[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: An increasingly used parameter in structural biology is the measurement of distances between spin labels bound to a protein. One limitation to these measurements is the unknown position of the spin label relative to the protein backbone. To overcome this drawback, we introduce a rotamer library of the methanethiosulfonate spin label (MTSSL) into the protein modeling program Rosetta. Spin label rotamers were derived from conformations observed in crystal structures of spin labeled T4 lysozyme and previously published molecular dynamics simulations. Rosetta's ability to accurately recover spin label conformations and EPR measured distance distributions was evaluated against 19 experimentally determined MTSSL labeled structures of T4 lysozyme and the membrane protein LeuT and 73 distance distributions from T4 lysozyme and the membrane protein MsbA. For a site in the core of T4 lysozyme, the correct spin label conformation (Χ1 and Χ2) is recovered in 99.8% of trials. In surface positions 53% of the trajectories agree with crystallized conformations in Χ1 and Χ2. This level of recovery is on par with Rosetta performance for the 20 natural amino acids. In addition, Rosetta predicts the distance between two spin labels with a mean error of 4.4 Å. The width of the experimental distance distribution, which reflects the flexibility of the two spin labels, is predicted with a mean error of 1.3 Å. RosettaEPR makes full-atom spin label modeling available to a wide scientific community in conjunction with the powerful suite of modeling methods within Rosetta.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e72851. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) are ubiquitous chaperones that bind and sequester non-native proteins preventing their aggregation. Despite extensive studies of sHSPs chaperone activity, the location of the bound substrate within the sHSP oligomer has not been determined. In this paper, we used cryo electron microscopy (cryoEM) to visualize destabilized mutants of T4 Lysozyme (T4L) bound to engineered variants of the small heat shock protein Hsp16.5. In contrast to wild type Hsp16.5, binding of T4L to these variants does not induce oligomer heterogeneity enabling cryoEM analysis of the complexes. CryoEM image reconstruction reveals the sequestration of T4L in the interior of the Hsp16.5 oligomer primarily interacting with the buried N-terminal domain but also tethered by contacts with the α-crystallin domain shell. Analysis of Hsp16.5-WT/T4L complexes uncovers oligomer expansion as a requirement for high affinity binding. In contrast, a low affinity mode of binding is found to involve T4L binding on the outer surface of the oligomer bridging the formation of large complexes of Hsp16.5. These mechanistic principles were validated by cryoEM analysis of an expanded variant of Hsp16.5 in complex with T4L and Hsp16.5-R107G which is equivalent to a mutant of human αB-crystallin linked to cardiomyopathy. In both cases, high affinity binding is found to involve conformational changes in the N-terminal region consistent with a central role of this region in substrate recognition.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2012; · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human small heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) undergoes concentration-dependent equilibrium dissociation from an ensemble of large oligomers to a dimer. This phenomenon plays a critical role in Hsp27 chaperone activity in vitro enabling high affinity binding to destabilized proteins. In vivo dissociation, which is regulated by phosphorylation, controls Hsp27 role in signaling pathways. In this study, we explore the sequence determinants of Hsp27 dissociation and define the structural basis underlying the increased affinity of Hsp27 dimers to client proteins. A systematic cysteine mutagenesis is carried out to identify residues in the N-terminal domain important for the equilibrium between Hsp27 oligomers and dimers. In addition, spin-labels were attached to the cysteine mutants to enable electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) analysis of residue environment and solvent accessibility in the context of the large oligomers, upon dissociation to the dimer, and following complex formation with the model substrate T4 Lysozyme (T4L). The mutagenic analysis identifies residues that modulate the equilibrium dissociation in favor of the dimer. EPR analysis reveals that oligomer dissociation disrupts subunit contacts leading to the exposure of Hsp27 N-terminal domain to the aqueous solvent. Moreover, regions of this domain are highly dynamic with no evidence of a packed core. Interaction between T4L and sequences in this domain is inferred from transition of spin-labels to a buried environment in the substrate/Hsp27 complex. Together, the data provide the first structural analysis of sHSP dissociation and support a model of chaperone activity wherein unstructured and highly flexible regions in the N-terminal domain are critical for substrate binding.