Understanding cAMP-dependent allostery by NMR spectroscopy: comparative analysis of the EPAC1 cAMP-binding domain in its apo and cAMP-bound states.
ABSTRACT cAMP (adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate) is a ubiquitous second messenger that activates a multitude of essential cellular responses. Two key receptors for cAMP in eukaryotes are protein kinase A (PKA) and the exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (EPAC), which is a recently discovered guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for the small GTPases Rap1 and Rap2. Previous attempts to investigate the mechanism of allosteric activation of eukaryotic cAMP-binding domains (CBDs) at atomic or residue resolution have been hampered by the instability of the apo form, which requires the use of mixed apo/holo systems, that have provided only a partial picture of the CBD apo state and of the allosteric networks controlled by cAMP. Here, we show that, unlike other eukaryotic CBDs, both apo and cAMP-bound states of the EPAC1 CBD are stable under our experimental conditions, providing a unique opportunity to define at an unprecedented level of detail the allosteric interactions linking two critical functional sites of this CBD. These are the phosphate binding cassette (PBC), where cAMP binds, and the N-terminal helical bundle (NTHB), which is the site of the inhibitory interactions between the regulatory and catalytic regions of EPAC. Specifically, the combined analysis of the cAMP-dependent changes in chemical shifts, 2 degrees structure probabilities, hydrogen/hydrogen exchange (H/H) and hydrogen/deuterium exchange (H/D) protection factors reveals that the long-range communication between the PBC and the NTHB is implemented by two distinct intramolecular cAMP-signaling pathways, respectively, mediated by the beta2-beta3 loop and the alpha6 helix. Docking of cAMP into the PBC perturbs the NTHB inner core packing and the helical probabilities of selected NTHB residues. The proposed model is consistent with the allosteric role previously hypothesized for L273 and F300 based on site-directed mutagenesis; however, our data show that such a contact is part of a significantly more extended allosteric network that, unlike PKA, involves a tight coupling between the alpha- and beta-subdomains of the EPAC CBD. The proposed mechanism of allosteric activation will serve as a basis to understand agonism and antagonism in the EPAC system and provides also a general paradigm for how small ligands control protein-protein interfaces.
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ABSTRACT: We employed a combination of densimetric and ultrasonic velocimetric techniques to characterize the volumetric properties of the association of the cAMP binding domain (CBD) of EPAC1 with cAMP at 25 °C in a pH 7.6 buffer. The binding of cAMP to the CBD of EPAC1 is accompanied by changes in volume, V, and adiabatic compressibility, KS, of -59±4 cm3mol-1 and (34±9)10-4 cm3mol-1bar-1, respectively. We use these volumetric results in conjunction with the structural data to estimate a in change in hydration, nh, accompanying the binding. We calculate that approximately 103 water molecules are released to the bulk from the associating surfaces of the protein and the ligand. This number is ~30 % larger than the number of water molecules in direct contact with the associating surfaces while also being within the error of our nh determination. Therefore, we conclude that cAMP binding to EPAC1 may involve, in addition to the waters from within the first coordination sphere, also some waters from the second coordination sphere of the protein and cAMP. Our analysis of the compressibility data reveals that the protein becomes more rigid and less dynamic upon the cAMP binding as reflected in a 4±0.5 % decrease in its intrinsic coefficient of adiabatic compressibility. Finally, we estimate the hydration, Shyd, and configurational, Sconf, contributions to the binding entropy, Sb. We find that the binding entropy is determined by the fine balance between the Shyd and Sconf terms. In general, we discuss insights that are derived from a combination of volumetric and structural properties, in particular, emphasizing how measured changes in volume and compressibility can be interpreted in terms of hydration and dynamic properties of EPAC1 in its apo- and holo-forms.The Journal of Physical Chemistry B 08/2013; · 3.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The cyclic-AMP binding domain (CBD) is the central regulatory unit of exchange proteins activated by cAMP (EPAC). The CBD maintains EPAC in a state of auto-inhibition in the absence of the allosteric effector, cAMP. When cAMP binds to the CBD such auto-inhibition is released, leading to EPAC activation. It has been shown that a key feature of such cAMP-dependent activation process is the partial destabilization of a structurally conserved hinge helix at the C-terminus of the CBD. However, the role of this helix in auto-inhibition is currently not fully understood. Here we utilize a series of progressive deletion mutants that mimic the hinge helix destabilization caused by cAMP to show that such helix is also a pivotal auto-inhibitory element of apo-EPAC. The effect of the deletion mutations on the auto-inhibitory apo/inactive vs. apo/active equilibrium was evaluated using recently developed NMR chemical shift projection and covariance analysis methods. Our results show that, even in the absence of cAMP, the C-terminal region of the hinge helix is tightly coupled to other conserved allosteric structural elements of the CBD and perturbations that destabilize the hinge helix shift the auto-inhibitory equilibrium toward the apo/active conformations. These findings explain the apparently counterintuitive observation that cAMP binds more tightly to shorter than longer EPAC constructs. These results are relevant for CBDs in general and rationalize why substrates sensitize CBD-containing systems to cAMP. Furthermore, the NMR analyses presented here are expected to be generally useful to quantitatively evaluate how mutations affect conformational equilibria.PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e48707. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Protein kinases use ATP as a phosphoryl donor for the posttranslational modification of signaling targets. It is generally thought that the binding of this nucleotide induces conformational changes leading to closed, more compact forms of the kinase domain that ideally orient active-site residues for efficient catalysis. The kinase domain is oftentimes flanked by additional ligand binding domains that up- or down-regulate catalytic function. C-terminal Src kinase (Csk) is a multidomain tyrosine kinase that is up-regulated by N-terminal SH2 and SH3 domains. Although the X-ray structure of Csk suggests the enzyme is compact, X-ray scattering studies indicate that the enzyme possesses both compact and open conformational forms in solution. Here, we investigated whether interactions with the ATP analog AMP-PNP and ADP can shift the conformational ensemble of Csk in solution using a combination of small angle x-ray scattering and molecular dynamics simulations. We find that binding of AMP-PNP shifts the ensemble towards more extended rather than more compact conformations. Binding of ADP further shifts the ensemble towards extended conformations, including highly extended conformations not adopted by the apo protein, nor by the AMP-PNP bound protein. These ensembles indicate that any compaction of the kinase domain induced by nucleotide binding does not extend to the overall multi-domain architecture. Instead, assembly of an ATP-bound kinase domain generates further extended forms of Csk that may have relevance for kinase scaffolding and Src regulation in the cell.PLoS Computational Biology 09/2012; 8(9):e1002695. · 4.87 Impact Factor