Helix straightening as an activation mechanism in the gelsolin superfamily of actin regulatory proteins.
ABSTRACT: Villin and gelsolin consist of six homologous domains of the gelsolin/cofilin fold (V1-V6 and G1-G6, respectively). Villin differs from gelsolin in possessing at its C terminus an unrelated seventh domain, the villin headpiece. Here, we present the crystal structure of villin domain V6 in an environment in which intact villin would be inactive, in the absence of bound Ca(2+) or phosphorylation. The structure of V6 more closely resembles that of the activated form of G6, which contains one bound Ca(2+), rather than that of the calcium ion-free form of G6 within intact inactive gelsolin. Strikingly apparent is that the long helix in V6 is straight, as found in the activated form of G6, as opposed to the kinked version in inactive gelsolin. Molecular dynamics calculations suggest that the preferable conformation for this helix in the isolated G6 domain is also straight in the absence of Ca(2+) and other gelsolin domains. However, the G6 helix bends in intact calcium ion-free gelsolin to allow interaction with G2 and G4. We suggest that a similar situation exists in villin. Within the intact protein, a bent V6 helix, when triggered by Ca(2+), straightens and helps push apart adjacent domains to expose actin-binding sites within the protein. The sixth domain in this superfamily of proteins serves as a keystone that locks together a compact ensemble of domains in an inactive state. Perturbing the keystone initiates reorganization of the structure to reveal previously buried actin-binding sites.
Project description:The gelsolin family of actin regulatory proteins is activated by Ca(2+) to sever and cap actin filaments. Gelsolin has six homologous gelsolin-like domains (G1-G6), and Ca(2+)-dependent conformational changes regulate its accessibility to actin. Caenorhabditis elegans gelsolin-like protein-1 (GSNL-1) has only four gelsolin-like domains (G1-G4) and still exhibits Ca(2+)-dependent actin filament-severing and -capping activities. We found that acidic residues (Asp-83 and Asp-84) in G1 of GSNL-1 are important for its Ca(2+) activation. These residues are conserved in GSNL-1 and gelsolin and previously implicated in actin-severing activity of the gelsolin family. We found that alanine mutations at Asp-83 and Asp-84 (D83A/D84A mutation) did not disrupt actin-severing or -capping activity. Instead, the mutants exhibited altered Ca(2+) sensitivity when compared with wild-type GSNL-1. The D83A/D84A mutation enhanced Ca(2+) sensitivity for actin severing and capping and its susceptibility to proteolytic digestion, suggesting a conformational change. Single mutations caused minimal changes in its activity, whereas Asp-83 and Asp-84 were required to stabilize Ca(2+)-free and Ca(2+)-bound conformations, respectively. On the other hand, the D83A/D84A mutation suppressed sensitivity of GSNL-1 to phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate inhibition. The structure of an inactive form of gelsolin shows that the equivalent acidic residues are in close contact with G3, which may maintain an inactive conformation of the gelsolin family.
Project description:Gelsolin consists of six homologous domains (G1-G6), each containing a conserved Ca-binding site. Occupation of a subset of these sites enables gelsolin to sever and cap actin filaments in a Ca-dependent manner. Here, we present the structures of Ca-free human gelsolin and of Ca-bound human G1-G3 in a complex with actin. These structures closely resemble those determined previously for equine gelsolin. However, the G2 Ca-binding site is occupied in the human G1-G3/actin structure, whereas it is vacant in the equine version. In-depth comparison of the Ca-free and Ca-activated, actin-bound human gelsolin structures suggests G2 and G6 to be cooperative in binding Ca(2+) and responsible for opening the G2-G6 latch to expose the F-actin-binding site on G2. Mutational analysis of the G2 and G6 Ca-binding sites demonstrates their interdependence in maintaining the compact structure in the absence of calcium. Examination of Ca binding by G2 in human G1-G3/actin reveals that the Ca(2+) locks the G2-G3 interface. Thermal denaturation studies of G2-G3 indicate that Ca binding stabilizes this fragment, driving it into the active conformation. The G2 Ca-binding site is mutated in gelsolin from familial amyloidosis (Finnish-type) patients. This disease initially proceeds through protease cleavage of G2, ultimately to produce a fragment that forms amyloid fibrils. The data presented here support a mechanism whereby the loss of Ca binding by G2 prolongs the lifetime of partially activated, intermediate conformations in which the protease cleavage site is exposed.
Project description:We examine how collagen substrate topography, free intracellular calcium ion concentration ([Ca(2+)]i, and the association of gelsolin with nonmuscle myosin IIA (NMMIIA) at collagen adhesions are regulated to enable collagen phagocytosis. Fibroblasts plated on planar, collagen-coated substrates show minimal increase of [Ca(2+)]i, minimal colocalization of gelsolin and NMMIIA in focal adhesions, and minimal intracellular collagen degradation. In fibroblasts plated on collagen-coated latex beads there are large increases of [Ca(2+)]i, time- and Ca(2+)-dependent enrichment of NMMIIA and gelsolin at collagen adhesions, and abundant intracellular collagen degradation. NMMIIA knockdown retards gelsolin recruitment to adhesions and blocks collagen phagocytosis. Gelsolin exhibits tight, Ca(2+)-dependent binding to full-length NMMIIA. Gelsolin domains G4-G6 selectively require Ca(2+) to interact with NMMIIA, which is restricted to residues 1339-1899 of NMMIIA. We conclude that cell adhesion to collagen presented on beads activates Ca(2+) entry and promotes the formation of phagosomes enriched with NMMIIA and gelsolin. The Ca(2+) -dependent interaction of gelsolin and NMMIIA in turn enables actin remodeling and enhances collagen degradation by phagocytosis.
Project description:Adseverin is a member of the calcium-regulated gelsolin superfamily of actin severing and capping proteins. Adseverin comprises 6 homologous domains (A1-A6), which share 60% identity with the 6 domains from gelsolin (G1-G6). Adseverin is truncated in comparison to gelsolin, lacking the C-terminal extension that masks the F-actin binding site in calcium-free gelsolin. Biochemical assays have indicated differences in the interaction of the C-terminal halves of adseverin and gelsolin with actin. Gelsolin contacts actin through a major site on G4 and a minor site on G6, whereas adseverin uses a site on A5. Here, we present the X-ray structure of the activated C-terminal half of adseverin (A4-A6). This structure is highly similar to that of the activated form of the C-terminal half of gelsolin (G4-G6), both in arrangement of domains and in the 3 bound calcium ions. Comparative analysis of the actin-binding surfaces observed in the G4-G6/actin structure suggests that adseverin in this conformation will also be able to interact with actin through A4 and A6, whereas the A5 surface is obscured. A single residue mutation in A4-A6 located at the predicted A4/actin interface completely abrogates actin sequestration. A model of calcium-free adseverin, constructed from the structure of gelsolin, predicts that in the absence of a gelsolin-like C-terminal extension the interaction between A2 and A6 provides the steric inhibition to prevent interaction with F-actin. We propose that calcium binding to the N terminus of adseverin dominates the activation process to expose the F-actin binding site on A2.
Project description:This is the first report describing temperature based initiation of gelsolin's F-actin depolymerization activity, even in absence of free Ca2+ or low pH. Small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and circular dichroism (CD) studies revealed that temperature in the range of 30-40?°C is capable of opening the G1 domain alone, as remaining domains are held together by the Ca2+-sensitive C-tail latch without any loss in the secondary structural content. Full opening of all domains of tail-less gelsolin, and retention of closed shape for G2-G6 gelsolin merely by heating, further substantiated our findings. The Ca2+/pH independent activity of gelsolin near physiological temperature brought out a query: whether gelsolin is always active, and if not, what might deactivate it? Earlier, PIP2 has been reported to render gelsolin inactive with no structural insight. Reduction in shape parameters and modeling revealed that PIP2 reverses the temperature induced extension of g1-g2 linker leading to a compact shape seen for Ca2+-free gelsolin. Similar results for partially activated gelsolin (by low pH or Ca2+ ions below 0.1??M) imply that inside cells, depolymerization, capping, and nucleation of F-actin by gelsolin is regulated by the culmination of local Ca2+ ion concentration, pH, temperature and PIP2 levels.
Project description:Gelsolin is a key actin cytoskeleton-modulating protein primarily regulated by calcium and phosphoinositides. In addition, low pH has also been suggested to activate gelsolin in the absence of Ca(2+) ions, although no structural insight on this pathway is available except for a reported decrement in its diffusion coefficient at low pH. We also observed ~1.6-fold decrease in the molecular mobility of recombinant gelsolin when buffer pH was lowered from 9 to 5. Analysis of the small angle x-ray scattering data collected over the same pH range indicated that the radius of gyration and maximum linear dimension of gelsolin molecules increased from 30.3 to 34.1 ? and from 100 to 125 ?, respectively. Models generated for each dataset indicated that similar to the Ca(2+)-induced process, low pH also promotes unwinding of this six-domain protein but only partially. It appeared that pH is able to induce extension of the G1 domain from the rest of the five domains, whereas the Ca(2+)-sensitive latch between G2 and G6 domains remains closed. Interestingly, increasing the free Ca(2+) level to merely ~40 nM, the partially open pH 5 shape "sprung open" to a shape seen earlier for this protein at pH 8 and 1 mm free Ca(2+). Also, pH alone could induce a shape where the g3-g4 linker of gelsolin was open when we truncated the C-tail latch from this protein. Our results provide insight into how under physiological conditions, a drop in pH can fully activate the F-actin-severing shape of gelsolin with micromolar levels of Ca(2+) available.
