ResearchPad - Structural Biology https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The road to the structure of the mitochondrial respiratory chain supercomplex]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=Naf814c61-5a9d-445b-8af3-a100d3188abb

The four complexes of the mitochondrial respiratory chain are critical for ATP production in most eukaryotic cells. Structural characterisation of these complexes has been critical for understanding the mechanisms underpinning their function. The three proton-pumping complexes, Complexes I, III and IV associate to form stable supercomplexes or respirasomes, the most abundant form containing 80 subunits in mammals. Multiple functions have been proposed for the supercomplexes, including enhancing the diffusion of electron carriers, providing stability for the complexes and protection against reactive oxygen species. Although high-resolution structures for Complexes III and IV were determined by X-ray crystallography in the 1990s, the size of Complex I and the supercomplexes necessitated advances in sample preparation and the development of cryo-electron microscopy techniques. We now enjoy structures for these beautiful complexes isolated from multiple organisms and in multiple states and together they provide important insights into respiratory chain function and the role of the supercomplex. While we as non-structural biologists use these structures for interpreting our own functional data, we need to remind ourselves that they stand on the shoulders of a large body of previous structural studies, many of which are still appropriate for use in understanding our results. In this mini-review, we discuss the history of respiratory chain structural biology studies leading to the structures of the mammalian supercomplexes and beyond.

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<![CDATA[Nek7 conformational flexibility and inhibitor binding probed through protein engineering of the R-spine]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=Nff561a75-6f90-48e9-b79e-8892938cb069

Nek7 is a serine/threonine-protein kinase required for proper spindle formation and cytokinesis. Elevated Nek7 levels have been observed in several cancers, and inhibition of Nek7 might provide a route to the development of cancer therapeutics. To date, no selective and potent Nek7 inhibitors have been identified. Nek7 crystal structures exhibit an improperly formed regulatory-spine (R-spine), characteristic of an inactive kinase. We reasoned that the preference of Nek7 to crystallise in this inactive conformation might hinder attempts to capture Nek7 in complex with Type I inhibitors. Here, we have introduced aromatic residues into the R-spine of Nek7 with the aim to stabilise the active conformation of the kinase through R-spine stacking. The strong R-spine mutant Nek7SRS retained catalytic activity and was crystallised in complex with compound 51, an ATP-competitive inhibitor of Nek2 and Nek7. Subsequently, we obtained the same crystal form for wild-type Nek7WT in apo form and bound to compound 51. The R-spines of the three well-ordered Nek7WT molecules exhibit variable conformations while the R-spines of the Nek7SRS molecules all have the same, partially stacked configuration. Compound 51 bound to Nek2 and Nek7 in similar modes, but differences in the precise orientation of a substituent highlights features that could be exploited in designing inhibitors that are selective for particular Nek family members. Although the SRS mutations are not required to obtain a Nek7–inhibitor structure, we conclude that it is a useful strategy for restraining the conformation of a kinase in order to promote crystallogenesis.

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<![CDATA[Recent advances in understanding prodrug transport through the SLC15 family of proton-coupled transporters]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N26acb0c8-fe00-4e11-aad3-bf260d702da5

Solute carrier (SLC) transporters play important roles in regulating the movement of small molecules and ions across cellular membranes. In mammals, they play an important role in regulating the uptake of nutrients and vitamins from the diet, and in controlling the distribution of their metabolic intermediates within the cell. Several SLC families also play an important role in drug transport and strategies are being developed to hijack SLC transporters to control and regulate drug transport within the body. Through the addition of amino acid and peptide moieties several novel antiviral and anticancer agents have been developed that hijack the proton-coupled oligopeptide transporters, PepT1 (SCL15A1) and PepT2 (SLC15A2), for improved intestinal absorption and renal retention in the body. A major goal is to understand the rationale behind these successes and expand the library of prodrug molecules that utilise SLC transporters. Recent co-crystal structures of prokaryotic homologues of the human PepT1 and PepT2 transporters have shed important new insights into the mechanism of prodrug recognition. Here, I will review recent developments in our understanding of ligand recognition and binding promiscuity within the SLC15 family, and discuss current models for prodrug recognition.

