Structural and functional analysis of the ligand specificity of the HtrA2/Omi PDZ domain.
ABSTRACT: The mitochondrial serine protease HtrA2/Omi helps to maintain mitochondrial function by handling misfolded proteins in the intermembrane space. In addition, HtrA2/Omi has been implicated as a proapoptotic factor upon release into the cytoplasm during the cell death cascade. The protein contains a C-terminal PDZ domain that packs against the protease active site and inhibits proteolytic activity. Engagement of the PDZ domain by peptide ligands has been shown to activate the protease and also has been proposed to mediate substrate recognition. We report a detailed structural and functional analysis of the human HtrA2/Omi PDZ domain using peptide libraries and affinity assays to define specificity, X-ray crystallography to view molecular details of PDZ-ligand interactions, and alanine-scanning mutagenesis to probe the peptide-binding groove. We show that the HtrA2/Omi PDZ domain recognizes both C-terminal and internal stretches of extended, hydrophobic polypeptides. High-affinity ligand recognition requires contacts with up to five hydrophobic side chains by distinct sites on the PDZ domain. However, no particular residue type is absolutely required at any position, and thus, the HtrA2/Omi PDZ domain appears to be a promiscuous module adapted to recognize unstructured, hydrophobic polypeptides. This type of specificity is consistent with the biological role of HtrA2/Omi in mitochondria, which requires the recognition of diverse, exposed stretches of hydrophobic sequences in misfolded proteins. The findings are less consistent with, but do not exclude, a role for the PDZ domain in targeting the protease to specific substrates during apoptosis.
Project description:High-temperature requirement A (HtrA) and its homologs contain a serine protease domain followed by one or two PDZ domains. Bacterial HtrA proteins and the mitochondrial protein HtrA2/Omi maintain cell function by acting as both molecular chaperones and proteases to manage misfolded proteins. The biological roles of the mammalian family members HtrA1 and HtrA3 are less clear. We report a detailed structural and functional analysis of the PDZ domains of human HtrA1 and HtrA3 using peptide libraries and affinity assays to define specificity, structural studies to view the molecular details of ligand recognition, and alanine scanning mutagenesis to investigate the energetic contributions of individual residues to ligand binding. In common with HtrA2/Omi, we show that the PDZ domains of HtrA1 and HtrA3 recognize hydrophobic polypeptides, and while C-terminal sequences are preferred, internal sequences are also recognized. However, the details of the interactions differ, as different domains rely on interactions with different residues within the ligand to achieve high affinity binding. The results suggest that mammalian HtrA PDZ domains interact with a broad range of hydrophobic binding partners. This promiscuous specificity resembles that of bacterial HtrA family members and suggests a similar function for recognizing misfolded polypeptides with exposed hydrophobic sequences. Our results support a common activation mechanism for the HtrA family, whereby hydrophobic peptides bind to the PDZ domain and induce conformational changes that activate the protease. Such a mechanism is well suited to proteases evolved for the recognition and degradation of misfolded proteins.
Project description:HtrA2(Omi), belonging to the high-temperature requirement A (HtrA) family of stress proteins, is involved in the maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis and in the stimulation of apoptosis, as well as in cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. The protein comprises a serine protease domain and a postsynaptic density of 95 kDa, disk large, and zonula occludens 1 (PDZ) regulatory domain and functions both as a protease and a chaperone. Based on the crystal structure of the HtrA2 inactive trimer, it has been proposed that PDZ domains restrict substrate access to the protease domain and that during protease activation there is a significant conformational change at the PDZ-protease interface, which removes the inhibitory effect of PDZ from the active site. The crystal structure of the HtrA2 active form is not available yet. HtrA2 activity markedly increases with temperature. To understand the molecular basis of this increase in activity, we monitored the temperature-induced structural changes using a set of single-Trp HtrA2 mutants with Trps located at the PDZ-protease interface. The accessibility of each Trp to aqueous medium was assessed by fluorescence quenching, and these results, in combination with mean fluorescence lifetimes and wavelength emission maxima, indicate that upon an increase in temperature the HtrA2 structure relaxes, the PDZ-protease interface becomes more exposed to the solvent, and significant conformational changes involving both domains occur at and above 30 °C. This conclusion correlates well with temperature-dependent changes of HtrA2 proteolytic activity and the effect of amino acid substitutions (V226K and R432L) located at the domain interface, on HtrA2 activity. Our results experimentally support the model of HtrA2 activation and provide an insight into the mechanism of temperature-induced changes in HtrA2 structure.
