Differential effects of zinc binding on structured and disordered regions in the multidomain STIL protein

Research paper by Hadar Amartely, Ahuvit David, Mai Shamir, Mario Lebendiker, Shai Izraeli, Assaf Friedler

Indexed on: 18 Mar '16Published on: 04 Mar '16Published in: Chemical Science


Binding of metal ions is an important regulatory mechanism in proteins. Specifically, Zn2+ binding to disordered regions commonly induces a disorder to order transition and gain of structure or oligomerization. Here we show that simultaneous binding of Zn2+ ions has different effects on structured and disordered domains in the same multidomain protein. The centrosomal STIL protein bound Zn2+ ions via both its structured N-terminal domain (NTD) and disordered central region (IDR). Zn2+ binding induced structural rearrangement of the structured NTD but promoted oligomerization of the IDR. We suggest that by binding Zn2+ STIL acquires a different conformation, which allows its oligomerization and induces its activity. Sequence alignment of the oligomerization region revealed a new suggested motif, SxKxS/SxHxS/SxLxS, which may participate in STIL oligomerization. Binding of the same metal ion through a disordered and a structured domain in the same protein is a property that may have implications in regulating the protein activity. By doing so, the protein achieves two parallel outcomes: structural changes and oligomerization that can take place together. Our results describe a new important role of the delicate interplay between structure and intrinsic disorder in proteins.

Graphical abstract 10.1039/C6SC00115G.gif