register interest

Professor David K Stammers

Research Area: Protein Science and Structural Biology
Technology Exchange: Crystallography and Drug discovery
Keywords: HIV, crystallography, drug design, antibacterial, protein structure and transcriptional regulator

A major research interest of the Group relates to the structural biology of potential target enzymes for development of anti-microbial drugs and understanding the basis for mutations giving rise to drug resistance. A second topic concerns structure determination of some regulatory proteins involved in transcription and membrane transport. The techniques we use range from cloning, expression and purification of proteins for crystallisation and structure determination by X-ray crystallography. We have determined structures of essential gene products as potential novel targets for the development of antibacterial drugs (e.g. YeaZ, YegS, riba, AKIII). A long standing interest concerns HIV reverse transcriptase where we have used structural data for the design of novel non-nucleoside inhibitors drugs and for delineating the structural basis of the escape mutants generating drug resistance. For understanding structure-function relationships of regulators we have determined structures of eukaryotic proteins such as NmrA-AreA and CC3, again by the use of crystallography.

Name Department Institution Country
Ian Charles UCL United Kingdom
Alastair Hawkins University of Newcastle United Kingdom
Rob Schuurmann Utrecht Medical Center Netherlands
Jan Balzarini K.U. Leuven Belgium
Ute Vothknecht Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich Germany
Michael Lockyer Arrow Therapeutics United Kingdom
Professor Udo CT Oppermann Structural Genomics Consortium Oxford University, Old Road Campus Research Building United Kingdom
Nichols CE, Lamb HK, Thompson P, El Omari K, Lockyer M, Charles I, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2013. Crystal structure of the dimer of two essential Salmonella typhimurium proteins, YgjD & YeaZ and calorimetric evidence for the formation of a ternary YgjD-YeaZ-YjeE complex. Protein Sci, 22 (5), pp. 628-640. | Show Abstract | Read more

YgjD from COG0533 is amongst a small group of highly conserved proteins present in all three domains of life. Various roles and biochemical functions (including sialoprotease and endonuclease activities) have been ascribed to YgjD and orthologs, the most recent, however, is involvement in the post transcriptional modification of certain tRNAs by formation of N6-threonyl-adenosine (t⁶A) at position 37. In bacteria, YgjD is essential and along with YeaZ, YjeE, and YrdC has been shown to be 'necessary and sufficient' for the tRNA modification. To further define interactions and possible roles for some of this set of proteins we have undertaken structural and biochemical studies. We show that formation of the previously reported heterodimer of YgjD-YeaZ involves ordering of the C-terminal region of YeaZ which extends along the surface of YgjD in the crystal structure. ATPγS or AMP is observed in YgjD while no nucleotide is bound on YeaZ. ITC experiments reveal previously unreported binary and ternary complexes which can be nucleotide dependent. The stoichiometry of the YeaZ-YgjD complex is 1:1 with a K(D) of 0.3 µM. YgjD and YjeE interact only in the presence of ATP, while YjeE binds to YgjD-YeaZ in the presence of ATP or ADP with a K(D) of 6 µM. YgjD doesn't bind the precursors of t⁶A, threonine, and bicarbonate. These results show a more complex set of interactions than previously thought, which may have a regulatory role. The understanding gained should help in deriving inhibitors of these essential proteins that might have potential as antibacterial drugs.

El Omari K, Dhaliwal B, Ren J, Abrescia NGA, Lockyer M, Powell KL, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2011. Structures of respiratory syncytial virus nucleocapsid protein from two crystal forms: details of potential packing interactions in the native helical form. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun, 67 (Pt 10), pp. 1179-1183. | Show Abstract | Read more

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a frequent cause of respiratory illness in infants, but there is currently no vaccine nor effective drug treatment against this virus. The RSV RNA genome is encapsidated and protected by a nucleocapsid protein; this RNA-nucleocapsid complex serves as a template for viral replication. Interest in the nucleocapsid protein has increased owing to its recent identification as the target site for novel anti-RSV compounds. The crystal structure of human respiratory syncytial virus nucleocapsid (HRSVN) was determined to 3.6 Å resolution from two crystal forms belonging to space groups P2(1)2(1)2(1) and P1, with one and four decameric rings per asymmetric unit, respectively. In contrast to a previous structure of HRSVN, the addition of phosphoprotein was not required to obtain diffraction-quality crystals. The HRSVN structures reported here, although similar to the recently published structure, present different molecular packing which may have some biological implications. The positions of the monomers are slightly shifted in the decamer, confirming the adaptability of the ring structure. The details of the inter-ring contacts in one crystal form revealed here suggest a basis for helical packing and that the stabilization of native HRSVN is via mainly ionic interactions.

El Omari K, Dhaliwal B, Ren J, Abrescia NGA, Lockyer M, Powell KL, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2011. Structures of respiratory syncytial virus nucleocapsid protein from two crystal forms: Details of potential packing interactions in the native helical form Acta Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications, 67 (10), pp. 1179-1183. | Show Abstract | Read more

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a frequent cause of respiratory illness in infants, but there is currently no vaccine nor effective drug treatment against this virus. The RSV RNA genome is encapsidated and protected by a nucleocapsid protein; this RNA-nucleocapsid complex serves as a template for viral replication. Interest in the nucleocapsid protein has increased owing to its recent identification as the target site for novel anti-RSV compounds. The crystal structure of human respiratory syncytial virus nucleocapsid (HRSVN) was determined to 3.6 Å resolution from two crystal forms belonging to space groups P212121 and P1, with one and four decameric rings per asymmetric unit, respectively. In contrast to a previous structure of HRSVN, the addition of phosphoprotein was not required to obtain diffraction-quality crystals. The HRSVN structures reported here, although similar to the recently published structure, present different molecular packing which may have some biological implications. The positions of the monomers are slightly shifted in the decamer, confirming the adaptability of the ring structure. The details of the inter-ring contacts in one crystal form revealed here suggest a basis for helical packing and that the stabilization of native HRSVN is via mainly ionic interactions. © 2011 International Union of Crystallography All rights reserved.

Stamp AL, Owen P, El Omari K, Lockyer M, Lamb HK, Charles IG, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2011. Crystallographic and microcalorimetric analyses reveal the structural basis for high arginine specificity in the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium periplasmic binding protein STM4351 Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics, 79 (7), pp. 2352-2357. | Read more

Stamp AL, Owen P, El Omari K, Lockyer M, Lamb HK, Charles IG, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2011. Crystallographic and microcalorimetric analyses reveal the structural basis for high arginine specificity in the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium periplasmic binding protein STM4351. Proteins, 79 (7), pp. 2352-2357. | Read more

Stamp AL, Owen P, El Omari K, Nichols CE, Lockyer M, Lamb HK, Charles IG, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2010. Structural and functional characterization of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium YcbL: an unusual Type II glyoxalase. Protein Sci, 19 (10), pp. 1897-1905. | Show Abstract | Read more

YcbL has been annotated as either a metallo-β-lactamase or glyoxalase II (GLX2), both members of the zinc metallohydrolase superfamily, that contains many enzymes with a diverse range of activities. Here, we report crystallographic and biochemical data for Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium YcbL that establishes it as GLX2, which differs in certain structural and functional properties compared with previously known examples. These features include the insertion of an α-helix after residue 87 in YcbL and truncation of the C-terminal domain, which leads to the loss of some recognition determinants for the glutathione substrate. Despite these changes, YcbL has robust GLX2 activity. A further difference is that the YcbL structure contains only a single bound metal ion rather than the dual site normally observed for GLX2s. Activity assays in the presence of various metal ions indicate an increase in activity above basal levels in the presence of manganous and ferrous ions. Thus, YcbL represents a novel member of the GLX2 family.

Bird LE, Ren J, Nettleship JE, Folkers GE, Owens RJ, Stammers DK. 2010. Novel structural features in two ZHX homeodomains derived from a systematic study of single and multiple domains. BMC Struct Biol, 10 (1), pp. 13. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Zhx1 to 3 (zinc-fingers and homeoboxes) form a set of paralogous genes encoding multi-domain proteins. ZHX proteins consist of two zinc fingers followed by five homeodomains. ZHXs have biological roles in cell cycle control by acting as co-repressors of the transcriptional regulator Nuclear Factor Y. As part of a structural genomics project we have expressed single and multi-domain fragments of the different human ZHX genes for use in structure determination. RESULTS: A total of 30 single and multiple domain ZHX1-3 constructs selected from bioinformatics protocols were screened for soluble expression in E. coli using high throughput methodologies. Two homeodomains were crystallized leading to structures for ZHX1 HD4 and ZHX2 HD2. ZHX1 HD4, although closest matched to homeodomains from 'homez' and 'engrailed', showed structural differences, notably an additional C-terminal helix (helix V) which wrapped over helix I thereby making extensive contacts. Although ZHX2 HD2-3 was successfully expressed and purified, proteolysis occurred during crystallization yielding crystals of just HD2. The structure of ZHX2 HD2 showed an unusual open conformation with helix I undergoing 'domain-swapping' to form a homodimer. CONCLUSIONS: Although multiple-domain constructs of ZHX1 selected by bioinformatics studies could be expressed solubly, only single homeodomains yielded crystals. The crystal structure of ZHX1 HD4 showed additional hydrophobic interactions relative to many known homeodomains via extensive contacts formed by the novel C-terminal helix V with, in particular, helix I. Additionally, the replacement of some charged covariant residues (which are commonly observed to form salt bridges in non-homeotherms such as the Drosophila 'engrailed' homeodomain), by apolar residues further increases hydrophobic contacts within ZHX1 HD4, and potentially stability, relative to engrailed homeodomain. ZHX1 HD4 helix V points away from the normally observed DNA major groove binding site on homeodomains and thus would not obstruct the putative binding of nucleic acid. In contrast, for ZHX2 HD2 the observed altered conformation involving rearrangement of helix I, relative to the canonical homeodomain fold, disrupts the normal DNA binding site, although protein-protein binding is possible as observed in homodimer formation.

Wienk H, Lammers I, Hotze A, Wu J, Wechselberger RW, Owens R, Stammers DK, Stuart D, Kaptein R, Folkers GE. 2009. The tandem zinc-finger region of human ZHX adopts a novel C2H2 zinc finger structure with a C-terminal extension. Biochemistry, 48 (21), pp. 4431-4439. | Show Abstract | Read more

Binding of the nuclear factor-Y complex (NF-Y) to the inverted CCAAT-box interferes with transcription activation through nucleosome reorganization. The three homologous proteins forming the zinc-fingers and homeoboxes (ZHX) family interact with the activation domain of NF-Ya to repress transcription. Each ZHX-protein contains two generic C2H2 zinc-fingers (ZNF1 and ZNF2) followed by five homeodomains. Although the proteins have been related to the occurrence of certain cancers, the function and structure of the individual ZHX domains are still unknown. Here, we determined the structure of the tandem zinc-finger region of human ZHX1. Folding and secondary structure predictions combined with expression screening revealed that the C-terminal extension (E) to ZNF2 could form a single domain with the two hZHX1 zinc-fingers. We therefore decided to determine the solution structure of the zinc-fingers followed by this extension. We show that both zinc-fingers adopt canonical betabetaalpha-folds in which a zinc ion is coordinated by two cysteine and two histidine residues. The C-terminal extension to ZNF2 forms two beta-strands to make a beta-sheet with the beta-strands of this zinc-finger. The ZNF1 and ZNF2-E domains do not show evident contacts and their mutual orientation seems variable. The high degree of sequence conservation among ZHX family members permitted us to prepare homology models for ZHX2 and ZHX3, revealing distinct surface characteristics for each family member. Implications of these structural features for ZHX-functioning in transcription regulation are discussed.

Nichols CE, Sainsbury S, Ren J, Walter TS, Verma A, Stammers DK, Saunders NJ, Owens RJ. 2009. The structure of NMB1585, a MarR-family regulator from Neisseria meningitidis. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun, 65 (Pt 3), pp. 204-209. | Show Abstract | Read more

The structure of the MarR-family transcription factor NMB1585 from Neisseria meningitidis has been solved using data extending to a resolution of 2.1 A. Overall, the dimeric structure resembles those of other MarR proteins, with each subunit comprising a winged helix-turn-helix (wHtH) domain connected to an alpha-helical dimerization domain. The spacing of the recognition helices of the wHtH domain indicates that NMB1585 is pre-configured for DNA binding, with a putative inducer pocket that is largely occluded by the side chains of two aromatic residues (Tyr29 and Trp53). NMB1585 was shown to bind to its own promoter region in a gel-shift assay, indicating that the protein acts as an auto-repressor.

El Omari K, Scott K, Dhaliwal B, Ren J, Abrescia NGA, Budworth J, Lockyer M, Powell KL, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2008. Crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of the human respiratory syncytial virus nucleocapsid protein. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun, 64 (Pt 11), pp. 1019-1023. | Show Abstract | Read more

Human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV) has a nonsegmented negative-stranded RNA genome which is encapsidated by the HRSV nucleocapsid protein (HRSVN) that is essential for viral replication. HRSV is a common cause of respiratory infection in infants, yet no effective antiviral drugs to combat it are available. Recent data from an experimental anti-HRSV compound, RSV-604, indicate that HRSVN could be the target site for drug action. Here, the expression, purification and preliminary data collection of decameric HRSVN as well as monomeric N-terminally truncated HRSVN mutants are reported. Two different crystal forms of full-length selenomethionine-labelled HRSVN were obtained that diffracted to 3.6 and approximately 5 A resolution and belonged to space group P2(1)2(1)2(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 133.6, b = 149.9, c = 255.1 A, and space group P2(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 175.1, b = 162.6, c = 242.8 A, beta = 90.1 degrees , respectively. For unlabelled HRSVN, only crystals belonging to space group P2(1) were obtained that diffracted to 3.6 A. A self-rotation function using data from the orthorhombic crystal form confirmed the presence of tenfold noncrystallographic symmetry, which is in agreement with a reported electron-microscopic reconstruction of HRSVN. Monomeric HRSVN generated by N-terminal truncation was designed to assist in structure determination by reducing the size of the asymmetric unit. Whilst such HRSVN mutants were monomeric in solution and crystallized in a different space group, the size of the asymmetric unit was not reduced.

Kotaka M, Johnson C, Lamb HK, Hawkins AR, Ren J, Stammers DK. 2008. Structural analysis of the recognition of the negative regulator NmrA and DNA by the zinc finger from the GATA-type transcription factor AreA. J Mol Biol, 381 (2), pp. 373-382. | Show Abstract | Read more

Amongst the most common protein motifs in eukaryotes are zinc fingers (ZFs), which, although largely known as DNA binding modules, also can have additional important regulatory roles in forming protein:protein interactions. AreA is a transcriptional activator central to nitrogen metabolism in Aspergillus nidulans. AreA contains a GATA-type ZF that has a competing dual recognition function, binding either DNA or the negative regulator NmrA. We report the crystal structures of three AreA ZF-NmrA complexes including two with bound NAD(+) or NADP(+). The molecular recognition of AreA ZF-NmrA involves binding of the ZF to NmrA via hydrophobic and hydrogen bonding interactions through helices alpha1, alpha6 and alpha11. Comparison with an earlier NMR solution structure of AreA ZF-DNA complex by overlap of the AreA ZFs shows that parts of helices alpha6 and alpha11 of NmrA are positioned close to the GATA motif of the DNA, mimicking the major groove of DNA. The extensive overlap of DNA with NmrA explains their mutually exclusive binding to the AreA ZF. The presence of bound NAD(+)/NADP(+) in the NmrA-AreaA ZF complex, however, causes minimal structural changes. Thus, any regulatory effects on AreA function mediated by the binding of oxidised nicotinamide dinucleotides to NmrA in the NmrA-AreA ZF complex appear not to be modulated via protein conformational rearrangements.

Ren J, Chamberlain PP, Stamp A, Short SA, Weaver KL, Romines KR, Hazen R, Freeman A, Ferris RG, Andrews CW et al. 2008. Structural basis for the improved drug resistance profile of new generation benzophenone non-nucleoside HIV-1 reverse transcriptase inhibitors. J Med Chem, 51 (16), pp. 5000-5008. | Show Abstract | Read more

Owing to the emergence of resistant virus, next generation non-nucleoside HIV reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) with improved drug resistance profiles have been developed to treat HIV infection. Crystal structures of HIV-1 RT complexed with benzophenones optimized for inhibition of HIV mutants that were resistant to the prototype benzophenone GF128590 indicate factors contributing to the resilience of later compounds in the series (GW4511, GW678248). Meta-substituents on the benzophenone A-ring had the designed effect of inducing better contacts with the conserved W229 while reducing aromatic stacking interactions with the highly mutable Y181 side chain, which unexpectedly adopted a "down" position. Up to four main-chain hydrogen bonds to the inhibitor also appear significant in contributing to resilience. Structures of mutant RTs (K103N, V106A/Y181C) with benzophenones showed only small rearrangements of the NNRTIs relative to wild-type. Hence, adaptation to a mutated NNRTI pocket by inhibitor rearrangement appears less significant for benzophenones than other next-generation NNRTIs.

Ren J, Stammers DK. 2008. Structural basis for drug resistance mechanisms for non-nucleoside inhibitors of HIV reverse transcriptase. Virus Res, 134 (1-2), pp. 157-170. | Show Abstract | Read more

The selection of drug resistant virus is a significant obstacle to the continued successful treatment of HIV infection. Reverse transcriptase is the target for numerous approved anti-HIV drugs including both nucleoside inhibitor (NRTI) and non-nucleosides (NNRTI). The many available crystal structures of RT reveal that, generally, in relation to their binding sites NRTI resistance mutations are generally more distally positioned, whilst for NNRTIs mutations are clustered. Such clustering implies a direct stereochemical basis for NNRTI resistance mechanisms, which is indeed observed in many cases such as the loss of key ring stacking interactions with inhibitors via mutations at Tyr181 and Tyr188. However, there are also indirect resistance mechanisms observed, e.g. V108I (via perturbation of Tyr188 and Tyr181) and K103N (apo-enzyme stabilisation). The resistance mechanism can be NNRTI-dependent as is the case for K101E where either indirect (nevirapine) or direct effects (efavirenz) apply. Structural studies have contributed to the design of newer generation NNRTIs and identified a number of features which may contribute to their much improved resistance profiles. Such factors include reduced interactions with Tyr181, the presence of inhibitor/main-chain H-bonds and ability to undergo conformational flexing and rearrangement within the mutated drug site.

Szumska D, Pieles G, Essalmani R, Bilski M, Mesnard D, Kaur K, Franklyn A, El Omari K, Jefferis J, Bentham J et al. 2008. VACTERL/caudal regression/Currarino syndrome-like malformations in mice with mutation in the proprotein convertase Pcsk5. Genes Dev, 22 (11), pp. 1465-1477. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have identified an ethylnitrosourea (ENU)-induced recessive mouse mutation (Vcc) with a pleiotropic phenotype that includes cardiac, tracheoesophageal, anorectal, anteroposterior patterning defects, exomphalos, hindlimb hypoplasia, a presacral mass, renal and palatal agenesis, and pulmonary hypoplasia. It results from a C470R mutation in the proprotein convertase PCSK5 (PC5/6). Compound mutants (Pcsk5(Vcc/null)) completely recapitulate the Pcsk5(Vcc/Vcc) phenotype, as does an epiblast-specific conditional deletion of Pcsk5. The C470R mutation ablates a disulfide bond in the P domain, and blocks export from the endoplasmic reticulum and proprotein convertase activity. We show that GDF11 is cleaved and activated by PCSK5A, but not by PCSK5A-C470R, and that Gdf11-deficient embryos, in addition to having anteroposterior patterning defects and renal and palatal agenesis, also have a presacral mass, anorectal malformation, and exomphalos. Pcsk5 mutation results in abnormal expression of several paralogous Hox genes (Hoxa, Hoxc, and Hoxd), and of Mnx1 (Hlxb9). These include known Gdf11 targets, and are necessary for caudal embryo development. We identified nonsynonymous mutations in PCSK5 in patients with VACTERL (vertebral, anorectal, cardiac, tracheoesophageal, renal, limb malformation OMIM 192350) and caudal regression syndrome, the phenotypic features of which resemble the mouse mutation. We propose that Pcsk5, at least in part via GDF11, coordinately regulates caudal Hox paralogs, to control anteroposterior patterning, nephrogenesis, skeletal, and anorectal development.