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) belongs to a large class of toxic proteins that act by enzymatically modifying cytosolic substrates within eukaryotic cells. The process by which a catalytic moiety is transferred across a membrane to enter the cytosol is not understood for any such toxin. BoNT is known to form pH-dependent pores important for the translocation of the catalytic domain into the cytosol. As a first step toward understanding this process, we investigated the mechanism by which the translocation domain of BoNT associates with a model liposome membrane. We report conditions that allow pH-dependent proteoliposome formation and identify a sequence at the translocation domain C terminus that is protected from proteolytic degradation in the context of the proteoliposome. Fluorescence quenching experiments suggest that residues within this sequence move to a hydrophobic environment upon association with liposomes. EPR analyses of spin-labeled mutants reveal major conformational changes in a distinct region of the structure upon association and indicate the formation of an oligomeric membrane-associated intermediate. Together, these data support a model of how BoNT orients with membranes in response to low pH.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2011; 286(30):27011-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: EmrE, a member of the small multidrug transporters superfamily, extrudes positively charged hydrophobic compounds out of Escherichia coli cytoplasm in exchange for inward movement of protons down their electrochemical gradient. Although its transport mechanism has been thoroughly characterized, the structural basis of energy coupling and the conformational cycle mediating transport have yet to be elucidated. In this study, EmrE structure in liposomes and the substrate-induced conformational changes were investigated by systematic spin labeling and EPR analysis. Spin label mobilities and accessibilities describe a highly dynamic ligand-free (apo) conformation. Dipolar coupling between spin labels across the dimer reveals at least two spin label populations arising from different packing interfaces of the EmrE dimer. One population is consistent with antiparallel arrangement of the monomers, although the EPR parameters suggest deviations from the crystal structure of substrate-bound EmrE. Resolving these discrepancies requires an unusual disposition of TM3 relative to the membrane-water interface and a kink in its backbone that enables bending of its C-terminal part. Binding of the substrate tetraphenylphosphonium changes the environment of spin labels and their proximity in three transmembrane helices. The underlying conformational transition involves repacking of TM1, tilting of TM2, and changes in the backbone configurations of TM3 and the adjacent loop connecting it to TM4. A dynamic apo conformation is necessary for the polyspecificity of EmrE allowing the binding of structurally diverse substrates. The flexibility of TM3 may play a critical role in movement of substrates across the membrane.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 08/2010; 285(34):26710-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A number of alphaA-crystallin mutants are associated with hereditary cataract including cysteine substitution at arginine 49. We report the formation of affinity-driven disulfide bonds in the interaction of alphaA-R49C with betaB1-crystallin. To mimic cysteine thiolation in the lens, betaB1-crystallin was modified by a bimane probe through a disulfide linkage. Our data suggest a mechanism whereby a transient disulfide bond occurs between alphaA- and betaB1-crystallin followed by a disulfide exchange with cysteine 49 of a neighboring alphaA-crystallin subunit. This is the first investigation of disulfide bonds in the confine of the chaperone/substrate complex where reaction rates are favored by orders of magnitude. Covalent protein cross-links are a hallmark of age-related cataract and may be a factor in its inherited form.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: EmrE is the prototype of small multidrug resistance transporters and has emerged as a model of membrane protein evolution. Analysis of the distances separating symmetry-related site-specific spin labels, correlation of topological sequence bias to C-terminal orientation, to membrane insertion efficiency, and to resistance to ethidium bromide collectively demonstrate that EmrE monomers adopt a parallel topology in the functional dimer. We propose a coupled insertion and assembly model for EmrE in which the favorable energetics of the parallel dimer interface override topological constraints arising from weak asymmetry in positive charge distribution.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To elucidate the structural and energetic basis of attractive protein interactions in the aging lens, we investigated the binding of destabilized mutants of betaB1-crystallin to the lens chaperones, alpha-crystallins. We show that the mutations enhance the binding affinity to alphaA- but not alphaB-crystallin at physiological temperatures. Complex formation disrupts the dimer interface of betaB1-crystallin consistent with the binding of a monomer. Binding isotherms obtained at increasing concentrations of betaB1-crystallin deviate from a classic binding equilibrium and display cooperative-like behavior. In the context of betaB1-crystallin unfolding equilibrium, these characteristics are reflective of the concentration-dependent change in the population of a dimeric intermediate that has low affinity to alphaA-crystallin. In the lens, where alpha-crystallin binding sites are not regenerated, this may represent an added mechanism to maintain lens transparency.