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<![CDATA[A single power stroke by ATP binding drives substrate translocation in a heterodimeric ABC transporter]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N31301349-16ac-43e0-9228-476ce24b03ef

ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters constitute the largest family of primary active transporters, responsible for many physiological processes and human maladies. However, the mechanism how chemical energy of ATP facilitates translocation of chemically diverse compounds across membranes is poorly understood. Here, we advance the quantitative mechanistic understanding of the heterodimeric ABC transporter TmrAB, a functional homolog of the transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP) by single-turnover analyses at single-liposome resolution. We reveal that a single conformational switch by ATP binding drives unidirectional substrate translocation. After this power stroke, ATP hydrolysis and phosphate release launch the return to the resting state, which facilitates nucleotide exchange and a new round of substrate binding and translocation. In contrast to hitherto existing steady-state assays, our single-turnover approach uncovers the power stroke in substrate translocation and the tight chemomechanical coupling in these molecular machines.

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<![CDATA[Top-down machine learning approach for high-throughput single-molecule analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N957aad02-2c00-4587-a7f5-2b73aea07b8d

Single-molecule approaches provide enormous insight into the dynamics of biomolecules, but adequately sampling distributions of states and events often requires extensive sampling. Although emerging experimental techniques can generate such large datasets, existing analysis tools are not suitable to process the large volume of data obtained in high-throughput paradigms. Here, we present a new analysis platform (DISC) that accelerates unsupervised analysis of single-molecule trajectories. By merging model-free statistical learning with the Viterbi algorithm, DISC idealizes single-molecule trajectories up to three orders of magnitude faster with improved accuracy compared to other commonly used algorithms. Further, we demonstrate the utility of DISC algorithm to probe cooperativity between multiple binding events in the cyclic nucleotide binding domains of HCN pacemaker channel. Given the flexible and efficient nature of DISC, we anticipate it will be a powerful tool for unsupervised processing of high-throughput data across a range of single-molecule experiments.

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<![CDATA[Limited dishevelled/Axin oligomerization determines efficiency of Wnt/β-catenin signal transduction]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N89b0a066-5932-4aa3-9c28-7c04aeecc210

In Wnt/β-catenin signaling, the transcriptional coactivator β-catenin is regulated by its phosphorylation in a complex that includes the scaffold protein Axin and associated kinases. Wnt binding to its coreceptors activates the cytosolic effector Dishevelled (Dvl), leading to the recruitment of Axin and the inhibition of β-catenin phosphorylation. This process requires interaction of homologous DIX domains present in Dvl and Axin, but is mechanistically undefined. We show that Dvl DIX forms antiparallel, double-stranded oligomers in vitro, and that Dvl in cells forms oligomers typically <10 molecules at endogenous expression levels. Axin DIX (DAX) forms small single-stranded oligomers, but its self-association is stronger than that of DIX. DAX caps the ends of DIX oligomers, such that a DIX oligomer has at most four DAX binding sites. The relative affinities and stoichiometry of the DIX-DAX interaction provide a mechanism for efficient inhibition of β-catenin phosphorylation upon Axin recruitment to the Wnt receptor complex.

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<![CDATA[Single-molecule observation of ATP-independent SSB displacement by RecO in Deinococcus radiodurans]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N75dd0523-a172-49b7-a20f-e040e1226ee1

Deinococcus radiodurans (DR) survives in the presence of hundreds of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) breaks by efficiently repairing such breaks. RecO, a protein that is essential for the extreme radioresistance of DR, is one of the major recombination mediator proteins in the RecA-loading process in the RecFOR pathway. However, how RecO participates in the RecA-loading process is still unclear. In this work, we investigated the function of drRecO using single-molecule techniques. We found that drRecO competes with the ssDNA-binding protein (drSSB) for binding to the freely exposed ssDNA, and efficiently displaces drSSB from ssDNA without consuming ATP. drRecO replaces drSSB and dissociates it completely from ssDNA even though drSSB binds to ssDNA approximately 300 times more strongly than drRecO does. We suggest that drRecO facilitates the loading of RecA onto drSSB-coated ssDNA by utilizing a small drSSB-free space on ssDNA that is generated by the fast diffusion of drSSB on ssDNA.

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<![CDATA[Cryo-EM structure of the potassium-chloride cotransporter KCC4 in lipid nanodiscs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N58103102-565b-4494-8b69-a2dcfc1a57fa

Cation-chloride-cotransporters (CCCs) catalyze transport of Cl- with K+ and/or Na+across cellular membranes. CCCs play roles in cellular volume regulation, neural development and function, audition, regulation of blood pressure, and renal function. CCCs are targets of clinically important drugs including loop diuretics and their disruption has been implicated in pathophysiology including epilepsy, hearing loss, and the genetic disorders Andermann, Gitelman, and Bartter syndromes. Here we present the structure of a CCC, the Mus musculus K+-Cl- cotransporter (KCC) KCC4, in lipid nanodiscs determined by cryo-EM. The structure, captured in an inside-open conformation, reveals the architecture of KCCs including an extracellular domain poised to regulate transport activity through an outer gate. We identify binding sites for substrate K+ and Cl- ions, demonstrate the importance of key coordinating residues for transporter activity, and provide a structural explanation for varied substrate specificity and ion transport ratio among CCCs. These results provide mechanistic insight into the function and regulation of a physiologically important transporter family.

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<![CDATA[A complex IRES at the 5'-UTR of a viral mRNA assembles a functional 48S complex via an uAUG intermediate]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N9559bf81-f12f-4629-842b-6f7764d00371

Taking control of the cellular apparatus for protein production is a requirement for virus progression. To ensure this control, diverse strategies of cellular mimicry and/or ribosome hijacking have evolved. The initiation stage of translation is especially targeted as it involves multiple steps and the engagement of numerous initiation factors. The use of structured RNA sequences, called Internal Ribosomal Entry Sites (IRES), in viral RNAs is a widespread strategy for the exploitation of eukaryotic initiation. Using a combination of electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) and reconstituted translation initiation assays with native components, we characterized how a novel IRES at the 5'-UTR of a viral RNA assembles a functional initiation complex via an uAUG intermediate. The IRES features a novel extended, multi-domain architecture, that circles the 40S head. The structures and accompanying functional data illustrate the importance of 5'-UTR regions in translation regulation and underline the relevance of the untapped diversity of viral IRESs.

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<![CDATA[Delta glutamate receptor conductance drives excitation of mouse dorsal raphe neurons]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=Na63a858a-b4b6-4d86-8af8-22ec182ef9ae

The dorsal raphe nucleus is the predominant source of central serotonin, where neuronal activity regulates complex emotional behaviors. Action potential firing of serotonin dorsal raphe neurons is driven via α1-adrenergic receptors (α1-AR) activation. Despite this crucial role, the ion channels responsible for α1-AR-mediated depolarization are unknown. Here, we show in mouse brain slices that α1-AR-mediated excitatory synaptic transmission is mediated by the ionotropic glutamate receptor homolog cation channel, delta glutamate receptor 1 (GluD1). GluD1R-channels are constitutively active under basal conditions carrying tonic inward current and synaptic activation of α1-ARs augments tonic GluD1R-channel current. Further, loss of dorsal raphe GluD1R-channels produces an anxiogenic phenotype. Thus, GluD1R-channels are responsible for α1-AR-dependent induction of persistent pacemaker-type firing of dorsal raphe neurons and regulate dorsal raphe-related behavior. Given the widespread distribution of these channels, ion channel function of GluD1R as a regulator of neuronal excitability is proposed to be widespread in the nervous system.

