STRUCTURAL INSIGHTS INTO DICTYOSTELIUM DISCOIDEUM MYOSIN LIGHT CHAIN SPECIFICITY
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Myosins are molecular motor proteins involved in cell movement, vesicle and organelle transport by moving along the cytoskeletal actin filaments. They include a myosin heavy chain and at least one myosin light chain (LC). The latter are typically bilobal proteins like calmodulin, where each lobe comprises a pair of EF-hand Ca2+-binding motifs. The LCs bind to ~25-residue IQ motifs that loosely conform to an IQXXXRGXXXR consensus sequence, and impart rigidity that is crucial for myosin function. The highly motile amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum expresses seven class I myosins, two of which (MyoD and MyoB) recruit the specific LCs MlcD and MlcB, with MlcB being the first observed single-lobe LC. However, the LCs for the remaining D. discoideum class I myosins are unknown. Identifying and characterizing these LCs is one focus of this thesis, with an overall goal of understanding their role in myosin function and regulation. Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, site-directed mutagenesis, and computational modeling were used to determine the solution structure of apo-MlcB and identify the MyoB IQ motif-binding site. Apo-MlcB differs from the typical closed conformation of an EF-hand Ca2+-binding protein in the apo-state as helix 1 in its structure is splayed from the remaining helices. The MyoB IQ motif-binding surface is not altered by Ca2+, involves residues from helices 1 and 4, and from residues in the N-terminal canonical EF-hand Ca2+-binding loop, and represents a unique mode of IQ recognition by a myosin LC. Calmodulin was identified as the LC for MyoA and MyoE while another single-lobe LC, MlcC, bound to two of three IQ motifs in MyoC. The solution structure of MlcC was more similar to the C-terminal lobe of apo-calmodulin than to apo-MlcB. Chemical shift perturbation studies suggest that like apo-CaM, MlcC undergoes a global MyoC IQ motif-induced conformational change. Computational modeling of the MlcC-MyoC IQ complex indicates that this is a feasible mode of IQ recognition. The structures of MlcB and MlcC, with their different modes of IQ motif binding, provide novel insights into IQ motif binding specificity and begin to illustrate their role in myosin function and regulation.