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NMR Studies of the Phosphorylation Motif of the HIV-1 Protein Vpu Bound to the F-Box Protein β-TrCP

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journal contribution
posted on 23.12.2003, 00:00 by Gaël Coadou, Josyane Gharbi-Benarous, Simon Megy, Gildas Bertho, Nathalie Evrard-Todeschi, Emmanuel Segeral, Richard Benarous, Jean-Pierre Girault
A protein−protein association regulated by phosphorylation of serine is examined by NMR studies. Degradation of the HIV receptor CD4 by the proteasome, mediated by the HIV-1 protein Vpu, is crucial for the release of fully infectious virions. Phosphorylation of Vpu at two sites, Ser52 and Ser56, on the motif DSGXXS is required for the interaction of Vpu with the ubiquitin ligase SCF-βTrCP which triggers CD4 degradation by the proteasome. This motif is conserved in several signaling proteins known to be degraded by the proteasome. To elucidate the basis of β-TrCP recognition, the bound conformation of the P-Vpu41-62 peptide was determined by using NMR and MD. The TRNOE intensities provided distance constraints which were used in simulated annealing. The β-TrCP-bound structure of P-Vpu was found to be similar to the structure of the free peptide in solution and to the structure recognized by its antibody. Residues 50−57 formed a bend while the phosphate groups are pointing away. The binding fragment was studied by STD-NMR spectroscopy. The phosphorylated motif DpS52GNEpS56 was found to make intimate contact with β-TrCP, and pSer52 displays the strongest binding effect. It is suggested that Ser phosphorylation allows protein−protein association by electrostatic stabilization:  an obvious negative binding region of Vpu was recognizable by positive residues (Arg and Lys) of the WD domain of β-TrCP. The Ile46 residue was also found essential for interaction with the β-TrCP protein. Leu45 and Ile46 side chains lie in close proximity to a hydrophobic pocket of the WD domain.