Mutational analysis of the transmembrane helix 2-HAMP domain connection in the Escherichia coli aspartate chemoreceptor tar.
ABSTRACT: Transmembrane helix 2 (TM2) of the Tar chemoreceptor undergoes an inward piston-like displacement of 1 to 3 Å upon binding aspartate. This signal is transmitted to the kinase-control module via the HAMP domain. Within Tar, the HAMP domain forms a parallel four-helix bundle consisting of a dimer of two amphipathic helices connected by a flexible linker. In the nuclear magnetic resonance structure of an archaeal HAMP domain, residues corresponding to the MLLT sequence between Arg-214 at the end of TM2 and Pro-219 of Tar are an N-terminal helical extension of AS1. We modified this region to test whether it behaves as a continuous helical connection between TM2 and HAMP. First, one to four Gly residues were inserted between Thr-218 and Pro-219. Second, the MLLT sequence was replaced with one to nine Gly residues. Third, the sequence was shortened or extended with residues compatible with helix formation. Cells expressing receptors in which the MLLT sequence was shortened to MLL or in which the MLLT sequence was replaced by four Gly residues performed good aspartate chemotaxis. Other mutant receptors supported diminished aspartate taxis. Most mutant receptors had biased signal outputs and/or abnormal patterns of adaptive methylation. We interpret these results to indicate that a strong, permanent helical connection between TM2 and the HAMP domain is not necessary for normal transmembrane signaling.
Project description:HAMP domains convert an extracellular sensory input into an intracellular signaling response in a wide variety of membrane-embedded bacterial proteins. These domains are almost invariably found adjacent to the inner leaflet of the cell membrane. We therefore examined the interaction of peptides corresponding to either AS1 or AS2 of four different, well-characterized HAMP domains with several membrane model systems. The proteins included an Archaeoglobus fulgidus protein (Af1503), the Escherichia coli osmosensor EnvZ(Ec), the E. coli nitrate/nitrite sensor NarX(Ec), and the aspartate chemoreceptor of E. coli (Tar(Ec)). Far-UV CD and NMR spectroscopy were used to monitor the induction of secondary structure upon association with neutral or acidic large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) and bicelles. We observed significant increases in ?-helicity within AS1 from NarX(Ec) and Tar(Ec) but not in AS1 from the other proteins. To characterize these interactions further, we determined the solution structure of AS1 from Tar(Ec) associated with acidic bicelles. The bulk of AS1 formed an amphipathic ?-helix, whereas the N-terminal control cable, the region between TM2 and AS1, remained unstructured. We observed that the conserved prolyl residue found in AS1 of many membrane-adjacent HAMP domains defined the boundary between the unstructured and helical regions. In addition, two positively charged residues that flank the hydrophobic surface of AS1 are thought to facilitate electrostatic interactions with the membrane. We interpret these results within the context of the helix-interaction model for HAMP signaling and propose roles for AS1-membrane interactions during the membrane assembly and transmembrane communication of HAMP-containing receptors.
Project description:The Escherichia coli Tsr protein contains a periplasmic serine-binding domain that transmits ligand occupancy information to a cytoplasmic kinase-control domain to regulate the cell's flagellar motors. The Tsr input and output domains communicate through conformational changes transmitted through a transmembrane helix (TM2), a five-residue control cable helix at the membrane-cytoplasm interface, and a four-helix HAMP bundle. Changes in serine occupancy are known to promote TM2 piston displacements in one subunit of the Tsr homodimer. We explored how such piston motions might be relayed through the control cable to reach the input AS1 helix of HAMP by constructing and characterizing mutant receptors that had one-residue insertions or deletions in the TM2-control cable segment of Tsr. TM2 deletions caused kinase-off output shifts; TM2 insertions caused kinase-on shifts. In contrast, control cable deletions caused kinase-on output, whereas insertions at the TM2-control cable junction caused kinase-off output. These findings rule out direct mechanical transmission of TM2 conformational changes to HAMP. Instead, we suggest that the Tsr control cable transmits input signals to HAMP by modulating the intensity of structural clashes between out-of-register TM2 and AS1 helices. Inward displacement of TM2 might alter the sidechain environment of control cable residues at the membrane core-headgroup interface, causing a break in the control cable helix to attenuate the register mismatch and enhance HAMP packing stability, leading to a kinase-off output response. This helix-clutch model offers a new perspective on the mechanism of transmembrane signaling in chemoreceptors.
