Crystallization and preliminary crystallographic analysis of SMase I, a sphingomyelinase from Loxosceles laeta spider venom
SMase I, a 32 kDa sphingomyelinase found in Loxosceles laeta venom, is responsible for the major pathological effects of spider envenomation. This toxin has been cloned and functionally expressed as a fusion protein containing a 6×His tag at its N-terminus to yield a 33 kDa protein [Fernandes-Pedrosa et al. (2002), Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun.298, 638–645]. The recombinant protein possesses all the biological properties ascribed to the whole L. laeta venom, including dermonecrotic and complement-dependent haemolytic activities. Dynamic light-scattering experiments conducted at 291 K demonstrate that the sample possesses a monomodal distribution, with a hydrodynamic radius of 3.57 nm. L. laeta SMase I was crystallized by the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion technique using the sparse-matrix method. Single crystals were obtained using a buffer solution consisting of 0.08 M HEPES and 0.9 M trisodium citrate, which was titrated to pH 7.5 using 0.25 M sodium hydroxide. Complete three-dimensional diffraction data were collected to 1.8 Å at the Laboratório Nacional de Luz Síncrotron (LNLS, Campinas, Brazil). The crystals belong to the hexagonal system (space group P61 or P65), with unit-cell parameters a = b = 140.6, c = 113.6 Å. A search for heavy-atom derivatives has been initiated and elucidation of the crystal structure is currently in progress.
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