Effect of extension of the heparin binding pocket on the structure, stability, and cell proliferation activity of the human acidic fibroblast growth factor

by Davis, Julie Eberle; Gundampati, Ravi Kumar; Jayanthi, Srinivas; Anderson, Joshua; Pickhardt, Abigail; Koppolu, Bhanu Prasanth; Zaharoff, David A.; Kumar, Thallapuranam Krishnaswamy Suresh

Acidic human fibroblast growth factor (hFGF1) plays a key role in cell growth and proliferation. Activation of the cell surface FGF receptor is believed to involve the glycosaminoglycan, heparin. However, the exact role of heparin is a subject of considerable debate. In this context, in this study, the correlation between heparin binding affinity and cell proliferation activity of hFGF1 is examined by extending the heparin binding pocket through selective engineering via charge reversal mutations (D82R, D84R and D82R/D84R). Results of biophysical experiments such as intrinsic tryptophan fluorescence and far UV circular dichroism spectroscopy suggest that the gross native structure of hFGF1 is not significantly perturbed by the engineered mutations. However, results of limited trypsin digestion and ANS binding experiments show that the backbone structure of the D82R variant is more flexible than that of the wild type hFGF1. Results of the temperature and urea-induced equilibrium unfolding experiments suggest that the stability of the charge-reversal mutations increases in the presence of heparin. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) data reveal that the heparin binding affinity is significantly increased when the charge on D82 is reversed but not when the negative charge is reversed at both positions D82 and D84 (D82R/D84R). However, despite the increased affinity of D82R for heparin, the cell proliferation activity of the D82R variant is observed to be reduced compared to the wild type hFGF1. The results of this study clearly demonstrate that heparin binding affinity of hFGF1 is not strongly correlated to its cell proliferation activity.

Biochemistry and Biophysics Reports
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