Promiscuous and specific recognition among ephrins and Eph receptors.


Eph-ephrin interactions control the signal transduction between cells and play an important role in carcinogenesis and other diseases. The interactions between Eph receptors and ephrins of the same subclass are promiscuous; there are cross-interactions between some subclasses, but not all. To understand how Eph-ephrin interactions can be both promiscuous and specific, we investigated sixteen energy landscapes of four Eph receptors (A2, A4, B2, and B4) interacting with four ephrin ligands (A1, A2, A5, and B2). We generated conformational ensembles and recognition energy landscapes starting from separated Eph and ephrin molecules and proceeding up to the formation of Eph-ephrin complexes. Analysis of the Eph-ephrin recognition trajectories and the co-evolution entropy of 400 ligand binding domains of Eph receptor and 241 ephrin ligands identified conserved residues during the recognition process. Our study correctly predicted the promiscuity and specificity of the interactions and provided insights into their recognition. The dynamic conformational changes during Eph-ephrin recognition can be described by progressive conformational selection and population shift events, with two dynamic salt bridges between EphB4 and ephrin-B2 contributing to the specific recognition. EphA3 cancer-related mutations lowered the binding energies. The specificity is not only controlled by the final stage of the interaction across the protein-protein interface, but also has large contributions from binding kinetics with the help of dynamic intermediates along the pathway from the separated Eph and ephrin to the Eph-ephrin complex.

DOI: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2014.07.002

Cite this paper

@article{Dai2014PromiscuousAS, title={Promiscuous and specific recognition among ephrins and Eph receptors.}, author={Dandan Dai and Qiang Huang and Ruth Nussinov and Buyong Ma}, journal={Biochimica et biophysica acta}, year={2014}, volume={1844 10}, pages={1729-40} }