The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter family contains thousands of members with diverse functions. Movement of the substrate, powered by ATP hydrolysis, can be outward (export) or inward (import). ABCA4 is a eukaryotic importer transporting retinal to the cytosol to enter the visual cycle. It also removes toxic retinoids from the disc lumen to the cytosol. Mutations in ABCA4 cause impaired vision or blindness. Despite decades of clinical, biochemical, and animal model studies, the molecular mechanism of ABCA4 is unknown. Here we report the structures of human ABCA4 in two conformations. In the absence of ATP, ABCA4 adopts an outward-facing conformation, poised to recruit substrate. The presence of ATP induces large conformational changes that could lead to substrate release. These structures provide a molecular basis to understand many disease-causing mutations and a rational guide for new experiments to uncover how ABCA4 recruits, flips, and releases retinoids.
The cryo-EM maps are deposited in the Electron Microscopy Data Bank (EMDB) under accession codes: EMD-23409, EMD-23410. The corresponding atomic models are deposited in the Protein Data Bank (PDB) under accession codes 7LKP and 7LKZ.
- Jue Chen
- James Lee
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- David Drew, Stockholm University, Sweden
© 2021, Liu 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.
Undruggability of RAS proteins has necessitated alternative strategies for the development of effective inhibitors. In this respect, phosphorylation has recently come into prominence as this reversible post-translational modification attenuates sensitivity of RAS towards RAF. As such, in this study, we set out to unveil the impact of phosphorylation on dynamics of HRASWT and aim to invoke similar behavior in HRASG12D mutant by means of small therapeutic molecules. To this end, we performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations using phosphorylated HRAS and showed that phosphorylation of Y32 distorted Switch I, hence the RAS/RAF interface. Consequently, we targeted Switch I in HRASG12D by means of approved therapeutic molecules and showed that the ligands enabled detachment of Switch I from the nucleotide-binding pocket. Moreover, we demonstrated that displacement of Switch I from the nucleotide-binding pocket was energetically more favorable in the presence of the ligand. Importantly, we verified computational findings in vitro where HRASG12D/RAF interaction was prevented by the ligand in HEK293T cells that expressed HRASG12D mutant protein. Therefore, these findings suggest that targeting Switch I, hence making Y32 accessible might open up new avenues in future drug discovery strategies that target mutant RAS proteins.
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