Remedial strategies in structural proteomics: expression, purification, and crystallization of the Vav1/Rac1 complex.
ABSTRACT The signal transduction pathway involving the Vav1 guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) and the Rac1 GTPase plays several key roles in the immune response mediated by the T cell receptor. Vav1 is also a unique member of the GEF family in that it contains a cysteine-rich domain (CRD) that is critical for Rac1 binding and maximal guanine nucleotide exchange activity, and thus may provide a unique protein-protein interface compared to other GEF/GTPase pairs. Here, we have applied a number of remedial structural proteomics strategies, such as construct and expression optimization, surface mutagenesis, limited proteolysis, and protein formulation to successfully express, purify, and crystallize the Vav1-DH-PH-CRD/Rac1 complex in an active conformation. We have also systematically characterized various Vav1 domains in a GEF assay and Rac1 in vitro binding experiments. In the context of Vav1-DH-PH-CRD, the zinc finger motif of the CRD is required for the expression of stable Vav1, as well as for activity in both a GEF assay and in vitro formation of a Vav1/Rac1 complex suitable for biophysical and structural characterization. Our data also indicate that the isolated CRD maintains a low level of specific binding to Rac1, appears to be folded based on 1D NMR analysis and coordinates two zinc ions based on ICP-MS analysis. The protein reagents generated here are essential tools for the determination of a three dimensional Vav1/Rac1 complex crystal structure and possibly for the identification of inhibitors of the Vav1/Rac1 protein-protein interaction with potential to inhibit lymphocyte activation.
Article: On the mechanism of autoinhibition of the RhoA-specific nucleotide exchange factor PDZRhoGEF.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The Dbl-family of guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) activate the cytosolic GTPases of the Rho family by enhancing the rate of exchange of GTP for GDP on the cognate GTPase. This catalytic activity resides in the DH (Dbl-homology) domain, but typically GEFs are multidomain proteins containing other modules. It is believed that GEFs are autoinhibited in the cytosol due to supramodular architecture, and become activated in diverse signaling pathways through conformational change and exposure of the DH domain, as the protein is translocated to the membrane. A small family of RhoA-specific GEFs, containing the RGSL (regulators of G-protein signaling-like) domain, act as effectors of select GPCRs via Galpha12/13, although the molecular mechanism by which this pathway operates is not known. These GEFs include p115, LARG and PDZRhoGEF (PRG). Here we show that the autoinhibition of PRG is caused largely by an interaction of a short negatively charged sequence motif, immediately upstream of the DH-domain and including residues Asp706, Glu708, Glu710 and Asp712, with a patch on the catalytic surface of the DH-domain including Arg867 and Arg868. In the absence of both PDZ and RGSL domains, the DH-PH tandem with additional 21 residues upstream, is 50% autoinhibited. However, within the full-length protein, the PDZ and/or RGSL domains significantly restore autoinhibition. Our results suggest a mechanism for autoinhibition of RGSL family of GEFs, in which the RGSL domain and a unique sequence motif upstream of the DH domain, act cooperatively to reduce the ability of the DH domain to bind the nucleotide free RhoA. The activation mechanism is likely to involve two independent steps, i.e. displacement of the RGSL domain and conformational change involving the autoinhibitory sequence motif containing several negatively charged residues.BMC Structural Biology 06/2009; 9:36. · 2.48 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) Vav1 plays an important role in T-cell activation and tumorigenesis. In the GEF superfamily, Vav1 has the ability to interact with multiple families of Rho GTPases. The structure of the Vav1 DH-PH-CRD/Rac1 complex to 2.6 A resolution reveals a unique intramolecular network of contacts between the Vav1 cysteine-rich domain (CRD) and the C-terminal helix of the Vav1 Dbl homology (DH) domain. These unique interactions stabilize the Vav1 DH domain for its intimate association with the Switch II region of Rac1 that is critical for the displacement of the guanine nucleotide. Small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) studies support this domain arrangement for the complex in solution. Further, mutational analyses confirms that the atypical CRD is critical for maintaining both optimal guanine nucleotide exchange activity and broader specificity of Vav family GEFs. Taken together, the data outline the detailed nature of Vav1's ability to contact a range of Rho GTPases using a novel protein-protein interaction network.Journal of Molecular Biology 08/2008; 380(5):828-43. · 4.00 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Vav family of proteins are guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for the Rho family of GTPases, which regulate various cellular functions, including T-cell activation. They contain a catalytic Dbl homology (DH) domain that is invariably followed by a pleckstrin homology (PH) domain, which is often required for catalytic activity. Vav proteins are the first GEFs for which an additional C1 domain is required for full biological activity. Here, we present the structure of a Vav1 fragment comprising the DH-PH-C1 domains bound to Rac1. This structure shows that the PH and C1 domains form a single structural unit that packs against the carboxy-terminal helix of the DH domain to stabilize its conformation and to promote nucleotide exchange. In contrast to previous reports, this structure shows that there are no direct contacts between the GTPase and C1 domain but instead suggests new mechanisms for the regulation of Vav1 activity.EMBO Reports 08/2008; 9(7):655-61. · 7.36 Impact Factor