Nishida, N., et al. Activation of leukocyte β2 integrins by conversion from bent to extended conformations. Immunity 25, 4, 583-594 (2006).Abstract

We used negative stain electron microscopy (EM) to examine the conformational changes in the ectodomains required for activation of the leukocyte integrins alpha(X)beta(2) and alpha(L)beta(2). They transitioned between a bent conformation and two extended conformations in which the headpiece was in either a closed or an open state. Extended integrins exhibited marked flexibility at the alpha subunit genu and between integrin epidermal growth factor-like (I-EGF) domains 1 and 2. A clasp to mimic juxtamembrane association between the integrin alpha and beta subunits stabilized the bent conformation strongly for alpha(X)beta(2) and less so for alpha(L)beta(2). A small molecule allosteric antagonist induced the extended, open headpiece conformation. A Fab known to activate beta(2) integrins on leukocytes induced extension, and a Fab reporter of activation bound only after extension had been induced. The results establish an intimate relationship between extension of beta(2) integrins and their activation in immune responses and leukocyte trafficking.

Shimaoka, M., et al. AL-57, a ligand-mimetic antibody to integrin LFA-1, reveals chemokine-induced affinity upregulation in lymphocytes. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103, 38, 13991-13996 (2006).Abstract

Affinity of integrin lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) is enhanced by conformational changes from the low-affinity closed form to the high-affinity (HA) open form of the ligand-binding inserted (I) domain as shown by work with purified I domains. However, affinity up-regulation of LFA-1 on the cell surface by physiological agonists such as chemokines has yet to be demonstrated by monovalent reagents. We characterize a mAb, AL-57 (activated LFA-1 clone 57), that has been developed by phage display that selectively targets the HA open conformation of the LFA-1 I domain. AL-57 discriminates among low-affinity, intermediate-affinity, and HA states of LFA-1. Furthermore, AL-57 functions as a ligand mimetic that binds only upon activation and requires Mg2+ for binding. Compared with the natural ligand intercellular adhesion molecule-1, AL-57 shows a tighter binding to the open I domain and a 250-fold slower off rate. Monovalent Fab AL-57 demonstrates affinity increases on a subset (approximately 10%) of lymphocyte cell surface LFA-1 molecules upon stimulation with CXCL-12 (CXC chemokine ligand 12). Affinity up-regulation correlates with global conformational changes of LFA-1 to the extended form. Affinity increase stimulated by CXCL-12 is transient and peaks 2 to 5 min after stimulation.

Jin, M., et al. Directed evolution to probe protein allostery and integrin I domains of 200,000-fold higher affinity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103, 15, 5758-5763 (2006).Abstract

Understanding allostery may serve to both elucidate mechanisms of protein regulation and provide a basis for engineering active mutants. Herein we describe directed evolution applied to the integrin alpha(L) inserted domain for studying allostery by using a yeast surface display system. Many hot spots for activation are identified, and some single mutants exhibit remarkable increases of 10,000-fold in affinity for a physiological ligand, intercellular adhesion molecule-1. The location of activating mutations traces out an allosteric interface in the interior of the inserted domain that connects the ligand binding site to the alpha7-helix, which communicates allostery to neighboring domains in intact integrins. The combination of two activating mutations (F265S/F292G) leads to an increase of 200,000-fold in affinity to intercellular adhesion molecule-1. The F265S/F292G mutant is potent in antagonizing lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1-dependent lymphocyte adhesion, aggregation, and transmigration.

Swers, J.S., Widom, A., Phan, U., Springer, T.A. & Wittrup, K.D. A high affinity human antibody antagonist of P-selectin mediated rolling. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 350, 3, 508-513 (2006).Abstract

We have characterized the IgG form of a previously isolated and engineered single-chain Fv (scFv), named RR2r3s4-1, that binds to human PSGL-1. This fully human IgG was determined to have a Kd of 1.8+/-0.7 nM by fluorescence quenching titration. It better inhibits P-selectin-PSGL-1 interactions than a commercially available murine monoclonal antibody KPL1 and better inhibits neutrophil rolling than KPL1. Thus, RR2r3s4-1 is the most effective antibody at inhibiting P-selectin-PSGL-1 interactions known. Specificity analysis reveals that RR2r3s4-1 does not cross react with murine PSGL-1 and thus requires more than tyrosine sulfate for binding to human PSGL-1. This evidence demonstrates the therapeutic potential of this antibody as a potent anti-inflammatory therapeutic.

Huang, L., et al. Identification and characterization of a human monoclonal antagonistic antibody AL-57 that preferentially binds the high-affinity form of lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1. J Leukoc Biol. 80, 4, 905-914 (2006).Abstract

LFA-1 (alpha(L)beta(2)) mediates cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix adhesions essential for immune and inflammatory responses. One critical mechanism regulating LFA-1 activity is the conformational change of the ligand-binding alpha(L) I domain from low-affinity (LA), closed form, to the high-affinity (HA), open form. Most known integrin antagonists bind both forms. Antagonists specific for the HA alpha(L) I domain have not been described. Here, we report the identification and characterization of a human antibody AL-57, which binds to the alpha(L) I domain in a HA but not LA conformation. AL-57 was discovered by selection from a human Fab-displaying library using a locked-open HA I domain as target. AL-57 Fab-phage bound HA I domain-expressing K562 cells (HA cells) in a Mg(2+)-dependent manner. AL-57 IgG also bound HA cells and PBMCs, activated by Mg(2+)/EGTA, PMA, or DTT. The binding profile of AL-57 IgG on PBMCs was the same as that of ICAM-1, the main ligand of LFA-1. In contrast, an anti-alpha(L) murine mAb MHM24 did not distinguish between the HA and LA forms. Moreover, AL-57 IgG blocked ICAM-1 binding to HA cells with a potency greater than MHM24. It also inhibited ICAM-1 binding to PBMCs, blocked adhesion of HA cells to keratinocytes, and inhibited PHA-induced lymphocyte proliferation with potencies comparable with MHM24. These results indicate that specifically targeting the HA I domain is sufficient to inhibit LFA-1-mediated, adhesive functions. AL-57 represents a therapeutic candidate for treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Luo, B.-H. & Springer, T.A. Integrin structures and conformational signaling. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 18, 5, 579-586 (2006).Abstract

Integrins are cell adhesion molecules that play critical roles in development, wound healing, hemostasis, immunity and cancer. Advances in the past two years have shed light on the structural basis for integrin regulation and signaling, especially on how global conformational changes between bent and extended conformations relate to the inter-domain and intra-domain shape shifting that regulates affinity for ligand. The downward movements of the C-terminal helices of the alpha I and beta I domains and the swing-out of the hybrid domain play pivotal roles in integrin conformational signaling. Experiments have also shown that integrins transmit bidirectional signals across the plasma membrane by coupling extracellular conformational change with an unclasping and separation of the alpha and beta transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains.

Song, G., et al. Rational design of ICAM-1 variants for antagonizing integrin LFA-1-dependent adhesion. J Biol Chem. 281, 8, 5042-5049 (2006).Abstract

The interaction between integrin lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) and its ligand intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) is critical in immunological and inflammatory reactions but, like other adhesive interactions, is of low affinity. Here, multiple rational design methods were used to engineer ICAM-1 mutants with enhanced affinity for LFA-1. Five amino acid substitutions 1) enhance the hydrophobicity and packing of residues surrounding Glu-34 of ICAM-1, which coordinates to a Mg2+ in the LFA-1 I domain, and 2) alter associations at the edges of the binding interface. The affinity of the most improved ICAM-1 mutant for intermediate- and high-affinity LFA-1 I domains was increased by 19-fold and 22-fold, respectively, relative to wild type. Moreover, potency was similarly enhanced for inhibition of LFA-1-dependent ligand binding and cell adhesion. Thus, rational design can be used to engineer novel adhesion molecules with high monomeric affinity; furthermore, the ICAM-1 mutant holds promise for targeting LFA-1-ICAM-1 interaction for biological studies and therapeutic purposes.

Chen, J.F., Yang, W., Kim, M., Carman, C.V. & Springer, T.A. Regulation of outside-in signaling by the β2 I domain of integrin αLβ2. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103, 35, 13062-13067 (2006).Abstract

The adhesiveness of integrin alpha(L)beta(2) is modulated by divalent cations. We mutated three metal ion-binding sites in the beta(2) I domain. The metal ion-dependent adhesion site (MIDAS) and the ligand-induced metal-binding site are required for ligand binding and sufficient for synergism between Ca(2+) and Mg(2+). Adjacent to MIDAS (ADMIDAS) mutants are constitutively active but remain bent, with poor exposure of a beta(2) stalk region epitope. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer between fluorescent protein-fused alpha(L) and beta(2) cytoplasmic domains showed that ADMIDAS mutation abrogated ligand binding-induced spatial separation of cytoplasmic domains. Furthermore, ADMIDAS mutation abolished spreading on ligand-bearing substrates. Thus, beta(2) I domain metal ion-binding sites regulate alpha(L) I domain affinity, and the ADMIDAS is required for outside-in signaling.

