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Proteins. 1991;10(3):251-9.

Structure of ricin A-chain at 2.5 A.

Author information

1
Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Texas, Austin 78712.

Abstract

Ricin has been refined in a crystallographic sense to 2.5 A resolution and the model for the A-chain (RTA) is described in detail. Because RTA is the first member of the class of plant toxins to be analyzed, this model probably defines the major structural characteristics of the entire family of these medically important proteins. Explanations are provided to rationalize amino acids that are conserved between RTA and a number of homologous plant and bacterial toxins. Eight invariant residues appear to be involved in creating or stabilizing the active site. In the active site Arg180 and Glu177 are hydrogen bonded to each other and also coordinate a water molecule; each of these groups may be important in the N-glycosidation reaction. Several other polar residues may play lesser roles in the mechanism, including tyrosines 80 and 123 and asparagines 78 and 209. A number of conserved hydrophobic residues are seen to cluster within several patches and probably drive the overall folding of the toxin molecule.

PMID:
1881881
DOI:
10.1002/prot.340100309
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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