- Isolation, characterization and mechanism of action of a novel and selective pharmacological antagonist from Vipera palaestinae venom targeting α2β1 collagen-binding receptor (2013)
- In the past century, scientists have realized that venoms are a source of a number of natural substances presenting a wide range of pharmacological properties and often displaying a high specificity for their targets. Thus, the field of toxinology came into being, which is defined as the study of toxic substances of biological origin. Toxins are found in a wide variety of animals, including fish, cone snails, scorpions, snakes, and even some mammals. To be classified as venom, these must contain substances, i.e. toxins, which disturb physiological processes and must be deliberately delivered to the target animal. Snakes have evolved one of the most sophisticated mechanisms for venom delivery. Envenomation by snakebite can induce and inhibit aggregation/agglutination of platelets as well as inhibit/activate hemostasis, but also disrupt other physiological functions via neurotoxins and angioneurin growth factors. Snake venoms contain a substantial amount of C-type lectin-related proteins (CLRPs) which are known to function, notably, as integrin inhibitors. CLRPs are heterodimers composed of homologous α and β subunits which can assemble either covalently or noncovalently to oligomers, resulting in αβ, (αβ)2 and (αβ)4 structures. Some of the main targets of CLRPs are membrane receptors, coagulation factors, and proteins essential to hemostasis. The platelet collagen receptors GPVI and α2β1 integrin as well as the von Willebrand factor receptor GPIb play important roles in platelet activation and aggregation and are considered main targets of antithrombotic drugs. In this thesis, the integrin α2β1 is particularly considered as it is the sole collagen-binding integrin on platelets. Reduced expression of this platelet receptor results in dysfunction of platelet responses. Equivalently, overexpression of α2β1 integrin results in an increased risk of thrombosis. As a result, selective inhibitors of the collagen-α2β1 interaction could give rise to effective antithrombotic drugs. Integrins are large receptors which mediate cell-cell contacts and the binding of cells to the extracellular matrix (ECM). Therefore, they play a role in physiological processes, e.g. hemostasis and immunity, as well as in pathological processes, e.g. tumor angiogenesis and atherosclerosis. 18 α and 8 β integrin subunits, with nine α subunits containing an additional A domain, associate non-covalently to form 24 heterodimers with distinct binding specificities. Integrin collagen receptors are a subclass of four receptors which all utilize the β1 subunit. The α2β1 integrin is a collagen-binding receptor expressed not only on platelets, but also on endothelial and epithelial cells. Consequently, this integrin is also essential for cell adhesion and migration playing a role in angiogenesis as well as tumor metastasis. To date, there are five known antagonists of α2β1 integrin: EMS16, rhodocetin, vixapatin, and most recently rhinocetin and flavocetin-A. The first four have been shown to be specific for the integrin α2A domain, the major collagen-binding domain. All these antagonists are CLRPs and present new leads for drug design. In the past few years, many insights into the structure and function of rhodocetin were obtained. Monoclonal antibodies proved to be advantageous in disclosing this information, making them not only useful as therapeutic agents, but also as tools for protein characterization. The venom of the Vipera palaestinae snake was recently shown to contain an α2β1 integrin inhibitor, which prevented the integrin from binding collagen. This inhibitor, called vixapatin, was the initial focus of this dissertation. Vixapatin’s interaction with the α2β1 integrin needed further characterization on a molecular and cellular level to assess its medical potential and monoclonal antibodies were to be used as a tool. Originally, vixapatin had been isolated by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. To avoid the stringency of this method, for this study, it was replaced with gentler chromatographic methods. First, the α2β1 integrin inhibitor was isolated from the crude snake venom with affinity chromatography using the α2A domain as bait, establishing a method to quickly screen venoms for α2β1-binding proteins which affect the collagenintegrin interaction. The applicability of this method to other snake venoms was shown by isolating an α2A domain-specific toxin from the venom of Trimeresurus flavoviridis. To allow further characterization of both these toxins, gel filtration and ion exchange chromatography were employed to purify the protein without the α2A domain. These classical protein purification methods resulted in similar separation patterns of both the V. palaestinae and T. flavoviridis venom proteins. Purified proteins exhibiting the potential of inhibiting integrinbinding to collagen were analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Both VP-i and flavocetin-A, the integrin inhibitors from V. palaestinae and T. flavoviridis, respectively, were shown to have more complex structures than was evident from the purification. Each consisted of four low-molecular-weight proteins which assembled into two bands (for VP-i) or one single band (for flavocetin-A) under non-reducing conditions. Mass spectrometry analyses revealed VP-i to belong to the family of CLRPs, just like vixapatin does. However, these two proteins differed in their primary sequences and only showed homology to one another. The toxin purified from T. flavoviridis revealed this toxin to be flavocetin-A, a heterodimeric CLRP which had so far only been shown to have GPIb-binding activity. At the time of flavocetin-A’s purification, flavocetin-B was co-purified; flavocetin-B consists of the same two α and β subunits, plus an additional γ subunit. As no sequence information is known to date for the γ subunit, it may be one of the additional proteins purified here, along with an