Conservation of polyproline II helices in homologous proteins: implications for structure prediction by model building.
ABSTRACT: Left-handed polyproline II (PPII) helices commonly occur in globular proteins in segments of 4-8 residues. This paper analyzes the structural conservation of PPII-helices in 3 protein families: serine proteinases, aspartic proteinases, and immunoglobulin constant domains. Calculations of the number of conserved segments based on structural alignment of homologous molecules yielded similar results for the PPII-helices, the alpha-helices, and the beta-strands. The PPII-helices are consistently conserved at the level of 100-80% in the proteins with sequence identity above 20% and RMS deviation of structure alignments below 3.0 A. The most structurally important PPII segments are conserved below this level of sequence identity. These results suggest that the PPII-helices, in addition to the other 2 secondary structure classes, should be identified as part of structurally conserved regions in proteins. This is supported by similar values for the local RMS deviations of the aligned segments for the structural classes of PPII-helices, alpha-helices, and beta-strands. The PPII-helices are shown to participate in supersecondary elements such as PPII-helix/alpha-helix. The conservation of PPII-helices depends on the conservation of a supersecondary element as a whole. PPII-helices also form links, possibly flexible, in the interdomain regions. The role of the PPII-helices in model building by homology is 2-fold; they serve as additional conserved elements in the structure allowing improvement of the accuracy of a model and provide correct chain geometry for modeling of the segments equivalenced to them in a target sequence. The improvement in model building is demonstrated in 2 test studies.
Project description:To elucidate the structure of denatured proteins, we measured the vacuum-ultraviolet circular dichroism (VUVCD) spectra from 260 to 172 nm of three proteins (metmyoglobin, staphylococcal nuclease, and thioredoxin) in the native and the acid-, cold-, and heat-denatured states, using a synchrotron-radiation VUVCD spectrophotometer. The circular dichroism spectra of proteins fully unfolded by guanidine hydrochloride (GdnHCl) were also measured down to 197 nm for comparison. These denatured proteins exhibited characteristic VUVCD spectra that reflected a considerable amount of residual secondary structures. The contents of alpha-helices, beta-strands, turns, poly-L-proline type II (PPII), and unordered structures were estimated for each denatured state of the three proteins using the SELCON3 program with Protein Data Bank data and the VUVCD spectra of 31 reference proteins reported in our previous study. Based on these contents, the characteristics of the four types of denaturation were discussed for each protein. In all types of denaturation, a decrease in alpha-helices was accompanied by increases in beta-strands, PPII, and unordered structures. About 20% beta-strands were present even in the proteins fully unfolded by GdnHCl in which beta-sheets should be broken. From these results, we propose that denatured proteins constitute an ensemble of residual alpha-helices and beta-sheets, partly unfolded (or distorted) alpha-helices and beta-strands, PPII, and unordered structures.
Project description:To help elucidate the role of secondary structure packing preferences in protein folding, here we present an analysis of the packing geometry observed between alpha-helices and between alpha-helices and beta-sheets in 1316 diverse, nonredundant protein structures. Finite-length vectors were fit to the alpha-carbon atoms in each of the helices and strands, and the packing angle between the vectors, Omega, was determined at the closest point of approach within each helix-helix or helix-sheet pair. Helix-sheet interactions were found in 391 of the proteins, and the distributions of Omega values were calculated for all the helix-sheet and helix-helix interactions. The packing angle preferences for helix-helix interactions are similar to those previously observed. However, analysis of helix-strand packing preferences uncovered a remarkable tendency for helices to align antiparallel to parallel regions of beta-sheets, independent of the topological constraints or prevalence of beta-alpha-beta motifs in the proteins. This packing angle preference is significantly diminished in helix interactions involving mixed and antiparallel beta-sheets, suggesting a role for helix-sheet dipole alignment in guiding supersecondary structure formation in protein folding. This knowledge of preferred packing angles can be used to guide the engineering of stable protein modules.
Project description:The TOPS database holds topological descriptions of protein structures. These compact and highly abstract descriptions reduce the protein fold to a sequence of Secondary Structure Elements (SSEs) and three sets of pairwise relationships between them, hydrogen bonds relating parallel and anti- parallel beta strands, spatial adjacencies relating neighbouring SSEs, and the chiralities of selected supersecondary structures, including connections in betaalphabeta units and between parallel alpha helices. The database is used as a resource for visualizing folding topologies, fast topological pattern searching and structure comparison. Here, significant enhancements to the TOPS database are described. The topological description has been enhanced to include packing relationships between helices, which significantly improves the description of protein folds with little beta strand content. Further, the topological description has been annotated with sequence information. The query interfaces to the database have been improved and the new version can be found at http://www.tops.leeds.ac.uk/.
