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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Nov 15;102(46):16632-7. Epub 2005 Nov 2.

Computational docking and solution x-ray scattering predict a membrane-interacting role for the histone domain of the Ras activator son of sevenless.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


The Ras-specific nucleotide exchange factor son of sevenless (SOS) is a large, multidomain protein with complex regulation, including a Ras-dependent allosteric mechanism. The N-terminal segment of SOS, the histone domain, contains two histone folds, which is highly unusual for a cytoplasmic protein. Using a combination of computational docking, small-angle x-ray scattering, mutagenesis, and calorimetry, we show that the histone domain folds into the rest of SOS and docks onto a helical linker that connects the pleckstrin-homology (PH) and Dbl-homology (DH) domains of SOS to the catalytic domain. In this model, a positively charged surface region on the histone domain is positioned so as to provide a fourth potential anchorage site on the membrane for SOS in addition to the PH domain, the allosteric Ras molecule, and the C-terminal adapter-binding site. The histone domain in SOS interacts with the helical linker, using a region of the surface that in nucleosomes is involved in histone tetramerization. Adjacent surface elements on the histone domain that correspond to the DNA-binding surface of nucleosomes form the predicted interaction site with the membrane. The orientation and position of the histone domain in the SOS model implicates it as a potential mediator of membrane-dependent activation signals.

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