• 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.
    • Crystal structure of the electron transfer complex rubredoxin rubredoxin reductase of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Hagelueken, Gregor; Wiehlmann, Lutz; Adams, Thorsten M; Kolmar, Harald; Heinz, Dirk W; Tümmler, Burkhard; Schubert, Wolf-Dieter; Molecular Host-Pathogen Interactions, Division of Structural Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-07-24)
      Crude oil spills represent a major ecological threat because of the chemical inertness of the constituent n-alkanes. The Gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the few bacterial species able to metabolize such compounds. Three chromosomal genes, rubB, rubA1, and rubA2 coding for an NAD(P)H:rubredoxin reductase (RdxR) and two rubredoxins (Rdxs) are indispensable for this ability. They constitute an electron transport (ET) pathway that shuttles reducing equivalents from carbon metabolism to the membrane-bound alkane hydroxylases AlkB1 and AlkB2. The RdxR-Rdx system also is crucial as part of the oxidative stress response in archaea or anaerobic bacteria. The redox couple has been analyzed in detail as a model system for ET processes. We have solved the structure of RdxR of P. aeruginosa both alone and in complex with Rdx, without the need for cross-linking, and both structures were refined at 2.40- and 2.45-A resolution, respectively. RdxR consists of two cofactor-binding domains and a C-terminal domain essential for the specific recognition of Rdx. Only a small number of direct interactions govern mutual recognition of RdxR and Rdx, corroborating the transient nature of the complex. The shortest distance between the redox centers is observed to be 6.2 A.
    • Isolation, characterisation and molecular imaging of a high-molecular-weight insect biliprotein, a member of the hexameric arylphorin protein family.

      Kayser, Hartmut; Mann, Karlheinz; Machaidze, Gia; Nimtz, Manfred; Ringler, Philippe; Müller, Shirley A; Aebi, Ueli; Institut für Allgemeine Zoologie und Endokrinologie, Universität Ulm, Germany. hartmut.kayser@uni-ulm.de (2009-05-29)
      The abundant blue hemolymph protein of the last instar larvae of the moth Cerura vinula was purified and characterized by protein-analytical, spectroscopic and electron microscopic methods. Amino acid sequences obtained from a large number of cleavage peptides revealed a high level of similarity of the blue protein with arylphorins from a number of other moth species. In particular, there is a high abundance of the aromatic amino acids tyrosine and phenylalanine amounting to about 19% of total amino acids and a low content of methionine (0.8%) in the Cerura protein. The mass of the native protein complex was studied by size-exclusion chromatography, analytical ultracentrifugation, dynamic light scattering and scanning transmission electron microscopy and found to be around 500 kDa. Denaturating gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry suggested the presence of two proteins with masses of about 85 kDa. The native Cerura protein is, therefore, a hexameric complex of two different subunits of similar size, as is known for arylphorins. The protein was further characterized as a weakly acidic (pI approximately 5.5) glycoprotein containing mannose, glucose and N-acetylglucosamine in an approximate ratio of 10:1:1. The structure proposed for the most abundant oligosaccharide of the Cerura arylphorin was the same as already identified in arylphorins from other moths. The intense blue colour of the Cerura protein is due to non-covalent association with a bilin of novel structure at an estimated protein subunit-to-ligand ratio of 3:1. Transmission electron microscopy of the biliprotein showed single particles of cylindrical shape measuring about 13 nm in diameter and 9 nm in height. A small fraction of particles of the same diameter but half the height was likely a trimeric arylphorin dissociation intermediate. Preliminary three-dimensional reconstruction based on averaged transmission electron microscopy projections of the individual particles revealed a double-trimeric structure for the hexameric Cerura biliprotein complex, suggesting it to be a dimer of trimers.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Structure of the dimeric autoinhibited conformation of DAPK2, a pro-apoptotic protein kinase.

      Patel, Ashok K; Yadav, Ravi P; Majava, Viivi; Kursula, Inari; Kursula, Petri (2011-06-10)
      The death-associated protein kinase (DAPK) family has been characterized as a group of pro-apoptotic serine/threonine kinases that share specific structural features in their catalytic kinase domain. Two of the DAPK family members, DAPK1 and DAPK2, are calmodulin-dependent protein kinases that are regulated by oligomerization, calmodulin binding, and autophosphorylation. In this study, we have determined the crystal and solution structures of murine DAPK2 in the presence of the autoinhibitory domain, with and without bound nucleotides in the active site. The crystal structure shows dimers of DAPK2 in a conformation that is not permissible for protein substrate binding. Two different conformations were seen in the active site upon the introduction of nucleotide ligands. The monomeric and dimeric forms of DAPK2 were further analyzed for solution structure, and the results indicate that the dimers of DAPK2 are indeed formed through the association of two apposed catalytic domains, as seen in the crystal structure. The structures can be further used to build a model for DAPK2 autophosphorylation and to compare with closely related kinases, of which especially DAPK1 is an actively studied drug target. Our structures also provide a model for both homodimerization and heterodimerization of the catalytic domain between members of the DAPK family. The fingerprint of the DAPK family, the basic loop, plays a central role in the dimerization of the kinase domain.
    • Structure of the effector-binding domain of the LysR-type transcription factor RovM from Yersinia pseudotuberculosis.

