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Preview: Acta Crystallographica Section F

Acta Crystallographica Section F

Acta Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology Communications is a rapid all-electronic journal, which provides a home for short communications on the crystallization and structure of biological macromolecules. Structures determined through structur

Published: 2016-11-30


1.45 Å resolution structure of SRPN18 from the malaria vector Anopheles gambiae


Serine protease inhibitors (serpins) in insects function within development, wound healing and immunity. The genome of the African malaria vector, Anopheles gambiae, encodes 23 distinct serpin proteins, several of which are implicated in disease-relevant physiological responses. A. gambiae serpin 18 (SRPN18) was previously categorized as non-inhibitory based on the sequence of its reactive-center loop (RCL), a region responsible for targeting and initiating protease inhibition. The crystal structure of A. gambiae SRPN18 was determined to a resolution of 1.45 Å, including nearly the entire RCL in one of the two molecules in the asymmetric unit. The structure reveals that the SRPN18 RCL is extremely short and constricted, a feature associated with noncanonical inhibitors or non-inhibitory serpin superfamily members. Furthermore, the SRPN18 RCL does not contain a suitable protease target site and contains a large number of prolines. The SRPN18 structure therefore reveals a unique RCL architecture among the highly conserved serpin fold.

Crystal structure of the toxin Msmeg_6760, the structural homolog of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Rv2035, a novel type II toxin involved in the hypoxic response


The structure of Msmeg_6760, a protein of unknown function, has been determined. Biochemical and bioinformatics analyses determined that Msmeg_6760 interacts with a protein encoded in the same operon, Msmeg_6762, and predicted that the operon is a toxin–antitoxin (TA) system. Structural comparison of Msmeg_6760 with proteins of known function suggests that Msmeg_6760 binds a hydrophobic ligand in a buried cavity lined by large hydrophobic residues. Access to this cavity could be controlled by a gate–latch mechanism. The function of the Msmeg_6760 toxin is unknown, but structure-based predictions revealed that Msmeg_6760 and Msmeg_6762 are homologous to Rv2034 and Rv2035, a predicted novel TA system involved in Mycobacterium tuberculosis latency during macrophage infection. The Msmeg_6760 toxin fold has not been previously described for bacterial toxins and its unique structural features suggest that toxin activation is likely to be mediated by a novel mechanism.

The crystal structure of the endoglucanase Cel10, a family 8 glycosyl hydrolase from Klebsiella pneumoniae


Cellulases are produced by microorganisms that grow on cellulose biomass. Here, a cellulase, Cel10, was identified in a strain of Klebsiella pneumoniae isolated from Chinese bamboo rat gut. Analysis of substrate specificity showed that Cel10 is able to hydrolyze amorphous carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) and crystalline forms of cellulose (Avicel and xylan) but is unable to hydrolyze p-nitrophenol β-d-glucopyranoside (p-NPG), proving that Cel10 is an endoglucanase. A phylogenetic tree analysis indicates that Cel10 belongs to the glycoside hydrolase 8 (GH8) subfamily. In order to further understanding of its substrate specificity, the structure of Cel10 was solved by molecular replacement and refined to 1.76 Å resolution. The overall fold is distinct from those of most other enzymes belonging to the GH8 subfamily. Although it forms the typical (α/α)6-barrel motif fold, like Acetobacterxylinum CMCax, one helix is missing. Structural comparisons with Clostridium thermocellum CelA (CtCelA), the best characterized GH8 endoglucanase, revealed that sugar-recognition subsite −3 is completely missing in Cel10. The absence of this subsite correlates to a more open substrate-binding cleft on the cellooligosaccharide reducing-end side.

Coxsackievirus B3 protease 3C: expression, purification, crystallization and preliminary structural insights


Viral proteases are proteolytic enzymes that orchestrate the assembly of viral components during the viral life cycle and proliferation. Here, the expression, purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis are presented of protease 3C, the main protease of an emerging enterovirus, coxsackievirus B3, that is responsible for many cases of viral myocarditis. Polycrystalline protein precipitates suitable for X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD) measurements were produced in the presence of 22–28%(w/v) PEG 4000, 0.1 M Tris–HCl, 0.2 M MgCl2 in a pH range from 7.0 to 8.5. A polymorph of monoclinic symmetry (space group C2, unit-cell parameters a = 77.9, b = 65.7, c = 40.6 Å, β = 115.9°) was identified via XRPD. These results are the first step towards the complete structural determination of the molecule via XRPD and a parallel demonstration of the accuracy of the method.

