register interest

Dr Robert M Esnouf

Research Area: Protein Science and Structural Biology
Technology Exchange: Bioinformatics, Computational biology, Crystallography and Drug discovery
Scientific Themes: Protein Science & Structural Biology
Keywords: structure, crystallography, bioinformatics, LIMS, B. anthracis and protein disorder
Web Links:

The study of biology attempts to develop a detailed understanding of the processes of life at all levels from molecules to organisms. The advent of genomic-scale science now offers the promise of a knowledge of all molecules in living systems and created the expectation that this level of knowledge can be extended to include molecular structure, function, processes and even the systems biology of complete cells. Computation has become an indispensable tool in biology by providing a controlled environment for developing and testing hypotheses. My research interests have moved from a background in chemistry and computation to structural biology and structural bioinformatics. Research interests range from methods development in bioinformatics (disorder prediction with RONN, genome wide annotation with structural data) through protein production and data tracking (laboratory information management systems, LIMS) and structure determination to structure analysis and display.

As well has providing and maintaining the IT platform for the whole Division, I am collaborating on the development of an information management system for protein science, the Protein Information Management System (PiMS). I act as the scientific sponsor, directing the work of a team of developers and scientists across the UK. The aim of PiMS is to develop a freely available commercial-quality LIMS appropriate to tracking of protein production data for structural biology laboratories.

On the crystallographic side, through links with the Oxford Protein Production Facility I have been coordinating a structural proteomics-type study of proteins from Bacillus anthracis.

There are no collaborations listed for this principal investigator.

Kotecha A, Seago J, Scott K, Burman A, Loureiro S, Ren J, Porta C, Ginn HM et al. 2015. Structure-based energetics of protein interfaces guides foot-and-mouth disease virus vaccine design. Nat Struct Mol Biol, 22 (10), pp. 788-794. | Show Abstract | Read more

Virus capsids are primed for disassembly, yet capsid integrity is key to generating a protective immune response. Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) capsids comprise identical pentameric protein subunits held together by tenuous noncovalent interactions and are often unstable. Chemically inactivated or recombinant empty capsids, which could form the basis of future vaccines, are even less stable than live virus. Here we devised a computational method to assess the relative stability of protein-protein interfaces and used it to design improved candidate vaccines for two poorly stable, but globally important, serotypes of FMDV: O and SAT2. We used a restrained molecular dynamics strategy to rank mutations predicted to strengthen the pentamer interfaces and applied the results to produce stabilized capsids. Structural analyses and stability assays confirmed the predictions, and vaccinated animals generated improved neutralizing-antibody responses to stabilized particles compared to parental viruses and wild-type capsids.

Borley DW, Mahapatra M, Paton DJ, Esnouf RM, Stuart DI, Fry EE. 2013. Evaluation and use of in-silico structure-based epitope prediction with foot-and-mouth disease virus. PLoS One, 8 (5), pp. e61122. | Show Abstract | Read more

Understanding virus antigenicity is of fundamental importance for the development of better, more cross-reactive vaccines. However, as far as we are aware, no systematic work has yet been conducted using the 3D structure of a virus to identify novel epitopes. Therefore we have extended several existing structural prediction algorithms to build a method for identifying epitopes on the appropriate outer surface of intact virus capsids (which are structurally different from globular proteins in both shape and arrangement of multiple repeated elements) and applied it here as a proof of principle concept to the capsid of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). We have analysed how reliably several freely available structure-based B cell epitope prediction programs can identify already known viral epitopes of FMDV in the context of the viral capsid. To do this we constructed a simple objective metric to measure the sensitivity and discrimination of such algorithms. After optimising the parameters for five methods using an independent training set we used this measure to evaluate the methods. Individually any one algorithm performed rather poorly (three performing better than the other two) suggesting that there may be value in developing virus-specific software. Taking a very conservative approach requiring a consensus between all three top methods predicts a number of previously described antigenic residues as potential epitopes on more than one serotype of FMDV, consistent with experimental results. The consensus results identified novel residues as potential epitopes on more than one serotype. These include residues 190-192 of VP2 (not previously determined to be antigenic), residues 69-71 and 193-197 of VP3 spanning the pentamer-pentamer interface, and another region incorporating residues 83, 84 and 169-174 of VP1 (all only previously experimentally defined on serotype A). The computer programs needed to create a semi-automated procedure for carrying out this epitope prediction method are presented.

Ramraj V, Evans G, Diprose JM, Esnouf RM. 2012. Nearest-cell: a fast and easy tool for locating crystal matches in the PDB. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 68 (Pt 12), pp. 1697-1700. | Show Abstract | Read more

When embarking upon X-ray diffraction data collection from a potentially novel macromolecular crystal form, it can be useful to ascertain whether the measured data reflect a crystal form that is already recorded in the Protein Data Bank and, if so, whether it is part of a large family of related structures. Providing such information to crystallographers conveniently and quickly, as soon as the first images have been recorded and the unit cell characterized at an X-ray beamline, has the potential to save time and effort as well as pointing to possible search models for molecular replacement. Given an input unit cell, and optionally a space group, Nearest-cell rapidly scans the Protein Data Bank and retrieves near-matches.

Savitsky M, Diprose JM, Morris C, Griffiths SL, Daniel E, Lin B, Daenke S, Bishop B et al. 2011. Recording information on protein complexes in an information management system. J Struct Biol, 175 (2), pp. 224-229. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Protein Information Management System (PiMS) is a laboratory information management system (LIMS) designed for use with the production of proteins in a research environment. The software is distributed under the CCP4 licence, and so is available free of charge to academic laboratories. Like most LIMS, the underlying PiMS data model originally had no support for protein-protein complexes. To support the SPINE2-Complexes project the developers have extended PiMS to meet these requirements. The modifications to PiMS, described here, include data model changes, additional protocols, some user interface changes and functionality to detect when an experiment may have formed a complex. Example data are shown for the production of a crystal of a protein complex. Integration with SPINE2-Complexes Target Tracker application is also described.

Daniel E, Lin B, Diprose JM, Griffiths SL, Morris C, Berry IM, Owens RJ, Blake R, Wilson KS, Stuart DI, Esnouf RM. 2011. xtalPiMS: a PiMS-based web application for the management and monitoring of crystallization trials. J Struct Biol, 175 (2), pp. 230-235. | Show Abstract | Read more

A major advance in protein structure determination has been the advent of nanolitre-scale crystallization and (in a high-throughput environment) the development of robotic systems for storing and imaging crystallization trials. Most of these trials are carried out in 96-well (or higher density) plates and managing them is a significant information management challenge. We describe xtalPiMS, a web-based application for the management and monitoring of crystallization trials. xtalPiMS has a user-interface layer based on the standards of the Protein Information Management System (PiMS) and a database layer which links the crystallization trial images to the meta-data associated with a particular crystallization trial. The user interface has been optimized for the efficient monitoring of high-throughput environments with three different automated imagers and work to support a fourth imager is in progress, but it can even be of use without robotics. The database can either be a PiMS database or a legacy database for which a suitable mapping layer has been developed.

Morris C, Pajon A, Griffiths SL, Daniel E, Savitsky M, Lin B, Diprose JM, da Silva AW et al. 2011. The Protein Information Management System (PiMS): a generic tool for any structural biology research laboratory. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 67 (Pt 4), pp. 249-260. | Show Abstract | Read more

The techniques used in protein production and structural biology have been developing rapidly, but techniques for recording the laboratory information produced have not kept pace. One approach is the development of laboratory information-management systems (LIMS), which typically use a relational database schema to model and store results from a laboratory workflow. The underlying philosophy and implementation of the Protein Information Management System (PiMS), a LIMS development specifically targeted at the flexible and unpredictable workflows of protein-production research laboratories of all scales, is described. PiMS is a web-based Java application that uses either Postgres or Oracle as the underlying relational database-management system. PiMS is available under a free licence to all academic laboratories either for local installation or for use as a managed service.

Savitsky M, Diprose JM, Morris C, Griffiths SL, Daniel E, Lin B, Daenke S, Bishop B et al. 2011. Recording information on protein complexes in an information management system Journal of Structural Biology, 175 (2), pp. 224-229. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Protein Information Management System (PiMS) is a laboratory information management system (LIMS) designed for use with the production of proteins in a research environment. The software is distributed under the CCP4 licence, and so is available free of charge to academic laboratories. Like most LIMS, the underlying PiMS data model originally had no support for protein-protein complexes. To support the SPINE2-Complexes project the developers have extended PiMS to meet these requirements. The modifications to PiMS, described here, include data model changes, additional protocols, some user interface changes and functionality to detect when an experiment may have formed a complex. Example data are shown for the production of a crystal of a protein complex. Integration with SPINE2-Complexes Target Tracker application is also described. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Daniel E, Lin B, Diprose JM, Griffiths SL, Morris C, Berry IM, Owens RJ, Blake R, Wilson KS, Stuart DI, Esnouf RM. 2011. XtalPiMS: A PiMS-based web application for the management and monitoring of crystallization trials Journal of Structural Biology, 175 (2), pp. 230-235. | Show Abstract | Read more

A major advance in protein structure determination has been the advent of nanolitre-scale crystallization and (in a high-throughput environment) the development of robotic systems for storing and imaging crystallization trials. Most of these trials are carried out in 96-well (or higher density) plates and managing them is a significant information management challenge. We describe xtalPiMS, a web-based application for the management and monitoring of crystallization trials. xtalPiMS has a user-interface layer based on the standards of the Protein Information Management System (PiMS) and a database layer which links the crystallization trial images to the meta-data associated with a particular crystallization trial. The user interface has been optimized for the efficient monitoring of high-throughput environments with three different automated imagers and work to support a fourth imager is in progress, but it can even be of use without robotics. The database can either be a PiMS database or a legacy database for which a suitable mapping layer has been developed. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Paesen GC, Siebold C, Dallas ML, Peers C, Harlos K, Nuttall PA, Nunn MA, Stuart DI, Esnouf RM. 2009. An ion-channel modulator from the saliva of the brown ear tick has a highly modified Kunitz/BPTI structure. J Mol Biol, 389 (4), pp. 734-747. | Show Abstract | Read more

Ra-KLP, a 75 amino acid protein secreted by the salivary gland of the brown ear tick Rhipicephalus appendiculatus has a sequence resembling those of Kunitz/BPTI proteins. We report the detection, purification and characterization of the function of Ra-KLP. In addition, determination of the three-dimensional crystal structure of Ra-KLP at 1.6 A resolution using sulphur single-wavelength anomalous dispersion reveals that much of the loop structure of classical Kunitz domains, including the protruding protease-binding loop, has been replaced by beta-strands. Even more unusually, the N-terminal portion of the polypeptide chain is pinned to the "Kunitz head" by two disulphide bridges not found in classical Kunitz/BPTI proteins. The disulphide bond pattern has been further altered by the loss of the bridge that normally stabilizes the protease-binding loop. Consistent with the conversion of this loop into a beta-strand, Ra-KLP shows no significant anti-protease activity; however, it activates maxiK channels in an in vitro system, suggesting a potential mechanism for regulating host blood supply during feeding.

Meier C, Carter LG, Sainsbury S, Mancini EJ, Owens RJ, Stuart DI, Esnouf RM. 2008. The crystal structure of UMP kinase from Bacillus anthracis (BA1797) reveals an allosteric nucleotide-binding site. J Mol Biol, 381 (5), pp. 1098-1105. | Show Abstract | Read more

Uridine monophosphate (UMP) kinase is a conserved enzyme that catalyzes the ATP-driven conversion of uridylate monophosphate into uridylate diphosphate, an essential metabolic step. In prokaryotes, the enzyme exists as a homohexamer that is regulated by various metabolites. Whereas the enzymatic mechanism of UMP kinase (UK) is well-characterized, the molecular basis of its regulation remains poorly understood. Here we report the crystal structure of UK from Bacillus anthracis (BA1797) in complex with ATP at 2.82 A resolution. It reveals that the cofactor, in addition to binding in the active sites, also interacts with separate binding pockets located near the center of the hexameric structure. The existence of such an allosteric binding site had been predicted by biochemical studies, but it was not identified in previous crystal structures of prokaryotic UKs. We show that this putative allosteric pocket is conserved across different bacterial species, suggesting that it is a feature common to bacterial UKs, and we present a structural model for the allosteric regulation of this enzyme.

Au K, Ren J, Walter TS, Harlos K, Nettleship JE, Owens RJ, Stuart DI, Esnouf RM. 2008. Structures of an alanine racemase from Bacillus anthracis (BA0252) in the presence and absence of (R)-1-aminoethylphosphonic acid (L-Ala-P). Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun, 64 (Pt 5), pp. 327-333. | Show Abstract | Read more

Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, has been targeted by the Oxford Protein Production Facility to validate high-throughput protocols within the Structural Proteomics in Europe project. As part of this work, the structures of an alanine racemase (BA0252) in the presence and absence of the inhibitor (R)-1-aminoethylphosphonic acid (L-Ala-P) have determined by X-ray crystallography to resolutions of 2.1 and 1.47 A, respectively. Difficulties in crystallizing this protein were overcome by the use of reductive methylation. Alanine racemase has attracted much interest as a possible target for anti-anthrax drugs: not only is D-alanine a vital component of the bacterial cell wall, but recent studies also indicate that alanine racemase, which is accessible in the exosporium, plays a key role in inhibition of germination in B. anthracis. These structures confirm the binding mode of L-Ala-P but suggest an unexpected mechanism of inhibition of alanine racemase by this compound and could provide a basis for the design of improved alanine racemase inhibitors with potential as anti-anthrax therapies.

Zaccai NR, Carter LG, Berrow NS, Sainsbury S, Nettleship JE, Walter TS, Harlos K, Owens RJ, Wilson KS, Stuart DI, Esnouf RM. 2008. Crystal structure of a 3-oxoacyl-(acylcarrier protein) reductase (BA3989) from Bacillus anthracis at 2.4-A resolution. Proteins, 70 (2), pp. 562-567. | Read more

Meier C, Carter LG, Winter G, Owens RJ, Stuart DI, Esnouf RM. 2007. Structure of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate cyclo-ligase from Bacillus anthracis (BA4489). Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun, 63 (Pt 3), pp. 168-172. | Show Abstract | Read more

Bacillus anthracis is a spore-forming bacterium and the causative agent of the disease anthrax. The Oxford Protein Production Facility has been targeting proteins from B. anthracis in order to develop high-throughput technologies within the Structural Proteomics in Europe project. As part of this work, the structure of 5-formyltetrahydrofolate cyclo-ligase (BA4489) has been determined by X-ray crystallography to 1.6 A resolution. The structure, solved in complex with magnesium-ion-bound ADP and phosphate, gives a detailed picture of the proposed catalytic mechanism of the enzyme. Chemical differences from other cyclo-ligase structures close to the active site that could be exploited to design specific inhibitors are also highlighted.

