BACKGROUND: Collagen is the most abundant protein in animals. Each polypeptide chain of collagen is composed of repeats of the sequence: Gly-X-Y, where X and Y are often L-proline (Pro) and 4(R)-hydroxy-L-proline (Hyp) residues, respectively. These chains are wound into tight triple helices of great stability. The hydroxyl group of Hyp residues contributes much to this conformational stability. The existing paradigm is that this stability arises from interstrand hydrogen bonds mediated by bridging water molecules. This model was tested using chemical synthesis to replace Hyp residues with 4(R)-fluoro-L-proline (Flp) residues. The fluorine atom in Flp residues does not form hydrogen bonds but does elicit strong inductive effects. RESULTS: Replacing the Hyp residues in collagen with Flp residues greatly increases triple-helical stability. The free energy contributed by the fluorine atom in Flp residues is twice that of the hydroxyl group in Hyp residues. The stability of the Flp-containing triple helix far exceeds that of any untemplated collagen mimic of similar size. CONCLUSIONS: Bridging water molecules contribute little to collagen stability. Rather, collagen stability relies on previously unappreciated inductive effects. Collagen mimics containing fluorine or other appropriate electron-withdrawing substituents could be the basis of new biomaterials for restorative therapies. (+info)
Molecular dynamics studies of U1A-RNA complexes.
The U1A protein binds to a hairpin RNA and an internal-loop RNA with picomolar affinities. To probe the molecular basis of U1A binding, we performed state-of-the-art nanosecond molecular dynamics simulations on both complexes. The good agreement with experimental structures supports the protocols used in the simulations. We compare the dynamics, hydrogen-bonding occupancies, and interfacial flexibility of both complexes and also describe a rigid-body motion in the U1A-internal loop complex that is not observed in the U1A-hairpin simulation. We relate these observations to experimental mutational studies and highlight their significance in U1A binding affinity and specificity. (+info)
Possible role for ligand binding of histidine 81 in the second transmembrane domain of the rat prostaglandin F2alpha receptor.
For the five principal prostanoids PGD2, PGE2, PGF2alpha, prostacyclin and thromboxane A2 eight receptors have been identified that belong to the family of G-protein-coupled receptors. They display an overall homology of merely 30%. However, single amino acids in the transmembrane domains such as an Arg in the seventh transmembrane domain are highly conserved. This Arg has been identified as part of the ligand binding pocket. It interacts with the carboxyl group of the prostanoid. The aim of the current study was to analyze the potential role in ligand binding of His-81 in the second transmembrane domain of the rat PGF2alpha receptor, which is conserved among all PGF2alpha receptors from different species. Molecular modeling suggested that this residue is located in close proximity to the ligand binding pocket Arg 291 in the 7th transmembrane domain. The His81 (H) was exchanged by site-directed mutagenesis to Gln (Q), Asp (D), Arg (R), Ala (A) and Gly (G). The receptor molecules were N-terminally extended by a Flag epitope for immunological detection. All mutant proteins were expressed at levels between 50% and 80% of the wild type construct. The H81Q and H81D receptor bound PGF2alpha with 2-fold and 25-fold lower affinity, respectively, than the wild type receptor. Membranes of cells expressing the H81R, H81A or H81G mutants did not bind significant amounts of PGF2alpha. Wild type receptor and H81Q showed a shallow pH optimum for PGF2alpha binding around pH 5.5 with almost no reduction of binding at higher pH. In contrast the H81D mutant bound PGF2alpha with a sharp optimum at pH 4.5, a pH at which the Asp side chain is partially undissociated and may serve as a hydrogen bond donor as do His and Gln at higher pH values. The data indicate that the His-81 in the second transmembrane domain of the PGF2alpha receptor in concert with Arg-291 in the seventh transmembrane domain may be involved in ligand binding, most likely not by ionic interaction with the prostaglandin's carboxyl group but rather as a hydrogen bond donor. (+info)
Crystal structure of the FMN-binding domain of human cytochrome P450 reductase at 1.93 A resolution.
The crystal structure of the FMN-binding domain of human NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase (P450R-FMN), a key component in the cytochrome P450 monooxygenase system, has been determined to 1.93 A resolution and shown to be very similar both to the global fold in solution (Barsukov I et al., 1997, J Biomol NMR 10:63-75) and to the corresponding domain in the 2.6 A crystal structure of intact rat P450R (Wang M et al., 1997, Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 94:8411-8416). The crystal structure of P450R-FMN reported here confirms the overall similarity of its alpha-beta-alpha architecture to that of the bacterial flavodoxins, but reveals differences in the position, number, and length of the helices relative to the central beta-sheet. The marked similarity between P450R-FMN and flavodoxins in the interactions between the FMN and the protein, indicate a striking evolutionary conservation of the FMN binding site. The P450R-FMN molecule has an unusual surface charge distribution, leading to a very strong dipole, which may be involved in docking cytochrome P450 into place for electron transfer near the FMN. Several acidic residues near the FMN are identified by mutagenesis experiments to be important for electron transfer to P4502D6 and to cytochrome c, a clear indication of the part of the molecular surface that is likely to be involved in substrate binding. Somewhat different parts are found to be involved in binding cytochrome P450 and cytochrome c. (+info)
Molecular dynamics study of substance P peptides in a biphasic membrane mimic.
