four helix bundle
Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Ferritin is a 24 subunit protein that controls biomineralization of iron in animals, bacteria, and plants. Rates of mineralization vary among members of the ferritin family, particularly between L and H type subunits of animal ferritins which are differentially expressed in various cell types. To examine ferritin from a highly differentiated cell type and to clarify the relationship between ferritin structure and function, bullfrog red cell L ferritin has been cloned, overexpressed in E. coli, and crystallized under two conditions. Crystals were obtained at high ionic strength in the presence of MnCl2 at a concentration comparable to that of the protein and in the presence of MgCl2 at a concentration much higher than that of the protein. Under both crystallization conditions, the crystals are tetragonal bipyramids in the space group F432 with unit cell dimensions a=b=c= 182 ± 0.5 Å. Crystals obtained in the presence of manganese and ammonium sulfate diffract to 1.9 Å, while those obtained in the presence of magnesium and sodium tartrate diffract to 1.6 Å. Isomorphous crystals have been obtained under similar conditions for a site-directed mutant with a reduced mineralization rate in which Glu-57, -58, -59, and -61 are all replaced by Ala. The structure of wild type L-subunit with magnesium has been solved by molecular replacement using the calcium salt of human liver H subunit (Lawson et al., Nature (London) 349:541-544, 1991) as the model. The crystallographic R factor for the 6-2.2 Å shell is 0.21. The overall fold of human H and bullfrog L ferritins is similar with an rms difference in backbone atomic positions of 0.97 Å. The largest structural differences occur in the D helix and the loop connecting the D and E helices of the four helix bundle. Because red cell L ferritin and liver H ferritin show differences in both rates of mineralization and three-dimensional structure, more detailed comparisons of these structures are likely to shed new light on the relationship between conformation and function. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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