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See detailExtending the classification of bacterial transcription factors beyond the helix-turn-helix motif as an alternative approach to discover new cis/trans relationships
Rigali, Sébastien ULg; Schlicht, M.; Hoskisson, P. et al

in Nucleic Acids Research (2004), 32(11), 3418-3426

Transcription factors (TFs) of bacterial helix-turn-helix superfamilies exhibit different effector-binding domains (EBDs) fused to a DNA-binding domain with a common feature. In a previous study of the ... [more ▼]

Transcription factors (TFs) of bacterial helix-turn-helix superfamilies exhibit different effector-binding domains (EBDs) fused to a DNA-binding domain with a common feature. In a previous study of the GntR superfamily, we demonstrated that classifying members into subfamilies according to the EBD heterogeneity highlighted unsuspected and accurate TF-binding site signatures. In this work, we present how such in silico analysis can provide prediction tools to discover new cis/trans relationships. The TF-binding site consensus of the HutC/GntR subfamily was used to (i) predict target sites within the Streptomyces coelicolor genome, (ii) discover a new HutC/GntR regulon and (iii) discover its specific TF. By scanning the S.coelicolor genome we identified a presumed new HutC regulon that comprises genes of the phosphotransferase system (PTS) specific for the uptake of N-acetylglucosamine (PTSNag). A weight matrix was derived from the compilation of the predicted cis-acting elements upstream of each gene of the presumed regulon. Under the assumption that TFs are often subject to autoregulation, we used this matrix to scan the upstream region of the 24 HutC-like members of S.coelicolor. orf SCO5231 (dasR) was selected as the best candidate according to the high score of a 16 bp sequence identified in its upstream region. Our prediction that DasR regulates the PTSNag regulon was confirmed by in vivo and in vitro experiments. In conclusion, our in silico approach permitted to highlight the specific TF of a regulon out of the 673 orfs annotated as 'regulatory proteins' within the genome of S.coelicolor. [less ▲]

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See detailEvidence of an intramolecular interaction between the two domains of the BlaR1 penicillin receptor during the signal transduction
Hanique, Sophie; Colombo, Maria-Luigi; Goormaghtigh, Erik et al

in Journal of Biological Chemistry (2004), 279(14), 14264-14272

The BlaR1 protein is a penicillin-sensory transducer involved in the induction of the Bacillus licheniformis beta-lactamase. The amino-terminal domain of the protein exhibits four transmembrane segments ... [more ▼]

The BlaR1 protein is a penicillin-sensory transducer involved in the induction of the Bacillus licheniformis beta-lactamase. The amino-terminal domain of the protein exhibits four transmembrane segments (TM1-TM4) that form a four-alpha-helix bundle embedded in the plasma bilayer. The carboxyl-terminal domain of 250 amino acids (BlaR-CTD) fused at the carboxyl end of TM4 possesses the amino acid sequence signature of penicillin-binding proteins. This membrane topology suggests that BlaR-CTD and the BlaR-amino-terminal domain are responsible for signal reception and signal transduction, respectively. With the use of phage display experiments, we highlight herein an interaction between BlaR-CTD and the extracellular, 63-amino acid L2 loop connecting TM2 and TM3. This interaction does not occur in the presence of penicillin. This result suggests that binding of the antibiotic to BlaR1 might entail the release of the interaction between L2 and BlaR-CTD, causing a motion of the alpha-helix bundle and transfer of the information to the cytoplasm of the cell. In addition, fluorescence spectroscopy, CD, and Fourier transform IR spectroscopy experiments indicate that in contrast to the behavior of the corresponding Staphylococcus aureus protein, the beta-lactam antibiotic does not induce a drastic conformational change in B. licheniformis BlaR-CTD. [less ▲]

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See detailThe ybxI gene of Bacillus subtilis 168 encodes a class D beta-lactamase of low activity
Colombo, Maria-Luigi; Hanique, Sophie; Baurin, Stéphane L. et al

in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (2004), 48(2), 484-490

The ybxI gene of Bacillus subtilis 168 encodes a preprotein of 267 amino acid residues, including a putative signal peptide of 23 residues. The YbxI primary structure exhibits high similarity scores with ... [more ▼]

The ybxI gene of Bacillus subtilis 168 encodes a preprotein of 267 amino acid residues, including a putative signal peptide of 23 residues. The YbxI primary structure exhibits high similarity scores with two members of the superfamily of the serine penicillin-recognizing enzymes: the class D beta-lactamases and the hydrophilic carboxy-terminal domains of the BlaR and MecR penicillin receptors. To determine the function and the activity of this putative penicillin-recognizing enzyme, we have subcloned the ybxI gene in the pET-26b expression vector. Transformation of Escherichia coli BL21(DE3) by the recombinant plasmid pCIP51 resulted in the export of the mature YbxI in the periplasm as a water-soluble protein. The recombinant protein was purified to 95% homogeneity. YbxI interacts with several beta-lactam antibiotics and can hydrolyze some of them. YbxI is not inactivated by clavulanic acid. The YbxI function and its enzymatic activity in B. subtilis remain unknown. The acyl-enzyme obtained after incubation of YbxI with a fluorescent derivative of ampicillin can be detected by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, confirming that YbxI can be acylated by beta-lactam antibiotics. YbxI does not hydrolyze some of the standard substrates of D-alanyl-D-alanine peptidases, the targets of penicillin. YbxI belongs to the penicillin-recognizing enzyme family but has an activity intermediate between those of a penicillin-binding protein and a beta-lactamase. [less ▲]

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See detailMutational analysis of the catalytic centre of the Citrobacter freundii AmpD N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanine amidase
Genereux, Catherine ULg; Dehareng, Dominique ULg; Devreese, Bart et al

in Biochemical Journal (2004), 377(Pt 1), 111-120

Citrobacter freundii AmpD is an intracellular 1,6-anhydro-N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanine amidase involved in both peptidoglycan recycling and beta-lactamase induction. AmpD exhibits a strict specificity for 1 ... [more ▼]

Citrobacter freundii AmpD is an intracellular 1,6-anhydro-N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanine amidase involved in both peptidoglycan recycling and beta-lactamase induction. AmpD exhibits a strict specificity for 1,6-anhydromuropeptides and requires zinc for enzymic activity. The AmpD three-dimensional structure exhibits a fold similar to that of another Zn2+ N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanine amidase, the T7 lysozyme, and these two enzymes define a new family of Zn-amidases which can be related to the eukaryotic PGRP (peptidoglycan-recognition protein) domains. In an attempt to assign the different zinc ligands and to probe the catalytic mechanism of AmpD amidase, molecular modelling based on the NMR structure and site-directed mutagenesis were performed. Mutation of the two residues presumed to act as zinc ligands into alanine (H34A and D164A) yielded inactive proteins which had also lost their ability to bind zinc. By contrast, the active H154N mutant retained the capacity to bind the metal ion. Three other residues which could be involved in the AmpD catalytic mechanism have been mutated (Y63F, E116A, K162H and K162Q). The E116A mutant was inactive, but on the basis of the molecular modelling this residue is not directly involved in the catalytic mechanism, but rather in the binding of the zinc by contributing to the correct orientation of His-34. The K162H and K162Q mutants retained very low activity (0.7 and 0.2% of the wildtype activity respectively), whereas the Y63F mutant showed 16% of the wild-type activity. These three latter mutants exhibited a good affinity for Zn ions and the substituted residues are probably involved in the binding of the substrate. We also describe a new method for generating the N-acetylglucosaminyl-1,6-anhydro-N-acetylmuramyl-tripeptide AmpD substrate from purified peptidoglycan by the combined action of two hydrolytic enzymes. [less ▲]

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See detailNovel use of lipopeptide preparations
Deleu, Magali ULg; Brans, Alain; Brasseur, Robert ULg et al

Patent (2004)

