[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Geobacillus stearothermophilus T6 is a thermophilic bacterium that possesses an extensive hemicellulolytic system, including over 40 specific genes that are dedicated to this purpose. For the utilization of xylan, the bacterium uses an extracellular xylanase which degrades xylan to decorated xylo-oligomers that are imported into the cell. These oligomers are hydrolyzed by side-chain-cleaving enzymes such as arabinofuranosidases, acetylesterases and a glucuronidase, and finally by an intracellular xylanase and a number of β-xylosidases. One of these β-xylosidases is Xyn52B2, a GH52 enzyme that has already proved to be useful for various glycosynthesis applications. In addition to its demonstrated glycosynthase properties, interest in the structural aspects of Xyn52B2 stems from its special glycoside hydrolase family, GH52, the structures and mechanisms of which are only starting to be resolved. Here, the cloning, overexpression, purification and crystallization of Xyn52B2 are reported. The most suitable crystal form that has been obtained belonged to the orthorhombic P212121 space group, with average unit-cell parameters a = 97.7, b = 119.1, c = 242.3 Å. Several X-ray diffraction data sets have been collected from flash-cooled crystals of this form, including the wild-type enzyme (3.70 Å resolution), the E335G catalytic mutant (2.95 Å resolution), a potential mercury derivative (2.15 Å resolution) and a selenomethionine derivative (3.90 Å resolution). These data are currently being used for detailed three-dimensional structure determination of the Xyn52B2 protein.
Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 12/2014; 70(Pt 12):1675-82. DOI:10.1107/S2053230X14023887 · 0.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: L-Arabinose sugar residues are relatively abundant in plants and are found mainly in arabinan polysaccharides and in other arabinose-containing polysaccharides such as arabinoxylans and pectic arabinogalactans. The majority of the arabinose units in plants are present in the furanose form and only a small fraction of them are present in the pyranose form. The L-arabinan-utilization system in Geobacillus stearothermophilus T6, a Gram-positive thermophilic soil bacterium, has recently been characterized, and one of the key enzymes was found to be an intracellular -L-arabinopyranosidase (Abp). Abp, a GH27 enzyme, was shown to remove -L-arabinopyranose residues from synthetic substrates and from the native substrates sugar beet arabinan and larch arabinogalactan. The Abp monomer is made up of 448 amino acids, and based on sequence homology it was suggested that Asp197 is the catalytic nucleophile and Asp255 is the catalytic acid/base. In the current study, the detailed three-dimensional structure of wild-type Abp (at 2.28
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The L-arabinan utilization system of Geobacillus stearothermophilus T6 is composed of five transcriptional units that are clustered within a 38 kb DNA segment. One of the transcriptional units contains 11 genes, the last gene of which (araN) encodes a protein, Ara127N, that belongs to the newly established GH127 family. Ara127N shares 44% sequence identity with the recently characterized HypBA1 protein from Bifidobacterium longum and thus is likely to function similarly as a β-L-arabinofuranosidase. β-L-Arabinofuranosidases are enzymes that hydrolyze β-L-arabinofuranoside linkages, the less common form of such linkages, a unique enzymatic activity that has been identified only recently. The interest in the structure and mode of action of Ara127N therefore stems from its special catalytic activity as well as its membership of the new GH127 family, the structure and mechanism of which are only starting to be resolved. Ara127N has recently been cloned, overexpressed, purified and crystallized. Two suitable crystal forms have been obtained: one (CTP form) belongs to the monoclinic space group P21, with unit-cell parameters a = 104.0, b = 131.2, c = 107.6 Å, β = 112.0°, and the other (RB form) belongs to the orthorhombic space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 65.5, b = 118.1, c = 175.0 Å. A complete X-ray diffraction data set has been collected to 2.3 Å resolution from flash-cooled crystals of the wild-type enzyme (RB form) at -173°C using synchrotron radiation. A selenomethionine derivative of Ara127N has also been prepared and crystallized for multi-wavelength anomalous diffraction (MAD) experiments. Crystals of selenomethionine Ara127N appeared to be isomorphous to those of the wild type (CTP form) and enabled the measurement of a three-wavelength MAD diffraction data set at the selenium absorption edge. These data are currently being used for detailed three-dimensional structure determination of the Ara127N protein.
Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 08/2014; 70(Pt 8):1038-1045. DOI:10.1107/S2053230X14012680 · 0.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malaria parasites inevitably develop drug resistance to anti-malarials over time. Hence the immediacy for discovering new chemical scaffolds to include in combination malaria drug therapy. The desirable attributes of new chemotherapeutic agents currently include activity against both liver and blood stage malaria parasites. One such recently discovered compound called cladosporin abrogates parasite growth via inhibition of Plasmodium falciparum lysyl-tRNA synthetase (PfKRS), an enzyme central to protein translation. Here, we present crystal structure of ternary PfKRS-lysine-cladosporin (PfKRS-K-C) complex that reveals cladosporin's remarkable ability to mimic the natural substrate adenosine and thereby colonize PfKRS active site. The isocoumarin fragment of cladosporin sandwiches between critical adenine-recognizing residues while its pyran ring fits snugly in the ribose-recognizing cavity. PfKRS-K-C structure highlights ample space within PfKRS active site for further chemical derivatization of cladosporin. Such derivatives may be useful against additional human pathogens that retain high conservation in cladosporin chelating residues within their lysyl-tRNA synthetase.
Journal of Structural and Functional Genomics 06/2014; 15(2):63-71. DOI:10.1007/s10969-014-9182-1
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Type IV pili are surface-exposed filaments and bacterial virulence factors, represented by the Tfpa and Tfpb types, which assemble via specific machineries. The Tfpb group is further divided into seven variants, linked to heterogeneity in the assembly machineries. Here we focus on PilO2Bp, a protein component of the Tfpb R64 thin pilus variant assembly machinery from the pathogen Burkholderia pseudomallei. PilO2Bp belongs to the PF06864 Pfam family, for which an improved definition is presented based on newly derived Hidden Markov Model (HMM) profiles. The 3D structure of the N-terminal domain of PilO2Bp (N-PilO2Bp), here reported, is the first structural representative of the PF06864 family. N-PilO2Bp presents an actin-like ATPase fold that is shown to be present in BfpC, a different variant assembly protein; the new HMM profiles classify BfpC as a PF06864 member. Our results provide structural insight into the PF06864 family and on the Type IV pili assembly machinery.
PLoS ONE 04/2014; 9(4):e94981. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0094981 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Toxoplasma gondii, as in other eukaryotes, a subset of the amino-acyl-tRNA synthetases are arranged into an abundant cytoplasmic multi-aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase (MARS) complex. Through a series of genetic pull-down assays, we have identified the enzymes of this complex as: methionyl-, glutaminyl-, glutamyl-, and tyrosyl-tRNA synthetases, and we show that the N-terminal GST-like domain of a partially disordered hybrid scaffold protein, Tg-p43, is sufficient for assembly of the intact complex. Our gel filtration studies revealed significant heterogeneity in the size and composition of isolated MARS complexes. By targeting the tyrosyl-tRNA synthetases subunit, which was found exclusively in the complete 1 MDa complex, we were able to directly visualize MARS particles in the electron microscope. Image analyses of the negative stain data revealed the observed heterogeneity and instability of these complexes to be driven by the intrinsic flexibility of the domain arrangements within the MARS complex. These studies provide unique insights into the assembly of these ubiquitous but poorly understood eukaryotic complexes.
PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e89487. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0089487 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Geobacillus stearothermophilus T6 is a thermophilic, Gram-positive soil bacterium that possesses an extensive and highly regulated hemicellulolytic system, allowing the bacterium to efficiently degrade high-molecular-weight polysaccharides such as xylan, arabinan and galactan. As part of the xylan-degradation system, the bacterium uses a number of side-chain-cleaving enzymes, one of which is Axe2, a 219-amino-acid intracellular serine acetylxylan esterase that removes acetyl side groups from xylooligosaccharides. Bioinformatic analyses suggest that Axe2 belongs to the lipase GDSL family and represents a new family of carbohydrate esterases. In the current study, the detailed three-dimensional structure of Axe2 is reported, as determined by X-ray crystallography. The structure of the selenomethionine derivative Axe2-Se was initially determined by single-wavelength anomalous diffraction techniques at 1.70 Å resolution and was used for the structure determination of wild-type Axe2 (Axe2-WT) and the catalytic mutant Axe2-S15A at 1.85 and 1.90 Å resolution, respectively. These structures demonstrate that the three-dimensional structure of the Axe2 monomer generally corresponds to the SGNH hydrolase fold, consisting of five central parallel β-sheets flanked by two layers of helices (eight α-helices and five 310-helices). The catalytic triad residues, Ser15, His194 and Asp191, are lined up along a substrate channel situated on the concave surface of the monomer. Interestingly, the Axe2 monomers are assembled as a `doughnut-shaped' homo-octamer, presenting a unique quaternary structure built of two staggered tetrameric rings. The eight active sites are organized in four closely situated pairs, which face the relatively wide internal cavity. The biological relevance of this octameric structure is supported by independent results obtained from gel-filtration, TEM and SAXS experiments. These data and their comparison to the structural data of related hydrolases are used for a more general discussion focusing on the structure-function relationships of enzymes of this category.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Geobacillus stearothermophilus T1 is a Gram-positive thermophilic soil bacterium that contains an extensive system for the utilization of plant cell-wall polysaccharides, including xylan, arabinan and galactan. The bacterium uses a number of extracellular enzymes that break down the high-molecular-weight polysaccharides into short oligosaccharides, which enter the cell and are further hydrolyzed into sugar monomers by dedicated intracellular glycoside hydrolases. The interest in the biochemical characterization and structural analysis of these proteins originates mainly from the wide range of their potential biotechnological applications. Studying the different hemicellulolytic utilization systems in G. stearothermophilus T1, a new galactan-utilization gene cluster was recently identified, which encodes a number of proteins, one of which is a GH1 putative 6-phospho-β-galactosidase (Gan1D). Gan1D has recently been cloned, overexpressed, purified and crystallized as part of its comprehensive structure-function study. The best crystals obtained for this enzyme belonged to the triclinic space group P1, with average crystallographic unit-cell parameters of a = 67.0, b = 78.1, c = 92.1 Å, α = 102.4, β = 93.5, γ = 91.7°. A full diffraction data set to 1.33 Å resolution has been collected for the wild-type enzyme, as measured from flash-cooled crystals at 100 K, using synchrotron radiation. These data are currently being used for the detailed three-dimensional crystal structure analysis of Gan1D.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glutaredoxins (Grxs) are redox proteins that use glutathione ((γ)Glu-Cys-Gly; GSH) as a cofactor. Plasmodium falciparum has one classic dithiol (CXXC) glutaredoxin (glutaredoxin 1; PfGrx1) and three monothiol (CXXS) Grx-like proteins (GLPs), which have five residue insertions prior to the active-site Cys. Here, the crystal structure of PfGrx1 has been determined by the sulfur single-wavelength anomalous diffraction (S-SAD) method utilizing intrinsic protein and solvent S atoms. Several residues were modelled with alternate conformations, and an alternate position was refined for the active-site Cys29 owing to radiation damage. The GSH-binding site is occupied by water polygons and buffer molecules. Structural comparison of PfGrx1 with other Grxs and Grx-like proteins revealed that the GSH-binding motifs (CXXC/CXXS, TVP, CDD, Lys26 and Gln/Arg63) are structurally conserved. Both the monothiol and dithiol Grxs possess three conserved water molecules; two of these were located in the GSH-binding site. PfGrx1 has several polar and charged amino-acid substitutions that provide structurally important additional hydrogen bonds and salt bridges missing in other