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Berkeley, CA, United States

Sutter M.,Michigan State University | Sutter M.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Faulkner M.,University of Liverpool | Aussignargues C.,Michigan State University | And 7 more authors.
Nano Letters | Year: 2016

Bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) are proteinaceous organelles widespread among bacterial phyla. They compartmentalize enzymes within a selectively permeable shell and play important roles in CO2 fixation, pathogenesis, and microbial ecology. Here, we combine X-ray crystallography and high-speed atomic force microscopy to characterize, at molecular resolution, the structure and dynamics of BMC shell facet assembly. Our results show that preformed hexamers assemble into uniformly oriented shell layers, a single hexamer thick. We also observe the dynamic process of shell facet assembly. Shell hexamers can dissociate from and incorporate into assembled sheets, indicating a flexible intermolecular interaction. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the self-assembly and dynamics of shell proteins are governed by specific contacts at the interfaces of shell proteins. Our study provides novel insights into the formation, interactions, and dynamics of BMC shell facets, which are essential for the design and engineering of self-assembled biological nanoreactors and scaffolds based on BMC architectures. © 2015 American Chemical Society. Source

Kirilovsky D.,CEA Saclay Nuclear Research Center | Kirilovsky D.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Kerfeld C.A.,Joint Genome Institute | Kerfeld C.A.,University of California at Berkeley | Kerfeld C.A.,Berkeley Synthetic Biology Institute
Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences | Year: 2013

This review focuses on the Orange Carotenoid Protein (OCP) which is the first photoactive protein identified containing a carotenoid as the photoresponsive chromophore. This protein is essential for the triggering of a photoprotective mechanism in cyanobacteria which decreases the excess absorbed energy arriving at the photosynthetic reaction centers by increasing thermal dissipation at the level of the phycobilisomes, the cyanobacterial antenna. Blue-green light causes structural changes within the carotenoid and the protein, converting the orange inactive form into a red active form. The activated red form interacts with the phycobilisome and induces the decrease of phycobilisome fluorescence emission and of the energy arriving to the photosynthetic reaction centers. The OCP is the light sensor, the signal propagator and the energy quencher. A second protein, the Fluorescence Recovery Protein (FRP), is needed to detach the red OCP from the phycobilisome and its reversion to the inactive orange form. In the last decade, in vivo and in vitro mechanistic studies combined with structural and genomic data resulted in both the discovery and a detailed picture of the function of the OCP and OCP-mediated photoprotection. Recent structural and functional results are emphasized and important previous results will be reviewed. Similarities to other blue-light responsive proteins will be discussed. This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry and Owner Societies. Source

Lassila J.K.,University of California at Berkeley | Lassila J.K.,Genencor | Bernstein S.L.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | Kinney J.N.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Molecular Biology | Year: 2014

Bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) sequester enzymes from the cytoplasmic environment by encapsulation inside a selectively permeable protein shell. Bioinformatic analyses indicate that many bacteria encode BMC clusters of unknown function and with diverse combinations of shell proteins. The genome of the halophilic myxobacterium Haliangium ochraceum encodes one of the most atypical sets of shell proteins in terms of composition and primary structure. We found that microcompartment shells could be purified in high yield when all seven H. ochraceum BMC shell genes were expressed from a synthetic operon in Escherichia coli. These shells differ substantially from previously isolated shell systems in that they are considerably smaller and more homogeneous, with measured diameters of 39 ± 2 nm. The size and nearly uniform geometry allowed the development of a structural model for the shells composed of 260 hexagonal units and 13 hexagons per icosahedral face. We found that new proteins could be recruited to the shells by fusion to a predicted targeting peptide sequence, setting the stage for the use of these remarkably homogeneous shells for applications such as three-dimensional scaffolding and the construction of synthetic BMCs. Our results demonstrate the value of selecting from the diversity of BMC shell building blocks found in genomic sequence data for the construction of novel compartments. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Cai F.,U.S. Department of Energy | Cai F.,University of California at Berkeley | Axen S.D.,U.S. Department of Energy | Kerfeld C.A.,U.S. Department of Energy | And 2 more authors.
RNA Biology | Year: 2013

Members of the phylum Cyanobacteria inhabit ecologically diverse environments. However, the CRISPR-Cas (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, CRISPR associated genes), an extremely adaptable defense system, has not been surveyed in this phylum. We analyzed 126 cyanobacterial genomes and, surprisingly, found CRISPR-Cas in the majority except the marine subclade (Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus), in which cyanophages are a known force shaping their evolution. Multiple observations of CRISPR loci in the absence of cas1/cas2 genes may represent an early stage of losing a CRISPR-Cas locus. Our findings reveal the widespread distribution of CRISPR-Cas systems in the phylum Cyanobacteria and provide a first step to systematically understanding their role in cyanobacteria. © 2013 Landes Bioscience. Source

Aussignargues C.,Michigan State University | Paasch B.C.,Michigan State University | Gonzalez-Esquer R.,Michigan State University | Erbilgin O.,University of California at Berkeley | And 4 more authors.
Communicative and Integrative Biology | Year: 2015

Bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) are proteinaceous organelles used by a broad range of bacteria to segregate and optimize metabolic reactions. Their functions are diverse, and can be divided into anabolic (carboxysome) and catabolic (metabolosomes) processes, depending on their cargo enzymes. The assembly pathway for the β-carboxysome has been characterized, revealing that biogenesis proceeds from the inside out. The enzymes coalesce into a procarboxysome, followed by encapsulation in a protein shell that is recruited to the procarboxysome by a short (∼17 amino acids) extension on the C-terminus of one of the encapsulated proteins. A similar extension is also found on the N- or C-termini of a subset of metabolosome core enzymes. These encapsulation peptides (EPs) are characterized by a primary structure predicted to form an amphipathic α-helix that interacts with shell proteins. Here, we review the features, function and widespread occurrence of EPs among metabolosomes, and propose an expanded role for EPs in the assembly of diverse BMCs. © Cléement Aussignargues, Bradley C Paasch, Raul Gonzalez-Esquer, Onur Erbilgin, and Cheryl A Kerfeld. Source

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