• Thermodynamically reengineering the listerial invasion complex InlA/E-cadherin.

      Wollert, Thomas; Heinz, Dirk W; Schubert, Wolf-Dieter; Molecular Host-Pathogen Interactions, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-08-28)
      Biological processes essentially all depend on the specific recognition between macromolecules and their interaction partners. Although many such interactions have been characterized both structurally and biophysically, the thermodynamic effects of small atomic changes remain poorly understood. Based on the crystal structure of the bacterial invasion protein internalin (InlA) of Listeria monocytogenes in complex with its human receptor E-cadherin (hEC1), we analyzed the interface to identify single amino acid substitutions in InlA that would potentially improve the overall quality of interaction and hence increase the weak binding affinity of the complex. Dissociation constants of InlA-variant/hEC1 complexes, as well as enthalpy and entropy of binding, were quantified by isothermal titration calorimetry. All single substitutions indeed significantly increase binding affinity. Structural changes were verified crystallographically at < or =2.0-A resolution, allowing thermodynamic characteristics of single substitutions to be rationalized structurally and providing unique insights into atomic contributions to binding enthalpy and entropy. Structural and thermodynamic data of all combinations of individual substitutions result in a thermodynamic network, allowing the source of cooperativity between distant recognition sites to be identified. One such pair of single substitutions improves affinity 5,000-fold. We thus demonstrate that rational reengineering of protein complexes is possible by making use of physically distant hot spots of recognition.
    • X-ray and neutron small-angle scattering analysis of the complex formed by the Met receptor and the Listeria monocytogenes invasion protein InlB.

      Niemann, Hartmut H; Petoukhov, Maxim V; Härtlein, Michael; Moulin, Martine; Gherardi, Ermanno; Timmins, Peter; Heinz, Dirk W; Svergun, Dmitri I; Division of Structural Biology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2008-03-21)
      The Listeria monocytogenes surface protein InlB binds to the extracellular domain of the human receptor tyrosine kinase Met, the product of the c-met proto-oncogene. InlB binding activates the Met receptor, leading to uptake of Listeria into normally nonphagocytic host cells. The N-terminal half of InlB (InlB(321)) is sufficient for Met binding and activation. The complex between this Met-binding domain of InlB and various constructs of the Met ectodomain was characterized by size exclusion chromatography and dynamic light scattering, and structural models were built using small-angle X-ray scattering and small-angle neutron scattering. Although most receptor tyrosine kinase ligands induce receptor dimerization, InlB(321) consistently binds the Met ectodomain with a 1:1 stoichiometry. A construct comprising the Sema and PSI domains of Met, although sufficient to bind the physiological Met ligand hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor, does not form a complex with InlB(321) in solution, highlighting the importance of Met Ig domains for InlB binding. Small-angle X-ray scattering and small-angle neutron scattering measurements of ligand and receptor, both free and in complex, reveal an elongated shape for the receptor. The four Ig domains form a bent, rather than a fully extended, conformation, and InlB(321) binds to Sema and the first Ig domain of Met, in agreement with the recent crystal structure of a smaller Met fragment in complex with InlB(321). These results call into question whether receptor dimerization is the basic underlying event in InlB(321)-mediated Met activation and demonstrate differences in the mechanisms by which the physiological ligand hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor and InlB(321) bind and activate the Met receptor.