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J Biol Chem. 1991 Mar 15;266(8):5202-19.

The 2.3-A resolution structure of the maltose- or maltodextrin-binding protein, a primary receptor of bacterial active transport and chemotaxis.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030.


The three-dimensional structure of the maltose- or maltodextrin-binding protein (Mr = 40,622) with bound maltose has been obtained by crystallographic analysis at 2.8-A resolution. The structure, which has been partially refined at 2.3 A, is ellipsoidal with overall dimensions of 30 x 40 x 65 A and divided into two distinct globular domains by a deep groove. Although each domain is built from two peptide segments from the amino- and carboxyl-terminal halves, both domains exhibit similar supersecondary structure, consisting of a central beta-pleated sheet flanked on both sides with two or three parallel alpha-helices. The groove, which has a depth of 18 A and a base of about 9 x 18 A, contains the maltodextrin-binding site. We have previously observed the same general features in the well-refined structures of six other periplasmic receptors with specificities for L-arabinose, D-galactose/D-glucose, sulfate, phosphate, leucine/isoleucine/valine, and leucine. The bound maltose is buried in the groove and almost completely inaccessible to the bulk solvent. The groove is heavily populated by polar and aromatic groups many of which are involved in extensive hydrogen-bonding and van der Waals interactions with the maltose. All the disaccharide hydroxyl groups, which form a peripheral polar surface approximately in the plane of the sugar rings, are tied in a total of 11 direct hydrogen bonds with six charged side chains, one Trp side chain, and one peptide backbone NH, and five indirect hydrogen bonds via water molecules. The maltose is wedged between four aromatic side chains. The resulting stacking of these aromatic residues on the faces of the glucosyl units provides a majority of the van der Waals contacts in the complex. The nonreducing glucosyl unit of the maltose is involved in approximately twice as many hydrogen bonds and van der Waals contacts as the glucosyl unit at the reducing end. The binding protein-maltose complex shows the best example of the extensive use of polar and aromatic residues in binding oligosaccharides. The tertiary structure of the maltodextrin-binding protein, along with the results of genetic studies by a number of investigators, has also enabled us for the first time to map the different regions on the surface of the protein involved in the interactions with the membrane-bound protein components necessary for transport of and chemotaxis toward maltodextrins. These sites permit distinction of the "open cleft" (without bound sugar) and closed (with bound sugar) conformations of the binding protein by the chemotactic signal transducer with which the maltodextrin-binding protein interacts.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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