Crystal structure of a complex between amino and carboxy terminal fragments of mDia1: insights into autoinhibition of diaphanous-related formins.
ABSTRACT: Formin proteins direct the nucleation and assembly of linear actin filaments in a variety of cellular processes using their conserved formin homology 2 (FH2) domain. Diaphanous-related formins (DRFs) are effectors of Rho-family GTPases, and in the absence of Rho activation they are maintained in an inactive state by intramolecular interactions between their regulatory N-terminal region and a C-terminal segment referred to as the DAD domain. Although structures are available for the isolated DAD segment in complex with the interacting region in the N-terminus, it remains unclear how this leads to inhibition of actin assembly by the FH2 domain. Here we describe the crystal structure of the N-terminal regulatory region of formin mDia1 in complex with a C-terminal fragment containing both the FH2 and DAD domains. In the crystal structure and in solution, these fragments form a tetrameric complex composed of two interlocking N+C dimers. Formation of the tetramer is likely a consequence of the particular N-terminal construct employed, as we show that a nearly full-length mDia1 protein is dimeric, as are other autoinhibited N+C complexes containing longer N-terminal fragments. The structure provides the first view of the intact C-terminus of a DRF, revealing the relationship of the DAD to the FH2 domain. Delineation of alternative dimeric N+C interactions within the tetramer provides two general models for autoinhibition in intact formins. In both models, engagement of the DAD by the N-terminus is incompatible with actin filament formation on the FH2, and in one model the actin binding surfaces of the FH2 domain are directly blocked by the N-terminus.
Project description:A number of cellular processes use both microtubules and actin filaments, but the molecular machinery linking these two cytoskeletal elements remains to be elucidated in detail. Formins are actin-binding proteins that have multiple effects on actin dynamics, and one formin, mDia2, has been shown to bind and stabilize microtubules through its formin homology 2 (FH2) domain. Here we show that three formins, INF2, mDia1, and mDia2, display important differences in their interactions with microtubules and actin. Constructs containing FH1, FH2, and C-terminal domains of all three formins bind microtubules with high affinity (K(d) < 100 nM). However, only mDia2 binds microtubules at 1:1 stoichiometry, with INF2 and mDia1 showing saturating binding at approximately 1:3 (formin dimer:tubulin dimer). INF2-FH1FH2C is a potent microtubule-bundling protein, an effect that results in a large reduction in catastrophe rate. In contrast, neither mDia1 nor mDia2 is a potent microtubule bundler. The C-termini of mDia2 and INF2 have different functions in microtubule interaction, with mDia2's C-terminus required for high-affinity binding and INF2's C-terminus required for bundling. mDia2's C-terminus directly binds microtubules with submicromolar affinity. These formins also differ in their abilities to bind actin and microtubules simultaneously. Microtubules strongly inhibit actin polymerization by mDia2, whereas they moderately inhibit mDia1 and have no effect on INF2. Conversely, actin monomers inhibit microtubule binding/bundling by INF2 but do not affect mDia1 or mDia2. These differences in interactions with microtubules and actin suggest differential function in cellular processes requiring both cytoskeletal elements.
Project description:Formins are a conserved family of actin assembly-promoting factors with essential and diverse biological roles. Most of our biochemical understanding of formin effects on actin dynamics is derived from studies using formin fragments. In addition, all structural information on formins has been limited to fragments. This has left open key questions about the structure, activity and regulation of intact formin proteins. Here, we isolated full-length mouse mDia1 (mDia1-FL) and found that it forms tightly autoinhibited dimers that can only be partially activated by RhoA. We solved the structure of autoinhibited mDia1-FL using electron microscopy and single particle analysis. Docking of crystal structures into the three dimensional reconstruction revealed that the fork-shaped N-terminal diaphanous inhibitory domain-coiled coil domain region hangs over the ring-shaped formin homology (FH)2 domain, suggesting that autoinhibition results from steric obstruction of actin binding. Deletion of the C-terminal diaphanous autoregulatory domain extended mDia1 structure and activated it for actin assembly. Using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy, we observed that RhoA-activated mDia1-FL persistently accelerated filament elongation in the presence of profilin similar to mDia1 FH1-FH2 fragment. These observations validate the known activities of FH1-FH2 fragments as reflecting those of the intact molecule. Our results further suggest that mDia1-FL does not readily snap back into the autoinhibited conformation and dissociate from growing filament ends, and thus additional factors may be required to displace formins and restrict filament length.
