[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ketol-isomerases catalyze the reversible isomerization between aldoses and ketoses. D-Xylose isomerase carries out the first reaction in the catabolism of D-xylose, but is also able to convert D-glucose to D-fructose. The first step of the reaction is an enzyme-catalyzed ring opening of the cyclic substrate. The active-site amino-acid acid/base pair involved in ring opening has long been investigated and several models have been proposed. Here, the structure of the xylose isomerase E186Q mutant with cyclic glucose bound at the active site, refined against joint X-ray and neutron diffraction data, is reported. Detailed analysis of the hydrogen-bond networks at the active site of the enzyme suggests that His54, which is doubly protonated, is poised to protonate the glucose O5 position, while Lys289, which is neutral, promotes deprotonation of the glucose O1H hydroxyl group via an activated water molecule. The structure also reveals an extended hydrogen-bonding network that connects the conserved residues Lys289 and Lys183 through three structurally conserved water molecules and residue 186, which is a glutamic acid to glutamine mutation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Members of the periplasmic binding protein (PBP) superfamily utilize a highly conserved inter-domain ligand binding site that adapts to specifically bind a chemically diverse range of ligands. This paradigm of PBP ligand binding specificity was recently altered when the structure of the Thermotoga maritima cellobiose-binding protein (tmCBP) was solved. The tmCBP binding site is bipartite, comprising a canonical solvent-excluded region (subsite one), adjacent to a solvent-filled cavity (subsite two) where specific and semi-specific ligand recognition occur, respectively.
A molecular level understanding of binding pocket adaptation mechanisms that simultaneously allow both ligand specificity at subsite one and promiscuity at subsite two has potentially important implications in ligand binding and drug design studies. We sought to investigate the determinants of ligand binding selectivity in tmCBP through biophysical characterization of tmCBP in the presence of varying beta-glucan oligosaccharides. Crystal structures show that whilst the amino acids that comprise both the tmCBP subsite one and subsite two binding sites remain fixed in conformation regardless of which ligands are present, the rich hydrogen bonding potential of water molecules may facilitate the ordering and the plasticity of this unique PBP binding site.
The identification of the roles these water molecules play in ligand recognition suggests potential mechanisms that can be utilized to adapt a single ligand binding site to recognize multiple distinct ligands.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The first high-resolution neutron protein structure of perdeuterated rubredoxin from Pyrococcus furiosus (PfRd) determined using the new IMAGINE macromolecular neutron crystallography instrument at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is reported. Neutron diffraction data extending to 1.65 Å resolution were collected from a relatively small 0.7 mm(3) PfRd crystal using 2.5 d (60 h) of beam time. The refined structure contains 371 out of 391, or 95%, of the D atoms of the protein and 58 solvent molecules. The IMAGINE instrument is designed to provide neutron data at or near atomic resolution (1.5 Å) from crystals with volume <1.0 mm(3) and with unit-cell edges <100 Å. Beamline features include novel elliptical focusing mirrors that deliver neutrons into a 2.0 × 3.2 mm focal spot at the sample position with full-width vertical and horizontal divergences of 0.5 and 0.6°, respectively. Variable short- and long-wavelength cutoff optics provide automated exchange between multiple-wavelength configurations (λmin = 2.0, 2.8, 3.3 Å to λmax = 3.0, 4.0, 4.5, ∼20 Å). These optics produce a more than 20-fold increase in the flux density at the sample and should help to enable more routine collection of high-resolution data from submillimetre-cubed crystals. Notably, the crystal used to collect these PfRd data was 5-10 times smaller than those previously reported.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Techniques and equipment have been developed that enable large protein crystals (1–6 mm 3) flash-cooled in liquid nitrogen at 77 K to be transferred and mounted on a liquid helium Displex cryorefrigerator and cooled to temperatures down to 15 K for accurate neutron diffraction analysis. In preliminary experiments, it was possible to collect high-quality high-resolution neutron diffraction data to 1.55 Å resolution from several large crystals of triclinic hen egg white lysozyme cooled to 15 K. This enabled the subsequent cryogenic analysis of two further proteins, rubredoxin and concanavalin A, at 1.7 and 2.5 Å , respectively, demonstrating the generality of the approach. The ability to flash-cool such large crystals for cryogenic neutron analysis should significantly broaden the range of scientific questions examined by neutron protein crystallography, allowing the analysis of structures and transitions as a function of temperature and enabling freeze-trapped capture of kinetic intermediates in protein systems.