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A central step in understanding lens aging is to characterize the thermodynamic stability of its proteins and determine the consequences of changes in the primary sequence on their folding equilibria. For this purpose, destabilized mutations were introduced in betaB1-crystallin targeting the domain interface within the fold of a subunit. Global unfolding was monitored by tryptophan fluorescence while concomitant structural changes at the dimer interface were monitored by fluorescence and spin labels. Both spectral probes report explicit evidence of multi-state unfolding equilibrium. The biphasic nature of the unfolding curves was more pronounced at higher protein concentration. Distinct shifts in the midpoint of the second transition reflect the population of a dimeric intermediate. This intermediate may be a critical determinant for the life-long stability of the beta-crystallins and has important consequences on interactions with alpha-crystallin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have identified sequence and structural determinants of oligomer size, symmetry, and polydispersity in the small heat shock protein super family. Using an insertion mutagenesis strategy that mimics evolutionary sequence divergence, we induced the ordered oligomer of Methanococcus jannaschii Hsp16.5 to transition to either expanded symmetric or polydisperse assemblies. A hybrid approach combining spin labeling EPR and cryoelectron microscopy imaging at 10A resolution reveals that the underlying plasticity is mediated by a packing interface with minimal contacts and a flexible C-terminal tether between dimers. Twenty-four dimeric building blocks related by octahedral symmetry assemble into the expanded symmetric oligomer. In contrast, the polydisperse variant has an ordered dimeric building block that heterogeneously packs to yield oligomers of various sizes. Increased exposure of the N-terminal region in the Hsp16.5 variants correlates with enhanced binding to destabilized mutants of T4 lysozyme, whereas deletion of this region reduces binding. Transition to larger intermediates with enhanced substrate binding capacity has been observed in other small heat shock proteins including lens alpha-crystallin mutants linked to congenital cataract. Together, these results provide a mechanistic perspective on substrate recognition and binding by the small heat shock protein superfamily.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2007; 281(52):40420-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a novel hypothesis for the molecular mechanism of autosomal dominant cataract linked to two mutations in the alphaA-crystallin gene of the ocular lens. AlphaA-crystallin is a molecular chaperone that plays a critical role in the suppression of protein aggregation and hence in the long term maintenance of lens optical properties. Using a steady state binding assay in which the chaperone-substrate complex is directly detected, we demonstrate that the mutations result in a substantial increase in the level of binding to non-native states of the model substrate T4 lysozyme. The structural basis of the enhanced binding is investigated through equivalent substitutions in the homologous heat shock protein 27. The mutations shift the oligomeric equilibrium toward a dissociated multimeric form previously shown to be the binding-competent state. In the context of a recent thermodynamic model of chaperone function that proposes the coupling of small heat shock protein activation to the substrate folding equilibrium (Shashidharamurthy, R., Koteiche, H. A., Dong, J., and McHaourab, H. S. (2005) J. Biol. Chem. 280, 5281-5289), the enhanced binding by the alphaA-crystallin mutants is predicted to shift the substrate folding equilibrium toward non-native intermediates, i.e. the mutants promote substrate unfolding. Given the high concentration of alphaA-crystallin in the lens, the molecular basis of pathogenesis implied by our results is a gain of function that leads to the binding of undamaged proteins and subsequent precipitation of the saturated alpha-crystallin complexes in the developing lens of affected individuals.