A missing link in cupredoxins: crystal structure of cucumber stellacyanin at 1.6 A resolution.
ABSTRACT: Stellacyanins are blue (type I) copper glycoproteins that differ from other members of the cupredoxin family in their spectroscopic and electron transfer properties. Until now, stellacyanins have eluded structure determination. Here we report the three-dimensional crystal structure of the 109 amino acid, non-glycosylated copper binding domain of recombinant cucumber stellacyanin refined to 1.6 A resolution. The crystallographic R-value for all 18,488 reflections (sigma > 0) between 50-1.6 A is 0.195. The overall fold is organized in two beta-sheets, both with four beta-stands. Two alpha-helices are found in loop regions between beta-strands. The beta-sheets form a beta-sandwich similar to those found in other cupredoxins, but some features differ from proteins such as plastocyanin and azurin in that the beta-barrel is more flattened, there is an extra N-terminal alpha-helix, and the copper binding site is much more solvent accessible. The presence of a disulfide bond at the copper binding end of the protein confirms that cucumber stellacyanin has a phytocyanin-like fold. The ligands to copper are two histidines, one cysteine, and one glutamine, the latter replacing the methionine typically found in mononuclear blue copper proteins. The Cu-Gln bond is one of the shortest axial ligand bond distances observed to date in structurally characterized type I copper proteins. The characteristic spectroscopic properties and electron transfer reactivity of stellacyanin, which differ significantly from those of other well-characterized cupredoxins, can be explained by its more exposed copper site, its distinctive amino acid ligand composition, and its nearly tetrahedral ligand geometry. Surface features on the cucumber stellacyanin molecule that could be involved in interactions with putative redox partners are discussed.
Project description:Cupredoxins are small proteins that contain type I copper centers, which are ubiquitous in nature. They function as electron transfer shuttles between proteins. This review of the structure and properties of native cupredoxins, and those modified by site-directed mutagenesis, illustrates how these proteins may have evolved to specifically bind copper, develop recognition sites for specific redox partners, tune redox potential for a particular function, and allow for efficient electron transfer through the protein matrix. This is relevant to the general understanding of the roles of metals in energy metabolism, respiration and photosynthesis.
Project description:Cupredoxins are electron-transfer proteins that have active sites containing a mononuclear Cu center with an unusual trigonal monopyramidal structure (Type 1 Cu). A single Cu-Scys bond is present within the trigonal plane that is responsible for its unique physical properties. We demonstrate that a cysteine-containing variant of streptavidin (Sav) can serve as a protein host to model the structure and properties of Type 1 Cu sites. A series of artificial Cu proteins are described that rely on Sav and a series of biotinylated synthetic Cu complexes. Optical and EPR measurements highlight the presence of a Cu-Scys bond, and XRD analysis provides structural evidence. We further provide evidence that changes in the linker between the biotin and Cu complex within the synthetic constructs allows for small changes in the placement of Cu centers within Sav that have dramatic effects on the structural and physical properties of the resulting artificial metalloproteins. These findings highlight the utility of the biotin-Sav technology as an approach for simulating active sites of metalloproteins.
Project description:Interactions of the axial ligand with its blue copper center are known to be important in tuning spectroscopic and redox properties of cupredoxins. While conversion of the blue copper center with a weak axial ligand to a green copper center containing a medium strength axial ligand has been demonstrated in cupredoxins, converting the blue copper center to a red copper center with a strong axial ligand has not been reported. Here we show that replacing Met121 in azurin from Pseudomonas aeruginosa with Cys caused an increased ratio (R(L)) of absorption at 447 nm over that at 621 nm. Whereas no axial Cu-S(Cys121) interaction in Met121Cys was detectable by extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) spectroscopy at pH 5, similar to what was observed in native azurin with Met121 as the axial ligand, the Cu-S(Cys121) interaction at 2.74 A is clearly visible at higher pH. Despite the higher R(L) and stronger axial Cys121 interaction with Cu(II) ion, the Met121Cys variant remains largely a type 1 copper protein at low pH (with hyperfine coupling constant A( parallel) = 54 x 10(-4) cm(-1) at pH 4 and 5), or distorted type 1 or green copper protein at high pH (A(parallel) = 87 x 10(-4) cm(-1) at pH 8 and 9), attributable to the relatively long distance between the axial ligand and copper and the constraint placed by the protein scaffold. To shorten the distance between axial ligand and copper, we replaced Met121 with a nonproteinogenic amino acid homocysteine that contains an extra methylene group, resulting in a variant whose spectra (R(L)= 1.5, and A(parallel) = 180 x 10(-4) cm(-1)) and Cu-S(Cys) distance (2.22 A) are very similar to those of the red copper protein nitrosocyanin. Replacing Met121 with Cys or homocysteine resulted in lowering of the reduction potential from 222 mV in the native azurin to 95 +/- 3 mV for Met121Cys azurin and 113 +/- 6 mV for Met121Hcy azurin at pH 7. The results strongly support the "coupled distortion" model that helps explain axial ligand tuning of spectroscopic properties in cupredoxins, and demonstrate the power of using unnatural amino acids to address critical chemical biological questions.
