Dr. Hwang, Dennis W.’s Lab黃聖言 博士 實驗室


Anti-apoptotic BCL-2 regulation by changes in dynamics of its long unstructured loop

Communications Biology, Nov 12, 2020

BCL-2, a key protein in inhibiting apoptosis, has a 65-residue-long highly flexible loop domain (FLD) located on the opposite side of its ligand-binding groove. In vivo phosphorylation of the FLD enhances the affinity of BCL-2 for pro-apoptotic ligands, and consequently anti-apoptotic activity. However, it remains unknown as to how the faraway, unstructured FLD modulates the affinity. Here we investigate the protein-ligand interactions by fluorescence techniques and monitor protein dynamics by DEER and NMR spectroscopy tools. We show that phosphomimetic mutations on the FLD lead to a reduction in structural flexibility, hence promoting ligand access to the groove. The bound pro-apoptotic ligands can be displaced by the BCL-2-selective inhibitor ABT-199 efficiently, and thus released to trigger apoptosis. We show that changes in structural flexibility on an unstructured loop can activate an allosteric protein that is otherwise structurally inactive.