BACKGROUND: Recently, conformational activation of ADAMTS-13 was identified. This mechanism showed the evolution from a condensed conformation, in which the proximal MDTCS and distal T2-CUB2 domains are in close contact with each other, to an activated, open structure due to binding with von Willebrand factor (VWF). OBJECTIVES: Identification of cryptic epitope/exosite exposure after conformational activation and of sites of flexibility in ADAMTS-13. METHODS: The activating effect of 25 anti-T2-CUB2 antibodies was studied in the FRETS-VWF73 and the vortex assay. Cryptic epitope/exosite exposure was determined with ELISA and VWF binding assay. The molecular basis for flexibility was hypothesized through rapid automatic detection and alignment of repeats (RADAR) analysis, tested with ELISA using deletion variants and visualized using electron microscopy. RESULTS: Eleven activating anti-ADAMTS-13 antibodies, directed against the T5-CUB2 domains, were identified in the FRETS-VWF73 assay. RADAR analysis identified three linker regions in the distal domains. Interestingly, identification of an antibody recognizing a cryptic epitope in the metalloprotease domain confirmed the contribution of these linker regions to conformational activation of the enzyme. The proof of flexibility around both the T2 and metalloprotease domains, as shown by by electron microscopy, further supported this contribution. In addition, cryptic epitope exposure was identified in the distal domains, because activating anti-T2-CUB2 antibodies increased the binding to folded VWF up to ~3-fold. CONCLUSION: Conformational activation of ADAMTS-13 leads to cryptic epitope/exosite exposure in both proximal and distal domains, subsequently inducing increased activity. Furthermore, three linker regions in the distal domains are responsible for flexibility and enable the interaction between the proximal and the T8-CUB2 domains.
Drug-induced immune thrombocytopenia (DITP) is caused by antibodies that react with specific platelet-membrane glycoproteins when the provoking drug is present. More than 100 drugs have been implicated as triggers for this condition, quinine being one of the most common. The cause of DITP in most cases appears to be a drug-induced antibody that binds to a platelet membrane glycoprotein only when the drug is present. How a soluble drug promotes binding of an otherwise nonreactive immunoglobulin to its target, leading to platelet destruction, is uncertain, in part because of the difficulties of working with polyclonal human antibodies usually available only in small quantities. Recently, quinine-dependent murine monoclonal antibodies were developed that recognize a defined epitope on the β-propeller domain of the platelet integrin αIIb subunit (GPIIb) only when the drug is present and closely mimic the behavior of antibodies found in human patients with quinine-induced thrombocytopenia in vitro and in vivo. Here, we demonstrate specific, high-affinity binding of quinine to the complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) of these antibodies and define in crystal structures the changes induced in the CDR by this interaction. Because no detectable binding of quinine to the target integrin could be demonstrated in previous studies, the findings indicate that a hybrid paratope consisting of quinine and reconfigured antibody CDR plays a critical role in recognition of its target epitope by an antibody and suggest that, in this type of drug-induced immunologic injury, the primary reaction involves binding of the drug to antibody CDRs, causing it to acquire specificity for a site on a platelet integrin.
Receptor-mediated signal transduction modulates complex cellular behaviours such as cell growth, migration and differentiation. Although photoactivatable proteins have emerged as a powerful tool for controlling molecular interactions and signalling cascades at precise times and spaces using light, many of these light-sensitive proteins are activated by ultraviolent or visible light, which has limited tissue penetration. Here, we report a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT)-assisted approach that enables near-infraredlight-triggered activation of transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signal transduction, an important signalling pathway in embryonic development and cancer progression. The protein complex of TGF-β and its latency-associated peptide is conjugated onto SWCNTs, where TGF-β is inactive. Upon near-infrared irradiation, TGF-β is released through the photothermal effect of SWCNTs and becomes active. The released TGF-β activates downstream signal transduction in live cells and modulates cellular behaviours. Furthermore, preliminary studies show that the method can be used to mediate TGF-β signalling in living mice.
Mutations in the ultralong vascular protein vonWillebrand factor (VWF) cause the common human bleeding disorder, vonWillebranddisease (VWD). The A1 domain in VWF binds to glycoprotein Ibα (GPIbα) on platelets, in a reaction triggered, in part, by alterations in flow during bleeding. Gain-of-functionmutations in A1 and GPIbα in VWD suggest conformational regulation. We report that force application switches A1 and/or GPIbα to a second state with faster on-rate, providing a mechanism for activating VWF binding to platelets. Switching occurs near 10 pN, a force that also induces a state of the receptor-ligand complex with slower off-rate. Force greatly increases the effects of VWD mutations, explaining pathophysiology. Conversion of single molecule kon (s(-1)) to bulk phase kon (s(-1)M(-1)) and the kon and koff values extrapolated to zero force for the low-force pathways show remarkably good agreement with bulk-phase measurements.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) belong to the TGF-β family, whose 33 members regulate multiple aspects of morphogenesis. TGF-β family members are secreted as procomplexes containing a small growth factor dimer associated with two larger prodomains. As isolated procomplexes, some members are latent, whereas most are active; what determines these differences is unknown. Here, studies on pro-BMP structures and binding to receptors lead to insights into mechanisms that regulate latency in the TGF-β family and into the functions of their highly divergent prodomains. The observed open-armed, nonlatent conformation of pro-BMP9 and pro-BMP7 contrasts with the cross-armed, latent conformation of pro-TGF-β1. Despite markedly different arm orientations in pro-BMP and pro-TGF-β, the arm domain of the prodomain can similarly associate with the growth factor, whereas prodomain elements N- and C-terminal to the arm associate differently with the growth factor and may compete with one another to regulate latency and stepwise displacement by type I and II receptors. Sequence conservation suggests that pro-BMP9 can adopt both cross-armed and open-armed conformations. We propose that interactors in the matrix stabilize a cross-armed pro-BMP conformation and regulate transition between cross-armed, latent and open-armed, nonlatent pro-BMP conformations.