Differential use of signal peptides and membrane domains is a common occurrence in the protein output of transcriptional units.
ABSTRACT: Membrane organization describes the orientation of a protein with respect to the membrane and can be determined by the presence, or absence, and organization within the protein sequence of two features: endoplasmic reticulum signal peptides and alpha-helical transmembrane domains. These features allow protein sequences to be classified into one of five membrane organization categories: soluble intracellular proteins, soluble secreted proteins, type I membrane proteins, type II membrane proteins, and multi-spanning membrane proteins. Generation of protein isoforms with variable membrane organizations can change a protein's subcellular localization or association with the membrane. Application of MemO, a membrane organization annotation pipeline, to the FANTOM3 Isoform Protein Sequence mouse protein set revealed that within the 8,032 transcriptional units (TUs) with multiple protein isoforms, 573 had variation in their use of signal peptides, 1,527 had variation in their use of transmembrane domains, and 615 generated protein isoforms from distinct membrane organization classes. The mechanisms underlying these transcript variations were analyzed. While TUs were identified encoding all pairwise combinations of membrane organization categories, the most common was conversion of membrane proteins to soluble proteins. Observed within our high-confidence set were 156 TUs predicted to generate both extracellular soluble and membrane proteins, and 217 TUs generating both intracellular soluble and membrane proteins. The differential use of endoplasmic reticulum signal peptides and transmembrane domains is a common occurrence within the variable protein output of TUs. The generation of protein isoforms that are targeted to multiple subcellular locations represents a major functional consequence of transcript variation within the mouse transcriptome.
Project description:Attractin, initially identified as a soluble human plasma protein with dipeptidyl peptidase IV activity that is expressed and released by activated T lymphocytes, also has been identified as the product of the murine mahogany gene with connections to control of pigmentation and energy metabolism. The mahogany product, however, is a transmembrane protein, raising the possibility of a human membrane attractin in addition to the secreted form. The genomic structure of human attractin reveals that soluble attractin arises from transcription of 25 sequential exons on human chromosome 20p13, where the 3' terminal exon contains sequence from a long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1) retrotransposon element that includes a stop codon and a polyadenylation signal. The mRNA isoform for membrane attractin splices over the LINE-1 exon and includes five exons encoding transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains with organization and coding potential almost identical to that of the mouse gene. The relative abundance of soluble and transmembrane isoforms measured by reverse transcription-PCR is differentially regulated in lymphoid tissues. Because activation of peripheral blood leukocytes with phytohemagglutinin induces strong expression of cell surface attractin followed by release of soluble attractin, these results suggest that a genomic event unique to mammals, LINE-1 insertion, has provided an evolutionary mechanism for regulating cell interactions during an inflammatory reaction.
Project description:Fusion of biological membranes is mediated by distinct integral membrane proteins, e.g., soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors and viral fusion proteins. Previous work has indicated that the transmembrane segments (TMSs) of such integral membrane proteins play an important role in fusion. Furthermore, peptide mimics of the transmembrane part can drive the fusion of liposomes, and evidence had been obtained that fusogenicity depends on their conformational flexibility. To test this hypothesis, we present a series of unnatural TMSs that were designed de novo based on the structural properties of hydrophobic residues. We find that the fusogenicity of these peptides depends on the ratio of alpha-helix-promoting Leu and beta-sheet-promoting Val residues and is enhanced by helix-destabilizing Pro and Gly residues within their hydrophobic cores. The ability of these peptides to refold from an alpha-helical state to a beta-sheet conformation and backwards was determined under different conditions. Membrane fusogenic peptides with mixed Leu/Val sequences tend to switch more readily between different conformations than a nonfusogenic peptide with an oligo-Leu core. We propose that structural flexibility of these TMSs is a prerequisite of fusogenicity.
