[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Self-avoidance, a process preventing interactions of axons and dendrites from the same neuron during development, is mediated in vertebrates through the stochastic single-neuron expression of clustered protocadherin protein isoforms. Extracellular cadherin (EC) domains mediate isoform-specific homophilic binding between cells, conferring cell recognition through a poorly understood mechanism. Here, we report crystal structures for the EC1-EC3 domain regions from four protocadherin isoforms representing the α, β, and γ subfamilies. All are rod shaped and monomeric in solution. Biophysical measurements, cell aggregation assays, and computational docking reveal that trans binding between cells depends on the EC1-EC4 domains, which interact in an antiparallel orientation. We also show that the EC6 domains are required for the formation of cis-dimers. Overall, our results are consistent with a model in which protocadherin cis-dimers engage in a head-to-tail interaction between EC1-EC4 domains from apposed cell surfaces, possibly forming a zipper-like protein assembly, and thus providing a size-dependent self-recognition mechanism.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3)-dependent Rac exchanger 2 (PREX2) is a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for the Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1 (Rac1) GTPase, facilitating the exchange of GDP for GTP on Rac1. GTP bound Rac1 then activates its downstream effectors, including p21 activated kinases (PAK). PREX2 and Rac1 are frequently mutated in cancer, and have key roles within the insulin signaling pathway. Rac1 can be inactivated by multiple mechanisms; however, negative regulation by insulin is not well understood. Here, we show that in response to being activated after insulin stimulation, Rac1 initiates its own inactivation by decreasing PREX2 GEF activity. Following PREX2 mediated activation of Rac1 by the second messengers PIP3 or Gβγ, we found that PREX2 was phosphorylated through a PAK dependent mechanism. PAK mediated phosphorylation of PREX2 reduced GEF activity towards Rac1 by inhibiting PREX2 binding to PIP3 and Gβγ. Cell fractionation experiments also revealed that phosphorylation prevented PREX2 from localizing to the cellular membrane. Further, the onset of insulin induced phosphorylation of PREX2 was delayed compared to AKT. Altogether, we propose that second messengers activate the Rac1 signal, which sets in motion a cascade whereby PAK kinases phosphorylate and negatively regulate PREX2 to decrease Rac1 activation. This type of regulation would allow for transient activation of the PREX2-Rac1 signal, and may be relevant in multiple physiological processes, including diseases such as diabetes and cancer when insulin signaling is chronically activated.
Preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epithelial (E)-cadherin-mediated cell-cell junctions play important roles in the development and maintenance of tissue structure in multicellular organisms. E-cadherin adhesion is thus a key element of the cellular microenvironment that provides both mechanical and biochemical signaling inputs. Here, we report in vitro reconstitution of junction-like structures between native E-cadherin in living cells and the extracellular domain of E-cadherin (E-cad-ECD) in a supported membrane. Junction formation in this hybrid live cell-supported membrane configuration requires both active processes within the living cell and a supported membrane with low E-cad-ECD mobility. The hybrid junctions recruit α-catenin and exhibit remodeled cortical actin. Observations suggest that the initial stages of junction formation in this hybrid system depend on the trans but not the cis interactions between E-cadherin molecules, and proceed via a nucleation process in which protrusion and retraction of filopodia play a key role.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The function of the actin-binding domain of α-catenin, αABD, including its possible role in the direct anchorage of the cadherin–catenin complex to the actin cytoskeleton, has remained uncertain. We identified two point mutations on the αABD surface that interfere with αABD binding to actin and used them to probe the role of α-catenin–actin interactions in adherens junctions. We found that the junctions directly bound to actin via αABD were more dynamic than the junctions bound to actin indirectly through vinculin and that recombinant αABD interacted with cortical actin but not with actin bundles. This interaction resulted in the formation of numerous short-lived cortex-bound αABD clusters. Our data suggest that αABD clustering drives the continuous assembly of transient, actin-associated cadherin–catenin clusters whose disassembly is maintained by actin depolymerization. It appears then that such actin-dependent αABD clustering is a unique molecular mechanism mediating both integrity and reassembly of the cell–cell adhesive interface formed through weak cis- and trans-intercadherin interactions.
No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · The Journal of Cell Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Author Summary
Complexes formed between a structured domain on one protein and an unstructured peptide on another are ubiquitous. However, they are often quite difficult to detect experimentally. The development of computational approaches to predict domain-motif interactions is therefore an important goal. We report a method to predict domain-motif interactions using a Bayesian approach to integrate evidence from a variety of sources, including three-dimensional structural and non-structural information. The method was applied to the entire human proteome and showed significant improvement over existing methods. The method was incorporated into PrePPI, a computational pipeline for the prediction of protein-protein interactions that relies heavily on structural information. Approximately 80,000 new interactions were detected. The new PrePPI database provides easy access to about 400,000 human protein-protein interactions and should thus constitute a valuable resource in a variety of biological applications including the characterization of molecular interaction networks and, more generally, in the study of interactions mediated by proteins in families that may not be extensively studied experimentally.
