Zeng, W., Seward, H. E., Málnási-Csizmadia, A., Wakelin, S., Woolley, R. J., Cheema, G. S., Basran, J., Patel, T. R., Rowe, A. J. & Bagshaw, C. R.

Resonance energy transfer between green fluorescent protein variants: complexities revealed with myosin fusion proteins.

Biochemistry 45, 10482-91.

Green fluorescent protein and its variants are frequently used as Förster (fluorescence) resonance energy transfer (FRET) pairs to determine the proximity of protein domains. We prepared fusion proteins comprising yellow fluorescent protein-Dictyostelium myosin II motor domain-cyan fluorescent protein (YFP-myosin-CFP) and compared their FRET properties with an existing construct (GFP-myosin-BFP), containing a green fluorescent protein acceptor and blue fluorescent protein donor [Suzuki, Y., Yasunaga, T., Ohkura, R., Wakabayashi, T. and Sutoh, K. (1998) Nature 396, 380-383]. The latter construct showed an apparent 40% reduction in acceptor fluorescence on ATP addition, when excited via the donor, compared with the YFP-myosin-CFP constructs which showed a small increase (

Yang, Y., Kovács, M., Sakamoto, T., Zhang, F., Kiehart, D. P. & Sellers, J. R.

Dimerized Drosophila myosin VIIa: a processive motor.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103, 5746-51.

The molecular mechanism of processive movement of single myosin molecules from classes V and VI along their actin tracks has recently attracted extraordinary attention. Another member of the myosin superfamily, myosin VII, plays vital roles in the sensory function of Drosophila and mammals. We studied the molecular mechanism of Drosophila myosin VIIa, using transient kinetics and single-molecule motility assays. Myosin VIIa moves along actin filaments as a processive, double-headed single molecule when dimerized by the inclusion of a leucine zipper at the C terminus of the coiled-coil domain. Its motility is approximately 8-10 times slower than that of myosin V, and its step size is 30 nm, which is consistent with the presence of five IQ motifs in its neck region. The kinetic basis for the processive motility of myosin VIIa is the relative magnitude of the release rate constants of phosphate (fast) and ADP (slow) as in myosins V and VI. The ATPase pathway is rate-limited by a reversible interconversion between two distinct ADP-bound actomyosin states, which results in high steady-state occupancy of a strongly actin-bound myosin species. The distinctive features of myosin VIIa (long run lengths, slow motility) will be very useful in video-based single-molecule applications. In cells, this kinetic behavior would allow myosin VIIa to exert and hold tension on actin filaments and, if dimerized, to function as a processive cargo transporter.

Szenczi, A., Kardos, J., Medgyesi, G. A. & Závodszky, P.

The effect of solvent environment on the conformation and stability of human polyclonal IgG in solution.

Biologicals 34, 5-14.

Stability of therapeutic IgG preparations is an important issue as adequate efficacy and safety has to be ensured throughout a long shelf life. To this end, denaturation and aggregation have to be avoided. In many cases sugars are applied for stabilizing IgG in relatively high concentration (5-10%). However, certain sugars (sucrose, maltose) are responsible for adverse effects including renal failure. In this work we reassessed the effect of pH and stabilizers to optimize the solvent environment and minimize the amount of additives without endangering quality and stability. Since both biological function and aggregation depend on the conformational properties of individual IgG molecules, two sensitive and rapid physical methods were introduced to assess conformational changes and structural stability as a function of pH and addition of standard stabilizers. It was observed that the conformational stability decreases with decreasing pH, while the resistance against aggregation improves. The optimum pH range for storage is 5.0-6.0, as a compromise between conformational stability and the tendency for oligomerization. Intriguingly, additives in physiologically acceptable concentration have no effect on the thermal stability of IgG. On the other hand, glucose or sorbitol, even at a concentration as low as 1%, have significant effect on the tertiary structure as revealed by near-UV-CD spectroscopy, reflecting changes in the environment of aromatic side-chains. Although, 0.3% leucine does not increase conformational stability, it decreases the aggregation tendency even more efficiently than 1% glucose or sorbitol. Both pH and storage temperature are decisive factors for the long-term stability of IgG solutions. An increase in the dimer content was observed upon storage at 5 degrees C which was partly reverted upon incubation at 37 degrees C. Storage at temperatures higher than 5 degrees C may help to maintain an optimal proportion of dimers. Regarding the known side effects, and their limited stabilizing capacity at low concentration, it is advisable to omit sugars at intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) formulation. Hydrophobic amino acids give promising alternatives.

Reményi, A., Good, M. C. & Lim, W. A.

Docking interactions in protein kinase and phosphatase networks.

Curr Opin Struct Biol 16, 676-85.

