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Title: Epistatic mutations in PUMA BH3 drive an alternate binding mode to potently and selectively inhibit anti-apoptotic Bfl-1

Abstract

Overexpression of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins contributes to cancer progression and confers resistance to chemotherapy. Small molecules that target Bcl-2 are used in the clinic to treat leukemia, but tight and selective inhibitors are not available for Bcl-2 paralog Bfl-1. Guided by computational analysis, we designed variants of the native BH3 motif PUMA that are > 150-fold selective for Bfl-1 binding. The designed peptides potently trigger disruption of the mitochondrial outer membrane in cells dependent on Bfl-1, but not in cells dependent on other anti-apoptotic homologs. High-resolution crystal structures show that designed peptide FS2 binds Bfl-1 in a shifted geometry, relative to PUMA and other binding partners, due to a set of epistatic mutations. FS2 modified with an electrophile reacts with a cysteine near the peptide-binding groove to augment specificity. Designed Bfl-1 binders provide reagents for cellular profiling and leads for developing enhanced and cell-permeable peptide or small-molecule inhibitors.

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ORCiD logo; ; ; ORCiD logo
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States). Advanced Photon Source (APS)
Sponsoring Org.:
NSFOTHERNIGMS
OSTI Identifier:
1368344
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: eLife; Journal Volume: 6; Journal Issue: 2017
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
ENGLISH

Citation Formats

Jenson, Justin M., Ryan, Jeremy A., Grant, Robert A., Letai, Anthony, and Keating, Amy E.. Epistatic mutations in PUMA BH3 drive an alternate binding mode to potently and selectively inhibit anti-apoptotic Bfl-1. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.7554/eLife.25541.
Jenson, Justin M., Ryan, Jeremy A., Grant, Robert A., Letai, Anthony, & Keating, Amy E.. Epistatic mutations in PUMA BH3 drive an alternate binding mode to potently and selectively inhibit anti-apoptotic Bfl-1. United States. doi:10.7554/eLife.25541.
Jenson, Justin M., Ryan, Jeremy A., Grant, Robert A., Letai, Anthony, and Keating, Amy E.. Thu . "Epistatic mutations in PUMA BH3 drive an alternate binding mode to potently and selectively inhibit anti-apoptotic Bfl-1". United States. doi:10.7554/eLife.25541.
@article{osti_1368344,
title = {Epistatic mutations in PUMA BH3 drive an alternate binding mode to potently and selectively inhibit anti-apoptotic Bfl-1},
author = {Jenson, Justin M. and Ryan, Jeremy A. and Grant, Robert A. and Letai, Anthony and Keating, Amy E.},
abstractNote = {Overexpression of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins contributes to cancer progression and confers resistance to chemotherapy. Small molecules that target Bcl-2 are used in the clinic to treat leukemia, but tight and selective inhibitors are not available for Bcl-2 paralog Bfl-1. Guided by computational analysis, we designed variants of the native BH3 motif PUMA that are > 150-fold selective for Bfl-1 binding. The designed peptides potently trigger disruption of the mitochondrial outer membrane in cells dependent on Bfl-1, but not in cells dependent on other anti-apoptotic homologs. High-resolution crystal structures show that designed peptide FS2 binds Bfl-1 in a shifted geometry, relative to PUMA and other binding partners, due to a set of epistatic mutations. FS2 modified with an electrophile reacts with a cysteine near the peptide-binding groove to augment specificity. Designed Bfl-1 binders provide reagents for cellular profiling and leads for developing enhanced and cell-permeable peptide or small-molecule inhibitors.},
doi = {10.7554/eLife.25541},
journal = {eLife},
number = 2017,
volume = 6,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Jun 08 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Thu Jun 08 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}
  • Highlights: {yields} Identification of a conserved BH3 motif in C-terminal coiled coil region of nCLU. {yields} The nCLU BH3 domain binds to BH3 peptide-binding grooves in both Bcl-X{sub L} and Bcl-2. {yields} A conserved binding mechanism of nCLU BH3 and the other pro-apoptotic BH3 peptides with Bcl-X{sub L}. {yields} The absolutely conserved Leu323 and Asp328 of nCLU BH3 domain are critical for binding to Bcl-X{sub L.} {yields} Molecular understanding of the pro-apoptotic function of nCLU as a novel BH3-only protein. -- Abstract: Clusterin (CLU) is a multifunctional glycoprotein that is overexpressed in prostate and breast cancers. Although CLU is knownmore » to be involved in the regulation of apoptosis and cell survival, the precise molecular mechanism underlying the pro-apoptotic function of nuclear CLU (nCLU) remains unclear. In this study, we identified a conserved BH3 motif in C-terminal coiled coil (CC2) region of nCLU by sequence analysis and characterized the molecular interaction of the putative nCLU BH3 domain with anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. The chemical shift perturbation data demonstrated that the nCLU BH3 domain binds to pro-apoptotic BH3 peptide-binding grooves in both Bcl-X{sub L} and Bcl-2. A structural model of the Bcl-X{sub L}/nCLU BH3 peptide complex reveals that the binding mode is remarkably similar to those of other Bcl-X{sub L}/BH3 peptide complexes. In addition, mutational analysis confirmed that Leu323 and Asp328 of nCLU BH3 domain, absolutely conserved in the BH3 motifs of BH3-only protein family, are critical for binding to Bcl-X{sub L}. Taken altogether, our results suggest a molecular basis for the pro-apoptotic function of nCLU by elucidating the residue specific interactions of the BH3 motif in nCLU with anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins.« less
  • Interactions among Bcl-2 family proteins are important for regulating apoptosis. Prosurvival members of the family interact with proapoptotic BH3 (Bcl-2-homology-3)-only members, inhibiting execution of cell death through the mitochondrial pathway. Structurally, this interaction is mediated by binding of the {alpha}-helical BH3 region of the proapoptotic proteins to a conserved hydrophobic groove on the prosurvival proteins. Native BH3-only proteins exhibit selectivity in binding prosurvival members, as do small molecules that block these interactions. Understanding the sequence and structural basis of interaction specificity in this family is important, as it may allow the prediction of new Bcl-2 family associations and/or the designmore » of new classes of selective inhibitors to serve as reagents or therapeutics. In this work, we used two complementary techniques - yeast surface display screening from combinatorial peptide libraries and SPOT peptide array analysis - to elucidate specificity determinants for binding to Bcl-x{sub L} versus Mcl-1, two prominent prosurvival proteins. We screened a randomized library and identified BH3 peptides that bound to either Mcl-1 or Bcl-x{sub L} selectively or to both with high affinity. The peptides competed with native ligands for binding into the conserved hydrophobic groove, as illustrated in detail by a crystal structure of a specific peptide bound to Mcl-1. Mcl-1-selective peptides from the screen were highly specific for binding Mcl-1 in preference to Bcl-x{sub L}, Bcl-2, Bcl-w, and Bfl-1, whereas Bcl-x{sub L}-selective peptides showed some cross-interaction with related proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-w. Mutational analyses using SPOT arrays revealed the effects of 170 point mutations made in the background of a peptide derived from the BH3 region of Bim, and a simple predictive model constructed using these data explained much of the specificity observed in our Mcl-1 versus Bcl-x{sub L} binders.« less