Staphylococcal protein A (SpA) is a virulence factor from Staphylococcus aureus that is able to bind to immunoglobulins. The 3D structures of its immunoglobulin (Ig) binding domains have been extensively studied by NMR and X-ray crystallography, and are often used as model structures in developing de novo or ab initio strategies for predicting protein structure. These small three-helix-bundle structures, reported in free proteins or Ig-bound complexes, have been determined previously using medium- to high-resolution data. Although the location and relative orientation of the three helices in most of these published 3D domain structures are consistent, there are significant differences among the reported structures regarding the tilt angle of the first helix (helix 1). We have applied residual dipolar coupling data, together with nuclear Overhauser enhancement and scalar coupling data, in refining the NMR solution structure of an engineered IgG-binding domain (Z domain) of SpA. Our results demonstrate that the three helices are almost perfectly antiparallel in orientation, with the first helix tilting slightly away from the other two helices. We propose that this high-accuracy structure of the Z domain of SpA is a more suitable target for theoretical predictions of the free domain structure than previously published lower-accuracy structures of protein A domains.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Residual dipolar coupling
- Structure refinement
- Z domain