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EMBO J. 1983;2(8):1357-65.

Evidence for a repeating cross-beta sheet structure in the adenovirus fibre.

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National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK.


The amino acid sequence of the adenovirus fibre protein reveals an approximately repeating motif of 15 residues. A diagonal comparison matrix established that these repeats extended from residue 43 to residue 400 of the 581 residue sequence. Assignment of secondary structure combined with model building showed that each 15-residue segment contained two short beta-strands and two beta-bends, one of which incorporated an extra residue in a beta-bulge of the Gx type. The 44 strands together gave a long (210 A) narrow, amphipathic beta-sheet, which could be stabilised by dimer formation to give the shaft of the fibre. The knob could arise from a dimer of the C-terminal 180 residue segment, predicted to be an 8-10 stranded beta-sandwich. This model is consistent with the electron micrographs of the fibre and it was supported by measurements of c.d. and of electron diffraction from microcrystals. The latter gave a pair of wide angle arcs, corresponding to a repeat of 4.7 A, oriented appropriately for a cross-beta structure. The relation of this structure to globular structures is discussed and a folding pathway is proposed. In its general features the structure resembles that proposed for the tail fibre of bacteriophage T4.

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