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A collaborative project between two Structural Proteomics In Europe (SPINE) partner laboratories, York and Oxford, aimed at high-throughput (HTP) structure determination of proteins from Bacillus anthracis, the aetiological agent of anthrax and a biomedically important target, is described. Based upon a target-selection strategy combining ;low-hanging fruit' and more challenging targets, this work has contributed to the body of knowledge of B. anthracis, established and developed HTP cloning and expression technologies and tested HTP pipelines. Both centres developed ligation-independent cloning (LIC) and expression systems, employing custom LIC-PCR, Gateway and In-Fusion technologies, used in combination with parallel protein purification and robotic nanolitre crystallization screening. Overall, 42 structures have been solved by X-ray crystallography, plus two by NMR through collaboration between York and the SPINE partner in Utrecht. Three biologically important protein structures, BA4899, BA1655 and BA3998, involved in tRNA modification, sporulation control and carbohydrate metabolism, respectively, are highlighted. Target analysis by biophysical clustering based on pI and hydropathy has provided useful information for future target-selection strategies. The technological developments and lessons learned from this project are discussed. The success rate of protein expression and structure solution is at least in keeping with that achieved in structural genomics programs.

Original publication




Journal article


Acta crystallographica. Section D, Biological crystallography

Publication Date





1267 - 1275


Division of Structural Biology, University of Oxford, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Oxford, England.


Bacillus anthracis, Bacillus cereus, Escherichia coli, Spores, Bacterial, Sulfurtransferases, Bacterial Proteins, DNA, Bacterial, RNA, Transfer, Crystallization, Crystallography, X-Ray, Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, Cloning, Molecular, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Proteomics, Computational Biology, Genetic Vectors, Robotics