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2006; 281(20):14273-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report an approach for determining the structure of macromolecular assemblies by the combined application of cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and site-directed spin labeling electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR). This approach is illustrated for Hsp16.5, a small heat shock protein that prevents the aggregation of nonnative proteins. The structure of Hsp16.5 has been previously studied by both cryo-EM and X-ray crystallography. The crystal structure revealed a roughly spherical protein shell with dodecameric symmetry; however, residues 1-32 were found to be disordered. The cryo-EM reconstruction at 13 A resolution appeared similar to the crystal structure but with additional internal density corresponding to the N-terminal regions of the 24 subunits. In this study, a systematic application of site-directed spin labeling and EPR spectroscopy was carried out. By combining the EPR constraints from spin label accessibilities and proximities with the cryo-EM density, we obtained an atomic model for a portion of the Hsp16.5 N-terminal region in the context of the oligomeric complex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian small heat shock proteins (sHSP) form polydisperse and dynamic oligomers that undergo equilibrium subunit exchange. Current models of their chaperone activity hypothesize that recognition and binding of protein non-native states involve changes in the oligomeric state. The equivalent thermodynamic representation is a set of three coupled equilibria that includes the sHSP oligomeric equilibrium, the substrate folding equilibrium, and the equilibrium binding between the sHSP and the substrate non-native states. To test this hypothesis and define the binding-competent oligomeric state of human Hsp27, we have perturbed the two former equilibria and quantitatively determined the consequences on binding. The substrate is a set of T4 lysozyme (T4L) mutants that bind under conditions that favor the folded state over the unfolded state by 10(2)-10(4)-fold. The concentration-dependent oligomer equilibrium of Hsp27 was perturbed by mutations that alter the relative stability of two major oligomeric states including phosphorylation-mimicking mutations that result in the dissociation to a small multimer over a wide range of concentrations. Correlation of binding isotherms with size exclusion chromatography analysis of the Hsp27 oligomer equilibrium demonstrates that the multimer is the binding-competent state. Binding occurs through two modes, each characterized by different affinity and number of binding sites, and results in T4L.Hsp27 complexes of different hydrodynamic properties. Mutants of the Hsp27 phosphorylation mimic that reverse the reduction in oligomer size also reduce the extent of T4L binding. Taken together, these results suggest a central role for the oligomeric equilibrium in regulating the chaperone activity of sHSP. The mutants identify sequence features important for modulating this equilibrium.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2005; 280(7):5281-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Age-related changes in protein-protein interactions in the lens play a critical role in the temporal evolution of its optical properties. In the relatively non-regenerating environment of the fiber cells, a critical determinant of these interactions is partial or global unfolding as a consequence of post-translational modifications or chemical damage to individual crystallins. One type of attractive force involves the recognition by alpha-crystallins of modified proteins prone to unfolding and aggregation. In this paper, we explore the energetic threshold and the structural determinants for the formation of a stable complex between alpha-crystallin and betaB2-crystallin as a consequence of destabilizing mutations in the latter. The mutations were designed in the framework of a folding model that proposes the equilibrium population of a monomeric intermediate. Binding to alpha-crystallin is detected through changes in the emission properties of a bimane fluorescent probe site-specifically introduced at a solvent exposed site in betaB2-crystallin. alpha-Crystallin binds the various betaB2-crystallin mutants, although with a significantly lower affinity relative to destabilized T4 lysozyme mutants. The extent of binding, while reflective of the overall destabilization, is determined by the dynamic population of a folding intermediate. The existence of the intermediate is inferred from the biphasic bimane emission unfolding curve of a mutant designed to disrupt interactions at the dimer interface. The results of this paper are consistent with a model in which the interaction of alpha-crystallins with substrates is not solely triggered by an energetic threshold but also by the population of excited states even under favorable folding conditions. The ability of alpha-crystallin to detect subtle changes in the population of betaB2-crystallin excited states supports a central role for this chaperone in delaying aggregation and scattering in the lens.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2004; 279(16):16425-32. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Age-related changes in protein-protein interactions in the lens play a critical role in the temporal evolution of its optical
properties. In the relatively non-regenerating environment of the fiber cells, a critical determinant of these interactions
is partial or global unfolding as a consequence of post-translational modifications or chemical damage to individual crystallins.