Project description:Formins promote actin assembly and are involved in force-dependent cytoskeletal remodeling. However, how force alters the formin functions still needs to be investigated. Here, using atomic force microscopy and biomembrane force probe, we investigated how mechanical force affects formin-mediated actin interactions at the level of single molecular complexes. The biophysical parameters of G-actin/G-actin (GG) or G-actin/F-actin (GF) interactions were measured under force loading in the absence or presence of two C-terminal fragments of the mouse formin mDia1: mDia1Ct that contains formin homology 2 domain (FH2) and diaphanous autoregulatory domain (DAD) and mDia1Ct-ΔDAD that contains only FH2. Under force-free conditions, neither association nor dissociation kinetics of GG and GF interactions were significantly affected by mDia1Ct or mDia1Ct-ΔDAD. Under tensile forces (0-7 pN), the average lifetimes of these bonds were prolonged and molecular complexes were stiffened in the presence of mDia1Ct, indicating mDia1Ct association kinetically stabilizes and mechanically strengthens bonds of the dimer and at the end of the F-actin under force. Interestingly, mDia1Ct-ΔDAD prolonged the lifetime of GF but not GG bond under force, suggesting the DAD domain is critical for mDia1Ct to strengthen GG interaction. These data unravel the mechanochemical coupling in formin-induced actin assembly and provide evidence to understand the initiation of formin-mediated actin elongation and nucleation.
Project description:Formin proteins are actin assembly factors that accelerate filament nucleation then remain on the elongating barbed end and modulate filament elongation. The formin homology 2 (FH2) domain is central to these activities, but recent work has suggested that additional sequences enhance FH2 domain function. Here we show that the C-terminal 76 amino acids of the formin FMNL3 have a dramatic effect on the ability of the FH2 domain to accelerate actin assembly. This C-terminal region contains a WASp homology 2 (WH2)-like sequence that binds actin monomers in a manner that is competitive with other WH2 domains and with profilin. In addition, the C terminus binds filament barbed ends. As a monomer, the FMNL3 C terminus inhibits actin polymerization and slows barbed end elongation with moderate affinity. As a dimer, the C terminus accelerates actin polymerization from monomers and displays high affinity inhibition of barbed end elongation. These properties are not common to all formin C termini, as those of mDia1 and INF2 do not behave similarly. Interestingly, mutation of two aliphatic residues, which blocks high affinity actin binding by the WH2-like sequence, has no effect on the ability of the C terminus to enhance FH2-mediated polymerization. However, mutation of three successive basic residues at the C terminus of the WH2-like sequence compromises polymerization enhancement. These results illustrate that the C termini of formins are highly diverse in their interactions with actin.
Project description:Formin proteins utilize a conserved formin homology 2 (FH2) domain to nucleate new actin filaments. In mammalian diaphanous-related formins (DRFs) the FH2 domain is inhibited through an unknown mechanism by intramolecular binding of the diaphanous autoinhibitory domain (DAD) and the diaphanous inhibitory domain (DID).Here we report the crystal structure of a complex between DID and FH2-DAD fragments of the mammalian DRF, mDia1 (mammalian diaphanous 1 also called Drf1 or p140mDia). The structure shows a tetrameric configuration (4 FH2 + 4 DID) in which the actin-binding sites on the FH2 domain are sterically occluded. However biochemical data suggest the full-length mDia1 is a dimer in solution (2 FH2 + 2 DID). Based on the crystal structure, we have generated possible dimer models and found that architectures of all of these models are incompatible with binding to actin filament but not to actin monomer. Furthermore, we show that the minimal functional monomeric unit in the FH2 domain, termed the bridge element, can be inhibited by isolated monomeric DID. NMR data on the bridge-DID system revealed that at least one of the two actin-binding sites on the bridge element is accessible to actin monomer in the inhibited state.Our findings suggest that autoinhibition in the native DRF dimer involves steric hindrance with the actin filament. Although the structure of a full-length DRF would be required for clarification of the presented models, our work here provides the first structural insights into the mechanism of the DRF autoinhibition.
Project description:Formins are a large family of actin assembly-promoting proteins with many important biological roles. However, it has remained unclear how formins nucleate actin polymerization. All other nucleators are known to recruit actin monomers as a central part of their mechanisms. However, the actin-nucleating FH2 domain of formins lacks appreciable affinity for monomeric actin. Here, we found that yeast and mammalian formins bind actin monomers but that this activity requires their C-terminal DAD domains. Furthermore, we observed that the DAD works in concert with the FH2 to enhance nucleation without affecting the rate of filament elongation. We dissected this mechanism in mDia1, mapped nucleation activity to conserved residues in the DAD, and demonstrated that DAD roles in nucleation and autoinhibition are separable. Furthermore, DAD enhancement of nucleation was independent of contributions from the FH1 domain to nucleation. Together, our data show that (1) the DAD has dual functions in autoinhibition and nucleation; (2) the FH1, FH2, and DAD form a tripartite nucleation machine; and (3) formins nucleate by recruiting actin monomers and therefore are more similar to other nucleators than previously thought.
Project description:Formins are highly conserved proteins that are essential in the formation and regulation of the actin cytoskeleton. The formin homology 2 (FH2) domain is responsible for actin binding and acts as an important nucleating factor in eukaryotic cells. In this work EPR and DSC were used to investigate the properties of the mDia1-FH2 formin fragment and its interaction with actin. MDia1-FH2 was labeled with a maleimide spin probe (MSL). EPR results suggested that the MSL was attached to a single SH group in the FH2. In DSC and temperature-dependent EPR experiments we observed that mDia1-FH2 has a flexible structure and observed a major temperature-induced conformational change at 41 °C. The results also confirmed the previous observation obtained by fluorescence methods that formin binding can destabilize the structure of actin filaments. In the EPR experiments the intermolecular connection between the monomers of formin dimers proved to be flexible. Considering the complex molecular mechanisms underlying the cellular roles of formins this internal flexibility of the dimers is probably important for manifestation of their biological functions.
Project description:Disheveled-associated activator of morphogenesis (DAAM) is a diaphanous-related formin protein essential for the regulation of actin cytoskeleton dynamics in diverse biological processes. The conserved formin homology 1 and 2 (FH1-FH2) domains of DAAM catalyze actin nucleation and processively mediate filament elongation. These activities are indirectly regulated by the N- and C-terminal regions flanking the FH1-FH2 domains. Recently, the C-terminal diaphanous-autoregulatory domain (DAD) and the C terminus (CT) of formins have also been shown to regulate actin assembly by directly interacting with actin. Here, to better understand the biological activities of DAAM, we studied the role of DAD-CT regions of Drosophila DAAM in its interaction with actin with in vitro biochemical and in vivo genetic approaches. We found that the DAD-CT region binds actin in vitro and that its main actin-binding element is the CT region, which does not influence actin dynamics on its own. However, we also found that it can tune the nucleating activity and the filament end-interaction properties of DAAM in an FH2 domain-dependent manner. We also demonstrate that DAD-CT makes the FH2 domain more efficient in antagonizing with capping protein. Consistently, in vivo data suggested that the CT region contributes to DAAM-mediated filopodia formation and dynamics in primary neurons. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the CT region of DAAM plays an important role in actin assembly regulation in a biological context.
Project description:Formins constitute a large family of proteins that regulate the dynamics and organization of both the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons. Previously we showed that the formin mDia1 helps tether microtubules at the cell cortex, acting downstream of the ErbB2 receptor tyrosine kinase. Here we further study the contributions of mDia1 and its two most closely related formins, mDia2 and mDia3, to cortical microtubule capture and ErbB2-dependent breast carcinoma cell migration. We find that depletion of each of these three formins strongly disrupts chemotaxis without significantly affecting actin-based structures. Further, all three formins are required for formation of cortical microtubules in a nonredundant manner, and formin proteins defective in actin polymerization remain active for microtubule capture. Using affinity purification and mass spectrometry analysis, we identify differential binding partners of the formin-homology domain 2 (FH2) of mDia1, mDia2, and mDia3, which may explain their nonredundant roles in microtubule capture. The FH2 domain of mDia1 specifically interacts with Rab6-interacting protein 2 (Rab6IP2). Further, mDia1 is required for cortical localization of Rab6IP2, and concomitant depletion of Rab6IP2 and IQGAP1 severely disrupts cortical capture of microtubules, demonstrating the coinvolvement of mDia1, IQGAP1, and Rab6IP2 in microtubule tethering at the leading edge.
Project description:Formin homology proteins are a highly conserved family of cytoskeletal remodeling proteins best known for their ability to induce the formation of long unbranched actin filaments. They accomplish this by nucleating the de novo polymerization of F-actin and also by acting as F-actin barbed end "leaky cappers" that allow filament elongation while antagonizing the function of capping proteins. More recently, it has been reported that the FH2 domains of FRL1 and mDia2 and the plant formin AFH1 are able to bind and bundle actin filaments via distinct mechanisms. We find that like FRL1, FRL2 and FRL3 are also able to bind and bundle actin filaments. In the case of FRL3, this activity is dependent upon a proximal DAD/WH2-like domain that is found C-terminal to the FH2 domain. In addition, we show that, like other Diaphanous-related formins, FRL3 activity is subject to autoregulation mediated by the interaction between its N-terminal DID and C-terminal DAD. In contrast, the DID and DAD of FRL2 also interact in vivo and in vitro but without inhibiting FRL2 activity. These data suggest that current models describing DID/DAD autoregulation via steric hindrance of FH2 activity must be revised. Finally, unlike other formins, we find that the FH2 and N-terminal dimerization domains of FRL2 and FRL3 are able to form hetero-oligomers.