Costimulation blockade (CoB) via belatacept is a lower-morbidity alternative to calcineurin inhibitor (CNI)-based immunosuppression. However, it has higher rates of early acute rejection. These early rejections are mediated in part by memory T cells, which have reduced dependence on the pathway targeted by belatacept and increased adhesion molecule expression. One such molecule is leukocyte function antigen (LFA)-1. LFA-1 exists in two forms: a commonly expressed, low-affinity form and a transient, high-affinity form, expressed only during activation. We have shown that antibodies reactive with LFA-1 regardless of its configuration are effective in eliminating memory T cells but at the cost of impaired protective immunity. Here we test two novel agents, leukotoxin A and AL-579, each of which targets the high-affinity form of LFA-1, to determine whether this more precise targeting prevents belatacept-resistant rejection. Despite evidence of ex vivo and in vivo ligand-specific activity, neither agent when combined with belatacept proved superior to belatacept monotherapy. Leukotoxin A approached a ceiling of toxicity before efficacy, while AL-579 failed to significantly alter the peripheral immune response. These data, and prior studies, suggest that LFA-1 blockade may not be a suitable adjuvant agent for CoB-resistant rejection.
For a cell to move forward it must convert chemical energy into mechanical propulsion. Force produced by actin polymerization can generate traction across the plasma membrane by transmission through integrins to their ligands. However, the role this force plays in integrin activation is unknown. Here we show that integrin activity and cytoskeletal dynamics are reciprocally linked, where actin-dependent force itself appears to regulate integrin activity. We generated fluorescent tension-sensing constructs of integrin αLβ2 (LFA-1) to visualize intramolecular tension during cell migration. Using quantitative imaging of migrating T cells, we correlate tension in the αL or β2 subunit with cell and actin dynamics. We find that actin engagement produces tension within the β2 subunit to induce and stabilize an active integrin conformational state and that this requires intact talin and kindlin motifs. This supports a general mechanism where localized actin polymerization can coordinate activation of the complex machinery required for cell migration.
Several patients have been reported to have variant dominant forms of Glanzmann thrombasthenia, associated with macrothrombocytopenia and caused by gain-of-function mutations of ITGB3 or ITGA2B leading to reduced surface expression and constitutive activation of integrin αIIbβ3. The mechanisms leading to a bleeding phenotype of these patients have never been addressed. The aim of this study was to unravel the mechanism by which ITGB3 mutations causing activation of αIIbβ3 lead to platelet dysfunction and macrothrombocytopenia. Using platelets from two patients carrying the β3 del647-686 mutation and Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing different αIIbβ3-activating mutations, we showed that reduced surface expression of αIIbβ3 is due to receptor internalization. Moreover, we demonstrated that permanent triggering of αIIbβ3-mediated outside-in signaling causes an impairment of cytoskeletal reorganization arresting actin turnover at the stage of polymerization. The induction of actin polymerization by jasplakinolide, a natural toxin that promotes actin nucleation and prevents depolymerization of stress fibers, in control platelets produced an impairment of platelet function similar to that of patients with variant forms of dominant Glanzmann thrombasthenia. del647-686β3-transduced murine megakaryocytes generated proplatelets with a reduced number of large tips and asymmetric barbell-proplatelets, suggesting that impaired cytoskeletal rearrangement is the cause of macrothrombocytopenia. These data show that impaired cytoskeletal remodeling caused by a constitutively activated αIIbβ3 is the main effector of platelet dysfunction and macrothrombocytopenia, and thus of bleeding, in variant forms of dominant Glanzmann thrombasthenia.
Malaria parasite infection is initiated by the mosquito-transmitted sporozoite stage, a highly motile invasive cell that targets hepatocytes in the liver for infection. A promising approach to developing a malaria vaccine is the use of proteins located on the sporozoite surface as antigens to elicit humoral immune responses that prevent the establishment of infection. Very little of the P. falciparum genome has been considered as potential vaccine targets, and candidate vaccines have been almost exclusively based on single antigens, generating the need for novel target identification. The most advanced malaria vaccine to date, RTS,S, a subunit vaccine consisting of a portion of the major surface protein circumsporozoite protein (CSP), conferred limited protection in Phase III trials, falling short of community-established vaccine efficacy goals. In striking contrast to the limited protection seen in current vaccine trials, sterilizing immunity can be achieved by immunization with radiation-attenuated sporozoites, suggesting that more potent protection may be achievable with a multivalent protein vaccine. Here, we provide the most comprehensive analysis to date of proteins located on the surface of or secreted by Plasmodium falciparum salivary gland sporozoites. We used chemical labeling to isolate surface-exposed proteins on sporozoites and identified these proteins by mass spectrometry. We validated several of these targets and also provide evidence that components of the inner membrane complex are in fact surface-exposed and accessible to antibodies in live sporozoites. Finally, our mass spectrometry data provide the first direct evidence that the Plasmodium surface proteins CSP and TRAP are glycosylated in sporozoites, a finding that could impact the selection of vaccine antigens.