Project description:Transmembrane ?-helices play a key role in many receptors, transmitting a signal from one side to the other of the lipid bilayer membrane. Bacterial chemoreceptors are one of the best studied such systems, with a wealth of biophysical and mutational data indicating a key role for the TM2 helix in signalling. In particular, aromatic (Trp and Tyr) and basic (Arg) residues help to lock ?-helices into a membrane. Mutants in TM2 of E. coli Tar and related chemoreceptors involving these residues implicate changes in helix location and/or orientation in signalling. We have investigated the detailed structural basis of this via high throughput coarse-grained molecular dynamics (CG-MD) of Tar TM2 and its mutants in lipid bilayers. We focus on the position (shift) and orientation (tilt, rotation) of TM2 relative to the bilayer and how these are perturbed in mutants relative to the wildtype. The simulations reveal a clear correlation between small (ca. 1.5 Å) shift in position of TM2 along the bilayer normal and downstream changes in signalling activity. Weaker correlations are seen with helix tilt, and little/none between signalling and helix twist. This analysis of relatively subtle changes was only possible because the high throughput simulation method allowed us to run large (n?=?100) ensembles for substantial numbers of different helix sequences, amounting to ca. 2000 simulations in total. Overall, this analysis supports a swinging-piston model of transmembrane signalling by Tar and related chemoreceptors.
Project description:Transmembrane signaling of chemotaxis receptors has long been studied, but how the conformational change induced by ligand binding is transmitted across the bilayer membrane is still elusive at the molecular level. To tackle this problem, we carried out a total of 600-ns comparative molecular dynamics simulations (including model-building simulations) of the chemotaxis aspartate receptor Tar (a part of the periplasmic domain/transmembrane domain/HAMP domain) in explicit lipid bilayers. These simulations reveal valuable insights into the mechanistic picture of Tar transmembrane signaling. The piston-like movement of a transmembrane helix induced by ligand binding on the periplasmic side is transformed into a combination of both longitudinal and transversal movements of the helix on the cytoplasmic side as a result of different protein-lipid interactions in the ligand-off and ligand-on states of the receptor. This conformational change alters the dynamics and conformation of the HAMP domain, which is presumably a mechanism to deliver the signal from the transmembrane domain to the cytoplasmic domain. The current results are consistent with the previously suggested dynamic bundle model in which the HAMP dynamics change is a key to the signaling. The simulations provide further insights into the conformational changes relevant to the HAMP dynamics changes in atomic detail.
Project description:Dynamics are hypothesized to play an important role in the transmission of signals across membranes by receptors. Bacterial chemoreceptors are long helical proteins that consist of a periplasmic ligand-binding domain; a transmembrane region; a cytoplasmic HAMP (histidine kinase, adenylyl cyclases, methyl-accepting chemotaxis proteins, and phosphatases) domain; and a kinase-control module (KCM). The KCM is further composed of adaptation, hinge, and protein interaction regions (PIRs), the latter of which binds the histidine kinase CheA and adaptor CheW. Fusions of the Escherichia coli aspartate receptor KCM to HAMP domains of defined structure (H1-Tar vs. H1-2-Tar) give opposite responses in phosphotransfer and cellular assays, despite similar binding to CheA and CheW. Pulsed dipolar ESR spectroscopy (PDS) of these isolated on and off dimeric effectors reveals that, in the kinase-on state, the HAMP is more conformationally destabilized compared with the PIR, whereas in the kinase-off state, the HAMP is more compact, and the PIR samples a greater breadth of conformations. On and off HAMP states produce different conformational effects at the KCM junction, but these differences decrease through the adaptation region and into the hinge only to return with the inverted relationship in the PIR. Continuous wave-ESR of the spin-labeled proteins confirms that broader PDS distance distributions correlate with increased rates of dynamics. Conformational breadth in the adaptation region changes with charge alterations caused by modification enzymes. Activating modifications broaden the HAMP conformational ensemble but correspondingly, compact the PIR. Thus, chemoreceptors behave as coupled units, in which dynamics in regions proximal and distal to the membrane change coherently but with opposite sign.
