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Nat Struct Biol. 1998 Dec;5(12):1098-107.

Structure and mutagenesis of the Dbl homology domain.

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Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10021, USA.


Guanine nucleotide exchange factors in the Dbl family activate Rho GTPases by accelerating dissociation of bound GDP, promoting acquisition of the GTP-bound state. Dbl proteins possess a approximately 200 residue catalytic Dbl-homology (DH) domain, that is arranged in tandem with a C-terminal pleckstrin homology (PH) domain in nearly all cases. Here we report the solution structure of the DH domain of human PAK-interacting exchange protein (betaPIX). The domain is composed of 11 alpha-helices that form a flattened, elongated bundle. The structure explains a large body of mutagenesis data, which, along with sequence comparisons, identify the GTPase interaction site as a surface formed by three conserved helices near the center of one face of the domain. Proximity of the site to the DH C-terminus suggests a means by which PH-ligand interactions may be coupled to DH-GTPase interactions to regulate signaling through the Dbl proteins in vivo.

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