- Group A streptococcus (Strep A) surface M protein, an α-helical coiled-coil dimer, is a vaccine target and a major determinant of streptococcal virulence. The sequence-variable N-terminal region of the M protein defines the M type and also contains epitopes that promote opsonophagocytic killing of streptococci. Recent reports have reported considerable cross-reactivity among different M types, suggesting the prospect of identifying cross-protective epitopes that would constitute a broadly protective multivalent vaccine against Strep A isolates.
- Glycoside hydrolase family (GH) 16 comprises a large and taxonomically diverse family of glycosidases and transglycosidases that adopt a common β-jelly-roll fold and are active on a range of terrestrial and marine polysaccharides. Presently, broadly insightful sequence–function correlations in GH16 are hindered by a lack of a systematic subfamily structure. To fill this gap, we have used a highly scalable protein sequence similarity network analysis to delineate nearly 23,000 GH16 sequences into 23 robust subfamilies, which are strongly supported by hidden Markov model and maximum likelihood molecular phylogenetic analyses.
- Information on how insulin and insulin-like growth factors 1 and 2 (IGF-1 and -2) activate insulin receptors (IR-A and -B) and the IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) is crucial for understanding the difference in the biological activities of these peptide hormones. Cryo-EM studies have revealed that insulin uses its binding sites 1 and 2 to interact with IR-A and have identified several critical residues in binding site 2. However, mutagenesis studies suggest that Ile-A10, Ser-A12, Leu-A13, and Glu-A17 also belong to insulin's site 2.
- RNA viruses synthesize new genomes in the infected host thanks to dedicated, virally-encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps). As such, these enzymes are prime targets for antiviral therapy, as has recently been demonstrated for hepatitis C virus (HCV). However, peculiarities in the architecture and dynamics of RdRps raise fundamental questions about access to their active site during RNA polymerization. Here, we used molecular modeling and molecular dynamics simulations, starting from the available crystal structures of HCV NS5B in ternary complex with template-primer duplexes and nucleotides, to address the question of ribonucleotide entry into the active site of viral RdRp.
- Heme-binding proteins constitute a large family of catalytic and transport proteins. Their widespread presence as globins and as essential oxygen and electron transporters, along with their diverse enzymatic functions, have made them targets for protein design. Most previously reported designs involved the use of α-helical scaffolds, and natural peptides also exhibit a strong preference for these scaffolds. However, the reason for this preference is not well-understood, in part because alternative protein designs, such as those with β-sheets or hairpins, are challenging to perform.
- Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen 85 (Ag85) enzymes catalyze the transfer of mycolic acid (MA) from trehalose monomycolate to produce the mycolyl arabinogalactan (mAG) or trehalose dimycolate (TDM). These lipids define the protective mycomembrane of mycobacteria. The current model of substrate binding within the active sites of Ag85s for the production of TDM is not sterically and geometrically feasible; additionally, this model does not account for the production of mAG. Furthermore, this model does not address how Ag85s limit the hydrolysis of the acyl-enzyme intermediate while catalyzing acyl transfer.
- Wnt signaling pathways are of significant interest in development and oncogenesis. The first step in these pathways typically involves the binding of a Wnt protein to the cysteine-rich domain (CRD) of a Frizzled receptor. Wnt-Frizzled interactions can be antagonized by secreted Frizzled-related proteins (SFRPs), which also contain a Frizzled-like CRD. The large number of Wnts, Frizzleds, and SFRPs, as well as the hydrophobic nature of Wnt, poses challenges to laboratory-based investigations of interactions involving Wnt.