Protein phosphorylation is a fundamental mechanism regulating nearly every aspect of cellular life. Several secreted proteins are phosphorylated, but the kinases responsible are unknown. We identified a family of atypical protein kinases that localize within the Golgi apparatus and are secreted. Fam20C appears to be the Golgi casein kinase that phosphorylates secretory pathway proteins within S-x-E motifs. Fam20C phosphorylates the caseins and several secreted proteins implicated in biomineralization, including the small integrin-binding ligand, N-linked glycoproteins (SIBLINGs). Consequently, mutations in Fam20C cause an osteosclerotic bone dysplasia in humans known as Raine syndrome. Fam20C is thus a protein kinase dedicated to the phosphorylation of extracellular proteins.
A daring experiment is performed. Using sequence alignments to predict contacts between residues in protein spatial structures, Hopf et al. (2012) are publishing untested de novo structure models for 11 transmembrane protein families. Will their models stand the test of time and hold up to experimentation? The prospects are excellent.
Recently, the nature of protein structure space has been widely discussed in the literature. The traditional discrete view of protein universe as a set of separate folds has been criticized in the light of growing evidence that almost any arrangement of secondary structures is possible and the whole protein space can be traversed through a path of similar structures. Here we argue that the discrete and continuous descriptions are not mutually exclusive, but complementary: the space is largely discrete in evolutionary sense, but continuous geometrically when purely structural similarities are quantified. Evolutionary connections are mainly confined to separate structural prototypes corresponding to folds as islands of structural stability, with few remaining traceable links between the islands. However, for a geometric similarity measure, it is usually possible to find a reasonable cutoff that yields paths connecting any two structures through intermediates.
We describe predictions made using the Rosetta structure prediction methodology for the Eighth Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction. Aggressive sampling and all-atom refinement were carried out for nearly all targets. A combination of alignment methodologies was used to generate starting models from a range of templates, and the models were then subjected to Rosetta all atom refinement. For 50 targets with readily identified templates, the best submitted model was better than the best alignment to the best template in the Protein Data Bank for 24 domains, and improved over the best starting model for 43 domains. For 13 targets where only very distant sequence relationships to proteins of known structure were detected, models were generated using the Rosetta de novo structure prediction methodology followed by all-atom refinement; in several cases the submitted models were better than those based on the available templates. Of the 12 refinement challenges, the best submitted model improved on the starting model in 7 cases. These improvements over the starting template-based models and refinement tests demonstrate the power of Rosetta structure refinement in improving model accuracy.
A Rho GTPase inactivation domain (RID) has been discovered in the multifunctional, autoprocessing RTX toxin RtxA from Vibrio cholerae. The RID domain causes actin depolymerization and rounding of host cells through inactivation of the small Rho GTPases Rho, Rac and Cdc42. With only a few toxin proteins containing RID domains in the current sequence database, the structure and molecular mechanisms of this domain are unknown. Using comparative sequence and structural analyses, we report homology inference, fold recognition, and active site prediction for RID domains. Remote homologs of RID domains were identified in two other experimentally characterized bacterial virulence factors: IcsB of Shigella flexneri and BopA of Burkholderia pseudomallei, as well as in a group of uncharacterized bacterial membrane proteins. IcsB plays an important role in helping Shigella to evade the host autophagy defense system. RID domain homologs share a conserved diad of cysteine and histidine residues, and are predicted to adopt a circularly permuted papain-like thiol protease fold. RID domains from MARTX toxins and virulence factors IcsB and BopA thus could function as proteases or acyltransferases acting on host molecules. Our results provide structural and mechanistic insights into several important proteins functioning in bacterial pathogenesis.
Rho GTPase inactivation; cysteine protease domain; papain-like fold; multifunctional; autoprocessing RTX toxins; Shigella virulence factor IcsB; structure prediction; homology inference
Zinc fingers are small protein domains in which zinc plays a structural role contributing to the stability of the domain. Zinc fingers are structurally diverse and are present among proteins that perform a broad range of functions in various cellular processes, such as replication and repair, transcription and translation, metabolism and signaling, cell proliferation and apoptosis. Zinc fingers typically function as interaction modules and bind to a wide variety of compounds, such as nucleic acids, proteins and small molecules. Here we present a comprehensive classification of zinc finger spatial structures. We find that each available zinc finger structure can be placed into one of eight fold groups that we define based on the structural properties in the vicinity of the zinc-binding site. Three of these fold groups comprise the majority of zinc fingers, namely, C2H2-like finger, treble clef finger and the zinc ribbon. Evolutionary relatedness of proteins within fold groups is not implied, but each group is divided into families of potential homologs. We compare our classification to existing groupings of zinc fingers and find that we define more encompassing fold groups, which bring together proteins whose similarities have previously remained unappreciated. We analyze functional properties of different zinc fingers and overlay them onto our classification. The classification helps in understanding the relationship between the structure, function and evolutionary history of these domains. The results are available as an online database of zinc finger structures.
Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Ca. L. asiaticus) is a Gram-negative bacterium and the pathogen of Citrus Greening disease (Huanglongbing, HLB). As a parasitic bacterium, Ca. L. asiaticus harbors ABC transporters that play important roles in exchanging chemical compounds between Ca. L. asiaticus and its host. Here, we analyzed all the ABC transporter-related proteins in Ca. L. asiaticus. We identified 14 ABC transporter systems and predicted their structures and substrate specificities. In-depth sequence and structure analysis including multiple sequence alignment, phylogenetic tree reconstruction, and structure comparison further support their function predictions. Our study shows that this bacterium could use these ABC transporters to import metabolites (amino acids and phosphates) and enzyme cofactors (choline, thiamine, iron, manganese, and zinc), resist to organic solvent, heavy metal, and lipid-like drugs, maintain the composition of the outer membrane (OM), and secrete virulence factors. Although the features of most ABC systems could be deduced from the abundant experimental data on their orthologs, we reported several novel observations within ABC system proteins. Moreover, we identified seven nontransport ABC systems that are likely involved in virulence gene expression regulation, transposon excision regulation, and DNA repair. Our analysis reveals several candidates for further studies to understand and control the disease, including the type I virulence factor secretion system and its substrate that are likely related to Ca. L. asiaticus pathogenicity and the ABC transporter systems responsible for bacterial OM biosynthesis that are good drug targets.
genomic annotation; function prediction; ATPase; transmembrane protein; multiple sequence alignment; phylogenetic tree; protein homology; structure comparison
Cellular iron homeostasis is maintained by the coordinate posttranscriptional regulation of genes responsible for iron uptake, release, use, and storage through the actions of the iron regulatory proteins IRP1 and IRP2. However, the manner in which iron levels are sensed to affect IRP2 activity is poorly understood. We found that an E3 ubiquitin ligase complex containing the FBXL5 protein targets IRP2 for proteasomal degradation. The stability of FBXL5 itself was regulated, accumulating under iron- and oxygen-replete conditions and degraded upon iron depletion. FBXL5 contains an iron- and oxygen-binding hemerythrin domain that acted as a ligand-dependent regulatory switch mediating FBXL5's differential stability. These observations suggest a mechanistic link between iron sensing via the FBXL5 hemerythrin domain, IRP2 regulation, and cellular responses to maintain mammalian iron homeostasis.
The size of the protein sequence database has been exponentially increasing due to advances in genome sequencing. However, experimentally characterized proteins only constitute a small portion of the database, such that the majority of sequences have been annotated by computational approaches. Current automatic annotation pipelines inevitably introduce errors, making the annotations unreliable. Instead of such error-prone automatic annotations, functional interpretation should rely on annotations of ‘reference proteins’ that have been experimentally characterized or manually curated.
The Seq2Ref server uses BLAST to detect proteins homologous to a query sequence and identifies the reference proteins among them. Seq2Ref then reports publications with experimental characterizations of the identified reference proteins that might be relevant to the query. Furthermore, a plurality-based rating system is developed to evaluate the homologous relationships and rank the reference proteins by their relevance to the query.
The reference proteins detected by our server will lend insight into proteins of unknown function and provide extensive information to develop in-depth understanding of uncharacterized proteins. Seq2Ref is available at: http://prodata.swmed.edu/seq2ref.
Web server; Functional interpretation; Sequence homology; Reference protein; PubMed literature
Motivation: Manual inspection has been applied to and is well accepted for assessing critical assessment of protein structure prediction (CASP) free modeling (FM) category predictions over the years. Such manual assessment requires expertise and significant time investment, yet has the problems of being subjective and unable to differentiate models of similar quality. It is beneficial to incorporate the ideas behind manual inspection to an automatic score system, which could provide objective and reproducible assessment of structure models.