Journal of Applied Crystallography 08/2012; 45(4):686-692. · 3.34 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutron crystallography is a powerful technique for experimental visualization of the positions of light atoms, including hydrogen and its isotope deuterium. In recent years, structural biologists have shown increasing interest in the technique as it uniquely complements X-ray crystallographic data by revealing the positions of D atoms in macromolecules. With this regained interest, access to macromolecular neutron crystallography beamlines is becoming a limiting step. In this report, it is shown that a rapid data-collection strategy can be a valuable alternative to longer data-collection times in appropriate cases. Comparison of perdeuterated rubredoxin structures refined against neutron data sets collected over hours and up to 5 d shows that rapid neutron data collection in just 14 h is sufficient to provide the positions of 269 D atoms without ambiguity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A high-flux, 40m long small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) instrument has been constructed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The facility utilizes a mechanical velocity selector, pinhole collimation and a high count-rate (> 105 Hz), large-area (1m2) two-dimensional position-sensitive detector. The incident wavelength ( ), resolution ( / ), incident collimation and sample-detector distance are independently variable under computer control. The detector can translate 45cm off axis to increase the overall Q-range (< 0.001 < Q = 4 -1sin < 1 -1), where 2 is the angle of scatter. The design and characteristics of this instrument are described along with examples of scattering data to illustrate the performance.
Journal of Applied Crystallography 01/2012; 45(5). · 3.34 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proteins are dynamic objects, constantly undergoing conformational fluctuations, yet the linkage between internal protein motion and function is widely debated. This study reports on the characterization of temperature-activated collective and individual atomic motions of oxidized rubredoxin, a small 53 residue protein from thermophilic Pyrococcus furiosus (RdPf). Computational modeling allows detailed investigations of protein motions as a function of temperature, and neutron scattering experiments are used to compare to computational results. Just above the dynamical transition temperature which marks the onset of significant anharmonic motions of the protein, the computational simulations show both a significant reorientation of the average electrostatic force experienced by the coordinated Fe(3+) ion and a dramatic rise in its strength. At higher temperatures, additional anharmonic modes become activated and dominate the electrostatic fluctuations experienced by the ion. At 360 K, close to the optimal growth temperature of P. furiosus, simulations show that three anharmonic modes including motions of two conserved residues located at the protein active site (Ile7 and Ile40) give rise to the majority of the electrostatic fluctuations experienced by the Fe(3+) ion. The motions of these residues undergo displacements which may facilitate solvent access to the ion.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 05/2011; 115(28):8925-36. · 3.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this report the single-particle scattering properties of five Platonic solids, including tetrahedron, hexahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron, are investigated in a systematic manner. For each given geometry, the Debye spatial autocorrelation function (r), pair distance distribution function (PDDF) p (r) and intraparticle structure factor (form factor) P (Q) are respectively calculated and compared to the corresponding scattering function of the spherical referential system. Based on our theoretical models, the empirical relationship between the dodecahedral and icosahedral structural characteristics and those of the equivalent spheres is found. Moreover, the single-particle scattering properties of the icosahedral and the spherical shells with the same volume are further investigated and the prospect of using different data analysis approaches to explore their structural difference is also presented and discussed.
