Structural characterization of the human Nogo-A functional domains. Solution structure of Nogo-40, a Nogo-66 receptor antagonist enhancing injured spinal cord regeneration
Li, M.; Shi, J.; Wei, Z.; Teng, F.Y.H.; Tang, B.L.; Song, J.
European Journal of Biochemistry 271(17): 3512-3522
The recent discovery of the Nogo family of myelin inhibitors and the Nogo-66 receptor opens up a very promising avenue for the development of therapeutic agents for treating spinal cord injury. Nogo-A, the largest member of the Nogo family, is a multidomain protein containing at least two regions responsible for inhibiting central nervous system (CNS) regeneration. So far, no structural information is available for Nogo-A or any of its structural domains. We have subcloned and expressed two Nogo-A fragments, namely the 182 residue Nogo-A(567-748) and the 66 residue Nogo-66 in Escherichia coli. CD and NMR characterization indicated that Nogo-A(567-748) was only partially structured while Nogo-66 was highly insoluble. Nogo-40, a truncated form of Nogo-66, has been previously shown to be a Nogo-66 receptor antagonist that is able to enhance CNS neuronal regeneration. Detailed NMR examinations revealed that a Nogo-40 peptide had intrinsic helix-forming propensity, even in an aqueous environment. The NMR structure of Nogo-40 was therefore determined in the presence of the helix-stabilizing solvent trifluoroethanol. The solution structure of Nogo-40 revealed two well-defined helices linked by an unstructured loop, representing the first structure of Nogo-66 receptor binding ligands. Our results provide the first structural insights into Nogo-A functional domains and may have implications in further designs of peptide mimetics that would enhance CNS neuronal regeneration.