[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CAAX proteins have essential roles in multiple signalling pathways, controlling processes such as proliferation, differentiation and carcinogenesis. The ∼120 mammalian CAAX proteins function at cellular membranes and include the Ras superfamily of small GTPases, nuclear lamins, the γ-subunit of heterotrimeric GTPases, and several protein kinases and phosphatases. The proper localization of CAAX proteins to cell membranes is orchestrated by a series of post-translational modifications of the carboxy-terminal CAAX motifs (where C is cysteine, A is an aliphatic amino acid and X is any amino acid). These reactions involve prenylation of the cysteine residue, cleavage at the AAX tripeptide and methylation of the carboxyl-prenylated cysteine residue. The major CAAX protease activity is mediated by Rce1 (Ras and a-factor converting enzyme 1), an intramembrane protease (IMP) of the endoplasmic reticulum. Information on the architecture and proteolytic mechanism of Rce1 has been lacking. Here we report the crystal structure of a Methanococcus maripaludis homologue of Rce1, whose endopeptidase specificity for farnesylated peptides mimics that of eukaryotic Rce1. Its structure, comprising eight transmembrane α-helices, and catalytic site are distinct from those of other IMPs. The catalytic residues are located ∼10 Å into the membrane and are exposed to the cytoplasm and membrane through a conical cavity that accommodates the prenylated CAAX substrate. We propose that the farnesyl lipid binds to a site at the opening of two transmembrane α-helices, which results in the scissile bond being positioned adjacent to a glutamate-activated nucleophilic water molecule. This study suggests that Rce1 is the founding member of a novel IMP family, the glutamate IMPs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The posttranslational modification of C-terminal CAAX motifs in proteins such as Ras, most Rho GTPases, and G protein γ subunits, plays an essential role in determining their subcellular localization and correct biological function. An integral membrane methyltransferase, isoprenylcysteine carboxyl methyltransferase (ICMT), catalyzes the final step of CAAX processing after prenylation of the cysteine residue and endoproteolysis of the -AAX motif. We have determined the crystal structure of a prokaryotic ICMT ortholog, revealing a markedly different architecture from conventional methyltransferases that utilize S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM) as a cofactor. ICMT comprises a core of five transmembrane α helices and a cofactor-binding pocket enclosed within a highly conserved C-terminal catalytic subdomain. A tunnel linking the reactive methyl group of SAM to the inner membrane provides access for the prenyl lipid substrate. This study explains how an integral membrane methyltransferase achieves recognition of both a hydrophilic cofactor and a lipophilic prenyl group attached to a polar protein substrate.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Arterivirus replicase polyproteins are cleaved into at least 13 mature nonstructural proteins (nsps), and in particular the nsp5-to-nsp8 region is subject to a complex processing cascade. The function of the largest subunit from this region, nsp7, which is further cleaved into nsp7α and nsp7β, is unknown. Using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, we determined the solution structure of nsp7α of equine arteritis virus, revealing an interesting unique fold for this protein but thereby providing little clue to its possible functions. Nevertheless, structure-based reverse genetics studies established the importance of nsp7/nsp7α for viral RNA synthesis, thus providing a basis for future studies.
Journal of Virology 07/2011; 85(14):7449-53. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coronaviruses encode two classes of cysteine proteases, which have narrow substrate specificities and either a chymotrypsin- or papain-like fold. These enzymes mediate the processing of the two precursor polyproteins of the viral replicase and are also thought to modulate host cell functions to facilitate infection. The papain-like protease 1 (PL1(pro)) domain is present in nonstructural protein 3 (nsp3) of alphacoronaviruses and subgroup 2a betacoronaviruses. It participates in the proteolytic processing of the N-terminal region of the replicase polyproteins in a manner that varies among different coronaviruses and remains poorly understood. Here we report the first structural and biochemical characterization of a purified coronavirus PL1(pro) domain, that of transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV). Its tertiary structure is compared with that of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus PL2(pro), a downstream paralog that is conserved in the nsp3's of all coronaviruses. We identify both conserved and unique structural features likely controlling the interaction of PL1(pro) with cofactors and substrates, including the tentative mapping of substrate pocket residues. The purified recombinant TGEV PL1(pro) was shown to cleave a peptide mimicking the cognate nsp2|nsp3 cleavage site. Like its PL2(pro) paralogs from several coronaviruses, TGEV PL1(pro) was also found to have deubiquitinating activity in an in vitro cleavage assay, implicating it in counteracting ubiquitin-regulated host cell pathways, likely including innate immune responses. In combination with the prior characterization of PL2(pro) from other alphacoronaviruses, e.g., human coronaviruses 229E and NL63, our results unequivocally establish that these viruses employ two PL(pro)s with overlapping specificities toward both viral and cellular substrates.
