Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) lined with intrinsically disordered FG-domains act as selective gatekeepers for molecular transport between the nucleus and the cytoplasm in eukaryotic cells. The underlying physical mechanism of the intriguing selectivity is still under debate. Here, we probe the transport of ions and transport receptors through biomimetic NPCs consisting of Nsp1 domains attached to the inner surface of solid-state nanopores. We examine both wildtype FG-domains and hydrophilic SG-mutants. FG-nanopores showed a clear selectivity as transport receptors can translocate across the pore whereas other proteins cannot. SG mutant pores lack such selectivity. To unravel this striking difference, we present coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations that reveal that FG-pores exhibit a high-density, nonuniform protein distribution, in contrast to a uniform and significantly less-dense protein distribution in the SG-mutant. We conclude that the sequence-dependent density distribution of disordered proteins inside the NPC plays a key role for its conductivity and selective permeability.
- Ankur Mishra
- Ankur Mishra
- Cees Dekker
- Cees Dekker
- Cees Dekker
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Richard M Berry, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
© 2018, Ananth et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Cyclic GMP-dependent protein kinases (PKGs) are key mediators of the nitric oxide/cGMP signaling pathway that regulates biological functions as diverse as smooth muscle contraction, cardiac function, and axon guidance. Understanding how cGMP differentially triggers mammalian PKG isoforms could lead to new therapeutics that inhibit or activate PKGs, complementing drugs that target nitric oxide synthases and cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases in this signaling axis. Alternate splicing of PRKG1 transcripts confers distinct leucine zippers, linkers, and auto-inhibitory pseudo-substrate sequences to PKG Iα and Iβ that result in isoform-specific activation properties, but the mechanism of enzyme auto-inhibition and its alleviation by cGMP is not well understood. Here we present a crystal structure of PKG Iβ in which the auto-inhibitory sequence and the cyclic nucleotide binding domains are bound to the catalytic domain, providing a snapshot of the auto-inhibited state. Specific contacts between the PKG Iβ auto-inhibitory sequence and the enzyme active site help explain isoform-specific activation constants and the effects of phosphorylation in the linker. We also present a crystal structure of a PKG I cyclic nucleotide binding domain with an activating mutation linked to Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections. Similarity of this structure to wild type cGMP-bound domains and differences with the auto-inhibited enzyme provide a mechanistic basis for constitutive activation. We show that PKG Iβ auto-inhibition is mediated by contacts within each monomer of the native full-length dimeric protein, and using the available structural and biochemical data we develop a model for the regulation and cooperative activation of PKGs.
We report the real-time response of Escherichia coli to lactoferricin-derived antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) on length scales bridging microscopic cell sizes to nanoscopic lipid packing using millisecond time-resolved synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering. Coupling a multiscale scattering data analysis to biophysical assays for peptide partitioning revealed that the AMPs rapidly permeabilize the cytosolic membrane within less than 3 s—much faster than previously considered. Final intracellular AMP concentrations of ∼80–100 mM suggest an efficient obstruction of physiologically important processes as the primary cause of bacterial killing. On the other hand, damage of the cell envelope and leakage occurred also at sublethal peptide concentrations, thus emerging as a collateral effect of AMP activity that does not kill the bacteria. This implies that the impairment of the membrane barrier is a necessary but not sufficient condition for microbial killing by lactoferricins. The most efficient AMP studied exceeds others in both speed of permeabilizing membranes and lowest intracellular peptide concentration needed to inhibit bacterial growth.