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An important goal of structural studies of modular proteins is to determine the inter-module orientation, which often influences biological function. The N-terminal domain of human fibronectin (Fn) is composed of a string of five type 1 modules (F1). Despite their small size, to date F1 modules have proved intractable to X-ray structure solution, although there are several NMR structures available. Here, we present the first structures (two X-ray models and an NMR-derived model) of the (2)F1(3)F1 module pair, which forms part of the binding site for Fn-binding proteins from pathogenic bacteria. The crystallographic structure determination was aided by the novel technique of UV radiation damage-induced phasing. The individual module structures are very similar in all three models. In the NMR structure and one of the X-ray structures, a similar but smaller interdomain interface than that observed previously for (4)F1(5)F1 is seen. The other X-ray structure has a different interdomain orientation. This work underlines the benefits of combining X-ray and NMR data in the studies of multi-domain proteins.

Original publication




Journal article


J Mol Biol

Publication Date





833 - 844


Bacterial Proteins, Binding Sites, Carrier Proteins, Crystallography, X-Ray, Fibronectins, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Models, Molecular, Protein Structure, Secondary, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Solutions, Staphylococcus aureus, Ultraviolet Rays