Wang, F., Kovács, M., Hu, A., Limouze, J., Harvey, E. V. & Sellers, J. R.

Kinetic mechanism of non-muscle myosin IIB: functional adaptations for tension generation and maintenance.

J Biol Chem 278, 27439-48.

Besides driving contraction of various types of muscle tissue, conventional (class II) myosins serve essential cellular functions and are ubiquitously expressed in eukaryotic cells. Three different isoforms in the human myosin complement have been identified as non-muscle class II myosins. Here we report the kinetic characterization of a human non-muscle myosin IIB subfragment-1 construct produced in the baculovirus expression system. Transient kinetic data show that most steps of the actomyosin ATPase cycle are slowed down compared with other class II myosins. The ADP affinity of subfragment-1 is unusually high even in the presence of actin filaments, and the rate of ADP release is close to the steady-state ATPase rate. Thus, non-muscle myosin IIB subfragment-1 spends a significantly higher proportion of its kinetic cycle strongly attached to actin than do the muscle myosins. This feature is even more pronounced at slightly elevated ADP levels, and it may be important in carrying out the cellular functions of this isoform working in small filamentous assemblies.

Szabó, E., Venekei, I., Böcskei, Z., Náray-Szabó, G. & Gráf, L.

Three dimensional structures of S189D chymotrypsin and D189S trypsin mutants: the effect of polarity at site 189 on a protease-specific stabilization of the substrate-binding site.

J Mol Biol 331, 1121-30.

The crystal structure of S189D rat chymotrypsin have been determined (resolution 2.55A) and compared, together with D189S rat trypsin to wild-type structures to examine why these single mutations resulted in poorly active, non-specific enzymes instead of converting the specificities of trypsin and chymotrypsin into each other. Both mutants have stable structure but suffer from a surprisingly large number of serious deformations. These are restricted to the activation domain, mainly to the substrate-binding region and are larger in S189D chymotrypsin. A wild-type substrate-binding mode in the mutants is disfavored by substantial displacements of the Cys191-Cys220 disulfide and loop segments 185-195 (loop C2/D2) and 217-224 (loop E2/F2) at the specificity site. As a consequence, the substrate-binding clefts become wider and more solvent-accessible in the middle third and occluded in the lower third. Interestingly, while the Ser189 residue in D189S trypsin adopts a chymotrypsin-like conformation, the Asp189 residue in S189D chymotrypsin is turned out toward the solvent. The rearrangements in D189S trypsin are at the same sites where trypsin and trypsinogen differ and, in S189D chymotrypsin, the oxyanion hole as well as the salt-bridge between Asp194 and the N-terminal of Ile16 are missing as in chymotrypsinogen. Despite these similarities, the mutants do not have zymogen conformation. The Ser189Asp and Asp189Ser substitutions are structurally so disruptive probably because the stabilization of such a different specificity site polarities as those after the removal or introduction of a charged residue are beyond the capability of the wild-type conformation of the substrate-binding region.

Santamaria, F., Wu, Z., Boulegue, C., Pál, G. & Lu, W.

Reexamination of the recognition preference of the specificity pocket of the Abl SH3 domain.

J Mol Recognit 16, 131-8.

Src homology-3 (SH3) domains mediate important protein-protein interactions in a variety of normal and pathological cellular processes, thus providing an attractive target for the selective interference of SH3-dependent signaling events that govern these processes. Most SH3 domains recognize proline-rich peptides with low affinity and poor selectivity, and the goal to design potent and specific ligands for various SH3 domains remains elusive. Better understanding of the molecular basis for SH3 domain recognition is needed in order to design such ligands with potency and specificity. In this report, we seek to define a clear recognition preference of the specificity pocket of the Abl SH3 domain using targeted synthetic peptide libraries. High-resolution affinity panning coupled with mass spectrometric readout allows for quick identification of Trp as the preferred fourth residue in the decapeptide ligand APTWSPPPPP, which binds to Abl SH3 four times stronger than does the decapeptide containing Tyr or Phe in the fourth position. This finding is in contrast to several reports that Tyr is the only residue selected from phage displayed peptide libraries that interacts with the specificity pocket of Abl SH3. This simple, unbiased approach can fine-tune the affinity and selectivity of both natural and unnatural SH3 ligands whose consensus binding sequence has been pre-defined by combinatorial library methods.

