David N Bolam

Newcastle University, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (57)322.08 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The structure of the human gut microbiota is controlled primarily through the degradation of complex dietary carbohydrates, but the extent to which carbohydrate breakdown products are shared between members of the microbiota is unclear. We show here, using xylan as a model, that sharing the breakdown products of complex carbohydrates by key members of the microbiota, such as Bacteroides ovatus, is dependent on the complexity of the target glycan. Characterization of the extensive xylan degrading apparatus expressed by B. ovatus reveals that the breakdown of the polysaccharide by the human gut microbiota is significantly more complex than previous models suggested, which were based on the deconstruction of xylans containing limited monosaccharide side chains. Our report presents a highly complex and dynamic xylan degrading apparatus that is fine-tuned to recognize the different forms of the polysaccharide presented to the human gut microbiota.
    Nature Communications 06/2015; 6. DOI:10.1038/ncomms8481 · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cells respond to nutrient availability by expressing nutrient catabolic genes. We report that the regulator controlling utilization of chondroitin sulfate (CS) in the mammalian gut symbiont Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron is activated by an intermediate in CS breakdown rather than CS itself. We determine that the rate-determining enzyme in CS breakdown is responsible for degrading this intermediate, and establish that the levels of the enzyme increase 100 fold whereas those of the regulator remain constant upon exposure to CS. Because enzyme and regulator compete for the intermediate, B. thetaiotaomicron tunes transcription of CS utilization genes to CS catabolic rate. This tuning results in a transient increase in CS utilization transcripts upon exposure to excess CS. Constitutive expression of the rate-determining enzyme hindered activation of CS utilization genes and growth on CS. An analogous mechanism regulates heparin utilization genes, suggesting that the identified strategy aids B. thetaiotaomicron in the competitive gut environment.
    Molecular Microbiology 07/2014; 93(5). DOI:10.1111/mmi.12714 · 5.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The interaction between xylan and cellulose microfibrils is important for secondary cell wall properties in vascular plants. However, the molecular arrangement of xylan in the cell wall and the nature of the molecular bonding between the polysaccharides are unknown. In dicots, the xylan backbone of β-(1,4)-linked xylosyl residues is decorated by occasional glucuronic acid and approximately one half of the xylosyl residues are O-acetylated at C-2 or C-3. We recently proposed that the even periodic spacing of GlcA residues in the major domain of dicot xylan might allow the xylan backbone to fold as a 2-fold helical screw to facilitate alignment along, and stable interaction with, cellulose fibrils (Bromley et al. 2013). However, such an interaction might be adversely impacted by random acetylation of the xylan backbone. Here, we investigated the arrangement of acetyl residues in Arabidopsis xylan using mass spectrometry and NMR. Alternate xylosyl residues along the backbone are acetylated. Using molecular dynamics simulation, we found that a 2-fold helical screw conformation of xylan is stable in interactions with both hydrophilic and hydrophobic cellulose faces. Tight docking of xylan on the hydrophilic faces is feasible only for xylan decorated on alternate residues and folded as a 2-fold helical screw. The findings suggest an explanation for the importance of acetylation for xylan–cellulose interactions, and also have implications for our understanding of cell wall molecular architecture and properties, and biological degradation by pathogens and fungi. They will also impact strategies to improve lignocellulose processing for biorefining and bioenergy.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    The Plant Journal 06/2014; 79(3). DOI:10.1111/tpj.12575 · 6.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The microbial degradation of the plant cell wall is an important biological process that is highly relevant to environmentally significant industries such as the bioenergy and biorefining sectors. A major component of the wall is glucuronoxylan, a beta-1,4-linked xylose polysaccharide that is decorated with alpha-linked glucuronic and/or methylglucuronic acid (GlcA/MeGlcA). Recently three members of a glycoside hydrolase family, GH115, were shown to hydrolyze MeGlcA side chains from the internal regions of xylan, an activity that has not previously been described. Here we show that a dominant member of the human microbiota, Bacteroides ovatus, contains a GH115 enzyme, BoAgu115A, which displays glucuronoxylan alpha-(4-O-methyl)-glucuronidase activity. The enzyme is significantly more active against substrates in which the xylose decorated with GlcA/MeGlcA is flanked by one or more xylose residues. The crystal structure of BoAgu115A revealed a four domain protein in which the active site, comprising a pocket that abuts a cleft like structure, is housed in the second domain that adopts a TIM barrel fold. The third domain, a five helical bundle, and the C-terminal beta-sandwich domain make inter-chain contacts leading to protein dimerization. Informed by the structure of the enzyme in complex with GlcA in its open ring form, in conjunction with mutagenesis studies, the potential substrate binding and catalytically significant amino acids were identified. Based on the catalytic importance of residues located on a highly flexible loop, and the steric restriction imposed by the C-terminal domain of protomer 1 at the opening of the substrate binding cleft in protomer 2 (and vice versa), the enzyme is required to undergo a substantial conformational change to form a productive Michaelis complex with glucuronoxylan.