KCNE1 is a single-transmembrane protein of the KCNE family that modulates the function of voltage-gated potassium channels, including KCNQ1. Hereditary mutations in KCNE1 have been linked to diseases such as long QT syndrome (LQTS), atrial fibrillation, sudden infant death syndrome, and deafness. The transmembrane domain (TMD) of KCNE1 plays a key role in mediating the physical association with KCNQ1 and in subsequent modulation of channel gating kinetics and conductance. However, the mechanisms associated with these roles for the TMD remain poorly understood, highlighting a need for experimental structural studies. A previous solution NMR study of KCNE1 in LMPG micelles revealed a curved transmembrane domain, a structural feature proposed to be critical to KCNE1 function. However, this curvature potentially reflects an artifact of working in detergent micelles. Double electron electron resonance (DEER) measurements were conducted on KCNE1 in LMPG micelles, POPC/POPG proteoliposomes, and POPC/POPG lipodisq nanoparticles to directly compare the structure of the TMD in a variety of different membrane environments. Experimentally derived DEER distances coupled with simulated annealing molecular dynamic simulations were used to probe the bilayer structure of the TMD of KCNE1. The results indicate that the structure is helical in proteoliposomes and is slightly curved, which is consistent with the previously determined solution NMR structure in micelles. The evident resilience of the curvature in the KCNE1 TMD leads us to hypothesize that the curvature is likely to be maintained upon binding of the protein to the KCNQ1 channel.
Peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22) is a tetraspan membrane protein strongly expressed in myelinating Schwann cells of the peripheral nervous system. Myriad missense mutations in PMP22 result in varying degrees of peripheral neuropathy. We used Rosetta 3.5 to generate a homology model of PMP22 based on the recently published crystal structure of claudin-15. The model suggests that several mutations known to result in neuropathy act by disrupting transmembrane helix packing interactions. Our model also supports suggestions from previous studies that the first transmembrane helix is not tightly associated with the rest of the helical bundle.
Aberrant protein folding and assembly contribute to a number of diseases, and efforts to rationalize how pathogenic mutations cause this phenomenon represent an important imperative in biochemical research. However, for ?-helical membrane proteins, this task is complicated by the fact that membrane proteins require intricate machinery to achieve structural and functional maturity under cellular conditions. In this work, we utilized the ?G predictor algorithm ( www.dgpred.cbr.su.se ) to survey 470 known pathogenic mutations occurring in five misfolding-prone ?-helical membrane proteins for their predicted effects on the translocon-mediated membrane integration of transmembrane helices, a critical step in biosynthesis and folding of nascent membrane proteins. The results suggest that about 10 % of these mutations are likely to have adverse effects on the topogenesis of nascent membrane proteins. These results suggest that the misfolding of a modest but nonetheless significant subset of pathogenic variants may begin at the translocon. Potential implications for therapeutic design and personalized medicine are discussed.
Immunocompromised patients are susceptible to various joint infections with less-common pathogens, such as mycobacterium. Physicians should have a low threshold to investigate the cause of an arthropathy further. An aspiration of the effusion is usually warranted to identify the possible pathogen and target treatment. We report an unusual presentation of a human immunodeficiency virus-infected patient with a chronic effusion arthropathy of his right shoulder due to Mycobacterium kansasii. We review the risk factors, transmission, clinical manifestations, and management of Mycobacterium kansasii.
Caveolin-3 (Cav3) is an unconventional membrane protein that serves as a critical scaffolding hub in caveolae and is genetically linked to various muscle disorders. In this work, we report the expression, purification, and characterization of full-length human Cav3. To mimic the palmitoylation of endogenous Cav3, we developed a generally applicable approach to covalently attached thioalkyl chains at natively modified cysteine residues. Nuclear magnetic resonance measurements indicate that lipidation exerts only a modest and local effect on the Cav3 structure, with little impact on the structures of the N-terminal domain, the scaffolding domain, and the extreme C-terminus.
The linear no-threshold (LNT) model of ionizing-radiation-induced cancer is based on the assumption that every radiation dose increment constitutes increased cancer risk for humans. The risk is hypothesized to increase linearly as the total dose increases. While this model is the basis for radiation safety regulations, its scientific validity has been questioned and debated for many decades. The recent memorandum of the International Commission on Radiological Protection admits that the LNT-model predictions at low doses are "speculative, unproven, undetectable and 'phantom'." Moreover, numerous experimental, ecological, and epidemiological studies show that low doses of sparsely-ionizing or sparsely-ionizing plus highly-ionizing radiation may be beneficial to human health (hormesis/adaptive response). The present LNT-model-based regulations impose excessive costs on the society. For example, the median-cost medical program is 5000 times more cost-efficient in saving lives than controlling radiation emissions. There are also lives lost: e.g., following Fukushima accident, more than 1000 disaster-related yet non-radiogenic premature deaths were officially registered among the population evacuated due to radiation concerns. Additional negative impacts of LNT-model-inspired radiophobia include: refusal of some patients to undergo potentially life-saving medical imaging; discouragement of the study of low-dose radiation therapies; motivation for radiological terrorism and promotion of nuclear proliferation.
The North American river otter (Lontra canadensis) serves as an indicator species for environmental monitoring, is prized as a valuable furbearer, and is a popular display animal in zoologic collections. Nephrolithiasis has been reported as a frequent problem in other free-ranging and captive otter species but is rarely reported in North American river otters. In this study, we compared the prevalence of nephrolithiasis diagnosed using routine gross pathologic examination techniques with the use of computed tomography (CT) of excised kidneys. We also evaluated whether otter nephroliths could be accurately classified by their CT densities, and we examined the renal tissue uric acid concentrations in free-ranging otters in North Carolina, USA. Kidneys were collected from carcasses of legally trapped, free-ranging animals. Nephroliths were observed in 16.2% of the individuals (n = 229). Associations were found between age and nephrolith status and between capture location and nephrolith status (P = 0.026 and < 0.001, respectively). Computed tomography Hounsfield unit density measurements were not useful in determining nephrolith chemical composition in this study. Renal tissue uric acid concentrations were similar across genders, age groups, and stone status. The chemical composition of the nephroliths was determined by scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy to be calcium phosphate in the carbonate form.
KCNQ1 (also known as KV7.1 or KVLQT1) is a voltage-gated potassium channel modulated by members of the KCNE protein family. Among multiple functions, KCNQ1 plays a critical role in the cardiac action potential. This channel is also subject to inherited mutations that cause certain cardiac arrhythmias and deafness. In this study, we report the overexpression, purification, and preliminary structural characterization of the voltage-sensor domain (VSD) of human KCNQ1 (Q1-VSD). Q1-VSD was expressed in Escherichia coli and purified into lyso-palmitoylphosphatidylglycerol micelles, conditions under which this tetraspan membrane protein yields excellent nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra. NMR studies reveal that Q1-VSD shares a common overall topology with other channel VSDs, with an S0 helix followed by transmembrane helices S1-S4. The exact sequential locations of the helical spans do, however, show significant variations from those of the homologous segments of previously characterized VSDs. The S4 segment of Q1-VSD was seen to be ?-helical (with no 310 component) and underwent rapid backbone amide H-D exchange over most of its length. These results lay the foundation for more advanced structural studies and can be used to generate testable hypotheses for future structure-function experiments.
