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J Mol Biol. 2004 Nov 5;343(5):1379-89.

Rapid analysis of large protein-protein complexes using NMR-derived orientational constraints: the 95 kDa complex of LpxA with acyl carrier protein.

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Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.


Characterization of protein-protein interactions that are critical to the specific function of many biological systems has become a primary goal of structural biology research. Analysis of these interactions by structural techniques is, however, challenging due to inherent limitations of the techniques and because many of the interactions are transient, and suitable complexes are difficult to isolate. In particular, structural studies of large protein complexes by traditional solution NMR methods are difficult due to a priori requirement of extensive assignments and a large number of intermolecular restraints for the complex. An approach overcoming some of these challenges by utilizing orientational restraints from residual dipolar couplings collected on solution NMR samples is presented. The approach exploits existing structures of individual components, including the symmetry properties of some of these structures, to assemble rapidly models for relatively large protein-protein complexes. An application is illustrated with a 95 kDa homotrimeric complex of the acyltransferase protein, LpxA (UDP-N-acetylglucosamine acyltransferase), and acyl carrier protein. LpxA catalyzes the first step in the biosynthesis of the lipid A component of lipopolysaccharide in Gram-negative bacteria. The structural model generated for this complex can be useful in the design of new anti-bacterial agents that inhibit the biosynthesis of lipid A.

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