Anti-sm autoantibodies in systemic lupus target highly basic surface structures of complexed spliceosomal autoantigens.
Autoantibodies directed against spliceosomal proteins are a common and specific feature of systemic lupus erythematosus. These autoantibodies target a collection of proteins, including Sm B, B', D1, D2, and D3. We define the common antigenic targets of Sm D2 and D3 and examine their role in spliceosomal autoimmunity. Our results define nine major common epitopes, five on Sm D2 and four on Sm D3. These epitopes have significantly higher (more basic) isoelectric points than do nonantigenic regions. In fact, this association is of sufficient power to make isoelectric point an excellent predictor of spliceosomal antigenicity. The crystallographic structure of Sm D2 and D3 is now partially described. The anti-Sm D2 and D3 antigenic targets are located on the surface of the respective three-dimensional complexed proteins, thereby suggesting that these epitopes are accessible in the native configuration. All but one of these nine epitopes conspicuously avoid the specific regions involved in intermolecular interactions within the spliceosomal complex. One of the D3 epitopes (RGRGRGMGR) has significant sequence homology with a major antigenic region of Sm D1 (containing a carboxyl-terminal glycine-arginine repeat), and anti-D3 Abs cross-react with this epitope of Sm D1. These results demonstrate that spliceosomal targets of autoimmunity are accessible on native structure surfaces and that cross-reactive epitopes, as well as structural associations of various spliceosomal Ags, may be involved in the induction of autoimmunity in systemic lupus. (+info)
Membrane activity of the southern cowpea mosaic virus coat protein: the role of basic amino acids, helix-forming potential, and lipid composition.
Southern cowpea mosaic virus (SCPMV) is a spherical RNA virus with T = 3 icosahedral symmetry. The particle is composed of 180 subunits of the coat protein (CP) and one copy of the positive-sense viral RNA. The CP has two domains, the random (R) domain formed by the N-terminal 64 aa and the shell (S) domain (aa 65--260). The R domain is highly charged, with 11 of the N-terminal 30 residues being basic. It is localized to the interior of the native particle where it may interact with the viral RNA, but under certain pH and salt conditions the topology of the particle changes to externalize the R domain. Since the CPs of several spherical RNA viruses have been shown to interact with host membranes during infection, we have begun investigating the membrane interactions of the SCPMV CP using the artificial liposome membranes. Both the native CP and the R domain overexpressed in Escherichia coli were observed to interact with liposomes. The interaction between the R domain and liposomes required either anionic phospholipids or non-bilayer-forming lipids and involved electrostatic interactions since it was shown to be both pH and ionic strength dependent. The analysis of four different deletion and six different site-directed substitution mutations partially mapped the region responsible for this interaction to residues 1--30. Analysis of this region of the R domain by circular dichroism indicated that it assumes an alpha-helical structure when exposed to liposomes composed of anionic lipids. Mutations, which extend the helical nature of this region, promoted an increased interaction. The possible role of the CP/lipid interaction in the SCPMV infection is discussed. (+info)
Characterization of signal that directs C-tail-anchored proteins to mammalian mitochondrial outer membrane.
We analyzed the signal that directs the outer membrane protein with the C-terminal transmembrane segment (TMS) to mammalian mitochondria by using yeast Tom5 as a model and green fluorescent protein as a reporter. Deletions or mutations were systematically introduced into the TMS or the flanking regions and their intracellular localization in COS-7 cells was examined using confocal microscopy and cell fractionation. 1) Three basic amino acid residues within the C-terminal five-residue segment (C-segment) contained the information required for mitochondrial-targeting. Reduction of the net positive charge in this segment decreased mitochondrial specificity, and the mutants were distributed throughout the intracellular membranes. 2) Elongation of the TMS interfered with the function of the C-segment and the mutants were delivered to the intracellular membranes. 3) Separation of the TMS and C-segment by linker insertion severely impaired mitochondrial targeting function, leading to mislocalization to the cytoplasm. 4) Mutations or small deletions in the region of the TMS flanking the C-segment also impaired the mitochondrial targeting. Therefore, the moderate length of the TMS, the positive charges in the C-segment, and the distance between or context of the TMS and C-segment are critical for the targeting signal. The structural characteristics of the signal thus defined were also confirmed with mammalian C-tail-anchored protein OMP25. (+info)
Covalent cross-linking of proteins without chemical reagents.
A facile method for the formation of zero-length covalent cross-links between protein molecules in the lyophilized state without the use of chemical reagents has been developed. The cross-linking process is performed by simply sealing lyophilized protein under vacuum in a glass vessel and heating at 85 degrees C for 24 h. Under these conditions, approximately one-third of the total protein present becomes cross-linked, and dimer is the major product. Chemical and mass spectroscopic evidence obtained shows that zero-length cross-links are formed as a result of the condensation of interacting ammonium and carboxylate groups to form amide bonds between adjacent molecules. For the protein examined in the most detail, RNase A, the cross-linked dimer has only one amide cross-link and retains the enzymatic activity of the monomer. The in vacuo cross-linking procedure appears to be general in its applicability because five different proteins tested gave substantial cross-linking, and co-lyophilization of lysozyme and RNase A also gave a heterogeneous covalently cross-linked dimer. (+info)
Role of paired basic residues of protein C-termini in phospholipid binding.
