Publications by authors named "Bernard Gallois"

15 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Structural evidence of a phosphoinositide-binding site in the Rgd1-RhoGAP domain.

Biochem J 2017 09 20;474(19):3307-3319. Epub 2017 Sep 20.

Université de Bordeaux, Chimie et Biologie des Membranes et des Nano-objets, CNRS UMR 5248, Allée Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, 33600 Pessac Cedex, France

Phosphoinositide lipids recruit proteins to the plasma membrane involved in the regulation of cytoskeleton organization and in signalling pathways that control cell polarity and growth. Among those, Rgd1p is a yeast GTPase-activating protein (GAP) specific for Rho3p and Rho4p GTPases, which control actin polymerization and stress signalling pathways. Phosphoinositides not only bind Rgd1p, but also stimulate its GAP activity on the membrane-anchored form of Rho4p. Both F-BAR (F-BAR FCH, and BAR) and RhoGAP domains of Rgd1p are involved in lipid interactions. In the Rgd1p-F-BAR domain, a phosphoinositide-binding site has been recently characterized. We report here the X-ray structure of the Rgd1p-RhoGAP domain, identify by NMR spectroscopy and confirm by docking simulations, a new but cryptic phosphoinositide-binding site, comprising contiguous A1, A1' and B helices. The addition of helix A1', unusual among RhoGAP domains, seems to be crucial for lipid interactions. Such a site was totally unexpected inside a RhoGAP domain, as it was not predicted from either the protein sequence or its three-dimensional structure. Phosphoinositide-binding sites in RhoGAP domains have been reported to correspond to polybasic regions, which are located at the unstructured flexible termini of proteins. Solid-state NMR spectroscopy experiments confirm the membrane interaction of the Rgd1p-RhoGAP domain upon the addition of PtdIns(4,5)P and indicate a slight membrane destabilization in the presence of the two partners.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BCJ20170331DOI Listing
September 2017

Structure of a complex formed by a protein and a helical aromatic oligoamide foldamer at 2.1 Å resolution.

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 2014 Jan 29;53(3):883-7. Epub 2013 Nov 29.

Université de Bordeaux, CBMN, UMR 5248, Institut Européen de Chimie Biologie, 2 rue Robert Escarpit 33607 Pessac (France); CNRS, CBMN, UMR5248 (France); Institut Polytechnique de Bordeaux, UMR5248 (France).

In the search of molecules that could recognize sizeable areas of protein surfaces, a series of ten helical aromatic oligoamide foldamers was synthesized on solid phase. The foldamers comprise three to five monomers carrying various proteinogenic side chains, and exist as racemic mixtures of interconverting right-handed and left-handed helices. Functionalization of the foldamers by a nanomolar ligand of human carbonic anhydrase II (HCA) ensured that they would be held in close proximity to the protein surface. Foldamer-protein interactions were screened by circular dichroism (CD). One foldamer displayed intense CD bands indicating that a preferred helix handedness is induced upon interacting with the protein surface. The crystal structure of the complex between this foldamer and HCA could be resolved at 2.1 Å resolution and revealed a number of unanticipated protein-foldamer, foldamer-foldamer, and protein-protein interactions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201309160DOI Listing
January 2014

Mapacalcine protects mouse neurons against hypoxia by blocking cell calcium overload.

PLoS One 2013 2;8(7):e66194. Epub 2013 Jul 2.

Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (UMR7275), Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, Valbonne, France.

Stroke is one of a major cause of death and adult disability. Despite intense researches, treatment for stroke remains reduced to fibrinolysis, a technique useful for less than 10% of patients. Finding molecules able to treat or at least to decrease the deleterious consequences of stroke is an urgent need. Here, we showed that mapacalcine, a homodimeric peptide purified from the marine sponge Cliona vastifica, is able to protect mouse cortical neurons against hypoxia. We have also identified a subtype of L-type calcium channel as a target for mapacalcine and we showed that the channel has to be open for mapacalcine binding. The two main L-type subunits at the brain level are CaV1.3 and CaV1.2 subunits but mapacalcine was unable to block these calcium channels.Mapacalcine did not interfere with N-, P/Q- and R-type calcium channels. The protective effect was studied by measuring internal calcium level variation triggered by Oxygen Glucose Deprivation protocol, which mimics stroke, or glutamate stimulation. We showed that NMDA/AMPA receptors are not involved in the mapacalcine protection. The protective effect was confirmed by measuring the cell survival rate after Oxygen Glucose Deprivation condition. Our data indicate that mapacalcine is a promising molecule for stroke treatment.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0066194PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3699608PMC
January 2014

A single amino acid change within the R2 domain of the VvMYB5b transcription factor modulates affinity for protein partners and target promoters selectivity.

