Journal of Molecular Biology

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  • Editorial Board
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8









    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Contents List
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8









    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Kinetics and Structures on the Molecular Path to the Quadruplex Form of the Human Telomere
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): W. David Wilson , Ananya Paul







    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Folding and Unfolding Pathways of the Human Telomeric G-Quadruplex
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Robert D. Gray , John O. Trent , Jonathan B. Chaires

    Sequence analogs of human telomeric DNA such as d[AGGG(TTAGGG)3] (Tel22) fold into monomeric quadruplex structures in the presence of a suitable cation. To investigate the pathway for unimolecular quadruplex formation, we monitored the kinetics of K+-induced folding of Tel22 by circular dichroism (CD), intrinsic 2-aminopurine fluorescence, and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). The results are consistent with a four-step pathway U ↔ I1 ↔ I2 ↔ I3 ↔ F where U and F represent unfolded and folded conformational ensembles and I1, I2, and I3 are intermediates. Previous kinetic studies have shown that I1 is formed in a rapid pre-equilibrium and may consist of an ensemble of “prefolded” hairpin structures brought about by cation-induced electrostatic collapse of the DNA. The current study shows that I1 converts to I2 with a relaxation time τ1 =0.1s at 25°C in 25mM KCl. The CD spectrum of I2 is characteristic of an antiparallel quadruplex that could form as a result of intramolecular fold-over of the I1 hairpins. I3 is relatively slowly formed (τ2 ≈3700s) and has CD and FRET properties consistent with those expected of a triplex structure as previously observed in equilibrium melting studies. I3 converts to F with τ3 ≈750s. Identical pathways with different kinetic constants involving a rapidly formed antiparallel intermediate were observed with oligonucleotides forming mixed parallel/antiparallel hybrid-1 and hybrid-2 topologies {e.g. d[TTGGG(TTAGGG)3A] and d[TAGGG(TTAGGG)3TT]}. Aspects of the kinetics of unfolding were also monitored by the spectroscopic methods listed above and by time-resolved fluorescence lifetime measurements using a complementary strand trap assay. These experiments reveal a slow, rate-limiting step along the unfolding pathway.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • The Tudor Domain of the PHD Finger Protein 1 Is a Dual Reader of Lysine Trimethylation at Lysine 36 of Histone H3 and Lysine 27 of Histone Variant H3t
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Ina Kycia , Srikanth Kudithipudi , Raluca Tamas , Goran Kungulovski , Arunkumar Dhayalan , Albert Jeltsch

    PHF1 associates with the Polycomb repressive complex 2 and it was demonstrated to stimulate its H3K27-trimethylation activity. We studied the interaction of the PHF1 Tudor domain with modified histone peptides and found that it recognizes H3K36me3 and H3tK27me3 (on the histone variant H3t) and that it uses the same trimethyllysine binding pocket for the interaction with both peptides. Since both peptide sequences are very different, this result indicates that reading domains can have dual specificities. Sub-nuclear localization studies of full-length PHF1 in human HEK293 cells revealed that it co-localizes with K27me3, but not with K36me3, and that this co-localization depends on the trimethyllysine binding pocket indicating that K27me3 is an in vivo target for the PHF1 Tudor domain. Our data suggest that PHF1 binds to H3tK27me3 in human chromatin, and H3t has a more general role in Polycomb regulation.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Molecular Insights into the Recognition of N-Terminal Histone Modifications by the BRPF1 Bromodomain
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Amanda Poplawski , Kaifeng Hu , Woonghee Lee , Senthil Natesan , Danni Peng , Samuel Carlson , Xiaobing Shi , Stefan Balaz , John L. Markley , Karen C. Glass

