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Near-membrane ensemble elongation in the proline-rich LRP6 intracellular domain may explain the mysterious initiation of the Wnt signaling pathway



Near-membrane ensemble elongation in the proline-rich LRP6 intracellular domain may explain the mysterious initiation of the Wnt signaling pathway



Bmc Bioinformatics 12(Suppl. 13): S13



LRP6 is a membrane protein crucial in the initiation of canonical Wnt/β-catenin signalling. Its function is dependent on its proline-serine rich intracellular domain. LRP6 has five PPP(S/T)P motifs that are phosphorylated during activation, starting with the site closest to the membrane. Like all long proline rich regions, there is no stable 3D structure for this isolated, contiguous region. In our study, we use a computational simulation tool to sample the conformational space of the LRP6 intracellular domain, under the spatial constraints imposed by (a) the membrane and (b) the close approach of the neighboring intracellular molecular complex, which is assembled on Frizzled when Wnt binds to both LRP6 and Frizzled on the opposite side of the membrane. We observe that an elongated form dominates in the LRP6 intracellular domain structure ensemble. This elongation could relieve conformational auto-inhibition of the PPP(S/T)PX(S/T) motif binding sites and allow GSK3 and CK1 to approach their phosphorylation sites, thereby activating LRP6 and the downstream pathway. We propose a model in which the conformation of the LRP6 intracellular domain is elongated before activation. This is based on the intrusion of the Frizzled complex into the ensemble space of the proline rich region of LRP6, which alters the shape of its available ensemble space. To test whether this observed ensemble conformational change is sequence dependent, we did a control simulation with a hypothetical sequence with 50% proline and 50% serine in alternating residues. We confirm that this ensemble neighbourhood-based conformational change is independent of sequence and conclude that it is likely found in all proline rich sequences. These observations help us understand the nature of proline rich regions which are both unstructured and which seem to evolve at a higher rate of mutation, while maintaining sequence composition.

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Accession: 054560010

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 22372892

DOI: 10.1186/1471-2105-12-s13-s13


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