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J Biol Chem. 2000 Dec 1;275(48):37742-51.

The BNIP-2 and Cdc42GAP homology domain of BNIP-2 mediates its homophilic association and heterophilic interaction with Cdc42GAP.

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  • 1Signal Transduction Laboratory, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, 30 Medical Drive, Singapore 117609, Republic of Singapore.


We recently showed that BNIP-2 is a putative substrate of the fibroblast growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase and it possesses GTPase-activating activity toward the small GTPase, Cdc42. The carboxyl terminus of BNIP-2 shares high homology to the non-catalytic domain of Cdc42GAP, termed BCH (for BNIP-2 and Cdc42GAP homology) domain. Despite the lack of obvious homology to any known catalytic domains of GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs), the BCH domain of BNIP-2 bound Cdc42 and stimulated the GTPase activity via a novel arginine-patch motif similar to that employed by one contributing partner in a Cdc42 homodimer. In contrast, the BCH domain of Cdc42GAP, although it can bind Cdc42, is catalytically inactive. This raises the possibility that these domains might have other roles in the cell. Using glutathione S-transferase recombinant proteins, immunoprecipitation studies, and yeast two-hybrid assays, it was found that BNIP-2 and Cdc42GAP could form homo and hetero complexes via their conserved BCH domains. Molecular modeling of the BNIP-2 BCH homodimer complex and subsequent deletion mutagenesis helped to identify the region (217)RRKMP(221) as the major BCH interaction site within BNIP-2. In comparison, deletion of either the arginine-patch (235)RRLRK(239) (necessary for GAP activity) or region (288)EYV(290) (a Cdc42 binding sequence) had no effect on BCH-BCH interaction. Extensive data base searches showed that the BCH domain is highly conserved across species. The results suggest that BCH domains of BNIP-2 and Cdc42GAP represent a novel protein-protein interaction domain that could potentially determine and/or modify the physiological roles of these molecules.

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