BMC Plant Biol 2011 Aug 23;11:117. Epub 2011 Aug 23.

Univ, de Bordeaux, Institut des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin, UMR 1287 Ecophysiologie et Génomique Fonctionnelle de la Vigne, 210 Chemin de Leysotte, 33882 Villenave d'Ornon, France.

Background: Flavonoid pathway is spatially and temporally controlled during plant development and the transcriptional regulation of the structural genes is mostly orchestrated by a ternary protein complex that involves three classes of transcription factors (R2-R3-MYB, bHLH and WDR). In grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.), several MYB transcription factors have been identified but the interactions with their putative bHLH partners to regulate specific branches of the flavonoid pathway are still poorly understood.

Results: In this work, we describe the effects of a single amino acid substitution (R69L) located in the R2 domain of VvMYB5b and predicted to affect the formation of a salt bridge within the protein. The activity of the mutated protein (name VvMYB5b(L), the native protein being referred as VvMYB5b(R)) was assessed in different in vivo systems: yeast, grape cell suspensions, and tobacco. In the first two systems, VvMYB5b(L) exhibited a modified trans-activation capability. Moreover, using yeast two-hybrid assay, we demonstrated that modification of VvMYB5b transcriptional properties impaired its ability to correctly interact with VvMYC1, a grape bHLH protein. These results were further substantiated by overexpression of VvMYB5b(R) and VvMYB5b(L) genes in tobacco. Flowers from 35S::VvMYB5b(L) transgenic plants showed a distinct phenotype in comparison with 35S::VvMYB5b(R) and the control plants. Finally, significant differences in transcript abundance of flavonoid metabolism genes were observed along with variations in pigments accumulation.

Conclusions: Taken together, our findings indicate that VvMYB5b(L) is still able to bind DNA but the structural consequences linked to the mutation affect the capacity of the protein to activate the transcription of some flavonoid genes by modifying the interaction with its co-partner(s). In addition, this study underlines the importance of an internal salt bridge for protein conformation and thus for the establishment of protein-protein interactions between MYB and bHLH transcription factors. Mechanisms underlying these interactions are discussed and a model is proposed to explain the transcriptional activity of VvMYB5(L) observed in the tobacco model.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2229-11-117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3240579PMC
August 2011

Annexin-A5 assembled into two-dimensional arrays promotes cell membrane repair.

Nat Commun 2011 ;2:270

Molecular Imaging and NanoBioTechnology, IECB, UMR-5248 CBMN CNRS-University Bordeaux1-ENITAB, Talence F-33402, France.

Eukaryotic cells possess a universal repair machinery that ensures rapid resealing of plasma membrane disruptions. Before resealing, the torn membrane is submitted to considerable tension, which functions to expand the disruption. Here we show that annexin-A5 (AnxA5), a protein that self-assembles into two-dimensional (2D) arrays on membranes upon Ca(2+) activation, promotes membrane repair. Compared with wild-type mouse perivascular cells, AnxA5-null cells exhibit a severe membrane repair defect. Membrane repair in AnxA5-null cells is rescued by addition of AnxA5, which binds exclusively to disrupted membrane areas. In contrast, an AnxA5 mutant that lacks the ability of forming 2D arrays is unable to promote membrane repair. We propose that AnxA5 participates in a previously unrecognized step of the membrane repair process: triggered by the local influx of Ca(2+), AnxA5 proteins bind to torn membrane edges and form a 2D array, which prevents wound expansion and promotes membrane resealing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms1270DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104517PMC
July 2011

Mutant ferritin L-chains that cause neurodegeneration act in a dominant-negative manner to reduce ferritin iron incorporation.

J Biol Chem 2010 Apr 16;285(16):11948-57. Epub 2010 Feb 16.

