The research groups headed by Prof. Christoph Dehio and Prof. Tilman Schirmer could demonstrate that through the alteration of one single amino acid this inhibition of enzyme activity can be relieved. Their findings, which have been published in the current issue of «Nature», will enable to investigate the physiological role of the potentially lethal function of Fic proteins in bacteria and higher organisms in the future.
Left: Binding of the antitoxin (blue) inhibits AMPylation of the target protein (magenta) by the Fic protein (grey), which allows normal bacterial growth. Right: In the absence of the antitoxin the target protein gets AMPylated, resulting in inhibition of cell division and thus abnormal filamentous growth of bacteria. Illustration: Universität Basel
Fic proteins are found in most forms of life ranging from simple bacteria to man. Only a few representatives of this protein family of about 3000 members have been investigated to date. These are enzymes that chemically alter other proteins through the attachment of an adenosine monophosphate group (AMP) derived from the important energy carrier ATP. This reaction, known as AMPylation, specifically modifies the function of the target proteins.
The biochemically best understood Fic proteins are produced by pathogenic bacteria and injected into host cells to alter cellular signaling proteins to the advantage of the bacterial intruder. However, the far majority of Fic proteins have probably evolved a function that is instrumental for the cell in which they are produced. Why the biochemical function of only a few of these Fic proteins has been elucidated so far was not clear. The reason has now been found by the collaborating research groups of the infection biologist Prof. Christoph Dehio and the structural biologist Prof. Tilman Schirmer.
The Active Center of Fic Proteins is BlockedThe scientists could show that an amino acid residue (glutamate-finger) protrudes into the active center of the Fic proteins. This prevents productive binding of ATP and explains the inactivate ground state of the enzyme. Surprisingly, in some Fic proteins the inhibiting residue is part of the Fic protein itself, whereas in other cases it is provided by a separate protein (called antitoxin). It was shown that upon truncation of the glutamate-finger by genetic manipulation or removal of the entire antitoxin the activity of the enzyme is awakened – sometimes with drastic consequences for the affected cells. Bacterial cells no longer divide, while human cells can even die.
Prof. Dr. Tilman Schirmer, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Tel. 061 267 28 89, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Heike Sacher | idw
Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences