Crystal structure of SmcL, a bacterial neutral sphingomyelinase C from Listeria

Amy E A Openshaw, Paul R Race, Hector J Monzó, Jose A Vazquez-Boland, Mark J Banfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Sphingomyelinases C are enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of sphingomyelin in biological membranes to ceramide and phosphorylcholine. Various pathogenic bacteria produce secreted neutral sphingomyelinases C that act as membrane-damaging virulence factors. Mammalian neutral sphingomyelinases C, which display sequence homology to the bacterial enzymes, are involved in sphingolipid metabolism and signaling. This article describes the first structure to be determined for a member of the neutral sphingomyelinase C family, SmcL, from the intracellular bacterial pathogen Listeria ivanovii. The structure has been refined to 1.9-A resolution with phases derived by single isomorphous replacement with anomalous scattering techniques from a single iridium derivative. SmcL adopts a DNase I-like fold, and is the first member of this protein superfamily to have its structure determined that acts as a phospholipase. The structure reveals several unique features that adapt the protein to its phospholipid substrate. These include large hydrophobic beta-hairpin and hydrophobic loops surrounding the active site that may bind and penetrate the lipid bilayer to position sphingomyelin in a catalytically competent position. The structure also provides insight into the proposed general base/acid catalytic mechanism, in which His-325 and His-185 play key roles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35011-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2005

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Ceramides/chemistry
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • DNA/chemistry
  • Electrons
  • Hydrolysis
  • Lipid Bilayers/chemistry
  • Listeria/enzymology
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phospholipases/chemistry
  • Phospholipids/chemistry
  • Phosphorylcholine/chemistry
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sphingomyelin Phosphodiesterase/chemistry
  • Sphingomyelins/chemistry


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