Structural basis of semaphorin-plexin signalling.
ABSTRACT Cell-cell signalling of semaphorin ligands through interaction with plexin receptors is important for the homeostasis and morphogenesis of many tissues and is widely studied for its role in neural connectivity, cancer, cell migration and immune responses. SEMA4D and Sema6A exemplify two diverse vertebrate, membrane-spanning semaphorin classes (4 and 6) that are capable of direct signalling through members of the two largest plexin classes, B and A, respectively. In the absence of any structural information on the plexin ectodomain or its interaction with semaphorins the extracellular specificity and mechanism controlling plexin signalling has remained unresolved. Here we present crystal structures of cognate complexes of the semaphorin-binding regions of plexins B1 and A2 with semaphorin ectodomains (human PLXNB1(1-2)-SEMA4D(ecto) and murine PlxnA2(1-4)-Sema6A(ecto)), plus unliganded structures of PlxnA2(1-4) and Sema6A(ecto). These structures, together with biophysical and cellular assays of wild-type and mutant proteins, reveal that semaphorin dimers independently bind two plexin molecules and that signalling is critically dependent on the avidity of the resulting bivalent 2:2 complex (monomeric semaphorin binds plexin but fails to trigger signalling). In combination, our data favour a cell-cell signalling mechanism involving semaphorin-stabilized plexin dimerization, possibly followed by clustering, which is consistent with previous functional data. Furthermore, the shared generic architecture of the complexes, formed through conserved contacts of the amino-terminal seven-bladed β-propeller (sema) domains of both semaphorin and plexin, suggests that a common mode of interaction triggers all semaphorin-plexin based signalling, while distinct insertions within or between blades of the sema domains determine binding specificity.
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ABSTRACT: The cell-to-cell signalling mechanisms of multi-cellular organisms orchestrate human development during embryogenesis and control homeostasis in adult tissues. These are mechanisms vital to human health and perturbation of cell-to-cell signalling is a contributing factor in many pathologies including cancer. The semaphorin cell guidance cues and their cognate plexin receptors exemplify a cell-to-cell signalling system for which insights into mechanistic principles are emerging. X-ray crystallographic data from Diamond beam lines have enabled us to probe the inner workings of semaphorin-plexin signalling to atomic-level resolutions. Importantly, we can complement protein crystallographic results with biophysical and cellular studies to dovetail structural information with functional impact. The signature seven-bladed β propeller 'sema' domain of the semaphorins forms a dimer; in contrast the equivalent domain in the plexins is monomeric. The generic architecture of a semaphorin-plexin complex is characterized by the dimeric semaphorin cross-linking two copies of the plexin receptor. For specific family members, the co-receptor neuropilin serves to bolster this architecture, but in all cases, the dimeric interaction lies at the core of the ligand receptor complex, providing the essential trigger for signalling.Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences 03/2015; 373(2036). DOI:10.1098/rsta.2013.0155 · 2.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The humanized IgG4 monoclonal antibody VX15/2503 bound with 1 - 5 nM affinity to purified recombinant Semaphorin 4D (SEMA4D; CD100) produced using murine, rat, cynomolgus macaque and human sequences. The affinity for native SEMA4D expressed on macaque T lymphocytes was approximately 0.6 nM. Tissues from rats and cynomolgus macaques demonstrated specific staining only with resident lymphocytes. Single dose and one month toxicology/PK studies employed VX15/2503 dose levels of 0 to 100 mg/kg. No toxicity was observed with either species in these studies, thus the NOAEL was 100 mg/kg. Cmax, exposure and half-life values were similar for both rats and macaques. The NOAEL in a primate maximum feasible dose study was 200 mg/kg. Saturation of T cell associated SEMA4D occurred following administration of single doses of 0.1 mg/kg and above; five weekly injections of VX15/2503 at a dose level of 100 mg/kg produced saturation lasting for more than 120 and 130 days, respectively, for rats and primates. Macaques administered 5 weekly doses of VX15/2503 showed dose dependent reductions of 2 to 3-fold in T cell SEMA4D (cSEMA4D) expression levels compared to controls. Reduced cSEMA4D expression levels continued until serum antibody concentrations were 2 to 5 µg/mL, thereafter normal cSEMA4D levels were restored. Based on these data a phase 1 clinical study of the safety and tolerability of VX15/2503 was conducted enrolling adult patients with advanced solid tumor diseases; a single dose, dose escalation, phase 1 safety study was also initiated with subjects with multiple sclerosis. Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 02/2015; 14(4). DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-14-0924 · 6.11 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Plexins (plxns) are transmembrane (TM) receptors involved in the guidance of vascular, lymphatic vessel, and neuron growth as well as cancer metastasis. Plxn signaling results in cytosolic GTPase-activating protein activity, and previous research implicates dimerization as important for activation of plxn signaling. Purified, soluble plxn extracellular and cytosolic domains exhibit only weak homomeric interactions, suggesting a role for the plxn TM and juxtamembrane regions in homooligomerization. In this study, we consider a heptad repeat in the Danio rerio PlxnA3 cytosolic juxtamembrane domain (JM) for its ability to influence PlxnA3 homooligomerization in TM-domain containing constructs. Site-directed mutagenesis in conjunction with the AraTM assay and bioluminescent energy transfer (BRET²) suggest an interface involving a JM heptad repeat, in particular residue M1281, regulates PlxnA3 homomeric interactions when examined in constructs containing an ectodomain, TM and JM domain. In the presence of a neuropilin-2a co-receptor and semaphorin 3F ligand, disruption to PlxnA3 homodimerization caused by an M1281F mutation is eliminated, suggesting destabilization of the PlxnA3 homodimer in the JM is not sufficient to disrupt co-receptor complex formation. In contrast, enhanced homodimerization of PlxnA3 caused by mutation M1281L remains even in the presence of ligand semaphorin 3F and co-receptor neuropilin-2a. Consistent with this pattern of PlxnA3 dimerization in the presence of ligand and co-receptor, destabilizing mutations to PlxnA3 homodimerization (M1281F) are able to rescue motor patterning defects in sidetracked zebrafish embryos, whereas mutations that enhance PlxnA3 homodimerization (M1281L) are not. Collectively, our results indicate the JM heptad repeat, in particular residue M1281, forms a switchable interface that modulates both PlxnA3 homomeric interactions and signal transduction.PLoS ONE 01/2015; 10(1):e0116368. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0116368 · 3.53 Impact Factor