition types, and is the only web tool that takes into account the equivalence of atoms in side chains displaying symmetry ambiguity. BioSuper uses ICM program functionality as a core for the superimpositions and displays the results as text, HTML tables and 3D interactive molecular objects that can be visualized in the browser or in Android and iOS platforms with a free plugin. Conclusions: BioSuper is a fast and functional tool that allows for pairwise superimposition of proteins and assemblies displaying rotational symmetry. The web server was created after our own frustration when attempting to superimpose flexible oligomers. We strongly believe that its user-friendly and functional design will be of great interest for structural and computational biologists who need to superimpose oligomeric proteins (or any protein). BioSuper web server is freely available to all users at http://ablab.ucsd.edu/BioSuper.
Structure of the S100A4/myosin-IIA complex
Background: S100A4, a member of the S100 family of Ca2+-binding proteins, modulates the motility of both non-transformed and cancer cells by regulating the localization and stability of cellular protrusions. Biochemical studies have demonstrated that S100A4 binds to the C-terminal end of the myosin-IIA heavy chain coiled-coil and disassembles myosin-IIA filaments; however, the mechanism by which S100A4 mediates myosin-IIA depolymerization is not well understood. Results: We determined the X-ray crystal structure of the S100A4Δ8C/MIIA1908-1923 peptide complex, which showed an asymmetric binding mode for the myosin-IIA peptide across the S100A4 dimer interface. This asymmetric binding mode was confirmed in NMR studies using a spin-labeled myosin-IIA peptide. In addition, our NMR data indicate that S100A4Δ8C binds the MIIA1908-1923 peptide in an orientation very similar to that observed for wild-type S100A4. Studies of complex formation using a longer, dimeric myosin-IIA construct demonstrated that S100A4 binding dissociates the two myosin-IIA polypeptide chains to form a complex composed of one S100A4 dimer and a single myosin-IIA polypeptide chain. This interaction is mediated, in part, by the instability of the region of the myosin-IIA coiled-coil encompassing the S100A4 binding site. Conclusion: The structure of the S100A4/MIIA1908-1923 peptide complex has revealed the overall architecture of this assembly and the detailed atomic interactions that mediate S100A4 binding to the myosin-IIA heavy chain. These structural studies support the idea that residues 1908–1923 of the myosin-IIA heavy chain represent a core sequence for the S100A4/myosin-IIA complex. In addition, biophysical studies suggest that structural fluctuations within the myosin-IIA coiled-coil may facilitate S100A4 docking onto a single myosin-IIA polypeptide chain.
Crystal structure of the ¿-hydroxymuconic semialdehyde dehydrogenase from Pseudomonas sp. strainWBC-3, a key enzyme involved in para-Nitrophenol degradation
Background: para-Nitrophenol (PNP) is a highly toxic compound with threats to mammalian health. The pnpE-encoded γ-hydroxymuconic semialdehyde dehydrogenase catalyzes the reduction of γ-hydroxymuconic semialdehyde to maleylacetate in Pseudomonas sp. strain WBC-3, playing a key role in the catabolism of PNP to Krebs cycle intermediates. However, the catalyzing mechanism by PnpE has not been well understood. Results: Here we report the crystal structures of the apo and NAD bound PnpE. In the PnpE-NAD complex structure, NAD is situated in a cleft of PnpE. The cofactor binding site is composed of two pockets. The adenosine and the first ribose group of NAD bind in one pocket and the nicotinamide ring in the other. Conclusions: Six amino acids have interactions with the cofactor. They are C281, E247, Q210, W148, I146 and K172. Highly conserved residues C281 and E247 were identified to be critical for its catalytic activity. In addition, flexible docking studies of the enzyme-substrate system were performed to predict the interactions between PnpE and its substrate γ-hydroxymuconic semialdehyde. Amino acids that interact extensively with the substrate and stabilize the substrate in an orientation suitable for enzyme catalysis were identified. The importance of these residues for catalytic activity was confirmed by the relevant site-directed mutagenesis and their biochemical characterization.