additional δ subunit. Therefore, the toxin isolated here may actually consist of four different subunits forming a tetramer of two different heterodimers, generating an (αβ)2(γδ)2 structure. This proposed (αβ)2(γδ)2 flavocetin-A structure has binding sites for both α2β1 integrin and GPIb, with no sterical overlap, as shown by affinity chromatography using the α2A domain and the extracellular domain of the GPIb receptor. The potential of VP-i and flavocetin-A to inhibit integrin-binding to type I collagen was shown during purification: Both toxins efficiently bind to the integrin α2A domain; also, VP-i and vixapatin bind to the A domain with the same affinity. Surface plasmon resonance showed the interaction of flavocetin-A with the α2β1 integrin to be extremely strong and association to be very fast. Furthermore, both toxins were shown to inhibit binding of the wildtype integrin to collagen: VP-i and flavocetin-A acted antagonistically on cell adhesion and cell migration. Initially, the interaction between VP-i and α2β1 integrin was to be further characterized with the help of monoclonal antibodies. However, this proved problematic, the procedure requiring various optimizations. Although, after expert consultation, some monoclonal antibodies could be obtained, the cells were extremely sensitive and gave unsatisfactory results when tested as detection tools in Western blot and immunoassays. Concluding, two novel α2β1 integrin inhibitors were discovered: VP-i and flavocetin-A, which were purified using the same procedure and which have similar functions. Both are Ctype lectin-related proteins which effectively inhibit cell adhesion and migration. This underlines that nature has instrumentalized CLRPs to specifically inhibit α2β1 integrin. Further characterization of VP-i and flavocetin-A will be able to provide leads for future drug development.
- An ambiguous interface – on the transport mechanism of the ABC transport complex TAP (2012)
- The adaptive immune system protects against daily infections and malignant transformation. In this, the translocation of antigenic peptides by the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) into the ER lumen is an essential step in the antigen presentation by MHC I molecules. The heterodimeric ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABC) TAP consist of the two halftransporters TAP1 and TAP2. Each monomer contains an N-terminal transmembrane domain (TMD) and a conserved C-terminal nucleotide-binding domain (NBD). Together, the TMDs build the translocation core and the NBDs bind and hydrolyze ATP, energizing the peptide transport. TAP features an asymmetry in the two ATP-binding sites that are built of several conserved motifs. One motif is the D-loop with the consensus sequence SALD. The highly conserved aspartate of the D-loop of TAP1 reaches into the canonic ATP-binding site and contacts the Walker A motif and the H-loop of the opposite NBD, while the Asp of D-loop of TAP2 is part of the non-canonic ATP-binding site. To examine this ABC transport complex in mechanistic detail, a purification and reconstitution procedure was established with the function of TAP being preserved. The heterodimeric TAP complex was purified via a His10-tag at TAP1 in a 1:1 ratio of the subunits. Nucleotide binding to the purified transporter was elucidated by tryptophan quenching assays and the affinity constants for MgADP and MgATP were determined to be 1.0 μM and 0.7 μM, respectevely. In addition, the TAP complex shows strict coupling between peptide binding and ATP hydrolysis, revealing no basal ATPase activity in the absence of peptides. Furthermore, TAP was reconstituted into proteoliposomes and the activity was tested by peptide transport and ATP hydrolysis. Interestingly, the kinetic parameters of the transporter in the reconstituted state are comparable to the data gained for TAP in microsomes. To characterize the functional importance of the D-loop, D-loop mutants of either TAP1 or TAP2 were analyzed. Strikingly, TAP containing a mutated D-loop in TAP1 (D674A) shows an ATP-hydrolysis independent peptide translocation. Accordingly, the MHC I surface expression is similar to the wildtype situation. However, the same mutation in TAP2 (D638A) results in an ATPase dependent peptide transport similar to wildtype, whereas TAP containing mutations in both subunits leads to an inactive transporter. Although all D-loop mutants showed no altered peptide binding activity, the TAP1 mutant is inactive in peptide-stimulated ATPase activity. Strikingly, ATP or ADP binding is strictly required for the peptide translocation. Experiments carried out in proteoliposomes demonstrate that wildtype TAP can export peptides against their gradient when low peptide concentrations are offered. In contrast, the D674A mutant can facilitate peptide translocation along their concentration gradient in the two directions. At high peptide concentrations, TAP is trapped in a transport incompetent state induced by trans-inhibition. In conclusion, a TAP mutant that uncouples solute translocation from ATP hydrolysis was created. Since this passive substrate movement is strictly dependent on binding of ATP or ADP, an active transporter was turned into a “nucleotide-gated facilitator”. In a cysteine cross-linking approach the conformational changes of TAP during peptide transport and the flexibility of the nucleotide binding domains were examined. Single cysteines were introduced in the D-loops of TAP1 and TAP2. Cross-linking by copper-phenantroline (CuPhe) was possible for all combinations. However, by adding ATP, ADP or peptide to the TAP complex no differences in the cross-linking efficiency were detected. By CuPhe cross-linking TAP was trapped in a conformation, in which the peptide binding site was not accessible. To complete a transport cycle, a flexibility of at least 17.8 Å of the NBDs is needed, since TAP cross-linked by CuPhe (2.0 Å) or bismaleimidoethane (BMOE, 8.0 Å) was transport inactive but when TAP was cross-linked by 1,11-bismaleimido-triethyleneglycol (BM[PEG]3, 17.8 Å) transport activity was preserved.
