[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rad51 protein promotes homologous recombination in eukaryotes. Recombination activities are activated by Rad51 filament assembly on ssDNA. Previous studies of yeast Rad51 showed that His352 occupies an important position at the filament interface, where it could relay signals between subunits and active sites. To investigate, we characterized yeast Rad51 H352A and H352Y mutants, and solved the structure of H352Y. H352A forms catalytically competent but salt-labile complexes on ssDNA. In contrast, H352Y forms salt-resistant complexes on ssDNA, but is defective in nucleotide exchange, RPA displacement and strand exchange with full-length DNA substrates. The 2.5 A crystal structure of H352Y reveals a right-handed helical filament in a high-pitch (130 A) conformation with P6(1) symmetry. The catalytic core and dimer interface regions of H352Y closely resemble those of DNA-bound Escherichia coli RecA protein. The H352Y mutation stabilizes Phe187 from the adjacent subunit in a position that interferes with the gamma-phosphate-binding site of the Walker A motif/P-loop, potentially explaining the limited catalysis observed. Comparison of Rad51 H352Y, RecA-DNA and related structures reveals that the presence of bound DNA correlates with the isomerization of a conserved cis peptide near Walker B to the trans configuration, which appears to prime the catalytic glutamate residue for ATP hydrolysis.
Nucleic Acids Research 04/2010; 38(14):4889-906. · 8.28 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The fungal toxin cytochalasin D (CD) interferes with the normal dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton by binding to the barbed end of actin filaments. Despite its widespread use as a tool for studying actin-mediated processes, the exact location and nature of its binding to actin have not been previously determined. Here we describe two crystal structures of an expressed monomeric actin in complex with CD: one obtained by soaking preformed actin crystals with CD, and the other obtained by cocrystallization. The binding site for CD, in the hydrophobic cleft between actin subdomains 1 and 3, is the same in the two structures. Polar and hydrophobic contacts play equally important roles in CD binding, and six hydrogen bonds stabilize the actin-CD complex. Many unrelated actin-binding proteins and marine toxins target this cleft and the hydrophobic pocket at the front end of the cleft (viewing actin with subdomain 2 in the upper right corner). CD differs in that it binds to the back half of the cleft. The ability of CD to induce actin dimer formation and actin-catalyzed ATP hydrolysis may be related to its unique binding site and the necessity to fit its bulky macrocycle into this cleft. Contacts with residues lining this cleft appear to be crucial to capping and/or severing. The cocrystallized actin-CD structure also revealed changes in actin conformation. An approximately 6 degrees rotation of the smaller actin domain (subdomains 1 and 2) with respect to the larger domain (subdomains 3 and 4) results in small changes in crystal packing that allow the D-loop to adopt an extended loop structure instead of being disordered, as it is in most crystal structures of actin. We speculate that these changes represent a potential conformation that the actin monomer can adopt on the pathway to polymerization or in the filament.
Journal of Molecular Biology 11/2008; 384(4):848-64. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thioredoxin reductase (TR) from Drosophila melanogaster (DmTR) is a member of the glutathione reductase (GR) family of pyridine nucleotide disulfide oxidoreductases and catalyzes the reduction of the redox-active disulfide bond of thioredoxin. DmTR is notable for having high catalytic activity without the presence of a selenocysteine (Sec) residue (which is essential for the mammalian thioredoxin reductases). We report here the X-ray crystal structure of DmTR at 2.4 A resolution (Rwork = 19.8%, Rfree = 24.7%) in which the enzyme was truncated to remove the C-terminal tripeptide sequence Cys-Cys-Ser. We also demonstrate that tetrapeptides equivalent to the oxidized C-terminal active sites of both mouse mitochondrial TR (mTR3) and DmTR are substrates for the truncated forms of both enzymes. This truncated enzyme/peptide substrate system examines the kinetics of the ring-opening step that occurs during the enzymatic cycle of TR. The ring-opening step is 300-500-fold slower when Sec is replaced with Cys in mTR3 when using this system. Conversely, when Cys is replaced with Sec in DmTR, the rate of ring opening is only moderately increased (5-36-fold). Structures of these tetrapeptides were oriented in the active site of both enzymes using oxidized glutathione bound to GR as a template. DmTR has a more open tetrapeptide binding pocket than the mouse enzyme and accommodates the peptide Ser-Cys-Cys-Ser(ox) in a cis conformation that allows for the protonation of the leaving-group Cys by His464', which helps to explain why this TR can function without the need for Sec. In contrast, mTR3 shows a narrower pocket. One possible result of this narrower interface is that the mammalian redox-active tetrapeptide Gly-Cys-Sec-Gly may adopt a trans conformation for a better fit. This places the Sec residue farther away from the protonating histidine residue, but the lower pKa of Sec in comparison to that of Cys eliminates the need for Sec to be protonated.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thymine glycol (Tg) is a common product of oxidation and ionizing radiation, including that used for cancer treatment. Although Tg is a poor mutagenic lesion, it has been shown to present a strong block to both repair and replicative DNA polymerases. The 2.65-A crystal structure of a binary complex of the replicative RB69 DNA polymerase with DNA shows that the templating Tg is intrahelical and forms a regular Watson-Crick base pair with the incorporated A. The C5 methyl group protrudes axially from the ring of the damaged pyrimidine and hinders stacking of the adjacent 5' template guanine. The position of the displaced 5' template guanine is such that the next incoming nucleotide cannot be incorporated into the growing primer strand, and it explains why primer extension past the lesion is prohibited even though DNA polymerases can readily incorporate an A across from the Tg lesion.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2007; 104(3):814-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Isomorphous difference methods allow rapid and detailed visualization of localized changes in macromolecular structures, whether as a result of mutation or the binding of ligands. Practical aspects of isomorphous methods and differential crystallography are presented, particularly in their application to the phasing of new structures by multiple isomorphous replacement and the detection and characterization of ligand binding. Techniques for maintaining isomorphism between crystals to maximize the differential signal are covered, as are the computational steps involved in generating difference electron density maps. Frontier applications such as determining single-site ligand-binding affinities crystallographically, high-throughput screening of combinatorial compound libraries, in crystallo competition assays, and inferring protein function via exogenous ligand-binding screens are discussed.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 02/2007; 364:159-82.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacteriophage T4 UvsY protein is considered to be the prototype of recombination mediator proteins, a class of proteins which assist in the loading of recombinases onto DNA. Wild-type and Se-substituted UvsY protein have been expressed and purified and crystallized by hanging-drop vapor diffusion. The crystals diffract to 2.4 A using in-house facilities and to 2.2 A at NSLS, Brookhaven National Laboratory. The crystals belong to space group P422, P4(2)22, P42(1)2 or P4(2)2(1)2, the ambiguity arising from pseudo-centering, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 76.93, c = 269.8 A. Previous biophysical characterization of UvsY indicates that it exists primarily as a hexamer in solution. Along with the absence of a crystallographic threefold, this suggests that the asymmetric unit of these crystals is likely to contain either three monomers, giving a solvent content of 71%, or six monomers, giving a solvent content of 41%.
Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 11/2006; 62(Pt 10):1013-5. · 0.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Actin filament growth and disassembly, as well as affinity for actin-binding proteins, is mediated by the nucleotide-bound state of the component actin monomers. The structural differences between ATP-actin and ADP-actin, however, remain controversial. We expressed a cytoplasmic actin in Sf9 cells, which was rendered non-polymerizable by virtue of two point mutations in subdomain 4 (A204E/P243K). This homogeneous monomer, called AP-actin, was crystallized in the absence of toxins, binding proteins, or chemical modification, with ATP or ADP at the active site. The two surface mutations do not perturb the structure. Significant differences between the two states are confined to the active site region and sensor loop. The active site cleft remains closed in both states. Minor structural shifts propagate from the active site toward subdomain 2, but dissipate before reaching the DNase binding loop (D-loop), which remains disordered in both the ADP and ATP states. This result contrasts with previous structures of actin made monomeric by modification with tetramethylrhodamine, which show formation of an alpha-helix at the distal end of the D-loop in the ADP-bound but not the ATP-bound form (Otterbein, L. R., Graceffa, P., and Dominguez, R. (2001) Science 293, 708-711). Our reanalysis of the TMR-modified actin structures suggests that the nucleotide-dependent formation of the D-loop helix may result from signal propagation through crystal packing interactions. Whereas the observed nucleotide-dependent changes in the structure present significantly different surfaces on the exterior of the actin monomer, current models of the actin filament lack any actin-actin interactions that involve the region of these key structural changes.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2006; 281(42):31909-19. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serum transferrin reversibly binds iron in each of two lobes and delivers it to cells by a receptor-mediated, pH-dependent process. The binding and release of iron result in a large conformational change in which two subdomains in each lobe close or open with a rigid twisting motion around a hinge. We report the structure of human serum transferrin (hTF) lacking iron (apo-hTF), which was independently determined by two methods: 1) the crystal structure of recombinant non-glycosylated apo-hTF was solved at 2.7-A resolution using a multiple wavelength anomalous dispersion phasing strategy, by substituting the nine methionines in hTF with selenomethionine and 2) the structure of glycosylated apo-hTF (isolated from serum) was determined to a resolution of 2.7A by molecular replacement using the human apo-N-lobe and the rabbit holo-C1-subdomain as search models. These two crystal structures are essentially identical. They represent the first published model for full-length human transferrin and reveal that, in contrast to family members (human lactoferrin and hen ovotransferrin), both lobes are almost equally open: 59.4 degrees and 49.5 degrees rotations are required to open the N- and C-lobes, respectively (compared with closed pig TF). Availability of this structure is critical to a complete understanding of the metal binding properties of each lobe of hTF; the apo-hTF structure suggests that differences in the hinge regions of the N- and C-lobes may influence the rates of iron binding and release. In addition, we evaluate potential interactions between apo-hTF and the human transferrin receptor.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2006; 281(34):24934-44. · 4.65 Impact Factor