Natriuretic peptides regulate multiple physiologic systems by activating transmembrane receptors containing intracellular guanylyl cyclase domains, such as GC-A and GC-B, also known as Npr1 and Npr2, respectively. Both enzymes contain an intracellular, phosphorylated pseudokinase domain (PKD) critical for activation of the C-terminal cGMP-synthesizing guanylyl cyclase domain. Because ATP allosterically activates GC-A and GC-B, we investigated how ATP binding to the PKD influenced guanylyl cyclase activity. Molecular modeling indicated that all the residues of the ATP-binding site of the prototypical kinase PKA, except the catalytic aspartate, are conserved in the PKDs of GC-A and GC-B. Kinase-inactivating alanine substitutions for the invariant lysine in subdomain II or the aspartate in the DYG-loop of GC-A and GC-B failed to decrease enzyme phosphate content, consistent with the PKDs lacking kinase activity. In contrast, both mutations reduced enzyme activation by blocking the ability of ATP to decrease the Michaelis constant without affecting peptide-dependent activation. The analogous lysine-to-alanine substitution in a glutamate-substituted phosphomimetic mutant form of GC-B also reduced enzyme activity, consistent with ATP stimulating guanylyl cyclase activity through an allosteric, phosphorylation-independent mechanism. Mutations designed to rigidify the conserved regulatory or catalytic spines within the PKDs increased guanylyl cyclase activity, increased sensitivity to natriuretic peptide, or reduced the Michaelis constant in the absence of ATP, consistent with ATP binding stabilizing the PKD in a conformation analogous to that of catalytically active kinases. We conclude that allosteric mechanisms evolutionarily conserved in the PKDs promote the catalytic activation of transmembrane guanylyl cyclases.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded by NIH grants T32AR050938 to A.B.E. and NIHR01GM098309 to L.R.P. Grants from the University of Minnesota of Academic Health Center for Faculty Research Development, Office of the Vice President for Research Grants, and the Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics Grant, Fund for Science and Hormone Receptor Fund to L.R.P. also support this work.
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