Subscribe: Acta Crystallographica Section F
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: 2017-07-27


1.12 Å resolution crystal structure of the catalytic domain of the plasmid-mediated colistin resistance determinant MCR-2


MCR-2 confers resistance to colistin, a `last-line' antibiotic against extensively resistant Gram-negative pathogens. It is a plasmid-encoded phosphoethanolamine transferase that is closely related to MCR-1. To understand the diversity in the MCR family, the 1.12 Å resolution crystal structure of the catalytic domain of MCR-2 was determined. Variable amino acids are located distant from both the di-zinc active site and the membrane-proximal face. The exceptionally high resolution will provide an accurate starting model for further mechanistic studies.

Methylation, crystallization and SAD phasing of the Csu pilus CsuC–CsuE chaperone–adhesin subunit pre-assembly complex from Acinetobacter baumannii


Acinetobacter baumannii is one of the most difficult Gram-negative bacteria to control and treat. This pathogen forms biofilms on hospital surfaces and medical devices using Csu pili assembled via the archaic chaperone–usher pathway. To uncover the mechanism of bacterial attachment to abiotic surfaces, it was aimed to determine the crystal structure of the pilus tip adhesin CsuE. The CsuC–CsuE chaperone–subunit pre-assembly complex was purified from the periplasm of Escherichia coli overexpressing CsuC and CsuE. Despite the high purity of the complex, no crystals could be obtained. This challenge was solved by the methylation of lysine residues. The complex was crystallized in 0.1 M bis-tris pH 5.5, 17% PEG 3350 using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals diffracted to a resolution of 2.31 Å and belonged to the triclinic space group P1, with unit-cell parameters a = 53.84, b = 63.85, c = 89.25 Å, α = 74.65, β = 79.65, γ = 69.07°. Initial phases were derived from a single anomalous diffraction experiment using a selenomethionine derivative.

Production, biophysical characterization and crystallization of Pseudomonas putida GraA and its complexes with GraT and the graTA operator


The graTA operon from Pseudomonas putida encodes a toxin–antitoxin module with an unusually moderate toxin. Here, the production, SAXS analysis and crystallization of the antitoxin GraA, the GraTA complex and the complex of GraA with a 33 bp operator fragment are reported. GraA forms a homodimer in solution and crystallizes in space group P21, with unit-cell parameters a = 66.9, b = 48.9, c = 62.7 Å, β = 92.6°. The crystals are likely to contain two GraA dimers in the asymmetric unit and diffract to 1.9 Å resolution. The GraTA complex forms a heterotetramer in solution. Crystals of the GraTA complex diffracted to 2.2 Å resolution and are most likely to contain a single heterotetrameric GraTA complex in the asymmetric unit. They belong to space group P41 or P43, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 56.0, c = 128.2 Å. The GraA–operator complex consists of a 33 bp operator region that binds two GraA dimers. It crystallizes in space group P31 or P32, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 105.6, c = 149.9 Å. These crystals diffract to 3.8 Å resolution.

Crystal structure of the putative cytoplasmic protein STM0279 (Hcp2) from Salmonella typhimurium


STM0279 is a putative cytoplasmic protein from Salmonella typhimurium and was recently renamed haemolysin co-regulated protein 2 (Hcp2), with the neighbouring STM0276 being Hcp1. Both of them are encoded by the type VI secretion system (T6SS) of the Salmonella pathogenicity island 6 (SPI-6) locus and have high sequence identity. The Hcp proteins may function as a vital component of the T6SS nanotube and as a transporter and chaperone of diverse effectors from the bacterial T6SS. In this study, the crystal structure and the oligomeric state in solution of Hcp2 from S. typhimurium (StHcp2) were investigated. The crystal structure refined to 3.0 Å resolution showed that the protein is composed of a β-barrel domain with extended loops and can form hexameric rings as observed in known Hcp homologues. Mutation of the extended loop was found to partly destabilize the hexameric conformation into monomers or cause the production of inclusion bodies, suggesting it has an important role in hexameric ring formation.

High-resolution structure of a Kazal-type serine protease inhibitor from the dengue vector Aedes aegypti


Blood-feeding exoparasites are rich sources of protease inhibitors, and the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is a vector of Dengue virus, Yellow fever virus, Chikungunya virus and Zika virus, is no exception. AaTI is a single-domain, noncanonical Kazal-type serine proteinase inhibitor from A. aegypti that recognizes both digestive trypsin-like serine proteinases and the central protease in blood clotting, thrombin, albeit with an affinity that is three orders of magnitude lower. Here, the 1.4 Å resolution crystal structure of AaTI is reported from extremely tightly packed crystals (∼22% solvent content), revealing the structural determinants for the observed inhibitory profile of this molecule.

The quorum-quenching lactonase from Alicyclobacter acidoterrestris: purification, kinetic characterization, crystallization and crystallographic analysis


Lactonases comprise a class of enzymes that hydrolyze lactones, including acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs); the latter are used as chemical signaling molecules by numerous Gram-negative bacteria. Lactonases have therefore been demonstrated to quench AHL-based bacterial communication. In particular, lactonases are capable of inhibiting bacterial behaviors that depend on these chemicals, such as the formation of biofilms or the expression of virulence factors. A novel representative from the metallo-β-lactamase superfamily, named AaL, was isolated from the thermoacidophilic bacterium Alicyclobacter acidoterrestris. Kinetic characterization proves AaL to be a proficient lactonase, with catalytic efficiencies (kcat/Km) against AHLs in the region of 105 M−1 s−1. AaL exhibits a very broad substrate specificity. Its structure is expected to reveal the molecular determinants for its substrate binding and specificity, as well as to provide grounds for future protein-engineering projects. Here, the expression, purification, characterization, crystallization and X-ray diffraction data collection of AaL at 1.65 Å resolution are reported.

Filament-like DREP4 CIDE domain: characterization and preliminary X-ray crystallographic studies


DREP4 is a nuclease from fruit fly that is involved in apoptotic DNA fragmentation. DREP4 contains a conserved CIDE domain that acts as a protein-interaction module and is critical for its function. In this study, it was found that DREP4 CIDE domains form filament-like structures in solution. The length of the highly ordered filament-like structure is dependent on the salt concentration. By adjusting the salt concentration the DREP4 CIDE domain could be crystallized, and X-ray diffraction data were collected to a resolution of 1.9 Å. The crystals were found to belong to the orthorhombic space group P212121, with unit-cell parameters a = 53.08, b = 76.58, c = 174.59 Å.

Expression and crystallographic studies of the D1D2 domains of C4.4A, a homologous protein to the urokinase receptor


C4.4A is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored membrane protein comprised of two LU domains (Ly6/uPAR-like domains) and an extensively O-glycosylated C-terminal Ser/Thr/Pro-rich region. C4.4A is a novel biomarker for squamous epithelial differentiation. Its expression is dysregulated under various pathological conditions and it is a robust biomarker for poor prognosis in various malignant conditions such as pulmonary adenocarcinoma. To facilitate crystallization, the two LU domains were excised from intact C4.4A by limited proteolysis, purified and crystallized by the sitting-drop vapour-diffusion method. The crystals diffracted to 2.7 Å resolution and belonged to space group C2221, with unit-cell parameters a = 55.49, b = 119.63, c = 168.54 Å. The statistics indicated good quality of the data, which form a solid basis for the determination of the C4.4A structure.