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<![CDATA[Same structure, different mechanisms?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=Ned7d5cd1-550e-4fc1-81cf-480a51743833

Two interpretations of similar structures for the same molecular machine illustrate the limits of inferring biochemical mechanism from protein structure.

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<![CDATA[Intra-locked G-quadruplex structures formed by irregular DNA G-rich motifs]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N04c79148-0c7b-4cb1-8cbe-b630a9f30a20

Abstract

G-rich DNA sequences with tracts of three or more continuous guanines (G≥3) are known to have high propensity to adopt stable G-quadruplex (G4) structures. Bioinformatic analyses suggest high prevalence of G-rich sequences with short G-tracts (G≤2) in the human genome. However, due to limited structural studies, the folding principles of such sequences remain largely unexplored and hence poorly understood. Here, we present the solution NMR structure of a sequence named AT26 consisting of irregularly spaced G2 tracts and two isolated single guanines. The structure is a four-layered G4 featuring two bi-layered blocks, locked between themselves in an unprecedented fashion making it a stable scaffold. In addition to edgewise and propeller-type loops, AT26 also harbors two V-shaped loops: a 2-nt V-shaped loop spanning two G-tetrad layers and a 0-nt V-shaped loop spanning three G-tetrad layers, which are named as VS- and VR-loop respectively, based on their distinct structural features. The intra-lock motif can be a basis for extending the G-tetrad core and a very stable intra-locked G4 can be formed by a sequence with G-tracts of various lengths including several G2 tracts. Findings from this study will aid in understanding the folding of G4 topologies from sequences containing irregularly spaced multiple short G-tracts.

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<![CDATA[The complex formed between a synthetic RNA aptamer and the transcription repressor TetR is a structural and functional twin of the operator DNA–TetR regulator complex]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N3727199a-97be-4a61-b7be-523d1e482fbb

Abstract

RNAs play major roles in the regulation of gene expression. Hence, designer RNA molecules are increasingly explored as regulatory switches in synthetic biology. Among these, the TetR-binding RNA aptamer was selected by its ability to compete with operator DNA for binding to the bacterial repressor TetR. A fortuitous finding was that induction of TetR by tetracycline abolishes both RNA aptamer and operator DNA binding in TetR. This enabled numerous applications exploiting both the specificity of the RNA aptamer and the efficient gene repressor properties of TetR. Here, we present the crystal structure of the TetR-RNA aptamer complex at 2.7 Å resolution together with a comprehensive characterization of the TetR–RNA aptamer versus TetR–operator DNA interaction using site-directed mutagenesis, size exclusion chromatography, electrophoretic mobility shift assays and isothermal titration calorimetry. The fold of the RNA aptamer bears no resemblance to regular B-DNA, and neither does the thermodynamic characterization of the complex formation reaction. Nevertheless, the functional aptamer-binding epitope of TetR is fully contained within its DNA-binding epitope. In the RNA aptamer complex, TetR adopts the well-characterized DNA-binding-competent conformation of TetR, thus revealing how the synthetic TetR-binding aptamer strikes the chords of the bimodal allosteric behaviour of TetR to function as a synthetic regulator.

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<![CDATA[Structural basis of the zinc-induced cytoplasmic aggregation of the RNA-binding protein SFPQ]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=Nfcc07ff8-af05-4acc-a4fc-495eed1c5ed5