Au K, Berrow NS, Blagova E, Boucher IW, Boyle MP, Brannigan JA, Carter LG, Dierks T et al. 2006. Application of high-throughput technologies to a structural proteomics-type analysis of Bacillus anthracis. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 62 (Pt 10), pp. 1267-1275. | Show Abstract | Read more

A collaborative project between two Structural Proteomics In Europe (SPINE) partner laboratories, York and Oxford, aimed at high-throughput (HTP) structure determination of proteins from Bacillus anthracis, the aetiological agent of anthrax and a biomedically important target, is described. Based upon a target-selection strategy combining ;low-hanging fruit' and more challenging targets, this work has contributed to the body of knowledge of B. anthracis, established and developed HTP cloning and expression technologies and tested HTP pipelines. Both centres developed ligation-independent cloning (LIC) and expression systems, employing custom LIC-PCR, Gateway and In-Fusion technologies, used in combination with parallel protein purification and robotic nanolitre crystallization screening. Overall, 42 structures have been solved by X-ray crystallography, plus two by NMR through collaboration between York and the SPINE partner in Utrecht. Three biologically important protein structures, BA4899, BA1655 and BA3998, involved in tRNA modification, sporulation control and carbohydrate metabolism, respectively, are highlighted. Target analysis by biophysical clustering based on pI and hydropathy has provided useful information for future target-selection strategies. The technological developments and lessons learned from this project are discussed. The success rate of protein expression and structure solution is at least in keeping with that achieved in structural genomics programs.

Esnouf RM, Hamer R, Sussman JL, Silman I, Trudgian D, Yang ZR, Prilusky J. 2006. Honing the in silico toolkit for detecting protein disorder. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 62 (Pt 10), pp. 1260-1266. | Show Abstract | Read more

Not all proteins form well defined three-dimensional structures in their native states. Some amino-acid sequences appear to strongly favour the disordered state, whereas some can apparently transition between disordered and ordered states under the influence of changes in the biological environment, thereby playing an important role in processes such as signalling. Although important biologically, for the structural biologist disordered regions of proteins can be disastrous even preventing successful structure determination. The accurate prediction of disorder is therefore important, not least for directing the design of expression constructs so as to maximize the chances of successful structure determination. Such design criteria have become integral to the construct-design strategies of laboratories within the Structural Proteomics In Europe (SPINE) consortium. This paper assesses the current state of the art in disorder prediction in terms of prediction reliability and considers how best to use these methods to guide construct design. Finally, it presents a brief discussion as to how methods of prediction might be improved in the future.

Albeck S, Alzari P, Andreini C, Banci L, Berry IM, Bertini I, Cambillau C, Canard B et al. 2006. SPINE bioinformatics and data-management aspects of high-throughput structural biology. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 62 (Pt 10), pp. 1184-1195. | Show Abstract | Read more

SPINE (Structural Proteomics In Europe) was established in 2002 as an integrated research project to develop new methods and technologies for high-throughput structural biology. Development areas were broken down into workpackages and this article gives an overview of ongoing activity in the bioinformatics workpackage. Developments cover target selection, target registration, wet and dry laboratory data management and structure annotation as they pertain to high-throughput studies. Some individual projects and developments are discussed in detail, while those that are covered elsewhere in this issue are treated more briefly. In particular, this overview focuses on the infrastructure of the software that allows the experimentalist to move projects through different areas that are crucial to high-throughput studies, leading to the collation of large data sets which are managed and eventually archived and/or deposited.

Berry IM, Dym O, Esnouf RM, Harlos K, Meged R, Perrakis A, Sussman JL, Walter TS, Wilson J, Messerschmidt A. 2006. SPINE high-throughput crystallization, crystal imaging and recognition techniques: current state, performance analysis, new technologies and future aspects. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 62 (Pt 10), pp. 1137-1149. | Show Abstract | Read more

This paper reviews the developments in high-throughput and nanolitre-scale protein crystallography technologies within the remit of workpackage 4 of the Structural Proteomics In Europe (SPINE) project since the project's inception in October 2002. By surveying the uptake, use and experience of new technologies by SPINE partners across Europe, a picture emerges of highly successful adoption of novel working methods revolutionizing this area of structural biology. Finally, a forward view is taken of how crystallization methodologies may develop in the future.

Bahar M, Ballard C, Cohen SX, Cowtan KD, Dodson EJ, Emsley P, Esnouf RM, Keegan R et al. 2006. SPINE workshop on automated X-ray analysis: a progress report. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 62 (Pt 10), pp. 1170-1183. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Structural Proteomics In Europe (SPINE) consortium contained a workpackage to address the automated X-ray analysis of macromolecules. The aim of this workpackage was to increase the throughput of three-dimensional structures while maintaining the high quality of conventional analyses. SPINE was able to bring together developers of software with users from the partner laboratories. Here, the results of a workshop organized by the consortium to evaluate software developed in the member laboratories against a set of bacterial targets are described. The major emphasis was on molecular-replacement suites, where automation was most advanced. Data processing and analysis, use of experimental phases and model construction were also addressed, albeit at a lower level.

Roche P, Brown J, Denley A, Forbes BE, Wallace JC, Jones EY, Esnouf RM. 2006. Computational model for the IGF-II/IGF2r complex that is predictive of mutational and surface plasmon resonance data. Proteins, 64 (3), pp. 758-768. | Show Abstract | Read more

Insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) are key regulators of cell proliferation, differentiation, and transformation, and are thus pivotal in cancer, especially breast, prostate, and colon neoplasm. Their potent mitogenic and anti-apoptotic actions depend primarily on their availability to bind to the signaling IGF cell surface receptors. One mechanism by which IGF-II availability is thought to be modulated is by binding to the nonsignaling IGF-II receptor (IGF2R). This binding is essentially mediated by domain 11 in the multidomain IGF2R extracellular region. The crystal structure of domain 11 of the human IGF-II receptor (IGF2R-d11) has identified a putative IGF-II binding site, and a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) solution structure for the IGF-II ligand has also been characterized. These structures have now been used to model in silico the protein-protein interaction between IGF-II and IGF2R-d11 using the program 3D-Dock. Because the IGF-II data comprise an ensemble of 20 structures, all of which satisfy the NMR constraints, the docking procedure was applied to each member of the ensemble. Only those models in which residue Ile1572 of IGF2R-d11, known to be essential for the binding of IGF-II, was at the interface were considered further. These plausible complexes were then critically assessed using an array of analysis techniques including consideration of additional mutagenesis data. One model was strongly supported by these analyses and is discussed here in detail. Furthermore, we demonstrate in vitro experimental support for this model by studying the binding of chimeras of IGF-I and IGF-II to IGF2R fragments.

Esnouf RM, Love CA, Harlos K, Stuart DI, Jones EY. 2006. Structure determination of human semaphorin 4D as an example of the use of MAD in non-optimal cases. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 62 (Pt 1), pp. 108-115. | Show Abstract | Read more

Semaphorins are an important class of signalling molecules involved in axon guidance, immune function and angiogenesis. They are characterized by having an extracellular sema domain of about 500 residues. The steps involved in the determination of the structure of human semaphorin 4D are described here as a case study of selenium MAD phasing in a difficult case with low symmetry, moderate diffraction and low selenium content. A particular feature of this study was the large number of diffraction images required to give data of sufficient quality for structure determination and these data are re-analyzed here to investigate the effects of radiation damage on eventual data quality and to suggest strategies for successful MAD phasing in similar difficult cases.

Berry I, Wilson J, Diprose J, Stuart D, Fuller S, Esnouf R. 2005. Image storage for automated crystallization imaging systems. Int J Neural Syst, 15 (6), pp. 415-425. | Show Abstract | Read more

To use crystallography for the determination of the three-dimensional structures of proteins, protein crystals need to be grown. Automated imaging systems are increasingly being used to monitor these crystallization experiments. These present problems of accessibility to the data, repeatability of any image analysis performed and the amount of storage required. Various image formats and techniques can be combined to provide effective solutions to high volume processing problems such as these, however lack of widespread support for the most effective algorithms, such as JPeg2000 which yielded a 64% improvement in file size over the bitmap, currently inhibits the immediate take up of this approach.

Evans EJ, Esnouf RM, Manso-Sancho R, Gilbert RJC, James JR, Yu C, Hyning T, Ikemizu S, Stuart DI, Davis SJ. 2005. The structure and cross-reactivity of CD28 IMMUNOLOGY, 116 pp. 54-54.

Yang ZR, Thomson R, McNeil P, Esnouf RM. 2005. RONN: the bio-basis function neural network technique applied to the detection of natively disordered regions in proteins. Bioinformatics, 21 (16), pp. 3369-3376. | Show Abstract | Read more

MOTIVATION: Recent studies have found many proteins containing regions that do not form well-defined three-dimensional structures in their native states. The study and detection of such disordered regions is important both for understanding protein function and for facilitating structural analysis since disordered regions may affect solubility and/or crystallizability. RESULTS: We have developed the regional order neural network (RONN) software as an application of our recently developed 'bio-basis function neural network' pattern recognition algorithm to the detection of natively disordered regions in proteins. The results of blind-testing a panel of nine disorder prediction tools (including RONN) against 80 protein sequences derived from the Protein Data Bank shows that, based on the probability excess measure, RONN performed the best.

Walter TS, Diprose JM, Mayo CJ, Siebold C, Pickford MG, Carter L, Sutton GC, Berrow NS et al. 2005. A procedure for setting up high-throughput nanolitre crystallization experiments. Crystallization workflow for initial screening, automated storage, imaging and optimization. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 61 (Pt 6), pp. 651-657. | Show Abstract | Read more

Crystallization trials at the Division of Structural Biology in Oxford are now almost exclusively carried out using a high-throughput workflow implemented in the Oxford Protein Production Facility. Initial crystallization screening is based on nanolitre-scale sitting-drop vapour-diffusion experiments (typically 100 nl of protein plus 100 nl of reservoir solution per droplet) which use standard crystallization screening kits and 96-well crystallization plates. For 294 K crystallization trials the barcoded crystallization plates are entered into an automated storage system with a fully integrated imaging system. These plates are imaged in accordance with a pre-programmed schedule and the resulting digital data for each droplet are harvested into a laboratory information-management system (LIMS), scored by crystal recognition software and displayed for user analysis via a web-based interface. Currently, storage for trials at 277 K is not automated and for imaging the crystallization plates are fed by hand into an imaging system from which the data enter the LIMS. The workflow includes two procedures for nanolitre-scale optimization of crystallization conditions: (i) a protocol for variation of pH, reservoir dilution and protein:reservoir ratio and (ii) an additive screen. Experience based on 592 crystallization projects is reported.

Chen JL, Stewart-Jones G, Bossi G, Lissin NM, Wooldridge L, Choi EM, Held G, Dunbar PR et al. 2005. Structural and kinetic basis for heightened immunogenicity of T cell vaccines. J Exp Med, 201 (8), pp. 1243-1255. | Show Abstract | Read more

Analogue peptides with enhanced binding affinity to major histocompatibility class (MHC) I molecules are currently being used in cancer patients to elicit stronger T cell responses. However, it remains unclear as to how alterations of anchor residues may affect T cell receptor (TCR) recognition. We correlate functional, thermodynamic, and structural parameters of TCR-peptide-MHC binding and demonstrate the effect of anchor residue modifications of the human histocompatibility leukocyte antigens (HLA)-A2 tumor epitope NY-ESO-1(157-165)-SLLMWITQC on TCR recognition. The crystal structure of the wild-type peptide complexed with a specific TCR shows that TCR binding centers on two prominent, sequential, peptide sidechains, methionine-tryptophan. Cysteine-to-valine substitution at peptide position 9, while optimizing peptide binding to the MHC, repositions the peptide main chain and generates subtly enhanced interactions between the analogue peptide and the TCR. Binding analyses confirm tighter binding of the analogue peptide to HLA-A2 and improved soluble TCR binding. Recognition of analogue peptide stimulates faster polarization of lytic granules to the immunological synapse, reduces dependence on CD8 binding, and induces greater numbers of cross-reactive cytotoxic T lymphocyte to SLLMWITQC. These results provide important insights into heightened immunogenicity of analogue peptides and highlight the importance of incorporating structural data into the process of rational optimization of superagonist peptides for clinical trials.

Evans EJ, Esnouf RM, Manso-Sancho R, Gilbert RJ, James JR, Yu C, Fennelly JA, Vowles C et al. 2005. Crystal structure of a soluble CD28-Fab complex. Nat Immunol, 6 (3), pp. 271-279. | Show Abstract | Read more

Naive T cell activation requires signaling by the T cell receptor and by nonclonotypic cell surface receptors. The most important costimulatory protein is the monovalent homodimer CD28, which interacts with CD80 and CD86 expressed on antigen-presenting cells. Here we present the crystal structure of a soluble form of CD28 in complex with the Fab fragment of a mitogenic antibody. Structural comparisons redefine the evolutionary relationships of CD28-related proteins, antigen receptors and adhesion molecules and account for the distinct ligand-binding and stoichiometric properties of CD28 and the related, inhibitory homodimer CTLA-4. Cryo-electron microscopy-based comparisons of complexes of CD28 with mitogenic and nonmitogenic antibodies place new constraints on models of antibody-induced receptor triggering. This work completes the initial structural characterization of the CD28-CTLA-4-CD80-CD86 signaling system.

Mayo CJ, Diprose JM, Walter TS, Berry IM, Wilson J, Owens RJ, Jones EY, Harlos K, Stuart DI, Esnouf RM. 2005. Benefits of automated crystallization plate tracking, imaging, and analysis. Structure, 13 (2), pp. 175-182. | Show Abstract | Read more

We describe the design of a database and software for managing and organizing protein crystallization data. We also outline the considerations behind the design of a fast web interface linking protein production data, crystallization images, and automated image analysis. The database and associated interfaces underpin the Oxford Protein Production Facility (OPPF) crystallization laboratory, collecting, in a routine and automatic manner, up to 100,000 images per day. Over 17 million separate images are currently held in this database. We discuss the substantial scientific benefits automated tracking, imaging, and analysis of crystallizations offers to the structural biologist: analysis of the time course of the trial and easy analysis of trials with related crystallization conditions. Features of this system address requirements common to many crystallographic laboratories that are currently setting up (semi-)automated crystallization imaging systems.

