Von Willebrand factor (VWF) is a large, multimeric plasma glycoprotein that critically mediates hemostasis at sites of vascular injury. Very large VWF multimers have the greatest thrombogenic activity, which is attenuated by cleavage in the A2 domain by the metalloproteinase ADAMTS13. ADAMTS13 proteolysis requires mechanical force to expose the scissile bond and is regulated by a calcium-binding site within A2. In this study, we characterized the interaction between VWF A2 and calcium by examining the effect of calcium on VWF A2 stability and mechanical unfolding and refolding. Isothermal calorimetry yielded a calcium binding K(d) = 3.8 ± 1.0 μM and reversible thermal denaturation showed that 5 mM calcium stabilized the unfolding transition from 56.7 ± 0.1 to 69.1 ± 0.1 °C. Using optical tweezers to apply tensile force to single domains, we found that calcium did not affect VWF A2 unfolding, but rather enhanced refolding kinetics fivefold, resulting in a 0.9 kcal/mol stabilization in the folding activation energy in the presence of calcium. Taken together, our data demonstrate that VWF binds calcium at physiologic calcium concentrations and that calcium stabilizes VWF A2 by accelerating refolding.
Glycoprotein-A repetitions predominant protein (GARP) associates with latent transforming growth factor-β (proTGFβ) on the surface of T regulatory cells and platelets; however, whether GARP functions in latent TGFβ activation and the structural basis of coassociation remain unknown. We find that Cys-192 and Cys-331 of GARP disulfide link to the TGFβ1 prodomain and that GARP with C192A and C331A mutations can also noncovalently associate with proTGFβ1. Noncovalent association is sufficiently strong for GARP to outcompete latent TGFβ-binding protein for binding to proTGFβ1. Association between GARP and proTGFβ1 prevents the secretion of TGFβ1. Integrin α(V)β(6) and to a lesser extent α(V)β(8) are able to activate TGFβ from the GARP-proTGFβ1 complex. Activation requires the RGD motif of latent TGFβ, disulfide linkage between GARP and latent TGFβ, and membrane association of GARP. Our results show that GARP is a latent TGFβ-binding protein that functions in regulating the bioavailability and activation of TGFβ.
We study a mechanism by which dimerization of the EGF receptor (EGFR) cytoplasmic domain is transmitted to the ectodomain. Therapeutic and other small molecule antagonists to the kinase domain that stabilize its active conformation, but not those that stabilize an inactive conformation, stabilize ectodomain dimerization. Inhibitor-induced dimerization requires an asymmetric kinase domain interface associated with activation. EGF and kinase inhibitors stimulate formation of identical dimer interfaces in the EGFR transmembrane domain, as shown by disulfide cross-linking. Disulfide cross-linking at an interface in domain IV in the ectodomain was also stimulated similarly; however, EGF but not inhibitors stimulated cross-linking in domain II. Inhibitors similarly induced noncovalent dimerization in nearly full-length, detergent-solubilized EGFR as shown by gel filtration. EGFR ectodomain deletion resulted in spontaneous dimerization, whereas deletion of exons 2-7, in which extracellular domains III and IV are retained, did not. In EM, kinase inhibitor-induced dimers lacked any well defined orientation between the ectodomain monomers. Fab of the therapeutic antibody cetuximab to domain III confirmed a variable position and orientation of this domain in inhibitor-induced dimers but suggested that the C termini of domain IV of the two monomers were in close proximity, consistent with dimerization in the transmembrane domains. The results provide insights into the relative energetics of intracellular and extracellular dimerization in EGFR and have significance for physiologic dimerization through the asymmetric kinase interface, bidirectional signal transmission in EGFR, and mechanism of action of therapeutics.
The lymphocyte homing receptor integrin α(4)β(7) is unusual for its ability to mediate both rolling and firm adhesion. α(4)β(1) and α(4)β(7) are targeted by therapeutics approved for multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease. Here, we show by electron microscopy and crystallography how two therapeutic Fabs, a small molecule (RO0505376), and mucosal adhesion molecule-1 (MAdCAM-1) bind α(4)β(7). A long binding groove at the α(4)-β(7) interface for immunoglobulin superfamily domains differs in shape from integrin pockets that bind Arg-Gly-Asp motifs. RO0505376 mimics an Ile/Leu-Asp motif in α(4) ligands, and orients differently from Arg-Gly-Asp mimics. A novel auxiliary residue at the metal ion-dependent adhesion site in α(4)β(7) is essential for binding to MAdCAM-1 in Mg(2+) yet swings away when RO0505376 binds. A novel intermediate conformation of the α(4)β(7) headpiece binds MAdCAM-1 and supports rolling adhesion. Lack of induction of the open headpiece conformation by ligand binding enables rolling adhesion to persist until integrin activation is signaled.
