A biophysical elucidation for less toxicity of agglutinin than abrin-a from the seeds of Abrus precatorius in consequence of crystal structure

Jack Cheng, Tian-Huey Lu, Chao-Lin Liu, Jung-Yaw Lin
Journal of Biomedical Science 2010, 17: 34
X-ray crystal structure determination of agglutinin from Abrus precatorius in Taiwan is presented. The crystal structure of agglutinin, a type II ribosome-inactivating protein (RIP) from the seeds of Abrus precatorius in Taiwan, has been determined from a novel crystalline form by the molecular replacement method using the coordinates of abrin-a as the template. The structure has space group P4(1)2(1)2 with Z = 8, and been refined at 2.6 A to R-factor of 20.4%. The root-mean-square deviations of bond lengths and angles from the standard values are 0.009 A and 1.3 degrees. Primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary structures of agglutinin have been described and compared with those of abrin-a to a certain extent. In subsequent docking research, we found that Asn200 of abrin-a may form a critical hydrogen bond with G4323 of 28SRNA, while corresponding Pro199 of agglutinin is a kink hydrophobic residue bound with the cleft in a more compact complementary relationship. This may explain the lower toxicity of agglutinin than abrin-a, despite of similarity in secondary structure and the activity cleft of two RIPs.

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