BMC Structural Biology

The latest research articles published by BMC Structural Biology
  • Crystal structure of <it>O</it>-methyltransferase CalO6 from the calicheamicin biosynthetic pathway: a case of challenging structure determination at low resolution
    [Jul 2015]

    Background: Calicheamicins (CAL) are enedyine natural products with potent antibiotic and cytotoxic activity, used in anticancer therapy. The O-methyltransferase CalO6 is proposed to catalyze methylation of the hydroxyl moiety at the C2 position of the orsellinic acid group of CAL. Results: Crystals of CalO6 diffracted non-isotropically, with the usable data extending to 3.4 Å. While no single method of crystal structure determination yielded a structure of CalO6, we were able to determine its structure by using molecular replacement-guided single wavelength anomalous dispersion by using diffraction data from native crystals of CalO6 and a highly non-isomorphous mercury derivative. The structure of CalO6 reveals the methyltransferase fold and dimeric organization characteristic of small molecule O-methyltransferases involved in secondary metabolism in bacteria and plants. Uncommonly, CalO6 was crystallized in the absence of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM; the methyl donor) or S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH; its product). Conclusions: Likely as a consequence of the dynamic nature of CalO6 in the absence of its cofactor, the central region of CalO6, which forms a helical lid-like structure near the active site in CalO6 and similar enzymes, is not observed in the electron density. We propose that this region controls the entry of SAM into and the exit of SAH from the active site of CalO6 and shapes the active site for substrate binding and catalysis.
    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Structure of the stationary phase survival protein YuiC from <it>B.subtilis</it>
    [Jul 2015]

    Background: Stationary phase survival proteins (Sps) were found in Firmicutes as having analogous domain compositions, and in some cases genome context, as the resuscitation promoting factors of Actinobacteria, but with a different putative peptidoglycan cleaving domain. Results: The first structure of a Firmicute Sps protein YuiC from B. subtilis, is found to be a stripped down version of the cell-wall peptidoglycan hydrolase MltA. The YuiC structures are of a domain swapped dimer, although some monomer is also found in solution. The protein crystallised in the presence of pentasaccharide shows a 1,6-anhydrodisaccharide sugar product, indicating that YuiC cleaves the sugar backbone to form an anhydro product at least on lengthy incubation during crystallisation. Conclusions: The structural simplification of MltA in Sps proteins is analogous to that of the resuscitation promoting factor domains of Actinobacteria, which are stripped down versions of lysozyme and soluble lytic transglycosylase proteins.
    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Variations in periplasmic loop interactions determine the pH-dependent activity of the hexameric urea transporter UreI from Helicobacter pylori: a molecular dynamics study
    [Jun 2015]

    Background: Helicobacter pylori is an important factor in the development of diseases such as ulcer and gastric cancer. This bacterium uses a periplasmic transporter, UreI, to deliver urea to the intracelullar space, where later it is transformed into ammonia by the cytoplasmic enzyme urease to survive the acidic condition of the human stomach. The UreI transporter presents a pH-dependent activity, where this pH-dependence remains unknown at a structural level. Althought the existance of several protonable residues in the periplasmic loops are related to the pH-dependent activity, we find interesting to have a clear view of the conformational changes involved in this phenomena through a molecular dynamic study. Results: Molecular dynamic simulations of the UreI transporter at three different pH conditions were performed, revealing two main pH-dependent conformations, which we present as the open and close states. We find that salt bridges between the periplasmic loops are crucial interactions that stabilize these conformations. Besides, a cooperative behaviour exists between the six subunits of the system that is necessary to fulfill the activity of this transporter. Conclusions: We found different pH-dependent conformations of the urea transporter UreI from Helicobacter pylori, which are related to salt-bridge interactions in the periplasmic regions. The behaviour of every channel in the system is not independent, given the existance of a cooperative behaviour through the formation of salt-bridges between the subunits of the hexameric system. We believe that our results will be related to the generation of new eradication therapies using this transporter as an attractive target, denoting that the knowledge of the possible pH-dependent conformations adopted for this transporter are important for the development of rational drug design approximations.
    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Binding of undamaged double stranded DNA to vaccinia virus uracil-DNA Glycosylase
    [Jun 2015]

    Background: Uracil-DNA glycosylases are evolutionarily conserved DNA repair enzymes. However, vaccinia virus uracil-DNA glycosylase (known as D4), also serves as an intrinsic and essential component of the processive DNA polymerase complex during DNA replication. In this complex D4 binds to a unique poxvirus specific protein A20 which tethers it to the DNA polymerase. At the replication fork the DNA scanning and repair function of D4 is coupled with DNA replication. So far, DNA-binding to D4 has not been structurally characterized. Results: This manuscript describes the first structure of a DNA-complex of a uracil-DNA glycosylase from the poxvirus family. This also represents the first structure of a uracil DNA glycosylase in complex with an undamaged DNA. In the asymmetric unit two D4 subunits bind simultaneously to complementary strands of the DNA double helix. Each D4 subunit interacts mainly with the central region of one strand. DNA binds to the opposite side of the A20-binding surface on D4. Comparison of the present structure with the structure of uracil-containing DNA-bound human uracil-DNA glycosylase suggests that for DNA binding and uracil removal D4 employs a unique set of residues and motifs that are highly conserved within the poxvirus family but different in other organisms. Conclusion: The first structure of D4 bound to a truly non-specific undamaged double-stranded DNA suggests that initial binding of DNA may involve multiple non-specific interactions between the protein and the phosphate backbone.
    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Modeling of the OX<sub>1</sub>R&#8211;orexin-A complex suggests two alternative binding modes
    [May 2015]

