Clemens Vonrhein

The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, United States

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Publications (63)607.48 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The obligate intracellular, gram‐negative bacterium Rickettsia is the causative agent of spotted fevers and typhus in humans. Surface cell antigen (sca) proteins surround these bacteria. We recently reported the co‐localization of one of these proteins, sca4, with vinculin in cells at sites of focal adhesions and demonstrated that two vinculin binding sites directed the sca4/vinculin interaction. Here we report the 2.2 Å crystal structure of the conserved N‐terminal 38 kDa domain of sca4 from Rickettsia rickettsii. The structure reveals two subdomains. The first is an all‐helical domain that is folded in a fashion similar to the dimeric assembly chaperone for rubisco, namely RbcX. The following and highly conserved β‐strand domain lacks significant structural similarity with other known structures and to the best of our knowledge represents a new protein fold.
    Protein Science 08/2013; 22(10). · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The obligate intracellular, gram-negative bacterium Rickettsia is the causative agent of spotted fevers and typhus in humans. Surface cell antigen (sca) proteins surround these bacteria. We recently reported the colocalization of one of these proteins, sca4, with vinculin in cells at sites of focal adhesions and demonstrated that two vinculin binding sites directed the sca4/vinculin interaction. Here we report the 2.2 Å crystal structure of the conserved N-terminal 38 kDa domain of sca4 from Rickettsia rickettsii. The structure reveals two subdomains. The first is an all-helical domain that is folded in a fashion similar to the dimeric assembly chaperone for rubisco, namely RbcX. The following and highly conserved β-strand domain lacks significant structural similarity with other known structures and to the best of our knowledge represents a new protein fold.
    Protein Science 07/2013; · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The sequence-specific transcription factor NF-Y binds the CCAAT box, one of the sequence elements most frequently found in eukaryotic promoters. NF-Y is composed of the NF-YA and NF-YB/NF-YC subunits, the latter two hosting histone-fold domains (HFDs). The crystal structure of NF-Y bound to a 25 bp CCAAT oligonucleotide shows that the HFD dimer binds to the DNA sugar-phosphate backbone, mimicking the nucleosome H2A/H2B-DNA assembly. NF-YA both binds to NF-YB/NF-YC and inserts an α helix deeply into the DNA minor groove, providing sequence-specific contacts to the CCAAT box. Structural considerations and mutational data indicate that NF-YB ubiquitination at Lys138 precedes and is equivalent to H2B Lys120 monoubiquitination, important in transcriptional activation. Thus, NF-Y is a sequence-specific transcription factor with nucleosome-like properties of nonspecific DNA binding and helps establish permissive chromatin modifications at CCAAT promoters. Our findings suggest that other HFD-containing proteins may function in similar ways.
    Cell 01/2013; 152(1-2):132-143. · 31.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The nucleotide messenger cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) plays a central role in the regulation of motility, virulence, and biofilm formation in many pathogenic bacteria. EAL domain-containing phosphodiesterases are the major signaling proteins responsible for the degradation of c-di-GMP and maintenance of its cellular level. We determined the crystal structure of a single mutant (R286W) of the response regulator RocR from Pseudomonas aeruginosa to show that RocR exhibits a highly unusual tetrameric structure arranged around a single dyad, with the four subunits adopting two distinctly different conformations. Subunits A and B adopt a conformation with the REC domain located above the c-di-GMP binding pocket, whereas subunits C and D adopt an open conformation with the REC domain swung to the side of the EAL domain. Remarkably, the access to the substrate-binding pockets of the EAL domains of the open subunits C and D are blocked in trans by the REC domains of subunits A and B, indicating that only two of the four active sites are engaged in the degradation of c-di-GMP. In conjunction with biochemical and biophysical data, we propose that the structural changes within the REC domains triggered by the phosphorylation are transmitted to the EAL domain active sites through a pathway that traverses the dimerization interfaces composed of a conserved regulatory loop and the neighboring motifs. This exquisite mechanism reinforces the crucial role of the regulatory loop and suggests that similar regulatory mechanisms may be operational in many EAL domain proteins, considering the preservation of the dimerization interface and the spatial arrangement of the regulatory domains.
