N M McKern

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Publications (60)304.03 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The insulin receptor (IR) and the homologous Type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) are cell-surface tyrosine kinase receptors that effect signaling within the respective pathways of glucose metabolism and normal human growth. While ligand binding to these receptors is assumed to result in a structural transition within the receptor ectodomain that then effects signal transduction across the cell membrane, little is known about the molecular detail of these events. Presented here are small-angle X-ray scattering data obtained from the IR and IGF-1R ectodomains in solution. We show that, in solution, the ectodomains of IR and IGF-1R have a domain disposition that is very similar to that seen in the crystal structure of the ectodomain of IR, despite the constituent domains being in relatively sparse contact and potentially mobile. We also show that the IGF-1R ectodomain is capable of binding up to three molecules of IGF-1 in solution, with surprisingly little apparent change in relative domain disposition compared to the apo form. While the observed 3:1 ligand-binding stoichiometry appears to contradict earlier explanations of the absence of a bell-shaped dose-response curve for IGF-1R in ligand displacement assays, it is readily understood in the context of the harmonic oscillator model of the negative cooperativity of ligand binding to IGF-1R. Taken together, our findings suggest that the structural movements within these receptors upon ligand binding are small and are possibly limited to local rotation of domains.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 10/2009; 394(5):878-92. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The human insulin receptor (IR) homodimer is heavily glycosylated and contains a total of 19 predicted N-linked glycosylation sites in each monomer. The recent crystal structure of the IR ectodomain shows electron density consistent with N-linked glycosylation at the majority of sites present in the construct. Here, we describe a refined structure of the IR ectodomain that incorporates all of the N-linked glycans and reveals the extent to which the attached glycans mask the surface of the IR dimer from interaction with antibodies or other potential therapeutic binding proteins. The usefulness of Fab complexation in the crystallization of heavily glycosylated proteins is also discussed. The compositions of the glycans on IR expressed in CHO-K1 cells and the glycosylation deficient Lec8 cell line were determined by protease digestion, glycopeptide purification, amino acid sequence analysis, and mass spectrometry. Collectively the data reveal: multiple species of complex glycan at residues 25, 255, 295, 418, 606, 624, 742, 755, and 893 (IR-B numbering); multiple species of high-mannose glycan at residues 111 and 514; a single species of complex glycan at residue 671; and a single species of high-mannose glycan at residue 215. Residue 16 exhibited a mixture of complex, hybrid, and high-mannose glycan species. Of the remaining five predicted N-linked sites, those at residues 397 and 906 were confirmed by amino acid sequencing to be glycosylated, while that at residue 78 and the atypical (NKC) site at residue 282 were not glycosylated. The peptide containing the final site at residue 337 was not recovered but is seen to be glycosylated in the electron density maps of the IR ectodomain. The model of the fully glycosylated IR reveals that the sites carrying high-mannose glycans lie at positions of relatively low steric accessibility.
    Proteins Structure Function and Bioinformatics 05/2008; 71(1):426-39. · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The current model for insulin binding to the insulin receptor proposes that there are two binding sites, referred to as sites 1 and 2, on each monomer in the receptor homodimer and two binding surfaces on insulin, one involving residues predominantly from the dimerization face of insulin (the classical binding surface) and the other residues from the hexamerization face. High-affinity binding involves one insulin molecule using its two surfaces to make bridging contacts with site 1 from one receptor monomer and site 2 from the other. Whilst the receptor dimer has two identical site 1-site 2 pairs, insulin molecules cannot bridge both pairs simultaneously. Our structures of the insulin receptor (IR) ectodomain dimer and the L1-CR-L2 fragments of IR and insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) explain many of the features of ligand-receptor binding and allow the two binding sites on the receptor to be described. The IR dimer has an unexpected folded-over conformation which places the C-terminal surface of the first fibronectin-III domain in close juxtaposition to the known L1 domain ligand-binding surface suggesting that the C-terminal surface of FnIII-1 is the second binding site involved in high-affinity binding. This is very different from previous models based on three-dimensional reconstruction from scanning transmission electron micrographs. Our single-molecule images indicate that IGF-1R has a morphology similar to that of IR. In addition, the structures of the first three domains (L1-CR-L2) of the IR and IGF-1R show that there are major differences in the two regions governing ligand specificity. The implications of these findings for ligand-induced receptor activation will be discussed. This review summarizes the key findings regarding the discovery and characterization of the insulin receptor, the identification and arrangement of its structural domains in the sequence and the key features associated with ligand binding. The remainder of the review deals with a description of the receptor structure and how it explains much of the large body of biochemical data in the literature on insulin binding and receptor activation.
