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  1. Abstract

    Lepidopteran male moths have an extraordinarily sensitive olfactory system that is capable of detecting and responding to minute amounts of female-secreted pheromones over great distances. Pheromone-binding proteins (PBPs) in male antennae ferry the hydrophobic ligand across the aqueous lymph to the olfactory receptor neuron triggering the response. PBPs bind ligands at physiological pH of the lymph and release them at acidic pH near the receptor while undergoing a conformational change. InAnthereae polyphemusPBP1, ligand binding to the hydrophobic pocket and its release is regulated by two biological gates: His70 and His95 at one end of the pocket and C-terminus tail at the other end. Interestingly, in Asian corn borerOstrinia furnacalisPBP2 (OfurPBP2), critical residues for ligand binding and release are substituted in both biological gates. The impact of these substitutions on the ligand binding and release mechanism in OfurPBP2 is not known. We report here overexpression of soluble OfurPBP2 and structural characterization at high and low pH by circular dichroism (CD) and NMR. Ligand binding and ab initio model development were carried out with fluorescence and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) respectively. OfurPBP2 in solution at pH 6.5 is homogeneous, well-folded and has a compact globular shape.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2024
  3. PDB Code(s): 7UO6 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Asparagine-linked glycosylation, also known as N-linked glycosylation, is an essential and highly conserved co- and post-translational protein modification in eukaryotes and some prokaryotes. In the central step of this reaction, a carbohydrate moiety is transferred from a lipid-linked donor to the side-chain of a consensus asparagine in a nascent protein as it is synthesized at the ribosome. Complete loss of oligosaccharyltransferase (OST) function is lethal in eukaryotes. This reaction is carried out by a membrane-associated multisubunit enzyme, OST, localized in the endoplasmic reticulum. The smallest subunit, Ost4, contains a single membrane-spanning helix that is critical for maintaining the stability and activity of OST. Mutation of any residue from Met18 to Ile24 of Ost4 destabilizes the enzyme complex, affecting its activity. Here, we report solution nuclear magnetic resonance structures and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of Ost4 and Ost4V23D in micelles. Our studies revealed that while the point mutation did not impact the structure of the protein, it affected its position and solvent exposure in the membrane mimetic environment. Furthermore, our MD simulations of the membrane-bound OST complex containing either WT or V23D mutant demonstrated disruption of most hydrophobic helix–helix interactions between Ost4V23D and transmembrane TM12 and TM13 of Stt3. This disengagement of Ost4V23D from the OST complex led to solvent exposure of the D23 residue in the hydrophobic pocket created by these interactions. Our study not only solves the structures of yeast Ost4 subunit and its mutant but also provides a basis for the destabilization of the OST complex and reduced OST activity. 
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  5. Ostrinia nubilalis, a lepidopteran moth, also known as the European corn borer, has a major impact on the production of economically important crops in the United States and Europe. The female moth invites the male moth for mating through the release of pheromones, a volatile chemical signal. Pheromone binding proteins (PBPs) present in the male moth antennae are believed to pick up the pheromones, transport them across the aqueous sensillum lymph, and deliver them to the olfactory receptor neurons. Here we report for the first time the cloning, expression, refolding, purification, and structural characterization of Ostrinia nubilalis PBP3 (OnubPBP3). The recombinant protein showed nanomolar affinity to each isomer of the Ostrinia pheromones, E- and Z-11-tetradecenyl acetate. In a pH titration study by nuclear magnetic resonance, the protein exhibited an acid-induced unfolding at pH below 5.5. The molecular dynamics simulation study demonstrated ligand-induced conformational changes in the protein with both E- and Z-isomers of the Ostrinia pheromone. The simulation studies showed that while protein flexibility decreases upon binding to E-pheromone, it increases when bound to Z-pheromone. This finding suggests that the OnubPBP3 complex with E-pheromone is more stable than with Z-pheromone. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Light-absorbing chromophores in photoreceptors contain a π-electron system and are intrinsically planar molecules. However, within a protein environment these cofactors often become nonplanar and chiral in a manner that is widely believed to be functionally important. When the same chromophore is out-of-plane distorted in opposite directions in different members of a protein family, such conformers become a set of enantiomers. In techniques using chiral optical spectroscopy such as Raman optical activity (ROA), such proteins are expected to show opposite signs in their spectra. Here we use two microbial rhodopsins, Gloeobacter rhodopsin and sodium ion pump rhodopsin (NaR), to provide the first experimental and theoretical evidence that the twist direction of the retinal chromophore indeed determines the sign of the ROA spectrum. We disrupt the hydrogen bond responsible for the distortion of the retinal in NaR and show that the sign of the ROA signals of this nonfunctional mutant is flipped. The reported ROA spectra are monosignate, a property that has been seen for a variety of photoreceptors, which we attribute to an energetically favorable gradual curvature of the chromophore. 
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