Phan, U.T., Waldron, T.T. & Springer, T.A. Remodeling of the lectin/EGF-like interface in P- and L-selectin increases adhesiveness and shear resistance under hydrodynamic force. Nat. Immunol. 7, 8, 883-889 (2006).Abstract

Crystal structures of the lectin and epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domains of P-selectin show 'bent' and 'extended' conformations. An extended conformation would be 'favored' by forces exerted on a selectin bound at one end to a ligand and at the other end to a cell experiencing hydrodynamic drag forces. To determine whether the extended conformation has higher affinity for ligand, we introduced an N-glycosylation site to 'wedge open' the interface between the lectin and EGF-like domains of P-selectin. This alteration increased the affinity of P-selectin for its ligand P-selectin glycoprotein 1 (PSGL-1) and thereby the strength of P-selectin-mediated rolling adhesion. Similarly, an asparagine-to-glycine substitution in the lectin-EGF-like domain interface of L-selectin enhanced rolling adhesion under shear flow. Our results demonstrate that force, by 'favoring' an extended selectin conformation, can strengthen selectin-ligand bonds.

Salas, A., Shimaoka, M., Phan, U., Kim, M. & Springer, T.A. Transition from rolling to firm adhesion can be mimicked by extension of integrin αLβ2 in an intermediate-affinity state. J Biol Chem. 281, 16, 10876-10882 (2006).Abstract

AlphaLbeta2 affinity for intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) is regulated by the conformation of the alphaL I domain, which is in turn controlled by the conformation and orientation of other adjacent domains. Additionally, overall integrin conformation (bent versus straightened) influences the orientation of the I domain and access to its ligands, influencing adhesive efficiency. The open or high affinity I domain conformation supports strong adhesion, whereas the closed, low affinity conformation mediates weak interactions or rolling. We have previously suggested that alphaLbeta2 can also exist on the cell surface in an intermediate affinity state. Here we have studied the adhesive properties of integrin alphaLbeta2 containing mutant I domains with intermediate affinities for ICAM-1. In an overall bent conformation, the intermediate affinity state of alphaLbeta2 is hardly detected by conventional adhesion assays, but robust adhesion is seen when an extended conformation is induced by a small molecule alpha/beta I allosteric antagonist. Intermediate affinity alphaLbeta2 supports more stable rolling than wild-type alphaLbeta2 under shear conditions. Moreover, antagonist-induced extension transforms rolling adhesion into firm adhesion in a manner reminiscent of chemokine activation of integrin alphaLbeta2. These findings suggest the relevance of intermediate affinity states of alphaLbeta2 to the transition between inactive and active states and demonstrate the importance of both I domain affinity and overall integrin conformation for cell adhesion.

Song, G., et al. An atomic resolution view of ICAM recognition in a complex between the binding domains of ICAM-3 and integrin αLβ2. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102, 9, 3366-3371 (2005).Abstract

Within the Ig superfamily (IgSF), intercellular adhesion molecules (ICAMs) form a subfamily that binds the leukocyte integrin alphaLbeta2. We report a 1.65-A-resolution crystal structure of the ICAM-3 N-terminal domain (D1) in complex with the inserted domain, the ligand-binding domain of alphaLbeta2. This high-resolution structure and comparisons among ICAM subfamily members establish that the binding of ICAM-3 D1 onto the inserted domain represents a common docking mode for ICAM subfamily members. The markedly different off-rates of ICAM-1, -2, and -3 appear to be determined by the hydrophobicity of residues that surround a metal coordination bond in the alphaLbeta2-binding interfaces. Variation in composition of glycans on the periphery of the interfaces influences on-rate.

