Locking GTPases covalently in their functional states

Nature Communications, 2015, doi:10.1038/ncomms8773, 6, Article number: 7773 published on 16.07.2015
Nature Communications, online article
GTPases act as key regulators of many cellular processes by switching between active (GTP-bound) and inactive (GDP-bound) states. In many cases, understanding their mode of action has been aided by artificially stabilizing one of these states either by designing mutant proteins or by complexation with non-hydrolysable GTP analogues. Because of inherent disadvantages in these approaches, we have developed acryl-bearing GTP and GDP derivatives that can be covalently linked with strategically placed cysteines within the GTPase of interest. Binding studies with GTPase-interacting proteins and X-ray crystallography analysis demonstrate that the molecular properties of the covalent GTPase–acryl–nucleotide adducts are a faithful reflection of those of the corresponding native states and are advantageously permanently locked in a defined nucleotide (that is active or inactive) state. In a first application, in vivo experiments using covalently locked Rab5 variants provide new insights into the mechanism of correct intracellular localization of Rab proteins.  

TU München
Helmholtz München
MPI of Neurobiology
MPI of Biochemistry