National Center for
3MDL: X-ray crystal structure of 1-arachidonoyl glycerol bound to the cyclooxygenase channel of cyclooxygenase-2
J. Biol. Chem. (2011) 286 p.20736-20745
The cyclooxygenases (COX-1 and COX-2) oxygenate arachidonic acid (AA) in the committed step of prostaglandin biogenesis. Substitutions of I434V, H513R, and I523V constitute the only differences in residues lining the cyclooxygenase channel between COX-1 and COX-2. These changes create a hydrophobic pocket in COX-2, with Arg-513 located at the base of the pocket, which has been exploited in the design of COX-2-selective inhibitors. Previous studies have shown that COX-2, but not COX-1, can oxygenate endocannabinoid substrates, including 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG). To investigate the isoform-specific structural basis of endocannabinoid binding to COX-2, we determined the crystal structure of the 2-AG isomer 1-arachidonoyl glycerol (1-AG) in complex with wild type and R513H murine (mu) COX-2 to 2.2 and 2.35 A, respectively, and R513H muCOX-2 in complex with AA to 2.45 A resolution. The 2,3-dihydroxypropyl moiety of 1-AG binds near the opening of the cyclooxygenase channel in the space vacated by the movement of the Leu-531 side chain, validating our previous hypothesis implicating the flexibility of the Leu-531 side chain as a determinant for the ability of COX-2 to oxygenate endocannabinoid substrates. Functional analyses carried out to compliment our structural findings indicated that Y355F and R513H muCOX-2 constructs had no effect on the oxygenation of 1-AG and 2-AG, whereas substitutions that resulted in a shortened side chain for Leu-531 had only modest effects. Both AA and 1-AG bind to R513H muCOX-2 in conformations similar to those observed in the co-crystal structures of these substrates with wild type enzyme.