skip to main content

Title: Specificity of Loxosceles α clade phospholipase D enzymes for choline-containing lipids: Role of a conserved aromatic cage
Spider venom GDPD-like phospholipases D ( SicTox ) have been identified to be one of the major toxins in recluse spider venom. They are divided into two major clades: the α clade and the β clade. Most α clade toxins present high activity against lipids with choline head groups such as sphingomyelin, while activities in β clade toxins vary and include preference for substrates containing ethanolamine headgroups ( Sicarius terrosus , St_βIB1). A structural comparison of available structures of phospholipases D (PLDs) reveals a conserved aromatic cage in the α clade. To test the potential influence of the aromatic cage on membrane-lipid specificity we performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of the binding of several PLDs onto lipid bilayers containing choline headgroups; two SicTox from the α clade, Loxosceles intermedia αIA1 (Li_αIA) and Loxosceles laeta αIII1 (Ll_αIII1), and one from the β clade, St_βIB1. The simulation results reveal that the aromatic cage captures a choline-headgroup and suggest that the cage plays a major role in lipid specificity. We also simulated an engineered St_βIB1, where we introduced the aromatic cage, and this led to binding with choline-containing lipids. Moreover, a multiple sequence alignment revealed the conservation of the aromatic cage among the more » α clade PLDs. Here, we confirmed that the i-face of α and β clade PLDs is involved in their binding to choline and ethanolamine-containing bilayers, respectively. Furthermore, our results suggest a major role in choline lipid recognition of the aromatic cage of the α clade PLDs. The MD simulation results are supported by in vitro liposome binding assay experiments. « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Wei, Guanghong
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
PLOS Computational Biology
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. KCNE3 is a potassium channel accessory transmembrane protein that regulates the function of various voltage-gated potassium channels such as KCNQ1. KCNE3 plays an important role in the recycling of potassium ion by binding with KCNQ1. KCNE3 can be found in the small intestine, colon, and in the human heart. Despite its biological significance, there is little information on the structural dynamics of KCNE3 in native-like membrane environments. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are a widely used as a tool to study the conformational dynamics and interactions of proteins with lipid membranes. In this study, we have utilized all-atom molecular dynamics simulations to characterize the molecular motions and the interactions of KCNE3 in a bilayer composed of: a mixture of POPC and POPG lipids (3:1), POPC alone, and DMPC alone. Our MD simulation results suggested that the transmembrane domain (TMD) of KCNE3 is less flexible and more stable when compared to the N- and C-termini of KCNE3 in all three membrane environments. The conformational flexibility of N- and C-termini varies across these three lipid environments. The MD simulation results further suggested that the TMD of KCNE3 spans the membrane width, having residue A69 close to the center of the lipid bilayers andmore »residues S57 and S82 close to the lipid bilayer membrane surfaces. These results are consistent with previous biophysical studies of KCNE3. The outcomes of these MD simulations will help design biophysical experiments and complement the experimental data obtained on KCNE3 to obtain a more detailed understanding of its structural dynamics in the native membrane environment.« less
  2. In this study, we used optical spectroscopy to characterize the physical properties of microvesicles released from the thermoacidophilic archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius (Sa-MVs). The most abundant proteins in Sa-MVs are the S-layer proteins, which self-assemble on the vesicle surface forming an array of crystalline structures. Lipids in Sa-MVs are exclusively bipolar tetraethers. We found that when excited at 275 nm, intrinsic protein fluorescence of Sa-MVs at 23 °C has an emission maximum at 303 nm (or 296 nm measured at 75 °C), which is unusually low for protein samples containing multiple tryptophans and tyrosines. In the presence of 10–11 mM of the surfactant