Quantitative analyses of cryptochrome-mBMAL1 interactions: mechanistic insights into the transcriptional regulation of the mammalian circadian clock

Czarna, A.; Breitkreuz, H.; Mahrenholz, C.C.; Arens, J.; Strauss, H.M.; Wolf, E.

Journal of Biological Chemistry 286(25): 22414-22425


ISSN/ISBN: 1083-351X
PMID: 21521686
DOI: 10.1074/jbc.m111.244749
Accession: 055317900

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The mammalian cryptochromes mCRY1 and mCRY2 act as transcriptional repressors within the 24-h transcription-translational feedback loop of the circadian clock. The C-terminal tail and a preceding predicted coiled coil (CC) of the mCRYs as well as the C-terminal region of the transcription factor mBMAL1 are involved in transcriptional feedback repression. Here we show by fluorescence polarization and isothermal titration calorimetry that purified mCRY1/2CCtail proteins form stable heterodimeric complexes with two C-terminal mBMAL1 fragments. The longer mBMAL1 fragment (BMAL490) includes Lys-537, which is rhythmically acetylated by mCLOCK in vivo. mCRY1 (but not mCRY2) has a lower affinity to BMAL490 than to the shorter mBMAL1 fragment (BMAL577) and a K537Q mutant version of BMAL490. Using peptide scan analysis we identify two mBMAL1 binding epitopes within the coiled coil and tail regions of mCRY1/2 and document the importance of positively charged mCRY1 residues for mBMAL1 binding. A synthetic mCRY coiled coil peptide binds equally well to the short and to the long (wild-type and K537Q mutant) mBMAL1 fragments. In contrast, a peptide including the mCRY1 tail epitope shows a lower affinity to BMAL490 compared with BMAL577 and BMAL490(K537Q). We propose that Lys-537(mBMAL1) acetylation enhances mCRY1 binding by affecting electrostatic interactions predominantly with the mCRY1 tail. Our data reveal different molecular interactions of the mCRY1/2 tails with mBMAL1, which may contribute to the non-redundant clock functions of mCRY1 and mCRY2. Moreover, our study suggests the design of peptidic inhibitors targeting the interaction of the mCRY1 tail with mBMAL1.