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Proteins. 2009 May 1;75(2):296-307. doi: 10.1002/prot.22360.

Crystal structure of a novel Sm-like protein of putative cyanophage origin at 2.60 A resolution.

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Joint Center for Structural Genomics, 2 Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, California, USA.


ECX21941 represents a very large family (over 600 members) of novel, ocean metagenome-specific proteins identified by clustering of the dataset from the Global Ocean Sampling expedition. The crystal structure of ECX21941 reveals unexpected similarity to Sm/LSm proteins, which are important RNA-binding proteins, despite no detectable sequence similarity. The ECX21941 protein assembles as a homopentamer in solution and in the crystal structure when expressed in Escherichia coli and represents the first pentameric structure for this Sm/LSm family of proteins, although the actual oligomeric form in vivo is currently not known. The genomic neighborhood analysis of ECX21941 and its homologs combined with sequence similarity searches suggest a cyanophage origin for this protein. The specific functions of members of this family are unknown, but our structure analysis of ECX21941 indicates nucleic acid-binding capabilities and suggests a role in RNA and/or DNA processing.

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