n-tetradecyl-β-d-maltoside (TDM), Sa-MVs were disintegrated, the emission maximum of intrinsic protein fluorescence was shifted to 312 nm, and the excitation maximum was changed from 288 nm to 280.5 nm, in conjunction with a significant decrease (>2 times) in excitation band sharpness. These data suggest that most of the fluorescent amino acid residues in native Sa-MVs are in a tightly packed protein matrix and that the S-layer proteins may form J-aggregates. The membranes in Sa-MVs, as well as those of unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) made of the polar lipid fraction E (PLFE) tetraether lipids isolated from S. acidocaldarius (LUVPLFE), LUVsmore »reconstituted from the tetraether lipids extracted from Sa-MVs (LUVMV) and LUVs made of the diester lipids, were investigated using the probe 6-dodecanoyl-2-dimethylaminonaphthalene (Laurdan). The generalized polarization (GP) values of Laurdan in tightly packed Sa-MVs, LUVMV, and LUVPLFE were found to be much lower than those obtained from less tightly packed DPPC gel state, which echoes the previous finding that the GP values from tetraether lipid membranes cannot be directly compared with the GP values from diester lipid membranes, due to differences in probe disposition. Laurdan’s GP and red-edge excitation shift (REES) values in Sa-MVs and LUVMV decrease with increasing temperature monotonically with no sign for lipid phase transition. Laurdan’s REES values are high (9.3–18.9 nm) in the tetraether lipid membrane systems (i.e., Sa-MVs, LUVMV and LUVPLFE) and low (0.4–5.0 nm) in diester liposomes. The high REES and low GP values suggest that Laurdan in tetraether lipid membranes, especially in the membrane of Sa-MVs, is in a very motionally restricted environment, bound water molecules and the polar moieties in the tetraether lipid headgroups strongly interact with Laurdan’s excited state dipole moment, and “solvent” reorientation around Laurdan’s chromophore in tetraether lipid membranes occurs very slowly compared to Laurdan’s lifetime.« less
  3. Polyacetylenic lipids accumulate in various Apiaceae species after pathogen attack, suggesting that these compounds are naturally occurring pesticides and potentially valuable resources for crop improvement. These compounds also promote human health and slow tumor growth. Even though polyacetylenic lipids were discovered decades ago, the biosynthetic pathway underlying their production is largely unknown. To begin filling this gap and ultimately enable polyacetylene engineering, we studied polyacetylenes and their biosynthesis in the major Apiaceae crop carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus). Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, we identified three known polyacetylenes and assigned provisional structures to two novel polyacetylenes. We also quantified these compounds in carrot leaf, petiole, root xylem, root phloem, and root periderm extracts. Falcarindiol and falcarinol predominated and accumulated primarily in the root periderm. Since the multiple double and triple carbon-carbon bonds that distinguish polyacetylenes from ubiquitous fatty acids are often introduced by Δ12 oleic acid desaturase (FAD2)-type enzymes, we mined the carrot genome for FAD2 genes. We identified a FAD2 family with an unprecedented 24 members and analyzed public, tissue-specific carrot RNA-Seq data to identify coexpressed members with root periderm-enhanced expression. Six candidate genes were heterologously expressed individually and in combination in yeast and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), resultingmore »in the identification of one canonical FAD2 that converts oleic to linoleic acid, three divergent FAD2-like acetylenases that convert linoleic into crepenynic acid, and two bifunctional FAD2s with Δ12 and Δ14 desaturase activity that convert crepenynic into the further desaturated dehydrocrepenynic acid, a polyacetylene pathway intermediate. These genes can now be used as a basis for discovering other steps of falcarin-type polyacetylene biosynthesis, to modulate polyacetylene levels in plants, and to test the in planta function of these molecules. Many organisms implement specialized biochemical pathways to convert ubiquitous metabolites into bioactive chemical compounds. Since plants comprise the majority of the human diet, specialized plant metabolites play crucial roles not only in crop biology but also in human nutrition. Some