We review the evolution and structure of members of the transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) family, antagonistic or agonistic modulators, and receptors that regulate TGF-β signaling in extracellular environments. The growth factor (GF) domain common to all family members and many of their antagonists evolved from a common cystine knot growth factor (CKGF) domain. The CKGF superfamily comprises six distinct families in primitive metazoans, including the TGF-β and Dan families. Compared with Wnt/Frizzled and Notch/Delta families that also specify body axes, cell fate, tissues, and other families that contain CKGF domains that evolved in parallel, the TGF-β family was the most fruitful in evolution. Complexes between the prodomains and GFs of the TGF-β family suggest a new paradigm for regulating GF release by conversion from closed- to open-arm procomplex conformations. Ternary complexes of the final step in extracellular signaling show how TGF-β GF dimers bind type I and type II receptors on the cell surface, and enable understanding of much of the specificity and promiscuity in extracellular signaling. However, structures suggest that when GFs bind repulsive guidance molecule (RGM) family coreceptors, type I receptors do not bind until reaching an intracellular, membrane-enveloped compartment, blurring the line between extra- and intracellular signaling. Modulator protein structures show how structurally diverse antagonists including follistatins, noggin, and members of the chordin family bind GFs to regulate signaling; complexes with the Dan family remain elusive. Much work is needed to understand how these molecular components assemble to form signaling hubs in extracellular environments in vivo.
Whether β1 integrin ectodomains visit conformational states similarly to β2 and β3 integrins has not been characterized. Furthermore, despite a wealth of activating and inhibitory antibodies to β1 integrins, the conformational states that these antibodies stabilize, and the relation of these conformations to function, remain incompletely characterized. Using negative-stain electron microscopy, we show that the integrin α5β1 ectodomain adopts extended-closed and extended-open conformations as well as a bent conformation. Antibodies SNAKA51, 8E3, N29, and 9EG7 bind to different domains in the α5 or β1 legs, activate, and stabilize extended ectodomain conformations. Antibodies 12G10 and HUTS-4 bind to the β1 βI domain and hybrid domains, respectively, activate, and stabilize the open headpiece conformation. Antibody TS2/16 binds a similar epitope as 12G10, activates, and appears to stabilize an open βI domain conformation without requiring extension or hybrid domain swing-out. mAb13 and SG/19 bind to the βI domain and βI-hybrid domain interface, respectively, inhibit, and stabilize the closed conformation of the headpiece. The effects of the antibodies on cell adhesion to fibronectin substrates suggest that the extended-open conformation of α5β1 is adhesive and that the extended-closed and bent-closed conformations are nonadhesive. The functional effects and binding sites of antibodies and fibronectin were consistent with their ability in binding to α5β1 on cell surfaces to cross-enhance or inhibit one another by competitive or noncompetitive (allosteric) mechanisms.
High-resolution crystal structures of the headpiece of lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (integrin αLβ2) reveal how the αI domain interacts with its platform formed by the α-subunit β-propeller and β-subunit βI domains. The αLβ2 structures compared with αXβ2 structures show that the αI domain, tethered through its N-linker and a disulfide to a stable β-ribbon pillar near the center of the platform, can undergo remarkable pivoting and tilting motions that appear buffered by N-glycan decorations that differ between αL and αX subunits. Rerefined β2 integrin structures reveal details including pyroglutamic acid at the β2 N terminus and bending within the EGF1 domain. Allostery is relayed to the αI domain by an internal ligand that binds to a pocket at the interface between the β-propeller and βI domains. Marked differences between the αL and αX subunit β-propeller domains concentrate near the binding pocket and αI domain interfaces. Remarkably, movement in allostery in the βI domain of specificity determining loop 1 (SDL1) causes concerted movement of SDL2 and thereby tightens the binding pocket for the internal ligand.
The platelet integrin αIIbβ3 binds to a KQAGDV motif at the fibrinogen γ-chain C-terminus and to RGD motifs present in loops in many extracellular matrix proteins. These ligands bind in a groove between the integrin α and β subunits; the basic Lys or Arg sidechain hydrogen bonds to the αIIb-subunit and the acidic Asp sidechain coordinates to a metal ion held by the β3-subunit. Ligand binding induces headpiece opening, with conformational change in the β-subunit. During this opening, RGD slides in the ligand-binding pocket towards αIIb, with movement of the βI-domain β1-α1 loop toward αIIb, enabling formation of direct, charged hydrogen bonds between the Arg sidechain and αIIb. Here we test whether ligand interactions with β3 suffice for stable ligand binding and headpiece opening. We find that the AGDV tetrapeptide from KQAGDV binds to the αIIbβ3 headpiece with affinity comparable to the RGDSP peptide from fibronectin. AGDV induced complete headpiece opening in solution as shown by increase in hydrodynamic radius. Soaking of AGDV into closed αIIbβ3 headpiece crystals induced intermediate states similarly to RGDSP. AGDV has very little contact with the α subunit. Furthermore, as measured by epitope exposure, AGDV, like the fibrinogen γ C-terminal peptide and RGD, caused integrin extension on the cell surface. Thus, pushing by the β3 subunit on Asp is sufficient for headpiece opening and ligand sliding, and no pulling by the αIIb subunit on Arg is required.
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.
The inhibition of protein-protein interactions remains a challenge for traditional small molecule drug discovery. Here we describe the use of DNA-encodedlibrarytechnology for the discovery of small molecules that are potent inhibitors of the interaction betweenlymphocytefunction-associatedantigen1 and its ligand intercellular adhesion molecule 1. A DNA-encodedlibrary with a potential complexity of 4.1 billion compounds was exposed to the I-domain of the target protein and the bound ligands were affinity selected, yielding an enriched small-molecule hit family. Compounds representing this family were synthesized without their DNA encoding moiety and found to inhibit the lymphocytefunction-associatedantigen1/intercellular adhesion molecule-1interaction with submicromolar potency in both ELISA and cell adhesion assays. Re-synthesized compounds conjugated to DNA or a fluorophore were demonstrated to bind to cells expressing the target protein.
The C-terminal cystine knot (CK) (CTCK) domain in vonWillebrandfactor (VWF) mediates dimerization of proVWF in the endoplasmic reticulum and is essential for long multimers required for hemostatic function. The CTCK dimer crystal structure revealshighly elongated monomers with 2 β-ribbons and 4 intra-chain disulfides, including 3 in the CK. Dimerization buries an extensive interface of 1500 Å(2) corresponding to 32% of the surface of each monomer and forms a super β-sheet and 3 inter-chain disulfides. The shape, dimensions, and N-terminal connections of the crystal structure agree perfectly with previous electron microscopic images of VWF dimeric bouquets with the CTCK dimer forming a down-curved base. The dimer interface is suited to resist hydrodynamic force and disulfide reduction. CKs in each monomer flank the 3 inter-chain disulfides, and their presence in β-structures with dense backbone hydrogen bonds creates a rigid, highly crosslinked interface. The structure reveals the basis for vonWillebrand disease phenotypes and the fold and disulfide linkages for CTCK domains in diverse protein families involved in barrier function, eye and inner ear development, insect coagulation and innate immunity, axon guidance, and signaling in extracellular matrices.
Integrin α5β1 binds to an Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) motif in its ligand fibronectin. We report high-resolution crystal structures of a four-domain α5β1 headpiece fragment, alone or with RGD peptides soaked into crystals, and RGD peptide affinity measurements. The headpiece crystallizes in a closed conformation essentially identical to that seen previously for α5β1 complexed with a Fab that allosterically inhibits ligandbinding by stabilizing the closed conformation. Soaking experiments show that binding of cyclic RGD peptide with 20-fold higher affinity than a linear RGD peptide induces conformational change in the β1-subunit βI domain to a state that is intermediate between closed (low affinity) and open (high affinity). In contrast, binding of a linear RGD peptide induces no shape shifting. However, linear peptide binding induces shape shifting when Ca(2+) is depleted during soaking. Ca(2+) bound to the adjacent to metalion-dependent adhesion site (ADMIDAS), at the locus of shape shifting, moves and decreases in occupancy, correlating with an increase in affinity for RGD measured when Ca(2+) is depleted. The results directly demonstrate that Ca(2+)binding to the ADMIDAS stabilizes integrins in the low-affinity, closed conformation. Comparisons in affinity between four-domain and six-domain headpiece constructs suggest that flexible integrin leg domains contribute to conformational equilibria. High-resolution views of the hybrid domain interface with the plexin-semaphorin-integrin (PSI) domain in different orientations show a ball-and-socket joint with a hybrid domain Arg side chain that rocks in a PSI domain socket lined with carbonyl oxygens.
