Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Mar 31;95(7):3437-42.

The crystal structure of a 3D domain-swapped dimer of RNase A at a 2.1-A resolution.

Author information

  • 1University of California-Department of Energy Laboratory of Structural Biology and Molecular Medicine, Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1570, USA.


The dimer of bovine pancreatic ribonuclease A (RNase A) discovered by Crestfield, Stein, and Moore in 1962 has been crystallized and its structure determined and refined to a 2.1-A resolution. The dimer is 3D domain-swapped. The N-terminal helix (residues 1-15) of each subunit is swapped into the major domain (residues 23-124) of the other subunit. The dimer of bull seminal ribonuclease (BS-RNase) is also known to be domain-swapped, but the relationship of the subunits within the two dimers is strikingly different. In the RNase A dimer, the 3-stranded beta sheets of the two subunits are hydrogen-bonded at their edges to form a continuous 6-stranded sheet across the dimer interface; in the BS-RNase dimer, it is instead the two helices that abut. Whereas the BS-RNase dimer has 2-fold molecular symmetry, the two subunits of the RNase A dimer are related by a rotation of approximately 160 degrees. Taken together, these structures show that intersubunit adhesion comes mainly from the swapped helical domain binding to the other subunit in the "closed interface" but that the overall architecture of the domain-swapped oligomer depends on the interactions in the second type of interface, the "open interface." The RNase A dimer crystals take up the dye Congo Red, but the structure of a Congo Red-stained crystal reveals no bound dye molecule. Dimer formation is inhibited by excess amounts of the swapped helical domain. The possible implications for amyloid formation are discussed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center