Macromolecular interaction studies on FF1-3 of human CA150 and STAT1-importin α5 using biophysical and biochemical methods

Ming Lu, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Macromolecular interactions, such as protein-protein interactions and protein-DNA interactions, play important roles in executing biological functions in cells. However the complexity of such interactions often makes it very challenging to elucidate the structural details of these subjects. In this thesis, two different research strategies were applied on two different two macromolecular systems: X-ray crystallography on three tandem FF domains of transcription regulator CA150 and electron microscopy on STAT1-importin α5 complex. The results from these studies provide novel insights into the function-structure relationships of transcription coupled RNA splicing mediated by CA150 and the nuclear import process of the JAK-STAT signaling pathway. The first project aimed at the protein-protein interaction module FF domain, which often occurs as tandem repeats. Crystallographic structure of the first three FF domains of human CA150 was determined to 2.7 Å resolution. This is the only crystal structure of an FF domain and the only structure on tandem FF domains to date. It revealed a striking connectivity between an FF domain and the next. Peptide binding assay with the potential binding ligand of FF domains was performed using fluorescence polarization. Furthermore, for the first time, FF domains were found to potentially interact with DNA. DNA binding assays were also performed and the results were supportive to this newly proposed functionality of an FF domain. The second project aimed at understanding the molecular mechanism of the nuclear import process of transcription factor STAT1. The first structural model of pSTAT1-importin α5 complex in solution was built from the images of negative staining electron microscopy. Two STAT1 molecules were observed to interact with one molecule of importin α5 in an asymmetric manner. This seems to imply that STAT1 interacts with importin α5 with a novel mechanism that is different from canonical importin α-cargo interactions. Further in vitro binding assays were performed to obtain more details on the pSTAT1-importin α5 interaction.

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Recommended Citation

Lu, Ming, "Macromolecular interaction studies on FF1-3 of human CA150 and STAT1-importin α5 using biophysical and biochemical methods" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3394527.