[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colicin endonucleases (DNases) are bound and inactivated by immunity (Im) proteins. Im proteins are broadly cross-reactive yet specific inhibitors binding cognate and non-cognate DNases with K(d) values that vary between 10(-4) and 10(-14) M, characteristics that are explained by a 'dual-recognition' mechanism. In this work, we addressed for the first time the energetics of Im protein recognition by colicin DNases through a combination of E9 DNase alanine scanning and double-mutant cycles (DMCs) coupled with kinetic and calorimetric analyses of cognate Im9 and non-cognate Im2 binding, as well as computational analysis of alanine scanning and DMC data. We show that differential DeltaDeltaGs observed for four E9 DNase residues cumulatively distinguish cognate Im9 association from non-cognate Im2 association. E9 DNase Phe86 is the primary specificity hotspot residue in the centre of the interface, which is coordinated by conserved and variable hotspot residues of the cognate Im protein. Experimental DMC analysis reveals that only modest coupling energies to Im9 residues are observed, in agreement with calculated DMCs using the program ROSETTA and consistent with the largely hydrophobic nature of E9 DNase-Im9 specificity contacts. Computed values for the 12 E9 DNase alanine mutants showed reasonable agreement with experimental DeltaDeltaG data, particularly for interactions not mediated by interfacial water molecules. DeltaDeltaG predictions for residues that contact buried water molecules calculated using solvated rotamer models met with mixed success; however, we were able to predict with a high degree of accuracy the location and energetic contribution of one such contact. Our study highlights how colicin DNases are able to utilise both conserved and variable amino acids to distinguish cognate from non-cognate Im proteins, with the energetic contributions of the conserved residues modulated by neighbouring specificity sites.
Journal of Molecular Biology 07/2008; 379(4):745-59. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The natively disordered N-terminal 83-aa translocation (T) domain of E group nuclease colicins recruits OmpF to a colicin-receptor complex in the outer membrane (OM) as well as TolB in the periplasm of Escherichia coli, the latter triggering translocation of the toxin across the OM. We have identified the 16-residue TolB binding epitope in the natively disordered T-domain of the nuclease colicin E9 (ColE9) and solved the crystal structure of the complex. ColE9 folds into a distorted hairpin within a canyon of the six-bladed beta-propeller of TolB, using two tryptophans to bolt the toxin to the canyon floor and numerous intramolecular hydrogen bonds to stabilize the bound conformation. This mode of binding enables colicin side chains to hydrogen-bond TolB residues in and around the channel that runs through the beta-propeller and that constitutes the binding site of peptidoglycan-associated lipoprotein (Pal). Pal is a globular binding partner of TolB, and their association is known to be important for OM integrity. The structure is therefore consistent with translocation models wherein the colicin disrupts the TolB-Pal complex causing local instability of the OM as a prelude to toxin import. Intriguingly, Ca(2+) ions, which bind within the beta-propeller channel and switch the surface electrostatics from negative to positive, are needed for the negatively charged T-domain to bind TolB with an affinity equivalent to that of Pal and competitively displace it. Our study demonstrates that natively disordered proteins can compete with globular proteins for binding to folded scaffolds but that this can require cofactors such as metal ions to offset unfavorable interactions.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2006; 103(33):12353-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Controversy surrounds the metal-dependent mechanism of H-N-H endonucleases, enzymes involved in a variety of biological functions, including intron homing and DNA repair. To address this issue we determined the crystal structures for complexes of the H-N-H motif containing bacterial toxin colicin E9 with Zn(2+), Zn(2+).DNA, and Mg(2+).DNA. The structures show that the rigid V-shaped architecture of the active site does not undergo any major conformational changes on binding to the minor groove of DNA and that the same interactions are made to the nucleic acid regardless of which metal ion is bound to the enzyme. The scissile phosphate contacts the single metal ion of the motif through distortion of the DNA brought about by the insertion of the Arg-96-Glu-100 salt bridge into the minor groove and a network of contacts to the DNA phosphate backbone that straddle the metal site. The Mg(2+)-bound structure reveals an unusual coordination scheme involving two H-N-H histidine residues, His-102 and His-127. The mechanism of DNA cleavage is likely related to that of other single metal ion-dependent endonucleases, such as I-PpoI and Vvn, although in these enzymes the single alkaline earth metal ion is coordinated by oxygen-bearing amino acids. The structures also provide a rationale as to why H-N-H endonucleases are inactive in the presence of Zn(2+) but active with other transition metal ions such as Ni(2+). This is because of coordination of the Zn(2+) ion through a third histidine, His-131. "Active" transition metal ions are those that bind more weakly to the H-N-H motif because of the disengagement of His-131, which we suggest allows a water molecule to complete the catalytic cycle.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2004; 279(33):34763-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor