Glycobiology and Extracellular Matrices
- Diseases of the glomerular basement membrane (GBM), such as Goodpasture’s disease (GP) and Alport syndrome (AS), are a major cause of chronic kidney failure and an unmet medical need. Collagen IVα345 is an important architectural element of the GBM that was discovered in previous research on GP and AS. How this collagen enables GBM to function as a permselective filter and how structural defects cause renal failure remain an enigma. We found a distinctive genetic variant of collagen IVα345 in both a familial GP case and four AS kindreds that provided insights into these mechanisms.
- Our recent work identified a genetic variant of the α345 hexamer of the collagen IV scaffold that is present in patients with glomerular basement membrane diseases, Goodpasture’s disease (GP) and Alport syndrome (AS), and phenocopies of AS in knock-in mice. To understand the context of this “Zurich” variant, an 8-amino acid appendage, we developed a construct of the WT α345 hexamer using the single-chain NC1 trimer technology, which allowed us to solve a crystal structure of this key connection module.
- We identified a genetic variant, an 8-residue appendage, of the α345 hexamer of collagen IV present in patients with glomerular basement membrane diseases, Goodpasture’s disease and Alport syndrome, and determined the long-awaited crystal structure of the hexamer. We sought to elucidate how variants cause glomerular basement membrane disease by exploring the mechanism of the hexamer assembly. Chloride ions induced in vitro hexamer assembly in a composition-specific manner in the presence of equimolar concentrations of α3, α4, and α5 NC1 monomers.
- Collagen IV scaffold is a principal component of the basement membrane (BM), a specialized extracellular matrix that is essential for animal multicellularity and tissue evolution. Scaffold assembly begins with the trimerization of α-chains into protomers inside the cell, which then are secreted and undergo oligomerization outside the cell. For the ubiquitous scaffold composed of α1- and α2-chains, both intracellular and extracellular stages are mediated by the noncollagenous domain (NC1). The association of protomers is chloride-dependent, whereby chloride ions induce interactions of the protomers’ trimeric NC1 domains leading to NC1 hexamer formation.