Integrins play critical roles in development, wound healing, immunity and cancer. Central to their function is their unique ability to modulate dynamically their adhesiveness through both affinity- and valency-based mechanisms. Recent advances have shed light on the structural basis for affinity regulation and on the signaling mechanisms responsible for both affinity and valency modes of regulation.
The integrin LFA-1 interacts with a variety of ligands termed ICAMs. ICAM-1 and ICAM-2 are both expressed on endothelium and serve as counterreceptors during lymphocyte trafficking. In this study, we analyzed their relative contribution to lymphocyte recirculation through lymph nodes and to recruitment into lung and inflamed skin by blocking mAbs against ICAM-1 and ICAM-2 and mice deficient for ICAM-1. The entry of lymphocytes into peripheral and mesenteric lymph nodes was found to be unaffected by the functional deletion of either ICAM-1 or ICAM-2. However, when both pathways were blocked, recirculation through lymph nodes was strongly reduced. Trapping of lymphocytes in the lung after i.v. injection is partly mediated by LFA-1/ICAM interactions; the data presented in this study show an exclusive role of ICAM-1 in LFA-1-dependent lung trapping. Similarly, ICAM-1, but not ICAM-2, was required for the migration of T effector cells into the inflamed skin. These results indicate that ICAM-1 and ICAM-2 have redundant functions in lymphocyte recirculation through lymph nodes, but ICAM-1 is unique in supporting migration into inflamed sites and trapping within the lung.
Leukocyte integrins contain an inserted (I) domain in their alpha subunits and an I-like domain in their beta(2) subunit, which directly bind ligand and regulate ligand binding, respectively. We describe a novel mechanistic class of integrin inhibitors that bind to the metal ion-dependent adhesion site of the beta(2) I-like domain and prevent its interaction with and activation of the alpha(L) I domain. The inhibitors do not bind to the alpha(L) I domain but stabilize alpha/beta subunit association and can show selectivity for alpha(L)beta(2) compared to alpha(M)beta(2). The inhibitors reveal a crucial intersection for relaying conformational signals within integrin extracellular domains. While blocking signals in one direction to the I domain, the antagonists induce the active conformation of the I-like domain and stalk domains, and thus transmit conformational signals in the other direction toward the transmembrane domains.
The affinity of the extracellular domain of integrins for ligand is regulated by conformational changes signaled from the cytoplasm. Alternative types of conformational movement in the ligand-binding headpiece have been proposed. In one study, electron micrograph image averages of the headpiece of integrin aV beta 3 show two different conformations. The open conformation of the headpiece is present when a ligand mimetic peptide is bound and differs from the closed conformation in the presence of an obtuse angle between the beta 3 subunit hybrid and I-like domains. We tested the hypothesis that opening of the hybrid-I-like domain interface increases ligand-binding affinity by mutationally introducing an N-glycosylation site into it. Both beta 3 and beta1 integrin glycan wedge mutants exhibit constitutively high affinity for physiological ligands. The data uniquely support one model of integrin activation and suggest that movement at the interface with the hybrid domain pulls down the C-terminal helix of the I-like domain and activates its metal ion-dependent adhesion site, analogously to activation of the integrin I domain.
The integrin alpha X beta 2 (CD11c/CD18, p150,95) binds ligands through the I domain of the alpha X subunit. Ligands include the complement factor fragment iC3b, a key component in the innate immune defense, which, together with the expression of alpha X beta 2 on dendritic cells and on other leukocytes, suggests a role in the immune response. We now report the structure of the alpha X I domain resolved at 1.65 A by x-ray crystallography. To analyze structural requirements for ligand binding we made a mutation in the alpha X I domain C-terminal helix, which increased the affinity for iC3b approximately 200-fold to 2.4 microM compared with the wild-type domain affinity of approximately 400 microM. Gel permeation chromatography supported a conformational change between the wild-type and mutated domains. Conservation of allosteric regulation in the alpha X I domain points to the functional importance of this phenomenon.