Reményi, A., Lins, K., Nissen, L. J., Reinbold, R., Scholer, H. R. & Wilmanns, M.

Crystal structure of a POU/HMG/DNA ternary complex suggests differential assembly of Oct4 and Sox2 on two enhancers.

Genes Dev 17, 2048-59.

Members of the POU and SOX transcription factor families exemplify the partnerships established between various transcriptional regulators during early embryonic development. Although functional cooperativity between key regulator proteins is pivotal for milestone decisions in mammalian development, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanisms. In this study, we focus on two transcription factors, Oct4 and Sox2, as their combination on DNA is considered to direct the establishment of the first three lineages in the mammalian embryo. Using experimental high-resolution structure determination, followed by model building and experimental validation, we found that Oct4 and Sox2 were able to dimerize onto DNA in distinct conformational arrangements. We demonstrate that the DNA enhancer region of their target genes is responsible for the correct spatial alignment of glue-like interaction domains on their surface. Interestingly, these surfaces frequently have redundant functions and are instrumental in recruiting various interacting protein partners.

Pál, G., Santamaria, F., Kossiakoff, A. A. & Lu, W.

The first semi-synthetic serine protease made by native chemical ligation.

Protein Expr Purif 29, 185-92.

Selective incorporation of non-natural amino acid residues into proteins is a powerful approach to delineate structure-function relationships. Although many methodologies are available for chemistry-based protein engineering, more facile methods are needed to make this approach suitable for routine laboratory practice. Here, we describe a new strategy and provide a proof of concept for engineering semi-synthetic proteins. We chose a serine protease Streptomyces griseus trypsin (SGT) for this study to show that it is possible to efficiently couple a synthetic peptide containing a catalytically critical residue to a recombinant fragment containing the other active site residues. The 223-residue hybrid SGT molecule was prepared by fusing a chemically synthesized N-terminal peptide to a large C-terminal fragment of recombinant origin using native chemical ligation. This C-terminal polypeptide was produced from full-length SGT by cyanogen bromide cleavage at a genetically engineered Met57 position. This semi-synthetic hybrid trypsin is fully active, showing kinetics identical to the wild-type enzyme. Thus, we believe that it is an ideal model enzyme for studying the catalytic mechanisms of serine proteases by providing a straightforward approach to incorporate non-natural amino acids in the N-terminal region of the protein. In particular, this strategy will allow for replacement of the catalytic His57 residue and the buried N-terminus, which is thought to help align the active site, with synthetic analogs. Our approach relies on readily available recombinant proteins and small synthetic peptides, thus having general applications in chemical engineering of large proteins where the N-terminal region is the focal interest.

Pál, G., Kossiakoff, A. A. & Sidhu, S. S.

The functional binding epitope of a high affinity variant of human growth hormone mapped by shotgun alanine-scanning mutagenesis: insights into the mechanisms responsible for improved affinity.

J Mol Biol 332, 195-204.

A high-affinity variant of human growth hormone (hGH(v)) contains 15 mutations within site 1 and binds to the hGH receptor (hGHR) approximately 400-fold tighter than does wild-type (wt) hGH (hGH(wt)). We used shotgun scanning combinatorial mutagenesis to dissect the energetic contributions of individual residues within the hGH(v) binding epitope and placed them in context with previously determined structural information. In all, the effects of alanine substitutions were determined for 35 hGH(v) residues that are directly contained in or closely border the binding interface. We found that the distribution of binding energy in the functional epitope of hGH(v) differs significantly from that of hGH(wt). The residues that contributed the majority of the binding energy in the wt interaction (the so-called binding "hot spot") remain important, but their contributions are attenuated in the hGH(v) interaction, and additional binding energy is acquired from residues on the periphery of the original hotspot. Many interactions that inhibited the binding of hGH(wt) are replaced by interactions that make positive contributions to the binding of hGH(v). These changes produce an expanded and diffused hot spot in which improved affinity results from numerous small contributions distributed broadly over the interface. The mutagenesis results are consistent with previous structural studies, which revealed widespread structural differences between the wt and variant hormone-receptor interfaces. Thus, it appears that the improved binding affinity of hGH(v) site 1 was not achieved through minor adjustments to the wt interface, but rather, results from a wholesale reconfiguration of many of the original binding elements.

Lins, K., Reményi, A., Tomilin, A., Massa, S., Wilmanns, M., Matthias, P. & Scholer, H. R.