Pajon A, Ionides J, Diprose J, Fillon J, Fogh R, Ashton AW, Berman H, Boucher W et al. 2005. Design of a data model for developing laboratory information management and analysis systems for protein production. Proteins, 58 (2), pp. 278-284. | Show Abstract | Read more

Data management has emerged as one of the central issues in the high-throughput processes of taking a protein target sequence through to a protein sample. To simplify this task, and following extensive consultation with the international structural genomics community, we describe here a model of the data related to protein production. The model is suitable for both large and small facilities for use in tracking samples, experiments, and results through the many procedures involved. The model is described in Unified Modeling Language (UML). In addition, we present relational database schemas derived from the UML. These relational schemas are already in use in a number of data management projects.

Gherardi E, Love CA, Esnouf RM, Jones EY. 2004. The sema domain. Curr Opin Struct Biol, 14 (6), pp. 669-678. | Show Abstract | Read more

The sema domain was first defined from sequence by Kolodkin and colleagues in the early 1990s, and constitutes the distinctive structural and functional element of semaphorins, their plexin receptors and the receptor tyrosine kinases MET and RON, three protein families with major roles in development, tissue regeneration and cancer. Recently determined crystal structures of two semaphorins (SEMA3A and SEMA4D) and the MET receptor have shown that the sema domain consists of a highly conserved variant form of the seven-blade beta-propeller fold. The structures, however, also suggest differences between these families with respect to the mode of dimerisation and the regions of the domain involved in ligand-receptor interactions. This reflects the considerable plasticity and adaptation of the sema domain in order to meet different binding requirements, properties that may underlie the vast array of ligand-receptor specificities and functions of the semaphorin superfamily.

Meier C, Ducho C, Görbig U, Esnouf R, Balzarini J. 2004. Interaction of cycloSal-pronucleotides with cholinesterases from different origins. A structure-activity relationship. J Med Chem, 47 (11), pp. 2839-2852. | Show Abstract | Read more

A large number of cycloSal-nucleotide triesters 1-49 have been studied concerning their ability to inhibit cholinesterases of different origins as well as to inhibit HIV replication in cell culture. It was shown that none of the triesters showed inhibitory effects against human acetylcholinesterase (AChE; isolated enzyme) as well as against AChE from beef erythrocytes and calf serum. In contrast, inhibition of butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) has been observed for some triesters in human and mouse serum. cycloSal pronucleotides showed strong competitive inhibition with respect to the substrate acetylcholine chloride (K(i)/K(m): approximately 2 x 10(-5)) and acted by time-dependent irreversible inhibition of the human serum BChE. Detailed studies demonstrated that the inhibitory effect against BChE is dependent on the nucleoside analogue, the substitution pattern of the cycloSal-moiety, and particularly on the stereochemistry at the phosphorus atom. Structural requirements to avoid the inhibition of BChE by cycloSal-nucleotide triesters have been elucidated in the reported study.

Siebold C, Hansen BE, Wyer JR, Harlos K, Esnouf RE, Svejgaard A, Bell JI, Strominger JL, Jones EY, Fugger L. 2004. Crystal structure of HLA-DQ0602 that protects against type 1 diabetes and confers strong susceptibility to narcolepsy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 101 (7), pp. 1999-2004. | Show Abstract | Read more

The MHC class II molecule DQ0602 confers strong susceptibility to narcolepsy but dominant protection against type 1 diabetes. The crystal structure of DQ0602 reveals the molecular features underlying these contrasting genetic properties. Structural comparisons to homologous DQ molecules with differential disease associations highlight a previously unrecognized interplay between the volume of the P6 pocket and the specificity of the P9 pocket, which implies that presentation of an expanded peptide repertoire is critical for dominant protection against type 1 diabetes. In narcolepsy, the volume of the P4 pocket appears central to the susceptibility, suggesting that the presentation of a specific peptide population plays a major role.

Auwerx J, Esnouf R, De Clercq E, Balzarini J. 2004. Susceptibility of feline immunodeficiency virus/human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase chimeras to non-nucleoside RT inhibitors. Mol Pharmacol, 65 (1), pp. 244-251. | Show Abstract | Read more

To map the determinants of the lack of susceptibility of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) reverse transcriptase (RT) to anti human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs), a variety of chimeric HIV-1/FIV RTs were constructed. The majority of chimeric RTs had an affinity (Km) for their natural substrates comparable with that of the wild-type HIV-1 and FIV RTs, but their catalytic efficacy was decreased. Whereas HIV-1 RT could be made entirely insensitive to NNRTIs by exchanging the amino acid sequence 97 through 205 of FIV RT, none of the reverse FIV/HIV-1 RT chimeras gained susceptibility to NNRTIs. The amino acids that are thought to be involved in NNRTI susceptibility and that are different from those in HIV-1 RT have also been introduced in FIV RT. These mutant RTs gained virtually no susceptibility to efavirenz or capravirine. Vice versa, when these HIV-1-specific amino acids were replaced by their FIV RT counterparts in HIV-1 RT, susceptibility to the NNRTIs was lost. Thus, replacing segments or substituting relevant amino acids in FIV RT by their HIV-1 RT counterparts did not suffice to make FIV RT sensitive toward NNRTIs and was often accompanied by a decrease or even total loss of polymerase activity. It is postulated that, in contrast to the results found for HIV-1/HIV-2 RT chimeras and supported by the crystal structure of HIV-2 RT, there exist significant differences in the structure and/or flexibility of FIV RTs that may prevent NNRTIs from interacting with the FIV RT.

Love CA, Harlos K, Mavaddat N, Davis SJ, Stuart DI, Jones EY, Esnouf RM. 2003. The ligand-binding face of the semaphorins revealed by the high-resolution crystal structure of SEMA4D. Nat Struct Biol, 10 (10), pp. 843-848. | Show Abstract | Read more

Semaphorins, proteins characterized by an extracellular sema domain, regulate axon guidance, immune function and angiogenesis. The crystal structure of SEMA4D (residues 1-657) shows the sema topology to be a seven-bladed beta-propeller, revealing an unexpected homology with integrins. The sema beta-propeller contains a distinctive 77-residue insertion between beta-strands C and D of blade 5. Blade 7 is followed by a domain common to plexins, semaphorins and integrins (PSI domain), which forms a compact cysteine knot abutting the side of the propeller, and an Ig-like domain. The top face of the beta-propeller presents prominent loops characteristic of semaphorins. In addition to limited contact between the Ig-like domains, the homodimer is stabilized through extensive interactions between the top faces in a sector of the beta-propeller used for heterodimerization in integrins. This face of the propeller also mediates ligand binding in integrins, and functional data for semaphorin-receptor interactions map to the equivalent surface.

Johnson D, Kan SH, Oldridge M, Trembath RC, Roche P, Esnouf RM, Giele H, Wilkie AO. 2003. Missense mutations in the homeodomain of HOXD13 are associated with brachydactyly types D and E. Am J Hum Genet, 72 (4), pp. 984-997. | Show Abstract | Read more

HOXD13, the most 5' gene of the HOXD cluster, encodes a homeodomain transcription factor with important functions in limb patterning and growth. Heterozygous mutations of human HOXD13, encoding polyalanine expansions or frameshifts, are believed to act by dominant negative or haploinsufficiency mechanisms and are predominantly associated with synpolydactyly phenotypes. Here, we describe two mutations of HOXD13 (923C-->G encoding Ser308Cys and 940A-->C encoding Ile314Leu) that cause missense substitutions within the homeodomain. Both are associated with distinctive limb phenotypes in which brachydactyly of specific metacarpals, metatarsals, and phalangeal bones is the most constant feature, exhibiting overlap with brachydactyly types D and E. We investigated the binding of synthetic mutant proteins to double-stranded DNA targets in vitro. No consistent differences were found for the Ser308Cys mutation compared with the wild type, but the Ile314Leu mutation (which resides at the 47th position of the homeodomain) exhibited increased affinity for a target containing the core recognition sequence 5'-TTAC-3' but decreased affinity for a 5'-TTAT-3' target. Molecular modeling of the Ile314Leu mutation indicates that this mixed gain and loss of affinity may be accounted for by the relative positions of methyl groups in the amino acid side chain and target base.

Wu F, Roche P, Christie PT, Loh NY, Reed AA, Esnouf RM, Thakker RV. 2003. Modeling study of human renal chloride channel (hCLC-5) mutations suggests a structural-functional relationship. Kidney Int, 63 (4), pp. 1426-1432. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Dent's disease, a renal tubular disorder characterized by low-molecular-weight proteinuria, hypercalciuria, and nephrolithiasis, is due to inactivating mutations in the X-linked renal-specific chloride channel, hCLC-5. The x-ray crystal structures of two bacterial chloride channels (CLCs) have recently been established, thereby allowing us to construct a model for hCLC-5 and further examine the role of its mutations. METHODS: The data regarding 49 hCLC-5 mutations were reviewed. Thirty-four mutations that predicted absent or truncated channels were excluded. The remaining 15 mutations (one in-frame insertion and 14 missense mutations), 12 of which have been studied electrophysiologically, were assessed. The hCLC-5 sequence was aligned with the Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli sequences and used to map the hCLC-5 mutations onto a three-dimensional model. RESULTS: hCLC-5 is a homodimeric protein, with each subunit consisting of 18 helices. None of the missense mutations involved the chloride (Cl-) selectivity filter, but 12 of the 15 mutations were found to be clustered at the interface of the two subunits. Six of these mutations occurred in two of the helices that either form part of the interface or lie in close proximity to the interface, and three other mutations that did not lead to complete loss of Cl- conductance were at the edge of the interface. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate a crucial role for the interaction between the two subunits at the interface of the homodimeric hCLC-5.

Balzarini J, Hernández AI, Roche P, Esnouf R, Karlsson A, Camarasa MJ, Pérez-Pérez MJ. 2003. Non-nucleoside inhibitors of mitochondrial thymidine kinase (TK-2) differentially inhibit the closely related herpes simplex virus type 1 TK and Drosophila melanogaster multifunctional deoxynucleoside kinase. Mol Pharmacol, 63 (2), pp. 263-270. | Show Abstract | Read more

5'-O-Trityl derivatives of thymidine (dThd), (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine (BVDU), and their acyclic analogs 1-[(Z)-4-triphenylmethoxy-2-butenyl]thymine (KIN-12) and (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-1-[(Z)-4-triphenylmethoxy-2-butenyl]uracil (KIN-52) have been synthesized and evaluated for their inhibitory activity against the amino acid sequence related mitochondrial dThd kinase (TK-2), herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) TK, and Drosophila melanogaster multifunctional 2'-deoxynucleoside kinase (Dm-dNK). Several compounds proved markedly inhibitory to these enzymes and represent a new generation of nucleoside kinase inhibitors. KIN-52 was the most potent and selective inhibitor of TK-2 (IC(50), 1.3 microM; K(i), 0.50 microM; K(i)/K(m), 0.37) but was not inhibitory against HSV-1 TK and Dm-dNK at 100 microM. As found for the alternative substrate BVDU, the tritylated compounds competitively inhibited the three enzymes with respect to dThd. However, whereas BVDU behaved as a noncompetitive inhibitor (alternative substrate) of TK-2 and HSV-1 TK with respect to ATP as the varying substrate, the novel tritylated enzyme inhibitors emerged as reversible purely uncompetitive inhibitors of these enzymes. Computer-assisted modeling studies are in agreement with these findings. The tritylated compounds do not act as alternative substrates and they showed a type of kinetics against the nucleoside kinases different from that of BVDU. KIN-12, and particularly KIN-52, are the very first non-nucleoside specific inhibitors of TK-2 reported and may be useful for studying the physiological role of the mitochondrial TK-2 enzyme.

Balzarini J, Liekens S, Esnouf R, De Clercq E. 2002. The A167Y mutation converts the herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase into a guanosine analogue kinase. Biochemistry, 41 (20), pp. 6517-6524. | Show Abstract | Read more

The thymidine (dThd) kinase (TK) encoded by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is not only endowed with dThd kinase, but also with thymidylate (dTMP) kinase and 2'-deoxycytidine (dCyd) kinase (dCK) activity. HSV-1 TK also recognizes a variety of antiherpetic guanine nucleoside analogues such as acyclovir (ACV), ganciclovir (GCV), lobucavir (LBV), penciclovir (PCV), and others (i.e., A5021). Site-directed mutagenesis of the highly conserved Ala-167 to Tyr in HSV-1 TK completely abolished TK, dTMP-K, and dCK activity, but maintained ACV-, GCV-, LBV-, PCV-, and A5021-phosphorylating capacity. A variety of 5-substituted pyrimidine nucleoside substrates, but also a number of selective HSV-1 TK inhibitors structurally related to thymine lost significant binding affinity for the mutant enzyme and did not markedly compete with GCV phosphorylation by the mutant enzyme. These findings could be explained by computer-assisted modeling data that revealed steric hindrance of the pyrimidine ring in the HSV-1 TK active site by the large 4-hydroxybenzyl ring of 167-Tyr, while the positioning of the purine ring of guanine-based HIV-1 TK substrates in the active site was kept virtually unaltered. Surprisingly, the efficiency of conversion the antiherpetic 2'-deoxyguanosine analogues ACV, GCV, LBV, PCV, and A5021 to their phosphorylated forms by the A167Y mutant HSV-1 TK was far more pronounced than for the wild-type enzyme. Therefore, the single A167Y mutation converts the wild-type HSV-1 TK from a predominantly pyrimidine nucleos(t)ide kinase into a virtually exclusive purine (guanine) nucleoside analogue kinase.

