Revealing Secrets of Synaptic Protein Interactions A Biosensor based Strategy

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Protein interactions are the basis of synaptic function, and studying these interactions on a molecular level is crucial for understanding basic brain function, as well as mechanisms underlying neurological disorders. In this thesis, kinetic and mechanistic characterization of synaptic protein interactions was performed by using surface plasmon resonance biosensor technology. Fragment library screening against the reverse transcriptase of HIV was included, as it served as an outlook for future drug discovery against ligand-gated ion channels.The protein-protein interaction studies of postsynaptic Ca2+ -binding proteins revealed caldendrin as a novel binding partner of AKAP79. Caldendrin and calmodulin bind and compete at similar binding sites but their interactions display different mechanisms and kinetics. In contrast to calmodulin, caldendrin binds to AKAP79 both in the presence and absence of Ca2+ suggesting distinct in vivo functional properties of caldendrin and calmodulin.Homo-oligomeric ?3 GABAA receptors, although not yet identified in vivo, are candidates for a histamine-gated ion channel in the brain. To aid the identification of the receptor, 51 histaminergic ligands were screened and a unique pharmacology was determined. A further requirement for identifying ?3 receptors in the brain, is the availability of specific high-affinity ligands. The developed biosensor assay displayed sufficient sensitivity and throughput for screening for such ligands, as well as for being employed for fragment-based drug discovery.AMPA receptors are excitatory ligand-gated ion channels, involved in synaptic plasticity, and modulated by auxiliary proteins. Previous results have indicated that Noelin1, a secreted glycoprotein, interacts with the AMPA receptor. By using biochemical methods, it was shown that Noelin1 interacts directly with the receptor. The kinetics of the interaction were estimated by biosensor analysis, thereby confirming the interaction and suggesting low nanomolar affinity. The results provide a basis for functional characterization of a novel AMPA receptor protein interaction.The results demonstrate how secrets of synaptic protein interactions and function were revealed by using a molecular based approach. Improving the understanding of such interactions is valuable for basic neuroscience. At the same time, the technical advancements that were achieved to study interactions of ligand-gated ion channels by surface plasmon resonance technology, provide an important tool for discovery of novel therapeutics against these important drug targets.