C99 (also known as ?-CTF) is the 99 residue transmembrane C-terminal domain (residues 672-770) of the amyloid precursor protein and is the immediate precursor of the amyloid-? (A?) polypeptides. To test the dependence of the C99 structure on the composition of the host model membranes, NMR studies of C99 were conducted both in anionic lyso-myristoylphosphatidylglycerol (LMPG) micelles and in a series of five zwitterionic bicelle compositions involving phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin in which the acyl chain lengths of these lipid components varied from 14 to 24 carbons. Some of these mixtures are reported for the first time in this work and should be of broad utility in membrane protein research. The site-specific backbone (15)N and (1)H chemical shifts for C99 in LMPG and in all five bicelle mixtures were seen to be remarkably similar, indicating little dependence of the backbone structure of C99 on the composition of the host model membrane. However, the length of the transmembrane span was seen to vary in a manner that alters the positioning of the ?-secretase cleavage sites with respect to the center of the bilayer. This observation may contribute to the known dependency of the A?42-to-A?40 production ratio on both membrane thickness and the length of the C99 transmembrane domain.
Epithelial cells lining the gastrointestinal tract and kidney have different abilities to facilitate paracellular and transcellular transport of water and solutes. In the kidney, the proximal tubule allows both transcellular and paracellular transport, while the collecting duct primarily facilitates transcellular transport. The claudins and E-cadherin are major structural and functional components regulating paracellular transport. In this study we present the novel finding that the transmembrane matrix receptors, integrins, play a role in regulating paracellular transport of renal proximal tubule cells. Deleting the integrin ?1 subunit in these cells converts them from a "loose" epithelium, characterized by low expression of E-cadherin and claudin-7 and high expression of claudin-2, to a "tight" epithelium with increased E-cadherin and claudin-7 expression and decreased claudin-2 expression. This effect is mediated by the integrin ?1 cytoplasmic tail and does not entail ?1 heterodimerization with an ?-subunit or its localization to the cell surface. In addition, we demonstrate that deleting the ?1 subunit in the proximal tubule of the kidney results in a major urine-concentrating defect. Thus, the integrin ?1 tail plays a key role in regulating the composition and function of tight and adherens junctions that define paracellular transport properties of terminally differentiated renal proximal tubule epithelial cells.
As of mid 2013 a Medline search on "cholesterol" yielded over 200,000 hits, reflecting the prominence of this lipid in numerous aspects of animal cell biology and physiology under conditions of health and disease. Aberrations in cholesterol homeostasis underlie both a number of rare genetic disorders and contribute to common sporadic and complex disorders including heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, and Alzheimers disease. The corresponding author of this review and his lab stumbled only recently into the sprawling area of cholesterol research when they discovered that the amyloid precursor protein (APP) binds cholesterol, a topic covered by the Hans Neurath Award lecture at the 2013 Protein Society Meeting. Here, we first provide a brief overview of cholesterol-protein interactions and then offer our perspective on how and why binding of cholesterol to APP and its C99 domain (?-CTF) promotes the amyloidogenic pathway, which is closely related to the etiology of Alzheimers disease.
Pulsed EPR DEER structural studies of membrane proteins in a lipid bilayer have often been hindered by difficulties in extracting accurate distances when compared to those of globular proteins. In this study, we employed a combination of three recently developed methodologies, (1) bifunctional spin labels (BSL), (2) SMA-Lipodisq nanoparticles, and (3) Q band pulsed EPR measurements, to obtain improved signal sensitivity, increased transverse relaxation time, and more accurate and precise distances in DEER measurements on the integral membrane protein KCNE1. The KCNE1 EPR data indicated an ?2-fold increase in the transverse relaxation time for the SMA-Lipodisq nanoparticles when compared to those of proteoliposomes and narrower distance distributions for the BSL when compared to those of the standard MTSL. The certainty of information content in DEER data obtained for KCNE1 in SMA-Lipodisq nanoparticles is comparable to that in micelles. The combination of techniques will enable researchers to potentially obtain more precise distances in cases where the traditional spin labels and membrane systems yield imprecise distance distributions.
SVIP (small p97/VCP-interacting protein) was initially identified as one of many cofactors regulating the valosin containing protein (VCP), an AAA+ ATPase involved in endoplasmic-reticulum-associated protein degradation (ERAD). Our previous study showed that SVIP is expressed exclusively in the nervous system. In the present study, SVIP and VCP were seen to be co-localized in neuronal cell bodies. Interestingly, we also observed that SVIP co-localizes with myelin basic protein (MBP) in compact myelin, where VCP was absent. Furthermore, using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopic measurements, we determined that SVIP is an intrinsically disordered protein (IDP). However, upon binding to the surface of membranes containing a net negative charge, the helical content of SVIP increases dramatically. These findings provide structural insight into interactions between SVIP and myelin membranes.
The 99-residue transmembrane C-terminal domain (C99, also known as ?-CTF) of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) is the product of the ?-secretase cleavage of the full-length APP and is the substrate for ?-secretase cleavage. The latter cleavage releases the amyloid-? polypeptides that are closely associated with Alzheimers disease. C99 is thought to form homodimers; however, the free energy in favor of dimerization has not previously been quantitated. It was also recently documented that cholesterol forms a 1:1 complex with monomeric C99 in bicelles. Here, the affinities for both homodimerization and cholesterol binding to C99 were measured in bilayered lipid vesicles using both electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) methods. Homodimerization and cholesterol binding were seen to be competitive processes that center on the transmembrane G???XXXG???XXXG??? glycine-zipper motif and adjacent Gly709. On one hand, the observed Kd for cholesterol binding (Kd = 2.7 ± 0.3 mol %) is on the low end of the physiological cholesterol concentration range in mammalian cell membranes. On the other hand, the observed K(d) for homodimerization (K(d) = 0.47 ± 0.15 mol %) likely exceeds the physiological concentration range for C99. These results suggest that the 1:1 cholesterol/C99 complex will be more highly populated than C99 homodimers under most physiological conditions. These observations are of relevance for understanding the ?-secretase cleavage of C99.
