• 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.
    • 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.
    • Structural basis for complex formation between human IRSp53 and the translocated intimin receptor Tir of enterohemorrhagic E. coli.

      de Groot, Jens C; Schlüter, Kai; Carius, Yvonne; Quedenau, Claudia; Vingadassalom, Didier; Faix, Jan; Weiss, Stefanie M; Reichelt, Joachim; Standfuss-Gabisch, Christine; Lesser, Cammie F; et al. (2011-09-07)
      Actin assembly beneath enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) attached to its host cell is triggered by the intracellular interaction of its translocated effector proteins Tir and EspF(U) with human IRSp53 family proteins and N-WASP. Here, we report the structure of the N-terminal I-BAR domain of IRSp53 in complex with a Tir-derived peptide, in which the homodimeric I-BAR domain binds two Tir molecules aligned in parallel. This arrangement provides a protein scaffold linking the bacterium to the host cell's actin polymerization machinery. The structure uncovers a specific peptide-binding site on the I-BAR surface, conserved between IRSp53 and IRTKS. The Tir Asn-Pro-Tyr (NPY) motif, essential for pedestal formation, is specifically recognized by this binding site. The site was confirmed by mutagenesis and in vivo-binding assays. It is possible that IRSp53 utilizes the NPY-binding site for additional interactions with as yet unknown partners within the host cell.
    • Thermodynamically reengineering the listerial invasion complex InlA/E-cadherin.

      Wollert, Thomas; Heinz, Dirk W; Schubert, Wolf-Dieter; Molecular Host-Pathogen Interactions, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-08-28)
      Biological processes essentially all depend on the specific recognition between macromolecules and their interaction partners. Although many such interactions have been characterized both structurally and biophysically, the thermodynamic effects of small atomic changes remain poorly understood. Based on the crystal structure of the bacterial invasion protein internalin (InlA) of Listeria monocytogenes in complex with its human receptor E-cadherin (hEC1), we analyzed the interface to identify single amino acid substitutions in InlA that would potentially improve the overall quality of interaction and hence increase the weak binding affinity of the complex. Dissociation constants of InlA-variant/hEC1 complexes, as well as enthalpy and entropy of binding, were quantified by isothermal titration calorimetry. All single substitutions indeed significantly increase binding affinity. Structural changes were verified crystallographically at < or =2.0-A resolution, allowing thermodynamic characteristics of single substitutions to be rationalized structurally and providing unique insights into atomic contributions to binding enthalpy and entropy. Structural and thermodynamic data of all combinations of individual substitutions result in a thermodynamic network, allowing the source of cooperativity between distant recognition sites to be identified. One such pair of single substitutions improves affinity 5,000-fold. We thus demonstrate that rational reengineering of protein complexes is possible by making use of physically distant hot spots of recognition.