Background: To understand the effect of the long intracellular loop 3 (ICL3) on the intrinsic dynamics of human β2-adrenergic receptor, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were performed on two different models, both of which were based on the inactive crystal structure in complex with carazolol (after removal of carazolol and T4-lysozyme). In the so-called loop model, the ICL3 region that is missing in available crystal structures was modeled as an unstructured loop of 32-residues length, whereas in the clipped model, the two open ends were covalently bonded to each other. The latter model without ICL3 was taken as a reference, which has also been commonly used in recent computational studies. Each model was embedded into POPC bilayer membrane with explicit water and subjected to a 1 μs molecular dynamics (MD) simulation at 310 K. Results: After around 600 ns, the loop model started a transition to a “very inactive” conformation, which is characterized by a further movement of the intracellular half of transmembrane helix 6 (TM6) towards the receptor core, and a close packing of ICL3 underneath the membrane completely blocking the G-protein’s binding site. Concurrently, the binding site at the extracellular part of the receptor expanded slightly with the Ser207-Asp113 distance increasing to 18 Å from 11 Å, which was further elaborated by docking studies. Conclusions: The essential dynamics analysis indicated a strong coupling between the extracellular and intracellular parts of the intact receptor, implicating a functional relevance for allosteric regulation. In contrast, no such transition to the “very inactive” state, nor any structural correlation, was observed in the clipped model without ICL3. Furthermore, elastic network analysis using different conformers for the loop model indicated a consistent picture on the specific ICL3 conformational change being driven by global modes.
The crystal structures of the tri-functional Chloroflexus aurantiacus and bi-functional Rhodobacter sphaeroides malyl-CoA lyases and comparison with CitE-like superfamily enzymes and malate synthases
Background: Malyl-CoA lyase (MCL) is a promiscuous carbon-carbon bond lyase that catalyzes the reversible cleavage of structurally related Coenzyme A (CoA) thioesters. This enzyme plays a crucial, multifunctional role in the 3-hydroxypropionate bi-cycle for autotrophic CO2 fixation in Chloroflexus aurantiacus. A second, phylogenetically distinct MCL from Rhodobacter sphaeroides is involved in the ethylmalonyl-CoA pathway for acetate assimilation. Both MCLs belong to the large superfamily of CitE-like enzymes, which includes the name-giving β-subunit of citrate lyase (CitE), malyl-CoA thioesterases and other enzymes of unknown physiological function. The CitE-like enzyme superfamily also bears sequence and structural resemblance to the malate synthases. All of these different enzymes share highly conserved catalytic residues, although they catalyze distinctly different reactions: C-C bond formation and cleavage, thioester hydrolysis, or both (the malate synthases). Results: Here we report the first crystal structures of MCLs from two different phylogenetic subgroups in apo- and substrate-bound forms. Both the C. aurantiacus and the R. sphaeroides MCL contain elaborations on the canonical β8/α8 TIM barrel fold and form hexameric assemblies. Upon ligand binding, changes in the C-terminal domains of the MCLs result in closing of the active site, with the C-terminal domain of one monomer forming a lid over and contributing side chains to the active site of the adjacent monomer. The distinctive features of the two MCL subgroups were compared to known structures of other CitE-like superfamily enzymes and to malate synthases, providing insight into the structural subtleties that underlie the functional versatility of these enzymes. Conclusions: Although the C. aurantiacus and the R. sphaeroides MCLs have divergent primary structures (~37% identical), their tertiary and quaternary structures are very similar. It can be assumed that the C-C bond formation catalyzed by the MCLs occurs as proposed for malate synthases. However, a comparison of the two MCL structures with known malate synthases raised the question why the MCLs are not also able to hydrolyze CoA thioester bonds. Our results suggest the previously proposed reaction mechanism for malate synthases may be incomplete or not entirely correct. Further studies involving site-directed mutagenesis based on these structures may be required to solve this puzzling question.