Grxs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BM14 was the first dedicated macromolecular crystallography (MX) beamline to come into operation at the ESRF during 1995. This experimental station has been designed specifically to produce MX diffraction data using Single/Multiple-wavelength Anomalous Diffraction (SAD/MAD) methods (www.bm14.eu). Currently, beamline is operated by a consortium between the ESRF, the EMBL-Grenoble and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), India. Recently, the beamline optics was fully upgraded (hence the new denomination BM14-2). A four-time increase in beam brilliance is achieved with the concomitant reduction in average exposure time (~5s today versus 20s before), leading to a substantial gain in the screening capacity. Upgrade includes a new channel-cut crystal equipped with a second crystal pusher to reject high-energy harmonics. The latter device turned to be crucial for Sulphur-SAD experiment success rate. The special goniometer head is installed on microdiffractometer (MD2) goniometer which is capable of handling the CrystalDirect (CD) nanocrystallisation plates  so that any crystallisation hit can be exposed to the beam. The plate characteristics are optimal for in situ data collection and they produce diffraction patterns with significantly reduced background. A newly designed dehydration-to-cryogenic nozzle-changer device is also installed in order to avoid the down time between the experiments (such as, In situ screening, humidity control device (HC1), standard cryogenic data collection). European users may apply for access via the Biostruct-X program (www.biostruct-x.eu) both for CD plate nanocrystallisation trials and for beamtime. Users from India are encouraged to apply from DBT-Portal (http://process.mbu.iisc.ernet.in/BM14/index.jsp) for beamtime. The optics hutch refurbishment and implementation of the novel devices in the experimental hutch opens promising perspectives for collecting data at room temperature and that are of importance to the MX users.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toxoplasma gondii, the causative agent of toxoplasmosis, is an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite that resides inside a parasitophorous vacuole. During infection, Toxoplasma actively remodels the transcriptome of its hosting cells with profound and coupled impact on the host immune response. We report that Toxoplasma secretes GRA24, a novel dense granule protein which traffics from the vacuole to the host cell nucleus. Once released into the host cell, GRA24 has the unique ability to trigger prolonged autophosphorylation and nuclear translocation of the host cell p38α MAP kinase. This noncanonical kinetics of p38α activation correlates with the up-regulation of the transcription factors Egr-1 and c-Fos and the correlated synthesis of key proinflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-12 and the chemokine MCP-1, both known to control early parasite replication in vivo. Remarkably, the GRA24-p38α complex is defined by peculiar structural features and uncovers a new regulatory signaling path distinct from the MAPK signaling cascade and otherwise commonly activated by stress-related stimuli or various intracellular microbes.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 09/2013; 210(10). DOI:10.1084/jem.20130103 · 13.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Geobacillus stearothermophilus T-6 is a thermophilic soil bacterium that possesses an extensive system for the utilization of hemicellulose. The bacterium produces a small number of endo-acting extracellular enzymes that cleave high-molecular-weight hemicellulolytic polymers into short decorated oligosaccharides, which are further hydrolysed into the respective sugar monomers by a battery of intracellular glycoside hydrolases. One of these intracellular processing enzymes is β-L-arabinopyranosidase (Abp), which is capable of removing β-L-arabinopyranose residues from naturally occurring arabino-polysaccharides. As arabino-polymers constitute a significant part of the hemicellulolytic content of plant biomass, their efficient enzymatic degradation presents an important challenge for many potential biotechnological applications. This aspect has led to an increasing interest in the biochemical characterization and structural analysis of this and related hemicellulases. Abp from G. stearothermophilus T-6 has recently been cloned, overexpressed, purified, biochemically characterized and crystallized in our laboratory, as part of its complete structure-function study. The best crystals obtained for this enzyme belonged to the primitive orthorhombic space group P212121, with average unit-cell parameters a = 107.7, b = 202.2, c = 287.3 Å. Full diffraction data sets to 2.3 Å resolution have been collected for both the wild-type enzyme and its D197A catalytic mutant from flash-cooled crystals at 100 K, using synchrotron radiation. These data are currently being used for a high-resolution three-dimensional structure determination of Abp.
Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 06/2013; 69(Pt 6):695-9. DOI:10.1107/S1744309113013705 · 0.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases are essential enzymes that transmit information from the genetic code to proteins in cells and are targets for antipathogen drug development. Elucidation of the crystal structure of cytoplasmic lysyl-tRNA synthetase from the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (PfLysRS) has allowed direct comparison with human LysRS. The authors' data suggest that PfLysRS is dimeric in solution, whereas the human counterpart can also adopt tetrameric forms. It is shown for the first time that PfLysRS is capable of synthesizing the signalling molecule Ap4a (diadenosine tetraphosphate) using ATP as a substrate. The PfLysRS crystal structure is in the apo form, such that binding to ATP will require rotameric changes in four conserved residues. Differences in the active-site regions of parasite and human LysRSs suggest the possibility of exploiting PfLysRS for selective inhibition. These investigations on PfLysRS further validate malarial LysRSs as attractive antimalarial targets and provide new structural space for the development of inhibitors that target pathogen LysRSs selectively.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acetylxylan esterases are part of the hemi-cellulolytic system of many microorganisms which utilize plant biomass for growth. Xylans, which are polymeric sugars that constitute a significant part of the plant biomass, are usually substituted with acetyl side groups attached at position 2 or 3 of the xylose backbone units. Acetylxylan esterases hydrolyse the ester linkages of the xylan acetyl groups and thus improve the ability of main-chain hydrolysing enzymes to break down the sugar backbone units. As such, these enzymes play an important part in the hemi-cellulolytic utilization system of many microorganisms that use plant biomass for growth. Interest in the biochemical characterization and structural analysis of these enzymes stems from their numerous potential biotechnological applications. An acetylxylan esterase (Axe2) of this type from Geobacillus stearothermophilus T-6 has recently been cloned, overexpressed, purified, biochemically characterized and crystallized. One of the crystal forms obtained (RB1) belonged to the tetragonal space group I422, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 110.2, c = 213.1 angstrom. A full diffraction data set was collected to 1.85 angstrom resolution from flash-cooled crystals of the wild-type enzyme at 100 K using synchrotron radiation. A selenomethionine derivative of Axe2 has also been prepared and crystallized for single-wavelength anomalous diffraction experiments. The crystals of the selenomethionine-derivatized Axe2 appeared to be isomorphous to those of the wild-type enzyme and enabled the measurement of a full 1.85 angstrom resolution diffraction data set at the selenium absorption edge and a full 1.70 angstrom resolution data set at a remote wavelength. These data are currently being used for three-dimensional structure determination of the Axe2 protein.
Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 04/2013; 69(Pt 4):430-4. DOI:10.1107/S1744309113004260 · 0.57 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glutamine synthetases are ubiquitous, homo-oligomeric enzymes essential for nitrogen metabolism. Unlike types I and II, which are well described both structurally and functionally, the larger, type IIIs are poorly characterized despite their widespread occurrence. An understanding of the structural basis for this divergence and the implications for design of type-specific inhibitors has, therefore, been impossible. The first crystal structure of a GSIII enzyme, presented here, reveals a conservation of the GS catalytic fold but subtle differences in protein-ligand interactions suggest possible avenues for the design GSIII inhibitors. Despite these similarities, the divergence of the GSIII enzymes can be explained by differences in quaternary structure. Unexpectedly, the two hexameric rings of the GSIII dodecamer associate on the opposite surface relative to types I and II. The diversity of GS quaternary structures revealed here suggests a nonallosteric role for the evolution of the double-ringed architecture seen in all GS enzymes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This work details the intentional modifications that led to the first structure of a type III glutamine synthetase enzyme (GSIII). This approach followed the serendipitous discovery of digestion caused by an extracellular protease from a contaminating bacterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens. The protease only cleaves the GSIII protein at a single site, leaving the oligomer intact but allowing the protein to crystallize in a different space group. This transition from space group P1 to space group C222(1) is accompanied by improved growth characteristics, more reproducible diffraction and enhanced mechanical stability. The crystallographic analyses presented here provide the structural basis of the altered molecular packing in the full-length and digested crystal forms and suggest modifications for future structural studies.
Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 03/2011; 67(Pt 3):358-63. DOI:10.1107/S1744309110053893 · 0.57 Impact Factor