REDOR NMR Reveals Multiple Conformers for a Protein Kinase C Ligand in a Membrane Environment

ACS Cent Sci. 2018 Jan 24;4(1):89-96. doi: 10.1021/acscentsci.7b00475. Epub 2018 Jan 2.


Bryostatin 1 (henceforth bryostatin) is in clinical trials for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease and for HIV/AIDS eradication. It is also a preclinical lead for cancer immunotherapy and other therapeutic indications. Yet nothing is known about the conformation of bryostatin bound to its protein kinase C (PKC) target in a membrane microenvironment. As a result, efforts to design more efficacious, better tolerated, or more synthetically accessible ligands have been limited to structures that do not include PKC or membrane effects known to influence PKC-ligand binding. This problem extends more generally to many membrane-associated proteins in the human proteome. Here, we use rotational-echo double-resonance (REDOR) solid-state NMR to determine the conformations of PKC modulators bound to the PKCδ-C1b domain in the presence of phospholipid vesicles. The conformationally limited PKC modulator phorbol diacetate (PDAc) is used as an initial test substrate. While unanticipated partitioning of PDAc between an immobilized protein-bound state and a mobile state in the phospholipid assembly was observed, a single conformation in the bound state was identified. In striking contrast, a bryostatin analogue (bryolog) was found to exist exclusively in a protein-bound state, but adopts a distribution of conformations as defined by three independent distance measurements. The detection of multiple PKCδ-C1b-bound bryolog conformers in a functionally relevant phospholipid complex reveals the inherent dynamic nature of cellular systems that is not captured with single-conformation static structures. These results indicate that binding, selectivity, and function of PKC modulators, as well as the design of new modulators, are best addressed using a dynamic multistate model, an analysis potentially applicable to other membrane-associated proteins.