Project description:Although the malfunction of HtrA2/Omi leads to Parkinson's disease (PD), the underlying mechanism has remained unknown. Here, we showed that HtrA2/Omi specifically removed oligomeric ?-Syn but not monomeric ?-Syn to protect oligomeric ?-Syn-induced neurodegeneration. Experiments using mnd2 mice indicated that HtrA2/Omi degraded oligomeric ?-Syn specifically without affecting monomers. Transgenic Drosophila melanogaster experiments of the co-expression ?-Syn and HtrA2/Omi and expression of genes individually also confirmed that pan-neuronal expression of HtrA2/Omi completely rescued Parkinsonism in the ?-Syn-induced PD Drosophila model by specifically removing oligomeric ?-Syn. HtrA2/Omi maintained the health and integrity of the brain and extended the life span of transgenic flies. Because HtrA2/Omi specifically degraded oligomeric ?-Syn, co-expression of HtrA2/Omi and ?-Syn in Drosophila eye maintained a healthy retina, while the expression of ?-Syn induced retinal degeneration. This work showed that the bacterial function of HtrA to degrade toxic misfolded proteins is evolutionarily conserved in mammalian brains as HtrA2/Omi.
Project description:HtrA2(Omi) protease controls protein quality in mitochondria and plays a major role in apoptosis. Its HtrA2S306A mutant (with the catalytic serine routinely disabled for an X-ray study to avoid self-degradation) is a homotrimer whose subunits contain the serine protease domain (PD) and the regulatory PDZ domain. In the inactive state, a tight interdomain interface limits penetration of both PDZ-activating ligands and PD substrates into their respective target sites. We successfully crystalized HtrA2V226K/S306A, whose active counterpart HtrA2V226K has had higher proteolytic activity, suggesting higher propensity to opening the PD-PDZ interface than that of the wild type HtrA2. Yet, the crystal structure revealed the HtrA2V226K/S306A architecture typical of the inactive protein. To get a consistent interpretation of crystallographic data in the light of kinetic results, we employed molecular dynamics (MD). V325D inactivating mutant was used as a reference. Our simulations demonstrated that upon binding of a specific peptide ligand NH2-GWTMFWV-COOH, the PDZ domains open more dynamically in the wild type protease compared to the V226K mutant, whereas the movement is not observed in the V325D mutant. The movement relies on a PDZ vs. PD rotation which opens the PD-PDZ interface in a lid-like (budding flower-like in trimer) fashion. The noncovalent hinges A and B are provided by two clusters of interfacing residues, harboring V325D and V226K in the C- and N-terminal PD barrels, respectively. The opening of the subunit interfaces progresses in a sequential manner during the 50 ns MD simulation. In the systems without the ligand only minor PDZ shifts relative to PD are observed, but the interface does not open. Further activation-associated events, e.g. PDZ-L3 positional swap seen in any active HtrA protein (vs. HtrA2), were not observed. In summary, this study provides hints on the mechanism of activation of wtHtrA2, the dynamics of the inactive HtrA2V325D, but does not allow to explain an increased activity of HtrA2V226K.