Project description:Cupredoxins are widespread copper-binding proteins, mainly involved in electron transfer pathways. They display a typical rigid greek key motif consisting of an eight stranded β-sandwich. A fascinating feature of cupredoxins is the natural diversity of their copper center geometry. These geometry variations give rise to drastic changes in their color, such as blue, green, red or purple. Based on several spectroscopic and structural analyses, a connection between the geometry of their copper-binding site and their color has been proposed. However, little is known about the relationship between such diversity of copper center geometry in cupredoxins and possible implications for function. This has been difficult to assess, as only a few naturally occurring green and red copper sites have been described so far. We report herein the spectrocopic characterization of a novel kind of single domain cupredoxin of green color, involved in a respiratory pathway of the acidophilic organism Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans. Biochemical and spectroscopic characterization coupled to bioinformatics analysis reveal the existence of some unusual features for this novel member of the green cupredoxin sub-family. This protein has the highest redox potential reported to date for a green-type cupredoxin. It has a constrained green copper site insensitive to pH or temperature variations. It is a green-type cupredoxin found for the first time in a respiratory pathway. These unique properties might be explained by a region of unknown function never found in other cupredoxins, and by an unusual length of the loop between the second and the fourth copper ligands. These discoveries will impact our knowledge on non-engineered green copper sites, whose involvement in respiratory chains seems more widespread than initially thought.
Project description:A method for reconstituting the blue copper protein stellacyanin with the stable copper isotopes 63Cu and 65Cu is reported. Small differences in the e.p.r. spectra of the two isotopic forms of stellacyanin have been used to monitor the electron self-exchange reaction of stellacyanin by rapid-freeze e.p.r. methods. The self-exchange rate constant (k11) for stellacyanin has been determined as 1.2 X 10(5) M-1 X S-1 at 20 degrees C. This value is in close agreement with values obtained from less-direct methods.
Project description:The cDNAs encoding plantacyanin from spinach were isolated and characterized. In addition, four new cDNA sequences from Arabidopsis ESTs were identified that encode polypeptides resembling phytocyanins, plant-specific proteins constituting a distinct family of mononuclear blue copper proteins. One of them encodes plantacyanin from Arabidopsis, while three others, designated as uclacyanin 1, 2, and 3, encode protein precursors that are closely related to precursors of stellacyanins and a blue copper protein from pea pods. Comparative analyses with known phytocyanins allow further classification of these proteins into three distinct subfamilies designated as uclacyanins, stellacyanins, and plantacyanins. This specification is based on (1) their spectroscopic properties, (2) their glycosylation state, (3) the domain organization of their precursors, and (4) their copper-binding amino acids. The recombinant copper binding domain of Arabidopsis uclacyanin 1 was expressed, purified, and shown to bind a copper atom in a fashion known as "blue" or type 1. The mutant of cucumber stellacyanin in which the glutamine axial ligand was substituted by a methionine (Q99M) was purified and shown to possess spectroscopic properties similar to uclacyanin 1 rather than to plantacyanins. Its redox potential was determined by cyclic voltammetry to be +420 mV, a value that is significantly higher than that determined for the wild-type protein (+260 mV). The available structural data suggest that stellacyanins (and possibly other phytocyanins) might not be diffusible electron-transfer proteins participating in long-range electron-transfer processes. Conceivably, they are involved in redox reactions occurring during primary defense responses in plants and/or in lignin formation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Proteins having similar functions from different sources can be identified by the occurrence in their sequences, a conserved cluster of amino acids referred to as pattern, motif, signature or fingerprint. The wide usage of protein sequence analysis in par with the growth of databases signifies the importance of using patterns or signatures to retrieve out related sequences. Blue copper proteins are found in the electron transport chain of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The signatures already existing in the databases like the type 1 copper blue, multiple copper oxidase, cyt b/b6, photosystem 1 psaA&B, psaG&K, and reiske iron sulphur protein are not specified signatures for blue copper proteins as the name itself suggests. Most profile and motif databases strive to classify protein sequences into a broad spectrum of protein families. This work describes the signatures designed based on the copper metal binding motifs in blue copper proteins. The common feature in all blue copper proteins is a trigonal planar arrangement of two nitrogen ligands [each from histidine] and one sulphur containing thiolate ligand [from cysteine], with strong interactions between the copper center and these ligands. RESULTS: Sequences that share such conserved motifs are crucial to the structure or function of the protein and this could provide a signature of family membership. The blue copper proteins chosen for the study were plantacyanin, plastocyanin, cucumber basic protein, stellacyanin, dicyanin, umecyanin, uclacyanin, cusacyanin, rusticyanin, sulfocyanin, halocyanin, azurin, pseudoazurin, amicyanin and nitrite reductase which were identified in both eukaryotes and prokaryotes. ClustalW analysis of the protein sequences of each of the blue copper proteins was the basis for designing protein signatures or peptides. The protein signatures and peptides identified in this study were designed involving the active site region involving the amino acids bound to the copper atom. It was highly specific for each kind of blue copper protein and the false picks were minimized. The set of signatures designed specifically for the BCP's was entirely different from the existing broad spectrum signatures as mentioned in the background section. CONCLUSIONS: These signatures can be very useful for the annotation of uncharacterized proteins and highly specific to retrieve blue copper protein sequences of interest from the non redundant databases containing a large deposition of protein sequences.