    Journal of bacteriology 06/2012; 194(18):4837-46. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vinculin is a key regulator of the actin cytoskeleton attachment to the cell membrane at cellular adhesion sites, which is crucial for processes such as cell motility and migration, development, survival, and wound healing. Vinculin loss results in embryonic lethality, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Its tail domain, Vt, is crucial for vinculin activation and focal adhesion turnover and binds to the actin cytoskeleton and acidic phospholipids upon which it unfurls. The RNA binding protein raver1 regulates the assembly of focal adhesions transcriptionally by binding to vinculin. The muscle-specific splice form, metavinculin, is characterized by a 68-residue insert in the tail domain (MVt) and correlates with hereditary idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Here, we report that metavinculin can bind to raver1 in its inactive state. Our crystal structure explains this permissivity, where an extended coil unique to MVt is unfurled in the MVtΔ954:raver1 complex structure. Our binding assays show that raver1 forms a ternary complex with MVt and vinculin mRNA. These findings suggest that the metavinculin:raver1:RNA complex is constitutively recruited to adhesion complexes.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 06/2012; 422(5):697-704. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pestiviruses, which belong to the Flaviviridae family of RNA viruses, are important agents of veterinary diseases causing substantial economical losses in animal farming worldwide. Pestivirus particles display three envelope glycoproteins at their surface: E(rns), E1, and E2. We report here the crystal structure of the catalytic domain of E(rns), the ribonucleolytic activity of which is believed to counteract the innate immunity of the host. The structure reveals a three-dimensional fold corresponding to T2 ribonucleases from plants and fungi. Cocrystallization experiments with mono- and oligonucleotides revealed the structural basis for substrate recognition at two binding sites previously identified for T2 RNases. A detailed analysis of poly-U cleavage products using (31)P-NMR and size exclusion chromatography, together with molecular docking studies, provides a comprehensive mechanistic picture of E(rns) activity on its substrates and reveals the presence of at least one additional nucleotide binding site.
    Structure 05/2012; 20(5):862-73. · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Highlights ► First pestivirus envelope glycoprotein structure ► Confirmation of evolutionary link with RNases of plants and fungi ► Evidence for a third nucleotide binding site in a T2 RNase ► Nonprocessive mechanism of polynucleotide degradation
    Structure 05/2012; 20(5):862–873. · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Maximum-likelihood X-ray macromolecular structure refinement in BUSTER has been extended with restraints facilitating the exploitation of structural similarity. The similarity can be between two or more chains within the structure being refined, thus favouring NCS, or to a distinct 'target' structure that remains fixed during refinement. The local structural similarity restraints (LSSR) approach considers all distances less than 5.5 Å between pairs of atoms in the chain to be restrained. For each, the difference from the distance between the corresponding atoms in the related chain is found. LSSR applies a restraint penalty on each difference. A functional form that reaches a plateau for large differences is used to avoid the restraints distorting parts of the structure that are not similar. Because LSSR are local, there is no need to separate out domains. Some restraint pruning is still necessary, but this has been automated. LSSR have been available to academic users of BUSTER since 2009 with the easy-to-use -autoncs and -target target.pdb options. The use of LSSR is illustrated in the re-refinement of PDB entries 5rnt, where -target enables the correct ligand-binding structure to be found, and 1osg, where -autoncs contributes to the location of an additional copy of the cyclic peptide ligand.