Balzarini J, Sienaert R, Liekens S, Van Kuilenburg A, Carangio A, Esnouf R, De Clercq E, McGuigan C. 2002. Lack of susceptibility of bicyclic nucleoside analogs, highly potent inhibitors of varicella-zoster virus, to the catabolic action of thymidine phosphorylase and dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase. Mol Pharmacol, 61 (5), pp. 1140-1145. | Show Abstract | Read more

The susceptibility of the bicyclic nucleoside analogs (BCNAs), highly potent and selective inhibitors of varicella-zoster virus (VZV), to the enzymes involved in nucleoside/nucleobase catabolism has been investigated in comparison with the established anti-VZV agent (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine [BVDU; brivudine (Zostex)]. Whereas human and bacterial thymidine phosphorylases (TPases) efficiently converted BVDU to its antivirally inactive free base (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)uracil (BVU), BCNAs showed no evidence of conversion to the free base in the presence of these enzymes. The lack of substrate affinity of TPase for the BCNAs could be rationalized by computer-assisted molecular modeling of the BCNAs in the TPase active site. Moreover, in contrast with BVU, which is a potent and selective inhibitor of dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD) (50% inhibitory concentration; 10 microM in the presence of a 25 microM concentration of the natural substrate thymine), the free base (Cf 1381; 6-octyl-2,3-dihydrofuro[2,3-d]pyrimidin-2-one) of BCNA (Cf 1368; 3-(2'-deoxy-beta-D-ribofuranosyl)-6-octyl-2,3-dihydrofuro[2,3-d]pyrimidin-2-one) and the free base Cf 2200 [6-(4-n-pentylphenyl)-2,3-dihydrofuro[2,3-d]pyrimidin-2-one] of BCNA (Cf 1743; 3-(2'-deoxy-beta-D-ribofuranosyl)-6-(4-n-pentylphenyl)-2,3-dihydrofuro[2,3-d]pyrimidin-2-one) did not inhibit the DPD-catalyzed catabolic reaction of pyrimidine bases (i.e., thymine) and pyrimidine base analogs [i.e., 5-fluorouracil (FU)] at a concentration of 250 microM. Consequently, whereas BVU caused a dramatic rise of FU levels in FU-treated mice, the BCNAs did not affect FU levels in such mice. From our data it is evident that BCNAs represent highly stable anti-VZV compounds that are not susceptible to breakdown by nucleoside/nucleobase catabolic enzymes and are not expected to interfere with cellular catabolic processes such as those involved in FU catabolism.

Brown J, Esnouf RM, Jones MA, Linnell J, Harlos K, Hassan AB, Jones EY. 2002. Structure of a functional IGF2R fragment determined from the anomalous scattering of sulfur. EMBO J, 21 (5), pp. 1054-1062. | Show Abstract | Read more

Insulin-like growth factor II receptor (IGF2R) is a multifunctional cell surface receptor implicated in tumour suppression. Its growth inhibitory activity has been associated with an ability to bind IGF-II. IGF2R contains 15 homologous extracellular domains, with domain 11 primarily responsible for IGF-II binding. We report a 1.4 A resolution crystal structure of domain 11, solved using the anomalous scattering signal of sulfur. The structure consists of two crossed beta-sheets forming a flattened beta-barrel. Structural analysis identifies the putative IGF-II binding site at one end of the beta-barrel whilst crystal lattice contacts suggest a model for the full-length IGF2R extracellular region. The structure factors and coordinates of IGF2R domain 11 have been deposited in the Protein Data Bank (accession codes 1GP0 and 1GP3).

Esnouf RM, Stuart DI, Wilson KS. 2002. High-throughput structure determination Acta Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography, 58 (11),

Walley AJ, Chavanas S, Moffatt MF, Esnouf RM, Ubhi B, Lawrence R, Wong K, Abecasis GR et al. 2001. Gene polymorphism in Netherton and common atopic disease. Nat Genet, 29 (2), pp. 175-178. | Show Abstract | Read more

Atopic dermatitis (AD) and asthma are characterized by IgE-mediated atopic (allergic) responses to common proteins (allergens), many of which are proteinases. Loci influencing atopy have been localized to a number of chromosomal regions, including the chromosome 5q31 cytokine cluster. Netherton disease is a rare recessive skin disorder in which atopy is a universal accompaniment. The gene underlying Netherton disease (SPINK5) encodes a 15-domain serine proteinase inhibitor (LEKTI) which is expressed in epithelial and mucosal surfaces and in the thymus. We have identified six coding polymorphisms in SPINK5 (Table 1) and found that a Glu420-->Lys variant shows significant association with atopy and AD in two independent panels of families. Our results implicate a previously unrecognized pathway for the development of common allergic illnesses.

Pelemans H, Esnouf R, Min KL, Parniak M, De Clercq E, Balzarini J. 2001. Mutations at amino acid positions 63, 189, and 396 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase (RT) partially restore the DNA polymerase activity of a Trp229Tyr mutant RT. Virology, 287 (1), pp. 143-150. | Show Abstract | Read more

Trp229 is part of the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-binding pocket of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT). It is also an important constituent of the so-called "primer grip." Using a recombinant virus assay, we tried to obtain recombinant virus containing a Trp229Phe or a Trp229Tyr mutation in its RT. Previous studies already established the very low DNA polymerase activities of both the Trp229Phe and the Trp229Tyr mutant RT enzymes. We were able to obtain a Trp229Tyr but not a Trp229Phe mutant virus. However, in addition to the Trp229Tyr mutation this mutant virus also contained an Ile63Met, a Val189Ile, and a Glu396Gly mutation in its RT. When we evaluated the quadruple mutant virus for sensitivity/resistance against a variety of NNRTIs, no significant difference with the sensitivity/resistance profile of the single Trp229Tyr mutant RT enzyme could be observed. We found that the three additional mutations partly restored the low RNA- and DNA-dependent DNA polymerase activities of the Trp229Tyr mutant enzyme. Kinetic analysis revealed that both template/primer binding and dNTP incorporation are affected by the Trp229Tyr mutation. Our findings demonstrate that a mutation at position 229 is unlikely to occur under NNRTI drug pressure due to the poor catalytic activity of the singly mutated RT and the favorable drug sensitivity profile of the mutated enzyme/viruses in both the absence and the presence of the compensatory mutations. Therefore, amino acid position 229 may be regarded as an excellent amino acid target within the NNRTI pocket for rational drug design.

Van Laethem K, Witvrouw M, Pannecouque C, Van Remoortel B, Schmit JC, Esnouf R, Kleim JP, Balzarini J, Desmyter J, De Clercq E, Vandamme AM. 2001. Mutations in the non-nucleoside binding-pocket interfere with the multi-nucleoside resistance phenotype. AIDS, 15 (5), pp. 553-561. | Show Abstract | Read more

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the genotypic and phenotypic effects of in vitro resistance selection with lamivudine and/or the second generation non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) quinoxaline HBY097 using HIV-1 isolates carrying the multi-nucleoside resistance pattern linked to the Q151M mutation. METHODS: Virus strains were selected in C8166 cells in the presence of increasing concentrations of lamivudine or HBY097. In parallel control experiments, the virus was cultured in C8166 cells in the absence of drugs. The entire reverse transcriptase encoding region was amplified using polymerase chain reaction and was subsequently sequenced. Antiviral activities of drugs were evaluated in C8166 cells. RESULTS: High-level resistant viruses were selected rapidly in the presence of lamivudine and quinoxaline (less than 10 passages). The multi-nucleoside resistance mutations were stable during in vitro resistance selection. Lamivudine elicited the acquisition of the M184I mutation. Phenotypic resistance to all nucleoside-analog reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) was increased when M184I was added to the multi-nucleoside resistance background in the absence of NNRTI-resistance mutations. In most cases of HBY097 resistance selection, at least two mutations associated with NNRTI resistance resulted in high-level NNRTI resistance. The NNRTI resistance-related mutations partially reversed the phenotypic resistance to most NRTIs, except to abacavir. The addition of the M184I mutation to the NNRTI-multi-nucleoside resistance set abolished this antagonizing effect for didanosine, zalcitabine and lamivudine, but further potentiated the phenotypic reversal for zidovudine and stavudine. CONCLUSION: Changes in the non-nucleoside binding pocket must affect the conformation of residues at the dNTP binding site, and can result in a partial phenotypic reversal of the multi-nucleoside resistance phenotype.

Degrève B, Esnouf R, De Clercq E, Balzarini J. 2001. Mutation of Gln125 to Asn selectively abolishes the thymidylate kinase activity of herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase. Mol Pharmacol, 59 (2), pp. 285-293. | Show Abstract

The broad substrate specificity of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) thymidine kinase (TK) has provided the basis for selective antiherpetic therapy and, more recently, suicide gene therapy for the treatment of cancer. We have now constructed an HSV-1 TK mutant enzyme, in which an asparagine (N) residue is substituted for glutamine (Q) at position 125, and have evaluated the effect of this amino acid change on enzymatic activity. In marked contrast with wild-type HSV-1 TK, which displays both thymidine kinase and thymidylate kinase activities, the HSV-1 TK(Q125N) mutant was unable to phosphorylate pyrimidine nucleoside monophosphates but retained significant phosphorylation activity for thymidine and a series of antiherpetic pyrimidine and purine nucleoside analogs. The abrogation of HSV-1 TK-associated thymidylate kinase activity resulted in a 100-fold accumulation of the monophosphate form of (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine (BVDU) in osteosarcoma cells transfected with the HSV-1 TK(Q125N) gene compared with osteosarcoma cells expressing wild-type HSV-1 TK. BVDU monophosphate accumulation gave rise to a much greater inhibition of cellular thymidylate synthase in HSV-1 TK(Q125N) gene-transfected cells than wild-type HSV-1 TK gene-transfected osteosarcoma tumor cells without significantly changing the cytostatic potency of BVDU for the HSV-1 TK gene-transfected tumor cells. Accordingly, the presence of the Q125N mutation in HSV-1 TK gene-transfected tumor cells was found to result in a multilog decrease in the cytostatic activity of those pyrimidine nucleoside analogs that in their monophosphate form do not have marked affinity for thymidylate synthase [i.e., 1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylthymine and (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-1-beta-D-arabinofuranosyluracil].

Wang J, Meersman F, Esnouf R, Froeyen M, Busson R, Heremans K, Herdewijn P. 2001. Poly(2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propanamide) (PAMPA): A neutral, water-soluble synthetic polymer with double-stranded helix conformation HELVETICA CHIMICA ACTA, 84 (8), pp. 2398-2408. | Show Abstract | Read more

A new synthetic polymer, poly(2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propanamide) (PAMPA), is described. It combines the structural features of poly(leucine) and poly(glutamine), its molecular weight averages 42000 D, and it contains ca. 270 residues. A 13C-NMR-tacticity study indicates that it consists of a mixture of syndiotactic (38%), heterotactic (48%), and isotactic (17%) polymer. PAMPA has a tendency to self-organize into a coiled-coil double-stranded helix structure in aqueous solution, as determined by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). Molecular modeling of PAMPA shows that the helix formation is driven by repeated intramolecular H-bonds between nearest-neighbor amide groups, and that the structure is further stabilized by hydrophobic interactions between the two lateral Me groups. PAMPA has a neutral structure, is highly water-soluble, and demonstrates temperature stability.

Degrève B, Esnouf R, De Clercq E, Balzarini J. 2000. Selective abolishment of pyrimidine nucleoside kinase activity of herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase by mutation of alanine-167 to tyrosine. Mol Pharmacol, 58 (6), pp. 1326-1332. | Show Abstract

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) encodes a thymidine kinase (TK) that markedly differs from mammalian nucleoside kinases in terms of substrate specificity. It recognizes both pyrimidine 2'-deoxynucleosides and a variety of purine nucleoside analogs. Based on a computer modeling study and in an attempt to modify this specificity, an HSV-1 TK mutant enzyme containing an alanine-to-tyrosine mutation at amino acid position 167 was constructed. Compared with wild-type HSV-1 TK, the purified mutant HSV-1 TK(A167Y) enzyme was heavily compromised in phosphorylating pyrimidine nucleosides such as (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine and the natural substrate dThd, whereas its ability to phosphorylate the purine nucleoside analogs ganciclovir (GCV) and lobucavir was only reduced approximately 2-fold. Moreover, a markedly decreased competition of natural pyrimidine nucleosides (i.e., thymidine) with purine nucleoside analogs for phosphorylation by HSV-1 TK(A167Y) was observed. Human osteosarcoma cells transduced with the wild-type HSV-1 TK gene were extremely sensitive to the cytostatic effects of antiherpetic pyrimidine [i.e., (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine] and purine (i.e., GCV) nucleoside analogs. Transduction with the HSV-1 TK(A167Y) gene sensitized the osteosarcoma cells to a variety of purine nucleoside analogs, whereas there was no measurable cytostatic activity of pyrimidine nucleoside analogs. The unique properties of the A167Y mutant HSV-1 TK may give this enzyme a therapeutic advantage in an in vivo setting due to the markedly reduced dThd competition with GCV for phosphorylation by the HSV-1 TK.

Balzarini J, Degrève B, Esteban-Gamboa A, Esnouf R, De Clercq E, Engelborghs Y, Camarasa MJ, Pérez-Pérez MJ. 2000. Kinetic analysis of novel multisubstrate analogue inhibitors of thymidine phosphorylase. FEBS Lett, 483 (2-3), pp. 181-185. | Show Abstract | Read more

A kinetic analysis was performed for the novel 1-(8-phosphonooctyl)-6-amino-5-bromouracil and 1-(8-phosphonooctyl)-7-deazaxanthine inhibitors of Escherichia coli thymidine (dThd) phosphorylase (TPase). The structure of the compounds was rationally designed based on the available crystal structure coordinates of bacterial TPase. These inhibitors reversibly inhibited TPase. Kinetic analysis revealed that the compounds inhibited TPase in a purely competitive or mixed fashion not only when dThd, but also when inorganic phosphate (Pi), was used as the variable substrate. In contrast, the free bases 6-amino-5-bromouracil and 7-deazaxanthine behaved as non-competitive inhibitors of the enzyme in the presence of variable Pi concentrations while being competitive or mixed with respect to thymine as the natural substrate. Our kinetic data thus revealed that the novel 1-(8-phosphonooctyl)pyrimidine/purine derivatives are able to function as multisubstrate inhibitors of TPase, interfering at two different sites (dThd(Thy)- and phosphate-binding site) of the enzyme. To our knowledge, the described compounds represent the first type of such multisubstrate analogue inhibitors of TPase; they should be considered as lead compounds for the development of mechanistically novel type of TPase inhibitors.

