Anja Rabijns

KU Leuven, Leuven, VLG, Belgium

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Publications (61)337.25 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Fructans play important roles as reserve carbohydrates and stress protectants in plants, and additionally serve as prebiotics with emerging antioxidant properties. Various fructan types are synthesized by an array of plant fructosyltransferases belonging to family 32 of the glycoside hydrolases (GH32), clustering together with GH68 in Clan-J. Here, the 3D structure of a plant fructosyltransferase from a native source, the Pachysandra terminalis 6-SST/6-SFT (Pt6-SST/6-SFT), is reported. In addition to its 1-SST (1-kestose-forming) and hydrolytic side activities, the enzyme uses sucrose to create graminan- and levan-type fructans, which are probably associated with cold tolerance in this species. Furthermore, a Pt6-SST/6-SFT complex with 6-kestose was generated, representing a genuine acceptor binding modus at the +1, +2 and +3 subsites in the active site. The enzyme shows a unique configuration in the vicinity of its active site, including a unique D/Q couple located at the +1 subsite that plays a dual role in donor and acceptor substrate binding. Furthermore, it shows a unique orientation of some hydrophobic residues, probably contributing to its specific functionality. A model is presented showing formation of a β(2-6) fructosyl linkage on 6-kestose to create 6,6-nystose, a mechanism that differs from the creation of a β(2-1) fructosyl linkage on sucrose to produce 1-kestose. The structures shed light on the evolution of plant fructosyltransferases from their vacuolar invertase ancestors, and contribute to further understanding of the complex structure-function relationships within plant GH32 members.
    The Plant Journal 11/2011; 70(2):205-19. · 6.58 Impact Factor
  • Proteins Structure Function and Bioinformatics 08/2010; 78(10):2391-4. · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Triticum aestivum xylanase inhibitor (TAXI)-type inhibitors are active against microbial xylanases from glycoside hydrolase family 11, but the inhibition strength and the specificity towards different xylanases differ between TAXI isoforms. Mutational and biochemical analyses of TAXI-I, TAXI-IIA and Bacillus subtilis xylanase A showed that inhibition strength and specificity depend on the identity of only a few key residues of inhibitor and xylanase [Fierens K et al. (2005) FEBS J 272, 5872-5882; Raedschelders G et al. (2005) Biochem Biophys Res Commun335, 512-522; Sorensen JF & Sibbesen O (2006) Protein Eng Des Sel 19, 205-210; Bourgois TM et al. (2007) J Biotechnol 130, 95-105]. Crystallographic analysis of the structures of TAXI-IA and TAXI-IIA in complex with glycoside hydrolase family 11 B. subtilis xylanase A now provides a substantial explanation for these observations and a detailed insight into the structural determinants for inhibition strength and specificity. Structures of the xylanaseinhibitor complexes show that inhibition is established by loop interactions with active-site residues and substrate-mimicking contacts in the binding subsites. The interaction of residues Leu292 of TAXI-IA and Pro294 of TAXI-IIA with the -2 glycon subsite of the xylanase is shown to be critical for both inhibition strength and specificity. Also, detailed analysis of the interaction interfaces of the complexes illustrates that the inhibition strength of TAXI is related to the presence of an aspartate or asparagine residue adjacent to the acid/base catalyst of the xylanase, and therefore to the pH optimum of the xylanase. The lower the pH optimum of the xylanase, the stronger will be the interaction between enzyme and inhibitor, and the stronger the resulting inhibition.
    FEBS Journal 07/2009; 276(14):3916-27. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glycoside hydrolases (GH) have been shown to play unique roles in various biological processes like the biosynthesis of glycans, cell wall metabolism, plant defence, signalling, and the mobilization of storage reserves. To date, GH are divided into more than 100 families based upon their overall structure. GH32 and GH68 are combined in clan GH-J, not only harbouring typical hydrolases but also non-Leloir type transferases (fructosyltransferases), involved in fructan biosynthesis. This review summarizes the recent structure-function research progress on plant GH32 enzymes, and highlights the similarities and differences compared with the microbial GH32 and GH68 enzymes. A profound analysis of ligand-bound structures and site-directed mutagenesis experiments identified key residues in substrate (or inhibitor) binding and recognition. In particular, sucrose can bind as inhibitor in Cichorium intybus 1-FEH IIa, whereas it binds as substrate in Bacillus subtilis levansucrase and Arabidopsis thaliana cell wall invertase (AtcwINV1). In plant GH32, a single residue, the equivalent of Asp239 in AtcwINV1, appears to be important for sucrose stabilization in the active site and essential in determining sucrose donor specificity.
    Journal of Experimental Botany 02/2009; 60(3):727-40. · 5.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we report the crystal structure of a stablilized plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 variant (PAI-1-N150H-K154T-Q301P-Q319L-M354I (PAI-1-stab)) that shows a cleavage within the reactive centre loop. The new structure is of superior quality compared to the previously determined structure of the cleaved PAI-1-A335P mutant. We present a detailed comparison of the two structures and also compare them with the structure of the active PAI-1-stab. The structural data give important insights into the working mechanism of PAI-1 and also explain the role of various stabilizing mutations.
    Journal of Structural Biology 12/2008; 165(2):126-32. · 3.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: AXHs (arabinoxylan arabinofuranohydrolases) are alpha-L-arabinofuranosidases that specifically hydrolyse the glycosidic bond between arabinofuranosyl substituents and xylopyranosyl backbone residues of arabinoxylan. Bacillus subtilis was recently shown to produce an AXH that cleaves arabinose units from O-2- or O-3-mono-substituted xylose residues: BsAXH-m2,3 (B. subtilis AXH-m2,3). Crystallographic analysis reveals a two-domain structure for this enzyme: a catalytic domain displaying a five-bladed beta-propeller fold characteristic of GH (glycoside hydrolase) family 43 and a CBM (carbohydrate-binding module) with a beta-sandwich fold belonging to CBM family 6. Binding of substrate to BsAXH-m2,3 is largely based on hydrophobic stacking interactions, which probably allow the positional flexibility needed to hydrolyse both arabinose substituents at the O-2 or O-3 position of the xylose unit. Superposition of the BsAXH-m2,3 structure with known structures of the GH family 43 exo-acting enzymes, beta-xylosidase and alpha-L-arabinanase, each in complex with their substrate, reveals a different orientation of the sugar backbone.
    Biochemical Journal 12/2008; 418(1):39-47. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, a novel wheat thaumatin-like protein, TLXI, which inhibits microbial glycoside hydrolase family (GH) 11 xylanases has been identified. It is the first xylanase inhibitor that exerts its inhibition in a non-competitive way. In the present study we gained insight into the interaction between TLXI and xylanases via combined molecular modeling and mutagenic approaches. More specifically, site-specific mutation of His22, situated on a loop which distinguishes TLXI from other, non-inhibiting, thaumatin-like proteins, and subsequent expression of the mutant in Pichia pastoris resulted in a protein lacking inhibition capacity. The mutant protein was unable to form a complex with GH11 xylanases. Based on these findings, the interaction of TLXI with GH11 xylanases is discussed.
    Journal of Enzyme Inhibition and Medicinal Chemistry 07/2008; 24(1):38-46. · 1.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study, we report on the X-ray crystallographic structure of a GH32 invertase mutant, (i.e., the Arabidopsis thaliana cell-wall invertase 1-E203Q, AtcwINV1-mutant) in complex with sucrose. This structure was solved to reveal the features of sugar binding in the catalytic pocket. However, as demonstrated by the X-ray structure the sugar binding and the catalytic pocket arrangement is significantly altered as compared with what was expected based on previous X-ray structures on GH-J clan enzymes. We performed a series of docking and molecular dynamics simulations on various derivatives of AtcwINV1 to reveal the reasons behind this modified sugar binding. Our results demonstrate that the E203Q mutation introduced into the catalytic pocket triggers conformational changes that alter the wild type substrate binding. In addition, this study also reveals the putative productive sucrose binding modus in the wild type enzyme.