    The monocytic leukemic zinc finger (MOZ) histone acetyltransferase (HAT) acetylates free histones H3, H4, H2A, and H2B in vitro and is associated with up-regulation of gene transcription. The MOZ HAT functions as a quaternary complex with the bromodomain-PHD finger protein 1 (BRPF1), inhibitor of growth 5 (ING5), and hEaf6 subunits. BRPF1 links the MOZ catalytic subunit to the ING5 and hEaf6 subunits, thereby promoting MOZ HAT activity. Human BRPF1 contains multiple effector domains with known roles in gene transcription, as well as chromatin binding and remodeling. However, the biological function of the BRPF1 bromodomain remains unknown. Our findings reveal novel interactions of the BRPF1 bromodomain with multiple acetyllysine residues on the N-terminus of histones and show that it preferentially selects for H2AK5ac, H4K12ac, and H3K14ac. We used chemical shift perturbation data from NMR titration experiments to map the BRPF1 bromodomain ligand binding pocket and identified key residues responsible for coordination of the post-translationally modified histones. Extensive molecular dynamics simulations were used to generate structural models of bromodomain–histone ligand complexes, to analyze hydrogen bonding and other interactions, and to calculate the binding free energies. Our results outline the molecular mechanism driving binding specificity of the BRPF1 bromodomain for discrete acetyllysine residues on the N-terminal histone tails. Together, these data provide insights into how histone recognition by the bromodomain directs the biological function of BRPF1, ultimately targeting the MOZ HAT complex to chromatin substrates.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Constitutive Nuclear Localization of an Alternatively Spliced Sirtuin-2 Isoform
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Johannes G.M. Rack , Magali R. VanLinden , Timo Lutter , Rein Aasland , Mathias Ziegler

    Sirtuin-2 (SIRT2), the cytoplasmic member of the sirtuin family, has been implicated in the deacetylation of nuclear proteins. Although the enzyme has been reported to be located to the nucleus during G2/M phase, its spectrum of targets suggests functions in the nucleus throughout the cell cycle. While a nucleocytoplasmic shuttling mechanism has been proposed for SIRT2, recent studies have indicated the presence of a constitutively nuclear isoform. Here we report the identification of a novel splice variant (isoform 5) of SIRT2 that lacks a nuclear export signal and encodes a predominantly nuclear isoform. This novel isoform 5 fails to show deacetylase activity using several assays, both in vitro and in vivo, and we are led to conclude that this isoform is catalytically inactive. Nevertheless, it retains the ability to interact with p300, a known interaction partner. Moreover, changes in intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence upon denaturation indicate that the protein is properly folded. These data, together with computational analyses, confirm the structural integrity of the catalytic domain. Our results suggest an activity-independent nuclear function of the novel isoform.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Determination of the Self-Association Residues within a Homomeric and a Heteromeric AAA+ Enhancer Binding Protein
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Edward Lawton , Milija Jovanovic , Nicolas Joly , Christopher Waite , Nan Zhang , Baojun Wang , Patricia Burrows , Martin Buck

    The σ54-dependent transcription in bacteria requires specific activator proteins, bacterial enhancer binding protein (bEBP), members of the AAA+ (ATPases Associated with various cellular Activities) protein family. The bEBPs usually form oligomers in order to hydrolyze ATP and make open promoter complexes. The bEBP formed by HrpR and HrpS activates transcription from the σ54-dependent hrpL promoter responsible for triggering the Type Three Secretion System in Pseudomonas syringae pathovars. Unlike other bEBPs that usually act as homohexamers, HrpR and HrpS operate as a highly co-dependent heterohexameric complex. To understand the organization of the HrpRS complex and the HrpR and HrpS strict co-dependence, we have analyzed the interface between subunits using the random and directed mutagenesis and available crystal structures of several closely related bEBPs. We identified key residues required for the self-association of HrpR (D32, E202 and K235) with HrpS (D32, E200 and K233), showed that the HrpR D32 and HrpS K233 residues form interacting pairs directly involved in an HrpR–HrpS association and that the change in side-chain length at position 233 in HrpS affects self-association and interaction with the HrpR and demonstrated that the HrpS D32, E200 and K233 are not involved in negative regulation imposed by HrpV. We established that the equivalent residues K30, E200 and E234 in a homo-oligomeric bEBP, PspF, are required for the subunit communication and formation of an oligomeric lock that cooperates with the ATP γ-phosphate sensing PspF residue R227, providing insights into their roles in the heteromeric HrpRS co-complex.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Energetic Communication between Functional Sites of the Gene-3-Protein during Infection by Phage fd
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Stephanie Hoffmann-Thoms , Roman P. Jakob , Franz X. Schmid