Project description:The Down syndrome cell adhesion molecule (Dscam) gene is an extraordinary example of diversity that can produce thousands of isoforms and has so far been found only in insects and crustaceans. Cumulative evidence indicates that Dscam may contribute to the mechanistic foundations of specific immune responses in insects. However, the mechanism and functions of Dscam in relation to pathogens and immunity remain largely unknown. In this study, we identified the genome organization and alternative Dscam exons from Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis. These variants, designated EsDscam, potentially produce 30,600 isoforms due to three alternatively spliced immunoglobulin (Ig) domains and a transmembrane domain. EsDscam was significantly upregulated after bacterial challenge at both mRNA and protein levels. Moreover, bacterial specific EsDscam isoforms were found to bind specifically with the original bacteria to facilitate efficient clearance. Furthermore, bacteria-specific binding of soluble EsDscam via the complete Ig1-Ig4 domain significantly enhanced elimination of the original bacteria via phagocytosis by hemocytes; this function was abolished by partial Ig1-Ig4 domain truncation. Further studies showed that knockdown of membrane-bound EsDscam inhibited the ability of EsDscam with the same extracellular region to promote bacterial phagocytosis. Immunocytochemistry indicated colocalization of the soluble and membrane-bound forms of EsDscam at the hemocyte surface. Far-Western and coimmunoprecipitation assays demonstrated homotypic interactions between EsDscam isoforms. This study provides insights into a mechanism by which soluble Dscam regulates hemocyte phagocytosis via bacteria-specific binding and specific interactions with membrane-bound Dscam as a phagocytic receptor.
Project description:The interaction of ?-helical peptides with lipid bilayers is central to our understanding of the physicochemical principles of biological membrane organization and stability. Mutations that alter the position or orientation of an ?-helix within a membrane, or that change the probability that the ?-helix will insert into the membrane, can alter a range of membrane protein functions. We describe a comparative coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulation methodology, based on self-assembly of a lipid bilayer in the presence of an ?-helical peptide, which allows us to model membrane transmembrane helix insertion. We validate this methodology against available experimental data for synthetic model peptides (WALP23 and LS3). Simulation-based estimates of apparent free energies of insertion into a bilayer of cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator-derived helices correlate well with published data for translocon-mediated insertion. Comparison of values of the apparent free energy of insertion from self-assembly simulations with those from coarse-grained molecular dynamics potentials of mean force for model peptides, and with translocon-mediated insertion of cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator-derived peptides suggests a nonequilibrium model of helix insertion into bilayers.
Project description:Methods for the global analysis of protein expression offer an approach to study the molecular basis of disease. Studies of protein expression in tissue, such as brain, are complicated by the need for efficient and unbiased digestion of proteins that permit identification of peptides by shotgun proteomic methods. In particular, identification and characterization of less abundant membrane proteins has been of great interest for studies of brain physiology, but often proteins of interest are of low abundance or exist in multiple isoforms. Parsing protein isoforms as a function of disease will be essential. In this study, we develop a digestion scheme using detergents compatible with mass spectrometry that improves membrane protein identification from brain tissue. We show the modified procedure yields close to 5,000 protein identifications from 1.8 mg of rat brain homogenate with an average of 25% protein sequence coverage. This procedure achieves a remarkable reduction in the amount of starting material required to observe a broad spectrum of membrane proteins. Among the proteins identified from a mammalian brain homogenate, 1897 (35%) proteins are annotated by Gene Ontology as membrane proteins, and 1225 (22.6%) proteins are predicted to contain at least one transmembrane domain. Membrane proteins identified included neurotransmitter receptors and ion channels implicated in important physiological functions and disease.