    Acta Crystallographica Section D Biological Crystallography 04/2012; 68(Pt 4):368-80. · 12.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cytoskeletal protein talin activates integrin receptors by binding of its FERM domain to the cytoplasmic tail of β-integrin. Talin also couples integrins to the actin cytoskeleton, largely by binding to and activating the cytoskeletal protein vinculin, which binds to F-actin through the agency of its five-helix bundle tail (Vt) domain. Talin activates vinculin by means of buried amphipathic α-helices coined vinculin binding sites (VBSs) that reside within numerous four- and five-helix bundle domains that comprise the central talin rod, which are released from their buried locales by means of mechanical tension on the integrin:talin complex. In turn, these VBSs bind to the N-terminal seven-helix bundle (Vh1) domain of vinculin, creating an entirely new helix bundle that severs its head-tail interactions. Interestingly, talin harbors a second integrin binding site coined IBS2 that consists of two five-helix bundle domains that also contain a VBS (VBS50). Here we report the crystal structure of VBS50 in complex with vinculin at 2.3 Å resolution and show that intramolecular interactions of VBS50 within IBS2 are much more extensive versus its interactions with vinculin. Indeed, the IBS2-vinculin interaction only occurs at physiological temperature and the affinity of VBS50 for vinculin is about 30 times less than other VBSs. The data support a model where integrin binding destabilizes IBS2 to allow it to bind to vinculin.
    Protein Science 02/2012; 21(4):583-8. · 2.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RuvBL1 (RuvB-like 1) and its homolog RuvBL2 are evolutionarily highly conserved AAA(+) ATPases essential for many cellular activities. They play an important role in chromatin remodeling, transcriptional regulation and DNA damage repair. RuvBL1 and RuvBL2 are overexpressed in different types of cancer and interact with major oncogenic factors, such as β-catenin and c-Myc regulating their function. We solved the first three-dimensional crystal structure of the human RuvBL complex with a truncated domain II and show that this complex is competent for helicase activity. The structure reveals a dodecamer consisting of two heterohexameric rings with alternating RuvBL1 and RuvBL2 monomers bound to ADP/ATP, that interact with each other via the retained part of domain II. The dodecameric quaternary structure of the R1ΔDII/R2ΔDII complex observed in the crystal structure was confirmed by small-angle X-ray scattering analysis. Interestingly, truncation of domain II led to a substantial increase in ATP consumption of RuvBL1, RuvBL2 and their complex. In addition, we present evidence that DNA unwinding of the human RuvBL proteins can be auto-inhibited by domain II, which is not present in the homologous bacterial helicase RuvB. Our data give new insights into the molecular arrangement of RuvBL1 and RuvBL2 and strongly suggest that in vivo activities of these highly interesting therapeutic drug targets are regulated by cofactors inducing conformational changes via domain II in order to modulate the enzyme complex into its active state.
    Journal of Structural Biology 09/2011; 176(3):279-91. · 3.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The distinct actin nucleation factors of the Spir and formin subgroup families cooperate in actin nucleation. The Spir/formin cooperativity has been identified to direct two essential steps in mammalian oocyte maturation, the asymmetric spindle positioning and polar body extrusion during meiosis. Understanding the nature and regulation of the Spir/Fmn cooperation is an important requirement to comprehend mammalian reproduction. Recently we dissected the structural elements of the Spir and Fmn family proteins, which physically link the two actin nucleation factors. The trans-regulatory interaction is mediated by the Spir kinase non-catalytic C-lobe domain (KIND) and the C-terminal formin Spir interaction motif (FSI). The interaction inhibits formin nucleation activity and enhances the Spir activity. To get insights into the molecular mechanism of the Spir/Fmn interaction, we determined the crystal structure of the KIND domain alone and in complex with the C-terminal Fmn-2 FSI peptide. Together they confirm the proposed structural homology of the KIND domain to the protein kinase fold and reveal the basis of the Spir/formin interaction. The complex structure showed a large interface with conserved and positively charged residues of the Fmn FSI peptide mediating major contacts to an acidic groove on the surface of KIND. Protein interaction studies verified the electrostatic nature of the interaction. The data presented here provide the molecular basis of the Spir/formin interaction and give a first structural view into the mechanisms of actin nucleation factor cooperativity.