Project description:Many (alpha/beta)8-barrel enzymes contain their conserved sequence regions at or around the beta-strand segments that are often preceded and succeeded by glycines and prolines, respectively. alpha-Amylase is one of these enzymes. Its sequences exhibit a very low degree of similarity, but strong conservation is seen around its beta-strands. These conserved regions were used in the search for similarities with beta-strands of other (alpha/beta)8-barrel enzymes. The analysis revealed an interesting similarity between the segment around the beta 2-strand of alpha-amylase and the one around the beta 4-strand of glycolate oxidase that are flanked in loops by glycines and prolines. The similarity can be further extended on other members of the alpha-amylase and glycolate oxidase subfamilies, i.e., cyclodextrin glycosyltransferase and oligo-1,6-glucosidase, and flavocytochrome b2, respectively. Moreover, the alpha-subunit of tryptophan synthase, the (alpha/beta)8-barrel enzyme belonging to the other subfamily of (alpha/beta)8-barrels, has both investigated strands, beta 2 and beta 4, similar to beta 2 of alpha-amylase and beta 4 of glycolate oxidase. The possibilities of whether this similarity exists only by chance or is a consequence of some processes during the evolution of (alpha/beta)8-barrel proteins are briefly discussed.
Project description:An algorithm for the automated macromolecular model building of polypeptide backbones is described. The procedure is hierarchical. In the initial stages, many overlapping polypeptide fragments are built. In subsequent stages, the fragments are extended and then connected. Identification of the locations of helical and beta-strand regions is carried out by FFT-based template matching. Fragment libraries of helices and beta-strands from refined protein structures are then positioned at the potential locations of helices and strands and the longest segments that fit the electron-density map are chosen. The helices and strands are then extended using fragment libraries consisting of sequences three amino acids long derived from refined protein structures. The resulting segments of polypeptide chain are then connected by choosing those which overlap at two or more C(alpha) positions. The fully automated procedure has been implemented in RESOLVE and is capable of model building at resolutions as low as 3.5 A. The algorithm is useful for building a preliminary main-chain model that can serve as a basis for refinement and side-chain addition.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Secondary structures are elements of great importance in structural biology, biochemistry and bioinformatics. They are broadly composed of two repetitive structures namely ?-helices and ?-sheets, apart from turns, and the rest is associated to coil. These repetitive secondary structures have specific and conserved biophysical and geometric properties. PolyProline II (PPII) helix is yet another interesting repetitive structure which is less frequent and not usually associated with stabilizing interactions. Recent studies have shown that PPII frequency is higher than expected, and they could have an important role in protein-protein interactions. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A major factor that limits the study of PPII is that its assignment cannot be carried out with the most commonly used secondary structure assignment methods (SSAMs). The purpose of this work is to propose a PPII assignment methodology that can be defined in the frame of DSSP secondary structure assignment. Considering the ambiguity in PPII assignments by different methods, a consensus assignment strategy was utilized. To define the most consensual rule of PPII assignment, three SSAMs that can assign PPII, were compared and analyzed. The assignment rule was defined to have a maximum coverage of all assignments made by these SSAMs. Not many constraints were added to the assignment and only PPII helices of at least 2 residues length are defined. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The simple rules designed in this study for characterizing PPII conformation, lead to the assignment of 5% of all amino as PPII. Sequence-structure relationships associated with PPII, defined by the different SSAMs, underline few striking differences. A specific study of amino acid preferences in their N and C-cap regions was carried out as their solvent accessibility and contact patterns. Thus the assignment of PPII can be coupled with DSSP and thus opens a simple way for further analysis in this field.
Project description:Linkers that connect repeating secondary structures fall into conformational classes based on distance and main-chain torsion clustering. A data set of 300 unique protein chains with low pairwise sequence identity was clustered into only a few groups representing the preferred motifs. The linkers of two to eight residues for the nonredundant data set are designated H-Ln-H, H-Ln-E, E-Ln-H, E-Ln-E, where n is the length, H stands for alpha-helices, and E for beta-strands. Most of the clusters identified here corroborate earlier findings. However, 19 new clusters are identified in this paper, with many of them having seven and eight residue linkers. In our first analysis, the secondary structures flanking the linkers are both interacting and noninteracting and there is no precise angle of orientation between them. A second analysis was performed on a set of proteins with restricted orientations for the flanking elements, namely, mainly alpha class of proteins with orthogonal architecture. Two definite clusters are identified, one corresponding to linkers of orthogonal helices and the other to linkers of antiparallel helices. Loops forming binding sites or involved in catalytic activity are important determinants of the function of proteins. Although the structural conservation of the residues around the catalytic triad of serine proteases has been studied widely, there has not been a systematic analysis of the conformation of the loops that contain them. Residues of the catalytic triad reside in the linkers of beta-strands, with varying lengths of more than eight residues. Here, we analyze the structural conservation of such linkers by superposition, and observe a conserved structural feature of the linkers incorporating each of the three residues of the catalytic triad.
