The mechanism of binding staphylococcal protein A to immunoglobin G does not involve helix unwinding

L Jendeberg, M Tashiro, R Tejero, B A Lyons, M Uhlén, G T Montelione, B Nilsson
Biochemistry 1996 January 9, 35 (1): 22-31
Structural changes in staphylococcal protein A (SpA) upon its binding to the constant region (Fc) of immunoglobulin G (IgG) have been studied by nuclear magnetic resonance and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. The NMR solution structure of the engineered IgG-binding domain of SpA, the Z domain (an analogue of the B domain of SpA), has been determined by simulated annealing with molecular dynamics, using 599 distance and dihedral angle constraints. Domain Z contains three alpha-helices in the polypeptide segments Lys7 to His18 (helix 1), Glu25 to Asp36 (helix 2), and Ser41 to Ala54 (helix 3). The overall chain fold is an antiparallel three-helical bundle. This is in contrast to the previously determined X-ray structure of the similar SpA domain B in complex with Fc, where helix 3 is not observed in the electron density map [Deisenhofer, J. (1981) Biochemistry 20, 2361-2370], but similar to the solution NMR structure of domain B, which is also a three-helical bundle structure [Gouda, H., et al. (1992) Biochemistry 31, 9665-9672]. In order to characterize possible secondary structural changes associated with IgG binding, far-UV CD spectra were collected for the Z domain, an engineered repeat of this molecule (ZZ), recombinant Fc from IgG subclass 1 (Fc1), recombinant Fc from IgG subclass 3 (Fc3), and mixtures of Z/Fc1, Z/Fc3, ZZ/Fc1, and ZZ/Fc3. Fc3 was included as a control for possible changes of the CD spectrum in the mixture of noncomplexed molecules, since SpA is known not to bind Fc3. From these CD spectra, it was concluded that the third alpha-helix in Z is not disrupted in its complexes with Fc1. Similar results were obtained for the ZZ molecule. However, in both Z and ZZ there are some perturbations in CD spectra at high energy wavelengths (i.e., lambda < 215 nm) accompanying complex formation. On the basis of the combined CD and NMR results, as well as previously described binding studies of Z mutant proteins to Fc1, we conclude that the Z domain maintains its three-helical bundle structure in the Z-Fc complex, though there may be a small structural change involved in the binding mechanism.

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