Lamb HK, Stammers DK, Hawkins AR. 2008. Dinucleotide-sensing proteins: linking signaling networks and regulating transcription. Sci Signal, 1 (33), pp. pe38. | Show Abstract | Read more

Differential binding of dinucleotides to key regulatory proteins can modulate their interactions with other proteins and, in some cases, can signal fluctuations in the cellular redox state, to produce changes in transcription and physiological state. The dinucleotide-binding proteins human HSCARG and yeast transcription repressor Gal80p are examples that offer exciting glimpses into the potential for dinucleotide-sensing proteins to couple fluctuations in dinucleotide ratios to changes in transcription and to act as networking agents linking different classes of signaling molecules.

Lamb HK, Thompson P, Elliott C, Charles IG, Richards J, Lockyer M, Watkins N, Nichols C, Stammers DK, Bagshaw CR et al. 2007. Functional analysis of the GTPases EngA and YhbZ encoded by Salmonella typhimurium. Protein Sci, 16 (11), pp. 2391-2402. | Show Abstract | Read more

The S. typhimurium genome encodes proteins, designated EngA and YhbZ, which have a high sequence identity with the GTPases EngA/Der and ObgE/CgtAE of Escherichia coli. The wild-type activity of the E. coli proteins is essential for normal ribosome maturation and cell viability. In order to characterize the potential involvement of the Salmonella typhimurium EngA and YhbZ proteins in ribosome biology, we used high stringency affinity chromatography experiments to identify strongly binding ribosomal partner proteins. A combination of biochemical and microcalorimetric analysis was then used to characterize these protein:protein interactions and quantify nucleotide binding affinities. These experiments show that YhbZ specifically interacts with the pseudouridine synthase RluD (KD=2 microM and 1:1 stoichiometry), and we show for the first time that EngA can interact with the ribosomal structural protein S7. Thermodynamic analysis shows both EngA and YhbZ bind GDP with a higher affinity than GTP (20-fold difference for EngA and 3.8-fold for YhbZ), and that the two nucleotide binding sites in EngA show a 5.3-fold difference in affinity for GDP. We report a fluorescence assay for nucleotide binding to EngA and YhbZ, which is suitable for identifying inhibitors specific for this ligand-binding site, which would potentially inhibit their biological functions. The interactions of YhbZ with ribosome structural proteins that we identify may demonstrate a previously unreported additional function for this class of GTPase: that of ensuring delivery of rRNA modifying enzymes to the appropriate region of the ribosome.

Nichols CE, Johnson C, Lamb HK, Lockyer M, Charles IG, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2007. Structure of the ribosomal interacting GTPase YjeQ from the enterobacterial species Salmonella typhimurium. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun, 63 (Pt 11), pp. 922-928. | Show Abstract | Read more

The YjeQ class of P-loop GTPases assist in ribosome biogenesis and also bind to the 30S subunit of mature ribosomes. YjeQ ribosomal binding is GTP-dependent and thought to specifically direct protein synthesis, although the nature of the upstream signal causing this event in vivo is as yet unknown. The attenuating effect of YjeQ mutants on bacterial growth in Escherichia coli makes it a potential target for novel antimicrobial agents. In order to further explore the structure and function of YjeQ, the isolation, crystallization and structure determination of YjeQ from the enterobacterial species Salmonella typhimurium (StYjeQ) is reported. Whilst the overall StYjeQ fold is similar to those of the previously reported Thematoga maritima and Bacillus subtilis orthologues, particularly the GTPase domain, there are larger differences in the three OB folds. Although the zinc-finger secondary structure is conserved, significant sequence differences alter the nature of the external surface in each case and may reflect varying signalling pathways. Therefore, it may be easier to develop YjeQ-specific inhibitors that target the N- and C-terminal regions, disrupting the metabolic connectivity rather than the GTPase activity. The availability of coordinates for StYjeQ will provide a significantly improved basis for threading Gram-negative orthologue sequences and in silico compound-screening studies, with the potential for the development of species-selective drugs.

El Omari K, Stammers DK. 2007. The design and development of drugs acting against the smallpox virus. Expert Opin Drug Discov, 2 (9), pp. 1263-1272. | Show Abstract | Read more

The eradication of smallpox was announced by the WHO in 1980. However, smallpox has not totally disappeared from people's minds because of its potential use as a biological weapon. Further outbreaks of smallpox would, needless to say, be devastating in a population, which has little or no immune defence against the virus. The real concerns come from the fact that the previously used vaccine would not be tolerated today by a number of patients and, more worryingly, there are no approved antiviral drugs against smallpox. This review is focused on the antiviral research, which has been stimulated to deliver potent inhibitors of the replication of the causative agent of smallpox, variola virus.

Huigen MCDG, de Graaf L, Eggink D, Schuurman R, Müller V, Stamp A, Stammers DK, Boucher CAB, Nijhuis M. 2007. Evolution of a novel 5-amino-acid insertion in the beta3-beta4 loop of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. Virology, 364 (2), pp. 395-406. | Show Abstract | Read more

HIV-1 isolates harbouring an insertion in the beta3-beta4 loop of reverse transcriptase (RT) confer high-level resistance to nucleoside analogues. We have identified a novel 5-amino-acid insertion (KGSNR amino acids 66-70) in a patient on prolonged nucleoside combination therapy (didanosine and stavudine) and investigated which factors were responsible for its outgrowth. Remarkably, only small fold increases in drug resistance to nucleoside analogues were observed compared to wild type. The insertion variant displayed a reduced replicative capacity in the absence of inhibitor, but had a slight replicative advantage in the presence of zidovudine, didanosine or stavudine, resulting in the selection and persistence of this insertion in vivo. Mathematical analyses of longitudinal samples indicated a 2% in vivo fitness advantage for the insertion variant compared to the initial viral population. The novel RT insertion variant conferring low levels of resistance was able to evolve towards a high-level resistant replication-competent variant.

Nichols CE, Lamb HK, Lockyer M, Charles IG, Pyne S, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2007. Characterization of Salmonella typhimurium YegS, a putative lipid kinase homologous to eukaryotic sphingosine and diacylglycerol kinases. Proteins, 68 (1), pp. 13-25. | Show Abstract | Read more

Salmonella typhimurium YegS is a protein conserved in many prokaryotes. Although the function of YegS is not definitively known, it has been annotated as a potential diacylglycerol or sphingosine kinase based on sequence similarity with eukaryotic enzymes of known function. To further characterize YegS, we report its purification, biochemical analysis, crystallization, and structure determination. The crystal structure of YegS reveals a two-domain fold related to bacterial polyphosphate/ATP NAD kinases, comprising a central cleft between an N-terminal alpha/beta domain and a C-terminal two-layer beta-sandwich domain; conserved structural features are consistent with nucleotide binding within the cleft. The N-terminal and C-terminal domains of YegS are however counter-rotated, relative to the polyphosphate/ATP NAD kinase archetype, such that the potential nucleotide binding site is blocked. There are also two Ca2+ binding sites and two hydrophobic clefts, one in each domain of YegS. Analysis of mutagenesis data from eukaryotic homologues of YegS suggest that the N-terminal cleft may bind activating lipids while the C-terminal cleft may bind the lipid substrate. Microcalorimetry experiments showed interaction between recombinant YegS and Mg2+, Ca2+, and Mn2+ ions, with a weaker interaction also observed with polyphosphates and ATP. However, biochemical assays showed that recombinant YegS is endogenously neither an active diacylglycerol nor sphingosine kinase. Thus although the bioinformatics analysis and structure of YegS indicate that many of the ligand recognition determinants for lipid kinase activity are present, the absence of such activity may be due to specificity for a different lipid substrate or the requirement for activation by an, as yet, undetermined mechanism. In this regard the specific interaction of YegS with the periplasmic chaperone OmpH, which we demonstrate from pulldown experiments, may be of significance. Such an interaction suggests that YegS can be translocated to the periplasm and directed to the outer-membrane, an environment that may be required for enzyme activity.

Cader MZ, Ren J, James PA, Bird LE, Talbot K, Stammers DK. 2007. Crystal structure of human wildtype and S581L-mutant glycyl-tRNA synthetase, an enzyme underlying distal spinal muscular atrophy. FEBS Lett, 581 (16), pp. 2959-2964. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dominant mutations in the ubiquitous enzyme glycyl-tRNA synthetase (GlyRS), including S581L, lead to motor nerve degeneration. We have determined crystal structures of wildtype and S581L-mutant human GlyRS. The S581L mutation is approximately 50A from the active site, and yet gives reduced aminoacylation activity. The overall structures of wildtype and S581L-GlyRS, including the active site, are very similar. However, residues 567-575 of the anticodon-binding domain shift position and in turn could indirectly affect glycine binding via the tRNA or alternatively inhibit conformational changes. Reduced enzyme activity may underlie neuronal degeneration, although a dominant-negative effect is more likely in this autosomal dominant disorder.

Ren J, Nichols CE, Chamberlain PP, Weaver KL, Short SA, Chan JH, Kleim J-P, Stammers DK. 2007. Relationship of potency and resilience to drug resistant mutations for GW420867X revealed by crystal structures of inhibitor complexes for wild-type, Leu100Ile, Lys101Glu, and Tyr188Cys mutant HIV-1 reverse transcriptases. J Med Chem, 50 (10), pp. 2301-2309. | Show Abstract | Read more

The selection of drug resistant viruses is a major problem in efforts to combat HIV and AIDS, hence, new compounds are required. We report crystal structures of wild-type and mutant HIV-1 RT with bound non-nucleoside (NNRTI) GW420867X, aimed at investigating the basis for its high potency and improved drug resistance profile compared to the first-generation drug nevirapine. GW420867X occupies a smaller volume than many NNRTIs, yet accesses key regions of the binding pocket. GW420867X has few contacts with Tyr188, hence, explaining the small effect of mutating this residue on inhibitor-binding potency. In a mutated NNRTI pocket, GW420867X either remains in a similar position compared to wild-type (RT(Leu100Ile) and RT(Tyr188Cys)) or rearranges within the pocket (RT(Lys101Glu)). For RT(Leu100Ile), GW420867X does not shift position, in spite of forming different side-chain contacts. The small bulk of GW420867X allows adaptation to a mutated NNRTI binding site by repositioning or readjustment of side-chain contacts with only small reductions in binding affinity.

Ren J, Sainsbury S, Combs SE, Capper RG, Jordan PW, Berrow NS, Stammers DK, Saunders NJ, Owens RJ. 2007. The structure and transcriptional analysis of a global regulator from Neisseria meningitidis. J Biol Chem, 282 (19), pp. 14655-14664. | Show Abstract | Read more

Neisseria meningitidis, a causative agent of bacterial meningitis, has a relatively small repertoire of transcription factors, including NMB0573 (annotated AsnC), a member of the Lrp-AsnC family of regulators that are widely expressed in both Bacteria and Archaea. In the present study we show that NMB0573 binds to l-leucine and l-methionine and have solved the structure of the protein with and without bound amino acids. This has shown, for the first time that amino acid binding does not induce significant conformational changes in the structure of an AsnC/Lrp regulator although it does appear to stabilize the octameric assembly of the protein. Transcriptional profiling of wild-type and NMB0573 knock-out strains of N. meningitidis has shown that NMB0573 is associated with an adaptive response to nutrient poor conditions reflected in a reduction in major surface protein expression. On the basis of its structure and the transcriptional response, we propose that NMB0573 is a global regulator in Neisseria controlling responses to nutrient availability through indicators of general amino acid abundance: leucine and methionine.

Wu X, Knapp S, Stamp A, Stammers DK, Jörnvall H, Dellaporta SL, Oppermann U. 2007. Biochemical characterization of TASSELSEED 2, an essential plant short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase with broad spectrum activities. FEBS J, 274 (5), pp. 1172-1182. | Show Abstract | Read more

The development of unisexual flowers in maize and other plants proceeds through selective elimination of floral organs in an initially bisexual floral meristem. The essential character of the tasselseed 2 gene (TS2) in this cell-death pathway has been established previously. Molecular cloning of TS2 reveals membership to the evolutionarily conserved superfamily of short-chain dehydrogenases/reductases, but its substrate specificity remained unknown. Recombinant TS2 protein was produced in Escherichia coli, and purified to apparent homogeneity. Analytical ultracentrifugation and gel filtration experiments show that TS2 is a tetrameric enzyme. Thermal denaturation followed by circular dichroism spectroscopy reveals that TS2 binds NAD(H) and NAD(P)(H). Substrate screening demonstrates that TS2 converts steroids with specificities found at positions 3 and 17, and several dicarbonyl and quinone compounds, thus establishing TS2 as a plant 3beta/17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and carbonyl/quinone reductase. Taken together, the genetic data and the substrate specificities determined suggest that TS2 converts specific plant compounds and acts as a prereceptor control mechanism, in a manner similar to that of mammalian hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases.

Chigri F, Hörmann F, Stamp A, Stammers DK, Bölter B, Soll J, Vothknecht UC. 2006. Calcium regulation of chloroplast protein translocation is mediated by calmodulin binding to Tic32. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 103 (43), pp. 16051-16056. | Show Abstract | Read more

The import of nuclear-encoded proteins into chloroplasts is tightly controlled on both sides of the envelope membranes. Regulatory circuits include redox-control as well as calcium-regulation, with calmodulin being the likely mediator of the latter. Using affinity-chromatography on calmodulin-agarose, we could identify the inner envelope translocon component Tic32 as the predominant calmodulin-binding protein of this membrane. Calmodulin-binding assays corroborate the interaction for heterologously expressed as well as native Tic32. The interaction is calcium-dependent and is mediated by a calmodulin-binding domain between Leu-296 and Leu-314 close to the C-proximal end of the pea Tic32. We furthermore could establish Tic32 as a bona fide NADPH-dependent dehydrogenase. NADPH but not NADH or NADP(+) affects the interaction of Tic110 with Tic32 as well as Tic62. At the same time, dehydrogenase activity of Tic32 is affected by calmodulin. In particular, binding of NADPH and calmodulin to Tic32 appear to be mutually exclusive. These results suggest that redox modulation and calcium regulation of chloroplast protein import convene at the Tic translocon and that both could be mediated by Tic32.

Kotaka M, Ren J, Lockyer M, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2006. Structures of R- and T-state Escherichia coli aspartokinase III. Mechanisms of the allosteric transition and inhibition by lysine. J Biol Chem, 281 (42), pp. 31544-31552. | Show Abstract | Read more

Aspartokinase III (AKIII) from Escherichia coli catalyzes an initial commitment step of the aspartate pathway, giving biosynthesis of certain amino acids including lysine. We report crystal structures of AKIII in the inactive T-state with bound feedback allosteric inhibitor lysine and in the R-state with aspartate and ADP. The structures reveal an unusual configuration for the regulatory ACT domains, in which ACT2 is inserted into ACT1 rather than the expected tandem repeat. Comparison of R- and T-state AKIII indicates that binding of lysine to the regulatory ACT1 domain in R-state AKIII instigates a series of changes that release a "latch", the beta15-alphaK loop, from the catalytic domain, which in turn undergoes large rotational rearrangements, promoting tetramer formation and completion of the transition to the T-state. Lysine-induced allosteric transition in AKIII involves both destabilizing the R-state and stabilizing the T-state tetramer. Rearrangement of the catalytic domain blocks the ATP-binding site, which is therefore the structural basis for allosteric inhibition of AKIII by lysine.

El Omari K, Bronckaers A, Liekens S, Pérez-Pérez M-J, Balzarini J, Stammers DK. 2006. Structural basis for non-competitive product inhibition in human thymidine phosphorylase: implications for drug design. Biochem J, 399 (2), pp. 199-204. | Show Abstract | Read more

HTP (human thymidine phosphorylase), also known as PD-ECGF (platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor) or gliostatin, has an important role in nucleoside metabolism. HTP is implicated in angiogenesis and apoptosis and therefore is a prime target for drug design, including antitumour therapies. An HTP structure in a closed conformation complexed with an inhibitor has previously been solved. Earlier kinetic studies revealed an ordered release of thymine followed by ribose phosphate and product inhibition by both ligands. We have determined the structure of HTP from crystals grown in the presence of thymidine, which, surprisingly, resulted in bound thymine with HTP in a closed dead-end complex. Thus thymine appears to be able to reassociate with HTP after its initial ordered release before ribose phosphate and induces the closed conformation, hence explaining the mechanism of non-competitive product inhibition. In the active site in one of the four HTP molecules within the crystal asymmetric unit, additional electron density is present. This density has not been previously seen in any pyrimidine nucleoside phosphorylase and it defines a subsite that may be exploitable in drug design. Finally, because our crystals did not require proteolysed HTP to grow, the structure reveals a loop (residues 406-415), disordered in the previous HTP structure. This loop extends across the active-site cleft and appears to stabilize the dimer interface and the closed conformation by hydrogen-bonding. The present study will assist in the design of HTP inhibitors that could lead to drugs for anti-angiogenesis as well as for the potentiation of other nucleoside drugs.

El Omari K, Dhaliwal B, Lockyer M, Charles I, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2006. Structure of Staphylococcus aureus guanylate monophosphate kinase. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun, 62 (Pt 10), pp. 949-953. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nucleotide monophosphate kinases (NMPKs) are potential antimicrobial drug targets owing to their role in supplying DNA and RNA precursors. The present work reports the crystal structure of Staphylococcus aureus guanylate monophosphate kinase (SaGMK) at 1.9 A resolution. The structure shows that unlike most GMKs SaGMK is dimeric, confirming the role of the extended C-terminus in dimer formation as first observed for Escherichia coli GMK (EcGMK). One of the two SaGMK dimers within the crystal asymmetric unit has two monomers in different conformations: an open form with a bound sulfate ion (mimicking the beta-phosphate of ATP) and a closed form with bound GMP and sulfate ion. GMP-induced domain movements in SaGMK can thus be defined by comparison of these conformational states. Like other GMKs, the binding of GMP firstly triggers a partial closure of the enzyme, diminishing the distance between the GMP-binding and ATP-binding sites. In addition, the closed structure shows the presence of a potassium ion in contact with the guanine ring of GMP. The potassium ion appears to form an integral part of the GMP-binding site, as the Tyr36 side chain has significantly moved to form a metal ion-ligand coordination involving the lone pair of the side-chain O atom. The potassium-binding site might also be exploited in the design of novel inhibitors.

Dhaliwal B, Ren J, Lockyer M, Charles I, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2006. Structure of Staphylococcus aureus cytidine monophosphate kinase in complex with cytidine 5'-monophosphate. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun, 62 (Pt 8), pp. 710-715. | Show Abstract | Read more

The crystal structure of Staphylococcus aureus cytidine monophosphate kinase (CMK) in complex with cytidine 5'-monophosphate (CMP) has been determined at 2.3 angstroms resolution. The active site reveals novel features when compared with two orthologues of known structure. Compared with the Streptococcus pneumoniae CMK solution structure of the enzyme alone, S. aureus CMK adopts a more closed conformation, with the NMP-binding domain rotating by approximately 16 degrees towards the central pocket of the molecule, thereby assembling the active site. Comparing Escherichia coli and S. aureus CMK-CMP complex structures reveals differences within the active site, including a previously unreported indirect interaction of CMP with Asp33, the replacement of a serine residue involved in the binding of CDP by Ala12 in S. aureus CMK and an additional sulfate ion in the E. coli CMK active site. The detailed understanding of the stereochemistry of CMP binding to CMK will assist in the design of novel inhibitors of the enzyme. Inhibitors are required to treat the widespread hospital infection methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), currently a major public health concern.

Ren J, Nichols CE, Stamp A, Chamberlain PP, Ferris R, Weaver KL, Short SA, Stammers DK. 2006. Structural insights into mechanisms of non-nucleoside drug resistance for HIV-1 reverse transcriptases mutated at codons 101 or 138. FEBS J, 273 (16), pp. 3850-3860. | Show Abstract | Read more

Lys101Glu is a drug resistance mutation in reverse transcriptase clinically observed in HIV-1 from infected patients treated with the non-nucleoside inhibitor (NNRTI) drugs nevirapine and efavirenz. In contrast to many NNRTI resistance mutations, Lys101(p66 subunit) is positioned at the surface of the NNRTI pocket where it interacts across the reverse transcriptase (RT) subunit interface with Glu138(p51 subunit). However, nevirapine contacts Lys101 and Glu138 only indirectly, via water molecules, thus the structural basis of drug resistance induced by Lys101Glu is unclear. We have determined crystal structures of RT(Glu138Lys) and RT(Lys101Glu) in complexes with nevirapine to 2.5 A, allowing the determination of water structure within the NNRTI-binding pocket, essential for an understanding of nevirapine binding. Both RT(Glu138Lys) and RT(Lys101Glu) have remarkably similar protein conformations to wild-type RT, except for significant movement of the mutated side-chains away from the NNRTI pocket induced by charge inversion. There are also small shifts in the position of nevirapine for both mutant structures which may influence ring stacking interactions with Tyr181. However, the reduction in hydrogen bonds in the drug-water-side-chain network resulting from the mutated side-chain movement appears to be the most significant contribution to nevirapine resistance for RT(Lys101Glu). The movement of Glu101 away from the NNRTI pocket can also explain the resistance of RT(Lys101Glu) to efavirenz but in this case is due to a loss of side-chain contacts with the drug. RT(Lys101Glu) is thus a distinctive NNRTI resistance mutant in that it can give rise to both direct and indirect mechanisms of drug resistance, which are inhibitor-dependent.

