A challenge in the computational design of enzymes is that multiple properties, including substrate binding, transition state stabilization and product release, must be simultaneously optimized, and this has limited the absolute activity of successful designs. Here, we focus on a single critical property of many enzymes: the nucleophilicity of an active site residue that initiates catalysis. We design proteins with idealized serine-containing catalytic triads and assess their nucleophilicity directly in native biological systems using activity-based organophosphate probes. Crystal structures of the most successful designs show unprecedented agreement with computational models, including extensive hydrogen bonding networks between the catalytic triad (or quartet) residues, and mutagenesis experiments demonstrate that these networks are critical for serine activation and organophosphate reactivity. Following optimization by yeast display, the designs react with organophosphate probes at rates comparable to natural serine hydrolases. Co-crystal structures with diisopropyl fluorophosphate bound to the serine nucleophile suggest that the designs could provide the basis for a new class of organophosphate capture agents.
Cyanobacterial phycobiliproteins have evolved to capture light energy over most of the visible spectrum due to their bilin chromophores, which are linear tetrapyrroles that have been covalently attached by enzymes called bilin lyases. We report here the crystal structure of a bilin lyase of the CpcS family from Thermosynechococcus elongatus (TeCpcS-III). TeCpcS-III is a 10-stranded ? barrel with two alpha helices and belongs to the lipocalin structural family. TeCpcS-III catalyzes both cognate as well as noncognate bilin attachment to a variety of phycobiliprotein subunits. TeCpcS-III ligates phycocyanobilin, phycoerythrobilin, and phytochromobilin to the alpha and beta subunits of allophycocyanin and to the beta subunit of phycocyanin at the Cys82-equivalent position in all cases. The active form of TeCpcS-III is a dimer, which is consistent with the structure observed in the crystal. With the use of the UnaG protein and its association with bilirubin as a guide, a model for the association between the native substrate, phycocyanobilin, and TeCpcS was produced.
The crystal structure of a putative HNH endonuclease, Gmet_0936 protein from Geobacter metallireducens GS-15, has been determined at 2.6 Å resolution using single-wavelength anomalous dispersion method. The structure contains a two-stranded anti-parallel ?-sheet that are surrounded by two helices on each face, and reveals a Zn ion bound in each monomer, coordinated by residues Cys38, Cys41, Cys73, and Cys76, which likely plays an important structural role in stabilizing the overall conformation. Structural homologs of Gmet_0936 include Hpy99I endonuclease, phage T4 endonuclease VII, and other HNH endonucleases, with these enzymes sharing 15-20% amino acid sequence identity. An overlay of Gmet_0936 and Hpy99I structures shows that most of the secondary structure elements, catalytic residues as well as the zinc binding site (zinc ribbon) are conserved. However, Gmet_0936 lacks the N-terminal domain of Hpy99I, which mediates DNA binding as well as dimerization. Purified Gmet_0936 forms dimers in solution and a dimer of the protein is observed in the crystal, but with a different mode of dimerization as compared to Hpy99I. Gmet_0936 and its N77H variant show a weak DNA binding activity in a DNA mobility shift assay and a weak Mn²?-dependent nicking activity on supercoiled plasmids in low pH buffers. The preferred substrate appears to be acid and heat-treated DNA with AP sites, suggesting Gmet_0936 may be a DNA repair enzyme.
Bacterial toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems serve a variety of physiological functions including regulation of cell growth and maintenance of foreign genetic elements. Sequence analyses suggest that TA families are linked by complex evolutionary relationships reflecting likely swapping of functional domains between different TA families. Our crystal structures of Phd-Doc from bacteriophage P1, the HigA antitoxin from Escherichia coli CFT073, and YeeU of the YeeUWV systems from E. coli K12 and Shigella flexneri confirm this inference and reveal additional, unanticipated structural relationships. The growth-regulating Doc toxin exhibits structural similarity to secreted virulence factors that are toxic for eukaryotic target cells. The Phd antitoxin possesses the same fold as both the YefM and NE2111 antitoxins that inhibit structurally unrelated toxins. YeeU, which has an antitoxin-like activity that represses toxin expression, is structurally similar to the ribosome-interacting toxins YoeB and RelE. These observations suggest extensive functional exchanges have occurred between TA systems during bacterial evolution.
The structure of human protein HSPC034 has been determined by both solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography. Refinement of the NMR structure ensemble, using a Rosetta protocol in the absence of NMR restraints, resulted in significant improvements not only in structure quality, but also in molecular replacement (MR) performance with the raw X-ray diffraction data using MOLREP and Phaser. This method has recently been shown to be generally applicable with improved MR performance demonstrated for eight NMR structures refined using Rosetta (Qian et al., Nature 2007;450:259-264). Additionally, NMR structures of HSPC034 calculated by standard methods that include NMR restraints have improvements in the RMSD to the crystal structure and MR performance in the order DYANA, CYANA, XPLOR-NIH, and CNS with explicit water refinement (CNSw). Further Rosetta refinement of the CNSw structures, perhaps due to more thorough conformational sampling and/or a superior force field, was capable of finding alternative low energy protein conformations that were equally consistent with the NMR data according to the Recall, Precision, and F-measure (RPF) scores. On further examination, the additional MR-performance shortfall for NMR refined structures as compared with the X-ray structure were attributed, in part, to crystal-packing effects, real structural differences, and inferior hydrogen bonding in the NMR structures. A good correlation between a decrease in the number of buried unsatisfied hydrogen-bond donors and improved MR performance demonstrates the importance of hydrogen-bond terms in the force field for improving NMR structures. The superior hydrogen-bond network in Rosetta-refined structures demonstrates that correct identification of hydrogen bonds should be a critical goal of NMR structure refinement. Inclusion of nonbivalent hydrogen bonds identified from Rosetta structures as additional restraints in the structure calculation results in NMR structures with improved MR performance.
Nucleophilic catalysis is a general strategy for accelerating ester and amide hydrolysis. In natural active sites, nucleophilic elements such as catalytic dyads and triads are usually paired with oxyanion holes for substrate activation, but it is difficult to parse out the independent contributions of these elements or to understand how they emerged in the course of evolution. Here we explore the minimal requirements for esterase activity by computationally designing artificial catalysts using catalytic dyads and oxyanion holes. We found much higher success rates using designed oxyanion holes formed by backbone NH groups rather than by side chains or bridging water molecules and obtained four active designs in different scaffolds by combining this motif with a Cys-His dyad. Following active site optimization, the most active of the variants exhibited a catalytic efficiency (k(cat)/K(M)) of 400 M(-1) s(-1) for the cleavage of a p-nitrophenyl ester. Kinetic experiments indicate that the active site cysteines are rapidly acylated as programmed by design, but the subsequent slow hydrolysis of the acyl-enzyme intermediate limits overall catalytic efficiency. Moreover, the Cys-His dyads are not properly formed in crystal structures of the designed enzymes. These results highlight the challenges that computational design must overcome to achieve high levels of activity.
Despite the passage of ?30 years since the complete primary sequence of the intermediate filament (IF) protein vimentin was reported, the structure remains unknown for both an individual protomer and the assembled filament. In this report, we present data describing the structure of vimentin linker 1 (L1) and rod 1B. Electron paramagnetic resonance spectra collected from samples bearing site-directed spin labels demonstrate that L1 is not a flexible segment between coiled-coils (CCs) but instead forms a rigid, tightly packed structure. An x-ray crystal structure of a construct containing L1 and rod 1B shows that it forms a tetramer comprising two equivalent parallel CC dimers that interact with one another in the form of a symmetrical anti-parallel dimer. Remarkably, the parallel CC dimers are themselves asymmetrical, which enables them to tetramerize rather than undergoing higher order oligomerization. This functionally vital asymmetry in the CC structure, encoded in the primary sequence of rod 1B, provides a striking example of evolutionary exploitation of the structural plasticity of proteins. EPR and crystallographic data consistently suggest that a very short region within L1 represents a minor local distortion in what is likely to be a continuous CC from the end of rod 1A through the entirety of rod 1B. The concordance of this structural model with previously published cross-linking and spectral data supports the conclusion that the crystallographic oligomer represents a native biological structure.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.