Thierry Ducat

University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (8)31.67 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: MinE is required for the dynamic oscillation of Min proteins that restricts formation of the cytokinetic septum to the midpoint of the cell in gram negative bacteria. Critical for this oscillation is MinD-binding by MinE to stimulate MinD ATP hydrolysis, a function that had been assigned to the first ∼30 residues in MinE. Previous models based on the structure of an autonomously folded dimeric C-terminal fragment suggested that the N-terminal domain is freely accessible for interactions with MinD. We report here the solution NMR structure of the full-length MinE dimer from Neisseria gonorrhoeae, with two parts of the N-terminal domain forming an integral part of the dimerization interface. Unexpectedly, solvent accessibility is highly restricted for residues that were previously hypothesized to directly interact with MinD. To delineate the true MinD-binding region, in vitro assays for MinE-stimulated MinD activity were performed. The relative MinD-binding affinities obtained for full-length and N-terminal peptides from MinE demonstrated that residues that are buried in the dimeric interface nonetheless participate in direct interactions with MinD. According to results from NMR spin relaxation experiments, access to these buried residues may be facilitated by the presence of conformational exchange. We suggest that this concealment of MinD-binding residues by the MinE dimeric interface provides a mechanism for prevention of nonspecific interactions, particularly with the lipid membrane, to allow the free diffusion of MinE that is critical for Min protein oscillation.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2010; 107(43):18416-21. · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Thierry Ducat, Natalie K Goto
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    ABSTRACT: MinE acts together with MinC and MinD to prevent placement of the cell division septum in the polar regions of gram negative bacteria, thereby ensuring that productive cell division occurs solely at the mid-cell. Here we report the backbone and side chain (1)H, (13)C and (15)N resonance assignments for MinE from Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
    Biomolecular NMR Assignments 10/2010; 4(2):227-9. · 0.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rhomboids comprise a family of intramembrane serine proteases that catalyze the cleavage of transmembrane segments within the lipid membrane to achieve a wide range of biological functions. A subset of bacterial rhomboids possesses an N-terminal cytosolic domain that appears to enhance proteolytic activity via an unknown mechanism. Structural analysis of a full-length rhomboid would provide new insights into this mechanism, an objective that solution NMR has the potential to realize. For this purpose we purified the rhomboid from Pseudomonas aeruginosa in a range of membrane-mimetic media, evaluated its functional status in vitro and investigated the NMR spectroscopic properties of these samples. In general, NMR signals could only be observed from the cytosolic domain, and only in detergents that did not support rhomboid activity. In contrast, media that supported rhomboid function did not show these resonances, suggesting an association between the cytosolic domain and the protein-detergent complex. Investigations into the ability of the isolated cytosolic domain to bind detergent micelles revealed a denaturing interaction, whereas no interaction occurred with micelles that supported rhomboid activity. The cytosolic domain also did not show any tendency to interact with lipid bilayers found in small bicelles or vesicles made from Escherichia coli phospholipid extracts. Based on these data we propose that the cytosolic domain does not interact with the lipid membrane, but instead enhances rhomboid activity through interactions with some other part of the rhomboid, such as the catalytic core domain.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 09/2009; 1788(11):2444-53. · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: LicT belongs to a family of bacterial transcriptional antiterminators, which control the expression of sugar-metabolizing operons in response to phosphorylations by the phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS). Previous studies of LicT have revealed the structural basis of RNA recognition by the dimeric N-terminal co-antiterminator (CAT) domain on the one hand and the conformational changes undergone by the duplicated regulation domain (PRD1 and PRD2) upon activation on the other hand. To investigate the mechanism of signal transduction between the effector and regulation modules, we have undertaken the characterization of a fragment, including the CAT and PRD1 domains and the linker in-between. Comparative experiments, including RNA binding assays, NMR spectroscopy, limited proteolysis, analytical ultracentrifugation, and circular dichroism, were conducted on native CAT-PRD1 and on a constitutively active CAT-PRD1 mutant carrying a D99N substitution in PRD1. We show that in the native state, CAT-PRD1 behaves as a rather unstable RNA-binding deficient dimer, in which the CAT dimer interface is significantly altered and the linker region is folded as a trypsin-resistant helix. In the activated mutant form, the CAT-PRD1 linker becomes protease-sensitive, and the helix content decreases, and the CAT module adopts the same dimeric conformation as in isolated CAT, thereby restoring the affinity for RNA. From these results, we propose that a helix-to-coil transition in the linker acts as the structural relay triggered by the regulatory domain for remodeling the effector dimer interface. In essence, the structural mechanism modulating the LicT RNA antitermination activity is thus similar to that controlling the DNA binding activity of dimeric transcriptional regulators.