Protein Structure and Folding
- Collagens play important roles in development and homeostasis in most higher organisms. In order to function, collagens require the specific chaperone HSP47 for proper folding and secretion. HSP47 is known to bind to the collagen triple helix, but the exact positions and numbers of binding sites are not clear. Here, we employed a collagen II peptide library to characterize high-affinity binding sites for HSP47. We show that many previously predicted binding sites have very low affinities due to the presence of a negatively charged amino acid in the binding motif.
- Collagen VI is a ubiquitous heterotrimeric protein of the extracellular matrix (ECM) that plays an essential role in the proper maintenance of skeletal muscle. Mutations in collagen VI lead to a spectrum of congenital myopathies, from the mild Bethlem myopathy to the severe Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy. Collagen VI contains only a short triple helix and consists primarily of von Willebrand factor type A (VWA) domains, protein–protein interaction modules found in a range of ECM proteins.
- Pro-Pro endopeptidase-1 (PPEP-1) is a secreted metalloprotease from the bacterial pathogen Clostridium difficile that cleaves two endogenous adhesion proteins. PPEP-1 is therefore important for bacterial motility and hence for efficient gut colonization during infection. PPEP-1 exhibits a unique specificity for Pro-Pro peptide bonds within the consensus sequence VNP↓PVP. In this study, we combined information from crystal and NMR structures with mutagenesis and enzyme kinetics to investigate the mechanism and substrate specificity of PPEP-1.
- Heat shock protein 47 (HSP47) is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident collagen-specific chaperone and essential for proper formation of the characteristic collagen triple helix. It preferentially binds to the folded conformation of its clients and accompanies them from the ER to the Golgi compartment, where it releases them and is recycled back to the ER. Unlike other chaperones, the binding and release cycles are not governed by nucleotide exchange and hydrolysis, but presumably the dissociation of the HSP47-procollagen complex is triggered by the lower pH in the Golgi (pH 6.3) compared with the ER (pH 7.4).
- Rho proteins are small GTP/GDP-binding proteins primarily involved in cytoskeleton regulation. Their GTP/GDP cycle is often tightly connected to a membrane/cytosol cycle regulated by the Rho guanine nucleotide dissociation inhibitor α (RhoGDIα). RhoGDIα has been regarded as a housekeeping regulator essential to control homeostasis of Rho proteins. Recent proteomic screens showed that RhoGDIα is extensively lysine-acetylated. Here, we present the first comprehensive structural and mechanistic study to show how RhoGDIα function is regulated by lysine acetylation.
- Diaphanous-related formins are eukaryotic actin nucleation factors regulated by an autoinhibitory interaction between the N-terminal RhoGTPase-binding domain (mDiaN) and the C-terminal Diaphanous-autoregulatory domain (DAD). Although the activation of formins by Rho proteins is well characterized, its inactivation is only marginally understood. Recently, liprin-α3 was shown to interact with mDia1. Overexpression of liprin-α3 resulted in a reduction of the cellular actin filament content. The molecular mechanisms of how liprin-α3 exerts this effect and counteracts mDia1 activation by RhoA are unknown.