Journal of Bioengineering and Medical Technology

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Mechanism of phosphatidylinositol-dependent membrane localization of Toll/interleukin 1 receptor domaincontaining adaptor protei

The Toll/interleukin 1 receptor (TIR) domain-containing adaptor protein (TIRAP) regulates Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2, TLR4, TLR7, and TLR9 signaling pathways. TIRAP anchors to phosphatidylinositol (PI) 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) on the plasma membrane and PI (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3) on the endosomal membrane and assists in recruitment of the myeloid differentiation primary response 88 protein to activated TLRs. To date, the structure and mechanism of TIRAP’s membrane association are only partially understood. Here, we modeled an all-residue TIRAP dimer using homology modeling, threading, and protein-protein docking strategies. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed that PIP2 creates a stable microdomain in a dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine bilayer, providing TIRAP with its physiologically relevant orientation. Computed binding free energy values suggest that the affinity of PI-binding domain (PBD) for PIP2 is stronger than that of TIRAP as a whole for PIP2 and that the short PI-binding motif (PBM) contributes to the affinity between PBD and PIP2. Four PIP2 molecules can be accommodated by distinct lysinerich surfaces on the dimeric PBM. Along with the known PI-binding residues (K15, K16, K31, and K32), additional positively charged residues (K34, K35, and R36) showed strong affinity toward PIP2. Lysine-to-alanine mutations at the PI-binding residues abolished TIRAP’s affinity for PIP2; however, K34, K35, and R36 consistently interacted with PIP2 headgroups through hydrogen bond (H-bond) and electrostatic interactions. TIRAP exhibited a similar interaction pattern and binding affinity with PIP3 as it did with PIP2 through an H-bond network involving K34, K35, and R36. The present study enabled us to understand the mechanism of TIRAP’s membrane association that can be useful for designing peptide-based drugs targeting TLR2-, TLR4-, TLR7-, and TLR9-mediated autoimmune diseases.

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