Protein Conformer Selection by Sequence-Dependent Packing Contacts in Crystals of 3-Phosphoglycerate Kinase

Zoltán Kovári, Mária Vas

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15 Citations (Scopus)


In several crystal structures of 3-phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK), the two domains occupy different relative positions. It is intriguing that the two extreme (open and closed) conformations have never been observed for the enzyme from the same species. Furthermore, in certain cases, these different crystalline conformations represent the enzyme-ligand complex of the same composition, such as the ternary complex containing either the substrate 3-phosphoglycerate (3-PG) and β,γ-imido-adenosine-5′ -triphosphate (AMP-PNP), an analogue of the substrate MgATP, or 3-PG and the product MgADP. Thus, the protein conformation in the crystal is apparently determined by the origin of the isolated enzyme: PGK from pig muscle has only been crystallized in open conformation, whereas PGK from either Thermotoga maritima or Trypanosoma brucei has only been reported in closed conformations. A systematic analysis of the underlying sequence differences at the crucial hinge regions of the molecule and in the protein-protein contact surfaces in the crystal, in two independent pairs of open and closed states, have revealed that 1) sequential differences around the molecular hinges do not explain the appearance of fundamentally different conformations and 2) the species-specific intermolecular contacts between the nonconserved residues are responsible for stabilizing one conformation over the other in the crystalline state. A direct relationship between the steric position of the contacts in the three-dimensional structure and the conformational state of the protein has been demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-209
Number of pages12
JournalProteins: Structure, Function and Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2004



  • Contact surfaces
  • Contact-forming residues
  • Domain positions
  • Lattice constraints
  • Protein crystals
  • Sequence specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

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