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Title: Ensemble Refinement of Protein Crystal Structures: Validation and Application

Abstract

X-ray crystallography typically uses a single set of coordinates and B factors to describe macromolecular conformations. Refinement of multiple copies of the entire structure has been previously used in specific cases as an alternative means of representing structural flexibility. Here, we systematically validate this method by using simulated diffraction data, and we find that ensemble refinement produces better representations of the distributions of atomic positions in the simulated structures than single-conformer refinements. Comparison of principal components calculated from the refined ensembles and simulations shows that concerted motions are captured locally, but that correlations dissipate over long distances. Ensemble refinement is also used on 50 experimental structures of varying resolution and leads to decreases in Rfree values, implying that improvements in the representation of flexibility observed for the simulated structures may apply to real structures. These gains are essentially independent of resolution or data-to-parameter ratio, suggesting that even structures at moderate resolution can benefit from ensemble refinement.

Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) National Synchrotron Light Source
Sponsoring Org.:
Doe - Office Of Science
OSTI Identifier:
959564
Report Number(s):
BNL-82550-2009-JA
Journal ID: ISSN 0092-8674; CELLB5; TRN: US201016%%708
DOE Contract Number:
DE-AC02-98CH10886
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Cell; Journal Volume: 15
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; CRYSTAL STRUCTURE; CRYSTALLOGRAPHY; DIFFRACTION; FLEXIBILITY; PROTEINS; RESOLUTION; VALIDATION; national synchrotron light source

Citation Formats

Levin,E., Kondrashov, D., Wesenberg, G., and Philips, Jr., G. Ensemble Refinement of Protein Crystal Structures: Validation and Application. United States: N. p., 2007. Web. doi:10.1016/j.str.2007.06.019.
Levin,E., Kondrashov, D., Wesenberg, G., & Philips, Jr., G. Ensemble Refinement of Protein Crystal Structures: Validation and Application. United States. doi:10.1016/j.str.2007.06.019.
Levin,E., Kondrashov, D., Wesenberg, G., and Philips, Jr., G. Mon . "Ensemble Refinement of Protein Crystal Structures: Validation and Application". United States. doi:10.1016/j.str.2007.06.019.
@article{osti_959564,
title = {Ensemble Refinement of Protein Crystal Structures: Validation and Application},
author = {Levin,E. and Kondrashov, D. and Wesenberg, G. and Philips, Jr., G.},
abstractNote = {X-ray crystallography typically uses a single set of coordinates and B factors to describe macromolecular conformations. Refinement of multiple copies of the entire structure has been previously used in specific cases as an alternative means of representing structural flexibility. Here, we systematically validate this method by using simulated diffraction data, and we find that ensemble refinement produces better representations of the distributions of atomic positions in the simulated structures than single-conformer refinements. Comparison of principal components calculated from the refined ensembles and simulations shows that concerted motions are captured locally, but that correlations dissipate over long distances. Ensemble refinement is also used on 50 experimental structures of varying resolution and leads to decreases in Rfree values, implying that improvements in the representation of flexibility observed for the simulated structures may apply to real structures. These gains are essentially independent of resolution or data-to-parameter ratio, suggesting that even structures at moderate resolution can benefit from ensemble refinement.},
doi = {10.1016/j.str.2007.06.019},
journal = {Cell},
number = ,
volume = 15,
place = {United States},
year = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007},
month = {Mon Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2007}
}
  • Ensemble-refinement analysis of native and mutant factor D (FD) crystal structures indicates a dynamical transition in FD from a self-inhibited inactive conformation to a substrate-bound active conformation that is reminiscent of the allostery in thrombin. Comparison with previously observed dynamics in thrombin using NMR data supports the crystallographic ensembles. Human factor D (FD) is a self-inhibited thrombin-like serine proteinase that is critical for amplification of the complement immune response. FD is activated by its substrate through interactions outside the active site. The substrate-binding, or ‘exosite’, region displays a well defined and rigid conformation in FD. In contrast, remarkable flexibility ismore » observed in thrombin and related proteinases, in which Na{sup +} and ligand binding is implied in allosteric regulation of enzymatic activity through protein dynamics. Here, ensemble refinement (ER) of FD and thrombin crystal structures is used to evaluate structure and dynamics simultaneously. A comparison with previously published NMR data for thrombin supports the ER analysis. The R202A FD variant has enhanced activity towards artificial peptides and simultaneously displays active and inactive conformations of the active site. ER revealed pronounced disorder in the exosite loops for this FD variant, reminiscent of thrombin in the absence of the stabilizing Na{sup +} ion. These data indicate that FD exhibits conformational dynamics like thrombin, but unlike in thrombin a mechanism has evolved in FD that locks the unbound native state into an ordered inactive conformation via the self-inhibitory loop. Thus, ensemble refinement of X-ray crystal structures may represent an approach alternative to spectroscopy to explore protein dynamics in atomic detail.« less
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  • All-atom models derived from moderate-resolution protein crystal structures contain a high frequency of close nonbonded contacts, independent of the major refinement program used for structure determination. All-atom refinement with PrimeX corrects many of these problematic interactions, producing models that are better suited for use in computational chemistry and related applications. All-atom models are essential for many applications in molecular modeling and computational chemistry. Nonbonded atomic contacts much closer than the sum of the van der Waals radii of the two atoms (clashes) are commonly observed in such models derived from protein crystal structures. A set of 94 recently deposited proteinmore » structures in the resolution range 1.5–2.8 Å were analyzed for clashes by the addition of all H atoms to the models followed by optimization and energy minimization of the positions of just these H atoms. The results were compared with the same set of structures after automated all-atom refinement with PrimeX and with nonbonded contacts in protein crystal structures at a resolution equal to or better than 0.9 Å. The additional PrimeX refinement produced structures with reasonable summary geometric statistics and similar R{sub free} values to the original structures. The frequency of clashes at less than 0.8 times the sum of van der Waals radii was reduced over fourfold compared with that found in the original structures, to a level approaching that found in the ultrahigh-resolution structures. Moreover, severe clashes at less than or equal to 0.7 times the sum of atomic radii were reduced 15-fold. All-atom refinement with PrimeX produced improved crystal structure models with respect to nonbonded contacts and yielded changes in structural details that dramatically impacted on the interpretation of some protein–ligand interactions.« less
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