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J Biol Chem. 2001 Apr 20;276(16):13145-52. Epub 2001 Jan 3.

Signal-binding specificity of the mu4 subunit of the adaptor protein complex AP-4.

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Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch and the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, NICHD, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The medium (mu) chains of the adaptor protein (AP) complexes AP-1, AP-2, and AP-3 recognize distinct subsets of tyrosine-based (YXXphi) sorting signals found within the cytoplasmic domains of integral membrane proteins. Here, we describe the signal-binding specificity and affinity of the medium subunit mu4 of the recently described adaptor protein complex AP-4. To elucidate the determinants of specificity, we screened a two-hybrid combinatorial peptide library using mu4 as a selector protein. Statistical analyses of the results revealed that mu4 prefers aspartic acid at position Y+1, proline or arginine at Y+2, and phenylalanine at Y-1 and Y+3 (phi). In addition, we examined the interaction of mu4 with naturally occurring YXXphi signals by both two-hybrid and in vitro binding analyses. These experiments showed that mu4 recognized the tyrosine signal from the human lysosomal protein LAMP-2, HTGYEQF. Using surface plasmon resonance measurements, we determined the apparent dissociation constant for the mu4-YXXphi interaction to be in the micromolar range. To gain insight into a possible role of AP-4 in intracellular trafficking, we constructed a Tac chimera bearing a mu4-specific YXXphi signal. This chimera was targeted to the endosomal-lysosomal system without being internalized from the plasma membrane.

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