Human γ-Secretase is an intra-membrane protease that cleaves many substrates. Aberrant cleavage of Notch is implicated in cancer, while abnormalities in cutting amyloid precursor protein lead to Alzheimer's disease. Our previous cryo-EM structure of γ-secretase revealed considerable disorder in its catalytic subunit presenilin. Here, we describe an image classification procedure that characterizes molecular plasticity at the secondary structure level, and apply this method to identify three distinct conformations in our previous sample. In one of these conformations, an additional transmembrane helix is visible that cannot be attributed to known components of γ-secretase. In addition, we present a γ-secretase structure in complex with the dipeptidic inhibitor N-[N-(3,5-difluorophenacetyl)-L-alanyl]-S-phenylglycine t-butyl ester (DAPT). Our results reveal how conformational mobility in the second and sixth transmembrane helices of presenilin is greatly reduced upon binding of DAPT or the additional helix, and form the basis for a new model of how substrate enters the transmembrane domain.
- Werner Kühlbrandt, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Germany
© 2015, Bai et al.
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Exocytosis of secretory vesicles requires the soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptor (SNARE) proteins and small GTPase Rabs. As a Rab3/Rab27 effector protein on secretory vesicles, Rabphilin 3A was implicated to interact with SNAP-25 to regulate vesicle exocytosis in neurons and neuroendocrine cells, yet the underlying mechanism remains unclear. In this study, we have characterized the physiologically relevant binding sites between Rabphilin 3A and SNAP-25. We found that an intramolecular interplay between the N-terminal Rab-binding domain and C-terminal C2AB domain enables Rabphilin 3A to strongly bind the SNAP-25 N-peptide region via its C2B bottom α-helix. Disruption of this interaction significantly impaired docking and fusion of vesicles with the plasma membrane in rat PC12 cells. In addition, we found that this interaction allows Rabphilin 3A to accelerate SNARE complex assembly. Furthermore, we revealed that this interaction accelerates SNARE complex assembly via inducing a conformational switch from random coils to α-helical structure in the SNAP-25 SNARE motif. Altogether, our data suggest that the promotion of SNARE complex assembly by binding the C2B bottom α-helix of Rabphilin 3A to the N-peptide of SNAP-25 underlies a pre-fusion function of Rabphilin 3A in vesicle exocytosis.
3′ end formation of most eukaryotic mRNAs is dependent on the assembly of a ~1.5 MDa multiprotein complex, that catalyzes the coupled reaction of pre-mRNA cleavage and polyadenylation. In mammals, the cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor (CPSF) constitutes the core of the 3′ end processing machinery onto which the remaining factors, including cleavage stimulation factor (CstF) and poly(A) polymerase (PAP), assemble. These interactions are mediated by Fip1, a CPSF subunit characterized by high degree of intrinsic disorder. Here, we report two crystal structures revealing the interactions of human Fip1 (hFip1) with CPSF30 and CstF77. We demonstrate that CPSF contains two copies of hFip1, each binding to the zinc finger (ZF) domains 4 and 5 of CPSF30. Using polyadenylation assays we show that the two hFip1 copies are functionally redundant in recruiting one copy of PAP, thereby increasing the processivity of RNA polyadenylation. We further show that the interaction between hFip1 and CstF77 is mediated via a short motif in the N-terminal ‘acidic’ region of hFip1. In turn, CstF77 competitively inhibits CPSF-dependent PAP recruitment and 3′ polyadenylation. Taken together, these results provide a structural basis for the multivalent scaffolding and regulatory functions of hFip1 in 3′ end processing.