The membrane-distal headpiece of integrins has evolved to specifically bind large extracellular protein ligands, but the molecular architecture of the resulting complexes has not been determined. We used molecular electron microscopy to determine the three-dimensional structure of the ligand-binding headpiece of integrin alpha5beta1 complexed with fragments of its physiological ligand fibronectin. The density map for the unliganded alpha5beta1 headpiece shows a 'closed' conformation similar to that seen in the alphaVbeta3 crystal structure. By contrast, binding to fibronectin induces an 'open' conformation with a dramatic, approximately 80 degrees change in the angle of the hybrid domain of the beta subunit relative to its I-like domain. The fibronectin fragment binds to the interface between the beta-propeller and I-like domains in the integrin headpiece through the RGD-containing module 10, but direct contact of the synergy-region-containing module 9 to integrin is not evident. This finding is corroborated by kinetic analysis of real-time binding data, which shows that the synergy site greatly enhances k(on) but has little effect on the stability or k(off) of the complex.
The structure of the I domain of integrin alpha L beta 2 bound to the Ig superfamily ligand ICAM-1 reveals the open ligand binding conformation and the first example of an integrin-IgSF interface. The I domain Mg2+ directly coordinates Glu-34 of ICAM-1, and a dramatic swing of I domain residue Glu-241 enables a critical salt bridge. Liganded and unliganded structures for both high- and intermediate-affinity mutant I domains reveal that ligand binding can induce conformational change in the alpha L I domain and that allosteric signals can convert the closed conformation to intermediate or open conformations without ligand binding. Pulling down on the C-terminal alpha 7 helix with introduced disulfide bonds ratchets the beta 6-alpha 7 loop into three different positions in the closed, intermediate, and open conformations, with a progressive increase in affinity.
Integrins are a structurally elaborate family of adhesion molecules that transmit signals bi-directionally across the plasma membrane by undergoing large-scale structural rearrangements. By regulating cell-cell and cell-matrix contacts, integrins participate in a wide range of biological processes, including development, tissue repair, angiogenesis, inflammation and haemostasis. From a therapeutic standpoint, integrins are probably the most important class of cell-adhesion receptors. Recent progress in the development of integrin antagonists has resulted in their clinical application and has shed new light on integrin biology. On the basis of their mechanism of action, small-molecule integrin antagonists fall into three different classes. Each of these classes affect the equilibria that relate integrin conformational states, but in different ways.
Conformational changes in integrins are important for efficient ligand binding during activation. We proposed that the I domain of the integrin lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) could exist in both open and closed conformations and generated constitutively activated LFA-1 by locking the I domain in the open conformation. Here we provide structural and biochemical evidence to validate conformational change in the I domain of LFA-1 upon activation. Two monoclonal antibodies to alpha(L), HI111 and CBR LFA-1/1, bind wild-type LFA-1 well, but their binding is significantly reduced when LFA-1 is locked in the open conformation. Furthermore, this reduction in monoclonal antibody binding also occurs when LFA-1 is activated by divalent cations. HI111 maps to the top region of the I domain that is close to the putative ligand-binding site surrounding the MIDAS (metal ion-dependent adhesion site). The epitope of CBR LFA-1/1 is at the C-terminal segment of the I domain that links to the beta-propeller, and undergoes a large movement between the open and closed conformations. Our data demonstrate that these two regions undergo significant conformational changes during LFA-1 activation and that the I domain of activated LFA-1 adopts a similar tertiary structure as the predicted locked open form.
The surface layer of archaeobacteria protects cells from extreme environments and, in Methanosarcina, may regulate cell adhesion. We identify three domain types that account for the complete architecture of numerous Methanosarcina surface layer proteins (SLPs). We solve the crystal structure for two of these domains, which correspond to the two N-terminal domains of an M. mazei SLP. One domain displays a unique, highly symmetrical, seven-bladed beta propeller fold, and the other belongs to the polycystic kidney disease (PKD) superfamily fold. The third domain is predicted to adopt a beta helix fold. These domains have homologs in metazoan cell surface proteins, suggesting remarkable relationships between domains in archaeal SLPs and metazoan cell surface proteins.