- Substrate binding does not only mean catalysis: internal regulation in the cytochrome bc1 complex from Paracoccus denitrificans (2011)
- The ubiquinol:cytochrome c oxidoreductase is a key component of several aerobic respiratory chains in different organisms. It is an integral membrane protein complex, made up of three catalytic subunits (cytochrome b, cytochrome c1 and Rieske iron sulphur protein) and up to eight additional subunits in mitochondria. The complex oxidizes one quinol molecules and reduces two cytochrome c during the Q cycle, originally described by Peter Mitchell. Electrons are split between the low and the high potential chain and protons are released on the positive side of the membrane, increasing the protonmotive force needed by the ATP-synthase for energy transduction. The cytochrome bc1 complex from P. denitrificans is a perfect model for structural and functional studies. Bacteria are easy to grow and the genetic material is readily accessible for genetic manipulation. Moreover, the P. denitrificans aerobic respiratory chain is very close to the mitochondrial one: the complexes involved in electron transfer resemble the ones found in mitochondria, but lack most of the additional subunits. As a unique feature, P. denitrificans has a strongly acidic domain at the N-terminal region of the cytochrome c1, a sequence of 150 aminoacids which does not correlate with any known protein. An analogous composition can be found in the eukaryotic cytochrome bc1 complex as a part of an accessory subunit, proposed to be involved in facilitating electron transfer between the complex and the electron acceptor cytochrome c. In order to study the function of this domain in the P. denitrificans cytochrome bc1 complex, a deletion mutant has been previously cloned and modified with an affinity tag as a C-terminal extension of cytochrome b. The complex is purified by affinity chromatography and characterized by steady-state kinetics using not only horse heart cytochrome c but also the endogenous electron acceptor, the membrane bound cytochrome c552, employed here as a soluble fragment. Steady–state kinetics indicate that the deletion of the long acidic domain had effects neither on the turnover rate nor on the apparent affinity for the substrate. To understand wether the deletion affects the reaction between the cytochrome bc1 complex and the substrate, laser flash photolysis experiments are performed, showing that the interaction observed was not changed in the complex missing the acidic domain. The results presented in this work confirm the ones previously obtained by Julia Janzon using soluble fragments of the same interaction partners. The deletion, however, affected the oligomerization state of the complex, as shown by LILBID (Laser Induced Liquid Bead Ion Desorption) analysis. The wild type complex has a tetrameric structure, better described as a “dimer of dimers”. The deletion of the acidic domain on the cytochrome c1 results in the separation of the two dimers, yielding the canonical dimer. Therefore, the complex deleted in the acidic domain is used for cloning and expression of a heterodimeric complex, containing an inactivating mutation in the quinol oxidation site in only one monomer, thus allowing a selective switch-off for half the complex. Such a complex is needed for the verification of an internal regulation mechanism, the half-of-the-sites reactivity. According to it, the dimeric structure of the cytochrome bc1 complex has functional implications, since the two monomers can communicate and work in a coordinated manner. This approach confirms that substrate oxidation does effectively take place only in one of the two monomers constituting the dimer, and that the binding of substrate at the Qo and Qi site regulates the switch between active and inactive monomer. Moreover, this mechanism works also as an effective protection against the reaction of quinone intermediates with oxygen and the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), responsable for cellular aging. The motion of the ISP head domain is also addressed in this work; in particular the mechanism which regulates the movements towards the cytochrome c1 and the electron bifurcation at the quinol oxidation site. Laser flash kinetics in presence of several inhibitors and the substrate allow studying the response of the ISP to the binding of different species at the quinol oxidation site. The binding of ligand at the Qo site in the complex triggers the conformational switch in the ISP head domain, supporting the mechanism proposed in the literature according to which the Qo site is able to “sense” the presence of substrate and transfer the information to the ISP, regulating its mobility. The internal electron pathway between the ISP and the cytochrome c1 has been analyzed also by stopped-flow kinetics, in presence and absence of inhibitors. The results indicate that two kinetic phases describe the reduction of cytochrome c1 by the ISP, and a model for the simulation of the data is proposed.