The primary hormone-binding surface of the insulin receptor spans one face of the N-terminal β-helix of the α-subunit (the L1 domain) and an α-helix in its C-terminal segment (αCT). Crystallographic analysis of the free ectodomain has defined a contiguous dimerrelated motif in which the αCT α-helix packs against L1 β-strands 2 and 3. To relate structure to function, we exploited expanded genetic-code technology to insert photo-activatable probes at key sites in L1 and αCT. The pattern of αCT-mediated photo-cross-linking within the free and bound receptor is in accord with the crystal structure and prior mutagenesis. Surprisingly, L1 photoprobes in β-strands 2 and 3, predicted to be shielded by αCT, efficiently cross-link to insulin. Furthermore, anomalous mutations were identified on neighboring surfaces of αCT and insulin that impair hormone-dependent activation of the intracellular receptor tyrosine kinase (contained within the transmembrane β-subunit) disproportionately to their effects on insulin binding. Taken together, these results suggest that αCT, in addition to its hormone-recognition role, provides a signaling element in the mechanism of receptor activation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jul 10 2012|
- Alanine scanning
- Nonstandard mutagenesis
ASJC Scopus subject areas