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Protein Sci. 2007 Dec;16(12):2605-17.

The Staphylococcus aureus extracellular adherence protein (Eap) adopts an elongated but structured conformation in solution.

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Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics, School of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, Missouri 64110, USA.


The extracellular adherence protein (Eap) of Staphylococcus aureus participates in a wide range of protein-protein interactions that facilitate the initiation and dissemination of Staphylococcal disease. In this report, we describe the use of a multidisciplinary approach to characterize the solution structure of full-length Eap. In contrast to previous reports suggesting that a six-domain isoform of Eap undergoes multimerization, sedimentation equilibrium analytical ultracentrifugation data revealed that a four-domain isoform of Eap is a monomer in solution. In vitro proteolysis and solution small angle X-ray scattering studies both indicate that Eap adopts an extended conformation in solution, where the linkers connecting sequential EAP modules are solvent exposed. Construction of a low-resolution model of full-length Eap using a combination of ab initio deconvolution of the SAXS data and rigid body modeling of the EAP domain crystal structure suggests that full-length Eap may present several unique concave surfaces capable of participating in ligand binding. These results also raise the possibility that such surfaces may be held together by additional interactions between adjacent EAP modules. This hypothesis is supported by a comparative Raman spectroscopic analysis of full-length Eap and a stoichiometric solution of the individual EAP modules, which indicates the presence of additional secondary structure and a greater extent of hydrogen/deuterium exchange protection in full-length Eap. Our results provide the first insight into the solution structure of full-length Eap and an experimental basis for interpreting the EAP domain crystal structures within the context of the full-length molecule. They also lay a foundation for future studies into the structural and molecular bases of Eap-mediated protein-protein interactions with its many ligands.

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