One type of attractive force involves the recognition by α-crystallins of modified proteins prone to unfolding and aggregation.
In this paper, we explore the energetic threshold and the structural determinants for the formation of a stable complex between
α-crystallin and βB2-crystallin as a consequence of destabilizing mutations in the latter. The mutations were designed in
the framework of a folding model that proposes the equilibrium population of a monomeric intermediate. Binding to α-crystallin
is detected through changes in the emission properties of a bimane fluorescent probe site-specifically introduced at a solvent
exposed site in βB2-crystallin. α-Crystallin binds the various βB2-crystallin mutants, although with a significantly lower
affinity relative to destabilized T4 lysozyme mutants. The extent of binding, while reflective of the overall destabilization,
is determined by the dynamic population of a folding intermediate. The existence of the intermediate is inferred from the
biphasic bimane emission unfolding curve of a mutant designed to disrupt interactions at the dimer interface. The results
of this paper are consistent with a model in which the interaction of α-crystallins with substrates is not solely triggered
by an energetic threshold but also by the population of excited states even under favorable folding conditions. The ability
of α-crystallin to detect subtle changes in the population of βB2-crystallin excited states supports a central role for this
chaperone in delaying aggregation and scattering in the lens.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2004; 279(16):16425-16432. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Site-directed spin labeling (SDSL) was used to explore the structural framework responsible for the obligatory drug-proton exchange in the Escherichia coli multidrug transporter, EmrE. For this purpose, a nitroxide scan was carried out along a stretch of 26 residues that include transmembrane segment 1 (TMS1). This segment has been implicated in the catalytic mechanism of EmrE due to the presence of the highly conserved glutamate 14, a residue absolutely required for ligand binding. Sequence-specific variation in the accessibilities of the introduced nitroxides to molecular oxygen reveals a transmembrane helical conformation along TMS1. One face of the helix is in contact with the hydrocarbon interior of the detergent micelle while the other face appears to be solvated by an aqueous environment, resulting in significant exposure of the nitroxides along this face to NiEDDA. TMS1 from two different subunits are in close proximity near a 2-fold axis of symmetry as revealed by the analysis of spin-spin interactions at sites 14 and 18. The limited extent of spin-spin interactions is consistent with a scissor-like packing of the two TMS1. This results in a V-shaped chamber which is in contact with the aqueous phase near the N-terminus. The spatial organization of TMS1, particularly the close proximity of E14, is consistent with a proposed mechanistic model of EmrE [Yerushalmi, H., and Schuldiner, S. (2000) Biochemistry 39, 14711-14719] where substrate extrusion is coupled to proton influx through electrostatic interactions and shifts of the glutamate 14 pK(a) during the cycle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The consequences of alphaB-crystallin phosphorylation on its chaperone activity were investigated using a detailed analysis of the recognition and binding of destabilized T4 lysozyme (T4L) mutants by alphaB-crystallin phosphorylation mimics containing combinations of serine to aspartate substitutions. The T4L site-directed mutants were selected to constitute an energetic ladder of progressively destabilized proteins having similar structures in the folded state. alphaB-crystallin and its variants differentially recognize the T4L mutants, binding the more destabilized ones to a larger extent. Furthermore, the aspartate substitutions result in an increase in the extent of binding to the same T4L mutant and in the appearance of biphasic binding isotherms. The latter indicates the presence of two modes of binding characterized by different affinities and different numbers of binding sites. The transition to two-mode binding can also be induced by temperature or pH activation of the second mode. The similarity between the phosphorylation, pH, and temperature effects suggests a common structural origin. The location of the phosphorylation sites in the N-terminal domain and the hypothesized burial of this domain in the core of the oligomeric structure are consistent with a critical role for the destabilization of the quaternary structure in the process of recognition and binding by small heat-shock proteins.