Natalizumab antibody to α4-integrins is used in therapy of multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease. A crystal structure of the Fab bound to an α4 integrin β-propeller and thigh domain fragment shows that natalizumab recognizes human-mouse differences on the circumference of the β-propeller domain. The epitope is adjacent to but outside of a ligand-binding groove formed at the interface with the β-subunit βI domain and shows no difference in structure when bound to Fab. Competition between Fab and the ligand vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM) for binding to cell surface α4β1 shows noncompetitive antagonism. In agreement, VCAM docking models suggest that binding of domain 1 of VCAM to α4-integrins is unimpeded by the Fab, and that bound Fab requires a change in orientation between domains 1 and 2 of VCAM for binding to α4β1. Mapping of species-specific differences onto α4β1 and α4β7 shows that their ligand-binding sites are highly conserved. Skewing away from these conserved regions of the epitopes recognized by current therapeutic function-blocking antibodies has resulted in previously unanticipated mechanisms of action.
How is massive conformational change in integrins achieved on a rapid timescale? We report crystal structures of a metastable, putative transition state of integrin αXβ2. The αXβ2 ectodomain is bent; however, a lattice contact stabilizes its ligand-binding αI domain in a high affinity, open conformation. Much of the αI α7 helix unwinds, loses contact with the αI domain, and reshapes to form an internal ligand that binds to the interface between the β propeller and βI domains. Lift-off of the αI domain above this platform enables a range of extensional and rotational motions without precedent in allosteric machines. Movements of secondary structure elements in the β2 βI domain occur in an order different than in β3 integrins, showing that integrin β subunits can be specialized to assume different intermediate states between closed and open. Mutations demonstrate that the structure trapped here is metastable and can enable rapid equilibration between bent and extended-open integrin conformations and up-regulation of leukocyte adhesiveness.
vonWillebrand Factor (VWF) is an ultralong, concatameric, and adhesive glycoprotein. On short time scales, adhesiveness for platelets is activated by elongation of VWF by altered hydrodynamics at sites of hemostasis. Over longer time scales, the length of VWF is regulated by ADAMTS13 (a disintegrin and metalloprotease with a thrombospondin type 1 motif, member 13), cleavage by which in the VWF A2domain is dependent on elongational force. Patients with vonWillebranddisease type 2A present with increased bleeding due to mutations within the VWF A2domain that enhance cleavage. We tested using temperature and force the hypothesis that vonWillebranddiseasemutations disrupt A2 force sensing by destabilizing the folded state. Mutations R1597W, M1528V, and E1638K reduced A2 thermal stability by 10-18 °C. M1528V and E1638K showed a marked further decrease in stability upon calcium removal. In contrast, R1597W, which resides within the A2 calcium-binding loop, exhibited similar stability in the presence and absence of calcium. Using single molecule optical tweezers and R1597W, we measured the force dependence of unfolding and refolding kinetics. In the presence of calcium, the R1597W mutation slowed the rate of refolding but had no effect on unfolding. The three mutations highlight the calcium-binding loop (R1597W), the hydrophobic core around the vicinal disulfide (M1528V), and hydrogen bonds to the α4-less loop (E1638K), as structural features critically important to the function of A2 as a force sensor in regulating thrombogenic activity in the vasculature.
Basic mechanisms by which cellular barriers sense and respond to integrity disruptions remain poorly understood. Despite its tenuous structure and constitutive exposure to disruptive strains, the vascular endothelium exhibits robust barrier function. We show that in response to micrometer-scale disruptions induced by transmigrating leukocytes, endothelial cells generate unique ventrallamellipodia that propagate via integrins toward and across these "micro-wounds" to close them. This novel actin remodeling activity progressively healed multiple micro-wounds in succession and changed direction during this process. Mechanical probe-induced micro-wounding of both endothelia and epithelia suggests that ventrallamellipodia formed as a response to force imbalance and specifically loss of isometric tension. Ventrallamellipodia were enriched in the Rac1 effectors cortactin, IQGAP, and p47Phox and exhibited localized production of hydrogen peroxide. Together with Apr2/3, these were functionally required for effective micro-wound healing. We propose that barrier disruptions are detected as local release of isometric tension/force unloading, which is directly coupled to reactive oxygen species-dependent self-restorative actin remodeling dynamics.
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.
Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β is stored in the extracellular matrix as a latent complex with its prodomain. Activation of TGF-β1 requires the binding of α(v) integrin to an RGD sequence in the prodomain and exertion of force on this domain, which is held in the extracellular matrix by latent TGF-β binding proteins. Crystals of dimeric porcine proTGF-β1 reveal a ring-shaped complex, a novel fold for the prodomain, and show how the prodomain shields the growth factor from recognition by receptors and alters its conformation. Complex formation between α(v)β(6) integrin and the prodomain is insufficient for TGF-β1 release. Force-dependent activation requires unfastening of a 'straitjacket' that encircles each growth-factor monomer at a position that can be locked by a disulphide bond. Sequences of all 33 TGF-β family members indicate a similar prodomain fold. The structure provides insights into the regulation of a family of growth and differentiation factors of fundamental importance in morphogenesis and homeostasis.
At the acidic pH of the trans-Golgi and Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs), but not at the alkaline pH of secretion, the C-terminal ∼1350 residues of von Willebrand factor (VWF) zip up into an elongated, dimeric bouquet. Six small domains visualized here for the first time between the D4 and cystine-knot domains form a stem. The A2, A3, and D4 domains form a raceme with three pairs of opposed, large, flower-like domains. N-terminal VWF domains mediate helical tubule formation in WPBs and template N-terminal disulphide linkage between VWF dimers, to form ultralong VWF concatamers. The dimensions we measure in VWF at pH 6.2 and 7.4, and the distance between tubules in nascent WPB, suggest that dimeric bouquets are essential for correct VWF dimer incorporation into growing tubules and to prevent crosslinking between neighbouring tubules. Further insights into the structure of the domains and flexible segments in VWF provide an overall view of VWF structure important for understanding both the biogenesis of ultralong concatamers at acidic pH and flow-regulated changes in concatamer conformation in plasma at alkaline pH that trigger hemostasis.