• Transcriptional and mutational profiling of an aminoglycoside resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa small colony variant.

      Schniederjans, Monika; Koska, Michal; Häussler, Susanne; Helmholtz Centre for infection researchGmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-09-05)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a major causative agent of both acute and chronic infections. Although aminoglycoside antibiotics are very potent drugs to fight such infections, antibiotic failure is steadily increasing mainly due to increasing resistance of the bacteria. Many molecular mechanisms that determine resistance such as acquisition of genes encoding for aminoglycoside-inactivating enzymes or overexpression of efflux pumps have been elucidated. However, there are additional, less-well described mechanisms of aminoglycoside resistance. In this study we have profiled a clinical tobramycin resistant P. aeruginosa strain that exhibited a small colony variant (SCV) phenotype. Both, the resistance and the colony morphology phenotypes were lost upon passaging the isolate under rich medium conditions. Transcriptional and mutational profiling revealed that the SCV harbored activating mutations in the two two-component systems AmgRS and PmrAB. Introduction of these mutations singularly into the type strain PA14 conferred tobramycin and colistin resistance, respectively. However, their combined introduction had an additive effect on the tobramycin resistance phenotype. Activation of the AmgRS system slightly reduced the colony size of the PA14 wild-type, whereas the simultaneous overexpression of gacA, the response regulator of the GacSA two component system, further reduced colony size. In conclusion, we uncovered combinatorial influences of two-component systems on clinically relevant phenotypes, such as resistance and the expression of the SCV phenotype. Our results clearly demonstrate that combined activation of P. aeruginosa two-component systems exhibit pleiotropic effects with unforeseen consequences.
    • 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.
    • Genetic Diversity Underlying the Envelope Glycoproteins of Hepatitis C Virus: Structural and Functional Consequences and the Implications for Vaccine Design.

      Tarr, Alexander W; Khera, Tanvi; Hueging, Kathrin; Sheldon, Julie; Steinmann, Eike; Pietschmann, Thomas; Brown, Richard J P; TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, A Joint Venture between the Medical School Hannover (MHH) and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Hannover D-30625, Germany. (2015-07)
      In the 26 years since the discovery of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) a major global research effort has illuminated many aspects of the viral life cycle, facilitating the development of targeted antivirals. Recently, effective direct-acting antiviral (DAA) regimens with >90% cure rates have become available for treatment of chronic HCV infection in developed nations, representing a significant advance towards global eradication. However, the high cost of these treatments results in highly restricted access in developing nations, where the disease burden is greatest. Additionally, the largely asymptomatic nature of infection facilitates continued transmission in at risk groups and resource constrained settings due to limited surveillance. Consequently a prophylactic vaccine is much needed. The HCV envelope glycoproteins E1 and E2 are located on the surface of viral lipid envelope, facilitate viral entry and are the targets for host immunity, in addition to other functions. Unfortunately, the extreme global genetic and antigenic diversity exhibited by the HCV glycoproteins represents a significant obstacle to vaccine development. Here we review current knowledge of HCV envelope protein structure, integrating knowledge of genetic, antigenic and functional diversity to inform rational immunogen design.
    • Determinants of ligand binding and catalytic activity in the myelin enzyme 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase.

      Raasakka, Arne; Myllykoski, Matti; Laulumaa, Saara; Lehtimäki, Mari; Härtlein, Michael; Moulin, Martine; Kursula, Inari; Kursula, Petri; CSSB, Centre for Structural Systems Biology, Notekestr. 85, 22607 Hamburg, Germany. (2015)
      2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase (CNPase) is an enzyme highly abundant in the central nervous system myelin of terrestrial vertebrates. The catalytic domain of CNPase belongs to the 2H phosphoesterase superfamily and catalyzes the hydrolysis of nucleoside 2',3'-cyclic monophosphates to nucleoside 2'-monophosphates. The detailed reaction mechanism and the essential catalytic amino acids involved have been described earlier, but the roles of many amino acids in the vicinity of the active site have remained unknown. Here, several CNPase catalytic domain mutants were studied using enzyme kinetics assays, thermal stability experiments, and X-ray crystallography. Additionally, the crystal structure of a perdeuterated CNPase catalytic domain was refined at atomic resolution to obtain a detailed view of the active site and the catalytic mechanism. The results specify determinants of ligand binding and novel essential residues required for CNPase catalysis. For example, the aromatic side chains of Phe235 and Tyr168 are crucial for substrate binding, and Arg307 may affect active site electrostatics and regulate loop dynamics. The β5-α7 loop, unique for CNPase in the 2H phosphoesterase family, appears to have various functions in the CNPase reaction mechanism, from coordinating the nucleophilic water molecule to providing a binding pocket for the product and being involved in product release.
    • Genotypic and phenotypic analyses of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa chronic bronchiectasis isolate reveal differences from cystic fibrosis and laboratory strains.

