Structural basis of sterol binding and transport by a yeast StARkin domain.
ABSTRACT: The StARkin superfamily comprises proteins with steroidogenic acute regulatory protein-related lipid transfer (StART) domains that are implicated in intracellular, non-vesicular lipid transport. A new family of membrane-anchored StARkins was recently identified, including six members, Lam1-Lam6, in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Lam1-Lam4 are anchored to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane at sites where the ER is tethered to the plasma membrane and proposed to be involved in sterol homeostasis in yeast. To better understand the biological roles of these proteins, we carried out a structure-function analysis of the second StARkin domain of Lam4, here termed Lam4S2. NMR experiments indicated that Lam4S2 undergoes specific conformational changes upon binding sterol, and fluorescence-based assays revealed that it catalyzes sterol transport between vesicle populations in vitro, exhibiting a preference for vesicles containing anionic lipids. Using such vesicles, we found that sterols are transported at a rate of ?50 molecules per Lam4S2 per minute. Crystal structures of Lam4S2, with and without bound sterol, revealed a largely hydrophobic but surprisingly accessible sterol-binding pocket with the 3-OH group of the sterol oriented toward its base. Single or multiple alanine or aspartic acid replacements of conserved lysine residues in a basic patch on the surface of Lam4S2 near the likely sterol entry/egress site strongly attenuated sterol transport. Our results suggest that Lam4S2 engages anionic membranes via a basic surface patch, enabling "head-first" entry of sterol into the binding pocket followed by partial closure of the entryway. Reversal of these steps enables sterol egress.
Project description:Membrane contact sites (MCSs) in eukaryotic cells are hotspots for lipid exchange, which is essential for many biological functions, including regulation of membrane properties and protein trafficking. Lipid transfer proteins anchored at membrane contact sites (LAMs) contain sterol-specific lipid transfer domains [StARkin domain (SD)] and multiple targeting modules to specific membrane organelles. Elucidating the structural mechanisms of targeting and ligand recognition by LAMs is important for understanding the interorganelle communication and exchange at MCSs. Here, we determined the crystal structures of the yeast Lam6 pleckstrin homology (PH)-like domain and the SDs of Lam2 and Lam4 in the apo form and in complex with ergosterol. The Lam6 PH-like domain displays a unique PH domain fold with a conserved N-terminal ?-helix. The Lam6 PH-like domain lacks the basic surface for phosphoinositide binding, but contains hydrophobic patches on its surface, which are critical for targeting to endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-mitochondrial contacts. Structures of the LAM SDs display a helix-grip fold with a hydrophobic cavity and a flexible ?1-loop as a lid. Ergosterol is bound to the pocket in a head-down orientation, with its hydrophobic acyl group located in the tunnel entrance. The ?1-loop in an open conformation is essential for ergosterol binding by direct hydrophobic interaction. Structural comparison suggested that the sterol binding mode of the Lam2 SD2 is likely conserved among the sterol transfer proteins of the StARkin superfamily. Structural models of full-length Lam2 correlated with the sterol transport function at the membrane contact sites.
Project description:Lam proteins transport sterols between the membranes of different cellular compartments. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the LAM gene family consists of three pairs of paralogs. Because the function of paralogous genes can be redundant, the phenotypes of only a small number of LAM gene deletions have been reported; thus, the role of these genes in yeast physiology is still unclear. Here, we surveyed the phenotypes of double and quadruple deletants of paralogous LAM2(YSP2)/LAM4 and LAM1(YSP1)/LAM3(SIP3) genes that encode proteins localized in the junctions of the plasma membrane and endoplasmic reticulum. The quadruple deletant showed increased sterol content and a strong decrease in ethanol, heat shock and high osmolarity resistance. Surprisingly, the quadruple deletant and LAM2/LAM4 double deletion strain showed increased tolerance to the azole antifungals clotrimazole and miconazole. This effect was not associated with an increased rate of ABC-transporter substrate efflux. Possibly, increased sterol pool in the LAM deletion strains postpones the effect of azoles on cell growth. Alternatively, LAM deletions might alleviate the toxic effect of sterols as Lam proteins can transport toxic sterol biosynthesis intermediates into membrane compartments that are sensitive to these compounds. Our findings reveal novel biological roles of LAM genes in stress tolerance and suggest that mutations in these genes may confer upregulation of a mechanism that provides resistance to azole antifungals in pathogenic fungi.
