Copper binding to the prion protein: structural implications of four identical cooperative binding sites.
Evidence is growing to support a functional role for the prion protein (PrP) in copper metabolism. Copper ions appear to bind to the protein in a highly conserved octapeptide repeat region (sequence PHGGGWGQ) near the N terminus. To delineate the site and mode of binding of Cu(II) to the PrP, the copper-binding properties of peptides of varying lengths corresponding to 2-, 3-, and 4-octarepeat sequences have been probed by using various spectroscopic techniques. A two-octarepeat peptide binds a single Cu(II) ion with Kd approximately 6 microM whereas a four-octarepeat peptide cooperatively binds four Cu(II) ions. Circular dichroism spectra indicate a distinctive structuring of the octarepeat region on Cu(II) binding. Visible absorption, visible circular dichroism, and electron spin resonance spectra suggest that the coordination sphere of the copper is identical for 2, 3, or 4 octarepeats, consisting of a square-planar geometry with three nitrogen ligands and one oxygen ligand. Consistent with the pH dependence of Cu(II) binding, proton NMR spectroscopy indicates that the histidine residues in each octarepeat are coordinated to the Cu(II) ion. Our working model for the structure of the complex shows the histidine residues in successive octarepeats bridged between two copper ions, with both the Nepsilon2 and Ndelta1 imidazole nitrogen of each histidine residue coordinated and the remaining coordination sites occupied by a backbone amide nitrogen and a water molecule. This arrangement accounts for the cooperative nature of complex formation and for the apparent evolutionary requirement for four octarepeats in the PrP. (+info)
The development of cell processes induced by tau protein requires phosphorylation of serine 262 and 356 in the repeat domain and is inhibited by phosphorylation in the proline-rich domains.
The differentiation of neurons and the outgrowth of neurites depends on microtubule-associated proteins such as tau protein. To study this process, we have used the model of Sf9 cells, which allows efficient transfection with microtubule-associated proteins (via baculovirus vectors) and observation of the resulting neurite-like extensions. We compared the phosphorylation of tau23 (the embryonic form of human tau) with mutants in which critical phosphorylation sites were deleted by mutating Ser or Thr residues into Ala. One can broadly distinguish two types of sites, the KXGS motifs in the repeats (which regulate the affinity of tau to microtubules) and the SP or TP motifs in the domains flanking the repeats (which contain epitopes for antibodies diagnostic of Alzheimer's disease). Here we report that both types of sites can be phosphorylated by endogenous kinases of Sf9 cells, and that the phosphorylation pattern of the transfected tau is very similar to that of neurons, showing that Sf9 cells can be regarded as an approximate model for the neuronal balance between kinases and phosphatases. We show that mutations in the repeat domain and in the flanking domains have opposite effects. Mutations of KXGS motifs in the repeats (Ser262, 324, and 356) strongly inhibit the outgrowth of cell extensions induced by tau, even though this type of phosphorylation accounts for only a minor fraction of the total phosphate. This argues that the temporary detachment of tau from microtubules (by phosphorylation at KXGS motifs) is a necessary condition for establishing cell polarity at a critical point in space or time. Conversely, the phosphorylation at SP or TP motifs represents the majority of phosphate (>80%); mutations in these motifs cause an increase in cell extensions, indicating that this type of phosphorylation retards the differentiation of the cells. (+info)
Characterization of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii zygote-specific cDNAs that encode novel proteins containing ankyrin repeats and WW domains.
Genes that are expressed only in the young zygote are considered to be of great importance in the development of an isogamous green alga, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Clones representing the Zys3 gene were isolated from a cDNA library prepared using zygotes at 10 min after fertilization. Sequencing of Zys3 cDNA clones resulted in the isolation of two related molecular species. One of them encoded a protein that contained two kinds of protein-to-protein interaction motifs known as ankyrin repeats and WW domains. The other clone lacked the ankyrin repeats but was otherwise identical. These mRNA species began to accumulate simultaneously in cells beginning 10 min after fertilization, and reached maximum levels at about 4 h, after which time levels decreased markedly. Genomic DNA gel-blot analysis indicated that Zys3 was a single-copy gene. The Zys3 proteins exhibited parallel expression to the Zys3 mRNAs at first, appearing 2 h after mating, and reached maximum levels at more than 6 h, but persisted to at least 1 d. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed their localization in the endoplasmic reticulum, which suggests a role in the morphological changes of the endoplasmic reticulum or in the synthesis and transport of proteins to the Golgi apparatus or related vesicles. (+info)
The F-box protein beta-TrCP associates with phosphorylated beta-catenin and regulates its activity in the cell.
Defects in beta-catenin regulation contribute to the neoplastic transformation of mammalian cells. Dysregulation of beta-catenin can result from missense mutations that affect critical sites of phosphorylation by glycogen synthase kinase 3beta (GSK3beta). Given that phosphorylation can regulate targeted degradation of beta-catenin by the proteasome, beta-catenin might interact with an E3 ubiquitin ligase complex containing an F-box protein, as is the case for certain cell cycle regulators. Accordingly, disruption of the Drosophila F-box protein Slimb upregulates the beta-catenin homolog Armadillo. We reasoned that the human homologs of Slimb - beta-TrCP and its isoform beta-TrCP2 (KIAA0696) - might interact with beta-catenin. We found that the binding of beta-TrCP to beta-catenin was direct and dependent upon the WD40 repeat sequences in beta-TrCP and on phosphorylation of the GSK3beta sites in beta-catenin. Endogenous beta-catenin and beta-TrCP could be coimmunoprecipitated from mammalian cells. Overexpression of wild-type beta-TrCP in mammalian cells promoted the downregulation of beta-catenin, whereas overexpression of a dominant-negative deletion mutant upregulated beta-catenin protein levels and activated signaling dependent on the transcription factor Tcf. In contrast, beta-TrCP2 did not associate with beta-catenin. We conclude that beta-TrCP is a component of an E3 ubiquitin ligase that is responsible for the targeted degradation of phosphorylated beta-catenin. (+info)
Crystal structure of a heparin- and integrin-binding segment of human fibronectin.