Activation by elongational flow of von Willebrand factor (VWF) is critical for primary hemostasis. Mutations causing type 2B vonWillebrand disease (VWD), platelet-type VWD (PT-VWD), and tensile force each increase affinity of the VWF A1 domain and plateletglycoprotein Ibα (GPIbα) for one another; however, the structuralbasis for these observations remains elusive. Directed evolution was used to discover a further gain-of-function mutation in A1 that shifts the long range disulfide bond by one residue. We solved multiple crystal structures of this mutant A1 and A1 containing two VWD mutations complexed with GPIbα containing two PT-VWD mutations. We observed a gained interaction between A1 and the central leucine-rich repeats (LRRs) of GPIbα, previously shown to be important at high shear stress, and verified its importance mutationally. These findings suggest that structural changes, including central GPIbα LRR-A1 contact, contribute to VWF affinity regulation. Among the mutant complexes, variation in contacts and poor complementarity between the GPIbα β-finger and the region of A1 harboring VWD mutations lead us to hypothesize that the structures are on a pathway to, but have not yet reached, a force-induced super high affinity state.
Eight integrin α-β heterodimers recognize ligands with an Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) motif. However, the structural mechanism by which integrins differentiate among extracellular proteins with RGD motifs is not understood. Here, crystal structures, mutations and peptide-affinity measurements show that αVβ6 binds with high affinity to a RGDLXXL/I motif within the prodomains of TGF-β1 and TGF-β3. The LXXL/I motif forms an amphipathic α-helix that binds in a hydrophobic pocket in the β6 subunit. Elucidation of the basis for ligand binding specificity by the integrin β subunit reveals contributions by three different βI-domain loops, which we designatespecificity-determining loops (SDLs) 1, 2 and 3. Variation in a pair of single key residues in SDL1 and SDL3 correlates with the variation of the entire β subunit in integrin evolution, thus suggesting a paradigmatic role in overall β-subunit function.
Micronemal protein 2 (MIC2) is the key adhesin that supports glidingmotility and host cell invasion by Toxoplasma gondii. With a von Willebrand factor A (VWA) domain and six thrombospondin repeat domains (TSR1-6) in its ectodomain, MIC2 connects to the parasite actomyosin system through its cytoplasmic tail. MIC2-associated protein (M2AP) binds noncovalently to the MIC2 ectodomain. MIC2 and M2AP are stored in micronemes as proforms. We find that the MIC2-M2AP ectodomain complex is a highly elongated 1:1 monomer with M2AP bound to the TSR6 domain. Crystal structures of N-terminal fragments containing the VWA and TSR1 domains for proMIC2 and MIC2 reveal a closed conformation of the VWA domain and how it associates with the TSR1 domain. A long, proline-rich, disulfide-bonded pigtail loop in TSR1 overlaps the VWA domain. Mannose α-C-linked to Trp-276 in TSR1 has an unusual (1)C4 chair conformation. The MIC2 VWA domain includes a mobile α5-helix and a 22-residue disordered region containing two disulfide bonds in place of an α6-helix. A hydrophobic residue in the prodomain binds to a pocket adjacent to the α7-helix that pistons in opening of the VWA domain to a putative high-affinity state.
When blood vessels are cut, the forces in the bloodstream increase and change character. The dark side of these forces causes hemorrhage and death. However, vonWillebrandfactor (VWF), with help from our circulatory system and platelets, harnesses the same forces to form a hemostatic plug. Force and VWF function are so closely intertwined that, like members of the Jedi Order in the movie Star Wars who learn to use "the Force" to do good, VWF may be considered the Jediknight of the bloodstream. The long length of VWF enables responsiveness to flow. The shape of VWF is predicted to alter from irregularly coiled to extended thread-like in the transition from shear to elongational flow at sites of hemostasis and thrombosis. Elongational force propagated through the length of VWF in its thread-like shape exposes its monomers for multimeric binding to platelets and subendothelium and likely also increases affinity of the A1 domain for platelets. Specialized domains concatenate and compact VWF during biosynthesis. A2 domain unfolding by hydrodynamic force enables postsecretion regulation of VWF length. Mutations in VWF in vonWillebranddisease contribute to and are illuminated by VWF biology. I attempt to integrate classic studies on the physiology of hemostatic plug formation into modern molecular understanding, and point out what remains to be learned.