Phosphorylation facilitates the integrin binding of filamin under force

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Filamins are actin binding proteins that contribute to cytoskeletal integrity and biochemical scaffolds during mechanochemical signal transductions. Structurally, human filamins are dimers composed of an actin-binding domain with 24 immunoglobulin (Ig)-like repeats. In this study, we focus on the recently solved high-resolution crystal structure of Ig-like repeats 19-21 of filamin-A (IgFLNa-R19-R21). IgFLNa-R19-21 is of marked importance because it contains the binding site for integrins and facilitates the dynamic ability of filamin-A to communicate with the extracellular environment. However, the structure of filamin-A shows an interesting domain arrangement where the integrin binding site on IgFLNa-R21 is hindered sterically by IgFLNa-R20. Thus, a number of hypotheses on the regulation of filamin-A exist. Using molecular dynamics simulations we evaluated the effects of two primary regulators of filamin-A, force and phosphorylation. We find that a tensile force of 40 pN is sufficient to initiate the partial removal of the autoinhibition on the integrin binding site of IgFLNa-R21. Force coupled to phosphorylation at Ser 2152, however, affords complete dissociation of autoinhibition with a decreased force requirement. Phosphorylation seems to decrease the threshold for removing the IgFLNa-R20 β-strand inhibitor within 300 ps with 40 pN tensile force. Furthermore, the molecular dynamic trajectories illustrate phosphorylation of Ser2152 without force is insufficient to remove autoinhibition. We believe the results of this study implicate filamin-A as a tunable mechanosensor, where its sensitivity can be modulated by the degree of phosphorylation. © 2009 by the Biophysical Society.




Chen, H. S., Kolahi, K. S., & Mofrad, M. R. K. (2009). Phosphorylation facilitates the integrin binding of filamin under force. Biophysical Journal, 97(12), 3095–3104.

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