OBF1 enhances transcriptional potential of Oct1.

J 22, 2188-98.

The POU transcription factors Oct1 and Oct2 bind to DNA in various monomer and dimer configurations. Depending on the DNA sequence to which they bind, the dimers are arranged in configurations that are either accessible (PORE sequence) or inaccessible (MORE sequence) to the B-cell-specific cofactor OBF1 (OcaB, Bob1). As shown previously, the MORE and related sequences (such as the heptamer/octamer motif) are found in immunoglobulin heavy chain promoters. Here we show that the expression of Osteopontin, which contains a PORE sequence in its enhancer region, depends on the presence of OBF1 in B cells. OBF1 alleviates DNA sequence requirements of the Oct1 dimer on PORE-related sequences in vitro. Furthermore, OBF1 stabilizes POU dimer-DNA interactions and overrides Oct1 interface mutations, which abolish PORE-mediated dimerization without OBF1. Our data indicate that the PORE-type Oct1 or Oct2 dimer, rather than the monomer, is the primary target of the cofactor OBF1. Based on our biochemical data, we propose a mode of OBF1-Oct1 dimer interaction, suggesting a novel arrangement of the subdomain connectivities.

Li, Y., Brown, J. H., Reshetnikova, L., Blazsek, A., Farkas, L., Nyitray, L. & Cohen, C.

Visualization of an unstable coiled coil from the scallop myosin rod.

Nature 424, 341-5.

Kovács, M., Wang, F., Hu, A., Zhang, Y. & Sellers, J. R.

Functional divergence of human cytoplasmic myosin II: kinetic characterization of the non-muscle IIA isoform.

J Biol Chem 278, 38132-40.

Cytoplasmic (or non-muscle) myosin II isoforms are widely expressed molecular motors playing essential cellular roles in cytokinesis and cortical tension maintenance. Two of the three human non-muscle myosin II isoforms (IIA and IIB) have been investigated at the protein level. Transient kinetics of non-muscle myosin IIB showed that this motor has a very high actomyosin ADP affinity and slow ADP release. Here we report the kinetic characterization of the non-muscle myosin IIA isoform. Similar to non-muscle myosin IIB, non-muscle myosin IIA shows high ADP affinity and little enhancement of the ADP release rate by actin. The ADP release rate constant, however, is more than an order of magnitude higher than the steady-state ATPase rate. This implies that non-muscle myosin IIA spends only a small fraction of its ATPase cycle time in strongly actin-bound states, which is in contrast to non-muscle myosin IIB. Non-muscle myosin II isoforms thus appear to have distinct enzymatic properties that may be of importance in carrying out their cellular functions.

Kénesi, E., Katona, G. & Szilágyi, L.

Structural and evolutionary consequences of unpaired cysteines in trypsinogen.

Biochem Biophys Res Commun 309, 749-54.

Vertebrate trypsins usually contain six disulfide bonds but human trypsin 1 (PRSS1) contains only five and human trypsin 2 (PRSS2) contains only four. To elucidate possible evolutionary pathways leading to the loss of disulfide bonds, we have constructed mutants lacking one or two cysteines of four disulfide bonds (C22-C157, C127-C232, C136-C201, and C191-C220) in rat anionic trypsinogen and followed their expression in the periplasm of Escherichia coli. When both cysteines of any of the above-mentioned disulfide bonds were replaced by alanines we found, as expected, proteolytically active enzymes. In the case of C127-C232 (missing from both human trypsins) and C191-C220 both single mutants gave active enzymes although their yield was significantly reduced. In contrast, only one of the single mutants of disulfide bonds C22-C157 and C136-C201 (missing from human trypsin 2) was expressed in E. coli. In the case of these disulfide bonds, we obtained no expression when the solvent accessible molecular surface of the free cysteine residue was the smaller one, indicating that a buried unpaired cysteine was more deleterious than one on the surface of the molecule.

Gráf, L., Szilágyi, L.

Trypsin: is there anything new under the Sun?

J Mol Struct: THEOCHEM 666-667, 481-485.

Fernandez, A., Kardos, J., Scott, L. R., Goto, Y. & Berry, R. S.

Structural defects and the diagnosis of amyloidogenic propensity.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 100, 6446-51.

Disease-related amyloidogenic propensity has been unexpectedly found in proteins driven to adopt a monomeric uncomplexed state at high concentrations under near-physiological conditions. This situation occasionally arises in new health treatments, such as kidney dialysis. Assuming that under such conditions a partial retention of native structure takes place, this work identifies a structural characteristic indicating amyloidogenic propensity: a high density of backbone hydrogen bonds exposed to water attack in monomeric structure. On this basis, we propose a diagnostic tool based on the identification of hydrogen bonds with a paucity of intramolecular dehydration or "wrapping." We use this predictor to identify potentially pathogenic mutations that foster amyloidogenic propensity in human prions. Such mutations either enhance the intramolecular dehydration of beta-sheet hydrogen bonds, thus stabilizing the nucleus for rearrangement into the scrapie fold, or contribute to the destabilization of the cellular form by introducing additional underwrapped hydrogen bonds. Our predictions are consistent with known disease-related mutations and lead to a cogent explanation of the pathogenic nature of specific mutations affecting the cellular prion protein structural wrapping. On the other hand, a different wrapping of a very similar fold, mouse doppel, induces a dramatically different level of amyloidogenic propensity, suggesting that the packing within the fold, and not the fold itself, contains the signal for aggregation.

Fernandez, A., Kardos, J. & Goto, Y.

Protein folding: could hydrophobic collapse be coupled with hydrogen-bond formation?

FEBS Lett 536, 187-92.

A judicious examination of an exhaustive PDB sample of soluble globular proteins of moderate size (N<102) reveals a commensurable relationship between hydrophobic surface burial and number of backbone hydrogen bonds. An analysis of 50,000 conformations along the longest all-atom MD trajectory allows us to infer that not only the hydrophobic collapse is concurrent with the formation of backbone amide-carbonyl hydrogen bonds, they are also dynamically coupled processes. In statistical terms, hydrophobic clustering of the side chains is inevitably conducive to backbone burial and the latter process becomes thermodynamically too costly and kinetically unfeasible without amide-carbonyl hydrogen-bond formation. Furthermore, the desolvation of most hydrogen bonds is exhaustive along the pathway, implying that such bonds guide the collapse process.

Farkas, L., Málnási-Csizmadia, A., Nakamura, A., Kohama, K. & Nyitray, L.

Localization and characterization of the inhibitory Ca2+-binding site of Physarum polycephalum myosin II.

J Biol Chem 278, 27399-405.

A myosin II is thought to be the driving force of the fast cytoplasmic streaming in the plasmodium of Physarum polycephalum. This regulated myosin, unique among conventional myosins, is inhibited by direct Ca2+ binding. Here we report that Ca2+ binds to the first EF-hand of the essential light chain (ELC) subunit of Physarum myosin. Flow dialysis experiments of wild-type and mutant light chains and the regulatory domain revealed a single binding site that shows moderate specificity for Ca2+. The regulatory light chain, in contrast to regulatory light chains of higher eukaryotes, is unable to bind divalent cations. Although the Ca2+-binding loop of ELC has a canonical sequence, replacement of glutamic acid to alanine in the -z coordinating position only slightly decreased the Ca2+ affinity of the site, suggesting that the Ca2+ coordination is different from classical EF-hands; namely, the specific "closed-to-open" conformational transition does not occur in the ELC in response to Ca2+. Ca2+- and Mg2+-dependent conformational changes in the microenvironment of the binding site were detected by fluorescence experiments. Transient kinetic experiments showed that the displacement of Mg2+ by Ca2+ is faster than the change in direction of cytoplasmic streaming; therefore, we conclude that Ca2+ inhibition could operate in physiological conditions. By comparing the Physarum Ca2+ site with the well studied Ca2+ switch of scallop myosin, we surmise that despite the opposite effect of Ca2+ binding on the motor activity, the two conventional myosins could have a common structural basis for Ca2+ regulation.

Conibear, P. B., Bagshaw, C. R., Fajer, P. G., Kovács, M. & Málnási-Csizmadia, A.

Myosin cleft movement and its coupling to actomyosin dissociation.

Nat Struct Biol 10, 831-5.

It has long been known that binding of actin and binding of nucleotides to myosin are antagonistic, an observation that led to the biochemical basis for the crossbridge cycle of muscle contraction. Thus ATP binding to actomyosin causes actin dissociation, whereas actin binding to the myosin accelerates ADP and phosphate release. Structural studies have indicated that communication between the actin- and nucleotide-binding sites involves the opening and closing of the cleft between the upper and lower 50K domains of the myosin head. Here we test the proposal that the cleft responds to actin and nucleotide binding in a reciprocal manner and show that cleft movement is coupled to actin binding and dissociation. We monitored cleft movement using pyrene excimer fluorescence from probes engineered across the cleft.

