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Proteins. 2008 Feb 15;70(3):695-706.

Mutagenesis study of rice nonspecific lipid transfer protein 2 reveals residues that contribute to structure and ligand binding.

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Department of Life Sciences, National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu 30043, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Plant nonspecific lipid transfer protein 2 (nsLTP2) is a small (7 kDa) protein that binds lipid-like ligands. An inner hydrophobic cavity surrounded by alpha-helices is the defining structural feature of nsLTP2. Although nsLTP2 structures have been reported earlier, the detailed mechanisms of ligand binding and lipid transfer remain unclear. In this study, we used site-directed mutagenesis to determine the role of various hydrophobic residues (L8, I15, F36, F39, Y45, Y48, and V49) in the structure, stability, ligand binding, and lipid transfer activity of rice nsLTP2. Three single mutations (L8A, F36A, and V49A) drastically alter the native tertiary structure and perturb ligand binding and lipid transfer activity. Therefore, these three residues are structurally important. The Y45A mutant, however, retains a native-like structure but has decreased lipid binding affinity and lipid transfer activity, implying that this aromatic residue is critical for these biological functions. The mutants, I15A and Y48A, exhibit quite different ligand binding affinities. Y48 is involved in planar sterol binding but not linear lysophospholipid association. As for I15A, it had the highest dehydroergosterol binding affinity in spite of the lower lipid binding and transfer abilities. Our results suggest that the long alkyl side chain of I15 would restrict the flexibility of loop I (G13-A19) for sterol entry. Finally, F39A can markedly increase the exposed hydrophobic surface to maintain its transfer efficiency despite reduced ligand binding affinity. These findings suggest that the residues forming the hydrophobic cavity play various important roles in the structure and function of rice nsLTP2.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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