Arabidopsis centrin 2, also known as calmodulin-like protein 19 (CML19), is a member of the EF-hand superfamily of calcium (Ca 2+ )-binding proteins. In addition to the notion that CML19 interacts with the nucleotide excision repair protein RAD4, CML19 was suggested to be a component of the transcription export complex 2 (TREX-2) by interacting with SAC3B. However, the molecular determinants of this interaction have remained largely unknown. Herein, we identified a CML19-binding site within the C-terminus of SAC3B and characterized the binding properties of the corresponding 26-residue peptide (SAC3Bp), which exhibits the hydrophobic triad centrin-binding motif in a reversed orientation (I 8 W 4 W 1 ). Using a combination of spectroscopic and calorimetric experiments, we shed light on the SAC3Bp–CML19 complex structure in solution. We demonstrated that the peptide interacts not only with Ca 2+ -saturated CML19, but also with apo-CML19 to form a protein–peptide complex with a 1 : 1 stoichiometry. Both interactions involve hydrophobic and electrostatic contributions and include the burial of Trp residues of SAC3Bp. However, the peptide likely assumes different conformations upon binding to apo-CML19 or Ca 2+ -CML19. Importantly, the peptide dramatically increases the affinity for Ca 2+ of CML19, especially of the C-lobe, suggesting that in vivo the protein would be Ca 2+ -saturated and bound to SAC3B even at resting Ca 2+ -levels. Our results, providing direct evidence that Arabidopsis SAC3B is a CML19 target and proposing that CML19 can bind to SAC3B through its C-lobe independent of a Ca 2+ stimulus, support a functional role for these proteins in TREX-2 complex and mRNA export.
Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite of medical and veterinary relevance responsible for toxoplasmosis in humans. As an efficacious vaccine remains a challenge, chemotherapy is still the most effective way to combat the disease. In search of novel druggable targets, we performed a thorough characterization of the putative pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzyme ornithine aminotransferase from T. gondii ME49 (TgOAT). We overexpressed the protein in Escherichia coli and analysed its molecular and kinetic properties by UV-visible absorbance, fluorescence and CD spectroscopy, in addition to kinetic studies of both the steady state and pre-steady state. TgOAT is largely similar to OATs from other species regarding its general transamination mechanism and spectral properties of PLP; however, it does not show a specific ornithine aminotransferase activity like its human homologue, but exhibits both N-acetylornithine and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transaminase activity in vitro , suggesting a role in both arginine and GABA metabolism in vivo . The presence of Val79 in the active site of TgOAT in place of Tyr, as in its human counterpart, provides the necessary room to accommodate N-acetylornithine and GABA, resembling the active site arrangement of GABA transaminases. Moreover, mutation of Val79 to Tyr results in a change of substrate preference between GABA, N-acetylornithine and L-ornithine, suggesting a key role of Val79 in defining substrate specificity. The findings that TgOAT possesses parasite-specific structural features as well as differing substrate specificity from its human homologue make it an attractive target for anti-toxoplasmosis inhibitor design that can be exploited for chemotherapeutic intervention.