Combining cysteine scanning with chemical labeling to map protein-protein interactions and infer bound structure in an intrinsically disordered region
Ahmed, S.; Chattopadhyay, G.; Manjunath, K.; Bhasin, M.; Singh, N.; Rasool, M.; Das, S.; Rana, V.; Khan, N.; Mitra, D.; Asok, A.; Singh, R.; Varadarajan, R.
Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences 9: 997653
ISSN/ISBN: 2296-889X PMID: 36275627 Accession: 080599753
The Mycobacterium tuberculosis genome harbours nine toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems of the mazEF family. These consist of two proteins, a toxin and an antitoxin, encoded in an operon. While the toxin has a conserved fold, the antitoxins are structurally diverse and the toxin binding region is typically intrinsically disordered before binding. We describe high throughput methodology for accurate mapping of interfacial residues and apply it to three MazEF complexes. The method involves screening one partner protein against a panel of chemically masked single cysteine mutants of its interacting partner, displayed on the surface of yeast cells. Such libraries have much lower diversity than those generated by saturation mutagenesis, simplifying library generation and data analysis. Further, because of the steric bulk of the masking reagent, labeling of virtually all exposed epitope residues should result in loss of binding, and buried residues are inaccessible to the labeling reagent. The binding residues are deciphered by probing the loss of binding to the labeled cognate partner by flow cytometry. Using this methodology, we have identified the interfacial residues for MazEF3, MazEF6 and MazEF9 TA systems of M. tuberculosis. In the case of MazEF9, where a crystal structure was available, there was excellent agreement between our predictions and the crystal structure, superior to those with AlphaFold2. We also report detailed biophysical characterization of the MazEF3 and MazEF9 TA systems and measured the relative affinities between cognate and non-cognate toxin-antitoxin partners in order to probe possible cross-talk between these systems.