    Acta Physiologica 02/2008; 192(1):3-9. · 4.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The insulin receptor (isoforms IR-A and IR-B) and the type-I insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) are homologous, multi-domain tyrosine kinases that bind insulin and IGF-1 with differing specificity. IR is involved in metabolic regulation and IGF-1R in normal growth and development. IR-A also binds IGF-2 with an affinity comparable to IGF-1R and, like the latter, is implicated in a range of cancers. The recent structure of the IR ectodomain dimer explains many features of ligand-receptor binding and provides insight into the structure of the intact ligand-binding site in both receptors. The structures of the L1-CR-L2 fragments of IR and IGF-1R reveal major differences in the regions that govern ligand specificity. The IR ectodomain X-ray structure raises doubts about that obtained by STEM reconstruction.
    Current Opinion in Structural Biology 01/2008; 17(6):699-705. · 8.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) are a novel class of binding molecules, which can be selected to recognize specifically a wide variety of target proteins. DARPins were previously selected against human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (Her2) with low nanomolar affinities. We describe here their affinity maturation by error-prone PCR and ribosome display yielding clones with zero to seven (average 2.5) amino acid substitutions in framework positions. The DARPin with highest affinity (90 pM) carried four mutations at framework positions, leading to a 3000-fold affinity increase compared to the consensus framework variant, mainly coming from a 500-fold increase of the on-rate. This DARPin was found to be highly sensitive in detecting Her2 in human carcinoma extracts. We have determined the crystal structure of this DARPin at 1.7 A, and found that a His to Tyr mutation at the framework position 52 alters the inter-repeat H-bonding pattern and causes a significant conformational change in the relative disposition of the repeat subdomains. These changes are thought to be the reason for the enhanced on-rate of the mutated DARPin. The DARPin not bearing the residue 52 mutation has an unusually slow on-rate, suggesting that binding occurred via conformational selection of a relatively rare state, which was stabilized by this His52Tyr mutation, increasing the on-rate again to typical values. An analysis of the structural location of the framework mutations suggests that randomization of some framework residues either by error-prone PCR or by design in a future library could increase affinities and the target binding spectrum.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 07/2007; 369(4):1015-28. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The insulin receptor (IR) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR; also known as ErbB) families exhibit similarities in the composition of their ectodomains. The past five years have seen structures determined for all members of the EGFR family including some complexes with ligand or monoclonal antibody fragments. These structures have led to a clearer understanding of their mechanism of activation and inhibition. By contrast, obtaining equivalent understanding of the IR family has lagged behind. However, within the past year, structures of partial and complete ectodomains of the IR have been published that show that the extracellular region of the receptor adopts an unexpected 'inverted V' conformation relative to the cell membrane. This is very different from the folded-over (tethered) conformation of the unactivated EGFR and provides insight into the potential mechanism of activation of the IR.
