[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a powerful tool for observing the motion of biomolecules at the atomic level. One technique, the analysis of relaxation dispersion phenomenon, is highly suited for studying the kinetics and thermodynamics of biological processes. Built on top of the relax computational environment for NMR dynamics is a new dispersion analysis designed to be comprehensive, accurate and easy-to-use. The software supports more models, both numeric and analytic, than current solutions. An automated protocol, available for scripting and driving the graphical user interface (GUI), is designed to simplify the analysis of dispersion data for NMR spectroscopists. Decreases in optimization time are granted by parallelization for running on computer clusters and by skipping an initial grid search by using parameters from one solution as the starting point for another -using analytic model results for the numeric models, taking advantage of model nesting, and using averaged non-clustered results for the clustered analysis.
The software relax is written in Python with C modules and is released under the GPLv3+ license. Source code and precompiled binaries for all major operating systems are available from http://www.nmr-relax.com.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effects of substrate binding on class A β-lactamase dynamics were studied using molecular dynamics simulations of two model enzymes; 40 100-ns trajectories of the free and substrate-bound forms of TEM-1 (with benzylpenicillin) and PSE-4 (with carbenicillin) were recorded (totaling 4.0 μs). Substrates were parameterized with the CHARMM General Force Field. In both enzymes, the Ω loop exhibits a marked flexibility increase upon substrate binding, supporting the hypothesis of substrate gating. However, specific interactions that are formed or broken in the Ω loop upon binding differ between the two enzymes: dynamics are conserved, but not specific interactions. Substrate binding also has a global structuring effect on TEM-1, but not on PSE-4. Changes in TEM-1's normal modes show long-range effects of substrate binding on enzyme dynamics. Hydrogen bonds observed in the active site are mostly preserved upon substrate binding, and new, transient interactions are also formed. Agreement between NMR relaxation parameters and our theoretical results highlights the dynamic duality of class A β-lactamases: enzymes that are highly structured on the ps-ns timescale, with important flexibility on the μs-ms timescale in regions such as the Ω loop.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Viral assembly is a crucial key step in the life cycle of every virus. In the case of Hepatitis C virus (HCV), the core protein is the only structural protein to interact directly with the viral genomic RNA. Purified recombinant core protein is able to self-assemble in vitro into nucleocapsid-like particles upon addition of a structured RNA, providing a robust assay with which to study HCV assembly. Inhibition of self-assembly of the C170 core protein (first 170 amino acids) was tested using short peptides derived from the HCV core, from HCV NS5A protein, and from diverse proteins (p21 and p73) known to interact with HCV core protein. Interestingly, peptides derived from the core were the best inhibitors. These peptides are derived from regions of the core predicted to be involved in the interaction between core subunits during viral assembly. We also demonstrated that a peptide derived from the C-terminal end of NS5A protein moderately inhibits the assembly process.
Canadian Journal of Microbiology 03/2012; 58(4):475-82. · 1.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Modern biological sciences are becoming more and more multidisciplinary. At the same time, theoretical and computational approaches gain in reliability and their field of application widens. In this short paper, we discuss recent advances in the areas of solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations that were made possible by the combination of both methods, that is, through their synergistic use. We present the main NMR observables and parameters that can be computed from simulations, and how they are used in a variety of complementary applications, including dynamics studies, model-free analysis, force field validation, and structural studies.
BioMed Research International 01/2012; 2012:254208. · 2.88 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Enzyme engineering has been facilitated by recombination of close homologues, followed by functional screening. In one such effort, chimeras of two class-A β-lactamases - TEM-1 and PSE-4 - were created according to structure-guided protein recombination and selected for their capacity to promote bacterial proliferation in the presence of ampicillin (Voigt et al., Nat. Struct. Biol. 2002 9:553). To provide a more detailed assessment of the effects of protein recombination on the structure and function of the resulting chimeric enzymes, we characterized a series of functional TEM-1/PSE-4 chimeras possessing between 17 and 92 substitutions relative to TEM-1 β-lactamase. Circular dichroism and thermal scanning fluorimetry revealed that the chimeras were generally well folded. Despite harbouring important sequence variation relative to either of the two 'parental' β-lactamases, the chimeric β-lactamases displayed substrate recognition spectra and reactivity similar to their most closely-related parent. To gain further insight into the changes induced by chimerization, the chimera with 17 substitutions was investigated by NMR spin relaxation. While high order was conserved on the ps-ns timescale, a hallmark of class A β-lactamases, evidence of additional slow motions on the µs-ms timescale was extracted from model-free calculations. This is consistent with the greater number of resonances that could not be assigned in this chimera relative to the parental β-lactamases, and is consistent with this well-folded and functional chimeric β-lactamase displaying increased slow time-scale motions.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(12):e52283. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The potent nitric oxide dioxygenase (NOD) activity (trHbN-Fe²⁺-O₂ + (•)NO → trHbN-Fe³⁺-OH₂ + NO₃⁻) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis truncated hemoglobin N (trHbN) protects aerobic respiration from inhibition by (•)NO. The high activity of trHbN has been attributed in part to the presence of numerous short-lived hydrophobic cavities that allow partition and diffusion of the gaseous substrates (•)NO and O₂ to the active site. We investigated the relation between these cavities and the dynamics of the protein using solution NMR spectroscopy and molecular dynamics (MD). Results from both approaches indicate that the protein is mainly rigid with very limited motions of the backbone N-H bond vectors on the picoseconds-nanoseconds time scale, indicating that substrate diffusion and partition within trHbN may be controlled by side-chains movements. Model-free analysis also revealed the presence of slow motions (microseconds-milliseconds), not observed in MD simulations, for many residues located in helices B and G including the distal heme pocket Tyr33(B10). All currently known crystal structures and molecular dynamics data of truncated hemoglobins with the so-called pre-A N-terminal extension suggest a stable α-helical conformation that extends in solution. Moreover, a recent study attributed a crucial role to the pre-A helix for NOD activity. However, solution NMR data clearly show that in near-physiological conditions these residues do not adopt an α-helical conformation and are significantly disordered and that the helical conformation seen in crystal structures is likely induced by crystal contacts. Although this lack of order for the pre-A does not disagree with an important functional role for these residues, our data show that one should not assume an helical conformation for these residues in any functional interpretation. Moreover, future molecular dynamics simulations should not use an initial α-helical conformation for these residues in order to avoid a bias based on an erroneous initial structure for the N-termini residues. This work constitutes the first study of a truncated hemoglobin dynamics performed by solution heteronuclear relaxation NMR spectroscopy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spinning process of spiders can modulate the mechanical properties of their silk fibers. It is therefore of primary importance to understand what are the key elements of the spider spinning process to develop efficient industrial spinning processes. We have exhaustively investigated the native conformation of major ampullate silk (MaS) proteins by comparing the content of the major ampullate gland of Nephila clavipes, solubilized MaS (SolMaS) fibers and the recombinant proteins rMaSpI and rMaSpII using (1) H solution NMR spectroscopy. The results indicate that the protein secondary structure is basically identical for the recombinant protein rMaSpI, SolMaS proteins, and the proteins in the dope, and corresponds to a disordered protein rich in 3(1) -helices. The data also show that glycine proton chemical shifts of rMaSpI and SolMaS are affected by pH, but that this change is not due to a modification of the secondary structure. Using a combination of NMR and dynamic light scattering, we have found that the spectral alteration of glycine is concomitant to a modification of the hydrodynamical diameter of recombinant and solubilized MaS. This led us to suggest new potential roles for the pH acidification in the spinning process of MaS proteins.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pre-elafin/trappin-2 is a human innate defense molecule initially described as a potent inhibitor of neutrophil elastase. The full-length protein as well as the N-terminal "cementoin" and C-terminal "elafin" domains were also shown to possess broad antimicrobial activity, namely against the opportunistic pathogen P. aeruginosa. The mode of action of these peptides has, however, yet to be fully elucidated. Both domains of pre-elafin/trappin-2 are polycationic, but only the structure of the elafin domain is currently known. The aim of the present study was to determine the secondary structures of the cementoin domain and to characterize the antibacterial properties of these peptides against P. aeruginosa.
We show here that the cementoin domain adopts an α-helical conformation both by circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance analyses in the presence of membrane mimetics, a characteristic shared with a large number of linear polycationic antimicrobial peptides. However, pre-elafin/trappin-2 and its domains display only weak lytic properties, as assessed by scanning electron micrography, outer and inner membrane depolarization studies with P. aeruginosa and leakage of liposome-entrapped calcein. Confocal microscopy of fluorescein-labeled pre-elafin/trappin-2 suggests that this protein possesses the ability to translocate across membranes. This correlates with the finding that pre-elafin/trappin-2 and elafin bind to DNA in vitro and attenuate the expression of some P. aeruginosa virulence factors, namely the biofilm formation and the secretion of pyoverdine.
