A molecular recognition paradigm: promiscuity associated with the ligand–receptor interactions of the activin members of the TGF-β superfamily
Article first published online: 9 JUN 2005
Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Molecular Recognition
Volume 18, Issue 5, pages 385–403, September/October 2005
How to Cite
Keah, H. H. and Hearn, M. T. W. (2005), A molecular recognition paradigm: promiscuity associated with the ligand–receptor interactions of the activin members of the TGF-β superfamily. J. Mol. Recognit., 18: 385–403. doi: 10.1002/jmr.715
- Issue published online: 10 AUG 2005
- Article first published online: 9 JUN 2005
- Australian Research Council
- National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
- growth factor;
- receptor recognition;
- molecular mimicry;
The structure–function properties of the pleiotropic activins and their relationship to other members of the transforming growth factor-β superfamily of proteins are described. In order to highlight the molecular promiscuity of these growth factors, emphasis has been placed on molecular features associated with the recognition by activin A and the bone morphogenic proteins of the corresponding extracellular domains of the ActRI and ActRII receptors. The available evidence suggests that the homodimeric activin A in its various functional roles has the propensity to fulfill key tasks in the regulation of mammalian cell behaviour, through coordination of numerous transcriptional and translational processes. Because of these profound effects, under physiologically normal conditions, activin A levels are closely controlled by a variety of binding partners, such as follistatin-288 and follistatin-315, α2-macroglobulin and other proteins. Moreover, the subunits of other members of the activin subfamily, such as activin B or activin C, are able to form heterodimers with the activin A subunit, thus providing a further avenue to positively or negatively control the physiological concentrations of activin A that are available for interaction with specific receptors and induction of cell signaling events. Based on data from X-ray crystallographic studies and homology modeling experiments, the molecular architecture of the ternary receptor–activin ligand complexes has been dissected, permitting rationalization in structural terms of the pattern of interactions that are the hallmark of this protein family. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.