      Varga, John J; Barbier, Mariette; Mulet, Xavier; Bielecki, Piotr; Bartell, Jennifer A; Owings, Joshua P; Martinez-Ramos, Inmaculada; Hittle, Lauren E; Davis, Michael R; Damron, F Heath; et al. (2015)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an environmentally ubiquitous Gram-negative bacterium and important opportunistic human pathogen, causing severe chronic respiratory infections in patients with underlying conditions such as cystic fibrosis (CF) or bronchiectasis. In order to identify mechanisms responsible for adaptation during bronchiectasis infections, a bronchiectasis isolate, PAHM4, was phenotypically and genotypically characterized.
    • Structural differences explain diverse functions of Plasmodium actins.

      Vahokoski, Juha; Bhargav, Saligram Prabhakar; Desfosses, Ambroise; Andreadaki, Maria; Kumpula, Esa-Pekka; Martinez, Silvia Muñico; Ignatev, Alexander; Lepper, Simone; Frischknecht, Friedrich; Sidén-Kiamos, Inga; et al. (2014-04)
      Actins are highly conserved proteins and key players in central processes in all eukaryotic cells. The two actins of the malaria parasite are among the most divergent eukaryotic actins and also differ from each other more than isoforms in any other species. Microfilaments have not been directly observed in Plasmodium and are presumed to be short and highly dynamic. We show that actin I cannot complement actin II in male gametogenesis, suggesting critical structural differences. Cryo-EM reveals that Plasmodium actin I has a unique filament structure, whereas actin II filaments resemble canonical F-actin. Both Plasmodium actins hydrolyze ATP more efficiently than α-actin, and unlike any other actin, both parasite actins rapidly form short oligomers induced by ADP. Crystal structures of both isoforms pinpoint several structural changes in the monomers causing the unique polymerization properties. Inserting the canonical D-loop to Plasmodium actin I leads to the formation of long filaments in vitro. In vivo, this chimera restores gametogenesis in parasites lacking actin II, suggesting that stable filaments are required for exflagellation. Together, these data underline the divergence of eukaryotic actins and demonstrate how structural differences in the monomers translate into filaments with different properties, implying that even eukaryotic actins have faced different evolutionary pressures and followed different paths for developing their polymerization properties.
    • Human lung tissue explants reveal novel interactions during Legionella pneumophila infections.

      Jäger, Jens; Marwitz, Sebastian; Tiefenau, Jana; Rasch, Janine; Shevchuk, Olga; Kugler, Christian; Goldmann, Torsten; Steinert, Michael; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014-01)
      Histological and clinical investigations describe late stages of Legionnaires' disease but cannot characterize early events of human infection. Cellular or rodent infection models lack the complexity of tissue or have nonhuman backgrounds. Therefore, we developed and applied a novel model for Legionella pneumophila infection comprising living human lung tissue. We stimulated lung explants with L. pneumophila strains and outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) to analyze tissue damage, bacterial replication, and localization as well as the transcriptional response of infected tissue. Interestingly, we found that extracellular adhesion of L. pneumophila to the entire alveolar lining precedes bacterial invasion and replication in recruited macrophages. In contrast, OMVs predominantly bound to alveolar macrophages. Specific damage to septa and epithelia increased over 48 h and was stronger in wild-type-infected and OMV-treated samples than in samples infected with the replication-deficient, type IVB secretion-deficient DotA(-) strain. Transcriptome analysis of lung tissue explants revealed a differential regulation of 2,499 genes after infection. The transcriptional response included the upregulation of uteroglobin and the downregulation of the macrophage receptor with collagenous structure (MARCO). Immunohistochemistry confirmed the downregulation of MARCO at sites of pathogen-induced tissue destruction. Neither host factor has ever been described in the context of L. pneumophila infections. This work demonstrates that the tissue explant model reproduces realistic features of Legionnaires' disease and reveals new functions for bacterial OMVs during infection. Our model allows us to characterize early steps of human infection which otherwise are not feasible for investigations.
    • From the environment to the host: re-wiring of the transcriptome of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from 22°C to 37°C.