Balzarini J, Liekens S, Solaroli N, El Omari K, Stammers DK, Karlsson A. 2006. Engineering of a single conserved amino acid residue of herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase allows a predominant shift from pyrimidine to purine nucleoside phosphorylation. J Biol Chem, 281 (28), pp. 19273-19279. | Show Abstract | Read more

Studies of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) thymidine (dThd) kinase (TK) crystal structures show that purine and pyrimidine bases occupy distinct positions in the active site but approximately the same geometric plane. The presence of a bulky side chain, such as tyrosine at position 167, would not be sterically favorable for pyrimidine or pyrimidine nucleoside analogue binding, whereas purine nucleoside analogues would be less affected because they are located further away from the phenylalanine side chain. Site-directed mutagenesis of the conserved Ala-167 and Ala-168 residues in HSV-1 TK resulted in a wide variety of differential affinities and catalytic activities in the presence of the natural substrate dThd and the purine nucleoside analogue drug ganciclovir (GCV), depending on the nature of the amino acid mutation. A168H- and A167F-mutated HSV-1 TK enzymes turned out to have a virtually complete knock-out of dThd kinase activity (at least approximately 4-5 orders of magnitude lower) presumably due to a steric clash between the mutated amino acid and the dThd ring. In contrast, a full preservation of the GCV (and other purine nucleoside analogues) kinase activity was achieved for A168H TK. The enzyme mutants also markedly lost their binding capacity for dThd and showed a substantially diminished feedback inhibition by thymidine 5'-triphosphate. The side chain size at position 168 seems to play a less important role regarding GCV or dThd selectivity than at position 167. Instead, the nitrogen-containing side chains from A168H and A168K seem necessary for efficient ligand discrimination. This explains why A168H-mutated HSV-1 TK fully preserves its GCV kinase activity (Vmax/Km 4-fold higher than wild-type HSV-1 TK), although still showing a severely compromised dThd kinase activity (Vmax/Km 3-4 orders of magnitude lower than wild-type HSV-1 TK).

Nichols CE, Johnson C, Lockyer M, Charles IG, Lamb HK, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2006. Structural characterization of Salmonella typhimurium YeaZ, an M22 O-sialoglycoprotein endopeptidase homolog. Proteins, 64 (1), pp. 111-123. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Salmonella typhimurium "yeaZ" gene (StyeaZ) encodes an essential protein of unknown function (StYeaZ), which has previously been annotated as a putative homolog of the Pasteurella haemolytica M22 O-sialoglycoprotein endopeptidase Gcp. YeaZ has also recently been reported as the first example of an RPF from a gram-negative bacterial species. To further characterize the properties of StYeaZ and the widely occurring MK-M22 family, we describe the purification, biochemical analysis, crystallization, and structure determination of StYeaZ. The crystal structure of StYeaZ reveals a classic two-lobed actin-like fold with structural features consistent with nucleotide binding. However, microcalorimetry experiments indicated that StYeaZ neither binds polyphosphates nor a wide range of nucleotides. Additionally, biochemical assays show that YeaZ is not an active O-sialoglycoprotein endopeptidase, consistent with the lack of the critical zinc binding motif. We present a detailed comparison of YeaZ with available structural homologs, the first reported structural analysis of an MK-M22 family member. The analysis indicates that StYeaZ has an unusual orientation of the A and B lobes which may require substantial relative movement or interaction with a partner protein in order to bind ligands. Comparison of the fold of YeaZ with that of a known RPF domain from a gram-positive species shows significant structural differences and therefore potentially distinctive RPF mechanisms for these two bacterial classes.

Nichols CE, Sainsbury S, Berrow NS, Alderton D, Saunders NJ, Stammers DK, Owens RJ. 2006. Structure of the PII signal transduction protein of Neisseria meningitidis at 1.85 A resolution. Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun, 62 (Pt 6), pp. 494-497. | Show Abstract | Read more

The P(II) signal transduction proteins GlnB and GlnK are implicated in the regulation of nitrogen assimilation in Escherichia coli and other enteric bacteria. P(II)-like proteins are widely distributed in bacteria, archaea and plants. In contrast to other bacteria, Neisseria are limited to a single P(II) protein (NMB 1995), which shows a high level of sequence identity to GlnB and GlnK from Escherichia coli (73 and 62%, respectively). The structure of the P(II) protein from N. meningitidis (serotype B) has been solved by molecular replacement to a resolution of 1.85 A. Comparison of the structure with those of other P(II) proteins shows that the overall fold is tightly conserved across the whole population of related proteins, in particular the positions of the residues implicated in ATP binding. It is proposed that the Neisseria P(II) protein shares functions with GlnB/GlnK of enteric bacteria.

El Omari K, Liekens S, Bird LE, Balzarini J, Stammers DK. 2006. Mutations distal to the substrate site can affect varicella zoster virus thymidine kinase activity: implications for drug design. Mol Pharmacol, 69 (6), pp. 1891-1896. | Show Abstract | Read more

Varicella zoster virus encodes a thymidine kinase responsible for the activation of antiherpetic nucleoside prodrugs such as acyclovir. In addition, herpes virus thymidine kinases are being explored in gene/chemotherapy strategies aimed at developing novel antitumor therapies. To investigate and improve compound selectivity, we report here structure-based site-directed mutagenesis studies of varicella zoster virus thymidine kinase (VZVTK). Earlier reports showed that mutating residues at the core of the VZVTK active site invariably destroyed activity; hence, we targeted more distal residues. Based on the VZVTK crystal structure, we constructed six mutants (E59S, R84V, H97Y/A, and Y21H/E) and tested substrate activity and competitive inhibition for several compound series. All VZVTK mutants tested retained significant phosphorylation activity with dThd as substrate, apart from Y21E (350-fold diminution in the k(cat)/K(m)). Some mutations give slightly improved affinities: bicyclic nucleoside analogs (BCNAs) with a p-alkyl-substituted phenyl group seem to require aromatic ring stacking interactions with residue 97 for optimal inhibitory effect. Mutation Y21E decreased the IC(50) value for the BCNA 3-(2'-deoxy-beta-D-ribofuranosyl)-6-octyl-2,3-dihydrofuro[2,3-d]pyrimidin-2-one (Cf1368) 4-fold, whereas mutation Y21H increased the IC(50) value by more than 15-fold. These results suggest that residue 21 is important for BCNA selectivity and might explain why HSV1TK is unable to bind BCNAs. Other mutants, such as the E59S and R84V thymidine kinases, which in wild-type VZVTK stabilize the dimer interface, give opposite results regarding the level of sensitivity to BCNAs. The work described here shows that distal mutations that affect the VZVTK active-site may help in the design of more selective substrates for gene suicide therapy or as anti-varicella zoster virus drugs.

Kotaka M, Dhaliwal B, Ren J, Nichols CE, Angell R, Lockyer M, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2006. Structures of S. aureus thymidylate kinase reveal an atypical active site configuration and an intermediate conformational state upon substrate binding. Protein Sci, 15 (4), pp. 774-784. | Show Abstract | Read more

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) poses a major threat to human health, particularly through hospital acquired infection. The spread of MRSA means that novel targets are required to develop potential inhibitors to combat infections caused by such drug-resistant bacteria. Thymidylate kinase (TMK) is attractive as an antibacterial target as it is essential for providing components for DNA synthesis. Here, we report crystal structures of unliganded and thymidylate-bound forms of S. aureus thymidylate kinase (SaTMK). His-tagged and untagged SaTMK crystallize with differing lattice packing and show variations in conformational states for unliganded and thymidylate (TMP) bound forms. In addition to open and closed forms of SaTMK, an intermediate conformation in TMP binding is observed, in which the site is partially closed. Analysis of these structures indicates a sequence of events upon TMP binding, with helix alpha3 shifting position initially, followed by movement of alpha2 to close the substrate site. In addition, we observe significant conformational differences in the TMP-binding site in SaTMK as compared to available TMK structures from other bacterial species, Escherichia coli and Mycobacterium tuberculosis as well as human TMK. In SaTMK, Arg 48 is situated at the base of the TMP-binding site, close to the thymine ring, whereas a cis-proline occupies the equivalent position in other TMKs. The observed TMK structural differences mean that design of compounds highly specific for the S. aureus enzyme looks possible; such inhibitors could minimize the transfer of drug resistance between different bacterial species.

Romines KR, Freeman GA, Schaller LT, Cowan JR, Gonzales SS, Tidwell JH, Andrews CW, Stammers DK, Hazen RJ, Ferris RG et al. 2006. Structure-activity relationship studies of novel benzophenones leading to the discovery of a potent, next generation HIV nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. J Med Chem, 49 (2), pp. 727-739. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite the progress of the past two decades, there is still considerable need for safe, efficacious drugs that target human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This is particularly true for the growing number of patients infected with virus resistant to currently approved HIV drugs. Our high throughput screening effort identified a benzophenone template as a potential nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). This manuscript describes our extensive exploration of the benzophenone structure-activity relationships, which culminated in the identification of several compounds with very potent inhibition of both wild type and clinically relevant NNRTI-resistant mutant strains of HIV. These potent inhibitors include 70h (GW678248), which has in vitro antiviral assay IC(50) values of 0.5 nM against wild-type HIV, 1 nM against the K103N mutant associated with clinical resistance to efavirenz, and 0.7 nM against the Y181C mutant associated with clinical resistance to nevirapine. Compound 70h has also demonstrated relatively low clearance in intravenous pharmacokinetic studies in three species, and it is the active component of a drug candidate which has progressed to phase 2 clinical studies.

Cited:

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Romines KR, Freeman GA, Schaller LT, Cowan JR, Gonzales SS, Tidwell JH, Andrews CW, Stammers DK, Hazen RJ, Ferris RG et al. 2006. Structure-activity relationship studies of novel benzophenones leading to the discovery of a potent, next generation HIV nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor. Journal of medicinal chemistry, 49 (2), pp. 727-739. | Show Abstract | Read more

Despite the progress of the past two decades, there is still considerable need for safe, efficacious drugs that target human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This is particularly true for the growing number of patients infected with virus resistant to currently approved HIV drugs. Our high throughput screening effort identified a benzophenone template as a potential nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI). This manuscript describes our extensive exploration of the benzophenone structure-activity relationships, which culminated in the identification of several compounds with very potent inhibition of both wild type and clinically relevant NNRTI-resistant mutant strains of HIV. These potent inhibitors include 70h (GW678248), which has in vitro antiviral assay IC(50) values of 0.5 nM against wild-type HIV, 1 nM against the K103N mutant associated with clinical resistance to efavirenz, and 0.7 nM against the Y181C mutant associated with clinical resistance to nevirapine. Compound 70h has also demonstrated relatively low clearance in intravenous pharmacokinetic studies in three species, and it is the active component of a drug candidate which has progressed to phase 2 clinical studies.

El Omari K, Ren J, Bird LE, Bona MK, Klarmann G, LeGrice SFJ, Stammers DK. 2006. Molecular architecture and ligand recognition determinants for T4 RNA ligase. J Biol Chem, 281 (3), pp. 1573-1579. | Show Abstract | Read more

RNA ligase type 1 from bacteriophage T4 (Rnl1) is involved in countering a host defense mechanism by repairing 5'-PO4 and 3'-OH groups in tRNA(Lys). Rnl1 is widely used as a reagent in molecular biology. Although many structures for DNA ligases are available, only fragments of RNA ligases such as Rnl2 are known. We report the first crystal structure of a complete RNA ligase, Rnl1, in complex with adenosine 5'-(alpha,beta-methylenetriphosphate) (AMPcPP). The N-terminal domain is related to the equivalent region of DNA ligases and Rnl2 and binds AMPcPP but with further interactions from the additional N-terminal 70 amino acids in Rnl1 (via Tyr37 and Arg54) and the C-terminal domain (Gly269 and Asp272). The active site contains two metal ions, consistent with the two-magnesium ion catalytic mechanism. The C-terminal domain represents a new all alpha-helical fold and has a charge distribution and architecture for helix-nucleic acid groove interaction compatible with tRNA binding.

El Omari K, Solaroli N, Karlsson A, Balzarini J, Stammers DK. 2006. Structure of vaccinia virus thymidine kinase in complex with dTTP: insights for drug design. BMC Struct Biol, 6 (1), pp. 22. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Development of countermeasures to bioterrorist threats such as those posed by the smallpox virus (variola), include vaccination and drug development. Selective activation of nucleoside analogues by virus-encoded thymidine (dThd) kinases (TK) represents one of the most successful strategies for antiviral chemotherapy as demonstrated for anti-herpes drugs. Vaccinia virus TK is a close orthologue of variola TK but also shares a relatively high sequence identity to human type 2 TK (hTK), thus achieving drug selectivity relative to the host enzyme is challenging. RESULTS: In order to identify any differences compared to hTK that may be exploitable in drug design, we have determined the crystal structure of VVTK, in complex with thymidine 5'-triphosphate (dTTP). Although most of the active site residues are conserved between hTK and VVTK, we observe a difference in conformation of residues Asp-43 and Arg-45. The equivalent residues in hTK hydrogen bond to dTTP, whereas in subunit D of VVTK, Asp-43 and Arg-45 adopt a different conformation preventing interaction with this nucleotide. Asp-43 and Arg-45 are present in a flexible loop, which is disordered in subunits A, B and C. The observed difference in conformation and flexibility may also explain the ability of VVTK to phosphorylate (South)-methanocarbathymine whereas, in contrast, no substrate activity with hTK is reported for this compound. CONCLUSION: The difference in conformation for Asp-43 and Arg-45 could thus be used in drug design to generate VVTK/Variola TK-selective nucleoside analogue substrates and/or inhibitors that have lower affinity for hTK.

Ren J, Kotaka M, Lockyer M, Lamb HK, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2005. GTP cyclohydrolase II structure and mechanism. J Biol Chem, 280 (44), pp. 36912-36919. | Show Abstract | Read more

GTP cyclohydrolase II converts GTP to 2,5-diamino-6-beta-ribosyl-4(3H)-pyrimidinone 5'-phosphate, formate and pyrophosphate, the first step in riboflavin biosynthesis. The essential role of riboflavin in metabolism and the absence of GTP cyclohydrolase II in higher eukaryotes makes it a potential novel selective antimicrobial drug target. GTP cyclohydrolase II catalyzes a distinctive overall reaction from GTP cyclohydrolase I; the latter converts GTP to dihydroneopterin triphosphate, utilized in folate and tetrahydrobiopterin biosynthesis. The structure of GTP cyclohydrolase II determined at 1.54-A resolution reveals both a different protein fold to GTP cyclohydrolase I and distinctive molecular recognition determinants for GTP; although in both enzymes there is a bound catalytic zinc. The GTP cyclohydrolase II.GMPCPP complex structure shows Arg(128) interacting with the alpha-phosphonate, and thus in the case of GTP, Arg(128) is positioned to act as the nucleophile for pyrophosphate release and formation of the proposed covalent guanylyl-GTP cyclohydrolase II intermediate. Tyr(105) is identified as playing a key role in GTP ring opening; it is hydrogen-bonded to the zinc-activated water molecule, the latter being positioned for nucleophilic attack on the guanine C-8 atom. Although GTP cyclohydrolase I and GTP cyclohydrolase II both use a zinc ion for the GTP ring opening and formate release, different residues are utilized in each case to catalyze this reaction step.

Ren J, Sainsbury S, Berrow NS, Alderton D, Nettleship JE, Stammers DK, Saunders NJ, Owens RJ. 2005. Crystal structure of nitrogen regulatory protein IIANtr from Neisseria meningitidis. BMC Struct Biol, 5 (1), pp. 13. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The NMB0736 gene of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B strain MC58 encodes the putative nitrogen regulatory protein, IIANtr (abbreviated to NM-IIANtr). The homologous protein present in Escherichia coli is implicated in the control of nitrogen assimilation. As part of a structural proteomics approach to the study of pathogenic Neisseria spp., we have selected this protein for structure determination by X-ray crystallography. RESULTS: The NM-IIANtr was over-expressed in E. coli and was shown to be partially mono-phosphorylated, as assessed by mass spectrometry of the purified protein. Crystals of un-phosphorylated protein were obtained and diffraction data collected to 2.5 A resolution. The structure of NM-IIANtr was solved by molecular replacement using the coordinates of the E. coli nitrogen regulatory protein IIAntr [PDB: 1A6J] as the starting model. The overall fold of the Neisseria enzyme shows a high degree of similarity to the IIANtr from E. coli, and the position of the phosphoryl acceptor histidine residue (H67) is conserved. The orientation of an adjacent arginine residue (R69) suggests that it may also be involved in coordinating the phosphate group. Comparison of the structure with that of E. coli IIAmtl complexed with HPr [PDB: 1J6T] indicates that NM-IIANtr binds in a similar way to the HPr-like enzyme in Neisseria. CONCLUSION: The structure of NM-IIANtr confirms its assignment as a homologue of the IIANtr proteins found in a range of other Gram-negative bacteria. We conclude that the NM- IIANtr protein functions as part of a phosphorylation cascade which, in contrast to E. coli, shares the upstream phosphotransfer protein with the sugar uptake phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS), but in common with E. coli has a distinct downstream effector mechanism.

Walter TS, Diprose JM, Mayo CJ, Siebold C, Pickford MG, Carter L, Sutton GC, Berrow NS, Brown J, Berry IM 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.

El Omari K, Bird LE, Nichols CE, Ren J, Stammers DK. 2005. Crystal structure of CC3 (TIP30): implications for its role as a tumor suppressor. J Biol Chem, 280 (18), pp. 18229-18236. | Show Abstract | Read more

CC3 (TIP30) is a protein with pro-apoptotic and anti-metastatic properties. The tumor suppressor effect of CC3 has been suggested to result from inhibition of nuclear transport by binding to importin betas or by regulating transcription through interaction in a complex with co-activator independent of AF-2 function (CIA) and the c-myc gene. Previous biochemical studies indicated that CC3 has protein kinase activity, and a structural similarity to cAMP-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit was proposed. By contrast, bioinformatics studies suggested a relationship of CC3 to the short chain dehydrogenase reductase family. To clarify details of the CC3 structural family and ligand binding properties, we have determined the crystal structure of CC3 at 1.7-A resolution. CC3 has a short chain dehydrogenase reductase fold and binding specificity for NADPH, yet it is unlikely to be normally enzymatically active because it is monomeric. These structural results, in conjunction with data from earlier mutagenesis work on the nucleotide binding motif, suggest that NADPH binding is important for the biological activity of CC3, including interaction with importins and with the CIA/c-myc system. CC3 provides an example of the adaptation of a metabolic enzyme fold to include a regulatory role, as also seen in the case of the NADH-binding co-repressor CtBP.

Nettleship JE, Walter TS, Aplin R, Stammers DK, Owens RJ. 2005. Sample preparation and mass-spectrometric characterization of crystal-derived protein samples. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 61 (Pt 5), pp. 643-645. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mass spectrometry is often used to ascertain the accurate mass of purified protein samples prior to crystallization screening. However, in many cases data regarding the form of the protein crystallizing can also be useful, as this may differ from the original sample. Development of a simple method for the preparation and mass spectrometry of crystal-derived protein samples is described. The method is exemplified by the determination of the phosphorylation state of protein in a crystal derived from a mixture of phosphorylated and unphosphorylated protein.