Project description:Communication between organelles is crucial for eukaryotic cells to function as one coherent unit. An important means of communication is through membrane contact sites, where two organelles come into close proximity allowing the transport of lipids and small solutes between them. Contact sites are dynamic in size and can change in response to environmental or cellular stimuli; however, how this is regulated has been unclear. Here, we show that Saccharomyces cerevisiae Lam6 resides in several central contact sites: ERMES (ER/mitochondria encounter structure), vCLAMP (vacuole and mitochondria patch), and NVJ (nuclear vacuolar junction). We show that Lam6 is sufficient for expansion of contact sites under physiological conditions and necessary for coordination of contact site size. Given that Lam6 is part of a large protein family and is conserved in vertebrates, our work opens avenues for investigating the underlying principles of organelle communication.
Project description:The steroidogenic acute regulatory protein-related lipid transfer (START) domain family is defined by a conserved 210-amino acid sequence that folds into an ?/? helix-grip structure. Members of this protein family bind a variety of ligands, including cholesterol, phospholipids, sphingolipids, and bile acids, with putative roles in nonvesicular lipid transport, metabolism, and cell signaling. Among the soluble START proteins, STARD4 is expressed in most tissues and has previously been shown to transfer sterol, but the molecular mechanisms of membrane interaction and sterol binding remain unclear. In this work, we use biochemical techniques to characterize regions of STARD4 and determine their role in membrane interaction and sterol binding. Our results show that STARD4 interacts with anionic membranes through a surface-exposed basic patch and that introducing a mutation (L124D) into the Omega-1 (?1) loop, which covers the sterol binding pocket, attenuates sterol transfer activity. To gain insight into the attenuating mechanism of the L124D mutation, we conducted structural and biophysical studies of wild-type and L124D STARD4. These studies show that the L124D mutation reduces the conformational flexibility of the protein, resulting in a diminished level of membrane interaction and sterol transfer. These studies also reveal that the C-terminal ?-helix, and not the ?1 loop, partitions into the membrane bilayer. On the basis of these observations, we propose a model of STARD4 membrane interaction and sterol binding and release that requires dynamic movement of both the ?1 loop and membrane insertion of the C-terminal ?-helix.
Project description:Previously we identified Lam/GramD1 proteins, a family of endoplasmic reticulum membrane proteins with sterol-binding StARkin domains that are implicated in intracellular sterol homeostasis. Here, we show how these proteins exchange sterol molecules with membranes. An aperture at one end of the StARkin domain enables sterol to enter/exit the binding pocket. Strikingly, the wall of the pocket is longitudinally fractured, exposing bound sterol to solvent. Large-scale atomistic molecular dynamics simulations reveal that sterol egress involves widening of the fracture, penetration of water into the cavity, and consequent destabilization of the bound sterol. The simulations identify polar residues along the fracture that are important for sterol release. Their replacement with alanine affects the ability of the StARkin domain to bind sterol, catalyze inter-vesicular sterol exchange and alleviate the nystatin-sensitivity of lam2? yeast cells. These data suggest an unprecedented, water-controlled mechanism of sterol discharge from a StARkin domain.
Project description:In our proteome-wide screen, Ysp2 (also known as Lam2/Ltc4) was identified as a likely physiologically relevant target of the TOR complex 2 (TORC2)-dependent protein kinase Ypk1 in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ysp2 was subsequently shown to be one of a new family of sterol-binding proteins located at plasma membrane (PM)-endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contact sites. Here we document that Ysp2 and its paralogue Lam4/Ltc3 are authentic Ypk1 substrates in vivo and show using genetic and biochemical criteria that Ypk1-mediated phosphorylation inhibits the ability of these proteins to promote retrograde transport of sterols from the PM to the ER. Furthermore, we provide evidence that a change in PM sterol homeostasis promotes cell survival under membrane-perturbing conditions known to activate TORC2-Ypk1 signaling. These observations define the underlying molecular basis of a new regulatory mechanism for cellular response to plasma membrane stress.
Project description:Tom70 is a versatile adaptor protein of 70 kDa anchored in the outer membrane of mitochondria in metazoa, fungi and amoeba. The tertiary structure was resolved for the Tom70 of yeast, showing 26 ?-helices, most of them participating in the formation of 11 tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) motifs. Tom70 serves as a docking site for cytosolic chaperone proteins and co-chaperones and is thereby involved in the uptake of newly synthesized chaperone-bound proteins in mitochondrial biogenesis. In yeast, Tom70 additionally mediates ER-mitochondria contacts via binding to sterol transporter Lam6/Ltc1. In mammalian cells, TOM70 promotes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to mitochondria Ca2+ transfer by association with the inositol-1,4,5-triphosphate receptor type 3 (IP3R3). TOM70 is specifically targeted by the Bcl-2-related protein MCL-1 that acts as an anti-apoptotic protein in macrophages infected by intracellular pathogens, but also in many cancer cells. By participating in the recruitment of PINK1 and the E3 ubiquitin ligase Parkin, TOM70 can be implicated in the development of Parkinson's disease. TOM70 acts as receptor of the mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS) and thereby participates in the corresponding system of innate immunity against viral infections. The protein encoded by Orf9b in the genome of SARS-CoV-2 binds to TOM70, probably compromising the synthesis of type I interferons.
Project description:Transport of dietary cholesterol from endocytic organelles to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is essential for cholesterol homoeostasis, but the mechanism and regulation of this transport remains poorly defined. Membrane contact sites (MCS), microdomains of close membrane apposition, are gaining attention as important platforms for non-vesicular, inter-organellar communication. Here we investigate the impact of ER-endocytic organelle MCS on cholesterol transport. We report a role for Niemann-Pick type C protein 1 (NPC1) in tethering ER-endocytic organelle MCS where it interacts with the ER-localised sterol transport protein Gramd1b to regulate cholesterol egress. We show that artificially tethering MCS rescues the cholesterol accumulation that characterises NPC1-deficient cells, consistent with direct lysosome to ER cholesterol transport across MCS. Finally, we identify an expanded population of lysosome-mitochondria MCS in cells depleted of NPC1 or Gramd1b that is dependent on the late endosomal sterol-binding protein STARD3, likely underlying the mitochondrial cholesterol accumulation in NPC1-deficient cells.
Project description:THE population of the French Departments of the Americas (FDA) is highly influenced by the intense migratory flows with mainland france and surrounding countries of the Caribbean and Latin America, some of which have high incidence rates of tuberculosis (Haiti: 230/100,000; Guyana: 111/100,000; and Suriname: 145/100,000) and drug resistance. Since the development of drug resistance to conventional antituberculous drugs has a major impact on the treatment success of tuberculosis, we therefore decided to review carefully Mycobacterium tuberculosis drug resistance and associated genotypic lineages in the FDA over a seventeen-year period (January 1995-December 2011). A total of 1239 cases were studied, including 153 drug-resistant and 26 multidrug-resistant- (MDR-) TB cases, representing 12.3% and 2.1% of the TB cases in our study setting. A significantly higher proportion of M. tuberculosis isolates among relapse cases showed drug resistance to isoniazid (22.5%, P = 0.002), rifampicin (20.0%, P < 0.001), or both (MDR-TB, 17.5%; P < 0.001). Determination of spoligotyping based phylogenetic clades showed that among the five major lineages observed--T family (30.1%); Latin-American and Mediterranean (LAM, 23.7%); Haarlem (H, 22.2%); East-African Indian (EAI, 7.2%); and X family (6.5%)--two lineages, X and LAM, were overrepresented in drug-resistant and MDR-TB cases, respectively. Finally, 19 predominant spoligotypes were identified for the 1239 isolates of M. tuberculosis in our study among which 4 were significantly associated with drug resistance corresponding to SIT20/LAM1, SIT64/LAM6, SIT45/H1, and SIT46/undefined lineage.
Project description:Niemann-Pick C1 (NPC1), a lysosomal protein of 13 transmembrane helices (TMs) and three lumenal domains, exports low-density-lipoprotein (LDL)-derived cholesterol from lysosomes. TMs 3-7 of NPC1 comprise the Sterol-Sensing Domain (SSD). Previous studies suggest that mutation of the NPC1-SSD or the addition of the anti-fungal drug itraconazole abolishes NPC1 activity in cells. However, the itraconazole binding site and the mechanism of NPC1-mediated cholesterol transport remain unknown. Here, we report a cryo-EM structure of human NPC1 bound to itraconazole, which reveals how this binding site in the center of NPC1 blocks a putative lumenal tunnel linked to the SSD. Functional assays confirm that blocking this tunnel abolishes NPC1-mediated cholesterol egress. Intriguingly, the palmitate anchor of Hedgehog occupies a similar site in the homologous tunnel of Patched, suggesting a conserved mechanism for sterol transport in this family of proteins and establishing a central function of their SSDs.