Project description:A wide variety of biological processes rely upon interactions between proteins and lipids, ranging from molecular transport to the organization of the cell membrane. It was recently established that electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) is capable of capturing transient interactions between membrane proteins and their lipid environment, and a detailed understanding of the underlying processes is therefore of high importance. Here, we apply ESI-MS to investigate the factors that govern complex formation in solution and gas phases by comparing nonselective lipid binding with soluble and membrane proteins. We find that exogenously added lipids did not bind to soluble proteins, suggesting that lipids have a low propensity to form electrospray ionization adducts. The presence of detergents at increasing micelle concentrations, on the other hand, resulted in moderate lipid binding to soluble proteins. A direct ESI-MS comparison of lipid binding to the soluble protein serum albumin and to the integral membrane protein NapA shows that soluble proteins acquire fewer lipid adducts. Our results suggest that protein-lipid complexes form via contacts between proteins and mixed lipid/detergent micelles. For soluble proteins, these complexes arise from nonspecific contacts between the protein and detergent/lipid micelles in the electrospray droplet. For membrane proteins, lipids are incorporated into the surrounding micelle in solution, and complex formation occurs independently of the ESI process. We conclude that the lipids in the resulting complexes interact predominantly with sites located in the transmembrane segments, resulting in nativelike complexes that can be interrogated by MS.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In water-soluble proteins it is energetically favorable to bury hydrophobic residues and to expose polar and charged residues. In contrast to water soluble proteins, transmembrane proteins face three distinct environments; a hydrophobic lipid environment inside the membrane, a hydrophilic water environment outside the membrane and an interface region rich in phospholipid head-groups. Therefore, it is energetically favorable for transmembrane proteins to expose different types of residues in the different regions. RESULTS: Investigations of a set of structurally determined transmembrane proteins showed that the composition of solvent exposed residues differs significantly inside and outside the membrane. In contrast, residues buried within the interior of a protein show a much smaller difference. However, in all regions exposed residues are less conserved than buried residues. Further, we found that current state-of-the-art predictors for surface area are optimized for one of the regions and perform badly in the other regions. To circumvent this limitation we developed a new predictor, MPRAP, that performs well in all regions. In addition, MPRAP performs better on complete membrane proteins than a combination of specialized predictors and acceptably on water-soluble proteins. A web-server of MPRAP is available at http://mprap.cbr.su.se/ CONCLUSION: By including complete a-helical transmembrane proteins in the training MPRAP is able to predict surface accessibility accurately both inside and outside the membrane. This predictor can aid in the prediction of 3D-structure, and in the identification of erroneous protein structures.
Project description:The amino acid sequences of transmembrane regions of helical membrane proteins are highly constrained, diverging at slower rates than their extramembrane regions and than water-soluble proteins. Moreover, helical membrane proteins seem to fall into fewer families than water-soluble proteins. The reason for the differential restrictions on sequence remains unexplained. Here, we show that the evolution of transmembrane regions is slowed by a previously unrecognized structural constraint: Transmembrane regions bury more residues than extramembrane regions and soluble proteins. This fundamental feature of membrane protein structure is an important contributor to the differences in evolutionary rate and to an increased susceptibility of the transmembrane regions to disease-causing single-nucleotide polymorphisms.
Project description:Loops connecting the transmembrane (TM) alpha-helices in membrane proteins are expected to affect the structural organization of the thereby connected helices and the helical bundles as a whole. This effect, which has been largely ignored previously, is studied here by analyzing the x-ray structures of 41 alpha-helical membrane proteins. First we define the loop flexibility ratio, R, and find that 53% of the loops are stretched, where a stretched loop constrains the distance between the two connected helices. The significance of this constraining effect is supported by experiments carried out with bacteriorhodopsin and rhodopsin, in which cutting or eliminating their (predominately stretched) loops has led to a decrease in protein stability, and for rhodopsin, in most cases, also to the destruction of the structure. We show that for nonstretched loops in the extramembranous regions, the fraction of hydrophobic residues is comparable to that for soluble proteins; furthermore (as is also the case for soluble proteins), the hydrophobic residues in these regions are preferentially buried. This is expected to lead to the compact structural organization of the loops, which is transferred to the TM helices, causing them to assemble. We argue that a soluble protein complexed with a membrane protein similarly promotes compactness; other properties of such complexes are also studied. We calculate complementary attractive interactions between helices, including hydrogen bonds and van der Waals interactions of sequential motifs, such as GXXXG. The relative and combined effects of all these factors on the association of the TM helices are discussed and protein structures with only a few of these factors are analyzed. Our study emphasizes the need for classifying membrane proteins into groups according to structural organization. This classification should be considered when procedures for structural analysis or prediction are developed and applied. Detailed analysis of each structure is provided at http://flan.blm.cs.cmu.edu/memloop/
Project description:The dynamics of cellular membranes is primarily determined by lipid species forming a bilayer. Proteins are considered mainly as effector molecules of diverse cellular processes. In addition to large assemblies of proteins, which were found to influence properties of fluid membranes, biological membranes are densely populated by small, highly mobile proteins. However, little is known about the effect of such proteins on the dynamics of membranes. Using synthetic peptides, we demonstrate that transmembrane helices interfere with the mobility of membrane components by trapping lipid acyl chains on their rough surfaces. The effect is more pronounced in the presence of cholesterol, which segregates from the rough surface of helical peptides. This may contribute to the formation or stabilization of membrane heterogeneities. Since roughness is a general property of helical transmembrane segments, our results suggest that, independent of their size or cytoskeleton linkage, integral membrane proteins affect local membrane dynamics and organization.