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0 Q&A 736 Views Nov 5, 2022

Cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR) is a multi-domain protein that acts as a redox partner of cytochrome P450s. The CPR contains a flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD)–binding domain, a flavin mononucleotide (FMN)-binding domain, and a connecting domain. To achieve catalytic events, the FMN-binding domain needs to move relative to the FAD-binding domain, and this high flexibility complicates structural determination in high-resolution by X-ray crystallography. Here, we demonstrate a seeding technique of sorghum CPR crystals for resolution improvement, which can be applied to other poorly diffracting protein crystals. Protein expression is completed using an E. coli cell line with a high protein yield and purified using chromatography techniques. Crystals are screened using an automated 96-well plating robot. Poorly diffracting crystals are originally grown using a hanging drop method from successful trials observed in sitting drops. A macro seeding technique is applied by transferring crystal clusters to fresh conditions without nucleation to increase crystal size. Prior to diffraction, a dehydration technique is applied by serial transfer to higher precipitant concentrations. Thus, an increase in resolution by 7 Å is achieved by limiting the inopportune effects of the flexibility inherent to the domains of CPR, and secondary structures of SbCPR2c are observed.

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0 Q&A 1821 Views Apr 20, 2022

Bsoft is a software package primarily developed for processing electron micrographs, with the goal of determining the structures of biologically relevant molecules, molecular assemblies, and parts of cells. However, it incorporates many ways to deal with images, from the mundane to very sophisticated algorithms. This article is an introduction into its use, illustrating that it is an extensive toolbox, for manipulating and understanding images. Bsoft has over 150 programs, allowing the user an infinite number of ways to process images. These programs can be executed on the command line, or through the interactive program called brun. The main visualization program is bshow, providing numerous ways to manipulate and interpret images. The primary aim is to provide the user with powerful capabilities, including processing large numbers of images. An important additional aim is to make it as accessible as possible, making it easier to deal with image formats and features, and enhance productivity.

0 Q&A 2344 Views Jul 20, 2021

Protein filaments are dynamic entities that respond to external stimuli by slightly or substantially modifying the internal binding geometries between successive protomers. This results in overall changes in the filament architecture, which are difficult to model due to the helical character of the system. Here, we describe how distortions in RecA nucleofilaments and their consequences on the filament-DNA and bound DNA-DNA interactions at different stages of the homologous recombination process can be modeled using the PTools/Heligeom software and subsequent molecular dynamics simulation with NAMD. Modeling methods dealing with helical macromolecular objects typically rely on symmetric assemblies and take advantage of known symmetry descriptors. Other methods dealing with single objects, such as MMTK or VMD, do not integrate the specificities of regular assemblies. By basing the model building on binding geometries at the protomer-protomer level, PTools/Heligeom frees the building process from a priori knowledge of the system topology and enables irregular architectures and symmetry disruption to be accounted for.

Graphical abstract:

Model of ATP hydrolysis-induced distortions in the recombinant nucleoprotein, obtained by combining RecA-DNA and two RecA-RecA binding geometries.

0 Q&A 3144 Views Feb 5, 2021

Several in-cell spectroscopic techniques have been developed recently to investigate the structure and mechanism of proteins in their native environment. Conditions in vivo differ dramatically from those selected for in vitro experiments. Accordingly, the cellular environment can affect the protein mechanism for example by molecular crowding or binding of small molecules. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) difference spectroscopy is a well-suited method to study the light-induced structural responses of photoreceptors including changes in cofactor, side chains and secondary structure. Here, we describe a protocol to study the response of cofactor and protein in living E. coli cells via in-cell infrared difference (ICIRD) spectroscopy using the attenuated total reflection (ATR) configuration. Proteins are overexpressed in E. coli, the cells are transferred into saline solution and the copy number per cell is determined using fluorescence spectroscopy. The suspension is centrifuged and the concentrated cells transferred onto the ATR cell inside the FTIR spectrometer. The thermostatted cell is sealed and illuminated from the top with an LED. Intensity spectra are recorded before and after illumination to generate the difference spectrum of the receptor inside the living cell. With ICIRD spectroscopy, structural changes of soluble photoreceptors are resolved in a near-native environment. The approach works in H2O at ambient conditions, is label free, without any limitations in protein size and does not require any purification step.

Graphic abstract:

In-cell infrared difference spectroscopy on photoreceptors in living E. coli using attenuated total reflection.