asterids produce lipid compounds called polyacetylenes (for review, see Negri, 2015) that exhibit antifungal activity (Garrod et al., 1978; Kemp, 1978; Harding and Heale, 1980, 1981; Olsson and Svensson, 1996) and accumulate in response to fungal phytopathogen attack (De Wit and Kodde, 1981; Elgersma and Liem, 1989). These observations have led to the longstanding hypothesis that polyacetylenes are natural pesticides. These same lipid compounds exhibit cytotoxic activity against human cancer cell lines and slow tumor growth (Fujimoto and Satoh, 1988; Matsunaga et al., 1989, 1990; Cunsolo et al., 1993; Bernart et al., 1996; Kobaek-Larsen et al., 2005; Zidorn et al., 2005), making them important nutritional compounds. The major source of polyacetylenes in the human diet is carrot (Daucus carota L.). Carrot is one of the most important crop species in the Apiaceae, with rapidly increasing worldwide cultivation (Rubatzky et al., 1999; Dawid et al., 2015). The most common carrot polyacetylenes are C17 linear aliphatic compounds containing two conjugated carbon-carbon triple bonds, one or two carbon-carbon double bonds, and a diversity of additional in-chain oxygen-containing functional groups. In carrot, the most abundant of these compounds are falcarinol and falcarindiol (Dawid et al., 2015). Based on their structures, it has been hypothesized that these compounds (alias falcarin-type polyacetylenes) are derived from ubiquitous fatty acids. Indeed, biochemical investigations (Haigh et al., 1968; Bohlman, 1988), radio-chemical tracer studies (Barley et al., 1988), and the discovery of pathway intermediates (Jones et al., 1966; Kawazu et al., 1973) implicate a diversion of flux away from linolenate biosynthesis as the entry point into falcarin-type polyacetylene biosynthesis (for review, see Minto and Blacklock, 2008). The final steps of linolenate biosynthesis are the conversion of oleate to linoleate, mediated by fatty acid desaturase 2 (FAD2), and linoleate to linolenate, catalyzed by FAD3. Some plant species contain divergent forms of FAD2 that, instead of or in addition to converting oleate to linoleate, catalyze the installation of unusual in-chain functional groups such as hydroxyl groups, epoxy groups, conjugated double bonds, or carbon-carbon triple bonds into the acyl chain (Badami and Patil, 1980) and thus divert flux from linolenate production into the accumulation of unusual fatty acids. Previous work in parsley (Petroselinum crispum; Apiaceae) identified a divergent form of FAD2 that (1) was up-regulated in response to pathogen treatment and (2) when expressed in soybean embryos resulted in production of the monoyne crepenynate and, by the action of an unassigned enzyme, dehydrocrepenynate (Kirsch et al., 1997; Cahoon et al., 2003). The results of the parsley studies are consistent with a pathogen-responsive, divergent FAD2-mediated pathway that leads to acetylenic fatty acids. However, information regarding the branch point into acetylenic fatty acid production in agriculturally relevant carrot is still largely missing, in particular, the identification and functional characterization of enzymes that can divert carbon flux away from linolenate biosynthesis into the production of dehydrocrepenynate and ultimately falcarin-type polyacetylenes. Such genes, once identified, could be used in the future design of transgenic carrot lines with altered polyacetylene content, enabling direct testing of in planta polyacetylene function and potentially the engineering of pathogen-resistant, more nutritious carrots. These genes could also provide the foundation for further investigations of more basic aspects of plant biology, including the evolution of fatty acid-derived natural product biosynthesis pathways across the Asterid clade, as well as the role of these pathways and compounds in plant ecology and plant defense. Recently, a high-quality carrot genome assembly was released (Iorizzo et al., 2016), providing a foundation for genome-enabled studies of Apiaceous species. This study also provided publicly accessible RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) data from diverse carrot tissues. Using these resources, this study aimed to provide a detailed gas chromatography-based quantification of polyacetylenes in carrot tissues for which RNA-Seq data are available, then combine this information with bioinformatics analysis and heterologous expression to identify and