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Nat Commun. 2012 Feb 7;3:662. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1648.

Imperfect interface of Beclin1 coiled-coil domain regulates homodimer and heterodimer formation with Atg14L and UVRAG.

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Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, State Key Laboratory of Chirosciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PR China.


Beclin 1 is a core component of the Class III Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase VPS34 complex. The coiled coil domain of Beclin 1 serves as an interaction platform for assembly of distinct Atg14L- and UVRAG-containing complexes to modulate VPS34 activity. Here we report the crystal structure of the coiled coil domain that forms an antiparallel dimer and is rendered metastable by a series of 'imperfect' a-d' pairings at its coiled coil interface. Atg14L and UVRAG promote the transition of metastable homodimeric Beclin 1 to heterodimeric Beclin1-Atg14L/UVRAG assembly. Beclin 1 mutants with their 'imperfect' a-d' pairings modified to enhance self-interaction, show distinctively altered interactions with Atg14L or UVRAG. These results suggest that specific utilization of the dimer interface and modulation of the homodimer-heterodimer transition by Beclin 1-interacting partners may underlie the molecular mechanism that controls the formation of various Beclin1-VPS34 subcomplexes to exert their effect on an array of VPS34-related activities, including autophagy.

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