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Title: Structural and functional differences between Krit1A and Krit1B isoforms: a framework for understanding CCM pathogenesis.
Authors: Francalanci, F.
Avolio, M.
Menchise, D.
Longo, D.
Guazzi, P.
Sgrò, F.
Marino, M.
Goitre, L.
Balzac, F.
Trabalzini, Lorenza 
Retta, S. F.
Issue Date: 2009
Project: None 
KRIT1 is a disease gene responsible for Cerebral Cavernous Malformations (CCM). It encodes for a protein containing distinct protein–protein interaction domains, including three NPXY/F motifs and a FERM domain. Previously, we isolated KRIT1B, an isoform characterized by the alternative splicing of the 15th coding exon and suspected to cause CCM when abnormally expressed. Combining homology modeling and docking methods of protein-structure and ligand binding prediction with the yeast two-hybrid assay of in vivo protein–protein interaction and cellular biology analyses we identified both structural and functional differences between KRIT1A and KRIT1B isoforms. We found that the 15th exon encodes for the distal β-sheet of the F3/PTB-like subdomain of KRIT1A FERM domain, demonstrating that KRIT1B is devoid of a functional PTB binding pocket. As major functional consequence, KRIT1B is unable to bind Rap1A, while the FERM domain of KRIT1A is even sufficient for this function. Furthermore, we found that a functional PTB subdomain enables the nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of KRIT1A, while its alteration confers a restricted cytoplasmic localization and a dominant negative role to KRIT1B. Importantly, we also demonstrated that KRIT1A, but not KRIT1B, may adopt a closed conformation through an intramolecular interaction involving the third NPXY/F motif at the N-terminus and the PTB subdomain of the FERM domain, and proposed a mechanism whereby an open/closed conformation switch regulates KRIT1A nuclear translocation and interaction with Rap1A in a mutually exclusive manner. As most mutations found in CCM patients affect the KRIT1 FERM domain, the new insights into the structure–function relationship of this domain may constitute a useful framework for understanding molecular mechanisms underlying CCM pathogenesis.
ISSN: 0014-4827
DOI: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2008.10.006
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