Vaccinia virus interferes with early events of the activation pathway of the transcriptional factor NF-kB by binding to numerous host TIR-domain containing adaptor proteins. We have previously determined the X-ray structure of the A46 C-terminal domain; however, the structure and function of the A46 N-terminal domain and its relationship to the C-terminal domain have remained unclear. Here, we biophysically characterize residues 1-83 of the N-terminal domain of A46 and present the X-ray structure at 1.55 Å. Crystallographic phases were obtained by a recently developed ab initio method entitled ARCIMBOLDO_BORGES that employs tertiary structure libraries extracted from the Protein Data Bank; data analysis revealed an all β-sheet structure. This is the first such structure solved by this method which should be applicable to any protein composed entirely of β-sheets. The A46(1-83) structure itself is a β-sandwich containing a co-purified molecule of myristic acid inside a hydrophobic pocket and represents a previously unknown lipid-binding fold. Mass spectrometry analysis confirmed the presence of long-chain fatty acids in both N-terminal and full-length A46; mutation of the hydrophobic pocket reduced the lipid content. Using a combination of high resolution X-ray structures of the N- and C-terminal domains and SAXS analysis of full-length protein A46(1-240), we present here a structural model of A46 in a tetrameric assembly. Integrating affinity measurements and structural data, we propose how A46 simultaneously interferes with several TIR-domain containing proteins to inhibit NF-κB activation and postulate that A46 employs a bipartite binding arrangement to sequester the host immune adaptors TRAM and MyD88.
Amino Acid Sequence, Crystallography, X-Ray, Escherichia coli, HEK293 Cells, Humans, Mass Spectrometry, Models, Molecular, Protein Conformation, beta-Strand, Protein Structure, Quaternary, Scattering, Small Angle, Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization, Vaccinia virus, Viral Proteins