Crystallography Journals Online : IUCR Backfile Archive 1948-2001
Chemistry and Pharmacology
The crystal structure of the functional amino-terminal two-domain fragment of human vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 (VCAM-1) has been determined at 1.9 Å resolution. The crystals contain two copies of the molecule in the asymmetric unit. The structure was solved by multiple isomorphous replacement, using lead and selenium derivatives. Anomalous scattering had to be used to resolve the phase ambiguity of a lead derivative. Since the selenium derivative has very small isomorphous differences, the local scaling algorithm had to be used to obtain an interpretable difference Patterson map. The initial phases were improved by non-crystallographic averaging, solvent flattening and histogram matching. The structure has been refined to a crystallographic R factor of 20.4% (15–1.9 Å, F≥ 3σ) and consists of two Ig domains (D1 and D2). The angle between these domains differs by 12° between the two copies of the molecule in the crystallographic asymmetric unit, demonstrating that some movement is possible at the interface. In the amino-terminal domain D1 there is an `extra' disulfide bond, in addition to the conserved cross-sheet disulfide bond, at the top of the molecule. This bond, a hallmark of the integrin-binding subclass of Ig superfamily proteins, makes the top of this domain very compact. The feature that projects most prominently from D1 is the CD loop, near the base of the domain. The key residue for integrin binding, Asp40, is located in this loop and is easily accessible.
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