Jimenez, D., Roda-Navarro, P., Springer, T.A. & Casasnovas, J.M. Contribution of N-linked glycans to the conformation and function of intercellular adhesion molecules (ICAMs). J Biol Chem. 280, 7, 5854-5861 (2005).Abstract

The crystal structures of the glycosylated N-terminal two domains of ICAM-1 and ICAM-2 provided a framework for understanding the role of glycosylation in the structure and function of intercellular adhesion molecules (ICAMs). The most conserved glycans were less flexible in the structures, interacting with protein residues and contributing to receptor folding and expression. The first N-linked glycan in ICAM-2 contacts an exposed tryptophan residue, defining a conserved glycan-W motif critical for the conformation of the integrin binding domain. The absence of this motif in human ICAM-1 exposes regions used in receptor dimerization and rhinovirus recognition. Experiments with soluble molecules having the N-terminal two domains of human ICAMs identified glycans of the high mannose type N-linked to the second domain of the dendritic cell-specific ICAM-grabbing nonintegrin lectin-ligands ICAM-2 and ICAM-3. About 40% of those receptor molecules bear endoglycosidase H sensitive glycans responsible of the lectin binding activity. High mannose glycans were absent in ICAM-1, which did not bind to the lectin, but they appeared in ICAM-1 mutants with additional N-linked glycosylation and lectin binding activity. N-Linked glycosylation regulate both conformation and immune related functions of ICAM receptors.

Luo, B.-H., Carman, C.V., Takagi, J. & Springer, T.A. Disrupting integrin transmembrane domain heterodimerization increases ligand binding affinity, not valency or clustering. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102, 3679-3684 (2005).Abstract

Residues important in the interaction between the 23-residue transmembrane (TM) domains of the integrin alpha(IIb)- and beta(3)-subunits were identified by mutating each non-Leu residue to Leu. Leu substitutions of alpha(IIb) at G972, G976, and T981, and of beta(3) at I693 and G708, increased ligand binding. Substitutions with other amino acids at alpha(IIb)G972 and beta(3)G708 could also increase ligand binding. The results are consistent with and extend the helical interface between the integrin alpha- and beta-subunit TM domains previously defined by cysteine scanning and disulfide bond formation. We differentiated between affinity- and valency-based modes of activation by TM domain mutations. The mutant alpha(IIb) W967C forms disulfide-linked alpha(IIb)-subunits within an (alpha(IIb)beta(3))(2) tetramer. This tetramer behaved as an ideal model for the valency mode of regulation, because it exhibited significantly increased binding to multivalent but not monovalent ligands and basally retained the bent conformation. By contrast, the activating Leu mutants showed increased binding to the monovalent, ligand-mimetic PAC-1 Fab and increased exposure of ligand-induced binding site (LIBS) epitopes, suggesting that they partially adopt an extended conformation. Furthermore, the previously described beta(3)G708N mutation in Chinese hamster ovary cells enhanced ligand binding affinity, not valency, and did not alter cell-surface clustering as defined by confocal microscopy. Our studies provide evidence that disrupting the integrin heterodimeric TM helix-helix interface activates ligand binding mainly by increasing the monomeric affinity for ligand, but not the receptor valency, i.e., clustering.

Vorup-Jensen, T., et al. Exposure of acidic residues as a danger signal for recognition of fibrinogen and other macromolecules by integrin αXβ2. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102, 5, 1614-1619 (2005).Abstract

The structural integrity of tissue proteins is damaged in processes ranging from remodeling of the extracellular matrix to destruction by microbial pathogens. Leukocytes play a prominent role in tissue surveillance and repair. However, it remains enigmatic what features of structurally decayed proteins prompt recognition by leukocyte cell-surface receptors. Here, we report that adhesion of human neutrophil granulocytes to fibrinogen is greatly increased by plasmin digestion in a mode where alphaXbeta2 dominates the integrin-dependent binding. The bacterial protease subtilisin also enhances binding by alphaXbeta2. The alphaX ligand binding domain has an unusually high affinity for carboxyl groups, with KD at approximately 100 microM. Our findings implicate enhanced accessibility of negatively charged residues in structurally decayed proteins as a pattern recognition motif for alphaXbeta2 integrin. Comparisons among integrins show relevance of these findings to the large number of ligands recognized by alphaMbeta2 and alphaXbeta2 but not alphaLbeta2. The observations suggest that the pericellular proteolysis at the leading edge of neutrophils not only facilitates passage through the extracellular matrix but also manufactures binding sites for alphaXbeta2.