The N-terminal cementoin domain adopts α-helical secondary structures in a membrane mimetic environment, which is common in antimicrobial peptides. However, unlike numerous linear polycationic antimicrobial peptides, membrane disruption does not appear to be the main function of either cementoin, elafin or full-length pre-elafin/trappin-2 against P. aeruginosa. Our results rather suggest that pre-elafin/trappin-2 and elafin, but not cementoin, possess the ability to modulate the expression of some P.aeruginosa virulence factors, possibly through acting on intracellular targets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rapid evolution of Class A β-lactamases, which procure resistance to an increasingly broad panel of β-lactam antibiotics, underscores the urgency to better understand the relation between their sequence variation and their structural and functional features. To date, more than 300 clinically-relevant β-lactamase variants have been reported, and this number continues to increase. With the aim of obtaining insights into the evolutionary potential of β-lactamases, an artificially engineered, catalytically active chimera of the Class A TEM-1 and PSE-4 β-lactamases is under study by kinetics and NMR. Here we report the (1)H, (13)C and (15)N backbone resonance assignments for the 30 kDa chimera cTEM-17m. Despite its high molecular weight, the data provide evidence that this artificially-evolved chimeric enzyme is well folded. The hydrolytic activity of cTEM-17m was determined using the chromogenic substrate CENTA, with K (M) = 160 ± 35 μM and k (cat) = 20 ± 4 s(-1), which is in the same range as the values for TEM-1 and PSE-4 β-lactamases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Core protein of hepatitis C virus is involved in several interactions other than the encapsidation of viral RNA. We recently proposed that this is related to the fact that the N-terminal half of this protein (C82) is an intrinsically unstructured protein (IUP) domain. IUP domains can adopt a secondary structure when they are interacting with another molecule, such as a nucleic acid or a protein. It is also possible to mimic these conditions by modifying the environment of the protein. We investigated the propensity of this protein to fold as a function of salt concentration, detergent, pH, and 2,2,2-trifluoro-ethanol (TFE); only the addition of TFE resulted in a structural change. The effect of TFE addition was studied by circular dichroism, structural, and dynamic data obtained by NMR. The data indicate that C82 can adopt an alpha-helical structure; this conformation is likely relevant to one of the functional roles of the HCV Core protein.
Biochemistry and Cell Biology 04/2010; 88(2):315-23. · 2.92 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dynamic properties of class A beta-lactamase TEM-1 are investigated from molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Comparison of MD-derived order parameters with those obtained from model-free analysis of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxation data shows high agreement for N-H moieties within alpha- and beta-secondary structures, but significant deviation for those in loops. This was expected, because motions slower than the protein global tumbling often take place in loop regions. As previously shown using NMR, TEM-1 is a highly ordered protein. Motions are observed within the Omega loop that could, upon substrate binding, stabilize E166 in a catalytically efficient position as the cavity between the protein core and the Omega loop is partially filled. The rigidity of active site residues is consistent with the enzyme high turnover number. MD data are also shown to be useful during the model selection step of model-free analysis: local N-H motions observed over the course of the trajectories help assess whether a peptide plan undergoes low or high amplitude motions on one or more timescales. This joint use of MD and NMR provides a better description of protein dynamics than would be possible using either technique alone.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: (15)N spin relaxation data is widely used to extract detailed dynamic information regarding bond vectors such as the amide N-H bond of the protein backbone. Analysis is typically carried using the Lipari-Szabo model-free approach. Even though the original model-free equation can be determined from single field R (1), R (2) and NOE, over-determination of more complex motional models is dependent on the recording of multiple field datasets. This is especially important for the characterization of conformational exchange which affects R (2) in a field dependent manner. However, severe artifacts can be introduced if inconsistencies arise between experimental setups with different magnets (or samples). Here, we propose the use of simple tests as validation tools for the assessment of consistency between different datasets recorded at multiple magnetic fields. Synthetic data are used to show the effects of inconsistencies on the proposed tests. Moreover, an analysis of data currently deposited in the BMRB is performed. Finally, two cases from our laboratory are presented. These tests are implemented in the open-source program relax, and we propose their use as a routine check-up for assessment of multiple field dataset consistency prior to any analysis such as model-free calculations. We believe this will aid in the extraction of higher quality dynamics information from (15)N spin relaxation data.
Journal of Biomolecular NMR 10/2009; 45(4):361-72. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The backbone dynamics for the 29.5 kDa class A beta-lactamase PSE-4 is presented. This solution NMR study was performed using multiple field (15)N spin relaxation and amide exchange data in the EX2 regime. Analysis was carried out with the relax program and includes the Lipari-Szabo model-free approach. Showing similarity to the homologous enzyme TEM-1, PSE-4 is very rigid on the ps-ns timescale, although slower mus-ms motions are present for several residues; this is especially true near the active site. However, significant dynamics differences exist between the two homologs for several important residues. Moreover, our data support the presence of a motion of the Omega loop first detected using molecular dynamics simulations on TEM-1. Thus, class A beta-lactamases appear to be a class of highly ordered proteins on the ps-ns timescale despite their efficient catalytic activity and high plasticity toward several different beta-lactam antibiotics. Most importantly, catalytically relevant mus-ms motions are present in the active site, suggesting an important role in catalysis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus core protein plays an important role in the assembly and packaging of the viral genome. We have studied the structure of the N-terminal half of the core protein (C82) which was shown to be sufficient for the formation of nucleocapsid-like particle (NLP) in vitro and in yeast. Structural bioinformatics analysis of C82 suggests that it is mostly unstructured. Circular dichroism and structural NMR data indicate that C82 lacks secondary structure. Moreover, NMR relaxation data shows that C82 is highly disordered. These results indicate that the N-terminal half of the HCV core protein belongs to the growing family of intrinsically unstructured proteins (IUP). This explains the tendency of the hepatitis C virus core protein to interact with several host proteins, a well-documented characteristic of IUPs.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 12/2008; 378(1):27-31. · 2.41 Impact Factor