on Recent JACS Publications
An analysis approach to identify specific functional sites in orthologous proteins using sequence and structural information: Application to neuroserpin reveals regions that differentially regulate inhibitory activity
The analysis of sequence conservation is commonly used to predict functionally important sites in proteins. We have developed an approach that first identi-fies highly conserved sites in a set of orthologous sequences using a weighted substitution-matrix-based conservation score and then filters these conserved sites based on the pattern of conservation present in a wider alignment of se-quences from the same family and structural information to identify surface exposed sites. This allows us to detect specific functional sites in the target protein and exclude regions that are likely to be generally important for the structure or function of the wider protein family. We applied our method to two members of the serpin family of serine protease inhibitors. We first confirmed that our method successfully detected the known heparin binding site in antithrombin while excluding residues known to be general important in the serpin family. We next applied our sequence analysis approach to neuroserpin and used our results to guide site-directed polyalanine mutagenesis experiments. The majority of the mutant neuroserpin proteins were found to fold correctly and could still form inhibitory complexes with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Kinetic analysis of tPA inhibition, however, revealed altered inhibitory kinetics in several of the mutant proteins, with some mutants showing decreased association with tPA and others showing more rapid dissociation of the covalent complex. Altogether, these results confirm that our sequence analysis approach is a useful tool that can be used to guide mutagenesis experiments for the detection of specific functional sites in proteins. © Proteins 2014;. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
E. coli ClpB is a molecular chaperone that belongs to the Clp/Hsp100 family of AAA+ proteins. ClpB is able to form a hexameric ring structure to catalyze protein disaggregation with the assistance of the DnaK chaperone system. Our knowledge of the mechanism of how ClpB recognizes its substrates is still limited. In this work, we have quantitatively investigated ClpB binding to a number of unstructured polypeptides using steady-state anisotropy titrations. To precisely determine the binding affinity for the interaction between ClpB hexamers and polypeptide substrates the titration data were subjected to global non-linear least squares analysis incorporating the dynamic equilibrium of ClpB assembly. Our results show that ClpB hexamers bind tightly to unstructured polypeptides with binding affinities in the range of ˜3 – 16 nM. ClpB exhibits a modest preference of binding to Peptide B1 with a binding affinity of (1.7 ± 0.2) nM. Interestingly, we found that ClpB binds to an unstructured polypeptide substrate of 40 and 50 amino acids containing the SsrA sequence at the C-terminus with an affinity of (12 ± 3) nM and (4 ± 2) nM, respectively. Whereas, ClpB binds the 11-amino acid SsrA sequence with an affinity of (140 ± 20) nM, which is significantly weaker than other polypeptide substrates that we tested here. We hypothesize that ClpB, like ClpA, requires substrates with a minimum length for optimal binding. Finally, we present evidence showing that multiple ClpB hexamers are involved in binding to polypeptides ≥ 152 amino acids. © Proteins 2014;. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.