      Barbier, Mariette; Damron, F Heath; Bielecki, Piotr; Suárez-Diez, María; Puchałka, Jacek; Albertí, Sebastian; Dos Santos, Vitor Martins; Goldberg, Joanna B; Synthetic and Systems Biology Research Group, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany (2014)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a highly versatile opportunistic pathogen capable of colonizing multiple ecological niches. This bacterium is responsible for a wide range of both acute and chronic infections in a variety of hosts. The success of this microorganism relies on its ability to adapt to environmental changes and re-program its regulatory and metabolic networks. The study of P. aeruginosa adaptation to temperature is crucial to understanding the pathogenesis upon infection of its mammalian host. We examined the effects of growth temperature on the transcriptome of the P. aeruginosa PAO1. Microarray analysis of PAO1 grown in Lysogeny broth at mid-exponential phase at 22°C and 37°C revealed that temperature changes are responsible for the differential transcriptional regulation of 6.4% of the genome. Major alterations were observed in bacterial metabolism, replication, and nutrient acquisition. Quorum-sensing and exoproteins secreted by type I, II, and III secretion systems, involved in the adaptation of P. aeruginosa to the mammalian host during infection, were up-regulated at 37°C compared to 22°C. Genes encoding arginine degradation enzymes were highly up-regulated at 22°C, together with the genes involved in the synthesis of pyoverdine. However, genes involved in pyochelin biosynthesis were up-regulated at 37°C. We observed that the changes in expression of P. aeruginosa siderophores correlated to an overall increase in Fe²⁺ extracellular concentration at 37°C and a peak in Fe³⁺ extracellular concentration at 22°C. This suggests a distinct change in iron acquisition strategies when the bacterium switches from the external environment to the host. Our work identifies global changes in bacterial metabolism and nutrient acquisition induced by growth at different temperatures. Overall, this study identifies factors that are regulated in genome-wide adaptation processes and discusses how this life-threatening pathogen responds to temperature.
    • Induced production of depsipeptides by co-culturing Fusarium tricinctum and Fusarium begoniae

      Wang, Jian-ping; Lin, Wenhan; Wray, Victor; Lai, Daowan; Proksch, Peter (2013-10-01)
    • A Structural Basis for BRD2/4-Mediated Host Chromatin Interaction and Oligomer Assembly of Kaposi Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus and Murine Gammaherpesvirus LANA Proteins.

      Hellert, Jan; Weidner-Glunde, Magdalena; Krausze, Joern; Richter, Ulrike; Adler, Heiko; Fedorov, Roman; Pietrek, Marcel; Rückert, Jessica; Ritter, Christiane; Schulz, Thomas F; et al. (2013-10)
      Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) establishes a lifelong latent infection and causes several malignancies in humans. Murine herpesvirus 68 (MHV-68) is a related γ2-herpesvirus frequently used as a model to study the biology of γ-herpesviruses in vivo. The KSHV latency-associated nuclear antigen (kLANA) and the MHV68 mLANA (orf73) protein are required for latent viral replication and persistence. Latent episomal KSHV genomes and kLANA form nuclear microdomains, termed 'LANA speckles', which also contain cellular chromatin proteins, including BRD2 and BRD4, members of the BRD/BET family of chromatin modulators. We solved the X-ray crystal structure of the C-terminal DNA binding domains (CTD) of kLANA and MHV-68 mLANA. While these structures share the overall fold with the EBNA1 protein of Epstein-Barr virus, they differ substantially in their surface characteristics. Opposite to the DNA binding site, both kLANA and mLANA CTD contain a characteristic lysine-rich positively charged surface patch, which appears to be a unique feature of γ2-herpesviral LANA proteins. Importantly, kLANA and mLANA CTD dimers undergo higher order oligomerization. Using NMR spectroscopy we identified a specific binding site for the ET domains of BRD2/4 on kLANA. Functional studies employing multiple kLANA mutants indicate that the oligomerization of native kLANA CTD dimers, the characteristic basic patch and the ET binding site on the kLANA surface are required for the formation of kLANA 'nuclear speckles' and latent replication. Similarly, the basic patch on mLANA contributes to the establishment of MHV-68 latency in spleen cells in vivo. In summary, our data provide a structural basis for the formation of higher order LANA oligomers, which is required for nuclear speckle formation, latent replication and viral persistence.
    • In situ structural analysis of the Yersinia enterocolitica injectisome

      Kudryashev, M.; Stenta, M.; Schmelz, S.; Amstutz, M.; Wiesand, U.; Castano-Diez, D.; Degiacomi, M. T.; Munnich, S.; Bleck, C. K.; Kowal, J.; et al. (2013-07-30)
    • 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.
    • Recombinant production of Yersinia enterocolitica pyruvate kinase isoenzymes PykA and PykF.