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See detailCrystal structure of the sensor domain of the BlaR penicillin receptor from Bacillus licheniformis
Kerff, Frédéric ULg; Charlier, Paulette ULg; Colombo, Maria Louisa et al

in Biochemistry (2003), 42(44), 12835-12843

As in several staphylococci, the synthesis of the Bacillus licheniformis 749/I beta-lactamase is an inducible phenomenon regulated by a signal-transducing membrane protein BlaR. The C-terminal domain of ... [more ▼]

As in several staphylococci, the synthesis of the Bacillus licheniformis 749/I beta-lactamase is an inducible phenomenon regulated by a signal-transducing membrane protein BlaR. The C-terminal domain of this multimodular protein is an extracellular domain which specifically recognizes beta-lactam antibiotics. When it binds a beta-lactam, a signal is transmitted by the transmembrane region to the intracellular loops. In response, the hydrolytic activity of the BlaR large cytoplasmic L3 loop is induced, and a cascade of reactions is generated, leading to the transcription of the beta-lactamase gene. Here, we describe the crystal structure of the extracellular penicillin-receptor domain of BlaR (residues 346-601) at 2.5 Angstrom resolution in order to understand why this domain, whose folding is very similar to that of class D beta-lactamases, behaves as a highly sensitive penicillin-binding protein rather than a beta-lactamase. Two residues of the BlaR C-terminal domain, Thr452 and Thr542, modify the hydrophobic characteristic of the class D beta-lactamase active site. Both residues seem to be in part responsible for the lack of beta-lactamase activity of the BlaR protein due to the stability of the acyl-enzyme. Although further experimental data are needed to fully understand the transmembrane induction process, the comparison of the BlaR sensor domain structure with those of class D beta-lactamase complexes and penicillin-binding proteins provides interesting elements to hypothesize on possible signal transmission mechanisms. [less ▲]

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See detailSolution structural study of BlaI: Implications for the repression of genes involved in beta-lactam antibiotic resistance
Van Melckebeke, H.; Vreuls, Christelle ULg; Gans, P. et al

in Journal of Molecular Biology (2003), 333(4), 711-720

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See detailThe kinetic properties of the carboxy terminal domain of the Bacillus licheniformis 749/I BlaR penicillin-receptor shed a new light on the derepression of beta-lactamase synthesis
Duval, Valérie; Swinnen, Marc; Lepage, Sophie et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2003), 48(6), 1553-1564

To study the properties of the BlaR penicillin-receptor involved in the induction of the Bacillus licheniformis beta-lactamase, the water-soluble carboxy terminal domain of the protein (BlaR-CTD) was ... [more ▼]

To study the properties of the BlaR penicillin-receptor involved in the induction of the Bacillus licheniformis beta-lactamase, the water-soluble carboxy terminal domain of the protein (BlaR-CTD) was overproduced in the periplasm of Escherichia coli JM105 and purified to protein homogeneity. Its interactions with various beta-lactam antibiotics were studied. The second-order acylation rate constants k(2)/K' ranged from 0.0017 to more than 1 muM(-1) s(-1) and the deacylation rate constants were lower than 4x10(-5) s(-1) . These values imply a rapid to very rapid formation of a stable acylated adduct. BlaR-CTD is thus one of the most sensitive penicillin-binding proteins presently described. In the light of these results, the kinetics of beta-lactamase induction in Bacillus licheniformis were re-examined. When starting with a rather high cell density, a good beta-lactamase substrate such as benzylpenicillin is too sensitive to beta-lactamase-mediated hydrolysis to allow full induction. By contrast, a poor beta-lactamase substrate (7-aminocephalosporanic acid) can fully derepress beta-lactamase expression under conditions where interference of the antibiotic with cell growth is observed. These results suggest that acylation of the penicillin receptor is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for full induction. [less ▲]

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See detailDimerization and DNA binding properties of the Bacillus licheniformis 749/I BlaI repressor
Filée, Patrice ULg; Vreuls, Christelle ULg; Herman, Raphaël ULg et al

in Journal of Biological Chemistry (2003), 278(19), 16482-16487

In the absence of penicillin, the beta-lactamase encoding gene blaP of Bacillus licheniformis 749/I is negatively regulated by the transcriptional repressor BlaI. Three palindromic operator regions are ... [more ▼]