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2011; 286(35):30732-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The distinct actin nucleation factors of the Spir and formin subgroup families cooperate in actin nucleation. The Spir/formin cooperativity has been identified to direct two essential steps in mammalian oocyte maturation, the asymmetric spindle positioning and polar body extrusion during meiosis. Understanding the nature and regulation of the Spir/Fmn cooperation is an important requirement to comprehend mammalian reproduction. Recently we dissected the structural elements of the Spir and Fmn family proteins, that physically link the two actin nucleation factors. The trans-regulatory interaction is mediated by the Spir kinase non-catalytic C-lobe domain (KIND) and the C-terminal formin Spir interaction motif (FSI). The interaction inhibits formin nucleation activity and enhances the Spir acitivity. In order to get insights into the molecular mechanism of the Spir/Fmn interaction, we determined the crystal structure of the KIND domain alone and in complex with the C-terminal Fmn-2 FSI peptide. Together they confirm the proposed structural homology of the KIND domain to the protein kinase fold and reveal the basis of the Spir/formin interaction. The complex structure showed a large interface with conserved and positively charged residues of the Fmn FSI peptide mediating major contacts to an acidic groove on the surface of KIND. Protein interaction studies verified the electrostatic nature of the interaction. The data presented here provide the molecular basis of the Spir/formin interaction and give a first structural view into the mechanisms of actin nucleation factor cooperativity.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2011; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A typical diffraction experiment will generate many images and data sets from different crystals in a very short time. This creates a challenge for the high-throughput operation of modern synchrotron beamlines as well as for the subsequent data processing. Novice users in particular may feel overwhelmed by the tables, plots and numbers that the different data-processing programs and software packages present to them. Here, some of the more common problems that a user has to deal with when processing a set of images that will finally make up a processed data set are shown, concentrating on difficulties that may often show up during the first steps along the path of turning the experiment (i.e. data collection) into a model (i.e. interpreted electron density). Difficulties such as unexpected crystal forms, issues in crystal handling and suboptimal choices of data-collection strategies can often be dealt with, or at least diagnosed, by analysing specific data characteristics during processing. In the end, one wants to distinguish problems over which one has no immediate control once the experiment is finished from problems that can be remedied a posteriori. A new software package, autoPROC, is also presented that combines third-party processing programs with new tools and an automated workflow script that is intended to provide users with both guidance and insight into the offline processing of data affected by the difficulties mentioned above, with particular emphasis on the automated treatment of multi-sweep data sets collected on multi-axis goniostats.
    Acta Crystallographica Section D Biological Crystallography 04/2011; 67(Pt 4):293-302. · 12.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many Archaea and Bacteria isolated from hot, marine environments accumulate di-myo-inositol-phosphate (DIP), primarily in response to heat stress. The biosynthesis of this compatible solute involves the activation of inositol to CDP-inositol via the action of a recently discovered CTP:inositol-1-phosphate cytidylyltransferase (IPCT) activity. In most cases, IPCT is part of a bifunctional enzyme comprising two domains: a cytoplasmic domain with IPCT activity and a membrane domain catalyzing the synthesis of di-myo-inositol-1,3'-phosphate-1'-phosphate from CDP-inositol and L-myo-inositol phosphate. Herein, we describe the first X-ray structure of the IPCT domain of the bifunctional enzyme from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Archaeoglobus fulgidus DSMZ 7324. The structure of the enzyme in the apo form was solved to a 1.9-Å resolution. The enzyme exhibited apparent K(m) values of 0.9 and 0.6 mM for inositol-1-phosphate and CTP, respectively. The optimal temperature for catalysis was in the range 90 to 95°C, and the V(max) determined at 90°C was 62.9 μmol · min(-1) · mg of protein(-1). The structure of IPCT is composed of a central seven-stranded mixed β-sheet, of which six β-strands are parallel, surrounded by six α-helices, a fold reminiscent of the dinucleotide-binding Rossmann fold. The enzyme shares structural homology with other pyrophosphorylases showing the canonical motif G-X-G-T-(R/S)-X(4)-P-K. CTP, L-myo-inositol-1-phosphate, and CDP-inositol were docked into the catalytic site, which provided insights into the binding mode and high specificity of the enzyme for CTP. This work is an important step toward the final goal of understanding the full catalytic route for DIP synthesis in the native, bifunctional enzyme.