Zhang, F., et al. Two-dimensional kinetics regulation of αLβ2-ICAM-1 interaction by conformational changes of the αL inserted domain. J Biol Chem. 280, 51, 42207-42218 (2005).Abstract

The leukocyte integrin alphaLbeta2 mediates cell adhesion and migration during inflammatory and immune responses. Ligand binding of alphaLbeta2 is regulated by or induces conformational changes in the inserted (I) domain. By using a micropipette, we measured the conformational regulation of two-dimensional (2D) binding affinity and the kinetics of cell-bound intercellular adhesion molecule-1 interacting with alphaLbeta2 or isolated I domain expressed on K562 cells. Locking the I domain into open and intermediate conformations with a disulfide bond increased the affinities by approximately 8000- and approximately 30-fold, respectively, from the locked closed conformation, which has similar affinity as the wild-type I domain. Most surprisingly, the 2D affinity increases were due mostly to the 2D on-rate increases, as the 2D off-rates only decreased by severalfold. The wild-type alphaLbeta2, but not its I domain in isolation, could be up-regulated by Mn2+ or Mg2+ to have high affinities and on-rates. Locking the I domain in any of the three conformations abolished the ability of divalent cations to regulate 2D affinity. These results indicate that a downward displacement of the I domain C-terminal helix, induced by conformational changes of other domains of the alphaLbeta2, is required for affinity and on-rate up-regulation.

Yang, W., Shimaoka, M., Chen, J.F. & Springer, T.A. Activation of integrin β subunit I-like domains by one-turn C-terminal α-helix deletions. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101, 8, 2333-2338 (2004).Abstract

Integrins contain two structurally homologous but distantly related domains: an I-like domain that is present in all beta-subunits and an I domain that is present in some alpha-subunits. Atomic resolution and mutagenesis studies of alpha I domains demonstrate a C-terminal, axial displacement of the alpha7-helix that allosterically regulates the shape and affinity of the ligand-binding site. Atomic resolution studies of beta I-like domains have thus far demonstrated no similar alpha7-helix displacement; however, other studies are consistent with the idea that alpha I and beta I-like domains undergo structurally analogous rearrangements. To test the hypothesis that C-terminal, axial displacement of the alpha7-helix, coupled with beta6-alpha7 loop reshaping, activates beta I-like domains, we have mimicked the effect of alpha7-helix displacement on the beta6-alpha7 loop by shortening the alpha7-helix by two independent, four-residue deletions of about one turn of alpha-helix. In the case of integrin alphaLbeta2, each mutant exhibits constitutively high affinity for the physiological ligand intercellular adhesion molecule 1 and full exposure of a beta I-like domain activation-dependent antibody epitope. In the case of analogous mutants in integrin alpha4beta7, each mutant shows the activated phenotype of firm adhesion, rather than rolling adhesion, in shear flow. The results show that integrins that contain or lack alpha I domains share a common pathway of beta I-like domain activation, and they suggest that beta I-like and alpha I domain activation involves structurally analogous alpha7-helix axial displacements.

Luo, B.-H., Strokovich, K., Walz, T., Springer, T.A. & Takagi, J. Allosteric β1 integrin antibodies that stabilize the low affinity state by preventing the swing-out of the hybrid domain. J. Biol. Chem. 279, 26, 27466-27471 (2004).Abstract

The ligand binding function of integrins can be modulated by various monoclonal antibodies by both direct and indirect mechanisms. We have characterized an anti-beta(1) antibody, SG/19, that had been reported to inhibit the function of the beta(1) integrin on the cell surface. SG/19 recognized the wild type beta(1) subunit that exists in a conformational equilibrium between the high and low affinity states but bound poorly to a mutant beta(1) integrin that had been locked in a high affinity state. Epitope mapping of SG/19 revealed that Thr(82) in the beta(1) subunit, located at the outer face of the boundary between the I-like and hybrid domains, was the key binding determinant for this antibody. Direct visualization of the alpha (5)beta(1) headpiece fragment in complex with SG/19 Fab with electron microscopy confirmed the location of the binding surface and showed that the ligand binding site is not occluded by the bound Fab. Surface plasmon resonance showed that alpha (5)beta(1) integrin bound by SG/19 maintained a low affinity toward its physiological ligand fibronectin (Fn) whereas binding by function-blocking anti-alpha(5) antibodies resulted in a complete loss of fibronectin binding. Thus a class of the anti-beta antibodies represented by SG/19 attenuate the ligand binding function by restricting the conformational shift to the high affinity state involving the swing-out of the hybrid domain without directly interfering with ligand docking.