To achieve high biological specificity, protein kinases and phosphatases often recognize their targets through interactions that occur outside of the active site. Although the role of modular protein-protein interaction domains in kinase and phosphatase signaling has been well characterized, it is becoming clear that many kinases and phosphatases utilize docking interactions - recognition of a short peptide motif in target partners by a groove on the catalytic domain that is separate from the active site. Docking is particularly prevalent in serine/threonine kinases and phosphatases, and is a versatile organizational tool for building complex signaling networks; it confers a high degree of specificity and, in some cases, allosteric regulation.

Pál, G., Kouadio, J. L., Artis, D. R., Kossiakoff, A. A. & Sidhu, S. S.

Comprehensive and quantitative mapping of energy landscapes for protein-protein interactions by rapid combinatorial scanning.

J Biol Chem 281, 22378-85.

A novel, quantitative saturation (QS) scanning strategy was developed to obtain a comprehensive data base of the structural and functional effects of all possible mutations across a large protein-protein interface. The QS scan approach was applied to the high affinity site of human growth hormone (hGH) for binding to its receptor (hGHR). Although the published structure-function data base describing this system is probably the most extensive for any large protein-protein interface, it is nonetheless too sparse to accurately describe the nature of the energetics governing the interaction. Our comprehensive data base affords a complete view of the binding site and provides important new insights into the general principles underlying protein-protein interactions. The hGH binding interface is highly adaptable to mutations, but the nature of the tolerated mutations challenges generally accepted views about the evolutionary and biophysical pressures governing protein-protein interactions. Many substitutions that would be considered chemically conservative are not tolerated, while conversely, many non-conservative substitutions can be accommodated. Furthermore, conservation across species is a poor predictor of the chemical character of tolerated substitutions across the interface. Numerous deviations from generally accepted expectations indicate that mutational tolerance is highly context dependent and, furthermore, cannot be predicted by our current knowledge base. The type of data produced by the comprehensive QS scan can fill the gaps in the structure-function matrix. The compilation of analogous data bases from studies of other protein-protein interactions should greatly aid the development of computational methods for explaining and designing molecular recognition.

Medveczky, P., Antal, J., Patthy, A., Kékesi, K., Juhász, G., Szilágyi, L. & Gráf, L.

Myelin basic protein, an autoantigen in multiple sclerosis, is selectively processed by human trypsin 4.

FEBS Lett 580, 545-52

Demyelination, the proteolytic degradation of the major membrane protein in central nervous system, myelin, is involved in many neurodegenerative diseases. In the present in vitro study the proteolytic actions of calpain, human trypsin 1 and human trypsin 4 were compared on lipid bound and free human myelin basic proteins as substrates. The fragments formed were identified by using N-terminal amino acid sequencing and mass spectrometry. The analysis of the degradation products showed that of these three proteases human trypsin 4 cleaved myelin basic protein most specifically. It selectively cleaves the Arg79-Thr80 and Arg97-Thr98 peptide bonds in the lipid bound form of human myelin basic protein. Based on this information we synthesized peptide IVTPRTPPPSQ that corresponds to sequence region 93-103 of myelin basic protein and contains one of its two trypsin 4 cleavage sites, Arg97-Thr98. Studies on the hydrolysis of this synthetic peptide by trypsin 4 have confirmed that the Arg97-Thr98 peptide bond is highly susceptible to trypsin 4. What may lend biological interest to this finding is that the major autoantibodies found in patients with multiple sclerosis recognize sequence 85-96 of the protein. Our results suggest that human trypsin 4 may be one of the candidate proteases involved in the pathomechanism of multiple sclerosis.

Kintses, B., Simon, Z., Gyimesi, M., Tóth, J., Jelinek, B., Niedetzky, C., Kovács, M. & Málnási-Csizmadia, A.

Enzyme kinetics above denaturation temperature: a temperature-jump/stopped-flow apparatus.

Biophys J 91, 4605-10.

We constructed a "temperature-jump/stopped-flow" apparatus that allows us to study fast enzyme reactions at extremely high temperatures. This apparatus is a redesigned stopped-flow which is capable of mixing the reactants on a submillisecond timescale concomitant with a temperature-jump even as large as 60 degrees C. We show that enzyme reactions that are faster than the denaturation process can be investigated above denaturation temperatures. In addition, the temperature-jump/stopped-flow enables us to investigate at physiological temperature the mechanisms of many human enzymes, which was impossible until now because of their heat instability. Furthermore, this technique is extremely useful in studying the progress of heat-induced protein unfolding. The temperature-jump/stopped-flow method combined with the application of structure-specific fluorescence signals provides novel opportunities to study the stability of certain regions of enzymes and identify the unfolding-initiating regions of proteins. The temperature-jump/stopped-flow technique may become a breakthrough in exploring new features of enzymes and the mechanism of unfolding processes.

Hódi, Z., Németh, A. L., Radnai, L., Hetényi, C., Schlett, K., Bodor, A., Perczel, A. & Nyitray, L.

