Human-secreted Ly-6/uPAR-related protein-2 (SLURP-2) regulates the growth and differentiation of epithelial cells. Previously, the auto/paracrine activity of SLURP-2 was considered to be mediated via its interaction with the α3β2 subtype of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). Here, we describe the structure and pharmacology of a recombinant analogue of SLURP-2. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy revealed a three-finger' fold of SLURP-2 with a conserved β-structural core and three protruding loops. Affinity purification using cortical extracts revealed that SLURP-2 could interact with the α3, α4, α5, α7, β2, and β4 nAChR subunits, revealing its broader pharmacological profile. SLURP-2 inhibits acetylcholine-evoked currents at α4β2 and α3β2-nAChRs (IC 50 ∼0.17 and >3 μM, respectively) expressed in Xenopus oocytes. In contrast, at α7-nAChRs, SLURP-2 significantly enhances acetylcholine-evoked currents at concentrations <1 μM but induces inhibition at higher concentrations. SLURP-2 allosterically interacts with human M1 and M3 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) that are overexpressed in CHO cells. SLURP-2 was found to promote the proliferation of human oral keratinocytes via interactions with α3β2-nAChRs, while it inhibited cell growth via α7-nAChRs. SLURP-2/mAChRs interactions are also probably involved in the control of keratinocyte growth. Computer modeling revealed possible SLURP-2 binding to the classical' orthosteric agonist/antagonist binding sites at α7 and α3β2-nAChRs.
Heat-activated transient receptor potential channel TRPV1 is one of the most studied eukaryotic proteins involved in temperature sensation. Upon heating, it exhibits rapid reversible pore gating, which depolarizes neurons and generates action potentials. Underlying molecular details of such effects in the pore region of TRPV1 is of a crucial importance to control temperature responses of the organism. Despite the spatial structure of the channel in both open (O) and closed (C) states is known, microscopic nature of channel gating and mechanism of thermal sensitivity are still poorly understood. In this work, we used unrestrained atomistic molecular dynamics simulations of TRPV1 (without N- and C-terminal cytoplasmic domains) embedded into explicit lipid bilayer in its O- and C-states. We found that the pore domain with its neighboring loops undergoes large temperature-dependent conformational transitions in an asymmetric way, when fragments of only one monomer move with large amplitude, freeing the pore upon heating. Such an asymmetrical gating looks rather biologically relevant because it is faster and more reliable than traditionally proposed "iris-like" symmetric scheme of channel opening. Analysis of structural, dynamic, and hydrophobic organization of the pore domain revealed entropy growth upon TRPV1 gating, which is in line with current concepts of thermal sensitivity.