Lu, C., Shimaoka, M., Salas, A. & Springer, T.A. The binding sites for competitive antagonistic, allosteric antagonistic, and agonistic antibodies to the I domain of integrin LFA-1. J. Immunol. 173, 6, 3972-3978 (2004).Abstract

We explore the binding sites for mAbs to the alpha I domain of the integrin alphaLbeta2 that can competitively inhibit, allosterically inhibit, or activate binding to the ligand ICAM-1. Ten mAbs, some of them clinically important, were mapped to species-specific residues. The results are interpreted with independent structures of the alphaL I domain determined in seven different crystal lattices and in solution, and which are present in three conformational states that differ in affinity for ligand. Six mAbs bind to adjacent regions of the beta1-alpha1 and alpha3-alpha4 loops, which show only small (mean, 0.8 angstroms; maximum, 1.8 angstroms) displacements among the eight I domain structures. Proximity to the ligand binding site and to noncontacting portions of the ICAM-1 molecule explains competitive inhibition by these mAbs. Three mAbs bind to a segment of seven residues in the beta5-alpha6 loop and alpha6 helix, in similar proximity to the ligand binding site, but on the side opposite from the beta1-alpha1/alpha3-alpha4 epitopes, and far from noncontacting portions of ICAM-1. These residues show large displacements among the eight structures in response to lattice contacts (mean, 3.6 angstroms; maximum, 9.4 angstroms), and movement of a buried Phe in the beta5-alpha6 loop is partially correlated with affinity change at the ligand binding site. Together with a lack of proximity to noncontacting portions of ICAM-1, these observations explain variation among this group of mAbs, which can either act as competitive or allosteric antagonists. One agonistic mAb binds distant from the ligand binding site of the I domain, to residues that show little movement (mean, 0.5 angstroms; maximum, 1.0 angstroms). Agonism by this mAb is thus likely to result from altering the orientation of the I domain with respect to other domains within an intact integrin alphaLbeta2 heterodimer.
Copyright 2004 The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.

Culi, J., Springer, T.A. & Mann, R.S. Boca-dependent assembly of β-propeller/EGF modules in low-density lipoprotein receptor proteins. EMBO J. 23, 6, 1372-1380 (2004).Abstract

The extracellular portions of cell surface receptor proteins are often comprised of independently folding protein domains. As they are translated into the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), some of these domains require protein chaperones to assist in their folding. Members of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) family require the chaperone called Boca in Drosophila or its ortholog, Mesoderm development, in the mouse. All LDLRs have at least one six-bladed beta-propeller domain, which is immediately followed by an epidermal growth factor (EGF) repeat. We show here that Boca is specifically required for the maturation of these beta-propeller/EGF modules through the secretory pathway, but is not required for other LDLR domains. Protein interaction data suggest that as LDLRs are translated into the ER, Boca binds to the beta-propeller. Subsequently, once the EGF repeat is translated, the beta-propeller/EGF module achieves a more mature state that has lower affinity for Boca. We also show that Boca-dependent beta-propeller/EGF modules are found not only throughout the LDLR family but also in the precursor to the mammalian EGF ligand.

Jin, M., Andricioaei, I. & Springer, T.A. Conversion between three conformational states of integrin I domains with a C-terminal pull spring studied with molecular dynamics. Structure 12, 12, 2137-2147 (2004).Abstract

We test with molecular dynamics the hypothesis that interdomain forces in integrins, simulated with a spring attached to the C-terminal alpha 7-helix of an integrin I domain, can allosterically stabilize alternative I domain conformations. Depending on the force applied and timecourse, in alpha(L) and alpha(M) I domains the beta 6-alpha 7 loop moves successively between three ratchet positions; i.e. from closed to intermediate, and then to open. More distal, linked alterations in MIDAS loops and metal coordination closely resemble those seen when the MIDAS becomes ligated. Simulations show that the intermediate state is populated over a wider range of forces for alpha(L) than alpha(M) I domains. Simulations with mutant I domains suggest that specific ratchet residues regulate conformational equilibria. Simulations with alpha(1) and alpha(2) I domains reveal a lack of the intermediate conformation, owing to Phe to Glu substitution at the second ratchet residue. The findings have important implications for biological regulation of integrin adhesiveness.