Low resolution solution structure of HAMLET and the importance of its alpha-domains in tumoricidal activity
Ho, James C. S.
Manimekalai, Malathy Sony Subramanian
Date of Issue2012
School of Biological Sciences
HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made LEthal to Tumor cells) is the first member in a new family of protein-lipid complexes with broad tumoricidal activity. Elucidating the molecular structure and the domains crucial for HAMLET formation is fundamental for understanding its tumoricidal function. Here we present the low-resolution solution structure of the complex of oleic acid bound HAMLET, derived from small angle X-ray scattering data. HAMLET shows a two-domain conformation with a large globular domain and an extended part of about 2.22 nm in length and 1.29 nm width. The structure has been superimposed into the related crystallographic structure of human α-lactalbumin, revealing that the major part of α-lactalbumin accommodates well in the shape of HAMLET. However, the C-terminal residues from L105 to L123 of the crystal structure of the human α-lactalbumin do not fit well into the HAMLET structure, resulting in an extended conformation in HAMLET, proposed to be required to form the tumoricidal active HAMLET complex with oleic acid. Consistent with this low resolution structure, we identified biologically active peptide epitopes in the globular as well as the extended domains of HAMLET. Peptides covering the alpha1 and alpha2 domains of the protein triggered rapid ion fluxes in the presence of sodium oleate and were internalized by tumor cells, causing rapid and sustained changes in cell morphology. The alpha peptide-oleate bound forms also triggered tumor cell death with comparable efficiency as HAMLET. In addition, shorter peptides corresponding to those domains are biologically active. These findings provide novel insights into the structural prerequisites for the dramatic effects of HAMLET on tumor cells.
© 2012 The Authors. This paper was published in PLoS ONE and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of The Authors. The paper can be found at the following official DOI: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0053051]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.