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Annexin proteins function as Ca-dependent regulators of membrane trafficking and repair that may also modulate membrane curvature. Here, using high-resolution confocal imaging, we report that the intestine-specific annexin A13 (ANX A13) localizes to the tips of intestinal microvilli and determined the crystal structure of the ANX A13a isoform to 2.6 Å resolution. The structure revealed that the N terminus exhibits an alternative fold that converts the first two helices and the associated helix-loop-helix motif into a continuous α-helix, as stabilized by a domain-swapped dimer. We also found that the dimer is present in solution and partially occludes the membrane-binding surfaces of annexin, suggesting that dimerization may function as a means for regulating membrane binding. Accordingly, as revealed by binding and cellular localization assays, ANX A13a variants that favor a monomeric state exhibited increased membrane association relative to variants that favor the dimeric form. Together, our findings support a mechanism for how the association of the ANX A13a isoform with the membrane is regulated.
© 2019 McCulloch et al.
The transient receptor potential ion channels support Ca permeation in many organs, including the heart, brain, and kidney. Genetic mutations in transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily C member 3 (TRPC3) are associated with neurodegenerative diseases, memory loss, and hypertension. To better understand the conformational changes that regulate TRPC3 function, we solved the cryo-EM structures for the full-length human TRPC3 and its cytoplasmic domain (CPD) in the apo state at 5.8- and 4.0-Å resolution, respectively. These structures revealed that the TRPC3 transmembrane domain resembles those of other TRP channels and that the CPD is a stable module involved in channel assembly and gating. We observed the presence of a C-terminal domain swap at the center of the CPD where horizontal helices (HHs) transition into a coiled-coil bundle. Comparison of TRPC3 structures revealed that the HHs can reside in two distinct positions. Electrophysiological analyses disclosed that shortening the length of the C-terminal loop connecting the HH with the TRP helices increases TRPC3 activity and that elongating the length of the loop has the opposite effect. Our findings indicate that the C-terminal loop affects channel gating by altering the allosteric coupling between the cytoplasmic and transmembrane domains. We propose that molecules that target the HH may represent a promising strategy for controlling TRPC3-associated neurological disorders and hypertension.
© 2018 Sierra-Valdez et al.
Computationally designed transmembrane α-helical peptides (CHAMP) have been used to compete for helix-helix interactions within the membrane, enabling the ability to probe the activation of the integrins αIIbβ3 and αvβ3. Here, this method is extended towards the design of CHAMP peptides that inhibit the association of the α5β1 transmembrane (TM) domains, targeting the Ala-X3-Gly motif within α5. Our previous design algorithm was performed alongside a new workflow implemented within the widely used Rosetta molecular modeling suite. Peptides from each computational approach activated integrin α5β1 but not αVβ3 in human endothelial cells. Two CHAMP peptides were shown to directly associate with an α5 TM domain peptide in detergent micelles to a similar degree as a β1 TM peptide does. By solution-state nuclear magnetic resonance, one of these CHAMP peptides was shown to bind primarily the integrin β1 TM domain, which itself has a Gly-X3-Gly motif. The second peptide associated modestly with both α5 and β1 constructs, with slight preference for α5. Although the design goal was not fully realized, this work characterizes novel CHAMP peptides activating α5β1 that can serve as useful reagents for probing integrin biology.
The cellular microenvironment, characterized by an extracellular matrix (ECM), played an essential role in the transition from unicellularity to multicellularity in animals (metazoans), and in the subsequent evolution of diverse animal tissues and organs. A major ECM component are members of the collagen superfamily -comprising 28 types in vertebrates - that exist in diverse supramolecular assemblies ranging from networks to fibrils. Each assembly is characterized by a hallmark feature, a protein structure called a triple helix. A current gap in knowledge is understanding the mechanisms of how the triple helix encodes and utilizes information in building scaffolds on the outside of cells. Type IV collagen, recently revealed as the evolutionarily most ancient member of the collagen superfamily, serves as an archetype for a fresh view of fundamental structural features of a triple helix that underlie the diversity of biological activities of collagens. In this Opinion, we argue that the triple helix is a protein structure of fundamental importance in building the extracellular matrix, which enabled animal multicellularity and tissue evolution.
© 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
While great progress has been made, only 10% of the nearly 1,000 integral, α-helical, multi-span membrane protein families are represented by at least one experimentally determined structure in the PDB. Previously, we developed the algorithm BCL::MP-Fold, which samples the large conformational space of membrane proteins de novo by assembling predicted secondary structure elements guided by knowledge-based potentials. Here, we present a case study of rhodopsin fold determination by integrating sparse and/or low-resolution restraints from multiple experimental techniques including electron microscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Simultaneous incorporation of orthogonal experimental restraints not only significantly improved the sampling accuracy but also allowed identification of the correct fold, which is demonstrated by a protein size-normalized transmembrane root-mean-square deviation as low as 1.2 Å. The protocol developed in this case study can be used for the determination of unknown membrane protein folds when limited experimental restraints are available.