Misfolding of the ?-helical membrane protein peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of the common neurodegenerative disease known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMTD) and also several other related peripheral neuropathies. Emerging evidence suggests that the propensity of PMP22 to misfold in the cell may be due to an intrinsic lack of conformational stability. Therefore, quantitative studies of the conformational equilibrium of PMP22 are needed to gain insight into the molecular basis of CMTD. In this work, we have investigated the folding and unfolding of wild type (WT) human PMP22 in mixed micelles. Both kinetic and thermodynamic measurements demonstrate that the denaturation of PMP22 by n-lauroyl sarcosine (LS) in dodecylphosphocholine (DPC) micelles is reversible. Assessment of the conformational equilibrium indicates that a significant fraction of unfolded PMP22 persists even in the absence of the denaturing detergent. However, we find the stability of PMP22 is increased by glycerol, which facilitates quantitation of thermodynamic parameters. To our knowledge, this work represents the first report of reversible unfolding of a eukaryotic multispan membrane protein. The results indicate that WT PMP22 possesses minimal conformational stability in micelles, which parallels its poor folding efficiency in the endoplasmic reticulum. Folding equilibrium measurements for PMP22 in micelles may provide an approach to assess the effects of cellular metabolites or potential therapeutic agents on its stability. Furthermore, these results pave the way for future investigation of the effects of pathogenic mutations on the conformational equilibrium of PMP22.
From roughly 1985 through the start of the new millennium, the cutting edge of solution protein nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy was to a significant extent driven by the aspiration to determine structures. Here we survey recent advances in protein NMR that herald a renaissance in which a number of its most important applications reflect the broad problem-solving capability displayed by this method during its classical era during the 1970s and early 1980s.
Genetic systems, which allow monitoring interactions of individual transmembrane ?-helices within the cytoplasmic membrane of the bacterium Escherichia coli, are now widely used to probe the structural biology and energetics of helix-helix interactions and the consequences of mutations. In contrast to other systems, the GALLEX system allows studying homo- as well as heterooligomerization of individual transmembrane ?-helices, and even enables estimation of the energetics of helix-helix interactions within a biological membrane. Given that many polytopic membrane proteins form oligomers within membranes, the GALLEX system represents a unique and powerful approach to monitor formation and stability of oligomeric complexes of polytopic membrane proteins in vivo.
The etiology of Alzheimers disease depends on the relative abundance of different amyloid-? (A?) peptide species. These peptides are produced by sequential proteolytic cleavage within the transmembrane helix of the 99 residue C-terminal fragment of the amyloid precursor protein (C99) by the intramembrane protease ?-secretase. Intramembrane proteolysis is thought to require local unfolding of the substrate helix, which has been proposed to be cleaved as a homodimer. Here, we investigated the backbone dynamics of the substrate helix. Amide exchange experiments of monomeric recombinant C99 and of synthetic transmembrane domain peptides reveal that the N-terminal Gly-rich homodimerization domain exchanges much faster than the C-terminal cleavage region. MD simulations corroborate the differential backbone dynamics, indicate a bending motion at a diglycine motif connecting dimerization and cleavage regions, and detect significantly different H-bond stabilities at the initial cleavage sites. Our results are consistent with the following hypotheses about cleavage of the substrate: First, the GlyGly hinge may precisely position the substrate within ?-secretase such that its catalytic center must start proteolysis at the known initial cleavage sites. Second, the ratio of cleavage products formed by subsequent sequential proteolysis could be influenced by differential extents of solvation and by the stabilities of H-bonds at alternate initial sites. Third, the flexibility of the Gly-rich domain may facilitate substrate movement within the enzyme during sequential proteolysis. Fourth, dimerization may affect substrate processing by decreasing the dynamics of the dimerization region and by increasing that of the C-terminal part of the cleavage region.
Solution NMR spectroscopy of labeled arrestin-1 was used to explore its interactions with dark-state phosphorylated rhodopsin (P-Rh), phosphorylated opsin (P-opsin), unphosphorylated light-activated rhodopsin (Rh*), and phosphorylated light-activated rhodopsin (P-Rh*). Distinct sets of arrestin-1 elements were seen to be engaged by Rh* and inactive P-Rh, which induced conformational changes that differed from those triggered by binding of P-Rh*. Although arrestin-1 affinity for Rh* was seen to be low (K(D) > 150 ?M), its affinity for P-Rh (K(D) ~80 ?M) was comparable to the concentration of active monomeric arrestin-1 in the outer segment, suggesting that P-Rh generated by high-gain phosphorylation is occupied by arrestin-1 under physiological conditions and will not signal upon photo-activation. Arrestin-1 was seen to bind P-Rh* and P-opsin with fairly high affinity (K(D) of~50 and 800 nM, respectively), implying that arrestin-1 dissociation is triggered only upon P-opsin regeneration with 11-cis-retinal, precluding noise generated by opsin activity. Based on their observed affinity for arrestin-1, P-opsin and inactive P-Rh very likely affect the physiological monomer-dimer-tetramer equilibrium of arrestin-1, and should therefore be taken into account when modeling photoreceptor function. The data also suggested that complex formation with either P-Rh* or P-opsin results in a global transition in the conformation of arrestin-1, possibly to a dynamic molten globule-like structure. We hypothesize that this transition contributes to the mechanism that triggers preferential interactions of several signaling proteins with receptor-activated arrestins.
Prokaryotic diacylglycerol kinase (DAGK) and undecaprenol kinase (UDPK) are the lone members of a family of multispan membrane enzymes that are very small, lack relationships to any other family of proteins-including water soluble kinases-and exhibit an unusual structure and active site architecture. Escherichia coli DAGK plays an important role in recycling diacylglycerol produced as a by-product of biosynthesis of molecules located in the periplasmic space. UDPK seems to play an analogous role in gram-positive bacteria, where its importance is evident because UDPK is essential for biofilm formation by the oral pathogen Streptococcus mutans. DAGK has also long served as a model system for studies of membrane protein biocatalysis, folding, stability, and structure. This review explores our current understanding of the microbial physiology, enzymology, structural biology, and folding of the prokaryotic DAGK family, which is based on over 40 years of studies.
Solution NMR provides a powerful approach for detecting complex formation involving weak to moderate intermolecular affinity. However, solution NMR has only rarely been used to detect complex formation between two membrane proteins in model membranes. The impact of specific binding on the NMR spectrum of a membrane protein can be difficult to distinguish from spectral changes that are induced by nonspecific binding and/or by changes that arise from forced cohabitation of the two proteins in a single model membrane assembly. This is particularly the case when solubility limits make it impossible to complete a titration to the point of near saturation of complex formation. In this work experiments are presented that provide the basis for establishing whether specific complex formation occurs between two membrane proteins under conditions where binding is not of high avidity. Application of these methods led to the conclusion that the membrane protein CD147 (also known as EMMPRIN or basigin) forms a specific heterodimeric complex in the membrane with the 99-residue transmembrane C-terminal fragment of the amyloid precursor protein (C99 or APP-?CTF), the latter being the immediate precursor of the amyloid-? polypeptides that are closely linked to the etiology of Alzheimers disease.