    Trends in Biochemical Sciences 04/2007; 32(3):129-37. · 13.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: O-linked glycosylation is a post-translational and post-folding event involving exposed S/T residues at beta-turns or in regions with extended conformation. O-linked sites are difficult to predict from sequence analyses compared to N-linked sites. Here we compare the results of chemical analyses of isolated glycopeptides with the prediction using the neural network prediction method NetOGlyc3.1, a procedure that has been reported to correctly predict 76% of O-glycosylated residues in proteins. Using the heavily glycosylated human insulin receptor as the test protein six sites of mucin-type O-glycosylation were found at residues T744, T749, S757, S758, T759, and T763 compared to the three sites (T759 and T763- correctly, T756- incorrectly) predicted by the neural network method. These six sites occur in a 20 residue segment that begins nine residues downstream from the start of the insulin receptor beta-chain. This region which also includes N-linked glycosylation sites at N742 and N755, is predicted to lack secondary structure and is followed by residues 765-770, the known linear epitope for the monoclonal antibody 18-44.
    Proteins Structure Function and Bioinformatics 03/2007; 66(2):261-5. · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The insulin receptor is a phylogenetically ancient tyrosine kinase receptor found in organisms as primitive as cnidarians and insects. In higher organisms it is essential for glucose homeostasis, whereas the closely related insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) is involved in normal growth and development. The insulin receptor is expressed in two isoforms, IR-A and IR-B; the former also functions as a high-affinity receptor for IGF-II and is implicated, along with IGF-1R, in malignant transformation. Here we present the crystal structure at 3.8 A resolution of the IR-A ectodomain dimer, complexed with four Fabs from the monoclonal antibodies 83-7 and 83-14 (ref. 4), grown in the presence of a fragment of an insulin mimetic peptide. The structure reveals the domain arrangement in the disulphide-linked ectodomain dimer, showing that the insulin receptor adopts a folded-over conformation that places the ligand-binding regions in juxtaposition. This arrangement is very different from previous models. It shows that the two L1 domains are on opposite sides of the dimer, too far apart to allow insulin to bind both L1 domains simultaneously as previously proposed. Instead, the structure implicates the carboxy-terminal surface of the first fibronectin type III domain as the second binding site involved in high-affinity binding.
    Nature 10/2006; 443(7108):218-21. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The insulin receptor (IR) and the type-1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF1R) are homologous multidomain proteins that bind insulin and IGF with differing specificity. Here we report the crystal structure of the first three domains (L1-CR-L2) of human IR at 2.3 A resolution and compare it with the previously determined structure of the corresponding fragment of IGF1R. The most important differences seen between the two receptors are in the two regions governing ligand specificity. The first is at the corner of the ligand-binding surface of the L1 domain, where the side chain of F39 in IR forms part of the ligand binding surface involving the second (central) beta-sheet. This is very different to the location of its counterpart in IGF1R, S35, which is not involved in ligand binding. The second major difference is in the sixth module of the CR domain, where IR contains a larger loop that protrudes further into the ligand-binding pocket. This module, which governs IGF1-binding specificity, shows negligible sequence identity, significantly more alpha-helix, an additional disulfide bond, and opposite electrostatic potential compared to that of the IGF1R.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2006; 103(33):12429-34. · 9.81 Impact Factor
  • Acta Crystallographica Section A - ACTA CRYSTALLOGR A. 01/2006; 62.
  • Timothy E Adams, Neil M McKern, Colin W Ward
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    ABSTRACT: The type 1 insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) plays an essential role in mammalian growth and development, and has emerged as a candidate therapeutic target in the treatment of cancer. While the pleiotropic cellular responses elicited following tyrosine phosphorylation of the IGF-1R is usually seen to involve the direct recruitment/activation of classical intracellular effector proteins, it is now clear that cross-talk between the IGF-1R and members of distinct receptor families also plays a significant role in effecting intracellular signalling. In recent years, a number of studies have highlighted the interaction(s) between the IGF-1R and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), another transmembrane tyrosine kinase that is an established cancer target. This review describes the components of the IGF signalling system and gives an overview of the emerging picture of the interrelationship that is now known to exist between the IGF and EGF receptors.
