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Biochemistry. 2005 Mar 8;44(9):3524-34.

Effect of arginine loss in myelin basic protein, as occurs in its deiminated charge isoform, on mediation of actin polymerization and actin binding to a lipid membrane in vitro.

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Division of Structural Biology and Biochemistry, Research Institute, Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M5G 1X8.


Myelin basic protein (MBP) binds to negatively charged lipids on the cytosolic surface of oligodendrocyte membranes and is most likely responsible for adhesion of these surfaces in the multilayered myelin sheath. It can also polymerize actin, bundle F-actin filaments, and bind actin filaments to lipid bilayers through electrostatic interactions. MBP consists of a number of posttranslationally modified isoforms of varying charge, including C8, in which six arginines are deiminated to the uncharged residue citrulline. The deiminated form decreases with development, but is increased in patients with the demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis. Here we investigate the effect of decreased net positive charge of MBP on its interaction with actin in vitro by comparing a recombinant murine form, rmC1, of the most highly charged unmodified isoform, C1, and a recombinant analogue of C8 in which six basic residues are converted to glutamine, rmC8. The dissociation constant of the less charged isoform rmC8 for actin was a little greater than that of rmC1, and rmC8 had somewhat reduced ability to polymerize actin and bundle F-actin filaments than rmC1. Moreover, rmC8 was more readily dissociated from actin by Ca(2+)-calmodulin than rmC1, and the ability of the deiminated isoform to bind actin to lipid bilayers was reduced. These results indicate that electrostatic forces are the primary determinant of the interaction of MBP with actin. The spin labeled side chains of a series of rmC1 and rmC8 variants containing single Cys substitutions at seven sites throughout the sequence all became motionally restricted to a similar degree on binding F-actin, indicating that the entire sequence is involved in interacting with actin filaments or is otherwise structurally constrained in actin bundles. Thus, this posttranslational modification of MBP, which occurs early in life and is increased in multiple sclerosis, attenuates the ability of MBP to polymerize and bundle actin, and to bind it to a negatively charged membrane.

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