Project description:Supervillin, the largest member of the villin/gelsolin/flightless family, is a peripheral membrane protein that regulates each step of cell motility, including cell spreading. Most known interactors bind within its amino (N)-terminus. We show here that the supervillin carboxy (C)-terminus can be modeled as supervillin-specific loops extending from gelsolin-like repeats plus a villin-like headpiece. We have identified 27 new candidate interactors from yeast two-hybrid screens. The interacting sequences from 12 of these proteins (BUB1, EPLIN/LIMA1, FLNA, HAX1, KIF14, KIFC3, MIF4GD/SLIP1, ODF2/Cenexin, RHAMM, STARD9/KIF16A, Tks5/SH3PXD2A, TNFAIP1) co-localize with and mis-localize EGFP-supervillin in mammalian cells, suggesting associations in vivo. Supervillin-interacting sequences within BUB1, FLNA, HAX1, and MIF4GD also mimic supervillin over-expression by inhibiting cell spreading. Most new interactors have known roles in supervillin-associated processes, e.g. cell motility, membrane trafficking, ERK signaling, and matrix invasion; three (KIF14, KIFC3, STARD9/KIF16A) have kinesin motor domains; and five (EPLIN, KIF14, BUB1, ODF2/cenexin, RHAMM) are important for cell division. GST fusions of the supervillin G2-G3 or G4-G6 repeats co-sediment KIF14 and EPLIN, respectively, consistent with a direct association. Supervillin depletion leads to increased numbers of bi- and multi-nucleated cells. Cytokinesis failure occurs predominately during early cytokinesis. Supervillin localizes with endogenous myosin II and EPLIN in the cleavage furrow, and overlaps with the oncogenic kinesin, KIF14, at the midbody. We conclude that supervillin, like its interactors, is important for efficient cytokinesis. Our results also suggest that supervillin and its interaction partners coordinate actin and microtubule motor functions throughout the cell cycle.
Project description:Villin is an F-actin regulating, modular protein with a gelsolin-like core and a distinct C-terminal "headpiece" domain. Localized in the microvilli of the absorptive epithelium, villin can bundle F-actin and, at higher calcium concentrations, is capable of a gelsolin-like F-actin severing. The headpiece domain can, in isolation, bind F-actin and is crucial for F-actin bundling by villin. While the three-dimensional structure of the isolated headpiece is known, its conformation in the context of attachment to the villin core remains unexplored. Furthermore, the dynamics of the linkage of the headpiece to the core has not been determined. To address these issues, we employ a 208-residue modular fragment of villin, D6-HP, which consists of the sixth gelsolin-like domain of villin (D6) and the headpiece (HP). We demonstrate that this protein fragment requires calcium for structural stability and, surprisingly, is capable of Ca2+-dependent F-actin bundling, suggesting that D6 contains a cryptic F-actin binding site. NMR resonance assignments and 15N relaxation measurements of D6-HP in 5 mM Ca2+ demonstrate that D6-HP consists of two independent structural domains (D6 and HP) connected by an unfolded 40-residue linker sequence. The headpiece domain in D6-HP retains its structure and interacts with D6 only through the linker sequence without engaging in other interactions. Chemical shift values indicate essentially the same secondary structure elements for D6 in D6-HP as in the highly homologous gelsolin domain 6. Thus, the headpiece domain of villin is structurally and functionally independent of the core domain.
Project description:Adseverin is a member of the calcium-regulated gelsolin superfamily of actin-binding proteins. Here we report the crystal structure of the calcium-free N-terminal half of adseverin (iA1-A3) and the Ca(2+)-bound structure of A3, which reveal structural similarities and differences with gelsolin. Solution small-angle X-ray scattering combined with ensemble optimization revealed a dynamic Ca(2+)-dependent equilibrium between inactive, intermediate and active conformations. Increasing calcium concentrations progressively shift this equilibrium from a main population of inactive conformation to the active form. Molecular dynamics simulations of iA1-A3 provided insights into Ca(2+)-induced destabilization, implicating a critical role for the A2 type II calcium-binding site and the A2A3 linker in the activation process. Finally, mutations that disrupt the A1/A3 interface increase Ca(2+)-independent F-actin severing by A1-A3, albeit at a lower efficiency than observed for gelsolin domains G1-G3. Together, these data address the calcium dependency of A1-A3 activity in relation to the calcium-independent activity of G1-G3.
Project description:The villin/gelsolin/fragmin superfamily is a major group of Ca2+-dependent actin-binding proteins (ABPs) involved in various cellular processes. Members of this superfamily typically possess three or six tandem gelsolin-like (G) domains, and each domain plays a distinct role in actin filament dynamics. Although the activities of most G domains have been characterized, the biochemical function of the G3 domain remains poorly understood. In this study, we carefully compared the detailed biochemical activities of ABP29 (a new member of this family that contains the G1-G2 domains of lily ABP135) and ABP135G1-G3 (which contains the G1-G3 domains of lily ABP135). In the presence of high Ca2+ levels in vitro (200 and 10 ?M), ABP135G1-G3 exhibited greater actin severing and/or depolymerization and nucleating activities than ABP29, and these proteins had similar actin capping activities. However, in the presence of low levels of Ca2+ (41 nM), ABP135G1-G3 had a weaker capping activity than ABP29. In addition, ABP29 inhibited F-actin depolymerization, as shown by dilution-mediated depolymerization assay, differing from the typical superfamily proteins. In contrast, ABP135G1-G3 accelerated F-actin depolymerization. All of these results demonstrate that the G3 domain plays specific roles in regulating the activities of the lily villin/gelsolin/fragmin superfamily proteins.