KCNE1 (minK), found in the human heart and cochlea, is a transmembrane protein that modulates the voltage-gated potassium KCNQ1 channel. While KCNE1 has previously been the subject of extensive structural studies in lyso-phospholipid detergent micelles, key observations have yet to be confirmed and refined in lipid bilayers. In this study, a reliable method for reconstituting KCNE1 into lipid bilayer vesicles composed of 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (POPC) and 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phospho(1-rac-glycerol) (sodium salt) (POPG) was developed. Microinjection of the proteoliposomes into Xenopus oocytes expressing the human KCNQ1 (K(V)7.1) voltage-gated potassium channel led to nativelike modulation of the channel. Circular dichroism spectroscopy demonstrated that the percent helicity of KCNE1 is significantly higher for the protein reconstituted in lipid vesicles than for the previously described structure in 1.0% 1-myristoyl-2-hydroxy-sn-glycero-3-phospho(1-rac-glycerol) (sodium salt) (LMPG) micelles. SDSL electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopic techniques were used to probe the local structure and environment of Ser28, Phe54, Phe57, Leu59, and Ser64 of KCNE1 in both POPC/POPG vesicles and LMPG micelles. Spin-labeled KCNE1 cysteine mutants at Phe54, Phe57, Leu59, and Ser64 were found to be located inside POPC/POPG vesicles, whereas Ser28 was found to be located outside the membrane. Ser64 was shown to be water inaccessible in vesicles but found to be water accessible in LMPG micelle solutions. These results suggest that key components of the micelle-derived structure of KCNE1 extend to the structure of this protein in lipid bilayers but also demonstrate the need to refine this structure using data derived from the bilayer-reconstituted protein to more accurately define its native structure. This work establishes the basis for such future studies.
?-Secretase modulators (GSMs) have received much attention as potential therapeutic agents for Alzheimers disease (AD). GSMs increase the ratio between short and long forms of the amyloid-? (A?) polypeptides produced by ?-secretase and thereby decrease the amount of the toxic amyloid species. However, the mechanism of action of these agents is still poorly understood. One recent paper [Richter et al. (2010) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A.107, 14597-14602] presented data that were interpreted to support direct binding of the GSM sulindac sulfide to A?(42), supporting the notion that GSM action is linked to direct binding of these compounds to the A? domain of its immediate precursor, the 99-residue C-terminal domain of the amyloid precursor protein (C99, also known as the ?-CTF). Here, contrasting results are presented that indicate there is no interaction between monomeric sulindac sulfide and monomeric forms of A?42. Instead, it was observed that sulindac sulfide is itself prone to form aggregates that can bind nonspecifically to A?42 and trigger its aggregation. This observation, combined with data from previous work [Beel et al. (2009) Biochemistry48, 11837-11839], suggests both that the poor behavior of some NSAID-based GSMs in solution may obscure results of binding assays and that NSAID-based GSMs do not function by directly targeting C99. It was also observed that another GSM, flurbiprofen, fails to bind to monomeric A?42 or to C99 reconstituted into bilayered lipid vesicles. These results disfavor the hypothesis that these NSAID-based GSMs exert their modulatory effect by directly targeting a site located in the A?42 domain of free C99.
Membrane lipid composition can vary dramatically across the three domains of life and even within single organisms. Here we review evidence that the lipid-exposed surfaces of membrane proteins have generally evolved to maintain correct structure and function in the face of major changes in lipid composition. Such tolerance has allowed evolution to extensively remodel membrane lipid compositions during the emergence of new species without having to extensively remodel the associated membrane proteins. The tolerance of membrane proteins also permits single-cell organisms to vary their membrane lipid composition in response to their changing environments and allows dynamic and organelle-specific variations in the lipid compositions of eukaryotic cells. Membrane protein structural biology has greatly benefited from this seemingly intrinsic property of membrane proteins: the majority of structures determined to date have been characterized under model membrane conditions that little resemble those of native membranes. Nevertheless, with a few notable exceptions, most experimentally determined membrane protein structures appear, to a good approximation, to faithfully report on native structure.
Mutations in peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22) can result in the common peripheral neuropathy Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMTD). The Leu16Pro mutation in PMP22 results in misassembly of the protein, which causes the Trembler-J (TrJ) disease phenotype. Here we elucidate the structural defects present in a partially folded state of TrJ PMP22 that are decisive in promoting CMTD-causing misfolding. In this state, transmembrane helices 2-4 (TM2-4) form a molten globular bundle, while transmembrane helix 1 (TM1) is dissociated from this bundle. The TrJ mutation was seen to profoundly disrupt the TM1 helix, resulting in increased backbone dynamics and changes in the tertiary interactions of TM1 with the PMP22 TM2-4 core in the folded state. Consequently, TM1 undergoes enhanced dissociation from the other transmembrane segments in TrJ PMP22, becoming available for recognition and sequestration by protein-folding quality control, which leads to loss of function and toxic accumulation of aggregates that result in CMTD.
To determine the contribution of cysteines to the function of the mouse E-prostanoid subtype 3 gamma (mEP3?), we tested a series of cysteine-to-alanine mutants. Two of these mutants, C107A and C184A, showed no agonist-dependent activation in a cell-based reporter assay for mEP3?, whereas none of the other cysteine-to-alanine mutations disrupted mEP3? signal transduction. Total cell membranes prepared from HEK293 cells transfected with mEP3? C107A or C184A had no detectable radioligand binding. Other mutant mEP3? receptors had radioligand affinities and receptor densities similar to wild-type. Cell-surface ELISA against the N-terminal HA-tag of C107A and C184A demonstrated 40% and 47% reductions respectively in receptor protein expression at the cell surface, and no radioligand binding was detected as assessed by intact cell radioligand binding experiments. These data suggest a key role for C107 and C184 in both receptor structure/stability and function and is consistent with the presence of a conserved disulfide bond between C107 and C184 in mouse EP3 that is required for normal receptor expression and function. Our results also indicate that if a second disulfide bond is present in the native receptor it is non-essential for receptor assembly or function.
The voltage-gated potassium channel KCNQ1 (Kv7.1) is modulated by KCNE1 (minK) to generate the I(Ks) current crucial to heartbeat. Defects in either protein result in serious cardiac arrhythmias. Recently developed structural models of the open and closed state KCNQ1/KCNE1 complexes offer a compelling explanation for how KCNE1 slows channel opening and provides a platform from which to refine and test hypotheses for other aspects of KCNE1 modulation. These working models were developed using an integrative approach based on results from nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, electrophysiology, biochemistry, and computational methods-an approach that can be applied iteratively for model testing and revision. We present a critical review of these structural models, illustrating the strengths and challenges of the integrative approach.
Although the adverse allograft outcomes associated with HLA antibodies are well documented, some controversy exists regarding the importance of low-level donor specific anti-HLA antibodies (DSA). To provide further detail on this controversy, we prospectively looked at low-level DSA in negative T- and B-cell flow cytometric crossmatch (FCXM) or acceptable reactive crossmatch (ARC) patients who each underwent protocol based post-transplant antibody monitoring. HLA Class I and II antibody screening and specificity determination was conducted via a solid phase assay (SPA) and FCXM versus donor and autologous T and B cells. Post-transplant patients were immunosuppressed with quadruple maintained immunosuppressive therapy, rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin induction, and HLA antibody monitoring. Out of 31 ARC patients transplanted, 65% had a PRA > 50% and 26% showed increased DSA at 7-14 days post-transplant. Antibody mediated rejection (AMR) was treated with pharmacological and/or plasmapheresis (PP) therapy. DSA were lowered and remained at low-levels (MFI 1000- 3000) or below FCXM cutoffs. None of the 31 patients transplanted developed de-novo antibodies. Two patients lost their allografts, one to polyoma (BK) virus, and one to antibody mediated rejection (AMR). In conclusion, our experience demonstrates that patients deemed higher risk for an immunological event due to low-level DSA should be transplanted with an ARC and followed post-transplant according to an established alloantibody monitoring protocol. With close monitoring, 5-year outcomes can be expected to approach that of low-immunologic risk transplant patients.