characterize biosynthetic genes that underlie the major entry point into carrot polyacetylene biosynthesis. To achieve these goals, thin-layer chromatography (TLC) was combined with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and gas chromatography-flame ionization detection to identify and quantify polyacetylenic metabolites in five different carrot tissues. Then the sequences and tissue expression profiles of potential FAD2 and FAD2-like genes annotated in the D. carota genome were compared with the metabolite data to identify candidate pathway genes, followed by biochemical functionality tests using yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisae) and Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) as heterologous expression systems.« less
  4. Abstract

    The glycerophosphodiester phosphodiesterase (GDPD)‐like SMaseD/PLD domain family, which includes phospholipase D (PLD) toxins in recluse spiders and actinobacteria, evolved anciently in bacteria from the GDPD. The PLD enzymes retained the core (β/α)8barrel fold of GDPD, while gaining a signature C‐terminal expansion motif and losing a small insertion domain. Using sequence alignments and phylogenetic analysis, we infer that the C‐terminal motif derives from a segment of an ancient bacterial PLAT domain. Formally, part of a protein containing a PLAT domain repeat underwent fusion to the C terminus of a GDPD barrel, leading to attachment of a segment of a PLAT domain, followed by a second complete PLAT domain. The complete domain was retained only in some basal homologs, but the PLAT segment was conserved and repurposed as the expansion motif. The PLAT segment corresponds to strands β7–β8 of a β‐sandwich, while the expansion motif as represented in spider PLD toxins has been remodeled as an α‐helix, a β‐strand, and an ordered loop. The GDPD‐PLAT fusion led to two acquisitions in founding the GDPD‐like SMaseD/PLD family: (1) a PLAT domain that presumably supported early lipase activity by mediating membrane association, and (2) an expansion motif that putatively stabilized the catalytic domain,more »possibly compensating for, or permitting, loss of the insertion domain. Of wider significance, messy domain shuffling events can leave behind scraps of domains that can be salvaged, remodeled, and repurposed.

    « less
  5. Abstract

    Epithelial calcium channel TRPV6 is a member of the vanilloid subfamily of TRP channels that is permeable to cations and highly selective to Ca2+; it shows constitutive activity regulated negatively by Ca2+and positively by phosphoinositol and cholesterol lipids. In this review, we describe the molecular structure of TRPV6 and discuss how its structural elements define its unique functional properties. High Ca2+selectivity of TRPV6 originates from the narrow selectivity filter, where Ca2+ions are directly coordinated by a ring of anionic aspartate side chains. Divalent cations Ca2+and Ba2+permeate TRPV6 pore according to the knock‐off mechanism, while tight binding of Gd3+to the aspartate ring blocks the channel and prevents Na+from permeating the pore. The iris‐like channel opening is accompanied by an α‐to‐π helical transition in the pore‐lining transmembrane helix S6. As a result of this transition, the intracellular halves of the S6 helices bend and rotate by about 100 deg, exposing different residues to the channel pore in the open and closed states. Channel opening is also associated with changes in occupancy of the transmembrane domain lipid binding sites. The inhibitor 2‐aminoethoxydiphenyl borate (2‐APB) binds to TRPV6 in a pocket formed by the cytoplasmic half of the S1‐S4 transmembrane helical bundle and shiftsmore »open‐closed channel equilibrium towards the closed state by outcompeting lipids critical for activation. Ca2+inhibits TRPV6 via binding to calmodulin (CaM), which mediates Ca2+‐dependent inactivation. The TRPV6‐CaM complex exhibits 1:1 stoichiometry; one TRPV6 tetramer binds both CaM lobes, which adopt a distinct head‐to‐tail arrangement. The CaM C‐terminal lobe plugs the channel through a unique cation‐π interaction by inserting the side chain of lysine K115 into a tetra‐tryptophan cage at the ion channel pore intracellular entrance. Recent studies of TRPV6 structure and function described in this review advance our understanding of the role of this channel in physiology and pathophysiology and inform new therapeutic design.image

    « less