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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Formation of nNOS/PSD-95 PDZ dimer requires a preformed beta-finger structure from the nNOS PDZ domain.

PDZ domains are modular protein units that play important roles in organizing signal transduction complexes. PDZ domains mediate interactions with both C-terminal peptide ligands and other PDZ domains. Here, we used PDZ domains from neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and postsynaptic density protein-95 (PSD-95) to explore the mechanism for PDZ-dimer formation. The nNOS PDZ domain terminates with a approximately 30 residue amino acid beta-finger peptide that is shown to be required for nNOS/PSD-95 PDZ dimer formation. In addition, formation of the PDZ dimer requires this beta-finger peptide to be physically anchored to the main body of the canonical nNOS PDZ domain. A buried salt bridge between the beta-finger and the PDZ domain induces and stabilizes the beta-hairpin structure of the nNOS PDZ domain. In apo-nNOS, the beta-finger peptide is partially flexible and adopts a transient beta-strand like structure that is stabilized upon PDZ dimer formation. The flexibility of the NOS PDZ beta-finger is likely to play a critical role in supporting the formation of nNOS/PSD-95 complex. The experimental data also suggest that nNOS PDZ and the second PDZ domain of PSD-95 form a "head-to-tail" dimer similar to the nNOS/syntrophin complex characterized by X-ray crystallography.[1]


  1. Formation of nNOS/PSD-95 PDZ dimer requires a preformed beta-finger structure from the nNOS PDZ domain. Tochio, H., Mok, Y.K., Zhang, Q., Kan, H.M., Bredt, D.S., Zhang, M. J. Mol. Biol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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