Arrestins specifically bind activated and phosphorylated G protein-coupled receptors and orchestrate both receptor trafficking and channel signaling through G protein-independent pathways via direct interactions with numerous nonreceptor partners. Here we report the first successful use of solution NMR in mapping the binding sites in arrestin-1 (visual arrestin) for two polyanionic compounds that mimic phosphorylated light-activated rhodopsin: inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) and heparin. This yielded an identification of residues involved in the binding with these ligands that was more complete than what has previously been feasible. IP6 and heparin appear to bind to the same site on arrestin-1, centered on a positively charged region in the N-domain. We present the first direct evidence that both IP6 and heparin induced a complete release of the arrestin C-tail. These observations provide novel insight into the nature of the transition of arrestin from the basal to active state and demonstrate the potential of NMR-based methods in the study of protein-protein interactions involving members of the arrestin family.
Integrin ?1?1 is a collagen receptor that down-regulates collagen and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and mice lacking this receptor show increased ROS levels and exacerbated glomerular sclerosis following injury. Caveolin-1 (Cav-1) is a multifunctional protein that is tyrosine-phosphorylated in response to injury and has been implicated in ROS-mediated injury. Cav-1 interacts with integrins, and integrin ?1?1 binds/activates T cell protein-tyrosine phosphatase (TCPTP), which is homologous to the tyrosine phosphatase PTP1B known to dephosphorylate Cav-1. In this study, we analyzed whether phosphorylated Cav-1 (pCav-1) is a substrate of TCPTP and if integrin ?1?1 is essential for promoting TCPTP-mediated Cav-1 dephosphorylation. We found that Cav-1 phosphorylation is significantly higher in cells lacking integrin ?1?1 at base line and following oxidative stress. Overexpression of TCPTP leads to reduced pCav-1 levels only in cells expressing integrin ?1?1. Using solid phase binding assays, we demonstrated that 1) purified Cav-1 directly interacts with TCPTP and the integrin ?1 subunit, 2) pCav-1 is a substrate of TCPTP, and 3) TCPTP-mediated Cav-1 dephosphorylation is highly increased by the addition of purified integrin ?1?1 or an integrin ?1 cytoplasmic peptide to which TCPTP has been shown to bind. Thus, our results demonstrate that pCav-1 is a new substrate of TCPTP and that integrin ?1?1 acts as a negative regulator of Cav-1 phosphorylation by activating TCPTP. This could explain the protective function of integrin ?1?1 in oxidative stress-mediated damage and why integrin ?1-null mice are more susceptible to fibrosis following injury.
Cholesterol and its hemisuccinate and sulfate derivatives are widely used in studies of purified membrane proteins but are difficult to solubilize in aqueous solution, even in the presence of detergent micelles. Other cholesterol derivatives do not form conventional micelles and lead to viscous solutions. To address these problems, a cholesterol-based detergent, CHOBIMALT, has been synthesized and characterized. At concentrations above 3?4 ?M, CHOBIMALT forms micelles without the need for elevated temperatures or sonic disruption. Diffusion and fluorescence measurements indicated that CHOBIMALT micelles are large (210±30 kDa). The ability to solubilize a functional membrane protein was explored using a G-protein coupled receptor, the human kappa opioid receptor type 1 (hKOR1). While CHOBIMALT alone was not found to be effective as a surfactant for membrane extraction, when added to classical detergent micelles CHOBIMALT was observed to dramatically enhance the thermal stability of solubilized hKOR1.
There has been a renewal of interest in interactions of membrane proteins with detergents and lipids, sparked both by recent results that illuminate the structural details of these interactions and also by the realization that some experimental membrane protein structures are distorted by detergent-protein interactions. The integral membrane enzyme diacylglycerol kinase (DAGK) has long been thought to require the presence of lipid as an obligate "cofactor" in order to be catalytically viable in micelles. Here, we report that near-optimal catalytic properties are observed for DAGK in micelles composed of lysomyristoylphosphatidylcholine (LMPC), with significant activity also being observed in micelles composed of lysomyristoylphosphatidylglycerol and tetradecylphosphocholine. All three of these detergents were also sustained high stability of the enzyme. NMR measurements revealed significant differences in DAGK-detergent interactions involving LMPC micelles versus micelles composed of dodecylphosphocholine. These results highlight the fact that some integral membrane proteins can maintain native-like properties in lipid-free detergent micelles and also suggest that C(14)-based detergents may be worthy of more widespread use in studies of membrane proteins.
It is shown that Methyl Red can be used as an indicator dye that changes color in Escherichia coli culture as a result of time- and cell density-dependent bleaching by azoreductase produced by the bacteria. For cell cultures that are being used to express a recombinant protein, this phenomenon can be exploited to provide a simple visual cue that cell cultures have reached an appropriate growth phase for addition of an agent to induce protein expression, such as isopropyl thiogalactoside.
Long QT interval syndrome (LQTS) type 1 (LQT1) has been reported to arise from mutations in the S3 domain of KCNQ1, but none of the seven S3 mutations in the literature have been characterized with respect to trafficking or biophysical deficiencies. Surface channel expression was studied using a proteinase K assay for KCNQ1 D202H/N, I204F/M, V205M, S209F, and V215M coexpressed with KCNE1 in mammalian cells. In each case, the majority of synthesized channel was found at the surface, but mutant I(Ks) current density at +100 mV was reduced significantly for S209F, which showed approximately 75% reduction over wild type (WT). All mutants except S209F showed positively shifted V(1/2)s of activation and slowed channel activation compared with WT (V(1/2) = +17.7 +/- 2.4 mV and tau(activation) of 729 ms at +20 mV; n = 18). Deactivation was also accelerated in all mutants versus WT (126 +/- 8 ms at -50 mV; n = 27), and these changes led to marked loss of repolarizing currents during action potential clamps at 2 and 4 Hz, except again S209F. KCNQ1 models localize these naturally occurring S3 mutants to the surface of the helices facing the other voltage sensor transmembrane domains and highlight inter-residue interactions involved in activation gating. V207M, currently classified as a polymorphism and facing lipid in the model, was indistinguishable from WT I(Ks). We conclude that S3 mutants of KCNQ1 cause LQTS predominantly through biophysical effects on the gating of I(Ks), but some mutants also show protein stability/trafficking defects, which explains why the kinetic gain-of-function mutation S209F causes LQT1.