Van Laethem K, Witvrouw M, Pannecouque C, Van Remoortel B, Esnouf R, Balzarini J, Desmyter J, De Clercq E, Vandamme AM. 2000. Phenotypic multi-nucleoside resistance linked to the Q151M mutation is enhanced under the selective pressure of acyclic nucleotide analogs but reduced by foscarnet AIDS, 14 pp. S118-S118.

Lescrinier E, Esnouf R, Schraml J, Busson R, Heus H, Hilbers C, Herdewijn P. 2000. Solution structure of a HNA-RNA hybrid. Chem Biol, 7 (9), pp. 719-731. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Synthetic nucleic acid analogues with a conformationally restricted sugar-phosphate backbone are widely used in antisense strategies for biomedical and biochemical applications. The modified backbone protects the oligonucleotides against degradation within the living cell, which allows them to form stable duplexes with sequences in target mRNAs with the aim of arresting their translation. The biologically most active antisense oligonucleotides also trigger cleavage of the target RNA through activation of endogenous RNase H. Systematic studies of synthetic oligonucleotides have also been conducted to delineate the origin of the chirality of DNA and RNA that are both composed of D-nucleosides. RESULTS: Hexitol nucleic acids (HNA) are the first example of oligonucleotides with a six-membered carbohydrate moiety that can bind strongly and selectively to complementary RNA oligomers. We present the first high resolution nuclear magnetic resonance structure of a HNA oligomer bound to a complementary RNA strand. The HNA-RNA complex forms an anti-parallel heteroduplex and adopts a helical conformation that belongs to the A-type family. Possibly, due to the rigidity of the rigid chair conformation of the six-membered ring both the HNA and RNA strand in the duplex are well defined. The observed absence of end-fraying effects also indicate a reduced conformational flexibility of the HNA-RNA duplex compared to canonical dsRNA or an RNA-DNA duplex. CONCLUSIONS: The P-P distance across the minor groove, which is close to A-form, and the rigid conformation of the HNA-RNA complex, explain its resistance towards degradation by Rnase H. The A-form character of the HNA-RNA duplex and the reduced flexibility of the HNA strand is possibly responsible for the stereoselectivity of HNA templates in non-enzymatic replication of oligonucleotides, supporting the theory that nucleosides with six-membered rings could have existed at some stage in molecular evolution.

Van Laethem K, Schmit JC, Pelemans H, Balzarini J, Witvrouw M, Pérez-Pérez MJ, Camarasa MJ, Esnouf RM et al. 2000. Presence of 2',5'-Bis-O-(tert-butyldimethylsilyl)-3'-spiro-5"-(4"-amino-1",2"-oxath iole-2",2"-dioxide) (TSAO)-resistant virus strains in TSAO-inexperienced HIV patients. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 16 (9), pp. 825-833. | Show Abstract | Read more

HIV-1 samples from six patients undergoing diverse anti-HIV therapies possessed the E138A mutation in their reverse transcriptase (RT) genome. Patients were receiving the following therapies: TIBO monotherapy (one patient); zidovudine plus didanosine combination therapy (one); zidovudine monotherapy (one); sequential therapy with zidovudine, then stavudine and finally zalcitabine plus didanosine (one); and two were drug naive. E138K, not E138A, is a known TSAO-specific resistance mutation, emerging under selective pressure in vitro. Our phenotypic data on the patient isolates, confirmed by data on an E138A mutant acquired through in vitro mutagenesis, indicated that an alanine substitution for glutamate at codon 138 of the HIV-1 RT renders the virus TSAO resistant, confirming the importance of this amino acid residue in the activity of TSAO derivatives. In addition, we have demonstrated through phenotypic analysis of the E138A and A98S mutants (after in vitro mutagenesis) that the mutation A98S, found in one of these patients, could be partially responsible for the phenotypic reversal of TSAO resistance. This reversal could be explained by the restoration of a hydrogen bond between 98S and the main-chain residue L349, which compensates for the loss of the E138-G99 main-chain hydrogen bond. As TSAO derivatives have not been used in the clinical setting, the presence of the E138A mutation at a frequency of 6.7% in our study of 90 TSAO-inexperienced HIV-seropositive individuals implies that 138A of the RT must be a natural variant and that the mutant virus is replication competent. Our observations suggest that the E138A mutation may likely arise in patients under the selective pressure of TSAO or related compounds that show a decreased antiviral potency toward the E138A variant.

Pelemans H, Esnouf R, De Clercq E, Balzarini J. 2000. Mutational analysis of trp-229 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase (RT) identifies this amino acid residue as a prime target for the rational design of new non-nucleoside RT inhibitors. Mol Pharmacol, 57 (5), pp. 954-960. | Show Abstract

Trp-229 is part of the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-binding pocket of HIV type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT), and is also part of the "primer grip" of HIV-1 RT. Using site-directed mutagenesis, seven RT mutants were constructed bearing the mutations 229Phe, 229Tyr, 229Ile, 229His, 229Lys, 229Cys, and 229Gln. We found that all of the mutants showed severely compromised RNA- and DNA-dependent DNA polymerase activities (<2% of wild-type activity). The recombinant 229Phe and 229Tyr RT enzymes were among the mutant enzymes with the highest activity (0.7 and 1.1% of wild-type activity, respectively) and we evaluated these for resistance against several NNRTIs. No resistance was found for the 229Phe RT, but the 229Tyr RT showed a approximately 20-fold resistance against UC-781 and lower resistance against emivirine and nevirapine. Attempts to make recombinant virus strains bearing the single 229Phe or 229Tyr RT mutation failed. Experiments in which we varied the pentenyl ether substituent of the thiocarboxanilide UC-781 revealed that Trp-229 can be specifically targeted by NNRTIs and that an alkenyloxy group length of five atoms assures an optimal interaction of the thiocarboxanilides with Trp-229. Our findings indicate that Trp-229, when combined with other crucial immutable amino acids (i.e., Tyr-318), is an appropriate candidate for the targeted design of new NNRTIs.

Esteban-Gamboa A, Balzarini J, Esnouf R, De Clercq E, Camarasa MJ, Pérez-Pérez MJ. 2000. Design, synthesis, and enzymatic evaluation of multisubstrate analogue inhibitors of Escherichia coli thymidine phosphorylase. J Med Chem, 43 (5), pp. 971-983. | Show Abstract | Read more

A series of acyclic phosphonate derivatives of thymine has been synthesized and tested as multisubstrate analogue inhibitors of Escherichia coli thymidine phosphorylase. The compounds synthesized include 1-(phosphonoalkyl)thymines with six to nine methylenes (1-4, respectively); 1-[(Z)-4-phosphonomethoxy-2-butenyl]thymine (5) and its butyl and 2,3-cis-dihydroxybutyl derivatives (6 and 7, respectively); 1-[(Z)-(4-(phosphonomethoxy)methoxy)-2-butenyl]thymine (8) and also its butyl and 2,3-cis-dihydroxybutyl analogues (9 and 10); and 1-[((Z)-4-(phosphonomethoxy)-2-butenoxy)methyl]thymine (11). Evaluation of these compounds against E. coli revealed significant enzymatic inhibition by 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8 at a concentration of 1000 microM, 3 and 4 being the most potent. Replacement of the thymine base in 3 by 6-amino-5-bromouracil and 7-deazaxanthine afforded compounds 12 and 13, which showed a pronounced improvement of TPase inhibition, comparable to 7-deazaxanthine. When inorganic phosphate was used as a variable substrate, compounds 12 and 13 displayed competitive kinetics with respect to phosphate, indicating a direct interaction of these compounds with the phosphate binding site. Also compounds 12 and 13 were found to be competitive inhibitors of TPase against thymidine as a variable substrate. These results are consistent with the compounds being multisubstrate analogue inhibitors of E. coli TPase, and they represent the first example of such TPase inhibitors.

Andrei G, Snoeck R, De Clercq E, Esnouf R, Fiten P, Opdenakker G. 2000. Resistance of herpes simplex virus type 1 against different phosphonylmethoxyalkyl derivatives of purines and pyrimidines due to specific mutations in the viral DNA polymerase gene. J Gen Virol, 81 (Pt 3), pp. 639-648. | Show Abstract | Read more

Drug-resistant strains of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) were selected under the pressure of (S)-3-hydroxy-2-phosphonylmethoxypropyl (HPMP) derivatives of cytosine (HPMPC, cidofovir) and adenine (HPMPA) and 2-phosphonylmethoxyethyl (PME) derivatives of adenine (PMEA, adefovir) and 2,6-diaminopurine (PMEDAP). HPMPC-resistant (HPMPC(r)) and HPMPA(r) strains were cross-resistant to one another, but they remained sensitive to foscarnet (PFA), acyclovir (ACV) and the PME derivatives, while the PMEA(r) and PMEDAP(r) strains showed cross-resistance to PFA and ACV. The PMEA(r), PMEDAP(r) and PFA(r) mutants all revealed a single nucleotide change resulting in a Ser-724 to Asn mutation within the conserved region II of the DNA polymerase. Two HPMPA(r) clones and one HPMPC(r) clone possessed single amino acid changes in the DNA polymerase (HPMPA(r) clone D1, Leu-1007 to Met; HPMPA(r) clone B5, Ile-1028 to Thr; HPMPC(r) clone C3, Val-573 to Met). The HPMPC(r) clone A4 contained two mutations, Ala-136 to Thr and Arg-700 to Met. The mutation at position 136, located outside the catalytic domain of the enzyme, was not detected in other HPMPC(r) clones, suggesting that this mutation may not be responsible for the resistant phenotype. Residue 573 is located within the 3'-->5' exonuclease editing domain close to the catalytically important residues Tyr-577 and Asp-581. Similarly, residue 700 is located in the palm subdomain of the catalytic domain, adjacent to the Asp residues 717, 886 and 888 that are vital for polymerase activity. The HPMPA(r) mutations at residues 1007 and 1028, beyond the last conserved region, still fall within the thumb subdomain of the catalytic domain. The different drug-resistant mutants varied in neurovirulent behaviour, the HPMPC(r) strains showing reduced neurovirulence compared with the wild-type.

Ren J, Diprose J, Warren J, Esnouf RM, Bird LE, Ikemizu S, Slater M, Milton J, Balzarini J, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 2000. Phenylethylthiazolylthiourea (PETT) non-nucleoside inhibitors of HIV-1 and HIV-2 reverse transcriptases. Structural and biochemical analyses. J Biol Chem, 275 (8), pp. 5633-5639. | Show Abstract | Read more

Most non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors are specific for HIV-1 RT and demonstrate minimal inhibition of HIV-2 RT. However, we report that members of the phenylethylthiazolylthiourea (PETT) series of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors showing high potency against HIV-1 RT have varying abilities to inhibit HIV-2 RT. Thus, PETT-1 inhibits HIV-1 RT with an IC(50) of 6 nM but shows only weak inhibition of HIV-2 RT, whereas PETT-2 retains similar potency against HIV-1 RT (IC(50) of 5 nM) and also inhibits HIV-2 RT (IC(50) of 2.2 microM). X-ray crystallographic structure determinations of PETT-1 and PETT-2 in complexes with HIV-1 RT reveal the compounds bind in an overall similar conformation albeit with some differences in their interactions with the protein. To investigate whether PETT-2 could be acting at a different site on HIV-2 RT (e.g. the dNTP or template primer binding site), we compared modes of inhibition for PETT-2 against HIV-1 and HIV-2 RT. PETT-2 was a noncompetitive inhibitor with respect to the dGTP substrate for both HIV-1 and HIV-2 RTs. PETT-2 was also a noncompetitive inhibitor with respect to a poly(rC).(dG) template primer for HIV-2 RT. These results are consistent with PETT-2 binding in corresponding pockets in both HIV-1 and HIV-2 RT with amino acid sequence differences in HIV-2 RT affecting the binding of PETT-2 compared with PETT-1.

Froeyen M, Wroblowski B, Esnouf R, De Winter H, Allart B, Lescrinier E, Herdewijn P. 2000. Molecular-dynamics studies of single-stranded hexitol, altritol, mannitol, and ribose nucleic acids (HNA, MNA, ANA, and RNA, resp,) and of the stability of HNA center dot RNA, ANA center dot RNA, and MNA center dot RNA duplexes HELVETICA CHIMICA ACTA, 83 (9), pp. 2153-2182. | Read more

Froeyen M, Wroblowski B, Esnouf R, De Winter H, Allart B, Lescrinier E, Herdewijn P. 2000. Molecular-Dynamics Studies of Single-Stranded Hexitol, Altritol, Mannitol, and Ribose Nucleic Acids (HNA, MNA, ANA, and RNA, Resp.) and of the Stability of HNA⋅RNA, ANA⋅RNA, and MNA⋅RNA Duplexes Helvetica Chimica Acta, 83 (9), pp. 2153-2182. | Show Abstract | Read more

The influence of the orientation of a 3'-OH group on the conformation and stability of hexitol oligonucleotides in complexes with RNA and as single strands in aqueous solution was investigated by molecular-dynamics (MD) simulations with AMBER 4.1. The particle mesh Ewald (PME) method was used for the treatment of long-range electrostatic interactions. An equatorial orientation of the 3'-OH group in the single-stranded D-mannitol nucleic acid (MNA) m(GCGTAGCG) and in the complex with the RNA r(CGCAUCGC) has an unfavorable influence on the helical stability. Frequent H-bonds between the 3'-OH group and the O-C(6') of the phosphate backbone of the following nucleotide explain the distorted conformation of the MNA·RNA complex as well as that of the single MNA strand. This is consistent with experimental results that show lowered hybridization potentials for MNA·RNA complexes. An axial orientation of the 3'-OH group in the D-altritol nucleic acid (ANA) a(GCGTAGCG) leads to a stable complex with the complementary RNA r(CGCAUCGC), as well as to a more highly preorganized single-stranded ANA chain. The averaged conformation of the ANA·RNA complex is similar to that of A-RNA, with only minor changes in groove width, helical curvature, and H-bonding pattern. The relative stabilities of ANA·RNA vs. HNA·RNA (HNA = D-hexitol nucleic acid without 3'-OH group) can be explained by differences in restricted movements, H-bonds, and solvation effects.