We previously reported that certain glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) bind secondary lymphoid tissue chemokine (SLC, CCL21) and that the SLC-binding GAGs, including chondroitin sulfate B (CS B), negatively modulate the function of SLC, although the mechanism remains unknown [J. Biol. Chem. 276 (2001) 5228]. To gain insight into the mechanism of inhibition, we used a C-terminally truncated SLC (SLC-T) that lacked clusters of basic amino acid residues that have been implicated in GAG binding. While SLC-T failed to bind any GAGs, it induced prominent intracellular Ca(2+) mobilization in CC chemokine receptor (CCR) 7-expressing cells, as did wild-type SLC. However, the SLC-T-induced Ca(2+) influx was not inhibited by CS B, unlike the SLC-induced Ca(2+) influx. These results demonstrate the requirement of the C-terminus of SLC for the inhibition of chemokine responses by CS B; that is, CS B exerts its inhibitory effect by binding to the C-terminus of SLC, thus defining the mode of action of CS B on certain chemokines.
Integrins are a structurally elaborate family of heterodimers that mediate divalent cation-dependent cell adhesion in a wide range of biological contexts. The inserted (I) domain binds ligand in the subset of integrins in which it is present. Its structure has been determined in two alternative conformations, termed open and closed. In striking similarity to signaling G proteins, rearrangement of a Mg(2+)-binding site is linked to large conformational movements in distant backbone regions. Mutations have been used to stabilize either the closed or open structures. These show that the snapshots of the open conformation seen only in the presence of a ligand or a ligand mimetic represent a high-affinity, ligand-binding conformation, whereas those of the closed conformation correspond to a low-affinity conformation. The C-terminal alpha-helix moves 10 A down the side of the domain in the open conformation. Locking in the conformation of the preceding loop is sufficient to increase affinity for ligand 9000-fold. This C-terminal "bell-rope" provides a mechanism for linkage to conformational movements in other domains. The transition from the closed to open conformation has been implicated in fast (<1 s) regulation of integrin affinity in response to activation signals from inside the cell. Recent integrin structures and functional studies reveal interactions between beta-propeller, I, and I-like domains in the headpiece, and a critical role for integrin EGF domains in the stalk region. These studies suggest that the headpiece of the integrin faces down toward the membrane in the inactive conformation and extends upward in a "switchblade"-like opening motion upon activation. These long-range structural rearrangements of the entire integrin molecule involving multiple interdomain contacts appear closely linked to conformational changes in the I domain, which result in increased affinity and competence for ligand binding.
Cysteine-rich repeats in the integrin beta subunit stalk region relay activation signals to the ligand-binding headpiece. The NMR solution structure and disulfide bond connectivity of Cys-rich module-3 of the integrin beta2 subunit reveal a nosecone-shaped variant of the EGF fold, termed an integrin-EGF (I-EGF) domain. Interdomain contacts between I-EGF domains 2 and 3 observed by NMR support a model in which the modules are related by an approximate two-fold screw axis in an extended arrangement. Our findings complement a 3.1 A crystal structure of the extracellular portion of integrin alphaVbeta3, which lacks an atomic model for I-EGF2 and a portion of I-EGF3. The disulfide connectivity of I-EGF3 chemically assigned here differs from the pairings suggested in the alphaVbeta3 structure. Epitopes that become exposed upon integrin activation and residues that restrain activation are defined in beta2 I-EGF domains 2 and 3. Superposition on the alphaVbeta3 structure reveals that they are buried. This observation suggests that the highly bent alphaVbeta3 structure represents the inactive conformation and that release of contacts with I-EGF modules 2 and 3 triggers a switchblade-like opening motion extending the integrin into its active conformation.