In the absence of penicillin, the beta-lactamase encoding gene blaP of Bacillus licheniformis 749/I is negatively regulated by the transcriptional repressor BlaI. Three palindromic operator regions are recognized by BlaI: two in the blaP promoter (OP1 and OP2) and one (OP3) in the promoter of the blaI-blaR1 operon. In this study, the dissociation constant of the purified BlaI dimer was estimated at 25 muM by equilibrium ultracentrifugation. Quantitative Western blot analysis indicates that the intracellular concentrations of BlaI in B. licheniformis 749/I and Bacillus subtilis transformed by a multicopy plasmid harboring the beta-lactamase locus (blaP-blaI-blaR1) were lower than (1.9 muM) or in the same range as (75 muM) the dissociation constant, respectively. This suggests that BlaI is partially dimeric in the cytoplasm of these strains and interacts in vivo with its operators as a preformed dimer. This hypothesis is supported by band shift assays on an operator containing a randomized half-operator sequence. The global dissociation constants of the operator-BlaI dimer complexes were measured by band shift assays and estimated as K-dOP1=1.7+/-0.5 10(-15) M-2, K-dOP2=3.3+/-0.9 10(-15) M-2, and K-dOP3=10.5+/-2.5 10(-15) M-2. The role of the DNA binding properties of BlaI on the beta-lactamase regulation is discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailSolution structural study of BlaI: implications for the repression of genes involved in beta-lactam antibiotic resistance.
Melckebeke, Helene Van; Vreuls, Christelle ULg; Gans, Pierre et al

in Journal of Molecular Biology (2003), 333(4), 711-20

beta-Lactamase and penicillin-binding protein PBP2' mediate staphylococcal resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, which are otherwise highly clinically effective. Two repressors (BlaI and MecI) regulate ... [more ▼]

beta-Lactamase and penicillin-binding protein PBP2' mediate staphylococcal resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics, which are otherwise highly clinically effective. Two repressors (BlaI and MecI) regulate expression of these inducible proteins. Here, we present the first solution structure of the 82 amino acid residue DNA-binding domain of Bacillus licheniformis BlaI which is very similar in primary sequence to the medically significant Staphyloccocal BlaI and MecI proteins. This structure is composed of a compact core of three alpha-helices and a three-stranded beta-sheet typical of the winged helix protein (WHP) family. The protein/DNA complex was studied by NMR chemical shift comparison between the free and complexed forms of BlaI. Residues involved in DNA interaction were identified and a WHP canonical model of interaction with the operators is proposed. In this model, specific contacts occur between the base-pairs of the TACA motif and conserved amino acid residues of the repressor helix H3. These results help toward understanding the repression and induction mechanism of the genes coding for beta-lactamase and PBP2'. [less ▲]

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See detailNMR structure of Citrobacter freundii AmpD, comparison with bacteriophage T7 lysozyme and homology with PGRP domains.
Liepinsh, Edvards; Genereux, Catherine ULg; Dehareng, Dominique ULg et al

in Journal of Molecular Biology (2003), 327(4), 833-42

AmpD is a bacterial amidase involved in the recycling of cell-wall fragments in Gram-negative bacteria. Inactivation of AmpD leads to derepression of beta-lactamase expression, presenting a major pathway ... [more ▼]

AmpD is a bacterial amidase involved in the recycling of cell-wall fragments in Gram-negative bacteria. Inactivation of AmpD leads to derepression of beta-lactamase expression, presenting a major pathway for the acquisition of constitutive antibiotic resistance. Here, we report the NMR structure of AmpD from Citrobacter freundii (PDB accession code 1J3G). A deep substrate-binding pocket explains the observed specificity for low molecular mass substrates. The fold is related to that of bacteriophage T7 lysozyme. Both proteins bind zinc at a conserved site and require zinc for amidase activity, although the enzymatic mechanism seems to differ in detail. The structure-based sequence alignment identifies conserved features that are also conserved in the eukaryotic peptidoglycan recognition protein (PGRP) domains, including the zinc-coordination site in several of them. PGRP domains thus belong to the same fold family and, where zinc-binding residues are conserved, may have amidase activity. This hypothesis is supported by the observation that human serum N-acetylmuramyl-L-alanine amidase seems to be identical with a soluble form of human PGRP-L. [less ▲]

