Escherichia coli has historically been an important organism for understanding a multitude of biological processes, and represents a model system as we attempt to simulate the workings of living cells. Many E. coli strains are also important human and animal pathogens for which new therapeutic strategies are required. For both reasons, a more complete and comprehensive understanding of the protein structure complement of E. coli is needed at the genome level. Here, we provide examples of insights into the mechanism and function of bacterial proteins that we have gained through the Bacterial Structural Genomics Initiative (BSGI), focused on medium-throughput structure determination of proteins from E. coli. We describe the structural characterization of several enzymes from the histidine biosynthetic pathway, the structures of three pseudouridine synthases, enzymes that synthesize one of the most abundant modified bases in RNA, as well as the combined use of protein structure and focused functional analysis to decipher functions for hypothetical proteins. Together, these results illustrate the power of structural genomics to contribute to a deeper biological understanding of bacterial processes
Journal of Structural and Functional Genomics8, no. 2-3 (2007): 45–55.