• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.