New crystal forms of glutamine synthetase and implications for the molecular structure

E. G. Heidner, T. G. Frey, J. Held, L. J. Weissman, R. E. Fenna, M. Lei, M. Harel, H. Kabsch, R. M. Sweet, D. Eisenberg

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11 Scopus citations


New crystal forms of glutamine synthetase from Escherichia coli are reported. Two of these (II A and II B) demand that the dodecameric molecule contains a 2-fold axis of symmetry perpendicular to the apparent hexagonal face. Whereas forms II A and II B and others reported previously (I and III A) were grown from enzyme containing covalently bound AMP groups, a third new form (III C) was grown from enzyme lacking covalently bound AMP groups. Form III C is isomorphous with form III A. This demonstrates that the addition of AMP groups, which profoundly affect the catalytic and regulatory properties of glutamine synthetase, does not alter the dimensions of the molecular envelope. Thus adenylylation of the enzyme does not seem to cause a quaternary structural transition, though small changes of intensities suggest that there may be tertiary structural changes within the subunits. Other new forms include form III B, a low symmetry polymorph, closely related to form III A, and form IV, a trigonal polymorph with large asymmetric unit. All crystal forms are consistent with a symmetry of 622 for the glutamine synthetase molecule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-173
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 25 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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