    Background: Interactions between the orexin peptides and their cognate OX1 and OX2 receptors remain poorly characterized. Site-directed mutagenesis studies on orexin peptides and receptors have indicated amino acids important for ligand binding and receptor activation. However, a better understanding of specific pairwise interactions would benefit small molecule discovery. Results: We constructed a set of three-dimensional models of the orexin 1 receptor based on the 3D-structures of the orexin 2 receptor (released while this manuscript was under review), neurotensin receptor 1 and chemokine receptor CXCR4, conducted an exhaustive docking of orexin-A16–33 peptide fragment with ZDOCK and RDOCK, and analyzed a total of 4301 complexes through multidimensional scaling and clustering. The best docking poses reveal two alternative binding modes, where the C-terminus of the peptide lies deep in the binding pocket, on average about 5–6 Å above Tyr6.48 and close to Gln3.32. The binding modes differ in the about 100° rotation of the peptide; the peptide His26 faces either the receptor’s fifth transmembrane helix or the seventh helix. Both binding modes are well in line with previous mutation studies and partake in hydrogen bonding similar to suvorexant. Conclusions: We present two binding modes for orexin-A into orexin 1 receptor, which help rationalize previous results from site-directed mutagenesis studies. The binding modes should serve small molecule discovery, and offer insights into the mechanism of receptor activation.
    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Human coronavirus OC43 3CL protease and the potential of ML188 as a broad-spectrum lead compound: Homology modelling and molecular dynamic studies
    [Apr 2015]

    Background: The coronavirus 3 chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro) is a validated target in the design of potential anticoronavirus inhibitors. The high degree of homology within the protease’s active site and substrate conservation supports the identification of broad spectrum lead compounds. A previous study identified the compound ML188, also termed 16R, as an inhibitor of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) 3CLpro. This study will detail the generation of a homology model of the 3CLpro of the human coronavirus OC43 and determine the potential of 16R to form a broad-spectrum lead compound. MODELLER was used to generate a suitable three-dimensional model of the OC43 3CLpro and the Prime module of Schrӧdinger predicted the binding conformation and free energy of binding of 16R within the 3CLpro active site. Molecular dynamics further confirmed ligand stability and hydrogen bonding networks. Results: A high quality homology model of the OC43 3CLpro was successfully generated in an active conformation. Further studies reproduced the binding pose of 16R within the active site of the generated model, where its free energy of binding was shown to equal that of the 3CLpro of SARS-CoV, a receptor it is experimentally proven to inhibit. The stability of the ligand was subsequently confirmed by molecular dynamics. Conclusion: The lead compound 16R may represent a broad-spectrum inhibitor of the 3CLpro of OC43 and potentially other coronaviruses. This study provides an atomistic structure of the 3CLpro of OC43 and supports further experimental validation of the inhibitory effects of 16R. These findings further confirm that the 3CLpro of coronaviruses can be inhibited by broad spectrum lead compounds.
    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Computational re-engineering of Amylin sequence with reduced amyloidogenic potential
    [Apr 2015]

    Background: The aggregation of amyloid proteins into fibrils is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Type II Diabetes. Different methods have explored ways to impede and inhibit amyloid aggregation. Most attempts in the literature involve applying stress to the environment around amyloids. Varying pH levels, modifying temperature, applying pressure through protein crowding and ligand docking are classical examples of these methods. However, environmental stress usually affects molecular pathways and protein functions in the cell and is challenging to construct in vivo. In this paper, we explore destabilizing amyloid proteins through the manipulation of genetic code to create beneficial substitute molecules for patients with certain deficiencies. Results: To unravel sequence mutations that destabilize amyloid fibrils yet simultaneously conserve native fold, we analyze the structural landscape of amyloid proteins and search for potential areas that could be exploited to weaken aggregation. Our tool, FibrilMutant, analyzes these regions and studies the effect of amino acid point mutations on nucleation and aggregation. This multiple objective approach impedes aggregation without stressing the cellular environment. We identified six main regions in amyloid proteins that contribute to structural stability and generated amino acid mutations to destabilize those regions. Full length fibrils were built from the mutated amyloid monomers and a dipolar-solvent model capturing the effect of dipole-dipole interactions between water and very large molecular systems to assess their aqueous stability was used to generate energy plots. Conclusion: Our results are in agreement with experimental studies and suggest novel targeted single point mutations in the Amylin protein, potentially creating a better therapeutic agent than the currently administered Pramlintide drug for diabetes patients.
    Categories: Journal Articles