Specificity determinants for lipids bound to β-barrel proteins

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Journal of Lipid Research


The family of proteins accountable for the intracellular movement of lipids is characterized by a 10-stranded β-barrel that forms an internalized cavity varying in size and binding preferences. The loop connecting β-strands E and F (the fifth and sixth strands) is the most striking conformational difference between adipocyte lipid binding protein (ALBP; fatty acids) and cellular retinoic acid binding protein type I (CRABP I). A three-residue mutation was made in wild-type (WT)-ALBP [ALBP with a three-residue mutation (EF-ALBP)] to mimic CRABP I. Crystal structures of ligand-free and EF-ALBP with bound oleic acid were solved to resolutions of 1.5 Å and 1.7 Å, respectively, and compared with previous studies of WT-ALBP. The changes in three residues of one loop of the protein appear to have altered the positioning of the C18 fatty acid, as observed in the electron density of EF-ALBP. The crystallographic studies made it possible to compare the protein conformation and ligand positioning with those found in the WT protein. Although the cavity binding sites in both the retinoid and fatty acid binding proteins are irregular, the ligand atoms appear to favor a relatively planar region of the cavities. Preliminary chemical characterization of the mutant protein indicated changes in some binding properties and overall protein stability.

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