• Crystal structure of a non-discriminating glutamyl-tRNA synthetase.

      Schulze, Jörg O; Masoumi, Ava; Nickel, Daniel; Jahn, Martina; Jahn, Dieter; Schubert, Wolf-Dieter; Heinz, Dirk W; Division of Structural Biology, German Research Centre for Biotechnology (GBF), Mascheroder Weg 1, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2006-09-01)
      Error-free protein biosynthesis is dependent on the reliable charging of each tRNA with its cognate amino acid. Many bacteria, however, lack a glutaminyl-tRNA synthetase. In these organisms, tRNA(Gln) is initially mischarged with glutamate by a non-discriminating glutamyl-tRNA synthetase (ND-GluRS). This enzyme thus charges both tRNA(Glu) and tRNA(Gln) with glutamate. Discriminating GluRS (D-GluRS), found in some bacteria and all eukaryotes, exclusively generates Glu-tRNA(Glu). Here we present the first crystal structure of a non-discriminating GluRS from Thermosynechococcus elongatus (ND-GluRS(Tel)) in complex with glutamate at a resolution of 2.45 A. Structurally, the enzyme shares the overall architecture of the discriminating GluRS from Thermus thermophilus (D-GluRS(Tth)). We confirm experimentally that GluRS(Tel) is non-discriminating and present kinetic parameters for synthesis of Glu-tRNA(Glu) and of Glu-tRNA(Gln). Anticodons of tRNA(Glu) (34C/UUC36) and tRNA(Gln) (34C/UUG36) differ only in base 36. The pyrimidine base of C36 is specifically recognized in D-GluRS(Tth) by the residue Arg358. In ND-GluRS(Tel) this arginine residue is replaced by glycine (Gly366) presumably allowing both cytosine and the bulkier purine base G36 of tRNA(Gln) to be tolerated. Most other ND-GluRS share this structural feature, leading to relaxed substrate specificity.
    • Evolutionary relationship between initial enzymes of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis.

      Schulze, Jörg O; Schubert, Wolf-Dieter; Moser, Jürgen; Jahn, Dieter; Heinz, Dirk W (2006-05-19)
      Glutamate-1-semialdehyde 2,1-aminomutase (GSAM) is the second enzyme in the C(5) pathway of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis found in most bacteria, in archaea and in plants. It catalyzes the transamination of glutamate-1-semialdehyde to 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA) in a pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP)-dependent manner. We present the crystal structure of GSAM from the thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus elongatus (GSAM(Tel)) in its PLP-bound form at 2.85A resolution. GSAM(Tel) is a symmetric homodimer, whereas GSAM from Synechococcus (GSAM(Syn)) has been described as asymmetric. The symmetry of GSAM(Tel) thus challenges the previously proposed negative cooperativity between monomers of this enzyme. Furthermore, GSAM(Tel) reveals an extensive flexible region at the interface of the proposed complex of GSAM with glutamyl-tRNA reductase (GluTR), the preceding enzyme in tetrapyrrole biosynthesis. Compared to GSAM(Syn), the monomers of GSAM(Tel) are rotated away from each other along the dimerization interface by 10 degrees . The associated flexibility of GSAM may be essential for complex formation with GluTR to occur. Unexpectedly, we find that GSAM is structurally related to 5-aminolevulinate synthase (ALAS), the ALA-producing enzyme in the Shemin pathway of alpha-proteobacteria and non-plant eukaryotes. This structural relationship applies also to the corresponding subfamilies of PLP-dependent enzymes. We thus propose that the CoA-subfamily (including ALAS) and the aminotransferase subfamily II (including GSAM) are evolutionarily closely related and that ALAS may thus have evolved from GSAM.
    • Glutamate recognition and hydride transfer by Escherichia coli glutamyl-tRNA reductase.

      Lüer, Corinna; Schauer, Stefan; Virus, Simone; Schubert, Wolf-Dieter; Heinz, Dirk W; Moser, Jürgen; Jahn, Dieter; Institute of Microbiology, Technical University Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-09)
      The initial step of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis in Escherichia coli involves the NADPH-dependent reduction by glutamyl-tRNA reductase (GluTR) of tRNA-bound glutamate to glutamate-1-semialdehyde. We evaluated the contribution of the glutamate moiety of glutamyl-tRNA to substrate specificity in vitro using a range of substrates and enzyme variants. Unexpectedly, we found that tRNA(Glu) mischarged with glutamine was a substrate for purified recombinant GluTR. Similarly unexpectedly, the substitution of amino acid residues involved in glutamate side chain binding (S109A, T49V, R52K) or in stabilizing the arginine 52 glutamate interaction (glutamate 54 and histidine 99) did not abrogate enzyme activity. Replacing glutamine 116 and glutamate 114, involved in glutamate-enzyme interaction near the aminoacyl bond to tRNA(Glu), by leucine and lysine, respectively, however, did abolish reductase activity. We thus propose that the ester bond between glutamate and tRNA(Glu) represents the crucial determinant for substrate recognition by GluTR, whereas the necessity for product release by a 'back door' exit allows for a degree of structural variability in the recognition of the amino acid moiety. Analyzing the esterase activity, which occured in the absence of NADPH, of GluTR variants using the substrate 4-nitrophenyl acetate confirmed the crucial role of cysteine 50 for thioester formation. Finally, the GluTR variant Q116L was observed to lack reductase activity whereas esterase activity was retained. Structure-based molecular modeling indicated that glutamine 116 may be crucial in positioning the nicotinamide group of NADPH to allow for productive hydride transfer to the substrate. Our data thus provide new information about the distinct function of active site residues of GluTR from E. coli.
    • Polysaccharide synthesis of the levansucrase SacB from Bacillus megaterium is controlled by distinct surface motifs.