      Hofmann, Julia; Heider, Christine; Li, Wei; Krausze, Joern; Roessle, Manfred; Wilharm, Gottfried; Robert Koch-Institute, Wernigerode Branch, Burgstr. 37, D-38855 Wernigerode, Germany. (2013-04)
      The glycolytic enzyme pyruvate kinase (PK) generates ATP from ADP through substrate-level phosphorylation powered by the conversion of phosphoenolpyruvate to pyruvate. In contrast to other bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, such as pathogenic yersiniae, harbour two pyruvate kinases encoded by pykA and pykF. The individual roles of these isoenzymes are poorly understood. In an attempt to make the Yersinia enterocolitica pyruvate kinases PykA and PykF amenable to structural and functional characterisation, we produced them untagged in Escherichia coli and purified them to near homogeneity through a combination of ion exchange and size exclusion chromatography, yielding more than 180 mg per litre of batch culture. The solution structure of PykA and PykF was analysed through small angle X-ray scattering which revealed the formation of PykA and PykF tetramers and confirmed the binding of the allosteric effector fructose-1,6-bisphosphate (FBP) to PykF but not to PykA.
    • PfaH2: A novel hydrophobin from the ascomycete Paecilomyces farinosus.

      Zelena, Katerina; Takenberg, Meike; Lunkenbein, Stefan; Woche, Susanne K; Nimtz, Manfred; Berger, Ralf G; Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät der Leibniz Universität Hannover, Institut für Lebensmittelchemie, Hannover, Germany. (2013-03)
      The pfah2 gene coding for a novel hydrophobin PfaH2 from the ascomycete Paecilomyces farinosus was identified during sequencing of random clones from a cDNA library. The corresponding protein sequence of PfaH2 deduced from the cDNA comprised 134 amino acids (aa). A 16 aa signal sequence preceded the N-terminus of the mature protein. PfaH2 belonged to the class Ia hydrophobins. The protein was isolated using trifluoroacetic acid extraction and purified via SDS-PAGE and high-performance liquid chromatography. The surface activity of the recently described PfaH1 and of PfaH2 was compared by the determination of contact angles (CAs) on glass slides and Teflon tape, and the CA of distilled water droplets was measured on glass slides coated with hydrophobin PfaH1 or PfaH2. Surprisingly, both hydrophobins adsorbed to hydrophilic surfaces and changed their physicochemical properties to a similar quantitative extent, although little aa sequence homology was found.
    • Structural characterization of Spinacia oleracea trypsin inhibitor III (SOTI-III).

      Glotzbach, Bernhard; Schmelz, Stefan; Reinwarth, Michael; Christmann, Andreas; Heinz, Dirk W; Kolmar, Harald; Institute for Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany. (2013-01)
      In recent decades, several canonical serine protease inhibitor families have been classified and characterized. In contrast to most trypsin inhibitors, those from garden four o'clock (Mirabilis jalapa) and spinach (Spinacia oleracea) do not share sequence similarity and have been proposed to form the new Mirabilis serine protease inhibitor family. These 30-40-amino-acid inhibitors possess a defined disulfide-bridge topology and belong to the cystine-knot miniproteins (knottins). To date, no atomic structure of this inhibitor family has been solved. Here, the first structure of S. oleracea trypsin inhibitor III (SOTI-III), in complex with bovine pancreatic trypsin, is reported. The inhibitor was synthesized by solid-phase peptide synthesis on a multi-milligram scale and was assayed to test its inhibitory activity and binding properties. The structure confirmed the proposed cystine-bridge topology. The structural features of SOTI-III suggest that it belongs to a new canonical serine protease inhibitor family with promising properties for use in protein-engineering and medical applications.
    • Dissecting the energy metabolism in Mycoplasma pneumoniae through genome-scale metabolic modeling.