Methanogenesis, the biological production of methane, plays a pivotal role in the global carbon cycle and contributes significantly to global warming. The majority of methane in nature is derived from acetate. Here we report the complete genome sequence of an acetate-utilizing methanogen, Methanosarcina acetivorans C2A. Methanosarcineae are the most metabolically diverse methanogens, thrive in a broad range of environments, and are unique among the Archaea in forming complex multicellular structures. This diversity is reflected in the genome of M. acetivorans. At 5,751,492 base pairs it is by far the largest known archaeal genome. The 4524 open reading frames code for a strikingly wide and unanticipated variety of metabolic and cellular capabilities. The presence of novel methyltransferases indicates the likelihood of undiscovered natural energy sources for methanogenesis, whereas the presence of single-subunit carbon monoxide dehydrogenases raises the possibility of nonmethanogenic growth. Although motility has not been observed in any Methanosarcineae, a flagellin gene cluster and two complete chemotaxis gene clusters were identified. The availability of genetic methods, coupled with its physiological and metabolic diversity, makes M. acetivorans a powerful model organism for the study of archaeal biology. [Sequence, data, annotations and analyses are available at http://www-genome.wi.mit.edu/.]
How ligand binding alters integrin conformation in outside-in signaling, and how inside-out signals alter integrin affinity for ligand, have been mysterious. We address this with electron microscopy, physicochemical measurements, mutational introduction of disulfides, and ligand binding to alphaVbeta3 and alphaIIbbeta3 integrins. We show that a highly bent integrin conformation is physiological and has low affinity for biological ligands. Addition of a high affinity ligand mimetic peptide or Mn(2+) results in a switchblade-like opening to an extended structure. An outward swing of the hybrid domain at its junction with the I-like domain shows conformational change within the headpiece that is linked to ligand binding. Breakage of a C-terminal clasp between the alpha and beta subunits enhances Mn(2+)-induced unbending and ligand binding.
Among adhesion receptor families, integrins are particularly important in biological processes that require rapid modulation of adhesion and de-adhesion. Activation on a timescale of < 1 s of beta2 integrins on leukocytes and beta3 integrins on platelets enables deposition of these cells at sites of inflammation or vessel wall injury. Recent crystal, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), and electron microscope (EM) structures of integrins and their domains lead to a unifying mechanism of activation for both integrins that contain and those that lack an inserted (I) domain. The I domain adopts two alternative conformations, termed open and closed. In striking similarity to signaling G-proteins, rearrangement of a Mg2+-binding site is linked to large conformational movements in distant backbone regions. Mutations that stabilize a particular conformation show that the open conformation has high affinity for ligand, whereas the closed conformation has low affinity. Movement of the C-terminal alpha-helix 10 A down the side of the domain in the open conformation is sufficient to increase affinity at the distal ligand-binding site 9,000-fold. This C-terminal "bell-rope" provides a mechanism for linkage to conformational movements in other domains. Recent structures and functional studies reveal interactions between beta-propeller, I, and I-like domains in the integrin headpiece, and a critical role for integrin epidermal growth factor (EGF) domains in the stalk region. The headpiece of the integrin faces down towards the membrane in the inactive conformation, and extends upward in a "switchblade"-like opening upon activation. These long-range structural rearrangements of the entire integrin molecule involving interdomain contacts appear closely linked to conformational changes within the I and I-like domains, which result in increased affinity and competence for ligand binding.
Icap1 alpha is a 200-amino acid protein that binds to the COOH-terminal 13 amino acids ((786)AVTTVVNPKYEGK(798)) of the integrin beta(1) subunit. Alanine scanning mutagenesis of this region revealed that Val(787), Val(790), and (792)NPKY(795) are critical for Icap1 alpha binding. The NPXY motif is a known binding substrate for phosphotyrosine binding (PTB) domain proteins. The sequences of Icap1 alpha, residues 58--200, and the beta(1) integrin, residues 786-797, were aligned to the available PTB-peptide structures to generate a high quality structural model. Site-directed mutagenesis showed that Leu(135), Ile(138), and Ile(139) of Icap1 alpha, residues predicted by the model to be in close proximity to (792)NPKY(795), and Leu(82) and Tyr(144), residues expected to form a hydrophobic pocket near Val(787), are required for the Icap1 alpha-beta(1) integrin interaction. These findings indicate that Icap1 alpha is a PTB domain protein, which recognizes the NPXY motif of beta(1) integrin. Furthermore, our date suggest that an interaction between Val(787) and the hydrophobic pocket created by Leu(82) and Tyr(144) of Icap1 alpha forms the basis for the specificity of Icap1 alpha for the beta(1) integrin subunit.