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(1/11120) R73A and H144Q mutants of the yeast mitochondrial cyclophilin Cpr3 exhibit a low prolyl isomerase activity in both peptide and protein-folding assays.

Previously we reported that the R73A and H144Q variants of the yeast cyclophilin Cpr3 were virtually inactive in a protease-coupled peptide assay, but retained activity as catalysts of a proline-limited protein folding reaction [Scholz, C. et al. (1997) FEBS Lett. 414, 69-73]. A reinvestigation revealed that in fact these two mutations strongly decrease the prolyl isomerase activity of Cpr3 in both the peptide and the protein-folding assay. The high folding activities found previously originated from a contamination of the recombinant Cpr3 proteins with the Escherichia coli protein SlyD, a prolyl isomerase that co-purifies with His-tagged proteins. SlyD is inactive in the peptide assay, but highly active in the protein-folding assay.  (+info)

(2/11120) Biophysical characterization of the structure of the amino-terminal region of gp41 of HIV-1. Implications on viral fusion mechanism.

A peptide of 51 amino acids corresponding to the NH2-terminal region (5-55) of the glycoprotein gp41 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 was synthesized to study its conformation and assembly. Nuclear magnetic resonance experiments indicated the sequence NH2-terminal to the leucine zipper-like domain of gp41 was induced into helix in the micellar solution, in agreement with circular dichroism data. Light scattering experiment showed that the peptide molecules self-assembled in water into trimeric structure on average. That the peptide molecules oligomerize in aqueous solution was supported by gel filtration and diffusion coefficient experiments. Molecular dynamics simulation based on the NMR data revealed a flexible region adjacent to the hydrophobic NH2 terminus of gp41. The biological significance of the present findings on the conformational flexibility and the propensity of oligomerization of the peptide may be envisioned by a proposed model for the interaction of gp41 with membranes during fusion process.  (+info)

(3/11120) Reaction specificity of native and nicked 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine decarboxylase.

3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine (Dopa) decarboxylase is a stereospecific pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP)-dependent alpha-decarboxylase that converts L-aromatic amino acids into their corresponding amines. We now report that reaction of the enzyme with D-5-hydroxytryptophan or D-Dopa results in a time-dependent inactivation and conversion of the PLP coenzyme to pyridoxamine 5'-phosphate and PLP-D-amino acid Pictet-Spengler adducts, which have been identified by high performance liquid chromatography. We also show that the reaction specificity of Dopa decarboxylase toward aromatic amines depends on the experimental conditions. Whereas oxidative deamination occurs under aerobic conditions (Bertoldi, M., Moore, P. S., Maras, B., Dominici, P., and Borri Voltattorni, C. (1996) J. Biol. Chem. 271, 23954-23959; Bertoldi, M., Dominici, P., Moore, P. S., Maras, B., and Borri Voltattorni, C. (1998) Biochemistry 37, 6552-6561), half-transamination and Pictet-Spengler reactions take place under anaerobic conditions. Moreover, we examined the reaction specificity of nicked Dopa decarboxylase, obtained by selective tryptic cleavage of the native enzyme between Lys334 and His335. Although this enzymatic species does not exhibit either decarboxylase or oxidative deamination activities, it retains a large percentage of the native transaminase activity toward D-aromatic amino acids and displays a slow transaminase activity toward aromatic amines. These transamination reactions occur concomitantly with the formation of cyclic coenzyme-substrate adducts. Together with additional data, we thus suggest that native Dopa decarboxylase can exist as an equilibrium among "open," "half-open," and "closed" forms.  (+info)

(4/11120) SNARE interactions are not selective. Implications for membrane fusion specificity.

The SNARE hypothesis proposes that membrane trafficking specificity is mediated by preferential high affinity interactions between particular v (vesicle membrane)- and t (target membrane)-SNARE combinations. The specificity of interactions among a diverse set of SNAREs, however, is unknown. We have tested the SNARE hypothesis by analyzing potential SNARE complexes between five proteins of the vesicle-associated membrane protein (VAMP) family, three members of the synaptosome-associated protein-25 (SNAP-25) family and three members of the syntaxin family. All of the 21 combinations of SNAREs tested formed stable complexes. Sixteen were resistant to SDS denaturation, and most complexes thermally denatured between 70 and 90 degreesC. These results suggest that the specificity of membrane fusion is not encoded by the interactions between SNAREs.  (+info)

(5/11120) The putative bioactive surface of insect-selective scorpion excitatory neurotoxins.