Lescrinier E, Esnouf RM, Schraml J, Busson R, Herdewijn P. 2000. Solution structure of a hexitol nucleic acid duplex with four consecutive T center dot T base pairs HELVETICA CHIMICA ACTA, 83 (7), pp. 1291-1310. | Show Abstract | Read more

The structure of the hexitol nucleic acid (HNA) h(GCGCTTTTGCGC) was determined by NMR spectroscopy. This unnatural nucleic acid was developed as a mimic for A-RNA. In solution, the studied sequence is forming a symmetric double-stranded structure with four central consecutive T·T wobble pairs flanked by G·C Watson-Crick base pairs. The stem regions adopt an A-type helical structure. Discrete changes in backbone angles are altering the course of the helix axis in the internal loop region. Two H-bonds are formed in each wobble pair, and base stacking is preserved in the duplex, explaining the stability of the duplex. This structure elucidation provides information about the influence of a (T)4 fragment on local helix geometries as well as on the nature of the T·T mismatch base pairing in a TTTT tract.

Cited:

20

WOS

Luyten I, Esnouf RM, Mikhailov SN, Efimtseva EV, Michiels P, Heus HA, Hilbers CW, Herdewijn P. 2000. Solution structure of a RNA decamer duplex, containing 9-[2-O-(beta-D-ribofuranosyl)-beta-D-ribofuranosyl]adenine, a special residue in lower eukaryotic initiator tRNAs HELVETICA CHIMICA ACTA, 83 (6), pp. 1278-1289. | Show Abstract | Read more

The solution structure of the self-complementary deca-ribonucleotide 5'- r(GCGA*AUUCGC)-3' containing 9-[2-O-(β-D-ribofuranosyl)-β-D- ribofuranosyl]adenine (A*), a modified nucleotide that occurs in lower eukaryotic methionine initiator tRNAs (tRNAs(i)(Met)), was determined by NMR spectroscopy. Unexpectedly, the modification has no effect on the thermal stability of the duplex. However, the extra ribose moiety is in the C(3')- endo conformation and takes up a well-defined position in the minor groove, which is in agreement with its position in tRNAs(i)(Met) as determined by X- ray crystallography. Molecular-dynamics simulations on the RNA duplex in H2O show that the position of the extra ribofuranose moiety seems to be stabilized by bridged H-bonds (mediated by two H2O molecules) to the backbone of the complementary chain.

Degrève B, Esnouf R, De Clercq E, Balzarini J. 1999. Characterization of multiple nuclear localization signals in herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 264 (2), pp. 338-342. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have reported previously that the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) thymidine kinase (TK) fused with green fluorescent protein (GFP) is localized in the nucleus of HSV-1 TK-GFP gene-transfected cells (Degrève et al. (1998) J. Virol. 72, 9535-9543). Deletion of the N-terminal 34 amino acids or selective mutation of the nonapeptide (25)RRTALRPRR(33), located in the N-terminal region of HSV-1 TK, resulted in the loss of the specific nuclear localization of HSV-1 TK. Utilizing information on the crystallographic structure of HSV-1 TK, we have now identified three additional putative nuclear localization signals and evaluated their potential role in the nuclear trafficking of HSV-1 TK by site-directed mutagenesis. We found that the sites containing the amino acids R236-R237 and K317-R318 are absolutely required for specific nuclear targeting of HSV-1 TK. The K317-R318 region, located at the interface between the two monomers in the dimeric HSV-1 TK structure, could act as a nuclear localization signal for monomeric HSV-1 TK. Alternatively, crystallographic data indicate that R318 might be essential for the formation of the TK dimer, and therefore it is required if HSV-1 TK is transported as a dimer.

Ren J, Esnouf RM, Hopkins AL, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 1999. Crystallographic analysis of the binding modes of thiazoloisoindolinone non-nucleoside inhibitors to HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and comparison with modeling studies. J Med Chem, 42 (19), pp. 3845-3851. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have determined the crystal structures of thiazoloisoindolinone non-nucleoside inhibitors in complex with HIV-1 reverse transcriptase to high-resolution limits of 2.7 A (BM +21.1326) and 2. 52 A (BM +50.0934). We find that the binding modes of this series of inhibitors closely resemble that of "two-ring" non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. The structures allow rationalization of stereochemical requirements, structure-activity data, and drug resistance data. Comparisons with our previous structures suggest modifications to the inhibitors that might improve resilience to drug-resistant mutant forms of reverse transcriptase. Comparison with earlier modeling studies reveals that the predicted overlap of thiazoloisoindolinones with TIBO was largely correct, while that with nevirapine was significantly different.

Liekens S, Leali D, Neyts J, Esnouf R, Rusnati M, Dell'Era P, Maudgal PC, De Clercq E, Presta M. 1999. Modulation of fibroblast growth factor-2 receptor binding, signaling, and mitogenic activity by heparin-mimicking polysulfonated compounds. Mol Pharmacol, 56 (1), pp. 204-213. | Show Abstract

Basic fibroblast growth factor (FGF-2) interacts with high-affinity tyrosine-kinase fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) and low-affinity heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) in target cells. Both interactions are required for FGF-2-mediated biological responses. Here we report the FGF-2 antagonist activity of novel synthetic sulfonic acid polymers with distinct chemical structures and molecular masses (MMs). PAMPS [poly(2-acrylamido-2-methyl-1-propanesulfonic acid)], (MM approximately 7,000-10,000), PAS [poly(anetholesulfonic acid)], (MM approximately 9,000-11,000), PSS [poly(4-styrenesulfonic acid)], (MM = 70,000), and poly(vinylsulfonic acid) (MM = 2,000), inhibited FGF-2 binding to HSPGs and FGFRs in fetal bovine aortic endothelial GM 7373 cells. They also abrogated the formation of the HSPG/FGF-2/FGFR ternary complex, as evidenced by their capacity to prevent FGF-2-mediated cell-cell attachment of FGFR-1-overexpressing, HSPG-deficient Chinese hamster ovary cells to wild-type HSPG-bearing cells. Direct interaction of the polysulfonates with FGF-2 was demonstrated by their ability to protect the growth factor from proteolytic cleavage. Accordingly, molecular modeling, based on the crystal structure of the interaction of FGF-2 with a heparin hexamer, showed the feasibility of docking PAMPS into the heparin-binding domain of FGF-2. In agreement with their FGF-2-binding capacity, PSS, PAS, and PAMPS inhibited FGF-2-induced cell proliferation in GM 7373 cells and murine brain microvascular endothelial cells. The antiproliferative activity of these compounds was associated with the abrogation of FGF-2-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of FGFR-1. Moreover, the polysulfonates PSS and PAS inhibited FGF-2-induced activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase-1/2, involved in FGF-2 signal transduction. In conclusion, sulfonic acid polymers bind FGF-2 by mimicking heparin interaction. These compounds may provide a tool to inhibit FGF-2-induced endothelial cell proliferation in angiogenesis and tumor growth.

Cited:

47

Scopus

Maurinsh Y, Rosemeyer H, Esnouf R, Medvedovici A, Wang J, Ceulemans G, Lescrinier E, Hendrix C et al. 1999. Synthesis and pairing properties of oligonucleotides containing 3-hydroxy-4-hydroxymethyl-1-cyclohexanyl nucleosides CHEMISTRY-A EUROPEAN JOURNAL, 5 (7), pp. 2139-2150. | Show Abstract

The enantiomeric forms of cyclohexanyl adenine and thymine nucleosides were obtained by separation of their diastereomeric esters with (R)-(-)-methylmandelic acid. The four nucleoside analogues were appropriately protected, converted to their phosphoramidites and oligomerized. The resulting cyclohexanyl nucleic acids (CNAs) represent a new enantioselective Watson-Crick base-pairing system. Homochiral oligomers of equivalent chirality show Watson-Crick pairing, while those of opposite chirality (D-CNA and L-CNA) do not. No isochiral or heterochiral adenine-adenine or thymine-thymine base pairing is observed. Complex formation occurs only between oligomers in antiparallel orientations. D-CNA hybridizes with natural nucleic acids, and the strength of the interaction decreases in the order dsCNA 〉 CNA:RNA 〉 CNA:DNA. Thus, the D-cyclohexanyl nucleic acids are RNA-selective. L-CNA hybridizes either very weakly or not at all with natural nucleic acids, and the nature of this association is not clear. This study of CNAs leads us to hypothesize that a) the conformation of a single nucleoside analogue may be different from its conformation in an oligonucleotide and b) the conformational stress of a nucleotide analogue incorporated in an oligomer may contribute to the sequence-dependent thermal stability of oligonucleotide complexes.

Esnouf RM. 1999. Further additions to MolScript version 1.4, including reading and contouring of electron-density maps. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 55 (Pt 4), pp. 938-940. | Show Abstract | Read more

MolScript is one of the most popular programs for the generation of publication-quality figures and the recent re-working of the program should ensure its continued popularity. However, some functionality of particular interest to crystallographers is not part of the standard program. A modified MolScript version 1.4 has been described previously, with more flexible colouring schemes among its new features. This report describes further enhancements to MolScript version 1.4, including facilities for drawing rods for helices and ribbons for oligonucleotides and allowing several formats of electron-density maps to be read and contoured using either lines or smoothed triangulated surfaces.

Pelemans H, Esnouf RM, Jonckheere H, De Clercq E, Balzarini J. 1998. Mutational analysis of Tyr-318 within the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor binding pocket of human immunodeficiency virus type I reverse transcriptase. J Biol Chem, 273 (51), pp. 34234-34239. | Show Abstract | Read more

The highly conserved Tyr-318 is part of the non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI)-specific lipophilic pocket of human immunodeficiency virus type I reverse transcriptase (RT) and makes contact within 4 A with the NNRTIs in all reported RT/NNRTI complexes. Using site-directed mutagenesis, six mutant RTs were constructed bearing the mutations Y318H, Y318K, Y318L, Y318C, Y318W, and Y318F. We found that only the Y318W and Y318F mutant RTs retained substantial RT activity, whereas the catalytic activities of the Y318K, Y318C, Y318H, and Y318L RT mutants were less than 5% of the wild-type activity. The Y318F mutant RT retained substantial sensitivity to the majority of NNRTIs tested, whereas the Y318W mutant RT showed varying degrees of resistance to NNRTIs. Subunit-specific site-directed mutagenesis revealed that there was no difference in the catalytic activity or resistance/sensitivity spectrum toward NNRTIs regardless of whether the Tyr-318 mutation was introduced in both subunits or only in the p66 subunit of RT. Recombinant viruses harboring the Y318F or Y318W mutation in the RT showed a similar resistance/sensitivity pattern to NNRTIs as their corresponding 318 mutant recombinant RTs. Our findings stress a functional or structural role for Tyr-318 in wild-type RT and argue for the design of novel NNRTIs that interact more closely with this amino acid in the NNRTI-specific pocket of human immunodeficiency virus type I RT.

Balzarini J, Gamboa AE, Esnouf R, Liekens S, Neyts J, De Clercq E, Camarasa MJ, Pérez-Pérez MJ. 1998. 7-Deazaxanthine, a novel prototype inhibitor of thymidine phosphorylase. FEBS Lett, 438 (1-2), pp. 91-95. | Show Abstract | Read more

7-Deazaxanthine (7DX) was identified as a novel inhibitor of thymidine (dThd) phosphorylase (TPase). It inhibited the TPase reaction in a concentration-dependent manner. At 1 mM, it almost completely prevented the TPase-catalysed hydrolysis of dThd to thymine. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50 of 7DX was 40 microM in the presence of 100 microM of the natural substrate dThd. 7DX is also endowed with a marked inhibitory effect on angiogenesis. It significantly prevents neovascularisation in the chicken chorioallantoic membrane during development. 7DX is the first purine derivative shown to be a potent inhibitor of purified TPase and angiogenesis.

Ren J, Esnouf RM, Hopkins AL, Warren J, Balzarini J, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 1998. Crystal structures of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase in complex with carboxanilide derivatives. Biochemistry, 37 (41), pp. 14394-14403. | Show Abstract | Read more

The carboxanilides are nonnucleoside inhibitors (NNIs) of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT), of potential clinical importance. The compounds differ in potency and in their retention of potency in the face of drug resistance mutations. Whereas UC-84, the prototype compound, only weakly inhibits many RTs bearing single point resistance mutations, inhibition by UC-781 is little affected. It has been proposed that UC-38 and UC-781 may form quaternary complexes with RT at a site other than the known binding pocket of other NNIs. X-ray crystal structures of four HIV-1 RT-carboxanilide complexes (UC-10, UC-38, UC-84, and UC-781) reported here reveal that all four inhibitors bind in the usual NNI site, forming binary 1:1 complexes with RT in the absence of substrates with the amide/thioamide bond in cis conformations. For all four complexes the anilide rings of the inhibitors overlap aromatic rings of many other NNIs bound to RT. In contrast, the second rings of UC-10, UC-84, and UC-781 do not bind in equivalent positions to those of other "two-ring" NNIs such as alpha-APA or HEPT derivatives. The binding modes most closely resemble that of the structurally dissimilar NNI, Cl-TIBO, with a common hydrogen bond between each carboxanilide NH- group and the main-chain carbonyl oxygen of Lys101. The binding modes differ slightly between the UC-10/UC-781 and UC-38/UC-84 pairs of compounds, apparently related to the shorter isopropylmethanoyl substituents of the anilide rings of UC-38/UC-84, which draws these rings closer to residues Tyr181 and Tyr188. This in turn explains the differences in the effect of mutated residues on the binding of these compounds.

Esnouf RM, Ren J, Garman EF, Somers DO, Ross CK, Jones EY, Stammers DK, Stuart DI. 1998. Continuous and discontinuous changes in the unit cell of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase crystals on dehydration. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 54 (Pt 5), pp. 938-953. | Show Abstract | Read more

A crystal form of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) complexed with inhibitors showed diffraction to a high-resolution limit of 3.7 A. Instability in the unit-cell dimensions of these crystals was observed during soaking experiments, but the range of this variability and consequent change in lattice order was revealed by a chance observation of dehydration. Deliberately induced dehydration results in crystals having a variety of unit cells, the best-ordered of which show diffraction to a minimum Bragg spacing of 2.2 A. In order to understand the molecular basis for this phenomenon, the initial observation of dehydration, the data sets from dehydrated crystals, the crystal packing and the domain conformation of RT are analysed in detail here. This analysis reveals that the crystals undergo remarkable changes following a variety of possible dehydration pathways: some changes occur gradually whilst others are abrupt and require significant domain rearrangements. Comparison of domain arrangements in different crystal forms gives insight into the flexibility of RT which, in turn, may reflect the internal motions allowing this therapeutically important enzyme to fulfill its biological function.