Journal of Virology 10/2010; 84(19):10063-73. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structure of the X (or ADRP) domain of a pathogenic variant of feline coronavirus (FCoV) has been determined in tetragonal and cubic crystal forms to 3.1 and 2.2 A resolution, respectively. In the tetragonal crystal form, glycerol-3-phosphate was observed in the ADP-ribose-binding site. Both crystal forms contained large solvent channels and had a solvent content of higher than 70%. Only very weak binding of this domain to ADP-ribose was detected in vitro. However, the structure with ADP-ribose bound was determined in the cubic crystal form at 3.9 A resolution. The structure of the FCoV X domain had the expected macro-domain fold and is the first structure of this domain from a coronavirus belonging to subgroup 1a.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Coronaviruses are a family of positive-stranded RNA viruses that includes important pathogens of humans and other animals. The large coronavirus genome (26-31 kb) encodes 15-16 nonstructural proteins (nsps) that are derived from two replicase polyproteins by autoproteolytic processing. The nsps assemble into the viral replication-transcription complex and nsp3, nsp4 and nsp6 are believed to anchor this enzyme complex to modified intracellular membranes. The largest part of the coronavirus nsp4 subunit is hydrophobic and is predicted to be embedded in the membranes. In this report, a conserved C-terminal domain ( approximately 100 amino-acid residues) has been delineated that is predicted to face the cytoplasm and has been isolated as a soluble domain using library-based construct screening. A prototypical crystal structure at 2.8 A resolution was obtained using nsp4 from feline coronavirus. Unmodified and SeMet-substituted proteins were crystallized under similar conditions, resulting in tetragonal crystals that belonged to space group P4(3). The phase problem was initially solved by single isomorphous replacement with anomalous scattering (SIRAS), followed by molecular replacement using a SIRAS-derived composite model. The structure consists of a single domain with a predominantly alpha-helical content displaying a unique fold that could be engaged in protein-protein interactions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The C terminus of the herpes simplex virus type 1 origin-binding protein, UL9ct, interacts directly with the viral single-stranded DNA-binding protein ICP8. We show that a 60-amino acid C-terminal deletion mutant of ICP8 (ICP8DeltaC) also binds very strongly to UL9ct. Using small angle x-ray scattering, the low resolution solution structures of UL9ct alone, in complex with ICP8DeltaC, and in complex with a 15-mer double-stranded DNA containing Box I of the origin of replication are described. Size exclusion chromatography, analytical ultracentrifugation, and electrophoretic mobility shift assays, backed up by isothermal titration calorimetry measurements, are used to show that the stoichiometry of the UL9ct-dsDNA15-mer complex is 2:1 at micromolar protein concentrations. The reaction occurs in two steps with initial binding of UL9ct to DNA (Kd approximately 6 nM) followed by a second binding event (Kd approximately 0.8 nM). It is also shown that the stoichiometry of the ternary UL9ct-ICP8DeltaC-dsDNA15-mer complex is 2:1:1, at the concentrations used in the different assays. Electron microscopy indicates that the complex assembled on the extended origin, oriS, rather than Box I alone, is much larger. The results are consistent with a simple model whereby a conformational switch of the UL9 DNA-binding domain upon binding to Box I allows the recruitment of a UL9-ICP8 complex by interaction between the UL9 DNA-binding domains.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2009; 284(24):16343-53. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The La protein is an important component of ribonucleoprotein complexes that acts mainly as an RNA chaperone to facilitate correct processing and maturation of RNA polymerase III transcripts, but can also stimulate translation initiation. We report here the structure of the C-terminal domain of human La, which comprises an atypical RNA recognition motif (La225-334) and a long unstructured C-terminal tail. The central beta sheet of La225-334 reveals novel features: the putative RNA binding surface is formed by a five-stranded beta sheet and, strikingly, is largely obscured by a long C-terminal alpha helix that encompasses a recently identified nuclear retention element. Contrary to previous observations, we find that the La protein does not contain a dimerization domain.