Voltage-gated potassium channels are often assembled with accessory proteins that increase their functional diversity. KCNE proteins are small accessory proteins that modulate voltage-gated potassium (K(V)) channels. Although the functional effects of various KCNE proteins have been described, many questions remain regarding their assembly with the pore-forming subunits. For example, while previous experiments with some K(V) channels suggest that the association of the pore-subunit with the accessory subunits occurs co-translationally in the endoplasmic reticulum, it is not known whether KCNQ1 assembly with KCNE1 occurs in a similar manner to generate the medically important cardiac slow delayed rectifier current (I(Ks)). In this study we used a novel approach to demonstrate that purified recombinant human KCNE1 protein (prKCNE1) modulates KCNQ1 channels heterologously expressed in Xenopus oocytes resulting in generation of I(Ks). Incubation of KCNQ1-expressing oocytes with cycloheximide did not prevent I(Ks) expression following prKCNE1 injection. By contrast, incubation with brefeldin A prevented KCNQ1 modulation by prKCNE1. Moreover, injection of the trafficking-deficient KCNE1-L51H reduced KCNQ1 currents. Together, these observations indicate that while assembly of KCNE1 with KCNQ1 does not require co-translation, functional KCNQ1-prKCNE1 channels assemble early in the secretory pathway and reach the plasma membrane via vesicular trafficking.
It is generally believed that cholesterol homoeostasis in the brain is both linked to and impacted by Alzheimers disease (AD). For example, elevated levels of cholesterol in neuronal plasma and endosome membranes appear to be a pro-amyloidogenic factor. The recent observation that the C-terminal transmembrane domain (C99, also known as the beta-C-terminal fragment, or beta-CTF) of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) specifically binds cholesterol helps to tie together previously loose ends in the web of our understanding of Alzheimers-cholesterol relationships. In particular, binding of cholesterol to C99 appears to favor the amyloidogenic pathway in cells by promoting localization of C99 in lipid rafts. In turn, the products of this pathway-amyloid-beta and the intracellular domain of the APP (AICD)-may down-regulate ApoE-mediated cholesterol uptake and cholesterol biosynthesis. If confirmed, this negative-feedback loop for membrane cholesterol levels has implications for understanding the function of the APP and for devising anti-amyloidogenic preventive strategies for AD.
Voltage-gated potassium channel modulatory membrane protein KCNE3 was overexpressed and purified into both micelles and bicelles. Remarkably, microinjection of KCNE3 in bicelles into Xenopus oocytes resulted in functional co-assembly with the human KCNQ1 channel expressed therein. Microinjection of LMPC micelles containing KCNE3 did not result in channel modulation, indicating that bicelles sometimes succeed at delivering a membrane protein into a cellular membrane when classical micelles fail. Backbone NMR resonance assignments were completed for KCNE3 in both bicelles and LMPC, indicating that the secondary structure distribution in KCNE3s N-terminus and transmembrane domains exhibits only modest differences from that of KCNE1, even though these KCNE family members have very different effects on KCNQ1 channel function.
Evidence that certain gamma-secretase modulators (GSMs) target the 99-residue C-terminal domain (C99) of the amyloid precursor protein, a substrate of gamma-secretase, but not the protease complex itself has been presented [Kukar, T. L., et al. (2008) Nature 453, 925-929]. Here, NMR results demonstrate a lack of specific binding of these GSMs to monodisperse C99 in LMPG micelles. In addition, results indicate that C99 was likely to have been aggregated in some of the key experiments of the previous work and that binding of GSMs to these C99 aggregates is also of a nonspecific nature.
Nonselective blockade of the cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes in skeletal muscle eliminates the normal increase in muscle protein synthesis following resistance exercise. The current study tested the hypothesis that this COX-mediated increase in postexercise muscle protein synthesis is regulated specifically by the COX-2 isoform. Sixteen males (23 +/- 1 yr) were randomly assigned to one of two groups that received three doses of either a selective COX-2 inhibitor (celecoxib; 200 mg/dose, 600 mg total) or a placebo in double-blind fashion during the 24 h following a single bout of knee extensor resistance exercise. At rest and 24 h postexercise, skeletal muscle protein fractional synthesis rate (FSR) was measured using a primed constant infusion of [(2)H(5)]phenylalanine coupled with muscle biopsies of the vastus lateralis, and measurements were made of mRNA and protein expression of COX-1 and COX-2. Mixed muscle protein FSR in response to exercise (P < 0.05) was not suppressed by the COX-2 inhibitor (0.056 +/- 0.004 to 0.108 +/- 0.014%/h) compared with placebo (0.074 +/- 0.004 to 0.091 +/- 0.005%/h), nor was there any difference (P > 0.05) between the placebo and COX-2 inhibitor postexercise when controlling for resting FSR. The COX-2 inhibitor did not influence COX-1 mRNA, COX-1 protein, or COX-2 protein levels, whereas it did increase (P < 0.05) COX-2 mRNA (3.0 +/- 0.9-fold) compared with placebo (1.3 +/- 0.3-fold). It appears that the elimination of the postexercise muscle protein synthesis response by nonselective COX inhibitors is not solely due to COX-2 isoform blockade. Furthermore, the current data suggest that the COX-1 enzyme is likely the main isoform responsible for the COX-mediated increase in muscle protein synthesis following resistance exercise in humans.
Bolaamphiphile-class surfactants composed of two hydrophilic (maltoside) headgroups connected by long saturated alkyl chains were tested for their ability to stabilize a solubilized membrane protein, Escherichia coli diacylglycerol kinase (DAGK), and to sustain its native function. Members of this "Bis-MALT-C(18-28)" series were poor solubilizers of DAGK in the absence of conventional detergent. However, mixed micelles of the bolaamphiphiles with either dodecylphosphocholine or beta-n-decyl maltoside were more effective and enhanced DAGKs thermal stability relative to corresponding detergent-only conditions. Moreover, certain bolaamphiphiles were seen to be lipidlike by providing partial activation of DAGKs catalytic activity. Finally, addition of bolaamphiphiles to micellar NMR samples of DAGK did not result in a degradation of spectral quality, indicating their compatibility with high-resolution structural studies. To the best of our knowledge, this work represents the first documentation of the potential of bolaamphiphile-class surfactants for use in biochemical and biophysical studies of MPs.
Collagen IV networks are ancient proteins of basement membranes that underlie epithelia in metazoa from sponge to human. The networks provide structural integrity to tissues and serve as ligands for integrin cell-surface receptors. They are assembled by oligomerization of triple-helical protomers and are covalently crosslinked, a key reinforcement that stabilizes networks. We used Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to show that a sulfilimine bond (-S=N-) crosslinks hydroxylysine-211 and methionine-93 of adjoining protomers, a bond not previously found in biomolecules. This bond, the nitrogen analog of a sulfoxide, appears to have arisen at the divergence of sponge and cnidaria, an adaptation of the extracellular matrix in response to mechanical stress in metazoan evolution.
