A distributed residue network permits conformational binding specificity in a conserved family of actin remodelers

Theresa Hwang, Sara S. Parker, Samantha M. Hill, Meucci W. Ilunga, Robert A. Grant, Ghassan Mouneimne, Amy E. Keating

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Metazoan proteomes contain many paralogous proteins that have evolved distinct functions. The Ena/VASP family of actin regulators consists of three members that share an EVH1 interaction domain with a 100% conserved binding site. A proteome-wide screen revealed photoreceptor cilium actin regulator (PCARE) as a high-affinity ligand for ENAH EVH1. Here, we report the surprising observation that PCARE is ~100-fold specific for ENAH over paralogs VASP and EVL and can selectively bind ENAH and inhibit ENAH-dependent adhesion in cells. Specificity arises from a mechanism whereby PCARE stabilizes a conformation of the ENAH EVH1 domain that is inaccessible to family members VASP and EVL. Structure-based modeling  rapidly identified seven residues distributed throughout EVL that are sufficient to differentiate binding by ENAH vs. EVL. By exploiting the ENAH-specific conformation, we rationally designed the tightest and most selective ENAH binder to date. Our work uncovers a conformational mechanism of interaction specificity that distinguishes highly similar paralogs and establishes tools for dissecting specific Ena/VASP functions in processes including cancer cell invasion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere70601
JournaleLife
Volume10
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

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