Modeling of the structural features of integral-membrane proteins reverse-environment prediction of integral membrane protein structure (REPIMPS).
ABSTRACT: The Profiles-3D application, an inverse-folding methodology appropriate for water-soluble proteins, has been modified to allow the determination of structural properties of integral-membrane proteins (IMPs) and for testing the validity of solved and model structures of IMPs. The modification, known as reverse-environment prediction of integral membrane protein structure (REPIMPS), takes into account the fact that exposed areas of side chains for many residues in IMPs are in contact with lipid and not the aqueous phase. This (1) allows lipid-exposed residues to be classified into the correct physicochemical environment class, (2) significantly improves compatibility scores for IMPs whose structures have been solved, and (3) reduces the possibility of rejecting a three-dimensional structure for an IMP because the presence of lipid was not included. Validation tests of REPIMPS showed that it (1) can locate the transmembrane domain of IMPs with single transmembrane helices more frequently than a range of other methodologies, (2) can rotationally orient transmembrane helices with respect to the lipid environment and surrounding helices in IMPs with multiple transmembrane helices, and (3) has the potential to accurately locate transmembrane domains in IMPs with multiple transmembrane helices. We conclude that correcting for the presence of the lipid environment surrounding the transmembrane segments of IMPs is an essential step for reasonable modeling and verification of the three-dimensional structures of these proteins.
Project description:Integral membrane proteins (IMPs) play a central role in cell communication with the environment. Their structures are essential for our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of signaling and for drug design, yet they remain badly underrepresented in the protein structure databank. Solution NMR is, aside from X-ray crystallography, the major tool in structural biology. Here we review recently reported solution NMR structures of polytopic IMPs and discuss the new approaches, which were developed in the course of these studies to overcome barriers in the field. Advances in cell-free protein expression, combinatorial isotope labeling, resonance assignment, and collection of structural data greatly accelerated IMP structure determination by solution NMR. In addition, novel membrane-mimicking media made possible determination of solution NMR structures of IMPs in a native-like lipid environment.
Project description:Integral membrane proteins (IMPs) control countless fundamental biological processes and constitute the majority of drug targets. For this reason, uncovering their molecular mechanism of action has long been an intense field of research. They are, however, notoriously difficult to work with, mainly due to their localization within the heterogeneous of environment of the biological membrane and the instability once extracted from the lipid bilayer. High-resolution structures have unveiled many mechanistic aspects of IMPs but also revealed that the elucidation of static pictures has limitations. Hydrogen-deuterium exchange coupled to mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) has recently emerged as a powerful biophysical tool for interrogating the conformational dynamics of proteins and their interactions with ligands. Its versatility has proven particularly useful to reveal mechanistic aspects of challenging classes of proteins such as IMPs. This review recapitulates the accomplishments of HDX-MS as it has matured into an essential tool for membrane protein structural biologists.
Project description:Nanodiscs and isotropic bicelles are promising membrane mimetics in the field of solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy of integral membrane proteins (IMPs). Despite varied challenges to solution NMR studies of IMPs, we attribute the paucity of solution NMR structures in these environments to the inability of diverse IMPs to withstand detergent treatment during standard nanodisc and bicelle preparations. Here, we present a strategy that creates small isotropic bicelles from IMPs co-translationally embedded in large nanodiscs using cell-free expression. Our results demonstrate appreciable gains in NMR spectral quality while preserving lipid-IMP contacts. We validate the approach on the detergent-sensitive LspA, which finally allowed us to perform high-quality triple-resonance NMR experiments for structural studies. Our strategy of producing bicelles from nanodiscs comprehensively avoids detergent during expression and preparation and is suitable for solution NMR spectroscopy of lipid-IMP complexes.
Project description:The environment and unique balance of molecular forces within lipid bilayers has a profound impact upon the structure, dynamics, and function of membrane proteins. We describe the biophysical foundations for the remarkable uniformity of many transmembrane helices that result from the molecular interactions within lipid bilayers. In fact, the characteristic uniformity of transmembrane helices leads to unique spectroscopic opportunities allowing for phi,psi torsion angles to be mapped directly onto solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) PISEMA spectra. Results from spectral simulations, the solid state NMR-derived structure of the influenza A M2 proton channel transmembrane domain, and high-resolution crystal structures of 27 integral membrane proteins demonstrate that transmembrane helices tend to be more uniform than previously thought. The results are discussed through the definition of a preferred range of backbone varphi,psi torsion angles for transmembrane alpha helices and are presented with respect to improving biophysical characterizations of integral membrane proteins.
Project description:A crucial bottleneck in membrane protein structural biology is the difficulty in identifying a detergent that can maintain the stability and functionality of integral membrane proteins (IMPs). Detergents are poor membrane mimics, and their common use in membrane protein crystallography may be one reason for the challenges in obtaining high-resolution crystal structures of many IMP families. Lipid-like peptides (LLPs) have detergent-like properties and have been proposed as alternatives for the solubilization of G?protein-coupled receptors and other membrane proteins. Here, we systematically analyzed the stabilizing effect of LLPs on integral membrane proteins of different families. We found that LLPs could significantly stabilize detergent-solubilized IMPs in vitro. This stabilizing effect depended on the chemical nature of the LLP and the intrinsic stability of a particular IMP in the detergent. Our results suggest that screening a subset of LLPs is sufficient to stabilize a particular IMP, which can have a substantial impact on the crystallization and quality of the crystal.
Project description:Integral membrane proteins (IMPs) play crucial roles in all cells and represent attractive pharmacological targets. However, functional and structural studies of IMPs are hindered by their hydrophobic nature and the fact that they are generally unstable following extraction from their native membrane environment using detergents. Here we devise a general strategy for in vivo solubilization of IMPs in structurally relevant conformations without the need for detergents or mutations to the IMP itself, as an alternative to extraction and in vitro solubilization. This technique, called SIMPLEx (solubilization of IMPs with high levels of expression), allows the direct expression of soluble products in living cells by simply fusing an IMP target with truncated apolipoprotein A-I, which serves as an amphipathic proteic 'shield' that sequesters the IMP from water and promotes its solubilization.
Project description:The PDBTM database (available at http://pdbtm.enzim.hu), the first comprehensive and up-to-date transmembrane protein selection of the Protein Data Bank, was launched in 2004. The database was created and has been continuously updated by the TMDET algorithm that is able to distinguish between transmembrane and non-transmembrane proteins using their 3D atomic coordinates only. The TMDET algorithm can locate the spatial positions of transmembrane proteins in lipid bilayer as well. During the last 8 years not only the size of the PDBTM database has been steadily growing from ?400 to 1700 entries but also new structural elements have been identified, in addition to the well-known ?-helical bundle and ?-barrel structures. Numerous 'exotic' transmembrane protein structures have been solved since the first release, which has made it necessary to define these new structural elements, such as membrane loops or interfacial helices in the database. This article reports the new features of the PDBTM database that have been added since its first release, and our current efforts to keep the database up-to-date and easy to use so that it may continue to serve as a fundamental resource for the scientific community.
Project description:Integral membrane proteins (IMPs) are of great biophysical and clinical interest because of the key role they play in many cellular processes. Here, a comprehensive top down study of 152 IMPs and 277 soluble proteins from human H1299 cells including 11?087 fragments obtained from collisionally activated dissociation (CAD), 6452 from higher-energy collisional dissociation (HCD), and 2981 from electron transfer dissociation (ETD) shows their great utility and complementarity for the identification and characterization of IMPs. A central finding is that ETD is ?2-fold more likely to cleave in soluble regions than threshold fragmentation methods, whereas the reverse is observed in transmembrane domains with an observed ?4-fold bias toward CAD and HCD. The location of charges just prior to dissociation is consistent with this directed fragmentation: protons remain localized on basic residues during ETD but easily mobilize along the backbone during collisional activation. The fragmentation driven by these protons, which is most often observed in transmembrane domains, both is of higher yield and occurs over a greater number of backbone cleavage sites. Further, while threshold dissociation events in transmembrane domains are on average 10.1 (CAD) and 9.2 (HCD) residues distant from the nearest charge site (R, K, H, N-terminus), fragmentation is strongly influenced by the N- or C-terminal position relative to that site: the ratio of observed b- to y-fragments is ?1:3 if the cleavage occurs >7 residues N-terminal and ?3:1 if it occurs >7 residues C-terminal to the nearest basic site. Threshold dissociation products driven by a mobilized proton appear to be strongly dependent on not only relative position of a charge site but also N- or C-terminal directionality of proton movement.
Project description:During the synthesis of integral membrane proteins (IMPs), the hydrophobic amino acids of the polypeptide sequence are partitioned mostly into the membrane interior and hydrophilic amino acids mostly into the aqueous exterior. Using a many-body statistical mechanics model, we analyze the minimum free energy state of polypeptide sequences partitioned into ?-helical transmembrane (TM) segments and the role of thermal fluctuations. Results suggest that IMP TM segment partitioning shares important features with general theories of protein folding. For random polypeptide sequences, the minimum free energy state at room temperature is characterized by fluctuations in the number of TM segments with very long relaxation times. Moreover, simple assembly scenarios do not produce a unique number of TM segments due to jamming phenomena. On the other hand, for polypeptide sequences corresponding to actual IMPs, the minimum free energy structure with the wild-type number of segments is free of number fluctuations due to an anomalously large gap in the energy spectrum. Now, simple assembly scenarios do reproduce the minimum free energy state without jamming. Finally, we find a threshold number of random point mutations where the size of the anomalous gap is reduced to the point that the wild-type ground state is destabilized and number fluctuations reappear.
Project description:Protein-protein interaction (PPI) is an essential mechanism by which proteins perform their biological functions. For globular proteins, the molecular characteristics of such interactions have been well analyzed, and many computational tools are available for predicting PPI sites and constructing structural models of the complex. In contrast, little is known about the molecular features of the interaction between integral membrane proteins (IMPs) and few methods exist for constructing structural models of their complexes. Here, we analyze the interfaces from a non-redundant set of complexes of ?-helical IMPs whose structures have been determined to a high resolution. We find that the interface is not significantly different from the rest of the surface in terms of average hydrophobicity. However, the interface is significantly better conserved and, on average, inter-subunit contacting residue pairs correlate more strongly than non-contacting pairs, especially in obligate complexes. We also develop a neural network-based method, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.75 and a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.70, for predicting interface residues and their weighted contact numbers (WCNs). We further show that predicted interface residues and their WCNs can be used as restraints to reconstruct the structure ?-helical IMP dimers through docking for fourteen out of a benchmark set of sixteen complexes. The RMSD100 values of the best-docked ligand subunit to its native structure are <2.5?Å for these fourteen cases. The structural analysis conducted in this work provides molecular details about the interface between ?-helical IMPs and the WCN restraints represent an efficient means to score ?-helical IMP docking candidates.