      Wodke, Judith A H; Puchałka, Jacek; Lluch-Senar, Maria; Marcos, Josep; Yus, Eva; Godinho, Miguel; Gutiérrez-Gallego, Ricardo; dos Santos, Vitor A P Martins; Serrano, Luis; Klipp, Edda; et al. (2013)
      Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a threatening pathogen with a minimal genome, is a model organism for bacterial systems biology for which substantial experimental information is available. With the goal of understanding the complex interactions underlying its metabolism, we analyzed and characterized the metabolic network of M. pneumoniae in great detail, integrating data from different omics analyses under a range of conditions into a constraint-based model backbone. Iterating model predictions, hypothesis generation, experimental testing, and model refinement, we accurately curated the network and quantitatively explored the energy metabolism. In contrast to other bacteria, M. pneumoniae uses most of its energy for maintenance tasks instead of growth. We show that in highly linear networks the prediction of flux distributions for different growth times allows analysis of time-dependent changes, albeit using a static model. By performing an in silico knock-out study as well as analyzing flux distributions in single and double mutant phenotypes, we demonstrated that the model accurately represents the metabolism of M. pneumoniae. The experimentally validated model provides a solid basis for understanding its metabolic regulatory mechanisms.
    • Production and crystallization of a panel of structure-based mutants of the human myelin peripheral membrane protein P2.

      Lehtimäki, Mari; Laulumaa, Saara; Ruskamo, Salla; Kursula, Petri (2012-11-01)
      The myelin sheath is a multilayered membrane that surrounds and insulates axons in the nervous system. One of the proteins specific to the peripheral nerve myelin is P2, a protein that is able to stack lipid bilayers. With the goal of obtaining detailed information on the structure-function relationship of P2, 14 structure-based mutated variants of human P2 were generated and produced. The mutants were designed to potentially affect the binding of lipid bilayers by P2. All mutated variants were also crystallized and preliminary crystallographic data are presented. The structural data from the mutants will be combined with diverse functional assays in order to elucidate the fine details of P2 function at the molecular level.
    • Biosynthesis of the repeating units of the exopolysaccharides amylovoran from Erwinia amylovora and stewartan from Pantoea stewartii

      Langlotz, Christine; Schollmeyer, Martin; Coplin, David L.; Nimtz, Manfred; Geider, Klaus; Max-Planck-Institute for Cell Biology, Ladenburg, Germany (2012-06-27)
    • Pullularins E and F, Two New Peptides from the Endophytic Fungus Bionectria ochroleuca Isolated from the Mangrove Plant Sonneratia caseolaris.

      Ebrahim, Weaam; Kjer, Julia; El Amrani, Mustapha; Wray, Victor; Lin, Wenhan; Ebel, Rainer; Lai, Daowan; Proksch, Peter; Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology, Heinrich-Heine University, Universitaetsstrasse 1, D-40225 Duesseldorf, Germany; Email: weel-001@uni-duesseldorf.de or weaamnabil@mans.edu.eg (W.E.); jacob.julia@web.de (J.K.); mustapha.elamrani@uni-duesseldorf.de (M.E.A.). (2012-05)
      Chemical investigation of the EtOAc extract of the endophytic fungus Bionectria ochroleuca, isolated from the inner leaf tissues of the plant Sonneratia caseolaris (Sonneratiaceae) from Hainan island (China), yielded two new peptides, pullularins E and F (1 and 2) together with three known compounds (3-5). The structures of the new compounds were unambiguously determined on the basis of one- and two-dimensional NMR spectroscopy as well as by high-resolution mass spectrometry. The absolute configurations of amino acids were determined by HPLC analysis of acid hydrolysates using Marfey's method. The isolated compounds exhibited pronounced to moderate cytotoxic activity against the mouse lymphoma cells (L5178Y) with EC(50) values ranging between 0.1 and 6.7 µg/mL.
    • Myelin 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase: active-site ligand binding and molecular conformation.

      Myllykoski, Matti; Raasakka, Arne; Han, Huijong; Kursula, Petri; Department of Biochemistry and Biocenter Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland. (2012)
      The 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 3'-phosphodiesterase (CNPase) is a highly abundant membrane-associated enzyme in the myelin sheath of the vertebrate nervous system. CNPase is a member of the 2H phosphoesterase family and catalyzes the formation of 2'-nucleotide products from 2',3'-cyclic substrates; however, its physiological substrate and function remain unknown. It is likely that CNPase participates in RNA metabolism in the myelinating cell. We solved crystal structures of the phosphodiesterase domain of mouse CNPase, showing the binding mode of nucleotide ligands in the active site. The binding mode of the product 2'-AMP provides a detailed view of the reaction mechanism. Comparisons of CNPase crystal structures highlight flexible loops, which could play roles in substrate recognition; large differences in the active-site vicinity are observed when comparing more distant members of the 2H family. We also studied the full-length CNPase, showing its N-terminal domain is involved in RNA binding and dimerization. Our results provide a detailed picture of the CNPase active site during its catalytic cycle, and suggest a specific function for the previously uncharacterized N-terminal domain.