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Nat Struct Biol. 2003 Aug;10(8):599-606.

Recognition of accessory protein motifs by the gamma-adaptin ear domain of GGA3.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Adaptor proteins load transmembrane protein cargo into transport vesicles and serve as nexuses for the formation of large multiprotein complexes on the nascent vesicles. The gamma-adaptin ear (GAE) domains of the AP-1 adaptor protein complex and the GGA adaptor proteins recruit accessory proteins to these multiprotein complexes by binding to a hydrophobic motif. We determined the structure of the GAE domain of human GGA3 in complex with a peptide based on the DFGPLV sequence of the accessory protein Rabaptin-5 and refined it at a resolution of 2.2 A. The leucine and valine residues of the peptide are partly buried in two contiguous shallow, hydrophobic depressions. The anchoring phenylalanine is buried in a deep pocket formed by the aliphatic portions of two conserved arginine residues, along with an alanine and a proline, illustrating the unusual function of a cluster of basic residues in binding a hydrophobic motif.

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