Ren J, Stammers DK. 2005. HIV reverse transcriptase structures: designing new inhibitors and understanding mechanisms of drug resistance. Trends Pharmacol Sci, 26 (1), pp. 4-7. | Show Abstract | Read more

HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) is one of the main targets for the action of anti-AIDS drugs. The selection of drug-resistant HIV is a key problem in the continued treatment of the infection and thus new drugs are required. A significant body of information consisting of HIV-1 RT crystal structures with bound inhibitors has become available during the past several years, and, increasingly, such data will be of use in developing novel inhibitors. Two examples of crystal structures of HIV-1 RT with bound inhibitors have been published recently, one with the non-nucleoside CP94707 and the second with the nucleotide analogue drug tenofovir. Such structures will help the design of new drugs and improve our understanding of the mechanisms of resistance.

Ren J, Sainsbury S, Berrow NS, Alderton D, Nettleship JE, Stammers DK, Saunders NJ, Owens RJ. 2005. Crystal structure of nitrogen regulatory protein IIA<sup>Ntr</sup> from Neisseria meningitidis BMC Structural Biology, 5 | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: The NMB0736 gene of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B strain MC58 encodes the putative nitrogen regulatory protein, IIANtr (abbreviated to NM-IIANtr). The homologous protein present in Escherichia coli is implicated in the control of nitrogen assimilation. As part of a structural proteomics approach to the study of pathogenic Neisseria spp., we have selected this protein for structure determination by X-ray crystallography. Results: The NM-IIANtr was over-expressed in E. coli and was shown to be partially monophosphorylated, as assessed by mass spectrometry of the purified protein. Crystals of un-phosphorylated protein were obtained and diffraction data collected to 2.5 Å resolution. The structure of NM-IIANtr was solved by molecular replacement using the coordinates of the E. coli nitrogen regulatory protein IIAntr [PDB: 1A6J] as the starting model. The overall fold of the Neisseria enzyme shows a high degree of similarity to the IIANtr from E. coli, and the position of the phosphoryl acceptor histidine residue (H67) is conserved. The orientation of an adjacent arginine residue (R69) suggests that it may also be involved in coordinating the phosphate group. Comparison of the structure with that of E. coli IIAmtl complexed with HPr [PDB: 1J6T] indicates that NM-IIANtr binds in a similar way to the HPr-like enzyme in Neisseria. Conclusion: The structure of NM-IIANtr confirms its assignment as a homologue of the IIANtr proteins found in a range of other Gram-negative bacteria. We conclude that the NM- IIANtr protein functions as part of a phosphorylation cascade which, in contrast to E. coli, shares the upstream phosphotransfer protein with the sugar uptake phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS), but in common with E. coli has a distinct downstream effector mechanism. © 2005 Ren et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Sainsbury S, Berrow NS, Alderton D, Nettleship JE, Stammers DK, Owens RJ, Ren J, Saunders NJ. 2005. Crystal structure of nitrogen regulatory protein IIA from Neisseria meningitidis BMC Structural Biology, 5 | Show Abstract | Read more

Background: The NMB0736 gene of Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B strain MC58 encodes the putative nitrogen regulatory protein, IIA (abbreviated to NM-IIA). The homologous protein present in Escherichia coli is implicated in the control of nitrogen assimilation. As part of a structural proteomics approach to the study of pathogenic Neisseria spp., we have selected this protein for structure determination by X-ray crystallography. Results: The NM-IIA was over-expressed in E. coli and was shown to be partially monophosphorylated, as assessed by mass spectrometry of the purified protein. Crystals of un-phosphorylated protein were obtained and diffraction data collected to 2.5 Å resolution. The structure of NM-IIA was solved by molecular replacement using the coordinates of the E. coli nitrogen regulatory protein IIA [PDB: 1A6J] as the starting model. The overall fold of the Neisseria enzyme shows a high degree of similarity to the IIA from E. coli, and the position of the phosphoryl acceptor histidine residue (H67) is conserved. The orientation of an adjacent arginine residue (R69) suggests that it may also be involved in coordinating the phosphate group. Comparison of the structure with that of E. coli IIA complexed with HPr [PDB: 1J6T] indicates that NM-IIA binds in a similar way to the HPr-like enzyme in Neisseria. Conclusion: The structure of NM-IIA confirms its assignment as a homologue of the IIA proteins found in a range of other Gram-negative bacteria. We conclude that the NM- IIA protein functions as part of a phosphorylation cascade which, in contrast to E. coli, shares the upstream phosphotransfer protein with the sugar uptake phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS), but in common with E. coli has a distinct downstream effector mechanism. © 2005 Ren et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Lamb HK, Ren J, Park A, Johnson C, Leslie K, Cocklin S, Thompson P, Mee C, Cooper A, Stammers DK, Hawkins AR. 2004. Modulation of the ligand binding properties of the transcription repressor NmrA by GATA-containing DNA and site-directed mutagenesis. Protein Sci, 13 (12), pp. 3127-3138. | Show Abstract | Read more

NmrA is a negative transcription-regulating protein that binds to the C-terminal region of the GATA transcription-activating protein AreA. The proposed molecular mechanism of action for NmrA is to inhibit AreA binding to its target promoters. In contrast to this proposal, we report that a C-terminal fragment of AreA can bind individually to GATA-containing DNA and NmrA and that in the presence of a mixture of GATA-containing DNA and NmrA, the AreA fragment binds preferentially to the GATA-containing DNA in vitro. These observations are consistent with NmrA acting by an indirect route, such as by controlling entry into the nucleus. Deletion of the final nine amino acids of a C-terminal fragment of AreA does not affect NmrA binding. Wild-type NmrA binds NAD(+)(P+) with much greater affinity than NAD(P)H, despite the lack of the consensus GXXGXXG dinucleotide-binding motif. However, introducing the GXXGXXG sequence into the NmrA double mutant N12G/A18G causes an approximately 13-fold increase in the KD for NAD+ and a 2.3-fold increase for NADP+. An H37W mutant in NmrA designed to increase the interaction with the adenine ring of NAD+ has a decrease in KD of approximately 4.5-fold for NAD+ and a marginal 24% increase for NADP+. The crystal structure of the N12G/A18G mutant protein shows changes in main chain position as well as repositioning of H37, which disrupts contacts with the adenine ring of NAD+, changes which are predicted to reduce the binding affinity for this dinucleotide. The substitutions E193Q/D195N or Q202E/F204Y in the C-terminal domain of NmrA reduced the affinity for a C-terminal fragment of AreA, implying that this region of the protein interacts with AreA.

Freeman GA, Andrews Iii CW, Hopkins AL, Lowell GS, Schaller LT, Cowan JR, Gonzales SS, Koszalka GW, Hazen RJ, Boone LR et al. 2004. Design of non-nucleoside inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase with improved drug resistance properties. 2. J Med Chem, 47 (24), pp. 5923-5936. | Show Abstract | Read more

HIV-1 nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) are part of the combination therapy currently used to treat HIV infection. The features of a new NNRTI drug for HIV treatment must include selective potent activity against both wild-type virus as well as against mutant virus that have been selected by use of current antiretroviral treatment regimens. Based on analogy with known HIV-1 NNRTI inhibitors and modeling studies utilizing the X-ray crystal structure of inhibitors bound in the HIV-1 RT, a series of substituted 2-quinolones was synthesized and evaluated as HIV-1 inhibitors.

Hopkins AL, Ren J, Milton J, Hazen RJ, Chan JH, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 2004. Design of non-nucleoside inhibitors of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase with improved drug resistance properties. 1. J Med Chem, 47 (24), pp. 5912-5922. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have used a structure-based approach to design a novel series of non-nucleoside inhibitors of HIV-1 RT (NNRTIs). Detailed analysis of a wide range of crystal structures of HIV-1 RT-NNRTI complexes together with data on drug resistance mutations has identified factors important for tight binding of inhibitors and resilience to mutations. Using this approach we have designed and synthesized a novel series of quinolone NNRTIs. Crystal structure analysis of four of these compounds in complexes with HIV-1 RT confirms the predicted binding modes. Members of this quinolone series retain high activity against the important resistance mutations in RT at Tyr181Cys and Leu100Ile.

Nichols CE, Ren J, Leslie K, Dhaliwal B, Lockyer M, Charles I, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2004. Comparison of ligand-induced conformational changes and domain closure mechanisms, between prokaryotic and eukaryotic dehydroquinate synthases. J Mol Biol, 343 (3), pp. 533-546. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dehydroquinate synthase (DHQS) is a potential target for the development of novel broad-spectrum antimicrobial drugs, active against both prokaryotes and lower eukaryotes. Structures have been reported for Aspergillus nidulans DHQS (AnDHQS) in complexes with a range of ligands. Analysis of these AnDHQS structures showed that a large-scale domain movement occurs during the normal catalytic cycle, with a complex series of structural elements propagating substrate binding-induced conformational changes away from the active site to distal locations. Compared to corresponding fungal enzymes, DHQS from bacterial species are both mono-functional and significantly smaller. We have therefore determined the structure of Staphylococcus aureus DHQS (SaDHQS) in five liganded states, allowing comparison of ligand-induced conformational changes and mechanisms of domain closure between fungal and bacterial enzymes. This comparative analysis shows that substrate binding initiates a large-scale domain closure in both species' DHQS and that the active site stereochemistry, of the catalytically competent closed-form enzyme thus produced, is also highly conserved. However, comparison of AnDHQS and SaDHQS open-form structures, and analysis of the putative dynamic processes by which the transition to the closed-form states are made, shows a far lower degree of similarity, indicating a significant structural divergence. As a result, both the nature of the propagation of conformational change and the mechanical systems involved in this propagation are quite different between the DHQSs from the two species.

Dhaliwal B, Nichols CE, Ren J, Lockyer M, Charles I, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2004. Crystallographic studies of shikimate binding and induced conformational changes in Mycobacterium tuberculosis shikimate kinase. FEBS Lett, 574 (1-3), pp. 49-54. | Show Abstract | Read more

The X-ray crystal structure of Mycobacterium tuberculosis shikimate kinase (SK) with bound shikimate and adenosine diphosphate (ADP) has been determined to a resolution of 2.15 A. The binding of shikimate in a shikimate kinase crystal structure has not previously been reported. The substrate binds in a pocket lined with hydrophobic residues and interacts with several highly conserved charged residues including Asp34, Arg58, Glu61 and Arg136 which project into the cavity. Comparisons of our ternary SK-ADP-shikimate complex with an earlier binary SK-ADP complex show that conformational changes occur on shikimate binding with the substrate-binding domain rotating by 10 degrees. Detailed knowledge of shikimate binding is an important step in the design of inhibitors of SK, which have potential as novel anti-tuberculosis agents.

Nichols CE, Lockyer M, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2004. Crystal structures of Staphylococcus aureus type I dehydroquinase from enzyme turnover experiments. Proteins, 56 (3), pp. 625-628. | Read more

Nichols CE, Dhaliwal B, Lockyer M, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2004. High-resolution structures reveal details of domain closure and "half-of-sites-reactivity" in Escherichia coli aspartate beta-semialdehyde dehydrogenase. J Mol Biol, 341 (3), pp. 797-806. | Show Abstract | Read more

Two high-resolution structures have been determined for Eschericia coli aspartate beta-semialdehyde dehydrogenase (ecASADH), an enzyme of the aspartate biosynthetic pathway, which is a potential target for novel antimicrobial drugs. Both ASADH structures were of the open form and were refined to 1.95 A and 1.6 A resolution, allowing a more detailed comparison with the closed form of the enzyme than previously possible. A more complex scheme for domain closure is apparent with the subunit being split into two further sub-domains with relative motions about three hinge axes. Analysis of hinge data and torsion-angle difference plots is combined to allow the proposal of a detailed structural mechanism for ecASADH domain closure. Additionally, asymmetric distortions of individual subunits are identified, which form the basis for the previously reported "half-of-the-sites reactivity" (HOSR). A putative explanation of this arrangement is also presented, suggesting the HOSR system may provide a means for ecASADH to offset the energy required to remobilise flexible loops at the end of the reaction cycle, and hence avoid falling into an energy minimum.

Park A, Lamb HK, Nichols C, Moore JD, Brown KA, Cooper A, Charles IG, Stammers DK, Hawkins AR. 2004. Biophysical and kinetic analysis of wild-type and site-directed mutants of the isolated and native dehydroquinate synthase domain of the AROM protein. Protein Sci, 13 (8), pp. 2108-2119. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dehydroquinate synthase (DHQS) is the N-terminal domain of the pentafunctional AROM protein that catalyses steps 2 to 7 in the shikimate pathway in microbial eukaryotes. DHQS converts 3-deoxy-D-arabino-heptulosonate-7-phosphate (DAHP) to dehydroquinate in a reaction that includes alcohol oxidation, phosphate beta-elimination, carbonyl reduction, ring opening, and intramolecular aldol condensation. Kinetic analysis of the isolated DHQS domains with the AROM protein showed that for the substrate DAHP the difference in Km is less than a factor of 3, that the turnover numbers differed by 24%, and that the Km for NAD+ differs by a factor of 3. Isothermal titration calorimetry revealed that a second (inhibitory) site for divalent metal binding has an approximately 4000-fold increase in KD compared to the catalytic binding site. Inhibitor studies have suggested the enzyme could act as a simple oxidoreductase with several of the reactions occurring spontaneously, whereas structural studies have implied that DHQS participates in all steps of the reaction. Analysis of site-directed mutants experimentally test and support this latter hypothesis. Differential scanning calorimetry, circular dichroism spectroscopy, and molecular exclusion chromatography demonstrate that the mutant DHQS retain their secondary and quaternary structures and their ligand binding capacity. R130K has a 135-fold reduction in specific activity with DAHP and a greater than 1100-fold decrease in the kcat/Km ratio, whereas R130A is inactive.

Auwerx J, Stevens M, Van Rompay AR, Bird LE, Ren J, De Clercq E, Oberg B, Stammers DK, Karlsson A, Balzarini J. 2004. The phenylmethylthiazolylthiourea nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase (RT) inhibitor MSK-076 selects for a resistance mutation in the active site of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 RT. J Virol, 78 (14), pp. 7427-7437. | Show Abstract | Read more

The phenylmethylthiazolylthiourea (PETT) derivative MSK-076 shows, besides high potency against human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), marked activity against HIV-2 (50% effective concentration, 0.63 microM) in cell culture. Time-of-addition experiments pointed to HIV-2 reverse transcriptase (RT) as the target of action of MSK-076. Recombinant HIV-2 RT was inhibited by MSK-076 at 23 microM. As was also found for HIV-1 RT, MSK-076 inhibited HIV-2 RT in a noncompetitive manner with respect to dGTP and poly(rC).oligo(dG) as the substrate and template-primer, respectively. MSK-076 selected for A101P and G112E mutations in HIV-2 RT and for K101E, Y181C, and G190R mutations in HIV-1 RT. The selected mutated strains of HIV-2 were fully resistant to MSK-076, and the mutant HIV-2 RT enzymes into which the A101P and/or G112E mutation was introduced by site-directed mutagenesis showed more than 50-fold resistance to MSK-076. Mapping of the resistance mutations to the HIV-2 RT structure ascertained that A101P is located at a position equivalent to the nonnucleoside RT inhibitor (NNRTI)-binding site of HIV-1 RT. G112E, however, is distal to the putative NNRTI-binding site in HIV-2 RT but close to the active site, implying a novel molecular mode of action and mechanism of resistance. Our findings have important implications for the development of new NNRTIs with pronounced activity against a wider range of lentiviruses.

Nichols CE, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2004. Structure of the 'open' form of Aspergillus nidulans 3-dehydroquinate synthase at 1.7 A resolution from crystals grown following enzyme turnover. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 60 (Pt 5), pp. 971-973. | Show Abstract | Read more

Crystallization of Aspergillus nidulans 3-dehydroquinate synthase (DHQS), following turnover of the enzyme by addition of the substrate DAHP, gave a new crystal form (form J). Although the crystals have dimensions of only 50 x 20 x 5 micro m, they are well ordered, diffracting to 1.7 A. The space group is C222(1), with unit-cell parameters a = 90.0, b = 103.7, c = 177.4 A. Structure determination and refinement to R = 0.19 (R(free) = 0.25) shows the DHQS is in the 'open' form with the substrate site unoccupied but with some loop regions perturbed. Previous crystals of open-form DHQS only diffracted to 2.5 A resolution. The use of enzyme turnover may be applicable in other systems in attempts to improve crystal quality.

Ren J, Nichols CE, Chamberlain PP, Weaver KL, Short SA, Stammers DK. 2004. Crystal structures of HIV-1 reverse transcriptases mutated at codons 100, 106 and 108 and mechanisms of resistance to non-nucleoside inhibitors. J Mol Biol, 336 (3), pp. 569-578. | Show Abstract | Read more

Leu100Ile, Val106Ala and Val108Ile are mutations in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) that are observed in the clinic and give rise to resistance to certain non-nucleoside inhibitors (NNRTIs) including the first-generation drug nevirapine. In order to investigate structural mechanisms of resistance for different NNRTI classes we have determined six crystal structures of mutant RT-inhibitor complexes. Val108 does not have direct contact with nevirapine in wild-type RT and in the RT(Val108Ile) complex the biggest change observed is at the distally positioned Tyr181 which is > 8 A from the mutation site. Thus in contrast to most NNRTI resistance mutations RT(Val108Ile) appears to act via an indirect mechanism which in this case is through alterations of the ring stacking interactions of the drug particularly with Tyr181. Shifts in side-chain and inhibitor positions compared to wild-type RT are observed in complexes of nevirapine and the second-generation NNRTI UC-781 with RT(Leu100Ile) and RT(Val106Ala), leading to perturbations in inhibitor contacts with Tyr181 and Tyr188. Such perturbations are likely to be a factor contributing to the greater loss of binding for nevirapine compared to UC-781 as, in the former case, a larger proportion of binding energy is derived from aromatic ring stacking of the inhibitor with the tyrosine side-chains. The differing resistance profiles of first and second generation NNRTIs for other drug resistance mutations in RT may also be in part due to this indirect mechanism.

Lamb HK, Leslie K, Dodds AL, Nutley M, Cooper A, Johnson C, Thompson P, Stammers DK, Hawkins AR. 2003. The negative transcriptional regulator NmrA discriminates between oxidized and reduced dinucleotides. J Biol Chem, 278 (34), pp. 32107-32114. | Show Abstract | Read more

NmrA, a transcription repressor involved in the regulation of nitrogen metabolism in Aspergillus nidulans,is a member of the short-chain dehydrogenase reductase superfamily. Isothermal titration calorimetry and differential scanning calorimetry have been used to show NmrA binds NAD+ and NADP+ with similar affinity (average KD 65 microM) but has a greatly reduced affinity for NADH and NADPH (average KD 6.0 mM). The structure of NmrA in a complex with NADP+ reveals how repositioning a His-37 side chain allows the different conformations of NAD+ and NADP+ to be accommodated. Modeling NAD(P)H into NmrA indicated that steric clashes, attenuation of electrostatic interactions, and loss of aromatic ring stacking can explain the differing affinities of NAD(P)+/NAD(P)H. The ability of NmrA to discriminate between the oxidized and reduced forms of the dinucleotides may be linked to a possible role in redox sensing. Isothermal titration calorimetry demonstrated that NmrA and a C-terminal fragment of the GATA transcription factor AreA interacted with a 1:1 stoichiometry and an apparent KD of 0.26 microM. NmrA was unable to bind the nitrogen metabolite repression signaling molecules ammonium or glutamine.

Bird LE, Ren J, Wright A, Leslie KD, Degrève B, Balzarini J, Stammers DK. 2003. Crystal structure of varicella zoster virus thymidine kinase. J Biol Chem, 278 (27), pp. 24680-24687. | Show Abstract | Read more

Herpes virus thymidine kinases are responsible for the activation of nucleoside antiviral drugs including (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine. Such viral thymidine kinases (tk), beside having a broader substrate specificity compared with host cell enzymes, also show significant variation in nucleoside phosphorylation among themselves. We have determined the crystal structure of Varicella zoster virus (VZV, human herpes virus 3) thymidine kinase complexed with (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine 5'-monophosphate and ADP. Differences in the conformation of a loop region (residues 55-61) and the position of two alpha-helices at the subunit interface of VZV-tk compared with the herpes simplex virus type 1 (human herpes virus 1) enzyme give rise to changes in the positioning of residues such as tyrosine 66 and glutamine 90, which hydrogen bond to the substrate in the active site. Such changes in combination with the substitution in VZV-tk of two phenylalanine residues (in place of a tyrosine and methionine), which sandwich the substrate pyrimidine ring, cause an alteration in the positioning of the base. The interaction of the (E)-5-(2-bromovinyl)-2'-deoxyuridine deoxyribose ring with the protein is altered by substitution of tyrosine 21 and phenylalanine 139 (analagous to herpes simplex virus type 1 histidine 58 and tyrosine 172), which may explain some of the differences in nucleoside sugar selectivity between both enzymes. The altered active site architecture may also account for the differences in the substrate activity of ganciclovir for the two thymidine kinases. These data should be of use in the design of novel antiherpes and antitumor drugs.