Results: Inspired by our experience in CASP9 FM category assessment, we developed an automatic superimposition independent method named Quality Control Score (QCS) for structure prediction assessment. QCS captures both global and local structural features, with emphasis on global topology. We applied this method to all FM targets from CASP9, and overall the results showed the best agreement with Manual Inspection Scores among automatic prediction assessment methods previously applied in CASPs, such as Global Distance Test Total Score (GDT_TS) and Contact Score (CS). As one of the important components to guide our assessment of CASP9 FM category predictions, this method correlates well with other scoring methods and yet is able to reveal good-quality models that are missed by GDT_TS.
Availability: The script for QCS calculation is available at http://prodata.swmed.edu/QCS/.
Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
There are 221 experimentally validated, leucine-rich nuclear export signal (NES)–containing CRM1 cargoes in a database named NESdb. Entries in NESdb are annotated with sequence and structural information on both NES and cargo proteins, as well as with experimental evidence on NES-mapping and CRM1-mediated nuclear export.
The leucine-rich nuclear export signal (NES) is the only known class of targeting signal that directs macromolecules out of the cell nucleus. NESs are short stretches of 8–15 amino acids with regularly spaced hydrophobic residues that bind the export karyopherin CRM1. NES-containing proteins are involved in numerous cellular and disease processes. We compiled a database named NESdb that contains 221 NES-containing CRM1 cargoes that were manually curated from the published literature. Each NESdb entry is annotated with information about sequence and structure of both the NES and the cargo protein, as well as information about experimental evidence of NES-mapping and CRM1-mediated nuclear export. NESdb will be updated regularly and will serve as an important resource for nuclear export signals. NESdb is freely available to nonprofit organizations at http://prodata.swmed.edu/LRNes.
A 221-entry NESdb database produces data sets of true- and false-positive nuclear export signals (NES). Analysis of these data sets leads to identification of a set of sequence and structural properties that distinguishes true NESs from peptides without export capability that merely conform to the NES consensus sequences.
We compiled >200 nuclear export signal (NES)–containing CRM1 cargoes in a database named NESdb. We analyzed the sequences and three-dimensional structures of natural, experimentally identified NESs and of false-positive NESs that were generated from the database in order to identify properties that might distinguish the two groups of sequences. Analyses of amino acid frequencies, sequence logos, and agreement with existing NES consensus sequences revealed strong preferences for the Φ1-X3-Φ2-X2-Φ3-X-Φ4 pattern and for negatively charged amino acids in the nonhydrophobic positions of experimentally identified NESs but not of false positives. Strong preferences against certain hydrophobic amino acids in the hydrophobic positions were also revealed. These findings led to a new and more precise NES consensus. More important, three-dimensional structures are now available for 68 NESs within 56 different cargo proteins. Analyses of these structures showed that experimentally identified NESs are more likely than the false positives to adopt α-helical conformations that transition to loops at their C-termini and more likely to be surface accessible within their protein domains or be present in disordered or unobserved parts of the structures. Such distinguishing features for real NESs might be useful in future NES prediction efforts. Finally, we also tested CRM1-binding of 40 NESs that were found in the 56 structures. We found that 16 of the NES peptides did not bind CRM1, hence illustrating how NESs are easily misidentified.
Fumarate hydratase (FH) is a tumor suppressor, but how it acts is unclear. Two reports in this issue of Cancer Cell reveal that FH-deficiency leads to succination of Keap1, stabilization of Nrf2, and induction of stress-response genes including HMOX1, which is important for the survival of FH-deficient cells.
We present an overview of the ninth round of Critical Assessment of Protein Structure Prediction (CASP9) ‘Template free modeling’ category (FM). Prediction models were evaluated using a combination of established structural and sequence comparison measures and a novel automated method designed to mimic manual inspection by capturing both global and local structural features. These scores were compared to those assigned manually over a diverse subset of target domains. Scores were combined to compare overall performance of participating groups and to estimate rank significance. Moreover, we discuss a few examples of free modeling targets to highlight the progress and bottlenecks of current prediction methods. Notably, a server prediction model for a single target (T0581) improved significantly over the closest structure template (44% GDT increase). This accomplishment represents the ‘winner’ of the CASP9 FM category. A number of human expert groups submitted slight variations of this model, highlighting a trend for human experts to act as “meta predictors” by correctly selecting among models produced by the top-performing automated servers. The details of evaluation are available at http://prodata.swmed.edu/CASP9/
protein fold prediction; structure comparison; alignment quality; ab-initio; domain structure; CASP9
The Critical Assessment of Protein Structure Prediction round 9 (CASP9) aimed to evaluate predictions for 129 experimentally determined protein structures. To assess tertiary structure predictions, these target structures were divided into domain-based evaluation units that were then classified into two assessment categories: template based modeling (TBM) and template free modeling (FM). CASP9 targets were split into domains of structurally compact evolutionary modules. For the targets with more than one defined domain, the decision to split structures into domains for evaluation was based on server performance. Target domains were categorized based on their evolutionary relatedness to existing templates as well as their difficulty levels indicated by server performance. Those target domains with sequence-related templates and high server prediction performance were classified as TMB, while those targets without identifiable templates and low server performance were classified as FM. However, using these generalizations for classification resulted in a blurred boundary between CASP9 assessment categories. Thus, the FM category included those domains without sequence detectable templates (25 target domains) as well as some domains with difficult to detect templates whose predictions were as poor as those without templates (5 target domains). Several interesting examples are discussed, including targets with sequence related templates that exhibit unusual structural differences, targets with homologous or analogous structure templates that are not detectable by sequence, and targets with new folds.
