ABSTRACT: Protein-protein interactions play fundamental roles in physiological and pathological biological processes. The characterization of the structural determinants of protein-protein recognition represents an important step for the development of molecular entities able to modulate these interactions. We have recently found that IκB-α (nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells inhibitor, alpha) blocks the HIV-1 expression and replication in a NF-κB-independent manner by directly binding to the virus-encoded Tat transactivator. Here, we report the evaluation of the entity of binding of IκB-α to Tat through in vitro Surface Plasmon Resonance assay. Moreover, by designing and characterizing a set of peptides of the C-terminus region of IκB-α, we show that the peptide corresponding to the IκB-α sequence 262-287 was able to bind to Tat with high affinity (300 nM). The characterization of a number of IκB-α-based peptides also provided insights into their intrinsic folding properties. These findings have been corroborated by mutagenesis studies on the full-length IκB-α, which unveil that different IκB-α residues are involved in NF-κB or Tat recognition.
Biochimie 05/2011; 93(9):1592-600. · 3.02 Impact Factor