    To initiate infection of Escherichia coli, phage fd uses its gene-3-protein (G3P) to bind first to an F pilus and then to the TolA protein at the cell surface. G3P is normally auto-inhibited because a tight interaction between the two N-terminal domains N1 and N2 buries the TolA binding site. Binding of N2 to the pilus activates G3P by initiating long-range conformational changes that are relayed to the domain interface and to a proline timer. We discovered that the 23–28 loop of the N1 domain is critical for propagating these conformational signals. The analysis of the stability and the folding dynamics of G3P variants with a shortened loop combined with TolA interaction studies and phage infection experiments reveal how the contact between the N2 domain and the 23–28 loop of N1 is energetically linked with the interdomain region and the proline timer and how it affects phage infectivity. Our results illustrate how conformational transitions and prolyl cis/trans isomerization can be coupled energetically and how conformational signals to and from prolines can be propagated over long distances in proteins.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Dimer–Dimer Interaction of the Bacterial Selenocysteine Synthase SelA Promotes Functional Active-Site Formation and Catalytic Specificity
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Yuzuru Itoh , Markus J. Bröcker , Shun-ichi Sekine , Dieter Söll , Shigeyuki Yokoyama

    The 21st amino acid, selenocysteine (Sec), is incorporated translationally into proteins and is synthesized on its specific tRNA (tRNASec). In Bacteria, the selenocysteine synthase SelA converts Ser-tRNASec, formed by seryl-tRNA synthetase, to Sec-tRNASec. SelA, a member of the fold-type-I pyridoxal 5′-phosphate-dependent enzyme superfamily, has an exceptional homodecameric quaternary structure with a molecular mass of about 500kDa. Our previously determined crystal structures of Aquifex aeolicus SelA complexed with tRNASec revealed that the ring-shaped decamer is composed of pentamerized SelA dimers, with two SelA dimers arranged to collaboratively interact with one Ser-tRNASec. The SelA catalytic site is close to the dimer–dimer interface, but the significance of the dimer pentamerization in the catalytic site formation remained elusive. In the present study, we examined the quaternary interactions and demonstrated their importance for SelA activity by systematic mutagenesis. Furthermore, we determined the crystal structures of “depentamerized” SelA variants with mutations at the dimer–dimer interface that prevent pentamerization. These dimeric SelA variants formed a distorted and inactivated catalytic site and confirmed that the pentamer interactions are essential for productive catalytic site formation. Intriguingly, the conformation of the non-functional active site of dimeric SelA shares structural features with other fold-type-I pyridoxal 5′-phosphate-dependent enzymes with native dimer or tetramer (dimer-of-dimers) quaternary structures.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • O-GlcNAc Modification of tau Directly Inhibits Its Aggregation without Perturbing the Conformational Properties of tau Monomers
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Scott A. Yuzwa , Adrienne H. Cheung , Mark Okon , Lawrence P. McIntosh , David J. Vocadlo

    The aggregation of the microtubule-associated protein tau into paired helical filaments to form neurofibrillary tangles constitutes one of the pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease. Tau is post-translationally modified by the addition of N-acetyl-d-glucosamine O-linked to several serine and threonine residues (O-GlcNAc). Previously, increased O-GlcNAcylation of tau has been shown to block the accumulation of tau aggregates within a tauopathy mouse model. Here we show that O-GlcNAc modification of full-length human tau impairs the rate and extent of its heparin-induced aggregation without perturbing its activity toward microtubule polymerization. O-GlcNAcylation, however, does not impact the “global-fold” of tau as measured by a Förster resonance energy transfer assay. Similarly, nuclear magnetic resonance studies demonstrated that O-GlcNAcylation only minimally perturbs the local structural and dynamic features of a tau fragment (residues 353–408) spanning the last microtubule binding repeat to the major GlcNAc-acceptor Ser400. These data indicate that the inhibitory effects of O-GlcNAc on tau aggregation may result from enhanced monomer solubility or the destabilization of fibrils or soluble aggregates, rather than by altering the conformational properties of the monomeric protein. This work further underscores the potential of targeting the O-GlcNAc pathway for potential Alzheimer's disease therapeutics.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • The C-Terminal Domain of SRA1p Has a Fold More Similar to PRP18 than to an RRM and Does Not Directly Bind to the SRA1 RNA STR7 Region
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Stephanie M. Bilinovich , Caroline M. Davis , Daniel L. Morris , Louis A. Ray , Jeremy W. Prokop , Gregory J. Buchan , Thomas C. Leeper