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See detailIsolation and partial characterization of three pregnancy-associated glycoproteins from the ewe placenta
El Amiri, B.; Remy, Benoit; Melo de Sousa, Noelita ULg et al

in Molecular Reproduction and Development (2003), 64(2), 199-206

Pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs) are synthesized in the outer epithelial layer of the placenta in artiodactyls. In this work, three novel ovine PAGs were isolated from late-pregnancy fetal ... [more ▼]

Pregnancy-associated glycoproteins (PAGs) are synthesized in the outer epithelial layer of the placenta in artiodactyls. In this work, three novel ovine PAGs were isolated from late-pregnancy fetal cotyledons and characterized biochemically. The isolation procedure included acid and ammonium sulfate precipitations and anion and cation exchange chromatographies. The isolated PAGs have different NH2-terminal amino acid sequences (RGSXLTILPLRNMRDIVY, ISRVSXLTIHPLRNIMDML, and RGSNLTIHPLRNIRD) and apparent molecular masses (55, 57, and 59 kDa). Each shows several isoforms with different pl values. The three proteins share high sequence identity with each other and with other ovine, bovine, and caprine PAGs. They have not been described previously. The ovPAG-59 sequence differs from the previously identified ovPAG-4 sequence (determined by DNA cloning and sequencing) at only one position among the 15 N-terminal residues. The newly characterized ovPAGs and the procedure used to isolate them will be helpful in producing new antisera for investigating PAG secretion in pregnant ewes. [less ▲]

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See detailMethod for estimation of low outer membrane permeability to beta-lactam antibiotics
Lakaye, Bernard ULg; Dubus, Alice ULg; Joris, Bernard ULg et al

in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (2002), 46(9), 2901-2907

The outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria plays a major role in beta-lactam resistance as it slows down antibiotic entry into the periplasm and therefore acts in synergy with beta-lactamases and efflux ... [more ▼]

The outer membrane of gram-negative bacteria plays a major role in beta-lactam resistance as it slows down antibiotic entry into the periplasm and therefore acts in synergy with beta-lactamases and efflux systems. Up to now, the quantitative estimation of low outer membrane permeability by the method of Zimmermann and Rosselet was difficult because of the secreted and cell surface-associated beta-lactamases. The method presented here uses the acylation of a highly sensitive periplasmic penicillin-binding protein (PBP) (BlaR-CTD) to assess the rate of beta-lactam penetration into the periplasm. The method is dedicated to measurement of low permeability and is only valid when the diffusion rate through the outer membrane is rate limiting. Cytoplasmic membrane associated PBPs do not interfere since they are acylated after the very sensitive BlaR-CTD. This method was used to measure the permeability of beta-lactamase-deficient strains of Enterobacter cloacae and Enterobacter aerogenes to benzylpenicillin, ampicillin, carbenicillin, cefotaxime, aztreonam, and cephacetrile. Except for that of cephacetrile, the permeability coefficients were equal to or below 10(-7) cm/s. For cephacetrile, carbenicillin, and benzylpenicillin, the outer membrane of E. cloacae was 20 to 60 times less permeable than that of Escherichia coli, whereas for cefotaxime, aztreonam, and ampicillin it was, respectively, 400, 1,000, and 700 times less permeable. The permeability coefficient for aztreonam is the lowest ever measured (P = 3.2 X 10(-9) cm/s). Using these values, the MICs for a beta-lactamase-overproducing strain of E. cloacae were successfully predicted, demonstrating the validity of the method. [less ▲]

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See detailThe fate of the Blal repressor during the induction of the Bacillus licheniformis BlaP beta-lactamase
Filée, Patrice ULg; Benlafya, Kamal; Delmarcelle, Michaël ULg et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2002), 44(3), 685-694

