Asparagine of z8 insert is critical for the affinity, conformation, and acetylcholine receptor-clustering activity of neural agrin

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Same-day discharge after minimal invasive hysterectomy: Applications for improved value of care



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Journal Article

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Journal of Biological Chemistry


Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences


Agrin isoforms with different bioactivities are synthesized by the nerve and the muscle. Neural agrin containing an 8-amino acid insert (z8) introduced by alternative splicing is the active form that induces synaptic differentiation at the neuromuscular junction. In addition to alternative splicing, extracellular calcium is also required for the activity of neural agrin. To understand better how the activity of agrin is regulated by alternative splicing, we have applied alanine substitution mutagenesis to the z8 insert and the calcium binding site in the minimally functional AgG3z8 fragment. Single alanine substitutions in the 4th through the 7th amino acid of the z8 splice insert significantly reduced the function of agrin, in terms of acetylcholine receptor clustering activity and the affinity for binding to the muscle surface. Mutation of the asparagine at the 4th position drastically reduces bioactivity such that it is equivalent to that of muscle form AgG3z0. These reduced activity mutants also show reduced magnitudes of the calcium-induced CD spectrum change from that observed in AgG3z8 fragments, indicating that cross-talk between calcium and the z8 insert is critical for the normal activity of agrin. However, removal of Ca2+ binding via mutation of both aspartic acids in the calcium binding site did not totally eliminate the activity of AgG3z8. These results suggest a model wherein the z8 insert is a Ca2+-responsive allosteric element that is essential in forming an active conformation in neuronal agrin. © 2010 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.