Role of cysteines 640, 656, and 661 in steroid binding to rat glucocorticoid receptors

Chakraborti, P. K. ; Garabedian, M. J. ; Yamamoto, K. R. ; Simons, S. S. (1992) Role of cysteines 640, 656, and 661 in steroid binding to rat glucocorticoid receptors The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 267 (16). pp. 11366-11373. ISSN 0021-9258

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The involvement of a vicinally spaced dithiol group in steroid binding to the glucocorticoid receptor has been deduced from experiments with the thiol-specific reagent methyl methanethiolsulfonate and the vicinal dithiol-specific reagent sodium arsenite. The vicinally spaced dithiol appears to reside in the 16-kDa trypsin fragment of the receptor, which is thought to contain 3 cysteines (Cys-640, -656, and -661 of the rat receptor) and binds hormone with an ~23-fold lower affinity than does the intact 98-kDa receptor. We now report that the steroid binding specificity of preparations of this 16-kDa fragment and the intact receptor are virtually identical. This finding supports our designation of the 16-kDa fragment as a steroid-binding core domain and validates our continued use of this tryptic fragment in studies of steroid binding. To identify the cysteines which comprise the vicinally spaced dithiol group, and to examine further the role of cysteines in steroid binding, a total of five point mutant receptors were prepared: cysteine-to-serine for each suspected cysteine, cysteine-to-glycine for Cys-656, and the C656,661S double mutant. Unexpectedly, each receptor with a single point mutation still bound steroid. Even the double mutant (C656,661S) bound steroid with wild type affinity. These results suggest that none of these cysteines are directly required either for steroid binding to the glucocorticoid receptor or for heat shock protein 90 association with the receptor. However, the presence of Cys-656 was obligatory for covalent labeling of the receptor by [3H]dexamethasone 21-mesylate. Studies with preparations of the 98 and 16 kDa forms of these mutant receptors revealed both that Cys-656 and -661 comprise the vicinally spaced dithiols reacting with arsenite and that any two of the three thiols could form an intramolecular disulfide after treatment with low concentrations of methyl methanethiolsulfonate. These data, in conjunction with those from experiments on the effects of steric bulk on various receptor functions, support a model for the ligand binding cavity of the receptor that involves all three thiols in a flexible cleft but where thiol-steroid interactions are not essential for binding.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
ID Code:60367
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 14:35
Last Modified:08 Sep 2011 14:35

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