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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Sep 3;399(4):555-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.07.109. Epub 2010 Aug 1.

Crystal structure of the ligand-binding domain of the promiscuous EphA4 receptor reveals two distinct conformations.

Author information

1
Structural Biology Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.

Abstract

Eph receptors and their ephrin ligands are important mediators of cell-cell communication. They are divided in two subclasses based on their affinities for each other and on sequence conservation. Receptor-ligand binding within each subclass is fairly promiscuous, while binding cross the subclasses happens rarely. EphA4 is an exception to this general rule, since it has long been known to bind both A- and B-class ephrin ligands but the reason for this exceptional behavior has not been worked out at molecular level. Recent structural and biochemical studies on EphA4 ligand-binding domain alone and in complex with its ligands have addressed this question. However, the published structures of EphA4/ephrin complexes differ considerably from each other and strikingly different explanations for the exceptional promiscuity of EphA4 were proposed. To address these contradictory findings, we have determined a crystal structure of the EphA4 ligand-binding domain at 2.3A resolution and show that the receptor has an unprecedented ability to exist in two very different, well-ordered conformations even in the unbound state. Our results suggest that the ligand promiscuity of the Ephs is directly correlated with the structural flexibility of the ligand-binding surface of the receptor.

PMID:
20678482
PMCID:
PMC2949057
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.07.109
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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