Evidence on the conformation of HeLa-cell 5.8S ribosomal ribonucleic acid from the reaction of specific cytidine residues with sodium bisulphite.
The reaction of HeLa-cell 5.8S rRNA with NaHSO3 under conditions in which exposed cytidine residues are deaminated to uridine was studied. It was possible to estimate the reactivities of most of the 46 cytidine residues in the nucleotide sequence by comparing 'fingerprints' of the bisulphite-treated RNA with those of untreated RNA. The findings were consistent with the main features of the secondary-structure model for mammalian 5.85S rRNA proposed by Nazar, Sitz, & Busch [J. Biol. Chem (1975) 250, 8591--8597]. Five out of six regions that are depicted in the model as single-stranded loops contain cytidine residues that are reactive towards bisulphite at 25 degrees C (the other loop contains no cytidine). The cytidine residue nearest to the 3'-terminus is also reactive. Several cytidines residues that are internally located within proposed double-helical regions show little or no reactivity towards bisulphite, but the cytidine residues of several C.G pairs at the ends of helical regions show some reactivity, and one of the proposed loops appears to contain six nucleotides, rather than the minimum of four suggested by the primary structure. Two cytidine residues that are thought to be 'looped out' by small helix imperfections also show some reactivity. (+info
Endocytosis: EH domains lend a hand.
A number of proteins that have been implicated in endocytosis feature a conserved protein-interaction module known as an EH domain. The three-dimensional structure of an EH domain has recently been solved, and is likely to presage significant advances in understanding molecular mechanisms of endocytosis. (+info
Structural basis of profactor D activation: from a highly flexible zymogen to a novel self-inhibited serine protease, complement factor D.
The crystal structure of profactor D, determined at 2.1 A resolution with an Rfree and an R-factor of 25.1 and 20.4%, respectively, displays highly flexible or disordered conformation for five regions: N-22, 71-76, 143-152, 187-193 and 215-223. A comparison with the structure of its mature serine protease, complement factor D, revealed major conformational changes in the similar regions. Comparisons with the zymogen-active enzyme pairs of chymotrypsinogen, trypsinogen and prethrombin-2 showed a similar distribution of the flexible regions. However, profactor D is the most flexible of the four, and its mature enzyme displays inactive, self-inhibited active site conformation. Examination of the surface properties of the N-terminus-binding pocket indicates that Ile16 may play the initial positioning role for the N-terminus, and Leu17 probably also helps in inducing the required conformational changes. This process, perhaps shared by most chymotrypsinogen-like zymogens, is followed by a factor D-unique step, the re-orientation of an external Arg218 to an internal position for salt-bridging with Asp189, leading to the generation of the self-inhibited factor D. (+info
Cryo-electron microscopy structure of an SH3 amyloid fibril and model of the molecular packing.
Amyloid fibrils are assemblies of misfolded proteins and are associated with pathological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and the spongiform encephalopathies. In the amyloid diseases, a diverse group of normally soluble proteins self-assemble to form insoluble fibrils. X-ray fibre diffraction studies have shown that the protofilament cores of fibrils formed from the various proteins all contain a cross-beta-scaffold, with beta-strands perpendicular and beta-sheets parallel to the fibre axis. We have determined the threedimensional structure of an amyloid fibril, formed by the SH3 domain of phosphatidylinositol-3'-kinase, using cryo-electron microscopy and image processing at 25 A resolution. The structure is a double helix of two protofilament pairs wound around a hollow core, with a helical crossover repeat of approximately 600 A and an axial subunit repeat of approximately 27 A. The native SH3 domain is too compact to fit into the fibril density, and must unfold to adopt a longer, thinner shape in the amyloid form. The 20x40-A protofilaments can only accommodate one pair of flat beta-sheets stacked against each other, with very little inter-strand twist. We propose a model for the polypeptide packing as a basis for understanding the structure of amyloid fibrils in general. (+info
Structural basis for the specificity of the initiation of HIV-1 reverse transcription.