    Journal of bacteriology 03/2011; 193(9):2177-85. · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is an emerging mosquito-borne alphavirus that has caused widespread outbreaks of debilitating human disease in the past five years. CHIKV invasion of susceptible cells is mediated by two viral glycoproteins, E1 and E2, which carry the main antigenic determinants and form an icosahedral shell at the virion surface. Glycoprotein E2, derived from furin cleavage of the p62 precursor into E3 and E2, is responsible for receptor binding, and E1 for membrane fusion. In the context of a concerted multidisciplinary effort to understand the biology of CHIKV, here we report the crystal structures of the precursor p62-E1 heterodimer and of the mature E3-E2-E1 glycoprotein complexes. The resulting atomic models allow the synthesis of a wealth of genetic, biochemical, immunological and electron microscopy data accumulated over the years on alphaviruses in general. This combination yields a detailed picture of the functional architecture of the 25 MDa alphavirus surface glycoprotein shell. Together with the accompanying report on the structure of the Sindbis virus E2-E1 heterodimer at acidic pH (ref. 3), this work also provides new insight into the acid-triggered conformational change on the virus particle and its inbuilt inhibition mechanism in the immature complex.
    Nature 12/2010; 468(7324):709-12. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Arenaviridae synthesize viral mRNAs using short capped primers presumably acquired from cellular transcripts by a 'cap-snatching' mechanism. Here, we report the crystal structure and functional characterization of the N-terminal 196 residues (NL1) of the L protein from the prototypic arenavirus: lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. The NL1 domain is able to bind and cleave RNA. The 2.13 Å resolution crystal structure of NL1 reveals a type II endonuclease α/β architecture similar to the N-terminal end of the influenza virus PA protein. Superimposition of both structures, mutagenesis and reverse genetics studies reveal a unique spatial arrangement of key active site residues related to the PD…(D/E)XK type II endonuclease signature sequence. We show that this endonuclease domain is conserved and active across the virus families Arenaviridae, Bunyaviridae and Orthomyxoviridae and propose that the arenavirus NL1 domain is the Arenaviridae cap-snatching endonuclease.
    PLoS Pathogens 01/2010; 6(9):e1001038. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important human pathogen, yet neither a vaccine nor effective therapies are available to treat infection. To help elucidate the replication mechanism of this RNA virus, we determined the three-dimensional (3D) crystal structure at 3.3 A resolution of a decameric, annular ribonucleoprotein complex of the RSV nucleoprotein (N) bound to RNA. This complex mimics one turn of the viral helical nucleocapsid complex, which serves as template for viral RNA synthesis. The RNA wraps around the protein ring, with seven nucleotides contacting each N subunit, alternating rows of four and three stacked bases that are exposed and buried within a protein groove, respectively. Combined with electron microscopy data, this structure provides a detailed model for the RSV nucleocapsid, in which the bases are accessible for readout by the viral polymerase. Furthermore, the nucleoprotein structure highlights possible key sites for drug targeting.
    Science 11/2009; 326(5957):1279-83. · 31.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A sulfide:quinone oxidoreductase (SQR) was isolated from the membranes of the hyperthermoacidophilic archaeon Acidianus ambivalens, and its X-ray structure, the first reported for an SQR, was determined to 2.6 A resolution. This enzyme was functionally and structurally characterized and was shown to have two redox active sites: a covalently bound FAD and an adjacent pair of cysteine residues. Most interestingly, the X-ray structure revealed the presence of a chain of three sulfur atoms bridging those two cysteine residues. The possible implications of this observation in the catalytic mechanism for sulfide oxidation are discussed, and the role of SQR in the sulfur dependent bioenergetics of A. ambivalens, linked to oxygen reduction, is addressed.
