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

P2X5 Subunit Assembly Requires Scaffolding by the Second Transmembrane Domain and a Conserved Aspartate.

Functional homomeric and heteromeric ATP-gated P2X receptor channels have been shown to display a characteristic trimeric architecture. Of the seven different isoforms (designated P2X(1)-P2X(7)), P2X(5) occurs in humans primarily as a non-functional variant lacking the C-terminal end of the ectodomain and the outer half of the second transmembrane domain. We show that this truncated variant, which results from the splice-skipping of exon 10, is prone to subunit aggregation because the residual transmembrane domain 2 is too short to insert into the membrane. Alleviation of the negative hydrophobic mismatch by the addition of a stretch of moderately hydrophobic residues enabled formation of a second membrane-spanning domain and strictly parallel homotrimerization. Systematic mutagenesis identified only one transmembrane domain 2 residue, Asp(355), which supported homotrimerization in a side chain-specific manner. Our results indicate that transmembrane domain 2 formation contributes 2-fold to hP2X(5) homotrimerization by tethering the end of the ectodomain to the membrane, thereby topologically restricting conformational mobility, and by intramembrane positioning of Asp(355). While transmembrane domain 2 appears to favor assembly by enabling productive subunit interactions in the ectodomain, Asp(355) seems to assist by simultaneously driving intramembrane helix interactions. Overall, these results indicate a complex interplay between topology, helix-helix interactions, and oligomerization to achieve a correctly folded structure.[1]


  1. P2X5 Subunit Assembly Requires Scaffolding by the Second Transmembrane Domain and a Conserved Aspartate. Duckwitz, W., Hausmann, R., Aschrafi, A., Schmalzing, G. J. Biol. Chem. (2006) [Pubmed]
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