Protein Structure; CASP9; Classification; Fold space; sequence homologs; structure analogs; free modeling; template based modeling; structure prediction
Computational sequence analysis, that is, prediction of local sequence properties, homologs, spatial structure and function from the sequence of a protein, offers an efficient way to obtain needed information about proteins under study. Since reliable prediction is usually based on the consensus of many computer programs, meta-severs have been developed to fit such needs. Most meta-servers focus on one aspect of sequence analysis, while others incorporate more information, such as PredictProtein for local sequence feature predictions, SMART for domain architecture and sequence motif annotation, and GeneSilico for secondary and spatial structure prediction. However, as predictions of local sequence properties, three-dimensional structure and function are usually intertwined, it is beneficial to address them together.
We developed a MEta-Server for protein Sequence Analysis (MESSA) to facilitate comprehensive protein sequence analysis and gather structural and functional predictions for a protein of interest. For an input sequence, the server exploits a number of select tools to predict local sequence properties, such as secondary structure, structurally disordered regions, coiled coils, signal peptides and transmembrane helices; detect homologous proteins and assign the query to a protein family; identify three-dimensional structure templates and generate structure models; and provide predictive statements about the protein's function, including functional annotations, Gene Ontology terms, enzyme classification and possible functionally associated proteins. We tested MESSA on the proteome of Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus. Manual curation shows that three-dimensional structure models generated by MESSA covered around 75% of all the residues in this proteome and the function of 80% of all proteins could be predicted.
MESSA is free for non-commercial use at http://prodata.swmed.edu/MESSA/
The Shisa family of single-transmembrane proteins is characterized by an N-terminal cysteine-rich domain and a proline-rich C-terminal region. Its founding member, Xenopus Shisa, promotes head development by antagonizing Wnt and FGF signaling. Recently, a mouse brain-specific Shisa protein CKAMP44 (Shisa9) was shown to play an important role in AMPA receptor desensitization. We used sequence similarity searches against protein, genome and EST databases to study the evolutionary origin and phylogenetic distribution of Shisa homologs. In addition to nine Shisa subfamilies in vertebrates, we detected distantly related Shisa homologs that possess an N-terminal domain with six conserved cysteines. These Shisa-like proteins include FAM159 and KIAA1644 mainly from vertebrates, and members from various bilaterian invertebrates and Porifera, suggesting their presence in the last common ancestor of Metazoa. Shisa-like genes have undergone large expansions in Branchiostoma floridae and Saccoglossus kowalevskii, and appear to have been lost in certain insects. Pattern-based searches against eukaryotic proteomes also uncovered several other families of predicted single-transmembrane proteins with a similar cysteine-rich domain. We refer to these proteins (Shisa/Shisa-like, WBP1/VOPP1, CX, DUF2650, TMEM92, and CYYR1) as STMC6 proteins (single-transmembrane proteins with conserved 6 cysteines). STMC6 genes are widespread in Metazoa, with the human genome containing 17 members. Frequently occurrences of PY motifs in STMC6 proteins suggest that most of them could interact with WW-domain-containing proteins, such as the NEDD4 family E3 ubiquitin ligases, and could play critical roles in protein degradation and sorting. STMC6 proteins are likely transmembrane adaptors that regulate membrane proteins such as cell surface receptors.
Shisa-like proteins; WBP1/VOPP1; CX and DUF2650; TMEM92; CYYR1; transmembrane adaptors
Numerous types of clustering like single linkage and K-means have been widely studied and applied to a variety of scientific problems. However, the existing methods are not readily applicable for the problems that demand high stringency.