Abstract

SFPQ is a ubiquitous nuclear RNA-binding protein implicated in many aspects of RNA biogenesis. Importantly, nuclear depletion and cytoplasmic accumulation of SFPQ has been linked to neuropathological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Here, we describe a molecular mechanism by which SFPQ is mislocalized to the cytoplasm. We report an unexpected discovery of the infinite polymerization of SFPQ that is induced by zinc binding to the protein. The crystal structure of human SFPQ in complex with zinc at 1.94 Å resolution reveals intermolecular interactions between SFPQ molecules that are mediated by zinc. As anticipated from the crystal structure, the application of zinc to primary cortical neurons induced the cytoplasmic accumulation and aggregation of SFPQ. Mutagenesis of the three zinc-coordinating histidine residues resulted in a significant reduction in the zinc-binding affinity of SFPQ in solution and the zinc-induced cytoplasmic aggregation of SFPQ in cultured neurons. Taken together, we propose that dysregulation of zinc availability and/or localization in neuronal cells may represent a mechanism for the imbalance in the nucleocytoplasmic distribution of SFPQ, which is an emerging hallmark of neurodegenerative diseases including AD and ALS.

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<![CDATA[Structural basis of the fanconi anemia-associated mutations within the FANCA and FANCG complex]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=Ne6452888-c162-4ff4-915d-967c8ac54cfb

Abstract

Monoubiquitination of the Fanconi anemia complementation group D2 (FANCD2) protein by the FA core ubiquitin ligase complex is the central event in the FA pathway. FANCA and FANCG play major roles in the nuclear localization of the FA core complex. Mutations of these two genes are the most frequently observed genetic alterations in FA patients, and most point mutations in FANCA are clustered in the C-terminal domain (CTD). To understand the basis of the FA-associated FANCA mutations, we determined the cryo-electron microscopy (EM) structures of Xenopus laevis FANCA alone at 3.35 Å and 3.46 Å resolution and two distinct FANCA–FANCG complexes at 4.59 and 4.84 Å resolution, respectively. The FANCA CTD adopts an arc-shaped solenoid structure that forms a pseudo-symmetric dimer through its outer surface. FA- and cancer-associated point mutations are widely distributed over the CTD. The two different complex structures capture independent interactions of FANCG with either FANCA C-terminal HEAT repeats, or the N-terminal region. We show that mutations that disturb either of these two interactions prevent the nuclear localization of FANCA, thereby leading to an FA pathway defect. The structure provides insights into the function of FANCA CTD, and provides a framework for understanding FA- and cancer-associated mutations.

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<![CDATA[Structural studies reveal a ring-shaped architecture of deep-sea vent phage NrS-1 polymerase]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N6fdf536d-f480-4df9-b353-cc31e9bf2397

Abstract

NrS-1 is the first known phage that can infect Epsilonproteobacteria, one of the predominant primary producers in the deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystems. NrS-1 polymerase is a multidomain enzyme and is one key component of the phage replisome. The N-terminal Prim/Pol and HBD domains are responsible for DNA polymerization and de novo primer synthesis activities of NrS-1 polymerase. However, the structure and function of the C-terminus (CTR) of NrS-1 polymerase are poorly understood. Here, we report two crystal structures, showing that NrS-1 CTR adopts one unique hexameric ring-shaped conformation. Although the central helicase domain of NrS-1 CTR shares structural similarity with the superfamily III helicases, the folds of the Head and Tail domains are completely novel. Via mutagenesis and in vitro biochemical analysis, we identified many residues important for the helicase and polymerization activities of NrS-1 polymerase. In addition to NrS-1 polymerase, our study may also help us identify and understand the functions of multidomain polymerases expressed by many NrS-1 related phages.