      Quade, Nick; Dieckmann, Marieke; Haffke, Matthias; Heroven, Ann Kathrin; Dersch, Petra; Heinz, Dirk W; Department of Molecular Structural Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-02)
      In enteropathogenic Yersinia, the expression of several early-phase virulence factors such as invasin is tightly regulated in response to environmental cues. The responsible regulatory network is complex, involving several regulatory RNAs and proteins such as the LysR-type transcription regulator (LTTR) RovM. In this study, the crystal structure of the effector-binding domain (EBD) of RovM, the first LTTR protein described as being involved in virulence regulation, was determined at a resolution of 2.4 Å. Size-exclusion chromatography and comparison with structures of full-length LTTRs show that RovM is most likely to adopt a tetrameric arrangement with two distant DNA-binding domains (DBDs), causing the DNA to bend around it. Additionally, a cavity was detected in RovM which could bind small inducer molecules.
    • Structure of the human receptor tyrosine kinase met in complex with the Listeria invasion protein InlB.

      Niemann, Hartmut H; Jäger, Volker; Butler, P Jonathan G; van den Heuvel, Joop; Schmidt, Sabine; Ferraris, Davide; Gherardi, Ermanno; Heinz, Dirk W; Division of Structural Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-07-27)
      The tyrosine kinase Met, the product of the c-met proto-oncogene and the receptor for hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF), mediates signals critical for cell survival and migration. The human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes exploits Met signaling for invasion of host cells via its surface protein InlB. We present the crystal structure of the complex between a large fragment of the human Met ectodomain and the Met-binding domain of InlB. The concave face of the InlB leucine-rich repeat region interacts tightly with the first immunoglobulin-like domain of the Met stalk, a domain which does not bind HGF/SF. A second contact between InlB and the Met Sema domain locks the otherwise flexible receptor in a rigid, signaling competent conformation. Full Met activation requires the additional C-terminal domains of InlB which induce heparin-mediated receptor clustering and potent signaling. Thus, although it elicits a similar cellular response, InlB is not a structural mimic of HGF/SF.
    • Structure of the Yersinia enterocolitica type III secretion translocator chaperone SycD.

      Büttner, Carina R; Sorg, Isabel; Cornelis, Guy R; Heinz, Dirk W; Niemann, Hartmut H; Division of Structural Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2008-01-25)
      Many Gram-negative bacteria use a type III secretion (T3S) system to directly inject effector molecules into eucaryotic cells in order to establish a symbiotic or pathogenic relationship with their host. The translocation of many T3S proteins requires specialized chaperones from the bacterial cytosol. SycD belongs to a class of T3S chaperones that assists the secretion of pore-forming translocators and, specifically chaperones the translocators YopB and YopD from enteropathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica. In addition, SycD is involved in the regulation of virulence factor biosynthesis and secretion. In this study, we present two crystal structures of Y. enterocolitica SycD at 1.95 and 2.6 A resolution, the first experimental structures of a T3S class II chaperone specific for translocators. The fold of SycD is entirely alpha-helical and reveals three tetratricopeptide repeat-like motifs that had been predicted from amino acid sequence. In both structures, SycD forms dimers utilizing residues from the first tetratricopeptide repeat motif. Using site-directed mutagenesis and size exclusion chromatography, we verified that SycD forms head-to-head homodimers in solution. Although in both structures, dimerization largely depends on the same residues, the two assemblies represent alternative dimers that exhibit different monomer orientations and overall shape. In these two distinct head-to-head dimers, both the concave and the convex surface of each monomer are accessible for interactions with the SycD binding partners YopB and YopD. A SycD variant carrying two point mutations in the dimerization interface is properly folded but defective in dimerization. Expression of this stable SycD monomer in Yersinia does not rescue the phenotype of a sycD null mutant, suggesting a physiological relevance of the dimerization interface.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • X-ray and neutron small-angle scattering analysis of the complex formed by the Met receptor and the Listeria monocytogenes invasion protein InlB.

      Niemann, Hartmut H; Petoukhov, Maxim V; Härtlein, Michael; Moulin, Martine; Gherardi, Ermanno; Timmins, Peter; Heinz, Dirk W; Svergun, Dmitri I; Division of Structural Biology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2008-03-21)
      The Listeria monocytogenes surface protein InlB binds to the extracellular domain of the human receptor tyrosine kinase Met, the product of the c-met proto-oncogene. InlB binding activates the Met receptor, leading to uptake of Listeria into normally nonphagocytic host cells. The N-terminal half of InlB (InlB(321)) is sufficient for Met binding and activation. The complex between this Met-binding domain of InlB and various constructs of the Met ectodomain was characterized by size exclusion chromatography and dynamic light scattering, and structural models were built using small-angle X-ray scattering and small-angle neutron scattering. Although most receptor tyrosine kinase ligands induce receptor dimerization, InlB(321) consistently binds the Met ectodomain with a 1:1 stoichiometry. A construct comprising the Sema and PSI domains of Met, although sufficient to bind the physiological Met ligand hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor, does not form a complex with InlB(321) in solution, highlighting the importance of Met Ig domains for InlB binding. Small-angle X-ray scattering and small-angle neutron scattering measurements of ligand and receptor, both free and in complex, reveal an elongated shape for the receptor. The four Ig domains form a bent, rather than a fully extended, conformation, and InlB(321) binds to Sema and the first Ig domain of Met, in agreement with the recent crystal structure of a smaller Met fragment in complex with InlB(321). These results call into question whether receptor dimerization is the basic underlying event in InlB(321)-mediated Met activation and demonstrate differences in the mechanisms by which the physiological ligand hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor and InlB(321) bind and activate the Met receptor.