The induction of the Staphylococcus aureus BlaZ and Bacillus licheniformis 749/l BIaP beta-lactamases by beta-lactam antibiotics occurs according to similar processes. In both bacteria, the products of ... [more ▼]

The induction of the Staphylococcus aureus BlaZ and Bacillus licheniformis 749/l BIaP beta-lactamases by beta-lactam antibiotics occurs according to similar processes. In both bacteria, the products of the blal and blaR1 genes share a high degree of sequence homology and act as repressors and penicillin-sensory transducers respectively. It has been shown in S. aureus that the Blal repressor, which controls the expression of BlaZ negatively, is degraded after the addition of the inducer. In the present study, we followed the fate of Blal during beta-lactamase induction in B. licheniformis 749/l and in a recombinant Bacillus subtilis 168 strain harbouring the pDML995 plasmid, which carries the B. licheniformis blaP, blal and blaR1 genes. In contrast to the situation in B. licheniformis 749/l, beta-lactamase induction in B. subtilis 168/pDML995 was not correlated with the proteolysis of Blal. To exclude molecular variations undetectable by SDS-PAGE, two-dimensional gel electrophoresis was performed with cellular extracts from uninduced or induced B. subtilis 168/pDML995 cells. No variation in the Blal isoelectric point was observed in induced cells, whereas the DNA-binding property was lost. Cross-linking experiments with dithiobis(succimidylpropionate) confirmed that, in uninduced recombinant B. subtilis cells, Blat was present as a homodimer and that this situation was not altered in induced conditions. This latter result is incompatible with a mechanism of inactivation of Blal by proteolysis and suggests that the inactivation of Blal results from a non-covalent modification by a co-activator and that the subsequent proteolysis of Blal might be a secondary phenomenon. In addition to the presence of this co-activator, our results show that the presence of penicillin stress is also required for full induction of beta-lactamase biosynthesis. [less ▲]

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See detailAdvantages and drawbacks of nanospray for studying noncovalent protein-DNA complexes by mass spectrometry
Gabelica, Valérie ULg; Vreuls, Christelle ULg; Filée, Patrice ULg et al

in Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry : RCM (2002), 16(18), 1723-1728

The noncovalent complexes between the BlaI protein dimer (wild-type and GM2 mutant) and its double-stranded DNA operator were studied by nanospray mass spectrometry and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS ... [more ▼]

The noncovalent complexes between the BlaI protein dimer (wild-type and GM2 mutant) and its double-stranded DNA operator were studied by nanospray mass spectrometry and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Reproducibility problems in the nanospray single-stage mass spectra are emphasized. The relative intensities depend greatly on the shape of the capillary tip and on the capillary-cone distance. This results in difficulties in assessing the relative stabilities of the complexes simply from MS' spectra of protein-DNA mixtures. Competition experiments using MS/MS are a better approach to determine relative binding affinities. A competition between histidine-tagged BlaIWT (BlaIWTHis) and the GM2 mutant revealed that the two proteins have similar affinities for the DNA operator, and that they co-dimerize to form heterocomplexes. The low sample consumption of nanospray allows MS/MS spectra to be recorded at different collision energies for different charge states with 1 muL of sample. The MS/MS experiments on the dimers reveal that the GM2 dimer is more kinetically stable in the gas phase than the wild-type dimer. The MS/MS experiments on the complexes shows that the two proteins require the same collision energy to dissociate from the complex. This indicates that the rate-limiting step in the monomer loss from the protein-DNA complex arises from the breaking of the protein-DNA interface rather than the protein-protein interface. The dissociation of the protein-DNA complex proceeds by the loss of a highly charged monomer (carrying about two-thirds of the total charge and one-third of the total mass). MS/MS experiments on a heterocomplex also show that the two proteins BlaIWTHis and BlaIGM2 have slightly different charge distributions in the fragments. This emphasizes the need for better understanding the dissociation mechanisms of biomolecular complexes. [less ▲]

