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Title: New insights into the structure and assembly of nuclear lamins from chemical cross-linking and mass spectrometry
Author: Makarov, Alexandr
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 7600
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2017
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Now that the functioning of microtubules and the actin cytoskeleton has been worked out in enormous detail, the next important task is defining the structure of intermediate filaments that are far behind the other two major skeletal networks due to their inherent resistance to most structural techniques. The evolution of novel structural approaches for flexible proteins is making this possible now. In my thesis I will aim to elucidate the structure and assembly principles of lamin A nuclear intermediate filament protein. To study lamin A, I principally employed chemical cross-linking that allows the capturing of full-length protein structures in solution. I combined this with mass spectrometry approaches to identify cross-linked residues at the various stages of lamin A assembly that were additionally tracked with SILAC labelling and rotary metal shadowing TEM. Unlike previous cross-linking studies on intermediate filaments I use a zero-length self-excluding cross-linking agent EDC that is better tailored for investigation of the polar interactions between multiple unstructured or otherwise flexible charged sequences of lamins. Using this composite approach I interrogated lamin A dimeric and tetrameric assemblies. I elucidated hinge-like properties of the L12 and found indications that L1 and the region containing coil 2A and L2 and the beginning of coil 2B possess properties of linker-like flexibility and of predicted linear α-helical bundle and could act as molecular springs or compression buffers for the nuclear intermediate filaments. Further I confirm the role of the N-terminal unstructured region in lamin A assembly and for the first time show similar role for the C-terminal unstructured region flanking the rod domain of lamin A. Collected data strongly supports the model where both positively charged unstructured regions participate in extensive interaction with acidic rod termini and act as molecular bridges between these in the head-to-tail interface, confirming the uniformity of this principle between cytoplasmic and nuclear intermediate filaments. Formation of these bridges requires conformational change likely happening due to proline residues in the mitotic phosphorylation sites. Finally I suggest a mechanism of regulation of the order of assembly unique to the nuclear intermediate filament where C-terminal unstructured region blocks lateral interactions until it is tethered to the head-to-tail interface. Collected data on the dynamic behaviour of the C-terminal unstructured region and its ability to tether lamin A Ig domain may have far reaching implications for filament assembly and regulation of binding of hundreds of lamin A partner proteins presenting an important step in our understanding of relationship between lamin A structure and function and how altering the former could lead to disease.
Supervisor: Schirmer, Eric ; Sawin, Ken Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Lamin A ; CLMS ; Laminopathies ; chemical cross-linking ; coiled coil