Periplasmic binding protein structure and function. Refined X-ray structures of the leucine/isoleucine/valine-binding protein and its complex with leucine

J Mol Biol. 1989 Mar 5;206(1):171-91. doi: 10.1016/0022-2836(89)90531-7.


The three-dimensional structure of the native unliganded form of the Leu/Ile/Val-binding protein (Mr = 36,700), an essential component of the high-affinity active transport system for the branched aliphatic amino acids in Escherichia coli, has been determined and further refined to a crystallographic R-factor of 0.17 at 2.4 A resolution. The entire structure consists of 2710 non-hydrogen atoms from the complete sequence of 344 residues and 121 ordered water molecules. Bond lengths and angle distances in the refined model have root-mean-square deviations from ideal values of 0.05 A and 0.10 A, respectively. The overall shape of the protein is a prolate ellipsoid with dimensions of 35 A x 40 A x 70 A. The protein consists of two distinct globular domains linked by three short peptide segments which, though widely separated in the sequence, are proximal in the tertiary structure and form the base of the deep cleft between the two domains. Although each domain is built from polypeptide segments located in both the amino (N) and the carboxy (C) terminal halves, both domains exhibit very similar supersecondary structures, consisting of a central beta-sheet of seven strands flanked on either side by two or three helices. The two domains are far apart from each other, leaving the cleft wide open by about 18 A. The cleft has a depth of about 15 A and a base of about 14 A x 16 A. Refining independently the structure of native Leu/Ile/Val-binding protein crystals soaked in a solution containing L-leucine at 2.8 A resolution (R-factor = 0.15), we have been able to locate and characterize an initial, major portion of the substrate-binding site of the Leu/Ile/Val-binding protein. The binding of the L-leucine substrate does not alter the native crystal structure, and the L-leucine is lodged in a crevice on the wall of the N-domain, which is in the inter-domain cleft. The L-leucine is held in place primarily by hydrogen-bonding of its alpha-ammonium and alpha-carboxylate groups with main-chain peptide units and hydroxyl side-chain groups; there are no salt-linkages. The charges on the leucine zwitterion are stabilized by hydrogen-bond dipoles. The side-chain of the L-leucine substrate lies in a depression lined with non-polar residues, including Leu77, which confers specificity to the site by stacking with the side-chain of the leucine substrate.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Binding Sites
  • Carrier Proteins*
  • Escherichia coli
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Leucine*
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Models, Molecular
  • Models, Structural
  • Protein Conformation
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • LivJ protein, E coli
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • leucine-isoleucine-valine binding protein, bacteria
  • Leucine