Alternatively spliced exon B of myosin Va is essential for binding the tail-associated light chain shared by dynein.

Biochemistry 45, 12582-95.

A 10 kDa dynein light chain (DLC), previously identified as a tail light chain of myosin Va, may function as a cargo-binding and/or regulatory subunit of both myosin and dynein. Here, we identify and characterize the binding site of DLC on myosin Va. Fragments of the human myosin Va tail and the DLC2 isoform were expressed, and their complex formation was analyzed by pull-down assays, gel filtration, and spectroscopic methods. DLC2 was found to bind as a homodimer to a approximately 15 residue segment (Ile1280-Ile1294) localized between the medial and distal coiled-coil domains of the tail. The binding region contains the three residues coded by the alternatively spliced exon B (Asp1284-Lys1286). Removal of exon B eliminates DLC2 binding. Co-localization experiments in a transfected mammalian cell line confirm our finding that exon B is essential for DLC2 binding. Using circular dichroism, we demonstrate that binding of DLC2 to a approximately 85 residue disordered domain (Pro1235-Arg1320) induces some helical structure and stabilizes both flanking coiled-coil domains (melting temperature increases by approximately 7 degrees C). This result shows that DLC2 promotes the assembly of the coiled-coil domains of myosin Va. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and docking simulations show that a 15 residue peptide (Ile1280-Ile1294) binds to the surface grooves on DLC2 similarly to other known binding partners of DLCs. When our data are taken together, they suggest that exon B and its associated DLC2 have a significant effect on the structure of parts of the coiled-coil tail domains and such a way could influence the regulation and cargo-binding function of myosin Va.

Hetényi, C. & van der Spoel, D.

Blind docking of drug-sized compounds to proteins with up to a thousand residues.

FEBS Lett 580, 1447-50.

Blind docking was introduced for the detection of possible binding sites and modes of peptide ligands by scanning the entire surface of protein targets. In the present study, the method is tested on a group of drug-sized compounds and proteins with up to a thousand amino acid residues. Both proteins from complex structures and ligand-free proteins were used as targets. Robustness, limitations and future perspectives of the method are discussed. It is concluded that blind docking can be used for unbiased mapping of the binding patterns of drug candidates.

Hetényi, C., Paragi, G., Maran, U., Tímár, Z., Karelson, M. & Penke, B

Combination of a modified scoring function with two-dimensional descriptors for calculation of binding affinities of bulky, flexible ligands to proteins.

J Am Chem Soc 128, 1233-9.

Hegyi, G. & Belágyi, J.

Intermonomer cross-linking of F-actin alters the dynamics of its interaction with H-meromyosin in the weak-binding state.

Febs J 273, 1896-905.

Gáspári, Z., Szenthe, B., Patthy, A., Westler, W. M., Gráf, L. & Perczel, A.

Local binding with globally distributed changes in a small protease inhibitor upon enzyme binding.

Febs J 273, 1831-42.

Forgacs, E., Cartwright, S., Kovács, M., Sakamoto, T., Sellers, J. R., Corrie, J. E., Webb, M. R. & White, H. D.

Kinetic mechanism of myosinV-S1 using a new fluorescent ATP analogue.

Biochemistry 45, 13035-45.

Fodor, K., Harmat, V., Neutze, R., Szilágyi, L., Gráf, L. & Katona, G.

Enzyme:substrate hydrogen bond shortening during the acylation phase of serine protease catalysis.

Biochemistry 45, 2114-21.

Atomic resolution (

Eleftherianos, I., Marokházi, J., Millichap, P. J., Hodgkinson, A. J., Sriboonlert, A., ffrench-Constant, R. H. & Reynolds, S. E.

Prior infection of Manduca sexta with non-pathogenic Escherichia coli elicits immunity to pathogenic Photorhabdus luminescens: roles of immune-related proteins shown by RNA interference.

Insect Biochem Mol Biol 36, 517-25.