Initiation of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcription requires specific recognition of the viral genome, tRNA3Lys, which acts as primer, and reverse transcriptase (RT). The specificity of this ternary complex is mediated by intricate interactions between HIV-1 RNA and tRNA3Lys, but remains poorly understood at the three-dimensional level. We used chemical probing to gain insight into the three-dimensional structure of the viral RNA-tRNA3Lys complex, and enzymatic footprinting to delineate regions interacting with RT. These and previous experimental data were used to derive a three-dimensional model of the initiation complex. The viral RNA and tRNA3Lys form a compact structure in which the two RNAs fold into distinct structural domains. The extended interactions between these molecules are not directly recognized by RT. Rather, they favor RT binding by preventing steric clashes between the nucleic acids and the polymerase and inducing a viral RNA-tRNA3Lys conformation which fits perfectly into the nucleic acid binding cleft of RT. Recognition of the 3' end of tRNA3Lys and of the first template nucleotides by RT is favored by a kink in the template strand promoted by the short junctions present in the previously established secondary structure. (+info
The highly conserved beta-hairpin of the paired DNA-binding domain is required for assembly of Pax-Ets ternary complexes.
Pax family transcription factors bind DNA through the paired domain. This domain, which is comprised of two helix-turn-helix motifs and a beta-hairpin structure, is a target of mutations in congenital disorders of mice and humans. Previously, we showed that Pax-5 (B-cell-specific activator protein) recruits proteins of the Ets proto-oncogene family to bind a composite DNA site that is essential for efficient transcription of the early-B-cell-specific mb-1 promoter. Here, evidence is provided for specific interactions between Ets-1 and the amino-terminal subdomains of Pax proteins. By tethering deletion fragments of Pax-5 to a heterologous DNA-binding domain, we show that 73 amino acids (amino acids 12 to 84) of its amino-terminal subdomain can recruit the ETS domain of Ets-1 to bind the composite site. Furthermore, an amino acid (Gln22) within the highly conserved beta-hairpin motif of Pax-5 is essential for efficient recruitment of Ets-1. The ability to recruit Ets proteins to bind DNA is a shared property of Pax proteins, as demonstrated by cooperative DNA binding of Ets-1 with sequences derived from the paired domains of Pax-2 and Pax-3. The strict conservation of sequences required for recruitment of Ets proteins suggests that Pax-Ets interactions are important for regulating transcription in diverse tissues during cellular differentiation. (+info
Identification of DNA polymorphisms associated with the V type alpha1-antitrypsin gene.
alpha1-Antitrypsin (alpha1-AT) is a highly polymorphic protein. The V allele of alpha1-AT has been shown to be associated with focal glomerulosclerosis (FGS) in Negroid and mixed race South African patients. To identify mutations and polymorphisms in the gene for the V allele of alpha1-AT in five South African patients with FGS nephrotic syndrome DNA sequence analysis and restriction fragment length polymorphisms of the coding exons were carried out. Four of the patients were heterozygous for the BstEII RFLP in exon III [M1(Val213)(Ala213)] and one patient was a M1(Ala213) homozygote. The mutation for the V allele was identified in exon II as Gly-148 (GGG)-->Arg (AGG) and in all patients was associated with a silent mutation at position 158 (AAC-->AAT). The patient who was homozygous for (Ala213) also had a silent mutation at position 256 in exon III (GAT-->GAC) which was not present in any of the other four patients. Although the V allele of alpha1-AT is not associated with severe plasma deficiency, it may be in linkage disequilibrium with other genes on chromosome 14 that predispose to FGS. Furthermore, the associated silent mutation at position 158 and the Ala213 polymorphism are of interest, as these could represent an evolutionary intermediate between the M1(Ala213) and M1(Val213) subtypes. (+info
Crystal structures of two H-2Db/glycopeptide complexes suggest a molecular basis for CTL cross-reactivity.
Two synthetic O-GlcNAc-bearing peptides that elicit H-2Db-restricted glycopeptide-specific cytotoxic T cells (CTL) have been shown to display nonreciprocal patterns of cross-reactivity. Here, we present the crystal structures of the H-2Db glycopeptide complexes to 2.85 A resolution or better. In both cases, the glycan is solvent exposed and available for direct recognition by the T cell receptor (TCR). We have modeled the complex formed between the MHC-glycopeptide complexes and their respective TCRs, showing that a single saccharide residue can be accommodated in the standard TCR-MHC geometry. The models also reveal a possible molecular basis for the observed cross-reactivity patterns of the CTL clones, which appear to be influenced by the length of the CDR3 loop and the nature of the immunizing ligand. (+info