Indexed on: 09 Nov '04Published on: 09 Nov '04Published in: Structure
RalA is a GTPase with effectors such as Sec5 and Exo84 in the exocyst complex and RalBP1, a GAP for Rho proteins. We report the crystal structures of Ral-GppNHp and Ral-GDP. Disordered switch I and switch II, located away from crystal contacts, are observed in one of the molecules in the asymmetric unit of the Ral-GppNHp structure. In the other molecule in the asymmetric unit, a second Mg(2+) ion is bound to the GppNHp gamma-phosphate in an environment in which switch I is pulled away from the nucleotide and switch II is found in a tight beta turn. Clustering of conserved residues on the surface of Ral-GppNHp identifies two putative sites for protein-protein interaction. One site is adjacent to switch I. The other is modulated by switch II and is obstructed in Ral-GDP. The Ral structures are discussed in the context of the published structures of the Ral/Sec5 complex, Ras, and Rap.