Determining the interconverting conformations of dynamic proteins in atomic detail is a major challenge for structural biology. Conformational heterogeneity in the active site of the dynamic enzyme cyclophilin A (CypA) has been previously linked to its catalytic function, but the extent to which the different conformations of these residues are correlated is unclear. We monitored the temperature dependences of these alternative conformations with eight synchrotron datasets spanning 100-310 K. Multiconformer models show that many alternative conformations in CypA are populated only at 240 K and above, yet others remain populated or become populated at 180 K and below. These results point to a complex evolution of conformational heterogeneity between 180-240 K that involves both thermal deactivation and solvent-driven arrest of protein motions in the crystal. Together, our multitemperature analyses and XFEL data motivate a new generation of temperature- and time-resolved experiments to structurally characterize the dynamic underpinnings of protein function.
- Stephen C Harrison, Harvard Medical School, United States
© 2015, Keedy et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)
Download citations (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)
Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)
When ribosomes fail to complete normal translation, all cells have mechanisms to ensure degradation of the resulting partial proteins to safeguard proteome integrity. In E. coli and other eubacteria, the tmRNA system rescues stalled ribosomes and adds an ssrA tag or degron to the C-terminus of the incomplete protein, which directs degradation by the AAA+ ClpXP protease. Here, we present cryo-EM structures of ClpXP bound to the ssrA degron. C-terminal residues of the ssrA degron initially bind in the top of an otherwise closed ClpX axial channel and subsequently move deeper into an open channel. For short-degron protein substrates, we show that unfolding can occur directly from the initial closed-channel complex. For longer-degron substrates, our studies illuminate how ClpXP transitions from specific recognition into a nonspecific unfolding and translocation machine. Many AAA+ proteases and protein-remodeling motors are likely to employ similar multistep recognition and engagement strategies.
Bacterial contact-dependent growth inhibition (CDI) systems use a type Vb secretion mechanism to export large CdiA toxins across the outer membrane by dedicated outer membrane transporters called CdiB. Here we report the first crystal structures of two CdiB transporters from Acinetobacter baumannii and Escherichia coli. CdiB transporters adopt a TpsB fold, containing a 16-stranded transmembrane β-barrel connected to two periplasmic domains. The lumen of the CdiB pore is occluded by an N-terminal α-helix and the conserved extracellular loop 6; these two elements adopt different conformations in the structures. We identified a conserved DxxG motif located on strand β1 that connects loop 6 through different networks of interactions. Structural modifications of DxxG induce rearrangement of extracellular loops and alter interactions with the N-terminal α-helix, preparing the system for α-helix ejection. Using structural biology, functional assays, and molecular dynamics simulations, we show how the barrel pore is primed for CdiA toxin secretion.