Ren J, Esnouf RM, Hopkins AL, Jones EY, Kirby I, Keeling J, Ross CK, Larder BA, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 1998. 3'-Azido-3'-deoxythymidine drug resistance mutations in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase can induce long range conformational changes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 95 (16), pp. 9518-9523. | Show Abstract | Read more

HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) is one of the main targets for the action of anti-AIDS drugs. Many of these drugs [e.g., 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine (AZT) and 2',3'-dideoxyinosine (ddI)] are analogues of the nucleoside substrates used by the HIV RT. One of the main problems in anti-HIV therapy is the selection of a mutant virus with reduced drug sensitivity. Drug resistance in HIV is generated for nucleoside analogue inhibitors by mutations in HIV RT. However, most of these mutations are situated some distance from the polymerase active site, giving rise to questions concerning the mechanism of resistance. To understand the possible structural bases for this, the crystal structures of AZT- and ddI-resistant RTs have been determined. For the ddI-resistant RT with a mutation at residue 74, no significant conformational changes were observed for the p66 subunit. In contrast, for the AZT-resistant RT (RTMC) bearing four mutations, two of these (at 215 and 219) give rise to a conformational change that propagates to the active site aspartate residues. Thus, these drug resistance mutations produce an effect at the RT polymerase site mediated simply by the protein. It is likely that such long-range effects could represent a common mechanism for generating drug resistance in other systems.

Pelemans H, Esnouf RM, Parniak MA, Vandamme AM, De Clercq E, Balzarini J. 1998. A proline-to-histidine substitution at position 225 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT) sensitizes HIV-1 RT to BHAP U-90152. J Gen Virol, 79 ( Pt 6) (6), pp. 1347-1352. | Show Abstract | Read more

Two mutant virus strains in which the novel P225H mutation appeared in a V106A reverse transcriptase (RT)-mutated genetic background upon treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) with quinoxaline S-2720 were isolated. Surprisingly, the addition of the P225H mutation to the V106A RT mutant genetic background resensitized the V106A RT mutant virus to the non-nucleoside RT inhibitor (NNRTI) BHAP U-90152, but not to other NNRTIs. Construction of both recombinant viruses and recombinant RTs containing the V106A, P225H and V106A+P225H mutations revealed that P225H was indeed responsible for the marked potentiation of the antiviral activity of BHAP against the P225H single-mutant virus and the V106A+P225H double-mutant virus when compared to wild-type and V106A single-mutant viruses, respectively. An explanation for the markedly increased sensitivity of the P225H mutant HIV-1 RT to BHAP and not to the other NNRTIs was provided by the unique features of the X-ray structure of the RT-BHAP complex.

Witvrouw M, Arranz ME, Pannecouque C, Declercq R, Jonckheere H, Schmit JC, Vandamme AM, Diaz JA et al. 1998. 1,1,3-Trioxo-2H,4H-thieno[3,4-e][1,2,4]thiadiazine (TTD) derivatives: a new class of nonnucleoside human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase inhibitors with anti-HIV-1 activity. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 42 (3), pp. 618-623. | Show Abstract

We report the development of a new group of nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs). One of the most active congeners of this series of 1,1,3-trioxo-2H,4H-thieno[3,4-e] [1,2,4]thiadiazine (TTD) derivatives, i.e., 2-(3-fluorobenzyl)-4-cyanomethylen-l,1,3-trioxo-2H,4H- thieno [3,4-e] [1,2,4] thiadiazine) (QM96639) was found to inhibit human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 [HIV-1 (IIIB)] replication in MT-4 cells at a concentration of 0.09 microM. This compound was toxic for the host cells only at a 1,400-fold higher concentration. The TTD derivatives proved effective against a variety of HIV-1 strains, including those that are resistant to 3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine (AZT), but not against HIV-2 (ROD) or simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV/ MAC251). HIV-1 strains containing the L100I, K103N, V106A, E138K, Y181C, or Y188H mutations in their reverse transcriptase (RT) displayed reduced sensitivity to the compounds. Their cross-resistance patterns correlated with that of nevirapine. 2-Benzyl-4-cyanomethylen-1,1,3-trioxo-2H,4H-thieno[3,4-e] [1,2,4]thiadiazine (QM96521) enhanced the anti-HIV-1 activity of AZT and didanosine in a subsynergistic manner. HIV-1-resistant virus containing the V179D mutation in the RT was selected after approximately six passages of HIV-1 (IIIB) in CEM cells in the presence of different concentrations of QM96521. From structure-activity relationship analysis of a wide variety of TTD derivatives, a number of restrictions appeared as to the chemical modifications that were compatible with anti-HIV activity. Modelling studies suggest that in contrast to most other NNRTIs, but akin to nevirapine, QM96521 does not act as a hydrogen bond donor in the RT-drug complex.

Balzarini J, Pelemans H, Esnouf R, De Clercq E. 1998. A novel mutation (F227L) arises in the reverse transcriptase of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 on dose-escalating treatment of HIV type 1-infected cell cultures with the nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor thiocarboxanilide UC-781. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses, 14 (3), pp. 255-260. | Show Abstract | Read more

Treatment of wild-type human immunodeficiency virus [HIV-1(IIIB)]-infected cell cultures with the thiocarboxanilide UC-781 under low selective pressure (i.e., 0.01 microg/ml) resulted in the emergence of V106A RT mutant virus. On increasing drug concentrations (stepwise up to 30 microg/ml) the virus retained the V106A RT mutation but acquired the novel F227L mutation in the RT genome in addition to the L100I, K1O1I, and Y181C mutations. This multiple-mutant virus proved highly resistant to virtually all nonnucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs) (e.g., nevirapine, delavirdine, and loviride), but retained full sensitivity to nucleoside analogs such as AZT, ddI, (-)FTC, and 3TC. The F227 amino acid is highly conserved in HIV-1 strains and forms part of the NNRTI-binding pocket. Our model suggests a hydrophobic interaction between F227 and the chloro atom of UC-781.

Pelemans H, Esnouf R, Dunkler A, Parniak MA, Vandamme AM, Karlsson A, De Clercq E, Kleim JP, Balzarini J. 1997. Characteristics of the Pro225His mutation in human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase that appears under selective pressure of dose-escalating quinoxaline treatment of HIV-1. J Virol, 71 (11), pp. 8195-8203. | Show Abstract

Treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-infected CEM cell cultures with escalating concentrations of the quinoxaline S-2720 resulted in an ordered appearance of single and multiple mutant virus strains that gradually became resistant to the quinoxaline and other nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitors (NNRTIs). A novel mutation, Pro225His, consistently appeared in a Val106Ala RT-mutated genetic background. The contribution of this mutation to the resistance of the mutant HIV-1 RT to NNRTIs was additive to the resistance caused by the Val106Ala mutation. Interestingly, site-directed mutagenesis studies revealed that the Pro225His-mutated RT had acquired markedly greater sensitivity to bis(heteroaryl)piperazine (BHAP U-90152) (delavirdine) but not to any of the other NNRTIs. The kinetics of inhibition of the Pro225His mutant RT by the NNRTIs (including BHAP U-90152) was not substantially different from that observed for the wild-type RT. The hypersensitivity of the mutant enzyme and virus to BHAP U-90152 could be rationally explained by the molecular-structural determinants of the RT-BHAP complex, which has recently been resolved by X-ray crystallography.

Esnouf RM. 1997. Polyalanine reconstruction from Calpha positions using the program CALPHA can aid initial phasing of data by molecular replacement procedures. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 53 (Pt 6), pp. 665-672. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Calpha positions for a protein can provide a scaffold for the reconstruction of more complete models. Reconstructions can be by manual rebuilding, from geometric solutions to the constraints on main-chain torsion angles or from databases of known protein structures. The last method is usually the most convenient and reliable. This paper describes a database reconstruction program, CALPHA, and assesses its accuracy and reliability by test reconstructions of well refined structures. Typically, backbone atoms are repositioned to within 0.3 A of their original positions. This corresponds to regenerating main-chain torsion angles to within 15 degrees. Uses of CALPHA for automating refinement procedures are discussed. In particular, the uses of Calpha-only and rcconstructed polyalanine models of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase for cross-rotation and translation function searches are compared. The CALPHA polyalanine model is found to provide more selectivity for approximately correct orientations. The effect on the translation function is dependent on the resolution shell employed. It is expected that these observations will be applicable in other cases.

Esnouf RM, Stuart DI, De Clercq E, Schwartz E, Balzarini J. 1997. Models which explain the inhibition of reverse transcriptase by HIV-1-specific (thio)carboxanilide derivatives. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 234 (2), pp. 458-464. | Show Abstract | Read more

The (thio)carboxanilide derivatives are potent and selective inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) and have a favourable antiviral activity spectrum. To understand better their mode of action, and to provide a structural basis for further improvement, models of RT complexed with four (thio)carboxanilide inhibitors (UC781, UC10, UC38 and UC84) have been constructed based on the X-ray structure of RT complexed with 9-chloro-TIBO. In the models, the protein conformation is similar to that of the RT-TIBO complex and the complexes are stabilised by hydrogen bonding between the inhibitors and the main chain oxygen of Lys101. Significant hydrophobic interactions include those with Leu100, Val106, Val179, Tyr188, Phe227, Leu234, and His235. The thiocarboxanilides UC781 and UC10 also make important hydrophobic interactions with Trp229. The models are consistent with the inhibitors' relative antiviral potencies and the observed resistance data. They further predict that mutations to Phe227, Trp229, or Leu234 might confer resistance. Since these are not observed, some constraining structural or functional role for these residues in the active enzyme is suggested.

Esnouf RM, Ren J, Hopkins AL, Ross CK, Jones EY, Stammers DK, Stuart DI. 1997. Unique features in the structure of the complex between HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and the bis(heteroaryl)piperazine (BHAP) U-90152 explain resistance mutations for this nonnucleoside inhibitor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 94 (8), pp. 3984-3989. | Show Abstract | Read more

The viral reverse transcriptase (RT) provides an attractive target in the search for anti-HIV therapies. The nonnucleoside inhibitors (NNIs) are a diverse set of compounds (usually HIV-1 specific) that function by distorting the polymerase active site upon binding in a nearby pocket. Despite being potent and of generally low toxicity, their clinical use has been limited by rapid selection for resistant viral populations. The 2.65-A resolution structure of the complex between HIV-1 RT and the bis(heteroaryl)piperazine (BHAP) NNI, 1-(5-methanesulfonamido-1H-indol-2-yl-carbonyl)-4- [3-(1-methyl-ethylamino) pyridinyl] piperazine (U-90152), reveals the inhibitor conformation and bound water molecules. The bulky U-90152 molecule occupies the same pocket as other NNIs, but the complex is stabilized quite differently, in particular by hydrogen bonding to the main chain of Lys-103 and extensive hydrophobic contacts with Pro-236. These interactions rationalize observed resistance mutations, notably Pro-236-Leu, which occurs characteristically for BHAPs. When bound, part of U-90152 protrudes into the solvent creating a channel between Pro-236 and the polypeptide segments 225-226 and 105-106, giving the first clear evidence of the entry mode for NNIs. The structure allows prediction of binding modes for related inhibitors [(altrylamino)piperidine-BHAPs] and suggests changes to U-90152, such as the addition of a 6 amino group to the pyridine ring, which may make binding more resilient to mutations in the RT. The observation of novel hydrogen bonding to the protein main chain may provide lessons for the improvement of quite different inhibitors.

Esnouf RM. 1997. An extensively modified version of MolScript that includes greatly enhanced coloring capabilities. J Mol Graph Model, 15 (2), pp. 132-113. | Show Abstract | Read more

Owing to its flexibility, MolScript has become one of the most widely used programs for generating publication-quality molecular graphics. Integration with the Raster3D package, to allow the production of photorealistic rendered images, has increased its popularity still further. However, this intensive use has shown the need for enhancement of some areas of the program, especially for controlling the coloring of atoms, bonds, and molecules. This work describes a heavily modified version of MolScript that has added syntax for describing complicated coloring schemes and also has new graphics commands. Enhancements include drawing split-bond ball-and-stick models, smoothly varying the color of molecules (color ramping), abrupt color changes within secondary structural units, and the creation of dashed bonds. Making use of these added features is simple because all MolScript syntax is still supported and one typically needs only to add a few control commands. The final section of this article suggests some uses for this modified MolScript and provides illustrative examples.

Hopkins AL, Ren J, Esnouf RM, Willcox BE, Jones EY, Ross C, Miyasaka T, Walker RT, Tanaka H, Stammers DK, Stuart DI. 1996. Complexes of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase with inhibitors of the HEPT series reveal conformational changes relevant to the design of potent non-nucleoside inhibitors. J Med Chem, 39 (8), pp. 1589-1600. | Show Abstract | Read more

Crystal structures of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) complexed with a range of chemically diverse non-nucleoside inhibitors (NNIs) have shown a single pocket in which the inhibitors bind and details of the inhibitor-protein interactions. To delineate the structural requirements for an effective inhibitor, we have determined the structures of three closely related NNIs which vary widely in their potencies. Crystal structures of HIV-1 RT complexed with two very potent inhibitors, MKC-442 and TNK-651, at 2.55 angstroms resolution complement our previous analysis of the complex with the less effective inhibitor, HEPT. These structures reveal conformational changes which correlate with changes in potency. We suggest that a major determinant of increased potency in the analogues of HEPT is an improved interaction between residue Tyr181 in the protein and the 6-benzyl ring of the inhibitors which stabilizes the structure of the complex. This arises through a conformational switching of the protein structure triggered by the steric bulk of the 5-substituent of the inhibitor pyrimidine ring.