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Brown J, Walter TS, Carter L, Abrescia NGA, Aricescu AR, Batuwangala TD, Bird LE, Brown N, Chamberlain PP, Davis SJ et al. 2003. A procedure for setting up high-throughput nanolitre crystallization experiments. II. Crystallization results JOURNAL OF APPLIED CRYSTALLOGRAPHY, 36 (2), pp. 315-318. | Show Abstract | Read more

<jats:p>An initial tranche of results from day-to-day use of a robotic system for setting up 100 nl-scale vapour-diffusion sitting-drop protein crystallizations has been surveyed. The database of over 50 unrelated samples represents a snapshot of projects currently at the stage of crystallization trials in Oxford research groups and as such encompasses a broad range of proteins. The results indicate that the nanolitre-scale methodology consistently identifies more crystallization conditions than traditional hand-pipetting-style methods; however, in a number of cases successful scale-up is then problematic. Crystals grown in the initial 100 nl-scale drops have in the majority of cases allowed useful characterization of X-ray diffraction, either in-house or at synchrotron beamlines. For a significant number of projects, full X-ray diffraction data sets have been collected to 3 Å resolution or better (either in-house or at the synchrotron) from crystals grown at the 100 nl scale. To date, five structures have been determined by molecular replacement directly from such data and a further three from scale-up of conditions established at the nanolitre scale.</jats:p>

Nichols CE, Ren J, Lamb HK, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2003. Ligand-induced conformational changes and a mechanism for domain closure in Aspergillus nidulans dehydroquinate synthase. J Mol Biol, 327 (1), pp. 129-144. | Show Abstract | Read more

In order to investigate systematically substrate and cofactor-induced conformational changes in the enzyme dehydroquinate synthase (DHQS), eight structures representing a series of differently liganded states have been determined in a total of six crystal forms. DHQS in the absence of the substrate analogue carbaphosphonate, either unliganded or in the presence of NAD or ADP, is in an open form where a relative rotation of 11-13 degrees between N and C-terminal domains occurs. Analysis of torsion angle difference plots between sets of structures reveals eight rearrangements that appear relevant to domain closure and a further six related to crystal packing. Overlapping 21 different copies of the individual N and C-terminal DHQS domains further reveals a series of pivot points about which these movements occur and illustrates the way in which widely separated secondary structure elements are mechanically inter-linked to form "composite elements", which propagate structural changes across large distances. This analysis has provided insight into the basis of DHQS ligand-initiated domain closure and gives rise to the proposal of an ordered sequence of events involving substrate binding, and local rearrangements within the active site that are propagated to the hinge regions, leading to closure of the active-site cleft.

Bird LE, Chamberlain PP, Stewart-Jones GBE, Ren J, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 2003. Cloning, expression, purification, and crystallisation of HIV-2 reverse transcriptase. Protein Expr Purif, 27 (1), pp. 12-18. | Show Abstract | Read more

A purification procedure is described for the isolation of recombinant HIV-2 reverse transcriptase expressed in Escherichia coli. The p68 subunit is expressed, in the absence of induction, and use of a heparin-Sepharose column produces substantially pure protein. Concentration of the homodimeric p68 reverse transcriptase pool, followed by incubation at room temperature for several days, results in full conversion by E. coli proteases to the heterodimer (p68/p55). This extended incubation simplifies the purification process and improves the yield of heterodimeric reverse transcriptase, which shows a truncation of the smaller subunit to 427 residues. The protein is then purified further by hydroxyapatite and gel-filtration chromatography to homogeneity. The HIV-2 RT is active and has been used to produce crystals that diffract to beyond 3.0 A.

Bird LE, Ren J, Zhang J, Foxwell N, Hawkins AR, Charles IG, Stammers DK. 2002. Crystal structure of SANOS, a bacterial nitric oxide synthase oxygenase protein from Staphylococcus aureus. Structure, 10 (12), pp. 1687-1696. | Show Abstract | Read more

Prokaryotic genes related to the oxygenase domain of mammalian nitric oxide synthases (NOSs) have recently been identified. Although they catalyze the same reaction as the eukaryotic NOS oxygenase domain, their biological function(s) are unknown. In order to explore rationally the biochemistry and evolution of the prokaryotic NOS family, we have determined the crystal structure of SANOS, from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), to 2.4 A. Haem and S-ethylisothiourea (SEITU) are bound at the SANOS active site, while the intersubunit site, occupied by the redox cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin (H(4)B) in mammalian NOSs, has NAD(+) bound in SANOS. In common with all bacterial NOSs, SANOS lacks the N-terminal extension responsible for stable dimerization in mammalian isoforms, but has alternative interactions to promote dimer formation.

Ren J, Bird LE, Chamberlain PP, Stewart-Jones GB, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 2002. Structure of HIV-2 reverse transcriptase at 2.35-A resolution and the mechanism of resistance to non-nucleoside inhibitors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 99 (22), pp. 14410-14415. | Show Abstract | Read more

The HIV-2 serotype of HIV is a cause of disease in parts of the West African population, and there is evidence for its spread to Europe and Asia. HIV-2 reverse transcriptase (RT) demonstrates an intrinsic resistance to non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs), one of two classes of anti-AIDS drugs that target the viral RT. We report the crystal structure of HIV-2 RT to 2.35 A resolution, which reveals molecular details of the resistance to NNRTIs. HIV-2 RT has a similar overall fold to HIV-1 RT but has structural differences within the "NNRTI pocket" at both conserved and nonconserved residues. The structure points to the role of sequence differences that can give rise to unfavorable inhibitor contacts or destabilization of part of the binding pocket at positions 101, 106, 138, 181, 188, and 190. We also present evidence that the conformation of Ile-181 compared with the HIV-1 Tyr-181 could be a significant contributory factor to this inherent drug resistance of HIV-2 to NNRTIs. The availability of a refined structure of HIV-2 RT will provide a stimulus for the structure-based design of novel non-nucleoside inhibitors that could be used against HIV-2 infection.

Chamberlain PP, Ren J, Nichols CE, Douglas L, Lennerstrand J, Larder BA, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 2002. Crystal structures of Zidovudine- or Lamivudine-resistant human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptases containing mutations at codons 41, 184, and 215. J Virol, 76 (19), pp. 10015-10019. | Show Abstract | Read more

Six structures of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT) containing combinations of resistance mutations for zidovudine (AZT) (M41L and T215Y) or lamivudine (M184V) have been determined as inhibitor complexes. Minimal conformational changes in the polymerase or nonnucleoside RT inhibitor sites compared to the mutant RTMC (D67N, K70R, T215F, and K219N) are observed, indicating that such changes may occur only with certain combinations of mutations. Model building M41L and T215Y into HIV-1 RT-DNA and docking in ATP that is utilized in the pyrophosphorolysis reaction for AZT resistance indicates that some conformational rearrangement appears necessary in RT for ATP to interact simultaneously with the M41L and T215Y mutations.

Harrigan PR, Salim M, Stammers DK, Wynhoven B, Brumme ZL, McKenna P, Larder B, Kemp SD. 2002. A mutation in the 3' region of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase (Y318F) associated with nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor resistance. J Virol, 76 (13), pp. 6836-6840. | Show Abstract | Read more

The Y318F substitution in the 3' region of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reverse transcriptase (RT) has been linked to nonnucleoside RT inhibitor (NNRTI) resistance in vitro. A systematic search of a large phenotypic-genotypic database (Virco) linked the Y318F substitution with a >10-fold decrease in NNRTI susceptibility in >85% of clinically derived isolates. There was a significant association between Y318F and use of delavirdine (P = 10(-11)) and nevirapine (P = 10(-6)) but not efavirenz (P = 0.3). Site-directed HIV-1 Y318F mutants in an HXB2 background displayed 42-fold-decreased susceptibility to delavirdine but <3-fold-decreased susceptibility to nevirapine or efavirenz. Combinations of Y318F with K103N, Y181C, or both resulted in decreased efavirenz susceptibility of 43-, 3.3-, and 84-fold, respectively, as well as >100- and >60-fold decreases in delavirdine and nevirapine susceptibility, respectively. These results indicate the importance of the Y318F substitution in HIV-1 drug resistance.

Stammers DK, Ren J, Nichols CE, Chamberlain PP, Weaver KL, Short SA, Stuart DI. 2002. Crystal structures of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase mutated at codons 100, 106 and 108 show nevirapine resistance is mediated via perturbation of interactions with Tyr181 or Tyr188 ANTIVIRAL THERAPY, 7 pp. S30-S30.

Stammers DK, Ren J, Leslie K, Nichols CE, Lamb HK, Cocklin S, Dodds A, Hawkins AR. 2001. The structure of the negative transcriptional regulator NmrA reveals a structural superfamily which includes the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductases. EMBO J, 20 (23), pp. 6619-6626. | Show Abstract | Read more

NmrA is a negative transcriptional regulator involved in the post-translational modulation of the GATA-type transcription factor AreA, forming part of a system controlling nitrogen metabolite repression in various fungi. X-ray structures of two NmrA crystal forms, both to 1.8 A resolution, show NmrA consists of two domains, including a Rossmann fold. NmrA shows an unexpected similarity to the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) family, with the closest relationship to UDP-galactose 4-epimerase. We show that NAD binds to NmrA, a previously unreported nucleotide binding property for this protein. NmrA is unlikely to be an active dehydrogenase, however, as the conserved catalytic tyrosine in SDRs is absent in NmrA, and thus the nucleotide binding to NmrA could have a regulatory function. Our results suggest that other transcription factors possess the SDR fold with functions including RNA binding. The SDR fold appears to have been adapted for other roles including non-enzymatic control functions such as transcriptional regulation and is likely to be more widespread than previously recognized.

Nichols CE, Cocklin S, Dodds A, Ren J, Lamb H, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2001. Expression, purification and crystallization of Aspergillus nidulans NmrA, a negative regulatory protein involved in nitrogen-metabolite repression. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 57 (Pt 11), pp. 1722-1725. | Show Abstract | Read more

The NmrA repressor protein of Aspergillus nidulans was overproduced in Escherichia coli and purified to homogeneity. Gel-exclusion chromatography showed that NmrA was monomeric in solution under the buffer conditions used. The protein was crystallized in three forms, belonging to trigonal, monoclinic and hexagonal space groups. Two of these crystal forms (A and B) diffract to high resolution and thus appear suitable for structure determination. Crystal form A belongs to space group P3((1))21, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 76.8, c = 104.9 A. Crystal form B belongs to space group C2, with unit-cell parameters a = 148.8, b = 64.3, c = 110.2 A, beta = 121.8 degrees.

Ren J, Nichols C, Bird L, Chamberlain P, Weaver K, Short S, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 2001. Structural mechanisms of drug resistance for mutations at codons 181 and 188 in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and the improved resilience of second generation non-nucleoside inhibitors. J Mol Biol, 312 (4), pp. 795-805. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mutations at either Tyr181 or Tyr188 within HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) give high level resistance to many first generation non-nucleoside inhibitors (NNRTIs) such as the anti-AIDS drug nevirapine. By comparison second generation inhibitors, for instance the drug efavirenz, show much greater resilience to these mutations. In order to understand the structural basis for these differences we have determined a series of seven crystal structures of mutant RTs in complexes with first and second generation NNRTIs as well as one example of an unliganded mutant RT. These are Tyr181Cys RT (TNK-651) to 2.4 A, Tyr181Cys RT (efavirenz) to 2.6 A, Tyr181Cys RT (nevirapine) to 3.0 A, Tyr181Cys RT (PETT-2) to 3.0 A, Tyr188Cys RT (nevirapine) to 2.6 A, Tyr188Cys RT (UC-781) to 2.6 A and Tyr188Cys RT (unliganded) to 2.8 A resolution. In the two previously published structures of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase with mutations at 181 or 188 no side-chain electron density was observed within the p66 subunit (which contains the inhibitor binding pocket) for the mutated residues. In contrast the mutated side-chains can be seen in the NNRTI pocket for all seven structures reported here, eliminating the possibility that disordering contributes to the mechanism of resistance. In the case of the second generation compounds efavirenz with Tyr181Cys RT and UC-781 with Tyr188Cys RT there are only small rearrangements of either inhibitor within the binding site compared to wild-type RT and also for the first generation compounds TNK-651, PETT-2 and nevirapine with Tyr181Cys RT. For nevirapine with the Tyr188Cys RT there is however a more substantial movement of the drug molecule. We conclude that protein conformational changes and rearrangements of drug molecules within the mutated sites are not general features of these particular inhibitor/mutant combinations. The main contribution to drug resistance for Tyr181Cys and Tyr188Cys RT mutations is the loss of aromatic ring stacking interactions for first generation compounds, providing a simple explanation for the resilience of second generation NNRTIs, as such interactions make much less significant contribution to their binding.

Lennerstrand J, Hertogs K, Stammers DK, Larder BA. 2001. Correlation between viral resistance to zidovudine and resistance at the reverse transcriptase level for a panel of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 mutants. J Virol, 75 (15), pp. 7202-7205. | Show Abstract | Read more

Using a large panel of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 site-directed mutants, we have observed a higher correlation than has previously been demonstrated between zidovudine (AZT)-triphosphate resistance data at the reverse transcriptase (RT) level and corresponding viral AZT resistance. This enhanced-resistance effect at the RT level was seen with ATP and to a lesser extent with PP(i) when ATP was added at physiological concentrations. The ATP-dependent mechanism (analogous to pyrophosphorolysis) appears to be dominant in the mutants bearing the D67N and K70R or 69 insertion mutations, whereas the Q151M mutation seems independent of ATP for decreased binding to AZT-triphosphate.

Lennerstrand J, Stammers DK, Larder BA. 2001. Biochemical mechanism of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase resistance to stavudine. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 45 (7), pp. 2144-2146. | Show Abstract | Read more

We have found a close correlation between viral stavudine (d4T) resistance and resistance to d4T-triphosphate at the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase (RT) level. RT from site-directed mutants with 69S-XX codon insertions and/or conventional zidovudine resistance mutations seems to be involved in an ATP-dependent resistance mechanism analogous to pyrophosphorolysis, whereas the mechanism for RT with the Q151M or V75T mutation appears to be independent of added ATP for reducing binding to d4T-triphosphate.

Chan JH, Hong JS, Hunter RN, Orr GF, Cowan JR, Sherman DB, Sparks SM, Reitter BE, Andrews CW, Hazen RJ et al. 2001. 2-Amino-6-arylsulfonylbenzonitriles as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors of HIV-1. J Med Chem, 44 (12), pp. 1866-1882. | Show Abstract | Read more

A series of 2-amino-5-arylthiobenzonitriles (1) was found to be active against HIV-1. Structural modifications led to the sulfoxides (2) and sulfones (3). The sulfoxides generally showed antiviral activity against HIV-1 similar to that of 1. The sulfones, however, were the most potent series of analogues, a number having activity against HIV-1 in the nanomolar range. Structural-activity relationship (SAR) studies suggested that a meta substituent, particularly a meta methyl substituent, invariably increased antiviral activities. However, optimal antiviral activities were manifested by compounds where both meta groups in the arylsulfonyl moiety were substituted and one of the substituents was a methyl group. Such a disubstitution led to compounds 3v, 3w, 3x, and 3y having IC50 values against HIV-1 in the low nanomolar range. When gauged for their broad-spectrum antiviral activity against key non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NNRTI) related mutants, all the di-meta-substituted sulfones 3u-z and the 2-naphthyl analogue 3ee generally showed single-digit nanomolar activity against the V106A and P236L strains and submicromolar to low nanomolar activity against strains E138K, V108I, and Y188C. However, they showed a lack of activity against the K103N and Y181C mutant viruses. The elucidation of the X-ray crystal structure of the complex of 3v (739W94) in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase showed an overlap in the binding domain when compared with the complex of nevirapine in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. The X-ray structure allowed for the rationalization of SAR data and potencies of the compounds against the mutants.

Nichols CE, Ren J, Lamb H, Haldane F, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2001. Identification of many crystal forms of Aspergillus nidulans dehydroquinate synthase. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr, 57 (Pt 2), pp. 306-309. | Show Abstract | Read more

Extensive crystallization trials of Aspergillus nidulans dehydroquinate synthase, a potential novel target for antimicrobial drugs, in complexes with different ligands have resulted in the identification of nine crystal forms. Crystals of unliganded DHQS, binary complexes with either the substrate analogue, carbaphosphonate or the cofactor NADH, as well as the ternary DHQS-carbaphosphonate-cofactor complex, were obtained. The ternary complex crystallizes from ammonium sulfate and CoCl(2) in space group P2(1)2(1)2, with unit-cell parameters a = 133.8, b = 86.6, c = 74.9 A. The binary carbaphosphonate complex crystallizes from PEG 6000 in space group P2(1)2(1)2(1), with a = 70.0, b = 64.0, c = 197.6 A, and the binary cofactor complex crystallizes from PEG 3350 and sodium potassium tartrate in space group P2(1), with a = 83.7, b = 70.4, c = 144.3 A, beta = 89.2 degrees. DHQS in the absence of ligands crystallizes in space group P2(1), with a = 41.0, b = 68.9, c = 137.7 A, beta = 94.8 degrees. Each of these crystal forms are suitable for high-resolution structure determination. Structures of a range of DHQS-ligand complexes will be of value in the structure-based design of novel antimicrobial drugs.

Ren J, Milton J, Weaver KL, Short SA, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 2000. Structural basis for the resilience of efavirenz (DMP-266) to drug resistance mutations in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. Structure, 8 (10), pp. 1089-1094. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: Efavirenz is a second-generation non-nucleoside inhibitor of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) that has recently been approved for use against HIV-1 infection. Compared with first-generation drugs such as nevirapine, efavirenz shows greater resilience to drug resistance mutations within HIV-1 RT. In order to understand the basis for this resilience at the molecular level and to help the design of further-improved anti-AIDS drugs, we have determined crystal structures of efavirenz and nevirapine with wild-type RT and the clinically important K103N mutant. RESULTS: The relatively compact efavirenz molecule binds, as expected, within the non-nucleoside inhibitor binding pocket of RT. There are significant rearrangements of the drug binding site within the mutant RT compared with the wild-type enzyme. These changes, which lead to the repositioning of the inhibitor, are not seen in the interaction with the first-generation drug nevirapine. CONCLUSIONS: The repositioning of efavirenz within the drug binding pocket of the mutant RT, together with conformational rearrangements in the protein, could represent a general mechanism whereby certain second-generation non-nucleoside inhibitors are able to reduce the effect of drug-resistance mutations on binding potency.

Ren J, Nichols C, Bird LE, Fujiwara T, Sugimoto H, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 2000. Binding of the second generation non-nucleoside inhibitor S-1153 to HIV-1 reverse transcriptase involves extensive main chain hydrogen bonding. J Biol Chem, 275 (19), pp. 14316-14320. | Show Abstract | Read more

S-1153 (AG1549) is perhaps the most promising non-nucleoside inhibitor of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase currently under development as a potential anti-AIDS drug, because it has a favorable profile of resilience to many drug resistance mutations. We have determined the crystal structure of S-1153 in a complex with HIV-1 reverse transcriptase. The complex possesses some novel features, including an extensive network of hydrogen bonds involving the main chain of residues 101, 103, and 236 of the p66 reverse transcriptase subunit. Such interactions are unlikely to be disrupted by side chain mutations. The reverse transcriptase/S-1153 complex suggests different ways in which resilience to mutations in the non-nucleoside inhibitors of reverse transcriptase binding site can be achieved.

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.

