J Behlke

Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Berlín, Berlin, Germany

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Publications (133)366.82 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: GTPases of immunity-associated proteins (GIMAPs) are regulators of lymphocyte survival and homeostasis. We previously determined the structural basis of GTP-dependent GIMAP2 scaffold formation on lipid droplets. To understand how its GTP hydrolysis is activated, we screened for other GIMAPs on lipid droplets and identified GIMAP7. In contrast to GIMAP2, GIMAP7 displayed dimerization-stimulated GTP hydrolysis. The crystal structure of GTP-bound GIMAP7 showed a homodimer that assembled via the G domains, with the helical extensions protruding in opposite directions. We identified a catalytic arginine that is supplied to the opposing monomer to stimulate GTP hydrolysis. GIMAP7 also stimulated GTP hydrolysis by GIMAP2 via an analogous mechanism. Finally, we found GIMAP2 and GIMAP7 expression differentially regulated in several human T cell lymphoma lines. Our findings suggest that GTPase activity in the GIMAP family is controlled by homo- and heterodimerization. This may have implications for the differential roles of some GIMAPs in lymphocyte survival.
    Structure 02/2013; · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Stomatin proteins oligomerize at membranes and have been implicated in ion channel regulation and membrane trafficking. To obtain mechanistic insights into their function, we determined three crystal structures of the conserved stomatin domain of mouse stomatin that assembles into a banana-shaped dimer. We show that dimerization is crucial for the repression of acid-sensing ion channel 3 (ASIC3) activity. A hydrophobic pocket at the inside of the concave surface is open in the presence of an internal peptide ligand and closes in the absence of this ligand, and we demonstrate a function of this pocket in the inhibition of ASIC3 activity. In one crystal form, stomatin assembles via two conserved surfaces into a cylindrical oligomer, and these oligomerization surfaces are also essential for the inhibition of ASIC3-mediated currents. The assembly mode of stomatin uncovered in this study might serve as a model to understand oligomerization processes of related membrane-remodelling proteins, such as flotillin and prohibitin.
    The EMBO Journal 07/2012; 31(17):3635-46. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In yeast, the membrane-bound HMG-CoA reductase degradation (HRD) ubiquitin-ligase complex is a key player of the ER-associated protein degradation pathway that targets misfolded proteins for proteolysis. Yos9, a component of the luminal submodule of the ligase, scans proteins for specific oligosaccharide modifications, which constitute a critical determinant of the degradation signal. Here, we report the crystal structure of the Yos9 domain that was previously suggested to confer binding to Hrd3, another component of the HRD complex. We observe an αβ-roll domain architecture and a dimeric assembly which are confirmed by analytical ultracentrifugation of both the crystallized domain and full-length Yos9. Our binding studies indicate that, instead of this domain, the N-terminal part of Yos9 including the mannose 6-phosphate receptor homology domain mediates the association with Hrd3 in vitro. Our results support the model of a dimeric state of the HRD complex and provide first-time evidence of self-association on its luminal side.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2012; 287(11):8633-40. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Myomesin plays an important structural and functional role in the M-band of striated muscles. The C-terminal domain 13 of myomesin dimerises and forms antiparallel strands which cross-link neighboring Myosin filaments and titin in the M-line of the sarcomeres. These interactions stabilise the contractile apparatus during striated muscle contraction. Since myomesin is an important component of the M-band we screened the myomesin gene for genetic variants in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). We identified the missense mutation V1490I in domain 12 of myomesin in a family with inherited HCM. Analytical ultracentrifugation experiments, circular dichroism spectra, and surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy of myomesin fragments were carried out to investigate the effects of the mutation V1490I on structure and function of myomesin domains 11-13 and 12-13. Both the wild type and mutated myomesin domains My11-13 revealed similar secondary structures and formed stable dimers. Mutated myomesin domains My11-13 and My12-13 dimers revealed a reduced thermal stability and a significantly decreased dimerisation affinity, showing disturbed functional properties of V1490I mutated myomesin. However, monomeric myomesin domains My11-12, i.e. without dimerisation domain 13 showed no difference in thermal stability between wild type and V1490I mutated myomesin. In conclusion, the V1490I mutation associated with HCM lead to myomesin proteins with abnormal functional properties which affect dimerisation properties of myomesin domain 13. These effects may contribute to the pathogenesis of HCM.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 02/2011; 405(3):473-9. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In addition to endocytosis-mediated cellular uptake, hydrophilic cell-penetrating peptides are able to traverse biological membranes in a non-endocytic mode termed transduction, resulting in immediate bioavailability. Here we analysed structural requirements for the non-endocytic uptake mode of arginine-rich cell-penetrating peptides, by a combination of live-cell microscopy, molecular dynamics simulations and analytical ultracentrifugation. We demonstrate that the transduction efficiency of arginine-rich peptides increases with higher peptide structural rigidity. Consequently, cyclic arginine-rich cell-penetrating peptides showed enhanced cellular uptake kinetics relative to their linear and more flexible counterpart. We propose that guanidinium groups are forced into maximally distant positions by cyclization. This orientation increases membrane contacts leading to enhanced cell penetration.