Modulation of voltage-gated potassium (KV) channels by the KCNE family of single transmembrane proteins has physiological and pathophysiological importance. All five KCNE proteins (KCNE1-KCNE5) have been demonstrated to modulate heterologously expressed KCNQ1 (KV7.1) with diverse effects, making this channel a valuable experimental platform for elucidating structure-function relationships and mechanistic differences among members of this intriguing group of accessory subunits. Here, we specifically investigated the determinants of KCNQ1 inhibition by KCNE4, the least well-studied KCNE protein. In CHO-K1 cells, KCNQ1, but not KCNQ4, is strongly inhibited by coexpression with KCNE4. By studying KCNQ1-KCNQ4 chimeras, we identified two adjacent residues (K326 and T327) within the extracellular end of the KCNQ1 S6 segment that determine inhibition of KCNQ1 by KCNE4. This dipeptide motif is distinct from neighboring S6 sequences that enable modulation by KCNE1 and KCNE3. Conversely, S6 mutations (S338C and F340C) that alter KCNE1 and KCNE3 effects on KCNQ1 do not abrogate KCNE4 inhibition. Further, KCNQ1-KCNQ4 chimeras that exhibited resistance to the inhibitory effects of KCNE4 still interact biochemically with this protein, implying that accessory subunit binding alone is not sufficient for channel modulation. These observations indicate that the diverse functional effects observed for KCNE proteins depend, in part, on structures intrinsic to the pore-forming subunit, and that distinct S6 subdomains determine KCNQ1 responses to KCNE1, KCNE3, and KCNE4.
The concept of hydrophobicity is critical to our understanding of the principles of membrane protein (MP) folding, structure, and function. In the last decades, several groups have derived hydrophobicity scales using both experimental and statistical methods that are optimized to mimic certain natural phenomena as closely as possible. The present work adds to this toolset the first knowledge-based scale that unifies the characteristics of both alpha-helical and beta-barrel multispan MPs. This unified hydrophobicity scale (UHS) distinguishes between amino acid preference for solution, transition, and trans-membrane states. The scale represents average hydrophobicity values of amino acids in folded proteins, irrespective of their secondary structure type. We furthermore present the first knowledge-based hydrophobicity scale for mammalian alpha-helical MPs (mammalian hydrophobicity scale--MHS). Both scales are particularly useful for computational protein structure elucidation, for example as input for machine learning techniques, such as secondary structure or trans-membrane span prediction, or as reference energies for protein structure prediction or protein design. The knowledge-based UHS shows a striking similarity to a recent experimental hydrophobicity scale introduced by Hessa and coworkers (Hessa T et al., Nature 2007;450:U1026-U1032). Convergence of two very different approaches onto similar hydrophobicity values consolidates the major differences between experimental and knowledge-based scales observed in earlier studies. Moreover, the UHS scale represents an accurate absolute free energy measure for folded, multispan MPs--a feature that is absent from many existing scales. The utility of the UHS was demonstrated by analyzing a series of diverse MPs. It is further shown that the UHS outperforms nine established hydrophobicity scales in predicting trans-membrane spans along the protein sequence. The accuracy of the present hydrophobicity scale profits from the doubling of the number of integral MPs in the PDB over the past four years. The UHS paves the way for an increased accuracy in the prediction of trans-membrane spans.
Escherichia coli diacylglycerol kinase (DAGK) represents a family of integral membrane enzymes that is unrelated to all other phosphotransferases. We have determined the three-dimensional structure of the DAGK homotrimer with the use of solution nuclear magnetic resonance. The third transmembrane helix from each subunit is domain-swapped with the first and second transmembrane segments from an adjacent subunit. Each of DAGKs three active sites resembles a portico. The cornice of the portico appears to be the determinant of DAGKs lipid substrate specificity and overhangs the site of phosphoryl transfer near the water-membrane interface. Mutations to cysteine that caused severe misfolding were located in or near the active site, indicating a high degree of overlap between sites responsible for folding and for catalysis.
Though challenging, solution NMR spectroscopy allows fundamental interrogation of the structure and dynamics of membrane proteins. One major technical hurdle in studies of helical membrane proteins by NMR is the difficulty of obtaining sufficient long range NOEs to determine tertiary structure. For this reason, long range distance information is sometimes sought through measurement of paramagnetic relaxation enhancements (PRE) of NMR nuclei as a function of distance from an introduced paramagnetic probe. Current PRE interpretation is based on the assumption of Lorentzian resonance lineshapes. However, in order to optimize spectral resolution, modern multidimensional NMR spectra are almost always subjected to resolution-enhancement, leading to distortions in the Lorentizian peak shape. Here it is shown that when PREs are derived using peak intensities (i.e., peak height) and linewidths from both real and simulated spectra that were produced using a wide range of apodization/window functions, that there is little variation in the distances determined (<1 A at the extremes). This indicates that the high degree of resolution enhancement required to obtain well-resolved spectra from helical membrane proteins is compatible with the use of PRE data as a source of distance restraints. While these conclusions are particularly important for helical membrane proteins, they are generally applicable to all PRE measurements made using resolution-enhanced data.
The patient is a 42-year-old male with a past medical history of HIV/AIDS (his most recent CD4 count, four months before admission, was 19) and hepatitis C who presented to the Emergency Department complaining of one week of persistent nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. His admit labs were as follows: hemoglobin of 11.8, hematocrit of 35, total protein of 6.0, albumin of 1.6, total bilirubin of 2.3, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) of 141, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) of 146, and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) of 31. Computed tomography (CT) images of the abdomen and pelvis with contrast were obtained (Figures 1 - 4).
Ultra-low doses and dose- rates of ionizing radiation are effective in preventing disease which suggests that they also may be effective in treating disease. Limited experimental and anecdotal evidence indicates that low radiation doses from radon in mines and spas, thorium-bearing monazite sands and enhanced radioactive uranium ore obtained from a natural geological reactor may be useful in treating many inflammatory conditions and proliferative disorders, including cancer. Optimal therapeutic applications were identified via a literature survey as dose-rates ranging from 7 to 11?Gy/hr or 28 to 44 times world average background rates. Rocks from an abandoned uranium mine in Utah were considered for therapeutic application and were examined by ?-ray and laser-induced breakdown fluorescence spectroscopy. The rocks showed the presence of transuranics and fission products with a ?-ray energy profile similar to aged spent uranium nuclear fuel (93% dose due to ? particles and 7% due to ? rays). Mud packs of pulverized uranium ore rock dust in sealed plastic bags delivering bag surface ?,? dose-rates of 10-450 ?Gy/h were used with apparent success to treat several inflammatory and proliferative conditions in humans.