The crystal structure of dihydrodipicolinate reductase from the human-pathogenic bacterium Bartonella henselae strain Houston-1 at 2.3 Å resolution


In bacteria, the second committed step in the diaminopimelate/lysine anabolic pathways is catalyzed by the enzyme dihydrodipicolinate reductase (DapB). DapB catalyzes the reduction of dihydrodipicolinate to yield tetrahydrodipicolinate. Here, the cloning, expression, purification, crystallization and X-ray diffraction analysis of DapB from the human-pathogenic bacterium Bartonella henselae, the causative bacterium of cat-scratch disease, are reported. Protein crystals were grown in conditions consisting of 5%(w/v) PEG 4000, 200 mM sodium acetate, 100 mM sodium citrate tribasic pH 5.5 and were shown to diffract to ∼2.3 Å resolution. They belonged to space group P4322, with unit-cell parameters a = 109.38, b = 109.38, c = 176.95 Å. Rr.i.m. was 0.11, Rwork was 0.177 and Rfree was 0.208. The three-dimensional structural features of the enzymes show that DapB from B. henselae is a tetramer consisting of four identical polypeptides. In addition, the substrate NADP+ was found to be bound to one monomer, which resulted in a closed conformational change in the N-terminal domain.

Purification, crystallization and characterization of the Pseudomonas outer membrane protein FapF, a functional amyloid transporter


Bacteria often produce extracellular amyloid fibres via a multi-component secretion system. Aggregation-prone, unstructured subunits cross the periplasm and are secreted through the outer membrane, after which they self-assemble. Here, significant progress is presented towards solving the high-resolution crystal structure of the novel amyloid transporter FapF from Pseudomonas, which facilitates the secretion of the amyloid-forming polypeptide FapC across the bacterial outer membrane. This represents the first step towards obtaining structural insight into the products of the Pseudomonas fap operon. Initial attempts at crystallizing full-length and N-terminally truncated constructs by refolding techniques were not successful; however, after preparing FapF106–430 from the membrane fraction, reproducible crystals were obtained using the sitting-drop method of vapour diffusion. Diffraction data have been processed to 2.5 Å resolution. These crystals belonged to the monoclinic space group C121, with unit-cell parameters a = 143.4, b = 124.6, c = 80.4 Å, α = γ = 90, β = 96.32° and three monomers in the asymmetric unit. It was found that the switch to complete detergent exchange into C8E4 was crucial for forming well diffracting crystals, and it is suggested that this combined with limited proteolysis is a potentially useful protocol for membrane β-barrel protein crystallography. The three-dimensional structure of FapF will provide invaluable information on the mechanistic differences of biogenesis between the curli and Fap functional amyloid systems.

Overcoming a hemihedral twinning problem in tetrahydrofolate-dependent O-demethylase crystals by the microseeding method


A tetrahydrofolate-dependent O-demethylase, LigM, from Sphingobium sp. SYK-6 was crystallized by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. However, the obtained P3121 or P3221 crystals, which diffracted to 2.5–3.3 Å resolution, were hemihedrally twinned. To overcome the twinning problem, microseeding using P3121/P3221 crystals as microseeds was performed with optimization of the reservoir conditions. As a result, another crystal form was obtained. The newly obtained crystal diffracted to 2.5–3.0 Å resolution and belonged to space group P21212, with unit-cell parameters a = 102.0, b = 117.3, c = 128.1 Å. The P21212 crystals diffracted to better than 2.0 Å resolution after optimizing the cryoconditions. Phasing using the single anomalous diffraction method was successful at 3.0 Å resolution with a Pt-derivative crystal. This experience suggested that microseeding is an effective method to overcome the twinning problem, even when twinned crystals are utilized as microseeds.

Characterization and 1.57 Å resolution structure of the key fire blight phosphatase AmsI from Erwinia amylovora


AmsI is a low-molecular-weight protein tyrosine phosphatase that regulates the production of amylovoran in the Gram-negative bacterium Erwinia amylovora, a specific pathogen of rosaceous plants such as apple, pear and quince. Amylovoran is an exopolysaccharide that is necessary for successful infection. In order to shed light on AmsI, its structure was solved at 1.57 Å resolution at the same pH as its highest measured activity (pH 5.5). In the active site, a water molecule, bridging between the catalytic Arg15 and the reaction-product analogue sulfate, might be representative of the water molecule attacking the phospho-cysteine intermediate in the second step of the reaction mechanism.