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2003; 278(12):10361-7. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To elucidate the mechanism of alphaA-crystallin chaperone function, a detailed thermodynamic analysis of its binding to destabilized, site-directed mutants of T4 lysozyme was carried out. The selected mutants form a ladder of stabilities spanning the 5-10 kcal/mol range of free energy of unfolding. The crystal structures of the majority of the mutants have been previously determined and found to be similar to that of the wild type with no evidence of static local unfolding. Complex formation between alphaA-crystallin and T4 lysozyme was observed directly via the changes in the electron paramagnetic resonance lineshape of a nitroxide introduced at a non-destabilizing, solvent exposed site in T4 lysozyme. AlphaA-crystallin differentially interacts with the mutants, binding the more destabilized ones to a larger extent despite the similar structure of their native states. Our results suggest that the states recognized by alphaA-crystallin are non-native excited states distinct from the unfolded state. Stable complexes are formed when the free energy of binding to alphaA-crystallin is on the order of the free energy associated with the transition from the excited state to the native state. Biphasic binding isotherms reveal two modes of interactions with distinct affinities and stoichiometries. Highly destabilized mutants preferentially bind to the high capacity mode, suggesting conformational preference in the use of each mode. Furthermore, binding can be enhanced by increased temperature and pH, which may be reflecting conformational changes in alphaA-crystallin oligomeric structure.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2002; 277(43):40557-66. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The determinants of the oligomeric assembly of Hsp16.5, a small heat-shock protein (sHSP) from Methanococcus jannaschii, were explored via site-directed truncation and site-directed spin labeling. For this purpose, subunit contacts around the two-, three- and four-fold symmetry axes were fingerprinted using patterns of proximities between nitroxide spin labels introduced at selected sites. The lack of change in this fingerprint in an N-terminal truncation of the protein demonstrates that the interactions are encoded in the alpha-crystallin domain. In contrast, the truncation of the N-terminal domain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Hsp16.3, a bacterial sHSP with an equally short N-terminal region, results in the dissociation of the oligomer to a trimer. These results, in conjunction with those from previous truncation studies in mammalian sHSP, suggest that as the alpha-crystallin domain evolved to encode a smaller basic unit than the overall oligomer, the control of the assembly and dynamics of the oligomeric structure became encoded in the N-terminal domain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The determinants of the oligomeric assembly of Hsp16.5, a small heat-shock protein (sHSP) from Methanococcus jannaschii, were explored via site-directed truncation and site-directed spin labeling. For this purpose, subunit contacts around the two-, three- and four-fold symmetry axes were fingerprinted using patterns of proximities between nitroxide spin labels introduced at selected sites. The lack of change in this fingerprint in an N-terminal truncation of the protein demonstrates that the interactions are encoded in the α-crystallin domain. In contrast, the truncation of the N-terminal domain of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Hsp16.3, a bacterial sHSP with an equally short N-terminal region, results in the dissociation of the oligomer to a trimer. These results, in conjunction with those from previous truncation studies in mammalian sHSP, suggest that as the α-crystallin domain evolved to encode a smaller basic unit than the overall oligomer, the control of the assembly and dynamics of the oligomeric structure became encoded in the N-terminal domain.