    Nature Communications 01/2011; 2:453. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: GTPases of immunity-associated proteins (GIMAPs) are a distinctive family of GTPases, which control apoptosis in lymphocytes and play a central role in lymphocyte maturation and lymphocyte-associated diseases. To explore their function and mechanism, we determined crystal structures of a representative member, GIMAP2, in different nucleotide-loading and oligomerization states. Nucleotide-free and GDP-bound GIMAP2 were monomeric and revealed a guanine nucleotide-binding domain of the TRAFAC (translation factor associated) class with a unique amphipathic helix α7 packing against switch II. In the absence of α7 and the presence of GTP, GIMAP2 oligomerized via two distinct interfaces in the crystal. GTP-induced stabilization of switch I mediates dimerization across the nucleotide-binding site, which also involves the GIMAP specificity motif and the nucleotide base. Structural rearrangements in switch II appear to induce the release of α7 allowing oligomerization to proceed via a second interface. The unique architecture of the linear oligomer was confirmed by mutagenesis. Furthermore, we showed a function for the GIMAP2 oligomer at the surface of lipid droplets. Although earlier studies indicated that GIMAPs are related to the septins, the current structure also revealed a strikingly similar nucleotide coordination and dimerization mode as in the dynamin GTPase. Based on this, we reexamined the relationships of the septin- and dynamin-like GTPases and demonstrate that these are likely to have emerged from a common membrane-associated dimerizing ancestor. This ancestral property appears to be critical for the role of GIMAPs as nucleotide-regulated scaffolds on intracellular membranes.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2010; 107(47):20299-304. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ahnak1, a giant 700 kDa protein, has been implicated in Ca(2+) signalling in various cells. Previous work suggested that the interaction between ahnak1 and Cavbeta(2) subunit plays a role in L-type Ca(2+) current (I (CaL)) regulation. Here, we performed structure-function studies with the most C-terminal domain of ahnak1 (188 amino acids) containing a PxxP consensus motif (designated as 188-PSTP) using ventricular cardiomyocytes isolated from rats, wild-type (WT) mice and ahnak1-deficient mice. In vitro binding studies revealed that 188-PSTP conferred high-affinity binding to Cavbeta(2) (K (d) approximately 60 nM). Replacement of proline residues by alanines (188-ASTA) decreased Cavbeta(2) affinity about 20-fold. Both 188-PSTP and 188-ASTA were functional in ahnak1-expressing rat and mouse cardiomyocytes during whole-cell patch clamp. Upon intracellular application, they increased the net Ca(2+) influx by enhancing I (CaL) density and/or increasing I (CaL) inactivation time course without altering voltage dependency. Specifically, 188-ASTA, which failed to affect I (CaL) density, markedly slowed I (CaL) inactivation resulting in a 50-70% increase in transported Ca(2+) during a 0 mV depolarising pulse. Both ahnak1 fragments also slowed current inactivation with Ba(2+) as charge carrier. By contrast, neither 188-PSTP nor 188-ASTA affected any I (CaL) characteristics in ahnak1-deficient mouse cardiomyocytes. Our results indicate that the presence of endogenous ahnak1 is required for tuning the voltage-dependent component of I (CaL) inactivation by ahnak1 fragments. We suggest that ahnak1 modulates the accessibility of molecular determinants in Cavbeta(2) and/or scaffolds selectively different beta-subunit isoforms in the heart.
    Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 09/2010; 460(4):719-30. · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The denuded IQ2 domain, i.e. myosin heavy chain not associated with regulatory light chains, exerts an inhibitory effect on myosin ATPase activity. In this study, we elaborated a structural explanation for this auto-inhibitory effect of IQ2 on myosin function. We employed analytical ultracentrifugation, circular dichroism, and surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy to investigate structural and functional properties of a myosin heavy chain (MYH) head-rod fragment aa664-915. MYH(664-915) was monomeric, adopted a closed shape, and bound essential myosin light chains (HIS-MLC-1) with low affinity to IQ1. Deletion of IQ2, however opened MYH(664-915). Four amino acids present in IQ2 could be identified to be responsible for this auto-inhibitory structural effect: alanine mutagenesis of I814, Q815, R819, and W827 stretched MYH(664-915) and increased 30-fold the binding affinity of HIS-MLC-1 to IQ1. In this study we show, that denuded IQ2 favours a closed conformation of myosin with a low HIS-MLC-1 binding affinity. The collapsed structure of myosin with denuded IQ2 could explain the auto-inhibitory effects of IQ2 on enzymatic activity of myosin.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 06/2010; 396(4):939-43. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The interferon-inducible dynamin-like myxovirus resistance protein 1 (MxA; also called MX1) GTPase is a key mediator of cell-autonomous innate immunity against pathogens such as influenza viruses. MxA partially localizes to COPI-positive membranes of the smooth endoplasmic reticulum-Golgi intermediate compartment. At the point of infection, it redistributes to sites of viral replication and promotes missorting of essential viral constituents. It has been proposed that the middle domain and the GTPase effector domain of dynamin-like GTPases constitute a stalk that mediates oligomerization and transmits conformational changes from the G domain to the target structure; however, the molecular architecture of this stalk has remained elusive. Here we report the crystal structure of the stalk of human MxA, which folds into a four-helical bundle. This structure tightly oligomerizes in the crystal in a criss-cross pattern involving three distinct interfaces and one loop. Mutations in each of these interaction sites interfere with native assembly, oligomerization, membrane binding and antiviral activity of MxA. On the basis of these results, we propose a structural model for dynamin oligomerization and stimulated GTP hydrolysis that is consistent with previous structural predictions and has functional implications for all members of the dynamin family.
    Nature 05/2010; 465(7297):502-6. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The coxsackievirus-adenovirus receptor (CAR) is a member of the Ig superfamily strongly expressed in the developing nervous system. Our histological investigations during development reveal an initial uniform distribution of CAR on all neural cells with a concentration on membranes that face the margins of the nervous system (e.g., the basal laminae and the ventricular side). At more advanced stages, CAR becomes downregulated and restricted to specific regions including areas rich in axonal and dendritic surfaces. To study the function of CAR on neural cells, we used the fiber knob of the adenovirus, extracellular CAR domains, blocking antibodies to CAR, as well as CAR-deficient neural cells. Blocking antibodies were found to inhibit neurite extension in retina organ and retinal explant cultures, whereas the application of the recombinant fiber knob of the adenovirus subtype Ad2 or extracellular CAR domains promoted neurite extension and adhesion to extracellular matrices. We observed a promiscuous interaction of CAR with extracellular matrix glycoproteins, which was deduced from analytical ultracentrifugation experiments, affinity chromatography, and adhesion assays. The membrane proximal Ig domain of CAR, termed D2, was found to bind to a fibronectin fragment, including the heparin-binding domain 2, which promotes neurite extension of wild type, but not of CAR-deficient neural cells. In contrast to heterophilic interactions, homophilic association of CAR involves both Ig domains, as was revealed by ultracentrifugation, chemical cross-linking, and adhesion studies. The results of these functional and binding studies are correlated to a U-shaped homodimer of the complete extracellular domains of CAR detected by x-ray crystallography.
    Journal of Neuroscience 02/2010; 30(8):2897-910. · 6.91 Impact Factor
  • Joachim Behlke, Otto Ristau
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    ABSTRACT: Sedimentation velocity experiments can be used to identify two or more independent non-interacting macromolecules, which differ in their size by only a few percent. The procedure requires the extrapolation of differential apparent sedimentation coefficient distributions obtained at different running time to t --> infinity and works because it eliminates or greatly reduces diffusion effects. Here, we present an improved time extrapolation function of sedimentation distribution profiles originally presented by Stafford (In: Harding, Rowe, Horton (eds.) Analytical ultracentrifugation in biochemistry and polymer science, 1992). We describe a computing procedure with the program LAMM: to analyze concentration profiles obtained by absorbance or interference optics that utilizes suitable smoothing methods for noisy data sets and present examples which include time invariant noises.
    Biophysics of Structure and Mechanism 03/2009; 39(3):449-55. · 2.44 Impact Factor
  • Cytokine 01/2009; 48(1):84-84. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Iba2 is a homolog of ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule 1 (Iba1), a 17-kDa protein that binds and cross-links filamentous actin (F-actin) and localizes to membrane ruffles and phagocytic cups. Here, we present the crystal structure of human Iba2 and its homodimerization properties, F-actin cross-linking activity, cellular localization and recruitment upon bacterial invasion in comparison with Iba1. The Iba2 structure comprises two central EF-hand motifs lacking bound Ca2+. Iba2 crystallized as a homodimer stabilized by a disulfide bridge and zinc ions. Analytical ultracentrifugation revealed a different mode of dimerization under reducing conditions that was independent of Ca2+. Furthermore, no binding of Ca2+ up to 0.1 mM was detected by equilibrium dialysis. Correspondingly, Iba EF-hand motifs lack residues essential for strong Ca2+ coordination. Sedimentation experiments and microscopy detected pronounced, indistinguishable F-actin binding and cross-linking activity of Iba1 and Iba2 with induction of F-actin bundles. Fluorescent Iba fusion proteins were expressed in HeLa cells and co-localized with F-actin. Iba1 was recruited into cellular projections to a larger extent than Iba2. Additionally, we studied Iba recruitment in a Shigella invasion model that induces cytoskeletal rearrangements. Both proteins were recruited into the bacterial invasion zone and Iba1 was again concentrated slightly higher in the cellular extensions.