    Steroid receptor activator RNA protein (SRA1p) is the translation product of the bi-functional long non-coding RNA steroid receptor activator RNA 1 (SRA1) that is part of the steroid receptor coactivator-1 acetyltransferase complex and is indicated to be an epigenetic regulatory component. Previously, the SRA1p protein was suggested to contain an RNA recognition motif (RRM) domain. We have determined the solution structure of the C-terminal domain of human SRA1p by NMR spectroscopy. Our structure along with sequence comparisons among SRA1p orthologs and against authentic RRM proteins indicates that it is not an RRM domain but rather an all-helical protein with a fold more similar to the PRP18 splicing factor. NMR spectroscopy on the full SRA1p protein suggests that this structure is relevant to the native full-length context. Furthermore, molecular modeling indicates that this fold is well conserved among vertebrates. Amino acid variations in this protein seen across sequenced human genomes, including those in tumor cells, indicate that mutations that disrupt the fold occur vary rarely and highlight that its function is well conserved. SRA1p had previously been suggested to bind to the SRA1 RNA, but NMR spectra of SRA1p in the presence of its 80-nt RNA target suggest otherwise and indicate that this protein must be part of a multi-protein complex in order to recognize its proposed RNA recognition element.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Structure and Function of Steroid Receptor RNA Activator Protein, the Proposed Partner of SRA Noncoding RNA
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): David B. McKay , Linghe Xi , Kristen K.B. Barthel , Thomas R. Cech

    In a widely accepted model, the steroid receptor RNA activator protein (SRA protein; SRAP) modulates the transcriptional regulatory activity of SRA RNA by binding a specific stem–loop of SRA. We first confirmed that SRAP is present in the nucleus as well as the cytoplasm of MCF-7 breast cancer cells, where it is expressed at the level of about 105 molecules per cell. However, our SRAP–RNA binding experiments, both in vitro with recombinant protein and in cultured cells with plasmid-expressed protein and RNA, did not reveal a specific interaction between SRAP and SRA. We determined the crystal structure of the carboxy-terminal domain of human SRAP and found that it does not have the postulated RRM (RNA recognition motif). The structure is a five-helix bundle that is distinct from known RNA-binding motifs and instead is similar to the carboxy-terminal domain of the yeast spliceosome protein PRP18, which stabilizes specific protein–protein interactions within a multisubunit mRNA splicing complex. SRA binding experiments with this domain gave negative results. Transcriptional regulation by SRA/SRAP was examined with siRNA knockdown. Effects on both specific estrogen-responsive genes and genes identified by RNA-seq as candidates for regulation were examined in MCF-7 cells. Only a small effect (~20% change) on one gene resulting from depletion of SRA/SRAP could be confirmed. We conclude that the current model for SRAP function must be reevaluated; we suggest that SRAP may function in a different context to stabilize specific intermolecular interactions in the nucleus.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • A Novel C-Terminal Homologue of Aha1 Co-Chaperone Binds to Heat Shock Protein 90 and Stimulates Its ATPase Activity in Entamoeba histolytica
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Meetali Singh , Varun Shah , Utpal Tatu

    Cytosolic heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) has been shown to be essential for many infectious pathogens and is considered a potential target for drug development. In this study, we have carried out biochemical characterization of Hsp90 from a poorly studied protozoan parasite of clinical importance, Entamoeba histolytica. We have shown that Entamoeba Hsp90 can bind to both ATP and its pharmacological inhibitor, 17-AAG (17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin), with K d values of 365.2 and 10.77μM, respectively, and it has a weak ATPase activity with a catalytic efficiency of 4.12×10−4 min−1 μM−1. Using inhibitor 17-AAG, we have shown dependence of Entamoeba on Hsp90 for its growth and survival. Hsp90 function is regulated by various co-chaperones. Previous studies suggest a lack of several important co-chaperones in E. histolytica. In this study, we describe the presence of a novel homologue of co-chaperone Aha1 (activator of Hsp90 ATPase), EhAha1c, lacking a canonical Aha1 N-terminal domain. We also show that EhAha1c is capable of binding and stimulating ATPase activity of EhHsp90. In addition to highlighting the potential of Hsp90 inhibitors as drugs against amoebiasis, our study highlights the importance of E. histolytica in understanding the evolution of Hsp90 and its co-chaperone repertoire.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Immunoglobulin G1 Fc Domain Motions: Implications for Fc Engineering
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Martin Frank , Ross C. Walker , William N. Lanzilotta , James H. Prestegard , Adam W. Barb

