The Src homology 2 (SH2) domain has a highly conserved architecture that recognizes linear phosphotyrosine motifs and is present in a wide range of signaling pathways across different evolutionary taxa. A hallmark of SH2 domains is the arginine residue in the conserved FLVR motif that forms a direct salt bridge with bound phosphotyrosine. Here, we solve the X-ray crystal structures of the C-terminal SH2 domain of p120RasGAP (RASA1) in its apo and peptide-bound form. We find that the arginine residue in the FLVR motif does not directly contact pTyr1087 of a bound phosphopeptide derived from p190RhoGAP; rather, it makes an intramolecular salt bridge to an aspartic acid. Unexpectedly, coordination of phosphotyrosine is achieved by a modified binding pocket that appears early in evolution. Using isothermal titration calorimetry, we find that substitution of the FLVR arginine R377A does not cause a significant loss of phosphopeptide binding, but rather a tandem substitution of R398A (SH2 position βD4) and K400A (SH2 position βD6) is required to disrupt the binding. These results indicate a hitherto unrecognized diversity in SH2 domain interactions with phosphotyrosine and classify the C-terminal SH2 domain of p120RasGAP as "FLVR-unique."
Keywords: FLVR motif; GTPase-activating protein (GAP); RASA1; RasGAP; Src homology 2 domain (SH2 domain); X-ray crystallography; p120RasGAP; phosphotyrosine; protein structure; protein–protein interaction.
© 2020 Jaber Chehayeb et al.