Two neuropeptides, substance P (SP) and SP-tyrosine-8 (SP-Y8), have been studied by molecular dynamics (MD) simulation in a TIP3P water/CCl4 biphasic solvent system as a mimic for the water-membrane system. Initially, distance restraints derived from NMR nuclear Overhauser enhancements (NOE) were incorporated in the restrained MD (RMD) in the equilibration stage of the simulation. The starting orientation/position of the peptides for the MD simulation was either parallel to the water/CCl4 interface or in a perpendicular/insertion mode. In both cases the peptides equilibrated and adopted a near-parallel orientation within approximately 250 ps. After equilibration, the conformation and orientation of the peptides, the solvation of both the backbone and the side chain of the residues, hydrogen bonding, and the dynamics of the peptides were analyzed from trajectories obtained in the RMD or the subsequent free MD (where the NOE restraints were removed). These analyses showed that the peptide backbone of nearly all residues are either solvated by water or are hydrogen-bonded. This is seen to be an important factor against the insertion mode of interaction. Most of the interactions with the hydrophobic phase come from the hydrophobic interactions of the side chains of Pro-4, Phe-7, Phe-8, Leu-10, and Met-11 for SP, and Phe-7, Leu-10, Met-11 and, to a lesser extent, Tyr-8 in SP-Y8. Concerted conformational transitions took place in the time frame of hundreds of picoseconds. The concertedness of the transition was due to the tendency of the peptide to maintain the necessary secondary structure to position the peptide properly with respect to the water/CCl4 interface. (+info)
Charge pairing of headgroups in phosphatidylcholine membranes: A molecular dynamics simulation study.
Molecular dynamics simulation of the hydrated dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC) bilayer membrane in the liquid-crystalline phase was carried out for 5 ns to study the interaction among DMPC headgroups in the membrane/water interface region. The phosphatidylcholine headgroup contains a positively charged choline group and negatively charged phosphate and carbonyl groups, although it is a neutral molecule as a whole. Our previous study (Pasenkiewicz-Gierula, M., Y. Takaoka, H. Miyagawa, K. Kitamura, and A. Kusumi. 1997. J. Phys. Chem. 101:3677-3691) showed the formation of water cross-bridges between negatively charged groups in which a water molecule is simultaneously hydrogen bonded to two DMPC molecules. Water bridges link 76% of DMPC molecules in the membrane. In the present study we show that relatively stable charge associations (charge pairs) are formed between the positively and negatively charged groups of two DMPC molecules. Charge pairs link 93% of DMPC molecules in the membrane. Water bridges and charge pairs together form an extended network of interactions among DMPC headgroups linking 98% of all membrane phospholipids. The average lifetimes of DMPC-DMPC associations via charge pairs, water bridges and both, are at least 730, 1400, and over 1500 ps, respectively. However, these associations are dynamic states and they break and re-form several times during their lifetime. (+info)
The role of proline and glycine in determining the backbone flexibility of a channel-forming peptide.
Alamethicin is a helical 20-amino acid voltage-gated channel-forming peptide, which is known to exhibit segmental flexibility in solution along its backbone near alpha-methylalanine (MeA)-10 and Gly-11. In an alpha-helical configuration, MeA at position 10 would normally hydrogen-bond with position 14, but the presence of proline at this position prevents the formation of this interhelical hydrogen bond. To determine whether the presence of proline at position 14 contributes to the flexibility of this helix, two analogs of alamethicin were synthesized, one with proline 14 replaced by alanine and another with both proline 14 and glycine 11 replaced by alanine. The C-termini of these peptides were derivatized with a proxyl nitroxide, and paramagnetic enhancements produced by the nitroxide on the Calpha protons were used to estimate r-6 weighted distances between the nitroxide and the backbone protons. When compared to native alamethicin, the analog lacking proline 14 exhibited similar C-terminal to Calpha proton distances, indicating that substitution of proline alone does not alter the flexibility of this helix; however, the subsequent removal of glycine 11 resulted in a significant increase in the averaged distances between the C- and N-termini. Thus, the G-X-X-P motif found in alamethicin appears to be largely responsible for mediating high-amplitude bending motions that have been observed in the central helical domain of alamethicin in methanol. To determine whether these substitutions alter the channel behavior of alamethicin, the macroscopic and single-channel currents produced by these analogs were compared. Although the substitution of the G-X-X-P motif produces channels with altered characteristics, this motif is not essential to achieve voltage-dependent gating or alamethicin-like behavior. (+info)
His ... Asp catalytic dyad of ribonuclease A: histidine pKa values in the wild-type, D121N, and D121A enzymes.
Bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A (RNase A) has a conserved His ... Asp catalytic dyad in its active site. Structural analyses had indicated that Asp121 forms a hydrogen bond with His119, which serves as an acid during catalysis of RNA cleavage. The enzyme contains three other histidine residues including His12, which is also in the active site. Here, 1H-NMR spectra of wild-type RNase A and the D121N and D121A variants were analyzed thoroughly as a function of pH. The effect of replacing Asp121 on the microscopic pKa values of the histidine residues is modest: none change by more than 0.2 units. There is no evidence for the formation of a low-barrier hydrogen bond between His119 and either an aspartate or an asparagine residue at position 121. In the presence of the reaction product, uridine 3'-phosphate (3'-UMP), protonation of one active-site histidine residue favors protonation of the other. This finding is consistent with the phosphoryl group of 3'-UMP interacting more strongly with the two active-site histidine residues when both are protonated. Comparison of the titration curves of the unliganded enzyme with that obtained in the presence of different concentrations of 3'-UMP shows that a second molecule of 3'-UMP can bind to the enzyme. Together, the data indicate that the aspartate residue in the His ... Asp catalytic dyad of RNase A has a measurable but modest effect on the ionization of the adjacent histidine residue. (+info)