Prior infection of Manduca sexta caterpillars with the non-pathogenic bacterium Escherichia coli elicits effective immunity against subsequent infection by the usually lethal and highly virulent insect pathogen Photorhabdus luminescens TT01. Induction of this protective effect is associated with up-regulation of both microbial pattern recognition protein genes (hemolin, immulectin-2 and peptidoglycan recognition protein) and anti-bacterial effector genes (attacin, cecropin, lebocin, lysozyme and moricin). We used RNA interference to knock down over-transcription of members of both these sets of genes one at a time. Interfering with expression of individual recognition proteins had a drastic adverse effect on the E. coli elicited immunity. RNAi knock-down of immulectin-2 caused the greatest reduction in immunity, followed by hemolin and peptidoglycan recognition protein (PGRP) in that order, to the extent that knock-down of any one of these three proteins left the insects more susceptible to P. luminescens infection than insects that had not experienced prior infection with E. coli. Interfering with the expression of individual antibacterial effector proteins and peptides had a much less marked effect on immunity. Knock-down of attacin, cecropin or moricin caused treated insects to be more susceptible to P. luminescens infection than controls that had been pre-infected with E. coli but which had not received the specific RNAi reagents, but they were still less susceptible than insects that had not been pre-infected with E. coli. RNAi knock-down with expression of lebocin or lysozyme had no effect on E. coli-induced immunity to P. luminescens, indicating that these effectors are not involved in the response. By bleeding pre-infected caterpillars and growing the pathogen directly within cell-free insect haemolymph, we showed that at least part of the protection elicited by previous exposure to E. coli is due to the presence of factors within the blood plasma that inhibit the growth of P. luminescens. The production of these factors is inhibited by RNAi treatment with ds-RNA reagents that knock down hemolin, immulectin-2, and PGRP. These results demonstrate that the insect immune system can be effectively primed by prior infection with non-pathogenic bacteria against subsequent infection by a highly virulent pathogen. Given the continuous normal exposure of insects to environmental and symbiotic bacteria, we suggest that prior infection is likely to play a significant and underestimated role in determining the level of insect immunity found in nature.

Bhattacharyya, R. P., Reményi, A., Yeh, B. J. & Lim, W. A.

Domains, motifs, and scaffolds: the role of modular interactions in the evolution and wiring of cell signaling circuits.

Annu Rev Biochem 75, 655-80.

Living cells display complex signal processing behaviors, many of which are mediated by networks of proteins specialized for signal transduction. Here we focus on the question of how the remarkably diverse array of eukaryotic signaling circuits may have evolved. Many of the mechanisms that connect signaling proteins into networks are highly modular: The core catalytic activity of a signaling protein is physically and functionally separable from molecular domains or motifs that determine its linkage to both inputs and outputs. This high degree of modularity may make these systems more evolvable-in principle, novel circuits, and therefore highly innovative regulatory behaviors, can arise from relatively simple genetic events such as recombination, deletion, or insertion. In support of this hypothesis, recent studies show that such modular systems can be exploited to engineer nonnatural signaling proteins and pathways with novel behavior.

Bhattacharyya, R. P., Reményi, A., Good, M. C., Bashor, C. J., Falick, A. M. & Lim, W. A.

The Ste5 scaffold allosterically modulates signaling output of the yeast mating pathway.

Science 311, 822-6.

Scaffold proteins organize signaling proteins into pathways and are often viewed as passive assembly platforms. We found that the Ste5 scaffold has a more active role in the yeast mating pathway: A fragment of Ste5 allosterically activated autophosphorylation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase Fus3. The resulting form of Fus3 is partially active-it is phosphorylated on only one of two key residues in the activation loop. Unexpectedly, at a systems level, autoactivated Fus3 appears to have a negative regulatory role, promoting Ste5 phosphorylation and a decrease in pathway transcriptional output. Thus, scaffolds not only direct basic pathway connectivity but can precisely tune quantitative pathway input-output properties.

Tóth, J., Gombos, L., Medveczky, P., Szilágyi, L., Gráf, L., Málnási-Csizmadia, A.

Thermodynamic analysis reveals structural rearrangement during the acylation step in human trypsin 4 on 4-methylumbelliferyl 4-guanidinobenzoate substrate analogue.

J. Biol. Chem. 281, 12596-12602.

Human trypsin 4 is an unconventional serine protease that possesses an arginine at position 193 in place of the highly conserved glycine. Although this single amino acid substitution does not affect steady-state activity on small synthetic substrates, it has dramatic effects on zymogen activation, interaction with canonical inhibitors, and substrate specificity toward macromolecular substrates. To study the effect of a non-glycine residue at position 193 on the mechanism of the individual enzymatic reaction steps, we expressed wild type human trypsin 4 and its R193G mutant. 4-Methylumbelliferyl 4-guanidinobenzoate has been chosen as a substrate analogue, where deacylation is rate-limiting, and transient kinetic methods were used to monitor the reactions. This experimental system allows for the separation of the individual reaction steps during substrate hydrolysis and the determination of their rate constants dependably. We suggest a refined model for the reaction mechanism, in which acylation is preceded by the reversible formation of the first tetrahedral intermediate. Furthermore, the thermodynamics of these steps were also investigated. The formation of the first tetrahedral intermediate is highly exothermic and accompanied by a large entropy decrease for the wild type enzyme, whereas the signs of the enthalpy and entropy changes are opposite and smaller for the R193G mutant. This difference in the energetic profiles indicates much more extended structural and/or dynamic rearrangements in the equilibrium step of the first tetrahedral intermediate formation in wild type human trypsin 4 than in the R193G mutant enzyme, which may contribute to the biological function of this protease.