Characterization and Engineering of Protein-Protein Interactions Involving PDZ Domains

  • Datum: 03 mars, kl. 09.00
  • Plats: B42, Biomedicinskt Centrum, Husargatan 3, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Karlsson, Andreas
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Institutionen för medicinsk biokemi och mikrobiologi
  • Kontaktperson: Karlsson, Andreas
  • Disputation

The work presented in this thesis has contributed with knowledge to several aspects of protein-protein interaction involving PDZ domains.

A substantial amount of our proteome contains regions that are intrinsically disordered but fold upon ligand interaction. The mechanism by which disordered regions bind to their ligands is one important piece of the puzzle to understand why disorder is beneficial. A region in the PDZ domain of nNOS undergoes such a disorder-to-order transition to form a b-sheet in the binding pocket of its partner. By studying the kinetics of interaction, in combination with mutations that modulate the stability of the aforementioned region, we demonstrate that the binding mechanism consists of multiple steps in which the native binding interactions of the b-sheet are formed cooperatively after the rate-limiting transition state. These mechanistic aspects may be general for the binding reactions of intrinsically disordered protein regions, at least upon formation of β-sheets.  

The second part of this thesis deals with the engineering of proteins for increasing affinity in protein-protein interaction. Infection by high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) can lead to cancer, and the viral E6 protein is an attractive drug target. E6 from hrHPV natively interacts with the well-characterized PDZ2 domain in SAP97, which we used as a scaffold to develop a high affinity bivalent binder of hrHPV E6. We initially increased PDZ2's affinity for E6 6-fold, but at the cost of decreased specificity. Attaching a helix that binds E6 at a distant site, increasing the affinity another14-fold, completed the design.

The final work of this thesis investigates if binding studies conducted with isolated PDZ domains is representative of the full-length proteins they belong to. It has been suggested that ligand binding in PDZ domains can be influenced by factors such as adjacent domains and interactions outside of the binding pocket. We studied these aspects for the three PDZ domains of PSD-95 and found that they on the whole function in an independent manner with short peptides as ligands, but that interactions outside of the PDZ binding-pocket may be present. The representative length of the PDZ interaction partner should therefore be considered.