1. Gizatullina A.K., Finkina E.I., Mineev K.S., Melnikova D.N., Bogdanov I.V., Telezhinskaya I.N., Balandin S.V., Shenkarev Z.O., Arseniev A.S., Ovchinnikova T.V. (2013). Recombinant production and solution structure of lipid transfer protein from lentil Lens culinaris. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 439 (4), 427–32 [+]

    Lipid transfer protein, designated as Lc-LTP2, was isolated from seeds of the lentil Lens culinaris. The protein has molecular mass 9282.7Da, consists of 93 amino acid residues including 8 cysteines forming 4 disulfide bonds. Lc-LTP2 and its stable isotope labeled analogues were overexpressed in Escherichia coli and purified. Antimicrobial activity of the recombinant protein was examined, and its spatial structure was studied by NMR spectroscopy. The polypeptide chain of Lc-LTP2 forms four α-helices (Cys4-Leu18, Pro26-Ala37, Thr42-Ala56, Thr64-Lys73) and a long C-terminal tail without regular secondary structure. Side chains of the hydrophobic residues form a relatively large internal tunnel-like lipid-binding cavity (van der Waals volume comes up to ∼600Å(3)). The side-chains of Arg45, Pro79, and Tyr80 are located near an assumed mouth of the cavity. Titration with dimyristoyl phosphatidylglycerol (DMPG) revealed formation of the Lc-LTP2/lipid non-covalent complex accompanied by rearrangements in the protein spatial structure and expansion of the internal cavity. The resultant Lc-LTP2/DMPG complex demonstrates limited lifetime and dissociates within tens of hours.

  2. Chugunov A.O., Koromyslova A.D., Berkut A.A., Peigneur S., Tytgat J., Polyansky A.A., Pentkovsky V.M., Vassilevski A.A., Grishin E.V., Efremov R.G. (2013). Modular Organization of α-Toxins from Scorpion Venom Mirrors Domain Structure of Their Targets, Sodium Channels. J. Biol. Chem. 288 (26), 19014–27 [+]

    To gain success in the evolutionary "arms race," venomous animals such as scorpions produce diverse neurotoxins selected to hit targets in the nervous system of prey. Scorpion α-toxins affect insect and/or mammalian voltage-gated sodium channels (Navs) and thereby modify the excitability of muscle and nerve cells. Although more than 100 α-toxins are known and a number of them have been studied into detail, the molecular mechanism of their interaction with Navs is still poorly understood. Here, we employ extensive molecular dynamics simulations and spatial mapping of hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties distributed over the molecular surface of α-toxins. It is revealed that despite the small size and relatively rigid structure, these toxins possess modular organization from structural, functional, and evolutionary perspectives. The more conserved and rigid "core module" is supplemented with the "specificity module" (SM) that is comparatively flexible and variable and determines the taxon (mammal versus insect) specificity of α-toxin activity. We further show that SMs in mammal toxins are more flexible and hydrophilic than in insect toxins. Concomitant sequence-based analysis of the extracellular loops of Navs suggests that α-toxins recognize the channels using both modules. We propose that the core module binds to the voltage-sensing domain IV, whereas the more versatile SM interacts with the pore domain in repeat I of Navs. These findings corroborate and expand the hypothesis on different functional epitopes of toxins that has been reported previously. In effect, we propose that the modular structure in toxins evolved to match the domain architecture of Navs.

  3. Volynsky P.E., Polyansky A.A., Fakhrutdinova G.N., Bocharov E.V., Efremov R.G. (2013). Role of Dimerization Efficiency of Transmembrane Domains in Activation of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 3. J. Am. Chem. Soc. , [+]

    Mutations in transmembrane (TM) domains of receptor tyrosine kinases are shown to cause a number of inherited diseases and cancer development. Here, we use a combined molecular modeling approach to understand molecular mechanism of effect of G380R and A391E mutations on dimerization of TM domains of human fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3). According to results of Monte Carlo conformational search in the implicit membrane and further molecular dynamics simulations, TM dimer of this receptor is able to form a number of various conformations, which differ significantly by the free energy of association in a full-atom model bilayer. The aforementioned mutations affect dimerization efficiency of TM segments and lead to repopulation of conformational ensemble for the dimer. Particularly, both mutations do not change the dimerization free energy of the predominant (putative "non-active") symmetric conformation of TM dimer, while affect dimerization efficiency of its asymmetric ("intermediate") and alternative symmetric (putative "active") models. Results of our simulations provide novel atomistic prospective of the role of G380 and A391E mutations in dimerization of TM domains of FGFR3 and their consecutive contributions to the activation pathway of the receptor.

  4. Pyrkov T.V., Chugunov A.O., Krylov N.A., Nolde D.E., Efremov R.G. (2009). PLATINUM: a web tool for analysis of hydrophobic/hydrophilic organization of biomolecular complexes. Bioinformatics 25 (9), 1201–2 [+]

    The PLATINUM (Protein-Ligand ATtractions Investigation NUMerically) web service is designed for analysis and visualization of hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties of biomolecules supplied as 3D-structures. Furthermore, PLATINUM provides a number of tools for quantitative characterization of the hydrophobic/hydrophilic match in biomolecular complexes e.g. in docking poses. These complement standard scoring functions. The calculations are based on the concept of empirical Molecular Hydrophobicity Potential (MHP). AVAILABILITY: The PLATINUM web tool as well as detailed documentation and tutorial are available free of charge for academic users at http://model.nmr.ru/platinum/. PLATINUM requires Java 5 or higher and Adobe Flash Player 9. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.


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