Prolines in βa-sheet of neural cadherin act as a switch to control the dynamics of the equilibrium between monomer and dimer

Nagamani Vunnam, Susan Pedigo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Neural cadherins dimerize through the formation of calcium-dependent strand-crossover structures. Dimerization of cadherins leads to cell-cell adhesion in multicellular organisms. Strand-crossover dimer forms exclusively between the first N-terminal extracellular modules (EC1) of the adhesive partners via swapping of their βA-sheets and docking of tryptophan-2 in the hydrophobic pocket. In the apo-state wild-type cadherin is predominantly monomer, which indicates that the dimerization is energetically unfavorable in the absence of calcium. Addition of calcium favors dimer formation by creating strain in the monomer and lowering the energetic barrier between monomer and dimer. Dynamics of the monomer-dimer equilibrium is vital for plasticity of synapses. Prolines recurrently occur in proteins that form strand-crossover dimer and are believed to be the source of the strain in the monomer. N-cadherins have two proline residues in the βA-sheet. We focused our studies on the role of these two prolines in calcium-dependent dimerization. Spectroscopic, electrophoretic, and chromatopgraphic studies showed that mutations of both prolines to alanines increased the dimerization affinity by ∼20-fold and relieved the requirement of calcium in dimerization. The P5A and P6A mutant formed very stable dimers that required denaturation of protein to disassemble in the apo conditions. In summary, the proline residues act as a switch to control the dynamics of the equilibrium between monomer and dimer which is crucial for the plasticity of synapses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6959-6965
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemistry
Volume50
Issue number32
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 16 2011

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Prolines in βa-sheet of neural cadherin act as a switch to control the dynamics of the equilibrium between monomer and dimer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this