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Ankyrin repeats as a dimerization module

Kozlov, Guennadi, Wong, Kathy, Wang, Wenxuan, Skubák, Pavol, Muñoz-Escobar, Juliana, Liu, Yue, Siddiqui, Nadeem, Pannu, Navraj S., Gehring, Kalle
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2018 v.495 no.1 pp. 1002-1007
Legionella pneumophila, Legionnaires' disease, crystal structure, dimerization, germplasm conservation, humans, pathogens, pneumonia, ultracentrifugation
Legionella pneumophila is a pathogen, causing severe pneumonia in humans called Legionnaires' disease. AnkC (LegA12) is a poorly characterized 495-residue effector protein conserved in multiple Legionella species. Here, we report the crystal structure of a C-terminally truncated AnkC (2–384) at 3.2 Å resolution. The structure shows seven ankyrin repeats (ARs) with unique structural features. AnkC forms a dimer along the outer surface of loops between ARs. The dimer exists both in the crystal form and in solution, as shown by analytical ultracentrifugation. This is the first example of ARs as a dimerization module as opposed to solely a protein interaction domain. In addition, a novel α-helix insert between AR3-AR4 is positioned across the surface opposite the ankyrin groove. Sequence conservation suggests that the ankyrin groove of AnkC is a functional site that interacts with binding targets. This ankyrin domain structure is an important step towards a functional characterization of AnkC.