Journal of Applied Crystallography 01/2011; 44(3). · 3.34 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lignocellulosic biomass, which is an abundant renewable natural resource, has the potential to play a major role in the generation of renewable biofuels through its conversion to bioethanol. Unfortunately, it is a complex biological composite material that shows significant recalcitrance, making it a cost-ineffective feedstock for bioethanol production. Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) was employed to probe the multi-scale structure of cellulosic materials. Cellulose was extracted from milled native switchgrass and from switchgrass that had undergone a dilute acid pretreatment method in order to disrupt the lignocellulose structure. The high-Q structural feature (Q > 0.07 Å(-1)) can be assigned to cellulose fibrils based on a comparison of cellulose purified by solvent extraction of native and dilute acid pretreated switchgrass and a commercial preparation of microcrystalline cellulose. Dilute acid pretreatment results in an increase in the smallest structural size, a decrease in the interconnectivity of the fibrils and no change in the smooth domain boundaries at length scales larger than 1000 Å.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The generation of bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass holds great promise for renewable and clean energy production. A better understanding of the complex mechanisms of lignocellulose breakdown during various pretreatment methods is needed to realize this potential in a cost and energy efficient way. Here we use small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) to characterize morphological changes in switchgrass lignocellulose across molecular to submicrometer length scales resulting from the industrially relevant dilute acid pretreatment method. Our results demonstrate that dilute acid pretreatment increases the cross-sectional radius of the crystalline cellulose fibril. This change is accompanied by removal of hemicellulose and the formation of R(g) ∼ 135 A lignin aggregates. The structural signature of smooth cell wall surfaces is observed at length scales larger than 1000 A, and it remains remarkably invariable during pretreatment. This study elucidates the interplay of the different biomolecular components in the breakdown process of switchgrass by dilute acid pretreatment. The results are important for the development of efficient strategies of biomass to biofuel conversion.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The locations of H atoms in biological structures can be difficult to determine using X-ray diffraction methods. Neutron diffraction offers a relatively greater scattering magnitude from H and D atoms. Here, 1.65 A resolution neutron diffraction studies of fully perdeuterated and selectively CH(3)-protonated perdeuterated crystals of Pyrococcus furiosus rubredoxin (D-rubredoxin and HD-rubredoxin, respectively) at room temperature (RT) are described, as well as 1.1 A resolution X-ray diffraction studies of the same protein at both RT and 100 K. The two techniques are quantitatively compared in terms of their power to directly provide atomic positions for D atoms and analyze the role played by atomic thermal motion by computing the sigma level at the D-atom coordinate in simulated-annealing composite D-OMIT maps. It is shown that 1.65 A resolution RT neutron data for perdeuterated rubredoxin are approximately 8 times more likely overall to provide high-confidence positions for D atoms than 1.1 A resolution X-ray data at 100 K or RT. At or above the 1.0sigma level, the joint X-ray/neutron (XN) structures define 342/378 (90%) and 291/365 (80%) of the D-atom positions for D-rubredoxin and HD-rubredoxin, respectively. The X-ray-only 1.1 A resolution 100 K structures determine only 19/388 (5%) and 8/388 (2%) of the D-atom positions above the 1.0sigma level for D-rubredoxin and HD-rubredoxin, respectively. Furthermore, the improved model obtained from joint XN refinement yielded improved electron-density maps, permitting the location of more D atoms than electron-density maps from models refined against X-ray data only.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The complex natural cycle of vectored viruses that transition between host species, such as between insects and mammals, makes understanding the full life cycle of the virus an incredibly complex problem. Sindbis virus, an arbovirus and prototypic alphavirus having an inner protein shell and an outer glycoprotein coat separated by a lipid membrane, is one example of a vectored virus that transitions between vertebrate and insect hosts. While evidence of host-specific differences in Sindbis virus has been observed, no work has been performed to characterize the impact of the host species on the structure of the virus. Here, we report the first study of the structural differences between Sindbis viruses grown in mammalian and insect cells, which were determined by small-angle neutron scattering (SANS), a nondestructive technique that did not decrease the infectivity of the Sindbis virus particles studied. The scattering data and modeling showed that, while the radial position of the lipid bilayer did not change significantly, it was possible to conclude that it did have significantly more cholesterol when the virus was grown in mammalian cells. Additionally, the outer protein coat was found to be more extended in the mammalian Sindbis virus. The SANS data also demonstrated that the RNA and nucleocapsid protein share a closer interaction in the mammalian-cell-grown virus than in the virus from insect cells.
Journal of Virology 03/2010; 84(10):5270-6. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A preliminary neutron crystallographic study of the proteolytic enzyme proteinase K is presented. Large hydrogenated crystals were prepared in deuterated crystallization buffer using the vapor-diffusion method. Data were collected to a resolution of 2.3 A on the LADI-III diffractometer at the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) in 2.5 d. The results demonstrate the feasibility of a full neutron crystallographic analysis of this structure with the aim of providing relevant information on the location of H atoms, particularly at the active site. This information will contribute to further understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the catalytic activity of proteinase K and to an enriched understanding of the subtilisin clan of serine proteases.
Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 03/2009; 65(Pt 2):184-7. · 0.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutron scattering and diffraction provide detailed information on the structure and dynamics of biological materials across time and length scales that range from picoseconds to nanoseconds and from 1 to 10,000 A, respectively. The particular sensitivity of neutrons to the isotopes of hydrogen makes selective deuterium labeling of biological systems an essential tool for maximizing the return from neutron scattering experiments. In neutron protein crystallography, the use of fully deuterated protein crystals improves the signal-to-noise ratio of the data by an order of magnitude and enhances the visibi-lity of the molecular structure (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 97:3872-3877, 2000; Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr 61:1413-1417, 2005; Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr 61:539-544, 2005). In solution and surface scattering experiments, the incorporation of deuterium-labeled subunits or components into complex assemblies or structures makes it possible to deconvolute the scattering of the labeled and unlabeled subunits and to determine their relative dispositions within the complex (J Mol Biol 93:255-265, 1975). With multiple labeling patterns, it is also possible to reconstruct the locations of multiple subunits in ternary and higher-order complexes (Science 238:1403-1406, 1987; J Mol Biol 271:588-601, 1997; J Biol Chem 275:14432-14439, 2000; Biochemistry 42:7790-7800, 2003). In inelastic neutron scattering experiments, which probe hydrogen dynamics in biological materials, the application of site, residue, or region-specific hydrogen-deuterium-labeling patterns can be used to distinguish and highlight the specific dynamics within a system (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 95:4970-4975, 1998).Partial, selective, or fully deuterated proteins can be readily produced by endogenous expression of recombinant proteins in bacterial systems that are adapted to growth in D(2)O solution and using selectively deuterated carbon sources. Adaptation can be achieved either by gradual step-wise increase in D(2)O concentration or, more directly, by plating cells on media of choice and selecting colonies that perform best for subsequent culture and inoculation. Scale-up growth and expression is typically performed in standard shaker flasks using either commercial or "home-grown" rich media (derived, for example, from cell lysates produced from algae grown in D(2)O) or under more controlled conditions in defined minimal media. Cell growth is typically slower in deuterated media (>5 times slower) and yields are correspondingly lower. Once the target protein has been expressed, purification proceeds by the protocols developed for the hydrogenated protein. The deuteration levels of the final product are determined by mass spectrometry.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2009; 544:281-92.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutron crystallography is used to locate H atoms in biological materials and can distinguish between negatively scattering hydrogen-substituted and positively scattering deuterium-substituted positions in isomorphous neutron structures. Recently, Hauptman & Langs (2003; Acta Cryst. A59, 250-254) have shown that neutron diffraction data can be used to solve macromolecular structures by direct methods and that solution is aided by the presence of negatively scattering H atoms in the structure. Selective-labeling protocols allow the design and production of H/D-labeled macromolecular structures in which the ratio of H to D atoms can be precisely controlled. Methyl selective-labeling protocols were applied to introduce (1H-delta methyl)-leucine and (1H-gamma methyl)-valine into deuterated rubredoxin from Pyrococcus furiosus (PfRd). Here, the production, crystallization and preliminary neutron analysis of a selectively CH3-protonated deuterated PfRd sample, which provided a high-quality neutron data set that extended to 1.75 A resolution using the new LADI-III instrument at the Institut Laue-Langevin, are reported. Preliminary analysis of neutron density maps allows unambiguous assignment of the positions of H atoms at the methyl groups of the valine and leucine residues in the otherwise deuterated rubredoxin structure.
Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 07/2008; 64(Pt 6):537-40. · 0.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present results of combined studies of the enzyme human aldose reductase (h-AR, 36 kDa) using single-crystal x-ray data (0.66 A, 100K; 0.80 A, 15K; 1.75 A, 293K), neutron Laue data (2.2 A, 293K), and quantum mechanical modeling. These complementary techniques unveil the internal organization and mobility of the hydrogen bond network that defines the properties of the catalytic engine, explaining how this promiscuous enzyme overcomes the simultaneous requirements of efficiency and promiscuity offering a general mechanistic view for this class of enzymes.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2008; 105(6):1844-8. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neutron radiation offers significant advantages for the study of biological molecular structure and dynamics. A broad and significant effort towards instrumental and methodological development to facilitate biology experiments at neutron sources worldwide is reviewed.
Chemical Physics 02/2008; 345(2-3):133-151. · 1.96 Impact Factor