It is a well known phenomenon that the occurrence of several distinct amino acids at the C-terminus of proteins is non-random. We have analysed all Saccharomyces cerevisiae proteins predicted by computer databases and found lysine to be the most frequent residue both at the last (-1) and at the penultimate amino acid (-2) positions. To test the hypothesis that C-terminal basic residues efficiently bind to phospholipids we randomly expressed GST-fusion proteins from a yeast genomic library. Fifty-four different peptide fragments were found to bind phospholipids and 40% of them contained lysine/arginine residues at the (-1) or (-2) positions. One peptide showed high sequence similarity with the yeast protein Sip18p. Mutational analysis revealed that both C-terminal lysine residues of Sip18p are essential for phospholipid-binding in vitro. We assume that basic amino acid residues at the (-1) and (-2) positions in C-termini are suitable to attach the C-terminus of a given protein to membrane components such as phospholipids, thereby stabilizing the spatial structure of the protein or contributing to its subcellular localization. This mechanism could be an additional explanation for the C-terminal amino acid bias observed in proteins of several species. (+info)
Contribution of basic residues of the A helix of heparin cofactor II to heparin- or dermatan sulfate-mediated thrombin inhibition.
Inhibition of thrombin by heparin cofactor II (HCII) is accelerated 1000-fold by heparin or dermatan sulfate. To investigate the contribution of basic residues of the A helix of HCII to this activation, we constructed amino acid substitutions (K101Q, R103L, and R106L) by site-directed mutagenesis. K101Q greatly reduced heparin cofactor activity and required a more than 10-fold higher concentration of dermatan sulfate to accelerate thrombin inhibition compared with wild-type recombinant HCII. Thrombin inhibition by R106L was not significantly stimulated by dermatan sulfate. These results provide evidence that basic residues of the A helix of HCII (Lys(101) and Arg(106)) are necessary for heparin- or dermatan sulfate-accelerated thrombin inhibition. (+info)
Site-directed mutagenesis of conserved charged amino acid residues in ClpB from Escherichia coli.
ClpB is a member of a multichaperone system in Escherichia coli (with DnaK, DnaJ, and GrpE) that reactivates strongly aggregated proteins. The sequence of ClpB contains two ATP-binding domains, each containing Walker consensus motifs. The N- and C-terminal sequence regions of ClpB do not contain known functional motifs. In this study, we performed site-directed mutagenesis of selected charged residues within the Walker A motifs (Lys212 and Lys611) and the C-terminal region of ClpB (Asp797, Arg815, Arg819, and Glu826). We found that the mutations K212T, K611T, D797A, R815A, R819A, and E826A did not significantly affect the secondary structure of ClpB. The mutation of the N-terminal ATP-binding site (K212T), but not of the C-terminal ATP-binding site (K611T), and two mutations within the C-terminal domain (R815A and R819A) inhibited the self-association of ClpB in the absence of nucleotides. The defects in self-association of these mutants were also observed in the presence of ATP and ADP. The four mutants K212T, K611T, R815A, and R819A showed an inhibition of chaperone activity, which correlated with their low ATPase activity in the presence of casein. Our results indicate that positively charged amino acids that are located along the intersubunit interface (this includes Lys212 in the Walker A motif of the N-terminal ATP-binding domain as well as Arg815 and Arg819 in the C-terminal domain) participate in intersubunit salt bridges and stabilize the ClpB oligomer. Interestingly, we have identified a conserved residue within the C-terminal domain (Arg819) which does not participate directly in nucleotide binding but is essential for the chaperone activity of ClpB. (+info)
Complete replacement of basic amino acid residues with cysteines in Rickettsia prowazekii ATP/ADP translocase.
The ATP/ADP translocase (Tlc) of Rickettsia prowazekii is a basic protein with isoelectric point (pI)=9.84. It is conceivable, therefore, that basic residues in this protein are involved in electrostatic interactions with negatively charged substrates. We tested this hypothesis by individually mutating all basic residues in Tlc to Cys. Unexpectedly, mutations of only 20 out of 51 basic residues resulted in greater than 80% inhibition of transport activity. Moreover, 12 of 51Cys-substitution mutants exhibited higher than wild-type (WT) activity. At least in one case this up-effect was additive and the double mutant Lys422Cys Lys427Cys transported ATP five-fold better than WT protein. Since in these two single mutants and in the corresponding double mutant K(m)'s were similar to that of WT protein, we conclude that Tlc may have evolved a mechanism that limits the transporter's exchange rate and that at least these two basic residues play a key role in that mechanism. Based on the alignment of 16 Tlc homologs, the loss of activity in the mutants poorly correlates with charge conservation within the Tlc family. Also, despite the presence of three positively charged and one negatively charged intramembrane residues, we have failed to identify potential charge pairs (salt bridges) by either charge reversal or charge neutralization approaches. (+info)