    Proteins Structure Function and Bioinformatics 06/2008; 71(2):552-64. · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tetratricopeptide (TPR)-domain proteins are involved in various cellular processes. The TPR domain is known to be responsible for interaction with other proteins commonly recognizing sequence motifs at the C-termini. One such TPR-protein, TRIP8b, was originally identified in rat as an interaction partner of Rab8b, and its human orthologue as a protein related to the peroxisomal targeting signal 1 (PTS1) receptor Pex5p (Pex5Rp). Somewhat later, the mouse orthologue was reported to bind the hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide-regulated HCN channels, and, very recently, the rat orthologue was shown to interact with latrophilin 1, the calcium-independent receptor of alpha-latrotoxin. Here we employed various methodological approaches to investigate and compare the binding specificities of the human PTS1 receptor Pex5p and the related protein Pex5Rp/TRIP8b towards a subset of targets, including Rab8b and various C-termini resembling PTS1. The results show that the TPR domains of Pex5p and Pex5Rp/TRIP8b have distinct but overlapping substrate specificities. This suggests that selectivity in the recognition of substrates by the TPR domains of Pex5p and Pex5Rp/TRIP8b is a matter of considerable complexity, and that no single determinant appears to be sufficient in unambiguously defining a binding target for either protein. This idea is further corroborated by our observations that changes in the surrounding residues or the conformational state of one of the binding partners can profoundly alter their binding activities. The implications of these findings for the possible peroxisome-related functions of Pex5Rp/TRIP8b are discussed.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 06/2008; 1783(5):864-73. · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In plants, cell-wall invertases fulfil important roles in carbohydrate partitioning, growth, development and crop yield. In this study, we report on different X-ray crystal structures of Arabidopsis thaliana cell-wall invertase 1 (AtcwINV1) mutants with sucrose. These structures reveal a detailed view of sucrose binding in the active site of the wild-type AtcwINV1. Compared to related enzyme-sucrose complexes, important differences in the orientation of the glucose subunit could be observed. The structure of the E203Q AtcwINV1 mutant showed a complete new binding modus, whereas the D23A, E203A and D239A structures most likely represent the productive binding modus. Together with a hydrophobic zone formed by the conserved W20, W47 and W82, the residues N22, D23, R148, E203, D149 and D239 are necessary to create the ideal sucrose-binding pocket. D239 can interact directly with the glucose moiety of sucrose, whereas K242 has an indirect role in substrate stabilization. Most probably, K242 keeps D239 in a favourable position upon substrate binding. Unravelling the exact position of sucrose in plant cell-wall invertases is a necessary step towards the rational design of superior invertases to further increase crop yield and biomass production.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 04/2008; 377(2):378-85. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GH 11 (glycoside hydrolase family 11) xylanases are predominant enzymes in the hydrolysis of heteroxylan, an abundant structural polysaccharide in the plant cell wall. To gain more insight into the protein-ligand interactions of the glycone as well as the aglycone subsites of these enzymes, catalytically incompetent mutants of the Bacillus subtilis and Aspergillus niger xylanases were crystallized, soaked with xylo-oligosaccharides and subjected to X-ray analysis. For both xylanases, there was clear density for xylose residues in the -1 and -2 subsites. In addition, for the B. subtilis xylanase, there was also density for xylose residues in the -3 and +1 subsite showing the spanning of the -1/+1 subsites. These results, together with the observation that some residues in the aglycone subsites clearly adopt a different conformation upon substrate binding, allowed us to identify the residues important for substrate binding in the aglycone subsites. In addition to substrate binding in the active site of the enzymes, the existence of an unproductive second ligand-binding site located on the surface of both the B. subtilis and A. niger xylanases was observed. This extra binding site may have a function similar to the separate carbohydrate-binding modules of other glycoside hydrolase families.
    Biochemical Journal 03/2008; 410(1):71-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plant cell wall invertases and fructan exohydrolases (FEHs) are very closely related enzymes at the molecular and structural level (family 32 of glycoside hydrolases), but they are functionally different and are believed to fulfill distinct roles in plants. Invertases preferentially hydrolyze the glucose (Glc)-fructose (Fru) linkage in sucrose (Suc), whereas plant FEHs have no invertase activity and only split terminal Fru-Fru linkages in fructans. Recently, the three-dimensional structures of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) cell wall Invertase1 (AtcwINV1) and chicory (Cichorium intybus) 1-FEH IIa were resolved. Until now, it remained unknown which amino acid residues determine whether Suc or fructan is used as a donor substrate in the hydrolysis reaction of the glycosidic bond. In this article, we present site-directed mutagenesis-based data on AtcwINV1 showing that the aspartate (Asp)-239 residue fulfills an important role in both binding and hydrolysis of Suc. Moreover, it was found that the presence of a hydrophobic zone at the rim of the active site is important for optimal and stable binding of Suc. Surprisingly, a D239A mutant acted as a 1-FEH, preferentially degrading 1-kestose, indicating that plant FEHs lacking invertase activity could have evolved from a cell wall invertase-type ancestor by a few mutational changes. In general, family 32 and 68 enzymes containing an Asp-239 functional homolog have Suc as a preferential substrate, whereas enzymes lacking this homolog use fructans as a donor substrate. The presence or absence of such an Asp-239 homolog is proposed as a reliable determinant to discriminate between real invertases and defective invertases/FEHs.
