Role of dimerization efficiency of transmembrane domains in activation of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3
Mutations in transmembrane (TM) domains of receptor tyrosine kinases are shown to cause a number of inherited diseases and cancer development. Here, we use a combined molecular modeling approach to understand molecular mechanism of effect of G370R and A391E mutations on dimerization of TM domains of human fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3). According to results of Monte-Carlo conformational search in the implicit membrane and further molecular dynamics simulations, TM dimer of this receptor is able to form a number of various conformations, which differ significantly by the free energy of association in a full-atom model bilayer. The aforementioned mutations affect dimerization efficiency of TM segments and lead to repopulation of conformational ensemble for the dimer. Particularly, both mutations do not change the dimerization free energy of the predominant (putative “non-active”) symmetric conformation of TM dimer, while affect dimerization efficiency of its asymmetric (“intermediate”) and alternative symmetric (putative “active”) models. Results of our simulations provide novel atomistic prospective of the role of G370 and A391E mutations in dimerization of TM domains of FGFR3 and their consecutive contributions to the activation pathway of the receptor.
Insulin receptor (IR) family is represented by three membrane proteins participating in organism development, growth, and vital activity. Modulation of the functioning of these receptors by external agents looks very perspective from a pharmaceutical point of view. Although IR is well studied, little is known about the role of its transmembrane (TM) domain in receptor activity. Nowadays, the major model of signal transfer by these receptors describes ligand-triggered conformational changes in the extracellular domain, bringing together TM domains that dimerize. This allows trans-autophosphorylation of intracellular domains followed by activation of secondary messengers. However, the conformation of the TM dimeric state is still unknown. Here, we studied in silico dimerization of TM segments of two closest members of the family: IR and IGF-1R. As a result, TM dimeric structures were predicted. This was done taking into account available structural data on extra- and intracellular parts of the receptors. Inspection of the extracellular segment mobility in the basal state revealed several modes of protein motion, although none of them allow TM domain dimerization. The calculated molecular dynamics of TM helices linked to intracellular domain led to a conclusion about autonomic behavior of the TM domain. Based on this data, the dimerization of TM domains was further simulated without extramembrane parts. The most probable models of TM dimeric structures were predicted and the free energy of helix-helix association in explicit lipid bilayers was evaluated. Two most energetically favorable models for IR and one for IGF-1R were delineated. Despite the lack of sequence homology, TM segments in both receptors pack in similar parallel dimers, thus suggesting a close activation mechanism.
Natural polycationic membrane-active peptides typically lack disulfide bonds and exhibit fusion, cell-penetrating, antimicrobial activities. They are mostly unordered in solution, but adopt a helical structure, when bound to phospholipid membranes. Structurally different are cardiotoxins (or cytotoxins, СTs) from cobra venom. They are fully b-structured molecules, characterized by the three-finger fold (TFF). Affinity of CTs to lipid bilayer was shown to depend on amino acid sequence in the tips of the three loops. In the present review, CT-membrane interactions are analyzed through the prism of data on binding of the toxins to phospholipid liposomes and detergent micelles, as well as their structural and computational studies in membrane mimicking environments. We assess different hydrophobicity scales to compare membrane partitioning of various CTs and their membrane effects. A comparison of hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties of CTs and linear polycationic peptides provides a key to their biological activity and reveal rationality for design of new membrane-interacting compounds. Finally, since the viewpoint of the data obtained on model lipid membranes, cytotoxic activity of CTs against cancer cells is discussed.
To gain success in the evolutionary “arms race”, venomous animals such as scorpions produce diverse neurotoxins selected to hit targets in the nervous system of prey. Scorpion α-toxins affect insect and/or mammalian voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav’s) and thereby modify the excitability of muscle and nerve cells. Although more than a hundred α-toxins are known and a number of them have been studied into detail, the molecular mechanism of their interaction with Nav’s is still poorly understood. Here, we employ extensive molecular dynamics simulations and spatial mapping of hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties distributed over the molecular surface of α-toxins. It is revealed that in spite of the small size and relatively rigid structure, these toxins possess modular organization from structural, functional and evolutionary perspectives. The more conserved and rigid “core module” is supplemented with the “specificity module” (SM) that is comparatively flexible and variable, and determines the taxon (mammal vs. insect) specificity of α-toxin activity. We further show that SMs in mammal toxins are more flexible and hydrophilic than in insect toxins. Concomitant sequence-based analysis of Nav’s extracellular loops suggests that α-toxins recognize the channels using both modules. We propose that the core module binds to the voltage-sensing domain of repeat IV, whereas the more versatile SM interacts with the pore domain in repeat I of Nav’s. These findings corroborate and expand the hypothesis on different functional epitopes of toxins that has been reported previously. In effect, we propose that the modular structure in toxins evolved to match the domain architecture of Nav’s.