Scorpion neurotoxins of the excitatory group show total specificity for insects and serve as invaluable probes for insect sodium channels. However, despite their significance and potential for application in insect-pest control, the structural basis for their bioactivity is still unknown. We isolated, characterized, and expressed an atypically long excitatory toxin, Bj-xtrIT, whose bioactive features resembled those of classical excitatory toxins, despite only 49% sequence identity. With the objective of clarifying the toxic site of this unique pharmacological group, Bj-xtrIT was employed in a genetic approach using point mutagenesis and biological and structural assays of the mutant products. A primary target for modification was the structurally unique C-terminal region. Sequential deletions of C-terminal residues suggested an inevitable significance of Ile73 and Ile74 for toxicity. Based on the bioactive role of the C-terminal region and a comparison of Bj-xtrIT with a Bj-xtrIT-based model of a classical excitatory toxin, AaHIT, a conserved surface comprising the C terminus is suggested to form the site of recognition with the sodium channel receptor.  (+info)

(6/11120) Properties of non-polymerizable tropomyosin obtained by carboxypeptidase A digestion.

Tropomyosin digested with carboxypeptidase A [EC 3.4.12.2] (CTM) shows a lower viscosity than the undigested protein in solution. From the relation between the viscosity decrease and the amount of amino acids liberated from the carboxyl terminus during this digestion, it is inferred that loss of the tri-peptide-Thr-Ser-Ile from the C-terminus is responsible for the decrease in viscosity. The secondary structure of -TM was not affected by the digestion according to circular dichroic measurements. The viscosity of CTM did not increase in methanol-water mixtures, whereas that of tropomyosin increased markedly. These results indicate that polymerizability was lost upon the removal of a small peptide from the C-terminus without change in the secondary structure. A decrease in the viscosity of tropomyosin solutions was observed on the addition of CTM, indicating that CTM interacts with intact tropomyosin. The dependence of the viscosity decrease on the amount of CTM showed that CTM binds tropomyosin in a one-to-one ratio as a result of end-to-end interaction. Since paracrystals having a 400 A repeated band structure could be grown in the presence of Mg ions at neutral pH, side-by-side interactions in CTM molecules remain intact, even though polymerizability is lost. The disc gel electrophoretic pattern showed that troponin could bind to CTM, but no increase in viscosity due to the complex was observed in solution. That is, the C-terminal part of tropomyosin is not required for the formation of the complex. The amount of CTM bound to F-actin was less than half of that bound to undigested tropomyosin, and could be reduced to one-tenth by a washing procedure. In the presence of troponin, however, the amount recovered to the level of tropomyosin normally bound to F-actin. Therefore, it is concluded that troponin is bound in the middle of the tropomyosin molecule and strengthens the binding of tropomyosin to F-actin.  (+info)

(7/11120) Characterisation of copper-binding to the second sub-domain of the Menkes protein ATPase (MNKr2).

The Menkes ATPase (MNK) has an essential role in the translocation of copper across cellular membranes. In a complementary manner, the intracellular concentration of copper regulates the activity and cellular location of the ATPase through its six homologous amino-terminal domains. The roles of the six amino-terminal domains in the activation and cellular trafficking processes are unknown. Understanding the role of these domains relies on the development of an understanding of their metal-binding properties and structural properties. The second conserved sub-domain of MNK was over-expressed, purified and its copper-binding properties characterised. Reconstitution studies demonstrate that copper binds to MNKr2 as Cu(I) with a stoichiometry of one copper per domain. This is the first direct evidence of copper-binding to the MNK amino-terminal repeats. Circular dichroism studies suggest that the binding or loss of copper to MNKr2 does not cause substantial changes to the secondary structure of the protein.  (+info)

(8/11120) Biophysical characterization of a designed TMV coat protein mutant, R46G, that elicits a moderate hypersensitivity response in Nicotiana sylvestris.

The hypersensitivity resistance response directed by the N' gene in Nicotiana sylvestris is elicited by the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) coat protein R46G, but not by the U1 wild-type TMV coat protein. In this study, the structural and hydrodynamic properties of R46G and wild-type coat proteins were compared for variations that may explain N' gene elicitation. Circular dichroism spectroscopy reveals no significant secondary or tertiary structural differences between the elicitor and nonelicitor coat proteins. Analytical ultracentrifugation studies, however, do show different concentration dependencies of the weight average sedimentation coefficients at 4 degrees C. Viral reconstitution kinetics at 20 degrees C were used to determine viral assembly rates and as an initial assay of the rate of 20S formation, the obligate species for viral reconstitution. These kinetic results reveal a decreased lag time for reconstitution performed with R46G that initially lack the 20S aggregate. However, experiments performed with 20S initially present reveal no detectable differences indicating that the mechanism of viral assembly is similar for the two coat protein species. Therefore, an increased rate of 20S formation from R46G subunits may explain the differences in the viral reconstitution lag times. The inferred increase in the rate of 20S formation is verified by direct measurement of the 20S boundary as a function of time at 20 degrees C using velocity sedimentation analysis. These results are consistent with the interpretation that there may be an altered size distribution and/or lifetime of the small coat protein aggregates in elicitors that allows N. sylvestris to recognize the invading virus.  (+info)