Publications by Louise Aigrain


Conformational landscapes of DNA polymerase I and mutator derivatives establish fidelity checkpoints for nucleotide insertion.

Nat Commun 4 (2013) 2131-

J Hohlbein, L Aigrain, TD Craggs, O Bermek, O Potapova, P Shoolizadeh, ND Grindley, CM Joyce, AN Kapanidis

The fidelity of DNA polymerases depends on conformational changes that promote the rejection of incorrect nucleotides before phosphoryl transfer. Here, we combine single-molecule FRET with the use of DNA polymerase I and various fidelity mutants to highlight mechanisms by which active-site side chains influence the conformational transitions and free-energy landscape that underlie fidelity decisions in DNA synthesis. Ternary complexes of high fidelity derivatives with complementary dNTPs adopt mainly a fully closed conformation, whereas a conformation with a FRET value between those of open and closed is sparsely populated. This intermediate-FRET state, which we attribute to a partially closed conformation, is also predominant in ternary complexes with incorrect nucleotides and, strikingly, in most ternary complexes of low-fidelity derivatives for both correct and incorrect nucleotides. The mutator phenotype of the low-fidelity derivatives correlates well with reduced affinity for complementary dNTPs and highlights the partially closed conformation as a primary checkpoint for nucleotide selection.


Single-Molecule Fluorescence and FRET Measurements on Internalized Proteins in Living Bacteria

BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL 104 (2013) 574A-574A

L Aigrain, R Crawford, JP Torella, A Plochowietz, M Sustarsic, AN Kapanidis


Internalization of Fluorescent Biomolecules for Long-Lived Single-Molecule Observation in Living Bacteria

BIOPHYSICAL JOURNAL 104 (2013) 176A-176A

R Crawford, L Aigrain, A Plochowietz, JP Torella, S Uphoff, AN Kapanidis


Long-lived intracellular single-molecule fluorescence using electroporated molecules.

Biophys J 105 (2013) 2439-2450

R Crawford, JP Torella, L Aigrain, A Plochowietz, K Gryte, S Uphoff, AN Kapanidis

Studies of biomolecules in vivo are crucial to understand their function in a natural, biological context. One powerful approach involves fusing molecules of interest to fluorescent proteins to study their expression, localization, and action; however, the scope of such studies would be increased considerably by using organic fluorophores, which are smaller and more photostable than their fluorescent protein counterparts. Here, we describe a straightforward, versatile, and high-throughput method to internalize DNA fragments and proteins labeled with organic fluorophores into live Escherichia coli by employing electroporation. We studied the copy numbers, diffusion profiles, and structure of internalized molecules at the single-molecule level in vivo, and were able to extend single-molecule observation times by two orders of magnitude compared to green fluorescent protein, allowing continuous monitoring of molecular processes occurring from seconds to minutes. We also exploited the desirable properties of organic fluorophores to perform single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer measurements in the cytoplasm of live bacteria, both for DNA and proteins. Finally, we demonstrate internalization of labeled proteins and DNA into yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a model eukaryotic system. Our method should broaden the range of biological questions addressable in microbes by single-molecule fluorescence.


Dynamic control of electron transfers in diflavin reductases.

Int J Mol Sci 13 (2012) 15012-15041

L Aigrain, F Fatemi, O Frances, E Lescop, G Truan

Diflavin reductases are essential proteins capable of splitting the two-electron flux from reduced pyridine nucleotides to a variety of one electron acceptors. The primary sequence of diflavin reductases shows a conserved domain organization harboring two catalytic domains bound to the FAD and FMN flavins sandwiched by one or several non-catalytic domains. The catalytic domains are analogous to existing globular proteins: the FMN domain is analogous to flavodoxins while the FAD domain resembles ferredoxin reductases. The first structural determination of one member of the diflavin reductases family raised some questions about the architecture of the enzyme during catalysis: both FMN and FAD were in perfect position for interflavin transfers but the steric hindrance of the FAD domain rapidly prompted more complex hypotheses on the possible mechanisms for the electron transfer from FMN to external acceptors. Hypotheses of domain reorganization during catalysis in the context of the different members of this family were given by many groups during the past twenty years. This review will address the recent advances in various structural approaches that have highlighted specific dynamic features of diflavin reductases.


The closed and compact domain organization of the 70-kDa human cytochrome P450 reductase in its oxidized state as revealed by NMR

Journal of Molecular Biology 420 (2012) 296-309

B Vincent, N Morellet, E Guittet, E Lescop, F Fatemi, L Aigrain, G Truan

The NADPH cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR), a diflavin enzyme, catalyzes the electron transfer (ET) from NADPH to the substrate P450. The crystal structures of mammalian and yeast CPRs show a compact organization for the two domains containing FMN (flavin mononucleotide) and FAD (flavin adenine dinucleotide), with a short interflavin distance consistent with fast ET from the NADPH-reduced FAD to the second flavin FMN. This conformation, referred as closed, contrasts with the alternative opened or extended domain arrangements recently described for partially reduced or mutant CPR. Internal domain flexibility in this enzyme is indeed necessary to account for the apparently conflicting requirements of having FMN flavin accessible to both the FAD and the substrate P450 at the same interface. However, how interdomain dynamics influence internal and external ETs in CPR is still largely unknown. Here, we used NMR techniques to explore the global, domain-specific and residue-specific structural and dynamic properties of the nucleotide-free human CPR in solution in its oxidized state. Based on the backbone resonance assignment of this 70-kDa protein, we collected residue-specific N relaxation and H- N residual dipolar couplings. Surprisingly and in contrast with previous studies, the analysis of these NMR data revealed that the CPR exists in a unique and predominant conformation that highly resembles the closed conformation observed in the crystalline state. Based on our findings and the previous observations of conformational equilibria of the CPR in partially reduced states, we propose that the large-scale conformational transitions of the CPR during the catalytic cycle are tightly controlled to ensure optimal electron delivery. © 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


