[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: 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 01/2014; 9(2):e89487. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[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; · 13.21 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: 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. · 0.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glutamine synthetase enzymes (GSs) are large oligomeric enzymes that play a critical role in nitrogen metabolism in all forms of life. To date, no crystal structures exist for the family of large (∼1 MDa) type III GS enzymes, which only share 9% sequence identity with the well characterized GSI and GSII enzymes. Here we present a novel protocol for the isolation of untagged Bacteroides fragilis GlnN expressed in an auxotrophic Escherichia coli strain. The rapid and scalable two-step protocol utilized differential precipitation by divalent cations followed by affinity chromatography to produce suitable quantities of homogenous material for structural characterization. Subsequent optimizations to the sample stability and solubility led to the discovery of conditions for the production of the first diffraction quality crystals of a type III GS enzyme.
Protein Expression and Purification 12/2010; 74(2):211-6. · 1.43 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nucleosome assembly proteins (NAPs) are histone chaperones that are crucial for the shuttling and incorporation of histones into nucleosomes. NAPs participate in the assembly and disassembly of nucleosomes thus contributing to chromatin structure organization. The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum contains two nucleosome assembly proteins termed PfNapL and PfNapS.
Three-dimensional crystal structure of PfNapS has been determined and analysed. Gene knockout and localization studies were also performed on PfNapS using transfection studies. Fluorescence spectroscopy was performed to identify histone-binding sites on PfNapS. Extensive sequence and structural comparisons were done with the crystal structures available for NAP/SET family of proteins.
Crystal structure of PfNapS shares structural similarity with previous structures from NAP/SET family. Failed attempts to knock-out the gene for PfNapS from malaria parasite suggest essentiality in the parasite. GFP-fused PfNapS fusion protein targeting indicates cellular localization of PfNapS in the parasite nucleus. Fluorescence spectroscopy data suggest that PfNapS interacts with core histones (tetramer, octamer, H3, H4, H2A and H2B) at a different site from its interaction with linker histone H1. This analysis illustrates two regions on the PfNapS dimer as the possible sites for histone recognition.
This work presents a thorough analysis of the structural, functional and regulatory attributes of PfNapS from P. falciparum with respect to previously studied histone chaperones.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pregnancy-associated malaria (PAM) is a serious consequence of sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum-parasitized erythrocytes (PE) in the placenta through adhesion to chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) present on placental proteoglycans. Recent work implicates var2CSA, a member of the PfEMP1 family, as the mediator of placental sequestration and as a key target for PAM vaccine development. Var2CSA is a 350 kDa transmembrane protein, whose extracellular region includes six Duffy-binding-like (DBL) domains. Due to its size and high cysteine content, the full-length var2CSA extracellular region has not hitherto been expressed in heterologous systems, thus limiting investigations to individual recombinant domains. Here we report for the first time the expression of the full-length var2CSA extracellular region (domains DBL1X to DBL6epsilon) from the 3D7 parasite strain using the human embryonic kidney 293 cell line. We show that the recombinant extracellular var2CSA region is correctly folded and that, unlike the individual DBL domains, it binds with high affinity and specificity to CSA (K(D) = 61 nM) and efficiently inhibits PE from binding to CSA. Structural characterization by analytical ultracentrifugation and small-angle x-ray scattering reveals a compact organization of the full-length protein, most likely governed by specific interdomain interactions, rather than an extended structure. Collectively, these data suggest that a high-affinity, CSA-specific binding site is formed by the higher-order structure of the var2CSA extracellular region. These results have important consequences