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Tandem calponin homology (CH1-CH2) domains are common actin-binding domains in proteins that interact with and organize the actin cytoskeleton. Despite regions of high sequence similarity, CH1-CH2 domains can have remarkably different actin-binding properties, with disease-associated point mutants known to increase as well as decrease affinity for F-actin. To investigate features that affect CH1-CH2 affinity for F-actin in cells and in vitro, we perturbed the utrophin actin-binding domain by making point mutations at the CH1-CH2 interface, replacing the linker domain, and adding a polyethylene glycol (PEG) polymer to CH2. Consistent with a previous model describing CH2 as a steric negative regulator of actin binding, we find that utrophin CH1-CH2 affinity is both increased and decreased by modifications that change the effective "openness" of CH1 and CH2 in solution. We also identified interface mutations that caused a large increase in affinity without changing solution "openness," suggesting additional influences on affinity. Interestingly, we also observe nonuniform subcellular localization of utrophin CH1-CH2 that depends on the N-terminal flanking region but not on bulk affinity. These observations provide new insights into how small sequence changes, such as those found in diseases, can affect CH1-CH2 binding properties.


Andrew R Harris, Brian Belardi, Pamela Jreij, Kathy Wei, Hengameh Shams, Andreas Bausch, Daniel A Fletcher. Steric regulation of tandem calponin homology domain actin-binding affinity. Molecular biology of the cell. 2019 Dec 15;30(26):3112-3122

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PMID: 31693446

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