Spectroscopy-based modelling of the 3D structure of the β subunit of the high affinity IgE receptor
The high affinity IgE receptor, possesses a tetrameric structure. The 243 residue β subunit is a polytopic protein with four hydrophobic membrane-spanning segments, whereas the individual α and γ subunits are bitopic proteins each containing one transmembrane domain in their monomeric form. In the proposed topographical model (Blank et al., 1989), the four transmembrane α helices of the β subunit are connected by three loop sequences. To study the individual subunits and intact receptor, this membrane protein was divided into domains such as its loop peptides, cytoplasmic peptides and transmembrane helices according to Blank et al., 1989. The 3D structure of the synthesized loop peptides and cytoplasmic peptides were calculated; CD and/or NMR data were used as appropriate to generate the resultant structures which were then used as data basis for the higher level calculations. The four individual transmembrane helices of the β subunit were characterised, first of all, by mapping the relative lipophilicity of their surfaces using lipophilic probes. A second procedure, docking of the individual helices in pairs, was used to predict helix- helix interactions. The data on the relative lipophilicity of the surfaces as well as the surfaces that favoured helix-helix interactions were used in combination with the spectroscopy-based structures of the loops and cytoplasmic domains to calculate via molecular dynamics, the helix arrangement and 3D structure of the β subunit of the high affinity IgE receptor. In the final analysis, the molecular simulations yielded two structures of the β subunit, which should form a basis for the modelling of the whole high affinity IgE receptor.