Structural insights into Resveratrol¿s antagonist and partial agonist actions on estrogen receptor alpha
Background: Resveratrol, a naturally occurring stilbene, has been categorized as a phytoestrogen due to its ability to compete with natural estrogens for binding to estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) and modulate the biological responses exerted by the receptor. Biological effects of resveratrol (RES) on estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) remain highly controversial, since both estrogenic and anti-estrogenic properties were observed. Results: Here, we provide insight into the structural basis of the agonist/antagonist effects of RES on ERα ligand binding domain (LBD). Using atomistic simulation, we found that RES bound ERα monomer in antagonist conformation, where Helix 12 moves away from the ligand pocket and orients into the co-activator binding groove of LBD, is more stable than RES bound ERα in agonist conformation, where Helix 12 lays over the ligand binding pocket. Upon dimerization, the agonistic conformation of RES-ERα dimer becomes more stable compared to the corresponding monomer but still remains less stable compared to the corresponding dimer in antagonist conformation. Interestingly, while the binding pocket and the binding contacts of RES to ERα are similar to those of pure agonist diethylstilbestrol (DES), the binding energy is much less and the hydrogen bonding contacts also differ providing clues for the partial agonistic character of RES on ERα. Conclusions: Our Molecular Dynamics simulation of RES-ERα structures with agonist and antagonist orientations of Helix 12 suggests RES action is more similar to Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator (SERM) opening up the importance of cellular environment and active roles of co-regulator proteins in a given system. Our study reveals that potential co-activators must compete with the Helix 12 and displace it away from the activator binding groove to enhance the agonistic activity.
Type I pyridoxal 5¿-phosphate dependent enzymatic domains embedded within multimodular nonribosomal peptide synthetase and polyketide synthase assembly lines
Background: Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzymes of fold type I, the most studied structural class of the PLP-dependent enzyme superfamily, are known to exist as stand-alone homodimers or homotetramers. These enzymes have been found also embedded in multimodular and multidomain assembly lines involved in the biosynthesis of polyketides (PKS) and nonribosomal peptides (NRPS). The aim of this work is to provide a proteome-wide view of the distribution and characteristics of type I domains covalently integrated in these assemblies in prokaryotes. Results: An ad-hoc Hidden Markov profile was calculated using a sequence alignment derived from a multiple structural superposition of distantly related PLP-enzymes of fold type I. The profile was utilized to scan the sequence databank and to collect the proteins containing at least one type I domain linked to a component of an assembly line in bacterial genomes. The domains adjacent to a carrier protein were further investigated. Phylogenetic analysis suggested the presence of four PLP-dependent families: Aminotran_3, Beta_elim_lyase and Pyridoxal_deC, occurring mainly within mixed NRPS/PKS clusters, and Aminotran_1_2 found mainly in PKS clusters. Sequence similarity to the reference PLP enzymes with solved structures ranged from 24 to 42% identity. Homology models were built for each representative type I domain and molecular docking simulations with putative substrates were carried out. Prediction of the protein-protein interaction sites evidenced that the surface regions of the type I domains embedded within multienzyme assemblies were different from those of the self-standing enzymes; these structural features appear to be required for productive interactions with the adjacent domains in a multidomain context. Conclusions: This work provides a systematic view of the occurrence of type I domain within NRPS and PKS assembly lines and it predicts their structural characteristics using computational methods. Comparison with the corresponding stand-alone enzymes highlighted the common and different traits related to various aspects of their structure-function relationship. Therefore, the results of this work, on one hand contribute to the understanding of the functional and structural diversity of the PLP-dependent type I enzymes and, on the other, pave the way to further studies aimed at their applications in combinatorial biosynthesis.
gEMpicker: A Highly Parallel GPU-Accelerated Particle Picking Tool for Cryo-Electron Microscopy
Background: Picking images of particles in cryo-electron micrographs is an important step in solving the 3D structures of large macromolecular assemblies. However, in order to achieve sub-nanometre resolution it is often necessary to capture and process many thousands or even several millions of 2D particle images. Thus, a computational bottleneck in reaching high resolution is the accurate and automatic picking of particles from raw cryo-electron micrographs. Results: We have developed "gEMpicker", a highly parallel correlation-based particle picking tool. To our knowledge, gEMpicker is the first particle picking program to use multiple graphics processor units (GPUs) to accelerate the calculation. When tested on the publicly available keyhole limpet hemocyanin dataset, we find that gEMpicker gives similar results to the FindEM program. However, compared to calculating correlations on one core of a contemporary central processor unit (CPU), running gEMpicker on a modern GPU gives a speed-up of about 27x. To achieve even higherprocessing speeds, the basic correlation calculations are accelerated considerably by using a hierarchy of parallel programming techniques to distribute the calculation over multiple GPUs and CPU cores attached to multiple nodes of a computer cluster. By using a theoretically optimal reduction algorithm to collect and combine the cluster calculation results, the speed of the overall calculation scales almost linearly with the number of cluster nodes available. Conclusions: The very high picking throughput that is now possible using GPU-powered workstations or computer clusters will help experimentalists to achieve higher resolution 3D reconstructions more rapidly than before.
Quantification of the impact of PSI:Biology according to the annotations of the determined structures
Background: Protein Structure Initiative:Biology (PSI:Biology) is the third phase of PSI where protein structures are determined in high-throughput to characterize their biological functions. The transition to the third phase entailed the formation of PSI:Biology Partnerships which are composed of structural genomics centers and biomedical science laboratories. We present a method to examine the impact of protein structures determined under the auspices of PSI:Biology by measuring their rates of annotations. The mean numbers of annotations per structure and per residue are examined. These are designed to provide measures of the amount of structure to function connections that can be leveraged from each structure. Results: One result is that PSI:Biology structures are found to have a higher rate of annotations than structures determined during the first two phases of PSI. A second result is that the subset of PSI:Biology structures determined through PSI:Biology Partnerships have a higher rate of annotations than those determined exclusive of those partnerships. Both results hold when the annotation rates are examined either at the level of the entire protein or for annotations that are known to fall at specific residues within the portion of the protein that has a determined structure. Conclusions: We conclude that PSI:Biology determines structures that are estimated to have a higher degree of biomedical interest than those determined during the first two phases of PSI based on a broad array of biomedical annotations. For the PSI:Biology Partnerships, we see that there is an associated added value that represents part of the progress toward the goals of PSI:Biology. We interpret the added value to mean that team-based structural biology projects that utilize the expertise and technologies of structural genomics centers together with biological laboratories in the community are conducted in a synergistic manner. We show that the annotation rates can be used in conjunction with established metrics, i.e. the numbers of structures and impact of publication records, to monitor the progress of PSI:Biology towards its goals of examining structure to function connections of high biomedical relevance. The metric provides an objective means to quantify the overall impact of PSI:Biology as it uses biomedical annotations from external sources.
Structural and biochemical characterization of the essential DsbA-like disulfide bond forming protein from Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Background: Bacterial Disulfide bond forming (Dsb) proteins facilitate proper folding and disulfide bond formation of periplasmic and secreted proteins. Previously, we have shown that Mycobacterium tuberculosis Mt-DsbE and Mt-DsbF aid in vitro oxidative folding of proteins. The M. tuberculosis proteome contains another predicted membrane-tethered Dsb protein, Mt-DsbA, which is encoded by an essential gene. Results: Herein, we present structural and biochemical analyses of Mt-DsbA. The X-ray crystal structure of Mt-DsbA reveals a two-domain structure, comprising a canonical thioredoxin domain with the conserved CXXC active site cysteines in their reduced form, and an inserted α-helical domain containing a structural disulfide bond. The overall fold of Mt-DsbA resembles that of other DsbA-like proteins and not Mt-DsbE or Mt-DsbF. Biochemical characterization demonstrates that, unlike Mt-DsbE and Mt-DsbF, Mt-DsbA is unable to oxidatively fold reduced, denatured hirudin. Moreover, on the substrates tested in this study, Mt-DsbA has disulfide bond isomerase activity contrary to Mt-DsbE and Mt-DsbF. Conclusion: These results suggest that Mt-DsbA acts upon a distinct subset of substrates as compared to Mt-DsbE and Mt-DsbF. One could speculate that Mt-DsbE and Mt-DsbF are functionally redundant whereas Mt-DsbA is not, offering an explanation for the essentiality of Mt-DsbA in M. tuberculosis.