Plasmatic membranes contain high amount of membrane proteins. They perform vital functions of life, so any disruptions in their structure result in pathologies and diseases. Studies of these proteins with experimental methods are very complicated and expensive, as they require the membrane environment. Despite considerable progress achieved so far in methods of structure determination and property analysis, many computational methods are developing to predict the structural and dynamical parameters of proteins in membranes. Among the algorithms of modeling are the homology analysis, de novo structure prediction, molecular dynamics simulations and other. With growing computational capabilities, sophisticated techniques are developed taking into account more environmental factors. Combined approaches with different levels of approximation of intermolecular interactions are widely used. The major interest in studies of membrane proteins is focused on their transmembrane domains that are fundamental structural elements and are constituted by α-helices or helical bundles incorporated into lipid bilayer in most cases. Therefore, the fundamental problem of interaction of a pair of helices in membrane arises: the exact mechanism of this process is still not so clear. In place of the prevailing concept of dimerization motifs that states the importance of protein-protein contacts, a new model of the membrane as an adaptable lipid matrix is proposed. It states that biological membrane can adjust its properties around proteins and also modulates their activity. This mechanism of the mutual influence of two components is challenging modern computational methods of membrane model- ing because these systems are quite large and include many components to be treated accurately. Nowadays, investigations of the complex multi-component model systems become possible with modern methods of computational experiment.
Ribosomal protein S2 is an essential component of translation machinery, and its viable mutated variants conferring distinct phenotypes serve as a valuable tool in studying the role of S2 in translation regulation. One of a few available rpsB mutants, rpsB1, shows thermosensitivity and ensures enhanced expression of leaderless mRNAs. In this study, we identified the nature of the rpsB1 mutation. Sequencing of the rpsB1 allele revealed a G-to-A transition in the part of the rpsB gene which encodes a coiled-coil domain of S2. The resulting E132K substitution resides in a highly conserved site, TKKE, a so-called N-terminal capping box, at the beginning of the second alpha helix. The protruding coiled-coil domain of S2 is known to provide binding with 16S rRNA in the head of the 30S subunit and, in addition, to interact with a key mRNA binding protein, S1. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed a detrimental impact of the E132K mutation on the coiled-coil structure and thereby on the interactions between S2 and 16S rRNA, providing a clue for the thermosensitivity of the rpsB1 mutant. Using a strain producing a leaderless lacZ transcript from the chromosomal lac promoter, we demonstrated that not only the rpsB1 mutation generating S2/S1-deficient ribosomes but also the rpsA::IS10 mutation leading to partial deficiency in S1 alone increased translation efficiency of the leaderless mRNA by about 10-fold. Moderate overexpression of S1 relieved all these effects and, moreover, suppressed the thermosensitive phenotype of rpsB1, indicating the role of S1 as an extragenic suppressor of the E132K mutation.
The dynamics of a two-component Davydov-Scott (DS) soliton with a small mismatch of the initial location or velocity of the high-frequency (HF) component was investigated within the framework of the Zakharov-type system of two coupled equations for the HF and low-frequency (LF) fields. In this system, the HF field is described by the linear Schrödinger equation with the potential generated by the LF component varying in time and space. The LF component in this system is described by the Korteweg-de Vries equation with a term of quadratic influence of the HF field on the LF field. The frequency of the DS soliton`s component oscillation was found analytically using the balance equation. The perturbed DS soliton was shown to be stable. The analytical results were confirmed by numerical simulations.
Radiation conditions are described for various space regions, radiation-induced effects in spacecraft materials and equipment components are considered and information on theoretical, computational, and experimental methods for studying radiation effects are presented. The peculiarities of radiation effects on nanostructures and some problems related to modeling and radiation testing of such structures are considered.