Hier finden Sie alle wissenschaftlichen Publikationen und Arbeiten bzw. Veröffentlichungen von Dr. Gerald Böhm aus der Zeit von 1988 bis 2007. Die PDF-Dateien stehen zum Download gemäß den jeweiligen Urheberrechten bereit.

Proteins present unique folding structures whose conformations are determined primarily by their amino acid sequences. At present, there is no algorithm that would correlate the sequences with the structures determined by X-ray analysis or NMR. Comparative modeling of a new protein sequence based on the known structure of a functionally related protein promises to yield model structures that may provide relevant properties of the protein. To analyze the quality of a model structure, a set of correlation functions was derived from calculations on a subset of proteins from the structure database. Twenty-three highly resolved protein structures with resolutions of at least 1.7 Å from various protein families were used as the primary database. The purpose of this initial work was to find highly sensitive functions (including statistical error limits for the parameters) that describe properties of “real” proteins. Each correlation described is characterized by the correlation coefficient, the parameters for linear or nonlinear regression (coefficients of the equation), standard deviation and variance, and the confidence limits describing the statistical probability for values to occur within these limits, e.g., the natural variability of the property under examination. In addition, a method was developed for creating reasonably misfolded proteins. The ability of a correlation function to discriminate between the native structure and the misfolded conformations is expressed by the reliability index, which indicates the sensitivity of a correlation function. The term correlation functions thus summarizes a variety of efforts to find a mathematical description for the properties of protein structures, for their correlation, and for their significance.

Creatinase (creatine amidinohydrolase, EC from Pseudomonas putida is a homodimer of 45 kDa subunit molecular mass, the three-dimensional structure of which is known at 1.9 Å resolution. Three point mutants, A109V, V355M, and V182I, as well as one double mutant combining A109V and V355M, and the triple mutant with all three replacements, were compared with wild-type creatinase regarding their physical and enzymological properties. High-resolution crystal data for wild-type creatinase and the first two mutants suggest isomorphism at least for these three proteins (R. Huber, pers. comm.). Physicochemical measurements confirm this prediction, showing that the mutations have no effect either on the quaternary structure and gross conformation or the catalytic properties as compared to wild-type creatinase. The replacement of V182 (at the solvent-exposed end of the first helix of the C-terminal domain) does not cause significant differences in comparison with the wild-type enzyme. The other point mutations stabilize the first step in the biphasic denaturation transition without affecting the second one. In sum, the enhanced stability seems to reflect slight improvements in the local packing without creating new well-defined bonds. The increase in hydrophobicity generated by the introduction of additional methyl groups (A109V, V1821) must be compensated by minor readjustments of the global structure. Secondary or quaternary interactions are not affected. In going from single to double and triple mutants, to a first approximation, the increments of stabilization are additive.

Protein structure prediction is based mainly on the modeling of proteins by homology to known structures; this knowledgebased approach is the most promising method to date. Although it is used in the whole area of protein research, no general rules concerning the quality and applicability of concepts and procedures used in homology modeling have been put forward yet. Therefore, the main goal of the present work is to provide tools for the assessment of accuracy of modeling at a given level of sequence homology. A large set of known structures from different conformational and functional classes, but various degrees of homology was selected. Pairwise structure superpositions were performed. Starting with the definition of the structurally conserved regions and determination of topologically correct sequence alignments, we correlated geometrical properties with sequence homology (defined by the 250 PAM Dayhoff Matrix) and identity. It is shown that both the topological differences of the protein backbones and the relative positions of corresponding side chains diverge with decreasing sequence identity. Below 50% identity, the deviation in regions that are structurally not conserved continually increases, thus implying that with decreasing sequence identity modeling has to take into account more and more structurally diverging loop regions that are difficult to predict.

The amino acid composition of proteins from mesophilic and extremophilic organisms is commonly assumed to reflect the mechanisms of molecular adaptation to extremes of physical conditions. In this context, halophilic behavior has been attributed to significantly increased numbers of aspartic and glutamic acid residues. However, extending the analysis to a statistically relevant set of related proteins, dihydrofolate reductase from Halobacterium volcanii, as an example, shows that the increase in negative charge is found to be less significant than other exchanges of amino acids (e. g., Ala, Asn, Arg, Lys, Phe, Ser). Thus, the high water binding capacity of negatively charged residues cannot be unambiguously correlated with the anomalous stability of halophilic proteins. A similar caveat holds for generalizations regarding the thermal stability of proteins. In this case, D-glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase from the hyperthermophilic eubacterium Thermotoga maritima was compared with a number of mesophilic and moderately thermophilic homologs. Again, “traffic rules of stabilization” in terms of amino acid changes in going from mesophilic to thermophilic proteins cannot be given.

“Halophilic adaptation” of proteins, i. e. the requirement for high concentrations of monovalent ions for thermodynamical stability of proteins from halophilic organisms, is not fully understood. In this work, an explanation for the halophilic behavior of dihydrofolate reductase (h-Dhfr) from Halobacterium volcanii is attempted, based on a model structure derived by comparative modeling to dihydrofolate reductase from E. coli. The model structure of h-Dhfr shows an unique asymmetrical charge distribution over the protein surface, with positively charged amino acids centered around the active site, and negative charges on the opposite side of the enzyme. This particular charge distribution and the correlated molecular dipole are functionally relevant. The negative charges on the surface form clusters which are shielded at high salt concentrations; at low salt, they repulse each other, thus destabilizing the protein. Results are in accordance with denaturation data and thus provide an explanation for the exceptional stability properties of h-Dhfr.

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