An examination of coaxial stacking of helical stems in a pseudoknot motif: the gene 32 messenger RNA pseudoknot of bacteriophage T2.
The RNA pseudoknot located at the 5' end of the gene 32 messenger RNA of bacteriophage T2 contains two A-form helical stems connected by two loops, in an H-type pseudoknot topology. A combination of multidimensional NMR methods and isotope labeling were used to investigate the pseudoknot structure, resulting in a more detailed structural model than provided by earlier homonuclear NMR studies. Of particular significance, the interface between the stacked helical stems within the pseudoknot motif is described in detail. The two stems are stacked in a coaxial manner, with an approximately 18 degrees rotation of stem1 relative to stem2 about an axis that is parallel to the helical axis. This rotation serves to relieve what would otherwise be a relatively close phosphate-phosphate contact at the junction of the two stems, while preserving the stabilizing effects of base stacking. The ability of the NMR data to determine pseudoknot bending was critically assessed. The data were found to be a modestly precise indicator of pseudoknot bending, with the angle between the helical axes of stem1 and stem2 being in the range of 15+/-15 degrees. Pseudoknot models with bend angles within this range are equally consistent with the data, since they differ by only small amounts in the relatively short-range interproton distances from which the structure was derived. The gene 32 messenger RNA pseudoknot was compared with other RNA structures with coaxial or near-coaxial stacked helical stems. (+info)
Steady-state nitrogen isotope effects of N2 and N2O production in Paracoccus denitrificans.
Nitrogen stable-isotope compositions (delta15N) can help track denitrification and N2O production in the environment, as can knowledge of the isotopic discrimination, or isotope effect, inherent to denitrification. However, the isotope effects associated with denitrification as a function of dissolved-oxygen concentration and their influence on the isotopic composition of N2O are not known. We developed a simple steady-state reactor to allow the measurement of denitrification isotope effects in Paracoccus denitrificans. With [dO2] between 0 and 1.2 microM, the N stable-isotope effects of NO3- and N2O reduction were constant at 28.6 per thousand +/- 1.9 per thousand and 12.9 per thousand +/- 2.6 per thousand, respectively (mean +/- standard error, n = 5). This estimate of the isotope effect of N2O reduction is the first in an axenic denitrifying culture and places the delta15N of denitrification-produced N2O midway between those of the nitrogenous oxide substrates and the product N2 in steady-state systems. Application of both isotope effects to N2O cycling studies is discussed. (+info)
The Ice Man's diet as reflected by the stable nitrogen and carbon isotopic composition of his hair.
Establishing the diets of ancient human populations is an integral component of most archaeological studies. Stable isotope analysis of well-preserved bone collagen is the most direct approach for a general assessment of paleodiet. However, this method has been limited by the scarcity of well-preserved skeletal materials for this type of destructive analysis. Hair is preserved in many burials, but is often overlooked as an alternative material for isotopic analysis. Here we report that the stable carbon and nitrogen isotope values for the hair of the 5200 year-old Ice Man indicates a primarily vegetarian diet, in agreement with his dental wear pattern. Whereas previous investigations have focused on bone collagen, the stable isotope composition of hair may prove to be a more reliable proxy for paleodiet reconstruction, particularly when skeletal remains are not well preserved and additional archaeological artifacts are unavailable. (+info)
NMR study of the metabolic 15N isotopic enrichment of cyanophycin synthesized by the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6308.
1H, 13C and 15N nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy has been used to characterize cyanophycin, a multi-l-arginyl-poly-[l-aspartic acid] polypeptide from the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6308. 1H, 13C and 15N chemical shifts and 1JHN and 1JCN coupling constants were measured in isolated 15N-labeled cyanophycin, and showed chemical shift values and J-couplings consistent with the reported polypeptide structure. 15N enrichment levels were determined from the extent of 1H-15N J-coupling in 1H NMR spectra of cyanophycin. Similar experiments using 13C-15N coupling in 13C NMR spectra were not useful in determining enrichment levels. (+info)
Documenting the diet in ancient human populations through stable isotope analysis of hair.
Fundamental to the understanding of human history is the ability to make interpretations based on artefacts and other remains which are used to gather information about an ancient population. Sequestered in the organic matrices of these remains can be information, for example, concerning incidence of disease, genetic defects and diet. Stable isotopic compositions, especially those made on isolates of collagen from bones, have been used to help suggest principal dietary components. A significant problem in the use of collagen is its long-term stability, and the possibility of isotopic alteration during early diagenesis, or through contaminating condensation reactions. In this study, we suggest that a commonly overlooked material, human hair, may represent an ideal material to be used in addressing human diets of ancient civilizations. Through the analysis of the amino-acid composition of modern hair, as well as samples that were subjected to radiation (thus simulating ageing of the hair) and hair from humans that is up to 5200 years old, we have observed little in the way of chemical change. The principal amino acids observed in all of these samples are essentially identical in relative abundances and content. Dominating the compositions are serine, glutamic acid, threonine, glycine and leucine, respectively accounting for approximately 15%, 17%, 10%, 8% and 8% of the total hydrolysable amino acids. Even minor components (for example, alanine, valine, isoleucine) show similar constancy between the samples of different ages. This constancy clearly indicates minimal alteration of the amino-acid composition of the hair. Further, it would indicate that hair is well preserved and is amenable to isotopic analysis as a tool for distinguishing sources of nutrition. Based on this observation, we have isotopically characterized modern individuals for whom the diet has been documented. Both stable nitrogen and carbon isotope compositions were assessed, and together provide an indication of trophic status, and principal type (C3 or C4) of vegetation consumed. True vegans have nitrogen isotope compositions of about 7/1000 whereas humans consuming larger amounts of meat, eggs, or milk are more enriched in the heavy nitrogen isotope. We have also analysed large cross-sections of modern humans from North America and Europe to provide an indication of the variability seen in a population (the supermarket diet). There is a wide diversity in both carbon and nitrogen isotope values based at least partially on the levels of seafood, corn-fed beef and grains in the diets. Following analysis of the ancient hair, we have observed similar trends in certain ancient populations. For example, the Coptics of Egypt (1000 BP) and Chinchorro of Chile (5000-800 BP) have diets of similar diversity to those observed in the modern group but were isotopically influenced by local nutritional sources. In other ancient hair (Egyptian Late Middle Kingdom mummies, ca. 4000 BP), we have observed a much more uniform isotopic signature, indicating a more constant diet. We have also recognized a primary vegetarian component in the diet of the Neolithic Ice Man of the Oetztaler Alps (5200 BP). In certain cases, it appears that sulphur isotopes may help to further constrain dietary interpretations, owing to the good preservation and sulphur content of hair. It appears that analysis of the often-overlooked hair in archaeological sites may represent a significant new approach for understanding ancient human communities. (+info)
NMR studies on the 46-kDa dimeric protein, 3,4-dihydroxy-2-butanone 4-phosphate synthase, using 2H, 13C, and 15N-labelling.
3,4-Dihydroxy-2-butanone 4-phosphate synthase catalyses the release of C-4 from the substrate, ribulose phosphate, via a complex series of rearrangement reactions. The cognate ribB gene of Escherichia coli was hyperexpressed in a recombinant E. coli strain. The protein was shown to be a 46-kDa homodimer by hydrodynamic analysis. A variety of protein samples labelled with different grades of 13C, 15N and 2H, i.e. one with 100% 2H and 15N, one with 75% 2H, 99% 13C, 15N, and one with 100% 2H, 99% 13C,15N were prepared. Despite the large molecular size, 2- and 3-dimensional NMR spectra of reasonable quality were obtained. Attempts at the assignment of individual 13C, 15N and 1H signals show, in principle, the feasibility of structure determination. The number of NMR signals shows unequivocally that the homodimeric protein obeys strict C2 symmetry. (+info)
15N-labelling and preliminary heteronuclear NMR study of Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough cytochrome c553.
When using heteronuclear NMR, 15N-labelling is necessary for structural analysis, dynamic studies and determination of complex formation. The problems that arise with isotopic labelling of metalloproteins are due to their complex maturation process, which involves a large number of factors. Cytochromes c are poorly expressed in Escherichia coli and the overexpression that is necessary for 15N-labelling, requires an investigation of the expression host and special attention to growth conditions. We have succeeded in the heterologous expression and the complete and uniform isotopic 15N-labelling of the cytochrome c553 from Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough, in a sulphate-reducing bacterium, D. desulfuricans G200, by using a growth medium combining 15N-ammonium chloride and 15N-Celtone. These conditions allowed us to obtain approximately 0.8 mg x L-1 of pure labelled cytochrome c553. 1H and 15N-assignments for both the oxidized and the reduced states of cytochrome c553 were obtained from two-dimensional heteronuclear experiments. Pseudocontact effects due to the haem Fe3+ have been analysed for the first time through 15N and 1H chemical shifts in a c-type cytochrome. (+info)
High-level expression of uniformly 15N-labeled hen lysozyme in Pichia pastoris and identification of the site in hen lysozyme where phosphate ion binds using NMR measurements.
The non-enzymatic deamidation of Asn to Asp is known to occur in proteins and peptides and is accelerated by phosphate buffer [Tyler-Cross, R. and Schirch, V. (1991) J. Biol. Chem. 25, 22549-22556]. We attempted to identify the site in lysozyme where a phosphate ion binds by means of 1H-15N HSQC measurements of 15N-labeled lysozyme, which was successfully obtained using Pichia pastoris. As a result, we found that the phosphate ion was preferentially bound to Asn-103 in hen lysozyme. The method presented here may be useful for identifying the binding site of a protein with low molecular weight substances. (+info)