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See detailUse of an Alfexpress DNA Sequencer to Analyze Protein-Nucleic Acid Interactions by Band Shift Assay
Filée, Patrice ULg; Delmarcelle, Michaël ULg; Thamm, Iris ULg et al

in BioTechniques (2001), 30(5), 1044-81050-1

Gel retardation analysis, or band shift assay, is technically the simplest method to investigate protein-nucleic acid interactions. In this report, we describe a nonradioactive band shift assay using a ... [more ▼]

Gel retardation analysis, or band shift assay, is technically the simplest method to investigate protein-nucleic acid interactions. In this report, we describe a nonradioactive band shift assay using a fluorescent DNA target and an ALFexpress automatic DNA sequencer in place of the current method that utilizes radioactively end-labeled DNA target and a standard electrophoresis unit. In our study, the dsDNA targets were obtained by annealing two synthetic oligonucleotides or by PCR. In both cases, a molecule of indodicarbocyanine (CY5) was attached at the 5' OH end of one of the two synthetic oligonucleotides, with a ratio of one molecule of fluorescent dye per molecule of dsDNA. To demonstrate the feasibility of this new band shift assay method, the DNA-binding proteins selected as models were the BlaI and AmpR repressors, which are involved in the induction of the Bacillus licheniformis 749/I and Citrobacter freundii beta-lactamases, respectively. The results show that the use of an automatic DNA sequencer allows easy gel retardation analysis and provides a fast, sensitive, and quantitative method. The ALFexpress DNA sequencer has the same limit of detection as a laser fluorescence scanner and can be used instead of a FluorImager or a Molecular Imager. [less ▲]

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See detailCharacterization of two genes encoding the mitochondrial alternative oxidase in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii
Dinant, Monique; Baurain, Denis ULg; Coosemans, Nadine ULg et al

in Current Genetics (2001), 39(2), 101-108

Two cDNA clones (AOX1 and AOX2) and the corresponding genes encoding the alternative oxidases (AOXs) from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii were isolated and sequenced. The cDNAs, AOX1 and AOX2, contained open ... [more ▼]

Two cDNA clones (AOX1 and AOX2) and the corresponding genes encoding the alternative oxidases (AOXs) from Chlamydomonas reinhardtii were isolated and sequenced. The cDNAs, AOX1 and AOX2, contained open reading frames (ORFs) encoding putative proteins of 360 amino acids and 347 amino acids, respectively. For each of the ORFs, a potential mitochondrial-targeting sequence was found in the 5'-end regions. In comparison to AOX enzymes from plants and fungi, the predicted amino acid sequences of the ORFs showed their highest degree of identity with proteins from Aspergillus niger (38.1% and 37.2%) and Ajellomyces capsulatus (37% and 34.9%). Several residues supposed either to be Fe ligands or to be involved in the ubiquinol-binding site were fully conserved in both C. reinhardtii putative AOX proteins. In contrast, a cysteine residue conserved in the sequences of all higher plants and probably involved in the regulation of the enzyme activity was missing both from the AOX1 and AOX2 amino acid sequences and from protein sequences from various other microorganisms. The transcriptional expression of the AOX1 and AOX2 genes in wild-type cells and in mutant cells deficient in mitochondrial complex III activity was also investigated. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Dppa Gene of Bacillus Subtilis Encodes a New D-Aminopeptidase
Cheggour, Abdelatif; Fanuel, Laurence; Duez, Colette ULg et al

in Molecular Microbiology (2000), 38(3), 504-13

Different strains of Bacillus were screened for their ability to hydrolyse D-alanyl-p-nitroanilide. Activity was detected in Bacillus pumilus, Bacillus brevis, Bacillus licheniformis 749I and Bacillus ... [more ▼]

