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J Biol Chem. 2000 Aug 11;275(32):24595-600.

Interaction of the EEA1 FYVE finger with phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate and early endosomes. Role of conserved residues.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Montebello, N-0310 Oslo, Norway.


FYVE zinc finger domains, which are conserved in multiple proteins from yeast to man, interact specifically with the membrane lipid phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PtdIns(3)P). Here we have investigated the structural requirements for the interaction of the FYVE finger of the early endosome antigen EEA1 with PtdIns(3)P and early endosomes. The binding of the FYVE finger to PtdIns(3)P is Zn(2+)-dependent, and Zn(2+) could not be replaced by any other bivalent cations tested. By surface plasmon resonance, the wild-type FYVE finger was found to bind to PtdIns(3)P with an apparent K(D) of about 50 nm and a 1:1 stoichiometry. Mutagenesis of cysteines involved in Zn(2+) coordination, basic residues thought to be directly involved in ligand binding and other conserved residues, resulted in a 6- to >100-fold decreased affinity for PtdIns(3)P. A mutation in the putative PtdIns(3)P-binding pocket, R1375A, may prove particularly informative, because it led to a strongly decreased affinity for PtdIns(3)P without affecting the FYVE three-dimensional structure, as measured by fluorescence spectroscopy. Whereas the C terminus of EEA1 localizes to early endosomes when expressed in mammalian cells, all the FYVE mutants with reduced affinity for PtdIns(3)P were found to be largely cytosolic. Furthermore, whereas expression of the wild-type EEA1 C terminus interferes with early endosome morphology, the point mutants were without detectable effect. These results support recently proposed models for the ligand binding of the FYVE domain and indicate that PtdIns(3)P binding is crucial for the localization and function of EEA1.

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