Structure of a truncation mutant of the nuclear export factor CRM1 provides insights into the auto-inhibitory role of its C-terminal helix

Structure. 2013 Aug 6;21(8):1338-49. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2013.06.003. Epub 2013 Jul 11.

Abstract

Chromosome region maintenance 1/exportin1/Xpo1 (CRM1) associates with the GTPase Ran to mediate the nuclear export of proteins bearing a leucine-rich nuclear export signal (NES). CRM1 consists of helical hairpin HEAT repeats and a C-terminal helical extension (C-extension) that inhibits the binding of NES-bearing cargos. We report the crystal structure and small-angle X-ray scattering analysis of a human CRM1 mutant with enhanced NES-binding activity due to deletion of the C-extension. We show that loss of the C-extension leads to a repositioning of CRM1's C-terminal repeats and to a more extended overall conformation. Normal mode analysis predicts reduced rigidity for the deletion mutant, consistent with an observed decrease in thermal stability. Point mutations that destabilize the C-extension shift CRM1 to the more extended conformation, reduce thermal stability, and enhance NES-binding activity. These findings suggest that an important mechanism by which the C-extension regulates CRM1's cargo-binding affinity is by modulating the conformation and flexibility of its HEAT repeats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Humans
  • Karyopherins / chemistry*
  • Karyopherins / genetics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutagenesis
  • Point Mutation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Stability
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / chemistry*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / genetics
  • Repetitive Sequences, Amino Acid
  • Scattering, Small Angle
  • Sequence Deletion

Substances

  • Karyopherins
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • exportin 1 protein

Associated data

  • PDB/4BSM
  • PDB/4BSN