Apolipoprotein E-low density lipoprotein receptor binding: study of protein-protein interaction in rationally selected docked complexes.

PMID 15146486


Apolipoprotein E (apoE) is an important protein involved in lipid metabolism due to its interaction with members of the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) family. To further understand the molecular basis for this receptor-binding activity, an apoE fragment containing the receptor binding region (residues 135-151) was docked onto the fifth LDLR ligand binding repeat (LR5) by computational methods. A subset of structures generated by the docking was rationally selected on the grounds of experimental data combined with modeling and was used for further analysis. The application and comparison of two different experimental structures for the apoE fragment underlines the local structural changes occurring in apoE when switching from a receptor-inactive to a receptor-active conformation. The body of interactions occurring at the interface between the two proteins is in very good agreement with the biochemical data available for both apoE and LDLR. Charged residues are involved in numerous ionic interactions and might therefore be important for the specificity of the interaction between apoE and LR5. In addition, the interface also features a tryptophan and a stacking of histidine residues, revealing that the association between the two proteins is not entirely governed by ionic interactions. In particular, the presence of histidine residues in the interface gives a structural basis for the pH-regulated release mechanism of apoE in the endosomes. The proposed molecular basis for apoE binding to LDLR could aid the design of strategies for targeting alterations in lipid transport and metabolism.