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2013; 289(1). DOI:10.1074/jbc.M113.525295 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Consolidated bioprocessing (CBP) is reliant on the simultaneous enzyme production, saccharification of biomass, and fermentation of released sugars into valuable products such as butanol. Clostridial species that produce butanol are, however, unable to grow on crystalline cellulose. In contrast, those saccharolytic species that produce predominantly ethanol, such as Clostridium thermocellum and Clostridium cellulolyticum, degrade crystalline cellulose with high efficiency due to their possession of a multienzyme complex termed the cellulosome. This has led to studies directed at endowing butanol-producing species with the genetic potential to produce a cellulosome, albeit by localising the necessary transgenes to unstable autonomous plasmids. Here we have explored the potential of our previously described Allele-Coupled Exchange (ACE) technology for creating strains of the butanol producing species Clostridium acetobutylicum in which the genes encoding the various cellulosome components are stably integrated into the genome. We used BioBrick2 (BB2) standardised parts to assemble a range of synthetic genes encoding C. thermocellum cellulosomal scaffoldin proteins (CipA variants) and glycoside hydrolases (GHs, Cel8A, Cel9B, Cel48S and Cel9K) as well as synthetic cellulosomal operons that direct the synthesis of Cel8A, Cel9B and a truncated form of CipA. All synthetic genes and operons were integrated into the C. acetobutylicum genome using the recently developed ACE technology. Heterologous protein expression levels and mini-cellulosome self-assembly were assayed by western blot and native PAGE analysis. We demonstrate the successful expression, secretion and self-assembly of cellulosomal subunits by the recombinant C. acetobutylicum strains, providing a platform for the construction of novel cellulosomes.
    Biotechnology for Biofuels 08/2013; 6(1):117. DOI:10.1186/1754-6834-6-117 · 6.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Protein:protein interactions play a pivotal role in a large number of biological processes exemplified by the assembly of the cellulosome. Integration of cellulosomal components occurs through the binding of type I cohesin modules located in a non-catalytic molecular scaffold to type I dockerin domains located at the C-terminus of cellulosomal enzymes. The majority of type I dockerins display internal symmetry reflected by the presence of two essentially identical cohesin-binding surfaces. Here we report the crystal structures of two novel Clostridium thermocellum type I cohesin-dockerin complexes (CohOlpC-Doc124A and CohOlpA-Doc918). The data revealed that the two dockerins, Doc918 and Doc124A, are unusual as they lack the structural symmetry required to support a dual binding mode. Thus, in both cases cohesin recognition is dominated by residues located at positions 11, 12 and 19 of one of the dockerin binding surfaces. The second binding mode is not possible (Doc918) or highly limited (Doc124A) as residues that assume the critical interacting positions, when dockerins are reoriented by 180°, make steric clashes with the cohesin. In common with a third dockerin (Doc258) that also presents a single binding mode, Doc124A directs the appended cellulase, Cel124A, to the surface of C. thermocellum and not to cellulosomes as it binds preferentially to type I cohesins located at the cell envelop. Although with few exceptions, such as Doc918 described here, these data suggest that there is a considerable selective pressure for the evolution of a dual binding mode in type I dockerins that direct enzymes into cellulosomes.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2012; 287(53). DOI:10.1074/jbc.M112.407700 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    David N Bolam · Nicole M Koropatkin
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    ABSTRACT: The human gut Bacteroidetes employ multiple cell-envelope associated protein complexes, termed Sus-like systems, to capture and degrade glycans. Recently the structures of key glycan-binding Sus proteins, the surface located SusD proteins and the periplasmic sensor domains of the membrane spanning hybrid two-component systems (HTCS) controlling Sus expression, have been solved, providing insight into glycan acquisition and sensing in these symbionts. The α-helical SusD proteins bind glycans at the cell surface, and likely facilitate the shuttling of oligosaccharides to an associated TonB-dependent porin. The HTCS sensor domains adopt two distinct folds and the structures of these sensors with glycan suggest that signal transduction across the cytoplasmic membrane is different from classical two component systems.
    Current Opinion in Structural Biology 07/2012; 22(5):563-9. DOI:10.1016/j.sbi.2012.06.006 · 8.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Signaling across the membrane in response to extracellular stimuli is essential for survival of all cells. In bacteria, responses to environmental changes are predominantly mediated by two-component systems, which are typically composed of a membrane-spanning sensor histidine kinase and a cytoplasmic response regulator. In the human gut symbiont Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, hybrid two-component systems are a key part of the bacterium's ability to sense and degrade complex carbohydrates in the gut. Here, we identify the activating ligand of the hybrid two-component system, BT4663, which controls heparin and heparan sulfate acquisition and degradation in this prominent gut microbe, and report the crystal structure of the extracellular sensor domain in both apo and ligand-bound forms. Current models for signal transduction across the membrane involve either a piston-like or rotational displacement of the transmembrane helices to modulate activity of the linked cytoplasmic kinases. The structures of the BT4663 sensor domain reveal a significant conformational change in the homodimer on ligand binding, which results in a scissor-like closing of the C-termini of each protomer. We propose this movement activates the attached intracellular kinase domains and represents an allosteric mechanism for bacterial transmembrane signaling distinct from previously described models, thus expanding our understanding of signal transduction across the membrane, a fundamental requirement in many important biological processes.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2012; 109(19):7298-303. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1200479109 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mucosal microbiota is recognised as an important factor for our health, with many disease states linked to imbalances in the normal community structure. Hence, there is considerable interest in identifying the molecular basis of human-microbe interactions. In this work we investigated the capacity of microbes to thrive on mucosal surfaces, either as mutualists, commensals or pathogens, using comparative genomics to identify co-occurring molecular traits. We identified a novel domain we named M60-like/PF13402 (new Pfam entry PF13402), which was detected mainly among proteins from animal host mucosa-associated prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbes ranging from mutualists to pathogens. Lateral gene transfers between distantly related microbes explained their shared M60-like/PF13402 domain. The novel domain is characterised by a zinc-metallopeptidase-like motif and is distantly related to known viral enhancin zinc-metallopeptidases. Signal peptides and/or cell surface anchoring features were detected in most microbial M60-like/PF13402 domain-containing proteins, indicating that these proteins target an extracellular substrate. A significant subset of these putative peptidases was further characterised by the presence of associated domains belonging to carbohydrate-binding module family 5/12, 32 and 51 and other glycan-binding domains, suggesting that these novel proteases are targeted to complex glycoproteins such as mucins. An in vitro mucinase assay demonstrated degradation of mammalian mucins by a recombinant form of an M60-like/PF13402-containing protein from the gut mutualist Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron. This study reveals that M60-like domains are peptidases targeting host glycoproteins. These peptidases likely play an important role in successful colonisation of both vertebrate mucosal surfaces and the invertebrate digestive tract by both mutualistic and pathogenic microbes. Moreover, 141 entries across various peptidase families described in the MEROPS database were also identified with carbohydrate-binding modules defining a new functional context for these glycan-binding domains and providing opportunities to engineer proteases targeting specific glycoproteins for both biomedical and industrial applications.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(1):e30287. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0030287 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Symbiotic bacteria inhabiting the human gut have evolved under intense pressure to utilize complex carbohydrates, primarily plant cell wall glycans in our diets. These polysaccharides are not digested by human enzymes, but are processed to absorbable short chain fatty acids by gut bacteria. The Bacteroidetes, one of two dominant bacterial phyla in the adult gut, possess broad glycan-degrading abilities. These species use a series of membrane protein complexes, termed Sus-like systems, for catabolism of many complex carbohydrates. However, the role of these systems in degrading the chemically diverse repertoire of plant cell wall glycans remains unknown. Here we show that two closely related human gut Bacteroides, B. thetaiotaomicron and B. ovatus, are capable of utilizing nearly all of the major plant and host glycans, including rhamnogalacturonan II, a highly complex polymer thought to be recalcitrant to microbial degradation. Transcriptional profiling and gene inactivation experiments revealed the identity and specificity of the polysaccharide utilization loci (PULs) that encode individual Sus-like systems that target various plant polysaccharides. Comparative genomic analysis indicated that B. ovatus possesses several unique PULs that enable degradation of hemicellulosic polysaccharides, a phenotype absent from B. thetaiotaomicron. In contrast, the B. thetaiotaomicron genome has been shaped by increased numbers of PULs involved in metabolism of host mucin O-glycans, a phenotype that is undetectable in B. ovatus. Binding studies of the purified sensor domains of PUL-associated hybrid two-component systems in conjunction with transcriptional analyses demonstrate that complex oligosaccharides provide the regulatory cues that induce PUL activation and that each PUL is highly specific for a defined cell wall polymer. These results provide a view of how these species have diverged into different carbohydrate niches by evolving genes that target unique suites of available polysaccharides, a theme that likely applies to disparate bacteria from the gut and other habitats.
    PLoS Biology 12/2011; 9(12):e1001221. DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001221 · 11.77 Impact Factor
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    David N Bolam · Justin L Sonnenburg
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    ABSTRACT: It is becoming increasingly clear that diet is one of the major factors that drives the function and composition of the intestinal microbiota. The diet of humans is highly diverse when considering different populations or even a single individual over a relatively short period of time. However, we are just beginning to understand the mechanisms that connect dietary change to intestinal microbiota dynamics. The community of microbes within our distal digestive tract influences numerous aspects of our biology, and aberrant shifts in its composition appear to be associated with several diseases. It is, therefore, necessary to understand how our behaviour and environmental factors, such as changes in diet, impact our intestinal residents. Here we look to recent work to highlight some of the major questions on the horizon for understanding the key role that the Bacteroidetes play in the commerce of dietary polysaccharides within the intestine.
    Gut Microbes 03/2011; 2(2):86-90. DOI:10.4161/gmic.2.2.15232
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    ABSTRACT: The microbial deconstruction of the plant cell wall is a critical biological process, which also provides important substrates for environmentally sustainable industries. Enzymes that hydrolyze the plant cell wall generally contain non-catalytic carbohydrate binding modules (CBMs) that contribute to plant cell wall degradation. Here we report the biochemical properties and crystal structure of a family of CBMs (CBM60) that are located in xylanases. Uniquely, the proteins display broad ligand specificity, targeting xylans, galactans, and cellulose. Some of the CBM60s display enhanced affinity for their ligands through avidity effects mediated by protein dimerization. The crystal structure of vCBM60, displays a β-sandwich with the ligand binding site comprising a broad cleft formed by the loops connecting the two β-sheets. Ligand recognition at site 1 is, exclusively, through hydrophobic interactions, whereas binding at site 2 is conferred by polar interactions between a protein-bound calcium and the O2 and O3 of the sugar. The observation, that ligand recognition at site 2 requires only a β-linked sugar that contains equatorial hydroxyls at C2 and C3, explains the broad ligand specificity displayed by vCBM60. The ligand-binding apparatus of vCBM60 displays remarkable structural conservation with a family 36 CBM (CBM36); however, the residues that contribute to carbohydrate recognition are derived from different regions of the two proteins. Three-dimensional structure-based sequence alignments reveal that CBM36 and CBM60 are related by circular permutation. The biological and evolutionary significance of the mechanism of ligand recognition displayed by family 60 CBMs is discussed.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2010; 285(41):31742-54. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M110.142133 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The intestinal microbiota impacts many facets of human health and is associated with human diseases. Diet impacts microbiota composition, yet mechanisms that link dietary changes to microbiota alterations remain ill-defined. Here we elucidate the basis of Bacteroides proliferation in response to fructans, a class of fructose-based dietary polysaccharides. Structural and genetic analysis disclosed a fructose-binding, hybrid two-component signaling sensor that controls the fructan utilization locus in Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron. Gene content of this locus differs among Bacteroides species and dictates the specificity and breadth of utilizable fructans. BT1760, an extracellular beta2-6 endo-fructanase, distinguishes B. thetaiotaomicron genetically and functionally, and enables the use of the beta2-6-linked fructan levan. The genetic and functional differences between Bacteroides species are predictive of in vivo competitiveness in the presence of dietary fructans. Gene sequences that distinguish species' metabolic capacity serve as potential biomarkers in microbiomic datasets to enable rational manipulation of the microbiota via diet.
    Cell 06/2010; 141(7):1241-52. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2010.05.005 · 33.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cellulosomes, synthesized by anaerobic microorganisms such as Clostridium thermocellum, are remarkably complex nanomachines that efficiently degrade plant cell wall polysaccharides. Cellulosome assembly results from the interaction of type I dockerin domains, present on the catalytic subunits, and the cohesin domains of a large non-catalytic integrating protein that acts as a molecular scaffold. In general, type I dockerins contain two distinct cohesin-binding interfaces that appear to display identical ligand specificities. Inspection of the C. thermocellum genome reveals 72 dockerin-containing proteins. In four of these proteins, Cthe_0258, Cthe_0435, Cthe_0624 and Cthe_0918, there are significant differences in the residues that comprise the two cohesin-binding sites of the type I dockerin domains. In addition, a protein of unknown function (Cthe_0452), containing a C-terminal cohesin highly similar to the equivalent domains present in C. thermocellum-integrating protein (CipA), was also identified. In the present study, the ligand specificities of the newly identified cohesin and dockerin domains are described. The results revealed that Cthe_0452 is located at the C. thermocellum cell surface and thus the protein was renamed as OlpC. The dockerins of Cthe_0258 and Cthe_0435 recognize, preferentially, the OlpC cohesin and thus these enzymes are believed to be predominantly located at the surface of the bacterium. By contrast, the dockerin domains of Cthe_0624 and Cthe_0918 are primarily cellulosomal since they bind preferentially to the cohesins of CipA. OlpC, which is a relatively abundant protein, may also adopt a 'warehouse' function by transiently retaining cellulosomal enzymes at the cell surface before they are assembled on to the multienzyme complex.
    Biochemical Journal 09/2009; 424(3):375-84. DOI:10.1042/BJ20091152 · 4.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Noncatalytic carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs), which are found in a variety of carbohydrate-degrading enzymes, have been grouped into sequence-based families. CBMs, by recruiting their appended enzymes onto the surface of the target substrate, potentiate catalysis particularly against insoluble substrates. Family 6 CBMs (CBM6s) display unusual properties in that they present two potential ligand-binding sites termed clefts A and B, respectively. Cleft B is located on the concave surface of the beta-sandwich fold while cleft A, the more common binding site, is formed by the loops that connect the inner and the outer beta-sheets. Here, we report the biochemical properties of CBM6-1 from Cellvibrio mixtus CmCel5A. The data reveal that CBM6-1 specifically recognizes beta1,3-glucans through residues located both in cleft A and in cleft B. In contrast, a previous report showed that a CBM6 derived from a Bacillus halodurans laminarinase binds to beta1,3-glucans only in cleft A. These studies reveal a different mechanism by which a highly conserved protein platform can recognize beta1,3-glucans.
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 08/2009; 300(1):48-57. DOI:10.1111/j.1574-6968.2009.01764.x · 2.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multifunctional proteins, which play a critical role in many biological processes, have typically evolved through the recruitment of different domains that have the required functional diversity. Thus the different activities displayed by these proteins are mediated by spatially distinct domains, consistent with the specific chemical requirements of each activity. Indeed, current evolutionary theory argues that the colocalization of diverse activities within an enzyme is likely to be a rare event, because it would compromise the existing activity of the protein. In contrast to this view, a potential example of multifunctional recruitment into a single protein domain is provided by CtCel5C-CE2, which contains an N-terminal module that displays cellulase activity and a C-terminal module, CtCE2, which exhibits a noncatalytic cellulose-binding function but also shares sequence identity with the CE2 family of esterases. Here we show that, unlike other CE2 members, the CtCE2 domain displays divergent catalytic esterase and noncatalytic carbohydrate binding functions. Intriguingly, these diverse activities are housed within the same site on the protein. Thus, a critical component of the active site of CtCE2, the catalytic Ser-His dyad, in harness with inserted aromatic residues, confers noncatalytic binding to cellulose whilst the active site of the domain retains its esterase activity. CtCE2 catalyses deacetylation of noncellulosic plant structural polysaccharides to deprotect these substrates for attack by other enzymes. Yet it also acts as a cellulose-binding domain, which promotes the activity of the appended cellulase on recalcitrant substrates. The CE2 family encapsulates the requirement for multiple activities by biocatalysts that attack challenging macromolecular substrates, including the grafting of a second, powerful and discrete noncatalytic binding functionality into the active site of an enzyme. This article provides a rare example of "gene sharing," where the introduction of a second functionality into the active site of an enzyme does not compromise the original activity of the biocatalyst.
    PLoS Biology 04/2009; 7(3):e71. DOI:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000071 · 11.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glycosylation of macrolide antibiotics confers host cell immunity from endogenous and exogenous agents. The Streptomyces antibioticus glycosyltransferases, OleI and OleD, glycosylate and inactivate oleandomycin and diverse macrolides including erythromycin, respectively. The structure of these enzyme-ligand complexes, in tandem with kinetic analysis of site-directed variants, provide insight into the interaction of macrolides with their synthetic apparatus. Erythromycin binds to OleD and the 23S RNA of its target ribosome in the same conformation and, although the antibiotic contains a large number of polar groups, its interaction with these macromolecules is primarily through hydrophobic contacts. Erythromycin and oleandomycin, when bound to OleD and OleI, respectively, adopt different conformations, reflecting a subtle effect on sugar positioning by virtue of a single change in the macrolide backbone. The data reported here provide structural insight into the mechanism of resistance to both endogenous and exogenous antibiotics, and will provide a platform for the future redesign of these catalysts for antibiotic remodelling.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 04/2007; 104(13):5336-41. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0607897104 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glycosyltransferases (GTs) catalyze the synthesis of the myriad glycoconjugates that are central to life. One of the largest families is GT4, which contains several enzymes of therapeutic significance, exemplified by WaaG and AviGT4. WaaG catalyses a key step in lipopolysaccharide synthesis, while AviGT4, produced by Streptomyces viridochromogenes, contributes to the synthesis of the antibiotic avilamycin A. Here we present the crystal structure of both WaaG and AviGT4. The two enzymes contain two "Rossmann-like" (beta/alpha/beta) domains characteristic of the GT-B fold. Both recognition of the donor substrate and the catalytic machinery is similar to other retaining GTs that display the GT-B fold. Structural information is discussed with respect to the evolution of GTs and the therapeutic significance of the two enzymes.
    Chemistry & Biology 12/2006; 13(11):1143-52. DOI:10.1016/j.chembiol.2006.09.005 · 6.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plant cell walls are degraded by glycoside hydrolases that often contain noncatalytic carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs), which potentiate degradation. There are currently 11 sequence-based cellulose-directed CBM families; however, the biological significance of the structural diversity displayed by these protein modules is uncertain. Here we interrogate the capacity of eight cellulose-binding CBMs to bind to cell walls. These modules target crystalline cellulose (type A) and are located in families 1, 2a, 3a, and 10 (CBM1, CBM2a, CBM3a, and CBM10, respectively); internal regions of amorphous cellulose (type B; CBM4-1, CBM17, CBM28); and the ends of cellulose chains (type C; CBM9-2). Type A CBMs bound particularly effectively to secondary cell walls, although they also recognized primary cell walls. Type A CBM2a and CBM10, derived from the same enzyme, displayed differential binding to cell walls depending upon cell type, tissue, and taxon of origin. Type B CBMs and the type C CBM displayed much weaker binding to cell walls than type A CBMs. CBM17 bound more extensively to cell walls than CBM4-1, even though these type B modules display similar binding to amorphous cellulose in vitro. The thickened primary cell walls of celery collenchyma showed significant binding by some type B modules, indicating that in these walls the cellulose chains do not form highly ordered crystalline structures. Pectate lyase treatment of sections resulted in an increased binding of cellulose-directed CBMs, demonstrating that decloaking cellulose microfibrils of pectic polymers can increase CBM access. The differential recognition of cell walls of diverse origin provides a biological rationale for the diversity of cellulose-directed CBMs that occur in cell wall hydrolases and conversely reveals the variety of cellulose microstructures in primary and secondary cell walls.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2006; 281(39):29321-9. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M605903200 · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • Acta Crystallographica Section A 08/2006; 62. DOI:10.1107/S0108767306097224

Publication Stats

3k Citations
322.08 Total Impact Points


  • 1997–2014
    • Newcastle University
      • • Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences
      • • School of Chemistry
      Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom
  • 2006–2012
    • Technical University of Lisbon
      • Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária
      Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
    • University of Leeds
      • Centre for Plant Sciences
      Leeds, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 1999–2005
    • The University of Sheffield
      • Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
      Sheffield, England, United Kingdom
  • 2004
    • New University of Lisbon
      • Faculty of Sciences and Technology
      Caparica, Distrito de Setubal, Portugal
    • University of Victoria
      • Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology
      Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
  • 2003
    • Slovak Academy of Sciences
      • Institute of Chemistry
      Presburg, Bratislavský, Slovakia
  • 2001
    • Babraham Institute
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2000
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York City, New York, United States