    Plant physiology 12/2007; 145(3):616-25. · 6.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Arabinoxylan arabinofuranohydrolases (AXH) are alpha-L-arabinofuranosidases (EC 3.2.1.55) that specifically hydrolyse the glycosidic bond between arabinofuranosyl substituents and xylopyranosyl residues from arabinoxylan, hence their name. In this study, the crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of the AXH from Bacillus subtilis, a glycoside hydrolase belonging to family 43, is described. Purified recombinant AXH crystallized in the orthorhombic space group P2(1)2(1)2(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 68.7, b = 73.7, c = 106.5 A. X-ray diffraction data were collected to a resolution of 1.55 A.
    Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 09/2007; 63(Pt 8):692-4. · 0.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Bacillus subtilis endoxylanase XynA (BSXY) is frequently used to improve the functionality of arabinoxylan-containing material in cereal based industries. The presence of endogenous Triticum aestivum xylanase inhibitors (TAXI-I and TAXI-II) in wheat is a real concern as they have a direct negative impact on the efficiency of this enzyme. Here, we used the recently determined structure of the complex between TAXI-I and an endoxylanase of Aspergillus niger to develop inhibitor-insensitive BSXY variants by site-directed mutagenesis of strategically chosen amino acids. We either induced steric hindrance to reject the inhibitors or interrupted key interactions with the inhibitors in the endoxylanase substrate-binding groove. The first strategy was successfully applied to position G12 where G12W combined inhibition insensitivity with unharmed catalytic performance. Variants from the second strategy showed altered inhibitor sensitivities concomitant with changes in enzyme activities and allowed to gain insight in the binding-mode of both TAXI-I and TAXI-II with BSXY.
    Journal of Biotechnology 06/2007; 130(1):95-105. · 3.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, the three-dimensional structure of chicory (Cichorium intybus) fructan 1-exohydrolase (1-FEH IIa) in complex with its preferential substrate, 1-kestose, was determined. Unfortunately, no such data could be generated with high degree of polymerization (DP) inulin, despite several soaking and cocrystallization attempts. Here, site-directed mutagenesis data are presented, supporting the presence of an inulin-binding cleft between the N- and C-terminal domains of 1-FEH IIa. In general, enzymes that are unable to degrade high DP inulins contain an N-glycosylation site probably blocking the cleft. By contrast, inulin-degrading enzymes have an open cleft configuration. An 1-FEH IIa P294N mutant, introducing an N-glycosylation site near the cleft, showed highly decreased activity against higher DP inulin. The introduction of a glycosyl chain most probably blocks the cleft and prevents inulin binding and degradation. Besides cell wall invertases, fructan 6-exohydrolases (6-FEHs) also contain a glycosyl chain most probably blocking the cleft. Removal of this glycosyl chain by site-directed mutagenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana cell wall invertase 1 and Beta vulgaris 6-FEH resulted in a strong decrease of enzymatic activities of the mutant proteins. By analogy, glycosylation of 1-FEH IIa affected overall enzyme activity. These data strongly suggest that the presence or absence of a glycosyl chain in the cleft is important for the enzyme's stability and optimal conformation.
    New Phytologist 02/2007; 176(2):317-24. · 6.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: * Invertases and fructan exohydrolases (FEHs) fulfil important physiological functions in plants. Sucrose is the typical substrate for invertases and bacterial levansucrases but not for plant FEHs, which are usually inhibited by sucrose. * Here we report on complexes between chicory (Cichorium intybus) 1-FEH IIa with the substrate 1-kestose and the inhibitors sucrose, fructose and 2,5 dideoxy-2,5-imino-D-mannitol. Comparisons with other family GH32 and 68 enzyme-substrate complexes revealed that sucrose can bind as a substrate (invertase/levansucrase) or as an inhibitor (1-FEH IIa). * Sucrose acts as inhibitor because the O2 of the glucose moiety forms an H-linkage with the acid-base catalyst E201, inhibiting catalysis. By contrast, the homologous O3 of the internal fructose in the substrate 1-kestose forms an intramolecular H-linkage and does not interfere with the catalytic process. Mutagenesis showed that W82 and S101 are important for binding sucrose as inhibitor. * The physiological implications of the essential differences in the active sites of FEHs and invertases/levansucrases are discussed. Sucrose-inhibited FEHs show a K(i) (inhibition constant) well below physiological sucrose concentrations and could be rapidly activated under carbon deprivation.
    New Phytologist 02/2007; 174(1):90-100. · 6.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell-wall invertases play crucial roles during plant development. They hydrolyse sucrose into its fructose and glucose subunits by cleavage of the alpha1-beta2 glycosidic bond. Here, the structure of the Arabidopsis thaliana cell-wall invertase 1 (AtcwINV1; gene accession code At3g13790) is described at a resolution of 2.15 A. The structure comprises an N-terminal fivefold beta-propeller domain followed by a C-terminal domain formed by two beta-sheets. The active site is positioned in the fivefold beta-propeller domain, containing the nucleophile Asp23 and the acid/base catalyst Glu203 of the double-displacement enzymatic reaction. The function of the C-terminal domain remains unknown. Unlike in other GH 32 family enzyme structures known to date, in AtcwINV1 the cleft formed between both domains is blocked by Asn299-linked carbohydrates. A preliminary site-directed mutagenesis experiment (Asn299Asp) removed the glycosyl chain but did not alter the activity profile of the enzyme.
    Acta Crystallographica Section D Biological Crystallography 01/2007; 62(Pt 12):1555-63. · 14.10 Impact Factor
  • Acta Crystallographica Section A Foundations of Crystallography 08/2006; 62. · 2.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) is a member of the serine protease inhibitor (serpin) superfamily and is the principal inhibitor of the plasminogen activators tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) and urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) in vivo. In healthy individuals, PAI-1 is found at low levels in the plasma, but is elevated significantly in a number of diseases, including atherosclerosis and deep vein thrombosis. Objective: Elucidation of the molecular interaction mechanism between PAI-1 and a PAI-1 inhibiting antibody fragment Fab-55F4C12. Methods and results: Fab-55F4C12 was generated by papain digestion of MA-55F4C12, followed by protein A and gelfiltration purification. The purified Fab-55F4C12 was concentrated to a concentration of 10 mg/ml. Different crystallisation screens were tried, and initial crystal clusters were obtained in condition 19 of Structure Screen 1 of Molecular Dimensions (0.2M Zinc acetate dehydrate, 0.1M Na Cacodylate pH 6.5 and 18% w/v PEG 8000). Small needles (0.2 x 0.1 x 0.1 mm) were obtained after intensive optimisation of the crystallisation conditions. The crystal structure of Fab-55F4C12 was determined by X-ray crystallography at cryogenic temperature. The data set was collected at DESY (Hamburg, Germany) to a resolution of 2.7 Å.... Data processing was done using MOSFLM and SCALA. The space group was assigned to be P21212 with unit-cell parameters a = 52.04 Å..., b = 98.66 Å..., c = 191.68 Å..., with two molecules in the asymmetric unit. The data set is 99.72 % complete. Initial phases were obtained with molecular replacement. The structure was refined using Coot and Refmac5. Crystallisation of the Fab-55F4C12 / PAI-1 complex has been unsuccessful so far. Therefore, the complex is being modelled through docking of the crystal structures of the two subunits, i.e. Fab-55F4C12 and PAI-1, using the rigid-body docking programs DOT and ZDOC. Resulting models are filtered based on the available biochemical information (e.g. binding regions) and will be validated with small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). Potential interactions between the two subunits will be deduced from the models and compared with epitope information gathered from mutagenesis studies. Conclusions: Characterization of the complex of Fab-55F4C12 with PAI-1 may provide valuable information on the molecular interactions between the Fab-fragment and PAI-1, leading to a better understanding of the mechanism of inhibition. The elucidation of the binding site of inhibitory monoclonal antibodies may contribute to the rational design of PAI-1 modulating therapeutics.
    Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis 08/2006; 4:162-162. · 6.08 Impact Factor
  • Acta Crystallographica Section A - ACTA CRYSTALLOGR A. 01/2006; 62.