DnaB helicases are motor proteins that couple ATP-hydrolysis to the loading of the protein onto DNA at the replication fork and to translocation along DNA to separate double-stranded DNA into single strands during replication. Using a network of conformational states, arrested by nucleotide mimics, we herein characterize the reaction coordinates for ATP hydrolysis, DNA loading and DNA translocation using solid-state NMR spectroscopy. AMP-PCP is used as pre-hydrolytic, ADP:AlF4− as transition state, and ADP as post-hydrolytic ATP mimic. 31P and 13C NMR spectra reveal conformational and dynamic responses to ATP hydrolysis and the resulting DNA loading and translocation with single amino-acid resolution. This allows us to identify residues guiding the DNA translocation process and to explain the high binding affinities for DNA observed for ADP:AlF4−, which turns out to be optimally preconfigured to bind DNA.
Paramagnetic metal ions deliver structural information both in EPR and solid-state NMR experiments, offering a profitable synergetic approach to study bio-macromolecules. We demonstrate the spectral consequences of Mg / Mn substitution and the resulting information contents for two different ATP:Mg -fueled protein engines, a DnaB helicase from Helicobacter pylori active in the bacterial replisome, and the ABC transporter BmrA, a bacterial efflux pump. We show that, while EPR spectra report on metal binding and provide information on the geometry of the metal centers in the proteins, paramagnetic relaxation enhancements identified in the NMR spectra can be used to localize residues at the binding site. Protein engines are ubiquitous and the methods described herein should be applicable in a broad context.
ATP-binding-cassette (ABC) transporters are molecular pumps that translocate molecules across the cell membrane by switching between inward-facing and outward-facing states. To obtain a detailed understanding of their mechanism remains a challenge to structural biology, as these proteins are notoriously difficult to study at the molecular level in their active, membrane-inserted form. Here we use solid-state NMR to investigate the multidrug ABC transporter BmrA reconstituted in lipids. We identify the chemical-shift differences between the inward-facing, and outward-facing state induced by ATP:Mg
:Vi addition. Analysis of an X-loop mutant, for which we show that ATPase and transport activities are uncoupled, reveals an incomplete transition to the outward-facing state upon ATP:Mg
:Vi addition, notably lacking the decrease in dynamics of a defined set of residues observed in wild-type BmrA. This suggests that this stiffening is required for an efficient transmission of the conformational changes to allow proper transport of substrate by the pump.
Today, the sedimentation of proteins into a magic-angle spinning (MAS) rotor gives access to fast and reliable sample preparation for solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), and this has allowed for the investigation of a variety of noncrystalline protein samples. High protein concentrations on the order of 400 mg/mL can be achieved, meaning that around 50-60% of the NMR rotor content is protein; the rest is a buffer solution, which includes counter ions to compensate for the charge of the protein. We have demonstrated herein the long-term stability of four sedimented proteins and complexes thereof with nucleotides, comprising a bacterial DnaB helicase, an ABC transporter, an archaeal primase, and an RNA polymerase subunit. Solid-state NMR spectra recorded directly after sample filling and up to 5 years later indicated no spectral differences and no loss in signal intensity, allowing us to conclude that protein sediments in the rotor can be stable over many years. We have illustrated, using an example of an ABC transporter, that not only the structure is maintained, but that the protein is still functional after long-term storage in the sedimented state.
We describe the expression of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) nonstructural protein 4B (NS4B), which is an integral membrane protein, in a wheat germ cell-free system, the subsequent purification and characterization of NS4B and its insertion into proteoliposomes in amounts sufficient for multidimensional solid-state NMR spectroscopy. First spectra of the isotopically 3
Nucleoside triphosphates (NTPs) are used as chemical energy source in a variety of cell systems. Structural snapshots along the NTP hydrolysis reaction coordinate are typically obtained by adding stable, nonhydrolyzable adenosine triphosphate (ATP) -analogues to the proteins, with the goal to arrest a state that mimics as closely as possible a physiologically relevant state, e.g., the pre-hydrolytic, transition and post-hydrolytic states. We here present the lessons learned on two distinct ATPases on the best use and unexpected pitfalls observed for different analogues. The proteins investigated are the bacterial DnaB helicase from Helicobacter pylori and the multidrug ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter BmrA from Bacillus subtilis, both belonging to the same division of P-loop fold NTPases. We review the magnetic-resonance strategies which can be of use to probe the binding of the ATP-mimics, and present carbon-13, phosphorus-31, and vanadium-51 solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of the proteins or the bound molecules to unravel conformational and dynamic changes upon binding of the ATP-mimics. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), and in particular W-band electron-electron double resonance (ELDOR)-detected NMR, is of complementary use to assess binding of vanadate. We discuss which analogues best mimic the different hydrolysis states for the DnaB helicase and the ABC transporter BmrA. These might be relevant also to structural and functional studies of other NTPases.
Selective isotope labeling is central in NMR experiments and often allows to push the limits on the systems investigated. It has the advantage to supply additional resolution by diminishing the number of signals in the spectra. This is particularly interesting when dealing with the large protein systems which are currently becoming accessible to solid-state NMR studies. Isotope labeled proteins for NMR experiments are most often expressed in E. coli systems, where bacteria are grown in minimal media supplemented with NHCl and C-glucose as sole source of nitrogen and carbon. For amino acids selective labeling or unlabeling, specific amino acids are supplemented in the minimal medium. The aim is that they will be incorporated in the protein by the bacteria. However, E. coli amino-acid anabolism and catabolism tend to interconnect different pathways, remnant of a subway system. These connections lead to inter conversion between amino acids, called scrambling. A thorough understanding of the involved pathways is thus important to obtain the desired labeling schemes, as not all combinations of amino acids are adapted. We present here a detailed overview of amino-acid metabolism in this context. Each amino-acid pathway is described in order to define accessible combinations forC or N specific labeling or unlabeling. Using as example the ABC transporter BmrA, a membrane protein of 600 residues, we demonstrate how these strategies can be applied. Indeed, even though there is no size limit in solid-state NMR, large (membrane) proteins are still a challenge due to heavy signal overlap. To initiate resonance assignment in these large systems, we describe how selectively labeled samples can be obtained with the addition of labeled or unlabeled amino acids in the medium. The reduced spectral overlap enabled us to identify typical spectral fingerprints and to initiate sequential assignment using the more sensitive 2D DARR experiments with long mixing time showing inter-residue correlations.
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