Dipartimento Materno Infantile e Tecnologie Biomediche, Università di Brescia, viale Europa 11, 25123 Brescia, Italy.

Nucleotide insertions that modify the C terminus of ferritin light chain (FTL) cause neurodegenerative movement disorders named neuroferritinopathies, which are inherited with dominant transmission. The disorders are characterized by abnormal brain iron accumulation. Here we describe the biochemical and crystallographic characterization of pathogenic FTL mutant p.Phe167SerfsX26 showing that it is a functional ferritin with an altered conformation of the C terminus. Moreover we analyze functional and stability properties of ferritin heteropolymers made of 20-23 H-chains and 1-4 L-chains with representative pathogenic mutations or the last 10-28 residues truncated. All the heteropolymers containing the pathogenic or truncated mutants had a strongly reduced capacity to incorporate iron, both when expressed in Escherichia coli, and in vitro when iron was supplied as Fe(III) in the presence of ascorbate. The mutations also reduced the physical stability of the heteropolymers. The data indicate that even a few mutated L-chains are sufficient to alter the permeability of 1-2 of the 6 hydrophobic channels and modify ferritin capacity to incorporate iron. The dominant-negative action of the mutations explains the dominant transmission of the disorder. The data support the hypothesis that hereditary ferritinopathies are due to alterations of ferritin functionality and provide new input on the mechanism of the function of isoferritins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M109.096404DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2852932PMC
April 2010

Crystal structure and catalytic mechanism of leucoanthocyanidin reductase from Vitis vinifera.

J Mol Biol 2010 Apr 6;397(4):1079-91. Epub 2010 Feb 6.

Chimie et Biologie des Membranes et des Nanoobjets, UMR CNRS 5248, Bât. B8, Avenue des Facultés, Université Bordeaux 1, 33405 Talence Cedex, France.

Leucoanthocyanidin reductase (LAR) catalyzes the NADPH-dependent reduction of 2R,3S,4S-flavan-3,4-diols into 2R,3S-flavan-3-ols, a subfamily of flavonoids that is important for plant survival and for human nutrition. LAR1 from Vitis vinifera has been co-crystallized with or without NADPH and one of its natural products, (+)-catechin. Crystals diffract to a resolution between 1.75 and 2.72 A. The coenzyme and substrate binding pocket is preformed in the apoprotein and not markedly altered upon NADPH binding. The structure of the abortive ternary complex, determined at a resolution of 2.28 A, indicates the ordering of a short 3(10) helix associated with substrate binding and suggests that His122 and Lys140 act as acid-base catalysts. Based on our 3D structures, a two-step catalytic mechanism is proposed, in which a concerted dehydration precedes an NADPH-mediated hydride transfer at C4. The dehydration step involves a Lys-catalyzed deprotonation of the phenolic OH7 through a bridging water molecule and a His-catalyzed protonation of the benzylic hydroxyl at C4. The resulting quinone methide serves as an electrophilic target for hydride transfer at C4. LAR belongs to the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase superfamily and to the PIP (pinoresinol-lariciresinol reductase, isoflavone reductase, and phenylcoumaran benzylic ether reductase) family. Our data support the concept that all PIP enzymes reduce a quinone methide intermediate and that the major role of the only residue that has been conserved from the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase catalytic triad (Ser...TyrXXXLys), that is, lysine, is to promote the formation of this intermediate by catalyzing the deprotonation of a phenolic hydroxyl. For some PIP enzymes, this lysine-catalyzed proton abstraction may be sufficient to trigger the extrusion of the leaving group, whereas in LAR, the extrusion of a hydroxide group requires a more sophisticated mechanism of concerted acid-base catalysis that involves histidine and takes advantage of the OH4, OH5, and OH7 substituents of leucoanthocyanidins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2010.02.002DOI Listing
April 2010

The epimerase activity of anthocyanidin reductase from Vitis vinifera and its regiospecific hydride transfers.

Biol Chem 2010 Feb-Mar;391(2-3):219-227

Chimie et Biologie des Membranes et des Nanoobjets UMR CNRS 5248, Bâtiment B8, Avenue des Facultés, Université Bordeaux 1, F-33405 Talence Cedex, France.