0 Q&A 3544 Views Oct 20, 2020
This protocol illustrates the modelling of a protein-peptide complex using the synergic combination of in silico analysis and experimental results. To this end, we use the integrative modelling software HADDOCK, which possesses the powerful ability to incorporate experimental data, such as NMR Chemical Shift Perturbations and biochemical protein-peptide interaction data, as restraints to guide the docking process. Based on the modelling results, a rational mutagenesis approach is used to validate the generated models. The experimental results allow to select a final structural model best representing the bona fide protein-peptide complex. The described protocol can also be applied to model protein-protein complexes. There is no size limit for the macromolecular complexes that can be characterized by HADDOCK as long as the 3D structures of the individual components are available.
0 Q&A 4609 Views May 5, 2020
Template-based modeling, the process of predicting the tertiary structure of a protein by using homologous protein structures, is useful when good templates can be available. Indeed, modern homology detection methods can find remote homologs with high sensitivity. However, the accuracy of template-based models generated from the homology-detection-based alignments is often lower than that from ideal alignments. In this study, we propose a new method that generates pairwise sequence alignments for more accurate template-based modeling. Our method trains a machine learning model using the structural alignment of known homologs. When calculating sequence alignments, instead of a fixed substitution matrix, this method dynamically predicts a substitution score from the trained model.
0 Q&A 4432 Views Nov 5, 2019
Understanding the molecular mechanism governing the higher-order regulation of actin dynamics requires chemically-defined and quantitative assays. Recently, the membrane remodeling large GTPase, dynamin, has been identified as a new actin cross-linking molecule. Dynamin regulates actin cytoskeleton through binding to, self-assembling around, and aligning them into actin bundles. Here we utilize dynamin as an example and present a simple protocol to analyze the actin bundling activity in vitro. This protocol details the method for F-actin reconstitution as well as quantitative and qualitative analyses for actin bundling activity of dynamins. Measurement of the actin bundling activity of other actin-binding proteins may also be applied to this protocol with appropriate adjustments depending on the protein of interest.
0 Q&A 3778 Views Jun 20, 2019
Transporters are dynamic membrane proteins that are essential to the physiology of cells. To function, transporters must cycle between various conformational states, so to understand their mechanistic details, it is critical to characterize how their structure changes during the transport cycle. One approach to studying the dynamics of transporters takes advantage of the chemistry of cysteine by using sulfhydryl-reactive, bi-functional cross-linkers to probe changes in the distance between two specific residues that have been substituted to cysteine. This approach is mostly used to study transporters in vitro, not in their natural cellular environment. Here we describe a protocol based on structure-guided cysteine cross-linking and proteolysis-coupled gel analysis to probe conformational changes of a target transporter in live Escherichia coli cells. Although cross-linking approaches have been used to probe the proximity between transmembrane segments in membrane proteins in vivo, to our knowledge this protocol is the first to be used to interrogate transporter dynamics in cells. The use of this protocol is optimal for proteins with known or modeled structures to guide the replacement of specific residues with cysteines and the selection of cross-linking agents with various spacer arm lengths. This protocol allows for discriminating easily cross-linked and uncross-linked species and does not require the often difficult or unavailable reconstitution of transport activity in an in vitro system. In addition, this protocol could be used to probe the conformation of transporters in cells treated with transport inhibitors in order to better understand their mechanism of action, and potentially dynamic interactions between domains in proteins that are not transporters.
0 Q&A 7269 Views Sep 5, 2018
Mitochondria contain hundreds of proteins which are encoded by the nuclear genome and synthesized in the cytosol from where they are imported into the organelle. Sorting signals encoded in the primary and secondary sequence of these proteins mediate the recognition of newly synthesized precursor proteins and their subsequent translocation through the mitochondrial TOM and TIM translocases. Proteins of the mitochondrial matrix employ aminoterminal matrix targeting signals (MTSs), also called presequences, that are necessary and sufficient for their import into mitochondria. In most cases, these MTSs are proteolytically removed from the mature part of precursor proteins subsequent to their translocation into the matrix. Recently, internal MTS-like sequences (iMTS-Ls) were discovered in the mature region of many precursor proteins. Although these sequences are not sufficient for matrix targeting, they strongly increase the import competence of precursors by supporting their interaction with mitochondrial surface receptors. Due to their similarity to N-terminal MTSs, these iMTS-Ls can be identified using mitochondrial targeting prediction tools such as TargetP which was initially trained to recognize MTSs. In this protocol we describe how TargetP can be used to identify iMTS-Ls in protein sequences.
0 Q&A 5347 Views Sep 5, 2018
Substituted Cysteine Accessibility Method (SCAM) is a biochemical approach to investigate the water accessibility or the spatial distance of particular cysteine residues substituted in the target protein. Protein topology and structure can be annotated by labeling with methanethiosulfonate reagents that specifically react with the cysteine residues facing the hydrophilic environment, even within the transmembrane domain. Cysteine crosslinking experiments provide us with information about the distance between two cysteine residues. The combination of these methods enables us to obtain information about the structural changes of the target protein. Here, we describe the detailed protocol for structural analysis using SCAM.

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