Folding Perspectives of an Intrinsically Disordered Transactivation Domain and Its Single Mutation Breaking the Folding Propensity

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Intrinsically disordered proteins, Transactivation domain, PCET motif

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Transcriptional regulation is a critical facet of cellular development controlled by numerous transcription factors, among which are E-proteins (E2A, HEB, and E2-2) that play important roles in lymphopoiesis. For example, primary hematopoietic cells immortalisation is promoted by interaction of the conserved PCET motif consisting of the Leu-X-X-Leu-Leu (LXXLL) and Leu-Asp-Phe-Ser (LDFS) sequences of the transactivation domains (AD1) of E-proteins with the KIX domain of CBP/p300 transcriptional co-activators. Earlier, it was shown that the LXXLL motif is essential for the PCET-KIX interaction driven by the PCET helical transition. In this study, we analyzed the dehydration-driven gain of helicity in the conserved region (residues 11–28) of the AD1 domain of E-protein. Particularly, we showed that AD1 structure was dramatically affected by alcohols, but was insensitive to changes in pH or the presence of osmolytes sarcosine and taurine, or high polyethylene glycol (PEG) concentrations and DOPC Liposomes. These structure-forming effects of solvents were almost completely absent in the case of L21P AD1 mutant characterized by weakened interaction with KIX. This indicates that KIX interaction-induced AD1 ordering is driven by PCET motif dehydration. The L21P mutation-caused loss of molecular recognition function of AD1 is due to the mutation-induced disruption of the AD1 helical propensity.

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International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, v. 155, p. 1359-1372