    Biochemistry 06/2009; 48(24):5613-22. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Since the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003, the three-dimensional structures of several of the replicase/transcriptase components of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), the non-structural proteins (Nsps), have been determined. However, within the large Nsp3 (1922 amino-acid residues), the structure and function of the so-called SARS-unique domain (SUD) have remained elusive. SUD occurs only in SARS-CoV and the highly related viruses found in certain bats, but is absent from all other coronaviruses. Therefore, it has been speculated that it may be involved in the extreme pathogenicity of SARS-CoV, compared to other coronaviruses, most of which cause only mild infections in humans. In order to help elucidate the function of the SUD, we have determined crystal structures of fragment 389-652 ("SUD(core)") of Nsp3, which comprises 264 of the 338 residues of the domain. Both the monoclinic and triclinic crystal forms (2.2 and 2.8 A resolution, respectively) revealed that SUD(core) forms a homodimer. Each monomer consists of two subdomains, SUD-N and SUD-M, with a macrodomain fold similar to the SARS-CoV X-domain. However, in contrast to the latter, SUD fails to bind ADP-ribose, as determined by zone-interference gel electrophoresis. Instead, the entire SUD(core) as well as its individual subdomains interact with oligonucleotides known to form G-quadruplexes. This includes oligodeoxy- as well as oligoribonucleotides. Mutations of selected lysine residues on the surface of the SUD-N subdomain lead to reduction of G-quadruplex binding, whereas mutations in the SUD-M subdomain abolish it. As there is no evidence for Nsp3 entering the nucleus of the host cell, the SARS-CoV genomic RNA or host-cell mRNA containing long G-stretches may be targets of SUD. The SARS-CoV genome is devoid of G-stretches longer than 5-6 nucleotides, but more extended G-stretches are found in the 3'-nontranslated regions of mRNAs coding for certain host-cell proteins involved in apoptosis or signal transduction, and have been shown to bind to SUD in vitro. Therefore, SUD may be involved in controlling the host cell's response to the viral infection. Possible interference with poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-like domains is also discussed.
    PLoS Pathogens 06/2009; 5(5):e1000428. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Osmoregulated transporters sense intracellular osmotic pressure and respond to hyperosmotic stress by accumulation of osmolytes to restore normal hydration levels. Here we report the determination of the X-ray structure of a member of the family of betaine/choline/carnitine transporters, the Na+-coupled symporter BetP from Corynebacterium glutamicum, which is a highly effective osmoregulated uptake system for glycine betaine. Glycine betaine is bound in a tryptophan box occluded from both sides of the membrane with aromatic side chains lining the transport pathway. BetP has the same overall fold as three unrelated Na+-coupled symporters. Whereas these are crystallized in either the outward-facing or the inward-facing conformation, the BetP structure reveals a unique intermediate conformation in the Na+-coupled transport cycle. The trimeric architecture of BetP and the break in three-fold symmetry by the osmosensing C-terminal helices suggest a regulatory mechanism of Na+-coupled osmolyte transport to counteract osmotic stress.
    Nature 03/2009; 458(7234):47-52. · 38.60 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
607.48 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2012–2013
    • The Scripps Research Institute
      • Department of Cancer Biology
      La Jolla, CA, United States
    • Institut Pasteur
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2008–2011
    • New University of Lisbon
      • Institute of Chemical and Biological Technology (ITQB)
      Caparica, Distrito de Setubal, Portugal
    • Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology
      • Department of Protein Evolution
      Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2004–2005
    • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
      Memphis, Tennessee, United States
    • École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
      Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland
  • 1995–1999
    • University of Freiburg
      • Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (Organic Chemistry)
      Freiburg, Lower Saxony, Germany