for the development of an effective vaccine and therapeutic inhibitors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2010; 107(11):4884-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HIV-1 entry into host cells is mediated by the sequential binding of the envelope glycoprotein gp120 to CD4 and a chemokine receptor. Antibodies binding to epitopes overlapping the CD4-binding site on gp120 are potent inhibitors of HIV entry, such as the llama heavy chain antibody fragment V(HH) D7, which has cross-clade neutralizing properties and competes with CD4 and mAb b12 for high affinity binding to gp120. We report the crystal structure of the D7 V(HH) at 1.5 A resolution, which reveals the molecular details of the complementarity determining regions (CDR) and substantial flexibility of CDR3 that could facilitate an induced fit interaction with gp120. Structural comparison of CDRs from other CD4 binding site antibodies suggests diverse modes of interaction. Mutational analysis identified CDR3 as a key component of gp120 interaction as determined by surface plasmon resonance. A decrease in affinity is directly coupled to the neutralization efficiency since mutations that decrease gp120 interaction increase the IC50 required for HIV-1 IIIB neutralization. Thus the structural study identifies the long CDR3 of D7 as the key determinant of interaction and HIV-1 neutralization. Furthermore, our data confirm that the structural plasticity of gp120 can accommodate multiple modes of antibody binding within the CD4 binding site.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(5):e10482. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nucleosome assembly proteins (NAPs) are histone chaperones that are essential for the transfer and incorporation of histones into nucleosomes. NAPs participate in assembly and disassembly of nucleosomes and in chromatin structure organization. Human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum contains two nucleosome assembly proteins termed PfNapL and PfNapS. To gain structural insights into the mechanism of NAPs, we have determined and analyzed the crystal structure of PfNapL at 2.3 A resolution. PfNapL, an ortholog of eukaryotic NAPs, is dimeric in nature and adopts a characteristic fold seen previously for yeast NAP-1 and Vps75 and for human SET/TAF-1b (beta)/INHAT. The PfNapL monomer is comprised of domain I, containing a dimerization alpha-helix, and a domain II, composed of alpha-helices and a beta-subdomain. Structural comparisons reveal that the "accessory domain," which is inserted between the domain I and domain II in yeast NAP-1 and other eukaryotic NAPs, is surprisingly absent in PfNapL. Expression of green fluorescent protein-tagged PfNapL confirmed its exclusive localization to the parasite cytoplasm. Attempts to disrupt the PfNapL gene were not successful, indicating its essential role for the malaria parasite. A detailed analysis of PfNapL structure suggests unique histone binding properties. The crucial structural differences observed between parasite and yeast NAPs shed light on possible new modes of histone recognition by nucleosome assembly proteins.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2009; 284(15):10076-87. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMOylation, the reversible covalent attachment of small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) peptides has emerged as an important regulator of target protein function. Here we show, by characterization of the Toxoplasma gondii SUMO pathway, that the SUMO conjugation system operates in apicomplexan parasites. A gene encoding the SUMO tag was discovered as were genes encoding the various enzymes required for SUMO processing, ligation and release. Various SUMO conjugates were immuno-detected and by means of a global proteomic-based approach, we identified several T. gondii SUMOylated proteins that reveal many diverse cellular processes in which the modification plays a role. More specifically, SUMO conjugates were seen at the tachyzoite surface in response to signaling generated by host cell contact at the time of invasion. Also, under tissue culture conditions that stimulate bradyzoite differentiation (alkaline pH), we observed the conjugates at the parasitophorous vacuole membrane. The labeling was also at the surface of the mature cysts isolated from parasite-infected mouse brain. Overall, the SUMO conjugation system appears to be a complex and functionally heterogeneous pathway for protein modification in T. gondii with initial data indicating that it is likely to play a putative role in host cell invasion and cyst genesis.
