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|Title: ||Protein Design Based on a PHD Scaffold|
|Authors: ||Kwan, Ann Hau Yu|
|Keywords: ||protein design;PHD;nmr spectroscopy;zinc fingers;LMO|
|Issue Date: ||2004|
|Publisher: ||University of Sydney. Molecular and Microbial Biosciences|
|Abstract: ||The plant homeodomain (PHD) is a protein domain of ~45�100 residues characterised by a Cys4-His-Cys3 zinc-binding motif. When we commenced our study of the PHD in 2000, it was clear that the domain was commonly found in proteins involved in transcription. Sequence alignments indicate that while the cysteines, histidine and a few other key residues are strictly conserved, the rest of the domain varies greatly in terms of both amino acid composition and length. However, no structural information was available on the PHD and little was known about its function. We were therefore interested in determining the structure of a PHD in the hope that this might shed some light on its function and molecular mechanism of action. Our work began with the structure determination of a representative PHD, Mi2b-P2, and this work is presented in Chapter 3. Through comparison of this structure with the two other PHD structures that were determined during the course of our work, it became clear that PHDs adopt a well-defined globular fold with a superimposable core region. In addition, PHDs contain two loop regions (termed L1 and L3) that display increased flexibility and overlay less well between the three PHD structures available. These L1 and L3 regions correspond to variable regions identified earlier in PHD sequence alignments, indicating that L1 and L3 are probably not crucial for the PHD fold, but are instead likely to be responsible for imparting function(s) to the PHD. Indeed, numerous recent functional studies of PHDs from different proteins have since demonstrated their ability in binding a range of other proteins. In order to ascertain whether or not L1 and L3 were in fact dispensable for folding, we made extensive mutations (including both insertions and substitutions) in the loop regions of Mi2b-P2 and showed that the structure was maintained. We then went on to illustrate that a new function could be imparted to Mi2b-P2 by inserting a five-residue CtBP-binding motif into the L1 region and showed this chimera could fold and bind CtBP. Having established that the PHD could adopt a new binding function, we next sought to use combinatorial methods to introduce other novel functions into the PHD scaffold. Phage display was selected for this purpose, because it is a well-established technique and has been used successfully to engineer zinc-binding domains by other researchers. However, in order to establish this technique in our laboratory, we first chose a control system in which two partner proteins were already known to interact in vitro. We chose the protein complex formed between the transcriptional regulators LMO2 and ldb1 as a test case. We have examined this interaction in detail in our laboratory, and determined its three-dimensional structure. Furthermore, inappropriate formation of this complex is implicated in the onset of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. We therefore sought to use phage display to engineer ldb1 mimics that could potentially compete against wild-type ldb1 for LMO2, and this work is described in Chapter 4. Using a phage library containing ~3 x 10 7 variants of the LMO2-binding region of ldb1, we isolated mutants that were able to interact with LMO2 with higher affinity and specificity than wild-type ldb1. These ldb1 mutants represent a first step towards finding potential therapeutics for treating LMO-associated diseases. Having established phage display in our laboratory, we went on to search for PHD mutants that could bind selected target proteins. This work is described in Chapter 5. We created three PHD libraries with eight randomized residues in each of L1, L3 or in both loops of the PHD. These PHD libraries were then screened against four target proteins. After four rounds of selection, we were able to isolate a PHD mutant (dubbed L13-FH6) that could bind our test protein Fli-ets. This result demonstrates that a novel function can be imparted to the PHD using combinatorial methods and opens the way for further work in applying the PHD scaffold to other protein design work. In summary, the work detailed in Chapters 3 and 5 demonstrates that the PHD possesses many of the properties that are desirable for a protein scaffold for molecular recognition, including small size, stability, and a well-characterised structure. Moreover, the PHD motif possesses two loops (L1 and L3) of substantial size that can be remodeled for target binding. This may lead to an enhancement of binding affinities and specificities over other small scaffolds that have only one variable loop. In light of the fact that PHDs are mainly found in nuclear proteins, it is reasonable to expect that engineered PHDs could be expressed and function in an intracellular environment, unlike many other scaffolds that can only function in an oxidizing environment. Therefore, our results together with other currently available genomic and functional information indicate PHD is an excellent candidate for a scaffold that could be used to modify cellular processes. Appendices 1 and 2 describe completed bodies of work on unrelated projects that I have carried out during the course of my PhD candidature. The first comprises the invention and application of DNA sequences that contain all N-base sequences in the minimum possible length. This work is presented as a reprint of our recently published paper in Nucleic Acids Research. The second Appendix describes our structural analysis of an antifreeze protein from the shorthorn sculpin, a fish that lives in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans. This work is presented as a manuscript that is currently under review at the Journal of the American Chemical Society.|
|Rights and Permissions: ||Copyright Kwan, Ann Hau Yu;http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/copyright.html|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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