Zhang Z, Ren J, Stammers DK, Baldwin JE, Harlos K, Schofield CJ. 2000. Structural origins of the selectivity of the trifunctional oxygenase clavaminic acid synthase. Nat Struct Biol, 7 (2), pp. 127-133. | Show Abstract | Read more

Clavaminate synthase (CAS), a remarkable Fe(II)/2-oxoglutarate oxygenase, catalyzes three separate oxidative reactions in the biosynthesis of clavulanic acid, a clinically used inhibitor of serine beta-lactamases. The first CAS-catalyzed step (hydroxylation) is separated from the latter two (oxidative cyclization/desaturation) by the action of an amidinohydrolase. Here, we describe crystal structures of CAS in complex with Fe(II), 2-oxoglutarate (2OG) and substrates (N-alpha-acetyl-L-arginine and proclavaminic acid). They reveal how CAS catalyzes formation of the clavam nucleus, via a process unprecedented in synthetic organic chemistry, and suggest how it discriminates between substrates and controls reaction of its highly reactive ferryl intermediate. The presence of an unpredicted jelly roll beta-barrel core in CAS implies divergent evolution within the family of 2OG and related oxygenases. Comparison with other non-heme oxidases/oxygenases reveals flexibility in the position which dioxygen ligates to the iron, in contrast to the analogous heme-using enzymes.

Hopkins AL, Ren J, Tanaka H, Baba M, Okamato M, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 1999. Design of MKC-442 (emivirine) analogues with improved activity against drug-resistant HIV mutants. J Med Chem, 42 (22), pp. 4500-4505. | Show Abstract | Read more

Two analogues of the nonnucleoside inhibitor of HIV-1 RT, MKC-442 (emivirine), containing different C6 substituents have been designed to be less susceptible to the commonly found drug-resistance mutation of Tyr181Cys. Compound TNK-6123 had a C6 thiocyclohexyl group designed to have more flexibility in adapting to the mutated drug-binding site. GCA-186 had additional 3',5'-dimethyl substituents aimed at forming close contacts with the conserved residue Trp229. Both compounds showed approximately 30-fold greater inhibitory effect than MKC-442 to the Tyr181Cys mutant virus as well as to the clinically important Lys103Asn virus. X-ray crystallographic structure determination of complexes with HIV-1 RT confirmed the predicted binding modes. These strategies might be used to improve the resilience of other NNRTI series against common drug-resistance mutations.

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.

Larder BA, Bloor S, Kemp SD, Hertogs K, Desmet RL, Miller V, Sturmer M, Staszewski S, Ren J, Stammers DK et al. 1999. A family of insertion mutations between codons 67 and 70 of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase confer multinucleoside analog resistance. Antimicrob Agents Chemother, 43 (8), pp. 1961-1967. | Show Abstract | Read more

To investigate the occurrence of multinucleoside analog resistance during therapy failure, we surveyed the drug susceptibilities and genotypes of nearly 900 human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) samples. For 302 of these, the 50% inhibitory concentrations of at least four of the approved nucleoside analogs had fourfold-or-greater increases. Genotypic analysis of the reverse transcriptase (RT)-coding regions from these samples revealed complex mutational patterns, including the previously recognized codon 151 multidrug resistance cluster. Surprisingly, high-level multinucleoside resistance was associated with a diverse family of amino acid insertions in addition to "conventional" point mutations. These insertions were found between RT codons 67 and 70 and were commonly 69Ser-(Ser-Ser) or 69Ser-(Ser-Gly). Treatment history information showed that a common factor for the development of these variants was AZT (3'-azido-3'-deoxythymidine, zidovudine) therapy in combination with 2',3'-dideoxyinosine or 2',3'-dideoxycytidine, although treatment patterns varied considerably. Site-directed mutagenesis studies confirmed that 69Ser-(Ser-Ser) in an AZT resistance mutational background conferred simultaneous resistance to multiple nucleoside analogs. The insertions are located in the "fingers" domain of RT. Modelling the 69Ser-(Ser-Ser) insertion into the RT structure demonstrated the profound direct effect that this change is likely to have in the nucleoside triphosphate binding site of the enzyme. Our data highlight the increasing problem of HIV-1 multidrug resistance and underline the importance of continued resistance surveillance with appropriate, sufficiently versatile genotyping technology and phenotypic drug susceptibility analysis.

Stammers DK, Achari A, Somers DO, Bryant PK, Rosemond J, Scott DL, Champness JN. 1999. 2.0 A X-ray structure of the ternary complex of 7,8-dihydro-6-hydroxymethylpterinpyrophosphokinase from Escherichia coli with ATP and a substrate analogue. FEBS Lett, 456 (1), pp. 49-53. | Show Abstract | Read more

The X-ray crystal structure of 7,8-dihydro-6-hydroxymethylpterinpyrophosphokinase (PPPK) in a ternary complex with ATP and a pterin analogue has been solved to 2.0 A resolution, giving, for the first time, detailed information of the PPPK/ATP intermolecular interactions and the accompanying conformational change. The first 100 residues of the 158 residue peptide contain a betaalpha betabeta alphabeta motif present in several other proteins including nucleoside diphosphate kinase. Comparative sequence examination of a wide range of prokaryotic and lower eukaryotic species confirms the conservation of the PPPK active site, indicating the value of this de novo folate biosynthesis pathway enzyme as a potential target for the development of novel broad-spectrum anti-infective agents.

Larder BA, Stammers DK. 1999. Closing in on HIV drug resistance. Nat Struct Biol, 6 (2), pp. 103-106. | Show Abstract | Read more

The structure of a catalytic complex of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase helps rationalize resistance mechanisms for nucleoside analog drugs.

Tanaka H, Hayakawa H, Haraguchi K, Miyasaka T, Walker RT, De Clercq E, Baba M, Stammers DK, Stuart DI. 1999. HEPT: From an investigation of lithiation of nucleosides towards a rational design of non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors of HIV-1 Advances in Antiviral Drug Design, 3 (C), pp. 93-144. | Read more

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.

Milton J, Slater MJ, Bird AJ, Spinks D, Scott G, Price CE, Downing S, Green DV, Madar S, Bethell R, Stammers DK. 1998. Biaryl acids: novel non-nucleoside inhibitors of HIV reverse transcriptase types 1 and 2. Bioorg Med Chem Lett, 8 (19), pp. 2623-2628. | Show Abstract | Read more

A series of biaryl acids has been found to show micromolar inhibition of the HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) from types 1 and 2 with IC50S in the micromolar range. The series was discovered by consideration of the polymerase active site and sub-structure searching of the company compound collection. Synthesis of analogues to investigate the SAR is described. Two of these compounds have shown inhibition of HIV-2 RT only.

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.

Tanaka H, Walker RT, Hopkins AL, Ren J, Jones EY, Fujimoto K, Hayashi M, Miyasaka T, Baba M, Stammers DK, Stuart DI. 1998. Allosteric inhibitors against HIV-1 reverse transcriptase: design and synthesis of MKC-442 analogues having an omega-functionalized acyclic structure. Antivir Chem Chemother, 9 (4), pp. 325-332. | Show Abstract

Based on X-ray crystallographic analysis of MKC-442/human immunodeficiency virus type 1 reverse transcriptase (HIV-1 RT) complex, analogues in which the N1-substituent is replaced with omega-functionalized alkyl groups were designed to improve the affinity for the enzyme. Synthesis of these compounds was carried out starting from MKC-442 by a sequence of reactions (N3-protection, removal of N1-ethoxymethyl group, alkylation, and N3-deprotection). The compounds were evaluated for anti-HIV activity. Structure-activity relationships are discussed in terms of the possible interaction with the enzyme.

Achari A, Somers DO, Champness JN, Bryant PK, Rosemond J, Stammers DK. 1997. Crystal structure of the anti-bacterial sulfonamide drug target dihydropteroate synthase. Nat Struct Biol, 4 (6), pp. 490-497. | Show Abstract | Read more

Sulfonamides were amongst the first clinically useful antibacterial agents to be discovered. The identification of sulfanilamide as the active component of the dye Prontosil rubrum led to the synthesis of clinically useful analogues. Today sulfamethoxazole (in combination with trimethoprim), is used to treat urinary tract infections caused by bacteria such as Escherichia coli and is also a first-line treatment for pneumonia caused by the fungus Pneumocystis carinii, a common condition in AIDS patients. The site of action is the de novo folate biosynthesis enzyme dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS) where sulfonamides act as analogues of one of the substrates, para-aminobenzoic acid (pABA). We report here the crystal structure of E.coli DHPS at 2.0 A resolution refined to an R-factor of 0.185. The single domain of 282 residues forms an eight-stranded alpha/beta-barrel. The 7,8-dihydropterin pyrophosphate (DHPPP) substrate binds in a deep cleft in the barrel, whilst sulfanilamide binds closer to the surface. The DHPPP ligand site is highly conserved amongst prokaryotic and eukaryotic DHPSs.

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.

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.

Kuyper LF, Garvey JM, Baccanari DP, Champness JN, Stammers DK, Beddell CR. 1996. Pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidines and pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidines as conformationally restricted analogues of the antibacterial agent trimethoprim. Bioorg Med Chem, 4 (4), pp. 593-602. | Show Abstract | Read more

Conformationally restricted analogues of the antibacterial agent trimethoprim (TMP) were designed to mimic the conformation of drug observed in its complex with bacterial dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR). This conformation of TMP was achieved by linking the 4-amino function to the methylene group by one- and two-carbon bridges. A pyrrolo[2,3-d]pyrimidine, a dihydro analogue, and a tetrahydropyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidine were synthesized and tested as inhibitors of DHFR. One analogue showed activity equivalent to that of TMP against DHFR from three species of bacteria. An X-ray crystal structure of this inhibitor bound to Escherichia coli DHFR was determined to evaluate the structural consequences of the conformational restriction.

Lowe PN, Smith D, Stammers DK, Riveros-Moreno V, Moncada S, Charles I, Boyhan A. 1996. Identification of the domains of neuronal nitric oxide synthase by limited proteolysis. Biochem J, 314 ( Pt 1) (1), pp. 55-62. | Show Abstract | Read more

Nitric oxide synthase (EC 1.14.13.39) binds arginine and NADPH as substrates, and FAD, FMN, tetrahydrobiopterin, haem and calmodulin as cofactors. The protein consists of a central calmodulin-binding sequence flanked on the N-terminal side by a haem-binding region, analogous to cytochrome P-450, and on the C-terminal side by a region homologous with NADPH:cytochrome P-450 reductase. The structure of recombinant rat brain nitric oxide synthase was analysed by limited proteolyis. The products were identified by using antibodies to defined sequences, and by N-terminal sequencing. Low concentrations of trypsin produced three fragments, similar to those in a previous report [Sheta, McMillan and Masters (1994) J. Biol. Chem. 269, 15147-15153]: that of Mr approx. 135000 (N-terminus Gly-221) resulted from loss of the N-terminal extension (residues 1-220) unique to neuronal nitric oxide synthase. The fragments of Mr 90000 (haem region) and 80000 (reductase region, N-terminus Ala-728) were produced by cleavage within the calmodulin-binding region. With more extensive trypsin treatment, these species were shown to be transient, and three smaller, highly stable fragments of Mr 14000 (N-terminus Leu-744 within the calmodulin region), 60000 (N-terminus Gly-221) and 63000 (N-terminus Lys-856 within the FMN domain) were formed. The species of Mr approx. 60000 represents a domain retaining haem and nitroarginine binding. The two species of Mr 63000 and 14000 remain associated as a complex. This complex retains cytochrome c reductase activity, and thus is the complete reductase region, yet cleaved at Lys-856. This cleavage occurs within a sequence insertion relative to the FMN domain present in inducible nitric oxide synthase. Prolonged proteolysis treatment led to the production of a protein of Mr approx. 53000 (N-terminus Ala-953), corresponding to a cleavage between the FMN and FAD domains. The major products after chymotryptic digestion were similar to those with trypsin, although the pathway of intermediates differed. The haem domain was smaller, starting at residue 275, yet still retained the arginine binding site. These data have allowed us to identify stable domains representing both the arginine/haem-binding and the reductase regions.

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.

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.

Champness JN, Achari A, Ballantine SP, Bryant PK, Delves CJ, Stammers DK. 1994. The structure of Pneumocystis carinii dihydrofolate reductase to 1.9 A resolution. Structure, 2 (10), pp. 915-924. | Show Abstract | Read more

BACKGROUND: The fungal pathogen Pneumocystis carinii causes a pneumonia which is an opportunistic infection of AIDS patients. Current therapy includes the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitor trimethoprim which is selective but only a relatively weak inhibitor of the enzyme for P. carinii. Determination of the three-dimensional structure of the enzyme should form the basis for design of more potent and selective therapeutic agents for treatment of the disease. RESULTS: The structure of P. carinii DHFR in complex with reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate and trimethoprim has accordingly been solved by X-ray crystallography. The structure of the ternary complex has been refined at 1.86 A resolution (R = 0.181). A similar ternary complex with piritrexim (which is a tighter binding, but less selective inhibitor) has also been solved, as has the binary complex holoenzyme, both at 2.5 A resolution. CONCLUSIONS: These structures show how two drugs interact with a fungal DHFR. A comparison of the three-dimensional structure of this relatively large DHFR with bacterial or mammalian enzyme-inhibitor complexes determined previously highlights some additional secondary structure elements in this particular enzyme species. These comparisons provide further insight into the principles governing DHFR-inhibitor interaction, in which the volume of the active site appears to determine the strength of inhibitor binding.

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Champness JN, Achari A, Ballantine SP, Bryant PK, Delves CJ, Stammers DK. 1994. The structure of Pneumocystis carinii dihydrofolate reductase to 1.9 A resolution. Structure (London, England : 1993), 2 (10), pp. 915-924. | Show Abstract | Read more

The fungal pathogen Pneumocystis carinii causes a pneumonia which is an opportunistic infection of AIDS patients. Current therapy includes the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) inhibitor trimethoprim which is selective but only a relatively weak inhibitor of the enzyme for P. carinii. Determination of the three-dimensional structure of the enzyme should form the basis for design of more potent and selective therapeutic agents for treatment of the disease.The structure of P. carinii DHFR in complex with reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate and trimethoprim has accordingly been solved by X-ray crystallography. The structure of the ternary complex has been refined at 1.86 A resolution (R = 0.181). A similar ternary complex with piritrexim (which is a tighter binding, but less selective inhibitor) has also been solved, as has the binary complex holoenzyme, both at 2.5 A resolution.These structures show how two drugs interact with a fungal DHFR. A comparison of the three-dimensional structure of this relatively large DHFR with bacterial or mammalian enzyme-inhibitor complexes determined previously highlights some additional secondary structure elements in this particular enzyme species. These comparisons provide further insight into the principles governing DHFR-inhibitor interaction, in which the volume of the active site appears to determine the strength of inhibitor binding.

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.

Idriss H, Stammers DK. 1994. Inhibition of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase by defined template/primer DNA oligonucleotides: effect of template length and binding characteristics. J Enzyme Inhib, 8 (2), pp. 97-112. | Show Abstract | Read more

The interaction of partially double stranded DNA oligonucleotides with HIV-1 RT was studied by investigating their ability to inhibit the homopolymeric poly(rC) directed (dG) synthesis reaction. A 20/18mer oligonucleotide, with a sequence based on the Lys3-tRNA primer region, showed stronger inhibition of the homopolymeric RT reaction than a G/C rich oligonucleotide series lacking or possessing a hairpin moiety. Interaction of the enzyme with the G/C rich oligonucleotides, as determined by IC50 measurements, was insensitive to the extent of the unpaired template region at the 3' or 5' position. Addition of a hairpin moiety, composed of four thymidine bases, onto G/C rich oligonucleotides increase their inhibitory potency (at least six times) and shifted the mode of inhibition of RT to competitive with respect to poly (rC).(dG), which was otherwise mixed (competitive/noncompetitive) for the linear G/C rich and 20/18mer oligonucleotides. The results indicate that interaction of the enzyme with the primer/template stem, but not with the unpaired template region, is an important step in complex formation.

Snowden W, Coughlan N, Tisdale M, Stammers DK. 1993. Isolation and characterization of monoclonal antibodies raised against the reverse transcriptase of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 and cross-reactivity with that of type 1. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr, 6 (11), pp. 1187-1193. | Show Abstract

Monoclonal antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-2 reverse transcriptase have been raised with the ultimate goal of generating Fab fragments for future co-crystallization studies. A number of mouse monoclonal antibodies to recombinant HIV-2 reverse transcriptase have been obtained and characterized in terms of the possible epitopes they recognise together with cross-reactivity with a related reverse transcriptase. The antibodies were shown to fall into three groups that recognize different regions of the reverse transcriptase enzyme. One antibody, which recognizes part of the RNase H domain, demonstrated cross-reactivity between the HIV-1 and HIV-2 reverse transcriptase.

Stammers DK, Delves C, Ballantine S, Jones EY, Stuart DI, Achari A, Bryant PK, Champness JN. 1993. Preliminary crystallographic data for Pneumocystis carinii dihydrofolate reductase. J Mol Biol, 230 (2), pp. 679-680. | Show Abstract | Read more

Dihydrofolate reductase from Pneumocystis carinii has been crystallized in a form suitable for high resolution X-ray diffraction studies. Recombinant enzyme that had been refolded following solubilization in guanidinium hydrochloride was crystallized as both a ternary complex with the cofactor NADPH and the inhibitor trimethoprim as well as a binary complex with NADPH. The two types of complex crystallized isomorphously from polyethylene glycol using sitting-drop vapour diffusion. The crystals were of space group P2(1) with unit cell parameters, a = 69.9 A, b = 43.6 A, c = 37.6 A, beta = 117.7 degrees, with one molecule per asymmetric unit. The crystals diffracted to 1.8 A resolution.

Delves CJ, Ballantine SP, Tansik RL, Baccanari DP, Stammers DK. 1993. Refolding of recombinant Pneumocystis carinii dihydrofolate reductase and characterization of the enzyme. Protein Expr Purif, 4 (1), pp. 16-23. | Show Abstract | Read more

The isolation of dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) cDNA sequences from the messenger RNA of Pneumocystis carinii using the polymerase chain reaction is described. The 206-amino acid P. carinii DHFR was expressed to high levels in Escherichia coli inclusion bodies using the T7 promoter expression system. Solubilization of the inclusion bodies in 4 M guanidine hydrochloride and refolding of the recombinant protein in the presence of 0.5% polyethylene glycol 1450 yielded correctly folded DHFR which was purified to homogeneity by methotrexate-Sepharose affinity chromatography. The refolded enzyme was readily crystallized as a ternary complex with NADPH and various inhibitors. The enzyme exhibited a sharp pH optimum with maximum activity at pH 7.0 (turnover number = 6500 min-1). Km values for dihydrofolate (DHF) and NADPH were 2.3 and 3.0 microM, respectively, in 0.1 m imidazole buffer, pH 7. Folate did not act as a substrate. Comparison of the kinetic properties of the refolded enzyme with soluble P. carinii DHFR expressed at low levels in the T7 expression system showed similar pH-activity profiles, Km values for DHF and NADPH, and IC50 values for several known antifolates which were tested as inhibitors of the enzyme.

JONES EY, STUART DI, GARMAN EF, GRIEST R, PHILLIPS DC, TAYLOR GL, MATSUMOTO O, DARBY G, LARDER B, LOWE D et al. 1993. THE GROWTH AND CHARACTERIZATION OF CRYSTALS OF HUMAN-IMMUNODEFICIENCY-VIRUS (HIV) REVERSE-TRANSCRIPTASE JOURNAL OF CRYSTAL GROWTH, 126 (2-3), pp. 261-269. | Show Abstract | Read more

Extensive studies on the crystallization of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) have yielded several crystal forms, two of which show diffraction to minimum Bragg spacings of 6 Å or better. Type 1 crystals belong to the space group P212121 with unit cell dimensions a = 147 A ̊, b = 190 A ̊ and c = 182 A ̊. Crystal density measurement indicate a very high crystal solvent content of 77% consistent with the presence of two RT heterodimers (66k/51k) per crystallographic asymmetric unit. These crystals are suitable for a low resolution determination of the apoenzyme structure. The second well ordered crystal form (space group P4222 with unit cell dimensions a = b = 120 A ̊, c = 320 A ̊) results from the co-crystallization of RT heterodimer and a double-stranded DNA oligonucleotide. Crystal density measurements again yield a relatively high value for the solvent content (7%; one RT heterodimer per crystallographic asymmetric unit) and elemental analysis indicates that one DNA oligonucleotide is associated with each RT heterodimer. This is consistent with each heterodimer possessing a single, competent, active site. © 1993.

Stammers DK, Ross CK, Idriss H, Lowe DM. 1992. Formation of heterodimers of human-immunodeficiency-virus-type-1 reverse transcriptase by recombination of separately purified subunits. Eur J Biochem, 206 (2), pp. 437-440. | Show Abstract | Read more

Human-immunodeficiency-virus-type-1 reverse transcriptase exists in virions as a heterodimer of a M(r) 66,000 subunit and its C-terminally truncated form of M(r) 51,000, but, when expressed as a recombinant M(r) 66,000 protein, a mixture of heterodimers and homodimers results which co-purify by most conventional techniques. We describe a method of hydrophobic chromatography which gives baseline separation of these two forms of the protein. This method has been applied to purify heterodimers formed by recombination of separately expressed and purified M(r) 66,000 and 51,000 subunits, resulting in significantly more homogeneous heterodimer preparations. The recombined heterodimer showed similar kinetic properties and RNase H activity to the standard heterodimer and a specific activity significantly higher than the original homodimer of the M(r) 66,000 protein. Heterodimers having greater asymmetry have also been prepared by recombining Mr 66,000 subunits containing single-point or deletion mutations, with wild-type M(r) 51,000 subunits, and the resulting heterodimers analysed.

Volpe F, Dyer M, Scaife JG, Darby G, Stammers DK, Delves CJ. 1992. The multifunctional folic acid synthesis fas gene of Pneumocystis carinii appears to encode dihydropteroate synthase and hydroxymethyldihydropterin pyrophosphokinase. Gene, 112 (2), pp. 213-218. | Show Abstract | Read more

We describe the cloning of a multifunctional folic acid synthesis (fas) gene from Pneumocystis carinii. The nucleotide sequence contains an open reading frame interrupted by three introns, that encodes a protein of 740 amino acids with an Mr of 97,278. The predicted Fas protein has homology to two enzyme domains, dihydropteroate synthase and 6-hydroxymethyl-7,8-dihydropterin pyrophosphokinase, both of which are involved in folate synthesis, and at least one other region of unknown function.

Skinner RH, Bradley S, Brown AL, Johnson NJ, Rhodes S, Stammers DK, Lowe PN. 1991. Use of the Glu-Glu-Phe C-terminal epitope for rapid purification of the catalytic domain of normal and mutant ras GTPase-activating proteins. J Biol Chem, 266 (22), pp. 14163-14166. | Show Abstract

The C-terminal catalytic domain (residues 704-1047) of the human ras GTPase-activating protein (GAP) has been engineered so as to incorporate the tripeptide, Glu-Glu-Phe, at its C terminus. This motif is recognized by the commercially available YL1/2 monoclonal antibody to alpha-tubulin and has previously been used for the immunoaffinity purification of HIV enzymes engineered to contain this epitope (Stammers, D. K., Tisdale, M., Court, S., Parmar, V., Bradley, C., and Ross, C. K. (1991) FEBS Lett. 283, 298-302). The engineered GAP catalytic domain (GAP-344) was obtained in high yield and purity from Escherichia coli extracts by means of a single affinity column of immobilized YL1/2, eluted under mild conditions with the dipeptide, Asp-Phe. The protein had similar activity to that previously described for full-length GAP, suggesting that the addition of the epitope did not grossly affect the activity. R903K and L902I mutants of GAP-344 were constructed, and the immunoaffinity purification procedure allowed their rapid characterization. The R903K mutant had less than 3% the activity of the normal protein, whereas the L902I substitution had less than 0.5% of normal activity, suggesting an important role for Leu-902 and Arg-903, residues absolutely conserved among GAP-related proteins. This work exemplifies the general utility of the C-terminal Glu-Glu-Phe motif for the rapid purification of proteins whose function is not altered by C-terminal modification.

Stammers DK, Tisdale M, Court S, Parmar V, Bradley C, Ross CK. 1991. Rapid purification and characterisation of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and RNaseH engineered to incorporate a C-terminal tripeptide alpha-tubulin epitope. FEBS Lett, 283 (2), pp. 298-302. | Show Abstract | Read more

The C-termini of p66 and p51 forms of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase have been engineered to contain a Glu-Glu-Phe sequence recognized by a monoclonal antibody to alpha-tubulin, YL1/2. Mutated RTs were purified in a single step using peptide elution from columns of immobilized YL1/2. The known sequence requirements of the YL1/2 epitope are consistent with protein eluting from the column with an intact C-terminus. Kinetic parameters of these mutated RTs are essentially unchanged from wild-type enzyme. The p15 RNaseH domain has been purified using this method and shown to have low enzyme activity compared to the parental p66 subunit.

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DELUCAS LJ, SMITH CD, SMITH W, VIJAYKUMAR S, SENADHI SE, EALICK SE, CARTER DC, SNYDER RS, WEBER PC, SALEMME FR et al. 1991. PROTEIN CRYSTAL-GROWTH RESULTS FOR SHUTTLE FLIGHTS STS-26 AND STS-29 JOURNAL OF CRYSTAL GROWTH, 110 (1-2), pp. 302-311. | Show Abstract | Read more

Recent advances in protein crystallography have significantly shortened the time and labor required to determine the three-dimensional structures of macromolecules once good crystals are available. Crystal growth has become a major bottleneck in further development of protein crystallography. Proteins and other biological macromolecules are notoriously difficult to crystallize. Even when usable crystals are obtained, the crystals of essentially all proteins and other biological macromolecules are poorly ordered, and diffract to resolutions considerably lower than that available for most crystals of simple organic and inorganic compounds. One promising area of research which is receiving widespread attention is protein crystal growth in the microgravity environment of space. A series of protein crystal growth experiments were performed on US shuttle flight STS-26 in September 1988 and STS-29 in March 1989. These proteins had been studied extensively in crystal growth experiments on earth prior to the microgravity experiments. For those proteins which produced crystals of adequate size, three-dimensional intensity data sets with electronic area detector systems were collected. Comparisons of the microgravity-grown crystals with the best earth-grown crystals obtained in numerous experiments demostrate that the microgravity-grown crystals of these proteins are larger, display more uniform morphologies, and yield diffraction data to significantly higher resolutions. Analyses of the three-dimensional data sets by relative-Wilson plots indicate that the space-grown crystals are more highly ordered at the molecular level than their earth-grown counterparts. © 1991.

Idriss H, Stammers DK, Ross CK, Burns RG. 1991. The dynamic instability of microtubules is not modulated by alpha-tubulin tyrosinylation. Cell Motil Cytoskeleton, 20 (1), pp. 30-37. | Show Abstract | Read more

The tyrosinylation of chick brain alpha-tubulin and the effects of the tyrosinylation status on the assembly and dynamic instability of chick brain MAP2:tubulin microtubule protein have been examined. Each of the eight major alpha-isotypes can be tyrosinylated in vitro, irrespective of whether a C-terminal tyrosine is genetically encoded. The extent of tyrosinylation is however limited to congruent to 0.3 mol.mol-1. The tyrosinylation status (0 vs. 0.3 mol.mol-1) has no effect on either the assembly kinetics of chick brain microtubule protein or on the rate of length redistribution following assembly and shearing. It is therefore unlikely that the tyrosinylation status directly affects the intrinsic stability of assembled microtubules since the rate of length redistribution is both a sensitive assay and a function of the kinetic parameters governing dynamic instability.

DeLucas LJ, Smith CD, Smith HW, Vijay-Kumar S, Senadhi SE, Ealick SE, Carter DC, Snyder RS, Weber PC, Salemme FR. 1989. Protein crystal growth in microgravity. Science, 246 (4930), pp. 651-654. | Show Abstract | Read more

The crystals of most proteins or other biological macromolecules are poorly ordered and diffract to lower resolutions than those observed for most crystals of simple organic and inorganic compounds. Crystallization in the microgravity environment of space may improve crystal quality by eliminating convection effects near growing crystal surfaces. A series of 11 different protein crystal growth experiments was performed on U.S. space shuttle flight STS-26 in September 1988. The microgravity-grown crystals of gamma-interferon D1, porcine elastase, and isocitrate lyase are larger, display more uniform morphologies, and yield diffraction data to significantly higher resolutions than the best crystals of these proteins grown on Earth.

Tisdale M, Larder BA, Lowe DM, Stammers DK, Purifoy DJ, Ertl P, Bradley C, Kemp S, Darby GK, Powell KL. 1989. Structural characterization of HIV reverse transcriptase: a target for the design of specific virus inhibitors. J Antimicrob Chemother, 23 Suppl A (suppl A), pp. 47-54. | Show Abstract | Read more

The reverse transcriptase (RT) of HIV is an important target for chemotherapy as demonstrated by the effective treatment of AIDS patients with zidovudine, a potent inhibitor of RT. Structural studies of HIV RT were therefore undertaken with a view to designing more effective inhibitors. To obtain sufficient quantities of enzyme for these studies the reverse transcriptase gene of HIV was cloned into a high level expression plasmid yielding reverse transcriptase at a level of 10% of the total Escherichia coli proteins. Monoclonal antibodies to RT were raised in mice and have been used to purify the enzyme by immunoaffinity chromatography. Crystallization of the enzyme has been achieved and studies are underway to determine its three-dimensional structure. In addition, carboxy-terminal truncated mutants were prepared by inserting stop codons into the gene at appropriate sites. The proteins expressed were analysed for RT and RNase H activity and used for mapping RT epitopes. This, together with previous data on site-directed mutagenesis of conserved regions of HIV RT has helped to map some of the structural and functional regions of the enzyme.

Lowe DM, Aitken A, Bradley C, Darby GK, Larder BA, Powell KL, Purifoy DJ, Tisdale M, Stammers DK. 1988. HIV-1 reverse transcriptase: crystallization and analysis of domain structure by limited proteolysis. Biochemistry, 27 (25), pp. 8884-8889. | Show Abstract | Read more

Bacterially expressed recombinant HIV-1 reverse transcriptase is active as both a homodimer of Mr 66,000 subunits and a heterodimer of Mr 66,000 and 51,000 subunits. The heterodimer is formed by cleavage of a C-terminal fragment from one Mr 66,000 polypeptide, which occurs during purification and crystallization of reverse transcriptase. Thus, crystals obtained from purified Mr 66,000 polypeptide preparations consisted of an apparently equimolar mixture of Mr 66,000 and 51,000 polypeptides, which were apparently analogous to the Mr 66,000 and 51,000 polypeptides detected in HIV-infected cells and in virions. Limited proteolysis of the homodimer with alpha-chymotrypsin also resulted in cleavage to a stable Mr 66,000/51,000 mixture, and proteolysis with trypsin resulted in the transient formation of some Mr 51,000 polypeptide. These results are consistent with the reverse transcriptase molecule having a protease-sensitive linker region following a structured domain of Mr 51,000. Further digestion with trypsin resulted in cleavage of the Mr 51,000 polypeptide after residue 223, yielding peptides of apparent Mr 29,000 and 30,000. A minor peptide of Mr 40,000 was also produced by cleavage of the Mr 66,000 polypeptide after residue 223. About half the original Mr 66,000 polypeptides remained resistant to proteolysis and existed in complex with the above peptides in solution. During both chymotrypsin and trypsin digestion there was an increase in the reverse transcriptase activity caused by a doubling of Vmax with little change in Km for dTTP.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Stammers DK, Dann JG, Harris CJ, Smith DR. 1987. Comparison of angiotensinogen and tetradecapeptide as substrates for human renin. Substrate dependence of the mode of inhibition of renin by a statine-containing hexapeptide. Arch Biochem Biophys, 258 (2), pp. 413-420. | Show Abstract | Read more

The kinetic properties of two different substrates for human renin, a synthetic tetradecapeptide and the natural substrate human angiotensinogen, have been compared. While the Vmax was similar for the two substrates, the Km values differed by a factor of 10, i.e., 11.7 +/- 0.7 microM (tetradecapeptide) and 1.0 +/- 0.1 microM (angiotensinogen). The mode of inhibition of renin by a statine (Sta)-containing hexapeptide, BW897C, that is a close structural analog of residues 8-13 of human angiotensinogen (Phe-His-Sta-Val-Ile-His-OMe), was determined for the two substrates. Competitive inhibition was observed when tetradecapeptide was the substrate (Ki = 2.0 +/- 0.2 microM), but a more complex mixed inhibition mode (Ki = 1.7 +/- 0.1 microM, Ki' = 3.0 +/- 0.23 microM) was found with angiotensinogen as substrate. This mixed inhibition probably results from the formation of an enzyme-inhibitor-substrate or enzyme-inhibitor-product complex and reflects the more extensive interactions that the protein angiotensinogen, as opposed to the small tetradecapeptide substrate, can make with renin. We conclude that the mixed inhibition observed when angiotensinogen is used as renin substrate could be important in the clinical application of renin inhibitors because it is less readily reversed by increased concentrations of substrate than is simple competitive inhibition.

Stammers DK, Champness JN, Beddell CR, Dann JG, Eliopoulos E, Geddes AJ, Ogg D, North AC. 1987. The structure of mouse L1210 dihydrofolate reductase-drug complexes and the construction of a model of human enzyme. FEBS Lett, 218 (1), pp. 178-184. | Show Abstract | Read more

The structure of mouse L1210 dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) complexed with NADPH and trimethoprim has been refined at 2.0 A resolution. The analogous complex with NADPH and methotrexate has been refined at 2.5 A resolution. These structures reveal for the first time details of drug interactions with a mammalian DHFR, which are compared with those observed from previous X-ray investigations of DHFR/inhibitor complexes. The refined L1210 structure has been used as the basis for the construction of a model of the human enzyme. There are only twenty-one sequence differences between mouse L1210 and human DHFRs, and all but two of these are located close to the molecular surface: a strong indication that the active sites are essentially identical in these two mammalian enzymes.

Wootton R, Stammers DK, White RD. 1986. Reduction in potency and reversal of left-shifting activity of BW12C with the major and minor components of chicken hemoglobin. FEBS Lett, 209 (1), pp. 129-133. | Show Abstract | Read more

The effects of the left-shifting, anti-sickling compound BW12C (5-(2-formyl-3-hydroxyphenoxy)pentanoic acid) on the oxygen saturation curve of whole chicken blood and the isolated major (AII) and minor (AI) components of chicken hemoglobin have been studied. The results support the postulated major binding mode for BW12C to human hemoglobin of bridging between the alpha-chain terminal amino groups in the oxy conformation with an important hydrophobic component contributed mainly by Pro 77 alpha residues. In chicken AII (Pro 77 alpha----Ser) BW12C still left-shifts at high concentrations but its potency is greatly reduced (at least 10-fold). In chicken AI (Pro 77 alpha----Ser and Val 1 alpha----Met) BW12C is a right-shifter with a potency comparable to that of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate suggesting that binding at the beta-chain termini in the deoxy conformation is now dominant with alpha-chain binding no longer significant.

Merrett M, Stammers DK, White RD, Wootton R, Kneen G. 1986. Characterization of the binding of the anti-sickling compound, BW12C, to haemoglobin. Biochem J, 239 (2), pp. 387-392. | Show Abstract | Read more

The anti-sickling agent BW12C [Beddell, Goodford, Kneen, White, Wilkinson & Wootton (1984) Br. J. Pharmacol. 82, 397-407] was designed to left-shift the oxygen saturation curve of haemoglobin (HbA) by preferential binding to the oxy conformation at a single site between the terminal amino groups of the alpha-chains through Schiff's base formation, ionic and hydrophobic interactions. In the present work, Schiff's base linkages formed with [14C]BW12C were reduced with NaBH4 and the alpha- and beta-globin chains separated. Under oxy conditions at a molar ratio of 2:1, the covalently bound BW12C is localized almost exclusively on a single alpha-chain; tryptic digestion confirms the terminal amino group (alpha 1-valine) as the reaction site, in accord with the design hypothesis. However, about half the labelled BW12C is released on tetramer disruption, suggesting the presence of additional non-covalent binding. Under deoxy conditions, alpha- and beta-chains are labelled approximately equally, and at higher molar ratios additional binding in both oxy and deoxy conditions is seen. Isoelectric-focusing studies under oxy conditions show a complex pattern of modified bands for both HbA and HbA1c (blocked beta-terminal amino groups) but no modification for HbA carbamylated at both alpha- and beta-terminal amino groups or at the alpha-chains only, again confirming the alpha-terminal amino region as the main interaction site. Equilibrium dialysis measurements under oxy conditions indicate two strong binding sites with a binding constant of less than 10(-6) M and a number of weaker binding sites. The present data thus confirm that BW12C binds at the intended locus but reveal additional non-covalent binding at an undefined site, and weaker binding through Schiff's base formation with other amino groups.

Champness JN, Stammers DK, Beddell CR. 1986. Crystallographic investigation of the cooperative interaction between trimethoprim, reduced cofactor and dihydrofolate reductase. FEBS Lett, 199 (1), pp. 61-67. | Show Abstract | Read more

The structure of the complex between E. coli (RT500) form I dihydrofolate reductase, the antibacterial trimethoprim and NADPH has been determined by X-ray crystallography. The inhibitor and cofactor are in mutual contact. A flexible chain segment which includes Met 20 is in contact with the inhibitor in the presence of NADPH, but more distant in its absence. By contrast, the inhibitor conformation is little changed with NADPH present. We discuss these observations with regard to the mutually cooperative binding of these ligands to the protein, and to the associated enhancement of inhibitory selectivity shown by trimethoprim for bacterial as opposed to vertebrate enzyme.

Dann JG, Stammers DK, Harris CJ, Arrowsmith RJ, Davies DE, Hardy GW, Morton JA. 1986. Human renin: a new class of inhibitors. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 134 (1), pp. 71-77. | Show Abstract | Read more

A new class of human renin inhibitor is described, containing a novel analogue of the peptide bond. High inhibitory potency was observed for octapeptide-length substrate analogues but inhibition progressively weakened as the molecule was shortened from the amino terminal end.

Kuyper LF, Roth B, Baccanari DP, Ferone R, Beddell CR, Champness JN, Stammers DK, Dann JG, Norrington FE, Baker DJ. 1985. Receptor-based design of dihydrofolate reductase inhibitors: comparison of crystallographically determined enzyme binding with enzyme affinity in a series of carboxy-substituted trimethoprim analogues. J Med Chem, 28 (3), pp. 303-311. | Show Abstract | Read more

By the use of molecular models of Escherichia coli dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), analogues of trimethoprim (TMP) were designed which incorporated various 3'-carboxyalkoxy moieties in order to acquire ionic interactions with positively charged active-site residues. Certain of these compounds have shown exceptionally high affinity for this enzyme. For example, the 3'-(carboxypentyl)oxy analogue was found to be 55-fold more inhibitory than TMP toward E. coli DHFR (Ki = 0.024 nM vs. 1.32 nM for TMP). X-ray crystallographic studies of E. coli DHFR in binary complexes with TMP and two members of this acid-containing series of compounds defined the binding of these inhibitors and showed the carboxyl group of the latter two inhibitors to be ionically bound to Arg-57. These observations were in agreement with postulated binding modes that were based on receptor modeling.

Matthews DA, Bolin JT, Burridge JM, Filman DJ, Volz KW, Kaufman BT, Beddell CR, Champness JN, Stammers DK, Kraut J. 1985. Refined crystal structures of Escherichia coli and chicken liver dihydrofolate reductase containing bound trimethoprim. J Biol Chem, 260 (1), pp. 381-391. | Show Abstract

Refined crystal structures are reported for complexes of Escherichia coli and chicken dihydrofolate reductase containing the antibiotic trimethoprim (TMP). Structural comparison of these two complexes reveals major geometrical differences in TMP binding that may be important in understanding the stereo-chemical basis of this inhibitor's selectivity for bacterial dihydrofolate reductases. For TMP bound to chicken dihydrofolate reductase we observe an altered binding geometry in which the 2,4-diaminopyrimidine occupies a position in closer proximity (by approximately 1 A) to helix alpha B compared to the pyrimidine position for TMP or methotrexate bound to E. coli dihydrofolate reductase. One important consequence of this deeper insertion of the pyrimidine into the active site of chicken dihydrofolate reductase is the loss of a potential hydrogen bond that would otherwise form between the carbonyl oxygen of Val-115 and the inhibitor's 4-amino group. In addition, for TMP bound to E. coli dihydrofolate reductase, the inhibitor's benzyl side chain is positioned low in the active-site pocket pointing down toward the nicotinamide-binding site, whereas, in chicken dihydrofolate reductase, the benzyl group is accommodated in a side channel running upward and away from the cofactor. As a result, the torsion angles about the C5-C7 and C7-C1' bonds for TMP bound to the bacterial reductase (177 degrees, 76 degrees) differ significantly from the corresponding angles for TMP bound to chicken dihydrofolate reductase (-85 degrees, 102 degrees). Finally, when TMP binds to the chicken holoenzyme, the Tyr-31 side chain undergoes a large conformational change (average movement is 5.4 A for all atoms beyond C beta), rotating down into a new position where it hydrogen bonds via an intervening water molecule to the backbone carbonyl oxygen of Trp-24.

