• Juxtanodin is an intrinsically disordered F-actin-binding protein.

      Ruskamo, Salla; Chukhlieb, Maryna; Vahokoski, Juha; Bhargav, Saligram Prabhakar; Liang, Fengyi; Kursula, Inari; Kursula, Petri (2012)
      Juxtanodin, also called ermin, is an F-actin-binding protein expressed by oligodendrocytes, the myelin-forming cells of the central nervous system. While juxtanodin carries a short conserved F-actin-binding segment at its C terminus, it otherwise shares no similarity with known protein sequences. We carried out a structural characterization of recombinant juxtanodin in solution. Juxtanodin turned out to be intrinsically disordered, as evidenced by conventional and synchrotron radiation CD spectroscopy. Small-angle X-ray scattering indicated that juxtanodin is a monomeric, highly elongated, unfolded molecule. Ensemble optimization analysis of the data suggested also the presence of more compact forms of juxtanodin. The C terminus was a strict requirement for co-sedimentation of juxtanodin with microfilaments, but juxtanodin had only mild effects on actin polymerization. The disordered nature of juxtanodin may predict functions as a protein interaction hub, although F-actin is its only currently known binding partner.
    • The lasso segment is required for functional dimerization of the Plasmodium formin 1 FH2 domain.

      Ignatev, Alexander; Bhargav, Saligram Prabhakar; Vahokoski, Juha; Kursula, Petri; Kursula, Inari; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, University of Hamburg, and German Electron Synchrotron (DESY), Hamburg, Germany. (2012)
      Apicomplexan parasites, such as the malaria-causing Plasmodium species, utilize a unique way of locomotion and host cell invasion. This substrate-dependent gliding motility requires rapid cycling of actin between the monomeric state and very short, unbranched filaments. Despite the crucial role of actin polymerization for the survival of the malaria parasite, the majority of Plasmodium cellular actin is present in the monomeric form. Plasmodium lacks most of the canonical actin nucleators, and formins are essentially the only candidates for this function in all Apicomplexa. The malaria parasite has two formins, containing conserved formin homology (FH) 2 and rudimentary FH1 domains. Here, we show that Plasmodium falciparum formin 1 associates with and nucleates both mammalian and Plasmodium actin filaments. Although Plasmodium profilin alone sequesters actin monomers, thus inhibiting polymerization, its monomer-sequestering activity does not compete with the nucleating activity of formin 1 at an equimolar profilin-actin ratio. We have determined solution structures of P. falciparum formin 1 FH2 domain both in the presence and absence of the lasso segment and the FH1 domain, and show that the lasso is required for the assembly of functional dimers.
    • Preliminary crystallographic analysis of the N-terminal PDZ-like domain of periaxin, an abundant peripheral nerve protein linked to human neuropathies.

      Han, Huijong; Kursula, Petri (2013-07)
      Periaxin (PRX) is an abundant protein in peripheral nerves and contains a predicted PDZ-like domain at its N-terminus. The large isoform, L-PRX, is required for the maintenance of myelin in the peripheral nervous system and its defects cause neurological disease. Here, the human periaxin PDZ-like domain was crystallized and X-ray diffraction data were collected to 2.85 Å resolution using synchrotron radiation. The crystal belonged to the primitive hexagonal space group P3121 or P3221, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 80.6, c = 81.0 Å, γ = 120° and either two or three molecules in the asymmetric unit. The structure of PRX will shed light on its poorly characterized function in the nervous system.
    • Purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray crystallographic analysis of MIL, a glycosylated jacalin-related lectin from mulberry (Morus indica) latex.

      Patel, Ashok K; Singh, Vijay K; Bergmann, Ulrich; Jagannadham, Medicherla V; Kursula, Petri (2011-05-01)
      A quantitatively major protein has been purified from the latex of Morus indica. The purified previously uncharacterized protein, M. indica lectin (MIL), was further shown to be a glycosylated tetramer and belongs to the family of jacalin-related lectins. Crystallization of MIL was also accomplished and the tetragonal crystals diffracted synchrotron X-rays to a resolution of 2.8 Å.