Different strains of Bacillus were screened for their ability to hydrolyse D-alanyl-p-nitroanilide. Activity was detected in Bacillus pumilus, Bacillus brevis, Bacillus licheniformis 749I and Bacillus subtilis 168. The last strain was the best producer and was selected for the production and purification of the enzyme. The determination of the N-terminal sequence identified the enzyme as the product of the dppA gene (previously named dciAA) belonging to the dipeptide ABC transport (dpp) operon expressed early during sporulation. Open reading frames (ORFs) encoding putative related proteins were found in the genomes of a variety of Archaea and both sporulating and non-sporulating bacteria. The enzyme behaves as a D-aminopeptidase and represents the prototype of a new peptidase family. Among the tested substrates, the highest activities were found with D-Ala-D-Ala and D-Ala-Gly-Gly. The active enzyme behaves as an octamer of identical 30 kDa subunits. It exhibits a broad pH optimum, extending between pH 9 and 11. It is reversibly inhibited in the presence of Zn2+ chelators, and the sequence comparisons highlight the conservation of potential Zn-binding residues. As it has been shown by others that null mutations in the dpp operon do not inhibit spore formation, the physiological role of DppA is probably an adaptation to nutrient deficiency. [less ▲]

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See detailA new variant of the Ntn hydrolase fold revealed by the crystal structure of L-aminopeptidase D-ala-esterase/amidase from Ochrobactrum anthropi.
Bompard-Gilles, C; Villeret, V; Davies, G J et al

in Structure (2000), 8(2), 153-62

BACKGROUND: The L-aminopeptidase D-Ala-esterase/amidase from Ochrobactrum anthropi (DmpA) releases the N-terminal L and/or D-Ala residues from peptide substrates. This is the only known enzyme to liberate ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: The L-aminopeptidase D-Ala-esterase/amidase from Ochrobactrum anthropi (DmpA) releases the N-terminal L and/or D-Ala residues from peptide substrates. This is the only known enzyme to liberate N-terminal amino acids with both D and L stereospecificity. The DmpA active form is an alphabeta heterodimer, which results from a putative autocatalytic cleavage of an inactive precursor polypeptide. RESULTS: The crystal structure of the enzyme has been determined to 1.82 A resolution using the multiple isomorphous replacement method. The heterodimer folds into a single domain organised as an alphabetabetaalpha sandwich in which two mixed beta sheets are flanked on both sides by two alpha helices. CONCLUSIONS: DmpA shows no similarity to other known aminopeptidases in either fold or catalytic mechanism, and thus represents the first example of a novel family of aminopeptidases. The protein fold of DmpA does, however, show structural homology to members of the N-terminal nucleophile (Ntn) hydrolase superfamily. DmpA presents functionally equivalent residues in the catalytic centre when compared with other Ntn hydrolases, and is therefore likely to use the same catalytic mechanism. In spite of this homology, the direction and connectivity of the secondary structure elements differ significantly from the consensus Ntn hydrolase topology. The DmpA structure thus characterises a new subfamily, but supports the common catalytic mechanism for these enzymes suggesting an evolutionary relationship. [less ▲]

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See detailTechnique for a rapid and efficient purification of the SHV-1 and PSE-2 beta-lactamases.
Bouillenne, Fabrice ULg; Matagne, André ULg; Joris, Bernard ULg et al

in Journal of Chromatography. B : Biomedical Sciences and Applications (2000), 737(1-2), 261-5

A simple procedure is described which results in an optimised resolution in molecular sieve chromatography. A sample exhibiting a large initial volume (about 20 ml) and conditioned in a buffer of low ... [more ▼]

A simple procedure is described which results in an optimised resolution in molecular sieve chromatography. A sample exhibiting a large initial volume (about 20 ml) and conditioned in a buffer of low ionic strength (<20 mM) by filtration through a 53-ml G25 molecular sieve column, is adsorbed on a 1.7-ml ion-exchange (SOURCE) column. The proteins are released by a 10-ml pulse of 1 M NaCl and the eluate directly injected onto a 120-ml Sephacryl S100-HR column. The very low volume of the eluate ensures optimal conditions and resolution for the molecular sieving process. The method is applied as the polishing step in the purification of the SHV-1 and PSE-2 beta-lactamases. It could easily be scaled up for the treatment of larger samples. [less ▲]

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