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Biophys J. 2000 Jun;78(6):3240-51.

Ligand-induced conformational changes in tissue transglutaminase: Monte Carlo analysis of small-angle scattering data.

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Istituto di Scienze Fisiche and Istituto Nazionale per la Fisica della Materia, Università, I-60131 Ancona, Italy.


Small-angle neutron and x-ray scattering experiments have been performed on type 2 tissular transglutaminase to characterize the conformational changes that bring about Ca(2+) activation and guanosine triphosphate (GTP) inhibition. The native and a proteolyzed form of the enzyme, in the presence and in the absence of the two effectors, were considered. To describe the shape of transglutaminase in the different conformations, a Monte Carlo method for calculating small-angle neutron scattering profiles was developed by taking into account the computer-designed structure of the native transglutaminase, the results of the Guinier analysis, and the essential role played by the solvent-exposed peptide loop for the conformational changes of the protein after activation. Although the range of the neutron scattering data is rather limited, by using the Monte Carlo analysis, and because the structure of the native protein is available, the distribution of the protein conformations after ligand interaction was obtained. Calcium activation promotes a rotation of the C-terminal with respect to the N-terminal domain around the solvent-exposed peptide loop that connects the two regions. The psi angle between the longest axes of the two pairs of domains is found to be above 50 degrees, larger than the psi value of 35 degrees calculated for the native transglutaminase. On the other hand, the addition of GTP makes possible conformations characterized by psi angles lower than 34 degrees. These results are in good agreement with the proposed enzyme activity regulation: in the presence of GTP, the catalytic site is shielded by the more compact protein structure, while the conformational changes induced by Ca(2+) make the active site accessible to the substrate.

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