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EMBO J. 1994 Aug 1;13(15):3413-22.

Crystal structure of the DNA modifying enzyme beta-glucosyltransferase in the presence and absence of the substrate uridine diphosphoglucose.

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Protein Structure Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London.


Bacteriophage T4 beta-glucosyltransferase (EC catalyses the transfer of glucose from uridine diphosphoglucose to hydroxymethyl groups of modified cytosine bases in T4 duplex DNA forming beta-glycosidic linkages. The enzyme forms part of a phage DNA protection system. We have solved and refined the crystal structure of recombinant beta-glucosyltransferase to 2.2 A resolution in the presence and absence of the substrate, uridine diphosphoglucose. The structure comprises two domains of similar topology, each reminiscent of a nucleotide binding fold. The two domains are separated by a central cleft which generates a concave surface along one side of the molecule. The substrate-bound complex reveals only clear electron density for the uridine diphosphate portion of the substrate. The UDPG is bound in a pocket at the bottom of the cleft between the two domains and makes extensive hydrogen bonding contacts with residues of the C-terminal domain only. The domains undergo a rigid body conformational change causing the structure to adopt a more closed conformation upon ligand binding. The movement of the domains is facilitated by a hinge region between residues 166 and 172. Electrostatic surface potential calculations reveal a large positive potential along the concave surface of the structure, suggesting a possible site for duplex DNA interaction.

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