Project description:Bacterial chemoreceptors signal across the membrane by conformational changes that traverse a four-helix transmembrane domain. High-resolution structures are available for the chemoreceptor periplasmic domain and part of the cytoplasmic domain but not for the transmembrane domain. Thus, we constructed molecular models of the transmembrane domains of chemoreceptors Trg and Tar, using coordinates of an unrelated four-helix coiled coil as a template and the X-ray structure of a chemoreceptor periplasmic domain to establish register and positioning. We tested the models using the extensive data for cross-linking propensities between cysteines introduced into adjacent transmembrane helices, and we found that many aspects of the models corresponded with experimental observations. The one striking disparity, the register of transmembrane helix 2 (TM2) relative to its partner transmembrane helix 1, could be corrected by sliding TM2 along its long axis toward the periplasm. The correction implied that axial sliding of TM2, the signaling movement indicated by a large body of data, was of greater magnitude than previously thought. The refined models were used to assess effects of inter-helical disulfides on the two ligand-induced conformational changes observed in alternative crystal structures of periplasmic domains: axial sliding within a subunit and subunit rotation. Analyses using a measure of disulfide potential energy provided strong support for the helical sliding model of transmembrane signaling but indicated that subunit rotation could be involved in other ligand-induced effects. Those analyses plus modeled distances between diagnostic cysteine pairs indicated a magnitude for TM2 sliding in transmembrane signaling of several angstroms.
Project description:Although collagenolytic matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) possess common domain organizations, there are subtle differences in their processing of collagenous triple-helical substrates. In this study, we have incorporated peptoid residues into collagen model triple-helical peptides and examined MMP activities toward these peptomeric chimeras. Several different peptoid residues were incorporated into triple-helical substrates at subsites P3, P1, P1', and P10' individually or in combination, and the effects of the peptoid residues were evaluated on the activities of full-length MMP-1, MMP-8, MMP-13, and MMP-14/MT1-MMP. Most peptomers showed little discrimination between MMPs. However, a peptomer containing N-methyl Gly (sarcosine) in the P1' subsite and N-isobutyl Gly (NLeu) in the P10' subsite was hydrolyzed efficiently only by MMP-13 [nomenclature relative to the ?1(I)772-786 sequence]. Cleavage site analysis showed hydrolysis at the Gly-Gln bond, indicating a shifted binding of the triple helix compared to the parent sequence. Favorable hydrolysis by MMP-13 was not due to sequence specificity or instability of the substrate triple helix but rather was based on the specific interactions of the P7' peptoid residue with the MMP-13 hemopexin-like domain. A fluorescence resonance energy transfer triple-helical peptomer was constructed and found to be readily processed by MMP-13, not cleaved by MMP-1 and MMP-8, and weakly hydrolyzed by MT1-MMP. The influence of the triple-helical structure containing peptoid residues on the interaction between MMP subsites and individual substrate residues may provide additional information about the mechanism of collagenolysis, the understanding of collagen specificity, and the design of selective MMP probes.
Project description:HAMP domains are widespread prokaryotic signaling modules found as single domains or poly-HAMP chains in both transmembrane and soluble proteins. The crystal structure of a three-unit poly-HAMP chain from the Pseudomonas aeruginosa soluble receptor Aer2 defines a universal parallel four-helix bundle architecture for diverse HAMP domains. Two contiguous domains integrate to form a concatenated di-HAMP structure. The three HAMP domains display two distinct conformations that differ by changes in helical register, crossing angle, and rotation. These conformations are stabilized by different subsets of conserved residues. Known signals delivered to HAMP would be expected to switch the relative stability of the two conformations and the position of a coiled-coil phase stutter at the junction with downstream helices. We propose that the two conformations represent opposing HAMP signaling states and suggest a signaling mechanism whereby HAMP domains interconvert between the two states, which alternate down a poly-HAMP chain.
Project description:Transmembrane bacterial chemoreceptors are extended, rod-shaped homodimers with ligand-binding sites at one end and interaction sites for signaling complex formation and histidine kinase control at the other. There are atomic-resolution structures of chemoreceptor fragments but not of intact, membrane-inserted receptors. Electron tomography of in vivo signaling complex arrays lack distinct densities for chemoreceptor rods away from the well-ordered base plate region, implying structural heterogeneity. We used negative staining, transmission electron microscopy, and image analysis to characterize the molecular shapes of intact homodimers of the Escherichia coli aspartate receptor Tar rendered functional by insertion into nanodisc-provided E. coli lipid bilayers. Single-particle analysis plus tomography of particles in a three-dimensional matrix revealed two bend loci in the chemoreceptor cytoplasmic domain, (i) a short, two-strand gap between the membrane-proximal, four-helix-bundle HAMP (histidine kinases, adenylyl cyclases, methyl-accepting chemoreceptors, and phosphatases) domain and the membrane-distal, four-helix coiled coil and (ii) aligned glycines in the extended, four-helix coiled coil, the position of a bend noted in the previous X-ray structure of a receptor fragment. Our images showed HAMP bends from 0° to ?13° and glycine bends from 0° to ?20°, suggesting that the loci are flexible hinges. Variable hinge bending explains indistinct densities for receptor rods outside the base plate region in subvolume averages of chemotaxis arrays. Bending at flexible hinges was not correlated with the chemoreceptor signaling state. However, our analyses showed that chemoreceptor bending avoided what would otherwise be steric clashes between neighboring receptors that would block the formation of core signaling complexes and chemoreceptor arrays.IMPORTANCE This work provides new information about the shape of transmembrane bacterial chemoreceptors, crucial components in the molecular machinery of bacterial chemotaxis. We found that intact, lipid-bilayer-inserted, and thus functional homodimers of the Escherichia coli chemoreceptor Tar exhibited bends at two flexible hinges along their ?200-Å, rod-like, cytoplasmic domains. One hinge was at the short, two-strand gap between the membrane-proximal, four-helix-bundle HAMP (histidine kinases, adenylyl cyclases, methyl-accepting chemoreceptors, and phosphatases) domain and the membrane-distal, four-helix coiled coil. The other hinge was at aligned glycines in the extended, four-helix coiled coil, where a bend had been identified in the X-ray structure of a chemoreceptor fragment. Our analyses showed that flexible hinge bending avoided structural clashes in chemotaxis core complexes and their arrays.
Project description:The structure and dynamic properties of an 80-residue fragment of Ste2p, the G-protein-coupled receptor for alpha-factor of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, was studied in LPPG micelles with the use of solution NMR spectroscopy. The fragment Ste2p(G31-T110) (TM1-TM2) consisted of 19 residues from the N-terminal domain, the first TM helix (TM1), the first cytoplasmic loop, the second TM helix (TM2), and seven residues from the first extracellular loop. Multidimensional NMR experiments on [(15)N], [(15)N, (13)C], [(15)N, (13)C, (2)H]-labeled TM1-TM2 and on protein fragments selectively labeled at specific amino acid residues or protonated at selected methyl groups resulted in >95% assignment of backbone and side-chain nuclei. The NMR investigation revealed the secondary structure of specific residues of TM1-TM2. TALOS constraints and NOE connectivities were used to calculate a structure for TM1-TM2 that was highlighted by the presence of three alpha-helices encompassing residues 39-47, 49-72, and 80-103, with higher flexibility around the internal Arg(58) site of TM1. RMSD values of individually superimposed helical segments 39-47, 49-72, and 80-103 were 0.25 +/- 0.10 A, 0.40 +/- 0.13 A, and 0.57 +/- 0.19 A, respectively. Several long-range interhelical connectivities supported the folding of TM1-TM2 into a tertiary structure typified by a crossed helix that splays apart toward the extracellular regions and contains considerable flexibility in the G(56)VRSG(60) region. (15)N-relaxation and hydrogen-deuterium exchange data support a stable fold for the TM parts of TM1-TM2, whereas the solvent-exposed segments are more flexible. The NMR structure is consistent with the results of biochemical experiments that identified the ligand-binding site within this region of the receptor.