An unpredicted aggregation-critical region of the actin-polymerizing protein TRIOBP-1/Tara, determined by elucidation of its domain structure

J Biol Chem. 2017 Jun 9;292(23):9583-9598. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M116.767939. Epub 2017 Apr 24.


Aggregation of specific proteins in the brains of patients with chronic mental illness as a result of disruptions in proteostasis is an emerging theme in the study of schizophrenia in particular. Proteins including DISC1 (disrupted in schizophrenia 1) and dysbindin-1B are found in insoluble forms within brain homogenates from such patients. We recently identified TRIOBP-1 (Trio-binding protein 1, also known as Tara) to be another such protein through an epitope discovery and proteomics approach by comparing post-mortem brain material from schizophrenia patients and control individuals. We hypothesized that this was likely to occur as a result of a specific subcellular process and that it, therefore, should be possible to identify a region of the TRIOBP-1 protein that is essential for its aggregation to occur. Here, we probe the domain organization of TRIOBP-1, finding it to possess two distinct coiled-coil domains: the central and C-terminal domains. The central domain inhibits the depolymerization of F-actin and is also responsible for oligomerization of TRIOBP-1. Along with an N-terminal pleckstrin homology domain, the central domain affects neurite outgrowth. In neuroblastoma cells it was found that the aggregation propensity of TRIOBP-1 arises from its central domain, with a short "linker" region narrowed to within amino acids 324-348, between its first two coiled coils, as essential for the formation of TRIOBP-1 aggregates. TRIOBP-1 aggregation, therefore, appears to occur through one or more specific cellular mechanisms, which therefore have the potential to be of physiological relevance for the biological process underlying the development of chronic mental illness.

Keywords: Domain structure; Mental illness; Subcellular localization; TRIOBP; Tara; actin; oligomerization; protein aggregation; protein stability; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins* / chemistry
  • Actins* / genetics
  • Actins* / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Microfilament Proteins* / chemistry
  • Microfilament Proteins* / genetics
  • Microfilament Proteins* / metabolism
  • Pleckstrin Homology Domains
  • Protein Aggregation, Pathological* / genetics
  • Protein Aggregation, Pathological* / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • TRIOBP protein, human