International journal for parasitology 09/2008; 39(1):81-90. · 3.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Posttranslational histone modifications modulate chromatin-templated processes in various biological systems. H4K20 methylation is considered to have an evolutionarily ancient role in DNA repair and genome integrity, while its function in heterochromatin function and gene expression is thought to have arisen later during evolution. Here, we identify and characterize H4K20 methylases of the Set8 family in Plasmodium and Toxoplasma, two medically important members of the protozoan phylum Apicomplexa. Remarkably, parasite Set8-related proteins display H4K20 mono-, di-, and trimethylase activities, in striking contrast to the monomethylase-restricted human Set8. Structurally, few residues forming the substrate-specific channel dictate enzyme methylation multiplicity. These enzymes are cell cycle regulated and focally enriched at pericentric and telomeric heterochromatin in both parasites. Collectively, our findings provide new insights into the evolution of Set8-mediated biochemical pathways, suggesting that the heterochromatic function of the marker is not restricted to metazoans. Thus, these lower eukaryotes have developed a diverse panel of biological stages through their high capacity to differentiate, and epigenetics only begins to emerge as a strong determinant of their biology.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 09/2007; 27(16):5711-24. · 5.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bug proteins form a large family of periplasmic solute-binding receptors present in a number of bacterial species. Here, the crystal structure of Bordetella pertussis BugE, a member of the Bug family coded by the gene BP0250, is reported. It adopts the Venus flytrap architecture of periplasmic binding proteins, with two domains separated by a deep cleft. BugE has a bound ligand, identified as a glutamate. The structure of B. pertussis BugD, which is an aspartic acid transporter, has recently been reported. These structures reveal high conservation of the Bug architecture, despite limited sequence identity. They share a common carboxylate-binding motif defined by two strand-beta-turn-alpha-helix motifs, also involving two water molecules to bridge the carboxylate O atoms to the protein. The two water molecules are hydrogen bonded to a common main-chain carbonyl group. Although the features of the carboxylate-binding motif are totally conserved, the ligand in BugE is bound by its side-chain carboxylate group rather than by its alpha-carboxylate as in BugD. This specific ligand-binding motif is highly conserved in Bug proteins and the BugE structure suggests that the cavity of the Bug proteins might also accommodate carboxylated solutes other than amino acids. The vast expansion of the Bug family in several bacterial genera is likely to be explained by the possible diversity of ligands. No charged residues are involved in glutamate binding by BugE, unlike what has been described for all glutamate receptors reported so far.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The endosomal sorting complex I required for transport (ESCRT-I) is composed of the three subunits Vps23/Tsg101, Vps28 and Vps37. ESCRT-I is recruited to cellular membranes during multivesicular endosome biogenesis and by enveloped viruses such as HIV-1 to mediate budding from the cell. Here, we describe the crystal structure of a conserved C-terminal domain from Sacharomyces cerevisiae Vps28 (Vps28-CTD) at 3.05 A resolution which folds independently into a four-helical bundle structure. Co-expression experiments of Vps28-CTD, Vps23 and Vps37 suggest that Vps28-CTD does not directly participate in ESCRT-I assembly and may thus act as an adaptor module for downstream interaction partners. We show through mutagenesis studies that Vps28-CTD employs its strictly conserved surface in the interaction with the ESCRT-III factor Vps20. Furthermore, we present evidence that Vps28-CTD is sufficient to rescue an equine infectious anaemia virus (EIAV) Gag late domain deletion. Vps28-CTD mutations abolishing Vps20 interaction in vitro also prevent the rescue of the EIAV Gag late domain mutant consistent with a potential direct Vps28-ESCRT-III Vps20 recruitment. Therefore, the physiological relevant EIAV Gag-Alix interaction can be functionally replaced by a Gag-Vps28-CTD fusion. Because both Alix and Vps28-CTD can directly recruit ESCRT-III proteins, ESCRT-III assembly coupled to Vps4 action may therefore constitute the minimal budding machinery for EIAV release.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glutaminyl cyclases (QCs) (EC 188.8.131.52) catalyze the intramolecular cyclization of protein N-terminal glutamine residues into pyroglutamic acid with the concomitant liberation of ammonia. QCs may be classified in two groups containing, respectively, the mammalian enzymes, and the enzymes from plants, bacteria, and parasites. The crystal structure of the QC from the latex of Carica papaya (PQC) has been determined at 1.7A resolution. The structure was solved by the single wavelength anomalous diffraction technique using sulfur and zinc as anomalous scatterers. The enzyme folds into a five-bladed beta-propeller, with two additional alpha-helices and one beta hairpin. The propeller closure is achieved via an original molecular velcro, which links the last two blades into a large eight stranded beta-sheet. The zinc ion present in the PQC is bound via an octahedral coordination into an elongated cavity located along the pseudo 5-fold axis of the beta-propeller fold. This zinc ion presumably plays a structural role and may contribute to the exceptional stability of PQC, along with an extended hydrophobic packing, the absence of long loops, the three-joint molecular velcro and the overall folding itself. Multiple sequence alignments combined with structural analyses have allowed us to tentatively locate the active site, which is filled in the crystal structure either by a Tris molecule or an acetate ion. These analyses are further supported by the experimental evidence that Tris is a competitive inhibitor of PQC. The active site is located at the C-terminal entrance of the PQC central tunnel. W83, W110, W169, Q24, E69, N155, K225, F22 and F67 are highly conserved residues in the C-terminal entrance, and their putative role in catalysis is discussed. The PQC structure is representative of the plants, bacterial and parasite enzymes and contrasts with that of mammalian enzymes, that may possibly share a conserved scaffold of the bacterial aminopeptidase.