    The fragment crystallizable (Fc) region links the key pathogen identification and destruction properties of immunoglobulin G (IgG). Pathogen opsonization positions Fcs to activate pro-inflammatory Fcγ receptors (FcγRs) on immune cells. The cellular response and committal to a damaging, though protective, immune response are tightly controlled at multiple levels. Control mechanisms are diverse and in many cases unclear, but one frequently suggested contribution originates in FcγR affinity being modulated through shifts in Fc conformational sampling. Here, we report a previously unseen IgG1 Fc conformation. This observation motivated an extensive molecular dynamics investigation of polypeptide and glycan motions that revealed greater amplitude of motion for the N-terminal Cγ2 domains and N-glycan than previously observed. Residues in the Cγ2/Cγ3 interface and disulfide-bonded hinge were identified as influencing the Cγ2 motion. Our results are consistent with a model of Fc that is structurally dynamic. Conformational states that are competent to bind immune-stimulating FcγRs interconverted with Fc conformations distinct from those observed in FcγR complexes, which may represent a transient, nonbinding population.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Relative Domain Folding and Stability of a Membrane Transport Protein
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Nicola J. Harris , Heather E. Findlay , John Simms , Xia Liu , Paula J. Booth

    There is a limited understanding of the folding of multidomain membrane proteins. Lactose permease (LacY) of Escherichia coli is an archetypal member of the major facilitator superfamily of membrane transport proteins, which contain two domains of six transmembrane helices each. We exploit chemical denaturation to determine the unfolding free energy of LacY and employ Trp residues as site-specific thermodynamic probes. Single Trp LacY mutants are created with the individual Trps situated at mirror image positions on the two LacY domains. The changes in Trp fluorescence induced by urea denaturation are used to construct denaturation curves from which unfolding free energies can be determined. The majority of the single Trp tracers report the same stability and an unfolding free energy of approximately +2kcal mol−1. There is one exception; the fluorescence of W33 at the cytoplasmic end of helix I on the N domain is unaffected by urea. In contrast, the equivalent position on the first helix, VII, of the C-terminal domain exhibits wild-type stability, with the single Trp tracer at position 243 on helix VII reporting an unfolding free energy of +2kcal mol−1. This indicates that the region of the N domain of LacY at position 33 on helix I has enhanced stability to urea, when compared the corresponding location at the start of the C domain. We also find evidence for a potential network of stabilising interactions across the domain interface, which reduces accessibility to the hydrophilic substrate binding pocket between the two domains.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Determination of the Individual Roles of the Linker Residues in the Interdomain Motions of Calmodulin Using NMR Chemical Shifts
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Predrag Kukic , Carlo Camilloni , Andrea Cavalli , Michele Vendruscolo

    Many protein molecules are formed by two or more domains whose structures and dynamics are closely related to their biological functions. It is thus important to develop methods to determine the structural properties of these multidomain proteins. Here, we characterize the interdomain motions in the calcium-bound state of calmodulin (Ca2+-CaM) using NMR chemical shifts as replica-averaged structural restraints in molecular dynamics simulations. We find that the conformational fluctuations of the interdomain linker, which are largely responsible for the overall interdomain motions of CaM, can be well described by exploiting the information provided by chemical shifts. We thus identify 10 residues in the interdomain linker region that change their conformations upon substrate binding. Five of these residues (Met76, Lys77, Thr79, Asp80 and Ser81) are highly flexible and cover the range of conformations observed in the substrate-bound state, while the remaining five (Arg74, Lys75, Asp78, Glu82 and Glu83) are much more rigid and do not populate conformations typical of the substrate-bound form. The ensemble of conformations representing the Ca2+-CaM state obtained in this study is in good agreement with residual dipolar coupling, paramagnetic resonance enhancement, small-angle X-ray scattering and fluorescence resonance energy transfer measurements, which were not used as restraints in the calculations. These results provide initial evidence that chemical shifts can be used to characterize the conformational fluctuations of multidomain proteins.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • Structural Analysis of a Fungal Methionine Synthase with Substrates and Inhibitors
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Devinder Ubhi , Grace Kago , Arthur F. Monzingo , Jon D. Robertus

