Probing backbone hydrogen bonding in PDZ/ligand interactions by protein amide-to-ester mutations

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PDZ domains are scaffolding modules in protein-protein interactions that mediate numerous physiological functions by interacting canonically with the C-terminus or non-canonically with an internal motif of protein ligands. A conserved carboxylate-binding site in the PDZ domain facilitates binding via backbone hydrogen bonds; however, little is known about the role of these hydrogen bonds due to experimental challenges with backbone mutations. Here we address this interaction by generating semisynthetic PDZ domains containing backbone amide-to-ester mutations and evaluating the importance of individual hydrogen bonds for ligand binding. We observe substantial and differential effects upon amide-to-ester mutation in PDZ2 of postsynaptic density protein 95 and other PDZ domains, suggesting that hydrogen bonding at the carboxylate-binding site contributes to both affinity and selectivity. In particular, the hydrogen-bonding pattern is surprisingly different between the non-canonical and canonical interaction. Our data provide a detailed understanding of the role of hydrogen bonds in protein-protein interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3215
JournalNature Communications
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2014

ID: 108650774