    Growth Factors 07/2004; 22(2):89-95. · 2.20 Impact Factor
  • Acta Crystallographica Section A - ACTA CRYSTALLOGR A. 01/2004; 60.
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    ABSTRACT: ErbB2 does not bind ligand, yet appears to be the major signaling partner for other ErbB receptors by forming heteromeric complexes with ErbB1, ErbB3, or ErbB4. The crystal structure of residues 1-509 of ErbB2 at 2.5 A resolution reveals an activated conformation similar to that of the EGFR when complexed with ligand and very different from that seen in the unactivated forms of ErbB3 or EGFR. The structure explains the inability of ErbB2 to bind known ligands and suggests why ErbB2 fails to form homodimers. Together, the data suggest a model in which ErbB2 is already in the activated conformation and ready to interact with other ligand-activated ErbB receptors.
    Molecular Cell 03/2003; 11(2):495-505. · 15.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the crystal structure, at 2.5 A resolution, of a truncated human EGFR ectodomain bound to TGFalpha. TGFalpha interacts with both L1 and L2 domains of EGFR, making many main chain contacts with L1 and interacting with L2 via key conserved residues. The results indicate how EGFR family members can bind a family of highly variable ligands. In the 2:2 TGFalpha:sEGFR501 complex, each ligand interacts with only one receptor molecule. There are two types of dimers in the asymmetric unit: a head-to-head dimer involving contacts between the L1 and L2 domains and a back-to-back dimer dominated by interactions between the CR1 domains of each receptor. Based on sequence conservation, buried surface area, and mutagenesis experiments, the back-to-back dimer is favored to be biologically relevant.
    Cell 10/2002; 110(6):763-73. · 31.96 Impact Factor
  • Acta Crystallographica Section A - ACTA CRYSTALLOGR A. 01/2002; 58.
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    ABSTRACT: Murine and human epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) bind human EGF (hEGF), mouse EGF (mEGF), and human transforming growth factor alpha (hTGF-alpha) with high affinity despite the significant differences in the amino acid sequences of the ligands and the receptors. In contrast, the chicken EGFR can discriminate between mEGF (and hEGF) and hTGF-alpha and binds the EGFs with approximately 100-fold lower affinity. The regions responsible for this poor binding are known to be Arg(45) in hEGF and the L2 domain in the chicken EGFR. In this study we have produced a truncated form of the hEGFR ectodomain comprising residues 1-501 (sEGFR501), which, unlike the full-length hEGFR ectodomain (residues 1-621, sEGFR621), binds hEGF and hTGF-alpha with high affinity (K(D) = 13-21 and 35-40 nM, respectively). sEGFR501 was a competitive inhibitor of EGF-stimulated mitogenesis, being almost 10-fold more effective than the full-length EGFR ectodomain and three times more potent than the neutralizing anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody Mab528. Analytical ultracentrifugation showed that the primary EGF binding sites on sEGFR501 were saturated at an equimolar ratio of ligand and receptor, leading to the formation of a 2:2 EGF:sEGFR501 dimer complex. We have used sEGFR501 to generate three mutants with single position substitutions at Glu(367), Gly(441), or Glu(472) to Lys, the residue found in the corresponding positions in the chicken EGFR. All three mutants bound hTGF-alpha and were recognized by Mab528. However, mutant Gly(441)Lys showed markedly reduced binding to hEGF, implicating Gly(441), in the L2 domain, as part of the binding site that recognizes Arg(45) of hEGF.