      Strube, Christian P; Homann, Arne; Gamer, Martin; Jahn, Dieter; Seibel, Jürgen; Heinz, Dirk W; Department of Molecular Structural Biology, Helmholtz-Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7B, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-05-20)
      Despite the widespread biological function of carbohydrates, the polysaccharide synthesis mechanisms of glycosyltransferases remain largely unexplored. Bacterial levansucrases (glycoside hydrolase family 68) synthesize high molecular weight, β-(2,6)-linked levan from sucrose by transfer of fructosyl units. The kinetic and biochemical characterization of Bacillus megaterium levansucrase SacB variants Y247A, Y247W, N252A, D257A, and K373A reveal novel surface motifs remote from the sucrose binding site with distinct influence on the polysaccharide product spectrum. The wild type activity (k(cat)) and substrate affinity (K(m)) are maintained. The structures of the SacB variants reveal clearly distinguishable subsites for polysaccharide synthesis as well as an intact active site architecture. These results lead to a new understanding of polysaccharide synthesis mechanisms. The identified surface motifs are discussed in the context of related glycosyltransferases.
    • Structures of the nucleotide-binding domain of the human ABCB6 transporter and its complexes with nucleotides.

      Haffke, Matthias; Menzel, Anja; Carius, Yvonne; Jahn, Dieter; Heinz, Dirk W; Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, Braunschweig, Germany. (2010-09)
      The human ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter ABCB6 is involved in haem-precursor transport across the mitochondrial membrane. The crystal structure of its nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) has been determined in the apo form and in complexes with ADP, with ADP and Mg(2+) and with ATP at high resolution. The overall structure is L-shaped and consists of two lobes, consistent with other reported NBD structures. Nucleotide binding is mediated by the highly conserved Tyr599 and the Walker A motif, and induces notable structural changes. Structural comparison with other structurally characterized NBDs and full-length ABC transporters gives the first insight into the possible catalytic mechanism of ABCB6 and the role of the N-terminal helix alpha(1) in full-length ABCB6.
    • Structures of two bacterial resistance factors mediating tRNA-dependent aminoacylation of phosphatidylglycerol with lysine or alanine.

      Hebecker, Stefanie; Krausze, Joern; Hasenkampf, Tatjana; Schneider, Julia; Groenewold, Maike; Reichelt, Joachim; Jahn, Dieter; Heinz, Dirk W; Moser, Jürgen; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-08-25)
      The cytoplasmic membrane is probably the most important physical barrier between microbes and the surrounding habitat. Aminoacylation of the polar head group of the phospholipid phosphatidylglycerol (PG) catalyzed by Ala-tRNA(Ala)-dependent alanyl-phosphatidylglycerol synthase (A-PGS) or by Lys-tRNA(Lys)-dependent lysyl-phosphatidylglycerol synthase (L-PGS) enables bacteria to cope with cationic peptides that are harmful to the integrity of the cell membrane. Accordingly, these synthases also have been designated as multiple peptide resistance factors (MprF). They consist of a separable C-terminal catalytic domain and an N-terminal transmembrane flippase domain. Here we present the X-ray crystallographic structure of the catalytic domain of A-PGS from the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In parallel, the structure of the related lysyl-phosphatidylglycerol-specific L-PGS domain from Bacillus licheniformis in complex with the substrate analog L-lysine amide is presented. Both proteins reveal a continuous tunnel that allows the hydrophobic lipid substrate PG and the polar aminoacyl-tRNA substrate to access the catalytic site from opposite directions. Substrate recognition of A-PGS versus L-PGS was investigated using misacylated tRNA variants. The structural work presented here in combination with biochemical experiments using artificial tRNA or artificial lipid substrates reveals the tRNA acceptor stem, the aminoacyl moiety, and the polar head group of PG as the main determinants for substrate recognition. A mutagenesis approach yielded the complementary amino acid determinants of tRNA interaction. These results have broad implications for the design of L-PGS and A-PGS inhibitors that could render microbial pathogens more susceptible to antimicrobial compounds.