Nerve growth factor stimulates interaction of Cayman ataxia protein BNIP-H/Caytaxin with peptidyl-prolyl isomerase Pin1 in differentiating neurons

PLoS One. 2008 Jul 16;3(7):e2686. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0002686.


Mutations in ATCAY that encodes the brain-specific protein BNIP-H (or Caytaxin) lead to Cayman cerebellar ataxia. BNIP-H binds to glutaminase, a neurotransmitter-producing enzyme, and affects its activity and intracellular localization. Here we describe the identification and characterization of the binding between BNIP-H and Pin1, a peptidyl-prolyl cis/trans isomerase. BNIP-H interacted with Pin1 after nerve growth factor-stimulation and they co-localized in the neurites and cytosol of differentiating pheochromocytoma PC12 cells and the embryonic carcinoma P19 cells. Deletional mutagenesis revealed two cryptic binding sites within the C-terminus of BNIP-H such that single point mutants affecting the WW domain of Pin1 completely abolished their binding. Although these two sites do not contain any of the canonical Pin1-binding motifs they showed differential binding profiles to Pin1 WW domain mutants S16E, S16A and W34A, and the catalytically inert C113A of its isomerase domain. Furthermore, their direct interaction would occur only upon disrupting the ability of BNIP-H to form an intramolecular interaction by two similar regions. Furthermore, expression of Pin1 disrupted the BNIP-H/glutaminase complex formation in PC12 cells under nerve growth factor-stimulation. These results indicate that nerve growth factor may stimulate the interaction of BNIP-H with Pin1 by releasing its intramolecular inhibition. Such a mechanism could provide a post-translational regulation on the cellular activity of BNIP-H during neuronal differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Nerve Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurons / enzymology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • PC12 Cells
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Rats


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • PDZD2 protein, rat
  • atcay protein, rat
  • Nerve Growth Factor
  • Glutathione Transferase