The HORMA domain is a highly conserved protein-protein interaction module found in eukaryotic signaling proteins including the spindle assembly checkpoint protein Mad2 and the meiotic HORMAD proteins. HORMA domain proteins interact with short 'closure motifs' in partner proteins by wrapping their C-terminal 'safety belt' region entirely around these motifs, forming topologically-closed complexes. Closure motif binding and release requires large-scale conformational changes in the HORMA domain, but such changes have only been observed in Mad2. Here, we show that Saccharomyces cerevisiae Hop1, a master regulator of meiotic recombination, possesses conformational dynamics similar to Mad2. We identify closure motifs in the Hop1 binding partner Red1 and in Hop1 itself, revealing that HORMA domain-closure motif interactions underlie both Hop1's initial recruitment to the chromosome axis and its self-assembly on the axis. We further show that Hop1 adopts two distinct folded states in solution, one corresponding to the previously-observed 'closed' conformation, and a second more extended state in which the safety belt region has disengaged from the HORMA domain core. These data reveal strong mechanistic similarities between meiotic HORMADs and Mad2, and provide a mechanistic basis for understanding both meiotic chromosome axis assembly and its remodeling by the AAA+ ATPase Pch2/TRIP13.
© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.