    The cobalamin-independent methionine synthase from Candida albicans, known as Met6p, is a 90-kDa enzyme that consists of two (βα)8 barrels. The active site is located between the two domains and has binding sites for a zinc ion and substrates l-homocysteine and 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate-glutamate3. Met6p catalyzes transfer of the methyl group of 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate-glutamate3 to the l-homocysteine thiolate to generate methionine. Met6p is essential for fungal growth, and we currently pursue it as an antifungal drug design target. Here we report the binding of l-homocysteine, methionine, and several folate analogs. We show that binding of l-homocysteine or methionine results in conformational rearrangements at the amino acid binding pocket, moving the catalytic zinc into position to activate the thiol group. We also map the folate binding pocket and identify specific binding residues, like Asn126, whose mutation eliminates catalytic activity. We also report the development of a robust fluorescence-based activity assay suitable for high-throughput screening. We use this assay and an X-ray structure to characterize methotrexate as a weak inhibitor of fungal Met6p.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • The Novel Microtubule-Destabilizing Drug BAL27862 Binds to the Colchicine Site of Tubulin with Distinct Effects on Microtubule Organization
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Andrea E. Prota , Franck Danel , Felix Bachmann , Katja Bargsten , Rubén M. Buey , Jens Pohlmann , Stefan Reinelt , Heidi Lane , Michel O. Steinmetz

    Microtubule-targeting agents are widely used for the treatment of cancer and as tool compounds to study the microtubule cytoskeleton. BAL27862 is a novel microtubule-destabilizing drug that is currently undergoing phase I clinical evaluation as the prodrug BAL101553. The drug is a potent inhibitor of tumor cell growth and shows a promising activity profile in a panel of human cancer models resistant to clinically relevant microtubule-targeting agents. Here, we evaluated the molecular mechanism of the tubulin–BAL27862 interaction using a combination of cell biology, biochemistry and structural biology methods. Tubulin-binding assays revealed that BAL27862 potently inhibited tubulin assembly at 37°C with an IC50 of 1.4μM and bound to unassembled tubulin with a stoichiometry of 1mol/mol tubulin and a dissociation constant of 244±30nM. BAL27862 bound to tubulin independently of vinblastine, without the formation of tubulin oligomers. The kinetics of BAL27862 binding to tubulin were distinct from those of colchicine, with evidence of competition between BAL27862 and colchicine for binding. Determination of the tubulin–BAL27862 structure by X-ray crystallography demonstrated that BAL27862 binds to the same site as colchicine at the intradimer interface. Comparison of crystal structures of tubulin–BAL27862 and tubulin–colchicine complexes shows that the binding mode of BAL27862 to tubulin is similar to that of colchicine. However, comparative analyses of the effects of BAL27862 and colchicine on the microtubule mitotic spindle and in tubulin protease-protection experiments suggest different outcomes of tubulin binding. Taken together, our data define BAL27862 as a potent, colchicine site-binding, microtubule-destabilizing agent with distinct effects on microtubule organization.
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    Categories: Journal Articles
  • NP-Sticky: A Web Server for Optimizing DNA Ligation with Non-Palindromic Sticky Ends
    [Apr 2014]

    Publication date: 17 April 2014
    Source:Journal of Molecular Biology, Volume 426, Issue 8

    Author(s): Daphne T.W. Ng , Casim A. Sarkar

    High-efficiency DNA ligation is vital for many molecular biology experiments, and it is best achieved using reactants with non-palindromic sticky ends to maximize specificity. However, optimizing such multi-parametric ligation reactions often involves extensive trial and error. We have developed a freely available Web-based ligation calculator, NP-Sticky (http://sarkarlab.umn.edu/npsticky/), that predicts product distribution for given reactant concentrations, thus enabling straightforward computational optimization of these reactions. Built-in schemes include two-piece and three-piece linear ligation, as well as insert-vector circular ligation. The only parameters needed for the underlying thermodynamic model are the free energies of ligation for each sticky end, which can be estimated by the calculator from the overhang sequences or provided by the user from direct experimental measurement. Free energies of sticky-end mismatches are also calculated for determining the extent of byproduct formation. This ligation calculator allows rapid identification of the optimal conditions for maximizing incorporation, efficiency, and/or accuracy, based on specific needs.
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    Categories: Journal Articles