The intracellular aspect of the sixth transmembrane segment within the ion-permeating pore is a common binding site for many voltage-gated ion channel blockers. However, the exact site(s) at which drugs bind remain controversial. We used extensive site-directed mutagenesis coupled with molecular modeling to examine mechanisms in drug block of the human cardiac potassium channel KCNQ1. A total of 48 amino acid residues in the S6 segment, S4-S5 linker, and the proximal C-terminus of the KCNQ1 channel were mutated individually to alanine; alanines were mutated to cysteines. Residues modulating drug block were identified when mutant channels displayed <50% block on exposure to drug concentrations that inhibited wild-type current by ?90%. Homology modeling of the KCNQ1 channel based on the Kv1.2 structure unexpectedly predicted that the key residue modulating drug block (F351) faces away from the permeating pore. In the open-state channel model, F351 lines a pocket that also includes residues L251 and V254 in S4-S5 linker. Docking calculations indicated that this pocket is large enough to accommodate quinidine. To test this hypothesis, L251A and V254A mutants were generated that display a reduced sensitivity to blockage with quinidine. Thus, our data support a model in which open state block of this channel occurs not via binding to a site directly in the pore but rather by a novel allosteric mechanism: drug access to a side pocket generated in the open-state channel configuration and lined by S6 and S4-S5 residues.
Integrin ?1?1 binding to collagen IV, which is mediated by the ?1-inserted (I) domain, down-regulates collagen synthesis. When unligated, a salt bridge between Arg(287) and Glu(317) is thought to keep this domain in a low affinity conformation. Ligand binding opens the salt bridge leading to a high-affinity conformation. How modulating integrin ?1?1 affinity alters collagen homeostasis is unknown. To address this question, we utilized a thermolysin-derived product of the ?1?2?1 network of collagen IV (?1?2?1(IV) truncated protomer) that selectively binds integrin ?1?1. We show that an E317A substitution enhanced binding to the truncated protomer, consistent with a previous finding that this substitution eliminates the salt bridge. Surprisingly, we show that an R287A substitution did not alter binding, whereas R287E/E317R substitutions enhanced binding to the truncated protomer. NMR spectroscopy and molecular modeling suggested that eliminating the Glu(317) negative charge is sufficient to induce a conformational change toward the open state. Thus, the role played by Glu(317) is largely independent of the salt bridge. We further show that cells expressing E317A or R287E/E317R substitutions have enhanced down-regulation of collagen IV synthesis, which is mediated by the ERK/MAPK pathway. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that modulating the affinity of the extracellular ?1 I domain to collagen IV enhances outside-in signaling by potentiating ERK activation and enhancing the down-regulation of collagen synthesis.
Loss of ?1 integrin expression inhibits renal collecting-system development. Two highly conserved NPXY motifs in the distal ?1 tail regulate integrin function by associating with phosphtyrosine binding (PTB) proteins, such as talin and kindlin. Here, we define the roles of these two tyrosines in collecting-system development and delineate the structural determinants of the distal ?1 tail using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). Mice carrying alanine mutations have moderate renal collecting-system developmental abnormalities relative to ?1-null mice. Phenylalanine mutations did not affect renal collecting-system development but increased susceptibility to renal injury. NMR spectra in bicelles showed the distal ?1 tail is disordered and does not interact with the model membrane surface. Alanine or phenylalanine mutations did not alter ?1 structure or interactions between ? and ?1 subunit transmembrane/cytoplasmic domains; however, they did decrease talin and kindlin binding. Thus, these studies highlight the fact that the functional roles of the NPXY motifs are organ dependent. Moreover, the ?1 cytoplasmic tail, in the context of the adjacent transmembrane domain in bicelles, is significantly different from the more ordered, membrane-associated ?3 integrin tail. Finally, tyrosine mutations of ?1 NPXY motifs induce phenotypes by disrupting their interactions with critical integrin binding proteins like talins and kindlins.
Alternative splicing (AS) of RNA is a key mechanism for diversification of the eukaryotic proteome. In this process, different mRNA transcripts can be produced through altered excision and/or inclusion of exons during processing of the pre-mRNA molecule. Since its discovery, AS has been shown to play roles in protein structure, function, and localization. Dysregulation of this process can result in disease phenotypes. Moreover, AS pathways are promising therapeutic targets for a number of diseases. Integral membrane proteins (MPs) represent a class of proteins that may be particularly amenable to regulation by alternative splicing because of the distinctive topological restraints associated with their folding, structure, trafficking, and function. Here, we review the impact of AS on MP form and function and the roles of AS in MP-related disorders such as Alzheimers disease.
Alzheimers disease is a fatal neurological disorder that is a leading cause of death, with its prevalence increasing as the average life expectancy increases worldwide. There is an urgent need to develop new therapeutics for this disease. A newly described protein, the ?-secretase activating protein (GSAP), has been proposed to promote elevated levels of amyloid-? production, an activity that seems to be inhibited using the well-establish cancer drug, imatinib (Gleevec). Despite much interest in this protein, there has been little biochemical characterization of GSAP. Here we report protocols for the recombinant bacterial expression and purification of this potentially important protein. GSAP is expressed in inclusion bodies, which can be solubilized using harsh detergents or urea; however, traditional methods of refolding were not successful in generating soluble forms of the protein that contained well-ordered and homogeneous tertiary structure. However, GSAP could be solubilized in detergent micelle solutions, where it was seen to be largely ?-helical but to adopt only heterogeneous tertiary structure. Under these same conditions, GSAP did not associate with either imatinib or the 99-residue transmembrane C-terminal domain of the amyloid precursor protein. These results highlight the challenges that will be faced in attempts to manipulate and characterize this protein.
C99 is the transmembrane carboxyl-terminal domain of the amyloid precursor protein that is cleaved by ?-secretase to release the amyloid-? polypeptides, which are associated with Alzheimers disease. Nuclear magnetic resonance and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy show that the extracellular amino terminus of C99 includes a surface-embedded "N-helix" followed by a short "N-loop" connecting to the transmembrane domain (TMD). The TMD is a flexibly curved ? helix, making it well suited for processive cleavage by ?-secretase. Titration of C99 reveals a binding site for cholesterol, providing mechanistic insight into how cholesterol promotes amyloidogenesis. Membrane-buried GXXXG motifs (G, Gly; X, any amino acid), which have an established role in oligomerization, were also shown to play a key role in cholesterol binding. The structure and cholesterol binding properties of C99 may aid in the design of Alzheimers therapeutics.
Bilayered detergent-lipid assemblies known as bicelles have been widely used as model membranes in structural biological studies and are being explored for wider applications, including pharmaceutical use. Most studies to date have involved the use of concentrated bicelle mixtures, such that little is known about the capacity of bicellar mixtures to be diluted without unwanted transitions to nonisotropic phases. Here, different detergent/lipid mixtures have been explored, leading to the identification of two different families of bicelles for which it is possible to lower the total amphiphile (detergent + lipid) concentration to <1% (w/v) while retaining isotropic assemblies. These include a novel family of bicelles based on mixtures of 6-cyclohexyl-1-hexylphosphocholine (Cyclofos-6) and the lipid dimyristoylphosphatidylcholine (DMPC). Bicelles formed by these mixtures can be diluted to <0.5% and also have attractive biochemical properties. However, a caveat of our results is that the diffusion coefficients measured for the lipid component of the different bicelles tested were seen to be dependent on sample history, even though all samples were optically transparent. This suggests that the phase behavior of bicelles at low lipid-to-detergent ratios may be more complex than previously appreciated.
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