Multiple Assembly States of Lumazine Synthase: A Model Relating Catalytic Function and Molecular Assembly

Xiaofeng Zhang, Petr V. Konarev, Maxim V. Petoukhov, Dmitri I. Svergun, Li Xing, R. Holland Cheng, Ilka Haase, Markus Fischer, Adelbert Bacher, Rudolf Ladenstein, Winfried Meining

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Lumazine synthases have been observed in the form of pentamers, dimers of pentamers, icosahedral capsids consisting of 60 subunits and larger capsids with unknown molecular structure. Here we describe the analysis of the assembly of native and mutant forms of lumazine synthases from Bacillus subtilis and Aquifex aeolicus at various pH values and in the presence of different buffers using small angle X-ray scattering and electron microscopy. Both wild-type lumazine synthases are able to form capsids with a diameter of roughly 160 Å and larger capsids with diameters of around 300 Å. The relative abundance of smaller and larger capsids is strongly dependent on buffer and pH. Both forms can co-exist and are in some cases accompanied by other incomplete or deformed capsids. Several mutants of the B. subtilis lumazine synthase, in which residues in or close to the active site were replaced, as well as an insertion mutant of A. aeolicus lumazine synthase form partially or exclusively larger capsids with a diameter of about 300 Å. The mutations also reduce or inhibit enzymatic activity, suggesting that the catalytic function of the enzyme is tightly correlated with its quaternary structure. The data show that multiple assembly forms are a general feature of lumazine synthases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-770
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 29 2006


  • electron microscopy
  • lumazine synthase
  • multiple assembly states
  • small angle X-ray scattering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology


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