Journal of Molecular Biology 04/2006; 357(2):457-70. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Periplasmic binding proteins of a new family particularly well represented in Bordetella pertussis have been called Bug receptors. One B.pertussis Bug protein is part of a tripartite tricarboxylate transporter while the functions of the other 77 are unknown. We report the first structure of a Bug receptor, BugD. It adopts the characteristic Venus flytrap motif observed in other periplasmic binding proteins, with two globular domains bisected by a deep cleft. BugD displays a closed conformation resulting from the fortuitous capture of a ligand, identified from the electron density as an aspartate. The structure reveals a distinctive alpha carboxylate-binding motif, involving two water molecules that bridge the carboxylate oxygen atoms to the protein. Both water molecules are hydrogen bonded to a common carbonyl group from Ala14, and each forms a hydrogen bond with one carboxylate oxygen atom of the ligand. Additional hydrogen bonds are found between the ligand alpha carboxylate oxygen atoms and protein backbone amide groups and with a threonine hydroxyl group. This specific ligand-binding motif is highly conserved in Bug proteins, indicating that they may all be receptors of amino acids or other carboxylated solutes, with a similar binding mode. The present structure thus unveils the bases of ligand binding in this large family of periplasmic binding proteins, several hundred members of which have been identified in various bacterial species.
Journal of Molecular Biology 04/2006; 356(4):1014-26. · 3.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Molecular processes that govern pathogenic features of erythrocyte invasion and cytoadherence in malaria are reliant on Plasmodium-specific Duffy-binding-like domains (DBLs). These cysteine-rich modules recognize diverse host cell-surface receptors during pathogenesis. DBLs of parasite erythrocyte-binding proteins mediate invasion, and those from the antigenically variant P. falciparum erythrocyte membrane protein 1 (PfEMP1) have been implicated in cytoadherence. The simian and human malarial parasites, P. knowlesi and P. vivax, invade human erythrocytes exclusively through the host DARC receptor (Duffy antigen receptor for chemokines). Here we present the crystal structure of the P. knowlesi DBL domain (Pkalpha-DBL), which binds to DARC during invasion of human erythrocytes. Pkalpha-DBL retains the overall fold observed in DBLs from P. falciparum erythrocyte-binding antigen (EBA)-175 (ref. 4). Mapping the residues that have previously been implicated in binding highlights a fairly flat but exposed site for DARC recognition in subdomain 2 of Pkalpha-DBL; this is in sharp contrast to receptor recognition by EBA-175 (ref. 4). In Pkalpha-DBL, the residues that contact DARC and the clusters of residues under immune pressure map to opposite surfaces of the DBL, and suggest a possible mechanism for immune evasion by P. vivax. Our comparative structural analysis of Pkalpha-DBL and P. falciparum EBA-175 provides a framework for the understanding of malaria parasite DBLs, and may affect the development of new prophylactic and therapeutic strategies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In living systems, the intramolecular cyclization of N-terminal glutamine residues is accomplished by glutaminyl cyclase enzymes (EC 184.108.40.206). While in mammals these enzymes are involved in the synthesis of hormonal and neurotransmitter peptides, the physiological role played by the corresponding plant enzymes still remains to be unravelled. Papaya glutaminyl cyclase (PQC), a 33 kDa enzyme found in the latex of the tropical tree Carica papaya, displays an exceptional resistance to chemical and thermal denaturation as well as to proteolysis. In order to elucidate its enzymatic mechanism and to gain insights into the structural determinants underlying its remarkable stability, PQC was isolated from papaya latex, purified and crystallized by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals belong to the orthorhombic space group P2(1)2(1)2(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 62.82, b = 81.23, c = 108.17 A and two molecules per asymmetric unit. Diffraction data have been collected at ESRF beamline BM14 and processed to a resolution of 1.7 A.
Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications 02/2005; 61(Pt 1):59-61. · 0.55 Impact Factor