Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) are secreted growth factors belonging to the superfamily of Transforming Growth Factors β (TGF-β). In contrast to their name they are not only involved in bone morphogenesis and regeneration, but also regulate numerous events during embryonic development. Furthermore, they play a key role in body axis determination, embryonic patterning as well as organogenesis, later in the adult organism these factors control organ and tissue homeostasis and regeneration. At the current state of research all classical members of the TGF-β family signal through transmembrane serine/threonine kinase receptors, which can be subdivided into type I- and type II-receptors. For receptor activation the ligand induces receptor heteromerisation forming an active complex containing type I- and type II-receptors which subsequently triggers intracellular signaling cascades.
To ensure highly specific signaling a complex network of regulatory mechanisms has evolved. The Small Mothers Against Decapentaplegic (Smad) signaling cascade for example is modulated by inhibitory Smads interacting with the receptor-regulated Smads or through proteasomal degradation of the receptor-regulated Smads by binding to ubiquitin-ligases of the Smurf-family. In the membrane, pseudoreceptors such as BAMBI lacking a kinase domain or GPI-anchored co-receptors such as the RGM-receptor family or Cripto can positively or negatively regulate BMP/TGF-β signaling.
A highlight of the TGF-β superfamily is the multitude of different secreted soluble modulator proteins. Most present glycoproteins, which act as BMP-antagonists by interfering with BMP-signaling. The BMP-specific modulator Twisted gastrulation is such an extracellular glycoprotein, which however features an unique dual function. On the one hand, by forming a stable ternary complex it strongly enhances the BMP-antagonizing (anti-BMP) activity of another BMP-modulator Chordin. On the other hand, upon proteolytic processing of Chordin in this ternary complex in the presence of specific metalloproteases such as Tolloid, Twisted gastrulation facilitates the dissociation of the ternary complex releasing active BMP an thereby exerts a pro (moting) BMP-activity.
Twisted gastrulation exhibits very low if at all any homology to other proteins and seems also unique among the large variety of BMP-modulator proteins. To understand its dual mode of action on a molecular level analysis of the structure/function-relationship is a pre-requisite.
In this project we have established different strategies for recombinant production of Twisted gastrulation for a comprehensive in vitro characterization. Although crystallization of Twisted gastrulation for X-ray diffraction analysis failed, we could successfully prepare stable ternary complexes consisting BMP-2, a type II-receptor and Twisted gastrulation which are ideally suited for protein crystallization. High-throughput expression and interaction-analysis schemes allowed us to study a multitude of single amino acid variants of Twisted gastrulation. This resulted in the identification of several amino acid residues in Twisted gastrulation, which form the binding epitope for BMP-2 confirming its supposed location in the N-terminal half of Twisted gastrulation. We could also show that the N-glycosylation of Twisted gastrulation is involved in high-affinity BMP binding and required for its BMP-modulatory activity in vivo.
For a full analysis of its molecular mechanism of BMP-2 interaction and its interplay with other modulator proteins, a structure analysis of Twisted gastrulation is required in the near future. Providing efficient recombinant sources and the preparation of stable ternary complexes will likely facilitate this.
|Advisor:||Müller , Thomas , Janzen , Christian|
|School:||Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universitaet Wuerzburg (Germany)|
|Source:||DAI-C 81/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Bone morphogenetic proteins|
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