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The liganding of glycolipid transfer protein is controlled by glycolipid acyl structure.

  • Author(s): Malinina, Lucy
  • Malakhova, Margarita L
  • Kanack, Alex T
  • Lu, Min
  • Abagyan, Ruben
  • Brown, Rhoderick E
  • Patel, Dinshaw J
  • et al.
Abstract

Glycosphingolipids (GSLs) play major roles in cellular growth and development. Mammalian glycolipid transfer proteins (GLTPs) are potential regulators of cell processes mediated by GSLs and display a unique architecture among lipid binding/transfer proteins. The GLTP fold represents a novel membrane targeting/interaction domain among peripheral proteins. Here we report crystal structures of human GLTP bound to GSLs of diverse acyl chain length, unsaturation, and sugar composition. Structural comparisons show a highly conserved anchoring of galactosyl- and lactosyl-amide headgroups by the GLTP recognition center. By contrast, acyl chain chemical structure and occupancy of the hydrophobic tunnel dictate partitioning between sphingosine-in and newly-observed sphingosine-out ligand-binding modes. The structural insights, combined with computed interaction propensity distributions, suggest a concerted sequence of events mediated by GLTP conformational changes during GSL transfer to and/or from membranes, as well as during GSL presentation and/or transfer to other proteins.

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