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J Biol Chem. 2002 Dec 13;277(50):48248-60. Epub 2002 Oct 10.

Carboxyl-terminal sequences critical for inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor subunit assembly.

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Department of Physiology, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, Illinois 60153, USA.


The inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (InsP(3)R) is a tetrameric assembly of conserved subunits that each contains six transmembrane regions (TMRs) localized near the carboxyl terminus. Receptor subunit assembly into a tetramer appears to be a multideterminant process involving an additive contribution of membrane spanning helices and the short cytosolic carboxyl terminus (residues 2590-2749). Previous studies have shown that of the six membrane-spanning regions in each subunit, the 5th and 6th transmembrane regions, and the carboxyl terminus are strong determinants for assembly. The fifth and sixth TMRs contain numerous beta-branched amino acids that may participate in coiled/coil formation via putative leucine zipper motifs. InsP(3)R truncation mutants were expressed in COS-1 cells and analyzed by sucrose density gradient sedimentation and gel filtration for their ability to assemble. Chemical cross-linking with the homobifunctional reagents sDST or DMS of mammalian and bacterially expressed carboxyl-terminal containing receptor fragments reveals that sequences within the carboxyl terminus confer the formation of subunit dimers. A series of InsP(3) receptor carboxyl-terminal fragments and glutathione S-transferase (GST)/InsP(3)R chimeras were expressed in Escherichia coli and used in an in vitro assay to elucidate the minimal sequence responsible for association of the carboxyl termini into dimers. The results presented here indicate that this minimal sequence is approximately 30 residues in length and is localized between residues 2629 and 2654. These residues are highly conserved between the three InsP(3)R isoforms ( approximately 80% identity) as well as the ryanodine receptor ( approximately 40% identity) and suggest that a conserved assembly motif may exist between the two intracellular receptor families. We propose that assembly of the InsP(3) receptor to a tetramer involves intersubunit interactions mediated through both the membrane-spanning regions and residues 2629-2654 of the carboxyl terminus possibly through the formation of a dimer of dimers.

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