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<![CDATA[Molecular structure of a U•A-U-rich RNA triple helix with 11 consecutive base triples]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N7770ccce-f48b-42ba-8988-16d232db92ea

Abstract

Three-dimensional structures have been solved for several naturally occurring RNA triple helices, although all are limited to six or fewer consecutive base triples, hindering accurate estimation of global and local structural parameters. We present an X-ray crystal structure of a right-handed, U•A-U-rich RNA triple helix with 11 continuous base triples. Due to helical unwinding, the RNA triple helix spans an average of 12 base triples per turn. The double helix portion of the RNA triple helix is more similar to both the helical and base step structural parameters of A′-RNA rather than A-RNA. Its most striking features are its wide and deep major groove, a smaller inclination angle and all three strands favoring a C3′-endo sugar pucker. Despite the presence of a third strand, the diameter of an RNA triple helix remains nearly identical to those of DNA and RNA double helices. Contrary to our previous modeling predictions, this structure demonstrates that an RNA triple helix is not limited in length to six consecutive base triples and that longer RNA triple helices may exist in nature. Our structure provides a starting point to establish structural parameters of the so-called ‘ideal’ RNA triple helix, analogous to A-RNA and B-DNA double helices.

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<![CDATA[A processive rotary mechanism couples substrate unfolding and proteolysis in the ClpXP degradation machinery]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=Nc90ed1fd-0433-47f8-99bd-914130e4e6c6

The ClpXP degradation machine consists of a hexameric AAA+ unfoldase (ClpX) and a pair of heptameric serine protease rings (ClpP) that unfold, translocate, and subsequently degrade client proteins. ClpXP is an important target for drug development against infectious diseases. Although structures are available for isolated ClpX and ClpP rings, it remains unknown how symmetry mismatched ClpX and ClpP work in tandem for processive substrate translocation into the ClpP proteolytic chamber. Here, we present cryo-EM structures of the substrate-bound ClpXP complex from Neisseria meningitidis at 2.3 to 3.3 Å resolution. The structures allow development of a model in which the sequential hydrolysis of ATP is coupled to motions of ClpX loops that lead to directional substrate translocation and ClpX rotation relative to ClpP. Our data add to the growing body of evidence that AAA+ molecular machines generate translocating forces by a common mechanism.

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<![CDATA[Structures of the ATP-fueled ClpXP proteolytic machine bound to protein substrate]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=N274f4952-2de8-48eb-9cdf-d1239cceea30

ClpXP is an ATP-dependent protease in which the ClpX AAA+ motor binds, unfolds, and translocates specific protein substrates into the degradation chamber of ClpP. We present cryo-EM studies of the E. coli enzyme that show how asymmetric hexameric rings of ClpX bind symmetric heptameric rings of ClpP and interact with protein substrates. Subunits in the ClpX hexamer assume a spiral conformation and interact with two-residue segments of substrate in the axial channel, as observed for other AAA+ proteases and protein-remodeling machines. Strictly sequential models of ATP hydrolysis and a power stroke that moves two residues of the substrate per translocation step have been inferred from these structural features for other AAA+ unfoldases, but biochemical and single-molecule biophysical studies indicate that ClpXP operates by a probabilistic mechanism in which five to eight residues are translocated for each ATP hydrolyzed. We propose structure-based models that could account for the functional results.

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<![CDATA[A dynamic charge-charge interaction modulates PP2A:B56 substrate recruitment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=Nbe9a7b76-8c01-489a-b41d-c82050dff1cb

The recruitment of substrates by the ser/thr protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is poorly understood, limiting our understanding of PP2A-regulated signaling. Recently, the first PP2A:B56 consensus binding motif, LxxIxE, was identified. However, most validated LxxIxE motifs bind PP2A:B56 with micromolar affinities, suggesting that additional motifs exist to enhance PP2A:B56 binding. Here, we report the requirement of a positively charged motif in a subset of PP2A:B56 interactors, including KIF4A, to facilitate B56 binding via dynamic, electrostatic interactions. Using molecular and cellular experiments, we show that a conserved, negatively charged groove on B56 mediates dynamic binding. We also discovered that this positively charged motif, in addition to facilitating KIF4A dephosphorylation, is essential for condensin I binding, a function distinct and exclusive from PP2A-B56 binding. Together, these results reveal how dynamic, charge-charge interactions fine-tune the interactions mediated by specific motifs, providing a new framework for understanding how PP2A regulation drives cellular signaling.

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