Project description:The loss of mitochondrial function impairs intracellular energy production and potentially results in chronic liver disease. Increasing evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction in hepatocytes contributes to the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), thereby resulting in hepatic fibrogenesis. High-temperature requirement protein A2 (HtrA2/Omi), a mitochondrial serine protease with various functions, is responsible for quality control in mitochondrial homeostasis. However, little information is available regarding its role in mitochondrial damage during the development of liver fibrosis. This study examined whether HtrA2/Omi regulates mitochondrial homeostasis in hepatocyte during the development of hepatic fibrogenesis. In this study, we demonstrated that HtrA2/Omi expression considerably decreased in liver tissues from the CCl4-induced liver fibrotic mice model and from patients with liver cirrhosis. Knockdown of HtrA2/Omi in hepatocytes induced the accumulation of damaged mitochondria and provoked mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) stress. We further show that the damaged mtDNA isolated from HtrA2/Omi-deficient hepatocytes as a form of damage-associated molecular patterns can induce HSCs activation. Moreover, we found that motor neuron degeneration 2-mutant mice harboring the missense mutation Ser276Cys in the protease domain of HtrA2/Omi displayed altered mitochondrial morphology and function, which increased oxidative stress and promoted liver fibrosis. Conversely, the overexpression of HtrA2/Omi via hydrodynamics-based gene transfer led to the antifibrotic effects in CCl4-induced liver fibrosis mice model through decreasing collagen accumulation and enhancing anti-oxidative activity by modulating mitochondrial homeostasis in the liver. These results suggest that suppressing HtrA2/Omi expression promotes hepatic fibrogenesis via modulating mtROS generation, and these novel mechanistic insights involving the regulation of mitochondrial homeostasis by HtrA2/Omi may be of importance for developing new therapeutic strategies for hepatic fibrosis.
Project description:Recently, a mutation in the mitochondrial protease Omi/HtrA2, G399S, was found in sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD) patients, leading to the designation of Omi/HtrA2 as PD locus 13 (PARK13). G399S reportedly results in reduced Omi protease activity. In vitro studies have suggested that Omi/HtrA2 acts downstream of PINK1, mutations in which mediate recessive forms of PD. We, as well as other, have previously shown that the Drosophila homologs of the familial PD genes, PINK1 (PARK6) and PARKIN (PARK2), function in a common genetic pathway to regulate mitochondrial integrity and dynamics. Whether Omi/HtrA2 regulates mitochondrial integrity and whether it acts downstream of PINK1 in vivo remain to be explored. Here, we show that Omi/HtrA2 null mutants in Drosophila, in contrast to pink1 or parkin null mutants, do not show mitochondrial morphological defects. Extensive genetic interaction studies do not provide support for models in which Omi/HtrA2 functions in the same genetic pathway as pink1, or carries out partially redundant functions with pink1, at least with respect to regulation of mitochondrial integrity and dynamics. Furthermore, Omi/HtrA2 G399S retains significant, if not full, function of Omi/HtrA2, compared with expression of protease-compromised versions of the protein. In light of recent findings showing that G399S can be found at comparable frequencies in PD patients and healthy controls, we do not favor a hypothesis in which Omi/HtrA2 plays an essential role in PD pathogenesis, at least with respect to regulation of mitochondrial integrity in the pink1/parkin pathway.
Project description:OMI/HTRA2 (high-temperature requirement serine protease A2) is a mitochondrial serine protease involved in several cellular processes, including autophagy, chaperone activity, and apoptosis. Few studies on the role of OMI/HTRA2 in Alzheimer's disease (AD) are available, but none on its relationship with the cholinergic system and neurotrophic factors as well as other AD-related proteins. In this study, immunohistochemical analyses revealed that AD patients had a higher cytosolic distribution of OMI/HTRA2 protein compared to controls. Quantitative analyses on brain extracts indicated a significant increase in the active form of OMI/HTRA2 in the AD brain. Activated OMI/HTRA2 protein positively correlated with stress-associated read-through acetylcholinesterase activity. In addition, ?7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene expression, a receptor also known to be localized on the outer membrane of mitochondria, showed a strong correlation with OMI/HTRA2 gene expression in three different brain regions. Interestingly, the activated OMI/HTRA2 levels also correlated with the activity of the acetylcholine-biosynthesizing enzyme, choline acetyltransferase (ChAT); with levels of the neurotrophic factors, NGF and BDNF; with levels of the soluble fragments of amyloid precursor protein (APP); and with gene expression of the microtubule-associated protein tau in the examined brain regions. Overall, the results demonstrate increased levels of the mitochondrial serine protease OMI/HTRA2, and a coherent pattern of association between the activated form of OMI/HTRA2 and several key proteins involved in AD pathology. In this paper, we propose a new hypothetical model to highlight the importance and needs of further investigation on the role of OMI/HTRA2 in the mitochondrial function and AD.
Project description:The serine-protease OMI/HTRA2, required for several cellular processes, including mitochondrial function, autophagy, chaperone activity, and apoptosis, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of both Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). Western blot quantification of OMI/HTRA2 in frontal cortex of patients with AD (n=10) and control subjects (n=10) in two separate materials indicated reduced processed (active, 35 kDa) OMI/HTRA2 levels, whereas unprocessed (50 kDa) enzyme levels were not significantly different between the groups. Interestingly, the specific protease activity of OMI/HTRA2 was found to be significantly increased in patients with AD (n=10) compared to matched control subjects (n=10) in frontal cortex in two separate materials. Comparison of OMI/HTRA2 mRNA levels in frontal cortex and hippocampus, two brain areas particularly affected by AD, indicated similar levels in patients with AD (n=10) and matched control subjects (n=10). In addition, we analyzed the occurrence of the OMI/HTRA2 variants A141S and G399S in Swedish case-control materials for AD and PD and found a weak association of A141S with AD, but not with PD. In conclusion, our genetic, histological, and biochemical findings give further support to an involvement of OMI/HTRA2 in the pathology of AD; however, further studies are needed to clarify the role of this gene in neurodegeneration.
Project description:Viruses encode suppressors of cell death to block intrinsic and extrinsic host-initiated death pathways that reduce viral yield as well as control the termination of infection. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection terminates by a caspase-independent cell fragmentation process after an extended period of continuous virus production. The viral mitochondria-localized inhibitor of apoptosis (vMIA; a product of the UL37x1 gene) controls this fragmentation process. UL37x1 mutant virus-infected cells fragment three to four days earlier than cells infected with wt virus. Here, we demonstrate that infected cell death is dependent on serine proteases. We identify mitochondrial serine protease HtrA2/Omi as the initiator of this caspase-independent death pathway. Infected fibroblasts develop susceptibility to death as levels of mitochondria-resident HtrA2/Omi protease increase. Cell death is suppressed by the serine protease inhibitor TLCK as well as by the HtrA2-specific inhibitor UCF-101. Experimental overexpression of HtrA2/Omi, but not a catalytic site mutant of the enzyme, sensitizes infected cells to death that can be blocked by vMIA or protease inhibitors. Uninfected cells are completely resistant to HtrA2/Omi induced death. Thus, in addition to suppression of apoptosis and autophagy, vMIA naturally controls a novel serine protease-dependent CMV-infected cell-specific programmed cell death (cmvPCD) pathway that terminates the CMV replication cycle.
Project description:Human HtrA3 protease, which induces mitochondria-mediated apoptosis, can be a tumor suppressor and a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of cancer. However, there is little information about its structure and biochemical properties. HtrA3 is composed of an N-terminal domain not required for proteolytic activity, a central serine protease domain and a C-terminal PDZ domain. HtrA3S, its short natural isoform, lacks the PDZ domain which is substituted by a stretch of 7 C-terminal amino acid residues, unique for this isoform. This paper presents the crystal structure of the HtrA3 protease domain together with the PDZ domain (?N-HtrA3), showing that the protein forms a trimer whose protease domains are similar to those of human HtrA1 and HtrA2. The ?N-HtrA3 PDZ domains are placed in a position intermediate between that in the flat saucer-like HtrA1 SAXS structure and the compact pyramidal HtrA2 X-ray structure. The PDZ domain interacts closely with the LB loop of the protease domain in a way not found in other human HtrAs. ?N-HtrA3 with the PDZ removed (?N-HtrA3-?PDZ) and an N-terminally truncated HtrA3S (?N-HtrA3S) were fully active at a wide range of temperatures and their substrate affinity was not impaired. This indicates that the PDZ domain is dispensable for HtrA3 activity. As determined by size exclusion chromatography, ?N-HtrA3 formed stable trimers while both ?N-HtrA3-?PDZ and ?N-HtrA3S were monomeric. This suggests that the presence of the PDZ domain, unlike in HtrA1 and HtrA2, influences HtrA3 trimer formation. The unique C-terminal sequence of ?N-HtrA3S appeared to have little effect on activity and oligomerization. Additionally, we examined the cleavage specificity of ?N-HtrA3. Results reported in this paper provide new insights into the structure and function of ?N-HtrA3, which seems to have a unique combination of features among human HtrA proteases.