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2 Publications

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    Looger LabSchreiter Lab
    12/02/11 | Structure of the escherichia coli phosphonate binding protein PhnD and rationally optimized phosphonate biosensors.
    Alicea I, Marvin JS, Miklos AE, Ellington AD, Looger LL, Schreiter ER
    Journal of Molecular Biology. 2011 Dec 2;414(3):356-69. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2011.09.047

    The phnD gene of Escherichia coli encodes the periplasmic binding protein of the phosphonate (Pn) uptake and utilization pathway. We have crystallized and determined structures of E. coli PhnD (EcPhnD) in the absence of ligand and in complex with the environmentally abundant 2-aminoethylphosphonate (2AEP). Similar to other bacterial periplasmic binding proteins, 2AEP binds near the center of mass of EcPhnD in a cleft formed between two lobes. Comparison of the open, unliganded structure with the closed 2AEP-bound structure shows that the two lobes pivot around a hinge by \~{}70° between the two states. Extensive hydrogen bonding and electrostatic interactions stabilize 2AEP, which binds to EcPhnD with low nanomolar affinity. These structures provide insight into Pn uptake by bacteria and facilitated the rational design of high signal-to-noise Pn biosensors based on both coupled small-molecule dyes and autocatalytic fluorescent proteins.

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    Looger LabSchreiter Lab
    11/01/11 | A genetically encoded, high-signal-to-noise maltose sensor.
    Marvin JS, Schreiter ER, Echevarría IM, Looger LL
    Proteins. 2011 Nov;79:3025-36. doi: 10.1002/prot.23118

    We describe the generation of a family of high-signal-to-noise single-wavelength genetically encoded indicators for maltose. This was achieved by insertion of circularly permuted fluorescent proteins into a bacterial periplasmic binding protein (PBP), Escherichia coli maltodextrin-binding protein, resulting in a four-color family of maltose indicators. The sensors were iteratively optimized to have sufficient brightness and maltose-dependent fluorescence increases for imaging, under both one- and two-photon illumination. We demonstrate that maltose affinity of the sensors can be tuned in a fashion largely independent of the fluorescent readout mechanism. Using literature mutations, the binding specificity could be altered to moderate sucrose preference, but with a significant loss of affinity. We use the soluble sensors in individual E. coli bacteria to observe rapid maltose transport across the plasma membrane, and membrane fusion versions of the sensors on mammalian cells to visualize the addition of maltose to extracellular media. The PBP superfamily includes scaffolds specific for a number of analytes whose visualization would be critical to the reverse engineering of complex systems such as neural networks, biosynthetic pathways, and signal transduction cascades. We expect the methodology outlined here to be useful in the development of indicators for many such analytes.

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