Project description:Tooth enamel, the hardest material in the human body, is formed within a self-assembled matrix consisting mostly of amelogenin proteins. Here we have determined the complete mouse amelogenin structure under physiological conditions and defined interactions between individual domains. NMR spectroscopy revealed four major amelogenin structural motifs, including an N-terminal assembly of four ?-helical segments (S9-V19, T21-P33, Y39-W45, V53-Q56), an elongated random coil region interrupted by two 3(10) helices (?P60-Q117), an extended proline-rich PPII-helical region (P118-L165), and a charged hydrophilic C-terminus (L165-D180). HSQC experiments demonstrated ipsilateral interactions between terminal domains of individual amelogenin molecules, i.e. N-terminal interactions with corresponding N-termini and C-terminal interactions with corresponding C-termini, while the central random coil domain did not engage in interactions. Our HSQC spectra of the full-length amelogenin central domain region completely overlapped with spectra of the monomeric Amel-M fragment, suggesting that the central amelogenin coil region did not involve in assembly, even in assembled nanospheres. This finding was confirmed by analytical ultracentrifugation experiments. We conclude that under conditions resembling those found in the developing enamel protein matrix, amelogenin molecules form complex 3D-structures with N-terminal ?-helix-like segments and C-terminal PPII-helices, which self-assemble through ipsilateral interactions at the N-terminus of the molecule.
Project description:PolyQ peptides teeter between polyproline II (PPII) and beta-sheet conformations. In tandem polyQ-polyP peptides, the polyP segment tips the balance toward PPII, increasing the threshold number of Gln residues needed for fibrillation. To investigate the mechanism of cis-inhibition by flanking polyP segments on polyQ fibrillation, we examined short polyQ, polyP, and tandem polyQ-polyP peptides. These polyQ peptides have only three glutamines and cannot form beta-sheet fibrils. We demonstrate that polyQ-polyP peptides form small, soluble oligomers at high concentrations (as shown by size exclusion chromatography and diffusion coefficient measurements) with PPII structure (as shown by circular dichroism spectroscopy and (3)J(HN-C alpha) constants of Gln residues from constant time correlation spectroscopy NMR). Nuclear Overhauser effect spectroscopy and molecular modeling suggest that self-association of these peptides occurs as a result of both hydrophobic and steric effects. Pro side chains present three methylenes to solvent, favoring self-association of polyP through the hydrophobic effect. Gln side chains, with two methylene groups, can adopt a conformation similar to that of Pro side chains, also permitting self-association through the hydrophobic effect. Furthermore, steric clashes between Gln and Pro side chains to the C-terminal side of the polyQ segment favor adoption of the PPII-like structure in the polyQ segment. The conformational adaptability of the polyQ segment permits the cis-inhibitory effect of polyP segments on fibrillation by the polyQ segments in proteins such as huntingtin.
Project description:Nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) is a membrane-associated essential component of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication complex. An N-terminal amphipathic alpha helix mediates in-plane membrane association of HCV NS5A and at the same time is likely involved in specific protein-protein interactions required for the assembly of a functional replication complex. The aim of this study was to identify the determinants for membrane association of NS5A from the related GB viruses and pestiviruses. Although primary amino acid sequences differed considerably, putative membrane anchor domains with amphipathic features were predicted in the N-terminal domains of NS5A proteins from these viruses. Confocal laser scanning microscopy, as well as membrane flotation analyses, demonstrated that NS5As from GB virus B (GBV-B), GBV-C, and bovine viral diarrhea virus, the prototype pestivirus, display membrane association characteristics very similar to those of HCV NS5A. The N-terminal 27 to 33 amino acid residues of these NS5A proteins were sufficient for membrane association. Circular dichroism analyses confirmed the capacity of these segments to fold into alpha helices upon association with lipid-like molecules. Despite structural conservation, only very limited exchanges with sequences from related viruses were tolerated in the context of functional HCV RNA replication, suggesting virus-specific interactions of these segments. In conclusion, membrane association of NS5A by an N-terminal amphipathic alpha helix is a feature shared by HCV and related members of the family Flaviviridae. This observation points to conserved roles of the N-terminal amphipathic alpha helices of NS5A in replication complex formation.