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The three-dimensional structure of the recombinant histone rHMfB from Methanothermus fervidus, an archaeon that grows optimally at 83 degrees C, has been determined by nuclear magnetic resonance methods. This is only the third structure of a protein from a hyperthermophilic organism (optimal growth at temperatures above 80 degrees C). Signal assignments were made using a combination of homonuclear-correlated, 15N-double resonance and 15N, 13C triple resonance NMR experiments. Long range dipolar interactions for the symmetric homodimer were identified from two-dimensional 13C-double half-filtered and three-dimensional 13C-filtered NMR data obtained for a heterolabeled-dimer. A family of 33 structures was calculated using DSPACE with a total of 609 NOE-derived interproton distance restraints, including 22 intraresidue, 192 sequential, 300 medium-range (two to five residues), 86 long-range intramolecular (more than five residues) and 112 intermolecular distance restraints. The monomer subunits consist of three alpha-helices, extending from residues Pro4 to Ala15 (helix I), Ser21 to Ala50 (helix II) and Lys56 to Lys68 (helix III), as well as two short segments of beta-strand comprised of residues Arg19 to Ser21 and Thr54 to Ile55. Helices I, II and III contain N-terminal capping boxes, and helices I and II contain C-terminal caps. The structure of the (rHMfB)2 dimer appears very similar to the dimer subunits within the histone core octamer of the chicken nucleosome. The presence of a canonical "histone fold" motif in rHMfB is consistent with the HMf family of archaeal histones and the eukaryal nucleosome core histones having evolved from a common ancestor. The (rHMfB)2 dimer contains several structural features that may impart thermal stability (or non-lability), including two novel hydrophobic "proline Ncaps", four interhelical hydrogen bonds and short N- and C-terminal disordered tails.


M R Starich, K Sandman, J N Reeve, M F Summers. NMR structure of HMfB from the hyperthermophile, Methanothermus fervidus, confirms that this archaeal protein is a histone. Journal of molecular biology. 1996 Jan 12;255(1):187-203

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PMID: 8568866

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