The crystal structure of human fibronectin (FN) type III repeats 12-14 reveals the primary heparin-binding site, a clump of positively charged residues in FN13, and a putative minor site approximately 60 A away in FN14. The IDAPS motif implicated in integrin alpha4beta1 binding is at the FN13-14 junction, rendering the critical Asp184 inaccessible to integrin. Asp184 clamps the BC loop of FN14, whose sequence (PRARI) is reminiscent of the synergy sequence (PHSRN) of FN9. Mutagenesis studies prompted by this observation reveal that both arginines of the PRARI sequence are important for alpha4beta1 binding to FN12-14. The PRARI motif may represent a new class of integrin-binding sites. The spatial organization of the binding sites suggests that heparin and integrin may bind in concert. (+info)
Antibodies reactive with the N-terminal domain of Plasmodium falciparum serine repeat antigen inhibit cell proliferation by agglutinating merozoites and schizonts.
The serine repeat antigen (SERA) is a vaccine candidate antigen of Plasmodium falciparum. Immunization of mice with Escherichia coli-produced recombinant protein of the SERA N-terminal domain (SE47') induced an antiserum that was inhibitory to parasite growth in vitro. Affinity-purified mouse antibodies specific to the recombinant protein inhibited parasite growth between the schizont and ring stages but not between the ring and schizont stages. When Percoll-purified schizonts were cultured with the affinity-purified SE47'-specific antibodies, schizonts and merozoites were agglutinated. Indirect-immunofluorescence assays with unfixed parasite cells showed that SE47'-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) bound to SERA molecules on rupturing schizonts and merozoites but the IgG did not react with the schizont-infected erythrocytes (RBC). Furthermore, double-fluorescence staining against SE47'-specific IgG and anti-human RBC membrane IgG showed that the RBC membrane disappeared from SE47'-specific-IgG-bound schizonts after cultivation. These observations suggest that the SE47'-specific antibodies inhibit parasite growth by cross-linking SERA molecules that are associated with merozoites in rupturing schizonts with partly broken RBC and parasitophorous vacuole membranes, blocking merozoite release. (+info)
Mechanical and chemical unfolding of a single protein: a comparison.
Is the mechanical unraveling of protein domains by atomic force microscopy (AFM) just a technological feat or a true measurement of their unfolding? By engineering a protein made of tandem repeats of identical Ig modules, we were able to get explicit AFM data on the unfolding rate of a single protein domain that can be accurately extrapolated to zero force. We compare this with chemical unfolding rates for untethered modules extrapolated to 0 M denaturant. The unfolding rates obtained by the two methods are the same. Furthermore, the transition state for unfolding appears at the same position on the folding pathway when assessed by either method. These results indicate that mechanical unfolding of a single protein by AFM does indeed reflect the same event that is observed in traditional unfolding experiments. The way is now open for the extensive use of AFM to measure folding reactions at the single-molecule level. Single-molecule AFM recordings have the added advantage that they define the reaction coordinate and expose rare unfolding events that cannot be observed in the absence of chemical denaturants. (+info)
A mutation in the extracellular cysteine-rich repeat region of the beta3 subunit activates integrins alphaIIbbeta3 and alphaVbeta3.
Inside-out signaling regulates the ligand-binding function of integrins through changes in receptor affinity and/or avidity. For example, alphaIIbbeta3 is in a low-affinity/avidity state in resting platelets, and activation of the receptor by platelet agonists enables fibrinogen to bind. In addition, certain mutations and truncations of the integrin cytoplasmic tails are associated with a high-affinity/avidity receptor. To further evaluate the structural basis of integrin activation, stable Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell transfectants were screened for high-affinity/avidity variants of alphaIIbbeta3. One clone (AM-1) expressed constitutively active alphaIIbbeta3, as evidenced by (1) binding of soluble fibrinogen and PAC1, a ligand-mimetic antialphaIIbbeta3 antibody; and (2) fibrinogen-dependent cell aggregation. Sequence analysis and mutant expression in 293 cells proved that a single amino acid substitution in the cysteine-rich, extracellular portion of beta3(T562N) was responsible for receptor activation. In fact, T562N also activated alphaVbeta3, leading to spontaneous binding of soluble fibrinogen to 293 cells. In contrast, neither T562A nor T562Q activated alphaIIbbeta3, suggesting that acquisition of asparagine at residue 562 was the relevant variable. T562N also led to aberrant glycosylation of beta3, but this was not responsible for the receptor activation. The binding of soluble fibrinogen to alphaIIbbeta3(T562N) was not sufficient to trigger tyrosine phosphorylation of pp125(FAK), indicating that additional post-ligand binding events are required to activate this protein tyrosine kinase during integrin signaling. These studies have uncovered a novel gain-of-function mutation in a region of beta3 intermediate between the ligand-binding region and the cytoplasmic tail, and they suggest that this region is involved in integrin structural changes during inside-out signaling. (+info)