Structural and functional characterisation of the methionine adenosyltransferase from Thermococcus kodakarensis
Background: Methionine adenosyltransferases catalyse the synthesis of S-adenosylmethionine, a cofactor abundant in all domains of life. In contrast to the enzymes from bacteria and eukarya that show high sequence similarity, methionine adenosyltransferases from archaea diverge on the amino acid sequence level and only few conserved residues are retained. Results: We describe the initial characterisation and the crystal structure of the methionine adenosyltransferase from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Thermococcus kodakarensis. As described for other archaeal methionine adenosyltransferases the enzyme is a dimer in solution and shows high temperature stability. The overall structure is very similar to that of the bacterial and eukaryotic enzymes described, with some additional features that might add to the stability of the enzyme. Compared to bacterial and eukaryotic structures, the active site architecture is largely conserved, with some variation in the substrate/product-binding residues. A flexible loop that was not fully ordered in previous structures without ligands in the active side is clearly visible and forms a helix that leaves an entrance to the active site open. Conclusions: The similar three-dimensional structures of archaeal and bacterial or eukaryotic methionine adenosyltransferases support that these enzymes share an early common ancestor from which they evolved independently, explaining the low similarity in their amino acid sequences. Furthermore, methionine adenosyltransferase from T. kodakarensis is the first structure without any ligands bound in the active site where the flexible loop covering the entrance to the active site is fully ordered, supporting a mechanism postulated earlier for the methionine adenosyltransferase from E. coli. The structure will serve as a starting point for further mechanistic studies and permit the generation of enzyme variants with different characteristics by rational design.
Background: The amount of transmembrane protein (TM) structures solved to date is now large enough to attempt large scale analyses. In particular, extensive studies of oligomeric interfaces in the transmembrane region are now possible. Results: We have compiled the first fully comprehensive set of validated transmembrane protein interfaces in order to study their features and assess what differentiates them from their soluble counterparts. Conclusions: The general features of TM interfaces do not differ much from those of soluble proteins: they are large, tightly packed and possess many interface core residues. In our set, membrane lipids were not found to significantly mediate protein-protein interfaces. Although no G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) was included in the validated set, we analyzed the crystallographic dimerization interfaces proposed in the literature. We found that the putative dimer interfaces proposed for class A GPCRs do not show the usual patterns of stable biological interfaces, neither in terms of evolution nor of packing, thus they likely correspond to crystal interfaces. We cannot however rule out the possibility that they constitute transient or weak interfaces. In contrast we do observe a clear signature of biological interface for the proposed dimer of the class F human Smoothened receptor.
Defining structural and evolutionary modules in proteins: a community detection approach to explore sub-domain architecture
Background: Assessing protein modularity is important to understand protein evolution. Still the question of the existence of a sub-domain modular architecture remains. We propose a graph-theory approach with significance and power testing to identify modules in protein structures. In the first step, clusters are determined by optimizing the partition that maximizes the modularity score. Second, each cluster is tested for significance. Significant clusters are referred to as modules. Evolutionary modules are identified by analyzing homologous structures. Dynamic modules are inferred from sets of snapshots of molecular simulations. We present here a methodology to identify sub-domain architecture robustly, biologically meaningful, and statistically supported. Results: The robustness of this new method is tested using simulated data with known modularity. Modules are correctly identified even when there is a low correlation between landmarks within a module. We also analyzed the evolutionary modularity of a data set of α-amylase catalytic domain homologs, and the dynamic modularity of the Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1) protein N-terminal domain.The α-amylase contains an (α/β)8 barrel (TIM barrel) with the polysaccharides cleavage site and a calcium-binding domain. In this data set we identified four robust evolutionary modules, one of which forms the minimal functional TIM barrel topology.The NPC1 protein is involved in the intracellular lipid metabolism coordinating sterol trafficking. NPC1 N-terminus is the first luminal domain which binds to cholesterol and its oxygenated derivatives. Our inferred dynamic modules in the protein NPC1 are also shown to match functional components of the protein related to the NPC1 disease. Conclusions: A domain compartmentalization can be found and described in correlation space. To our knowledge, there is no other method attempting to identify sub-domain architecture from the correlation among residues. Most attempts made focus on sequence motifs of protein-protein interactions, binding sites, or sequence conservancy. We were able to describe functional/structural sub-domain architecture related to key residues for starch cleavage, calcium, and chloride binding sites in the α-amylase, and sterol opening-defining modules and disease-related residues in the NPC1. We also described the evolutionary sub-domain architecture of the α-amylase catalytic domain, identifying the already reported minimum functional TIM barrel.