    Biochemistry 08/2001; 40(30):8930-9. · 3.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ever since the discovery of insulin and its role in the regulation of glucose metabolism, there has been great interest in the molecule itself, the insulin-like growth factors (IGFs), and their receptors (IR and IGF-R). These receptors form a subfamily of tyrosine kinase receptors which are large, transmembrane proteins consisting of several structural domains. Their ectodomains have a similar arrangement of two homologous domains (L1 and L2) separated by a Cys rich region. The C-terminal half of their ectodomains consists of three fibronectin type 3 repeats, and an insert domain that contains the alpha-beta cleavage site. This review summarises the key developments in the understanding of the structure of this family of receptors and their relation to other multidomain proteins. Data presented will include multiple sequence analyses, single molecule electron microscope images of the IGF-1R, insulin receptor (IR), and IR-Fab complexes, and the three dimensional structure of the first three domains of the IGF-1R determined to 2.6 A resolution by x ray crystallography. The L domains each adopt a compact shape consisting of a single stranded, right handed beta-helix. The Cys rich region is composed of eight disulphide bonded modules, seven of which form a rod shaped domain with modules associated in an unusual manner.
    Molecular Pathology 07/2001; 54(3):125-32.
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    ABSTRACT: Insulin receptors (IRs) that are truncated at the end of the ectodomain form dimers that bind insulin with different characteristics to wild type receptors. These soluble IRs have lowered affinity for insulin compared with full-length IR, and exhibit linear Scatchard plots in contrast to the curvilinear plots obtained with full-length IR, IR truncated at the C-terminus of the transmembrane region and IR ectodomains fused to the self-associating constant domains from Fc or lambda immunoglobulins. In this report, we have fused the IR ectodomain to the 33 residue leucine zipper from the transcriptional activator GCN4 of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This fusion protein binds insulin with high affinity in a manner comparable to native receptor. The respective dissociation constants were Kd1 8.2 X 10(-11) M and Kd2 1.6 x 10(-8) M for hIRedZip and Kd1 5.7 x 10(-11) M and Kd2 6.3 x 10(-9) M for membrane-anchored, native receptor.
    FEBS Letters 09/2000; 479(1-2):15-8. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Site-directed mutagenesis has been used to remove 15 of the 18 potential N-linked glycosylation sites, in 16 combinations, from the human exon 11-minus receptor isoform. The three glycosylation sites not mutated were asparagine residues 25, 397 and 894, which are known to be important in receptor biosynthesis or function. The effects of these mutations on proreceptor processing into alpha and beta subunits, cell-surface expression, insulin binding and receptor autophosphorylation were assessed in Chinese hamster ovary cells. The double mutants 16+78, 16+111, 16+215, 16+255, 337+418, the triple mutants 295+337+418, 295+418+514, 337+418+514 and 730+743+881 and the quadruple mutants 606+730+743+881 and 671+730+743+881 seemed normal by all criteria examined. The triple mutant 16+215+255 showed only low levels of correctly processed receptor on the cell surface, this processed receptor being autophosphorylated in response to insulin. The quadruple mutant 624+730+743+881 showed normal processing and ligand binding but exhibited a constitutively active tyrosine kinase as judged by autophosphorylation. Three higher-order mutants were constructed, two of which, 16+337+418+730+743+881 (Delta6) and 16+295+337+418+730+743+881 (Delta7a), seemed normal. The third construct, 16+337+418+514+730+743+881 (Delta7b), was expressed at high levels on the cell surface, essentially as uncleaved proreceptor with only the small proportion of Delta7b that was correctly processed showing insulin-stimulated autophosphorylation. The mutations of Delta6 and Delta7a were incorporated into soluble ectodomains, which had affinities for insulin that were 4-fold that of wild-type ectodomain. The Delta6 ectodomain expressed in Lec8 cells was produced in quantity in a bioreactor for subsequent structural analysis.
    Biochemical Journal 06/2000; 347 Pt 3:771-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Acta Crystallographica Section A - ACTA CRYSTALLOGR A. 01/2000; 56.

Publication Stats

2k Citations
304.03 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2002–2008
    • The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
      • Division of Structural Biology
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 1997–2007
    • The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
      Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
  • 2003
    • Royal Melbourne Hospital
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia