Existence of a noncanonical state of iron-bound transferrin at endosomal pH revealed by hydrogen exchange and mass spectrometry.
ABSTRACT: Transferrin (Tf) is an enigmatic metalloprotein that exhibits a profound conformational change upon binding of ferric ion and a synergistic anion (oxalate or carbonate). While the apo and holo forms of the protein have well-defined and stable conformations termed "open" and "closed," certain aspects of Tf behavior imply the existence of alternative protein states. In this work, hydrogen/deuterium exchange was used in combination with mass spectrometry to map solvent-accessible surfaces of the iron-bound and iron-free forms of the N-terminal lobe of human serum Tf at both neutral and endosomal pH levels. While the deuterium uptake is significantly decelerated in the iron-bound state of the protein (compared with the apo form) at neutral pH, the changes are distributed very unevenly across the protein sequence. Protein segments exhibiting most noticeable gain in protection map onto the interdomain cleft region housing the iron-binding site. At the same time, protection levels of segments located in the bulk of the protein are largely unaffected by the presence of the metal. These observations are fully consistent with the notion of a metal-induced switch from the open to the closed conformation with solvent-inaccessible interdomain cleft. However, differences in the exchange behavior between the apo and holo forms of Tf become much less noticeable at endosomal pH, including the segments located in the interdomain cleft region. Intriguingly, a significant patch in the cleft region becomes slightly less protected in the presence of the metal, suggesting that the holoprotein exists in the open conformation under these slightly acidic conditions. The existence of a noncanonical state of holoTf was postulated several years ago; however, this work provides, for the first time, conclusive evidence that such alternative states are indeed populated in solution.
Project description:Transferrin (Tf) is an essential serum protein which delivers iron throughout the body via transferrin-receptor (TfR)-mediated uptake and iron release in early endosomes. Currently, there is no robust method to assay the population of iron-bound Tf in intact cells and tissues. Raman hyperspectral imaging detected spectral peaks that correlated with iron-bound Tf in intact cells and tumor xenografts sections (~1270-1300 cm-1). Iron-bound (holo) and iron-free (apo) human Tf forms were endocytosed by MDAMB231 and T47D human breast cancer cells. The Raman iron-bound Tf peak was identified in cells treated with holo-Tf, but not in cells incubated with apo-Tf. A reduction in the Raman peak intensity between 5 and 30 min of Tf internalization was observed in T47D, but not in MDAMB231, suggesting that T47D can release iron from Tf more efficiently than MDAMB231. MDAMB231 may display a disrupted iron homeostasis due to iron release delays caused by alterations in the pH or ionic milieu of the early endosomes. In summary, we have demonstrated that Raman hyperspectral imaging can be used to identify iron-bound Tf in cell cultures and tumor xenografts and detect iron release behavior of Tf in breast cancer cells.
Project description:Hereditary hemochromatosis (HH), a disease marked by chronic iron overload from insufficient expression of the hormone hepcidin, is one of the most common genetic diseases. One form of HH (type III) results from mutations in transferrin receptor-2 (TfR2). TfR2 is postulated to be a part of signaling system that is capable of modulating hepcidin expression. However, the molecular details of TfR2's role in this system remain unclear. TfR2 is predicted to bind the iron carrier transferrin (Tf) when the iron saturation of Tf is high. To better understand the nature of these TfR-Tf interactions, a binding study with the full-length receptors was conducted. In agreement with previous studies with truncated forms of these receptors, holo-Tf binds to the TfR1 homologue significantly stronger than to TfR2. However, the binding constant for Tf-TfR2 is still far above that of physiological holo-Tf levels, inconsistent with the hypothetical model, suggesting that other factors mediate the interaction. One possible factor, apo-Tf, only weakly binds TfR2 at serum pH and thus will not be able to effectively compete with holo-Tf. Tf binding to a TfR2 chimera containing the TfR1 helical domain indicates that the differences in the helical domain account for differences in the on rate of Tf, and nonconserved inter-receptor interactions are necessary for the stabilization of the complex. Conserved residues at one possible site of stabilization, the apical arm junction, are not important for TfR1-Tf binding but are critical for the TfR2-Tf interaction. Our results highlight the differences in Tf interactions with the two TfRs.
Project description:The primary route of iron acquisition in vertebrates is the transferrin receptor (TfR) mediated endocytotic pathway, which provides cellular entry to the metal transporter serum transferrin (Tf). Despite extensive research efforts, complete understanding of Tf-TfR interaction mechanism is still lacking owing to the complexity of this system. Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI MS) is used in this study to monitor the protein/receptor interaction and demonstrate the ability of metal-free Tf to associate with TfR at neutral pH. A set of Tf variants is used in a series of competition and displacement experiments to bracket TfR affinity of apo-Tf at neutral pH (0.2-0.6 microM). Consistent with current models of endosomal iron release from Tf, acidification of the protein solution results in a dramatic change of binding preferences, with apo-Tf becoming a preferred receptor binder. Contrary to the current models implying that the apo-Tf/TfR complex dissociates almost immediately upon exposure to the neutral environment at the cell surface, our data indicate that this complex remains intact. Iron-loaded Tf displaces apo-Tf from TfR, making it available for the next cycle of iron binding, transport and delivery to tissues. However, apo-Tf may still interfere with the cellular uptake of engineered Tf molecules whose TfR affinity is affected by various modifications (e.g., conjugation to cytotoxic molecules). This work also highlights the great potential of ESI MS as a tool capable of providing precise details of complex protein-receptor interactions under conditions that closely mimic the environment in which these encounters occur in physiological systems.
Project description:Serum transferrin reversibly binds iron in each of two lobes and delivers it to cells by a receptor-mediated, pH-dependent process. The binding and release of iron result in a large conformational change in which two subdomains in each lobe close or open with a rigid twisting motion around a hinge. We report the structure of human serum transferrin (hTF) lacking iron (apo-hTF), which was independently determined by two methods: 1) the crystal structure of recombinant non-glycosylated apo-hTF was solved at 2.7-A resolution using a multiple wavelength anomalous dispersion phasing strategy, by substituting the nine methionines in hTF with selenomethionine and 2) the structure of glycosylated apo-hTF (isolated from serum) was determined to a resolution of 2.7A by molecular replacement using the human apo-N-lobe and the rabbit holo-C1-subdomain as search models. These two crystal structures are essentially identical. They represent the first published model for full-length human transferrin and reveal that, in contrast to family members (human lactoferrin and hen ovotransferrin), both lobes are almost equally open: 59.4 degrees and 49.5 degrees rotations are required to open the N- and C-lobes, respectively (compared with closed pig TF). Availability of this structure is critical to a complete understanding of the metal binding properties of each lobe of hTF; the apo-hTF structure suggests that differences in the hinge regions of the N- and C-lobes may influence the rates of iron binding and release. In addition, we evaluate potential interactions between apo-hTF and the human transferrin receptor.
Project description:trans-Sialidase is an essential enzyme for Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas' disease, to escape from the host immune system and to invade the host cells. Therefore, T. cruzi trans-sialidase (TcTS) presents a potential and appealing therapeutic target for this lethal disease. The availability of a structurally very similar enzyme with strict hydrolase activity (Trypanosoma rangeli sialidase, TrSA) provides us a unique opportunity to understand the determinants of their structure and catalytic mechanism. In this study, we compare the catalytic cleft plasticity of free (apo) and ligand-bound (holo) forms of the two enzymes using molecular dynamics simulations. We focus on the mouth of the catalytic cleft that is defined by two residues: W312 and Y119 in TcTS and W312 and S119 in TrSA. Our results indicate that TcTS has a very flexible, widely open catalytic cleft, mostly due to W312 loop motion, in apo form. However, when the catalytic cleft is occupied by a ligand, the flexibility and solvent exposure of TcTS is significantly reduced. On the other hand, TrSA maintains a more open catalytic cleft compared to its crystal structures in both apo and holo forms (and compared to TcTS in holo forms). The reduced solvent exposure of TcTS catalytic cleft might be partially or fully responsible for TcTS to be a less efficient hydrolase than TrSA.
Project description:The full regulatory potential of the ferric uptake regulator (Fur) family of proteins remains undefined despite over 20 years of study. We report herein an integrated approach that combines both genome-wide technologies and structural studies to define the role of Fur in Campylobacter jejuni (Cj). CjFur ChIP-chip assays identified 95 genomic loci bound by CjFur associated with functions as diverse as iron acquisition, flagellar biogenesis, and non-iron ion transport. Comparative analysis with transcriptomic data revealed that CjFur regulation extends beyond solely repression and also includes both gene activation and iron-independent regulation. Computational analysis revealed the presence of an elongated holo-Fur repression motif along with a divergent holo-Fur activation motif. This diversity of CjFur DNA-binding elements is supported by the crystal structure of CjFur, which revealed a unique conformation of its DNA-binding domain and the absence of metal in the regulatory site. Strikingly, our results indicate that the apo-CjFur structure retains the canonical V-shaped dimer reminiscent of previously characterized holo-Fur proteins enabling DNA interaction. This conformation stems from a structurally unique hinge domain that is poised to further contribute to CjFur's regulatory functions by modulating the orientation of the DNA-binding domain upon binding of iron. The unique features of the CjFur crystal structure rationalize the binding sequence diversity that was uncovered during ChIP-chip analysis and defines apo-Fur regulation.
Project description:Fibrils formed by human serum transferrin [(1-3 ?M) apo-Tf, partially iron-saturated (Fe0.6 -Tf) and holo-Tf (Fe2 -Tf) forms], from dilute bicarbonate solutions, were deposited on formvar surfaces and studied by electron microscopy. We observed that possible bacterial contamination appears to give rise to long, pea-pod-like (PPL) structures for Fe2 -Tf, attributable to the formation of polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) storage granules, under the nutrient-limiting conditions used. These PPL structures contained periodic nanomineralisation sites susceptible to uranyl stain. Extended incubation of transferrin solutions (about four days) gave rise to extensive transferrin fibril structures. Optical microscopy and AFM studies showed that red blood cells (RBCs) readily adhere to these fibrils. Moreover, the fibrils appear to penetrate RBC membranes and to induce rapid cell destruction (within about 5 h). It is speculated that in situations in vivo where transferrin fibrils can form, such interactions might have adverse physiological consequences, and further studies could aid the understanding of related pathological events.