Preview · Article · May 2015 · PLoS Computational Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Type I cadherin cell-adhesion proteins are similar in sequence and structure and yet are different enough to mediate highly specific cell-cell recognition phenomena. It has previously been shown that small differences in the homophilic and heterophilic binding affinities of different type I family members can account for the differential cell-sorting behavior. Here we use a combination of X-ray crystallography, analytical ultracentrifugation, surface plasmon resonance and double electron-electron resonance (DEER) electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy to identify the molecular determinants of type I cadherin dimerization affinities. Small changes in sequence are found to produce subtle structural and dynamical changes that impact relative affinities, in part via electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions, and in part through entropic effects because of increased conformational heterogeneity in the bound states as revealed by DEER distance mapping in the dimers. These findings highlight the remarkable ability of evolution to exploit a wide range of molecular properties to produce closely related members of the same protein family that have affinity differences finely tuned to mediate their biological roles.
Preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In organellogenesis of the chloroplast from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria, the establishment of protein-targeting mechanisms to the chloroplast should have been pivotal. However, it is still mysterious how these mechanisms were established and how they work in plant cells. Here we show that AKR2A, the cytosolic targeting factor for chloroplast outer membrane (COM) proteins, evolved from the ankyrin repeat domain (ARD) of the host cell by stepwise extensions of its N-terminal domain and that two lipids, monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) and phosphatidylglycerol (PG), of the endosymbiont were selected to function as the AKR2A receptor. Structural analysis, molecular modeling, and mutational analysis of the ARD identified two adjacent sites for coincidental and synergistic binding of MGDG and PG. Based on these findings, we propose that the targeting mechanism of COM proteins was established using components from both the endosymbiont and host cell through a modification of the protein-protein-interacting ARD into a lipid binding domain.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individual mammalian neurons stochastically express distinct repertoires of α, β, and γ protocadherin (Pcdh) proteins, which function in neural circuit assembly. We report that all three subfamilies of clustered Pcdhs can engage in specific homophilic interactions, that cell surface delivery of Pcdhα isoforms requires cis interactions with other Pcdhs, and that the extracellular cadherin domain EC6 plays a critical role in this process. Examination of homophilic interactions between specific combinations of multiple Pcdh isoforms revealed that Pcdh combinatorial recognition specificities depend on the identity of all of the expressed isoforms. A single mismatched Pcdh isoform can interfere with these combinatorial homophilic interactions. A theoretical analysis reveals that assembly of Pcdh isoforms into multimeric recognition units and the observed tolerance for mismatched isoforms can generate cell surface diversity sufficient for single-cell identity. However, the competing demands of nonself discrimination and self-recognition place limitations on the mechanisms by which homophilic recognition units can function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The past decade has seen a dramatic expansion in the number and range of techniques available to obtain genome-wide information and to analyze this information so as to infer both the functions of individual molecules and how they interact to modulate the behavior of biological systems. Here, we review these techniques, focusing on the construction of physical protein-protein interaction networks, and highlighting approaches that incorporate protein structure, which is becoming an increasingly important component of systems-level computational techniques. We also discuss how network analyses are being applied to enhance our basic understanding of biological systems and their disregulation, as well as how these networks are being used in drug development.
No preview · Article · May 2014 · Annual Review of Biophysics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present OnTheFly (http://bhapp.c2b2.columbia.edu/OnTheFly/index.php), a database comprising a systematic collection of transcription factors (TFs) of Drosophila melanogaster and their DNA-binding sites. TFs predicted in the Drosophila melanogaster genome are annotated and classified and their structures, obtained via experiment or homology models, are provided. All known preferred TF DNA-binding sites obtained from the B1H, DNase I and SELEX methodologies are presented. DNA shape parameters predicted for these sites are obtained from a high throughput server or from crystal structures of protein-DNA complexes where available. An important feature of the database is that all DNA-binding domains and their binding sites are fully annotated in a eukaryote using structural criteria and evolutionary homology. OnTheFly thus provides a comprehensive view of TFs and their binding sites that will be a valuable resource for deciphering non-coding regulatory DNA.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Nucleic Acids Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epithelial cadherin (E-cadherin), a member of the classical cadherin family, mediates calcium-dependent homophilic cell-cell adhesion. Crystal structures of classical cadherins reveal an adhesive dimer interface featuring reciprocal exchange of N-terminal β-strands between two protomers. Previous work has identified a putative intermediate (called the "X-dimer") in the dimerization pathway of wild-type E-cadherin EC1-EC2 domains, based on crystal structures of mutants not capable of strand swapping and on deceleration of binding kinetics by mutations at the X-dimer interface. In the present work, NMR relaxation dispersion spectroscopy is used to directly observe and characterize intermediate states without the need to disrupt the strand-swapped binding interface by mutagenesis. The results indicate that E-cadherin forms strand-swapped dimers predominantly by a mechanism in which formation of a weak and short-lived X-dimer-like state precedes the conformational changes required for formation of the mature strand-swapped dimeric structure. Disruption of this intermediate state through mutation reduces both association and dissociation rates by factors of ∼10(4), while minimally perturbing affinity. The X-dimer interface lowers the energy barrier associated with strand swapping and enables E-cadherins to form strand-swapped dimers at a rate consistent with residence times in adherens junctions.
No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences