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Electrostatic Drivers of GPx4 Interactions with Membrane, Lipids, and DNA

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-09-07, 22:29 authored by Courtney L. Labrecque, Brian Fuglestad
Glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPx4) serves as the only enzyme that protects membranes through the reduction of lipid hydroperoxides, preventing membrane oxidative damage and cell death through ferroptosis. Recently, GPx4 has gained attention as a therapeutic target for cancer through inhibition and as a target for inflammatory diseases through activation. In addition, GPx4 isoforms perform several distinct moonlighting functions including cysteine cross-linking of protamines during sperm cell chromatin remodeling, a function for which molecular and structural details are undefined. Despite the importance in biology, disease, and potential for drug development, little is known about GPx4 functional interactions at high resolution. This study presents the first NMR assignments of GPx4, and the electrostatic interaction of GPx4 with the membrane is characterized. Mutagenesis reveals the cationic patch residues that are key to membrane binding and stabilization. The cationic patch is observed to be important in binding headgroups of highly anionic cardiolipin. A novel lipid binding site is observed adjacent to the catalytic site and may enable protection of lipid-headgroups from oxidative damage. Arachidonic acid is also found to engage with GPx4, while cholesterol did not display any interaction. The cationic patch residues were also found to enable DNA binding, the first observation of this interaction. Electrostatic DNA binding explains a mechanism for the nuclear isoform of GPx4 to target DNA-bound protamines and to potentially reduce oxidatively damaged DNA. Together, these results highlight the importance of electrostatics in the function of GPx4 and illuminate how the multifunctional enzyme is able to fill multiple biological roles.

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