[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The structure of the bacteriophage SPP1 capsid was determined at subnanometer resolution by cryo-electron microscopy and single-particle analysis. The icosahedral capsid is composed of the major capsid protein gp13 and the auxiliary protein gp12, which are organized in a T=7 lattice. DNA is arranged in layers with a distance of ~24.5 Å. gp12 forms spikes that are anchored at the center of gp13 hexamers. In a gp12-deficient mutant, the centers of hexamers are closed by loops of gp13 coming together to protect the SPP1 genome from the outside environment. The HK97-like fold was used to build a pseudoatomic model of gp13. Its structural organization remains unchanged upon tail binding and following DNA release. gp13 exhibits enhanced thermostability in the DNA-filled capsid. A remarkable convergence between the thermostability of the capsid and those of the other virion components was found, revealing that the overall architecture of the SPP1 infectious particle coevolved toward high robustness.
Journal of Virology 04/2012; 86(12):6768-77. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The majority of known bacteriophages have long noncontractile tails (Siphoviridae) that serve as a pipeline for genome delivery into the host cytoplasm. The tail extremity distal from the phage head is an adsorption device that recognises the bacterial receptor at the host cell surface. This interaction generates a signal transmitted to the head that leads to DNA release. We have determined structures of the bacteriophage SPP1 tail before and after DNA ejection. The results reveal extensive structural rearrangements in the internal wall of the tail tube. We propose that the adsorption device-receptor interaction triggers a conformational switch that is propagated as a domino-like cascade along the 1600 A-long helical tail structure to reach the head-to-tail connector. This leads to opening of the connector culminating in DNA exit from the head into the host cell through the tail tube.
The EMBO Journal 09/2007; 26(15):3720-8. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lengsin is a major protein of the vertebrate eye lens. It belongs to the hitherto purely prokaryotic GS I branch of the glutamine synthetase (GS) superfamily, but has no enzyme activity. Like the taxon-specific crystallins, Lengsin is the result of the recruitment of an ancient enzyme to a noncatalytic role in the vertebrate lens. Cryo-EM and modeling studies of Lengsin show a dodecamer structure with important similarities and differences with prokaryotic GS I structures. GS homology regions of Lengsin are well conserved, but the N-terminal domain shows evidence of dynamic evolutionary changes. Compared with birds and fish, most mammals have an additional exon corresponding to part of the N-terminal domain; however, in human, this is a nonfunctional pseudoexon. Genes related to Lengsin are also present in the sea urchin, suggesting that this branch of the GS I family, supplanted by GS II enzymes in vertebrates, has an ancient role in metazoans.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Small heat shock proteins are a superfamily of molecular chaperones that suppress protein aggregation and provide protection from cell stress. A key issue for understanding their action is to define the interactions of subunit domains in these oligomeric assemblies. Cryo-electron microscopy of yeast Hsp26 reveals two distinct forms, each comprising 24 subunits arranged in a porous shell with tetrahedral symmetry. The subunits form elongated, asymmetric dimers that assemble via trimeric contacts. Modifications of both termini cause rearrangements that yield a further four assemblies. Each subunit contains an N-terminal region, a globular middle domain, the alpha-crystallin domain, and a C-terminal tail. Twelve of the C termini form 3-fold assembly contacts which are inserted into the interior of the shell, while the other 12 C termini form contacts on the surface. Hinge points between the domains allow a variety of assembly contacts, providing the flexibility required for formation of supercomplexes with non-native proteins.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Macromolecules may occupy conformations with structural differences that cannot be resolved biochemically. The separation of mixed molecular populations is a pressing problem in single-particle analysis. Until recently, the task of distinguishing small structural variations was intractable, but developments in cryo-electron microscopy hardware and software now make it possible to address this problem. We have developed a general strategy for recognizing and separating structures of variable size from cryo-electron micrographs of single particles. The method uses a combination of statistical analysis and projection matching to multiple models. Identification of size variations by multivariate statistical analysis was used to do an initial separation of the data and generate starting models by angular reconstitution. Refinement was performed using alternate projection matching to models and angular reconstitution of the separated subsets. The approach has been successful at intermediate resolution, taking it within range of resolving secondary structure elements of proteins. Analysis of simulated and real data sets is used to illustrate the problems encountered and possible solutions. The strategy developed was used to resolve the structures of two forms of a small heat shock protein (Hsp26) that vary slightly in diameter and subunit packing.
Journal of Molecular Biology 03/2004; 336(2):453-60. · 3.91 Impact Factor