Mouse ApoM Displays an Unprecedented Seven-Stranded Lipocalin Fold: Folding Decoy or Alternative Native Fold?

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Mouse apolipoprotein M (m-apoM) displays a 79% sequence identity to human apolipoprotein M (h-apoM). Both proteins are apolipoproteins associated with high-density lipoproteins, with similar anticipated biological functions. The structure of h-apoM has recently been determined by X-ray crystallography, which revealed that h-apoM displays, as expected, a lipocalin-like fold characterized by an eight-stranded 13 barrel that encloses an internal fatty-acid-binding site. Surprisingly, this is not true for m-apoM. After refolding from inclusion bodies, the crystal structure of m-apoM (reported here at 2.5 angstrom resolution) displays a novel yet unprecedented seven-stranded beta-barrel structure. The fold difference is not caused by a mere deletion of a single beta-strand; instead, beta-strands E and F are removed and replaced by a single beta-strand A' formed from residues from the N-terminus. Molecular dynamics simulations suggest that m-apoM is able to adopt both a seven-stranded barrel structure and an eight-stranded barrel structure in solution, and that both folds are comparably stable. Thermal unfolding simulations identify the position where beta-strand exchange occurs as the weak point of the beta-barrel. We wonder whether the switch in topology could have a biological function and could facilitate ligand release, since it goes hand in hand with a narrowing of the barrel diameter. Possibly also, the observed conformation represents an on-pathway or off-pathway folding intermediate of apoM. The difference in fold topology is quite remarkable, and the fold promiscuity observed for m-apoM might possibly provide a glimpse at potential cross-points during the evolution of beta-barrels. (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Madhumati Sevvana
  • Kristin Kassler
  • Josefin Ahnström
  • Sigrid Weiler
  • Björn Dahlbäck
  • Heinrich Sticht
  • Yves A. Muller
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Sidor (från-till)363-371
TidskriftJournal of Molecular Biology
Utgåva nummer3
StatusPublished - 2010
Peer review utfördJa


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