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Structures of neurexophilin-neurexin complexes reveal a regulatory mechanism of alternative splicing

Structures of neurexophilin-neurexin complexes reveal a regulatory mechanism of alternative splicing

Embo Journal 38(22): E101603

ISSN/ISBN: 0261-4189

PMID: 31566781

DOI: 10.15252/embj.2019101603

Neurexins are presynaptic, cell-adhesion molecules that specify the functional properties of synapses via interactions with trans-synaptic ligands. Neurexins are extensively alternatively spliced at six canonical sites that regulate multifarious ligand interactions, but the structural mechanisms underlying alternative splicing-dependent neurexin regulation are largely unknown. Here, we determined high-resolution structures of the complex of neurexophilin-1 and the second laminin/neurexin/sex-hormone-binding globulin domain (LNS2) of neurexin-1 and examined how alternative splicing at splice site #2 (SS2) regulates the complex. Our data reveal a unique, extensive, neurexophilin-neurexin binding interface that extends the jelly-roll β-sandwich of LNS2 of neurexin-1 into neurexophilin-1. The SS2A insert of LNS2 augments this interface, increasing the binding affinity of LNS2 for neurexophilin-1. Taken together, our data reveal an unexpected architecture of neurexophilin-neurexin complexes that accounts for the modulation of binding by alternative splicing, which in turn regulates the competition of neurexophilin for neurexin binding with other ligands.

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