Bíró, A., Herincs, Z., Fellinger, E., Szilágyi, L., Barad, Z., Gergely, J., Gráf, L. & Sármay, G.

Characterization of a trypsin-like serine protease of activated B cells mediating the cleavage of surface proteins.

Characterization of a trypsin-like serine protease of activated B cells mediating the cleavage of surface proteins.

Pál, G., Bernat, B., Sun, M. & Kossiakoff, A. A.

Determination of the energetics governing the regulatory step in growth hormone-induced receptor homodimerization.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 100, 952-7.

Signaling in the human growth hormone (hGH)-human GH receptor system is initiated by a controlled sequential two-step hormone-induced dimerization of two hGH receptors via their extracellular domains (ECDs). Little is currently known about the energetics governing the important regulatory step in receptor signaling (step 2) because of previously existing experimental barriers in characterizing the binding of the second receptor (ECD2). A further complication is that ECD2 binds through contacts from two spatially distinct sites: through its N-terminal domain to hGH, and to ECD1 through its C-terminal domain, which forms a pseudo-2-fold symmetrical interaction between the stems of the two receptors. We report here a detailed evaluation of the energetics of step 2 binding using a modified surface plasmon resonance method that is able to measure accurately the kinetics of the trimolecular binding process and separate the effects of the two binding sites. The binding kinetics of 23 single and 126 ECD1-ECD2 pair-wise alanine mutations was measured. Although both of the ECD2 binding interfaces were found to be important, the ECD1-ECD2 stem-stem contact is the stronger of the two. It was determined that most residues in the binding interfaces act in additive fashion, and that the six residues common in both ECDs contribute very differently to homodimerization depending on which ECD they reside in. This interface is characterized by a binding "hot-spot" consisting of a core of three residues in ECD1 and two in ECD2. There is no similar hot-spot in the N-terminal domain of ECD2 binding to Site2 of hGH. This study suggests ways to engineer ECD molecules that will bind specifically to either Site1 or Site2 of hGH, providing novel reagents for biophysical and biological studies.

Ambrus, G., Gál, P., Kojima, M., Szilágyi, K., Balczer, J., Antal, J., Gráf, L., Laich, A., Moffatt, B. E., Schwaeble, W., Sim, R. B. & Závodszky, P.

Natural substrates and inhibitors of mannan-binding lectin-associated serine protease-1 and -2: a study on recombinant catalytic fragments.

J Immunol 170, 1374-82.

Mannan-binding lectin-associated serine protease (SP) (MASP)-1 and MASP-2 are modular SP and form complexes with mannan-binding lectin, the recognition molecule of the lectin pathway of the complement system. To characterize the enzymatic properties of these proteases we expressed their catalytic region, the C-terminal three domains, in Escherichia coli. Both enzymes autoactivated and cleaved synthetic oligopeptide substrates. In a competing oligopeptide substrate library assay, MASP-1 showed extreme Arg selectivity, whereas MASP-2 exhibited a less restricted, trypsin-like specificity. The enzymatic assays with complement components showed that cleavage of intact C3 by MASP-1 and MASP-2 was detectable, but was only approximately 0.1% of the previously reported efficiency of C3bBb, the alternative pathway C3-convertase. Both enzymes cleaved C3i 10- to 20-fold faster, but still at only approximately 1% of the efficiency of MASP-2 cleavage of C2. We believe that C3 is not the natural substrate of either enzyme. MASP-2 cleaved C2 and C4 at high rates. To determine the role of the individual domains in the catalytic region of MASP-2, the second complement control protein module together with the SP module and the SP module were also expressed and characterized. We demonstrated that the SP domain alone can autoactivate and cleave C2 as efficiently as the entire catalytic region, while the second complement control protein module is necessary for efficient C4 cleavage. This behavior strongly resembles C1s. Each MASP-1 and MASP-2 fragment reacted with C1-inhibitor, which completely blocked the enzymatic action of the enzymes. Nevertheless, relative rates of reaction with alpha-2-macroglobulin and C1-inhibitor suggest that alpha-2-macroglobulin may be a significant physiological inhibitor of MASP-1.