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Biophys J. 2013 Jul 16;105(2):481-93. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.05.046.

NMR determines transient structure and dynamics in the disordered C-terminal domain of WASp interacting protein.

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Department of Chemistry, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.


WASp-interacting protein (WIP) is a 503-residue proline-rich polypeptide expressed in human T cells. The WIP C-terminal domain binds to Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASp) and regulates its activation and degradation, and the WIP-WASp interaction has been shown to be critical for actin polymerization and implicated in the onset of WAS and X-linked thrombocytopenia. WIP is predicted to be an intrinsically disordered protein, a class of polypeptides that are of great interest because they violate the traditional structure-function paradigm. In this first (to our knowledge) study of WIP in its unbound state, we used NMR to investigate the biophysical behavior of WIP(C), a C-terminal domain fragment of WIP that includes residues 407-503 and contains the WASp-binding site. In light of the poor spectral dispersion exhibited by WIP(C) and the high occurrence (25%) of proline residues, we employed 5D-NMR(13)C-detected NMR experiments with nonuniform sampling to accomplish full resonance assignment. Secondary chemical-shift analysis, (15)N relaxation rates, and protection from solvent exchange all concurred in detecting transient structure located in motifs that span the WASp-binding site. Residues 446-456 exhibited a propensity for helical conformation, and an extended conformation followed by a short, capped helix was observed for residues 468-478. The (13)C-detected approach allows chemical-shift assignment in the WIP(C) polyproline stretches and thus sheds light on their conformation and dynamics. The effects of temperature on chemical shifts referenced to a denatured sample of the polypeptide demonstrate that heating reduces the structural character of WIP(C). Thus, we conclude that the disordered WIP(C) fragment is comprised of regions with latent structure connected by flexible loops, an architecture with implications for binding affinity and function.

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