Chimeric 14-3-3 proteins for unraveling interactions with intrinsically disordered partners

Nikolai N Sluchanko, Kristina V Tugaeva, Sandra J Greive, Alfred A Antson

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In eukaryotes, several "hub" proteins integrate signals from different interacting partners that bind through intrinsically disordered regions. The 14-3-3 protein hub, which plays wide-ranging roles in cellular processes, has been linked to numerous human disorders and is a promising target for therapeutic intervention. Partner proteins usually bind via insertion of a phosphopeptide into an amphipathic groove of 14-3-3. Structural plasticity in the groove generates promiscuity allowing accommodation of hundreds of different partners. So far, accurate structural information has been derived for only a few 14-3-3 complexes with phosphopeptide-containing proteins and a variety of complexes with short synthetic peptides. To further advance structural studies, here we propose a novel approach based on fusing 14-3-3 proteins with the target partner peptide sequences. Such chimeric proteins are easy to design, express, purify and crystallize. Peptide attachment to the C terminus of 14-3-3 via an optimal linker allows its phosphorylation by protein kinase A during bacterial co-expression and subsequent binding at the amphipathic groove. Crystal structures of 14-3-3 chimeras with three different peptides provide detailed structural information on peptide-14-3-3 interactions. This simple but powerful approach, employing chimeric proteins, can reinvigorate studies of 14-3-3/phosphoprotein assemblies, including those with challenging low-affinity partners, and may facilitate the design of novel biosensors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12014
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2017

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© The Author(s) 2017


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