Autophagy is a major pathway for the clearance of harmful material from the cytoplasm. During autophagy cytoplasmic material is delivered into the lysosomal system by organelles called autophagosomes. Autophagosomes form in a de novo manner and, in the course of their formation, isolate cargo material from the rest of the cytoplasm. Cargo specificity is conferred by autophagic cargo receptors that selectively link the cargo to the autophagosomal membrane decorated with ATG8 family proteins such as LC3B. Here we show that the human cargo receptor p62/SQSTM-1 employs oligomerization to stabilize its interaction with LC3B and linear ubiquitin when they are clustered on surfaces. Thus, oligomerization enables p62 to simultaneously select for the isolation membrane and the ubiquitinated cargo. We further show in a fully reconstituted system that the interaction of p62 with ubiquitin and LC3B is sufficient to bend the membrane around the cargo.
- Randy Schekman, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Berkeley, United States
© 2015, Wurzer et al.
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Activation of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is an allosteric process. It involves conformational coupling between the orthosteric ligand binding site and the G protein binding site. Factors that bind at non-cognate ligand binding sites to alter the allosteric activation process are classified as allosteric modulators and represent a promising class of therapeutics with distinct modes of binding and action. For many receptors, how modulation of signaling is represented at the structural level is unclear. Here, we developed FRET sensors to quantify receptor modulation at each of the three structural domains of metabotropic glutamate receptor 2 (mGluR2). We identified the conformational fingerprint for several allosteric modulators in live cells. This approach enabled us to derive a receptor-centric representation of allosteric modulation and to correlate structural modulation to the standard signaling modulation metrics. Single-molecule FRET analysis revealed that a NAM increases the occupancy of one of the intermediate states while a PAM increases the occupancy of the active state. Moreover, we found that the effect of allosteric modulators on the receptor dynamics is complex and depend on the orthosteric ligand. Collectively, our findings provide a structural mechanism of allosteric modulation in mGluR2 and suggest possible strategies for design of future modulators.
Cataract is one of the most prevalent protein aggregation disorders and still the most common cause of vision loss worldwide. The metabolically quiescent core region of the human lens lacks cellular or protein turnover; it has therefore evolved remarkable mechanisms to resist light-scattering protein aggregation for a lifetime. We now report that one such mechanism involves an unusually abundant lens metabolite, myo-inositol, suppressing aggregation of lens crystallins. We quantified aggregation suppression using our previously well-characterized in vitro aggregation assays of oxidation-mimicking human γD-crystallin variants and investigated myo-inositol’s molecular mechanism of action using solution NMR, negative-stain TEM, differential scanning fluorometry, thermal scanning Raman spectroscopy, turbidimetry in redox buffers, and free thiol quantitation. Unlike many known chemical chaperones, myo-inositol’s primary target was not the native, unfolded, or final aggregated states of the protein; rather, we propose that it was the rate-limiting bimolecular step on the aggregation pathway. Given recent metabolomic evidence that it is severely depleted in human cataractous lenses compared to age-matched controls, we suggest that maintaining or restoring healthy levels of myo-inositol in the lens may be a simple, safe, and globally accessible strategy to prevent or delay lens opacification due to age-onset cataract.