AIM: To understand the interaction of human IQGAP1 and CDC42, especially the effects of phosphorylation and a cancer-associated mutation.
METHODS: Recombinant CDC42 and a novel C-terminal fragment of IQGAP1 were expressed in, and purified from, Escherichia coli. Site directed mutagenesis was used to create coding sequences for three phosphomimicking variants (S1441E, S1443D and S1441E/S1443D) and to recapitulate a cancer-associated mutation (M1231I). These variant proteins were also expressed and purified. Protein-protein crosslinking using 1-Ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)carbodiimide was used to investigate interactions between the C-terminal fragment and CDC42. These interactions were quantified using surface plasmon resonance measurements. Molecular modelling was employed to make predictions about changes to the structure and flexibility of the protein which occur in the cancer-associated variant.
RESULTS: The novel, C-terminal region of human IQGAP1 (residues 877-1558) is soluble following expression and purification. It is also capable of binding to CDC42, as judged by crosslinking experiments. Interaction appears to be strongest in the presence of added GTP. The three phosphomimicking mutants had different affinities for CDC42. S1441E had an approximately 200-fold reduction in affinity compared to wild type. This was caused largely by a dramatic reduction in the association rate constant. In contrast, both S1443D and the double variant S1441E/S1443D had similar affinities to the wild type. The cancer-associated variant, M1231I, also had a similar affinity to wild type. However, in the case of this variant, both the association and dissociation rate constants were reduced approximately 10-fold. Molecular modelling of the M1231I variant, based on the published crystal structure of part of the C-terminal region, revealed no gross structural changes compared to wild type (root mean square deviation of 0.564 Å over 5556 equivalent atoms). However, predictions of the flexibility of the polypeptide backbone suggested that some regions of the variant protein had greatly increased rigidity compared to wild type. One such region is a loop linking the proposed CDC42 binding site with the helix containing the altered residue. It is suggested that this increase in rigidity is responsible for the observed changes in association and dissociation rate constants.
CONCLUSION: The consequences of introducing negative charge at Ser-1441 or Ser-1443 in IQGAP1 are different. The cancer-associated variant M1231I exerts its effects partly by rigidifying the protein.
Keywords: CDC42, Cytoskeleton, Protein phosphorylation, Cancer-associated mutation, Protein-protein interaction