Kuyper LF, Roth B, Baccanari DP, Ferone R, Beddell CR, Champness JN, Stammers DK, Dann JG, Norrington FE, Baker DJ, Goodford PJ. 1982. Receptor-based design of dihydrofolate reductase inhibitors: comparison of crystallographically determined enzyme binding with enzyme affinity in a series of carboxy-substituted trimethoprim analogues. J Med Chem, 25 (10), pp. 1120-1122. | Read more

Millar JR, Shaw PJ, Stammers DK, Watson HC. 1981. The low-resolution structure of human muscle aldolase. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 293 (1063), pp. 209-214. | Show Abstract | Read more

The three-dimensional structure of human muscle aldolase has been solved at 5 A resolution with the use of two isomorphous heavy atom derivatives. The enzyme's four subunits are arranged about three mutually perpendicular intersecting twofold axes to form a compact spherical molecule. The subunit boundaries are clearly defined but a possible domain structure is not apparent in this preliminary electron density map.

Baker DJ, Beddell CR, Champness JN, Goodford PJ, Norrington FE, Smith DR, Stammers DK. 1981. The binding of trimethoprim to bacterial dihydrofolate reductase. FEBS Lett, 126 (1), pp. 49-52. | Read more

Stuart DI, Levine M, Muirhead H, Stammers DK. 1979. Crystal structure of cat muscle pyruvate kinase at a resolution of 2.6 A. J Mol Biol, 134 (1), pp. 109-142. | Show Abstract | Read more

The structure of pyruvate kinase (EC 2.7.1.40) has been determined from a 2.6 Å resolution electron density map. This map shows more detail than the previous 3.1 Å map (Stammers & Muirhead, 1977) and has enabled a detailed chain folding to be established for two out of the three domains which make up each of the four identical subunits. A provisional chain folding has been established for the third domain. The results have been briefly reported in a previous paper (Levine et al., 1978). Details of the structure determination and a further discussion of the results are presented in this paper. Domain A (the three domains of pyruvate kinase are referred to as A, B and C) can be described in terms of a cylindrical eight-stranded parallel β sheet and an outer coaxial cylinder of eight α helices. The α helices connect adjacent strands of the β sheet. Domain B is made up of a closed anti-parallel β sheet structure. Domain C is a five-stranded β sheet of which the fourth strand is anti-parallel and the rest parallel. These strands are also interconnected by α helices. Domain A can be dissected into eight consecutive β strand-α helix units starting from the N-terminus. The arrangement of these relative to each other can be most simply described by relating them to eight planes, each at 40 ° to the cylinder axis and symmetrically placed around the cylinder. When unit 2 is aligned with one of these planes then units 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8 are also closely aligned with a plane. This analysis is also applied to triosephosphate isomerase and a strikingly similar arrangement is found. A detailed comparison of the two structures is presented. Although the lack of a chemical sequence makes it difficult to identify the amino acid residues of pyruvate kinase, side-chains are clearly visible in the map and this information is correlated with the results of previous 6 Å substrate soaking experiments and with the structure of triosephosphate isomerase. The similarities and differences are discussed in terms of similarities and differences in the reactions catalysed and also of different subunit packing. © 1979.

Beddell CR, Goodford PJ, Stammers DK, Wootton R. 1979. Species differences in the binding of compounds designed to fit a site of known structure in adult human haemoglobin. Br J Pharmacol, 65 (3), pp. 535-543. | Show Abstract | Read more

1. Oxygen dissociation curves are reported for human haemoglobins A1, FII, FI, A1c and Raleigh (beta1 valine leads to acetylalanine) and for horse haemoglobin in the absence and presence of 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (DPG), or 4,4'-diformyl-2-bibenzyl oxyacetic acid, or the bisulphite addition compound of the latter. 2. These haemoglobins were selected because their amino acid sequences are different at the DPG receptor site of human adult deoxyhaemoglobin. 3. The size of the shifts of the dissociation curves are in the sequence expected from the postulated numbers of interactions made by each compound with each haemoglobin type, based on the assumption of a common receptor site for the three compounds. 4. Multiple linear regression analysis shows that the free energies of interaction of the compounds with the haemoglobins may be predicted, to a first approximation, by summing the number of ionic and covalent bonds predicted for each effector-receptor combination, a reversible covalent bond contributing about twice as much energy (-6.78 kJmol-1) as an ionic interaction (-3.14 kJmol-1).

Levine M, Muirhead H, Stammers DK, Stuart DI. 1978. Structure of pyruvate kinase and similarities with other enzymes: possible implications for protein taxonomy and evolution. Nature, 271 (5646), pp. 626-630. | Show Abstract | Read more

The structure determination of pyruvate kinase shows that each subunit of the tetrameric molecule consists of three domains. The largest of these domains has a remarkable similarity to the structure of triosephosphate isomerase. Another domain shows similarities to many other nucleotide binding proteins. We discuss these similarities and their implications for current arguments on protein taxonomy and evolution.

Banyard SH, Stammers DK, Harrison PM. 1978. Electron density map of apoferritin at 2.8-A resolution. Nature, 271 (5642), pp. 282-284. | Show Abstract | Read more

THE structure of ferritin is of considerable interest because of its widespread occurrence in higher organisms, signifying a general need to store iron and remove this essential, but toxic element. Horse spleen apoferritin has a molecular weight (MW) of about 444,000 and is composed of 24 subunits (MW 18,500) each containing about 163 amino acids1. These are arranged in 432 symmetry to form a nearly spherical hollow shell with outside and inside diameters approximately 130 Å and 75 Å respectively1-3. The large cavity inside the molecule can store up to 4,500 Fe atoms, packaged in a microcrystalline inorganic component of approximate composition (FeOOH) 8 (FeO:OPO3H2) (refs 4-6). The atomic structure of the micro-crystals is not specifically related to the surrounding protein structure6. Apoferritin catalyses the oxidation of Fe(II) which it retains inside the molecule as the ferric hydrolysate7,8. Our 6-Å resolution structure of apoferritin3 showed the presence of several rods of electron density, tentatively assigned as α helices, and channels passing through the shell, which could provide an access route for Fe atoms. These features have been confirmed at 2.8-Å resolution and we can now also provide a plausible subunit conformation and quaternary structure.©1978 Nature Publishing Group.

BANYARD SH, STAMMERS DK, HARRISON PM, CLEGG GA. 1978. APOFERRITIN AT 2.8A RESOLUTION ACTA CRYSTALLOGRAPHICA SECTION A, 34 pp. S62-S63.

Stammers DK, Muirhead H. 1977. Three-dimensional structure of cat muscle pyruvate kinase at 3-1 A resolution. J Mol Biol, 112 (2), pp. 309-316. | Show Abstract | Read more

X-ray diffraction data sets have been collected by screened precession photography to a nominal resolution of 3·1 Å from crystals of cat muscle pyruvate kinase. The films were processed using an Optronics film scanner and phase angles were estimated by the method of single isomorphous replacement with anomalous scattering measurements. The data have been combined with the 6 Å diffractometer data (Stammers & Muirhead, 1975) and a Fourier map calculated. The map shows the presence of a large amount of regular secondary structure, mainly parallel β-sheet interconnected by α-helices. Each subunit is folded into three domains two of which have a central core of β-sheet. The active site is situated at the carboxyl end of one of these sheet regions. © 1977.

Stammers DK, Levine M, Stuart DI, Muirhead H. 1977. Structure of cat muscle pyruvate kinase at 0.26 nm resolution. Biochem Soc Trans, 5 (3), pp. 654-657. | Read more

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European Pubmed Central

Stammers DK, Muirhead H. 1975. Three-dimensional structure of cat muscle pyruvate kinase at 6 Angstrom resolution. J Mol Biol, 95 (2), pp. 213-225. | Read more

MUIRHEAD H, STAMMERS DK, SHAW PJ. 1975. STRUCTURES OF PYRUVATE-KINASE AND PHOSPHOGLUCOSE ISOMERASE ACTA CRYSTALLOGRAPHICA SECTION A, 31 pp. S28-S28.

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STAMMERS DK, MUIRHEAD H. 1975. 3-DIMENSIONAL STRUCTURE OF CAT MUSCLE PYRUVATE-KINASE AT 6 A RESOLUTION JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 95 (2), pp. 213-&. | Show Abstract | Read more

A 6 Å resolution electron density map of cat muscle pyruvate kinase has been calculated. From this map it has been possible to isolate a single molecule and to assign subunit boundaries. The binding of substrates, products and the divalent metal cation has been studied. © 1975.

Muirhead H, Stammers DK. 1974. Structure of cat muscle pyruvate kinase at 0.6 nm (6Å) resolution Biochemical Society Transactions, 2 (1), pp. 49-51.

Campbell JW, Duée E, Hodgson G, Mercer WD, Stammers DK, Wendell PL, Muirhead H, Watson HC. 1972. X-ray diffraction studies on enzymes in the glycolytic pathway. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol, 36 pp. 165-170. | Read more

El Omari K, Ren J, Bird LE, Bona MK, Klarmann G, LeGrice SFJ, Stammers DK. 2006. Molecular architecture and ligand recognition determinants for T4 RNA ligase. J Biol Chem, 281 (3), pp. 1573-1579. | Show Abstract | Read more

RNA ligase type 1 from bacteriophage T4 (Rnl1) is involved in countering a host defense mechanism by repairing 5'-PO4 and 3'-OH groups in tRNA(Lys). Rnl1 is widely used as a reagent in molecular biology. Although many structures for DNA ligases are available, only fragments of RNA ligases such as Rnl2 are known. We report the first crystal structure of a complete RNA ligase, Rnl1, in complex with adenosine 5'-(alpha,beta-methylenetriphosphate) (AMPcPP). The N-terminal domain is related to the equivalent region of DNA ligases and Rnl2 and binds AMPcPP but with further interactions from the additional N-terminal 70 amino acids in Rnl1 (via Tyr37 and Arg54) and the C-terminal domain (Gly269 and Asp272). The active site contains two metal ions, consistent with the two-magnesium ion catalytic mechanism. The C-terminal domain represents a new all alpha-helical fold and has a charge distribution and architecture for helix-nucleic acid groove interaction compatible with tRNA binding.

Ren J, Kotaka M, Lockyer M, Lamb HK, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2005. GTP cyclohydrolase II structure and mechanism. J Biol Chem, 280 (44), pp. 36912-36919. | Show Abstract | Read more

GTP cyclohydrolase II converts GTP to 2,5-diamino-6-beta-ribosyl-4(3H)-pyrimidinone 5'-phosphate, formate and pyrophosphate, the first step in riboflavin biosynthesis. The essential role of riboflavin in metabolism and the absence of GTP cyclohydrolase II in higher eukaryotes makes it a potential novel selective antimicrobial drug target. GTP cyclohydrolase II catalyzes a distinctive overall reaction from GTP cyclohydrolase I; the latter converts GTP to dihydroneopterin triphosphate, utilized in folate and tetrahydrobiopterin biosynthesis. The structure of GTP cyclohydrolase II determined at 1.54-A resolution reveals both a different protein fold to GTP cyclohydrolase I and distinctive molecular recognition determinants for GTP; although in both enzymes there is a bound catalytic zinc. The GTP cyclohydrolase II.GMPCPP complex structure shows Arg(128) interacting with the alpha-phosphonate, and thus in the case of GTP, Arg(128) is positioned to act as the nucleophile for pyrophosphate release and formation of the proposed covalent guanylyl-GTP cyclohydrolase II intermediate. Tyr(105) is identified as playing a key role in GTP ring opening; it is hydrogen-bonded to the zinc-activated water molecule, the latter being positioned for nucleophilic attack on the guanine C-8 atom. Although GTP cyclohydrolase I and GTP cyclohydrolase II both use a zinc ion for the GTP ring opening and formate release, different residues are utilized in each case to catalyze this reaction step.

El Omari K, Bird LE, Nichols CE, Ren J, Stammers DK. 2005. Crystal structure of CC3 (TIP30): implications for its role as a tumor suppressor. J Biol Chem, 280 (18), pp. 18229-18236. | Show Abstract | Read more

CC3 (TIP30) is a protein with pro-apoptotic and anti-metastatic properties. The tumor suppressor effect of CC3 has been suggested to result from inhibition of nuclear transport by binding to importin betas or by regulating transcription through interaction in a complex with co-activator independent of AF-2 function (CIA) and the c-myc gene. Previous biochemical studies indicated that CC3 has protein kinase activity, and a structural similarity to cAMP-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit was proposed. By contrast, bioinformatics studies suggested a relationship of CC3 to the short chain dehydrogenase reductase family. To clarify details of the CC3 structural family and ligand binding properties, we have determined the crystal structure of CC3 at 1.7-A resolution. CC3 has a short chain dehydrogenase reductase fold and binding specificity for NADPH, yet it is unlikely to be normally enzymatically active because it is monomeric. These structural results, in conjunction with data from earlier mutagenesis work on the nucleotide binding motif, suggest that NADPH binding is important for the biological activity of CC3, including interaction with importins and with the CIA/c-myc system. CC3 provides an example of the adaptation of a metabolic enzyme fold to include a regulatory role, as also seen in the case of the NADH-binding co-repressor CtBP.

Nichols CE, Ren J, Lamb HK, Hawkins AR, Stammers DK. 2003. Ligand-induced conformational changes and a mechanism for domain closure in Aspergillus nidulans dehydroquinate synthase. J Mol Biol, 327 (1), pp. 129-144. | Show Abstract | Read more

In order to investigate systematically substrate and cofactor-induced conformational changes in the enzyme dehydroquinate synthase (DHQS), eight structures representing a series of differently liganded states have been determined in a total of six crystal forms. DHQS in the absence of the substrate analogue carbaphosphonate, either unliganded or in the presence of NAD or ADP, is in an open form where a relative rotation of 11-13 degrees between N and C-terminal domains occurs. Analysis of torsion angle difference plots between sets of structures reveals eight rearrangements that appear relevant to domain closure and a further six related to crystal packing. Overlapping 21 different copies of the individual N and C-terminal DHQS domains further reveals a series of pivot points about which these movements occur and illustrates the way in which widely separated secondary structure elements are mechanically inter-linked to form "composite elements", which propagate structural changes across large distances. This analysis has provided insight into the basis of DHQS ligand-initiated domain closure and gives rise to the proposal of an ordered sequence of events involving substrate binding, and local rearrangements within the active site that are propagated to the hinge regions, leading to closure of the active-site cleft.

Bird LE, Ren J, Zhang J, Foxwell N, Hawkins AR, Charles IG, Stammers DK. 2002. Crystal structure of SANOS, a bacterial nitric oxide synthase oxygenase protein from Staphylococcus aureus. Structure, 10 (12), pp. 1687-1696. | Show Abstract | Read more

Prokaryotic genes related to the oxygenase domain of mammalian nitric oxide synthases (NOSs) have recently been identified. Although they catalyze the same reaction as the eukaryotic NOS oxygenase domain, their biological function(s) are unknown. In order to explore rationally the biochemistry and evolution of the prokaryotic NOS family, we have determined the crystal structure of SANOS, from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), to 2.4 A. Haem and S-ethylisothiourea (SEITU) are bound at the SANOS active site, while the intersubunit site, occupied by the redox cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin (H(4)B) in mammalian NOSs, has NAD(+) bound in SANOS. In common with all bacterial NOSs, SANOS lacks the N-terminal extension responsible for stable dimerization in mammalian isoforms, but has alternative interactions to promote dimer formation.

Ren J, Bird LE, Chamberlain PP, Stewart-Jones GB, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 2002. Structure of HIV-2 reverse transcriptase at 2.35-A resolution and the mechanism of resistance to non-nucleoside inhibitors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 99 (22), pp. 14410-14415. | Show Abstract | Read more

The HIV-2 serotype of HIV is a cause of disease in parts of the West African population, and there is evidence for its spread to Europe and Asia. HIV-2 reverse transcriptase (RT) demonstrates an intrinsic resistance to non-nucleoside RT inhibitors (NNRTIs), one of two classes of anti-AIDS drugs that target the viral RT. We report the crystal structure of HIV-2 RT to 2.35 A resolution, which reveals molecular details of the resistance to NNRTIs. HIV-2 RT has a similar overall fold to HIV-1 RT but has structural differences within the "NNRTI pocket" at both conserved and nonconserved residues. The structure points to the role of sequence differences that can give rise to unfavorable inhibitor contacts or destabilization of part of the binding pocket at positions 101, 106, 138, 181, 188, and 190. We also present evidence that the conformation of Ile-181 compared with the HIV-1 Tyr-181 could be a significant contributory factor to this inherent drug resistance of HIV-2 to NNRTIs. The availability of a refined structure of HIV-2 RT will provide a stimulus for the structure-based design of novel non-nucleoside inhibitors that could be used against HIV-2 infection.

Stammers DK, Ren J, Leslie K, Nichols CE, Lamb HK, Cocklin S, Dodds A, Hawkins AR. 2001. The structure of the negative transcriptional regulator NmrA reveals a structural superfamily which includes the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductases. EMBO J, 20 (23), pp. 6619-6626. | Show Abstract | Read more

NmrA is a negative transcriptional regulator involved in the post-translational modulation of the GATA-type transcription factor AreA, forming part of a system controlling nitrogen metabolite repression in various fungi. X-ray structures of two NmrA crystal forms, both to 1.8 A resolution, show NmrA consists of two domains, including a Rossmann fold. NmrA shows an unexpected similarity to the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) family, with the closest relationship to UDP-galactose 4-epimerase. We show that NAD binds to NmrA, a previously unreported nucleotide binding property for this protein. NmrA is unlikely to be an active dehydrogenase, however, as the conserved catalytic tyrosine in SDRs is absent in NmrA, and thus the nucleotide binding to NmrA could have a regulatory function. Our results suggest that other transcription factors possess the SDR fold with functions including RNA binding. The SDR fold appears to have been adapted for other roles including non-enzymatic control functions such as transcriptional regulation and is likely to be more widespread than previously recognized.

Ren J, Nichols C, Bird L, Chamberlain P, Weaver K, Short S, Stuart DI, Stammers DK. 2001. Structural mechanisms of drug resistance for mutations at codons 181 and 188 in HIV-1 reverse transcriptase and the improved resilience of second generation non-nucleoside inhibitors. J Mol Biol, 312 (4), pp. 795-805. | Show Abstract | Read more

Mutations at either Tyr181 or Tyr188 within HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT) give high level resistance to many first generation non-nucleoside inhibitors (NNRTIs) such as the anti-AIDS drug nevirapine. By comparison second generation inhibitors, for instance the drug efavirenz, show much greater resilience to these mutations. In order to understand the structural basis for these differences we have determined a series of seven crystal structures of mutant RTs in complexes with first and second generation NNRTIs as well as one example of an unliganded mutant RT. These are Tyr181Cys RT (TNK-651) to 2.4 A, Tyr181Cys RT (efavirenz) to 2.6 A, Tyr181Cys RT (nevirapine) to 3.0 A, Tyr181Cys RT (PETT-2) to 3.0 A, Tyr188Cys RT (nevirapine) to 2.6 A, Tyr188Cys RT (UC-781) to 2.6 A and Tyr188Cys RT (unliganded) to 2.8 A resolution. In the two previously published structures of HIV-1 reverse transcriptase with mutations at 181 or 188 no side-chain electron density was observed within the p66 subunit (which contains the inhibitor binding pocket) for the mutated residues. In contrast the mutated side-chains can be seen in the NNRTI pocket for all seven structures reported here, eliminating the possibility that disordering contributes to the mechanism of resistance. In the case of the second generation compounds efavirenz with Tyr181Cys RT and UC-781 with Tyr188Cys RT there are only small rearrangements of either inhibitor within the binding site compared to wild-type RT and also for the first generation compounds TNK-651, PETT-2 and nevirapine with Tyr181Cys RT. For nevirapine with the Tyr188Cys RT there is however a more substantial movement of the drug molecule. We conclude that protein conformational changes and rearrangements of drug molecules within the mutated sites are not general features of these particular inhibitor/mutant combinations. The main contribution to drug resistance for Tyr181Cys and Tyr188Cys RT mutations is the loss of aromatic ring stacking interactions for first generation compounds, providing a simple explanation for the resilience of second generation NNRTIs, as such interactions make much less significant contribution to their binding.

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