    FEBS Journal 09/2008; 275(18):4627-40. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human saposins are essential proteins required for degradation of sphingolipids and lipid antigen presentation. Despite the conserved structural organization of saposins, their distinct modes of interaction with biological membranes are not fully understood. We describe two crystal structures of human saposin C in an "open" configuration with unusual domain swapped homodimers. This form of SapC dimer supports the "clip-on" model for SapC-induced vesicle fusion. In addition, we present the crystal structure of SapD in two crystal forms. They reveal the monomer-monomer interface for the SapD dimer, which was confirmed in solution by analytical ultracentrifugation. The crystal structure of SapD suggests that side chains of Lys10 and Arg17 are involved in initial association with the preferred anionic biological membranes by forming salt bridges with sulfate or phosphate lipid headgroups.
    Structure 06/2008; 16(5):809-17. · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    J. Behlke, O. Ristau
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    ABSTRACT: We present a method for the direct molecular mass determination from sedimentation velocity experiments. It is based on a non-linear least-squares fitting procedure of the radial concentration profiles and simultaneous estimation of the sedimentation coefficient and the ratio of sedimentation/diffusion coefficients considering approximate solutions of the Lamm equation. Different model functions from Faxén as well as Archibald type derived by Fujita [4] were used to describe the sedimentation behavior of macro-molecules during the centrifugation. By means of a computer program, LAMM sedimentation and diffusion constants of some proteins were determined. The method presented here appears to be useful for the rapid molecular mass determination of proteins large than 10 kDa. One of the equations of the Archibald type is also suitable for substances of low molecular mass of about 1 kDa. The model function neither requires the existence of a plateau region nor a meniscus region free of solute.
    02/2008: pages 27-35;
  • J. Behlke, O. Ristau, A. Knespel
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    ABSTRACT: By using analytical ultracentrifugation interactions of the small heat shock protein hsp25 and G-actin have been analyzed. Association constants of about 107 reciprocal molar concentration were estimated from the concentration distribution using a computer program based on the nonlinear least-squares methode. In the presence of an excess of actin up to four molecules of this protein were bound to hsp25 particles.
    12/2007: pages 40-45;
  • J. Behlke, O. Ristau, A. Marg
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    ABSTRACT: The interaction of bovine adrenodoxin reductase with adrenodoxin was investigated by means of sedimentation equilibrium technique using the analytical ultrancentrifuge XL-A. From the radial concentration distributions recorded at sedimentation equilibrium the partial concentrations of the free proteins and the complex were obtained using the program Polymol. Independent of the ratios of proteins used in the experiments a 1:1 complex was formed. The association constant amount to about 2·106 M−1 at low phosphate concentration (10–50 mM). The value drops to about 103 M−1 at 500 mM phosphate. For successfu. crystallization the complex was stabilized by cross-linking experiments with carbodiimide to prevent dissociation at higher ionic strength.
    12/2007: pages 63-68;
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    ABSTRACT: By chemical cross-linking and analytical ultracentrifugation the dimer is shown to be the predominant quaternary structure of HBsu, the major histone-like protein from Bacillus subtilis, at protein concentrations up to 1 mM. At low ionic strength between 0 and 100 mM Nacl, higher-order structures up to the hexamer are also found. A double-stranded 10-basepair DNA oligomer is demonstrated to prevent the aggregation of HBsu molecules as does an increase in ionic strength. The complex formed between HBsu and the DNA decamer is determined to consist of two protein dimers and the DNA. The association constant is about 106 M−1.
    12/2007: pages 74-81;

Publication Stats

2k Citations
366.82 Total Impact Points


  • 1992–2013
    • Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin
      • Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC)
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1968–2005
    • University of Greifswald
      • Institute of Pharmacology
      Griefswald, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
  • 1998–2002
    • Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
      • Institute of Molecular Cell Biology
      Jena, Thuringia, Germany
  • 2000
    • Freie Universität Berlin
      • Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
    • University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
      • Department of Biochemistry
      San Antonio, TX, United States
  • 1997
    • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
      • Department of Biology
      Berlin, Land Berlin, Germany
  • 1991
    • Institute of Molecular Biology
      Mayence, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany