Asp49 plays a fundamental role in supporting catalysis by phospholipases A2 by coordinating the calcium ion which aids in the stabilization of the tetrahedral intermediate. In several myotoxins from the venoms of Viperidae snakes, this aspartic acid is substituted by lysine. The loss of calcium binding capacity by these mutants has become regarded as the standard explanation for their greatly reduced or nonexistent phospholipolytic activity. Here we describe the crystal structure of one such Lys49 PLA2, piratoxin-II, in which a fatty acid molecule is observed within the substrate channel. This suggests that such toxins may be active enzymes in which catalysis is interrupted at the stage of substrate release. Comparison of the present structure with other PLA2s, both active and inactive, identifies Lys122 as one of the likely causes of the increased affinity for fatty acid in Lys49 enzymes. Its interaction with the mainchain carbonyl of Cys29 is expected to lead to hyperpolarization of the peptide bond between residues 29 and 30 leading to an increased affinity for the fatty acid headgroup. This strongly bound fatty acid may serve as an anchor to secure the toxin within the membrane thus facilitating its pathological effects.
Interleukin (IL)-15 is a pleiotropic cytokine that plays a pivotal role in both innate and adaptive immunity. IL-15 is unique among cytokines due to its participation in a trans signaling mechanism in which IL-15 receptor alpha (IL-15Ralpha) from one subset of cells presents IL-15 to neighboring IL-2Rbeta/gammac-expressing cells. Here we present the crystal structure of IL-15 in complex with the sushi domain of IL-15Ralpha. The structure reveals that the alpha receptor-binding epitope of IL-15 adopts a unique conformation, which, together with amino acid substitutions, permits specific interactions with IL-15Ralpha that account for the exceptionally high affinity of the IL-15.IL-15Ralpha complex. Interestingly, analysis of the topology of IL-15 and IL-15Ralpha at the IL-15.IL-15Ralpha interface suggests that IL-15 should be capable of participating in a cis signaling mechanism similar to that of the related cytokine IL-2. Indeed, we present biochemical data demonstrating that IL-15 is capable of efficiently signaling in cis through IL-15Ralpha and IL-2Rbeta/gammac expressed on the surface of a single cell. Based on our data we propose that cis presentation of IL-15 may be important in certain biological contexts and that flexibility of IL-15Ralpha permits IL-15 and its three receptor components to be assembled identically at the ligand-receptor interface whether IL-15 is presented in cis or trans. Finally, we have gained insights into IL-15.IL-15Ralpha.IL-2Rbeta.gammac quaternary complex assembly through the use of molecular modeling.
Typical 2-Cys Peroxiredoxins (2-Cys Prxs) reduce hydroperoxides with extraordinary rates due to an active site composed of a catalytic triad, containing a peroxidatic cysteine (CP), an Arg, and a Thr (or Ser). 2-Cys Prx are involved in processes such as cancer; neurodegeneration and host-pathogen interactions. During catalysis, 2-Cys Prxs switch between decamers and dimers. Analysis of 2-Cys Prx structures in the fully folded (but not locally unfolded) form revealed a highly conserved, non-conventional hydrogen bond (CH-π) between the catalytic triad Thr of a dimer with an aromatic residue of an adjacent dimer. In contrast, structures of 2-Cys Prxs with a Ser in place of the Thr do not display this CH-π bond. Chromatographic and structural data indicate that the Thr (but not Ser) destabilizes the decamer structure in the oxidized state probably through steric hindrance. As a general trend, mutations in a yeast 2-Cys Prx (Tsa1) favoring the dimeric state also displayed a decreased catalytic activity. Remarkably, yeast naturally contains Thr-Ser variants (Tsa1 and Tsa2, respectively) with distinct oligomeric stabilities in their disulfide states.
The enzyme phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase) exerts an important role in the transduction of the anorexigenic and thermogenic signals delivered by insulin and leptin to first-order neurons of the arcuate nucleus in the hypothalamus. The termination of the intracellular signals generated by the activation of PI3-kinase depends on the coordinated activity of specific inositol phosphatases. Here we show that phosphoinositide-specific inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase IV (5ptase IV) is highly expressed in neurons of the arcuate and lateral nuclei of the hypothalamus. Upon intracerebroventricular (ICV) treatment with insulin, 5ptase IV undergoes a time-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation, which follows the same patterns of canonical insulin signaling through the insulin receptor, insulin receptor substrate-2, and PI3-kinase. To evaluate the participation of 5ptase IV in insulin action in hypothalamus, we used a phosphorthioate-modified antisense oligonucleotide specific for this enzyme. The treatment of rats with this oligonucleotide for 4 d reduced the hypothalamic expression of 5ptase IV by approximately 80%. This was accompanied by an approximately 70% reduction of insulin-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of 5ptase IV and an increase in basal accumulation of phosphorylated inositols in the hypothalamus. Finally, inhibition of hypothalamic 5ptase IV expression by the antisense approach resulted in reduced daily food intake and body weight loss. Thus, 5ptase IV is a powerful regulator of signaling through PI3-kinase in hypothalamus and may become an interesting target for therapeutics of obesity and related disorders.
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