Anthocyanidin reductase (ANR) from Vitis vinifera catalyzes an NADPH-dependent double reduction of anthocyanidins producing a mixture of (2S,3R)- and (2S,3S)-flavan-3-ols. At pH 7.5 and 30 degrees C, the first hydride transfer to anthocyanidin is irreversible, and no intermediate is released during catalysis. ANR reverse activity was assessed in the presence of excess NADP(+). Analysis of products by reverse phase and chiral phase HPLC demonstrates that ANR acts as a flavan-3-ol C(3)-epimerase under such conditions, but this is only observed with 2R-flavan-3-ols, not with 2S-flavan-3-ols produced by the enzyme in the forward reaction. In the presence of deuterated coenzyme 4S-NADPD, ANR transforms anthocyanidins into dideuterated flavan-3-ols. The regiospecificity of deuterium incorporation into catechin and afzelechin - derived from cyanidin and pelargonidin, respectively - was analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled with electro- spray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-MS/MS), and it was found that deuterium was always incorporated at C(2) and C(4). We conclude that C(3)-epimerization should be achieved by tautomerization between the two hydride transfers and that this produces a quinone methide intermediate which serves as C(4) target of the second hydride transfer, thereby avoiding any stereospecific modification of carbon 3. The inversion of C(2) stereochemistry required for 'reverse epimerization' suggests that the 2S configuration induces an irreversible product dissociation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1515/bc.2010.015DOI Listing
June 2010

Binding-equilibrium and kinetic studies of anthocyanidin reductase from Vitis vinifera.

Arch Biochem Biophys 2009 Nov 20;491(1-2):61-8. Epub 2009 Sep 20.

Chimie et Biologie des Membranes et des Nanoobjets UMR CNRS 5248, Bâtiment B8, Avenue des Facultés, Université Bordeaux 1, Talence Cedex, France.

Anthocyanidin reductase from Vitis vinifera catalyzes an NADPH-dependent double reduction of anthocyanidins. At pH 7.5 and 30 degrees C, steady-state kinetics support a hyperbolic and rapid-equilibrium ordered mechanism, with NADPH binding first, K(M(cyan))=2.82+/-0.66microM and K(i(NADPH))=111+/-23microM. The chromatographic method of Hummel and Dreyer was used for binding-equilibrium studies of NADPH, NADP(+) and catechin, at pH 7. This confirmed hyperbolic binding of NADPH and NADP(+) to the free enzyme, with a single binding site each and with dissociation constants K(NADPH)=45.9+/-2microM and K(NADP+)=83+/-5microM. There was no significant binding of catechin. We conclude (i) that the most likely mechanism is sequential ordered Bi Uni Uni Bi, with NADPH binding first and NADP(+) released last, and (ii) that internal conversion of the first ternary complex, i.e. that associated with the first hydride transfer, is rate-limiting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.abb.2009.09.010DOI Listing
November 2009

Structure and epimerase activity of anthocyanidin reductase from Vitis vinifera.

Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr 2009 Sep 14;65(Pt 9):989-1000. Epub 2009 Aug 14.

Chimie et Biologie des Macromolécules et des Nanoobjets UMR CNRS 5248, Bâtiment B8, Avenue des Facultés, Université Bordeaux 1, Talence CEDEX, France.

Together with leucoanthocyanidin reductase, anthocyanidin reductase (ANR) is one of the two enzymes of the flavonoid-biosynthesis pathway that produces the flavan-3-ol monomers required for the formation of proanthocyanidins or condensed tannins. It has been shown to catalyse the double reduction of anthocyanidins to form 2R,3R-flavan-3-ols, which can be further transformed to the 2S,3R isomers by non-enzymatic epimerization. ANR from grape (Vitis vinifera) was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified. Unexpectedly, RP-HPLC, LC-MS and NMR experiments clearly established that the enzyme produces a 50:50 mixture of 2,3-cis and 2,3-trans flavan-3-ols which have been identified by chiral chromatography to be 2S,3S- and 2S,3R-flavan-3-ols, i.e. the naturally rare (+)-epicatechin and (-)-catechin, when cyanidin is used as the substrate of the reaction. The first three-dimensional structure of ANR is described at a resolution of 2.2 A and explains the inactivity of the enzyme in the presence of high salt concentrations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1107/S0907444909025013DOI Listing
September 2009

Structural evidence for the inhibition of grape dihydroflavonol 4-reductase by flavonols.

Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr 2008 Aug 17;D64(Pt 8):883-91. Epub 2008 Jul 17.

CBMN, UMR CNRS 5248, Bâtiment B8, Avenue des Facultés, Université Bordeaux 1, 33405 Talence CEDEX, France.

Dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) is a key enzyme of the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway which catalyses the NADPH-dependent reduction of 2R,3R-trans-dihydroflavonols to leucoanthocyanidins. The latter are the precursors of anthocyans and condensed tannins, two major classes of phenolic compounds that strongly influence the organoleptic properties of wine. DFR has been investigated in many plant species, but little was known about its structural properties until the three-dimensional structure of the Vitis vinifera enzyme complexed with NADP(+) and its natural substrate dihydroquercetin (DHQ) was described. In the course of the study of substrate specificity, crystals of DFR-NADP(+)-flavonol (myricetin and quercetin) complexes were obtained. Their structures exhibit major changes with respect to that of the abortive DFR-NADP(+)-DHQ complex. Two flavonol molecules bind to the catalytic site in a stacking arrangement and alter its geometry, which becomes incompatible with enzymatic activity. The X-ray structures of both DFR-NADP(+)-myricetin and DFR-NADP(+)-quercetin are reported together with preliminary spectroscopic data. The results suggest that flavonols could be inhibitors of the activity of DFR towards dihydroflavonols.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1107/S0907444908017769DOI Listing
August 2008

Crystal structure of grape dihydroflavonol 4-reductase, a key enzyme in flavonoid biosynthesis.

J Mol Biol 2007 May 6;368(5):1345-57. Epub 2007 Mar 6.

Chimie et Biologie des Membranes et des Nanoobjets, UMR CNRS 5248, Bâtiment B8, Avenue des Facultés, Université Bordeaux 1, 33405 Talence Cedex, France.

The nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH)-dependent enzyme dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) catalyzes a late step in the biosynthesis of anthocyanins and condensed tannins, two flavonoid classes of importance to plant survival and human nutrition. This enzyme has been widely investigated in many plant species, but little is known about its structural and biochemical properties. To provide a basis for detailed structure-function studies, the crystal structure of Vitis vinifera DFR, heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli, has been determined at 1.8 A resolution. The 3D structure of the ternary complex obtained with the oxidized form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate and dihydroquercetin, one of the DFR substrates, presents common features with the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase family, i.e., an N-terminal domain adopting a Rossmann fold and a variable C-terminal domain, which participates in substrate binding. The structure confirms the importance of the 131-156 region, which lines the substrate binding site and enlightens the role of a specific residue at position 133 (Asn or Asp), assumed to control substrate recognition. The activity of the wild-type enzyme and its variant N133D has been quantified in vitro, using dihydroquercetin or dihydrokaempferol. Our results demonstrate that position 133 cannot be solely responsible for the recognition of the B-ring hydroxylation pattern of dihydroflavonols.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2007.02.088DOI Listing
May 2007

Protein crystallography under xenon and nitrous oxide pressure: comparison with in vivo pharmacology studies and implications for the mechanism of inhaled anesthetic action.

Biophys J 2007 Jan 6;92(1):217-24. Epub 2006 Oct 6.

Centre CYCERON, UMR 6185, Université de Caen--CNRS, 14074 Caen cedex, France.

In contrast with most inhalational anesthetics, the anesthetic gases xenon (Xe) and nitrous oxide (N(2)O) act by blocking the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. Using x-ray crystallography, we examined the binding characteristics of these two gases on two soluble proteins as structural models: urate oxidase, which is a prototype of a variety of intracellular globular proteins, and annexin V, which has structural and functional characteristics that allow it to be considered as a prototype for the NMDA receptor. The structure of these proteins complexed with Xe and N(2)O were determined. One N(2)O molecule or one Xe atom binds to the same main site in both proteins. A second subsite is observed for N(2)O in each case. The gas-binding sites are always hydrophobic flexible cavities buried within the monomer. Comparison of the effects of Xe and N(2)O on urate oxidase and annexin V reveals an interesting relationship with the in vivo pharmacological effects of these gases, the ratio of the gas-binding sites' volume expansion and the ratio of the narcotic potency being similar. Given these data, we propose that alterations of cytosolic globular protein functions by general anesthetics would be responsible for the early stages of anesthesia such as amnesia and hypnosis and that additional alterations of ion-channel membrane receptor functions are required for deeper effects that progress to "surgical" anesthesia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1529/biophysj.106.093807DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1697869PMC
January 2007

Crystal structure and biochemical properties of the human mitochondrial ferritin and its mutant Ser144Ala.