Our method, self consistency grouping, i.e. SCG, yields clusters whose members are closer in rank to each other than to any member outside the cluster. We do not define a distance metric; we use the best known distance metric and presume that it measures the correct distance. SCG does not impose any restriction on the size or the number of the clusters that it finds. The boundaries of clusters are determined by the inconsistencies in the ranks. In addition to the direct implementation that finds the complete structure of the (sub)clusters we implemented two faster versions. The fastest version is guaranteed to find only the clusters that are not subclusters of any other clusters and the other version yields the same output as the direct implementation but does so more efficiently.
Our tests have demonstrated that SCG yields very few false positives. This was accomplished by introducing errors in the distance measurement. Clustering of protein domain representatives by structural similarity showed that SCG could recover homologous groups with high precision.
SCG has potential for finding biological relationships under stringent conditions.
Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (Ca. L. asiaticus) is a parasitic Gram-negative bacterium that is closely associated with Huanglongbing (HLB), a worldwide citrus disease. Given the difficulty in culturing the bacterium and thus in its experimental characterization, computational analyses of the whole Ca. L. asiaticus proteome can provide much needed insights into the mechanisms of the disease and guide the development of treatment strategies. In this study, we applied state-of-the-art sequence analysis tools to every Ca. L. asiaticus protein. Our results are available as a public website at http://prodata.swmed.edu/liberibacter_asiaticus/. In particular, we manually curated the results to predict the subcellular localization, spatial structure and function of all Ca. L. asiaticus proteins (http://prodata.swmed.edu/liberibacter_asiaticus/curated/). This extensive information should facilitate the study of Ca. L. asiaticus proteome function and its relationship to disease. Pilot studies based on the information from our website have revealed several potential virulence factors, discussed herein.
Evolutionary theory suggests that the force of natural selection decreases with age. To explore the extent to which this prediction directly affects protein structure and function, we used multiple regression to find longevity-selected positions, defined as the columns of a sequence alignment conserved in long-lived but not short-lived mammal species. We analyzed 7,590 orthologous protein families in 33 mammalian species, accounting for body mass, phylogeny, and species-specific mutation rate. Overall, we found that the number of longevity-selected positions in the mammalian proteome is much higher than would be expected by chance. Further, these positions are enriched in domains of several proteins that interact with one another in inflammation and other aging-related processes, as well as in organismal development. We present as an example the kinase domain of anti-Müllerian hormone type-2 receptor (AMHR2). AMHR2 inhibits ovarian follicle recruitment and growth, and a homology model of the kinase domain shows that its longevity-selected positions cluster near a SNP associated with delayed human menopause. Distinct from its canonical role in development, this region of AMHR2 may function to regulate the protein’s activity in a lifespan-specific manner.
Intramembrane proteases are responsible for a number of regulated proteolysis events occurring within or near the plasma and intracellular membranes. Members of one large and diverse family of putative intramembrane metalloproteases are widely distributed in all domains of life, including the type II CAAX prenyl proteases and their prokaryotic homologs with putative bacteriocin-related functions. We used sensitive sequence similarity searches to expand this large CPBP (CAAX Proteases and Bacteriocin-Processing enzymes) family to include more than 5,800 members, and infer its homologous relationships to several other protein families, including the PrsW proteases, the DUF2324 family and the γ-secretase subunit APH-1 proteins. They share four predicted core transmembrane segments and possess similar, yet distinct sets of sequence motifs. Remote similarity between APH-1 and membrane proteases sheds light on APH-1’s evolutionary origin and raises the possibility that APH-1 may possess proteolytic activity in the current or ancestral form of γ-secretase.
type II CAAX protease; APH-1; γ-secretase; PrsW; DUF2324; intramembrane protease
Most core components of the neurotransmitter release machinery have homologues in other types of intracellular membrane traffic, likely underlying a universal mechanism of intracellular membrane fusion. However, no clear similarity between Munc13s and protein families generally involved in membrane traffic has been reported, despite the essential nature of Munc13s for neurotransmitter release. This crucial function was ascribed to a minimal Munc13 region called the MUN domain, which likely participates in SNARE complex assembly and is also found in CAPS. We have now used comparative sequence and structural analyses to study the structure and evolutionary origin of the MUN domain. We found weak, yet significant sequence similarities between the MUN domain and a set of protein subunits from several related vesicle tethering complexes, such as Sec6 from the exocyst complex and Vps53 from the GARP complex. Such an evolutionary relationship allows structure prediction of the MUN domain and suggests functional similarities between MUN domain-containing proteins and multisubunit tethering complexes such as exocyst, COG, GARP and Dsl1p. These findings further unify the mechanism of neurotransmitter release with those of other types of intracellular membrane traffic, and in turn support a role for tethering complexes in SNARE complex assembly.
Munc13; CAPS; MUN domain; multisubunit tethering complexes exocyst, COG, GARP and Dsl1p complex; homology inference and structure prediction
A number of membrane-spanning proteins possess enzymatic activity and catalyze important reactions involving proteins, lipids or other substrates located within or near lipid bilayers. Alkaline ceramidases are seven-transmembrane proteins that hydrolyze the amide bond in ceramide to form sphingosine. Recently, a group of putative transmembrane receptors called progestin and adipoQ receptors (PAQRs) were found to be distantly related to alkaline ceramidases, raising the possibility that they may also function as membrane enzymes.
Using sensitive similarity search methods, we identified statistically significant sequence similarities among several transmembrane protein families including alkaline ceramidases and PAQRs. They were unified into a large and diverse superfamily of putative membrane-bound hydrolases called CREST (alkaline ceramidase, PAQR receptor, Per1, SID-1 and TMEM8). The CREST superfamily embraces a plethora of cellular functions and biochemical activities, including putative lipid-modifying enzymes such as ceramidases and the Per1 family of putative phospholipases involved in lipid remodeling of GPI-anchored proteins, putative hormone receptors, bacterial hemolysins, the TMEM8 family of putative tumor suppressors, and the SID-1 family of putative double-stranded RNA transporters involved in RNA interference. Extensive similarity searches and clustering analysis also revealed several groups of proteins with unknown function in the CREST superfamily. Members of the CREST superfamily share seven predicted core transmembrane segments with several conserved sequence motifs.
Universal conservation of a set of histidine and aspartate residues across all groups in the CREST superfamily, coupled with independent discoveries of hydrolase activities in alkaline ceramidases and the Per1 family as well as results from previous mutational studies of Per1, suggests that the majority of CREST members are metal-dependent hydrolases.
This article was reviewed by Kira S. Markarova, Igor B. Zhulin and Rob Knight.
RfaH, a paralog of the general transcription factor NusG, is recruited to elongating RNA polymerase at specific regulatory sites. The X-ray structure of Escherichia coli RfaH reported here reveals two domains. The N-terminal domain displays high similarity to that of NusG. In contrast, the α-helical coiled-coil C domain, while retaining sequence similarity, is strikingly different from the β barrel of NusG. To our knowledge, such an all-β to all-α transition of the entire domain is the most extreme example of protein fold evolution known to date. Both N domains possess a vast hydrophobic cavity that is buried by the C domain in RfaH but is exposed in NusG. We propose that this cavity constitutes the RNA polymerase-binding site, which becomes unmasked in RfaH only upon sequence-specific binding to the nontemplate DNA strand that triggers domain dissociation. Finally, we argue that RfaH binds to the β′ subunit coiled coil, the major target site for the initiation σ factors.
REDD1 is a conserved stress-response protein that regulates mTORC1, a critical regulator of cell growth and proliferation that is implicated in cancer. REDD1 is induced by hypoxia and REDD1 overexpression is sufficient to inhibit mTORC1. mTORC1 is regulated by the small GTPase Rheb, which in turn is regulated by the GTPase-activating protein complex, TSC1/TSC2. REDD1 induced-mTORC1 inhibition requires the TSC1/TSC2 complex, and REDD1 has been proposed to act by directly binding to and sequestering 14-3-3 proteins away from TSC2 leading to TSC2-depedent inhibition of mTORC1. Structure/function analyses have led us to identify two segments in REDD1 that are essential for function, which act in an interdependent manner. We have determined a crystal structure of REDD1 at 2.0 Å resolution, which shows that these two segments fold together to form an intact domain with a novel fold. This domain is characterized by an α/β sandwich consisting of two antiparallel α-helices and a mixed β-sheet encompassing an uncommon psi-loop motif. Structure-based docking and functional analyses suggest that REDD1 does not directly bind to 14-3-3 proteins. Sequence conservation mapping to the surface of the structure and mutagenesis studies demarcated a hotspot likely to interact with effector proteins that is essential for REDD1-mediated mTORC1 inhibition.
REDD1; DDIT4; 14-3-3; Hypoxia; mTOR; TSC2