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J Mol Biol. 2004 Oct 29;343(4):997-1005.

Plasmin(ogen)-binding alpha-enolase from Streptococcus pneumoniae: crystal structure and evaluation of plasmin(ogen)-binding sites.

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Division of Structural Biology, GBF-German Research Center for Biotechnology, Mascheroder Weg 1, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.


Alpha-enolases are ubiquitous cytoplasmic, glycolytic enzymes. In pathogenic bacteria, alpha-enolase doubles as a surface-displayed plasmin(ogen)-binder supporting virulence. The plasmin(ogen)-binding site was initially traced to the two C-terminal lysine residues. More recently, an internal nine-amino acid motif comprising residues 248 to 256 was identified with this function. We report the crystal structure of alpha-enolase from Streptococcus pneumoniae at 2.0A resolution, the first structure both of a plasminogen-binding and of an octameric alpha-enolase. While the dimer is structurally similar to other alpha-enolases, the octamer places the C-terminal lysine residues in an inaccessible, inter-dimer groove restricting the C-terminal lysine residues to a role in folding and oligomerization. The nine residue plasminogen-binding motif, by contrast, is exposed on the octamer surface revealing this as the primary site of interaction between alpha-enolase and plasminogen.

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