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Structures of SRP54 and SRP19, the Two Proteins that Organize the Ribonucleic Core of the Signal Recognition Particle from Pyrococcus furiosus

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      In all organisms the Signal Recognition Particle (SRP), binds to signal sequences of proteins destined for secretion or membrane insertion as they emerge from translating ribosomes. In Archaea and Eucarya, the conserved ribonucleoproteic core is composed of two proteins, the accessory protein SRP19, the essential GTPase SRP54, and an evolutionarily conserved and essential SRP RNA. Through the GTP-dependent interaction between the SRP and its cognate receptor SR, ribosomes harboring nascent polypeptidic chains destined for secretion are dynamically transferred to the protein translocation apparatus at the membrane. We present here high-resolution X-ray structures of SRP54 and SRP19, the two RNA binding components forming the core of the signal recognition particle from the hyper-thermophilic archaeon Pyrococcus furiosus ( Pfu). The 2.5 Å resolution structure of free Pfu-SRP54 is the first showing the complete domain organization of a GDP bound full-length SRP54 subunit. In its ras-like GTPase domain, GDP is found tightly associated with the protein. The flexible linker that separates the GTPase core from the hydrophobic signal sequence binding M domain, adopts a purely α-helical structure and acts as an articulated arm allowing the M domain to explore multiple regions as it scans for signal peptides as they emerge from the ribosomal tunnel. This linker is structurally coupled to the GTPase catalytic site and likely to propagate conformational changes occurring in the M domain through the SRP RNA upon signal sequence binding. Two different 1.8 Å resolution crystal structures of free Pfu-SRP19 reveal a compact, rigid and well-folded protein even in absence of its obligate SRP RNA partner. Comparison with other SRP19•SRP RNA structures suggests the rearrangement of a disordered loop upon binding with the RNA through a reciprocal induced-fit mechanism and supports the idea that SRP19 acts as a molecular scaffold and a chaperone, assisting the SRP RNA in adopting the conformation required for its optimal interaction with the essential subunit SRP54, and proper assembly of a functional SRP.

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          Inducible expression systems in which T7 RNA polymerase transcribes coding sequences cloned under control of a T7lac promoter efficiently produce a wide variety of proteins in Escherichia coli. Investigation of factors that affect stability, growth, and induction of T7 expression strains in shaking vessels led to the recognition that sporadic, unintended induction of expression in complex media, previously reported by others, is almost certainly caused by small amounts of lactose. Glucose prevents induction by lactose by well-studied mechanisms. Amino acids also inhibit induction by lactose during log-phase growth, and high rates of aeration inhibit induction at low lactose concentrations. These observations, and metabolic balancing of pH, allowed development of reliable non-inducing and auto-inducing media in which batch cultures grow to high densities. Expression strains grown to saturation in non-inducing media retain plasmid and remain fully viable for weeks in the refrigerator, making it easy to prepare many freezer stocks in parallel and use working stocks for an extended period. Auto-induction allows efficient screening of many clones in parallel for expression and solubility, as cultures have only to be inoculated and grown to saturation, and yields of target protein are typically several-fold higher than obtained by conventional IPTG induction. Auto-inducing media have been developed for labeling proteins with selenomethionine, 15N or 13C, and for production of target proteins by arabinose induction of T7 RNA polymerase from the pBAD promoter in BL21-AI. Selenomethionine labeling was equally efficient in the commonly used methionine auxotroph B834(DE3) (found to be metE) or the prototroph BL21(DE3).

            Author and article information

            [1 ]Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, United States of America
            [2 ]Laboratory of Cell Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, New York, New York, United States of America
            Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States of America
            Author notes

            Conceived and designed the experiments: PFE. Performed the experiments: PFE JN. Analyzed the data: PFE. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: PFE JN PW RMS. Wrote the paper: PFE PW RMS.

            Role: Editor
            PLoS ONE
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
            27 October 2008
            : 3
            : 10
            Egea et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
            Pages: 14
            Research Article
            Biochemistry/Macromolecular Assemblies and Machines
            Biochemistry/Membrane Proteins and Energy Transduction
            Biophysics/Macromolecular Assemblies and Machines
            Biophysics/Membrane Proteins and Energy Transduction
            Cell Biology/Membranes and Sorting



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