J Mol Biol 2004 Jul;340(2):277-93

Unité de Biophysique Structurale, Bât. B8 avenue des Facultés, Université Bordeaux I, 33405 Talence Cedex, France.

Mitochondrial ferritin is a recently identified protein precursor encoded by an intronless gene. It is specifically taken up by the mitochondria and processed to a mature protein that assembles into functional ferritin shells. The full mature recombinant protein and its S144A mutant were produced to study structural and functional properties. They yielded high quality crystals from Mg(II) solutions which diffracted up to 1.38 Angstrom resolution. The 3D structures of the two proteins resulted very similar to that of human H-ferritin, to which they have high level of sequence identity (approximately 80%). Metal-binding sites were identified in the native crystals and in those soaked in Mn(II) and Zn(II) solutions. The ferroxidase center binds binuclear iron at the sites A and B, and the structures showed that the A site was always fully occupied by Mg(II), Mn(II) or Zn(II), while the occupancy of the B site was variable. In addition, distinct Mg(II) and Zn(II)-binding sites were found in the 3-fold axes to block the hydrophilic channels. Other metal-binding sites, never observed before in H-ferritin, were found on the cavity surface near the ferroxidase center and near the 4-fold axes. Mitochondrial ferritin showed biochemical properties remarkably similar to those of human H-ferritin, except for the difficulty in renaturing to yield ferritin shells and for a reduced ( approximately 41%) rate in ferroxidase activity. This was partially rescued by the substitution of the bulkier Ser144 with Ala, which occurs in H-ferritin. The residue is exposed on a channel that connects the ferroxidase center with the cavity. The finding that the mutation increased both catalytic activity and the occupancy of the B site demonstrated that the channel is functionally important. In conclusion, the present data define the structure of human mitochondrial ferritin and provide new data on the iron pathways within the H-type ferritin shell.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmb.2004.04.036DOI Listing
July 2004

Structural description of the active sites of mouse L-chain ferritin at 1.2 A resolution.

J Biol Inorg Chem 2003 Jan 6;8(1-2):105-11. Epub 2002 Sep 6.

Unité de Biophysique Structurale, UMR CNRS 5471, Université Bordeaux I, Bât B8, avenue des Facultés, 33405 Talence Cedex, France.

The first ferritin structure refined at the atomic level has been achieved on recombinant mouse L-chain apoferritin (rMoLF) crystals. These latter diffract to 1.2 A resolution under cryogenic conditions. When cryo-cooling the sample, the thermal disorder usually observed at room temperature is reduced and the low-temperature structure reveals several details concerning the protein putative active sites and their properties. Within the pores built up by the molecular three-fold symmetry axes, the iron entry route to the ferritin cavity, residues H118, D131 and E134, exhibit alternate conformations associated with the binding of partially hydrated cadmium ions, a metal used as a crystallization agent. At the mineral ferrihydrite nucleation center, the electron density maps evidence the orientation of E57, E60, E61 and E64 glutamate side chains (whereas they were observed highly disordered in previous ferritin structures determined at room temperature) and allow a description of the site taking into account the binding geometry of four Cd(2+) ions. Moreover, the side chain of residue K140, lying in the vicinity of the ferrihydrite nucleation center, is shown to interact with residue E61. As previously highlighted, this observation confirms the importance of K140 in the rMoLF sequence, as being responsible for the low level of iron incorporation by mousel L-chain ferritin compared to human L-chain ferritin. Finally, the diffusion of small molecules within the ferritin cavity is illustrated here by the presence of ordered molecules of glycerol used as a cryo-protectant, which bind the inner cavity surface of the protein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00775-002-0389-4DOI Listing
January 2003
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