Crystal structure of c5321: a protective antigen present in uropathogenic Escherichia coli strains displaying an SLR fold
Background: Increasing rates of antimicrobial resistance among uropathogens led, among other efforts, to the application of subtractive reverse vaccinology for the identification of antigens present in extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC) strains but absent or variable in non-pathogenic strains, in a quest for a broadly protective Escherichia coli vaccine. The protein coded by locus c5321 from CFT073 E. coli was identified as one of nine potential vaccine candidates against ExPEC and was able to confer protection with an efficacy of 33% in a mouse model of sepsis. c5321 (known also as EsiB) lacks functional annotation and structurally belongs to the Sel1-like repeat (SLR) family. Herein, as part of the general characterization of this potential antigen, we have focused on its structural properties. Results: We report the 1.74 Å-resolution crystal structure of c5321 from CFT073 E. coli determined by Se-Met SAD phasing. The structure is composed of 11 SLR units in a topological organisation that highly resembles that found in HcpC from Helicobacter pylori, with the main difference residing in how the super-helical fold is stabilised. The stabilising effect of disulfide bridges in HcpC is replaced in c5321 by a strengthening of the inter-repeat hydrophobic core. A metal-ion binding site, uncharacteristic of SLR proteins, is detected between SLR units 3 and 4 in the region of the inter-repeat hydrophobic core. Crystal contacts are observed between the C-terminal tail of one molecule and the C-terminal amphipathic groove of a neighbouring one, resembling interactions between ligand and proteins containing tetratricopeptide-like repeats. Conclusions: The structure of antigen c5321 presents a mode of stabilization of the SLR fold different from that observed in close homologs of known structure. The location of the metal-ion binding site and the observed crystal contacts suggest a potential role in regulation of conformational flexibility and interaction with yet unidentified target proteins, respectively. These findings open new perspectives in both antigen design and for the identification of a functional role for this protective antigen.
Molecular details of ligand selectivity determinants in a promiscuous ß-glucan periplasmic binding protein
Background: Members of the periplasmic binding protein (PBP) superfamily utilize a highly conserved inter-domain ligand binding site that adapts to specifically bind a chemically diverse range of ligands. This paradigm of PBP ligand binding specificity was recently altered when the structure of the Thermotoga maritima cellobiose-binding protein (tmCBP) was solved. The tmCBP binding site is bipartite, comprising a canonical solvent-excluded region (subsite one), adjacent to a solvent-filled cavity (subsite two) where specific and semi-specific ligand recognition occur, respectively. Results: A molecular level understanding of binding pocket adaptation mechanisms that simultaneously allow both ligand specificity at subsite one and promiscuity at subsite two has potentially important implications in ligand binding and drug design studies. We sought to investigate the determinants of ligand binding selectivity in tmCBP through biophysical characterization of tmCBP in the presence of varying β-glucan oligosaccharides. Crystal structures show that whilst the amino acids that comprise both the tmCBP subsite one and subsite two binding sites remain fixed in conformation regardless of which ligands are present, the rich hydrogen bonding potential of water molecules may facilitate the ordering and the plasticity of this unique PBP binding site. Conclusions: The identification of the roles these water molecules play in ligand recognition suggests potential mechanisms that can be utilized to adapt a single ligand binding site to recognize multiple distinct ligands.
Short tandem repeats in the inhibitory domain of the mineralocorticoid receptor: prediction of a ß-solenoid structure
Background: The human mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) is one of the main components of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS), the system that regulates the body exchange of water and sodium. The evolutionary origins of this protein predate those of renin and the RAAS; accordingly it has other roles, which are being characterized. The MR has two trans-activating ligand independent domains and one inhibitory domain (ID), which modulates the activity of the former. The structure of the ID is currently unknown. Results: Here we report that the ID contains at least 15 tandem repeats of around 10 amino acids, which we computationally characterize in the human MR and in selected orthologs. This ensemble of repeats seems to have emerged around 450 million years ago, after the divergence of the MR from its close homolog, the glucocorticoid receptor, which does not possess the repeats. The region would have quickly expanded by successive duplication of the repeats stabilizing at its length in human MR shortly after divergence of tetrapoda from bony fishes 400 million years ago. Structural predictions, in combination with molecular dynamics simulations suggest that the repeat ensemble forms a β-solenoid, namely a β-helical fold with a polar core, stabilized by hydrogen-bonded ladders of polar residues. Our 3D-model, in conjunction with previous experimental data, implies a role of the β-helical fold as a scaffold for multiple intra-and inter-molecular interactions and that these interactions are modulated via phosphorylation-dependent conformational changes. Conclusions: We, thus, propose that the structure of the repeat ensemble plays an important role in the coordination and sequential interactions of various MR partners and therefore in the functionality and specificity of MR.