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Gong P.,Colorado State University | Gong P.,CAS Wuhan Institute of Virology | Kortus M.G.,Colorado State University | Nix J.C.,Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

RNA-dependent RNA polymerases play a vital role in the growth of RNA viruses where they are responsible for genome replication, but do so with rather low fidelity that allows for the rapid adaptation to different host cell environments. These polymerases are also a target for antiviral drug development. However, both drug discovery efforts and our understanding of fidelity determinants have been hampered by a lack of detailed structural information about functional polymerase-RNA complexes and the structural changes that take place during the elongation cycle. Many of the molecular details associated with nucleotide selection and catalysis were revealed in our recent structure of the poliovirus polymerase-RNA complex solved by first purifying and then crystallizing stalled elongation complexes. In the work presented here we extend that basic methodology to determine nine new structures of poliovirus, coxsackievirus, and rhinovirus elongation complexes at 2.2-2.9 Å resolution. The structures highlight conserved features of picornaviral polymerases and the interactions they make with the template and product RNA strands, including a tight grip on eight basepairs of the nascent duplex, a fully pre-positioned templating nucleotide, and a conserved binding pocket for the +2 position template strand base. At the active site we see a pre-bound magnesium ion and there is conservation of a non-standard backbone conformation of the template strand in an interaction that may aid in triggering RNA translocation via contact with the conserved polymerase motif B. Moreover, by engineering plasticity into RNA-RNA contacts, we obtain crystal forms that are capable of multiple rounds of in-crystal catalysis and RNA translocation. Together, the data demonstrate that engineering flexible RNA contacts to promote crystal lattice formation is a versatile platform that can be used to solve the structures of viral RdRP elongation complexes and their catalytic cycle intermediates. © 2013 Gong et al.

Okazaki N.,Japan Atomic Energy Agency | Tamada T.,Japan Atomic Energy Agency | Feese M.D.,Cocrystal Discovery Inc. | Kato M.,Kanazawa Institute of Technology | And 7 more authors.
Protein Science | Year: 2012

Glycosyltrehalose trehalohydrolase (GTHase) is an α-amylase that cleaves the α-1,4 bond adjacent to the α-1,1 bond of maltooligosyltrehalose to release trehalose. To investigate the catalytic and substrate recognition mechanisms of GTHase, two residues, Asp252 (nucleophile) and Glu283 (general acid/base), located at the catalytic site of GTHase were mutated (Asp252→Ser (D252S), Glu (D252E) and Glu283→Gln (E283Q)), and the activity and structure of the enzyme were investigated. The E283Q, D252E, and D252S mutants showed only 0.04, 0.03, and 0.6% of enzymatic activity against the wild-type, respectively. The crystal structure of the E283Q mutant GTHase in complex with the substrate, maltotriosyltrehalose (G3-Tre), was determined to 2.6-Å resolution. The structure with G3-Tre indicated that GTHase has at least five substrate binding subsites and that Glu283 is the catalytic acid, and Asp252 is the nucleophile that attacks the C1 carbon in the glycosidic linkage of G3-Tre. The complex structure also revealed a scheme for substrate recognition by GTHase. Substrate recognition involves two unique interactions: stacking of Tyr325 with the terminal glucose ring of the trehalose moiety and perpendicularly placement of Trp215 to the pyranose rings at the subsites -1 and +1 glucose. Published by Wiley-Blackwell. © 2012 The Protein Society.

Ahn Y.M.,Deciphera Pharmaceuticals LLC | Clare M.,Deciphera Pharmaceuticals LLC | Ensinger C.L.,Deciphera Pharmaceuticals LLC | Hood M.M.,Deciphera Pharmaceuticals LLC | And 16 more authors.
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters | Year: 2010

Switch control pocket inhibitors of p38-alpha kinase are described. Durable type II inhibitors were designed which bind to arginines (Arg67 or Arg70) that function as key residues for mediating phospho-threonine 180 dependant conformational fluxing of p38-alpha from an inactive type II state to an active type I state. Binding to Arg70 in particular led to potent inhibitors, exemplified by DP-802, which also exhibited high kinase selectivity. Binding to Arg70 obviated the requirement for binding into the ATP Hinge region. X-ray crystallography revealed that DP-802 and analogs induce an enhanced type II conformation upon binding to either the unphosphorylated or the doubly phosphorylated form of p38-alpha kinase. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Colussi T.M.,University of Colorado at Denver | Colussi T.M.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Colussi T.M.,Northeastern University | Costantino D.A.,University of Colorado at Denver | And 12 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2015

The central dogma of gene expression (DNA to RNA to protein) is universal, but in different domains of life there are fundamental mechanistic differences within this pathway. For example, the canonical molecular signals used to initiate protein synthesis in bacteria and eukaryotes are mutually exclusive. However, the core structures and conformational dynamics of ribosomes that are responsible for the translation steps that take place after initiation are ancient and conserved across the domains of life. We wanted to explore whether an undiscovered RNA-based signal might be able to use these conserved features, bypassing mechanisms specific to each domain of life, and initiate protein synthesis in both bacteria and eukaryotes. Although structured internal ribosome entry site (IRES) RNAs can manipulate ribosomes to initiate translation in eukaryotic cells, an analogous RNA structure-based mechanism has not been observed in bacteria. Here we report our discovery that a eukaryotic viral IRES can initiate translation in live bacteria. We solved the crystal structure of this IRES bound to a bacterial ribosome to 3.8 Å resolution, revealing that despite differences between bacterial and eukaryotic ribosomes this IRES binds directly to both and occupies the space normally used by transfer RNAs. Initiation in both bacteria and eukaryotes depends on the structure of the IRES RNA, but in bacteria this RNA uses a different mechanism that includes a form of ribosome repositioning after initial recruitment. This IRES RNA bridges billions of years of evolutionary divergence and provides an example of an RNA structure-based translation initiation signal capable of operating in two domains of life. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Santos N.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Zhu J.,University of California at Santa Cruz | Zhu J.,Cocrystal Discovery Inc. | Donohue J.P.,University of California at Santa Cruz | And 2 more authors.
Structure | Year: 2013

Bacterial translation termination is mediated by release factors RF1 and RF2, which recognize stop codons and catalyze hydrolysis of the peptidyl-tRNA ester bond. The catalytic mechanism has been debated. We proposed that the backbone amide NH group, rather than the side chain, of the glutamine of the universally conserved GGQ motif participates in catalysis by H-bonding to the tetrahedral transition-state intermediate and by product stabilization. This was supported by complete loss of RF1 catalytic activity when glutamine is replaced by proline, the only residue that lacks a backbone NH group. Here, we present the 3.4 Å crystal structure of the ribosome complex containing the RF2 Q253P mutant and find that its fold, including the GGP sequence, is virtually identical to that of wild-type RF2. This rules out proline-induced misfolding and further supports the proposal that catalytic activity requires interaction of the Gln-253 backbone amide with the 3′ end of peptidyl-tRNA. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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