Project description:A heme-dependent conformational rearrangement of the C-terminal domain of heme binding protein (PhuS) is required for interaction with the iron-regulated heme oxygenase (HemO). Herein, we further investigate the underlying mechanism of this conformational rearrangement and its implications for heme transfer via site-directed mutagenesis, resonance Raman (RR), hydrogen-deuterium exchange MS (HDX-MS) methods, and molecular dynamics (MD). HDX-MS revealed that the apo-PhuS C-terminal ?6/?7/?8-helices are largely unstructured, whereas the apo-PhuS H212R variant showed an increase in structure within these regions. The increased rate of heme association with apo-PhuS H212R compared with the WT and lack of a detectable five-coordinate high-spin (5cHS) heme intermediate are consistent with a more folded and less dynamic C-terminal domain. HDX-MS and MD of holo-PhuS indicate an overall reduction in molecular flexibility throughout the protein, with significant structural rearrangement and protection of the heme binding pocket. We observed slow cooperative unfolding/folding events within the C-terminal helices of holo-PhuS and the N-terminal ?1/?2-helices that are dampened or eliminated in the holo-PhuS H212R variant. Chemical cross-linking and MALDI-TOF MS mapped these same regions to the PhuS:HemO protein-protein interface. We previously proposed that the protein-protein interaction induces conformational rearrangement, promoting a ligand switch from His-209 to His-212 and triggering heme release to HemO. The reduced conformational freedom of holo-PhuS H212R combined with the increase in entropy and decrease in heme transfer on interaction with HemO further support this model. This study provides significant insight into the role of protein dynamics in heme binding and release in bacterial heme transport proteins.
Project description:Detailed circular dichroism (CD), steady-state and time-resolved tryptophan fluorescence studies on the holo- and apo- forms of high potential iron protein (HiPIP) from Chromatium vinosum and its mutant protein have been carried out to investigate conformational properties of the protein. CD studies showed that the protein does not have any significant secondary structure elements in the holo- or apo- HiPIP, indicating that the metal cluster does not have any effect on formation of secondary structure in the protein. Steady-state fluorescence quenching studies however, suggested that removal of the iron-sulfur ([Fe(4)S(4)](3+)) cluster from the protein leads to an increase in the solvent accessibility of tryptophans, indicating change in the tertiary structure of the protein. CD studies on the holo- and apo- HiPIP also showed that removal of the metal prosthetic group drastically affects the tertiary structure of the protein. Time-resolved fluorescence decay of the wild type protein was fitted to a four-exponentials model and that of the W80N mutant was fitted to a three-exponentials model. The time-resolved fluorescence decay was also analyzed by maximum entropy method (MEM). The results of the MEM analysis agreed with those obtained from discrete exponentials model analysis. Studies on the wild type and mutants helped to assign the fast picosecond lifetime component to the W80 residue, which exhibits fast fluorescence energy transfer to the [Fe(4)S(4)](3+) cluster of the protein. Decay-associated fluorescence spectra of each tryptophan residues were calculated from the time-resolved fluorescence results at different emission wavelengths. The results suggested that W80 is in the hydrophobic core of the protein, but W60 and W76 are partially or completely exposed to the solvent.
Project description:Ring sideroblasts are a hallmark of sideroblastic anemia, although little is known about their characteristics. Here, we first generated mutant mice by disrupting the GATA-1 binding motif at the intron 1 enhancer of the ALAS2 gene, a gene responsible for X-linked sideroblastic anemia (XLSA). Although heterozygous female mice showed an anemic phenotype, ring sideroblasts were not observed in their bone marrow. We next established human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived proerythroblast clones harboring the same ALAS2 gene mutation. Through coculture with sodium ferrous citrate, mutant clones differentiated into mature erythroblasts and became ring sideroblasts with upregulation of metal transporters (MFRN1, ZIP8, and DMT1), suggesting a key role for ferrous iron in erythroid differentiation. Interestingly, holo-transferrin (holo-Tf) did not induce erythroid differentiation as well as ring sideroblast formation, and mutant cells underwent apoptosis. Despite massive iron granule content, ring sideroblasts were less apoptotic than holo-Tf-treated undifferentiated cells. Microarray analysis revealed upregulation of antiapoptotic genes in ring sideroblasts, a profile partly shared with erythroblasts from a patient with XLSA. These results suggest that ring sideroblasts exert a reaction to avoid cell death by activating antiapoptotic programs. Our model may become an important tool to clarify the pathophysiology of sideroblastic anemia.