A structural preview of aquaporin 8 via homology modeling of seven vertebrate isoforms

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Background: Aquaporins (AQPs) facilitate the passage of small neutral polar molecules across membranes of the cell. In animals there are four distinct AQP subfamilies, whereof AQP8 homologues constitute one of the smallest subfamilies with just one member in man. AQP8 conducts water, ammonia, urea, glycerol and H2O2 through various membranes of animal cells. This passive channel has been connected to a number of phenomena, such as volume change of mitochondria, ammonia neurotoxicity, and mitochondrial dysfunction related to oxidative stress. Currently, there is no experimentally determined structure of an AQP8, hence the structural understanding of this subfamily is limited. The recently solved structure of the plant AQP, AtTIP2;1, which has structural and functional features in common with AQP8s, has opened up for construction of homology models that are likely to be more accurate than previous models. Results: Here we present homology models of seven vertebrate AQP8s. Modeling based on the AtTIP2;1 structure alone resulted in reasonable models except for the pore being blocked by a phenylalanine that is not present in AtTIP2;1. To achieve an open pore, these models were supplemented with models based on the bacterial water specific AQP, EcAqpZ, creating a chimeric monomeric model for each AQP8 isoform. The selectivity filter (also named the aromatic/arginine region), which defines the permeant substrate profile, comprises five amino acid residues in AtTIP2;1, including a histidine coming from loop C. Compared to AtTIP2;1, the selectivity filters of modelled AQP8s only deviates in that they are slightly more narrow and more hydrophobic due to a phenylalanine replacing the histidine from loop C. Interestingly, the models do not exclude the existence of a side pore beneath loop C similar to that described in the structure of AtTIP2;1. Conclusions: Our models concur that AQP8s are likely to have an AtTIP2;1-like selectivity filter. The detailed description of the expected configuration of residues in the selectivity filters of AQP8s provides an excellent starting point for planning of as well as rationalizing the outcome of mutational studies. Our strategy to compile hybrid models based on several templates may prove useful also for other AQPs for which structural information is limited.


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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Strukturbiologi


TidskriftBMC Structural Biology
StatusPublished - 2018 feb 17
Peer review utfördJa