Project description:The discovery of effective new antimalarial agents is urgently needed. One of the most frequently studied molecules anchored to the parasite surface is the merozoite surface protein-1 (MSP1). At red blood cell invasion MSP1 is proteolytically processed, and the 19-kDa C-terminal fragment (MSP119) remains on the surface and is taken into the red blood cell, where it is transferred to the food vacuole and persists until the end of the intracellular cycle. Because a number of specific antibodies inhibit erythrocyte invasion and parasite growth, MSP119 is therefore a promising target against malaria. Given the structural homology of cupredoxins with the Fab domain of monoclonal antibodies, an approach combining NMR and isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) measurements with docking calculations based on BiGGER is employed on MSP119-cupredoxin complexes. Among the cupredoxins tested, rusticyanin forms a well defined complex with MSP119 at a site that overlaps with the surface recognized by the inhibitory antibodies. The addition of holo-rusticyanin to infected cells results in parasitemia inhibition, but negligible effects on parasite growth can be observed for apo-rusticyanin and other proteins of the cupredoxin family. These findings point to rusticyanin as an excellent therapeutic tool for malaria treatment and provide valuable information for drug design.
Project description:Sco is a mononuclear red copper protein involved in the assembly of cytochrome c oxidase. It is spectroscopically similar to red copper nitrosocyanin, but unlike the latter, which has one copper cysteine thiolate, the former has two. In addition to the two cysteine ligands (C45 and C49), the wild-type (WT) protein from Bacillus subtilis (hereafter named BSco) has a histidine (H135) and an unknown endogenous protein oxygen ligand in a distorted tetragonal array. We have compared the properties of the WT protein to variants in which each of the two coordinating Cys residues has been individually mutated to Ala, using UV/visible, Cu and S K-edge X-ray absorption, electron paramagnetic resonance, and resonance Raman spectroscopies. Unlike the Cu(II) form of native Sco, the Cu(II) complexes of the Cys variants are unstable. The copper center of C49A undergoes autoreduction to the Cu(I) form, which is shown by extended X-ray absorption fine structure to be composed of a novel two-coordinate center with one Cys and one His ligand. C45A rearranges to a new stable Cu(II) species coordinated by C49, H135 and a second His ligand recruited from a previously uncoordinated protein side chain. The different chemistry exhibited by the Cys variants can be rationalized by whether a stable Cu(I) species can be formed by autoredox chemistry. For C49A, the remaining Cys and His residues are trans, which facilitates the formation of the highly stable two-coordinate Cu(I) species, while for C45A such a configuration cannot be attained. Resonance Raman spectroscopy of the WT protein indicates a net weak Cu-S bond strength at approximately 2.24 A corresponding to the two thiolate-copper bonds, whereas the single variant C45A shows a moderately strong Cu-S bond at approximately 2.16 A. S K-edge data give a total covalency of 28% for both Cu-S bonds in the WT protein. These data suggest an average covalency per Cu-S bond lower than that observed for nitrosocyanin and close to that expected for type-2 Cu(II)-thiolate systems. The data are discussed relative to the unique Cu-S characteristics of cupredoxins, from which it is concluded that Sco does not contain highly covalent Cu-S bonds of the type expected for long-range electron-transfer reactivity.
Project description:AIMS:The prototypical protein disulfide bond (Dsb) formation and protein refolding pathways in the bacterial periplasm involving Dsb proteins have been most comprehensively defined in Escherichia coli. However, genomic analysis has revealed several distinct Dsb-like systems in bacteria, including the pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. This includes the scsABCD locus, which encodes a system that has been shown via genetic analysis to confer copper tolerance, but whose biochemical properties at the protein level are not defined. The aim of this study was to provide functional insights into the soluble ScsC protein through structural, biochemical, and genetic analyses. RESULTS:Here we describe the structural and biochemical characterization of ScsC, the soluble DsbA-like component of this system. Our crystal structure of ScsC reveals a similar overall fold to DsbA, although the topology of β-sheets and α-helices in the thioredoxin domains differ. The midpoint reduction potential of the CXXC active site in ScsC was determined to be -132 mV versus normal hydrogen electrode. The reactive site cysteine has a low pKa, typical of the nucleophilic cysteines found in DsbA-like proteins. Deletion of scsC from S. Typhimurium elicits sensitivity to copper (II) ions, suggesting a potential involvement for ScsC in disulfide folding under conditions of copper stress. INNOVATION AND CONCLUSION:ScsC is a novel disulfide oxidoreductase involved in protection against copper ion toxicity.