Sporozoite gliding motility and invasion of mosquito and vertebrate host cells in malaria is mediated by thrombospondin repeat anonymous protein (TRAP). Tandem von Willebrand factor A (VWA) and thrombospondin type I repeat (TSR) domains in TRAP connect through proline-rich stalk, transmembrane, and cytoplasmic domains to the parasite actin-dependent motility apparatus. We crystallized fragments containing the VWA and TSR domains fromPlasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum in different crystal lattices. TRAP VWA domains adopt closed and open conformations, and bind a Mg2+ ion at a metal ion–dependent adhesion site implicated in ligand binding. Metal ion coordination in the open state is identical to that seen in the open high-affinity state of integrin I domains. The closed VWA conformation associates with a disordered TSR domain. In contrast, the open VWA conformation crystallizes with an extensible β ribbon and ordered TSR domain. The extensible β ribbon is composed of disulfide-bonded segments N- and C-terminal to the VWA domain that are largely drawn out of the closed VWA domain in a 15 Å movement to the open conformation. The extensible β ribbon and TSR domain overlap at a conserved interface. The VWA, extensible β ribbon, and TSR domains adopt a highly elongated overall orientation that would be stabilized by tensile force exerted across a ligand-receptor complex by the actin motility apparatus of the sporozoite. Our results provide insights into regulation of “stick-and-slip” parasite motility and for development of sporozoite subunit vaccines.
Intermolecular contacts between integrin LFA-1 (alpha(L)beta(2)) and ICAM-1 derive solely from the integrin alpha(L) I domain and the first domain (D1) of ICAM-1. This study presents a crystal structure of the engineered complex of the alpha(L) I domain and ICAM-1 D1. Previously, we engineered the I domain for high affinity by point mutations that were identified by a directed evolution approach. In order to examine alpha(L) I domain allostery between the C-terminal alpha7-helix (allosteric site) and the metal-ion dependent adhesion site (active site), we have chosen a high affinity variant without mutations directly influencing either the position of the alpha7-helix or the active sites. In our crystal, the alpha(L) I domain was found to have a high affinity conformation to D1 with its alpha7-helix displaced downward away from the binding interface, recapitulating a current understanding of the allostery in the I domain and its linkage to neighboring domains of integrins in signaling. To enable soluble D1 of ICAM-1 to fold on its own, we also engineered D1 to be functional by mutations, which were found to be those that would convert hydrogen bond networks in the solvent-excluded core into vdW contacts. The backbone structure of the beta-sandwich fold and the epitope for I domain binding of the engineered D1 were essentially identical to those of wild-type D1. Most deviations in engineered D1 were found in the loops at the N-terminal region that interacts with human rhinovirus (HRV). Structural deviation found in engineered D1 was overall in agreement with the function of engineered D1 observed previously, i.e., full capacity binding to alpha(L) I domain but reduced interaction with HRV.
Adaptive immunity requires that T cells efficiently scan diverse cell surfaces to identify cognate Ag. However, the basic cellular mechanisms remain unclear. In this study, we investigated this process using vascular endothelial cells, APCs that possess a unique and extremely advantageous, planar morphology. High-resolution imaging revealed that CD4 memory/effector T cells dynamically probe the endothelium by extending submicron-scale, actin-rich "invadosome/podosome-like protrusions" (ILPs). The intimate intercellular contacts enforced by ILPs consistently preceded and supported T cell activation in response to endothelial MHC class II/Ag. The resulting calcium flux stabilized dense arrays of ILPs (each enriched in TCR, protein kinase C-theta, ZAP70, phosphotyrosine, and HS1), forming what we term a podo-synapse. Similar findings were made using CD8 CTLs on endothelium. Furthermore, careful re-examination of both traditional APC models and professional APCs suggests broad relevance for ILPs in facilitating Ag recognition. Together, our results indicate that ILPs function as sensory organelles that serve as actuators of immune surveillance.
Developmental endothelial cell locus-1 (Del-1) glycoprotein is secreted by endothelial cells and a subset of macrophages. Del-1plays a regulatory role in vascular remodeling and functions in innate immunity through interaction with integrin α(V)β(3). Del-1contains 3 epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like repeats and 2 discoidin-like domains. An Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) motif in the second EGF domain (EGF2) mediates adhesion by endothelial cells and phagocytes. We report the crystal structure of its 3 EGF domains. TheRGD motif of EGF2 forms a type II' β turn at the tip of a long protruding loop, dubbed the RGDfinger. Whereas EGF2 and EGF3 constitute a rigid rod via an interdomain calcium ion binding site, the long linker between EGF1 and EGF2 lends considerable flexibility to EGF1. Two unique O-linked glycans and 1 N-linked glycan locate to the opposite side of EGF2 from the RGD motif. These structural features favor integrinbinding of the RGDfinger. Mutagenesis data confirm the importance of having the RGD motif at the tip of the RGDfinger. A database search for EGF domain sequences shows that this RGDfinger is likely an evolutionary insertion and unique to the EGF domain of Del-1 and its homologue milk fat globule-EGF 8.
In the present study, we re-annotated von Willebrand factor (VWF), assigned its entire sequence to specific modules, and related these modules to structure using electron microscopy (EM). The D domains are assemblies of smaller modules visible as lobes in EM. Modules in the D-domain assemblies include von Willebrand D, 8-cysteine, trypsin inhibitor-like, E or fibronectin type 1-like domains, and a unique D4N module in D4. The D1-D2 prodomain shows 2 large connected assemblies, each containing smaller lobes. The previous B and C regions of VWF are re-annotated as 6 tandem von Willebrand C (VWC) and VWC-like domains. These 6 VWC domains correspond to 6 elongated domains that associate in pairs at acidic pH in the stem region of VWF dimeric bouquets. This correspondence is demonstrated by binding of integrin αIIbβ3 to the fourth module seen in EM, VWC4, which bears the VWF Arg-Gly-Asp motif. The C-terminal cystine knot domain dimerizes end-to-end in a manner predicted by homology to TGF-β and orients approximately perpendicular to the VWC domains in dimeric bouquets. Homologies of domains in VWF to domains in other proteins allow many disulfide bonds to be tentatively assigned, which may have functional implications.
An integrin found on platelets, α(IIb)β(3) mediates platelet aggregation, and α(IIb)β(3) antagonists are effective antithrombotic agents in the clinic. Ligands bind to integrins in part by coordinating a magnesium ion (Mg(2+)) located in the β subunit metal ion-dependent adhesion site (MIDAS). Drugs patterned on the integrin ligand sequence Arg-Gly-Asp have a basic moiety that binds the α(IIb) subunit and a carboxyl group that coordinates the MIDAS Mg(2+) in the β(3) subunits. They induce conformational changes in the β(3) subunit that may have negative consequences such as exposing previously hidden epitopes and inducing the active conformation of the receptor. We recently reported an inhibitor of α(IIb)β(3) (RUC-1) that binds exclusively to the α(IIb) subunit; here, we report the structure-based design and synthesis of RUC-2, a RUC-1 derivative with a ~100-fold higher affinity. RUC-2 does not induce major conformational changes in β(3) as judged by monoclonal antibody binding, light scattering, gel chromatography, electron microscopy, and a receptor priming assay. X-ray crystallography of the RUC-2-α(IIb)β(3) headpiece complex in 1 mM calcium ion (Ca(2+))/5 mM Mg(2+) at 2.6 Å revealed that RUC-2 binds to α(IIb) the way RUC-1 does, but in addition, it binds to the β(3) MIDAS residue glutamic acid 220, thus displacing Mg(2+) from the MIDAS. When the Mg(2+) concentration was increased to 20 mM, however, Mg(2+) was identified in the MIDAS and RUC-2 was absent. RUC-2's ability to inhibit ligand binding and platelet aggregation was diminished by increasing the Mg(2+) concentration. Thus, RUC-2 inhibits ligand binding by a mechanism different from that of all other α(IIb)β(3) antagonists and may offer advantages as a therapeutic agent.
Circumsporozoite (CS) protein is the major surface component of Plasmodium falciparum sporozoites and is essential for host cell invasion. A vaccine containing tandem repeats, region III, and thrombospondin type-I repeat (TSR) of CS is efficacious in phase III trials but gives only a 35% reduction in severe malaria in the first year postimmunization. We solved crystal structures showing that region III and TSR fold into a single unit, an "αTSR" domain. The αTSR domain possesses a hydrophobic pocket and core, missing in TSR domains. CS binds heparin, but αTSR does not. Interestingly, polymorphic T-cell epitopes map to specialized αTSR regions. The N and C termini are unexpectedly close, providing clues for sporozoite sheath organization. Elucidation of a unique structure of a domain within CS enables rational design of next-generation subunit vaccines and functional and medicinal chemical investigation of the conserved hydrophobic pocket.
Many questions about the significance of structural features of integrin α(V)β(3) with respect to its mechanism of activation remain. We have determined and re-refined crystal structures of the α(V)β(3) ectodomain linked to C-terminal coiled coils (α(V)β(3)-AB) and four transmembrane (TM) residues in each subunit (α(V)β(3)-1TM), respectively. The α(V) and β(3) subunits with four and eight extracellular domains, respectively, are bent at knees between the integrin headpiece and lower legs, and the headpiece has the closed, low-affinity conformation. The structures differ in the occupancy of three metal-binding sites in the βI domain. Occupancy appears to be related to the pH of crystallization, rather than to the physiologic regulation of ligand binding at the central, metal ion-dependent adhesion site. No electron density was observed for TM residues and much of theα(V) linker. α(V)β(3)-AB and α(V)β(3)-1TM demonstrate flexibility in the linker between their extracellular and TM domains, rather than the previously proposed rigid linkage. A previously postulated interface between the α(V) and β(3) subunits at their knees was also not supported, because it lacks high-quality density, required rebuilding in α(V)β(3)-1TM, and differed markedly between α(V)β(3)-1TM and α(V)β(3)-AB. Together with the variation in domain-domain orientation within their bent ectodomains between α(V)β(3)-AB and α(V)β(3)-1TM, these findings are compatible with the requirement for large structural changes, such as extension at the knees and headpiece opening, in conveying activation signals between the extracellular ligand-binding site and the cytoplasm.