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2008; 283(45):30838-49. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Symmetric division of Gram-negative bacteria depends on the combined action of three proteins that ensure correct positioning of the cell division septum, namely, MinC, MinD, and MinE. To achieve this function, MinC and MinD form a membrane-bound complex that blocks cell division at all potential sites. Opposing this inhibition is MinE, which interacts with MinD via its N-terminal anti-MinCD domain to site-specifically counter the action of the MinCD complex. The anti-MinCD domain has been proposed to bind MinD in a helical conformation; however, little is actually known about the structure of this functionally critical region. To understand how MinE can perform its anti-MinCD function, we have therefore investigated the conformation of the full-length MinE from Neisseria gonorrhoeae by solution NMR. Although solubility considerations required the use of sample conditions that limit the observation of amide resonances to regions that are protected from solvent exchange, backbone chemical shifts from both N- and C-terminal domains could be assigned. In contrast to previous models, secondary chemical shift analysis of these solvent-protected regions shows that parts of the N-terminal anti-MinCD domain are stably folded with many functionally important residues localizing to a beta-structure. In addition, this N-terminal domain may be interacting with the C-terminal topological specificity domain, since mutations made in one domain led to NMR spectral changes in both domains. The nonfunctional MinE mutant L22D showed even larger evidence of structural perturbations in both domains, with significant destabilization of the entire MinE structure. Overall, these results suggest that there is an intimate structural association between the anti-MinCD and topological specificity domains, allowing the functional properties of the two domains to be modulated through this interaction.
    Biochemistry 05/2006; 45(14):4593-601. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sample preparation constitutes a crucial and limiting step in structural studies of proteins by NMR. The determination of the solubility and stability (SAS) conditions of biomolecules at millimolar concentrations stays today empirical and hence time- and material-consuming. Only few studies have been recently done in this field and they have highlighted the interest of using crystallogenesis tools to optimise sample conditions. In this study, we have adapted a method based on incomplete factorial design and making use of crystallisation plates to quantify the influence of physico-chemical parameters such as buffer pH and salts on protein SAS. A description of the experimental set up and an evaluation of the method are given by case studies on two functional domains from the bacterial regulatory protein LicT as well as two other proteins. Using this method, we could rapidly determine optimised conditions for extracting soluble proteins from bacterial cells and for preparing purified protein samples sufficiently concentrated and stable for NMR characterisation. The drastic reduction in the time and number of experiments required for searching protein SAS conditions makes this method particularly well-adapted for a systematic investigation on a large range of physico-chemical parameters.
    Journal of Biomolecular NMR 04/2006; 34(3):137-51. · 2.85 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Biomolecular NMR 09/2002; 23(4):325-6. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study deals with the relevance of using mobility-averaged dipolar couplings for the structure refinement of flexible proteins. The 68-residue protein p8MTCP1 has been chosen as model for this study. Its solution state consists mainly of three alpha-helices. The two N-terminal helices are strapped in a well-determined alpha-hairpin, whereas, due to an intrinsic mobility, the position of the third helix is less well defined in the NMR structure. To further characterize the degrees of freedom of this helix, we have measured the dipolar coupling constants in the backbone of p8MTCP1 in a bicellar medium. We show here that including D(dip)HN dipolar couplings in the structure calculation protocol improves the structure of the alpha-hairpin but not the positioning of the third helix. This is due to the motional averaging of the dipolar couplings measured in the last helix. Performing two calculations with different force constants for the dipolar restraints highlights the inconstancy of these mobility-averaged dipolar couplings. Alternatively, prior to any structure calculations, comparing the values of the dipolar couplings measured in helix III to values back-calculated from an ideal helix demonstrates that they are atypical for a helix. This can be partly attributed to mobility effects since the inclusion of the 15N relaxation derived order parameter allows for a better fit.
    Journal of Biomolecular NMR 02/2002; 22(1):47-56. · 2.85 Impact Factor