Ren J, Esnouf R, Hopkins A, Ross C, Jones Y, Stammers D, Stuart D. 1995. The structure of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase complexed with 9-chloro-TIBO: lessons for inhibitor design. Structure, 3 (9), pp. 915-926. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) is a key target of anti-AIDS therapies. Structural studies of HIV-1 RT, unliganded and complexed with different non-nucleoside inhibitors (NNIs), have pointed to a common mode of binding and inactivation through distortion of the polymerase catalytic site by NNIs containing two hinged rings. The mode of binding of the TIBO family of inhibitors is of interest because these compounds do not fit the two-hinged-ring model. RESULTS: The structure of HIV-1 RT complexed with 9-chloro-TIBO (R82913) has been determined at 2.6 A resolution. As reported for the lower resolution analysis of another TIBO compound, this inhibitor binds at the same site as other NNIs, but our higher resolution study reveals the Cl-TIBO is distorted from the conformation seen in crystals of the inhibitor alone. This allows Cl-TIBO to mimic the binding of NNIs containing two hinged rings. Inhibitor-protein interactions are again predominantly hydrophobic and the protein conformation corresponds to that seen in complexes with other tight-binding NNIs. CONCLUSIONS: Although Cl-TIBO is chemically very different from other NNIs, it achieves remarkable spatial equivalence and shape complementarity with other NNIs on binding to RT. Comparison of the different RT-NNI complexes suggests modifications to the TIBO group of inhibitors which might enhance their binding and hence, potentially, their therapeutic efficacy.

Rao Z, Esnouf R, Isaacs N, Stuart D. 1995. A strategy for rapid and effective refinement applied to black swan lysozyme. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 51 (Pt 3), pp. 331-336. | Show Abstract | Read more

The crystal structure of a goose-type lysozyme from the egg white of black swan has been determined at 1.9 A resolution using a semi-automatic procedure based on the Calpha coordinates of the homologous goose protein.

Ren J, Esnouf R, Garman E, Somers D, Ross C, Kirby I, Keeling J, Darby G, Jones Y, Stuart D. 1995. High resolution structures of HIV-1 RT from four RT-inhibitor complexes. Nat Struct Biol, 2 (4), pp. 293-302. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have determined the structures of four complexes of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase with non-nucleoside inhibitors, three fully refined at high resolution. The highest resolution structure is of the RT-nevirapine complex which has an R-factor of 0.186 and a root-mean-square bond length deviation of 0.015 A for all data to 2.2 A. The structures reveal a common mode of binding for these chemically diverse compounds. The common features of binding are largely hydrophobic interactions and arise from induced shape complementarity achieved by conformational rearrangement of the enzyme and conformational/configurational rearrangement of the compounds.

Esnouf R, Ren J, Ross C, Jones Y, Stammers D, Stuart D. 1995. Mechanism of inhibition of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase by non-nucleoside inhibitors. Nat Struct Biol, 2 (4), pp. 303-308. | Show Abstract | Read more

The structure of unliganded HIV-1 reverse transcriptase has been determined at 2.35 A resolution and refined to an R-factor of 0.219 (for all data) with good stereochemistry. The unliganded structure was produced by soaking out a weak binding non-nucleoside inhibitor, HEPT, from pregrown crystals. Comparison with the structures of four different RT and non-nucleoside inhibitor complexes reveals that only minor domain rearrangements occur, but there is a significant repositioning of a three-stranded beta-sheet in the p66 subunit (containing the catalytic aspartic acid residues 110, 185 and 186) with respect to the rest of the polymerase site. This suggests that NNIs inhibit RT by locking the polymerase active site in an inactive conformation, reminiscent of the conformation observed in the inactive p51 subunit.

Stammers DK, Somers DO, Ross CK, Kirby I, Ray PH, Wilson JE, Norman M, Ren JS, Esnouf RM, Garman EF. 1994. Crystals of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase diffracting to 2.2 A resolution. J Mol Biol, 242 (4), pp. 586-588. | Show Abstract | Read more

Reverse transcriptase (RT) from the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 has been crystallized in four closely related forms, the best of which diffract X-rays to 2.2 A resolution. The RT was crystallized as a complex with a non-nucleoside inhibitor, either nevirapine or a nevirapine analogue. Crystals grew from 6% PEG 3400 buffered at pH 5. These were of space group P2(1)2(1)2(1) with unit cell parameters a = 147 A, b = 112 A, c = 79 A (form A), with one RT heterodimer in the asymmetric unit. Changes in unit cell parameters and degree of crystalline order were observed on soaking pregrown crystals in various solutions, giving three further sets of unit cells. These were a = 143 A, b = 112, A, c = 79 A (form B), a = 141 A, b = 111 A, c = 73 A (form C), a = 143 A, b = 117 A, c = 66.5 A (form D). The last two forms diffract X-rays to 2.2 A resolution. Structure determinations of these latter crystal forms of RT should give a detailed atomic model for this therapeutically important drug target.

ESNOUF R, SMITH A, GROUT P. 1988. THE COMPUTER-SIMULATION OF THE METAL MOLTEN-SALT INTERFACE PHILOSOPHICAL MAGAZINE A-PHYSICS OF CONDENSED MATTER STRUCTURE DEFECTS AND MECHANICAL PROPERTIES, 58 (1), pp. 27-35. | Show Abstract | Read more

The effects of plate separation, charge on the plates and temperature on the ion profiles, diffusion constant and capacitance are studied by means of molecular dynamics. © 1988 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Borley DW, Mahapatra M, Paton DJ, Esnouf RM, Stuart DI, Fry EE. 2013. Evaluation and use of in-silico structure-based epitope prediction with foot-and-mouth disease virus. PLoS One, 8 (5), pp. e61122. | Show Abstract | Read more

Understanding virus antigenicity is of fundamental importance for the development of better, more cross-reactive vaccines. However, as far as we are aware, no systematic work has yet been conducted using the 3D structure of a virus to identify novel epitopes. Therefore we have extended several existing structural prediction algorithms to build a method for identifying epitopes on the appropriate outer surface of intact virus capsids (which are structurally different from globular proteins in both shape and arrangement of multiple repeated elements) and applied it here as a proof of principle concept to the capsid of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). We have analysed how reliably several freely available structure-based B cell epitope prediction programs can identify already known viral epitopes of FMDV in the context of the viral capsid. To do this we constructed a simple objective metric to measure the sensitivity and discrimination of such algorithms. After optimising the parameters for five methods using an independent training set we used this measure to evaluate the methods. Individually any one algorithm performed rather poorly (three performing better than the other two) suggesting that there may be value in developing virus-specific software. Taking a very conservative approach requiring a consensus between all three top methods predicts a number of previously described antigenic residues as potential epitopes on more than one serotype of FMDV, consistent with experimental results. The consensus results identified novel residues as potential epitopes on more than one serotype. These include residues 190-192 of VP2 (not previously determined to be antigenic), residues 69-71 and 193-197 of VP3 spanning the pentamer-pentamer interface, and another region incorporating residues 83, 84 and 169-174 of VP1 (all only previously experimentally defined on serotype A). The computer programs needed to create a semi-automated procedure for carrying out this epitope prediction method are presented.

Morris C, Pajon A, Griffiths SL, Daniel E, Savitsky M, Lin B, Diprose JM, da Silva AW et al. 2011. The Protein Information Management System (PiMS): a generic tool for any structural biology research laboratory. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 67 (Pt 4), pp. 249-260. | Show Abstract | Read more

The techniques used in protein production and structural biology have been developing rapidly, but techniques for recording the laboratory information produced have not kept pace. One approach is the development of laboratory information-management systems (LIMS), which typically use a relational database schema to model and store results from a laboratory workflow. The underlying philosophy and implementation of the Protein Information Management System (PiMS), a LIMS development specifically targeted at the flexible and unpredictable workflows of protein-production research laboratories of all scales, is described. PiMS is a web-based Java application that uses either Postgres or Oracle as the underlying relational database-management system. PiMS is available under a free licence to all academic laboratories either for local installation or for use as a managed service.

Meier C, Carter LG, Sainsbury S, Mancini EJ, Owens RJ, Stuart DI, Esnouf RM. 2008. The crystal structure of UMP kinase from Bacillus anthracis (BA1797) reveals an allosteric nucleotide-binding site. J Mol Biol, 381 (5), pp. 1098-1105. | Show Abstract | Read more

Uridine monophosphate (UMP) kinase is a conserved enzyme that catalyzes the ATP-driven conversion of uridylate monophosphate into uridylate diphosphate, an essential metabolic step. In prokaryotes, the enzyme exists as a homohexamer that is regulated by various metabolites. Whereas the enzymatic mechanism of UMP kinase (UK) is well-characterized, the molecular basis of its regulation remains poorly understood. Here we report the crystal structure of UK from Bacillus anthracis (BA1797) in complex with ATP at 2.82 A resolution. It reveals that the cofactor, in addition to binding in the active sites, also interacts with separate binding pockets located near the center of the hexameric structure. The existence of such an allosteric binding site had been predicted by biochemical studies, but it was not identified in previous crystal structures of prokaryotic UKs. We show that this putative allosteric pocket is conserved across different bacterial species, suggesting that it is a feature common to bacterial UKs, and we present a structural model for the allosteric regulation of this enzyme.

Au K, Berrow NS, Blagova E, Boucher IW, Boyle MP, Brannigan JA, Carter LG, Dierks T et al. 2006. Application of high-throughput technologies to a structural proteomics-type analysis of Bacillus anthracis. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 62 (Pt 10), pp. 1267-1275. | Show Abstract | Read more

A collaborative project between two Structural Proteomics In Europe (SPINE) partner laboratories, York and Oxford, aimed at high-throughput (HTP) structure determination of proteins from Bacillus anthracis, the aetiological agent of anthrax and a biomedically important target, is described. Based upon a target-selection strategy combining ;low-hanging fruit' and more challenging targets, this work has contributed to the body of knowledge of B. anthracis, established and developed HTP cloning and expression technologies and tested HTP pipelines. Both centres developed ligation-independent cloning (LIC) and expression systems, employing custom LIC-PCR, Gateway and In-Fusion technologies, used in combination with parallel protein purification and robotic nanolitre crystallization screening. Overall, 42 structures have been solved by X-ray crystallography, plus two by NMR through collaboration between York and the SPINE partner in Utrecht. Three biologically important protein structures, BA4899, BA1655 and BA3998, involved in tRNA modification, sporulation control and carbohydrate metabolism, respectively, are highlighted. Target analysis by biophysical clustering based on pI and hydropathy has provided useful information for future target-selection strategies. The technological developments and lessons learned from this project are discussed. The success rate of protein expression and structure solution is at least in keeping with that achieved in structural genomics programs.

Yang ZR, Thomson R, McNeil P, Esnouf RM. 2005. RONN: the bio-basis function neural network technique applied to the detection of natively disordered regions in proteins. Bioinformatics, 21 (16), pp. 3369-3376. | Show Abstract | Read more

MOTIVATION: Recent studies have found many proteins containing regions that do not form well-defined three-dimensional structures in their native states. The study and detection of such disordered regions is important both for understanding protein function and for facilitating structural analysis since disordered regions may affect solubility and/or crystallizability. RESULTS: We have developed the regional order neural network (RONN) software as an application of our recently developed 'bio-basis function neural network' pattern recognition algorithm to the detection of natively disordered regions in proteins. The results of blind-testing a panel of nine disorder prediction tools (including RONN) against 80 protein sequences derived from the Protein Data Bank shows that, based on the probability excess measure, RONN performed the best.

Evans EJ, Esnouf RM, Manso-Sancho R, Gilbert RJ, James JR, Yu C, Fennelly JA, Vowles C et al. 2005. Crystal structure of a soluble CD28-Fab complex. Nat Immunol, 6 (3), pp. 271-279. | Show Abstract | Read more

Naive T cell activation requires signaling by the T cell receptor and by nonclonotypic cell surface receptors. The most important costimulatory protein is the monovalent homodimer CD28, which interacts with CD80 and CD86 expressed on antigen-presenting cells. Here we present the crystal structure of a soluble form of CD28 in complex with the Fab fragment of a mitogenic antibody. Structural comparisons redefine the evolutionary relationships of CD28-related proteins, antigen receptors and adhesion molecules and account for the distinct ligand-binding and stoichiometric properties of CD28 and the related, inhibitory homodimer CTLA-4. Cryo-electron microscopy-based comparisons of complexes of CD28 with mitogenic and nonmitogenic antibodies place new constraints on models of antibody-induced receptor triggering. This work completes the initial structural characterization of the CD28-CTLA-4-CD80-CD86 signaling system.

Love CA, Harlos K, Mavaddat N, Davis SJ, Stuart DI, Jones EY, Esnouf RM. 2003. The ligand-binding face of the semaphorins revealed by the high-resolution crystal structure of SEMA4D. Nat Struct Biol, 10 (10), pp. 843-848. | Show Abstract | Read more

Semaphorins, proteins characterized by an extracellular sema domain, regulate axon guidance, immune function and angiogenesis. The crystal structure of SEMA4D (residues 1-657) shows the sema topology to be a seven-bladed beta-propeller, revealing an unexpected homology with integrins. The sema beta-propeller contains a distinctive 77-residue insertion between beta-strands C and D of blade 5. Blade 7 is followed by a domain common to plexins, semaphorins and integrins (PSI domain), which forms a compact cysteine knot abutting the side of the propeller, and an Ig-like domain. The top face of the beta-propeller presents prominent loops characteristic of semaphorins. In addition to limited contact between the Ig-like domains, the homodimer is stabilized through extensive interactions between the top faces in a sector of the beta-propeller used for heterodimerization in integrins. This face of the propeller also mediates ligand binding in integrins, and functional data for semaphorin-receptor interactions map to the equivalent surface.

Esnouf R, Ren J, Ross C, Jones Y, Stammers D, Stuart D. 1995. Mechanism of inhibition of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase by non-nucleoside inhibitors. Nat Struct Biol, 2 (4), pp. 303-308. | Show Abstract | Read more

The structure of unliganded HIV-1 reverse transcriptase has been determined at 2.35 A resolution and refined to an R-factor of 0.219 (for all data) with good stereochemistry. The unliganded structure was produced by soaking out a weak binding non-nucleoside inhibitor, HEPT, from pregrown crystals. Comparison with the structures of four different RT and non-nucleoside inhibitor complexes reveals that only minor domain rearrangements occur, but there is a significant repositioning of a three-stranded beta-sheet in the p66 subunit (containing the catalytic aspartic acid residues 110, 185 and 186) with respect to the rest of the polymerase site. This suggests that NNIs inhibit RT by locking the polymerase active site in an inactive conformation, reminiscent of the conformation observed in the inactive p51 subunit.

84

Thank you for registering your interest

We were unable to record your request to register for interest in future opportunities. Please try again and if problems persist contact us at webteam@ndm.ox.ac.uk