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Current clinical treatment of infection, the main etiological factor in the development of gastritis, gastric ulcers, and gastric carcinoma, requires a combination of at least two antibiotics and one proton pump inhibitor. However, such triple therapy suffers from progressively decreased therapeutic efficacy due to the drug resistance and undesired killing of the commensal bacteria due to poor selectivity. Here, we report the development of antimicrobial polypeptide-based monotherapy, which can specifically kill under acidic pH in the stomach while inducing minimal toxicity to commensal bacteria under physiological pH. Specifically, we designed a class of pH-sensitive, helix-coil conformation transitionable antimicrobial polypeptides (HCT-AMPs) (PGA)--(PHLG-MHH), bearing randomly distributed negatively charged glutamic acid and positively charged poly(γ-6--(methyldihexylammonium)hexyl-l-glutamate) (PHLG-MHH) residues. The HCT-AMPs showed unappreciable toxicity at physiological pH when they adopted random coiled conformation. Under acidic condition in the stomach, they transformed to the helical structure and exhibited potent antibacterial activity against , including clinically isolated drug-resistant strains. After oral gavage, the HCT-AMPs afforded comparable killing efficacy to the triple-therapy approach while inducing minimal toxicity against normal tissues and commensal bacteria, in comparison with the remarkable killing of commensal bacteria by 65% and 86% in the ileal contents and feces, respectively, following triple therapy. This strategy renders an effective approach to specifically target and kill in the stomach while not harming the commensal bacteria/normal tissues.
Cyclooxygenase-2 catalyses the biosynthesis of prostaglandins from arachidonic acid but also the biosynthesis of prostaglandin glycerol esters (PG-Gs) from 2-arachidonoylglycerol. Previous studies identified PG-Gs as signalling molecules involved in inflammation. Thus, the glyceryl ester of prostaglandin E, PGE-G, mobilizes Ca and activates protein kinase C and ERK, suggesting the involvement of a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). To identify the endogenous receptor for PGE-G, we performed a subtractive screening approach where mRNA from PGE-G response-positive and -negative cell lines was subjected to transcriptome-wide RNA sequencing analysis. We found several GPCRs that are only expressed in the PGE-G responder cell lines. Using a set of functional readouts in heterologous and endogenous expression systems, we identified the UDP receptor P2Y as the specific target of PGE-G. We show that PGE-G and UDP are both agonists at P2Y, but they activate the receptor with extremely different EC values of ~1 pM and ~50 nM, respectively. The identification of the PGE-G/P2Y pair uncovers the signalling mode of PG-Gs as previously under-appreciated products of cyclooxygenase-2.
One of the challenging problems in tertiary structure prediction of helical membrane proteins (HMPs) is the determination of rotation of α-helices around the helix normal. Incorrect prediction of helix rotations substantially disrupts native residue-residue contacts while inducing only a relatively small effect on the overall fold. We previously developed a method for predicting residue contact numbers (CNs), which measure the local packing density of residues within the protein tertiary structure. In this study, we tested the idea of incorporating predicted CNs as restraints to guide the sampling of helix rotation. For a benchmark set of 15 HMPs with simple to rather complicated folds, the average contact recovery (CR) of best-sampled models was improved for all targets, the likelihood of sampling models with CR greater than 20% was increased for 13 targets, and the average RMSD100 of best-sampled models was improved for 12 targets. This study demonstrated that explicit incorporation of CNs as restraints improves the prediction of helix-helix packing. Proteins 2017; 85:1212-1221. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
© 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Rapidly multiplying cancer cells synthesize greater amounts of cholesterol to build their membranes. Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins) are currently in clinical trials for anticancer chemotherapy. However, given at higher doses, statins cause serious side effects by inhibiting the formation of other biologically important molecules derived from mevalonate. Sterol 14α-demethylase (CYP51), which acts 10 steps downstream, is potentially a more specific drug target because this portion of the pathway is fully committed to cholesterol production. However, screening a variety of commercial and experimental inhibitors of microbial CYP51 orthologs revealed that most of them (including all clinical antifungals) weakly inhibit human CYP51 activity, even if they display high apparent spectral binding affinity. Only one relatively potent compound, (R)-N-(1-(3,4'-difluorobiphenyl-4-yl)-2-(1H-imidazol-1-yl)ethyl)-4-(5-phenyl-1,3,4-oxadiazol-2-yl)benzamide (VFV), was identified. VFV has been further tested in cellular experiments and found to decrease proliferation of different cancer cell types. The crystal structures of human CYP51-VFV complexes (2.0 and 2.5 Å) both display a 2:1 inhibitor/enzyme stoichiometry, provide molecular insights regarding a broader substrate profile, faster catalysis, and weaker susceptibility of human CYP51 to inhibition, and outline directions for the development of more potent inhibitors.
Copyright © 2016 by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.