Internal dynamics control activation and activity of the autoinhibited Vav DH domain.
ABSTRACT Protein motions are important to activity, but quantitative relationships between internal dynamics and function are not well understood. The Dbl homology (DH) domain of the proto-oncoprotein and guanine nucleotide exchange factor Vav1 is autoinhibited through interactions between its catalytic surface and a helix from an N-terminal acidic region. Phosphorylation of the helix relieves autoinhibition. Here we show by NMR spectroscopy that the autoinhibited DH domain exists in equilibrium between a ground state, where the active site is blocked by the inhibitory helix, and an excited state, where the helix is dissociated. Across a series of mutants that differentially sample these states, catalytic activity of the autoinhibited protein and its rate of phosphorylation are linearly dependent on the population of the excited state. Thus, internal dynamics are required for and control both basal activity and the rate of full activation of the autoinhibited DH domain.
Article: Interdomain dynamics and coactivation of the mRNA decapping enzyme Dcp2 are mediated by a gatekeeper tryptophan.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Conformational dynamics in bilobed enzymes can be used to regulate their activity. One such enzyme, the eukaryotic decapping enzyme Dcp2, controls the half-life of mRNA by cleaving the 5' cap structure, which exposes a monophosphate that is efficiently degraded by exonucleases. Decapping by Dcp2 is thought to be controlled by an open-to-closed transition involving formation of a composite active site with two domains sandwiching substrate, but many details of this process are not understood. Here, using NMR spectroscopy and enzyme kinetics, we show that Trp43 of Schizosaccharomyces pombe Dcp2 is a conserved gatekeeper of this open-to-closed transition. We find that Dcp2 samples multiple conformations in solution on the millisecond-microsecond timescale. Mutation of the gatekeeper tryptophan abolishes the dynamic behavior of Dcp2 and attenuates coactivation by a yeast enhancer of decapping (Edc1). Our results determine the dynamics of the open-to-closed transition in Dcp2, suggest a structural pathway for coactivation, predict that Dcp1 directly contacts the catalytic domain of Dcp2, and show that coactivation of decapping by Dcp2 is linked to formation of the composite active site.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2012; 109(8):2872-7. · 9.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Structure-function relationships in proteins are predicated on the spatial proximity of noncovalently interacting groups of atoms. Thus, structural elements located away from a protein's active site are typically presumed to serve a stabilizing or scaffolding role for the larger structure. Here we report a functional role for a distal structural element in a PDZ domain, even though it is not required to maintain PDZ structure. The third PDZ domain from PSD-95/SAP90 (PDZ3) has an unusual additional third alpha helix (alpha3) that packs in contiguous fashion against the globular domain. Although alpha3 lies outside the active site and does not make direct contact with C-terminal peptide ligand, removal of alpha3 reduces ligand affinity by 21-fold. Further investigation revealed that the difference in binding free energies between the full-length and truncated constructs is predominantly entropic in nature and that without alpha3, picosecond-nanosecond side-chain dynamics are enhanced throughout the domain, as determined by (2)H methyl NMR relaxation. Thus, the distal modulation of binding function appears to occur via a delocalized conformational entropy mechanism. Without removal of alpha3 and characterization of side-chain dynamics, this dynamic allostery would have gone unnoticed. Moreover, what appeared at first to be an artificial modification of PDZ3 has been corroborated by experimentally verified phosphorylation of alpha3, revealing a tangible biological mechanism for this novel regulatory scheme. This hidden dynamic allostery raises the possibility of as-yet unidentified or untapped allosteric regulation in this PDZ domain and is a very clear example of function arising from dynamics rather than from structure.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2009; 106(43):18249-54. · 9.68 Impact Factor
Article: Automated electron-density sampling reveals widespread conformational polymorphism in proteins.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Although proteins populate large structural ensembles, X-ray diffraction data are traditionally interpreted using a single model. To search for evidence of alternate conformers, we developed a program, Ringer, which systematically samples electron density around the dihedral angles of protein side chains. In a diverse set of 402 structures, Ringer identified weak, nonrandom electron-density features that suggest of the presence of hidden, lowly populated conformations for >18% of uniquely modeled residues. Although these peaks occur at electron-density levels traditionally regarded as noise, statistically significant (P < 10(-5)) enrichment of peaks at successive rotameric chi angles validates the assignment of these features as unmodeled conformations. Weak electron density corresponding to alternate rotamers also was detected in an accurate electron density map free of model bias. Ringer analysis of the high-resolution structures of free and peptide-bound calmodulin identified shifts in ensembles and connected the alternate conformations to ligand recognition. These results show that the signal in high-resolution electron density maps extends below the traditional 1 sigma cutoff, and crystalline proteins are more polymorphic than current crystallographic models. Ringer provides an objective, systematic method to identify previously undiscovered alternate conformations that can mediate protein folding and function.Protein Science 05/2010; 19(7):1420-31. · 2.80 Impact Factor