Structural Characterisation of the Virulence-Associated Protein Vapg from the Horse Pathogen Rhodococcus Equi.Okoko, T., Blagova, E.V., Whittingham, J.L., Dover, L.G., Wilkinson, A.J.
(2015) Vet.Microbiol. 179: 42
- PubMed: 25746683
- DOI: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2015.01.027
- PubMed Abstract:
Virulence and host range in Rhodococcus equi depends on the variable pathogenicity island of their virulence plasmids. Notable gene products are a family of small secreted virulence-associated proteins (Vaps) that are critical to intramacrophagic pro ...
Virulence and host range in Rhodococcus equi depends on the variable pathogenicity island of their virulence plasmids. Notable gene products are a family of small secreted virulence-associated proteins (Vaps) that are critical to intramacrophagic proliferation. Equine-adapted strains, which cause severe pyogranulomatous pneumonia in foals, produce a cell-associated VapA that is necessary for virulence, alongside five other secreted homologues. In the absence of biochemical insight, attention has turned to the structures of these proteins to develop a functional hypothesis. Recent studies have described crystal structures for VapD and a truncate of the VapA orthologue of porcine-adapted strains, VapB. Here, we crystallised the full-length VapG and determined its structure by molecular replacement. Electron density corresponding to the N-terminal domain was not visible suggesting that it is disordered. The protein core adopted a compact elliptical, anti-parallel β-barrel fold with β1-β2-β3-β8-β5-β6-β7-β4 topology decorated by a single peripheral α-helix unique to this family. The high glycine content of the protein allows close packing of secondary structural elements. Topologically, the surface has no indentations that indicate a nexus for molecular interactions. The distribution of polar and apolar groups on the surface of VapG is markedly uneven. One-third of the surface is dominated by exposed apolar side-chains, with no ionisable and only four polar side-chains exposed, giving rise to an expansive flat hydrophobic surface. Other surface regions are more polar, especially on or near the α-helix and a belt around the centre of the β-barrel. Possible functional significance of these recent structures is discussed.
Department of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK.