Functional motifs in the (6-4) photolyase crystal structure make a comparative framework for DNA repair photolyases and clock cryptochromes.
ABSTRACT: Homologous flavoproteins from the photolyase (PHR)/cryptochrome (CRY) family use the FAD cofactor in PHRs to catalyze DNA repair and in CRYs to tune the circadian clock and control development. To help address how PHR/CRY members achieve these diverse functions, we determined the crystallographic structure of Arabidopsis thaliana (6-4) PHR (UVR3), which is strikingly (>65%) similar in sequence to human circadian clock CRYs. The structure reveals a substrate-binding cavity specific for the UV-induced DNA lesion, (6-4) photoproduct, and cofactor binding sites different from those of bacterial PHRs and consistent with distinct mechanisms for activities and regulation. Mutational analyses were combined with this prototypic structure for the (6-4) PHR/clock CRY cluster to identify structural and functional motifs: phosphate-binding and Pro-Lys-Leu protrusion motifs constricting access to the substrate-binding cavity above FAD, sulfur loop near the external end of the Trp electron-transfer pathway, and previously undefined C-terminal helix. Our results provide a detailed, unified framework for investigations of (6-4) PHRs and the mammalian CRYs. Conservation of key residues and motifs controlling FAD access and activities suggests that regulation of FAD redox properties and radical stability is essential not only for (6-4) photoproduct DNA repair, but also for circadian clock-regulating CRY functions. The structural and functional results reported here elucidate archetypal relationships within this flavoprotein family and suggest how PHRs and CRYs use local residue and cofactor tuning, rather than larger structural modifications, to achieve their diverse functions encompassing DNA repair, plant growth and development, and circadian clock regulation.
Project description:Cryptochromes (Crys) and photolyases (Phrs) are flavoproteins that contain an identical cofactor (flavin adenine dinucleotide, FAD) within the same protein architecture but whose physiological functions are entirely different. In this study, we investigated light-induced conformational changes of a cyanobacterium Cry/Phr-like protein (SCry-DASH) with UV-visible and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. We developed a system for measuring light-induced difference spectra under the concentrated conditions. In the presence of a reducing agent, SCry-DASH showed photoreduction to the reduced form, and we identified a signal unique for an anionic form in the process. Difference FTIR spectra enabled us to assign characteristic FTIR bands to the respective redox forms of FAD. An asparagine residue, which anchors the FAD embedded within the protein, is conserved not only in the cyanobacterial protein but also in Phrs and other Crys, including the mammalian clock-related Crys. By characterizing an asparagine-to-cysteine (N392C) mutant of SCry-DASH, which mimics an insect specific Cry, we identified structural changes of the carbonyl group of this conserved asparagine upon light irradiation. We also found that the N392C mutant is stabilized in the anionic form. We did not observe a signal from protonated carboxylic acid residues during the reduction process, suggesting that the carboxylic acid moiety would not be directly involved as a proton donor to FAD in the system. These results are in contrast to plant specific Crys represented by Arabidopsis thaliana Cry1 that carry Asp at the position. We discuss potential roles for this conserved asparagine position and functional diversity in the Cry/Phr frame.
Project description:Photolyases (PHRs) and cryptochromes (CRYs) belong to the same family known as blue-light photoreceptors. Although their amino acid sequences and corresponding structures are similar to each other, they exert different functions. PHRs function as an enzyme to repair UV-induced deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) lesions such as a cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer (CPD) and a (6-4) photoproduct ((6-4)pp), whereas CRYs are a circadian photoreceptor in plants and animals and at the same time they control the photoperiodic induction of flowering in plants. When a new type cryptochrome was identified, it was assumed that another type of CRYs, cryptochrome-DASH (CRY-DASH), which is categorized as a subfamily of photolyase/cryptochrome family, would possess the DNA photolyase activity. However, CRY-DASH had a weak DNA photolyase activity, but the reason for this is still unclear. To clarify the reason, we performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations for a complex of CPD-PHR or CRY-DASH with damaged double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and estimated the binding free energy, ?Gbind, between the protein and the damaged dsDNA by using a molecular mechanics/Poisson-Boltzmann surface area (MM/PBSA) method. ?Gbind for both proteins were -35 and 57 kcal mol-1, respectively, indicating that the structural stability of CRY-DASH was lower than that of CPD-PHR upon the damaged dsDNA binding. In particular, the number of amino acid residues relevant to the damaged dsDNA binding on the CRY-DASH surface was smaller than that on CPD-PHR. Therefore, the present result suggests that CRY-DASH has a weak DNA photolyase activity because it has a lower binding affinity than CPD-PHR.
Project description:Two types of vertebrate cryptochromes (Crys) are currently recognized. Type 2 Crys function in the molecular circadian clock as light-independent transcriptional repressors. Type 4 Crys are a newly discovered group with unknown function, although they are flavoproteins, and therefore, may function as photoreceptors. It has been postulated that Crys function in light-dependent magnetoreception, which is thought to contribute towards homing and migratory behaviors. Here we have cloned and annotated the full-length pigeon ClCry1, ClCry2, and ClCry4 genes, and characterized the full-length proteins and several site-directed mutants to investigate the roles of these proteins. ClCry1 and ClCry2 are phylogenetically grouped as Type 2 Crys and thus are expected to be core components of the pigeon circadian clock. Interestingly, we find that ClCry4 is properly annotated as a Type 4 Cry. It appears that many birds possess a Type 4 Cry which, as in pigeon, is misannotated. Like the Type 2 Crys, ClCry4 is widespread in pigeon tissues. However, unlike the Type 2 Crys, ClCry4 is cytosolic, and purified ClCry4 possesses FAD cofactor, which confers characteristic UV-Vis spectra as well as two photochemical activities. We find that ClCry4 undergoes light-dependent conformational change, which is a property of insect Type 1 Crys involved in the insect-specific pathway of photoentrainment of the biological clock. ClCry4 can also be photochemically reduced by a mechanism common to all FAD-containing Cry family members, and this mechanism is postulated to be influenced by the geomagnetic field. Thus pigeon Crys control circadian behavior and may also have photosensory function.
Project description:The cryptochrome (CRY) flavoproteins act as blue-light receptors in plants and insects, but perform light-independent functions at the core of the mammalian circadian clock. To drive clock oscillations, mammalian CRYs associate with the Period proteins (PERs) and together inhibit the transcription of their own genes. The SCF(FBXL3) ubiquitin ligase complex controls this negative feedback loop by promoting CRY ubiquitination and degradation. However, the molecular mechanisms of their interactions and the functional role of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) binding in CRYs remain poorly understood. Here we report crystal structures of mammalian CRY2 in its apo, FAD-bound and FBXL3-SKP1-complexed forms. Distinct from other cryptochromes of known structures, mammalian CRY2 binds FAD dynamically with an open cofactor pocket. Notably, the F-box protein FBXL3 captures CRY2 by simultaneously occupying its FAD-binding pocket with a conserved carboxy-terminal tail and burying its PER-binding interface. This novel F-box-protein-substrate bipartite interaction is susceptible to disruption by both FAD and PERs, suggesting a new avenue for pharmacological targeting of the complex and a multifaceted regulatory mechanism of CRY ubiquitination.
Project description:Signals generated by cryptochrome (CRY) blue-light photoreceptors are responsible for a variety of developmental and circadian responses in plants. The CRYs are also identified as circadian blue-light photoreceptors in Drosophila and components of the mammalian circadian clock. These flavoproteins all have an N-terminal domain that is similar to photolyase, and most have an additional C-terminal domain of variable length. We present here the crystal structure of the photolyase-like domain of CRY-1 from Arabidopsis thaliana. The structure reveals a fold that is very similar to photolyase, with a single molecule of FAD noncovalently bound to the protein. The surface features of the protein and the dissimilarity of a surface cavity to that of photolyase account for its lack of DNA-repair activity. Previous in vitro experiments established that the photolyase-like domain of CRY-1 can bind Mg.ATP, and we observe a single molecule of an ATP analog bound in the aforementioned surface cavity, near the bound FAD cofactor. The structure has implications for the signaling mechanism of CRY blue-light photoreceptors.
Project description:The cryptochrome/photolyase (CRY/PL) family of photoreceptors mediates adaptive responses to ultraviolet and blue light exposure in all kingdoms of life. Whereas PLs function predominantly in DNA repair of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) and 6-4 photolesions caused by ultraviolet radiation, CRYs transduce signals important for growth, development, magnetosensitivity and circadian clocks. Despite these diverse functions, PLs/CRYs preserve a common structural fold, a dependence on flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) and an internal photoactivation mechanism. However, members of the CRY/PL family differ in the substrates recognized (protein or DNA), photochemical reactions catalysed and involvement of an antenna cofactor. It is largely unknown how the animal CRYs that regulate circadian rhythms act on their substrates. CRYs contain a variable carboxy-terminal tail that appends the conserved PL homology domain (PHD) and is important for function. Here, we report a 2.3-Å resolution crystal structure of Drosophila CRY with an intact C terminus. The C-terminal helix docks in the analogous groove that binds DNA substrates in PLs. Conserved Trp?536 juts into the CRY catalytic centre to mimic PL recognition of DNA photolesions. The FAD anionic semiquinone found in the crystals assumes a conformation to facilitate restructuring of the tail helix. These results help reconcile the diverse functions of the CRY/PL family by demonstrating how conserved protein architecture and photochemistry can be elaborated into a range of light-driven functions.
Project description:Cryptochrome (CRY) plays an important role in the input of circadian clocks in various species, but gene copies in each species are evolutionarily divergent. Type I CRYs function as a photoreceptor molecule in the central clock, whereas type II CRYs directly regulate the transcriptional activity of clock proteins. Functions of other types of animal CRYs in the molecular clock remain unknown. The water flea Daphnia magna contains four Cry genes. However, it is still difficult to analyse these four genes. In this study, we took advantage of powerful genetic resources available from Drosophila to investigate evolutionary and functional differentiation of CRY proteins between the two species. We report differences in subcellular localisation of each D. magna CRY protein when expressed in the Drosophila clock neuron. Circadian rhythm behavioural experiments revealed that D. magna CRYs are not functionally conserved in the Drosophila molecular clock. These findings provide a new perspective on the evolutionary conservation of CRY, as functions of the four D. magna CRY proteins have diverse subcellular localisation levels. Furthermore, molecular clocks of D. magna have been evolutionarily differentiated from those of Drosophila. This study highlights the extensive functional diversity existing among species in their complement of Cry genes.
Project description:Circadian rhythms control the temporal arrangement of molecular, physiological, and behavioral processes within an organism and also synchronize these processes with the external environment. A cell autonomous molecular oscillator, consisting of interlocking transcriptional/translational feedback loops, drives the approximately 24-hour duration of these rhythms. The cryptochrome protein (CRY) plays a central part in the negative feedback loop of the molecular clock by translocating to the nucleus and repressing CLOCK and BMAL1, two transcription factors that comprise the positive elements in this cycle. In order to gain insight into the inner workings of this feedback loop, we investigated the structure/function relationships of Xenopus laevis CRY1 (xCRY1) and xCRY2 in cultured cells. The C-terminal tails of both xCRY1 and xCRY2 are sufficient for their nuclear localization but achieve it by different mechanisms. Through the generation and characterization of xCRY/photolyase chimeras, we found that the second half of the photolyase homology region (PHR) of CRY is important for repression through facilitating interaction with BMAL1. Characterization of these functional domains in CRYs will help us to better understand the mechanism of the known roles of CRYs and to elucidate new intricacies of the molecular clock.
Project description:Cryptochromes (CRYs) are flavoproteins that are sensitive to blue light, first identified in Arabidopsis and then in Drosophila and mice. They are evolutionarily conserved and play fundamental roles in the circadian clock of living organisms, enabling them to adapt to the daily 24-h cycles. The role of CRYs in circadian clocks differs among different species: in plants, they have a blue light-sensing activity whereas in mammals they act as light-independent transcriptional repressors within the circadian clock. These two different functions are accomplished by two principal types of CRYs, the light-sensitive plant/insect type 1 CRY and the mammalian type 2 CRY acting as a negative autoregulator in the molecular circadian clockwork. Drosophila melanogaster possesses just one CRY, belonging to type 1 CRYs. Nevertheless, this single CRY appears to have different functions, specific to different organs, tissues, and even subset of cells in which it is expressed. In this review, we will dissect the multiple roles of this single CRY in Drosophila, focusing on the regulatory mechanisms that make its pleiotropy possible.
Project description:Cryptochrome (CRY) proteins play an essential role in regulating mammalian circadian rhythms. CRY is composed of a structured N-terminal domain known as the photolyase homology region (PHR), which is tethered to an intrinsically disordered C-terminal tail. The PHR domain is a critical hub for binding other circadian clock components such as CLOCK, BMAL1, PERIOD, or the ubiquitin ligases FBXL3 and FBXL21. While the isolated PHR domain is necessary and sufficient to generate circadian rhythms, removing or modifying the cryptochrome tails modulates the amplitude and/or periodicity of circadian rhythms, suggesting that they play important regulatory roles in the molecular circadian clock. In this commentary, we will discuss how recent studies of these intrinsically disordered tails are helping to establish a general and evolutionarily conserved model for CRY function, where the function of PHR domains is modulated by reversible interactions with their intrinsically disordered tails. Video abstract.