Mutations in calcium-binding epidermal growth factor modules render fibrillin-1 susceptible to proteolysis. A potential disease-causing mechanism in Marfan syndrome

Reinhardt, D.P.; Ono, R.N.; Notbohm, H.; Müller, P.K.; Bächinger, H.P.; Sakai, L.Y.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 275(16): 12339-12345


ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9258
PMID: 10766875
DOI: 10.1074/jbc.275.16.12339
Accession: 011030473

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Most extracellular proteins consist of various modules with distinct functions. Mutations in one common type, the calcium-binding epidermal growth factor-like module (cbEGF), can lead to a variety of genetic disorders. Here, we describe as a model system structural and functional consequences of two typical mutations in cbEGF modules of fibrillin-1 (N548I, E1073K), resulting in the Marfan syndrome. Large (80-120 kDa) wild-type and mutated polypeptides were recombinantly expressed in mammalian cells. Both mutations did not alter synthesis and secretion of the polypeptides into the culture medium. Electron microscopy after rotary shadowing and comparison of circular dichroism spectra exhibited minor structural differences between the wild-type and mutated forms. The mutated polypeptides were significantly more susceptible to proteolytic degradation by a variety of proteases as compared with their wild-type counterparts. Most of the sensitive cleavage sites were mapped close to the mutations, indicating local structural changes within the mutated cbEGF modules. Other cleavage sites, however, were observed at distances beyond the domain containing the mutation, suggesting longer range structural effects within tandemly repeated cbEGF modules. We suggest that proteolytic degradation of mutated fibrillin-1 may play an important role in the pathogenesis of Marfan syndrome and related disorders.