Combining X-ray Crystallography with Small Angle X-ray Scattering to Model Unstructured Regions of Nsa1 from S. Cerevisiae

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Determination of the full-length structure of ribosome assembly factor Nsa1 from Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae) is challenging because of the disordered and protease labile C-terminus of the protein. This manuscript describes the methods to purify recombinant Nsa1 from S. cerevisiae for structural analysis by both X-ray crystallography and SAXS. X-ray crystallography was utilized to solve the structure of the well-ordered N-terminal WD40 domain of Nsa1, and then SAXS was used to resolve the structure of the C-terminus of Nsa1 in solution. Solution scattering data was collected from full-length Nsa1 in solution. The theoretical scattering amplitudes were calculated from the high-resolution crystal structure of the WD40 domain, and then a combination of rigid body and ab initio modeling revealed the C-terminus of Nsa1. Through this hybrid approach the quaternary structure of the entire protein was reconstructed. The methods presented here should be generally applicable for the hybrid structural determination of other proteins composed of a mix of structured and unstructured domains.