Single-molecule FRET measurements in bacterial cells

FEBS JOURNAL 279 (2012) 513-513

L Aigrain, R Crawford, J Torella, A Plochowietz, A Kapanidis


The closed and compact domain organization of the 70-kDa human cytochrome P450 reductase in its oxidized state as revealed by NMR.

J Mol Biol 420 (2012) 296-309

B Vincent, N Morellet, F Fatemi, L Aigrain, G Truan, E Guittet, E Lescop

The NADPH cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR), a diflavin enzyme, catalyzes the electron transfer (ET) from NADPH to the substrate P450. The crystal structures of mammalian and yeast CPRs show a compact organization for the two domains containing FMN (flavin mononucleotide) and FAD (flavin adenine dinucleotide), with a short interflavin distance consistent with fast ET from the NADPH-reduced FAD to the second flavin FMN. This conformation, referred as "closed", contrasts with the alternative opened or extended domain arrangements recently described for partially reduced or mutant CPR. Internal domain flexibility in this enzyme is indeed necessary to account for the apparently conflicting requirements of having FMN flavin accessible to both the FAD and the substrate P450 at the same interface. However, how interdomain dynamics influence internal and external ETs in CPR is still largely unknown. Here, we used NMR techniques to explore the global, domain-specific and residue-specific structural and dynamic properties of the nucleotide-free human CPR in solution in its oxidized state. Based on the backbone resonance assignment of this 70-kDa protein, we collected residue-specific (15)N relaxation and (1)H-(15)N residual dipolar couplings. Surprisingly and in contrast with previous studies, the analysis of these NMR data revealed that the CPR exists in a unique and predominant conformation that highly resembles the closed conformation observed in the crystalline state. Based on our findings and the previous observations of conformational equilibria of the CPR in partially reduced states, we propose that the large-scale conformational transitions of the CPR during the catalytic cycle are tightly controlled to ensure optimal electron delivery.


Role of the interface between the FMN and FAD domains in the control of redox potential and electronic transfer of NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase.

Biochem J 435 (2011) 197-206

L Aigrain, D Pompon, G Truan

CPR (NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase) is a multidomain protein containing two flavin-containing domains joined by a connecting domain thought to control the necessary movements of the catalytic domains during electronic cycles. We present a detailed biochemical analysis of two chimaeric CPRs composed of the association of human or yeast FMN with the alternative connecting/FAD domains. Despite the assembly of domains having a relatively large evolutionary distance between them, our data support the idea that the integrity of the catalytic cycle is conserved in our chimaeric enzymes, whereas the recognition, interactions and positioning of both catalytic domains are probably modified. The main consequences of the chimaerogenesis are a decrease in the internal electron-transfer rate between both flavins correlated with changes in the geometry of chimaeric CPRs in solution. Results of the present study highlight the role of the linker and connecting domain in the recognition at the interfaces between the catalytic domains and the impact of interdomain interactions on the redox potentials of the flavins, the internal electron-transfer efficiency and the global conformation and dynamic equilibrium of the CPRs.


Cloning, purification, crystallization and preliminary X-ray analysis of a chimeric NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase.

Acta Crystallogr Sect F Struct Biol Cryst Commun 65 (2009) 210-212

L Aigrain, D Pompon, G Truan, S Moréra

NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR) is the favoured redox partner of microsomal cytochromes P450. This protein is composed of two flavin-containing domains (FMN and FAD) connected by a structured linker. An active CPR chimera consisting of the yeast FMN and human FAD domains has been produced, purified and crystallized. The crystals belonged to the monoclinic space group C2 and contained one molecule per asymmetric unit. Molecular replacement was performed using the published rat and yeast structures as search models. The initial electron-density maps revealed that the chimeric enzyme had crystallized in a conformation that differed from those of previously solved structures.


Structure of the open conformation of a functional chimeric NADPH cytochrome P450 reductase.

EMBO Rep 10 (2009) 742-747

L Aigrain, D Pompon, S Moréra, G Truan

Two catalytic domains, bearing FMN and FAD cofactors, joined by a connecting domain, compose the core of the NADPH cytochrome P450 reductase (CPR). The FMN domain of CPR mediates electron shuttling from the FAD domain to cytochromes P450. Together, both enzymes form the main mixed-function oxidase system that participates in the metabolism of endo- and xenobiotic compounds in mammals. Available CPR structures show a closed conformation, with the two cofactors in tight proximity, which is consistent with FAD-to-FMN, but not FMN-to-P450, electron transfer. Here, we report the 2.5 A resolution crystal structure of a functionally competent yeast-human chimeric CPR in an open conformation, compatible with FMN-to-P450 electron transfer. Comparison with closed structures shows a major conformational change separating the FMN and FAD cofactors from 86 A.